When Shit Hits The Fan




<Based on the events depicted within RPC-959>

Esbeth's eyes widened. Her legs froze. How long had those shadowy individuals been up there, observing her conduct the rally? This element of stealth and silence, like a shadowy eagle stalking a blissfully ignorant trout from high above… Among the many enemies of the Church, this can only be the worst of them all. The very same one Esbeth has prayed to never encounter.

"No no, wait, let me guess. They're the Examiners?" A burst of anger broke through Esbeth's paralysis as her immediate impulse was to violently shove Miles for his naive conclusion. Esbeth didn't even bother to look as Miles fell from the stage, hitting the floor.

"Auth-fucks! The Auth-fucks are snooping in on us!" Esbeth screams, keeping her eyes trained upon the individuals silently withdrawing from the edges of the rafters above. Esbeth had to set an example with all eyes on her, and her hand whips out, her index and middle fingers merging and opening into a maw, the base of her arm balling and swelling in pressure as her bio-mod violently launches a membrane-wrapped ball of acid in their direction. The ball splatters against cover, the acid hissing its way through the wood.

"Get your knives and poppers out, gang, we got pigs to roast!" The audience cheers with her display as their own hands rise in the air, arms and appendages twisting into an array of bony cleavers and pulsating spitters. Esbeth yells as she directs the mob towards the operatives in the roof, and they roar in bloodlust as they begin drowning the enemy above in all manner of bio-hazardous projectiles. Their sudden assault cause the operatives above to stumble and recoil against the unexpected volley, causing two black-clad adults to fall into the shelving below. The crowd cheers, proceeding to violently mob and stampede over the two.

While the crowd of bloodthirsty teens and pre-teens assault the Authority commandos, Esbeth's mind races in panic as she scrabbles over to the projector, hoping the rest of the gang doesn't see her behaving so unleaderlike.

No! Nonononono! Fuck! No! NO! This wasn't supposed to happen! The Authority wasn't supposed to find this place! How!? Fuck! No!

Once the Authority strikes, there WILL be more than just two agents. Esbeth desperately pulls the slide tray from the device, tearing out all the slides she had prepared for this rally; pictures of fat CEOs, huge gleaming towers of the corporate oligarchy, rivers choking in human filth, pictures of slums and ghettos… the lowly homes they crawled from, all of them imprinted with hypno-indoctrinating glyphs and symbols subtly blended in with the pictures. The Authority could not be allowed to get their hands upon these slides.

One, two, three… Yes! Got them all. Fuck the projector!

"Boss, I can't find my recorder! There's more of the Auth-fucks outside! They're packing serious heat!" Esbeth whirls over to Miles, lips curled in a furious snarl.

"Fuck the recorder! Go steal another one or something! You should have told me the moment you noticed outsiders! I'll have your balls for this, Miles!" Grabbing the yelping assistant, Esbeth thrusts the slides into his coat pockets.

"Now get these the fuck away from the Authority at all fucking costs! Parkour your ass out of sight and don't stop till you reach the hideouts! I got a mess to get everyone out of before too many of us get killed!" Esbeth plants her foot right on Miles' buttocks as he turns to run and pushes, shoving him into a head-start. Miles' legs split apart and elongate as he springs into an impossible leap, reaching the top of the warehouse and jumping out of sight.

"We got more Auth-fucks! Show them what-for!" Esbeth shouts out as the gang yells with her, as her mind attempts to plan out how to drag the mob on a righteous rampage throughout the district, and to herd them away from the agents.

As gang members jeered and cheered while firing into yet more black-garbed operatives, Esbeth chewed the fingernails on her unmodified arm. The gang's age was easily the only reason why the Authority hadn't opened fire yet. These operatives weren't hardened and ruthless enough to do such a thing, right? They still consider themselves "the good guys" in this clusterfuck of a world, right? They're not going to shoot kids…. right?

That frail hope got quickly shattered by the ringing sound of gunshot, shortly followed by the screams of gang members.


