The Runic

Another post apocalyptic sort of situation with obvious influences but I'm trying to build on it... so I thought I'd let people help me flesh this out or breath new life into it.

The ritual was to begin. He could see it, his goggles zooming in and focusing ten times further than his eye could ever hope to. The different filter’s in the system allowed the tiny computer strapped to his back to shift through various spectrums and modes and what with that data compile a aggregate approximation of the people within making it appear to the assassin that he was practically looking through the wall of the building a block away from his.

As he regarded the blurred figures that moved around, gathering items or laying down reagents he could only guess at (and guess with good accuracy, taking into consideration how many of them he’d already stopped), the assassin contemplated his modus operendi. This was a much smaller gathering than he was used to; and while any lesser operative might just go in guns blazing something about this made him all that more cautious. In his experience, 15 and above was the norm. Seven was a number that was half of that… and from what he could tell, at least four of them were Guardians. That made it a total of three actual targets. Three Priests…

Priest… The term at some point used to mean something. It still did but not in the sense he’s read about in history. Somewhere along the line, the truth about it all had been revealed and people in general hadn’t been all that happy… People in general had devolved into anarchy and chaos. The world had been poised on the brink of collapsing in on itself with minor and opposing religions keen to take on the mantle of a dominant more righteous one… but those too were all found, at least in the higher echelons to be working towards the same goals, the same twisted ends in mind. It had turned out that religion… had gone from a system of connecting people and of inspiration to nothing but a cover, a political force and in general the best run operation the world has known for an agenda that would take years to fully comprehend. Two hundred years down the line, the assassin now looked at what had become of religion. What it truly was, how it had fallen from its glorified pedestal and had become what it was now, the very thing it had in most of its manifestations despised – a secret society that would go to any lengths to accomplish their goals… and these men, these priests, needed to be stopped.

Standing up, the assassin picked up a rifle that had been propped up against a wall and slung it over his shoulder, the delicate splattering of blood that adorned the wall overlooked with chilling ease. Wearing nothing but the matte black armor that was as sleek as it was tough, looking more like a wet suit with thin excuses for armor plating attached to it, he laced his fingers together and stretched, cracking his knuckles harmoniously before he walked to the back of the room and pressed a dark green button that immediately turned red. He smiled to himself as he waited for the pressure in the tube to drop. If there was one thing he loved about his job apart from killing Priests and their spawn… it was the toys he was entitled to. There was nothing more satisfying than the silent thrum of the latest Hover-tech engines or the comfortable kick back of a plasma rifle that hadn’t even begun proper production. A tube like opening revealed itself in the wall next to the button and allowed the athletic man to enter.

“The roof,” he said in a hoarse voice. He hadn’t really spoken out loud in quite some time. Occupational hazard perhaps…

The tiny one person elevator slowly began to rise. Or so he thought because no more than 10 seconds later, the tube had traversed 50 floors and opened to reveal a totally different scene than the one he had looked out at moments earlier. Gone was the darkened room with tinted windows that were also walls showcasing the busy street beyond their transparent barrier; walls with obscure etchings, blood overtones and bullet ridden relief. Instead he stepped out into the constant whir and buzz of a world that was as oblivious to him as he was impervious to it. Around him he saw a few buildings that had surpassed the one he now stood on, in height, while a steady stream of vehicles flit by following invisible lines that would guide them safely to their destination while inside their metallic shells, they looked forward to material comfort that the assassin would only come so close to understanding.

He strode over to a vehicle nearby and pulled back the cloth that had been fluttering over it. Looking down at the technological marvel, he swung a leg over and sat down in it without a second thought as to the years of research and development into its production. The vehicle itself would have driven motor enthusiasts mad had they the slightest of inklings of the craft’s existence. However, like all his other gear, its production had been limited for the use of people like him. People who needed whatever they could to give themselves that much of an edge over an enemy who used weapons that defied logic itself. For that was what the Priests used… especially their Guardsmen.

Ever since the truth about religions’ true owners and ‘gods’ came to be known it had been too late… All those centuries in power, with privileges afforded to them that allowed them to further their research, the holy men of different sects of religions had finally come to their greatest discover - How to not only gain insight into the Infernal world as they had for so many centuries but now, now they had developed the ability to call forth beings from the Other Plane as well. It was this ability that had sparked the wars, the anarchy, the wide spread dissent that had almost accomplished what it had set out to do; splinter the human race and to drive what was left of it back a few ages so that those in power could keep the power that had slowly begun to wane as people allowed logic, reasoning and science into their minds as opposed to antiquated ideas of men long dead. The summoning themselves were a brutal affair that the Priests’ took increasing amounts of pride in. It was these summoning rituals that, the assassin had to stop.

