Category: writer


With my recent work on the Infinatum, I have been re-familiarizing myself my stories and characters. As I did, I came across this. I had this in my WordPress draft, but forgot to post it. So here it is. If enough people like it, I’ll post the second part. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait until the entire Black Wave Event book is released… someday. 

Enjoy!

 

On a quiet, dusty plateau, overlooking plains of sparse grass and desert, a boy lay flat on his back, looking up into the darkening blue sky of evening. His plain shirt and denim pants had the look of hard work, encrusted with dust, dirt and sweat. Even his face was shaded by the results of an honest day of work. But the grime also covered a black eye. Clear lines trailed down from his eyes, caused by now dried tears.

As he lay there, his gaze seemed to look beyond the deep blueness of the sky, past the few pin-points of evening stars. He had come here often to see what others couldn’t, or wouldn’t see. Sometimes he didn’t understand it himself. All he did know was that when the sun was gone, and stars spilled across the sky, with the moon and its many faces floating by, he felt a certain kind of peace that he never felt anywhere else. As if the vastness of all that he could see in the sky was just a small part of everything.

It was easy for the boy to get lost in his mental space voyages, and thus, easy to startle. He jumped when he heard footsteps approaching. But the scuffing of boots in the dirt were just as telling as the gruff, but soothing voice that spoke to him.

“Easy Son, it’s me.”

The Son sat up and turned. The red of the setting sun splashed the man in warmth. His clothes were similar to the boy’s, they had just seen many more days of hard work. His large brimmed cowboy hat looked as old as time, as did the boots. Both were leather that had been beaten and worn by use and age. His face was leathery too, it read like a map of life and experience, much of which was not good, or easy. His eyes, usually stern and hard, seemed calm and patient.

“Leave me be Pa.” The boy said, turning away, bring his knees up and laying his elbows upon them.

The Father walked over and crouched down with a quiet grunt. He put his right hand out for support and sat down to the right of his Son. He brought his knees up and rested his elbows on them, mirroring his Son. He looked off towards the setting sun, his right hand rubbing his gnarled left hand, which had always seemed like it belonged to a man twice his age.

“There are reasons ah don’t wanna go to town.” The Father said.

“Ah no.” The Son replied, anger, disappointment in his voice. “Yer afraid, o’ them two strangers.”

“Afraid? Who told ya that?”

The Son didn’t answer, afraid that what he had heard was the truth.

The Father glanced over at his Son, his mind working, remembering. His realization came quietly. He nodded his head. “The Johnson boys. The fight.”

The Son sat up straight, looking at his Father, tears welling up again. “They called you a coward! I wasn’t gonna let that stand! You fought in the war! What the hell did their father do!”

“Watch yer mouth boy!” The Father said, a flash of his toughness peeking through.

“Sorry Pa.” The Son replied, settling back.

“Do you think ah’m a coward son?”

“No.” Was the Son’s answer, but it was quiet, unsure.

“That means ya do.”

The Son wanted to reply, but couldn’t. The greatest fear of any child was seeing a parent reduced to a mere person. It weighed on him, like it had been for a while now.

For what seemed like an age, nothing was said between them. The sun slowly sank below the horizon before the Father lowered his head, as if searching for the words, or mustering up courage to speak of something he never wanted to speak of. “Did you know what ah did in the war?” The Father asked.

“You were a soldier?” The Son replied, not sure of the answer. He was never sure of any answer when it came to the war.

The Son watched his Father as he looked up, across the plains below them. He had seen humanity in his idol, but it wasn’t like before. He didn’t see the sadness, or the reflection of loss. He had heard others talking about a weight his Father had carried, but he had never seen it, until now. If this was what they talked about, it seemed like something haunting, dark, and sinister.

“Ah was a field doctor. That means ah healed people. Sometimes, ah tried to heal people in the middle of a fight.”

“Really?” The Son questioned.

The Father nodded. “Yep. Ah helped save a lotta men.” His voice caught at the thoughts and visions in his mind. He held back his sobs and looked at his Son with eyes filled with tears and nightmares. “Ah also saw a lotta good men die in terrible ways, Son. Ah’ve seen things that still haunt me, things ah’ll never forget.” He looked away from his Son, wiping the tears from his eyes. “Things ah can’t forget, no matter how hard ah try.”

The Son put his hand on his Father’s arm.

