Fields of Elysium (Bio)

GEAR

Administrator
Staff member
Jun 15, 2018
738
0
16
#1
???
Time: Unknown
Date: Unknown






Gray seas.

Empty skies.

Nothing.

Just an endless, rolling expanse of void in all directions.

A kind of numbness, a colorless existence that tugged at her very being.

As if very small amounts of her were being shorn away, particle by particle-

A kind of slow, desperate disintegration.


<Who is it...?>

Not so much a "voice", so much as an "impression", like words being printed on the inside of her eyelids.

Something in the expanse stirred.


<Who's there?>

Everything went dark.




"-na. Aaaana?"

Clang, clang.

A sharp rapping would have interrupted the thoughts of Anastasia, as reality - at least in some recognizeable form - reassembled itself begrudgingly about her consciousness. At length, a small, familiar looking face pressed itself up against the Gespenst's visor, as Eliza Kruger peered through the ruby-like visor, trying to get a peek at the woman within, her eyes filled with worry as she fidgeted with the outside of the machine, in futile search of some kind of quick-release hatch.
 
Jun 14, 2018
117
0
16
#2

Somewhere in the inky void halfway to consciousness, Anastasiya's mind stirred lazily. Her half-sleep was disturbed by a distant, rhythmic throb that sent gentle waves bobbing through the darkness, each jolting her brain a little closer to waking as it passed.

-na. Aaaana?

Slowly and with much effort, her thoughts collected themselves as neurons finally began grinding to life, and the events of her last few moments of consciousness gradually pieced themselves together. She had touched the Sphere...they had been flung away from their own reality, two women scattered for long moments to the far reaches of space and time...a void, a world she had never seen before, strange and gray and frighteningly cold...and then, nothing. And now, soon, waking. But the most important element of it all, was...

Eliza!

Anastasiya's eyes snapped open, but her voice died in her throat even as her lips moved to call out the others' name. Mere inches away, peering at her through the crimson-hued visor of the Gespenst with a brow furrowed with consternation, was none other than the object of her concern. A sharp hiss emanated from the battlesuit as the armored shell encapsulating Ana's right arm fell away, segmented plates peeling back to free the limb from their clutches. Her hand rose silently to Eliza's face, fingers gently cradling the minute scientist's cheek. Though it was invisible beneath the steel helm, an involuntary smile spread across her features.

Thank goodness.
 

GEAR

Administrator
Staff member
Jun 15, 2018
738
0
16
#3
Eliza paused in her fumbling as the Gespenst's arm emitted a burst of sound, giving a slight jump - but, as Ana's hand emerged unscathed to brush her cheek, she seemed to suddenly freeze up. It was as if the human contact were still unfamiliar to her, and beneath Ana's fingertips, the rush of heat in the young woman's cheeks would have been immediately noticeable.

"...um." She mumbled, finally.

It took a few moments for her to shake herself out of her trance, the fluster catching up faster than ever.

"You... should see this." She said, stepping back to allow the woman to exit her machine.

In the distance, a strange sea stretched out under a boundless horizon - not the desolate, hopeless waves she had been just privy to, but ones that fickered under a strange, static sun, its surface flecked with the incandescent hues of Dimensional Power. Even the sand under their feet seemed speckled with DEC crystal, the minute shards seemingly washed ashore by ethereal tides.

Behind them, the sands gave way to cracked concrete, leading to a slew of buildings overshadowed by a large, almost stadium-like structure. To their far left, clusters boats drifted listlessly, moored to a series of docks.

Not a soul was to be seen, aside from the two of them.

"It's... Cape Town." Said Eliza, the shock still apparent in her voice.

"...My home.
 
