n3m3sis43: ((FMAB) Mustang and Huuuughes otpppp)
This is chapter 5 of Cliffton book 1. It's mostly new stuff, because my original first Brendan-POV chapter is going to get split and have parts of it used elsewhere. As always, concrit is much appreciated. Rip me to shreds. I don't mind. Warning for a tiny bit of language, not Devin levels.


If you're reading Cliffton for the first time, here are the previous chapters so you can catch up:
Prologue | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4


in place of clever cut text )
n3m3sis43: ((FMAB) Huuuughes and Winryyyy)
Concrit much appreciated. This is chapter 10 of Cliffton book 1, now edited and hopefully beta-ready. If you are looking for the older version for comparison purposes, it is here Slight warning for rage issues and violence and (maybe) empty threats of additional violence. In other words, Calla.

If you're reading Cliffton for the first time, here are the previous chapters so you can catch up:
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9


Brendan and Calla get to know each other a little better )
n3m3sis43: ((FMAB) Huuuughes and Winryyyy)
Concrit much appreciated. This is chapter 5 of Cliffton book 1, now rewritten and hopefully beta-ready. If you are looking for the older version for comparison purposes, it is here.

If you're reading Cliffton for the first time, here are the previous chapters so you can catch up:
1 | 2 | 3 | 4


wherein everyone moves into the Magical House )
n3m3sis43: (Default)
This is chapter 3 of Cliffton book 1. It's based on a story I wrote during LJ Idol (which is here, if you're curious). I was never happy with it, and once I started developing Brendan as a character, it was super apparent the voice was wrong, too. As always, concrit is appreciated.

If you're reading Cliffton for the first time, here are the previous chapters so you can catch up:
1 | 2


yay for rewrites )
n3m3sis43: (Default)
Cliffton again. This one takes place a few hours after Welcome Home and I am using it to fill the "isolation" prompt on my h/c bingo card.



"So, dude, you wanna see your room?" Wes looks me up and down, seeing how I'm covered in grime. "I bet what you really want is a shower, huh?"

of course I want a shower )
n3m3sis43: (Default)
So, what I did here was combine "Welcome Home" and "Let's Be Friends" into a single story/chapter since they are both Brendan's POV and immediately follow each other in the book. This is backdated because there is nothing new to see here. And this takes place not long after "Second Thoughts".


welcome to my world )
n3m3sis43: (Default)
Title: Welcome Home
Word Count: 1223
Rating: R for f-bombs
Original/Fandom: Original (Cliffton)
Pairings (if any): Nope
Warnings (Non-Con/Dub-Con/etc): Nope
Summary: Brendan meets his new roommates.

cut for epic cluelessness with a side of wtf )
n3m3sis43: (Default)
Title: Welcome Home
Word Count: 1223
Rating: R for f-bombs
Original/Fandom: Original (Cliffton)
Pairings (if any): Nope
Warnings (Non-Con/Dub-Con/etc): Nope
Summary: Brendan meets his new roommates.

cut for epic cluelessness with a side of wtf )

Explode

Sep. 10th, 2012 11:34 am
n3m3sis43: (Default)
Goodbyes have been said, and now it's time for action. As Devin always says, this is gonna be fucking epic.

So far, there's been no trouble. Every door has opened on command, just as Devin promised. CallaBot and I creep through the corridors of the WeaponsDev facility in silence, headed for the building's center. It feels like hours before we finally reach our destination, but patience has never really been my strong suit. Pushing open the door to the men's bathroom, I'm about to enter when I notice CallaBot hanging back.

"You coming?" I ask.

"Well, it's a men's bathroom." Her tone is unusually hesitant.

"Oh, give me a fucking break!" I snicker. "We're about to destroy a major government facility, and that's what you're worried about? Anyway, you're a robot now. According to the law, you're neither male nor female."

"Fine, whatever," she says, and follows me inside.

The door has barely swung shut behind us when there's a humming sound from out in the hall. Cracking the door and peering around the jamb, I see robots approaching. My heart leaps into my throat; there must be at least 20 of them.

"Calla!" I hiss. "SecurityBots, heading right for us!"

"You stay here," CallaBot says. "I'll talk to them and convince them we're no threat."

