Lucas was in his study, pouring through tomes of notes left by his former mentor, Lars Attridge. They were Andrea Moreau's original research notes. He'd been intrigued to look deeper into these notes since meeting Victoria Bezel, a successful experiment that survived her creator by centuries.
How was it possible, mixing the mechanical and biological so perfectly? It boggled the mind.
And so the night went onward, with Buford reading mad scribblings by gas lamp.
Finally, nearing the end of her journals, she'd written a diagram that made everything in Lucas's mind click like the pins in a tumbler lock.
"My gods... " Lucas said, wide eyed, "I have to try this. I've got all of the materials!"
Lightning struck as Lucas closed the door to the laboratory. He retracted his umbrella.
"Bob! Come here!" he said taking his coat off and rolling up his sleeves, "I'm going to need your strength here."
He sent Bob out to dig up a corpse from the orphan cemetery.
In the meantime, he went into the workshop and prepared a chemical bath and robotic body. He had called Timothy in to help setup the experiment.
Bob's clanking could be heard coming from the entrance, but with an unusual sound accompanying.
Thud, slide, clank, thud, slide, clank.
"Perfect! You've gotten one of the nameless ones! Ew, you didn't have to drag it, old friend."
Lucas took the rotten corpse and removed the brain, placing it into the automaton suit within the chemical bath. He hooked up a ton of of electrodes and a couple of chemical syringes, and finally lowered it into the bath.
It was a gruesome thing, which would have made any normal man squeamish, but he was bubbling over with anticipation to finally be able to recreate one of Moreau's rarely proven techniques.
"So, now to start the boiler and catch lightning! Timothy, pull the lever!"
Timothy pulled down hard on a lever, and a boiler roared up, churning the chemical bath. a small window on the ceiling opened up and a lightning rod rose up through it.
Rain poured through to the workshop.
"This is so exciting! The raw power of nature mixing with the sheer will of technology!"
The thunder and lightning smashed the windows and made his hair raise on end as power surged through the bath.
Slightly frightened now, but completely enthralled, Lucas started to laugh, "Eat your heart out Cromwell! Who's the lighting scientist now?!"
The gas lights blew out and the boiler kicked off. Lucas felt his way in the dark until he could find a small lantern to light.
Shining it at the chemical bath, he could no longer see the hybrid creature.
"Where did you go?"
"Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!" the creature screamed at the top of it's lungs.
Timothy yelled over it's cries, "Over here, sir!"
He turned and shone the light on the creation. It recoiled in terror.
"You are... Victor. You are known as Victor! And I am your creator, Buford. Calm yourself, you are safe." Lucas explained.
It lunged at Lucas, smashing into the lantern, which flew out of his hands and lit the bath of chemicals on fire, as well as several sheets of parchment flying about.
"We have to turn it off!" Timothy yelled, running to the far side of the room.
"It doesn't work that way, it's alive!"
Timothy grabbed an axe and began searching for the monster. There were screams echoing from every corner of the room as the smoke from the fire rose out the rainy window.
Lucas was starting to feel fear return as his senses kicked back in, "Timothy, have you found it?"
"Not yet, siIIIIIIIIR!"
The monster jumped, screaming, on top of Timothy and bit his hand, making him drop the axe.
When Lucas found Timothy, the monster was behind him holding the axe, it's eyes screaming even when it's mouth was not.
The large axe buried itself into Timothy's shoulder, Lucas looked for a weapon, but found only flame, so he ran toward his office.
The monster finished hacking off Timothy's head as Lucas locked his office door and watched the creature out the window.
"Why are you doing this?"
"Why did you kill him?"
"Stay away!" Lucas said as the creature took steps up the metal staircase.
Clink, clank, clink, clank.
Clink, clank, thud, clink, clank, thud.
The axe made a hole in the door.
Lucas stood his ground, readying his mechanical fist.
Crack, ping, thud.
The door fell flat onto the ground.
"BUFORD! I am orphan!"
Buford went in for a full force punch to the face.
Lucas's arm was severed, and very sloppily, blood and machinery dripping.
"Please, don't do this."
