My half-finished Cthulhu fic

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My half-finished Cthulhu fic

Postby Endless Sea on Thu Dec 20, 2012 2:04 am

I know it's too late to send in, but I'm gonna do it anyways. I've invested too much time into it so far to give up now. In case nothing comes of it, though, here's what I have at the moment, soon to be edited once I finish. (Please note that the italics in the original document do not show up in this copy; I'll fix that later as well.)

Ten minutes, twenty-five seconds, thought the Regulator as he glanced at the chronometer that instantiation 00-23-01-18 had given him. Ten minutes, twenty-two seconds… Eighteen seconds… Eleven… Five… Ten minutes even until the wall begins to give way before Cthulhu’s entrance- well, give or take a few nanoseconds, I suppose. Even the Administrators can’t be completely exact, no matter how omniscient they are.
He looked back to the technical readouts at one of the many consoles inside the cramped bridge of the ACS Citric; according to the shipboard computer, Seraph, copied and rewritten from the programming of Angel herself, all of the tiny battleship’s systems were completely functional, save the weapons themselves. That was somewhat to be expected, as despite having barely enough room for living conditions for two men, a recharging and maintenance room for Angel, and all the compartments necessary for a military vessel, the house-sized flyer was packed full of enough weaponry, armor, and other devices to start a war (and end it in less than a day); nevertheless, according to Seraph, the processes of priming and loading the artillery had experienced a sudden slowdown. Evidently, Angel and a Gnarbrydh-mounted Gurt, who were overseeing and helping with those particular operations, had abandoned their positions and headed to the deck.
Muttering a curse he’d learned from Subject Psi under his breath, the Regulator rechecked and re-equipped the small armory’s worth of futuristic weaponry that the reality bender had written up for him- an unbreakable katana (“Katanas are always better!” Psi had insisted) with a monomolecular edge, three incendiary pistols, and a sniper rifle that fired intensely radioactive explosives, none of which required reloading- and teleported to the ship’s deck. Cthulhu arriving early was likely out of the question, as the chronometer showed eight minutes and thirty-seven seconds remaining until the Great Old One made his way into their plane of the white void; the disruption was more than likely due to more mundane issues. The image of Angel giggling as she tested out the levitation packs recently built into her back popped into his mind, shortly followed by those of Gurt attempting to control the flight of a suddenly-reluctant Gnarbrydh or giving a lecture on exactly how he’d managed to rig ordinary grapefruit and lemons to explode as if they were carved from C-4, and he promptly teleported to the Citric’s bow.
What the Regulator found there was Gnarbrydh and a visibly distressed Angel attempting to haul what looked like six semi-conscious copies of himself to the nearest hatchway to the lower decks. All six copies appeared to be heavily wounded and bore a letter from the Greek alphabet scratched into his chest armor; even as he searched his mind for what the letters meant, the Regulator helped Gurt drag three of the newcomers onto Gnarbrydh’s back as Angel gathered two more into her arms, then hauled the last doppleganger over his shoulder and teleported to the ship’s medical center. The remaining copies were quick to follow, teleporting in under their own power while leaving their carriers behind; they had apparently decided seven occupants would make the room cramped enough.
As the others slumped themselves on top of or against the beds lining the room- four of them, as the Regulator had anticipated something like this occurring during the planning stages, if not the number of arrivals- the copy that had been slumped over his unharmed counterpart’s shoulders sat himself on a nearby stretcher, adopting a microscopically thin smile as he surveyed the room with eyes that struggled to stay even slightly open. “Hello, current me,” he rasped as he sagged into the cloth suspending him.
The Regulator glanced at the speaking copy’s letter as he sifted through a cupboard. “So you’re lambda, then?” he asked. “Does that make me mu?”
“No.” Lambda coughed, his entire body jerking in the process. The Regulator looked back and frowned, taking a longer look at his doppleganger’s injuries- holes three centimeters wide punched into various parts of his left arm, shoulder, ribs, and hip, long scrapes covering most of his right shoulder and upper arm, assorted scratches dotting his face and right shin. “You’re omega,” Lambda continued.
