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Dark on the Waters [Dark Data]

Cloud sprinted across the destabilized verse, each step felt like more and more weight was being lifted from his body. Whether it was because the Nebula space was disappearing or because the liberator aid on his arm was currently healing him, didn’t matter. All that mattered, at this moment, was getting out of this crazy place before the approaching void consumed him too.

But what about Blues and Cole?

The thought ran through his mind and caused him a moment of hesitation. The mercenary came sliding to a stop, kicking up loose dirt as he turned to look for a sign of his android companion . Nothing. Not even a yell from the child-sized robot could be heard as he watched the zone consume itself.

“this is crazy.” The blond sighed scratching his head as he squinted his eyes. What was he going to do? He was quite some ways away from the imploding section of the verse, he could co back to look for them. Then again, he wasn’t too keen on taking a blast from Proto Man. But at the same time, he knew exactly what the young robot was capable of, they were a part of the same person for a while back there.

“fuck it. I’ll just have to trust him.” not that he didn't trust him already, but Cloud just needed to reassure himself with this decision. The mercenary turned, allowing the butt end of a cutlass to smack him square in the nose. Cloud stumbled back, spitting a small amount of blood, as he looked up to see three darklings standing before him. Menacing smiles spread across their face. A mixture of flesh and metal, the former had been seared to the latter, made up their grotesque bodies.

“I’m not in a good mood right now.” Cloud stated, rather calmly, as he pulled his Buster Sword from his back and gripped it with both of his hands.  The middle darkling let out a kind of screeching noise as the three charged him. He drew his blade back and, with one sweeping motion, bisected all three of the corrupted beings. “That’s what I thought.” He stated confidently as he clipped his blade to his back and resumed his dash towards safety.

It wasn’t long before he’d made it back to the area where they’d fought Bola and Klaymoor. In the grand scheme of things, he guessed they weren’t too far away from where they’d began their mess of a day. But with all the fighting and detours they’d had to take, it had seemed a lot more arduous than the trip back. The cliffside, though the dust and debris in the air had settled, was still a mess of trenches, spires, and explosives. On top of that, another one of those ogres seemed to be lurking the area.

Well, it’s now or never

Cloud made a dash through the field, running up, and leaping from, one of the larger spires. The metal colossus of a darkling had already spotted him though and was crashing its way through the minefield towards him. Explosions sent small pieces of metal and debris flying past him as the machine started gaining on him.

Cloud landed on the ground, rolling forward and narrowly avoiding a devastating swing from the creature’s arm. He watched as the ogre tore through one of the spires with it’s bare arm. Cloud quickly lifted his blade from his back and swiped at the machine before it could regain its balance. The darkling fell forward as it detached at the knees and crashed into the dirt. It was still alive, but it wasn’t going anywhere fast.

On second thought, I better keep this out. Just in case

He turned back to look at the darkling, the glow in it’s machine eyes had began to fade, before turning away from it and resuming his careful navigation of the mine field. he just hoped that Proto Man and Cole where right behind him, and that Blink was ahead of him, and had already made it to the beach.

Cole managed a meek laugh at the boy robot’s joke as he hefted Cole over him and began running. After the burning pain subsided, the aching took hold again. And the coldness, the ice coldness that seeped into him with every bump and jostle he took. No matter how much he fanned his flames for warmth, it didn’t subside, and only encroached upon him more. To make matters worse, his sight was slowly fading to black, not that there was much to see when you were staring at the ground limply beyond scrap, oil, dead grass, and rocks of assorted sizes. To try and stave off unconsciousness, Cole began counting the rocks as they passed, groaning with every leap, quick turn, or other unwanted movement that caused the pain to nearly numb pain to flare up again.

”You lost too much blood from your recklessness, Aloysius.” Fumetsu chided him clear as day. Despite the haze that was coming over him, and how slow his thoughts were going now, it seemed he remained unaffected.

Focus your thoughts on the now, keep counting, keep the energy flowing.” Alex butted in, having been silent for most of the extended battle now, trying now to cheer him on.

But try as Cole might, his mind continued to fade, slowly. The pain was gradually dissipating to coldness, and he kept losing count of the pretty rocks that passed by, glistening in the fog they now seemed to be in.

He could have sworn Protoman said something, but everything was quiet now. So quiet… peaceful, actually, and familiar. He felt like he was falling again, forever. His remaining gun began to fade into mist-like energy, his flames died down akin to an ember’s light, and everything went to black all at once.

”NO!” A voice cried out in protest, and a small flame kindled in the darkness. Then another voice, his own voice, joined in and repeated, ”NO!”

The flame grew stronger, and faded from the dancing scarlet to a dazzling sapphire as it grew stronger and brighter. And soon it became a conflagration in his mind and soul, as energy flowed again, his body surging to life. The pain came rushing in as the cold faded, the sharpness of it causing him to gasp for air. The haze over his mind burned away in the sudden rush of consciousness.