Jun 14, 2018
117
0
16
#4
Rolling unceremoniously over onto her hands and knees as the diminutive scientist stepped away, Anastasiya hoisted herself to her feet with a grunt. Based on the little aches and twinges that shot through her limbs upon doing so, she hadn't exactly hit the ground softly. And strange ground it was; a cascade of grains that glittered with minute fragments of crystal ran from the Gespent's nooks and crannies as it rose. And the remainder of the environment that surrounded them was no less inundated with the other-dimensional energy, seemingly existing simultaneously in several states of being. It brought her thoughts back to that first eruption of DEC on Earth, and how System XN had nearly gone haywire just sharing a vague vicinity with the great spires of crystal.

And yet, now, surrounded on all sides by the stuff...nothing. Indicators pulsing dully in her peripheral displayed that all systems were operating exactly as intended, bar the damage it had sustained to the forearms. Was the battlesuit...acclimating, somehow? There was perhaps no human alive with more hands-on experience with the oddities and quirks of System XN, yet it continued to bewilder Ana time and time again.

Much like its arm had already done, the rear of the machine butterflied open at a verbal command, allowing the woman within to extricate herself. Stepping up aside Eliza, Ana's eyes narrowed as she took in the visage of the stadium and jumble of structures that surrounded it. This was unlike anything, anything, she had ever experienced crossing the dimensional border. It riled up a powerful, distinct gut feeling of unease. This was not how things worked...so what, exactly, was going on? Was someone...something...toying with them?

"...yet it isn't, is it?" Laying a hand on the researcher's shoulder, she gave it a gentle squeeze. They both needed to keep their wits about them if they were going to make heads or tails of this, and she wasn't sure just how well Eliza was doing after her experience in the Lemures. She glanced down at the gauntlet-like assemblage that still adorned her wrist, the same one that had been there in the bowels of the Institute. Hopefully it would not be needed.

"Lead the way...but let's be cautious."
 

GEAR

Administrator
Staff member
Jun 15, 2018
738
0
16
#5
Eliza nodded as Ana placed a hand on her shoulder. Despite her previous meltdown, she seemed surprisingly together. At the very least, she thought - it was familiar territory.

The two walked down the streets of Cape Town, the smaller woman leading the way. Her eyes darted back and forth as they went - sometimes something would catch her attention and she'd stop to give something a second glance - but she kept moving, not staying in any one place too long. Nothing unusual registered on the Gespenst's sensors - not even the presence of the Lemures or its Sphere, strangely enough.

"It's so strange." Said Eliza, at length as she stopped, glancing down a row of pastel houses.

"Everything... is just like I remember it, but-"

The scientist rubbed her temples, brow creasing.

"How can this be? ...Think, Eliza, think..." She murmured;

"We must be in another world... but that's impossible."

She had examined Ana's machine at length - but that strange device, System XN, had remained elusive. She had spent the small hours of the morning poring over its details, trying to better understand its relation to her own work - a black box, an artifact of EOT that the Directory had tried to dispose of. That secondary group however, Terra Sentinel - they would use whatever they could get their hands on to accomplish their goals.

If that device was dangerous... She couldn't allow Ana to continue using it.

Still... Perhaps there was some kind of connection?

Eliza paused at one of the brightly colored dwellings, fishing a key from her pocket. To her surprise, it turned in the lock, the door swinging open to reveal a humble, but warm interior. She turned to Ana and gave a small, yet smug smile.

"This is my parents house." She explained, flashing they key in her palm.

"You're probably hungry, right?"
 
Jun 14, 2018
117
0
16
#6
Anastasiya likewise focused on scanning their surroundings as the pair made their way into the city; unfamiliar with the territory, she was more focused on identifying any sort of potential threat. But regardless of their advance, none presented themselves. If one discounted the eerie light that shone overhead and the seemingly total absence of life beyond themselves, it could have passed as any small town back on Earth - well, the real Earth.

