The Mutant Apocalypse of Shady Side, Part 9
Location: Shady Side, Maryland
Timeline: The Year of the Apocalypse - 22 January 2012
Snow blanketed the land. It clutched many secrets in its icy embrace, but some secrets were too big to hide. They burst forth from a steaming wound in the earth screaming in pain, terror, and madness, eager to tell the world what the darkness had been doing to them.
The snow did not give up its secrets easily. It reached greedily to take them back. It rose thickly underfoot to make every step to freedom cost too much. Some secrets yielded quickly but others burned too bright, too hot, to let the snow so easily drag them down. These secrets reached nearly to the edge of the forest and required more … direct action to recapture.
Three squads of heavily armed gunmen pursued their precious secrets. They wore strange white armor and covered their faces with gas masks as they trudged through the snow in hot pursuit of their precious secrets.
“He’s bouncing our bullets, I tell you!” One gunman barked breathlessly over a private radio channel. “There’s no way I could be missing him this much!”
“Impossible,” another voice, growling, angry, female snapped back. “He only controls metal, you moron. It’s why we’re using plastic armor and weapons!”
“Cut the chatter!” Squad Leader drew the large team to a halt with a raised fist. The tracks scattered through the snow around a large oak tree and from there off in crazy zigzags in several directions.
“The rats scattered.” Leader huffed in frustration and turned to a gunman now waving a device over the tracks. “The big rat runs hot. Thermal, tell me you get a reading?”
“The snow is wiping thermal tracking, boss. I can’t get a reading on L-422.”
“Shit,” Leader spat under his breath. “The little bastard is making us earn our bonus. All right: Ralston, take your team and track the trail on the left. Marchill, take your team right. The rest of you, fall in behind me. Call for backup as soon as you make contact. Do not engage until backup arrives! Let’s roll out!”
“Somebody watches too much ‘Transformers’ and thinks he is Optimus Prime.” One gunman muttered and chuckles broke out.
“Piss me off and see how fast I go ‘Megatron’ on your sorry ass, Simpson. Now, MOVE!”
After the passing of what seemed to be, and she hoped to be, the last person, Susan started towards the direction the voice felt it was coming from. Her right hand gripped the handle of the stunning pistol she held. The barrel was pointed to the ground. Her left hand was pulling branches back, so she could pass through. The wooded area reminded her of parts of the Smoky mountains the family used to visit, before Aiden got his wings. Or the parts of the Bayou that had trees. The trees were a nice change from the city. The smell of pine was almost inviting.
She had to change how she walked. No stomping about. Instead it was light, careful steps. Eyes flitting about, checking out her surroundings as she went. Ears open and body at the ready. Each step was careful and measured. Each thing she did, was to keep her safe and get her to that goal. That mystery voice in her mind.
Behind her, the sounds of battle still were heard. And the unmistakable sounds of a dragon. People’s screams could be heard, but Susan did as she was trained. She heard the sounds, but it wasn’t going to be her focus. She had to remain alert. She had to be ready for anything.
Every few feet, she could see the backsides of some of the bigger trees. Cracks ran up the sides, facing away from where Aiden had been attacked. Smaller trees were snapped in half. The signs of foot travel near other trees seemed to diminish. The path she walked seemed well worn.
She had lost track of how long she had walked this path, even with a small timepeace in her HUD. Her eyes only barely looked to the map, to see where she was, in comparison to the others and the transport.
She stepped past a tree and her instinct made her step back in a hurry and duck behind a tree. Ahead of her was a small clearing, about ten feet by ten feet. Susan started to debate if she should get help when she heard several things. First was the voice in her head.
The second was the sound of children crying. Young children. Maybe a couple of them. But what worried her was the sounds of men and women. Even at a distance, the sound of anger travels. She could hear the shouts and the threats, even if she could not hear what the exact words were.
Ahead, the snow sought relentlessly to take back what belonged hidden from view. It dragged at the feet of a small group of survivors that sought escape from cruel captivity. It weighed them down with exhaustion with every step they took. It whispered treacherous thoughts in their heads about warm beds and safety from a hostile world. It wore at spirits already worn down by medical tests. It dragged relentlessly at bodies driven to the point of collapse by chemicals and obstacle courses.
