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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/2014243
Rated: 13+ · Campfire Creative · Appendix · Action/Adventure · #2014243
In 2120, mutant soldiers fight against an oppressive theocracy from pole to pole.
[Introduction] Happy New Year! It's January 1st, 2120 CE, and things don't look so good. The oceans are on the rise, destroying huge swathes of Earth's breadbasket and drowning whole countries beneath the waves. Medical technology continues to work miracles, but is severely taxed by legions of antibiotic resistant diseases that hunt and lurk across the globe. Ethnic conflict burns as rarely before, and crime, corruption, and poverty spread unchecked and uncheck-able as the diseases.

         The good news is, the Heavenly Kingdom rules Earth, lighting humanities' way to a better world through reliance on faith and perseverance. And through building really big and shiny temples.
         Their Priests and Clerics have so many orders and legitimate methods of worship, that they're pretty much the Straw Soldiers of whichever ideology it is that you dislike the most. With their advanced technology and millions of devoted followers, they police the world as they see fit, maintaining a stranglehold that seems unbreakable.

         Unbreakable to people already in its grasp, at any rate, but not to the armies of Doctor Zang Quochi. Great numbers of his bio-engineered, sapient soldiers strike at the Heavenly Kingdom from the depths of the wilderness and the shadows of cities, relentless in their efforts to level the theocracy that their master may rebuild civilization again.

         You are one such trooper in this savage guerrilla war, and you must find comrades to aid you in your instinctive goal. Or, will you escape your biological programming and live a life of peace and isolation? Discover religion and accept the Faith you were created to destroy? Rediscover your lost humanity?

         One way to find out!

(P.S.When creating a character to R-P, please include species, fighting capabilities, appearance, and anything else that seems remotely relevant. Thanks!)
"Name: Unit 'Slimy' 742
Species: Human/Hagfish Hybrid
Height: 6' 6"
Appearance: Well, Slimy's humanoid, though has a long, thick neck and similarly proportioned tai that throws off the shape normally associated with such a designature.
         Her entire body is covered in rubbery skin that is an unhealthy looking black and white mottle; it often appears to shine faintly from the dense layers of slime covering it which she constantly excretes.
         While she has recognizable arms, hands, and legs, her head has only very poor eyes and a single nostril over a mass of thick tentacles, which in turn cover a mouth lined with undulating teeth facing each other on either side of her throat. This mouth is a bit redundant, though, as she can absorb dead matter through her gills and the skin on her head; a useful talent when lying in wait.

Threat Level and Hunting Patterns: Slimy has undergone the Doctor's extensive enhancements to allow her to survive on land even at great heights, and is also capable of living underwater up to extreme depths.
          She is also quite strong and surprisingly fast for her size, as well as possessing remarkable durability and stamina, but despite all that is a frequent ambush predator. She can lie in a swamp or forest floor for weeks if not months, casually snacking on decaying loam and springing the first human to wonder by, spraying them with thick slime if they prove too much to handle. She has discovered a preference for simplistic booby traps and long-range weapons.

Personality: Doesn't mind working with others, but isn't always the most cooperative. Some of her bodily functions also seem unpleasant tot he vertebrates. At this point, she has never questioned her instinctive hatred of the Theocracy or her desire to see it destroyed, maintaining a fanatism every bit as strong as that of her enemies."

The old oaks swayed as the breeze tickled over them, leaves sighing in contentment. Amidst them, the last rays of golden sunlight arced through the forest like springing deer, stopped in mid flight against one of the broad trunks or scattered to pieces in the tracery of undergrowth.

All at once, a transport reclined in the sky, a metallic bird of prey surveying its territory, branches snapping and trees shuddering below it from the sonic shockwave as if in fear. A dozen gold-armoured Inquisitors leapt the sixty feet to the ground from its belly, landing in perfect formation, guns going to shoulders as they fanned out in a search pattern.

"Righteous Sword reporting in." A figure at the head of the arrow radioed. "Commencing sweep for demonic activity on foot. Out."

"Eye of God acknowledges. Moving to provide support, over." The pilot responded, strike craft levelling up and back like an angel taking wing.

Sword checked his satellite-fed HUD on reflex, despite knowing how useless it would be against the monsters they faced. He called to his troops in his com, out of the desire to reassure himself as much as anything.

"Stay alert, stay low, ladies and gentleman. Our scanners have nothing on these things and they can strike from anywhere, anytime. No matter what happens, remember why we're here, and the justice we'll see served before we're done. Hail, Firstborn."

"Hail, Firstborn." The Inquisitors chorused back, rifles glinting in the fading light as they prowled through the forest, hunters on home turf.


Two kilometres ahead, Slimy nearly twitched beneath her tangle of roots and mulch, the wind carrying the aroma of exhaust. She almost gurgled with anticipation, slowly and carefully sliding the barrel of her gun out of cover for the first time in weeks.




Name: Lupas 36
Species: Grey Wolf-hybrid
Height: 6'0"
Appearance: Like a humanoid grey-wolf. Grey fur over most of body, with exception of the front, and throat, which are white.
Weapons Training: From teeth and claws, on up to sniping rifles, and high-grade explosives. There's very little this wolf can't use as a weapon, and has even used things that could easily be overlooked, like simple toothpicks.
Personality: Very social, and friendly towards allies. As for enemies, depends on his mood. Sometimes he'll let them live, leaving them in embarrassing predicaments, like stripping them naked, and hanging upside-down, and other times, he'll kill his foes, mutilating the corpse in such a way that the person's own mother wouldn't be able to recognize them.
Tasks: Scout, Sabotage, Search and Rescue, and anything that needs secrecy.

In another section of the forest, Lupas was up in a tree, watching over a group of soldiers. He had a job - these soldiers were holding someone prisoner, someone the higher-ups wanted freed. The soldiers seemed to be on edge almost, as if expecting trouble.

"This will be fun," he said, as he checked on a knife.
Name Valkyrie Surprisingly...No Number
Species: Human/Woolly Mammoth Hybrid
Height 20 Feet Tall
Appearance: Bipedal Mammoth, covered in shaggy brown fur, long trunk, short tusks, One of the few Mutants who wears clothes for modesty rather then just practicality. Casual outfit is a short green dress. For battle has special titanium armor.
Special Note: Valkyrie is unique not only because she is derived from an extinct animal. But because she is Zang's own daughter. Zang was willing to use his own offspring to overthrow the Theocracy, and his Wife was perfectly willing, because she felt a particular hatred towards the Theocracy, a Norwegian Native, the Archdeacon of the Norway Branch had particularly barbaric practices against women which seemed to stem from the Archdeacon desperately wanting the pleasures of the Flesh but can never have them lest he lose both his job and his genitals. So Madame Lucille her family was brutalized because her Mom had dared to step outside the house without wearing the veil in this attack Lucille lost both her eyes, I don't mean she was merely blinded no, her eyes were plucked from their sockets! So she married Zang mostly because she wanted the Theocracy destroyed. Even if it meant sacrificing her own children and having them turned into freaks.

Personality: Zang in the early stages of creating his monsters noticed Herbivores were slightly less violent then the Carnivores, by that I mean. The Herbivores would not attack anyone who clearly could not fight back, Zang saw this and decided Carnivores are best used four out-n-out fighting while Herbivores for the more constructive work of rescuing innocents and recruiting others to the side of science. Being a Pachyderm, Valkyrie is both very intelligent and maternal, She still is programmed to hate the theocracy. But it's a cool simmering hate that she wages from afar with the machines she has been taught how to use by Zang (She is not aware Zang is biologically related to her, after she was weaned, Zang separated her from Lucille where he began her education as her 'Sensai' but never let her know she was a Human tampered with Mammoth DNA rather Valkyrie believes herself born a Mammoth. Born to serve Science and Humanity but not actually a Member of Humanity.

Weapons: Zang has trusted Valkyrie with some of his most powerful machines, his weather controlling nanobots which are too small to be detected by the theocracy. and his Bird Androids, almost indistinguishable from normal birds but obey any input with these, Valkyrie wages a subtle war from her Mountain Fortress. Forcing so many calamities on Norway the followers will have no choice but to see through the Theocracy's lies keeping the villages below in perpetual winter while the top of her mountain remains in Perpetual Springtime, nothing can grow in the Farms below and Norway is forced to subsist on imports. Second the Bird Drones abduct all Babies born in the Villages, Reports can only say an enormous Bird has taken the Baby and each Baby is taken to Valkyrie's peak wear she raises them and teaches them the ways of science. No one has yet attempted to find her peak, but should that day come, Valkyrie has a Mammoth sized flamethrower to take on all comers.

Valkyrie loved her charges, all of them, she felt the same special bond with them she felt for her Sensai Zang.

But Humans are omnivores who need both animal protein as well as vegetable matter. Valkyrie mixed up Earthworms as they were the only Animals she had the heart to kill and mix them with herbs and spices and stir fried them, Human Children who had never known any other food but what their Mammoth Mom made for them found these worms delicious.

Valkyrie was starting to worry, the Herd was growing every day and there wouldn't be much more room on the Mountain
Name: Shadow 651
Species: Human/Black panther hybrid
Height: 5'9"
Appearance: He wears no clothes, his black fur is perfect for stealth, he keeps his fangs and claws razor sharp for combat reasons.

Personality: Shadow is normally friendly towards his allies but relentlessly fierce towards his enemies and assigned targets due to his assassin profession.

Weapons: Shadow relies on his fangs and claws to kill his enemies but he keeps a pouch full of throwing knives tied to a rope around his waist if necessary.

Lupas tosses Shadow a pair of binoculars and a two-way radio, "Why don't you scout ahead and find any enemy troops, but report back by radio and don't take them on yet." Shadow sighs and says "Yes sir." In split second Shadow jumps high onto a treetop and heads forward.
Wood shattered and cracked like thunder, huge, healthy trees going down in a hail of splinters as the round nicked them. At the extreme right of the formation, Sword 7 went down, even as his luckier comrades took cover and the actual sound of the shot rang out.

