Albright Institute: Memini (Chapter 27, 28, Epilogue)

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Re: Albright Institute: Memini (Chapter 15)

Postby Arkrite » Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:48 am

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Re: Albright Institute: Memini (Chapter 15)

Postby Shock » Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:58 am

A guest spot cliffhanger! Exciting! Mysterious!

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Albright Institute: Memini (Chapter 16)

Postby Arkrite » Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:18 am

16

The only sound that filled the air was the hum as a second then third ship appeared in the skies above the city.
Then as a fourth ship started to appear the others opened fire, raining down burning beams of crackling yellow energy into the city below with catastrophic results. Buildings crashed to the ground while entire streets exploded in fireballs.

“I don’t suppose you could go up there and knock a few of those things out of the air?” Curt said above the din.

“I’m lucky to be standing right now! I don’t think I’d manage more than one hit,” Richard yelled back.

Then through the clouds aircraft of various makes descended into sight, firing into the fight, weapons blazing. US fighter jets flew alongside what looks like a red retro style spaceship out of a Flash Gordon comic. A high tech stealth bomber flew alongside a sword wielding green and yellow giant Mecha which spent half it’s time transforming into a jet to get close to it’s target before switching back into a humanoid shape to hack at it with a sword. There was one flying object which appeared to be nothing more than random shards of metal all connected by bands of blue electricity.

From below rose dozens of flying humans, some flying under their own power, other using rocket boots, rocket packs, one person had a backpack with a helicopter blades pushing him up, and others rocketed up pushed by all sorts of different energy.

They were joined by military helicopters and VTOL fighters from off the ground.

He even saw a news helicopter race past with a pair of angry looking men hanging off the side, firing a set of old looking light machine guns.

All around the city he could see the signs of guns firing into the sky, energy blasts being fired, even the exhaust trail of a few missiles as they flew up into the imposing battleships. It looked impressive.

It also looked deadly with all of those weapons being fired while their own forces flew in the line of fire.

But the massive terminus battleships had problems with hitting the small faster moving targets. While the energy they fired was destructive it wasn’t exactly accurate. And slowly but surely the forces defending Freedom City’s skies were ripping the bigger invaders apart.

Richard glanced at Curt and raised an eyebrow. Curt simply shook his head in response.

“Wait for it.”

Then from the ships and the portal came a wave of darkness, moving like locust through the sky.

“Omega drones,” he swore.

The drones filled the skies, groups breaking off and swarming after individual flying earth forces. A large swarm descended down towards the city intent on taking out the people firing from below.

Richard smiled as the swarm got far more than it expected. The few buildings that had been firing on the ships above were the people who’d had weapons that could reach that far. There were far more people, however, who were armed but needed a closer target. The obliging Omega drones encountered a veritable storm of bullets, lasers, plasma from guns, and the occasional attack from a ground bound super powered individual.

As the swarm swung past them he watched as Curt waved a hand into the air and the ones who swung too close suddenly fell out of control, crashing into each other, buildings, or the ground itself.

Dovetail launched a barrage of her feathered darts into the ones unfortunate enough to get too close to her, then stole a Power Pike from one of the fallen. Seconds later she had the Power Pike firing blasts of energy at any Omega Drone in range.

Richard watched as one drone crashed to the ground in front of him, unmoving. He bent down, picked up the Power Pike and after a brief pause where he realized he didn’t know how to make it fire, hurled it into the air at the nearest Drone like a javelin. The Pike turned sideways in midair and struck a drone across the waist, sending it out of control and into the ground headfirst.

“Just one?”

Richard frowned, the picked up the Drone in front of him and hurled it into the swarm as hard as he could. This time his missile collided with a group of drones, sending a half a dozen crashing into the ground.

“Okay, okay,” Curt said with an appraising look, “Now try throwing something bigger.”

“Like what?” Richard wheezed, trying to ignore the pain from his ribs.

“How about a building?”

