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GM

 

Rita fell to her knees after the first hit. Nicole hadn't managed to draw blood, but a nasty bruise was quickly starting to develop on her forehead. She was almost completely limp as Nicole shook her, her head falling back and forth, seemingly unresponsive. Despite the mouse having let go, and now being nothing but a mark on the floor, the circuitry seemed to still be spreading across Rita's neck. It was moving fast. Some of the circuits had almost reached her ear by now.

 

*BUMP*

 

The sound was louder. The frequency of the bumps had decreased, but the sound was getting ever louder, with each hit. The door was starting to visibly bulge.

 

*BUMP*

 

Another big hit. The doors bent further. A hit or two more of the same power, and the doors would bend, and Nicole would have to choose if she would run, or stay to protect Rita.

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Nicole

 

As the bumps grew into crashes, Nicole stopped shaking Rita and stared at the woman's unresponsive eyes. Nicole waved a hand in front of Rita's face. Lifeless, glazed over. The circuitry crept from her ear into the edges of her face.

 

*BUMP*

 

"Rita?" Nicole said in a whisper, fearing the worst as her hands let go off Rita's arms. Unsuported, Rita sagged down until she looked like a kneeling ragdoll, arms splayed on her sides and head hanging limp.

 

"I'm so so--"

 

*BUMP*

 

Nicole manuevered to the elevator control panel. Her fingers hovered over the open doors button as her other hand gripped the lamppost. She looked to Rita one last time.

 

"I'm sorry."

 

*BUMP*

 

Her fingers smashed the button before the mice could recover and she drove out the elevator, leaving Rita behind.

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GM

 

As Nicole rolled out, the mice streamed into the elevator. If she looked back while she escaped further in, she could see the mice swarming all over Rita, her body rapidly disappearing under the mice's metallic fur. The last thing she saw was Rita's hand slowly moving up from under the mice, before the elevator door closed behind her. 

 

The floor was eerily silent for a short moment. It was if all the mice had disappeared into the elevator. Soon, the lights began to flicker, and Nicole began to hear the bumping noises, coming seemingly from all around her. At first she wasn't quite what sure she had reached. It seemed obvious that the elevator hadn't reached all the way down to the ground floor. After a moment it became clear that she had reached the floor where Rita's team was stationed. The noise of people talking, tools being used and whatever other noise had filled the floor when Nicole was last there.

 

Unlike the other floor, this one was far less open. Long hallways, with numerous laboratories on each side, with different numbers or designations on each. The nanotech laboratory was at the other end of the long, silent hallway. No noise.

 

Aside from the constant bumps.

Edited by RocketLord

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Nicole

 

"Helllloooo!"

 

Nicole drove her wheelchair forward, not daring to stop as the bumps continued. She passed by laboratories, her lamppost held at the ready. She would peeked her head inside only to find an empty room before hurrying to the next laboratory to repeat the process.

 

Nothing and more nothing, and with each empty room her heart sank. As the bumps and flickering lights continued her calls for help turned into whimpers. Her memory threatened to bring her back to the mice swarming over Rita, over the person she abandoned. The hand reaching for help stuck at the back of her mind like an unpleasant afterimage, and though she'd blink away tears she pushed on until she was right before the nanotech laboratory.

 

"Help," she said, barely above a whisper. The bumps quickly drowning it out. "Please."

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GM

 

As Nicole called out and moved further, the sound of the bumps slowly began to fade. At first, the force of the impacts seemed to lessen. Then, the frequency lowered. Finally, they stopped all together. Nicole was all alone in the silent hallway, moving past the laboratories.

 

"In here." 

 

A voice called out, coming from all the way down to the last laboratory. Rita's lab, the one where she had introduced Nicole to the rest of the team, and the discussion that had led them into the basement in the first place. Nicole couldn't quite place the voice.

 

"Quick."

 

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Nicole

 

The hairs at the back of her neck stood on end as the voice finished speaking. There were other sounds beyond that voice, people moving around, but in a way that just seemed off to her, ringing alarm bells in her head. It was her gut telling her to be careful. Two years in the superhero business and she'd couldn't count the times her gut had saved her.

 

"Yeah." Nicole said as she looked around the laboratory for a better weapon than a damned lamppost. "Yeah, coming!"

 

As she looked she waited for Bellios to come. The bumps had stopped, meaning the mice were gone, or just watching and waiting. No witnesses.

 

The lights flickered and this time Nicole gave a small smile. Her hand reached up and activated her glasses, a faint glow of purple in the darkness.

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GM

 

"Quick." The voice repeated from down the hall.

 

The area of the hall between Nicole and Rita's laboratory was rather bare, except for the occassional hallways leading left or right to other laboratories. Not much to use as a weapon. But, of course, Nicole had other options.

 

The darkness didn't bother Nicole anymore, though the short flashes of light might. There was nothing to see. Nothing to hear, aside from the voice down the hall. As Nicole moved forward, past a hallway leading down to some laboratories on the right, now about halfway to the room where the man called out, she noticed it. The Belios armor, great and imposing, ready for use. Appearing from out of nowhere, casting a shadow for the bright seconds where the lights flickered.

 

Surely, nothing could go wrong, as long as Nicole had Belios.

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Nicole

 

Mice streaming from the walls and all around them as she and Rita ran for the elevator.

 

Nicole cracked her knuckles as she approached Bellios, her lips tight in concentration. Yeah, the scientist wanted her to be quick about things and she would be. Getting in and activating the whole armor only took ten seconds max.

 

The desperate fight in the elevator. A mouse biting down on Rita before silver veins spread from her neck.

 

This whole place needed a burning down. One mouse wasn't a threat, but in great numbers they could be, biting and stopping a grown person cold. But to a hero with no chinks in her armor? To Salvo? Irrelevant.

 

Mice swarmed over Rita. Her hand reached out one last time.

 

Nicole's hand reached out as Bellios readied to accept her. Engines thrummed to life at her will. Weapons of war and destruction to be loosed upon its master's enemies. She saw herself reflected in its visor, grinning now a thin slash of a smile.

 

It was time to end this nightmarish charade.

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GM

 

Belios came to life. Nicole fell into the armor's protective shell, and it closed around her.

 

Still, something was wrong. Nicole could feel it immediately, as the armor closed. It was a strange sensation. Like there was something moving inside the armor. Something different, something strange. Something soft, like fur, and yet with a metallic feeling. Brushing against Nicole. Crawling over her, in all the places inside Belios that she couldn't actually see. Her arms, legs. And then, it brushed up against the side of her face. If she turned, she would see a metallic mouse sitting on her shoulder, simply staring at her, without making a sound.

 

She was not alone inside Belios.

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Salvo

 

Nicole turned her head slowly at the touch on her face and her eyes widened as she noticed the mouse on her shoulder. She opened her mouth to scream--

 

And doubled over, head bowed, knees and elbows thunking down on white nothing. Eyes screwed shut, she screamed and screamed where no one could hear until her throat hurt and tears and snot streaming down her face.

 

Trembling, she reached a hand up to her shoulder and grasped at air. There was no mouse waiting for her but that did not reassure her.

 

She was split in two and even wearing Bellios she was not safe. They robbed her of that and she would make them pay. Kill them. Burn them. Right the wrongs. Find Rita's body and lay her to rest.

 

The hand at her shoulder clenched into a fist and Salvo's shoulder exploded in fire and pain.

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue

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