The Auth-fucks finally had enough of being piled on. And unlike her gang, they were combat-experienced adults with actual weaponry they were fully trained in the usage of. Now that the gloves were off, she couldn't steer the gang away subtly, and yelled for a retreat as her gang stampeded past her in panic. As the cloud began to settle, she noticed injured stragglers with limbs blown off. One of them raised an arm towards her.

"Boss… don't let the Auth-fucks get us…" The Authority agents still had yet to enter an open offensive… yet. She had precious few seconds to do what had to be done.

"Don't worry. I won't let them take you." Esbeth grew her bio-blade as hard and as sharp as possible, and strove to make it swift and painless.

Billions of neurones fire their impulses, ionic action potentials traveling together in tandem, streaking and racing towards a singular conclusion of thought:


As her head remains bowed, Esbeth brought her eyeballs to swivel up from the sterile beige of the meeting table to see everyone else.

To Esbeth's left: Dr. Juniper Prescott, fresh out of her labs and still in her lab coat. Eyelids thin as her array of hypodermic needles in sheer displeasure at being interrupted mid-research, their combined gaze stabbing deeper.

By Juniper's side: Felix Black, freshly exhumed from his mouldy den. Scratching his neck, fidgeting due to wanting to say something silly to alleviate the tension in the air, but unable to. He offers Esbeth a sad and sympathetic smile.

Opposite those two: Legion hunched over its section of the table, occasionally twitching with a low rasp of giggling. What looked like a ball of oversized drool hanging from its unkempt mouth would periodically writhe and bulge, extending sensory tendrils in the air.

And seated directly opposite of Esbeth in the opposite end of the table: a figure hidden in darkness, his long and spindly arms brought into the light of the lamp above, fingers meticulously entwined together and stiller than a statue. He was the first to speak, his voice tranquil yet piercing, like a gleaming, jagged icicle ready to fall.

"Esbeth… Esbeth… Tell us in painstaking detail on what went wrong, and how?"

"The rally site was compromised. It was far enough from the slums and separated by a wealthy district, the Authority weren't supposed to know we were gathering there."

"And yet they did. How many perished there that evening, Esbeth?"

"…Eighteen." The fingers of the shadowed one dilate, slowly stroking the back of each other's hands.

"Oh, Esbeth… Dead recruits do us no favours. Seeing dead recruits made dead only shakes the faith of the remaining."

"But they see the Authority as a real enemy now, a real threat they have no choice but to fight back against now! Brothers and sisters were lost that day! Vengeance and justice, I just need time to keep everyone together!"

"Irrelevant. How shall you go about in rectifying the primary issues, Miss Elizabeth Louise-Hawkins?" Esbeth writhed under Juniper's icy voice. Whether Juniper knew Esbeth hated being referred to by her real name, she didn't seem like the sort to care anyway. Esbeth clenched her fists as she began to vibrate in anger.

"I'm going to find out how the Authority discovered the rallying point. I'm going to find out if this was someone's fuckup, and then I'm going to fuck their shit right up. Everyone involved!" Esbeth's fists landed on the table, causing Legion's ball of living drool to shoot right back into the thing's mouth.

"Esbeth… Es. The worst is over. What's done is done. Just focus on fixing all the remaining loose ends. You've got time and safety to do so, now." Felix spoke calmly, reassuringly, hand raised in her direction. Maybe it's because he was once a parent himself, but he's the closest thing Esbeth has ever had to an actual father, right down to the corny dad puns.

"You're only sixteen and a half, Es. This is quite a lot of pressure and responsibility that you're in charge of for your age. If you ever need-"

"No." Esbeth rose from her seat. She could not afford to show any emotional vulnerability, not with so many eyes on her.

"I need to get started. The sooner, the better." And as she left for the door, the director of the Microbe Wing's voice was the last thing she heard.

"Excellent. See to it, Esbeth."

…and while it is endearing to witness Mr. Jean-Henri's toolbox spooning soup and medicine into his mouth, it is not so much that your colour-shifting slime mold, while astounding in its iridescence, made him so violently ill and canceled his travel plans… followed by the spores causing a tenth of the faculty to be placed upon medical leave. This includes yours truly. Your application to L'Academia has thusly been rejected, and we wish you luck in your future endeavours. Should you ever wish to re-apply-

"Boss! Boss! I got it!" The dream of her past failure melting away as reality came back into view, Esbeth groaned as her eyelid slowly creaked open under the abrupt lamplight shining upon her face.

