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A steel box forty feet underground, truly the best the United States government could offer. Our commander in chief was very adamant about not being removed from his 'work', whatever that could possibly mean. As the day drew to a close the news became official: the country was all that was left. Citizens had been moved into safe zones, which seemed pointless given their numbers were so few, and the dwindling military was put in charge of all affairs.

The officials, or those who were left, were antsy as expected. They wanted bedrock to act, and bedrock wanted to get back to his lab. He refused his responsibility, resigned almost immediately, but was denied his freedom, and in fact remains detained by whoever is left at this point, perhaps a handful of survivors that held government office? There can't be more than a dozen.

In the middle of the day, bedrock was let free. He didn't realize why until the message was blown up on every screen that was left in America: the contingency message. He had never seen the message's content, let alone authorize its broadcast, but its effect was ensured, and soon every citizen in America was dead. In his fury, bedrock took whatever soldiers he had left, the two screw ups, and had them execute every member of the standing government. He was never too big on killing civilians, but it seemed the situation was far too extraordinary.

So now, we have the three individuals who survived it all, the last remnant of mankind, driving across the barren strip that was once the Brooklyn Bridge. They passed some people that were trying to escape, evidently. Some of them had several bullet wounds. Hell, it looked like some of them were still twitching.

They were the lucky ones.

...............

"Jesus," bedrock muttered, "those guys really did a number on them, didn't they?"

The two blue suited men behind him just stayed silent, still covered in blood.

"I hate to sound so apathetic, but they did a plainly sloppy job. Probably couldn't aim straight."

The silence droned on.

Quickly shooting back a look, he continued, "Come on guys, we aren't sitting in silence this whole way back. Let's start conversation."

One of them leaned back and muttered, "Just...a lot to take in."

The other, whoever it was at this point, leaned back with his comrade. bedrock noticed they were holding hands through the mirror. He tried not to make his stare noticeable, though it didn't really matter. After all, there was a mask covering his face, they couldn't know. The thought kind of bothered him, he'd worn the mask for most of his life. Sure, there was a time where this was a necessity, but those years were long gone. It had covered everything within him, his feelings, the signs he truly showed tender emotion, all anyone saw was the mask. Now, who was left? Who was left to see that he could change? God, if only he could've stopped this whole thing.

He popped off the mask and threw it in the passenger's seat. Now, he couldn't bear to look at the soliders in the backseat. Quickly looking in their direction, he focused on the road again. He sniffled and cleared his throat, and managed to croak a curt "Coward" through his breaking voice. The men in the backseat just assumed he was talking about the officials that now lay dead in an underground bunker, with a stock of lead buried into their necks.

Twenty more minutes to the compound. The gatekeeper's body was still hunched over the console in the control booth. One of them had to get out of the car to push the corpse over and lift the boom barrier. The place wasn't damaged, not even a little. But it was a deathly quiet. The lake didn't sway in the breeze. There were no birds chirping. The wind did not blow. There was nothing but the echoing sound of three pairs of footsteps anxiously strolling across a grassy stretch. Passing the threshold of the brick building, and jutting down one of what seemed to be an impossible number of corridors, was the lab. Oh, bedrock had been working on something before the plane landed, and he intended on finishing.

The door to the lab creaked open just about six inches before the thing rushed from the darkness and tackled bedrock to the ground. The two blue suited men ran into the lab while bedrock pushed the genocidal maniac over into a wall and ran inside as well.

Quickly flipping on the light, the three men ran against the door and slammed it shut, locking it in place. The thing outside started pounding on it ferociously, and was audibly making good progress against the barrier. Even then, it doesn't matter how strong you are when you're faced with six inches of solid titanium.

bedrock frantically rushed around the lab, furiously searching through all the rubbish that was strewn around the room, before opening a cabinet and pulling out a small device, a mess of wires and messily constructed steel armature, with three prongs jutting out unevenly from the operative end.

The thing started pounding harder and faster, screaming, "Stof! I haw to stof you!"

bedrock quickly typed into the keypad the date four days prior to the current, and quickly pulled the trigger while facing the opposite wall. From there, there was a loud crackle and a brilliant ball of green suddenly materialized on the wall. bedrock commanded the two suited men to jump in.

