Portal Breach: The Collision of Worlds :: v.4.0


    Slippage of the Eternal Mind

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    Mortis
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    Slippage of the Eternal Mind

    Post by Mortis on Thu Jan 07, 2016 6:54 pm

    Time: 12:00 AM
    Date: December 18, 0006

    Upon the storm’s passing so to did the Dark Judge, his rotted feet passing over snow-covered knolls and meandering through the vast flat expanses of dormant field crops. Should anyone have decided to follow him, it would be simple, for in his wake was an ever present blight that withered the grass into a dry, blackened ruin. A permanent inky stain was left wherever Judge Mortis tread, hidden only by a cover of fresh snow when it managed to fall. Since he had waited out the blizzard, snow tended to come in lighter flurries, dusting his already bleached skull with an icy white frost.

    Every so often his gaze would cast itself upward at the overcast skies, pondering whether it’s gloomy expanse would make good on its threat to send another few inches of snow to try and build upon his host and add further challenges to his trek. Even so, the only way the snow hampered his trek was forcing him to take bigger strides to clear the deep snow that accumulated across the grasslands. Despite the way ice crystallized in his joints and started to draw itself down in frozen fangs from the edges of his skull, the undead lawman could not help but appreciate the way the landscape looked, how silent it became when most of the animals were deep in hibernation’s slumber. Occasionally the rolling white hills were broken up by a sparse grouping of homes, either cabins set up by those looking to get in some good hunting before the year’s end, or farms that were occupied constantly so long as there was a field that needed tending.

    He visited each of them like an embodiment of winter’s biting chill, and sank his claws into their occupants. Two turned to five, to ten, twenty and so on as he continued his trek. Every building a promise of a good purging, each occupant a satisfying kill.

    Though many of them would be far better should they have refused to disperse into code.

    But a kill was a kill, and each iniquitous soul laid to rest was worth the effort, regardless of whether it was permanent or temporary. It merely gave him an opportunity to think, to plan. If these beings were eternal until they decided to be otherwise, what would be the proper punishment for their transgressions? Death did not prevent them from returning to continue their criminal ways. The criminals that teemed within the ghetto’s confines and beyond the ISO’s jurisdiction learned nothing from their demise aside from devising ever more clever means of trying to hide or destroy his host when he came near. Both proved to be foolish in their execution, and all attempts ended only in their deaths, once again.

    Perhaps it would not be far-fetched to decide that this world was beyond help and turn in his badge in favor of fading to another calling. Maybe there was sense in giving up completely and admitting defeat. Judge Mortis pondered this as he briefly paused within a farmhouse, looking over his brothers badge and meticulously polishing the metal until it shined brightly no matter the light that hit it. Yet, as soon as he pondered this option, the reason for coming out here to begin with, something within him said that it was not the path a Judge would travel, a faithful devotee of their laws.

    A Judge would asses the situation and adapt accordingly, they would change what need be to better serve where and what they were enforcing.

    Could he truly say he was a Judge if he simply gave up? Of course not. He and his brothers had not lost faith when Judge Death had went missing, and when rthey were freed they adapted accordingly to what the Mega City had thrown at them.

    They used Psi-Shields, teleporters, they brought Nausea and Phobia to lend their greater power to aid their crusade, they had dabbled in different tactics and experimented with their methods while staying to true to their intent and the care they put into their efforts. at one point they had even attempted to merge Deadworld with Mega City one to regain some much needed power while still continuing on their purge of Mega City One and the world it was situated upon.

    Death Cultists arose and offered aid, if not through the machinery they required for their hosts then it was participating in means of attempting to free them. Certainly, it was easily argued they only wished to free their leader and leave his ‘disciples’ locked away within glasseen. However, their leader always had intended to break them free when he had the ability to do so. After all, organizing a strategy to break back into the vault they had been held in was no easy task, and with how watchful the Judges of that iniquitous world were it would be difficult to try and simply smuggle out all of them from under the noses of an entire building full of Psi-Judges, security stops and armed guards without anyone wondering about something being amiss. While their efforts may not have been all that effective, the amount of security they placed upon their holding cells reflected otherwise.

