You regain consciousness to find yourself in a landscape of perpetual white.
As far as the eye can see, there’s nothing around you save for the ethereal horizon of dense fog and mist. The only thing you’re sure of is the feeling of moist soil underneath your feet, as the wet earth seeps between the gaps of your toes and sinks beneath your weight.
You try sticking a hand out in front of you. Turns out that trying to see anything beyond two-and-a-half feet is completely pointless. The fog is thick enough for you to slice with a knife, if you had one. Perhaps it’s best not to wander about aimlessly-
“You’ve returned to see me…”
The feeling of someone embracing you from behind catches you off guard, as does the breathy whisper in your ear. There are two very noticeable bulges that are pressing into your back, and the sweet fragrance of hyacinth flowers threatens to overwhelm your senses.
“Many have come to visit me in their waking dreams…” You hear a soft voice murmur as the presence traces a finger along your chest. At least, that’s what it feels like; you can’t see anything at all touching your chest whatsoever. A phantom sensation. “…there are those that forget…and those that choose not to return… you alone are the only one to ever come back…”
Couldn't fit this in the previous post
Previous thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/44656679/
General Pastebin: http://pastebin.com/u/TaskForceKaz
You try to word it as best as you can without offending…whoever the heck this is. “I’m terribly sorry to say this, but I can’t…really remember the first time I came…wherever this is. Who are you?”
The entity laughs softly. “It is understandable...that you would not remember our first meeting…to brush against a human mind…so fragile and fleeting…but as for where we are…”
You can feel the phantom break her embrace with you. For a brief moment, you’re completely alone before you feel something grab your hand. Its touch is soft, warm and pulsating with life as it pulls you in no particular direction.
“This is a land…” the voice whispers, “…where forgotten things must go….wandering through a barren land…of desolation and solitude…for the remainder of inexistence …”
…okay, that sounds like some real metaphysical mumbo-jumbo. But you wisely decide not to interrupt.
“…and you ask for my name…” the phantom says with a tone of sadness, “…like so many others…demons and mortals alike…who hear, but cannot listen…”
There is a lengthy pause before you feel a soft breath beside you. “…my name is o@6r0m0bMa-8Jeo03ltsre...”
There is a sort of distortion. The best way you could put it was that reality…momentarily had a glitch. Your sight fizzled out, and there was a burst of static after the entity spoke her name. But you couldn’t hear anything, even though you felt the weight of her breath on your ears.
“…I am one who is forgotten…” the voice, bitterly says, “…nameless, and unknown…destined for all eternity…to wander alone…”
"Well what's causing the distortion and how would you go about fixing or changing it?"
We are a doctor. We diagnose and then fix things. She shouldn't be lamenting that her name can't be heard but work to fix it.
“…well, what’s preventing others from hearing your name? How can I help you fix it or change your current situation?”
There is a pregnant silence after your words, and you feel the presence by your ear withdraw suddenly. For a moment, you think that you’ve offended it somehow before you feel something heavy rest against your chest.
The entity shakes slightly as you can feel it wrap phantom limbs around you. “…I had almost forgotten…” she whispers in a trembling voice, “…the nature of humanity…to casually dismiss overwhelming odds…and face adversity without flinching…”
The normal response in this kind of situation would be to gently comfort the one that’s softly crying into your shirt. Problem is, you don’t exactly see a head you can pat. And with this being an invisible, female spirit-thing, it’s probably a bad idea for your hands to wander.
Suddenly, the fog moves, swelling as an unseen breeze churns the mist as one would a thick broth. The winds murmur and increase in their blowing, tugging at your clothes with frantic motions.
“…our time here is ending…” the entity mournfully says. “…you must return…back to your home…before you become lost…until the end of all things…”
You struggle to focus as you feel darkness creep up from the edge of your peripherals. The spirit releases you from its embrace, and you can feel her presence fading back into the fog. It’s no use trying to reach out. You cannot see anything anymore.
