|Well, after much thought and procrastination, I've decided to slap together the chapters for each act of my current DK fanfiction, The Pulse. Actually, I mainly did this in an effort to have at least a piece of my story featured in a writer's group on FA. But, since I did it, I decided it only appropriate to have the story here on the forums for others to read, for your convenience if anything! So, here you go! :)|
DreamKeepers: The Pulse
Act I: Time For Change
Juliris 28th, 1213
'Okay,... time to shine.'
A young gray wolf straightened his tie and brushed off his suit as a team of eight security guards surrounded him. They stood to the right of a large stage, a podium with the Andurunan national symbol carved into it sat in the middle of the stage. A large bustling of voices came from the auditorium in front of the stage.
"Is everything in place, Mantee?" the wolf asked.
A brown-furred, wingless bat standing in front of the group looked over his shoulder and nodded. "Ready when you are, Mr. Pulse!"
The young wolf, Talocan Senator Aizer Pulse and Chief Emissary of Anduruna, prepared himself for the final speech in his run as Viscount-Elect. A mere age of twenty, Pulse is the youngest Andurunan to not only become a Senator and Chief of the Emissary Committee, but to also run for Viscount. Due to special events, Pulse has lived a life of constant positive reinforcement and support. Possessing a special, rare ability, Pulse is believed to be one of the smartest individuals who has ever lived.
Of course, this ability has also left him in the spotlight of controversy, conspiracy and ridicule. Many believe his ability to be a Power, which is illegal to use and punishable by exile from Anduruna. Others, particularly scientists, claim that this ability is natural and is not induced by Power usage.
Pulse knows the truth, however, and he also knows who else knows the truth, most of which being dead from natural causes.
Nevertheless, this ability has allowed him to excel in knowledge, granting him many opportunities that other dreamkeepers could only pray to receive. One such opportunity was politics, which he accepted.
His biggest hope as a politician and future Viscount is to undo most of Viscount Liddo's financial and social mandates. The most difficult mandate he would have to ponder on removing is the ban on weapons and Powers. He has always held the belief that self-defense is vital to life and limb. The constant wave of 'violence is never justified' propaganda that fills schools and rehabilitation centers has sickened Pulse to the point of anger.
Pulse cleared his mind of any and all unimportant thoughts as he readied himself for the speech that will determine his fate as a politician.
"Okay, gentlemen. Let's go."
Mantee nodded and motioned for the other guards to get into position.
Pulse walked forward, the surrounding guards following his lead.
As soon as he was in the open, he looked left and was instantly blinded by scroll-cameras. Doing his best not to wince, Pulse smiled and waved at the media army gathered in the front row and the crowd standing in ovation. Senators, emissaries, councilors and other important political figures and their families had come to view the speech.
Pulse looked out at the assembled crowd and saw his opponent.
Viscount-Elect Damien Calah and his wife and daughter, Elena and Lilith. Damien smiled and clapped while his wife smiled with him, holding their two-year-old daughter in her arms.
Pulse nodded at Damien. 'Yeah, yeah. Keep smiling, dumbass. As if anybody is going to vote for you with your Liddo-esque mandates in mind. I don't even need to give this speech. My age and my special ability have nothing to do with this. The people have already decided. I know they have.'
Walking up to the podium, Pulse stepped up onto the ledge and tested the microphone. With a sigh followed by a large, trusting smile to the audience, Pulse glance down at the media and saw the scroll-corders rolling.
He was live, his speech being broadcasted city-wide.
With another sigh, Pulse began his final speech.
"People of Anduruna! Ladies and gentlemen! Boys and girls of all ages! I speak to you for your support. I speak to you for your wishes. I speak to you for hope of a better tomorrow. For years, we have lived in the shadows of taxation, fees, media over-exaggeration, loss of necessary businesses, secrecy, and violence. I was a child when the Toll Wars began, but even at my age, I knew there was more to the war than a simple victory. What happened out there? What did our troops do and what did they see? What happened to our enemies? Why so much classification and secrecy on the events? It is situations like this that leave our country and its people splintered and untrusting of one another. The truth should always be told, no matter the cost. Secrecy is what leads people to do questionable things. They tend to get rebellious and grow hungry for the truth. Of course, secrecy isnt the only reason for rebellious behavior in our country."
"Taxes and fees have plagued our nation for many years. All for what? An effort to end poverty? To rescue the needy? To enrich our country? Poverty not only hasnt ended, but only grown worse! Successful businesses have closed its doors and were never heard from again! How many of you people remember the Bandit Migration of 1200? You think those merchants and business owners deserve to be called bandits just because they were fed up of having their money taken from them all in the name of caring for the needy? You think they wanted to leave Anduruna? It was either stay and starve or leave and resume their business elsewhere without fear of overwhelming taxation! Thats when they founded their settlement to the north. I would love to offer my opinion of what happened during the Toll Wars, but for the sake of appropriateness, I will keep my opinion to myself."
"Ladies and gentlemen, I will be honest with you. I did not want to give this speech tonight, which is why it is so short. I have already said what I wanted to say and expressed all my views for your consideration. Everything I wanted to say has been said through the course of my run. You know what my goals are, but for those who havent been watching the scroll casts for the past few months, I will repeat myself one last time."
"The time for change has come! It is time for a new society. A society where we will continue to share, but it will be up to the individual to choose if they want to share. Campaigns will be launched to grow our work force. Our people need to work! They must earn the money that they deserve. We must create new principles that promote hard work, determination, creativity, and freedom! All unnecessary taxations will be removed! The media will tell the stories how they are supposed to be told! Government secrecy will be a thing of the past! As Viscount, I will lead us into an age of confidence, peace and growth! As Viscount, my campaigns for work growth will ensure our economy is firmly stabilized! And, as Viscount, I will officially declare the lifting of the ban on all weapons and non-aggressive Powers! Ladies and gentlemen, self-defense is vital! As Viscount, I will not allow innocent people to be imprisoned or banished for simply defending themselves from a crazed killer! It's incomprehensible logic to punish self-defense when it is necessary!"
Pulse paused, taking in a long breath after so much talking. The audience was growing excited from his accusations, but the sudden declaration of legalized weapons and non-aggressive Powers shocked them. But, his belief of self-defense spurred them back onto his side. Soon, everyone was clapping.
Everyone except Damien Calah, who's jaw hung limply at the mandates and campaigns Pulse has planned.
