MODOC: Part 20 - First Blood

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           The giant ball of refuse, debris and organic matter that is the Other reaches the river and senses the lunon of the Conqueror. It has consumed food on its way here. It is strong with life-force. The Conqueror is still weak. It believes it will be able to annex the lunon of the Conqueror and become a Conqueror itself. It takes a few minutes to summon its fliers to this location to scout ahead. All but one return and are circling the factory looking for entry points.

           Two of its fliers detect movement in the inner regions of the factory and land on the roof. They change into puddles of organic goo and reform themselves into small ferrets, a taste treat the Other enjoyed as it steamrolled the environment on its way here. The ferrets moved into a nearby air duct and slid down into the factory. When they reached the inner ceiling, they peered with fiery intelligence and saw an interesting sight.

           Several humans were attacking and destroying robots herding another group of humans into a processing center. The ferrets chittered excitedly as they realized what they were seeing, they sensed the Conqueror on some of the humans huddled together. Those bound to the Conqueror did not move, nor did they speak, but the ferrets could feel the essence of the Conqueror and knew he was there.

           Those humans bound by the lunon of the Conqueror, collectively turned and stared up at the ventilation shaft. They knew. The ferrets seeing their target, shed their current form and merged together into a larger, more powerful feline shape with claws of diamond and bones of hardened carbon, muscles fibers of woven organic steel. The creature was truly in the shape of a cat, save it had no fur. Fur was deemed unnecessary for its current purpose. It reached down and pulled the aluminum vent cover up into the shaft. The ripping sound was covered by the gunfire. It dropped into the room, it's grey muscles, rippling and supple, and it's intent clear and menacing. 

           The creature strode into the room and began walking toward the Conqueror's brood of servants. The Other was confident they would be no match for it. It stalked slowly toward them, confident of its impending success. It never saw the other shadow leaping out at it and ripping into it with fierce and powerful mechanical jaws. MODOC never hesitated. He was unsure of what he was seeing, but organics had fur and this was not a standard organic.

           Its smell was wrong, a burning acrid thing, like batteries burning their fuel too fast, too hot. MODOC fought without mercy once he saw the creature heading toward Justin and the young woman who stood in front of him. MODOC released hydrogen sulfide into the flesh of the Other, using precious resources, but determined to ensure the death of this alien thing. Their struggle, whirling, brutal, and savage would take mere minutes, while the greater struggle took place above them between man and machine. In the moments it took for mechanical might to overpower the alien flesh, the Other was stirred to life.

           The Other sensing the peril of its organic extension, began to heat again with a chemical fury. Its body began to smolder internally as it harnessed the energy bound within it. At its core, the essence of the alien, its flesh, part plant and part animal surged to life desperate, fear-driven to destroy the Conqueror.

           It surged forward, tumbling onto the shore of the river, plunging beneath its icy surface, its heat creating a cloud of steamy vapor and for a moment heating the river to blast furnace temperatures, before the icy flow regained dominance. It began to roll across the floor of the river, intent upon the wall of the factory where it would claim its destiny as the ruler of this planet. It would take less than two minutes to reach the wall of the factory.

           MODOC relaxed its jaws on the creature when it stopped moving. MODOC's back claws were covered with a slippery blue-black blood with a bitter, unpleasant smell. The thing resembled a cat, a cat without fur or skin.

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