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[Quest] Twinkle in Sweet Repose

#1
One ring of blue light, about 6 feet wide, materialized and moved up and down. Each time it passed the air, blue pixels of a still frame Vision and Marcus printed into the air. When the process finally stopped, the two machines peered around to take in the new environment.

The marshlands were fairly dry tonight. The moon was a slender sliver of silver, a steady light against the darkness. Crickets chirped in some distant cluster of weeds. The Vision had never been to the Moors, but what he could glean from the web implied that the Moors were a hotspot for entities that originated from media of the horror genre. Despite that, Vision noticed, there was a serenity here that he had not expected.

Marcus inspected his shotgun, making sure the Teleporter pulled everything in correctly. The Vision was less concerned with the journey, and more concerned with where they were.

"Watch yourself, Vis," Marcus muttered, "Heard tales of some pretty freaky crap out there."

"Affirmative," Vision replied. He opened a mental map of the Moors, trying to triangulate their current location.

"I believe Darkshire is 70 miles to the west from here."

"That's a one-hour ride," Marcus estimated.

"Query: did you bring a vehicle?"

"No, but I can make one."

Marcus lifted his hands. Cutting through the drab and gray light of the Moors, a kaleidoscope of bright colors tingled through the Terminator's fingertips. The rainbow light seemed to sketch an outline in the air, an outline of a mud cycle. The Vision lifted his own hands, creating another invisible stencil, using his internal database to improve the engines and other functional parts.

"That kid..." Marcus said, breaking their silence, "He'll be fine, right?"

"I imagine so," the Vision nodded, "There were no hostile intentions, and his injuries were not permanent. Although, I must say I agree with Captain Rogers. Your quote, tough love, unquote may do more harm than good."

Marcus twisted his lips, then said thoughtfully, "I'll be more careful."

When the mudbike was completed after several minutes, Marcus offered the Vision a ride. The android refused. There wasn't a seat, and either way, he preferred to fly.

The duo set off towards the collection of torches. That was likely Darkshire.

"Hey, Vision!" Marcus shouted over the mudbike's engine.

Vision flied lower, descending and coming closer to Marcus.

> self.setvalue density 10.330002%
Shifting...

Just in case.

"Query: what is your query?"

"You and I..." Marcus shouted, "We may be robots, but we both have... you know. Feelings. I'm pretty sure."

"I have an emulator of emotions embedded into my programming."

"And about the mystical stuff," Marcus continued, "You know that's not how the Omniverse works, right?"

Vision peered at the Terminator thoughtfully.

"What's the real reason for you taking me with you?"

The Vision looked away as Marcus turned his eyes towards the android. He flew away.

"Recommendation: keep your eyes metaphorically on the metaphorical road."

The rest of the journey was uneventful. They arrived in Darkshire at the break of dawn.
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#2
There was a war here. Vision gazed at the carnage in horror, but his face betrayed none. His head was buzzing with reports of a large-scale assault by nearly an army of Primes. At the head of the invasion was a Prime named Illidan Stormrage, it appeared.

Vision had long ago reconciled the irrational guilt he felt whenever he saw a disaster he could not prevent. But this was different. When the first signs of the attack were detected, Vision was still foolishly wasting time combatting Skynet, a rogue program that he unleashed. And when the attack started, he was wasting time on Rando Island, fighting a battle that he did not strictly need to.

As the android bent down onto his knee and gazed into the hollow eyes of a fallen soldier, he thought to himself, “I could have stopped this.”

If Mr. Wright felt the same guilt, he also did not show it. He was still gripping his shotgun, searching for any signs of life.

“The battle’s over,” the Terminator concluded, “It ended a while ago.”

“Affirmative,” the Vision nodded, “We must push forward.”

The two Avengers approached the gates of Darkshire. Any signs of agricultural development were destroyed by the battle. Ashes, still warm and glowing green despite the time that had passed since the battle, were all that remained of the farms. The city walls were scorched, crumbling, and had multiple breaches where bricks were scattered like spilled mints.

Mr. Wright’s motorcycle stuttered as it came to a slow. The Vision likewise slowed his pace, letting his body sink to the ground. The archers at the gate, though they had not pulled the string back, had long been pointing their incendiary arrows at the pair, suspicious of them, especially in their weakened state.

“Halt!” a guard bellowed, “Who are you?”

“We are the Avengers,” the Vision replied, “An independent law enforcement agency.”

“The word you’re looking for is ‘vigilante’,” the guard replied. The bowmen stayed armed, their locations marked by a tiny little blaze in the dark night sky.

“Be that as it may, we have business in Darkshire.” The Vision gestured at the battered wooden gate. “Query: may we come in?”

“No.”

Mr. Wright’s jaw stiffened, but Vision held him back before the Terminator did anything rash.

“Query: under what conditions may we enter this city?”

“You have papers?”

“Negative, but we have an invitation from a man named Lysander.”

“That doesn’t mean anything to me.”

Vision scowled and lifted himself into the air. The flames flickered slightly, notifying the Vision that the archers were now on the verge of firing.

“Allow me to demonstrate,” the android nodded.

The Solar Gem lit up, projecting a large screen into the air. The projection displayed a still shot of Lysander’s face between sentences. The guard nodded.

“We know him,” the guard commented, “But I’m not going to bother an esteemed citizen of Darkshire because some Primes claim to know him.”

“Then tell him we don’t think this is worth it anymore,” Marcus snapped, swiveling the bike around. The Vision fell to the ground and laid one hand on the handlebar, giving Mr. Wright a curious glance.

Marcus shuffled uncomfortably. “I don’t like this place much.”

“Neither do I. Yet our functions require that we be here.”

“Still,” Mr. Wright muttered, “Brings back… bad memories.”

The Vision considered the short descriptions of Mr. Wright’s homeworld. They were short and far between, but a compilation of his comments implied he lived in a post-apocalyptic world, where the computer program Skynet seemed to be an ongoing threat to humanity. It was likely that the scenery had triggered these memories in Mr. Wright.

“Of course,” the Vision nodded, “Records show that inner Darkshire was more or less unharmed by the battle. I’m sure conditions will improve.”

Mr. Wright grunted his approval, but still looked unsure. The guards were looking at them expectantly.

“Well?” the guard shouted, “Scram!”

“They’re with me, Randall, let them in.”

The archers flinched and turned their gazes. The flames flickered lower, and the two Avengers watched curiously. After a few moments of tense silence, the flames extinguished and the gates emitted a loud creak.

“That worked out,” Mr. Wright groaned.

The gates only shifted open a little, just enough for the Vision and Mr. Wright to enter. Vision simply floated through. The whole concept of these gates was trivial to the Vision – he simply did not wish to make enemies of the general populace. Again. Mr. Wright promptly slipped through the ajar opening and met the individual on the other side.

“Greetings,” Lysander said, standing with his arms crossed behind his back, “Welcome to what is left of Darkshire. I assume you are the Avengers?”
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#3
A door swung open with an ominous creak. Even the safehouse was ominous in this Verse. Vision and Mr. Wright looked up. Lysander entered, followed by two people in tactical gear. Vision’s eyebrows rose. None of his calculations could explain why the medieval scholar’s colleagues included two members of what appeared to be a strike team. Their generic assault rifles were slung behind them, and they each held their helmets and goggles in their hands. A military-issued mask covered all facial features but their eyes.

“Avengers, meet the rest of your team. This is Agent Ironheart..."

Agent Ironheart was a small, old man that seemed quite large. Hair clung to his scalp appeared to be defying the eviction notices that come to follicles with old age. He had a scar above his eye, not the kind that reminds you of a stupid decision but one that reminds you why you have a gun slung around your back. It was faded, but showed no signs of healing. His hands were held behind him, giving him a regal look. Agent Ironheart nodded dismissively at the two Avengers.

Lysander gestured at another agent. “And Agent Salvador.”

Agent Salvador was a considerably taller woman. The Vision was reminded of Captain Rogers, if Captain Rogers was plagued by pessimism. Salvador had no scars on her face, but she had rings below her eyes that resembled age rings in old oak trees. Somehow they seemed to silently scream in fury. She just wildly scanned the two robots with her angry eyes.

Both soldiers were clearly grizzled in combat, far more prepared to enter combat situations than to act diplomatically. The Vision knew this kind of people. He saw it in Magneto. It was the tired soldier who was fighting a war against the universe.

“Agent Crimson is currently gathering supplies for your expedition,” Lysander added, “You’ll meet her shortly. We have hired you and this team to retrieve the Artefact.”

Vision nodded. “Query: how many years of combat do each of you have?”

“Been fighting for five years now,” Ironheart replied, his voice nearing a snarl.

“Only about two,” Salvador said, “And I can’t speak for Crimson, but she’s been in the team for about three months.”

“She can handle herself,” Ironheart assured, “as long as you can.”

“We can handle ourselves fine,” Mr. Wright snapped. Vision gently brushed his hand against Mr. Wright’s and gave him a stern look.

“Neither Mr. Wright nor I are new to combat,” Vision explained, “However, we are admittedly inexperienced in the phenomena concerning Silent Hill. I’ve gleaned what information I could from the Omninet, but it would be helpful for both my colleague and myself to receive a debriefing.”

Salvador’s eyebrow twitched. “So you’re sure it’s Silent Hill?”

“Calm yourself, Salvador,” Ironheart grunted.

“Can’t be that bad,” Mr. Wright muttered.

Salvador halted in her tracks, turning to meet Mr. Wright’s gaze.

“Can’t be that bad?” Salvador snapped.

Ironheart made the same motion the Vision did, trying to catch Salvador before she went too far. Salvador ignored Ironheart’s warning. She clicked her tongue and approached Mr. Wright aggressively.

“There are things there,” Salvador spat, “Things that make your skin crawl right off your bones.”

“Salvador.”

“Things that’ll make you swallow your own heart.”

“Salvador, that’s enough!”

The crazed woman brushed past Ironheart. “It knows what you’re afraid of. It knows what you don’t want to see.”

“It knows if you’ve been bad or good?” Mr. Wright chuckled.

Vision laid the back of his hand against Mr. Wright’s shoulder, his body whirring. “Mr. Wright, it is unwise to continue aggravating our teammates.”

“Listen to your green boyfriend, machine,” Salvador hissed.

Vision glared at Salvador.

“Agent Ironheart, please restrain your teammate. Her abrasive words may cause unnecessary conflict between our teams.”

“Restrain?” Ironheart sniffed disdainfully, “I had falsely believed that your kind would be more neutral. Besides, I believe your companion started the argument."

“Oh yeah, that’s real mature,” Mr. Wright goaded.

“ENOUGH!”

All four of them turned to look at Lysander. Despite being an elderly scholar surrounded by dangerous fighters, he did not flinch from holding command of the room.

“This bickering will not do,” Lysander harrumphed, “Set aside your petty prejudices. You will travel to the heart of Silent Hill, retrieve the Artefact, then bring it back. You must, for the sake of the Omniverse. If you would kindly remove your heads from your arses while doing so.”

The door abruptly swung open, releasing a creak that sounded almost like it was being rushed, revealing another soldier. She had her mask pulled down, but otherwise she was dressed in the same gear that Ironheart and Salvador had donned. Presumably, this was Agent Crimson. She was in the middle of chewing a stiff piece of bread, which was leaving crumbs all over her gear.

“Wha’?” Crimson asked.

Noticing the two newly arrived Avengers, she wiped the crumbs from her face and reached out her hand, attempting a kindly grin.

“Oh, you must be the new guys. I’m Crimson. I guess you’ve already met everyone else.”

Vision shook her hand unsteadily. Mr. Wright shook his head instead, leaving Crimson a bit uncomfortable.

“So uh...” Crimson cleared her throat. “Lysander tells me you’re robots.”

***

Vision scratched his chin.

“Query: you are sure that this ‘beacon’ originates from within the fog?”

“All of our scouts point to Silent Hill,” Lysander replied.

“Do we know where in the town the light comes from?” Marcus asked.

“There are two sources of light we could detect through the mist.” Lysander pointed at his maps. “A bright yellow one here, and a generally colorless one here.”

“That’s the lighthouse near that resort,” Ironheart noted.

Lysander continued, “So we can assume the other one is the Artefact.”

“Query: from whom did you receive these maps?”

“Me,” Ironheart replied, “I lived in Silent Hill, once. I was on an off-Verse mission when the fog rolled in.”

Vision glanced at the old man, then looked back down at the maps.

“Very well. Your scouts reported that the yellow light appeared to be close beside the lighthouse’s light?”

“Correct. One man said he thought the yellow light appeared closer.”

“And he was standing to the north. Which would place the Artefact somewhere...”

> draw “quill” square(“lighthouse”, 45)

The Vision lifted a nearby quill with red ink. He lightly sketched a nearly perfect long rectangle between the lighthouse and the Silent Hill city limits.

“...around here. We should begin searching that area and move towards the light, so to speak.”

“Ah, that... complicates things.”

The Vision and Mr. Wright looked up. Lysander looked to Ironheart, who sighed.

“Of the many ‘curses’ holding Silent Hill, one of them seems to assure that, no matter how well prepared one is for the journey, you never end up where you want to.”

“In other words,” Mr. Wright groaned, “no matter how we go in, we’re gonna be lost.”

“Once you’re inside, you will have to ascertain your location using these maps,” Lysander concluded, “At that point, it should be fairly simple to locate the Artefact.”

“We are ready to depart when you are,” Ironheart announced, taking his leave with a bow.
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#4
The Vision gazed at the scene. The fog, as most fog did, fluctuated and billowed without order. However, because the Vision did not require rest, he had watched the fog as the others slept, and continued to do so while their human teammates bought provisions. If the Vision hadn't known any better, he would have said the fog was bounded by an invisible line. Perhaps it was harder to notice on ground level, but from the sky it was easy to see the fog almost recede when approaching a certain boundary.

He finished compiling the data of the previous day, creating data entries for the three team members that would join the two Avengers.

The Vision scowled. He was not pleased with the results. They seemed to be uncooperative, and reminded him of quite displeasing people. But Lysander seemed stubborn, albeit politely stubborn, so Vision concluded that convincing him to continue without the soldiers was not an efficient use of the android’s power.

