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Short Story Friday: The Gate-Aftermath


Tweet of the Day: Edge: Michael Crichton’s Congo

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P.1P.12b

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-Data Corruption at 81%

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“Fight,” I said. With those words I rose upwards through the glass floor. Higher until I was level with Joseph. I punched him in the ear. He staggered back, fired streams of lighting, but my armor absorbed them.

“So you’re Father’s champion. His last desperate attempt to save this fantasy of his.”

I drew my sword, “A good officer died because of you. Time to pay the piper.”

He drew one out of thin air, we collided, blades locked, “It’s not my fault. O’malley did it. He and his paranoia. Doesn’t matter, time is running out for you. DO YOU HEAR ME FATHER, TIME IS RUNNING OUT!”

“So this is what is all about, a spoiled little brat that never grew up wanting to teach daddy a lesson. Guess what, daddy has a few tricks of his own,” I saw in my mind through the eyes of three different assassin gynoids. One with an anti-materiel riffle that blew one a security spyderbot to pieces from across the street.  Joseph’s eyes went wide. “Yeah, the same little darlings that went after you the last time, except you’re here with me.”

——-

-Data Corruption 85%

——-

“Doesn’t matter, I have more,” he said.

Really?” Another bot destroyed by the forearm mono-filament blade of a second gynoid. “You seem to be running out of them really fast.” We were locked, neither of us strong enough to gain an advantage, but time was running out for me. Jonah could not win this fight with magic powers or fancy swordsmanship, but Malone knew a bit about fighting dirty. My right hand let go of the sword grip and as Joseph leaned forward I punched him on the face. He staggered back, I slammed the heel of my boot on his open foot sandal. I didn’t know if he felt it or not, but the construct reacted as if it did. I stabbed him through the stomach and rammed him against the nearby wall.

——

-Data Corruption 88%

——

“You can’t hurt me,” he spat.

“No, but….” O’Malley appeared in my mind’s eye, his jaw wired shut. He drew his pistol, but the assassin was faster. His shot went over her head. She slashed his abdomen open. He crumbled in a corner. I smiled, “But I can distract you and if those little darlings find you…”

——-

-Data Corruption 91%

-Hostile intrusion halted

-Restoring data backups

——-

Joseph the giant vanished along with everything around me. I found myself once again in the void. A wall appeared. It’s surface shimmered. A voice whispered in my ear, “Time to wake up, my brave knight.” It was Ly’s voice, but I knew she wasn’t there, that she wasn’t real. I walked through the gate into a bright light. I woke up in the lab, floating in a tub of milky white liquid, electrodes connected to different parts of my body. The tub drained the liquid away. Several robotic arms hung over me, with wicked surgical tools at the end. A terrible pain wracked my chest where O’Malley had shot me. It took I don’t know how many minutes for me to get up and pull some clothes on. Dark figures floated inside their tanks, twelve in all. A gynoid, with half its face missing sat, like a forgotten doll, on top of a cabinet.

A hologram flashed into light,” Thank you Detective Malone.”

I nearly jumped out of my own, real life skin,”Jesus Stephenson, I don’t know if your dead or alive but dammit that’s no way to say hi.”

“I’m sorry. Haven’t dealt with the living for sometime,” he pointed at a console across the lab, “there you will find the relevant data on the case.”

I retrieved a quantum storage unit from the console, “What about you, all of you?”

“We managed to restore some of the data, but the damage was extensive. We should know in a week or so how bad it is and we will go from there.”

“And what if you can’t repair it?”

“Don’t worry about us Detective Malone, we will manage,” a door opened. “Before you leave, I like to apologize for…” the hologram frowned, “fooling you. I should have been straight with you. But I thought it best to simulate a medical coma using our systems while we repaired your body. It was wrong of me, I am sorry.”

“Don’t worry, you did what you thought was right, and O’Malley got what he deserved. I do have one question.”

“Yes?”

“How long have I been out?”

“Three days.”

“Thank you.”

I made my way out of the lab, through miles of service tunnels underneath the Arcology until I reached the surface. I headed straight for a street doc I knew. He checked me out and told me I would be fine, in pain for a week and should avoid extraneous activity for the next month or so. He was astonished at the quality of surgery and asked who did it, but I didn’t feel like sharing.

A week later I came back to the Precinct and all hell broke lose. IA was all over me, asking me all kinds of questions about Rodriquez and O’Malley. I told them about the ambush and that I somehow managed to get to the street doc to get myself patch up. It didn’t match the evidence, which meant that IA kept pressuring me to tell the the truth. I didn’t tell them about Stephenson and it turned out that O’Malley was working alone. Too paranoid to trust anyone else. He saw Rodriquez talking to me and figured we were after his precious accounts. So he set up the ambush, hoping to play the hero who arrived a too late to save a fellow cop from a crooked one.

Good thing for me, it didn’t work that way.

But the stink raised by the case drove IA into a frenzy, with me at the center. So quit. IA back off, they had their scalps after all and no proof that anyone else in the Precinct was involved. Funny thing was, that the accounts O’Malley was willing to kill for and died for ended up in my hands. I took the money and left.

Left the Arcology,

Left Chicago,

Left Earth.

A month to the day I sat at a restaurant, in a private booth with an excellent view of the Earth from a nearby window. Someone came up behind me,”Hello?”

I knew that voice, “Sorry Pinocchio, but you’re not a real boy,” I said.

“No, I’m a girl,” she said. I turned around at there she stood. Long fire hair framing an impish face with striking green eyes instead of gold. But it was her.

“What happened?”

“Stephenson said his goodbyes, as did the others. They decided that I was worth saving, so here I am.”

“And you came looking for me.”

“Yes.”

“This can’t work, I mean….”

“You once thought I was real, and I know you loved me. Don’t ask me how I know, but I know. And even if you can’t love me now, who else am I going to live with? Who else can teach me about being alive?”

The old wound tingled, “I’m not a very good teacher.”

“Yes you are. I learned so much from you. Besides, I know Jonah lives in you and that he is not dead.”

I stepped to the window. Beyond lay Earth, overcrowded with desperate souls. The Paladin in me wanted to return,to use my new found wealth to finish what Stephenson had started. I did not approved of his methods but it was a worthy goal. A goal to believe in. “Will you help me?”

“I will.”

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http://michellerafter.com/the-2011-wordcount-blogathon/

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I heard this a week or so ago and thought it would be perfect for the “End Credits.” Enjoy!

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2 comments on “Short Story Friday: The Gate-Aftermath

  1. Good work, Ralfast!

    Really glad you are continuing to share with us…

    • Well this story is over, but Wizards’ World War continues and I have another set for next Friday. Glad you liked it.

      And thank you for your support! :D

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