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Concept Model (Prototype x Rings of the Master)

Discussion in 'Scribblings' started by PuzzleRaven, April 3, 2019.

  1. Threadmarks: Chapter 1: Doppelganger

    PuzzleRaven Member

    Chapter 1: Doppelganger

    In a back alley in New York, he finished absorbing his latest victim and opened new eyes. Tetrachromia, he noted with pleasure as the new ability sank in, quite the advantage for a sniper to see outside the spectrum. It made it much easier to hide his own abilities. He stepped away from the mess left by his meal, peeling some of the gunk off his feet as the new centre of balance took him a second to adjust to. The memories took no real time to settle, so he trawled the man's recent history, looking for details about what the marine had been doing.

    Ah, shit. Ground Zero for a terrorist attack at New York. That explained all the troops but, as the stolen memories fell into place, it was irritating to learn they were already looking for a shapeshifter. That would not be a real problem. There was nothing on this earth that could manage his level of impersonation, down to the base level of the DNA. A minute with the right person and he could just walk out or, he grinned inhumanly, even have the people searching for him escort him out unknowing. That never got old.

    Settling into his new persona, slinging the marine's pack onto his back with the ease of long practice, he considered the bioterrorists. Tracking down one of the people behind the attack and eating them for the data was tempting. Military conspiracies didn't last long when he got serious. He finished toying with the idea and discarded it as tempting but impractical. The terrorist's form would make acquiring his next target more difficult, what with all the guns and bullets and marines. They were still at large, so a useful distraction but no real threat. No human-made bioweapon could affect him, and natural viruses did not stand a chance, so it wasn't his problem. His problem was getting off the island.

    Happy he had the feel of the new musculature, picking up the marine's discarded rifle, he began the long walk back to the base. Lt. John Anders had been deserting, but with his squad wiped out there was no one to report him. The lone survivor would return heroically, report the horrific event, and get an officer alone for long enough for a truly indepth meeting. Buried under the borrowed personality, he let himself drift. He'd done the man a favour really. After all, no one lived forever unless he ate them.

    Two blocks later, he was cursing human walking speed. This was going to take forever, or at least days he didn't have patience for. He listened hard, turning until he heard a tank's engine and grinned as his pace picked up. If they didn't give him a lift they would have a working radio, or even better a careless crewman they'd take their eyes off. Almost stalking, he rounded the corner. He came into view at just the wrong time.

    Inhuman reflexes kicked in, shattering the mask of humanity he wore as he threw himself out of the way. The tank landed where he had been, rolling, as its turret rotated still firing at something which landed on it, tore the armour open like a tin can. Screams rose. He slid behind a dumpster, concealed himself back in the trash, and watched as the thing with all the tentacles dragged a screaming soldier back inside and the man's body broke down into something obscene. The monster crawled out, onto the top of the tank, reforming as it did: jeans, a grey hoodie, a leather jacket, a human look. Then it jumped, weight slamming the tank into the ground as it took off.

    In the alley, Vulture narrowed his eyes, watching the figure run up the side of the skyscraper and away. His plans to leave went abruptly on hold. There was something here he needed to get to the bottom of, and unraveling conspiracies was his thing. It was, after all, what he had been made for.
  2. Threadmarks: Chapter 2: Mistaken Identity

    PuzzleRaven Member

    Chapter 2: Mistaken Identity

    "Hi, Boss." Oh shit, this would be awkward. Grabbing for the gun was stupid, but it was what McMullen would do. Vulture stumbled, the chair flying aside, as he reeled back from Mercer and fell ungracefully on his backside.

    Eating McMullen had seemed like such a bright idea. Better than those hunters and marines his voracious grandchild kept using as snacks, and dammit when he got the chance the boy was going on a diet, and a chance to get to the root of it all. It had seemed even better when the kid somehow got himself captured, and getting his incapacitated grandson shipped to him for a heart-to-heart about not getting caught, instead of the kid ending up on some vivisectionist's table, felt like a master-stroke. Except he'd miscalculated.

    Facing off against an enraged Blacklight from two inches away made that pretty clear.

