((53 - Revolver Ocelot))
June 1st, 802 AT. 10:27 AM.
The five teens stood groggily about the room. Their heads were still slightly fuzzy from the anesthetic, and more than a little headachey. They had each had one of the small purple crystals implanted in their brain stems, a rather delicate procedure, and would probably have thoroughly badass scars on the backs of their necks forever.
The purple crystals were full of magic drained from the largest demon, the centipede-like one in the big cage. It was a psychic demon, which Devrah and Chun had found controlling lesser demons. In theory, with the magic implanted in them and implanted in the demons...
Chun stood in front of her demon, looking like shit, goggles around her neck. She was attempting to make Black lift a wing.
Reno sat on her knees, head resting against the wall, muttering to herself.
Devrah looked at Chun and laughed. "Dear, the link isn't turned on yet."
"Oh, right. I forgot."
Devrah let out a long breath. "Now, you all deserve fair warning. This link isn't one-way. The crystals and control magic are split evenly in two. You're all strong-willed. The demons aren't even sentient. But don't ever let your guard down. If you mess up, if you even flinch..."
Seth grinned. This would be interesting. He lit a fresh cigarette to clear his mind.
The older scientist shrugged. "I don't even know what would happen. This will probably be most important when I first turn it on."
"Un..." Spider mumbled something, but it wasn't coherent. Her feet didn't quite touch the floor. Slowly, she stepped down onto the metal floor, and wobbled over to the cage with her demon in it.
Devrah looked at the Talons, still recovering, but clearly eager. "Any questions?"
Kiara smiled. "When can we start?"
Devrah laughed. "Fair enough, child." She walked over to the wall, and put her hand on a large pull-switch. "Well, dear." She looked pointedly at Chun. "Time to test your theory."
She threw the switch.
Spider let out a yelp. Her back arched, and she was thrust a few feet into the air. The scorpion demon in her cage began to screech and claw at the cage. Spider landed on the wall above and lay there, convulsing. A stream of dirty curses flew from her lips.
Chun looked Torrential Black in the face, and stood steady. At first Black began to lift its right wing set, but when it was halfway up Chun's face contorted into a horrid grimace of pain. She let out a muffled scream.
Distracted, Kiara cursed suddenly and wobbled and almost fell as the shadow-gryphon stopped fighting against the cave, instead glaring at her. After a moment, Kiara tensed up, raising her head with an effort, deadly focused, staring at Umbra.
Seth had strolled calmly to the cage holding his demon, the floating crystal face. The creature's eyes opened slowly, swirling pale green. Seth's teeth clenched tightly around the cigarette, breaking it in two. The two locked gazes with manic intensity.
Reno, facing down her own demon, suddenly burst out with a sharp shriek of pain. Inside its cage, Caf let out the same shriek, only more bone-chilling and unnatural.
Spider fell from the ceiling to the left, and against the wall. She crashed with a loud thud. The creature in the cage began to fly to each wall, scritching madly at the restraints. Clinging to the wall like her namesake, Spider's head snapped up. Her eyes were burning with red sparks, as were the demon's.
Chun doubled over, and then slowly fought her way into being straight again. Torrential Black was flapping furiously, attempting to fly around his cage, but couldn't get off the ground. His wings were generating heavy wind, though, swirling wildly around Chun.
Amidst the screaming, some of which was her own, Reno slowly twisted her head in Caf's direction. She started to bring her volume down as the initial shock started to lessen. Reno and her demon, slowly but surely, made eye contact.
Seth's fists were tight at his waist. Blood leaked from the points where his nails met the flesh of his palms. The mist from the cage began to leak out and encircle Seth. It was fucking cold, but he kept his teeth clenched, and didn't break eye contact with the creature.
"Oh, no you don't," Spider hissed, her teeth clenching over each syllable like a fist. Her gravitational field flickered around her, swaying in every direction, threatening to knock her against the floor.
Chun looked Black in the eye. "Torrential. STOP IT." Chun narrowed her eyes, though she still looked in pain. Black continued to create a wind flow, blowing papers off of nearby desks. Torrential's red-black eye rolled for a moment, and then the air was still.
Devrah, watching, began to laugh madly with glee. It was working. It was working.
Kiara slowly walked towards her demon, hands clenching into fists, her face a mask of concentration. It slowly crouched down within its cage, backing away, shrinking slightly.
Spider let out another cry and threw herself towards the other wall, landing with both feet on the outside of the cage. She stood on all fours, sticking off the cage wall. All of her clothes and hair had finally settled down to this new gravity. She glared the huge beast in the eyes, focusing that dark red demon energy inside of her to obey, concentrate, concentrate...
