Artemus Chiddingfold: Vagabond of the New Mars

Details and a record of the characters exploits, successes and failures within the Parallel Worlds.

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Artemus Chiddingfold: Vagabond of the New Mars

Post by Otto » Sun Feb 23, 2014 7:13 pm

Story branch continuing from 'Otto's Multiversal Mayhem':

The night was still, and a cloying humidity that the ex soldier had not noticed in the school hit him like an invisible wall as he slid out of a classroom window furthest away from the refugees.

Staying on his belly, he crawled slowly and silently up the grass verge that surrounded the main complex, he chose a good vantage point where the enemy had passed, and where there was good cover and peered over the top.

'This school was almost built to be defended' he mused as his eyes adjusted and took on the scene. 'But not with this crowd, or against this foe'.

The night was a landscape of lurid flames and smoke that shook and flickered ominously off in the distance, not more than three miles away in Peckhan, Arty estimated. Other strange lights he spied; luminous green and red lights that moved in strange patterns and directions, but with a collective purpose. Dazzling flashes, almost like lightning strikes flickered intermittently and rolled almost like waves over the shattered and ghoulish ruins of the houses and civic buildings

He slowly closed his eyes to the scene, and slid back down the verge and rested his head in his arms.

He began to regulate his breathing, in through his nose and out through his mouth. And as time went by in his strange meditative state, it would have seemed to any onlooker that he had stopped breathing altogether.

However, as a blind persons senses are amplified to counter their disability; with touch, sound and smell. Arties strange extra senses were brought to the fore.

He stirred, opened his eyes and raised himself up into a crouch and began to run his left hand across the long grass like a water diviner would search for an underground source, pausing at points and then swiftly moving on. Patiently he moved in this method to the point where the foe had 'tapped' on his shoulder.

Suddenly with a surge that made the hairs rise along his back and neck; both of his hands were jerked down almost magnet like to the ground, he arched his back almost cat like to counter the mixture of euphoria and pain that wracked him. Images of star bursts, coloured lights and agitated blood vessels bombarded behind his now crushed closed eyes as hypnotically, they began to take the shape of moving pictures.

Arties vision reached its fulcrum, as he suddenly opened his eyes wide.....

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Re: Artemus Chiddingfold: Vagabond of the New Mars

Post by Otto » Sun Feb 23, 2014 7:25 pm

To any onlooker, it would appear that the man had suffered from a brain haemorrhage or aneurism, as his eyes had darkened to a deep crimson. And from them, trickles of blood slowly seeped down his cheeks and onto the grass. He rose slowly and surveyed intently the scene around him. It was a scene that significantly differed from the normal.

He brushed his face absently with the back of his hand and wiped the blood onto his filthy shirt.

His extra perception, rather than seeing just shapes, colours and distance registered pulses and fine three dimensional shapes that were not dissimilar to the bars of a 20th century graphic equaliser. They fluctuated, pulsed and flowed with his heartbeat. Oil spectrum coloured optic fluids rolled and danced across his vision that changed chaotically and filled the shapes with colours like a child’s art book. When he focussed at a point, the image raced towards him.

But this did not disorientate the man. Rather he had full mastery of it. And as he concentrated, his psychedelic vision began to shift. The darkness began to ebb away into dusk, the sun rose in the west and smoke descended into the buildings in wild eldritch colours that defied logic.

Three cycles of the day passed until Arty saw the evacuation of the school and the killer of the little girl............

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Re: Artemus Chiddingfold: Vagabond of the New Mars

Post by Otto » Sun Feb 23, 2014 9:07 pm

It proved to be as grim a viewing as he expected. The time vision he possessed allowed him to move around and see the scene in all of it dimensions and senses, although he was physically detached completely from it. He likened it to walking around Madame Tussauds, and seeing all of the waxworks. But these 'waxworks' in his vision moved like flick book automatons, their movements shaky and unsettling, with none of the fluidity of the norm.

He was a shadow, peering at very recent events and memories.

He watched dispassionately at the huge cowls of four tripods, some two miles away that rose ominously above the huge firestorm and the inky black pawl of smoke of what had been a housing estate a moment ago. The tripods moved in formation, communicating between themselves in large blasts of what sounded like steam, and advanced towards the general direction of the school. Occasionally they would pause, and it would seem that the air itself caught fire as buildings literally fell to dust or collapsed in a furious molten ruin of flame.

Arty wheeled around in a slow deliberate movement as he took in the destruction, panic, and death on a grand scale.

