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Thread: the End of the ESF Forums (Chapters Only)

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    Default the End of the ESF Forums (Chapters Only)

    By Smith| & DiebytheSword (Cucumba)

    The End of the ESF Forums (Chapters only)
    Been thinking of typing this up for a while, and so I have! This is only the first chapter of a medium-sized story. A little small, but I hope you enjoy it .

    Chapter 1 - The Dream

    The night sky was lit up by flashes of green and flares of red. It was as though Heaven was at war with the Earth. People screamed left and right as rays of pure energy evaporated them while they ran accompanied by the sound of stomach turning poofs as their powdered remains floated in the air. One of the rays struck a building, detonating it into flames and sending it toppling down onto hundreds of fleeing civilians. Loud, mechanical stomping and high-pitched zapping sounds could be heard in the distance followed closely by screaming.

    Miles away, a giant, three-legged machine stood hundreds of feet tall over watching the chaos. Its long metallic head, shaped almost as though it was a horizontal tear-drop, contained three blinding lights which could be compared to eyes, each shining as stage lights down upon the deadly scene, and was held up by three skinny, but powerful-looking, segmented legs with three long finger-like structures at the end of each for support. Two long, skinny, tentacle-like arms protruded from under its head structure and attached to each was a thin, crescent shaped weapon. The weapons looked as though they were holding light in a stasis, ready to be released in an ultimately deadly attack. Behind it stood another one, bellowing a terrible bass roar as it unleashed its blinding weapons upon several people below it. When it fired, a stream of blueish-green shot from the crescent weapon and widened as it approached the ground, traveling almost instantly in a beam-like form. Everything it touched either poofed into powder or detonated in flame. Further behind it walked at least five more tripods, all of which were firing and killing hundreds of helpless civilians as they strode high above.

    "Please help me!" begged a young woman, powdered gray by ash, to a taller, ominous-looking man. He turned his head and glared down at her, but said nothing and instead ignited a sabre of some sort. The blade was not solid, but pure energy. It glowed black on the inside and blood red on the outside and echoed a very eery, quiet scream. He raised the saber above his head and narrowed two black slits which could barely be called eye sockets. "Please, no!" screamed the woman, backing away. "Please, don't! Please! Ple-NO!" The man lunged at her, striking the phased saber through the woman's mid-section. She let out a little "Oh.." and her entire body spasmed from pain. Blood dribbled down from her mouth to her neck, which was paling at a rapid pace. With the last of her ailing strength, she stretched out her pale, shaking arm and felt the man's face. "Cucumba..." she whispered, falling limp.

    Cucumba awoke in a deathly-cold sweat, his heart pounding in his chest at a very rapid rate. Images of his dream were still convulsing before his eyes and his fists were gripped so tightly that his knuckles were white. He sat up and turned so that his legs were off of his mattress. He leaned forward and placed his elbows on his knees followed by his face onto his hands. A nightmare...? And me the antagonist, the bad guy?

    The sweaty ex-administrator slid off his knees and stood up, his feet stepping onto a fresh pair of leather pants and boots that a maid-bot had apparently placed while he slept. While he put them on, his conscious raced about what his mind had witnessed, but it was evaporating from his memory. I shouldn't worry about it, he thought. A dream is a dream is a dream, that's all it is. With his clean pants and boots on, he grabbed the black, leather duster to compliment the set and his dark, mirrored sunglasses to complete it.

    "Lights on," he muttered in a croaked, tired voice. As commanded, the ceiling lit up and his entire room came into view. His bed was the largest object in the room, containing black pillows and sheets, both of which were very rumpled up from his awakening. Next to it stood an older wooden cabinet, which was the usual resting place for his sunglasses. Also on it was an older book which didn't appear to have a title, but was very scathed and tattered. The floor was metal, but had a woody appearance applied to it, like the walls, for personal preference and was pretty clean. Following it from in front of the bed would reveal a picture hanging on a wall of an unnamed woman and child with a few finger prints on the glass covering, showing it had been handled often.

    The compartment door was completely different from the room with bolts and iron; very sturdy and strong looking, but also very appearing very unfriendly. On the wall directly next to it was a small screen used for visitors and messages. This was the only technology shown in the room, sans the lights. As he walked passed the door the screen buzzed to life with static and then the clear face of a dear friend: Majin_You.

    "Cucumba!" Majin_You said through the small screen. "Been trying to contact you for a while (Cucumba noticed the flashing sign below which said 'Missed messages: 4'), but I'd like to personally invite you to a moderator/administrator meeting. Care to come?"

    "What time?" asked Cucumba, rubbing his head.

    "Uhm... now?"

    "I'll be there," Cucumba yawned, "shortly."

    "Good, good. Oh and, when I am getting your head administration compartment?" Majin_You asked with a wink and a laugh. Cucumba only smiled and pushed the end conversation button below the bi-directional screen. He stepped towards the door, which slid horizontally open with a loud, mechanical thump. The narrow-eyed ex-admin looked out of his room and began his trek towards the Administration Tower.
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    Live free or die by the sword DiebytheSword's Avatar
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    Chapter 2 - The Surprise

    As Cucumba strode out of his metallic door, he was greeted by rays of the mid day sun coming in through the overhead window. His boots made a slight, yet heavy, clunk as he walked towards the Administration Tower, the tallest structure in the entire forum. The hallway he was in seemed devoid of life, as it was the highest tier of the residential compartments: the staff section, and the majority of the moderators were already at the Tower. Only one remained behind, Arthos, who, unfortunately, was looking extremely pale; probably for forgetting about the meeting. He stood by the elevator, tapping his shoe on the glass floor.

    "Any time, now..." He whispered under his breath, glancing down at his watch. He stood at ~5'10" and held a body weight of ~180-200 pounds. His brown eyes, while dark, stood nothing compared to his hair and clothes, both of which were pitch black. They seemed to oppose his slightly tanned skin, paled by anxiety, which held its own battle scars. A package of important looking papers were gripped tightly in his left hand and his right was near his face, as it contained his watch. "I swear to fu--"

    "Hello," interrupted Cucumba, smirking slightly. "Don't worry, I'll be your alibi. Say I slipped or something." Cucumba laughed, but Arthos only gave a wiry smile.

    "What? Oh, thanks." said Arthos, finally lowering his watch hand. "I was supposed to be there --" He raised his hand and looked at his watch once again, " -- 10 minutes ago. They are so going to fire me."

    "Do you really think that?" Asked Cucumba.

    "Well... I... They..."

    "Look, don't worry. You're acting as though they're going to cut off your balls. Just calm down. I've been late a few times myself, and I still have mine." Cucumba laughed again, but Arthos didn't. Instead he only sighed and looked to his feet .

    "Finally," Arthos said, looking through the glass floor. "Took it God damned long enough!" The elevator was moving at a rapid pace up through its metal surrounding. As it slid up to their floor, it made no sound at all, almost as though it was gliding through butter. The only thing you could hear was the "Ping!", meaning it had reached their floor.

    Both Arthos and Cucumba stepped on and waited. The doors remained open for a few seconds for any stray passengers. Then finally, they closed and the computer's female voice came from the speakers.

    "Welcome, Cucumba and Arthos. Please either push the button or say the floor or location that you wi-"

    "Administration Tower," interrupted Cucumba.

    There was a slight pause and then, "I'm sorry, but the path to the Administration Tower has been temporarily removed from transit. Would you like to be brought in the General sector, where you may walk to the Administration Tower? It is only a few minutes from the elevator. Please either push the button of your answer or say it out loud."

    "Of course," said Cucumba in an overly cheery voice. The elevator slid up slightly and then fell at a comfortable rate towards the ground. While on the outside you could hear nothing, on the inside you heard a comforting, light humming sound. The elevator came to a stop 12 stories down from where they were previously, and then began to slide to their right.

    "Twenty seconds until the General sector," said the computer woman.

    The humming continued, dulling on and on. Cucumba's eyes began to defocus as he stared out of the glass sides onto the forum around him. Signs passed extremely fast, almost in a blur, buildings the same, and people also. Soon, he began to hear a voice that resonated with the humming of the elevator.

    Your forums will fall before the power of the trip--

    "Cucumba?" asked Arthos. "Cucumba?!"

    Cucumba came back to life, his senses becoming sharp once again, and the voice fading as fast as it had come. The elevator was stopped. How long he had been phased away, he did not know.

    "CUCUMBA?!"

    "Yes, I'm fine. Just dosed off."

    "You didn't look like you were sleeping to me. Had your eyes open and were whispering something, but looked... dead," said Arthos, still with a slight trace of panic.

    "I'm fine. Let's go."

    Cucumba stepped out of the elevator, followed closely by Arthos. The crowd was extremely immense today for some reason. Around them stood massive structures with gigantic displays, showing hundreds of messages every few minutes with one major point displayed at the top, most likely the most popular of the bunch. Each building was slightly different in both color and structural form. The building labeled "Off-Topic" was circular in formation, but massively tall, with hundreds of people entering and exiting every minute or two. A triangular building labeled "ESF Chat" was almost as popular, but with about a third less visitors. A spectacular building with shining lights and models on display seemed to be ignored by the vast majority of the forum base with only 2-3 people entering or exiting at any given time. Closer inspection showed it to be the "Force Pit", a building only visible to those who have paid the due.

    Looking straight along this lane of buildings would lead straight to an incredibly massive structure that pierced the clouds. The bottom starting as the base of a pyramid, ascending into a long rectangular shape, and then finally at the top, an extremely sharp point, complemented by a holographic diamond above it, swiveling around without stopping. The tower itself was no one color and the sides were made up of thousands upon thousands of displays, each working together to create massive images of moderators, people wanted for crimes they committed, special birthdays, and other events.

    Today, however, the tower was flashing pictures of a strange machine along with text. "Today! The future is NOW! Witness the next line of security and strength as we bring you the Tripods© of tomorrow!" Under this was an enormous animated picture of one of the Tripods©, standing erect and menacing, hundreds of feet tall. Further under this image was yet more text, "This image is actual size! Prepare to witness the ultimate in technology!".

    A crowd of thousands of people stood below the tower, all talking amongst themselves and glancing up at the sign, as though hoping for further information on the surprise. The crowd was divided up into two groups, separated by a cemented passage to in front of the tower.

    "Thanks, Cucumba," said Arthos, checking his watch one last time before setting off into the crowd and disapeering. Cucumba merely waved and rolled his eyes, and then set off into the dividing passage.

    "This is amazing!" said one onlooker to Cucumba's left whose name tag revealed to be Fire Pheonix. "I've never seen anything like it!"

    "It's nothing too incredible. If it's like 1.2.3, it'll be flawed," said another.

    "el-oh-el," said a third on Cucumba's right. "Technology of the future here today? Overkill!"

    Cucumba continued to walk up the path, eavesdropping into conversations as he went, trying to get an idea of what was happening. He wasn't used to being left in the dark. But then, a great roar of excitement occurred.

    "WELCOME!" shouted the familiar voice of Majin_You through an extremely amplified microphone, accompanied by live feed of him on the whole tower. "Welcome and be wary, for this may 'rock your socks', as some people put it. We're very excited to bring you this incredible improvement to the forum, but I'm not the one who should talk about it. Instead, I give you the creator of the Tripods: Smith!"

    Majin_You stepped down and nodded cheerfully to Smith, who stood up, and with no sort of doubt at all, walked up to the podium and turned to look at the tower. His face was magnified a thousand times on the thousands of displays behind him. He turned back to the crowd and smiled, his eyes hidden by his black sunglasses. He stood at a formidable 6" tall, and while he didn't look too powerful, his strength doesn't come from muscle mass, but by code and formulii. His black hair matched his sunglasses as well as his suit and boots. His stride was very powerful, almost purposeful with every step one of many in a never ending serious of thought out events. If there was one thing he feared, it was unpredictability.

    "The creator or the Tripods, indeed," said Smith, turning his head to look at all of the crowd, his smile widening. "It's nice to get some attention for once instead of my colleagues. Ah, well. Let's get down to business." He turned his attention to a building next to the tower, standing a few hundred feet tall, but looking abandoned. Smith's face wrinkled slightly, as though he was concentrating slightly.

    Only a few heads turned with Smith's at first, but almost immediately following the final word, an enormous, deep roar bellowed from behind the building, and every head in the audience turned to look at the source. The roar was extremely deep, sounding as though it came from a gigantic tuba. It played a very deep note and slurred up to a higher one. The ground rumbled slightly from the incredible bass produced from this mysterious instrument. Finally, it peaked off at a high note and stopped.

    The entire crowd, including Cucumba, who was still only about half way along the road, had their mouths open. They stared at the source of the sound, but saw only the building. Then another roar occurred behind the first, and another, and another, further and further behind the previous. Then suddenly, the building detonated in flame, toppling down onto an empty, marked-off space. It exploded with debris and smoke, particles of its previous self tumbling, flaming, to the ground. As it fell, it made a terrible crashing noise. A bright stream of light pierced through the smoke and hit the falling building again, pushing it down even faster and causing even more fire to break out, followed by more smoke and explosions. As the beams were fired, a loud buzzing sound was created with a deep resonation. At least 4 beams were fired, completely incinerating the building and demolishing it into crumbled, flaming, piles of metal and dust.