"We must be in another world... but that's impossible."
Was it, though? Ana thought back, back to the discussions she'd had with some of Terra Sentinel's own researchers who had worked on the Gespenst. Everything they'd given her was tremendously watered down, of course - she was no scientist, there was no point in being technical - but she seemed to recall that such a thing was, theoretically speaking, within System XN's capabilities. The things she saw on the 'outside', the space beyond reality as they knew it...were those glimpses of other worlds? They were all so bizarre, so distorted. Were they really that way, or was it just the distance that separated her from them warping the view?

Regardless of whether the Gespenst was capable of doing so, nobody had been brave enough to try and pierce that veil. Though their hand may have been forced in that regard if the two ever hoped to return home, as this clearly was not their Earth, however habitable it might appear to be.

That Eliza honed in her former home was no surprise, but the accompanying - and surprisingly mundane - query caught Ana off-guard. "Oh. Um." She blinked blankly at the diminutive woman for a beat. "I s'pose. You think we'll actually find anything in there?" She gazed over Eliza's shoulder into the depths of the home for a moment before moving the slide past her and into the doorway.

"Sorry, but let me go first. Just in case."

She didn't trust this place, no matter how much it resembled home.
 

Admin

Administrator
Staff member
Jun 14, 2018
49
0
6
#7
Eliza nodded, leaning aside to allow Ana entry before following tepidly behind.

A hallway greeted the larger woman as Eliza flicked on the lights. Almost immediately, she was greeted by a thin smile, framed by oak - pictures of Eliza ran across the wall. Her, playing by herself as a child. Wearing an oversized labcoat. In a group picture, dressed in blue graduation robes-

“O-oh.” Stammered the scientist in response, hurriedly pushing at the small of Ana’s back to move her forwards.

“Don’t look! It’s nothing!”

In not one of the photos was she smiling.

Moving further ahead, a sliding wood door was brushed aside to reveal a modest living room and kitchen. Once again - nothing emerged to menace them. The air felt warm, churned gently by a fan overhead. The power, at least, seemed to be working.

Eliza slid past her looming frame. Snatching up a remote to turn on the television - yet, it only revealed static, causing her to blink slowly, uncertainly. She moved to a corner of the room, slipping into the kitchen to open a cabinet, reaching in to rustle around - and pulled from a sack a ripe, bright orange.

Playing with it in her hands, she made her way back to Ana, scratching her chin in thought.

It was... peaceful.

Undisturbed.

Safe.

With that in mind, she looked at her friend, suddenly speaking up:

“Ana... What, exactly, did you do?” She asked, “What’s the last thing you remember?”
 
Jun 14, 2018
117
0
16
#8
It was readily apparent that the most menacing facet of the home's interior were the multitude of framed photos of Eliza herself - or, at least, the scientist seemed to think so by the way she ushered Ana forward with haste. She obliged, allowing herself to be hurried onward to the domicile's living room. The fact that there was still power despite the absence of anyone to make use of it made their situation just that much more bizarre. And no television signal either, an ubiquitous thing almost anywhere on the planet in this day and age.

In fact...glancing down and poking at her wrist while Eliza ventured into the kitchen, she couldn't detect signals of any kind. And that was even routing through the Gespenst's advanced sensor package.

She was levering herself carefully into a chair when her friend returned - better safe than sorry when it came to furniture, she'd come to find by experience. It looked like the woman had found something of sustenance after all, though Anastasiya would have been leery of actually consuming it. She stared through the floor as she pondered Eliza's question, idly rubbing the back of her neck.

"The last thing I clearly remember..." Her mind flashed back, past the dull grey seas and skies, to the battle at the Institute. "...was touching the Sphere, I guess. You told me a little about how they worked, remember? About how they reacted to emotions. I was just so focused on...", she trailed off, and this time it was Anastasiya's turn to have a hot redness creep rapidly up her cheeks. "...on wanting you to be safe.", she mumbled, now distinctly avoiding Eliza's eyes rather than simply staring into the middle distance.