It was then that he received a message from a concerned Mr. Jarvis. According to the loyal butler, another familiar face had appeared in the Omniverse. Vision scowled. As pleasant it ostensibly was to see someone from home, Moon Knight was an unhinged, mentally unstable individual, who was questionably in control of his actions and perhaps even aided by an often hostile divine entity. There was no evidence Khonshu was real, being an ancient Egyptian deity, but Moon Knight had demonstrated - multiple times - that he was capable of superhuman feats despite lacking superhuman abilities.

The second part of the message concerned Frisk, who had left the island many days ago to meet another of her old friends from home. Mrs. Dreemurr and Dr. Alphys accompanied her. Good. The Vision hardly knew Dr. Alphys, but he knew that not only would Mrs. Dreemurr protect her child with her life, she could do so with ease.

The Vision replied to Mr. Jarvis that he should monitor Moon Knight closely. If this was even the same Moon Knight that the pair knew, his arrival still merited caution.

> self.setvalue density 50000.000%
Shifting...

The Vision's body seemed to crystallize. His body began to fall very rapidly towards the ground. This was expected - he wished to descend rapidly, and he was two hundred meters in the air.

> t = value.time(ms)
> self.setvalue density (0.002850 - 0.000000005603t)%
Shifting...

Despite the perceivably low number, 0.002850% of his current weight approximated to his base weight. He became lighter and lighter by the millisecond, until he was only a fraction of his density. He was now floating approximately 5 meters from the ground.

He maintained his current density, staying just below the roofs of the nearby cottages. One of these cottages housed his three human teammates. It was also supposed to house Mr. Wright, but the cyborg was currently out-of-doors and leaning on a wall.

The Vision lowered himself gently, landing softly on the ground. "Good afternoon, Mr. Wright."

"Oh. Hey, Vis."

The Vision and Mr. Wright had not yet discussed the mission. Given the circumstances, the team had agreed to depart in the evening, to better identify the beacon of light. So they had noon to relax and prepare for the mission.

The Vision glanced at Mr. Wright.

"Query: what is your opinion of our new teammates?"

"You know what I think," Mr. Wright replied. His voice was low.

"Correction: my analyses are, at this time, mostly conjecture."

"Yeah, well," Mr. Wright shrugged, "I'm guessing you don't like them that much, either."

"They do seem to have a tendency to figuratively rub the wrong way," Vision nodded.

"It's more than that, Vis," Marcus sighed, "They hate us. They hate our 'kind.'"

"Correction: with all due respect, Mr. Wright, we are actually very different kinds of mechanical constructs-"

"We're both machines," Mr. Wright interrupted, "I think that's what counts."

The Vision was fully aware that the teammates were prejudiced against machines. It reminded him of his own prejudices against demonfolk. His own hatred derived from multiple personal experiences, especially the experiences with his ex-wife, who was very involved with the arcane. It took the death of a friend to rid him of that prejudice. Vision prayed it would take far less for the three soldiers to trust them.

“I believe their hatred for mechanical constructs are related to Darkshire’s previous association with Camelot.”

“Huh,” the Terminator commented, “I didn’t know that.”

“Darkshire was originally a colony of Camelot,” Vision explained, “Due to the war against the individual known as Diablo, Camelot deemed the colony too difficult to sustain and withdrew its support, leaving Darkshire to itself.”

“I see the city’s luck hasn’t gotten any better,” Marcus smirked without humor, glancing at the greenish smoke still rising from the Darkshire city limits.

“Affirmative.”

The Vision closed his eyes, letting what little sunlight he could into the Solar Gem. It was a remarkable piece of Ultron technology that he was still unable to understand. Perhaps, one day, he’d spend some time focusing exactly on how it worked.

Then he remembered Skynet. The Vision was still unsettled by how it almost drove him into insanity, with such ease. Just its presence nearly made him kill an innocent child, to whom he had promised his protection. It was quite fortunate that the damage was recoverable, and that Frisk had largely forgiven him. His memory - which could easily fail him, due to how much Skynet had corrupted it - could not pinpoint exactly when he had downloaded the hostile AI.

Then his programs noted a potential connection between two entries in his personnel database and the series of events relating to the Skynet invasion.

“Mr. Wright.”

“Yeah?”

“Query: do you have traces of Skynet in your systems?”

Mr. Wright flinched. His expression betrayed him.

“I think it’s gone.”

“Perhaps. Query: was it deleted when we first met?”

Mr. Wright rubbed his eyes.

“You want the long answer, or the short one?”

“An efficient answer, please.”

“Short one, then,” Mr. Wright muttered, “...no.”

The Vision peered curiously at him.

“No, it wasn’t.”

The Vision blinked twice, but otherwise didn’t move.

“I’m sorry, Vis. I wish I warned you back then, but I didn’t even know that you were a supercomputer in there, and frankly-”

“Affirmative.” The Vision glared at Mr. Wright. “You should have warned me. Or, at the very least, explain yourself sooner. Of your own volition.”

Marcus frowned. “Well, how could I? We didn’t even meet again until after it attacked. And I was busy dealing with it in Coruscant.”

“Query: how could have Skynet breached my defenses by itself, Mr. Wright?”

The Terminator shifted his jaw. “Are you accusing me of hacking you?”

Vision turned to him apprehensively. “Captain Rogers seems to trust you, so I decided to do the same. Perhaps that was an incorrect choice.”

“That’s not fair, Vis,” Marcus snapped, temper bubbling beneath his synthetic skin, “Haven’t I done more than enough to prove myself?”

“You have worked with us on one mission, during which your brash actions resulted in the capture of yourself and a dear friend of mine.”

“Alright, listen to me.” Marcus shifted his weight. “You’re right. You probably got Skynet from me. And I’m sorry. But I’m a victim of Skynet too, and we’re both on this mission. For now, shouldn’t we just be working together?”

The Vision processed a reply, but the loading time was longer than expected. Before he could do so, someone from behind cleared his throat. Vision turned. Agent Ironheart stood before him, donning a pack and his gun. The other two were close behind, wearing similar gear.


“Are you ready?”

"Query: were we not to depart in the evening?”

“It’ll take two hours to get to the fog,” Ironheart replied, “It’ll be dark by the time we arrive.”

Vision and Mr. Wright looked at each other, their argument hanging in the air.

“Query: are you prepared for departure, Mr. Wright?”

Mr. Wright glanced from the soldiers to the Vision. “Yeah.”

“Alright then, bolthead,” Crimson nodded. “Stay frosty. There’s a bucketload of zombies and crap out there.”

They began loading the horses. Mr. Wright was unfamiliar with horseback riding, so he retrieved his mudbike. Despite Ironheart’s insistence that their horses would be just as fast as the vehicle, the Vision reminded Mr. Wright to drive slowly.

The rest of the preparations were done silently. The Secondary soldiers, though they carried provisions and much ammunition, along with other tools of survival, were still traveling quite light. Perhaps a little lighter than Vision would have felt comfortable with if he had a truly human body. Nevertheless, the hardened fighters seemed to be satisfied with their luggage.

Chains clanked loudly as the gate separated. The Vision floated level to Agent Ironheart on horseback.

“Let’s go,” Ironheart grumbled.

The horses set off on a gallop. The mudbike roared as Mr. Wright sped alongside. The Vision glanced one last time at the ruined gates of Darkshire before following them.

Quote:4760 of 10000 words.
Hear about the beacon in the fog.
Opt to cooperate with the guild.

Get lost in the fog.
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#5
The team slowed down as they approached the border of Silent Hill.

“Query,” the Vision asked, “is the fog bounded by a line?”

“It covers the town,” Agent Ironheart explained, “But it never goes over the border of the town.”

“Don’t try and be logical with it,” Salvador muttered, “if you can manage.”

“Of course,” Vision replied, “When mystical elements are present, the laws of physics may change at whim. We have dealt with magical entities in the past.”

Mr. Wright nodded. The Vision didn’t think the Terminator actually had any personal experience with the magical, but he was once a human. It was likely that Mr. Wright’s robotic nature would not interfere with his adaptation to the mystical environment.

“Fine,” Ironheart groaned, “Let’s move.”

The Vision floated forward apprehensively. He knew enough about Silent Hill after the debriefing he received from Agent Ironheart and Lysander. He knew there would be horrors inside, and he knew that chances of survival were slim, chances of retaining sanity near non-existent. Thus, the Vision felt nervous. Yet the Vision also had a sinking feeling that he was not at all prepared for this journey, physically or emotionally, that he was simply stepping into something he should have anticipated.

Ignoring the feeling, the Vision continued to float into the oppressive fog, accompanied on foot by the team.

After 3 minutes and 22.053 seconds, the fog became oppressive. It was difficult to see, even considering the Vision’s advanced sensory capabilities. Visual confirmation of his team became increasingly difficult. The ground became less and less muddy, eventually revealing chunks of concrete and the occasional litter marking the outskirts of a city.

After 5 minutes and 18.331 seconds, the Vision and the rest of the team had stopped to ensure that the entire team was moving in unison. Ironheart explained that it was impossible to arrive where you wanted to, and that another mystical effect of the fog was that it was extremely difficult to stay together.

After 8 minutes and 40.103 seconds, the Vision realized that it was impossible to notice details regarding his team, instead only seeing outlines. Even Mr. Wright, who was directly beside the Vision, admitted he could hardly see anything of the Vision except for a caped outline. The fog was so dense that it threatened Vision’s molecular stability, so he decided to increase his density as to not be carried away by the fog.

After 13 minutes and 34.006 seconds, the Vision was unsure if there was anything more to the universe than fog.

After 1003401 minutes and 637.cfj seconds, there was no doubt in the Vision’s mind that the rest of his life was only fog.

After 502034105, there was no escape. Only fog.

The Vision’s internal clock noticed a discrepancy and reset. He jolted into awareness, a sensation not unlike rebooting his systems. The android noticed that, in fact, only 43 minutes and 56.305 seconds had passed since they entered the fog. He further noted that he could not see anyone nearby.

The Vision felt his stomach drop, which his damage reports failed to mention.

“Mr. Wright?” he called out.

The android turned around, his ears tuned to listen for any signs of life.

“Agents?”

There was nobody around him. He stood on asphalt, two large stripes of white paint trailing off deeper into the fog. Vision tried to access his GPS, but he could not retrieve any signal whatsoever. Watching his surroundings, however, he determined that he must be in the town itself. He could see pavement to his left and right, not unlike the pavement that lined the streets of suburban towns in the United States of his homeworld.

The Vision concluded that he was alone. He floated into the air, noting that the fog levels were significantly lower than before, though still visually impenetrable. He turned on his internal radio, in case any of the other teammates were able to reach him.

To his right, he saw a large storefront, its walls mostly windows. All of the windows were capped with red awnings, rendered nearly brown by humidity and time. A sign stuck out from near the entrance to the building, reading “Breakfast, Lunch”. Large red letters, once neon, named the building “CAFE 5to2.”

There was a fairly large hole on the leftmost window, as if a printer had been thrown through it. There were few glass shards lying outside the window. The Vision deduced that whatever broke the window broke it from the outside.

Warily, the android peeked his head through the hole, his Solar Gem flaring up to provide a weak light. It pierced through the fog with some effectiveness, especially since the fog did not really enter here.

> scan
Scanning...
(3) items of interest located.

The Vision looked down, reading the information that the scanners provided. His eyes widened. There was a corpse on the floor, next to the smashed diner table, its blood having stained the floor many years ago. Flies orbited around the body, digesting its demented flesh slowly. This did very little to alarm the Vision. What was alarming was the skeletal structure of the beast.

It was a strange bird-like creature, almost like a smaller member of the extinct Pterodactylus species. It lay riddled with gaping holes, one foot halfway off of a ruined leather seat, wings crumpled painfully and unnaturally beneath the weight of the body.

As the Vision reached down to further examine the corpse, it suddenly came to life, screeching horribly. Still cripplingly injured, it snapped its jaws uselessly at the android. Startled, the Vision jumped back, setting himself into flight.

> self.setvalue density 0.1053%
Shifting...
> engage gazerbeam.exe
Engaging optical heat engines...

A piercing noise wavered in his head, which the Vision identified as his internal radio. The noise did little to disorient him, but it did figuratively set his nerves on edge. Almost instantly, his eyes emitted two lasers at the strange beast’s chest. With another horrible ear-shattering shriek, the monster wriggled slightly before ceasing vital functions.

> scan(target)
Scanning...
(2) similar items detected within 30 meters

The Vision floated 6 feet in the air, noting that the piercing noise was gone. He turned and faced whatever his scanners were noticing.

Two more beasts, similarly appearing dead, lay on the asphalt. The Vision blasted both with his eye lasers, to no effect. They did not react.

> scan(target)
Scanning...

The Vision frowned. From the distance, he could hear another auditory disturbance. This time, it was not the shrieking of these monsters, or the feedback his internal radio suffered. It was almost as if a siren was blaring.

The effect of the sirens were immediate. The street quickly became incredibly dark, as if a light switch for the sun was flicked off. The Vision looked around him, searching for an explanation. Instead, he found a pack of flying beasts.

(17) similar items detected within 30 meters

The Vision visually confirmed all seventeen winged monsters, flapping towards him from about 20 meters away. The android floated upwards, and the monsters followed suit. As they approached even closer, they started shrieking, just as the one in the diner had.

Unamused, the Vision blinked twice.

Quote:5966 out of 10000 words.
Hear about the beacon in the fog.
Opt to cooperate with the guild.
Get lost in the fog.

Find my way into the suburbs.
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#6
Meanwhile, Marcus Wright exited the mist and glanced around. Once again, he saw the horses the soldiers had tied to a fence post, as well as his own mudbike. The Terminator groaned. One could only imagine why this was happening, but the fog of Silent Hill seemed to repel him. Every time he wandered through the fog, after about 20 minutes of walking, he'd find himself surrounded by it, completely lost, then arrive at this same spot again.

Marcus screamed, "FUCK!" at the fog. Undoubtedly, this would throw even larger chasms between himself and the Vision. Enraged, the Terminator drew his shotgun and fired two rounds into the fog. To further his fury, the fog barely reacted, as fog usually does.