    Their most recent escape by the hands of Judge Haldaine had, in essence, been a severe stroke of luck. The entire facility had been manned by only four Judges at the time of the Chaos Bug riots as the rest had been pulled away to fight outside, and the rest? It had weighed entirely on the trust that the city’s Judges had in each other. The assumed loyalty to their city that came with carrying a badge.

    Had it been any other time, the plan would have likely failed miserably, and they would have been swiftly returned to containment. Had Judge Death been the one to try and break them out? He would have been swiftly sent back with them all, and it all would have been for naught.

    Stuffed back into an eighty-meter-long plug in the ground, surrounded by a vault on top of a vault, complete with a complete staff of Judges both normal and Psi as icing on the concrete cake.

    No amount of Death Cult cunning could get past that level of security, and given how an attempt to nuke the city had went while they were still contained suggested that sheer firepower was out of the question.

    Would it not be smart to simply wait until one of them was vulnerable for release, or perhaps all of them? As the Dark Judge had pondered this during this lengthy walk, he thought so. It was only by stroke of luck that Judge Death happened to be the one that was available to be released more readily than his lieutenants.

    Would it not make sense that their chief wandered off into the wastelands, to think and reflect after every failed attempt upon Mega City One had come to full realization? It had not been the first time Judge Death had decided to put his goals of bringing justice to Mega City One on the back burner either. He remembered how morose their leader became after the failure of Necropolis, the one large scale plan that seemed sure to succeed, if not for a single Judge who had managed to return, one who should have been long dead. It was odd, how Dredd managed to keep coming and stopped them at every turn. Even in the chaos of all the rioting he managed to find them and destroy each and every one of their hosts, forcing the dark Judge and his brother’s spirits to fly away on the wind until they came across PJ Maybe.

    That name, it left a sour taste in his mouth despite Judge Mortis’ tongue having lost its sense of flavor long ago. The sinner was far more trouble than he was worth, which made it all the more puzzling as to why they had not just possessed him in the first place. Correction, there were two whys as to how PJ Maybe managed to capture them so easily. One of which may as well be dubbed Schrodinger’s Bonfire and the other had left him as the only remaining Dark Judge upon this dimension.

    Though PJ’s name may as well have been a few grains of salt compared to the ire connected to Dredd and Anderson.

    Regardless, one question had still remained, should he, Fire, or Fear have been released and left with not only the monumental task of purging an entire world, but also needing to free his brethren... What would they have done? Certainly, they all would have said they would try and break their brother’s free, but how would they have done it? Would they have waited for an opportunity to break into their vault and steal them all out in one fell swoop, or would they have opted to try and purge Mega City One first so there would be no unforeseen risks upon springing them.

    Judge Mortis knew he would have attempted the former, if placed in such a situation. The city was rife with iniquity, it would only be a matter of time before their Judges dropped their guard somewhere. That somewhere would inevitably be their containment vault sooner or later.

    May it take a year, a decade, a century, he would wait patiently and break them free when a vulnerability presented itself. Given how quickly change tended to set in upon the oddity that was Portal Breach, he likely would only have to wait a few months at the most should anything transpire. Which brought him to another quandary as he continued his trek...

    Why had everything changed so quickly in such a short matter of time? Certainly there was a matter of choice involved, Judge Death was not around to give commands and direct them. This place was nothing they had ever encountered before, but all the same, was that not the case regarding Mega City One as well? Had it not been completely alien to them in all sense of the word, the only grounding point to speak of being that it was an incredibly iniquitous world rife with sin? Judge Mortis had his reasons when he had opted to stay on Deadworld instead of follow Death to new dimensions, but upon travelling there himself, having spent over two decades within the city’s walls... He understood why it needed to be purged, why their Chief Judge had taken on such a task.

