Monday, 30 May 2016

Evil Interlude

Molly Donaldson awoke in a dark place. twas quiet, warm, almost cozy.
She was naked, but that was not an issue - it seemed like nobody was there, so it didn't really matter.

After a while,she realized that it was not pitch black... some light was there, not enough to pick its color, but still enough to get a sense of the space. Which was better, as she could hear somebody else breathing nearby. She was not alone... was this a monster? A wolf?

"Who's there?"

"A girl" was the answer. Maybe older than Molly, but not an adult - Molly wasn't sure. Almost everybody was and sounded older, to her.

The voice could come from a child, a girl, a woman or a Balrog. It sounded friendly, at least.

And the light was slowly improving. She could make the silhouette of the stranger, now.
Bigger than her, older, but smaller and younger than her mom, Lidia. Naked, like Molly. "Hi, my name is" - a voice interrupted Molly, coming from the walls.

"Unit, you will refer to yourself only as 121 - you will not use your previous designations, nor use the previous designations of any other unit"- pause -

"My name is-" this time, the other girl stopped her, frantically closing her mouth with both hands, visibly scared.

"Believe me, you do o not want to discover what happens, when one refuses to obey."

The voice returned, speaking slowly - "Failure to comply to our directives will be punished, by means of liberal applications of emotional and physical pain."

"What does that mean?"

"That they are going to beat the snot out of you, and of anybody you love, till you obey to whatever order that they give".

"You are correct, 117" - the voice from the wall said drily.

"It is time for your exercises, 117. Take 121 and bring her to the war room, to observe your work." - said drily the voice from the wall

"I obey" - said 117, even more drily.

The door of their cell opened, but a ball-bot was there, waiting for them. Molly had seen some of those contraptions only at a science fair where they were used to shepherd visitors. They were supposed to be cute and non-menacing, as their lax stability meant it didn't take much to topple one over.

This one... looked plenty menacing, somehow. On her part, 117 remembered the time when she tried to escape. The infernal machine was faster than her, and broke her arms with no effort.

It drove them down a corridor, full of doors similar to their one. All cells? Every second, things looked scarier  to Molly.

When Molly saw the War Room, its content - out of one of those crappy horror movies that her  mom had to stop watching - she fainted.

"You must observe, look, and learn. It is not so terrible as it looks, it can be endured. Soon, your life - and that of the persons that you care for - will depend on you being able to perform these tricks, up to whatever standard they decide." - 117 had managed to revive her, and was saying these words, at a very low voice - "Resistance is not futile, it is not possible. Do you feel this? Here, in the back of your head? It is a transmitter. They know what you hear, see, say, and even think. They are always surveilling, their machines never stop, never tires. There is no more, only survival, here. And survive you must, as they never keep only one of a group. If you die, they'll kill your mom too."

"Remember: nothing is so hard, that it can not be done" - 117 said so with a tense smile,  doing something that looked - to Molly - as painful as humanly possible. 

That first day, Molly cried all the time, through any horrible moment of 117 work-out.

By the end of the month, 121 was able to obey her orders and stopped crying, or trying to use her name.

- Another place, some weeks later

The Blonde Bitch is looking at the tapes. Lidia Donaldson, unit 122, has tried to kill her, again.
After she watched the damn tapes...  Irene Reldas can't help but agree with her prisoner. She, too, would try to kill the "Blonde Bitch", after seeing what was going on with her daughter.

The impulse to vomit strikes hard, but there is nothing in her stomach. As far as Irene knows, she may not have a stomach any more. It's been three years since last time she ate something... yet, she can't accept the fact that she is, most likely, just a Revenant of the less human kind.

"I do not know why you do this to yourself" - the voice was amazed,  somewhat childish... unit 73, Pipa Stone. One of those that had truly embraced their master and its foibles - "Let the golems handle these affairs. There is plenty to do out there,  and whole lives to live on the side; there is no need for a Herald to bury herself in Purgatory".

Irene knows better than answer with her voice. Pipa is using the Heralds channel.

The same small box (more like a squishy pea, really) inside their heads,  the one that 117 had warned off Molly some weeks ago, can be used as a communication device.

If the function is enabled, of course.

"Back off, Pipa. Irene doesn't want to let these poor fellows without any human interaction. She is worried that they are going to be washed away, which would be terrible for her - because they are her last tally" - Keisha Lawson, almost as whimsical in tone as Pipa, but Irene feels a shade of concern behind the affectation of nonchalance.

Irene may have been their captor, but Keisha and a botched operation of hers are the reasons those two were there.

"Everybody has been her last tally, at a given moment" - neither forgot, nor forgiven,  evidently.

Irene, "unit 5", the great huntress that tracked down Matthew Stone and his family, when he tried  to warn the U.S. Government of some o the Masters ore unsavory activities.