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Re: Artemus Chiddingfold: Vagabond of the New Mars

Post by arcanus » Mon Feb 24, 2014 9:39 pm

Despite the mid afternoon hour the sky was so thick with soot that it might as well be midnight.

Despite the impending danger a multitude of souls had sheltered in their homes, now the Tripods had turned north into the heart of the capitol, the multitudes now fled and died.

The war machines rapidly overran the throng, the cobbled streets choked with people of all classes, the invaders cared not a jot.
As they loomed over the masses they unleashed their dreadful wrath, thick black smoke flooded the roads, crept along alleyways, beneath doorways and into its victims lungs, theirs was a slow, clawing, hopeless end.

The streets and houses buckled as the tripods directed their heat rays, lead lined glass bubbled like wax before exploding.
The mortar between the bricks cracking, timbers frames now charcoal crumbling dwellings once called homes collapsing, surrendering too the onslaught.

Then they turned towards the girls school, moving with deadly intent.

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Re: Artemus Chiddingfold: Vagabond of the New Mars

Post by Otto » Mon Feb 24, 2014 10:14 pm

'They almost look like birds' the old soldier thought as the machines moved swiftly as a phalanx, their huge legs were obscured by the smoke and devastation that they had wrought so as it was only the gleaming metallic 'heads' that were visible. Their weapons dealt annihilation to all that they touched with a crackling sound that sent shockwaves through the air with the smell of ozone, and with it came the choking stench of brimstone and vapourised flesh.

'And this is but four of these monsters, and not even a tithe of their strength.' he surmised.

Arty tore his eyes away from the advancing aggressors, and surveyed the scene of the confusion and fear in the school. A large number of the children had been mustered for a roll call outside in the playground, and he marvelled at the strength of will that the two teachers must have possessed to maintain any semblance of order in this terrible predicament.

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Re: Artemus Chiddingfold: Vagabond of the New Mars

Post by arcanus » Wed Feb 26, 2014 10:11 pm

Something bothered Arty however, his senses told him that something else was working beyond the periphery.

He watched with morbid fascination as the four war machines converged upon the school, like a rook sitting ignored upon a
battlefield, what was it?

The bars fluctuated across his vision, he concentrated and there it was, something was in the school!

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Re: Artemus Chiddingfold: Vagabond of the New Mars

Post by Otto » Mon Mar 03, 2014 5:53 pm

The sounds of destruction now grew even nearer, with the shouts and screams of the population coupled with the bone jarring thud and crackle of the energy weapons the invaders unleashed, creating almost a chorus of suffering. The crisp clean sound of breaking glass and the jarring shake of buildings collapsing added to this terrible symphony. A vortex of wind fed the flames and sent lethal shrapnel that tore and eviscerated any living creature unfortunate to be caught out in it. And with it, a sinister slow inky smoke, seemingly heavier than what the flames had produced rolled out, almost like a table cloth it fell slowly to the ground and stayed there.

Susan Meyer, the Headmaster’s secretary looked on at the children mustered for a roll call she had ordered, trying to keep a brave face and instil some hope in her charges. None of them were over eight years old with the youngest being five. They made a pitiful sight, sheltering behind the perimeter wall covered from head to foot in ash and detritus they huddled together like sheep in a field. Their bloodshot, tearful eyes moved rapidly around, taking on the horrid scene as they whimpered and cried heartbreakingly.
‘We need to go now!’ Eliza Spence the dinner lady hissed fearfully in the secretary’s ear.

‘What about the rest?’ Susan asked. Looking back at the school. ‘Where are the other classes? ’

‘Damn the rest!’ Eliza spat, in evident fear bordering on panic. ‘Are you out of you mind?! Why are we out here? Stood like soldiers waiting to be knocked down? Why are we not trying to escape?’ her voice rose in pitch and volume. The children picked up on this discourse, and with it they started to waiver moving like reeds in a strong wind. They were fledglings too young and too frightened to fly.

Susan’s angry retort was sucked out of her mouth when she sighted the menacing cowls of the four machines emerge out of the smoke of the burning buildings. They were no more than half a mile away now. Arty marvelled at their speed.

