Trinary Chaos: The Azalea Effect

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Ghost Stories

“Seven years ago, in 2013, a mysterious thing happened in an old home. Now, the inhabitants of the home did not know of this thing, for they were on vacation for the month. What we do know, however, is that these inhabitants disappeared one week after returning.

The family complained of strange noises, and the fact that some expensive machinery was not working. But, that may be due to the age of the house, which was an old victorian mansion. Unknown to all but the original builders, the house had secret passageways and large, hidden rooms connected by this passage. There were underground passages that connected with other homes as well.

In the following seven years, more and more people around the area went missing, especially those who had contact with the mansion. Taking no notice of these mysterious disappearances, a wealthy European entrepreneur decides to renovate this old house, planning to make a wonderful new home.”

DAE Science Committee

“Steve, I wonder who’d want to buy this creepy old house,” commented an agent working for a renovation company. Her name was Maggie Jefferson, one of the two selected to investigate the house.

“Jefferson, let’s not bother about that,” Steve replied, “money is money.”

“Some man named Lakise.”

“I heard people went missing in this neighborhood,” the other replied, “not surprising too, judging that none of those people were willing to talk about this house.”

The two entered the house and waved their flashlights around. What was once a luxurious home, was now dusty, large spider webs everywhere. Steve coughed.

“Let’s see if I can get the lights working,” Steve offered.

“Nah, we’ll just use daylight,” the other responded, grabbing a fire pit poker to draw open the curtains.

The sunlight pierced the dusty old house, revealing large spiders. As the sun shone, the spiders evacuated their webs. One in particular, was an exceptionally big tarantula.

“Agh! Spiders!” Steve groaned.

As if to highlight his words, a large spider jumped from the ceiling onto his back. It was extremely large, covering his entire body. However, such creatures are not dangerous, and the arachnid crawled away in fear. Steve threw a rusty old knife at the spider as it ran.

“Woah! Careful with the knife!”

“Sorry, i-it was just so big...”

“That is true, I’ve never heard of a spider that size.”

Maggie pointed her light towards the ceiling, where the two saw more of the strange large spiders scurry away. There were also strange white orbs dangling from the ceiling.

“What is that?” Maggie pondered.

“No idea- probably some dust collections or something,” said Steve who poked it with a stick. It exploded into white dust, and the two coughed.

“Let’s split up- I’ll take this floor, and, Maggie, you’ll take the second.”

“Agreed.”

The two of them split, each armed with a flashlight. The two activated a body camera and split up.

Steve proceeded, looking around in every room. The house would be amazing once the redecoration was complete. However, the lights didn’t seem to work right, so he decided to check out the fuses.

The fuses were relatively safe, and within minutes, the house was lit with a soft yellow glow. It was like candlelight, but it was just lightbulbs. Somehow, it just made the house creepier. With the lights on-

“Aagh!” Steve screamed.

“What happened?” Maggie replied, asking through a radio.

“Just some skulls- some mice or something. It’s near this fireplace I found.”

“Okay.”

Steve cleared the skulls out of the way and began to inspect when he heard a piercing scream. It sounded almost human, but not quite.

“Maggie, you okay?”

“Good as gold. Why?”

“I just heard a scream. Sounded more like a threat than a scream, but I swear, I heard one.”

“Maybe it’s the wind. That’s how old houses work, right?”

“Sure, sure. I’ll check it out to see if a window’s open.”

Steve followed where the noise came from, and to his horror- it was an opened window. To him, it was probably where the dust came from. Looking outside, he gazed at the forest where a certain animal took his interest.

It appeared to be some sort of goat, judging by its body. But then there was the head, which was unlike any goat he has ever seen. It was just a large, singular horn, and by large, it covered its head. Steve managed to snap a quick photograph before the ‘goat’ bounded off in the distance.

Somewhere else, someone also snapped a photo. Someone inside a van that had the letters S, C, O, R, P, I, O, and N arranged to spell Nopirocs.

Steve stepped backwards, but suddenly, he felt something bite him and there wasn’t any floor- and he was somewhere else, somewhere that did not in the house. He tried to speak, but found that he appeared to be gagged by a silky substance. He managed to look around and saw that he was laying on layers upon layers of the same substance.

