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Fanfiction Bad End

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Endearing Misanthrope
The Convergence Series GM
Bad End


The only thing all men are equal in is death.

This is true not just of men of all kinds, but also all men of all worlds. Across the universe and through the multiverse, death comes for man no matter what. In this anthology series, many such people who have been linked to the different multiverse incidents in some way or another have met such deaths, but these events have gone unsung due to their existence being little more than specks within the greater multiverse... until now, as their stories are brought to light here.

This ongoing anthology series began on February 4, 2017.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 - Ryner Lute

Chapter 2 - Ellie

Chapter 3 - Desmond Miles

Chapter 4 - The Shareholders
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Endearing Misanthrope
The Convergence Series GM
Chapter 1 - Ryner Lute

All men dream. But not equally.

Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.

In short, ambition was what made man dangerous, as it was what motivated him. It was what made a man powerful, as it was what drove him. And hell hath no fury like a man who had set his mind to accomplish something that he felt he absolutely needed to accomplish.

Ryner Lute was one such example.

An extreme example even, given that he was not just a man with such a drive, but a desperate man, fueled by need.

Everything had collapsed for him in the blink of an eye. Those that he cared for, his dear companion Ferris Eris and the king Sion Astral, had turned their backs on him. The world, divided by its very nations, was in turmoil. And every day, he fought off the hunger. The thirst. The desire to kill. This drive that originated from the Alpha Stigma, his two magical eyes that granted him the title of Roland's Strongest Magician. But at the cost of being considered more of a monster than man usually.

Everywhere he went because of this horrifying, uncontrollable power, he was hunted. His power was feared, hated, coveted. Everything that could be thought of when it came to power. And he wanted none of the power he was burdened with. But... If he could harness this power, tame it, in order to achieve his ideal, the ideal of the perfect world where no one had to cry, the perfect world where everyone could just take peaceful afternoon naps... Then so be it.

And so, he realized it.

It was during his adventure that one day, he suddenly woke up to find himself in an unfamiliar location, surrounded by unfamiliar people. Little did he know, this was his first encounter with what turned out to be... a Murder Game. But not just any Murder Game. A game of death that imbued him with an idea on how he would save the world. How he would save everyone. An ironic twist of fate, but that was how these worked. Sacrifices had to be made for the greater good... was something that he used to loathe the very thought of, but somewhere down the line... He found himself acting upon it.

He lost himself somewhere down the line, but as long as it meant everyone but him be damned, then so be it, thought the desperate man.

It was within this Murder Game that he learned of a seemingly omnipotent, magical device known as the Holy Grail, said to be able to grant any one wish to the one that it would deem worthy. And so, after surviving the ordeal, Ryner, in this desperate time, resorted to this desperate measure. Utilizing his godly magic, the Alpha Stigma, the Solver of All Equations traversed him into the next parallel world, and through methods that he was not proud of, he had managed to do it.

He acquired the wish-granting Holy Grail for himself.

And it was then that he realized everything came at a price. But at this point, there was no price that he wasn't willing to pay to get what he wanted.

And so, he made his wish.

For his world to be saved.

In one request, he wished for those that he loved, Sion, Ferris, Keifer, everyone, to be happy. He wished for the warring nations, Roland, Estabul, Nelpha, Gastark, and so on, to be united as a grand, powerful world that was not divided by some trivial war. He wished for his own world to be a utopia in which everyone could smile, and no one had to suffer, as he did.

And the price?

To save a world, he had to destroy worlds.

As the Holy Grail had arrived and demanded to him the souls of the many worlds that made up this universe, this universe of mages, vampires, demons, and so on, Ryner practically acted as the grail's puppet, doing as it ordered. With his Alpha Stigma, he orchestrated the death of countless individuals, of many worlds, within this universe, traveling from place to place with that very power.

For all his intelligence, the so-called Solver of All Equations could not solve this conundrum without changing his present course. But if he could not see these people, then was it not as though they did not exist to him? After all, this was an entirely different universe, separate from that of the one that mattered the most to him, right?

So why did he still feel troubled?


Well. At least he managed to procure this much. This happy ending for his world, right?

As Ryner Lute, Roland's Strongest Magician, stood at the outskirts of the kingdom of Roland itself, staring distantly at the faraway castle, he could only narrow his eyes. His heart and mind practically warred with each other, the former too ashamed to face everyone after what he had done, and the latter feeling the need to validate himself and his own actions by seeing the fruits of his labors.

To that end, he took a step forward, letting logic dictate his action.

Though he had not wiped out the entire universe of the world from which the Holy Grail originated, he destroyed just enough that the vessel had claimed to have fulfilled its end of the bargain, so there was no further need in keeping him around. Thus, he was free to return to his own world.

Still, after everything he had done, his heart still panged with remorse. Not just for who he destroyed along the way, but also for those he could not save. Specifically, a warrior, a king of knights, whom he had fallen in love with during the Murder Game. A woman who resembled his dear Ferris in a manner, but more stern, and carried an air of someone who had gone through much hardship, but had overcome it through sheer force of will, or at least, had the potential to.

She was known as Saber, and though her heart came to belong to another, she was beauty, she was grace indeed.

However, all things that were good were never to last. Saber became corrupted during this Murder Game, and was forcibly killed in the end, denied the redemption she had been seeking in her past. However, while the story would tragically end there for some, it was hardly over from there. For little did many know, Ryner was actually involved in two Murder Games, the latter of which transpired in the middle of his journey, and took place in a strange place known as "Gravity Falls."

It was there that he was reunited with Saber, cleansed of the corruption that led to her downfall in the end of the previous Murder Game, but alas, even that was not to last, as she perished once again through unfortunate circumstances.

It was this phenomena that led him to despair, that led him to settle on destroying the worlds. He didn't know why. Perhaps it was out of confusion. Confusion that everything always seemed to go wrong despite all the power he held. Perhaps it was for revenge. The need to avenge Saber's death by destroying the world that had birthed her, the world that had granted her this life filled with nothing but suffering and death.

In his rage, however, he never realized the cycle of death that he had created. And like all cycles, it was to come full circle.

After all, peace can never spawn from hate. And this peace, or at least an illusion of it, that he had created out of this world that he lived within... He wondered if it was genuine, the real deal, manifested by the sheer power of the Holy Grail, or if it was little more than a mirage, and cause him to realize that some things were beyond wishing for.

However, before Ryner Lute could take another step towards the kingdom of Roland where he had once resided within along with those he loved, an unfamiliar voice halted him, not just out of surprise, but out of horror. He didn't know why, but the voice sent chills up and down his spine as a sense of dread overcame him inexplicably.

"And where do you think you are going, boy?"

Perhaps against his better judgment, Ryner turned around to face the feminine voice behind him, the overbearing nuance within it almost demanding him to turn around despite no words ever being spoken to indicate such a thing.

"W-Who are...?!"

"Now, now. That is no way to treat a god. Or at the very least, any sort of figure above your pitiful existence, irritating ant,"
the mysterious woman spoke. She was a beautiful woman. It made her all the more frightening to be in the presence of.

Her hair, mien, and royal dress had an air of certain royalty to her, yet the emblems, Ryner could not recognize belonged to any nation. Not even Estabul or Stohl. It was almost as though... She was from an entirely foreign world.

