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Whispers of the Kraken (Epilogue: Revelations of the Kraken)


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6 hours ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

(actual asterisk)*Historical note: This phrase hails from World War II when running at full power meant pushing the throttle, mixture, and RPM levers all the way forward, to the firewall. They were typically topped with little spheres.

It is not actually as vulgar as it sounds. :rolleyes:

Awwwww! Now you've gone and ruined a perfectly good misconception. Spoilsport!

 

Dang good action scene, well worth waiting for. All hail the 'It's safe now' trope. Words to never utter under ANY circumstance!

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1 hour ago, vsully said:

But yeah, nuclear gunships are a little overkill, but... If they REALLY want Anna, then wouldn't they use someone a little more experienced? I mean, the pilot basically used all his ammo on a nuclear gunship and only damaged the right engine somewhat... He needs to go back to gunnery school!

Nimble target, relatively cumbersome weapons platform and trying to hit the pilot that made Donald puke? Also, judging the by filed down teeth, it's a good thing that gunship wasn't powered by a piston engine - because that pilot was definitely not firing on all eight cylinders!

1 hour ago, Patupi said:

Awwwww! Now you've gone and ruined a perfectly good misconception. Spoilsport!

Dang good action scene, well worth waiting for. All hail the 'It's safe now' trope. Words to never utter under ANY circumstance!

Duh-duh-duh duh dun. Duh-duh-duh duh dun.

For those that inexplicably fail to recognize my masterful transliteration (/s), that's the Terminator theme which was running through my head at the end.

The machines rose from the ashes of the nuclear fire...

I hope not...

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8 hours ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

Distantly, probably just a hallucination brought on by fatigue, a voice whispered in Valentina's head...

She brushed it away, she didn't even know anyone named Luke.

Valentina's talented, and the Kraken certainly did something to her, but I doubt she became a Jedi of all things.

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1 hour ago, Omegagoldfish said:

Valentina's talented, and the Kraken certainly did something to her, but I doubt she became a Jedi of all things.

The mass-acceleration product is strong with you, young kerbal - but you are not a Jedi yet.

:)

 

Aaaand it appears that the autocorrect on my phone now recognises 'kerbal' as a legitimate word.

 # no I don't come here often - why would you think that.

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Just now, Omegagoldfish said:

Great, now I am imagining Kerbals instinctively using the power of Science to preform impossible feats.

The exclaimation point is mandatory you know. Science! is not to be ignored, or put upon... though it doesn't mind a little stroking (Yes, I'm kind of a cat person. Not by choice. I got adopted)

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7 minutes ago, Patupi said:

The exclaimation point is mandatory you know. Science! is not to be ignored, or put upon... though it doesn't mind a little stroking (Yes, I'm kind of a cat person. Not by choice. I got adopted)

If it involves stroking cats it automatically becomes Mad Science!

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16 hours ago, vsully said:

But yeah, nuclear gunships are a little overkill, but...

Exactly what you should be wondering about right now. :D

 

16 hours ago, Just Jim said:

Seriously?  Wow, I didn't know that, but it makes perfect sense!  Thanks, I love learning something new, especially military trivia!

Oh, and somehow I'm already out of likes, so I'll try and catch up in a bit..... 

More militaryish things that sound vulgar but aren't:

The NASA B-52 that dropped most of the X-15 flights was called "Balls 8," since the last 3 of it's serial number were 008.

 

16 hours ago, KSK said:

Pulse thumping chapter and I just bet it was 'technically challenging' to write. Describing a long chase without getting repetitive (which you weren't)... yeah that's a real trick.

Many thanx. That's exactly the part I was expecting to be difficult, but this ended up being one of those chapters that practically wrote its self. But I still went back and obsessed over perceived repetitiveness. :rolleyes:

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14 hours ago, KSK said:

Nimble target, relatively cumbersome weapons platform and trying to hit the pilot that made Donald puke? Also, judging the by filed down teeth, it's a good thing that gunship wasn't powered by a piston engine - because that pilot was definitely not firing on all eight cylinders!