Pulse grinned. 'Its over for you, Calah. You lost.'
"Its time for change, people! And, I promise you, one way or the other, you will get that change! That is all! Any questions?"
Instantly, the paparazzi rose from their seats while the audience went silent.
One reporter asked, "It is a known fact that weapons are still common on the streets of Anduruna! How will you ensure safety for the public if violence breaks out shortly after the ban is lifted?"
"That is one of the main purposes of my work force campaigns. Men and women will be screened and processed for active duty in the City Guard. You should see a noticeable increase in law enforcement and safety troops in the near future, I guarantee you that."
Another reporter asked, "How confident are you that your age and ability will have no effect on the peoples decision to vote for you?"
"If I was concerned about that, I would have addressed it at some point in my race. So, clearly, Im extremely confident."
The reporters continued to blast Pulse about his legislations until Pulse held up his hand indicating he was done with the questions. "Thank you for your time! Ladies and gentlemen, thank you and goodnight! Spirits bless you!"
The audience and paparazzi alike stood and clapped in respect. As Pulse walked across the stage to his waiting security, he looked out at the crowd once more and already saw the Calah family and their own security detail walking to the exits. Damien had his hands over his face.
As soon as he was backstage with security, Pulse punched his fist into his open hand with a resounding, "YES!"
Mantee held out his hand while the guards surrounded Pulse. "Congratulations, Sir! I think you just won."
Pulse shook the outstretched hand. "Yeah, I think you're right. But, its up to the people now."
Pulse motioned for security to follow him to the stage exit.
* * * * *
Juliris 29th, 1213
Damien Calah walked back and forth in his living room, thinking of any possible way to win the election.
'I worked so hard for this! I know Aizer is going to succeed, but I don't understand how! My mandates are glorious! I'm the perfect family man! I even use big words! There must be a way I can tip the odds back into my favor!'
As he continued to pace, Elena Calah walked in from the kitchen with two cups of coffee and sat down on a couch.
"Damien, would you please stop walking around like that! You're going to give yourself a stroke before the voting even begins! And you still have a chance to convince the people with your final speech in the race. Its not over yet! So, please, sit down and have some coffee and a cookie spear."
"It's easy for you to say that! That delinquent, Pulse, thinks that by preaching change and freedom that the people will come rushing to him with their voting forms already signed with his name checked off! But, that's the point! The people are IDIOTS! Gullible idiots! They believe the first thing that is told to them by a figure of power and authority, no matter how absurd it may be! That's why the people are so intent on voting for him."
"But, you still have one last speech to give, Damien! The people will have to listen! And they are not all gullible. They will have to consider all the factors before making their vote."
Calah slapped his hand over his face. "The gullibility has poisoned my wife, now! Do you actually think there is a 'smart' person left in this country? How can you be so blind to the facts after being married to me for the past five years?"
Elena shook her head, realizing where the conversation was going. Rising from the couch, she returned to the kitchen.
"Yes, YES! Walk away! Walk away like you do with all of your other problems! How do you expect me to maintain my image when you're always acting like a sensitive, misguided simpleton?! Youre useless!!"
Damien fell into a lazy boy and covered his face with his hands. Suddenly, a knock came from the front door.
With a growl, Damien rose and marched to the front door.
Swinging it open, he snarled, "What do you wa- Oh!"
He cut himself off after he saw who it was. A maroon-furred feline with pink, glittery hair in her early teens stood before Damien, wearing a neon green tank top, a light-blue ruffled skirt, knee-high red and black-striped socks, and black high heels.
"Hi, Mr. Calah! Just wanted to stop by and tell you that me and my parents wish you good luck in your race! Though, my parent's really dont think youre gonna win."
Damien simply stood there, gawking at the young visitor. "U-uum, hello, Tinsel. W-well, tell y-your parents that I uh-appreciate their b-best wishes and I uh-understand their d-doubts."
Sensing his intrigue and nervousness, Tinsel smiled and leaned against the doorway. "But, you know, I think you're totally going to win, because well, I think I know something that nobody else does."
Fighting to compose himself, Damien grinned and through clenched teeth said, "Really now? W-well, what is it that you know? I-is it important?"
"Oh, I think it's VEEERY important! You see, I think Pulse is cheating."
Damien's heart skipped a beat. "What?"
"Yep, cheating. And, we both know that cheating is SO uncool!"
Damien looked down both ways of the hall and then stepped out and closed the door of his home.
"Please, tell me how you know! Do you have evidence? How do you know this to be true? Tell me!"
"I'm glad you asked, Mr. Calah! I have a data-scroll right here with an audio recording of him bragging about it to his head of security, Mantee Crispin!"
Tinsel pulled a data-scroll out of the purse she carried and opened the scroll. Once activated, the scroll showed an audio player program already active with the recording ready to play.
Tinsel looked around the hallway, Damien doing the same.
Tinsel said, "Um, Mr. Calah? You think we should listen to this somewhere more private? He might be listening."
"Just play it, Tinsel!"
"Alright, alright! Calm down. Here we go!"
Pressing the play button on the screen, Damien and Tinsel listened.
"This is great, Mantee! My Power is making this all too easy! Soon, I will be Viscount! Not that dim-witted twit of a fool, Calah! When the moment is right, all of Anduruna will bow to me, for my Power is limitless! No one will oppose me, nor will they be able to! Everything is going according to plan! HAHAHAHAHAAAAA!"
The recording was short, but there was no mistaking what was heard.
Tinsel rolled her scroll up and looked up at Damien, who turned and walked away with a hand clasped over his mouth.
"Spirits above! He's -"
"Planning to enslave the entire country with his Power of telepathy, if you ask me," Tinsel interrupted.
Damien swung around to face Tinsel, who had a stern look on her face. "You know what you have to do, Mr. Calah. If he wins, he'll enslave us all! We cant allow that to happen!"
She walked forward and placed the scroll in his hand. "Take it. Present it to Liddo and the Emissary Committee. They will want to investigate this, but they'll realize the evidence is conclusive! Pulse is a traitor and an infractor and must be stopped before the people make a huuuuge mistake!"
Damien nodded, remaining silent.
Tinsel looked away and walked past Damien, heading for the elevator at the end of the hall. As she passed Damien, she pinched him on his rear end.
He spun around with a shocked expression as she said with a seductive look, "Were counting on you,... Viscount Calah."
