So the day Theodor had been blabbering about had finally come. Shit, I’d had my doubts, I’d thought he was crazy, hell, I hoped he was.
Now, I can’t anymore. After seeing the impossible size of that signature, after feeling that thing’s presence, I knew he’d been right.
And while we were all stunned by its power, Theodor started laughing again.
“Shit,” he brought out, shaking. “All that, and it’s not even here yet. It’s just probing, just feeling around.”
As I heard that, I turned to the Adjudicator.
“What now? What are we supposed to do? No one here can handle something like this!”
Her eyes were wide, sweat covered her forehead, but it took her mere seconds to get her composure back.
“The organization is aware of the incident. They’ve been preparing and support is on the way as we speak. Until they do, however, we’ll assist the local authorities with the evacuation procedures and try our best to ward off the premise of the incident. That’s an order, Exterminator 7D11087.”
“Heh, I thought I wasn’t part of the organization anymore?”
She stepped up to me and brought her face close to mine.
“Your position as an official exterminator has just been reinstated. Should you decline, however…”
In an instant, some of the men present pointed their guns at me.
I gave her a short laugh. “Now, how could I decline an offer like that?”
With that, we set out. All the while, the Adjudicator was in direct contact with the local authorities. From the voice that blared from the phone, I could tell how shaken they were. The Adjudicator did her best to keep them quiet, explained to them that this was an unprecedented incident and that it would be taken care of in time.
While the voice on the phone continued screaming at her, I couldn’t help but shake my head. We’d handle this? What a fucking joke!
For a moment I turned to Theodor, but he was a mess. Sweat covered his face and his eyes half-open and bloodshot. I could see him grimace in pain every once in a while, and since we’d left the apartment, he’d downed multiple memory contraptions. This time, though, they didn’t seem to do a thing.
“Hey, man, you all right?”
He shot me a glance and gave me a weak nod. Yeah, right, I thought.
The moment we’d arrived in the inner city, I could see that it was absolute hell. Even from where I was, I could see that the entire city center had been leveled. It almost seemed as if a giant sinkhole had opened up, swallowing all signs of civilization.
Panicked people flooded the streets, who stared at the massive destruction without understanding what had happened. Police were everywhere, busy issuing evacuation orders and driving people back from what had once been the bustling inner city.
A defensive perimeter had been set up, and the Adjudicator went to talk to the men in charge. My eyes wandered over the police forces and the rescue personnel present, and I could see the shock in their eyes. None of them knew what was going on, but I could tell they were all out of it. Shit, wasn’t that why we existed? To keep things like this from happening?
“The evacuation is well under way. Right now, our objective is to take care of any creatures trying to break the perimeter until support is here.”
I watched as one of the squad members readied and sent out a multitude of drones. The little devices didn’t make it far before they were fried and crashed to the ground.
I heard the man curse in anger, but I could’ve told them they’d be no use. Even an A-Class creature’s pressure was enough to destroy them and this here was much, much worse.
While I was checking my equipment, another wave of pressure hit us. Before I knew what had happened, I found myself on the ground. I gnashed my teeth and fought against my instincts that screamed at me to run away. A moment later it was gone again. Another one of its probing feelers.
I looked around, saw the terrified faces of the police, the rescue personnel and civilians, at least those who were still conscious. Even the members of headquarters squad seemed terrified.
“We’re all fucked,” Theodor brought out behind me.
“Get a fucking grip man!” I screamed at him and got a hold of his collar.
“Weren’t you the one who said he wanted to stop this? Weren’t you?”
He gave me a short laugh but said nothing.
“Fucking hell,” I spat at him before I made my way to the front of the defensive perimeter.
One of the squad members handed me a pair of binoculars. When I gave him a questioning look, he pointed ahead.
At first I saw nothing but rubble and destruction, but after a few seconds I knew what he’d pointed at.
Slightly to the east of the signature’s center I saw a twisted, changing thing. I thought it might be another ziggurat, like the one the A-Class creature had constructed, but it looked entirely different. It didn’t look like it was made from rubble and stone, it didn’t look constructed at all. It looked organic, as if it was being grown. Right at this moment, a sort of tentacle slithered from the ground, wreathed itself around the thing before it was incorporated into it.
“What the hell,” I started.
Theodor came over and took the binoculars from my hand. For long moments he focused on it. Once more I saw him grimace, saw him cringe before he got a hold of himself again.
“That’s it, that’s where it’s going to come through,” he brought out in a shaken voice.
