The sky had darkened in the days following the failed nuclear strikes, the climate getting colder as the nuclear fallout and asteroidal dust covered the stratosphere. Life on the ground shifted between the viscious cold of nature and the burning flames brought by the ineviatable advance of the invading forces. No one knew their true names or where they came from, only that the soldiers that had poured onto the earth killed every living creature they came across, no matter the size. Those who escaped were forced to watch as the enemy dragged away the bodies of the fallen into the walking metal monstrosities that followed their advance. Most of those who survived and escaped were left with two choices, run or die.
The people of the UK had been given an incredible gift, the gift of power paid for with the blood of every living creature within 30 miles of London. The soldiers of Britain had made their last stand in the centre of London, taking down the metal monstrosity that had swallowed up every living creature in France. No one knew exactly how they had done it, but the resulting explosion had leveled everything turning the south east of England into a flat pile of dust. The explosion had unvieled the function of the monstrosties, showering the remains of England with Bio-Mechanical Nanites. Huddling against the cold and the starvation people began to notice that some were no longer suffering from the deprivation. They didn't hunger, tire or feel the cold, they stood apart from those around them who regarded them as freaks.
Forced out by those uneffected by the nanites, those who were effected were stranded alone when the next wave of invasion forces struck. As the creatures struck, the exiled peoples discovered that survival was not the only ability they had gained. The first person to discover their abilites was a young woman in her twenties; as the creature pounced on her, she threw out her hands and a blast of puple energy sent the creature smashing through a nearby building. As each effected person was attacked they discovered that the curse which had gotten them driven out by their fellow man, was allowing them to turn the tide and drive back the invaders. However the cost was high with only a few surviving to be futher ostracised by those they had saved. With no homes to go to, no people willing to take them in the "Human Augment's", as they had taken to calling themselves, left to use their powers to stem the oncoming tide invasive monsters saving themselves and those who turned on them.
All Saint's Church, King's Heath, Birmingham
Night had fallen on the abandoned town of Kings Heath and the All Saint's Church was playing shelter to a group of Human Augment's. They had decided to take shelter from the oncoming storm, in order to avoid being caught unaware in the open. The church was filled with a purple light as Gwen, first of the Human Augment's, levitated the pews to block the main doors. The rain had begun hammering down on the rooftops closing down external visibility to just a few metres, whilst the Augment travelling with her went about securing the external perimeter. As the final pew was lifted into place her partner re-entered through the vestry, he was dripping wet looking distinctly disgruntled.
"Lance, shouldn't you just dodge the rain drops and stay dry?" He looked up and gave her a withering look as he laid his sword down on the altar. Sitting down on the steps he threw his jacket across the floor "I could but it would be like trying to dodge individual rays of sunlight". He pushed his wet hair back out of his face, revealing his shining golden eyes "I laid the tripwires around the perimeter, but this storm might take them down." He watched as Gwen jumped as the first crack off thunder rolled over the church's roof. "Are you going to be alright?"
Gwen huffed and started reinforcing the windows "I can't see them coming in storms, don't make a big deal out of it." Her face showed her consternation at the weakness the situation was revealing. "What are we going to do? It's not like we need sleep anymore". Lance stood and closed his eyes, he began to shake his outline becoming blurry as he moved faster and faster. The water covering him began coming off him as steam as he used his power. "If anyone saw that they'd swear I was travelling with my dog, not my boyfriend." Lance leaned forwards and vanished, reappearing on Gwen's far side and kissing her cheek. "We could play fetch if it makes you feel better." Gwen gave a little smile then pushed him back across the room "Down boy!". The moment of lighthearted fun was cut short by a crash of thunder shaking the walls of the church.
Lance looked into his military toploader pulling out maps and pens "We should figure out how we're going to get south, I'd rather not have to run all the way to the coast." Gwen sat down on the altar running her hand along Lance's sword "You keep saying that, but then you keeping picking me up and running. Which I swear if you do it again I will throw you through a building.". Lance smirked as he spread the ordinance survey maps across the altar, marking out their position on the map. "If we can head east to Solihul we can get onto the intercity rail line and head towards London." Gwen leaned over resting her head on Lance's shoulder as she looked at the map. "We've walked nearly 100 miles to put our lives on the line for them, are they really worth it?" she put her arms around his chest shaking as the next crack of thunder rocked the building.
