tagSci-Fi & FantasyDust to Dust Ch. 04

Dust to Dust Ch. 04

byEvil Alpaca©

This story is a bit wordy and fairly long, so if you are looking for immediate gratification, you might want to look elsewhere.

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The following story is a work of fiction. Any resemblance between actual persons, living or dead (or just confused) is entirely coincidental. Please do not copy/redistribute the story, in part or in total, without the author's permission.

This story takes place in the fictional city of Springfield, California several hundred years in the future, so don't go looking for it on a map. Over the course the series, I will borrow quite a bit from my "Dead Man's World" series, so it might help (but isn't a requirement) if you read those stories. And in my little fictional world, there are no unwanted pregnancies or STD's, except as plot driving devices. The author encourages the practice of safe-sex.

This story also contains lesbian sexual activity.


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"Dust to Dust" Ch. 04

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Dusty was just sitting there, trying not to stare. As soon as evening had fallen, most of the fighting members of Hybrid Security had started to gear up. The normal joviality seemed greatly diminished, but even the seriousness of preparing for a military engagement couldn't detract from Ambassador Kalinicia's presence.

Kalinicia was, for lack of a better word, beautiful. She had porcelain skin, long pitch-black hair and deep blue eyes that almost absorbed you when she looked at you. She carried herself with a certain amount of grace. She had arrived with a large envoy of mixed vampire and lycanthrope Terran guards, all of whom were now stationed around the perimeter of the compound. When they stepped on Hybrid soil, the ambassador had put them under Eliza's command. And when all of them were off doing something else, she finally "let her hair down," plopping unceremoniously down in Wyrm's lap and resting her head on his shoulder. She was still young by the standards of vampire magic-wielders, and being a Terran ambassador on Earth was taxing those days.

"Tired?" Wyrm asked amusedly.

Initially, she just snuggled against him a bit more. "I just addressed ANOTHER group of religious leaders and assured them that we STILL are not making any deals with devils to wield our magic," she muttered. "Yesterday, it was a group of scientists. Before that . . . schoolchildren."

"Ouch," Wyrm said. "Kids?"

"Yes. Why do children terrify me?" She looked over at Allyson. "Except your child, of course."

"It's okay," Allyson said. "Not everyone has to like kids. Though mine is cuter than any of them."

"Of course."

Veronica walked over, dressed up in her full battle regalia of body-armor and numerous small arms, giving the ambassador a quick kiss on each cheek. "Sorry we can't stick around," she said. "We think the enemy might be getting nervous and may realize we've been watching them. We need to move before they break camp and run."

Kalinicia almost pouted. "I was hoping we might have tea on the veranda, but I suppose that will have to wait." She glared at her "boyfriend." "Some people won't participate in such . . . 'silly' . . . matters? I believe that was the phrase used."

"Yes, but I meant it in a good way," Wyrm replied.

"I would LOVE tea," Dusty said, switching back into socialite mode. "And my father and I would like to hear about your writings regarding the Gems."

"Did I just get volunteered for a tea party?" Dr. Trendenfall whispered to his security chief.

Tom McBride chuckled. "I believe so."

Eliza walked into the room. The white-haired warrior was suited up so that she matched Veronica exactly. But while Veronica was carrying a variety of small-arms, Eliza was carrying a particle blade, a number of throwing knives and a high-powered rifle. She liked to pick people off at range until it was time to melee, which was when she and her magic truly shone.

"She's going to hurt somebody," Tom whispered back to his employer.

"Okay," Eliza said, the room quieting. "Just got the word from Colonel Corbin, and we're lifting off from the airfield in thirty minutes, so let's get the truck packed up. Thug," she said to the troll, "you're staying here on this one. Even with the ambassadorial guard detail, I want more firepower here to guard Dr. Trendenfall and his daughter. Doctor," she added, turning to Jon, "are you own security forces going to be able to assist?"

Tom answered on his friend's behalf. "Absolutely. They're not soldiers like the rest of your guys, but they're all on stake-out in the surrounding area. If anyone comes at the compound, it'll give us at least a ten minute window to prepare."

"Excellent," Eliza said. She liked Mr. McBride: he knew his business and didn't have an ego. "Dennis, you're on-board in Thug's place. Gather your gear. Sorry Allyson – "

"I know, I know," she grumbled. "Have ONE baby and suddenly they don't trust you to shoot people anymore."