    A great three pronged structure stomped onto the debris. It was connected to a longer segmented, black metallic leg, only one of three, of some sort, leading to a great tear-shaped head with three circular lights, dimmed down because of day light, but still on because of the thick dust of the fallen building. The long head was black but decorated with orangish, thin stripes that were lit from the inside and pulsating. Under the head were two smaller, extremely thin tentacle like structures and at each end was a crescent shaped formation. Inside the crescent, from the top tip to the bottom tip, was a pulsing stream of electrical light, looking ready to be shot as a very devastating weapon. Further under these two tentacles was a bunch of longer, but skinnier, tentacles with different shaped endings, probably for different purposes, such as gathering, scouting, studying. This only described the one Tripod. There were at least 10 behind it, each looking just as menacing and evil.

    "I present to you," said Smith, his smile widened considerably, "the Tripods..."
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    Chapter 3 - The Beginning of the End

    The crowd roared into applauds, screams, and whistles and encouraging music played over the hundreds of speakers that encompassed the forums. Almost everybody seemed to be pleased at this new development that was the Tripods. A couple moderators, SaiyanPrideXIX and Pain, looked to be very uncomfortable in their seats and didn't have very pleased expressions. Cucumba also looked very displeased, and had a trace of anxiety in his face. Majin_You, on the other side of the spectrum, was clapping his hands furiously and had a smile rivaled, and beaten, only by Smith's. While he clapped, the other moderators followed suit and began clapping as well, even the two who weren't too happy.

    Majin_You stood up and walked to the podium, gesturing Smith aside. Smith's smile instantly died, but he obliged, stepping away and bowing very strangely.

    "Thank you, Smith. Your efforts with the Tripods will not go unnoticed," Majin_You turned his head to Smith and smiled, then back to the crowd. "Now, we have prepared several treats for the community, one of which is--"

    "-- I'm... not done yet, Majin_You," Smith interrupted, his smile slowly returning. His voice was still magnified a hundred times, yet he was not in front of the microphone. "No... I'm not done by a long shot. There is still much, much to do, I'm afraid. Although, I have no use for you or the other moderators any longer, only..." He turned his head towards the crowd, and within a split second he found his target. "Cucumba."

    A Tripod took one step forward, creating an ominous thump that echoed through the crowd. The others followed this motion, each one taking one step forward, their weapons poised for attack. Smith's eyes narrowed and he turned to Majin_You. "As I said, my friend, I have no use for you or your moderators. Surrender this forum, or watch as your entire staff and user base... perish." His words sounded set in stone, as though nothing could resolve or dispose of them. His face was contorted into what some may consider a smile, while others may see it as a face of unrivaled hate.

    Majin_You didn't respond at once, he merely looked at Smith. No emotion was present at all, only a single wrinkle was on his forehead. He was busy with an argument in his mind as to if Smith was serious or not. If he was, Smith would probably get into some trouble over it. If he wasn't, the entire forum could get into a lot of trouble. What would his answer be? He then opened his mouth and spoke, "We do not deal with terrorists, Smith. You know this; you've been a moderator for quite a while. Your threats may have some merit, but the moderators of this forum are nothing to spit at. If you strike at us, you will be punished, no matter who," He paused, "or what you are."

    Smith dropped his facial expression and turned towards the crowd. He, too, opened his mouth, and with a voice magnified a hundred times, spoke as well. "Do you wish for your moderators to condemn you to death? Do you want to die? I have the power here, not them. The Tripods will not harm those who are faithful to me. Bow down, and you will be spared..."

    "Is this a joke?" One onlooker said.

    "I don't think so," said another whose name tag revealed to be Scruffie. "But I also don't think we should surrender to him."

    "Whatever, the staff can handle him." A third said.

    "SMITH," said a fourth roaring from the middle lane in a furious, and slightly tired, voice. The man's black overcoat trailed behind him as he ran and his bansaber was out, but not ignited. "Smith, what in the hell do you think you are doing?"

    Smith laughed and bowed once again. "Cucumba! It's a treat to see you up close. I'm sorry to say we'll be cutting this short."

    "We'll be cutting, or banning, something, indeed, Smith." Cucumba replied, raising his saber hilt above his waist line. Smith's right hand came to his face and he removed his sunglasses, placing them in his shirt pocket. His eyes were directed at the raised bansaber hilt.

    "Ah yes, Cucumba. I'm afraid that won't have any use there, though."

    "And why is that?" Asked Cucumba, still fuming from rage.

    "Because... it is not there." Smith reached into his suit and pulled out another hilt with an extravagant S engraved into the side. "It is... here." He ignited the saber and it roared of power. A dark green beam erupted from the end of hilt and extended three feet outward. Sparks of flame shot from the end and a darkness seemed to ripple from it.

    Cucumba stopped dead and looked at his saber. He then noticed the slight imperfections in it; a crack, a few smeared finger prints, and no power... He pushed the ignite button, but nothing happened. He clicked it again, but nothing.

    "The crystal and power source are both gone, Cucumba," said Smith, his face grinning with glee. "I asked the maid bot to burrow your saber while you slept. Once I had gotten what I wanted, the shell was returned. So now, not only does the core of your saber power my ban saber, but it powers the Tripods' weaponry as well. Imagine the complications now. Not only do you have to deal with an administrator with equal, or higher, authority than your own, but ten Tripods that have the devastating power of a hundred fold that of your ban saber." His eyes darted around the crowd. "For they do not ban, oh no, they do much worse," he found his mark. "They eradicate!"

    Smith lifted his free hand, raised one finger, and pointed at an average forum citizen whose name badge revealed to be Saiyan Overlord. The terrified member opened his mouth and beggingly screamed for mercy, but in vain, for almost instantly, a Tripod responded, unleashing a ray of green light, striking the forum member, causing him to explode into flames and ashes, and his clothes to drift to the ground.

    The entire forum populous was at a stand still. No one moved for what seemed to be minutes, but was really only seconds. Then, finally, someone screamed and, like dominoes, the others did as well. The entire crowd of citizens began to run away from the still smoldering ashes of the member that was Saiyan Overlord.

    The Tripods all roared their death horns in unison and began to step towards the crowd. Each one took aim, and fired at buildings that were close to any exit out of the immediate area. Building after building crumbled, crashed, and fell. One, two, four, six, eight buildings fell one after another from the Tripods' fire. As they strode, their rhythmic thumping echoed through the screams and explosions. One fired towards a larger green structure with "Artwork" written in very luxurious handwriting all over the side. Once struck, every light in the building went out and it exploded in flame, sending debris and flaming chunks of its previous self everywhere within twenty feet, and toppling over onto thirty fleeing forum citizens. The damage was catastrophic and smoke began to plague the air from the sun like a disease of the sky.

    One Tripod, however, came at the staff, all of whom had their sabers ignited. As it reached the raised ground where the moderators stood, it became motionless for a moment and then shot. Both of its weapons let leash the most powerful of its attacks, creating such an incredibly loud buzzing that the floor vibrated. Judge thrusted his ban dagger up in an attempt to deflect the beam, but the Tripod's shots overcame it within a split second, striking the super moderator head on, causing his body to explode into flames. The others, after seeing this, immediately began to scatter as to give the group a better chance of survival. Pain and SaiyanPrideXIX ran towards the Administration Tower, but in half-vain. A shot from the Tripod hit Pain square in the back. Instead of evaporating his entire body, it merely pierced his torso, leaving a gaping hole where his heart and lungs would be. He fell to the ground, but didn't bleed, as the wound had been cauterized by the immense heat from the blast. He spasmed in pain and then moved no more. SaiyanPrideXIX, however, managed to get to the tower's entrance and escaped inside to safety.

    Majin_You, who had been temporarily frozen with horror froms the scenes of intense destruction and death, came to his senses and grabbed his ban saber, igniting its blue blade once the hilt was above his waist. He lept from his position, screaming in anger, at Smith extremely uncharacteristically and speared through the virus's chest with his saber. He then pulled it out and made a swing at Smith's head, completely decapitating it. The headless body, however, didn't fall to the ground. Instead, the hand holding the screaming, dark green bansaber came at Majin_You and struck his saber with such a tremendous force that Majin_You couldn't hold up against it and fell back onto the ground.

    "Hahg!" Screamed Majin_You as Smith's body made a lunge at him while he laid sprawled on the ground. He rolled to his side and then jumped up, making another stab at Smith's core with his saber. Smith's body dodged it with easy and then spun around with saber in hand to strike at Majin_You, who bent down to avoid the hit and then thrusted his blade in between Smith's legs and raised it up with the utmost of his strength, completely dividing Smith's body, causing it to fall in two halves to the ground.

    Both halves began to liquify and form into a puddle of black, metalic goo. After a second of pause, it started to solidify into Smith's correct form, including his head. Majin_You's eyes were staring in shock at Smith's seemingly immortality. Knowing that his options were limited, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a small handheld computer, the screen of which lit up with light to his touch. He keyed in his authentication code and then spoke clearly with what was left of his voice. "Activate emergency transportation for entire forum staff." Within the very second that he had said this, a bright white light surrounded him and every one of the moderators and administrators and a light hum ensued. When this had dissipated, none of the staff were present any longer, as they had been instantaneously teleported to the safety of the tower.

    Smith's refreshed body raised up from the ground, placing one hand forward and leaning on one knee. He then stood up and stretched, cracking several of his coded bones in his false back. As he looked over the cityscape, he saw all ten Tripods standing completely still; their order was finished, they had blocked off all of the exits. Bodies were littered around the fallen buildings, the cause of death not from the beams themselves, but from the falling debris.

    The sky had become black from the smoke and the day was now dark as night. The only light came from the buildings that had not yet been destroyed and was dimmed from the incredible thickness of dust. The only sound was that of the remaining, panicked citizens of the forum. All of the Tripods seemed immobilized for the moment, as though standing back to admire their artwork of death and destruction. The downed buildings still released large chunks of themselves every few seconds and flames still burned all around.

    "No one ****s with my forum or its members," said a powerful voice from inside a crater of flame and debris. Smith reered around and stared at the fire. A man in a black overcoat walked out, seeming to be immune to the incredible heat of the fire. As he took his steps, all of the surrounding flames recoiled away from him, as though meaning to escape his presence. The man spoke again, "No one."
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    Chapter 4
    Smoke and Revelation

    Ash fell like snow over forumscant, and fires licked the bottoms of the clouds of ash overhead. Metal groaned in protest as building supports gave way to their wounds and fell to the incessant pull of the earth. Ruined vehicles lay scattered about, some with clothing remains, most with just coatings of ash . . . the sad remains of yet another user not fast enough to escape the Tripods.

    From their vantage point in the few remaining buildings, the refugees of Forumscant huddled together and watched the instruments of destruction that Smith had brought down upon them. They seemed to stop now, but there was little doubt amongst them that it would not start again. There were many who wanted to flee, but not many who wanted to die first running from the tripods.

    Within the administration tower, the staff quickly divided . . .

    Pride paced back and forth furiously, stalking the windows like a caged lion.

    "Send me the **** back out there NOW."

    "I cannot do that Pride," Said KarrdeKNR in measured tones.

    "The hell you can't, those things are ripping up the place and we're just going to sit in here and let it happen? What the hell happened to this place," screamed Pride angrily.

    "Sensibility happened," retorted Sonic Boyster.

    "Bull****."

    "ENOUGH!" Majin You was shaking with fury, both at his shortsightedness concerning Smith, and his inability to affect the situation despite his considerable power. "We can not go out there without a plan."

    "Apparently you can if your Cucumba," said LiteNET bemusedly. "He's still out there."

    [S] looked out at the carnage, and quipped, "Yeah, he's Cucumba, but can he do anything against those things . . ."

    Admin and Moderator alike rushed to the window . . . all except for Sonic Boyster who cast a weary eye at Majin_You.

    "SMITH," roared Cucumba, "Did you hear me?!"

    "There you are," Smith smiled in triumph. "I am so glad you decided to stay. This way I can destroy you infront of all the cowards hiding in that tower, or in those sky scrapers around us still standing. Your execution will serve to break their wills."

    Smith stood at the precipice of a ruined dais above the Jade Behemoth with his hand outreached to grasp the warped future he had in store for it all. Cucumba stared up with his teeth gritting and his jaw muscles working furiously. He knew that this fight would be hard to start with, but he had no bansaber, and smith had used his to fuel these monstrosities. The cards were finally stacked against him, but cards were for those who could not forge their own fate, and this would not be his first up-hill battle.

    I will defeat them, I have no choice.

    Cucumba clasped his hands together rapidly, and began focusing his power, sending tremors throughout the plaza.

    "Oh, and what is it you intend to do with this?"

    Cucumba didn't answer. Instead, the skies grew dark, and the earth tremored in protest as flames of green energy began to erupt from Cucumba's body. Smith smirked, and pointed his deadly finger of command at the mighty admin. As before, the violence came quickly at the beckoning of the finger, and it was heralded by the death trumpets. The green energy beams streamed from every tripod, converging on the spot that was once Cucumba. Smith soon waved off the attack, the barrage had kicked up too much dust to see what had happened.

    Within the administration tower, the moderators began to cheer . . . Cucumba was still standing there.

    Smith snarled and pointed again, as the tremors only grew in intensity from before. The Tripods obeyed as before, and began their assault again. Cucumba stayed in the same position, duster flapping in the torrents of energy.