As she disappears into the hall, I shuck off my InvisiSuit. It's fucking hot in this place, and I breathe a grateful sigh once I'm free of the extra layer of insulation. Just as I'm about to remove my wrinkled explosive suit as well, I hear a commotion outside. I open the door a tiny bit, just in time to hear a sizzling noise and then a loud pop.

"CallaBot, you okay out there?"

No answer.

Stepping out into the hall, I cough as I inhale the acrid odor of fried circuitry. Trying not to breathe too deeply, I survey the scene before me. It's one of utter confusion.

More than half of the security robots are disabled. Most appear to have been beaten or shot down. One or two are standing stock still on the edge of the fracas while another slams itself repeatedly into a wall. The remaining seven SecurityBots encircle Calla, who does nothing to defend herself as they pelt her with metal fists and shoot her with blue lasers. Even with the superior shields Kalen's devised for her, I'm sure she can't withstand much more of this.

"Calla, what the hell?" I shout. "Why the fuck aren't you fighting back?"

Her mechanical eyes, staring straight ahead, don't even meet mine.

"Devin," I say, "There's something wrong with CallaBot! How do I fix her?"

Nothing.

Devin's supposed to be able to hear me over his neurovision implant. Maybe whatever's messed up CallaBot has disrupted our communications as well. I guess it doesn't matter; any way you look at it, I'm on my own.

"Fucking hell!" I yell to no one in particular. "Now what am I supposed to do?"

Shoving my way past the SecurityBots, I grab Calla's arm. Searing pains shoot through my arm, the back of my neck, and my lower spine as the robots turn on me. While the explosive suit provides protection against instant death, it's not enough. There's a smell like barbecue; I'm pretty sure it's my own burning flesh.

"Calla," I say, looking into her blank electronic eyes, "if you can hear me, get the fuck out of here now!"

Though her gaze shows no recognition, she says, "Yes, human," and shoots off down the hall. Focused on me, the SecurityBots don't even bother to follow her. My entire body is in agony as their lasers strike me again and again.

"Devin," I try once more. "Can you hear me? I could really use some help in here."

Still no response.

I may not be a genius like my brother Kalen and his dorky pals, but I can think pretty well on my feet. There's no way for me to fight off all these robots on my own. I'm injured pretty badly and way outnumbered. If I can't reach Devin to help me disable them, I'm never getting out of here alive. There's only one good option - hold them off long enough for CallaBot to escape and then detonate my explosive suit.

Even half-dead, I'm no slouch in the fighting department. I manage to take down two of my metal attackers before the other five close in on me. Praying that Calla's made it out by now, I take a deep breath. This is it.

Today is a good day to die, I think.

Closing my eyes, I use the neural interface for the explosive suit to bring it online. My body tingles all over; the strange sensation almost blocks out the pain. Inside my brain, I hear Devin hollering at me through my neurovision chip. Communications must be up and running again.

"Why'd you do it, buddy?" Devin yells. "I could have helped you take down those SecurityBots!"

"BRENDAN!" Kalen screams in the background.

"It's too late now," Devin's voice is distraught. "There's no way to stop the explosion once the suit's warmed up."

I hear my brother sobbing. There's a whoosh, a rush of heat, an enveloping pain. Then everything goes dark.

Explode

Sep. 10th, 2012 11:34 am
n3m3sis43: (Default)
Goodbyes have been said, and now it's time for action. As Devin always says, this is gonna be fucking epic.

So far, there's been no trouble. Every door has opened on command, just as Devin promised. CallaBot and I creep through the corridors of the WeaponsDev facility in silence, headed for the building's center. It feels like hours before we finally reach our destination, but patience has never really been my strong suit. Pushing open the door to the men's bathroom, I'm about to enter when I notice CallaBot hanging back.

"You coming?" I ask.

"Well, it's a men's bathroom." Her tone is unusually hesitant.

"Oh, give me a fucking break!" I snicker. "We're about to destroy a major government facility, and that's what you're worried about? Anyway, you're a robot now. According to the law, you're neither male nor female."

"Fine, whatever," she says, and follows me inside.

The door has barely swung shut behind us when there's a humming sound from out in the hall. Cracking the door and peering around the jamb, I see robots approaching. My heart leaps into my throat; there must be at least 20 of them.

