Part Three Glaia Urruyeal Chapter Three

 

Dear Diary,

Some days I can hardly remember Fell-1 but then there are days when it’s like I’m back there just by closing my eyes.

            I’m in the yapay fields and the lilac petals of the yapay flower are rushing through my fingers as I run to mummy.  I can see the glass towers of Noorava in the distance and the third sun is finally setting.  

            “What are you doing here?” asks Mummy.

            She pushes me away.  She turns away from me and starts walking off towards a copse of black branched rahaihi.

            When I open my eyes I’m in my bedroom. I can smell yapay scent but only because daddy likes it pumped through the air conditioning.  It’s not real yapay.

            It’s still raining and the air that comes in through my open window is much cleaner, much less stifling.  For the first time since I’ve been here I feel like I can breathe.  My gills don’t even open.

            I close my eyes again but the yapay field doesn’t come. Instead all I can see are daddy’s guards dragging the earther female away.

Part Three Glaia Urruyeal Chapter Two

Dear Diary

Whenever daddy returns to Fell-4429 I think he might come to my room and tell me I’m going home.

            I’m seven. I should be going to the balls and finding a truemate. I should be dancing.  I should be being kissed.  I want someone to tell me that my skin is as grey as the sky before rain.  I want someone to tell me they have never seen a stone so grey.

            Daddy came home this morning.  He brought more earthers with him but these were sick and damaged.  Some had no hair.  I’ve never seen an earther with no hair like us.  They always seem so full of hair like tralliads.  When I was little daddy bought me a tralliad but it escaped.  I saw it once up a tree in the Hyrel Forest. It was just looking down at me. I swear it remembered me.

            We had a feast for daddy.  They brought out some earthers and made them end. When they’d swept the earther’s remnants away we ate. There were sixteen courses but I could only eat leaf soup.  That’s how sick I felt.

            Daddy asked me what was wrong.  He has such sad eyes these days.

            I told him it was just female pains and he called for Bresai to take me back to my room.

            I bathed with Bresai and let her make me feel good but even that wouldn’t help me sleep.

            When I woke Bresai was sleeping next to me.  She has this long blue hair.  The strands are thin and when I touch them they’re hard as bone.  I stroke her back and I almost wake her.  Then I hear the scream.

            The scream doesn’t wake Bresai. I stand up and walk to my window. I’m naked but I don’t care who sees me. Even if a guard saw me they would look away. I am Glaia Urruyeal, I am a Grand Lord’s child, I am not for guards to dream about.

            The air is cool.  The air on this planet is always cool but it doesn’t rain enough yet. Myersula says there are problems with the terraforming. He laughs when he tells me that the planet is proving more resistant than her inhabitants.  I almost ask him if his planet was resistant.

            In the courtyard below I see a shape moving.  It is an earther male.

            The guards are chasing him. The guards have already caught an earther female and it is her who is screaming.  She screams louder as the guards fire at the earther male. 

            The earther male has nowhere to go.  He reaches the wall and looks up.  He knows it’s too high to climb.  The female screams again. She’s speaking to him. I do wish sometimes that I could understand what they say but Myersula tells me that language is a weapon of the defeated. He says that even when a people are eradicated if their language lives on there is a chance they might return and damage the Fell way.   

            The male turns and shouts something. The guards fire. The male falls to the floor. The female is wailing.  It starts to rain.

 

 

Part Three Glaia Urruyeal Chapter One

 

Dear Diary,

It’s not fair what daddy does to the earthers.  It makes me feel sick in my gills. Last night I saw daddy’s soldiers bringing more earthers into the compound.  Mayersula tells me that this place used to be called San Francisco and that it had a bridge made of gold.  Mysersula says gold was precious like amvril.

Myersula makes me learn all about how Fell-4429 was when the earthers called it Earth.

            Mayersula says a Fell must know their conquests but what does Myersula know, he’s just a flick-tongued Waido.  His skin isn’t grey.  His skin is pink like some of the Earthers.  Sometimes I look at Myersula and I think he could be an Earther.  I wonder if he rmembers when we took Waidan.  Did his people get processed?  I don’t get how he doesn’t hate it all too.

            I told Myersula it makes me feel sick to learn of everything we killed.

            He says you can’t kill a place you can only kill living things.