"Sniper! Everyone down!" Called Righteous superfluously, watching their apothecary scan 7's vitals out of the corner of his eye. As his helm demonstrated, it didn't look good.

His HUD showed the origin of the shot, coming from a a little way ahead, beneath a hillock- "Eye of God! Righteous Sword requesting fire support on area 12!" He had scarce signalled the affirmative when the trees ahead went up in a geyser of white flame, cauterizing vibrant woodland for ten meters in every direction.

That'll teach the demons to mess with the Firstborn. He barred his teeth.

His triumph was caught short when another shot rang out from the other direction, clipping Sword 3 and sending her barrel-rolling through the air to land to his left, leaving a sizeable impact crater.

"Blast! There's more of them! 2,5 -Take the prisoner back to the clearing! Everyone else-" He double-checked their attacker's position and primed his grenade launcher. "Rock and roll!"

The woods came apart, reduced to so much burning sawdust as the Inquisitors mulched them on automatic- narrowly missing the slippery form that slid out of the corridor of destruction.

Shadow watched them all from a tree, a hungry umbra that slipped in the wake of the Sword's 2 and 5, curious of the squirming body-bag that they bore.

"Lupas! This is Shadow -I think I found that prisoner you were after." There was a deafening roar as another round of grenades went off, ensuing silence answered by a rifle's scream. "And I think that we've got friendlies here. This should make the job a little easier."
"I hope that our job is easier than what I heard," said Lupas. "The sooner we free this prisoner, the better."
Valkyrie was feeding all 33 Members of her 'Herd' the Kids were growing fast and The Mammoth feared that there would not be enough resources for them all if the Villagers kept supplying her with anymore Kids.

Just then Zang's voice on the Com.

"Valkyrie! Crimson Alert!"

"I'm here Sensai." Valkyrie said

"Units Lupas and Shadow are in Finland." Zang said "My Sensors indicate they will be walking into a Trap."

"What's the Trap?" Valkyrie asked

"I fear they Theocracy will attempt to forcibly indoctrinate them to Faith so they will reveal all my secrets."
Lupas says "I see our help, it's unit Slimy. While she keeps our friends busy, get the prisoner before his captor reaches his destination." Shadow went after the soldier leaving with the body-bag amd before the soldier reached the clearing, Shadow tackled him down from overhead knocking him out. Shadow says "Okay, I have the prisoner." Lupas says "Good work, bring him back here so we can get him out of that bag." As Shadow left with the bag 2.5 stood up and "Firstborn, this is 2,5 they have taken the bait." A voice on the communicator says "Excellent, as soon as they open that bag, they're in for a surprise."
Mammoth hopped into the Thunderbird, no small feat for a 20' mammoth.

"Be good, kids! I'll be back in a few hours!" She called, blast-doors grinding shut behind her as she hurtled out of the mountain's side in a jet of flames. She had to warn the other operatives to be on their guard; a simple phone call was impossible with the Theocracy constantly jamming her enclave, a barrage of static that only the Doc's hyper-spatial transmitting could penetrate. It wasn't easy living under siege.

Speaking of which... The dashboard beeped as the Inquisitor's fighters in Denmark locked on and opened fire. The old machines and their missiles wouldn't be able to catch her in the 'Bird , but they would make this operation a bit more delicate. She couldn't slow down for more than few seconds, unless she wanted to land and hide for weeks until they got bored on their own.
"We might want to wait before we open that bag," said Lupas. "For all we know, the prisoner has fleas, and I hate fleas."
Valkyrie's sensors indicated she was above Lupas and Shadow, she knew she had to land, she turned on her cloaking device to make her ship invisible.
Jet engine sounds fill the area as the Thunderbird lands by Lupas and Shadow as, Lupas says "Valkyrie. what are you doing here? I thought you were help training you're herd." Valkyrie says "It could be a trap." Both Valkyrie and Lupas has their guns pointed at the bag. Lupas says "Now open the bag carefully." Shadow nods as he uses his claw to sever the rope and carefully opening the bag revealing...
...A badly bruised mutant squirrel girl with unusual golden fur, hogtied and bleeding. Valkyrie's trunk curled up at the smell of urine, and Lupas took a step back as he realized that she did have fleas after all.

"Lets get her out of here," Said Shadow, carefully cutting through the carbon fibre bindings. The squirrel groaned into the gag feebly as circulation returned and her extremities burned. Valkyrie carefully picked her up and carried her to the drop-ship, feet pounding huge prints in the forest floor.

"Well, at least she wasn't carrying a bomb or something." Said Lupas as he trailed afterwards, ears twitching at the sounds of the firestorm still dying down where the Inquisitors had met their end. "I hate it when they try to double-tap us like that."

"Yeah, that's a good thing, but I still don't get it." Said Shadow. "The Doc's not often wrong. Why he'd send us the big girl if it was just a courier job? That rodent didn't look dangerous."

Lupas shrugged, eyeing the sky in case one of the enemy ships got lucky. "Who can say; at any rate not the Doc. The boss never tells us anything more than 'It's a trap!', or 'There's a traitor!' or 'Try to win harder'." His nose twitched as Slimy came around the Thunderbird from the other side, 5 fresh tallies marring her already badly scuffed rifle.

"They've pulled out, boys." She croaked, tendrils waving skittishly. "Probably going for reinforcements.
I see Valkyrie got the prisoner you were after."

"I got the prisoner," Grumbled Shadow, loping up the ramp in the lead. "Now let's skedaddle before more Inquisitors show up." He grabbed a first-aid kit, and made for the med-bay, before pausing and tossing it to Lupas instead. "Here, you're probably better with this thing. I'll get us out of here while you give Valk a hand; I don't thing that 9 ton pachyderms make the best doctors for a squirrel."







"A wolf and a squirrel aren't the best mix," said Lupas, as he looked at the kit. "Besides, I was to be a killer, not a medic."

"You do know First Aid?" Shadow asked.

"I can set bones and the like," said Lupas. "But if she's got internal bleeding, I can't help with that."
The Squirrel Unit Hazel 0073, had secretly been indoctrinated after being captured and tortured by the Theocracy. She was now programmed to try and spread the Faith.

At Valkyrie's Mountain Fortress, The Mammoth stirred a pot of soup that had been simmering.

"Anyone want some of my vegetable soup?" Valkyrie asked

"Pass." Lupas said as he gnawed on some jerky

"You know..." Valkyrie said "Canids aren't pure carnivores, most are semi-omnivorous and..."

"I'm not eating herbivore cooking OK?" Lupas snapped

"Valkyrie turned to Slimy "How about you?"

"I eat filth most of the time." Slimy said "So I'm not sure my palate is the best judge of cooked food."

Meanwhile Hazel lay in her bed, the programming the Theocracy gave her still ticking in her brain.

(Author's Note: Hey JD, I was thinking, could Steve be invited to the Campfire?)

Shadow entered the room with a bowl of Vegetable soup and puts it on a table next to Hazel's bed "Here. this soup will make you feel better." She sits up and tastes the soup "Mmm. that's good. Thanks for cooking it for me." Shadow says "You should thank Valkyrie for it. She's the one who cooked it now tell me what happened to you out there?"
(i've already invited Steve -he hasn't responded yet.)

"I was captured while I was in a raid in one of the villages, trying to destroy a temple and grab some gear, routine stuff." Her words spilled out rapidly, almost matched by the frightening rate at which she inhaled the stew. "That sucked,"

She grimaced at the fresh cast on her right arm, propped against the soup bowl to keep it in place. "But at least they didn't shoot me on sight. I really don't know why they didn't. Maybe they wanted to question me while I was alive or something."

"And did they?" Asked Shadow

"I... Don't know." Said '73 hesitantly. "I don't remember much after I got shot, 'cept when I woke up in the forest for a few minutes in a duffel bag. I don't even know why they had to move me through there or what they wanted with me."



"What do you think happened to the poor thing?" Valkyrie asked as she looked in through a window.

"There were signs of torture," Lupas said, as he took a bite of jerky. "Only God knows what all happened to her."

Valkyrie raised her eyebrows upon hearing the word God. "You a religious sort?"

"Depending on the situation," Lupas said. "You still kidnapping children who haven't made up their minds as to what's what?"

"You don't have a shining reputation," said Valkyrie.

"Maybe not, but I don't abduct people before they have a chance to think for themselves," said Lupas. "Makes one much like the enemy, you should know, when they force people into a belief, whether it's Religion, or Science. Personally, I'd rather they find that Happy Compromise, or some such thing."
"I'm saving the Kids from being brutalized, especially the Girls." Valkyrie said "The Archdeacon of Norway is so unable to stand the sight of a woman without getting a stiffie that he demands all women wear a veil just because he can't control his lust."
Then Hazel dropped her soup spoon as she held her head "AAAH!!!" She cried Shadow said "What's wrong?" "My head," she said, "feels like someone's pounding on it." Then she lay on the bead scrunching her eyes "Ahh! can't stand it!" Shadow bellows out "Lupas! Valkyrie! Come to the clinic! Something's wrong with our patient!"
Some minutes later, the team stood outside the medbay, checking '73's diagnostic. She had taken a beating and a half, but there really didn't seem to be a reason for her blacking out so suddenly. Except for one thing...

"She's brain damaged," Noted Shadow, looking over one of the MRI monitors thoughtfully. "But not enough to make her even have memory lapses or something. Getting tipsy would have been ten times as bad. I don't see how the synapses could be frayed enough to make her lose consciousness"

"So, what's it matter, as long as she's healing and not about to go into a comma?" Gurgled Slimy. "It'd be more surprising if she managed to go though her ordeal without getting hit in the head than not."

"I just thought it was suspicious." The panther shrugged. "Call it a hunch."

"Do you think she's dangerous? Hypnotized or something?" Asked Lupas.

