Friday, August 9, 2013

Chapter 1.8: Colony Collapse Disorder


Crux breathes a sigh of relief--Polaris has safely teleported away. Now it's up to him to erase the transport log so the Commander cannot trace Polaris's destination. Of course, the first logical place to look is Lucky Palms, but the Hegemony does not always follow the most obvious path.



 

As soon as he finishes altering the transport log, the lights in the room start flashing red and a siren blares. "Fantastic," Crux mutters to himself. He must have messed up somewhere. Normally he excels at hacking, but he is slightly preoccupied at the moment. He has no way of knowing if Polaris made it to Lucky Palms safely, and he worries that something may have happened to her. He should probably teleport away himself, attempt a futile escape, but he is drawn into the hallway by sounds of a struggle.


"Take that, you fucker!" The woman from the cell, currently in a brawl with Pyxis. "Didn't your momma ever teach you not to hit a woman!?" She's being colloquial, of course--Alcyonians don't have mothers, at least not in the traditional sense. She knees Pyxis in the stomach, knocking the air out of him. He falls to the floor, gasping for breath. She kicks him again for good measure.

Crux covers his mouth. He isn't used to seeing violence. He is essentially a desk-jockey, far removed from the more exciting aspects of being part of a fascist government. The woman turns to him."You helped that other woman."

He nods.

"Now you're going to help me. And yourself, I would venture." Her presence is intimidating, "We need to teleport somewhere else. Someone triggered an alarm." Crux nods again. He knows both of them will be executed immediately if caught.

"Follow me," he gestures towards to transport room, "where would you like to go?"


"Oh, I don't know, fucking Sunlit Tides? Just pick a place, nerdhole, and let's get out of here." They can hear people moving in the hallway--security is advancing on them.

"Right," Crux sets the transporter for the last location, before Lucky Palms of course. Bridgeport---perfect. Perhaps the Commander will believe that he sent Polaris there instead. He initiates transport.

A wasteland materializes before Crux's eyes: tall, grungy buildings reach up, scrapping at the smoggy sky. He can smell rot blowing in from the ocean.


"Bridgeport," the woman replies, "perfect. I just left this hellhole." Crux looks at her quizzically. "I was stationed here. C'mon. They're probably already looking for us."

"Of course," he replies. It feels instantaneous, but teleporting can take quite a long time. Transmissions, on the other hand, are much quicker. The Commander could have already alerted someone about their transport. "Wait," he yells after her. She is already sprinting up a hill.


She stops in front of an abandoned warehouse. "We should take cover," she reasons, "this'll do." The front door is locked, but she easily picks it. I suppose she picked the lock on her cell door, he reasons, I told Commander Eridanus we should not use such primitive locks.



They wander in. Dust and mold smothers the air, causing Crux to cough pitifully. "Lovely," he says, grimacing at the debris and grunge.

"Don't be a pussy--it'll keep us off the street," she leans against some boxes. "So, we  got nothing but time now. What's your name?"

"Crux."

"Lyra," she replies, "pleased to meet you an all that."


"Lyra...you are an agent? I recall reading your file once, when Commander Eridanus first chose me for my post."

"Former agent. I was stationed here, in Bridgeport. It's a hotbed for unnatural activity, so Commander Eridanus had me observing some of the phenomena."

"What happened?"

"He accused me of becoming involved with the Resistance."

"Resistance?" Crux is confused--he thought he was well-versed in Alcyonian politics, but this is unfamiliar territory.


"You're kidding? You don't know about the resistance?" she asks in disbelief, "I guess it wouldn't last long on Alcyone, but yes, there's a Resistance. There's a ton of agents in Simnation, and some of them don't seem to like what the Hegemony is up to. So they formed a Resistance. They fancy themselves heroes--swear they're gonna take down the Hegemony. They're human sympathizers."

"And you are part of this Resistance?"

Lyra laughs, "No, but I thought you were--helping that foxy lady back there. She seems Resistance-y. I'm not involved with them. I did gamble, and I accrued some wealth, but I didn't think that'd lead to the Commander having his goon beat my face in."

"He does appear to enjoy causing pain to others," Crux recalls when the Commander assigned him to Polaris's case. He savored Crux's discomfort at seeing Polaris in compromising positions.

"Yeah, and I have a theory--ever notice that the Commander only supervises female agents? We're not supposed to get involved or anything, but I'm pretty sure he picks pretty girls for himself." The thought leaves a bad taste in Crux's mouth. He's unsure of what to say next, so an awkward silence overtakes them.

After a moment of rest, Crux decides to explore the warehouse. "We must be entirely aware of our surroundings," he explains.

"Tell me about it," Lyra mutters, following him. They happen upon a cavernous room. Boxes and pallets litter the floor, and an imposing, rusty elevator stands opposite the door. It seems odd.


"Where could this lift go," Crux wonders aloud.

"Probably up and down," Lyra examines her claws. Crux ignores her and pushes the button. Whirring, and then a ding: the elevator has arrived. Crux doesn't hesitate--he enters, and she follow, possibly out of a sense of camaraderie. They're in this together.

"Please state your destination," a mechanical male voice bellows as the doors closes.

