7-4: …LIKE STINGRAYS TO HEAVEN - Bingobong (2024)

LOCATION: VIOLENCE, THE SEVENTH LAYER OF HELL

Exiting the lobby, Pearl and Marina found themselves in a small bunker-like room, decorated with the same headache-inducing black and white tiled patterned walls as the labyrinth from the beginning of the layer.

“So ‘Rina…” Pearl started. “If the first section of Violence was for people that committed violence against others, and the next was for people that commit violence on themselves, what’s the next section of Violence for?”

Fearfully, Marina pulled up her computer to search.

“V-violence against… God.”

“Like, the actual big man upstairs? But, God can’t be killed, right?”

“It’s meant to be more metaphorical, like, against God’s intent. Sinners here are forced to stand on blistering hot sand in an endless desert for, as per usual, all eternity.”

“So what were these sinners guilty of?”

“Once again, for going against the natural law God ordered, so blasphemers, zoophiles, and… formerly…

Marina gulped.

…hom*osexuals.”

“YOU MEAN WE’RE GONNA BE STUCK HERE WHEN WE DIE ON THE MORTAL PLANE BECAUSE WE’RE GAY?!?!” The shorter inkling exclaimed.

“Nononono! Calm down!” The taller octoling pulled her girlfriend closer to her chest to calm her down. “According to records I obtained, at an unknown date in the 21st century, most of the hom*osexuals ascended in a white light from this layer, so we sure as hell won’t end up here.”

“Okay… okay…” Pearl calmed down with heavy labored breathing.

“Speaking of which, we should get a move on. Let’s go.” Marina said, walking towards the crawlspace.

Making their way through the crawlspace, a sudden thought crossed Pearl’s mind.

“Hey, you think we’re gonna see that red robot again?”

“The Guttertanks?”

“No, the smaller faster one.”

“Oh, I doubt it, unless it knows how to rebuild itself with one arm.”

“That’s fair.”

Upon opening the doors to the bunker, Pearl and Marina looked before them, and then directly up at what they saw.

“KREEEEEEAAAAREEAEEEARRRR!!!”

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=15UAEZcXyiI

1000-THR “EARTHMOVER”

////////////////////////////////////////////

A massive, titanic, charcoal black quadrapedal war machine stood before them, its six white dots for eyes peering back down at the cephalopods. It lifted its rod-like arm, charged with lightning, ready to obliterate the minuscule creatures beneath it while they’re still struck with awe, when it was struck by a blast from another of its kind.

“LET’S MOVE, NOW!!” Pearl said, grabbing Marina’s hand before they both ran across the blood-soaked soil while the gigantic guns on the torso of the machine rained bullets and railcannon shots upon them.

VIOLENCE /// CLIMAX:

…LIKE ANTENNAS TO HEAVEN

7-4: …LIKE STINGRAYS TO HEAVEN - Bingobong (1)

Using their zipcasters, Pearl and Marina scaled the front right leg of the Earthmover, where they were ambushed by two streetcleaners.

Pearl dodge rolled to gun one down with her dualies while Marina shoulder-bashed the other, knocking it off the Earthmover.

Using the exhaust vents to bounce them towards the war machine’s back left thigh, Pearl and Marina entered a small control room for the valves that circulated the blood through the machine. Marina found and pulled down a switch, causing the valves to temporarily open and leak blood from the machine, serving as platforms for them to ink and jump on to get on the exterior of the main body while a sentry fired high-accuracy shots at them before Pearl crushed it with a roller.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NDDHJYLg35c

A Guttertank came around the corner and fired a rocket at Pearl, which she dodged and fired at it with her blaster while Marina finished it off with a burst bomb.

As they moved through a hallway lined with machinery, Pearl noticed something about Marina.

“Marina, you were all quiet on the way here, somethin’ on your mind bae?” Pearl asked

“…Yeah, actually.”

“What?”

“When I was still in the octarian army, I was tasked with the construction of a colossal machine such as this one…”

“Really?”

“Yeah, only it was modeled after an octopus. 7 limbs for traversal, and one capable of firing a stingray laser strong enough to reach the crust of the very earth.