"I don't know where this thing is going to lead, but you should arrive somewhere two months! I know it's risky...but it's our only hope!"

As the commander finished, the door gave, and a flailing arm burst through the structure and began frantically pulling away at the rest of the metal. Seeing no other options, the two blue suited men quickly jumped into the green orb. They expected to land on the ground, but there was no ground to speak of. Just blueness. Then they realized the rushing air. Free fall. They hit the risen formation of earth at a speed of about 20 feet for second. Crashing into each other, and into the rocky tableland, bones began to shatter and blood vessels burst. Their problems, whatever they might have been, were over in 15 seconds flat. Of course, bedrock didn't know this. He was faced with an arguably larger dilemma.

Bursting in to the lab, the thing screamed, "The 'ast nust de changed!". Quickly, it dove for a over counters, smashing lights and vials. Quickly swinging against a variety of vials, a concentrated amount of some unknown compound splashed in bedrock's direction. Not having time to react, he swung the device away and instead placed his head directly in the line of fire. The compound splashed against his mask, eating away at it at a slow degree. Quickly, bedrock threw the mask off, and the Beast took note. Once again leaping, it began throwing several fluids contained in glass vials. bedrock managed to dodge a few before one hit him square in the face. The glass shattered with immense force, and as the shards cut his skin, he felt the intense burning. As his flesh bubbled away under the liquid, he screamed with a terrible shrillness. Not exactly seeing where he was going, the agonized man dashed towards his assailant, knocking him off the table he stood on as he tumbled into the floor. Now, just barely able to see through all the blinding pain, bedrock frantically searched for the supply closet. Locating it amongst the chaos in the darkened room, he scrambled towards it as the Beast reoriented himself. Quickly fumbling into the closet, bedrock slammed the door and desperately searched for something, anything, that could help him. Couldn't do a gas, the thing has a mask on, and well, now he didn't. An acid wouldn't work, it'd have to eat through the thing's suit before it could touch him, and unless he was going to be stupid and throw off his mask, that's definitely not a viable option. Something solid like a poison would probably take more time than he had to create, plus it would require him to at least get the mask off. Shooting the thing wouldn't work, besides, even if they hadn't already tried it a million times, he was 90% sure he dropped his gun in the fray. Stabbing it would probably be as useful.

Then he had an idea. Something he hated deeply, but still could be viable. Frantically leaping to another end of the closet, he searched for a beaker, a burner, some cotton swabs, and a distillation apparatus. Next all he needed was the salicylic acid, which thankfully, the lab was always full of, the only good thing that ever came out of bedrock's teenage acne. He heard the footsteps approach slowly, and he arranged the chemicals. Put the acid in the beaker, insulate the distiller with cotton, and put the burner on high. Next, he scrambled for a syringe. The footsteps got louder, and the acid wasn't even burning for a minute and a half yet. Panicking, bedrock took what he could get, turned off the burner, swung the whole thing around wildly, hoping to cool it down (thank God these gloves are insulated) and saw a good collection of clear liquid in the distillation apparatus. Next, a quick detachment, and the syringe was plunged into the beaker, collecting as much of the liquid as it could. Then he dropped everything else.

The door swung open with a swift kick to the knob. The Beast lumbered in, and searched around. There was a shattered beaker on the floor, with a number of other instruments, a burner toppled precariously on a small wooden table near the far end of the room, a string of cabinets, all unkempt and in disarray. But no man, it seemed. Stepping a bit more into the darkened room, the Beast searched around, cocking its head quizzically as it finished. Meanwhile, careful to make as little noise as possible, bedrock crouched and slowly tip-toed from behind the door, and when he got close, with all his might, he threw up his arms and jammed the needle into the thing's back, and pushed the plunger before it could move. The thing yipped and jumped away, before swinging around and attempting to grab his opponent. However, bedrock had already slipped out the door, and was walking backwards to the exit, his eyes locked on the Beast the whole time. It tried to charge, but its efforts dampened quickly, it staggered, it became very disoriented. Harder, more desperate gasps audibly forced more air into the thing's mask, and it seemed to be anxiously struggling to stay composed. Soon, after about thirty seconds, it couldn't even stagger another step, and it collapsed onto its knees, as the syringe dropped from its back and clinked loudly on to the floor. It grabbed it and tried to inspect it, hoping to gain some insight. But alas, it was empty and unmarked, and as the thing stared at the object, it went limp, with a final, exhaustedly withered rattle escaping from its mouth.