Above, he saw spiders. A lot of damned spiders.

But now, we return to Wyvern Base, where our heroes, well, just Jack and Maizie, were enjoying themselves. Specifically, they were eating food at the cafeteria. To their surprise there was no chef, and instead, food was created by synthesizers, artificial intelligence, and complicated machinery.

“T-this is just amazing!” the young Maizie bubbled.

“I know,” Jack responded, “I’ve never tasted such wonderful food. Oh, and Maizie, eat your vegetables.”

“What? Really?”

“Yes.”

Xavier stopped by and informed them that the plane would lift off in about thirty minutes. There was an optional mission, and he gave the two some time to think about coming.

“Hi Jack, Maizie,” Kitten chimed, “where’s the rest of you guys?”

“Leo is… I don’t know. I think he said something about the weapons testing room,” Maizie answered.

“Cool.”

“Stacy’s out on a date with someone,” Jack continued.

“Huh. Interesting, did Xavier already come by here? I have to tell the others.”

“He did.”

“Now just to find Sukie...”

“Again, no idea,” Maizie replied, “maybe she’s with Stacy.”

After getting lost quite a few times, Kitten managed to find Leo and inform him of the optional mission. Last, he couldn’t find Stacy or Sukie, and left a voicemail for the both of them.

Thirty minutes later, almost nobody showed up on the plane. The soldiers and agents were out on the base enjoying the time off until the next portal.

Nobody showed, that is, but Kitten, Daena, Stacy, and Xavier.

“Aaaand the others don’t even bother to show up,” Kitten pouted, “or ask about the mission.”

“I’m not sure I even want to go,” Stacy commented. “I’m not that close with you guys anyway.”

“Think of this mission as a bonding moment,” Xavier optimistically said, “we probably won’t encounter anything.”

“That’s… reassuring,” Stacy hesitated, “what are we doing?”

“Ghost hunting,” Xavier stated.

“What?!” Daena exclaimed. “The DAE science committee has no proof in ghosts. Only the JPIS folks deal with that.”

“Julian Page Investigative Service has vampires working for it, remember that.”

“What?!” exclaimed Stacy, “Vampires are real?!”

“J-just watch the Vibrant News Clip.”

On the larger TV screen, someone who looked like Maxwell Stevenson appeared.

“Wait, I thought that guy was from Knife’s Edge!” Kitten pointed out.

“Now you see,” Xavier started, “Maxwell Stevenson covers a broad majority of the southern states and his assigned town, Knife’s Edge. This is Maxwelle Stevenson, his twin brother.”

The Vibrant News logo flashed across the screen, along with a cheesy opening theme.

“Hello! I’m Maxwelle Stevenson, here with Vibrant News. Today, I’m in Kintain, Wyoming. As you know, Wyoming used to not exist, but now does. Here, two recon agents working for a renovation company have gone missing a couple days ago. This house, an old victorian era mansion is supposedly haunted. Across the years, many people have gone missing, always in this time of year. FBI agent Jackson Prescott has been investigating, now thinking it’s a generation of serial killers. Nearby, people have seen, and I quote, ‘Goat Unicorns’. Funny huh. Now for a word from our new sponsors.”

“Nopirocs Industries. Making the world better one meal at a time. We are killers- Cereal Killers! Nopirocs Industries will now be upgrading to hotels as well, with our amazing new buffet recipes. Remember, Nopirocs, making the world better one meal at a time.”

“In other news, people have been spotted entering into the ruins of the Angel Institute. This institute was-”

“Irrelevant,” Xavier cut in, “the institute is a joint force from the DAE and Hidden Cities.”

“What?” Stacy wondered. “Is it that vampire thing-”

“Nothing,” Xavier replied, “just now it’s ghost hunting time!”

Stacy and the others returned to their seats. Now, the plane began to rise. Ahem, technical difficulties. Where are the pilots?

“Wait, where’s Justin and Lily?!” Daena remembered.

“Oh- ah. Shoot,” Xavier realized, “they were going shopping for the day. They’re buying us groceries and Halloween decorations.”

“Hello,” a voice appeared. The four turned to see a strange looking man and an equally strange woman.

