Chapter 35: The Rebirth of Bloody Guenther [Unedited]


[Keys] Fate's hair isn't even mussed, and she looks just like her always put together well self. And one of us doesn't identify with being an Ethereal. "Stop being superficial," she says. Then a good question, "I can will myself away from here. What about you?" #Constructs3

[Keys] Four walls, a door with no handle on this side, and a chair. We may be in the middle of nowhere. If our captors were the government, I could envision this being one of those off the books black sites. "You're back to only me being able to see you, right?" #Constructs3

[Keys] "For now," Fate responds. Good because then she's not in her cell, so that'll cause some confusion. "All except for the Associate," she points out before adding, "but I've turned him, so he's on my side." Now let me grip this chair and add a little more. #Constructs3


[Keys] Doing my best 'hurl a chair at the judge' impression, I toss that thing into the door for an uneventful crash and thud. I know the people guarding the door are like, 'What the fu--?' Might as well sell it, "Let me up out this motherfu--er! Fu-- this shi-!" #Constructs3

[Keys] Fate just crosses her arms, shakes her head, and smiles, "You got too much enjoyment out of that." Who doesn't want to have their own 'not giving a flying fu--' moment and throw a da-n chair? That's like a video game achievement you seriously want to get. #Constructs3

[Keys] As expected, two guards rip the door open and rush in. They seem more peeved than surprised. One of them remarks, "Oh you think you're tough?" I can talk a great deal of shi-, "Tougher than a bitc- with a gun," but backing it up may prove to be difficult. #Constructs3


[Keys] "Get his hands!" The other orders as they drive me into the ground and rough me up with malevolent knees and a hand pressing the side of my head into the floor. Those kicks to my side while I'm pinned down are to soften me up. Fate is nowhere to be found. #Constructs3

[Keys] A lot of these takedowns go horribly awry because it's not so much about subduing an individual; it's about power. The only thing is that in such a vulnerable position, any exertion of force can have very dramatic consequences leading to unintended results. #Constructs3

[Keys] The Associate bursts in sliding to a stop on slippery dress shoes and says, "He's not to be harmed! Do you want Mister Allis to learn of this?" My eyes scan (since I can't move my head) to see Fate at his side. Obviously she's only visible to him and me. #Constructs3


[Keys] My head hurts from overexertion. The Associate helps me up and apologizes, "I'm not quite sure how you got out of those cuffs, but it wasn't supposed to go down like that." I'm not surprised. I kinda anticipated a reckoning with Sweet Charles' creditors. #Constructs3

[Keys] There's no declaring independence from organized crime. It's essentially a life appointment. "Are you okay?" The Associate asks while helping me up. To be honest, "That depends on what happens next," I tell him. His silence does little to allay my fears. #Constructs3

[Keys] "You know all that ruckus could've been avoided with a little patience," says the queen of pragmatism as the Associate leads us most likely to Marlin. Yeah it might've been a bit dumb. "Those are your words," Fate clarifies with her back hand, "not mine." #Constructs3


[Keys] I have no perspective on what this location is. The walls are metallic which must make for insufferable summers and unbearable winters. We're being taken to an office with blinds covering up what I'd imagine is a lovely view of metal walls across the hall. #Constructs3

[Keys] Marlin swings around in a nice swivel desk chair to greet us, "Mister Davis, I told you we'd speak again soon. I trust your time to this point was fruitful albeit uneventful." What a weird yet accurate thing to say. He waves off the Associate, "Leave us." #Constructs3

[Keys] I gotta ask, "How was the Kuno?" The left side of Marlin's lip curls as a partial smile, "That's exactly what I wanted to ask you about." Ah shi-, here we go! He goes straight to accusations, "You looked in that package, didn't you?" #NoFault #deflect #lie #Constructs3


[Keys] "Now don't lie to me," Marlin warns. Again he asks, "Did you? Or did you not?" I figure I've got some leverage here with Fate in my corner. Wait? Fate? Where's Fate? For fu--in' real? Da-n. I must look guilty as he-- staring around like I just did. #Constructs3

