I'm also in the process of compiling notes and changes for DtD Book 2 and the upcoming 1.5 version. With a team of editors and playtesters, the bugs should be out of both soon enough.
“Kill everyone?!” Tilda said, stepping away from Arma. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
“Just what it sounds like. They've come to take over. Again. They're still a bit angry about last time.” Arma smiled and shrugged, stepping away from the window. “It's a tragedy that no one is going to stop them.”
“T-the police will-”
“The police?” Arma laughed. “That's a good joke. It would take more than a few overweight men in bad uniforms to stop the Verbesserte. An army wouldn't be enough.”
“Humans, enhanced by the secret masters. They usually go completely insane, but in this case that doesn't make them less useful. Berserkers are just what the secret masters want this time, not slaves.” Arma looked down in the trunk. “There are only a few weapons humans have ever built that might stand a chance at stopping them.”
Tilda followed her gaze. “What do you- that thing? It's just a radio or something.” She stopped. “Besides, that could just be an accident or something outside! That story is insane!”
“You could always go and look,” Arma suggested. “But if you do that, I'd take Krieg with you. Otherwise you'll just be another victim.”
“Just take this Krieg thing and deal with it yourself! I'm not some soldier-”
“Yes you are!” Arma said, cutting her off. “You have such a powerful fighting ability that I abandoned my original mission just to see what you were! Don't lie to yourself like that.” She sighed and continued in a softer tone. “Besides, I can't use Krieg. It can only be used by a certain type of person, and there aren't many of them left.”
“So you're just using me.” Tilda grumbled. Arma smiled.
“That's one way to look at it. But you don't have to listen to me. You could stay here and hide. Or you could run away. If you run hard enough, maybe you'll survive longer than most people. Of course, you could also fight and perhaps save people instead of abandoning them...” Arma trailed off. Tilda groaned.
“Fine. I'll go look just so I can prove you're crazy.”
Tilda rode down the street on her bicycle, still hearing the sharp crack of thunderous explosions and, once, the crackle of smaller firearms. She grew increasingly nervous. She had wrapped Krieg up in a blanket and shoved it in her bike's basket. She wasn't sure what she was going to do.
She was out of breath when she saw the web. Tilda wasn't sure if it was because she had ridden so hard and so fast or because the sight just took her breath away. There must have been a dozen people wrapped up in it. Most of them weren't struggling. And the monster – the Verbesserte – it was real and more awful than she had imagined.
The monster crawled up the web like it was just creeping along a floor. It approached one of the struggling forms and loomed over it for a moment before lunging, sinking its long fangs into the helpless figure. Tilda's eyes went wide as the struggling stopped after a moment. The figure seemed to deflate, gore dripping from seams in the silk coffin to land on the asphalt with terrible wet slaps.
Tilda's bike almost turned over as it hit the edge of a pothole. A pothole three feet across. Blasted into the earth by a cannon. Perhaps the word crater was more appropriate. She stopped the bike, tearing her eyes off the hunched form of the Verbesserte and looking around. The street was a battleground, covered in wreckage and the dead.
Two police cars were just flaming wrecks now. The flames illuminated what must have been a dozen dead, some police officers but mostly just people. Tilda tried not to look at the faces. She knew she'd recognize someone if she did. She could see, in her mind's eye, the destruction on this street filling the whole city. Tens of thousands of the dead.
She wasn't going to let that happen. She grabbed the blanket-wrapped form of Krieg and took it out. It was surprisingly heavy, all metal and something like stone that she couldn't identify. A strap was free on the back, connecting it to two other smaller boxes.
“How the hell do I use this thing?” Tilda asked, under her breath.
“You have to put it on, first,” Arma said. She was just there in the street beside her. It wasn't possible that she had kept up with the bike. Especially not in those heels. Tilda didn't have time to question her on her mode of transit, though.
“What?” She looked it over. “I don't-” Arma stepped in and pushed the device to Tilda's waist, strapping it around her like a belt. Tilda looked down at the weapon.
“There. That should keep it aligned with your chakras. Now turn it on.”
“How do I-” Arma sighed.
“It's human technology. It's very simple. Just turn the knob, find a station, and then the device will do the rest.” Arma stepped back, lifting up her white dress to avoid debris. “Just let me get a bit away first. I don't want to be that close to an orgone release like that.”
“An- what? A what release?”
