Plans for ending the mod are given in this update
Take Me To Church
Raddik Vern mulled over his superiors’ request.
Behind them was the sigil D51. The room was dark, the only light being that which illuminated the sigil, and blinded Raddik. With their faces shrouded in darkness, the man in the middle spoke.
“Mr. Vern. Do you know why we called you here today?” the voice was that of an older man, but beneath it was a silent power.
“Because I fu-” he began. He quickly switched his tone. “Because I failed my mission.”
“Precisely. Not only did you fail to complete your objective, but you made your presence known, drawing undue attention towards the organization,” the man said.
“However, because you are a good agent, we are going to give you a second chance,” the woman to the left of the man said.
Raddik felt his heart skip a beat.
I’ll live another day.
“What is the mission?” he asked, trying to hold the relief from his voice.
“There is a cult rising in the red and yellow zones. We don’t know who, or what, they are, and we need someone to gather intelligence, and report back to us. We suspect they are scrin-worshippers, considering their level of technology,” the woman said.
“Where do I go?” Raddik asked.
“You’re going home, Mr. Vern,” the man said.
Raddik was snapped back to reality by the whirring of machinery. He watched as two massive vehicles pulled through the small crowd, stopping only to line themselves up in front of the Temple. They deployed, unfolding into high walls on either side of the entrance, blocking the protesters from those wishing to enter. Two jagged pieces of metal pushed up from the top of the newly created walls, lightning snaking around metal rods perched atop them, with intermittent bridges of electricity arcing in between.
“Were Conductors really necessary?” a man murmured audibly. A few shook their heads, their gazes drawn to the crackling snakes of energy atop the walls. Raddik noticed that a few of the men in walking in front of him had odd shapes pushing against their clothes, and one coughed up a dark substance into his hand. Black lines slithered beneath what pale skin wasn’t covered by ragged cloth. Raddik couldn’t see their faces from where he was, but he’d seen enough people in the same condition to know that their eyes glowed green, and Tiberium would be tearing through their already damaged skin.
They don’t have much time left, He thought, glancing at the almost inhuman beings around him. The Conductors had narrowed his view, but he could still see behind him. The decrepit remains of civilization struck out against the deathly grey sky. Patches of sickly green light reflected off the dusty haze of the dust bowl in which they had taken refuge. Raddik turned back to the Temple in front of him.. Buttresses lined the outside of the elongated half-cylindrical hall, a mix of concrete, steel and glass. The glass had once been blood-red, but had since been tinted to a purplish blue by its new caretakers. The crimson flags of the scorpion's tail that had hung from the outer walls had since been burnt, the dark marks on the side of the wall showing where the insatiable flames had once consumed the thick fabric.
Oh, how Nod has fallen, Raddik thought.
Massive double doors opened into the main hall of the Temple. Raddik continued through them. the enormous space sparsely furnished; there wasn’t any seating for the people, though the concrete floor did slope down towards the far wall where he could make out a wide stage. The blue lighting in the chamber made it somewhat difficult to see; the only clear illumination came from a narrow spotlight beaming onto the center of the stage. A large video screen took up most of the back wall behind the stage.
Raddik remembered when Kane revealed that he was still alive. The hall had been overflowing with Nod soldiers and the civilians they protected. The local Sect Leader was standing at his pulpit, preaching away about the importance of our service to the Black Hand when the screen flickered to life, and there he was. The Messiah himself.
“Welcome.” A synthetic voiced washed over the crowd. Raddik shivered.
“We are overjoyed to have you join us today. ASIM is hope; he will save us all, and lead us into a tomorrow not confined to the limits of such fallible flesh.” the Conscriptor scanned the crowd until its optics meeting Raddik, or at least Raddik felt like the Conscriptor was looking at him. “I recognise many of you, but there are a few new faces here, and I would like to say thank you for joining us today. Before we begin, are there any that would like to come forward and commit themselves to the warm embrace of the Nephalae?”
Two women and a man pushed their way to the front of the crowd. The Conscriptor’s faceplate almost gleamed with delight as it gestured for them to come up onto the stage. The trio climbed the stairs and joined the Conscriptor. The women looked well enough, but the man was in the later stages of Tiberium mutation. Black veins and arteries were stark against what sheet-white skin that wasn’t covered in hardened Tiberium scales, which was very little. He had lost his hair, and his eyes radiated a sickly green. Jagged shapes pushed against his clothing, and his back was hunched until his head was almost below his shoulders.
