Dromaeus grunted a farewell to EMily as she was leaving. He groaned in response to Laguna.
"I have no idea if a small number of humans hold these beliefs, I have never met them! Have I not made it clear enough that I do not habitually associate with them?" He snapped.
James's expression was sympathetic as he listened to the first part of Carmen's story. As she described her lover's final confession however, he was clearly shocked.
"Wh-what? 'Destined to be enemies'? How is that a reasonable... how could he still... I don't... Jesus!" He gasped. "Carmen... hell, I don't know what to say about that, honestly. I don't understand how anyone could claim to love a person, while plotting to kill them right from the beginning. That isn't just wrong, that's fucking insane." He sighed. "I can't imagine what you must have been thinking yourself after that. I don't know what's worse, having to kill a loved one to ensure the safety of yourself and the rest of your people, or to find that they were playing you from the start... I'm sorry."
Carmen nodded and bit her lip a small bit. "They were probably holding something dear from him. Maybe threatening his family or something equivalent. That's what I told myself after some time, but I'm not even sure if it's true or not..." She shook her head slightly, trying to hold back something. "...Never mind it... Thinking about it now won't change the fact that it happened."
James stood up and went to the bar, grabbing a couple of glasses.
"This is the kind of talk that demands a certain amount of drink." He said to Carmen as he went. "Whether you need to loosen your tongue, or just feel better about it afterwards. What'll you have?"
"I was just saying, there's gotta be someone out there. Heck, I'm a president, so I probably count." Laguna stood. "I'm getting pretty tired, so I'm gonna head off. But one last thing: like it or not, you are gonna haveta socialise. I'd suggest getting a head start. If you ever wanna talk to me, say the word." Laguna gave a salute and exited the lounge.
OoC: I'm off. Night.
Carmen smiled a small bit as she walked along with James. "I'll just take a wine of some sort. Alcohol is one of the go-to's for those... hard nights, even in Hell."
Dromaeus shook his head in exasperation at Laguna's persistence as he walked off.
James grinned and quickly selected a 6 year old red wine off the rack, before grabbing a bottle of dry cider from underneath the counter.
"It was mostly tobacco where I came from. Alcohol was something that we loved of course, but it was never a good idea to get drunk. Anything could go wrong at any time, and if a horde of undead somehow got into a fortified position or some similar situation and you were too hammered to hold a gun steady or to run without falling on your face, well... you wouldn't have to worry about the hangover in the morning. Cigarettes on the other hand were good for relaxing without seriously impairing your performance. Most of the guys in my division were fiends for them, myself included." He finished pouring the drinks and handed the wine to Carmen before raising his own glass.
"To memories. May we not be able to remember them for several hours after this."
Carmen nodded and clinked her glass against James' raised one and taking a small swig. "To forgetting memories." She seemed to tilt her head a bit, finally picking up on James talking about zombies. "You fight the undead? When you said you were fighting ghouls, I assumed you were some kind of exorcist. Did a necromancer of some sort go rouge in your world to create so many undead that you needed to organize against them?"
James laughed out loud at this.
"An exorcist? Do I look like the kind of person who deals with a problem by chanting hymns and waving around sticks of incense?" He exclaimed. "No, I was a Major in a military quarantine and extermination outfit. The dead were the result of a virus that went pandemic, killing billions of people and reanimating their bodies as flesh eating automatons. There was no intelligent design behind it, simply the plague spreading through channels of least resistance as quickly as possible back before there was any way to combat it."
Carmen seemed to be a bit taken back by James' laughter. "You'd be surprised what an exorcist looks like in my world. And those methods are a bit outdated." She nodded along with his explanation as well as she took another swig. "So this virus was spread due to negligence or something of that like? Human error at work, correct?"