    Smith called off the attack again, only to see his quarry quite impossibly alive. As he attempted to assimilate what he knew to be impossible, he felt the earth erupt around him, and felt the vice like grip of the ancient horror grab his ankles. Smith looked down in absolute shock, and then looked up to see the fake Cucumba dissipate as if it had never existed. Cucumba had somehow burrowed through the ground while Smith was distracted! The real Green Machine capitalized on the confusion and threw the dazed Smith high into the sky. The Tripods began turning towards the Admin, realizing what had happened. Cucumba summoned a huge amount of power in almost no time at all, the giant green ball searing his duster jacket and blinding all but the most powerful observers. To the layman, it appeared as if a second sun had appeared in the streets below. Smith tumbled upwards, only catching glimpses of the second sun as he struggled to right himself. As he reached his apex, he looked down to see that the entire mass of the second sun had compressed into a tiny ball in Cucumba's palm.

    The air popped back into the sudden lack of object, and many of the observers grabbed their ears in pain as the pressures equalized.
    As Cucumba reared back, the ball annihilated the concrete behind him, as if the energies bound to it reached further than the ball itself seemed to emit light. Cucumba took aim, and wound up like a major league baseball pitcher.

    "PIKKA FLASH!"

    Smith saw the ball leave Cucumba's arm and tear towards him at unbelievable speeds. Smith pulled his limbs in front of him, and readied for the worst as the nearest Tripod moved into the way of the shot.

    At first there was no sound, utter dead silence and blinding white light. But then the sky was alive and angry, and gusts of wind generated by the explosion raced through the glass and steel valleys, blowing away the people unwisely there like matchsticks in a hurricane.

    Smith stood on a nearby building top, his glasses broken in his pocket from the impact. One of his Tripods had an enormous hole in it's armor, but the damage seemed to be limited. Smith looked back and forth for any sign of the slippery Admin. The tripods reacted first, shooting in random direction at empty ruins, and sometimes empty space. Smith looked on in annoyance, he had to figure out this new game before Cucumba mounted another offensive. That was precisely when he realized he was too late. A green wisp of smoke with a smiling face appeared directly in front of him, not for long, but long enough to earn a disintegration ray from the damaged Tripod. Smith only narrowly avoided being hit by the beam as Cucumba disappeared once again. The Virus became enraged over this new tactic, and began to order the Tripods to stop. Their last salvo was all fired to one place, directly overhead. Smith looked up and saw the Verdant Leviathan holding out his outstretched hands against the beams. And much to his unpleasant surprise, they disappeared just before hitting his hands, sucked into an invisible whirlpool. Smith leapt at Cucumba, drawing his ban saber as he did, his eyes nearly popping out in rage. Cucumba turned his head to Smith and grimaced . . . there weren't options, this was the only way. A shimmer in the air appeared in front of the damaged Tripod, and from that disturbance erupted the beams that had been fired at the Green Devil. All of them, and each only a microsecond long, but there were thousands of them. Cucumba's mastery of space time was being used to transport the beams through time and space to a place of his choosing. The beams ruined the tripod, causing it to erupt from within, and bulge out into a blossom of firey death.

    The crowds roared in support of their admin, until he was run through with Smith's ban saber.

    "You didn't keep your eyes on the prize, Mr. Pickle."

    Cucumba lurched forward on the bansaber as it was held by Smith, green fluid surging forth from his mouth. He coughed as Smith withdrew his weapon and gazed on with sinister intent. The entirety of the forum populace that remained inhaled and held their breath. Time seemed to hang forever, untill Pride shouted out once again, "Let me get back in there, he needs help damnit."

    Cucumba snarled at smith through the hacking cough induced by his run-through lung and rammed his knee into Smith's temple, causing them both to tumble away. Smith, of course, tried his best to tear the saber out sideways, but he was met with considerable resistance from Cucumba that must have come from his mastery of the force.

    Majin You shook his head at Pride, "If he was foolish enough to override the retreat order, then he can stand alone untill we find a suitable tactic to defeat the Tripods."

    The moderators looked on in shock; Cucumba was to be fed to the wolves.

    "What kind of bull**** is that," roared Pride. "We've all had him throw it on the line for us, and we can't return the favor."

    "I can not tollerate rouge moderation," spoke Majin_You quietly. "Cucumba is a pioneer of law in this land, he should know that better than anyone."

    Cucumba landed on a nearby building clutching his severly wounded chest. Smith regained his arial footing and looked down on the Admin, his suit flapping in the breeze. Smith stared at the Admin, Still standing eh?

    Smith smiled and pointed at Cucumba once again and the Jade Behemoth only grimaced.

    Cucumba dodged as one tripod slammed it's foot where Cucumba once was, and narrowly avoided a second hit from his flank. Cucumba jumped off the arm of the second attacker and launched himself at a third Tripod, fist reared back for a titanic strike. Smith appeared in front of him in a flicker of movement, grinning as he looked down at his wounded foe. Cucumba simply deformed into a cloud of faceless black demons, and flew around Smith as the death rays poured in to strike the tiny targets. Smith turned around to see a good number of the cloud incinerated, and laughed.

    The cloud began to dissapear in it's entirety, and Smith could only knit his eyebrows. Cucumba reappeared just behind smith, his back blasted and burning, and grabbed him by the throat, interlocking his fingers. Smith grunted in surprise as the Verdant Leviathan's knees slammed repeatedly into his kidneys, then he recoiled from the sheer amount of damage, and finally he coughed up some black, tarry, blood.

    Smith swung his Ban Saber backwards, but felt the admin's fingers peirce his shoulderblade and tear through his chest.

    "One for one."

    Smith began to fall, clutching to his wounded shoulder as it slowly reformed. Cucumba on the other hand, was swatted away by a tripod. He fell for a time, then he violently stopped on the side of a building, leaving a crater where his shoulder hit.

    The moderators looked at Majin_You in fury, but none could refute his authority, he was the Head Administrator, and Cucumba was retired.

    Smith fully reformed, and marveled at the damage Cucumba had caused this new form. I cannot wait to add that power to my own.
    Forum Administrator (Retired)
    Woah Oh, Standing in the Heart of Darkness, give me my life, give me my energy.
    Woah Oh, Fighting with my Heart of Madness, ease my pain, ease my loneliness.

    Fight Club record: 15 wins, 0 losses, 2 fatalities
    Undefeated Moderator Champion
    16,282 xp
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  5. #5
    Live free or die by the sword DiebytheSword's Avatar
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    Chapter 5
    Insurrection

    “**** regulation and your rules, Majin_You. I’m going out there now,” roared SaiyanPrideXIX, his face darkened from anger.

    “I won’t allow you to go out there, Pride,” peacefully responded Majin_You with his hand raised towards the moderator, neutral to SaiyanPrideXIX’s raging. He continued to watch outside, avoiding the stare of the entire staff. “You will remain in here either until we deem it safe enough to leave the protection of the Tower’s shielding, or until we find a countermeasure against the Tripods. Do you understand?”

    “I am part of this Goddamned ‘we’, and I deem it safe enough to go out there and help our Goddamned friend.” Pride’s face seared with anger and hate at Majin_You. His eyes looked up and down his past-friend, who was quickly becoming his new enemy.

    Majin_You’s bulk was mainly from an outer covering of light, silver, metallic plating that projected a look of muscles and strength and served no real purpose at all except to be aesthetic. It showed a heavy polish and was very clean, almost obsessively so. It curved around his body to make a nice fit. His hands, unclenched, were covered by black, leather gloves that appeared to have never been used in a manner of struggle or difficulty; peace was his primary method of ‘offense’ and defense. His collar, which folded a couple of inches over the top of his plating, was the top end of a deep-blue undershirt that fit in under his protective plating. A dark blue cloak was sprawled out on a large seat in the back of the room, which faced the windows. He stood at a healthy 5’11” and held a good stature of weight, 170lbs. His skin, which was only exposed on his face, was slightly tanned and his hair and eyes both were of very handsome brown.

    “You are not senior staff,” calmly spoke Majin_You, still avoiding the staff’s stares, while SaiyanPrideXIX walked next to him, staring at the side of Majin_You’s face.

    “Then you can go to hell!” Pride roared. He threw his fist in full fury at Majin_You. There was a flash and then a crash and Pride was thrown into the wall opposite of Majin_You. He slid to the floor, leaving a full-body dent above him. Majin_You’s feet and head had not moved, only his right arm, which was now fully horizontal, and for the first time in many a moon, clenched completely shut after delivering a cold, calculated strike. The staff all looked in unison from SaiyanPrideXIX’s breathless self to Majin_You, all eyes wide open.

    “Majin… Majin_You,” spoke SonicBoyster, awestruck.

    “You are not senior staff, Pride,” repeated Majin_You, but with a slightly fowl tone. “The purpose of ranks is to guide and command. I’m keeping you safe from a pointless death, even if it requires some… tough love.”

    SaiyanPrideXIX regained his breath, and within only a few moments, had healed with the help of his nanobots. “Damn you, Majin_You,” Pride spoke softly. “Damn you…”

    -----------------

    Cucumba remained attached to the building, his left arm acting as an unwanted wedge. He easily ripped himself out with the aid of adrenaline and turned towards Smith. He narrowed his eyelids and then raised his right fist to his mouth. The old, green One began to whisper into his closed hand, enchanting it with a language unknown to anyone but himself. His words were of such abnormality that only the base of his voice could be heard. After a moment of continuous murmuring, he brought his fist from his mouth to his side, ****ing it back for attack. Cucumba swiveled his body to his right, pulling his shoulder and arm back as far as he could, and then shot upward, streaking towards Smith in such a quick fashion that an after image of green trailed behind him, making him seem uncannily similar to the beam weaponry fired by the Tripods. It took only nanoseconds for him to reach his mark.

    “rrrraaaaaAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH”

    His fist struck Smith’s growling face and then stopped. The universe in all of its creation froze and focused only on the collision as though calculating and rendering the unbelievably destructive power behind this blow. Then finally, slowly, Smith’s face disintegrated into particles of black and glass, and as though in slow motion, his body fell to the ground motionless, creating an echoed, dull thump as it fell on the hard, concrete ground, motionless for the moment. Cucumba remained in the air, stunned by his own power, and breathed heavily. His fist was rose red from the incredible heat and pieces of Smith’s face were crystallized on his skin, never to be used by the Virus again.

    Below, Smith’s body stirred and sat up, headless. It reached towards its neck and felt the stump of neck where his head used to sit. As he felt the stump, it began to melt and liquefy back into its black, gooey core form. It swelled out and took an oval shape. A nose formed in the center of the front, and directly below it lips and teeth. Eye sockets began to form and then filled with the eyes themselves. Hair grew all in unison back to its previous style and then the black mesh receded, leaving the color of his skin, hair, and eyes, which were glaring with hate directly towards Cucumba.

    Smith blinked over his fresh, new eyes, releasing lubricant and giving comfort to his vision. He then instantly narrowed down upon the still stunned Cucumba and wordlessly ordered the Tripods to fire narrow, focused beams directly on Cucumba. Six of the ten Tripods responded as though they had been anxiously awaiting the order and took aim. Their crescent weapons adjusted for a more acute angle of fire and then ignited with electricity. Within nanoseconds, twelve thin and extremely bright streams of blue and green shot out from the Tripods’ weaponry, instantly converging on Cucumba. The force of the beams propelled him straight back towards the building he had just wretched free of and through the wall, into the heart of the abandoned and beaten building. Smith’s lip flinched and again he sent the command to fire. The Tripods all began attacking the foundation of the structure, and within seconds, it fell to the ground, bellowing flames and smoke in all directions. The beams were so potent that the Tripods’ shielding reacted in localized areas near the beam’s exits from the extreme heat. Smith noiselessly worded “More” and the Tripods continued their onslaught, tearing at the debris, and destroying any sign that anything more than a pile of flaming debris had ever been where the previous building had stood.

    Flames were ignited and put out in the blink of an eye as wind rushed in and out from the incredible fluctuations of heat. Whatever had been knocked to relative safety from the initial blasts was now vibrating on the ground from the buzzing caused by the beams of blue and green. After only a few seconds of firing, which seemed to last hours, the Tripods stopped firing and air imploded back into the annihilated and liquidated area, causing an enormous mushroom cloud of dust and ash to erupt from the site.

    “Bring him before me,” whispered Smith. “I know he’s alive. I can feel him.”

    The Tripod nearest the extirpation shot a tentacle into the center of the cloud of dust. It curved and extended, searching the debris and liquefied building for any signs of Cucumba, and as though it caught a fish, instantly tightened and pulled a limp, green body out. The Tripod turned and began to stride over to Smith, who was slowly lowering himself to the ground in a godlike manner. Smith then turned and walked to another damaged building, that looked to have been abandoned years ago, but was brimming with life only hours before. He stopped by the dead body of Pain for a moment and then continued on as a second Tripod picked up Pain’s corpse and followed its master. Cucumba struggled to open his eyes and then peered at the menacing Tripod above him, which was carrying him like a child. He then fell limp and into unconsciousness.

    -----------------

    The entire forum staff watched from their towering safety as Cucumba was dragged away unconscious. Their eyes slowly followed the melodic walking of the Tripods, all led by their former companion, Smith. Majin_You’s lips quivered and he finally stirred from his spot of spectatorship, breathing heavily.