She walked away, leaving Damien to his shock and horror. Then, his horror turned into determination and a thirst for justice.
'That bastard!' he thought. 'He is going to pay for this!'
He turned and rushed back into his home.
From the elevator, as the doors closed, Tinsel stared into the hallway, a devilish grin smeared across her face.
* * * * *
Augustris 1st, 1213
Walking into his luxurious home in the Sabbaton Towers, Pulse rubbed his forehead hard.
'What in the world is going on around here?'
Ever since he walked into the Antechamber, the Emissary Committee has done its best to alienate him. Every debate he attempted to start with his fellow emissaries was either interrupted or simply ignored. Sabbaton Security was also acting unusual in his presence. Constantly staring at him while in the Antechamber and political hallways.
Taking off his coat and tie and unbuttoning the cuffs of his shirt, a knock came at the door. Pulse paused and narrowed his gaze at the door.
Looking around the living room, Pulse approached the door and looked through the peephole. It was Mantee.
Unlocking the door, he opened it quickly. "Mantee! Get in here!"
"You don't have to tell me twice!" Mantee replied, rushing into the home.
Pulse locked the door and faced the head of his security detail. "Would you mind telling me what the hell is going on around here? Everyone is acting like I'm a wanted convict or something!"
Mantee shook his head and shrugged. "I wish I could! Everyone around here is more tight-lipped than the soldiers who came back from the Toll Wars! Whatever's going on, it must be serious if it involves you and nobody's saying a word!"
Pulse rubbed his chin, walking to a couch with a distressed look on his face. Sitting down, he sighed.
"Of all the times. The voting ends in the next six days and I'm being shunned by the people who are supposed to work with me as their leader. Something's not right here."
Mantee sat in another couch across from Pulse. "Well,... maybe it has something to do with your family. You rarely ever speak about them."
Pulse looked at Mantee with a scowl, then looked away. "I have no family."
Mantee looked surprised. "Really? No parents? Siblings? Relatives?"
"My father disappeared when I was born. My mother... was attending a fallguard tournament twelve years ago."
Mantee's eyes went wide. "The Massacre of 1201?"
Pulse nodded. "She was a casualty. I was in school at the time, working towards my high school diploma. Nobody even cared about her death, though. I was always the important one to the media. The 'Walking Data-Scroll', they used to call me. She was quickly forgotten by the media shortly after I was born and I was turned into a source for good stories."
Mantee crossed his arms, nodding. "I see. So, you're planning to lift the ban on weapons and non-violent Powers which would no doubt lead to widespread violence all throughout the city, thus invoking another incident that could be similar, if not the same kind of disaster that killed your mother and you're willing to take that risk?"
Pulse looked at Mantee with a calm expression, eyebrows raised high. "It's not right. You know it. If Calah somehow gets into office, it would only be a matter of time before the government clamps down even tighter on our citizens. Sooner or later, the people will protest. They will riot! They will rebel! And innocent blood will be spilt! I refuse to let that happen! Do you understand me?"
Mantee leaned back in his seat, then nodded. "Absolutely."
Pulse nodded back. "But, now, we have to figure out why the Committee is so suspicious of me all of a sudden. I wonder if Calah has been spewing lies at the Committee and they're actually buying it!"
Pulse hummed to himself. "That may very well be the problem! I think I'm going to arrange a dinner meeting with my opponent! Tomorrow night! Calah is a truthful enough man. I'm sure that if he's telling lies, a brief talk with him should have him speak the truth and see if he will stop and play fair."
Mantee grinned. "Not a bad idea! Should I let my team know so we can make preparations?"
"No! If the Committee really is believing whatever Calah is telling them, then I don't want to attract any sort of attention. It wouldn't be the first time I've travelled with very little security, so it shouldn't be alarming. Your presence should be enough."
Mantee nodded. "Okay, then! Where will you be dining?"
"The Banquet Hall, four-star restaurant on Floor 637! Tell my secretary to send the invite to Calah!"
"Done! What about you?"
Pulse yawned. "I need some sleep. I've been a nervous wreck all day with the suspicious behavior towards me. But, since I think I've pinned the problem down, I should be able to sleep soundly tonight!"
Mantee was about to reply when his comm-scroll rang. He stood up, pulled the miniature data-scroll out of his pocket and answered. "Crispin speaking!... Your husband did what?... Is that right?... All right, I'll ask him!"
Mantee covered the mouthpiece and looked at Pulse. "It's Elena Calah! She says her husband is inviting you to dinner at, guess where?"
Pulse looked left to right. "The... Banquet Hall?"
"Bingo! What are the chances, eh? So, you gonna accept or what? It's tomorrow evening at six o'clock!"
Pulse blinked a few times, then said, "Of course I accept!"
Mantee removed his hand and said, "He accepts! He'll see your husband at the designated time and place! I will be attending the meet to make sure they behave!... AH HAHAHAHA! You have nothing to worry about, Mrs. Calah! I'll keep an eye on them!... You're welcome!... Goodnight."
Mantee ended the call and stuck the comm-scroll back into his pocket. He turned to Pulse and exclaimed. "Now, THAT is what I call a coincidence! Of all the hundreds of four-star restaurants in these Towers, he chose the same one you chose! Bizarre, eh?"
Pulse nodded lightly, looking away. "Yes,... very bizarre. Uh, could you leave now, Mantee? I need to get some sleep."
"Of course, Mr. Pulse! I'll see you tomorrow!"
"Right. See you tomorrow."
Mantee opened and closed the front door. Pulse locked it.
The second he heard about the invitation and the place, Pulse had barely summoned his Power, telekinesis, to enter Mantee's mind and see what he was really thinking. But, his thoughts were normal and unsuspicious. Still, Pulse could not help but think that Mantee was somehow connected with Calah and his dinner invite.
'Could even Mantee, my head of security and my one true friend, has something to do with the paranoia in the Committee today? Could he be in league with Calah? Is it all a trap to discredit me and dissuade the people in voting for me?'
Pulse shook his head, loosening the last of his clothes as he approached his bedroom. 'I'll get to the bottom of this tomorrow! If it really is a trap, I won't let Calah ruin me for his own gain!'
With that thought in mind, Pulse entered his bedroom and closed the door.