"B1," Crux says confidently. Lyra looks at him in surprise. The elevator begins to churn."Just a guess," he whispers.


"This does not bode well," she says. The elevator comes to a halt. As the doors screech open, Lyra stares out. Skeletons stare back. "Fuck...of all the warehouses in all the towns in all the world, we walk into the one with a secret Alcyonian base in it."

"Odd," Crux says, stating the obvious. The venture out into the room. It's lined with windows that and glass doors. There are electronic locks on the doors: they are prison cells, and rather fancy ones at that.


"What is this place?" Lyra asks as she examines one of the skeletons.

"I am not quite sure. It appears to be a testing facility, obviously Alcyonian. I would guess those skeletons are authentic human skeletons for the purpose of study," he replies as he inspects some of the equipment through a window.

"Guess it sucks to be human."

"Indeed. I am not quite sure what they are studying, though. "

"I thought you were some hoity-toity command type. Wasn't it your job to know everything?"

"No, that was not my duty. I was familiar only with my cases--that is, the agents under my observation and their contexts."


"What are you doing here," a raspy voice demands from behind them. They both whip around. An old woman in black is glaring at them. "Identify yourselves immediately!"

"We are...new here. We are here to assist you with the experiments," Crux lies. Lyra gawks at him.  Like that is going to work.

"You must be the fugitives," the woman hisses, "Commander Eridanus sent word of you. I will have you know that guards are combing the area for you and--"


Lyra lunges at the woman, punching her in the face. Again, Crux is surprised by the violence. "Shut up, you old bat," Lyra growls, "I don't have the patience for this shit." The woman tries to turn and escape, but Lyra pins her to the floor.

"Got any questions for her, Crux?"

"What do you mean?"


"This is the part where we interrogate our hostage, idiot," Lyra grunts as the woman struggles, "Stay down or I will snap your fucking neck." Crux doesn't doubt her, and it seems the woman doesn't either. She freezes.

"Are there other workers here?" Crux asks.

"All others left the facility in search of you. I am the only one present at the moment."

"What is the purpose of this facility...erm...madam?" Crux had been taught to respect elders.

"We are examining anomalous physical and mental attributes," the woman replies. Crux can tell that she desperately wants to live.

"To what end?"

"Alcyonians exhibit latent higher brain functions--such as telepathy and limited precognition--but we do not know how to unleash this potential. The secret may be hidden in the genetic code of other species. We believe interspecies reproduction or splicing may yield preternatural abilities. Now, I beg of you: let me ggg--" The woman is interrupted by a sickening crack--Lyra has snapped her neck. Her body instantly goes limp. Crux feels bile rise in his throat.


"Why did you do that? Do you have no respect for life?" He demands, feeling faint.

"I have respect for my life. She was going to call for help if we let her go. I want to live, so she had to die," Lyra reasons. Crux wants to continue the argument, but is interrupted by a muted voice coming from one of the cells.


"Hey--in here! Help! Please!" Crux and Lyra peer into the room. A male human is strapped to a chair inside. A round device is placed over his head, shooting bolts of electricity into him. He looks uncomfortable, but happy to see some (possibly) friendly faces.


Lyra sighs. "How about we just leave him here?" Crux looks at her in disbelief. She is just full of sadistic surprises.

"What?! That is cruel--the poor thing is obviously suffering!"

"Yeah, I'm suffering, lady!" the man protests loudly.

"Crux, they are lower beings. They can't feel pain."

"Preposterous. We know for a fact that many lower beings feel pain, regardless of inferior intelligence."

"I can hear you..." the man interrupts their bickering.

"Fine," Lyra spits, "but we can't keep him. Go check the rest of the floor, see what else is around. Maybe we can find some supplies. I just hope there aren't any more stupid humans that need saving," she glares at Crux for effect before entering the room.


"So can you get me out? Oh, and good job on the hag. She was quite the thorn in my side," the man is babbling nervously.

"Shut up, imbecile," she examines the machine, trying to decide how to work it. She finally pushes a few buttons. The machines whirrs and lifts the dome from his head. His restraints snap open.

"Thank the maker," he exclaims, "I've been in that thing for hours."

"I don't care."


"Thanks anyway, doll. You're my knight in shining armor," he leans over her, smirking, "What's your name?" She notices that his eyes are two different colors. Intriguing, but it doesn't redeem him from his inferiority.

"Sorry, you're not my type," she scoffs, "and that's close enough."


Lyra pushes his face, intending to shove him away. With a flash, his body turns a transparent blue. Her hand moves right through him, and she falls forward. She knows he's there--she can see him, or a specter that looks like him--but  she moves right through him. She picks herself up off the ground, stunned.


"You--you're not human!"


"Oh, because a guy can go intangible, he's not human. Real nice, doll. Did you ever think that there's some extenuating circumstance regarding my ability? Or are you too wrapped up in your preconceived notions of what a human should be?"

She can't tell if he's joking. "What the hell are you going on about?"

"There's another prisoner here," he changes the subject abruptly. His body flashes between solid and ethereal, "we have to help her." He walks through the wall. Lyra sighs, wondering what she has gotten herself into. It was just gambling, for maker's sake!