“…but if you truly wish to help…”
In the last instant before you lose sight of all things, the phantom speaks one more time, and you can see the faint outline of a person deep within the fog.
Your eyes snap wide open at an unfamiliar ceiling.
You turn your head side-to-side, frantically trying to figure out where you are. Judging from the machines hooked up to your body, the smell of anti-septic and the monitor measuring your pulse, you’re in a hospital of some sort.
You resist the urge to curse. From one hospital to another. Whoop-de-fucking-do.
A well-dressed man in a suit sits in a chair adjacent to your bed, flipping through a magazine. He seems to be thoroughly absorbed in the latest gossip between celebrities and pop culture icons. You can see an ID of some sort on his chest, but your vision is still too blurry to make out any finer details.
>Pretend to be asleep.
IT'S A TRAP, SHE WAS PUT INTO THIS TO PREVENT HER RELEASE IT'S A TRAP, SHE IS LIKE THIS OF HER OWN VOLITION, ASSHOLE WHITE. IT IS A LESSON TO HER, THAT SHE HAS NOT YET LEARNED, AND WE ARE ONLY EXACERBATING THE PROBLEM
In the most deadpan voice you can muster, you croak. “Buddy…I’d better not have to fight my-”
That’s as far as you go before you start coughing. Well shit. You must’ve been out for a long time to have a throat that’s as dry as a desert.
The man looks up from his magazine, momentarily surprised before he raps a window behind his chair. Within a few seconds, a nurse appears in the room. He points to the sight of you veritably about to heave a lung, and she nods and runs back out of the room.
With a sigh, he sets his magazine back on the coffee table and pulls his chair towards you.
“Try not to go back under, Mister Brown,” he says in a polite tone of voice. “We have many things to discuss now that you’re lucid enough for quipping.”
The nurse returns with a glass of water, which she presents to your chapped lips. You’re well aware of the dangers of taking in too much water all at once. Still, it takes every ounce of your self-control not to guzzle the whole thing in one gulp.
It’s slightly more chlorinated than usual, but after the hell you went through in the other hospital, this was the best-tasting water that you’ve ever had.
You cough a few times before you turn to the seated man, confident that your voice won’t crack again. He offers you a very friendly smile as you sit up in your bed. This time, you can make out the ID on his shirt.
>Task Force 666
Instead of the seal of the United States, the image of a horned skull being crossed by two swords dominates the faded background. Around the circle, the words “Sed Non Sum Oblitus” wrap around the logo.
Had to use Google Translate for the Latin. Don't sue me if it's incorrect.
You clear your throat before speaking in a very hard tone. “You better just start from the beginning and explain very clearly why we were at the bottom of a demon-infested hospital. Second, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but demons and magic? And where the hell are my friends? Who are you people? You don’t like look like the government.”
The man identified as Smith takes in your rant with an understanding nod. “Your anger is quite understandable and perhaps even justified, Mister Brown. But rest assured that all the answers to your questions will be answered within the hour. Maybe even minutes if you manage to avoid using your very dry wit.”
Here, you actually pause. This is the part in the movies where the government agent deflects all sorts of questions and the protagonist has to go on a lengthy quest to solve the answers all on his own. However, your life isn’t a movie, and while you’re the protagonist of your own life’s story, it’s still surreal to see someone that genuinely wants to answer your inquiries.
“…I’ll try my best,” you say.
Smith actually laughs. “Well, it’s a start. So!” He claps his hands and rubs them together. “Where do you want to start?”
It doesn’t take you a long time to come up with a first question. “Why were me and the others put under and taken to a…very hostile hospital?”
Smith reaches into his jacket pocket and pulls out a sheaf of paper. Unfolding it, he presents it to you with a slight flourish. You scan it for a few minutes before you freeze. It’s the interview letter that brought you to D.C. in the first place.
“You were one of five individuals that we sent these letters to under the pretext of a job interview. All of you share two similar traits: unemployed, in danger of losing a job, or looking for a new venue to make money, as well as having a prior meeting with a demonic entity.”
