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Apoc Now – Chapter 36 - Free (1)
David stared at the ground beneath him in horror as his body hurtled downward at a breakneck speed, falling thousands of meters through the sky.
He looked around in disbelief. He saw several large mountains to his left, rising high in the sky. To his right was a vast rolling plain, spotted with small trees. Great forests covered the lower range of the mountains, ringing them. As he looked out at his surroundings, a familiar voice suddenly chimed in, answering his spoken question.
I believe that is a mountain range, sir. The forest below the range as well as the warm temperature places our location decidedly outside of a taiga environment, possibly a deciduous forest. This location, however, matches none of the known mountain ranges on earth.
“Terry?! You’re still with me?!”
“Wait, hold on.” David said, his mind racing. If he could communicate with Terry, that must mean…
David concentrated, summoning his Life Orbs to his position. Immediately, hundreds of the Orbs formed around, floating haphazardly. He immediately organized them to wrap around his body, slowing him down. The air around him settled as he stopped falling, his Orbs allowing him to levitate mid air. He looked around again, noting that he was still easily a hundred meters above the highest of the mountains.
“Where have you been, Terry?” He said as he tried to call up his status screen.
The screen came up without a hitch.
Name: David Care Points: 0 Race: Human Lottery Slots: 0
Class: Life Orb Master/A.I. Mod Energy Stored: 1895.7 hours
Abilities: Life Orb Designate, Life Orb Create, Store/Expand Energy
Life Orbs: 312
He stared at in shock.
“What?!” He said, not understanding. According to his current screen, he had nothing in his inventory and no points at all. It also stated that he had no Lottery Slots, something he was absolutely sure was incorrect. He clearly remembered the tons of points he had acquired and the Slots they had grabbed at the Monthly Scattering. He tapped on the floating blue screen a few times, seeing if it was broken.
“This makes no sense.”
What doesn’t, master?
Terry chimed in, her voice floating in his mind.
“My points, my inventory, and my lottery slots have been wiped. Do you have any information on what could have caused this?” He asked, despairing. He waited for her to respond.
Terry was quiet for a moment before stating,
I cannot clearly connect to the System. However, from what I can tell, this is not the same dimension that Earth is on. The System appears to be slightly different; it is alien to the one I was created from. The servers I can connect to are unstable, as if this System does not fit in this dimension well.
I would, however, project that the System can only recognize points and slots, as well as stored inventory, from one dimension. I would also project that things stored in the System cannot cross dimensional lines, but things physically held or taken through can.
However, without a clear source of data input, I cannot state anything with a 100% surety.
“Wow another dimension, eh? I guess that does explain a lot” He said aloud, his mind racing. He had wondered if the so called Plane of Va was just another planet in his dimension far away. He quickly put his thoughts in order. As long as he had a plan, he knew anything was accomplishable.
“Alright. First things first, however. Let’s find a spot to make a home base at. We can ignore finding sources of food or water for now by using my Orbs to heal myself up. I need a spot to settle down and think.”
David quickly descended, having Terry assist him in adeptly guiding his Orbs. While he could instinctively keep track of around twenty or thirty Orbs, directing over a hundred was extremely difficult.
He slipped lower and lower, levitating downward. The peaks of the mountain range next to him soon towered over him, making him feel like he was in some sort of fantasy world. He decided to land inside the forested area on the side of the mountain. The temperature went up as he descended.
After searching among the trees for a few minutes, David found a huge oak tree he liked. He quickly dropped down on top of it, landing on one of the large branches. The branch itself was massive, easily three feet wide and two dozen feet long. All the trees around David were much, much larger than their earthen counterparts he found. Each tree must have been more than a hundred feet tall, towering behemoths.
As he settled down on the tree branch, his heart finally started calming down. He grabbed onto the branch, feeling the solid texture of the wood. It gave him a reassuring feeling. He held on to it for a moment, slowing his breathing. He looked up after a minute, saying,
“Alright Terry. What do you have for me?”
Information on our current dimension is extremely limited. The System Shop appears to be operational, but you may encounter difficulties in using it. The System Lottery also appears to be functional. The Auction User’s Forum, however, is inaccessible, as well as the System Auction. From what I can tell, all the options for the forum strangely don’t seem to apply to this dimension. It is as if this System wasn’t meant for this dimension. Other creatures home to this Plane may have an easier time using the System.
