Ascension – A Community Development

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    (Collaboration between myself and Alexander Of Limbo)

    Ascension: The Conduit Log
    “[Please, don’t kill me.]”
    The sky was dark, night had fallen over Hong Kong, the only light was provided by the searchlights of the invasion craft hovering overhead like giant insects. In a small back street a man is dragging himself along the floor, looking obviously worse for wear. The most striking thing about this man is the long spikes that run down his spine and arms, culminating in two long horns that protrude from his forehead. One of his horns is snapped off half-way up and the stump is a bloody mess. Blood drips down onto his face. His words are mumbled and quiet, he has obviously been running.
    Someone appears in the street behind him, a man of medium size and quite decent build. It’s hard to see much of him due to the darkness and the fact he is wearing a hoodie with the hood up. He advances slowly on the horned man, rolling up his sleeve as he does so. He is wearing some sort of device on his wrist, which he touches, clicking some sort of cartridge into place as he stands above the horned man. The man looks up, a pleading look on his face.
    “[Please]” he says. The light from one of the searchlights illuminates the assailant’s face for a brief moment. He is a youngish man, in his early twenties and his lower face is covered by a skull-patterned bandana. His eyes look sad, even remorseful.
    “I’m sorry,” he says as he raises his hand and punches the horned man in the face, knocking him out. Lifting up the horned man’s left arm, he locates a small square scar on his elbow. Without a word he flicks a needle out from the device on his wrist and inserts it into the scar, drawing a strange fluid from the wound. Slowly the man’s horns and spins start to recede into his body, his skin growing paler, until the man looks normal. The assailant drops the now dead mans arm and rises to his feet, walking back the way he came without looking back.
    Later that day, aboard the largest of the invasion craft, we find this man in what appears to be a cell, all be it a highly futuristic and clean cell, not like a prison cell, but like the sort of quarters you’d expect on a battleship from a few years in the future. The man is curled up on his bed, shaking, obviously having a nightmare. He is muttering under his breath franticly, his words barely audible. Inside his mind, he sees flashes of numerous dark alleys, numerous people just like the horned man, all of whom he had deprived of their lives that night. A tear forms in the corner of his closed eye.
    “Welcome Commander Reischek.”
    A number of levels above the cell is the bridge of the craft. It looks similar to the multitude of sci-fi control bridges, a multitude of screens and monitoring stations on a number of levels, each manned by a person completely focused on their station, all situated around a captains chair situated in the center of the room. And sliding into the room with an aura of malevolence to take his position in that chair is Jonathon Reischek, commander in chief of Ascension. His face is horribly scarred and his lower jaw missing, replaced by a mechanical one, but still he has a commanding prescience that suggests he is in complete control. One of the officers approaches him and salutes.
    “Make your report captain, Reischek says, his voice not fully human, given a grating edge by his artificial jaw. The captain drops his salute and stands to attention.
    “Commander, we believe we have located four of the five priority targets. Three are congregated in Times Square whilst the fourth is in the dockland area. We have sent a battalion to each location but the dockland battalion isn’t responding. We believe this is the work of the lone rebel. Should we dispatch any further troops sir?”
    Reischek ponders this for a moment, his metal jaw resting on his hands.
    “This rebel is priority two is she not?” He asks quietly.
    “Yes Commander,” the captains said, looking quickly at his notes.
    “Then she must be dealt with immediately.” Reischek sinks back into his chair. “Bring me the conduit.”
    The captain salutes again and turns for the door. Reischek closed his eyes. These rebels must not be allowed to get in the way of his perfect world, in the way of his world peace.
    A few minutes later, the man is brought before Reischek. He looked awful. It is fairly obvious that his sleep was not a happy one and he carries scars from numerous dangerous pursuits, as well as his more recent battles. Reischek studies him for a moment before addressing him.
    “Your services are required again.” He says menacingly. “We have located a high priority rebel in the docks and she must be eliminated immediately. She is heading towards observation post 7.”
    “She?’ The conduit looks uneasy at the thought of this; all of his previous assignments had been men or large groups. Going after one lone girl bothered him.
    “Yes, she. That shouldn’t be a problem should it?” Reischek leered, menacingly. The conduit shook his head.
    “Good,” Reischek rests back in his chair. “Remember, you are only alive because you are useful to us. If you are no longer willing to work, then you are no longer useful. Do I make myself clear.”
    The conduit nods. He’d seen enough to know not to go against Ascension.
    “Good,” Reischek said with a nasty smile. “One last thing you need to know before you go. This target does not seem to have a fixed power set, which may cause some complications. You must deal with this swiftly. No mess.”
    “Yes sir,” The conduit said as he saluted weakly, before turning towards the door. How, he wondered, had his life got to this?