Prior meeting? What the hell…you never met any demon prior to Pixie, Slime and the others. Wait, hold on.
“You said demons…” You slowly say. “I’d have to be an idiot to refuse to believe what I saw in the hospital. But why are they suddenly appearing now of all times?”
“You’ve got it wrong.” Smith shakes his head with a ‘tsk’ noise. “Why would demons ever need to appear now when they’ve always existed with us since time immemorial? It’s a mistake that many people make. Just because many have chosen to forget about their existence doesn’t mean that they’ve ceased to be or disappear entirely. They're much like us in that regard."
>as well as having a prior meeting with a demonic entity.
hang on nobody remembers ghost girl demon how does the government know about her?
Or are they referring to some other encounter?
Your mind suddenly decides to connect the dots with the job interview letter. “Wait. Hold the fuck up. You don’t mean to tell me that the whole thing in the hospital…”
“Was actually a job interview,” he admits without any trace of guilt. “And you passed with flying colors. All that’s left is to process the paperwork, and you’ll be one of us if the inclination so remains.”
“…well that brings the term ‘spook’ to a whole new level, huh?” You can’t help yourself. You’re talking to the kind of person who thinks that gassing five strangers unconscious and dumping them into a demon-infested hospital counts as a “job interview”.
“We prefer the term ‘Devil Summoners’, but yes it does indeed.”
“But hold on,” you say. “You’re exercising authority above the government. Who exactly are you people?”
“And that’s the golden question, isn’t it, Mister Brown?” Smith asks. “You thought that you were applying for an internship for Burroughs Pharmacuritcal. You never thought to consider how strange it was for you to get in despite not completing your fourth year of medical school? But instead you come to find yourself in the company of demons and men in suits who don’t wear government IDs.
“However, I digress. My name is Jonathan Smith, and I represent Task Force 666. We are a very old and secret, international organization that fights demons and answers only to a certain number of individuals that sit on the United Nations council. We answer to no individual government save for our own internal bureaucracy, and just like the demons that you fought out there, we likewise do not exist.”
…you decide to ignore that huge bombshell and instead focus on something that’s really been burning a hole in your pocket. “Hang on a moment. Healing magic. It exists. I almost had my back opened up by a demon and Pixie waved her fingers and POOF! It was gone. Why the hell isn’t this being used to cure cancer and other kinds of shit?!”
You try not to build yourself up to a rant, but you can’t help yourself. Being a medical student involves long hours of studying all sorts of nasty illnesses, and the people that they attach themselves to. And during hospital visits, you’ve seen families torn apart by cancer, leukemia, AIDs, and all sorts of other nasty things incurable by modern medicine. If it had a Facebook page or social media-driven cause behind it, then you’ve more than certainly seen it.
Smith’s mouth twitches slightly. “I thought you were an intelligent man, Mister Brown. Do you not realize what would happen if the ease of healing spells were made public? To reveal their source as coming from demons? The world would be in total and utter upheaval at the revelation that demons exist and that a secret organization has been doing their hardest to keep it from them, at the behest of the United Nations. Not to mention the religious implications that would follow suit.”
The agent takes a moment to sigh. “But believe me when I say that I have likewise thought as you do in my younger days. And that I’ve long accepted the reality of the situation and that there’s nothing I can do about it. Unless you suddenly have the desire to spontaneously disappear, I suggest that you keep quiet about healing magic and how we should use it for the public’s benefit.
"But that aside, do you have any other questions?"
"I hope you got a plan incase everything goes to shit and it's impossible to cover up. Wait a minute. What can demons do exactly? Can demons mind control someone to start a nuclear launch? I mean, my fairy can charm someone."
“…are there angels?”
You aren’t exactly the most religious of folks, but this is a question that you can’t help but ask. Mom was always harping on and on about angels and demons and God. You never gave it much thought outside of attending service with the family whenever you visited home, but now? Hoo-boy.
