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[personal profile] atma posting in [community profile] heroicrecords
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Sometimes, it takes a while for the human brain to process something. It just all sounds so surreal and unreal and untrue and dreamy you’re sure you’re asleep, and that’s when the pinching of yourself and others begins, usually in the arm, sometimes in the tit, and it takes a few minutes before you realize that the pain from the pinching isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and you may have a few bruises in spots that would be questionable to future lovers, and a gear turns in your mind as it finally dawns on you that yeah, what you just heard is real.

They had of course heard the theories that the miner’s song was indeed some kind of holy script, found incomplete and stating a future of California and how to protect and save the lands, but given as they found nothing else in any holy script in any faith in the world that matched it quite so, not even in the various eschatology and apocrypha of the world old and new, nor did it match any gaps in those few beliefs that had none, like Atma’s religion, they had a hard time buying into this theory. Even if it did match tone and style of those kinds of warnings, it spoke only of devils and kings, and nobody had ever found the missing verses. They doubted they even existed. But when the confirmed existence that was known as President Roosevelt in life and her partner the confirmed existence of one of the wittier writers that ever lived in the modern era tell you straight to your face not only is it a prophecy, not only do they have the missing verses, but that it is you it speaks of?

It’s either time to start believing and singing hallelujah oh great hallelujah or finding a way out of this and dooming California and thus America and the world at the cost of not coming face to face with what little bit of destiny was interfering with them. Katsuragi and Atma were the last two to flee and would be voted most likely to be the captain that goes down with her ship, be it an actual boat, a boat girl, or a pairing they really really liked in their latest cool binge watching poison of choice. They defended what they loved to the last and intentionally threw themselves in harm’s way constantly so that others wouldn’t have to be in pain, those that never deserved any kind of trouble, the innocent and the kind, they routinely and happily put themselves out in front to save them all.

So they were part of a prophecy now, big deal. They could think of worse things to be. At least, they hoped it was a cool prophecy and not one of those lame destinies some people have, like “Thou shalt be the one to invent white bread” or “You will be known for your ability to use Excel” or “Best forum signature Photoshop contest of the week, July 2006.” You know the ones with the overly textured ambient backgrounds and glow effects. They had a Dragon Ball character on them and some color overlay and a song lyric in a pixel block font in the corner. Everyone was a pretentious nerd back then, but at least they took some pride in it.

The first one to talk, again, was Atma. She looked at Ayame, who was just looking back, her eyes full of expectations. Of course this meant that her and Katsuragi went up a few cool points in Ayame’s book, not that they had to do anything to earn more to her beyond stay black and die. She then looked at Lady Roosevelt and Lady Bierce and cocked an eyebrow up, arms crossing over her chest.

“Stand up, and explain yourself.” Atma commanded. “Yeah, we’re the kings, but what’s that got to do with an old song?”

“It’s not just a song, oh great ruler. It is the words that will save us now that darkness has come to California once more. You saw the hints in the scraps you found that are now leading you back here. The demons we dispatched a while ago should have tipped you off that you’re coming in the right direction and that something far more sinister than any of us can realize is afoot. We’re close to the Grove now, and it will only get worse and worse until we infiltrate it and put an end to who’s inside. It’s all proof of the prophecy.” Roosevelt began to explain, wiping her glasses off and putting them on, wrinkling her nose a bit. “As are we. We’re envoys sent directly from the Heavens to keep balance. You see, the spirit realms are tainted with specific dark energy, and it caused a few of your nations’ more horrible souls to escape and bring about each others’ revival. They plan on adding more soon, but only if you can’t stop them.”

“But why us?” asked Katsuragi, imitating her friend and putting her arms under her tits, crossed. “We’re the kings, yeah, but I thought we were just doing out rightful duty protecting our home, if even just because we have the best babes and the best herb this side of the Rockies.”

“Your hedonism brings about an altruism in you both, this is true, but you would have been spurned to action without it. The prophecy says you will unite your power as one and overtake the devils tainting the freedom of the lands and seas and skies here. To protect its golden shine before it gets tarnished with a blackness only those souls who resided in the Embers can scorch onto it.” Roosevelt unsheathed her knife and began to draw signs and symbols in the dirt and sand near them. “But… But you are both not ready yet. Your hearts aren’t aligned as one, and you will need to realize how to do so to obtain your full potential. Only then can you two stop them.”

“Well, okay, sure. We’ll train. But only if you tell us whom ‘they’ are. It sounds like you know. I mean, I assume anyone sent directly from Heaven to guide us like prophets to our holy destiny would be aware the identity of our enemy.” Atma interjected. “And I’ll be safe to assume since you’re here, if I am to believe in all this, that they aren’t hot college co-eds just writing out the world’s most convoluted missed connections personal ad.”