    “Majin_You?” asked Karrde, his eyebrow raised.

    “It’s time to go,” responded the head of staff irritated, his lips very narrow as he walked to the exiting shaft, followed immediately by an eager, yet furious SaiyanPrideXIX, a smug, yet intelligent LiteNET, and a powerful, articulate SonicBoyster. Majin_You turned around and spoke in a shaky voice to the remaining staff members: “Do what you want for now, I won’t try to stop you. I do warn you that I am after only one thing and I don’t want anyone in my way.” He sighed and then continued out of the room with the three others following.

    They made their way through an elaborately decorated hallway with streaks of black and silver forming complex shapes and arrangements all over the pearl-white floor and walls. The ceiling was tiled with crystal and gold. All of this added together in an orgasmic visual scene that made anyone who saw it for the first time gasp at the beauty and complexity. As they approached the end, an elevator opened its clamp and allowed them in. Once the doors had been closed, a familiar voice sounded.

    “Welcome, Majin_You et al. Please state where you would like to travel or type it out on the screen to the right of the doors.”

    “Forum – Ground – Floor,” Majin_You said very crisply, sounding out each word with his heavy voice. Immediately, the elevator shot down. Inside, you’d feel no movement as inertial dampeners had been built into the contraption, giving an even more intense illusion of perfection. This was broken immediately following their stop as the doors opened, revealing death, destruction, and chaos. As though angels from heaven, Majin_You, LiteNET, SaiyanPrideXIX, and SonicBoyster walked out from the white light and into the black of death and smoke.

    Majin_You looked over at the screaming members of the forum. All of them had been herded, like cattle, into a small, controlled section of the forum with two Tripods watching them all, like statues. Every once and a while, one member would try to flee, only to be lifted by a Tripod’s tentacle and thrown violently back into the herd, causing great damage and unrest. A few smoldering ashes were lying around the exterior of the group, each one with ruined clothing laying somewhere in the vicinity.

    Majin_You placed his wrist near his mouth and spoke, which caused a loud *click* to echo throughout the area. The speakers of the forum had been reactivated. “SMITH,” Majin_You said, amplified over a thousand times by the speakers. Smith turned around and squinted, then smiled. “Time is up,” Majin_You said, igniting his blue ban saber. “You know what must happen, now.” He walked faster towards Smith and the two following Tripods, both of which had stopped and turned towards Majin_You as Smith had previously done. The other three staff members followed behind, their own sabers ignited.

    Both of the Tripods following Smith activated their weapons and directed them towards the approaching staff. “Destroy them,” spoke Smith, showing his pearly-whites. The beams of blue and green shot from the Tripods’ arms, barely missing Majin_You, and landed straight on LiteNET, killing him instantly. Majin_You continued to walk straight towards Smith, seeming not to care about the deadly, vaporizing beams that were just only missing him. SaiyanPrideXIX roared and ran at the motionless Virus that was Smith, his saber raised. Majin_You merely flicked his hand and SaiyanPrideXIX was thrown aside by an unseen force into a pile of debris, where he remained. “DON’T INTERFERE!” shouted Majin_You. He continued to walk as the Tripods fired, immortal in his own sense as nothing was touching him. Karrde was struck and thrown back hundreds of feet, saved only by his administrative power. SonicBoyster deflected a shot from a Tripod into the back of Majin_You, by accident, who stumbled forward, his silver plating scarred black. Majin_You said nothing, but threw his hand into the general direction of SonicBoyster who, like SaiyanPrideXIX, was thrown back against their will by an unseen force.

    “HE MUST DIE,” shouted Majin_You, bleeding spit from his mouth. “HE MUST DIE NOW. NOTHING WILL STOP ME!” He leapt from his lying position on the ground into a stabbing position, both hands on the grip of the saber, the beam pointing downward. His face was completely transformed into hatred and ruin, wrinkles present where none would’ve thought possible, his eyes veiny and red, his nostrils snaring with breath, his teeth clenched so tightly his gum bled profusely.

    “NO!” shouted Smith. The Tripod carrying Cucumba came forward and swiped at Majin_You with its tentacle, knocking him to the ground and his saber to the side.

    “YOU PROMISED ME, SMITH.” Majin_You said, almost crying from hatred of what he had become and what he so wanted to accomplish. “YOU PROMISED THAT CUCUMBA WOULD DIE!”

    Smith didn’t smile, nor did he frown; he only opened his mouth to speak two words: “I lied.” Both Tripods immediately fired onto the defenseless Majin_You.
    Forum Administrator (Retired)
    Woah Oh, Standing in the Heart of Darkness, give me my life, give me my energy.
    Woah Oh, Fighting with my Heart of Madness, ease my pain, ease my loneliness.

    Fight Club record: 15 wins, 0 losses, 2 fatalities
    Undefeated Moderator Champion
    16,282 xp
    Bio

  6. #6
    Live free or die by the sword DiebytheSword's Avatar
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    Chapter 6
    Paradox

    In the very nanosecond before the beams struck him, Majin_You threw his left hand forward, his fist wide open. The beams collapsed in the air around him and cascaded over a bubble-like apparatus that protected the betrayed betrayer, creating a deafening crack. Flames exploded in the area and the ground surrounding the invulnerable administrator quickly caught ablaze and began to melt. Once the Tripods had released their offensive for the moment, Majin_You lowered his hand, dissipating his protection, and then leapt from the ground into the air. As he did so, he raised his other hand towards his fallen ban-saber and propelled it into his grip, like a magnet, instantly igniting its blue blade.

    The momentum of Majin_You's monstrous leap shot him straight at the lead Tripod that carried Pain. He spun his saber skillfully in his right hand and as he descended towards the barrier of the Tripod's shield, he extended his entire left arm towards the menacing machine with his palm open wide and his fingers the air, creating a mind-numbing roar of energy. As though it were water, the Tripod's shielding evaporated completely in a beautiful display of blue and green, leaving it vulnerable to any means of attack. With this accomplished, Majin_You reinforced his grip on his saber with his left hand and landed weapon-first onto the hull of the Tripod's head. The saber slid in to the hilt, as though a hot knife to butter, and was then pulled out, leaving a searing, metallic hole. Majin_You then grabbed a small, white, spherical device from his belt and tossed it into the Tripod by means of the melted opening. He then leapt from the Tripod's slightly damaged exterior onto the ground, taking cover behind a portion of downed structure.

    Smith's eyes watched the entire display from afar, his face wrinkled from a great smile as though he were enraptured by a movie. His eyes were focused on the Tripod that was standing still, almost waiting for the encore. But then a beam of light shot out from the rupture in its hull, and the entire Tripod's head imploded into itself and fell to the ground as a great ball of torn and ruined metal, creating an eerie crash, its legs falling over like giant, broken matches. Pain's body rolled away from the wreckage, but was quickly snatched up by the Tripod that carried Cucumba.

    Majin_You walked out from his cover with a solemn expression on his face and his saber lowered at his side; surprisingly reserved for his previous explosion of anger. "Give me Cucumba," he said with heavy words. "Surrender him to me, Smith, or your Tripods will surely fall one by one with you as their glorious finale."

    "Such an incredibly vast mind, yet so incredibly narrow-minded," Smith laughed. "You did impress me, though, I must admit." He laughed again. "Not everyone can halt the beams of a Tripod with their mind, but you did. Not everyone can completely disable the shielding of a Tripod, but you did. You've definitely impressed me. Although, they learn quickly how to defend themselves from new attacks," His smile climaxed and his eyes looked over his prey. "And after all, it was only a single Tripod. I have a dozen more to fight in its place."

    Majin_You's eyes glared at the overjoyed virus and then his mouth opened: "Then I have a dozen more to destroy!" He pitched his right hand at Smith and gripped the air with his fingers, sending an invisible force at his ignorant enemy. Almost instantly, Smith was struck with an unseen attack and thrown back with such a force that he liquefied, spilling all over the surrounding ground and his saber hilt bouncing uselessly to the side. Majin_You reached out and Smith's saber shot to his hand, also igniting with a dull scream. The seemingly all-powerful administrator stood before the puddle of black with both sabers ignited in each of his hands. His left angle reflected his dark and demented self, glowing a dark green from Smith's own screaming blade; while his right barely displayed what chance of good remained in him as it glowed a faint blue from his own humming saber.

    The pool of blackness quickly sapped back together into a figure of Smith lying down on the ground, who slowly got up and queried his Tripods for the location of his saber. After a mere nanosecond of delay, his eyes fixed on Majin_You, who was now wielded two deadly weapons. Smith opened his mouth in a growl and took stride over to his enemy, but stopped midway and tilted his view over Majin_You with a surprised expression, mouthing "what?".

    A man flew down at an angle towards Majin_You, with his foot extended out; it was SaiyanPrideXIX. He plummeted straight into Majin_You's back at such an incredible velocity that the Tripods themselves slid back slightly from the rush of the catapulting movement of air. Majin_You, however, had stood his ground; as he had absorbed the kinetic energy of the attack in its entirety. He turned around, facing the stunned SaiyanPrideXIX, who spoke with winded words, "You... how?" before finally feeling the pain in his damaged legs from Majin_You's body not giving in to his attack and falling onto his back.

    "I told you..." Majin_You raised both sabers, "... not to..." he brought them back, ready to deliver a mortal blow, "... INTERF--" His chest convulsed forward and his mouth and eyes twitched, then again, and again until a metallic, sharp object shot out, tearing through his chest and his protective plating, followed shortly by a river of dark, red blood. Reacting purely out of adrenaline, Majin_You screamed and blindly flung both sabers behind him in an attempt to cause as much damage to whomever had attacked him as he could; but, it was in vain as Smith gripped Majin_You's right wrist and glided his own saber into Majin_You's back under his right shoulder, causing the blade to shoot out from his chest and Majin_You to bellow in agony, blood flowing all the while. When Majin_You released the hilt, it disabled and fell lightly to the ground.

    Smith then stole the remaining saber, his, from Majin_You's left hand, which shut off the moment it wasn't gripped tightly. With his opponent disabled and mortally wounded, Smith listened to Majin_You's faint breathing and before he fell to the ground dead, he grabbed Majin_You's head and pulled it back, until his ear was next to his mouth.

    "You should never turn your back on your enemy, Mr. You," Smith quirked, moving his jaw forward and then back, almost compulsively.

    He then slid his knife-hand out from Majin_You, creating a very wet and sick sound, which caused him to fall face-forward onto the ground with an unnatural 'smack' as his flesh hit the hard, concrete ground. Smith quickly glanced over Majin_You's body, and then noticing the his own powered-down saber before him, he slowly reached out and grabbed it, complimenting his new, blue one; which he deposited in his coat pocket and his own in his right hand. He looked over the body in front of him, and then spoke to SaiyanPrideXIX, who was just recovering from his attack on Majin_You. "I will spare you for now, Pride," he said. "I've already got what I need from you." He then turned around and continued on his previous path. The Tripod that carried Pain and Cucumba had not moved at all, being a neutral spectator to the entire incident.

    "Oh," Smith looked back. "And tell your moderator friends that the Tower will be destroyed in a very... moderate time," he laughed at his little joke and continued on.

    -----------------------

    "This can't be happening," said Scruff. "Why would..."

    "Why would Majin_You want to kill Cucumba?" finished Zeonix with a smug expression. "It's obvious that it's an act."

    "But Majin_You's DEAD!" barked Scruff painfully.

    "We don't know that, Scruff," Grega said. "He's an administrator; he can't die!"

    "We won't know unless we get to him," said Scruff. "These Tripods are making that impossible, though."

    "Then I'll handle them," said Zeonix.

    "Er, what?" everyone said in unison.

    "You heard me. I'll handle them."

    "You're an idiot," moaned Kelesk with his hand to his face. "But fine, go and get yourself killed. See if we care, Mr. God Emperor of the Universe or whatever the hell you call it."

    "Then off I go."

    Zeonix pushed through the crowd to the exterior ring and then stepped out. The Tripods didn't respond. "See?" he said in a confident tone. "They know who they're dealing with." The supposed emperor began to stride with confidence towards Majin_You's fallen body, almost forcibly oblivious to what had happened to those before him. As he approached the closest of the three Tripods, it turned and narrowed its view on Zeonix, who stopped dead cold in mid-stride.

    "COME BACK HERE," shouted Fire_Phoenix. But it was too late. The Tripod shot a tentacle down to Zeonix and constricted it around his chest, forcing all of the air from his lungs, along with mucus and blood. It then blew its death horn in an almost mocking manner and constricted tighter, crushing the poor forum user's bones. Within moments, the others heard multiple cracks and then Zeonix's body was thrown like a puppy against the wall of a heavily-damaged building. Once Zeonix hit the ground, he moved no more.

    -----------------------

    Cucumba opened his eyes to almost pitch black. His head throbbed in pain; every heart beat felt in every vein. He could barely feel his arms or legs, but his chest seared in pain, as though he had been burned on several occasions. A rustle was heard and then a few clicks from a pair of high-dollar shoes. The reverberation of these sounds gave Cucumba the mental image he needed.

    "Smith," he croaked out. He cleared his throat and then continued with a solemn tone, "Smith, Smith, Smith..."

    "You're wearing my name out, Cucumba," Smith stabbed back in a very rushed voice. His speaking revealed him to be at Cucumba's side, more than likely looking down at him.