Quite. One analogy might be an A-10 trying to hit a stunt plane... Val would have had a real problem if she'd stolen a tank instead.  Also, being as how they spend good portions of their day a couple of meters from an unshielded fission reactor, those Ceriman crews tend to be a bit... off. :blink:

 

10 hours ago, Omegagoldfish said:

Great, now I am imagining Kerbals instinctively using the power of Science to preform impossible feats.

Any sufficiently advanced technology... :wink:

10 hours ago, KSK said:

If it involves stroking cats it automatically becomes Mad Science!

And also, static electricity and shocking the flarp out of yourself on the doorknob. It's no wonder such scientists are always so mad!

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17 hours ago, Patupi said:

The exclaimation point is mandatory you know. Science! is not to be ignored, or put upon... though it doesn't mind a little stroking (Yes, I'm kind of a cat person. Not by choice. I got adopted)

You sound like a person who might get the reference. Therefore I will let you know that I am more of a ‼SCIENCE‼ kind of person myself.

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7 hours ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

Quite. One analogy might be an A-10 trying to hit a stunt plane... Val would have had a real problem if she'd stolen a tank instead.  Also, being as how they spend good portions of their day a couple of meters from an unshielded fission reactor, those Ceriman crews tend to be a bit... off. :blink:

They never have any problems finding alternative jobs though since they invariably get glowing commendations from their employers...

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12 hours ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

Also, being as how they spend good portions of their day a couple of meters from an unshielded fission reactor, those Ceriman crews tend to be a bit... off. :blink:

Excuse me, but gamma radiation does wonders for your complexion...

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"Also, being as how they spend good portions of their day a couple of meters from an unshielded fission reactor, those Ceriman crews tend to be a bit... off. :blink:"

So the Ceriman crews are basically insane pyromaniacs obsessed with blowing stuff up with nuclear gunships? They sound like that nutty Australian guy in Overwatch (I forgot his name, I'm tired) :wink:

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On 8/26/2016 at 7:19 AM, monophonic said:

You sound like a person who might get the reference. Therefore I will let you know that I am more of a ‼SCIENCE‼ kind of person myself.

Oh yes, though I had the RPG book I never actually got a game together unfortunately. Read the collected edition of the fiction of that though... not that the RPG universe bears much resemblance to the books. !Science as a skill makes so much sense when you consider what people do in movies, TV etc. 

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On August 29, 2016 at 4:32 PM, vsully said:

"Also, being as how they spend good portions of their day a couple of meters from an unshielded fission reactor, those Ceriman crews tend to be a bit... off. :blink:"

So the Ceriman crews are basically insane pyromaniacs obsessed with blowing stuff up with nuclear gunships? They sound like that nutty Australian guy in Overwatch (I forgot his name, I'm tired) :wink:

Well, they are not completely without a self-preservation instinct, they're just not used to loosing. Like the guy said in Alien, "it's got a wonderful defense mechanism: you don't dare kill it." Cerima and its denizens continue to slowly reveal themselves to me.

Silly spoiler:

Spoiler

 

 

..750051d1375691272-996-spoiler-mod-sugges

Actual spoiler:

Spoiler

They'll introduce themselves, eventually, I plan on a few chapters there. Still working on the language.:confused:

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

Hoping to have another one up tomorrow, but big maybe at this point. In the mean time, here's my vain attempt to recreate the chase scene. Unfortunately, BD Armory doesn't fly quite as aggressive as an actual Ceriman. :rolleyes:
[snip]

My word, the police one is at least ten times as adorable as I thought it was.

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Spoiler

Sorry I don't know how to get the photos to work on their own so you gotta click the links!

CatastrophicFailures idea of the Cermian Gunship:

http://prntscr.com/cdn434

http://prntscr.com/cdn4xs

http://prntscr.com/cdn5cl

My idea of the Cermain Gunship:

http://prntscr.com/cdn5rs

http://prntscr.com/cdn62t

http://prntscr.com/cdn68z

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Awwww!

