Rise of the Collective
Disclaimer: If you recognize anything in this story, I don't own it.
"Hello" - General Speaking.
'Hello' - Thoughts.
A/N: I'd like to take a few moments to give credit to the stories and authors that assisted in the making of this story.
First is Galactic Imperium by Vexmaster, thanks for the general idea and inspiration for this story.
Second is Evil Overlord Story by gothicjedi666, thanks for the Pan-dimensional marketplace, it's a great idea and helped me save a lot of time.
Lastly is Found by Senyor Fier Mensheir, a big thanks for the character Har of Aetas who is mentioned below.
Chapter 1: Departure and Shopping
-Central Multiverse. The Nexus. Unknown time-
Within the multiverse, a void that exists everywhere and everywhen, a being composed entirely of a gaseous substance, lays in wait. Several moments pass before the being seems to shift, its form contracting and expanding as a near invisible ripple passes through it.
"Astok, you're late." the being growls, its booming tones tinged with annoyance.
A chuckle echoes from within the void, a second formless being appearing from absolute nothingness.
"How can I be late Ludvig, when we exist on a plane where time is meaningless?" the second being asks, laughing in amusement as its form flickers through a selection of bright colors.
"It means something to me, especially when I'm stuck here, waiting for you and the others; what kept you?" the being now known as Ludvig asks, shifting into a smaller, featureless, humanoid form.
Astok chuckles once more, flowing into the same form as his companion. "I was summoned by a mortal, one of Kane's zealots; it took some time to grant his petty request, not to mention the time wasted transporting his offerings to my realm."
Ludvig could only stare back in annoyance, an emotion that is quite difficult to express when one has no eyes, mouth or face in general.
"Tch, I don't see why you continue catering to the whims of silly mortals," Ludvig drawls, forming a mouth in order to properly sneer. "Why not take a page out of Harkuro's book and create some minions to handle these matters."
Forming his own mouth, Astok grins in reply, chuckling mirthfully. "Where would be the fun in that? It's so much better to be there in person, watching as the mortals grovel in awe at my greatness."
With a snort, Ludvig turns his head to the left, seemingly staring into the endless expanse of the void. "Whatever, at least you're here, where are the others?"
"Hm..." Astok begins, featureless head cocked to the side in thought. "I think Astria plans to continue abstaining, she still bears a grudge over your actions from the game six cycles ago."
"What else is new? It's been six hundred years and she still won't speak to me." Ludvig scoffs, rolling his newly formed eyes in annoyance. "It's not my fault that her chosen race were taking far too long to achieve the goal, Ante's Q continuum completed the task fifty thousand years before Astria's Alterans, it was just too sad and boring to watch."
Astok chuckles at that, nodding in agreement. "That is true, they may have taken many more years if you hadn't created that plague, imminent death really caused them to buck up and focus. Regardless, she refuses to join unless you apologize for cheating."
"Yeah. Right." Ludvig replies with another scoff, turning his gaze to a different area of the void. "What of Errata and Gatun?"
Astok chuckles once more, shaking his head from side to side at the stubbornness of his friend. "Errata is abstaining as well, he is still infatuated with that little immortal of his, Denise or something, I forgot her name."
"Delirium of the Endless." Ludvig supplies, sounding distracted. "Errata wouldn't stop talking about her the last time we met."
"Yeah that's the one, Delirium, weird kid that one but a looker as far as quasi-immortals go." Astok replies with a nod. "As for Gatun, he's off playing mortal again, that should keep him distracted and busy for another century or so, depends on how long he wants to stay 'alive' this time."
Frowning with annoyance, Ludvig turns his attention to the semi-human form of his friend. "Lynette?"
"Abstaining, she and Astria are still watching over the Alterans," Astok answers with a frown. "Fat load of good that is, those ascended never do anything of interest, what with their 'no interference' policy and all."
"Indeed, this is why I favored the Ori and the Q, at least they actually do things. All those Ascended want to do is sit around and revel in their own glory, what a waste of time and effort." Ludvig replies smugly.
"Sure, sure, whatever you say." Astok chuckles, waving his hand nonchalantly. "It looks like it's just me and you this time."
Ludvig nods at that. "Not surprising, those guys never seem to show up whenever it's my turn."
"I wonder why." Astok chuckles in reply. "Maybe it's because you always seem to overpower your chosen?"
"What?" Ludvig gasps in mock shock, sounding astonished. "I do not."
"Oh? What about the Kyptonians?" Astok asks, forming a thin, golden eyebrow in order to raise it curiously.
"You've got to be kidding me; I limited their powers on their own home world and made them all weak to a small piece of radioactive rock." Ludvig defends.
"Only after Astria threatened to quit playing that round, and even then she had to destroy their planet before you did so." Astok comments with a chuckle, raising a second brow in question. "What about that dark wizard from three rounds ago, Volde-something? Not only did you make him more powerful that everyone else on his world, you made him pseudo-immortal."
"Hey! Koran's guy was still able to kill him, twice, and on a fluke both times." Ludvig counters. "I don't see how that count's as being overpowered."
"Alright, I'll give you that one; being killed by an infant was kind of pathetic." Astok grumbles. "What abou-"
"Can we just get started?" Ludvig interrupts, sighing in annoyance. "I don't want to waste my time listening to complaints from the same guy that gives all his chosen time travel abilities."
"Psh, that's a great ability and you know it."
"Whatever, can we just get started?" Ludvig asks impatiently.
"Fine, go ahead. It's not like we have all the time in the multiverse." Astok replies sarcastically, forming eyes to roll in annoyance. "Oh wait, we do."
"Uh huh, anyways," Ludvig begins, ignoring his friends comment. "I'm sure you'll be glad to know that I've picked a regular human this time, just a regular old mortal."
"Oh ho? I find that hard to believe." Astok interjects, grinning knowingly. "What bonus did you give this 'regular' mortal?"
Ludvig perks up at that, excitement flooding through his form as he holds up a hand, drawing on the near-infinite amount of power at his disposal. With a silent ripple, a device appears in his hand, pulled from the very fabric of the multiverse. The device in question is a metallic-silver armguard, long enough to fully cover the arm of an adult male, with a six buttons on its surface, as well as a five inch LED screen.
Astok sighs, head hanging in defeat as he took in the device in his friend's hand. "Is that what I think it is?"
"Yup! It's a multi-universal reality splitter, complete with a twentieth level artificial intelligence program, matter storage and materialization device, as well as cloaking device, trans-phase device and many more." Ludvig replies proudly, beaming widely in excitement. "One of the greatest devices ever created by mortal-kind, capable of traveling through the multiverse to any time and place, wonderful isn't it?"
"Simply fascinating," Astok drawls, sighing at his friend's excitement. "And highly overpowered."
"Oh please, you know it's a great idea." Ludvig scoffs, dismissing the device with a wave of his hand. "Compared to Gatun's game from the last round, this should be way more fun, especially since this guy is a fan of Astria's world, as well as yours."
"Oh? Which one, the Superheroes or the Jedi?" Astok asks curiously, his two best known worlds coming to mind.
Ludvig grins at that, knowing that his companion was definitely interested now. "Both, almost all of our worlds are known in his, through video games, comics, movies and books, he knows of most of them and is a fan of our work."
"Huh, this might be fun after all." Astok whistles, a small grin slowly stretching across his face. "The last time we had a multi-universal game, it was Lynette's idea and her chosen was only interested in romance stories and chick flicks, I can only watch mortals procreate so many times before it gets boring."