Or even a different universe.

The overwhelming threatening sense of dread was something that Ryner was no stranger to. He felt a similar sensation just facing the monster within his very soul, Alpha. But this monster... This monster that wore the skin of a human. She was definitely something else.

Narrowing his eyes, Ryner clenched his fists, attempting to keep his ground.

"O-Oi, whoever you are... You call yourself a god, but trust me, you've never seen power like the one in my eyes. Or what, haven't you heard of the Alpha Stigma?"

"Ah, yes. Trying to talk tough in order to compensate for your fear... A boringly human reaction, I must say," the blonde woman spoke, stepping towards him, Ryner in turn taking an instinctive step back, "I care not for your bloated power. For you see, Ryner Lute, your sins have caught up to you."

"Tch, and what's that supposed to mean? Got a lot of sins on my back as it is, so you'll have to be more specific," Ryner bluffed, attempting to keep his legs from trembling before the monster that stood before him, the monster that blocked his path from the world he wanted to return to. An ironic thing to say, considering his own back was against that very world.

"Are humans really as slow as you are, or are you just a special occasion?" The woman spoke with irritation, like a sagely queen displeased at some less than pleasant news, "Or perhaps... You intend to turn your back on the worlds that you've destroyed in order to revert your own to how it was before it came to ruin. You intend to ignore the damages you've inflicted upon my worlds."


Ryner had nothing to say to this woman. It was one thing to claim to be some sort of goddess, but there was undeniably something about her that spelled powerful. How could she possibly know about that?! How could she possibly know...?!

At this moment, Ryner Lute was, without any mistake about it, terrified.

"H-How... How do you... Who are you?! What do you want from me?!"

"I go by many names... The Type-Moon, Daughter of the Crimson Moon, Arcueid Brunestud... But it matters little. As I implied, I am a god. A god of a world very much like this one that I, and I alone, govern. But my power is not restricted to but a single world. I feel the tremors within the universe. I feel the hollow emptiness inflicted upon this universe. And thus, I've traveled from my own universe just to meet you. But you see... I have no interest in your world, or whether or not your wish was truly granted. You have interfered with a universe that was not yours with power that you do not deserve. So I will take everything from you."

"For the countless lives of those you've destroyed, I shall take yours."

"If you want me so badly... Come and get me!" Ryner exclaimed violently, as though retaliating more against his own fear than the woman herself, before raising his hand and drawing a circle in the air with his finger, his eyes glowing red as he activated his Alpha Stigma.

"What I seek is thunder! Izuchi!"


With that, a magical glyph was formed in front of him in the air, and from there, like a portal, bolts of lightning flew straight at the woman who called herself Arcueid Brunestud!

"Hmph. Pathetic. This is all your so-called magic eyes are capable of amounting to?"

All the woman felt the need to do was slash her arm across as the bolts of thunder reached her, the bolts dissipating as though she were swatting away annoying flies. With a perpetually bored expression on her face, she took another step forward, inching towards Ryner like an axe murderer towards a defenseless civilian, her pace slow, yet deliberate.

"That is your first chance. Two more remain, and if by then, if you have not so much as scratched me, I will kill you slowly and painfully," the goddess spoke with an unnervingly playful tone, her eyes growing wider and lustful at the thought of murder and her voice practically echoing throughout the edge of the woods at which they stood, "However, I am also a benevolent god. Surrender now, and your death will be quick and painless."

It was clear to even Ryner that the woman was merely toying with him, indicating that she was immensely powerful to shrug off Izuchi like it was nothing, let alone exude that kind of air to begin with.

"Tch! Not on your life, crazy lady! Goddess or not, you don't scare me!" Ryner exclaimed, gritting his teeth. But that was a lie. He could practically feel himself quaking in his own boots out of fear. He could talk big all he wanted, but never in his life, when it came to battle, did things seem as hopeless as they did here and now. He had never faced an opponent that he felt was just straight up stronger and superior to him in every way. This was simply a fact.

This woman was...

D a n g e r o u s.

Still, he had to try something! He couldn't give up! Not after how far he had gone, not after everything he had done in order to accomplish what he wanted!

Raising his hand, his eyes still glowing red, Ryner drew a small red circle with his magic, his eyes glowing brighter than ever before as he began to recite an incantation. "I offer up this contract to--"


In a split-second, Ryner's world quite literally spun upside down as his body, like a rag doll, was sent rolling down the hill he was standing atop. He was unable to realize that Arcueid had, in less than a second, delivered a punch powerful enough to knock him down the hill, and much more, with a burning pain in his chest. Ryner struggled to even move, realizing that more specifically, his solar plexus was struck, temporarily disabling his ability to even breathe for a hot second.

Still, he managed to recover quickly enough, scrambling to his feet as Arcueid Brunestud walked down the unstable hill as easily as one would walk up and down stairs, maintaining an air of grace comparable to that of a princess, an irony that betrayed her true strength and ferocity underneath her beautiful exterior.

"That is two. Last chance, human. Make your final move wisely. It may very well be your last."

"Tch, is... Is that all you got?!" Ryner taunted spitefully, gritting his teeth and wiping blood from his mouth. He didn't care what he had to do to win. He needed to win. Nothing would stop him from seeing his friends again. He would do anything to make sure this was so.


Even if it meant losing himself.

Even if it meant giving in to Alpha again.

Even if it meant erasing this goddess's very existence.

"I could very well ask you the same thing. With that kind of bad attitude... I think I remember you. Yes... You were there in that town when the Night of Wallachia attacked, weren't you? I should have killed you when I had that chance. And to think even my lesser self thought little of you. Quite a wonder how pathetic humans can be..." Arcueid mused, evidently bored enough to ramble lightly to herself.

"Underestimating humans is a mistake you won't live to regret!" Ryner only said, his eyes glowing a brighter, more vibrant than ever before, as the Alpha Stigma began to take over. His desire to kill. His thirst for blood. It was welling up now. Yes... That's right. Giving in to the monster inside him. The monster who saved nothing. The monster who spared nothing.

"These eyes... If only you knew the full extent of my power. You think you can hold a candle to me, but if you know that I destroyed all those worlds... Then you should know. I will erase y--"


A scream pierced through the air like a drill, and it wasn't until a second or two later that Ryner had realized it was his own scream. He was in pain. It hurt. It hurt so much. It hurt.

It took him another few seconds to realize that he could no longer see. His vision was completely black. From the shock of the pain, he sunk to his knees with his hands on the ground, only to feel a strange substance on the ground. Blood. It was blood. It was his blood.

And that was when Ryner realized that Arcueid had slashed his eyes out. And with that, she had easily undone the power of the Alpha Stigma as though it were nothing to her.

"If your intent was to intimidate, all you've accomplished is that you've thoroughly disappointed and bored me. You are less than an ant."

Though Ryner was unable to see it, let alone see anything now, Arcueid almost had what resembled a sadistic, yet calm, smile on her features, as though the only amusement she found in this was through her own actions.

"You talk too much. And your power is hardly all-powerful if you're that slow. At least the other little boy with mystic eyes was able to pose a threat to me in some manner, but even compared to him, you are nothing more than a bad joke, Ryner Lute. That is the sum of your ambitions, your identity, your very existence, and that is how it will go down in your world's history... That is, that is what would happen if your world would continue to exist once I am done with it."

