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"Exit Music" is the ninth episode in Season One of The Demon's Light.

Synopsis

Atticus and Marshall have a confrontation with Alchemilia Corporation. Chris battles for his life against John Fontaine. Melissa clashes with her brother, Steven. A girl is presented with a choice.

Prologue

Throughout Silivia, several parallel discoveries were made. Chris had discovered there was a new obstacle in his path. Melissa began to realize just how fragmented her memories were, and Baptiste had discovered Atticus and Marshall. To ease the mood, the skies shone a bright gray, the air became damp, fog formed, and a light rain fell over the city. In this rain, a grand game of cat and mouse would be played.

In Alchemilia Corporation, an old general was approaching Gabriel Alchemilia's door. He was an astute, stern man. Having served in the militia for many years, he knew several things about effective operations. Removing his hat, he knocked on the door. "Mr. Alchemilia?"

Gabriel sat on his cushioned chair, his head resting against his two interlocked hands. He looked upwards, towards the door, and sighed. "Come in, general, the door's unlocked."

He entered the office, shutting the door quickly. The general did not have any pauses in his speech, hoping to get his point across fast. "Afternoon sir, thank you for allowing me in. Listen, I've read the briefings -- I believe we need to rescind all of our operations in Silivia immediately and leave the android alone."

Gabriel reached towards a pair of glasses on his desk, unfolding the arms and gently placing them onto the bridge of his nose. He leaned back, staring the general in the eyes. "Why?"

"We have no choice. This operation has been complete and utter madness. The Droid is some old trash, he's really not that important. We can do quite fine without him. In addition, I have received the recent reports -- that site director, Baptiste, has long abandoned his plans for the android and is now chasing down two teenage fugitives. This would be fine -- if he and his crew weren't making a mockery of themselves by not, you know, shooting at the boys. This operation, it -- it's showing the city that we're a bunch of fools."

Gabriel stared at the general with an intense glare. This was a show of power, and Alchemilia would not let himself lose. "Then kill him." He spoke, disinterestedly. "I'll have Fontaine take care of Baptiste after he takes Wellington back where he belongs.."

"I..." The general was a careful talker, able to persuade people with his words -- but this time, it was different. Without another word, he got up from the chair and approached the door. He sighed. "Thank you for the information, Mr. Alchemilia."

"Do not leave yet." Gabriel raised his voice, maintaining a calm tone.

"General, haven't you wondered why I do what I do, despite being easily able to retire? I could live out the rest of the world's lifespan completely comfortably. I can crush anyone under my metaphorical boot, but I don't. I do what I do, General, because I am the only man who can do it. There are those who are 'strong,' and those who are 'weak,' but strength only belongs to who is more ambitious. Those who are strong are those who create the justice that the world follows. I must maintain my strength, and keep justice in this world. It is through I, uncorrupted as I keep myself, that we will maintain order. Peace between the different species of Euclid can only be kept by my hand. Come, General, take a seat."

The general listened closely, fascinated. He stayed in the office a bit longer, returning to his seat.

Gabriel looked the general in the eyes, yet again. "My ambition, dear general, will not be challenged by your dissent." Alchemilia calmly reached into his jacket, taking out a small pistol and firing it in one fluid motion, directly between the general's eyes.

Narrative

Atticus Anoethite and Marshall Rooke

Breathing heavily, Atticus ran down the street, pushing into people and skidding on the slippery road a few times. Behind him, he could hear Marshall running to keep up with his pace and the shouts of various Alchem aggressors. Eventually seeing a road leading behind a series of shops, Atticus took a sharp turn towards it and shouted for Marshall to follow.

Pedestrians watched in shock as the chase continued. Panicking, some screamed, and others ran away from the guards, too. They noticed the attempted diversion of the two boys, and Alchem kept in close pursuit.

Marshall started to sprint faster than Atticus. He yelled to Atticus and pointed to a pet store. "In here!"

. . .

