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Feral Intelligence
Topic Started: Mar 3 2011, 09:05 PM (4,155 Views)
Namira
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Null sheen.
[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Kris Hartmann continued from Corpsewalker))

Had you asked Kris Hartmann exactly where rough terrain had given way to ordered streets and rows of houses, she probably would have been unable to tell you. Heck, if you'd asked Kris Hartmann where the mountain had ended and the countryside had begun, an answer would have been unlikely to be forthcoming. She was... not in the best state of mind.

Crunch.

Crunch.

Crunch.

Spike.

Straight.

Through.

Blll
ooo
d

Scream. Murder. Again? Again.

Again.

Again.

Control?

None.


Smiling, Kris tripped over a metallic box and faceplanted on the cobblestones around the fountain. Her hand twitched, very nearly pressing the button on the detonator switch inadvertantly. That'd have been something. She rolled over so that she was face up, one foot still on whatever the heck it was she'd tripped over.

Sprawled out. Kris giggled. Just a little.

She stared up at the sky for a few seconds, eyes rolling drastically, then touched her free hand to her forehead, still ringing from the impact against the hard ground. Kris touched wetness, brought her hand forward, and saw yet more blood on her hands. A cut? A graze? Either way, it didn't seem to hurt too badly. What was that trickle compared to the bursting gouts that had come from...

the others... all of them. Reika, Kimberly, Amber, Al, Etain, Janet. Her victims. One failed kill, one not directly her... but her fault nevertheless. Four dead. Because of her. Stone hard facts, up on the announcement, that only ever reached her when her own name came up. Kris could've stumbled straight into a DZ and wouldn't have noticed.

And yet, through all that... and this was the first time she'd personally shed blood.

Kris's expression turned sombre and she stared into nothingness.

Hurt...
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The heel of Kris's trainer drummed on the metal box aimlessly, entirely unwares of exactly what was held within it. For a few seconds longer, she stared up at a cloudless sky, unseeing. Then, Kris's eyes dipped down to regard the shoe making a thunking beat on the surface of the container. It was a sort of faded red. Ah. Right... she remembered...

Force. Her. Down. Crunching bone. Pained gasps. Blood spatter, spurter. Pitter-patter, like rain... pitter-patter on the sneakers...

Momentarily fascinated, Kris stopped twitching and stared at her blood-soaked trainer, angled higher then her head because of where it was resting. A moment or two of that and then... she blinked. For the first time, she looked beyond merely what was right in front of her, and saw him. A familiar face.

That encounter... well, here, more or less. Not by the fountain, but definitely in the streets. When she'd collapsed and awoken to find herself restricted, grabbed by others. Accusing, pouring guilt and judgement on her. ...Deserved. Kris had managed to extricate herself from that group, just barely. This guy... well this guy was back, now. He had somebody else with him. A name came to Kris's head. Not the girl, the tall dude with the sword. R.J.

How'd she know that? She couldn't remember, maybe they shared a class somewhere. R.J. looked far warier now than he ever had done before. Kris's reputation preceded her.

Herald... herald of blood. Herald of unspeakable acts...

Kris pushed herself up off the ground, detonator clutched in her fist almost unconciously. She slid forward, up onto the box, then perched on it and hauled herself into a sitting position. The container wasn't massive, so Kris was still close to the ground, looking up.

Her expression... was not welcoming. Nor was it hostile. She simply stared placidly, eyes that little bit vacant beneath a blood-matted fringe. Seeing, yet... glazed over.

Will there be more?

Festival?

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Abruptly, focus snapped into Kris's eyes. Crystal clear clarity. For once.

For the first time in ...quite a while, she actually saw. No filter, no obscuring mist, no justifications... no excuses. RJ was bearing down on her, sword raised above his head. Half of Kris felt like she deserved whatever he intended to do to her - which was pretty damn obvious. Part was wondering what the hell he was playing at, coming towards her so blatently; what, did he not think she had any capacity to harm him?

A good part though... froze up. This... was fear, genuine fear. Not fear of getting found out, like she'd had the first time she met R.J. Not fear of what she could do to somebody else, like had happened with Amber. This time, Kris was afraid because she didn't want to die.

The feeling came out of nowhere, yet for all that, wasn't entirely unfamiliar, like an old friend that left years back and then made a sudden dramatic entrance. The surprise was still there though, that brief moment of lacking comprehension... before the subtle changes could no longer hide what remained the same, and recognition clicked into place. This... this fear, that was how Kris had felt when holding the gun she'd pulled out of her pack, in those few moments where she was still innocent, still unsullied...

Still not a murderer.

Before she shot Reika.

Lucidity, of a kind. Seeing a replica of a destroyed painting no more restored the original than memories of the dead kept them alive.

With it... guilt. Crushing guilt. Reika. Kimberly (not dead, yet...). Amber. Albert. Janet - oh god what had she done to Janet? Everyone around was treated to the odd sight of Kris's gaze suddenly snapping to the ground, accompanied by an audible whimper.

With that... understanding. It was impossible to use reason, impossible to try to ally with anybody, to seek to be diplomatic. Perhaps, if she'd stuck with Etain, they could've... he might've- no... what happened was all that was ever going to happen. Kris should've forced him to go, ran away from him, the way she had done when he'd stumbled upon her in the swamp after Reika... He wouldn't have left her just because she asked, because... He loved her. The same way, Kris had come to realised, that she loved him.

Too late.

In any case, talking civilly was out.

Which left fighting... and that wouldn't end well for her.

And talking... not so civilly.