"Calla!" I hiss. "SecurityBots, heading right for us!"

"You stay here," CallaBot says. "I'll talk to them and convince them we're no threat."

As she disappears into the hall, I shuck off my InvisiSuit. It's fucking hot in this place, and I breathe a grateful sigh once I'm free of the extra layer of insulation. Just as I'm about to remove my wrinkled explosive suit as well, I hear a commotion outside. I open the door a tiny bit, just in time to hear a sizzling noise and then a loud pop.

"CallaBot, you okay out there?"

No answer.

Stepping out into the hall, I cough as I inhale the acrid odor of fried circuitry. Trying not to breathe too deeply, I survey the scene before me. It's one of utter confusion.

More than half of the security robots are disabled. Most appear to have been beaten or shot down. One or two are standing stock still on the edge of the fracas while another slams itself repeatedly into a wall. The remaining seven SecurityBots encircle Calla, who does nothing to defend herself as they pelt her with metal fists and shoot her with blue lasers. Even with the superior shields Kalen's devised for her, I'm sure she can't withstand much more of this.

"Calla, what the hell?" I shout. "Why the fuck aren't you fighting back?"

Her mechanical eyes, staring straight ahead, don't even meet mine.

"Devin," I say, "There's something wrong with CallaBot! How do I fix her?"

Nothing.

Devin's supposed to be able to hear me over his neurovision implant. Maybe whatever's messed up CallaBot has disrupted our communications as well. I guess it doesn't matter; any way you look at it, I'm on my own.

"Fucking hell!" I yell to no one in particular. "Now what am I supposed to do?"

Shoving my way past the SecurityBots, I grab Calla's arm. Searing pains shoot through my arm, the back of my neck, and my lower spine as the robots turn on me. While the explosive suit provides protection against instant death, it's not enough. There's a smell like barbecue; I'm pretty sure it's my own burning flesh.

"Calla," I say, looking into her blank electronic eyes, "if you can hear me, get the fuck out of here now!"

Though her gaze shows no recognition, she says, "Yes, human," and shoots off down the hall. Focused on me, the SecurityBots don't even bother to follow her. My entire body is in agony as their lasers strike me again and again.

"Devin," I try once more. "Can you hear me? I could really use some help in here."

Still no response.

I may not be a genius like my brother Kalen and his dorky pals, but I can think pretty well on my feet. There's no way for me to fight off all these robots on my own. I'm injured pretty badly and way outnumbered. If I can't reach Devin to help me disable them, I'm never getting out of here alive. There's only one good option - hold them off long enough for CallaBot to escape and then detonate my explosive suit.

Even half-dead, I'm no slouch in the fighting department. I manage to take down two of my metal attackers before the other five close in on me. Praying that Calla's made it out by now, I take a deep breath. This is it.

Today is a good day to die, I think.

Closing my eyes, I use the neural interface for the explosive suit to bring it online. My body tingles all over; the strange sensation almost blocks out the pain. Inside my brain, I hear Devin hollering at me through my neurovision chip. Communications must be up and running again.

"Why'd you do it, buddy?" Devin yells. "I could have helped you take down those SecurityBots!"

"BRENDAN!" Kalen screams in the background.

"It's too late now," Devin's voice is distraught. "There's no way to stop the explosion once the suit's warmed up."

I hear my brother sobbing. There's a whoosh, a rush of heat, an enveloping pain. Then everything goes dark.
n3m3sis43: (Default)
A terrorist? That's impossible!

They've got my brother all wrong. Sure, I saw the explosion just like everyone else, and I saw him with his finger on that damn button. There's no way he meant to die, though, or to take that girl with him.

You should have seen him mooning around here all summer. With a low draft number like his, any normal kid would've been celebrating. A spot on a fighting squad is hard to come by, after all. We train for war all our lives and celebrate the day we're of age to enlist. Even then, most of us are waitlisted for a year or two. Hell, I'm still waiting.

Not Kalen, though. He was special.

He could run faster and farther than any of the other boys his age. Not only that, but he was smart to boot. Before he was even old enough to start his lessons, he had already taught himself to read and write. When he did reach schooling age, the Bookmasters moved him a year ahead, to the second-year class with me.

