Image source: TurinuZ
Mandrake’s scribblings: Whew! Enjoy the chapter!
The void is dark and silent, like the dark vacuum of space. However, it holds many objects within its depths. Huge shipment containers. Large metal cases. Even small briefcases. All of them suspended in place.
One of the large objects is a large armored vehicle. The entire vehicle is covered in the thick gray armor.The black runes that lined its surface shimmer and twitch in one place. Across the whole vehicle, there are no windows nor anything resembling a door. Residing in the cockpit is a young woman. Clementine Greeves, the sole pilot of the armored vehicle. Her small stature makes her easily mistaken for a teenager. She sports a shoulder length bob hair style and wears a typical flight suit, complete with a full face visor helmet which she has laid down on her lap.
Her hands are busy typing on the console with an elaborate array of controls. Three large screens are fixed in front, displaying a live feed of the void outside. Clementine browses through the data on the screen in front of her.
Clementine: *Everything should be ready. Everything should be ready.*
She closes the data windows and lies back on her seat. She closes her eyes and recites her mission objectives in her head.
Clementine: “In and out. Quick. Destroy and leave. Quick. Quick. Quic-”
Something bright shines into her closed eyes. Clementine opens her eyes in surprise and sees that the screen before her has switched to a screen saver. It shows a brilliant picture of a view in space overlooking a blue ocean planet.
She had recently set the screen saver to turn on after a short time of inactivity. She knows that having that setting on is very foolish especially on the surveillance feed of a war machine. Yet, she is confident that she had set it so it does not appear during times of importance. Plus, she feels that the soothing screen saver was what she needed back then. However, the screen saver did little to abate her anxiety this time.
Clementine snorts in indifference. She still feels that twisted feeling at the pit of her stomach. And that awful feeling of something gnawing at her heart. They have been acting up again. Stirred up by her burden of carrying out a major mission for the organization. Clementine sits upright on her seat. There is another way to curb her uneasiness in this situation. She clasps her hand together and closes her eyes in prayer.
She stumbled on her words. The sense of guilt creeps up on her as she struggles to address her prayer.
Clementine: *My humble lord… I appear before you bearing sins. I have failed your expectations. Please forgive me.*
Her grip tightens.
Clementine: *Another one of my kin has fallen to the temptations of demons…*
Her thoughts deviate towards another organization agent, Indiana Strauss. He has successfully created his own magic. And the concept behind it is…
[Evil. Abominable. Abhorrent. Magic akin to the Devil’s.]
That was the first thing Clementine thought when he described its nature. The other agents had different opinions. Some thought that it is useful. Others find it lacking. Gibson himself approved of it.
Clementine: *… It’s my fault. My sin. I have done what I shouldn’t have. I have steered him towards a steep path and left him on his own accord.*
She recollects her memory of their conversation. Indiana was having trouble deciding what his magic should be. She chimed in with some pointers on tailoring a magic that best fit him and left him to his devices.
Clementine: *Had I stayed with him and advised him more. Perhaps he would have chosen a different path?*
She shakes those thoughts from her mind. They proved no use at this time. She must see to the present and advance forward.
Clementine: “I beseech upon you. Watch over the lost soul. May he never stray from the narrow path he set himself upon.”
She releases her hands and lies back on her seat. Reveling at the serene beauty of the screen saver, she heaves a long sigh.
Her anxiety has been sorted out. While she no longer held strongly to religion, the small ritual from her zealous childhood has always brought her calm and security.
The screen saver fades away and a window appeared on the screen. It is a call from Nathan Terrozzo.
Nathan: “Greeves? Miss Greeves?”
Clementine: “Ah- Yes?! Am I deploying?”
Nathan: “Not yet. Have you read through the most recent surveillance data?”
Clementine: “Yes. Has the situation changed since then?”
Nathan: “Yes. The grand spell that has been protecting Rosetta just disappeared. Fortunately, his location has not changed. He is currently in battle with the Chinese agents.”
Then it suddenly dawns on her. In a short time, she will confront and fight with Rosetta.
Nathan: “We are given an ‘all clear’ to enter the fray. Deployment on my mark. Get ready.”
Nathan cuts off the call. The cock pit is silent. Clementine bends forward and brushes her hand across the control panel.
The magician Rosetta. The sole target of the organization and the being where all magic originate from. Clementine grips the joystick as hard as she can. Her anxiety that has dissipated before returns once more.
Nathan tugs on the cable lifeline securing him to the plane’s cargo hold. He checks the airflow of his breathing apparatus. He then reaches behind to check on his emergency parachute. It is his second lifeline should anything goes wrong. Finally, he turns to check the massive probe.
Nathan: [Such a huge machine. Don’t break off and hit me as you fall out.]
He gives it a nudge with his boot before walking off to the cargo door. He grabs a nearby hanging console and opens the cargo door.
-Beep Beep Beep PSHAAAA-
The alarm blares as the plane’s cargo doors slowly open to the turbulent air outside. He tosses the console aside and checks the tension of his lifeline. He slowly walks to the edge of the lowered door. The city is below him. A plume of smoke is seen rising from the building Rosetta resides in. Nathan turns on his communicator.
Nathan: “Greeves! Do you hear me?”
Clementine: “Loud and clear.”
Nathan: “Okay! I will activate my spell! The target is in the building with smoke coming out from it! I will maintain surveillance over the area. Everything else is in your hands. Good luck!”
Nathan puts his hands over his chest. A rune circle appears over it and he digs into it with his fingers.
He pulls on the rune circle. The circle expands and a black hole opens in its center. It keeps expanding until it covers his entire chest.
Nathan: “YOU ARE CLEAR!! GO GO GO!!”
Then, from within, a small grey vehicle emerge from the hole. It explodes in size, becoming the size of a tank. Flying out of the plane’s cargo hold, it falls to the city below.
Jets on the side of the machine fires and turns its direction towards the smoking building. It circles the building, looking for an opening.
On the building’s side, a gaping hole is open, punched open by one of the Chinese agents. She pulls a lever and toggle the pedal.
-Fthoo Thoo Thoo Thoo-
The jets direct themselves downwards, releasing short thrusts to slow down the machine’s descent. Large metal limbs extend from the machine’s front and grabs on to the building’s side.
The concrete crumbles, unable to support the machine’s weight at it slides down the building. The machine crashes into the gaping hole on the side of the building. Upon entering the building, Clementine’s heart jumps. Expecting an ambush, she wastes no time turning on the flood lights.
The floor turns white from the blinding light. Clementine scans the surroundings, inching closer to the screen.
She lets out a gasp. There he is, a fair distance away. A pitch black body so black that it looks two dimensional. Tall body. Long limbs. A charred skull of a ram. A twisting black mass staring her down. Such a terrifying appearance. To the little pious child within, he is a being with enough power to stand close to God. And with that despicable appearance, she finds no doubt that he is the Devil himself.
She steels herself and grips her console tightly. Her objective is clear as day. Take down the lone monster before her. Her face frown into a focused state as the targeting system locks on to the magician.
The feed of the cockpit screen jolts as two pairs of missiles streak across the air towards the black twisted being she labeled the Devil.
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