It had been a quiet day at Harlan's Pet Store so far and Lalisa was sitting behind her counter, having checked on all the animals and locked most of the backroom doors. She was preparing to close the store down for the day when she stopped to look at the small TV located at her desk. The local news station was continuing to broadcast some story about Alchem Corp and their search for an android, something that utterly bored Lalisa. Sighing, she turned off the TV and turned to place the shop keys on the wall behind her when she heard a jingle as the front door of the store opened. "We're closed, you can just leave now," she called out.

Hearing the jingle again, she turned around to see two teenage boys running from the entrance with frantic looks on their face. "Hey, uh, what are you two doing?!" She called out. They ignored her call and the shortest of the pair, pale and with dark black hair, yelled out to head to the back of the store.

"Hey, wait up! You can't go back there!!"

Suddenly, the glass doors of the entrance shattered to the ground and caused the taller boy to trip and land against a large cage of birds, crashing it to the ground and sending the occupants flying around in a terror. Quickly shooting around to look at the entrance, Lalisa noticed a group of nine men wearing metallic red and green suits, all armed with guns and pointing them directly at the two boys.

. . .

"That certainly was a good jog, wasn't it? We really got the blood rushing, huh?"

Baptiste was panting, but a smile was on his face. After many minutes of soaring through wet streets, the game was completed. With the eight crew members pointing their rifles at the two boys, two guards began to approach them. "You're finished. It's over. Come with us, I'm sure Mr. Alchemilia has something nice prepared for you."

"Get up, Marshall!" Atticus yelled, glancing down at him. The sound of dogs barking filled the air as the Alchem guards pointed their weapons at the two boys.

Lalisa, seeing the conflict, walked from behind her counter and walked right up to the leader of the Alchem guards and stopped furiously. "NO! We are NOT doing this here. NOT at all. My family did not work hard building this place so you guys can play some screwed up game here and mess everything up! Get out! ALL of you!!"

"Well now this is just precious!" exclaimed Baptiste, immediately. Without another moment's word, he put his rifle in one hand, and punched Lalisa in the face, tossing her aside. "I have my morals, but none of that. I'm here to get a mission done. Be lucky—someone else might've killed you." he said, looking at the shopkeeper.

The two guards were amused at the commotion, but they were now behind the two boys, preparing to restrain them in handcuffs.

Marshall crawled pitifully on the floor, drenched in rainwater and mud. The two boys were appalled at the treatment of the shopkeeper, but they could do nothing. Atticus desperately looked at the guards, then to the window. He looked at the woman writhing in pain, then to Marshall. He looked at the ruined store, hearing the sounds of skittish animals. He looked to the glass, the guards, then stared at his companion one last time—and sighed greatly.

His head held down low, he placed his hands in the air. Marshall was shocked, and could only remain on the ground in shame. The Alchemilia guards placed handcuffs on them both, walking them out of the store.

"Young people. You all bewilder me." Baptiste told them. "Always, wanting to play hero, making a scene. Was any of this really necessary? Pitiful fugitives." As Atticus was walked into the rain, he hit himself mentally; wondering how exactly he arrived at this point.

Before he left, Baptiste took one last trip into the store. As Lalisa cried, Baptiste took out some pocket money. "Insubordination and defiance—gets you nowhere. Here is some pocket change. Fix yourself up." he said, walking back to the entrance.

The clouds parted. Blinding light shone through and pierced through armor. It all was a blur, it all seemed so strange, but Atticus could barely make anything out before his skull made contact with the pavement.

Chris Wellington and John Fontaine

Fontaine stared Chris down, the red glass over his eye reflecting the rays of setting sun as raindrops glistened on his coat. His dark skin was visible only on his scarred hands, which tightly gripped a pistol in each. He stood straight, preparing to take a shot at Chris, his right arm outstretched and his finger on the trigger. A drop of sweat fell down his face under the hot mask.

Chris, meanwhile, was desperately waiting for entry to the house ahead of him. Unfortunately, there didn't seem to be anyone inside. He wiggled the doorknob frantically, with a nagging feeling that he was being watched. The android looked around, attempting to spot an assailant anywhere. For a second his eyes met with Fontaine's, and that silent second seemed to last an eternity. Like a western showdown, only one of them would leave. The ensuing gunfire was almost less intense than the moment they saw each other, as Fontaine fired wildly and Chris lept behind cover.