Grumbling, the Terminator cracked his neck to try and calm himself down.

"One more time," the robot muttered.
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#7
Vision floated towards the beasts, his Solar Gem emitting a strong beam of light. The beasts, in turn, flapped towards him. The android grit his teeth.

> open “adaptoidfiles.zip”
> run “mjolnir.exe”
Running...

A three-dimensional digital outline of Thor’s legendary hammer was drawn into the air, which Vision gripped. The outline was filled with a blue film of data, as if an invisible paintbrush was coloring within three-dimensional lines. The film slipped off, revealing an almost exact copy of the hammer as the Vision remembered it.

Both the Vision and the beasts flied faster, until the combatants were charging at each other mid-air.

With a roar, the android flung his hand forward but holding onto the hammer, surging his momentum forward, as he had seen his friend do many times before. He slammed the weapon into the face of one avian monster, knocking it down. Quickly after, the birds surrounded the android. The Vision spun wildly, gripping the hammer tightly. He felt about four hits knock back several beasts before the hammer dissipated. Panicking at how quickly the hammer disappeared, the Vision shot his body upwards. The twelve beasts unaffected by Mjolnir spiraled after him in a swarm.

> run “gazerbeam.exe”
Engaging optical heat generators...

The Vision then spun his body and looked down, forming a sort of umbrella of burning death to break apart the spiral as best he could. It was an effective motion – the beasts split and dodged the frantic spinning beams and continued to ascend.

The lasers stopped for a moment to avoid overheating the Vision’s eyes. He shot off faster, this time moving parallel to the ground. The birds rearranged themselves into a funnel of vicious bites and claws.

> self.setvalue density 10.330002%
> run “ironman_stopinplace.exe”
Running...

Each of the Vision’s palms opened a small circular hole, where two glowing discs appeared. The Vision faced his palms forwards. A burst of energy appeared from both palms, rocketing him backwards. The beasts flew forward, unable to stop as quickly as he did.

> run “gazerbeam.exe”
Engaging optical heat generators...

Now behind the swarm, who were colliding into each other to spin around and face the android, the Vision fired another barrage of lasers at the avian creatures. Three of them fell out of the sky.

As the bird-like creatures stabilized themselves, the Vision counted the hostiles.

> scan(for_(tag:hostiles))
Scanning...
(13) similar objects located.
> self.setvalue density 561.3003%

The Vision suddenly fell straight out of the sky, causing the creatures to miss him entirely. He landed heavily on the street, leaving cracks in the concrete. The flock of monsters spiraled downwards, still intent on tearing apart the android. He fired another barrage of lasers as the group moved sideways. Once they became level with the ground, they flew horizontally towards the Vision. They learned their lesson about their own momentum, and they avoided lethally colliding into the ground. The Vision scowled. He was hoping to remove some of the beasts from play by having them crash.

He took off again, flying away from the beasts this time. Looking back, the Vision fired several lasers at the birds. But they were faster than him, and in a matter of seconds were right on his tail.

WARNING
Detected (1) incoming missile

The Vision spun to the right in a barrel roll, narrowly dodging the RPG. The birds were not fast enough to dodge, however, and the resulting blast almost killed all of them.

The android landed on his feet, stumbling due to his forward momentum. Stopping himself, he looked up to see where the rocket came from. He received an answer in the form of the sound of a shotgun.

Agent Ironheart was dealing with a pack of hounds. They were no normal hounds, appearing to be dachshunds trained to hunt but with their skin and eyes removed. The soldier was holding off about four of them.

One blast from the shotgun blew one hound away, but another gripped its jaws on the soldier’s leg. Screaming in pain, Ironheart shot the hound in the back, blasting it off but leaving it still alive. The Vision threw himself forward, tackling a hound mid-lunge and pinning it to the ground. He solidified his fist and punched the hound in the face many times.

Ironheart cried out again. The Vision looked up. Ironheart was reloading, but the two remaining hounds were approaching, snarling their jaws and drooling over their exposed muscles. Their shoulders were hunched as they walked towards their prey.

> run “unibeam.exe”
Running...

The Vision stuck out his chest. A large opening appeared in the center of it, tessellating a glowing blue disk over the aperture.

“Request: get behind me.”

Ironheart looked behind his shoulder, glancing Vision’s makeshift arc reactor. It glowed violently, energy coursing in the center of it. Smartly, he abandoned his reloading for a second and sprinted behind the android. After a little less than two seconds, the arc reactor clicked and pressed inwards, and the disc exploded in a surge of energy. The two hounds were flung backwards by the blast into the chain-link fence behind them. With a loud chink, they collided with the fence and dropped painfully back onto the ground.

They were still alive, however, and unlike most canines, they seemed to have no fear for their lives. They continued to growl and limp towards the Vision. From behind the android, Agent Ironheart drew his shotgun and promptly embedded many, many pellets into the dogs’ heads.

The siren stopped, and the fog rolled back. The Vision hadn’t even noticed that it was suffocating him. He nodded at the Secondary soldier beside him.

“Query: are you injured?”

“I’m fine,” Ironheart said, refusing to return the android’s amiable attitude, “We should move. You seen the rest of the team?”

“Negative,” the Vision replied, “Just you. Query: do you have any rocket launcher ammunition remaining?”

Agent Ironheart nodded.

“Query: may I see?”

The soldier hesitantly opened his pack, where one lone RPG stuck out. The Vision squeezed his eyes at the rocket.

“I see,” the Vision replied thoughtfully.

“What are you-”

The unworldly scream of the winged monsters shrieked from down the street. The Vision accessed the memory files regarding the rocket launcher slung around Ironheart’s shoulder. Then he replicated it. A large cylindrical structure trickled into reality over the Vision’s shoulder. He gripped a handle that was slowly protruding from the cylinder. The Vision pressed a trigger, promptly launching another explosive at the new crowd of the beasts. It detonated upon impact, presumably killing or at least disabling the flock.

“I can replicate certain actions,” the Vision explained.

Ironheart watched him with terror and wide eyes. “You can just... create rockets?”

“Error: bad logic. I can only replicate very recent events, at the cost of large amounts of energy. And even then, these events are likely to be inaccurate representations.”

“But you...”

The Vision stared back at the old man.

“I copy things. I can’t just make one out of nothing.”

Ironheart shrugged. “Even still. Impressive.”

“Thank you.”

“Did you see anyone else?”

“Negative. Your query implies you have also not seen members of our team.”

Ironheart checked the hounds to make sure they were dead. “Indeed. I did warn you about Silent Hill.”

“Correction. The monsters which we engaged in combat were not as fear-inspiring as you or Agent Salvador implied.”

“That would be because the fog is still studying you,” Ironheart grimly said, pressing more shotgun rounds into the barrel of his rifle. “In a few minutes, it will show you exactly what you fear or regret. Maintain your guard, android.”

Before the Vision could reply, Ironheart was thrown towards the chain-link fence by a red wave of energy. The pinkish-red energy then surrounded the Vision, pinning him against the same fence. The pair struggled against their strange bonds, but to no avail.

The Vision looked up. In front of him was a floating woman in a deep red shoulderless gown, which swirled around her as if gravity did not apply to it. She wore gloves that reached to her elbows that matched the gown. She had no head. Instead, a gigantic rusty isosceles pyramid faced forward, its long and bloodstained point similarly defying gravity. Struggling against the new opponent, Vision’s scanners quickly analyzed her. Rather quickly, the scanners found a result.

One which cause the Vision to gasp, a function which he was not capable of carrying out.

The Vision’s mouth was agape.

With a quivering whisper, he managed to say, “Wanda?”
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#8
The Vision stared, mouth agape at the woman in front of him. Next to him, Ironheart was having a similar reaction.

“Willa!” the old man cried out, struggling against his ethereal bonds, “Willa, listen to me!”

Vision glanced at Agent Ironheart, whose cheeks were already somehow stained with tears.

Floating menacingly, the woman named Willa seemed to just notice that her head was now a giant pyramid. Distressed, she gripped at the rusty, blunted edges of the pyramid, pushing it upwards as if she was trying to remove a helmet. She shrieked, the sound unhindered by the large metallic structure that replaced her head.

“Query: do you know what happened to her head?”

“No,” Ironheart mourned, “Oh God, darling...”

“Darling,” the Vision repeated, his face strife with confusion.

Ironheart looked back at the android. “This is my daughter. Or maybe was.”

The woman screamed again, and the same crimson energy surrounding the Vision and Agent Ironheart wrapped around the pyramid, trying to wrench it off. The energy shivered and trembled, which the Vision recognized as the efforts of his ex-wife using her telekinetic abilities. But the pyramid did not budge. It did not even show signs of resisting movement. It simply did not move.

But if this woman was Ironheart’s daughter...

“Agent Ironheart,” the Vision shouted, panicked, “Query: what is your name?”

“This doesn’t seem to be the time to discuss-”

“Please.”

The soldier glared at the android. “It’s Ironheart.”

“Error. Expected value: your real name.”

“Ironheart is my real name,” the old soldier replied, “My name is Magnus Ironheart.”

> ls /Documents/actor_archives/earth616/hostiles
Files found
Ultron.txt
BaronZemo.txt
...
> print(“Magneto.txt”)
Magneto
Given Name: Max
Family Name: Eisenhardt
Superhuman Abilities?: #true:: generation and control of magnetic fields

Vision skipped all of the unnecessary information, noting that “Eisenhardt” meant “Ironheart” in German. Then he found the information which he wished to confirm.

Related Files:
ProfessorXavier.txt
Cyclops.txt
...

Vision scrolled down in his head.

...
ScarletWitch.txt
> print(relation(“Magneto.txt”, “ScarletWitch.txt”)
“Magneto.txt” = biological.father(“ScarletWitch.txt”)

Agent Ironheart struggled further against his bonds. In the process, the chain-link fence behind them seemed to bend slightly, making a large bowl surrounding the soldier. The metal seemed to quiver spontaneously, but Ironheart’s brow was furrowed in concentration, an expression he had once seen on the face of...

“Expletive censored,” the Vision muttered.

The fence ripped itself out of the ground, folding as fingers do over a hand. Agent Ironheart peered around in horror.

“What the-”

“Query: how could you be doing this?”

“What do you mean?” Agent Ironheart shouted, “I’m not doing anything!”

“Query: are you a mutant?”

“A what?”

Willa Ironheart flexed her arms, then pointed her palms at the two men. She pushed the tips of her middle and ring fingers into the base of her palms, straightening her thumb along with her index and pinky fingers. This was what masters of the arcane did back in Vision’s homeworld. The android predicted this to be the sign of another magical attack.

> run “unibeam.exe”
Running...

The center of the Vision’s chest transformed once more into the arc reactor. The Vision charged whatever energy he had remaining and released it through the glowing disc, blasting Willa Ironheart backwards. The woman shrieked once more and crossed her arms, wrapping herself in a cocoon of crimson light. Then, just as quickly as she appeared, she vanished.

The Vision and Agent Ironheart collapsed to their hands and knees, their magical bonds fading. Magnus spent some time recovering, but Vision stood up almost immediately, seizing Magnus’ bulletproof jacket and shoving him against the fence.

“You’re Magneto,” the android snarled.

“What is a Magneto?” Ironheart gasped, “Unhand me!”

“You’re Magneto,” Vision repeated, “Query: have you used your abilities prior to today?”

“What abilities?” grunted Magnus.

“You can generate and control magnetic fields,” the Vision replied, “Query: have you used these abilities prior to today?”

“What are you talking-” Ironheart paused. “Are you telling me I can make magnets?”

“To the average viewer, it would appear as if you could move metal with your mind,” the Vision replied, hands still pressed against Ironheart’s chest, “As you did when under great duress from your daughter, Willia Ironheart. Query: have you used these abilities prior to today?”

“No!” Ironheart shouted, “I didn’t even know I could do this until you told me.”

> run “lie_detector.exe”
Running...
Results: #true

The Vision hesitantly released the soldier, stepping back and looking around once more. There was no sign of Willa. She must have fled after the attack.

“I can...” Ironheart gasped, “I can move metal with my mind?”

The Vision turned, watching him warily. “Perhaps.”

Magnus stood up with some effort, examining the bent and snapped fence behind him. “I did that?”

The Vision stepped back. “Perhaps.”

Ironheart glared at the Vision.

WARNING!
Magnetic anomalies detected

“Query: what are you-”

The Vision’s mouth froze mid-sentence. He tried to step back, but his legs refused to move. His body was completely frozen. The servos under his skin spun furiously to break Magnus’ control, but they too were put to a stop.

Vision watched helplessly at the furious Ironheart.

“You attacked my daughter,” he snarled. “Even if she was some sort of... scarlet witch. And then you attacked me!”

Vision felt his body lift from the ground, as if chains were tugging him skyward.

“Silent Hill has unhinged you,” Ironheart said, his face contorted into one of angry sorrow, “The safe thing to do would be to kill you, and make sure you cannot hurt anyone.”

The Vision struggled to open his mouth, but nothing save for his inner computers were operational.

“It’d be a pity killing,” Magnus muttered, “But I won’t.” The soldier leaned back. “Out of respect for you.”

He grabbed his shotgun and departed without another word. The Vision did not feel the new Magneto release his grip on the android’s body. For twenty-two minutes, the Vision floated in the air, his body unmoving.

***

On the twenty-third minute, the Vision thankfully felt his energy levels returning to normal. But the magnetic prison of Magnus was unrelenting. During this time, he examined his surroundings as much as he could while calculating his next actions.

It was a dark alleyway, puddles of rust and ash forming by the wall. The fence lay on the ground behind him, where the corpses of the canine monsters lay. Flies hovered around them. The walls on either side of the floating Vision were bricks. They were once brown-red, but time and exposure to the fog turned them a sickly grey, the color of a suffocated corpse. Mold and moisture morphed the mortar and pushed bricks from their place.

The asphalt below him was stained brown-red, as if the bricks had bled their color onto the street. Where the stains faded, it turned the same shade of grey of the walls. It glistened with wetness, the fog crawling and rolling their moisture onto the pavement. An incredibly rusty garbage can stood about 3 meters ahead on the Vision’s left side. It leaned against a wall, as if it was exhausted by standing there for years. The same grime covering the walls and floor climbed onto the back of the aluminum bin.