The Father put his hand on his Son’s hand. “Ah don’t know if’n you’ll understand all this–”

“Ah do Pa.” The Son interrupted. “Ma tried ta tell me.”

“Yer Ma is a strong woman. Not many woulda put up with the likes o’ me. It’s because of you an yer Ma that ah’m still here, an not off somewheres doin evil.” He said, not wanting to think about all those who had thought their lives weren’t worth living after losing a limb, or limbs, or loved ones. Some hid their fears by trying to quench their new-found thirst for blood and violence.

“These things ain’t easy ta tell, Son. Fer some, it’s harder jus ta live. Some can’t deal. Yer Ma, bless her, tried. But the things ah told her scared her.” The Father looked at his Son, seeing the strength he once had. “But since you were a young’n, you never seemed afraid, or backed down from a fight, as the Johnson boys know full well.”

The Son smiled sheepishly.

“Ah see a willfulness in you Son,” The Father continued, pride shining through, “but it ain’t hard or cruel. It comes from a need ta do what’s right, no matter the cost. I see that in you Son, an it gives me hope.” A broad smile brightened the Father’s face as he put his arm around his Son. “Ah hope I’m makin sense.”

The Son put his arm around his Father. “Ya Pa, you are.”

The Father pulled his Son to him and hugged him tight.

The Son did the same. “Ah love you Pa.”

“Ah love you Son, so much.”

When they parted, they were all smiles and full of goodness. The Father took off his well-worn hat and placed it on the Son’s head. The Son adjusted it, smiling. The Father nodded his approval. They turned their attention to the horizon, sitting with elbows resting on bent knees, as the last light of day faded to darkness.

As night finally stretched across the sky, the Father looked down again, like he did earlier, before he told of his tortured past and soul. “There’s a reason ah didn go to town Son, an it had nothin ta do wit that gunslinger.” The Father raised his head, clenching his jaw as he looked at his Son. When their eyes meet, the Son saw something even graver than his Father’s previous revelations.

“Did ya know the other man, Pa?” The Son asked, a chill coursing through him at the sight of his Father.

The Father nodded. “Do ya believe me son, when I tell ya somethin?”

“Of course Pa.” The Son replied in a whisper.

The Father looked away from his Son, towards the horizon. He took a few deep breaths before he spoke. “Them Johnson boys tell ya that stranger’s name?”

The Son nodded slowly. “Mr. Abraham. He came to Nevada askin ’bout minin’. But,” he paused, unsure if he should say more. Normally, his Father wasn’t one for idle gossip. But after what he had learned about his Father, something told him this gossip wasn’t idle. “One a tha Johnson boys, their Ma works at the hotel, they heard her tellin’ Jessica Crabtree sumthin ‘bout Mr. Abraham.” The Son stopped, unsure if he should continue.

“Tell me ya heard, Son.” The Father replied, reluctantly.

The Son leaned in close, forgetting there was no one around for miles. “She said he was a smooth talker, prob’ly from back east, maybe New York. She said he could sell dirt to tha ground. But, when he was wit tha old Navajo, Coyote, he had his self an English accent! He was supposed ta stay longer, but he got wind tha some gunslinger was lookin’ for ‘im, he packed up an left!” The Son looked at his Father, a mix of excitement and uncertainty.

The Father saw this. “I ain’t fond of gossip, son. But yer Ma has a point. It makes fer interestin’ conversation.”

The Son nodded his understanding as his uncertainty faded. But he still noticed the seriousness in his Father. “Did ya know tha Mr. Abraham fella?”

The Father nodded, his jaw clenching again, “Ya, I did. I met ‘im during tha war.”

“Really? Where? Was he a soldier you saved?”

“He was,” The Father began, his thoughts, like his words, were broken and jagged. “A soldier. But ah didn’t save him.” He let his words hand there, like an eerie haze.

After a long, puzzled pause, the Son asked. “You didn’t save him?”

The Father slowly shook his head from side to side.

“Then who saved him Pa?” The Son asked. His mind raced with what his Father was implying.

“No one.” The Father stated in a plain-as-day fashion. “He died.”

The Son looked at his Father as the world seemed more still than any other night he had spent out under the stars. No gazing into the depth of night could compare with the blackness beyond death. He didn’t want to believe what he heard, but somehow, he knew it was the truth. He swallowed a lump in his throat before asking the question he was most afraid to ask. “Then how’s he alive now?”

The Father looked at his Son with a fearsome calm. “Cause somethin’ evil brought him back.”

