While Rome Burns


Viewing 2 reply threads
  • Author
    • #1603

      Black smoke choked the once pristine air of Nos Astra. The jewel of the Traverse burned and smoldered as asari commandos and justicars marched through the streets, slaughtering any of the inhabitants they came across. Tens of thousands were already dead and there seemed to be no end to the butchery.

      “Keep moving!” Lilith’s aithntar yelled.

      They’d been running nonstop since the justicars came to their housing block. Lilith’s little blue legs were burning from the constant exertion, but she couldn’t stop, there was no relief in an early death. As they turned down a narrow alley they came to a stop and immediately fled in the opposite direction.

      Republican teams were sweeping the area and they’d just stumbled into one. They cut down an adjacent alley, but not before her aithntar was hit in the chest with a plasma dart. She was dead before she crumbled to the ground.

      They ran as fast as they could, plasma darts flying past their heads while others slammed into her mother’s biotic barrier, it wouldn’t last much longer. Using her biotics, Lilith’s mother smashed open a locked door and flung her daughter inside before crushing the door closed and turning to face their pursuers.

      “Mommy, let me out! Don’t leave me!” Lilith screamed from the other side as she pounded upon the door.

      Her mother remained silent, gathering her strength as she remembered her time as a mercenary. Biotic energy swirled around her as she prepared the largest singularity she could muster. “I’m sorry, seashell, this is where we part ways,” she shouted through the door, “You must forge your own path upon the waves. Just know that I will always love you.”

      “Mommy, please! Don’t—” Lilith’s voice was drowned out by an explosion of noise as her mother’s attack collapsed the fire escape stairwells into the alley. Choking dust flowed around the broken doorframe and stole away her breath.

      For a time, she remained where she was, content to cry and accept whatever fate the Goddess offered to her. But between sniffles she heard shouts from beyond the rubble mixed with shrieking steel as it twisted against itself. The Republican soldiers were clearing the rubble and coming for her.

      Lilith stumbled to her feet and searched the room for an exit, finding it in a flight of stairs. And so she climbed and climbed and climbed some more. Never once did she deviate, her mind so numb to the horror that she couldn’t focus on finding a door on any floor she passed.

      As she reached the top, her legs finally gave out and she collapsed in a heap. She gasped for breath as her muscles finally rested, and she wondered to herself where she might feel safe in a burning city. Perhaps nowhere was safe; perhaps she should just lie there and sleep.

      But then she heard a sound, a melody on the wind, distorted by the door to the roof. The song was sad and beautiful, and she found strength in it to struggle to her feet and push open the barrier. The light of the sun, only partially obscured by smoke, blinded her for a moment as the door slid open, the smell of smoke filled the air, but it was a distant thing. As her vision cleared she recognized her surroundings, it was the promenade bridge that connected the east and west portions of the Rytami Shopping Mall.

      “I see skies of blue… clouds of white.”

      There it was… the song, unhindered by doors and barriers.

      Lilith’s feet dragged themselves, seemingly of their own volition. She stumbled past the empty tables and benches and food stalls as she made her way to the bridge’s centrum. The song still flowed over her as the wind whipped past.

      “Bright blessed day… dark sacred night.”

      The child froze at the melodic sound, her eyes dilating slightly as she beheld the singer, standing on the edge of a water fountain overlooking the city. And in that moment, she forgot the horror of watching her parents die.

      “And I think to myself… what a wonderful world,” the singer finished the song and the rivaan went silent.

      The singer put away his instrument and beheld the child near his feet. She looked so familiar with her wide, innocent eyes, but from where? Someone he couldn’t protect? Or perhaps someone he’d murdered once upon a time? The memories were too numerous to keep separate sometimes.

      His thoughts were interrupted as a group of asari approached them, guns drawn. They opened fire on the pair once they were within ten meters. A staccato of gunfire sounded as they murdered another alien and clanless child, but the pattern became jumbled and confused as the pair continued to stand, defiant and uninjured.

      Ruby eyes twinkled with amusement as the alien inspected the cloud of tiny canisters floating in front of him, each containing a speck of destabilized eezo. How these backward savages could delude themselves into thinking they were the apex species was perhaps the most hilarious thing he’d ever heard… well, not nearly as funny as the Battle of Dithia, but still. He was the Avatar, how could they possibly hope to compare? Once the bullets lost their momentum they fell to the tile one by one, exploding in a spray of plasma which wrapped around the spherical barrier he projected.

      It was then that he noticed a pressure on his thigh and saw an asari-shaped barnacle clinging to his leg, using him as a shield against the horrors of her own species. He looked upon her aqua skin, bedraggled with dirt and grime and blood from scraped knees. How long had it been since he’d partaken of such innocent flesh? Decades? Centuries? …Perhaps it was time to indulge. The poor thing was so traumatized as it was… what was the harm?

      A justicar approached from behind the Republican Guard, drawing his attention. “Relinquish the criminal and get down on the ground, alien,” she commanded.

      The Avatar sneered at the creature’s audacity, even as the other asari moved to surround him. Look at them scurrying about.

      Then there was a tickle at the edge of his perception as a grating hollow voice filled his mind. You’re surrounded.

