"Maximum Carnage" Prologue by NobodyAtAll

In San Francisco, I lead the squad I’ve picked for the coming mission into one of the saferooms of the local Foundation branch.

I know the way, because I’ve been this way before.

We find Venom waiting for us in the saferoom, sitting on the floor with a toothy grin, the balcony door ajar.

It’s unusual for a Foundation room to have a balcony.

Normo fluffies and heights can be as dangerous a combination as normo fluffies and water.

Host and symbiont speak up in unison.

“Took yu wong enuff, Caw.”

I smirk at Venom.

“I’ve been busting my ass all day to get ready for this, you know. And I brought friends.”

I gesture at my squadmates, and Venom waves at them with a black slimy hoof.

“Da mowe da mewwy-ew. Hewwo, Bewwikose. Oh, an we see yu bwowt Taawn wif yu tuu!”

Taarn-tual waves back sheepishly with one of his six hands.

“Hi there, buddy. You’re doing well.”

“An su am yu, Taawn. It haf bin tuu wong. Ouw Kwin-taw hawf stiww wemembew da time it spent wif yu awn Awakk.”

Marley cracks a grin.

“Mawwey knu dat yu mite wan du sum catch-in up, but we aww gut biz-niz tu tawk abowt, an nu a wotta time.”

I nod, waving my hand to create four hard light benches for the humanoid squad members, all of them sitting down, the fluffies sitting on the floor next to us.

It’s two to a bench: me with Dave, Victor with Drake, Danny with Reilly, and Bellikose with Taarn.

And it’s the kind of benches without backs, because we all have weapons strapped to our backs.

Like always, I’ve got the Sword of Kings and the X-Shield on my back. Never leave the apartment without them, and my bag of holding.

Which my sonic cannon is in.

I’ve learned to expect a fight wherever I go, and sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised.

“As you can see, Venom, we’re loaded for Klyntar and ready to just fuck Carnage’s shit up, fam.”

Already loving the sound of this.

Perhaps you should save your usual antics for later, Niv.

I’m focusing on waiting for an alert from Madam Valerie.

So let’s just let Cal talk without any of the usual interruptions.

Yeah, okay. Take it from here, Maestro.

Thank you.

“Let’s go over the plan quickly, because we could be interrupted at any moment…”


In a nearby alleyway, Michelle walks out, the expression on her face showing a complex blend of emotions.

She looks in the direction of the Foundation.

“No going back now. I’ve played my part. Pax knows that Korkea’s in town, but I don’t know what Pax is going to do. I’m not a big fan of Korkea… he scares the shit out of lawyers… but he’s not a bad guy, is he?”

As she leaves, she scratches her head.

“So what’s Pax’s beef with him all about?”

Then she stops walking, because she’s just realized something.

“Goddamnit. I left my coffee in the convenience store.”


In the saferoom, as Calvin and Marley go over the plan with Venom, Victor keeps glancing towards the open balcony door.

Drake notices him doing this.

“Feeling nervous, Vic?”

“Not exactly nervous. It’s more like anticipation. I’m gonna go get a smoke while I can.”

Victor stands up, walking out onto the balcony and lighting a cigarette, Scarface following him.

He has some joints on him too, but he’s saving those for after the mission.

As Victor feels the cool night air on his scarred face, a gentle breeze fluttering past, he takes a deep drag, and exhales.

fooo

“How are you feeling, Soul Brother? You feeling like you need the you-know-what?”

“Yuh, but du yu haf it awn yu?”

With his free hand, Victor pulls the cybernetic eyeball Erwin made for Scarface out of a pouch, winking down at him.

“Lemme finish this smoko, and I’ll pop it in for you.”

“We shudda dun dat bee-fowe we weft da Skoow.”

“No time like the present, Soul Brother. You’re probably gonna need depth perception for this one.”

“…Scawface haf bin missin dat…”


Michelle walks out of the convenience store, another cup of terrible coffee in her hand, and she heads back to the law firm.

She’s been burning the midnight oil again, another important case on her hands.

Recently, she’s had much bigger things to worry about than legal matters. Her work has been suffering, partially because Michelle has lost a lot of sleep.

Her old nightmare about a worldwide coffee bean shortage has been replaced by dreams of symbiotic fluffies eating her alive.

She misses the coffee bean nightmare now.

And after the intervention her coworkers staged regarding her caffeine addiction ended poorly, she’s not as popular at the law firm as she used to be.

