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November 29th, 2023

Null 15th, The 456th year of the Current Millenia (CM)

You feel the sting of the needle stabbing into your tongue and the sweet release of combat stimulants into your bloodstream. Your augmented neuromuscular system whirring to life as it feeds on its chemical fuel source. A surge of energy for a supercharged machine of death. A body of violence.

A body vibrating in the back of an APC. A Malfeasance BEHEMOTH.

Blood fills your mouth as you pull the thick needle out and drop it to the floor.

You bite down on your tongue, squeezing as much sensation out of the wound as you possibly can.


It hurt.

You like that it hurts. The hurt makes you feel good.

But it wasn’t enough.

It was never enough.

You fish through your front pouch for just one more. One last jolt to set your nervous system on fire.

You stick your tongue out, snake-like, dripping blood down your chin. Another sweet sting. Another dose of adrenal joy. You want it. You hold the injector out like an ice pick, ready to be stabbed straight into the icy core of your body.

A hand quickly wraps itself around your wrist. Constricting it. Stopping you.

“Think that’s enough, mate.”

The hand belongs to your friend, standing tall in front of you, statuesque and fearsome.

“Don’t want ya burnin’ out your noggin’ before the fun starts.”

A small part of you, the weak part, likes to think that she cares about you.

The other part of you, the one holding the injector, wants her to do terrible things to you.

Her name is Flower Boy.

Okay, you manage to say with your idiot tongue out. You hand your last stim over to her and she pockets it in one of her pouches. You feel good listening to Flower Boy.

And then you hear another voice speak.


“Now, I’m all for our pal having a good time, obviously,” says the smooth, easy voice. “But it was getting a bit too much, even for me.”

That voice also belongs to a friend of yours. You like this friend, you like that he cares about you and you like that he always wants you to feel good.

He’s also extremely good at making new holes in people you’ve never met before. And he can do it from further away than you.

His name is Orphan-Maker.

“It's gettin’ worse, Johnny.” Flower Boy says, the muscles in her neck tensing. “They’ve never taken this much before. Not all at once at least.”

“I don’t blame them.” Orphan-Maker sighs. “I had to take two daggers for this one.”

A combat stimulant stabbed into your neck like a dagger. All mercenaries took it.

The drug boosts reflexes and reaction time, blunts pain, increases strength and speed. The works.


That was what the label said on the dagger. The name of the rainbow you kept chasing.

Most demons would take one or two. Maybe more if they needed it.

You aren’t most demons. Not anymore.

You’ve had a dozen. Empty daggers littered around your feet like corpses in a killing field.

The biomechanical system you sometimes think of as your body was designed to absorb FURY by the truckload. If you have a limit, you haven’t found it yet. Maybe you didn’t have one.

Your friends are worried about you. Really worried. Taking that much FURY all at once was dangerous.

As if your augmentations didn’t already rip your fragile mind and nervous system into ribbons.

Not that you cared. Or at the very least, you weren’t able to care anymore.

Should that worry you? Shouldn’t you be more concerned?

Shouldn’t you care about not being able to care?

No, stop thinking, stop thinking, It doesn't matter. It hasn’t mattered for a long time now.

Not to you.

And not to the person who had you augmented.

You try to tell your friends that you’re fine. One more dagger of FURY isn’t going to hurt.

But you can’t find the right words. They feel heavy and strange, as if a copy of you was trying to speak them out into the world and failing.

You can see yourself outside of your own body. Your consciousness lingers in front of your eyes, looking back in. You were silent, puppeting the meatsuit, watching yourself do things.

Everything looks too fast and too slow. You move your hands in front of your eyes and watch as they trail behind. Like a rainbow.

You can see your own face, and it doesn't look right. You don’t recognize who this person is. This is a stranger and it scares you.

Something’s wrong.


“I’m just worried about them, ya know?” Flower Boy says. She’s looking at you blink into empty space, biting your own bloody tongue and waving your hands in front of your face. “It’s like they’re barely even there anymore.”

“Yeah, I know, Daisy, I know…” Orphan-Maker puffs on his cigarette. “Listen, Fruit Cake is probably just feeling a little… understimulated right now. How about you help them with that?”

Fruit Cake.

You always liked that name.

“Understimulated, huh?” Flower Boy reaches over and holds you under your jaw. She turns you over, looking at your eyes. “How ‘bout some calibrations? Would that make ya happy, Fruity?”

You want to say the words ‘Yes please thank you for helping me you’re extremely pretty and I care about you’

Instead, your maw opens and the words fuck me up stumbles out.

