skonen_blades: (hamused)
April 30/30


Ringmining attracted a certain kind of personality. Not hermits, per se, but beings okay with long terms of isolation. Rarely, pairs or groups of people worked the rings.

The rings themselves played hell with transmissions when a ship was in them so when a ringminer was gathering, they were on their own.

The particles bounced transmissions around, sometimes for years. It wasn’t uncommon to hear garbled SOS beacons from a decade ago. The rings were creepy. It was best to keep the coms off entirely.

Each ringminer scoopship was a variation on a theme. Not unlike a baleen whale, these ships had wide mouths to collect all the crystals and sift through them for valuable minerals. It was tedious work but the rewards were there. It tended to turn the rings grey after a century of mining but didn’t damage them other than that. The ecolegal fights had been fought and ringminers were a profession for now.

Jordy and Lena were partners on Harling’s Spur, named for Lena’s grandfather. Indeed it had been her grandfather’s ship and was her inheritance when her own father passed. So many parts had been replaced on it that she doubted it could even be called the same ship. She was a second-generation ringminer.

Jordy was new to the business and Lena was starting to think he wasn’t cut out for it.

She’d met Jordy on a supply run to K-78, the largest general store asteroid near these parts. It had been a one stop shop to both bury her father and get a new partner. She’d been blinded by grief, perhaps. Jordy was handsome, long-haired and strong jawed, but she’d forgotten that appearances can be deceiving. After three nights of passion, she’d signed him on with visions of bouts of lovemaking in between bouts of mining.

The dreams of a teenager.

Jordy started complaining about boredom almost as soon as they hit the rings. “Nothing to do, nothing to do, nothing to do” had become his mantra. His constant sighs and huffs were contributing to the rising tension. Lena had tried to teach meditation, exposed him to the ship’s library and games system, even tried to teach him tantra but it didn’t work.

He was a social animal. Perhaps he’d been blinded by lust as well.

Either way, this wasn’t going to work out and the hold wasn’t nearly full enough to justify a return trip. Lena knew that Jordy, soon enough, would demand to be returned home no matter what the expense. He wouldn’t wait six months and he was stronger than her. Things would get ugly.

She decided to nip it in the bud.

Another reason she’d picked Jordy was that he was a drifter of no importance. He didn’t have rich parents or a large family that would miss him. She thought that marked him out as the right kind of loner for the job. She was wrong about that but the upside was that making the problem go away wouldn’t raise too many eyebrows.

While he was sleeping, Lena brought the largest gravwrench they had in the toolbox down on Jordy’s head enough times to make sure he’d never wake up.

She jettisoned his body and the wrench into the dust of the rings. The surplus of supplies with his absence meant that she’d be able to stay here for a year. It would be difficult to operate the ship by herself but she could do it.

Maybe on the next trip back to civilization, a more proper partner could be found.

Ringmining attracted a certain kind of personality.

skonen_blades: (Default)
When you look at me, it’s a swooping dare of instinct that communicates deadly intent along the wire from predator to prey. The quivering acquiescence of a humble foodstuff in the face of pure physical superiority. I would feel the same if I looked into the jaws of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. I would not run. I would merely be food. There would be no other option. It would be my place in the universe, the food chain, and our relationship.

For every shopping list that becomes a hit man, there are too many that go the other direction, that wane to safety in the shadows and are content to be part of the river of history, not the crags that tear it open. If one builds towers to heaven, one must be prepared to meet God.

Peel the smiles off our knowing corpses because we’ll be keeping those secrets. All the grease in Tanzania won’t make these wheels squeak. If you want a sharp-angled rescue then simply come home. My scissored arms await your pliant body. We can take turns when it comes to the killing.

skonen_blades: (blurg)
We had always been looking for a way to legitimately kill the stupid. But where did one draw the line? An outside force, something inhuman, had to make the choice. We couldn’t make that kind of decision.

We found a way.

The aliens left behind a device. We don’t understand how it worked but the components were simple and easy to recreate.

