Saturday, November 3, 2012

9/10/12 (ARACHNIDS) Listen to the Silence - pt 3

"How bad is bad?" Khalil asks, getting more and more pale as Mikhail's story goes on.

"Let me put it to you, my friend," the Russian says, downing the rest of his bottle of vodka in two gargantuan swigs: "If you are not drunk now, you had best be soon. Or we will have to carry you out of here, after the story is done."

"You may have to carry him out, anyway," Sir George says, his tone rather archy. 

"It will not be from total destruction of his soul," Mikhail says: "In war, there comes time when every man sees a thing that puts his mind into that war, once and for all. For some, it is the first dead man you see. For others, the first man they make dead. And some must wait for the most horrible of things. Death camps, gulags, torture, slavery, the worthless slaughter of innocents.

"In this war, we have all these things. I would spare him full horror. I would offer him chance to make an anesthesia in his veins, first. I think it is most kind thing I can do."

"Ignorance would be the kindest thing," Dosha opines: "But in its absence, I suppose a good drink would be just the thing."

Khalil takes his point, and, buzzing for the waiter, orders a bottle for everyone -- even Sir George.

* * *

Warsaw is cold and wet, this morning. It's raining like mad, and that's making it hard for the people of the city to go about their business with no electricity. 

In the city, every Monday is a "no" day: no power, no telephone, no internet, and no work. The Imago need the power in the nearest work center, in Pultusk, at least for now. When winter comes, they plan to ease back, and say that only a few hours -- maybe between Midnight and Sunrise -- will be "no." But for now, the people are being asked to do without for the good of all.

Left without work or power, the people tend to take to the streets. They go for walks, read out of doors, play chess in the parks, and barter for goods in the open spaces. The Imago watch these "free markets" with a strange interest -- maybe because they're curious as to how they work, and maybe because they fear them.

They know what can happen when too many people gather in too small a place, after all.

So the Imago aren't really looking as a large, black-clad Indian fellow appears out of nowhere, in the heart of Zoliborz. 

He looks around him and takes a few deep breaths, as though he'd been running to get here. Then he pulls a large stack of photographs out of a deep pocket, and takes the top one to the bottom. He then proceeds to look at the new top one for a full minute, as though whatever he was seeing was the most important thing in the world. 

"Not too far, now," he says. His voice is ragged from crying and exertion. 

He huffs and puffs, and closes his eyes. Then he's gone, again. 

And when he comes back, a few minutes later, he is no longer alone. 

* * *

"The entire leadership?" Khalil asks.

"All of them?" Dosha tries to clarify.

"Yes, my friends," Mikhail says: "All of them, in one go. They knew the general shape of what was to come. Their precognitives, yes? They all woke up screaming, that morning, knowing that the end of the Palestinian Authority was at hand. So they chose to go out with defiant bang."

"Self fulfilling prophecy, eh?" Sir George snorts: "I expected better, quite frankly."

"!@#$ you," Dosha says: "They chose defiance over subservience. That's a !@#$ sight better than either of our governments have done."

"Your former government, you mean," he says, giving Dosha a gimlet eye: "I seem to remember they tried to burn you after your special friend shot his President."

"Is irrelevant, now," Mikhail insists: "All we hang together, or else they hang us separately, yes?"

"You're drunk," Sir George quips, having a sip of his own brew.

"And you're a goat!@#$er," Dosha says: "But at least in the morning he'll be sober."

"Well, if you have to mangle Churchill-"

"I heard they had been genetically farming certain powers in their children, but I had no idea the program was that advanced," Khalil interjects, hoping to change the conversation from an argument to a discussion, again.

"Advanced? Feh!" Mikhail says, having another drink: "Is not too hard to give a power to a person, so long as you do not !@#$ing care about their survival. In fact, is easiest thing in the world, it seems. Soviets, HONEYCOMB, Nazis, they do it all the time, back in the days. They create human equivalent of missiles. You fire them, they do their super thing, and if they die or melt or explode, well, they can not be interrogated if they are pile of ashes, yes?"

