Rotten John (Solo)

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Rotten John (Solo)

Post by John Dark on 9/21/2012, 1:54 pm

Dread wrote:Lunch in Mt. Brig’s cafeteria ended even before Warden Heat announced its conclusion over the intercom. Prisoners had all already started leaving their tables without bothering to deposit their trays or cups anywhere. John wondered who managed cleanup after mealtimes if the inmates only worked after breakfast and before lunch; he also asked himself where all the dirty dishes went. The details did not bother him too much as he moved with Paul and the rest of his team, the High Rollers, toward the exit. Paul waited ahead of everyone else for the door to open; he made a clear show of his dominance over quite a number of extraterrestrials. Paul was, in all likelihood, a terrible man, but John could not stop himself from respecting the fellow human for his leadership.

A siren wailed throughout the mess hall, serving as a clear indication for everyone to cease all conversation and activities. “Inmates,” Warden Heat’s voice boomed. “Face the striped wall and maintain a single file line.” Every prisoner, excluding John, turned toward the wall behind them.

He stared at either prisoner beside him and eventually followed suit. He saw a wide yellow band that had been painted across the middle of the wall from one end to the other. “Place your hands flat against the yellow stripe in front of you,” Heat ordered; John complied in unison with everyone else. “Remain as you are until you receive further instructions.” No one dared ignore the warden’s orders.

The exit finally opened and a pair of guards stepped inside the cafeteria; neither of them was armed with anything other than the flat devices they carried with them wherever they went. One guard remained stationed near the exit while the other one stepped forward and guided two of the prisoners outside. John wondered how long it would take to escort all the inmates to the recreational area. Would the people at the end of the line have any time to enjoy it? Was the recreational area at all enjoyable?

Not long after the first pair of prisoners exited the mess hall, another guard entered and collected two more inmates. There seemed to be more than one available elevator, which turned the task of emptying the cafeteria of diners into an expeditious one. The new development left John expecting a speedy delivery to the recreational area, but the guard he assumed meant to collect him passed him over and paired the prisoners on either side of him. Zinkin, who had stood beside John, simply shrugged and walked off with an alien whose name was unknown to either of them.

“Excuse me,” John called out to the guard; a black-haired man of average height paused without turning to face him. “I was next.” He announced.

“If I were you, I’d keep my mouth shut.” The guard growled at him. “Warden wants you in his office soon as we get the rest of this lot taken care of. I doubt he’s invited you for tea and crumpets,” He informed John. “Only hours after your orientation and you’re already in a world of shit.”

“My life has always been a world of shit,” John snapped back.

The guard chuckled and shook his head and muttered deliberately loudly enough for John to hear, “Meat don’t know nothing.”

“’Meat’ survived worse than your warden.” John angrily retorted. “If you ever get a holiday, look up a guy who calls himself Coach. He's a guy who likes wearing pin-striped suits and watching dying guests bleed all over his backyard. He’ll teach you all you need to know of suffering and much, much more.”

John heard people around him suck in sharp breaths. An uncomfortable silence passed. It appeared as though “Coach” was a better known man than John had first thought. “No such man exists,” The guard said after a time, but he did not sound quite convinced. “He’s just an urban legend.” He spoke quietly, but John’s comment had clearly unnerved him.

Guards continued removing prisoners from the cafeteria; whenever a prisoner passed John, however, he immediately averted his gaze from the human. It was as though John had called upon the name of some unspeakable creature. That's a fitting description for Coach. Thought to himself.

John did care to consider the fact that he would have been killed long ago had it not been for “Coach’s” instruction. John believed it probably would have been better for him to have died in any of his battles or even during his training. Had he died, he would not have had to live with the unbearable guilt of so many lives lost as a result of his interference.

A guard finally came for him; the officer was the same graying-haired man who had escorted him to and from Heat’s office some hours earlier. “Why does he want to see me?” John asked.

“I don’t know, but whatever his reason, I’m thinking it’s really important.” He answered as he guided John out of the mess hall and onto the cage-like elevator.

He tapped his little box a couple times and the elevator began moving upward. When it slowed to a stop, the guard gave him some parting words of advice. “Listen carefully to whatever he has to say and be honest in your answers if he asks you any questions. He knows when you’re lying to him because he can monitor your heart rate.” If John had not known any better, he would have guessed that the guard actually cared what happened to him.

A familiar door swung upward ahead of them; John automatically passed the threshold and the door slammed shut behind him. Another door opened before him, revealing the warden’s office in its entire splendor to him. “Come in, prisoner 1009630366.” The self-revealed android, Warden Elijah Heat, spoke from behind his massive desk; it was the same greeting he had issued to John before. “We have much to discuss.” He continued using the same words from their first encounter. John suddenly experienced a heavy sensation of déjà vu.


Last edited by John Dark on 9/25/2012, 4:28 pm; edited 4 times in total
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Re: Rotten John (Solo)

Post by John Dark on 9/21/2012, 3:27 pm

Dread wrote:The office appeared exactly as it had before. The atmosphere had not changed since John's first meeting with the warden either. The only light source in the room came through a seemingly indestructible window that prevented the ocean of lava outside from pouring into that part of the prison. The brightness of the lava proved almost blinding and made the warden sitting before it into a sinister silhouette of a man.

The door shut behind John and would remain closed until Heat concluded his business with the prisoner. John may have possessed great power outside Mt. Brig, but as long as the suppressor remained active and wrapped around his neck, he could access none of his abilities and his fate rested in the artificial hands of Warden Heat. John considered it neither a mercy nor a torture that the android allowed him to live because guilt continued gnawing away at him. John supposed that Frontline, an organization of which Heat was a member, deigned the murder of anyone, evil men included, beyond justification.

“Why did you want to see me?” John asked.

A click resounded from overhead and a panel above disappeared into the rest of the ceiling. A monitor lowered itself through the opening and over the window, casting the room in temporary darkness. The warden stood out of his seat. He walked around the desk and toward John. He stopped when they were standing next to one another. "Look," He said, directing John’s attention toward the blank screen.