Seth's eyes blazed black. The creature still floated eerily, unmoving. Seth began to smile, his mouth curling upwards at the edges. His face was covered in sweat, and he could feel the droplets beginning to freeze to his face as the air grew colder. He spit out his cigarette stub, running his tongue along his lips.
Torrential screeched, obviously upset at the cold flowing from the cage next to his. Small pulses of electricity arced off of Black--not powerful ones, but enough to set Chun's hair standing on end. Chun took a step towards Torrential's cage. "Woah..." She looked intrigued. The pain had subsided, and she was quite interested in the electrical flow.
Spider's eyes were still red, but they focused on the demon before her with new life. They stood, opposite each other on the wall. She stood up with a smirk, still sticking out sideways with conflicting gravity. "Hah. Take that. Demon girl." Her voice sounded terse, unreal. The scorpion flashed black and red, seemingly calm.
Reno slowly rose to her feet, seemingly oblivious to everything else but Caf. Her mouth began to contort...but not in pain. Her whole face was locking into a wicked grimace to match Caf's. Reno emitted a low growling sound. Caf followed suit. Or was it the other way around?
Kiara narrowed her eyes at her demon angrily, and it let out a little whimper, backing up against the wall, shrinking more. It seemed extremely subservient, and Kiara smiled, almost sneering with pleasure and power.
Chun lifted a hand and Torrential lifted a set of wings. A small crackling sound came from him, as electricity sparked into the air around him. He crowed a bit, softly.
Slowly, Seth unclenched his fists, but the tension remained. His breathing was heavy and ragged. The icy mist receded from around him, beginning to gather around the demon in the cage once more.
Devrah smiled, watching the five take control. "Good, good, this is--"
She was cut off by an alarm, blaring through the apartment and down into the lab.
((54 - RAY Escapes))
Caf snapped into an offensive pose, which Reno's motor system adapted to fit her physiology. "Hhhhhhhcccccccchhhhhhhh..." they both breathed.
Kiara slowly smiled, lowering her hands to her sides. The demon cocked its head, stepping forward and growing a bit. At the alarm Kiara whirled, and the demon looked around frantically.
A voice came through speakers, echoing down through the stairs from above. "Emergency. Emergency. Evacuate immediately. Repeat: immediately. The swarm has arrived. Evacuate immediately. Emergency. Emergency..."
Devrah whirled, looking at the speakers. "The swarm!? They're not supposed to be..." She scowled. "You... you kids have to get out of here."
Chun looked up. "Well, Torrential. Time to FLY!" Torrential let out a call and clawed at his cage.
Reno suddenly threw her head back, straightening her back ridgedly. Caf assumed a similar, officious pose. She tilted her head down, stared her demon straight in the eyes and cried "HAH!"
Kiara smirked. "Time, is it?"
"Shit, mother fucking godamnitsunova--" Spider growled from the wall of the cage. "Kasby said it would be a week!"
Seth closed his eyes slowly, still smiling. "Fuck Kasby."
Devrah bit her lip. "I'll depower the cages. The creatures should be able to break through them then, if you tell them to." She ran over to another switch, and flipped it. The low humming that had been filling the room powered down, and the slight glow coursing through the crystal bars faded.
Spider gave Seth a glance, but quickly looked down below her to the cage. The demon cluttered against the crystal. Spider hopped off, and to normal gravity, and as she did the large scorpion burst from the cage. It stared around the room with its pincers and red, beady eyes. It twitched with Spider's building energy.
Seth raised his right hand, and opened his palm, creating a flat surface. The being in the cage opposite him did the same--its crystal chunk that resembled a hand flattened and became a razor thin blade. He swung his hand to the side, and the demon did the same. It flashed in a circle. A moment later, the bars slipped at their midpoints, and the cage fell in two.
Kiara looked at her demon, growing focused for a moment. It looked back, seemingly curious, and then stepped to the edge of the cage and oozed through the bars.
Torrential burst out of his cage almost instantly, and stood with his beak inches from Chun's face. The girl turned to her mother. "Mom, how are you going to leave?"
Devrah smiled, and laughed again at her daughter. "Don't worry about me, dear."
Chun looked suprised. "What?"
Devrah tapped the back of her neck and winked. Her eyes drifted pointedly to the sixth cage, the one draped with a cloth over it.
Chun grinned. "Ha, Alright." Chun then looked at Torrential again, and focused. Black bent down, and waited. Chun grabbed a backpack that was next to a table, that had been waiting for this. She put the backpack on, them climbed onto Torrential. Conveniently, the bone formed a seat-like shape above Torrential's second wing set.