            I tell him the names of all the animals he has taught me were here before our terraforming.  I say bear and wolf and butterfly and wasp and lobster and cat and axolotl and natterjack toad and polecat and many more. He gets angry.  He hits me hard and tells me daddy will beat me harder when he gets back from the Master Cruiser.  I don’t let him know he hurt me.  I just sit and start saying all the animals we’ve brought here.  I say catreean and halak and jio and sersunfly and vup and anakmilakovex and hiap-hiap and poderian and many more.  He thinks I’m showing off. He thinks it’s good that I know all the animals.  He doesn’t get a thing.

            Last night I couldn’t sleep. I kept seeing those poor earthers all chained up being taken to the cages.  How can I sleep when I know soon they’ll be processed and most of them will never leave the cages. They’ll be swept away like how the maids sweep the dirt from my room.  It makes me sick all over.

            Some of the earthers were new.  They were small and had to be held by the truesize earthers. I remember daddy holding me when I was little on Fell-1.

            Mummy was there too.

            I think if mummy was here now daddy wouldn’t want to hurt the earthers so much.  That’s what I like to think anyway.

            Tonight I’m going to show daddy that it’s not right what he does.  I don’t care if he beats me hard.

All Fell Down Part Two The Maelstrom

“Wake up, Harry,” she said but waking up was the last thing he felt like doing.

            He was hung-over.  He was more hung-over than he’d ever been.  His head felt like a rat was living inside it, a rat that couldn’t stop running around, a rat that couldn’t stop scratching.

            “Why did you let me drink?” Harry asked her.

            He didn’t open his eyes.  There might be more rats living in his head. If he opened his eyes they might wake up and start running around and scratching too.

            “I couldn’t stop you,” she said. 

He wanted to open his eyes and see her.  He imagined her as she had looked last night when he stepped into engine room.  It was warm, heat radiating from the slumbering engine.  The warmth was good.  They had so little power left lately that they couldn’t chance heating the rest of the ship.   She had found a towel and draped it over one of the power consoles.  Lord knows where she found the whisky and the wine glasses.  He had never drunk whisky from a wine glass before.  Maybe that was why he got so drunk.  Drinking whisky from a wine glass was bound to cause problems. And that’s why he kissed her.  That and the dress she wore.  He’d never seen her in a dress before, not even when they were in the Academy together, not even at the Christmas Ball or the Graduation Celebration.  But last night she was there smiling at him in a lilac dress, her red hair loose.  She was even wearing make-up: not much, just very dark eyeliner and a little lipstick.

            “Come on, wake up,” she said.

            He clutched at his head.  He wanted to shake his head hard, shake the damn rats out of it.

            “Kiss me and I’ll get up,” he said, still not opening his eyes.

            He heard her sigh.

            “Harry,” she said. He thought she might not kiss him but then he could sense her body lowering towards him. Then her lips were on his forehead.  When her lips moved away he opened his eyes.

 

 

The ship was called The Maelstrom.  When it was assigned to the fleet it was recorded as a Modified Transporter.  That pretty much meant that it was a run of the mill transporter vessel, the ones used to ship crews between space stations and battle ships, but some fool had welded a blast canon to the hull.  When it was a transporter it was designated as the El Paso because that was where its first captain was born.  When the war started and the El Paso’s first captain was dead, when it was part of the Vengeful Fleet as they called that last suicidal attack on the Fell, its new captain renamed her.  He was a Norwegian and he liked words like Maelstrom.

            Harry was just a pilot then and Tab was still only a navigation officer on the Byzantium.  Now there were only the two of them. No Norwegian captain going on about krakens and Ragnarok.  No Vengeful Fleet.  No Byzantium.  No earth.  Just Fell-4429.

 

“Are you sure about this?” Tab asked for the tenth time that morning.

            His head was still throbbing. 

            “Is there any more whisky?” he asked but she only smiled.

            He was sat in the captain’s flight chair now and Tab was responsible for navigation, the engines and weapons all rolled into one.  All Harry had to do was pilot the ship.

            A one way trip.  That’s how he explained the plan to her.

            He had brought up satellite details of the Fell fleet.

            “See there,” he had said, pointing to a large flashing blip on the screen.  She had nodded.

            “That’s their Master Cruiser, right.  If we can destroy it then they’ll be at least wounded.  It might give the others more time.”

            “What others?” she had asked.