It powered on to reveal camera footage from the cafeteria during that day’s lunch. The camera focused specifically on the table where John saw himself sitting with seven other diners, Paul and his ragtag extraterrestrial crew. “Prisoner 1008220242 or Paul, as you know him, wanted you to spend the entire lunch hour with him and his associates. These seven inmates are always first in line for meals even if they are the last to arrive. They spend every meal hour together and sit at the exact same table. You have only recently arrived at Mt. Brig and they have already included you in their group and routine. They normally shun contact with any inmates outside their little party. Why did Paul invite you?”

John shrugged, “Every prison has its cliques.” He pointed out. "Koombur may have put in a good word for me." He guessed

“The High Rollers being one such ‘clique’ in Mt. Brig.” Heat observed John’s surprise. “I may not be able to monitor telepathic communications between prisoners, but things inevitably slip out. I know, for instance, Paul and his gang plan on escaping Mt. Brig.”

“I never would have guessed,” John deliberately lied, knowing Warden Heat would detect the deceit.

“I doubt they will succeed,” Heat continued. “Mt. Brig is the most secure prison on the planet. No one has escaped it since its activation and no one ever will under my watch.”

Famous last words. John thought to himself as the warden continued. “I intend to uncover the exact details of their plan. If there is even the slightest possibility of there being a miniscule flaw in security, I must see to enacting certain corrections. I am offering you the opportunity to assist me in my investigation.”

“You want me to spy on Paul and his gang?” John asked.

“Indeed,” Warden Heat replied.

“They don’t exactly trust me. Almost all of them want to see me dead.” John confessed. "I'm not sure how I can be of any use to you."

“In all honesty, neither do I, but if safety is your concern then you need not worry. I can ensure no one harms you during your stay at Mt. Brig.” Warden Heat told him.

“My extended stay,” John pointed out bitterly.

“Let me assure you that anyone found guilty of conspiracy against Mt. Brig and its staff will suffer severe consequences and I am not referring to the suppressors.” Warden Heat forewarned. “Assist me and I will assure you protection, but if you assist them, you will deeply regret your decision.”

“Doesn’t take a blind man to figure out escaping this place is impossible,” John commented. “I’ll do what I can."

“I doubt you will be of any benefit to me, but I will uphold my word all the same and ensure no harm befalls you.” Warden Heat told him.

“Should we shake on it?” John asked.

“That will not be necessary.” The warden replied. “Unless you have any questions, you are dismissed until I call on you again.” They were his same parting words from before, but John did not move to leave. "You have a question, don't you?" The warden asked.

“If I am to act as your nosy little rat, don’t you think they will suspect I am leaking info if I keep coming in and out of your office?” John asked. “Even if you can keep me safe, they’ll eventually put two and two together and either cut me out or just feed me false information.”

The warden walked away from John and returned to his desk. The enormous television disappeared into the ceiling at the same time that the door behind John opened up. He had not seen the warden press any buttons, which reminded John that the android remotely controlled everything within the facility including the suppressors. The graying-haired guard stepped into the office and considered John for a moment. “I don’t think we can trust him, sir.” The guard voiced his concern.

“I get that a lot around here,” John retorted.

“A detailed investigation of ground zero of your attack revealed residual psychic energy. It matched perfectly with your energy signature.” Warden Heat said.

“Why does that matter?” John asked in all seriousness; reminders of that fight hurt him in the worst way.

“It means we know you are a psychic and that you can communicate telepathically. Establish a link with Officer Grady here; it will enable you to report your findings without detection.” Warden Heat told him.

“Even if I maintain the link, it will vanish as soon as I fall asleep tonight and then we have to be in the same room to reestablish it.” John pointed out.

“That is exactly why I am assigning Officer Grady as your personal escort. This arrangement will ensure your link stays active for as long as possible as often as possible.” The warden informed them both to their mutual surprise, but neither of them complained.

“And how will he report to you if he’s following me around like a lost puppy?” John asked, but the answer was plain in sight; the device each guard carried must have enabled them to remain in constant contact with the warden.

“Leave that to me,” Officer Grady smugly replied.

“Now that all matters of importance between us are settled, you are dismissed.” Warden Heat told him; even if John wanted to stay for another round of Q&A, Officer Grady was already dragging him back to the elevator.

“Cut that out, I’m going, I’m going,” John spoke with his hands held up in a sign of peace.


Last edited by John Dark on 9/24/2012, 7:48 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Re: Rotten John (Solo)

Post by John Dark on 9/21/2012, 7:42 pm

Dread wrote:Another elevator trip brought John further down into the depths of Mt. Brig than he had ever been before. The familiar wall ahead of him vanished so that he faced a depthless black that even the bright lights arranged behind him could not penetrate. He felt despair rising to claim his sanity as they descended deeply into the darkness. It was not the darkness that frightened him, however, but rather the prospect of an unfamiliar and unfriendly destination that truly terrified him.

The elevator stopped in front of what must have been the recreational area, but it was an abysmal place and nothing compared to what John had imagined. It was hardly more than an enormous rectangular platform of concrete surrounded on all sides by layers of thick metal bars that crisscrossed each other. Powerful lights positioned outside the cage revealed that additional bars formed something of a ceiling so that the entire structure resembled a cage. Countless massive chains supported its entire weight so that it hung from the main facility above that was made invisible by darkness. John wondered how much further someone would have to fall to reach the bottom.

“We like to call this place the Pit,” Officer Grady informed John; he immediately agreed that it was a fitting name.

Officer Grady typed some commands into his guard’s tool then John witnessed the bars to the Pit directly ahead of him slide apart to allow him entry. Grady shoved him forward; before John had a chance to react, the bars had slid and locked back into their original positions. “You’re lucky; you have half an hour to play with your new pals.” He grinned at John as he spoke. Find out what you can about the High Rollers. He messaged John, but John gave no indication that he had received.

He walked forward and saw that there was hardly anything in the recreational area other than some tables and chairs identical to the ones in the cafeteria. There was no exercise or sports equipment to be seen. The prisoners had not even been supplied a basketball. “What kind of rec. room is this?” John asked no one in particular. “There’s nothing to do here.”

“That’s Mt. Brig for you,” Paul said from behind; John turned to face him and saw that the other High Rollers were sitting together at a table not far from where he stood.

All other inmates dared not come within a hundred feet of the occupied table. John wondered why everyone feared Paul and his group. Were they as powerful as Conch had boasted? “Come, join us,” Paul said, sounding and looking as cheerful as ever.