Crux has already found the other prisoner during his exploration the facility. She is hiding under a cot in a darkened cell. He can hear her muttering, though it's faint.

"Ten then nine then eight then seven then six then five then four then three then two. Now two. Two. When will we become one?" She seems to be focusing, though on what he can't tell. He hardly registers the strange man phasing through the glass, he's so focused on the monochromatic woman. The amazing phasing man crouches down next to the muttering woman.


"I'm here, Lily," he says softly.

"Mercury?" she crawls out from under the cot, "Mercury! it's you." She tilts her head as she looks at him. "I thought you were gone. Forever gone. I couldn't see you."

"There are people here. Your kind of people. We need to go now--they're going to help us," he explains.

"We are?" Lyra looks at Crux. She snuck up behind him while he was watching the unfolding scene. "Did you offer to help them?"

"No, but we should. There is something wrong with her. Besides, this is....unwarranted."

Lyra scoffs, "you work for the Hegemony. This kind of shit happens all the time. You can't tell me the sight of a couple of loonies is making your heart bleed."

Mercury turns around and looks pleadingly at Crux, "I need you to use the door to unlock the panel, please. I can phase out, but Lily can't."


Crux immediately obliges, causing Lyra to scoff again. "I can't believe this," she grumbles.

"If you do not agree with my decisions, leave," Crux says crossly, "I will have no more of your tomfoolery and dissent."

Lyra is silent. She doesn't like what's happening, but she knows that Crux might be useful. Besides, it's good to have a partner when on the lam. The lock clicks, and Mercury ushers Lily out of the room. As soon as they exit the cell, the lights in the hallway turn red.


"Gee, this is awfully familiar," Lyra states.

"I must have tripped an alarm," Crux says, cursing himself. He used to be good at sneaking around, though it was a lot easier when he was simply hacking Simnation databases to find out information about his beloved's significant other.


The Commander's face appears on a nearby viewscreen. "Really, Crux? Helping prisoners and criminals escape? I hope you realize that this will negatively affect your tentative promotion."

"Euuugh, this guy," Lyra moans. Crux agrees with the sentiment.

"Commander Eridanus. I assume you have some sort of monologue prepared," Crux tries to sound calm.

"I did, but I think I will just leave you with a startling fact: I have just set the auto-destruct sequence for the facility. I would tell you how long until it detonates but...really, it is no fun if I do that."

"Run," Crux yells, though everyone is already bolting for the elevator. The Commander's mechanical laughter echoes through the facility. They pile into the elevator, everyone hoping it will work. Crux closes his eyes forcefully, preparing for the imminent explosions and his oblivion.  "Ground floor," he commands. The elevator lurches upward.


"Whoa," Mercury exclaims when the door opens. A woman clad in black leather is blocking the doorway. She holds a gun in her right hand and has a twisted smile plastered on her face.

"You aren't planning on leaving, are you?" she purrs, "The party is just about to start."

"Fucking fantastic," Lyra mutters, "and I suppose you're some kind of assassin."  When will the tropes stop?


"Quite astute. Eridanus is over you, Lyra. He has a new obsession," the woman remarks, "so I can kill you however I see fit. You, on the other hand," she swivels towards Crux, "you could prove useful. Eridanus really wants Polaris, and you know where she is. I'll take you alive, provided the pesky explosion doesn't kill you first. Your friends are dead, though."

"You will perish, too," Crux points out, "explosions are not discerning about their victims."


"No I won't." Her response is confident, matter-of-fact. She aims her gun and pulls the trigger three times in rapid succession, laughing wildly. She definitely embraces the cliché role of femme fatale. Everyone dives for cover, save Mercury. His body flashes between spirit and flesh, accommodating the wild bullets. He looks around at the chaos in confusion.

"Why are you not dead," she pouts, "silly human."


"Guess I'm playing the hero this time around," Mercury sighs. He crouches forward and steadily advances on the wild woman. Lyra peeks over the crate she has hidden behind. She watches him in amazement: he rapidly shifts between solid and intangible, creating an eerie glow. She wonders if he can only stay intangible for short periods of time. In a split second, he seems to teleport from in front of the woman to behind her. He kicks her in the small of her back, causing her to tumble to the center of the room. Her gun slides out of her hand and skitters underneath a pallet, out of her reach.


"Please stay down, doll," he says as he rubs his neck, "and let me and the others leave. No need for violence." Lyra notices that he appears tired.

"Neat trick," she gasps as she picks herself up off the floor, "but I'm in the mood for a little violence." She leaps to her feet.  Mercury moves clockwise around the room, trying to get her back to the door.

"You're not gonna fight me hand-to-hand, are you?" His tone changes from calm to accusatory, "seems like an impractical outfit for that."

"Oh, you have no idea what you're in for," she replies with a smirk. She kicks at him, aiming for his chest with her stiletto heel.


"Gee, you almost got me," he taunts as her foot ineffectively whizzes through him. She frowns and continues to pummel the air with punches and kicks. Mercury laughs at each miss.

Lyra sees her opportunity and dashes past the elevator towards Crux and Lily. "He's distracting her," Lyra whispers.