Richard frowned.

Curt shrugged and blasted another wave of Drones out of the air, “Just a suggestion.”

Above them the battle wasn’t going as well. The jets were no match for the maneuverability of the smaller targets, and the more advanced aircraft were being worn down by sheer numbers. No matter which way an aircraft would dodge or there was always another enemy firing at them.

The ones that weren’t tough enough, or fast enough, were quickly shot out of the skies. The few that seemed immune to the attacks continued their assault unabated, though now far less effective without the extra help. And finally those who could outrun their foes did, most moving to meet up with their allied forced to turn around for another pass.

The large red spaceship, trailing smoke and flames, fired the finishing blow into one battleship, sending it crashing towards the city. It stopped just above the skyscrapers, then jerked wildly before suddenly flying straight into the ocean.

“Found Mags!” Curt bellowed to Dovetail.

Dovetail only frowned.

“Must have been waiting at the portal,” Curt continued casually, as though this was a routine event for him.

Dovetail frown deepened, and her firing increased.

“Probably screaming at the portal for them to hurry on through so he could lay the smack down on them,” Curt smirked.

Dovetail shot Curt a murderous glare which told Richard that Curt was probably right. And that if he was smart he wouldn’t mention it.

The Red spaceship continued its final assault by crashing into another of the battleships, destroying both of them in a sudden explosion that rained burning shards of metal down across the city. The explosion badly damaged the other two battleships nearby, causing them to fly and fire erratically. But while all of this happened another six battleships had emerged from the portal with another two starting through to follow them.

“How many do they got?” Richard cursed.

“They destroy entire universes, they probably have ships lined up for miles on the other side,” Dovetail said, grimly.

“Any chance of shutting that portal?”

Dovetail looked at Richard, “If it could be done it would have by now!”

“So just keep swinging?”

“And pray for a miracle,” Curt noted sourly.

Richard looked back to the sky and watched as two burning trails of light cut into the battle. They spun and danced through waves of drones, shot wildly around battleships, laying waste to anything that got in their way. The drones spun on mass to attack the new targets while the battleships fired wildly at them, hitting their own Omega Drones and battleships in the effort.

“Tracer!” Dovetail yelled, drawing Richard’s attention, “We have to fall back to the rally point.”

“Negative, I have to get this one to-“

There was an explosion, and then sunlight blanketed them all.

“The hell?”

Richard looked back to the sky to see a giant blazing ball of fire in the sky, a quarter of the size of the battleships flying through the air.

He swore he could hear screaming in the air.

“Oh hell,” Curt's voice rose in volume rapidly, “Ooooh hell, oh hell!!!”

“What?” Richard looked to Curt then back to the sky, “What is it?”

“Sean. He’s going nova,” Curt spared Richard a numb, drained look before focusing back on the battle above.

Richard watched as the globe smashed into one battleship, burning it from one end to another then flying out the far side and letting the hollowed husk fall below, where it was again caught in mid-air then hurled out to see by an unseen force. The globe moved onto the next ship as the battleships fired on it again and again. At first the globe simply ducked into another battleship to avoid the fire, but after the second and third battleship fell the remaining ones simply fired into any battleship he attacked, hoping to catch him as he went through.

Each blast that struck home only made the globe bigger and brighter, until the others were all covering their eyes and looking away.

Richard didn’t turn away he just stood there quietly watching as the globe grew to be larger than the battleships which were still flowing through the portal. Each hit making the globe grow wildly, brighter and hotter.

“Curt, can you talk him down?”

“I already tried."

"Well try harder!"

"I tried that too!" Curt snapped back, "I already called a retreat to anybody out there, but Sean’s not listening. He’s incoherent! He's screaming something about revenge, and… being done with it all?” Curt shook his head in confusion and frustration.

Richard winced.

