Io's forum posts
Can you feel it?
Worlds shaking with dissonantic raving
Our moral tenor trapped by society’s caving
Oh brave new world, is it truly worth saving?
Can’t you feel it?
Can you see it?
Thousands dying in nihilistic abandon
The acid rain our spirits dampen
We are truly under the heel of Abaddon
Can’t you see it?
Can you hear it?
The sirens shriek out their tintinnabulous soul
The injured crying out to be whole
The menacing growls of those in control
Can’t you hear it?
Can you feel it?
Can you see it?
Can you hear it?
Can you save it?
And so it was that the reluctant prophet saw what lay in store. He thrashed in glossolalic ecstasy, bloody foam coating his lips, his eyes rolled back into his head, seeing not the darkness of cellular life, but the worlds untold that cannot exist anywhere else until their time has come. When his head cracked sharply against the faux-marble floors, he saw not the stars of oblivion but those of War, blazing red-hot glowing-green stars descended to Earth. He screamed with two voices as all descended into paranoiac darkness.
He awoke still caked in the filth of delirium, but some things were all too clear. His twin souls were in agreement on what must be done, and he moved as fast as he could pull his crippled body to his nearly monastic cell of a room. His head pounded like a gong, or perhaps it was a time bomb. There was one man who would believe him, one who had voyaged beyond the impossible in a rusty tin can, one who would detect the truth he spoke, perhaps shared in it. This man would do what would be done, and then the red-eyed oracle could sleep the sleep of the doomed in the peace of resignation. The phone rang, once, twice, then was answered and all was made right in the small world of the mad seer’s minds. He passed from this tale into another and on his way out discovered the Question or the Answer (there’s a 50/50 chance of either) from Schrödinger’s Cat.
And now, thousands of miles away, Nicholai, son of Arkady, yet just as much the son of the stars, placed the telephone receiver down slowly in its rusted cradle. There was a brief click as the scrambler attached to the wires shut off. Some who are lost do not wish to be found. Some do not realize how lost they truly are. This flashed briefly across Nicholai’s mind as he mulled over the madman’s words.
He had worked with the prophet before, and knew his visions to be more than mere ravings. Yet that did not mean that the futures of devastation and woe were certain. Nicholai had estimated about a 58% accuracy rate; accurate enough to be dangerous, wild enough to be changed without upsetting the axis of the universe. The world would keep turning, unblemished by nuclear dust…
Was he truly altruistic? Perhaps. Perhaps not. There was no denying that Nicholai was changed. For months he had simply dropped off the map, and he refused to speak of what had happened to him during that time. (Stronger faster smarter better a soldier a fighter a leader the man of the future taken from the past).
Things fall apart. As new groups formed, We Are Legend gradually broke apart. Members went their separate ways, dying, vanishing, becoming demons and saints, or merely the woman across the hall that you know only by the exotic brand of coffee she leaves in the communal kitchen.
The world kept turning.
The riddle: What is dead yet alive, what grows stronger as years go by though its bones rot unfound?
The answer: A legend.
But as long as there is someone to remember them, a single child who can tell the story passed on through the generations, they live.
Legends never die.
It was decided then. Nicholai pulled open a drawer, throwing aside the detritus of everyday life. He dug his fingernails into the hidden cabinet at the back, pulled it out. A small metal disk rested there, dust coating its lead-black surface. Dull LEDs spelled out WAL, the batteries long dead. Engraved on the back were the words ‘Light Up the Darkness’, and Nicholai’s codename…Io. Io the spaceman, the cosmonaut, the bumbling fool. A Lo man, unreliable, weak, a hazard. Nicholai scowled. That was all gone, but the 10 remained beneath his skin, and would remain until the day he died. He would be Io now and forever, it was his cross (ink) to bear.
