Thomas moved to lock the door, making sure that no one could hear past the room. He turned to the window flicked a lock and shut the shades. He walked back, clipboard in hand, as everyone stared at the warhead that lay before them. It resembled a lava-lamp, with window-like panes surrounding the hexagonal steel pyramid.
“The aging elements in our bodies, which are basically, oxygen and our genes, no longer affect us thanks to what we have ingested. This elixir, although it contains high amounts of antioxidants does not necessarily grant us immortality from injury nor does it grant us full immortality, however, it does slow the aging process to almost a halt. It also leaves our aging genes dormant. To put it into understandable terms, it basically punches the lights out of our aging genes so that they’ll sleep. If we were to consider the general population’s aging process as level 1.0, then our aging process is somewhere at level 0.001; which is essentially why we maintain regular body functions and still seem to age, although very slowly. It only slows the oxidation in our blood, but our body still has to function normally. If we were to catch a life threatening injury and still not be able to cure it, we would still receive a fatal result. Illnesses, however, do not affect us because of our body’s natural conditioning. Unlike the mortals of today, their immune system has not yet seen some of the worst diseases of all time, such as those with which we had witnessed and lived through. We are essentially stronger with regards to our immune system, which is why, if you were to smoke a pack of cigarettes, it will not affect us that badly compared to that of a regular mortal.” Thomas began.
“Our previous assumption of being immortal is very much incorrect. We age, and since our fraction is quite small, essentially, over the time of 1 century, we age a year compared to a normal setting. For many of us, we had taken the elixir at more or less an average of 27 years of age, thus we have aged seemingly by only a fraction of a little. Essentially, based on the oxidation process, we are 33 years old. Now, moving on, this chemical here, is a high calibre oxidant, which means, that if we were to be exposed to this substance, physically, then our bodies, as all humans do, will ingest it, through the skin. In the laboratory, I had also discovered that the substance contains hydrochloric acid, which will, essentially burn its way into our skin, allowing the chemical oxidant to seep into our bodies, thus reawakening the genes and re-fitting the body with a lot of oxidants, and advancing our aging process dramatically. I have no idea, as of now, as to how fast this reaction will work, nor how long it will last, nor how well it will work. I have no test subject to verify, however, if this does accelerate our aging process, from 0.001 to 1, then our bodies will age dramatically. If my estimates are correct, we will physically age to death, maybe even to bio-muck, or even into soil. 600 Years of not aging normally will take its toll on us, and every injury we sustained, accumulated, and have been immune to will catch up with us within weeks to minutes, depending on how well this aging chemical will work.” He said, matter-of-factly, as his audience sat in silence, pondering on their newfound mortality.”
“Where was he supposed to disperse it?” Asked Ross II, checking his map.
“This SCUD missile, according to the files, was said to launch and hit Anilton by tomorrow.” Thomas replied, verifying from his clipboard.
“Let’s have at them, then!” Egeus blurted out, slamming his fist against the table.
“If Macbeth wants a bloody war, aye, I say we give it to im’!” He expounded. Fenton and Demetrius nodded in agreement, their faces curled up in anger.
“Aye!” Ross II affirmed.
“Looking at our battles and our troop morale, we can push this to the very top of the ladder. Straight on to Anderston by tomorrow!”
“He wants a fight so bad, we’ll give him a fight!” Added Rose, nodding her head firmly.
“Aye!” called out the rest, with the exception of Malcom. Thomas reluctantly nodded his head, as the War Committee started laying out their strategy. Margaret unfurled Ross II’s map, and pinpointed key structures. Decius, accounted for their artillery, calling the Armour Division of their forces.
“Aye, we can have thirty or so Armoured Personnel Carriers to support this attack, while still maintaining the lines. We’d have 150 if we send in everyone, and that ought to be better. We’ll punch a hole right through.” He said as he dropped the receiver of his flip phone.
“No.” Malcom said, standing up. Everyone stared at him as he lit his cigarette.
“Why waste the lives of the mortals, and risk losing most our own? Send in a squad. Us, perhaps. We have worked together fairly well throughout the years, and we can end this revolution quickly. Macbeth’s kingdom will fall to its knees from the inside. We’ll have at his guards, and take him out. Take out the leader an’ the rest will follow. Reforming the government to democracy comes later. It’s not our job. Our job is to take out the current head. We were put here because we were the best civilian combatants these rebels have seen. I say it’s time we prove it.”
