Saturday, July 9, 2011

Power Starved pt 2

Power Starved

A collaborative effort from the members of the Awesome Hangar forums.
Chapters by Animae, Ryurei, Kasaii, and Kaleesh (aka Felliniesque)

Power Starved.
The time is 2029, 9 years ago the world had extinguished all methods of fuel, draining all sources of oil, natural gas, and coal. In the nine years the world has gone without these resources, the worlds economy has taken a shift that the government couldn't handle. People started to riot, destroying homes, vehicles, businesses, including government buildings. The world leaders couldn't decide what to do about this problem, they gathered in a hidden government base located under the ice fields of Greenland. They all debated what resource they wanted to use to generate power for their locations, people suggested using fire; using geothermal energy to power their homes. Others suggested using water, going back to the days of water wheels, and using power turbines placed under waterfalls and in rivers. Some suggested using air and wind, powering windmills to create limitless energy. Several areas suggested using earth, extracting minerals and what little oil was left. Stormy areas suggested using lightning, using energy given from the planet itself. None of the leaders could decide on a method for the world to use, so they split up into areas using different power methods. Some areas compromised, using things in unison, such as fire and air. Leaders across the globe still believe their power choice was the right decision, so war broke out, trying to find a way that everybody could use to power the planet. Which side will you choose?

Chaos, Clocks and Watermelons Chapter 1: Melancholy Hill

You don't have to write anything down to be a poet. Some work in gas stations. Some shine shoes.
I don't really call myself one because I don't like the word. Me? I'm a trapeze artist.

--Todd Haynes

The match wasn't even lit today. There wasn't any smoke to catch at all.

I was lying in the grass, all of it jittering in the wind like a puddle in the rain, staring up at the sky through the trees. It was on the cusp of Summer, the remaining whispers of white petals clinging to sienna branches. I sat up and looked around, giving up on musing. Nothing was coming to mind. Perhaps I was simply enjoying being back home. Sometimes the best words are none at all.


Indolency hung in the air like a spider on a pane of glass. I walked back up the hill towards my house, trying to avoid it.

I lived in a medium sized cottage out in the country, where the hills roll and the trees are free. The land of fawn's footsteps. The only town in the area was miles and miles away, and even that was small and rural. It was a good place to disappear.
My cottage was quite an old, rustic one. The front had a small porch, shaded by an overhang of ancient wooden terrace. The inside managed to be full of light and shadow at the same time. It was furnished with dark, natural wood and I'd decorated the place mostly with maroon. High-backed chairs, tables with ball-and-claw legs... I collect antiques. I love the smell of old wood and the feel of Period. I even have some tailcoats upstairs in the closet. My tables and armoirs are littered with old junk. What I can't get old I'll get fake. I don't mind.

I lit a cigarillo and leaned back in my chair, a red and mahogany Venitian beauty. Cigarillos are essentially cigars, but look exactly like cigarettes, save for being wrapped in brown tobacco rather than white paper. I actually prefer them to cigarettes, but they're less convenient. Cigar smoking is an art, one that you simply can't maintain in battle. Cigarettes are to cigars as vitamins are to food... A cigarette is just a fix, nothing more.

Rillos are elegant, unlike those logs people try to call cigars. Cigarettes look the finest but just don't have the experience of rillos. You don't inhale rillos. The smoke is taken into the mouth like water and exhaled back out. They don't have the chemicals and come in a variety of flavors; Amaretto, cherry, anything. In fact, cigar flavors are the closest I ever come to tasting liquor. I even have an antique humidor.

People who view me smoking tend to carry hatred in their eyes. Why, I do not know. I brings forth a weird kind of guilt, as if I'm armed to the teeth in front of a pacifist. It's revulsive. It sets a fire in my guts and nails in my hands. It's as if they take it as some personal insult, a moral wrong- sacrilege- for me to engage in a simple activity that they view risky to myself and yet does not affect them. It's a vitrolic, hateful attitude infesting the minds of many like a disease. They're hypocritical. They lie in their anti-smoking rhetoric as well.... You can tell me it's unhealthy, but please. Don't lie to yourself trying to tell me it doesn't even look appealing. Somehow, at some point, it became fashionable to value one's body over one's mind. Disgusting. I take care of myself, but if I need to do something that will benefit my mental health but will unfortunately damage my physical health, I take care of my mind first. They're the same people that think it's fine to get drunk out of your mind. Something that will eventually rot with the worms is far less important than the immortal tapestry of consciousness.


I tipped my head back and took a drag off my cigarillo. I closed my eyes and let the smoke flow back out of my nose and tried to relax. It'd been a tough past couple weeks, spent mostly overseeing tedious and for the most part trivial Blaze operations a couple counties over and beating down some random extrafactional insurrections. I was exhausted, and it was the worst time for my pages to be blank.

Speaking of combat, I've been experimenting with some new techniques. I'll let you in on how they work. See, they all have to do with sound waves. I start with the thin layer or air closest to myself. I compress it to make it as dense as possible, and I can change exactly how much at whenever I wish. See, the denser something is that a sound wave is going through, the faster it moves. Then I wrap it all in fire- multitudes of molten bands and shapes. It's never exactly the same, it all depends on what I feel like doing... It's like a painting. The fire will leave trails on its own, but if I will it to or if, say, I am hit, or I clap my hands, the ribbons will shoot off of the air pocket from the amplified sound waves. Even if a punch knocks me senseless I'll still get the last laugh. I've been experimenting mixing in lithium, borax and copper to make it different colors as well, but I haven't done much with it yet.

I leaned forward and flicked on my radio. It was an old, 1949 FADA AM/FM with a mahogany Art Deco style front and gold knobs and grate. The dial almost looked like a gold leaf grandfather clock face. The Beatles' Come Together came on. I loved that song. The lyrics were less than substantial but the sound was phenomenal. The notes were like waves. It made me feel like I was pushing against the lamina, the invisible barrier between waking and unwaking conciousness, Earth and the world we cannot see. Hanging me from the clouds by my ankles. I realize that's not entirely what lamina is taken to mean, but it's far too beautiful a word to go to waste. Like Opiate. Opiate is a pretty word marred irreversibly by its meaning...

I started thinking about the Beatles. Everyone's inner mind has its own personality, essence. The Beatles enjoyed tripping because it was something close to their inner mind's prexisting pulses. The phsychedelics in the songs were products of their own minds and the discovery of its personality. While the drug scene was no accident, it wasn't the catalyst either. It was the other way around. They fell into the trap of materializing its energies in the wrong way, lavishing in lazy pleasantries. Something can't be pure and destructive at the same time. There's no such thing as a double-edged sword in art.

I think I was leading you on a bit there. I'm sorry. It's not a seperate entity. It's a part of yourself you haven't found yet. I think perhaps it's the piece of your soul that's still anchored in Heaven, just outside the glass. To find inspiration is to touch the clouds. To be pushed a little higher, closer to breaking through the lamina. It is the purest part of yourself brushing against your waking mind. A little crystal, a wisp to be reuinted with upon ascention and part of the paradise of Redemption. To be completed or turn to dust, counting itself among the embers. The Muse is God or perhaps your guardian angel whispering into your crystal ball. But I can't tell you why or how it manifests itself the way it does. Nobody knows that. You can't even theorize it. It's one of the last beautiful mysteries of the world.

Perhaps, perhaps not of course. I could change my mind in a month, a day, an hour. Endless. One must accept the concept of negative capability. You don't know these things for sure but you can have at a good guess to keep your mind at ease so you can continue to think about more useful things.

I try not to think about these things too often. It's unnatural, painful. I'd rather just go along for the ride.

Suddenly the phone rang me out of my stupor. I almost fell out of my chair. It was as if it was the loudest sound I'd ever heard. I turned off the radio and picked up the phone, hanging on the wall next to me.

"Quinn, this is Madam Ash."
"Ah, greetings, Madam. What's the situation? You sound hurried."
"You are being dispatched to the front. High-ranked Electricity combatants have suddenly been spotted near the border. They've attacked several camps without cause or provocation. I need you to show them Blaze does not take this kind of disrespect lightly. I'll send you the coordinates now."

I would like to think that Madam Ash was being truthful when she said that the Electricity incursion was unprovoked, but I knew far better. Hell's frozen embers would attest to it.


Guest Chapter 2


I sat in the warehouse area of our base, watching the candles flicker in the soft and gentle breeze that somehow managed to find its way into the large room. The room was mostly empty, with a few crates in the corner of the room, but, it was the only peaceful area of our base, and so it became my temporary solace. The emptiness of the room lent itself to the budding flames, letting them project glorious black shadows all over the room that far from befitted their size. The scene was like a child wearing his father’s shoes, and it made me smile. I slipped my hand into my pocket to pull out a pack of cigarillos when I heard a soft buzzing sound, like that of a bee just close enough to hear, coming from above.

A glance up revealed one of the shadows melting from the wall, a single drop of oil; it fell to the ground, and then drew itself up in a geyser. It was a person, but not a person I knew. I gave a slight sigh, as Madam Ash had just ordered this morning that all intruders were to be killed on sight. The person pulled back a piece of clothing, the hood of a jet black cloak, revealing a handsome face under a head of messy red hair.

“I don’t suppose you would let me out of here without a fight, would you Quinn? Or would you prefer Man in Black?”

“I see you know me, but I don’t know you, and Madam Ash just said we need to kill anyone not from Blaze on sight… I would like to let you go, but I can’t.” I took instead a cigarette out of my breast pocket and lit it on one of the candles, put it in my mouth, and then turned to face the intruder, who I now realized was charging me like a bull. I took a step out of his way and felt the vacuum as a blade bright as the moon flew by my face. I normally wasn’t one for taunts, but I couldn’t help letting one loose, “You’ll have to be a bit quicker than that if you want to hit me.”

“I do believe I was quick enough to accomplish my purposes.”

I reached up to pull the cigarette out of my mouth, exhaling the smoke through my mouth and watching the patterns they formed, as the shadow man was still standing in my vision and not moving, and pondering his words. I went to take another drag, but coughed as no smoke left the cigarette. I looked at in puzzlement and then realized what had happened. He had sliced off just the end of my cigarette, so as not to ruin it, but to stop me from smoking. “May I ask why you did that? I smoke to maintain my mental state, and I acknowledge that I am shortening my life physically by a few years.”

“Two reasons, the first, because secondhand smoke kills people, and I would like to stay at the top of my game for as long as possible. You can smoke after I leave; it’s your choice after all. Second, because I needed to distract you so that my idiot apprentice could get his ass out of here leaving me behind to stall you.”