“That’s actually in the FAQ of our orientation brochure,” Smith says with a slight grin. “And yes, they do indeed. Although they may not be what you’ve heard of from street corner preachers, your local reverend, and the occasional romance penny dreadful. It’s best to throw any preconceived notions that you know about the supernatural out the window. They’re probably incorrect.”
“…so what now?”
Smith takes a moment to adjust his glasses. “Well, there are two options that you have right now. One, now that you know the true nature of our organization, you could join us. We can easily arrange for you to take a medical license test a year early in order for you to obtain a doctorate. And while doing that, we train you and put you in one of our specialized divisions to go hunt demons for the rest of your career here with us.”
Well that doesn’t sound intimidating in the slightest. “And what’s the other option?”
The agent reaches into his pocket and pulls out…is that a smart phone? With a single push of a button, a surge of what looks like mosaic pixels exits from what would be the camera lens.
They circulate around the room to form the shape of a beautiful young woman, clad in a form-fitting toga. Her eyes are a stern and cold, and she holds a basin full of black water.
“Mnemosyne,” he introduces, “Greek goddess of memory. She’s what agents carry in case we need to pull a ‘neuralizer’ procedure on someone. We wipe your memory and send you on your way with a little comfort cash for your troubles."
“"I hope you got a plan incase everything goes to shit and it's impossible to cover up. Wait a minute. What can demons do exactly? Can demons mind control someone to start a nuclear launch?”
“That, Mister Brown, is exactly the reason why we exist.” Smith sets his smartphone down and gestures to the silent goddess that came out of his smartphone. “Humans are susceptible to demonic attacks, and there are those that would use the power of demons for ill intentions. We’re the guys that are sent to deal with these kinds of situations, whether if it’s a low-time hippie that’s trying to use a fairy to scam a bank, or a cultist trying to sacrifice a family to summon a demon lord. That’s how big we are, as well as the stakes that the operatives of Task Force 666 have to face every day.
"It's no joking matter. We are deathly committed to keeping the people of the world safe from demonic threats.
"But enough beating around the bush. Will you join us, Mister Brown, and fight for the sake of humanity? Or will I have to use Mnemosyne and set my 'days since neuralizer incidents' clock back to zero?"
Well, it either say no and go back to the struggles of getting an damn job as well get my memories erase AND the fact that you likely make some bullshit up for the scars OR i stay with you and see how far this rabbit hole goes.
Eh. Sure. I can do alot more good stopping demon bullshit than compete with the medical community for work.
I hope you got combat training cause i'm surprised i'm still alive after all of that.
The choice is fairly obvious, but it takes a few breaths before you’re able to come up with a response. “…well, I can’t really say no after being offered a spot in an organization like this, considering what I’ve seen. I’m in.”
Smith smiles and shakes your hand. “Welcome to Task Force 666. Don’t fuck it up, rookie.”
You suddenly remember something that you should’ve asked a while back. “Wait a moment. Where are my friends? And where’s Pixie and Knocker?”
Smith stands up, and takes a moment to adjust his pants. With a flick of his thumb on his phone, Mnemosyne dissolves into a stream of data and returns to the device. “You’re the last one to wake up. I’ve already spoken to them. As for the demons you met down there, they’ve been safely secured and have been awaiting your acceptance. It’s common procedure to let rookies keep working with the demons they befriend during Initiation.
“And regarding your friends,” he continues as he walks out the door, “They’re waiting for you outside, waiting for me to finish this last little interview. Why don’t you folks come on in?”
You blink, and as soon as Smith walks out of the room, your companions are quick to rush in. Fitz, MacKay, Brady and Victoria, all looking much haler and healthier than they were when you last saw them. All of them start talking as soon as they all finish entering.
Victoria is in high spirits, practically giddy. “So did you accept-”
MacKay looks like a man who’s life has been turned upside down, but manages to make a smile. “Thank God you’re alright-”
Brady is his usual British self. “The hell are you sittin’ around for, cooped up like that? We were worried, you big-”
Fitz hasn't lost any of her pace. “It’s about time you woke your ass up-”
You flash them all a crooked smile and they all manage to quiet down. “Well, considering how I first woke up the last time we were together, it only makes sense that I get to sleep in this time around. It’s good to see that you’re alright.”