Ryner could only clumsily crawl away, unable to even get up on his feet. Blindly gazing in Arcueid's general direction, he could only breathe rapidly, barely able to talk in Arcueid's words through his searing pain. "W-What... What are you...?!"

"Despite my actions towards you, boy, I am no villain. I am simply a force of nature that will do anything it takes to recover the stability that you have disrupted in my universe. If anything, you are the villain, disrupting the natural flow of a universe for your own selfish desires. And thus, you will pay the price for it."

With that, Arcueid took a pause to calmly walk over to the fumbling Ryner, reaching down and grabbing both of the magician's arms with her hands, before savagely ripping them off with her own brute strength, fountains of blood violently flowing out, eliciting a horrified cry of pain from Ryner, who could only agonize uncontrollably as his head hit the grassy ground.

"So ultimately... In the end, am I not the hero in this case? An amusing sentiment, at least from a certain point of view," Arcueid spoke calmly, an eerie sight as she remained so calm and collected before the writhing Ryner, who continued to scream in terror, "Of course, human labels such as good and evil mean little to me. Monster, goddess, hero, villain, it is all meaningless. In fact, if there is anything that vexes me more than man's need to label things..."


"... It is your incessant screaming."

With one fell sweep of the arm, Ryner ceased to scream, but he was not dead. Not yet. Arcueid had merely slashed his vocal chords, evidently annoyed by his screams. As her fingernails, razor-sharp and resembling more like claws than anything else, dripped with blood, she glanced at the blood in her hand, before almost stifling a laugh for whatever reason, and then focusing her attention back on Ryner.

"There we go. You have a mouth, but you can no longer scream. Ah... But that was a regrettable course of action. Since you can no longer speak, I cannot hear you beg. Beg for me to not destroy your world. This world that you have tried so hard, struggled so much, to restore. But is it not only fair? Your world in exchange for the many worlds of mine that you have destroyed. You brought this upon yourself. But do not fret. I am not so cruel that I shall keep you alive long enough to witness me kill everyone you've ever loved and then some... as much as you could possibly witness anything now."

"No... You'll be long dead by then."


And with another singular motion, Arcueid smashed her fist into Ryner's head, crushing his brain against the ground. Ryner Lute had instantly died with that, and no fanfare rang for the fallen magician. Arcueid had made sure that everything he had worked toward amounted to nothing, because after all, as she said, he was nothing.

And he had no right to wield the power of gods as a man to destroy worlds. So for trying to change everything, he had doomed his entire world to oblivion.

As Arcueid Brunestud gazed at the town ahead, looking away from the corpse of Ryner Lute as though it were little more than the dead carcass of a rat, a cold smile tugged at the corners of her lips as she walked forward. The full moon was quite beautiful tonight. And as the night was still young, surely many people would still be about.

She figured she may as well entertain herself a little before destroying this entire world in one fell swoop in the end.

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Endearing Misanthrope
The Convergence Series GM
Chapter 2 - Ellie

"Shit, shit, shit..."


To Ellie, perhaps that was what she could call it in a sense.

Just about twenty years later, and it had all gone to shit. Or rather, even shittier than it already was. And who would have thought that was possible? Certainly not her. After the whole shitfest in Silent Earth, and then the fiasco with the Fuse Facility and... that other girl whom Ellie refused to remember right now, she was finally back home. And it was moments like these that Ellie almost wished that she just stayed back in Silent Earth to die with Joel. But of course, as proven when Cole had put her into that coma, she always managed to slip past death by the grit of her teeth, and though some would consider that a blessing, Ellie certainly considered it a curse.

She wished she wasn't home again, but she had nowhere else to go. It was humiliating. It was pathetic that this was the one place she felt she could turn to. After what she had done to Katniss... After how she handled the aftermath with Elsa, after everything that she had done, perhaps all the misfortune that had subsequently rained down upon her was fitting. Stuck in Silent Earth's illusions for twenty years, fall in love only to have that fuck up, and another seven years later, be involved in her fourth Murder Game.

And just when she believed she put that all behind her, just when she believed it was time to go home... She remembered the consequence of being away from her world for so long. She was their hope, and in her absence, despair won over. The fungus that had plagued this world took over, and the light of the Fireflies was replaced with a looming sense of dread in the air that followed Ellie everywhere she went, try as she might have to escape it, but the further she traveled, running through the empty streets, footsteps echoing through the empty air on the concrete and the grass, the more she simply exposed herself to the dead world that she had left long ago.

"Fuck, fuck, fuck..."

The more she traveled, the more... nothing she saw. No sign of life whatsoever. No mercenaries, no Fireflies, no animals or wildlife... no infected either. Just no one. It was as though the world had simply rotted away, and the fungus was simply the catalyst. Even the sun seemed paler than usual. Like it was all destined to die away, and the Murder Games were the final nail in the coffin, sweeping Ellie, the one hope, away. Turning her into a pariah for those she did surround herself with.

Was this what she deserved? She dared not even remember back to those days after all she had done, as self-reflection was never one of the girl's strongest points. At least, before Joel came along, but he was gone too. There was little to be accomplished by believing that this world going to shit was just like reliving the illusion back in Silent Earth, and how perhaps it was the will of the forces that be. If there was a god out there in this world, he certainly hated Ellie.

"Goddammit all...!"

The more she stayed here, the more it all frustrated her, and the less she remembered why she even came back here. There was nothing for her here, and there was a small part of her that knew it. The young woman, quickly growing tired in the heat of the dim sun, also became irritable, all things considered.

Passing by an old trash can, a relic of the past that had probably sat there since the goddamned '70s and somehow miraculously remained standing upright still, Ellie instinctively kicked it over in a burst of frustration, various items that had rotted over time falling out, such as half of a soda can, a rotten apple core, and other objects. It was a foul sight, and yet, the only thing that put Ellie in a worse mood was the lack of flies or rodents that rushed to surround the garbage, another reminder of just how dead this place was.

With only a sore foot to show for her outburst, Ellie could only let out a frustrated sigh and continue walking, but her destination, even she didn't really know. Maybe a remotely decent place to lay down and sleep? With no animals around, who knew what she'd even be able to eat? But of course, the young woman could barely stand to think about all that at the given moment. She only wanted to keep walking going nowhere.

However, even the time she had to just walk was limited.

As she turned a corner, tracing her hand across the ruined building she walked next to, a sound stopped her dead in her tracks. Of course, any sound at all would have been enough to startle her frozen, but the fact that the sound in question was the sound of a can being kicked... frightened her. It made her heart sink, and she instinctively gripped the hilt of her knife. Moments like these only pissed her off that she didn't have a gun on her, but she had long since misplaced the one she acquired at the Fuse Facility many years before, and with this world being as good as empty, there were no weapons to be found here either other than this old, rusted knife.

"Who's there?!" She exclaimed, her head whipping back to the direction of the sound like a deer, but to no response. There was no sound that followed the one before, save for the rapid heartbeat that rang in Ellie's ear like an ominous beat. Daring to peer her head around the corner, however, there was strangely enough nothing out of place.


Except that the silver half-can from before was gone.

