The most common of these abilities was telekinetics, ESP, clairvoyance, and being able to project their thoughts onto others. All these abilities required the Member to draw on the energy all around him, and then he could perform miracles. Dracos was doing that now, projecting his orders onto the minds of other Members. He was commander of a Sword, which was a grouping of Members. It had two Captain of Daggers, each Dagger had two Members.
The six men under his command responded, picking up their pace to join Dracos before they entered the disturbance.
Dressed in red and gold armor, that covered the entire body except for in the joints, which were covered with chain mail, and this made them an unusual site amid the futuristic technology and buildings. Use their telekinetic abilities, the Members held the armor in place, and they made it move when they wanted to walk. Although the armor would be useless against Disrupters, Plasma weapons and other destructive hand held devices, it was effective against the clubs, rocks and knives most commonly used by the rebellious New Order.
The seven Members were walking down an alleyway. On either side of them were tall, impossibly tall, sky scrapers. There were no windows, just steel and concrete. The smog that hung over most major cities was present in this one as well, blocking out any sign of the sky, or the sun. That left the ground level in a constant dark state, fluorescent panels along the side walks and street lamps provided the only light.
At the intersection was a group of thirty or so people, wearing everything from simple brown tunics, to leather jackets and jeans, to shorts and t-shirts, to barely anything at all. They looked pathetic, hopeless, but that was just a disguise; Dracos knew that they were highly organized, ready to fight to the last man for their cause.
Their cause was simple: the destruction of The Order, The Mind, and all the Members. They believed that the energy drawn by a Member while performing an ability, was slowly unraveling the strands of the universe. They believed that the Rifts that appeared throughout the world were a cause of this. That to, was a silly notion, that these strange black-hole like disturbances, that would appear for a minute or so, draw in all life, energy and matter near it, then collapse, were caused by The Order.
The Mind, the leader of The Order, the first human to fully utilize all the abilities that were now common to the Members, said the notion was ridiculous. Although the increased use of these abilities in an area, did seem to bring on Rifts, The Mind dismissed this as coincidence.
The New Order was denied. Tensions erupted into conflict, as the band of lunatics struggled to collapse The Order, for ‘the good of humanity’ and ‘the survival of Earth and the Universe’. The New Order had blocked off the intersection with rubble, hover cars, and themselves, forcing traffic to a stand-still. Dracos knew this was just a rouse to get us out there, but if they want a fight, we’ll give them one.
Walking in unison, their metal boots clamping on the filth-covered ground, the Members drew their swords and readied for the battle. Although The Order had access to much more effective weapons, all these were destructive, and there was a chance that civilians would be destroyed. Also, they used their mental weapons much more than their physical ones. Those were just for back-up.
"Kill the demon-sent!" screamed one from the New Order, and the apparent disorganized band of beggars and thieves assembled in a wedge formation and charged.
Destroy their minds. Send confusion amid their ranks!
Soon the Members thoughts were being projected onto the minds of the attackers, whispering words of death and fear into them. Some fell, clutching at their skulls as if to pull the words out, others gritted their teeth and continued.
Dracos drew energy from all around him, and the sword moved as he wanted it to. It sliced out, very quickly, decapitating the nearest opponent. His body, however, slammed into Dracos, jolting him, and his concentration. For that split second, his mind was distracted by the impact, and in that split second, he was unable to continue to levitate the sword. Now relying only on his physical strength, he failed miserably.
Dracos, like most others from The Order, were weak in body, strong in mind. The sword slipped from his hand, and even the over-sized gauntlet fell from his skinny and puny wrist. He recovered in time to force his shield to block an attack, and then to smash the shield into that person’s chest forcing him back.
Dracos saw one Member go down, he lost all control and the armor that was too large and too heavy for him to support pined him to the ground where he was easy pray. The men actually ripped him apart, taking pieces of armor for their own.
A fierce woman dashed at Dracos, her mind was un-penetrable, she was in too much rage. Dracos lifted his body high, starting to rise over her intended sweep-kick, but she managed to bring the kick up, spun on her heel, and completed the kick, ending it square in his knee joint. The chain mail did not absorb the blow like his plate armor would, and he felt the pain as his knee buckled, and he fell back to the ground.
Far from defeated, Dracos thrust his leg to one side, tripping her up, his sword flew back into his hand, as he stood, and he brought the sword down for the finishing blow. However, she was quick, she rolled to one side, avoiding the sword thrust which pinned it in the ground, and she rolled back, standing quickly. Dracos was still bent from the sword thrust, and was standing, when she delivered a kick to his face plate that sent him flying backwards.
More pain distracted his concentration, and Dracos was slightly worried that he would loose all concentration, and fall to pieces. His un-armored wrist was grabbed by the incredibly quick attacker, and she yanked it forward, turning so her back was to his chest, she bent slightly, one of her legs in between Dracos’ two, she tugged hard, and flipped him over her back and shoulders, and sent him flying to the ground.
A grunt of pain escaped Dracos’ mouth, but he stood up, stagger back as another kick landed on his ribs. The plating absorb the blow, but the impact still rattled Dracos around inside the armor. He grasped onto her leg, trying to pull her down, but that only resulted in giving her a ledge for another devastating kick. Using her pinned leg as support, she kicked up, high, catching Dracos in the side of the helmet, which sent it flying off.
