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Warning: This fic is very dark and contains disturbing imagery exceeding that of canon, including but not limited to pedophiliac twincest. If you're looking for a happy, cheerful story, this is NOT the right place. In this story, things have gone very differently for certain characters and thus they will act very differently from canon.

Prologue: The Red Horse

Things were already going poorly for U-TIC. Somehow, the 100-Series Prototype had escaped right from under Margulis' nose. Ordinarily an irritable man anyway, the news of her escape only put him in a worse mood as he stormed into the command center and shouted, “How did she escape?”

The communications window was already open, displaying the commander of the base the Prototype had been held in. Margulis' foul mood came to no surprise to anyone in the room, though. He'd been growing steadily more irritable over the past decade and a half. Without even bothering to comment on the Chief Inquisitor's temper, the commander reported, “A Ziggurat model cyborg infiltrated the base and escaped with her.”

Margulis' eyes narrowed dangerously at the other man's words. “A cyborg? Tell me you weren't bested by such an outdated tool.”

“We underestimated it as an outdated relic. We-”

“You were weak is what you were. Che, can't even handle a cyborg and an Observational Realian? How pathetic can you get?”

Everyone in the room turned to look at the source of the new voice, sounding for all the world like a prepubescent boy. Its source was a redheaded child leaning against the doorframe and looking into the room with a twisted smirk on his face. The cowboy hat perched on his head only managed to magnify the look of malice in his deep blue eyes. Everyone was on alert, but especially Margulis. “Who told you to come here, brat?”

The redhead let his eyes wander around the room as though he hadn't realized he was being addressed until they finally settled on Margulis on their own. His eyebrows went up in mock surprise and he said, “Who, me? Heh, you think I need someone to tell me where to go? I thought you knew me better than that, bitch.”

Marguli's fists clenched and he let out a low growl but refused to let his temper get the best of him. “Can't you see I'm in the middle of something? I don't have time for your games right now.”

“Well I'm bored anyway. Besides,” The general malice in his eyes shifted into a dangerous look. “I hear you lost something that belongs to me.”

“The Prototype does not belong to you, we've established this already.”

Before the redhead could reply, another screen opened up in the middle of the room, now showing a middle aged man in a Federation uniform. He seemed out of breath and practically panted, “The Gnosis took the Zohar, but we've secured a 100-Series Prototype. I think it's the same one we had secured on Pleroma.”

Despite the good news, Margulis' scowl didn't change at all. Turning to look at the screen without letting the boy out of his sight, he replied, “Stick to your orders. Don't do anything outside the scope of your mission.” He shut off the feed without another word and shouted out to his crew, “Track Cherenkov's marker.”

The boy, however, looked pleased. “Heh, guess you monkeys can do something right after all.”

That earned him the glare of every man in the room and a calm, smooth voice sounding behind him. “Give them some credit, Rubedo. They did manage to capture her in the first place.”

Rubedo snorted and didn't even bother turning around, knowing that the taller, white haired man was standing in the doorway. “And then they let her get away. Knew I shouldn't have expected them to do the job right. This time, we're going.”

Margulis regarded the two for a while, then spoke in a careful tone. “Do what you will with regards to that. But keep in mind that our goal is not simply to destroy anyone that crosses us. We want the Prototype intact.”

Rubedo pushed himself off the doorframe with an eerie chuckle. “Oh, I don't think you have to worry about that. Hell, I'll probably do a better job than your pathetic dogs.”

The white haired man seemed displeased, but didn't speak against Rubedo. “I'll keep him out of as much trouble as I can. No guarantees, of course, you know how he is.”

Margulis looked as if he'd just swallowed a particularly sour lemon. “Yes...I'm well aware. I've been on the receiving end of his twisted amusements more than once, if you'll bother to recall.”

Rubedo snorted in obvious amusement and turned to walk back out. “Keep in mind, I want the imitation to stay in one piece, too. And we are after the same thing, after all.”

With a sigh, the white haired man followed Rubedo to where a large white mecha was waiting for them and slid into the co-pilot's seat as the redhead jumped into the pilot's seat. As the doors closed, the taller of the two looked up and addressed the other, “You know, Rubedo, one of these days he's going to find a way to stop me from killing him if he does anything to you.”

“As if. That asshole couldn't kill me if I had my eyes closed and my hands tied behind my back. Now come on, Albedo, I doubt MOMO's gonna come find us.”


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Rubedo Gadreel

August 2010

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