However, from the information I am able to obtain, I can inform you of the basics of this area.
We are currently on the Plane of Va, a dimension that consists of a single Plane. Much like a planet, but flat. Drilling into the plane eventually reveals magma and burning rock. There has been no research into what may lie beyond this rock.
This Plane is currently at war, with seven rulers vying for control. All of the rulers are beings known as “Wardens.” Interesting enough, these beings did not exist until the System came to this Plane.
David interrupted her, saying,
“Hold on. The Warden’s didn’t exist at all? Couldn't they have just been a secretive race. That's what is generally assumed in the Heliosphere.” He recalled the conversations he had had with Kieron, especially about their common enemy, the Wardens. Kieron had guessed that the Wardens were creatures that lived underground, or remained dormant. Very few people knew anything about the odd creatures.
No, it is clear that they are beings that did not exist from before the System’s coming, many years ago. I project this opinion with a 99.87% confidence rating. These so called “Wardens” would have left some trace, some discernible impact. According to the Drell Theory on Possibility and Hidden Species, it would by physically impossible for an intelligent and varied race to exist for any amount of time more than two hundred years without leaving a discernible impact on society. The fact that these beings left no trail, past impact, or trace leads me to the conclusion that they are not from this Plane. They certainly did not evolve to exist within 200 years.
David took a moment to understand what she said, translating it into a more understandable version.
“So they’re aliens? Wait they’re already aliens. So they’re alien aliens?” He threw his hands in the air.
Yes. That is correct.
David shook his head, sighing. He rubbed his head, feeling a headache starting to rise.
“Whatever. We just need to focus on getting back to earth for now. We can deal with the rest later.” He paused for a moment, adding,
“Well. We also need to rescue Thavius and Stacy. They should be in one of the Heliospheres that we came from.” At this point David looked up, scanning the sky in confusion.
“Terry, where did I fall from?”
…More information is required. You mentioned a Heliosphere?
“Yes.” David began, quickly explaining his ordeal to Terry. He sometimes forgot she was an A.I. because of how human she acted. The A.I. asked questions in his story, listening attentively. They talked for the next fifteen minutes, with Terry asking multiple questions and David answering.
“So, where did I fall from? What else can you tell me?” He asked after he finished explaining what had happened over the past several weeks.
From my limited data, as well as what you have informed me, it is reasonable to assume that you were expunged from the 5th Overlords Domain, the Floating Continent Arkyle.
This continent floats in the sky, attached to several permanent, but eternally moving, clouds. The estimated population of this continent is roughly 300 million, the smallest of the seven continents. Approximate size is unknown as maps of said continent have never been measured to a real accuracy.
These so-called “Heliospheres” are giant structures found in the vicinity of all of the Overlords palaces/main bases. I have information reporting that they are found not only in the 5th Overlords domain, but also in the 4th, the 2nd, and the 7th. It is reasonable to assume that the remaining Overlords have them as well, though I lack the information to verify this.
The importance of these structures has now been verified by your personal exposure, leading me to the conclusion that each of these Heliospheres contains their own access, or shares with others, to Pon Mines.
There are a total of seven of these Heliospheres in the vicinity of the 5th Overlords Palace. If we draw an estimate from the data you have provided for the number of points produced per day, the 5th Overlords daily Point production can be calculated at…
480,000 points per day.
“WHAT?!” He exclaimed, not believing. “Are you sure?!”
While I cannot state this with 100% accuracy, I am 99.99% certain.
“I see.” He said, shaking his head in awe. He couldn’t believe the massive number of points produced, and that was just daily. The resources of the 5th Overlord alone must be enormous.
“Alright. We can deal with their rescue plan later, for now, I need to break this necklace and summon the rest of our allies.” He grabbed the necklace around his throat pulling it off. He looked at it for a moment, noting the gleam of the colored gem.
David began to activate his Level D transformation, preparing to crush the gem. As soon as he activated his power, however, a blue screen suddenly flashed open.
