10,000 years

Technosphere's picture




How long has it been since I'd written something decent? 5 years, maybe more. A lot has changed since then. I'm no writer, but this is something I had on my mind for a bit, and I'm pleasantly surprised with how it turned out (didn't expect finishing it, or even coming up with a half-decent storyline). Who knows, maybe someone'd like to read this.

The story of a destruction god, documenting his visit from the dystopian future.

CW: language, gore, death, genocide mention.

Hidden scroll.

/
The concrete box surveyed the unlit landscape, fading into the approaching night.

"He's going places," said a man sitting by a computer screen as his colleague inspected its clutter of monochrome code. "Too bad his next destination is death," he chuckled mushily. There it was, burning white on black, tracks of speech and code, packets of the target's transcribed voice.

The other man, standing, leaned closer, giving the data his full focus. "Look at this shit," he uttered in an inquisitive, coarse half-whisper, not taking his eyes off of the caustic letters. "He'll fuck us over before the polonium can take effect."

"So what's the plan?" The sitter asked, without apparent worry. There was far worse to life than treason.

"Start at his facility. He made a mistake to think the atom was on his side."

/
The dawn was bleak as ever. With its constant cover of clouds, one'd struggle to imagine the brutalist wasteland in sunlight. Heavy industry was all the east needed for a nuclear winter, though that certainly didn't mean it didn't hunger for the real thing.

After a century, the tensions were rising again. Instead of salvation, the atom turned the gears of death, oiled by the blood of all who dared oppose its reign. The threat was imminent.

The facility stood a safe distance from the city's infrastructure, surrounded by nothing but lifeless wastes. It made for a thought-provoking sight, but if there was anything the regime's citizens knew, it was that questioning was not their place. Not so much Radu though, who long since gave up on that world, that fail-deadly construct seeming to have enacted everything there were except for humanity. He knew them well, those genocidal bastards, and he knew he had what it took to lay their trashy little world waste.

After a few dozen minutes of plowing through the acid rain, he parked his car in front of the building, making his way through the front door. He pulled out his keycard and slid it across the detector.

/
Another exoskeleton slid into the assembly zone. It was a tetradecagon of black steel, somewhat taller and wider than his torso - the vessel of a future reactor. Its inside was coated with ceramic, a heat insulator, and a layer of lead sat between the ceramic and steel, to cut down the radiation. Growling with effort, Radu lifted the core, a bottomless ceramic honeycomb as tall as the vessel, and slid it inside. The reactor was designed to hold together without screws - considering the extreme temperatures it would operate at, the safety of their implementation would have been debatable.

But the same could have been said about the design itself.

Nuclear reactors had a history. If they were to be operated at all, great care had to be taken to ensure there would be no accidents or mishaps.

Not so much this one. For this one was a design of death, a perverse product of a system eager to wipe any opposition it found itself unable to catch and kill off the map.

He walked over to the nearby console, calling the crane over the reactor. Grasping the vessel's sides, it inserted control rods with a loud clang. He locked them in place, confirming his intents on the console's display. They'd be disconnected from the crane soon, and stay down until first criticality.

Radu picked up a singular fuel rod. Thin, long and hexagonal - looking up-close, one could mistake it for a fancy black pencil. He felt restless looking at the matted dark metal - that thing was capable of sealing his fate in seconds. Inert as it were, his gloves were enough to block out whatever little radiation it may've shed. But were it to be activated, it'd glow and burn and shred his DNA, not ceasing to spew out its lethal decay until it's sealed away to choke five miles deep for another ten thousand millenia to come.

He loaded the reactor, rod by rod, sliding the deadly black silk in as smoothly as his shaking hand let him. A reactor's size was directly proportional to its critical mass, and as far as reactors went, that one was nothing gargantuan. Were he to grab a handful, not even a lead vest would save him - he knew that.

"Just a couple more now," he thought, collecting three.

To progress, what mattered more than obedience was not as much its absence as the extent of it.

He was a nuclear engineer after all, and if there were anyone he trusted the most, it was himself. He was almost done, and there was no way in hell three rods would have gone critical. He'd finish the job and head home, to Tory, to the DarkNet, and he'd decapitate those governmental fuckers for good, for himself and everyone else they have chosen to let die.

And then he heard it.

A thunder through the sterile ambience, the indifferent whirring of machinery, breaking the silence with deafening noise of echoing, heartless steel.

He froze, grasping the rods for his life, eyes darting on the console.

Clang.

The burn spread from his dazzled eyes, devouring his face, cheek, neck and arms as he jerked away, cowering. There was no need to ask himself whether the control rods were out. The reactor's unholy halo, an all-consuming blinding white, was making it excruciatingly clear that they were. Through the agonizing cyan haze, undoubtedly caused by radiation invading the fluid in his eyes, he made out a shadow of his right hand's bones, holding the now-glowing rods.

He chucked them at the reactor in a final spasm of defiance and collapsed.

/
He jerked awake. It was daytime - noon, or early afternoon. White rays painted blotches of shadows on trees against a pale white sky. Forest encorached to his left, a clearing with water to his right.

How long has it been? Or was it a nightmare?

The tranquil landscape did nothing to calm him. He didn't belong there. The notion of his life being a lie, however surreal, scared him the most. After all, if he had to come to a conclusion, it had to be it. There was no such thing as afterlife.

And there was no way one could survive a radiation dose strong enough to instantly fry their nervous system.

It was when he got up that he realized just how much pain he was in. His head was heavy, body burning and sore, and he couldn't feel his limbs.

He looked down.

The reassurement came naturally, as it always did when he realized. He was dreaming - and for as long as he could dream, he wasn't dead.

"Let's see what's that about," the gray stag thought, letting his hooves carry him to the pond. Walking felt surprisingly effortless in that body, and as he came to terms with his surroundings, even the pain began to dwindle. The wet dirt crunched under him as his hooves sumberged, advancing until it was deep enough for a drink. He looked down to watch the soil settle, his reflection clearing as the ripples dwindled.

Back stared tired eyes of a man's face, plastic-white. His face, attached to the body of a stag. The flesh on his right cheek was gone - surely mauled off by an invisible killer - exposing teeth in a pernicious burn. It advanced through his neck like a poisoned river, cutting through a matted mane to discharge into his chest. He turned lightly, careful not to stir the reflection.

It was there.

The familiar black steel, sanded matt. The vessel.

It was part of him now. His ribcage, exposed in all its vibrantly raw, gory glory. The pain in his heart made sense then - it wasn't anxiety or sickness. It was absence, for no heartache could compare to the pain of not having a heart.

He wasn't a stag anymore - he was a reactor. A design of death, surely banished into some fucked up simulation under kilometres of rock where he couldn't hurt anyone.

But Radu knew his battle, his tactics and his opponents. His brittle, graying hair that shed like a husky in spring. It may've taken his life, but neither the reactor nor the software controlling it were to blame.

For as long as he could think, Radu existed. And for as long as Radu existed, he wouldn't capitulate. 10,000 years was far too long a time for him to have any doubt of achieving success, after all.

Because he was armed by then, a walking, sentient WMD with the rage of the Dead Hand itself, an open-loop reactor indifferent to where and how much disease it puked up, and he'd make those fuckers beg for their deaths.

/
He grinned, pupils flashing with a cyan glow, and a wave of ecstasy passed through him.

Clang.





Hey man. I've always liked

Hey man. I've always liked your writing, this is pretty cool. Keep it up.
Evern's picture

What an exciting read

What an exciting read ♥ It didn't overstay it's welcome and the words/style you used was fun and ineresting. Just awesome.

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