    The amount of sin that could be felt within Mega City One’s walls alone was monumental! Millions of teeming, evil thoughts and hearts ripe for purging called for them, who were they to deny them a righteous reprieve? Here it was no different, but the criminality displayed was not easily wiped from the face of this planet, if it could be removed entirely.

    With the addition of a few sinners who seemed to find themselves fascinated with the both of them to the point of -what seemed to look like- genuine care, it added further complications to the mix. Kev and Lunette’s interest in particular was especially strange, albeit appreciated depending on the circumstance. Aside from the Death Cultists, Judge Mortis had not come across sinners that had been so willing to sympathize with them. Yet, they did not hold a articular interest in seeing all life wiped from this planet, or even considered themselves sinful, which ruled out the sort of mentality that a cultist tended to possess.

    When asked why, Lunette had responded that they had reminded her of the two thugs that had been employed in her bar. Misguided, used, set in an abusive relationship of acting the fool to someone they had considered a friend. At the time, he had been inclined to agree. There had been sense to his brother’s laments regarding their missing leader, and he could not help but see what he was seeing as well.

    Every time Death had been let out, he and his brothers were left in glasseen to stew for a while longer.

    Each time Death had been free and possessed a host, he had done nothing to attempt to free them from their prisons.

    They must be the lackeys, the bully-boys, hired muscle meant only to follow orders and ask no questions. After all, it was Judge Death who got all the credit in the end for his schemes, not his lieutenants. Even those that acted as his cultists saw the three of them as mere disciples while Judge Death was elevated to the status of being a god, a messiah. They stroked him and he ate it up all so readily.

    Yet, he failed to stop and consider; when had they ever planned anything? When did they decide to step up and do more than offer suggestions as to what path to possibly take? His brother had started off with a scheme upon coming here, a plan set in mind from the moment his feet touched Portal Breach’s soil. However, just as the pieces were set he suddenly decided to give up.

    The populace could gang up on them, he said. They could see through their plotting and strike where it hurt most.

    When haven’t they? At what point in time had it been that the odds were not against them, when there was no risk of anything going awry and their plans being dashed before them just as they grew near victory?

    The Dark Judge pondered upon this and remembered that things were no longer so simple for his brother. He had grown close to certain parties, vulnerable parties. Kev had many friends that could just as easily turn to numerous enemies, Livewire was technically a child despite her mannerisms and -rather strange- interests. There was Lunette in all of her fluffy, caring behavior, and a few others that Fear had decided to get chummy with. Some of them were sinners, criminal by their laws, others were considered innocent by the same decree, and the rest were...

    They were something, he would give them that.

    Fear had given up his badge because of his brother’s own indecisiveness, his conflict between their laws and doing what was -or what he thought was- the best thing for them as brothers. After all, there was only the two of them, and within the span of a year so much had happened.

    Too much had happened, compared to how they had used to be. A sigh pushed itself from the Dark Judge’s chest as he shambled onward, a warm glow in the distance and a trail of smoke slithering up towards the heavens drawing him.
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    Mortis
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    Re: Slippage of the Eternal Mind

    Post by Mortis on Thu Jan 07, 2016 6:54 pm

    The Dark Judge’s aimless wandering brought him to a cabin as he pondered this, a simple, rustic home flanked by a small swath of snow covered trees. Night had long since fell upon the landscape, and the Dark Judge’s naturally acquired icy outer-shell glinted in what moonlight managed to peek through the passing clouds overhead. From far off he could see the smoke curling from its chimney like a serpent, and the warm glow within suggested that the occupants were still very much awake despite the late hours.

    Occupants, because his skull droned with the soft thudding of heartbeats within, multiple thoughts chattering incessantly. Most of them were human, but a few others were far more simple. Dogs, from the basic interests he managed to read from them. On his approach Judge Mortis settled them where they laid in front of the fireplace, basking in the warmth of the fire’s glow.

    The owners did not find a single thing amiss, not even as they heard a loud knocking upon the door. Recently the Dark Judge found it better to simply have the sinners come to him, posing as a wayward traveler. Upon opening the door, many were too shocked by his appearance to do much of anything to resist his icy touch. The same applied to the sinners within this home.