There was a long moments pause, and then, "...wait!" Her head snapped up, face still flushed but embarrassment seemingly forgotten with revelation. She had missed something big - both literally and figuratively. "We're here, but...where is the Lemures? And the Sphere?"

Too distracted by the sheer oddity of their situation, she somehow hadn't registered that the colossal machine was nowhere to be seen.
 

GEAR

Administrator
Staff member
Jun 15, 2018
738
0
16
#9
"Not just emotion."

The small scientist took a pad of paper from a nearby desk, flicking through several pages as she produced a pen. The redness in Ana's face was, perhaps mercifully, not noticed as Eliza fell deep into thought. This was after all, her profession - mysteries like this were what she lived to unravel. At length, her gaze met Ana's levelly.

"Willpower."

She folded her legs, bringing a hand up beneath her chin as she scribbled a little more, lost in her own imagination as she began to piece the puzzle together. That device on Ana's machine, System XN... and the Sphere-

"Somehow... System XN reacted to the Sphere, or vice versa. It's possible it could have just moved us to another world, but the likelihood that it would so perfectly match what we already know is incredibly slim." She explained.

"Moving realities, between planes of existence... Is no easy task. By all rights, we should be DAMON chow."

She paused, something interrupting her train of thought.

...If what I think happened, happened...

Then...

Eliza's hand moved over her stomach, her features paling. It would be unprecedented - but not impossible. Still, she had to confirm first before voicing her fears... No sense in worrying the other woman, when she was already likely feeling out of her depth.

"As for the Lemures... your guess is as good as mine. Tracking the Sphere wouldn't be a problem if we had the right equipment but..."

She gave a low sigh, and rubbed her eyelids. Fatigue had her fast in its grip, and the adrenaline of the moment had finally fallen away, leaving her exhausted.

"I think it's safe for us to rest here." She said at length, putting down the notepad. "At the very least... We don't have an easy way to get back."

After a moment she added hurriedly: "N-Not yet, I mean."

Were they genuinely marooned? She had to wonder. Even if they were able to reconstruct the sequence of events that brought them to this place, there was no telling where they could end up next.

"We should get some sleep... In shifts, just in case. What do you think?"
 
Jun 14, 2018
117
0
16
#10
Willpower, huh?

That made enough sense. It had certainly been her will to protect Eliza, after all. The method by which the Sphere had chosen to do so - by whisking them off to this alternate version of their own reality - was entirely more questionable. If it truly was as uninhabited as it had so far appeared...well, Anastasiya couldn't argue that it was wrong. A frankly terrifying prospect considering that they may well be trapped here for good, but they were indubitably safe.

"If the Sphere is here...it's not close enough for my Gespenst to detect, at least." She shrugged, but gave Eliza what she hoped was a reassuring grin as the researcher voiced her concerns about returning home. "If we got here, we can get back. Seems like we have everything we need until we figure that out, right?" Ana motioned to the house around them. It was true - she'd been stuck in far more immediately dire situations in her time with Terra Sentinel. It was just that none of them had ever possibly included being trapped in an alternate dimension as their ultimate outcome.

"Anyway...," leaning back in her seat, Ana stretched her arms above her head, grimacing slightly at the series of pops and cracks that ran up her back, "Sounds like a plan. You get some rest first, I can keep going for a while yet."
 

GEAR

Administrator
Staff member
Jun 15, 2018
738
0
16
#11
"...Right." Said Eliza, albeit with uncertainty tinting her voice.

She stood up, and moved to the doorway... but paused, hand held up to her chest. Finally, she looked back at the other woman, her eyes catlike in the light.

"Goodnight, Ana. Wake me up if anything happens, and..."

The scientist paused, as if gathering her thoughts, before adding softly:

"...Thank you... for saving me."

Without even stopping to see the woman's reaction, she slipped away into the dark, the heat rising in her cheeks. Emotion coursed through her, bringing the smallest of tears to the corners of her eyes as she increased her pace. Why? Why was that so hard to say...?