I had to suppress a snicker at his first parrot-like statement, but a grin still broke through. “And you are telling me this second reason because…?”
“Because my apprentice is an idiot and was standing outside the door trying to decide what to do. I knew he would hear me, and he may be an idiot, but he has some sense of self-preservation, so he left when I hinted, rather unsubtly, what he should do.”

“I still need to kill you, you know.” I said, shrugging and lighting my cigarette again. This time the man didn’t make a move to stop me.

“Understood. Would you like to begin now?”

I chose not to answer with words, inhaling a breath of smoke, and breathing out a cone of fire. The man did not move. He should have been burnt to a crisp. For some reason, he was unscathed. Then he laughed.

“I’m relatively fireproof, so I’m afraid that won’t work. Looks like this will be a simple win for me.”

The man held up his right hand, and the dagger, which appeared to be coming out of the back of his wrist, suddenly lit on fire. It was a malevolent flame, unlike the guileless candles, splashing the walls with a delightfully macabre dance of black and orange.. It weaved its way around in a small arc, and headed towards me, but then stopped suddenly, being blown up into the air by a sudden burst of wind. It was my turn to laugh, for the man could not reach me, being trapped in the air by my winds. The flame then lost its metallic gleam, becoming more rotund as the man’s dagger disappeared and he opened his hand, which I realized was covered in a black glove. And then the flame headed for me once again, but it could not travel far enough, and it vanished about a meter from my face. I turned around and went to use my comm.-link to call for help. The man was trapped like a fly in my web, but he was a deadly fly, and I could not kill him with just my flames. I saw a movement out of the corner of my eye, and instinctively blew some fire at it, at which point it seemed to stop in midair, becoming another aggressive burst of fire, this one indecisive about where to move next. It then flew over to a wall, and I looked quizzically at the man, who held this flame on a thin metal cable.

“Like I said, I’m relatively fireproof. Sadly, my gasoline isn’t.”

At that moment, there was an explosion, and the walls and ceiling crumbled. The debris did not hit me, but by the time I had regained my wits, I realized that I had released the winds, and the man was long gone. Madam Ash would be furious, but her wrath could wait. For the moment, I sat down cross-legged and gazed up at the night sky. The fruitful colors of sunset had given way to the airy, astral darkness of night, flecked with pinpoints of stars. I took my time to enjoy the quiet solemnity, knowing a not-so pleasant encounter with Madam Ash lay ahead.


I swiftly climbed across the warehouse ceiling. The training mission had thus far gone off without a hitch. Nobody had noticed Dorian, despite his vibrant clothing, and there was only one room left to get through before they were in the clear, but they weren’t out yet. There, in the room, was Quinn, one of Blaze’s top operatives. I had never seen Quinn fight, but he had just killed the current Steam leader, Josephus, so he had to have at least some skill. Hopefully Harold, the most likely candidate to replace Josephus would be just as friendly to Fire as Josephus had been. Goddamn Helios for being such a hot-headed loser and leaving a 16-year-old in charge of diplomacy. And on top of that, Helios wanted him to start training a successor, and had actually CHOSEN the person for him. I didn’t intend to die anytime soon, thank you very much, and Dorian Amberlin would be horrendous as a diplomat. He was an obnoxious fourteen-year-old, with a blue Mohawk and clothes to match. How he managed to be as skillful at stealth as he was proved a mystery to me. At the very least, Dor was quiet, and was skilled with his hands. Dor had proven that extremely well today, and hopefully teaching him how to kill would not be too hard, given his extensive martial arts training.

A few seconds later, I took back what he said, as Dorian’s comm.-link buzzed to life with a message from Helios, but Dorian was smart enough to turn off his comm.-link before the message started playing. I quickly dropped from the ceiling, hoping that Dorian would also be smart enough to make an exit himself, rather than trying to help me fight Quinn… of course, getting out of the area without a fight would be the best option, so I flipped off my hood and tried to talk my way out of a fight.

“I don’t suppose you would let me out of here without a fight, would you Quinn? Or would you prefer Man in Black?”

“I see you know me, but I don’t know you, and Madam Ash just said we need to kill anyone not from Blaze on sight… I would like to let you go, but I can’t.” Quinn then turned to light up a cigarette. Well, it was an opportunity to distract him anyways. I sprinted up to him and sliced at his cigarette after he took a step back, and then taking a few steps back myself.

“You’ll have to be a bit quicker than that if you want to hit me.”

“I do believe I was quick enough to accomplish my purposes.”

A confused look appeared on his face as he blew out some smoke, but he soon figured out what I had done, just not why. And right before he spoke, the door right behind him, the door to freedom, silently shut, but Dorian hadn’t left yet, I could tell from the shadows underneath the door. He was debating whether or not to help me, most likely. He wouldn’t be able to, of course, and so, it would be better if I could get him to get out of here as quickly as possible. Thankfully, Quinn’s next words provided me that opportunity.

“May I ask why you did that? I smoke to maintain my mental state, and I acknowledge that I am shortening my life physically by a few years.”

“Two reasons, the first, because secondhand smoke kills people, and I would like to stay at the top of my game for as long as possible. You can smoke after I leave; it’s your choice after all. Second, because I needed to distract you so that my idiot apprentice could get his ass out of here leaving me behind to stall you.” As I finished speaking, the shadows under the door changed shape. Dor had left. Now all I had to do was get out.

“And you are telling me this second reason because…?”

“Because my apprentice is an idiot and was standing outside the door trying to decide what to do. I knew he would hear me, and he may be an idiot, but he has some sense of self-preservation, so he left when I hinted, rather unsubtly, what he should do.”

“I still need to kill you, you know.” Quinn said, lighting his cigarette again. This time I let him. I had no more need to stall.

“Understood. Would you like to begin now?”

Quinn didn’t answer, but simply shot out a cone of fire. I raised my hand, my fireproof gauntlet keeping away most of the flames, and then lowered it allowing some to get through to my head. Not that it mattered, since the flames were weak compared to those used by most others in Fire, and getting hit by them would mean nothing to me. I noticed his confused look, and I couldn’t help but laugh.

“I’m relatively fireproof, so I’m afraid that won’t work. Looks like this will be a simple win for me.”

I boasted, but I was slightly worried. A red mist had begun to creep into the edges of my vision. I was an assassin for a reason. If I didn’t end this battle soon, I would go into a berserker rage. I loved to fight, but most of the time, I restrained myself. If I lost myself here, I would likely attempt a single-handed assault on Blaze. Not good. I pulled the cable at my waist, and the flames burst into life around my dagger. I ran towards him, but then I was caught by wind and hoisted into the air, and out of range of my fireballs, which were, unfortunately, rather short ranged. In frustration, I threw one at him, and it fizzled out right before it got to him. Wind. Inside. Quinn had to be summoning it. I had to distract him somehow, so I detached the gasoline canister, which was probably the only flammable part of my outfit… considering how it would explode shortly after being hit by flames, that was probably a bad decision, but I figured that it would be protected well enough by my cloak. I then proceeded to use the cable to try and whack him with the canister in the head, but got a better idea when he shot it with flames from his mouth, and spun it around so it was up against one of the walls. Thankfully, the only wall within range happened to be one of the walls that didn’t connect the warehouse to the main base. Moments later the flames burned through the canister causing an explosion. Being closer to it than Quinn, I was the only one who was directly affected by the explosion, as it burned my face, but I ignored the pain and carefully avoided the falling debris. I then slipped out of the building into a place where I could see Quinn but could still leave from without him seeing me. After recovering from the explosion, he sat down cross-legged and stared up at the sunset in the last moments of day’s transformation into night. What I would give to see what was going through his mind right then. I turned and vanished into the night.


Guest Chapter 1; Kasaii
A woman, in roughly her early twenties, walked down the sun dried asphalt of the old road. The wind whipped around her chocolate brown hair with blonde streaks, playing with the lower half of her faded forest green coat. Her blue eyes gleamed in the sunlight, however painful it was to her slightly hung over self. Her combat boots hit the cracked ground with a dull thud, followed by the quick light steps of a small, white steam powered droid with her.

Anna brushed her hair out of her eyes with a gloved hand, shielding herself then from the sudden glare. Her mind was a blurr with memories of the previous night. She shook her head trying to clear it, but found herself only drawn deeper as they became clearer. She almost felt bad just leaving him there after their night together--what had his name been..Colt? Volt? She shrugged it off, thinking it was no longer important. She continued to walk onwards, pushing the thoughts out of her head, almost reluctantly.

The lonely road stretched out before her, a familiar sight to her from before the government’s fall, when she walked them of her own accord. She simply walked them now because it was the only place to walk.

Highways had been clogged with abandoned or looted cars in the early days of the war, most of which were now just being cleared out to make limited use of the highways once again. Road gangs still littered the country, raiding and pillaging small towns like pirates. She considered herself lucky to haven’t run into any yet.

A shiver suddenly sent itself down her spine when she head a rock skip across the pavement, like someone had kicked it or hit it by accident with their foot. She slowly threw a glance backwards only to see a man in black following a little farther back. Anna went cold and sped up her pace without it being noticeable. No one ever followed her this far out of town.

She quietly contemplated if her luck avoiding road gangs had run out; apparently this area was crawling with members of Talons of Apollo. Anna threw another glance back, but still not getting a good look at him. It was impossible to tell what he was wearing.

With a quick snap of her fingers, her small droid quickly gave her its attention. She mouthed something to it, receiving a nod in reply from the white machine. Anna took a sharp turn down a beaten path now. She had to lose this man following her.

She was half running now, her tattered shoulder bag threatening to slide off her. Anna skidded to a normal pace after a few moments, looking behind her. Her mouth nearly dropped when she saw the man behind her still, the same distance back.

‘What the frak?’ she thought to herself in shock, wondering if she was hallucinating at all. Those drinks the night before had been pretty strong…

Anna continued weaving down unnecessary roads for a while, trying to rid herself of this follower but to no avail. After a while she figured she had had enough of running; it was time to face the problem head on. She built up the courage inside her, slowed her pace and shouted back at the man.

“You have a name, stranger? Or are you just going to silently stalk me like you’ve been doing for the past three miles?”

She turned to look over her shoulder at the man following somewhat closely behind her still. Now that he was closer and she had a better view, he seemed dressed too nicely to be out walking the old roads, something like a casual suit on him and an ascot stuffed down into his collar. She watched him take a long drag from his cigarette, the wind gently blowing around his wavy hair.

“Who says I’m following you?” he quipped back, “Maybe I’m just going in the same direction. Headed to the next town, just like you.”

“If you were headed to the next town, you’d have kept to the main roads; I’ve taken three detours trying to lose you.” Anna let her hand subtly slide to one of the pistols on her hip, “So why are you so hell-bent on following me?”

“Who’s your friend there?” the man gestured to the small white robot keeping pace with her, changing the subject.