With that, Ellie's body moved before her mind could even think to process what that meant. She began running far away from that site, and yet, she didn't even really know why. Was this fight-or-flight? Perhaps. And if it was so, it wasn't like Ellie could exactly blame her body. After four Murder Game experiences, who knew what was and wasn't a sign of impending doom?

Even after the idea that it might have been her mind playing tricks on her entered her thoughts, the brunette still didn't stop, continuing to sprint until she had gone tired, which didn't take very long considering the sweltering heat.

She clutched her knees, breathing rapidly, and looking down at the ground, silently reasoning to herself that if there really was something out there, then surely, she'd managed to outrun it already.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

"Who the fuck's there?!" Ellie screamed at the top of her lungs, her voice echoing through the air as loudly as the strange sound of footsteps did. Looking behind her, where she thought she had heard footsteps slowly walk towards her, Ellie saw only nothing. Nothing but the dead block that she had been moving through. Gripping the hilt of her knife tightly like a little girl would a teddy bear, but hesitating to draw it out, Ellie continued to stare at the empty air with narrowed eyes, trying to ignore her shaky hands.

And then, she made a mistake.

Ellie turned around.

And as she did so, she saw the last thing she would ever see.

"Just me."



With a pained gasp, Ellie's eyes widened as her legs suddenly felt weak, unable to even fathom who the strange man was that had suddenly popped up where she wasn't looking, before she looked down, seeing a large combat knife driven into her heart, unable to resist as her killer tightly gripped her body, ensuring that the knife cut as deeply as possible.

Ellie could only make a weak noise as the life left her body, her free hand weakly attempting to push the man off, to little avail. However, the man accommodated Ellie's request for personal space soon enough, as he sharply drew the blade out of her body and stepped away, and with that, her body fell to the ground.

She had so many questions in her head as she slowly faded away. Who was this man? Where did he come from? Why had he come for her? And yet, despite all the questions that were unanswered to her, Ellie couldn't help but... feel at peace. Maybe death really was the only freedom from her cursed life. At least now, she could be with everyone. Riley, Tess, Joel, Katniss... Everyone.

Maybe all this man was doing was finishing what Cole had started.


As VECTOR, a member of Umbrella Corporation's Wolfpack, stared down at Ellie's corpse, laying in a puddle of her own blood that only continued to seep out, he coldly let out a nonchalant breath, before producing an electronic device from one of the pouches on his clothing, navigating his way to a list with a title that simply said "Progenitors," updating it.

Dallas - Deceased

Hatty Hattington - Deceased

Ellie - Deceased

Shiki Tohno - Alive

"Another one to check off..." VECTOR murmured to himself, going through the list before his eyes gazed upon his next target, the fourth person in a row he had been assigned by Umbrella to hunt down.

"Shiki Tohno."

His world would be no consequence to find. After the Fiamma Incident had placed his world on the map of notable worlds of interest, maybe he'd be able to quickly kill his next target before lunch. A two-for-one special. An amusing thought for the cold-blooded killer.

He was on the hunt, and nothing ever stopped this hunter from catching his prey.


Endearing Misanthrope
The Convergence Series GM
Chapter 3 - Desmond Miles


The grave had no name on it, but it was all that Desmond Miles could do.

It was a crude little thing, cheap and fragile, but it was all that Desmond Miles could do.

For all the godly power he held with the Apple of Eden on his form, Desmond Miles could not do much.

For all the godly power he held, he could not bring another human back to life. At least, not him, with his body lost to him, stuck in another world that he was forced to flee from.

He could not even give Ezio Auditore da Firenze, his ancestor from another timeline, a grave to call his own. A grave with his own name on it. There was nothing on it. No name, no dates, no memorial. Perhaps befitting an Assassin who had spent all of his life working in the shadows to serve the day, his death would be as unsung as his life, tragically so.

All he could do was stand there, and just like a human, struggle to find anything to say.


Desmond looked down at the ground in frustration, his hood up in order to hide his identity... though all things considered, perhaps his hood acted more like a giveaway to his identity. Not that it mattered. If the Revanchist wanted to come after him, then so be it. He was done running. After all, it was his running that got Ezio killed. Of course, there was little to say that fighting alongside him would have yielded anything better, but the former bartender could only feel anger toward himself. His weakness. His cowardice.

He had the Apple of Eden by his side, this godly artifact that had helped him take down the dreaded Arch Demon long ago, and if it came to it, then to hell with the risks of using it. There was far too much at stake for him to be afraid anymore. After all, he needed to gather Assassins across the multiverse, establish a communication between them all, in order to stand against the Templars, or rather, the ones who stood above them.

But that was for later.

Here and now, Desmond had been so lost in thought, he'd almost forgotten that he was still standing before Ezio's unmarked grave. A man who went down in legend in his home world, but in this greater multiverse, was little more than a speck of dust that will be forgotten in time. That was the totality of life. Withering dust within the fabric of space. Desmond had never quite given thought to that. Even in the past Murder Games he had survived, it didn't quite matter. None of it did. Whether he lived through any of them, whether Ridley would have stayed with him or not, none of it. The bigger your perception of reality was, the smaller you realized you were.

But he knew he couldn't think like that.

Even if he had felt as though he was acting far too self-important all this time, he couldn't act as though it was all meaningless. After all, it meant something to him, and as the only Desmond Miles he knew to be aware of these transgressions, it was his duty to right the wrongs done by the hands of his enemies, and to make the people he'd once called allies aware of it.

Of course, he couldn't exactly get back into contact with the Coalition. After how the Arch Demon's Downfall had ended and how the Coalition had ended up right there, he doubted they would feel very inclined to help him after that. Even if there wasn't any bad blood with him and Makoto, it would be a fruitless endeavor to try to reach out to them without solid proof of the Revanchist's activities. He needed something more. Something big. He just couldn't say what.


"He was a worthy kill. They often say that in war, there are no villains. Only those with opposing views. Normally, I don't care to think about what an Assassin thinks is right, but certainly, that man lived a life he truly believed was righteous, and at the end, perhaps even I am unable to find myself in the position to fault him for that."

"He was a good man. No matter what you think, nothing you do can change that," Desmond spat distastefully at the Irish voice that rang behind him, prompting him to turn around and face the man.

"Is that right? Let me tell you one thing then, boy. Actions may never be undone, but they can be forgotten. Rewritten. Literally or not. I'll be sure to give you just enough credit to assume you're smart enough to realize this," Shay Cormac, man of the Revanchist, the one who had killed Ezio Auditore and many different incarnations of Desmond before this one, simply said.

"No, you know what? I think it's you who doesn't get it, Cormac. Should have killed you when I had the chance," Desmond said with a riled voice, narrowing his eyebrows cautiously, even if for all intents and purposes, he was the one with the advantage, "You just don't get it, do you?"

"Oh? Is that right? What, pray tell, might you have to teach me, boy?"

"Anything at all. The Assassins, the Templars... It's always bigger than that, isn't it? An order here, an order there. A Coalition to protect, and a Revanchist to man the strings on the puppets. But at least I'm fighting to make sure those strings are cut, so no one's fate has to be decided by some pretentious group of elite assholes who think they know what's best," Desmond said defiantly, openly challenging the ideals of the Templars, and perhaps even the Revanchist. However, the younger man's fiery determination seemed lost on Shay, who only sighed tiredly and shook his head.

