"Beta radiation is off the chart." A whispered male voice said to no one in particular, him being the only living person within the enclave of technology. Gears and pistons, gyros and circuitry; artifacts of the sciences surrounded him as he toiled away the hours.
"Richards' Negative Zone chart has nothing on these spectrums."
Numbers flowed like water across the digital displays. Flat panel screens in a myriad of different shapes and sizes fed the information directly to their user, an IV drip of facts and theorems. Wild eyes, tainted by madness and brilliance, gazed at the decoded binary strings like stars in an empty night sky.
"These numbers are impossible."
"Magick makes anything possible," a female voice, appearing suddenly from nowhere, replied casually as if her comment was asked for. As the man in green whirled around, scanning the area and verifying that no security alarms had been flipped, it was revealed that her voice was anything but expected.
"Or is that too Strange for you to comprehend?" Ananym asked from within the shadows.
DR. STRANGE: MUTF #5
Written By: Alex Cook
"Comprehend exactly that which I am informing you of."
Digitized notes that were modulated into something akin to a voice spoke to the assembled with an authority-ridden air that few could master.
"What we are doing is against the very files of origin we hold in each of our cores. To do these things we wholly admit there are other entities beyond our own creators that dictate the fate of Reality. We defame that which spawned us, with full knowledge and consciousness of our actions. By touching the very stones themselves we caress the skin of something beyond the Decepticon dark lords."
Statues of indifference stared back at the winged mechinoid. Steely fingers gripped the jewel of green, fractals of immense complexity rotating within its core. Holding it high, the light caught it just the right way as circles of black like heat haze seemed to rise from its surface.
"Soon the Beast itself will erase such lines of alignment. Soon, all facets will be unified." A steel feather dropped to the floor as fists and shouts were raised in the air. "All parts will be made whole."
"Parts of this still doesn't make any sense, Thinker." Ananym asked, slowly walking into the mad scientist's lair as if she were about to enjoy a spot of tea.
"When did you decide to jump the fence and play in my backyard?"
Thinking, the madman paused, looking at the red-haired dervish standing before him. Her eyes glanced behind him as he continued to elongate the moment into a pregnant pause.
"When did you start experimenting with Magick on your droids?"
"The second I found out the Xenotech had started making pixies and fireworks with the snap of their fingers, dearest Stranger." The Mad Thinker answered, a hint of a smile on his lips. "The very minute it was verified that the border between the digital and mystical had blurred. The night your predecessor was forced to leave his job. How is Beaker street by the way? Wong still about?"
Ananym eyes widened a little at the sudden outpouring of comments from her opponent.
"Know thy enemy, Ananym. And I knew you would be mine one day."
"What are you doing here, Thinker?" Ananym pressed, pointing to the faceless, ashen-skinned android on top the observation table behind him. "Or should I say 'Keith Dreams'?".
The Thinker looked back, noting the readings on the diodes affixed to the output of the android's skull. "Running an experiment," he answered simply.
Ananym saw the golden fragment of metal that seemed to be the focal point of the experiment. Leads of all sizes ran from it casing, machinery and computerports the culmination of the cords. "Nothing that I have read on you said you believed in fairytales, Thinker."
Ananym challenged, recognizing the Golden Disk Fractyl had spoken of.
"Ah, yes, the Golden Disk." Thinker mused, almost as if the thought was spoken, rather than kept as a direct comment internally. Drifting toward the nearest monitor, the scientist made his fingers dance across the interface. Nodding, Ananym realized she had suddenly lost the mad man's interest.
"You really are Mad." Ananym offered. The Thinker simply raised his head and looked at her with rage.
"Oh, enough already. ATTACK!" he suddenly shouted, the white form of metal on the operating table opposite Ananym jerking to life equally fast.
Ananym floated a few inches from the ground, watching the lurching, sinewy movement of the Thinker's android as it neared her. 'It's fast,' she noted as it leapt over the obstacles found within a laboratory such as this. The fist was next to her cheek before she finished thinking, 'Too fast.'
"Ow!' she bellowed as the attack of the android finally connected, her cheek bruising and throbbing in response. "Screw this." Ananym's vernacular had hardened as well as her personality over the past few years. Timid at one point, the red haired woman that rose back to her feet was anything but these days.
Words meant everything to magick. True Names meant even more. It was a testament to the status of Sorcerer Supreme that Ananym said nothing as her spell was cast. The ground beneath her sagged, the concrete immediately starting to crack once the spell was complete. Then, the mage was on the move.