"I doubt it. If she's a sleeper agent of some sort, she'd have to want to work against us. And there's no way those Inquisitor morons can break through her brain chemistry. Torturing her into working with them, even unknowingly, would be like reconfiguring a microwave with a crow-bar to cool things down rather than heating 'em up. It'll just break." Shadow said.

He twitched uneasily as she groaned in her sleep, teeth grinding in memories of pain feet kicking at phantom enemies. "Well, at least she's in REM." He said, tone belying his concern. "She'll probably wake up soon."



"In that case, I'm going to go and solve Valkyrie's issue," said Lupas.

"What are you talking about?" Valkyrie asked.

"I'm going to kill that Archdeacon for you, and post his crimes on the Net, for all to see," said Lupas. "I doubt the Theocracy will try to retaliate, especially if they realize that the man's death was to uphold the honor of the innocent."

"Do you think that will work?" Valkyrie asked.

"Sometimes it does," said Lupas. "Most are smart enough not to abuse the people in the areas they are in charge of. Too much abuse, and the people will aid, if not join, the Resistance, after all. This way they'll have to put in someone more willing to listen to reason."

"Does that actually happen?" Valkyrie asked.

"Sometimes," said Lupas. "Of course, sometimes the new guy's worse."
"Wow..." Valkyrie said "I never would have thought of that."

"I've always wondered about you..." Lupas said "Why you don't have a serial number life the rest of us among other things."
"I wish you wouldn't wonder about that," Valkyrie said.

"It's hard to ignore. What I don't understand is why you don't get flagged at any check points."
Shadow and Slimy looks at the squirrel with concern as she sleeps, the MRI makes steady beeps, "Those butchers must've really tortured her judging from what recently happened." Slimy says, Shadow says "Yeah, all in the name of this Firstborn." "What is the Firstborn?" Slimy asked, Shadow just shrugged "I have no idea, but one thing is for sure, he or she has to be stopped if they treat prisoners like this. Come on, let's leave and let her rest."
"Okay, gentlemen, ladies," Said Lupas when they were eating in the cafeteria, surrounded by a small herd of Valkyrie's wild-eyed wards.

"The Doc hasn't followed up with any more vague orders, so I think that we ought'a get busy again. And I think that we should start by taking down the Archdeacon of Norway. All in favour?"

The mammoth raised her trunk eagerly at the sudden plebiscite, and Shadow and Slimy glanced at each other before shrugging and acquiescing.

"Perfect," The wolf grinned ferally. "I don't know much about him myself, but he's important. And more importantly, corrupt. We need to see him 7 feet under. The things that he does to 'heretic's and 'witches'..." His fur bristled as he shook his head.

"What about Hazel?" Asked Shadow. "Can she come?"

"I think the question is 'can she stay?' " Said Lupas, glancing up at Valkyrie. "I don't think that she's right in the head, and I don't think it's a good idea to leave her alone in your house while we're out. Just in case."

The mammoth nodded, tugging her trunk up and down to the delight of the infant trying to hang from it. "I agree. If it's all the same to you three, we'll leave as soon as she's ready."
"Well, I could always do the mission myself," suggested Lupas. "I'm good at solo missions. That being said, help is appreciated."
(Twiga's Note: Hey Steve this is an RP Campfire since you joined sort of late we hope you can make a Mutant Monster that can break up the blandness

The Thing you introduce your character goes something like this

Name
Species:
Height
Appearance
Personality
Weapons)

Meanwhile at the Secret Church Headquarters, the High Master was drinking a massive bowl of 'Liquid Ethereal Contemplation' which he believed granted him visions from God

As he started to get high, he saw visions of flame and darkness, and heard voices in his head telling him to burn the world to get the Messiah to return to Earth and bring the Saved to Paradise
NAME: Humid 3

SPECIES: A swarm of hyper-intelligent gnats

SIZE and APPEARANCE: Can disperse into a thousand plus tiny individuals or maintain a compact swarm as small as a fist, although that size is too small to maintain for any long period of time due to heat problems. Normally travels as a basketball-size swarm. Specialized individual gnats assume positions to give the appearance of a "face" with eyes and mouth to facilitate communication with other species.

PERSONALITY: Not very emotional. Sees life as a series of rational problems to be solved. When there are no problems, goes into "sleep" mode.

WEAPONS: No one knows all the abilities of Humid 3. It's weaponry is mostly of a psychic nature. Some of the known abilities...
1. Humid 3 has shown an ability to influence the thought patterns of weaker minds. Useful for bypassing guards and checkpoints.
2. Humid 3 has some telekinetic ability, although it is unknown exactly how large or heavy an object it could lift and move. It was observed tossing an armadillo into a volcano.
3. Humid 3 was observed to produce a loud hum of a particular vibration that disrupted the operation of some machinery. On another occasion it produced a hum that caused those nearby to clutch their heads in pain.
4. There is an unconfirmed report that Humid 3 has an ability to manipulate time and space in some fashion.
5. Although not actually a "weaponry" feature, Humid 3 is prized for its outstanding spying ability since it can send a few tiny individuals through the smallest openings and the rest of the swarm will be aware of what they can see.
In the Thunderbird's galley, Shadow made himself a tuna sandwich when he heard buzzing, "Humid, I'm surprised Valkyrie let you on board." Humid replied "She says that my abilities is useful for this mission, and I guess that squirrel girl was tortured by the doc, but why is the door locked and sealed?" Shadow says "She's under quarentine, for safety purposes."
Shadow wolfed down half the sandwich, crumbs spraying like buckshot.
"By the way, did Valkyrie even tell you what we're doing next? We're going after the Norwegian Archdeacon. Apparently she hates him a lot and-" There was faint beeping sound. "-And would you look at that, our patient's woken up! Come on, I'll introduce you."

"Exactly who are you operating on?" Asked Humid, sounding like 200 Stephen Hawking clones muttering at once.

" 'Hazel 74'. She was being moved with a group of Inquisitors when they broke off to hunt Slimy, only for me and Lupas to knock out her guards and get picked up by Valkyrie in this dropship, real smooth-like."

"I see. Was she injured?" Shadow could hardly believe that the swarm wasn't some kind of robot at the voice(s) that came out of it.

"Ah, cuts, bruising, a few burns, cracked ribs, both of the tips of her ears appear to have been gnawed off and burned with acid at the same time ...And her left hand seems to have been flayed." He grimaced. "That would've sucked. I'll ask her if she wants the ship to remove it and make her paw normal, or keep it as a souvenir for later. Least she's still sane."

"The timbre of your voice has changed, and you claimed that she has been quarantined. Are you experiencing doubt?" Asked Humid from hundreds of tiny throats.

"Yeah, Lupas has a theory about that. We got warning that she was a trap from the Doctor himself, and the human's never wrong. He thinks that she might be a Sleeper. Still, aside from a brief migraine and fainting episode, she's been a-okay so far."

"Are you going to terminate her?"

Shadow pulled up short, his companion bobbing ahead a few feet. "What?"

"You implied that she can not be trusted. Eliminating her when she has the opportunity to activate her programming and betray us may cause problems of a considerably greater scale in the future than eliminating her now. She is being taken to a prominent base. Merely supplying the Theocracy with the intricacies of Valkyrie's defences -in a scenario that she would likely be totally oblivious of- could be compromising, let alone the possibilities for hazards in the field."

Shadow scowled, resuming his walk. "You cut that talk out. She's cool, and remember, this is Valkyrie's ship, and Valkyrie's fortress. You don't so much as sneeze in here without her say so -got it?"

"Affirmative."

The little cloud hovered at head height as he entered the medbay, Hazel jumping at his entrance. The squirrel looked disheveled and rough, but most of the bruises were fading and the cuts and scrapes were scabbing over.

"G'morning, Hazel. How do you feel?"

Her exotic blonde fur shifted as she lifted one paw to her forehead, smiling faintly.
"Like there's someone beating me over the head with a sledge hammer every -single- time my- heart beats."

"Ouch. Sorry to hear that." Said the panther, tossing her a cluster of high-strength painkillers. "Now that your blood's moving, this should work like a charm. Other than the migraines, do you think you're up to field work in a couple of days? I know it's rushed, but we're going to go stamp out the Archdeacon, and we'd like you to come along."

He noticed the direction her green eyes were staring. "Oh, and by the way, this pestilential swarm of vermin to my right is Humid 03. '03, this is Hazel 74."
At that time, Lupas was checking out one of his sniper rifles. It was nothing fancy, just a bolt-action rifle, the type that would have been an ordinary hunting rifle to a civilian, except for a few things, like the flip-out triangular bayonet that could be activated with the press of a button, not to mention the Scope that could see up to two miles away. Also, with a few modifications, it could take any bullet, from pitiful .22 target rounds, all the way up to those lovely .50 anti-tank rounds.

"That's a plain-looking rifle," Valkyrie said, as she looked at it. "Are you sure it will do the job?"

"Shoot the stem off an apple, without touching the rest, from a mile, and that's with a pistol round," Lupas said. "With a anti-tank round though - I wouldn't want to stand anywhere up to a mile behind the intended target - this thing sends rounds so fast, they break the sound-barrier. By the time you hear the rifle crack, one will have been in Hell for at least a minute, if not two."

"Do,'t most rifles work that way?" Valkyrie asked.

"Yeah, but bullets from this one do not drop, and the wind can't push them," said Lupas. "Dead on Target, every time."
Valkyrie felt the need to ask.

"I don't know you that well Lupas...What have been your experiences in the Fight?"

Lupas raised an eyebrow and his ear flickered signaling both confusion and for lack of a better word...Creeped out.

"Do you ask this question to any Unit you don't know?" Lupas asked

Valkyrie had learned from experience Carnivores had a slight envy or Herbivores, it seemed Carnivores felt that The Doctor loved his Herbivore Creations more because they were more often given the 'Constructive' work of Humanitarian Missions while the Carnivores were the 'Pit Bulls' channeling their aggressive instincts towards Zang's chosen targets, Valkyrie understood that Zang was not bigoted he was simply directing Units to wear their natural instincts would be best applied, and Herbivores are generally more nurturing and they are often larger and stronger on their high carb diets making them more suited for building things.