“Who are you?!” Xavier demanded, a hand already on a pistol. “Actually, no, GET OUT OF MY PLANE!”

“N-no sir, we’re the replacement pilots,” the two spoke in unison.

“Oh, in that case, to Kintain!”

“Yes, sir.”

Now, the plane began to rise.

An hour later, the plane arrived in Kintain, or at least the airport closest to it. The town was quite a rainy place, and it was filled with water, but more importantly, legends. There were legends of Jackalopes, which had been revealed by a Cryptozoology Group named Global One to exist. And aliens- but nobody talks about the aliens.

“Ah, Kintain,” Kitten muttered, looking through the car mirror. “Rain, what a wonderful thing.”

“You’re one of those rain people, aren’t you?” Stacy accused.

“Yes, yes I am. Now, shut up. Let me have my rain.”

“So,” Xavier began, “since this is an unofficial relaxation mission, let’s get to know each other. Middle names? Mine is Moukha.”

“Isabel,” Daena told.

“Mine is Quincy,” Stacy chimed.

“Mine is redacted,” Kitten seriously denied.

“Really?”

“Fine, Elgar.”

“Quick question,” Stacy began, “why are all the things we’ve encountered dangerous? I mean, besides the fact that carnivores would be more interested.”

“Ah, you see,” Xavier started, “a lesser team handles lower priority cases. Next time, we will do a low priority case.”

And all across the ride, they had fun with each other. They talked about childhood, favourite classes, which revealed a lot of differences and more.

At last, they arrived at an old hotel. Surprisingly, the inside wasn’t old at all. It was the most expensive hotel in the town, so they had relative luxury.

They put their baggage away and met up at Xavier’s room.

“Alright, let’s discuss all this madness,” Xavier began, “I heard the locals call the woods the Unicorn Zone.”

“Wait, they actually believe those sightings? The goat unicorns?!” Daena exclaimed. “That’s silly!”

“Actually,” Kitten began, looking at something on his phone, “according to our database, tachyon energy was detected here in 2013! Why have you brought us here?!”

“Calm down,” Xavier assured, “look, Dan and the higher ups didn’t want to investigate this, so...”

“Fine… but you’re taking full responsibility for anything!”

“I think this is interesting. Why didn’t the DAE investigate it seven years ago?” Stacy wondered.

“We were busy with other things, specifically our reformation. I believe the remnants of the Angel Institute processed this but deemed it irrelevant.”

“What is this Angel?”

“Our predecessor. Not much is known of our organization before the late nineteen-hundreds. Now, back to our mission.”

“Well, we’ve only got disappearances,” Daena began, “but, I have found some bodies.”

“Elaborate.”

“They were all found dead with a strange toxin in their system. Oh, and they seem to have been digested alive.”

“How interesting,” Stacy muttered, “I’m not sure what can do that. Maybe a mushroom?”

“No, this is not the X-Files. Or is it-”

“No! Well then,” Xavier began, “whenever you guys are ready, we’ll head out!”

“So, let’s do it then,” Kitten decided, “of course, we’ll need our weapons just in case.”

Ten minutes later, the four had arrived in the front doors of the house. Kitten knocked, to no response. The door was locked, and Daena kicked the door in. Behind them, a Nopirocs Industries van recorded everything.

“Wait, somethings not right,” Daena realized.

“What?” Xavier inquired.

“These doors should not be locked. Last I checked, this house is supposed to be unlocked for viewing.”

Nevertheless, they entered. They were smart enough to not split up and were now checking out the living room.

“Strange… not that much dust,” Stacy pointed out, “you’d think this old house would have more than this amount of dust.”

“What is that?” Xavier mumbled, shining his light at the ceiling. There were strange white orbs that looked like dust all rolled up into a ball. He took a few photos and sent them to the database to check out what it was.

Kitten stepped back to see the orbs better, when he felt himself step on something. The something popped loudly, releasing white dust into the roof.

“Ack- wh-agh!” Kitten managed.

The world seemed to shift, but soon returned to normal.

“What was that?!” Daena exclaimed, “I feel like I hit my head...”

“Same...”

“Wait, where’s the orb thingies?!” Stacy notified, yelling.

“What the...”

Outside, someone snapped a photograph.