"Negligence and a lack of understanding in the early days, yeah. For example, hospitals were usually ground zero for the first major outbreaks. Bite victims were brought it, died, reanimated and then attacked medical staff and other patients who then died in turn. Police forces were hit badly at the start as well, because they didn't know what they were dealing with. When the number of dead started to rise into the millions, various national militaries started to mobilise, but their weapons and tactics were no good against enemies like that. They would form massed lines and open up on the dead with artillery, bombers, assault weapons and the like. Stuff designed to cause massive trauma to large groups. But since these weaponns focused on stopping power and wide areas of destruction rather than pinpoint accuracy to destroy the brain, the majority of the ghouls just kept getting up after taking hits that would kill a living human. They swarmed the infantry lines and massacred them. Trillions of dollars worth of military equipment became useless and huge numbers of personnel joined the undead swarms. The majority of casualties died in the first year or two. But by the third or fourth year, that meant billions of them. They outnumbered the living by a huge amount." James recounted the early history of the zombie war with detached objectivity, obviously far more calm and professional than when he described the personal cost of such a plague.
Carmen listened for a moment and nodded. "I see. That's quite unfortunate that such destruction was caused by a string of mistakes. And you were there from the beginning, I presume? And do you think there's any feasible chance that you'll be able to rebuild your society back to the way it was?"
"I was just a regular teenager when the shit hit the fan." James replied, finishing his drink. "About to start college, more interested in hanging out with my friends and girlfriend than any worldwide matters. It wasn't until the plague hit my home city that I really got involved. My older brother Mike had been paying attention to the news of the plague, and started making plans and real preparations to survive. As things got worse he had me and my family start training in the skills we'd need to survive. When the plague came to the south, where we lived, we gathered as many of our family and friends as we could and hit the road. We had everything we could get and we did ok for a time." His expression darkened, and he lowered his voice a little.
"But it couldn't last. Over the course of four years we lost people one by one, sometimes several in a single attack. My friends, my family... it came down to myself and Mike by the end. We... god damn it, I hate talking about this." He stopped and took a deep breath.
"Long story short, by the time the surviving governments got their shit together and deployed their armies effectively, I was the only one left. I was infected, but the virus didn't turn me. I reacted to it somehow, and after being picked up, tested and experimented on by the British military intelligence, I ended up with the enhanced speed, strength and healing abilities that I have now. I joined CEQ division, and several years later, here I am."
He grabbed another bottle of cider before continuing.
"They were actually looking at rebuilding just recently. Before I ended up here, I heard reports on plans for a 'controlled breeding program' amongst the small groups of survivors in each theatre of war."
Carmen took another swig, nodding a bit. Then his brother must've been the one he put down... A shame, indeed. "Interesting... Are there other humans with your abilities in this CEQ division? And 'controlled breeding'? Are they just throwing people into a room and playing 'mood music' to get them started off?"
"None in CEQ, but I hear that there are a few others in various militaries around the world. We're extremely rare though. I'd say single digits." He chuckled, though not with much humour.
"And yeah, they might at least go as far as providing mood music. Its more a case of screening people for infection, as well as certain genetic traits, and producing complex phylogeny models to make sure that there's no chance of inbreeding over the next few generations. Human reproduction is going to be based pretty much on mathematics rather than any kind of natural attraction for quite a long time now if the scientists have anything to say about it. We may have hardened during the war, but the plague has still turned us into farm animals. I don't think many people saw this side of it coming though."
Carmen seemed to shudder a small bit after listening to James explain the situation. "I know that I'm not one to talk, being a succubus and all, but it rubs me the wrong way to know that breeding, even between humans, is forced and completely unemotional. Though I understand the situation demands it..."
She finished off her glass and stretched herself out a bit. "So you're a rare breed, huh? Hopefully they don't decide to use you for the breeding process just for your abilities."
"Hey, don't worry about it. I don't like the idea either. Having said that, I don't actually see the connection between sex and stealing memories anyway. Is it just a lure, or does it have some more vital function?" James asked. On the second point he shrugged listlessly.
"I don't think they'll want to promote the continued existence of the virus in any form. Having said that, they may still want at least one of us for it to find out how the virus would affect any children we could have. They seem to think that we can't infect a partner with the virus, but that might be up for testing too." He drained the bottle in one go and put it back on the bar.