"Ah... I see now. You still believe that that's what it's all about. Free will against order. The morality of giving man the choice to slaughter or be slaughtered. But it stopped being like that a long time ago. I thought that you, of all people, would have been aware of that. You, who survived enough Murder Games to end up slaying the Arch Demon."

"Then what is this about? If it's not in the name of some bullshit order? You tell me! What is the fucking point of any of this if this multiverse bullshit has clouded everything we once believed in?!"


Shay initially said nothing. The older man remained silent for a brief moment, turning around and averting his gaze from Desmond. All things considered, perhaps it was a foolish thing to do, to look away from his own target, but it was evident that neither of them cared for the Apple anymore. What was once the crux of their motivations was now... dust in the wind. Just like their very existences. Just like the foundations of everything they had once believed in.

Then, when he turned his head, Shay finally spoke again.

"I've killed so many with your face, making sure that no world, wherever it was, was poisoned with your order's ideals, hoping that I would find you as you were. And yet here you are, defeated and alone," Shay began to say, his eyes narrowed and full of hatred and bitterness, but also pity, in some strange way. Men who called themselves Desmond, men who called themselves Connor Duchannes, it was all the same to him. It didn't matter anymore.

"Try as you might to consort across the multiverse. Dreading the rise of Revan. Hoping to gather your own little force to stand against him... But this is the fate you wrought for yourself when you turned your back on the Coalition. The only force whom you might have been able to persuade to oppose us. Why else would you have found yourself in a decrepit old building in a forgotten country, accompanied only by an old man past his prime?"

"You've lost your way, your original purpose. The war between the Assassins and Templars? Your role as the Cipher? You can pretend all you'd like about how it was such a burden for you, but deep down, you relished it, didn't you? A worthless bartender who finally got to fulfill the role as the big damned hero? You were finally given purpose, only to discover that in the grand scheme of things, none of it mattered. Your purpose was pre-determined. Your world was one in which you were "supposed to" become the Cipher. One in which people like us were "supposed to" fight. And when that was taken from you the moment you reawakened within that world, the bear, the priest, the witch... You scrambled like a headless chicken trying to find something else. You tried to see something in the fight against the Arch Demon, in a fight against us, but at the end, you let it circle back to the beginning, back to square one."


Desmond looked down, unsure of what to say for a good moment, letting the silence travel between them uncomfortably, but even after everything, he wasn't one to let someone else have the last word.

"And what about you? How are you so different? What makes you so much better than me, huh?!" The hooded man exclaimed, neither bothering to refute nor accept Shay's words. Both of them knew what waited at the end of this exchange; with one of them dying. He could have time to ponder over such existential words later. But for now, he'd almost forgotten that this man was a dangerous enemy who needed to be defeated, or it would be him who'd be put down.

"I make my own luck. I've always made my own luck. Whatever I want to happen, I do everything I can possibly conceive of to make such a reality come true. I've broken away from my world, to serve something greater, to carve a path for myself that I believe is right. I've evolved to that scope. And when I kill you, that'll just be a natural progression of that path."

"Oh, yeah? And how do you plan on doing that when I've got the Apple?"

"Dear boy..." Shay tutted like a disappointed father, shaking his head briefly, "You've always thought so linearly. That's how I managed to track you and the old man down so easily. And it's how I'm going to kill you. By using everything at my disposal.

"Like HK, for instance."


With a sudden beam of light that zoomed through Desmond's head, like a deadly laser, the hooded man suddenly fell down, sinking into the ground, dead before he could realize it. Nonplussed, Shay silently walked over to Desmond's body and looted the Apple, pocketing it on his own form and turning around, not even giving the Assassin the dignity of looking upon him as he spoke.

"There isn't a body under this grave, is there? Now, it won't be so empty after all."

Pulling back his sleeve, revealing what looked like a futuristic brace on his arm, Shay pressed on one of the many buttons, opening a projection of HK-47, who was huddled in some unknown location far away, the droid lifting its sniper rifle casually as the job was done.

"Gleeful Exclamation: A stimulating kill indeed. One worthy of treasuring within my memory banks!"

"Well, I'm glad one o' us had fun at least," Shay sighed, adopting a lightly distasteful expression on his face as he continued to stand at the scene of the crime.

"Query: What was that meatbag referring to? Your dribble of Assassins and Templars were quite a bore, but if there is a chance that the target managed to reach out to others that could prove an obstacle to us, should we not take further action?" HK inquired curiously.

"Don't you worry your little metal head over it. The Assassins of my universe wouldn't pose any sort of threat, even if they were to somehow organize and band together against us. Shadowy organizations like those who operate behind the scenes have no grasp on what the front stage looks like; they lack drive to even continue existing."

"Observation: You appear to be projecting."

"Yes, this also applies to our... partners, not just the Assassins," Shay spat, as though the word disgusted him to some extent.

"Query: Even the Shareholders? Are they not our allies in... mayhem?"

HK brought the name to light, and Shay took a breath. Indeed, the Revanchist had entered a sort of "partnership" with some underground organization, but as the man confessed, it seemed as though they were more content to remain in the background. Their motives were a complete mystery, and their activities were... spotty, just enough to let Shay forget sometimes that they were even working together, but every now and then, they'd rear their arrogant heads, making demands of them. Whatever Revan saw in them, Shay would never know, but it seemed like they had their occasional uses, so he let them be.

Even so... He found it difficult to respect them ultimately. Shay was a man of action after all, and men who could do nothing but scheme up their asses into oblivion were a bore to him.

"They are a weak and cowardly lot who overestimate their influence, and will surely be wiped out as quietly as they prospered. After all, you're talkin' to a man who destroyed such an organization similar to that when he was a younger man. Maybe the Coalition won't even have to do anything about them," Shay remarked, recalling when he had been agile and swift enough to fell the entire colonial branch of the Assassin's Order in his home world, "They're not even worth consortin' with, and I'm sure even Revan knows this. But... I'll leave that to his judgment on what to do with them. Or rather, what not to do with them."


HK-47 did not respond, so Shay continued on.

"Report back to base, HK. I'll be with you shortly."

"Acknowledgement: Very well. I expect to see you soon indeed."

And with that, the transmission was cut. Shay turned around and walked away, gradually disappearing into the town.


He did not feel triumph. It was only as Desmond drew his last breath and the threat of a potential multiversal Assassin Order allying with the Coalition was snuffed out with him that Shay realized it. He realized it, or rather to say, he remembered it. Just as he had killed Hope, Liam... Just as he killed Ezio. Shay never once felt triumph or pride over his victories, the events in which he had overcome the efforts of another human. He felt nothing.

He was a void human. Empty and black. Following a leader hoping to find some purpose in these actions. Collaborating with witches and gods from other worlds, their own motives a mystery to Shay.

Not even the Father of Understanding could do anything to temper these feelings of doubt. He cursed under his breath the mere notion of being influenced by Desmond, but he could not deny it. Had Ezio held these sorts of feelings as well? Wondering if what he did truly mattered? What "matter" was supposed to even mean?