Omega… The Regulator nearly dropped the syringe of spirit elixir he had retrieved as he abruptly remembered the meaning of the letters on the copies’ armor. In his coat pocket, the hard edges of his reset button, pressed into his rib cage by the armor covering it, suddenly became that much more painful. Twenty-three letters before omega, he thought. Twenty-three resets… Twenty-three failures to keep the wall intact. This won’t end well.
Injecting the syringe’s contents into Lambda’s unpunctured arm, the newly christened Regulator-Omega asked his counterpart, “Why are there only six of you?”
His smile twitching, Lambda closed his eyes. “There should be seven,” he muttered. “I saw Alpha reset during Nu’s battle, but he never appeared for Xi’s.”
“And the other sixteen?”
“We’re not immortal, Omega. You know that.” Lambda’s smile widened enough to be visible by the human eye. “You know, the last battle was actually somewhat confusing, what with two of our number being named Psi. Of course, it didn’t last long…”
Omega removed the syringe, retrieving another from the cupboard even as Lambda’s wounds began to shrink and fade. The unharmed Regulator quickly began administering more spirit elixir to his wounded counterparts; behind him, the healing Regulator began to fall asleep, still smiling.
* * *
At four minutes and thirteen seconds on the chronometer, Omega, now with his representative letter etched into his chest plating, gathered his fellow Metaguards and reset dopplegangers on the Citric’s deck, the bow still covered in bloodstains. When all were present, he began to relate his counterparts’ story.
The reset button, he explained, was designed to revert reality on all planes back to the way it was at a previous point in time determined by the button’s user; the only difference would be the presence of the user himself, who would be unaffected by the reset. To keep himself and others from confusing their version of him with others, the Regulator had decided to assign letters of the Greek alphabet to each, with alpha going to the original Regulator, beta to the Regulator from the first reset, and so on. That the letter omega was being used meant that reality had been reset twenty-three times due to the battle with Cthulhu, which did not bode well for either the Metaguards’ chances of survival or, due to continued reality warping, the stability of the wall.
Subject Psi shrugged, still scribbling on the holographic display he’d been writing on for the past hour or so. “I’m guessing this is why that other you popped up in that origin story Mister A gave us,” he said. “Tried to reset everything to get you to go renegade, right?”
Omega nodded. Psi snorted and muttered something under his breath- Omega barely made out the words “smart guy” and “pity”- before getting up and leaving the deck, taking his holograph with him. Regulators Rho and Tau followed him down the hatchway; when Angel asked what they were doing, Omicron mentioned that the Regulators had noticed the reality warper acting oddly in prior battles, deciding to keep him under close watch as of the latest reset.
After a short silence, Gurt, covered head to toe in ammo bandoliers filled with lemon grenades and fiddling with a rocket launcher armed with nuclear oranges, decided to cut in. “Are you gonna lock him up or anything?” he asked, his voice as cool and smooth as the shell of a refrigerated watermelon. “Can’t let that happen, y’know. We’re a team, and teammates don’t fight each other. Besides, I’m team leader- if anything’s wrong, I should be the one putting the squeeze on him.”
“Don’t worry, sir,” Zeta said with a smile. “We won’t do a thing unless he tries to attack us or goes insane. We just don’t want him to become a cultist for the Great Old Ones without anyone there to stop him.”
The Lime Man nodded. “Just makin’ sure. I’ve always trusted you, Reg, but this whole reset button thing smells a bit…”
“Rotten?” Iota supplied.
“Past its expiration date,” Gurt corrected. “So, our Reg- um, wait, it’s Omega, right? Yeah, uh, Omega, since Psi brought up your story earlier- we’re in a story that’s actually being written, right? You know what I mean?”
Omega sagged a bit as the air in his lungs vacated itself all at once. “Well, yes, there is a story being written about us at the moment…” He trailed off.
“And?” Gurt prompted. “Go on, don’t leave us hanging! We don’t have the lime- er, time- for doubting yourself!”
Omega nodded. “Sorry, sir. It’s just that, well, this particular author apparently likes to write stories about the losers on occasion- he said that himself. For all I know, he might decide to kill us all off except for me, then have me push my reset button and start the cycle all over again.” He left out the bit about me being kind of a troll, but I’ll let it slide.
Gurt grunted, looking sour. “Bummer,” he said. Then, shrugging, he motioned for Gnarbrydh to turn around. “Well, if that’s how he’s gonna be, let’s squeeze every last drop of fight out of us! Let’s give him a battle worth writing, one that proves that we’re too tough to squash, especially by some squid-headed freakazoid!”
