For The Imperium

Observations and interview of a captured Field Medic of The Imperium. Subject is a Saiyadorei, little more than a slave in his homeland. His mutilated form was recovered from a warzone. The Tech-Sages were able to piece together his consciousness…

First Session

05/23 – The capturee awoke during procedure screaming and fainted shortly there after.

Second Session

05/23 – Procedure complete and cybernetics operational – consciousness and cybernetic body assigned to Observation Unit 011. Capturee awoke hysterical and thrashing, repeating a single phrase: “My blood for The Imperium.” Capturee continued to rehearse this mantra periodically while going in and out of consciousness.

Third Session

08/23 – Capturee appears to be cognizant. An assistant spoke to him and was able to recover a name from broken speech. He called himself FM-061-2020. He is surprised to be alive.

Observation

09/23 – Capturee seems to be regaining much of his consciousness. Cybernetic body paces the room and thrashes constantly – sometimes presses to the wall and searches for an exit. Capturee seems to be aware that he is being monitored.

Fourth Session

09/23 – Senju Gusar begins an interviewing session with the Capturee. The session starts with a few basic questions before the Capturee lunges at the Senju, intent on strangling him. The Senju orders the simulation not terminated and allows the Capturee to murder his virtual form. The Capturee is left within his confines with a corpse. After some hours he brutalizes the corpse and attempts to kill himself with bone. His cybernetic body falls dormant but his consciousness remains.

Fifth Session

09/23

“You realize you’re stuck here until we get what we want, yes?”

“I do.”

“So you’re ready to talk, then?”

“I am.”

“Good. You were once a soldier, yes?”

“I was.”

“What was your role?”

“Glorified medic.” He spat.

“Glorified? You did not believe in your own practice?”

“There was no ‘practice’! We didn’t help anyone – we made sure their dying breath served the Imperium. Calling us medics was a sick joke.”

“How did you do it?”

“Necrotizine. Injected directly into the dying subjects veins. You ever seen something like that?”

“Can’t say I have…”

“We’re the only ones who ever see how it really works. We’re the only ones who watch a soldier shattered, mangled, bones twisted, writhing, begging for escape. We smile. We tell them it will be okay. Then we jab them with this drug what narcotizes them. You know what happens after that?”

“I don’t.”

“I’ve been there! It isn’t an end it’s a goddamn nightmare! Your mind twists in on itself and, in a fluid instance, you see everything that you’ve ever felt. You see everything. Every failing; every shortcoming; every time you felt like you were nothing. Sure, you can handle it in segments but it never goes away and when it comes rushing at you it just…” He trails off and there is silence for several seconds before the Capturee began again.

“We were doing that to good people. Honest men. Soldiers just fighting for what they believed in. We took everything and then, at the end of it all, we turned all that they were into a weapon. All for the Imperium.”

“For the Imperium…”

~~~~~

Daily Prompt: Continue

Word of the Day: narcotize

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Willy-Nilly Tramp (3/4)

Previously

…I had willingly provoked people that had no qualms about assaulting those that did not agree with them. It also occurred to me that in my few short years as a Pilgrim, I had never had to physically defend myself….

~~~~~

I started to slowly back away from the agitated men stalking toward me. Whatever buzz they may have had seemed absorbed and turned fuel toward their growing animosity. My heart raced and my body screamed for me to flee but some strange part of me, perhaps pride or some unrealistic sense of duty, could not humour the idea of turning tail and allowing those men and their comrades to go unchallenged in their oppressive ways.

I scoured my mind for a plan. I was not foolish enough to plant my feet and let them surround me. I could not focus my mind to muster a cantrip; there was hardly enough around but sand and pebbles; the bandits seemed to be purposefully backing me toward the saloon – eventually I would find myself in an even worse predicament.

“Not so smart mouthed now, is ya?”

“Well, I figured I’d give you all some time to fully comprehend my last sentence; however, if you believe you have a grasp of the curriculum we can proceed.”

Clearly, I had lost my mind in the wastes at some point in time.