"I don't want to offend you." The Mammoth said "What you said about Religion and Science caused me to wonder...What have you seen and herd that caused you to think such thoughts?"

Just then Humid buzzed by "Valkyrie...You might want to know we caught Hazel fiddling with your computers, we caught her and rendered her immobile."
"It's that damn Theocracy brainwashing!" Valkyrie said.

"That seems to be the case," buzzed Humid. "You must check your computers and see if they have been compromised."

"Yes, I will do that."

After Valkyrie left, Humid swarmed near Lupas's head. "Don't do that," he said.

"I just want to talk to you," Humid buzzed.

Lupas made a quick angry snap of his jaw, almost catching a few of the slower gnats. "I don't like gnats," he said.
Both Slimy and Shadow had Hazel tied up and gagged, Slimy said "So she turned out to be a sleeper after all." Shadow extends his claws "I can't wait to sink my claws into the Doc's flesh, he's going to pay for what he's done to her." Valkyrie says "Humid told me Hazel messed with my computers." Shadow says "She sure did, and she certainly put up quite a fight when we stopped her, thanks to Slimy's distraction, I managed to restrain her." Valkyrie sits down at the computer, "Let's see what she's done."
Behind her, Lupas hauled Hazel to her feet, pulling out a side-arm. "If she's a sleeper, she's beyond all help and too dangerous to keep alive. Let's take this outside."

He frog-marched Hazel out the door, voice dropping as she pleaded into the gag and he made one order, seeming to just remember it. "Shadow, Slimy- make sure none of Valkyrie's kids are watching."

Hazel kept on struggling and screaming unpleasantries into her gag all the way to the cliff at the edge of the complex; it was hard to tell how much of her was aware of and attempting to control her actions, and how much was reflexive Theocrat programming.

At the edge of the cliff, Lupas grabbed her around the back of her neck tightly, other paw levelling the back of the weapon a hairsbreadth away from her golden head-fur, keeping it centred as she tried to crane her head around to look at him, expression alternating between hatred and desperation.

"I sense you find this distasteful." Interjected Humid 3 when he paused. "Allow me; you will feel better in the future."

Lupas nodded slowly, pocketing the armament but keeping up his pinching hold.
"You may release her." Buzzed Humid. "This will only take a few moments." The whine of its swarm changed pitch, becoming more subdued.

Lupas stepped back, watching as the squirrel dropped to her knees, the tempo of her protests also changing, as did the focal point of her struggling. She threw herself back and forth, seemingly trying to bring her hands to her torso from behind her back A few hacking coughs escaped around her gag as she writhed on the ground, tears streaming form alarmingly bulging green eyes- and then rolled over too far, plummeting off the cliff and into the clouds far below.

"What did you do?" Asked Lupas a few seconds later, peering over the edge as if he expected to hear a thump at any moment.

"Telekinetically closed the valves around her heart, and her windpipe. The procedure was fatal- her brain activity ceased but seconds before she fell." It said.

"Was that really necessary?" Asked Shadow as they made their way back inside to check on Valkyrie.

"Affirmative." Droned Humid.

"We could have kept her in one of the cells, locked her up until we could find a cure or decondition her or-" protested Shadow.

"A waste of time," Lupas shook his head. "She was already too far gone after what they did to her. That-" He jerked his head back at the site of the execution."-that was a mercy. Let's just hope that we can all go out some other way."
"Personally though, her death could have been quicker, and less painful," Lupas suggested.

"What do you mean?" Shadow asked. "What would you have done?"

"Knocked her out first," said Lupas. "After that, snap her neck. Quick and painless, and without the whole Heart Attack/Chocking Dance. Of course, I would have tossed her off the cliff, to make sure that she was dead - not easy to survive that sort of fall, especially if your body is unable to move. The wild beasts will take care of the body though - from foxes, to rodents, to the bugs themselves."

(Sorry. Power outage.)
Valkyrie was busy checking her computer to see if Hazel had damaged any of her files or revealed anything to the Theocracy.

Everything looked safe though, Seemed Humid at caught Hazel before she could do any damage

"We're good," Valkyrie said, "near as I can tell all data is secure."

"We're not moving fast enough," Slimy said. "While we dawdle the Theocracy grows stronger."

Shadow put his fists on his hips. "I would not say we are dawdling. Fools rush in. Going in half-cocked with an inadequate plan is a recipe for failure."

"Then let's hear it," Slimy said. "Let's hear the plan."
Shadow says "Right now, I don't have a plan. Let's all think up one. Hopefully one that doesn't get us all killed or end up like Hazel." Everyone looks at Lupas "What are you all looking at me for?"
"Well, normally you like to offer advice and strong recommendations on how things ought to be done." Said Slimy. "Even when nobody else wants or needs them."

"Hint-hint." Said Shadow in the rather awkward pause that ensued.

"Oh, hush-up, all of you." Said Valkyrie. "We need a plan on how to kill the Deacon. Unless, anyone else has a better idea, I think we should wait for him to go back to his home before attacking. The security will be tight, but less than if we tried to take him at a holy site or in the middle of a city."

"I confess that I am not entirely familiar with the Arch-deacon." Buzzed Humid. "I have been studying, but at this point I am unaware of the location of his private residence. Would you enlighten me?"

"Now, that would be the easy part, actually," said Lupas. "Just have a fly follow him, or a gnat. Then, when we do locate his home, we find the windows, find his bedroom, or bathroom, and when he steps out to take a breath of fresh air, that's when I'll fire the shot."

"It's that simple?" Valkyrie asked.

"It's how I've done most such missions," said Lupas. "The real trick is to do it in such a manner that it doesn't make him a martyr, or some such thing. In short, not during a Public Speech, or when he's preaching in Church. Also, make it look, somewhat, random, or as if someone had a personal vendetta against him. Damage must be kept to the minimal, like a robbery-gone-wrong kind of thing - don't blow the place up, or else it looks like a terrorist attack, or some such thing."
"Sounds solid." Valkyrie nodded "Let's spend tonight smoothing out the kinks....And before this mission we should try to cool our heads...The Death of Hazel has left us all stirred up and I think we should cool down so our future performance isn't swayed by raw emotion."

"Too many syllables in that speech." Slimy said "You waste both words and time with that fancy talk."

"Fair enough."Valkyrie was willing to admit long winded speeches were a bit of time waster

Valkyrie turned to Lupas, "If it's not too much trouble, could you come to my bower?"

Lupas flickered his ear "Why?"

"What you said earlier sparked a thought in me." Valkyrie said "I think tonight we should just share our thoughts on why we believe what we believe, no judgments, we will simply state what caused us to believe what we believe and why we do what we do...If we understand why we feel what we feel there will be hopefully no misgivings during our meeting."

Lupas nodded "Fair enough."

Valkyrie led Lupas to her Gazebo, overlooking the world below, it was decorated to evoke an old English Garden, the flowers around it were hearty Scandinavian Flowers that could handle the near Arctic climate.

"It looks like something out of a storybook for five year old girls." Lupas said

"I'm female." Valkyrie shrugged "I'm allowed to like things made for females."

"Yeah but I'm going to feel awkward." The Manly Wolf sighed

The sat in the Gazebo watching the sun set over the sea. Looking at the expanded ocean, Valkyrie looked slightly dizzy.

"Have you still got that fear of swimming?" Lupas asked

"I nearly downed when I was very small." Valkyrie said "Every time I see the ocean I see a place that is cold...Wet...And dark...Darker then the Vacuum of Space and colder then a Winter Night on these Mountains."

"But you ARE a pachyderm." Lupas said "Your kind are the strongest of Swimmers among Land Mammals...You have a built in Snorkel."

"Can we cut to the chase?" Asked Valkyrie

"Might as well." Lupas "Why don't you go first."

"I never thought I was brainwashing my Herd into blindly worshiping science." Valkyrie started "I always thought I was teaching them to not worship anything, the heart of science is that it is constantly evolving and changing and that a Great Science should not be afraid that his theory might not be true, in fact there have been moments where a Great Scientist had his theory proven false and that scientist thanked and congratulated the one who proved it...Religion as I see is the antithesis of this rationality, Religion by it's very definition is the opposite of rationality. Religion of any stripe asks...No...Demands it's worshipers believe in things that can not be proven true and the more you look at it the more sinister religion becomes...I believe Religion is merely a means of controlling people by controlling their ability to think...Religion meddles in the affairs of ordinary people controlling everything from sex to what foods people eat because 'God' says so. When I was small Dr. Zang took me aside and gave me Bible 101 and he flat out said to me...Most of the people who say they love the Bible have never read it...What most laypeople are told about the Bible is a lot of picking and choosing but the Pastor's don't mention Lot's daughter being gang raped and beaten and the Lord being OK with that or Abraham being willing to sacrifice his son...If you actually read the Bible you see very clearly hostility to homosexuals, to women, a God who flat out admits he is jealous and insecure...And the biggest thing to me...That Thou Shalt Not Kill when you read it in context means only within one's tribe there is no feeling of shared Humanity the Book is full of contradictions clearly showing it was written by different authors...And yet! The Priests have convinced the Worshipers throughout the centuries that the Bible is the literal word of God and if you don't follow it to the letter you will be sent to a place of fire and brimstone for all eternity...And that is the key...Priests keep their flock stupid and afraid so they'll be easier to control the Priests want fearful and stupid masses because they want power over their fellow man."

Lupas had to admit he was impressed with the Mammoth's fiery speech.

(Author's Note: Since it was mentioned in the intro Global Warming has expanded the oceans, so I thought...What if there is a character with severe Hydrophobia? Suppose Valkyrie has her Mountain Fortress because she's terrified of swimming?)

Lupas snapped his jaw at something.

"What was it?" Valkyrie asked.