"Yes, I can see that," Crux turns to Lily. She has her ears covered, but her bizarre eyes are wide open, as if she can see what is behind her. "We need to try to get out of here, Lily. Lyra will go first, towards the door. You follow her, and I will be right behind you. Once you are out of this room, run."

"Oh, of course I'll go first, Crux. No problem-o. I really do want to die first," Lyra mutters. Crux shoots her a dirty look.

Mercury continues his awkward dance with the assassin. "You're a brave one," she sneers, "I should ask Eridanus if I can keep you," The woman is watching Mercury carefully--she knows she can't telegraph her next move. She fakes a punch, then kicks upward instead. She catches him as he flickers between solid and intangible, her foot connecting with his face. She has succeeded in hitting him, but fails to notice her targets are creeping past her.


"Oof," Mercury tries to phase, but he is too stunned. He isn't used to being hit, and his body glows ineffectively.


"But you're also kind of a one trick pony, and not a very good one at that. I'm not quite sure I want to keep you after all," she laughs as she kicks him again. He flies towards the wall and phases just in time, disappearing into the night.

The woman in black turns around. "Now for the re...hey, where did you go? I'm not done killing you yet!"


Crux scrambles towards the exit. Lily and Lyra are already out of the building--they took his order to run to heart--but he delayed to see if Mercury would succeed. He hears the click of the woman's heels behind him. Blast--how can she run so quickly in those damned heels?

"Wait for me, Cruxie," she giggles as she bounds after him, "that's what Polaris calls you, right?" Crux snaps around. She pauses. "Oooh, hit a nerve there? Wanna chat about it? I think we have a few seconds."


"Such tricks will not work on me, slattern" he growls. With all his might, he kicks her in the stomach, pushing her up and into the air. She soars across the room, colliding with a stack of crates . Crux turns and makes it out of the door into the wet night.


Mercury is resting against a chain-link fence, obviously unconscious. Crux pauses momentarily as he exits the warehouse--the logical part of him screams KEEP RUNNING, but he feels indebted to the human for distracting the assassin. "You think an intangible man would be lighter," he grunts as he hoists Mercury over his shoulders.


Carrying Mercury hinders Crux, causing him to walk at half speed. It seems he made it out just in time, though. With a deafening boom, the warehouse detonates. Flames pour out of the windows and debris flies past him, barely missing him. He doesn't dare look back.

Crux stumbles for a moment, trying to figure out where to go. He scans the horizon, looking for Lyra and Lily. He makes out the outline of another behemoth warehouse, and decides to look for them there.


Lyra and Lily are waiting in front of the warehouse. "Thought you were dead," Lyra jeers, "thanks for finally showing up." Crux lays Mercury on the wet ground. His eyes immediately snap open, and he jumps up, brushing himself off.

"I guess we made it out okay," Mercury says as he looks around.

"Obviously," Lyra rolls her eyes. Mercury glares back at her, annoyed by her lack of gratitude. He wiggles his toes on the earth bellow, focusing on what's beneath him: it feels hollow, grimy. He can tell that they're standing directly over a sewer system.


"Well, thanks for the ride, folks. I gotta bounce," Mercury says as he phases through the ground into the sewer. He bids them farewell with a mocking salute.


"Gee, I'll really miss whatshisname," Lyra says, "now, where shall we go, fearless leader?" Crux shrugs. He's mulling over the options in his head.

"Polaris," Lily says suddenly, "Polaris. She is in Lucky Palms. She is safe," Crux stares at her.

"How do you know about Polaris?" He demands, glowering at

"No, don't hurt me!" Lily exclaims, shielding her face with her hands. "The assassin mentioned her, so I looked. I can see her. In her home." Lily's presence in the facility suddenly makes sense--after all, they were researching psychic phenomena there.

"Yes, we can go to her. Unless you know anyone else, Lyra, she is the only person we can trust," Crux surmises.

***


"So let me get this straight," Polaris says abruptly, interrupting Crux's narrative, "You teleported to Bridgeport moments after my daring escape. You discovered the only warehouse in the city populated by Alcyonians. You killed the one person there--"

"Lyra killed her, yes," Crux corrects her.

"Right, Lyra killed her. You found a strange human who lead you to Lily. Upon their escape, the Commander sets the auto-destruct sequence for the warehouse..." Polaris pauses, "Let me emphasize this: AUTO-DESTRUCT for the WAREHOUSE."

Crux looks at her blankly. Polaris rolls her eyes.

"Then you were waylaid by a sexy executioner--aka a sexecutioner--who then fought the human while you escaped. This sexecutioner is bent on finding me and presumably bringing me to the Commander. I have this correct, right?"

"Correct."

"So this woman wants me dead or captured, and you decided to come to my house. Where I live. With my three children."


"Really, three?" Crux is surprised. He had a feeling she was pregnant when he transported her to Alcyone back when the Commander and Pyxis kidnapped her; a reproductive anomaly registered on the teleporter's scan. but three children seems to be overkill. He leans forward.

"Yes, triplets. Point is, this seems like a stupid plan."

Crux looks hurt. "I thought you would be...happy."

"I am, Crux. It's just that I've built a life here. And now that life--and my children's lives--are possibly in danger because of the Commander and a crazy woman."