They didn't want to separate you, Mother said. Even then, I knew it wasn't the whole truth.

We were close back then, though, almost like twins. On days when the weather was fine, we played soliders, tromping through the woods to the fort we built in a hollow tree. Rainy days meant sprawling on the rug in our room, playing Robot Scrabble and Tank Yahtzee. At night, we huddled together under our blankets, whispering about the future we would share.

You'll be history's most decorated fighter! he breathed. I'll build the most fearsome robots the world has ever seen.

School was hard that first year. The older boys in our class didn't much care for Kalen, the small blonde interloper who outshone them at every lesson. In a fair fight, he could have bested any of them. Problem was, the fights were never fair.

I'll never forget the day Teacher made me stay inside at recess, writing on the electroboard 100 times "I will not make farting noises in class." When I finished and came out to the playground, Kalen was covered in mud. Tears cut tracks down his dirty face; he was crying too hard to tell me what happened. All he could do was snuffle and point.

Teacher sent three boys home that day. Braddock Kingston left sniveling through a broken nose. Mother came to fetch Kalen and me; when we got home, I bloodied his nose too.

That's for not fighting back, I told him. I have to give him credit; he didn't cry that time.

Mother shook her head, but didn't say a word to Father when he came home. He would've whipped my hide clean off, no doubt. Teacher wouldn't have me back for a week, but I never regretted what I did. No one picks on my brother except for me.

By the end of the year, Kalen was giving as good as he got. There was the time he put Itching Nanites in Farren Allston's lunch. The class was in an uproar as Farren scratched so hard he fell out of his chair. After he reprogrammed Jensen Brady's Science Robot to sass Teacher, the other boys quit tormenting him. As far as they were concerned, he was one of us.

Underneath, though, Kalen's always been different. When the other kids were skirmishing or practicing their gun skills, he'd have his nose in a book. He was always tinkering with those robots, but did he ever make them shoot anything? Not even once. There's something not quite right about that.

Somehow, though, no one seemed to notice. Kalen always got the best grades in everything, be it fighting or fractions. And when we reached sixth year and started to notice girls, he always scored high marks with them, too. I have Father's build, broad and stocky, but Kalen grew tall and lithe. He had Father's eyes, though, a shocking ice blue that made people stop and look. Worst part was, he barely noticed the female attention.

That was when we started to grow apart, but Kalen didn't notice that either.

Ninth year was when our formal combat training began. Our grades were kept in our permanent files, to be assessed by the Military Committee during year twelve. The simplest triumph or mistake could lower or raise the magic number doled out in the draft. As always, Kalen brought home exceptional marks.

Kalen always gives it his all, Mother said, shaking her head. Why can't you be more like him?

Meanwhile, I studied late into the night while he made friends on the Splinternet. He started sneaking out to meet them, but I never told. They put the strangest ideas into his head. He'd come home raving about the Other Side, how maybe they weren't such a bad lot after all.

They're people just like us, he said. Have you ever wondered what we're fighting for?

All the while, no one knew. He knew his role and played it well. Twelfth year, they crowned him King of the Reaping and covered him in flowers. He smiled and waved from the hoverfloat, some vapid golden-haired girl at his side. Afterward, I asked him if he'd kissed her, but he shook his head, blue eyes laughing at the very thought.

Funny how he never had a care for girls until he met her. Twelfth year had just ended and he was in a funk. With a draft number so low, he'd be sent for before the cool breezes came. As boys, we'd made a fort in a hollow tree, but we'd abandoned it years before. He started going back there, calling it his thinking spot.

I followed him to the tree one day. My face grew hotter than his as she batted those lashes and flipped that long black hair. When I confronted him later, he came clean. Her name was Calla, and she was from the Other Side. You should have seen the way his face lit up when he said her name. After that, I was his confidant, his partner in crime. Every conversation, he had to bring her up.

It's hot, I'd say. I think I want some ice cream.

Oh, Calla likes ice cream, too, he'd chime in. Idiot! Who doesn't like ice cream?

Still, I didn't see the signs. Lord knows I should have. One night he came home, flushed as if with fever, eyes burning bright.

Listen to me, Brendan, he pleaded. It's just not worth it - all this death. I have to stop it and I know how.