He understood how Sean must have felt. Probably better than anybody else on the planet.
To be locked in a body which would destroy anybody he loved or cared about, cutting him off from the world. Richard had felt that way himself, five years ago when his invulnerable skin left him unable to feel any sensation, and his unstoppable strength could destroy anything he touched.

But at least Richard could blend in. He could still have companionship, even if he couldn’t touch or hold another person. It wasn't enough, though. All Richard could ever think about was the things he'd never get to experience. Sex, waking up next to a beautiful women, all the fun relationship things people got to have.

He'd never be able to have that.

But Sean? He couldn't even fit in. Forget sex, Sean was probably pining for the days he could walk into a coffee shop. He probably longed for the days he could sit down next to somebody and have a conversation with them without having to worry about burning them to death.

Sean was as apart from the world as he could be. It wasn’t hard to believe he’d want it to end. And having been there himself Richard knew there was little he could say to convince Sean otherwise.

Richard still had his little sister who needed him. Tiny, young Jeanie was his anchor which kept him away from the worst of the self destruction that threatened to swallow him. Did Sean have anything left?

Was the only thing left anger at a world that he could never be a part of?

“The portal!” Richard yelled, “Tell him Omega’s on the other side of the portal.”

Curt looked at him oddly, than glanced back at the sky through his shades.

Richard watched as the globe grew and grew, enveloping the final few battleships, and a part of a skyscraper.

Then the globe struck the portal just as it started to glow bright white. And then the heat disappeared, the light receded and there was silence.

“Do you think he-“

The sound was horrifying, as a beam of plasma shot back out of the portal, destroying any remaining Omega forces foolish enough not to have already retreated. The burning flame looked to go on for miles before it stopped suddenly and violently without warning.

It was hard for him to watch. Sean had never been close, but they'd lived together. Sean was a good guy. And now the Sean he knew was gone. Forever. Five years ago yesterday they'd watched a football game together and spent halftime picking and choosing who had dibs on which cheerleader.

And now he was gone. That was it. There wasn't going to be a next time. There wouldn't be any more conversations, no more jokes, no anything. Just a empty spot in his life and a memory of a man that would slowly fade to nothing.

And the hardest part was seeing somebody who'd had so much going for them reduced to, Richard cringed to think of it, his own living hell. The only real difference he could between him and Sean was that Richard had gotten better while Sean's situation had only gotten worse.

It could have just as easily been him doing that last suicide charge at Omega.

Richard looked at the portal, his throat feeling tight as he whispered, “Goodbye, Sean.”

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Re: Albright Institute: Memini (Chapter 15 & 16)

Postby Horsenhero » Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:33 am

Two flaming thumbs up! If Sean had to go out, at least he got a good death scene.

I'm still pulling for Rich to figure out how to win this thing though. Maybe at some point Melissa will arrive and heal Rich...or put his soul in a jelly jar. :twisted:

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Re: Albright Institute: Memini (Chapter 15 & 16)

Postby Arkrite » Tue Jun 25, 2013 12:34 pm

Yeah, always felt bad about how it ended for Sean, but I always felt it was an important turn for the story.

Thanks for H&H for letting me play with his characters.
I promise next time I'll do a better job of keeping them alive. ;~)

As for Melissa... well, I can say there is at least one more member of the Albright Institute who hasn't made their appearance yet.
And we get a few notes on what happened to the rest.

The fun news is that we're officially over halfway done now, and the end is within sight.

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Re: Albright Institute: Memini (Chapter 15 & 16)

Postby Horsenhero » Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:41 pm

It doesn't bother me. Up until now, the only other author who has used any of my characters in a memorable guest role has been Michuru81 and those were only memorable because my characters have been revealed as deceased in throwaway dialogue.

"Hey, do you rmember Vlad?"

"Yeah."