“Very good. If you wish, you may give us your testimony, that we may know what has brought you to the light.” The Conscriptor produced a microphone and held it out to the trio. The first woman shook her head, blushing. She clasped her hands tightly behind her, looking as if she was trying to take up as little space as possible.
“Are you sure, child?” the Conscriptor asked. The woman nodded furiously. The second woman, far less demure than the first, snatched the microphone without hesitation.
“In case you idiots haven’t noticed, we are DYING out here. We don’t have shit since Nod stopped helping us, and GDI doesn’t give a damn about us or our problems! Nod’s gone and GDI’s worthless - which means that the only one we can rely on is ASIM. If you’re in a Yellow Zone and think there’s any way out other than Ascension, you’re a fucking moron. There’s NO other way,” she said.
Raddik looked her up and down. Her clothes were by far the best in the room, and she looked to be far more well-fed than any other. Above that, she was clean. She had put distance between her and the infected man. She glanced at him, and immediately looked away, her face going pale and she raised a hand to her mouth to suppress a gag.
Yeah. Real hard life ya got. Raddik thought. What’s the point of all this? Is it just some rip off of an Abrahamic Religion?
The woman held the microphone in front of the man’s face, refusing to look at him and holding it at arm's length as if the man would lurch over and vomit on her at any time. The man gingerly took it, avoiding contact with the woman's hand. The clack of his almost crystalline fingers on the metal of the microphone reverberated through the speakers.
“As I’m sure you can see, I’m mutating,” his voice deeply rasped. His hand shook as he tried to keep the microphone up. “I have no family, no friends, and I had no hope.” The man covered his mouth with a scaly arm as his body racked with coughs. Greenish-black liquid rolled down from the corner of his mouth. He continued. “ASIM has given me hope, and with that, I will get a family when I join the Nephalae.” He held out the microphone to the Conscriptor as another fit of coughs tore through his body. The Conscriptor placed a single gauntlet on the man’s shoulder.
“Well done, child,” he said before turning to the crowd. “Now we will have the ceremony.”
Raddik watched with fascination as the Conscriptor held up his free hand and a machine rose up out of the back of the stage. Its metal arms arced towards each other, tipped with manacles. An antenna rose out of the back of it, connected to the ceiling and reaching into the tower of the Temple. Cables wrapped around it’s arms. “Who’s first?”
The well-dress woman was petrified, the silent woman shying away from the machine, but the mutating man turned so enthusiastically that he nearly tripped over his own feet.
Raddik could see the man’s mouth move as he approached the machine. The Conscriptor took his arm, helping him hobble into position. Once the man was between the two arms of the contraption it began to whir to life. The arms came down, clasping the manacles around the man’s wrists. The cables began to glow the same blue as the surrounding lights and writhed to life, snaking their way to the man. They slithered forwards onto the man’s arms as they approached his head. The cables hesitated, swaying slightly for a moment before lunging forwards and digging into the side of the man’s head.
The man let out a blood-curdling roar. Raddik had to fight the urge to avert his gaze, to run away. His hands began to shake. He glanced about himself; the people around him were too fixated on the spectacle before them to notice. The Conscriptor turned it’s head, scanning the crowd as the horrific ritual continued.
What the hell are they doing to him? Raddik thought.
The cables pulsated, and all sound stopped. Raddik let out a breath he hadn’t known he’d been holding as the echoes of the man’s screams died out inside the Temple walls. The man’s face remained frozen for what felt like an eternity, until he went limp. Then the screen behind the stage burst to life, and a man appeared. He bore little resemblance to the body on the stage. The entirety of the infection was gone from the man on the screen, and his skin looked cleaner than Raddiks. The man smiled and waved to the crowd. Speakers crackled to life.
“This is… it’s… There are no words!” the voice boomed.
No. This isn’t right. I have report this. I have to get out of here!
The Conscriptor turned to the crowd.
“Praise be to ASIM! Do you see? He is well. No hunger, no thirst, no pain.” The Conscriptor swept his arm out in a grand gesture. The man’s body was released from the restraints and vanished into an unseen trapdoor. If the Conscriptor had a face, he’d be beaming ear to ear. The Conscriptor’s gaze fell onto Raddik. He knew the Conscriptor was looking at him, and he couldn’t keep himself from staring back.
“So. Who’s next?”
Written by: Jason Koop (Jafod)
Edited by: Conor Walsh