    ”I’ll get the door, Susan.” Judge Mortis overheard through the door, a quiet hiss escaping his teeth as he patiently waited. ”I insist, dear, you need to rest your sprain.” There was the sound of another attempting to say otherwise, a middle-aged female from the sound of her voice.

    ”Alright, I’ll go get a pot of decaf ready. At this hour they’ll probably be spending the night. For the best, really, it’s awfully cold out..."

    ”Don’t worry about it, rest your leg.” Was the final, kind insistence that the Dark Judge could only assume to be the man of the house gave, before there was a click of the door unlocking and swinging open. Further inside, he could easily make out the sounds of a television program. ”Evening, may I help you--?”

    As he had thought, it was indeed an older man, though he lacked the paunch or feebleness in his body that those in the city tended to posses. In fact he looked very sturdy as he stood at the door, hardly coming up the to the bottom of Judge Mortis’ ribs but looked as though he could pluck up the lawman and toss him right off the front porch if need be. Grey peppered portions of his sandy hair, the start of a receding hairline was visible but not too prominent. His face was hewn with the beginnings of deep wrinkles, smile lines etched to either side of his fuzzy lips. However, there was not a single smile for his visitor, as his bearded face drew itself into a look of sheer horror.

    An impulsive thought to slam the door breached the man’s thoughts, and suddenly an ice-covered set of talons dug themselves into the door, forcing splinters from its wooden surface with a dull snap.

    ”How rude, to think to ssslam the door in the face of a vissitor. You ssshould be asshamed.” He hissed menacingly, ducking down and stepping in. With the light of the house to illuminate his face, ice glistened upon his sheep-skull like glass and warped the light to make his skeletal face look like a twisted, snarling beast. The numerous icicles that hung from the edges of his snout and chin did little to abate the fearsome image.

    ”Good god!” He gasped, shrinking away from the towering figure that took up the whole of his doorframe. "A wendigo--!”

    ”Incorrect!” He barked eagerly, a clawed hand forcing itself straight through the man’s chest. Though not a drop of blood stained his talons, his heart had been rent asunder, and within a second of his final breath he vanished in a cloud of code.

    ”A what? John, who is at the door-- Ohmygod!” The sinner called Susan was, in comparison to the late John, slimmer yet held a certain strength to her form as well from what he could see under the thick woolen blanket that covered her as she reclined on the couch. A pity it would do little to help her. She attempted to get to her feet and run away from the swiftly approaching undead lawman, but only managed to get her feet tangled in the quilt and upset the sprain in her leg.

    Judge Mortis’ movements slowed, claws flexing as if he were savoring the woman’s failed attempt at evading her fate. Ice cracked and fell away from the bones in his tail upon giving an attentive flick. ”You sssinnersss are all alike, running from judgement, refusssing to be purged of your ssinsss.” The Dark Judge hissed, stalking closer until he was looming over her, a clawed foot standing firmly upon the tangled blanket. Unable to crawl any further, Susan could only turn and try to shield herself from the intruder, terror exhumed from her form to the point where he could nearly taste it.”Why not make it easssier on yourssself, come willingly to judgement, Sssusssan.” Taloned fingertips fanned outward and reached for her head, his claws mere inches from touching her dark hair.

    ”Wait! J-just wait a moment!” She managed to stammer, placing a hand between her face and the Dark Judge’s claws.

    Wait? The Dark Judge’s advance paused, but his talons remained where they were. It was tempting to simply bat the woman’s hand away and resume his just task, but he could not help but find himself intrigued at the request. There was nothing particularly outstanding about the sinner, no psychic talents or affinity for the arcane. The nearest gun was in the next room over, stored away in a cabinet under lock and key, from what he gathered from the woman’s racing thoughts.

    Either the two tended to have young grandchildren over, or the couple’s arguments grew more than just a little heated if a gun was lying around in the open.

