Hidden 15 days ago Post by apathy
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Bloop went the thick drop of condensation, shed from the leaky pipes suspended from the ceiling, against the scuffed linoleum of the corridor. The sound punctuated Sóse’s final moment in that fever dream of a conjoined setting. The detective watched on, tomahawk at the ready, for an opening to strike Tom down, when his surroundings shifted. A digital flood drilled through Sóse’s awareness as his augments simultaneously returned. Cybernetic consternation accompanied luminous bands of glimmering gold and pulsating purple that obscured most of the arena’s inhabitants from Sóse’s vision save for the greatest and most recent source of suffering in the detective’s life: Kynion.

Sóse barely acknowledged the alien presence contained within the scintillating halo with him as the woven roots of the Nexus faded away beneath them. He glared at Kynion with palpable contempt during his delicate descent into the depths beneath the Nexus. The cybernetic detective audibly scoffed when his eldritch host droned on about gods and peers.

Pfft, Glowboy’s self-aggrandizin’ megalomania is off the charts.

His feet reached interdimensional substrata. Sóse turned to survey his latest and, supposedly, greatest arena when his copper gaze abruptly stopped. The cybernetic detective stood, in stunned silence, before an imposing comrade he’d last seen 20 years ago. Sóse took a step forward when he caught a glimpse of his reflection in one of Turtle’s massive and polished legs. The mirror image that returned his glance was yet another facet of Sóse’s life this spectacle of a tournament had dredged from his memory banks.

Faint red LEDs twinkled on the set of HEX tech-gogs fastened around his forehead by a band of vitreous technopolymer. The dark aramid-weave fabric of a turtleneck clung to Sóse’s brawny torso and arms beneath his deflexion and spider-silk chest rig. A carbon-fiber battle belt secured black, durable, duoweave tacticloth and mycofiber cargo pants to his frame. The pants were tucked into a pair of gunmetal, knee high ultralight ceramic-layered combat exo-jacks. Tawiskaron was at his right hip, its speed-draw holster buckled to the belt, along with a magazine pouch and Sóse’s folded tomahawk, Atóken. The notched head of his war club, Kanàkare, grazed his lower back from the aramid-weave loop clipped to Sóse’s chest rig. His left hand held Karáhkwa’s grip. The weight of its 40” barrel, lined with ominous dials and superconducting magnets, comfortably rested against his shoulder, its muzzle pointed behind him.

Turtle, y’giant fuck! What are you doin’ here?

The hulking Tank/Walker hybrid canted its great central platform in a brief nod while its multiple reticles focused on the cyborg. Turtle’s familiar drawl, a virtual pastiche of the Kanienʼkehá꞉ka accent, filtered into Sóse’s mind.

Skennen, Soz! Nova to see you! Where’s here? Navigational telematics are all over the place.

Some assho-.

Greetings, Operative Hihnon. What have you gotten yourself into now?

The cybernetic detective began to respond when a third party joined the conversation. The texture of the new voice was steel-edged yet soft; almost unbearably wise in its rich, feminine timbre. Sóse stepped back and squinted in search of tell-tale perturbations. His gaze swept across the arena, noting a presence at the far end of the silent battlefield, then returned to the arachnoid mecha before him. An atramentous, avian silhouette appeared, perched atop Turtle’s colossal rail-cannon when Sóse’s eyes passed over the main gun. Owl stared silently at the cyborg, its vantablack exterior almost devouring the soft lighting that surrounded it. Another instant and it was gone from his sight.

Hey, Tsistí. We’ll catch up later. For now I’ll need a covert analysis of this place. I want to know everything.

Affirmative. Good to be back, Operative.

With a short jump, Sóse landed on top of Turtle’s central platform near its abdomen. Atop his 20’ platform, he turned his attention towards Kynion high above. Sóse’s voice carried across the arena as he yelled, accent set to 11.

”Hey, Glowboy! Yeah, the gonk with the blue hair! Ya got some real noive to pull me off’a case! Ya got even more noive to remind me of it by sendin’ me to a Mickey Mouse knockoff of my office! When I get outta here I’m gonna rip yer head off!”

During Sóse’s speech, segments of Turtle’s abdomen separated to allow the cybernetic operative access to its cockpit. He entered the spacious cabin, an array of monitors coming to life with his presence. Sóse settled into the gunner’s chair, securing Karáhkwa in a rack above a temperfoam bench along the way. A series of small monitors descended from the ceiling around the cyborg while he wirelessly patched himself into Turtle’s systems.