Kris held the detonator above her head, fist thrust towards RJ - instantaeously spawning a legion of 'clever' photoshopped screencaps of Nazi imagery. Her face was set.

"There is a block of C4 in my bag, RJ," Kris said matter-of-factly. "Either nobody dies or..." Kris caught sight of somebody not far behind RJ, and her eyes narrowed. "Or everyone. Turn around. Leave."

Was it a bluff?

Kris... wasn't sure.
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Kris breathed again. He hadn't called it, bluff or no. She'd gained a little breathing space. For now. Kris wasn't entirely sure she deserved it. Yet... for her guilt... Kris didn't want to die. She didn't want to be another corpse. RJ was staring at her, then... backing off. But the intent look in his eyes told her simply that it wasn't the last she'd heard of this. Heading back to the girl, was he?

She had a bad feeling about this, Kris's hand holding the detonator wavered. RJ didn't have the look of somebody who'd given up. Kris watched RJ, half an eye on the squeak that had come from nearby. Less of a threat, much less. Kris watched, and swiftly, she realised.

Not retreat.

Farewell.


...What was she sitting on?

Cool metal.

Snatch of...

The voice.

Best kill award.

Town center.

BKA.

Town center.

This box...


Kris slowly, in a near daze, rose to her feet. Turned. There was the box at her feet. Large, cuboid.

A box... a container.

Kris looked down at it, back to RJ. Back to the container. RJ was moving towards her. Time for a gamble. Time to put her faith in the man that had made her four times a murderer, purely because like before... she was too selfish to set aside herself.

Whatever, Kris was never a saint. Repentence. ...tear. That wasn't going to change anything, not anymore.

She opened the box.

...

Beautiful.


A light came into Kris's eyes as she looked on it.

An M79 grenade launcher.

Gently, almost reverantly, Kris reached down, picked the weapon up, hefted it, cradling it in her arms like a child.

Smile.

Kris swerved around, her attention on the weapon and the box before it meaning she hadn't yet spotted Aston. She raised the grenade launcher, pointed it straight at the advancing RJ. Pulled the trigger.

Click.

Not loaded!?
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There was no time, there wasn't enough time.

He moved in on her, R.J raised the sword, bearing down to attack and... dropped.

Kris froze.

...What?

The sword dipped, not towards her, simply to the ground. Not threatening. A look of sheer incredulity came onto Kris's face. What had just happened didn't add up, it didn't make the slightest bit of sense. It was absurd, ridiculous. R.J had fallen to the ground with barely a whimper.

Stare. Smile. He smiles.

Bloodshot eyes widened.

Look ou-

R.J sprung up, somehow launched himself all the way up from the ground. Kris's breath caught in her throat for that heart-stopping instant.

Collar. No. No...nono

He fell away. She breathed again.

Smile. Gloriiooous. A treasur-

A broad, relaxed grin on her face, Kris started to turn back to the box... only to see somebody rushing towards her.

What is... sharp, blades.. doesn't...

There was a brief instant of panic, and then all of a sudden... it seemed like she had all the time in the world. Kris raised the treasure and casually blocked the bizarre weapon being swung at her. Kris jolted with the impact and a clang echoed through the area, but she caught the blow nonetheless.

"Ah-ah... two on one's not fair..." Kris's voice was low, hushed. Just a little sing-song.

More than a little deranged.
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All of a sudden, Kris was feeling invincible. So invincible that it hurt.

It didn't matter what this island was throwing at her. Each and every obstacle and attack, she was overcoming. It could do everything but kill her. Take her morals, take her beliefs, take Etain from her... but when it came to finishing her off, landing that final blow, it was almost like she had divine protection. Reiko couldn't do it, gun and all. Ilario had failed to kill her. Even R.J... he'd all but dropped dead as he made to attack.

This girl... she was nothing special. Look at her. Was there even any blood on her hands? Trying to kill Kris with that... hell she couldn't even tell what it was. It almost felt insulting that somebody like her thought that they could be the one to kill her. It was extraordinary, this sudden high that Kris felt, and after a couple of seconds staring Eiko down, she figured it out. Patched it together in her disturbed, fraying psyche.

It was that dark corner of her mind that had told her to pull the trigger when Reika appeared, told her not to abandon the gun, told her that dealing with Amber required a bullet, that the group at the beach would come after her. It was that little piece of her that was too frightened not to try and survive, too cowardly to take a moral stand. And it rejoiced because... now she had a true weapon. The treasure grenade launcher. It exulted, because this was true protection. It could instill fear, intimidate, threaten, perhaps, if necessary, kill...

Eiko broke down in front of her. Something like a smile played across Kris's face, more of a smirk than anything showing true humour. This wasn't a threat. This was pathetic. She hesitated.

Kill her... ? Murderer... attacked. Look at her... crying. Etain... Can't... no...

Kris jerked her head brusquely to the side.

"Leave. Go," she repeated herself in German, then Swedish.

She backed off a step, fiddled with the grenade launcher, figuring out that she needed to snap it open to load it. Kris crouched, still glaring at Eiko, then slotted a grenade into the weapon. She regarded the other half dozen in the box, then looked around. Her bag was gone. Had... someone stolen it? Wait... off in the distance, in the middle of the street.

Huh. Somebody had tossed it over there. Whatever, she'd just go get it.

Kris looked at RJ's body, stripped off his pack, tossed the grenades inside, took off up the street.

She'd collect her own bag along the way.

As she walked, she cradled the M79 like a newborn.

Treasure...

((Kris continued in The Ballad of Ackbar))
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