Red Blood and Earl
Murdock had just picked his last turnip in the gardens underneath the Black Leaf and Earl when a clamoring could be heard echoing through Gearford's underground. It was a busy night in the shop for a Mohday. More than just the normal regulars had been coming through and staying a long while.
Not wishing to let any of the riffraff of the sewers enter into their gardens, Murdock double checked the locks on the gates before heading back up to prepare sandwiches and brew tea.
When he'd got upstairs, the place was packed. Darren was addressing the crowd, "If what you say is true, then you cannot stay here. This is not a safe place for you! The underground is connected to this shop and if they really are as ferocious as you say, they may penetrate our gates. Run west, dear friends, hide here and we will all be attacked!"
Murdock looked him in the eyes as he hopped down from the counter, "What in the Istoki is going on out there? What were they saying?"
"It's back, Murdock, and there's hundreds of them!"
"Our phantom? The mutant Vibranni?"
"Sounds like it from the reports coming in, we've gotta get out of here, find a hotel in Astam or White Haven until whatever this is blows over."
"My gods..." Murdock said.
"Only Skret and Gorrn I'm afraid," Darren followed up with. He loaded a shotgun up and tossed it to Murdock, "Let's go now, before things get hairy."
They loaded up with ammo belts and put on their boots for the trip ahead.
Leaving the shop, they could see a dust cloud coming closer from the west, and hear strange yelling from the east.
"We've got no choice," Murdock pulled his goggles down over his eyes and the two began walking westward down the grim streets of Gearford.
An gunfire let off as the patrons hiding out in their shop were attacked.
"What happened to make these mad nightmares of the demons we already fear?" Murdock asked.
Darren grunted, "Just walk, don't think."
Murdock noticed his hand was starting to hurt from clutching the shotgun so tightly and swapped it to his left hand.
The pair walked on for a few blocks before seeing a creature themselves. It happened when they made a wrong turn, down a dead end.
The beast climbed down from the fire escapes the way a spider descends it's web. It spoke words that only vaguely reminded them of the chatter they could hear whenever passing the slums. When it made it to the cobblestone and stood up, they discovered it's unnatural height and malevolent eyes.
"It looks horribly sickly, but let's not take any chances!" Murdock said as the two fires a few rounds into the thing. It was wounded, but still limped on round after round. Two shots to the brain finally ceased it's slow crawl towards them.
"Let's get the Skret out of here."
So they trekked onward, encountering a couple townsfolk here and there, but they could only convince two, who had already seen and killed a creature, to travel with them out west. Louise was a seamstress and her husband, Henry, was a police officer for Gearford PD.
"So, Sergeant, why are you not with the rest of the department?" Murdock asked.
Sergeant Henry answered, "Well I did try telegraphing in, but there was no one responding. When I went down there, it's was pure chaos, so I decided family was more important. I wasn't about to let some dry demons hurt my wife."
"I guess now's as good a time as any to break out the food," Darren said, reaching into his back pack, "We'll have to share, I only brought enough for two."
"We appreciate it," Louise said, holstering her gun and taking half a sandwich.
They stopped for a moment to eat inside a small clock shop. The food tasted extra wonderful to Murdock, not having eaten for most of the day.
When they had nearly all finished their food, a ticking, clicking sound went off.
"What was that?" Murdock asked.
"One of the gizmos in the back of the shop, probably." Henry said.
Darren spoke with authority, "I don't like it, we should leave."
"I need another moment of rest," Louise said.
Moments later, the noises grew in volume. A horde of strange, mechanically augmented vibranni, mindlessly shuffling along passed the store front. The group remained silent, slowly reaching for their weapons.
The creatures turned and poked their heads into the windows. They shuffled away from sight. Darren and Murdock hopped behind the counter and the couple propped up against the door, to hold it shut.
A high pitched whirring began, and true panic set into Henry and Louise's faces. The door was being cut through. Henry's hand was cut badly as the saw made it through the door by the handle. He stood up, bleeding badly, and smashed his shoulder against the door.
"Go!" Henry yelled.