After first contact, Earth was catalogued, included in their star maps as possessing both intelligent and non-intelligent life, and then left alone. It was quite anticlimactic. Almost business-like. The aliens themselves had translator machines that picked up our language nuances wonderfully. They went to great lengths to appear like us. Aside from the blue skin and golden eyes, they succeeded. Their spokespeople appeared on all of our talk shows and deftly handled all of our xenophobic questions. They mollified us, measured us, and left.

The silence in their wake was depressing. Those that had been waiting to become part of the galactic family all of their lives felt like they’d been given nothing more than a high-five.

Then we found the device. It was the small machine they used to detect intelligent life. It flashed red on animals, meaning non-intelligent life, but green on most humans.

Most humans.

Some humans were classified as red. The mentally challenged, those with brain damage, and most children under the age of three, for instance. But around fifteen percent of adults tested also fell into the red category. In most cases, it wasn’t a shock. Racists, incompetents, overly aggressive men, willfully ignorant people, non-readers, dubious politicians, and religious zealots for instance. There were exceptions to all of these categories but the ones that showed up red were rarely surprising.

Many genetic theories were thrown into the pot. Perhaps these people, mostly from the same families, were closer in lineage to our ancestors and had not been given sufficient spurring to evolve. Perhaps they were from a strain of the human race with defects. Perhaps inbreeding millennia ago had produced these throwbacks.

That’s when the theory started that maybe the human race needed to be pure for the aliens to return, that maybe we were being watched and tested.

The first few ‘red murders’ were put down to extremists but as Green Wave Party started climbing in numbers, death tolls rose.

At first, all of the red-positive folks were rounded up for their own protection. Those temporary lodgings turned into refugee camps as the months and years went by. They were a drain on resources. Several leaders in the scientific community calmly suggested euthanizing the lot of them. After all, according to the alien’s machine, they were no smarter than stray dogs.

Most of the cities concurred.

Calmly, deliberately, and with a cold, orderly precision that would have made Hitler jealous, the lives in the camps were extinguished.

A few rebelled and successfully broke free only to become the hunted. A few escaped because of sentimental attachments that Green Wave Party members had. Wives or stepsons, that sort of thing. They were neutered and let out into GWP custody with no more rights than pets.

After the purge, the human race has become smug, docile, and guilty. Everyone is routinely tested. Everyone is green. We are smart and happy.

And it was all thanks to the aliens. We can’t wait to show them what we’ve accomplished.

We’re still waiting for their return.

skonen_blades: (dark)
Some artists are so good, they leave all of the other artists far, far behind them.

There is always squabbling amongst the top tiers of any professions. Jockeying for position, vying for bragging rights, salaries, bursaries, grants and papers. There’s always one or two people every fifty years or so, however, one or two savants for whom the profession comes as easy as breathing.

Money doesn’t matter to them. Their eyes are glazed. They do nothing else besides what they do. Be it cooking, gymnastics, music, physics, acting or what have you, these people have a freakish tendency to be inhuman. Not only in their talent, but also in their dedication.

They are aware of how they don’t fit in. They hold themselves back in social situations to appear like normal humans. They are uncomfortable reminders of how much potential we all have but rarely possess. The make people nervous.

Barsom Jones was one such prodigy.

He was a mortician. A necrodermist, he called himself. He was sought after all over the country. Chilled loved ones would be shipped to him so that he could restore them to a flawless, living pallor before shipping them back. Ruined heads posed no problem. Bear attacks, shotguns shells, tumours gone wild, none of it mattered. The bodies would return to the families as if they were merely napping. Merely ‘paused’ in the act of living.

He didn’t eat much. He didn’t talk much. If he worked on celebrities, he didn’t notice. He asked for detailed lists and photographs of the deceased to do his work. He asked for recording of the deceased’s voice to get a feel for the proper mandible shapes of the jaw. He asked for crying and laughing photographs of the deceased so that he could replicate recent echoes of those emotions in the eyes and lips.

He was happiest when he was working and when he wasn’t working, he was sleeping. His bank account grew fatter and fatter but he took no notice.

No one knew his dark, dark secret.

Every so often, once every ten or twelve years, he would visit the wards of the hospitals. He’d find someone with no relatives and a terminal disease.

