'We must not let the relics of antiquity be broken and crushed by the savagery of unenlightened creatures, for only by understanding these treasures may we conquer the future. Only we, who have broken free from the shackles of mortality and bound the infinite majesty of the cosmos to our will, can be trusted with this task. That is why we are here, on this wretched pit of a planet. Eliminate these mortals as you see fit, but do try to keep the collateral damage to a minimum.'
-Trazyn the Infinite
Date: Unknown. Location: Unknown
A sea of metal, a world of unblinking emerald eyes. All stood before her, bowed in supplication to her authority. Her hands of living metal tightened, one gouging into a throne of empty blackstone, the other around her scepter. Ancient, powerful, it was her legacy made manifest, her wrath and her mercy. Those who were her enemies would tremble before it, those her allies would bow in respect before it.
"Mistress." said a voice to her right.
Her eyes flicked towards its source, another construct of steel and iron, bowed in service just as her armies were. She waved a dismissive hand, bidding that the servant speak.
"Your armies stand ready. At your word, they shall march upon the world. By your word, they shall scourge this land of all life, burn these wretched and hateful creatures till nought but atoms remain. Oceans will boil, the earth shall scream, and all will know your wrath."
She remained silent, not even deigning to look at the servant. He spoke again.
"Perhaps then you do not desire extermination? Conquest then; bring order to the orderless, unite the warring peoples of this planet. Rule with ironclad tyranny, for your word is law. Any who would defy your authority will be dealt with like the animals they are. Would this please you, mistress?"
A sigh, a breath she did not need. In one fluid motion, she arose from her throne and stamped her scepter against the smooth floor. "Do not presume to know what I want or desire, creature. My actions and will are mine alone, and you shame yourself with these petty attempts at manipulation."
She gave no time for it to mutter out apologies and further pledges of fealty. A sweep of her arm, and as one the sea of metal arose. Uncountable, undefinable, thousands upon thousands of arms clapped to iron chests in gestures of fealty. Were she still capable, she would smile.
"Today! On this day, we will not purge this world. We will not conquer this world. No, today we march in preservation of all that walks upon this world. This world is
mine, and by my will I shall see it flourish as it is! Go my armies, march forward and let neither friend nor foe stop you!"
And so it was, that iron and steel marched forward, as time marches forward. The world would know their power and the futility of conflict against them. After all, they were no enemy to fight; no, you could not fight the inevitable.
Monday, January 10th, 2011. Brockton Bay
My eyes snapped open, and I bolted straight up from the concrete and nearly slammed my head into the face of the concerned man standing over me. He yelled and stumbled back, a look of surprise and concern on his face.
"Oh my god, are you okay?"
I was breathing hard, my heart hammering against my ribcage, and my entire skull felt like it was on fire. Aside from that though, I felt fine. I slumped forward and ran my hands over my face. "Oh my god, what happened?" I mumbled.
"No idea," the man said. "I saw you rushing down the sidewalk and then you collapsed when a car went by. I think it might've kicked up a rock or something and smacked you in the head? No idea."
The man sounded nice, and I looked up at him through my hands. Plain, middle aged man, a little on the dumpy side with tired eyes. He didn't look like one of the local gangers, but that wasn't a guarantee for anything in this town, not anymore.
"How long was I out?" I asked cautiously.
The man shrugged, "Only a minute or two, you were breathing the whole time. Do you need me to call an ambulance?"
I shook my head and slowly got to my feet while gathering up my school supplies. He was nice enough to help me gather them up and handed them to me. I smiled my thanks and swung my backpack over my shoulder. Now that I was settled, I could remember what I had been doing before… whatever the hell that weird dream was. I had slept past my alarm and missed my bus, forcing me to take another route to school that dropped me off a block from Winslow. I had been running for it, when a car passed me and… that weird dream had started.