"I think it was a gnat. Do you suppose that damn beehive spies on us?"

Humid 3 was aware of what everyone was doing. It had a few gnats posted with each of the team members. Not just for nosiness, but also for their own safety. An early warning system should any of them be attacked.

And now there were also a few gnats assigned to follow the ArchDeacon of Norway and discover his home. This was accomplished at 3 in the morning. Humid decided to wait until the group's morning meeting to present the knowledge.

Humid had no plan of its own. It didn't make plans. It only reacted to immediate problems. But it helped others carry out their plans..
Slimy and Shadow were still in the cafeteria.

"So... "The hagfish said in what might have been a nervous voice beneath the gurgling tone. "Have you been on any good missions lately? What do you think your body count is? How do you think this mission is gonna go? I mean, there are only 5 of us, even if one is a reality-warper and another is 20 feet tall."

Shadow rescued his coffee mug out the growing pool of liquid putrescence on the table below Slimy's head, grateful that so many of Valkyrie's kids found the fish frightening. Kept them from trying to hang onto his tail.
"When you try to kill someone, you want a small number of allies with you," Lupas said, as he came into the room.

"Why's that?" Shadow asked.

"A small number means that you have backup, who can help you out in a jam," said Lupas. "Bring in a large number though - you could get caught much more easily. Five people can slip through a crowd. Twenty, or more though, and even the most naive of locals is going to notice that something is up."
Valkyrie followed quickly, (Author's Note: I don't know what Lupas responded to her about why he is more open minded towards religion I thought BBWolf would write that part)

Valkyrie seemed content that both she and Lupas had got their opinions off their chests so they could continue with their quest.

"So we know where the Archdeacon lives." Lupas said "Any ideas the best way to kill him?"

"I don't know about you guys..." Valkyrie said "But the most natural 'Make it look like an accident means...Could we just give him food poisoning?"

"If the Archdeacon has people who will taste his food for him it won't work...Believe me I know." Said Slimy

"...And if the poison isn't fast acting medical help could rescue him." Shadow said
"If I may offer a suggestion?" Humid hummed.

"Certainly," Shadow said. "What's your idea?"

Humid swarmed near the monitor where a blueprint of the Arch Deacon's home was displayed. A finger of gnats reached down to point at one room. "Hear is the room in which he sleeps. It has one door. Always there is a guard at that door, just outside the room. I have already sent spy gnats to check his vulnerability and I feel sure I could make him "sleep" for a few moments, long enough for one of us to enter the room and kill the deacon."

"But there are other guards in the deacon's house," Shadow said, "and the one of us who enters must have a way to get out."

"All true," Lupus said, "but I see the beginning of a plan here. We only need to fine tune it and work out the details."



Slimy says "How about the ventilation system? I'm sure no one suspects that." Lucas says "Alarm sensors, can't crawl one inch without setting off the alarm. The deacon thought of everything."
"Wait a minute!" Said Slimy, spraying slime over the schematics. "This is a military base! Don't we have a jammer or something?'

'I mean, flying by in the Thunderbird and bombing the place into a crater would just get us shot down, but what's to stop us from infiltrating the compound on foot and firing a few rockets into his bedroom window? We've all done this sort of thing before at some point, so we could be able to get close enough.'

'If we were fast and sneaky, we would kill him before he could get to his bunker, and the radio-jammer would let us get out of there before they could call for back-up and swamp us with Inquisitors."

"Subtle." Said Lupas dryly.

"Like I said before," said Lupas. "We can't blow the place to Hell, or else to will look like a terrorist attack, and we don't want that!"

"Why not?" Humid buzzed.

"Because the innocents could get blamed, soldiers might kill them as payback, and a large spiral of violence would ensue," said Lupas. "History teaches us this. However, if the attack looks like it was random, or personal, or if it looks like a covert operation done by the Theocracy themselves, it lessons the odds of retaliation."

"Why would the Theocracy assassinate one of their own leaders?" Valkyrie asked.

"Too ruthless," said Lupas. "I've seen it happen once. Over in Southwest United States of America, there was this guy. Killed anyone who was different - men, women, children. The soldiers got sick of it, so they put an explosive device in his personal vehicle, and when the guy was out in the countyside, for some fun - BOOM! Somewhere between the shrapnel, and the loss of his head, he was dead. The replacement was more, benevolent, to say the least."

"Were any of the soldiers brought to trial or whatever?" Valkyrie asked.

"I don't know," said Lupas. "That being said, these guys planned for every detail. I wouldn't be too surprised if someone was planned to be the fall guy, and the guy had accepted the role of the sacrificial lamb, so that it would look like he'd acted alone."

"You know, you never fully explained why you are flexible towards Religion," Valkyrie said.

Lupas frowned. "Let's just say that I got shot once, real bad. Most would have died, and I would have, if not for a voice. 'Come to me,' it said. 'Come this way.' Well, I crawled, and pulled myself, in the direction of the voice. For days, I followed that voice. The next thing I clearly recall, I had woke up in a bed, having been bandaged, and a woman looking over me. Claimed her children found me in the field, close to death. I managed to recover from my injuries, and I left the place, before soldiers could find out that the family was caring for me."

"Are you saying that God spoke to you?" Humid asked.

"Maybe," said Lupas. "And maybe I was having audio hallucinations. Either way, that voice kept me alive, and the event taught me to keep an open mind."
"OK..." Valkyrie mopped sweat from her brow "I think that maybe I should share with you all a personal 'secret weapon' My Sensai gave me to be used only in the most dire of times.

She reached in cupboard and pulled forth a vile of green liquid

"This is potent stuff." The Mammoth said "An advanced form of the serum used for liquid injections...Can stop a heart in not minutes but moments...This stuff is precious and I loathe to use it when it's not needed but...If one Gnat from Humid waited by his bed when the Archdeacon had gone to sleep and and gave him an injection as he slept...Think about it...The security cameras would never see it...One puny Gnat creeping under the pillows and covers. The amount would be so small the autopsy would not detect it...And it would look as if the Old Man died in his sleep for...Whatever reason."

Everyone considered this
And then looked at Humid...

"What?" Humid buzzed. "Oh, I'm to do it? Hmmm... Well, sure, why not? But I doubt you have a hypodermic needle so small a gnat could use it. And that's assuming gnats had hands, which we don't."

Valkyrie's face fell. "I guess I didn't think it through all the way."

"But," Humid hummed. "There is a way it could work. Gnats don't have hands but they do have stomachs. If I am immune to this green serum, then one of my members can fly into the deacon's mouth or nose with a belly full of it."

Valkyrie sighed. "I don't want to damage you. If it killed one of you would all of you suffer?"

"No. We are interconnected psychically, but not biologically. If you poison one of us, you don't kill all of us, just that one. Open the vial."

One of Humid's gnats flew into the vial and sucked up a belly full. There was no noticeable change in the level of fluid in the vial. A gnat's belly is very small.

"Tastes awful!" Humid said. "Are you sure this will be enough to kill the deacon?"

"I think so," Valkyrie said.

The gnat that drank the fluid suddenly stopped buzzing and fell out of the air onto the table.

"Oh no!" they all moaned. "It's dead."

Then the gnat got up and flew again. "Was that amusing?" Humid buzzed. "It's something I learned from watching human TV."
Shadow says "Now that the gnat got the poison, let's get it to the Archdeacon's before it dies. It's dark out."
They headed for the Thunderbird, the vehicle already stocked with as much gear as they could need.

Slimy paused at the intersection of two hallways, hearing a little voice singing under its breath. A little girl was singing to herself while looking into a vase like she'd lost something. She looked plump and juicy, tender. They always were at that age.

Slimy looked up and down the corridor for her team-mates. Alone. It was only one of Valkyrie's wards. She had half the minors in Northern Europe here in this castle- would she really miss just one? Slimy took a half-voluntary step forward, pedipalps waving in excitement, drool mixing with slime down her front.

The thick carpet bounced as Valkyrie walked past her heedlessly, huge feet clumping even against the springy surface. Taking no notice of the hagfish, she knelt next to the human, one elephantine paw rustling her hair gently as she said something that sounded like a good-by before the mission.

Slimy gave her huge muscles one last glance, sighed, shouldered her rifle, and walked on. Better safe than sorry.
Valkyrie sighed, as she piloted her ship. "I hope this plan works."

"And if it doesn't, I brought the Back-Up Plan," Lupas said, as the wolf patted a long bag next to him.

"Let me guess, your rifle?"

"Half ounce of lead can be more potent than poison at times," said Lupas. "As it is, we're going to need to stop a a forest full of wild game soon."

"Why is that?" Valkyrie asked.

"Let's just say that your meat stocks need more variety," said Lupas. "Some carnivores prefer something other than worms for protein."

"What do you mean?" Valkyrie asked.

Lupas looked over his shoulder, slightly, giving Slimy a glance, before looking back at Valkyrie. "Let's just say that it would be safer for the kids. Some carnivores have been known to lose control of themselves, especially when they are hungry."

"Let me guess, you've seen it happen?"

"Once. I don't want to see it again."

"What happened?"

Lupas pulled out a bullet from inside of a coat. "Like I said, a half ounce of lead can be very potent."
One Gnat of Humid quickly zipped through an open window and hid under the corner of a pillow, from there it was a waiting game.

Once the Archdeacon settled down to sleep and as soon as he heard snoring, the Gnat quickly injected the poison into the Man's neck.

A few times the man shuddered with convulsions. Then he became dead still

"Vital signs are all gone." Said the Gnat "Target is dead."

The Mutants all cheered in their Animal Voices.

The death was so silent, no one realized the Man was dead until the next morning when the Guards realized he had not gotten out of bed at his usual scheduled time.

Meanwhile, the High Master had finished his vision he called his most loyal followers around him.

"I have had a vision." The High Master said "We have all thought that the return o the Messiah will bring the end of the Earth when in truth the end of the Earth will cause the Messiah to return! We must start the Apocalypse ourselves! We must set the world aflame if we wish to secure our place in Heaven."