And it was designed to destroy all of Inkopolis.”

“Dear cod… what happened to it?”

“I was working on it during the fight between Agent 3 and my leader, DJ Octavio. Halfway through production, the DJ’s machine was hijacked and began blasting the Calamari Inkantation, which broke my shackles and allowed me to break free from the underground and, well, meet you~” Marina finished with a smile.

Pearl smiled back, then went back to asking questions.

“Is it still there?”

“I… I don’t know… but if it is, I can only hope it’s too rusted to finish…”

“… Sorry for asking, I-“

“No, no, it’s okay.”

“At least it wasn’t as bad as the last time you had a flashback, eh?”

“Yeah…”

——

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KoXRgYGP-nc

After dealing with the Gutterman, Pearl and Marina walked out and saw the horrific sight before them. The ground was comprised of solid corpses, charred black with soot and smoke as the air rings with the sound of gunfire and explosions. Buildings crumble as bombs are triggered, while searchlights point at the angry sky, lighting up the war zone. Among the fallen buildings was a large, wide river of boiling blood, filled with the squirming bodies of murderers, war-makers and tyrants.

VIOLENCE /// SECOND:

LIGHT UP THE NIGHT

“Dear cod… is this what turf wars were like for humans, ‘Rina?” Pearl asked, awed and horrified by the carnage.

However, Pearl never got her answer.

She looked back at her girlfriend, only to find her frozen, her pupils were shrunk so much that her eyes looked almost like they were whited out. Then, she slumped to the floor with her hands on the sides of her head as she shook violently and tears began to fill her eyes.

“Marina?! Nonononono! Not again! Speak to me!” Pearl cried fruitlessly as she got down on her knees to hold Marina up.

Marina’s visions came flooding through her mind and eyes, hitting her like a triple splashdown. She relived the moments of being the top soldier in the octarian army, hearing the guttural screams of the inklings she’s butchered like tuna, seeing her comrades die in her arms, the sleepless nights in the bunkers from all the constant explosions of splat bombs, and the squelching of the guts of her enemies in her hands. All of these memories continued, flashing in and out as she wailed in agony at the sight of her gruesome visions that she so desperately tried to keep hidden.

Pearl, seeing as nothing she tried to snap Marina out of her visions worked, gave into pressure and kissed Marina on her lips.

Slowly, Marina’s visions went from her time in the military to when Pearl was in her life as her pupils returned to normal size, she relived the moment where she and Pearl first met on Mount Nantai, them starting a band together, the magical feeling of their first kiss, them hosting the news at Inkopolis square, breaking 8 out of the deepsea metro, and climbing the tower of order together.

Marina finally snapped back to reality, and pulled Pearl closer into the kiss.

——

Marina cringed at the memory of Pearl being so distressed by her episode, that one was almost too much.

“Hey, ‘Rina, you know that no matter what you’ve done in the past, I’ll always love you, right?”

“Right.”

“Good. It’s important to know that.”

“KREEEEEEAAAAREEAEEEARRRR!!!”

As if it detected them by their conversation, the Earthmover lifted its arm and thrusted it into its side. Marina and Pearl jumped back from eachother as the spear-like appendage passed by them, then ran towards the vent above one of the legs which avoiding bullets fired from the additional guns on it’s head and body. Two bombshells landed as they reached the top of the upper left leg, with each releasing a Guttertank.

Immediately, one dashed forward to punch Marina, but she ducked under and stuck her leg out to trip the greater machine before shooting the gas tank on it’s back with her squeezer, Pearl just spammed burst bombs at the other while keeping distance from the freeze frame rockets it shot.

Entering a warehouse, Pearl and Marina were ambushed by a Malicious Face and two Mannequins. Marina circled around the Malicious Face while firing at it with her undercover brella to block the fireballs, then jumped and drop kicked it in the face when it charged up a laser blast. Pearl ducked and weaved under and over the swipes and strikes the Mannequins preformed, making them retreat and climb onto the walls opposite of each other and threw a homing orb. Pearl jumped and did the splits midair, kicking both of the orbs and deflecting them back at the lesser demons.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=f0k3ty4AFnE

Jumping out of the window, the cephalopods realized that they were in a town, located on the top of the Earthmover’s back.