"…the fuck, Miles…?" He knows better than to wake her from her naps unless it was EXTREMELY important. This had to be. Or else, she would make good on her previous threat involving his family jewels.

"I got the list of stuff people were doing! Remember when we were celebrating when the test was a success?" Okay, so it IS important. Good for Miles.

"Eh? What was it?"

"Jace and her gang were at the bridge and drew up one big gigantic message!" Miles' revelation froze Esbeth as her tired mind tried putting two and two together.

"Wait a… you know what it said?" Miles dug his phone out of his pocket and brought its glowing screen into her view.

"Here's the picture, it's on the group chat!" Esbeth's eyes tore wide open in disbelief at what she saw, all semblance of fatigue instantly blasted away by a fresh bout of rage towards the teenagers posing vulgarly beside the graffiti, as well as its message:

Hey Auth-fucks
Eat shit and die
Here's some help with that :)
XoXo CoM Germ Squad

"WHAT THE FUCK!?" In a heartbeat she had thrown herself off her bed, ripping her beanie and her coat off the rack and storming out her room.

"JACE! YOU FATHER-FUCKING CUNT! WHAT THE HELL!?" All heads in the abandoned skate park turned to the furious newcomer who threw her jacket on the floor as she stomped in. The girl at the opposite end turned her head with sheer nonchalance.

"'Sup boss?"


"'an so?" Esbeth's blood pressure rose further.

"GOOD PEOPLE DIED FOR NOTHING!" That was when Jacinda finally rose to her full height, twice Esbeth's weight and a full head taller.

"Yea', an what's the deal? Church of Malthus s'posed to be all abou' the rule of the jungle, 'ight? Strong live! Weak die!" The gang of boys and girls who were squatting alongside Jacinda cheered with a 'Yeah!' as they rose alongside her.

"WE WON'T HAVE A CHURCH IF YOUR DUMB FUCK ACTIONS GET EVERYONE KILLED!" The rest of the loiterers began to slowly rise, gathering behind the leader of the Germ Squad. Murmurs began amongst both groups. Jacinda shrugged her shoulders, flexing and throwing her arms forward.

"Well maybe we should le'em come to us! Maybe we should le'em come to a gang with a leader who'll stare 'em down, a leader who knows howta figh', not a pussy-ass bitch who's too busy pullin' out her nerdy-ass slideshow instead of leading the charge as a leader shou'do! Whatcha go' in there da' got you so scared of showing the Auth-piggies, huh? Your sex tape?" The gaggle behind Jace giggled and whooped. Esbeth's group began to jeer and flip them the bird, until she held her hand back to quieten them down, replying in a dangerously low volume.

"Watch what you're saying, Jacinda. You sound like you're wanting to take my position." Jace's lips curl in the way only an ambitious upstart could.

"'Das right, I'm throwing down. You step down, or I'll just gone fuck you up for boss-position!" Esbeth's lips curl in a snarl as she raises her fists, bio-mods swirling beneath her skin.

"You're on." And with those words, the crowd of teens and preteens surrounded the two.

"Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!"

Ever the brute, Jace balls her swelling fists, turning them into stony blocks. She cocks her head, inviting Esbeth to make the first move.

"Your ovaries are mine, Jace." Esbeth makes good on the offer, and throws herself forward, flesh-writhing arms raised to thrust and strike. Jace raises her own hardening arms to block, only for Esbeth to draw her arms back and thrust out a foot towards Jace's shins. Jace grunts as her arms part, revealing her head and chest - and that's when Esbeth strikes, her arm splitting apart into a jagged shiv of bone, headed straight towards Jace's head, right until Jace forcibly brings her arms back together, smashing into the blade and trapping it between their embrace. Esbeth's side gasps while Jace's side whoops, but that was intentional on Esbeth's part.