The loyal followers cheered and pumped their fists. "Apocalypse now! Apocalypse now!"

The High Master motioned for silence. "I declare today the beginning of a 48 hour period of fasting and meditation. Focus your minds, brethren. Great things are about to happen!"
At Vakrie's village, a party is going on in celebration to Archdeacon's death. Zang comes in, "Reports say, the archdeacon suffered from Sleep Appnea." Valkyrie says "They never suspected that he was poisoned." Shadow says "What kind of poison is that?"
Lying in a luxuriant compost heap at the edge of the courtyard, soaking in the delicious, decomposing vegetable matter Silmy almost did a double take as the human entered.

The Doctor himself? Or at least a hologram or robot or something. She thought. He never comes himself- something big must be going down.
Lupas was looking at a series of maps, ones that showed different elevations and environmental conditions.

"What are you looking for?" Valkyrie asked.

"An area where the hunting is good," said Lupas. "Like I said, you need something other than ground earthworms. Even Emergency Rations are eaten before earthworms."

"It's good protein, and when done right, they are very healthy," said Valkyrie.

"Don't get me wrong, I've eaten my fair share of bugs and earthworms when my rations have gone low," said Lupas. "After all, they are fairly easy to catch. However, given the choice between a five pound steak, or five pounds of grubs, I'll take the steak." He then looked at Valkyrie. "Here's a question: Why won't you butcher something besides earthworms?"
Valkyrie squirmed "Guess it's my 'Herbivore Empathy Factor.' Whenever I try to kill something with more of a face I feel the creature is giving me the Bambi Eyes."
"How do you feel about fish?" Lupas asked.

"Fish I can eat," Valkyrie said. "Their eyes tell me nothing."

Lupas dragged out one map. "This area has good hunting AND a fish pond. Maybe we can all be happy."
Shadow comes in looking a little spooked, Valkyrie asks "Hey Shadow, care to go fi...uh, what's wrong Shadow?" Lupas says "Yeah, you look like you've seen a ghost." Shadow says "What I saw is worse, I just had the most disturbing vision while meditating." Lupas asks "What did you see?" Shadow responds "The end of the world, fire everywhere and then death. In other words, Apocalypse."
"This is why I have come," Said the Doctor solemnly. "My intelligence has informed me that High Priest Membe believes that the messiah will only arise when a suitable sacrifice is offered. He intends to create this 'sacrifice' by unleashing a barrage of chemical weapons on major cities around the world. And I am ordering all units to stop him immediately."
"Always a bigger fish in the ocean," said Lupas. "Although topping a Megladon Shark would be tricky, even with genetic splicing and such."
"This is serious." Zang said not liking Lupas casual attitude "If the High Priest succeeds it could mean that the Planet will be forever destroyed, life will never be able to live here again! We can not fail!"

The Five Mutants all saluted even each Gnat in Humid saluted

"Hai Sensai!" They all said

"As I speak Units all over the Planet are awaiting orders.
Once more the High Master addressed his Loyal Followers. This was his core group of those he trusted most. Each of them was a leader of many more who would never see the High Master but instead would have his wisdom transmitted to them through the mouth of the Loyal Follower.

"Brethren, you have your orders. You know what we must do. Today we begin Operation Great Sacrifice. Through our efforts the world will be transformed by He Who Must Come. May success be our plan, our goal, and our final achievement."
Unknown to the High Master, a Gnat overhears his speech, back at the village, Humid says "High Master's followers are on the move." Lupas says "We better stop them before they complete their achievement."
"Well, where are they launching the WMDs from?" Slurped Slimy.

A miniature of planet Earth appeared in front of the doctor as it appeared in real time, dozens of small dots glowing red across the surface.

"There are too many launch sites -and they are too heavily guarded- for even our forces to neutralize. If even one gets away, it will cause incalculable devastation."

"Too many for our forces, perhaps," Gurgled the hagfish slyly, no mean feat. "But what about the humans themselves? If we broadcast the locations and the High One's plan around the world, maybe we could stir up enough angry mobs to help us clear them out-"

"A fine plan, but an impossible one." Said Zang. "The bulk of the people support the High Priest. Orders to commit suicide are similar to reciting a Hymn to them, and it is only his paranoia and thoroughness that inspires this method. We will not be able to turn the public."

"Mmph. Well, then just how do we stop this thing?"

The world spun suddenly, a tiny patch of its surface sliding smoothly off and expanding. "Here. This is the facility where the Master Launch codes are kept. You are my sharpest claws, and must lead the attack and secure them before the forces of the High One can. The other of your notoriety will be making diversions and establishing a perimeter around the area until your objective is complete. Even now, our enemy and his bodyguard move to begin the Apocalypse. You must not fail."

"We'd better not," said Lupas. "I still need to go hunting."

"You're thinking about that, when the planet's about to get destroyed?" Valkyrie asked.

"Can't go hunting if the planet's a pile of rubble," said Lupas.

"I suppose you have a point there."
"One last thing I should mention." Zang said "My current survey of the Mutant Population...Of all my beloved creations there are currently at least three billion that have not died or gone sleeper, about 3 million are responding towards the sites ready for action...If you're wondering why not all of them are..." Zang mopped sweat from his brow "There have been...Interesting developments...Several Mutants have bred."

Everyone's jaw dropped even Slimy's

"I never thought this would happen." Zang said "I never thought my creations, be they Animal Embryo's spliced with Human Genes or vice versa would be able to produce offspring at all...But it seems if a Male and Female of same species, or two species that can reproduce in nature like a Horse and Zebra, a Lion and a Tiger..."

Lupas folded his ears back and he seemed to be blushing under his fur

"...A Dog and Wolf?" Lupas said

"Dogs are merely domesticated wolves so not even different species." Zang said not thinking about what Lupas implied "I never spayed or gelded any of my creations simply not to do what the Theocracy does and let my beloved freaks have their bodily integrity but looking back...I realize how naive it was of me to think my Mutants would only follow orders and never follow their instincts particularly the instinct for intimacy and since I see now looking through my records, I made three females for every ten males...Long story short, 25 percent of the Female Mutants are currently either pregnant, nursing or brooding eggs...So the amount of Mutants able to fight severely limited."

(Author's Note: Yeah Jake, this was why I was so eager...Wanted to put this forth)
"So let's say we have a million mutants available," Shadow said. "That's plenty. There are only 347 missile launching sites. That's over a thousand mutants per site. Surely we can do something. Humid, how fast can you get gnats to all those sites?"

"They are already on the way," Humid buzzed. "In fact, I am getting first reports from a number of them. Apparently there is a universal countdown in effect. The missiles are being prepared for launching."

"Where does the count stand now?"

"Launch in 21 hours."

"That doesn't give us enough time!" Valkyrie said.

"Let's not give up hope," Zang said. "There must be mutants living close to every site. Our only problem will be knowing which sites are located far from any mutant."

"Is there any way we can quickly find that out?" Shadow asked.

In the Florida Everglades, Chomper a mutant alligator is leading his own team on one of the missile sites. A mutant Florida panther says "There it is, just like the gnat said." Chomper says "How will we dismental that?"
"The old fashioned way!" Cried a mutant Komodo dragon man, Zassk, charging forward with his trademark machete in one claw and a grenade in the other.

A Starhawk materialized overhead, cloak powering down as gatling gun opened up, turning trees to sawdust and splinters in a row behind the charging lizard.

Behind Chomper, the panther darted up a nearby one, pulling out a human-sized mortar with the other. He didn't drop a customary curse about the inaccessibility of actual AA weapons, just rammed down a round and opened up, relieved to see that the predatory gunship was occupied too late with shedding Inquisitors and pulping two members of a rival mutant team -even as its' wing shot off.

It spun out of control, engine screaming like an eagle in pain, Inquisitors tumbling into the bushes in a spray. The undergrowth came alive as they landed square atop a third mutant grouping, the canopy shielding human and mutant alike as more Starhawks appeared in the sky, raining fire.

Chomper sighed, ducking a stray rocket and pulling out his plasma-sabre as the battle intensified.
Lupas soon noticed a lot of chatter on some of the radios. "Sounds like trouble."
"We can't be distracted from our goal." Slimy said "The launch codes are located here in Israel."

The Thunderbird landed in the Mountains of Israel. Slimy, Lupas, Valkyrie, Shadow and Humid all jumped out.

"See how many guards there are..." Shadow said "How are we going to get past them?"

"Luckily I planned ahead." Valkyrie said "I've got these knock-out gas tablets."

With her immense strengh she through the tablets toward the building, the tablets released their gas which caused the gaurds around the outside the building to fall unconscious
Inside the building was a different story. Guards boiled out of hidey holes like ants in a hive. Laser weapons flashed. Projectile weapons boomed and zinged. And some kind of nerve weapon emitted a mind-numbing rattle that made their teeth vibrate.

"Over there!" Lupas yelled, motioning them to a safer area while he removed a grenade pin with his mouth and tossed the grenade back down the hallway at the guards.

Humid rushed on in advance, trying to locate any weak-minded guards. Soon the hallway was littered with guards who had "decided to take a nap" in the midst of a battle.
"Wow," Exclaimed Shadow, "How many of those tablets do you have Valkyrie?" Valkyrie says "Enough to put this entire base to sleep if I had to." Lupas says "Keep the commander awake, we need to get the codes from him." Slimy says, "How do we interrogate him?" Shadow extends his claws "Leave that to me, I'll make him talk."
"There's a column of armoured vehicles approaching," Buzzed one of Humid's gnats. "I think they've realized that the base is under attack; most are pulling ahead but the High One's car is slowing down under heavy escort."

Over 10,000 other mutants had been assigned to attack this key launch-site, and enhanced stamina and equipment were letting them swarm in from all directions. An awkward assortment of mutant fighters and Theocracy Starhawks duelled for hundreds of clicks in every direction, rarely in sight of the troops on the ground. Explosions pocked the dry hills and plains beyond for kilometres, gradually coalescing and condensing to a massive firefight centred around the Launch Facility. Gunships advanced, low and fast beneath the air-cover, depositing troops and being blown out of the sky in a body.