John followed him to the table and took the only seat that remained empty after Paul had sat down. Conch glared at him, Wretch growled whenever John looked at him, Koombur and Zinkin were engaged in an arm wrestling contest at the far end of the table and could not be bothered to glance his way, Frigid had his eyes closed as though nothing in the area deserved his attention, and B’lem appeared as indifferent to current events as ever. “What did the warden want?” Conch immediately asked.

“Patience, friend,” Paul said. “We must proceed carefully. B’lem?" He glanced toward the kanassan.

The link between us remains as strong as ever. B’lem messaged them all.

Koombur slammed Zinkin’s fist against the table then cried out victoriously. The smaller saiyan screamed his displeasure just as loudly. “No fair! B’lem distracted me!”

Enough games. Wretch’s growling voice entered all their minds.

Quite; you two monkeys were amusing for a while, but now you’re just boring me. Frigid told the pair of saiyans who both looked at him menacingly.

Watch what you say, freak! Zinkin warned him; Koombur declared his agreement by cracking his knuckles.

I said, ENOUGH! Wretch roared; everyone at the table, excluding Paul and the messenger, recoiled from the transmission. We are short on time and we must learn what the warden wanted from the meat.

Everyone then stared at John expectantly. B’lem, how many are on this channel? John asked.

Just the eight of us, why? B’lem replied.

You should all know that the warden asked me to spy on all of you. John informed them all. He told me that if I helped you and not him, he’d make me regret my choice.

What did you tell him? Paul asked as he clasped his hands together and rested his chin upon them.

I told him that I would do what I can. John admitted.

I told you all we can’t trust him! Conch screeched.

Paul raised his right hand for silence, but the team still murmured unpleasant things about John. You told him you would do what you could, but you never said that you would help him. Paul guessed accurately.

Why does that matter? Conch demanded.

John chose that moment to defend himself. I was warned that the warden can sense when we lie to him. I wanted to deceive him, but I had to choose my words carefully to do just that. I don’t know if he bought into what I said, though because he told me he doubted if I would be of any use to him. He’s also having a guard check in on me telepathically as often as possible. Heat knows telepathy is the one thing he cannot monitor and he has already guessed that you are all using it to plan an escape. I needed B'lem to double check the line to make sure none of Heat's men were listening in.

Like I said before, you are a resourceful man! Paul congratulated.

Double-crossing the warden? Koombur asked, sounding incredulous. The little meat has guts!

Wise men say never to trust a traitor. Wretch’s thoughts growled unpleasantly within all their heads.

Is the enemy of your enemy your enemy? John asked the philosophical demon.

Whose enemy are you? Wretch asked.

Calm yourself, Wretch. Paul messaged.

This information is useful; we know that the warden is beginning to consider us a threat. How should we react to this development? Frigid addressed the entire group.

We will escape tomorrow night before the warden decides to act on his doubts. Paul announced; everyone at the table looked at him questioningly. Aren’t you all tired of waiting around? I feel like we have done all we can to prepare and John just confirmed for us that the warden hasn’t a clue what we plan on doing.

That is true only if he did not lie to John or John to us. Elijah Heat is crafty for a machine and John, as you put it, is resourceful. Wretch supplemented the others with reasonable doubt. How do we know John has told us the truth?

None of you have told me anything that the warden can use against you. John reasoned. If I was going to spy on you, why would I tell you that's exactly what the warden wants me to do? He asked.

The meat has a point. Frigid pointed out.

It’s certainly a risk to act so soon. Zinkin commented. I say we go for it because when have any of us backed down in the face of danger?

Not me! Koombur immediately replied to show that his courage would not be outdone by that of the smaller saiyan.

I refuse to fear a mere robot a moment longer. Tomorrow sounds fine to me as well. Frigid messaged.

Are you sure about this, Paul? Conch asked. You sure this is okay with your psychic pal?

I foresee freedom for all if we continue down this path. B’lem told them all as if on cue.

Satisfied? Paul asked.

I never placed much faith in a caged seer who prophecies freedom. Wretch commented. I will, however, perform my role.

What about me? John asked. I want a chance to redeem myself for what I have done on the outside, but I cannot do that in here. I need out and I figure my best chance for freedom is to team up with you. Haven’t I done enough to earn your trust?

Don’t worry, John; you will know what to do when the time comes. Paul told him. I already told you that we need eight people to make this happen. You make eight; the High Rollers are, at last, complete. He announced.


Last edited by John Dark on 9/24/2012, 7:49 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Rotten John (Solo)

Post by John Dark on 9/22/2012, 2:00 pm

Dread wrote:Warden Heat’s voice echoed all around sometime later as he instructed prisoners to line up along the far wall of the recreational area. None of the inmates looked at all disappointed to John even though he had some difficulty discerning the expressions on the faces (?) of some of the confined aliens. The overall atmosphere of indifference toward the conclusion of their ninety minutes in the Pit served as no surprise to John. There was little to nothing to do in that area. What real difference was there between one cage and another? “Would you go stand next to Koombur since you two are already cellmates?” John did as Paul asked of him.

John had grown accustomed to the escort routine, but it was the first time he and another prisoner rode the same elevator together since his "arrival" at Mt. Brig. Two guards accompanied them, which provided little breathing room for any of them. Koombur, a giant of among men, occupied more half the space provided. “Maybe you should have taken us one at a time,” John suggested to Officer Grady who was under Heat’s orders to serve as his personal escort.

“Shut it, meat,” The second guard, whose name John did not know, snapped.

“I have to admit that he’s got a point,” Grady said. “The big guy never had a cellmate riding with him before. Who knew he took up so much room?”

The elevator stopped and Koombur stepped forward ahead of everyone else when the door in front of them opened. John and the guards each breathed a sigh of relief; the saiyan had severe body odor. The contamination of the air from one person had grown more horrendous throughout the trip. “I almost feel sorry for you.” The guard beside Grady told John, but he only shrugged back; there were plenty of things in the world that were far worse than one man’s stink.

John walked across the reflective and smooth red floor that led back to his cell. He squinted beneath the glare of the nearby bright green lights; no other area he had visited in the prison proved quite as luminous. The arrangement was probably meant to force prisoners to full wakefulness in the mornings.