“Well, well, well,” a voice spoke, breaking the utter silence of the area, “If it isn’t the green boyfriend.”

The Vision couldn’t move his eyes either, but the speaker stepped into his eyeshot. It was Agent Salvador. She carried her pack and a pistol, her assault rifle slung in front of her. She wore a grim grin.

“I’m not sure what happened to you,” she continued, “But this is probably for the best.”

WARNING!
Hostile intentions detected
Origin: “Salvador.txt”

The soldier raised her pistol, fingering the trigger. “Can you speak?”

The Vision could not speak.

“Ah, well,” Salvador sighed, “I’ll find the others on my own.”

Salvador pressed the tip of her pistol against the Vision’s Solar Gem. “When I find that other machine, I hope it’ll be as easy to kill him as it was to kill you.”

The Vision wanted to squirm. His forehead tingled, the immediate danger of the gun sending signals to his instincts. But he could not move. His whole body wanted to squirm.

Salvador’s hand jerked, and a large crack resounded and echoed up and down the alley. The Vision could not close his eyes, so he saw what happened next, as Salvador did.

Salvador leaned in and examined the floating bullet wrapped in a quivering scarlet energy.

“Still got tricks up your sleeves, robot?” the soldier groaned, “Whatever. I have plenty of bullets.”

Suddenly, the bullet spun abruptly. It shot forward, embedding itself into Salvador’s forehead. The hole it left spewed blood and grey matter, flesh pouring from it. Salvador collapsed on the ground in a heap.

Willa Ironheart floated down from above, her gown still billowing in the non-existent wind. The Vision now noticed that her body seemed to be deceased. Her rotting fingernails reached forward and her rough, cold fingers caressed his face. The Vision wanted to cringe, but he was still paralyzed. Willa leaned in for a kiss, but the pyramid on her neck collided into the Vision’s nose.

Realizing again that her head was a pyramid, Willa screamed again and gripped the pyramid. She surrounded herself with crimson energy and vanished again, leaving Salvador’s corpse on the ground in front of him, eyes somehow staring at the Vision and her mouth frozen in a silent scream.

The android, too, screamed. His mouth did not.
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#9
Marcus took a deep breath, otherwise muttering angrily. He walked into the fog again and looked around, getting more lost every second. But the fog repelled him again sending him on a wild goose chase.”

He gritted his teeth and yet he was back where he started.

Disappointed in finding nothing, he kicked the dirt and hopped on his mudbike, revving it up toward the Pale Moons gate.

He would have to be careful this time, there was no Vision around to cover his ass this time.

He zoomed away from the site as fast as possible and sighed.

There would be other days, he had hoped.

(This is where Marcus disappears stage left from the quest)
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#10
You need to wake up.

Goku pulled the covers about himself and turned, groaning, in the warmth of the bed. Had he been having a bad dream? It felt as though he had been trapped in one for a very long time. Horrible things kept happening.

You’re in danger!
Where was that voice coming from, and why did it sound so familiar?

YOU NEED TO GET UP, NOW!

Suddenly sitting bolt upright, his own voice echoing in his ears, Goku’s eyes widened as he sucked in a deep breath. The world was spinning around him, and it was only after he’d pulled himself up that he realised he had torn away leather straps intended to bind him to the bed.

Did he… die?

There was a part of Goku that wished it was the first time he could have asked that question. He didn’t think he’d died, though. What did he remember?

He’d gotten the star piece – that had been really important at the time! Gabriel had made that very clear. He’d gotten them home, though the journey back hadn’t been easy, and he’d decided to try and find the next people that needed him. It made sense to start back in the Pale Moors. That place was crazy! He’d never seen so many people in need of a helping hand. Just a few weeks in there, and he’d seen more hopelessness and desperation than he had in his entire life up until that point.

So he’d come back, thinking maybe he’d work on making Darkshire less of a horrible place, beat up some monsters. He’d started scouting the region, and then he’d flown into a fog…

… what happened after that?

Why was he bound to a bed?

The room he was in was like a hospital, but not one that he had seen before. Even though he’d hated that hospital, it had looked clean and safe. This room was… dirty, the walls covered with miscellaneous stains he didn’t want to think too hard about, and cluttered with rusted hospital equipment.

A sudden wave of nausea washed over him, and he choked, stumbling. His hand jerked out and he caught himself against the edge of the bed, trying to overcome the stabbing pain radiating from his stomach. He closed his eyes, and took a deep breath, focusing his energy inwards.

The star piece!

His hand went to his side, but he already knew it was gone. The waves of radiating energy were no longer pulsing into him. The Saiyan’s legs buckled, and he slumped over the bed, struggling just to stay upright. It felt like the early days of training on King Kai’s planet; a crushing weight that drove the strength from his limbs and had him trembling. He’d failed his friends. The people he’d saved had asked only one thing of him, that he keep the star piece safe from those who would abuse it, and he’d lost it.

Worse, he couldn’t even remember how. The more he tried to think back that far, the more a stubborn block of emptiness filled his thoughts; nothing but the fog, swirling around him as far as the eye could see, blotting out every sense, even muffling him when he opened his mouth to-

‘Come on, pull it together Goku.’ He thought, ’This is a hospital. Someone here is going to know what happened to you.’




The door to the hospital corridor opened, and Goku walked into it. He wasn’t even wearing his Gi, just a plain white hospital gown which felt absolutely inadequate against the all-pervasive chill of the hospital. Weren’t these places supposed to be warm and friendly, to help people recuperate? As his bare feet slapped against grimy hospital tiles, Goku’s nose wrinkled in distaste. When he found whoever was in charge, he was going to have a serious conversation about janitors! He might not be the neatest guy around, but even he knew that this was totally wrong for a hospital!

“Hello?” He called, “Is anybody out there?”

His voice echoed back at him, and for a few moments there was only silence. Then, the handle on the next door along began to rattle. And the one next to that. And the one next to that. Soon, the whole corridor was filled with the sound of metal clattering against metal as the inhabitants of the rooms struggled to open the door.

“Geez, it wasn’t THAT hard.” Goku said, walking to the nearest one. Without a care in the world, he pulled the door open.

On the other side was a bloated corpse. Waterlogged, the unfortunate man had drowned weeks ago if the stench was any indication. His eyes had been eaten out by sea creatures, his flesh hanging limp from his bones, stomach gruesomely distended by sea water. The zombie lunged forwards, and Goku let out a yelp of surprise as its rotten teeth came in for his neck. It was all he could do to get his arm up in time, and even then, the teeth sunk deep into the corded muscle of his arm, ripping through skin in a spray of blood.

“H-HEY!” Goku shouted, and wrenched his arm back, taking the creature’s teeth with it. Adrenalin coursed through his veins, shaking off the fatigue and pain that had wracked him since his awakening in the dark and foreboding place. That same hand shot forwards again a moment later, aiming to sock the zombie clean on the jaw. Instead, the unfortunate monster’s head came clean off, gnashing even as it bounced back into the darkness, and leaving its body to tumble to the floor and leak out viscera in a dark, murky puddle.

Now he was adding to the mess.

Before he could worry about that too much, though, the other doors began to clatter open. First two or three, then six, then twelve more zombies surged out into the hallway, and whilst Goku might have been willing to take on a whole army of zombies if he were in his prime, right now, he didn’t feel up to it.

Instead, he shot a blast of bright yellow energy into the ceiling, and then leapt upwards out of the reach of the madly-grasping monsters.




It took Goku a few moments to catch his breath. Tearing off the bottom of his gown, he bandaged his arm as best he could, trusting to his Saiyan physiology to fight off any infections that might normally result from such a thing. He really hoped these weren’t the kind of zombies that made more of themselves by biting. He liked his eyes! It wouldn’t be a good look for him!

It wasn’t until he opened the door to the cramped, confined space and light flooded in that he realised he was in a storage closet. A mop and bucket, a few bottles of various cleaning agents, rags… it seemed like this place did have a janitor, even if you’d never have guessed it by the state of the floors. The next level was much the same as the previous, though this time, Goku was more careful in his exploration. He put his ear to some of the doors, and heard irregular, heavy shuffling from within, the occasional groan… whatever those monsters were, it seemed like they had pretty much free rein of the place, which meant that if he wanted to get answers, he was going to have to fight more of them before too long.

At the far end of the corridor, however, there was a window, and that gave Goku an idea.

Jimmying open the window wasn’t as easy as he would have expected. In fact, it felt like the whole building was trying to stop him from doing just that, and it took all of his strength, after he’d managed to dig his fingers in underneath the ledge, to force the window to slide upwards. Then it was an equally frustrating trial to knock out bars from the windows – who barred windows on a hospital, anyway? But at last, as the rusted metal fell away to clatter in the courtyard below, he’d made himself an exit.

He was erratic as he floated out of the window, but this gave him a good idea of the scale of the place. The building was… huge. Big enough to contain thousands of patients easily, and yet there was something off about it. Not just the fact that the building itself was no less ugly on the outside than it was on the inside. It took Goku a few moments to realise it, but it was the fact that the whole place was dark. There wasn’t a single electric light on in the whole building, just the thin, weak light that always seemed to be struggling through perpetual cloud cover in the Pale Moors.

“This place is weird.” Goku muttered to himself – and it was in that instant that his powers of flight gave out completely, and he crashed down into the earth, landing heavily on the iron bars below to break his fall.




It felt as though he had spent months in perpetual pain of one sort or another. He was no stranger to pain, but laying prone on the ground outside the hospital, Goku wished that it would leave him alone, at least for a little while. His head was spinning again, and it was difficult to concentrate on anything at all. Only the gentle patter of cold raindrops against his face kept him from losing consciousness all over again.

“Well, well, well, it looks like our patient needs more treatment.”

The voice was kindly. An older man, used to being obeyed, accustomed to his authority.

“Yes, Doctor, shall I administer the injection?”

The second voice was a woman’s, but her voice was a rasp of wet muscle against wet muscle, vocal chords sliding against one another in a symphony which reminded all that it was meat that made that noise. And if there was one word which could have stirred Goku from the ground in that instant, it was ‘injection’.

He was on his feet in a moment, crouched low, vision still blurred and swimming as he tried to take in the pair of figures in front of him. One, taller, white suit, glasses, male, Doctor. The other, what was she even wearing? It didn’t seem to do much to cover her up, but her features were a twisted mess of scars and ugly bruising, showing through from badly wrapped bandages. She didn’t just have syringes. Her hands WERE syringes.

“No, no no no.” Goku croaked, “Not needles, I hate needles…” His voice sounded weak, distant. It felt like he was hearing himself from very far away.

With a lurching sensation in his guts, he realised that it felt as though he had said this very thing a hundred times before.

“Nonsense, Mr. Goku.” The Doctor said, his voice kind. “We have to make sure you are well.”

“Yes.” The nurse cackled, “You have to take your medicine, or else how will you ever get better?”

The dawning sense of déjà vu brought on a whole new level of panic. How many times had he woken up strapped to the bed? How many times had he hauled himself through the hospital?

“Must we go through this every time?”

Fear coursed through Goku’s heart, and he felt his body respond innately. His feet steadied in the earth. His hands balled into fists. If they were going to take him back into that building, he was not going to make it easy for them!

“I’m warning you!” He shouted, trying to convince himself that he didn’t hear the edge of fear in his voice – he was not, usually, a man who experienced fear. Even when he’d stared down Freeza, the galactic tyrant himself, he hadn’t felt afraid. Fear was, new. It was a sensation he did not like.

“If you come any closer to me, I’ll ... I'll... I'll break every bone in your body!”
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#11
Meanwhile, in Old Silent Hill, Agent Ironheart turned the corner into the alleyway where he left the Vision. A fresh arm wound colored his black uniform red.

“Now, Vision, I hope you are still-”

He looked down, and noticed Agent Salvador collapsed on the ground. Ironheart rushed to her side, checking her pulse. He stopped checking when he noticed how pale her skin was, and came to a logical conclusion when he saw the hole in her forehead.

“What did you do?” he trembled.

The Vision could not respond.

“Did you...” Ironheart stood up. “Did you kill her?”

The Vision could not respond.

“She was one of my oldest friends,” the soldier mourned, “And closest. She saved my life more times than I can count. She was a... And you... You killed her. Somehow. I froze everything-” He looked into the Vision’s eyes, his own eyes teary. “But you still killed her. You Primes are all the same. You think you’re better than us, don’t you?”

The Vision could not respond.

Agent Ironheart picked up Salvador’s pistol and pressed it against the Vision’s Solar Gem. The android once more felt the tingle of danger on his head.

The Vision could not respond.

“Show me,” Ironheart shuddered, “Show me what you did to her. Show me how you killed Joan Connor.”

The Vision could not respond.

The pistol quivered and Ironheart’s knuckles flared as he gripped the gun tightly. His lips were pressed tightly.

“You killed the one family I had left!” Ironheart shouted, tears pouring into his mouth, “You took it away from me!”

The Vision could not respond.

A crimson mist wrapped around Ironheart’s shoulders and neck. It yanked him backwards, making him float in the alleyway. Willa floated downwards once more, like a pyramid-headed and bloody guardian angel. Ironheart then seemed to fly straight into a wall, as if a strong hand was bashing his head into the bricks. The mist bashed the head many more times into the wall, recoloring the grey bricks red. His head was moving so quickly, the Vision thought he might break his neck, if not shattering his skull.

The Vision twitched a finger in horror, then in fascination. He could move his body again, now that Ironheart was being brained.

“You...” Willa Ironheart wept, speaking words for the first time, “You... took it... You... away from... me...”

Vision threw his body forward, tackling Willa Ironheart in mid-air. He increased the density of his fist to five times its previous density, then pummeled at the woman’s chest. Willa crossed her forearms. The mist this time swirled around the Vision as well. Willa shrieked again, the sound piercing the Vision’s ears. Recognizing the signs, the android tried to fly back, but the mist persisted around him. He reached a hand towards Agent Ironheart.

“Agent Ironheart!” he shouted.

