The Chaos Gate

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MerlinSylver
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The Chaos Gate

Post by MerlinSylver » Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:00 pm

*An excerpt from the journal of Harazid Blackstave, High Mage of the northern Magistry, 24,000 B.C.*

It is my fear that the Great Alignment has removed magic from the world completely. My own powers, and the powers of my peers have been drastically reduced and each day only brings more weakness. The earth trembles and seas rock in the wake of the Great Alignment, and nearly every major city has been destroyed already. Only Atlantis still stands, though if the earth continues to heave, even mighty Atlantis will fall. Already, great sections of the city have fallen into the sea, the magic of the Cornerstones having faded thusly.

The plagues and famine are also of great import to us now, killing more and more with each passing day. The diviners have all reported that the human race is doomed to extinction, or something very close to it.


*An excerpt from the audio log of Petra Collins, head of the astronomy department of Kinsey University*
"If my calculations are correct, the earth should be passing through through the galactic plane within a matter of days, though the actual alignment wont happen until some time in 2012. I sure hope Sam doesn't start in about his Mayan calander thing... Anyway, December 21, 2012 is the target date for the the alignment of galactic center, with our sun, earth and moon (in descending order) all coming into alignment at 7:35 pm, U.S. Pacific Time. I wont be placing any bets on Sam's Mayan voodoo, but the alignment itself only happens every 26,000 years. I can't say I expect anything particular, but it's exciting to witness such an event! Still three years off, though..."

December 20, 2012

Petra held her cell phone up, trying to cajole just one bar out the reception icon, and had no luck. In addition to her defunct phone, her digital watch was fried, and the reception of her cable television had been filled with static and distortions. It had only been a year since the earth's electromagnetic field started acting funny, and the distortions were getting worse and worse with each passing day. Petra cussed quietly and shoved the phone back into her jeans pocket, scowling as she stormed into the observatory. Though only five-three and barely a hundered pounds, her storms were small ones, but packed with fury if provoked.

Her passion had been in searching the heavens, but even that was taken from her. The strange EM fluctuations were causing auroras that obscured most of the sky, even during the day. Only EM shielded planes dared to fly, and even those were not totally immune. The cell companies have been trying to battle the fluctuations with stronger signals, but this was having less than positive results. To make matters worse, Sam was calling the staff in for some kind of seroius meeting.

She found her way to the conference room and took her seat amongs the other members of the astronomy department. Even though she was technically the head of the department, Sam was the lead researcher. Sam stood at the head of the table, preparing his Powerpoint presentation, so Petra took the moment to flip through the booklet each seat had in front of it. It was Sam's findings on a recent research project. She read the booklet quickly, and within a moment was astounded and dismayed by what she was finding written within.

"Sam?" She said out loud, getting the whole room's attention. Sam looked up at her, annoyed that she was not going to wait for the meeting to begin properly. He sighed, shut his laptop and made an exasperated gesture at her, as if to say "Go on..." "Are these number right, Sam?"

Sam nodded.

"Jesus, are you serious?"

"What is it, Petra?" Doctor Vladmir Zelankovic asked, both irritation and hungarian accent thickly lacing his words.

She fixed each of the five team members with a short gaze, her grey eyes unflinching as she said, "According to these findings, The earths EM field is not reversing as we had thought, but collapsing altogether." She paused a moment as the other doctors expressed disbelief and shock, before continuing, "And, if his math is right, the collapse will occur at the precise moment of the alignment... That's less than 20 hours from now!"

Nobody spoke for several minutes, for they all knew what this meant. A planet without an EM field to stabilize it would tear itself to pieces as it spun in space, and it wouldn't take very long. They all knew that when that EM field collapsed, it was a death sentence for every living thing on earth. Petra said what nobody else wanted to, "By this time tomorrow, we'll all be dead."
"Oh please! The only things they do better than us are suck and die!"
-Turanga Leela, Futurama

MerlinSylver
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Re: The Chaos Gate

Post by MerlinSylver » Sat Oct 03, 2009 7:17 pm

Petra lapsed into a horrified silence as Sam Richfield picked up after her dramatic outing of his report.

