Piker Press Banner
October 03, 2022

Call of Destiny v6p1

By Josh Brown

A Fistful of Destiny - Part One

Never in his life could Brand remember passing out so much. While not entirely true--there were far too many long, long, karaoke nights at bars--it had been some time and now he was dropping daily.

At least this time, it was only a sedative-coated dart.

While Brand's eyes adjusted to the dim lighting of his new surroundings, he roughly shoved himself to his feet. For something was terrible wrong. In the groggily waking moments, he was sure his right arm was missing. But a quick look to his right arm verified its status. So the alarm remained, but not nearly as strong. His arm had just fallen asleep, right? Not quite. Upon closer inspection, a series of what appeared to be computer chips had been connected to the skin of his shoulder, right before the beginning of the metallic skin. Small wires probe from the chips, embedded deep within the muscle of Brand's shoulder. Somehow or another these chips had managed to completely and utterly immobilize his arm, the arm, the arm of destiny.

"Sword?" Brand asked. "Sword, talk to me." Never in his short acquaintance with Sword had Brand ever been disappointed to not hear that jerk of a voice. Right now he'd give his right arm to hear it.

A dim red light, hidden behind a thick plastic in the ceiling, painted the area in red. Brand had found himself within the confines of a cell no more than five feet across and five feet wide. There was the uncomfortable cot, which he'd found himself awakening on, and a small toilet right next to it. Cold, steel walls boxed him in. While there appeared to be nothing keeping him from just walking out of this box, as soon as he tried to stick one foot out the open wall at the front of the cell, he was zapped back onto the cot with his head smacking rather soundly against the wall.

"Sword!" he shouted in more than a little pain. "Answer me!"

"Shut it."

That wasn't the sword. Brand looked all around him with a deep frown. The voice was far too soft to be the sword, and far too feminine. He pushed himself against the right wall, his ear pressing against the metal. Its coldness was almost enough to make him shiver.

"Who are you?" he asked.

"Miranda. You?"

"Where am I? What is this place?"

The silence that followed caused Brand's head to erupt with agony. "Well?" he demanded. "Answer!" When still no reply came, he finally realized why. "Brand, I'm Brand."

"I have a theory," said the feminine voice. "But it's out there."

"Which is?"

"There's this play I once saw. In it, the world was a giant experiment and there were people, more advanced people that were running the experiment. What if-"

"How long have you been here?" Brand asked.

"Rude."

"Evasive."

"Not getting any answers."

Bitch. Brand grunted in frustration.

***

"This is completely unacceptable!" Greg shouted. Then he shoved Buba, hard, causing him to slightly stagger. "Your friend stole my car, you son of a bitch!"

Sure enough, the humvee was missing. Grand theft auto was not one of Brand's specialties, but the facts were kind of weighing against Brand at this very moment. Buba stood there, behind the hospital, and stared at the spot were the vehicle once waited. Waited for what? Brand to steal it, apparently.

"I demand you get it back for me. Right this second!"

"How do you propose we do that?" Lisya asked.

"I don't rightly care, woman. It's mine and I want it back."

As the sun slowly dropped behind the horizon, Buba could only feel the despair of once more being separated from Brand. But despite how this all looked, he couldn't bring himself to fully accept that Brand had stolen the Hummer and taken off without them. Why would he?

Brand was different. He was changed.

The only reason Buba might even think it was possible was that change he'd seen in Brand's eyes. Something was different about him. Maybe he had some kind of psychic vision while he was unconscious and he needed to take care of business without his friends. Surely he'd leave a note at least, right? Something to tell them he would be back for them. Assuming he would be back. Brand wouldn't strand them here forever, would he? No, of course not. That wasn't Brand's style.

Buba grunted as Greg shoved his shoulder again. "Well?" Greg demanded. "What are you going to do about this? Get my car back!"

"It's not yours," Buba said. "We stole it, remember?"

Greg didn't like that very much. He stalked off, leaving Buba and Lisya at the scene of the crime alone. A headache started to inches its way into Buba's mind, pounding away without mercy. He reached up to pinch the bridge of his nose and sighed.

"I'm sure there's a good reason for this, Ben. Relax."

"He wouldn't just take off," Buba said. "I'm sure of that." And he was sure of that. There were doubts, doubts trying to hide within the throbbing of his brain, but they were there and he acknowledged them. While it was possible Brand could have taken off, for now he wasn't going to accept it.

Instead, he was going to look for evidence. Anything would do.

Slowly, he followed the tracks leading away as Lisya followed along. And that proved to be a winning strategy. As soon as they got out of the town and on the main road, there was the sign they were looking for. There was a second set of tire tracks leading away from the town.

"Whoa," Buba said. A tingle of uneasiness tickled at Buba's heart, along with a bit of shame for even doubting Brand a little. He was cleaning his act up, Buba knew that, and he never should have doubted him. Not for a second. "There was another car here. The owners came for it. Took Brand, you think?" He suddenly had a horrible thought. What if his act of theft had gotten Brand in trouble? The owners of the humvee found their missing property with Brand hovering near it and took him, thinking he had stolen it.