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Re: Artemus Chiddingfold: Vagabond of the New Mars

Post by Otto » Sun Mar 30, 2014 2:47 am

Suddenly, within the school grounds from the dust, smoke and debris emerged nine large squat eight legged spider like machines, their large cowls of glittering unearthly metal measured at least thirty feet in diameter, with their legs double the length. Arty noticed that there seemed to be no rivets or bolts visible in their makeup, as if they were crafted out of a single piece of metal, and that there was no stain of the destruction they had wrought to London on their forms. At the front of the spiders, two luminous green frosted glass like domes protruded from them. They moved independently from each other across the whole of the body of the machine depending on the tasks that they were undertaking, or the direction they moved. Some carried on their cowls large cages whilst others were fitted with cylindrical vat like machines that whirled and crackled, and threw off a viscous liquid that evaporated in a wisp of steam if it touched the hulls of the metal monstrosities. They were deployed in an encircling pattern around the school, like cavalry against infantry Arty thought, and their speed was astonishing.

Frozen in horror, the children and the two teachers watched as a mass of large metallic tentacle like arms deployed from the top and bottom of the cowls as if form nowhere, and with a sinking heart and a rise of bile Artie knew what was going to occur. The mummified husk of the little girl played across his mind almost mockingly as the spiders advanced with their metallic pseudopodic arms lashing out with unnerving accuracy to capture the children. Some were tossed through the air accurately into the cages, whilst others were sucked and ground into the cylindrical vats that suddenly vibrated, crushed and whined with a sickening shrieking velocity. Arty now knew the origin of the liquid they ejected.

The survivors in blind panic scattered, as instinct took hold to escape the death or captivity that awaited them. He had seen the two teachers killed by a large slab of falling masonry, so in the children’s hour of need there was no one to protect them, not that it would have made any difference he thought.

Two of the spider machines deployed themselves at the back of the school where he and Wells had entered. They lowered their legs, and from the underbelly of their cowls there fell, almost like a turtle laying eggs, half a dozen dog shaped metallic machines that swiftly leapt forward to the door. With astonishment, Arty saw a pink living pseudopod leap from the ‘mouth’ of one of the dog like machines to wrap around the door knob and with a firm and decisive movement open the door. The other machines powered into the school building. He heard screams as the children and teachers who had remained in their sanctuary were herded like sheep out into the storm.

The soldiers’ vision began to darken, almost like a curtain was being drawn down after a performance at a theatre. The deafening sounds became indistinct, and distant as if from a gramophone being played quietly. Then it was only white noise.

He opened his eyes to the present.

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Re: Artemus Chiddingfold: Vagabond of the New Mars

Post by arcanus » Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:30 am

GM wrote:Make a Perception Roll?

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Re: Artemus Chiddingfold: Vagabond of the New Mars

Post by Otto » Tue Apr 01, 2014 1:50 pm

Perception of 14

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Re: Artemus Chiddingfold: Vagabond of the New Mars

Post by arcanus » Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:32 pm

The temperature had dropped noticeably during Arty's trance, causing him to shiver.

His senses were still heightened and sweeping across the grounds his brain rapidly made connections which in a normal state he might not have, something nagged at his awareness.

A sense of danger, of something lurking, something from his vision that remained, something that posed a very real danger to the survivors.

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Re: Artemus Chiddingfold: Vagabond of the New Mars

Post by Otto » Fri Apr 04, 2014 8:53 pm

Instinctively he moved and pressed himself flat against the back wall of the school, as still as a statue but as poised as a hunting dog, listening to the night with its distant sounds of continuing conflict. With achingly tiny movements, he drew the pistol the government agent had given him from his ragged jacket pocket and held it across his slowly rising and falling chest.

However, in stark contrast to this, the soldiers eyes opened and closed in rapid motions, as if they were beating out a code, or a cycle.

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Re: Artemus Chiddingfold: Vagabond of the New Mars

Post by Otto » Sat Jul 19, 2014 1:21 pm

The feeling of complete calm and clarity washed over him, like a comfortable warm blanket, which gave way to the unwelcoming awakening of cold reasoning and perception of this terrible night. Only now, did it seem that he saw the dark blood flecked cobblestones of the blackened courtyard, the piles of rubble and human remains.

Only now did he see the unearthly vegetation that emanated its own cloying warmth that dragged its pulsing mass almost claw like over the destroyed buildings and conquered land around him. It moved without any adversary to keep it in check, and this is where the ominous threat he had sensed pierced him with a dull ache two inches below his navel.

There was something moving in the red weed. It had the same consistency and he guessed colour but it moved with an evident independence that would be difficult to spot in any ‘normal’ circumstances however, it would seem that in the darkness that it pulsed an intermittent luminous light almost as if it was breathing.
It was of a considerable size; over eight feet diameter of protoplasmic mass that seemed to rest like a jellyfish that had been washed up onto dry land from the sea. The dull ache he experienced vibrated, as if alerting him to the fact that it was moving towards his location, evidently if had senses of its own to detect life.

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