Differences

This shows you the differences between two versions of the page.

soh9 [2011/07/09 01:40] (current)
doan created
Line 1: Line 1:
 +//It all made sense now.
 +//
 +Garian trudged on through the sewers. Balancing was difficult because of the lack of a walkway and the strong currents. Apart from the usual unpleasantness associated with sewage, there were objects that had been dumped in the sewer that didn't bear thinking about. Throughout the prison's history and before it became a prison, when it was the ancestral home of the Warden's family, there had been dark secrets to hide. Kurtliegen had more skeletons in his cupboard than most noble families because he had a bigger, purpose-built cupboard to fit them all in. Moving slowly and treading carefully, he found he could avoid any nasty falls. Usually he was aided by his uncanny prior knowledge, a kind of advanced deja vu, but he knew instantly that he had never been here before.
 +
 +He had always expected that the stage led to the sewers. After all, he already knew there was a secret door in the sewer complex that led nowhere except a false floor that dumped you straight into the sewage. If he could get either of them to work properly, it would make sense for them to connect in some way. He was still disappointed that his success in walking through the stage hadn't led to some apocalyptic revelation followed immediately by instantaneous transportation to Nirvana but, hey, there was still time. Maybe paradise was behind the next door.
 +
 +That was when he saw the zombie.
 +---------------------------
 +Drawing his sword, he stepped back onto the walkway he had been about to leap off, hoping to land on a balcony on the other side. He wasn't about to fight anything on unstable territory, where he would have two enemies – the terrain and the creature in front of him. Though he had only ever met the Undead child once, he faintly remembered Gallon. It had mostly been the ghoulish terror of having to fight a child, after almost killing an innocent boy once in a drunken rage, and the thought of a child taking the form of the living dead. However, it had also been the ferocity of the battle. Small as he was, the creature known as Gallon was fast and struck with an unnatural strength, using his bare hands or anything he could pick up and hit Garian with.
 +
 +He was surprised when the child merely raised his arms and shook his head, his feral red eyes wide.  Garian had believed that zombies were practically mindless, incapable of not attacking the living. Slowly, returning his sword to his belt but not letting go of the hilt, he walked towards Gallon. The child was beckoning to him. From his gestures, it seemed vitally urgent that the bounty hunter follow him. He did so. Aware as he was that he could easily get lost in these unknown areas of the sewers, or any number of 'accidental' slips and falls happen to him, it was still something new occurring around him. In this maddening closed loop, it would be worse than suicide to ignore it.
 +
 +The route that Gallon took was brutal. The child made no allowances for Garian's weaknesses in being larger, weighed down by body armour and inconveniently mortal. If he concentrated on keeping Gallon in sight so he didn't lose his way, he almost fell off a platform. If he concentrated on keeping his balance, he lost sight of Gallon. After half an hour of following winding tunnels, often  having to swing along the pipes leading from the ceiling when there was no floor at all, he was covered in stinking sewage and his heart was racing from countless near-misses. He was genuinely sorry he had left Jack behind. He was also convinced that Gallon really was trying to kill him in some kind of morbid game invented by a child bored of waiting to be let into Hell.
 +
 +Then the child pointed downwards, into a service hatch, before jumping into it. Garian followed him. He fell through pitch darkness. When he emerged into the dim gloom on the other side, his feet hit solid stone. It no longer stank of human waste but the smell of decay, stale air and things long dead wasn't that much more pleasant. Gallon stood and stared at him impatiently. Garian shook himself off, then allowed the zombie to lead him through the ancient ruins. Every now and then, Gallon stopped and peered inside the huge burial urns, as if checking to see if something was in there. It was a strange gesture that Garian couldn't see the motive behind. The ruins were trapped to prevent anyone from looting the sarcophagi, as well as the floor decaying in some places, so he soon found that his attention went back to the familiar chore of not falling to his death.
 +
 +They reached a room that was empty apart from four obelisks. Garian vaguely remembered it as having a secret door or chamber or something. Sure enough, when Gallon pushed one of the obelisks off its stand, there was a rumbling sound and a panel moved on the far wall, revealing a cupboard-sized secret compartment...
 +
 +Which the Warden appeared to be using as an office.
 +
 +-----------------------------------
 +
 +“How the hell did you fit a desk in there?” Garian demanded, “How the hell did you fit YOURSELF in there?”
 +
 +“Long years of practice,” said the Warden, “Thank you, Gallon, you performed your task commendably.”
 +
 +The Warden threw a biscuit at the zombie and he caught it in mid-air before scuttling behind one of the obelisks with his prize.
 +
 +“I'm starting to see the merits of having zombie staff,” commented the Warden, appraising Garian with a steely glare, “First Duran, then Lance, and now Gallon. Maybe if I made you into a zombie, you'd actually do something useful for a change instead of wrecking my Island?”
 +
 +“Talk like that about Lance, and you'll be the only one dying around here.” warned Garian. He tried to ignore the pain that flashed through his mind as he remembered seeing Lance, his closest companion in the Agency, on the Island for the first time. Lance's death had been his fault the first time. When he discovered what had happened to the man, he had been forced to kill him again. This wasn't the time to try and come to terms with past traumas. He couldn't be seen to show weakness in front of the most dangerous maniac in the whole prison.
 +
 +“Oh, you needn't worry. I'm not so interested in all those old... distractions of mine any more. I have a new hobby. Its called 'doing my job'.”
 +
 +“Look, what the hell do you want with me?” demanded Garian.
 +
 +“I've got a request for you.”
 +
 +“The stupid Diary thing's in your house where you left it, and no, I'm not killing anyone for you, do it yourself. You seem to enjoy it.”