The most ornery of the three snapped, roaring like a beast, and lunged swinging wide at my head. Instincts took over and I narrowly avoided an aggressive rearrangement to my gentle facial lineaments. It was a fumbling movement and I tripped over my own feet, falling backward and twisting. I landed on my hands and knees and scrambled, grabbing a handful of sand and flung the brittle dust wildly into the face of my assailant as he closed in. He hollered and I swung out a leg, careening him into the gritty ground.

In that moment I felt a rush wash over me. Burning hot adrenaline coursed through my veins and my body shook mixed with fear and excitement. My own elation froze me and the two other bandits were beginning to surround me.

“You’re drakkin’ dead, drifter!” The man screamed as he stood up, his eyes an itchy irritated red.

The words left his mouth followed by a dull thunk. His body reacquainted itself with the ground. The other two had drawn weapons at this point, daggers and other improvised weapons of which they had aplenty. They turned their backs on me to address the new danger and I snapped into action – the adrenaline bringing with it dormant lessons.

You could call it little else than being enamored with conflict – with the sense of danger and racing adrenaline and the threat of everything going wrong in the blink of an eye…

I reached out through the Veil and latched onto the ankles of the men who had turned from me. I sudden tug slammed them flat on their face followed by a thunk to each of their heads.

“See, I knew ya had it in ya.” Evergreen’s voice from the moon lit darkness.

His silhouette beget armor and as he approached to help me up I noticed a dark smear across his eyes – a club like weapon leaning on his shoulder. A gilt in the darkness from his artificial tooth.

“Check it out.” He pulled me to my feet and led me back to the buggies. “They’ve been storin’ up a little but they gotta have a camp of sorts. Ain’t no way their take is from here alone else this town’d be ransacked and these folks made slaves.”

“I’ve gotta plan.” He grinned and lanked an arm about my neck to pull me in.

~~ToBeContinued~~

Daily Prompt: Enamored(8/30), Memorize

Word of the Day: lineament(8/30)

Crime Correcting Time Travelers

Like a slant rhyme they moved intertwined through time inclined and unwinding the very fabric of space, misplace, sucked through a gate, a mistake, an attempt to create a portal imitating the power and greatness of old gods who shape-shifted and made missives and raped.

They wanted to correct the latter.

No one should have the power or get away with, for that matter, something so heinously depraved and malicious as taking a claiming over the one thing a person can truly own.

Not just the men, but the boys, the girls and women; they’d make them face the horrific reality of their case: rape was a crime no matter your status, gender, or race.

~~~~~

Daily Prompt: Rhyme

Chapter One – Episode Two.2

Episode Two.1

~~~~~

The Spastic Cistern was half tavern half civic center nestled between the Residential and the Vocational districts. It stood proudly, the arch of its dome only succeeded by the Spire itself. The bustling center was more crowded than ever considering the storm what had stopped many from working and forced warriors to take shelter.

She stood in awe before the massive community center, her senses overwhelmed by the smells and people and distant chatter. Between her stomach and anxiety one of the last things on her mind was finding the Kaizar. People pushed passed her and she continued to squirm, wondering and considering the idea of turning back and abandoning what she was beginning to see as a fantastically ignorant pursuit.

“You’re late.”

A voice behind her. She turned to a somber face and mitchmached eyes. She recognized the tall, lithe man, draped in an elegant veridian cloak offset by his eerie cybornetics.

“Gus?”

He rolled his eyes and correct, “Gusar. I trust you’re prepared?”

“Definitely.” She lied more to herself than anything.

She followed and he led her through crowds until he sat them at a table. He ordered for the both of them: water and a hearty meal for Cec – a pungent aromatic beverage for himself. He said little to nothing and she clung to the idea of sounding ignorant before him. They sat in silence for some time. The order came to the table, provided by a serving drone, and he sipped quietly while she ate.

“This is incredibly foolish, you realize,” he stated rhetorically and she offered no answer, her mouth full of food and her emotions consumed by the bad blood left behind. He leaned in slightly and hushed his voice.

“They would send you to your death chasing prophecies and fantastic rumour.”

She swallowed her food in a rush and glared; after the fight with Aggar she was done being discouraged by others. “Is the Kaizar comin’ or not?” She inquired impatiently.