    Alexander of Limbo

    Mr Reaper, Assessment Reports

    Assessment of Kate Quinn
    So as well as getting himself killed the thrice damned barrista did not infuse Kate Quinn correctly. I made it very clear that it must be injected straight into the blood stream! During testing those that ingested the MT-VS7 had rapid compulsions and internal liquidation of their organs. However Miss Quinn has not reacted thus, interesting. The manifestations she possess are clearly activated by stress or anger, much like the others, however they differ each time. Why she has had this reaction is beyond me and must be investigated.
    Currently she is off doing god knows what. The triad failed to sheep dog her to the others and it appears that a third party has introduced her to the Crimson Hand. How did they come into this!?
    No worries, they can be fit into my little plan quite easily.

    Assessment of Gina Lamprey
    She’s done her job quite well this one, bu my previous assessment of her being easily manipulated may be a little off. Every now and then sh deviates from instructions. I believe her manifestation has left her a little unhinged. It also presents a threat to me, if she can see into the future then i must ensure that i never meet her…ever. I am going to have to play a difficult game to manipulate this one.
    Also that stunt with the Ascension Cruiser is noted. They may have destroyed a whole Cruiser, but Ascension has lost absolutely nothing. Drawing attention to themselves in such a way is no good.

    Combat Assessment of Terrance Anders, Shu Ji, Adrian Wight and the Triad
    So some members of the bad of merry men had their first successful combat situation. They worked well as a team. Given time they will be a force to be reckoned with. Ascension will update my file from ‘Thorn in the side’ to ‘pain in the Ass’… if they have a file on me. One notable incident was the street urchin taking part. I honestly infused him with MT-VS7 for fun. But this one may prove useful. He’s certainly shown that he is capable of getting his hands dirty.

    Assessment of ‘The Conduit’
    This one has become a little kick in the teeth. I bestow the guy with god like powers and he uses them to kill off my pawns. The only good thing about this is i know Ascensions Queen, and they are exposing it too much.
    Some how the marvelous minds over at ascension have managed to use his manifestation to permanently remove the MT-VS7 from others. It kills them, but feeds him. Somewhere down the line that will destroy him, the addiction will soon be unbearable, but i can’t wait that long. I could use him as a spy but the risk is too great. No, he needs to be dealt with.

    Assessment of Rick Henare
    Finally we get to my own remote controlled toy robot. I was surprised by how easily the Group at the Mall accepted him, you know, considering the whole cyborg thing. He may be ousted sooner or later but for now he can gather them around their little camp fires and tell them stories about how this all started. By the time they’ve heard what he has to say they will just be scrabbling to fight back. That rape bit as well, that just condemns Ascension as the ‘bad guys’, and i didn’t even have to plant that in his head.
    For now i’ll let him do his own thing. But he is important. Very important.



    Ok, recap time again. So my life just keeps getting better and better. My holiday in Hong Kong has now gone the wrong side of mental thanks to a cyborg invasion and I’ve been given this strange stuff called Empty Vessel which gives people superpowers. Problems are a) I don’t seem to be able to control my powers and b) the cyborgs keep finding me. And now I’ve been kidnapped by a group called the Crimson Hand and they don’t seem too friendly.