Crack! Snaps the blade at a deliberately segmented weak point, freeing Esbeth as she whirls around Jace's barrier, bringing her left hand's boneshiv towards Jace.

"AAOW! FUCK!" Screams Jace, violently lunging and tackling Esbeth away as Esbeth's team cheers. Jace parts an oversized fist to feel the flesh parted across her right cheek, exposing her gnashing, bloodstained teeth. "Oh, it's on, you lil' fuck."

Jace roars as adrenaline surges through her system, charging towards Esbeth who barely rights herself up to her knees before a rain of furious blows bore down upon her. Esbeth dodges and blocks the blows nimbly, angling her blades to cause Jace's rocky fists to slide and impact the ground around her. She needed to get away, jump out-or Jace's foot can do that for her, a freakishly muscled leg powering a kick that sent her flying meters away.

Esbeth rolls across the floor, sucking and gasping for air winded right out of her chest, arms wrapped around a cracked ribcage. Esbeth barely had time to think of getting up before a fist curled around her head, forcibly hoisting her up by her neck while a gigantic index finger crushed her windpipe. She barely had time to stare into Jace's smirking face before a fist flew into her own.

"Whatcha gon' do?!" Jace shouted in triumph as she thrusted her fist into Esbeth's face once more. Right on cue, her gang chanted along, thrusting their arms out.

"HOOH! HOOH!" Esbeth's side groaned in dismay.

"Whatcha gon' do?!" Came the fist once more upon Esbeth's face, as stars dotted her vision and her beanie flew off onto the floor.


"Whatcha gon' do?!" Plunged Jace's fist into Esbeth's guts with the speed of a jackhammer as her limbs lifelessly jerked and swung with the motion of impact. In her moment of triumphant pummeling, Jace did not notice Esbeth's abdominal region scabbing over with a layer of shock-dampening bio-matter; absorbent as rubber, hard as granite.

"HOOH! HOOH!" Esbeth's supporters had grown deathly silent by this point.

"Whatcha gonna DO?!" Jace flings Esbeth up by her head, about to slam the seemingly lifeless body down on the cracked concrete pavement - and that was when Esbeth burst into frenzied vigor, hands thrusting down as rows of shark-like teeth burst forth in sawing motions, before clamping down upon Jace's elbow. Jace's eyes grow wide in shock as her arm momentarily freezes, before snapping like a twig and bending the horribly wrong way. Her shriek was drowned out by Esbeth's supporters, flying into a frenzy of whooping and cheering.

"ES-BETH! ES-BETH! ES-BETH! ES-BETH!" Esbeth gracefully lands back upon her feet, and initiates a brief tug-of-war with Jace for the latter's flopping arm.

"YOU FUC'ER!!" Jace lets go to throw one last fist towards Esbeth's battered and bloodied face, only for the Germ Squad's leader perform a single deft motion in which she dodges the blow, trips Jace, and slices the frayed elbow off with a quick swipe of a new boneshiv, causing the larger girl to impact the ground in a bloody splatter. Jace's gang moans in defeat as Esbeth's team roars in bloodthirst.

"KILL! KILL! KILL! KILL! KILL! KILL! KILL!" Jace flops around and attempts to get back up with her remaining good arm, only for Esbeth to kick it out from under and ram her boneshiv through the upper arm, snapping it off and impaling Jace in place, leaving her to stare up towards at Esbeth in defeat. Jace spits a bloody froth.

"Kill me then, and be done and ova' with it!" Esbeth's bloody hands sharpen once more, until a piercing thought lanced through her battered mind. She looks up, and her modified eyes see it in the distance; a white cloth draped over a face, the red of the Malthusian circle shining upon it. An Examiner, and from the manner of interruption it was clear what the message was.

Do not kill her. We have use of her yet.

"Well what are you waitin' for?! You too chickenshit to do it???" The crowd breaks down into jeers as both Jace and Esbeth's groups yell and taunt each other.

"No, no deaths tonight!" Esbeth walks in a circle, glaring at each and every spectator into silence before turning back to Jace. "Rule of Nature says I kill you, right here, right now!" Her fingers resume sharpening into scalpels.