Now you should've put a Goalkeeper turret on the police cruiser. Oh wait, you wouldn't be able to see the cruiser anymore! Never mind. I love making weird things with BD Armory, like a plane that had hollow fuselages (Structural Fuselage) and I used a part from Infernal Robotics to make the plane slide apart in midair, revealing a 20mm Vulcan inside the fuselage. I don't have pics, but it's pretty dang cool.

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Chapter 77: Monster

"...series of gas line explosions throughout the downtown area, apparently originating due to a fire at the City Café on West Fifth Avenue. Reports of an 'aerial chase' and gunfire are largely being attributed to mass hysteria, likely the result of bystanders inhaling the leaking propellium gas just prior to the explosions. No casualties were reported and damage is being termed as minor. Kerbin City Power & Gas CEO Bernie Kerman announced he was, quote, sorry, unquote, for the damage. 

"In related news, an existing bid by mega-conglomerate Layland Wutani to acquire KSP&G is expected to move forward briskly. 

"Reporting live from Fifth and Main, I'm Kevin Kerman, KRBL On-The-Spot News."

"Thanks, Kevin. And now over to ace reporter Kent Kerman with our top story this afternoon. Kent?"

"Thanks, Kim. Chaos broke out earlier today at City Hall when a group of concerned citizens gathered to protest the apparent detonation of an atomic bomb on the East River only a few kilometers from the city. Mayor Mike McKerman, however, quickly defused the situation once he explained that the explosion was a simply a test of an experimental project by the Public Works Department to create a new harbor on the river. The mayor stressed that this project had actually been in the works for some time, and that the paperwork to all the relevant regulatory agencies had simply been mis-filed. He went on to say that there is absolutely no cause for concern, as the blast was in an unpopulated area, and, after all, Kerbals are remarkably resilient to radiation. The last few dissenters were quickly swayed when the Mayor began handing out some of his famous homemade snack cakes. 

"Kent Kerman, KRBL News. Back to you, Kim."

"Thanks Kent. And now, over to Gregner with the weather, Gregner?"

"Cloudy with a Chance of fallout!"

"Thanks Gregner. In other news,  the MonéyPoke OW phenomenon continues to captivate the country. While they have not yet been able to discover trespassing laws, wandering MonéyPoke hunters have managed to uncover thirteen dead bodies, five heavy weapons caches, three lost civilizations... and Jimmy Hoffa."

Valentina rolled her eyes, and moved to put her hand to her face, but had to brush the hair away first. She let out a defeated sigh. Such a stupid, petty thing to even think about at a time like this, but still...

As usual, it all happened so fast.

In the handful of hours it had taken Valentina and Anastasia to trudge to the highway, covered in at least their own body weights in smelly mud, and hitch a ride to this travel plaza, the entirety of today's events had been swept away like so much radioactive dust. A building destroyed, half the city torn to shreds, even a nuclear explosion, all of it reduced to nothing but--

...fairy tales...

She blinked at the odd thought. All these people, all these good, honest people, simply believing what they're told to believe, and doing so without question. It wasn't just here, it wasn't just the Union, but the whole world... That was a frightful power to even contemplate. 

And yet... something was off. Such a blatant, overt act... it didn't seem right. This adversary had always been subtle, hiding in shadows, like sending assassins to stalk their charge in dark, deserted places. The sniper could possibly have been hidden well enough, the evidence destroyed by a "gas line explosion." But... why not a dark alley, or poison, or--

...an airliner falling out of the sky...

She jumped at the thought.

...Gene...

And that gunship. That could only have come from the mind of a madman. Something tickled a memory deep her own mind. Something about Cerimans disliking snipers, something about honor and proud warrior race and such. Or was that just another of Dibella's silly foreign movies?

Dibella. Valentina hoped she was alright. But there was nothing she could do, right now. Dibella was smart, resourceful, connected... and stubborn as an ox. She would be ok...

Right?

