Ark 3 is a sprawling facility, only a very little of which can be seen above the surface of Lake Michigan and from there it doesn’t look like much. It’s just a wide octagonal pad about fifty meters across with one of those clever concealed elevators that takes up the central third of the island. From there it’s a long descent to the main facility which is bult both along and into the bottom of the lake itself.
The construction is as the rest of the arks are, a strange metallic compound thus far unidentifiable to science comprises the bulk of the structure. The architectural motiefs on the interior are oddly archaic, harkening back here and there to the Queen Anne style that dominated the latter half of the Victorian period. The tech within though is top notch. Banks and banks of computers, DNA storage and automated cloning facilities. Like all other arks the original creators and purpose is a mystery. Only it’s present function is important to its current occupants.
Jericho Trent does not often make it out here. He has no reason and the Arks are all highly secured both by government and corporate forces. He had been asked out though, along with Anastasia Rasputina and Kaylee Simmons for a very specific occasion. One that requires muscle, biochemistry and a knowledge of stepping disks.
A rare Rasputina clone is scheduled to be woken up. And more than most other clone awakenings… Rasputinas are unpredictable… and dangerous.
This one appears to be in her early 20’s. Her blonde hair is cut with bobbed bangs, but otherwise hangs long down her back. Her growth pod is presently on one of the thawing tables, just finishing up the pre-awakening routines. Trent is standing not far by in his usual faded tee and jeans, gun on his hip, hands in his pockets. If he seems a bit disoncerted by being here… he is.
Despite having been awakened several months ago, Kaylee Simmons hasn’t been to the Ark. She’s read about it, of course, and studied what she can on it, but the experience of being there, is something else.
It’s a slightly wide eyed purple haired biochem that’s standing not far from Jericho, observing the pod and it’s inhabitant, checking the routines and the pod readings as she does. “She looks stable and her vitals look good.” She’s saying to one of the other staff there. She doesn’t ask who’s waking this clone or for what reason, she probably wouldn’t be told anyway.
With any luck, there’s nothing about this clone that will set Kaylee’s … corrupted memory unit off. Jericho really doesn’t need to deal with a glitching LMD as well as the Clone if things go wrong.
“Not long now…” she glances to the others who were summoned with her.
Even if Anastasia hadn’t had a recent run-in with a fellow clone that went… poorly, she wouldn’t be thrilled at being here. But the institute asked and if by doing so she helps keep another from falling into Limbo, well, how could she say no? Besides, she can rationalize it away as pre-emptively avoiding a potential rival. She’s not the only holder of the Darkchilde’s legacy. Or a piece of it, anyhow.
The blonde sorceress is dressed in black leather, from neck to fingertips to toes. Winter is being stubborn in Chicago and while the temperature is regulated down here, the weather hasn’t warmed up for her to opt for a lighter wardrobe. Knee-high boots, gloves, a fitted top with a flared, almost skirt-like tail and pants. All that black is eerily at odds with the golden hair, pale skin and icy gaze.
While the others stand and wait, she paces at the edge of things. Watching. Waiting. Arms crossed before her as she does so, her gaze stays on the figure behind the frosted glass.
Kaylee may have noticed the silvery band around Jericho’s arm. It’s made of a similar metal to the cuff that Anastasia wears and critically… it’s moving. The movement is covered by the long sleeves of the tee he’s wearing and it’s subtle but she may well have noticed it. It seems to get a bit worse when Nastya paces.
“What happens when one of these wakes up?” The technician not far from Kaylee asks.
“Oftentimes… nothing.” Jericho says. “Sometimes… well. Sometimes you need security.” Or worse. Sometimes it goes well, as evidenced by Anastasia’s presence.
The machine starts to beep in a different pattern and hiss as the awakening protocol starts. It’s short, it only takes a minute or two, but this is the part of the process that requires Kaylee’s attention the most. Already the clone’s vitals are starting to fluctuate. These pods are old enough that sometimes direct adjustments have to be made to ensure everything stays within optimal parameters and this particular one is behaving like something is interfering with its electronics.