Lance frowned as he considered the question "If not us then who?" Gwen rolled her eyes at his pompous sounding answer and got to her feet. "All hail Lance, hero of the human race!" she said sarcastically levitating her bag into her hands, whilst to her surprise Lance took her seriously. "I don't pretend to be a great man, but I'd like to try to be a good one." The walls shook once more and the pair waited for the sound to reach them, but nothing came. The silence streched until the ground shook again, still no thunder. Lance instantly grabbed up his blade and Gwen's hands began to glow, gone were the thoughts of why and what for; now only a single thought remained "Live!".
They scanned the room, eyes flitting to every possible point of entry but no movement came. The two could feel their heart pounding in their chests, the stress from every memory of every fights filling their minds; the memories of their old lives crumbling away even further with every fight. The loudest crack of thunder yet rocked the church and the pair tensed up, but still nothing came. Lance moved to put his back against Gwen's "We're exposed here, we need to know what's com..." Gwen snapped "Don't blame me! I can't teleview through the rain!!". Lance pushed down an angry retort and reached back to take her wrist "I'm not blaming you, but we need to find move.".
The pair ran for the vestry, Lance speeding around the room and grabbing their bags on the way. The two burst forth from the church to find a mangled car smoking in a crater in graveyard. The two took cover looking for enemies, as their eyes adujsted to the darkness and the storm they still saw nothing. Lance dashed forwards into the cover of the car, saving his power for the dangers lurking in the night. He leaned out from cover and instantly dived back, the mangled face of an old woman leaning out from the car window. Lance signalled for Gwen to join him at the car "We've got a casualty, I'll cover you whilst you take her nanties."
Gwen had a look of revlsion on her face as she looked around the side. "I hate taking from people, you know that." Lance kept his hand on blade and was looking over the car. "You haven't taken in nanites in a week, we don't know what effect that has on us. This is an easy top up; no risk, no fight." Gwen shook her head and leaned back against the metal. "She's not a top up, she's a person!". Lance slipped back to her side and stroked her cheek. "I don't like it any more than you do, but if we want to live longer than she has we need to take the nanites. You've felt the power up when we take them and we can't take them from the living. Now please, do it.....for me."
Gwen held back her revulsion as she place her hand on the remains of the woman's head. She could feel the rush of energy course through her as the nanites rushed into her body. No matter how much strength it brought her, it was looting the dead plain and simple. A crash and scream came from across the road and stone work showered the graveyard. The two stayed motionless staring out into the blackness, but no more sounds came. Gwen moved back to Rkyer's side "They're not hunting us and we're in no position for fight them; we're better off hiding." Lance sheathed his sword and nodded his agreement. "Let's get back inside before we're spotted. No lights, no sound." The two dashed for the doorway as a flash of lightning lit up the night, its shine casting things into strange focus and revealing odd shapes moving outside the church boundry. Moments later the light was gone and the pair were left in darkness once more as they slipped ilently back inside.
"Looks like the info we got was wrong." said Lance as gathered up cushions to make a comfortable spot. "If the grunts are still hunting stragglers around here we need to change our plan. We can't afford a pitch battle that might draw in the officer class." Gwen scowled at his tone "They're not some honourable army with a code they're a bunch of defpormed genocidal monsters. Don't talk about them like they're officers." Lance put his hand down onto his sword as they talked of them. Fighting one of the higher classes had given him his sword, but almost cost him everything else. "Whatever we call them, we need to keep our heads down."
The two ran back to the vestry and slipped silently inside, closing the doors quietly behind them. "We need to keep our heads down. A battle in the rain will just leave us getting blindsided." Lance said as he was pacing back and forth by the door, whilst Gwen was still wrestling with her feelings of digust. "Let's just bar the door and stay quiet till the storm passes." Gwen meerly nodded her ascent.