Doi skatakutghee!” the droid stopped quickly and whirled around, its hands retracting into guns. His six green eyes glowed menacingly as the spikes on the side of his head rattled at the stranger in an attempt to scare him off. He continued to spout insults in a strange language at the man.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” the man took another slow drag of his cigarette, leaned down to the droid’s face and blew smoke into it. It acted like it was coughing, taking a few steps backwards but never lowering its weapons.

“Steambot, come on.” Anna hissed at it, snapping her fingers, “I don’t need your to raise my body count.”

Steambot reluctantly backed off, snapping his mandibles and growling at the stranger before returning to his master and friend’s side.

“So what about that name?” Anna continued walking now.

“What about it?” he smirked, lighting another cigarette by snapping his fingers.

“You do have one, don’t you? I mean, you can’t be just some mysterious stalker who follows women around.” she shrugged nonchalantly, but kept her hand resting on her pistol.

He thought for a few minutes, enjoying the silence between them. His mind wandered before finally being pulled back when Anna pestered him for a name again.

“Quinn.” was all he replied with.

“You had to think about that for a while. You sure that’s you’re real name?” she shot back jokingly.

Saah ku wit wikeh.” Steambot snickered as he climbed up Anna’s back and hung himself around her, throwing a glance back at Quinn.

“What did he just say?” Quinn asked after a few more minutes of silence.

“He said you have a nice tie.” she smirked a little bit.

“Its an ascot, thank you very much.” Quinn snapped, narrowing his eye slightly when the droid grinned as stupidly as it could at him, as if to say “Oh really? My bad bro, I totally didn’t know. You mad?”

There was silence between them for a while longer. It was slightly unnerving for Anna; he was following her on purpose, whether he admitted it or not. She kept a loose grip on her pistol, subtly making sure there was a full clip in it, just in case.

“Planning to shoot me now, are you?” he shattered the silence like a rock through glass with his words. “That’s a shame; I haven’t even gotten your name.”

Anna winced. Apparently she wasn’t being subtle enough.

“Its just a habit I have; checking the clip.” she threw a nervous smile over her shoulder, only to be met by his cold, calculating eyes almost directly behind her. She jumped a bit; when did he get so close behind her?

“So about that name..” Quinn began, making an attempt to subtly mock her.

Duuiiiee skree! Yagabu-gatakee!” Steambot hissed in Quinn’s face, forcing the man to step back a bit from them.

“Just call me Anna.” Anna reluctantly let her hand fall to her pocket instead of resting on her gun any longer.

“What brings you out this far?” Quinn asked, trying to make conversation now. He sped up his pace to keep up with her, despite a disapproving look from Steambot. Anna glanced back at her robotic companion, knowing he sensed something off about this Quinn.

“I could ask you the same thing.” She paused for a minute, “I’m just trying to get away from the war really.”

“Seems to me like you’re trying to get away from more than that.” Quinn blew smoke rings into the air as he spoke.

Anna waved her hand to keep the smoke away from her face, “Maybe I am. Or maybe I just don’t belong anywhere and have to keep moving.” she shrugged, “I prefer being alone.”

Quinn could sense her starting to tense up and block herself off from him, so he quickly changed the subject. “So what about the war? You pick a side?”

“I don’t like taking sides.” Anna shrugged again, “But I suppose if I had to pick, I’d pick steam.”

Quinn sighed, “Tsk tsk tsk…Why not something like, say, air and fire?”

“Blaze? I don‘t know, air doesn‘t do much for fire besides feed it, and fire itself is sort of useless on its own...” Anna furrowed her brow.

“Oh come now, girl, I wouldn’t go as far to say that.” Quinn frowned, “You could set the world ablaze, then create something beautiful with your blank canvas, like a phoenix rising from the ashes of its grave.”

“…I don’t see what you’re getting at with that, aside from like totally destroying the world or some form of world domination.” Anna raised an eyebrow as Quinn abrubptly stopped his rambling.

“One word. Versatility. Flame is so versatile that, if you combine it with air and channel it just right, it can be your best friend. It can power your homes, keep you warm, cook your food…anything.” Quinn smiled to himself a bit as his mind wandered with possibilities, both real and unreal.

“It can also turn around just as quickly and tear down everything you’ve worked to create.” Anna gave Quinn a curious look, “You sound like you’re trying to recruit me or something to Blaze.”

“Perhaps I’m just trying to help a poor misguided girl see the error of her ways.” he shrugged, tossing the butt of his cigarette onto the pavement and lighting yet another. “Or maybe I’m seeking a companion to join with me and fight for what I believe in. It all comes down to your perception in the end.”

“I prefer being alone like I said.” Anna said after a few minutes, speeding up her pace to almost a light jog.

“You keep saying that, but you don’t really mean it.” Quinn called out after her, continuing only when she stopped, “Deep down you’re afraid to be alone; you want to belong somewhere and settle down. And yet you deny yourself the chance every time you stop in a town. You make friends, for however short of a time, but leave before you get too attached, never to be seen again or remembered. You jump into battles fearless, taking risks like you’re trying to get yourself killed.”

Anna bit her lip, “I’m not afraid of dieing.”

“Oh I can see that, its being forgotten that terrifies you.” Quinn chuckled a bit, watching his words seemingly slice into her and hit her core. “And yet, you never give anyone the chance to remember you in the first place. But I’m sure that just makes it easier for you to just get up and leave like you did early this morning, like the mouse running from the hawk about to swoop down and catch it in its talons.”

Anna tensed up, her hand going directly to her pistol. There was no way he would have known she had just left town this morning, unless he had been following her before then. She turned around to find Quinn directly behind her again.

“You sacrifice everything for others, letting yourself suffer, wallowing in your own self pity. You’re drowning yourself, hoping that--” Quinn stopped when the barrel of a gun pressed against the underside of his jaw.

“Shut the hell up now.” Anna snarled through gritted teeth, “You don’t know anything about me.”

“But you’re easy to figure out, for someone like me atleast. You’re an open book to me, and I’m the librarian, ready to flip through your pages and find out all about you and where you belong on the shelves of life. Every book as a spot, you‘re just afraid that your book is the one that was returned by mistake; the one that never belonged in the first place.” Quinn only smiled when she shoved the gun harder against him, wrapping his hand tightly around her wrist. “I know already that you’re not going to shoot me; you’re going to turn and run like you always have been doing.”

“You’re right, I’m not going to shoot you; I don’t see the point in doing that.” Anna growled, “But you’re making me reconsider that real fast. I’m going to turn around and keep walking. You’re going to stay here and quit following me thinking you can figure me out.” she pulled the hammer back on the gun, “However, if you’d like me to end your troubles here for you, I will.”

Quinn stared her in the eyes for a minute, still calmly smoking his cigarette. Finally deciding it would be better and far easier to just let her go, he shrugged, “Fine. Run along, little Anna.” he paused, smiling, “I’ll see you again; the falcon always hears the falconer’s call.”

“I’m not your falcon.” Anna snapped back, tearing herself out of Quinn‘s grip.

“But I certainly wouldn't mind if you were.” Quinn said as her wrist slipped between his fingers.

She backed away, holstering her gun. She took a few more cautious steps back before finally turning around and breaking into a run. She wanted to get away from him as fast as possible.

Anna ran for what seemed like hours before she hit a junkyard, where she finally stopped and sat down to catch her breath. Steambot slid slowly off her, hopping around on the ground and stretching its servos. Anna shook her head, trying to rid her mind of everything Quinn said. As much as she tried though, a small voice in the back of her mind told her he was right.

Chyuba?” Steambot lifted her head up and out of her hands.

She smiled at him, “I’m alright.”

Gunkruta sketubaga.” Steambot growled and plopped down next to her, crossing his arms.

“I didn’t like him that much either.” Anna leaned back against the rusted door of the car she had sat down in front of. She reached in her backpack and pulled out a water bottle, taking a long drink from it as she slouched a bit. Anna shifted her position and tried to make herself as comfortable as possible against the car. She decided she wasn’t going near any of the towns until she felt it had been long enough for that man to have already passed through them.

“Steambot, keep watch.” she yawned slightly, pulling her coat tighter around her, “I’m taking a power nap or whatever.”

Steambot nodded, switching one arm to a gun and keeping watch as his master fell into what he could only comprehend as stasis cycles the larger flesh creatures went through on a periodical schedule. He tilted his head curiously as he watched Anna sleep, noting that her ‘stasis cycle’ was highly irregular.


“She’s no more than an unallied mercenary at best; a wanderer.” Quinn spoke into his comm-link, “Perhaps the embodiment of a free spirit, weighed down only by her own doubts and fears.”

“I don’t need your philosophical observations as well, Quinn.” Madam Ash replied to him from the other end, “Are you going to be able to find Steam’s base using her or not?”

“I doubt it.” Quinn frowned, “I’m not sure she even knows where they’re located.” He was slightly disappointed his adventure had turned up no new information. While he enjoyed his time crawling across the lonely backroads away from civilization following her, part of him wished he had gotten a little more out of it.

“Disappointing.” Was all Madam Ash said, derailing his train of thought. “Might she be of use in any other way?”

“Oh I’m sure there’s nearly a thousand ways she could be of use, but only a few would really be relevant to what our faction needs.” Quinn rolled an unlit cigarette between his fingers as he spoke.

“I see.” Madam Ash feel silent in thought again for a few moments, “I want you to start heading back. I’ll send someone else to keep tabs on this girl; if she comes across the Steam faction by any chance, since that seems to be where her allegiance lies according to you, we’ll know where they’re at.” she sighed heavily, “Its not like we have any inside agents left to do this for us anyway.”

“Very well.” Quinn said after a few minutes, only half listening to his commander as he puffed away on his now lit cigarette. “I’ll be on my way back then.”

“I’ll be expecting you.” Madam Ash said before shutting off her comm-link.


Anna woke up abruptly to Steambot nearly shouting at her in his strange language. She rubbed the sleep from her eyes quickly, pulling out a pistol with her other hand instinctively. She looked around for a second, only to find nothing of interest.

“What are you acting up about?” she snapped grumpily at the droid.

Hyuah kretchuyba sktatakeee!” Steambot chirped franticly, pointing off into the distance, his hands retracting into guns as he did so.

Anna squinted, trying to spot what he was looking at. All she could see beyond the junkyard was a clearing, in it sitting a young looking girl, Anna guessed in her early teens, fiddling with some sort of machinery. Anna raised an eyebrow, wondering why Steambot had become so alarmed at such a sight before the revelation hit her.

Road gangs.