Koombur had already piled onto his mattress by the time John had entered their shared cell. He took a seat on his own bed underneath his cellmate; he did not fear the top half of the bunk collapsing atop him. The previous night proved that the bunk was more than capable of supporting Koombur’s weight.

He quietly observed the cell door before him slamming shut. He watched, through the bars, other prisoners walking the hall toward their own accommodations. He should have found something better to do, but he had hours ahead of him to kill before dinner time and there was nothing in the cell to keep him entertained. He finally looked away after receiving a series of nasty looks from those who took notice of him. Humans were not the only species in the universe that hated being stared at.

Can you tell me what Paul has planned? John telepathically asked Koombur.

“Don’t do that in here!” Koombur snarled.

I just- John began, but Koombur dropped down from his bed and glared furiously at him.

“Knock it off!” Koombur yelled. “I have enough of a headache from that crap already and I’m trying to sleep it off.”

“Sorry,” John mumbled; Koombur climbed back into his bed and fell asleep. I guess telepathy doesn’t agree with some people. He thought to himself.

After having stayed awake almost all night and day long, John was beginning to feel the effects of sleep deprivation. He was also thoroughly stressed out from everything that had happened in his life including his years of living prior to encountering his teacher. It never seemed to matter in the slightest how much he achieved or how far he progressed because he forever remained subjected to perpetual suffering and misery. It was as though he had been cursed on the very day of his birth.

His life seemed designed only to serve as an ongoing series of nightmares in which each new horror proved profoundly more damaging than its predecessor. He welcomed any reprieve from the torment of his very existence, but those were too far and few in between for him to experience any real sense of recovery. He needed to rest for a long time; he needed to spend some hours, or more, separated from the hellish sentence of life he served. Despite the thin mattress and the bone-achingly hard metal beneath it, John fell asleep almost as soon as he lied flat on his back.

John dreamed that afternoon; he dreamed of a sparsely clouded sky in which the sun beat warmly down on him. He dreamed of healthy green grass and a tree that offered him shade. He dreamed of a red and white checkered blanket placed flat on the grass. There was a classic picnic basket situated atop the blanket. Tabitha was there; the child John had saved and whose mother had offered him a home in the real world. Tabitha sat in her mother’s lap and she, in turn, sat beside John beneath the leafy branches of the tree.

Mother and daughter both laughed happily, but John did not share their joy. He was deathly afraid; he knew that something terrible was about to happen. He did not know the particulars of the looming disaster, but he knew they all had to leave for someplace safe. “Mom, we need to go home,” John told them; in the dream, he believed that Tabitha was truly his birth sister and that her mother was also his mother.

His “mother” did not answer him as though she had become deaf or him dumb. As soon as that terrifying thought entered his mind, John found himself altogether incapable of speech. He tried screaming, but only a strangled hiss left his throat. His “mother”, meanwhile, flipped the picnic basket’s lid for them to partake in the lunch she had prepared. Instead of food, the basket housed hundreds of tiny black crabs that immediately spilled out from it and swarmed the blanket and the surrounding grass. John recoiled in shock, but Tabitha and her mother started greedily scooping handfuls of crabs off the blanket and popping them into their mouths.

Shells crunched sickeningly in either of their mouths; crabs continued pouring out from the basket as mother and daughter feasted on all that they could grab. As they gluttonously consumed one handful after another of live shellfish, hundreds more started crawling onto them. Neither of them reacted to the crabs ascending their clothes and flesh even as they were completely covered in a wriggling and living mass. The sight was too much for John and he turned away out of disgust and horror.

The scene changed when he turned back to face them. The blanket and picnic had vanished along with Tabitha and her mother. The crabs had also disappeared, but even the absence of the black-as-tar critters brought no comfort to John. A massive storm cloud had turned the sky from blue to a sinister gray and blotted out the sun. Lightning flashed, thunder boomed, and rain fell heavily; except, it was not rain at all. Even while dreaming, John knew rain was not naturally red.

Wherever the blood splashed down, grass curled up and died as though touched by fire. John backed up against the trunk of the tree behind him for cover, but it was no use. The leaves above him also died with contact from the blood rain. The rest of the tree turned a sickly color until it resembled a mangled and bleached skeleton.

The nightmare continued in full effect with the shaking of the earth all around John. The ground cracked and split horribly; John clung to what remained of the tree out of fear that the world would swallow him whole and digest him within its mantle if he let go. The splitting of earth eventually carved a wide chasm that formed a ring around John and his tree, isolating him from the rest of the world. Horrendous screams then issued forth from the chasm; they were, John realized, the voices of the dead calling out to him from their final resting place in the earth.

The screams gave evidence to his belief when a chorus rang out and chanted his name repeatedly. He wanted to be nowhere near the chasm, but some dark magic supplied the voices of the undead tremendous power of authority. They compelled him toward them. He could not resist their call and soon abandoned his tree. He walked toward the earthen scar and stopped just at the precipice. When he peered down into it, he immediately wished he had not because he saw thousands upon thousands of undead corpses in various stages of decay. Some looked up at him with dead white eyes while others faced him with empty and cavern-black sockets.

They were all clamoring for him from a bubbling pit of lava; miraculously, none of them melted or burned from it. He knew he was to blame for their circumstances. He dropped to his knees and wept over their fate, but his tears did not placate them. They wanted him to join them and suffer as they suffered; it was only fitting. They had all been alive; each one among them had possessed dreams for a future that John's very existence had denied them. There were once-children and once-infants among their number, which only compounded John’s guilt over their collective fate. Their demands heightened in volume until their cries pierced his skull. John clawed at the sides of his head and shrieked, having reclaimed his voice at last.


Last edited by John Dark on 9/24/2012, 7:49 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Rotten John (Solo)

Post by John Dark on 9/23/2012, 5:31 pm

Dread wrote:John woke screaming as he had done on so many other occasions. He quickly sat up, forgetting about the solid metal inches above him. He accidentally slammed his head against it, and cursed loudly from the painful impact. He lied back down and brought his hands up to his temples to assuage his immediate pain. The nightmare he had only just suffered already began to rapidly fade from his memory, which served as his only present comfort.

As he recovered, he realized that someone was shouting at him from beside his bed. John could not hear their words over a wailing siren. The familiar tune reminded him of his location and brought him, at long last, to his senses and the reality of his situation.

