2017-05-09: Tales from the Gutter II

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  • Cutscene: Tales from the Gutter II
  • Cast: Cetiri, (Riesenlied)
  • Where: Photosphere Gutter
  • Date: 9 May 2017
  • Summary: Cetiri has a memory over four hundred years in origin, about how she and Riesenlied first met...


Photosphere, 79 PC

A metal chamber deep within the bowels of the Photosphere.

A massive glass cylinder looms over the rest of the room, bright green in colour. A humanoid figure with long auburn hair and large horns is suspended within the cylinder, unclothed and linked to various pipes of varying sizes and textures. A large, singular meshed pump links with the back of her neck, while others route against what could be considered nerves to the back of her jawline. An array of nearly translucent wires pierce each of her spine plates, all of them drawn onto the same base feed that funnels information back towards the central computer console.

Green words flash across the screen.

                    R-13-SE (repair) Metal Dragon Project                     
                 Transformation Test Run, v0.01 build 03153                   

A thin, gaunt scientist with a long, multi-layered lab cloak stands before the terminal, her eyes hidden behind the reflective sheen of her square glasses. "The first Metal Dragon to be created this year... it will be a test of how far our technology refinements have come along."

Two understudies flank the scientist, each with their own tablets and furiously inputting data based upon their observations. "Will this really work, ma'am? The subject's D-Frame has only been able to sustain up to 66 percent of normal stress levels..."

"We won't know until we try," speaks the scientist in turn. "Indeed, on paper, we're working with barely more than half of what need for a true Dragon. But tough times call for tough decisions, and I've no intention on simply aborting this project."

"Yes, Professor Cetiri, ma'am."

Professor Cetiri pushes her glasses up further and says, "I believe in you."

       "Calibrate and reset for the zero-moment point, relink the CPG.        
     Delegate controls to the slave nodules, reconfirm molecular ion pump     
                Rebuild the subject's neural linkage network.                 
                   Update her meta-motor cortex parameters.                   
                        Restart feed-forward control."                        

The thrum of power roars to life in the room -- leylines of power light along the ground in criss-cross patterns, linking up towards the test tube in the centre. The translucent tubes shimmer with a bright blue glow and spasm, and the humanoid figure convulses and curls painfully into a fetal pattern. She chokes a noise of pain out of her lips, gurgling water, very much a strangled cry of grief -- and then spikes start to erupt from her back, shattering one of her connectors. Scales manifest over her skin, rapidly overlaying one another; her fingers and toes sharpen and burst outward, becoming talons and claws.

The room suddenly turns red. A siren echoes throughout the metal chamber.

             "Subject D-Counter is rejecting parameter updates!               
       Impurity rates are climbing! Abnormalities in signal patterns!         
                 She's lost control of the transformation!"                   

Cetiri stares impassively as the subject screeches and tears painfully at her hair -- her body has seized up into a misshapen form, neither human nor dragon. She tears and claws at anything she can, slashing at pipes and grazinga gainst the glass enclosure in desperation.

               "Reverse the flow! Abort core pulse procedures.                
              Revert subject to last known stable configuration.              
                  Re-initialise humanoid cortex parameters."                  

The understudy salutes, and work frantically; slowly but surely, the mutation begins to regress, and the pain subsides. The subject slumps as the scales crumble and fall apart, slacking against the waters she's suspended against. In moments, she's lost consciousness, returning to a sedated, passive state.

"So you were a failure after all..." Cetiri pushes her glasses up. She purses her lips to speak her name--


Riesenlied blinks softly and smiles, looking down as she pets the metallic dog against one of her long ears.

"What is it, Cetiri?" "Admission: I was thinking of the past."

"Is that so? Which part of it, in particular?" Riese questions as she stares down towards the rest of the Gutter. The two were seated atop a tall tower that once served as a radio wave emitter tower, though it's fallen into disrepair when the Photosphere crashed.

The dog-shaped demon was silent, her tail waving to and fro as she lazily handles one of her knives on its tip. For a moment, she slumped in a kind of depressive sprawl, but then eventually speaks in turn:

"... unable to formulate coherent thought. Conclusion: I was not utilising my thought processes efficiently."

Riese blinks in a measure of surprise, before smiling wider as she says, "... it's okay to space out, once in a while, Cet."

"Analysis: My ear sensors report pleasure to scratching. Conclusion: Please scratch ear sensors more. Also, under the chin."

The horned woman couldn't help but laugh as she did just that, much to the metallic, electronic purring of the dog-shaped demon nestled square on her lap.

Just another day in the Gutter...