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The Faster Blade
02-28-2010, 01:42 PM (This post was last modified: 02-28-2010 02:01 PM by Barloke.)
Post: #1
The Faster Blade
* I wrote this a while back and posted it in DN1 since then I re-read and re-edited some things. I figure since our stories is what makes up some of the backbone of the Matrix it would be fun to get some stories out. The title is "The Faster Blade" which was the title of a song (rap) from the Wu Tang Clan. Yes the story has a "Asiatic" aspect to it. Hope you like !

THE FASTER BLADE



The warehouses along Ikebukuro were always an eerie sight at night compared to the rest of the International District. The near abandoned warehouses cast a dismal and dark shadow over the area and the night wind was of the most mournful sound. The gang controlled area had the most minimal of activity as a few trucks here and there would drive in and out of the warehouses, dropping off or picking up merchandise, otherwise the place was dead and dark.

Raven knelt on the roof of a warehouse she was going into, checking her equipment for tonight’s mission. Her black leather suit hugged her curvaceous body as it seemed to pull the shadows toward her. She checked, and then double checked her equipment and weapons until she was satisfied. This mission wasn’t going to be an easy one but then again assassination hits were never easy, especially when the “mark” was an exile. It’s like they had a sixth sense for danger, which is why they usually surrounded themselves with guards and alarms. Well, there’s always ways around those she thought, smiling ruefully. She tied a long scarf at the nape of her neck, partially covering her face. Her bluish-black hair was tied back, only her Asian eyes were visible. Standing up, she touched a button on her belt. She immediately began to fade from view until there was only an empty space where she stood. She headed across the roof to the door on the other side. Time to get to work…

Barloke cursed silently to himself as he hung upside down, suspended from an air vent. Some way to make a living he thought hanging here like a bat. But the bounty on this particular “mark” was very valuable, and truth be told, Barloke could use the “info”. Because the Matrix is a simulated world, money can be created as well, and although to a Blue Pill or an Exile it may hold value, to a Red Pill it’s worthless. Information in the form of data cards held more value, in that you could load programs for new equipment, training programs, and weapons not to mention all the other little interesting electronic goodies out for grabs. The Merovingian had tons of these data cards and a whole platoon of hackers that could make more, do enough jobs and you could end up with an impressive array of programs to load. Barloke checked his weapons and equipment again as he hung upside down. This wasn’t going to be an easy job, the “mark” was an exile named Lo-Tan. This particular exile was highly placed in the Phoenix gang and although the leader of this gang, Feng swore allegiance to the Merovingian he was starting to sway because of the influence of his right hand man, Lo-Tan. Barloke asked the Merovingian if the job called for taking out Feng as well. But the Merovingian felt that was unnecessary, besides the Merv reasoned a terrified employee is better than a dead one. So Feng was just supposed to get a “reminder” about where his loyalties lie and what happens when you try to double cross the Merv. Barloke scanned the area below with a pair of specialized goggles he got from one mission or another, designed to pick up varying code signatures in the Matrix. Wrapped around his right leg of his BDU pants was another device that acted as a personal radar and warned of approaching enemies a “sixth sense detection” if you will but for now it wasn’t picking up anything. Barloke pressed a button on his belt and started to fade from view, with a flip Barloke released the wire and fell silently to the ground landing in a crouch. The only evidence of his landing was the small cloud of a dust that barely kicked up to be noticeable. Standing up he made his way deeper into the warehouse. Time to get to work…