His face bare Dracos knew he would be in trouble. He had no idea.
There were screams as a rift opened up along one of the skyscrapers. It was pure white light, blinding light, that began drawing in everything. The building it opened up in began to sink into it. Lamp posts were bent impossibly, then ripped from the ground and absorbed. A Captain of a Dagger, one of Dracos’ men, was standing too close, and he was pulled in. The Captain managed to pull two of the New Order in with him. The sidewalk began breaking apart and flying in. More people flew into the Rift, like food for an insatiable mouth.
Dracos could feel the pull of the Rift on his body, but he resisted, not allowing himself to be pulled in. The building that the Rift opened up in now had the underneath side of it eaten away, and it was dangerously unstable.
Dracos did not hear the call for the New Order to retreat. He did not hear the woman he was fighting pick up a large brick, or see it as she smashed it against his skull.
And he was unaware that he was being dragged away.
Waking brought pain where there was not pain before, only emptiness. The pounding of his heart echoed loudly in his aching head. Dracos did not try to sit up, he could feel his body was in too bad a condition. He managed to open his eyes, and see a blurry world of darkness and motion. He was on a pile of rags, which must serve as a bad, and around him were several men and women, all taking, most ignoring him. They were looking at a large computer display which showed a map of the world. Streaked across this map were red lines, varying in thickness and length. They seemed to form a pattern, all leading to a point on the map.
Off and on some would turn to a white color. Other times new white lines would appear, then turn red. Every time a line turned from red to white, it grew in length and thickness.
"You’re awake," stated a large man without hiding the contempt in his voice, "behold what your glorious Order has done to our world," he spread his arms wide, to encompass the entire map. "that is a display off all the Rifts in the world… And as you can see new ones are appearing almost every minute now. We estimate it will only be a matter of hours, yes hours before the entire world is torn apart by these Rifts."
That statement shocked Dracos, and he stared, open mouthed at the map. "I, do not understand," he said in a scratchy voice, "they were not that bad."
"Wrong," said the man, turning to face him, "you have been out for two days, that’s it, but the Rifts you see on the map have been developing since a month ago. What your Order tells you, and the population, is a lie, the situation is much worse than what they let on. ‘To avoid panic’ is why they do it, but they have doomed us all. It is your ‘abilities’ that are causing this.."
"How can you be so sure?"
"Are you that blind man? Look where the rifts are being torn to, Egypt, more specifically, the exact co-ordinates of the Great Pyramids, and the home of The Mind.."
"The most active user of the abilities.. He draws the most energy.."
"That’s right. That thing, not even human anymore, is constantly drawing energy to keep his Mind alive… He is surviving on his very will to live. Have you ever seen him?"
"He is putrid and disgusting. His body as long-since decayed. He is no more than a brain with a few disconnected veins trailing down like a tail. He is encased in some blue fluid that helps keep him alive. He speaks through mechanical speakers. He moves via treads on this case. There is nothing left of his physical body. He is a parasite, living of the energy of the world because he refuses to die. And now, he is causing these Rifts and will destroy us all!"
Dracos could only lay there, shocked.
"The only way that we might survive, is if he ceases to draw on the energy around him. That will mean death for him, but survival for the rest of humanity. That is why we have been trying to destroy The Order, because you are the only ones foolish enough to protect him. We presented this evidence to him, but he lied to the public, saying that we had nothing to show that it was your abilities causing this.. but it is."
Another man stepped into the dim circle of light. "Our last hope is you. You most contact him, and beg him to cease drawing the energy… Or we will be destroyed."
Dracos nodded once. And closed his eyes. He blocked out the pain, blocked out the shouts of warning..
"A rift is opening above of us!"
"Everyone hang on .."
The roof was ripped open, a large rift drawing it into oblivion.
Dracos had one moment to plea to The Mind. Mental communication was much faster than verbal. He was able to relay all he heard, all he saw, all he thought, in a split second. And The Mind did the same. He was pure greed. He would not disconnect himself, he was going to draw all the energy from this planet until there was no more.. Then he would draw it from the stars themselves.. He would not stop until there was no more energy to draw on, and if the universe was truly unlimited, he would be immortal. The Mind knew that Dracos would die before he had a chance to inform The Order that what they stood for was a farce, covering up the acts of horribly selfish individual, and the curse of humanity.
Dracos felt a single tear roll down his cheek as he was pulled into the Rift, he saw the woman who attacked him, her face a mask of terror, he saw the map one last time, and saw this was no other Rift.. The calculations were wrong, they did not have an hour, merely seconds. White lines stretch all over the map, until there was more white than not. They connected up with others, growing bigger and bigger. Dracos saw all this as he touched the white light and became nothing.
He heard the screams of billions of people all over the world as they were absorbed. He felt the pain of the Earth itself as it was torn in pieces, shattering in a spectacle of mud, water and life. And he heard the laugh of the twisted being, who watched the world be devoured.
And Dracos knew and felt no more.
Brian can be e-mailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Author: Brian Gallucci is still attending high school, and enjoys writing short stories, mainly science fiction, as well as working on a full-length novel, entitled Evolution. This novel is now in its third and final stage of being re-written.
Other works of Brian Gallucci appear on a forum for X-Com literature at: http://www.geocities.com/NapaValley/3169/kansai.htm
Any comments about the story are welcome.
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