Zeta and Iota chuckled; the other Regulators and Angel clapped politely.
Omega’s chronometer beeped as it reached zero.
R’lyeh began to rise.
* * *
The first sign that something was wrong was the rippling. The featureless white void, seemingly infinite in width and height, began to shake, waves pulsing outward from a single point below them, just off the starboard edge of the Citric, and before any of the Metaguards realized it they had spread throughout the entirety of the void, even covering the now-obvious ceiling.
The smell was next, a stench of seawater and moss and corpses so strong it felt like it was invading your skin, like it was just as ubiquitous within your body as blood. It was carried by perhaps the first wind to ever blow through the white void, a wind strong enough to cause the Citric to tilt ever so slightly, a wind that, just like the ripples, originated from a point in the void’s floor just off the starboard edge of the ship.
It was when the outline of the Great Old One’s sunken city began to form- only an outline, with the barest traces of color, but almost as worrying as if it had fully arrived- that Alpha finally appeared. The air began to distort at the very tip of the ship’s bow, colors and edges bleeding into each other as a low crackling sound reached the Metaguards’ ears, and suddenly Alpha was there, his armor cracked and his clothes torn, but otherwise unharmed. Although crouched on all fours upon arrival, he immediately sprang to his feet, inspected himself for damage, analyzed his surroundings, and promptly stomped up to Gurt. “Sir,” he growled, “I insist you tell me where Subject Psi is, right now.”
The other Metaguards stared. “Alpha?” Lambda said. “What happened-”
“Yog-Sothoth decided to interfere with our resets,” Alpha interjected, “and that’s all I have time to say. Gurt- where is Psi?”
“Uh, in his room, I guess,” Gurt stammered. “Why do you-”
“Cthulhu’s taken interest,” Alpha said. “If you’ll excuse me, I have a reality warper to knock out.” With that, the original Regulator teleported out of sight.
For a moment, the Metaguards stayed where they were, the impact of Alpha’s words still being processed. Angel was the first to recover, opening her mouth as if to ask a question, when an enormous screech emanated from the rapidly forming city below.
Now much more than an outline, the island-city of R’lyeh was more than a kilometer wide, dotted with vast stone vaults covered in green mold and sea scum that contrasted heavily with the deep brown mud they were embedded in. Enormous statues of bizzare, tentacle horrors lined a row of granite steps that reached from the island’s edge to a vast stone citadel at the city’s center, an enormous black temple with a physics-defying structure and a tip that nearly reached the altitude at which the Citric flew.
The being that emerged from that temple was nearly as tall, its skin as green and smooth as the scum-covered vaults, its cephalopod-like head as large as the Citric and possessing more tentacles where a mouth should have been than a cat would fur on its entire body. Although the rest of its body was generally humanoid, its feet bore more resemblance to hands than they should, each finger and toe was tipped with an onyx claw half as long as the digit itself, and from its back sprouted a set of leathery bat’s wings spanning half as wide as the being was tall. Beneath its damp, glistening flesh, its veins pulsed and bubbled with something dark and foul.
Cthulhu was awake.
For a few brief seconds, it seemed not to notice the ship flying just above its head. Then, abruptly, one of its eyes, entirely black, rolled upward to focus on the Citric, and it let out another screech, one that made Omega think of massacres and torture and tears of despair. The Great Old One raised its right hand, and suddenly it was clutching a staff as tall as it was, carved from knotted black wood and covered with hieroglyphs and other indecipherable markings, topped with a mass of spherical structures that seemed to be watching the Metaguards just as much as its wielder was.
One wave of the staff and the engines exploded. The Citric plummeted towards the ground, its stern replaced by a torrent of radiation and blue flame.
* * *
Omega felt the surrounding air pressure lessen to nil for an instant, the tangy smell of warping space briefly overtaking R’lyeh’s stench, and then the teleport completed, depositing the current Regulator at the shores of the Great Old One’s isle. Evidently, Cthulhu was interfering with his powers; he’d meant to warp directly next to the eldritch being’s eye, deal some damage with his pistols or katana while he was still in range, then teleport once more to safety. Troubling once again, he thought.
