The Armageddon Equation Chapter 2
By Nihon Soba
"I caught a glowbug."
"Ye gonna sit on yer arse, or be a man and lead us to victory? The choice is yours..."
"Oi, you gonna do it for real? It's dangerous..."
"It's so peaceful here," Leena said as their heads turned once more to look out over the ocean. She spoke softly, as if talking too loud would somehow spoil the moment. "I just want to sit here forever.
"Don't die on us, Serge!" Kid patted him on the back, giving him vocal support. Everyone was gathered there as he left. He entrusted himself with this mission. After all, he was the leader.
Serge gasped, then whimpered when he felt the pain in his punctured lung. He took small breaths then.
Though his eyes were shut tightly, he did not want to gaze upon his bleeding body. He knew what it would be like. He could feel the sand beneath him soaked in his own blood. He wondered what Kid was doing now.
Was she dead, or had she seen his ruined body and presumed him to be dead?
Memories flooded his mind with familiar and unfamiliar images. Leena, the girl who was his enemy, sitting with him on the shores of Opassa beach. Kid, his good friend and bodyguard in the resistance, talking to him at the temporary base in Divine Dragon Falls.
Serge coughed, and felt something warm and sticky dribble down his chin and the sides of his mouth. Pressing his hand against his midsection, he could feel some soft internal organs poking out of an open wound. Fear and pain engulfed him. Blood and saliva mingled as he croaked out a feeble cry.
With much reluctance, Serge opened his eyes, and was treated to the same darkness that was there when he kept his eyes shut. Except this darkness was of the night sky. Gradually, his vision grew accustomed to the darkness, and Serge decided to take a look at his bullet-riddled body.
It was as he feared.
Two torn, bloody holes were ripped into his abdomen, and through the red mess, Serge could see what looked like his intestines poking out, shiny and slick with blood. His legs were ruined, a large chunk of meat missing from one of them, while the other exhibited a twisted angle that looked like a serious fracture. Every breath that he took pained his chest, and he could barely move; simply moving his head up to look at his body was too much effort.
It was over. He had failed.
With a deep, painful intake of breath, he let out such a cry of anger, hatred, and pain that it sounded to him like the scream of a soul teetering on the brink of the Abyss. Tears streamed down his face, mingling with blood and saliva already there. In that one cry, a powerful message of despair and hate was echoed throughout the barren plain that Serge lay dying in, feeling himself being drawn toward the Unknown, which was, to him, Death.
Someone something heard that despairing, hateful cry. And it responded.
" erge? Serge?" Kid, as well as the others, were all looking at Serge with confused expressions. When she saw him still staring into space, trembling, Kid decided on another, more effective tactic.
"Oi! Wake up, shithead!" she spat, giving Serge a good punch across the jaw that sent him reeling backwards, making him fall on the dirt ground below him. Instantly, however, after striking her friend Kid knelt down to help him stand up.
"Ouch " was Serge's only reply as he rubbed his jaw where Kid's fist has struck him. "Why'd you do that?"
Kid narrowed her thin eyebrows. "You were spacing out," she said. "If I knew that telling you about Leena being the leader of the Poore Armies would mind-fuck you like that, I'd 'ave rephrased it."
Serge shook his head, removing his trademark bandanna and wiping up sweat from his hair with it.
"No, it wasn't that." He began, sitting down on a table. "It was I heard I heard myself scream. I felt myself dying it was an insane experience, you'd have to experience it for yourself to know what it's like. It was so real "
Kid's expression was unreadable, as was everyone else's in the room. They knew what had happened. Serge had arrived, somehow, in this era, and the Serge of their era had been gunned down by enemy fighter planes. The experience of having their true leader slain like that was a burden to all of their emotions.
"It's best not to dwell upon these thoughts." Radius said. "Instead, we must deal with what is now. Steena's plan has worked, and with that knowledge, we can forge ahead anew."
"Karsh is here," boomed Zoah's voice from the cave entrance. "He must know what has transpired."
As if on cue, the former Acacia Dragoon yelled out a greeting as he rushed into the room. Karsh, like everyone else in the room, was dressed differently than Serge could remember him. Everything seemed to be upside-down in this world.
"Commander, um " Kid began, looking down at the ground in shame.
"Quit callin' me that." The blue-haired man snapped. He then noticed Kid's way of looking at her feet more than at him. "Something wrong?"
"You want the bad news, or the good news first?" Glenn spoke. Karsh looked in his direction.
The vision whisked away from Serge's mind as quickly as it had arrived. He was now dragging himself across the dirt plains, an arm clutching his midsection so as not to let his entrails spill on the ground. His pulse was racing, and he felt himself growing weaker. He did not want to die. Not here. Not this way. Not now.
"Help " he croaked, stopping in one area, since he was tired out from exerting himself. His vision was becoming blurry, and he blinked several times to wash out the blood and sweat with his tears.
The vision he had was of himself-or rather, another version of himself-at the Divine Dragon Falls base talking to Kid. The vision was so realistic. Serge could not remember how the vision had started, or how it ended. He just remembered experiencing it, thinking that he was healthy and well.