On the lowest floor of the warehouse, Feng was pacing nervously. “Relax Feng” said Lo-Tan as he kneeled in front of the low table, drinking tea “Anyone trying to get to us would have to go through the seven hells to do it.” That’s not the point!” said Feng angrily “We shouldn’t be hiding like this in the first place!” Lo-Tan shrugged and said quietly “Those are the fortunes of war.” “What war?!” cried Feng “Things weren’t great but at least I didn’t have the threat of death on me because of this mad scheme of yours!” Lo-Tan eyed Feng thoughtfully, looking every bit like antiquated Mandarin prince with his long red and gold robes and high cap. Quiet as a statue, even his long black hair was still he said in a soft deadly tone “silence” and Feng was instantly chilled “Remember who it was that you came to for help in these matters.” Feng sighed and slumped his shoulders; with his head bowed he said quietly “I asked for help dealing with the Frenchman, not to betray him.” Lo-Tan smiled and held up his hands so his long black fingernails at each end of his pinkie stroked the ends of his mustache that cascaded past his chin “And dealing with him we are doing right now” he said easily “this is not an act of betrayal, dear Feng, this an ultimatum.” “By holding his shipments?” asked Feng. “Of course” replied Lo-Tan “holding his shipments will send a clear message to this Frenchman that we mean business, he will act accordingly.” “Yeah” nodded Feng “and send a hit squad to wipe us out!” “Let him send his army” shrugged Lo-Tan “we have more than enough protection, and my personal bodyguard. Any army this Frenchman sends will be laid out on his doorstep.” Feng sat down heavily in front of the table facing Lo-Tan and said quietly “maybe it’s because you have been in the archive simulations too long that you don’t know danger we are in. The Merovingian is not a man to betray and before you say anything, that’s how he is going to see this. If we take from him, we will pay the price.” Lo-Tan just smiled again and said “We will see then.” Feng just sighed and shook his head…
Raven easily picked the lock from the roof door, looking back once she gazed at the air vent hatch that was slightly askew. She wondered briefly if there was another operative here for Lo-Tan but shrugged inwardly as she moved to the alarm box, she couldn’t worry about that now. The alarm system was a little harder to hack into and for the millionth time, she wished she had an Operator aboard her hovercraft in the Real, like in the old days when she was with Zion, but she knew those days were long gone.

Finally the alarm system was hacked; one by one she switched off the relays until the status bars on the entire network registered at 0%. Just to be safe, she also infected the alarm system with a virus; anyone trying to re-activate the system was in one hell of a lethal shock. With that done, she made her way carefully down the catwalk to the stairwell that was guarded by a lone Phoenix Guard. Raven pulled out a dagger and slowly crept up to him. The guard never knew what hit him, never had time to scream. One invisible hand covered his mouth as pain coursed through the nape of his neck. The blade cut through the guard’s upper spinal column, puncturing his Adam’s apple. Raven turned the knife in a horizontal motion until it severed the guard’s juggler vein, exiting just below the earlobe. Raven gently laid the convulsing guard down away in the shadows of the catwalk and proceeded to the stairwell…

Barloke moved stealthily to the elevator doors, the stealth mechanism he wore worked perfectly. Even under the lights he appeared invisible, only a slight distortion like a ripple effect would give him away, and that was only if he wasn’t still. He was just about to press the elevator button when his sixth sense detection signaled someone was coming. He stood absolutely still as two guards rounded the corner and approached the elevator. One of the guards pressed the call button and when the doors opened Barloke stepped into the elevator car with them. Standing behind them, he slowly pulled out the katana sword from the scabbard that was strapped to his back and waited; as soon as the doors closed he struck. Guard #1 looked just as surprised as Guard #2 that the tip of a sword was sticking out from his chest. Barloke pulled the sword and as Guard #1 fell to the ground, Barloke slashed sideways, striking Guard #2 at the base of the neck and cutting through. Barloke looked around the car, wondering where the hell he was going to stash the two crumpled bodies on the floor as he looked up and noticed the elevator top hatch. Five minutes later he was just about to enter the elevator car again, when the elevator began to move upwards. Carefully putting the hatch back on, he waited as the elevator began to rise…

Three guards at the bottom of the stairwell, but Raven was ready. She took out her razor wire and made a noose, tying one end of the wire to her belt and throwing the end with the noose over the banister until the noose hung directly below the guards. She got two flat blades ready as she lowered the noose. The first guard knew something was wrong when something thin and sharp tightened around his neck, two seconds later, he knew nothing else. Raven felt the noose catch and she jumped from the stairwell. The razor wire tightened even more around the guard’s neck and began to cut. As the guards head flew upwards from the combined weight of Raven and the sharp wire, Rave tossed the two flat blades downward at the remaining guards. The remaining two guards never made a sound as each of the flat blades found its mark at the center of their foreheads. By the time Raven silently landed by them, all three were dead. After hiding the bodies, Raven moved quietly to the elevator doors. Pressing the call button, she waited as the elevator began to rise to meet her…

As soon as she entered the car, she knew something was wrong. The car felt wrong, blood was spilled here and not long ago. She pressed the button to the desired floor and sat down, cross legged, closing her eyes; she recalled the training she took when she was younger.