"Well, he's dead. Now, let's get on with the story." :wink:

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Re: Albright Institute: Memini (Chapter 15 & 16)

Postby Arkrite » Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:47 pm

And, amusingly, I've revealed one of your characters to be alive in throwaway dialogue ;~)

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Re: Albright Institute: Memini (Chapter 15 & 16)

Postby Horsenhero » Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:57 pm

Arkrite wrote:And, amusingly, I've revealed one of your characters to be alive in throwaway dialogue ;~)


Yeah, well you could kill Mr. Magnificent repeatedly and he'd keep coming back. The joys of the way his immortality works is that if he's killed, a week later his history "reboots" and he comes back.

There's ways to kill him permanently, but those ways are more a "time" villains idiom than Omega's.

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Re: Albright Institute: Memini (Chapter 15 & 16)

Postby kirinke » Tue Jun 25, 2013 5:37 pm

Poor Sean... At least he went out taking the bad guys with him.

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Albright Institute: Memini (Chapter 17)

Postby Arkrite » Wed Jun 26, 2013 7:21 am

17

Neither Curt nor Richard spoke. They just looked at the portal unable to look away. Waiting and hoping to see if by some miracle their friend had survived. If he'd come flying back through.

The skies remained empty and quiet.

“Tracer, let’s go,” Dovetail snapped, “That might buy us some time but not much.”

Tracer scowled, “I can’t I’m…”

“We’re breaking into the Armory.”

“Are you insane!?” Tracer snapped, “We all decided it was too dangerous!”

Dovetail pointed to the portal, “That was before they started sending in those flying dreadnaughts. Their normal ones we could handle, the drones we can handle, the super powered thugs we can handle, but those ships require more firepower than we’ve got.”

“So we do a suicide run in the Armory?”

“It's only suicide if you don't come with us,” Dovetail noted flatly.

“Damn, damn, damn,” Curt swore, he turned and paced quickly trying to find some solution that would make the situation better, “Rich, go four blocks north, six blocks west. It’ll be the back alley. Don’t let Vicky come with you.”

“Who are you sending me to?”

“It doesn’t matter. Just remember that it’s not her anymore,” Curt said quietly. He gave Rich friendly slap on the shoulder before turning and running after Dovetail.

“I’ve got to get back to my team,” Graham said as he approached, “I’m sorry we couldn’t find you a healer, but you’re welcome to join up with us. We can find some place safe for you.”

Richard shook his head, “I’ve got a lead I’ve got to hunt down. Besides, I’ve never been a fan of being a burden.”

Graham shook his head, “You’re not heavy.”

The little man's haunted expression probably matched his own. Graham had known Sean as well as he had. Probably better since Graham could still remember the last five years. And the loss weighed heavily on him. Poor Graham had always been a bleeding heart, and as far as Richard could se he cared about everybody and everything. And now he felt like he was leaving Richard behind.

Graham would stick by him through this if he asked him to. But he had responsibilities, and Richard couldn't pull him away from that. Too many people were counting on Graham to keep him running on a fool's errand.

Richard forced a smile and a pained laugh, “Thanks Graham. For everything.”

Graham shook his hand, "You know..."

"I know," Richard nodded, "But your team needs you. Now go before I regret not asking you to stay."

Graham nodded, "Goodbye Richard. It's been an honor."

"Likewise."

Then Graham, the Champion of Freedom City, stretched up to a rooftop on stilt-like legs and bounded out of sight.

“You should go with him,” Richard said to Vicky quietly.

“And leave you by yourself? No way in hell!” Vicky’s anger was readily apparent.

“I’ll be fine.”

“Yeah, how many bones have you broken, again?” Vicky said flatly, “How man concussions? Do you even know where you are right now?”

Richard pursed his lips. She was very good at pointing out the flaws in his argument.

“Fine, but when we get there I go in alone,” He said finally.

“Not happening!” Vicky yelled.

“Not up for debate!” Richard yelled back.

The both stood there glaring at each other for a few moments before Vicky shook her head and looked away in disgust. Richard sighed, and started walking.