Anna felt her heart skip a beat. It wasn’t uncommon for road gangs to use a seemingly helpless person as bait, to draw an unsuspecting victim near and then ambush. She could feel her heart pounding in her chest as she slowly rose, adrenaline pumping through her. She glanced back the way she came; there was only one narrow path out. It was probably littered with gang members lying in wait for her to turn and run. Part of her didn’t like the idea of going backwards, if only because it meant she had a bigger chance of running into that Quinn again. Anna sighed slightly, preferring to put up with him rather than whatever the bandits would do to her if the managed to catch her.

Not one for turning back however, Anna slowly moved forward, dual pistols in hand. She approached the clearing cautiously, Steambot bringing up the rear in case of an ambush. She lowered her green goggles over her eyes as a breeze kicked up some dust, the large lenses over her eyes and the two extra smaller lenses on either side emulating a look similar to Steambot’s eyes.

Anna lowered her guns slightly as she approached the girl, careful to not let her guard down completely. The girl was focused entirely on fixing a small spider droid in her lap and probably hadn’t even heard Anna come near her. The girl smiled as the spider droid’s red eye flickered to life, and only looked up when she saw it staring at Anna and Steambot, both with weapons relatively drawn, Steambot more so than Anna.

The spider droid quickly scuttled away as Anna opened her mouth to greet the girl, only to be stopped by a large metal hand on her shoulder.

Instinctively, Anna kicked backwards while grabbing the arm, flinging whoever was behind her forward and into the ground. She succeeded with a slight struggle; who ever it was had turned out heavier than she expected. She looked at the man when he hit the ground; he was average looking and about average height, but with mechanical arms it looked like.

She raised an eyebrow as he got back up. He didn’t look like he belonged to a road gang, but she wasn’t going to take any chances with someone who snuck up behind her. The man flexed his arms for a minute, making sure nothing was damaged it seemed.

“Steambot, watch the girl.” Anna ordered, glancing back at him.

Steagunkat chudaba?” Steambot replied, tilting its head inquisitively.

“Wha--what the hell do you mean ‘which one’?” Anna barked, quickly looking in the direction Steambot was pointing.

She was lucky she did, otherwise she would have been on the ground. Another girl had some running at her and Anna had ducked just in time to avoid being kicked in the head. She swung back the butt of her gun introducing itself into the girl's torso, knocking the wind out of her and into the ground. Anna got a good look at the girl's face, noting that she looked a lot like the man.

She thought nothing of it though as she turned to face the man, who charged at her now. She fired her guns at him, though he managed to deflect the bullets with his arms. It wasn’t without taking damage to them, as steam poured out of one, hissing madly.

He swung a leg up, trying to kick her in the side, but Anna quickly dove down to the ground avoiding it. His movements were slow and clunky, hers quick and nimble. Anna felt a hand catch her arm as she tried to swing her fist towards the man’s face, but quickly spun around with a roundhouse kick, knocking the girl away into the door of a beat up truck at the bottom of a junk pile.

The man charged again, which she quickly dodged, firing off more rounds into his arms. She didn’t necessarily want to kill them if she didn’t have to, but if things kept up like this she might have to. He swung around again as she reloaded, his arm winding up for a punch. She braced herself, her mind racing with how many bones would be broken and shattered in the next few seconds before Steambot jumped up on the man’s arm, tearing away at the paneling across it.

The man shouted at the droid as fragile hydraulics and pistons were exposed, to which Steambots reply was switching one of his guns for a sharp blade and nestling it gently across a tube, with enough pressure to hold it there but not cut. The man quickly started reaching for the droid with his other hand before the barrel of a gun was against his head and the hammer pulled down with a click.

“Move, and I put a bullet in your head.” Anna snarled at the man as his mechanical arm stopped reaching for Steambot.

There was an old fashioned clicking, like the hammer on an old revolver being pulled back. “Put a bullet in his and I’ll put one in yours.”

Anna turned her head slightly, only to be met but the muzzle of a large silver revolver, with subtle dragon detailing across the barrel. She looked past it to find that the girl had obviously recovered quickly from their short fight.

Anna flipped her goggles to the top of her head again, brushing her hair out of her eyes before pointing her other gun at the girl. She smiled darkly when she saw the girl flinch as she pulled back the hammer.

“Do it, then.” Anna said quietly, “Pull the trigger, or I’ll pull both of mine. I can tell you certainly don't want that."

“You lower your guns first.” the girl demanded, her voice shaking slightly.

“Me?! You want me to lower my guns, when you two were the ones who snuck up on me?” Anna’s mouth have dropped, “What the hell do you expect me to do, drop everything and randomly trust you?” she thrust her pistol a little closer to the girl’s face, “Get your revolver out of mine and I’ll consider putting mine away.”

“Why should I trust you?” she asked Anna, narrowing her eyes.

Anna smiled again, “Because I’m not afraid to die; whether you shoot me or not doesn‘t matter to me. You, on the other hand, would rather keep living it seems. So I’ll ask you again,” she paused, moving her fingers to the triggers and gripping them, “Put your gun down first.”

“Tess, do it.” the man on the other end of Anna’s gun spoke harshly under his breath.

The girl, Anna assumed her name was Tess judging by what the man had said, kept her gun as steady as her shaky hand would allow.

“What faction are you from?” Tess demanded, trying to keep an intimidating look on her face.

“Really? You want me to pick a side too?” Anna sighed, “Frak it, let’s just go with Steam. Now either shoot me because I didn’t pick your side or put your gun away because I ended up actually picking your side.”

Tess lowered her weapon, much to Anna’s surprise. Anna signaled for Steambot to hop off of the man as she twirled her pistols and holstered them again. Steambot retracted his weapons and hopped off the man.

“I take it you’re Steam as well, then.” Anna raised an eyebrow, “Who’s your friend, Tess?”

“Altessa.” Tess snapped at Anna a little, correcting her, “That’s my twin, Alistair.”

“Huh.” she said as Alistair got up, brushing the dirt off himself, “I thought the blurry messes of your faces I saw while you guys were trying to kill me looked similar.”

“Hey, we weren’t tying to kill you.” Al retorted, “You’re the one who threw me down into the ground.”

“Well you’re the one who snuck up on me!” Anna half shouted, “What did you expect me to do? Turn around and offer you some tea and crumpets? There’s road gangs out here, for all I knew you were part of one!”

“So what, are you saying you throw everyone who comes up behind you into the ground like that?” Al barked, glaring.

“If I have to.” Anna snarled.

“Cut it out guys.” the girl piped up, still cradling the spiderbot. “You did sneak up on her, she had every right to assume you could have been a gang member who wanted to use her for…that. Its not that uncommon out here.”

“Who’s that..?” Anna simply stared at the girl, utterly confused. She had honestly forgotten all about her during the fight.

“That’s Alexi.” Tess gestured to her, “She likes to think she’s our resident genius.”

“Only because I am!” Alexi shot back with a sly grin.

Steambot tilted his head inquisitively, making his way over to her, examining her and then the small spiderbot she held in her arms. It quivered at the sight of the larger droid before the two exchanged a few words in a strange language.

“What just happened there?” Al asked, confused as the spiderbot crawled out of Alexi’s grip and up Steambot’s back, hanging there comfortably.

“They became friends, that’s what.” Alexi informed him with a look that told him he should have been smart enough to figure that out without asking.

“So…” Anna began, “Why are you guys out here? Shouldn’t you be at like..your base or something?”

“Well, that’s the thing, you see…” Al began, scratching the back of his head awkwardly.

“We don’t have one. Not anymore atleast.” Alexi explained for them, figuring it was obvious they weren’t going to, “We’ve been out hunting for valuable parts and machinery to use in constructing a new one with the rest of Steam faction.”

“Raiding junkyards I take it?” Anna raised an eyebrow when Alexi nodded, “I might know a good place you guys can check…It’ll take a couple days to get there, but its a lot bigger than this dump here, and a lot of the stuff is in much better condition.”

“Really now? You wanna join up with us and take us there?” Al smiled a bit, “If its as good as you say it is, I could use some new parts for my arms.”

“…What. Are you being serious?” Anna asked flatly, “You know nothing about me. How can you just trust me so quickly?”

“That’s what long drives are for, explanations.” Al smiled, leading her towards their vehicles.

“Don’t worry,” Alexi said under her breath to Anna, “I get annoyed with how pushy Al is too.”

Anna sighed as she climbed in next to the now grinning Alexi, Steambot hopping in and sitting in her lap. She had a feeling this was going to be a very long ride to the junkyard. Anna leaned out the window slightly, feeling awkward traveling in a group.

“You guys know when this is over I’m heading back out on my own right?” Anna shouted up to the front, “I’m just showing you guys this junkyard and then leaving.”

Alexi frowned, “So quickly?”

Anna looked down at the girl, the sad face tugging at her heart. Had the girl taken a liking to her that quickly? She returned to looking out the window again, unable to face her.

“I…have to keep moving.” her voice lowered considerably, “I can’t stay in one place for too long, I just have this thing about it that bugs me.”

She looked back down at the girl, holding her spiderbot close to her now as she frowned. Anna broke a half smile and ruffled her hair, “You might be able to convince me to stay for a little bit atleast if you really want, though.”

“If you really want to go out on your own again after this Anna, feel free to.” Tess told her from the passenger seat, “I’m sure you wouldn’t keep moving if you didn’t have a reason to.”

Anna nodded slightly, leaning back in the chair as much as she could. “Wake me when we get there.” was all she said.

She lowered the window a bit more, letting the cool wind whip around her face as she drifted into a sleep. Part of her felt like she should belong here, with these people, but part of her refused to accept it, to accustomed to moving onward all the time alone. Anna furrowed her brow a bit, trying to calm her mind. She’d figured she’d manage to work things out when the time came.

Chaos, Clocks and Watermelons Entry 2: Trouble in Mind

Our hero has a harrowing encounter with the "Black Blaze!" Will Quinn succeed or meet his fate? Stay tuned!
Behold the hole of the tarantula.
Revenge sits black on your back.
And wherever you bite,
black scabs grow.
For that man
be delivered from revenge,
that for me is the highest hope.
A rainbow after a storm.

-Allen Ginsberg (?)