But, let us now return to Wyvern Base, where we see Justin and Lily shopping for Halloween decorations. Wyvern Base had a large grocery shop where everything was free or was cheap.

“So, what’s the plan for this year’s Halloween celebration?” Justin began, “Themes?”

“Dinosaurs and monsters, perhaps.”

“Then let’s find some artwork.”

“No, why don’t we plan the food cause that’s much more important!”

“Ooh, I agree.”

Suddenly, they got a call on their tablets. They seemed to be both from the same number, so only Lily answered it.

“Hello? Who is this?”

“Don’t move,” a disfigured voice ordered.

“Why, who are you?” Justin demanded.

Suddenly, the two of them felt darts on their back. They looked at each other as vision faded and they became unconscious. It felt like eternity, but the two finally awoke in Wyvern Base’s medical room, each on a bed.

“Oh, you guys are awake,” a nurse mumbled.

“W-what happened?” Lily managed to say.

“Someone used a TSC dart on you guys. Whoever it was, they used a disturbance mask, because the cameras didn’t work. Oh, also, your tablets have been stolen.”

“What… a spy?” Justin asked.

“Perhaps. You’ll be getting a new tablet soon.”

Suddenly, the door of the medical room opened and revealed Leo dragging a body inside the room.

“Who is that?!” the doctor yelled. “Someone report this!”

“N-no!” Leo protested, “I saw this guy following me! He tried to shoot me, but I took him down!”

“Peculiar,” the doctor muttered, “the Time Displacement team...”

“Wait, what about Jack, Maizie, and Sukie?!” Justin realized. “They may be under attack!”

“Get a security team to assets,” the doctor began, then checking her tablet for some numbers, “assets 347, 348, and 134!”

“On it,” a guard concluded.

Jack was in the library, where he was reading up on the Aztecs. Sukie was with him, trying to find more material on the Aztecs. So far they had discovered some classified material, but nothing to do with the future artifact. There was, however, a story about how a meteor hit the Earth. When the meteor was combined with gold, something that looked like a portal would appear. Sukie was frustrated because the future tablet seemed to be out of battery. Maizie helped out as well, trying to understand the device.

“It was found in the Temple of Water,” Jack muttered, then suddenly having a bright look in his eyes. “Ah! It can’t have survived all those years with no battery! It might use water to recharge!”

Sukie nodded and was about to leave the room when something caught her eye.

Two figures, dressed in standard black and hands on pistols. Sukie used her tablet as a mirror and showed Jack.

“Quick, let’s hide in the shelves!”

The two walked to the shelves, pretending to look for books about any subject. They then saw the two stalkers follow, pistols now out. Even as they turned and twisted, they were always just behind them.

And suddenly, there were three of them, all cornering the two into a corner. There would be no escape when-

-darts appeared on each figure’s neck.

“Told ya I’m a good shot,” Leo joked, “now, let’s find out who these people are.”

An agent who accompanied him touched one of the unconscious figure’s face.

“Wait,” the agent began, something clearly amiss, “the face feels off.”

The agent pinched it and it bubbled. It wasn’t a face, rather a mask. The agent peeled off the mask, revealing the true face. The agent scanned the person, but it wasn’t anyone it knew. Then, the agent scanned the false face, and it revealed an agent who went missing on a Scorpion involved mission.

“What the hell is going on...” Jack muttered.

The agent ordered some other agents to reveal the others, then to take them away. Fifteen minutes later, an antitoxin was given and the three assailants along with Leo’s attacker awoke in an interrogation room. Milo had been notified, and he was there to interrogate. Apparently, nobody could find Dan.

“Hello, hello,” Milo greeted, “now, tell me who you are.”

“W-where am I?!”

“Welcome to Wyvern Base Interrogation Room Thirty-Seven. Now tell me who you are!”

“N-never!”

“Agent, please start protocol nine.”

Outside the room, an agent nodded to herself and pressed a white button. Milo left the room.

“What’s protocol nine?” Leo inquired.

“Watch.”

They watched through the one sided glass. When Jack pressed his hand on the glass, it was cold, far colder than room temperature. The man inside began to shiver.

“OKAY! I’LL TALK!” the prisoner yelled, shivering uncontrollable.