Shut up, Kalen, I said. That's crazy talk. The War is what brings us life. It's treason to speak against it.

Kalen's always been a dreamer, though. Even then, I didn't take it seriously. How I wish I had. If I couldn't talk sense into him, I could have reported him at the very least. Either way, I could have saved him. I could have saved myself.

Only two days later, I stood at the fence. Bodies pressed into bodies as Kalen stood before us, that girl at his side. He should have been packing his bags, getting ready to fight for his people. Instead, his eyes froze us all in place and his voice sang out words that none should ever speak.

His finger was on the button I never thought he'd press. The explosion was deafening, and the world went up in flames. I never saw him again.

A week later, I sat in my hard metal chair, palms sweating and back straight as a board. Proud young men in uniform grinned at me from posters on the shiny metal walls. The lights were hot against my neck as the recruiter smiled and opened my file. He flipped through the pages and the smile froze on his face.

Is there any chance I can take his place? I'm still on the waiting list.

He looked up, eyes hard and icy like Kalen's on the day he died. My heart sank.

Family members of terrorists are ineligible to serve. Both your draft numbers will be reassigned to new candidates.

Before the words had finished leaving his lips, the Security Robots were at my side. I screamed and thrashed as their cold pincers bit into my flesh. As they turned their metal backs and left me on the pavement, inspiration struck.

Kalen, you bastard. You got me into this mess, and you'll get me out of it too.

It wasn't hard to find the information I needed on the Splinternet. Kalen never bothered to cover his tracks. He knew that no one else would ever suspect, and I'd never tell. I'll never be the genius he was, but he left me all I needed. It didn't take much tinkering to turn his robots into killing machines.

If they won't let me fight, I'll just make my own war.
n3m3sis43: (Default)
A terrorist? That's impossible!

They've got my brother all wrong. Sure, I saw the explosion just like everyone else, and I saw him with his finger on that damn button. There's no way he meant to die, though, or to take that girl with him.

You should have seen him mooning around here all summer. With a low draft number like his, any normal kid would've been celebrating. A spot on a fighting squad is hard to come by, after all. We train for war all our lives and celebrate the day we're of age to enlist. Even then, most of us are waitlisted for a year or two. Hell, I'm still waiting.

Not Kalen, though. He was special.

He could run faster and farther than any of the other boys his age. Not only that, but he was smart to boot. Before he was even old enough to start his lessons, he had already taught himself to read and write. When he did reach schooling age, the Bookmasters moved him a year ahead, to the second-year class with me.

They didn't want to separate you, Mother said. Even then, I knew it wasn't the whole truth.

We were close back then, though, almost like twins. On days when the weather was fine, we played soliders, tromping through the woods to the fort we built in a hollow tree. Rainy days meant sprawling on the rug in our room, playing Robot Scrabble and Tank Yahtzee. At night, we huddled together under our blankets, whispering about the future we would share.

You'll be history's most decorated fighter! he breathed. I'll build the most fearsome robots the world has ever seen.

School was hard that first year. The older boys in our class didn't much care for Kalen, the small blonde interloper who outshone them at every lesson. In a fair fight, he could have bested any of them. Problem was, the fights were never fair.

I'll never forget the day Teacher made me stay inside at recess, writing on the electroboard 100 times "I will not make farting noises in class." When I finished and came out to the playground, Kalen was covered in mud. Tears cut tracks down his dirty face; he was crying too hard to tell me what happened. All he could do was snuffle and point.

Teacher sent three boys home that day. Braddock Kingston left sniveling through a broken nose. Mother came to fetch Kalen and me; when we got home, I bloodied his nose too.

That's for not fighting back, I told him. I have to give him credit; he didn't cry that time.

Mother shook her head, but didn't say a word to Father when he came home. He would've whipped my hide clean off, no doubt. Teacher wouldn't have me back for a week, but I never regretted what I did. No one picks on my brother except for me.

By the end of the year, Kalen was giving as good as he got. There was the time he put Itching Nanites in Farren Allston's lunch. The class was in an uproar as Farren scratched so hard he fell out of his chair. After he reprogrammed Jensen Brady's Science Robot to sass Teacher, the other boys quit tormenting him. As far as they were concerned, he was one of us.

