Join Date: Feb 2006
Lacey could hear the screams and gunfire over the roar of the waves crashing violently against the rocks below her. She was poised on one knee, looking down from a cliff toward Laguna Beach, almost half a mile away. Her open leather jacket was draped around her almost concealing her from view. Formed Polysteel armor, strapped tightly to her body, was showing slightly from underneath, glowing faintly in the dull moonlight.
Lacey concentrated on reaching the mental switch that activated her night vision. Her eyes filled with lavender fire as the brief whine of the start-up slowly faded to a barely audible hum. Internal lenses slipped into place, instantly bringing the scene into telescopic view. “Bloody hell…vampires”…she whispered through flashes of pointed white teeth.
Bodies of the humans, her friends, the only people to have ever truly treated her as family, since the death of her parents, were littered everywhere around the institute. Each one had been, or was in the process of being, emptied of their lifeblood. The taste of bile caused Lacey to wretch slightly, as she choked back her emotions. Time seemed to stand still. She was in shock, unable to move, as she watched the carnage unfold. The slaughter of her remaining “family” happened in only a few seconds, but to Lacey, it seemed an eternity. Although the last of them had fallen, she could still hear their screaming as teeth tore into flesh. A chill ran down her spine. Lacey wasn’t sure if it was the bite of the freezing northern winds, or, more likely, the thick stench of death, that was filling the salty ocean air, that caused it. She stiffened as she drew in a deep breath. One thing is sure, she thought, the stench will be getting much stronger tonight.
Scanning the shoreline, she counted her foe; 15, 16 no…. 17 of them… “You bastards should have brought more,” she whispered, as she slipped her T-17 plasma rifle from its holster.
A compact, but powerful, little weapon with a pistol grip handle and fore grip, flat black in color with a small box-shaped body and a 14 inch transparent, multi-prism charging chamber, that was protruding about 4 inches past the fore grip. The entire weapon was only 18 inches long and weighed an amazing 4.5 pounds. Nothing but meat and potatoes…no frills, no bells and no whistles, just a control panel recessed in the side of the body itself and an internal fusion reactor with an energy output larger than some 3rd world countries.
Lacey ran her fingers over the control panel as she checked the status of the weapon, and then, with a few deft movements of her fingers, she entered in the code to activate the reactor. The control panel lit up like a Christmas tree as the charging chamber started to glow with a bluish hue. The familiar hum was almost soothing to her, well…. almost.
Lacey closed her eyes and reached back into the abyss of her mind. Are you there? There was a short pause.
YES, came the reply.
Can you tap into the institute security grid and tell me how many are inside? she thought.
I ALREADY HAVE, said the voice. THERE ARE AT LEAST TEN TO FIFTEEN MORE INSIDE, IT’S HARD TO TELL. AND LACEY…ANDY IS STILL ALIVE; HE HAS ISOLATED HIMSELF IN THE MAINTENANCE BAY. BUT THEY ARE TRYING TO REACH HIM AS WE SPEAK.
Lacey holstered her weapon and exhaled deeply, clearing her mind so she could psych herself up for what lay ahead. Variable Cybernetic servos, a virtually indestructible Nytanium laced skeletal system and webs of ultra-thin, unbreakable Nytanium strands, woven into her muscle structure, were ready to take, and deliver extreme amounts of punishment. The scientists had originally decided to use Polysteel, but the A.I. had long since replaced that with Nytanium, a polymer based titanium alloy with a much greater tensile strength. The Nytanium in her system, while lightweight for a metal, increased Lacey’s body weight to over 200 pounds. Surprisingly heavy for her small stature, but, with the power in her cybernetic upgrades, she is capable of moving with lightning speed. The variable servos allow her to dial up or down the amount of power she uses at will, so she can be as gentle as a feather, or hit like a Mack truck. Lacey wasn’t sure if she was ready for the battle ahead, but her body was.
