Month: August 2015

Facade of Hope

Another strange story from yours truly. Using the second image in a series created by the talented Michael MacRae.

Check out his Deviant Art page here and/or his tumblr here.

It hadn’t even been a week. Only four days ago she traveled the tunnels with everybody else. She’d been on her own for damn near one hundred hours. Were they all dead now? She wasn’t, dead that is. No, Mya was very much alive, verging on hypothermic and starving, but alive nonetheless. Her dry lips cracked as she smiled and vaulted over a pile of debris that used to be a transport vehicle. Despite her physical state, she reveled in being out of the tunnels for the first time in her life. She did her best to not think about all the folks that stayed behind to help. Focusing on her breathing and the hunger pangs she pushed onward. The air was salty, if she strained her ears she could hear the waves crashing against the distant cliffs. Any minute now, she’d descend down onto the beach and they would be there waiting for the yearly donation. Were there others? Other colonies that survived the initial onslaught by hiding under their cities, by turning the sewers and subways into civilization. Humanity wasn’t meant to be subterranean nor aquatic for that matter. If there were others they had suffered like her.

The sun was fiery orange, it blazed on even as the horizon rose up to swallow it. She had missed the sun, but it was a love hate relationship, like most. For three years she dreamed about what it would be like, she longed to feel the heat and to see for miles. The surface was freezing, the rays of yesteryears sun couldn’t penetrate the smog. They had open spaces of course, natural and manmade caverns where they set up their homes and pretended that things would be ok. But it was nothing like this, even war torn and infested the surface was beautiful. Things were never okay, except for those who submerged. One visited them almost a month ago, with globes of water refills on her back and an uncomfortable looking harness that allowed her to survive. The plenipotentiary of the ‘subs’ as her people dubbed them.

Her name was Linour and she was gorgeous, dark brown hair and naturally tanned skin, the people eyed her with envy. Her playful brown eyes had a vivacity to them that had long since been absent from the tunnelers, her figure the fantasy of all. An embodiment of what they could never have. Only the youngest of the tunnelers was sacrificed to the ‘subs’, they said the implants were more successful for youth. But everyone knew it was because they were not as contaminated by the environment. Tunnelers grew frail and hunched from the who-knows-what that was released on the planet, over time their bones would weaken and they would be bound to a chair for life. Mya, was only 16, she could tell already that her health was declining. But the ‘subs’, they would fix her.

They knew a breach had been made in the tunnels, one patrol never came back. Then a second and third disappeared. Supplies were backed has they had been so many times before. Demolitions were set and the weakest were left with the triggers in the wake of the survivors to die as they brought the roof down on their hunters. They (the survivors) would go deeper or farther and set up a new façade of a civilization. Determined to push on, but running out of places to go. Mya was part of the forward scouts, which comprised the younger folks that could still run. They looked for safety in the network of tunnels and cave ins. Sinkholes swallowed parts of the surface leading to mostly intact buildings and rotten forests in the caverns. These were always regarded as bad luck, the tunnelers never lingered. Her group had found a collapsed apartment building in one of the cave ins, its many windows crumpled out of shape and lifeless. They decided to stay for a cycle. There was no night and day underground, the tunnelers adapted and went ten hours before resting. Shrouded in robes and shawls of coarse dark material they slept with swords and makeshift spears at hand, torches and lanterns extinguished. They slept in their grave.

Her friend Jaz woke her up with a shake, “Mya, be quiet, they’re here. We need to go now.”

Before she could respond the face of her childhood friend lit up in a flash and disintegrated. The heat from the alien weapon left a sunburn of sorts on Mya’s right cheek. A mechanical voice called out in the darkness.

“Do not run. Processing is mandatory! Stay where you are.”

They ran. Beams of bright light struck out at them and pain punctuated the darkness. If they were here already it means they had already passed the rest of the group lagging behind. All was lost. Mya grabbed her spear and sprinted for her life towards a random tunnel. The stench of loss was cloying. If everyone was dead, nothing mattered. That means the seven chosen would be too. She stopped only to set a trip wire and a small charge to alarm her if she was being chased. She found a smaller tunnel jutting upwards and scrambled up it towards the surface. She had to crouch the ceiling was so low, hopefully too low for them to care. Her alarm went off and she cried out, but there was dim light ahead she clawed for it and squeezed through a fissure. On the surface of Earth she wept.

The implant facility rocked in the waves, its engines sent stabilizing jets of air out in all directions to keep it one place. It took most of the brunt of the sea away, but Linour watched the amber spirits in her glass sway from side to side. They always allowed her one drink when she came back. The Krav weren’t necessarily cruel to her but they would end her life at the slightest hint of transgression. They were always in control, they followed earths elite to the bottom of the ocean, to the oasis built there by hyper anxious politicians and royalty. Fearing a loss in pressure, no fight was put up. The Krav society meshed with the submerged folks. Altering them with mutations to survive the deep sea, some even got the ‘gills’ one of the most invasive treatments, and one that indentured them to the Krav offensive. Those like Linour were sent out to the last known colonies to tell lies of a better world. To convince them to sacrifice their young and healthy, thinking they would have a better life beneath the sea. She shivered at the memories of the last sacrifice, splayed open and test tubed for the ever curious Krav to see how their virus affected that generation.