“Uh, Doctor? There’s erratic brain activity.”
Anastasia can feel something as the clone starts to awaken. A spike of power. Something almost electric in the air… and perhaps the faintest hint of a smell. Brimstone perhaps?
Has Kaylee noticed the silver band? Hard to say. If she has, she hasn’t shown it. Maybe the excitment of being here, in the Ark, has superceded that curiosity or maybe she doesn’t feel it’s her place to comment on his jewellery. She, of course, is wearing that silver band around the back of her neck. She doesn’t seem to go anywhere without it these days – not that she expects to use it here, it’s a habit and one that might save her one day.
As the next part of the process begins, the biochem forgets the other two and focusses, reading the results that are displayed and tweaking settings. “She’s within normal ranges, but …” she frowns in concentration as she adjusts the setting of the pod “… only just. I … can’t get the settings to stabilise. Something’s interfering with them.”
The next comment has the biochem hissing herself “Her powers activating …” just as there’s a mention of erratic brain activity and the hair on Kaylee’s arm stands on end. “What’s that sme—” She doesn’t finish the question but tenses instead. “I recognise that … ” The words are slightly strangled. It certainly does remind her of something.
The technician gets a cutting look from Anastasia at the ‘one of these’. The more ‘common’ clones get that a lot more than she does, as though they’re a specific model of car and not, well, people.
Anastasia was also pulled out of the Framework a lot earlier than this. Earlier than her powers should have manifested. But this clone? It’s not really a surprise that there’s that… *tightness* in the air. She stops her pacing, turning to face the pod. She lifts her arms, hands open with fingers spread, ‘reaching’ to try to make sure that any stepping disks in the area stay closed.
Something’s trying to push through. Something from the //other// side. It’s not got the force that another like her would have, someone else with command over the disks. No, this is someone or something trying to coax or pry it open. A learned and practiced technique and not a birthright. And it’s coming from the Limbo side.
Jericho hasn’t noticed the smell, but he can feel something of the power being used. Faintly. Like… signals from his traces.
The hacker brings his hands out of his pockets and rests one of them on the weapon at his left hip. He doesn’t otherwise move or say anything though. He just steps a bit closer to where the clone is, opposite side of the pod from Kaylee.
The pod hisses open as the awakening sequence ends. Condensation drifts up from the cold air. The young woman inside breathes deep and her eyes snap open, pure white. Anastasia can feel a sudden and much more powerful pull on the disks coming from //this// side.
“Doctor Simmons her vitals!” They’re still going a bit haywire. Pulse is all over the place, blood pressure is spiking. She needs something to regulate her heart and pronto.
The smell. Kaylee blinks trying to push through the haze that’s forming. The fear and the worry that’s starting to surface. “Can anyone else smell that?” she mutters, the snap from the other doctor causing her to start.
“Uh, yes… Sorry.” Oh so British as her hands move over the console in front of her, administering a small amount of a drug cocktail to try and address that.
It might work, but it might not.
Across her skin as the other type of power starts to build, strange swirling, crawling script appears briefly. So quickly that to see it, someone would have to be looking directly at Kaylee and in the current situation, that’s hardly likely.
There are those in Limbo that can navigate it’s naturally occuring Stepping Disks, and some know the spells to force what Anastasia can do naturally. That someone is trying to do so here? Now? That’s far too much of a coincidence. But Anastasia can’t take the time to ask questions about who might have known this was going to happen now. Not when the clone is waking, not just to consciousness but to her power.
“She’s trying to open a portal!” The blonde calls out in warning.
Were it just the other Magik clone, Anastasia could probably keep it closed. But with someone trying to open one from the *other* side as well? The sorceress snarls in annoyance. She’s rather a poor looser.
The other Magik clone’s heart rate stablizes as Kaylee injects her, but that gets a pretty nasty snarl of her own. She reaches up to grab Kaylee by the lab coat at which point Jericho intervenes and grabs the blonde by the shoulder.