    "That is a foolish thing to do," Mercer gravelled. 'McMullen' backed up fast, still pointing the useless gun pathetically at the advancing virus and praying his grandchild didn't decide to try to eat him. That wouldn't go the way Blacklight expected, and there were questions Vulture really wasn't ready to answer.

    "You know who I am, and you know what I do," Mercer growled, inches in front of his face. He stayed down, against the wall, sheltering his head until thankfully the virus stepped back. Vulture took an entirely unnecessary breath. If Blacklight didn't take this well then all that would be left of the kid would be a new set of memories in his head, and then Blackwatch would be shooting at him instead. Not useful.

    "You were always so smart, ready to give up all our secrets," he stalled, trying to decide what to do. This had backfired spectacularly. The kid had planned this out, gone to the lengths of taking a fall to get to McMullen. Vulture had just eaten his way up the chain of command, using Blackwatch's belief that viral detectors and bloodtox actually worked. He was beginning to regret beating Mercer to it.

    "So you infected me?" His grandchild had begun to pace as he spoke. It was hard not to feel vaguely fond of the kid as it stalked back and forth, all predatory and menacing. He'd even learned to play dead at three weeks old. Vulture suppressed a certain family feeling. It wasn't helping.

    "No, no. Are you insane?" How the hell to tell him the truth? The kid wouldn't take it well. In close quarters, provoking a lethal reaction from the utterly lethal Blacklight wasn't a good idea. Putting the kid through the wall would start a painful fight he could only win if he ate Mercer, and he wasn't ready for that.

    "But you always were a lateral thinker. Plans within plans." The faint praise in his voice was genuine. Mercer paused, his face impassive, but something flickered in his eyes. The original Mercer's memories might be in there somewhere, and if they were his grandchild might reach the truth without him needing to say anything. Vulture envied him. Even his own creator had forgotten who Vulture had been originally, just a nameless involuntary subject, mind and personality erased by drugs and machines because Clayben claimed it was the only ethical way to make a monster, as if there was any ethical way, and fed political prisoners to keep him alive for experiments. After living through exactly what Raymond McMullen had planned for Mercer, Vulture felt no guilt at all about killing the man.

    The flicker of memory passed as Mercer turned, pacing furiously. If he had only just realised what his creator had done, the kid would be hurting and confused. If he hated the original Mercer as much as Vulture hated Clayben, his mind would be a mess. Vulture could only stress the distinction, that Blacklight wasn't Mercer, and hope the kid moved passed it.

    "Alex Mercer died. He died threatening to release the most deadly virus in history on the people of New York," he said, quickly. The reaction was near-blank, the words triggering nothing. He sighed. No memories yet then, but maybe later. "You died in Penn Station but the virus found its way into your bloodstream. And here you are, filling in the blanks." He actually found himself feeling proud of the boy. In such a short time, Mercer had developed basic ethics, a certain low cunning, and evolved a truly brutal drive for revenge on his creators. Vulture grimaced, finally figuring a way out. This would be painful, but Mercer didn't leave bodies, so that was one loose end pre-tied. Meanwhile he kept talking.

    "We were trying to figure it out. You just wanted to bring it all down. But this isn't what you came for is it? You want to know what happened at Hope Idaho. You want the truth." No, Mercer didn't, even if he thought he did. But then McMullen hadn't known it either, too busy being Randall's mushroom to even know where Pariah was kept.

    Vulture spread McMullen's arms out, to get Mercer's guard down. The gun was heavy in his hands, useless against the virus. "I know the secret." Mercer stopped pacing, confronted him. His last chance, and only one way out. Sorry, kid.

    "Listen, there's nothing you can do to hurt me..." Mercer began, just as Vulture put the gun under his chin and pulled the trigger. Mercer reached out abortively, too slow. Vulture fixed McMullen's eyes open, remembered to slump over, and stopped the body's heart. The look on his grandchild's face made him feel almost guilty, but the kid would get over it. Better than having to eat him.

    As Mercer cursed and ran, Vulture lay still and waited. There was the sound of running boots, someone who heard the shot coming to check on him. Shame to lose McMullen's authority, but the kid would get suspicious if the scientist was up and around after watching him shoot himself. So, Marine or morgue attendant, which to wear next?

    "Director!" And he had his answer.

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