"Cruelty of Man though, it tells me to do… something WORSE!" Esbeth rams her fingers into Jace's abdomen, plunging through fat, muscle, veins…

"AAAAAAAAAA! AAAH, AAAH! AAAAAAAAHHHIIIIIIIIEEEEEEGRRRRRGGGGGHHH-" The crowd look on in silent horror as Esbeth resumes her gory work, before finding what she was looking for and ripping them out.

"I said your ovaries are mine, and I make good on my threats." Miles gulped in the distance, glad that she had either forgotten or overlooked her earlier threat versus his own privates. Esbeth lowers herself towards the loser's tear-streaked eyes, whispering loud enough to break through Jace's agonized sobbing whilst dangling a pair of bloodied bean-shaped organs before her eyes.

"Depending on how you conduct yourself over the following month, AND, assuming you survive… I'll either have them pushed back where they belong, or I'll have them for stir-fry."

Esbeth brings herself back up, glaring a bloodstained, savage demon's gaze towards the upstart gang that was following Jace until now. They recoil, a pair of pants wetting itself and another soiled in terror.

"You think I'm going soft? How I've been treating everyone in the Germ Squad is purely out of my own decision, but if you want a bitch like Jace to run things, well guess what? I CAN BE WORSE. How many of you are there…? One two three…. Fifteen. OKAY! Separate into groups of five and pick a sacrificial lamb each to be the honorary guinea pigs for the next batch of Shit Minions! If you're lucky I just may not make sure that enough of your brains is left in there so that you won't be living, THINKING piles of crap begging for DEATH!" As the group devolves into panicked infighting Esbeth turns back to address those who had cheered for her in the fight, raising her arms and roaring at the top of her voice.







"THAT'S MORE LIKE It…!" Esbeth finally feels the adrenaline rush of her battered body fade, and collapses into the waiting arms of her cheering supporters as they carry her back to rest and recovery, her beanie laid reverently in the grip of her hands.

Esbeth groaned. Barely a day passed and her whole body hurt from head to toe. The Church of Malthus' healing facilities are top-notch wherever it may be found, but she can't help but feel that Juniper ordered the needle slid in an inch further to leave a painful impression for "such an unnecessarily barbaric display of violence". Her words. Meanwhile, Esbeth has her whole pile of retorts lined up for Juniper's prudish line of thinking, but wisely kept them to herself whilst under Juniper's tender mercies.

As much as she'd love the idea of just crashing off and dozing for half a week until the throbbings finally subside, she still had one last issue to resolve. One of the newbies was captured. A headcount of the survivors and her recollection of eighteen dead showed one up short. Apparently it was a Mexican delinquent. Frank or something. And as it is, there is only one individual in the entirety of the Microbes Division that could help with that.


"You guys sure I can't just go through the list myself?" Esbeth crouched under a sunny canopy, chewing a stick out of idle boredom and to spare her fingernails. The limp 'corpse' next to her twitched, legs splayed out like a seated doll. An arm rises and flops, as if it was carried by a balloon whose string then got cut.

"You cann-ot. To plunge through the histories of uncoun-table modifications would scatter the singularity of your consciousness beyond repair."

"Fine. Can you at least tell me why it's taking so long?"

"The modifications are freshhh, and take time to locate in those they have yet to root deeply intoo." Esbeth sighed and lowered herself to sit on the concrete curb, massaging her muscles right beside Legion. Esbeth would be lying if Legion didn't creep her out like it does almost everyone else, but she's gotten used enough to the Protozoal Collective to know it's not an outright monster and also partly misunderstood… though it does seem to embody the essence of horror movies.

"We believe we have found him, youngling. Barelyyy. The modifications were damaged. The Authority is interro-gating him even as we sspeak." Esbeth started up, unbuttoning her shirt to lower it, exposing the nape of her neck.

"Plug me through."

"Your flessh is injured."

"Don't care, just do it." Right on cue, Legion's right arm rises and wavers, right before its outstretched fingers plunge straight into Esbeth's neck.