Let’s get some tunes going. What’d we do last time? Holiday? Of course, it was Owl’s pick. How ‘bout some Morgan? Somethin’ catchy.

The upbeat drums of Lee Morgan’s The Mercenary began to rattle through the cockpit. Turtle and Sóse fully synchronized as Owl imperceptibly launched off its perch.
Hidden 14 days ago Post by Circ
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The Nexus Roots

… 🗲...


Rage, wrath, vengeance—emotions raze his soul's placidity, still inciting Ivplec to annihilate Kynion.

I promised him I would kill him.

Resolve quells his blazing inner landscape. A minute of torment in puerile putrid flesh, a moment of fatalistic rapport, an infinitesimal mote of introspection, just totems of fate on his present path. His torso heaves, then he remembers he doesn't breathe. Focus is spiritual, inward. Silent, still, he hones his senses. Within, the rime of determination proliferates, a dread simulacrum contorting his will to a haunt, a ghost sound, a ceaseless vicious wail from the lone high cleft of a hoarfrost-ensnared spire.

I will break the spire.

Clenching Rngswusch's haft in his gorillian grip, he feels strong. Stronger. A whisper reverberates up his arm, his massive black blade divulging its increasing potency. Concealed in his club-form fist, Pffkshwahk echoes an accord. A surge of power, a display of guile. Sheathing Rngswusch in the reverse ribs protruding from his spine, Ivplec spreads wide his arms and bows to Kynion with excessive flourish. Inchoate, that faceless mound atop his trunk lengthens, splits, snarls. He recalls his sword arm to his fore, fist up, knuckles out, and casually extends a solitary central digit.

« Audience body language indicative of successful contempt translation: rolling eyes. »

No reason to leave any space for doubt.

Viridian fangs burst from his mound's gash, menacing, dripping pungent acidic bands. It contorts, a rictus, a fiendish gaping mad grin. He clamps down on his finger, root and all, rears his head back, and rips it off. A multitude of eyes glare at Kynion. Acid spills from the corners of his mouth, translucent hissing yellow. Then Ivplec vomits the digit on the ground at the foot of Kynion's throne, a chunk of dark malachite writhing to a rough sphere in a pool of noxious phlegm.

Deserved or otherwise, his contempt seeks its locus. He senses aught else, even as the platform on which he tarries descends through an arcane patina and as the nexus tree's roots twine overhead in a sinister canopy. Raw instinct alone exposes the for him the contemptuous warden lazing on his throne, tormenting his hostages, a vain melodramatic wretch.

Suddenly, most of Ivplec, mostly, is alone.

"When I get outta here I’m gonna rip yer head off!" resounds throughout the cavity, terminating Ivplec's brooding.

Pause, analysis, recollection. From the brackets, he internally recites the name of his counterpart: Sóse Tekaronhióken Oakes, a formerly-human cyborg. A sizable fellow, a person with whom Ivplec shares an important aim in common.

"Enough of their games. Let's forge our own path home," Ivplec offers, his endoskeletal chimes ringing soft and low, audible only to Sóse.

What passes for his face lifts up to the unseen watchers, and the false enormity of the would-be battlefield flows over him. Around, above, below twist and grasp the roots, contrivances to contain; unimaginably thick, a few fine, each awash in a pallor of blue-tinged dim gray, as the flesh of a dead thing.

Odd that things so dark, so weary, nevertheless glow, he observes, the diffusing light delineating a chamber infinitely far and oppressively near; an optical illusion.

Cold, weary, bored, rife with a false light.

This place longs for action.

Deep in his trunk, his core rouses, fusing iron to actinium, radiating his inner flame through the cold liminal misery of this pathetic fastness. Acid flowing through his countless crevasses evaporates, a xanthic miasma billowing along the floor in a scene akin to dry ice drifting across a pop concert stage. Again, he raises his fist, his display defiant. The gap between four digits, his reminder to the audience. Fuel for their sadism, he again clamps down, bites, tears off his four remaining digits, and heaves them forth.

"Are you entertained?", he roars up to the crowd.

"WELL, ARE YOU?"

Talons erupt from the stumps of his sword hand, black, vicious, glinting. He drops to a knee, punches down, and impales the ground. A trillion trillion dreams writhe and flow around his quartet of nibs; fantasies, desires, ambitions, night terrors, a coagulation of minds and souls for whom sleep is an everlasting panopticon. Insufficient to whelm either his q-bramble or his ancestral presence, he diverts the current to drown in a data lake.

So this is it? Mere numbers, mundane minds; monotonous, repetitious, scarce as aggregates.