Lisya must have caught on to some of that. "Don't worry, Ben. I'm sure Brand can take care of himself," she said. "Besides, we can easily-"

"FIRE! FIRE!"

Buba and Lisya both jerked toward the town as the shouts of fire erupted from within. Buba glanced at Lisya, then bolted toward the screams, his eyes scanning the horizon for any sign of smoke. No matter how much he looked, though, there were no signs to be found. The skyline was brilliantly clear as the sun set and colored it with magnificent strokes of the rainbow.

***

Brand sat in silence on his cot, head bowed. Bizarro world was getting more bizarre by the second. From what little he'd seen so far, coupled with what he'd heard in Adara's camp, this world was not all that advanced technology-wise. So where did they get the hummers? And what, precisely, was this place? The chick next door was no help, rude as she was. So instead he had to rely on his own knowledge. Since he'd been able to travel here, obviously others could as well. But was this a case of that? Or was there another whole level of humanity in this world? The people that took him looked like army, commandos of some sort. They looked like they belonged in Brand's world, not this one.

Being locked up in here brought back too many memories. He was never arrested by the military before, but that didn't seem to make much difference. He was still in a cell. Still unable to leave. But this time he didn't done anything to warrant it. This time he hadn't robbed a man and he certainly didn't use his credit cards. No, he learned from that.

That was a terrible time. Getting caught was never in the plans, of course. But the feeling he got when Buba bailed him out... that was the worst of it all. Never had he expected to feel so disgusting with himself. The look of disappointed on Buba's face was enough to send him flee from a life of crime... at least for a few months.

Footsteps. Someone was coming. Brand looked up, his eyes focusing on the hall directly outside his cell. The cell across from him was empty at the moment, as were the cells to the left and right of it. While the echoing footsteps got louder, Brand wondered if this was perhaps some kind of mistake. However, one look at his right arm told him more than he needed to know. This wasn't a mistake. This was intentional.

The footsteps stopped in front of the cell to his left. He could make out the green shoulder of someone.

"This one has shown a keen ability to talk to animals. Preliminary tests have given us a better insight. With due time, we should be able to narrow down the basics of this ability."

"Hey!" Brand shouted. "I want my lawyer! And I get a phone call!" Sure, he doubted he would get either one, but he had to say something. Anything.

Four men and a woman moved from the cell to his left and halted in front of his cell. They were all wearing a drab-green tee shirt and the one in the lead, an older fellow with graying hair, was looking over his clipboard. "Ah, our newest arrival," the man said as he looked up. "We've been told it's the latest succession in a long line. It's some kind of wielder of a mythical blade that supposedly imbues it with mystical powers. Take special note of the arm-"

"Excuse me!" Brand stood at the base of the cell, glaring out at the others. "Could you tell me what's going on, perhaps?"

"Its skin has apparently been removed," the man continued, "and replaced with this metallic surface. We've been able to compare that was the metal of the sword it had in its possession. It was an identical match. So far, we have yet to determine how, exactly, this has occurred. But rest assured, we'll find out."

Was he even standing here? They could hear him; he saw the looks that briefly turned toward him. But they were outright ignoring him. And that Miranda chick said he was rude. She must think these idiots are downright anti-social.

"What are those chips are on his shoulder?" The woman.

"Ah," the first man said. "We had to immobilize its arm for safety reasons but we couldn't get through the metal surface. So, we had to burrow through the shoulder muscle and into the arm muscle in order to reach the arm and keep the entire thing paralyzed."

"Can't it just yank them out?" One of the other men.

Why didn't I think of that? Brand wondered. He reached up and tried to grab the first chip only to have his hand zapped rather painfully.

"Oh." The question-asker chuckled.

"Yes. We've taken every precaution possible with this one. Three men lost their hands trying to pick up the sword it had with it. Needless to say, this one could be our greatest find."

"Is it true," another man asked, "that you found this in one of our vehicles?"

"Another reason we're highly suspicious of it. It's the first time we've had one of them show an ability to operate our machinery. Most of them, as you have witnessed, run screaming from our evil contraptions." They all shared a laugh at this.

Suddenly Brand felt sick to his stomach. He was being referred to as an it and ignored on top of that. They wouldn't answer him, but maybe he could get one of them to shown a little curiosity and return later when the leader joker wasn't around. "I'm not from this world. You have the wrong guy! I came here through a portal of some kind. I'm one of you. Let me out so we can sort through this. I don't belong here!" None of them belonged here, but one thing at a time.

This made the guy in charge nervous, telling Brand all he needed to know. The guy turned to the others and smiled. "Okay, let's head back to the lab so I can show you the sword. It's going to keep us busy for a long time."

As they walked away, Brand leaned as close as he could to the invisible field that kept him locked in his cell and watched as the woman, of course it was the woman, glanced back hesitantly before disappearing from sight.

She'll be back, Brand thought with a grin.

To be continued...
Article © Josh Brown. All rights reserved.
Published on 2003-05-19
0 Reader Comments
Your Comments






The Piker Press moderates all comments.
Click here for the commenting policy.