Oh yes, bedrock deeply hated what he had to do, but he had to admit: if the Nazis knew how to do one thing, it was kill efficiently and simply, though he supposed that was really more of a testament to the phenol than to Nazi ingenuity. Even with such a small amount, it only took around 2 minutes to kill the thing that resisted fire, bullets, knives, and physics itself, it seemed.

bedrock stared at the dead husk, bereft of humanity, for what seemed like an eternity. It took a while, but he finally became sure that it was dead. Quickly, he curtly kicked the body over so that it faced the ceiling, and bent down. He removed the mask with some effort, though initially confused, the thing was so old it was just a sheet with a filter hanging from it. No wonder these people lost the Cold War, they didn't know how to create a strap! He put the mask aside and just stared at the thing's face.

Its skin was even, rough, and seemed to be hanging with the force of gravity. In a lot of places, it was very dyspigmented, an unnatural degree of whiteness and charred blackness peppering what would have otherwise been a natural, albeit disfigured, Caucasian face. There was no nose to speak off, rather an obvious marking that heralded the confirmation that it had indeed once been occupied by something, and two slits resting on a mount that slightly protruded outward from the rest of the face. Its lips, or lack thereof, was a mix of either total lacking of flesh or slanks that rolled up to heal, somewhat reminiscent of a cleft lip, which explained why it talked the way it did. The teeth, while yellow, were rather unremarkable, though it seemed that the gums were receding a bit, and they seemed to be the 'break-off' where it appeared the damage ends. The eyelids were miraculously rather untouched, so to speak. It was actually a little unclear and hard to tell, the skin surrounding the eyes were puffed up and stretched, and thus, while clearly visible, made it unclear that the eyelids were harmed in any way. The eyes were strange, subject to total hyphema, to the point where not so much as an iris or a pupil was even vaguely recognizable. How did this thing see? Above that was an expanse of a shriveled forehead, though the hair above it seemed rather undamaged, maybe its hairline wasn't always that far back on the thing's head? Its ears seemed to be undamaged as well, though the seemed somewhat large, which bedrock sympathized with a little, after all, his ears were almost twice as big as everyone else's. The neck seemed to have slight damage, the chin seemed fine, but the neck itself seemed slightly deteriorated. A little more and perhaps the trachea could be exposed.

bedrock reached over picked up the mask, latching it back on to its rightful owner. Now, he would change the future. After all, even if his current timeline is destroyed, what is lost? He was the last remnant of humanity, and there was nothing or no one to lose, but everything and everyone to save!

The date two months prior still remained entered into the device. bedrock grabbed his fallen foe, it would make prudent evidence in his case to do...whatever it is he was specifically going to do, and shot the device at a wall. Hopefully, wherever he ended up, he could contact quickly someone. Then, he walked through the portal, dragging the body with him.

******

The two dropped in the middle of a forest, late at night, it seemed. The green glow dissipated quickly as bedrock moved away to better situate himself. It was kind of dark, but not quite too dark, he could still see to a decent degree. Then, he heard someone approaching, and expecting a stranger, bedrock began quickly kicking the corpse into a shrub to hide it. When he heard the footsteps stop, he straightened himself and turned around, and saw something familiar. A man with an assault rifle in a blue suit, that glistened brilliantly in what little moonlight there was. He stared at the suited man for a few seconds, and then smiled. But instead of resyndicating the welcome, the man ran away, and all that bedrock could do was tilt his head in confusion. Perplexed, he muttered a quick, "What the huck?"