He slipped the communicator into his front pocket, and walked outside. The night was clear and crisp, the smell of summer at the edges of the breeze. Stars twinkled, and he looked at the familiar constellations, and past them to what increasingly seemed a dream. Next to the house there was a metal construct that looked a little like a Martian pod from War of the Worlds in miniature. Nicholai disconnected two wires from this, and hooked them to the inner workings of the WAL comms unit. The dead LEDs flashed brightly. Nicholai twiddled some knobs on the radio pod, adjusting the wavelength. The signal he sent out would go over all the bandwaves, lurking beneath whatever content was there. Anyone might hear it. And if they were lost, if they were lonely, if they wanted to save the world, they would find him waiting here. And of course all the old WAL devices would be reanimated, if only for a moment.
He turned it on. A plaintive beep went out, spreading on the airwaves like a ripple. The distress call had been sent. Now there was nothing but to wait. Clasping his hands behind his back, Io stared into the stars.
Things fall apart.
When Obi Wan Kenobi vanished, the members of WAL went their separate ways. The world did not end. Nothing really changed. Other heroes picked up the slack, and villains merely chose new targets.
And then a man, though he be cursed or blessed none can say, saw the future. The flames of anarchy leap high, and all has fallen into despair. The reason? The dissipation of We Are Legend.
Now the old team must reunite, or face the consequences. But all is not as it once was, and this may be a Sisyphean task.
An RPG for We Are Legend only.
To join the team, please contact Icarusflies.
Guess what? I FINALLY POSTED!
And just for fun, here's what I plugged into the translator for the Russian text: "I am a very busy man, do not make me report you to my superiors! Now move, I have been appointed to examine the alien ships and my time is valuable! Move! Quickly! Quickly!"
The knowledge hit him like a bomb. Until now, he had had faith in his government, the USSR. They only had the peoples' best interest in heart. He thought that his trial had been fair…they had merely convicted him for a crime he had not committed, but evidence actually pointed to. He saw now how he had been framed…cast aside for something buried deep in his genetic code. He had done absolutely nothing wrong! He was loyal and they sent him to die! Now corruption reared its ugly head…corruption and cruelty and the selfish nation of the government he had never seen before. There was no power for the people, and there never had been. There was no benevolent Big Brother watching, just malicious and cruel men. Nicholai felt more alone, more isolated than he had in his life.
But then he had an epiphany. He saw things clearly now, he had purpose, a sacred mission. A holy mission. Who was to say that the aliens were NOT angels? They had such inner luminescence…crystalline bodies seemingly bursting with light. And did they have wings? Nicholai thought they might have. But he couldn't (Don't TELL what you know) voice his suspicions or he would have violated some code. And now he looked up towards the sky, overflowing with a myriad of stars. He knew the truth now! All of it…this Earth was just Hell. He had been sent here by accident. His real place was up THERE, in the exquisite coldness he had so carelessly tossed aside. A thousand, thousand worlds out there, hiding in the darkness between spaces. A thousand, thousand possibilities. He didn't belong here…he never had. Out there aliens (angels) who knew the real meaning of life. He would get to them…if it took years and years to find his way…and throw himself on their mercy, let his see his gratitude.
His ship was in tatters. Charred metal peeling away from the frame. But he could fix it. He knew its workings. He would repair it…steal the materials, weld and fuse and so what if he couldn't get back? He just needed to get out, into the sea of stars. Leave this corrupted, cruel world miles away. He could do it…the remains in the cellar, hidden among broken chairs and dust-masked tables. He'd take it out back. He COULD fix it. He WOULD fix it. And no one would stand in his way. He looked at the telepath warily. He didn't want to have to hurt him. But what if the telepath tried to talk him out of it? What if he sent Nicholai to some sort of institution. Nicholai balled his fists…"Well, I know you have to thank them Nicholai" Nicholai relaxed…the tone of the mental message was completely empathic. The telepath understood his NEED to be out amongst the stars again.