Igniting the internal flight system, the assassin heard the hiss of a compound polymer-glass chassis extend from the sides of the vehicle to form a wind shield of sorts for his body. He doubted it do him much good… It was a cold night and the wind chill was sure to make matters that much worse. The screen, he allowed himself to admit was perhaps constructed more to protect him than to save him a little discomfort.

Almost noiselessly he took off and joined the fleet of vehicles that ferried the city’s inhabitants in a manner analogous to blood carrying oxygen throughout a city. He was immune system. He zipped through the mass of vehicles, unseen by the scanners of its inferior peers, the confounding signal his little one man craft emitted telling the other ships that he simply did not exit. Thus, the subservient occupants of the city remained as oblivious to him as they did of the real threat that lurked only a block away… that being both the Priests and the not so new brand of politicians who, like their predecessors, craved power above all else. Science forbid, however, that they rise to the notoriety and power that the religions had.

It wasn’t long before that the assassin slowed his speed having arrived at the building his targets were in; the craft skirted the edge of the reinforced Gladstone windows with an inch to spare while a wireframe layout of the building revolved around on a display screen to show him his position in accordance to where he intended to go. Slowing to a crawl a room away from where his on board computer told him he’d be seen, he leapt from the vehicle, his gloves morphing to suddenly sport tiny suction cups while his shoes managed the same transformation. With a dull thud that the Gladstone engineered glass would muffle even more, he clung to the glass while the computer strapped to his back began to run diagnostics and tell him about wind speeds and chill factor and even condensation rates while keeping a steady glow in the general direction of where the Priests were. Climbing one floor up with deceptive ease, he was soon perched upside down just above the floor with the arcane meeting. He reached into his backpack and pulled out a few cylindrical devices, pushing a tiny button on top of it and quickly pressed it to the glass before the sticky goo that oozed out of invisible pores glued his hand to the explosive. He set a few more and then climbed a few stories up and began to tie a rope around a decorative metal outcropping, all the while keeping an eye on the timer that counted down just a little too quickly for his liking on one edge of his field of vision.

With everything in place and the timer jumping past the 0 mark and descending into negatives, he hit activated the remote devices and kicked off of his invisible perch, the suction cups that had covered his gloves morphing themselves into tiny hair like spikes. The Gladstone windows erupted in a magnificent display of fire, shattered glass and alloy-concrete. It was into this quickly receding explosion that he swung, the taught rope ensuring that he swung straight through the inferno. He released the clasp in a show of grace that might just put a feline to shame, rolled across the blood spattered, debris ridden room that was now open to the elements. Off in the distance the sounds of the fire response vehicles making their way towards his location could be heard. Drawing his rifle in a swift motion he fired a short burst through the far wall and was certain without a doubt that one of the Guardian’s had fallen. He looked around the shattered room, half of which was probably still making its way to the streets below… streets he’d ensured to have cleared. Most of the writings that had been on the wall had boiled into an unintelligible mess with the heat of the blast while other portions of it were nothing more than a scuff mark that trailed his roll into the room…

The assassin wasn’t too bothered with the red paint… blood? That was now smeared across his shoulders and backpack… no, something else sent the chill down his spine that threatened to turn into a shudder. It was the mangled, twisted bodies of the Priests who’d been wearing white but now lay in pools of a fiery crimson.

No… it was the space in front of him where light seemed to twist and turn pulled into a source so powerful that not even the unerring photon rays could pass through unaffected. It was in this rip in the reality before him that twisted his ability to see the pot marked wall behind it to the point that he believed he was looking in a kaleidoscope. All of this was well and good, however it was the crimson arm that was dripping what could only be blood, that had shot out of the rift and was slowly clutching at an invisible hold so as to pull the rest of its bulk through, that had scared the assassin… a feat that only one creature had accomplished before… and it was that very creature, or a permutation of its kin, that was now clawing its way out from a world that no mortal could possibly fathom.

He took a deep breath, trying to push his fear down while raising his rifle, switching to incendiary rounds and firing while another hand grasped for a grenade… He’d gotten through this once… He’d get through it again.

The End

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