Tower of Babel
Author: Isaac Woulms

Chapter 37
Ch.37

Sagitta eyed Ignis as he lit a cigarette and took his first drag. His goatee was always clean and trimmed, his short black hair combed back to perfection, and his smile as ill intent as it was, gleamed in a sophisticated manner.

You’re nothing but a fake, she thought, now staring at him. The devil is going to have to make another ring in hell for you, Ignis. Images of what she’s seen in his wake flashed in her head. Quicker than lightning, that bastard. His movements in battle were effortless, though heavily weighted with aggression and tact. These thoughts filled her mind as the fiend smoked his cigarette, now keeping eye contact with her.

By this time in the mission, Ignis dispensed of his jacket, and rolled the sleeves of his white undershirt up to his elbows. His fedora was in its usual spot. The slacks he wore still appeared pressed and his vest didn’t have a stain on it, but Sagitta knew his hands were drenched in blood by now.

She read his file in the HQ’s confidential database.

No trace of any parents or foster home that claimed him. The only definite event of his past are the prison break, the underground organized crime, and his real name, Frans Janseen.

Ignis took the cigarette out of his mouth and said, “My mom always told me it was rude to stare.”

The way he always referred to his phantom mother was unsettling, and almost convincing. Gulo sat at his side, staring off into the level, waiting for orders. And you’ve got that freak with you all the time, your little pet from the prison break. By now Gulo’s white t-shirt was stained through with blood. The monster stared forward breathing deep even breaths.

Gulo sat up and took a long inhale of air before getting to his feet and walking behind Ignis. A low rumble came from his throat and Ignis nodded his head.

“Hey.” Corvus appeared in front of Sagitta and grabbed both her shoulders. The sudden transition from thinking about the lore behind Ignis to the grasp of a flying boy made her yelp in shock.

“Dammit, Corvus, what have I told you about scaring me? What the hell is so important?” Sagitta shrugged his hands off and grabbed his ears, slowly bringing him down from his hover.

“Magnus is a traitor.”

Sagitta didn’t see a reaction out of Ignis or Gulo. “What do you mean?”

“I mean he’s betrayed us. He’s helping an Ascending member get to the top of the Tower.”

“That doesn’t make any sense. Are you sure of what you saw?”

“It’s true,” a graveled voice said. Senium came from the woodwork of columns and stood amongst the group. “I saw Magnus with some little Asian girl with a weird birth mark on her face.”

“Where’s Magnus right now?” Sagitta asked.

“He just slipped by through the back exit. He's above us now,” answered Corvus. “I tried stopping him but... the little girl is really strong.”

Senium laughed and said, “Way to let a girl beat you, you little wuss.”

“And what's funny about a girl beating a boy?”

“Don't get all feisty. I said girl not bull dyke.”

“Are you calling me gay because I'm more woman than you can handle? Rotten sack of walking shit.”

“Children, do not squabble amongst yourselves.” Deus approached the group. He looked across the room at all of the Bio-Machina members and gave them a smile and nod of acknowledgement. “Senium, you should apologize to your sister. I must have you working against the threat, not each other.”

“I'll kiss and make up with her then,” said Senium with a grin.

“Now that we have gathered here we must enlighten one another. We shall begin with team Beta. Go ahead Sagitta, and spare us no details of your mission.”

Sagitta cleared her throat and said, “So far Corvus and I have eliminated one member  of the Ascending. We've dispatched a few of the staff members that we found as well. While traveling we came a cross one telekinetic enhanced human that showed signs of mental and physical deformity. The deformed member displayed different techniques of telekinesis as well as proved to be harder to eliminate than the normal Ascending. While on our arrival to this floor we came across a member of the Ascending that uses some strange amulet that allows her to transform into a dragon.”

Deus’s left eyebrow raised. “A dragon?”

“It was hard for me to believe it myself but I saw the Ascending member use her amulet to fly and transport herself and another member to the next floor where they made their escape. The other Ascending member was wore a leather jacket, a blue shirt, and blue jeans. They appear to be traveling up the Tower together. I was just informed, fellow member Magnus has betrayed us because of Corvus’s claim of witnessing Magnus aiding an Ascending member. That is all that we have accomplished on our mission.”

Deus nodded his head and then looked at Ignis. “Team alpha, what information do you have to report?”