Seraph instructed when she was just a little girl and marked as a “potential” that the truest way to see the Matrix was to close your eyes to it. “Close your eyes” he instructed “concentrate not on the reality of the floor you sit on or the air you breathe, but the emptiness between. Only then you will see the true reality revealed to you.” She concentrated as the elevator car descended thinking; there is no reality, only the emptiness between. For her at that moment, the elevator didn’t exist, the floor didn’t exist, she was weightless in the void, and when she opened her eyes, she saw the same things when she was a little girl. The green code of the Matrix was everywhere, all around her, every floor she passed she saw more and more, the darker green codes of a blue pill, the scattered golden codes of the exiles in the building. Slowly she looked up and her breath caught in her throat. The man that was crouched above her had an all together different code then she had ever seen before…

Barloke watched below from the grating of the hatch as the door opened up. His goggles picked up the heat signature of a female that entered the car. Something wasn’t right about this girl, she didn’t move like she was relaxed, she moved with alertness that Barloke recognized immediately, another operative, he thought. Barloke only had to raise his goggles to see his suspicions were confirmed. What he saw with his naked eyes was an empty car. So, he or she’s an assassin, he thought. Not surprising actually, the bounty on this particular “mark” was high enough to bring every bounty hunter and assassin on scene, well at least the good ones. But who is it? He wondered as he lowered his goggles over his eyes and the car came to a stop. She looked up, whoever it is, it sees me, he thought matter of factly, but before he could think anything else…

Raven raced out of the car and dived left along the catwalk by the stairs. She pulled three flat knives and waited patiently, knowing he had to come out sometime…

Barloke entered the now empty car below, ahead was the open elevator doors and beyond that the catwalk that hugged the walls, and beyond that was the railing and one hell of a drop to the bottom floor, at least he hoped there was a floor a below. He knew she was waiting for him outside, but he couldn’t wait in the car any longer. The doors began to close and that’s when he raced out of the car…
To Raven the man that raced out of the car was a coded blur as he darted out, and dived over the rail. He’s too fast! She thought, as she threw her three knives at him, each just missing him by inches as he dived below…

Barloke landed on the ground floor easily enough, without a scratch, unfortunately that was the only good news he was going to get. The bad news that his stealth equipment must have shortened out during the landing because now he was visible, worse still he was surrounded by some very surprised guards…
Raven smiled at the other operative’s predicament until it dawned on her who he was. Barloke! She thought with an inward groan, realizing just how much harder this mission had become. This particular Red Pill had history, albeit a very notorious one. One of the more highly placed operatives by the Merovingian; Barloke was known to have pulled off some of the impossible with countless missions all ranging from assassinations to theft. She remembered her days in Zion how he was wanted by Zion authorities for one crime or another and it was rumored that Commander Lock considered this man a major threat to Zion, worse than that he was a seasoned warrior, skilled in a multitude of combat arts. Where as Raven’s death toll was in the hundreds, this man’s was in the thousands, including Agents! Or at least that was the rumor, she thought as she shook her head. He went missing for a while and it was rumored that he was captured by the Machines during one mission or another, but he emerged soon after and as reports would indicate stronger than before. Many suspected that he was “modified” by the Machines, although how could a Red Pill be “modified” mystified Raven, but it would certainly explain some of the incredible feats attributed to him. Raven gritted her teeth, looking at the fight below. Well that’s all well and good that the competition, IS competition but it wont make any difference at all she thought as she made her way to the stairs…

The guards yelled in surprise and shock where Barloke landed. “Get him!” shouted a few, while others shouted “Stop right there!” Then the only sounds were screams…

Barloke pulled out his blade and cut through the guards as he sped to the door, mindful that the other operative was close by. The screams of the wounded guards echoed in the warehouse and Barloke knew regretfully that stealth wasn’t going to be a deciding factor anymore. Barloke burst through the door in the next room where more guards awaited, gritting his teeth, he began to cut…

Raven made it to the bottom floor with no incident. It seemed the guards were more interested in trying to stop Barloke than anything else. She carefully made her way to the door at the opposite end of the room. Opening the door slowly, she entered a large room that was ornate with asian style pillars. She walked slowly between the columns until she approached the center. Her breath caught in her throat when she saw the creature that occupied the space there. Something that looked like a cross between a man, a very BIG man and a bird…