A hail of splinters and shattering dreams accompanies his claws as he excises his fist from the roots. Ivplec stands, retrieves his spatha. From his miasma, four objects ascend, his discarded digits reclaiming their purpose as Panoptic n-Axical-Partex spheres. Around him, the air crystallizes, an n-dimensional sheen casting his image from myriad angles, reflecting with it the afterburn of dreams, the splinters of their former confinement fading to dead wood. His will envelopes them, crushing the dregs, empowering the exemplary to soar.

Empty space, wood—a wireframe of orange light courses through it, transfiguring the battlefield with vivid contours of light, dark, form, and void. A vast geometry of intersecting neon cubes expands above him, adrift over a meadow without expanse, lakes of billowing waterglass surging with electric eels and penetrated by emetic conifers bowing under a burden of prismatic kingfishers. Stars shine overhead, near and fierce, a sign of neither night nor day.

In an enthusiastic imitation of Michael Buffer, Ivplec calls out to Sóse across the polychromatic expanse, "Let's get ready to RUMBLE!"
Hidden 11 days ago Post by apathy
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The hiss of pressurized oxygen. The lingering scent of blood and sweat. The glow of the monitors. Nostalgia threatened to drown Sóse in the enclosed cockpit when a chyron flashed across his field of vision. Turtle’s broadband electronic countermeasures picked up an incoming acoustic signal and sourced it back to the arena’s other occupant. The cybernetic operative screened the signal through hundreds of cycles of memetic kill-agents. Thoroughly satisfied, he accessed the message. The soft, low chime of the xenoform’s exoskeleton was an odd accompaniment to the warmth of Morgan’s trumpet as it broke out over the nimble patterns of Higgins’ drumming.

"Enough of their games. Let's forge our own path home.”

Turtle, any ideas on how to respond? We got a way to Close Encounters this?

Meanwhile Owl’s distinctive impulse thrusters silently accelerated its concealed form to Mach 6 while collapsing wavefronts of the resultant shockwaves. The covert aerial drone’s flight path traveled along the toroid’s curved walls as its EM field interpreter analyzed the unique structure of the battlefield. Thoughtforms, chromatic and crystallized, fluctuate underneath the scrutiny of Owl’s sophisticated instrumentation. The aspirations of children watching satellites streak across the night sky from conapt balconies. The determination of a blind Sub-Saharan woman adrift in an endless void. The despair of a husband seeing a gun held to his wife’s head as he chokes to death on his own blood.

This measurement of millions across the noosphere is suddenly thrown off when the bipedal xenoform’s talons plunged into the battlefield. The interference created by the memetic backlash formed a Hermitian matrix, visualized as a coruscating sphere of ideospheric energy to Owl’s EM field interpreter. The drone addressed Sóse in its profound and reserved cadence a moment after the operative posed his question to Turtle.

Analysis complete, Operative Hihnon. Beginning report.

Toroidal structure consists of unusually high levels of concentrated ideospheric energy. Memetic backlash between toroid and xenoform’s unique emission field detected.

Scans of examined xenomatter report a stibium-based lifeform with markers of Hume manipulation analogous to Scranton anchors or the null-effect of Operative Hihnon’s bio-force.

Calculations on prolonged exposure of ideospheric matter to Humes determine calcification of eigenvalues leading to an XK-Class event with 99.6% certainty.

Findings suggest immediate response. Shall I continue to observe and report my findings accordingly?


Sóse assents and begins to digest Owl’s report when Turtle’s drawl provides him with another morsel of information.

Think that thing can pick up wideband, Soz?

At the speed of hyper-accelerated thought, Sóse issues a series of commands; their effects immediately evident as several of Turtle’s systems engage. The majority of the monitors surrounding the cybernetic operative shift to relay the hexapedal tank’s visual feed. Through the glow of the screen, Sóse observed an array of tessellated neon cubes expand above a pale yellow murk that churned and crept along the battlefield. Reticles along Turtle’s many surveillance hubs dilate and contract, expanding Sóse’s field of vision while zeroing in on the xenoform that stood beneath a tetrad of malachite spheres. The subspace sensors of Turtle’s multiband array register n-dimensional activity, outlining the spheres in a white hot glow as a phantasmagoric forest of twisted trees, heavy boughs adorned with psychedelically plumaged birds.

Second message received and screened. Commencing playback.

"Let's get ready to RUMBLE!"

Interesting turn of events. Ping the ugly gonk back. Tell him the following: You set it up. I’ll knock it down.