"She right, at least about the EM field collapsing. Now, as far as everything dying, that's only a theory." Sam said, and pushed the bridge of his glasses back into place with a finger.

"The prevailing theory," Petra said quietly. The others only stared on, flipping though the booklet as Sam continued his presentation.

"My report includes findings from NASA, SETI and a number of other organizations that make a habit of tracking EM fluctiations. All of the numbers agree, once cross-referenced and collated with each other, that EM field has been getting weaker ever since the earth passed to within 3.14 degrees of the galactic plane. The rate had an exponential growth algorithm which kept the effects relatively mild until the final upward arc, which we just passed toward the end of last year. The final spike in decay rate begins today, ending tomorrow. Nothing like this has happened in recorded history, but if what we've witnessed in the past year is an indication, then we're in for a hell of a ride."

Petra slapped her copy of the report against the table, "Hell of a ride? Christ, Sam!" The rest of the team shrunk back, trying hard not to draw Petra's attention. "You sound like you're looking forward to this!"

"There's no guarantee this is the end, Petra! The earht's been through this before, 26,000 years ago, and there's still life here, isn't there?"

"Then why isn't this being publicized, instead of being kept only to those of us that had it figured out anyway. I see that you mention in here that this information's considereing classified? What kind of crap is that?"

Sam sighed and veritably ripped his glasses off his face, and pinched the bridge of his nose. "Petra, if you need to take out your frustrations on me, even on today of all days..."

"Sorry. Don't know what I was thinking!" Petra shouted, coming out of her chair in a flash. "You can all sit here and wait for the end, but I'm not going to do it! I'm gonna... gonna..."

"What? Gonna what, Petra? Stop it? Warn people? Maybe you should just go home and try to watch a few hours of 'Greys Anatomy' to while away the time?"

Petra had been on the verge of giving in, relaxing and sitting back down until this last comment. Her admission to him that she enjoyed reruns of that show had come during a tipsy moment at a Halloween party, and he had let her live it down since. For him to bring it up now, though...

"Go fuck yourself!" She shouted, hurling the booklet toward's Sam and bolting from the conference room. Outside in the sunlight, she leaned against the stucco wall and indulged in a cigarette. She had told everyone she had quit, and largely had, but the occasional stressor called for a draw on her old carcinogenic friend. "Why not?" She asked herself with a morose chuckle.

Of course, Sam was right. The theory was that an earth without a magnetic field would wobble tremendously, basically upsetting every landmass and sea. The electrical storms would fry most surface creatures, and the volcano super-explosions that would result from massive earthquakes would all but eradicate what was left of civilization. Despite these grim veiws, they were only theories, just as Y2k had been, and several other social collapse theories that had popped up over the course of history. For all she knew, an earth without an EM field would simply generate a new one. Or maybe something altogether unforseen would happen. She began to feel a glimmer of hope, that perhaps things were not as dire as she had thought moments ago.

She looked up into the sky and took another drag. She hoped that looking into the sky would inspire her to true feelings of hope rather than the mere glimmer, and was rewarded with a breathtaking veiw of a daytime moon hanging large in the sky. She smiled at it, and kept watching it as she smoked and calmed. For a long moment neither she, nor the moon, did anyting strange, but as she was flicking the ash from the cigarette, the moon did something she had never seen it do before.

It cracked.
"Oh please! The only things they do better than us are suck and die!"
-Turanga Leela, Futurama

MerlinSylver
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Re: The Chaos Gate

Post by MerlinSylver » Mon Oct 05, 2009 3:43 am

At first Petra was sure that what she was seeing was nothing more than more distortion from the weakening EM field. As she watched, the moon seemed to vibrate for a moment. Her rational mind knew that for her to see the effect from earth, the moon must have been heaving violently, but still she could not accept what she as seeing. The vibration of the moon persisted for a few moments, and then it simply came apart. Three great chunks drifted apart from one another. Even with all her science trainig, she still expected to have heard an explosion, or a great crack. Instead, the three chunks of what had been the moon simply drifted slowly apart from one another.

