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"Hey, hurry up with that already!"

"Don't rush me. You know 'non-existent' research facilities keep these pressure doors locked up tight."

".....fine, whatever. So tell me what again we're looking for in this decrepit laboratory, Griff?"

"Just let me concentrate, Trask. I'll give you the answer to your repetitive question later..........! Got it!"

The pressure lock opened, revealing a long, narrow hallway. Griff and Trask had wandered around in an abandoned research laboratory for what seemed like hours. But they were confident now that they found what they were looking for. They proceeded down the corridor anxiously.

"Anyway, you remember that weapon I told you about before I dragged you out here?" Asked Griff to Trask.

"Sorta." Trask answered with a not-so-sure tone.

"Two-hundred years or so ago, I'd heard the ultimate weapon that mithril ever infused was built. Legends say this area was where it rests to this day. I decided to see it for myself. Must have used a lot. Not a trace of any mithril around this place for miles. But it was also said to possess enough power to freely manipulate any living being. Or something like that."

"Hmm. Some weapon. But isn't that just some silly rumor?"

"Possibly. But why would a lab be in the middle of nowhere? Either way, hopefully something here will make the trip worthwhile."

"I hope so. I'm getting tired of this crap."

The duo came to another pressure door, but it was cracked just enough for them to slip through. Inside revealed a wide room containing several control panels, display screens, and a large crystalline mass within the center.

"What is THAT?" Asked a bewildered Trask, obviously referring to the massive diamond-like mass.

"That........maybe it's inside. The weapon. Or it's just some kind of mithril substitute. Could be anything. Whatever it is, it's gotta be important."

"Maybe some of these monitors still work. Only one way to find out."

And by finding out, Griff immediately started pressing buttons and flipping switches at random. Nothing was happening. Trask sighed. While he never actually cared to be here in the first place, his was quite fascinated by the machines that lay before him.

"Let's see...........this there, then that," Trask smirked. While not a technological genius, he knew enough to get a few things to turn on. Immediately a large monitor filled with scrolling text lit up. He read aloud:

"'Project [SHADE]: At long last we have found what we've been searching for...we have at last unearthed the ultimate secret. What we have found is the ultimate weapon, that controlled 'them' over a century ago. The ultimate weapon, found at the ultimate price. More than a few of our researchers seemed to loose their sanity upon even gazing at it. Mithril could only corrupt by touch, but this? This nightmare is truly magnificent. It's said to be beyond human control, but like our ancestors that created this, we strive to study this specimen and give ourselves more power, more than any other amount of mithril can give.

But alas, we have grown old, and restless. My mind itself my be slowly suffing from [SHADE]'s effects. My willpower may no longer hold at my frail age. I fear the rest of us remaining may not live long enough to fully analyze the greatest finding mankind could ever know. Should anyone uncover my notes and findings, I ask that you do not touch the capsule. As the analysis is incomplete, unexpected........could occur ..............................The............. befell.........................137....ago......................'"

Griff let out a heaving sigh.

"Well, dang. The rest of the data is corrupted."

"That is most interesting." Trask said as he stared in awe. "The weapon that controlled 'them' over a century ago...? Hmmm. 137 'years' ago perhaps. Don't think I could fill in the rest. No telling how old this stuff is."

"Ah well. Shall we continue?"

"Uh, Griff? The log said NOT to touch it. I'm pretty sure this is legit THE weapon you were talking about."

"I'm sure. 'Project Shade' huh? I'm getting chill bumps at the thought of what I could do with it!"

"I'm pretty sure YOUR going insane. I had just thought this was some myth. But I've got a bad feeling. Maybe we should heed the advice given and just leave."

"I think it's you who's insane. As far as I've come I'm not going back." Griff started smiling creepily with anticipation.

"No way. I'm not letting you near it. Back off!"

"Outta my way, Trask!"

"Get back!"

Trask and Griff immediately locked arms. After a minute's struggle, they backed off. Griff drew his cutter. Trask pulled the R-100 railgun from his pack, but knew it wasn't loaded. Griff took to the offensive. Trask intercepted the vertical blow using his own weapon like a staff.

"For the last time! Back down!"

Griff laughed. "I believe you need to back down!"

With a forward kick, he sent Trask flying. He connected with the wall and fell to the ground. As Griff proceeded to finish the battle, he looked up. His hysterical smile melted into a look of fear. Trask turned over and noticed what had happened. He didn't hit the wall- it was the capsule holding Project Shade. The force of the impact caused it to crack. And it begun to spread. Griff blinked a few times, as if breaking out of some kind of trance.



"I suddenly think your right. Now that it IS opening, I don't know about this anymore!"

"Then lets get-"

Trask was cut off by the capsule shattering. Pieces of strange crystal tinkled around the room. What lay in the middle of what was a giant diamond, now was a black, shadowy mass with a single protrusion from the top of it. A barrel maybe? Or perhaps a decorative horn?

Griff stood motionless in shock. "What kind of weapon is that? Some sort of......cannon or something? The lack of lighting in here stinks. I can barely see three feet in front of me...."

"Beats me......I suppose that wasn't as bad as I thought. Those notes made it sound scary. I was expecting some bazooka or light sword with a will of its own, like Soul Edge from that ancient video game series."

"Me too...only weapon that really scares me is the trinity. Glad it's not that."

Trask turned around and sighed with relief. "Phew. Haha. That was suspenseful. Getting worked up for nothing. It's just a weapon. Haha..."

"Uhhhhh.......Trask?" Griff's expression of shock returned. Might wanna turn back around. That's n-not a weapon! It's alive!"

Trask turned. Much to his surprise, it WAS alive. Two red eyes were facing to two of them. What they thought was merely a gun began to stand up.

"I'm getting outta here!"

"I second that!"

In their panic and in the darkness, the struggled to find the door they entered.

"Where's the exit? WHERE'S THE EXIT! *gasp*

Backing against the wall, Griff faced the center. Nothing was there. He gripped his cutter tightly. His visor was starting to fog up. He looked around for any signs of the creature.

"Trask?" He spoke with a hoarse voice. "Trask? Trask!?"

No answer.

He began to sidestep against the wall in hopes of finding the exit. Maybe he got out already? He'd never made any sounds.

His foot bumped into something. Griff looked down to see the mangled body of his friend. He immediately began to freak out in panic. He held his weapon in front of him. Glancing to his left, he saw a faint line of light. The exit! He ran toward the light with haste. As he neared the door, an excruciating pain so intense flooded his body. He couldn't make a sound, not even a gurgle. He looked down, only to see a large blade-like hand through his midsection. And as he fell to the ground, everything fell silent and went black....

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