There’s a joke that everyone laughs at. Which they do, and it feels good.
Victoria is the quickest of the bunch to regain her steam. “So did you accept?”
“Yes I did. Did you?” You’re quick to return her question.
“Of course! I used to be quite the supernatural enthusiast back in middle school! ‘It’ll never get you anywhere,’ my classmates used to tell me. Well, they can suck it! Demons ARE real!”
Brady snorts. “I signed on because they’re paying three times as much as my old job. You’d be surprised how hard it is to make money as a programmer. They don’t pay you shite. And ‘sides, I won’t be on the frontlines and the dental’s alright.”
“Indeed,” MacKay says with a small chuckle. “While I’m a little concerned with their numerology, the Task Force has a working deal with the Vatican when it comes to the recruiting of priests. I suppose that this is the higher purpose Bishop Anderson was telling me to go after.”
“Oh, don’t go getting all melancholic on us, preacher,” Fitz retorts. “Because my luck’s out of the shitter and in the clear! Three times the pay and I get a little more leeway when it comes to protectin’ people. Shoulda signed up here instead of enrolling in the Academy.”
Your friends’ words fill you with unexpected warmth. “Looks like we’ll be working with each other for quite some time. Glad to know that I’m getting into this business with some familiar faces.”
“At the way you guys are going, it’ll be a miracle for you to make it alive through a single operation.”
And the joy and festivity suddenly stops.
There’s another man standing by the door. He’s not wearing the same suit he was when he had you all gassed outside of the hospital, but you easily recognize the hair and the eyebrows.
“The fuck are you doing here?” Fitz bluntly asks, a deep frown on her face. "Asswipes aren't welcome-"
“So, Smith decided to put you guys under my division,” he says, completely ignoring her. “Just great. Managing five FNGs who barely got out of the Initiation in one piece. The hell did I do to piss him off?”
>“So who exactly are you?”
>“The feeling of exasperation is mutual.”
“That was a nice suit you were wearing the other day,” You comment, surprising both him and the rest of your friends. “Are we also gonna get the chance to look like something out of a Doctor Who episode?”
That one definitely got Brady desperately trying and failing to stifle a laugh. Even Victoria and MacKay managed a quiet snort. But Fitz doesn’t get the reference. Uncultured heathen.
But at any rate, the guy doesn’t seem to be too impressed with your humor. “Only the most elite soldiers of Task Force 666 are allowed the privilege to take D.E.M.O.N.I.C.A. suits into an operation. Right now, you aren’t even qualified to hold a COMP let alone be a part of this organization. You’d be doing yourselves a favor if you just accepted Smith’s memory wipe and left with the cash.”
MacKay is quick to try and restore diplomatic relations before you are, at any rate. “Well, I would very much like to know the name of the one who would make such a recommendation. Surely you must know who we are by now, but you have us at a disadvantage-”
“Major Lance Alger,” he interrupts the priest, “Formerly of the United States Navy Seals, five-year member of Seal Team 3 and current commander of Division 4 of TF666, U.S. East Coast Operations. Those are my qualifications, at any rate."
Totally unintentional tfw nobody realizes that Victoria was a chuuni back in middle school
You frown. “So besides talking shit, telling us to quit, and being generally disagreeable, is there a reason why you’ve come here. Commander?” You faux-respectfully add at the end.
“It isn’t talking smack if it’s the truth, rookie,” Alger retorts. “And this isn’t some kind of happy-go-lucky organization. One fuck-up could spell the doom of thousands, if not millions of people, depending on the circumstances. This isn’t a job for just any random Joe on the street, and there’s no shame in backing down. So you got lucky once. But that luck isn’t going to hold for any other mission.”
Just when you're about to ask how many members of Al Queda he killed, he shakes his head, breathes deeply and makes way towards the door. “Just know that you had a chance to walk away from all this. And that from now on, you’re gonna carry the full weight of your choices and actions. There isn’t turning back once you set foot into the world of demons and those that would use them for their own selfish gains.”