“Sent me in his stead, actually. I’m to take you forward but I wanted to give you the chance to reconsider.”

Ceccamun twisted her mouth, “not interested.”

The leery man furrowed his brow and sat forward, “Ceccamun, listen: we don’t need the old ways to be strong again — ”

Turbulent: “are we done here?” She refused her meal and stood.

Gusar huffed and shook his head and lead them from the recreational area of the community center. They followed slow winding pipes along the walls until they exited to an open pavilion connecting the various sections of the Cistern. At the heart of it, a large beating reservoir churned and whirred covered in wild vegetation and sprawling vines. Surrounding the pump were five glass elevators providing access to the upper levels of the Cistern. The pair entered the largest of these elevators. Gusar tapped a command into his mounted arm unit; a chime followed and the elevator began to descend into the ground.

Low lights in the dark tunnel scrolled by evenly, though, often left the closed space near black besides a faint glow from either above or below. The peering light of Gusar’s left eye.

Ceccamun closed her own.

The rushing and crashing of bubbling water echoed around them; the tink, clink, clank of working individuals. They entered a voluminous cavern laden with gizmos and computer towers. A rotund man hovered over to them supported by a contraption on his back and legs; his shabby clothing was covered in dark grease. He stopped for but a brief moment, ready for introduction, then his arm-unit lit up and he grumbled. He quickly checked to see what is was, “you know you’re way around, Gus, get her settled in and I’ll be back.” He hovered off, barking at into the air at others as he went.

“Settled in?”

“You aren’t staying.”

“But why’s he think I’ll be ‘settlin’ in’?”

“Others have had the capacity to listen.”

They meandered through a maze of equipment before Gusar abruptly stopped and began to tap away at his arm again. A panel on the floor blinked and then slid back revealing a stairwell down into a void.

~~~~~

Episode Two.3

Man-shaped Hole

There was nothing there, really. There was a shape, a something you could perceive, a body, a mind, a walking, talking, breathing being – but when you stopped looking he almost seemed to fade into nothing. His presence carried no weight; his passing left only forgetable memory; he could move through any scene with such grace and subtlety he seemed like a vivid dream.

Sometimes I would question his humanity, ask him things only the living would understand but my inquiry would only lead me to more uncertainty. It was unfathomable. Sickening, even. I could not conceive someone who was both dead yet cognisant like the living.

He was in love with me, I could tell, so he told me anyhow, but I did not feel loved by him. It was impossible, I had decided, for someone so empty to feel something so profound as love for anything, including himself. Such an emotion was reserved to those with a soul.

I loved him. I put all that I could into him until I was left exhausted and devoid. He may have been human, he may have been living, but he was not alive and all that I tried was only consumed by a deep dark hole which strived on what only the alive could provide.

When I had finally managed to free myself I wept, not for him nor for joy, but for the weakness in my heart and for fear of the terror I had released unto the world.

Changed

I felt a brush at my neck – a nibbling – wet and consuming.

“Stop it, ya nit.” My words muffled. Drowsy.

I batted away the culprit and turned my gaze unto a twisted face, mouth full of flesh and veins leaking. The ooze pulsated and crawled along its pale face.

A yelp escaped me, a jolt of energy. I frantically pushed away the creature mounting me, pressing to the wall, and scrambledto my feet. A numbed sensation washed me and I grasped at a memory: a house-warming, a homecoming, for the soldier we believed would never come back.

I watched his gnarled form set for another attack. He lunged and I flinched, too confused and too afraid to act. I pressed into the coarse wall at my back and raised my arms. He sunk his bloodied teeth into my flesh.

I felt nothing. I punched a finger into the depths of his eye and pushed him to the floor. I tore my arm away from his gripping teeth and latched at his throat, my eyes glazing over in a fiery haze I could not control.

“…become. Survive.”

The voice came to me as a whisper. I opened my eyes to mutilated flesh, my hands stained in red. My heart raced, threatening to beat out of my chest.

“…consume. Survive”

A fiery haze shifted from my eyes and trembled, warm flesh in my hand, blood dripping from my mouth.