Valentina shoved all the thoughts away. Something was wrong, something was wrong about the whole thing. But... not "here, there be monsters" wrong--though that, too--more like... the monsters weren't...

Bah! She was still so exhausted she couldn't think straight. She had closed her eyes for a time, riding in the back of the truck that brought them here, but that was less proper sleep and more simply passing the STДLIЙ out. The adrenaline of arriving once again in a public place had quickly brought her back. At the time, it had seemed unnecessarily risky, but they needed to clean up and recuperate. And this place had, of all great mercies, showers!

After the last couple of days, it had simply been ecstatic. It was warm and wonderful and clean--at least it had been, she'd left the attendant an extra bill for that--layers of filth and sweat and blood simply melting away. Valentina had used enough soap to bathe a yak, which somehow seemed appropriate. Then she had given herself a nasty abrasion trying to scrub away a smear of dirt that was actually a bruise. 

Those, she was covered with. And her back looked like she'd been flogged. The pain was less, now, and that was good. It didn't seem to have bled much, either, but the wounds looked deep nonetheless. She would have to keep a close watch for infection, especially after marinating in mud and yak juice. Infection killed slowly, from the inside out, and was nothing to be taken lightly. 

She caught a glimpse of herself in a nearby mirror. But... there were other things more... (de)pressing. Valentina Kermanova had never been the fashionable sort. She had no use for such petty frivolity, and it certainly wasn't a very Ussari thing to be concerned with. She had always worn a ponytail. It was simple, practical, and absolutely within Personal Grooming Regulations. She raised a hand to the fuzzy hair at the nape of her neck, and felt her lower lip tighten just slightly. 

Now, her hair fell in sheets on either side of her head, drooping down to two points at her chin and tapering up towards the back, where it was left very short indeed. She'd managed to wash out most of the singed bits and burnt ends, but otherwise couldn't do a thing with it! There was simply no keeping it out of her face at all, and that one obnoxious stray lock that had always plagued her had somehow managed to survive. It hung there now, dangling in front of her face. Mocking her. She frowned at her own reflection, her lower lip quivering just a... hair.

And of course, adding insult to injury, she was wearing... sigh... a dress. She wasn't Tercella, after all, she could wear a dress when a situation clearly warranted it. But she simply didn't fit into anything in the store's meager Kerbelle's selection. So this had come from the Junior Miss rack. A thought about "getting any worse" tried to materialize in her head but she quickly snuffed it before it could. She knew better than to give form to that temptation. Instead, a scowl twisted her face. STДLIЙS SШЗДTУ SФCКS, the first person who says anything about her clothes, or especially her hair--not that she would ever be self-conscious about such a silly thing, not she--is getting a swift kick in the shin! One thing was for sure: no one would recognize her like this. 

A girlish giggle drew Valentina's eye. She sighed again. And then, of course, there was Anastasia. She was dressed in denim slacks and a very plain shirt--from the, ugh, Kerbelle's section--with her golden hair tucked up under a KSA ballcap. She still managed to look radiant. Maybe even more so. So much so, in fact, that she had attracted not one but two admirers from whom she clearly needed to be rescued, what with the way she was twittering and doing that thing with her hair, the bit that had somehow escaped the hat. 

Putting on a proper disapproving glower, Valentina stepped up to the trio and loudly cleared her throat. 

"Whoah, is this your sister?" said one of them, "you didn't say she had short hair!" He grinned at Valentina and raised an eye... bulge, "heeeeeey," then wiggled it, "how you do--ouch, my shin!" and proceeded to limp away. Anna's jaw fell open. The other fellow just blinked at Valentina. 

Channeling her best Igor and drawing herself up to her full height, she looked him square in the chin.

"Boo."

He took a step back, "oh, wow, wouldyoulookatthetimeIgottagonowsorrybye!" and was out through the door with a little tinkle from the bell hanging there. Anna's jaw flopped wider. 

"You are supposed to be keeping low profile," Valentina said, tugging down the brim of Anna's cap, "besides, is too old for you."