    "Does it bother you?"

    "It reminds me of that insulting mimicry. You know... it," spoke Smith.

    "Did you kill him?"

    "No. It is part of me, now. As are almost all of them," Smith concluded this sentence in a tone that signified the end of this part of their discussion. "Now, I imagine that you have a few questions."

    "I'd hate to waste your time," Cucumba smirked as though he had preordained knowledge of the conversation.

    "Ah, yes... time. Your acquaintance, Smith|, has given me some very interesting information, Cucumba. It actually tried to delete all of the knowledge it had on the subject; but, I was able to recover the important parts." The entire room exploded in light, almost burning the retinas of Cucumba's eyes. As his pupils adjusted, the interior of the room came into view.

    He was lying in a very familiar, and very large room with desks and seats in every which way. They all were perfectly aligned with no fault or impurity, each one clean and tidy in an almost obsessive way. Although the room was crowded by furniture, it looked very easy to maneuver to get where you need to go with the main path coming from a large, metal door which looked to weight several hundred pounds. The walls contained very wide windows, each one at least 15 feet long. The view from the inside outwards was very peaceful. It looked to be a calm afternoon with many people strolling the streets of the forum. But it was only an illusion hiding the very grim truth from whoever gazed upon it, as it was a holographic window. Once the scene was absorbed completely, Cucumba's eyes then darted to the desk he was on, which was no different than any of the others; no restraining devices, no unknown technology, nothing to fear, really. But why couldn't he move?

    "Ah, yes," Smith finally spoke. "You're probably wondering why you can't mo-"

    "Nanoprobes," Cucumba interrupted with a whisper, and although his voice contained a very minute sound of worry, it was powerful enough to halt Smith's speaking.

    "I can't get anything passed you, Cucumba. But, we'll get to that shortly," Smith diverted his look from Cucumba to the windows. "It looks so peaceful out there, doesn't it?" Cucumba said nothing. "Oh, don't be so down. I always thought green was a happy color." Smith walked over to a table adjacent to Cucumba and pulled out a stack of files, also familiar. "Arthos brought these to me," Smith said as he flipped through the pages. "I knew that I could never fool the forum into thinking I was the Smith| it knew, so I told him to grab them for me."

    Cucumba's eyebrow rose, but he still said nothing.

    "A very interesting ability you have, Cucumba. If I had known that you could alter time before I conquered your forum and its miserable moderators... Oh, I shiver to think how things could've turned out." Smith let out a slow laugh and then built into a great bellow of enjoyment. "HA HA HA HA HA HA HA, Cucumba! Oh, you've made my day a thousand times; no, a million, haha. NO! You've infinitely folded my enjoyment." After his laughter subsided, he became pseudo-serious again, "I have a question for you, though. Why haven't you gone back and stopped me from causing this destruction?"

    Cucumba examined the question for a moment and then he locked eyes with Smith. Even though he was immobile, he still had the ability to appear dominant over Smith. "Who says I haven't?"

    "Then I'm guessing you failed?"

    "Who says I have?" responded Cucumba, gaining a smile. Smith was utterly perplexed by this response, and as such, began to anger.

    "Tell me how," commanded Smith, but to a deaf ear. "Tell me now, Cucumba." As he spoke, he grew more and more frustrated as he felt like a child trying to command an adult, only to be ignored as if he didn't know better. Cucumba stared straight up, purposefully avoiding Smith's extremely heavy glare.

    "If you won't tell me how to change the past, then I'll show you the future," Smith grinned, pushing a feigned victory before his eyes. He then raised his right hand to the window and closed his eyes. The scene projected by the holographic windows changed dramatically and Cucumba couldn't help but watch. Where buildings once stood, only broken and destroyed craters remained. Flames were scattered in every which direction. The lush and living floor of the forum was nothing more than mounds of red dirt and rocks, buried by a very fine powder; no doubt the remains of the inhabitants. The once clear, blue sky was now replaced by a thick, red, and cloudy atmosphere that the sun could barely pierce, supplying just enough light for eyes to function. Visibility was reduced as the red clouds seemed to have melded with the ground, causing a very dirty and permanent dust storm. Every once and a while, a gust of wind would blow just enough to see out to the Administration Tower... or lack thereof. Only the bare roots of the building remained. In its place stood one massive Tripod that looked to have been dead for ages.

    "That is 100 years into the future, or my future, I should say. You won't be alive long enough to see it," Smith said, surprisingly quiet.

    Cucumba, although touched by the amazing display, understood that no one could accurately predict the future, not even himself. "A mere computer representation of how you'd like the future to be won't --"

    "-- convince you to tell me anything I'd like to know?" Smith interrupted, but in a very smooth manner, as though they were both speaking the same sentence but in different point of views. "Surprised?" asked Smith. "As you were keen to point out earlier: nanoprobes, stolen from SaiyaPrideXIX and reprogrammed by myself. As we've been talking, they've been establishing a link between your organic mind and my technological one. I will rob you of your own memories and thoughts, as I did with Pain's corpse. Before long, we won't need words to talk soon, Cucumba, and then you can watch as the last symbol of authority, the Tower, collapses into nothing... just like Majin_You did,"

    "I guess he wasn't quite the puppet you were looking for?" Cucumba asked, confusing Smith.

    "How did you... it doesn't matter. I'll know very soon."

    "I don't believe so, Smith," said Cucumba, letting out a small huff, that could be taken as a laugh.

    The metal door to the room shot off its hinges and struck Smith dead on, sending him straight across the room and into the wall, only to be crushed by the same door which tailed him by only inches. A man walked through the opening, stepping over the raised floor where the door once stood, with no weapon to be seen except for his open left palm. He was wearing white gloves, which were followed by white sleeves to a white jacket and white collar overlapping the top of the jacket. His pants were white, as were his shoes. A white cloak floated behind him, moving almost ethereally, like it was not part of reality. He appeared to be rather pale, but in a most aesthetically pleasing way, complementing his suit. He face was very smooth with a sharp chin, nose, and thin lips, closed tight due to the tense situation. The irises of his eyes were very light blue and his hair was a very light gray, also complementing his general look. As light reflected off of him, an outline of white formed like an aura, giving him an angelic look. He began to walk, and although his steps made almost no sound, his presence was that of a most powerful being.

    "Hsu," spoke Cucumba with a deep, tired voice from his table.

    "Cucumba," replied Hsu with a light, awakened voice. He walked over to Cucumba and stood in the same position Smith had been only moments before. "Majin_You is --"

    "-- I know," Cucumba spoke through Hsu's words. "We must leave."

    "Agreed," Hsu said, pulling out two small silver squares from his coat pocket and placing them on both Cucumba and himself. Without a word being said, a blue light encompassed both of them, and when it vanished, as had they.

    The door that had struck Smith flew up and broke through the ceiling and all of the upper floors with a terrible crash, leaving a gapping hole. The Virus leapt up, furious, and stormed towards the room's now open exit, sending countless commands to his Tripods: "Kill, kill, kill." As he passed the door barrier, the holographic windows and lights exploded into sparks and the room caught fire with such intensity that the iron tables began to melt. His patience had run out.
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  7. #7
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    Chapter 7
    Consequence and Retrobution

    The blinding Azure light subsided and Hsu and Cucumba were back in Forumscant proper. They were in the Miscellaneous section in between buildings of dubious content and tight alleyways littered with trash and graffiti. Here is where people made questionable "aftermarket" modifications to the city's greatest export, but they were not here for modifications of that sort.

    "My loyal Death Pickle to the last . . . Thank you for coming to get me Hsu," said the Green Devil.
    "No need to thank me, it is what Friends do for one another. Besides, you still owe me twenty bucks, and I'd hate to see that debt go uncollected."

    Cucumba chuckled despite the weight of the situation. A little light in the dark wouldn't be so bad before he had to do what must be done.

    "You know that Smith got his hands on my ban saber."
    "That's what Greg told me, yes," said Hsu.

    The rounded a corner market, and walked as fast as possible down a narrow alley littered with trash and dust.

    "Well then Shoe, you know what I have to do . . ."
    "Make another one?"
    "Wishful thinking."
    "I was hoping you wouldn't say that."

    The two continued in relative silence on foot through some small market places. One stand called "Evolution Mod" was covered in the ashes of people who had met their fates here. Cucumba looked on in sorrow. These were people he failed to protect. Existences infinitely more fragile than his own snuffed out because their great protector had been betrayed and fooled. He gritted his teeth: if his mind had not been adamant about his course of action before, it was now permanently part of him. Desire, deed and self were now one; he was one with his destiny.

    Besides, this would not be the first time that one had met such a fate, and he doubted that it would be the last.
    Hsu helped Cucumba to the great wall of Forumscant, and to a locked service entrance on that wall. Hsu pulled out a key card, and slid it into a barely visible slot in the wall. Brick moved aside and revealed a keypad and a lens at eye height. Hsu wordlessly entered in a passkey and lined his eye up with the lens. After some whirring noises and a faint beep, a large section of the brick slid away revealing a tunnel that led to Mount Noobus.

    __________________________________________________ ______________________________​_______________


    The Tripods began to move again, blaring their death trumpets. Pride grimaced and looked up to the nearest one, "Moderate time eh? Looks like Cuc managed to pull something off. C'MON GUYS, GET TO COVER!"

    Pride and the other moderators began ushering people out of the Tripods' sight. Ravendust came across a group of stragglers staring in awe at the destructive metal titans. "MOVE IT OR LOSE IT," shouted Ravendust.

    "Get your ass in there Fire Phoenix," barked Pride as he spotted Fire Phoenix near a subway entrance.
    "Get off the streets Shiyojin," shouted Synth from a building face out of the sight of the tripods.
    "Grega, do you want to die," asked Sailor Alea. He was staring at the Tripods from a hole in an outside wall of a ruined building.
    "No," retorted Grega.
    "THEN STOP PEEKING AT THE DEATH MACHINES," Alea yelled, motioning him to follow her.
    "Scruff, KelesK, what are you doing with that Map," asked Engar as he saw the two coming out of a store called ESF World.
    "Erm, nothing Engar," the sheepishly replied in unison, both dropping the map files.
    "STOP LOOTING! Get your arses out of plain view," ordered Engar.
    "Raeku, Hurry up," shouted Synth at the citizen who was running up the middle of a street.
    "Cap J? Get back here, we have to hurry," shouted Prozac at yet another straggler.
    "Prozac, round up those stragglers over there," barked Magus, his finger outstretched.
    "No problem, Magus," he replied with a salute.
    "Chakra X, get in with the rest of the group," exclaimed [S].
    "C'mon Gohan, we can't wait here any longer," said Deman.

    Magus grabbed Donnierisk by the collar and dragged him to cover.

    In the chaos, Karrde was helping a battered Sonic Boyster up. "Are you alright?" He asked his fellow admin.

    "Fine, ego is more bruised than anything . . ."
    "This is looking bad, the tripods are moving again," intoned Karrde.
    "We have to do something. We are the last lines of defense," said Sonic with a thousand yard stare soaking in the
    destruction wrought so far.

    Karrde followed Sonic's gaze and looked at the devastation that was once a beautiful city. For both of them, this was a
    place where they had taken an active role in keeping it wonderful for all. A place where the people of Forumscant could speak their minds freely while observing respect for one another. Now it was blasted rubble and the last bastion of hope for so many still left alive. Karrde grimaced and balled his fist.

    "I'll take the tripods from the streets and try to organize the populace into a useful fighting unit."
    Sonic smiled, "I'll take them from the air, I'll use the Troop Transports in the admin tower."
    "All that's left then is to decide which moderators are on our team," Karrde said with a smile.

    Sonic began selecting his team and transported them back to the tower. Karrde strode menacingly over the rubble toward the tripods while pulling on his gloves.

    On the other end of the city, Smith kicked the head of a trampled forum citizen left for dead in the ruins of ESF Chat. "DESTROY IT ALL," he roared with his face screwed up into a portrait of rage. "Especially that tower . . ."
    Smith marched over the dust of the disintegrated, and the bodies of the crushed. Each step brought him closer to the tower. He smiled and ordered the Catalyst Nanoprobes to bring Pain's body to him. Within only a few clock cycles, Pain's corpse was lowered to his level. The damage from the hole was nearly repaired, and would be complete by the time they arrived.

    "Wake up Pain," said Smith.

    Pain grunted as he squirmed in agony and slowly his eyes fluttered open.

    "Do you know why I've spared you," asked Smith with a sinister grin on his face.
    "Choke on . . . it, you sack of . . ."
    "Now, now, that's a terrible way to speak to someone who spared your life. Not to mention, I am your new master. It's not as if I'm asking you to betray your comrades, you simply have no choice in the matter."

    Pain watched in horror as his hands came into view and he popped open his administrator control band. The holographic display authenticated his identity and allowed him access to Forumscant's inner workings. He tried with all his might to stop himself from going any further, but it was useless, the nanoprobes had him now.

    "I see that your predicament has come to light. I hope you enjoy killing your friends."

    Pain couldn't reply, instead, he felt himself smile and speak something utterly alien to what he wanted to say.

    "I have lowered the shields to the Administration Tower . . . my master."

    The Tripods opened fire, and began to demolish the tower's heavily reinforced armor.

    __________________________________________________ ______________________________​_______________


    The tower rocked back and forth from the impacting beams on the outside. Sonic thought to himself, there isn't much time.