He would poison that someone when no one was looking with a rare toxin that would mimic death.

He’d call the nurse, the victim would be declared dead, and Barsom would take that corpse free of charge and the town would applaud his decision. A charity funeral from the best mortician in the world. People were touched.

Later on in his morgue, he would let the person wake up but only enough so that he could paralyze him or her. The poison would keep the victim’s breathing too shallow and too slow to be noticed by the untrained eye. He’d keep the person down in the basement for a day or two to give the appearance of having done a great deal of work.

Then he’d have a giant open-casket funeral for the whole town to come and see.

The town would file past the casket, remarking on how life-like the person looked. As if the person were still alive. It was like tourists filing past the statue of David in the Louvre.

Then the casket would be shut and buried.

Barsom Jones kept wanting to be caught. It was the most thrilling thing he could think of. So far, no one had. He’d put five people into the ground alive.

skonen_blades: (cocky)
Hit men are not naturally gregarious people.

The keep to themselves.

That’s why the three of them were so uncomfortable. Reliable professionals, all of them, who had graduated to the level of assassin. None of these three would walk into a crowded deli and open fire on a target. They weren’t that kind of lion.

These killers were subtle. These were the kind of killers that scaled walls and dropped poison into bedside cups that made the coroners think that their victims had died of heart attacks or strokes.

Invisible shadows hiding in plain sight.

Your average button man for the mob was a loser. A tool about as replaceable to the organization as the gun he used in his work. He was kept around like a dog.

These guys, though, they operated through blinds and doubles. No one knew their true faces. They all had aliases, many passports in different names, scrambled far-off bank accounts, and smiles that didn’t quite reach their eyes.

Until now, each and every one of them had worked alone. This present job that had them sitting in the same pub was unorthodox but the money that was on offer was enough to let them retire if they pulled it off.

The target was very difficult but doable. The plan was sound. They were just waiting for the go-ahead now.

The tall one at the table took a sip of his beer and sized the other two up.

The one to his left had mousy red hair and a flat nose. He had the face of a dock worker, invisible to most people.

The other one was refined without being flashy. Obviously in shape and wearing a cheap grey suit. Also invisible in most parts of town. People saw the suit, not his face.

The tall one doing the staring had small eyes and short hair. He was thin and there was something about him that made witnesses not too sure that he was the man they had saw running from the scene. It’s like his aura was greased. People’s perceptions just slid off of him.

The three of them depended on being hard to notice. It had worked so far. Even the waitress in this place had forgotten to ask them if they wanted another drink. They were good at being background.

They had their phones in the middle of the table. They were waiting for The Call.

They didn’t talk to each other. Red hair stared at the last sip of his beer, Suit gazed up at the ceiling in idle thought, and Tall One kept appraising Red Hair and Suit.

It was a long afternoon.

skonen_blades: (angryyes)
When I came home to find him sitting in the middle of my living room, I wasn’t alarmed.

He was dressed in a grey suit and sitting on the piano stool my grandmother had left to me after her death last year. That didn’t freak me out.

What scared me was that he was wearing latex gloves and had very messy hair. And the suit was too small for him.

The first impression I got from him was that he was a puppet with the strings cut. His head lolled to the side and his eyes stared past my right shoulder. A string of drool attached his lapel to his lower lip.

It was a cheap suit. The kind a person wouldn’t mind burning later.

The door slowly closed behind me. I was rooted to the spot with indecision and fear as time sped by.

At the sound of my door’s latch, the man’s head jerked up like he’d awoke from a bad dream. With a hissing intake of breath between clenched teeth, he surveyed his surroundings. His eyes landed on me.

With a jut forward of his head and a squint of his eyes, he found recognition. Whatever he was doing here came back to him in a flash and he smiled, putting one hand behind his back.

“Jake MacPherson?” he asked politely, almost playfully. A ruse of a smile danced across his lips as he gave me a sidelong glance. A lank of his messy hair fell forward across his left eye. He raised his eyebrows in a prompt for me to confirm or deny the name.

The hand behind his back terrified me.

“What?” I asked, genuinely confused. My name was Peter Llewellyn.