Shay Patrick Cormac was left to wonder if there was an answer out there in this vast, horrifying multiverse, or if all that waited for him at the end of this path was more questions he would never know. But it was a path that belonged only to him, and so he would keep going down it.
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Endearing Misanthrope
The Convergence Series GM
Chapter 4 - The Shareholders

It was not to say that all of the Shareholders had been wiped out, unfortunately. However, it was accurate to say that most of the Shareholders as the keepers of the multiverse's peace knew them were wiped out, in just one covert operation.

Perhaps the most amusing part -- at least from the point of view of the director of the operation -- was that for all they prided themselves in being one step ahead of their adversaries, it seemed that they weren't quite as clever as they thought they were. It had went so smoothly and easily, he'd almost thought it was a trap, but everything proceeded without a hitch.

To recount the story, where would one begin?


The Board of the Shareholders were an enigmatic crowd. As mysterious as the Man in White seemed to the Suicide Squad, the former himself was little more than just a representative for them while dealing with those who could only understand the mortal tongue. As Locus dryly thought to himself, a grunt who was allowed to command the other grunts. He had no true love for the Shareholders, but jobs were jobs. His situation was unfortunate, but he had gotten worse deals.

Low level grunts like the Suicide Squad -- along with the Man in White, who had been assigned to accompany them like a master walking with his leashed dogs -- weren't privy to the finer details, but as he'd roughly understood it, they'd been reassigned to take up shop at a new base in Silent Earth. The Order had reportedly grown more volatile in days of past, wishing to take back their land after the Shareholders had somehow taken a hold of it. As the Man in White described it, it was a "tax write-off," though that didn't quite make much sense to Locus. Did he think, where the Coalition and United Universes had failed to take them down, the multiversal IRS was going to come and track them all down?

Still, it seemed something they truly believed was a worthwhile endeavor, considering they supposedly rented such territories of the world out to other clients, though what clients could possibly want to do here. In his head, Claire Stanfield -- another member of the Shareholders' Suicide Squad -- likened it a bit to imperialism. Even if they were crazy either way, he couldn't help but think of the history of his own world; their own land taken from them, parts of it divided for other people to inhabit?

Maybe a bit on the nose, but still.

What was next, making malevolence drugs? What did they even need with such malevolence in any case? Of course, Locus was not the one wondering all these questions. Claire would sooner muse on them; he was also mostly along for the ride, though he was pensive in a much different way than Locus was. Krieg wasn't pensive at all, and he dared not even fathom what went on in Sabbat's head. He'd ask Azula what her two cents on it was, but for some reason, she was commanded to stay behind, as the higher-ups had other plans for her or something, mumbles of a contract being heard here and there.


Anyway, basically, here was the scene.

Claire Stanfield, Locus, Paladin Jackson, Krieg, and the Man in White himself walk into a bar. Except it wasn't a bar. It was more a decrepit, abandoned warehouse.

A lot of empty space, and in the perpetually dreary landscape of Silent Earth, the whole interior was bathed in shadows and darkness, the closest thing to a source of light being the once brightly burning Sun in the sky, now struggling to even permeate through the thick clouds that never left.

Though not a part of the Suicide Squad, Paladin Jackson was filling in for Azula's place, as well as a co-conspirator for the Man in White to help oversee the organization's settling in this base of operations. Wasn't much of a base even, but working in the shadows meant having to adapt. As usual, Krieg was drugged up; his unpredictable and volatile personality meant he was liable to freak out at any given moment if he wasn't manipulated into bending to the will of the Shareholders. Claire really had to wonder why they'd make him a part of the squad, and what real purpose he served considering it seemed like he lacked any upper brain function, but whatever. Not to flatter the Shareholders, but as they said, God works in mysterious ways.

Yeah, right.

While the Man in White walked to an upstairs platform, apparently to communicate with his superiors in private, the rest of the squad was left to their own devices as the sound of a door slamming shut upstairs indicated the Man had no intention of being disturbed. Not that they really had much to do here, try as Claire did to get some reaction out of the real buckets of rainbows here. Locus had gotten really good at ignoring him, Krieg didn't even seem to know where he was either way, and Paladin Jackson seemed like he'd much rather be with the Man instead rather than the small fry.

Letting out a whistle as he sat upon some rubble, Claire decided to try his luck again anyway, just to see what kind of reaction he'd get. Again, literally what else could he do here? It wasn't like they'd been sent out on assignment in a while anyway.

"So, anything new with you guys?" Claire asked, the redheaded man swaying his legs back and forth idly as he looked toward the other three. None of them really gave any response, other than a grunt from Paladin Jackson that seemed somewhere between irritation and pity. Pursing his lips, the man continued on. "No, I guess not. I couldn't imagine any of you guys getting lucky with ladies... if only because you guys don't put yourselves out there," he said, before gesturing his hands to point at himself with his two thumbs. "Me? Things are a little rough with Chane, I think. She hasn't really been responding to my letters. I mean, she's never been the chatty type, 'cause..." Claire tapped at his own throat twice, as if that was supposed to explain everything, before proceeding to slide off the rubble and stand on his own two feet again.

"... but I mean, do any of you suppose my letters are even reaching her? Or is there some Shareholders voodoo preventing me from reaching out to her? Like oooh, what if she reads words?! Can't have that! She might be able to track us down on this goddamned rock of a planet where it never gets past the ass-crack of dawn!" Claire exclaimed, letting some frustration sink out of his mouth as he seemed to ramble to an otherwise unresponsive audience, before sighing as he composed himself again, suddenly letting out an excited gasp like a child hopped up on sugar, slapping his fist against open palm as his eyes widened. "Ooh! Maybe she's doin' that thing where she does have all my letters! How much ya willin' to bet, when I get home, I'm gonna see a whole buncha unsent letters in a drawer or something, a collection of all the feelin's she'd felt, missin' me and all that! Broads do love doin' that, but heh, my Chane... She's cooler than that. She ain't your typical woman, lemme tell ya," he continued to ramble, before suddenly being met with a response from an unexpected source giving an unexpected answer.

"... Maybe it's because you don't have a mailbox," Paladin Jackson uttered, resting his rifle over his shoulder.

"... What?"

"If she were to try and send you a letter, what address would she make it out to?" the man grunted. "Come to think of it, how are you sending letters to her at all? Who is out there, delivering mail from you to her?" Jackson continued. Just as he said, he couldn't fathom the idea of a special mailman hopping through different worlds to deliver some lousy letters from star-crossed lovers separated by space.

"Yomi told me she'd take care of 'em!" Claire exclaimed without a hitch, snapping his fingers as snappily as he spoke.

"... Isayama sends your love letters?"

"Yep yep yep! Guess she's more of a hopeless romantic than she lets on! Showed me a recordin' of her song when she an' Sweet performed at the Multiverse Hotel! Stuff like that comes from the soul, man!" The redhead exclaimed with an enthusiastic grin, eating up the incredulous response from the otherwise stoic Jackson, though it seemed such a revelation wasn't enough to shake Locus.

"I'm not even sure that's allowed. I'll have to give her a call later..." Paladin Jackson muttered. "Later" seemed to imply "now" though, as the man wasted no time turning around and walking off, climbing the stairs that the Man in White traveled up before, but staying atop the platform rather than leaving the room entirely, and so left Claire with Locus and Krieg.