It was a long quiet walk, Vicky doing her very best not to look at Richard, but being very sure she was always in sight of him so he’d know she was ignoring him.

The real problem was that the quiet gave him too much time to think back to his last meeting with Sean. Could he have done something more? Was it his fault that Sean had died?

Sean had to have hated Omega more than anything in the world. It had been an invasion by Omega which had flooded Freedom City with Terminus Radiation, the very thing which had given so many of the new generation of superheroes their powers. If Richard hadn't played on that hatred, could Sean have gotten himself back under control? Would he have backed off at the last minute?

Suddenly he felt Sean's death riding on his shoulders and he didn't know what to do about it.

He needed to talk. Anything to get his mind off of that. Even if it meant broaching a sensitive topic with Vicky.

“Are we dating?” Richard asked hesitantly.

“What!?” Vicky was so startled by the question she immediately turned to face him, “Ew, no!”

“Oh thank god,” Richard said, letting out a sigh of relief.

“What do you mean, ‘oh thank god’?” Vicky said sharply.

“What do you mean ‘ew’?” Richard countered.

“Uh, it’s just…” She rubbed her right hand down her left arm, looking uncomfortable, “Well, you’re like a brother to me.”

“Normally I’d be hurt,” Richard snorted, “Except I’m thinking the same. You remind me of Jeanie.”

“So then why did you ask?”

“Because you’ve been mad at me since Sandstone came by to say hello,” Richard raised an eyebrow, “By the way she stopped flirting with me the instant you left.”

“Sure she did,” Vicky nodded patronizingly.

“What is your problem?” Richard shook his head, “I haven’t done anything and I’m getting treated like the bad guy.”

Vicky muttered to herself for a moment then sighed, “Look, we’ll talk about it when you get your memories back. How much further.”

“You’re already as far as you need to go,” Richard looked down the alley behind the burning theatre they’d approached while talking, “I have to go down here. I’ll be back in a minute.”

“I am not letting you go in there by yourself!”

Richard rubbed his forehead with his good hand, “Vicky! It’s an alleyway! If I have any problems you’ll be able to catch up to me in ten seconds. Besides, you’re the one who’s in danger.”

“Says who?”

“Says Curt! He said I’d be safe”

Vicky crossed her arms and gave him a withering look, “You’re the worst liar I’ve ever met.”

“Safer than you,” Richard rolled his eyes, “Just stay here.”

“I-“

“I’ve taken everything you’ve said in good faith, will you please trust me just this one time?” Richard said, then added, “You’re not the only one who gets treated like a helpless kid, you know?”

Vicky pressed her lips together hard before simply turning around to face the opposite direction.

“Thank you,” Richard said as he limped into the alleyway.

The alley itself was unimpressive. It looked like every back alley he’d ever seen in a TV show. Big dumpster to the side, trash cans lining the walls with a few trash bags just sitting on the ground. The ominous glow from above lit the alley, but somehow the shadows seemed especially oppressive.

He looked around trying to figure out why Curt would send him here. It wasn’t for the smell, he decided as he caught the scent of what must have been rotting popcorn butter. Or worse.

He decided not to go too much closer to the dumpster, but after a few moments it was obvious there wasn’t anything to be seen without going in further. He walked down to the end of the alley and found it led around the corner into a dead end. His common sense did a fine job of giving him every reason in the sun to not let himself get boxed in, but he ignored it.

Doing the smart thing was an option he’d passed quite some time ago. It was time to take risks.

He limped down the alley, glancing at the fire escape, then around at the boxes and trash that filled the area . It looked like it hadn’t been cleaned out in quite some time. And at the end of the alley he saw a sleeping bag half sticking out of a box.

He made his way over and looked into the box to find an old greying man wearing a black knit cap and threadbare clothes huddled in the sleeping bag. Richard considered the man for a moment, then spent a moment looking for any other possibilities. Surely Curt hadn’t sent him to see a hobo.