Ludvig laughs at that, the memory coming to him clearly. "No need to worry about that, the mortal I've chosen is quite partial to a little action and violence; in fact, he might just welcome it."
"Good, as long as it's entertaining." Astok replies, holding a hand out to his friend. "What's your chosen's name this time? Not another pathetic anagram I hope, Voldemort was bad enough."
Ludvig chuckles at that, taking his friends hand and guiding him towards the proper world. "Not at all, his name is Dorian. Dorian Edward Mitchells."
With a ripple through the fabric of space and time, both vanish, headed towards a certain area of the Multiverse, where one Dorian Mitchells is currently waking to a grand and wonderful destiny.
-Earth 347-3. Dorian's Place. March of 2006-
I wake with a groan, my head throbbing from a major hangover, not surprising considering how much I had to drink last night. Being Canadian and having just turned eighteen, the legal drinking age in Alberta, you can all see why I'm so hung over. Regardless, a major hangover doesn't stop me from noticing the large metal armguard on my bedside table, something I definitely don't remember ever seeing before; considering the fact that my eyeglasses are right next to it, I think I would remember placing it there.
A casual observer of my small room would instantly class me as a nerd of most things fantasy and Sci-fi, considering all the action figures, model spaceships, DVDs, books and whatnot that I have, it's not a misplaced guess. Despite the large collection of items I own, I don't remember ever buying this armguard, so where did it come from?
"Huh, maybe it's a birthday present." I wonder, sitting up from my bed, much to the complaint of my aching cranium. "I wonder who it's from though, I don't remember unwrapping this at the party."
Examining the armguard closely, I notice there's a small screen at the top of the armguard as well as six little buttons at the bottom, a push of said buttons does nothing however. Well, that sucks. I was hoping one of these would turn the device on or something, but they all seem to do the same thing, absolutely nothing.
"Huh, oh well, it looks interesting enough." I mutter, poking the small screen just in case.
As poking it and pushing the buttons does nothing, I toss it on my bed and stand up, I can look at it later but right now I need a shower.
Exiting the bathroom, my towel around my waist and my hair dripping with water, I glance over at the bed and notice the armguard sparkling in the light. It seems to call to me, drawing my attention with its silvery sheen.
It takes some effort to turn my attention away from the armguard but I do so and begin dressing, I have a long day of classes ahead, hangover or not.
With a final glance at the armguard, I turn and head for the door, trying to put it out of my mind.
For weeks the armguard lays on my shelf, another toy amongst many more trinkets of the kind. I often find my attention drawn to it, wondering who had gifted it to me as none of my friends lay claim to the strange gift, yet I never thought to wear it; I'm a collector, I don't play with my collection.
-Earth 347-3. Dorian's Place. July of 2012-
Eventually the weeks turn into months and the months turn into years until I find myself packing up my collection, a man of twenty four and a newly graduated Astrophysicist, a career choice based entirely on my favorite television show and character; the snarky, yet brilliant, Rodney McKay of the Stargate series.
With a major part of my education complete, I'm now free to pursue endeavors I'd always dreamed of as a kid, such as seeing the world and traveling to far off and exotic locations. Buoyed by my happy thoughts, I continue packing my collection away, smiling fondly as I glance over each item in turn; a smile that drops as I finally pick up the armguard. I still feel a strange sort of connection to this item, as well as a pull to put it on, to wear it despite knowing that it does nothing.
'Hmm, maybe I can fix it; get it to do whatever it's supposed to do.' I wonder, absent mindedly slipping the device onto my right arm, it fits perfectly.
In addition to my major in astrophysics, I have a minor degree in mechanical engineering, just like the great Dr. McKay; I may not be a natural genius like the character portrayed in the show, but I'm more than able to hold my own in these two fields. I don't know why I never considered this before, if the device is broken in some way then why don't I just fix it? It might just end up being some kind of children's game or something, but I'll enjoy fixing it and an armguard gaming device might be pretty fun.
Before my thoughts can continue wandering, an ominous sounding click echoes throughout the room, originating from right below me. Slowly looking down, I'm shocked to see that the band around my arm has seamlessly sealed itself shut, even as I search frantically, I can't find a single crease in the metal; if I didn't know better, I would think it was always one complete unit.
"What the hell?" I whisper to myself, my fingers tugging at the device in an effort to remove it.
Despite my efforts, the device doesn't budge an inch, it won't come off. As I watch, in mild curiosity rather than the horror I should be feeling, the small screen seems to light up and a series of words begin running across its surface, words written in a language I don't recognize. I continue to stare at the screen in an effort to find a word or sentence I can understand, it's to no avail and the strange language continues to race across the screen.
By this point I've dropped onto my bed, my attention fully focused on the device around my arm and the words on the screen, I'm tempted to press one of the buttons but I don't know whether they'll make things better or worse.
Unfortunately, things do get worse, with no help on my part.
With another ominous click, followed by the whirling of machinery, something within the device seems to activate and I can feel as a slot slides open on the underside of the band.
I grimace as I feel three pinpricks on my forearm, three needle-like objects poking at my skin from within the open slot.
I wince as the first needle breaks through the skin, stopping just under the epidermis.
I gasp as the second needle pierces through muscle and fat, stabbing into the veins of my arm.
I scream as the third and final needle grinds through bone, drilling into the marrow of my radius.
The pain is like nothing I've ever felt before, having led a relatively sheltered and pain-free life, but I can just focus enough to realize that something is being pumped into my body through the three needles, an ice cold sensation filling me as the substance begins flowing through my body.
'Great, I went and poisoned myself.' I curse; feeling woozy as the icy feeling grips my heart and creeps towards my brain. 'Good job dumb ass.'
With that I collapse onto the bed, the world going dark as I slip into unconsciousness.
-Central Multiverse. Earth 347-3. July of 2012-
"Finally! I was starting to think he'd never put it on." Astok crows, watching the unconscious body of their current form of entertainment.
"I know, it was getting really annoying." Ludvig agrees, nodding along. "I had to cast several mild compulsions on him in order to get it on; he has a very strong will."
"Well, at least he got it on eventually, that's what matters." Astok replies, before raising a brow in question. "It's not supposed to render him unconscious though, what's up with that?"
"Ah, I may have added a few additions to the device." Ludvig answered, grinning sheepishly.
"Additions? What sort of additions." Astok asks, turning to his companion with a curious gleam in his eyes.
"Well... the original creators already knew everything the device is capable of, Dorian does not." Ludvig begins, eying the form of said mortal. "I don't have the patience required to sit and watch him figuring out the devices functions, which could take who knows how long, so I installed an info dumb of the device's user manual; I guess it was just too much information for a mortal to handle at one time, hence the unconsciousness."
"Ah." Astok hums, turning his gaze back to the unconscious mortal in question. "Let's hope it doesn't kill him then, mortal minds are so fragile."
"Indeed." Ludvig chuckles, head nodding along in agreement.
-Earth 347-3. Dorian's Place. July of 2012-
I can't help but groan as I wake, my head throbbing from the strain it's just been put through; a massive info dumb will tend to do that to you. Sitting up from my bed, I stare at the device around my arm with a mix of shock and awe, there's no way this device was created on earth, heck I can't even imagine the type of beings that would be powerful and brilliant enough to create such a device.
While it may appear as a simple armguard, this device is capable of cutting through the walls between realities, allowing the wearer to traverse the multiverse and cross through space and time, that's definitely beyond the capabilities of humanity. So, how did such a powerful tool come into my hands? If it wasn't for the rarity and complexity of such a device, I would be pulling it apart in order to figure out what makes it tick, I now know everything it can do but I don't know how it does those things and my engineering side is just screaming to have a crack at this device.
