White Wolf's World Of Darkness
Olias K. Xerstave
Lead of Research and Development at Bionetix by day. Member of a growing hacking organization by night.
It seems as though I’m being haunted now, tracked by someone from my past. I thought I had just begun to live it down, the memory nearly worked out of my mind, but his presence resonates once more.
I have a brother, his name is Lionel, and NukeLio was his handle. We worked side by side in the Net, honing our skills, hoping to someday be as good as our father. However Lionel never got the chance to experience that greatness.
This day started when Lionel was experimenting with some new VR equipment, and of course, I was there helping. He was older than me by four years, and not the type to bully. He was a nerd in his own right; he was even bullied in school. So instead of coming home to more torture, I came home to an understanding brother. I was 16 at the time and could not have a better role model.
It was his twentieth birthday and he was to go with father to a meeting at a business where he would start work with his talents. He put down the project we had been working on and swiftly rushed off with father.
While they were gone I finished the project, upon the return of the car the family used for special trips I saw only one body step out. It was father, he walked to the door and when he entered he was met by both mother and I. We questioned,
“Where is Lionel, father?” I asked, afraid something had happened to him.
“He is alright; he will be staying a few more hours with the people he was meeting.” He said, smiling and hanging his hat up.
I didn’t understand why they had even gone; I don’t think I was supposed to at the time. It was around 9 o clock, an hour had passed since father came home, and still, Lionel wasn’t home. Not that I was my older brother’s keeper or anything but it was extremely boring simply sitting by myself.
It was an hour later, ten o’clock, the phone rang and it instantly put father in a state of emergency, I had never seen him like this. I couldn’t even hear what he was saying on the phone. He rushed to the door and threw it open, grabbing his keys off the table at the entrance, and his hat and coat from the rack by the door.
“Lionel is in trouble, I’m going to help!" Father said, running out the door and slamming it behind him.
I wasn’t going to sit home and wonder anymore. I grabbed my coat and smart phone and headed out behind him.
“I’m going with you dad!," He didn’t object… he knew something was off in my head when I called him “dad”, which I rarely did.
In the car we rode for about twenty minutes of uneasy silence and parked in front of a large building, somewhere along the lines of twenty floors.
“Wait in the car; monitor the security systems and my cell as well.." He turned and looked me in the eyes, " and do not leave the car!” His voice thundered along with the roar of the storm whipping outside of the car.
As he exited I grabbed my phone and monitored the systems like he said. My father was a skilled adept, and at this point in my life, I was nothing like him. My brother and I were good, don’t get me wrong, but my dad worked with a close nit group of the most powerful adepts there were. He had told us they were all dead now, which has always scared me, but nothing could touch my dad; to us, he was superman.
At that moment the beacon on his cell went out, flickered and faded. My head rose to look upon the building he had just entered, complete terror struck. My father could he have just…
As I muttered the phrase with the gravest of tones in my head, I heard a tapping. I looked to my right and a shimmer seemed to glide towards the window… BAM! Glass broke in my face and a cold steel flashlight slammed into my forehead. I was out.
When I awoke I was in a very dark place, outside, cold wind, moisture in the air, but sandy dunes. “The Beach, But where am I?” I thought, looking around only to see darkness. I was hurt, bleeding from the mouth and head.
I took in my surrounding, getting to my feet. I was in the Net, it was obviously someone’s private server. My father was not in sight, nor my brother. I was all alone and beginning to wonder around.
Over several dunes I passed and at the top of the fourth set I beheld a small temple, overlooking a courtyard where there were lit torches and three different bonfires. I heard my father’s voice, yelling at the top of his lungs as several cloaked figures carried something to one of the fires.
I hurried, not wasting one second, I downed the dune and ran as fast as possible, reaching the courtyard I saw my brother being placed in front of one of the fires. My father ran towards me, noticing my pattern from several yards away.
He grabbed me and immediately began apologizing.
“I’ve made my decision, I will forever be grateful for it as well, and never regret it. You are the one to do it” He said, loosening his grasp.
His face showed signs of struggle, as I looked past I could see one of the cloaked figures holding a hand out as if he were controlling a puppet.
Another walked towards me, lifting his hood it was a younger male, about my age. He looked me in the eyes.
“You will not leave here without knowing…” He said, lifting his hand and placing it on my head.
At that moment I was filled with images of meetings, dirty deals, and sacrifice, all with my father involved. It was horrifying to watch, but I had no choice.
The information revealed suggested that my father made a pact with a sect of virtual adepts still working for the technocracy. He willed to lead a clean life and have nothing to do with the dark side of magick. He was somewhat imbedded in their society, so in order to break his ties, he offered his first born son to be their initiate when he was of the appropriate age.
He had also apparently taken back what he offered, breaking ties with no one and continuing to work for the technocracy as well as trying to lead a normal life. For this, our house was looked down upon by our own kind. I had noticed, but never asked why. The vision suggested that he wronged them, broadcasting information against them and attempting to organize a retaliation and knock out their servers. So this is why they took him, my brother.
It was all clear to me, they wanted all of us, and he chose to take himself and Lionel and let me live. Just as I snapped out of it the burning bundle of stick collapsed on top of Lionel…. and as he screamed, the bundle rose from the ground and formed a sphere that then was engulfed in more flame.
I screamed for him but I couldn’t hear myself, I couldn’t believe I was witnessing this, it was shock. The sphere fell and Lionel climbed out, burnt and charred he stood.
“The decision has been made, this one will be sent back.” Another cloaked man came out from the group, holding a tablet device and making finger motions.
I was scanned and began to dissipate and fall out of the server. My brother rose his arms and screamed my name.
“Olias Don’t leave! I hate you! I hate you!” He was grasping his head and yelling at the top of his lungs, my father ran towards him and was swatted away by a whip of green flame under my brother’s control.
“I’ll come after you!” My brother shouted in anger at me. Enraged, he lashed the whip in my direction just as I dropped completely from the server.
I awoke in my bed, never hearing from any of them again, my father, brother, or any of the men who took them. I thought for a few hours it was just a dream, but coming down stairs I discovered my mother crying over what she was being told on the phone. It was real after all… And it started to sink in.
I pondered in my room for hours, and then got ready to leave, grabbing my keys I found a small Zip Drive on my night stand. This wasn’t mind, in fact, it was father’s, there must have been something on there he wanted me to see.
Popping it in to my desktop I discovered several encoded files, no way to get into them. The rest of my day was occupied, trying to crack the encrypted mess. In order to do this I would have to be as good as my father, and I wasn’t. I am still not, I can’t touch them to this day and it pisses me off!!! But… I still have the drive. And I will try again when I’m sure that I’m ready, and I will go in the Net and rescue my Lionel and my father.
One thing that stuck out about the drive, the only thing, ‘VerKBM7’, Veritas, that was the name of the mage society that father told my brother never to speak of, he told me of them. I know now what to look for; this was the name of one of 78 folders located on the drive and it would help me find them.
The troubling thing is, I now sense his presence somewhere near me. My phone, tablet, they all say Lionel is nearby, usually keeping a 13 mile distance from everywhere I go. Is he watching me….