Ignis flicked his cigarette and put his hands behind his head as he leaned against a pillar. “First off, me and Gulo made our way to the basement floors of the Tower. We found ourselves four classrooms of upcoming Ascending members and disposed of the little rats properly. After that, we made our way up the Tower knocking off many staff members; so much that even Gulo was full at one point. Level by level we kept an eye out for any more Ascending members but the rest of Bio-Machina was taking care of them quite well I thought. That is until I saw one kid with his skull cracked in from a pot, not the usual MO that anyone of us have. I've got suspicions of a third party here or maybe I should say fourth party. Magnus has indefinitely gone rogue. He tricked Gulo and me into believing that the Ascending member he now travels with was dead. Other than that, Gulo is ready to feed and I'm ready to burn.”

Deus gave another nod and turned towards Senium.

“Sup. I think I've been doing all right,” Senium said.

There was a few seconds of silence as it became apparent that Senium was finished with his report. “Come now Senium. Do not jest while we our conducting meetings.”

“The only remaining Ascending members are Neko and Trisha. Neko is the little girl following Magnus and Trisha is the one that can turn into the Dragon through the help of an uncovered artifact that Dr. Chen found somewhere in India. I'll find out more as I get to the more confidential networks higher in the Tower. The prison level that we passed once held the deformed and failed Demon candidates known as Styx. One former Demon member, Samael, has escaped prison and is now traveling with Trisha and the wild card.

“When I say wild card, I'm referring to the one kid they call Ben. He arrived this morning to the Tower and possesses all of the powers as the Ascending, yet he is in none of the databases or reports. From what I've pieced together he was meant to be forgotten. A few floors higher and we enter the rooms that are occupied by the Demon members. There’s three of them, one of which is the reason why Ben traveled to the Tower. I've watched a few clips on the hidden camera network and overheard the conversations this rag tag crew has had that will confirm my statements.

“There's specific generator rooms that are dedicated to powering the top floor of this Tower so there's something big up there. Security is somewhat lacking in this place. I think the Dr. had a very optimistic outlook on the durability of his subjects. On a final note, the outsider Ben is soft. So far I've seen any other member of our opposition willing to kill.”

Deus clapped his hands together for the Bio-Machina. “Very good my children. All of you have been preforming splendidly. It saddens me over the loss of our brother Magnus. I have been weighing the options since I first heard of his betrayal and from this point on to consider Magnus as you would any other mission target and eliminate him. He has made his choice in acting against us,” Deus paused and bowed his head slightly. “Such behavior is not tolerated within Bio-Machina.

“As for the remaining Ascending members and Demon, you have all seen the way they live. Their rooms are crafted for them, and their lives are served up upon a silver platter. All of you have witnessed that none of them have earned what they possess. We the Bio-Machina have earned our salvation. All of you have bravely received my blessings and have thus far impressed our benefactors.”

Deus raised his hands to the ceiling. “Look amongst each of you and behold the future of this world. Not only are you the forerunners of the new age, but you are the precursors to every man, women, and child that will be born after we mass-produce. Continue now in your own respective teams and finish your mission.”

Deus put his hands behind his back and smiled as he watched his team go about their way. His video feed paused and stored the clip within the nano-memory banks of his mind. He was sure the board would love that piece.

 

All of Bio-Machina had left onwards to the next floor, except Senium. He walked off into the corner of the floor and tried to light a cigarette. Senium tossed the drained lighter on the floor and turned towards the exit, but Ignis was standing behind him with the tip of his index finger red-hot.

“I got a light if you've a Lucy,” Ignis said.

“No problem.” Senium reached in his back pocket for another cigarette. He looked passed Ignis and saw Gulo standing behind a pillar ten feet back. It stared at him with a hollow glare. “You ever think of neutering that...thing? I'm surprised he hasn't bit your head off by now.” Senium passed off a cigarette.

“He's much tamer than he looks.”

“I don't get how you can stand being around that guy.”

“If it's ugliness you’re talking about, there's a lot of that in Bio-Machina.”

They both took a drag on their cigarettes.

“How has the treasure hunt been going?” Ignis asked.

“I've found out quite a bit. The relationship between the user and telekinesis is interesting. The pupils contract, the mental state of the user is in effect, and the mental exertion operates like a muscle. There’s a bunch of yet to be found goodies, but from what I've seen this project has quite the potential. I think the boss is lucky he wanted to up the ante so soon; give Chen a few more years and he would have had us.”

Ignis nodded his head. “Survival of the fittest and the one that can make the most profit.” Ignis glanced over his shoulder to check if anyone might be around, other than the three that were supposed to be there. “Ready for the promotion?”

“I'm not sure how long I have left to live but since you seem so adamant about wearing the captain's hat…”

Ignis smiled. “The only hat I’m wearing is this one on my head. I’m not vying for leader I’m really just hitting mailboxes.”

 

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