Speaking of which, I should probably get around to initializing it before the nanites now floating within me decide to reduce me into a pile of slimy, grey goo. After watching so many episodes of SG1 and Atlantis, I can't help but feel a twinge of fear at the knowledge that millions of little machines are currently floating through my body, machines far more advanced than anything ever encountered in those two shows.
While the nanites are programmed to assist me in a variety of ways, without the correct initialization code they would eventually devour me from the inside out until only a pile of metallic goo remains, a painfully unfortunate way to die. Luckily, my info dump has provided me with the correct code to initialize those very nanites and prevent a very slow and painful death, yay me.
Pressing the third button on the Multi-Universal Reality Splitter (MURS), I bring up the Nanite Control Interface (NCI) and enter the code provided by the info dump, a series of numbers and words in a language I didn't know until moments ago.
I'm exceptionally pleased when the word 'Initialized' flashes on the small screen.
Although the word appears in that strange language that I now know is not human in origin, I'm able to easily understand it now, all thanks to the nanites swimming within me. While the nanites in my blood and bones are programmed to alter my physiology in a way that allows me to survive the rigors of passing through space-time rips (as well as preventing Entropic Cascade Failure), the nanites in my brain will allow me to see and hear the AI program of the device, as well as grant me the ability to understand and speak any language programmed into the device's database.
Speaking of AI programs…
"Caine!" I shout loudly, activating the AI program of the device.
A flash of white light causes me to close my eyes, an unnecessary action as the light is coming from within my mind, not my actual surroundings, but I keep them closed out of reflex. I reopen my eyes after a few seconds, just in time to notice the man standing before me, a man that has simply appeared out of thin air. He's average looking in appearance with short black hair, piercing grey eyes and wearing the exact same t-shirt and jeans as I am; this is the physical representation of Caine the AI.
C.A.I.N.E, the Cybernetic Artificially Intelligent Nano Entity, this being is basically my helper in the use of the MURS device. Despite having the complete user's manual downloaded into my mind, there are still a variety of functions that I can only achieve through Caine's assistance, most of which are so complicated that only an AI program can handle the required calculations. He's basically like Jarvis for Ironman, assisting me in any way he can while making sure I don't do anything stupid or potentially life-threatening.
While I know for a fact he's not actually in the room, it's just the nanites within me altering my perception so I can 'see' and 'hear' him, (much like Urgo from SG1, except less annoying) he still appears to be very real to me. It's quite fascinating to actually see this advanced technology at work, and my engineering side rises to the forefront once again as I glance down at the device, oh if I could just take a peek at its insides.
"Greeting user, I am Caine." the AI greets with a kind smile; he could easily pass for a human if I didn't know better. "What is your designation?"
"Uh… Dorian…" I reply out loud, still amazed at the highly advanced technological being before me.
"Greetings, Dorian." Caine replies, smiling once more. "How may I be of assistance?"
Good question, what exactly am I going to do with this device? I can literally go anywhere and any when I want, but should I really take off just like that? Hell yes I should! I don't really have anything tying me here, my parents and I are no longer on speaking terms and most of my friends are acquaintances at best, nothing is tying me to this world, this reality, I can go anywhere I please; you bet I'm going to take this opportunity.
A passing glance at my collection causes a wide grin to cross my face, I can literally visit any one of those realities, they may just be fictitious in my reality but I know that they exist somewhere in the multiverse and with Caine's help, I can visit them. The first item on top of the pile catches my eye, a model of the Alteran vessel 'Destiny', and I can't help but imagine what a visit there would be like. I could see the SGC, visit Atlantis, interact with the many planets and people in that reality; I could even fight the Wraith and the Goa'uld. With my knowledge of that reality, I can do anything I set my mind to, the entire universe is at my fingertips and I just need to reach out and grasp it.
"Can you take me to the Stargate universe?" I ask, standing up from my bed so the AI doesn't continue to tower above me.
He looks confused at my request, head cocked to the side and eyebrow raised in question.
"I am not familiar with such a reality. I will require more information in order to transport you to the correct location." Caine replies, smiling once again.
Crap, I should have thought of this beforehand. Just because I know of the universe doesn't mean he does as well, if I want to traverse the multiverse then I need to be more specific with my destination, Caine only has a limited knowledge of the various realities out there and I have zero knowledge of the precise coordinates of the realities I'm interested in.
Hmm, maybe if I...
Grinning deviously, I walk over to my desk and turn on my laptop, Caine watches silently as the device boots up and I type in my password. Once my laptop is up and running, I enter my Wi-Fi password and open Firefox, accessing the worldwide web. With the internet up and running, I hold out my arm and press the second button on the MURS, activating the Technological Interface Device (TID).
Almost instantly, a slot opens at the front of the MURS and three silvery tendrils shoot out of the slot, moving far too fast for me to follow. All three tendrils pierce through my keyboard and into the inner workings of my laptop, easily interfacing with the hardware of the less advanced device. The screen on the MURS flickers for a moment before a series of numbers begin running across its surface, complex computer code raining down much like the Matrix Digital Codes used in movies.
"Interfacing complete, what are your orders?" Cain asks from behind me, spooking me as I'd almost forgotten he was there.
With the MURS interfaced with my laptop, and subsequently every other device connected through the internet, I've given Caine access to the entire knowledge of the human race; a daunting prospect to any fan of the Terminator series, daunting indeed.
"How much data can be stored on your database?" I ask, as this wasn't presented through the info dump.
The AI is silent for a few seconds before he answers, the laptop screen flickering as he seems to access it in some way. "With optimum compression, I can store a thousand of your 'zettabytes' worth of information on my own database. With access to the nanite network, my data storage capabilities are nearly endless."
My eyes widen in shock as I stare at the device on my arm, that's a lot of data storage capacity for such a small device, especially when you consider the fact that there is, at the most, two zettabytes of information stored on the entire planet. Seeing as Caine can also access the storage capacity of each single nanite, much like Replicarter, he really can store infinite amounts of information, how terrifying.
"Uh, you should have access to the internet through my laptop." I comment, shell shocked at my new discovery. "Download everything you can."
His eyes glaze over for a moment and the numbers on the MURS screen begin streaming quickly, moving so fast that it's almost one solid block of green. Ten minutes later, the tendrils detach from my laptop, leaving the smoking shell of the device behind as the laptop seems to have overheated from the rapid download.
"I am finished Dorian." Caine comments, shocking me at the speed he completed such a task. "I have identified the 'Stargate' reality, shall I transport you there?"
"Not yet." I mutter in a low tone, still amazed at the device around my arm.
While I want to head off right away and explore the multiverse, the power displayed by my AI has shocked me out of my excitement, causing me to rethink my plans. While I would just love to visit one of my favorite universes, there's the inherent danger of such a trip to consider. Take the Stargate universe for example, where can I really go as I am now? If I make a wrong move there, I could die at the hands of the Goa'uld, or the Replicators, or the Wraith or a myriad of other dangerous beings living in that universe. It's not like I can just visit the SGC either, if they find out what I know and what Caine can do, I would lose my arm and find myself locked up in Area 51 faster than I can say 'I come in peace'.
Nope, that universe is definitely out right now, as are many more of my favorites. Honestly, I'm just too weak to survive a trip through the multiverse, even with the abilities granted to me through Caine.
"Aha!" I shout out loud, grinning widely and ignoring the confused look on the AI's face.