~~~~~

Daily Prompt: Inhabit

Word of the Day: incogitant

Impromptu Camouflage

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, reminding myself that it was only a game. Without looking I dragged my jagged blade across the fetid flesh and nearly queased at the soppy sound and visceral stench.

“Hurry up!” Badger’s hushed command barked through the unit in my headgear.

Still unlooking, I sheathed my knife and plunged my hands into the cold cavity of the corpse at my knees. My actions betrayed my thoughts and I lost myself to disbelief, slowly bathing myself in the bowels of what was once living.

A second pair of hands grazed and froze me. “We need to move, and I ain’t ’bout’a’baby ya, so get it together.”

Even so, she helped me adopted our vile disguise.

We trudged through a valley, a quaquaversal marsh of land where we could blend in with the dumped corpses and turning dead. Even as we shimmied our way up the discarding chute I was thankful just to be away from the mound of death below.

~~~~~

Daily Prompt: Visceral

Word of the Day: quaquaversal

Oozing Truths, Mistruths, And Otherwise

I could feel the heat of the raging flames in my heart. The pillowing smoke choked my thoughts. I watched helplessly and shaking with fury as years of my life and knowledge I held dear melted away, turned to ash and smoldering rubble.

The Imperial Commonality was said to be the safest place in the world – an expansive nation where one could live free of fear – free of banditry and free of the harsh reality of the untamed land – a walled community where the every-day struggle of life would be but a nightmarish memory.

Half-truths, he taught me. Twisted lies to mislead sheep into trading freedom for a life of Comstockery where only the success and un-debated rule of the Commonality were weighed. My parents and I were among these sheep, unknowing and unquestioning, meandering through the days of ‘a fulfilling life.’

My father worked as a baker, as simple men like him were assigned; my mother was designated, and dedicated, as a counselor; my twin sisters, whose names I forget, were “presented with the rare opportunity to attend The Imperial Hall of Vocation where they will have the chance to grow into some of the most important figures in the Commonality.” After my own aptitude test, I was assigned to be a historian and signed to an apprenticeship underneath a curator.

In passing years he had become more of a father than my own. He urged me to think for myself, to question the Commonality and its rules. He taught to me the Pilgrim’s Signs carefully hidden amongst Imperial text. He took me to underground plays and presented me with texts and arts what would be considered avant-garde by most – exposure and commentary on our esteemed righteous government – and when he guided me through the Veil, an ethereal place, to meetings with Pilgrims, I listened and learned their teachings: to protect and to preserve the freedoms of society – the freedom of all things.

“Taber,” he stopped me one evening during lock-up, his face grim. I had worried I had made a mistake during my first night alone managing the archive.

“You need to leave. Now” He urged and bid me leave my things. Despite my burning curiosity I obeyed and took with me little more than what was at hand: the notes and pens I had been keeping for my studies, my anxiety medicine, and, of course, my phone. He forbade me to bring the latter, convinced that it would lead to our capture.

We watched the inferno from the boxcar of a Skytram along with at least a hundred other citizens with their faces pressed to the glass. My lingering gaze slowly trailed to a sector below where I could see a series of hovering crafts approaching the community tower in which my family lived.

“I never meant to drag you into all this.” He muttered to me, hand on my shoulder. I did not blame him. The oozing hatred of the Commonality would do anything to silence free-thinking.

~~~~~

Daily Prompt: Ooze

Word of the Day: Comstockery

Chapter One – Episode Two.1

Episode Two.0

———-

...She lay helpless, a crumbled heap of shattered bones and leaking vitals, a worthless warrior incapable of rising to fight beside her people. Her oppressor let out a heinous cackle, crushing her spine beneath its heel and forcing her to watch carnage ravage her home and her life.