With the entrance secured the two settled down on the floor with their backs against the Altar. Gwen leaned across and put her head into the crook of Lance's shoulder. "I miss sleep," she sighed "we could just switch off for a while and forget.". Lance leaned down and kiss the top of Gwen's head feeling her relax and hum contentedly. In that moment the rest of the world seemed to fade away; as if nothing existsed outside the Lance's arms, which had wound their way around her shoulders.
The noise of the storm outside could not reach into them, their focus entirely on ther sound of each other's breathing. No words were needed to express their feelings, each tiny movement was a statement of how they felt. The warth of their skin pressing together, creating a cocoon of comfort to hold the night's feelings at bay. They looked deep into each other's eyes and unspoken message being spoken through the gentle caress of their gaze. Their lips gently brushed for a moment, then they cuddled down against the altar and waited for the storm to pass.
Early hours of the next day
The ground shook jerking the two out of their reverie and back to reality, yet as they listened no roll of thunder came to follow it. The rain was still falling hard on the roof sounding like hammers striking the tiles. Gwen stood and reached out with her mind, trying to see beyond the walls; yet the rain blocked sight view still. In that moment they were surrounded by the sound of glass smashing and roars from the depths of hell. The pair were ready to fight in an instant, drawing forth their strength as the beasts of the enemy fell to the ground.
Lance's eyes shot around the room, he counted six of them the largest and most fearsome looking one, the Alpha, a mere 6 feet from Gwen's side. It's four legged form like a demonic gorilla, dried blood on its huge burred knuckles and a thick armour of scales covering his hugely muscular body. The cold chill of fear ran down his spine once more as he looked upon his nightmares incarnate; dark sweat glistening down its towering form and bloody drool falling from a mouth filled with fangs. It was a monster in the truest sense, bred for the singular purpose of killing and grinding its prey into human paste.
The Alpha roared it's command to the others, the sound reverberating through the air so fast it felt like an explosion. Before the beasts could follow the Alpha's command Lance was already moving, his speed pushing him through the air so fast it felt like quicksand trying to hold him back. He ducked past Gwen, drawing the blade as he stepped under the Alpha's body and cut upwards. His blade cut through the armour plates like they weren't even there, passing cleanly through the flesh and severing the arm. As the Alpha failed back in pain the other momentarily hesitated, "I know you understand our words so listen closely" Lance laid the flat of his blade against his shoulder "Any of you try to harm her and you will fall. Leave! Now!"
Gwen smiled a little and rolled her eyes, Lance's stupid statement had totally blown away her tension. She laid one hand on Lance's back and felt the connection of their feelings through the touch. "Take the leader, I'll handle the rest." He looked back at her his eyes showing concern, but her gently nod set him at ease. "Go!" He heard her words and then he was gone. Her body excuded energy, her senses reaching out and surrounding everything in the church. She flicked out her left hand, her fingers dancing as the shattered pieces of the pews floated into the air at her command.
The first beast lurched forwards it's lumbering form shaking the ground and its burred fists smashed the tiles beneath it. The monster's head lurched forwards it giant fangs glimmering, as the closed the distance Gwen closed her fist then pointed her fingers at it. The shards of wood streaked across the room encased in purple glow which instantly became red as they buried themselves in the monster's eyes. It screached and swept past Gwen's side and shoved her palms straight at it's side. Her newfound energy blasted through her palms throwing the beast across the room, crushing one of it's bretheren and snapping it's neck.
She heard a roar from above, one had taken the high route and was falling upon her. She rushed to raise her hands to create a barrier, but was too late. Suddenly the beast jerked to the side and a for moment Lance's form materialised holding onto it. A second later the beast split in half, leaving two heavy piles of meat to slap into the ground around Gwen. Her barrier protecting her from the shower of blood that came in it's wake and Lance vanished from sight again.