It was still a few hours before my next training session with Madam Ash. I was sitting at a table in front of a window, enjoying a cigarillo and overlooking the outside of a fairly remote Blaze Faction settlement. The walls were made of stone, perfect not only for defense but as an extra precaution against any fires that regular training exercises might cause. The cool stone made the small holdout feel safe, like a cave out of the rain. Lighting took its place as small fireplaces hollowed out into the wall, giving off warm glows into the otherwise cold holding. I was rather fond of it.
A bright, delicate stream of inspiration had taken me since I returned from Steam recon. I couldn't help thinking about the nightingale I'd been tailing through the backwoods. No, nightingale wasn't the right word. More like a falcon. Something that can grab you and shake you just as soon as fold its head under its wing. A free spirit. Anna was her name.
I put my elbows on the table and rested my forehead on my palms. I knew I was only following orders, tailing her and interrogating her, but it left me feeling low and mean. A ball of melancholy had lodged itself in my stomach. I drilled into her soul like an oaf. I'd kicked her when she was down. The thought of it made my insides squirm. There's no pain like phsychological pain. I wondered where she was now. I wondered if I'd ever see her again. I felt the need to make amends more desperately than what made sense, but I didn't think much of it.
I took a hand off my head and put the cigarillo back in my mouth. I took my pen and wrote another line.
I'd been working on a poem since I'd come back. It was a sweet little thing but it was coming very slowly. I haven't finished it yet, and there are still a few rhymes to work out here and there, but I'll share what I have so far with you... And please ignore the fact that door is rhymed with door...! Sacriledge!

 Mercury Sea

Soft-colored roses in a whitewashed dream
Beats of wings echo off the stream
When times will break and wavelengths wake
and stars are hidden from the sun
Why is it you think you've got to run?

Someplace in the distance
Empty cathedrals ring a soundless bell
And existenceless priests cry of frowning hell
But that's not where you are and not where I'll be
Standing on the edge of the mercury sea

Your Six of Swords is wasted and worn
The lion goes with silent roar
Imaginations form and pages fly out the door
Won't you just stop by the door?
At the raven with some private scorn

Shackled in the chains of freedom
Floating in a mercury sea

Spilling some of it out made me feel a bit better, but I still couldn't ignore it. I'd been trying to relax since I'd come back, smoking more than I ususally do but it wasn't helping much.


I always knew you couldn't get peace by taking sides and setting messy alliances. Blaze didn't take sides. We did whatever we thought was necessary. We were the world's peacmaker. We weren't bound by petty politics to anybody. There weren't any bobcats sitting in auctionhouses.

But I wasn't so sure of Madam Ash's direction anymore. I had never questioned her goals before, and I never will, but I didn't like the turn her methods were taking. It was more and more often that she was asking- no, telling me- to kill this person, kill that person, put down these people, stalk these others. I felt betrayed and confused. There is nothing I hate more than feeling like you've had the rug pulled out from under your feet and the wool over your eyes. I didn't know what to think anymore.

I was considering just taking off for a while. Dissapearing for a few days to clear my head. Madam Ash would be angry with me, but I needed it.

Just then, my buzzed.
"Yes, Madam?"
"I'm finished with the meeting. Meet me for training, same place as yesterday."
"Right away, Madam."



I was panting hard. "With all due respect, Madam, I don't think I can do this."

"Nonsense," she said, brushing her hair to the side. "Everyone has been angry or depressed at some point in their life. You need to focus it and bend it to your will. Let it flow out along with the fire."
She assumed her stance, and I mine. She became enveloped in dark, hungry black flames in the shape of a cloak that seemed to take light rather than give it. I readied myself, letting the familiar bands of warm orange flame cover my body. She leapt at me, whipping the black flame around to hit me in the shoulder. I was buffetted and fell back. Her black flames leeched into mine, turning them black and forcing them to burn me. I let out an exclamation and leapt to the side, using wind to fend off the blaze. She paused, allowing me time to try and access the Black Blaze.

I knew just trying with normal anger wouldn't work. I'd tried it before. But I hadn't allowed myself to use my recent.... frustrations. It was indecent. Kniving. Misplaced. But perhaps if I... Allowed my mind to dip a little under those barriers. I let the anger fill my mind, but still nothing. I sensed it was too controlled. I disregarded Madam Ash's reccomendation for control and allowed it to flow freely. I unleashed my blaze.

It unqueathed itself black as pitch. Instead of Madam Ash's tidy cloak, it burned and ebbed as a macabre array of chaotic flares.
It was intoxicating. Wicked, feindish sprites whirled around my body, forcibly and without my command. It was as if demons had broken loose and were scratching away at my mind, begging me to give them more anger, more negativity. I admit that I obliged.

Her expression changed, as if she saw something in me she didn't recognize.

I let the choking frustration flow. Anger stolen forth from a place I didn't know existed by the demons flooded my brain and drowned my senses. The ghost-black plumes flared from my body like hellish ravens, ripping and tearing their way to existence from the valley of death. The first blast caught Madam Ash by surprise, almost knocking her off her feet. Somehow, I didn't care. I kept hitting her, with the will-o-wisps arcing through the air the almost of their own wild volition. I'd hit the pipeline, and there was no stopping the gushing water.

She tried to block it, but my black blaze pierced through her hastily flared shield comically easily. My frustrstion was fresh and kicking; hers was years dead. I felt a pull in the back of my mind, and suddenly the abomination contorted itself into a flare of needle-like vestiges, breaking the rest of the way through her defenses and meeting her in her right side. It exploded. She flew across the room and hit the wall. The smacking sound that met my ears was like a cold bucket of water. The Black Blaze started to peter out and the demons started to loosten their grip on me. I stood there, shaking. I wasn't thinking straight.

I had just beat the hell out of my boss. My mentor. My liberator. Madam Ash.

I dared to turn and look at her, moving my feet with great effort that had been cemented to the floor. She was laying with her head and shoulders against the wall, half supported by her elbow. She looked dumbstruck. A crack ran through the cement wall, and her side looked badly burned. It looked as if it was taking all of her effort to support herself. I could see blood. The fear started to take place of the demons, now. I didn't wait to see how she was going to react.

I ran.

I went as far away from there as I could. I used the last vestiges of black blaze to propel myself as far away from the place as possible. There was no time to think. It took me far into the hills, far enough to just see the base on the horizon. It was freakishly fast. I stopped, the last of the abomination dead and gone. I didn't know what I was going to do. My mind was a hurricane, a tempest unlike I had felt in almost a decade.

I was shaken. I'd never even come close to losing control before. No, I hadn't just lost control. I felt as if it'd been ripped from my grasp. Was this really what the Black Blaze was like? A little voice in the back of my head told me I did it on purpose, a dark, forgotten little piece of myself. I tried not to believe that it was right. I had let my frustration take hold at the worst time possible. I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time... right?

This wasn't how it was supposed to be.

I started walking aimlessly and hoped dismally that she'd understand. I didn't... I... hadn't realized.... Didn't she know I didn't have that level of control yet? Wasn't it obvious that my style was unrestrained? She had to be blind not to know it was dangerous..... That I couldn't yet.... Control.................

My mind suddenly started to become slow and sluggish. I couldn't drag my thoughts out of the mire; they came slower than a log dragged through mud five feet deep. I started to stumble. My head was floating somewhere above my sights and I almost couldn't breathe.
I reached my hand up to wipe the sweat from my forehead and noticed it was paler than normal and drenched in sweat as well. My mind was fizzling. I weakly realized I hadn't been using wind to keep my body temperature down during the outburst in the slightest.

I passed out before I hit the ground.


Chaos, Clocks and Watermelons 2.5: Ashen Interlude

"I'll be fine, just get me my"

The soldier went to argue, but thought better of it.
"I-- Right away, Madam!"

I anticipated he would surpass me, but I didn't expect him to run away like that. Leave it to Quinn to be melodramatic...

I looked up and he was back in the room again, with my in his hand. I thanked him and took it.


No answer. I tried again.

"Quinn? Quinn, do you read me?"


I didn't like the look of this. At all. Something was fishy. Quinn might not be all there most of the time, but he never ignored a direct query. The annoying voice in the back of my head told me to remember the look on his face, that maybe this whole thing was deliberate, but I dismissed it. It was nothing more than an intrusive thought.
There was no doubt in my mind that something was amiss, though. I'd never seen the Black Blaze take a chaotic form like that. To tell the truth, I had no idea what it meant. I started to doubt my decision to teach him. Admittedly, he wasn't very similar to my family at all. Come to think of it, as much as I searched my memory, I couldn't think of a time I'd seen him angry about much of anything. It seemed foolish to think anyone had such little control over their emotions, but I reminded myself that my family wasn't just a regular group of people. We'd prefected the technique over generations. We were taught to control and focus our emotions at an early age. Quinn was not. There was no one else in the world that used it. I hadn't even though of what risk might be involved. I was a fool. I'd played with fire and got badly burned. I slammed my fist on the bedside table, giving the soldier a little jump.

In any case, he was powerful as Hell and there was no way I was going to lose him.

Now, for a quick interlude!

This is not particularly in the timeline yet, but I really wanted to write it. Here goes.

The brighter the picture, the darker the negative.
— Rupert Thorne, Batman: The Animated Series

It is a divesting, excrable thing to hand one's soul over to the tarantula. I've never forgotten the nightmare on earth.... And the devouring guilt.


Whereas before he had been eager to retort after every fresh insult, he suddenlt remained completely silent. The look on his face was completely blank- unnervingly so. The black flames surrounding him seemed to take that place instead, as nightmarish visages materialized out of fire, each new mask melting back into the blaze moments after their inception to make room for the next horror. Quinn charged, and Ryurei had to double-take as he noticed that the blaze seemed to move a split second before its master. He quickly brandished his katana, coating it in flame with a wave of his hand. Still fairly far away, Ryurei swung, the warm, pure fire flowing gracefully off of the weapon and straight at Quinn. He made no move to avoid it. The fire hit him, but instead of hurting, it was engulfed by the darkness and did little to nothing. Ryurei grunted in frustration, and moved to ready his weapon for physical combat.
Suddenly, Quinn shot the orange flame backwards, jumping and propelling himself forward far faster than Ryurei anticipated. He slammed into him, the black flames engulfing him and knocking the katana away before Ryurei could react. The flame did little to nothing to Ryurei due to his fireproof body armor, but the darkness of it all shut off his vision. He took a dagger from his belt and swung wildly in front of him, feeling it dig into flesh. He felt hands close around his throat and squeeze. He brandished the dagger again, aiming for Quinn's arms, but a third, solid something tore it from his hand. Quinn squeezed harder, and try as he might, Ryurei couldn't move his iron grip. Blades of air and fire assailed him, cutting into his shoulders and head. He tried in vain to gasp for air, but the little he could take in was filled with acrid smoke, burning his throat and making his eyes water. He could feel his senses starting to fail him, and began to realize this might be his last fight...

All of a sudden, out of nowhere, an iron fist connected with Quinn's face, stunning him enough to loosten his grip on Ryurei. As he was knocked back, the flames were drawn away, and Ryurei could see again. Gasping for air, he saw Alistor readying himself for another punch, and Altessa standing next to himself. It hit again, hard enough this time to knock Quinn closer back to reality. The black flames started to melt away, leaving a very dazed-looking, half on fire Quinn stumbling backwards, his eyes out of focus and the last of his blaze shield falling away from his face. Altessa threw Ryurei a gun and lent him a hand up. Alistor, driving all of his weight behind it, punched Quinn one last time in the head, stunning him enough for him to fall backwards onto the ground.