Desperation and rage twisted inside her, churning and swelling until she could feel nothing but the adrenaline and the blind will to protect what she loved. The ground beneath her quaked and cracked until a force burst forth from within her, cratering the floor and spiralling her oppressor…

~~~~~

“Cec!”

She snapped awake. Khaliel’s feathered tail lay across her and the protective creature encircled her looking up at Aggar and Zimyen standing over them. Ceccamun noticed a handful of others staring in their direction from afar.

“You’re thrashin’round in your dreams again and…whatever’s goin’ on with you, others can feel it – the ‘pyrs too.”

Ceccamun and Khaliel, following Aggar and Zimyen, had taken refuge in one of the specialized support pods designed to assist in ensuring etenpyr remained calm. The interior simulated the world above ground with artificial sunlight, wind, and ambient sound; even so, the pods only served as first-aid to a problem that would grow ever dire with time. The etenpyr, though often making their nest in caves, were known to grow increasingly anxious, exhibiting claustrophobic behavior, when contained for extended stretches.

The wailing storm ravaged Eten Viyo’s weather dome, kicking up dust and grime and sand and stone and tossing it against the barrier into the night. The barriers’ energy was fading and the city needed to be protected; the Spire was withdrawn and blast shields enclosed the city locking it and the citizens within the crater, underground until the storm passed.

Aggar sat down in front of her and Zimyen curled up behind him. “Probably best you don’t sleep here.”

Cec twisted her mouth and nodded, sitting up and absently petting Khaliel’s tail as she waited for the pounding in her chest and the lingering dread on her mind to pass. “I hear ya.” She trailed and watched Aggar cross his arms and close his eyes; whether he was still going to get his sleep or not, it was apparent that he did not wish to talk to her any more than necessary. She spent the passing hours in silence, listening to the simulated environment and pondering what the storm meant for her coming adventure.

~~~~~

“The second sun rises.” A brief chime proceeded the message to come. An even and metallic feminine tone echoed from the PA system. “The storm has yet to pass. Riders experiencing difficulties maintaining control of their etenpyr should seek a Minder immediately for assistance.”

Ceccamun flittered out of her fragile drifting. She had fought sleep for the majority of the night but eventually it crept up on her and she rocked back and forth unintentionally, nodding off time and time again, fidgeting and fighting slumber while others enjoyed the much-needed. She had mixed feeling about the morning what had finally come.

Slowly, she rose to her feet, Khaliel’s tail falling from her legs. The yawning beast rose her head and stirred a yawn out of her sleep deprived master.

“Mornin’, Khaly.” Ceccamun tousled the reptiles vibrant plume and was met with a gentle besaddened sigh. She frowned, “it’ll be okay,” attempting to reassure her companion thought truthfully the reality of it all was beginning to creep on her.

With her foot, she reached out and nudged Aggar’s own. Once tenderly, calling his name, and then a second time with vigor until he opened his eyes. His sharp brow and roguish gaze instantly set to a glare at the sight of her.

“What, not gone yet?” He closed his eyes again

Zimyen stood abruptly, his tail whipping out and shoving Aggar over and forward nearly smacking his face on the floor. He barely managed to catch himself on his arms.

“Dammit, Zim!”

“Oh, don’tcha worry, I was jus’ on my way,” Ceccamun retorted with a snarl, petting Zimyen’s snout as he took to her side.

She sighed and looked down at her friend and he sat there, legs and arms crossed, mouth twisted in what was bordering on a pout. After a moment his glare fell to the wayside and he stared at the floor.

And when he would not say anything or do anything more, “we’re waiting, ya know.”

“For what?” He did not bother to look up.

“For you ta stop bein’ a baby’n’get in on this team hug.” And she, Khaliel, and Zimyen stared at him, urging, until resistance melted away and he grumbled to his feet and into the embrace of his family.

“One last big team hug for The ZACK Attack.” She muttered, reminiscing. Aggar groaned and she chuckled. It really was a horrible team name but it was their horrible team name – even if Aggar refused to acknowledge it.

A hearty harrumph caught their attention and pulled their gaze to where both Akmoya and Kerimoya stood just a few meters away. The two adolescents pushed away from each other under the scrutiny of Akmoya’s glaring eye but Ceccamun did her best to ignore his sullen gaze. She rushed over and dove into Kerimoya’s warm embrace.

“Y’all came to say goodbye?” She turned to Akmoya and wrapped her arms around his neck as he crouched to meet her.

“We came ta wish ya luck, Moon.” Akmoya reassured.

