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War Stories

Chapter Text

          “Welcome back, gentlemen,” Monkey stated after everyone -– himself, his amanuensis, the leaders of HEF-1 and -23, the crafter, and Blob -– was sat around the oval table. “Now that the first session has expired, we shall commence the second session. This session shall be exclusively led by Officer Blob. Please, commence when ready.” Monkey raised his hand toward Blob and sat down. Blob looked about him. Lemon and Pheenix were staring at him intently, as though wary of his competence after another high-ranking officer had proven to be nothing but an unreliable fool. Blob donned a wide smile and commenced his report.

          “I wish to commence my session by extending my gratitude to all of you. As this is my first HEF convocation, I am beyond ecstatic. Unfortunately, the topic for which I have attended this gathering is nothing short of horrific. Since many of you are far beyond caring for the lives of two scum such as Jibberish and Kohai, I would like to brief you with brevity in mind as to their relationship with each other and with me.” Blob sighed in agony and hatred. “If you would like a more complete report, I have requested that my paper be sent to all of you gentlemen. Feel free to retrieve it at any time and inquire of me any doubts, concerns, or general questions. As if such were so, the two men are each a half of Gemini -– inseparable. Jibberish, the older one, was the more collected of the two, though both were deemed so mentally irreparable that they were assigned positions as Rectifiers.” The revelation had been so sudden and unprecedented that even the amanuensis’ rapid-fire typing screeched to a halt.

          Rectifiers were members of the most dangerous department in the police force. They were those who had failed the sanity examination with flying colors. For society to function, three tiers were created: tiers A, B, and C. Furthermore, A’s were to copulate with A’s, B’s with B’s, and C’s with C’s. As fortune would have it, however, even in such controlled settings, offspring of intra-tier unifications would occasionally test outside of their parents’ tiers. Yet another curse of excessive overpopulation, that; even a fraction of a percentage chance could explode into millions of cases, millions of rectifications. As Rectifiers, Jibberish and Kohai would be assigned homes to investigate. More often than not, their investigation would prove positive for such anomalies. When positive, their task would become nothing more than to rectify the paradox, to exterminate the pest before it dares corrupt society any further with its genetic defect. Naturally, the parents would receive punishment, though not too severe, for not having reported the anomaly sooner, but Rectifiers were given permission to exterminate any parents who dared oppose the rectification of their household. As one would imagine, the assassination of multiple infants, most not even several months old, was mentally taxing to most officers, so a sanity test would be conducted. If failed with flying colors, the officers would be deemed too damaged to function as a standard officer but not too dysfunctional to be assassinated right then and there. Their perfect position in society was none other than as a Rectifier. They were useful, but also dangerous, for most had to be under constant surveillance lest they explode into a rampage.

          “No wonder,” Pheenix mumbled. “I have heard of the two due to their status as the most dangerous among those in the bounty list. With Achromedea in third at 700.000 Texi, Jibberish and Kohai have ascended to absurd heights at three-quarters-a-million for each of their heads; a total of one-and-a-half-million altogether. I had not been informed of that, however.”

          “Likewise,” Lemon stated.

          Monkey bit his lower lip pensively. “Do continue with your report and elaborate on Jibberish. What do you mean by ‘the more collected of the two?’”

          “Correct, the more collected of the two, by which I mean Kohai had been deemed an exceptionally volatile asset even among Rectifiers. Do bear in mind, gentlemen, that my report’s main source is the two themselves. I was incapable of finding any officer or defender who knew of the two back on Earth, so corroboration is non-existent. That said, Jibberish had served as a Rectifier for approximately a lustrum prior to being paired with Kohai. Jibberish, a B-3, was competent enough to be a leader of sorts. He somehow learned how to repress his bloodthirst and manic episodes enough to disguise himself as a functional member of society, but he remained as a Rectifier voluntarily. As mentioned by him retrospectively, he always enjoyed the rush of seeing others massacre the infants, but he hardly ever did so himself. His life, and I quote, ‘was fulfilled the moment I was assigned a most perfect and compatible partner: Kohai.’