            “There must be others.”  He always said that.  There must be others. If he said it enough times he might start believing it.

            “How do we destroy a ship that big?” she asked. She was right to ask. Their blast canon would barely make a dent in the shields of a Fell interceptor.

            But he had a plan.

            As the rat ran around his head and the Maelstrom moved slowly out of the shadow of Mars he wanted her to tell him to turn around.  He wanted her to tell him that they could go away, that the earth was dead, that what they were doing was foolish, that they could live.  He wanted her to say those words but he knew shouldn’t wouldn’t.

            “Are you ready?” she asked him.

            “I wish I wasn’t,” he said.

            His hand was shaking.  He groped along the arm of his flight chair for the controls. One press of a button and they would be hurtling towards the Fell fleet.  They would be detected almost immediately and, just like when the Vengeful Fleet had hurtled out of Mars’ shadow, they would be set upon by interceptors.  They would be lucky to make it within firing distance of the Fell Master Cruiser.

            But if they could somehow get close enough then his plan might work.  It was simple. Fly full pelt at the Master Cruiser, eject the engine with its fission reactor, fire the blast canon, ignite the engine’s fission reactor, destroy the Master Cruiser, destroy the Maelstrom. Die.

            As his finger pressed down and the Maelstrom did its usual lurching spasm before its boosters kicked in, he remembered the first time he saw Tab Ellis.  They were fifteen.  They were both cadets in the Air-Sea-Land Force.  They both wanted to join the Fleet someday.  They were in a lesson when the news broke.  They were on a train speeding towards London when the news came that New York had been bombed. He remembered Tab crying.  He remembered holding her.  How many times had he held her in all the years they’d known each other and yet yesterday was the first time they had kissed. 

            He stood up from the flight chair.  The viewer showed the Fell fleet getting closer and closer, their spherical cruisers looming nearer.  Shard-like interceptors were darting at them.  The Maelstrom’s hull was taking fire.

            “Tab,” he said to get her attention because she was focused on the diagnostics screen.  He could see the figures himself; the shields were failing, life support was failing, the engine was failing.

            She turned towards him and he put his hand out to her.  She took it and without a word she stood and they kissed.

            The Maelstrom shuddered.  He could smell burning.  He put his head against hers and her hair smelled of oil and too many days without washing. He loved the smell of her hair.

            “I love you, Tab,” he said.

            She was crying.

            He reached past her and tapped the console.  He glanced back to the viewer.  Somehow they had made it to within firing distance of the Master Cruiser. It was a miracle. It was the tiniest miracle in the universe.  The Maelstrom jerked to a halt as the engine was ejected.  He kissed her again and tapped the console.  The blast cannon fired.  The light that came then was brighter and hotter than any sun.

            The Maelstrom disintegrated into a million pieces.

           

In Grand Lord Atraydias’ private chambers on board the Fell Mater Cruiser he was awoken by an aide.

            “Sire,” said the aide. This aide had a high pitched, squeaky voice that annoyed the Grand Lord.

            “What is it, Kartern?”

            Kartern knelt beside the Grand Lord’s bed.  The three naked Talgredu girls in the Grand Lord’s bed didn’t wake.

            “The last of the human fleet has been destroyed,” announced Kartern.

            Atraydias yawned. He rolled on to his side and took the goblet of Hat-Had wine. The wine was thick, blue and far too sweet but he was thirsty and drained every drop.

            “What do you mean, Kartern,” said the Grand Lord, his hand groping one of the Talgredu’s breasts.  “I thought we’d dealt with their fleet already.”

            Later that day Grand Lord Atraydias reported the same information to his seven fellow Grand Lords.  The news was met with a murmur of satisfaction before Grand Lord Urruyeal brought up the issue of the terraforming  problems in Fell-4429’s southern hemisphere.           

All Fell Down Chapter Seventeen

 

I am the last to step into a stasis pod.  I pause before I step inside.  I know this isn’t an altostasis pod but I still pause. 

            I put my hand to the orb in my chest and step inside.

            When I’m inside I close my eyes and I hear Conbright’s voice.

            “You will be asleep for two years.  When you wake you will be in orbit of Fell-4429.  Your crew will attack the pre-assigned population centres.  You will give yourself up to the Fell.  You will tell them our location.  You will return to Fell-1 with them and face torture for answers they will not get from you.  You will activate your weapon.”