I may be far too weak for some of the worlds out there but I can change all that, I can make myself stronger, faster, smarter. I'm not just talking about pumping Iron and running some laps either, I'm talking about honest to goodness gene splicing and mutations and superpowers, the stuff every kid wishes they can have. With Caine's technological advancement and my knowledge of the universes out there, I can rebuild this flimsy, human body into a thing of legend, a body worthy of a god. Heck, I can even build myself an army if I'm so inclined, there are millions of races out there looking for the right kind of leadership and I can provide them with what they need.
This is my chance to right the wrongs of the multiverse, to play god as I so please, to do what no man has ever done before. I can see it now, a magnificent empire spanning millions of worlds in millions of realms, my empire, and it's all possible thanks to this little device on my arm.
Grinning widely, I begin planning, plans so devious and complex that none would ever expect them, the universe is at my fingertips and I plan to seize it.
"This is the Police, we have the place surrounded, come out with your hands up!" the loud tone of a cop on a megaphone dashes my thought away and I look up with confusion, that sounds like it's just outside my place.
"The hell?" I mutter, peeking through my blinds. Yup, they're definitely speaking to me. "Why are the cops here?"
I'm not expecting an answer but I receive one none the less.
"They have tracked my download of the 'Internet' Dorian." Caine explains, coming to stand beside me and glancing through the blinds. "The device I interfaced with was far too inferior to sustain a subtle and slow download; I was forced to work far too quickly to cover up."
I groan and step back from the window, I'd wanted a few days to plan and prepare myself but it looks like I have no choice in the matter, I'll have to leave now unless I want to face some jail time.
"This is your last warning, come out with your hands up!"
"Alright Caine, it's time to go." I mutter, sparing a glance at my collection. I don't really need any of it at this point, with every bit of stored data from this planet within Caine, I have all the reference material I'll require, but I will miss some of those items however.
"Where shall I transport you?" the AI asks, looking almost giddy at the thought.
I cock my head to the side in thought, ignoring the shouts from outside the building as the cops are given permission to break into my place. Where do I want to go first? Before I can consider gaining abilities to improve myself, I need to stock up on supplies and some money, a lot of money if I plan to accomplish such grand goals.
"Hmm, I need money and supplies without the hassle of dealing with people," I begin, forming a plan of action. "How about..."
-Earth 390-5. Fort Knox. April of 2024-
Humming to myself to ward of the creepiness of the absolute silence that surrounds me, I stroll through the depths of Fort Knox unopposed. After drawing up some rough plans, I had Caine transport me to a post-apocalyptic reality, a reality clear of human opposition but full of useful supplies and money. While the inside of this fortress is sealed shut and fairly livable, Caine informs me that the outside is an irradiated wasteland crawling with flesh eating mutants, scary.
As long as I can ignore the silence of a world without humans, I should be fine enough to complete my task, it's not like I plan to stay here long. My stroll comes to a stop as I reach my target, an extremely thick, tightly sealed vault door.
With only a second's pause, I press the fifth button of my arm device and gasp as my entire body seems to vibrate, shaking as a wave of invisible energy flows from my head down to my feet. With a deep breath to prepare myself, I continue walking forward, watching in amazement as first my legs, then my hands, and then the rest of my body simply passes through the vault door; it's a strange feeling, phasing through solid matter. This is phasing technology far more advanced than anything I've ever imagined, it only serves to increase my desire to open the MURS and see just what makes it tick.
Once I'm on the other side of the vault, I deactivate the phasing device and glance around the room, Caine's nanites manipulating my perception once more so I can clearly see in the darkness of the room. A wide grin splits my face in half as I take in the objects stored in this room, my sole reason for coming to this reality, 4578 metric tons of solid gold bullion. Roughly 232 billion Canadian dollars in gold bars and it's all mine for the taking, I can't suppress a joyful giggle as I gaze over the stacks of golden bars, also noticing the small boxes containing other precious materials.
What a wonderful day.
Still grinning widely, I hold up the MURS and press the first button on its surface, activating the matter storage capacity of the device. There's a whirl of machinery activating, echoing loudly in the silence of this vault, and then with a flash of white light, the bars begin vanishing one by one. Thanks to the Matter Storage and Materialization Device (MSMD) built into the armguard, Caine can break materials down into their base components and store them away until I order him to re-materialize them. This also includes organic materials such as food and animals, but any living being stored within the device will not survive the materialization process, it just wasn't programmed to be used like that and there's no way I'm smart enough to tinker about with technology this advanced.
It takes roughly three seconds for Caine to dematerialize and store every single bar of gold, as well as the lock-boxes full of precious materials. With a literal fortune stored in my wrist, I don't need to worry about money ever again, although I do need to find a place to convert it all into actual cash.
"Caine," I call, summoning the AI. "I need to have this gold converted into money, find a realm where I can do so without worrying about law enforcement asking questions about the US treasury seals on the bars."
"Very well Dorian, I have such a place in my database." Caine replies after a moment, activating whatever device it is that allows him to cross through dimensions.
With an almost silent rip, the space before me seems to tear as Caine pierces a hole through the fabric of reality, it's quite a disorienting sight, staring into an endless void of colors and shapes. With a deep breath out of reflex, I step into the rip and I'm pulled through space-time and into the multiverse, headed for god knows where.
-Central Multiverse. Pan-Dimensional Marketplace. Cycle 3403-
Exiting the reality tear, I find myself standing within the strangest city I've ever witnessed, a city beyond anything ever portrayed in any fictional series. The city is quite large, hundreds of buildings spanning into the distance, with thousands of people bustling through the many streets.
The city itself seems to be a mix of fantasy and Sci-fi, the buildings and people looking like they're right out of the middle ages, yet at the same time I can see different devices that are far more advanced than anything found on earth. There are also the inhabitants of this place to take into account; I can clearly see creatures and beings straight out of fictional works, and many more that I don't even recognize. Even as I watch, all sorts of aliens, demons, cyborgs and much, much more pass me by, focused on their individual tasks as they visit the multitude of stores around us.
What an interesting place.
"Where are we?" I ask in a low tone, so only Caine can hear, although none of the beings passing beside me seem to even care that I've just appeared out of thin air.
"The Pan-Dimensional Marketplace." Caine replies, appearing at my side just in time to have a large, green and four armed being walk through him. "It is a place where individuals capable of traversing the multiverse can gather and purchase wares of a varying nature."
Huh, that's pretty cool actually.
"Nice, so where can I convert this gold?" I ask, walking forward before some creature decides to pick a fight with the guy blocking up the street.
Caine guides me to what seems to be a bank of some kind, run by creatures that I can only assume are Goblins, based on the fact that they look frighteningly similar to the Goblins from the Harry Potter movies. Passing by what definitely looks like the main character from the Overlord games, I make my way to one of the empty tellers, who looks at me with a noteworthy sneer.
"Humph, a regular human?" the Goblin teller asks, glaring down at me from his high seat. "How interesting, we don't get many of your kind around here; most humans that pass through here tend to be of the magical nature."
As the Goblin speaks, I notice that there's an undertone to his words, one coming across in a language I don't understand; good to know that Caine's translation software carries the Goblin tongue of all things. I frown as his words register in my mind, wondering how he can tell that I'm just a normal human and whether I'm in any danger here, I should be fine though; Caine wouldn't have brought me here if it wasn't safe to do so.
"Err... hello." I greet nervously in flawless Goblin, hoping these Goblins aren't as bad as the ones portrayed in many book series. "I want to convert some gold bars into useable currency."