“You’re right, young Atma.” Roosevelt did her laugh again. “You are actually quite aware of who they are, if you think about it. They’re members of the Grove, as both Bierce and I were in life. They call themselves the Magistrate, the Lieutenant, and the Communicator. You know them as Nixon, Bierce’s old boss Hearst, and their leader, the most dreaded and hated Reagen.”

“I’m going to assume all these guys suck.” Katsuragi mumbled. “I really need to brush up on my international history after this, don’t I?”

“Wouldn’t hurt, Kat.” Atma sighed. “This is bad. If it is them, and they got ahold of demonic energies, who knows what they could do to our nation. Their lives already brought about enough ruin that we’re still recovering from nowadays. To do so immortal would be a hell of a problem more to reverse, if at all. I suppose that’s where we come in.” She adjusted and turned to Roosevelt and Bierce. “Is it safe to assume Reagen wants California back?”

“Yes, he does. He saw you two, two female adventurers, in their prime, free and liberal and communist in bent, hard working in fields women shouldn’t be in their minds, and freely loving and inebriated on substance if an’ they tried to stamp out in life. To them, why, yer nothin’ more than what their Holy Bible refers to as the Whores of Babylon. Sin itself, here to tempt humanity to ruin. It’s no guess they spread all those lies about you to try to get people to doubt their temptresses if an’ when they could.” said Roosevelt, drawing more in the sand as to set up a story. “Y’two are gonna have yer work cut out for ya if an’ you want you should save your state and our great nation. Despite what those fools or others may claim, this place was already a great nation, so t’see her reduced to such a state again is a might dreadful thing for us real Americans to watch. And that includes Goldie and Raven over here.”

Ayame waved hello at the mention of her in the background.

“That’s why we were summoned form the Heavens is their escape upset the balance of the Embers and the Heavens, especially since something else escaped from the Embers alongside them, but we’ve all had but trouble if an’ finding out what it was. We’re hoping it’s all just in our minds for now. Y’all should be glad we’re here.” Roosevelt concluded. “Just as we’re glad you’re here now.”

“Shall I get out my harmonica and sing unto them the next verse?” Bierce butted in, reaching into her purse and pulling out a shining gold harmonica, running a quick line of notes on it and grinning.

“What a convenient segue, Captain Rose. Only once they hear it may they start to figure out what it is they’ll have to do to bring about the power needed to stop them.” Roosevelt pointed at a drawing she did near the beginning of the line, ready to illustrate their destiny.

Bierce shot up in tune, picking a soft note to start on and playing a bit, singing after every line of notes and moving on, alternating song and music. The next whole verse was laid out before them.

“So shine forth of blues and reds and of greatest golds
Come forth ye kings to rise above and all behold
From ascension to the sky and stars above shining bright
Protecting us and the sunrise beyond our darkest night
Shared between you shall you become from two to one whole
And from darkest depths, entwined shining as one soul
Let no devil from below take what belongs to you and me
Let no devil from below take what we've earned so free
Take ye not from the queen of all born of kings united as one
As gold shines true, let freedom ring as the war is won”

By the end of it, Roosevelt was halfway through her drawings, all of them depicting the fights and entwining of spirits and devils’ due going on in the rhymes and schemes of the song. Bierce continued for one more verse, again alternating song and tune.

“So shine forth of blues and reds and of greatest golds
Come forth ye queen of all, with fist and sword sharp and bold
From under your rule shall tyrants run and cowards flee
Protecting us all, from the eastern hills to the western sea
Shared power birthing a mighty warrior goddess fair and wise
And from darkest depths of two kings shall the queen arise
Let no devil from below think of victory as their right
Let no devil from below be spared this goddess' might
Take ye not from me the spirit of Her Highness so free
As gold shines true, and let freedom ring again unto thee”

All of it was familiar to the first verse, which they sang again after, this time Katsuragi and Atma filling in with Roosevelt as needed, to complete the song in its whole.

“So shine forth of blues and reds and of greatest golds
Come forth from the peasants to the kings in actions bold
From thrones ascended do the twin peaks do our rulers watch
Protecting us and our lives, for all the riches we sought
Shared freely ‘mongst the crowds they always did give
And from darkest depths did they pull us out to yet live
Let no devil from below take what belongs to you and me
Let no devil from below take our lands and our seas
Take ye not from me the spirit of California so free
As gold shines true, and let freedom ring again unto thee”

By the end of the singing and storytelling, they were no closer to defeating the devils, but they had an idea of where to begin training for it.