Dragging his torn and bleeding body across the sand at night, Serge remembered something that Steena had said while they had discussed what had taken place, and what must be done to stop it.
"While we may be able to stop the disaster that might occur, remember this, Serge: whatever else happens is the result of destiny. Once, there was the technological entity known as F.A.T.E., which controlled human life from beyond the boundaries of time. It is no more. But its effect, its essence, is not gone. What happens to us, it is fated to happen. The time we die, when we are born, when things affect history like we did it is fate, or rather, destiny. We cannot fight it, nor can we alter it, except in extreme circumstances. It is a paradox, how we can affect it yet still succumb to it. Remember this, Serge "
"Fuck you " Serge hissed, spit dripping from his lips. He tried to drag himself a little further, but to no avail. He did not even know where he was heading.
"Fuck you!" he screamed, his body wracked with pain. "I'm not going to die here! I'm not going to give in!"
Tinged red in his vision, even if his memory, Steena seemed less human. She resembled something horrible, almost a thalidomide... an abberation of the flesh.
"It's all your fault," Serge said softly, almost whispering. Nausea flodded his system, and he wanted to vomit. "Fuck..." Salty tears streamed down his face. He was crying from the pain or his bleeding body, and from the pain of his feelings. "Whore... my life is my own! Destiny is irrelevant! Go die, you miserable fuc--"
A coughing spasm wracked Serge's body. He felt as if his insides shifted. The act caused him to cry out, falling upon himself, desperately trying to keep his organs from spilling out.
Serge collapsed on the dirt, closing his eyes, his breaths shallow and slow. Steena was right. The end was inevitable. Nothing could be done now. He could feel himself slipping away. He felt so tired, so tired sleep
"Serge! Snap out of it! What's wrong with ya?"
Kid was shaking Serge, who had slipped into some kind of trance after Karsh spoke. During the trance, he had fallen to the floor, and exhibited signs of pain and suffering. Twice he had screamed strings of words proceeded by a curse, then collapsed without signs of life.
"Serge! What happened?" Glenn rushed to Kid's side.
"Serge!" cried out Orlha, at his side quicker than Glenn could get there.
Karsh observed the scene with confusion. He was wondering how Serge could be here if he was already dead, and what had just happened.
"We must bring Steena," said Zoah, standing by the doorway with his massive arms folded across his chest. "If she doesn't intervene, the boy will surely die."
"I've already summoned her," came the child-voice of Marcy, former Acacia Dragoon at the age of nine. Marcy set down an electronic communications device in the pocket of her roughened pants she wore. "Steena will arrive here in a few minutes via airplane."
Kid, tears in her eyes, clutched Serge, her head pressed against his chest, where she could hear his faint, diminishing heartbeat. Glenn and Orlha rushed to get blankets and whatever medicine they could.
"Don't die on me Serge, not again " she whispered, sniffling, shutting her eyes hard. "Please "
"Who " Serge managed to say. There was someone something approaching him from the distance.
"I am able to remove the fate you were given," came a voice from the figure. Serge could not make out anything about the figure except a mass of black, vaguely humanoid, somewhat ethereal.
"I can reverse the situation you were forced into."
Serge gasped, for the first time ignoring the stabbing pain from his broken rib.
"Tell me," he said between breaths of air. "Tell me!"
The voice came again. Soothing. Powerful. Androgynous.
"Do you truly wish it?"
Serge whispered, the very action being an exertion. "Restore my life "
The voice again. "Fate, monstrous and empty. Sors immanis, et innanis. It is a blaspheme to even suggest going against it."
Serge confronted the mass of black with his bloodshot eyes.
"I don't care." The words were getting harder to speak. His intestines spilled onto the dirt, his body collapsed onto them. Pain.
"It is not fate who controls me " his breath was rattling, a sure sign of the inevitable demise. "Ugh fuck it! I will blaspheme the most foul of curses against fate! Festering pile of ancient shit that it is! I go against everything! Every rule every code! Every sanction set up!"
Serge could no longer see. All of his vision was black. The pain was ebbing away, along with all other trace of feeling.
"I pledge myself against everything "
The voice was the last thing Serge heard.
"Then, I intervene. Prepare. You will live "
Steena, dressed in the same sort of ceremonial garb she had worn before, stopped her mouthing of foreign words, and removed her hands from Serge's body. She was the only one left who could use non-technological forces to achieve her means. And, it seemed, her efforts had paid off.
Serge coughed and hacked, his body in a spasm. Slowly, life returned to him.
"Serge!" Kid yelled, launching herself against his body, squeezing it in a hug. "You'll be fine, mate "
"Thank whoever can be thanked " Radius said.
Serge felt a little painful, but that was a sign of living. That feeling was going away slowly, paving a path for sight, smell, and touch. He felt Kid's warm body pressed against his. He heard Radius, heard the others speaking to him and of him. He saw
A mass of black.
Steena, kneeling before him, a smile upon her lips, dressed in her revealing priestess clothing. A sigh of satisfaction made its way out of her.
"Serge you are alright. You are alright " she said.
"Am I really alright?" he said weakly.
"The life is within me I am alright." He said strongly.
to be continued
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