"However, I'm sure there is no need for you to 'rebuild' your wrecked ship. Especially when the United States Government and Government's around the world have been reconstituting crashed alien technology into their own. They call it reverse engineering. It is a sophisticated subject, however the main idea is that crashed UFO's ave been taken to secret airbases and then military scientists have used the technology to create better, more advanced technology for human use. I've also heard of drafted plans for proposed 'spaceports.' Much like the airports we have today, spaceports would be places that spacecraft could takeoff and land on. Area 51 would be a good place to start. And I'm sure we could... apprehend a ship much quicker then fixing up your old ship" Nicholai's expression broke into a slow smile. Yes…yes of course. That was infinitely superior (though Nicholai felt a twinge of regret at not returning to the stars by the work of his two hands).
While the telepath (who was apparently named James) talked with the man Nicholai had met earlier, Nicholai began to come up with a plan to get into Area 51. It wouldn't be too hard…if one spoke quickly and authoritatively in Russian one could get almost anywhere. That plus some forged ID would pass any cursory inspection. Nicholai would be able to make that ID fairly easily…he would just need to cut up his old Soviet passport, and combine it with an old driver's license or something…a little glue, a little ink, some laminating paper. Yes! He could see it now…this would work, it was infinitely superior to the craft gradually rusting away in the dingy cellar.
"Oh, and if it isn't apparent. I'm coming with you"…Uh, that was okay…it WOULD seem suspicious if Nicholai went by himself, and going into space by oneself increased the danger exponentially. "Okay!" Nicholai said more loudly than he had to, and strode purposefully down the stairs.
Newark Liberty International Airport
Nicholai had spent all night preparing the false documentation. He had worked with a manic energy he had not known in years. Beneath his deft fingers the papers had taken shape, complete with watermarks ripped from the passport paper. When the dawn softly caressed the window sill, Nicholai had looked up in shock…it had felt like mere minutes. Somewhat dazed, he allowed himself to be led into the car. He dozed then (for he hadn't really slept in what…two days?), his mind for once on happier times, sleighbells and the glistening of the Neva in the perpetual summer light.
He only half awoke, and his memories were spotty…he remembered being poked until he got out of the car, and then he managed to slouch up the staircase into the plane. He collapsed into one of the plush chairs, head resting against the window. Sleep again.
"It's time to catch us a ship" Nicholai snapped awake, flinched when he saw the thousands of feet separating him from the ground. The previous night's events flooded back to him. "Right."
The plane settled onto the tarmac. Guards came running, yelling about an unscheduled flight. Nicholai prepared himself, standing as tall as he could…he hoped James would have the common sense to use his telepathic powers to do SOMETHING useful. Now then…his plan. He flashed his forged ID, not letting anyone get a really good look at it. At the same time he spoke very rapidly in Russian, "Я - очень занятый человек, не заставляйте меня сообщить о Вас моим старшим! Теперь движение, я был назначен исследовать иностранные суда, и мое время ценно! Двигайтесь! Быстро! Быстро!" The guards glanced at each other and then back at Nicholai. "Did you not here me? MOVE!" Nicholai yelled in English. This juxtaposition of languages should set them off guard….and YES! One of the guards saluted. "Yes SIR, General Kafka, SIR!" Nicholai shot a glance at James. Kafka? Not important…
They were lead down passages, beyond which lay many doubtlessly interesting things, but Nicholai only had eyes for the gigantic re-enforced steel door in front of him. He could feel the thrumming of alien technology beneath his feet. They stopped at the door. "Here we are SIR! Just put your clearance card in the slot." Nicholai froze. Clearance card? Uh….he did not have one of those. Think fast, think fast, think…"I don't have it, you took it when I was searched upon entry" Please let the telepath know mind tricks…they couldn't stop NOW. They were SO CLOSE!