The survivors wore peculiar white bodysuits fitted with electrodes and I.V. lines, some of which were too deeply embedded in their bodies to easily remove. They numbered only four and looked like they came from all walks of life. One was a hulking youth with sickly green skin, wild green eyes, and a mop of shaggy black hair. He cleared the way for an elderly woman with rich blue skin, blood red eyes, and long red hair streaked with gray. Beside her walked the most human appearing of the lot; a fit, handsome youth with short blond hair and a face full of grim determination. He carried a sickly little boy of no more than ten years with short black hair and glasses perched on the tip of his button nose. The survivors shivered with cold, their breath fogged in the air with desperate, fearful breaths, and yet they pushed through deep snow with fierce determination.
“I can feel her!” The sickly little boy gasped with astonishment. “She’s coming! She can help, I know she can!”
“Why would anyone help us, Natey? We’re … freaks!” The old woman fretted. “She might turn us in or worse, attack us!”
“Not everybody is like NEXUS, Irene.” The little boy, Natey, assured. “Some people don’t care what we look like. All that matters is that we’re good people.”
“This snow is heavy!” The hulking youth complained, revealing a much younger voice fraught with frustration and weariness.
“Oh, please, James, I don’t think there is another way I can make it through this snow unless you carried me.” Irene huddled against his back. Would he abandon them–abandon her–like everyone else abandoned them? She need not have worried because James pushed on harder, his heart as big as his body.
“Don’t worry, Mrs. Alderman, I won’t let them get you!”
“You’re a sweet boy, James.” She smiled but kept looking back over her shoulder.
“We’re moving too slowly. We’re leaving an obvious trail. Security will be here soon.” The handsome youth warned his compatriots with a grim voice.
“She’ll help us, I promise! She’s telepathic, like me. I can tell she’s a good person.” Natey spoke with anxious hope in his voice.
“She’d better get here soon, I can’t feel my toes!” James grumbled.
Townsend Tower, Atlanta
The cameras in the containment cell started to flicker. This wasn’t unexpected, it was hard to find devices capable of withstanding temperatures of extreme, low or high. Their containment team members who were capable of sensing the magics would be able to report on what was happening.
The first blast of frost struck the side of the chamber as it erupted from the still shifting dragons mouth. She was already almost the size of Wyrmwood, but was far bulkier, fitting the stereotype of a European dragon, rather than an Asian one.
The room was large, but already dust, and bits of stone were being broken off from her form moving around, revealing the metal cage underneath. The ‘true’ barrier between her and the outside wall.
With a horrific roar, the transformation was complete, and Frostwyng dragged a claw across the stonework near the only entrance, peeling the runed stones from the wall and sending them clattering into the gathering mist. The protective magics, mostly hidden behind the stone, were now fully visible. A network of runes, glyphs and carvings on the metal alloy that sat around the entire structure, shifting and twirling.
She unleashed a full blast of ice into the stone gap, following up with a colossal punch from a clenched claw. The wall hummed as it took the energy, causing the stone around the rest of the room to crack. Chunks fell from the ceiling, revealing more of the metal. The chunks hit what little furnishing had not already been smashed, and the furniture, now super cold, shattered into pieces.
At his desk, the lead technician gulped, spotting his new cup of coffee ripple slightly. The team shared a worried look. Whatever link the two dragons had, they had to hope fixing the problem with Wyrmwood would stop Frostwyng.
The dragon stopped, her legs drawing underneath, and her tail wrapping around her body. Bringing her neck in, the mist from the ground started to seep up and cover her body, obscuring her from the camera.
The screen flickered in the control room.
“What is she doing?” One of the technicians asked, noting that the temperature was starting to plummet faster again. They were already in the process of moving in industrial size heaters to the surroundings of the cell to try and combat the cold, which was starting to affect the response team, even through the layers of defense.
The cameras started to fail, as one by one, they were pushed past their temperature limit, save for a single, high speed camera, sat in one corner.
“The inside of that room is at nearly -200 Fahrenheit.” The lead tech looked at the side of the control room that were handling the Shady Side operation. “Where do we stand with Wyrmwood at the moment?”
“No change, she’s still rampaging. The head of the Watch just arrived, but we’re getting conflicting reports on exactly what’s going on.” Came the reply. “It’s chaotic down there, we have operatives all over the place.”
OG piped up. “Lorde won’t want to see Syn under Seth’s control anymore than we do. He’ll be working to free her, at least, for now.”
“Meanwhile, we’re down to -250 Fahrenheit. Prepare the emergency transport team. Syn won’t be happy that she’s not contained but it’s better than the potential alternative.”
AKA - "Frostwyng"
Senior/Counselor Townsend Academy
AKA - "Dreamweaver"
Penned by - Chance Pierce