"And the Palestinians had a lot of contact with the Soviets, by way of Egypt, back in the 70's," Sir George adds.

"Which would have been when these children were altered?" Dosha asks.

"Their parents," Mikhail corrects: "Parents are altered, but do not show power. Their children show the power. And the power is sloppy, brutal thing, only really good for one use. You can guess which use that is, yes?"

"And how many children did it take to wipe that part of Ramallah off the map?" Dosha asks.

"That I do not know, my friend. I have heard maybe twenty. It was enough to destroy their administrative center, a few blocks outwards."

"And the Imago who came to see them?" Khalil asks.

"Not even !@#$ing scratched."

Khalil sighs, and downs a slug of his drink: "!@#$ me in prison like a white tourist. This is truly terrible."

"Still, it gets worse," Mikhail says, having another slug: "Because this is the moment, my friends. This is the moment in which Imago realize that they cannot rule this land. Not the way that they want.

"They prefer to tell no one nothing. They want the leaders there to tell them, and only speak once in a while. But there are no leaders left to tell the people what to do.

"And no one they approach to become new leaders will do or say these things. In all these lands, they only find people who will say 'no.' No one to say 'yes.' No one to suck their metal butts and tell them how much they love the chocolate, there.

"No one."

He sighs, and pulls out a blown up photograph. He puts it on the table, so the other three men can look at it.

"I'm... I'm not sure what this is," Sir George admits: "It's a little grainy."

"Gavril, he sends me this after he takes it," Mikhail says: "He is high up on building, shooting camera down. He cannot get very good shot, but you can see enough."

"Is that a crowd of people, running away?" Khalil asks: "Some of them falling down and dying when they're hit by... what is that?"

"Bright orange lines," Dosha says, tracing the course of one as it snakes from the top of the photo down to the face of one of the people who is running away: "I've seen them use that weapon. They fire twin beams from their eyes, and the beams follow you, no matter where you hide."

"And they strike you in the eyes," Khalil adds: "Your eyes turn to steam. Your brain becomes ashes in your skull."

"Once they fire these beams, there is being no escape," Mikhail adds: "You are dead man."

"And that's what this is?" Sir George says, pointing to the couple of Imago as they float above the crowd: "They just started firing at this crowd?"

"Firing at every crowd, everywhere," Mikhail says, sadly: "They float above gatherings for one hour, waiting for signal. People who do not know what has happened, they come out to look, wondering if is some announcement. They laugh and play. They have no idea.

"And then, when signal is given, the execution begins..."

Mikhail takes in a deep breath: "It takes them only two hours. They move throughout country, top to bottom, left to right. They fire beam after beam. Each one finds a target and kills. Men, women, children, babes in cradles. Everyone living is dead, and there is no escape.

"Gavril, he takes this picture. He maybe takes more, but they do not come to me. He sends me message, and says 'Remember us. Remember that we lived and died for right to say no.'

"Then he jumps from building, rather than be shot."

The Russian tears up, and puts a hand over his eyes: "My grandfather's brother, he left Russia many years ago. Went to Israel with other Jews. Said we were crazy to stay behind, but my grandfather, he was true believer. He said there was nothing in Israel but capitalists trying to !@#$ you and Arabs trying to kill you. In USSR, there was safety. In Israel, only danger.

"And look! He was right. He was right."

Mikhail sobs. Khalil tries to not be sick. Dosha closes his eyes.

Sir George stiffens and gasps, feeling a long, wet thing impale him through the back of his neck.

"Hello," Amporn says, her head floating up from behind the Englishman as he starts to die, and her tongue sucking the life from him: "I hope I'm not disturbing you gentlemen?"

(SPYGOD is listening to Three (The Cure) and having a Smirnoff, straight up)

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