"She is deceased, Polaris. I am sure of it," Crux insists.

"Did you see her die?"

"No, bu--"

"No buts. She's alive until there's proof she's dead."

"I cannot see her," Lily whispers. Polaris knits her brow and stares at her.

"We think Lily can sense where other people are, but her powers seem wonky. She can't, for instance, seem to locate the Commander. Can we hurry this up?" Lyra asks impatiently. She has spent most of the conversation playing on Polaris's new laptop.

"I have failed you," Crux says quietly, "You wish I had never come here."

"I am happy to see you. And I'm happy you're safe. I just wish the circumstances were a bit different."

"As do I," Crux says bitterly, "But perhaps this will be an advantageous change. Perhaps I can find a dimwitted human companion for myself." Polaris's stomach sinks. He's still mad about Luke. Why wouldn't he be?


"Okay, lovebirds. I don't know about you, Crux, but I don't really want to crash here. The place is kind of cramped. But I got good news," Lyra smirks, "I managed to access one of my old bank accounts. It seems the Commander never got wise to it. So, I got us a place here in Lucky Palms." Polaris is relieved. She only has one spare room, and she had been afraid that she would have to shove three guests into it.

"We should leave," Crux says suddenly, "No need to bother Polaris anymore."

"But I want to hear the rest of the story," Polaris insists.


"Another day," Lily says in a dreamy voice, "I will tell you the whole story." Polaris gets a good look at her eyes for the first time and shudders.

"Do you got any spare clothes we can take with us?" Lyra asks Polaris, "We've been wearing these jumpsuits for awhile."

"Yeah, follow me," she leads them to the bedroom. Lyra quickly picks out suitable outfits for her and Lily. Crux, however, locks himself in the bathroom with a pile of Luke's old clothes. He's taking his sweet time trying them on.

"Hurry the fuck up, Crux," Lyra yells, "I'm not gonna wait around forever."

"Be patient. I am trying to find something that matches," his response is muffled by the bathroom door.


"I'm sure you look great, Cruxie. C'mon out and let's see," Polaris tries sweet-talk him, but he doesn't respond.

"Screw this," Lyra sighs, "Look, Lily is exhausted. We're gonna head to the new house. I'll write the address down for you."

"Of course," Polaris says. She's surprised that Lyra seems a bit protective of Lily--she seems like the self-centered type. "I'll make sure Crux gets there when he's done playing dress up." 

When he hears Lyra and Lily leave, Crux peeks out of the bathroom. "Are they gone?"

"Yeah. C'mon, I want to see how you look!" Crux sighs and steps out of the bathroom.


Polaris doesn't know what she was expecting, but it certainly wasn't...that. She tries to hold it in, but she starts guffawing.

"I take it I look ridiculous," Crux sounds defeated.




"Oh my goodness, I cannot believe that you chose that outfit," she is laughing so hard she is almost crying, "really, Crux? Really?? Flood pants? And that shirt?"

"I thought you would like it," he grumbles. Because you like bright colors, he thinks to himself.

"Oh, Crux. I'm sorry. I appreciate the effort, but it doesn't suit you. Want me to pick something out? Something more flattering?"

"Yes," he brightens up.

***


Luke has a skip in his step as he walks up the path to the front door. He had to pull a lot of strings, but he managed to get a few days off from his busy work schedule. He thought he would surprise Polly while the kids are at school. Maker knows things have been tense between them recently.



He is not prepared for what he sees: a purple man arm-in-arm with his girlfriend. Purple man--why does that seem familiar?

Crux, meanwhile, is in seventh heaven. "I'll walk you to your new home. It's not that far from here," Polaris says as she links arms with him, "now, try to look like a normal, odd-colored human." Her touch causes his heart to pound like a kick drum. He had initially regretted coming to Polaris's home in search of aid: she has three children with another man. Nothing positive could come of this. This moment sparks some hope.


Crux is so absorbed by Polaris's gaze that he fails to notice Luke advance on him. With a powerful swing, Luke cuffs Crux in the face, knocking him back.

"Get your hands off my woman, motherfucker," Luke growls.  Crux scrambles to his feet.

"She is not 'your woman,' you Neanderthal," Crux responds angrily, "she is not an object that can be owned or traded."


"'She' is also right here," Polaris is annoyed that they're talking about her like she's not present. She stands between the two men, separating them. "This isn't what it looks like, Luke."

"The hell it isn't. You've been sleeping with him, haven't you?!"

"Luke, stop it. You're being ridiculous," Polaris sounds tired.


"I know what I saw," Luke turns away. He stumbles forward, unsure of where he is going. He thinks he hears Polly yelling--he can make out cries for him to come back, and possibly a snide comment from the stranger, but he keeps moving. He blinks tears from his eyes and rubs them away with the back of his hand. He hears his father's voice echo in his head: men don't cry.   

***

Author's Note:  This chapter was really, ridiculously, awesomely fun to write. I really hope you enjoy it, dear readers. I love cheesy action movies, and I wanted to wrute a Crux-centric chapter at some point, so I decided to have Crux star (kind of) in his own action-y chapter.