The flutter of her jacket was all the noise she made as she launched herself effortlessly into the air. The sound grew louder and louder as the beach, nearly 200 feet beneath her perch, rushed up to meet her. The cries of her friends, still fresh in her mind, were causing her senses to go into overdrive, while the free fall itself was causing adrenaline to start pumping into her veins.
Lacey was plummeting at an extreme velocity when she hit the earth, some 75 yards from the beach, causing both a large dust cloud and a small crater to form in the process. The loud thump she made faded into the padding sounds of quick, light footsteps, as she emerged from the edge of the violently swirling dust and sprinted toward the rocks at the edge of the beach. The salt water spray from the waves crashing on the rocks was beginning to interfere with her night vision, reducing its effectiveness to a distance of roughly 20 feet.
At her current velocity, Lacey knew she was in trouble, but she had no time to slow down. CONCENTRATE, said the voice inside her head, YOU CAN DO THIS. A calmness seemed to envelope her as her other senses started to take over. Lacey was very anxious about what was happening, but it felt right.
Go with it, she thought, must be another side effect of the vampire DNA, or maybe the AI. She started to move faster and faster, almost to the point of losing control of her own actions, and then beyond. Time was moving in slow motion for Lacey. None of her training had prepared her for this, but it didn’t seem to matter. She felt as if she was acting on pure instinct, thinking, without thinking, seeing, without seeing and knowing, without knowing.
Lacey raced through the rocks as if she had done so 1000 times before. She moved as graceful as a gazelle, but much, much faster. She was hurtling fishers that could not be seen, side stepping and bounding over rock formations that must have existed for decades, yet seemed to appear out of nowhere. Lacey had cart- wheeled off of a small boulder, just missing grazing her head on a huge, jagged rock, sticking oblong out of the ground, when she saw the exit from the rocks.
A small strip of sand leading between two giant boulders and out onto the beach, just north of the institute. It’s about time, she thought as she broke through the last of the sea spray. Lacey’s night vision returned to normal as she sprinted across the beach and started to approach the north gate. Her telescopic lenses clicked into place again, bringing the locking mechanism into focus while she was still 400 yards out. Damn, still secure, she thought, no time to screw around with the gate. The remaining distance to the gate was covered in mere seconds.
Without breaking stride she jumped, performing a full layout summersault, reminiscent of the swan dives she did as a child at the local pool. She cleared the 16-foot electrified fence by mere inches, watching the sparkle of the razor wire as it danced in the brisk winds. Tucking her legs at the last second, she landed on the run. She gathered her bearings in the blink of an eye and continued toward the main building in a full sprint.
The pounding on the door was starting to be drowned out by the cracking sounds of the splintering doorframe. Andy knew that the door would be crashing open in the matter of seconds. He had already braced it with several oil barrels and a bench that was nearby; clearly it would not be enough. He tried the windows, but to no avail, they had been rusted shut for years, and he wasn’t sure if the emergency releases worked on the security bars anyway. “Damn,” he said. Thoughts were racing through his head. Why did they have to cut the maintenance budget every year? Ok, weapons…
Andy went to the large tool chest that the maintenance department used and started rifling through the drawers. He came up with a foot long screwdriver in his left hand and a crowbar in his right. Andy stared at his weapons, then the at the door, a 2-inch thick, steel reinforced, solid oak slab of wood with two industrial deadbolts and four super-duty hinges. The door was housed in a carbon fiber reinforced, industrial doorframe, both of which were just about to be broken into toothpicks.
Andy glared back at his weapons. “Yeah… right! Who the hell am I kidding?” he said as he threw the tools to the floor and bolted to the far end of the bay, desperately searching for an escape.
In the dimly lit hall, leading to the armory, a small group of vampires stared blankly at the innocent-looking keypad on the wall beside the vault door. A short, thin, boyish-looking vampire was busy plucking at the keys of his laptop, which was connected to the keypad by a six-foot patch cable. “I’ll have it open in a second, Mr. Vanchini.” He said as he nervously glanced over at the figure behind him. Why won’t this damn thing open, he thought, I’ve cracked the code, ran the activation sequence, and verified compliance three times now. This makes no frigging sense. Think, Xavier, you can do this.