Esbeth gasps as her senses rip through a storm of neurones, nerves, impulses; the murmuring whispers of uncountable deceased voices belonging to Malthusian champions and nemeses past that congeal together to form Legion's collective mind. A bright light shines in the distance, dimming as it grows larger to form the rough outline of a room. The first thing she sees is a bandaged hand raised irately towards a closing door. An adult's gloved hand raises its middle finger towards the bandaged individual, before retracting out of the room and the door slamming shut.

"…ch-ass motherfuc…"

Esbeth strained her disembodied senses. That was a Hispanic voice. It had to be the Frank guy. She roughly sees the desaturated outline of a blonde woman with side-cropped hair through the eyes of the boy, gazing towards Esbeth… Frank… with a tone of earnest seriousness. Dabbing away the blood of the nosebleed caused by bio-surveillance feedback. The Authority lady was saying something, and Esbeth strained to listen.

"…solved his brother into a living… to every last scream… just goes around hunting and torturing every Malthusian he comes across now… You have a little brother as well, don't you…"

That didn't sound good. Esbeth grimaced and held her head in her hands, the feedback starting to hurt. She had to stop listening in until the pulsating ceased. As she focused once more she could see Frank's bandaged hands rising, falling and gesturing as the woman nodded, writing down on a notepad.

"Legion… He's telling her something. He's… confessing."

"We shall boost the signal for your senses." The vision and sounds sharpen. Esbeth hears the woman's voice once more.

"Esbeth? She's the "boss"? She was the one who was speaking at your…?"

"Yeah, she's the Germ Squad's boss… so what?"

Perspiring beads of dread slowly formed about Esbeth's temples as she watched the woman wipe Frank's nose once more, caused by the fresh boost in feedback.

"Oh, fuck, no. Legion. The Auths have a name on me now."

"The consequence of the sing-ular identity."

"Shut up!" Esbeth focused once more.

…ossip said, long time ago, she was once about to join some fancy hidden art schoo… didn't like her making 'em ill…

Esbeth gnashed her teeth. Who in the fuck in the Squad found out about that and babbled it to the newcomers? Better not be Miles.

…leader of this germ-themed subdivision of the Church of Malthus… she's still a minor?

Esbeth fumbles her way through the mental mire to force her hand up towards her chin to scratch it. She's pretty sure she's already past 18. It's not as if she could even keep count of a birth date she never knew of to begin with. "Whatever. I'm old enough to not really give a shit any longer."

…so? I'm only 15, I still got a chance with her! So what…

Esbeth paused for a moment… Caught in an old feeling of sentimentality. Perhaps… Perhaps… Perhaps if her life hadn't turned upside-down and she wasn't dealt a horrid turn of events over and over… Perhaps she'd have a better life, and be able to enjoy all the things a normal girl could. Parents. Sleepovers. Homework. Make-up parties. Romance. Birthday parties. Growing up normal.

"Thanks, Frank, but no thanks. You're not my sort anyway, and you've said too much. Legion?"

"Shall we?" Esbeth closed her eyes, and gritted her teeth. Breathed in, then out.

"Do it." Esbeth's vision of Frank's surroundings pulsed red as Legion began to worm its way into Frank's body. The woman began pulling out multiple wads of tissues to wipe the blood from the beginning of the feedback overload, as blood began rushing towards the boy's head while veins began contorting and shifting beneath his skin.

Esbeth hung on for long enough to see the face of an Asian man barge into the room - a face plastered among HQ's most dangerous and wanted lists - before everything turned red and she pulled out of Legion's grasp, gagging and retching, waves of nausea thrashing about within her mind.

"A task well completed. The interrogators were most… mor-tified. This one's death-throes shall be broadcast across the minds of the recent recruits. Now… Shall we consume the younger sibling too, to complete the making of the example?"

"No point. Leave him be."

"A pity. Perhaps we should one day transfer into a pre-pubescent host, then we can "get down together" with the rest of the gang."

"Yeah, I don't think the others would be cool with you guys all hanging around."

"A pity."

"Yeah, well, that's life for you." Esbeth got back up to walk back into HQ's depths. After all of that, a handful of mushrooms from Felix's stash should take the edge off of… everything.

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