She had no idea what they were searching for, maybe they did this for fun? The Krav were humanoid, but had large elaborate helms hiding their features, with glowing blue visors that they may or may not see out of. Language projectors in their helm allowed them to communicate with the humans, but they spoke with one another by some other means. There was a theory that it was actually through manipulating the magnetic field and yet another that they were all the same. Linour would be summoned when the tunnelers contingent made it to the beach, she would walk out and impress them. The smiles on their faces stained her memory. Like a pied piper of doom she would lead them to the cutting rooms. She would make her exit and the Krav would get to work.

Mya made her way down the winding path of the cliffs towards the dark ocean. She could see a vessel bobbing out in the harbor. She waved out at it and shook in anticipation. She made it, she survived and would continue to do so. Like a siren of myth Linour appeared walking up out of the tide.
“Where are the children?”

“Dead. Its only me. The Krav found us.”

“You shouldn’t have came here.”

“What else could I do?”

“You could have died and it would have been better.”

“What?!”

“The Krav control everything. You’re, we’re nothing but their experiment. Their play things. If you’d like, I’ll kill you here.” Linour drew a small dagger from her belt.

Mya crouched low and feral with her spear. “You lie!” She lounged out with lethal grace. The sharpened spear hit home. Linour dropped her dagger and fell to her knees holding the haft of the spear jutting from her in both hands.

“Stupid, girl. They’ll be here any second now, they won’t let you do th-”

As if on que three Krav, landed on the beach. One of them crushing Linour before she could finish her warning. “You will come with us.” A magnetic force ripped the spear from her hand and the restrained her. With short bursts of energy from the packs on their back they landed back on the ship in the harbor. Mya cried.

They striped her and pushed her into a room with piping across the ceilings. “Bathe, you’ve killed our mouthpiece. Perhaps, you’ll do her job better.” The door shut behind them with finality. Warm water began to cascade from the ceiling, rivulets of dirt, grime and tears pooled around her feet. She bathed, she would survive.

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Malovian Resistence

Grammar be damned. I hate editing my work in fact I never do. To fix this I’m forcing myself through an online grammar course for the next 5 weeks. Somehow I ghosted through the public school system and college with a rudimentary grasp on grammar, yet I still write and read more than anyone I know? Until that tedious task is taken care of I’ll continue to shower you with unedited rough drafts. Also if you can’t tell I’m struggling at formatting the text on wordpress, every time I paste my writing in all of the paragraph breaks and indents disappear. Its a mystery that I don’t care to solve today. hopefully the next post will be ‘more legible’.

I stumbled across an inspiring photo gallery. Over the next few weeks I’d like to use each image as a writing prompt. Here’s the first one. It took sort of a weird\dark turn but I’m satisfied. You never really know what will spew out of my mind when I gaze at a photo for too long.

– cheers and what not.

 

Like jets in the distance the thunder continued to roll. Punctuated by artillery claps of lightening the storm lingered over Malovia as if the land itself wept. The capital had fallen, with it the moral of the Malovians drained towards the Barllian Sea. It hadn’t merely fallen; in fact it had been obliterated. The Gausten blockade leaders must have grown weary of their attrition game, nobody could know now. The towering spire of New Juseil had cast a warm shadow over Malovia since its construction some centuries before.  Like the hand of a clock or a giant sundial New Juseil’s shadow claimed what was hers.
 
However, the man in the shadows was far from finished. At the first sign of incoming ordinance New Jusiel’s defensive shields sprang to life bathing the twenty two mile tower in a green shimmer. The gilding of energy reflected the first few blasts, sending their payloads careening of course to light up the hillsides. The man in the shadows shut it off as told. The proud spire city of New Juseil collapsed on itself leaving a plume of sorrow and hopelessness that rained debris on Malovia. The man in the shadows died a thousand deaths as the tower crashed down in/around/on him. Each time his nanomolecular cells blasted apart and found each other again. They could do nothing to stop the pain. The man in the shadows rested. His liquefied true form filled a crater left by who knows what.
 
The Guasten blockade was crushed by the wreckage, he could hear survivors. Their cries were drowned out by the storm, nobody would save them.
Justine was with them, posing as a tactician. She had embedded herself into the Gausten forces over the last ten years, as she was told. The man in the shadows received new orders. The signal came from where it always had; his unknown masters pulled all the strings from high in orbit.
 
“Cancel current objective, New Juseil has been compromised. Malovia is a lost cause. Find Justine and await coordinates for evac.” There was a pause as the speaker moved closer to the transponder. “Rickard” he whispered. “It wasn’t your fault; you know we can’t stop them all. None of our tellers saw that coming. Find Justine, her distress beacon has been pinging us for the last hour. We’ll have several months of rest, Hithero is the next stop.”
 