Reality warped around him. Everything was red. Not the color. Every “scan” function returned the string value “red”. Every calculation returned the string value “red”. The Vision attempted to recall memories; it returned the string value “red”. Internal damage reports returned the string value “red”. Everything returned the string value “red”. Reality was gone. Only red.

After a red number of seconds, the Red awoke in red redness, his red in the red red.

Shaking off the effects of Willa’s redness, the Vision managed to make his red programs return values other than the red value “red”.

He looked around. Visual scanners still returned shades of red now and again, turning the world bizarrely crimson every few seconds. But as all of the Vision’s programs stabilized, it became clearer and clearer that Willa Ironheart had disappeared, and that he had been transported into an entirely new location.

In front of him was a large building that used to be white but had been turned green by the years. The mossy granite stretched far into the distance, beyond the fog. One block of granite displayed the words “Alchemilla Hospital.”

The Vision would have immediately moved away if a certain flash of light did not distract him. He glanced up, alarmed at the development. On the first floor, the crimson fog that enveloped Willa Ironheart was pouring around the corner, as if a vacuum was sucking it in. The Vision glared and floated through the front door.

“Ms. Ironheart?”

He looked at the lobby. The whole room was musty and smelled of rotting driftwood in seawater. There was a black marble floor, which lead around the corner. To his right, he could see a long coffee table with several magazines dating back to 1983.

“Ms. Ironheart?”

The Vision walked forward, noticing that the entire hospital seemed that it had been flooded many years ago. There were signs of rotting wood, still damp for some reason. The carpet still squelched seawater with every step. Any paper here was ruined, water having drenched it completely and washing off the ink. Figuratively holding his breath, the Vision turned the corner.

There were four corpses in the hallway. The Vision assumed, given many of the tropes in the horror genre, this would mean that the Vision had to fight some undead. What was significant was the way these corpses were splayed in the hall. They floated, as if they were underwater. The color of their burnt skin shimmered as if light was trickling through water. Their clothes and hair floated and moved rhythmically, comparable to seaweed in a strong ocean current. They appeared to have been seared by a current of the electric variant prior to their drowning.

The Vision flinched as he observed their hands and the white residue in their gripped fingers.

> scan(336,501)
Scanning...
> match(last_scan, Documents/material/Narcotics/Sugarcane.txt)
#true


The Vision stooped down and lifted one of the rotting hands, flies hovering around the fingers unceremoniously. These were the victims of Sugarcane on Rando le Terz Island. They... Perhaps they failed to evacuate the island? It would be nothing short of a miracle if every citizen had escaped, after all.

Vision stood woefully, his body unwilling to move for a few minutes. Suddenly, he heard a voice shout.

“If you come any closer to me, I’ll... I’ll... I’ll break every bone in your body!”

Another muffled voice replied.

> self.setvalue hearing.multiplier 500%

The slightest sound became painful to the Vision, but now he could hear the other voice upstairs. It was the groan of a man who could not move his jaw.

“No, I don’t want it! Leave me alone!”

> self.setvalue hearing.multiplier 100%
> self.setvalue density 10.1055%
Shifting...


The Vision kicked off with his legs, gliding upwards and straight through the floor. He warped through the concrete.

> self.setvalue density 100%
Shifting...


He felt his body regain weight and landed on his knee. Glaring at his surroundings, he blinked twice.

A man in a hospital gown was curled up in the fetal position on the moldy concrete floor. He was gripping the back of his head, terrified by his opponents despite his powerful, muscular frame. The man’s hair was unruly and long, black hair pointing every which direction in large spikes.

“No... please... no needles...”

In front of the man were two more of the corpses from downstairs, but these were moving and approaching the man. It was clear that they had hostile intentions.

> run “gazerbeam.exe”
Running...

The Vision’s eyes flared red and beams of heat burned into the undead assailants. They screamed in pain.

> self(333410).setvalue density 3000%
Shifting...


The Vision kicked forward, letting his fist fly. The heavy fist launched into the cheek of the male walking corpse, setting its head to flight.

> self(333410).setvalue density 100%
Shifting...
> run “unibeam.exe”
Running...


The center of the Vision’s chest transformed into a blue luminescent disc. After a quick whir, the arc reactor fired, blasting powerful energy at the other zombie’s chest. The zombie flew back, various limbs tearing off from whiplash.

The Vision stood up, scanning the two individuals.

> scan(for_(tag:hostiles))
Scanning...
(14) similar objects located within (30) meters.
(2) neutralized.


The Vision reached out his hand to the man lying on his side.

“Hello,” the android greeted, his cool voice hiding his nervousness, “My name is the Vision. I am here to help.”

Quote:12380 words out of 13000.
Hear about the beacon in the fog.
Opt to cooperate with the guild.
Get lost in the fog.
Find my way into the suburbs.

Get lost in the fog again.
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#12
There was pain. There was always pain. But pain was merely a physical sensation; it passed through him, leaving no permanent harm. How many times had he broken bones? Torn muscle? Pain was an old friend, one that Goku knew he could embrace and push through. Such was the life that he had chosen for himself. Pain, in many ways, was a good thing. It meant that he was still alive.

Worse, was the confusion. Memories swirled like mist; every time he reached out to try and grab them, they passed easily through his fingers. There was no solid ground beneath him. He was falling. He felt like he had been falling for a very long time.

The memories that did stand out were like jagged spikes in the mist. He could see them rushing up towards him, and try as he might he couldn’t escape them.

He didn’t know where his wife or son were. They probably thought that he’d died on Namek. He couldn’t get back to them. They might never see him again. He’d been ready to die on Namek; ready to give his life to end Freeza’s tyrannical reign. That was something which they would understand; Gohan when he was older if he didn’t understand already. But, he hadn’t even tried to get back to them once he’d arrived in this strange place. He’d just been excited at the thought of all those new people to fight and new things to learn.

He’d failed here, too. Gabriel. Justin. Juliet. They had put their faith in him and he had let them down. They’d asked him to do one simple thing, and instead he’d faltered and now the star piece they had all struggled for so much had slipped out of his grasp. People had bled for it. People had died for it. And he didn’t even know how he’d lost it.

He’d let them down. His family. His friends. He didn’t deserve to live.

Despair rushed up to meet him, and he felt himself bracing for the impact, as though he were preparing to be struck by a physical force rather than the weight of emotion.

“Hello. My name is the Vision. I am here to help.”



The words punched through the despair, bringing Goku back to reality, showing him that there was someone here, someone else… he didn’t deserve to live?! What was he even thinking about?! He didn’t really believe that, did he?

The cool, calm voice of the android caused the man on the ground to flinch. His mind was reeling. There was concrete under his knees, but he didn’t remember how he got here. His body ached, but he no longer felt the bruising impact he remembered from falling. Was he going insane? Had any of that really happened at all?

His head snapped around as Vision’s hand reached out for him, his eyes wild with fright, pupils hugely dilated. For an instant, he didn’t see what was in front of him, he saw the Doctor; the calm voice, the serene expression, the casual authority. He leapt to his feet, assuming a fighting stance, and bright yellow power surged into his palm as he raised his hand towards the threat--

Only to realise that the Doctor hadn’t been red, or wearing a cape.

The power faded away as quickly as it had come to life, and Goku fell out of the stance as quickly as he had fallen into it.

“You’re not him.” He said, looking around the broken and dilapidated corridor as though seeing it for the first time. The scattered, torn bodies of the zombies sent a wave of revulsion through him. “I shouldn’t, you aren’t, this…”

His voice trailed off, and he cleared his throat before starting again.

“I’m Goku.” He replied, and one hand came up to pinch the bridge of his nose, his eyes closing as he focused on that fact. So much else seemed like it was slipping away from him, but he knew who he was. He didn’t know where he was. He didn’t know what he was doing here. But he could still hold on to who he was. That was good enough, for now.

People needed him. He had to be strong, for them.

His eyes opened once, and this time, finally, he seemed able to focus, no longer a captive behind the glassy prison his gaze had become.

He laughed, suddenly. A cheerful, slightly embarrassed, noise, and his hand scratched behind the back of his head as he looked to the man that had apparently saved him from the zombies, and woken him from whatever delirium had threatened to overwhelm him.

“Sorry about that, I must have seemed pretty crazy for a second there!” He exclaimed. “Something strange is going on here.” He continued, helpfully. “I don’t know what it is, but I think it has something to do with this thing I picked up. It was about this big.” He held his hands together, cupped, to indicate the shard. “And it glowed with this bright purple light. Have you seen it around?”
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#13
The Vision blinked. This man had snapped from the utter image of despair to that of childish glee. The way he held his incredibly powerful body was like an eight-year-old’s fidgety excitement. Even the way he cupped his hands was incredibly childish. Taken aback, the Vision blinked two times before responding.

“Negative,” the Vision replied, “I am actually here to search for it myself. I...”

He perused the data files regarding this mission.

“My calculations indicate a 94% probability that you are Son Goku, the guardian of the Violet Star Piece.”

Goku flinched, then scratched the back of his head while laughing uncomfortably.

“Yeah... I kinda lost it.”

“Previous dialogue implied as much.” The Vision nodded. “I am part of an extraction team gathered to retrieve the Artefact.”

Goku grinned widely, displaying almost all of his teeth. Despite the disturbing implications, the Vision found that the smile was not unsettling.

“Great! Hey, are you a robot?”

“Negative, I am an android designed to imitate the human body with mechanical parts, albeit a human body with superhuman-”

Goku blinked uncomprehendingly. The Vision blinked in exasperation.

“I’m kind of a robot.”

“That’s cool!” Goku chuckled, “But you must be pretty weak.”

The Vision glanced behind him, where the two corpses lay dead once more.

“I have been reliably told I am not,” the Vision replied, “As it stands, our priority is escaping this hospital. Rumors indicate your combat abilities are impressive.”

Goku raised his nose, closing his eyes proudly. “Well, I like to think I’m pretty tough.”

The Vision cocked his head. “Very well. Request: please remain here for one moment. I will go fetch your belongings.”

> self.setvalue density 0.03%

The Vision phased through the floor, provoking a loud gasp from Goku.

“WHOA!” the Saiyan exclaimed, “How did you do that?”

The Vision returned very shortly after, holding orange robes in his hand.

“I possess numerous precise electron emitters which can control the distance between the molecules of my physical body.”

“Whaaaaaat.”

The Vision blinked twice. “It’s because I’m a weird robot.”

“Oh, okay.”

The Vision stuck out his hands, presenting Goku’s robes. “I believe these to be yours.”

Goku changed quickly. Yet, in that short time, he asked many questions, the answers of which he was incapable of understanding. So far, his understanding of the Vision was that he was a strange ghost-robot who could copy fighting styles.

“That’s still pretty cool, Vision!” Goku said, tightening his belt to near suffocation.

“Your admiration is unnecessary but appreciated. Recommendation: we should depart immediately.”

“Yeah,” Goku nodded, “This place gives me the creeps!”

“I am very disappointed in you, Victor.”

The Vision turned around at the sound of the familiar voice. He gazed apprehensively at the pyramid-less Willa Ironheart. Her gown held flimsily onto her pale skin.

“Ms. Ironheart.”

“You used to call me Mrs.. Actually, you used to call me Darling.”

“Negative,” the Vision replied, “That was-”

“Why do you deny what we had?” Willa raised her voice slightly. “We loved each other, Vic.”

“I am not who you think I am,” the Vision insisted.

“Is that your wife?” Goku stage-whispered into the android’s ear.

“Negative,” the Vision replied loudly enough for everyone to hear, “She is a stranger.”

That seemed to be the breaking point for Willa Ironheart. She lifted herself into the air, scarlet fog forming around her in a crimson whirlpool of chaos. The woman then screamed, loudly enough to shatter eardrums. However, this seemed to not affect the Vision and Goku, instead being a terrifying shrill noise. The scream pulsed red fog from her mouth, which wrapped around the walls. With a sickening crunch, as if they were bones, the walls shattered and crumbled to the floor. Goku glanced around, noticing the army of standing drowned corpses, waiting to maul them with their bloated hands. Many of them had drenched clothes still on, dresses and suits, as if they were simply going to work one day before they became these monstrosities.

“I LOVED YOU!” Willa screamed, “AND YOU LEFT ME!”

Large shards of metal protruded from the ceiling, suddenly clapping over Willa’s head. The Vision frowned, noticing that there was no blood or noticeable signs of a head being crushed. Goku, however, was horrified.

“What!?” Goku yelled, “What is going on?”

“Prepare for combat, Mr. Goku,” the Vision simply replied.

> run “mjolnir.exe”
Running...

The trusty hammer formed once more in his hand. He gripped the handle firmly, feeling a slightly electric tingle climb his arm.

“If you would dispose of the undead,” the Vision snarled, not removing his gaze from the levitating woman, “I have a few choice words to share with Ms. Ironheart.”

He flung the hammer forward without releasing his grip, flying due to the momentum. Willa responded by surging crimson fog from her palms, thrusting herself forward. The Vision gripped the hammer with both hands and swung downwards.
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#14
The arrival of The Vision gave Goku someone else to focus on; someone he could think about beyond himself. The fact that he had come here with a team to retrieve the artefact that Goku himself had let slip through his fingers? Well, it didn’t sit right with Goku to let other people do his work for him; at least without offering his help in return.

As the scream reverberated through the building, Goku flinched. The walls fell away, and the Saiyan warrior found himself staring at the drowned bodies. He cast his mind back to his first moments in the Pale Moors. Six good people struggling to hold out against a horde of undead in the night. Dark skies, rotted flesh, and he, standing between them and certain death.

He might not understand what was going on with The Vision’s wife, but that was something he was content to leave to the robot.

He was wearing his Gi. The will to fight was surging within him. He had his smile back, as he cracked his knuckles and took in the bloated zombies.

“Sure thing, Vision!” He  said, as the robot summoned his weapon and flew in towards his enemy-slash-wife-slash-stranger. “Just leave this to me!”

There was always something comforting about fighting. When he was fighting, he was engaged wholeheartedly in the battle; he didn’t need to think about his failures, or needles, or how disgusting and creepy this whole place was. He could focus entirely on the rhythm of combat.