With that, he closes the door and leaves without a further word.
Fitz and Brady give their opinion of your new commander as soon as the footsteps fade away. “What a douchebag/arsehole.”
>“…as rude as he phrased it, the commander does have a point.”
>“Do you think he’s only like that because of the stick up his ass?”
You can’t believe that you’re the one that has to say this, but you resign yourself to playing the straight man for this one time. “…as rude as he phrased it, the commander does have a point.”
MacKay and Victoria seem to understand, but Brady and Fitz turn to you with wide eyes. “The hell do you mean he had a point/Are you still trippin’ from the medication?”
You look to the heavily bandaged shoulder and arm before you exhale deeply. “How many times did we come close to dying back there? If we didn’t have Pixie or Knocker with us, we would’ve been dead. Sre, Slimes and Kobolds are relatively easy, but what about Oni or Ghoul?”
Brady looks like he wants to raise a point before he bites his lip and looks the other way. Fitz’s grimace is all the answer you need from her.
“Exactly. Like Commander Alger said, we’re only rookies for the moment. But Smith also said we would get the necessary training and equipment. We’ll need to get stronger and smarter, faster and better. It’ll be hard, but if we keep going at it, we’ll be able to take on Oni and Ghoul hordes on our own. And prove to Alger that we can take care of ourselves.”
There’s a moment of silence, only punctuated by Victoria clapping at your impromptu speech.
“If it’ll get that wanker to eat his words,” Brady says slowly, “Then I’m in with playing for the long haul.”
“From one asshole of a boss to another…” Fitz moans. “I take back what I said. My luck is still in the shitter, but I’ve got some company with me this time ‘round.”
“And I’m sure that he’ll come around once he knows he can trust us with operations,” you say with an optimistic smile. “Whenever those are.”
“You’ll be starting in about a week.”
The nurse from earlier returns with a bottle of pills and another glass of water. “Mister Smith told me to tell you that you’ve got a few days to get your affairs in order, since you’ll be permanently living on base. If you’re from out of state, then your transportation fees are covered, as well as any moving services that you need to move stuff around.”
MacKay smiles. “Glad to know. Thank you for telling us.”
“Mister Smith has the tendency to forget the smaller details, so he leaves it to us to fill in the gaps,” the nurse explains, before turning to you. “Now, be sure to drink plenty of water since the antibiotics are gonna have your stomach all in a tizzy. With the magic we used to heal it, you should be good to go by the time everyone else comes back.”
You thank her, and reach for the bottle. You’re much less hesitant to take your medicine now that you’ve got water. With a single swallow, the pills are down your throat and on their way to your stomach.
“So I guess I’ll see you guys in a week?” you ask.
“Yeah, definitely!” Victoria answers, before rifling through her pockets. “Here!” She pulls out a cell phone. “The nurses gave it back to me when I woke up. We all got each other’s contact information, and all we’re missing is yours!”
Now that you think about it, you should’ve checked for your phone when you woke up in the basement. So it turns out that they lifted it from you when you were asleep. Joy. Ah well, at least you have it back now. The black android lies innocuously on the bedside table.
After swapping numbers with each other and promising to keep in touch, everyone parts ways. MacKay heads out first, followed by Victoria and Brady. Fitz punches you good-naturedly in your good arm before heading out herself.
You settle down in bed and turn on the boob tube before you freeze up.
What're you gonna tell your parents?!
Not much in terms of action this time around, but definitely necessary to set up Arc 2. Next time, you'll be meeting the parents before you head off to a literal bootcamp from hell.
Good session, guys. Let's call it a night.
>got a nice job
>good pay, health benefits
>not a lot of vacation hours
>actually, I won't be getting ANY for a while. Need to prove "company loyalty" before they take my pay off the chopping block
>so sorry in advance if I don't call you
And now for the usual stuff to end the thread with.
Gonna archive it in 20 minutes.
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