The other four Regulators who had been on the deck when Cthulhu had attacked were all nearby, Iota and Omicron clutching their heads as if in pain, Zeta looking around with a bemused look on his face, Lambda kicking a nearby rock hard enough to send it flying several meters; Omega supposed their teleports had been redirected as well. In the skies of the void to their right, Gnarbrydh and Angel, with Gurt seated on the former’s back, were visible flying from the wreckage of the Citric, which, judging by its trajectory, was being piloted towards its destroyer by Seraph in a last-ditch attempt to ram him.
The Great Old One waved its staff once more, and the Citric was thrown backwards as if a beast that dwarfed even Cthulhu had caught the wreckage and tossed it as hard as it could. The still-burning remnants of the ship hit the floor of the white void some distance away and skidded a while before stopping over a kilometer from R’lyeh, completely unrecognizable from where the Regulators stood.
Omega’s first thought after witnessing Cthulhu’s attack was surprisingly unrelated to self-defense: If he and his staff are that powerful, why didn’t he use it to stop his head from being rammed by a steamboat in Lovecraft’s original stories? His second was the realization that the eldritch being was raising his staff once more, shortly before it slammed the staff’s butt into the island’s ground. From the spot where the staff had struck came an enormous wave of scum-filled seawater that struck the Regulators head-on.
Omega didn’t concentrate on his sight that much for the next few seconds, occupied as he was with trying to keep his head above the water; the few times he was able to open his eyes without them being doused by murky saltwater, he caught glimpses of Angel and Gnarbrydh apparently being hurled away by an enormous gale, Gurt hanging on to the latter’s back for dear life. Eventually, however, he came to rest face up on the floor, the wave reduced to scum-filled puddles covering much of the white void’s ground in a large radius around R’lyeh. When he opened his eyes this time, Alpha was standing over him, extending an arm to his latest incarnation, a scowl wrinkling his entire face.
Omega took his predecessor’s hand, and as he was hauled to his feet, he asked Alpha, “What was that you were saying about Subject Psi, again?”
Alpha groaned softly, his head sagging slightly forward. “Over the last few resets,” he said, “the other Regulators and I began to notice how odd Psi tended to act before the mission- how he was always scribbling something in his holograph, how he’d sometimes mutter things under his breath in languages we couldn’t understand, how he always seemed more obsessed than the rest of us in Lovecraft’s works than the rest of us once he started reading. Before the last reset, when the battle started turning even further in Cthulhu’s favor, Regulator-Psi and I decided to look for Subject Psi, thinking he was more capable of helping than he was letting on.”
Alpha stomped a stray piece of sea scum. “The next thing I knew, two star-spawn were right in front of us, and my companion was missing his head. Cthulhu’s madness must have infected with him- turned him into its slave.” He pointed at the now-extinguished wreckage of the Citric, only a few hundred meters away. “It happened this time, too. When I got to Psi’s room, I found Rho and Tau outside with their skulls bashed in; I assume he didn’t want to be spied on. I still managed to pistol-whip him before the ship exploded, though; if he survived the Citric’s crash, he’s still unconscious and almost certainly going to bleed to death.”
“That’s… That’s quite a tale,” Omega murmured, eyeing the wreck of the Metaguards’ vessel. Then, speaking a little louder, he asked, “What was that you were saying about star-spawn?”
There was another roar from behind him, followed by a sickening squelching noise, and Omega turned to see Cthulhu ripping a mass of flesh from its abdomen, then holding it towards the sky, its chest wound healing the moment it did so.
“All of R’lyeh’s chambers are empty, Omega,” Alpha said, gesturing to the green stone vaults scattered throughout the island. “That was what the mission briefings told us: Cthulhu would be alone. Its hordes were too weak to accompany him.”
Another scream from Cthulhu, now fully healed, and the flesh in his hand exploded into a mass of creatures nearly identical to their creator; the only differences were their size- each was only three times as tall as an adult human- and relative wingspan, about twice as wide as their body was tall.
“As it turned out,” Alpha murmured, “R’lyeh’s armies were unnecessary. As Subject Psi said himself, ‘Cthulhu is a horde unto himself.’”
* * *
The next few hours were as much a blur as the time Omega had been caught in the wave were;
So, apparently I'm the sanest madman this side of the international date line. Seems legit.