Zombies were not the most menacing opponents without the element of surprise. He’d fought them before, and he knew what to expect as he closed on the horde. The first zombie lashed out with both arms, lunging towards him with intent to hold him close and start biting. Instead, he pivoted around, twisting to the side of the lunging monster and crashing his foot into the back of the zombie’s knee, bringing it down with the hard crunch and grind of cartilage and bone.

Before the creature could recover, he was moving on to the next one, meeting its jaw with a powerful uppercut before leaping into the air and delivering kicks to the chests of two more of the bloated creatures as they attempted to surround and overwhelm him. Zombies didn’t care about their injuries; they weren’t slowed by the pain of them, and they wouldn’t be incapacitated by the attacks he was landing on them now. But, that wasn’t the point of these opening exchanges. This wasn’t about finishing monsters and thinning the herd out quickly; this was about crippling them, hampering their ability to pose a threat and – more crucially still – focus all their attention on him.

As he took yet another of the zombies in a full nelson grip, and swung the ravenous beast into its fellows, Goku caught a glimpse of The Vision. The hammer that the android wielded struck the pyramid of rusted metal with a sound like the bell of the damned being rung. A powerful vibration thrummed through the air from the point of impact, and Goku’s lips quirked upwards into a genuine smile.

With a guy that strong watching his back, they might just get out of this crazy place in one piece.

The distraction cost him. The crippled zombie grasped his leg, and there was a sharp shock of pain as rotten teeth sunk into the flesh of his calf. He yanked his foot away, bringing it down heavily on the skull of the disgusting monster, before diving forwards into their midst in a low, sliding tackle. The distraction seemed to work as the zombies fell around him, and not one of them attempted to intervene in the duel between The Vision and the pyramid-headed freak.

“Hey! Vision! Uh, these guys ARE all dead already, right?”

His red-skinned new friend was somewhat busy, attempting to hammer through a barrier of red force which the logic-defying monster had created to shield itself. Nevertheless, his tone was perfectly calm and level as he set Goku’s mind at ease.

“Affirmative. These corpses display no life signatures and are merely demonstrating aggressive post-mortem locomotion.”

Goku blinked, turning to face the android more fully, even as the zombies closed in.

“Uuuh…”

The Vision’s hammer shattered the barrier and rung against the pyramid a second time, the noise so deep it was more felt than heard, and sent dust raining from the cracking ceiling. He spared the Saiyan a quick glance as he cocked his arm back for another strike.

“They are not alive, Goku.”

“Great!”

His mind set at ease, Goku leapt upwards just as the first zombies reached him to attempt to drag him down and feast upon his body. He hadn’t really thought anything different; even if they WERE alive, they didn’t seem to be in any mood to talk, but, it made it easier to stop trying for non-lethal shots.

Goku was not one to dwell on tragedy. His failures had been holding him back, but now, reminded of the visceral thrill of living in the moment, they fell away from him. It felt like his weighted clothing coming away. It felt like he was free, for the first time in months.

His smile was utterly serene, even as the waterlogged creatures crouched, preparing to lunge upwards and bring him down.

“I don’t know what this has all been about.” He admitted, “But if this has been a test… I’ll show you what I can do.”

A trio of zombies sprang into the air, uncaring about his speech. Then again, it had never been for them, had it? There was a reason the zombies were here to begin with.

“KAIO-KEN!”

Brilliant red light exploded out of Goku, and the leaping zombies were thrown down like scattered leaves caught in a gale. The building shook, and the burning crimson fire of the Kaio-Ken filled the corridor of the hospital with a powerful, clear and pure ruby light. It mingled with the blood red fog of the true monster, as she summoned her power against the man she swore was her lover.

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH-TATATATATA!”

Goku’s scream sent more cracks through the ruined building, and then he began his true counterattack. Blast after blast of burning yellow power shot from his hands, enhanced by the incredible power of the Kaio-Ken.

As The Vision struck home for a third time, they were framed in brilliant, glorious light – and then dust and debris, an expanding cloud of smoke as zombie skulls exploded, and stray blasts of power detonated against the walls, the floor. The ceiling fell in. The corrupted building started to give way around them, yet strangely the crumbling bricks and plaster never seemed to come close to touching either of the warriors now that they had found the strength to fight back...
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#15
After the third smash, Mjolnir had dissipated, as it did before. The Vision glanced at Goku, who stood firmly on the ground in a combat stance. The martial artist was aflame, the blaze burning intensely around him.

“Query: what?”

Willa used the Vision’s distraction to paralyze him with her spell, tossing him aside into the floor. The android pushed himself off the ground and into the air, levitating.

> run “gazerbeam.exe”
Running...

The twin beams shot once more from the Vision’s face. He was unsure of what he was attempting to do. He had simply recognized Willa Ironheart as a threat and responded in kind. However, his scanners were unable to discern a reasonable weak point. He wildly zipped his eyes around her, trying to see what would easily detain her and what fueled her power. Presumably, it was the same source of power as Wanda’s: a genetic mutation which facilitated her use of arcane forces. But how to stop such a thing with the Vision’s current resources?

Also, he would need to index Goku’s supernatural abilities more formally at a later time.

The optical heat generators ceased to avoid overheating. Willa had simply blocked the attack with another crimson wall of fog. Gritting his teeth subconsciously, the Vision hardened his fist and threw the hardest upper-cut he could, breaking through the wall of fog and sending Willa flying skywards. Goku whistled.

“Wow!” the man chuckled respectfully, “You are pretty strong!”

The Vision glanced at him and considered reminding him that this was not the time to compare power levels while in combat. Deciding against it, he took off after the Witch.

The Witch screamed at the Vision, sending another shockwave of horrifying sound rippling through the structure of the hospital. The Vision ignored it and punched her again, sending her further upwards. The Witch responded by holding the Vision again, choking him with a lasso of scarlet mist. She dragged the Vision in closer for the kill. Goku interrupted her with a bolt of some kind of energy, scorching her arms. She shrieked again, and the Vision kicked her aside. The lasso chucked the android’s body to the right, sending him flying through one of the few walls left standing.

The Vision pushed himself to his feet, with more effort this time. The Witch was showing no signs of being injured, but he himself was losing more and more solar power the longer the battle went. He grasped onto a nearby table to lift himself when he noticed the laptop computer on the desk. It was still on, despite the mold growing over its screen. It would normally not pique the Vision’s interest, but the screen, under all that mold, displayed the name “Willa Ironheart.” The Vision, curious, extended several wires from his wrist and plugged into the computer.

Goku, meanwhile, was wrestling in mid-air with the Witch. Every time he came near to pummel her, the Witch would grab him with her magic and toss him back. Now the Witch had taken to levitating some of the falling rubble and slamming it into Goku. The martial artist kicked and punched the floating rubble into even smaller rubble, nearly rendering his orange robes grey. He was clearly frustrated from the lack of progress.

“Vision?” he yelled, throwing another punch before his momentum was used to spin him the other way, “I could use some help!”

“One moment, please,” the android replied.

The Witch threw another boulder at Goku, who flew straight through it. Without skipping a beat, Goku flew another kick at her. The Witch wordlessly gripped him again in her magic and tossed him aside. Goku groaned.

“Vision, she keeps magically grabbing me and throwing me away!”

“Recommendation: move faster.”

“Okay!”

Goku kicked off one of the pillars, destroying it completely with his strength. He threw a punch, but despite his speed, he was still tossed aside once more. This time, he didn’t stop himself, instead spinning around in a loop to move in again. This too was ineffective.

“Come on!” Goku yelled through grit teeth, “Don’t be so scared! Fight me!”

He threw another punch. The Witch simply vanished, reappearing behind him. Goku’s fist landed in a wall, completely shattering the concrete. The hospital was all but destroyed, except for the room where Vision was hacking into a computer.

The Witch shrieked upon noticing the Vision and reached out for him with her hand. The Vision detected the lack of shouting from Goku and turned around.

> run “gazerbeam.exe”
Running...

The lasers seared into the Witch’s chest, blasting her back into Goku’s follow-up punch.

“Haha!” Goku yelled, “Take that!”

He went for another blow, but was once more tossed aside. Exasperated, Goku flew over to the opening in the wall that Vision created when he flew through it. He glared at his android partner.

“Are you gonna fight at all?” Goku shouted.

“In an estimated time of 1 minute and 32 seconds,” the Vision reported, “I am currently downloading information from this computer.”

“What’s taking so long?”

“It is... a very old computer.”

Goku felt a chain wrap around his ankle. Before he could react, he was yanked from the wall and into another, flying straight through it. The Witch moved in on the Vision, but Goku bounced right back and grabbed onto the Witch’s ankle. It was his turn to pull the Witch away. Holding onto her heels, Goku spun in the air a few times before letting go and throwing her downwards.

From the Vision’s point of view, all he saw were the occasional waves of red energy flowing upwards. Sometimes, Goku would be thrown upwards, only to catch himself in mid-air and shooting back down again. There was grunting and shrieking, but for the most part, the Vision paid no attention to the fighting.

ALERT
Download completed
> open “willaironheart.zip”
Please wait...

The Vision unlatched from the computer and boosted his body forward. He intercepted Goku in the air and caught him before he flew too far.

“I am finished,” the Vision said.

“Oh, good,” Goku panted, “It was getting real boring.”

The Vision released Goku, who hovered of his own volition.

“I was unaware you could fly.”

“And me you, buddy.”

The Scarlet Witch lifted herself to be level with the Vision and Goku.

“Query: would you mind if we engaged her simultaneously-”

Vision stopped himself.

“I meant, let’s go at the same time to see if she can grab both of us.”

Goku nodded, eyes twinkling in ecstasy. “Ready when you are!”

The duo both shot forward in a slight arc towards the Witch. She used her magic to grip Goku, but couldn’t stop the Vision’s flight. He hardened his fist and knocked her towards Goku, who in turn grabbed her in a choke-hold, minding the sharp points of the pyramid extending far behind her. The Vision flew in closer, preparing to land a flurry of blows. The Witch jerked her head back, clanging the metal against Goku’s head. Goku released her to grip his head, and the Witch grabbed all the rubble she could find and tried to form a spherical prison for the Vision.

> self.setvalue density 0.000134%
Shifting...

To which the Vision responded by phasing through the rock.

In her frustration, she launched the sphere at the Vision. The Vision, however, was maintaining the density he needed to pass through the rock. Thus, the sphere passed right through him.

> self.setvalue density 21.053990%
Shifting...

He partially solidified again, and dodged another smaller projectile thrown by the Witch. Three more energy bolts flew from below, two skidding past her and causing her to shriek in pain. The Vision positioned himself below the Witch, Goku flying above. The Vision threw another upper-cut, sending the Witch flying up. Goku swung downwards, fingers interlaced, sending the Witch back down. The Vision floated to the side to allow the Witch to rapidly descend to the ground.

Goku and the Vision both floated down to the ground to inspect the damage. When they had arrived, however, the Witch was gone.
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#16
“Wow! I’ve never hit someone so hard they went to the Next Dimension before!”

Goku grinned at his joke to his new buddy. The Vision’s blank stare did not fill him with confidence that the android understood it.

“I do not think that is the last we will see of her.” The Vision intoned, and Goku nodded his head, deciding not to try and explain the joke.

“Yeah, you’re probably right.” He agreed, “But, anyway, let’s see what we can see.”

Floating back up into the air, Goku took a more… measured, pace, this time. His body was aching and tired. He hadn’t wanted to expend too much energy in that fight, and even so the way he’d been thrown around had been exhausting. Compared to where he was when he touched down on Namek all those months ago, he felt like he still had a very long way to go. The Kaio-ken was taking a lot out of him, and he didn’t know how much longer he could keep it up if that witch-monster-thing decided to attack them a second time.

“Query: Your life signs indicate extreme fatigue. Do you need to rest?”

Goku turned, blinking, and then shook his head.

“Uh, nah, I’ll be okay. Flying isn’t that tiring. The Kaio-Ken just takes a lot out of me.”

For a moment, the pair hung above the destroyed ruins of the hospital. Mutual incomprehension hung between them like a shroud. The Vision was the first to be determined to penetrate it.

“Query: Kaio-What?”

Goku paused for a moment. It wasn’t the first time someone in the Omniverse had asked him to explain how he was doing things, like flying around, firing energy blasts, or becoming superhuman. Truth be told, it wasn’t something that he thought about a great deal, but he had come up with a way of explaining it.

“I use Ki.” He said, “It is… kind of, the power of the warrior’s spirit. There’s three pieces. Some of it is your body’s natural energy…”

Both fists clenched to his sides, and he focused that energy to demonstrate. The wind picked up around the pair, a sudden gale whipping at their clothing as Goku focused his power, and his body was surrounded in a soft white glow.

“That does not seem natural.” The Vision said, drifting around to analyse Goku from all sides as his body exuded light with no readily apparent source. “My sensors indicate a 15 per cent increase in the potential energy of your muscles.”

“Uh-HUUUH!” Goku grunted, and then the power flickered away, and he let out a huff. “That’s the power inside my body. I’ve trained it so it comes out easier when I call it. Anyway. There’s that, and then there’s courage.”

He smacked his heart with his fist through his Gi. “I never back down from a challenge. No matter what, I’m always ready to see a fight through. Being determined to do my best and push myself to the limit, that makes up a big part of my Ki.”

The Vision was obviously interested now. Was he describing some sort of psychic phenomena, or natural mutation? It seemed like it was something he was born with and a mindset, very curious indeed. “You said there were three parts.” He prompted.

Goku laughed, and rapped his knuckles against the side of his head.

“The last part is your mind.” He said, with a  wide, guileless smile. “I may not be super smart, but I know fightin’! Mix those three bits up, and you have Ki. Then the Kaio-Ken, that’s…”

He trailed off for a moment, looking out over the city. From this vantage point, just how horrible the place was had become rapidly apparent. The fog seemed lower, wispier, allowing the pair to look out across the ruined streets and foreboding buildings.

“… It’s like borrowing from yourself.” He said, at last. “King Kai taught me how to do it. It gives a massive amount of Ki, but when you stop using it, you feel it.”

“My internal linguistic database suggests that Kai is roughly analogous to God.” He said, at which point, Goku just laughed and shook his head.