Darren was not one to argue with sound survival advice, nodded an Murdock, and went back into the shop. It was a total mess in the back room, parts and shelves everywhere. They finally found where the back door was hidden, glad it wasn't a dead end for them.
Once on the other side of the door, gunfire and screaming exploded. Much of the city was filled with those noises. The area they'd stopped at grew noticeably more hellish during their respite. Smoke billowed out from several spots in the city, and the sandstorm had reached them from the west.
From either side, they could see figures. Not knowing whether which was friend or foe they needed an escape. Murdock spied a steambike in a small garage a block down, so they headed that way.
A gigantic mecha-vibranni stood over the bike just as they passed through the alley onto the open street.
"Die!" Darren yelled.
They fired round after round into the beast, which hardly stopped it.
"Raaaaaaaaaawr! Pathetic humans!" it taunted.
Murdock ran for the bike as Darren drew it away.
The bike wouldn't kick over with the sandstorm now buffeting them. He hopped off to look at the boiler. He could see that the creature cornered Darren and was trashing about.
"No!" he cried out.
The beast turned and made it's way, limping, towards him.
"Come on, come on, come on..." he murmured to himself, fiddling with the boiler.
It finally kicked in as the beast neared. Murdock fired a few rounds to slow the creature further, hopped on the bike and rushed over to Darren. His friend was heavy, but still breathing. He threw him onto the back of the bike and sped past the monster, westward towards Astam.
"What a hell of a night."
Meredith and Tea decided to take a break from their work in Fallinbannao and take a nice warm vacation over west, by Fotur Lake. There was a grand town there that was quaint and had beautiful views of the area.
"This is the cutest darn cottage I've ever seen. Oh, love, this is the bee knees!" Tee said, giddy with excitement.
"Yea, I might actually get to relax for once," Meredith said, unable to keep her smirk back.
Things had been going so well, they were due to return soon, so they figured they'd go out of their normal habits and do something they couldn't do back home, go fishing in a lake. So they finished unpacking their bags and barreled out onto the streets of the town without a care in the world.
It was an odd little place, the inhabitants all dressed exceedingly plain for Kuu. Many of them wearing smiles that didn't fit the expressions their eyes were wearing.
"The people here are a bit odd, don't you think?" Tee asked.
Meredith replied, "I wasn't going to say anything, but the creepy stares are killing my good mood."
Tee grabbed onto Meredith's arm a little tighter than before.
When they finally reached the tackle shop, there was a young boy looking at the lake, crying.
Tee walked up to him to try and console, "You alright little one? Are you lost?"
The boy turned his head away from her.
"Are your parents nearby?" Tee tried.
The child turned to her and yelled, "Go away, you druvan twumper!"
Tee recoiled and ran back to Meredith.
"Let's leave this demon child alone," Meredith said grimacing at the boy.
They entered the shop to find a shop keep in an empty store. The merchandise was starting to collect dust, but there was live bait in the back, so it was the right place to stop.
Meredith walked up to the clerk, "Hi, we'd like to rent a couple of poles, please. Bait would be useful, too."
"Oh?" the clerk responded.
"We're not from around here" Meredith continued.
The clerk interrupted her, "That was very obvious."
"Well, we thought we'd try our hand at fishing. Our cabin came with a boat, so we just need the rest of the supplies."
"I'll rent you the poles and load you up, but you have to promise me you'll stay by the shoreline," he said with whimpering desperation.
"And why is that?" Meredith asked.
"Just, promise me," Another patron entered the store and the shop keeper changed his tone like a switch had been flipped, "That'll be twenty rona, miss!"
They grabbed their equipment and left to the cottage with poles in hand. Tee carried the bucket with little fish they would use for bait.
"Well now, no more odd townsfolk to bother us," Tee said, "Just the lake and our poles!"
Meredith wasn't sure she should tell Tee about the odd clerk in the bait shop. It certainly unsettled her, but she didn't want to ruin her returned cheeriness.
And so, they set out with large hats to block the sun in a cute little boat to waste away the hours angling.
It was slow catching, only tiny fish that wouldn't make even a sandwich's worth of meat were biting.