"I REFUSE to leave my godson as an orphan," she replied. Being a godmother was a novel experience for a Terran, but it was one she had grown to take seriously. "Ash, you ready?"

Two very large hand-guns appeared in her grip. "Of course."

She turned her gaze at last to Veronica, who was giving the ambassador and then her sister goodbye hugs. The blonde woman instinctively knew that her lover was watching. She stood up and faced Eliza. {{ After all these years, you still worry about me going into battle? }} she sent telepathically.

{{ There's no one I want at my side more than you. It's just that I wish that my side weren't in danger so damn much. }}

Veronica smiled, walked over and kissed her lover. {{ I know you worry about me. You worry about everyone. But there isn't a single person here who doesn't love what we do, risks or no. So let's go do what we do best. }}

Dusty watched as the member of Hybrid Security said their goodbyes and noticed something interesting. While the couples and friends who would be splitting up said goodbye, there seemed to be an air of tension when Eliza faced off with Wyrm and Kalinicia. The hugs there were quicker and it seemed like Eliza had to force herself to turn away. And the looks on her friends' faces were sad but understanding. Dusty filed that away for later when she might have an opportunity to find out what was going on.

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An hour later . . .

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Dusty was almost amazed at how relaxed she felt. Some very good people she had just been getting to know were on their way to a major firefight . . . some might not survive. But she, her father, Mr. McBride, Allyson Murgo, Wyrm and Thug were sitting out on the veranda with Kalinicia feeling somewhat relaxed. Dusty realized that it was because it actually made her feel normal.

Kalinicia put her cup down. "Tea . . . one of Earth's two greatest contributions to inter-dimensional cuisine."

"What's the other?" Dr. Trendenfall asked.

The ambassador blushed. "Cheeseburgers."

Her friends laughed. Wyrm had practically twisted her arm to get her to try something as "common" as a piece of dead cow surrounded by mustard, bread, bacon and cheese, but once she had gotten her that first taste, she had become an addict.

Allyson grinned. "I could fire up the grill if you'd like."

"Yes! I mean, certainly," the ambassador replied, trying to maintain some dignity as befitting her office.

"Could someone hold Alex while I – "

Vicky and Dusty almost trampled each other to get to the child, with Vicky winning out by a small margin. "We'll take turns," she assured the younger girl as she held young Alex.

Allyson went to fire up the coals as everyone sat down.

"Ambassador Vonahme," Dr. Trendenfall, "while we're waiting – "

"Yes, I was told you were interested in the Gems," she said. "We did not understand them that well, so I took it upon myself to find out what I could. One thing I do know is that they are very, very old."

Dusty looked away from the baby. "So why are they just now coming to the surface, so to speak?"

"Actually, they HAVE been found before. They have been looked on as sacred totems by primitive villages or even revered. The Heaven's Eye itself was actually apparently found and even used right here in Springfield several hundred years ago."

"Really?" Mr. McBride said. "Why didn't that go down in the record books?"

"For the same reason that other acts of magic and occurrences of 'monsters' were not recorded . . . people were unable or unwilling to believe. But there was a group called the Strays that were basically vigilante guardians that protected those who couldn't protect themselves back then. By all records that I've uncovered, they actually sought out the Heaven's Eye to defeat a great evil."

"How could a mending spell be used to defeat anything?" Dr. Trendenfall asked.

"The writings left behind by a sorcerer named Lothar said that it was . . . well . . . an Elder God."

"A what?" Dusty asked.

Kalinicia looked very serious. "The universe as we know it is ancient, but there were things that existed before. Much of this is looking on skeptically by even the Terran people, but I ask that you take the idea seriously. In every culture, there are legends of a great war . . . your 'Christianity' or 'Catholicism' would call it the War in Heaven. There are writings and signs left behind by ancient civilizations that imply that perhaps this 'war' was no myth. According to my research, there was a time before time where 'reality' was nothing more than chaos. There were no rules . . . only powerful and massive beings called the Elder Gods that were in a constant state of war with one another. For some reason, out of chaos was born a new creature . . . order. This new entity supposedly defeated the Elder Gods and their minions, known as Shoggoths, and sealed them away somewhere." Kalinicia took a deep breath. "I believe that whatever this victorious force was used the Heaven's Eye to seal up its enemies. Yes, I believe the Gems are that old. They are creations of a power beyond our comprehension to be used as weapons against the darkest forces we could ever imagine."