            Sleep comes quickly.

            There are no dreams in a stasis sleep but Conbright’s voice seeps into my mind.  I hear his last words grow and fade, grow and fade.  “You will activate your weapon.”

            I am Subject Jacob. I am become death, the destroyer of worlds. I am a weapon.     

            I can feel the warmth of the orb in my chest.  Its heat is growing.

All Fell Down Chapter Sixteen

 

I have a new file. 

            When I insert the file into the Redemption’s computer the words ‘Alpha Orders’ come up on the console.

            The names of my crew roll before me.  I see their faces.  I know everything about their development, skills and roles.  I know what their enhancements have done to them.  I know what they can do. 

There are four of them on the Bridge with me.

            I remember their names.

            Beta – Subject Lara.  She is tall and slim. Her hair is blonde but like all of our hair it’s cut shorter, as short as mine. 

            Gamma – Subject Shen.  He’s stocky and strong.  He’s Chinese but when he speaks I understand every word he says.  Language doesn’t matter anymore when you’ve a core system deep within your brain.

            Delta – Subject Esteban.  When I look at Esteban I feel like I know him.  There’s some subconscious memory aching to release itself.  He has green eyes.  For a moment I wonder if it’s some echo of one of my brothers I’m seeing.  My file told me I had four brothers, all of them older.  I know Esteban isn’t my brother.

All fell Down Chapter Fifteen

 

My file says that my body stopped rejecting my enhancements the day before I was due to be discontinued.

            My file says – Subject shows phenomenal rate of development.  If subject continues with predicted development he will be beyond the capability of all other subjects.  Recommend Subject for Alpha role.

            Other Subjects.

            I am one of many.  I am a weapon in an arsenal.

            Petty’s words run through my mind, “Do you think the Fell should pay for what they’ve done?”

            I nod.  I always nod. 

            On the day I met the others I finally realised what kind of weapon I was.  I was a weapon to be fired at the Fell.

            “Time to wake up, Jacob.” It’s not the computer’s voice it’s Utah’s.

            He’s standing in my room, a cigarette in each hand, smiling.

            I jump from my bed.  I dress in my white jumpsuit. I glance to see if my breakfast is materialising but there’s nothing.

            “You can eat later,” says Utah.

            I follow him down the corridor and we stand together on another of the raised circular platforms.  When the flash fades I am standing in a large hangar.  The first thing I see is a ship.  It’s similar to the sleek fighters that the Earth’s fleet used to have thousands of.  It must be the last of those fighters.  The earth is covered with their shells. 

            “Redemption,” says Utah, pointing at the ship.

            I nod.

            “And here we have the Others.”  Utah is looking behind me.  I turn and see Petty.  Next to her are the others.

            There must be at least fifty of them. They are all around my age and all of them are wearing the same fitted white jumpsuit.  I can’t see the orb but I know that every one of them must have it hidden beneath their jumpsuits, pulsing, warm.

            They’re all staring forward.  None of them have reacted to my arrival.  I look at them.  They’re all human. The majority of them are boys but there are girls too.  I can’t remember the last time I saw someone my age.  I’ll never remember the last time I saw someone my age.

            Conbright’s voice cuts the silence.

            “You are ready,” he says.

            Petty walks towards me.

            “You are ready, Jacob,” she says.  It isn’t a question.  It’s a command.

            “What for?” I ask and I can hear Utah snigger.

            Petty smiles her awkward smile.  She puts a hand on mine.  Her hand is cold.  She lifts her black glasses and I see her eyes for the first time.  They are red.  Two burning scarlet eyes. 

            “It’s time to go home, Alpha,” she says.

            I shake my head.  I want to tell her I’m not Alpha.  I want to tell her I’m Jacob. I want to tell her I’m a boy with black hair and green eyes and a hard nose.  I want to tell her that I need my memories back. I want to tell that I have no home.  I want to tell her she can’t command me.  I want to tell her I am not a slave.  I want to tell her I am not a robot.

            Instead I nod.

            “Goodbye, Jacob,” says Utah.


 

All Fell Down Chapter Fourteen

 

“Time to wake up, Jacob.”

            Petty is sitting on my bed.

            “What do you want?” I ask.

            She takes hold of my hand and starts stroking it.

            “I feel like you need to ask me something, Jacob,” she says.