“Cole? Cole! Stay awake!” He could hear Protoman speak again, as the young robot effortlessly sliced through one of the shambling scraploids in his way with his saber. All around them was a fog with towering spikes of differing heights cutting up from the ground and the occasional crater to add to the aesthetic of it all.

Cole awoke with a blaze of blue flames that settled down quickly into a dim aura around him. His body was still numb, save for the pain, and while he could move, it was like pulling the strings of a puppet than actual movement. That is to say, it was slow and difficult to manage any level of precision. But he could see, and hear, much as it was like perceiving through someone else. With a groan, he managed to reconjure his gun in his hand, with it now appearing in a blaze of blue flame.

"Keep going. We will overcome.” Cole spoke with a reverbing undertone. He took aim, shakey at first before commanding himself to be steady, and then he fired at one of the scraploids behind them, missing at first and then hitting with the next volley. Everything was difficult, and occasionally his focus would slip, and his mind almost fade to black on the spot, but some force of will, a flame within, kept him going, however tenuous it may be.

Protoman breathed a sigh of relief, “You’re still alive. Try to hang on, this may get a little bumpy.”

And with his warning, Protoman began leaping from spike to spike, trying to stick to the path he took before when he wanted to enter the industrial hellscape with moderate success, as the scraploids succumbed to the still active mines behind them. With Cole on his back, though, he had to be meticulous on how he jumped, because dropping the gunslinger would mean death, and if he wasn’t careful enough, a fall could mean a similar fate for both of them.

Quote:Words: 726

The world crumbled and fell apart. The factory rusted and warped away, twisting and shrieking as it splintered into pieces. The ground warped and writhed like the ground was liquid, quaking and frothing like the sea in a storm. Craters and gorges gaped wide in the earth, the ground just falling apart and splitting open like skin under the blade of a scalpel. Craters and pits yawned and snapped closed; there one second, then gone the next. Boulders lifted and crumbled to dust, blasting in all directions in a chaotic wind.

The ground and terrain began to shift, curling and rolling up, the nature of the pocket verse as just one giant sphere becoming more evident as the support gave way and disintegrated, the land the heroes stood on sinking down to rest on the bottom of the tiny pocket dimension.

The few straggling remains of Nebula's forces were little more than shadows of their former selves. They were dying, the dark flames that burned around them reduced to weak, guttering sparks, like a candle in the wind. Dull red glowed dimly from burned out eye sockets. And yet mindlessly, they threw themselves in the way. Weapons and claws, barely-functioning firearms and chipped, cracking swords being wielded by broken or breaking hands and arms. Mostly quiet, their former screaming savagery reduced to a ghastly, whispering gurgle; barely a groan compared to the boisterous shrieks and howls of limitless energy of before.

They could barely even slow the Liberators down. They were too weak, too few in numbers. But they threw every last ounce of their crumbling strength at them, hurling themselves at the mines and explosives still littered in the field of spires and pits. Self-sacrifice, in some last ditch effort to do something. Damage the heroes, slow them down, just halt them for another second so the collapsing Nebula Space could claim them.

....they were almost successful.

Their mad rush carried them safely through it all, though. The four heroes escaped. The world fell to pieces, crumbling literally at the heels of Proto Man as he supported and all but carried Cole out. Purple lightning flashed and a dull rumble of mountains sliding against mountains filled the air with an indescribable cacophony.

And then it was over. The final dregs of the Nebula Space exploded, belching out an abundance of dark fire, lightning, and scrap. Pieces of darklings, a handful of ones still mostly whole, and four very charred, battered, but alive primes.

With one final noise like thunder, the threshold to the dark pocket dimension snapped shut. The pieces of scrap and debris spat out from it burned away, leaving only ash behind that was swiftly carried away by the breeze.

Quote:It's over, it's over; that's all she wrote!

Everyone took some further damage from the chaos of an exploding and collapsing world, but you all survived.

This thread is done; the Vasty Deep is safe. From Nebula, at least.

The island would never recover.

Maybe he was being pessimistic, but Proto Man saw very little hope in the twisted, gnarled remains of Bilgewater. The explosion had knocked down the majority of what had been left standing after the infection had taken hold of the island. Earth was despoiled and corrupt, and the majority of the plant life that hadn’t been blown apart in the blast stood wilted and dying in the ironically sunny weather that bathed the place.

“What now?” Someone asked as the surviving Liberators turned their eyes to the massive Vasty Deep Ocean. On the horizon, there were various Imperial vessels that were drawing in to survey the damage.

“I don’t want to talk to any of those people,” Proto Man whispered as he summoned Rush to his side. The preteen machine checked that the Liberator aide was still working—he knew that their work wasn’t yet done. “That doctor guy should be in touch with us soon, so until then…”

With that, he was gone, flying away on his metal dog.
[Image: proto.jpg][Image: DAHost.png]
Dante's Abyss 2015

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