When she was finally able to tear her eyes off the spectacle she turned to run inside, but was too late. The door came swinging open, Sam and the others flowing out, looking up. Mutters of disbelief rolled from their lips, but nobody spoke beyond that. "What could cause this?" Petra asked, looking over at Sam. "That wasn't the Earth's EM field, Sam, what the fuck could cause that?"

Sam shook his head, as much at loss as Petra. Petra slapped him on the chest to get his attention away from the spectacle in the sky, "Sam! Don't you think you should find out? You are the Communications Liason, right?" She said this last bit with bitterness that she regretted immediately. This was not the time for petty disagreements about pay grade. To his credit, Sam didn't take the bait, simply nodded and dashed back inside to make phone calls. Petra looked around at the others and said, "How did you guys know, by the way? I was just coming in to tell you."

One of the lab techs, a mousy woman named Jane, said "It's on the news. Already... it's all over the air. And it's more than that too. Satellites in the quadrant were destroyed, knocking out telecomm, cell phone relays... all kinds of stuff." She looked scared, and in shock. Petra nodded, "Lets get back inside, try to... plan, I guess."

Another lab tech, Mitchell spoke up now, "Plan? For what? You said we would all be dead tomorrow! How do you plan for that?"

Petra was about to direct a stinging remark back into the young man's face, but was distracted by an wooshing sound. She turned her head, tracking the sound, and spotted the source of it. In the sky, it looked like a crazed black ribbon taken by mad winds was being driven toward them. At first she could not make sense of the sound and the sight together, but it only took a moment for her to realize what was going on. The black ribbon dipped, and she could now see that it was a gargantuan flock of birds. A river of feathers, talons and beaks surged out of the sky, and Petra knew that they needed to clear the area.

"Inside, get inside now!" She shouted, turning to the heavy steel door of the observatory. She jerked the door open and rushed inside, followed by two of the lab techs. Mitchell was not so lucky. As Petra turned to secure the door's electronic lock, she saw Mitchell at the door, almost inside and ready to shut the door, when the river of bird plowed into the building. The relentless tide of birds slammed against the hard metal and stucco exterior, but dozens more streamed in through the open doorway. Mitchell was caught in the rush of feathers and blood. He screamed out, fell to the floor thrashing, and the birds fell upon him, pecking and scratching as if it had been he that had run into them. Petra tried to reach in to pull him away from the crazed birds, but she knew it was too late. Mitchell stopped struggling, and eventually lay there. The birds did not press in, indeed they lay where they fell, many of them dead from too much stress.

Petra backed away from the scene, horrified and in shock. "Lets... go to the control room. Call an ambulance from there..." Her voice was distant, disconnected, even in her own ears.
"Oh please! The only things they do better than us are suck and die!"
-Turanga Leela, Futurama

MerlinSylver
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Re: The Chaos Gate

Post by MerlinSylver » Thu Oct 08, 2009 4:21 pm

A few minutes later the crew was all packed into Sam's small office, eagerly awaiting a verdict. Sam had already called a few other observatories and had gained no ground, but now he was on the phone with NASA. He face was telling the story, though. When he hung up, he wiped at his mouth with his fingers and then produced a bottle of scotch from his desk drawer. "Dammit, Sam, what is it?"

Sam ignored her long enough to take a shot, and let it simmer. He poured another shot and said, "They just don't know. Top theory at the moment is that earth was struck by some kind of gravitational wave, something associated with the-"

"The Galactic Plane. Right, that was my discovery. What's it mean?"