He glanced beside him and saw Koombur standing next to him. His mouth was wide open and his face had turned a slight shade of pink. He was, John realized, shouting at him. “What was that? I can’t hear you!” John tried communicating to him, but the ongoing alarm swallowed up his words.

I say we abandon the meat. We don’t need him anymore! Conch’s voice filtered into John’s head.

John is finally awake and we are all linked. B’lem communicated.

What’s going on? John asked.

We’re getting the fuck out of here! Koombur’s voice boomed in his head. Koombur denied John the chance to ask any additional questions at that moment. The massive saiyan reached for his throat and John flinched, but Koombur simply tore the suppressor off his neck and cast the useless piece, he clutched, aside.

John reopened his eyes and asked, How did you do that? He then noticed that Koombur's suppressor was also missing.

His cellmate ignored him as he roughly grabbed him by the arm and yanked him off of his bed. Koombur dragged him out of his cell before he had time to register the fact that the bars ahead had been destroyed. They stepped out onto a corridor where a most grotesque scene awaited them. Guards and prisoners alike lay broken, bleeding, and lifeless along the hall. The bodies had been shoved to either side of the hall and heaped onto one another as though they were nothing more than garbage that needed swept.

Koombur paused and inhaled appreciatively through his nose then exhaled a sigh of satisfaction. It’s been too long since I’ve been on a battlefield and this one smells like...victory. He grinned savagely at John who looked back at him with disgust. Don’t feel too bad; these guys were weak and worthless. The real fight’s about to begin and we’re not going to leave you out. He clearly misread John’s expression; Koombur clearly thought John felt left out. We may yet face Frontline's best today! He declared in an attempt to cheer John up with the promise of a worthy opponent.

John thought to himself, I hate saiyans. He then asked the entire team. What happened?

A miracle. Paul answered, but he did not bother elaborating; instead, he issued a command to B’lem. Show him what happened to bring him up to speed and make it fast. John had absolutely no desire to witness what had caused the massive bloodshed all around him, but the leader of the High Rollers did not take his wants into account and neither did the psychic.

The entire scene changed before his eyes; he had returned to the confines of a cell where the bars remained intact. He no longer heard a wailing siren and the corridor outside appeared empty of life and of dead bodies. The cell ahead of him contained two prisoners he had only previously caught glimpses of in the cafeteria and again back in the Pit. “You seem on edge,” Paul’s voice came at him from above.

John craned his head so that he faced his fellow human, but he had not ordered his body into movement. What’s going on? John asked himself. Koombur is…was my cellmate, not Paul. John concluded that B'lem was sharing his memories telepathically. He was witnessing recent events through the kanassan's eyes. This is too weird.

“The future has changed,” B’lem spoke aloud to the leader of the High Rollers. “I foresee chaos. Lives will be lost before the day is done.”

“Will the team suffer any losses?” Paul asked; he sounded severely concerned. “Am I going to die today?” It was the first time John ever witnessed the fearless, confident, and joyous man appear and sound terrified.

B’lem opened his mouth to speak, but he never answered the question because an explosion ripped down the corridor from a faraway cell. John actually felt the immense heat that rushed into B'lem's cell from the blast. An extended silence ensued; dozens of prisoners left their beds and slowly moved toward the edges of their cells to see what had happened. They speculated amongst themselves. Even Paul leaped down from his own mattress to investigate from behind his bars, but B’lem was content to sit and wait.

“The collars!” A prisoner cried out. “They’re off!” Anything else spoken between inmates was silenced by the alarm to which John had woken.

The prisoners from across Paul’s cell touched their suppressors and neither of them received a shock for it. They smiled at one another then ripped the hated devices from their necks. Many other inmates quickly did the same. B’lem’s suppressor snapped cleanly in half from a simple telekinetic command. He stood up and the halves fell uselessly off his person. Paul already stripped his suppressor from his neck as soon as he had witnessed the success of the inmates across from his cell.

What are your orders? B’lem telepathically asked Paul; the blaring alarm had rendered verbal communication ineffective.

Establish a link between all the High Rollers. Paul answered. Hurry. He added as prisoners began breaking out of their cells.

I managed it, but your new recruit remains asleep. B’lem informed him.

Connect him as soon as he wakes; the alarm will rouse him soon enough. Paul messaged him; he then addressed his team. Remove your suppressors if you have not done so already. Break your cell doors down then wait.

What do you mean wait? Koombur asked.

We can be out of here in minutes! Zinkin objected.

Paul need not reply to either of the saiyans because thunderous cracks boomed overhead and in quick succession; they competed with the alarm to be overheard. Prisoners caught out in the corridor cried out pitiably as flashing projectiles tore mercilessly through their bodies. They collapsed where they stood; none among the victims rose. Blood pooled out from the fallen, but the shots from above continued as other prisoners panicked and ran for the exit. Many more died in waves.

Cowards! Koombur snarled.

They refuse to engage directly! Zinkin declared angrily.

I'm impressed. Frigid messaged. I thought killing was beneath the likes of Frontline. I never thought they had it in them.

These idiots are no good to us dead. Paul told B’lem. Use your skills to redirect the fire back to its sources. He ordered.

B’lem stepped as close to the edge of the cell as he dared. He ripped the cell door ahead of him from the wall without touching it and let it clatter onto the ground. He then attempted to do as Paul told him, but nothing changed. People continued dying. It’s no good. He reported. I have no power over their ammunition; they must be using ki.

Can you cast an illusion that will cover them in darkness? Paul enquired.

I don’t know who or what my targets are; if I do, it will affect everyone not included in our link. B’lem responded.

Even John? Paul asked.

He remains asleep; he will not be affected. B’lem informed him.

Then do it. Paul ordered.


Last edited by John Dark on 9/25/2012, 1:16 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Rotten John (Solo)

Post by John Dark on 9/24/2012, 6:55 pm

Dread wrote:B’lem must have done what Paul had asked of him because those firing upon the defenseless prisoners from above abruptly ceased their attack. Most of the survivors that John observed, however, were prisoners who had either remained in their cells or retreated back into them. In that moment, they all resembled trapped, frightened, and feeble rabbits instead of murderous criminals. The hallway ahead was already littered with bodies. Many men had, in their dying moments, slumped atop or tripped over previous victims so that the dead ended up naturally arranged in piles. The handful of survivors remaining in the corridor panicked and ran about aimlessly; they bumped into walls and each other as though blinded.