Augustris 2nd, 1213
The Freeman Memorial Mall was packed with citizens doing some late shopping as well as workers heading home for the day. Like most malls in Sabbaton, the Freeman Mall was built with a cylindrical design and at least ten floors circling the walls of the cylinder, containing stores, restaurants, banks, offices, and many other establishments of business.
Pulse looked all around himself as Mantee walked beside him.
He gave Pulse a puzzled look. "Mr. Pulse, there's no reason to be nervous. Out of all the security guards you have, you've got the best of the best by your side."
Pulse nodded, but continued to observe the crowd. "Yes, I know, but I can't help but feel that Calah has got something planned. This just doesn't feel right."
"Pulse, please, just relax! You guys can sit down for dinner, have your little talk with him, and we'll be on our way! I will protect you! Promise!"
Pulse smiled. "Thank you, Mantee."
In Pulse's mind, though, he was extremely suspicious of Mantee and his part in recent events.
'I hate to think Mantee is just pulling me into this 'meeting', but then again, he may not be involved. After all, he's not an emissary who's Viscount position is in jeopardy and he's only doing his job. On top of that, I haven't felt or read any malicious thoughts from him since we met this morning. I just hope he's still loyal to me.'
Walking along the fifth floor of the Freeman Mall, Pulse and Mantee approached the Banquet Hall. They entered to the smell of fine cuisines, baked bread, and lit candles. The restaurant had a Theophanies theme to it, the walls made of stone with Sacrare idols chiseled in, but colored with a fine brown paint. Dark green tablecloths topped each table with an unscented candle lit in the middle.
Pulse and Mantee walked up to an avian reservationist. "Good evening, gentlemen! Do you have a reservation?"
"We've been invited by Emissary Calah to attend him for dinner. This is Emissary Pulse and I'm Mantee Crispin, his security detail for the evening."
The reservationist looked into his book and nodded. "Ah, yes! Mr. Calah arrived roughly twenty minutes ago. He is expecting you. Follow me, please."
Mantee nodded while Pulse discreetly observed the restaurant. The two men followed the reservationist to Damien Calah, who sat a table in the middle of the dining hall. As they approached, Pulse noted that it was a straight shot from the main entrance to the table. Nothing stood in the way.
Pulse could feel a trap of some sort coming on. Of course, he was going to play along until he could identify it.
Mantee pulled Pulse's chair out for him. "Thank you!"
Mantee smiled in response and pushed Pulse in. The reservationist handed Pulse a menu.
"A waiter will be with you shortly," he said before turning to return to the main entrance.
A minute passed before a waiter arrived to take Pulse's order. Ordering a scraw and pasta alfredo with a side of salad and a carbonated beverage, Pulse handed his menu to the waiter. Mantee motioned to the waiter that he wasn't having anything.
As the waiter walked away, Pulse turned to face his rival.
'What do you have in store for me, Calah?'
As if sensing Pulse's thoughts, Calah broke the silence.
"I assume you've been busy since your last speech, Mr. Pulse?"
The wolf smirked. "Definitely. And I'm sure you've been very busy yourself. Very busy."
Calah's left ear twitched slightly. "You say that with such an air of caution. Is something the matter?"
Pulse clamped his hands together and rested himself on the table. "Let's cut to the chase here, Calah! I think we both know why you invited me here! The Committee has been treating me strangely, like I committed a heinous crime! I apologize if it seems like I'm pointing the finger here, but I can't help but believe that you're to blame for this cautionary behavior towards me! Are you or are you not?"
Calah sat back into his chair, arms folded with a half-smile. "Yes, I'm to blame for their behavior. Isn't it natural for Viscount-Elects to spread rumors about their opponents to "spice things up" among the voters?"
"I've studied your political history, Calah! Lying isn't your strong suit! Even if it means gaining the upper hand to achieve positions of power! You went from District Senator to Emissary by legitimate means! Why this sudden change in strategy?"
Calah chuckled. "Can you blame me? You're both a District Senator AND the Chief Emissary! If that isn't power-hungry behavior, I don't know what is!"
Pulse sneered. "Who said I was power-hungry?"
Calah's face contorted in worry for a split second before regaining composure. "Nobody! It's just an opinion! Can't I state an opinion? Opinions don't mean they are facts, correct? Opinions aren't true! Heheheh. Not... true... at all...."
Pulse stood up from his chair instantly. "Damn it, Calah! What have you done? This is all a trap, isn't it? Well, if you think you're going to disgrace my good name with your lies, you've got another thing coming!"
"Pulse, please, just calm down!" Mantee pleaded. "I'm sure we can talk about this!"
"What more is there to talk about? He's feeding lies to the government, Mantee! I will NOT stand here and be-"
Before he could finish, Mantee suddenly grabbed Pulse's arm and twisted it. Positioning it behind Pulse, Mantee slammed him face first into the table. Pulse shrieked from the pain, opening his eyes to find his face pressed into the table, facing the main entrance.
"NOW!" Mantee screamed.
Pulse could only stare as a squad of City Guard shock troopers swarmed through the entrance, sprinting straight at the table. Springer rifles already poised to fire at Pulse, the squad surrounded the table.
A pair of troopers grabbed Calah and escorted him towards the entrance. "It's not safe here, sir! Come with us!"
Mantee, keeping Pulse's arm twisted and behind his back, pulled the wolf off the table as troopers moved in to cuff him and place a burlap bag over his head.
Struggling slightly to breath, Pulse yelled, "What the hell is this?! I demand to know what this is about NOW!"
A trooper lowered his rifle and said, "Aizer Pulse, you are under arrest for a Class A Power Infraction and high treason to the state! You will now be escorted to a questioning facility! We will explain the situation until then!"
"This is insane! I've never committed a Class A infraction! I am NO traitor! It's all a lie! Damn you, Calah! Let me-"
Before he could speak any further, he was stuck in the neck with some sort of injection. Pulse winced as his neck began to sting in pain.
Suddenly, he could feel himself losing consciousness. Moments later, he fell into someone's outstretched arms.
Pulse was knocked out with an uncertain fate awaiting him.
* * * * *
Pulse awoke, still struggling to breathe properly. For a moment, he didn't understand, but he realized that his head was still covered with the burlap bag. He attempted to move, but he felt his hands were cuffed to a chair or bench that he was sitting on.
Through the bag, Pulse could see a large sliver of light coming from what he assumed was a door. Suddenly, the light vanished and he could barely see two blue lights coming from the same spot. Pulse recognized the two lights as data-goggles, worn by the safety troops.