“Hey! You need to stop, we’re trying to help you!” Less forceful than he could be but he doesn’t want to immediately resort to trying to render her unconscious… even if that is kind of what he’s here for.
That… may have been the wrong move though. The hand – Jericho’s left hand – gets a sudden white eyed glance and the recently woken clone grabs the hacker’s wrist clamping her fingers right over his silvery band.
Jericho screams in shock and sudden pain, which is all the more surprising coming from someone used to shock and sudden pain.
From Anastasia’s point of view the good news may well that the force trying to open the stepping disk is once again coming from only one side. The bad news is they already have the disk opened a little bit… and now Jericho seems completely incapacitated.
Kaylee breathes a small sigh of relief as the waking blondes vitals seem to settle. She’s still disconcerted by the smell though and she’s starting to feel panic. She just doesn’t why.
That panic spikes as her coat is caught, causing her to yelp in surprise and reach for her ICER. She fumbles it a bit but manages to draw it, falling back as Jericho disengages her.
Now there’s Kaylee, with her ICER raised and staring around wild eyed – possibly seeing things that no one else does.
The disk hangs in the air, a window and not yet a door but through it a red, clawed arm reaches through.
Anastasia hisses a curse in Russian, which someone might be forgiven for thinking it’s demonic. If she can’t keep the disk from opening, she’ll try to change where it connects to on the Limbo side.
Just as she’s doing that, the clone grabs Jericho’s wrist and she cries out in eerie synchronization with him as the silvery metal cuff on her own wrist twists and writhes, cutting into her flesh as it crawls up towards her elbow and down towards her fingertips.
If Kaylee weren’t seeing demons from her own past she might notice that Jericho is bleeding down his hand, and it’s drip dripping onto the floor. His traces light up brilliant red and the hum from them is audible throughout the room. Several of the techs thinking perhaps understandably that he’s about to explode dive for cover. That Kaylee has a weapon pulled doesn’t help that.
The hacker jerks back and finally pulls the blonde clone off the bio-bed. She hits the ground with a thump and her grip on the hacker’s cuff falters. Unfortunately for Anastasia and Kaylee, though, the lapse in the former’s concentration allows that disk to push open a bit wider. A little more and whatever is on the other side can come through. Already, in addition to that red arm, Nastya and Kaylee can see half of a wing and the tips of horns that are surely attached to a head coming though. This may possibly trigger the biochemist even more.
Jericho… can’t see that. He’s busy trying to reclaim his arm from a suddenly violently – almost ferally – aggressive Magik clone. It’s not clear who is winning that contest but the grunts of pain from him and the angry snarls from her make it sound like it’s a close one.
The poor techs are right to be worried. It’s not often one of their own pulls a weapon during these wakings. Kaylee’s eyes finally focus on the slash that’s appearing and she cries out in terror. “The Hordes are coming!”
She’s said that before, the last time she saw a disk open – in the facility where they rescued Nastya.
The horns and the wings, certainly don’t help and the biochem springs, putting herself between Jericho and the clone, and that …thing.
“Don’t worry, Hal.” She says to Jericho, in that ‘stiff upper lip’ way the british have “There’ll get the portal open in a moment and we’ll get you out of here …” The ICER fires – once, twice. Right at that thing that’s coming through.
As Anastasia’s hold on the disk slips and it yawns ever wider, the blonde snarls in annoyance. She hears Kaylee call out this time, but the biochem might be too lost in her own visions to catch Anastasia’s response. “Horde? I can do horde.”
One hand stays outstretched towards the slowly widening portal. The other, wreathed fingertip-to-elbow in ribbons of silver and blood that make her hand seem gaunt and claw-tipped gestures to the side and another portal slams open, disgorging another demon.
Easily seven feet tall, green-skinned but complete with wings, horns and tail it looks around rather.. confused. There’s another demon coming out of a stepping disk, but those are usually controlled by Anastasia. Thus the logical ‘bad guy’ would be the one shooting it, right? Wings snap wide as it dives for the biochem.