[Keys] It appeared like I was searching the air for the answer - unsure of myself. Neither of those are exactly the case, and I am one key away from being done with this curse, so why not take a chance? My response is as follows, "What does it matter either way?" #Constructs3

[Keys] "That's not an answer," Marlin points out. But I have to disagree, "That is an answer. It's just not an answer you want to hear," because I'm feeling argumentative at the moment. Oddly enough, he starts laughing, "I knew there was a reason I liked you." #Constructs3


[Keys] Marlin agrees, "I'll cut to the chase." Yes please do. He admits, "I was quite disappointed when Sweet Charles alerted us of your desire to move on. Quite disappointed. I needed to test this loss, and well you handled the spaceport situation exquisitely." #Constructs3

[Keys] Overachieving - 1. Keys - 0. "I want you to reconsider," Marlin says, "because you have a unique skill set that can be put to much better use than being some club's valet." I have to shake my head at this one because, "Wages are stagnant across the board." #Constructs3

[Keys] It doesn't matter what sector: Corporate, government, organized crime. They want you to do all this fu--in' backbreaking work, pay you shi- for your time, and then keep all the da-n profit. I tell Marlin quite simply, "Bread. You've gotta break bread." #Constructs3


[Keys] Marlin calls my bluff, "If it was only about the money, then why were you moving to Second Earth for the hope of opportunity?" And I call his, "If I was so valuable, then why haven't you yet threatened me for my services?" We're both not being forthcoming. #Constructs3

[Keys] It's because people are rarely as binary as they appear. At this moment, he probably believes carjacking for me (as a job for many) is just a means to an end. The end doesn't justify the means which is why I sought to alter the means to safeguard the end. #Constructs3

[Keys] "You likely believe I'm a crime boss who wants to turn dirty money into good money," Marlin is on to where I was going with my questioning of his motivation, "and your observation isn't wrong. We can make money in a variety of ways. It's time to prove it." #Constructs3


[Keys] "What kinda business are you trying to start?" I egg Marlin on a bit here, "Don't tell me you're chef? You lookin' to start a restaurant chain?" He's almost blushing at this point when asking, "Is it that obvious? What was it, the Kuno that gave it away?" #Constructs3

[Keys] I have to admit, "That situation was wild, but it all worked out somehow. And yet, I was going to all this trouble not for drugs, guns, or stolen cars. But for food. Either you were incredibly vain to put my life in danger, or something else was going on." #Constructs3

[Keys] "Well," Marlin replies, "I'm still vain, but there was also something else going on. Kuno may not be native to Earth, but it's not exclusive to any one chef outside our planet. I only want the best, and your unique skill set made this test run possible." #Constructs3


[Keys] "So you don't want me to be a valet for Club Soda," I deduce, "but you wouldn't mind me being a valet for your new restaurant chain? Or maybe you want something else? Honestly I can't cook worth shi-. I can't fix fu--ing thing. I'm not that marketable." #Constructs3

[Keys] Marlin generally enjoys our banter, so he deftly weaves his offer within a statement of flattery, "You have what every mentor craves: Potential. I just want to be a part of holding open the door. You're more than capable of walking through it on your own." #Constructs3

[Keys] This is crazy. He kidnapped me just to ask if I wanted some help going up the ladder! Maybe Marlin is on a redemption path. Who knows? And who cares? It's an opportunity in itself but one I can leverage even prior to its actuality, "What's in it for me?" #Constructs3


[Keys] So there we all are sitting around a conference room table at the NSF Facility: Carjackers, my lady friend, Ethereals, mercenaries, NSF officials, Customs, an underage vigilante, and an Associate - courtesy of Marlin. "This will never work," Tevatron adds. #Constructs3

