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June 27, 2022

Anachronocity v7p1

By Josh Brown

What a Mess - Part One

"Why are we standing in the dark?" was the first thing out of Alex's mouth after the revelation that the killer was, in fact, an Elder. Then he said, "You're what?"

"Will you help me?"

Katlyn said, "Why is an Elder on this ship?"

"I was captured and tortured for information."

Alex looked in the direction of the door knowing at any minute someone, like Yerik or Horus, could barge in and see this clandestine meeting. If that were to happen... it wouldn't look good--not at all.

"This is ridiculous," Alex blurted. "Just leave us alone!"

"I cannot guarantee your survival if you remain on this vessel. Neither of you are a part of this--"

"But you're asking us to get involved."

"But you will be caught in the wrath that will soon fall upon the Pure League and this ship if you remain."

"I think we'll take--"

"Not so fast," Katlyn interrupted.

A moment later the lights came on in the room, blinding Alex. He shielded his eyes, blinking away the sudden onslaught, and found himself looking at a bloody, mashed mess of a man. Katlyn moved away from the light control, back to Alex's side.

"Alex," she turned to look directly at him. "Are you sure you can return us to where we belong? It's all right if you aren't sure. But say so now, because we're getting an offer we need to consider if that's the case."

"I got us here, of course I can get us back."

"Are you positive?"

The Elder spoke up. "Even we have difficulties manipulating time. How do you expect to recreate whatever--accident, I'm assuming--brought you here? You do not want to leave such devices to chance."

Frustrated, Alex shook his head. He didn't appreciate the second-guessing. "I can get us home just fine--thank you."

With a nod, Katlyn said, "Then that's that."

A second later she jumped on the bed and flung herself across the room, straight into the Elder. Her athletic form strained from the split-second action, her leg twisting around the Elder's waist as she hurled him to the floor and pinned him there.

"I'd advise you not to--" Katlyn started to warn the fallen foe. Unfortunately, she underestimated her opponent. The Elder seized her by the arm and yanked, quite forcible, her body off him. With a powerful thrust, he tossed her across the room. Katlyn crashed into the wall near the door.

For his part, Alex just stood there dumbfounded while the Elder, despite his massive injuries, leapt to his feet and stared across the bed at Alex.

"I don't want any trouble," Alex managed to say. "Just go away!"

He inched his way toward Katlyn's crumpled body, never once removing his eyes from the Elder.

"Nice toss, by the way. You should think about becoming a pro wrestler. I'm sure they could use someone like you."

"A regrettable decision," the Elder said. He stepped toward the air vent located near the floor and swooped down, sliding into it. "Good luck. May your patterns find their proper places before it's too late."

Then he was gone, disappearing into the small corridors of the ship's air system.

Alex knelt next to Katlyn, his eyes constantly darting between the woman and the air vent, unsure if the Elder would leap out and attack again or not.

Katlyn frowned, her left hand rubbing at her right shoulder. "He almost ripped my arm off. I thought the Elders were supposed to be human? He had more strength than any human I've ever heard of and that was while he looked like a walking corpse."

***

After much debate, Alex managed to convince Katlyn to see Mama.

As the large woman inspected the Elder's handiwork, Sela and Yerik grilled Alex about the events that transpired. He left nothing out--well, almost nothing. Anything that may have happened below his waist seemed to have disappeared from the story.

Right after he finished his story, Katlyn repeated her question. "The Elders are human, aren't they? Some kind of host thing going on?"

"Enhanced humans," Sela said. "When an Elder takes over a body--that is a permanent process, it can't be undone--the human body modifies. Plus they've made strides in manipulating DNA to create better humans without merging."

Alex frowned. "Why would they do that?"

"It's complicated. There's no time to explain it now. Can you remember anything else?"

A blow off? Alex continued to frown. Why would the Elders want to create better humans if inhabiting them made them better?

"No," he said. "Nothing else."

Yerik looked at Sela, then at the others gathered.

"Yes," she said to his unspoken question. "Nobody else knows about this Elder being aboard. We want it kept that way. None of you are to speak about this to anyone else, whether aboard this ship or not. Is she okay?"

Mama shrugged. "She'll live."

***

Alex sat staring at his project when Bethany walked in. The last thing he wanted right now was to deal with her, so, naturally, she appeared like a demon spawn sent to make his life hell.

"Back to work already?" she asked.

Too many questions flittered through his mind. Too many odds and ends weren't matching up. The biggest shock of all came early, when he'd first arrived at the lab after sleeping a couple more hours.

"Did you get the memo?"

Bethany pulled a chair up next to him and hunkered down. "About Calisto? Yup. Should of known."

After connecting to the nets, Alex found his first letter. Addressed to the Pure League--guess that made him an official member now--Sela wrote a simple note describing a rather unbelievable version of history. According to the letter, the news coming out of Calisto was not true. Interpol set up a cover story about the deaths of all those children to further public outcry against the League. Her "sources" informed her that the base was not, in fact, a secret government school, but a weapons facility operated by Elders.

Bethany's nonchalant attitude about the letter told Alex all he needed to know about whether or not anyone would believe the letter.

"Does that happen a lot?" Alex asked.

Bethany gaze into his eyes--lost, it seemed.

Alex slapped his hands together. "Pay attention!" he snapped.

Startled, Bethany said, "What? Oh, yes--Interpol blasts us in the media all the time. We're blamed for so much. It's no wonder we're the scourge of the universe. Seems like everything bad that ever happens is the League's fault."

Not surprising. "What's their goal? To make everyone hate you?"

"Pretty much. We're nothing but evil terrorists trying to ruin a new age for humanity, according to them. Once this whole mess is over with and the Elders are gone, we'll be the heroes."

"I have to say something."

"Go ahead."

"Do you people honestly think you can get rid of the Elders?"

Bethany laughed. "Us? Alone? No way. That's not our goal."

"So, what is your goal?"

"We have to reveal the truth. We have to show everyone what is really going on. Then humanity will rise up and destroy the Elders as one."

"And how will stopping an election accomplish this?"

"It won't. Stopping the election will give us time to get everything ready. If we don't stop it, it'll be too late for us. The Elders will have majority control--legally--and then it'll all be over."

Again, not making much sense to Alex. He wanted to call her on it, but honestly, Bethany was just spouting what she'd been told. The only real person of power here is Sela. Alex needed to think about this and talk to Katlyn. Katlyn had Sela's ear. Katlyn might be able to find out more--help fit the pieces together a little better.

"Let's do something," Bethany said.

"Do what?" Alex asked warily.

"Something fun! You work too hard."

"Not right now. I have a headache." It wasn't entirely a lie.


To be continued...
Article © Josh Brown. All rights reserved.
Published on 2004-08-07
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