Turning to the others with a more conflicted expression, Claire pursed his lips, resting his hands upon his hips. "Hope that don't mean the end of my literary trysts with Chane, know what I'm sayin'?" He said, gesturing his arm back toward the direction that Jackson went off to. "Not that either of you's would understand what it's like to lose someone important to you, eh?" Claire uttered, slapping his own elbow for seemingly no reason.

Krieg didn't respond, as per usual, but conversely, it did garner a reaction from Locus, who only gave Claire a piercing glare, even from under his mask.


"... Stanfield," he only said.


"Shut up," the mercenary grunted, and with that, began to walk off as well, in the opposite direction as Jackson. He wasn't the sentimental type, but he'd be lying if the absence of Felix these days didn't get to him in some manner. Who coulda thought without Felix yapping in his ear all day, it made dealing with someone like Claire all the more tedious? At least Azula wasn't here to enable that kind of obnoxious behavior, whether deliberately or not.

And so, with a soft sigh, Claire clicked his tongue as he was finally left with only the drugged-up Krieg. He silently gave the psycho -- as his world classified him -- a pensive look, before shrugging in exasperation. "Uh, Krieg, ol' buddy, ol' pal, why dontcha go stand over that wall? Guess I'll go take a walk or somethin'..." The man sighed. Surprisingly, Krieg complied easily, signaling that he was fully well capable of hearing and obeying orders, walking off to the nearest wall and... literally just standing there.

That totally wasn't creepy at all, but then, no creepier than this entire world in general.

With nothing left to do and no one left to bounce off (not that you could bounce very well off three brick walls), Claire let out an exasperated breath, shrugging with his arms out to no one in particular as he turned around, his black coat wavering in the air as he began to make good on his word and go for a walk. It would probably have been nuts to even think about venturing outside, between the malevolence in the air and the likelihood of being attacked by one of those crazy Order cultists, but this place really was stifling. He needed some fresh air, at least, the closest thing to it.

With that, he began to walk, making his way around a corner. However, the moment that he'd left Krieg's field of vision, that was when a certain something peculiar happened.


Suddenly, a loud crashing sound rang through the air, almost causing a stir within the decrepit warehouse as a whole. The redheaded man gasped in surprise as he spun around, facing the direction of where the sound had come from; the direction that Krieg was at. Clicking his tongue once he'd realized it, Claire pocketed his hands and sauntered back over to where he'd left the psycho.

"C'maaaan, Krieg. I can't even leave ya'lone for five stinkin' lousy minutes? If you really want, you can come with me, but only if you got a leash for--" Claire began to mouth off as he turned round the corner once again, only to stop in his tracks once he saw what had actually happened.

At the wall Krieg once stood, there was now a massive crater in the wall, and Krieg was on the ground, lying on his back. Eyes widening in urgency, Claire instinctively dashed over to the scene of the crime until he'd reached Krieg's body. Even just a cursory glance made it clear, his neck was broken. Krieg was dead. Someone had broken from the other side of the wall to do it.

His brow furrowed as he was mystified about who could have done this, and who could have found them here. However, the once Rail Tracer wasn't afforded such time to collect his thoughts, as the urgent footsteps of Locus quickly came running from the other side of the space.

"What happened?" He asked, his voice disturbingly calm, even at a moment like this, but then, a soldier like him had probably been conditioned to keep calm in moments like these, even when a "comrade" was killed. Not that any of them even seemed to like each other that much anyway. Still, he held his rifle tightly, as though ready to shoot anyone -- even Claire himself -- at any given moment.

"Looks like our secret hideout ain't as secret as we thought," Claire only responded. However, it seemed the perpetrator didn't intend on slowing down his assault. With Claire and Locus downstairs, the next target was obvious.

"Nngh...!" The faint groan of Paladin Jackson could be heard from upstairs, followed by an audible struggle. Loud clanging and bashing sounds, as though the paladin was attempting to hold his own. Claire felt his body move faster than even his advanced mind would process, and before he knew it, he began rushing to the stairs and climbing upward, Locus in hot pursuit trailing behind him!

The sounds of the struggle continued, followed by more crashing and slamming sounds along with Jackson's labored grunts, but by the time Claire had reached the top, the deed was already done.

As he reached the upper platform, the man was met with the sight of Jackson's unmoving body, slumped against the wall. Visible dents were visible all over Jackson's armor, as though he had been met with either end of a sledgehammer, but as Claire recklessly braved to walk forward -- the killer nowhere in sight, mysteriously enough -- to get a better look, the blunt trauma wasn't what killed him. There was a thin yet visible cut through the helmet, made more visible by a fresh blood trail. He was beaten badly, but a stab to the head was what had done him in.

As Locus reached the top as well, he only gave a grim look underneath his helmet as he was met with the sight of Jackson's corpse. Whoever was behind this was good. First Krieg, and now Jackson, in just a matter of seconds. Begrudgingly, he had to admit it; whoever they were dealing with was a professional.

Though the mercenary said nothing, Claire gritted his teeth and clicked his tongue, rushing over back to the other side of the platform, putting his hands over the railing and looking over the warehouse as though figuring the killer had to have somehow made his way back down if he wasn't here.

Then... he heard something right behind him.


A breath. Someone was standing right behind him, but it wasn't Locus.

"Who the--?!" Claire began to utter, spinning around just in time to see a man in black suddenly materialize right in front of him. The unknown man lurched his hand forward to grab Claire by the neck, easily picking him off his feet like a rag doll. The man's hand was cold to the touch, almost metallic feeling, but before Claire could even get a good look at the man's face, he found himself thrown off the railing, his body falling a whole story down until his body collided into the ground below with a loud crash as he slammed into some empty crates below.

Locus wasted no time in taking aim with his rifle, but before he could even get one shot in, the man -- moving as swift as the wind -- was already right in front of the mercenary, a hard shove from the man sending the rifle flying right out of his hands! Forced to adapt to close quarters combat instead, Locus clenched his fists without so much as clicking his tongue, putting up his dukes. Electing to do the same, the unknown man put up his own fists, and so the brawl began.

Locus had made the arrogant assumption that because the man relied on stealth before, he would have been easy to take down in a direct fight, but the advantage he held wasn't quite as great as he'd hoped. The man threw two punches, a jab followed by a cross, and Locus in turn did his best to block the coming attacks, but even just feeling the man's fists slam against his own wrists pained the hardened mercenary, even through his armor. This guy hit hard, harder than any normal human could hit. He was more than human.

With a lingering sense of numbness in his wrists, Locus nevertheless attempted a counterattack, raising his leg up and performing a roundhouse kick aimed right at the man's head. It was too little however as the man easily ducked under, sinking to the floor and sweeping Locus off his feet with a crouching kick. Locus landed on the ground with a loud crash, but he'd suffered worse. As the man attempted to follow up with an overhead kick intended to crush Locus's head, Locus deftly rolled out of the way until he'd gotten enough space away to safely hop back to his two feet.

As the assassin dashed forward to rush down Locus, the unknown man threw a wide hook toward Locus's head, but the mercenary was ready this time. He leaned backward, just enough to evade the hook, and come around again with his own attack, a punch aimed at the man's gut, and though it connected, it was met with a blunt sound, as though he had just punched a brick wall. It certainly felt as hard, the punch barely able to stagger the man. On top of the armor, this man's skin was just fundamentally beyond that of a normal human's.