A right hook connected with the droid's faceless head, shattering lamely the gears that made up its jaw.
"Oh, dear." The Thinker said as he watched from the sidelines. "That's going to be a right bitch to fix."
Left unmonitored again, the screens around the Thinker spasmed as the CPU of the mechinoid relayed the feedback of the damage that Ananym's foot did to its rib cage area.
Retaliating quickly, two hits from the creation's left foot connected with the Sorcerer. First to her shin, forcing Ananym down slightly, then to her downwards turned chin, forcing her head back with a snap of her neck. A line of blood dribbled down her chin.
Ananym's smile equaled the Mad Thinker's, determining the level of their sanity.
Jumping quickly, Ananym dodged the leg sweep that was sent her way, dropping fully to the ground with her leg extended. She felt more than heard the shoulder unit give under her spell-magnified weight. Sparks flew as she rolled back and kipped up to her feet just as quickly as she had landed.
"The little toy is not faring so well, Thinker."
"No, it's not." The Thinker noted, running his fingers over a nearby keyboard.
The android stood to its full height, arms suddenly curling as its voice box began chanting. Latin, Ananym noted. A spell, she suddenly registered. Her defenses were lax as the hex caught her off guard. Spinning, Ananym fell to the floor again as the Thinker clapped his hands in glee.
"Rules changed, have they?," Strange said, floating above the ground as her hands formed an odd pattern of finger contortions. Eldritch energy formed as blue and green sparks around her arms, dissipating in strength as the effect extended towards her shoulders. There was a flash of movement as she clapped her hands together and a wall of force erupted forward. Equipment of all varieties shattered in its wake, including a large portion of the Thinker's android.
"Wow, under two minutes." The Thinker noted, glancing at the readouts. "The magickal output was meager at best. Something is not interfacing correctly."
Again, the fact that Ananym was there seemed to have slipped the Thinker's mind.
"Try this one."
Or perhaps it had not. Another white being of steel lurched forwarded, faster than the first. Its arms twirled quickly as it mimicked Ananym's earlier movements. As Ananym felt the force surging forward she leapt, hovering in the air but caught in the wash of power none the less. Tipsy, she hurtled to the ground like a stone once gravity took hold, flight halted by her lost of concentration.
"Oh, what is this? The Reflection model?" Ananym yelled, dodging another ball of force as it sailed through the air.
The smile of the Thinker only grew wider.
Wider, the circle expanded as each of the members walked further away from the growing...
It could only be explained as a rip. A physical tear in the very air in front of them. Within its veil, nothing but black was shown, small white dots that appeared to be stars speckling its surface.
The chant continued as the four teens steeled themselves against the dark wonder, birthing itself onto their plane of reality.
Reality swam around her as dots of ebony and crimson danced in front of Ananym's eye. 'Damn, that thing can punch,' she thought as she rubbed her temple.
"Oh, is the Gamma Flight member hurt?" Thinker asked in a sing-song voice.
Ananym only glared at the madman. "How'd you know that, Thinker?"
"Oh, I've learned lots and lots about that esoteric side of the world you inhabit, my dear." The thinker began pontification as his android launched another volley of assaults Ananym's way. "Everything technological is my backyard, child. Now, due to circumstances I still do not understand, the lines between your world and mine have crossed."
Ananym returned the attack with a spell of her own, flames engulfing the construct in the hopes of melting it where it stood.
"I've had to learn of all sorts of new things. Things like the Golden Disk over there. Or the entity named Vishianti. Let's not forget when I learned about those stones you've been collecting."
Ananyms eye widened as the Mad Thinkers words diverted her attention. The android took advantage of it and threw the mage across the room, her spine screaming in protest as she connected mercilessly with the wall.
"How about that girl you found a few weeks back? Or the circular design? Oh yes, I've learned lots and lots and lots and lots since the Transformers started blasting around energy beams not based on normal mathematics."
Ananym gasped for breath as she attempted to destroy the android yet again, this time forming a hand from the very concrete itself and forcing its fingers around the mechanical thing, ensnaring it within a crushing grip.
"One of my favorites is how you got infected with the TechnoOrganicVirus in the first place,"
Ananym reeled as the sudden bomb was dropped on her. The Mad Thinker only smiled wider as he noted her reaction. He was far from done, however. The sudden revelation that her illness was not at all well-concealed had hurt her more than any physical blow yet.