Thomas nodded in agreement, relieved that someone talked sense into the group.
“We plan the attack, simple. Remember Hitler back in 42’?” Malcom followed suit, taking Thomas’ place at the centre of the tables.
“Aye.” The group responded.
“Blitzkrieg. It’ll only work once. We’ll start off with an artillery barrage. Fenton, you are our technology specialist, your task is to muck up the enemy communications, at least down to the standard radio frequencies. That way, they’ll have a hard time communicating with the AC-130’s in the sky, forcing the planes to fly lower coming in range of our choppers. Decius, your job is to take out any anti-aircraft land-based artillery. Once the communications are down, all our spare artillery, excluding the ones holding our line from here to Anilton will amass at a designated location. Clear a direct line straight to Anderston. Long range shots, I want tanks, not APC’s. Demetrius and Egeus, you are our land forces, sack the city. You’ll have support from Decius, as well as chopper support from Ross and Rose. You will also be escorting Donalbain and Froth, as well as 5 of your best men, Demetrius, into the castle. Do not linger, we need them in the target building as well. Ross, I want our news choppers, not our rigged military ones. I want surprise. Margaret, me, and a team of your 5 best men, Ergeus; we’ll take charge of finding and eliminating Macbeth himself. Rose will handle our airlift into the target building. Once we’re in, we take Macbeth. Word will spread of his death, and soon after, we will be open to our Political Committee to step in, of course, escorted.” Malcom finished his cigarette.
“How’s that sound, lads?”
The drive was relatively quick with her at the wheel. He stared out into the open plains that lay before them as they drove past the countryside. The alternate route from the main road was peaceful, as if the battles were not being waged. A thick white carpet eradicated all trace of any battles fought, at least visually. The only other significant military object that was visible was the AC-130 gunship that circled where they were heading; Calderwood, tactically positioned well enough to maintain control of the main highway that ran straight to Macgow. For once, she was the one looking at him, as he was deep in thought. He wasn’t like this, at least, not before the incident. She kept her eyes on the road, ultimately resisting the urge to pull over and embrace him. She could tell what he was thinking. Six-hundred years of their relationship, from fights to break-ups to cheating to fooling others to near marriages to near pregnancies. He was still feeling sorry for himself, she knew, he felt sorry that he had placed her at risk, and at the same time lost his arm while doing so. She fought against her emotions, careful as to not let their chance slip away from them again. Six-hundred years of planning and failed assassinations, to failed revolutions, to merely smoking in a non-smoking area whilst watching Macbeth and his bodyguards as they passed them by. They were always ready to strike, and although they’d had a mishap previously, she knew she would not let that happen to them again. Not only for both of them, but for the others too. They arrived at the site.
Still lost in disillusion, he stepped out of the Humvee. The R700 slung across his back stiffly. Gunfire raged a relatively small distance off. Fire from the enemy tank cannons rung all across the makeshift deck. He stopped in his tracks, slowly breathing in the smell of the breeze and gunpowder, listening for screams coming from the frontlines a few hundred meters out past the nearby structure. She followed suit out of the Humvee to see him staring at the fluttering camouflage netting that encompassed most of the rebel forward operations post. They’d built it around the building that presumably held the reason why they were there in the first place. She gave him a gentle rub on the shoulders and walked over to Fleance who was waiting for them by the door of the building. They approached almost woefully, with Fleance eager to share the news to them. The War Committee members were all hunched up inside.
“Hey, everyone’s here. We’re waiting on you.” Fleance said, as he extended his right hand. Malcom shook it firmly, and Margaret kissed him on the cheek. Fleance pointed them towards the doorway, focusing his attention to his tab. The two were never quite as fond of technology as Fleance was.
“I’m sending a battle report to the main operations base. You guys go ahead. Thomas will fill you in on the details of the biochemical weapon.”
“Alright.” Margaret said as she followed Malcom into the building. He was lighting another cigarette. Being as he currently was, he politely ignored the greetings from the other members of the War Committee by nodding his head, and he gave his brother, Donalbain a quick hug before proceeding to take a seat.