The illusion appears to be working. B’lem informed Paul and the others.

Proceed out of your cells carefully and remain with your partner at all times to maximize your defenses. Paul ordered his team.

What about me? Koombur asked. John's still asleep and I can't seem to wake him. I think there’s something wrong with the little guy. He announced.

Remain where you are and we will come to collect you. Paul replied. If John has not awakened by then, we will have to leave without him.

Sounds good to me. Conch interjected.

Shut it unless you have something useful to say. Paul snapped at the namekian.

B’lem followed Paul into hallway and stepped carefully to avoid tripping over any of the corpses strewn across the floor. Prisoners who were not part of Paul’s team had already taken notice of the lack of fire. B’lem must have started freeing inmates from his illusion because they found courage to depart from their own cells for the narrow hallways after they witnessed members of the High Rollers making their way toward the exit. Frigid and Wretch joined Paul followed, seconds later, by Conch and Zinkin from a cell near the end.

A prisoner, who resembled a seven-foot-tall green lizard, further ahead raised his right arm and grinned as he unleashed an orange ki blast at the gate. It exploded fantastically into bits of flying debris that pierced and felled an unlucky and brave guard who had gone ahead of his team to try and contain the riot. His body served only to help shield other officers rushing in from behind him. One of his comrades collected him and dragged him to relative safety. Find cover! B’lem shouted to the entire team.

Paul and Zinkin raced into one empty cell with B’lem while Conch, Wretch, and Frigid all crowded into the cell across from them. Why are we hiding like cowards? Zinkin demanded.

As if on cue, guards engaged prisoners in direct combat. Ki blasts erupted from both sides of the battle. The constricting area rendered the attacks all the more volatile. John or, more accurately, B’lem felt the explosions from the tremors they caused in the floor; that entire section of the facility shook violently as it was subjected to one spirit-fueled bomb after another. As B’lem continued forcing John to experience his memories, he appreciated the presence of an alarm. It muted the cries of the injured, broken, and dying. The High Rollers owed B'lem their gratitude because he had foreseen the battle seconds in advance.

That’s where you came in. B’lem directly informed John; he had ended the memory sharing sequence without any sort of notice. The unannounced conclusion left John’s head buzzing unpleasantly. The firefight only recently ceased.

John sensed no life in the immediate area other than that of the other High Rollers, which meant no one had survived the battle. Let’s try salvaging controls from the guards. Conch suggested.

I doubt we’ll find anything useful in that mess, but I guess it’s worth a look. Frigid commented.

All the other High Rollers emerged into the hallway from the cells they had used as cover. They all walked toward the end of the hall where guards and prisoners alike had met their ends. Keep your senses sharp and your guard up. Paul advised. Frontline’s generals could arrive at any moment. None of this could have escaped their attention. Everyone, it seemed, already knew of the danger.

Why isn’t Heat here yet? John asked.

Good question. Wretch admitted.

Perhaps he malfunctioned like the collars. Frigid suggested.

Speculating is pointless. Paul told them all. John, Conch, Frigid, and Zinkin, inspect the guards' bodies for anything useful. The rest of us will provide you cover in case anyone else shows up for a fight.

The namekian, the changeling, and the smaller of the two saiyans immediately carried out their orders, but John hesitated. He had no desire to search and rob a dead man, especially if the body was steaming and smelled of burned meat. He gagged to Paul’s visible disapproval. He’s weak and useless. Conch said as he slipped his fingers in and out of pockets and stepped from one fallen guard to another. We should just leave him and let him find his own way out.

John scowled and willed his body toward the dead guards just to spite the naysayer. He froze when his eyes locked onto the expressionless visage of what had once been a man. He averted his gaze immediately and stepped back. He’s not one of us. Conch messaged.

What are you afraid of John? The dead cannot hurt you. Koombur’s ensuing laughter at his own remark filled all their heads.

It doesn’t matter; there’s nothing here we can use. We’re just going to have to have to fly out and make our own openings as we go along. Frigid informed them all.

Koombur grinned and walked ahead of the rest of the team. He cracked his knuckles when he reached the silver wall that opened up at a guard’s signal to an elevator. He slammed his left fist into the wall and it immediately bent from the impact. He struck it once more with his right hand and the door tore from the wall and descended down the empty elevator shaft beyond it.

Koombur! Get back! John cried out to him, but the proud warrior had tired of running and hiding and saw no reason to retreat, but John had sensed three powerful energy signatures approaching them.

The alarm suddenly died, but Paul maintained telepathic communication and expected the same from the rest of his team. The generals are here! Paul warned them all; he, too, had sensed them as had Conch, Wretch, and B’lem; worry wrinkled their features.

Koombur, Zinkin, and Frigid seemed oblivious to the approaching danger. Couldn’t they sense energy? Whether or not they could did not seem to matter. Each of the High Rollers, including John, transformed. Frontline had captured them individually before, but, under Paul’s leadership, none of them would be caged again!

Meat’s stronger than I thought. Koombur remarked; the power John felt rushing off the giant saiyan was so vast that it exceeded his own and the same could be said of Zinkin. Their black hair had turned golden and their eyes reflected the color of a deep and sinister ocean. Each of their bodies glowed brilliantly like a sun. I’ve never met a super human besides Paul before, but you look like you’ve never seen a super saiyan before either. Koombur grinned at him. I guess that makes us even.

The mention of Paul turned John’s attention toward his fellow human if the man could be described as such anymore after he had revealed his unhampered power. His skin had taken on a pale shade of blue and his eyes had turned jet black. The hair on his head and that of his mustache had solidified and flattened against his skin after having become pure white.

His aura consisted of blue and white flames. He appeared to John as a phantom or some animated monstrosity unearthed from an ancient soldier’s grave. The energy he emitted carried with it un-doubtable destructive potential. Paul was an entity whose purpose was absolutely unmistakable; he was a capable and willing warrior. He would lead his troops to victory and he would spearhead the pivotal battle and see to it that it concluded in his favor.