"However, the absolute best thing was how your Dad is involved in so much more then you realize!"
Ananym lost all composure at the mention of her father and spun around, facing the Thinker with daggers in her eyes. Howling, she seemed to snap from one point on the floor to another in the blink of an eye as her hands gripped the insane gentleman's throat in the same manner the stone hand flexed around his android.
"Don't you DARE utter that bastard's name!" Ananym shouted, turning and slamming the Mad Thinker to the ground.
"Hit a raw nerve, have I?" He said with nothing but pure glee.
The fist of concrete spasmed as it crushed the android in its grasp fiercely. A small portion of the Thinker's smile faded.
Their voices, unified in all aspects, faded collectively. The volume diminished as the stars winked out one by one, the tear seeming to close with the oddest snapping sound in the gathering had ever heard.
If not everyone had not been so intent on the closing remarks required by the casted spell, the pop of reality correcting itself would not have been the only irregular sound they heard. Like the snap a firecracker emits in a hollow alley, the noise was unnoticed as someone had hoped.
A hand, clad in a blue sleek cuff near the wrist, dropped to the odd black material on the ground, smearing the circular edge in a wave.
With the final small fissure in reality secured, the hand seemed to fold in on itself with a puff of smoke.
Almost as one each that remained sighed in relief. One dropped to his knees, sweat pouring from underneath his cloak. Two others hobbled over to a nearby car's hood, leaning against it as they sucked in air in gasps. Only one stayed standing, although she did show extreme wear after such strenuous work.
"DigitalConstructs, anyone?" One near the car asked, hopefully.
The remaining three groaned.
"Groan all you want, your damn bot did more than that to me a few minutes ago." Ananym said, looking down at the caged villain near her feet.
Tendrils of crimson, small curled spikes running up and down each side hooking into the fat skin of the Mad Thinker.
"Oh, this is an event I do wish never repeating." The man sighed, groaning as the binds tightened their hold on him.
Ananym looked down again, calculating her options. The question of what to do with the maniac weighed heavily on her mind, as her options were minimal.
Ananym almost laughed out loud when the solution dawned on her. "Oh, dear boy, this is going to be a hoot." Flicking her wrist to the left, the Mad Thinker was suddenly standing upright, leaning next to the wall grimacing in pain. The thorns were downright uncomfortable.
"First, a question. Where did you learn about the Golden Disk?"
The Thinker sighed, looking over at his captor as non-chalantly as possible. Failing, he just groaned in pain again. "Oh, put two and two together dear. How did I know about the dead little girl?"
"You've obviously consorted with Transformers." Ananym said flatly.
"Ah, not only Transformers. A certain sect of Xenotech. A very odd variety of the species in fact."
Ananym only glared, waiting for the tortured man to continue.
"Where have you seen the circle before?" The Thinker tried to prompt again. Ananym sighed as she realized he was not going to answer anything directly.
"You really are nuts."
"Yes, there is that undeniable fact."
Ananym only rubbed her temples, thinking. Where had she seen that damn symbol before, she contemplated.
Finally, the Mad Thinker could handle no more. "Why do you think I kept dragging out our damn fight, woman? Don't you think I had everything planned out within 12% of error?! Ananym, think for once!" The man was almost pleading with her.
Wait, pleading, Ananym thought. Why hasn't he answered a single question directly? "Have you been binded from saying certain things, Thinker?" Ananym ventured.
The insane riddled man only shook his head in agreement.
"Begone." Ananym commented, The Mad Thinker convulsed as he seemed to fold in on himself in the most horrendous looking of ways. A puff of smoke was all that signified the completion of his transportation, the small hole created by the spell closing rapidly. A woman was heard through it however, Ananym smiling at her screams.
Ananym only sighed as her glee at the madman's absence faded. All she could do was think about his words, the Mad Thinker's ramblings having opened one too many wounds. Exhaustion gripped her suddenly as the adrenaline drained away as well.
A small tendril of wire sprouted from behind her ear and secured itself into her collarbone, almost instantly. Ananym could only grimace at the sudden intrusion.
Why had the Mad Thinker kept on launching drone after drone after her? Was there some reason he was forced to keep her here?
Who could manipulate that madman though? And with magick at that?
Ananym thoughts were heavy as she too vanished from the Mad Thinkers secret and now-destroyed locale.
For some reason this one was hard to write. I'm not sure how well this came off, actually. Hrm. I'll try something different next time.