"Let's go further out," Tee suggested, "We've been in shallow waters all day and nothing big'll bite like this."
Meredith's heart beat faster, but she had no reason to deny her a beter catch other than the strangeness of a towns-person, "Sure, just not too far, I uhh... I'm not a good swimmer."
"Good point, I never learned, myself."
So they rowed out a little bit and their luck increased. They began catching better fish, not the strongest, but at least on or two was enough to take home.
Meredith started to calm down. "Honestly, she thought to herself, "what was so bad about rowing to where the fish are?"
So they rowed out a little bit further.
"I've got a real strong one!" Tee exclaimed, "I might just lose the rod!"
She struggled to hold on tight, to the point where the boat itself started to pull towards the center of the lake.
On the shoreline, Meredith saw the townsfolk line up, staring at them... crying.
Tee was being pulled nearly out of the boat, when the line finally snapped. She turned to Meredith with an exhausted smile, but when she noticed the townsfolk, she started to freak, "What the dry heck are they all looking at?"
Meredith responded, "I think it's us?"
"I want to go home now. We are leaving this town, heck, we are going back to Antiford. This place is too weird."
Just then, the waters in the center of the lake began thrashing about, as a gigantic-
"Don't you just love it here?" Tee said as she was preparing breakfast for Meredith in their little cottage home on the lake.
"It's absolutely wonderful! We should invite all our friends to come and visit us!" Meredith replied.
Tears rolled down their smiling faces.
The Long Dodar of 2196
Empress sat back in her high throne, aboard the warship Mastodon. They were headed for Manenlande, where the last remnants of resistance gathered. She'd just gone through a particularly painful shedding, but her skin glistened with youth. Her life was far longer than she'd expected it to last, and she was rather hate-filled in her age. She was ever paranoid of death, and so had her Prussian Empire conquer every corner of the globe.
"We're approaching the rebel camp now, ma'am." her Vibranni captain told her via intercom, "the ground troops have them cornered."
"Good work, Isaac," she commended, "I want the dollwrecker gun ready."
A thousand man army surrounded a small encampment in the snowy tundra. The ship landed, and walking out into the air was the Empress.
Some soldiers were escorting a young man in a leather jacket and sunglasses, "What a pleasure, not a day over 300, ma'am!"
"Captain Percy Swift, what an unexpected pleasure!" Abigail shouted, "I thought you were still chained up in Jarhandi."
"Well, chains aren't really my thing. They were seriously cramping my style," Swift said.
"And what are we doing out here in the snow?" She asked.
Soldiers escorted another from the tent, a cyborg whose brain was floating in a clear case.
"Ah! Lucas!" she exclaimed.
"Mr. Buford!" Swift called, being pointed back towards the empress by the soldiers' plasma rifles.
"Hello again, Ms. Cormac," he said bitingly.
She twitched a moment, "I still haven't thanked you for the present you left me last time we met."
"It was just a small little explosion, nothing special."
"Yes, I only had to spend a few days in the hospital," she said, "Look, it's over now. This little revolution is on it's last legs. What's so bad about serving me?"
Lucas and Percy looked at each other, as if saying goodbye. Suddenly, Percy disappeared with a blip.
"He was a hologram!" Isaac shouted. The guards grabbed their guns in fright.
The tent behind them rose up several feet into the air, an underground contained below it revealed. It opened up to expose a gigantic explosive with the words "For Cromwell" on it and a coffin on top.
"I kept him on ice until I could give him a proper Titanian burial!" Lucas shouted, holding up a remote switch.
Abigail's jaw dropped and eyes grew wide with fear as the explosion went off.
Thousands of kilometers around, nothing but scorched earth and debris was left, as the rebels finally eliminated the Empress.
Meanwhile, back in old White Haven, a group of rebels assembled underground shut their computer screen off.
"Well, it's done with." Percy said.
One of the rebels looked at the floor, "Poor old cyborg Buford..."
"What do we do now?" another asked.
"We ride," said Percy Swift, holding up his blaster, dubstep blasting from his jacket speaker.