There’s a heavy thump at the other end of the biotable and Jericho re-emerges. His shirt is slightly torn and he’s bleeding from his left arm and face. More than that, glowing purple sigils of very much the sort that Anastasia might find in some of her more prized books are showing through the shirt running up his arm to the bicep where they go back to tech and the more traditional bright blood red.
“What the h-” The hacker claws for a weapon, not at all sure what’s going on here. Kaylee may well shoot at the demon but the hacker holds his fire partly because he trusts Anastasia and partly because he’s not sure he could get the shot off without endangering Kaylee.
“Which one do I shoot?” He might get two answers to that. The demon on the other side of the portal Nastya is trying to close finally forces his head and shoulders through and leers at the sorceress.
Before the leer vanishes when it sees the demon, the hacker, and the scientist with a gun. This is not at all what it was expecting.
“Stay down, Hal. You’re injured….” Kaylee actually bats at Jericho as he stands. “… we’ll be out of here in a moment. How long, Jefferies?” Whatever it is that Kaylee is experiencing it’s not what the other two are.
Her dark eyes slide to the blonde sorceress who just spoke and has that construct growing on her arm, for a moment the ICER turns in her direction until the green skinned demon starts it’s dive. With inhuman speed, the gun turns in the demons direction and two darts fly out at it. Then it trains again on the blonde with the arm band and Kaylee starts to squeeze the trigger.
The ICER darts hit the demon but as it’s mid-leap it still crashes into Kaylee even as she’s squeezing the trigger to shoot Anastasia. One clawed hand reaches for the LMD’s throat as the other pulls back to slash at her even with the dendrotoxin darts sticking out of it.
Another demon emerges from Anastasia’s portal, this one oranged skinned with far too many eyes. They may only be able to come through one at a time, but Anastasia’s got more of them than there are bullets in the room.
“Get her to stop opening the disk!” Anastasia yells at Jericho instead of answering. She’d tell her demon to get off of Kaylee, but the woman was going to shoot her! Instead she looks at the red-skinned demon and points at it with that clawed, bloody hand and hisses a demand. “Kneel.”
“Hang on!” Jericho calls back. For a harrowing fifteen or so seconds it doesn’t seem like anything he’s doing as he kneels down to where the other blonde is slumped out of sight is particularly working. And then the pressure on the disk just stops which does coincide the hacker putting the woman’s limp form back on the bio-bed.
With no more pressure on the portal the other demon is stuck and he knows it… so big red and scaley does the only thing he can do. He kneels.
He’s still, it should be noted, just about as tall as Nastya when he does.
“Kaylee! Hey! I’m not Hal! Snap out of it!” The hacker points his weapon at the demon going for Kaylee and makes sure it sees it. He’s got enough of a sense of how things work to not demand that it do or not do something. Not with Anastasia in the room. But if the demon decides to climb off Kaylee of it’s own accord because it doesn’t want to get coilgunned… well, no harm no foul, yes?
Hopefully Kaylee comes to… though as things stand she might just go right back again with now THREE demons in the room and counting.
“Oooph…” Kaylee grunts as the demon hits her – she hadn’t even considered moving. Hey, she’s a biochem, not a soldier. Born backwards, blood wells at her throat where the claws dig in, her lab coat and clothes are shredded as claws cruelly slash at her arm.
She’s bleeding. A lot.
It doesn’t stop her though and the remaining darts are discharged in the creatures chest – and the LMD shoves against it, trying to dislodge it. She’s … so very, very, strong.
“Get the portal open. I’ll hold them and come through last …” she cries out. Who’s she talking to or what she’s talking about – is anyones guess.
Nope, she’s not back yet. Maybe when this demon //gets off her//.
A //third// demon comes through Anastasia’s portal, which makes four in the room now and things are getting kinda tight. None of these are the little sorts of demons. There’s the feeling that the demons are just going to keep coming through that portal as long as it stays open. Luckily, once the pressure from the Magik clone to open the first disk stops Anastasia has a good chance to force it back closed, at which point she’ll close her own portal.
