Welcome to the Jungle

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Siege
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Welcome to the Jungle

Post by Siege » Tue Feb 02, 2010 4:20 pm

Booted recently reminded me of the existence of this piece, so I recovered it from the archives. Minor edits have been made to some dialogue (such as it is) and formatting, otherwise it's unchanged.

Welcome to the Jungle

All around him, the green ocean tide of the alien forest writhed and twisted. Independence Boulevard was being consumed by a jungle seeped down from evil stars, the alien roots and ferns and doom-flowers of Xabathos, the Star Creeper. The city of Dallas was reduced to nothing before the gaze of the Plant God, as titanic tentacle-vines consumed office buildings and shopping malls and highways, followed by no less evil flowers whose unnaturally strong feelers shattered bricks and mortar and crushing glass and steel. A tidal wave of iron-consuming blossoms, floating gas-mosses and flesh-eating spores crawled across the landscape, an inexorable miasma that drove a helpless humanity before it. People shrieked as waves of burrowing follicles ravaged. Engines roared in panic. The entire populace of the Texan city fled before the vegetable onslaught, knowing that none could stand before it.

None but one.

The throaty roar of the chainsaw reverberated dully against the gigantic leaves that enveloped the surrounding office buildings. Donal Luther laughed hard as he sliced through vines and trunks and flowers and thick pulsing branches. Green and purple sap spattered in his ragged black beard. Delighted, Oil Punk nimbly maneuvered his diesel-powered exo-skeleton out of the way as an orange blossom tried to snap his foot off, then brought his steel boot down on the things stalk, crushing it. He was rewarded with an inhuman squeal; the orange bloom withered away almost instantly.

Luther's steel boots pounded through living green corridors that had once been streets, where deadly flowers in a myriad colors snapped at him. Now the murk of the xeno-jungle enveloped him fully, was all around him. Where they touched it, the hard steel soles that enveloped his cowboy boots reduced the living carpet to pulp; his mechanical suit propelled him down the now-organic road at inhuman speeds, his chainsaw hacking away at the undergrowth as he went. Stingers spat out from the organic bulk of what had once been a large truck, but Donal side-stepped athletically, snatched an dull red orb from his utility belt and off-handedly flicked it at the plant-creature. With a thud and a flash of light, the thermobaric grenade enveloped the oozing stinger and the surrounding flower-beds in fire. Ashen pollutant belched out from the alley together with larger pieces of scorched plant-life. The wash of heat passed over him together with the thick petroleum smell of fuel-air explosives.

A blur lashed out from between a set of waving two-story ferns, an organically covered fist connected with his bearded chin. For a moment Luther was dazed, but his suit reacted for him, automatically warding off the next series of blows with a steel-covered arm. The chainsaw lashed out, forcing the figure to cartwheel away and out of its reach. Donal tried to shake the dizziness away, and then recognized his assailant.

“Eva Green,” Oil Punk leered at her in recognition. “I shoulda known a god-damn communist hibbie like you would sell her soul to this alien froth. Hibbies got no sense of patriotism. Everyone knows that.”

Eva Green, alias Lonestar, stared at him blankly, then replied with a voice that wasn't her own, “Eva is not here right now.” Her voice was like the waving of leaves on the solar wind, an alien, rustling sound barely recognizable as speech. Donal noticed the green vines trailing underneath the skin of her face, coming from somewhere beneath the back of her neck, covering her temples and cheeks and connecting on the forehead to sprout into an organic alien diadem. Democrat or not, it was pretty clear Lonestar wasn't herself right now.

She was, however, a metahuman. Relatively low-level, and way out on the wrong end of the political spectrum, but still. Donal Luther was a lot of things, but a metahuman he was not. That wasn't to say he was defenseless of course- after all, he was the one in the powered steel exoskeleton.

Eva turned into a blurring hurricane of leaves and stormed at him. Donal brought up his chainsaw, hacking through nothing but air and vines. Loose petals coalesced into a human shape again and then she was right on top of him, half-covered in leaves that formed a sort of organic armor, grappling feelers shooting from her wrists, curling around and his exposed throat and twisting the arm that held the chainsaw out of the way. “Stop resisting,” snarled the thing that controlled Lonestar. “It's useless- it's the law of the jungle, baby.”

Gagging, Donal twisted and brought up his remaining unrestrained arm. An armored gauntlet closed around the sucker vine wrapped around his throat, and he crushed it with a squeal and the whir of flexing gyros. Luther tore it free of his throat and contemptuously threw it aside.

“If y'all think this, this shrubbery is gonna stop me, y'all are in for a big whoppin' surprise!” He flexed his mechanical muscle and slapped his foe across the face, sending her flying backward into a bed of flowers that rebounded like a set of organic springs, putting her swiftly upright again. But Luther had the upper hand now, charging at his foe like a runaway freight train, his powered armor belching black smoke that caused the surrounding hostile plantlife to recoil away from him. He feinted left and Lonestar moved to intercept his chainsaw, but it went wide and suddenly Donal was inside her guard. She recognized his ruse, but it was too late.

