Sunday, September 14, 2014

1/7/13 - (Faraj) My Kingdom - pt. 4

Faraj al-Ǧazāʼir stands in front of the Zero Room's central engine, mostly-naked and totally-unafraid. 

The strange, globular array of dark grey metal is shuddering as it warms up. Warning sounds shriek out of the alarms, and every door leading here slides shut. Lights come on, screens tick away numbers, and the floor beneath his feet gets strangely cold. 

There's a hiss of sorts, and then things finally slide into motion. The main mass slowly changes from an irregular, almost-cancerous lump to a tall, shimmering pillar. Bulbs of silvery-blue matter churn into being, seemingly from mid-air, and start to slowly orbit that pillar -- motes of light either holding them in place, or else sending impulses back and forth. 

Inside that shimmer, there is a growing light -- a strange, dappled light that comes from somewhere else, bringing vast energies along with it. That immense power is evident from where he stands, and every inch of his being is vibrating in sympathy with its puissance. 

He stares into that light, now, holding up his hands as he does. 

And he speaks a single word...

* * *

"Intercourse," Faraj says, looking dejectedly at the crushed, doll-like human matter that's floating in front of him.

"That's what they !@#$in' said to me, too," Dr. Fuller adds, scanning what's left of his autopsy patients and not liking what's on the screen: "I come back from a !@#$in' coffee break to catch up on my !@#$in' paperwork and they're floating out of the !@#$in' theater like they own the !@#$in' place."

"I'd have appreciated a call," Faraj chides, amazed at the work that Martian tissue-compression gun did to the corpses -- now little more than dolls.

"Well, I'd have !@#$in' made one if my night nurse hadn't had a !@#$in' seizure right the !@#$ in front of me, wouldn't I?" Fuller snorts, putting the scanner away: "First do no harm, what?"

"Agreed," Faraj says, looking over at Doctor Heila as he floats nearby, unconscious and under guard. A trickle of blood pools up from the back of his head where Specialist Charleston smacked him -- averting the madman's aim at the last second, so that his gun struck the two dead men, rather than Faraj.

"Not yet, no," Brightstarsurfergirl chuckles, somehow knowing her commander's thinking of finally spacing the short, Finnish supervillain. 

"Is that prophecy, or a suggestion?" he asks, slowly walking over to her.

"Yes," she giggles, tapping him on the nose, and he can only smile at that.

"Thank you, by the way," he says to Charleston, who's been hanging nearby with the guards, making sure Dr. Heila doesn't so much as curse: "I'm glad you disobeyed my orders."

"I still couldn't sleep, sir," the kid sheepishly grins: "I thought maybe I'd follow your advice about taking one last tour of the ship. I didn't expect to be involved in something like... well, this."

"Yeah, well, you're !@#$in' involved now, son," Dr. Fuller says, waving over to him and getting out a spare pair of sterile gloves: "Help me get these two back to the !@#$in' medical wing. I'll !@#$in' tire you out."

"Will you be seeing to Doctor Heila, then?" Faraj asks.

"!@#$ him," Fuller snorts: "!@#$in' toss his tiny !@#$ into the security wing, I say. I'll come by to !@#$in' check up on him once I've dealt with more important !@#$in' matters."

Faraj can't disagree with that, and indicates to the guards that they should do so. And, once the various groups of people are in motion, he looks to Brightstarsurfergirl: "You know what this means."

"Yes," she says: "She can be here in eight hours."

"I thought it only took her six?"

"It'll take another two to pick things up along the way," she replies, giving him that special grin. 

"Well, then let's recall Hanami," he smiles, glad to see they're thinking alike in this matter: "And tell her she'll need to retrieve some things for me."

* * *

He can see them coming towards him, now, down that channel of dappled light. 

They appear as insubstantial objects, made of energies he can't comprehend. They float end over end through the expanse, getting larger and more certain as they draw nearer. 

Strange things, these -- like the potatoes his mother served at their table for dinner, only made of light. They rise and fall as they travel, the space before them becoming fogged with luminous mist as they observe him. 

As they come, he can begin to make out words: "intercourse," "vetanda," "sub-dimensional," "adumbrate," "krasis," "hypo-real."

And, holding onto the object at his neck -- the only clothing he has on -- he begins to try and understand what they are saying to him. 

* * *

"So let me get this !@#$in' straight," Dr. Fuller says, having yet another hit of the suspicious, black-brown murk he refers to as 'coffee': "Those people that got !@#$in' killed in the Zero Room, they weren't !@#$in' killed?"