With a sigh and an eye roll towards the ceiling as if pleading for God’s help with my obvious stupidity, he dropped the smile and looked back at me with the intensity of a hunting dog. Jovial Stranger had left. Here was the killer. The hand that wasn’t behind his back opened and closed, opened and closed.

“I asked you if your name was Jake MacPherson. Failing that, do you know who or where he is?” he repeated in clipped syllables.

“My name is Peter Llewellyn.” I said flatly, surprised at my own eloquence under the circumstances. “I, uh, I moved in here last month. I don’t know who Jake is.”

The man in the middle did something then that scared me more than anything he’d done so far.

He sniffed the air.

“Hmm.” He said. “Seems honest. Kick your wallet over. That’ll be the end of it.”

I slowly took my wallet out of my back pocket, placed it on the floor, and kicked it along the hardwood floor in his direction.

He leaned down and picked it up without taking his eyes off of me, opened it one-handed, and lifted it up into his peripheral vision to check the ID.

“Looks like it all checks out, Pete. Sorry to bother you. You understand.” He said with a shrug.

He flipped my wallet over his shoulder, brought out the gun from behind his back, and shot me in the chest. My scream died in my throat as I crumpled against the door.

I woke up with a neck cramp in the dark. It was eight hours later. My leg had gone to sleep underneath me. The yellow tuft on the tranquilizer dart stuck out of the front of my shirt. Slowly, I regained full conciousness, took a shower, and went to bed.

Something told me not to call the police.

I moved to a different apartment.

skonen_blades: (appreciate)
“What’s your cel number?” she asked me.

This is a memory. This is a memory of the night of my downfall. I remember going to the bar with six of my friends. We all had a few bottles of beer before we went. I remember wanting to go home early because I had to work the next day but I was young. So young. I knew I’d be able to do it. And the guys that were with me wouldn’t let me leave without making fun of me.

“What’s your cel number?” she asked me.

She was just over five feet tall, dark skin, big eyes, and broad, swimmer’s shoulders. She was an athletic girl by the looks of it, possibly a gymnast. I was tall, she was short. As Avril Lavigne would say, can I make it any more obvious?

We talked for an hour, danced a few songs, and left the guys back in the club. I drove. I was drunk. We crashed. She died. Her name was Angela.

I went to jail.

That was fourteen years ago. I sustained head injuries in the crash that scrambled my memories. I only remember things by accident now, never on purpose. It’s all stream-of-consciousness with one memory sparking off another by association and almost never in a linear way.

I remember the night I killed her every time I get lost in this prison and have to ask a guard how to get back to my wing.

“What’s your cell number?” they ask me.

skonen_blades: (jabbadoubt)
And we’ll see how that works out.
I said. To myself.
Looking at the body and answering my friend’s question.
I hope I live longer than he did. It’s there. The hope. The primal glee that it’s not me.
Making me ashamed and furtive like I did the killing.
Which is alarming to me because I did do the killing.
But I don’t want to appear furtive and ashamed. The police have to believe my story.
They’ll come in with helmets.
Not wearing them but holding them in their hands, ready to place on my head.
I won’t go back. They need to believe what the helmet tells them.
I’ve practiced the story so many times that I think I can fool the helmet.

My friend’s body lies on a broken mirror.
I can see myself reflected in little shards around him like a constellation of guilt.
I am wide-eyed.
Who was I fooling?
I couldn’t fool a cat.
They won’t even need the helmet.

I can wipe the prints off the knife, blame it on a burglar, doctor the logs but I’ll never be able to feign surprise or stay calm. All they’ll have to do is look in my eyes.

I’ve been stupid.
Already I miss my friend.
Already my reasons for killing him seem trivial.

My motive is obvious and my alibi is weak.

I screwed up.

I wish the knife I killed the human with could pierce my metal skin.

skonen_blades: (no)
Obviously, you’re all dead if you’re reading this.

I just want you to know that is for the good of mankind that you’re inside the box. I left this note on the table so that you’d know why.

You are the scientists that came up with the solution. This room is where the celebration party was to take place. I converted it into a giant matter dispersion cube. The disassemblers are in the walls and the door is locked.