Tengu sniffed the air, instinctively knowing that someone or something entered the large room he occupied. Although he heard fighting outside, his master specifically gave him instructions not leave this room for anything. He was to guard the doors to the inner chambers with his life. But something was in this room, something he couldn’t see but he sensed just the same. He knew it was female, he also knew it was very close by and probably scared. If Tengu could have smiled it would have been one of a sinister nature as he raised his nose in the air to take in her scent. With a snort he began to search the room for his prey…

Barloke took the first two guards with one downwards slash that cut through the first guard’s shoulder and ran through the torso, emerging from the rib cage. The other guard received a cut than ran clean though the waistline. As both guards fell to the ground, separating in bloody halves, the two other remaining guards in the room began to shoot. Barloke saw the bullets travel towards him in almost slow motion, leaving ripples in the air from the bullet’s wake. Barloke moved towards the wall in a run as the bullets sailed by, he took a leap and ran with his feet on the wall towards the wide eyed guards who could only see a blur where their target used to be. Barloke ran on the wall as he struck the guard nearest him with a horizontal slash that cut just above the left ear of the guard, downwards until it emerged from the jaw line on the other side of the guard’s head. Reaching the corner of the wall, Barloke kicked off from the wall and somersaulted backwards with his sword in a downwards position, landing in front of the remaining guard as his sword pierced the top of the guards head to the hilt. Pulling out the sword, Barloke slowly pushed the door that led to a hallway…

Raven crouched behind a pillar as Tengu began to search the area, sniffing around. She had seen plenty of weird things in the Matrix, where exiles were concerned, vampires, werewolves and even ghost like creatures inhabited the Matrix, although always on the border of outside view, but never one as strange as this. She pulled out her two short swords from their scabbards tied to her back and got ready; this was not going to be easy…

Barloke followed the L-shaped hallway until he reached another doorway. He didn’t like the sounds that were coming from the room beyond the doorway. Whatever was in there, it was big, and from the piercing shriek it made, it sounded pissed off. Slowly, Barloke opened the door and entered the room…
Raven slowly approached the creature from behind as quiet as a ghost, as the creature carefully sniffed the air. The creature walked between the embroidered red and black columns carefully, pausing every once in a while to search out the scent. Raven carefully made her way around a column and saw the back of the creature. Creeping up to it slowly she was just about to strike when the door to the room opened and in stepped in Barloke. Both Raven and Tengu looked up to see Barloke looking back at them but before she could react, the creature whirled and with a piercing shriek struck at her. Raven had to admit it was damnned lucky that she had her swords in front of her when Tengu attacked, otherwise she would have been shredded from Tengu’s claws that looked like they were made from steel. Her swords took the brunt of Tengu’s attack and Raven was tossed back from the force of Tengu’s strike. Landing on the floor on her back, she heard the electric fizzle from her stealth suit as she became visible “oh shit!” was the only thing she had time to say before Tengu jumped toward her…
It looks like a man chicken! Was Barloke’s first thought when he entered the room and saw the creature that leaped towards the black clad woman who was lying on the ground. The creature was feathery, almost human except when you got to its face where the avian aspects were more pronounced. The creature leaped high, stretching out its talon-like feet at the woman on the ground. Helpless she may have looked, but she was alert and more so, quick. She raised her legs and rolled backwards just as the creature came down, stabbing the floor with his talons. Barloke stared, clearly impressed as she jumped flipping over Tengu simultaneously stabbing downwards with her short swords, each sword finding its mark on either side of the creature’s massive shoulders. Tengu let out a loud squawk of pain as the woman landed behind him with both swords in her hands. She turned around to face her wounded attacker and it was then Barloke began to suspect who the black clad woman might be. I think I might know of this one he thought as she leaped to a nearby column and kicked off from there, slashing downwards at the creature as the creature countered with the razor-like edges of its hands. She went by the hacker alias, Raven and from what Barloke heard, she was as deadly as they come, her history though was a little sketchy.

She was rumored to have been a “potential”, children who demonstrated a keen understanding of the Matrix. As a “potential” she had special training, some say by Seraph and the Oracle. Barloke knew that these “potentials” were powerful and Zion placed a great deal of importance on their care and upbringing. Whatever the case, Raven was reputed to have been the best one yet excelling in combat and mental awareness. At the age of sixteen she was “awakened” by Zion, three years late from the date she was supposed to go. Why they awakened her so late was still up for speculation, but the most popular theory was that Seraph and the Oracle were worried that she was too powerful to be let loose in the Real World. She was an excellent student, but there was something about her that gave Seraph and the Oracle pause.