"Sir, he's awake!" the trooper yelled.
Moments later, the door unlocked and was opened. Light poured in along with a wave of voices coming from the doorway. Some of them were shouting and screaming. Others were talking loudly.
'Where am I? Is this... the prisons?'
Through the bag, Pulse could see three troopers walking in, carrying rifles. As they closed the door, they switched on their tact lights and shone them in Pulse's face. Wincing at the light, one of the troopers removed the bag from Pulse's head.
The middle trooper said, "Aizer Pulse, do you know why you are here?"
"No, I do not! This is madness! What have I done wrong?"
"We have conclusive evidence that you have been conspiring to brainwash the masses of our country after becoming Viscount! Based on this evidence, Viscount Liddo, the Emissary Committee and CCA investigators have concluded that you have been using your Power of telekinesis to manipulate the citizens, tipping the odds into your favor!"
Pulse shook his head with a distressed laugh. "I'm not hearing this! What kind of evidence could you possibly have that-"
"Don't waste your breath!" the trooper interrupted, reaching for something in the pocket of his fatigues. The trooper pulled out a data-scroll and unrolled it.
Pulse's eyes went wide as the trooper pressed a button on the screen. What Pulse heard made his heartbeat increase exponentially.
"This is great, Mantee! My Power is making this all too easy! Soon, I will be Viscount! Not that dim-witted twit of a fool, Calah! When the moment is right, all of Anduruna will bow to me, for my Power is limitless! No one will oppose me, nor will they be able to! Everything is going according to plan! HAHAHAHAHAAAAA!"
Pulse croaked, fear setting in on his face. The trooper rolled the scroll back up and stuck it back into his pocket.
"Impossible. That's im-POSSIBLE! I never said anything like that! It's an impersonator, damn it!"
"Your head of security admitted to it! He claims you threatened his life if he told anyone of your plan! Because of his honesty and cooperation in this matter, he will be released shortly. Unfortunately for you..."
Pulse shook his head wildly. "No. No, no, no, no, no, NO! Lies! All of it! You can't do this to me! You can't just lock me away! I've done nothing wrong!"
"You will be thoroughly screened and be given a psychological evaluation to determine if you will be able to live amongst the other inmates here in prison without using your Power to cause trouble. Though, in your current state, you'll probably be given a cell much like this one. I suggest you calm down. You should be grateful, if anything. The Emissary Committee agreed on imprisonment rather than exile. And, of course, I don't have to tell you the punishments you would have received besides banishment had the Committee not given you a punishment. You are a politician, after all. Or rather, you 'were' a politician."
The troopers turned and walked out of the cell.
"We will return to you when we are ready to begin the booking and screening processes."
The door was closed and locked.
For the moment, all was quiet in the dark room. Then, Pulse began screaming. Realizing he had been imprisoned for nothing, Pulse screamed for what seemed like hours to the prison guards.
Pulse eventually went silent, however, as he realized how useless his screaming was.
At that point, nothing mattered to him anymore.
He had been framed and a lying, oppressive emissary was going to be named Viscount in the coming days. The voting didn't matter anymore. Only Damien Calah was left in the race.
Pulse realized this, but there was nothing he could do.
He remained silent for the remainder of the day and long after that.
* * * * *
Augustris 3rd, 1213
In a lush apartment bedroom, Calah folded his arms behind his head, looking up at the ceiling in a large bed.
"I did it. I'm the Viscount of Anduruna. And it's all thanks to you, Tinsel."
The young feline, laying next to Calah, completely nude, smiled as she turned over to face him. "I did what I had to do. No way was I gonna let a jerk like him get into office. I know you would 'never' try to enslave our people!"
Calah smiled back. "Exactly! What the people don't realize is violence is never a good thing! What they don't realize is that the City Guard is there for a reason! To ensure that any violence that threatens them will be dealt with with precision and professionalism! Trying to stop the violence yourself only complicates things! That is why we have laws prohibiting violence in the first place! For when violence erupts, you should do the smart thing and stand aside while the Guard handles the situation!"
Tinsel nodded with approval. "Yes,... that's exactly right."
Calah yawned hard, then looked at a clock on a nightstand. "It's getting late. I'd better get home before Elena wonders where I wandered off to."
Tinsel nodded. "Good point. And it won't be long before my parents come home."
As Calah rose out of bed, Tinsel leaned up and asked, "Speaking of lovers, how is your 'other' woman doing?"
"Who, Francia? She's just fine! Though, I'm rather worried."
Tinsel looked concerned. "What do you mean?"
Calah sighed. "A few nights ago, after a brief night cap, she insisted that we have sexual intercourse, as we occasionally do, but she wanted to do so the... 'primitive' way. In other words,... without protection."
"So,... you're scared... that you may have..."
Putting on his pants, he sat down on the bed and sighed hard. Tinsel crawled over and hugged him. "You know what you have to do, right?"
Calah looked over his shoulder at her with a scowl. "I am not making her go through with an abortion! Even I disapprove of such a practice!"
"NOOOO! Not an abortion! You need to divorce your wife!"
"W-what?! Divorce my Elena? But, we've been married only five years! And, I already have a daughter! I can't just-"
"You told me yourself once before, Mr. Calah! She's incompetent, weak, unintelligent! Do you really want a woman like her by your side? And imagine the scandal that could erupt if she finds out about Francia or even worse... the MEDIA finding out!"
Calah gulped. "Y-you're right! If Elena or even the press discovers Francia, I'm finished! It could ruin me! I... I'm left with no choice! Elena has to go!"
Standing up with an air of confidence, he resumed dressing himself.
Minutes later, he walked to the bedroom door and said, "Thank you, Tinsel! I'll be sure to reward you properly for your assistance in exposing Pulse when I am officially Viscount! I promise you!"
With that, he walked out of the room and out of the apartment.
Tinsel sat in the bed, smiling from ear to ear.
Augustris 21st, 1213
Sitting in a normal cell with a worn-out bed, a filthy toilet and thick, iron bars blocking the exit, Aizer Pulse was a broken man. With nothing to say and nothing to do, Pulse did nothing but sit on his bed, his face downcast.
Successfully going through the booking process and cooperating in the screening and psych evaluation, Pulse knew there was no hope of ever proving his innocence. So, he decided to cooperate and make the best of it.