You may recognize the assassin/Sexecutioner: it's Shaena Lansing from the Mattell Legacy! I really liked using another person's sim in my game, and I'll probably do it again at some point.

Random thoughts:
  • Initially, Sexecutioner was going to have a machine gun so I could reenact this ridiculous scene, but I knew that would be overkill.
  • Crux doesn't look back when the warehouse explodes because Cool Guys Don't Look at Explosions.
  • Mercury is human, though obviously not normal. Some of you who read the Random Legacy thread on MTS might recall that I had mentioned my idea of using ghosts for an intangible alien species, but I scrapped that idea in favor of a special snowflake human.
  • The next few chapters in my legacy will probably be more mundane. It was taxing to create sets and stage these pictures.
  • I spent hours building that stupid warehouse/testing facility. Look at it. Drink in its derelict beauty.
  • The chapter title comes from a real phenomenon that causes bees  to disappear. I have been itching to use it as a title for forever.
  • I only proofread this chapter once, so I hope everything is cohesive.
  • I realized recently that I limited comments to just people with google accounts. I changed my settings so anyone can comment, just in case someone desperately needs to.

A lot happened in this chapter, and I hope everything makes sense. If you have any questions, please ask. Go ahead...make my day. (Seriously, feel free to ask) 

38 comments:

  1. Absolutely amazing chapter. The different personalities are written so well.

    I'm really hoping Mercury shows up again, he intrigues me.

    As for Luke, I was never REALLY his biggest fan so I'm not too torn up about it... Is that bad??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I want to use Mercury again, so I can promise that he'll show up again (though it may be awhile).

      No, that's not bad. I guess I kind of made him unlikeable in the past couple of chapters.

      Delete
  2. As a huge comic book nerd, I APPROVE OF THIS CHAPTER. *nerd seal of approval applied*

    Really awesome action scenes. =D
    Shaena as sexecutioner was also awesome.

    Commander achieved a new level of creep, picking out female agents to 'oversee'. Eeeew! Just, eeeew!
    I do hope we get to hear Lily's story sometime. And Lyra was just so fun, I love her attitude.
    And I'd like to see Mercury show up gain as well.
    While I am hoping for a Crux/Polly reunion, I do feel bad for poor Luke.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. *cherishes the nerd seal of approval*

      Thank you! I had fun posing the scenes, though there's a real lack of good fighting poses. I guess I should learn to make poses at some point.

      Yes, he is soooo creepy! I get grossed out every time I write him. Lily will have a role in upcoming chapters, but I'm not quite sure how much we'll learn about her. I'm ashamed to say that she's more of a plot device and less of a character.

      Mercury will be back someday!

      I'm glad you feel bad for Luke--it seems like most people aren't very sympathetic towards him. He's been kind of a jerk, but he's not trying to be mean or anything. He's just a little dumb. (though I completely understand why other people dislike him or are apathetic).

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    2. I don't think I noticed any of Aeon's fight poses here, so if you haven't seen them:
      http://aeoverse.blogspot.com/2012/10/combat.html
      http://aeoverse.blogspot.com/2012/08/brawl.html
      http://aeoverse.blogspot.com/2012/08/clash.html
      http://aeoverse.blogspot.com/2012/11/fatality.html
      http://aeoverse.blogspot.com/2012/11/variety.html

      I have a nice collection of fight poses, let me know if you want more, =D

      I think Luke is in the unfortunate position of interfering with an OTP situation. I've seen stories where really decent, well-meaning characters in that position get called all kinds of horrible things by readers, just because they don't want the OTP messed with. So, Luke, with all his faults, stands no chance, lol.

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    3. Thanks! I have some of Aeon's other poses, but for some reason I don't have her combat poses (which seems odd--I swear I downloaded them at some point). I'm a bit worried that I'll keep using the same poses over and over. If I get the heir I want for my next gen, I'll definitely need a wide array of fighting poses. >:)

      Poor Luke. I think that's definitely the case. Initially, I was going to make him a complete jerk. I probs should have gone that route. ;)

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  3. SQUEEEE!!! This chapter was so amazing!! Like watching an action movie (You should have totally done that machine gun thing, that's hilarious, but probably hard to recreate in screenshots...)
    Shaena looked amazing! Thank you for using her! (Please can you upload her and Lily's hair colours to the exchange? I love them so much.)

    I want to know more about Mercury and Lily, and what happened to them at that facility. I'd like to know more about Lyra, but I assume the other two have more interesting stories. I'm sure we'll find out sometime.

    I'm surprisingly not feeling too sorry for Luke. Probably because he didn't give Polaris any time to explain what was going on, he sees her talking to someone and assumes they're sleeping together?! Way to jump to conclusions! (The 'men don't cry' bit made me lol :p) I do feel a little sorry for him, but totally rooting for Crux right now :D

    I wonder how they'll avoid meeting the Commander again? Will they be able to? What about the kids?

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    1. Thank you! The machine gun gag would have been a bit hard because I would have had to make my own poses. I loved using Shaena. I did use custom sliders to make her body a little juicier.