“Right…” The young girl trailed, stepping back and passing a glance around to her friends – her family – their smiling yet somber faces. She began to well up again but shook it off and exhaled a heavy sigh, “I should have never agreed to this.”

“Stuff that,” Kerimoya spouted and gently knocked the young warrior over the head with her staff. “And what’d I tell ya’bout poutin’? We ain’t goin’ nowhere, so you just focus makin’ it back, ya hear?”

Ceccamun nodded her head then passed her eyes to Aggar again who was standing silently with Zimyen at his side and methodically stroking the creatures feathered head. Cec twisted her mouth then stepped over to him and pulled him aside. His face twisted with confusion and mild concern.

“I guess, I don’t know, I don’t want us to part on a stupid fight.”

“Well, you could just tell me.”

“I was getting there.” She huffed. “Look, it’s a little much to explain, honest, but I ain’t joinin’ the Kaizragoons. I’m goin’ into the Oasis.” His confusion only double. I continued, “there’s a hermit there, the Kaizar thinks, who’s unlocked the lost power of our ancestors. He thinks — “

Aggar held up his hands to interrupt, “yer tryin’a tell me the Kaizar is sendin’ you into the deep wilds in search of a fable?” She nodded slowly and he went on. “And yer doing this willingly? Alone?” She nodded again. “You’re kriffin’ crazy. You’ll die.” He stressed.

“Thanks fer the support.” She rolled her eyes.

“It’s a stupid idea. Sorry if I ain’t keen on lettin’ ya run off and get yerself killed.”

It was what had begun to go through her mind but hearing him say it, hearing him bicker and chastise, only served to fill her with a spiteful urge to prove him wrong.

“It’s already decided. I am going. The least you could do is pretend to support me.”

“Oh, sure, my apologies: Good luck with yer death quest, Cec. Don’t forget to ask the kind creatures who murder ya to send back somethin’ nice for us to remember you by.

Ceccamun gritted her teeth and turned away from the criticizing boy. So much for not ending on a stupid fight. She did her best to contain herself, and ignore the eyes she was getting for the short scene Aggar had made. She offered each of the others another hug and placed a special request with Khaliel to take care of Zimyen and make sure Aggar did not do anything rash.

The young girl reluctantly said her goodbyes and waved farewell. She had managed to keep it together up until she stepped out into the darkened streets of Eten Viyo. The heavy pod door shut and sealed behind her and left her standing in the eerie echoing of a city sealed in a hollow bunker.

———-

Episode Two.2

 

Rites of The Veil – Joining The Warriors Of The Rail

He grumbled as we entered, the automatic lock of our hotel door chiming behind us. It was a quaint room: a single bed, a small TV, and a handful of other amenities such as a bathroom and a unit adhered to the window for cooling.

“And all for little more than a day in working the kitchen.” I promptly plugged my computer and phone into the nearest wall outlet.

The aged man said nothing as he set down his pack and walked over to the kingsize mattress. He pushed down on the pillowy surface then climbed on and allowed himself to melt into the softness.

I giggled in response. “The big bad corporations ain’t so bad now, are they?” I teased.

He sat up promptly but offered no retort. I shrugged and isolated myself to a corner where I could browse, collect information, and create. Remote work was a godsend.

A strong hint of theine overwhelmed my senses. I turned in my seat to see my travel-worn mentor seated on the floor, legs crossed beneath him, an archaic kettle and ethereal flame at his knees. He beckoned me, wordlessly, and began to pour two cups. I joined him.

Curiously, “they’ll kick us out if they find we’re startin’ fires.”

He passed me one of the cups of steaming brew. Thick wisps hung heavy in the air and filled the room with hovering figures whispering in an incoherent tongue.

“Drink and breath in deep. It is time for you joining.” His voice came not from his own but from the air.

I cautiously breathed in and sipped the tea, its warmth washing over me. It burned within and caused all feeling to disappear. My mind pulled away from me and the room faded away revealing a world underneath the one I had known.

“Welcome, Pilgrim, to the Veiled Railway – the road which connects us to all things.

~~~~~

Daily Prompt: Recite

Word of the Day: theine