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They will kill us to defend their perceived advantage. The only way to change their minds is to destroy them.

  • Captain Chaos

 

4 Hours Later - Doc-Danger - Alien Planet (Diner)

We're back at the breakfast joint. Not sure why. Couldn't think of anywhere better to go.

Nobody’s hungry. We order some drinks to pay for the table.

We sit. We drink. Every so often, I decide to leave, then I remember I have nowhere to be. So, we sit and we drink.

It slowly starts to sink in that the mood in the diner has changed. There’s no families jabbering and stuffing their kids. They’ve been replaced by quiet, capable looking lads and lassies. They’re very… present. Chill, but alert.

I look out the window, and see a similar scene. No more morning traffic. Calm, tough looking mother fuckers loitering in it’s place. Looks like we’ve attracted the welcome wagon.

I figure if I sneeze the wrong way I’ll get a hundred warp-swords shoved up my ass. I’m not worried, but I do wonder why they think we’re worth watching. I look down at the empty beer cans littering the table. Right. They don’t serve beer in space. I’ve been calling them from nothing. I shouldn’t have done that. I’ve been scaring people. Didn’t even notice. Forgot.

“Hey…” I cough. Haven’t spoke in a while. “Hey, guys. Sorry.” I wave. “We’re just passing through. Didn’t mean to… Didn’t mean for this to happen.”

The waitress walks over. “Do you need anything?”

“Just a place to sit.” I say. “But, there’s lots of places to sit. We’ll get out of here.” I rise.

She hugs me. Pushes me back down. “This is an excellent place to sit. You sit here as long as you need to. Don’t worry. We’ve got your back.”

I nod. Sit.

The day passes into night. Nothing much changes. High Roller calls up a few rounds for the crowd, and everybody drinks a little, but most nurse their drinks, and the atmosphere of watchfulness never wavers.

At sunrise, Fox pulls his Fresh Start pump out of his pocket. Taps out the empty cartridge, and reloads it. Grimaces as he turns it back on. Then he speaks.

“I’m giving God Machines to the Warpers.”

I nod. “Only volunteers. There’s gonna be a hell of a fight. I’ll call Stinger. She’ll know where to start.”

Fox nods. “Okay.” He nods again. “Okay. We should split up. Better our odds.”

“Agreed.” I clutch my brow. “We’re playing to win, right?”

They nod.

“One of us has to figure out what’s next.” I pull out the data crystal. Turn to Eve. “I was going to give this to the smartest person I know. That’s you now. Somewhere in here is the answer. You just have to put it together.”

She takes the crystal. Looks at me.

“Also, don’t take too long.” I say. “Because we’re gonna be getting our asses kicked.”

Eve gives me a little smile. The Man in the Mask spins, crushes her skull. Smashes the crystal. I’m frozen, can’t move. He’s holding me somehow. High Roller and Fox are frozen too. The Warpers in the diner lunge, stab at the Masked Man with warp-swords, pop like soap bubbles as they connect. More warp in. Hundreds. Thousands. All die. High Roller’s loose. Hammers the Man in the Mask. Gets slapped aside. Knocked through the building and a good chunk of the city. Fox is loose. WHY CAN’T I MOVE!! I flash through every body autonomy trick I have. Fox and the Masked Man lock in. Reality gets very iffy. The local potential plummets to near nothing. Warpers are still charging, dying. High Roller’s back, hammering. I STILL CAN’T MOVE!! HOW IS HE HOLDING ME!! Fox is fading. ARRRAHH!!! I rip open Pandora’s Box. Let loose every evil thought I’ve ever had.

The Man in the Mask shudders, disappears. Fox and High Roller look at me. Horrified. We’re floating in space. Did we warp? No. The planet is gone. I killed all the Warpers.

“What did you do?” Fox is pointing at nothing. Nothing. Nothing. The stars are all gone.

Oh no.

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Doctor Zero

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