"No, they were," Faraj says, looking around the table at the crew he's assembled to talk about what happened last night: the Doctor, Walker In/With the Darkness, Brightstarsurfergirl, Hanami, and -- from his cell -- Doctor Heila: "I'm saying that whatever we're dealing with, here, is so powerful that trying to reach out and speak through us is... well, it's like an elephant trying to talk through the mouth of a monkey. The trunk does a lot of damage going in through the back."

Hanami and Brightstarsurfergirl both giggle at that image, Heila grouses, and the Martian is just confused.

"You see, as Dr. Heila discovered, yesterday, before he tried to kill his superior officer-"

"I've apologized three times already," the supervillain insists: "How many more times must I grovel before I can earn my freedom?"

"We're getting to that," Faraj says, holding up a hand: "So I feel that this force that has been trying to contact us, it's tried to speak though us, but the shock has killed the crew members it's attempted to do this with. And it's also tried to speak to us directly, but also failed because we can't really perceive them."

"The !@#$in' ghosts," Fuller surmises, nodding as he has another hit: "One word and a bad !@#$in' feeling."

"And since their language skills are limited, their word choice is questionable," Hanami adds: "They want to speak, but the word they choose, while acceptable, is usually used for another thing."

"'Intercourse,'" Heila snorts, nodding: "I made any number of colorful mistakes while learning English as well."

* * *
"Forgive us," the luminous being floating before Faraj says: "We did not understand the depth of our error until it was too late."

"Yet you have done it several times?" he asks, thankful that his neck-guard is making their different languages intelligible to one another.

"Many of us were sent, but the way from our space to yours is difficult, and stretched out in time. We did not realize what we were doing until we were here, and our perception of time is such that we could not alter our plans swiftly enough."

"But there's something else, isn't there?" Faraj demands of his guests: "Something that keeps you coming back here to talk to us, when we open the machine?"

"Yes," the being admits after a short time: "Your bodies. We find it of interest to be inside a form like yours. And I am sad to say that some of we emissaries have succumbed to the temptation, even after we knew it was harmful to you."

* * *

"So why did this zombie thing only happen last !@#$in' night?" Fuller asks: "Change of !@#$in' tactics?"

"I don't believe that it did only happen last night," Faraj says, nodding to Hanami: "That's why I had Hanami retrieve the bodies we've sent out into space, so far."

"What?" Fuller gasps.

"Normally, when you'd finish an autopsy, you'd put them in a container for burial," Faraj says: "And those would go down to the ejector, which is totally automated. So we'd have the funeral service and shoot them out into space, and no one would hear or know anything was wrong."

"But last night I didn't have them in containers," Fuller admits, somewhat sheepishly: "I figured since the funeral wouldn't be for another day, it could wait."

"Somewhat inefficient," Hanami teases him, somewhat robotically.

"I don't like !@#$in' sending them down there until it's !@#$in' time, you wee tin !@#$," he snorts back: "Kind of cold and !@#$in' lonely down there, you know?"

"!@#$ you !@#$hole," Hanami replies, smiling, and then realizes it was the wrong thing to say.

"We're still working on social situations," Brightstarsurfergirl explains, patting Hanami on the shoulder: "Some things take longer to come back."

"No !@#$in' kidding," Fuller mutters. 

"So to be clear," Dr. Heila says, quite bored by the interpersonal matters: "The power I realized has been withheld, it's been withheld on the other side of the Zero Room's engine. And there are things coming along with that power, trying to speak to us every time we try and access that power?"

"That would seem to be the situation, yes," Faraj answers: "If we are correct."

"Perhaps they want to trade for it?" the short supervillain cackles: "If so, I am certain I could make a deal."

"That's part of what I'm counting on," Faraj replies, but the nature of his smile makes Dr. Heila wonder what he just got himself into.

* * *

"I understand," Faraj says: "And for our part, we are sorry that we have been disrupting your own universe. We inherited this machine from the beings who built this spacecraft. Its intricacies are beyond us. We did not know how it worked."

"We are not certain of how it works, either," the being states: "But we have often been victimized by things that reach into our reality to siphon power away. Once we would have destroyed you. Now, we merely seek to understand what we do not comprehend." 
"Then we are of one mind," Faraj says: "I would have sought to stop this thing from happening to my people, but I see now that we have each brought the mistake upon ourselves."
"Then, as we have both admitted that we misunderstood one another, and there is no animosity on either side, is there any further need to converse?" the being asks.