"That's a pretty extreme speculation," Dr. Trendenfall said.

"I know. But it is what I believe. By all accounts, one of these Shoggoths actually managed to materialize inside this plane of existence, probably slipping through the cracks like other entities. It sought to feed on the sanity of the local population in hopes of – "

"Hopes of what?" Vicky asked.

Kalinicia actually looked a bit pale. "In hopes of bringing it's Master through a weakened spot in the dimensional fabric. Luckily, the Shoggoth was destroyed by a young human woman with a magical talent . . . she had living hair."

"Living hair?" Dusty almost laughed.

"Don't be so quick to judge," Kalinicia chided her. "Talents, like other magic, can be driven by emotion. They simply manifest themselves as some kind of extension of the wielder."

Dusty gulped. That was what had happened to Ash.

"She was apparently a very emotionally powerful, albeit a bit unstable, woman. But with the help of a lycanthrope who had befriended her, they killed the Shoggoth and used the Heaven's Eye to seal the weakened part of the dimensional wall before the Elder God could come over. They left tales of what it was like to face that creature, and they were the stories that nightmares are made of." Kalinicia looked excited about something. "Keep in mind that the other Gems were not exactly dormant during the course of history. The area around the Dead Man's World was a dark and barren land . . . an ancient tomb, I believe. Well, during the time that the Elder God was attempting to escape into THIS world, the Dead Man's World seemed to go dormant. Life and vegetation and so forth began to return to the region. When the Elder God was defeated, the curse on the land around the World seemed to return."

"So you think they're linked?" Dr. Trendenfall asked.

"Indeed. I believe that when the Elder God was applying pressure to the dimensional wall, it was diverting energies from elsewhere." Kalinicia took another deep breath. "I do not believe that the Dead Man's World is a magical conduit like the other Gems. Rather, I believe it is a prison. It is a physical microcosm of the dimension containing the last Elder God to be defeated by the forces of Order."

There was quiet around the veranda for a moment.

"So," Vicky asked, "if someone were to use it?"

"They might very well unleash an ancient creature that is more powerful than anyone on either of our worlds could possibly comprehend into this dimension, where it would probably rather rip creation to shreds than be imprisoned again. It would be very angry and completely devoid of sanity as we know it."

"But Order . . . or God . . ."

"Might very well make war against it," Kalinicia said, "but THAT kind of war . . . let us just say that the collateral damage would be extensive, and none of us would live to see who won."

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Later, down south . . .

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Eliza ducked as shrapnel flew over her head. Boomer was having fun detonating the bombs they had placed around the Purity's defenses . . . she really need to remember to give him less of a budget for explosives. She turned on her communicator.

"Colonel!" she shouted. "What the hell are the locals doing?!"

*They're hunting down the squirters who tried to bug out . . . they're not gonna be much help on the rabbit hunt. (click)*

"Damn it," she said to no one in particular. Then she heard a series of small-arms fire over her head as Veronica dispatched some of the exterior sentries who had come looking for the sniper. "Thanks babe," she said, glancing through her sight and putting a bullet through the temple of a Purity soldier who stuck it too far out of the compound window. She swiveled her gun around and spotted Ash . . . standing in the middle of a clearing. There were bullet impacts in the girl's body, with puffs of dust flickering off. But then Ash would just turn, level her weapons and then end some poor sap's existence.

"Tiny," she shouted into her communicator. "Can you see the entrance to the motor pool?"

*|| You mean the smoking crater I just made?|| (click)*

"You blew it up already?"

*|| Sorry . . . I got anxious.|| (click)*

"Bullshit," she muttered. "He just wanted to use the big gun."

"Jealous?" Veronica asked.

"Yeah! I can't even lift that thing." She spoke into her communicator again. "Okay, let's chase these fuckers to ground. Ash, meet Tiny over by the motor pool . . . Veronica and I will meet you there. Snake and Bear, you're with us. Boomer, keep an eye out on the roads. Detonate the AVMs if you see anything that ain't ours."

*I thought that I was the one running the show (click)* the Colonel said amusedly.