Some of her coworkers have begun to wonder why their superiors went to so much effort to hire a lawyer from the other side of the country, when there are plenty of lawyers in California who aren’t coffee-addicted flakes.

Frankly, she should consider herself lucky that she isn’t already fired, but her bosses decided to give her one last chance.

Every few seconds, Michelle looks over her shoulder.

“I’m fine. I’m fine. Pax said he won’t let any harm come to me while I’m helping him. How could Korkea even know I’m in touch with Pax?”

As she takes a sip of coffee, her hand is visibly shaking.

So much in fact, that the vile brew is spilled down her front.

“For fuck’s sake!”

Michelle tosses the empty cup away, throwing her hands up in annoyance as she turns around and storms back to the convenience store.

“Well, at least I’m not wearing white.


In the saferoom, Sarul catches Taarn-tual looking at Venom.

“What’s with you?

Taarn runs a hand through his hair, sleek, shiny, the color of spider silk. Unlike his old nemesis Karan-di, whose hair looked like dusty cobwebs, Taarn actually takes care of his hair.

He’s a bit of a vain one, but not as vain as a Turifti.

“I’m just thinking about what could have been. Sometimes, I feel like I mishandled my own Klyntar situation.”

Sarul smiles reassuringly.

“Look, I get it, and so does my Klyntar. You and Venom’s Klyntar both made some mistakes there. Not every Klyntar symbiosis is as successful as them, or us. My other half went through a few ugly breakups before it met me.”

“Hey, I’ve been meaning to ask you something. Did every host your Klyntar bonded with use the name Bellikose?”

“Not all of them, no. My other was given that name by the Saingan it was once bonded to, and kept it when they parted ways.”

“Huh. So has yours bonded with an Arachnoid too?”

“Yup. The Klyntar have a notorious case of spider fever.”

Taarn shrugs with all six arms.

“Yeah, I don’t know what’s up with that.”


As Danny and Reilly watch Calvin, they hold hands.

“You ready for this, Reilly?”

“About as ready as I can be. I just don’t know how to explain it, Danny, but I feel like I need to be here.”

“Well, me and Ghost are gonna be pretty wiped after we use our ghostly wail. It’ll be good to have you and Mayday covering us.”

“You know I’ve always got your back, babe. C’mon, gimme some sugar.”

As the couple shares a kiss, Ghost clears his throat.

“Can yu too pwease keep it down? Ghost am twy-in tu wissen tu Caw.”

Danny grins.

“Sorry, buddy. But that might be our last kiss.”

“Nah, Danny. We’ve got Cal with us. With him around, it feels like everything’s gonna be alright. There might be a few bumps in the road…”

“But we’re the ChaotiX. Shit like this is our bread and butter.”

Ghost grins too, much like his owner.

“Su sabe da smoochies fow watew.”

“Like I haven’t caught you making goo-goo eyes at–”

Shush! Nu nao, Danee!”

Ghost nervously glances at Mayday.

And sighs in relief when he sees that she’s still paying attention to Calvin.

Yes, that’s who Ghost has been making goo-goo eyes at.


“So did you get everything, Venom?”

As I look down at the symbiotic fluffy, Venom nods.

“We gut it, Caw. Yu, uh… yu am gunna haf tu be cawe-fuw wif aww dem weppuns, foh.”

Sarul grins.

“Hey, you’re the ones who keep forgetting that sonics and fire only hurt your Klyntar half if you let them. At least you’ve built up some resistance to the former, but that whole bell tower experience might have played a part. The Klyntar do have a remarkable ability to adapt, and build up resistances to their weaknesses, even if they don’t know the truth about their weaknesses. We’d better hope that Carnage hasn’t become immune to sonics, or we’re all screwed like a Saingan on Dunna.”

“Owd habits die hawd, Bewwikose.”

“Actually, it’s Sarul at the moment. I’m pretending to not be a Klyntar host.”

Sarul points at the ChaotiX logo on his chest, his Klyntar still disguised as an ordinary battle suit.

“I don’t know if Carnage watches the news, but my identity’s not a secret like yours is. However, he’s a fluffy, so I like the odds of this ruse working on him. No offence, guys, don’t give me that look. He won’t be able to smell that this is a Klyntar, we used up like three cans of scent suppressant to be sure. My other felt like one wasn’t enough.

“We wuz WUNDA-IN wut wuz up wif dat. Vewy cwevew.”

I interrupt, because we’ve got even less time to chat than ever.