Slimy was perched in a hollow between boulders, picking off the complex's defenders with her rifle. "We need to find a way inside quick, before we run out of bodies!" She gurgled.

"Got something that might help," Lupas said, as he got out a bag. Moving quickly, he pulled out parts to an item, and put it together.

"Is that what I think it is?" Slimy asked.

"If you're thinking an anti-tank weapon, you have that right," said Lupas. "Got an anti-air one as well. Probably should put that together to."
Meanwhile, Shadow and Valkyrie spotted the Commander

"There he is!" Snickered Shadow who leapt up with a tremendous roar! And grabbed the Commander by his shoulders knocking him into some machinery.

That's when everything got weird.

"You fool!" Shouted the Commander "You just destroyed my Quantum Device! Now the launch system is completely destroyed!"

As the Commander said that, the room filled with a White Light, everyone was immersed in it, for a moment, all thought stopped, like an orgasm...Or Death.

Valkyrie sat up and rubbed her head "Where am I?" She asked

"In a new world." Came a soft pleasant voice.

Valkyrie looked up, on a ledge above her, there was an animal unlike Anything she had ever seen. It had snow white fur, along tail with a tassel on the end, thin delicate legs, with cloven hooves, deep blue eyes and...A spiral horn?

"No...No it can't be!" Valkyrie exclaimed "Unicorns don't exist!"

"In your world maybe." The Creature was able to speak despite not being the slightest anthropomorphic. "But in this world they do."

"Who are you?" Valkyrie asked

"My name is Snowdrop." Said the Unicorn

"Am I dreaming?" Valkyrie asked clutching her head "Did I bump my head and now I'm in a Soap Opera coma fantasy?"

"I assure you're not." Snowdrop said feeling irritated at the Mammoth doubting her senses "Look around you Mammoth." Snowdrop said "Your Animal Comrades are here with you...In this world Humans can not exist here...Just like water can not flow upstream, Humans can not enter this world."

Valkyrie looked around, all around her, she saw, Lupas, Humid, Shadow, Slimy and several of the Mutant Soldiers who had not been killed in the fighting, she saw a Rhinoceros here, a Chimpanzee there among others.

That's when she noticed the land around her... seemed like the most beautiful land she had ever seen!

There were all sitting in a fantastic green meadow! Pockets of colorful wildflowers here and there, nearby was a small pool of crystal clear water, to the far east looked to be where the meadow ended and the forest began, with a line of pine trees, the sun was bright and warm, the sky blue as sapphires, with beautiful big puffy clouds

"Too bright!" Slimy hissed "It's burning the slime from my body!"

"This is a land untouched by Human Greed." Snowdrop said as she jumped down from the ledge "This is a safe place for Animals...Anyone who wishes is welcome to stay here."

"You mean...Forever?" Asked Lupas genuinely surprised for once in his life.

"Yes." Snowdrop said "See that hole in the Ground? That is the gateway to the world you came from...It will close in 20 minutes and never open again...So you must choose weather you will stay or go...I will not force anyone it is entirely up to you."

Valkyrie stopped and considered this, she stood up, she walked over to the pool filled her trunk with water and took a drink, it was the coolest water she ever drunk,

Then she plucked some daisies from the ground and ate them, they tasted sweeter then any candy she ever had.

"Your offer is most gracious." Valkyrie said "And this world is truly beautiful...But...I can not stay...So many lives are depending on me...I must go home..."

As Valkyrie made her way to the whole, Snowdrop asked "Is anyone else leaving?"
"Most of me is leaving," buzzed Humid, "but I find this place most interesting. I shall leave behind several gnats. Perhaps they will be able to communicate with me or perhaps they will be separated from me forever. We shall see."
Shadow says "Impressive world though, but I don't belong here. I have to go back and save my world for it's worth fighting for."
Slimy rubbed unconsciously at badly bruised arm, gazing in awe at the meadows and glaciers rearing huge and majestic beyond the ranks of pines and cedars. Everything seemed alive and vitalic as never before, a sensation embodied in the patient equestrian standing by. Breathing was a pleasure. the entire scene was beautiful and smelled delicious, but the urge to hunt and kill Theocrats was as strong and natural as the urge to eat and just as irresistible.

With one last look of longing, as if she was trying to memorize every minute detail of that beautiful countryside, she slipped through the portal into the maelstrom of chaos and pain that was the earth she had known.
"Nice place and all, put my place is back through that hole," said Lupas.

"Why do you say that?" the unicorn asked.

"There's still people trapped there," said Lupas. "I don't plan on resting until the last one is free."

The unicorn chuckled. "You remind me of someone."

Lupas smiled. "I hope they are a good person." He then walked through the hole.
When everyone got back through the portal, the accident that sent them to the other world had left all the Humans involved quivering and/or unconscious.

"Before we were sent, I remember that Commander saying I destroyed the launch device." Shadow said "So I'm hoping the Weapons of Mass Destruction can't be launched."

"They can repair it if they must." Lupas said grimly "It may take a while but they can do it."

But right now most of the Humans seemed to be going back to an infantile state. With grown men and women sucking their thumbs, hugging random tools like plush toys and crying out for their parental figures.

"Geez!" Exclaimed Valkyrie "What happened to these people when we were in that Paradise?"

Lupas shrugged "Maybe while we got our vision of Heaven they got their vision of hell...Wouldn't surprise me."

One Man seemed slightly more composed then everyone else, an engineer was crawling through the debris hoping to escape unnoticed.

Unfortunately the Mutants were both energized and felt their senses strengthened by that trip to the other world.

Valkyrie picked up the engineer with her trunk "And where do you think you're going?" She smirked

"Please Ma'am." The Engineer said with a Texan Accent "I had to do it! I only did it because the Church promised my family would be spared if I did it!"

"Did what?" Valkyrie asked

"Build the weapons of mass destruction!" The engineer choked

"Did the possibility ever cross your mind that they may very well have lied...And you and your family would be the first to go?" Lupas asked "I've seen it a million times with this church, they need scientists and engineers to build things for them, but once they are finished they are killed because of the Theocracy's hatred of science and so the scientists will never turn against them."
"I know!" said the engineer. "Believe me, I have had all kinds of second thoughts about it. This thing has torn me apart mentally. In the end I did what I thought was best for the survival of my family. But maybe my vision was too narrow. What I should have done is think what was best for the entire human race."
"Drop 'im demon!" Called an imperious voice behind them, interrupting the conference. A dozen mutant heads turned as an Inquisitor strode around the corner, sub-machine gun in one hand, ceremonial vibro-sword in the other.

Lupas tutted, casually raising his rifle as he spoke for them all. "This is just plain stupid. You're about to die." Behind him, Valkyrie dropped the human in question, adjusting her colossal flame-thrower.

A dozen other super-soldiers in shining armour materialized behind the original challenger in mid-stride, coming into visibility like their cloaking had caught a whiff of something unpleasant and tried to hide on them. The leader pulled the trigger, and the gun sparked.

He tossed the useless implement aside with surprising patience, transferring both hands to his melee weapon. "Looks like that blast they set-off destroyed all the equipment. Never mind; let's send 'em back to hell the old fashioned way, Gentlemen!"

"Hail firstborn!" The humans screamed, leaping at the mutants with abandon. Bodies collided and guns flared uselessly. Slimy rolled out from behind a pile of rubble, combat-knife flashing as she tackled the captain in mid-leap and both to a crashing halt. The man yelled as his sword dropped from a mangled hand- and backhanded Slimy with the other gauntlet with remarkable poise.

"You! I know you!" He cried, kicking her in the gut, knocking her into a pile of smashed concrete. "You killed half my squad!" Slimy gashed him in the side as he brought both fists together overhead. "This is for Schneider!" The rubbery flesh rippled with a squishy noise as both hands hammered down like an avalanche.

Dazed, the hagfish rolled aside as the human roared on, smashing through the pile and drawing a knife of his own, heedless of the tangled bodies that rolled and fought around them both.
"Don't you just love these kinds of parties?" Lupas asked, as he kneed one of the Inquisitors in the crotch. He then grabbed another, and tossed him into a wall. He then pulled out a pistol. "Let's see if one of my guns work!" He pulled the trigger, and the weapon worked, catching an officer in the shoulder. "Interesting!" He then pulled a pistol off of one of the soldiers, and pulled the trigger on it. It worked, catching another officer in the knee! "Well, that's interesting as well!" He then looked at the other mutants. "Talk about your selective firing!"

"How are you able to fire that soldier's gun?" Valkyrie asked.

"I don't know," said Lupas. "Think I should give it back, and see if it works for him now?"

"Now that would be stupid."

"Ha! Had to ask!"

"Someone must like us, or something."

"Well, this isn't over," said Lupas. "Not until the fat lady sings, and I don't hear her singing yet!"
Valkyrie took her flamethrower and started to torch the rest of the Lab.

"By the way..." She said absentmindedly "Are we positive that there are no back up plans somewhere else...No where else that can launch the missiles?"

"If Zang knew he would have said so." Shadow said as he clonked to Solder's head together
Flames crackled. Smoke filled the air. "We should get out!" warned Humid. "There may be explosives triggered by the fire."

"You're right!" Lupas yelled. "It's developing into an escape-from-the-burning-enemy-base-before-it-explodes scene. I've been through enough of them to know it never ends pretty. That final leap from the exploding remains almost always leaves somebody's backside singed."

"It's not going to be mine!" rumbled Valkyrie as she headed for the exit.

"But I want to clonk more heads!" Shadow complained.