What...

What's wrong with me...?



Elsewhere...

Awake.

No.

Alive, somehow.

That was the "nature" of this power, of course.

Nothing was impossible.

All that it demanded was willpower.

The strength to survive, to thrive, to push forward no matter what.

A gnarled hand reached up towards the light, smoke, vapor, and fragments of its very own existence pouring away into the black.

And grasped something-



The "night", if it could be so called, passed uneventfully. The strange sun hung in the sky perpetually, raining nothing but peace and gentle harmony on the imitation of Cape Town in the midst of a lazy spring's day. Ana would have been left very much alone with her thoughts, to ponder their situation.

Truly, they wanted for nothing. A small, almost perfect little paradise that seemed to be made just for them. Even if she were to take the opportunity to scout the surroundings further, there was no danger - only the outskirts of the town, petering away into more of the gentle ocean waves.

...

Could they really stay there forever? No war. No unhappiness. No starvation. No need for money, or to fight and kill for survival...

It was somewhere "safe".

Few could have blamed her if she happened to doze off herself, in that languid heat. But, regardless of whether she managed to or not, she would have been awoken by the distant, insistant chirping of the Gespenst's sensors.

Perhaps they were not as alone as they had believed?
 
Jun 14, 2018
117
0
16
#12
"...Thank you... for saving me."
The scientist's abrupt departure left Ana blinking blankly at the empty doorway for a long moment, before lightly shaking her head with a gentle smile borne of both amusement and affection. One would be hard-pressed to argue that Eliza was a master of interacting with others - but she was trying. And that she would go through the obvious struggle to express those feelings, even when Ana was the solitary soul present to receive them...that, even more than her kind words, meant a great deal to Ana.

Levering herself upright, she glanced idly around the room, blowing out a deep sigh. Best to keep on the move if she wanted to stave off the spectre of sleep. It was true enough what she'd told Eliza, being much more accustomed to the long haul as a soldier, but the battle had taken a lot out of them both regardless. She busied herself poking around the house, careful not to disturb her companion's rest. Sticking her nose into every cabinet and cupboard and nook and cranny she could find, still not a thing seemed amiss. Likewise, peering from the windows revealed nothing more than what they had already seen on the way in, unchanged. Having thoroughly exhausted ever conceivable point of interest within reach but unwilling to leave the house while Eliza was still asleep, she returned to her earlier seat wearing a distinctly contemplative look. Was this place really as good as it seemed, or...?



"Shit!" Ana leapt to her feet, chair clattering against the wall behind her as it was shoved back by the sudden motion. It seemed as though she'd drifted off despite her best efforts to the contrary, and a potent feeling of panic gripped her as she realized that it had been some time since she'd passed out. She tore through the home's halls, unceremoniously barging through the door to where Eliza had been - and hopefully, in contrast to the fear that gripped her, still was -resting.

"Eliza!?"
 

GEAR

Administrator
Staff member
Jun 15, 2018
738
0
16
#13
Ana's footsteps thundered through the Kruger family home, pounding against the wooden floor beneath. Up the stairs, around the corner - three doors. There was neither sight nor sound of the young scientist - perhaps something had happened to her after all? The only indication was a faint ksshhh noise in the distance-

BAM!

The door practically flew inward under Ana's touch, revealing-

Well, Eliza's room.

It was neat and well kept, everything organized meticulously, in a fashion unlike that of her work desk at DEI. That mess of notes, clipboards, and tablets all piled up with disposable plates and coffee cups that were likely hosting several new and previously undiscovered forms of bacterial colonies couldn't compare to the sun-kissed orderliness that met Ana's eyes. A desk, a chair, a lamp, several stuffed animals - a zebra, a lion, a dolphin, all decorated the interior under a swaying fan. Even the bed, with its pink, star-patterned sheets, had been made, perhaps out of habit.

