Dusk laid its colors across the horizon, painting it and the city of Angelus before it in hues of golden reds and deep majestic purples. Rows of industrial construction yards layered across Delta Sector intermixed with business and as yet to be disclosed halfway-constructed buildings. A particular flat rested nearby, its iron girders protruding from the beige walls of concrete, showing its young age, construction equipment surrounding it like a nest.

A set of vulpine ears flicked about, the lowering sun beaming across open windows and betwixt iron and stone to pierce the eyes of the Clade, nestled within, enclosed within his jacket. A long yawn displayed sharp canines, and as with any awakening routine, he blinked away sand, rubbing at his eyes. The blackened fur centered on his face slowly faded into the reds and orange.

He frowned as he finally looked across the construction yard, pulling his jacket tightly against himself as the cold winds from the ocean seemingly drifted across the air to enforce the nights chill. His eyes focused and he peered at a point not far from him. The yard sat on the south side of 160th and Downing St. directly across from a chain-linked fence that marked the border of a train yard. A small hole had been cut nearby, closest to the shadow of a nearby foundation, an entrance for small time smugglers and, of course, hackers.

init Deus.Sprite
import Deus.String;
import Deus.ImageData;
public class StorageLog{

   listLogContainer=new String();
   this.addEventListener(Event.ADDED_TO_STAGE, addLogContainer);

Private function addLogContainer(e:Event):void{
   logText.text = log;
   log.text=”8/17/2130 – 2000 Hours”;
   log.text=”Good Evening Jaden. Tracers Import Export currently closed for business.”

“Good Evening Deus,” Jaden replied, “Anything in the perimeter between us and the Tai Young Medical Facility?”

*for simplicity, we shall simply forgo the rest of the programming style of conversation for the more traditional amongst you meat-bags.*

-No detection of humanize movement throughout the station. -No detection of animal security. -No detection of Clade movement.

“Speech pattern still overly complex, need to nest targets together in order to conserve time for more precise functions.” Jaden thought, batting away a few clumps of dirt from his pants. “Proceeding with current operations. Continue to log security systems at my discretion.”

If anyone else knew the inner workings of the young Clade, they’d understand the oddities that would consist of his overall design. Conversing with inner logic and artificial intelligence was certainly not common amongst the average Clade, or even that of the average human. Then again, Angelus was not a city known for its averages.

Quickly moving in the little daylight that was left, Jaden pressed himself against the wall of the foundation, alongside the fence and paused a moment, eyes closed to the world as he focused on the signals surrounding him. As always the first thing he noticed were the simple binary calls of basic transmission signals -filtered- the hex code of higher systems -filtered- the general musings of A.I. as they ran about their basic programmed routines -filtered- and of course the more defined signals of the rail monitoring system itself –unlocked-.

Opening his eyes once more, he was satisfied to know that no train was scheduled to arrive or depart due to construction, and after taking a few moments to check his equipment he was dashing through the hole and across the packed train yard; shadows secreting Jaden in as the sun itself finally descended below the horizon helping to aid him on his way into the business district.

He’d never attempted the facilities that were considered closest to the Omega Sector. The bands had always warned about its risk versus reward, but recent buzz had tripped the wire, alerting him and others that a recent facility had been plagued with security failures. If a hit was made now, the valuable medicinal information hidden within would still be accessible. It was first come first serve, and if enough people were willing to brave it, there would be complications.

Pausing for a moment, he observed Omega’s protective wall, knowing full well the tales about the guards who’d patrol it, those who were still there, and others who may very well vanish this night. Information on it was nested deeply within protective firewalls and security monitoring systems. Many of which he circumvented, but even then, they proved a challenge. What little information he could obtain spoke of the unknowns, and of specialists commissioned by the city for the removal of said unknowns. The idea of an unknown discomforted him, all things had logic behind it, even the discrepancy amongst mages, and espers as noted in research, had a sound reasoning when viewed by higher academics. But these unknowns, these unanswerable, it had to be laughable fiction.

Here back in the present, he observed as a few security drones would roll by, and with a small change of directive, they’d conveniently miss a shadow here with their cameras and spotlights, or ignore an alley there. The diminutive Clade scampered about, streetlights and falloff from buildings the only source of illumination.