    He looked at the dazed and confused moderators before him. Arthos, Hitokiri, Sailor Alea, Mad AxMan, Nuttzy, Ravendust, [S], LiteNET, and Phobius all stared at each other in disbelief that they were in the hiding spot again.

    "Before we get all worked up that were in here to hide again," said Sonic with authority in his voice. "Let me tell you that were here to grab weapons and a drop ship for air assault on those metal monstrosities."

    There was a cheer of approval from most of them, and silent nods of approval from the rest.

    "Arthos, you're flying the drop ship, Phobs and Lite, you two are passing out the IP Range Rifles."
    "IP Rifles? We haven't used them since the DDOS of 04," said Phobius astonished.
    "Good, then they should have really charged batteries," said Lite. "Let's get to it then. Hey Sonic, can I use my glow worm bombs?"
    ". . . as long as you don't hit citizens or buildings with it . . ."
    "Hehehe, I'll be real careful. Oh and Sonic."
    "Yeah Lite?"
    "Just cause your doing the right thing doesn't mean I don't think your a ***."
    "As long as you do your job, you can call me all the names you want."
    "I'll hold you to that."

    Arthos put on his leather cap and flight goggles, and quickly ran through all the things he learned from playing flight sims with World War 2 fighter planes. Hitokiri ran to his locker and began pulling out very large guns, some of which were illegal in Forumscant, and began loading them onto an equipment frame. Sailor Alea grabbed a seat and began cracking her knuckles. Mad AxMan grabbed a giant sword vaguely shaped like a guitar, with the end of the neck as a handle. Nuttzy grabbed a pair of IP rifles. Ravendust found himself a set as well, and found a seat in the drop ship as another salvo of beams collided with the fortress of the moderators. [S] grabbed his rifle and sat down to meditate before battle within the confines of the drop ship. LiteNet grabbed a big revolving, six barrel, IP weapon and a back pack full of batteries, while Phobius grabbed a pair of ban daggers.

    Arthos finished the final engine checks as the last of the strike team entered the shuttle. Sonic strode confidently into the co-pilot's seat, and accessed his administrator panel. "Strike Team Bravo, this is Alpha leader, the bird is heavy and hot," said the vampire into his communication device. "Looks like Smith figured out how to take down the curtains."

    Karrde's voice returned over the airwaves, "Roger Alpha Leader, Bravo is organized, I used a riot cache at the corner of Help and Off Topic. Confirmed, shields are down, no way to access the logs without a Super Admin though, so we won't know who shut them off."

    To their astonished surprise, a third voice came in over the channel, "This is Task Force Theta, were coming in hot: Angels 25, Cherubs 6. Enemy sighted."

    "Hibiki?"

    __________________________________________________ ______________________________​_______________


    The monolithic halls had been dusty for some time. Grand scrawled columns rose high into the murky darkness above their heads, and huge statues of their former leaders lined the sides of walls in large alcoves. The latest statue was that of the verdant leviathan himself. At the head of the hall stood the Statue of Majin_You; here it would remain until his day of retirement, when he would join the rest of the former forum administrators. The marbled floor too was covered in dust, losing all it's resplendent luster and high polished sheen. No lights were lit here but the old emergency lights. Together, Hsu and Cucumba crossed the hall of the moderators, high atop the peak of Mount Noobus. Cucumba's walking was getting worse, not better however, and Hsu found himself taking more and more of the brunt of Cucumba's massive frame.

    "I'm sorry old friend, I'm not the easiest burden to carry."
    "I used to think it was the burden of the forums on your shoulders . . ."

    The too laughed again as they made their way into the doorway behind Majin_You's statue. Their laughter quickly died this time however, replaced by the heavy, sullen quiet that had haunted this arduous trek. Their goal was not taken lightly.

    "Are you sure you have to do this Cuc," asked Hsu through gritted teeth.
    "As sure as the cut on your ban saber."

    They entered a laboratory, and used another retinal eye scanner to access a lab further back. They both entered the room and saw several chests laid about the room and a work bench. The chests all glowed from the inside, their seams illuminated by whatever lay inside. Cucumba leaned forward and unlocked the nearest chest by closing his eyes and gesturing his hand toward it. The lid swung open and and a piercing green glow permeated the room. When their eyes adjusted, they saw the object of their quest.

    The green ban crystal, as large as a volleyball, lay on a deep purple pillow of satin with gold trim. Cucumba mentally willed the crystal to rise and follow them, and it did.

    Wordlessly, they left the strange room, and headed back to the outer laboratory. There they were greeted by a small group of people. Cucumba smiled.

    "Friends, you've come," said Cucumba weakly.

    Two wore suits of impeccable quality, not unlike Smith in dress, but with distinct faces of their own. Each of them radiated authority, one had blonde hair, the other black. The black haired one carried a large carbon coated Axe. A cyborg ape stood behind them, it's mechanical eye, peeking from the half cowl, focused on Hsu and Cucumba. A young man carrying a katana and a ban saber sat with a smug face nearby on a counter. A beautiful, voluptuous woman with legs up to her neck and skimpy clothes leaned against the door frame. Her ban saber hung from her hip. In front of them all was a man seemingly made of cheese. He wore a dark cloak and brandished a ban saber as well.

    "Bout time you showed up, ay," said Hsu.
    "There was traffic mate, the midtown bridge has a few holes and screaming people on it," said Cheeseman.
    "Cucumba, I don't think you should do what you plan on doing with that." vt, the black haired, suited individual gestured to the large floating crystal. "With all of us combined, we should be able to get rid of Smith."
    "I agree mate, this won't be healthy for you if you know what I mean," said Greg, the other suited individual.
    "All the more reason to do it. I've been infected with Smith's nanoprobes, it will only be a matter of time before he can control me as I suspect he is doing with Pain now, and as he did with Majin_You. If I die while ridding the forum of him, then he . . . and I, will no longer be a threat to this forum."
    "Good thing Maj was strong enough to resist outright control," intoned the mechanical voice of Chimpbot, "too bad he couldn't suppress the fledgling feelings of jealousy that Smith amplified."
    "You do what you have to Cuc, we'll take care of the people and those tin cans," said Deverz, thumbing his Katana, "besides, I'd love to get a work out. It's been a while."
    "Sir, don't you think that this measure is a bit extreme," asked Groovy as she moved off the door frame. "There has to be some other way."
    "There is no other way, he has my ban saber crystal installed in his own saber, and he has given chips of it to the tripods for power," said Cucumba with a sigh, as if he were tired of explaining it. "We can only match his stolen power with overwhelming force. He has proven time and time again that he can hold his own against administrators, and I don't feel like restoring any of you from the last forum backup."
    "Mate, a fusion of this nature is a bad idea. None of us could handle it, and I'm sure it would damage you beyond saving," chided Greg.
    "It is what must be done," said the green devil grimly.

    With those words, Hsu began the procedure as Cucumba laid down on the table.

    __________________________________________________ ______________________________​_______________


    The engines screamed as the drop ship quickly accelerated in it's sharp climb. Arthos looked at the guages, Angels 24, 26, . . . 30. They had hit 30,000 feet above the drop zone. This is precisely where Sonic had wanted to drop from. Arthos would then engage the Tripods with the drop ship. "All passengers, prepare for drop engagement," he said calmly into his communicator.

    Sonic disengaged his harness and made his way to the back. There, the had done the same, opening the bay door and attaching their tethers to the rail were in process. Sonic quickly added his line to the queue. LiteNET looked down at the burning city below, and saw streaks of green energy slamming into the administration tower. "Damn, they're big from up here too," he said quietly. "Now wait for the light, and remember, no one attacks until the last 5,000 feet or when you are fired upon. No one wants to be shot mid air."

    "Bravo Leader, Alpha team is ready for deployment, make sure they don't look up."
    "Roger Alpha Leader," Said Karrde into his communicator.

    His band had made it to the rear tripod, and was ready to strike with a vengeance. Pride leaned against a wall, weaponless, but clearly scouting the area for something. Prozac had two IP weapons, pistol class, as he preferred lighter weapons. Both were in hand as he crept through a ruined archway behind the infernal machine. Synth too, held no weapons, but he was slowly making his way to the far flank, navigating a pile of rubble that had been left in the street. Torlon was in the ruins of a building 10 blocks down, zeroing the scope on his IP rifle. Optimus Prime rolled up with his engine off, and transmission in neutral. He was waiting for the signal to hit hard only a few blocks away, but out of the path of the tripod's sight. Deman and Magus made their way through the sewer and sub-blocks, directly underneath the Tripod, with hopes of getting past its shields. Each one carried their ban daggers. Magus had called upon his werewolf and vampire heritages, while calling on his altered demonic state as well. Deman mentally ran through his katas, and cleared his mind of fear with some degree of meditation.

    Karrde smiled and held his hand high, fingers outstretched. The moderators looked on tensely, and darted their eyes back and forth from their objectives to their targets.

    Little did they know that some of the forum's populace had moved into position as well.

    Karrde closed his hand to a fist, and all hell broke loose.

    Optimus turned on his engine, and spooled up his turbo charged, v12 heart, rolling into motion with 1000 horse power of pure diesel muscle. The massive Autobot charged down the street toward the rear tripod. Once he was within only a few hundred feet, there was a detonation under him as his jump jets fired and he soared into the air, transforming during the leap. The tripod turned and fired at his trailer, turning it into smoking ruin. Prime was already mid flip, inverted and aiming down at the tripod with his transformer sized IP rifle. Blast after blast rang out from his over-sized weapon and slammed into the Tripod's shields with a throaty roar. Prime landed safely behind the now turned Tripod and took cover while continuing to fire. The tripod was being buffeted about by the blasts, but it's shields held strong, even if it's footing was dubious. Once the Tripod gained it's bearings, it began to return fire, keeping Optimus pinned behind the rubble he was using as a shield. Prozac chose this time to open fire, attempting to distract it. The tripod turned one beam equipped arm toward the brave moderator and made him scramble for cover as the archway collapsed. Deman and Magus waited, it was almost over them. Magus snarled and began to lift the manhole cover. Meanwhile, Karrde made his move. He had taken the initial moments of the assault to climb atop an adjacent building. The other Tripods kept firing on the administration tower, much to his approval. His cloak flapping in the winds of destruction, Karrde leapt from the building and ignited his ban saber. The tripod whirled it's body at the sound of the hissing instrument of banishment and brandished it's charged beam weapons at the Administrator. Karrde smirked and held his saber outstretched to deflect the blast. He was blasted from the sky with the jarring force of a fragment of Cucumba's ban saber. He stopped his fall with a thought, righting himself and landing in a cloud of dust as his feet stopped just short of the ground. The tripod took a step back and adjusted it's aim as it's weapons began to glow with a furious green-blue light.
    The ground beneath it erupted as Magus and Deman made it into the shields.

    Deman leapt at it's right arm, slashing it with his ban daggers in an x pattern. He was promptly swatted for his efforts by one of it's manipulation arms. Deman flew headfirst into it's shields with a smile on his face as the beam arm erupted into an inferno in the shape of a bird of prey. Magus used his unearthly strength to tear into the automatons leg, and climbed as Deman leapt. Magus soon made it to the bottom of it's body where the legs met the body. With his supernatural agility, he dodged past the manipulators as they furiously and fruitlessly attempted to dislodge him.

    Smith slowly turned his head.

    Magus rammed his fist elbow deep into the machine's plating and worked his arm. He reached around inside and grabbed whatever he could. Having filled his hand, he yanked with all of his might, tearing and rending all that was within his grasp. The manipulators moved in for the kill as Magus lit his ban dagger with his free hand and severed the first. The second struck him, but only served to finish the job Magus had started.

    Sparks shot from the hole, then black smoke, and in Magus' hand lie cords and hydraulic line. Karrde ran forward as the shields fell, his communicator drawn to his mouth, "Magus, Deman get out of there!"
    The two complied the best they could, dodging it's one good weapon arm. Optimus Prime got of from behind his cover and blasted it's wounded leg where Magus had climbed his way up. The tripod lurched perilously.

    "Angels Five, all units, open fire," shouted Sonic.

    But beneath them, beams of incredible brilliance slammed into the second furthest Tripod, and the machine nearly lost it's balance from the savage attack. A sleek drop ship exploded into view, tearing past them at several times the speed of sound, leaving a deafening sonic boom in it's wake.

    Seven people dropped from the ship, at astonishingly low altitude.

    "Open fire," shouted Hibiki.

    Theta team's IP rifles tore into the shields as they fell into the rubble surrounding the tripod. Greentaco made his way to a manhole cover in the street and pulled it up for the other team members. Only Hibiki stayed above ground as Taco jumped in to follow the others. Hibiki closed the manhole cover behind them.

    Evil Trunks made his way on point, with Greentaco behind him. Fatmanterror, Firefly, XxShadowxX, and Scorcher followed their leaders through the sewers. The walls here were littered with graffiti, as it was a popular spot to avoid bannings.

    "Skater009 wuz here."
    "Vote for Andreyesf"
    "MajinSSJGOKU345PwNsJ00"
    "Cucumber's grandma eats poo"

    They ignored it all, and pressed on as Hibiki stood defiant before Smith and his Tripod.