Congratulations User. Due to meeting the required understanding and experience through the constant use of your: Level D Energy Transformation, your power has upgraded to become: Level C Energy Transformation.
Congratulations User, one or more of your powers has evolved.
He stared at the blue screen in surprise after he read it. He activated his power again, feeling the transformation wash over him. He saw the familiar energy left/usage screen pop up in the corner of his eye.
Level C Energy Transformation (Evolved: Stage I)
Energy Stored: 1895.7 hours
Energy Used: 0.12 Hour/Minute
David felt strength flow into his body. The state felt intimately familiar to him, having been his normal state for hundreds of hours. He felt the same usual power increase and increased perception/senses. He put the necklace back on, deciding to deal with it in a moment.
As he fully activated his transformation, David felt something he hadn’t noticed before. He felt like he was able to fully control the strength and energy flowing into him. He looked down at his body in wonder as he tentatively began testing his power.
David began bunching the energy flowing within him in his right hand, feeling it slowly build up. After a few moments, he felt a small ball of tangible power in his hand. With a yell, he jumped up and slammed his hand against the tree, feeling the energy stored in his hand expand outward in a rush.
The tree in front of David exploded.
Shards of wood blasted off the tree, raining him with shrapnel. He instinctively guide his Orbs to form a small shield, managing to move them quickly enough to block the majority of the shards from injuring him. Some of them got through his Orb wall, however, slicing into his skin.
The part of the tree above David collapsed as its support ran out. Thankfully, he was very high up in the tree, and only about ten feet of the tree fell over, crashing down into the forest over a hundred feet below him.
David looked at the remains tree in awe. His single punch had held enough force to completely break the entire top of the tree off. He checked his fist, seeing that it was fine.
Aloud he said,
“Terry, can you check on my power? It says it upgraded to be a Level C Energy Transformation, as well as being in the ‘Evolved Stage I.’ Just tell me what changed in general, if you can. What does it mean to evolve?”
Terry was silent for a few short moments before replying.
Your power, Store/Expand Energy, comes with a natural energy transformation. The ability to upgrade this transformation exists. However, it should takes dozens of years simply to upgrade to the Level C stage, and much much longer for the other stages.
The ‘Evolved’ addition, however, changes this.
When a power Evolves, according to the System, it has become fully integrated into the Supers person. Your body has fully accepted the power and has made it its own. The ability to Evolve is extremely rare. Not all abilities can Evolve.
When an ability Evolves, besides becoming more natural and powerful, special effects and characteristics are liable to appear, what the System identifies as “Mutations.” The System has no control over these evolutions and recommends against pursuing the ability to evolve.
David took what Terry said in, processing it. He called up his status screen, curious to see if anything had changed.
Name: David Care Points: 0 Race: Human Lottery Slots: 0
Class: Life Orb Master/A.I. Mod/Evolved Transformation Energy Stored: 1895.7 hours
Abilities: Life Orb Designate, Life Orb Create, Store/Expand Energy
Life Orbs: 312
“Evolved transformation eh?” He said aloud, noting the new addition to his screen. He tapped the screen away, flexing his arms. He felt the new strength in his upgrade, feeling much stronger. He jumped off the tree branch he stood on, leaping to a tree off to the side.
He leapt the nearly 30 feet gap with ease. Feeling a little giddy, David jumped around, hopping off a few trees. He settled down grinning, happy with his increased power.
“Terry, can you analyze my power and physical state? I want to know exactly how much stronger I am.”
Analyzing… one moment.
A few seconds went by as Terry scanned David’s body, checking his physical condition and noting changes within his new energy transformation.
It seems in the time I have been absent, you have been very busy.
Your regular human body has changed a great deal. Your muscle structure has changed greatly.
Regular human muscles are categorized into two different sections. Slow Twitch (Type 1) and Fast Twitch (Type 2) muscles.
Slow Twitch (Type 1) muscles react slowly to commands, but have greatly increased endurance. These muscles are more efficient at using oxygen and can operate for a longer period of time. They are used for things like long distance running or traveling.
Fast Twitch (Type 2) muscles react extremely quickly, allowing for fast responses and movement. These muscles are more useful for activities that require fast movement, like sprinting or fighting. However, they tire quickly and are usually inefficient at using oxygen.