“Ah, Malcom, Margaret, how nice that you’ve joined us here, today.” Thomas greeted, as he tossed folders towards their empty seats around the U-shaped tables. A cup of coffee each, waited for them to wilfully scald their lips to keep their body temperatures up.
“Always a distinct pleasure. I still hate your English accent, you two-bit fluke.” Malcom said, placing the cigarette twixt his lips and scanning the folder for the summary. The group that circled the table let out a small set of chuckles. Margaret waved, and quickly began to browse the file before her. Thomas smiled at everyone, and then waved for his assistant.
“Oh, Caliban, please do give me a headcount and see to it that you find who’s missing from the War Committee and bring them back here.” He whispered.
“Yes, sir. Here’s the list of people, attendance is always here.” He said as he pointed out the column and handed Thomas the clipboard. He then scooted off out the doorway, closing and locking it as he passed. His right rested hand on his Browning Hi-Power handgun as it swung around his drop-leg holster.
“So, I’ll get straight to it. For those who are here, please do debrief our missing members. First off, however, I need attendance.” He scanned their faces as they were seated down, ready to listen to whatever it is he had to say. Most of them were drinking the available coffee to keep warm, except Malcom.
“So, yeah, Malcom, Margaret, you both are present.” He said, scanning the names.
“Donalbain, yes, you’re here. Hmm… Ross II, yes, and your sister Rose. Decius; Angus’ only son. Egeus, Demetrius, Fenton, and where is Froth?” He asked, finally lifting his head from the page.
“This is the fourth of his absences to this Committee. Where on earth could he be?” He asked the three remaining brothers, Egeus, Demetrius and Fenton. Neither Demetrius nor Egeus knew, and simply shook their heads, with Demetrius taking a sip of coffee, crossing his legs.
“He’s at the front, Thomas. You know him. He’s always taking absurd chances at life. It’s as if he’s not happy to be immortal. At least from aging.” Fenton explained as he shook his head.
“Failing means you’re playing, Fenton.” Called Demetrius from his seat.
“Aye.” Agreed Egeus. Fenton still shook his head in dismay.
“Forget that. All right. He’s only in the Committee anyway because he’s good with finding new ways to gut people.” Thomas waved a free hand at them and resumed to look at his paper.
“And so my assistant is currently looking for Gallus. Alrighty then, let’s get to it.” He said as he placed the clipboard down, jutting the last markings on the page. Closing his pen, he moved to the centre of the tables. He took a lab coat from the nearby rack, as well as the eye protection goggles, as well as some rubber gloves. Then pulling out a Pelican Storm Case and placing it on the table at the centre of the U-shape, he opened the package. He then pulled out the tip of a Stinger missile shell. Inside, there was an aqua blue viscous liquid that reminded them of lava-lamps, back when they were still quite famous.
“This, my friends, is the death of us.” Thomas held the warhead up for everyone to see clearly. Malcom put his cigarette out, half-smoked.
His arms were wrapped around hers. Their clothes were sprawled out on the floor, the same ones as the night before. The sun was setting, and against the black sky background, a far off city was lit in flames. The distant gurgling and moaning of planes and scattered gunfire lay the musical foundations of the night, while the incandescent glow of the burning city lit up the room in a small, candle-like light. He kissed her on the forehead, pushing the hair away from her face as he did. The comforters were wrapped around them, keeping the frost from seeping in past the bed. Their breaths still retained the smell of the past night’s festivities, and on the other side of the entire battlefront, Macbeth held his breath, watching the UAV monitors from his shelter deep below his castle walls. It was a distant thought, considering his current mental wanderings remained focused around the room. She was still sleeping soundly. Her bare body was a tribute to the goddesses of old. He embraced her tightly, as she moaned slightly. Placing another kiss, he stood up, pulled out his pack of cigarettes from the pants of his battle dress uniform (BDU). He lit one, and sat there, his bare body shuddering in the cold that seeped through the walls and windows. Flexing his left-side mechanical arm, he nearly squeezed the cigarette apart. Becoming accustomed to his newfound mechanical arm wasn’t exactly the easiest thing to do. A flash of light ripped the night sky open as a plane was shot down.
