[Artifice Comics] Anthology 2: Seraphim Wing: The Becoming
utsukushuu.dreamer at gmail.com
Mon Jun 30 11:31:29 PDT 2008
>From Artifice Comics - http://www.artificecomics.com
by Ashley Corgan
An explosion of light in the cold emptiness above the world below. The
entire surface of the planet awash in alien iridescence, thousands
left temporarily blind and disoriented from the Administrative ranks
to the lowliest Tradejack apprentice. It took mere microts for the
order to be given before a flotilla of Imperial Gunships were sent to
A chill washed over Schezerade as her lithe form cut through the sea
water that held fast her mechs. She spent nearly 100 microts placing
mining charges around the Assault Armor and her former Utility Mech,
both having sunk to the sea floor less than a week ago. Already her
life support was failing in her silhouette skinsuit, internal warnings
from the replacement mech's navicomp repeated its short discourse on
Her muscles stiffened ever tighter with every kick of her legs, she
firmly gripped the last two flotation pods she needed to attach to the
outerhulls of her plunder. The voice of the Navicomp began counting
down the estimated time until her heart rhythm was too eratic to allow
for any acts of self preservation.
Schezerade placed her next to last pod.
She strained herself beyond fathomable reason, her mind began to swim
with thoughts of Meier's crooked smile and clipped laugh.Kicking
furiously to reach the lower half of the Helrot jr's Assault Armor to
place the last pod, Rade's body began to numb.
The I.M.S. Una approached an alien vessel that took orbit above the
planet. Orders were quickly transmitted for the rest of the ships to
hold rank as the Una closed in to perform cursory scans. Techinical
readouts showed the vessel was indeed registered as part of the Grand
Imperial Fleet but as a Flagship, Experimental Classification, any
further information was black booked to the highest security level.
The massive golden vessel's hull shimmered for a brief moment before
bursts of gas were released as pressure escaped from the hull before
its mass began shifting and breaking apart. Warning klaxons blared in
the bridge, some unseen force was destroying the Imperial Magistrate's
Flagship, the entire flotilla broke rank and fled in earnest.
The water around Schezerade shimmered, a moment before she blacked out
she swore she could see someone just feet from her drowning in the
waters before her.
A moment later she came to, still enveloped by her black skinsuit, she
no longer was submerged in the Great Sea but found herself hanging
from the ceiling of a large golden sphere. She blinked and her vision
gave way from the opulence of the round room to a clear view of open
space. Rade watched in disbelief as the last of the planet's Imperial
ships seemed to be fleeing from... her.
Strength returned to her limbs, fire seemed to surge through her viens
burning a trail of warmth from her arms and legs into her body's core
until the warmth pervaded her brain, she tried moving her arms and
instead of seeing her hand a large mechanical hand came into her field
of view. The white-gold metallic appendage was polished mirror smooth
and the star speckled heavens reflected off her metallic exterior.
Rade looked up in time to see the I.M.S. Una fire a hastily aimed
salvo in her general direction. The small round hurdled past the
transformed vessel, and impacted into a random rock formation in a
nearby asteroid field.
"Hello", a whisper piped up.
Schezerade looked around and realized she only saw her homeworld below
her, the asteroid field, and the stars. She shut her eyes and
concentrated on the spherical room.
"Hello, there", the whisper intoned.
Eyes open, Rade was back in the room suspended by cables like a living
marionette. Twisting and struggling with the cables she swung and spun
around wildly, and sighted no one else in the room with her. An eerie
presence prickled the back of her neck below her neural remote port.
"You are the newly chosen pilot of the I.M.S. Seraphim Wing", the
voice grew from a phantom whisper into a woman's voice.
"New pilot?", Rade asked aloud.
"Yes, the previous once took your place."
Schezerade's mind remembered the struggling, drowning vision she
glimpsed moments ago.
"Who're you? A Navigational Computer?"
Rade cut the voice off, "I'm? Navicomp AI doesn't use first person
reference. Who ARE you? Where am I?"
The voice seemed to hestitate for a moment, "You're inside the Free
Movement Module aboard the Imperial Magistrate's Experimental Class
"Hold on one bleedin' second... whoever you are, I can't be part of
the Imperial Navy, I'm not a citizen or even conscript. I'm Tradeja-"
"Doesn't matter none, really. The Magistrate is dead."
Schezerade's face dropped.
"Long live the Empire."
The room shuddered.
"High velocity space debris-", the voice reported.
Another impact shook the room and she felt an electric tingle in her
Shutting her eyes once again, she thought of the vast space and opened
her eyes in time to watch a massive asteroid hurtling towards her
face. Instinctively she raised her arms to shield herself and felt the
space rock crash against her forearms. Light pressure and another
electric tingle spread across her own arms. No pain was felt but her
body honestly registered the force that propelled the space rock.
She put her arms down and saw the golden-white mechanical arms clear
her view and spied a humanoid form in the midst of an asteroid field.