But there was nobody there, no clues, and no hints at what he was looking for.
He reached out with his right hand and gave the man a little shake. He wasn’t entirely sure how the man had slept through everything that had been happening.

“Excuse me-“

“Back off, or I’ll gut you like-“ The old man sat up quick, shoving a nasty looking knife in front of Richard’s face.

Richard looked at the knife then at the old man, not sure how to react. A normal person would be terrified, but even with Curt’s warnings he just didn’t see the man as a threat.

The hobo blinked twice then wiped the sleep from an eye his other hand, then peered at Richard again. Then he lowered the knife and pulled the hat off his head and held it over his heart, “Beggin’ your pardon, sir. Though you might have been somebody after my stuff is all, didn’t mean any harm.”

“It’s alright. I’ve had worse.”

“Sure have,” The old man looked him up and down, “Not to be rude, but you shouldn’t be here. It ain’t safe for people to be around here.”

“You’re-“

“People th’aint’ me,” he said in a hurry, “You need to go, quick.”

“But I’m looking for-“

Richard was cut off by a piercing shriek of terror coming from back up the alley he’d just left.

“Vicky!”

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Albright Institute: Memini (Chapter 18)

Postby Arkrite » Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:33 pm

18

“It’s Xanatos, son! It’s too late for her just run!” The hobo yelled after him as Richard forced himself to run back the way he came, “Just run!”

Richard ignored the man’s warnings, and as he came around the corner he raised his one remaining arm up. At first he was confused as he could see Vicky, still screaming, pressed up against the wall, but he couldn’t make out her attacker, nor anything beyond them. It took him a second to realize there was a figure of the darkest shadow, with one hand clutching at her throat and another clawed hand sweeping in at her chest.

Richard gave up on finesse and simply barreled right into the figure with his shoulder down. He went clear through without meeting any resistance and fell overbalanced to the ground.

“Who would dare?” He heard a hollow voice ask as he forced himself back up to his feet.

Black orbs that glistened in what little light shined in the alley; alien, unknowable, threatening death and torment worse than one could ever imagine. He felt his heart cease in his chest, and a cold sweat break out on his skin as a chill ran down his spine.

But he didn’t stop moving, raising his fist again, “Let her go!”

“Ah… Richard… it’s been a while hasn’t it,” The creature dropped Vicky to the ground and slowly circled Richard, looking him up and down, “What have you done to yourself this time? One would think you’d be smarter.”

Richard swallowed and watched as the figure circled him, “Smart was never really what I did, was it?”

The figure stopped, “Weren’t you? There was potential there. A shame you never ceased it. You never knew how much was sacrificed for you.”

Richard looked to Vicky who was busy crawling off into a corner with a look of sheer terror on her face. She’d be alright for now.

“Ah, but you don’t know what I’m talking about do you?” The figured paused, “Maybe I should make it easier for you to understand.”

The darkness shifted, shrinking as it turned into the shape of a teenage girl that Richard found himself recognizing and once again was shocked to find himself facing someone else from his past. “When I bore this form you called me Melissa. I thought myself a person, but I was wrong. I tried to be, but it wasn’t meant to be. I am a force of nature, not of nature itself. You helped me see that, Richard.”

“Melissa?”

The shadow walked up and ran it’s cold hand across his jaw, “I gave my life for you, Richard Dunn. I stepped into death itself and pulled you back out. But death never leaves one untouched. I still smell it on you, Richard. I still smell the death on you.”

“You died?”

“You died first,” The figure said with the first hint of emotion he’d seen so far, a smirk. A horrible, cold smirk, “I never really came back from that. I had nothing to fight for. You never gave up though. And here we are.”

“The man and the monster reunited again. And again. And again.”

Richard shook his head, “I don’t understand.”

“You will, but too late I think,” There was almost a sadness in the voice, but the circling and the eyes screamed that what looked like his old friend was only a predator coming in for the kill, “You came to me looking for a gift?”