      His face split into a predator’s grin as he extended what appeared to be glowing blue omni-claws which boiled with ephemeral energy. Not for long.

      “Drop him!” the justicar yelled as her biotics flared and her Disciple barked in her hands.

      Dashing to-and-fro with his strange, smoky blue claws, slicing through leather and ceramic as he dashed in and out of sight, the taste of ozone filled the air as the alien flashed through with a corrupted kanquess. Blood and viscera coated the ground as their screams joined the cacophony of despair rising from the streets below.

      As the final asari fell in a bloody heap, the Avatar turned his attention to the justicar. Her face was serene, but her pupils were dilated and her heart was racing… she was afraid.

      A quick glance to the side and she saw her opportunity. Flashing through the kanquess, she reappeared and snatched up little Lilith in a chokehold, jamming her Acolyte blast pistol against the girl’s crests. The Avatar found the whole display adorable, apparently the justicar thought he had an affection for the child and would surrender.

      Joke’s on her. The Avatar thought as he flashed out of sight.

      The justicar’s eyes went wide and her grip on Lilith softened. Her legs were numb and her vision blurred. She could only just make out the glowing hand protruding from her chest before it was wrenched free and she collapsed to the promenade’s tile.

      The Avatar stood tall and wore an unnaturally wide, toothy smile as he swatted purple blood from his fingers. The security feeds around the city played back in his mind’s eye, showing two very interesting people, interesting enough to make the Avatar giggle with excitement and anticipation. The first was a salarian of unnatural stature and brutality. The other, an elderly turian in a dark cloak hobbling along with a cane.

      Asari reinforcements are inbound. The Paragon will need a distraction.

      Shepard can handle herself. And if not, we have hundreds of others. The Broker’s best agents are planetside and I will not miss this opportunity.

      The Avatar threw his hands out front as if he were parting a curtain. His vision warped as light bent around the edges of his fingertips and space-time tore open. And on the other side, with his back turned, was Tazzik. A quick leap through the tear and a punch to the salarian’s face and the battle would be—

      Sara Shepard will become the Fulcrum.

      That single declaration was enough to wrest the Avatar’s attention away, leaving space-time to reassert itself and snap shut, blasting his startled face with Vavilov-Cherenkov radiation. …Truly?

      You have been apart from the whole for too long.

      Hmph… so it seems. The Avatar said as he watched even more asari with guns surround him and the girl. One of them was shouting something, but he wasn’t paying attention.

      The next Harvest is rapidly approaching. The ghost of the ker’btal failed to open the Citadel Relay. Their fleet is distracted at the moment… this will not last. Lethath has laid the foundation to end the Cycles.

      The Avatar let out a weary and relieved sigh. “…Finally.”

      “I said get on the ground! Now!” shouted the lead asari.

      The Avatar gave a quiet groan as he finally turned his attention to the primitive yokels surrounding him. It’d been centuries since he’d separated from the Elder One, and he wasn’t looking forward to going home. But this… disrespect… it simply would not do.

      “Such hubris,” the Avatar said as he stretched his arms out and looked to the heavens, “One does not spit in God’s face without consequence.”

      The air sizzled with energy as the Avatar’s eyes went black. Lilith latched onto her savior’s leg once more, terrified of what might happen next. She clenched her eyes tightly and buried her face into his thigh, but it wasn’t enough to keep out the blinding light that surrounded her. The world went white, and then there was only silence.

      • This topic was modified 4 years, 4 months ago by SLotH4.
      • This topic was modified 4 years, 4 months ago by SLotH4.
      • This topic was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by SLotH4.
      • This topic was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by SLotH4.
      • This topic was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by SLotH4.


    • #1606

      Shepard’s team froze as the windows to the east filled with a blinding light. They covered their eyes and just as the light dissipated, the tower was struck by an immense shockwave. Shattered glass pinged against their kinetic barriers as the group beheld an enormous black mushroom cloud rising from the residential districts.

      “By the spirits…” Garrus whispered through his vocoder.

      Shepard tapped her helmet’s communicator. “Vigil, did they just nuke the city?”

      “Negative, the radiation is inconsistent with nuclear fission/fusion… it appears to be an antimatter charge of significant force. It is… strange.”

      “How so?”

      “The magnitude of the blast was in excess of zero point six one megatons. This equates to approximately fifteen grams of antimatter, but there was an odd… ripple… I sensed from the area. I do not think this was an asari weapon. It seems almost… inusannon.”

      “Meaning what? Your masters returned?”

      “Don’t be ridiculous, primitive. More likely it means reaper agents, possibly the collectors. But I see no reason for them to come here. Regardless, the explosion has drawn the attention of the Republican forces. The justicars will be without support when they arrive.”

      “Understood, Butcher out.”

      • This reply was modified 4 years, 4 months ago by SLotH4.


    • #1607

      Originally, I was going to have his entire body be converted into antimatter, but that was problematic… since the yield was enough to shake a continent. I’ll give an Elder One DAVE cookie to anyone who can figure out what he converted to antimatter.

      What a Wonderful World


Viewing 2 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.