Armored Core (Part 11)


Part 11 – Things that go ‘Bump’ in the Night


As they patrolled the alien streets of the human city, Aina took a moment to reflect on how she’d even ended up in the current situation. Although the minotaur wasn’t one for impulsive action – especially in comparison to her more fiery sister – she still felt the itch to do something. How the humans in their armored shells could stand it, she had no idea. Between the eerily fluid motions of the wolf automaton they’d been issued, and the oddly quiet flying machine that occasionally was seen overhead, she was more unsettled by the human’s mechanical minions than she was willing to admit. Although, to be fair, an unequipped and unarmored human stood very little chance in a physical confrontation with even the weakest of her kind… So perhaps it balanced out.

Still, the silence was unacceptable, and Tamara had the look of someone who could all too easily get lost in her own head. The zombie dragon had silently latched on to Bass, as the human had taken the time to speak to her at length, and it made sense for the two to work together. Her own assignment had been a matter of practicality, and she found herself hoping the two of them would continue to see each other once this was over.

That having been said, neither of them were particularly capable when it came to sensing the presence of fellow mamono, at least, not on the scale, or with the sensitivity needed to act as proper trackers. There were rumbles of combat in the distance, like muted thunder, punctuated by occasional crashing sounds of more powerful explosions. She couldn’t help but feel they’d been paired off with their respective humans more as a goodwill gesture… But still, it was a practical decision, and if they encountered anyone non-hostile, there would (hopefully) be less intimidation and more communication…


Linda couldn’t remember her thoughts being this clear before… Sure, she’d been able to think, but most of her memories up until recently had been a blur. She remembered her mother, growing up in the compound with the other zombies, and being given rudimentary training with a polearm, but it was all as if she was watching herself go through the motions, shambling from task to task with no real thought given to what exactly she was being trained for.

Then someone had given the order, and she’d been marched off with the other zombies, and arranged into groups, told to stand in the middle of the compound’s courtyard, and wait. She’d stood silently, not really thinking about much, when the gray skies had darkened overhead, and complex purple glowing patterns had appeared all around her group. The entire… were they supposed to be an army? Had then been wrenched from where they’d been to… here? And that’s when the real change had happened. Her mind began to clear, and she’d found herself still in formation, but now standing in a moonlit field, facing a veritable wall of… She didn’t know what they were, but the whole situation was shocking, confusing, and stressful, all at the same time.

The things in front of her formation formed an unbreakable wall, squat, armored carriage looking things, with long barreled… cannon? jutting from their hulls, and golems of an unknown make sanding in the gaps. There were humans too, but they looked tough, each was wearing a mottled green and tan uniform, and they had metal bars strapped to their limbs. Or, that was her best guess, as she really didn’t know what they had planned with all that extra stuff strapped onto them. The helmets and guns were a big clue, though. Especially since all the weapons they wielded were aimed in her direction, and all she had was a lousy halberd…

And then a voice came from the mass of armor in front of her squad:


Well, that settled it, she was not going to just charge at people who very clearly intended to shoot her…

And apparently, her newfound clarity was shared by some, but not all of the mamono around her…

If the hoarse growing scream from off to her right was any indication, things were about to get ugly. A towering monstrosity she hadn’t noticed before – When exactly did we get chimera’s issued to us… wait. How do I know that’s a chimera? But there was no time to contemplate the jumble inside her skull, before everything turned to chaos.


It had been several tens of minutes, and Selena was getting antsy. The wurm was grateful for the conversation the other women in her group offered, but the vibrations coming through the ground were concerning, to say the least. The distant rumbles reminded her of the ground near an active volcano. They’d met up with another group of humans, operating more of that inscrutable human machinery, this time small (relatively) armored carriages, with a short barreled cannon in a metal box on top. They seemed like childish versions of something bigger, at least to her inexperienced eye, but clearly deadly in their own right, as they cruised the darkened streets, shining the lights they carried into darkened alleys.

It seemed the humans of this world were well versed in the business of war, and had made their machines as varied and capable as any mamono. Her hat wasn’t much use at night, so she’d stored it away, and used her keen vision to look into darkened spaces between the stonelike buildings, searching for errant mamono, or… anything really. This was rapidly getting boring, and she could sense more vibrations, the faint patter of feet, and the deeper rumble of… something else, just far enough away that she couldn’t localize them yet, but getting closer.

Their conversation was getting stale, so she decided to get the other’s input on what she was feeling.

“Hey, do you sense that?”

“Sense what, ‘Lena?” Red asked.

“That vibration. There are several people headed this way. Can’t get a count yet, but it’s not just one. Something big came down as well. Not with the others, but close.”

“Sorry, You’re the snake dragon, I can’t find anything in this maze,” Aggrandize commented. “Red and I agree there’s something coming, but until we run into them, we’re basically blind.”

“Even with the sensors in your armor, Corporal?” Maria asked. The living armor had been holding herself at the ready, but had yet to draw her weapon.

“I agree with her.” Red replied. “George’s sensors are good, but not that good. ‘Lena’s probably the best long range sensor we’ve got.”

Of course, it was at that moment that a zombie casually strolled around the corner of the building they were about to pass. Clearly, the mamono was talking to someone currently out of sight, as they could all here one half of her conversation:

“Look, I’m telling you, us undeads get the short end of the stick. So what if we can sleep for years on a trickle of mana, that’s no excuse to get treated like some sort of creepy-“ Whatever she’d intended to say next died on her lips, as her conversation partner, a ghoul, along with another zombie, and a baphomet, of all things, also stepped into the open.

