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Saturday, April 6, 2024

[Fiction] [Excerpt] [Book II] AKELDAMA

(C) 2024 Kyrinn S. Eis  All Rights Reserved Worldwide


>[[Codename: Avowed Testament]]

"Why have you come at this time to meet with us?"
Risette smoked a handrolled cigarette, hazeflower, smelt of burnt orange peel; returned thoughts of Klarissa, their seeming interminable separation while present in the same room -- or had been, roommates, -- interminable separation it had been.

-- "I have need of Akeldama."
Risette frowned nervously, it played across her features used to sour expressions, like a blaze of pain -- but Risette wasn't a shrinking violet when it came to suffering, Syil knew; knew her type; as if in a mirror, they -- not only in the looks department, but in what they had done with had been done to them... And in Syil's case, willingly -- braver, she?
"Cut through the koans, please; I'm endarkened -- AntiSatori -- Acosmic -- Anál nathrach, orth' bháis's bethad, do chél dénmha, and all that, luv. When does it need to be delivered and in what numbers of troops--"
-- "All of it, You and Your Crew; a starship without crew, only a crew without a starship -- how sad, really. I have the means to transport you all offworld--"
Risette laughed.
-- "As soon as you give the order, Madame President."
Risette threw caution to the wind and turned her whole head to face the passenger in the seat next to her,
"I ask the angel to wet the wool but not the grass about it."
Syil screwed-up her face,
-- "A test of some sort? Sounds almost Rexian."
Risette, her head turned again to face the beams from the lamps of the tunnel car as they sped the dark.
"Are you saying that -- Are you really-claiming to be an offworlder, a non-Terran?" Risette snorted, squinted at the delicious absurdity and the desire for its reality.

Syil showed her: The heat shimmer; desert sands; twin Statues; the Black Gate; an exodus of sorts; the dispossessed of black and blue redeemed in red.

When next she could see through her eyes, brilliant sunlight and the outskirts of the Black Gate's ever narrower approach sped into view. Risette almost applied the brakes, but instead let off on the accelerator. Around them, the faux-fossilised remains of giants, megafauna, and ancient anachronisms peeked from the blasted and hewn rock. The first shofar blast sounded and at that, Yannis softly applied the brakes; then at the second sounding, more forcefully, until they slowed on approach to the single surface entrance through the border. To the west, through the left window as they faced north, the waterway and border with Aegypt; over the city, to the east, the jointly patrolled border with Ysroel; ahead, the guards in their pillboxes manned gun emplacements and drones buzzed about as they scanned prospective entrants, both personnel, and cargo.
Syil casually watched Risette ignore the impact of the vision with aplomb and grace. This brought a warm and genuine smile to the older woman's creased and weathered face. She liked Risette very much.
"I wanted you to have the full experience; its good, too, for me to be seen by Prospectives. They learn later, if not already, who I am and see me among them; little seeds..." She again took-up the handrolled and used the coil lighter to ignite the burnt and essential oil stained end. Syil had developed a fondness for Terran hazeflower through Klarissa -- Klarissa, again...always Klarissa....
Syil roused, smiled, nodded and took up the 'roach' and pinched it to her lined, pursed lips. The burnt orange peel scent was dominant, but the smoggy breath was a mildly numbing piney resinous tingle with almost bleu notes, or some other yeasty-fungal quality.
-- "Local product?"
"Naturally. Can't really trust anything from outside; too many enemies; want us all dead. We've taken up the mantle and our Unicorn sister has enjoyed our bullseye more than they had first argued would be the case... Had to massage things a bit, out there, in the world... Earned ire -- heh." Risette's smile was knowing and uncoy; naughty was insufficient a word, but wicked wasn't quite apt, either. Intentional, in all senses of the word.
-- "Making enemies?"
"Raison D'être, ...almost the whole point of Akeldama; the Left Hand of Our Sister."
Again, the smile, but tinged, then, with sadness; bright, pure red surfaced in droplets which then fell back in splashed crowns of maroon and slate: those lost, and the duty unto undoing. The older woman took-up Yannis' right hand and gently squeezed. A single silvery tear, flown beige and off-white for their surrounds went its way down and leapt from Risette's cleft, pointy chin. A single, unfeminine sniffle and hard swallow was all she let show.
Yes, Akeldama was wasted here. Terra would come to ruin and these beautiful monsters wasted -- wasted; -- the time was reached, the stars were right.

The queue advanced and as the foot patrol neared they almost waved through her car, but her sneered smile snapped the sergeant to attention and the vehicle was subjected to remote inspection in a kill-box marked yellow on the pavement.  Syil could feel the electromagnetic scans from under the vehicle as well as the oscillations in the various components of the Renault Vz3 from the aerial drones overhead.  As her own body vibrated under burst pulses of infra- and ultrasound, Syil looked anew at Risette. The younger woman was in her sixties, nearer her seventies, and yet, she had a youthful appearance save that of her undisturbed eyes, which were vacant, almost vacuous in their serene uncaring blight -- these were the eyes of a child; haunted, and --
"Are my papers in order?"
--- "Hold on. We're on it.  Keep your hands where we can see them at all times, the both of you." The man was darkly complected, southern descent, interior haplotypes, primarily, and of course, Arabesque from the slave trade days of Terra.  His carnelian-brown eyes stood out, almost luminous, against his blue-black skin tone; how spectacular an oddity; many millions to one against. Syil's adoring gaze caught his attention, and a nascent smile began, but was unmade before it left the fires of creation of his mind.
--- "Yours check, we'll need to process your passenger. That pink queue line, THREE, is yours -- any deviation will be met with immediate force. Do you understand me? PINK THREE, there!"
"Understood, Captain--"
--- "Sergeant, ma'am. I'm Enlisted, if you please." The smile he had intended, now within an acceptable context, cheeky, even, flashed back at Syil, who shamelessly winked with open smile. Risette noticed and laughed aloud; the Sgt. smiled broad, and then killed that and raised his microcalibre carbine in a compact stance as he brought its sights in-line with is open eyes.

"Halt! You there! HALT or I shall fire!" Syil tore around in her seat and looked back at the blue truck, almost ancient, overflown with human cargo: women, children, mostly also from the Continent.  Androids approached as their yoke-operators in distant armoured mounds had the humans withdraw.  Risette grit her teeth and with an eye to the rearview, drove to PINK THREE's queue.  Syil watched with apprehension as the cab occupants spilled out under direct weapons threat and drones used less-lethal means to corral the people to remain in the wood-planked walled truck bed.  Other, later occupants of P3, cut off her vision, but they, too, looked on with dread.  Then the seemingly inevitable small arms fire erupted, first from the vehicle, and only afterwards, the androids and Akeldaemones themselves.  A grenade-sized explosion, tamped for the press in the bed sent up a spume of clothing shreds in red.  An ultralight helicopter landed  from out of nowhere, and medical staff and bots unfurled in a race to save lives.

Risette was agitated, cursed softly, -- almost under her breath, and although she occasionally looked rearward, she pressed her mind harder and harder until she was at first stoney, and then, steely; a sheen of black oil was psychically present, and with it, serenity and detachment, and orderliness with a hint of mirth,
"What did i say? Paid off in dividends... of a sort... those strategic provocations... They hate us, now -- all their lies -- about Ysroel, over the decades -- ha! -- now we really do them and they hate us for them--" she again drew in breath, and the wickedness was in full rein.
Syil winced, shuddered, and a twisted laugh of sympathy and familiarity squeaked out of her throat.  She even looked a little like Sabit, this Risette Yannis.

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(C) 2024 Kyrinn S. Eis, All Rights Reserved Worldswide