[Keys] I remember giving presentations at school, so public speaking doesn't bother me. And even if it did, having this badas- laser pointer during a structured meeting makes it all worthwhile. I point it at the screen and announce, "Mega Maze Industries Spire." #Constructs3

[Keys] "We're all gonna break into this motherfu--er and unlock the last piece needed to resurrect Bloody Guenther," I explain. Both the Crew and Customs seem not only to be vocally on board but eager, and yet Dennie raises her hand to say, "Uh I don't do illegal." #Constructs3


[Keys] Always a voice of reason, NSFm-1 Alpha suggests, "Why don't we just reach out to their CEO, Denah Tress; explain what's going on like we did for everybody in here; and bring them into our mission?" Or we could do that. I hate the way Mahagony looks at him. #Constructs3

[Keys] Fate pipes up here, "How ironic is it that the last lock before the resurrection of Bloody Guenther also happens to be the easiest to obtain prior to the most difficult task of attempting to tame him?" It is kinda wild. I hate the way Mahagony looks at her. #Constructs3

[Keys] "So who's going to do the honors of reaching out?" The Associate asks as the silent consensus seems to indicate this matter is settled and agreed-upon. I accept the task should be mine, "I'll take on that action item." I love the way Mahagony looks at me. #Constructs3


[Keys] I still really wanted to jack a car though during the plot of our caper. :( Anyway Dennie works her magic and gets a meeting set up with some members of Dana Tress' staff. I'm driving Fate's car with Tevatron riding shotgun. He's a big fan of Mega Maze. #Constructs3

[Keys] "Dude," Tevatron can't contain his excitement, "they showed this amazing True-D technology at the Buffalo Grove Comic-Con! It's why I got a job. I can't wait to try out the demo of the first level." I can't either, "They need to nerf the Critters though." #Constructs3

[Keys] We're greeted inside a huge yet buzzing lobby at the base of Mega Maze Industries Spire by two people I thought I would never see in a corporate environment - let alone as the personal staff for Dana Tress: Mister Division and Tunnel Diode, criminals like me. #Constructs3


[Keys] At least Tunnel Diode has street cred. That fu--er went up against Dyoogie and lived. He actually walked away. Still breathing to this very day. If he wasn't so toxic, I'd introduce Tevatron to him for mentoring because of his own teleportation powers. #Constructs3

[Keys] Mister Division on the other hand is a fu--ing fraud - a disgrace. He nor his gang are in Tunnel Diode's and my league. This guy used to claim he was Dyoogie's arch nemesis. To be honest, it probably saved his life. Death would've been a justification. #Constructs3

[Keys] They're about as dissimilar as this career change is a quest for redemption. I can relate. "You'll understand Ms. Tress is indisposed," Mister Division excuses his boss' absence. It's all good, so I say, "No worries. Were you able to locate the artifact?" #Constructs3


[Keys] "Follow us," Tunnel Diode acknowledges before turning to lead us across the lobby and behind the reception desk where we enter the secret innards of Mega Maze Industries Spire. Tevatron maintains his composure, but I can tell he wants to totally mark out. #Constructs3

[Keys] Mister Division senses it too, and turns to tell Tevatron, "The Critters still need to be nerfed though." totally breaking the ice in what's otherwise a tense situation. Tevatron jumps in, "Everybody's saying that! I'm glad we have somebody on the inside." #Constructs3

[Keys] They take us down to an underground warehouse, and Tunnel Diode seems to know it well. Hmm. He is a high-profile thief. I wonder if he ever hit this place. There's a freezer tube on the back of a truck, and I know it's what we seek because Fate appears. #Constructs3


[Keys] Fate doesn't even try to conceal her presence from Tunnel Diode or Mister Division either. I guess when you come this far, all the subterfuge no longer matters. "This is it," she says. "What is it?" I ask. And her response is, "Bloody Guenther's torso." #Constructs3