In Zion she was considered an excellent operative; she served aboard the hovercraft, Isaiah. But even though her actions got results, there was something about her that put off a lot of her crewmates. Later when they were interviewed, the crew of the Isaiah would say that Raven was a little too aggressive in her missions. Naturally in the Matrix, aggressiveness was a given, but any seasoned operative would tell you, you don’t go looking for blood.

She was thrown in the brig and grounded countless of times for disobeying orders and insubordination. The other main reason she was having problems on the Isaiah. She wasn’t a team player, preferring to take lone missions. When she was ordered to go on a mission with her fellow operatives it always ended in a bloodbath with Raven at the center of it. Many times the crew of the Isaiah wanted Raven transferred off the ship, but she was an operative that got results, and in the end that’s all the Zion Council wanted to see.

Things finally came to a head when after losing three operatives to a doomed mission. Well the mission wasn’t really doomed, but Raven’s actions cost the lives of three of her fellow operatives. Later in the Zion Council chambers she would say that the sacrifice of the three operatives was worth the overall success of the mission, the Zion Council didn’t see it that way. She was not sentenced to death, despite strenuous arguments by Commander Lock, instead it was decided by the Zion Council that she would be ex-communicated, or exiled. What she did all that time in the Real and how she got her hands on hovercraft was anyone’s guess but apparently she was more skilled than anyone thought, three months later she was spotted in the Matrix. She did assassination hits mostly and her clientèle was impressive, getting so far as gaining contracts from the Merovingian himself.

Barloke saw her once at Hell Club and from what he saw, she seemed to carry herself with a confident air, one of a seasoned killer. Well whatever her past, it seems that it won’t be enough for tonight’s challenge, he thought as the creature met her short swords with his claws. The creature was incredibly strong and with a screech, pushed her back into the stone column. The column cracked and Raven sagged, the creature screeched again, its face unreadable and Barloke saw that it wasn’t a flesh and blood face; it was a No-mask that the creature had on. Barloke raced to the creature and leaped, thinking that he was going to regret this…

Raven felt the pillar crack behind her and knew she was in big trouble, already she felt like fainting from the pain in her shoulders, head and back as it absorbed most of the impact with the pillar. Her vision was hazy and dimly she heard the creature shriek as it moved in, before she fainted she could have sworn she saw a sword protrude from the creature’s chest…

Barloke threw his sword like a dagger at the creature’s back, the sword plunged through, stopping the creature in his tracks. Barloke grabbed the creature around the neck and using his momentum was able to drag the creature to his belly as he landed. Barloke quickly reached behind and grabbed the hilt of his sword from the creature’s back. Before the creature could do anything, Barloke pulled the sword and with a downwards slash, separated the creature’s head from its body. As the creature disintegrated in code bits, Barloke walked towards the pillar where Raven was slumped…

She saw him approach through half lidded eyes, as he neared she tightened her hands on the hilts of her short swords waiting for Barloke to make a fatal mistake.

Barloke approached cautiously, he knew this Raven was no one to take a chance with, as he neared he looked at her through his glasses and could already see she was feigning unconsciousness, if anything she was readying herself. Barloke sighed and said quietly “are you injured?” No answer and Barloke shrugged inwardly, well she probably was bracing herself for a nasty death, he thought and on the heels of that, I don’t have time for this…

He walked away from her slowly and facing the ornate doors ahead he walked purposefully to it.
The one mistake Barloke made all night and it almost cost him his life. His sixth sense detection signaled urgently and Barloke just had enough time to sidestep as Raven flew past him with her swords extended. The world slowed down for each of the operatives in that way where each second feels like a minute passing by. Every sense enhanced Barloke watched as Raven sailed by, the look of surprise on her face as the target she aimed for was suddenly gone and in that instant knew that it was most likely the last thing she would ever see. Barloke for his part knew she was already doomed, all he had to do was strike down with his sword and there would be two halves of her in flight. Seconds to decide and Barloke knew what he was going to do, even though he cursed himself for the decision. Flipping the sword upwards he brought the end of the hilt down hard at the base of Raven’s skull. Time sped up again and Raven crashed against the floor and slid until her path was blocked by a pillar. Barloke looked back at the doors he first entered the room and could already see more guards approach. Quickly he checked Raven and could see that this time she was really unconscious. He looked down with relief to see that she had an EJP unit on her wrist. Well at least I don’t have to carry her to a hardline; he thought as he leaned down and pressed the button on her wrist. She started to fade in a white code that traced her body and soon left nothing but the floor. Barloke looked at the guards that slowly approached, weapons drawn and barking orders to the black clothed man but Barloke wasn’t listening. As if they weren’t there he turned and headed to the ornate doors where he knew Feng and Lo-Tan were behind. The guards yelled again and that was when Barloke tossed behind him a handful of small metallic marble sized objects. The small metal orbs rolled toward the guards and for the moment all their attention was focused on them and away from Barloke. Then the objects began to explode and the guards stopped thinking and resumed their screaming.