The Goblin stares at me for a few seconds, either surprised that I can speak his tongue or suspicious of my claim, before snorting and fishing out some papers from his desk.
"Probably stolen from some unclaimed vault or another." He mutters to himself, just loud enough for me to hear. "Wouldn't be the first time, dimensional travelers just can't seem get a job like us hard working Goblins."
Huh, guess my idea wasn't all that original, I wonder how many more of these travelers have raided the Fort Knox of other realities, must be a lot if the Goblin is making such a stink about it.
"Sign your name here in order to make an account." The Goblin grumbles, passing me a sheet of paper and a pen, at least they're more advanced than the Harry Potter Goblins, I don't think I'll have much skill writing with a quill.
Picking up the pen, I have Caine scan the paper through my eyes in search of a harmful clause or tricky small print; he doesn't find anything so I sign my full name on the page.
"Dorian Edward Mitchells." the Goblin sniffs, glancing at the page. "No silly titles or claims of lordship? For shame human, for shame."
I can only stare back incredulously at his comment, uncertain of how I should reply, was that a joke or is he seriously disappointed? The Goblin simply ignores me and pulls out a weight scale, an electric scale at that, so much more advanced than Harry Potter Goblins.
"Hand me a sample of your wares human," he commands, holding out a hand. "I will weigh and test it for impurities."
I blink once before his request registers, at which point I hold out my hand and have Caine materialize a single gold bar, much to the Goblin's surprise.
"Interesting, a multi-universal reality splitter, however did you manage to lay your hands on one of those?" he asks, admiring the device on my arm.
"Uh, I found it." I reply, wondering if these devices are all that rare in the multiverse, probably not.
"Indeed? How interesting." the Goblin comments, turning his attention to the golden bar in his hand.
Rather than weigh and test the gold, the Goblin simply sighs in annoyance and rubs the bridge of his nose with two fingers.
"A United States Treasury Seal, how utterly unexpected." he grumbles, rolling his eyes in annoyance. "Let me guess, you visited a post-apocalyptic Fort Knox."
I blink at that and nod slowly, utterly surprised at the correct guess. "How did you know?"
He sighs once more and drops the bar on his desk, glaring down at me from his high seat.
"Because it's so fucking unoriginal that's how, you're the third human to come in this week with one of these bars." The Goblin snaps in reply, flicking the bar to emphasize his point. "The only original thing about you is that you have no magic and your name isn't 'Gothic', other than that you're just like the last two clients that strolled through here."
"Oh." I mutter, completely surprised at this revelation, I know it's a big multiverse out there and these sorts of things can happen, but I didn't expect it on my first day as a traveler. "Sorry?"
"I'm sure you are." he drawls in a bland tone. "I'm willing to bet that you cleaned out the entire vault rather than take a few bars, correct?"
I nod in reply again, causing him to sigh and rub his temples.
"Of course you did, you humans are far too greedy." he mutters, just loud enough for me to hear once again. "What form of currency are you most familiar with?"
"Canadian dollars." I reply, having lived in Canada all my life, I'm not all that great with other forms of currency.
The Goblin blinks at that, looking very surprised at my answer.
"Well, that's a first, we've never had a Canadian come through here before." he comments, glancing me over once more. "You're far more civilized than I expected, for a human."
After an awkward moment where I simply stare at the Goblin and he stares back, he clears his throat and picks up a sheet on his desk.
"With all the gold and jewels passing through here on a daily basis, our conversion rates are much lower than those of the human realms, to make up for this we are able to fully convert and store all of your wares with no restrictions; a service you'll be hard pressed to find in any other reality." he explains, eyes skimming over the sheet in his hand. "For the entirety of Fort Knox, 4578 metric tons of gold bullion and an assortment of precious items, we can pay you 268 billion Canadian dollars, is that acceptable?"
My eyes gleam and my grin widens at such a massive offer, I knew I would be getting a lot of money for this but to hear it spoken out loud? Simply amazing.
"Yes, that's fine." I reply, the number running through my mind over and over again.
The Goblin nods and writes something on his paper before passing it to me, it seems to be a receipt of some kind, one that I sign without pause. With that done, the Goblin nods and presses a button on his desk, causing the floor beside his desk to vanish, revealing a dark hole into the depths of the bank.
"Make your deposit here." he instructs, tipping the gold bar off his desk and into a hole.
I shrug and point my hand at the hole, materializing every single item stored within my device. Once that's done, the Goblin presses the button to seal the hole and places two items on his desk, a thin, plain black wallet and an honest to god MasterCard.
"The wallet will provide you with any amount and currency you require; simply ask and it will deliver." The Goblin explains, handing me the wallet as he does so. "The card is multidimensional, it will work with any purchasing device within the multiverse, simply place it on the device or under a scanner and it will do the rest. Do not lose them."
With that he drops out of his seat and walks away, without a goodbye or anything, how rude. Regardless, I grab the card and tuck it into my new wallet, which I then store within Caine for safety. With my business here complete, I head for the exit and leave the bank, eyes darting around the marketplace before me.
Time for a shopping spree.
Shopping in the pan-dimensional marketplace is, in a word, tiring. There were so many stores, so many vendors, just screaming for my attention, far too many in my opinion. While a large majority of this place seems to be composed of the homes and apartments of the inhabitants of this realm, not to mention the odd pub and pawn store, the rest of the buildings are shops of varying wares.
Much to my disgust, a large majority of the shop's I pass sell nothing but slaves, slaves of different ages, genders, and races; heck, there's even a store where you can create your ideal slave and have them cloned by the hundreds. Being Canadian, heck even being a modern human being, I'm completely against slavery. Yet it seems that slavery is completely legal in this realm, not surprising as the ruler here happens to be a demon, a demon named 'Simon' of all things.
Luckily for me, there are many other small businesses that don't deal in slaves, among these are the two types that I'm searching for, a clothing store and a weapons dealer. As I plan to travel the multiverse, visiting a few realms from my younger years and ultimately ending up in the Stargate universe, I need to look my best and carry a few weapons for protection. Although I plan to pick up a certain ability while in the X-men universe, it doesn't hurt to carry a gun, if only for visual intimidation.
With a target it sight, I stroll through the market place and into my first stop, a high class clothing store.
"Welcome to Multiverse Apparel, I'm Ciel" one of the many clerks greets as I enter the store. "Do you need help finding anything?"
Ciel is a young woman, in her late teens, much like the clothing store clerks back home. What sets her apart however is her blue tinted skin, third nostril, second pair of eyes on her forehead and the purple vines trailing from the top of her head down to her shoulders. I can't even begin to fathom what sort of creature she is, as I've never come across anything similar in appearance, but I do my best not to stare.
Putting on what I hope is a charming smile, I nod and walk over to Ciel, wondering what language she's speaking as the undertones are quite different from the Goblin tongue. The language seems to be a mix of low popping sounds and guttural growls, a strange language without any noticeable words.
"Hi, I'm looking for a new outfit." I comment in her strange tongue, waving a hand over the stained T-shirt and faded blue jeans I'm currently wearing. "Something more professional and fashionable."
She smiles at that and waves a hand over the store, where a multitude of varying beings are going about their own shopping. "We have a wide selection of styles here, is there anything you're looking for specifically?"
Sure enough her words ring true, this is a store that caters to a wide variety of customers. Scattered around the store are a series of mannequins, some human and many not, each wearing a different style of clothing. The type of clothing on each mannequin varies greatly, be it the dark and dreadful armor on a large demon-like mannequin or the light and angelic robes on a winged mannequin, the store seems to have it all. Luckily for me, I'm searching for something a little simpler, yet just as impressive.