When I came to, I was greeted with Ryurei crouching over me, one foot planted firmly on my chest and a large handgun pressed hard against my chin, with his other hand wrenching the collar of my suit. He was breathing hard and blood as red as his hair was dripping from his head and pouring down his shoulder. Others I hadn't seen before were several yards away from us, but my hazed vision couldn't make them out.

"Don't fucking move, or I'll splatter that mental head of yours from here to kingdom come."


I felt like writing a quick continuation of what Kal wrote : D

"Don't fucking move, or I'll splatter that mental head of yours from here to kingdom come." Ryu pressed his heel harder into Quinn.

Quinn half struggled for a minute, trying to make out his surroundings. He felt around his jaw to make sure it was still in one piece, wiping some blood from his lip as he did so. He struggled a bit as he tried to sit up, dazed and partially confused. His attempts were thwarted by Ryu digging his heel further into his chest and pushing him back down with a dull thud and the smack of flesh meeting the floor. Quinn figured as he fell back to the ground with a grunt that he should be partially thankful; if it was Alistair who had him pinned, his ribs would have been crushed long ago.

She couldn't stand by in the shadows and watch this any longer. Loading a fresh clip into her pistol, she quietly stepped out of the shadows and placed her gun against Ryu's head.

"I've got a friend I'd like you to meet, Ryu." she pulled the hammer back on her gun with a click, "His name is Bullet, and he has a strange fascination with blowing through people's brains."

Ryu froze for a minute; he recognized that voice. But what would she be doing here...? He looked up, only to have his suspicions confirmed.



Chaos, Clocks, and Watermelons Entry 3:  El MaƱana

The distant sound of crunching wood and snapping branches finally met his ears, matching the sounds he was told about in briefings several days ago. "Get ready," he announced to the rest of his squadron, "We have no idea what this thing is capable of." He tightened his headband and resumed scanning the forest intently for the source of the noise. He thought back to what his commander had said.
"That... monster has attacked three entire camps already. There were only two survivors, the people you just heard speak... We have no idea where it is coming from and the attacks are entirely random. We are in the process of evacuating the forest... It isn't capable of attacking without fuel. But we need you to protect the rear, Edwards. We can't afford any more casualties."
Colt clenched his fists. There was no way he was going to fail his faction. There were too many people counting on him.
The smell of burnt wood began to seep through the cold night air. They could see smoke, but no fire. The squadron readied their weapons.
The forest exploded into red light. A jet of flame cascaded into existence, spurting strange tendrils of red fire and pointing away from the group. Colt paused in confusion for a split second before remembering what the monster was supposed to look like. Black fire- black?- began to cover the apparition. It shot forward, devouring a few more trees. Chunks of blackened wood reduced entirely into carbon assembled themselves over it, suspended in the blaze. The thing now looked like some sort of fiendish creature.

Could this be Magma? Colt thought. Can they control minerals like that? He shook his head. Now was the time to act. He flung his hands to his sides, allowing them to erupt into balls of blue electricity. The creature was still far away, but Colt figured a ranged assault was best anyway- he wasn't much taller than the thing's snout. He clapped the sparks together and threw them with full force at the creature. At that moment, more wood was torn up from the wreckage, forming clawed arms. It held it in the way of the blast, great chunks of wood being blasted apart from the new appendage rather than its head. It charged forward.
"Hold your ground!" Colt yelled. The squadron held up their electro-cannons and fired. It did little; the charges went right through the flames. It brought its claw down as it reached them, seeking to crush them with one swipe. They leapt out of the way, the monster instead making a huge gash in the dirt. It turned to them and roared, boasting inner depths made of burning orange-red flame. The squadron kept firing, bolts of electrical charge hitting it in the face. It raised its arms high in the air and then smashed them down, a ring of fire erupting away from the impact and speeding towards them. Colt used a charge of electricity aimed at the ground to leap over the wall of fire, but half of the squadron wasn't so lucky. Colt cried out in rage. The beast swiped at him again. He threw a huge shockwave of elecricity at the thing, its hand decimated into splinters. Unfortunately, the firey core still remained, and engulfed him. He yelled out in pain as his entirety caught on fire, but the sensation ended as quickly as it began. He opened his eyes to find himself flying through the air.... Straight into the monster's firey maw. As he flew into the creature's head, Colt could see the vague outline of a person he recognized suspended in the flames. His eyes widened in shock, just as a tongue of hellish red fire shot-

A man in black suddenly awoke from a nightmare.

Got a really amazing idea for a scenario. Gonna put it in Canon at some point but the story's not that far yet.

Tess was kneeling on the ground, frantically using her hands to do whatever she could in stopping the blood gushing from Al's wound, paying little attention to her own injuries. Suddenly, she heard a faint crackling sound from the trees behind her and turned to look, her eyes wide in terror.

The monster shot out from the trees, the great monstrosity of black smog with touches of fiendish, red flame poking through from the depths. It rushed forward in all its billowing, chaotic might, blood red fire unnaturally dripping from its maw like saliva and black smog trailing behind it in the night air. Hearing Tess, Anna rushed in the way, in between it and the twins. A strained "No!" tore from Tess' mouth, and the two collided.

Its head stopped mere inches before hitting her. The rest of the fire and smoke that made up its body continued, going forward and then snaking back around, creating a wicked mass of tentacles that whipped and circled in a whirlwind around Anna, barring any possible escape.
Can't get a clear shot... Tess thought desperately, Dragon's Snout in her free hand. Anna stood straight up, firmly in place, and stared the thing straight in the face. It roared, hellish eyes rolling and more red flame escaping its maw. The flames wrapped around her, but never touched her.
It stopped roaring and returned a glare, almost in frustration. Anna looked it in the eyes and commanded simply,
"Stop it."
Tess blinked.
The creature opened its mouth as if to roar again, but shut it abruptly, instead loosing a great, frustrated snort, sending another wave of lesser fire her way.
It reared back, away from Anna, as a strange pulse of twitchyness rocked its body and forced the tentacles to start dispersing. It shook its head wildly in apparent confusion, rearing back on its hind legs.
Tess fired her Dragon's Snout twice. The first shot grazed its right flank, the second a direct shot into the thing's right shoulder. It howled, leaping to the left, away from the group. It seemed as though it was going to hit the ground hard, but its form collapsed into a teeming cloud for an instant, breaking its fall before reforming and bolting into the darkness.

"How did you...?"

No answer.
"Anna? Hello?"
Anna said nothing. She just stared off in the direction that the beast had just ran.
Tess felt a tap on her shoulder and spun around. It was Steambot, carrying Anna's pack. He took a roll of gauze bandages from it and offered them to her. She thanked him and immediately began to bind the large gash in Al's side, forgetting about Anna for a second.
Anna began to turn around, trying to hide the obvious concern on her face.

"Alright, what's going on? How did you do that? You know something about that thing, don't you?"
Anna looked out of the bottom right corners of her eyes and ran a hand through her hair.
"It's not a 'thing,' it's a he." She looked around and seemed to make up her mind. Tess raised an eyebrow. "And I need to stop him before he hurts anyone else. You stay here with Al." She started to run in the direction of the monster. Tess called out after her, a touch of annoyance in her voice, "Wait a second! You didn't answer..."
She stopped trying; it seemed as though Anna had stopped listening to her. She sighed and continued to wait with Al for the transport.


She found him with his back facing her and the forest, situated on a gravelly beach that stretched out into a lake. She felt that it was probably deliberate, being within reach of water and out of reach of fuel to burn.
Much of the blaze had subsided. The demons had thinned significantly. While not quite as menacingly large, it now spoke of starvation and decay, making it arguably creepier than before. Even though Anna was already fully aware of the black blaze's behavior, it still made her skin creep. She wasn't sure whether it comforted her or frightened her that it was taking most of his resolve just to force himself to stand still; while she wasn't worried for her own well-being, she knew he could very well tear back off towards Tess and Al at any second. If it was any consolation, it was practice for him to learn to control it at the very least.
Anna took no pains to approach him quietly, opting instead to gently make her presence known so as not to startle it. Gravel crunching under her boots, she came up to his right side and spoke softly, "Quinn?"
The smog rippled again.
Something seemed to be confirmed to her, and she stretched her arm out towards its shoulder. She touched it gently with the tips of her fingers.

It immediately started to slowly dissolve as if touched by acid, fizzling and simmering out from where she had touched him. The thing seemed to struggle at the last second, sorrowfully tossing its head one last time as if in the throes of death. Quinn finally fell from the core of the blaze several feet in the air. Anna reached up and took his arm, wind slowly lowering him down most of the way and finally dropping down on the gravel and stumbling. Anna had his hand in hers and her other on his shoulder. He was hunched over slightly, eyes out of focus and shaky on his feet. He rubbed his eyes with his free hand.
"Anna? Are you all right?"
A weak smile came to her face.
"Yeah... I'm fine."
They both sat back onto the gravel together as Anna said, "I should be asking you the same thing. What the hell happened back there?"

Power Starved

Power Starved

A collaborative effort from the members of the Awesome Hangar forums.
Chapters by Animae, Ryurei, Kasaii, and Kaleesh (aka Felliniesque)

Power Starved.
The time is 2029, 9 years ago the world had extinguished all methods of fuel, draining all sources of oil, natural gas, and coal. In the nine years the world has gone without these resources, the worlds economy has taken a shift that the government couldn't handle. People started to riot, destroying homes, vehicles, businesses, including government buildings. The world leaders couldn't decide what to do about this problem, they gathered in a hidden government base located under the ice fields of Greenland. They all debated what resource they wanted to use to generate power for their locations, people suggested using fire; using geothermal energy to power their homes. Others suggested using water, going back to the days of water wheels, and using power turbines placed under waterfalls and in rivers. Some suggested using air and wind, powering windmills to create limitless energy. Several areas suggested using earth, extracting minerals and what little oil was left. Stormy areas suggested using lightning, using energy given from the planet itself. None of the leaders could decide on a method for the world to use, so they split up into areas using different power methods. Some areas compromised, using things in unison, such as fire and air. Leaders across the globe still believe their power choice was the right decision, so war broke out, trying to find a way that everybody could use to power the planet. Which side will you choose?

Chapter 1


“Dammit, none here either.” a young man sighed. His power supply faction had ordered all the members from across the world to group up in a new area, because the other factions knew about their old bases.

“Think this will be any good for the base?” a young girl asked him.

“We need every part we can spare, so we can find a use for that.”

“Alright, where should I put it?”