The two parties froze for a moment, until the ghoul broke the silence.

“Well, this is awkward.”



As soon as she’d seen the zombie next to her drop her halberd, and make a break for it, Carrie had followed suit. Whatever was going on, she wanted, needed to be anywhere but here. The threatening order to surrender hadn’t helped, but she could see enough of her fellow zombies complying that it felt like there was a target on her back for not following suit. Thankfully, the chaos of the rampaging chimeras covered her escape, and she soon found herself running, and then walking beside the zombie from earlier. They were far from the field where they’d arrived in this world, and were now in a small forested area.

“So, you ran too?” Were the first words out of her new companion’s mouth.

“It felt like the only thing to do. The humans here were waiting for us, and I had no orders.”

“Same. But isn’t that odd? I can think now, or, think clearly. We need to find someone of a different species.”


“I think someone’s been controlling us. I don’t know how, but I can guess why. We’re zombies, thinking isn’t normally something we do much, and we’re extremely hard to kill.”

“You’re also not normally this savvy.” Came a new voice.

In a blur of motion, a new mamono appeared, crawling headfirst down the trunk of a nearby tree, before bounding over, and crouching a few feet away. Her deep brown skin and crimson color of her arms and legs marking her as a ghoul. Just like the zombies, she was lightly armored, with joint protectors, and a clamshell protecting her torso, augmenting her species’ traditional loincloth. She took a moment to look over the two zombies, and their more extensive armor, still made of hardened leather with silk reinforced joints, but including an armored skirt, forearm protectors, and sturdy boots.

“Wow, they really wanted you to survive. Name’s Deana, by the way.”

“I’m Linda.”


“So, now that we know each other, care to explain why you’re so smart? No offense, but like Linda said, zombies aren’t known for their deep thoughts…”

“If we knew the answer, we’d share, but I can make a few guesses.” Linda said slowly.

“Well look at you! You must be the smartest zombie in this new world!”

“You don’t need to be rude,” Carrie said quietly. “We know you’re just as scared as we are.”

At this, the ghoul had the grace to look abashed, and looked away awkwardly. “I’m not gonna ask how you know that… But fine, I get it. And you’re right.” After a moment, she continued her questioning; “How did you feel the moment we crossed?”

“I remember a lot of things, but its like I had my mind wrapped in a weresheep blanket. I knew what was going on, but couldn’t bring myself to care all that much. It was pretty basic stuff: ‘Go here’, ‘Do this’, stuff like that. Until one day it was ‘Go here, and stand still until further instructed’. So I did, and there were lots of zombies, and the sky got these weird patterns on it, and then I was here.”

“Thanks for the backstory, but that wasn’t what I asked. How did you feel?” There was an almost desperate undertone to the ghoul’s words.

“Feel? Not much… We don’t normally feel too strongly about anything, now that I think about it… I think we’re supposed to ‘go after men’, or something vague like that, but I’m more curious about what they even look like.”

“Well, this isn’t good…” Deana said sourly.

“What isn’t?”

“When I was training on the other side, we were instructed to chase and attack anything that threatened us. We were trained to work alone, or in groups, to ‘let our feral natures loose’. When we gathered to be brought here, my mind was filled with a reddish haze, and all I could feel was… hungry.”

“But you don’t feel it anymore, right?” Carrie asked.

“No, and now that I have time to think, I don’t like where my thoughts are going. We need to find someone else, a mamono who wasn’t influenced on the other side.”

The two zombies shared a glance, since this had almost been their plan exactly.

“But were there any others in the courtyard?” Linda wondered.

“I could swear I saw a baphomet or two near my group, but maybe that was to control us…” she finished darkly.

“Looks like that’s where we start then. We find a baphomet-“

“And beat the answers out of her?”

“And ask nicely… We’re on our own here, the last thing we need is to start fighting with each other.”

“You seriously think the humans won’t leave us alone?” Carrie asked.

“I don’t know what to think. The fact that there are humans here is already a surprise, but our first sight of them was on the other side of their weapons, so we need to be smart about this. There were chimeras back there too, and they looked… wrong. Any impression our group as a whole has made on the humans of this world is already bad, so-“

Linda paused, as a loud “GRRAAAAGGGH!” cut into their conversation, and a flapping mass of something flew overhead, while an explosive blast rumbled in the distance. The creature was trailing fire, ichor, and fell out of sight, into the cityscape they could see through the trees. It must have struck a building on the way down, as there was a faint crash, and the rumble of falling masonry.

The next sound that filled the silence was a panting wheeze, along with the thudding of hooves, as someone came running towards them, before leaning against a tree, gasping in an attempt to catch her breath.

“Thirteen… Come… Back…” she wheezed, before pulling a canteen off of her belt, and drinking deeply. It was a baphomet. The short, goatlike monster was wearing light armor like that of the others, but also had a belt practically festooned with equipment. Her traditional scythe was stored on her back, and she was considerably taller, and more “mature” than the more childlike depictions of her kind. It took the new mamono a few seconds to catch her breath, and then she looked blearily at the others, before stiffening in surprise.

“Oh, hello. Who might you be?”


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One thought on “Armored Core (Part 11)

  1. I guess most of the monster girls get bored doing patrols with their groups. Better than running into more hostiles though.

    Also, a new group of stray turncoats fleeing both oppositions. Wonder how they’ll fare.

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