The man in the shadows winced as command used his given name. ‘Compromised’ is right this would set Malovia back centuries the people may never recover. It was his fault, but he didn’t grieve. He was tired of preventing wars. He rose out of the puddle standing nearly seven feet tall. The nanomolecules rippled allowing each rain drop to pass through his Stygian form. He tuned into to Justine’s frequency and headed east towards the distress ping. The ever present downpour of rain overflowed the Gyres River, new tributaries cut into the farm land and wound their way around gargantuan pieces of wreckage. Rickard let himself slip into one and flow with the water.

 

He found her. She was dead. He removed the CPU nodule from her throat and vowed to find her a new body on Hithero.
“Command, Justine did not survive the wreckage. Her nodule was destroyed as well.” He lied.

“Sending coordinates for extraction, you’re coming home.”

The man in the shadows had no home not sense command has whisked him away and turned him into their stealthy pacification pawn. The man in the shadows had had enough. The sleek shuttle settled down into the mud. Its curved side yawned open for him to enter, and he did. He sat waiting for the docking klaxon to sound before de materializing into the air of the shuttle. As the shuttle depressurized he allowed himself to be taken away by the command ships air filtration system.
“The shuttle has returned. Where are you?”

 

They would triangulate his position soon. He rode the air ducts towards the bridge. He had never been on the bridge but the Tellers were there. The security was tight but his molecules could fit through one at a time. He gradually materialized next to a vent in an ancillary chamber that must have been used when humans piloted the ship. The Tellers didn’t need anything to survive other than the life force of the universe, if life thrived so did they. If wars occurred and civilizations snuffed themselves out the Tellers suffered. The man in the shadows knew of four command ships like the one he was on, it wouldn’t be a quick process to end their egotistic pacification crusade. Civilization had not survived for so long by keeping the peace. War progressed humanity. With each world shattering battle thousands of innovations were made that allowed society to grow and learn from its mistakes. Since the Tellers began their façade of assistance humanity remained stagnant.
 
“Rickard, we know you’re here. Please be warned that you have disobeyed them. They Tellers want to blank you, the onl–“ The gurgling noise followed by static could only be the captains last breath.

 

The man in the shadows was angry. His sprint made no noise; each stride touched the ground with a scientific grace, projecting sound waves to cancel the would-be-ringing footsteps. He approached the bridge and saw pieces of Captain Gherilt slumped over the console, blood dripped from the remains.
 

“Where are you!” he screamed. Gherilt was the only man he knew for the last two decades.
 
“Show yourselves, I will not stand for this any longer!”
 
As you wishhhhhh.”  The pressure in the room dropped and a silver portal opened in the far wall. The gelatinous Teller shambled into view. The man in the shadows retched. The Teller was an amalgamated disaster of a beast. A plethora of appendages and tentacles separated by gaping maws, some fanged and screaming others lax and drooling. The anguish of seeing and hearing the Teller sent The man in the shadows to his knees. He could hardly maintain his structure. Each piercing howl from the teller was accompanied by an EMP like wave that would slowly blank him. The cycle ends today. He would avenge the unknown number of men that had been blanked before him. If he didn’t they would wipe the nanomolecules and uplift another poor soul. The mantle of the Pacification Pawn was one that he would bear forever. Humanity would once again roll forward through bloody conflict like it always had. He stood on shaky feet and took three steps towards the Teller.

 
You’re a foollllll, of all the asinine attempts your ‘people’ have made yours has to be the most ill-conceived. What will you do to meeee? There are hundreds more roaming your universeeeee doing the same thing. You and I, Rickard Riechalie son of Romus Riechalie and rightfulllllll heir to the planet of Kilex are but a smudgeeeee on the cosmic painting. This is your people’s fateeeee!’
Blanked nanomolecules rained down from him as he strode closer and closer towards the Teller. They plinked and bounced across the bridge floor by the hundreds.

 
“Inaction is not action. Pacification is not an answer; Humanity begins its stand against the Tellers today. You’re right; we are nothing in the grand scheme of things.  You are nothing.” The man in the shadows was blanked. Rickard Riechalie son of Romus Riechalie was no more.

 

Far beneath them Justine was waking up. She could feel blood; no it was rain a steady patter of rain against her skin. Her visual systems were coming online too. She blinked and rolled over her hands sunk deep into the muddy bank of a river and she rose to her feet. The face of a female android stared back at her in the river. At least she was a woman this time. But what happened? She took in the landscape around her Malovia was devastated. A notification chime sounded and recording began to play.

 

“Justine. I am no more. Malovia is no more. The Tellers have no doubt blanked me by now. What we’re doing is not saving anybody. Humanity was meant to rise and fall in spikes of innovation like an eternal wave. Hard times forge us and force us to be creative. Peace is a cancer that will get us nowhere. I’ve told the Tellers you were dead and disabled this androids locaters. You have a chance Justine, a chance to fight them. There are others aware of the Tellers, find them. Find them and organize a resistance. I don’t know how to stop them but there must be a way. Humanity needs war, humanity is war. Bring the war to the Tellers and help us break free from their reins. There must be thousands of pacification pawns like us capable of who knows what, they’ll be necessary in the centuries to come. Enjoy your freedom, our freedom.”

She stood and looked up at the clouds above her in mourning. The man in the shadows did not die in vain.