Meanwhile, vents across Turtle’s central platform slid open and emitted thick plumes of obscurant smoke. The red-tinged fumes contained micropulverized graphite, copper nanowires, and technopolymer-coated microbeads. The smokescreen visually obscured the tank and prevented electromagnetic tracking. Simultaneously, the high-pitched whir of Turtle’s muon generator gave a nostalgic tug on the cybernetic operative’s heartstrings. Layer after layer of high-density muons surrounded the tank in a dome, separated by the breadth of Planck’s length. Lastly, the filmy kinetic lenses along the geodesic dome of Turtle’s hard light projector transitioned into translucent panels. A diode within the dome, synchronized with Sóse’s neural weave, transmitted a luminal lattice through the lenses that manifested as a winking emoji cast on the red-tinged smokescreen.
Hidden 9 days ago Post by Circ
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Filling the cylindrical vastness, a material hologram of intermingling dreams riven from the roots. Ivplec towers through its axis, an imposing edifice darkening the vibrant mirage. Day, gaudy and gay, deceives the senses, inflecting distinct hues cast from a cycling quartet of nascent stars. Miasma mates with fog, accreting around him in a slow-moving vortex shifting from sepia, to mauve, to bole; overhead, the matrix of translucent cubes spread step-wise, edges intense neon deviations to the gas' agnate pastels. The ignition of his core heats the chamber, lifting and warping the nebulous veil to dense a formation of globular mammatus clouds.

Sharp, naked trees with trunks and limbs as dark as obsidian hew around him in a queer mimicry, appearing to erupt in sync with rising fog. Not an explosion of their own matter, but via a multitude of birds bursting from their boughs, dashing wings of feathers in curvelinear chaos, scattering pinions to entangling rainbows in a mad cacophonic descent. Hissing, ephemeral, they alight on the water, dissolving to opalescent sheens.

The very essence of mirrors and smoke, Ivplec muses.

Four of his five Partex spheres levitate along an arciform path through the cloaking brume, n-Band Sensor Arrays scanning the arena along 90 degree steps. They detect a hole rapidly skirting the perimeter, a trail of self-canceling kinetic anomalies in its wake. Less stealthy, an armored hexapedal unit projecting a lepton near-field. Sóse enters the latter, a mechanical man with the lingering taint of meat: the person this place insists he defeat.

A logic pattern cascades along Ivplec's exoskeletal frame. Its properties are unique enough that they warrant analysis by his q-nervous bramble. Co-routines propagate up through his data substrate's exception interface, reducing the noise via Perlin antipodal artifact sanitization and translating the message.

Interesting.

Ivplec's vague approximation of a face confronts Turtle's own comidic abstraction. Briefly, he drops his muzzle; a gesture of acknowledgment that transcends species and worlds. Rather than settle for an answer imprecise, he festoons it with fact that emerge as his soul projects beyond mundane mineral matter and violently bludgeons the thoughtscape into order via violet astral astroblemes, afterimages of his presence hammering the floating cubic platform into a pillar and imprinting upon it a multitude of fiery mathematical glyphs in a serpentine block-step helix a kilometer long.

Sóse made it this far, perhaps he can ascertain to whom I am pointing and the meaning behind my equation.

Restoring Rngswusch to his sinistral talons, he reconfigures its firing mode to maximize output, activating three of its four modalities: Overheat, m-Thief Glutton, and Chandrasekhar Limit Breaker. Soon its parallel railguns will unload mass-increase fusion reaction missiles at a rate of 100 rounds a second and a velocity approaching a third the speed of light. Meanwhile, in his other arm, serving as shield, beat stick, and mortar housing, he imprints in Pffkshwahk an alternating pattern of matter multiplicity and portal charges and loads its teleportation telemetry to the same matrix seen on the pillar.

Pausing a moment, Ivplec scrutinizes the way a tree's spidery shadow depict upon the billowing meadow grass scenes akin to France's most notable revolution, awash with crashing guillotines, splashing blood, rolling heads, and bestial cruel children, women, men.

Scenes of thoughts and dreams almost exclusively humanoid in nature, yet they come from the roots, a supposed multiverse's worth of real-time experiences. What a horrid foreshadowing of the Verse's dominant species, like locusts, spreading through the cosmos and imposing their rule of asinine absurdity.

Maybe I should kill Sóse—eh, no, substance cannot be found in such a meaningless act.