It was... surprisingly warm, and humid. Almost as if-

There was a very small, tiny voice to her right.

"Um."

Framed within another, interior doorway, Eliza Kruger stood paralyzed, her hair soaked into luscious platinum curls, clutching a white towel to her diminuitive frame protectively. Small droplets of water ran down her fingertips, her hair and her feet as she stared at the intruder with those wide, golden eyes that were like little suns. Behind her, a glass shower door was just barely visible, having been eased open out of uncertainty as she'd heard the woman coming.

Already, her features were turning from white, to pink, to a practically fluorescent red as she stammered uncertainly - not so much words as a collection of syllables barely audible to the ear.
 
Jun 14, 2018
117
0
16
#14
While having thankfully not literally done so, Ana practically knocked the door from its hinges as she swung it wide. Her eyes scanned the room, a practiced gaze that swept over every item in the meticulously maintained space until it came to -

Oh. Oh.

Anastasiya's thoughts came to an abrupt, grinding halt at the sight of Eliza and her state of distinct undress. There was a protracted moment as her brain sorted out the mental whiplash of going directly from 'panic' to 'embarrassment', a swing which was only exacerbated when it registered that she was still staring, somewhat wide-eyed with surprise, squarely at the scientist after that long second had elapsed. It was a wonder that gouts of steam didn't burst from her ears based on the almost comical rapidity with which her face flushed an equally, if not moreso, vibrant crimson. "S-sorry!"

Finally having the presence of mind to avert her gaze, she spun clumsily around to face back the way she'd come. Gripping the doorframe with one hand to steady herself, Ana clamped her eyes shut...but the image of Eliza's nude form was still clear in her mind down to even the most minute detail, try as she might to banish it. The sight brought forth a subtle, creeping warmth that was most definitely different than the burning in her face - oh no, no no no. Absolutely not. Now is not the time to be in that sort of mood, even with...with what you just saw. If only it were that easy.

"S-sorry," she repeated, managing to stammer out her words after a deep breath, "I-I didn't realize you were...I just...there was..." Clearly ashamed by her lapse in vigilance by falling asleep, Ana was far too flustered to concoct another excuse for why she'd come barging in with such gusto, instead lapsing into an embarrassed silence.
 

GEAR

Administrator
Staff member
Jun 15, 2018
738
0
16
#15
The seconds ticked by, in silence.

That was another thing about this place. There were no cars, no wildlife, no other people - nothing but absolute silence in the background, where even the smallest of sounds seemed to echo for miles.

"It's... okay."

Finally, there came Eliza's voice through the door, sounding a bit more composed than before. It was... surprisingly close.

On the other side of the door, Eliza leaned against the wall, her back facing Ana's own, the two invisible to one another.

"You... just wanted to see me, right?"

Its warmth expended, she let the towel slip from her fingers to the floor below, curling her arms about herself in a slight shiver. There was... more, she felt. More that she wanted to say, an unexplained, long-dormant, yet insistent longing trying to make itself known, sending pangs of anxiety through her stomach. They were so close, and yet so far. If she listened, she could hear her breathing.

"The one who should be sorry... Is me. Nobody... Nobody has ever treated me like this. Not... ever."

...To think that someone would care so much for me, for no reason.

It seemed impossible, like something out of a fairytale. Like a white prince had just rode up on a horse, perfect in every way - and then lifted up their visor to reveal they weren't so much a prince, but a princess. But still-! Still! Her heart pounded so strongly in her chest, so defiantly she thought it was going to burst out and flop along the floor, like some kind of fish.

"I..."

She slid down against the wall, pulling into a little ball as she covered her face. Embarrassment and paralysis coursed through her as she squeezed her eyes shut. What was she to do...? What-

What... if what she was feeling was wrong? Or worse... if the woman rejected her? She gave a little noise that sounded a lot like a sob, disguised as a laugh as she spoke, voice muffled by her own little space.