Soon enough the Karolinska Institutet Research Facility was well within his sights, its lights off and all evidence of security none existence, at least it seemed so -Senses Scanning-. Data filled the air before his very eyes, wireless signals broadcasting security information from electronic locks, cameras, even the occasional perimeter drone.

-Statement- “Facility security has been tampered with.”

“I can see that.”

-Caveat-“Possibility of previous intrusion, data already compromised.”

“Lower level seems quiet,” Jaden paused a moment, drifting along wires to different external security cameras, “Sign of entry on the dark side of the building, and it leads to the elevator doors, but no evidence of an exit point.”

-Appraisal-“Currently no data transfers detected, nor tampering with servers on sub-level two.”

“May not have gotten in then.” He made his way along the building perimeter, spotting an open window, a busted crowbar nearby, “Security systems to the windows are offline. They could have just unlocked the clamps and opened it, simpletons.”

As he crawled over the window sill, a shiver ran through him, ending in his gut. He paused, catching his breath and steadying his nerves. Rare was it for him to feel this way, usually logic dictated over such instinctual reactions, but now and again, his instincts would win out.

-Statement-“Cameras are all deactivated. Elevator doors unlocked.”

“And propped open,” finished Jaden, observing the doors as he did his best to push away that cold feeling. He knelt before them, observing the bar that propped it open and a series of faint chem-lights marking a path to the sub levels, alongside a ladder. “Crude, but enlightening.”

-Querying-“Chemical Light. Green.” –Reply-“Chemical Light has an expectancy of four hours. At its brightest for the first hour, before its composition begins to break apart, thus losing lamination.”

“Indeed, these have been around for about an hour, give or take a few minutes,” he swung around the shaft, clinging onto the ladder.

One, two, three, four, five chem-lights passed before his feet settled upon the lowest floors with a dull tap. The dim green of the lights illuminating the open doors which led to the buildings servers, rows of LEDs peppering the darkness like minuscule stars of greens, reds, and blues.

"No one's here?" muttered Jaden.

A corner cam flickered and turned on, its lenses highlighting the room with a green tinge as vision enhancements were activated. Jaden himself stayed crouched within the shaft as he surveyed the room. The camera panned, revealing nothing suspicious at all.

"Well damn," he cursed, shaking away the effects wireless sensing, "Allowing so many blind spots, it's as if they want someone to steal everything."

Pulling himself up onto the floor proper, he began to move silently throughout the rows, hands running along each server as his mind sifted through data.

-Question-"Proof of break in. No sign of further tampering. Possibility of early extraction?"

"No," he thought to himself, "No, they can't have left so soon. Check for any bypasses in the server systems themselves."

-Response-"Server systems contain no beneficial information. Server Three-One-Three itself is in accessible."

“Could have removed the blades for secure storage, it would make sense… I should give them more credit." Jaden mused, running a hand along said server. An almost indiscernible echo could be heard coming from within, his ears twitched and he knocked upon it. "Hello world. What have we here?"

Gently running his hands along each side, padded palms brushing along screws and braces, he felt an indentation. Fiddling around with it, he felt the front panel itself shift, and slowly give way. Tips of his fingers brushed along dents and scrapes, signs of force. As the panel finally swung open, he peered into it and grinned, ladder rungs greeting him with its show of its once hidden lower level.

Depressing was the first thing that came to mind as he illuminated the barren hallway with a minute LED. The hallway continued for a few meters, ending at a door. It was open.

The door eased open quietly, the vulpine Clade sliding along the floor, only pausing at the sight of the rest of the room itself. A few servers hummed softly, but even they were nothing compared to the vault that rested behind them, embedded into walls of hospital white paneling, all grayed out by the lack of proper illumination.

"Perfect," he churred softly, tail wagging at the expectation of data gold. Each server seemed untouched, fans humming away, lights flickering.

-Warning-"Central unit tampered with as of 2015.