In minutes you will all be atoms and the plan will be secure.

I set the plan in motion twenty minutes ago. The world will be safe now with no knowledge of our involvement. I trust you all implicitly but I do have to say that I’m not sure that trust extends to what would happen if any of you were captured and tortured.

This is the only way to be sure.

You were chosen because your brilliance and dedication left you free of spouses and children. Your disappearance will be a blow to the scientific community but since your public contributions were small and no one knows about the top-secret projects you were working on under my supervision, your absence will hopefully not trigger anyone’s suspicion.

Myself, I will take poison after throwing the switch to cleanse the room you’re in.

I am deeply, deeply sorry to all twenty-six of you that I have come to know as sisters, brothers, and in some cases, lovers. It’s been an inspiring eight years. All the more heart-breaking for the fact that no one will know what we achieved.

Peace on Earth, gentlemen and ladies, scientists all, and good will to all humankind.

Hold on to each other. I am watching on the camera. This will not hurt at all.

Professor Shale

skonen_blades: (appreciate)
Chainsaws. Motor-sickles. We brought in fifteen metallions in case there was trouble.

Warriors nuns staked out the perimeter. My hand-held repeater was at the ready.

We'd tracked the quarry to the Dark Burrough Border underneath the bridge.

The was Bridesville. It was 1976.

This was where the brides were held until Their Day. Some sold, most in love or arranged.

I remembered the last victim. Young. Wide generous mouth. Hair you could knit a quilt with. A tiny gold star set in every tooth. She was staring up at the ceiling with the half-smile she must have been wearing when she finally bled out and drifted Away.

I held the Bridal Pass up to identify the body, amazed at the difference between a graduation picture and a crime scene photograph. A posed, unnatural smile in my hand versus seventeen entry wounds in a black and white flashlit parking lot.

She was wearing a dirty yellow plastic banana clip from the Real World in her hair. Most likely her most valuable posession. It would have been the best wedding that month.

Her glasses still dangled off of her sticky outstretched hand. The blood was stark against her dress.

It was stark gainst all of bride's dresses of the victims so far.

We suspected an Errant Husband or a Shoveljaw judging by some of the wounds. Shoveljaws aren't smart enough to get away with twenty-seven murders, though, and they rarely go rogue.

I prayed we weren't looking at another Remeleon or Kah-Pirate.

My bones were tired. I took the cigarette out of the hole in my neck to suck in whistling fresh air that made me cough.

It was a dark night.

Never wear black to a crime scene. It makes it feel too much like a funeral. I sensed another week of red-eyed mornings until I was finally taken off of this case.

I needed a drink.

skonen_blades: (donthinkso)
The new group stared back with eager eyes from the assembly hall seating. All of them were attractive or at least narcissistic enough to believe that they were. They’d all answered the ad placed in four national newspapers.

It was a casting call for a new reality show. Fifteen thousand people had answered the ad. Using the photos attached to the resumes for reference, we picked the most attractive applicants. Using the essays attached answering the question “why should we pick you?” as sounding boards, we picked the most stupid and conceited applicants available.

We rejected ten thousand of them, deeming them actually valuable to society. They thought that they had lost.

We accepted the five thousand applicants sitting in the folding chairs in front of the stage. They were here to be slaughtered but none of them new that yet.

They were about to be briefed on the subject of the new reality show that they were to be a part of. High stakes, one winner, starting immediately.

This room was on the top floor of a building scheduled for demolition. Many millions of dollars had been sent out to the cleaning crews and demolition companies to turn a blind eye. The building had been outfitted with hundreds of cheap cameras on every abandoned floor.

The building would be demolished in five days. If there was more than one person left alive at that time, they’d go down with the building. If there was one person alive, they’d be rescued and given a prize.

Online betting on the published profiles had already started. The encrypted wealth of reality gambling snuff tournaments was already filling the accounts to record levels.

Glory was behind the curtain on the stage wearing that tight skirt and that killer smile. She had guns in each hand. Angela was tied to the office chair beside her, duct tape bloody, to serve as an initial demonstration.