He was there, again, just a few days ago; just off the edge of Anilton, where the battle was held. He held his rifle firmly against the tree branch, his scope fixated on her. He scanned her surroundings for stragglers. She was just as beautiful when she fought. A fierce combatant, bursting into rooms, handgun locked and loaded, blasting away at the enemy. She kept a relatively long, customized blade with her on her right. Cutthroat and almost merciless when it came to battling it out, she was still a timid little girl once the need for her violent actions were filled. He gazed at her, a little too long perhaps, such that he had nearly almost missed the assailant who held her at gunpoint from behind an open doorway. A single trigger pull, and the assailant fell down, causing her to turn back after finishing with the last opponent in the room. She gazed out the window at him and winked. He smiled with this, and quickly loaded another bullet into his R700’s chamber. Infatuated, he left his post as they pushed, and he caught up with her as they were breaching another building. He was never quite good with regular assault, yet he was willing to back her up where no one could. Many of their comrades had fallen, and he assumed the role of support. A vivid and slow breach rendered in his mind. She had charged forward, straight ahead into the room as he was supposed to follow suit, whilst checking the corners of the breached area. Astonished by her prowess, he had failed to accomplish his task properly. A man with a shotgun, no more than 20 years old, aimed at her. He jolted her out of the way in time to save her, but not himself. The buckshot shattered his shoulder, causing his arm to fall apart from his torso. The rugged lump of flesh dropped to the floor, as did he. She picked herself up and sliced the boy’s head clean off his shoulders. As he recalled falling into shock, his phone rang from within the other pocket of his BDU’s pants.
Looking down at his mechanical arm, he could see the dying cigarette’s remaining embers heating up the metal. The whole cigarette was ash now. She woke up, seeing him stare at his arm. She rushed over to the phone and checked who it was. It was Fleance. Approaching him slowly, she handed the phone to him as she put her clothes back on.
“It’s Fleance. Looks like something’s up at the front. Come on, now, love. Get dressed.”
“Yeah. Okay.” He replied as he answered.
“Fleance? What’s up?”
“Hey, Malcom. I think you’d better get your ass over here to Calderwood (former Calderwood). I think we’ve just uncovered Macbeth’s secret weapon. It’s some sort of biochemical weapon. It’s designed to reduce the anti-aging agents in our bloodstream. The file’s got everything on it. We’ve got Thomas and his team working on it now.”
“The late Lord Lennox’s son?”
“Ah… Alright. We’ll be there. Hold down the fort. Nothing goes in or out except our War Committee. No one, not even the Political Committee must know of its existence, at least not yet. They’d panic. Anyway, see you there in an hour.” He said as he hung up.
“What did Fleance want?” She said, wrapping her tac-belt against her waist.
“New biochemical warhead. They’ve got Thomas on it.”
“Wow. Great idea. We just sack a city and we bring our top scientist straight to the front lines.”
“Not the brightest bulb in the box, he is.”
“No shit.” She said, loading a bullet into the chamber of her SR-40. He looked at her, smiling. She wrapped his tac-belt on his waist as he buttoned the top of his shirt. He smiled at her, as she looked up at him from his waist-level. She saw him, and laughed as she gave his crotch a quick punch.
“Last night was good, but you’re not getting another round just yet. We’ve got a war to win.” She winked as she kissed his lips and grabbed the keys to her Hummer.
(c) AnachronicWorks 2013
Across the frozen tundra he walked with her in his arms. She was light, and through the frost, all he could feel was her body heat, clinging onto his jacket. It rippled across his body, and against the cold, he shivered slightly. The rifle was heavy on his back, but her weight balanced it out. She felt his shiver and kissed him on the cheek. She planted one close to his lips; a soft kiss that could mean the world to so many boys. Yet through it all, he was the one she was kissing in the glowing sunrise across the plain. Her earmuffs pressed against his cheek and he could feel the warmth of her ears, whilst her pistol pressed against his ribs. Her face was a cheery pink. His was a numbed pale white. She’d had a few drinks, and so did he. It was time to go home. The fantasies of many lads would have scattered in their minds the emotions that could be held with a small moment. Enigmatic, in a way, and yet it was an epiphany; a manifestation of emotions colliding with action. A small hint of a smile emerged, as he walked along the path. Home wasn’t too far off. Five minutes of this tundra and she’d be safe, and it was back to his trailer for some rest.