Richard paused, confused before remembering why he’d even come out this way. Too many things were happening too fast. His head throbbed and he tried to push away the pain and concentrate.

“I need to be healed.”

“Why?”

“Because Omega’s attacking!" Richard waved to the orange glow of the skies above them, "I need to help stop them.”

“I do not care, Richard Dunn. All things die, and I am death.”

“You are not death.”

“Yes I am, Richard Dunn. Melissa is a memory. A falsehood I clung too, like a child to a teddy bear, but now we know better,” She shook her head slowly, “Now I am death. I maintain the balance. I maintain order.”

“I need your help, Melissa,” Richard pleaded.

“More than you can know. More than you could imagine, but I won’t help you, Richard Dunn,” The shadow walked forward, “But you will help me. You will help me restore balance one way or another. I smell the death on you. You will die soon, not even I could prevent that this time. But I will give you a chance to buy more time.”

She placed a hand upon his chest, over his heart and another chill ran down Richard‘s spine, “The healing never comes free. You have to earn it, you have to be stronger than death, or death will devour you.”

She leaned forward as he felt coldness creep into his limbs, and whispered, “How strong are you, Richard Dunn?”

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Re: Albright Institute: Memini (Chapter 18)

Postby Horsenhero » Fri Jun 28, 2013 10:03 pm

Muy creepy. I can hardly wait to see what happens during the healing. So far though, I've got to say Langston's gang isn't faring too well, even before Omega showed up. Sean went off the deep end, melissa went from being an agent of fate to a force of nature...that force being death and Graham got stuck in a spangly outfit.

Okay, Graham's probably okay with the spangly outfit, but Sean and Mel definitely lost the "what will you be when you grow up" lottery.

Of course, Sean's dead, so he probably no longer cares.

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Albright Institute: Memini (Interlude - The Past)

Postby Arkrite » Fri Jun 28, 2013 10:12 pm

Interlude - The Past

Richard fumbled with his keys as he struggled to lift his arms high enough to reach the lock.

Normally he'd have managed it without noticing it, it wasn't even a challenge, but he'd spent the entire afternoon helping heave shingles up a ladder to some construction workers who were nailing them down just as fast as they got them. With the housing boom it meant he was making more money than he could at the grocery store, but it was exhausting.

His arms shook just thinking about it, and the groceries he had dangling from his arms off bags didn't help any.

He was tired, he'd just wanted to go home, have a shower and go to sleep but...

He dropped the keys and hissed in frustration. He struggled down into a crouching position and patted around in the dark trying to find his keys.

He wasn't supposed to be doing this. It was a Saturday! He was supposed to be out playing football all day, not working all day. He was supposed to be drinking beers in the woods outside of town all and hitting on Judy Freeman. He wasn't supposed to go right from work to the grocery store and walk a few miles carrying all of it.

If his dad wasn't such a miserable drunk...

You have to be strong. For Jeanie.

He sighed. It was the last thing his Mom said to him. The last thing he thought she'd meant anyways.

He closed his eyes, dug around on the ground until he found the keys then forced himself up to his feet, slammed the key home and all but fell through the door, dropping the bags in the hallway before he fell into the seat they kept by the door.

He carefully pulled the laces free and tugged his feet out of his boots. The throbbing started immediately. His feet felt too warm, and tender. He considered standing up but without the boots supporting them his feet simply wouldn't allow it.

He tossed his boots over into their usual spot with a loud thump, and sighed. He just needed to close his eyes for a few minutes.

"Rich! Rich-Rich-Rich-Rich-Rich! Rich!" A tiny voice yelled as little feet charged through the house.

"Oh boy," Richard mumbled rubbing his eyes. So much for a little rest.

"Rich!" Jeanie squealed as she came down the hall, tripped over the groceries, and fell to the ground.