          “In contrast, Kohai never had the luxury of being even remotely suitable for society. Born of an incompatible intra-tier-C relationship in the slums, he was caged in a basement wherein he would be tortured day in and day out by his abusive father, who thought of himself as a God of Lightning during his many frequent and long episodes of what could only be described, from what was recalled to me, as a form of disassociated identity. To augment Kohai’s trauma, he was caged in the same jail wherein his mother had been scorched to death, her corpse allegedly rotting beside him as he was tortured. He suffered thus for approximately three years before being rescued by agents at the age of ten. As you would imagine, he had to be re-trained to be remotely civilized, at least enough to adequately resemble a Human being, and none other than Jibberish had been tasked with Kohai’s re-introduction to the world outside the decrepit basement.”

          “Excuse me, dear Blob,” Lemon interrupted. “But I do wonder why agents would bother investigating the slums.”

          “My apologies, I overlooked such a concern in my report. In fact, that peculiarity is one I inquired of the two one day, and according to Jibberish, he had been briefed that Kohai’s father had either accidentally or deliberately created multiple black-outs that caught the attention of those living near the slums. The investigation was inevitable.” After waiting a few short seconds, Blob continued.

          “Jibberish disclosed a major vulnerability of Kohai, and that is a whistle Jibberish keeps in his person perpetually. Apparently, during Kohai’s training, Jibberish had deduced that not even he would be able to control Kohai at all times; hence, Jibberish conditioned the maniac to completely shut down whenever he hears the sounds from a specially-crafted whistle. That specific frequency sends Kohai into a traumatic episode that renders him indefensible. I saw the effects of the whistle first-hand one night at a pub. Kohai and a newly-arrived defender entered a quarrel with each other when the defender drunkenly annoyed Kohai. Kohai, in anger, battered the defender’s face into a bloody pulp with no signs of ever stopping until Jibberish set off the whistle. At that moment, Kohai froze and allowed himself to be choked in a headlock by the defender upon his regaining composure. Kohai would have allowed himself to die had Jibberish not snapped his fingers three times in a deliberate manner I no longer recall. My apologies. I would also like to apologize for never recording and analyzing the frequency of the whistle. Otherwise, we would have been able to create our own device wherewith to produce the same frequency.”

          “We acknowledge,” Monkey reluctantly stated, speaking for Lemon and Pheenix.

          “I would gladly craft such a device if given the information,” Lambo chimed in, having finally understood his purpose in the meeting. “I have a background in such technologies.”

          “Splendid,” Blob acknowledged. “However, I do fear if now that Jibberish has released his repression in its totality that he may have destroyed the whistle.”

          “Desist. Pessimistic speculation should not be entertained,” Lemon interjected.

          “Untrue,” Pheenix disagreed. “Blob has stated no such speculation but a viable possibility we must take into account."

          “I desist,” Lemon stated, leaning back on his chair defensively.

          “Would you mind elaborating on the incident mentioned in your brief report before commencing our discussion on how to best deal with these two miscreants, dear Blob?” Monkey requested. Blob swallowed nervously as he recalled the events he had purposefully omitted from the report, but he dared not to retaliate Monkey’s wishes by having him submit to the incident being unimportant. Everyone in the room nodded in agreement, and Blob sighed.

          “Jibberish, after his defeat following his encounter with Anchromedea, buckled under the pressure of his insanity and indignation, rendering him indistinguishable from Kohai and further strengthening my obscure metaphor to Gemini. They are now twins of destruction, relentlessly raping, torturing, and murdering Texeli, Undesirables, and Humans, though they seem to prefer Undesirables and Humans over Texeli, presumably due to their disdain for Texeli immortality and inconsequential crumbling. As someone who had been their acquaintance ever since they were teleported to Texel approximately seven months ago, I understand just how uncharacteristic of Jibberish this sudden mental breakdown is. He seemed so collected, and not once had such an outcome crossed my mind! But I digress.