"Thirty minutes?" he placed a hand upon the central server, sifting through the 0's and 1's. A small minute fracture in the logic loop attracted his senses and he shifted it, opening its nested information and peering within. "Vaults open?"

He frowned, even these servers wouldn't prove to be its weight in credits, but the vault, if someone else had already accessed it. Stowing the pessimism, he moved up to the vault and slid it to the side, its weight making progress slow for the little Clade.

At once he nearly doubled over, a hand clasped over his snout as rancid fumes forced their way, causing eyes to tear up, and body to retch.

"That explains it," he forced is body to calm itself, "Rotted meat in a hospital research facility, power trouble in the sub level most likely, disabled or destroyed wiring to the refrigeration system, it has to be it."

He smiled, as best he could. The logic was sound, a research lab would need specimen of some kind, animal perhaps, that would be considered par for the course, human cadavers, it would make sense. If it was this low, undocumented and vaulted, it had to be something more than just a simple cadaver.

LED held high above his head, he stepped around the vault door and froze. He nearly swallowed the light trying to keep himself from screaming. Instinctual reactions forcing his body to almost convulse at the sight of, some thing, he couldn't tell. Spitting out the light, the minuscule bulb rolled across the floor, white light slowly turning into a dark red, throwing its shades all across the floor.

It was dark, it was darker than even the blackest of the nights he slept through out in the Rho sector. Tendrils slid about, pockmarked with odd whites, dimpling all along its rippling, sounds like the unfurling of a sticky roll filled the air as the dark coiled and uncoiled, its mass creating a suctioning like sound came with the abrupt spatter.

Jaden had found the previous hacker, what was left of him at least, being released from a the darks cold tender caresses.

Jaden had felt true fear twice before, once at the sight of his neighboring cellmate and sister as the viral nano plague liquefied her, and a second time before the snap of a forty-five opened his mind to the world around him.

This was not fear, he knew fear, it was a sense of things around him, of past, present, and future. This was terror, unbridled and unknown to him until now. Now he felt his body shiver, he felt his body sweat. This thing before him, he couldn't believe it, even the camera still untapped by hackers seemed have the common sense to disbelieve it, its view a wall of static. It would almost be laughable now, AI having the sense to turn a blind eye to the impossible. It was not so funny to the Clade as he slowly fell back, putting as much distance between it and himself. The door of the vault hit his back and in a panic he blindly gripped for its handles, stopping its slow progression as it worked its way, the squeal of tumbling gears like the call of the fabled reaper.

"Oh no," came the gentle whisper.

A slurry of sound was the response, the coiled mass shooting out at the vault door and ensnaring it in its grip, slamming it back and forth. The heavy metal knocking the Clade away.

   -|||- //Error Error
   -|||- //Error Error - Unknown - Data Search
   -|||- // Deus System Init
   >-Deus- Initiating Emergency Query

Flipping onto his belly, Jaden scampered across the ground and out the door, tears squeezing from his eyes in silent pain as the tip of his tail met the angry jaws of the vault, tearing away fur.

"Deus, send all visual data onto the net." he whimpered, rolling onto his back and nursing his tail tip in his hands. He frowned as the door tore of its hinge and folded into itself. That wretched smell hit the room tenfold, causing what little was in Jaden's stomach to come spilling out onto the floor.

He heaved, gulping down air as he spun around, scampering like a wounded animal back towards the hall, back towards the ladder and its only point of escape. The sound of the thick ichor like darkness behind him continued, he knew, he saw it every time he looked back, that thing hitting his vision, and from there projected wildly across any network that he could access.

Open networks everywhere were suddenly bombarded with the visual image of the writhing mass, those dotted whites folding over and over, in upon itself. Viewers watching their daily show would only be annoyed at the loss of network and some cheesy horror flick replacing it. Computer users would find their files suddenly being overloaded with video, audio, and still shots, racking up gigabytes worth of data as the uncompressed images where roughly forced into databanks and hard drives.

In the central most district of Angelus a building’s firewalls stood firm against the unorganized mass of incoming information. Curses from computer techs could be heard as they streamlined the incoming data, sifting it together before a clear image was thrown up upon multiple screens. A moments pause came from the viewers before the entire building itself seemed to explode with life, sirens and red lights blinking all across its borders as personal moved out.