“Alright, I’m in. Can’t be any worse than taking down Koshka’s ex again and her neo-cyborg Nazi regime. It’s somewhat a bit more believable too, even if literal prophecy is involved. At least we don’t have to go chasing or be chased across continents this time.” Atma laughed.

“That’s the spirit, girls!” Roosevelt joined in the laughing.

“So we just have to train real hard and get in sync real good, huh? The moral of the day is teamwork, I take it.” said Kat, posing a bit more confidently now. She knew together, they could fight really, really well. “Like when we hooked our machines together and came up with a secret fusion art up in space facing off against Nadzehda.”

“Well...Not quite.” said Roosevelt, adjusting her glasses and putting her knife away. “You two had the right idea though with the grand display that was putting your machines together. If you don’t think all of us all saw that one from the Heavens, y’all are quite mistaken indeed. Gotta do somethin’ up there for entertainment, and you mortals are mighty fine choices for watchin’. Beats theatre, at least.”

“Do we need to get the combination mech again? I dunno if Koshka is so willing to rent out The Red Menace after what we did to it last time...” Atma began wondering. It took them a while, even as Kings, to get the money needed to fix that one up.

“Heh. The Pussy Destroyer. That thing had a pretty fucking awesome name. And a great stereo system.” Katsuragi giggled, fingers wiggling, as if she found herself to be the fucking funniest person alive. “We should drive that up and down the highways again, for old times’ sake.”

“Old times? Kat that was just a year ago.” Atma sneered.

“Oh, yeah. So it was.”

“Hey boss, should I tell the two that they need to get to fuckin’ like bears in the woods as part of the training, or?” Bierce interrupted everyone, making sure she said it loud enough on purpose for Katsuragi and Atma to hear. The two kings turned to the Captain, faces flushing red. Sure, they acted cool and tough and all of that, but when it came down to processing actual feelings, especially with women, and especially with each other, they quickly dropped to an empty tank mentally and would begin to run on fumes and sputter before finally breaking down on the side of the road and needing to be towed off back home by a friend.

“I uh, what?” the two Kings asked, almost in unison. Hey, this sync stuff was working already.

“Yeah. Did you think that unison stuff was just a metaphor in that song? It means you two gotta become one, and that means being honest and stuff. And fucking like bears. That usually helps with the honesty.” Captain Rose snickered. “If you two do it right, you’ll become one whole goddess! I’m sure your shinobi academy’s forbidden scrolls should have one or two about fusing together, and they usually require two shinobi so in tune with each other that they may as well be married lovers. I hear they used to use that one to get around marriage laws back in the day in ol’ Japan.”

“H-How do you know so much about this?” Atma demanded answers. “How do you know so much about us? And how do I know this isn’t some ploy to get us together just to confirm your fanfictions or whatever it is you do in Heaven?”

“Yeah, what she said!” Kat puffed her cheeks out, turning more red. “We… We’ve slept together plenty and it hasn’t done more than relieve tension, geeze. There’s no shinobi magic to it!”

“Then you aren’t doing it right! Why don’t we retreat back to your school for now and we can show you where these things are kept? I mean, what else is there to do in Heaven besides observe you all and learn about you? We did say we were prepared to deal with you two and your history, and yes, that does mean making someone’s fanfiction come true. Come on, we’ve even prepared a few very special speakers for you to talk to to help you sort out your emotions with.” Roosevelt chuckled, twirling her rifle around and kicking the remaining hats from the dispatched demons around a bit, her rifle resting across her shoulders as Bierce packed her stuff up. “Picnic’s over. Let’s go home for now.”

Ayame helped pick everything up and throw it into her sack, a bit too flustered by the words and ideas going on to have really needed to say anything. The idea that her mentors may be having to go at it soon made her turn a deep crimson all on her own, and if it weren’t for the fact this was to get them together, she might be so bold as to ask to join them, but perhaps another mission and another time. She proudly helped the two envoys carry their stuff back to The Pussy Wagon and load it up, driving back the way they came, making sure nobody was eyeing them.

The way over was awkward and quiet, with Bierce and Roosevelt singing parts of the prophecy and reinforcing it in Katsuragi and Atma’s minds that they were the chosen ones, and chosen ones unite and become one force, and to do that their hearts and minds must be in sync and be honest and open with each other, and hide nothing. And that usually is helped by doin’ it. Sure, they’ve had sex before with each other a lot, but this time? Things felt different. Glances at the other were met with blushing and elevated heart rates and thoughts of a whirlwind romance more than the usual teasing bedroom eyes and promises of no strings attached fucking, not pure and honest love making.