          “In my report, I briefly mention their ‘latest confirmed stunt’: the Zartosht incident that occurred during the raid near Louran. If you all must know, I was dispatched to the crime scene and can provide an eye-witness account of the aftermath of the events that befell those poor victims. I have personally requested to be summoned whenever a crime so ludicrous that the chances of Jibberish and Kohai having been the culprits are astronomical is reported, and summoned I was when officer headquarters was contacted because of a rather gruesome scene: ten decapitated corpses back-to-back in a circle. However, Jibberish and Kohai are not the type to merely decapitate and organize their victims. They truly love to show off. In this case, all ten corpses had not only been decapitated but stuffed inside Zartosht’s armor. As if purposefully having sought obese defenders, eight of the ten had been too large for the armor, and their corpses had significant chunks of flesh from the abdomen, arms, and legs sliced off. The corpses had also been decapitated because Jibberish and Kohai managed to wire Zartosht’s Exo head into them. To illustrate the crime scene, all we officers saw were ten Zartosht sitting in a circle facing away from each other but bleeding profusely from the cracks in their armor. Though we had our suspicions, the victims were only confirmed to be Human when suddenly the Exo heads and armors began to crumble into dots two at a time, leaving only the butchered remains of defenders in a sea of yellow.” Blob remained silent to allow his audience to register the implications of his report.

          “This cannot possibly be true!” Lambo exclaimed.

          “True it is,” Monkey stated, his lower lip bleeding slightly. “The report has been confirmed with the signature of the chief of police. Her credibility is indisputable.” Lemon and Pheenix both nodded.

          Lambo’s mouth fell agape. “How could two Humans possibly detain ten Legendary-tier Texeli and keep them prisoner for an unknown duration until the officers arrived, after which they simply crumbled them as if they were nothing!”

          “I would like to remind this congregation that the subjects of today’s session are none other than Jibberish and Kohai,” Monkey stated. “Admittedly, I was never acquainted with either one, but prior to being granted my position as head of an HEF, I had served in the frontlines since as early as the war itself. We are here today discussing two powerful beings. Were they not the two who had single-handedly toppled a flying fortress during the raid of February and miraculously survived the crash landing? Were they not the two who had insisted on facing against none other than Montu, God of War, all by their lonesome just to boast of their combat techniques?”

          “Surely they must have utilized Texeli for those tasks, yet what Texeli would possibly aid the two now that they have become evil incarnate?” Lemon chimed in.

          “Perhaps those overwhelmed by their fear, those overwhelmed by their disdain toward Humans, those overwhelmed by their desire to alter the monotonous beat of this dreadful war?” Lambo speculated.

          “Perhaps such Texeli exist, but if they do, of none of them are we aware.”

          “Additionally, if they do, could they possibly be strong enough to alter the outcome of a battle against the likes of Zartosht?” Pheenix appended.

          “Desist,” Monkey stated. “If Blob and others are unaware of their methodology, who are we to waste our times speculating such enigmatic contrivances? Have Blob deal with reconnaissance.”

          “With all due respect, Monkey,” Lemon rejected, “possible is it for us to strategize the means for their extermination without first considering if they have garnered aid from unknown Texeli?”

          “Consider, if you will, their acquisition of such,” Monkey continued. “What consequences would that entail for us at this very moment?”

          “Foolish of you, Monkey,” Pheenix stated, deeply disappointed. “Do you have history with those two that you are not disclosing to the congregation? Your comportment is rather odd. Of course such acquisition is of importance! Defenders work alongside Texeli in their endeavors every day, and if we do not ascertain which, if any, are their companions, Jibberish and Kohai may very well have in their possession a highly-effective army of spies and we would be none the wiser!”

          Monkey remained silent. “I insist on not having any history with those two; however, I do acknowledge my ineptitude and inexcusable folly just now. I apologize.” Monkey bowed his head.

          “Acknowledged,” Lemon and Pheenix responded.

          “What are we to do about those two, then? With or without Texeli aid?” Lambo inquired.

          “Before anything, we must ascertain if they do, in fact, possess Texeli aid. However, for simplicity’s sake and for the duration of this convocation, I suggest assuming the best-case scenario. Nevertheless, even without aid, those two are formidable forces. Kohai, from the very beginning, had insisted on combatting Exos with nothing but Texeli gear. He never had a band of his own. Jibberish, on the other hand, did depend on his band for most of his missions. We must not let our guards down against Jibberish, however, for he is adept at multiple martial arts. I have seen first-hand what he is capable of, and I assure you that even I would have a hard time apprehending him. Both possess an inordinate quantity of stamina and conviction. Their perseverance is enough to power an entire town! I would suggest detaining Jibberish first. If we do, we will be able to use the whistle to detain Kohai. However, if we somehow are able to recreate the frequency of the whistle, we could decommission Kohai from the very onset of what will surely be a very bloody and messy encounter,” Blob elaborated.