Milo signaled to turn off the cold.

“Now, your name?”

“E-Evan Norton.”

“And who do you work for?!”

“S-Scorpion.”

“Where in Scorpion?!”

“T-the Scorpion Levitation Train!”

“Where is that now?”

“C-Colorado!”

Milo shoved a table over to the prisoner and told him to input coordinates. The prisoner did and was soon let out to be transferred to a DAE prison. Milo interrogated and did the same with the others, making sure about the Scorpion Train’s location.

“Milo,” Jack called, “what about the others? They went on some optional mission somewhere.”

“Damn!” Milo growled, “Jack, Sukie, Leo, get a team set up and rescue them!”

Meanwhile, Xavier, Stacy, Daena, and Kitten were recovering from their shared case of headaches.

“Are you guys seeing this?!” Xavier groaned.

“The world… just shifted?” Daena added.

“That- that wasn’t there before!” Kitten yelled, pointing at a dark blue door.

“What the hell?!” Stacy exclaimed, “That blue door looks like the plane cabin door! But like, not automatic!”

Carefully, Xavier went to the door that should not have existed. He gripped the door handle and began to open it. The door creaked. Behind the door, was a room.

“Wait, that’s Maizie and Stacy’s room!” Kitten realized, “This is impossible!”

“How do you know that’s our room?” Stacy pointed out.

“I’ve been helping Maizie with some of her homework.”

“Shut up,” Daena commanded, “let’s go in.”

The four began to enter, slowly but surely, Kitten first, then Stacy, then Xavier then-

-Daena heard the sounds of someone walking in the other hallway.

“Hello?” Daena blurted, turning to face the hall.

She turned back- and the blue door was gone. She pressed her hands to where it should have been. Nothing. Just wood. Far away, she heard someone walking.

“Hello? Anyone there?”

Daena pointed her pistol at the other exit. Still the sound of footsteps. There was also light talking. What the hell was going on?

“Hello?”

She crossed the hallway and put her ears to the kitchen door. Behind, she heard two people talking. From what she gathered, these were the missing people.

She turned the doorknob and entered.

“What the hell?!”

There were indeed two people, the missing ones. But something didn’t feel right with them, as if they were just… different than the photos. Eye color slightly more orange.

“Who are you?” the one called Maggie asked.

“D-Daena Santos,” she replied, “you two have been missing!”

“Shush!” the other shushed. “They’ll hear you!”

“What will?”

“The aliens.”

“What?!”

“There!” Maggie hissed, pointing at a window that wasn’t there before.

Outside, strange lights probed the yard. Others shone in, and the three hid behind objects. Along with the lights was a faint buzzing sound- no, it was more like popping.

“Do you guys smell that?”

“What is it, Daena?” the one called Steve inquired.

“That smell. It’s like something being melted or burned- a corpse?!” she began. Suddenly, the doctor realized something. Steve had used her name- she hadn’t given her name. “How do you know my name?”

“You must’ve told me.”

“No, I haven’t. There’s no way any of this should be real!”

And to prove her point, she fired her pistol. The dart hit Steve, whose chest melted into orange-yellow goo, causing the dart to hit the wall. Daena watched in both fear and shock as everything in the world seemed to melt and-

“Daena? Are you okay?” Stacy asked, “You seemed really off that moment.”

Daena looked around. They were on the plane, and she was in her doctor’s office.

“What just happened? How did we get here?”

“Well, we established that ghosts weren’t there and we went back.”

“No...”

“Doctor, are you feeling well?” Jack asked.

“I- I need to lie down.” she stated, just before realizing Jack wasn’t supposed to be here.

“Good, just lie down...” Jack cooed, his voice soothing her.

“No! None of this is real!”

Proving her point again, she fired her gun into a wall. The world reformed again. Now, she found herself in front of the blue door. She opened it and saw the others, and they seemed real.

Meanwhile, Kitten was confused. He has stepped through the blue doors, but he couldn’t see the others anywhere. They had just disappeared.

“H-hello?” Kitten called.

Kitten turned around to see that there was no more blue door. He turned around to see nobody else. He was somehow alone. Then, he realized something- the room had changed, ever so slightly. Now, there was a window. He peered through, and saw a hallway.