"Okay, what do you want to – "

*Just kidding. We'll keep up with a slow advance. (click)*

"Terillia," she shouted, looking skyward for her succubus, "help the Colonel! I don't want a single one of these mother-fuckers getting away. If you see one on the move and no one else can get to 'em, take them out!"

*Roger. (click)* the winged woman sent back. Terillia was a highly mobile and efficient scout. While her wings kept her from being useful in close-combat, she could pick off someone with her sniper rifle and strafe grenades from a high altitude.

The two hybrids moved with frightening velocity to meet up with their comrades, all of whom were geared for a fight. Tunnel-fighting was messy business, but her crew was good at it. "Standard procedure is in effect. Tiny – "

|| I know. The troll goes first and sucks up all the bullets, then you all kill a lot of people. I feel so used. ||

"Would you stop whining? Anyway, Ash if you wouldn't mind taking Tiny's flank . . . you being pseudo-invulnerable should help."

"Accepted," the woman hissed.

"Bear, check the crevices as we go through . . . make sure we clean out ALL the cobwebs. Snake, you're the tail. Veronica and I will be right behind Tiny, and we'll jump anything that moves."

"Kinky," Bear said with a grin as he leveled his belt-chassis mounted Vulcan.

"Men!" Veronica said, rolling her eyes and reloading.

They approached the smoking whole in the side of the building, but the Purity was waiting for them, and they had learned from their predecessors mistakes. Flame-throwers spat out a dragon's ransom worth of fire, forcing Tiny to seek cover.

"Damn it, I HATE it when they do something right!" Eliza shouted. She looked over and saw Ash . . . staring. The woman almost had an expression on her face, which was strange for the stoic golem. It was . . . fear . . . at first. But the second expression was unmistakable. It was hatred like nothing Eliza had ever seen before. 'Those memories aren't so far gone after all, are they?' she thought to herself.

"Ash, take those things out!"

Ash wasn't even waiting for permission. She strode forward directly into the flame, letting the fire wash over her. As she walked towards the incredulous soldiers, she was remembering the screams she had let out in that small room so long ago . . . she was remembering the fire.

She made it past the cones of flame and encountered a close-support guard. She grabbed the man's head and promptly ripped it off his body, taking a large portion of his spine with it. She dropped her grizzly trophy, materialized her guns from inside her body and promptly laid waste to everyone in sight. The Purity had been as prepared as could be to face Hybrid Security and their allies. They had even been ready for the troll . . . nothing could have prepared them for Ash. She moved through the guardians' ranks like a scythe, sweeping them all from the world of living.

When the flames died out, Eliza hurried forward. The defenders of the installation had been massacred. And there was Ash, standing amongst the corpses with her familiar stone-face looking back.

"Shall we go?" came that cold voice.

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Back in Springfield . . .

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Vicky was staring hungrily at young Dusty. She knew that Terillia would be envious if she moved forward on seducing the young lady without her, but she could at least lay the groundwork. It was obvious that the girl played for their team and wasn't as prudish as some, but she seemed distracted. And having the girl's father right there wasn't helping.

She sauntered over and sat down next to the young lady after her father went in to go to the bathroom. "Hello," she purred. "How are you holding up?"

Dusty knew that look: it was one she gave to Professor VanHouten and Katrina and any number of other women in her sexually active life. Even though her heart wasn't really in the idea of getting some, even with a woman who looked as good as Vicky, she couldn't help but play the game a little.

"I'm getting by," she said, stretching her arms above her as if she were tired, but really just putting her warm and generous breasts on display. "Yourself?"

Vicky grinned. "Doing okay right about now."

Dusty smiled. "Hey, can I ask you a question?"

"Shoot."

"What's going on with Eliza and Kalinicia," she said, looking over at the ambassador who was distracted by some amusing story of Wyrm's. "They seemed to like each other until – "

"It's an old wound. Kalinicia actually doesn't have a problem. It's just that during the first Purity war, Eliza went down looking for the Dragon's Breath, but left Wyrm and Ambassador Kelik . . . Kalinicia's grandfather . . . at Fort Crass. They weren't warrior's, so she didn't want them getting hurt."

"But Fort Crass was attacked – "

"And you know what happened to Wyrm and Kelik. When Kalinicia is around and Eliza is leaving . . . Eliza still blames herself for what happened. She always will. She looks at Kalinicia and blames herself for Kelik's death."

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