 

The Black Wave Event Copyrighted © 2016 Mark James MacKinnon.
Any use of these characters, without permission, is strictly prohibited. Any similarities to individuals, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

“Trinity”

The street lights passing by outside cast long shadows through the sedan windows on Dr. Osaka Lo, a short, roundish man who is desperate to appear important and calm. He is anything but, especially in a plain, dark blue business suit that is uncomfortable and doesn’t feel quite right.

Lo has never been one for venturing out into the world. For most of his professional life, he preferred to work behind the scenes, safe within his lab coat and related environs. For the longest time, he enjoyed working on projects, seeing them come to fruition. But gradually, as many of his peers took credit for the work, moved on, and became successful, he began to regret his choices. He began to hate the man he had become. Those who knew him considered him an affable man, with a brilliant mind and a diligent work ethic. But what did he get from being some generous with his mind and time?

Nothing.

Soon, the mere mention of such descriptions about him felt like slaps across his face. He began to see their compliments as belittling insults, keeping him in his place, ensuring that he never succeeded, so they could. His anger and rage roiled within him, and might have exploded, if not for his discovery.

Like most great discoveries worth mentioning, his was by accident. A fluke of discovery and fate perhaps? Either way, he alone saw the potential of what he would later dub ‘Altergen 13′. It started as a virus. Nothing terribly dangerous. But when he accidentally combined it with a failed, genetically altered super virus, the results were surprising. Together, the viruses altered any organic material they came into contact with. What made Lo take notice was their reaction to electro-chemical stimuli.

In essence, the combined viruses could be controlled. Not through genetic engineering, but with electrical pulses. With the right combination, they could be made to alter the genetic material from one form to another!

Lo hid his discovery away, his mind swimming with all the possibilities. Once he focused on what he needed, he knew he couldn’t do it alone.

The flash of a headlight pulls Lo out of his thoughts. He turns to the man who may be his salvation. Shingen Kawaga.

Kawaga is the exact opposite of Lo. He’s a tall, lean, authoritative man, with a serious, rugged face honed from years of hardship and battles. He is wealthy, influential, and powerful. His cool, intelligent eyes scan through the file Dr. Lo provided. Unlike some, who would need everything involved with the process explained to them, Kawaga, needs none. He takes his time, reads everything with intensity. Even the large, glossy photos are reviewed in detail.

All Lo can do is gaze upon the Tokyo skyline from inside Kawaga’s luxury sedan as it cruises along an elevated highway out of the city. His nervousness occasionally gets the better of him and he glances over at Kawaga, hoping to see a reaction on his face. But he reveals nothing.

He can understand Kawaga wanting to read through every step of the process. The fact that he’s already handed over millions of dollars after seeing the results of the proto-type, so that they could do larger-scale processes, doesn’t mean that everything Lo has worked towards won’t be dismissed, or even taken away, by Kawaga. He knows of his reputation, his connections to the Yakuza.

A chill courses through Lo. He wonders what Kawaga would do to him if he learned the truth about his so-called ‘proto-type’. He knows what the results would be. He’d be dead.

“Hmm.” Kawaga utters with quiet interest.

Lo’s face brightens as he turns towards Kawaga.

“These are impressive, Dr. Lo.” Kawaga says, closing the file. “You’ve accomplished this with my meager donation?”

“Yes Kawaga-San.” Lo replies, his confidence building. “With your very generous contribution, we have far exceeded our expectations with our first generation of biological reconfigured beings, or Bio-Recons for short.”

“How so?”

“First, the refinement of our genetic smart-virus, Altergen 13, which infects the animals D.N.A. and alters it to our specifications. Second, a complete upgrade of the Vat mainframe technology, with an emphasis on increased interface between the mainframe and the Altergen 13. Together, they have improved our productivity immensely.”

“What of the three new subjects?”

“The first of our ‘Trinity’, as I called them, was ‘Felidae’. As stated in the file, at your request, the subject responded quite well to our improved Vat process, retaining the qualities you specified.”

“All physical traits enhanced, bipedal structure, natural appearance and abilities intact?” Kawaga asks, his interest rising.

“Of course!” Lo responds, his excitement growing. “That is our goal with all Bio-Recons. But, as I theorized in my summary, felines may be the best candidates for biological reconfiguration.”

“Excellent.” Kawaga replies, a hint of a smile touches his lips as his mind already begins to plot a future for this creation.