"Ah, yes actually." I reply, pointing to a section that seems to carry men's suits. "I was thinking of something along the lines of a business suit, do you carry anything by Giorgio Armani?"
I'm not much of a suit guy, although I will admit that I look pretty dashing in a well-made tux, but I know enough to know that Armani's are the best money can buy. I also know enough to admit that a guy in a suit can be far more intimidating than a guy in armor, just look at Ray Wise as the devil from the show Reaper, he wears a simple suit but he's still one scary S.O.B.
Ciel perks up at my comment, her eyes twinkling in excitement. "Oh yes, we carry a few Armani's, I know just the thing for you though, it's even better than an Armani."
I shrug and follow as she leads me to the suit section, right to what is (unsurprisingly) a mannequin wearing the most expensive suit in the store; I'll give her some her credit though, it's an awesome looking suit and seems to be well worth the price.
The item in question is a standard two piece suit, complete with button up shirt, polished black shoes and a tie. What sets this suit apart from others however, apart from the million dollar price tag, is the fabric it's woven from.
The suit, tie and pants all seem to be woven from the same strange fabric, a dark cloth that appears to be in constant motion. From a distance, it appears to be a simple black suit, maybe even a dark grey or dark blue in certain lighting. Up close however, I can't help but notice that the dark colors of the suit are in constant motion, endlessly swirling around and around much like the accretion disk of a black hole, flowing towards the topmost button of the suit; it's an entrancing and dizzying sight.
The shirt and socks of the outfit are of the same color, a dark red that goes well with the black of the suit, but on closer observation I notice that the red dye of both articles of clothing seem to be continually moving as well, flowing sluggishly like coagulated blood; a disturbing, yet fascinating, sight. The only normal parts of the entire outfit are the dress shoes, which are polished to a degree beyond human capability, and the small golden cufflinks, carved in the form of an accretion disk.
"Oh wow," I comment with an impressed whistle. "That's quite a suit."
"Yuppers." Ciel agrees excitedly, already imagining the commission she'll make from such a sale. "It's part of our 'Cosmic' collection."
"Cosmic collection?" I ask curiously, wondering what else is involved in such a collection.
"Yup, this is the Singularity Suit, with the Lifeblood Shirt as an addition." she replies, before pointing to a few more mannequins at varying ends of the store. "Over there are the Blue Sky Robes, Night Sky Cloak and Nebula T-shirt."
Sure enough, I can clearly see why each item has earned its name. The first is a well cut set of sky-blue robes, with fluffy, white clouds slowly floating across its surface. Placed roughly where the heart would be is a small yellow sphere, appearing to be a distant sun high in the sky, yet it releases enough light to actually illuminate the section of the store it's placed in.
On the other end of the store is a mannequin wearing a pitch black cloak, one that seems to absorb all light from its surroundings. Scattered all across the cloak are a multitude of twinkling white lights, much like the stars on a night sky, and at the bottom of the cloak is half of a large sphere, one that looks startlingly like the moon. To finish up the effect, a single spot of light would randomly shoot across the cloak every few seconds, miniature shooting stars on an impressive backdrop.
Lastly is a t-shirt that reminds me of the rainbow tie dyed shirts from back home, except the colors are constantly in motion, appearing like a mass of flowing gasses. With my head tilted at the right angle, I can actually see through the fabric of the shirt, as if it truly is composed of a gaseous substance.
"Impressive." I comment, eying each article with an appreciative eye, that's a nice bit of magic right there. "They're all by the same guy?"
"Yeah, same with the Twilight Boots, Dusk Cap and Supernova Mitts." Ciel replies, already measuring my body and pulling out a set of the Singularity Suit in my size. "His name is Har of Aetas, I don't know much about him but he likes to drop in from time to time with new clothing ideas, they all tend to sell well."
Huh, imagine that, a multidimensional fashion designer.
Ciel hands me the selected clothes and pushes me towards the changing room, smiling all the while. "All of his clothing lines are also enchanted to be self-cleaning and self-repairing and they all come with built in temperature regulation, it will save you the time and money of having your clothes enchanted elsewhere."
Well, that all sounds positively nifty. I may not know much about enchanting, but having clothes that don't need to be cleaned or patched up sounds pretty useful, especially when you consider how much I'm going to be paying for this single suit.
It takes me a few minutes to change into the suit, most of which is spent admiring how entrancing the fabric is up close and how cool it feels on my skin, before I'm dragged out by Ceil and parked in front of a mirror for last minute alterations. While she's adjusting the suit's dimensions, I can't help but admire my reflection in the mirror and how impressive I look in this suit, the way it's cut is a nice mix of professional business man and intimidating government agent; sort of like James Bond meets Bruce Wayne, I'm sure you can all imagine how awesome that is.
Considering how much it's going to cost me, looking awesome is the least I can ask for; although I really need to do something about my hair, it's too much of a shaggy mess for my liking.
"Alright, all done." Ciel comments after a few minutes, drawing me from my thoughts and back into reality. "Do you need anything else? Most types that come through here only really need one outfit, especially with all the enchantments available."
I nod in agreement with that line of thinking, I don't see much point in buying several pairs of clothing when I can wear something that never gets dirty or damaged. Some variety might be good from time to time, but I won't have much need of it where I'm going; although, that Night Sky Cloak does look mighty fancy, it's a pity no one wears cloaks in this day and age. Then again, a few of the realities I plan to visit aren't exactly 'modern' so to say.
"Yes actually," I reply, nodding towards the cloak in question. "Add the Night Sky Cloak to my purchase please."
I can almost see the dollar signs in her eyes as she rushes off to grab a cloak, I can't help but wonder how much percentage she makes off commission.
With my new suit adorned, my old t-shirt and jeans in the trash and my cloak stored within Caine, I head towards the next building to catch my eye; a hair salon. It's been a few months since my last haircut, as such my hair is an overgrown mess of shaggy, black curls, not a very fitting style with the suit I have on.
Entering the building, I receive a simple grunt from the owner, a female troll very similar in appearance to those of the Warcraft series, interesting.
"Hello," I greet with a smile naturally slipping into her native tongue, surprisingly the troll language is in fact English with a slight Jamaican accent, who would have thought. "I need a haircut."
She looks up from the magazine in her hands and grunts again, nodding towards a nearby seat. As the salon is empty, I don't have to wait for my turn and the troll walks over the second I'm sitting.
"Style?" she asks simply, an emerald glow beginning to surround her hands.
I spend a few seconds in thought, much to the troll's annoyance, imagining the different styles I can ask for. I want something exotic and 'different', as a normal human hairstyle just isn't going to cut it. At the same time, I don't want something over the top, like Hades' flame hair, Yugi Moto's spiky hair or anything related to the Saiyans of the Dragon Ball Z series.
It's a bit tough to decide.
Finally, after a few minutes of thought, I settle on a suitable hairstyle and have Caine display a holographic image from his Google database. The troll simply takes an annoyed glance at the image and gets to work, her long fingers sinking into my hair as she does her thing.
Surprisingly, the entire thing is done solely with magic, there are no cutting tools or a cream involved as she dyes and styles my hair. A simple wave of her hand causes the hair to withdraw painlessly into my scalp, slowly retreating until it's at the ideal length. A massage of my scalp causes the color to fade away, my ebony locks turning pure white before the new color (metallic silver) slowly seeps in. Lastly she snaps her fingers and my hair jumps to attention, magically brushing and styling itself.