“Want me to fuck ya up, Fruity?”

You nod your head rapidly.

“Can do,” she smiles. It’s wide and toothy and reminds you of a chainsaw you once sat on.

Flower Boy clenches her fists tight, her massive arms like machines designed to only dispense violence.

The only thing bigger is the missile launcher mounted on her shoulder and plugged directly into her nervous system. It was impressive and expensive.

But you always liked her biceps more.

She slings her knuckles towards your face. A face begging to be smashed apart.

But you don’t let it happen, sadly. That’s not part of the game.

Instead, you dodge. Her tender fist sailing by your head. A part of you sighs. You’re not sure which part it is.

Her punches come in bunches. She throws one after the other. Quick. A flurry of fury. Slicing through the air.

You feel the muscles in your neck twitch, your head moves in just the right angles to dodge her blows, placed perfectly in the empty spaces of her attack.

You feel sad. You want her to touch you.

“Lords below,” Orphan-Maker smiles and takes a long drag of his cigarette. “Look at the two of you go.”

He inhales a lungful of smoke and shoots it out of his nose. Orphan-Maker’s always relaxed and easy going, it's what you like about him.

And then you see it. The moment he stops relaxing.

It starts with his fur on the back of his neck standing up, then his pupils shrinking to pin-pricks as his ‘gut feeling’ kicks in. A shiver runs through the entire length of his body.

He sees something he doesn’t like.

“Woah, woah, woah, wait,” Orphan-Maker drops his cigarette in a panic. “Daisy you’re about to hit them!”

She listens. She knows better than to ignore his ‘gut feeling.’ But her fist was already in motion. After you dodged this last attack, no more would follow from her. Void.

It was unacceptable.

You don’t dodge. You just wait.

Flower Boy’s gentle, loving fist makes contact with your cheek. Your head whips to the side and blood sprays into the air.

A part of you feels horrified.

Another part feels euphoria.

“FUCK!” she swears. You always like it when she swears. ”Come on, ya did that on purpose ya bloody drongo!”


You don’t say anything, too dizzy and awestruck to speak. Instead, you look up at her and smile, your teeth stained red.

Orphan-Maker sucks in air through his teeth and grimaces. “You alright, Fruit Cake? Daisy didn’t knock an eye out did she?”

“Nah, don’t think so.” Flower Boy leans down and gives you a careful once over. “Peepers still in their sockets.”

“A tooth?”

She sticks her fingers in your mouth and opens your jaw. You feel your entire body sing.

“Nuh uh, all accounted for.”

“Phew.” Orphan-Maker slumps his shoulders down and leans back. “Well, that’s good at least.”

“… That said, I think that was a lot more ‘stimulation’ than we bargained for, Johnny.”

“What do you mean?”

She points to you. To the blush spreading slowly across your face.

Orphan-Maker blinks. “Oh.”

You imagine what you must look like to her, a sappy lovey dovey mess looking up with puppy dog eyes. Drunk with pain and infatuation. You lick your lips and your teeth, tasting your own blood.

Flower Boy watches you. You think you see her blushing.

There is so much you want to tell her. Words you’re struggling to put together coherently.

In the end you only manage two.

Again. Please.

Flower Boy stops. Thinking.

She looks to her left at Orphan-Maker who only gives a shrug. “You know what makes them happy, Daisy.”

“Yeah, guess I do.” Flower Boy wraps her other hand around your neck, her palm on the base of your skull, bringing you closer to her. She called this position a ‘single collar tie.’ You like this position.

“Just one more,” She says in a whisper, gentle. “One more to give ya a nice bloody nose. Would ya like that, Fruity?”

You nod, or at least you think you do. You might have just drooled more blood down your neck. Whatever it is you did, you see her draw her fist back, her biceps bulging as she readies herself to fuck open the soft flesh on your skull wide, wide–



She stops.

“Don’t indulge them until the job’s done,” the commanding voice says. “You’ll make them dull, otherwise.”

The voice belongs to the man who’s driving the BEHEMOTH you think you’re in. He squeezes the steering wheel and keeps his eyes on the desert ahead of him.

This man is your leader. He’s also your friend.

His name is Hostage-Killer.

“Oh fuck off, Leo. I was in a good mood.” Flower Boy shoots Hostage-Killer a glare. “And don’t ya use that voice shit on me, I ain’t afraid of ya.”