“In the truck, with the rest.”

The man was sitting around, currently supervising the operation. In the condition he was currently in, he couldn't do much.

“How was it you manged to break your arms again Al...” A girl behind him asked.

“I'm pretty sure you can tell how Tess. That freaking electric and blaze faction, a bloody pain in the ass for us, the bastard from blaze melted my left arm and that guy from electricity short circuited the other and my legs. Thank god your Dragon Snout scared the crap out of them.” Alistor sighed shaking his leg which was now functioning. “To bad I couldn't find any scrap metal that was hard to melt. Should really look around for some.”

Altessa just sighed and went back to fixing Alistor's arms. She tweaked a couple screws on Al's right arm and tapped his shoulder, signaling him to try moving the arm once more. This time the arm roared to life, spouting steam in the process.

“Better search for some water Al. Your generators are running low.” Altessa said while brushing off her dress.

“Where the hell am I gonna find water in a scrapyard? Puddles are muddy and will ruin the generators.” He paused for a bit then picked up his comlink and spoke into it, “be on the look out for some clean water guys. If you have to, strain puddle water through a cloth so theres no mud in the water. We dont need mud in my legs and arms when the mud faction is near by.”

An Older girl, around Al's and Tess' age spoke up first. “Roger that. I have some here, but not a lot. My steambot needs some too, so I'll be on the look out.”

“Roger that Anna.” Al responded, acknowledging the idea.

“Ok Al, hold still for a sec, so I can replace that arm.”

“Alright Tess, lemme sit dow- AH FRICKEN A TESS! That hurt!”

“Relax you big baby, the arms on now.”

“Hey now, I'm the older of us. Dont forget that, as much as you want I was born first, not by much, but still I'm older.”

“Still doesn't mean you act older then me.”

“...Just be quiet and help me find some water.”

The young girl walked by again, sighing, “you'd think for twins they wouldn't argue so much, but I guess they can't help but argue, can they..”

Anna's voice came over the comlink, with a bit of excitement she beamed, “Everybody! I found something we could really use! Coordinates are uploading to your goggles as I say this.”

could she have found an old generator? Tess thought to herself.

Al was the first to respond, saying “ok team, meet up at Anna's location! Alexi, be careful.”

“Hey! I'm not an idiot you know! Just because I'm young doesn't mean I'm stupid!” Alexi burst over the mic.

“Exactly, your young, you're an easy target for the other factions.”

“I found some water too Al, I have my bot filled up now. Once you guys get here, I'll be leaving. I'm sending the bot to guard Alexi, just to be safe.”

“Roger that Anna.” Alistor said.

It didn't take long for everybody to reach Anna's location, however Al's generators were running on almost nothing.

“Give the water to Tess please Anna, so she can refill my generators, I'm running on empty here.” Anna did as she was asked, and in seconds Al was back at full power again.

“Well, what did you find?” Altessa questioned with a hint of excitement. Anna pointed towards a giant pile of something, buried under a cloth and said, “this.”


“Well then, that could have went better.” a man in black sighed, igniting a fire from his finger, lighting a smoke.

“Thanks for coming Quinn, I know you usually dont interfere with others.”

“Its no trouble, just means more fun for me” Quinn replied, taking a draw from his smoke.

“I dont see how you can smoke, its bad for you, you know.” the blaze trooper said. Quinn merely opened his mouth slightly, shooting a jet of smoke forward towards a giant rock, and moments later the rock was engulfed by a giant blaze fury, and before long nothing was left to the rock, other then a few smoldering cinders.
“Thats how I can.” Quinn smiled and walked away.

Suddenly Quinn heard a loud shout and the sound of electricity flowing, Quinn knew something was wrong, he shouted out, “Blaze, step away from the tents!” the underling blaze units ran away from the tents, and Quinn ignited the lot with a cone of blaze element coming from his mouth. One tent erupted into a shower of electricity and archs of lightning flying around, shocking anything near metallic substances, leaving only the tend and Quinn standing.

Quinn waited, knowing a strong electricity faction member would emerge from the tent. To his surprise, a man not much younger then him stepped out, sparks flying form his arms.

Quinn smiled, took another draw from his smoke and shot another jet of smoke, this time engulfing the electricity faction member, the electricity member stood still and waited, thinking Quinn would strike through the smoke at melee range. “Whats your name boy?” Quinn asked. The man from the electricity faction calmed said, “Colt. But you might know me as Volt Edwards.” An expression of shock came apon Quinn's face Volt Edwards? They sent him here?! Quinn quickly wiped the shocked expression off his face when Colt asked him, “and yours?” Quinn took another draw, and said, “Rimbaud. Quinn Rimbaud, but you can call me the Man in Black, for your final minutes.” Quinn snapped his fingers and tendrils of blaze struck the area where Colt stood, Quinn smiled and begun to turn around, when a bolt of lightning flew by his face and struck the car behind him. “Glad to meet you, Mr. Man in Black, but I plan to stick around for awhile.” Quinn turned back to see Colt encircled by an electric storm. Cursing under his breath he then smirked and said, “this should be fun.”

Chapter 2


“Not bad boy.” Quinn sharply remarked. not many people survive that attack, guess hes really as good as they say. Quinn snapped his fingers again and fire started spinning in a circle around himself and Colt. Colt merely flicked his hair out of his eyes and started up another charge. Colt simply smiled and said, “can't say the same about you.” Striking one of Quinn's nerves, colt may have sealed his fate. Quinn lashed out firing wave after wave of intense heat at Colt. Colt threw up another storm in front of himself and charged up his blast. Quinn cursed again, knowing what that field did before, he manipulated his blaze to swarm around Colt, and not strike him. Colt took this as a chance to strike, firing a bolt in the direction of Quinn. Suddenly Colt saw multiple Quinns, Colt started to panic clones?! Sense when could people make clones in the middle of battle?! All of the Quinns started to laugh, making Colt uneasy.

“Can't take the heat Volt?” they all said in a harsh hypnotic voice. thats right, I'll take you out wit ha heat stroke. Not many people know about this, an ability blaze faction can use. Mirage clones. Quinn said to himself. Volt started to calm down, he sat down on the ground and started to channel more of his energy. Quinn took this chance as a moment to strike, exhaling another jet of smoke and firing a cone of flame at Colt. Suddenly Colt's electric storm exploded, sending Quinn's fire storm into tiny cinders. Caught off guard Quinn stepped back. “My turn.” Vold barked.


“Well, what are we waiting for?” Al said ripping the giant cloth off. Under the cloth lied a giant computer, one with multiple monitors, uncountable buttons, switches, levers, etc. Al was shocked to say the least, he knew what this computer was, it was a central mainframe that had long sense been discarded. He walked around and surveyed the old computer. He knew what they found would help them, sense none of the bases they had before never had the luxury of having such a incredible machine.

“Anna...” Al said looking her straight in the eye. “This, this is just amazing! You have to stay around and help now! The top brass will reward you, they'll name you a hero of the steam faction!” Anna started to blush. She knew she had found something her faction needed and always wanted to be a hero, but she was to afraid to accept that, feeling afraid when the time came she would fail everybody. “I-I can't.” Anna spat out quickly. She then turned around and started to run away from the group, shortly followed by her steambot. “Wa- was it something I said?” Al awkwardly questioned. Altessa shot Al a look of disapproval, she then turned around and chased after Anna. It didn't take long for Altessa to find Anna, the sound of her companion giving her away.

“Hey, you ok?” Tess asked her putting out her hand. Anna took her hand and stood up. “Your brother, he can be so, so...” “stupid?” Altessa caught her. “yes. He knows I hate staying in one place, I just can't do it.” Altessa just shook her head. “Well, why dont you just stay until the base is built, take the credit you deserve, then go out and just be a wondering hero?” Anna scratched the back of her head, then looked at her steam powered companion, who looked back at her and nodded its head. Anna nodded back to her friend and smiled at Tess and said, “Sure. Sounds good to me.” Suddenly over their comlink Al's voice could be heard, “Next time turn off your comlinks if you want to have a private chat.” In response, Steambot, Anna and Altessa facepalmed and said, “dammit..”

When they returned to the others, they could see Al was talking to a different comlink, reporting their findings. Al looked at Anna and said, “Congrats, the higher ups are happy with your find, and are ok with your lone hero idea.” Anna let out a sigh of relief and waited until Al was done reporting the find. He stood up and signaled everybody to follow him. They all returned to their vehicles and Al broke over the comlink again, responding, “Ok, the higher ups have made a truce with the Ice Faction, they're letting us build out base on the border of Alaska, that way they have protection thanks to us, and we have large quantities of water to power us.” Anna broke over next, “Roger that Al. Hope they have some winter coats for us up there.” she replied. Al only laughed and said, “Yeah, sure hope they do. Can't let these generators freeze up on us.”

Chapter 3


The members of Steam Faction were driving for several hours, when they noticed a giant mass of fire and electricity in their path. “Talk about the after math of a fight. Blaze and electric really made a mess of here” Alistair noted as they slowed down to look for a path around the destruction. They weren't looking long when two strange people were fighting near them. A man from Blaze, and a man from Electricity. The two stopped fighting for a second as they saw Alistair and his sister, at the same time Quinn and Colt said, “you two?!”

Al started mucking around in his truck, finally finding some unfinished combat plating Altessa had made during the drive. Altessa turned to Alistair and nodded, they knew they had to fight. Quinn turned to Colt and said, “how about we take care of these two before we continue our fight?” Colt nodded and said, “good idea Mr. Man in Black. That girl there is a real pain.” Altessa started to flare at Colt, he never went out and said it, but she knew he was calling her a bitch. She pulled out her Dragon's Snout and a sawn off shotgun she made awhile back and screamed, “come and get it, Dolt Edwards!” Colt simply smiled and laughed, “that the best you got, Ms. Steam Whelp?” “Thats Steam Banshee to you, you bastard!” Tess screamed back. Alistair turned to the other members of Steam Faction and said to them, “get out of here. If anybody is going to die for Steam, its going to be the Twins of Death.” Anna nodded and drove off, Alexi in the back of her car. “think they'll win, Anna?” Alexi asked nervously. Anna shook her head and said, “I hope so. Let the Steam Guardians look over them.”