Regular humans have a 50% share of both of these muscle types.
However, there is a third, much rarer muscle type. Commonly known as “Intermediate Fast Twitch” muscles, these muscles have the best of both characteristics. They can both use oxygen efficiently and operate for long times as well as react near instantly and fire faster. These incredibly strong hybrid muscles are rare however. Most humans have roughly 2-3% of their Fast Twitch muscles composed of Intermediate Fast Twitch muscles. It’s not something that can be consciously trained, unfortunately.
Your power, however, seems to only allow for the growing of these muscles. Your constant use of your Energy Transformation opened your body up to be molded. In your period of incarceration, the manual labor and stress you went through rapidly effected changes in your body.
Thus. Instead of a body formed by 50% Slow Twitch Muscles, 48% Fast Twitch Muscles, and 2-3% Intermediate Fast Twitch Muscles, your body has changed.
You appear to have 30% Slow Twitch Muscles, 30% Fast Twitch Muscles, and 40% Intermediate Fast Twitch Muscles.
Your body’s capabilities can no longer be measured against that of regular humans.
He took it all in slowly. He looked down at his body, trying to see the differences. David saw that his muscles had grown more defined. He certainly felt stronger.
“Alright. That’s a change I can live with. I did feel like my body had grown stronger when I worked, it only makes sense for it to have changed.”
“How about my powers though, Terry?”
I do not have enough information to make an accurate comparison. Over the next several days, I will compile your usage of your power after observing its effects. Till then, I cannot state how it has changed. The upgraded powers are not listed in my database.
“Well. I guess that makes sense.” He said, disappointed. He had hoped she would know how his ability had changed. He took a few more leaps around, enjoying his newfound strength, before becoming more serious. He felt at his neck, grabbing the necklace he wore on it.
“Alright. Time to rescue some friends.”
On Earth, Europe, France, Paris, Hôtel Plaza Athénée
“You’re going to personally guide me?” Shin said, staring at the camo covered man before him. His translation headset was still turned on, translating what he said into French, and what the man said to him back in English.
“Yes.” Snake smiled back. An awkward silence ensued when he said nothing further.
Shin continued staring at the man suspiciously. He was grateful for the information the man supplied, but he had already paid the price asked. He neither trusted nor wanted the man’s help.
“I don’t think so. Just tell me the location and I will get there on my own. I don’t need any help.”
Snake took the rejection in turn, smiling back at him and replying,
“Well, Mr. Gladius, I think we have started off on the wrong foot. You see, I merely want to help aid your search for your friend, and do some research of my own. In fact, your case has coincided with another request from a separate client. My client has requested information on the same creatures you have, and wishes to be informed when said creatures are found. Her request was also put in recently, just last week.”
“I am honoring your request and hers at the same time. My separate client also wishes to be told the location of these creatures when they are found. I am under the opinion that she wishes to personally visit said creatures.”
Shin glared at the man icily. In his mind, David’s scenario must be one of life or death. Anything that could mess up whatever situation David was in was unacceptable.
“I don’t care. Just point me to the location of the mental hospital and we are done. If you get in my way, things will not end well for you.”
Snake held up his hands in an appeasing manner.
“Alright, alright. It was just an offer. I only have to guide one of you, anyway.”
The man suddenly whipped out a pen and notepad, writing down an address on it. He handed it to Shin, practically tossing it into his hands.
“This is the address of the mental hospital in Russia. If you plan on entering silently, I suggest you make your move soon. My other client is rather volatile.”
Shin scooped up the pad, quickly memorizing the address. He added it to his Dimensional Wallet, storing it just to be sure. He took one last look around the odd apartment before nodding. Without another word, he walked out, quickly leaving the hotel room. When he had walked far enough away and out of sight, he teleported back to America, going home to prepare.
Back where Shin had left, Snake looked around the room quietly. He walked over to the strange coffee pot that held the rare energy rocks Shin had used to pay for. He seemed to stop and consider something as he eyed the glowing stones.
Snake smiled. He pulled out a small cellphone and dialed a number, calling someone. When the person he was calling answered the phone, he said aloud,
“Contact the client. I have found her alien stronghold.”