“Time to eat diesel power, bitch!” Donal hissed in Eva's ear as he wrapped a hydraulically assisted arm around her in a steel-clad embrace. His armored hand connected with the mind-controlling potato latched onto the back of her neck, and then forcefully ripped it clear. “Represent!”

Lonestar shrieked and collapsed on the grassy floor that had once been a city road, convulsing involuntarily as the alien control mechanism was torn from her nervous system, the green diadem visibly shrinking and withering away as her own consciousness regained muscle control.

Donal grinned victoriously -- and then he saw it. Up ahead, Texas Stadium loomed, its superstructure entirely enveloped by enormous leaves of purple and feelers curved like inverted spider's legs. He punched his suit controls, powering up the supercharged turbodiesel actuators that drove his armor. The suit had no catalytic converter and no filters, but in this case that was a good thing: blazing trails of black smog poured out the exhausts mounted in the back of his suit, horribly tormenting all it touched that was green. Healthy alien plants died within seconds of exposure to the toxic fumes as he powered ahead at full burn.

As if sensing his purpose, the primeval alien growth began its attack in earnest. The whole jungle writhed as it threw itself at him, tentacled vines, enormous leathery things thick as many men that lashed out from the living thing that was the stadium in a vain attempt to protect it. Donal scythed his chainsaw in murderous figures of eight, gutting the plant life as it tore at him. Sap and gore and mulch splattered everywhere, coating his sturdy armor with a green film of dying plants. Higher and higher the alien jungle towered over him, feelers and flowers, crazy pulsing hybrid-things that were undoubtedly Xabathos' very own creations, ferns and conifers and impossible things throbbing with inner fire that seemed like a star's dream of how a plant should look. Razor-sharp leaves cut the paint on his armor; a stinger needle pierced his cowboy hat and was cut two second later by the roaring chainsaw. Pollens whirled around him. The thicket wrapped itself around his feet, keeping him in place as huge vines with sucker-beaks swirled around him, readying for the killing blow.

“Ya want it?” growled Donal, keying a command into his armor. “Then come get it!” A hose extended abruptly from the diesel tanks deep in his armor, sliding underneath his free arm until the business end rested firmly in his armored palm. Electrical cigarette lighters clicked from his gauntleted fingers, protruding in front of the hose just as the vines readied to strike him down. “Fire in the hole!” Luther barked, and with a frightening demon roar the flamethrower belched liquid flame into the middle of the vines. The unholy things writhed and screamed as they burned. Donal indiscriminately hosed the fire around, clearing dozens of meters of plant life in a purging orgasm of thick, sticky flame. The vines that kept him in place withered and died. Still the plants kept coming, but he punched another command and the jetpack on his back belched more fire and gravity temporarily lost his grip on him. Still spraying fire downward Oil Punk soared up onto the roof of Texas Stadium.

An unbelievable vista unfolded before him. This was where, not a night before, the organic star had fallen from the sky. What had once been a football field was now a swirling miasmatic morass of green, a single organism that was a maelstrom of sentient tangle and jungle, a quagmire of sprouting blossoms and flowers in unearthly colors, feelers extending into angles that should not be, and crawling vines so thick they made the stadium's defenses look like twigs. Although he did not know it, he gazed upon a rare sight indeed: a Fern-Queen, one of the gargantuan mutagenic organisms that were Xabatos' very lieutenants.

Donal stuck a thick cigar into his mouth and lit it with the electrics of his flamethrower. “Let's rumble,” he growled.

The impossible thing in the middle of the stadium answered his challenge with an undulating, pulsing nonvocal cry that reverberated in unseen spaces. Blossoming feelers struck down, and the chainsaw buzzed into its highest setting, turning into a blur of steel chain that defiantly slicing deep gashes through the assaulting tide of green. Thermobaric grenades tore deep holes through the organism, but it regenerated impossibly, closing the holes even whilst they smoldered. Thorns grappled with his armor, tying it. He cut them loose, but they came again, and again, grinding sap into his chainsaw until it finally ground down on a thick twig. He swung his other arm, spraying liquid fire around, but the thorny madness reformed again and again. Donal knew he was outmatched, but he'd be damned if he gave up. His armored fist punched through a strange fruit, exploding it and showering him with oozing purple sap. His feet snapped through vines and grappling grass. Vines lashed at his chest, his arms, his head. He wasn't going to win. A feeler-tentacle suddenly wrapped around his legs, hoisting him up into the air. Futilely he battered its thick green skin, bludgeoning it but it refused to let him go.

Higher and higher the plant carried him above the stadium. He was surrounded by a forest of tentacled feelers. The green ocean swirled and pulsed, moaning slowly in an ectoplasmic victory cry. It changed and unfolded as he watched, and suddenly a shape opened, like the mouth of a gigantic octopus. He could see endless rows of needles and sucker mouths below him. Now, now, fleshy one, a voice suddenly echoed in his head. You certainly are strong-willed specimen. Do you have anything amusing to say before you and I become one?