    ‘[Speak]!’ Quantou growls. His men have encircled me and there’s no way out. ‘[Who are you and what is your purpose here?]’
    ‘[My name is Kate Quinn],’ I say, hoping that the translator earpiece is translating my words properly. ‘[I’m looking for Ge Hong. I’ve been told he can help me.]’
    I offer him the note left for me by the barista. One of the thugs grabs it from me.
    ‘[It’s not in Chinese sir]’ he says after looking at the note, before handing it to his boss. Quantou turns back to me and fixes me with a dark stare.
    ‘[What is you mother tongue foreigner?] He says with a tone of disgust.
    ‘[English.]’ I try to be polite as possible. It’s not wise to be rude to the obviously nationalistic psychopaths holding you hostage, especially when a number of them have weapons.
    ‘[Chen, come here,]’ Quantou barks. A younger Chinese guy, not much older than I am steps forward from the shadows. He is quite well built, obviously athletic, and, thankfully, not carrying a weapon. ‘[Translate it.]’
    Quantou drops the note on the floor, making the younger guy pick it up before reading it out in what I have to assume is Chinese (having speech translated when it hits your ear is quite confusing in these situations). Once the Chen guy finishes, Quantou considers the situation for a minute before turning back to me.
    ‘[We know where Ge Hong is,]’ he says slowly, as if considering each word carefully. ‘[But we will not take you to him. This is a Chinese problem and we shall fix it ourselves. We do not need any foreign assistance.]’
    I’m not really paying attention to his words though, because I can feel the vibrations through the ground. They’ve found me, I can tell, and my fears are confirmed a few seconds later by a thug rushing in to the room.
    ‘[Sir, Ascension are here, they’ve found us.]’
    ‘[How? We made sure we could not be tracked.]’ Quantou turns back to me. ‘[You. You lead them here.]’
    I suddenly feel all of the weapons in the room focus on me. I try not to flinch but it’s quite hard when everyone in the room wants to kill you. To my surprise though, Chen approaches Quantou and puts himself between him and me.
    ‘[Sir, when we found this girl she had just taken out a squad of Ascension troops. She is against them as we are. If she did lead them to us it was by our actions, not hers, by bringing her here. Besides, she is MT-VS7 infused too, she could be an asset here.]’
    ‘Too?’ I muttered under my breath, confused. Quantou’s angry expression changed, but he still had a look in his eye that I didn’t like.
    ‘[Very well,]’ he said, signaling his men to go outside. ‘[She shall live, but if she betrays us, you will die as well Chen. As soon as the immediate problem is dealt with I want you both out of my sight. What you do after that is of your own volition, but as of now, Chen, you are no longer a Crimson Hand.]’
    And with that Quantou left, leaving just Chen and me in the room. Chen helped me up as I started to feel the effects of the Empty Vessel bubbling up.
    ‘[Nice guy,]’ I say as we hurry out of the room. Chen smiles.
    ‘[Don’t mind uncle,]’ he says cheerfully. ‘[He’s just on edge at the moment, with the invasion.]’
    ‘[Uncle?]’ I throw him a quizzical look and he grins.
    ‘[Don’t worry, we’re not all like that. But he’s the senior, so he is in charge. Now, they will need our help.]’
    We burst out of the building and the sight that greets my eyes is incredible. All of the Crimson Hand men all seem to be showing signs of super-powers. Super-speed, super-strength, transformation, each and everyone using and controlling a different power. It made me kind of jealous.
    ‘[Look out!]’
    Chen barreled into me, knocking me out of the way of an Ascension laser.
    ‘[Good save,]’ I say dryly as we both clamber to our feet. He winks before rushing off into the fray. Amongst the chaos, I see him cutting through the cyborgs, washing them away using the water from the harbor as a weapon. Not bad, I thought to my self as I turned my attention back to my immediate surroundings, and the growing sick feeling within me.
    ‘Katherine Quinn, you are wanted by Ascension.’
    God I was getting sick of that voice. Only five cyborgs surrounded me when I looked up, all of their guns pointing straight at me.
    ‘Only five?’ I say sarcastically. The sick feeling is building but, worryingly, nothing seems to be happening. ‘You guys know I’ve taken out twice that before now, don’t you?’
    ‘You will be eliminated.’
    All of the guns whir and buzz as they charge up, the orange glow building.
    Then I’m sick. Of all the things to happen when I’m about to get killed. The cyborgs look slightly puzzled, some even lowering their weapons slightly. Then one of them jumps out of his skin. His compatriots look at their companion in confusion and then I notice it. He was being dissolved, from the feet up, by my sick, which had begun to glow an eerie green. It was moving as well, which really freaked me, latching onto each of the cyborgs, eating them alive. Their screams were horrible.
    ‘That’s gross.’ I exclaimed, as the cyborgs were reduced to a gooey mess on the floor. I looked around. The fighting seemed to be growing, more cyborgs were showing up all the time. Smoke was flooding the scene, but I could just make out the shapes of three people heading towards me. I prepared myself to run, but luckily it was Quantou, Chen and another of the Crimson Hand members. All had various injuries and wounds and all had determined looks. They stopped just in front of me and Chen stood beside me, putting his hand on my shoulder.
    ‘[We need reinforcements,]’ Quantou said, addressing his two subordinates. ‘[Zhou, I want you to head to Macau and find Shan Zu, he will be able to help us.]
    The Crimson hand saluted and headed off towards the mainland. Quantou turned his attention to Chen and myself.
    ‘[Chen, I want you to take this woman to Ge Hong and discover all he knows about Ascension. As the creator of the drug, he may be able to tell you where to find some others who can help us. He is in safe house five, area twelve. Be quick.]’
    ‘[Yes uncle.]’ Chen bows quickly before grabbing my hand and leading me off into the night. As we run I look over my shoulder. One of the triangle ships is hovering over the battle and I get the feeling that I’m being watched. The feeling sends a shiver down my spine as we run off into the blackness of the night.