That was strange, I had no memory of actual passing out. Of course, I'd never been knocked out before, so I didn't exactly have a lot of experience with it, but I figured there'd be a fuzzy memory left over or something. Chalk it up to another lie from Hollywood, go figure.
"Are you sure you're okay, miss?"
I shook my head, "TI'm fine I think. Do you have the time?" I asked.
The man glanced at his phone, "Sure, it's… about 7:27."
I cursed, "I'm going to be late! Thanks for the help mister, but I need to go!"
He didn't even have time to call after me, I was already running down the street. The pounding of my feet on the concrete did no favors for the dull ache in my skull, and I had to slow down less than a minute later. I made a mental note to visit the nurse at school when I got there; maybe I could get an excused absence for a medical emergency. Wouldn't that be something?
Winslow High came into view as I debated possible excuses I could add to my medical absence, and its appearance did nothing to ease my headache. It was an ugly three story building that somehow managed to look squat in spite of this. Graffiti covered the edges of its concrete edifice, the lawn was an ugly shade of brown, and some of the windows were so filthy you couldn't even see out of them. Most of the students that were bothering to show up were already inside, leaving only me and a few stragglers to march up the stairs.
'Well, I can't say I've ever seen a disappointment given physical form, but this would certainly come close.' A voice said from behind me.
I stopped and whirled around, preparing for the worst. But aside from a student or two that gave me weird looks, there was no one behind me. Okay, I was admittedly a bit paranoid, but after nearly two years of constant bullying, anyone would have grown a bit jumpy.
'At least you have some common sense.' the voice, again, said from behind me.
I whirled toward the front of the school, and rubbed at my head when I saw the steps now empty. 'Get it together Taylor,' I thought to myself, 'you're not going crazy. Just drop off your assignments in your locker, and then head to the nurse, get that sick leave and get the hell out of here.'
Taylor, the sooner the better, please.' said the Voice.
I pretended not to hear it and rushed inside.
The halls were predictably crowded with students rushing to and fro as they prepared for the first classes of the day. The din of conversation was practically deafening. I thought I had learned to deal with the noise a while ago, but today it set my teeth on edge and smacked me over the head like I owed it money.
It took an effort not to cover my ears as I slowly pushed my way through the crowds. Just get to the locker, and then go to the nurse. This was my mantra, what kept me going even while my head attempted to pull itself apart. At least I had lost the Voice.
'Oh wonderful, truly this is a perfect expenditure of our limited time.' it piped up.
No direction to source it from that time, too many students. And to be completely honest, I was fairly certain that the voice didn't belong to anyone. I wondered, could a concussion give someone hallucinations?
'Don't flatter yourself, child. You are nowhere near creative enough for something like that.' the Voice said dryly.
"Fuck. Off." I hissed between clenched teeth. I could see my locker now, many students giving it a wide berth.
I started to wonder why, when the first bell rang. Now I knew how a nail felt, because each ring was like a hammer to my skull. I clutched my head and stopped in place while students streamed around me and towards their next classes. My only relief was that the Voice had gone silent for the moment.
But, I needed real silence, just for a minute. Getting to class on time didn't matter, I could afford to take my time getting to the nurses office. The only motivation I had for moving faster, was the fear that they might still be wandering the halls. The Trio, the bitches, the pains in my ass since the ninth grade. Traitors, bullies, monsters, whatever you wanted to call them, I did not need nor want to put up with them this morning.
I scanned the hallas I suddenly banked right and headed for the nearest bathroom. There was no sign of them as I reached and slammed open the girls bathroom door. I walked up to and leaned against the kitchen sink, soaking in the sweet silence. My head still throbbed uncomfortably, but it was a dull and constant pain, which was easier to deal with than the sharp spikes I'd been experiencing in the hall.
My reflection stared back at me in the mirror. I didn't care to lament my plain appearance, pausing only for a moment to readjust my glasses and push a few strands of dark curly hair out of my face. I took a deep breath, stood up, and turned to leave.