The Karolinska Institutet rippled with electronic life, lights flashed and flickered all throughout the facility as the small little Clade within scampered about, peering behind him to watch as the server tunnel he'd just come out of cracked and unfolded, tendrils bending the composite material with ease.

"Not far," he pleaded to himself, hoping to convince his mind that all would be fine, "The elevator."

Fingers soon grasped the ladder rungs and quickly he began scampering up the ladder, skipping rungs as that horrid sound of filth continued to grow louder and louder. He couldn't help but smile as the first floor came into view, his arms stretching out to find purchase as he pulled himself onto the floor, kicking out at the bar that propped the doors open, allowing himself to take a moments respite.

It was a stupid moment, a moment when logic dictated he should have kept running. His breath caught in his throat as the doors burst open. A giant white bulbous orb peered at him, its center coalescing together into an impossible shape, the bastardization of a pupil peered at him, paused in a moment as though confused as to what it was looking at.

He didn't care to ask it anything, the loud cry of wheels upon rails filled the air as the elevator came to life, and in a sickening spatter of black ichor, the white bulb burst like a cancerous infection, the weight of the elevator smashing down upon it as safety locks and cables were released. It wasn't going to stop it, he knew that. He believed those unknowns now in the report, their persistence, and the terror that they instilled in others.

His senses began to force the computers around him to boot on, over-clocking the mainframe as the sound of a raging nightmare echoed from within the shaft. A tendril, soon followed by another, came out of the door, but he was ready, already standing by the open window. As it came into view, blacker than any black he'd seen in his life, as though even the light shunned its existence, he activated all the fire sprinklers.

Water rained down from the ceiling, as over-clocked computers, monitors, and electronics buzzed loudly, spitting sparks, all fail safes denied as a burst of electricity raced across the drenched floor, sparking across the living void. The whites along its body shriveled and burst, a cry of pain erupted outwards with a shock wave, sending the Clade out the window.

Jaden rolled, clutching his side; caked in dirt and gravel, he looked back towards the open window to see the frantic dance of shadows in the sparking light.

-Warning-"Imminent arrival of Angelus Specialist."

-Suggestion-"Vacate the immediate area before arrival."

Jaden merely nodded to the inner goings of his mind, adrenaline pushing him to his feet and allowing him to sprint back towards the shadow of surrounding buildings. Soon enough he was hidden away from prying eyes as he watched an Ops transport pass overhead. Figures exited the craft quickly, some big, others not so much. All seemed to be directing their operations towards the building itself.

He had to fold his ears, the shriek of the thing painful as it exited from all sides of the building, splashing along the ground, a living tidal wave with a purpose, and it seemed to be extremely attuned to where Jaden was, rushing in his direction.

A burst of automatic fire spattered along its flank, the thing squealing as it reconsidered its prey. Shifting a tendril and whipping out to slap away the offender who deftly slid out of its way, the tentacle suddenly frozen in place as a magician waved a hand, ice encapsulating it before shattering.

"We've a class three here," came the coms chatter as Jaden focused. "Its had quite a shock to the system, get the tams to spread out and contain. Eve?"

"On it!" came a reply.

Another building across the street from Jaden lit up as a high powered rifle arced what seemed to be a bolt of lightning through the air, smashing into the ichor head on, splitting along its center to create a blossoming flower of blackened flesh and pulsing grime.

"Keep it pinned, maser fully armed, I'm initiating a high level blast." A mech crouched, bracing itself as it held its arm out, a glow emanating from the tip before releasing a massive volley of energy. Its light smashing away the dark and sending it back to whatever could create such impossibility.

Jaden stared, almost in awe at the raw power, and a sense of relief filled him along with the sudden fatigue and hunger from running and loss of what little he had already eaten.

"Central here, we've got the visuals showing your position in combat, it seems to be coming from-"

"No!" a burst of wireless commands rushed central, many of the previous computers hit before hand adding to the DDOS as zombie programs activated, acting to the digital tidal wave. If any could see the wireless world, it would have been as though the ocean itself rose up to meet Angelus.