It was precisely that maneuver that cost Locus his edge, as the man only reacted by delivering a powerful kick toward Locus's body, sending him staggering into the wall, mere meters away from Jackson's own corpse. The impact threatened to knock the wind out of Locus, enough to stun him for a second. A second too much.

Before he could recover his bearings, the man took his chance and sent a devastating punch right into Locus's face, hard enough to create a crater in the wall. His fate was sealed there.


Without mercy, the man slammed his fist into Locus's face three more times, each making a deeper crater in the wall than before, each punch as hard as a sledgehammer's full force. After three such displays of brutality, Locus's body went limp, and fell down before the man could punch him a fourth time. A sizable dent was visible on Locus's helmet, but it wasn't the only thing that the man's punches caved in.

The man finally let out another breath, staring down at Locus's corpse. The operation was finished now, or so he thought. To his credit, if all three of his targets were "normal" humans, he would have been correct, but there was just one thing.

Claire Stanfield wasn't entirely a normal human.

"Hey, asshole! Over here!" Claire's voice suddenly called out behind the man. Having thought that the redhead was as good as dead, the man could only gasp in surprise as he spun around to see...

... Claire Stanfield, alive and well, having found a metal pipe through the rubble of the warehouse, and throwing it right at him.


The man's surprise had rendered him unable to react in time, the metal pipe slamming right into his face, eliciting a pained grunt from him as he staggered to his knees. It hurt more than expected; the pipe had come at him so fast. No normal human could have thrown something like that at him that hard, but then, it took one to know one.

Eerily, almost like a boomerang, the metal pipe perfectly bounced off the man's face and back into Claire's hand. With the man on his knees, Claire wasted no time getting his own personal revenge, a sadistic grin plastered on his face as he stepped forward and raised the pipe and slammed it into the back of the man's head, causing him to fall back to the ground after he'd tried getting up.

"I dunno who the hell you are, but you're pretty good, I'll give you that. Three kills in just a few minutes. You're almost as good as me. Almost," Claire ground his teeth eagerly, repeatedly bringing the pipe up again to brutally slam it into the man, harsh crashing sounds ringing through the entire warehouse as even the platform almost threatened to give way from the sheer power behind his swings. "But you think you can just waltz on in and do what you want, chum?! Huh?!"


"You're pretty hardy, arentcha there, buddy boy?!" Claire said through labored breaths, continuing to slam the pipe into the man. "If you were a normal guy, I think the third hit woulda crushed your organs already, but it's like hitting a pile of rocks! A real tin man, aintcha?! I love me some real freaks of nature!"

"Then you're gonna love me," a new voice said from behind Claire.


Before he could hit the man again, suddenly Claire felt his feet leave the ground as he was lifted up by his head, a wide hand grabbing his scalp tightly, fingers digging into his head. Claire gritted his teeth tightly, his legs dangling into the air, before suddenly...


Claire screamed out in agony as a loud buzzing sound rang out, electric energy surged within his body, concentrated entirely in his head. The redhead writhed helplessly, his legs kicking uselessly at the air as his brain was overloaded with a surplus of electricity. In no time, however, he stopped screaming, and his body went limp.

As the second unknown man finished his work, he tossed Claire's body aside like a useless rag, before stepping forward and looking down at the first man, his ally.


"Looks like I showed up in the nick of time," the second man -- an operative of ODMA named Hei -- dryly said to his associate, not even offering a hand up.

With a labored grunt, the first man struggled to his feet, bloodied and battered, but still able to keep a focused head. The man, Adam Jensen, wiped some such blood from his chin, letting out hard breaths as he looked to Hei.


"Yeah, well... I could have handled it," he grunted. When his words failed to elicit much reaction from Hei, Jensen spoke again. "I take it you managed to finish your homework early?"

Hei nodded to that. "Sabbat the Necromagus and Cornelius Alba have been neutralized. However, Azula and Yomi Isayama were not present at the scene as the intel indicated. They may still be at large."

"What a shame," Jensen spat sarcastically. He wouldn't admit it aloud, but in a way, he was a bit relieved. He may have just murdered three men here, but involving children -- even if they were trouble kids -- was one line he didn't want to touch with a ten foot pole. In any case, their work wasn't done just yet. There was just one more loose end that needed to be taken care of.

The door to the side slammed open, the despondent face of the Man in White looking out in irritation. "Just what is that ruckus anyway? Are you children--?!" He began to utter, only to stop mid-sentence at the sight of Claire, Locus, and Jackson all dead on the ground, two unfamiliar men standing atop them.

Betraying his always calm and cool exterior, the Man in White gasped and instinctively made a run for it, running to the nearest stairwell to his side that led him up the next floor to attempt some sort of escape. However, neither Jensen nor Hei so much as made a break for him. He may not have realized it, but he was already dead.

As the Man in White reached the next floor, he made a break for the next door at the other side of the platform, only to unceremoniously trip over an unseen obstacle.

A cardboard box.

Looking back over from where he'd tripped, the Man in White grunted in confusion to himself, only for the box to suddenly spring in the air, and where it once stood... an eyepatched man now appeared, looking down at the pathetic sight of the Man in White.

The man was Big Boss, one of the leaders of ODMA.

Usually, he didn't partake in personal field operations like this, not that he didn't have extensive experience on the field, but Fury and Waller often kept him so closely tied up, it was almost refreshing to get back to the field.

"Y-You...?! You're...!" The Man in White could only utter incredulously, but found himself unable to finish his sentence.

Big Boss aimed his pistol right at the man's face with only one word. "Checkmate," he uttered, and pulled the trigger.

With a loud BANG, it was all over. The Man in White was dead, and the Shareholders as everyone knew them had surely been crippled, with the Suicide Squad having lived up to their name and some of their most prominent board members taken out of the equation. The Man in White had survived worse than a bullet to the head, but he didn't account for the technology that ODMA had at their disposal, and the kind of destructive power that could be put into the bullet shot into him.

As Jensen and Hei casually made their way up the stairs to reunite with their superior, they said nothing. As Big Boss turned around to face his operatives, he cleared his throat softly.


"Looks like the operation was a success. The intel turned out to be mostly on the money," he said flatly.

"Maybe so, but something's still bothering me," Jensen responded, folding his arms. "We still never managed to trace back who that anonymous tip was. If there's one thing that concerns me than a false anonymous lead, it's a true one."

"Maybe we have a friend. Or an enemy of our enemy," Hei postulated briefly. Either way, this was undeniably the best possible outcome. The Coalition didn't have the intel, nor did they have the stomach for an operation like this. The same could be said for the United Universes. This was a job that only ODMA -- the Office for Defense of Multiversal Assets -- was capable of pulling, in more than one way.

"We'll have to keep looking into it. Checkmate White is still working on it, after all," Big Boss said. He understood Jensen's concerns, but there was little they could do about it right now. "In the meantime, let's get out of here. Malevolence doesn't wash off, you know."

Underneath his spectacles, Jensen gave a furrowed look toward Big Boss. Did he just crack a joke?

Little would any of them realize, at least at that time, that the intel was in fact provided from the upper echelon of the Shareholders themselves. For what reason? To clean house, more or less. The new guard had stepped in, and was prepared to make a name for themselves.

All they needed to do was take out the trash, and ODMA was more than happy to carry it out.

But that all was a story for another place.
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