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Hazel Levine 7 months ago
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Quantum Devil Saga 2
====================
**Current page**: 6
**Current page**: 10
This is a WIP of the full text of Quantum Devil Saga 2, typed up and converted
to PDF/EPUB via `pandoc`.
@ -11,4 +11,5 @@ Quantum Devil Saga 2 does *not*. Bento Books appears to be going under (likely
due to the events of COVID-19), and legitimate copies of QDS2 are becoming
harder and harder to source.
*This is piracy and I admit it as such.*
*This is piracy and I admit it as such.* If legal issues arise, this will be
taken down without questions.

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@ -118,7 +118,7 @@ Serph nodded in agreement. "Your face, your body, your voice -- even the way you
move are all exactly the same. I'm willing to bet that your physical
capabilities and your combat prowess are the same, too. Plus there's the fact
that you have a High Atma. Thus far, only tribe leaders or high-ranking
liutenants have been in possession of those."
lieutenants have been in possession of those."
"But the fact remains that he is a Newborn. His production timestamp confirms
it," Gale pointed out calmly. "When individuals in the Junkyard die, they ascend
@ -130,5 +130,163 @@ carried over from a previous incarnation. With the exception of bishops, all
Newborns are created with roughly equivalent beginner-level capabilities. While
personal judgment and other variances in ability begin to emerge later on, there
are no reports of any Newborns inheriting the name and appearance of an
individual who has already died, nor is there any record of a Newborn posessing
individual who has already died, nor is there any record of a Newborn possessing
capabilities on par with those of a tribe leader."
Gale pressed a series of keys. The data scrolling across the screen stopped, and
one of the lines in the file of deceased combatants opened into a display
window. Lupa gasped in surprise and shifted in his chair. Serph stiffened, and
he could hear Heat nearby, swallowing a breath.
The screen showed a man with dull red hair, Lupa's spitting image, differing
only in the color of the tribal markings on his cheeks -- and the accompanying
data. Underneath the various numbers that recorded his personal measurements and
combat experience, in red letters, was the word 'DECEASED'. The date of death
was more than five years in the past.
"I just performed a search on Church casualty records," Gale said, looking up at
the monitor as he finished typing. "This does indeed appear to be the same
person. There is no appreciable difference in vital statistics. I
cross-referenced the data with our own readings, and beyond the differences in
attire and markings, the two are completely identical. There are no other
records of a Newborn inheriting both the appearance and abilities of a deceased
combaant to such a perfect degree."
"What does this mean?" Lupa said, flustered. "There was another me that already
died? And I was reborn as a Newbie but with his body and abilities? Does that
happen?"
"Until now, such a thing was not possible; however, since the manifestation of
the Atma, we have seen a number of things occur that should not be possible.
Perhaps the Church has made a change to the Newborn production system, or some
type of bug has cropped up in it. I have placed an inquiry with the Church about
this matter, but their response stated only that they do not acknowledge any
abnormality pertaining to the Newborn in question -- that is to say, the current
you. I am forced to surmise that the Church is either hiding something from us,
or the Church itself lacks a full understanding of what is happening."
"Could this be another one of the changes the Church has made?" Serph asked.
"Unlikely. The fundamental purpose of creating Newborns is to bolster the
fighting forces of the different tribes. The core tenet of the Junkyard is that
only those who can learn and adapt are able to hone their abilities and survive,
and from there come together to form tribes and strive for dominance. To have
Newborns with capabilities equivalent to a seasoned tribal leader would upset
the very balance of competition itself. It is difficult to believe that the
Church would intentionally allow such a thing. There is the possibility,
however, that the being known as Angel has manipulated the circumstances to such
an end."
"I don't know. I don't think even Angel would go so far as to change the
fundamental rules of the Junkyard," Serph said. "The Church may not have
explained its reasoning for giving us our Atma, but the basic nature of what
we're doing hasn't really changed."
The goal was still to fight, to kill, and to be victorious. But now the victors
would literally consume the losers in order to grow even more powerful. Serph
thought back on the words of the mysterious voice that called itself Angel.