Io's fist hit the woman's face with a dull 'thunk'…more stone than flesh. His knuckles smarted, and he whipped his hand back. Wasn't the hurt supposed to be inflicted on the thing his fist hit? He didn't used to notice things like that…he would have beaten his knuckles to shreds and it felt like nothing. Back when he was a miserable drunkard trying to escape reality. Not anymore. He had quit. After he spent long nights roaming the tundra in his deep drunken dreams. The bottle he had thrown at the woman earlier…it had been empty. He had filled it with water. (Melted snow…).
It didn't change him much. But he was forced to acknowledge pain. He had more money now, money he could spend on things he liked (explosives…video games…amusement park tickets). His head, while somewhat clearer, was still clouded by trauma…his past haunted him no matter what he did. And he feared losing control of his powers while inebriated, causing destruction beyond measure. People still thought him a fool, and he didn't do anything to prove them otherwise. It just meant, if the time ever came that he had to run, that his friends turned against him, they would underestimate him. And he did suffer bouts of delirium, brought on by faulty circuits in his brain, pieced together by those lightyears from here.
"Fool!" (the woman laughed, a sound piercing and painful), "You're not dealing with the same monster as before...I am a god now, and you'll feel my wrath just like the rest." Nicholai searched his brain for any hint of remembrance…but this woman didn't ring any bells. Except one…hadn't he tried to buy girlscout cookies from her before? An ax appeared in her hand, an ornate and bloody thing. Fire, dark as Russia in the depths of winter, blasted up from the pavement. People screamed. Nicholai spun around, horrified. He had to save those people (the eyes of children staring at him, fear, so much fear there).
Nicholai dashed forward without hesitation. He made the Earth quake, attempted to break the ring of fire…but it just closed back on itself, keeping the ring secure. "Aah! You Baba Yaga, go back to your chicken house!" He yelled at the woman…he had to get help. This was too much for him on his own. He was a failure as a hero, his powers caused only destruction…he could not break the ring of fire. But maybe he could get help. Fine someone. Anyone.
Nicholai had gone to the carnival to unwind. No, that was a total lie. He had a tip that there was a local gang running a racket out here. He personally suspected the clowns. So today he would spend the day eating cotton candy, riding rides, and if he remembered, he'd do some investigating. That was a very big 'if'. While Nicholai could be a competent superhero when he wanted to be, there wasn't much need right now. Other heroes had things under control, and he knew that busting gangs should really be left to the police. Thinking he was on an important mission just helped assuage the feelings of guilt that he was useless.
Now he sat in a car of the ferris wheel, looking out over the horizon. He thought back to the better days in Russia, before he got in trouble with the law, before he really understood poverty. He had taken his family on the train to Ukraine (before he fell into debt…he was not a reckless spender, the ruble just became worthless and he needed to put food on the table). Ukraine was the breadbasket of the Soviet Union (before the famines…before the famines that may have been put into place on purpose…they certainly could have been prevented by simply letting the famers keep some of their crop), it was a nice place to travel. Nicholai had taken his family (all long dead now…) to the wonderful amusement park there. He thought of that now as the wheel moved around in its slow rotation. (Was it merciful then that he had not seen that glorious park now? The rides stood rusting, giant metal frames alone in a radioactive wasteland. Too poisoned to even take them down, they would rust for hundreds of years killing joy even as they once brought it).
The ferris wheel Nicholai was dreaming on screeched to a grinding halt. He was snapped out of his reverie. He peered over the edge, staring down at the people far below. "Who stopped the blasted wheel?"Nicholai yelled, hurling down a bottle at the most likely culprit. His hunch seemed correct as the person who had been hit by the bottle stormed over and rotated the wheel 180 degrees so that Nicholai was now at ground level. He was not happy…this day actually seemed to be going half-decently and then this…person…showed up. She looked vaguely familiar, but Nicholai really had not the slightest idea who she was, or even if he had seen her before.
Io walked up to her, drawing back a fist. Very few problems couldn't be solved by punching. Only REALLY POWERFUL ones were problematic problems, and Nicholai didn't think that would be the case here. (He had already forgotten her feats of strength).