“Are there… people here?” Pearl asked.

“Considering how we’re in Hell, I doubt it. But… maybe there used to be while this machine was still on the surface?” Marina replied.

“But why would people need to live on this thing?” Pearl asked again.

Instead of having her question answered, the Earthmover, sensing their presence, turned its neck a hundred and eighty degrees to have it face its back. The light in its 6 eyes shined brighter, now acting like searchlights. Pearl and Marina took cover behind one of the buildings to avoid detection.

Further into the city, Marina finds an alleyway illuminated by a faint red light, with a book at the end on a pedestal. She motioned Pearl over and cautiously moved to the pedestal. Marina picked up the book, looked at Pearl, who nodded, and opened it to see its contents.

THIS IS THE ONLY WAY IT COULD HAVE ENDED.

WAR NO LONGER NEEDED ITS ULTIMATE PRACTICIONER. IT HAD BECOME A SELF-SUSTAINING SYSTEM. MAN WAS CRUSHED UNDER THE WHEELS OF A MACHINE CREATED TO CREATE THE MACHINE TO CRUSH THE MACHINE. SAMSARA OF CUT SINEW AND CRUSHED BONE. DEATH WITHOUT LIFE. NULL OUROBOROS. ALL THAT REMAINED IS WAR WITHOUT REASON.

A MAGNUM OPUS. A COLD TOWER OF STEEL. A MACHINE BUILT TO END WAR IS ALWAYS A MACHINE BUILT TO CONTINUE WAR. YOU WERE BEAUTIFUL, OUTSTRETCHED LIKE ANTENNAS TO HEAVEN. YOU WERE BEYOND YOUR CREATORS. YOU REACHED OUT FOR GOD, AND YOU FELL. NONE WERE LEFT TO SPEAK YOUR EULOGY. NO FINAL WORDS, NO CONCLUDING STATEMENT. NO POINT. PERFECT CLOSURE.

T H I S I S T H E O N L Y W A Y I T S H O U L D H A V E E N D E D .

“Well now, that’s just a waste of paper if you ask me.” Pearl remarked, seeing the pages of the book blank.

“But… I heard a voice… speaking to me… did you hear it too?” Marina asked, unnerved.

“…I think I heard something… but I couldn’t understand what it was saying…”

“Hmm….”

Marina closed the book and placed it on the pedestal before continuing into the city.

Heading into a central plaza, Pearl and Marina find-

1000-THR DEFENSE SYSTEM

//////////////////////////////////////////////

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=v0Ysqozu9V4

The security system was compromised of the main component being a tall pillar with a cyan orb on top. To its sides were two laser sighted mounted rocket launchers, two mortar cannons and two antennas.

Pearl immediately tossed a splat bomb into one of the mortars with Marina throwing one into the other shortly after. In retaliation, the main component began to continuously fire a cyan beam that began to follow Pearl and Marina. The Earthmover finally spotted the cephalopods and lifted its arm upward and thrusted it towards Marina, who jumped back and punched a homing ball of hell energy fired from an antenna into a missle turret. Pearl dove under the laser beam and took out an antenna with her Glooga dualies, then jumped over a homing hell energy ball to destroy the other while evading fire from the remaining missle turret, which was then destroyed by Marina’s squiffer.

With the last weapon destroyed, the main component became vulnerable, however the laser powered up, growing in width. It darted towards Pearl at high speeds, faster than she could react, but before it could hit her, Marina ran and swooped Pearl into her arms. Holding Pearl, Marina circled around the defense system firing high accuracy shots from her squeezer while the beam was inches away from them. Finally, the beam shut off as the defense system was destroyed, revealing an elevator lift to the inside of the Earthmover. Marina put Pearl back down when she got to the platform, patting the Inkling’s head and giggling at her shorter girlfriend’s face being bright crimson from her blush.

“Empffh… ehh… ughhh… errr…” Pearl stammered, flushed.

“Ehehehe, you’re welcome, Pearlie~!”