“What the hell?! Is this some kind of joke?!”

Kitten opened the window and started entering the new hallway. It seemed to keep turning and going forever. There were no rooms, and whenever he looked behind him, he could see the things he passed, but when he tried to go back, it became endless as well.

Suddenly, a painting seemed to just materialize. Confused, he touched the painting- a painting of the four trapped in some sort of basement. As he touched, he felt himself drawn into until-

Nowhere. He was just stuck on a plain of extreme darkness. He saw Xavier in the distance, except it didn’t look like Xavier.

Xavier, meanwhile, found himself alone in the room. He looked around, and suddenly, he saw a window. He looked out to see the skies.

“I-impossible...”

An alarm rang, an alarm that signalled an attack. From his viewpoint, he saw the plane burning.

Somewhere else, Daena awoke.

“What just happened?”

“Y-you were just standing there!” Stacy informed.

“Something isn’t right here- Oh my god!”

“What is it?” Kitten questioned.

“That white ball of ‘dust’! It isn’t dust! We’re all hallucinating this!”

“That could explain a lot,” Xavier agreed, “We just walked down a hallway that never ended.”

Without warning, the world all changed. This time, the other three did not melt, just their surroundings. When it was done, they found themselves hanging upside down. They were in the basement, they realized. Daena reached forward, freeing herself from the webs and falling to the floor. The others did the same as well. As they did, giant spiders scurried away.

“What the hell?!” Daena shouted, “Spiders?!”

“We need to get outta here!” Kitten shouted, finding a light and showing the way out.

The four exited, yet they forgot to notice one small detail- there was now no more Nopirocs Industries van.

-and suddenly they were on the plane.

“How did we get here?!” Daena questioned.

“We walked here. We’re giving our report via video call to Daniel Napoleon. Don’t you remember?” Kitten informed.

“No- No this can’t be right!” she decided, but even as she spoke, memories came back to her, making her doubt everything. “We were drugged by a hallucinogenic substance, right?! A-and the bodies found- all digested. Why don’t we have any wounds?! Why?!”

“Daena, you’re overthinking this,” Xavier assured, “we’re safe now.”

“No- this can’t be right! We could not have simply willed our way out of this! This clearly isn’t real!”

“Daena, calm down- put that gun down! We’re safe!” Kitten declared.

“No- none of this is real.”

Daena fired the gun, a dart shattering the large TV screen. Behind it, was bubbling orange.

And she awoke, this time in the true reality. She looked around, tightly wrapped in silk. She looked, seeing a spider spit strange juices upon her. Daena moved, freeing herself. Weakly, but with the combined forces of adrenaline, she took the chance to vomit, expelling her system of whatever venom was used. With the rejection and adrenaline, the poison was out.

She found her knife and tried to wake the others, but found that they were still under the influence, no doubt in a false world. She knew this was the real world due to how everything seemed more real, from the injuries to the feelings. She knew somehow that her body had rejected whatever substance was inside her.

She began to reach the basement door when she saw two dead bodies. The two workers who had gone missing.

Daena opened the door, alerting some people in suits.

Suddenly, the doors opened, and Milo appeared, wearing a mask and a full hazmat suit.

“H-how did you know?”

“This area was restricted for a reason- we detected anomalous substances here years ago, and sealed it off. How those renovators were hired is unknown, but connected to another problem.”

With that, more suited agents began to scare off the mysterious spiders and freeing the heroes.

“H-how did I survive? Tell me,” Daena pleaded, now being carried to safety.

“Adrenaline. We found out that enough adrenaline can extinguish this substance.”

While the other three were being saved, let us check in on the spy outside. The spy photographed all of the action. While no-one noticed, he put a tracking device on one of the DAE vehicles.

“And who are you?” the spy heard just behind him. From the spy’s information, the spy knew it was Leo Weiss, the team’s ‘pet’ mercenary. “I have a gun. Don’t move.”

But the spy was better than that. The spy ducked down with lightning speed, then kicked Leo’s legs, knocking him off-balance. As Leo fell, the elite spy kicked the gun out of his hands and kicked him yet again. The spy knew his cover was blown, and the spy jumped into the vehicle.

“Argh!”

The vehicle drove off into the distance.

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