I walked straight into the face of a gleaming metal skull, staring at me with intense emerald eyes that burned with some sort of unnatural energy. I screamed and stumbled back, landing on my butt and almost hitting the sink with the back of my head. Thankfully, I only had to add butt pain to my head trauma, but that was an unimportant detail.
"Oh my, that looked like it hurt." the Voice said, only this time I knew where it came from.
I jerked my head up at the metal skull, and saw what it was attached to. Fear pulsed in my veins and I started scrambling backwards away from this… thing that had appeared behind me.
It was tall, seven feet maybe eight. Either way, it had to lean significantly to get in my face like it had. Its skull wasn't a perfect anatomical recreation of an actual skull, taking the shape of a mask more than anything else. Its body was made of gleaming metal that almost seemed to pulse in the pail light. A long cloak of interlocking metal plates fell from its shoulders, and a hood shaped structure protected its skull. It held an ornate staff in its hand but clearly had no need of it aside from decorative purposes.
This… thing, this giant metal skeleton man, took one look at me cowering under the sink, and pinched the space between its eyes and sighed. "Child, please stop embarrassing the both of us and come out from under there. We have much to talk about and little time to talk about it."
I stared at the robotic skeleton; the gears in my head were slowly turning, but the emphasis was on slow. A thought finally occurred to me. The Voice, the robot, it had a british accent. I don't know why this suddenly occurred to me, but when it did, I think I felt something snap in my brain.
:A crazed noise, not quite a laugh and not quite a sob, broke free of my lips. "British robot." I cracked.
"Haha! Giant… british… robot. In my head." I grabbed at my head, and felt my eye twitch.
Then whatever had snapped in my head promptly snapped back into place. I promptly stood, shouldered my backpack and said, "Nope. No no no, nah ah, no."
If I didn't know any better, the robots glowing eyes almost seemed to narrow. If this was a sign of amusement, insult, or annoyance, I didn't know or care. I was so absolutely done with this travesty I called a life.
"Nope nope nope. No. No!"
The door to the bathroom opened. The trio walked in, they said something at me. I ignored them and made for the door.
"No no no, nope!" I didn't even pause, I pushed right past them. One of them grabbed at my backpack, and I let it go. I went straight out the door, back into the now empty hall, and headed for the exit. The entire time, I simply kept muttering a string of negatives; I felt like I was going to start laughing and start crying at the same time.
I left Winslow without a second thought and headed to the nearest bus stop home. The handful of people there kept their distance from me. I in turn, kept my distance from them even as I continued to mutter, "No, absolutely not, no way, nope. No no no no no."
The bus came, I stepped aboard. No one sat near me either.
"Nope, nope, nope!"
Half an hour later, I was walking up to my house again, still muttering to myself. My home was once a nice two story suburban building. Strong stable walls painted a cheery light blur, decent front porch and lawn, even an old tree growing out front. Age and the decay of the city had not been kind to its structure, but it was still home. I followed the path to the front porch, almost tripped over the broken step, and walked inside.
The skelebot was standing in the living room, glaring at me.
"Nope!" I declared, and went straight up the stairs, and took a hard right into my room, and promptly collapsed face first onto my bed. I embraced sleep minutes later, still muttering my denial of what was clear insanity.
I woke back up hours later staring at my nightstand clock. It was almost noon, I'd been asleep four a good four hours. Good news, the pain in my skull had melted away, and I could think a bit more clearly. Bad news, Skeletor was still standing in my room, glaring daggers at me.
"You are quite fortunate that I am unable to interact with you physically, or I would have dragged you off your bed by that mess of a mane you call hair hours ago."
Yawn. I rolled onto my back and stretched, "Buddy, I've been the center of a very personal terror campaign for two years. If you're trying to get under my skin, you'll need better material than that.