Sam shook his head, "Nobody knows.. there's too many theories right now. But obviously... the moon, and the birds. There's reports coming in from all over about tsunamis and earthquakes." For the first time in Petra's career, she was glad to be the head of this observatory, deep in the Canadian wilderness. "California got hit hard. NASA is predicting some meteor-falls over the course of the next week, as smaller peices of the moon fall to earth"

As Sam spoke, everyone else simply stared off into their own separate distances, contemplating the meaning of all of it. They were too far away from any real city, only the town of Gooseneck lay twenty miles distant. The city gave the term 'one-horse town' new meaning, with one bar, one gas station, and one cop. For all intents and purposes, they were stuck out in the Canadian mountains with ring-side seats to the end of the world.
"Oh please! The only things they do better than us are suck and die!"
-Turanga Leela, Futurama

MerlinSylver
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Re: The Chaos Gate

Post by MerlinSylver » Fri Oct 09, 2009 4:29 am

Twenty miles south, Township of Gooseneck

The Last Chance filling station had been closed for a couple of weeks, the remaining gas in the tanks reserved for the univiersty astronomers up at the observatory. Fred McCort, the owner/operator of the station, also lived out of the establishment. He had a small room in the back for his bed and television, and the station's facilities fille all the rest of his needs. He almost always wore overalls, a thick cotton shirt and a hunters cap with the ears pulled down. He might not have made much of a fashion statement, but he kept warm.

Fred came out of his room into the station, though it was closed, he kept all his beer in the cooler for the store. At the cooler he collected three cans of a local brew from the cooler, some chips and a package of Twinkies from the snack rack and started back into his room. He had been watching an old movie on VHS to take his mind off the increasing craziness outside, but even that wasn't doing the trick anymore. The electricity kept flickering, and the screen's polarity would reverse every few seconds, so he had decided some beer would make the experience better.

Fred didn't have any idea about Galactic Planes, or alignments. The only thing he knew about astronomy was that Petra Collins, the American astronomer, was a pretty enough thing to look at. He didn't know anything about tectonic disturbances, or of wild flocks of birds. Nor did he know anything about the man that was suddenly in his store with him.

Fred stopped short, dropping his beers and chips, though strangely, he had a deathgrip on the Twinkies. The man he saw was not much taller than himself, but was lean. It was hard to tell what he was dressed in, but Fred was left with the impression of a long black coat. Worse, the shadows in the dim store seemed to coalesce around him, making him that much harder to see, though Fred was sure that the man's eyes seem to flash, like a cats eye when the lights are turned out. "Hey what are you doing in my store, eh?" He said, using the Twinkie package as a pointing device.

"Frederick Jay McCort." The man said, not a question. His face was obscured by the shadows, but Fred knew beyond doubt that the man's eyes were staring holes into him. Suddenly, Fred was very , very afraid. As if in response to his emotional distress, the man said "Do not be afreaid, I have not come to harm you." Fred nodded and crept closer to the register, underneath which was a loaded sawn-off shotgun for just such occasions. As he reached for it, the stranger said, "Your weapon will not harm me."

Just the same, Fred pulled the shotgun from its spot and thrust the barrel toward the man. "You'll stop talking in riddles, stranger, and tell me who you are!"

The man took a step forward, and Fred's nerves could handle no more. He pulled the trigger, and the mouth of the shotgun erupted in thunder and fire. The man stood there, as if Fred had done nothing more than fire a child's cap gun. As if Fred had not done anything at all, the man answered, "I am the first of the awakened. And you..." The man raised his hand and waved in the air as if catching something, something Fred could not see. The man examined the thing for a momnet and finished his statement, "And you are a werewolf. Fascinating."

Though the shotgun was obviously useless against this intruder, Fred continued to use it to emphasize his words. "Mister, I'm telling you, if you don't get outta my store right now..." He stopped, knowing he had no threat to make.

He heard the man begin to chuckle in the shadows, and then, "Frederick.... wake up."