    Johnathon Reischek sat in his chair on the bridge of the Ascension flagship invasion craft. If he could have smiled, he would have. Those fools on the ground, those ‘Vessels’, had no idea what was about to happen. Sure they had won a few small skirmishes, but now he had taken steps to ensure that would never happen again. The Red Hand had given him a useful trial run on some of the new advancements, as well as giving him the opportunity to remove a group which could have become a problem later, all be it a minor one.
    His thoughts were interrupted by one of the console technicians, who rose from his station to make a report.
    “Speak,” Reischek said, and the technician saluted.
    “Sir, we have found the girl. She has just made contact with drone 3.”
    Reischek nodded, his eyes glinting malevolently.
    “Relay the co-ordinates to the conduit,” he commanded. “And inform Commander Holland that it is time we unveiled the Phase Two’s to those fools in Times Square.”
    The technician saluted again and Reischek sank back in his chair. Everything was going well.


    Alexander of Limbo

    Quivering in a bed, thrashing every so often, sleeps the Conduit. If you can even all it sleep. His nights are plagued by faces…screams. A cold sweat clings to his whole body and he can feel the hunger coming back to him. He jumps, and the nightmare is finally over, but the faces still remain. Every second of every day he remembers each one.

    He slowly makes his way to the small glass door of his cell that leads to his shower, desperately turning the water scolding as if the water or heat could cleanse him and wash away the faces. He wipes over the fogged mirror and looks at his face, but sees only a stranger. Disgusted he moves his attention to his left hand. Just bellow his wrist is the catheter used for the gauntlet. They always take the gauntlet away afterwards to test his blood in it, and what they call the MT-VS7. That’s apparently what he takes from the targets.

    The buzzer above the door goes off and the Conduit instinctively moves towards his bed. A tall blonde man in a clean cut suit walks in, gauntlet in hand and female companion in tow.
    “You will remove more.” Eugen Diederich would waste no time asking the Conduit to do anything. He has the man wrapped around his little finger. Throwing the gauntlet into the conduits towel covered lap he swiftly leaves his companion alone in the room with the Conduit. She takes three canisters from her white lab coat and kneels beside the Conduit to take her medical examinations. Extracting blood here, taking temperature there. Then she speaks
    “These are for the secondary targets” slipping two of the three canisters into the gauntlet, “this is for the primary target.” She sometimes told him added mission details but then she asked”You got out before…Why not again” The conduit looked at her. Dozens of times he had been sent to ‘remove them’, before and after each one she had done the same exams. She had never asked him a question. He simply looked her straight in the eyes and told her:
    “They’ve already won.” He noticed a sadness to her eyes. He went back to staring straight ahead at the door. But out of the corner of his eyes he noticed her deviating from her usual routine. She was trying to remove the needle slyly but when she saw him looking she lunged, but he acted fast, first grabbing her needle hand next her other arm. He tossed her to the other side of the small room and she hit the wall with a thud. The conduit grabs the metal chair from the corner and throws it in her direction but before he knows it she is already on him needle in one hand and ice covering the other. Pinned down she freezes his arms to the floor and bites the cap from the needle, spitting it aside. “Do it!” he says, quietly at first, but soon he’s shouting it. He breaks down into tear-less sobs of “end it”s and “please”s. Sitting on top of him, needle poised to kill, Dr Emily Read stops hesitantly.
    “Why?” she asks “why do you want to die?”
    “Every second i see them-“
    “YOU KNOW WHO” he roars “you sent me after every single one of them! If you had done this sooner they’d be alive!”
    Emily sits up slowly, needle still pointed at the Conduits neck. “and you’re one of them” he mumbles in realization.
    “It wasn’t my assignment to kill you then” she replies “it is now”. Emily looks at the needle for a long time, and eventually tosses it to the side.