Fontaine found himself unsure if he had hit Chris in the confusion, as his scanner could not identify life in androids. He advanced, crouching and holding his unfired gun in his left hand, ready for confrontation. The dirt beneath his boot squished, wet from the rain, and muffled his footsteps. He hadn't seen where Chris had hidden. Was he behind the house, the garbage can nearby, or perhaps he had found some other escape? Fontaine continued on.

Chris clutched a piece of broken glass like a knife, shadowed by the cover he was behind and full of fear. Fontaine was approaching the empty house now, and he was sure to take notice of the windows he'd shot. At any moment, he would realize Chris had jumped into the building. He had seen the trajectory of the bullets, though he already knew where Fontaine was coming from, so that was irrelevant. It was nearly night, and a rainy one at that. Chris needed to avoid being outdoors at all costs, or else the results could be catastrophic.

Fontaine knew this much, and knew too that the android was not at all waterproof. He was an ancient, rudimentary mockery of Alchemilla's designs, after all. The Alchemilia operative had reached the porch, and was currently scanning the surroundings for movement.

Chris was recovering from the rain, regaining his composure. The glass cut into his skin, revealing the mess of circuitry beneath. "The circuitry!" He thought to himself, "That's it, I'm not just a human!" Chris had previously worried about winning this fight, limited like a human. But he was, in fact, more than a human. Recalling the trajectory of the bullets, he swiftly used his mechanical limb to throw the glass much harder than any human could in the same direction.

Fontaine, who had moved in a straight line, was quickly struck by the shard of glass. He had worn no protection, knowing it would restrict his movement, so it quickly pierced the glass eyepiece of his mask. It shattered as the glass pushed through into his eye, accompanied with an agonized grunt through clenched teeth. Chris was now standing in front of the window, and Fontaine had dropped his pistols in his pained state. Swiftly, Fontaine pulled two long knives from his boots and lept at the android, whose only defense was to flee. A knife made contact, however, and tore the skin off of Chris' arm.

Chris kicked Fontaine as the inner wiring of his arm was revealed. Fontaine could barely see, his only visible eye being the injured, so he tore the black facemask off. Normally he was composed, though his dark face was twisted in rage and pain. He threw one of the knives at Chris, knocking him through another window in the house and back into the rain.

If it weren't for Chris' robotic state, the knife would have killed him, but he was still alive. He pulled it out and held it like a sword, grabbing the lid of the garbage can next to the house like a shield. He looked down at the knife, noticing blood decorating the fine silver. Unbeknownst to him, this blood was that of his accomplice Savannah.

Fontaine rose in front of the window, staring Chris down and breathing heavily. He had grabbed one of his guns from the ground, and fired at Chris again. The shot missed, as Fontaine only had one eye to work with, so he needed to improvise. He gripped the back of a chair beside him with one hand, throwing it at the android to knock him off-balance. Once the garbage can-shield was knocked aside, Fontaine jumped out and delivered a kick to Chris' chest. He held Chris' head down in a puddle, as the two were collapsed on the ground.

Chris had to act fast before he was entirely destroyed. Small electric shocks coursed through the water as Chris began to scream. He wasn't proficient with the knife, but he was still holding his shield. The water was making him malfunction, though; he could barely think. Fontaine was bleeding. Bright red. Target. Bullseye.

Without much thought as to what he was doing, he threw the shield like a discus. It made contact with Fontaine's face, knocking a few teeth loose and making the man crumple to the ground, unconscious. Chris fled, still malfunctioning in the rain, and disappeared into the night.

Melissa and Steven Devlin

At the mention of the name "Alchem", some people momentarily stopped their laboratory work to listen in. Steven was obviously worried, but Melissa froze at the mention of the name. Quickly, she asked, "Are you sure they are here? Why would they raid the city?" Beth's eyes shot towards Melissa, quickly looking her over as she noticed the strange tone in Melissa's voice. "They have soldiers in the streets, they are after some android." She answered.