      While Lyra may be a bit ruthless, everything about her is on the surface: she's not hiding anything, whereas Lily and Mercury are harder to read because they're both a bit eccentric. I want to say more about them, but I may eventually get to their story.

      There is actually a reason that Luke jumped to that conclusion, and I hope to explain his motivations the next chapter. And root for Crux! I think he could use a little confidence right now. ;)

      Maybe a slight spoiler: they might avoid meeting the Commander for awhile, but I obviously can't just get rid of him. He's too perfect.

      I uploaded the hair colors for you. They're meant to go with Paintstroke's streaked versions of hairs:

      Lily's Hair: http://www.thesims3.com/assetDetail.html?assetId=7565177

      Andromeda's (aka Sexecutioner's) hair: http://www.thesims3.com/assetDetail.html?assetId=7565176

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    2. Yeah, Shaena is scarily thin. She gets it from her grandma Lisa. I'm glad Kaity inherited her 'father's slightly curvier figure, she looks less anorexic.

      I forgot to say how much I LOVED how you shot Mercury's scenes :D Brilliant.

      Thanks for the colours! I keep meaning to upload Winter's blue, but as he's available for download now anyone can get it already. I have a few other colours that I could upload, though. I might do that. I'm sending you a friend request, anyway. Feel free to spam me with Simfest thingies if you ever need to!

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    3. Thank you! I messed around with Mercury's scenes a lot before I settled on how to shoot it. I'm glad it came out well.

      No problemo! I had never uploaded anything to the exchange, so I'm just glad I didn't cause a server to explode or something (though uploading is pretty dummy-proof). Thanks for the friends request! I don't think I even had any friends on TS3 website. :c

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  4. Fantastic chapter! It drew me in and I was so disappointed when I got to the end. The action scenes were fantastic. I, too, am intrigued by Mercury and Lily. Where'd he go, by the way? I hope he comes back.

    Teal, I don't feel too torn up about Luke either. He overreacted and judged way too quickly and I've hadn't been rooting for him to begin with. Ugh...that he thinks he pulled strings and comes home and Polly should just be sitting there, doing nothing, waiting for him. She has a life when you're not around dude and, of course, should have friends!

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    1. Thank you! I'm sorry for ending it so abruptly. Initially I was going to write out their whole adventure, from Bridgeport to Lucky Palms, but it would have taken several chapters. I figure I can tell parts of the story as I go along.

      Last time Mercury was around a group of aliens, he was captured and experimented on (just to give you some of his background story). Right now he's presumably having his own adventure. He'll return, someday, I promise.

      It's definitely unfair of Luke to assume Polly would be twiddling her thumbs and waiting for him. I kind of based him on an ex-boyfriend who would do similar things. We were in a long-distance relationship for awhile, and he would show up suddenly at my house expecting me to drop everything (include college) for him.

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  5. *standing ovation* Wow, awesome action packed chapter. Loved it!

    Like Heaven, I was also disappointed when I got to the end. Lily, Mercury and Lyra were so interesting and like everyone else I hope for more background info on them as well. Glad to see they got a house in Lucky Palms :D would love to see them again.

    Joins team Pollux? Crolly? Polly/Crux..ah whatever I tried lol.

    Now just waiting to see what tricks the Commander will try to pull now, and he better not mess with the children, so help me...

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    1. *bows* thank you, thank you. I really appreciate it.

      Well, I'll hopefully get to say more about what happened to them when they were on the lam. Lily and Lyra will probably be fairly regular characters now that they are in Lucky Palms, but it might be awhile before Mercury returns. :/

      lol, Pollux!

      Oooh, I want to say what tricks the Commander has up his sleeves.

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  6. I loved this chapter, so full of everything happening! I wonder what the Commander is really up to and how many secret labs the Hegemony have...

    I'm looking forward to finding out lots more about Lily, Lyra and Mercury, they all seem really fascinating characters.

    Definitely going off Luke now, he keeps swanning off with his band and when he comes home and sees Polly talking to another man he gets all aggressive and starts talking about "his woman", I hope Polly kicks his ass into gear and out of her life!

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    1. Thank you! I hope to bring more light to those characters soon.

      Luke is definitely being immature, and I think really ignorant of Polaris's needs. Polly probably will have a hard time kicking him out of her life, though. The children might have something to say about that. :p

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  7. Heh, great title.

    Luke, you could have at least asked if he's her brother. Look at him. Pointy ears. Weird colors. C'mon. xD

    Great song to link to. Kind of tore away all the dramatic tension for me as I read the last bit of the chapter, since it was playing in the background, but... xD Awesome.

    Are Lily's freckles significant? Is she a hybrid? Oooh. I wanna know so bad.

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    1. Thank you! I initially wanted all of my chapter titles to be related to bees or colonies, but I quickly gave up after I realized that it would devolve into weak puns such as "The Unbearable Lightness of Bee-ing."

      Crux being her brother does seem like an obvious conclusion. I have also seriously been waiting to use that song for forever. I had to include it. ;)

      Yes, she is a hybrid. Sorry to reveal it outside of a chapter, but I probably won't reveal that for awhile and I don't want to terrorize you and make you wait.

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  8. I agree with everyone, this was a really fun chapter! :D

    If it wasn't Crux telling her the story, I might question it, or suspect embellishments.