“Yes, it’s very clever, but talking time is over. Anyone who doesn’t want to fall on their ass should stand up right about…”

As everyone gets up, I dismiss the hard light benches with a wave of my hand.

Now. If everyone’s ready, we should move out and-- wait, where’s Vic and Scarface?”

On cue, Victor and Scarface walk in from the balcony.

The first thing I notice is that Scarface has two eyes now.

“Is that–”

“The cybernetic eye, yes. Real easy to install, Cal. Of course, Pierre has replaced his own cybernetic eyes a bunch of times. He upgraded them a lot, so he would want to make it easier.”

Scarface looks around the saferoom, an expression of wonder on his scarred face like it’s his first time seeing a saferoom.

He’s blinking a lot, clearly still adjusting to the new eye.

“Gutta wub dat pwug an pway hawd-wawe. But dis am gunna take sum gittin yoost tu.”

“Val said you should be fine after a few minutes, Soul Brother. And we can pop it out after the mission, so it won’t outdate the merch.”

“Gud, gud, cuz Scawface pwob-ab-wee nu am da onwy wun hu am yoost tu Scawface habin wun see-pwace.”

“Okay, enough of that, we don’t have time to really get going. What’s next, Cal?”

“Well, we still haven’t received word about Carnage. We could head into the sewers and attack him before he attacks, but instead…”

I smirk audaciously, looking at my COMP, pulling up a map of San Francisco on the screen.

By pressing an icon on the touch screen, the COMP projects a hologram of the map, for everyone in the room to see.

You haven’t gotten close to seeing everything a Endo-Klyn Suit can do, dear readers.

The red dots marking the Carnage attacks are on the map, but with a few taps on the touch screen, blue dots appear too.

Many of the blue dots mark every entrance to the sewers in the city.

“Let’s see how many of the pawns we can knock off the board before the king enters the fray.”


Deep in the depths of the sewers below, Carnage has the feeling that the time to strike has finally come.

He laughs the laugh of a sadistic, bloodthirsty maniac with murder on his mind.

“Sumfin wikkid dis way comes…”

Through the bond of the red Klyntar that connects him with his horrific herd, Carnage sends a wordless message out to his forces across San Francisco.

If the message could be put into words, it would go something like…

“It’s showtime.


Up above, in a fluffy shelter, one of the employees on the night shift, a woman fresh out of college, heads into the restroom to answer the call of nature, the fluffies in the cages all sleeping soundly.

After she locks the restroom door behind her, she moves to pull her pants down, but just when she hooks her thumbs on the waistband, she notices the water in the toilet bowl bubbling.

Instead of pulling her pants down, she grabs the flusher and pulls it a few times, but the toilet won’t flush.

“What the… damn it, did Jorge clog this thing again? Dude’s really gotta get some more fiber in his–”

CRASH

Then several slimy red tendrils burst out of the floor, shattering the toilet and the tiles around it.

As the employee sees what is following the tendrils up, she screams, frantically jiggling the doorknob, forgetting in her terror that it’s locked on the inside.

By the time she remembers, it’s too late to escape.


Five very brutal minutes later, the shelter is wrecked, and all but one of the employees are dead, most of them having been devoured, leaving nothing but bones and a few scraps of uniform.

The assailants didn’t bother to take their dinner out of the wrapper first.

That’s one way to get your roughage.

A couple of the employees were “lucky” enough to avoid being eaten alive, and were gutted instead, their dismembered corpses lying in large puddles of blood.

Carnage needs some, ah, “human resources” for something.

The fluffies in the cages were shaken awake after the cage doors were yanked off, and quickly force-fed chunks of red slime before they got their bearings.

They transformed in seconds, and joined the horrendous attack. Now, most of the symbiotic fluffies have fled the premises to continue their new king in red’s plan, only a dozen of them remaining in the shelter to wrap things up here.

And the young woman, now splattered with the blood of her coworkers, has the dubious honor of being the sole surviving employee.

For now.

She was only spared because Carnage needs her to do something for him, something most fluffies simply can’t do:

Leave a calling card.

The poor woman is sobbing as Carnage’s minions surround her, forcing her at tendrilpoint to paint a message on one wall, using her hand as the brush, and the blood of her coworkers as the paint.

It says:

CARNAGE RULES!

Once she puts the dot at the bottom of the exclamation mark, she looks down at the symbiotic fluffies, shaking like a leaf.

“Th-there, d-d-done. Ju-just as you s-s-s-said. So you’ll l-let me go now, right?”