The investors were huddled in the back room watching the live feed count down to Day One. Glory stretched her neck in anticipation of the carnage about to begin. The curtain would come up in sixty seconds.

“Are you sure we’re going to be a success?” asked one suited investor to another.

“My dear James,” the other investor replied, “we’re going to make a killing.”

He thumbed the ‘talk’ switch for Glory’s earphones. “Knock ‘em dead, Glory.” He said.

skonen_blades: (gimmesommo)
There’s a moment in everyone’s life when the subject of death becomes a certainty and ceases to be abstract. It’s a final shift of perception that kicks the mind into a different level.

It usually lasts a few seconds. Sometimes minutes. For the really unlucky, it can last weeks.

Spelunkers feel it when they start to get drowsy and know that help is not on the way. Pilots feel it when they can see the leaves on the trees just meters away from the windshield. Jumpers feel it just after their feet leave the sill.

The strong hands wrapped around Martin’s throat were having that effect.

Moments earlier, the fight had taken a turn for the worse when epithets were thrown concerning the assailant’s girlfriend. These comments had whisked the fight from street brawl to primitive battle. It had switched from assault to probable homicide in a few syllables.

Martin’s vision was starting to gray out and with a shock, he realized that he was actually dying. There would be no act three. He wouldn’t wake up in a hospital bed. The other guy’s rational mind had completely checked out.

The inarticulate red face pressed close to his was fixed in a spasming mask of rage. The owner of that face would keep squeezing until bones broke.

It was a horrible thought. This man was going to take Martin’s life with his bare hands.

It was that thought that made Martin’s body spasm and buck like a fish. He thrashed.

The hot fingers around his neck adjusted their grip.

Martin’s leg connected with his assailant’s testicles and suddenly, a world of painful air whistled through his constricted throat. The other guy had let go.

Martin ran, sucking as much air as he could into his lungs with every hobbling step.

He never wanted to come that close to death again.

Martin was a different person after that.

skonen_blades: (Default)
In an awkward underwater gesture, Jerry told me that my time was up and that I had to resurface.

I nodded and kicked off towards the shifting sunlit fractal ceiling. We were in Tobago.

I came up and spotted the boat a few metres away. As I swam over to it, I couldn’t see anyone on deck. As I got closer, I couldn’t hear anyone either. The sun was blazing down on a stunning turquoise sea. I took off my mask and paused, treading water with my head cocked.

Something inside told me to swim quieter. I slowly edged closer and grabbed onto the ladder at the back of the boat and stayed there, dangling in the water and listening.

I heard the waves lap at the hull and the creak of the wood on the boat. I could also hear water sloshing around on the deck and a beer bottle rolling back and forth inside the main cabin on the slate floor.

The longer I could hear the bottle roll back and forth, the more scared I became.

We’d found treasure and we were bringing it up to the surface. The boys on the boat would not have gone to sleep with millions of dollars worth of Inca gold on the way up to them. If they were asleep, that rolling beer bottle would have been annoying enough to wake one of them up.

Jerry surfaced back where I had surfaced minutes before. I motioned to him to be quiet but he couldn’t see me. He took off his mask and shouted my name.

“Frederino!” he shouted with a smile, and abruptly grew a spear out of his left eye.

With a shocked twitch, he arched back and went under the waves again, sinking fast with his equipment.

The sun beat down on me. It stopped when it was eclipsed by a figure on the boat with a spear gun. He leaned over and looked down at me with a quizzical expression.

“Well, that makes six.” He said with a grin. He pointed the spear gun at my face. “You must be Frederino.” He said with a laugh and pulled the trigger.

skonen_blades: (cocky)
What a cliché. There I was, handcuffed to a chair and telling them that I knew my rights. Yelling at them about what an outrage this was. Straight out of a movie. I couldn’t help it. I thought I was above the law at this stage, you have to remember. A member of the political cabinet currently in power. What a naïve little twit. This was their lucky day.

She walked in quickly and slapped her briefcase down across the table from where I was sitting. Quickly and without ceremony, she started shuffling through the papers she had brought.

When she had them into three neat piles, she finally looked straight at me. Well, ‘looked’ isn’t the right word. It was more of a stare. She still hadn’t sat down.