Last edited by John Dark on 9/25/2012, 4:31 pm; edited 5 times in total
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Re: Rotten John (Solo)

Post by John Dark on 9/25/2012, 1:04 pm

Dread wrote:John looked to the other members of the team to see how their transformations had affected them. Frigid had not lied when he said that his race possessed several forms. He underwent a rapid series of mutations that enlarged him greatly until he towered over even Koombur then, just as quickly, he shrunk back down to a more versatile shape.

He resembled a humanoid in many ways, especially since he had lost his horns and most of his organic armor. Two round and seemingly hollow extension jutted out from either side of his head; John surmised those presently served as the changeling’s ears.

His body appeared smooth and covered mostly with white skin. The reflective violet segments John had observed attached to him had shifted in shape, size, and position to suit his new form. One appeared to cover his scalp while each of his shoulders featured an almost perfectly round segment. Some covered his wrists and shins like pieces of armor as another one occupied the center of his abdomen.

His tail no longer looked like a sinewy flesh-colored appendage, but a flawlessly smooth and white extension of his body. It swished this way and that like a whip then smacked down solidly onto the floor, shattering a large portion of it as though the floor was made of glass. He’s powerful. John observed to himself; from what he sensed of the changeling, the damage his tail had just caused was less than minute.

Neither Conch nor B’lem featured any changes as drastic as those that their comrades had experienced. An awfully bright white flame wafted off the namekian, but his only noticeable physical change was that the muscles in his body had expanded, enlarging him to a degree. A soft blue glow permeated off the kanassan, but the only real difference John noticed about him was that he had also gained extra muscle mass, somewhat increasing his size. Even though their changes appeared outwardly subtle, John’s sixth sense alerted him to the terrible power that each of the aliens had just unlocked. It felt identical to his own, and he appreciated that they were both his allies.

Wretch, meanwhile, had undergone an unspeakable mutation in order to free his full combat potential. His body emitted consecutive ear-splitting sickening cracks as new bone-like plates formed something of an exoskeleton over his exposed red flesh. His prison uniform disintegrated wherever new bones touched. An external spine ripped down his backside and continued growing until he possessed a menacing tail barbed with jutting bone segments and tipped with a flat, viciously curved, blade.

A second pair of limbs ripped free from his sides with an explosion of blood; Wretch issued an unearthly scream, the likes of which was heard only in nightmares. The new set of limbs appeared as elongated as his arms, but they both had an additional elbow join. Or were they knee joints? Talons grew from the end joints with additional crunches and cracks then slammed, powerfully, down onto the floor so that they crushed stone beneath them and splattered the area around them with Wretch’s own blood. Pristine bone materialized over the new and exposed flesh.

The upper half of his body contorted seemingly unnaturally. His head snapped back and his neck gained tremendous length. He stood on all fours in his complete form with his arms extended forward and set low to the ground. His tail whipped about and almost threatened to cleave any of his comrades horizontally in two. An ugly mist flowed off Wretch’s twisted form; it was as dark crimson as the blood of those he had already slain. His new demonic form appeared suitable only for leveling entire cities and slaughtering their collective inhabitants.

What are you looking at? Wretch demanded of John.

John’s answer was immediate and the perfect description for the horror he had just witnessed. Pain.

Wretch responded audibly with his true voice and John instantly wished he had not. The demon emitted a series of grinding, cracking, and snapping noises that he somehow managed to arrange into barely intelligible consonants and vowels.

PAIN GIVES ME POWER

John sensed the enemy quickly approaching; the collective power of the High Rollers was like a blazing beacon on the darkest and cloudiest of nights for anyone capable of sensing energy. This place is a death trap for warriors like us. John informed the entire team. Just look at what happened to the guards and other prisoners.

They were weak. Koombur pointed out.

All the more reason why we should not be here if we are to fight our way out. John told them.

What do you know? Conch demanded. You’re not n charge!

Let him speak. Paul commanded.

Using our attacks here will have the same effect on us as any normal soldier throwing a grenade down at his own feet. It’s complete lunacy. John explained to them. In fact, we should retreat to a safer distance to confer.

The group agreed to John’s council only because Paul supported his suggestion. They retreated back to the far end of the corridor. Koombur and Zinkin both pulverized a wall that separated two neighboring cells into dust. The High Rollers used the expanded area as their meeting room.

What do you suggest? Paul asked politely after they had all settled.

I suggest we separate into two teams of four. We already outnumber our opponents eight to four. John told them.

Four? I only sense three enemies. Paul messaged.

We must assume that Elijah Heat is with them; we cannot afford to underestimate our enemy. Even I cannot sense something that is not alive, which includes the artificial warden and I am a ki master. John explained. As I said before, we should split up into two teams of four. If we can distract them and divide them, we will each stand a better chance of coming out of this alive.

What if they don’t split up? Conch asked skeptically. What if there is more than one android on their team.

Elijah Heat is the only android Frontline has at their disposal. Paul informed them.

How do you know that? John wondered.

That will take too long to explain and we need to spend what little time we have left strategizing. Recent events have ruined our original plans; we’ll continue with yours, John.


Last edited by John Dark on 9/25/2012, 4:33 pm; edited 5 times in total
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Re: Rotten John (Solo)

Post by John Dark on 9/25/2012, 4:16 pm

Dread wrote:John felt awed by Paul’s trust in him and he suddenly felt responsible for seven individually powerful men. They would all blame him if his plan failed and they would, in all likelihood, tear him apart. He gulped fearfully then shared the rest of his idea. How many passages out of the volcano are there? John asked.

Only one. Paul dismally replied.

I was afraid of that, which means we will have to confront the enemy inside the prison and beat them. John told them; he expected someone among the High Rollers to interrupt him, but none of them did. We should decide on a rendezvous point. I strongly suggest we use the Pit. I know it’s deep in the prison and that is the last place any of us want to be, but it gives us open space and plenty of things B’lem and I can toss at our enemies with our minds.

How do we decide who goes with what group? Paul asked.

We should split our strengths evenly. Each team should have a psychic as well as someone who can sense energy; it will make predicting the enemy easier. B’lem should be on one team and I should be on the other unless any of you are psychics. John waited to hear if any other High Roller had the same special abilities he possessed, but no one spoke up. We should also pair fighters who know how each other fights better than anyone else; it will make our teams run smoothly. For that reason, Koombur and Zinkin should pair up. He had already observed that they went together perfectly.