He makes a note of Owl and Turtle's locations, verifying they are not within the immediate threat radius of his fire-control systems. No point in waiting for an affirmation. What's going to happen is going to happen, and he will force his will with or without assistance. A nanosecond passes as Ivplec reins in his presence, focusing it inward, into his q-nervous bramble, and unifies his processing capacity with the idle processes of his ancestral Lodika. More than adequate time to validate and fine tune the mathematical integrity of his formula.

I bet the observers are getting bored, looking down at that shaft-pierced cloud for a whole half-second.

Here's to more boredom!

« Firing solution optimized. Ready to commence code-name "AIMABP": accelerated infinite matter accretion bombardment protocol. »

"It's go time!"

With that, Pffkshwahk erupts for a solid second, scattering 400 charges throughout the arena, the iridescent bubbles ranging from anywhere between 5 and 100 meters in diameter. The array almost entirely fills the arena, although there is plenty of space in the gaps. Near the end of the burst, he levels Rngswusch, targets the first portal bubble, and over the course of the next second his railsword turns bright red from the heat of blasting out 200 bolts fusion reaction missiles.
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Coils of dense, red-tinged smoke unfurled across the battlefield: extensions of the aeriform mantle that unrelentingly billowed and writhed around Turtle’s massive chassis. Sóse observed the xenoform's anthropoidal snout bob in comprehension to his wideband communique through obscurant tendrils that turbulently twisted against the innermost layer of high-density muons. Kaleidoscopic particles of technopolymer and copper nanowire shimmered within the drone and cybernetic operative's shared field of vision until visibility dropped to zero.

Man that's one funny lookin' gorilla.

The avian simulacrum of Owl’s sunken eyes flushed abnormally bright with digital brilliance as it interpreted the psycho-thaumic data presented as glyphs seared upon a helical representation of the arena. Coordinates were instantly relayed while threat-zones were tagged in Sóse and Turtle's advanced targeting systems.

Millions of permutations cycled through the cybernetic operative’s mind as he relayed another series of orders. Monitors surrounding the gunner’s seat partially withdrew, only to be replaced with the flickering materialization of an augmented-reality recreation of the arena. The xenoform’s momentary reflection coincided with the full band’s raucous strains supporting Morgan’s trumpet playing. In an instant, gravitic sensors along Turtle’s multiband array flagged increasing activity. As a result of the xenoform’s barrage, the luminal simulation of the battleground filled with hundreds of erratic motes that shifted between various shades of red while enhanced targeting algorithms calculated their position.

Vantablack contours of Owl’s predatory form streaked along the toroid’s edge as the drone shed its refractive electromagnetic field. Its chassis thrummed with the output of its impulse thrusters. Within three revolutions of deftly avoiding missiles of the xenoform’s fusion-reaction volley, Owl’s velocity reached Mach 600. Mechanical wings spread wide and cast an ominous shadow upon the battlefield. Interlinked electromagnetic launchers along both wings are activated. The frangible diffusion matrixes of ten dozen liquid crystal elastomer beads catalyzed upon being simultaneously launched. The spin-stabilized projectiles (each filled with pentaerythritol tetranitrate and a gram of antimatter) of Owl’s aerial strafe zoomed towards the iridescent spheres scattered across the arena.

Meanwhile, through the now crimson smokescreen arose the shrill whirr of fourteen 120mm barrels that whirled to life. Trypophobic apertures blink across the 20m wide ablative muon barrier as fusillades of superheated violet plasma bolts strike the liquid crystal elastomer beads at 250,000 m/s before they penetrate the iridescent spheres. Trails of obscurant smoke, caught in the wake of the plasma bolts, crept beyond the barrier’s extremity. The apocalyptic energy generated by the collision would eject 120g of highly unstable antimatter. These particles would tunnel directly into the sphere via quantum effects and become subject to their mass-accelerating factor.

Spirals of cascading dreamstuff, ripped from the toroid, followed Owl as it silently hovered above the muon field. A console rose from the floor panels in front of the gunner’s seat within Turtle’s cockpit. Sóse gripped the control stick in one massive hand. A patina of viridescent light suffused the dark, aramid-weave fabric of the cybernetic operative’s turtleneck. Gravitic readings steadily climbed while the lenses of the hard light projector’s geodesic dome contort. The image of the winking emoji crumbled into a scrolling series of mathematical and chemical equations that scrolled across the crimson smokescreen. These equations persisted for several seconds then shifted to a sprawling fractal of screaming skulls in the shape of a mushroom cloud. This secondary depiction coincided with a sinister rumble of Turtle’s main cannon priming.

Odds are pretty high we wipe out everything. Now that’s some high-stakes entertainment.