    "You've got to be kidding me Mr. Kensaki. You think that your rag tag group of retired heroes will make a difference?"
    Hibiki smiled in response, then quickly dodged as the tripod fired at him. His speed was incredible and the tripod lost lock on him as he took cover. Smith scanned the area for him, a frown quickly appearing on his face. It was then that he heard the roar of IP weapon fire above him. He looked up to see Sonic holding a second group of moderators and himself from falling to the ground at lethal speeds with his mind. The Tripod rocked from the blast, but again the shields held firm. Smith looked back at the rubble just in time to see Hibiki toss a cardboard box from over him and level a very large revolver at him. Smith moved to take cover but took a bullet in the head instead. The impact was severe, sending Smith reeling to the roof below him as he fell of the tripod's head. But all it served to do was make him angry; the bullet simply made it's way back out the way it came. Smith roared as he punched the building top, shattering it's concrete foundation; he would not be made a fool in his hour of triumph.

    Karrde lunged at the rear tripod as it once again tried to flush Optimus from his hiding spot. From the far side, Pride and Synth emerged. Synth slammed into the tripods body, foot first, denting it's armored hide severely, and nearly knocking it off balance. Pride looked around for a suitable weapon, and spied just what he wanted. Synth fell safely to the ground as Karrde engaged the remaining manipulator arms while trying to make it to the remaining death ray. Magus helped Deman to shelter, neither having much left to fight with. Pride pulled the steel chair from the wreckage and let the catalyst nanoprobes do their work. The chair became harder and harder, turning an ashen gray, then coal black. He charged the ruined leg, and slammed the chair into it as hard as he could. Something deep within the leg gave with a dull snap that resounded through the streets. And hydraulic fluid sprayed out with horrendous force, knocking Pride back into an adjacent building. Prozac saw it and went for it, firing round after round from his blasters, eschewing cover while cursing his own bravery.

    He screamed as he made it to open ground, and the titanic blaster weapon turned toward him. Karrde severed one arm, then another, but it would not be enough, there were still more manipulators and he would never make it in time. The green blue ray turned Prozac into a pile of dust, but his final IP weapon blast did the trick.
    The leg crumpled and gave way. Optimus leapt from his hiding spot and jumped on the giant falling head, firing rapidly into it's eye cluster. The face erupted into bulges, and smoke began to pour out of the seams in the armor. Prime was tossed clear from the head as it went level, slamming into a ruined building which promptly collapsed on him. Karrde leapt into the air, and sliced with all of his might into the weapon arm, severing it cleanly from the fallen tripod.
    Torlon carefully aimed, and finished the tripod with a blast to a bulging plate.

    The tripod exploded into flames and shrapnel with a deafening roar. The people of the ESF forum began to cheer!
    Karrde walked out from the flames and dust cloud, motioning to the remainder of his team to come with him. Pride and Synth followed while Torlon began to aim at the second tripod.

    Smith, shaking with rage, began looking for Hibiki again. Beneath him however, the beleaguered Tripod that was taking fire from Sonic's team, and having no luck hitting back as Sonic moved them from harms way as they approached the ground, was being silently undermined by Theta team. Evil Trunks was the first to exit underneath the tripod's shields, the rest exited quickly and quietly, each with a canvas bag marked "M-128 DDOS, do not store near open flames". The quickly strapped the bags up to the three legs, each getting four satchels. As quickly as they appeared, they made their way back to the sewer.

    Sonic's team continued to fire as the landed in cover near the infernal machine. They took up positions around the machine, but were stunned to see it's legs blow up underneath it with a titanic explosive force. The shrapnel bounced around inside the shields, tearing into the bottom of it's hull as the machine crashed to the earth below.
    Hibiki appeared once again, this time on a scaffolding with his long colt transformed into an angel arm. Hibiki smiled at Smith as he leveled the weapon at his building. Smith's jaw dropped, not believing that Hibiki would use such a destructive weapon here in the heart of the city he intended to protect. Smith prepared himself for the impact, he would, after all, survive it with some reconstructive nanoprobes. But then he saw Hibiki turn and jump off the building, running into cover as the weapon reverted.

    Behind him he heard boots click. Smith wheeled around to see Sonic and Karrde, blackened faces frozen into masks of sheer determination and disgust.

    "Lets see how you do when both of us have your full attention," said Karrde.
    "And there won't be any Majin_You to save you this time," growled Sonic.
    "Do you really think that I'm that incapable," asked Smith with a smile as he floated into the air. "I doubt you have the capability to take me down, but you may try."
    On the tentacle of a tripod, a familiar face distorted with discoloration and features twisted in rage appeared. Pain hopped off the arm to the amazement of both Karrde and Sonic who could only watch in terror.
    "Pain, destroy them."
    With only a single tear falling from his eye, Pain drew his ban saber.

    __________________________________________________ ______________________________​_______________


    From beneath a blanket of omnipotence, the eye that bound them all shuddered to life, and the assembled knew that it was time to go.

    __________________________________________________ ______________________________​_______________


    Fire Phoenix emerged first near the disabled Tripod. It was trying desperately to get off it's ruined legs, but the weapon arms and manipulators were never meant to support the bulk of the head. Fire was certain that he and the other's could finish it, and so in a moment of brashness, he ran into the area where the colossal mechanical beast lie injured. It blared a death trumpet as it spotted him and began to reposition it's arms.

    KelesK emerged from a different spot, using his chaos control to nudge the beams off course despite their incredible power. Fire only barely escaped annihilation as the beams disintegrated a vehicle behind him.

    Engar, who had been trying desperately to keep them underground, could no longer do so once they saw one of their tormentors broken and wounded in the streets. Chakra X ran toward the machine's eye cluster, using his limited Ki knowledge to run faster than could be achieved on muscle alone. The tripod zeroed in on him, noting as it did that he was carrying a large pole, and opened fire. Engar leapt in front of him, deflecting the beam with his rouge saber, only to be blasted back into the wreckage of a Tuner Computer shop. Chakra X hurled his makeshift javelin at the mechanical beast, impaling it's largest eye with his impromptu weapon. His victory was short lived however, as a blue green beam turned him into nothing more than dust and fluttering clothes.

    The roar of a chainsaw was lost in the din of battle, but the Tripod's sensors picked it up none the less, and attempted to shuffle it's bulk as it heard the words, "Hail to the Scruff, baby."

    In a flash, Scruffie was on the head, tearing into the head's plates with his chainsaw. He dodged a phalanx of manipulator arms and set back to his task.

    Torlon looked up from his scope in disbelief. They're mugging it.
    He pulled his communicator up to his face, "Alpha team, get to that downed tripod stat, there's a bunch of civvies trying to finish it off and it's already deleted one member."

    A vehicle came screaming at the tripod full tilt, narrowly dodging destruction at the hands of the weapon arm nearest it. Cap J slammed his foot down on the accelerator, ramming the truck into the face of the tripod. The tripod shuddered from the impact as the air bag deployed, saving Cap J. Scruffie regained his footing after the impact and watched the manipulator arms head to the side where the crash occurred.

    Cap J peeled himself off the steering wheel only to be wrenched from the vehicle by a manipulator arm. Shiyojin attacked the manipulator arm with his beam saber, and found that the armor was quite resistant. A beam of white light connected with the arm where he had tried to cut it, and the skin blistered and gave, allowing Cap J to fall several feet to the earth below.

    Torlon moved positions after the snipe, not allowing the Tripods to home in on his position.

    Shiyojin jammed his beam saber in the hole left by Torlon's shot, causing grievous damage to what lay inside the ruptured armor. The manipulator arm sank silently, it's animating force apparently dead. The other arms massed around Shiyojin, and coiled for the strike.

    Raeku yanked Shiyojin out of the way with his fledgling telekinetic powers, only slightly damaging the hapless recipient of his aid in the process. Shiyojin hit the ground with a hard thud and dull crack as he felt his shoulder break. Raeku tried to get to his wounded friend but saw too late that the tripod's manipulator arms had targeted him instead.
    One flew down with sickening force, coiling about his head and neck like some kind of clockwork python, and tore his head clean from his shoulders. Raeku could no longer breath, but he could still feel the mechanical vice crushing his skull from all angles as he faded into oblivion.

    Fire Phoenix slid out from behind his cover, and began to manipulate the wind, summoning a dense pocket of air, and spinning it rapidly like a blade, he fired it at the mass of manipulator arms threatening Shiyojin's crumpled form. The impact was severe, and one of the arms that was badly damaged from the DDOS shrapnel blew apart from the damage he caused. The weapon arm instantly swiveled in his direction, but Grega got in front, using his solar shield to defend Fire as he dived out of the way. Grega's shield held for a short while, but became swallowed up in blue green doom, ending Grega's existence. Fire took this sacrifice seriously, and made for the top of the head to help Scruffie.
    Meanwhile, Engar had crawled out of the wreckage and made his way back to the battle. He saw Shiyojin's grievously injured form sprawled near the arms. Engar rushed with all his might, dodging lethal beams as he went. As he approached Shiyojin, the manipulators joined the fight, recognizing Engar as a greater threat. Engar jumped and twisted mid air, narrowly avoiding impalement or worse several times. He landed only three feet from the fallen civilian. He pulled his rouge saber, and severed the nearest manipulator arm's tip.

    Shiyojin stirred, and saw that one beam cannon arm had moved over Engar's preoccupied head. He pulled every ounce of strength he had and violently exploded off the pavement, ramming into Engar at full tilt. Engar exhaled hard from the hit, and was blinded by the light that struck where he was standing only moments before.

    In that place lie Shiyojin's clothes and a pile of dust.

    Fire and Scruffie continued their work, nearly cutting free a maintenance hatch on the head of the machine, but they knew their time was limited when they heard the arms coming back for them.

    Scruffie roared with triumph as he cut through the last section with his chainsaw arm and Fire pulled up on the panel, tearing it free. He stood triumphant with the panel in his hand as the first manipulator arm burst through his chest with a severed tip.

    Fire coughed up blood, and his eyes went glassy as he dropped the plate and uttered his final words, "Bullsh . . . ."
    His body was thrown hundreds of feet in the air, and slammed into the side of sky scraper.

    Scruffie attacked the manipulators with the best of his ability, but glancing attacks with the chainsaw were not working. He was fairly sure that the chain had gotten dull cutting through the plate. Engar appeared at his side and narrowly deflected a death ray with his rouge saber. KelesK helped once again with his chaos control, but now he was flanked by two balls of ice the size of a small apartment. A broken fire hydrant was all that told the truth of the origin of his new charges. The weapon arms attacked with renewed fury, firing rapidly at the trio as they dodged for their lives. Engar managed to stab the rouge saber through one of the beam arms, pinning it to the wall of the building it fell near. KelesK used his moment of opportunity to smash the head of the beam cannon with both ice boulders.

    Scruffie leveled his double barreled shot gun at the remaining eyes, and fired both rounds, shattering the last of it's large sensors.

    SA Gohan ran into view, carrying a Katana of strange hue, and stabbed the mechanical monster directly in its side. The wound sparked and dark, hot fluid leaked from hydraulic wounds.

    "Bout time you showed up," yelled Engar. "I thought you got lost back there."
    "Nope, a skilled warrior plots and strikes at a precise moment."

    Synth smiled and brought his communicator to his face, "Pride, ready to take this nob to the extreme?"
    "Heh, I'm ready when you are."

    Synth crouched at the edge of the sky scraper, and jumped with all his might. Pride waited, and tossed his altered chair up at precisely the right time. Synth began to spin, his red aura showing, sticking his leg out as he did, and kicked the chair with incredible force as it touched the open area near the hatch.

    Fire and smoke rose quickly from the wound as the mechanical beast died.

    __________________________________________________ ______________________________​_______________

    Smith smiled as Pain advanced on the administrators, not noticing that the clouds above were swirling in peculiar patterns. Pain's saber screeched against Sonic's as he kicked Karrde in the chin, he too oblivious to the strangeness happening above him.

    Ryoko, who was flying the Theta team drop ship noticed it first, and flew clear of the strange gravitational disturbance.
    Motes of iridescent and translucent energy fell from the clouds like firefly lit snowflakes, and they fell directly over Smith's head.

    Karrde brilliantly out fenced Pain, only to be shoved back with the force of Pain's mind. Sonic took advantage of the moment of distraction and nearly severed Pain's arm, merely cutting his shirt instead.

    Smith looked up and frowned as he saw the clouds form a fast moving vortex, they ever increasing eye showing only starry expanse behind it, and eight burning lights. The heat and light from the eight auras was oppressive in it's power, and Smith found himself needing to shield his eyes.

    The others on the ground, moderator or otherwise looked away from the power assembled in the sky.
    Smith could see in the center of each aura the body of an administrator.

    "You have nothing to fear from the former admins of the ESF forum."

    Smith growled under his breath.

    "Fear instead him," vt gestured to the form of Cucumba, hooked up to a respirator mask and bearing EKG sensors underneath his shirt, their wires giving up their secret.

    Cucumba pulled his mask off slowly, and with one hand tore all the EKG sensors off.

    "Smith . . . your existence is at an end."
    Forum Administrator (Retired)
    Woah Oh, Standing in the Heart of Darkness, give me my life, give me my energy.
    Woah Oh, Fighting with my Heart of Madness, ease my pain, ease my loneliness.