Anastasia’s voice cracks like a whip, this time in demonic and the green demon attacking Kaylee freezes. Just in time to get a chest full of more ICER rounds. While the first two hadn’t had an effect yet, the huge thing starts to go limp. Proving that Lady Luck is not partial to demons, the demon falls unconscious as Kaylee shoves, sending the green monster flying across the room.
So the count is one unconscious demon lump, one kneeling demon, and two other demons looking very confused. The orange one lifts a questioning claw. “Boss? Who do we get ta eat?”
Maybe they get to eat the new guy. It’s a hell of an initiation ritual, if one will pardon the expression. Jericho holsters his weapon quickly so he can grab Kaylee and keep her from doing anything unfortunate.
“Simmons. Hey! Simmons! Back here before I have to hard reset you. I choked the clone out. She’ll need medical attention.”
While he’s trying to bring the LMD back to reality he glances over at Anastasia in a somewhat concerned sort of way. It’s not the dmeons though those are to be sure intimidating. It’s the fact that he’s sure he heard her scream at the same time he did. His instinct is to ask if she’s okay but with her demons in the room he doesn’t figure he’d get anything but a flat look.
“Crap… I need… a bandage.” It’s hard to tell how bad he’s cut but he’s bleeding enough that he probably shouldn’t continue to let himself do that lest he get light headed.
Soon as things are under control he’ll go get that seen to. Anastasia too if she doesn’t just vanish. Kaylee… well… she’ll be okay despite the fact that she looks the worst of the three. Her synthskin is going to need some patching though.
As the green skinned demon flies backwards, Kaylee rolls to her feet, gun held out but Jericho grabs and … shakes her.
“Je Jericho?” shaking her head, looking at the gun in her hand, when she sees the other demons she starts but clearly, she’s seen things like that before.
Even though Kaylee had told Aleksie she had no idea what he was talking about. She hadn’t been lying – at the time.
“What hap— The clone?” She shakes him off and moves shakily towards the bed. “Who else is hurt? I’ll tend you all …” She winces as she moves, favouring her shredded arm and gingerly touching her throat as her LMD programming reminds her //again// she’s //just a human//.
“Anastasia, are you alright?” Hey! Kaylee doesn’t know demon protocol. “And Jericho. It’s Kaylee.” Not Simmons.
Well. Today has been a cluster. Anastasia looks around as things get… somewhat under control. Her gaze centers on one of the techs, and then to make sure he can’t pretend he didn’t know she’s talking to him, she points at him with her left arm. The one that currently looks like she’s had a demon’s hand and forearm replace her own. “Find me some ice cream. Now.” Then she walks over towards the bio bed where Jericho and Kaylee are. As she passes by the red-skinned demon she points at him. “Don’t move.”
Anastasia doesn’t answer Kaylee’s question, even if she’s leaving a bloody trail behind her from where the metal’s cut into her arm. “Can we call a do-over on this whole thing?” She asks dryly. “And if not, I think I need a drink. Or ten. Before I feed our homunculus to my demons for trying to //shoot// me.”
“I think we’re going to have to…” Because Jericho didn’t put her out with drugs. He put her out in a more old fashioned and traditional way. And they’re still going to have to wake her up. This time the hacker’s not going to be standing quite so far away when they do.
The one tech blinks and then hurries off to go find ice cream. Anything to get away from those things that came through the portals. Jericho points to the other one.
“You. Keep her sedated. We’re going to get… seen to.” And maybe get a drink. Or ten.
Today’s been a bit of a cluster, but they didn’t loose the other clone and that makes it at least a little okay in Jericho’s book.
“Someone find me a vodka.” The hacker grumbles to no one in particular as Kaylee starts the process of ‘tending’ he and Nastya.
As the cleanup starts the hacker sings quietly in Russian, mostly to himself. ‘The night has come, and she has brought darkness with her. Mother ahs gone and closed all the shutters. Sleep, sleep. Now fall asleep…’
Waking a Rasputin Clone is always a dicey situation and requires the assistance of three people. What could possibly go wrong? Just about ... everything.
April 18, 2051
Ark 3 - Michigan Lake, Chicago