They’d been hiding out for a while now; on the outskirts of the Scotropolitan Empire’s capital; Macgow, the former Glasgow, Scotland. They were rebels fighting against the Emperor Macbeth. For centuries, he had ruled with no remorse, heavily advised by his wife. An iron fist of sorts, and yet, they seemed so keen in protecting the heads of government. They were more concerned for the said leaders rather than the welfare of its citizens, to say the least. Some of their fellow rebels had even thought that the wife was behind everything that led him to power. His wife and the three witches seemed to be the key to his strength, and also, the key to his demise. Nevertheless it was a difficult task, but one with which they believed would be fulfilled. They had just finished celebrating a remarkable victory against the city of Anilton, the former Hamilton. They had already succeeded with revolutionizing much of the southern of the Scotropolitan Empire. From the borders of England, pushing up to Anilton, they were nearing the peak of their task. One more swift strike and the Scotropolitan Empire would be in a new state of prosperity. That, however, was another topic for another day. The two were headed home.
He approached her doorstep, on the second floor of a small apartment complex. Room 154; an ironically poetic view could be seen from her low-level floor. The loch, right after the highway was easily seen and it provided a strategic fort to hold down, as a key to the highway. It had a direct route to Anderston, where Macbeth held his own. Setting her down gently so that she leaned on the door, he fumbled under her welcome mat for the key. She knelt down beside him, her breath warming his face in the dawn’s early chill. They both stood up, and he unlocked the door, swinging it open wide for her to enter without fail. Taking a few steps forward, assisting her as she stumbled, he returned the kiss, however, he’d chosen to taste the soft skin that held her lips intact. They’d been together for a while, now. A few weeks before the revolution had started, and once it had, they’d been on a hiatus for the sake of the cause. Such was the effects of war. No one else knew of their relationship, since the tension began to surface. There were times, close calls, wherein they’d catch each other in moments of untimely bliss. Avid looks were drawn, and in one way or another, they had stopped themselves. This time seemed too painful to avoid. She whispered;
“Come in with me… To bed. I want you, Malcom.”
“What of the others, Margaret?” he said, hanging his rifle on the umbrella rack as he closed the door.
“I don’t care. I want them to know.” She threw herself at him.
(c) AnachronicWorks 2013
It was Christmas Eve. The lights were all on; the families were all home and the world was in an oddly loud silence, patiently waiting the day. December 25’th; the day their saviour was born. He smiled his way across the church halls, expecting the messages like a child as he waited for the replies of his long-awaited potential lover. Walking across the pictures of elderly clergymen, he was reminded of the times he’d spent with her, talking mostly, over the web. From video chat to actual conversational scenarios, he’d recalled every second he’d spent in her spotlight of attention. A small skip sprung from his step, and thoughts wandered around what he had to give and what he would receive for this season. It was all that he’d hoped for throughout the season; her. The experience of finding a match in a world full of broken puzzle pieces was priceless to him. He’d often scour places for that puzzle piece that fit his. Of the billions of pieces scattered across the globe, he’d only need one to complete him. There was that longing; that soul searching bull-crap that kept him going on. It kept him looking, hoping, praying, and all other sorts of infatuated actions, for that one piece. He’d found her, and he was going to seal the deal. He was getting exactly what he wanted for the season, and he would have paid every last cent he had just for that experience. A hopeless romantic, a frantic lover and a desolate heart; the recipe for a broken soul.
Mass with the family was always something he’d rather not do. Well, essentially, to hear mass was something he’d rather not do, whether or not his family was involved with the activity. He wasn’t exactly the religious type, but he’d often say a prayer to his nameless god and hope for the best. She’d shared the same sentiment many times over. It was oddly funny, how they seemed to match upon their comparison of preferential traits. The irony of it all was that they’d never found the time to fit each other into the picture. One was always in love with another whilst the other was single and waiting. They’d never gotten around to telling each other how much they wanted to give a relationship a worthwhile try, at least until a few months before, when they had spent the night together over an unexpected video call. It was a long night, and they’d spent roughly 12 hours in front of their screens, talking. Words were never really hindered by distance. At least, humanity had made it so that it wouldn’t. It was the experience that nearly sealed the deal for both of them. As irony often does, it struck a blow to their fragile, longing hearts. This was not the kind of blow that one could simply shrug off. This was the blow of a scarring kind. The toil they’d pushed through to maintain friendship was strong, but irony has a way of rusting even the strongest of important metals. It plagued his mind, a swarm that seeped through his brain like a viral disease that affected his entire day-to-day life.