"I'm relatively fire resistant," Slimy said, "but it's not hard to picture you guys with your fur in flames. Let's get out of here!"
Lucas lead everyone off the base and they all dashed towards the forest as the base exploded in one big fireball. Everyone looked on as Shadow says "That's the end of the Inquizitor's army, I hope."
"Ulghh... I don't feel so good." Grunted Slimy, staggering towards a friendly dropship and nursing a singed backside, feeling the after-effects of the Inquisitor's mauling. She could use some time to patch up. Quite a bit of time, in fact. And then it was back to the wilderness, picking off stray humans until they stopped coming altogether.

"Maybe what you need is a trip to a swamp," said Lupas. "I located one when going over the maps of the territory around Valkyrie's place. Good hunting by most indications."

"What do you mean?" Slimy asked.

"Rodents, snakes, amphibians, fish, the occasional deer, that sort of thing," said Lupas.

"What about humans?" Slimy asked.

"Not for at least fifty miles," said Lupas. "They don't like hunting or fishing in that area - too easy to get lost when you can't figure out the compass points in your head."

"Are you sure it's good hunting?" Shadow asked.

"I located most of the good hunting and fishing areas, and marked them on a map, based on previous experience in similar areas," said Lupas. "I'll have to actually check them out to verify the truth of the situation."
"I'm not going to a swamp." Valkyrie said quickly

"Oh geez." Lupas said "It's your hydrophobia again."

"I can't be somewhere that's half water half land...I'll take Slimy back to my mountain fortress where I can operate on her there...Besides it's been several hours, I'm sure my Herd wants breakfast."

Valkyrie pulled out a green bottle of something.

"Drink this." Valkyrie said to Slimy "It's a formula that will speed up your immune system."

Slimy drank deep, and she immediately fell asleep.

Shadow then spotted the Texan Engineer, who crawled to the river and drank deep from the water.

"There is that Engineer." Shadow said "Should we take him with us?"
"I don't see why," Valkyrie said. "We don't owe him any favors."

"I want to go to the swamp," Humid said. Lupus showed it the map. "Thank you. I may have cousins living there. It's my natural habitat, you know?"

"Can you find us at the mountain fortress?" Lupus asked.

"Sure. I'll send a few gnats with you. I'll know exactly where you are. See you later."
As Lupas, Shadow and Valkyrie returns to the fortress with Slimy, Zang was first to meet them "What happened to him?" He asked as he pointed to Slimy. Shadow says "He had a tussle with the Inquisitor and he almost lost." Zang says "Must've been some fight." as he sees the bruises on Slimy's back. Lupas and Shadow lays Slimy onto one of the beds in the medbay.
Congratulations, troops. Said Zang, taking a moment to telepathically extend his thoughts to every mutant in operation on Earth. We have achieved a great victory today, and civilization is preserved for the future. His own sense of relief and triumph brushed against their minds, inciting similar emotions even in those hardy mutants who had only been looking forward to a nuclear wasteland and an end to the war. But our mission is not over.
"I wonder what the Doc wants us to do next," said Lupas. "It better not be some propaganda shtick."

"Propaganda?" Valkyrie asked.

"Helping people out is one thing," said Lupas. "Using TV or telepathic abilities to force people into following you though, there's something wrong with that."

"I doubt it's anything like that," said Valkyrie.

"Don't be surprised," said Lupas. "As History has told us, Mortal Enemies have a lot in common with each other."
The Kids of Valkyrie's herd had already started feeding themselves, since it was darn near impossible for even the oldest of the kids to use Kitchen Equipment built for Mammoth Size, they had to suffice on milk and raw fruits and vegetables.

Valkyrie chuckled "All right Kids, I'll make you something really great for breakfast!

Looking at her kitchen though she wondered what she was going to make, the Global Flooding crisis had left a lot of foods in short supply, chocolate and maple sugar were darn near impossible to find, the Kids had already eaten most of the fruit. She had plenty of flour and sugar but not much else

Then in one cupboard, Valkyrie saw a stash of a ton of Azuki Bean Paste, Zang bought when he could (Author's Note: I'm assuming Zang is at least partly Japanese)

That's when Valkyrie remembered an old Japanese recipe Zang taught, Anpan or Red Bean Jam Bun.

She got out her massive mixing bowl, and giant egg beaters and started mixing ingredients.

That's when Shadow padded in, silent as the night.

"What are you making?" Shadow asked

"Japanese Jam Buns." Valkyrie said "I'm making a Hundred so they'll be enough for my 33 kids and all of us."

"I'll pass." Shadow said "As a Feline I can't taste sweetness so I wouldn't' be able to enjoy it."

"What about Lupas?" Valkyrie asked

"Wolves can taste sweetness, but Lupas seems to think it's 'unmanly' or 'not proper' of carnivores to eat sweets, if you ask me I think sometimes Lupas tries to hard.

"Yeah...That's Lupas for you." Valkyrie said as she started mixing the mixture.

"Shadow looked at a book a very old book, possibly from the mid twentieth century

"The City Jungle...By Felix Salten." Shadow had had trouble with reading and writing when he was a Cub, even today he was self conscious about the Struggles for which other Cubs would mock him for."What's it about?" He asked

"It's about the lives of Animals who live in a city zoo." Valkyrie said

"Are they're any black panthers in it?" Asked Shadow

Valkyrie thought for a minute "Two appear near the end of the book, but they're not very nice characters..." That's when the Mammoth realized there was only one way Shadow could have gotten that book.

"Were you poking around in my room?" Valkyrie asked

"I was looking for your Book of Mutant Anatomy!" Shadow said quickly "Zang asked me for it because he was going to operate on Slimy, one of your kids Hans said it would be in your room."

"Hans was one of Valkyrie's oldest kids 12 years old on the cusp of adolescence, he had come down with bronchitis last year and Valkyrie had nursed him back to health in her own room

(Author's Note: Hertz, Slimy is FEMALE, you kept referring to HER as a Him in your last post)


"You watch these beaters," Valkyrie said, "and I will go to my room and get the book."

"But what am I suppose to watch for?" Shadow asked.

"Just turn them off if anything happens."



Humid found itself in a thick green swamp, much like the one that it grew up in. Large yellow and black spiders had hung webs everywhere while pale green spiders hid in plants, waiting for bugs to land. Like all insects, Humid had no fondness for spiders and was always alert to their location and intentions.

Mosquitos hummed, bees buzzed, butterflies flapped, and then, Humid saw it, another swarm like itself. A swarm of gnats hanging in the air in a sunbeam, lazily flying around and around itself, just enjoying the sun.

"Hello!" Humid said. "I am a visitor from another swamp! Greetings!"

The sunbeam swarming gnats turned a thousand eyes in Humid's direction. "You is? From another swamp? Golll-eeee! That's amaaaaazing! Why is you visiting our puddle of fun?"

"Just sightseeing. I guess you guys don't know much about what's happening outside of this swamp."

"No, sireee! I ain't never been out of the swamp. They say it's all dried up out there, not a drop of water. Is that true?"

"No," Humid said. "It's not a desert and there are other swamps to see."

"Well, I been in this swamp my whole life and I don't reckon I'm gonna go looking for another swamp now."

"That might be best," Humid said. "I'm on my way now. Got to keep traveling. Nice meeting you!"
Our enemy is confused. Our enemy is disorientated, their people only now realizing what has happened. Continued Zang's victory address. If we leave them be, the people will know on their own how we have saved them, and that the Theocracy has suffered a great set-back. Their forces are not invincible, their rule, not backed by any deity. Until further notice, I am precluding attacks on civilians targets of any measure. Only Inquisitor and the Theocracy's other military units are to be engaged, a prescription I know you shall all follow scrupulously.
"Well, there's a 'Duh!' message there," said Lupas. "It's against the Rules of War to attack noncombatants anyways."
An hour later, Valkyrie came into the dining room with an enormous tray of Anpan Jam Buns

"Breakfast is ready!" She said as she watched to kids go nuts snagging Jam Buns.

Valkyrie leaned back and stretched

"I wonder..." Lupas said "...What the High Priest is doing right now."

"Probably going nuts his plan was foiled." Valkyrie said dismissively "That Priest is INSANE, I hear he lives on nothing but bread and water, that's why he's so thin...Most of the other Priests can't resist luxury and stuff themselves with fancy candies and drink the most expensive wines...I do declare you can tell how 'pious' a Priest is by his body mass index."
"Bring me more water!" yelled the High Priest. "And this time make sure it is pure! You know I only drink mountain spring water, triple-filtered. And use the silver pitcher."

"Yes, your grace!" said the servant, backing out of the door.

In the hallway the servant passed another one who asked, "Is he still spitting fire?"

"I've never seen him this angry."

The High Priest stood staring out his window, idly chewing on a piece of bread. There was a lot of lost ground to recover, but he could do it.
The High Priest watched the footage of the missile base distraction, "I can't believe those mutants are responsible for foiling my plans of world destruction. Especially that mammoth." The High Priest paused the video as the servant came in with the silver pitcher and a glass, "Here's the water you asked for your grace," He puts the pitcher on the tray on the table and put the glass next to it, "anything else?" The High Priest says "Yes," he points to the mammoth on the paused video, "give me some information on that."
"Right away, Your Exaltedness." The little man bowed his way out.

The High Priest slumped against a wall, mentally checking the time for the Military Conference due in a few minutes. This had been a bad day in more ways than one. Huge losses in troops, vehicles, supplies, and weapons aside, there was the realization of just how many Demons were hiding in the woodwork. Hundreds of thousand -millions- scattered around the world. It was like suddenly picking up a rock to reveal an ant nest.

The Inquisitors and standing armed forces had fought bravely, killing thousands, but given the freshly revealed scope of the threat, they would need to step up their actions to defend Humanity from the monsters that preyed upon it.

It would be a long war.
(Thank-you for coming, everyone! I wanted to end on a high note, while the battle was still fresh. Hope you had a good time!)

The End!

© Copyright 2014 jdstephens, BIG BAD WOLF Is Merry!, Twiga, Hertzman, Steev the Friction Wizurd, (known as GROUP).
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