The sigh of exasperation from Owl echoed through Sóse’s digital mindscape as the effulgent emerald energy surged through his hand and into Turtle’s weapons systems. Within the murk, the digits of the multi-pedal Tank/Walker hybrid’s manipulators exerted 100,000 tons of force upon the disc of the toroid. Memetic fallout rippled through the noosphere as Turtle anchored itself to the arena.
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Dandelion graffiti upswells from the rent roots coruscating on the chamber's roof, stage, and walls like frayed fiber optics, vomiting streams of thoughts and dreams to inevitable doom in singularities lurking beyond the 200 portals. A kessel run race through darkness and space, the ravenous reaction missiles slingshot around black holes, stealing mass and speed, and rush from Ivplec's portals with ever-mounting vigor.

Fleeting yet incredible in quantity, images wisp from the roots into the muddy milieu of already present phantasms. What began as vivid chimeras saturates to a wild kaleidoscopic of ridiculous enormity. Din, cacophony, utter visual discord with occasional motes of crystallizing clarity in colorful churn: a figure standing before a crowd in only their underwear, another in a frantic search for that which they cannot recall, another fleeing indescribable terror, another lustily pursuing that which is not theirs to own. Lost in the mess, in the serpentine flow of gas and light, are the obsidian trees, the colorful kingfishers, the crisp hiss of guillotines relieving a mob's bloodlust in their dramatic descent.

The lost thoughts of millions, billions, trillions, more ...

Minds throughout this multiverse that for a time find rest, no longer suffering the pollution of incessant facile futile noise.

Matters Ivplec ignores, focusing instead on the optimization of his matter increase and acceleration loop, infusing violence with greater violence until it becomes an untamable monstrosity, erupts free, and rids from him of bonds of this place's false gods.

Toward that, he determines bits of bark and incidental feed are inadequate to slake his thirst for destruction.

Augmenting the exponential increase of his reaction missiles, bloating from a mere 100 grams to 1,000,000,000 each in the few moments thus far flown, he engages the molecular cultivation rays of his quartet of Partex spheres within the arena. The roots, slowly maturing over untold eons, burgeon to bud and leaf in real-time, inundating the interior of the arena. From torn branches springs new life, branches twisting and writhing and weaving together like art animating from the pages of the Leabhar Cheanannais. Feed for AIMAB's consumption. As swiftly as it grows, m-Thief Glutton devours.

"More!" bellows Ivplec, reeling back and bashing his fist against his massive gorillian chest.

Almost immunerable on Ivplec's body, solid white corneas retract into scelaras along reverse triptych spirals, exposing inside igneous cavities seething with anger and plasma. Not for long. A wash of cold light resonates out in a thousand-meter radius, fixing virtual particles to a frequency aligning them with the active spacial manifold. Unable to depart, matter builds up and clarifies at an exponential rate, thickening the atmosphere of the arena and providing his railgun missiles an endless supply of matter on which to gorge.

Another second passes and the mass of his missiles transitions from billions to trillions. Slingshoting through portals and passing through multiplicity bubbles in an endless loop, their speed surpasses 0.5c.

« 38.349… seconds to impact, » auto-prompts his databank substrate.

Now we wait.

Seconds count down, each stretching like minutes. Maybe it is the increase in gravity, an effect hitting like a strobe as his missiles race from portal to portal, phasing in and out of local spacetime. Sóse's admixture of ionizing antimatter whorls around each, comas on comets. Thus far, his counterpart appears safe in Turtle, the machine's pincering limbs securing it to the stage in defiance of the gargantuan masses. At the core of those forces, Ivplec has no such need; at least, not until they threaten to rip him asunder. In anticipation of that inevitability, he compacts himself by a third, overlaying his exoskeleton with his shield locus' luminal ward and durability that cover his dark gray-green exoskeleton in an shimmering magenta sheen.

Skulls, fractal, explosion. Yup. He gets it. No further communication needed.

Hmm. A countdown wouldn't hurt.

Might even pique the curiosity of the audience.

The network of eyes atop Ivplec's angular flat skull suddenly emit a bright gold ray, hitting the barrier separating them from the Nexus observers like it is a projector screen. Selecting a random typeface—Comic Sans—from his databank substrate, he broadcasts a sequence of numeric symbols that radiate on the barrier's surface with a precision of 12 decimal places.

18.209325023952

Gravitonic surges vibrate his body violently, siphoning his miasma along a wending trail through the network of portals. Each missile is now as massive as a planetoid racing along at 0.81c. Dangerous, even for him. Rather than letting it be fuel, he closes the gaps in his shield locus, allowing his otherwise airborne acid to gather beneath it in preparation for the final step in this dangerous waltz.