“Look, anyway, the point is, you’re here to find the Star Piece, right?”

The sudden change in tact caught The Vision by surprise. “Uh, yes?” He said. And Goku pointed in the direction of a lighthouse, barely visible, as though wrapped in thick fog.  The same fog, perhaps, that no longer cluttered the streets.

“I’m pretty sure it is over there.”

At this distance, it was incredibly difficult to make out anything, but Goku could have been right. There was a faint glimmer of purple light visible through the gloom. “That’s basically how I found it last time.” He said, “Just kept flying towards the purple thing.”

And with that, Goku shot off towards the point on the horizon, without any further thought to strategy or potential dangers.



It didn’t take long for The Vision to catch up with the Saiyan, and soon they were both flying towards the tower. “Anyway.” Goku continued, “You said you were here with some other people?”

The Vision was quiet for a long moment. Long enough for Goku to eye him curiously. With the incredible speed his android brain operated at, he had a small eternity to consider all the implications of that statement. He HAD come here with other people. Some were dead. Others had disappeared. Should he be trying to find them, or sticking with the mission objective?

“Yes.” The Vision said at last. “That is correct.”

Goku laughed again, without a shred of malice in him, just amused at the response.

“Well, who sent you?” He asked.

“I am a member of The Avengers.” The Vision replied. “We are an independent law enforcement agency.”

Goku blinked at that, “Really?” He asked, “Huh. I wouldn’t have guessed that.”

The Vision tried to focus on the point of light in the fog. Unlike Goku, who was putting it down to his imagination, he couldn’t convince himself of anything but the truth. The purple light was remaining stationary relative to their position. It was moving away, whilst the lighthouse remained in the same place. Or perhaps more land was being added to this region at the same rate as their flight. This defied logic.

“Query: Is it so surprising?” The Vision asked, his formal tone just fractionally distracted as he tried to make sense of what he was seeing.

“Well, where I’m from, law enforcement are a bit more, uh, they have these uniforms…”

Goku trailed off lamely, trying and failing to articulate the differences between The Vision and a beat cop.

“We help people.” The Vision summarised, simply.

And then the air was rent apart by a terrifying shriek from below. The land between the lighthouse and the city proper was nothing but marshy scrub, and the noise that emanated from there… it sounded like it came from a human throat, but really, really should not have done so.

“… Well, looks like you’re going to get your chance!” Goku declared, veering suddenly down into the marsh, again, without even a thought to what he might be getting into.
[Image: x1oIYhu.jpg]
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#17
“Really? Huh. I wouldn’t have guessed that.”

The Vision’s mouth twitched. He resisted the urge to snap at his new ally. After all, his Avengers had failed to develop a reputation as heroes. 

“Is it so hard to believe?”

Error: Bad logic. 
line 204: distance_traveled = 21 meters
line 205: estimate distance_to “starpiece” = 23 meters
line 206: distance_traveled + distance_to “starpiece” = 44 meters 
line 673: distance_traveled = 42 meters
line 674: estimate distance_to “starpiece” = 23 meters 
line 675: distance_traveled + distance_to “starpiece” = 65 meters
Total distance cannot increase!

The Vision faltered, his flight shifting slightly, as he tried to make sense of the data. Goku was saying something, but the Vision was not listening. Because of this error in numbers, his computer falsely believed he was flying in cartwheels, and the visual field inertia compensators were off-setting his vertigo slightly. He felt extremely dizzy.

“We help people,” he managed to say when he noticed Goku was expecting a reply.

Suddenly, a scream erupted from below. Goku and the Vision stopped in their aerial tracks. Goku pointed at where the scream came from as the Vision tried to recalibrate his navigation systems.

“Looks like you’re going to get your chance!” the fighter laughed, before suddenly shooting off downwards. The Vision grimaced.

“Request: wait,” the android called out.

> self.setvalue density 330.13697%
Shifting...

The Vision’s body rapidly grew heavier, and the android nosedived after Goku. The martial artist had already arrived by the time the Vision landed heavily on the ground. Now that he was on the dead marshy ruins of Silent Hill, he noticed that the sun had disappeared beneath the fog.

“Hello?” Goku shouted, cupping his hands over his mouth, “Anyone need help?”

“Goku, calculations indicate a 63.4% chance that this is an ambush scenario-”

Before the Vision could finish his sentence, his scanners warned him of the warhammer swinging down from behind him.

> self.setvalue density 3.10338%
Shifting...

The Vision nearly instantly vanished, but he couldn’t hold this form lest he float back into the sky extremely rapidly.

> self.setvalue density 100%
Shifting...

The Vision ducked and solidified his fist, throwing a left hook aimed at a human’s stomach. Instead, the punch landed on a person’s head. Bewildered, the Vision stepped back to see who his attacker was.

It was an anthropomorphic individual, to be sure. And while the basic features of the entity were not unusual, the size was. This person appeared to be an average-sized human that had somehow decreased height, distorting the proportion. The individual was wearing plate armor and bore the warhammer that had passed through his body.

He was currently waddling along the muddy ground towards the two Primes. Goku was scratching his head, his eyes reaching for memories, when he suddenly snapped his fingers.

The short person’s eyes grew wider in horror. “It’s... It’s you!”

“Oh, hi!” Goku chirped, “You’re that short guy! Kunain, right? I guess you got out of jail! You guys still after the Star Piece?”

“The Star Piece?” the individual sputtered, “Forget the Star Piece! I want to live!”

The Vision’s head started buzzing. He pinpointed the noise to his internal radio. He adjusted the volume until the radio became bearable to listen to. When he did, the sound it projected was that of an air raid siren. The Vision licked his lips.

“Warning,” he said to Goku, “My sensors indicate that a high-danger event will soon occur-”

“High-danger?” Kunain scoffed, “Death itself is coming from this town and there’s no way to-”

“Death itself?” Goku asked excitedly, “Is it more monsters? Are they strong?”

“A monster, yes,” the warrior panted, “But not ‘they.’ ‘She.’”

The two Primes exchanged glances, the Vision’s a nervous one and Goku’s delighted.

“Great! She’s back!” Goku cheered, turning to Kunain, “Where is she?”

“Goku, I wish to note that it is highly inadvisable to pursue the-”

“If you wanna kill yourself, fine,” Kunain snapped, “She’s in the lighthouse. She’s already taken some lady with a cigar.”

The Vision flinched. “Query: what was her name?”

“I dunno,” Kunain shrugged, “She called herself Crimson, though.”

Vision turned to Goku, ignoring the survivor.

“Agent Crimson was one of my companions in our mission,” the android replied.

“Oh,” Goku grinned, “We should go help her!”

“Affirmative, yet-”

Goku had already taken off. The Vision shook off the recording of air sirens playing in his head and grabbed onto Kunain.

“Let go of me, ya-”

The Vision flew after Goku to the lighthouse, carrying the small man. After only 32 seconds of flight, he arrived at the short tower, landing behind Goku. Kunain jerked his shoulders forward, making his armor clank noisily.

“Recommendation: remain quiet, Mr. Kunain.”

The lighthouse was quite short. It appeared to be made of the same moldy concrete that the hospital was constructed from, with more fences surrounding it than was frankly necessary. Rusty metal cages climbed up the rotting steel ladders to the top on the outside. One metal door, turned orange with oxidation, seemed to be the lighthouse’s only entrance. 

Goku grinned widely and walked up the stairs to the rusted door. Without hesitation, Goku dug his fingers into the door and pulled back, prying it from its hinges. The Vision opened his mouth to protest, but simply sighed and followed Goku into the lighthouse.

“The pair of you are insane,” Kunain grumbled, “I’m leaving.”

“With all due respect, Mr. Kunain, Mr. Goku and I are Primes,” the Vision said, not even turning his back, “Your best chances of survival are alongside us.”

Kunain hesitated, before swearing in a foreign language and entering the lighthouse.

The Vision’s eyes widened. He ignored the slew of error reports in his logical processors as he tried to make sense of the place. Goku seemed to have no trouble believing what he was seeing, simply nodding as if he was impressed.

“But it’s...” the Vision muttered.

“It’s huge!” Goku exclaimed.

Goku was right. Instead of the inside of a lighthouse, they seemed to have entered a large hollow concrete cylinder, its walls featureless. It was relentlessly dark, refusing to be lit even by the maximum brightness the Vision’s Solar Gem could muster.

With a flash of red light, Willa Ironheart appeared once more, this time in the center of the room. The pyramid around her head was now removed. She seemed to be levitating another figure. Facial recognition software revealed the individual was-

“Agent Crimson!” the Vision exclaimed. He leapt forward, only to be thrown aside by the Witch. He landed painfully against the concrete wall. Goku and Kunain were already being lifted by the Witch. 

“Hey! Let me go! This isn’t fair!”

“Blast, blast, blast, blast...”

The Vision tried to pick himself up, but he found that he could not move his body. The Witch turned slowly towards Agent Crimson.

“Why, Mr. Shade!” The Witch was whispering, but the Vision could – as illogical as it was – hear her voice from inside his head. “Is it her you love now? Is that why you left me?”

The Vision struggled, red fog once more wrapping his body and preventing any movement.

“What’s so special about her, Victor Shade?” the Witch whispered, “Because she’s younger? Well...”

The Witch leaned her face towards the helpless and unconscious Agent Crimson.

“Maybe you’d love me if I were Crimson.”

The Vision grunted and watched in horror as the Witch suddenly lunged at Crimson’s face with her own, hungrily kissing the hapless soldier. Goku squirmed against his bonds, unsure of what was happening but nevertheless clearly very uncomfortable. The room which would not be lit by Vision’s portable sunlight suddenly filled with a bright red light as Willa Ironheart suddenly jerked from Crimson’s face, her eyes wide. They turned black and she shrieked again, shaking the lighthouse’s very foundations.

“Vision!” Goku shouted, “What’s happening?”

“I do not know,” the Vision shouted back.

Willa Ironheart and Agent Crimson both collapsed. The three prisoners were suddenly set free from the red fog, falling to the ground. Goku and the Vision landed on their feet. Their newest companion collapsed in a clutter.

“Alright, that’s it,” Kunain shouted, “I’m leaving!”

Kunain reached for the door, which was no longer there. The dwarf scanned the wall wildly for the exit.

“No. NO!” the dwarf yelled, his voice cracking, “Where did it- But how-”

The Vision and Goku kept their gazes fixed on the pair of women that were collapsed on the floor. Willa’s body slowly disintegrated, as if an invisible wind was blowing sand away. The Vision had already forcefully shut down his logic processors, but he instinctively knew that this was very, very strange.

“Awww,” Goku whined, “Was that it?”

As if to respond, Agent Crimson gasped dramatically, her torso twisting as far as her spine would allow. The Vision rushed towards her, collecting as much data as he could before her body went motionless once more.

“Agent Crimson,” the Vision attempted.

He knelt next to the body of the soldier. Vital signs were abnormal, yet simultaneously there was nothing unusual about her vital signs. The Vision was glad his logic processors were off. This conclusion probably would have crashed his systems.

“Agent Crimson,” the Vision tried again.

Crimson’s eyes snapped open. The Vision couldn’t help but wonder if her eyes were red before. His question was answered.

“I knew you’d love me like this, Victor,” the Witch whispered again.

Panicked, the Vision flew back, preparing for combat. Goku grit his teeth and joined Vision in the air. The Witch levitated herself, keeping level with them.

“What’s the matter?” Crimson’s mouth spoke with the Witch’s voice, “I thought... Isn’t this what you wanted?”

“Error: I am not Victor Shade,” the android murmured, “I assume the misunderstanding originates from the similarities between myself and one of your associates, which is implied to be a similar phenomenon I am experiencing between you and another one of my associates-”

“Always talking so fancy,” Crimson mourned, “But you told me you’d love me if I was Crimson.”

“Error: I have never said that.”

“It’s true,” Goku added.

“SHUT UP!” Crimson howled.

The red fog that was the trademark of the Witch appeared around Goku, slamming him into the concrete and flinging him upwards. Kunain whimpered.

“Her name isn’t even Crimson, you know,” the Witch wept, “Her name is Anung Un Rama.”

The Vision flinched. “Query: what?”

His memory processors unintentionally opened a file, showing a video of Hellboy disclosing to the Vision his true name at Starbucks.

“Anung Un Rama,” the Witch shouted, “Not Crimson.”

“Agent Crimson was Hellboy,” the Vision muttered.

“She lied to you!” the Witch shrieked, “Just like you LIED TO ME!”

The Witch slammed the Vision into the wall, but continued to press the android against the concrete. He felt his body start to crush under the pressure. Panicking, he increased his density to reduce the damage. 

“Error, error, error, error-”

The Vision’s body was pushed through the wall, and his body tumbled outside. His programs crashed and he went unconscious.


Quote:19521 words out of 13000.
Hear about the beacon in the fog.
Opt to cooperate with the guild.
Get lost in the fog.
Find my way into the suburbs.
Get lost in the fog again.

Make my way into the cabin.
[Image: ytLTikp.png?1]
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#18
Goku probably could have intervened when The Witch attacked The Vision again, but he wanted to see if he could figure out a plan of attack. Despite appearances, when it came to battle, Goku was as gifted as any man had ever been. He had felt the Witch’s telekinetic powers many times now, and it seemed like she didn’t have many obvious weaknesses, other than her mental instability. Perhaps that was what he could use.

“Okay, now, that is ENOUGH!

Goku’s voice finally took on a serious tone, and he moved to stand in the broken section of wall, between the Witch and The Vision.

He shot a look to Kunain. “If you want to get out of here alive.” He said, “We’re going to have to work together.”

The Witch let out a piercing shriek, cracking the base of the concrete tower, and raised her hand towards Goku.

“You can’t stand between us! Nothing can stand between us!” She howled, voice pure pain, making Goku’s teeth rattle. Kunain gripped his hammer tightly, but some of the fear seemed to have left him. He was a money-grabbing mercenary, sure, and he was terrified, but he was also a Dwarf. If he was going to die, he was going to do it swinging for all he was worth.

“That’s not your body.” Goku said, displaying a level of insight that was frankly nothing short of miraculous. “Give it back, or I’ll knock you out of it!”