 +
 +“Oh, but I can't. Some idiot used up all the liquid nitrogen,” he smiled when he saw Garian's pained expression. The liquid nitrogen, originally for use in the process of execution by Carbon Freeze, had been the only thing that would damage Bilan while he was possessing Lance, but the attempt had killed the man and left Bilan alive. Garian resisted the urge to kill the Warden only because none of it had actually been his fault for once,  “I only want you to fetch something for me. Something stolen from me. It isn't the Diary. Its something far more important for both our interests.”
 +
 +“Tell me,” ordered Garian, pointing his sword at him. The Warden didn't bother looking at him. He appeared to be trying to make his accounts add up. The effect was disturbing. He had only associated the man with attempts to create monsters by throwing people into vats of radioactive goo. The thought of Kurtliegen not being completely insane, but lucid enough to do things like accounting, was the kind of worry that kept him awake at night.
 +
 +“The three items you're looking for are a sample of Bilanium, a key-card to operate a mechanical tow bridge and a...” Kurtliegen put his pen down and started chewing the edges of the black fingerless glove of his one working hand, a nervous habit of his, “I really can't describe it. Its a... I've heard it called a 'Nothing'.”
 +
 +“A Nothing.” repeated Garian, glad to see him return to his usual deranged self.
 +
 +“No, seriously. What you have to understand is that this item is... not something that should exist. Not in this version of the Universe. Its presence causes... issues... with reality. Even in this neat little pocket reality of ours. In fact, it is only because we are on Jailer's Island that we can interact with it at all.”
 +
 +Is there anything not messed up about this island? “So, this thing... how do I know when I find it if you can't even describe it?”
 +
 +“Oh, its quite noticeable once you see what it does to someone in possession of it for too long,” said Kurtliegen, “The person carrying it right now, for instance, has almost entirely become of the same essence as it, and has stopped being of this reality. The very fact of his existence here is breaking up. He walks through walls, falls through the floor, he looks as though he is being shown on a television with a bad reception. Most disconcerting to look at.”
 +
 +“And you want ME to pick it up for you?”
 +
 +“Its an incentive not to run off with it,” he said, “After all, it was you who stole it the first time.”
 +
 +“The thief's another GARIAN?”
 +
 +“Indeed. I thought that idea might catch your interest. And you'll be even more interested when I tell you that the items were stolen from a storage crate behind the stage of Ponno's Jalapeno Café.”
 +
 +“Oh, yes, I know about the stage,” said the Wardento the open-mouthed Garian, “I know about the loop you're stuck in and all your futile attempts to find a way out of it. I know more than you, in fact. Let me show you something.”
 +---------------------------------
 +He pressed a button on the underside of his desk and the wall began rumbling again. Before Garian's eyes, the entire chamber began to slide downwards. Seconds later, it rose up again, empty of Warden and desk. Garian stepped inside. The chamber began its descent on its own, or possibly at the command of the Warden waiting below. At the bottom of the shaft, the chamber revealed itself to be a moving platform, exactly the right size to fit into the shaft so it looked like the floor of a room. He had seen the Warden move around on hidden moving platform systems before but he had no idea they extended further than the area between the mine and the Carbon Room.
 +
 +As the platform slid silently into the next room, he discovered its true expanse. It was a sort of transport depot, where all the platforms returned. Their destinations were clearly marked above the tunnels they emerged from, and one wall also showed a map of the entire network, like a rail map. Beside the notices were small displays for security cameras.
 +
 +“That's right, everywhere on this Island is connected to everywhere else,” said the Warden, stood beside him on another platform, his arm folded, “And I have cameras everywhere. Nothing escapes my notice.”
 +
 +“There's more,” said Garian quietly, “There has to be. You... you're aware!”
 +
 +“Of the true passage of time? Yes. I've been able to memorise it all,” he said, shaking his head, “So much of it involves my death... the ruin of my dreams...”
 +
 +“That's because all your goals are either completely unreachable or so twisted that nobody wants you to achieve them!”
 +
 +“Not all of them, Garian,” he said, “There's always been part of me that just wants to be the Warden. And I am... I make a good prison Warden. If I put my mind to it. I've been running this godforsaken prison for most of my life and it hasn't fallen completely apart yet. Well, only sometimes but its always there again the next morning.”
 +
 +Garian realised what he was talking about and felt a little guilty about leaving the Island and everyone on it to their fate.// So many people die, whatever I do...//
 +
 +“If those items aren't returned... if he is completely consumed by them... that might not happen,” warned Kurtliegen, “Those items aren't part of the main flow, yet they're here, inside it. They could be enough to tear the place completely apart. He thinks that the chaos he's created is a way out, a True Ending, but it isn't. He's just breaking things.”
 +
 +“What do you know about the True Ending?”
 +
 +“Only that everyone on the Island is looking for it,” said Kurtliegen, drumming his fingers against the wall, “And nobody's giving a damn what its doing to this Island. I suppose that's my job now. But you know what? I'm starting to really enjoy it.”
 +
 +He stretched both arms out, almost decapitating Garian with the mechanical claw that he had in place of his right arm.
 +
 +“Its good to find out what it is you're supposed to be doing. You should give it a try some day. It might do you good,” said the Warden.
 +
 +“Don't tell me how to my job!” complained Garian.
 +
 +“Well, go and do it then. You're a Bounty Hunter, aren't you? Go and hunt.”
 +
 +“I don't suppose you have any idea where this other Garian is, do you?” he said, “Is he even still in this Parallel?”
 +
 +“Oh, he's still here all right,” said Kurtliegen, “He can't leave.”
 +
 +“Why not?”
 +
 +“Because he can't die.”
 
soh9.txt · Last modified: 2011/07/09 01:40 by doan
 
Recent changes RSS feed Creative Commons License Donate Powered by PHP Valid XHTML 1.0 Valid CSS Driven by DokuWiki