[Keys] Why in the fu-- would Mega Maze Industries have something like that on ice? It's kinda like the revelation when you realize malicious software doesn't come from adult sites but quote/unquote reputable sites that have vulnerabilities in the ads they serve. #Constructs3

[Keys] "Please tell Denah thank you," Fate expresses her gratitude, and after eons of not exactly waiting, the sincerity is earnest. Tunnel Diode asks, "And you'll honor her request to not unlock this piece within the spire?" She assures, "Yes of course. Agreed." #Constructs3


[Keys] Nobody says much on the way back to the NSF Facility. Fate accompanies us riding shotgun in her car with silence due to contained anticipation. I wonder if she's been this close before and everything fell apart at the last moment. Hard to see, but still. #Constructs3

[Keys] Mega Maze Industries left Tevatron with some parting gifts that are drawing his attention. I think they gave him a beta system of the True-D Module, and I'd rather spend a day checking it out, but I don't possess the luxury of youthful compartmentalization. #Constructs3

[Keys] The truck with the artifact is following us along the highway, and we've picked up a trail of NSF fighters and tanks. Since a significant group among the Pillorian Regime also wants to see Bloody Guenther resurrected as well, the truck's pretty protected. #Constructs3


[Keys] It's wild watching the truck in the rearview mirror haul down this spiraling curve that this car's cornering takes with ease as we head to some of the lowest levels of the NSF Facility. Maybe. It seems off a ways from the main facility almost like a bunker. #Constructs3

[Keys] As we speed inside what appears to be a few football fields worth of area, I realize I had that wrong. A bunker keeps the bad stuff out. This is more of an indoor test site meant to keep the bad stuff in. These shield weapons testing from satellite eyes. #Constructs3

[Keys] The unloading of Bloody Guenther's torso occurs posthaste, and I realize among the deities, dignitaries, and diplomats in attendance, I'm really the star of this show. For a guy who's lived his life from the shadows, the attention is somewhat overwhelming. #Constructs3


[Keys] I can feel Fate's right hand take my left hand as we stand before the freezer tube in the center of this underground installation. The symbolism isn't about love. Her man is standing behind us at twenty or so yards to try and help fortify a concentric line. #Constructs3

[Keys] I'm more like her right-hand man, and nevermore have I appreciated the acknowledgment of a sentiment than now. We haven't always gotten along, and the reason we do is really the result of some sinister spell she placed on me, but that's all beside the point. #Constructs3

[Keys] What lies before us is daunting. Brenda was invited, but she's standing well back of the eventual proceedings - where it's a little easier to make a quick exit. But there's no escaping this for us. We step up and insert the hexagonal freezer key together. #Constructs3


[Keys] The reformation, resurrection, return - whatever you want to call it is as epic as one'd expect. I'm overwhelmed by and overcome with relief as my left pinkie finger completes a set that isn't metallic keys - dropped to my knees by a sense of accomplishment. #Constructs3

[Keys] Purple energy subsides factuality as it disregards the volume of cryogenic plasma engulfing Bloody Guenther's torso to fill the freezer tube with its preferable, celestial healing property. Fate's eyes radiate the same color as she too is made whole again. #Constructs3

[Keys] Her presence beside me isn't just a sign of gratefulness or respect but nurturance. Body parts from wherever Goliath's army stashed them through time re-form inside the freezer tube, and Bloody Guenther flexes out the confinement to the tune of an explosion! #Constructs3


[Keys] For those who've ever heard and felt how loud a transformer explosion is at a distance, this was harrowing because I'm standing right in front of it. I flinch and shudder all at once. Will I lose my hearing, sight, limbs, or life? "Well my powers work." #Constructs3

[Keys] Plastic, metal, fire, ice, and a crater blow outward in every direction except ours. Even the secondary effects were somehow negated. I chastise Fate, "What if your abilities weren't back yet?? Why the fu-- are we not behind a force field or some shi-?!" #Constructs3