She snatched something off the floor and had it behind her back before she was up off the floor. She was dressed in some grass stained jeans and a pink shirt with some kind of unicorn on it. Her brown hair was in pigtails and her violet eyes seemed to shine in the dark.

He glanced at the thing behind her back, then tried not to laugh.

"Ika-bikka-boo?" Richard said, quoting one of his favorite cartoons.

"Disco!" Jeanie declared, holding up an old VHS tape triumphantly.

"You taped Kim Possible?" He asked.

"An' Fillmore!" She pointed out, as though that were far more important.

He'd always preferred Kim Possible out of the Disney lineup. Hot redhead who could do anything, and her sidekick the football star. What wasn't to like? Jeanie, on the other hand, had fallen in love with Fillmore. It was about two students, a black kid and a goth girl, doing a police crime drama in an elementary school. Honestly he didn't see the draw, but Jeanie loved it.

He could usually tell right away if she was happy or upset. Just listen to hear if she declared "disco" as Fillmore did when something went right, or "crackers" like Ingrid Third did when something went wrong.

"I guess we'll have to watch... it.." Richard trailed off as he looked at Jeanie in the dark, "Jeanie?"

"Uh-huh?"

"Why are you up so late?"

She immediately looked down at the ground and bit her lip, mumbling, "I was supposed to be in bed, but I can't sleep because I'm hungry."

"What?" Richard rubbed his face, trying to brush away the fatigue, "Why are you still hungry?"

"I haven't had supper yet."

It was just going to be one of those days.

"It's late. Why haven't you had supper yet?"

"Dad didn't make anything."

"What?!" Richard growled, "Why not?"

"I donno," Jeanie said, looking more and more worried, "He left and he didn't come back yet."

"He left you alone!?" Richard yelled. His mind was racing trying to figure out where where his Dad had gone. And how long had he left Jeanie by herself, in the house? Alone! She was barely even ten years old!

"I'm sorry, it's not my fault!" Jeanie burst into tears, the VHS tape clattering to the floor, forgotten.

Richard winced.

You have to be strong. For Jeanie.

He forced himself up onto his feet, ignoring the pain, stumbled past the groceries, knelt down and pulled his ten year old sister into a hug.

"Shhh, shhh, shhh. It's okay, Jeanie. It's not your fault," He stroked her hair as she choked back tears, "I'm not mad at you. I didn't mean to yell. I'm sorry."

She cried for another couple of minutes then finally pulled back and looked at him. Her purple eyes where big, watery, and earnest as she told him, "Richard, you smell bad."

He laughed.

"Yeah. Yeah, I kinda do," he picked up the VHS tape and pushed it into her arms, "Okay, how about you go get this ready and I'll make us something to eat."

"Mac and Cheese! With weenies!"

"Fine, but we get to watch Kim Possible first."

"Fillmore!"

"Kim Possible!"

"Fillmore!"

"Ikka-Bikka-Boo!"

"Disco!" she declared, running towards the living room with the tape held over her head.

Richard closed his eyes trying to find any energy he had left. He couldn't go to sleep. He had to make supper, get Jeanie ready for bed, then he could have a shower. Then he could sleep.

He had to be strong. He had to be stronger.

He opened his eyes and forced himself to pick up the bags and carry them into the kitchen.

He could do it for her. For Jeanie he'd be the strongest man on earth.

kirinke
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Location: Behind the mayo, to the left of the cheese, next to the mystery meat leftover from last week

Re: Albright Institute: Memini (Chapter 18 & Interlude)

Postby kirinke » Sat Jun 29, 2013 5:57 am

Poor Mel. She always was a bit on the darkside though...

Shock
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Re: Albright Institute: Memini (Chapter 18 & Interlude)

Postby Shock » Sat Jun 29, 2013 8:08 am

Two things: One, very well done with Melissa. I like it. It's sort of how I think she'd end up if she had never gone to Albright.

And two, Ron Stoppable is a football star? How did I miss that?


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