The symbiotic fluffies grin hungrily as they close in, licking their lips, and they shake their heads.

Then, they pounce on her like wolves, acting as one, and begin to devour her.

The most that can be seen of the woman in the writhing mass of red slime is her hand slowly sinking as she feebly struggles in vain.

Her bloodcurdling screams are replaced with a gurgling, and then, with silence.

And as the symbiotic fluffies back away, all that’s left of the young woman is bones and scraps of cloth.

Carnage’s minions look at each other, nod, and vacate the premises, leaping out of the store through the window.

Or rather, through a big empty window frame.

The big window at the front with the shelter’s name on it was already shattered when their brethren escaped.

Does it really matter what the shelter’s name was now?


By now, attacks like this one have happened across San Francisco, a perfectly coordinated series of strikes, and the city is in an uproar, the spawn of Carnage wreaking havoc, killing every humanoid in their path, turning every fluffy they can catch.

Staining the streets red.

Naturally, the San Francisco Police Department responded promptly to this threat, and the cops are trying to fight off the symbiotic fluffies and buy time for innocent bystanders to escape.

The enemy is just laughing at the bullets.

The cops are hoping that the SWAT teams, ChaotiX, and/or military won’t take their time, but unbeknownst to the police, help has already arrived.

Strangely, some mysterious somethings, or possibly someones seem to be fighting the symbiotic fluffies and saving innocents too, but the most that can be seen of them are occasional glimpses of white blurs.

Which nobody is really paying attention to, as there are more pressing concerns right now.

Whatever those mysterious white blurs are, they’re moving so fast, it’s almost like they’re moving at the speed of light.

And they’re doing a lot more damage than those bullets are.

Then portals with slimy green rims start appearing, ChaotiX members arriving from wherever they were when the call to action came, ready to fight and/or evacuate too.

As Akira exits one portal, hopping out as he pulls the left boot of his orange and blue battle suit on, his bedroom can be seen through the portal, Venny hurriedly putting her armor back on before the portal closes. She’s still topless, but her back is facing the portal by sheer coincidence.

There’s a large scar on her back, and one hell of a story behind it.

And if Akira wasn’t wearing his battle suit, you’d see several scratches on his back, all fresh.

He winced a bit when he put his battle suit on, and tried not to let Venny see him wince, lest she start making fun of him again.

Venny isn’t a ChaotiX member, but she’s not going to let her boyfriend have fun fighting without her.

On Earth, one often merely lights a cigarette after doing what Akira and Venny were just doing.

Did you forget that the ChaotiX had drones watching San Francisco? Valerie sent the call out on Calvin’s behalf the moment Carnage’s forces made their big entrance.

However, it’s only humanoid ChaotiX members joining the fray this time. Save the fluffies with Calvin’s squad, the rest of the ChaotiX’s fluffies are sitting this one out.

It’s for their own safety, and everyone else’s.

At least there’s still plenty of fluffies here, right?

Several of the symbiotic fluffies have already run into the ChaotiX’s traps, set up by Jack earlier, and those fluffies are trapped by spherical force fields, helplessly floating in the air, shrieking and writhing as the Klyntar biomass is being purged from their bodies by the traps, through the means of sonic vibrations.

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

This would leave the fluffies underneath unharmed, save some ear damage, perhaps, and that can be treated with ease.

But Carnage anticipated the possibility of his enemies attempting to force the biomass off his minions.

That’s how he lost last time. Venom utilised a church bell to seperate Woody from his red Klyntar, which almost killed both Klyntar.

But they both survived. They both adapted.

What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.

As those innocent fluffies are being purged of their infection by the vibrations, the Carnage Klyntar won’t give those bodies up without a fight, struggling to remain bonded, fighting against a weakness that Carnage doesn’t know is psychosomatic with all of its might.

And the really terrifying thing is that the Klyntar is winning.

Some of the monstrous fluffies are attacking the traps, attempting to shut them down and free their captured brethren.

But many members of the ChaotiX are packing sonic cannons, and are driving the enemy away from those traps.

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

And over on the roof of the local Faucheuse Foundation branch, Calvin watches the mayhem unfolding with his squad, including the addition of Venom.

Calvin scowls, clenching his fists.

“Welp. Looks like the party’s started without us.”

Marley scowls too.

“We nu shud keep Cawnage wait-in.”

Venom nods.

“An DIS time… we nu am jus gunna num Cawnage HEAD.”

Part 1

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