[Keys] She could've tested that during a trading card game. Bloody Guenther, on the other hand, isn't playing around and savagely lunges from the hypocenter of the crater for us at which point Goliath steps in - in between with his scythe to intercept the attempt. #Constructs3


[Keys] The force of their clash pushes Fate skidding backward on lacy pumps I manage to catch sight of while tumbling backward. Sumo Jo catches her with soft hands as El Muerto braces me to a halt prior to both of them and Impetus brushing past us and into action. #Constructs3

[Keys] Straining against a standoff that continues to rattle the area, Bloody Guenther makes his voice heard by telling Goliath, "I'm going to put you down, slay your army, take your woman, and finish preparing this wretched world's infernal people for absolution." #Constructs3

[Keys] The accented hiss on that last part sounds painful. I should mention a little bit of what Bloody Guenther looks like. First of all, dude is big - fu--ing berserker big. And naked. Big and naked. Naked and big. Well da-n, this is going to be distracting. #Constructs3


[Keys] "You're not taking anything," Fate, unlike me, is obviously unimpressed with Bloody Guenther's proposition which begs an interesting set of questions that don't need to be answered here. Instead I warn, "Remember what got us into this. We can handle it." #Constructs3

[Keys] Mahagony, Sweet Charles, Batxt, Blondie, and Damian (who pulls and cocks his handgun) make it over to our position. I turn to him like, "Man, that shi- isn't gonna work! All this calamity going on." Fate agrees, "Your Crew is a bit out of its depth here." #Constructs3

[Keys] "But not necessarily in that order," Bloody Guenther clarifies. Hold up. Why is he saying that? How is he looking at me? What the motherfu--? I thought this curse with Fate was supposed to be a pact - not a death sentence. I don't even know this dude! #Constructs3


[Keys] "Well he knows you," Fate states likely because of my role freeing him, "and how much you mean to me," in having done so. Such stark truthfulness. She wouldn't have said that unless it was time for me to run. Bloody Guenther adds punctuation to her point. #Constructs3

[Keys] He hurls Goliath at and through the truck snapping its trailer in half. Sumo Jo doesn't fair much better catching a slam into the ground below before being tossed over the shoulder puncturing ground level above. Impetus has to dodge El Muerto's flung body! #Constructs3

[Keys] Bloody Guenther is OP. And he's out the crater on wobbly yet powerful legs walking calmly albeit purposefully. It's like a horror movie. No matter how fast or far I run, this maniac is going to be right behind me. Second Earth looks really good right now. #Constructs3


[Keys] This was all fun and games until I saw Bloody Guenther take out Goliath and the Reapers. I turn back with Mahagony and the Crew in tow and don't wish the same upon Customs who steps up to form a line for no other reason than we represent the same struggles. #Constructs3

[Keys] As he gears up to rip them to shreds like some sort of sadistic child up against defenseless dolls and teddy bears, NSFm-1 Alpha steps in (or materializes rather) to try and be the adult in the room with an energy capsule providing a blue defensive barrier. #Constructs3

[Keys] Now we're talking! Ethereal on Ethereal action. Impetus and Customs help to get Goliath and El Muerto to whatever there is of cover down here. "Bloody Guenther, stop," NSFm-1 Alpha pleads while struggling to maintain the barrier against draining punches. #Constructs3


[Keys] "Says the baby Ethereal," Bloody Guenther snickers, "except I've been asleep longer than you've been alive." It's the classic youth versus experience argument, but NSFm-1 Alpha isn't debating as I realize why he used the energy capsule in the first place. #Constructs3

[Keys] Our resident Ethereal comports himself as proper, but a certain viciousness lies beneath all those nice clothes. It's the type of savagery that would fire an ERW payload wrapped within an EMP container down on our position (or at all) from an orbital cannon. #Constructs3

[Keys] "That wasn't a request," NSFm-1 Alpha sneers in a way that makes me question his moral compass. And taking a step back, I'm not a techie, but the building's still standing, Bloody Guenther's not, and the energy capsule shielded us from that radius attack. #Constructs3