7.232305923030

Missiles once as massive as planetoids balloon to the equal of neutron stars, inducing relativistic effects as they bowshock in their flashes from present to absent at a rate of 0.88c, forcing Ivplec to further compact, further increase his thaumatic shield, and gird himself in his guarding presence.
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Varied tones of Turtle's multiple systems synchronized; a resonant murmur of rumbles and whirrs beneath Morgan and company's masterful tune. The pleasant harmonization was dissolved by the dissonant blare of tocsins as gravitic and subspace sensors registered hazardous amounts of activity that spiked continuously with each cycle of mass-accelerated matter through the iridescent spheres. Through Owl's visual feed, Sóse watched on as images of holographic dreamstuff were uprooted from the toroid in the wake of the dark matter and fusion reaction missiles. A jagged fissure spread just beyond the muon barrier's perimeter; across the ruptured skein of ideospheric matter bled horrendous unreality.

Within the aberrant abyss roiled amorphous abominations that surpassed the ultramundane. Their baneful presence, drawn like bacteria to a wound, pierced the chasm with pseudometric mouths of squamous flesh. Puckered lips gleamed with atramentous toxicants. Teeth, rotted with protonic decay, gnawed at the edge of existence. Thick bands of interference cut across the visual feed as memetic firewalls battled against endless cognitohazards.

Unexpectedly, a ray of golden light radiated from the xenoform's skull and projected a countdown against the barrier high above that separated them from the Nexus observers. Viridian arcs pulsed along the 17' barrel of Turtle's rail-cannon as the emerald-swathed cybernetic operative bio-force into its weapons systems.

13.509645072952

Comic sans? That's worse than all those fuckin' mouths.

Turtle, fire up the Scrantons.


The massive zero-point reactor that powered Turtle audibly warbled in response to the command. Humes rippled outwards from the multiped tank in phase waves of visual distortion that reinforced Sóse's baseline reality. The existential wound beyond the muon barrier's limits sutured into a tremulous cicatrix.

5.107508634194

Meanwhile, the viridian arcs of bio-force condensed into a scintillating nimbus around the 200kg neobohrium shell. Columns of crimson smoke rose towards the toroid's ceiling when a partition, 8m across, yawned open in anticipation of the upcoming blast. Owl's impulse thrusters struggled against the swelling gravitic forces as it took advantage of the opening to enter the divided muon dome and descend to the anchoring bay beneath Turtle's central platform.

0.000000100000

Using the psycho-thaumic coordinates relayed to Owl by the xenoform in conjunction with its multiband sensor array, Turtle's advanced aiming system kept track of the dark matter salvo as it traveled from sphere to sphere, mass exponentially increased with each recurrence. Brawny cybernetic digits gripped the control stick. A bead of synthetic sweat trickled like molasses down Sóse's broad cheek. The reticle designating his target settled onto the digital overlay of luminal cubes.

0.000000000000

In an emerald flash of apocalyptic magnitudes, the 200kg neobohrium shell propelled to .50c in a coruscating corona. The anti-matter/S-particle warhead created causal cavitation along its sub-relativistic trajectory towards its terminus; the salvo of fusion reaction missiles.
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0.000010233242

Strobes of intense gravity violently claw away the arena's interior surface. In evidence, torrents of dull opalescent bark and splinters careen in the wake of such incomprehensible mass, like headless ephemeral serpents in the clutches of a whirlwind. Ivplec knew his creation would threaten to consume him, it was always a question of when. Resolute, he clutches his spatha, blade piercing the ground hilt deep, his anchor against the storm. On purpose, he deadens his tactile sensory array, ignoring the molecule-thin layers of protection shearing off of his exoskeleton. In desperate self-preservation, he consolidates, size diminishing yet again in the final picoseconds of his ridiculous assault's ramp-up. Meanwhile, his multi-dimensional array of portal and multiplicity charges fades.

« PnAP sphere's 2 through 5 destroyed, » intones the auto-prompt.

« PnAP 1 undetected, executing localized MADIF pre-flay cycle and sweeping for anomalies. »

Great! Whatever! Just one more bounce, then boom!

Pointing the limb housing Pffkshwahk at the evanescent matrix's terminus, he fires a final portal charge.