"Sonavabitch!" central shouted, comms garbled in static, "Its hammered the system, we've lost all visual and audio!"

Jaden fell back, taking in large gulps of air as he calmed his already aching mind. His head throbbed, having never put so many commands out at once.

"Never… again," he muttered, "Not those things, not here, I won't stand for such incalculable existence."

He rolled onto his belly and began crawling slowly towards a nearby ladder. Evading the search teams that swept through the alleys. He observed his hunters, their armor, their markings. XSWAT proudly stamped upon armor and sleeves. Humans and Clades alike working together to secure the district.

"How about that," he had to smile, finding a small light after all the darkness he encountered, "So there are those willing to take us in as more than just lower class."

He frowned as his stomach rumbled, it was painful, and he hardly had any digital info to trade in. Then again, after what he witnessed, he'd be afraid to allow anyone else have access to such information.

Thus into the night, a lone Clade folded into the shadows as he made his way alone and hungry, but with a keen appreciation for his life, and those who were willing to stop a nightmare brought from along the darkest of fiction.

"XSWAT… you intrigue me," he chuckled, mind once again swimming through applications and background data. Part of him sifting out the information necessary to answer a simple question. "Academy application… signed… and dated."

The small wisp of data danced along the band to enter into the Academy’s next registered applicants for its coming semester.

Elsewhere, deep within a Sigma Sector skyscraper, a series of large flatscreen monitors were being observed by a select cadre of individuals. The shortest of whom sat with her hands folded together and brows furrowed. Her brilliant green eyes flicked back and forth, flanking a curious circular sigil  on her forehead.

"Stop the feed… " she commanded, as the image before her froze, "Bring it back… keep going… just a little more. There!"

The video rolled back, slowly, the image of an Entity slowly shifting off screen to reveal a window. In said window was a blurred reflection, and in said blurred reflection were revealed a lack of certain features.

"It’s a Clade," one of the others said. "But… it hasn't any equipment or camera… so where’s the feed coming from?"

“I think it’s coming from the Clade itself,” the voice of command replied. XSWAT Director Jamdigni Renuka stood and straightened her coat before maneuvering around scattered furniture to gesture at the screen. "The height, the angle, it all fits if the feed is coming from the location of his eyes.” She shrugged, “I have no idea why someone would have implanted cybereyes into a Clade like that, but….” She turned to face the office. “Did the techs find any trace of an IP?"

"None at all. We’ve never seen anything like that wave of data that hit the tower. It was almost like a DOS attack.”

"Oh?" Jama leveled a gentle smile in the speaker’s direction. "What would it take to brute force a way into our system?"

"Something in the quantum computing range at least, or a whole army of more regular servers."

"So… something akin to a quarter of the computer users in Angelus?”

"Maybe, its not the first time we've had attempts like this, but to succeed," the tech shook his head, "No, a single computer wouldn't have the processing power to be able to project so much data in so little time to so many systems at once!"

"Hunh… clever little fox."

"Fox ma'am?"

"Can't you see its tail?" she chuckled. "And he’s sly as a fox too., seeing as he overloaded the server farm and turned on the fire sprinklers to drive the Entity off. I’m betting there’s more than just cybereyes in that Clade’s skull.” She paused and cocked her head, thinking. “Seems fortune favored our little Clade, else he'd be just another statistic."

"Would you like us to continue pursuit of the suspect?"

"No," she faced the monitor, "No, I do believe our John Doe will be seeing us in due time."

"How can you be so sure?" another officer asked.

"You don’t survive an Entity encounter like that unscathed," Jama replied.

"Either you break, or you choose to fight back. This little fox might be clever, but not clever enough. Tech Sergeant, run a scan on our networks on any recent admittance."

"What now?"

"Yes… now!" she said with a firm tone.

"We've received one just recently."


"Er… yes ma'am?"


"Information redacted, these codes go above our access levels. Only information shown is that its a male Clade."

"Well then," she turned with a flourish, her jacket seemingly fanning out in all directions, "As they say, its time to release the hounds, we've a little fox to catch, and I want to be as subtle as possible."