All this takes less than five minutes, her magic allowing her to do things beyond the best hairstylist on earth, amazing. Although my eyes are an unattractive shade of murky brown, with my hair styled exactly like the image I've provided, I can honestly pass as a clone of Vergil Sparda, main villain of the third installment of the Devil May Cry series; I may not like the guy but I can't complain about the hair, it just works, especially in conjugation with this suit.
"Twenty-three gold." The troll grunts out, holding out a hand.
I smile and pay her, pleased with my haircut despite her rude behavior; then again she is a troll, this could be considered exceptionally polite for her kind, I don't really know.
With my business complete, I head for the exit, grinning as I catch my reflection in one of the salon's mirrors. This is an appearance that, when coupled with the mutation and abilities I plan to acquire, will ensure that the collective villains of the multiverse will think twice before messing with me; well I hope so, as most of these villains happen to be gods in their own right.
Still, it can't hurt to look good, especially when it comes to the enchanting females of my favorite universes.
One last stop appearance wise, then I can get to the best part, weapons.
"Welcome, welcome." the store clerk greets as I enter his small shop. "I am Clinoticitolicratis Dafusalem Makejan the forty fifth, owner of this fine establishment, but you can call me Clint. How can I help you today?"
Clint is a tall, skinny human, roughly forty years old, with an oddly cheerful expression on his face. With shoulder length black hair and heterochromatic eyes, one green and one red, Clint happens to be the most normal looking person I've met in this market. This is saying a lot considering the fact he happens to be a cyborg, an easily noticeable fact due to his a robotic left arm, antenna like ears and metallic lower jaw. He also happens to speak German of all languages, a language that I can easily recognize although I don't speak it myself.
"Hello Clint, I'm Dorian." I reply in greeting, smiling as I make my way to his counter. "Your sign says you can repair bad eyesight, among other things."
"Oh yes," Clint grins cheerfully, clapping his hands together. "Repairing eyesight is so, so easy, it's manipulating the eyes that causes some difficulty."
"Manipulating?" I ask curiously, glancing at the rows of different eyeballs floating in jars around the store.
"Yup, there are a few ways I can change the eyes." Clint explains, pulling out a catalog of all things, a Harry Potter style catalog with honest to god moving pictures at that. "Some people want to see invisible things, others want to see in the dark, and some just want their eye color changed, I can do all that and more. Although, some manipulations are more difficult than others and there is a limit to how much manipulation the eyes can handle before they burst."
Huh, that's interesting, although the whole bursting thing sounds a bit painful, the gain seems to outweigh the risk. However, I just want my eyes repaired at the moment, but I do have plans to tweak my vision at a later point, I wonder if Clint has what I need. I know that I can just have Caine and his nanites permanently repair my eyes, rather than their current method of altering my perception, but they've been programmed to only make a limited number of alterations on my body (Five max) and I don't feel like wasting one when there's a shop for it right here.
"Do you carry Sharingan or Byakugan eyes?" I ask, flipping through the catalog in search of the familiar Dojutsu of the Narutoverse.
"Oh yes, those are two of the most sought after manipulations that I can provide." Clint replies, flipping the catalog to the correct page for me, where the spinning red and black of the Sharingan stares back at me. "Unfortunately, not many can buy them as you need the proper genes and energy wavelength to use them effectively."
Damn, it looks like I'll need to get some Uchiha or Hyuuga DNA, as well as my own chakra system, if I want the Sharingan or Byakugan; a difficult task considering how alert and paranoid Ninjas can be, especially when it comes to strangers after their blood samples. I'll worry about that later, right now I just want my eyes fixed so I don't have to wear these glasses anymore.
"Alright," I begin, closing the catalog and looking up at Clint, who still has that wide grin on his face. "I'll settle with a simple repair job for now."
Clint chuckles and pulls out a small penlight-like device, grinning widely all the while. "Good choice, most people tend to request a ton of manipulations on their eyes, it's always funny to watch them scream as their eyes pop."
Right my mistake, he's not cheerful, just creepy. Joy.
It takes Clint a measly five minutes to repair my vision, a task that he completes right there at the counter without the need for big, clunky machinery, it continues to amaze me the things one can do with a touch of magic and a hint of science.
Roughly three years ago in my home reality, I underwent laser eye repair to fix my bad eyesight, other than a week of irritated eyes and near blindness, nothing changed. Which is why it's extremely fascinating to stand and watch as my eyes are repaired in less than five minutes, all by a tall, skinny cyborg with a small penlight-like device.
The penlight device in Clint's hand, another item I would just love a chance to tear apart and examine, is somehow able to manipulate and regenerate the damaged portions of my inner eye, repairing them and granting me near perfect vision; it's not a permanent fix but it will be years before my eyes begin to deteriorate once again.
Once the procedure is done, Clint's grin seems to widen and he tucks the device away, watching as I blink and test out my new eyesight.
"Oh wow, this is awesome." I cheer, reading the smallest line on the eye chart from across the room. "This is even better than when I had my glasses."
"Thank you," Clint chuckles, opening the catalog once more. "Would you like anything else?"
I take a glance at the catalog, tempted to buy some manipulations after witnessing his work first hand, but his comments about exploding eyes tempers my excitement; maybe something simple to start off with.
"Uh, can you change the color of my eyes?" I ask, frowning at the murky brown orbs that stare back from within the mirror.
"Oh yes, that is another easy procedure." Clint replies, pulling out his penlight. "Any colors you favor?"
"Can you change the entire eye ball, or is it only the iris?" I ask, an image coming to mind.
Clint's grin widens, a scary image considering the kinds of things he finds funny. "My profession involves the entire eyeball; anything related to the eyes is within my capabilities, no matter the difficulty."
That's a yes then, awesome.
With that, I have Caine pull up another image from his Google database, I can already see how this little function will be quite useful in the future, downloading the entirety of the internet seems to be paying off quite nicely.
"Can you apply these colors to my eyes?" I ask, displaying the image for him.
Clint claps his hands cheerfully again and flips through the catalog once more, stopping at a page with a similar set of eyes, a golden orb on a backdrop of pitch black darkness.
"Oh yes," he agrees, tapping the image with a robotic finger. "I remember buying the blueprint for these quite a while ago, Hollow eyes the seller called them."
Sure enough, the image zooms out and I can see that the eyes displayed belong to a Hollow, an Adjuchas class Hollow straight out of the Bleach manga; awesome.
"That's the color I want," I reply, frowning in slight worry. "Will my eyes be able to handle the manipulation?"
Clint nods excitedly, pulling out his penlight device once more. "You bet, color changing is quite a simple task, there's very little manipulation involved.
This time it only takes him two minutes to manipulate my eyes, the white and brown easily parting for the black and gold of my new eyes, a creepy event to witness in the mirror.
"There you go." Clint comments once both eyes have been changed, pulling the device away from my eyes. "Anything else?"
I look up from the mirror, tearing my glance away from the entrancing sight of my new eyes. "No, that's all, thanks. My preferred currency is Canadian dollars, how much do I owe you?"
His grin shrinks a little at that but he remains cheerful. "Nothing else? Are you sure? There are so many more manipulations your eyes can handle."
I shake my head, causing his grin to shrink another degree. "Not at this time, maybe in the future when I have the correct genes and energy."
His grin is almost gone at this point but he nods and consults his catalog. "Hmm, a standard eye repair and Hollow style coloration, that comes to eight hundred per eye, so sixteen hundred dollars total."