"Perhaps," Faraj says, holding up a hand: "I have a proposal for you. One that I think might benefit us both..."

* * *

"You're not !@#$in worried?" Dr. Fuller asks as he watches Faraj rummage through his things, clearly looking for something.

"No," Faraj says, finding it and smiling: "I'm not."

"Well, I am," the man says, floating a bit closer: "I think you're !@#$in' playing with !@#$ing fire, here, Faraj. I won't want you getting !@#$in' burned."

"I won't," he says, putting that something on: a tight, black choker he hasn't worn since before he was flung into jail, in Morocco. 

"But-" Fuller tries to say, but is silenced when Faraj spins around, takes his head in his hands, and kisses him -- full and hard, and for quite some time. 

"No worries," he says, finally breaking away from that kiss and looking the man in the eyes: "No regrets. No concerns. No fear."

"I can't help but have them," Fuller admits: "I'm trying to be !@#$in' professional here, but..."

"No fear," Faraj insists, as gently as he can: "We have a job to do, you and I. And when these things are done, I'm yours. But for right now, I have to go make what might be the most important diplomatic overture in Earth's history. 

"And I can't do it if you're hanging on my arm, worried that they might kill me."

Fuller sighs, nods and then -- before Faraj can say otherwise -- kisses him right back.

"I'm yours," the man says, when they break off: "I don't care who I have to share you with, either. But you !@#$in' come back to me, out of that !@#$in' room, or I swear I'm !@#$in' coming in there after you."

"I wouldn't have it any other way," Faraj says, and then heads out of his cabin, not worried about whether the doctor follows or not. 

On the way to the Zero Room, he sees Brightstarsurfergirl floating beside the tunnel to it. No one else is in the area, as per his orders, so he doesn't feel the least bit self-conscious about taking her in his arms and kissing her, just as full and hard as he did the doctor in his cabin. 

"Any prophecies, now?" he asks, afterwards.

"You will succeed," she says, stroking his cheek: "But victory brings its own defeats."

"I know," he says, kissing her once more: "Bring them on."

And then he's in the tunnel, pulling his clothing off in expectation of what comes next.

* * *

There's a moment when Faraj thinks his proposal has been discarded. And who would blame these creatures for saying no? It is, after all, rather a lot to ask.

"Yes," the being says, finally: "We will agree."

"That's excellent," Faraj says: "I knew we could come to an understanding."

"But we will require some things of our own," the being says: "Certain assurances. Guarantees against further exploitation or perfidy."

"You'll have them," Faraj says, stepping forward and extending a hand to the being. 

When it touches him, it's like being on fire from the inside out. He is it, and it is he, over and over again. 

And ever so intimately, their pact is sealed with their joining. 

* * *

It's late at night, now, and Faraj stands before his cabin window, looking off at the Moon. From here, he can almost make out the Alpha Base Seven Memorial, even without a telescope. Or maybe it's just wishful thinking. 

Right now, he doesn't care. He's sure that's what that black dot is, and in his mind that makes it real. And that's all that matters, here and now.

Behind him are Doctor Fuller and Brightstarsurfergirl -- locked in a passionate, free-floating embrace. He wasn't sure that was going to go as well as it did, but he soon found they needed only a little coaxing to enjoy each other, with or without him. He'll go back to them, eventually, but he needed a break to think, and reflect. 

And he has many things to reflect upon, right now.

He thinks of the power the extradimensional beings have promised them, in exchange for access to this universe, and the strange sensations it provides. 

He thinks of his crew, having to adjust to serving alongside the occupied bodies of their friends and colleagues that Hanami brought back from space, now home to those beings from beyond.

He thinks of Dr. Heila no longer alone in his skull -- sharing a mind with the more loquacious of those entities, just so they can keep a channel of communication open at all times. 

He thinks of the expression on Director Brilliand's face when he told him the Zero Room was operational, but refused to tell him why or how -- all but daring him to come up here, himself.

He thinks of these things, and realizes that this is all just a part of a large and intricate plan -- one that was mapped out long before his birth, fated to feed into an even larger, much more intricate plan beyond that. 

And win or lose, live or die, he will play his part because that is what he is here to do. 

He will live through this. He will win the battle to come. And he will take what he learns here and go back to the Viridian Sea -- this time not as a wayward astronaut, but a conquering hero. 

He will have his kingdom, one way or the other, and !@#$ anyone who stands in his way.

 (SPYGOD is listening to My Kingdom pt 4 (Future Sound of London) and having a Dark Island)

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