“Heh, Reagen called you a whore.” Katsuragi finally decided to try to ease some of the tension. “At least he’s right about something.”

“Same to you, slut. I mean, the only one he’s not right about is Ayame, but if she keeps looking at us like that she might qualify sooner than she expects.” Atma winked at Ayame, blowing her a kiss and making the raven-haired one flush red in her cheeks.

“Slut? You’re the slut. I want to be the whore.” Katsuragi teased.

“Well, you’re MY slut.” Atma turned redder, not meaning for that to sound so weirdly romantic or endearing. “Ahh, whatever. We’re both those things. Both of us. Let’s focus on working and defeating Reagen again and restoring balance to America, shall we?”

The rest of the trip went quick but quiet, and they arrived back at New Hanzo greeted by the guards, reporting nothing suspicious going on as they were gone ever so briefly. Together with their new allies they parked and went inside, back into their hidden war room, flicking on the lights.

There, around the table, sat Koshka, Hikage, and their friends, the Crimson Squad. The Squad was a former school, former Hebijo members that defected and now aligned themselves with Hanzo back in Japan and now New Hanzo, owing a debt to Koshka, their newest member, and to Atma for helping them move out here to the Bay Area to find new beginnings and new work and keep themselves fed on more than just grass for once in their lives. Haruka, a mad scientist, Mirai, an elegant machine-gunner, Yomi, a spout obsessed valkyrie, and Homura, a swordswoman with a taste for bad puns all grinned and waved hello to their old friends. However, in the corner, against the wall, they also noticed a very unlikely face to see show up. A rifle was slung over her back and she grinned wide at Roosevelt, armed with the same belt of holy bullets around her chest.

“R-Ryobi? What’s she doing here?” Katsuragi choked.

“I’m here to fucking help you two bitches get connected and get your asses out there and fucking win our state back, is what I’m fucking doing here. The Colonel invited me after seeing my master marksmanship.” Ryobi grinned wide. “I couldn’t fucking say no to getting out of my house for a fucking while, knock some of my probation off, and blast a hole between someone’s eyes. So fucking, for now, it’s a truce between us all. I fucking live here too and like hell I’m gonna let one of your deranged bastard presidents come back and try to take my freedom and my guns away again. So until these devils are stamped back under ground, I’ll lend you my shot. No promises that if you get in my way I won’t also mow you down, so be careful out there, you stupid dykes.”

“Nice to see you, too.” Atma sighed. “Well, I suppose these are your speakers? Our girlfriends? This ought to be… well, awkward. Interesting, but awkward.”

“You haven’t even seen the half of it!” cackled Roosevelt.

It was going to be another long fucking night. Training, feelings of all sorts running high, entangled in prophecy, and now their obnoxious neighbor was watching in and acting as their training mistress. At least they would be glad Ryona wasn’t one of their new masters or teachers, instead sleeping in the corner, in dire need of a babysitter.

So much for destiny.

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

Back at the Grove, a far more sinister machination was afoot. Darkness and blood swirled around their campground, their base coated in the remains of those that believed in the worst, sustaining them and making them grow in power.

“The Whores are aware of their destinies now. Prepare the legions.” the Devil-Master Communicator bellowed from his makeshift throne. “Last time we tried, those envoys’ summoning screwed us up and we lost a great deal of time and energy, but no matter, if we can cut them off now while they decipher the prophecy and prepare to face us, we can still win handily without having to deal with… that.”

As he said his last word, he pointed to a carving of a warrior goddess, vague in shape and origin, covered in knife marks and blood, as if to curse it deeply.

“Sure thing, boss, whatever you say goes, goes.” Demon Lieutenant Hearst bowed and deferred to his great leader, going to gather what was needed for a grand summoning of demons and beasts and mooks unlike that the Grove had ever seen.

“Shall we release the second wave of rumors?” asked the Infernal Magistrate.

“Yes, at once. Be done with it, we need the energy. Get this state in a frenzy, get them in a man hunt for these Whores before the worst of the worst comes to past. If it does, prepare anyways, we can still stop them. Nothing, and I mean nothing, not even prophecy, can prepare them for what I have in store. You know, just in case.”

The three cackled and saluted each other, killing off a few true believers they had in prison, feeding off their flesh and drinking their blood, using their skulls as not very effective but very menacing looking drinking vessels. Bones clattered to the ground as their bodies were sucked dry and their souls poofed out of existence by the possessed politicians prowess.

It was going to be a long night for them, as well. It is always the longest and darkest night before the dawn, after all.

But as gold shines true, and let freedom ring again unto thee...

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