Xavier continued to peck away at his keyboard, running another hacking program in desperation. The figure behind him stepped into the light as the other vampires faded back, out of the way, almost like they were bowing away from royalty. Victor Vanchini stood out like a peacock from the rag-tag group of vampires huddled around the vault. About six foot two inches in height with graying hair, piercing green eyes and a well-muscled frame, he was both ruggedly handsome and well manicured. He was dressed in a custom-fitted charcoal grey Armani suit, which was well starched and pressed.
“What is taking you so long, Xavier?” he asked, in a slow, even tone.
“I’m not sure, I’ve cracked the code… it should be opening!” Xavier blurted out, shaking his hands at the keypad in frustration.
“Move out of the way,” Victor ordered, in the same slow, even tone, as he guided the technician aside. “I thought you were an expert… but instead, you are an idiot… It is not imperative that we gain access, just as long as we deny everyone else that access as well.”
With that, Victor gently pulled out the patch cable, and tossed it onto the floor. Then, placing his left hand on the wall, just below and to the left of the keypad, he punched it with his right. He twisted slightly, putting his entire body weight behind the punch, in an impressive show of both speed and force. His fist moved quicker than the eye could see, slamming into the box of electronics, causing it to all but explode, sending little bits of plastic sliding down the hall in every direction, as well as recessing the remaining frame of the pad into the wall about an inch.
Victor pulled his handkerchief out of his breast pocket and shook out the folds. With a look of disgust, he wiped the back of his hand. “All right, now, let’s lock down the research and development labs. Were there any survivors?” he asked.
“One,” said Jonah, “We saved the section chief for you.”
A look of surprise came over Victor, as he arched a single eyebrow and looked back at Jonah “Well, maybe you are not all…totally inept,” he said, while flashing an evil look at Xavier. Xavier started to protest, but Victor cut him off. “Let’s go.” He said. Xavier packed up his laptop, and hurried after the group, muttering something unrecognizable under his breath.
Lacey entered the main complex like a demon on a rampage, doors flew off of their hinges, glass shattered over the slate tile floors and any piece of office furniture that happened to be in her way was quickly reduced to kindling. Lacey pulled 5 throwing disks from a pouch under the right edge of her breastplate, spreading them into a fan in the palm of her hand.
Each disk was two and a half inches in diameter and made from a silver-titanium alloy called G381. G381 did not produce a severe enough allergic reaction in vampires to cause death, so each was layered in pure silver and then carved with runes, into which was imbedded a compound called SiNi7, a solid form of silver nitrate that dissolves almost instantaneously when it comes into contact with liquid. Blood, however, always seemed to cause a quicker reaction.
Lacey was sure it had been designed that way; the research and development team were a bloodthirsty group, each one seemed to try to outdo the others in coming up with absolutely brutal ways to kill vampires. She was glad they were on her side.
Last but not least, the disks were laser-honed to a razor edge. The alloy, while hard enough to hold a keen edge, was not particularly durable, but then, the disks were designed to be single- use weapons anyway. Lacey stared at the runes carved into the shiny silver disks. They were in subtle contrast, tinged slightly golden by the SiNi7.
She knew they were random in shape and depth, but she couldn’t help herself, every time she saw them she found herself searching for a pattern or recognizable shape. She could stare at them for hours, getting lost in the abyss of her own imagination, much like a child, staring at the clouds, seeing things that only a child could see.
With blinding speed, she spun into a wind-up and launched the disks straight above her into the ventilation duct that fed the entire wing. Instantly, screams filled the air, almost drowning out the pinging noises of the disks ricocheting off of the metal walls of the ductwork. Lacey didn’t even look back to see the ashes falling out of the grating. One side of her mouth was turned upwards in an evil-looking smirk. “Amateurs,” she said in a whimsical tone.