Because of his cooperation and behavior, Pulse was cleared to be among the rest of the prison populace and placed in a standard cell.
But, the hours that followed his first day in the cell block, Pulse simply sat on his bed, and did nothing. He didn't even think. Only to preserve his sanity did he ever actually think.
'Read a book? No. Already read all of them. Watch a scroll-cast? Hmmm, no. Nothing but re-runs.'
Because of his telepathic powers, Pulse's memory skills were far greater than anyone else's. He could actually read books or watch scroll-casts that he had seen or read about without actually doing it. The images flash before his eyes as clearly as they did when they happened. This has allowed him to read text or watch scroll-casts that flash into his vision whenever he wanted to.
As an infant, he was taken from his mother to be studied by scientists working for the government. Upon birth, it was ascertained that Pulse's wavelength was abnormal for a newborn. Even after minutes from leaving the womb, Pulse was already gathering information from his mother, the doctor, the nurses. Pulse already knew more than he should.
Doctors were amazed and disturbed by this. As a result, they would report this to Viscount Liddo, who would then order a team of scientists to retrieve the baby and study him to unlock the secrets of the phenomenon.
After months of study, the scientists were awestruck to hear the baby already saying its name... and the names of the scientists who were watching him. The baby even wrote its own name and was reading complex science textbooks and lab reports. After a few more weeks, the scientists could not confirm that the baby was using a Power. Instead, they dubbed the baby's special ability as 'telekinesis', the ability to read minds.
Eventually, the baby was returned to his mother and life was normal for Aizer Pulse... for the most part.
In his privacy as a young boy, he would begin moving small objects with his mind, unintentionally at first. Intrigued, the boy would practice this ability by sitting in the middle of his room while holding history and algebra books in mid air and reading them. Then, he would combine his ability with the stress-relieving practice of 'meditation'. While meditating, dozens of objects in his room would begin floating against the will of gravity. Pulse was ecstatic at his newfound abilities and it was only a matter of time before he discovered the halo that levitated over him, signifying his Power. Pulse realized that his abilities were indeed his Power.
Of course, his mounting curiosity would end at the age of eight with the outlaw of all Power use following the fallguard incident that would end his mother's life.
Since no one discovered that his abilities are actually his Power, Pulse continued to refer to it as his 'ability'. Because of his adult mentality and advanced wealth of knowledge, Pulse would become the first teenager to be deemed a legal adult without reaching the age of eighteen. However, in order to maintain his image, Pulse would continue to obey the laws for minors.
Now, in his prison cell, Pulse could do nothing but watch his life go by right before his eyes.
'I could've just been a normal kid,' he thought sourly. 'I could've avoided this. But, no. I just HAD to prove that I was better than everyone else! I just HAD to! That was never my intention, but it sure seems like it was! I could've just... been... normal.'
Pulse cupped his hands to his face, trying hard not to sob. But, at that moment, all of the cell doors slid open.
"Dinner time!" a voice shouted through a PA system. "All inmates report to the ground floor now!"
Pulse removed his hands and sighed. Standing up, he walked out and onto the catwalk that served as the second floor of his cell block. All the other inmates, wearing orange jumpsuits, walked down the two staircases that were on both ends of the large room.
He looked down at his own filthy jumpsuit, which was colored navy-blue, signifying he was a former political figure.
Keeping his gaze downcast, Pulse walked to the staircase to the right of the room.
Inmates in the prison would have to stand in line and receive their food much like in a school cafeteria, then proceed to a table. The cell block served as their living quarters and dining hall, with an open space at one end of the block for inmates to socialize and occupy their time until having to return to their cells.
Continuing to look downcast, Pulse looked at the food that was slapped onto his plate. A green, slime-like mixture that should be called something other than "food".
Plate and fork in hand, Pulse proceeded to a completely empty table. Sitting down, he began eating.
Behind him, a prisoner had sat down at another table with his own dinner.
"Hey, Mori! Get over here!"
Another prisoner, Mori, jogged up and sat down by his friend. "S'up, Pete? Whatcha want?"
"Did you hear? Talus heard something weird before they brought him in last night!"
"Pfffft! That fool thinks everythang is weird! That fool's gone lost his shit!"
Pete shook his head. "Ohhh, no! He wasn't drugged up when he heard this! You know he's a friend of that guard who used to work for Aizer Pulse a few weeks back?"
Mori nodded. "Aw, yeah, yeah! What's his name? Mantee or some shit?"
"Bingo! That's him! Anyway, Talus heard him and that Tinsel kid talkin' in some alleyway near the Inner Wall! They were talkin' about how easy it was to frame Pulse for betrayin' the country and usin' his Power to take over! I know Talus! He doesn't lie about stuff like this!"
"Shiiiiiit! That be some fucked up shit, man!"
Mori looked over his shoulder at Pulse.
"Ain't that right, Pulsy?"
The inmates started laughing, but Pulse didn't hear them. He heard nothing but thoughts, pouring in from his memory.
'They were talkin' about how easy it was to frame Pulse for betrayin' the country and usin' his Power to take over!'
'This is great, Mantee! My Power is making this all too easy! Soon, I will be Viscount! Not that dim-witted twit of a fool, Calah! When the moment is right, all of Anduruna will bow to me, for my Power is limitless! No one will oppose me, nor will they be able to! Everything is going according to plan! HAHAHAHAHAAAAA!
'...Thetazine-15 has been referred to as the 'Hypno Swig' to the common folk, usually poured into a liquid that is then ingested. The special properties of Thetazine-15 is that it is specially formulated to temporarily change the consumer's mental wavelength to make them say a specific word, phrase, paragraph, etc....'
'Can you blame me? You're both District Senator AND the Chief Emissary! If that isn't power-hungry behavior, I don't know what is!'
'...In other news, the blasphemous comments spoken by Emissary Dresh in the Theophanies District was the direct result of a prank played by his long-time friend, Calypsa Senator Dobbs on All Fool's Day! Dobbs has apologized to the Theophanian people and all of Anduruna for his unprofessional behavior and placing Dresh in a compromising situation! The prank involved a cup of tea and a few drops of a special chemical known as Thetazine-15!...'