At about this time, Steven noticed the worry in Melissa, in addition to her choice of words. Having known Melissa for many years, Steven could see something was bothering her. They way she asked "why would they", to him, implied she had past experiences with the corporation. Wanting to save his questions to Melissa for later, he responded to Beth. "How many soldiers? Dozen? Fifty? Hundred?"

"Well sir, the reports say that nine men are currently in the city. For a moment, they hacked all of the radio and Internet systems." As Beth explained, Melissa wondered if the android being searched for was Chris. Perhaps, she thought, he made his way into the city.

"Did they happen to say the android's name?" she asked, trying to keep calm.

"Chris Wellington."

Melissa instantly looked more alert and partly relieved. "I-I'll have to look for him myself." Her voice partly shaken from fear of possibly confronting Alchem.

"Melissa!" Steven definitely knew something was wrong. Steven went in front of Melissa and quickly put his hands on her shoulders. "I don't know exactly what's going on, but something's up. Your tone, your face -- listen, I'm pretty sure you know Chris, but you can't go; I'm telling you, you can't!" he exclaimed.

Melissa pushed her brother's hands off of her shoulders, making him step back. "I didn't ask you! Yes, I know Chris, he's one of my friends from the barn and you can't stop me from going out there!"

"You're being an idiot!" Steven screamed. Stepping forwards, he once again grabbed Melissa with a tight grip. Others looked in shock at the confrontation.

"Enough! Listen, yes, you care about your friends, but this is a life and death situation! You'd be dumb to even think going out there is smart. I've known you your whole life, and I will not stand as--" The man lessened his grip slightly, his voice beginning to shake. His eyes watered slightly.

"I will not stand as you go out there and kill yourself. You've already come here all messed and beaten up, and this will not happen again".

Melissa stared directly at her brother as he began to fall apart. What once began as a great scolding and an affirmation of Steven's role as her protector, now became a pitiful display of tears and regret. She could see that he cared about her, but she also knew she had her own goals and objectives. Her friends were in danger, and of course, and to her, it was her duty to save them.

She pulled away from Steven once more, but with no great speech to shout. Steven could only provide a muffled and weak "Sorry". She shook her head, and slowly walked to the door.

"I'll....."

Melissa spoke nervously in the tension-filled room. She crafted her words carefully, attempting to remain calm in the face of her future endeavor.

"I'm going now. I'll see you all in a bit."

She ran out the door, leaving her sibling behind.

As she ran through the streets aimlessly, she did not know what to feel. She had an air of confidence and determination as she planned to find her friends. In this, was mixed with sprinkles of nervousness; as she wondered how she would confront Alchemilia Corporation. Surrounding these, was a pinch of sadness for her brother.

Her head held high, she went in, her boat against the current.


Epilogue

A girl hobbled through an unfamiliar darkness. She reached out and found a damp, cold surface — a cave wall. It was her only reference, so she used it to guide her. As the girl walked forward, her chest tightened and her eyes began to sting. She caught the distinct scent of smoke and hastily changed direction.

As the girl tried to quicken her pace, a light appeared behind her. She turned to see a hooded figure clothed in tattered black robes standing in the mist. Its left hand, which held a dying lantern, was bone white with purplish-blue fingers. The creature lifted the lantern with an outré jerk, allowing the girl a clear view of its face.

Both of its gray eyes were bloodshot and trained directly at the girl. Its mouth displayed wide, toothy leer; every denticle was yellowed, translucent, cracked, misaligned, and unusually narrow. The creature had two slits in the center of its pale face where its nose should have been. The girl wanted to run away from the monstrosity but her body refused to budge.

"Child," it was scarcely a whisper, yet the being's words was firmly burned into the girl's mind. "You have passed beyond the mortal realm. Welcome to my domain."

"What?!" the girl managed to shout before the figure silenced her.

The spirit stepped closer, "You have a choice to make."


Episodes
Season One The Mysterious LightThe Lost Ones • Alchem. Corp (Part IPart II) • Getting ScrewedThe City of Silver LightsDivided We FallHide and SeekExit MusicReunionIn Somnis Veritas
Season Two Double Sides'Till Dusk Dawns
Season Three Family Traitors
Season Four TBA
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