"I don't... really know... what I'm supposed to do..."
 
Jun 14, 2018
117
0
16
#16
It felt as though Anastasiya's heart nearly leapt from her chest as the diminutive voice appeared so close behind her; it was a small but thankful wonder she didn't jump. She listened in rapt silence as Eliza spoke, and while the tension that locked her in place eased somewhat upon being forgiven for her clumsy intrusion...the words that followed did nothing to abate the rhythmic thumping in Ana's breast. She heard the diminutive woman slip to the floor, but for all her strength Ana's body seemed suddenly unwilling to follow her commands.

The moment seemed once more to stretch into an eternity of deafening silence.

This woman...was she also...did she also...she couldn't possibly...but...

Don't let this be a mistake. Please.

Steeling herself, she turned to face Eliza; forcing herself to move felt as though it required every shred of willpower she possessed. Her breath caught in her throat at the sight of her slim figure, no longer hidden from view by even the minuscule amount of fabric that had been the towel. Don't stop now. You can do this. There was a soft thump as Ana dropped to the floor as well, sinking into a cross-legged position, her knees mere inches from the scientist.

Sliding one arm behind Eliza's back and hooking the other under her knees, she lifted the tiny figure as though she weighed no more than a feather, pulling her close and ever so gently setting the woman down squarely in her lap. They had been physically close before, but this time...there was something special, something unmistakably intimate.

The way she pulled Eliza close to her chest, cradling her tiny form protectively. No doubt she could feel Ana's pulse racing, separated only by the thin, tight fabric of her undershirt.

The way her left arm wrapped around the smaller woman's torso - carefully mindful of the more sensitive portions of her anatomy - so that her palm rested gingerly on the other's bare stomach.

The way her right hand sought out Eliza's own, fingers delicately intertwining themselves with hers and holding tight.

Her voice was as low and gentle as Eliza had ever heard it, barely more than a whisper in her ear. Yet it overflowed with emotion, some distinct, and some just as confused as Eliza's own feelings.

"I'm...not sure I do either. Let's just...figure it out as we go. Together."
 

GEAR

Administrator
Staff member
Jun 15, 2018
738
0
16
#17
At the sound of Ana dropping to her knees, the smaller woman gave a muted yelp, squeezing her eyes even tighter. She shuddered under the woman's touch... but made no move to halt her as she drew her close. Part of her wanted to cry out, push away like she had countless times before, to become a human cactus - something that no-one would ever think to touch.

And yet.

So gentle.

Her heart fluttered, her stomach did backflips. Was this it? She thought, almost deliriously.

Was it finally going to happen?

Slowly, carefully, she unwound herself, resting in Ana's embrace like a fine porcelain doll. She could feel the woman's own heart, beating just as fast as hers as she spoke soothingly, yet just as haltingly as she.

Was that all they could do?

Just... figure it out as they went along? She wanted to balk, to pull back - the anxiety was almost overwhelming. It felt like standing on a burning building, the smoke choking her, blinding her - yet being asked to make a running leap of faith to a place of safety that she didn't even know for certain existed.

But... she was so tired. Tired of being alone. Of refusing to rely on anyone but herself. Year upon year had ground her down, leaving nothing but misery.

All she could do was nod, slowly.

She would try.




In the distance, the insistent beeping of the Gespenst's sensors rose suddenly to become a warning siren, blue telltales blinking red as the sky darkened. Tendrils of dark wove their way through baby blue, the glow of distant, unfamiliar stars visible in the ebon coils.

A froth lapped over the sparkling sands the two had arrived on, as the waters began to churn. A sound began to fill the air, like the muffled crinkling of glass as it was ground apart, a long, thin, dark line forcing itself into being among the sunlight sky. No crude rupture of DAMON was this, but a careful incision made into the very fabric of reality.