    Judge Mortis’ gaze remained fixed upon Susan, an impatient hiss snapping from his teeth.”Well?” He urged, leaning closer. ”Have you any lasst wordssss, ? If you are attempting to ssstall me, sssinner, your effortsss will prove fruitlesss.” A taloned hand snapped forward and grabbed her by the collar, pulling her up from her place on the floor to look him in the eye sockets. The other reached back, as if winding up to strike her through the chest.

    ”The crime isss life, and the sssentence isss death--!”

    ”The dogs!” She blurted out, her hands latched onto Judge Mortis’ arm in a death grip. ”I-I’ve been through this before, the whole seven days in a pod when you die. L-look, that’s seven days of my animals being left alone. Who is going to take care of them?” He paused, the request alien compared to what he had heard from the sinners in the ghettos and most of the farmsteads he happened across.

    Then again, he did not give any of his victims time to say much of anything when he got his claws on them.

    ”Dogsss?” He hissed, continuing to humor the woman. His skull turned slightly as he took a glance at the sleeping animals, both still sedated under his spell they slept peacefully on the carpet. ”Your animalsss are no concern of mine, sssinner. They are outssside of my jurissdiction.” That certainly did not stop him from making exceptions at the other homes he visited earlier on.

    Regardless of her sheep-skulled adjudicator’s statement, the woman continued to give her plea all the same. ”Please?  A week is a long time for them to go with no one looking after them. Just let me get to the phone so I can call a friend to look after my dogs, after that you can... kill me.” Dark brown eyes looked up at the Dark Judge pleadingly, and Judge Mortis’ jaw clicked as it shifted in a way the sinner decided to be thoughtful. A few long, torturous minutes passed between them in complete silence. Judge Mortis’ clawed foot remained planted firmly upon the blanket, unwilling to give up his prey just yet. It was too entertaining to watch Susan’s gaze fixate on him, watch her swallow the lump that had grown in her throat and try to fight off his nauseating aura as it burned the inside of her nose and mouth.

    ”Ssss... And who, pray-tell, would you be calling at thisss hour?” He hissed, ”Many are asssleep, no one would be able to come aid your dogsss until morning.” Perhaps the old woman knew some night-owls who were also very understanding good-samaritan, but experience told him that this was a poor sinner-trick in the making.

    Susan seemed to realize it as well, her expression turning from that of a person pleading for him to listen, to sheer dread. Although that did not seem to stop her from trying to claw her way out of her self-dug grave. The Dark Judge observed her racing thoughts, the beginnings of a scheme coming to mind. Typical of these criminal types, they were always trying to find a way to weasel themselves out of his righteous grip. ”W-well, I--”

    The Dark Judge quickly cut her off before she could say another word. ”Sssilence, sssinner. You have sstalled me long enough, and it isss time I carry out your ssentence.” He hissed, jaws clicking with every utterance. "...But, I am not a heartlesss being, once you have passsed on, I ssshall take good care of your animalsss for your return." Ice encrusted talons curved and gently cupped the woman’s cheek, his tone sickly sweet. In the same motion his other hand slammed itself through her ribs, gripping her heart and quickly setting to work on rotting her from the inside out.

    Within seconds she had dispersed into a cloud of 1‘s and 0‘s, the only sounds lingering within the cabin’s walls being that of an ad playing on the nearby television and the occasional muffled ‘woof’ of one of the dogs sleeping next to the fireplace. They too soon followed their owner as per the Dark Judge’s agreement, the earlier settling spell placed upon their minds leaving them blissfully unaware as death took hold of their furry bodies.

    His duties within this home completed, The Dark Judge helped himself to the now empty sofa. The cushions accepted him happily despite how the owners had greeted him, sinking with his weight from age and use. Empty eye sockets glanced over to the discarded blanket and plucked it up from the floor, shaking out the remaining code that lingered within its folds before they disappeared entirely. It was swiftly folded and placed on the seat next to him, the idle droning on the television forgotten until the brassy sound of a late night show’s intro came on.