Reno reached out to Caf with open arms, her eyes a sort of false welcoming. "C'mere, you." Caf stepped back and, with his foreclaws outstreched, charged for the bars.
"Everyone stand back, at the edge of the room!" Devrah yelled. "I'm going to open the floor, so you can get out! It's how I get them in!" Devrah ran to a set of controls near the stairs, and began fiddling with them. Slowly, the floor began to hiss, and slowly to open, massive metal panels sliding apart. Wind howled into the room as the pressure equalized.
Seth jumped onto one of his demon's hands, and sat on it. It was contoured to his body. It wasn't quite comfortable, but it was ergonomic. There they hovered, watching the room morph. He nodded to Spider, who stood on the wall next to him.
Reno and Caf lept for each other as the crystal caging shattered under the weight of demon talons. She slung her arms around the creature's neck and hung above the Void, gazing instead into her steed's eyes. Caf's wings beat steadily as Reno breathed "Wow...we're real pieces of work, aren't we?" The demon flipped his head up to launch his new master into a sitting position on the back of his neck, in front of his wings.
Outside, the Void Nebula hung empty and cold, blank gray foggy nothingness. Spider gazed out over it, her hair rippling back with the wind. She grinned wildly. The scorpion's strange, dark wings elongated beside her. They oozed out to twice the size of the body. "No time to waste!" Spider cried, and fell downward into the mist.
Seth's smiled broadened. His creature placed him on the center of its head. He floated down, following Spider outside, with Reno and Caf darting after.
Umbra grew, letting Kiara climb onto her back. She cursed for a moment, shifting her trenchcoat and the things in her pockets around, revealing a crystalline sword at her hip, and, following the others, leapt out of the Roost.
Devrah stood on the bottom stair, looking across the widening gap to her daughter. "Go well, Red. Remember me."
Chun looked to her mom. "I will. I hope your demon works!" Chun concentrated, putting her goggles over her eyes, as Torrential spread his wings. "Bye mom." Chun looked sad for a split second. She glanced around the lab and sighed. Then Torrential launched out through the hole in the floor, down into the fog.
From below, the Roost looked different--a hodge-podge of mismatched shapes, boxes, docking bays, and dangling wires and cables. All across it, holes were opening, and ships were dropping out of them. The evacuation was in full swing. An explosion rocked the Roost, shuddering through it.
Spider scanned the underside for any sign of her old ship, but didn't dwell on it for too long. "Where are those demons, eh?" She called loudly into the mist. A dark excitement grew like the red in her eyes.
As they fell, the five teens came out from under the shadow of the Roost... Above it, the entire Void glowed red. Thousands of demons filled the sky above their home, too numerous to count. They came in all shapes and sizes, unified only in that they all glowed that same horrific bloody red.
Chun glanced back and shuddered. "Jeez." Torrential bucked slightly in the air, and then flew steadier, wings pulsing with Chun's heartbeat.
"Daaaaayum," said Reno, under her breath.
"I see..." Spider stared up at the demons above her, but she didn't lose her cool.
"Shit," Kiara said, eyes widening, speaking, actually sounding worried for once. "What do you say we get out of here?"
"What are you talking about?" Spider snapped. "I'm ready to kick some demon ass!"
"Not yet, Spider." Seth's voice was calm, steady. "I like your enthusiasm--but we've still got a job to do." He floated to the middle of the strange group of demons and teenagers, all holding position beneath the Roost.
Torrential and Chun both nodded. "We should go, there are WAY too many of them, and we don't know how to control our demons that well yet, do we?"
Kiara rolled her eyes at Spider. "Yeah... Spider... numbers. Can you count?"
"What do you mean, count?"
Kiara sighed. "You know, one demon, two demon, three demon?"
"Fuck numbers..." She stared into each of the faces of the Talons, looking for someone who agreed with her. She found no one. Her heart sank.
Seth spoke up again, picking up his role as leader. "For now... we hit Cyclops' old hideout. It's on the way to Sector One. First things first. Sorry I didn't tell you about that one, Spider."
"It's not like I ever know what's going on..." She hovered next to her demon, the only one moving on her own power.
"We've got an old man to bail out of jail," Seth continued. "Then we can kick the shit out of these motherfuckers. All in due time."
"Hey, I'm up for anything new now that I've got mind-control powers," shrugged Reno. "I wonder what kinda magic these puppies got, anyway?"
Seth broke out into his wicked smile once more. "We'll find out soon, I'm sure. Now, everyone... this way." His demon dropped out of the air, falling in the direction of Sector One, his gang following after.