"As long as I'm here, I won't be thinking too much about it. Maybe they'll wait til the war is officially over, and I can just disappear."
Carmen looked up for a moment. "It's mostly as a lure... or more accurately, a hook. After draining someone once... and if they manage to stay alive, a succubus could easily erase or edit memories to insert themselves into more important ones, eventually taking over the person's mind. They'd only think of their seductress and so on, basically becoming a slave to them."
She tilted her head again hearing him talk about disappearing. "Hmm... why would you want to disappear?" She asked, seemingly slightly concerned.
"That does sound pretty sinister." James remarked. "As for disappearing... all kinds of reasons. I'm basically a living weapon now. There's no place for something like that in a postwar society. And after everything I've lost, and everything I've done, I don't know if I could ever fit into a peaceful life again. Of course, I haven't ruled out the possibility that the few virally enhanced humans out there might be rounded up and destroyed after the war, to cleanse every last trace of the virus."
"That's... a bit brutal. As long as they run enough tests, wouldn't they know that you wouldn't spread your virus by living anyway? Just wiping you out just because they didn't have any foresight doesn't make any sense to me." Carmen replied before turning toward him. "You may have done things you've regretted, but I don't see how you can't use that as a way to help live a peaceful life. Remembering those things will help remind you that you got back from Hell to live again, throwing that second chance away seems like a waste."
OOC: Oh shit, the sun is rising...
"Just because it's moronic doesn't mean they won't do it. This is the government we're talking about, remember?" James chuckled before standing up.
"Bringing a piece of Hell back with me is what I'm worried about." He said, tapping his left temple with a finger. "Because that's what my mind is now. A tool forged in hell. If I went crazy or suffered from some kind of vivid flashbacks, there's not a thing that human civilians could do to stop me. But don't worry. I'm not planning on doing myself in or anything, at least not seriously." He stretched and yawned.
"It's really late, we should be getting to sleep. It's been nice talking with you though Carmen. Let's do it again soon, eh?"
OOC: And I am out.
Carmen nodded as she rose out of her seat and waved James off. "It's been a pleasure, James. We'll chat again sometime." Soon enough, the succubus headed off to bed, transforming her wings into a large snake once again.
@Berk: Night dude.
OoC: Okay im back from my nap @Kikre, Want to fight ? also hello gear :D
Gold pulled himself out of bed, groaning from the hangover. Shuffling out of bed and out of his small separate room, he dived into the lake his hotel room held, waking himself up. After that, he pulled himself out of the lake and changed into a military uniform, grimacing at it. Shrugging, he walked out into the hallway for his bedroom, and wandered into the lounge.
Tophat sat in the lounge with closed eyes, deep in thought.
OoC: @Kirke isn't Tophat a, you know, hat?
OoC: @FPS: Tophat has the ability to control humans bodies. Indeed, for much of the time it's been in threads, it has been on top of a Chuck Norris clone. This was back in the silly days of WAOA 2, so the clone can regrow lost body parts, lose obscene amounts of blood and doesn't need to eat or drink. But it is not much stronger than a regular human, and is as squishy. It can survive far more than a human, but cannot fight much longer than one. Also, sorry for the late reply.
Carmen sauntered into the lounge, yawning a small bit as she poured herself a drink at the bar. Yesterday was somewhat interesting. Plenty of new faces to observe...
@Kirke my late replies are not much better.
Gold Had settled into a couch just before Carmen walked in, and waved before pulling out a pokedex. he began screwing around on it, playing angry pidgeys and the like.
Somewhat bored, Carmen eventually looked over Gold's shoulder to watch him mess around with the pokedex. "... So this is what you humans do for fun? Watch balls smash into small structures?" ...This explains a lot about them...
Gold looked up from his game of angry pidgeys, and shrugged. "Mostly distraction, instead of fun. Got nothing else to do, so I fling birds into buildings."
Carmen lazily watched the screen, still uninterested. "So you're doing this for distraction...? then what do you do for fun?"
"Hang out with my team usually. Maybe visit a mall, or something. Not much I can do, military service keeps you busy." Gold explained, putting away his pokedex.