    ”’Evening ladies and gents! It’s your late night host Carl Singerman for the Singerman Show, broadcasting live from Portal City!”

    The Dark Judge’s snout swiftly turned in the direction of this new voice, his talons curling as if expecting a fresh soul to sentence having suddenly materialized in front of him. However, the evident lack of readable thought and usually present thudding of a heartbeat settled his nerves, but not by much. Even if he could not hear the host’s thoughts, the sound of a voice coming from a living person was enough to register that there was a sinner, somewhere, that was in desperate need of purging sitting outside of his reach.

    The racket of his cheering audience only added to it. Instead, Judge Mortis sought out the remote and dialed down the volume to a more manageable level while he searched the device for the button that switched the broadcast off. In the background, the voice of what he could only assume to be the aforementioned Carl was greeting his fans and making a show of himself on stage on the way to his desk.

    ”Hello, hello, hello! It’s good to see you all tonight, and speaking of nights, it’s already the 18th. That leaves only a week left until the holiday comes around, can you imagine?”

    At once Judge Mortis’ host snapped to attention in his seat. Had it really been that long since he had left the city? Quickly the Dark Judge managed to locate the power button and Carl Singerman blinked off the screen mid ramble. He remembered leaving for the grasslands on the eighth, he remembered counting the sunrises and sunsets. Once again he looked to his clawed hands and started figuring once again how many times he had managed to see morning and evening during his trek.

    Yet each time he counted it seemed to be far less time than Carl’s smiling mug had informed him.

    Perhaps it was the dreary weather he encountered, dark clouds thick enough to blot out whether it was night or day that threw him off. He had wandered into plenty of snow storms during his wandering, and while they did not seem like much of a deterrence to his eternal spirit, they lasted long into the daylight hours. Ten days he had been out here, walking, sentencing anyone he came across, and thinking. To imagine that he had grown so deep in his thoughts as to lose track of how long he had been out in the wilderness was... actually very predictable. Despite this, he knew he had told his brother he would only linger out in the snow-covered hills for a few days. If he had kept to his word he would have already returned, he would have made his way back to the city and told his brother whether he was ready to retire or not.

    He still did not have the answer for his initial question. Instead he was wrestling with other concerns, matters that sank their fangs into his psyche and refused to let go. He needed more time to think, to consider his path.

    Yet, the Dark Judge knew to keep his brother in the dark would be unfair. So far as he knew, the last real thing Fear may have held to a possible return date was his self-reminder to return and see him during the holiday. Judge Mortis could not return without making his decision, for what sort of undead would he be if he came back just as indecisive as he had left? A Judge made lasting decisions, they knew when to make a judgement call. When they did, they followed through with it, refusing to go back. Clawed fingertips rose to his temple, massaging the slowly melting ice upon his temples. He would need to tell him he could not return just yet, regardless of the ire it would bring his way. It would be irresponsible to keep wandering with his brother left to wonder if he would return.

    It was a lesser evil compared to what returning without an answer to his own inquiry would bring, to both himself and his brother.

    Steeling himself, the Dark Judge lowered the mental blockade he had set up, although he knew better than to allow his brother to see all of what he had been pondering. Being upfront was an admirable trait, but at this time it was prudent to keep matters unseen - especially the sensitive ones. Justly so, the sheep-skulled lawman refrained from prying into his brother’s thoughts. The only thing Fear would detect upon their link was a message cast in Judge Mortis’ unnatural chill, its delivery was direct and carried an air of authority suiting one of his designation.

    Fear, I mussst inform you that I will not be able to return for the holidaysss ass I planned. I need more time to think. In time you will sssee me again, but an exact date cannot be given.

    His message sent and with it his responsibility for the evening completed, the Dark Judge decided it time to move on from his brief rest. There was still plenty to consider, to ponder upon. Old bones creaked and crackled as he stood up from his seat, each of the lights within the cabin snuffed out one-by-one until the entire home was dark.

    Then, like a thief in the night, he was gone.




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