The seam hung there for a moment, an affront to the cheerful, pleasant world around it. The surface below churned even harder, as drops of liquid DEC oozed from its corners, turning the waters an oily, refractive pastel that flickered all the colors of the rainbow. Without any further warning, the rupture tore, disgorging from its depths something-




It was a moment she wanted to last forever.

Just... the two of them, in this perfect, safe little world.

Nothing but them, with all the rest of existence at bay.

Yet... It couldn't last.

She was snapped from her stupor by a realization - no, a sensation of the floorboards rattling against her nails, from where her free hand gently touched it, a staccato rat-a-tat-tat that rose in volume and intensity by the second. The thought registered to her immediately as her eyes widened, and she reflexively gripped Ana tightly with a gasp.

Earthquake.

It was as if the ground beneath them had suddenly caved, the whole room rattling suddenly as it sent pictures clattering from the walls, and the contents of her desk crashing to the floor. All the while she held fast, eyes clenched shut, feeling as if she was being tossed about like a leaf in a storm.

When the shaking subsided, the sky outside, visible from Eliza's window, was no longer a clear blue, now streaked with lines of night.
 
Jun 14, 2018
117
0
16
#18
For the first time since they had arrived in this strange world...Ana was thankful for the peace of it, the unnatural and absolute stillness that surrounded them. Nary a sound to be heard but their shared breathing, and with the soft warmth that was Eliza resting against her...even the strange light of the static sun that hung overhead, bathing them as it streamed through the window nearby, seemed less unsettling than before. Were one to ask her, Ana would certainly not have been able to recall any time within memory that she had felt such a distinct sense of utter contentment.

Their moment of solitude, unfortunately, was about to come to an abrupt end.

Understandably distracted, she picked up on the dull rumble that permeated the structure only a mite sooner than Eliza. Hunching protectively over the smaller figure, she gathered the scientist up in her arms even as she grabbed hold of Ana of her own accord. The world around them suddenly seemed terrifyingly fragile, as though it could collapse in its entirety at any moment; all the pair could do was hope and endure.

What had happened to their safe haven, their personal little pocket of existence that only a moment ago had given an impression of total safety? Why now, of all times?

The tremors faded in short order, though they left chaos and disarray in their wake. The rest of the house would no doubt have fared any better than Eliza's room had. None of the falling debris had even come close to threatening their well-being, but Ana's optimism that their biggest concern would be cleaning up the mess was quickly dashed...as she noticed the array of readouts on her gauntleted forearm, before flashing only languidly, now pulsed at a fevered pace in a pattern she knew only too well.

Dimensional energy...and from an unknown source.

"Get dressed," she gave Eliza a hurried whisper, "we need to move." The researcher needed only glance up to see the deadly serious expression that had rolled over her features as she gazed out the window, observing that the endless, lethargic day had suddenly ceased to be. As much as logic dictated that her...partner...should find somewhere safe and hide, something in Anastasiya's gut screamed at her not to let the woman out of her sight.

"Something's here."


The home's front door cracked open, swinging wide just enough for a single steely blue eye to scan the street outside. Sans the piecemeal wreckage of the earthquake, nothing in their immediate vicinity seemed particularly amiss. Glancing back over her shoulder to ensure that Eliza was still there, she motioned for the other woman to hold her position as Ana stepped out onto the pavement and well clear of the structure's entryway.

Truthfully she wasn't sure if what she was about to attempt would even work in this strange world - not that it was something she had had much occasion to do even in their own reality - but they were about to find out. Bracing her feet wide, she raised a clenched left fist to the heavens, drew in a deep breath, and -

"CALL! GESPENST!"

Vibrant violent energy surged forth from the gauntlet she wore, seemingly pulled from the air itself; there was a brilliant, blinding flash and a tremendous thunderclap as solid matter that had not been there a moment before displaced the air. Standing where there had been only Anastasiya a moment before there was now the towering, armored figure of the Gespenst.

Whatever was coming...Ana was ready.

I'll do whatever it takes to protect you.