The skeleton loomed over me. I ignored it the best I could, until it spoke again. "You don't quite comprehend the situation you're in, child. I am not some figment of your imagination, I am very much a real and corporeal being."
I reached out and waved a hand through him. "Poor choice of words there buddy. And anyway, you could say whatever you want, but a hallucination is a hallucination. If I've snapped, then you'll just say whatever crazy crap runs through my head until you start looping."
"The insane do not typically recognize their insanity, I would know," said the skeleton.
"Clearly I'm a special case." I replied casually.
The skeleton bent at the waist, casting that eerie green glow over my body. "Or, you're aware on some level that I am not a hallucination. You know I am very real, and represent something that you know nothing of. This entire attitude of yours is an act, a layer of defense to protect yourself from admitting that fact."
I opened my mouth, but it interrupted me. "Don't deny it. Our minds are linked now, unfortunately. My personality, what's left of it, is occupying only a very small portion of your cerebral cortex at the moment. From there I can read your every thought, emotion, and action you take. I am privy to your deepest darkest fears, and your greatest hopes; I must say, I am quite unimpressed."
It wanted to play that way? Fine.
I pushed myself up and folded my arms, glaring up at the skeletal droid. "Fine then, prove it. Prove to me that you're not some result of my fucked up head finally snapping under the stress. Then, maybe, we can have a civil conversation."
At that, I could very clearly see amusement in the machines eyes. It even scratched at its chin in such a way that its fingers made a smile. "Oh, I am quite far ahead of you in that game my dear. If you would look to your left please?"
I humored it and did so. Then I did a double take and stared at the object floating behind my window. It was about a foot long from end to end, made of that same silver metal my mental visitor was. It had six long talon like legs, three jutting from either side of its oval shaped body. A short little head with a pair of pincers emerged from one end, with a lone emerald 'eye' in the center of it.
This thing looked for all the world like a giant flying beetle, and it began tapping at my window when I saw it. I got up and opened the window before it started leaving marks. The little machine floated inside and set itself on my bed with its legs tucked under its belly and looked up at me with its big eye.
My legs felt weak and I collapsed back onto my bed. The beetle continued staring at me unblinking. Its eye followed my hand as I reached out and touched it. The metal was surprisingly warm to the touch, hard and unyielding, and yet I could feel almost a… softness to its frame, as though if I pushed hard enough the metal would mold to my hand like clay.
"That would be a result of your connection to me." said my visitor, making me jump. "Necrodermis doesn't respond to the whims of lesser races, but our connection makes it more… malleable under your touch."
I looked at the giant metal man, with his stupidly huge staff, overly elaborate decoration and burning green eyes. Then I looked back to the beetle that watched me but made no movement. A sense of very real dread slowly filled me, and I could feel the blood draining from my face.
The skeleton was radiating smugness when I turned back to him, shaken. "U-um… so, Mr. Skeleton. What brings you to Brockton Bay?"
It raised a finger, "Firstly, my name is not 'Mr. Skeleton', 'Skeletor', or 'Mr. Roboto'. If you wish for me to treat you with more respect, I expect the same courtesy, Taylor Hebert."
I swallowed and nodded, "Okay. What do I call you then?"
Its eyes glimmered and it said, "I am Trazyn the Infinite. 737th son of the Solemence Dynasty, Grand Archeovist and Overlord of its many archives, and as for why I am hear, Taylor Hebert; well, that is quite an interesting story.
A/N: I had originally started this chapter with a bit showing how Trazyn showed up on Earth Bet, but after discussing it with my editor, we both decided that dedicating his own chapter to it would be a much better way to handle it. So next chapter is from Trazyn's perspective as we find out exactly why he's on Earth Bet and what kind of predicament he's dragged Taylor into. Hope I didn't make Taylor too out of character, and for those unsure, yes she did avoid the locker incident thanks to Trazyn's interference.
See y'all tomorrow, hope you enjoyed, feel free to leave reviews with your thoughts and criticisms.