“Well then, Man in Black, your fighting me, not my sister.” Alistair said adjusting the combat plate. Quinn nodded and him and Al walked to the other side of a pile of rubble. “This shouldn't take long, last time we fought you were out in seconds, steam punk.” Alistair just glared at him, “that was just a lucky shot Quinn, won't 'appen again.” letting his accent take his words. Quinn laughed at Al's words and lite a new smoke. “Shall we start?” Quinn asked. “with pleasure.” Alistair said, popping some of his mechanical fingers, appearing to crack his knuckles. Quinn was the first to strike, shooting a jet of flame towards Al. Alistair changed his left arm into a cannon and let out a quick laugh. “Thanks for the help Quinn!” he screamed, shooting a blast of water at the blaze. Steam erupted everywhere, filling the area with a scalding mist. Quinn jumped out of the steam cloud, “God dammit!” he shouted at the top of his lungs, losing sight of Alistair. Al quickly jumped out of the steam cloud, punching Quinn square in the stomach. Quinn let out a grunt of pain, not realizing how strong Al was. What is this? I thought Steam Faction hardly ever fought? How can this guy be so strong? All hes wearing is a bulky gauntlet. Al shot a blast of steam from his hand, launching Quinn into the rock behind him. “Wondering how I'm so strong?” Alistair taunted Quinn. Quinn spat out a bit of blood, slowing standing up. “How can you be so strong?! I destroyed that arm of yours, how do you still have it and feel no pain?!” Alistair laughed, “Guess its true, nobody knows about me, only my sister.” Quinn was puzzled. What is he saying? Alistair took off his coat, revealing his shoulders. “W-what?” Quinn questioned. “I'm not all human anymore, Quinn. Melting my arm did nothing, I only had to make another.” Quinn was furious, he thought Alistair would be an easy fight, not a mechanical brute that he actually was. “A couple of years ago, I was working on a new generator model for my faction, when somebody turned the generator on to test it, unknowing I was fixing some panels. My legs were sucked into the generator blades, cutting them off just above my knees. I crawled out, riving in pain, but my arms were damaged by loose wires. Before I replaced them, I built myself a pair of mechanical legs, then my sister made me these arms, they put me into surgery, cut off my arms to my shoulders, and replaced them with what you see before you. I'm a walking Steam Engine, Quinn.” Quinn's jaw dropped, now connecting the dots. Thats how he shot that blast of water, it all makes sense now! Quinn took a draw from his smoke, and blew a cloud at Al. Alistair knew what was about to happen, Quinn was going to try and finish him quickly. Alistair transformed his arms into a different state, one where holes were visible everywhere, with steam slowly pouring out of them. Al started to make his generators work harder, building up a large quantity of steam. Quinn fired his blast at Alistair, with a look of anger on his face. Al took the blast full on, and Quinn smiled. When the flame started to die down, a shadowy figure stood in the blaze where Alistair had been standing moments before. When the flame completely died down, there stood Alistair, his arms in front of him, with the combat plating glowing red hot. Quinn shocked again shouted, “How?!” Alistair laughed and spat out some steam from his arms. “Moisture Barrier.” Al smirked. “I'm use to high temperatures, but your blaze element is an exception. I had to throw up a wall of steam to get your heat to back off. You know, shooting a cone of flame at somebody is a bad idea, you can't see your opponent, thats how I fired that water cannon before, and you never seen how I did it.” Quinn started shooting flames from his ears, showing he was overly frustrated. “I dont need tips from some punk whos title is non-existant!” Quinn blared. He knew he was right though, He never seen Colt's electric storm, Alistair shooting a blast of water, and just then, a wall of steam. Quinn wrapped some of his blaze element around his arms, he wasn't the best at close quarters fighting, but he had to try something. Quinn rushed in, firing waves of fire at Alistair, making him move around. Suddenly, Quinn noticed something, a hole in the ground, an abandoned gopher hole. He noticed there was one near him as well, so he smiled. Quinn threw a giant wall of fire at Alistair, blocking Al's view of Quinn. Quinn then bolted it toward the hole near him. When he made it, Quinn fired a concentrated blast of flame into the hole. Quinn saw Al fly through the wall of flame, his clothes smoldering, and a hole in the back of his shirt. Alistair stood up, sighing slowly, “well, you said before you never heard of my title, thats because of a reason. As Alistair I dont have one, as somebody else, I'm one of the Twins of Death, the other, thats a secret.” Twins of Death? Ah, thats right, the twins that destroyed a high fraction of the northern fire faction, but the other one? What could it be? Quinn said to himself. Al spun his arm, rotating his shoulder in a windmill style, then tilted his head left to right. Alistair charged at Quinn, punching Quinn in the stomach again, but Quinn swung back this time and slammed Al right in the jaw. Both fell over, slowly trying to get up. Alistair turned his arm into a blade this time, stood up and charged at Quinn. Quinn was still standing up, when Al tackled him into the ground, punching Quinn in the side of the head, then held the blade to his throat. Alistair was breathing heavily now, barely able to say his words. “G-give up Quinn. I know you're out of breath too, smoking sucks when trying to last in a fight, huh?” Quinn put his hands up over his head, showing he surrendered. “Al took in a deep breath and said, “go back to your base. You've lost, now leave us to our work in peace.” quinn nodded, still out of breath. Alistair quickly got off of Quinn, allowing Quinn to breath easier, without the weight of Alistair's metal limbs putting pressure on his chest. Quinn stood up slowly, and walked off, rubbing his stomach, and coughing on occasion.

Alistair let out a sigh of relief, “didn't think that'd work.” He said out loud. He walked over to where Altessa and Colt were set to fight. To his disbelief, they hadn't started. Altessa saw him in the distance and said to Colt, “hey, one Volt Battery, lets get his show on the road.”

Chapter 4


Colt let out a quick smirk, “Alright, dont blame me when your on the ground, begging to be set free.” Alistair let out a yawn, he was tired after that fight with Quinn. man, in this form I can hardly beat Quinn, and he was tiring from fighting Volt. Thank god he was, or I woulda been screwed. Alistair let out another sigh and said to Tess, “dont take to long, I'm dehydrated after that fight with the Man in Fricken Black.” Altessa rubbed her temples and threw a camel back at Alistair, “ 'Drink' up.” she said. Alistair laughed and started to take a drink. He stood up and walked back to his truck, opening the cap he had on his truck and climbed inside. Once inside he pulled out a socket wrench and a screw driver and tightened up the loose screws and bolts on his arm. “Now that thats out of the way.” Volt smirked, firing up his energy. Altessa just rolled her eyes, aim her pistol at Colt and said, “this bithc has some 'bite', dont think about pissing me off any more, or you'll see how hard this 'bite' is.” the look on her eyes changing from their normal bubbly state, to a state that could make a rabid wolf back away in fear. Colt being completely oblivious to this fired off a blast, Tess disappearing in a cloud of steam fired form her trusty pistol. bad idea Steam Banshee. Steam is water, water conducts electricity. You're doomed. Tess was suddenly in Colt's face, shotgun forward. Colt barely had time to react, just barely dodging the point blank encounter his face had with Tess's shotgun. Colt wiped off the side of his face, noticing a bit of blood. not fast enough.. interesting Steam Banshee. Tess cursed under her breath, “gotta be faster.” she quietly said. Tess then aimed her pistol forward and fired, sending her back a distance from Colt. “Thought you were a good shot Altessa Shinigami? You missed me both times.” Altessa smiled, pulling out a series of mechanical like pieces and slamming them onto her pistol. Altessa stuck out her tongue at Colt and aimed the “new” weapon at him. “Oh, I'm a good shot alright, why do you think I came back here?” Colt was confused, but suddenly he felt a sharp pain in his shoulder. Cold looked to see what was wrong, the pain getting more intense, he could see why he was feeling so much pain now, a hole the side of 3 fingers was lodged in his shoulder. He then looked back at Altessa, and saw her laughing uncontrollably. “Told you I'm a good shot!” Colt quickly sealed up the wound, preventing it from bleeding and causing further problems. When did she shoot? I never heard the sound of her gun go off. Altessa started to laugh more now, she knew Colt couldn't hear her gun fire. Her gun was steam powered, gun powder she only used in her other weapons, not Dragon's Snout. Colt ran towards Altessa, sparks flying from his arms, “Since your a sniper, I bet you can't take a punch!” he balled, punching Tess square in the jaw. Tess lay there on the ground, flinching form the energy filled punch Colt had just hit her with. Colt walked over to her and charged a blast, he was goint to shock her into giving up some information. He shot the energy at Altessa, her screams filling the area. Alistair jumped out of his truck to see what was happening.”

“Tell me where your new base is, Steam Banshee.” Colt said calmly. Altessa still screaming looked in the direction of Alistair. Al had his hands over his throat, pretending to scream. Tess got the signal and did the same, her screams hitting a deafening tone. Colt clapped his hands over his ears, riving in the pain of Altessa's screaming. Altessa stood up, laughing once again, Colt tired to walk towards her, but fell over in the process. He cursed, but couldn't hear himself. Tess pulled out a pen and some paper, scrawled some words on it, handed Colt the note, blew a kiss at him then walked away. Colt read the note, “Momentary Deafness. Your body is majorly off balance. Good luck moving anytime soon. Ms. Steam Banshee.” Colt slammed his fist on the ground as he watched Alistair and Altessa drive away. “We got to improve in his form.” Alistair said. “Agreed.” Altessa said.

Chapter 5


Quinn wasn't very impressed. He let Alistair beat him, an unknown to most of the world fighter had beaten him. He was at the head base for the Blaze Faction, waiting to talk to the head of his Faction. Horus rolled by, right when Quinn finished his pack of smokes he was called in.

“You'd better buy me a new pack Madam.” Quinn said to his “Boss.” There stood a tall slender woman, with jet black hair that was down past her hips. She was tanned, a feature you couldn't pick out to well in the dark room, lite only by a brazier in the middle of the room.

She turned to Quinn and put her hands on her temples, “Quinn, really? I can't help it you smoke like and old incinerator.” She walked closer to Quinn and said, “Now, what are you really here for?”

Quinn bowed his head to her, “sorry about that, Madam Ash. I bring some bad news. I couldn't find the location of the Steam Faction's new base. One of the Twins of Death caught me off guard and defeated me in a duel.”

Madam Ash's eyes widened, she looked at Quinn and said, “One of the Twins of Death?! Where are they now?!”
“Madam, I'm not sure. Alistair, the oldest of the two threw me off a cliff and I didn't see where he went. He could be anywhere by now. If you dont mind me asking, why do you care about them Madam?”

Madam Ash turned away, “they killed m family in the attack 5 years ago. My mother, father and sister, all that happened to me were these burns.” she said, pushing up the sleeves on her gown, revealing Steam shaped scars. “Tell you what Quinn, seeing as you lost to those kids, I'll train you myself. You will learn Madam Ash's Black Blaze, and make it your own.”

Quinn put his hand over his mouth, “Madam, I can't, thats your famil-”

“My family is dead Quinn, didn't you hear what I just said?”

Quinn fiddled with his empty cigarette pack and said, “Ok, I'll do it, and I'll take revenge for your family, and restore your honor.”