I materialize my wallet and pay him in cash, preferring to save my card for amounts higher than five thousand.
"Heh, you must make a lot of money from the folks with more than two eyes." I comment while waiting for my receipt, although I'm not really sure why I need one, eye repair and coloration doesn't exactly scream 'refundable' to me.
Clint chuckles at my comment, his grin returning as he hands me the receipt. "Oh yes indeed, in fact I once made over a million off a Beholder and Gorgon couple, so many eyes to work with on those two species."
I laugh at that, an image of the two creatures coming to mind, and make my way for the door. "Thanks again Clint, I'll be seeing you."
"Oh, I know you will." He replies, grinning and waving.
With my clothing, hair and eyes out of the way, I can finally move on to my last and most exciting stop in the marketplace, the weapons store. I'm not a mighty big fan of guns and other weapons, nor am I all that knowledgeable on the subject, but I can tell the basic differences between each type of weapon, even if the make and caliber means nothing to me.
Still, as a lover of first person shooters and sci-fi, I just can't wait to get my hands on some, as Jack O'Neill would say, 'big honking space guns'.
Entering the weapons store is like a dream come true, as I notice several weapons that just scream 'alien' attached to the walls, all of which are suffused by an inner glow from their various power sources. Grinning widely, I make my way through the store, staring at each gun in a sort of nerdy amazement. I notice several guns that have been taken right out of my favorite fictional works, be it the Needler from the HALO game series or the Phaser of the Star Trek universe, this store seems to carry it all.
It's as I'm scrolling through the store that I notice one particular gun, a gun that I remember purchasing a replica of, a gun that almost gives me a nerdgasm to view. While it's in matte black and polished to a shine, I can easily recognize the familiar form of the Particle Magnum used by Ronon Dex from Stargate Atlantis, the best energy pistol in the entire Stargate universe.
My excited squeal seems to draw the attention of the store clerk, who chuckles and makes his way over. The clerk reminds me of Killer Croc from the DC comics' universe, with his large, muscled form, covered in green and yellow scales, as well as his crocodile-like head and bright crimson eyes. To add to his intimidation factor, he has two large assault rifles strapped to his back, one glowing a sickly green and the other a bright purple.
"Hey buddy," he greets, speaking English in what is definitely a Southern American accent, big surprise there. "I'm Sal, you spot something you like?"
I grin and nod, politely holding out a hand. "Hey Sal, I'm Dorian, nice to meet you."
He grins in reply, showing off rows of razor sharp teeth, and shakes my hand. "Right back atcha, you looking for anything in particular Dorian?"
"Yeah, I want three of those." I reply, excitedly pointing at the Particle Magnum. Three seems like a good number to buy, one for me, one as a spare and one as a friendly gift for the amazing John Sheppard.
"Ah, the good ol' Traveler-class Particle Magnum," Sal chuckles, opening the display case and pressing a small button below the weapon three times. With triple flashes of white light, three long boxes appear stacked at the checkout counter, neat. "An excellent choice, do you need a power cell charger?"
I frown slightly at that, I don't know how often the PM needs to be recharged; it's not really mentioned on the Stargate fan sites.
"How often does it need to be recharged?" I ask, hoping Sal knows.
He makes a humming sound and seems to consider it for a moment before answering. "With constant use? I'd say once every three cycles."
'Cycle?' I wonder, not exactly knowledgeable on this form of telling time. Luckily, Caine seems to have this information stored in his databanks.
"A cycle is a single year in the Marketplace, spanning roughly two earth years." The AI provides, allowing me to avoid looking like a fool in front of Sal.
Right, so one cycle equals two years, which means the guns will only need to be recharged every six years at a minimum, that's a long time.
"I should be fine; I'll stop in here if I need a recharge." I reply, getting a nod from him. If I can't make it here for a recharge, I can always visit the Pegasus galaxy, Ronon had to get his magnum charged somewhere after all.
"Good call mate." Sal agrees with another tooth-filled grin. "That all for you today?"
I glance around the store once more, taking in all the weapons on display, all of which seem to be quite intimidating under closer scrutiny. Buying a pistol is one thing, an assault rifle or shotgun? That's a whole different can of beans. Seeing as I've never really fired a gun before, I'll need quite a bit of practice with whatever I decide to buy, should I really get anything more complicated than a pistol?
Yeah, I probably should.
A pistol, even if it's Ronon's Particle Magnum, just isn't going to cut it in the multiverse. I'm probably going to need something with a little more 'kick', especially if I happen to come across any enemies that are immune to energy-based weapons fire, I.E. Replicators, the Asurans, the Borg and a slew of other energy adaptive races. Stocking up on a variety of weapons might just come in handy someday; after all you never know when you just might need a rocket launcher or sniper rifle.
The words 'variety' and 'gun' bring an image to mind, one that causes what can only be called an evil, mischievous smirk to cross my face; I have the perfect weapon in mind.
"Tell me Sal," I begin in a devious tone, eyes glinting mischievously. "Do you carry the Zorg ZF-1 Pod weapon."
His replying grin is far more evil than mine; the booming laughter that follows it tells me that I've just made his day.
Due to my enthusiasm, I end up buying two Zorg ZF-1's, as well as several rounds of spare ammunition. Ammunition that comes in the form of a few thousand bullets, dozens of rockets, arrows, nets and gas canisters, all of which I store within Caine for easy transport and access. For my excellent choice in weapons and hefty bill, Sal provides me with a free pistol holster, allowing me to carry one Particle Magnum under my suit jacket. It will likely take some practice and training until I can draw the weapon with speed and ease, but I'll get there eventually.
In addition to the three magnums and two Zorgs, I also splurged on a few smaller purchases.
The first is a pack of one hundred HALOverse sticky grenades, an item that caught my eye as I was paying at the front counter, an item that I just had to buy. These are by far the easiest grenades to use, not counting Borderlands homing grenades, as they stick to whatever they're thrown at; I won't have to worry about having them bounce/roll correctly or other such nonsense.
In the melee section of the store, I almost released another squeal as I notice the weapons Sal has on display, namely the lightsaber of the Star Wars universe. I'd originally planned to steal a lightsaber off a Jedi or Sith while in the Star Wars universe, but getting a chance to buy my own customized lightsaber? That's an opportunity I just can't pass up.
In addition to the lightsaber, I also pick up a pair of HALOverse energy swords, another weapon I just couldn't pass up. While the lightsaber is an excellent offensive weapon, as well as a great cutting tool, it's nothing compared to the sharpened edge of a HALOverse energy sword. While both weapons can cut through even the toughest of metals, the lightsaber requires more time depending on the density of the material, whereas the energy sword can cut through the same material with relative ease; an advantage only offset by the limited uses of the energy sword, compared to the unlimited use of the lightsaber.
Although these are the two greatest weapons I will ever lay my hands on, I don't plan to use them anytime soon, not until I have the proper training at least; a decision that's backed by Sal's advice as well as dozens of fan sites, which clearly warn me of the risk of chopping my own limbs off, a risk I'm just not willing to take.
The last weapon I bought is one I did not expect to ever find in such a store, an actual Ghostbusters style Proton Pack. Apparently it's a big seller, being one of the few weapons effective against ethereal beings, imagine that. I just can't wait to try this out against Anubis and the Ori, that should be a great barrel of laughs, other than that I won't have much use for the Proton Pack, unless I decide to take up ghost hunting.
With most of my shopping complete, I decide to stop in at the inn before heading out, it been a long day and while I'm not all that tired, I could use some food and a drink.