*"Atma is the power of demons, as well as your Asura forms. It is the vital
force of your true selves. As you do battle and devour the flesh and blood of
those you defeat, your power will grow stronger."*
"The strong survive, and the weak are weeded out," Serph said. "That's how the
average level of combat prowess in the Junkyard improves; the only thing the
presence of Atma has done is make this principle more clear. To release Newbies
that already possess higher-level capabilities seems to run counter to the
Church's goals. Their aim has always been for us to improve our abilities on the
whole through fighting each other; if they could make Newbies with a higher
baseline level of ability, they would've done that from the start. They want to
hone and temper their soldiers through constant competition until they wind up
with someone poweful enough to vanquish any opposition and stand supreme among
the rest."
"What you are saying then, sir," Gale said, "is that it was not the Church's
intention that Lupa be created?"
"Stop saying 'created' like that," Serph snapped, and then immediately regretted
it.
Gale looked at him. "Is there some problem with my chosen terminology, sir?
Newborns are *all* created by the Church."
"That's not the point," Serph muttered. "Never mind. Forget it." Looking over at
the confused prisoner sitting across the table, all Serph could think was that
the man who'd died five years ago had come back to life. The memory of his old
leader was still fresh, even after all this time.
The word 'created' made Serph think of the equipment supplied by the vendors, or
the medical supplies and weaponry they used to outfit themselves. He wasn't sure
why Gale's use of the term bothered him so much, but the earnest *feeling* he
had that Lupa had come back from the dead somehow made the word seem
inappropriate.
Heat's expression was unreadable. He had slunk into the corner of the room, his
face masked in shadow as he shifted his gaze from Gale to Serph to Lupa and back
again.
Serph went on. "Maybe some irregularity really has started to crop up within the
Church. The hole that suddenly appeared down in our storage area, the one Lupa
came out of -- what's the story with that?"
"I have sent a number of scouts in to investigate," Gale replied. "It leads to
an underground sewer system, or something of the like. I believe that the water
flowing through it is the same as the rain. The fact that it runs from
Vishuddha to Muladhara leads me to believe that it must extend to other
territories as well. My best conjecture is that it is a network of pipelines
that collects the Rain of the Dead that falls across the Junkyard and channels
it to some location underneath the Temple for purification and rebirth."
"It would have to be enormous, then," Serph said. "So why didn't anyone know it
existed before now?"
"I have a theory on that," Gale said. He called up a series of images on his
monitor. "It is my belief that we -- meaning all of the Junkyard's inhabitants
-- were until recently subjected to some sort of perception filter."
"A what?"
"It is simply a means for the Church to keep things hidden, to prevent us from
seeing facilities or information they do not want us to see, or to prevent us
from realizing that we had seen something previously." Gale continued to work at
his console, displaying a number of images taken by the recon team of the
interior of the sewer system, as well as results from analysis of the water
flowing through it.
The pictures showed a sewer that was far more open and expansive than what Serph
had been imagining. A wide stream of water ran beneath a smooth, high ceiling,
framed by narrow walkways on either side. There was little in the way of
illumination, save for an occasional pale, blue light glimmering through the
murk. The presence of the walkways implied that someone -- likely agents of the
Church -- was meant to traverse these tunnels. Was this network designed to
allow them to come and go unseen by the reigning tribes and other denizens of
the Junkyard? There was no other obvious reason for such hidden passageways.
"As a bishop, part of my own unique conditioning includes a type of perception
filter; it omits extraneous factors from my thought process in order for me to
prioritize the continued existence of my tribe. The very fact that I am
currently able to objectively remark on my conditioning this way is itself proof
that said filter is no longer in place; until now, those who had been subjected
to such mental and sensory suppression were made unaware of it."
"Another side-effect of our Atma?"
"Very likely," Gale said, typing away at a second control panel.
Heat finally broke his silence. "Forget all that for right now." He nodded
vaguely in Lupa's direction. "Our bigger problem is this strange...
whatever-it-was that took out the Wolves and Vishuddha. That's what I want to
hear about."
"Me too," Serph agreed. There was nothing to be gained right now by arguing back
and forth about who -- or what -- Lupa really was. First and foremost, the tribe
needed to get a better grasp on the unusual circumstances that brought him here
in the first place. "Whatever destroyed Vishuddha might come our way next -- and
not just over land, but possibly through this network of underground tunnels.
Keeping watch on the surface alone won't suffice." Serph sighed. "As if we
didn't have enough to deal with right now."
Serph turned to face Lupa. "So tell us about this thing that laid waste to
Vishuddha."
.....

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