    Minutes later the Conduit is at his sink, rubbing warm water over his arms, Emily stands watching him.
    “Why poison? Why not just freeze me to death?” He inquired.
    “That’s the poison we lace the gauntlet with, i needed it to look like suicide.” She pauses “And it cant’t be known that i’m a Vessel”
    “And why am i not dead now?”
    “Because you want to be.” she said taking a few steps closer to the Conduit “You feel regret. I’ve seen too many of the Augmented come back and revel in what they have done… I can’t kill the one good person on this ship” she said in a hushed voice.
    Fully changed the conduit walks out the door, leaving Dr Read alone in the cell.


    Alexander of Limbo

    Dr.Emily Read had many patients, what Eugen Diedrich like to call the ‘experiments’. It was her job to carry out tests and physicals on the Vessels, to push them to the breaking point and take notes as they shattered. Today she was on her way to a patient that was broken beyond belief. Dr. Read liked Eve. She kept Eve in good health, comfort, safety and most importantly alive. Eve was a girl of around five years old, and her manifestation would normally have been have been safe or even fun for a girl her age. Eve was had developed and ability to connect to all computers and devices in her vicinity. A file, audio or video feed from bellow streamed through Eves skull. Every atrocity committed by the troops below, every second of every ‘test’ carried out on Diedrichs’ patients had been seen by Eve, and every shred of sanity had cracked under the horrors the attack had brought. She could watch in her head as civilians from below were converted into machines. She could listen to the screams of patients as their manifestation exploded out of control. And she could tell you where every platoon, commander of general was on any of the ships covering the sky.

    Dr. Read swiped a card through the door’s card reader and the heavy metal door opened with a small hiss as the hydraulics system worked its magic. Eve sat, huddled and rocking in the center of the room, in a large glass cell. Dr. Read placed the tray down on a control panel before tapping in some password and opening a door to the cell. Eve would never try to run, even though she had no chains and would easily be able to wriggle free of Dr. Read. No she knew that even if she got out the many story fall to the ground from this ship would kill her. She’d seen it as one poor soul saw no other choice, and she’d seen him splat on the ground below. Dr. Read picked up the tray and walked in the cell towards Eve. She sat down next to the still rocking girl and tentatively whispered,
    “Eve” The girl looked up suddenly, and down at the food which she then started to sniff before shoveling it in her mouth with her hands. Dr. Read looked at the knife and fork that Eve always left and then said,
    “Eve i have a treat for you.” The girl gave a sideways glance from the food, just for a second, never once stopping her shoveling. Dr. Read reached behind her and picked up something. Eve stopped as she heard a dry rustling. In Dr. Reads hand was some paper and pens. Eve hadn’t seen so many colours in person for such a long time. She’d seen red… too much red. And orange was the colour of Ascension. The world bellow was grey and black though. Blue! And Green! she’d missed these colours. The colours of the sea reminded her of getting in her dads boat. He’d call her to the edge to show her the fishes and then he’d splash her and they’d both laugh. It was a good memory. She grabbed the paper and pens, crumpling most of the paper as she did so. A sad smile crossed Dr. Reads face as she thought she heard a small voice say thank you.

    Dr. Read was almost out of the room when Eve started to sing.

    Round and round and round the bad man goes
    Where he stops nobody knows.
    The skies are made of metal,
    The ground will turn to dust,
    As the bad mans’ empire grows.
    But death approaches fast and grim,
    A game the two are playing,
    And only one will win.

    Dr. Read rushed to Eve and almost grabbed her but thought better of it.
    “Where’s the bad man Eve? Do you know? Can you tell me?” she urged. But eves eyes were glazed and she was scratching an picture onto the paper. It had too much red.


    The Atomic Punk

    Great story. I like the metaphorical use of colors.


    Alexander of Limbo

    cheers Smile, but i don’t know where everyone else has gone off to =( i really liked this community project. Hoping this will kick it into action again



    It’s a shame this finished. It was a good idea and a great read.



    Guys how about we resurrect this one?  This is too awesome not to be launched and completed.


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