Barloke opened the large door just as the first explosions began. The room was decorated with a heavily Chinese influence. A large gold dragon adorned one wall as another wall had large Chinese characters that spanned the room. In the middle, his jaw agape was Feng who looked at Barloke with terror. Barloke looked at Feng grimly “where is he?” He said lowly. Feng gulped and said shakily “he-he-he is in th-th-the next room.” Barloke pointed his sword at Feng and said “you stay here, this is almost over, call off your guards and don’t try to grow some guts.” Feng nodded quickly as Barloke crossed the room to the other door and opened it and stepped inside.

Feng closed his eyes and for the millionth time wished he never saw Lo-Tan…
Barloke entered the low lit room cautiously, his sword in front of him as he took in the surroundings. Whereas the room Feng was in looked more of a Chinese style influence, this room was clearly Japanese in style. Barloke looked across the Japanese style dojo and spotted his mark. The door Lo-Tan faced was the only thing that stood out in a dark metallic hue. Barloke could see Lo-Tan hunched over with something in his hands. Moving closer he saw that Lo-Tan had a ring of keys in his hands and was frantically searching for the right key for the door. Barloke could hear the program muttering curses as he tried each key quickly. Lo-Tan was not aware of Barloke, all he wanted was to get out of this warehouse as soon as possible. Like every other program of great age Lo-Tan knew of the Frenchman, and like many programs or exiles Lo-Tan was not immune to the envy numerous exiles had about the Merovingian. It was the perfect plan, even though it required Lo-Tan to hide out in the various construct programs in the Matrix the Merovingian had for his purposes. Lo-Tan lived his extensive existence in the Yuki constructs. Slowly but surely drawing his power over the various outmoded programs that served as guardians to the constructs, even the great Tengu acknowledged Lo-Tan’s power and when the time was right Lo-Tan entered the Matrix.

Feng was ideal for Lo-Tan, a spineless exile with his own delusions of power, but one that could be easily influenced to do Lo-Tan’s bidding. This was the opportunity Lo-Tan was looking for. He just needed a foothold and then he could bring his army from the constructs and overthrow the hated Frenchman once and for all. Now it looked like his plans would have to be postponed. He felt Tengu’s passing and even though it was certain the great creature was reconstructing in Yuki, it would be a long while before Tengu would be back to fighting shape. With a grin he grabbed the last key on the ring and inserted it in the lock, with a satisfied grunt he turned the key and just started to open the door when a voice spoke from behind him.

“Oh don’t leave yet, not without so much unfinished business to attend to.”

Lo-Tan looked back at the man that stood in the middle of the dojo, then back at the open door with the hallway beyond and its many doors, then back at the man and smiled. “Assassin” said Lo-Tan as he stepped away from the door and walked towards the man “you do not know the danger you find yourself in. I will be merciful and allow you to leave, but that is the only chance I will give.” Barloke smirked slightly as he raised his sword and said “Lo-Tan, I am afraid it is you that is out of chances. The Merovingian wanted me to give you a message, he says you should have stayed in the constructs and just dream of the power you will never have.”

Lo- Tan growled and leapt high in the air as Barloke moved back a little, and then rolled back a lot when Lo-Tan landed. Lo-Tan’s knee crunched a large size hole in the tatami floor. He then rolled and stood up in a run towards Barloke. Barloke reversed his sword as he side stepped and struck Lo-Tan’s robes. He looked in surprise that for the brief second his sword touched the robes it solidified, producing an effective shield. The distraction was all that Lo-Tan needed as he struck with his other fist directly at Barloke’s chest. One moment Barloke was on the ground, next he was sailing through the air until he hit the mats in a curled ball as he slid to the other end of the room, his sword flung from his hand and laid useless far from his grasp. Lo-Tan smirked and leapt in the air again, his robes unfurling around his arms giving him the appearance of a large bird of prey. Barloke rolled out of the way and got to his feet as Lo-Tan landed.