Seeing Kawaga’s reaction energizes Lo even more as he continues. “The ‘Canidae’ subject had some surprising results! His genetic make-up had a full conversion, while retaining some incredible physical attributes. We hope to attempt more full conversions, but I believe it is an astronomically rare occurrence. I know you were more interested in combining animal and human traits–”

“Yes,” Kawaga interrupts, “but I’d like to see the Canidae subject. What of the last?”

“The ‘Ursidae’ subject?” Lo asks, pride beaming from him as he sits back in his seat, looking forward, spotting flashing lights up ahead. “That is what I wanted you to see in person.”

The city looms behind them as they find themselves among factories and industrial complexes.

The sedan stops at a checkpoint with heavily armed soldiers asking for identification. A soldier approaches the rear driver’s side door. Lo rolls down his window and shows his identification. When the soldier sees who he is, he waves the sedan through.

They drive through the isolated, night-time landscape of buildings that generally hum with activity, they see evidence that something happened here, something big, powerful.

“I heard of an industrial accident in this area.” Kawaga comments, seeing a growing pattern of wreckage. A piece of ground impacted by a chunk of concrete. The street torn up. A building with flame or structural damage. As they drive, the devastation grows.

When they come to a stop, Kawaga looks around at the unparalleled carnage and destruction. He remembers the ruined cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki from his youth, and has seen first-hand the aftermath of major earthquakes. What he sees rivals them all.

When Kawaga’s gaze falls upon Lo, he has a knowing smile on his face as he gets out of the sedan.

Kawaga quickly follows suit, getting out on the other side of the sedan. He looks towards the place where a large structure should be, but nothing is there. The buildings nearby are horribly burnt and torn as if something big lashed out at anything man-made. What grass and trees remain are blackened and dead. He steps around the sedan to join Lo, who looks upon a fence with soldiers guarding the perimeter. Behind the fence, the ground falls away in the shape of a massive crater. Scientists in radiation suits step down into where a building once was.

“What happened?” Kawaga finally asks as he stands beside Lo.

“The ‘Ursidae’ subject.” Lo replies with quiet, boastful confidence. “This was an off-site, highly secured lab for observation of the subjects. It seems that after the standard conversion, Ursidae began to exhibit extra abilities. As time passed, he exhibited more. At last count, he had twenty-seven distinct abilities, ranging from energy emission to the ability to grow in size and mass.”

“Where is he now?”

“We aren’t sure.” Lo answers as he steps closer to the safety perimeter of the crater. “One of his last recorded powers was teleportation. After he attacked the facility, he seemingly exploded, but we have found no trace of him anywhere.”

“Survivors?”

“Two out of one hundred and sixty-seven. The remaining two will likely die from severe radiation poisoning.”

Kawaga looks around at everything, the shock wearing off, his cold demeanor returning as his mind begins to see the infinite possibilities. “Good.” he finally replies, putting his hand on Lo’s shoulder. “The less that is known about what truly happened, the better. Don’t you agree?”

“Yes.” Lo answers, feeling the strength and power of Kawaga’s hand. “Yes, I agree.” he adds, a seemingly genuine, but forced smile curls his lips.

“You have all the readings from Ursidae and the others, so improvements can be made with my renewed funding and partnership?” Kawaga asks as he opens the door for Lo.

Lo nods as he gets in. His eagerness at advancing his process, at receiving near limitless funding and security with Kawaga’s partnership overshadows the gnawing of his conscience.

When Lo looks out the window of the sedan, images of those he worked with, who believed in the Vat process, believed in what they were trying to accomplish, stand on the mouth of the crater. They stand, glaring at him, bathed in radioactive fire, mangled and mauled, silently begging for their lives.

Lo remembers them all. For a moment, his conscience speaks to him.

He also remembers all those he helped. Those who succeeded ahead of him. Those that left him behind, thinking so little of all he helped them accomplish.

The voice of his conscience soon fades to a whisper, then is gone.

What he has done will surpass them all.

The world will be forever changed.

In time, the images of those lost here will fade, overwhelmed by his success and a future unlike any has seen before.

 

Irregulars: Origin of the Species Copyrighted © 2010-2012 Mark James MacKinnon. Any use of these characters, without permission, is strictly prohibited. Any similarities to individuals, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Chapter TK

Question Everything

AROUND and ABOUT

... I M O ...

Kate Heartfield

writer and editor

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