He texted her with his phone as he sat down to hear the Christmas mass with which he was forced to attend. Having a previous agreement that once they were both available at the same time, they’d give their potential relationship a good try seemed to reassure him of his chances. Also knowing about her troubled relationship with her current man, he felt that the home stretch was well within his grasp. Church was rather quiet, as it always was, and people were in their solemn self-endearing prejudice, asking their god for something that they felt they deserved to have. Either way, they went to Church, as they always did every Sunday. The whole family was, as always, spending an hour within the “House of God” in a distinctly different solemn prayer. He presumed most families thought things through in the same way. He always did enjoy time with the family, and even though he wasn’t one to participate with such an activity, he’d simply play along to the tune just to appease them. Nevertheless, it was also entertaining to listen to the words of the elderly priests, whose expertise on religious viewpoints seemed to spark a mental debate within his mind. It was quite the pleasing activity after all, but the rituality of the whole thing cast his interest aside for the sake of logic and sense; not to mention for the sake of convenience. It was not going to stop him from doing what he pleased. He was going to finish this debacle tonight. The perfect Christmas gift.
“Hey there. I’ve been meaning to ask you something for a while now.” He texted.
“Go ahead! :-) Shoot!” She replied a few minutes later
“Are you single?”
“You know, Frankie, I know it’s difficult, but I’m happy with Mark. What do you see in me anyway?”
“I see someone to fit my puzzle piece in this world full of mismatching pieces. You’re smart, beautiful, creative, and I don’t see why any sane person would not want to be with you. We have a lot in common, hell, our takes on religion is just one factor, albeit a big one. I don’t know. You’re a wonderful person to talk to, and I swear that’s hard to find these days. We just both fit. You fit the bill, Sam.”
“Wow. I don’t know what to say… No one’s ever said that about me.”
“I know you’re with him, but I can wait; just to balance it out so that we’re both single. I really wanna work this out, Sam. I really do.”
“A lot of guys say that, and then when I finally am single, they already find someone else.”
“I love you, Sam.”
“But… I love him.”
“I’m sorry. We can still be friends, right?”
“It’s okay. Yeah, we’re still friends.”
He sat down, following everyone as the mass continued towards its end. Everyone was happy, singing, and enjoying the night. It was inexplicably surreal, watching the people make merry for their ritualistic way of remembering saviour’s arrival. All he could do was smile the loss away; to try to forget the bombshell that turned his city into ground zero; an atomic wasteland. A few hours later, he’d arrived home and eaten the festivity’s food choices. He’d opened his presents and taken pictures with his family. It was all almost enough to mask the destruction of his heart; enough to mask the loss. He checked his phone as he held his Christmas present; a new guitar. It was exactly what he wanted. He played the first few chords and read the message slowly, wondering what more could she add to his turmoil. Somehow he despised her for what she’d done, but he knew he could never fully hate her for it. So much for Christmas. It was a minute past midnight.
“Merry Christmas, Frankie.”
“Merry Christmas, Sam.”
(c) Anachronic Works 2013
It’s been a while since I saw,
Her smiling face ‘round.
I miss my sweet Plushie friend.
"The heat from your side let’s me know you’re still alive, but I cannot definitely determine if you are, indeed alive, because you are dead. I can diagnose you physically, as alive, but I think you’re dead elsewhere. You remind me of the mindlessness of the undead, and I can’t fathom why you are like that." Fowler said to her over their coffee. She stared into the black liquid that filled the cup; gently twirling it around on the table.
Can be deceiving,
And you never know what lies beneath.
Can show everything,
And there is no blade inside the sheath.
Can be unholy,
And they’re dark and disturbing, too.
Can be wholly,