[Keys] We make it to Fate's car, but with only one leg inside, my astonishment matches the other onlookers'. The manifestation of Earth's barbarism is on a decimation scale so ridiculous I'd feel bad for Bloody Guenther, but the weapon isn't meant for Ethereals. #Constructs3

[Keys] By the look on the Associate's face as he stares at the radius attack from behind the extended energy capsule, turns to look at NSFm-1 Alpha, and then backs away into a sprint for the nearest exit, I know he's gotta be like 'what in the fu-- did he get into?' #Constructs3

[Keys] "Unlike you," Fate appears beside me and berates, "the Associate knows how to take a hint. What part of run did you not understand? NSFm-1 Alpha is trying to buy you time to get away! If there's so much as one nick on my car, I will torture you forever." #Constructs3


[Keys] I'm hardheaded - I know, but still. People spend their entire lives praying to Ethereals who never show up. We just watched one throw a fu--ing weapon of mass destruction at another. That's worth a little curiosity. Jeez! Sue me. I get behind the wheel. #Constructs3

[Keys] It's cramped in here with Mahagony having to straddle the center console; Sweet Charles riding shotgun; plus Blondie, big as- Batxt taking up the middle seat, and Damian all in the back. Honestly there's no place I'd rather be than surrounded by the Crew. #Constructs3

[Keys] But Fate, Goliath and the Reapers, NSFm-1 Alpha, the Associate, Tevatron, and Customs are family. With a little over a chapter left, I don't see how we can resolve let alone survive this. A darkened silhouette begins to stir within the clearing of smoke. #Constructs3


[Keys] "You good?" Tevatron asks NSFm-1 Alpha while clutching that 2200 3B Gun and handing a recovered Sumo Jo (post-teleport) off to NSF medical staff. I never noticed it before, but they share the same blue energy signature. I wonder what their connection is. #Constructs3

[Keys] NSFm-1 Alpha's silence says a lot, but even that is drowned out by the earthquake Bloody Guenther's response causes. Apparently the energy capsule is around most of the NSF Facility, and now two hands pulsating luminescent purple have a celestial hold of it. #Constructs3

[Keys] My inaction puts the lives of everybody in this facility further at risk, and the last thing I want is to be compared to the inept lawmakers, irrelevant presidency, and invalidated court. I mash the accelerator to see how zero to sixty can work in reverse. #Constructs3


[Keys] Bloody Guenther emerges in all black. His skin, hair, nails, teeth - everything save for his eyes elicits the absence of color. Those eyes burn of the Pillorian Regime's luminescent purple energy signature. And I wonder: Are we on the wrong side of this? #Constructs3

[Keys] They're the moral authority after all. And though I may have a couple Ethereals on my side - one I think Humans made in some lab and the other who crossed her own and was punished throughout time for the mishap, we're woefully ill-equipped to deal with this. #Constructs3

[Keys] Then it hits me as the distance increases between Fate's car and a fu--ed up fatalistic eye contact I continue to share with Bloody Guenther. It's not for us to win this day. Our job is to stall and hold a motivated Ethereal off until the cavalry arrives. #Constructs3


[Keys] I spin Fate's car around from being in reverse and throw it in gear at just the right point we don't lose too much momentum before speeding up the spiraling curve with my thumbs locked in the ruts of the nine and three o'clock positions on the steering wheel. #Constructs3

[Keys] NSFm-1 Alpha drops the energy capsule which in turn causes Bloody Guenther to drop the facility. It's like the building was the end of a couch to this dude. Effortlessly lifted. But of course, with the barrier out the way, nothing stands before him and us. #Constructs3

[Keys] You know, I sincerely hope when this illustrious cavalry arrives, they bring spacestations, mecha we haven't seen before, secret agents, alien allies, veterans, paramilitary teams, superheroines, black ops, vigilantes - you name it. Until then, I'm up. #VFi #Constructs3

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