The Alpha had recovered itself, its eyes practically glowing with rage and holding it's severed arm like a club. It screamed and swung it's severed arm in a wide arc at Gwen. Lance appeared under the arm deflecting the blow upwards, the limp fist swinging harmlessly over Gwen's barrier. The Alpha leapt forward it's shoulder driving towards Lance, he leapt onto the shoulder top his blade glowing gold. He stabbed down the sword striking the base of the Alpha's skull; it screeched it's final sound then dropped to the floor stone dead.
Gwen wasted no time rounding on the final two floating herself back along the floor to gain distance. She centred herself and looked for a weapon, something her power could control; her eyes came across and landed on the severed arm that the Alpha had used liked a club. A vicious grin split her face as she reach out and grabbed the barbed hung of flesh with her mind. ‘Struck down by the hand of their leader’ she laughed at her play on words. Before she could launch her attack one of the beasts leapt onto the other one and was throw across the room flying towards Gwen. She scrambled to react fast enough, the club like arm was too large to move at the necessary speed. The savage fangs flew towards her throat and she felt the heat of it’s breath as it snapped it’s jaw shut.
She felt her world shake like she had just been fired bodily out of a cannon, the surge of g-force making her world go dim with lack of blood in the brain. As she recovered her faculties her mind processed the familiar feeling and the warmth of the body next the hers. “God damn it! Warn a girl before you throw her around at Mach 3!” Lance chuckled “I gave you a kiss before we stopped, what more do you want?” Gwen pouted “You know I can’t feel the really fast ones!” She stroked his cheek “Slow them down, I want to feel every one.”
The blood thirsty growls dragged the pair out of their poorly timed romantic moment and Gwen steadied herself on her feet. As she did Lance held up his sword to her as if presenting it “Throw it at the first one and I’ll take care of the rest.” Gwen was amazed that Lance was offering his prized possession to be tossed across the room. Her powers took a grip and then Lance was gone; there was no need for questions, she trusted him with her life and no explanation was needed. She threw the sword like a spear, her powers accelerating it so it looked like a silver and purple blur. The beast tried to dodge, throwing it self to one side, but it was too late the sword blasted through its target leaving a gaping hole in it’s head. As it fell to the floor Lance appeared next to it catching it mid-air, he leaned into his turn and charged the final beast.
The monster swung a vicious sideways slash which Lance danced under, his blade drawing a crimson pattern on it’s side. He kicked off the wall behind it and dragged his sword through the blood, bone and gristle as he severed the beast in half.
Lance was gasping for air as he came to a stop, he could feel his strength fading as he sheathed his sword. He’d been going too fast for too long, the energy of his nanites were spent; now exhaustion took over him and he fell forwards into the waiting arms of Gwen. She kissed his cheek and whispered softly in his ear. “Your turn now.” Before pointing to the fallen beasts.
Dawn at the Church
The storm had passed leaving only a light drizzle sweeping across the town. Lance and Gwen had drained the fallen beasts of their nanites and were heading out into the dawn. As they looked east they saw the trail of destruction the beasts had wrought, houses levelled in a straight line headed for the church as if they'd known they were there all along. It didn't make sense; why had there been so few of the monsters? Why had they taken so long to come? How had they known?
They stopped and looked at each other with questioning eyes. Gwen was the first to voice her thoughts "If they know we're here, how are we getting further south?" Lance gripped his sword hilt uneasily. "They either just found us and they were all they could send or...............I don't know." The two walked uneasily through the silent suburbs of Birmingham, the complete lack of life was almost as dirstrubing as the destructive path they now followed away from the church.
"Just get me out of here baby, the faster the better. I can see for miles, nothing is here." Gwen said taking hold his arm. "Let's just get far away before they come looking for their beasts.". Lance nodded and swept her up into his arms. "Are you ready? Breathe out on now. Ready, steady, now!" As she went to breathe out the last of her air, Lance kicked off taking the two away at supersonic speed. The world passing them by in a hazy blur as they sped between the ruined remains of Birmingham.
- Magic involved, but rather than traditional magic it being the manipulation of dimensional energies using technology far beyond comphrehension.
- The energy they absorb is mana.
- Jumps from place to place using enemy generated portals.