Underneath, though, Kalen's always been different. When the other kids were skirmishing or practicing their gun skills, he'd have his nose in a book. He was always tinkering with those robots, but did he ever make them shoot anything? Not even once. There's something not quite right about that.

Somehow, though, no one seemed to notice. Kalen always got the best grades in everything, be it fighting or fractions. And when we reached sixth year and started to notice girls, he always scored high marks with them, too. I have Father's build, broad and stocky, but Kalen grew tall and lithe. He had Father's eyes, though, a shocking ice blue that made people stop and look. Worst part was, he barely noticed the female attention.

That was when we started to grow apart, but Kalen didn't notice that either.

Ninth year was when our formal combat training began. Our grades were kept in our permanent files, to be assessed by the Military Committee during year twelve. The simplest triumph or mistake could lower or raise the magic number doled out in the draft. As always, Kalen brought home exceptional marks.

Kalen always gives it his all, Mother said, shaking her head. Why can't you be more like him?

Meanwhile, I studied late into the night while he made friends on the Splinternet. He started sneaking out to meet them, but I never told. They put the strangest ideas into his head. He'd come home raving about the Other Side, how maybe they weren't such a bad lot after all.

They're people just like us, he said. Have you ever wondered what we're fighting for?

All the while, no one knew. He knew his role and played it well. Twelfth year, they crowned him King of the Reaping and covered him in flowers. He smiled and waved from the hoverfloat, some vapid golden-haired girl at his side. Afterward, I asked him if he'd kissed her, but he shook his head, blue eyes laughing at the very thought.

Funny how he never had a care for girls until he met her. Twelfth year had just ended and he was in a funk. With a draft number so low, he'd be sent for before the cool breezes came. As boys, we'd made a fort in a hollow tree, but we'd abandoned it years before. He started going back there, calling it his thinking spot.

I followed him to the tree one day. My face grew hotter than his as she batted those lashes and flipped that long black hair. When I confronted him later, he came clean. Her name was Calla, and she was from the Other Side. You should have seen the way his face lit up when he said her name. After that, I was his confidant, his partner in crime. Every conversation, he had to bring her up.

It's hot, I'd say. I think I want some ice cream.

Oh, Calla likes ice cream, too, he'd chime in. Idiot! Who doesn't like ice cream?

Still, I didn't see the signs. Lord knows I should have. One night he came home, flushed as if with fever, eyes burning bright.

Listen to me, Brendan, he pleaded. It's just not worth it - all this death. I have to stop it and I know how.

Shut up, Kalen, I said. That's crazy talk. The War is what brings us life. It's treason to speak against it.

Kalen's always been a dreamer, though. Even then, I didn't take it seriously. How I wish I had. If I couldn't talk sense into him, I could have reported him at the very least. Either way, I could have saved him. I could have saved myself.

Only two days later, I stood at the fence. Bodies pressed into bodies as Kalen stood before us, that girl at his side. He should have been packing his bags, getting ready to fight for his people. Instead, his eyes froze us all in place and his voice sang out words that none should ever speak.

His finger was on the button I never thought he'd press. The explosion was deafening, and the world went up in flames. I never saw him again.

A week later, I sat in my hard metal chair, palms sweating and back straight as a board. Proud young men in uniform grinned at me from posters on the shiny metal walls. The lights were hot against my neck as the recruiter smiled and opened my file. He flipped through the pages and the smile froze on his face.

Is there any chance I can take his place? I'm still on the waiting list.

He looked up, eyes hard and icy like Kalen's on the day he died. My heart sank.

Family members of terrorists are ineligible to serve. Both your draft numbers will be reassigned to new candidates.

Before the words had finished leaving his lips, the Security Robots were at my side. I screamed and thrashed as their cold pincers bit into my flesh. As they turned their metal backs and left me on the pavement, inspiration struck.

Kalen, you bastard. You got me into this mess, and you'll get me out of it too.

It wasn't hard to find the information I needed on the Splinternet. Kalen never bothered to cover his tracks. He knew that no one else would ever suspect, and I'd never tell. I'll never be the genius he was, but he left me all I needed. It didn't take much tinkering to turn his robots into killing machines.

If they won't let me fight, I'll just make my own war.

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