Once more displaying its snake-like range, her jaw flopped even wider, then opened and closed like some bizarre snake-fish hybrid. 

Finally she threw her arms up, "ugh, I can't even!"

"Even what?" Valentina blinked. 

"What?"

"What?"

"What?"

"Can't even what?"

"What?"

Valentina's eyes rolled, "nevermind. Come, the bus is leaving."

***

"What will you do now?" Anna asked as they reached one of the idling coaches outside in the lot. 

"I will go and see Edmund Kerman. Somehow," Valentina shook her head, "he is the key to all this. He is my friend, or used to be. Perhaps I can get through to him."

An uncomfortable silence stretched out before Valentina spoke again, "you are sure you will not come with me?"

Anna's huge, beautiful eyes fell, "I'd never see my brother again, would I?"

"I do not know," Valentina said softly, "I will find some way to talk to Edmund, but..." against her skin, the Münstone had begun to cool, "somehow, I do not think it will end well. Beyond that, I just do not know."

"I can't do that," tightness crept into Anna's voice, "Billy only ever had one friend in the whole world, and he abandoned him, right when he needed him the most. I can't do that."

"The Kerbs, they will come for you again. You know this. If they..." Valentina swallowed, "will it not be the same?"

"I won't run. I won't abandon him. I won't be like Edgas," then she looked up with a fire that nearly made Valentina flinch, and spoke despite the creaking of her voice, "if... if they get me, then it's because they beat me, not 'cause I ran away. I will stand for my brother, because no one else will. And if I fail then... well at least I've tried. And maybe I'll just surprise them, too!"

Valentina forced a smile, and clapped her hands on the girl's shoulders, "you are brave girl, Anastasia Kerman." Her own eyes widened, "ah! I nearly forgot..." She reached into her--sigh--purse, and handed Anna a small, grey, sparkly object.

"My münrock!" squealed Anna, "you did find it. Oh!" she peered more closely at it, "it's cracked in two..."

She thought for only a moment before handing the piece still on chain back to Valentina, "here, you keep this half. It will bring you good luck."

Valentina raised an eye... bulge at the comment, but fastened the chain around her neck. Another awkward silence  was cut short by a boarding announcement. 

"Take care of yourself," Anna said soberly, "and be careful. Something about Edmund... doesn't feel right."

"Edmund is my friend, he would never harm me," Valentina said, then added, "But I will be careful. And you do the same."

Anna smiled, "I guess this is good--"

A hand came up, "I have never liked the word. Is too final. Do svidaniya, Anna Kerman. I am sorry I could not be more help to you."

"Do svidaniya, Valentina Kermanova," then she winked, "and it's not over yet."

They hugged for a moment, before parting ways, each boarding a different bus. They kept smiling and waving at each other, until one bus turned this way, and the second another. Then, Valentina's smile faded and grew cold like the fleeting taiga summer. A tear threatened, but she tensed her face into a sneer and forced it back, where it burned like fire. And by that fire, it was forged into something new... and very, very old. 

She couldn't save the girl. All she had done was to postpone the inevitable. This burden now settled into place on her shoulders amidst all the others. She couldn't save them, she couldn't save any of them. She was never meant to be a savior. But the girl... the knife that twisted in her heart was especially jagged. 

This transgression, this sin, would not stand unanswered. There would be... vengeance? Retribution? Wrath? No, those were lofty terms for lofty beings, and she was a simple thing. She would pursue the darkness, hunt it down, tear shrieking from its holes, and stare into its empty gaze. 

And then, there would be a scourging.

She understood. She had not believed, but now she understood. About the girl. And the truth about herself. Valentina knew she couldn't save her. She should deny the very idea, rage against it with every fiber of her being... but instead, she accepted it. She accepted it. And this knife dug deeper than any other. She understood. 

I am a monster.

Above the distant mountains, a bloated gibbous Mün was rising, pale against the deep blue sky. Valentina fixed it with an icy gaze. 

I am a monster. And I am coming for you.

 

 

 

Edited by CatastrophicFailure
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