Schezerade lost sight of it only to realize it was the Asteroid Field,
its loosely based human form composed of the rocky debris that hung
weightless in the black of space shifted about inhumanly.
The creature swung an appendage in a wild arc only for a bit of itself
to break free and come hurtling with deadly accuracy at Rade.
She was livid.
She lunged in her physical body held aloft by the subdermal cables
penetrated her flesh. The Seraphim Wing reacted in kind as the stars
in her view moved by, streaking, and the rocky projectile closed the
distance at an alarming rate.
"Bestiary Report describes this as an 'Imperial Elemental Creation'.",
the voice offered to Schezerade.
"What in the puckered pink star does that mean?" Rade yelled as she
proceeded to detonate the rock in her path with a quick strike.
"It's an experimental creature design courtesy of the Imperial
Alchemists of the Apothecary Divis-"
Rade growled as the Elemental reacted by merely reaching into itself
and retrieved an even larger chunk to hurl at her. Or perhaps to
shield itself from her ever closing charge.
"It's an abomination, that's all I know, I can feel it. Feel what
drives it, right behind my eyes."
She paused and the voice seemingly continued her train of thought.
"It must be destroyed before it realizes your world and everyone in it
isn't part of the asteroid field."
Utilizing Panzer-Kunst strike points, Rade quickly dissassembled the
rock elemental. Arms, legs, what passed for a head was detached from
its enormous torso. Only for it to spend less than a microt to reform.
"Okay, all the fancy brouhaha aside... uhm... Lady-"
"I'm not 'lady', Pilot. Call me, C".
"The fuck? Fine, C, does this bitch have weapons?"
"Well the sub-class denomination for this vessel is 'Naginata'."
Schezerade felt a long metallic pole slide into her grip and before
her eyes as the elemental once again reformed a flicker of energy
crackled in the palm of her mechanical hand.
The creature spied the energy activity of its armored foe and threw
itself with the full fury of a meteor shower. Like a giant fist the
entirety of the asteroid field surrounded and swallowed up the
And once again the silence of speace and the emptiness of the black
won her over.
It had been a full half decade since she felt trepidation crawl across
her thoughts. Her secret group, rank, and power fell apart in the
months following the demise of the winged-whore and her Empire.
First the fleets were called away. Then the reserves and contingents
guarding the palace fled without a word. Finally a late order called
for the immediate service of the Seraphim Wing, its destination being
Pacific City, New South Wales, Australia a city located on a rather
infamous Lower-Earth 746387. It made its inaugural jump but was never
to be hailed again.
The riots began when a band of mutineers tried to muscle their way
into the Enigma Vestibule for rape and plunder. With the Apothecary
Dragoon's ranks splintered by the ex-Imperial insurgents, the
Alchemists breached the nullifying barriers of the massive room.
3 Days later all that was left standing was palace ruins and 7 members
of her dragoon
Lady walked out of the palace perimeter, the warm kiss of night air
never registered on her flesh. No, her mind was elsewhere.
She broke her own rule: Lady of Shadows spoke her slave name aloud.
"Chery Torrance of Lower-Earth 771284, no longer Apothecary Dragoon
Officer Lady of Shadows, nor Wife of Lord of Shadows British Rule, or
daughter of Celia Torrance, hereby relinquishes any allegiance to the
Imperium or the vestiges of honor bestowed by the Imperial
Her eyes teared up as her words faded into the distance, swallowed up
by the wind and echo.
Cheryl remembered the exact moment she lost it all. Her ward 830224
was serving dinner for the Dragoon ranks when Cheryl shot up out of
her seat and howled in unnatural, supreme agony. Her troops watched
her writhe at the head of the table and something curious occurred.
They could see Cheryl's shadow materialize into view as it fell across
the length of the table. Her power over the ever shifting dark was
Cheryl barely survived the riots.
She touched the back of her neck and gold liquid metal oozed over her
naked flesh. From her head to her toes, the former Imperial Officer
was gilded in unholy riches.
A few discomforting moments passed as her eyes allowed the metal to
coat them thoroughly. In the dozens of months that followed she helped
her wards and dragoons off the barren planet, choosing to remain in
the palace ruins, devoid of purpose.
In her self-imposed exile she recovered talismanic records and a small
remnant of materia retrieved from her doppelganger's room the last
time she ever saw her beloved husband again. Thoughts of the Seraphim
Wing, the armored angelic juggernaut that was both starship and
weapon, pervaded her every waking moment.
Tormented by the colossal failure and the sacrifice of all the lives
and souls lost in its creation, Cheryl taught herself the science of
the Ars Magna and forged the halcyon skinsuit that now housed her
A final whisper escaped her lips, a spell - incantation ever so brief,
bonded the golden sheath of metal to her flesh. Microscopic tendrils
filled her pores and took root in the very marrow of her bones.
And with that, the newly born Talisman Hybrid took to the skies,
breaking gravity's pull and entered the emptiness of space.
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