The Adjudicator turned towards us.
“It was the same with the A-Class incident,” I explained. “The creature was creating something, but we stopped it before it could finish whatever it was doing. Or,” I reasoned, “It might have been nothing but a test, a preparation for this.”
“How much time do we have?” she asked.
I turned to Theodor, but he shrugged. “Might be days, might be minutes, but so far it’s only been probing, testing the waters, so to speak.”
“We’ve got visuals,” one of the squad members called out.
Here they come, I thought, and as I stared ahead I saw dozens of creatures gathering between the rubble. That thing might have not come through yet, but a ton of other creatures had.
I’d thought they’d attack us, that they’d come for us, but they seemed to be watching us. What are you waiting for, you bastards?
I picked up the binoculars again and saw it. People. They weren’t attacking because they were busy dragging off people, most likely dragging them back to that thing.
“Shit, they’ve got civilians!” I called out to the Adjudicator.
In an instant she ripped the binoculars from my hands and I saw her face grow serious. A moment later she called out orders.
I had to give it to her. Sure, she’d lost her cool when that thing first appeared, but she’d long since gathered herself.
We set out in an instant, but it seemed that was what those fuckers had been waiting for.
I saw members of the squad gun down creatures, but I could tell those were nothing but small fry. The moment something stronger arrived, those men would be in over their head.
Mere minutes later, I saw two men to my right go down like wet sacks. Yet, I saw no wounds, no attacker. Shit, what the hell? A third man crashed to his knees, throwing up blood.
Then I felt it too, something reaching out for my mind. For a moment my head spun, and I instantly popped a mind blocker.
My eyes darted around and I soon found the proxy organism. It was nothing but a grown together bundle of flesh. I pointed my gun at it, but right at that moment my arm started shaking, I felt my breath coming in harder. Shit, that thing was no joke. I took a deep breath, gathered my strength and threw a flamer right at the thing. I felt a last stab of pain in my head before the thing went up in flames. If there was a proxy organism here, then does it mean…
I didn’t have time to think. I’d barely gathered myself when a shapeshifter came right for me. This time, my arm wasn’t shaking, and I took the fucker down before it could get to me.
Yet, more and more of them were coming.
I turned to see Theodor taking down another shapeshifter with his combat knife, but his movements were different. He was slower than usual, panting, and clearly in pain. I rushed over to him, took position by his side and shot down a beast type that had been coming for him.
My eyes darted over our quickly decreasing group. Shit, we wouldn’t last out here.
Right in that moment, I saw a giant beast crashing right into a group of men. The thing might have once been a stray cat, but was now a towering monstrosity.
The men shot at it, but it didn’t do shit to the thing. I saw it tear down one man, then another, before its jaws closed around a third. Pained screams reached my ear before I heard ribs break and flesh tear.
The rest of the group was in chaos. Cursing, I rushed towards them, shot the thing in the head, once, twice, but it was still alive and now, it was angry.
The fucker turned and charged right at me. I threw myself back, but this thing was faster than I’d thought. I felt long claws scratch over my protective armor. Its jaws opened wide to tear me apart, and in that moment I saw my chance.
“Got you,” I brought out as I threw the grenade right down its throat.
A second later, the thing exploded in a rain of blood and guts.
“Adjudicator! We’ve got to go back!” I screamed at the woman.
“We need a defensive position! We won’t last!”
“Exterminator 7D11087,” she barked at me. “Our orders are to rescue any civilians that are-“
“I don’t give a shit about our orders! This is hopeless!”
For a moment she stared me down before she cursed and ordered a general retreat.
I saw her eyes dart back to her phone, her face contorted with rage.
“What’s going on?”
“Our support should’ve been here by now!”
I spit on the ground, but said nothing. That’s headquarters for you, I thought.
Our group made its way back, meter by meter, fighting off any creatures that came for us, but I saw more men going down.
The moment we’d made it back to the defenses, however, they didn’t close in anymore. Theodor next to me was panting, shaking, covered in blood. The mere dozen that were still alive of the squad were shaken, and I could see them clutching onto their weapons with wide eyes. I couldn’t blame them.
“Take care of the wounded,” I heard the Adjudicator call out to the small group of survivors.
I opened my mouth to enquire more about our support when the ground shook. My eyes darted around, expecting some sort of towering abomination coming for us, but there was nothing.
And then the ground below us was torn asunder.
I lost my balance, crashed to the floor, and for a second I didn’t know what was going on. Then I saw a bubbling mass of flesh push itself from the ground.