            My room is black with darkness.  I can hardly see Petty but the more she strokes my hand the colder I get.  She’s ice.  She’s making me ice.

            “Who am I?”  

            She sighs.

            “I wish I could say you were my son,” she says.  “I had a son, long ago.”

            “I’m not your son,” I say.  I go to my pull my hand away but she grips hold of it hard.  She pulls my hand to her chest.  I can feel her heart beating fast but there’s no orb there. 

            “You’re not,” she says.

            We stay quiet for a while.  I lie back and I can hear the low hum of my orb.  I want to ask her what the orb is for but I know she won’t answer that.  She wants me to ask a question I already know the answer to so I ask the same question again.

            “Who am I?”

            She brings my hand to her lips and kisses it.

            “Poor Jacob,” she says as she lets my hand drop.  The cold doesn’t go.  It stays there like it’s deep in me.  “You’re a weapon, Jacob.”     

            I don’t say anything.  I don’t ask more questions but she’s come to talk. I know that.  She wants to tell me things.  She needs to. 

            “You’re going to kill them all,” she says.  She sighs again. I feel ice water fall on my hand. She’s crying.  “You’re a weapon to end the Fell once and for all.”

            Her tears are frozen now. Crystals of ice fall on my hand, my bed sheets, my leg.

            I fall asleep and I have the same dream again.  I see people, women and children, men and boys, and they’re all running and screaming.  I see a world I think must be the earth on fire but it’s not the earth from my core system, it’s not an uploaded memory, it’s the earth how it must be now. It’s Fell-4429.  It’s raining but the rain won’t douse the flames.  The people, the women and children, the men and boys, running and screaming aren’t humans.  They’re Fell and they’re all dying.

All fell Down Chapter Thirteen

 

It says on my file that my body took longer than expected to react to my enhancements.

            My file says – Recommend subject remain in altostasis for a further year. If enhancements fail recommend subject discontinued.

            There are four of them.  The first one I met was a woman.  Her name is Petty.  She wears dark glasses so I’ve never seen her eyes and her hair looks like it might be a wig.  She never sits down. She always just stands there watching me, smiling her awkward smile.

            I never see Conbright but I hear him.  When I first heard his voice I thought he might be some alternative rendition of the Computer’s vocal system but Petty tells me he’s real.

            “All this is Conbright’s idea,” she says.

            Utah isn’t human.  There’s nothing about non-human life forms in my core system so I don’t know what species he is or what part of the universe he came from but I know for certain he’s not a Fell.  The Fell are much taller and their skin is grey.  Utah is barely four feet tall and his body is covered with red fur.  Sometimes I think I should be more impressed or at least intrigued by the fact that he is an alien species but mostly I forget. I’m numb to anything like that.  I suppose the old me, me before the altostasis, would have been scared of Utah but this me, the awoken me, is less scared of Utah than any of the others.  He smokes.  He’s never without a cigarette and his double rows of sharp teeth are yellow with tar.  But at least when he smiles it doesn’t look like he doesn’t understand the concept of smiling like Petty. 

            Farkas comes and goes.  He never speaks.  He wears a white jump suit like the one I wear but his continues over his head. 

            “How does he see?” I asked Utah once.

            “What makes you think he needs to see?”

            Petty and Utah watch my reactions to the films they show me.  I’ve seen a thousand children die.  I’ve seen women lined up in front of a crowd of Fell while one Fell claws them apart.  Any one of those women might have been my mother.  I sit there and I watch. I don’t react. I just take in the images.  Every day they ask me to describe what I saw.  If I’m not precise they tell me to start again.

            “No that was the third baby they ate,” says Utah.

            “Tell us about the second baby,” says Petty.  I can see myself in her black glasses. 

            When they finish asking me their questions they tell me I can go but every day one of them, usually Petty, will call me back.

            “Just one more question, Jacob,” she says. “What do you think should happen to the Fell?”

            “What do you mean?” I always ask.

            “Do you think the Fell should pay for what they’ve done?” asks Utah.

            I nod. I always only nod.

            “You can go,” says Petty but one time I didn’t go.

            “I thought I was meeting the others?” I ask.

            Yellowed teeth flash at me.

            “What makes you think we’re not the others,” says Utah.

            I don’t answer.  I just wait for them to tell me.

            Eventually Petty answers.

            “Tomorrow,” she says.