Incessant chaos and impenetrable muddle reduce visibility of the stroboscopic idiospheric holograms coruscating inside the arena's interior to zero. Outside of projections, he has no idea what's going on with Sóse. Really, it doesn't matter. The plan is in motion, it is too late to stop. A vague sense of something incredibly wrong, evil, and twisted emerging through the frays in reality titillates his paresthesic consciousness, but it is nothing immediately actionable. Instead, he works forward, loading hundreds of kyter super-state crystals into Rngswusch's internal high-capacity magazine.

0.000000000134

Unable to withstand the pull, the last of his thaumic shield locus layer peels away. Underneath, miasmic build-up billows out in a xanthic aura. Before another gravimetric pulse spaghettifies him, two thirds of his eyes gamma glint. Yocto-band lasers suddenly shimmer against the deadly aerosol, then space contorts, tessellating around Ivplec in a spheroid of quasi-uniform polytopes in a hyperbolic 9-dimensional subspace configuration.

Just long enough to survive what is coming, he vanishes from local spacetime.

0.000000000002

Nobody would see 0.000000000000.

Through the eruption of devastation, it would be impossible.

In the utterdark defensive well of slipweave migoria, he can only imagine the scene. 400 r-process fusion reaction missiles, each with a galactic rest mass, speeding toward the magic barrier imprisoning him in the arena at a velocity of 99.98c; each striking with the force of an entire universe going nova! Yet, he is not idle; instead, as a pupa in a chrysalis, he repatterns his anatomy, a quartet of demi-black translucent wings flowing from his shoulder blades and a medial-posterior jet propulsion vent.

Beautiful.

Absolute annihilation violates the barrier separating arena from hall, contestants from observers, winners from losers. An impact, an instant, the utter obliteration of a Moser's number's worth of thoughts, dreams, and memories. Not merely an explosion, but the incredibly violent and volatile reaction where iron transmutes to actinium and exotic particles and heaves raw chaos into a system. Its singular nature is primal destruction at a fundamental level. Bevies of linearly-expanding warp bubbles reverse-extrude the very fabric of space. Oscillating the ultramundane to absence expand a vibrato of quark-gluon plasmas, color-glass condensates, and masses complex, negative, and theoretical.

Boring through roots and limits amid a whorl of antimatter collisions, it rises like a monochromatic volcanic eruption, slamming into the ceiling of the Nexus hall, reducing rafters to ash, shingles to cinders, and exposing the lidless host of eyes ever-watching.

May those eyes go blind and the thoughts behind them darken, Ivplec wills, his hypoversal skein unraveling.

Before and above him looms indescribable glorious carnage. Free of this gladiatorial death match, he pounds his feet against the ruin of the arena floor, propelling himself upward. Wings spread, jet engine roars, and his PnAP's MADIF analyzes local events for metanormative markers. Eager to bring this drama to its crescendo, Ivplec activates his Big Ass Sword, stabbing forward, its nigh-infinite laser light in direct alignment with the seat of Kynion's throne.

"Now, Kynion, I shall keep my promise!"
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After a reptilian blink, the demon's pupils scattered like a broken rack of pool balls. Parooz's mouth foamed, leaking a malodorous miasma laced with kerosene and Eau de Parfums. To his fellow spectators displeasure, the devil's abhorrent wheezing and violent spasming distracted from the final, probably drawing Kyinon's ire. Like a marlin, the devil's straight jacket restrained body jousted into the doorstep of Daniel and Tom. Billions of electrical impulses in the depths of his twisted mind fired relentlessly, mirroring the action beyond the scope of the portals, ping-ponging through the endless labyrinth of his gyri.

The mafioso's body was too hot to touch, fatally searing if even a quick attempt to unlatch his bindings bounded by hell occurred. A demon suffering at the feet of mortals was no sad scene, so no sympathy was expected, but if anything, the bizarre sequence of events before them were a sign of something significant. What could cause a malefic entity to virtually have a seizure when he had nearly infinite pools of hell energy to siphon computing prowess from? The terrifying luxury tendons currently binding him to hell allowed for just that. What did that say about this verse in general? The straps loosened on arrival, but now Parooz felt like he was being dragged back. Their power was increasing. The boundless verse that was the nexus, deemed unscalable, impenetrable to outsiders, was vulnerable. Perhaps by the subterfuge of events masquerading as a final. Whether it was carelessness or hubris, obliviousness could lead to oblivion, which wouldn't be so bad in the demon's eyes considering what they put him through prior.

Before Parooz even came to his senses, reminiscing slightly to events not even a day ago, an explosion thrusted him like a blade into the wishmaker. His maleficent frame vibrating like a wet saw with hell sourced energies, highly adaptable to being capable of burning through arcane walls of power by the most ever-present and long living entities.
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