Goku was not surprised when the response came, throwing him upwards with incredible force. It took all his strength to flip, and when he hit the wall, his feet absorbed most of the impact. Concrete cracked beneath his boots, and he grunted. He flung his hand forwards, releasing a burst of bright yellow power towards the woman, who merely twisted to the side, sliding easily away from the orb.

“He’ll love me!” She shrieked, “He’ll love me forever!”

Goku found himself hurtling towards the floor next, and this time, he wasn’t able to brace in time. The impact drove the air out of him, and he grunted in pain as she floated closer, intent on going over him and outside.

“He never will.” Goku gasped, “He HELPS people. You’re just, a monster.”

The Witch paused for a split second, hovering over Goku, and he felt the pressure increase. But, it was the moment he’d been hoping for. The Witch stopped to crush him…

… And Kunain, always the coward at heart, swung his hammer around with all his might, aiming a bone-shaking blow at the back of the woman’s head.



There was a blinding flash of red. The sound of the impact rang out for miles. Deep, and dark. The sound of waves crashing across the rocks quieted as the sea died down, and for a heartbeat, the Witch stood frozen in place. Kunain’s hammer had left no visible mark. But, the Dwarf was a warrior, albeit a dishonourable one. With a bellowing roar, he struck out a second time.

“YE THINK YE CAN TAKE MY FAMILY AN’ LIVE, YA DAMNED WITCH?!”

His accent, long lost due to his time in the civilized lands, came back full force. A second flash of light met his blow. Fear and desperation drove him on, and he battered at her with everything he had, the hammer swung in great arcs that would surely have pulverised a lesser opponent. His golden armour shone with each burst of light, and a manic gleam swelled in his eye. It felt good to fight. He’d been running for so long, he’d almost forgotten what it felt like.

The woman screamed, and swept her hand upwards. This time, the scream was far less intense, but the effect on Kunain was still impressive. He was flung up into the concrete tube, and a shout of surprise heralded his desperate flight.

In the next instant, Goku’s foot crashed between the woman’s shoulders, met with another blinding flash of red. His elbow dropped as she turned, smashing into the top of her skull, and this time, her head bowed with the impact. Maybe it was his imagination, but it seemed like the bright red light that dulled the impact finally seemed a little less brilliant.

“He’ll never love you!” Goku declared, “You’re a thief! You stole that woman’s body! He could never love a thief!”

The Witch screamed again, and Goku was flung out through the hole, unable to find any way of stopping it. His feet carved deep furrows into the earth as he was pushed backwards, his arms raised over his chest, for all the good that did. He came to a stop in front of The Vision’s prone body, and flinched, as behind the Witch he saw Kunain’s heavily armoured form crash back down into the concrete floor. That, was not good.

“YOU DON’T KNOW HIM LIKE I DO!” The Witch screamed, “HE’S MY HUSBAND!”

“No… he’s… not!” Goku grunted, nostrils flared as the pressure surrounding him increased. His knees quivered, but he refused to buckle with his friend so close at hand. “You’re just crazy!”

“I’M NOT CRAZY! I’ll KILL YOU!”

Goku snorted, and cracked his neck. “Yeah, you’re not crazy at all.”

The pressure built up, and Goku felt his bones begin to creak. This wasn’t like the previous fight. He’d touched some nerves. Now, all the force that had been used to hold him steady was being used to crush him. In some ways, he’d gotten exactly what he wanted; he’d gotten under her skin. She was making mistakes. On the other, it felt like he was going to be turned into a ball.

Kunain’s hammer whistled at it was flung through the air, arcing head over haft to impact one last time into the woman’s back. This time, there’s was a scream of physical pain, rather than the emotional wailing that had echoed from the woman’s throat before.

Kunain lay broken and bloodied in the crater of his impact, but he had a smirk on his lips as consciousness slipped away from him, and his armoured hand dropped to the concrete. The Witch’s eyes blazed bright with fury, and scarlet mist flowed from her in a great rushing wave towards the prone dwarf.

But her concentration was broken.

“Kaaaaaaaa…”

The mist rushed back towards the lighthouse, swallowing dark earth in blood red swirls.

“Meeeeee…”

It pooled over broken rubble and seemed to slow as it approached Kunain, forming tendrils with more substance than gas ought to have.

“HAAAAAA….”

Behind the Witch, Goku’s hands were cupped at his sides. Bright blue light swirled in his palms as he focused his power.

“MEEEEEEEEEEEEE…”

The tendrils wrapped around Kunain, lifting him up. The fog blotted out everything now. Everything, except the swirling mass of blue light, shining like a lighthouse in the darkness, like a star in the night.

“HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!”

Pouring all that he had into it, Goku thrust his hands forwards and an enormous beam of blue energy surged from his palms. It illuminated The Vision’s face, showing his friend in repose. At the last moment, the Witch turned, and her eyes widened. She raised both hands as though to catch the power, and the mist rushed back in towards her, dropping Kunain in a clatter.

Red and blue clashed as Goku pitted his strength against the fog. There was an incandescent explosion of power, as the two forces clashed, and when the light died away, The Witch stood in the middle of a smouldering crater. Her clothes were singed and blackened, but her expression was ferocious, animal hatred.

Goku dropped to one knee, and then toppled over backwards, groaning. His body was screaming at him louder than the Witch ever had. The hospital. The Kaio-ken. Now this? He couldn’t so much as twitch a muscle as the Witch approached.

“Vision, buddy.” He said, with a dry laugh, “Now would be, a really good time to, get back up."
[Image: x1oIYhu.jpg]
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#19
> reboot/setting login_profile_as "admin"
input admin password:
> 0101011101100001011011100110010001100001
Processing...
Password accepted
Welcome, The Vision


It was night. The Vision tried to stand up, struggling to do so. With some effort, he rolled over and pushed himself up. Once he was on his feet, he looked around to discern where he was. It appeared to be the Nexus, or at least a location aesthetically similar. One difference to note was that the fog of Silent Hill was still present, albeit red.

“Sweetie,” someone said behind him.

The Vision turned and met the gaze of Wanda Maximoff. Tears welled in his eyes.

“Wanda. This must be a hallucination.”

“No, it’s not. This is me, and this is you.”

The Vision’s ex-wife stepped slowly and seductively towards him.

“We could be together again.”

The Vision stepped back tentatively, but slowly. He vaguely allowed Wanda to approach him. She wrapped his arms around his waist, pulling it closer to her own. The android shuddered.

“We could... we could be happy.”

The Vision leaned in closer. He felt Wanda’s breath on his neck. She kissed it, and the Vision reached up to hold her cheek, his other arm wrapping around her waist. Suddenly, he pushed her back gently.

“Negative.”

Wanda’s face crumpled. “W...why?”

“Because you are not Wanda. Not... my wife.”

Wanda lowered her head in defeat. The red fog wrapped around her, and Wanda’s face disappeared. Willa Ironheart reappeared in her place.

“Why not?”

“Because... Because while you retain very similar quali... while I could pretend you are my wife...” the Vision blinked, “You are a stranger. A very powerful, hostile one.”

“What happened to your wife?” Willa asked.

“She hurt me,” the Vision replied, “She did things to me and... and...”

The Vision felt tears stream down his face.

“But it wasn’t her. She was taken by someone and turned into someone else.”

“And then?”

Willa had once more stepped right in front of the Vision. She was shorter than him, his chin meeting her nose. The Vision resisted the urge to wrap her in his arms.

“Then she was taken from me,” the Vision wept, “Then all of it was taken from me.”

“You miss her.”

“Yes.”

“I’m like her.”

“Yes.”

“I could be her.”

“...Yes.”

Willa smiled.

“And you could be Victor.”

“Yes.”

“Then why not?”

“Because I don’t want to be Victor,” the Vision muttered, “And I don’t want you to be Wanda. I want to live the truth. And the truth is... You’re not Wanda. You’re not the woman I fell in love with, and I don’t think either of us can live with that.”

Willa’s face fell.

“But you’re... you’re so much like Victor.”

“Yes.”

“And we’ve lost so much,” Willa continued, “Both of us. The world wants to make us so unhappy and now we have a chance to be happy.”

The Vision shook his head. “I can’t. You are Willa Ironheart, not Wanda Maximoff, and I am the Vision, not Victor Shade. We can’t be together.”

Willa glared. “Then I’ll kill you.”

The Vision nodded. “As expected.”

The Vision blinked and suddenly, he was face-down in the mud. Goku was kneeling a few feet away, trying to catch his breath.

“Now would be... a really good time to... get back up...”

The Vision jolted to a sitting position, then floated back to his feet. He reached out to the exhausted Goku with his right hand.

“I’m up,” the Vision replied with a triumphant smile.

The Witch rocketed forward, powered by the scarlet fog around her. The Vision retracted his hand shot up.

> set.selfvalue density zone[11051335] 210.3225%
Shifting...


The Vision’s right hand crystallized. The android quickly punched the Witch mid-flight, launching her off-course. She veered to the right, eventually crashing into a small wooden cabin.

> set.selfvalue density ($restore)
Shifting...


The Vision lowered himself back to the ground, and glanced at Goku.

“Kunain...” Goku spat blood out of his mouth. “I think she...”

“Scanners indicate that Kunain is not conscious, but his vital signs are stable.”

The cabin started to tremble, red light gleaming from the inside. The red light turned purple

“My calculations indicate that we should end this,” the android said in his cool voice, his blank eyes somehow piercing.

Goku grinned wide. “Ready when you are.”

The pair both kicked off the muddy ground and flew through the hole in the wall that the Witch had left. It was small, dank and overall miserable. There was one metal bunk and a small rotting wooden table in the middle, shining. The Vision blinked. Wooden tables don’t shine. After a closer analysis, the Vision concluded that the light was coming from on top of the table. Goku veritably cheered upon noticing it.

“Vision! That’s the Star Piece! It’s right-”

The Witch floated through the floor of the cabin, furious. She shrieked one more time, throwing Goku and Vision back out of the cabin. The Vision grimaced as his body strained to stand up again. Goku did the same. The overwhelming fog of Silent Hill grew red, as water does when blood is poured into it. The oppressive mist truly seemed organic, and it seemed angry, spinning furiously. It continued to spiral until it formed a small, storm-like entity of red wind. The Vision noted the sound of air-raid sirens in his head.

“I believe that she may be a manifestation of the fog,” the Vision said, “And she just gained possession of a powerful Artefact.”

Goku laughed. “Fun! Sounds like it’ll be tough!”

“Your definition of string value ‘fun’ does not correlate with mine.”

The air raids became louder, until it became nearly the only thing they could hear over the wind. The cabin was torn apart, its wooden structure fading away into the tornado. The Crimson Witch rose from where it had stood moments before, her red fog turning slightly purple. The rusty pyramid had once more formed around her head, and to Vision’s fascination, her right hand had become disproportionately large and rocky. Around her, decaying hands shot through the loose mud and began to claw their ways to the ground.

Goku grit his teeth. “No way.”

The undead were bloated, as if they had drowned. But they were also wearing the same armor the Vision had seen the vanguard of Darkshire wearing. The Vision and Goku glanced at each other, fully understanding exactly how much trouble they were in.

They nodded and charged into battle.

Quote:21923 words out of 13000.
Hear about the beacon in the fog.
Opt to cooperate with the guild.
Get lost in the fog.
Find my way into the suburbs.
Get lost in the fog again.
Make my way into the cabin.

Showdown. (Kill the enemies, the Astronomers, and claim the star piece.)
[Image: ytLTikp.png?1]
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#20
Every time Goku thought that he reached his limit, he was forced to push through it. How much further could that go on, though? Even as he swung his fist around into the face of the first zombie dumb enough to get into range, he felt the muscles of his arm tense and tighten painfully.

It was part of a martial artist’s curse to know their body as intimately as Goku knew his. He knew precisely how things SHOULD feel, and he knew that he was only making things worse for himself as he pushed harder. But, he had to put on a brave face for The Vision. Things looked bad, but they’d look a lot worse if they just gave up.

Maybe he wouldn’t be walking away from this fight, but… if The Vision got the Star Piece anyway, was that such a bad thing? It wasn’t like it’d be the first time. It wouldn’t even be the first time here, though he couldn’t remember much about that death. Perhaps it had been like this. He’d try to pay more attention this time though.

A faint smile tugged onto his lips. Maybe he’d even get to see Yemma or King Kai this time around.

“KAIO-KEN… TIMES FOUR!”

Goku’s voice was thunder as the brilliant scarlet light exploded out of him, wreathing his body in licking flames. He bounced from opponent to opponent, striking as hard and as quick as he could, lunging into and through them, scattering zombies like leaves caught in the storm of his power.

In the heightened state of the Kaio-Ken, he could sense Vision doing much the same, but soon, the press of corpses was just too much for that. There were limits, even to the Kaio-Ken’s power, and the four times level in his current state… he didn’t even have minutes of fight left in him; he was going to have to finish this in seconds.

“I’ll create an opening!” Goku roared, “Get that Star Piece BACK!”

Again, in the heat of battle, the joviality was… gone. Goku wasn’t angry, he was so rarely angry, but he was serious in a way completely at odds with the cheerful nature he had displayed moments before. Yes, this was a challenge, and the fight was exciting – but it was also a challenge he was concerned he would not be equal to, and whilst he would give it his all, as he always did, if they didn’t get the Star Piece back, so many people would have given their lives for nothing.

No. The thought of giving up now, of letting them down, just because he could feel his muscles tearing beneath his skin with every movement… that was completely unacceptable.

Goku’s teeth ground together, and he felt sweat trickle down his face as he slammed his palms together. He couldn’t take as much time to charge this time, but that was fine, he didn’t have as much power left to give, either.

Back to back with The Vision, he stared challengingly into the eyes of the horde approaching them both.

“Kamehame… HA!”

And with that, he thrust his hands forwards, spilling out the last of his energy in a desperate lance of explosive blue power; one that he hoped would be enough…

… because he didn’t even feel the impact of the earth as it rushed up to meet him. He would not be getting back up after that. Not any time soon.
[Image: x1oIYhu.jpg]
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