He almost jumped when he said it, it was so foreign, he realized this was the first time he actually said something this the thing attacked him. Why did he sound like that? Why did it sound so weak?

Why couldn't he feel his lips?

He felt his face. He had guessed the nerves on his face were dead, but the nerves on his tongue and fingers certainly weren't. He pressed his glove to his face, and his tongue to his mouth. All the teeth seemed to be there, his cheeks didn't seem too damaged, but...no lips, there were no lips to speak of, there was nothing at all to feel, examining what should have been occupied by an upper and lower lip just lead to him feeling the teeth in his mouth. The moon started coming out now, and the light improved, and bedrock started panicking quickly. He had initially thought that whatever damage he experienced in the fight wouldn't matter, considering he was there to warn everyone about something much more importance than his appearance, he even kind of lauded himself on the recognition and infamy he might receive from his 'war scars', but something about it irked him very intensely. Assuring himself it wasn't just his egotism, he quickly dragged the Gascot's body from the bushes, and removed his mask unsteadily. The eye ports were reflective, to some degree, he could certainly see his reflection in them.

Finally, he positioned himself in the moonlight and stared into the port, and glared at it, unmoving. His lips were gone, and what remained of them were singed and curling, though the dead nerves had thankfully saved him from the evident agonizing twinges. His eyes were visibly pressed by the puffed, damage skin, to the point where it seemed blood was leaking into them, which was strange most alarmingly because he felt no semblance of a tight sensation in that area. The blood seemed to pool at an unnatural rate, already largely submerging his iris, but he saw perfectly. His nose was gone, and was replaced with a blessedly cauterized wound that made up the only remnants of the structure. He looked down at the corpse, and contemplated his own reflection.

And in all of it, all the chaos, the realization, the pain, there was a euphoria. A tingling sensation, almost a feeling of carelessness. He started giggling, and morphed into a fit of genuine laughter. Soon the laughing became violent, calling it a cackle wouldn't be accurate, it was more like plaintive screaming. Memories and goals melted away, basic recognition of anything was obliterated in the madness. Basic skills and processes flurried away and gave way to insanity. He no longer remembered who he was, why he was here, or where 'here' even was for that matter! There was just a perpetual feeling of chaos, and his brain worked with at as best as it could. The man, in his anarchic mania, stripped the corpse rather disrespectfully and donned the suit, which somehow provided a feeling of serenity. Not calming, but fulfilling, like he was meant to wear it, though at this point he didn't even recognize it, or find it familiar in any way. He didn't really think anymore, rather just finding himself rolling with the punches to a horribly dangerous degree. Then, he gave chase, and he didn't even know why or how he had somehow remembered, of all things, that someone was fleeing him. It can't be said whether he was aware he was attacking a friend or if he was intrigued in the idea of murdering what he saw as a total stranger, but it didn't really matter at this point. No longer paying mind to his injury, he screamed loudly, and proudly, "Get 'rack here you little shit!"

Now there are two of them, perhaps it will be more of a challenge. The Beast dashed towards them and one of them starting firing a handgun. With each bullet he felt, he allowed himself to be jerked back with the force momentarily, before he continued his stroll. The clicks of the empty gun signaled the beginning of a desperate episode, and the two ran. Somehow, without even really thinking, the Beast managed to take himself to where they were going, and cut them off. He didn't know how he could do it, he didn't know how he knew where they were going, or where they'd be, but somehow, he already knew, he knew everything that would ever happen whenever he wanted to, but he didn't care, he wasn't thinking about it. The truth is, he wasn't really thinking about anything whatsoever, what his end goal was, what he planned to do, absolutely nothing. Without even consciously clarifying it with himself, he had set his prerogative to indulging pure psychosis. Perhaps it was all just a horrible series of desirable circumstances, a case of natural selection gone wrong, or perhaps gone too right?

I didn't really matter at this point, nothing did. As the story goes: Croesus, in his cowardice, abandoned his people before an invasion, to supplant the prophecy of his capture by Cyrus the Great, and in his retreat delivered himself to the preparing forces of Cyrus, who executed him by fire.

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