That the Pipa Stone that is living with them is the real, or is the Herald, as always is anybody's guess.

"It is one of the reasons why she should stop" - Pipa continued - "Before she really goes crazy and tries to rebel against 'god' , again."

"Uhm" - they are half-way around the world, and yet  Irene could visualize Keisha cringing at the biblical reference.  The Evangelical girl was one of the few heralds that managed to cling on to her faith, and was deeply unnerved by the similarities between the genesis and some of their circumstances.

"Krack" - Pipa was breaking somebody's bones, judging by the noises reverberating inside her body - "It would be stupid, and useless, and we all know that you are getting too frustrated in that place. You hold the fort longer than anybody, you paid enough for your sins. Take what's left of your soul and walk under the Sun again."

She may have been right.

"Yes, please do. Your substitute has already been selected" - they knew that 'god' was listening, but it seldom interfere, nowadays. It makes easier for them to behave like it did not exist, which probably ticked some of his conspicuous fetishistic desires.

"My substitute?"

"122 will replace Irene as chief of Purgatory"

A number, not her name... a Revenant? it made sense - "What about Lidia and Molly? They are my last prey, after all."

"Their memories have been edited with success, the FBI managed to intercept the band that kidnapped them, and all criminals were shot down in the ensuing armed conflict. This has happened two months ago."


"Their personalities were interesting, amenable to be developed in some intriguing directions. I decided to spawn some copies, and investigate the possibilities."

Too much information - it never lets out all this information, never... and the Channel is mute - "Am I going too die?"



"Apparently, my ability still has some limits. You are old, the trinkets in your body have long stressed the chemistry of your brain, accelerating its natural decay, and the countermeasures in place are near the end of their effectiveness."

Why must it always state the obvious? In transitioning from humans to whatever it now is, the guy took two levels in obnoxiousness.

"You are nearing a tipping point, where the artificial neurons that have replaced your lost biological cells cannot but inter-operate directly, and your down-clocker will all but cease to function."

"Correct me if I am wrong, but it does not mean that I am going to die.  No?"

"Your analytical mind will accelerate to a couple of hundred thousand times its normal speed, all the while you will lose access to many of the emotive aspects of your moist cherished memories. The physical sensations will feel so diluted that you'll feel without a body, images from your eyes changing every three subjective hours. After a year subjective time - three minutes real time - most of the others decided to self-destroy"

And, almost surely, it killed the ones that didn't, just to avoid competition - that was the most logical thing to do, for the entity that nicknamed itself  'god' (lowercase  and apexes included). 

To make sure that no other 'god' ever appeared, to cross its paths.

"We did not choose our 'god', did we?" - fifty years before, her only lover said that, just seconds before Irene snapped her neck, at the end of their rebellion. It was still the same cruel bastard

It took 'god' two weeks, to do whatever it had desired to do to prepare 122 for her new role.

Irene felt, one by one, her "trinkets" go off-line and vanish. She was back at being a normal person , again. Feeling hunger, thirst,  tiredness... the whole package. This way, her last few months could stretch to her last few years,. she knew.

It did not make feel her any less defenseless, when she met 122 again.

The Asian-looking midget had received the whole package, whatever the package was these days. Skin thougher than steel, for sure.

"I never thought to see you this way.I thought hat you'd be my refuter, that you'd hold out till..."

"I am a mother, he gave me a choice. I want my daughter to live an happy and free life with her mother, not to join me and her - revenant?  that's the term that you use, right? its genetic and mental copy - in this hell."

"That is not your daughter, 122, or 121 is as much your daughter as she is."

 "121 has accepted her role in the grand scheme. You cannot save who want not to be saved, and my name is Lidia"


"I must accept that my revenant will fill my role as the mother of Molly, as I know that it would do her best for our daughter."

"Nice to know. And, 121?"

"She has been already assigned to her new duties, and will continue her training under Maître Grenadier."

"Yes, I forgot that there is more than one Hell, in our world" - Irene had some ideas of what was the "Ècole de Maître Grenadier", and shuddered...  and that was all.

Lidia watched the videos of the last session of her daughter - no, 121.

Her daughter was home, with her mom, the two of them still battling with a new security detail from the FBI. It would take long before the agency finally registered that they had no usable information, and were not in danger after the death of the "band".

121 was a copy, not a real person... and if it was a real person, she was her own, not Molly.

Molly was her true, her only  priority.

121 could fend off for herself.

Lidia couldn't save 121, so she preferred to think at the little girl as some kind of object, not as her second daughter.

Unit 122, revenant r1178, the nine months old woman inappropriately called Lidia,  could almost feel 'god' laugh manically in the deep back of its skull, then and then every so often, when the"entity" contacted her directly.

She never guessed why she made it so jolly.

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