Are any of you healers? John asked.

I am. Conch admitted.

You should go with B’lem, Zinkin, and Koombur. John said. I can also heal; with a healer on each group, injured teammates can receive immediate first aid. B’lem will lead his team.

That leaves me, Wretch, Frigid, and you on the same team. Paul pointed out the obvious.

John did not mention his negative bias toward saiyans and how it was part of the reason why he wanted them on the same team and not with him. He considered it a lucky stroke that Conch would also go with them for his healing talents. The namekian’s intolerance toward him made him hate the green man almost as much as he despised saiyans. He reasoned with himself that he could not afford distractions such as a burning hatred toward his supposed allies if he intended to overcome Frontline’s best.

He liked Frigid and Wretch no more than any of the other High Rollers. He tried convincing himself that he had sided with the lesser of the evils present. Truthfully, they all sickened him, but he needed their help and they needed his natural tactical expertise.

Who will go where? It sounds like we’re all heading for the same spot. Why is it important for us to split up? Conch asked.

I want to try dividing the enemy. John felt exasperated for having to repeat himself. Division is the oldest known method of conquering an enemy. He wearily reasoned.

Koombur and Zinkin should smash through the floors toward the pit with their group. The rest of us will have to risk the elevator shaft.

Every High Roller looked at him questioningly except Paul. We’ll go with John’s plan and he will lead our team since it is his plan. He announced; no one objected to the decision of their true leader. John had wanted to go with Paul all along because he was the only one among them who trusted him and respected him. John believed he, more than anyone else, would watch his back not only against enemies, but also his “allies”.

John and Paul stared into each other’s eyes for a moment and nodded to one another. They had both sensed three dangerous presences were very close and getting closer. Frontline’s generals, it seemed, had finally arrived. Should we change tactics? Conch asked.

Get to work on that hole. John told Koombur and Zinkin. Paul and I will offer cover fire. The rest of you should wait and conserve your energy. None of the fighters seemed pleased to know that they would have to wait for their chance at revenge against their captors. Haven’t any of you been listening? John demanded of them. If we unleash too much energy in this area, we’ll all die here!

Survival and escape are our only priorities. Do as he says! Paul contributed; John wished more of the High Rollers would accept his advice unconditionally.

He and Paul left the others to their task and faced the approaching danger together. Four figures stood near the elevator shaft, but John wasted no time in examining any of them. They intended to kill all the High Rollers and that included John. He sensed them building up energy for four separate attacks, but he had already initiated two of his own.

Two dark masses materialized ahead of John by his will. Paul, to his surprise, only stood next to him and watched the unfolding events with his arms folded over his chest. John scowled at him, knowing, with absolute certainty, something was wrong. He would have to worry about it later because trouble literally brewed at the end of the corridor.

A pair of completed black globes hovered in front of John; both had taxed him in their creation. Their combined power could, in his experience, handle any threat. He stared toward his opponents who had unleashed a collective and impressive volley of ki blasts that varied in size, speed, and color. The enemy team was well organized just as John had anticipated. I could use some help! John snarled at Paul.

The human merely shrugged then extended one arm ahead of him with his palm open and pointed forward. A sizzling and blinding beam of energy escaped his hand and rushed to contend with the enemy’s assault. The beam made contact with one of the approaching blasts near the center of the wave and forced its detonation. The explosion set off a premature chain reaction within all the other fast-approaching orbs. The resulting light and heat, both insanely intense, flooded the entire corridor and swept over both John and Paul. The consecutive explosions violently shook the cellblock and effectively deafened the unfortunate occupants.

John nearly fell to his knees, but Paul caught him and returned him to his feet. You’re not even going to say, thank you? Paul asked as John placed his entire focus on the task ahead.

Thanks. John sarcastically messaged back.

The light faded slowly and gave way to the darkness hatched from either of John’s attacks. Two black waves merged as one indomitable and musical force. It rushed forward, shredding the floor and the burning corpses that occupied the hallway and the bars above it into dust. John clearly intended to kill the generals of Frontline, an organization whose members selflessly dedicated their services to the protection of life on earth.

He had learned that he could not afford to execute mercy against an enemy who wished him dead. He had also learned that intentions, good or bad, were worthless. Frontline had failed to carry out their intentions just as he had. He had already decided that they would suffer, as he had, for their failure. The only difference was that their suffering would end quickly while he would continue living to endure his.

Paul placed a hand onto John’s shoulder. He chanced a backward glance and saw him smiling approvingly. “That’s enough, John.” He spoke aloud.

John opened his mouth to speak, but everything around him began dissolving. He no longer felt his own the raging energy or that of his intended targets. He looked back toward where he had issued his attacks, but they had both vanished from existence as had the battle-scarred corridor and the silhouettes of Frontline’s generals. All of those things had been replaced by an unsettling darkness.

“Open your eyes,” Paul instructed him.

John did as he was told and found that he was situated back inside the Pit. He sat at the High Rollers’ table and all its members were present. B’lem occupied the seat across from him and Paul sat to the kanassan’s right. He stared, smiling, at John. The true events of that day following their lunch then returned to John’s memory.

There had been no meeting with the warden and there certainly had not been a miraculous malfunction in every prisoner’s suppressor. John continued wearing his collar. The inmates who John recently thought dead were all engaged in conversation in various parts of the Pit. Warden Elijah Heat retained control over his facility and the guards, all of whom were as alive as the not-dead prisoners, were somewhere carrying out their duties, helping the android maintain Mt. Brig.

It was all an illusion, John messaged to the High Rollers; he remembered everything, especially the importance of communicating telepathically. This was the test you all wanted me to take and B’lem used his psychic abilities to make it happen.

You remember. Paul stated; he then announced, A deal’s a deal; hope you all like the taste of cow hide. He was, of course, referring to the bet he made with most of his subordinates; the losers would be dining on leather that night.

I passed? John asked.

Spectacularly. Paul happily confirmed. You may have heard me say this before, but I assure you that I mean it this time. He told John. Welcome to the team. The High Rollers are, at last, complete.

John felt tremendous relief by the turn of events. If he had failed, the High Rollers would have rejected him. If he had failed, one among their number would also have been given the opportunity to try killing him.
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