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[Fear Vignette] Dr Archeville: My Own Worst Enemy

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Doctor Archeville fought BlÅzan in August of 2006. It claimed to have been "awakened by the increase in terror"Â from the discovery of some unexploded suitcase bombs in Berlin, and that he would "make the streets run red in honor of the Norse Gods and Elves."Â Though Archeville steadfastly believed that he was merely a deluded Neo-Pagan metahuman, the super-scientist nevertheless found himself deeply shaken, both physically and mentally, by their first confrontation.

After taking some time to heal and re-strategize -- and trying not to listen to the advice of Hexe, a too-eager "witch" who claimed to know exactly what spells and charms to use against the spirit -- Archeville planned to trick the villain into entering an Old Norse church, which he hoped would feed into the villain's delusion and send him into a catatonic state, then strike with a quickly-assembled Trans-Phasic Blaster. The ploy was not as effective as Archeville had hoped, and it was only the arrival of Hexe and her circle-mates that prevented the church from becoming Archeville's tomb.

To this day, Archeville does not talk about what BlÃ…Âzan showed him.

Archeville looked out at the scene before him. From atop his well-fortified tower, he and those under his protection were safe from the hideous creatures that roamed the streets. Their appearance boggled the mind, no two alike, incorporating elements from every branch of the Animal, Fungal, and Plant Kingdoms. There, a swarm of winged humanoid creatures, seemingly composed of parts taken from insects, predatory birds, and digging mammals, swooped down and tore a fleeing man to shreds. Cancerous masses writhed as they flew through the air, bursting and warping as it extruded and reabsorbed organs, darting down for a quick meal to replace their disintegrating flesh. In the far distance, beyond the burning city, gargantuan squid-like monsters shuffled about in search of prey, leaving huge trails of fetid mucus in their wake; small bands of vile serpent people followed in its wake, picking off any stragglers the squid-beasts missed. The forests were even less hospitable; many of the trees had mutated into ropy, fleshy things with hungry, lamprey-like mouths, scuttling about on great hooves in search of prey. Indeed, some of the things which had invaded Earth were so hideous and repulsive that getting too good a look at one had driven more than a few men to gibbering madness.

But not all the creatures out there were inimical to mankind. Some fought for the human race, fought against the horrors though they themselves were disquieting to behold. Archeville made them, in part from the corpses of these weird invaders, and in part from human volunteers. At least, most of the humans had been volunteers. At least, that's what he told himself. The world was hard enough without dissenters throwing a wrench into the works; the security acts and punishments he'd put into place to protect the people from raiders or cultists who allied with the weird creatures worked equally well against those who spoke against him from within.

Slight tremors from the west indicated that some of Archevile's forces had put an end to a gargantuan worm-like beast which had been blindly burrowing about and had been headed for his city. The forces soon returned, carrying what they could of the beast for Archeville's later experiments. They themselves were a bizarre sight: large ridgy, scaly, semi-elastic conical bodies, covered in metallic plating, and with four tentacles projecting from their top, each ending in a different appendage. They hovered slowly back towards Archeville's tower, their lower halves giving off an unnatrual blue glow, and awaited the signal that the protective field had been lowered, the field which not only protected against brute force attacks but also from the weird lean greyhound-like beasts that could move through any matter. As they waited to come in, others gathered to go out and conduct more hunts.

"Rottet alle aus, die sich Archevilles willen verweigern! Ausrotten! Aus-ro-tten!"

"Exterminate those who oppose the will of Archeville! Exterminate! Ex-ter-mi-nate!"

A knock at the door drew Archeville's attention from the scene. Turning, he saw it was one of his officers, clad in the crisp, dark uniform Archeville had designed, both for form and function; the image of authority and order it carried had been a carefully-crafted part of his campaign to rally the people and form a resistance against these weird creatures. The officer handed over his reports, saluted and clicked his heels, then marched back to his other duties.

We did this!

Yes, we did!

A dim corner of Archeville's mind screamed and wailed at all that had transpired. While it was his genius and skill that had brought together the resistance, and created the weapons and forces needed to combat these weird creatures, what no one else knew was that these weird creatures were here because of Archeville. They had invaded through the portal generated by his transdimensional viewer, and once a few were in they were able to create more portals on their own and spread across the globe. He still wasn't sure if he did it intentionally or not, if he purposefully allowed the creatures in through his machine after he first viewed them (for simple study, or so they would look to him for leadership); in a way, not knowing how deep his hands were in this was worse than knowing that he'd had a hand in it at all. Whatever the case, he was very quick to seize the opportunities and become, in effect, the savior and ruler of mankind.

The world was burning to ashes, and Archeville was the one to recreate it, per his vision. This, for the most part, made Archeville smile.

Which made his tiny dissenting part scream and wail even more.

The smile faded as he began to hear a voice calling his name. At first it was from very far off, but steadily grew louder and more urgent.

Viktor! Viktor, snap out of it!

A dream? A nightmare? No, one of BlÃ…Âzan's illusions. Archeville shook the last of the vision from his head, and saw the self-professed with Hexe and some of her "coven-mates"Â fighting off BlÃ…Âzan with "magical bolts."Â Their aim was in clear need of improvement.

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