'Well, Aizer, it would seem regular hypnosis has no effect on you, which is remarkable, to say the least, for a boy of your age. You are even immune to the truth serems we gave you. However, if you're sensing a memory loss lasting over five minutes, that's because we gave you an injection of Thetazine-15, which changes the wavelength of a person's mind and makes them say or do things they usually wouldn't do. And, uh, what we had you do inside of those five minutes will be left on a need-to-know basis...'
Pulse lowered his fork, placing it onto his plate. At that moment, a large, muscle-bound alligator walked up with his own plate of food and looked down at the wolf.
Sneering, he growled, "This is my table!"
Pulse stood up from his seat and turned to face the inmate.
The gator grinned. "Smart move! Just remember, this is my-"
Suddenly, he gasped. Dropping his plate, he reached for his neck, fighting for air. He felt something gripping his neck, but nothing was there.
Pulse's arm was outstretched, his halo moderately illuminated.
He whispered, "Not... anymore."
Suddenly, he closed his fist.
The alligator's arms fell to his side, dangling.
Pulse lowered his arm, the lifeless inmate collapsing to the floor as he did so.
He stared down at the inmate, his neck broken. He looked up and saw all the other prisoners watching him in fear. The one's closest to Pulse backed away slowly.
Suddenly, bells began going off. Moments later, safety troops bursted through the lobby door from the center of the bottom floor.
"ALL OF YOU! ON THE FLOOR NOW!"
The inmates quickly complied, laying flat with their hands to their heads.
Only Pulse remained standing. The troopers fell into firing formation.
"Dismiss your Power and get on your knees! Now!"
Pulse looked down at the slain inmate once more, then looked up at the troopers.
"On your knees! Last warning!"
Pulse could feel the power radiating through him, his Power at its minimum potential.
Pulse threw his arm forward.
The troops obeyed, unleashing a hail of springer bullets on Pulse.
As they sailed towards their target, they suddenly began slowing down. As they were mere inches from Pulse, they came to a complete stop.
The troopers lowered their rifles in shock.
Pulse reached out, grabbing a bullet to look it over. He looked back at the troopers, dropping the bullet. Tilting his head, he looked down and the remaining bullets fell to the floor.
Slowly, he looked back at the troopers. The commanding officer raised and threw his arm down. "FIRE!"
The troopers aimed and had barely squeezed their triggers when a thought raced through their heads. A thought that was not their own.
Pulse held his arm out yet again and a single word was on his mind.
In fluid motion, the troopers saluted Pulse and pulled out their pistols, putting them to their heads. Without any hesitation, they each pulled the trigger of their weapons.
Pulse looked on as each trooper fell. The inmates looked up, seeing the entire squad commit suicide right before their eyes.
* * * * *
From the lobby across the cell block, the prison guards stared in horror through the bulletproof windows.
"What the hell just happened?"
"I don't know. They... killed themselves."
Then, they saw Pulse walking towards the open door.
"Close the door! Activate the reinforced locks! That bastard is NOT leaving!"
* * * * *
Slowly, methodically, Pulse approached the lobby. Already seeing the automated door closing, Pulse reached out with his Power.
The door whined, struggling to comply with the electronic command. Suddenly, the door was torn right out of the doorframe.
Sailing over Pulse's head, the door embedded itself into the wall between two cells.
Several feet away from the lobby, Pulse spotted the guards scrambling around the office area.
"Defensive positions!" a guard screamed. "Call the Guard! We need reinforcements now!"
All around Pulse, the inmates stood up and began bullrushing the exit.
"We're gettin' the fuck out of here!"
Pulse spun around and shot his arm out. "NO!"
The inmates stopped in their tracks.
"Back in your cells! All of you! NOW!"
As fluidly as the troopers, the prisoners turned and silently returned to their respective cells. Pulse turned back to the lobby and continued out of the cell block.
Entering the lobby, he spotted the cell door controls. With a wave of his hand, a button was pressed. From the cell block, all the doors loudly slammed shut.
Pulse turned left and looked down a long hallway to see a pair of elevators at the end. The lobby guards and other prison security was waiting for him.
Pulse turned back and pointed his arm at the cell block. The safety troops springer rifles floated up and glided through the open doorway to float around Pulse's body.
The guards watched the display from the other end of the hall.
One of them gulped. "Well, nice knowing you guys."
"Shut up! W-we can take him!"
Now, Pulse proceeded down the hall in a agonizingly slow fashion. Suddenly, lights began to break, loose objects flew around. The jug of a water dispenser bursted.
The guards shook nervously as Pulse was nearly a table's length away.
'Still think you can take me?'
The guards blinked. With a twitch of his finger, Pulse fired his arsenal.
Within seconds, the guards were gunned down.
"I didn't think so," Pulse said out loud.
Walking up to the left elevator, he pressed the up button. As luck would have it, the elevator was at the very first floor and began the fifty-floor descent to the subterranean prison.
Pulse looked at the right elevator and saw the digital display above the doors. The right elevator was coming down as well, but from the fifth floor and was three floors behind the left elevator.
A solid minute later, the left elevator arrived. Walking in, Pulse simply pressed the number 1 and pressed the OK button.
At that moment, the right elevator had arrived and was opening its doors. A squad of safety troops poured out in time to see the other elevator closing its doors. The squad commander ran forward and tried to stop the doors, but it was too late.
He backed up and looked up at the display.
'Destination: Floor 1 | Current Location: Floor -45
The commander pointed at one of his men. "Private! The elevator controls in the lobby! Stop that elevator and bring it back down!"
The trooper ran down the hallway while the commander looked over the dead guards.
"Spirits! What happened here?"
* * * * *
In the elevator, Pulse slid down against a wall, sobbing in agony.
'Why? Why did they do this to me? It doesn't make any sense!'
Pulse stopped crying as the elevator suddenly stopped. He looked up at the display and saw he had stopped on Floor -15. Then, the elevator began descending.
Pulse stood up and looked at the emergency hatch.
Looking at his hand, he thrusted it up at the hatch. A blast of solid energy flew out from his hand and sent the hatch flying off its hinges.
Pulse stared at both of his hands.
"So, this... is my Power... unleashed," he whispered.
Realizing he was still going down, Pulse shoved a blast into the floor and shot up through the opening.
He looked around the elevator shaft and saw the emergency ladder.
Running forward, he leapt and grabbed on. The elevator continued to descend.