Dangling upside-down, Donal Luther spat down he realized what was going to happen. “So you ate the botanical garden and all them hibbies in it- I didn't give a fuck about them. You ate city hall and the major- I didn't give a fuck about that damned liberal either; But you'll fucking rue the day you chose to fuck with the god-damned Dallas Cowboys, bitch!”

Oh, you are amusing, fleshy one. The mind-voice of the Fern-Queen came again. Let's see how funny you are when you slowly rot away inside me, feeding my precious plantlings.

And with that, the feeler relinquished its grasp on him and he tumbled down toward the twisting flowered needle-mouth and the horror below it.

“Wrong!” snarled Donal, keying another command into his suit as he tumbled down. Mere meters above the mouth, his jetpack suddenly ignited. “How you like this!” The backwash of the jetpack was epic, a huge jet of flame pouring down from his back right into the gaping mouth and, underneath it, the heart of the Fern-Queen. Raw igniting turbodiesel poured into its throat, vaporizing huge chunks of the green horror. Xabathos' lieutenant shrieked in sudden agony, and Donal poured some more fuel through the lines. He hovered above the Fern Queen, showering her in liquid flame even as she burned and died, and burned some more, until finally the whole green jungle shuddered with the death spasms of the gigantic organism. The Fern-Queen collapsed, feelers falling in, flowers shriveling up, everything green withering under the smoke and the fire that Oil Punk was pouring into the Texas Stadium. Finally, everything was still: smoldering and blackened, the dead husk of Xabathos' lieutenant lay shriveled in the middle of the ruined football field, its remains barely larger than the meteor as which it had landed.

Donal keyed his jetpack landed next to it, and spat on the husk that had no minutes before tried to eat him whole. “Owned,” he said, to no-one in particular. But although the controlling organism was dead, he knew he was far from done here. The rest of all that roaming plant-life was still out there, sprawling across the city like a park from hell. Donal pulled out the leathery vine that had caused his chainsaw to stall and jerked the starter chord. With a purr and a waft of combusting petrol, the gory device came back to life. He grinned through his sap-spattered beard. He had a chainsaw and plenty of greenery to slaughter. What more could he want?'
"Nick Fury. Old-school cold warrior. The original black ops hardcase. Long before I stepped off a C-130 at Da Nang, Fury and his team had set fire to half of Asia." - Frank Castle

I breakfast upon Armadas such as thine!

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Shroom Man 777
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Re: Welcome to the Jungle

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Tue Feb 02, 2010 4:51 pm

:mrgreen:

Hibbies! LIBERALS! And EVA GREEN! :lol:

Man, Oil Punk. He makes fossil fuel and global warming so awesome! What a guy!

Though that Fern Queen was pretty silly to have tried eating a guy packing flamethrowers and fossil fuels!

It would be awesome if, after this, Oil Punk got the rights to process all the dead Xabathites into biofuel.

EDIT:

BTW Vic proposed that the Damask Invasion Fleet of 96 was one hunting down Xabathites and had, like, the Damaskian version of bigass weed killers and chainsaws optimized for killing Xabathites, and upon finding Earth the Mechons might've decided to kill all Earthly life anyway (because Damask being Damask, I doubt if he cares enough to distinguish between the classifications of lifeforms he wants to kill).
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Re: Welcome to the Jungle

Post by Booted Vulture » Tue Feb 02, 2010 5:19 pm

This so fucking sillyily awesome I can only wish it was my idea for the character from the start. :D

Dear goodness Logue is an asshole, and it works because the guy's like Tony Stark in an petrol powered Iron Stark but you sure as hell couldn't tell it from this because Tony Stark is such a charming draper girlie man compared to Logue's wholesome southern manliness!

:D
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Shroom Man 777
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Re: Welcome to the Jungle

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Tue Feb 02, 2010 5:21 pm

He reads like a Heretic character, which is a definite plus. :D
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"Sometimes Shroomy I wonder if your imagination actually counts as some sort of war crime." - FROD

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Re: Welcome to the Jungle

Post by Kingmaker » Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:05 am

And once again we see that there is nothing nature can create that sufficiently inflammatory technology cannot destroy. :twisted:
When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Heading said: "Stick to the Devil you know."
-Rudyard Kipling

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Ford Prefect
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Re: Welcome to the Jungle

Post by Ford Prefect » Sun Feb 07, 2010 6:09 am

Can you imagine the news reports? Oil Punk is one of the most consistently unsavoury folks there is, without actively being evil.
FEEL THESE GUNS ARCHWIND THESE ARE THE GUNS OF THE FLESHY MESSIAH THE TOOLS OF CREATION AND DESTRUCTION THAT WILL ENACT THE LAW OF MAN ACROSS THE UNIVERSE

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