Barloke walked backwards cautiously to the center of the dojo then stood still. He slowly moved into a tiger stance and looked at Lo-Tan grimly as Lo-tan looked back and with a smirk said “you are outmatched my little would be assassin.” Barloke didn’t say a word couldn’t really say anything. He could feel the change upon him, the red haze that seemed to radiate from inside as all thought, all feeling began to evaporate. In its place was coldness and power, it was all Barloke ever had and in many cases it was all he ever needed. Lo-Tan’s eyes widened slightly as he saw the change in the assassin. It wasn’t anything he ever witnessed before, not a redpill, not an exile, he couldn’t say if it was something in between but he knew it could be a danger. Lo-Tan was fast his hands moving in a blur that tried to strike Barloke everywhere. If Barloke was fazed, he didn’t show it as he deflected every strike from Lo-Tan with the same blur of speed, then Barloke began to strike faster.

Impossible! Thought Lo-Tan frantically as he tried to deflect every strike from Barloke, no human can move this fast!

The two opponents moved from the center of the dojo, their movements a blur as each one tried to get the upper hand of the other. Then in one movement, Lo-Tan swirled his robes that hung from his arms in Barloke’s direction. The robes solidified, forming a sharp edge. Barloke ducked quickly, feeling the edge of the robes missing him by inches as he spotted his sword. Barloke quickly rolled away toward his sword just as Lo-Tan turned around. Barloke grabbed his sword and jumped toward Lo-Tan and again the world seemed to slow down for Barloke as his feet connected with Lo-Tan’s chest and shoulder. Lo-Tan flew back and landed flat on the floor. Looking up at Barloke over him he only had time to yell out in terror before Barloke’s blade found his neck…
Barloke stepped back into the room where Feng was and was surprised to see that Flood was there with an impressive amount of guards. Feng looked as miserable and scared as anyone who had just tried to go against the Merovingian could look as he sat on a chair with guards all around him. Flood looked back at Barloke while facing Feng and said “did you accomplish you objective?” Barloke didn’t say anything at first, he just raised Lo-Tan’s head by the hair. “Got this before it disintegrated in code” he said as he lowered the head. Flood nodded to one of the guards that approached Barloke with a sack. Barloke tossed the head in the sack and took the briefcase offered to him. “You have enough programs to make you life a little easier in the Matrix” said Flood as he turned to look back at Feng “plus some extras I think you will like.” Barloke nodded headed to the door saying “then I’ll leave you to Feng." Flood didn’t say anything but raised a hand in acknowledgement and got back to work on Feng.

Barloke opened his eyes and looked at the ceiling of the hovercraft for a moment before slowly raising himself from the chair. With a sigh he walked to the cockpit and sat down in the pilot’s seat. He checked one of the monitors and with a satisfied nod saw that the contents of the briefcase uploaded. He narrowed his eyes at one of the programs that were named “Operator: Laura”. Curious he pressed the download button on that program and soon the sound of a female voice that came from the speakers “I am Laura here to serve, how I may be of assistance?” Barloke sighed and said “for the moment lets just have silence, it’s been a long night.”

Some where else in the Real...

Raven opened her eyes and growled at the pain in the back of her head. She looked around and saw the familiar surroundings of her cramped hovercraft. From her chair she noticed a monitor flashing the words “Incoming Transmission” She leaned forward and with an exasperated growl she flipped a switch.

The face of the Merovingian was clearly displeased. Raven looked back noncommittally as the Merv spoke… “You have failed your mission Raven; I think I may have misplaced my faith in your abilities.” Frowning, Raven replied “I would have succeeded if the other operative wasn’t there.” The Merovingian quirked an eyebrow “you mean Barloke” he said and when Raven nodded he continued. “My dear Raven” he began “Barloke was sent just in case you would fail. I would not take the chance of putting all of my faith in one operative, and I see I was wise to do so.” Raven shrugged and despite the dull ache in her head she said calmly “so I am fired then?” The Merv chuckled “non mi bel” he said “just that I see that I might have to make you work harder to earn my faith again.” Raven narrowed her eyes and said lowly “If I see Barloke again, I will kill him.” The Merovingian smirked and said “careful what you wish for…”

END

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12-01-2010, 07:50 PM
Post: #2
RE: The Faster Blade
Nice !

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