    Luke Luke Luke. I wouldn't be mad if he wanted to run off with his band indefinitely.

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    1. Thank you! Crux definitely isn't one for embellishment, so you can trust everything he says. If Lyra had told the story, there probably would have been a few lies.

      Luke Luke Luke indeed. ;)

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  9. What caused the alarm to go off? Just the alteration of a transport record? Or was it something set up on purpose to catch Crux?

    Oh dear, so Elysia's abilities may become something very desirable for the Hegemony to study, if they became away of her existence. Lyra's belief that humans do not experience pain is ...kinda funny. If she was an agent, you'd think she'd know otherwise.

    Ah, I thought that was Shae!
    Thanks for broadening the commenting options. I always hate using Wordpress to leave comments =)

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    1. Whoops, I guess I should have been clearer. The alteration of the record is what caused it to go off. Now they know that Crux altered the record, but they can't tell how.

      Elysia definitely would be of interest to the Hegemony. And you're right, Lyra should know better but she's kind of a jerk. ;)

      No problem! I thought it might be annoying for some people who don't use Blogger or don't want to sign in every time. Thanks for reading!

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  10. Hey, I just wanted you to know, whenever I get an email about colony collapse disorder (over this weekend, I got at least two), I now think of Polaris and Crux.

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    1. Oh goodness--either thank you, or I'm sorry! I feel like bees may be angry that I have utilized them for my sims story. Today a bee flew into my face while I was walking to work. (luckily, both I and the bee were unharmed)

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  11. What a fun read! I'll gladly drink in the derelict sets, but the action was much more eye catching! And can I say how much I loved Lyra? Her no nonsense brand of dry wit was fantastic and made a nice contrast to poor Crux who was absolutely shocked to see what the Hegemony was really up to.

    And YES! Fab Crux! His outfit choice was fabulous indeed. *snort. Poor Crux, though at least it looks like he really is going to get the girl in the end! I cannot wait to see Lily again too. She almost seems childishly sweet. I kind of want to hug her and tell her it's going to be okay.

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    1. Thank you! I feel silly taking so long to build that set, because it was eclipsed by the action (which is a good thing). Lyra is definitely fun. I imagine her and Crux are sort of like the Odd Couple, except they're fugitive aliens and all that.

      I thought you would enjoy his outfit choice! Lily is definitely sweet and innocent. She might appreciate a hug, too.

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  12. This chapter was just all kinds of awesome. I love Crux and Lyra's team. Crux is totally paragon Shepard and Lyra is straight renegade. And Lily reminds me of River Tam from Firefly. Oh my god, I just loved this. Crux and his outfit, heheh-that was too cute. I'm worried what their arrival will bring to Lucky Palms, though, and how that will affect Polaris's children. Surely they can't be safe with a sexecutioner running around, and bloodthirsty Lyra stalking the streets, let alone with their dad overreacting to Crux's appearance.

    ...Heheh, but the hypotenuse in the Crux-Polaris-Luke love triangle seems like he might be gone soon. *grins devillishly*

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    1. Thank you! I had fun pairing up Crux and Lyra (not romantically, of course--they're totes platonic). His arrival will probably be a bit problematic for the Bee Brood. Sexecutioner is dead, though--TOTALLY DEAD--so she won't be coming back...or will she?? ;)

      You're definitely right--it may become a love two-way street fairly soon. *grins equally devilishly* Thanks for reading!

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  13. What a great chapter! I love the action scenes so, so much and Mercury made me laugh. Especially his exit scene. Later bro! I do hope to see him again sometime, particularly because I'm intrigued by his... condition.

    I like Lily and Lyra so far, Lyra especially. I have a soft spot for cursing, morally ambiguous, tough characters so she is probably going to catapult to favorite sim ever - assuming she doesn't do anything disastrously evil/stupid later on. :P

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    1. Thank you! Mercury is definitely the bro type (though he might say it more like "brah"). I plan on his eventual return, though I can't promise it'll be anytime soon.

      I don't think Lyra would do anything evil (she might do something stupid, since she obviously was caught by the Commander). She's definitely a real toughie, though, and I'm already imagining scenarios that can include her foul mouthed perspective. :p

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  14. You do such a lovely job at characters, I love each one of them, lol I hope to hear/see/read more about them. Very fun chapter to read. =)

    Crux! <3

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    1. Thank you! I'm also <3 about Crux. :D

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  15. All caught up now, and I love this so far. There's something refreshing in this legacy I find quite alluring, and your style is great :-).

    The action scenes in this chapter were just awesome.

    I feel so sorry for Luke, trying not to cry, poor thing..., but I'm rooting for Crux here, he's an interesting character. Now I want to know more of this.

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    1. Thank you so much! I really appreciate it. :)

      I feel bad for Luke, too. He's a bit macho sometimes, but he's still endearing. Hopefully I'll update again sometime soon. *crosses fingers*

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  16. Aaaah the brilliance of this chapter! Will continue catching up now.

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  17. Wow...you do know how to keep a person on the edge of her seat! Nice Job!

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    1. Thank you! This is probably one of my favorite chapters. :D

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