“I know,” Hostage-Killer says, eyes never leaving the sandy dunes in front. “I just wanted to get your attention.”

“Aw come on,” Orphan-Maker says. “What’s wrong with Daisy giving them one more?”

“I said: Not until we’re done,” Hostage-Killer says, glancing back at Orphan-Maker. “And callsigns only while we’re on an op.”

Orphan-Maker rolls his eyes. “Whatever you say, Killer.”

Oh right, that’s why you’re here.

You were hoping that you were in the APC because you and your friends were going to that nice restaurant in the Upper Artery, the one with the spicy blood noodles you like and the corpse flowers by the entrance.

But no. It was a mission. Which, in this case, means “fetch.”

And “fetch,” means “fetch for Malphas.”

Malphas… You drone out.

You may occasionally think the wires and synthetic muscles under your skin are your friends, but you’re under no illusion that the relationship between you and your employer is anything but transactional.


You serve her. She pays you. She pays your friends. She gives you free drugs. She gives you people to kill.

You like those things.

You just don’t like her.

What needs to die. You feel the FURY boiling in your veins. Ready.

“Nothing.” Hostage-Killer says. “This is a snatch and grab, remember?”

Snatch and grab means ‘fetch.’

Orphan-Maker scoffs. “Yeah, the hottest snatch and grab in Inferno.”

“Hope so,” Flower Boy checks her gun. “Last couple of assignments have been waaay too quiet.”

Where’s the package? The words hang limp from your mouth, as you stare out of a window that wasn’t actually there. You didn’t need a window to know where you were going.

The Gate of Blood, the entrance to the Seventh Circle. The place former mortals get dropped off after their corpses hit the ground and shit themselves.

Fear. You can smell the fear ahead of you. It was lit up like a sea of stars. Far away from the megacity of Violence. In the desert of Sodomy.

The Gate. You didn’t mean to answer your own question.

“At least you remember some of the mission brief.” Hostage-Killer sighs, his eyes glued straight ahead. Towards the screeching sounds of murder and terror. To the Gate.

“I fucking hate Gate missions.” Orphan-Maker runs his hands through his fur. “It's always a complete shitshow.”

“Oh yeah, a real ripper time,” Flower Boy licks her lips, you could hear her blood pound with anticipation. “Gonna be fun.”

“You and I have very different ideas of ‘fun’, Flower Boy.” Orphan-Maker smirks. “Getting shot and blown up while going deaf isn’t my idea of a good time, no?”

“S’all right, Orphan.” Flower Boy smiles back. “Gettin’ shitfaced and stumbling around the Second Circle without my trackies on ain’t my idea of a good time either.”

“I- hey! That only happened once!”

Flower Boy laughs. You always liked the way she laughs. It’s vicious and full of love. Just like she is. You stare at her, as you always do.

Within moments you feel yourself slipping into a timeless void where nothing else exists but the both of you. You trail your eyes over every inch of her, from her pretty orange eyes to the gentle waves of her hair, her warm breasts to her fierce arms. You burn every micron of Flower Boy into yourself.

You try your best to hold her in your mind as long as you can.

“ETA five minutes. Helmets on, crowns off.” Hostage-Killer says.

You blink and the moment passes. Soon enough, everyone will strap their helmets on and the little flames above their heads will be extinguished. There's no time for joy. The mission, as always, comes first.

It’s time. You sigh. But not too loudly.

Orphan-Maker notices – or at least you think he does– and turns to you with a gentle smile and his cigarette box in his hand. “Want one before we go?”

You tried getting addicted to smoking once, but sadly, it never took. You always needed something harder, something meaner. But you always appreciate how much he tries to share with you anyways.

Your hand opens and signals to Orphan-Maker to toss a cig to you. He does, and you see it trail through the air. Quick and slow.

When you grab it, you place the entire stick of chemicals into your mouth and swallow.

You catch one last smirk on the marksman’s face before his helmet slips on. “You’re such a freak, you know that Fruit Cake?”

Flower Boy was next, putting her own helmet on. “Bein’ a freak ain’t such a bad thing, Orphan. I think it makes Fruity special.”

Special. She thinks you’re special. You want to be special. You want to be her special little freak. You want her to say nice things about you just as much as you want her to say mean things about you.

You hold your own helmet up. You still don’t recognize the person you see reflected in the red mirrored visor. It was you but not you. A copy of you that was strange and distorted.

It was wrong.

But the moment you put the helmet on and see from outside your body, you recognize yourself.

This was your face. Your real one.

It’s you.


Your name is

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