At these words, Fred was overcome with a pain unlike anything he had ever felt before. To him, it felt like every bone in his body was breaking and reforming, his very flesh being ripped off and sewn back together. The transformation was long and arduos, but about halfway through, his cries of pain became cries of excitement and hunger, as the wolf took over. Transformed, the beast that was Fred stood before the man in the shadows, breath heaving, bood rushing. The man's cat-light eyes locked onto the eyes of the beast and he said, "Now... go find Petra Collins, and bring her to me. You may kill anyone else you find on the way, but bring her back to me alive."
"Oh please! The only things they do better than us are suck and die!"
-Turanga Leela, Futurama

MerlinSylver
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Re: The Chaos Gate

Post by MerlinSylver » Wed Oct 14, 2009 4:30 pm

The state of things degenerated quickly for Petra and her group of hold-outs at the observatory. They had watched CNN until the satellite network failed. No digitial transmission could make it this deep into the Canadian wilderness, so even an antenna was no good in brining in reception. Before they lost the television, though, they had learned several horrifying facts:

The whole world was experiencing earthquakes on a scale imagined only by movie directors. Most of California was in the process of falling into the sea, while other, older faults ripped open anew. Yellowstone National Park had blown in a spectacular super-eruption, which was estimated to have already caused hundreds of thousands of deaths. News reports were coming in from all over the world about wild bird activity, much of it ending with the same bloody fate as they had already witnessed. They were just being informed of global black-outs when the power went out, flickered back on, and then went out again. It didn't come back on.

There had been a moment of panic while some of the techs screamed and wailed, but between Petra's haranguing and Sam's calm nature, the situation calmed enough for them to think about the radio. Unfortunately, all they could tune in was an emergency signal.

"Should we go back outside?" One of the techs asked as they lit emergency candles. Petra shook her head, "No, we need to stay inside for now. There's going to be lunar fall-out from... .from what happened to the moon. The cloud from Yellowstone will probably get here within a few hours. It's safer here... maybe we can weather-"

Sam cut her off, in a rare display of his own anger, "Weather? What the fuck?" Spittle flew from his lips, his teeth clenched in a feral rictus grin. "You're such a stupid bitch!"

Petra was too shocked to be offended. Sam began to stalk toward her, and in the flickering candlelight, she saw his face contorting in rage. His eyes seemed to light up as he approached, and she took several steps backward until she bumped into her desk. "Sam, what's wrong with you?" She said, her voice catching as she spoke. Sam didn't answer, but took another step toward her before stopping, and cocking his head as if hearing something in the distance. His face took on an eager, despearate look, and he spun and ran into the darkness, toward the outer doors. "Sam!" She shouted, taking off after him now, all fear gone. She was concerned he was losing his mind.

Ahead of her, the door flew open to the outside, and the glaring light from outside sillouhetted Sam for a moment, before he sped out the dor. Petra stopped short, not sure if what she saw was possible, but it seemed his arms had lengthened, his back hunched, and his face protruding. Teeth bared. Like a wolf.

She only allowed her hesitation a moment's grip, then she forced herself forward, launching herself out the door. Outside in the parking lot, amidst a sea of dead, bloody birds, Petra came up short again as she saw two creatures facing off with one another. Creatures that looked all the world like a pair of werewolves, snarling, circling one another. Worse than that, one of the werewolves was wearing the torn and shreded remains of Sam's clothing.
"Oh please! The only things they do better than us are suck and die!"
-Turanga Leela, Futurama

MerlinSylver
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Re: The Chaos Gate

Post by MerlinSylver » Wed Oct 21, 2009 4:53 am

The two beasts collided with one another, claws and teeth slashing in a deadly whirlwind that, crazily, reminded Petra of old Taz cartoons. The similarity to a cartoon ended when both creatures began yelping in pain, blood splashing from huge gashes. “Inside! Get back inside!’ She shouted to the others, herding them back into the observatory. Once inside, she slammed the door shut, latching it securely.

“What about Sam? What about him, huh?” One of the female interns was asking.

Petra thought about this a moment, panicked, near the edge of insanity. “We can’t help Sam now...you saw what he was like. He might… he might kill us. We need to let them be.”

“But that… that thing!”

“Sam IS that thing! Don’t you get it? The whole fucking world is coming down around us, as now even Sam is lost. He’s a fucking monster!”