          “I could theoretically craft a machine that would resonate a plethora of different frequencies. Such an apparatus could be either extremely effective or absurdly useless all depending on how lucky we are in finding the correct frequency as they are cycled by it,” Lambo stated.

          “If only we could device a plan to send Kohai spiraling out of control enough for Jibberish to be rendered with no choice but to use the whistle…”

          “Are we even aware of their location?” Pheenix inquired. “How to implement any offensive plan without prior knowledge of their whereabouts?”

          “My team is currently attempting to locate them, but they are always on the move. Chances of their having a permanent hideout is miniscule.”

          “Then, to recapitulate, we are neither aware of their affiliations nor are we of their location. All our knowledge is limited to their appearance, nature, and crimes, correct?” Lemon summarized.

          “Correct. However, we must act quickly. We cannot allow their treachery to continue much longer and hinder this war.”

          “That goes without saying, dear Blob. Yet, what are we to do with such little information?” Monkey took a deep breath. “Indisputably, you must increase the fervor wherewith your team investigates the two, Officer Blob. Increase your numbers a hundred-fold if need be. We must garner as much intelligence on those two as quickly as possibly by all means necessary. You must not dilly-dally much longer.”

          “Acknowledged.”

          “Lambo, submit to abandoning or devolving to someone else your current project. Henceforth, you are to focus your resources into creating the aforementioned machine.”

          “Acknowledged,” Lambo affirmed hesitantly, closing his eyes in ponder.

          “Fellow sovereigns,” Monkey announced, looking at Lemon and then at Pheenix, “apparent it is that our aid in the matter is unquestionable. I implore you to sacrifice some of your fellow officers to the cause of apprehending these two. Aid Officer Blob’s party in collecting intelligence. Best case scenario, Jibberish and Kohai are apprehended and exterminated during reconnaissance, but acknowledging their prowess as a duo, such a task is far easier said than done. Needless to say, only confront them if a window reveals itself and never allow yourselves to start a battle in the defensive.”

          “Acknowledged,” the two of them replied.

          “That being said, I declare the second session of this far-too-extensive convocation finished. After this break, we shall commence the third and final session.” Everyone stood and bowed. As everyone left, Elise stared at his empty cup and sighed heavily. He peered into the computer screen before closing his eyes, leaning back on his chair, and stretching his arms.

          “You seem troubled,” Lambo approached.

          “I am quite fine, thank you for your concern, dear Lambo.”

          “May I?” requested Lambo, laying a hand on one of the chairs.

          “Proceed as you wish.”

          Lambo moved the chair closer to Elise and sat down, facing him. “Seasoned am I as a distinguisher of those whose incalculable ambitions have procured mental somnolence in par with their perseverance to suppress the fact. With all due respect, sir, amid us all, you harbor the most intense of such. I do not respond in kind to falsehoods, even those as understandable as the ones merely uttered to appease the concerned, so I implore you to admit, not to me but yourself, that the self-inflicted duress has done more impairment than augmentation.”

          Elise’s eyes widened as he gripped his cup more tightly. Such language was reserved solely in moments of grave importance or haughtiness. Clearly, Lambo was far too concerned for Elise’s well-being. Elise smiled professionally. “You are under a grave misunderstanding, sir. I am under no such duress. I acknowledge that my ambitions are beyond me, and that my mental health is of priority, yet I am neither coerced nor ordained by anyone including myself. I am merely compelled by my own nature. I am deeply grateful for your concern, but rest assured I am far from any danger. Now, if you would excuse me, I must acquire another cup of delectable Aja tea before the final session commences. Care to join me under the condition that you not fret over my health any further?”

          Lambo apprehensively observed as Elise’s hand quivered ever so slightly as it grasped the cup but ultimately desisted. “It would be my pleasure, amanuensis. I might as well acquire one for myself. Any suggestions as to how I shall prepare mine? I am admittedly unfamiliar with Aja tea preparation.”

          Elise’s eyes beamed. “Please allow me to disclose my knowledge on such matters! You see, Aja tea is…” As Elise rambled on and on about Aja tea, it seemed as though for that instant, Elise’s worries had evaporated.