“Don't worry. You'll be fine. Just find a station!” Arma got to a safe distance then turned around. “And you might want to hurry. I think the Verbesserte has spotted you.” Tilda looked up at the web. The monster was turning around to look at her. The turret on its back fired randomly into the street like a twitching muscle. The shell crashed through a window and into a shoestore, and the store exploded into flames, loafers and sneakers flying out like they were running from the destruction.
Tilda looked down at the device on her waist. There was a single knob on it. She turned it up, and there was a click. The eagle's eye started glowing a deep blue color.
“It still has power...” Tilda said, surprised. After being locked up in a trunk for more than five decades, the thing still had some charge in whatever it used for batteries. Static hissed from a speaker hidden somewhere on it.
“You have to find a station!” Arma repeated. “Make it fast!” Tilda spun the dial up. How was this thing even supposed to find a station when it didn't have an antenna? Then she stumbled onto the music, skipping right past it, just catching a note in the static. Tilda dialed it back slowly, trying to find that station.
“Come on, come onnnn....” she looked up at the monster. It was coming closer. The turret was spinning to fix on where she stood. The static cleared. Music started playing. Was that Wagner? It sounded like his style, but Tilda didn't recognize the lyrics.
“Great! Now flip the switch!” Arma was obviously quite happy, nearly bouncing.
“What switch?!” Tilda looked over the box.
“It's on the control box on your left! You have to lift up the cover!” Tilda grabbed for the smaller control box on her left hip. She felt a hinge. She lifted the protective cover and toggled the switch. She immediately felt something, like a surge of static electricity all up and down her spine. It wasn't a bad feeling, but it was extremely disconcerting.
The eagle's eye flashed. The entire device started to glow blue, the bright color of the sea and sky. The light washed over her, and she could see streams of it solidify out of thin air, like there was something in the light. Blue strips of some material she couldn't identify but looked more like leather than anything else entwined around her body and pulled tight, fusing with each other to form a bodysuit that covered everything but her head.
The Verbesserte fired. The shell slammed into the shell of blue light surrounding Tilda, exploding as if it had hit a solid wall. Tilda raised her arms to protect herself, but there wasn't even a rush of hot wind. The shell had almost dissolved rather than exploding properly.
“Wow...” Tilda whispered. The shell of light collapsed in on her as she said that, forming harder armored plates, complete with small wings, fins on her arms and legs, and a full-head helmet. For a moment things went black, but then a display in the helmet turned on, and she could see again, except now everything was overlaid with a display. It might have even been showing her useful information. She didn't know, since she didn't speak German and that's what the helmet had been programmed with.
The armor plates turned bright red, with black and white edging. Tilda felt stronger. Really strong, in fact. She flexed her arm and felt the armor and bodysuit move with her. It didn't feel restricting at all. And she could see like it was daylight, despite the dim lighting of the few remaining streetlamps.
“Now destroy the Verbesserte!” Arma commanded. She pointed at the monster sitting in its web. “You have the power to fight it!”
“How?” She looked down at herself. “Is there a gun or something?”
“You'll figure it out. It's very intuitive.” Arma shrugged. Tilda groaned. That was a lie. The strange woman clearly just had no idea how the thing actually worked, despite all the other knowledge she had displayed. Then the air was split by a crack of thunder. Something slammed into Tilda's chest. She was thrown back into a brick wall with enough force to smash through it and into the room beyond.
Tilda gasped for air. She was alive. How the hell had she survived that? Her ribs were sore, but it should have gone right through her. There was just a smudge and a crack in her armor. She stood up shakily.
“That was... something,” she said. She touched her side. It hurt, but it only felt like a bruise. She stepped outside again. “Okay, that's a start, but still don't know how I'm supposed to kill it just because I can take a couple of hits.”
“Get out of the way!” Arma shouted. Tilda jumped out of the way. A shell smashed into the spot she had been standing. Tilda let out a sigh of relief. Then she realized she hadn't finished jumping. Her feet hadn't been on the ground for several seconds now. She looked down.
“I'm flying!” Tilda said. “I'm flying!” She smiled inside the helmet. “This is amazing!” She soared upwards, above the low buildings of the city street. She could almost see the entire town from here. She felt free.
A cannon shot streaked past her, disrupting her rapture at flight. The Verbesserte was still below her, and she had to find a way to use Krieg to kill it. She looked herself over. She had wings, armor, speed... but she didn't have a way to swat a spider. Then, as she thought about weapons, the fins on her forearms suddenly lengthened and shone with a blue light as they forged themselves into sharp-edged blades.