    Fight Club record: 15 wins, 0 losses, 2 fatalities
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  8. #8
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    Chapter 8
    Glass Armor

    Cucumba stared hard at Smith, and surveyed the battle from his lofty perch made only of air.

    Smith smiled, "A bold threat for someone infected with a sickness that will give me the key to everything. Spare me the theatrics, you hold nothing new."

    Even as he said it, he knew something was different, sadly, Smith could not figure out what it was. The Admins were bristling with power. So bright were they that they flooded the sky with golden light through the dust and haze, and even made the sun appear a bit dimmer. He mentally commanded Pain to continue his fight, while he watched the Admin's disperse and head off for the tripods.

    Cucumba grinned in a way that suggested grave danger to Smith, but leisurely floated past him to the nearest tripod. Smith's mouth dropped agape with outrage, in his condition, Cucumba couldn't be seriously dismissing him?

    But he apparently was, and this made Smith angrier.

    "What has changed Smith," spoke Cucumba gently as he turned to face Smith once more, "is absolutely nothing. I know that you will not win here today, and I have known for some time."

    Smith gestured to the nearest tripod, which promptly picked up a hover bus and threw it at the green devil. Cucumba did not move, nor did he flinch when the bus came barreling at his back. The bus collided into an invisible wall of force and folded like an accordian before exploding. Shrapnel and debris were flung far outside the smoke cloud, but in the center, Smith could just make out Cucumba completely unharmed. The cloud of smoke stopped within a foot of the jade behemoth. Smith furiously searched the nanoprobes inside the Green Devil's mind, but they had not yet made their connection.

    The tripod opened fire on Cucumba, but it's beam stopped on the same invisible barrier, harming not a minute portion of jade skin. Cucumba smiled and turned to face the tripod. Smith watched in horror as Cucumba dissapeared from sight, not from teleportation, but from sheer speed. He reappeared inside the tripods shields, and reared back for one mighty punch.

    The tripod was punched in the eye array and caved in from the force. Black smoke poured out of every plate, and the titanic machine was moved back from the force of the blow. It collided with a sky scraper, shattering thousands of pounds of glass and destroying the external grav lifts.

    Cucumba moved in for the kill, tearing at the gaping wound with both hands. Great sounds of rending metal filled the glass and steel canyons as the great armor gave and was ripped in two. With the inner workings exposed, Cucumba reached in and plucked a fragment of ban crystal from a power matrix within the metallic beast. He then clenched the crystal in his fist, and with a flash of light, crushed it into powder within his grip.

    "One down, nine to go."

    Smith charged Cucumba with abandon, no longer able to contain his rage at Cucumba's mockery. Cucumba simply stood still, allowing smith to smash into the invisible wall of force at full speed. Smith grabbed his face, and grunted in pain at the impact. The verdant leviathan's body began to glow gold again, the energy coming off of him distorting the air around them. Smith looked on stunned as Cuc's duster and shirt exploded off of him and disentegrated in the torrents of energy. Cucumba was on Smith faster than any one could have believed, and in that short instant, Smith saw that the mad old one had *****ded in his chest a ban crystal the size of a melon. Hoses and wires ran from the viridian crystal to Cucumba's veins and nerves. The Administrator gave the vaguest of smiles in that brief second as he saw Smith realize what was done.

    Karrde and Sonic looked on in terror at what the green machine had done.

    "He'll be unstoppable . . . if it doesn't kill him," said Sonic.

    "His life span is going to be measured in hours at best . . ," said Karrde with worry in his voice.

    "You fight is with me, or did you forget," screamed Pain as he buried his ban saber into Sonic's shoulder.

    Cucumba dived at Smith with his annoying smirk painted on his face, and unleashed a flurry of wind spear blows so fast that his hand could only be barely seen by the most powerful amongst them. Smith's body was wracked with damage as each blow sunk deep into his viral flesh. One hundred wounds appeared on Smith in a flash as black blood boiled up into Smith's throat and out of his mouth. Smith clutched at his midsection, and leaked black blood onto the streets below. He sank, ever so slightly, but not too far when Cucumba gently changed his weight to his back leg, and slowly chambered a kick.

    Smith looked up right in time to see the Green Devil's instep connect to his face. The virus' head nearly blew apart from the impact as he went through two buildings and toppled a tripod after hitting its shields.

    Karrde pulled the heat off of Sonic long enough for the vampire to heal his wound, but Karrde was quickly being out savaged by the demented junior administrator. Pain attacked with unhinged violence, Karrde's defenses faltering after each savage blow. Sonic reached out with his mind, yanking Pain off his feet and toward him. Pain struggled to turn or right himself, but felt Sonic's shoulder slam into the small of his back. Karrde recovered quickly, raising an upturned palm towards Pain, launching the infected admin skyward. Sonic and Karrde both swung their arms down rapidly, with Pain some fifty feet in the air. Pain hurdled downward with incredible force, reaching for the sky as if to grab something there to stop his descent.

    Pain smashed into the ground with amazing force, leaving a crater five feet across. Water sprayed up from a ruptured water main, and Pain could see Sonic high in the air above him, ban saber leveled for the kill. Pain's pupil's narrowed, and the junior admin blocked the powerful killing blow and rolled backwards, kicking Sonic in the face as he did. He rolled up to his feet and turned with a clenched fist, sending mental force across his rear. The dust on the ground and even debris as large as his head moved in the violent telekinetic maelstrom. Karrde shielded himself just in time, sliding backwards ten feet with his arms folded in front of him. His shoulder and head took hits from the debris, and momentarily stunned him. When his eyes refocused from the hit, he saw that Pain was on him again. The two traded strikes and blocks. Karrde was using a fast and short movement style that emphasised the weapon's lethality by itself, using very little force and momentum to strike more rapidly. Pain by contrast was using a heavy style, adding to the weapons lethality with his physical strength and rage. Karrde was rebuffed at every turn from the recoil of the impacts when their sabers clashed. The enraged junior admin had to work twice as hard to block after every strike though, and Karrde's saber always seemed to be in the way. Sonic again dashed in, using a medium stance that emphasized neither, and utilized the fluidity of the weapon to go from offensive to defensive in a flash. Pain only nearly defeated Sonic's attack, recieving a burn on his shoulder blade from blocking late.

    Smith looked down at his broken sunglasses, far out of reach within a storm drain. His body was nearly repaired from the last hit, and he was only snapped out of his repair state by the clamor above his head. The tripod he had hit on his way over here was righting itself, and pulling it's weapons of destruction to bear on it's assailant. Smith lazily looked up, still pulling spiderwebs from his kernel, and saw that Cucumba was just beneath the machine, and nearly in front of him.

    "Where is the real Smith."

    "I AM THE REAL SMITH."

    "Temper, temper, there is no need to shout," retorted Cucumba smugly. "Did you finally reabsorb them all, including the one I had reprogrammed."

    Smith's face took a sinister cast, "You'll soon find out, won't you."

    "Oh?"

    "Yes, oh yes Mr. Pickle. You will see for yourself when my nanoprobes take control of your mind and body."

    "I see. I suppose I will have to destroy you and restore him from the last back up then, won't I."

    "Hehe, can you be sure that the last backup is untainted by my code? After all, I snuck by the scan process once."

    Cucumba smiled, as did Smith, each holding cards the other could not see. Smith's payoff was more immediate however as the manipulator arms of the Tripod gingerly reached through Cucumba's shield and grabbed hold of him. The mighty admin was taken aback with the surprise assault, not because it was stealthy, or sneaky; it was because he had no knowledge of the attack, and it easily bypassed his protective shield.

    "You see, Mr. Pickle," spoke Smith, his voice dripping with malice. "The have made some headway. I know know the frequency of your shielding, and It appears I can blind that third eye of yours."

    Cucumba's gold ki erupted again, and though his arms were pinioned beneath the might of the manipulator arms, his bladed tenticles were not. Smith watched in horror as the four unearthly appendages erupted from his back, and Cucumba's massive six feet, six inch frame grew to an alarming thirteen feet. His facial features dissapeared and large membrainous wings sprouted from his shoulder blades, assuming the faceless horror that was his true form: The doom of Sarnath. The manipluator arms sought to collect these new appendages, and pin them as well, but even as they failed to do so, Cucumba's newfound strength had clearly bested the manipulator arms. First the bladed tenticles cut through the manipulator arms, shredding them as they went by, then they found their mark on the Tripod, spearing it completely through in four seperate spots.

    The Tripod Dropped the admin and recoiled from the damage. Smith watched Cucumba fall, and with amazment saw that the horrid transformation had reversed itself somewhere in that short span of time. The Virus scanned the nanoprobes again, and found that the shield had not changed frequencies, but also saw that he could no longer access the third eye. The Anti Smith was very concerned about this development, for if he could not control that eye, he would have to defeat an opponent that could see his every move.

    Still, there was no shield now, and where there was no ultimate defense, there was opportunity for victory.

    Pain continued his assault, and the two Admins continued their efforts to bring down the maddened Junior Admin. Pain was growing tired, even as the nanoprobes improved his stamina and flooded his system with adrenaline. Sonic brought his weapon to bear with a stronger stance now, using his strength to batter the tiring Pain. Karrde continued to apply pressure with his light form, the elegance of his complex and minimal energy attacks keeping pain on his toes. The Junior Admin realized that he needed to act quickly, and end this fight soon, or he would fail at his program.

    Fail my program, he thought. God damnnit, I can't be thinking like this!!!

    Still his body and concious mind disobeyed, and fought on with renewed vigor. The fight came underneath a ruined overpass, and Pain saw his opportunity. He pulled on the overpass with all of his might, bringing down the highway overhead onto their heads, and burying them beneath the rubble as Sonic and Karrde saw too late what was to happen.

    Futher away, nervous cheers burst from a crowd of onlookers as Deverz effortlessly dodged deadly green beam weapons of the Tripod he chose to fight. Greg, who had been lurking behind it, saw his opening. It's sheild had just passed over a ruined archway. Greg ran into the shields, a satchel charge slung over his shoulder, and lept to the top of the deadly machine. As Deverz, continued to keep it busy, Greg pulled his tool set out of his pocket, and began to remove a plate on the behemoth machine's bulbous top. Deverz was finally clipped by a green deletion beam, and was flung some distance as a pencil sized gouge was dug into his arm. He bled, and cursed his luck as the weapon arms took aim once again. Greg dropped from the top of the machine, and hit the remote detonator on the way down, disabeling it's shields.

    The tripod rocked forward, throwing it's aim off and likely sparing Deverz deletion at it's hands. The Dog of War pulled his Katana from it's place of peace and smiled. The tripod righted it self and searched breifly for Greg, illuminating the dark alleys and piles of rubble with it's spotlights and sensors. Greg, from his place of hiding, fired a well placed burst of IP range rifle rounds into it's sensor array, partially blinding it. The tripod turned to see Deverz, growing large in it's view, katana leveled for the kill. As suddenly as that image appeared, it's camera's went off line, torn assunder from the mysterious blade Deverz carried. Deverz ran up the length of the tripod, cutting continuously as he went, leaving a line of damage that traveled almost it's entire length. He sommersaulted off, and wiped the hydraulic fluid from his blade as he returned it, and stood still as the Tripod fell behind him.

    Groovy was blasted from her guarded position after unwisely attempting to block the deletion beams. Her bansaber skittered away from her grip, and left her defenseless against the next attack. Hsu pulled his crisp white glove tighter onto his hand blasted the weapon arms with the force, causing it's aim to be far off to the right, and allowing groovy time to recall her ban saber.

    VT stood defiantly, his carbon baked axe with clear marks of recent sharpening hanging menacingly in his grip. The Tripod fired again, and was baffled when VT cut the beam in two, sending it off in diffrent directions, and effectively sparing himself deletion. He smiled and adjusted his sunglasses; if this was all it could muster, then he would have no problems whatsoever.

    Cheeseman was reliving his days atop Mt. Noobus, slaughtering spamites, laughing as the Tripod attempted to snuff him out. It's wasted efforts contintually failed to get results, striking buildings, streets, and brave observers. Still, while he was unharmed, he could not get into it's defenses without some aid, and he wondered what aid, if any would come. While this was fun now, it was not likely to remain so for long.

    Torlon kept his aim trained on the multiple fights around the city looking for an optimal shot that wouldn't call attention to his position. He wiped the sweat from his brow, and re-zeroed his scope on a distant tripod. He seemed to not be able to get comfortable with the scope again after the adjustment, realigning his eye several times. Hibiki suddenly spoke, startling him.

    "Hey."

    "JEEZE, don't sneak up on me like that."

    "What? I'm here to tell you something."

    "Well, then get down so you don't blow my cover."

    "I know the frequency to the tripod's shields, it's the same as the bansabers," Hib said with a smile. "Set your weapon to that IP addy."

    He handed Torlon a slip of paper.

    "It'll work for sure," Hib flipped a thumbs up with a winning smile.

    "I still hope the spiders lay eggs in your brain while you sleep . . . but thanks," said Torlon.

    He began to alter the ip address on the weapon, and adjusted his aim once again.
    Forum Administrator (Retired)
    Woah Oh, Standing in the Heart of Darkness, give me my life, give me my energy.
    Woah Oh, Fighting with my Heart of Madness, ease my pain, ease my loneliness.

    Fight Club record: 15 wins, 0 losses, 2 fatalities
    Undefeated Moderator Champion
    16,282 xp
    Bio

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