Looking across the shaft, Pulse saw the elevator's cables. Reaching out with his Power, he gripped the cables, stopping the elevator instantly. Twisting his fingers around, he strained as he attempted to break the cables. Moments later, he succeeded. The cables snapped and the elevator began plummeting.
* * * * *
The squad commander stared at the display while his men stood in formation.
The commander watched as the elevator suddenly stopped at Floor -20. His eyes went wide as the elevator now began descending faster and faster.
"It's coming down!"
He spun around and jumped into his men, toppling them into a pile.
In front of them, a muffled crash eminated as the doors bent inward from the impact.
The troopers grumbled as the commander leaned up to see the damage to the doors.
The Private ran back down the hallway and could see what had happened. As the troops stood up, the Private said, "So, uh, who wants to take the other one?"
The troopers looked at the other elevator, then at the Private.
"What?! Just saying!"
"Let's hustle, boys!" the commander said with a sigh as he jogged to the stairwell door. Pulling out his comm-scroll, he said, "Command, we have a situation...."
* * * * *
Several feet down from the first floor elevator doors, Pulse reached up and flung his arm back. The doors were ripped out of the frame and sent tumbling down to the smashed elevator below.
Climbing the rest of the way up, Pulse weakly stuck his leg onto the edge of the frame before leaping off of the ladder and onto the safety of the floor.
"It's an Infractor! Run!"
Pulse looked up and saw dozens of people running away from him. He was in a gigantic lobby and from the simple design and decor, he knew he was in the lobby that faced the Margate District.
His legs weak from the climb up, Pulse barely made it to his feet. Slowly, he walked towards the large doors leading out into Anduruna.
Halfway across the lobby, most of the people had swarmed out of the exits to get away from Pulse. A small flight of steps led down to a lower part of the floor.
Pulse attempted to go down the steps, but stumbled and fell the entire way down. The climb up the shaft had weakened his limbs greatly.
'How did this all happen?'
As he struggled back to his feet, a voice called from the top of the steps.
Pulse froze, but not because of the command. He slowly turned around to see an all-too-familiar face.
Mantee Crispin stood at the top, a springer pistol aimed at Pulse's head.
Pulse slowly raised his arm. Mantee fired off a shot.
The bullet pinged off of a shield of energy Pulse had formed around him. Mantee began unloading his clip, but the bullets bounced off the shield.
His arm pointed at Mantee, Pulse twisted it around so his open palm was upward.
Mantee gasped, his throat being constricted. Dropping his pistol, he grabbed hopelessly for his neck as he began to float into the air. Kicking the air, he struggled for breath.
Mantee opened his eyes to look down at his former friend.
Pulse whispered, "Why?"
Not waiting for an answer, he clenched his fist.
Mantee yelped as his neck snapped.
With a thrust, Pulse sent the body flying into a giant pillar.
Panting heavily, Pulse turned around and stumbled for the exits.
Pushing his way through the doors, he walked out into a raging storm. Lightning flashed and gusts of wind blew as a downpour of rain soaked him. Ignoring the elements, Pulse spotted the tall doors leading to the Margate District dead ahead. Fighting through the pain in his legs, Pulse pushed on.
As he neared the doors, a pair of Sabbaton Tower guards rushed forward, pulling out their pistols. Pulse swiped the air with his arm. An angled blast shot out in the direction of his arm, nailing the guards and sending them flying.
Before exposing the guards, he read their thoughts and discovered the doors had been sealed
Reaching the large doors, Pulse formed a concentrated blast in each hand. Bringing his hands together, he squatted down, twisting his body and released the combined blast.
The doors were blasted into splinters, raining down on the streets outside. Citizens spotted the event and ran.
Through the wooden dust, Pulse limped out of Sabbaton and into Margate.
Not really caring what happened to himself at that point, he limped to the nearest alley and stuck to the backstreets.
* * * * *
Hours went by. Night had arrived and the storm was still unleashing its elements.
Pulse laid on his chest at the opening of an alley, unconscious after hours of aimless walking.
From the depths of the alley, a slender figure appeared.
Smirking, the figure picked Pulse up and threw him onto his shoulder.
"Don't worry, kid. You're in good hands now."
With that, the figure carried Pulse into the darkness of the alley.
* * * * *
Augustris 24th, 1213
Pulse awoke with a horrible pain in his head. As he blinked his eyes, he realized he was in a room of some sort.
Gasping, he sat up quickly.
Pulse snapped his head towards the voice. A brown-skinned snake wearing green goggles, gray fatigues and a black vest stood up from a workbench on the other side of the room. He slowly approached the wolf, holding his hands up.
"Take it easy. I won't hurt you. You should be lucky I found you, otherwise the Guard would've found you first."
Pulse rubbed his head. "Ugh, what happened?"
"Well, aside from finding you laid out in an alleyway in a prison jumpsuit, I don't know. I saw the news a few days back. You're one hell of a star!"
Pulse shook his head and stared at the snake. "Who are you and what did they say on the news?"
"They were saying you're a cold-blooded murderer who's out for revenge for having your grand scheme foiled by Viscount Calah. And, I think you already know who I am."
Pulse narrowed his gaze at him. "And, from what I'm hearing in your head, you already know who I am."
|The snake grinned. "Then, I think you know you can trust me! But, for the sake of respect, I'll introduce myself, anyway! The name's Scinter! And you're Aizer Pulse. Gifted. Former politician. Framed. Wanted convict. On the run. Aside from the 'former politician' title, I think we both can relate."|
Pulse smirked. "Right. And how did you know I was framed?"
"Oh, come on! You think you're the first? Where have you been all your life? Lots of emissaries were framed when they 'associated' with the 'bandits'. You're not the first and you won't be the last."
Pulse chuckled. "Isn't that the truth."
For a few moments, the two renegades sat in silence.
"So," Scinter said. "What are you gonna do now?"
Pulse opened his eyes wide, then stared at Scinter.
With a glare, he said, "I'm gonna do what needs to be done."
Taking the sheets off of him, he jumped out of bed and saw he was standing in his own fatigues. He wondered what happened to his jumpsuit, but he really didn't care.
Turning to Scinter, he said, "Get ready, my friend. Because what I said I meant. It's time... for change!"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HUlv4WpqDc (Drowning Pool - Enemy)
|Dat word count...|
Indeed. Three chapters put together will do that. XD
|Huh, nice chapter man! Hope the rest is well too!|
Thanks! Do enjoy the rest! :)
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