The girl broke away from the group and ran off into the darkness of the observatory, sobbing. Petra felt bad for having blown a gasket like that, but could not be bothered with it at the moment. She had to think, had to figure how to proceed.


The girl, Renee, ran off into the darkness, seeking a place to curl up and cry. As she rounded a corner though, instead of peace, she found a man. She ran headlong into him; her face connecting to his chest so hard she nearly fell backward. Before she could scream, though, his arms had snaked out and snatched her, pulling her into a tight embrace. His hand covered her mouth so she could not cry out; she was helpless in his grasp.

“I have good news for you love,” He said, he voice containing no mirth, no joy. “You were meant to die today, in fact, just a few moments ago. Sam? He was going to tear your throat out, until I sent that other one to distract him. I’m sure old Freddie at the gas station didn’t enjoy being made into a werewolf… but he did come in handy… And now it’s your turn.”

Renee tried to scream as the man shoved a dagger blade into her back, severing her spine instantly. The scream cut off as she went limp, instantly paralyzed. Awake wanting to scream, the man laid her down on the cold floor. “I paralyzed you to make this easier… the host usually doesn’t like this part very much.” He leaned over as if too kiss her, but a mere inched from her lips, he stopped. A horrible retching noise issued from him, and his jaw opened wider as a thick, black tentacle slid out, dripping slime and blood. The tentacle terminated in a questing, prehensile tip that pried open Renee’s lips and darted in. The man’s body convulsed as the last of the thing left him and entered her, and then fell over dead. A moment later, Renee arose, her severed spinal cord regenerated by the thing inside her.
"Oh please! The only things they do better than us are suck and die!"
-Turanga Leela, Futurama

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Merlin
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Re: The Chaos Gate

Post by Merlin » Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:44 pm

Petra had begun to do an inventory of supplies: food, batteries, flashlights and the such. The idea that whe world might just come apart around her had to be a second thought to how to survive in case it didn't. Sam's strange transformation, and the battle of the werewolves mere moments ago had to take even a third seat behind the end of the world. Survival was all she could think about, and her initial outlook was grim.

Raiding the fridge, which was no without power, she found only three candy bars. The rest of the items were foods that required refrigeration, and without electricity, it would spoil. Even if they dines on whatever they could find, the rest of the food would only be good for one meal. In the smoking lounge (which smoking was no longer allowed in) there was a snack machine that yielded several bags of chips and a dozen more candy bars. Maybe enough food for two days, if everyone went hungry, eating as little as possible.

And water was an issue too. When Petra first tried the faucet in the break room, at first it seemed fine, but within moments it began running brown and thick with deposits, and an unhealthy smell of rust and worse rose from it. There was enough water in the water cooler for perhaps two days.

"Two days..." she muttered under her breath as she plopped down in her office seat, looking at the depressing list of supplies.

"Yes, two days is all we'll have." Petra looked up at Renee's voice, though she was very diferent than she had been just a few minutes ago. Colder.

"Renee," Petra started to apologize, but stopped and said "Are you alright, Renee?" instead.

The girl nodded slowly, never taking her eyes from Petra. "Am I going to starve to death?" Petra almost thought she saw Renee smile at that, like this had become a joke to her.

Petra grimaced. So that was it, the girl was afraid. And she had only made it worse by yelling at her earlier. She left her depressing inventory list, going to the girl's side. She took Renee by the shoulders, but immediately removed them: In that moment she had felt a surge of hatred, not for the girl, but for herself. She literally wanted to kill herself, to simply take a knife and slit her own throat. The moment her hands left Renee's skin, the horrible feeling left, but it left her stunned. She recovered quickly, though, and simply said, "No... I'm not going to let you starve, or any of the others. We'll... we'll put together an expedition to that convience store. From there, maybe on to Oxdale."

Renee simply stared at her for a long, uncomfortable moment. Petra couldn't be certain of it, but she felt like those feelings of hate had been Renee's own feelings. They were dark, and horrible, rather than simply angry. She felt intuitively that there was something deeply wrong with Renee.
Oh please... the only things they did better than us was suck and die!

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