“KREEEEEEAAAAREEAEEEARRRR!!!”

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=AB3tH7L3IH8

The Earthmover roared and bent its two left legs and lifted them into the air, tilting itself in an attempt to tip the Inkling and Octoling off its body. Pearl and Marina crashed through multiple windows, leaving small cuts and gashes before landing on the side of one of the buildings. They looked for the elevator lift, gauged the distance, and super jumped over and grabbed the ledges of the elevator lift. To prevent tipping itself over, the Earthmover lowered its legs back to the ground, giving Pearl and Marina the chance to use the elevator tram to head inside the machine.

Pearl And Marina found that the cavernous interior of the machine was lined with red walls of flesh, with large ascending metal grated platforms hanging in the center. It was humid, warm, and wet, with the faint sound of a heartbeat thumping.

“Is this thing… alive?” Pearl questioned.

“Is this why all the other machines have actual blood?” Marina said, just as confused.

Just then, the alarm sounded.

WARNING: INTRUDERS DETECTED

-FLUSHING INTERIOR-

A pool of boiling blood began to rise as Pearl and Marina scrambled to destroy the six idols powering the door to the neck. When the idols were destroyed, they super jumped through the door and used their zipcasters to sling their way through a vertical series of tight corridors with piping hot metal pipes at the bottom.

They reached the interior of the Earthmover’s head. It was a large cylindrical shaft with a mechanical brain in the center with four poles around it.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=lMY5U1SEJsk

“We’re fighting a brain now? This is starting to remind me of a game I played…” Pearl remarked.

“Hmm?”

“Eh, it’s nothing.”

Suddenly, large beams shot out of the poles around the brain, then began to turn counter-clockwise, forcing Pearl and Marina to jump over, under, and in between the beams. Pearl and Marina switched their weapons to range blasters, which had high power and low fire rate, perfect for focusing on dodging.

After 15 seconds, a forcefield powered by two idols appeared around the brain to protect it from attacks. As Pearl and Marina swam to destroy the idols, a door at the bottom of the brain opened, and out came a malicious machine gun railcannon, rapidly shooting exploding lasers at until it needed to recharge. By that time Pearl and Marina each broke the idols powering the shield, leaving the brain vulnerable. Not wanting to waste any more time, they pulled out their Tri-inkzookas and pelted the brain with inksplosions.

Another alarm started.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=X_nCA7BjCeI

CRITICAL FAILURE

80

79

78…

“sh*t! We gotta go!” They both said, not even going to acknowledge that they were thinking the exact same thing to say.

They jumped back down and slinged their way through the narrow corridors and down the neck shaft again to get back to the cavernous fleshy interior of the Earthmover’s body, when suddenly a sentry, four strays, six filth, two schisms, two soldiers and two Guttertanks appeared to block their escape.

Pearl threw down a Wave Breaker to clear out the strays and filth, then dodge-rolled through a shot from a sentry. Speaking of rolling, Marina kicked a soldier in the face while it was in the middle of one to jet the jump on her, then took out her splatana wiper to slice the other to bits.

Pearl dodged both rockets fired from the guttertanks and used one’s head as a stepping stone to jump in air and preform a splashdown, destroying it. Marina blocked a punch from the other with her brella and retaliated with a point-blank shot. It threw another punch, but Marina stepped to the side to make it whiff and slip on her ink, falling off as Marina sniped the sentry with her E-Liter 4K.

13

12

11

10…

Pearl and Marina dashed to the exit that lead to the very back of the Earthmover, where they reached a vent exhaust. Pearl jumped into Marina’s arms and held on tightly as the octoling jumped onto the vent to launch her to a cliffside where the exit door was, just before the once towering Earthmover exploded into pieces.

After a rocky landing, Pearl and Marina got off the floor, covered in blood, bruises, cuts and scratches, and looked back to see the wreckage of the Earthmover they fought.

“Remind me to never star in an action movie…” Marina said, out of breath.

Pearl just chuckled, and they shared a victory kiss.

7-4: …LIKE STINGRAYS TO HEAVEN - Bingobong (2024)

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