RP news: Power Play and Sunset Drift are open for business! Bound by Faith may need a while to finish, though.
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Endless Sea
 
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2012 2:36 pm

Re: My half-finished Cthulhu fic

Postby Endless Sea on Thu Dec 20, 2012 2:05 am

...Goddammit, it messed up the formatting. - ____ -
So, apparently I'm the sanest madman this side of the international date line. Seems legit.

RP news: Power Play and Sunset Drift are open for business! Bound by Faith may need a while to finish, though.
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Endless Sea
 
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2012 2:36 pm

Re: My half-finished Cthulhu fic

Postby Scarab on Thu Dec 20, 2012 2:36 pm

I like it endless, to heck with formatting :) Keep going! If only for your pride! There's nothing sadder than an unfinished story.

Actually thats melodramatic, there are plenty of things sadder than that but for TEHSE purposes, there is not! Write away! :D
They sometimes say, "the place where I am right now was circled on a map for me"... Unfortunately, I kind of suck at orienteering.
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Re: My half-finished Cthulhu fic

Postby Endless Sea on Thu Dec 20, 2012 2:38 pm

Scarab wrote:I like it endless, to heck with formatting :) Keep going! If only for your pride! There's nothing sadder than an unfinished story.

Actually thats melodramatic, there are plenty of things sadder than that but for TEHSE purposes, there is not! Write away! :D


Thanks! I'm totally gonna try and finish it today, actually. See if I can get it in before doomsday rolls around.
So, apparently I'm the sanest madman this side of the international date line. Seems legit.

RP news: Power Play and Sunset Drift are open for business! Bound by Faith may need a while to finish, though.
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Endless Sea
 
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2012 2:36 pm

Re: My half-finished Cthulhu fic

Postby Blurred_9L on Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:35 am

Okay Endless, this is really well written. I think I like it... though if I had to nitpick it a little bit I guess I'd do away with the references to yourself or to homestuck :P. But otherwise I think it's fine, would love to hear the end of it though, seeing as you left it kind of in a cliffhanger...

Also, I apologize for reading all of this until now. I could probably try to come up with an excuse, but I'll just leave it like that.
Why should we do the right thing?
-Well... because it's the right thing to do, there's no other good reason.

Am I a bad guy trying to be good, or a good guy trying to convince himself that he's not the bad guy?
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Re: My half-finished Cthulhu fic

Postby Endless Sea on Fri Dec 21, 2012 1:55 pm

Blurred_9L wrote:Okay Endless, this is really well written. I think I like it... though if I had to nitpick it a little bit I guess I'd do away with the references to yourself or to homestuck :P. But otherwise I think it's fine, would love to hear the end of it though, seeing as you left it kind of in a cliffhanger...

Also, I apologize for reading all of this until now. I could probably try to come up with an excuse, but I'll just leave it like that.


But I liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiike meta humor... :( Also, the references are subtle enough that you'd probably only get them if you were a fan, so I don't think it detracts much from the fic. Thanks for the input! (still finishing the damn thing up, natch)
So, apparently I'm the sanest madman this side of the international date line. Seems legit.

RP news: Power Play and Sunset Drift are open for business! Bound by Faith may need a while to finish, though.
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Endless Sea
 
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2012 2:36 pm


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