In an instant fleshy tendrils shot out, getting a hold of two men. I fought myself to my feet, ripped out my gun, but before I could do anything, the liquid flesh engulfed them.
Without thinking and by pure instinct, I threw a flamer at the thing. Hungry flames licked over the creature and I heard it screech up in pain. A second later it pulled itself together and retreated to where it had come from.
There was no way, I thought, there was no way one flamer was enough to finish it. My eyes darted around, and I listened and a moment later the creature reemerged, exploding outward from street behind us. Only now did I see how huge it really was. I couldn’t help but grin a little. Shit. Even multiple flamers wouldn’t be enough to finish this one.
“Where’s that support you’ve been talking about, Adjudicator!?” I screamed at her.
She opened her mouth, but before she could answer, the thing came for us. Liquid flesh washed over the street in our direction. I saw some of the remaining squad members taking position, firing at it, but bullets wouldn’t do a damn thing.
“Get back, there’s nothing you can do!”
But my words were too late, tendrils of flesh shot out, getting a hold of the man.
The second flamer flew high through the air crashed against the creature, covering it in more flames. This time, however, the creature didn’t retreat. No, this time it pulled itself together, sacrificed part of its body, before it came for us again.
I saw eyes forming and focusing on me, saw mouths appearing all over its body that giggled in anticipation.
The Adjudicator was by my side, saw her eyes darting around.
“What are you doing? Get the fuck out of here!” I screamed at her and pushed her back.
“Theodor, we’ve got to get-“
But when I stared ahead, I saw a literal avalanche of liquid flesh coming for us. The creature had pushed itself high up and was about to come crashing down onto us. As I stared at the countless bulging eyes, the open mouths, I knew there was no way we’d be able to outrun it.
Right before the creature threw itself down on us, the mass of flesh was hit by a blazing fiery light.
A flamer, I thought, but when I saw the creature’s flesh melt, and finally disintegrate, I knew this hadn’t been a mere flamer.
The thing screeched up in pain and anger, tried to gather itself and find out what was attacking him. Before it could, however, it was hit twice more. This time I saw what hit it. This was no grenade, it was some sort of energy beam.
I stared at the sizzling remains in front of me in utter confusion.
I darted around, scanned the area and saw a group of four people nearby, making their way towards us.
All except one were clad in armor. I could tell right away that those guys were different from the rest of us. Their faces were hard and emotionless, covered in scar tissue and they had the gait of hardened military personal.
From the simple, silver omega on their armor I knew who they were. Omega. The upper echelon of Europe’s exterminators. The best of the best. A special branch tasked with taking out A-Class incidents.
So headquarters had finally realized how serious the situation was.
Still, with those guys here, things would get ugly. They had a reputation, one even more questionable than Marcia’s. Sure, they handled all incidents, but from what I’d heard, the word monster fit them more than anything they were thrown against.
Omega, each member of the group named after a Greek god.
My eyes wandered over them. One of them was carrying some sort of futuristic weapon, one he’d most likely used to destroy the formless creature. Considering what I’d seen, it had to be some sort of energy weapon. This guy had to be Hephaestus, named after the smithing god.
Another one was a sleek, incredibly tall bastard, adorned with a multitude of ragged blades. Ares, named after the god of war.
The third man looked more like a robot than a person. He was wearing a dark, futuristic suit of armor and had an assortment of gadgets and robots hovering around him. Hades, named after the god of the underworld.
The last member of the group was a young woman. She was bald and dressed in a long, heavy robe. When she shot me a glance, I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Another freaking mentalist, one I’d heard about. Athena, the goddess of wisdom.
What a bunch of fucking tryhards.
The group didn’t give me or any of the other men any notice and walked up to the Adjudicator.
Eventually, I joined them and instantly found myself the center of attention and four pairs of cold, hard eyes focused on me.
“So, you’re the exterminator who’s responsible for this?” Hephaestus spoke up and walked up to me.
He was huge, a giant of a man, bulging with muscles.
For a moment, I could only stare at him, then I nodded.
Before I could even react, one of his hands shot forward and lifted me up by the neck.
“Guess it was all a little too much for trash like you,” he said and tossed me backwards.
“But don’t worry,” he continued with a grin on his face. “We’re going to take care of that little fuck-up of yours.”
“Isn’t that great,” I brought out.
As I watched them getting ready to set out, I couldn’t help but curse to myself.
Fuck monsters, and fuck those assholes.