I could hear the hums and pops of her internal headphones and I could see the reverse image of the data spooling down her glasses. My life was flashing in front of her eyes.

It was an uncomfortable thirty seconds later before my court appointed lawyer sat down across from me and steepled her fingers with a deep breath before picking the best way to proceed with my case.

“Senator Peterson” she began, “You have been illegally copying yourself in no less that three separate incidents. We have begun digging on your property and have found six bodies. It will take time to go through them but I have no doubt that the DNA will show that they are also you.”

She took off her glasses and pinched the bridge of her nose with her eyes squinted shut. She put them back on again and resumed.

“You are guilty of not only copying yourself but also of clone-slaughter. Your career in politics is over. I will try to keep you out of jail. Your regular lawyer will not take this case. No lawyer will. To be associated with you at this point would be career suicide.”

And there it was. It hit me hard. She spoke with such nonchalant authority. I knew this wasn’t a scare tactic. It hadn’t even occurred to me that my career could be in jeopardy, let alone over.

I’d need to buy time for Peterson-1 to get to a safe place.

skonen_blades: (inwalkinhere)
Ran out of steam with this one:

In under six seconds Brian became a pile of bones under the faucet. He barely had time to scream. The showerhead had been packed with nanoid deplenerators. He had turned on the shower and been unspooled into a gas before he knew what was going on.

I was standing in the doorway. I was frozen there, halfway through drying my hair and looking at the place where my friend used to be.

I had used the shower before him. I was fine. I guess the nanoids were paneled to his keloids in particular.


skonen_blades: (cocky)
It fell to me as the new guy to turn out the lights. Whenever an experiment was terminated or needed to be shut down and relocated, it was the latest acquisition’s responsibility to stalk the halls. We were working on super soldiers. Completed successful projects were hired to police the perimeter and man the switches.

I was the latest completed successful project. I was the new guy.

‘Turning out the lights’ was a euphemism for executing the mid-state or failed projects that hadn’t yet matured. Killing my brothers. Downsizing them to the afterlife. Outsourcing them to the infinite.

This station wasn’t big. Eight trailers buried in the Arizona desert linked by air conditioned suitlocks. It had as much comfort as complete secrecy would allow. We were effectively a microcosm. A child had ridden his bike over one of our near surface power cables three hours ago. It had been exposed by a dust storm. After a brief inspection, he cycled off.

We needed to relocate in case he brought back a parent to take a closer look at it. Curiousity killed the cat but we needed to be invisible. We could kill no cats.

There were seven experiments in this facility. Two of us had ‘graduated’ to being in uniform and given a name. The other five were in their rooms hooked up to tubes and maturing. This would be their last moments. My hands were lethal weapons. The other graduated experiment who came before me patted me on the back and left through the ladder up to the dropship to join the scientists. I was left alone with my duty.

I set my jaw and walked forward. I kicked down the doors of their quarters and flooded their rooms with energy from my fingertips.

The first two were practically fetuses and died boiling in their tubes, scrabbling at the glass, mewling at me in confusion before going limp and silent.

The third was a child who I interrupted while he was doing a military reflex puzzle on a fold out card table. He jumped when I kicked the door in but smiled when he saw me. He drew breath to speak. I flexed and he cooked with that smile blackening and peeling back from his white teeth.

Number four was a Failure. He looked up at me through giant watery eyes. His bulk filled the back third of the room. He gave me a nod and closed his eyes. Not as dumb as the scientists had thought, then. His massive body popped and sizzled like a roaring winter’s spitroast. His last breath sounded like a sigh of relief.

Number five was scheduled to be named Jenny when she graduated in three weeks. So close. She almost talked me out of it. It took five minutes. In the end I took her life without using my powers. It’s what she wished after she saw that I would not be dissuaded. Her glassy eyes were still staring up at the ceiling when I left her on the floor.

I climbed the ladder crying but my tears dried in the desert sun when I got to the surface.

My initiation was completed. I got into the dropship with the rest of the ops crew. We blasted the sand and erased our presence. We vectored north to find another site.



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