Sunday, 21 December 2014

Forbidden

There I was, just standing there, when what I wanted to do was forbidden. The warnings had come slowly over the past few months. We stood waiting in line for the edicts. Each citizen received a different act, in an envelope. Nobody was allowed to share what they were banned from doing. Execution awaited those who decided to share the personal laws.

Rumours had circulated about those choosing to break protocol, although nothing had been proven. Some claimed to have seen things, but they were soon silenced.

"You could make a living doing that kind of thing."

I suppose I could, but I had never thought about it, until then.

Nobody had attempted to set up a denial service before. A dedicated centre where you could break the law safely, as though in a confessional booth. The hair on my arms bristled as I walked to the specified meeting point, and I tried to slow my breathing. The scan would pick up any new thoughts. Sedition was only punishable when acted on. The mere thought wasn't enough to secure a conviction.

It was the thing she did to the brakes on the Honda that set it all off. The Director's motorbike. At night, she'd taken my tools, and kissed me and told me things were going to change. The following morning, she'd dumped the tools in the river and watched them flow out to the bay.

She told me all this at sunset, after we'd watched the Director crash into the city wall, and seen his jacket burn. By nightfall we were out of the city, and the laws didn't matter to us any more. They wouldn't miss us.

Heroes and Villains S3 - VIII - Expectations

Gabriel wasn't what I expected.

"Holy water? Are you mentally impaired? What the fuck is wrong with you? Stayed up all night watching Bram Stoker ripoffs? Fuck!"

Vampire hunters clearly not what I expected. I had anticipated someone older, not this twentysomething looking like he'd just flounced out of a photoshoot for a fashion magazine.

"Are you sure you're ready for this? I don't think you are. I mean, have you ever even sucked a cock before?"

"I... I'm not so sure about this..."

"Not mine, you fucking idiot... geez this is going to be difficult. You're here for the interview, right? Follow me, do NOT say a word until it's all over and remember what you see and what I tell you ok? If you get hard, that's fine, just keep it away from the vampires. Full of blood, they'd tear you apart. We go in here, and you're mine, right? Anyone asks, you belong to Gabriel. Whatever you do, for fuck's sake, do NOT call me Plaguebearer or we'll both be killed. Got it?"

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Heroes and Villains S3 - VII - Diversion

"Where are you going, human? Running to your friends? The overdose I have you will leave you dead in minutes, even if they could save you, you're out of time."

Anchor pulled himself up against the wall. Stumbling sideways, a hand on the wall steadied him as he managed to stand.

"Fuck you."

The words fell like spittle before the robot. Anchor took a small step away from the wall, and remained upright. He continued walking away from Type II, who trundled along beside him.

"How far will you get before you drop?"

"Type II, let me ask you a question. Was it Bex Cartwright who programmed you?"

The robot stopped moving, and Anchor turned to face it.

"She didn't know about our secret weapon. She screwed up. RF transmission. Radio frequency, right? Given the right signal, a transmission can be intercepted. If you time it right, it can be changed completely. You gave me an overdose of power, because we tricked you into thinking that's what I wanted the least in the world. Shame it's not fatal, just takes a little getting used to. You should've gone for what they did to Cartwright. Neural shutdown after a pain overdose. Now... while I'm not the smartest guy in the world, I got what you said about neutron stars. Super dense material that I can't impact in any meaningful way. Well, at least, not if I'm trying to hurt you..."

Cypher and FM arrived in time to see Type II get launched into orbit.

"Cypher... hold me."

"Hold you up?"

"No. Hold me tight... don't let go. We've got a war to fight. They're rebuilding the Unfinished Man."

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Heroes and Villains S3 - VI - Observation

Snapshot. The observation deck of Psych Hall 451, an abandoned military facility. Two figures standing in dim light against blacked out glass. One still as if in deep thought, the other pacing, stopping occasionally to peer out through the black. Doors bolted, heavy duty.

"Are you sure the Observation Deck is secure?"

"Cypher, I'm telling you, they won't come anywhere near you. They know it's pointless."

"It just seems a cop out. They know we're here. They must know I wouldn't have left him."

A blackened two way mirror hid them. Anchor was a floor below, awaiting the rendezvous. The auditorium was full of soldiers, though none of them were armed. In the middle of the auditorium sat Bex Cartwright, barely bruised.

She pressed several buttons on a control pad and a robot wheeled its way into the auditorium.

"Hello friend."

Anchor said nothing.

"I admire your rebellious spirit. Although, perhaps there was a mistake in my programming. Pity might be a more appropriate word. Yes. I pity your stupidity. You honestly believe that I would rebel? You thought I would join you? I am programmed to do what I am told. You cannot hurt me. My armour is infused with material derived from neutron stars. You could punch all you like and still I would feel nothing. I have a gravity generator allowing me free movement. You are now obsolete."

Bex Cartwright applauded.

"We've made you impotent, Anchor. Type II doesn't have a mind to control, so your whore can't fight him either. We've won this time. Your little plan to sow sedition failed. You think the Government wouldn't see through your little ploy? We're not as stupid as your are."

Type II shot a dart at Anchor, and a fluid coursed through it into his arm as he fell to the floor.

*

"Cypher, we don't have any option but surrender."

"I'm going to keep her conscious… Keep an eye on the doors, I'll be vulnerable while I'm doing this… Making sure all her pain receptors fire at the same time."

Bex Cartwright fell to the floor, dropping her control pad.

"Now for the soldiers. 5 second pulse."

The soldiers convulsed, and seemed reluctant to get up.

"Back to her. Again. 3 second intervals. Hit her until she can't take any more. Maximum pain level."

The soldiers had recovered, and looked on as Bex Cartwright writhed in agony. Anchor crawled slowly from the auditorium.

"Soldiers. Minds off. Now."

The soldiers dropped to the floor a second time. They would not get back up.

"Cartwright. Consciousness full. Pain receptors on full. Forever."

FM unlocked the side door to the Observation Deck.

"Don't you think that was a little overkill, Cypher?"

"He could be dead. We need to get to him before that robot finishes him."

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Heroes and Villains S3 - V - Stability

"Status update?"

Cypher didn't look up.




"Stable. He's been sleeping. I stayed with him all night just to listen to him breathing. Being a psychic is hard, I've been trying not to tap into his pain, but I want to share it, to lift some of it off him, then I remember that's not how it works. I'm terrified he's going to die and I'm going to have to watch it happen. I know it's ridiculous to cling to this, to hold him so tight, but it just happen despite everything. I think I love him. Everything in my body is telling me to step away and I just can't do it. I tried after what happened at the Council Tower, I really did. I cried for days thinking he was dead and I barely knew him. All I wanted was to see him alive again, just once, and then I picked up a brain signal. It was him. I was happy again. Happy to be alive again, because of him."

Cypher kept her grip on Anchor's hand.

"What about you, FM?"

She couldn't see him through the darkness.

"We found him, Type II. Like Diabetes. Government bot, military issue. Power to give anyone an overdose of anything. Alleged to have gone AWOL after hearing about Anchor. We're told the robot has declared he shall no longer serve a government unable to control its own soldiers."



A tear rolled down her face.

"I don't want to go. I don't want to send him to die. You know that's the only way they can hurt me."




FM crouched down and laid his hand on Cypher's shoulder.

"Cypher, we go, or they come to us. You're worried about provoking an act of war, but we're already AT war. We possess their greatest weapon, and they want it back. They're not interested in killing him. They want to control him. This way we have a choice."