The Moment

Omega rested her hand on Harlow’s head, whispering to him gently, soothing him, healing him. Stepney’s gaze remained on the sight before him, girls made machines, technology made human. The speaker turned to a panel on the wall beside him, raising his arms in benediction.

“Our time is now,” he said.

“Our time is now,” echoed the crowd before him.

The speaker’s arm reached towards the panel. Stepney squinted and made out a set of controls, instruments, instructions to be given to the devices wiring the girls together.

Without warning, the speaker fell to the floor, twitching wildly. The room erupted in noise, yet they remained still, expectant, watching for the next stage of this cosmic drama. A pool of blood began to leak from his prone body, his breath laboured. The handle of a knife was visible from his side, piercing him.

“This ends tonight.” The voice came from one of the girls, wired to the machine, electrodes piercing her skull, sending energy into her brain. Her hand was raised, shaking.

She spoke. “None of this should be. This city, these people. You. All of you.” The voice echoed in Stepney’s memory, prodding, seeking. He felt himself go cold and an enormous weight filled within him.

“None of this is right,” said Calvin. The eyes. Whatever the mutilation, the pain, the travesty which had been inserted into her, the eyes could not be mistaken, the voice beyond imitation. It was her. “None of this can be right. None of this should be.”

“Showtime.” Omega’s voice startled him, shook him into life, broke him from the trance into which the unfolding events had thrown him. The three of them made their way through the door and into the hall, the crowd parting before her, bewildered, angry, yet unwilling to act.

She approached the man lying on the floor, checked his pulse. “He will live,” she said. It was neither an encouragement nor a lament, simply a statement of truth. Calvin’s eyes met those of Stepney and her face broke into a broad smile.

“Calvin.”

“Stepney.” Her voice was unnaturally calm, staring into him with the same still, tranquil gaze she had owned all these years.

“How did -”

“I saw you at the meeting. Hidden in the back, safe from view. Safe from anyone but me, that is. You know what happened. You saw Hypa, saw her step up. I had to follow her. So I allowed them to take me, allowed them to turn me….to turn me into this.” A look of revulsion passed across her face for a moment. “They harmed me, violated me perhaps beyond repair. They forced themselves into my brain, into my mind. The highest violation of all. Yet it was worth it, all of it, if it only means we can stop them.”

“The others. They seem lost, lifeless. Taken over. How did you survive?”

Calvin’s eyes met those of Omega for a moment. “I had some help.” They stared past her and a look of unmistakeable horror passed over them. “Stop -”

It was too late. The speaker moved, trailing blood behind him, scraping his body over the floor. He raised a single hand, shaking, trembling, defiant, and slammed it into the panel.

And the world exploded into sound.

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Published in: on July 6, 2009 at 11:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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