Chapter 8

Chapter 8

A Chapter by Cynical_Art

Chapter 8

 

 

            Solius jetted through the alley swiftly. The fugitive leaped on a fire escape and climbed the latter even faster. Solius followed shortly after but the fugitive was already on another fire escape across climbing another latter. Solius chased him all the way to the roof. The fugitive ran at an abnormal speed, his exoskeleton pulsing with gold light. The gap between Solius and the fugitive grew as the fugitive drew closer and closer to the edge of the building. As soon as the fugitive got to the edge he took a leap of faith into the roof across.

            “Amanda, incapacitate his legs. Royce, stay on the ground in case he tries anything crazy,” Solius ordered.

            “Roger, Commander,” confirmed Amanda.

            Solius watched from the edge of the building as the fugitive ran desperately across the other building. Amanda was in the highest building in the perimeter with a sniper ready to shoot him the instant he exposed himself. Now that he wasn’t hiding in the alleys the shot was clear as day. The fugitive ran desperately until a gush of blood went flying from his leg sending him into a tumbling crash. Before he could even get up on his knees another shot send another splatter of blood from his other leg. Solius watched the defenseless fugitive raise his hands up in defeat. They both knew he wasn’t going anywhere.

            Solius calmly descended the building he was in and ascended the other gracefully through an elevator. As he emerged on the roof he found the fugitive leaning against a generator, both his legs bandaged with pieces of his garments he ripped off. The fugitive had a full body exoskeleton. His face was that of a fourteen year old but you could see age in his furious golden eyes hidden under his curly blonde hair.

            “I can’t believe I was caught by a human,” he complained.

            “Truly a shame. The great Virgo captured by a human. It’ll make the headlines,” Solius mocked in a dry voice.

            Virgo spit but missed Solius’ face by an inch, “The Bishop’s daughter will make the headlines.”

            “I don’t understand why they want him alive,” said Royce as he joined with Solius.

            Royce was only sixteen but three times the size of Solius. He had the exterior of a bull. His light brown hair was kept short and slicked back, and his eyes were fierce and almond colored. Unlike Solius, his implants were specifically designed for close range fighting and excessive force only. The only visible part of his body using organic machinery was his massive arms.

            “What the higher-ups do with him is none of our concern. Our job is only to capture him,” reminded Solius.

            “But he killed a Pawn.”

            Solius shot Royce a glare. “Since when did you start questioning orders?”

            Royce stepped forward and looked down at the defeated Virgo. “Apologies, Commander.”

            Solius had little patience for his league of Reapers. All of them were premature. Not a single one had the intense ten years construction he received. Most only had two to three years of initiation before they were classified Reapers. It was a desperate attempt to get the Reapers out in the field as soon as possible. But it took years to mold a human into a Reaper. Too many in the Reaper Project considered it a privilege. The idea that they had some kind of power or authority made them too arrogant. Then there was the common misconception that they were among friends simply for being human alike. This comfort gave the illusion that they could question their actions amongst one another. Lastly, they hadn’t gone through the sufficient therapy needed to fully utilize their automated limbs. Too much exertion often resulted in rendering them useless. Working alongside these mediocre Reapers was more of a burden than it was a blessing.

            As soon as authorities arrived at the scene they detained Virgo and the Reapers were taken back to the West Tower. Solius gave his full briefing and returned to his quarters along with his squad. As of now there were eight fully active Reapers and thirty-eight in training. Of the eight, Solius held the highest position. Followed by his right hand Amanda and his left hand Royce, who were both selected against his choice. Then came the rise and coming star of the Reapers, the thirteen year-old Arland. He wasn’t yet as dangerous in combat as his three superior Reapers but his mental state rivaled Solius’ and his rapid growth showed immense promise. Solius feared his rising talents could threaten his superiority amongst the Reapers but what he thought didn’t matter. Reapers had no choice. A fact the others would do well to learn.

            The Reaper’s quarters were nothing short of a prison. They weren’t allowed to leave until instructed and were all trapped in one big room. They only got fed three times a day at the same time each day. The room had enough beds for all the Reapers; the ones in training had their own separate room. The showers and toilets were in the open and didn’t prioritize whether they were male or female. The rest of the space was a huge training ground with all sorts of stations consisting of different weapon practices, workout machines, tracking and climbing fields, etc. It had everything they needed. Freedom was not one of those things.

            Royce went to Algren, a tall and lanky nineteen year-old Reaper who started being initiated almost immediately after Solius. His downfall was that he wasn’t as skillful in combat and had yet to truly accept his place in society. Which for a Reaper was detrimental.

            “Homunculi make no sense to me,” complained Royce. “Every mission we’ve had we’ve always had to kill. Then today pops up possibly the biggest mission yet and we don’t kill.”

            Algren was flexing his fingers. “Sometimes being killed is a blessing,” said Algren only half paying attention.

            “What are you talking about? No one wants to die.”

            “Speak for yourself.”

            Royce shook his head in disappointment. “God, you’re always such a downer.” He walked towards Amanda. “What do you think?”

            Amanda was about the only Reaper Solius didn’t mind. She didn’t question her missions and she was a pretty good shot. She was seventeen with shoulder-length auburn hair and emerald eyes. Her implants were fashioned to normal human sizes like Solius’ except her feet had heels attached. Her body was slim and athletic. Her eyes cold, almost as if the life was sucked out of them. She never smiled but her innocent face showed what could’ve been a genuinely happy girl once.

            Amanda glanced up at Royce. “What do I think about what?”

            “The fact that we didn’t have to kill our target this time,” said Royce.

            “A different kind of mission.”

            “But we always kill our targets.”

            “So?” asked Amanda.

            “So…forget you people. I swear it’s machines inside those heads of yours,” complained Royce.

            “We’re already half way there,” said Algren in a spiteful tone.

            Solius zoned out the rest of their pointless conversation. It was irritating watching them pretend to still have some humanity left in them after feeding on the flesh of others. Whether they did it against their will or not, they no longer had the right to consider themselves humans. They were Reapers now. Half-assed Reapers, but Reapers nonetheless.

            Solius went to train until he got tired. Then he took a nap and woke up for dinner. After he ate he resumed training. Days when they didn’t have supervised training were slow. It was meant to be a day of rest so they didn’t burn themselves out, but doing nothing only made you hate life that much more. So Solius trained until he got a call from the transmitter built into his ear asking for his presence.

            Solius was escorted to Dr. Aquamarine’s office. Aquamarine was the doctor who came up with the Reaper Project and governed the Reapers. Solius knew her as a woman who took immense pride in her work and results and saw people as nothing more than tools. She wasn’t so much evil as she was detached. Ultimately all she truly desired was order and safety in her home. It was understandable.

            As Solius walked through the automated doors into her office he quickly recognized the silver eyes and loose braided ponytail over her lab coat. Her beautiful face resembling that of a twenty year-old unmoved by the years was always startling. It always crept Solius out how homunculi didn’t age. It bothered him even more though that those in the higher positions generally looked younger than those doing the grunt work. That came with the fact that the younger vessels were more expensive ninety percent of the time. Beauty was another thing that came with a price. You could tell how rich or poor homunculi were from how pretty or ugly they were. Early to mid twenties were popular years for the rich.

            “A job well done, Solius,” congratulated Aquamarine.

            Solius nodded. “Thank you, doctor.”

            “Unfortunately now the Ark is in an uproar and no one knows whose side to take. A Knight killed a Bishop’s daughter and fingers a being pointed everywhere. Virgo won’t talk and now the Court of Royals is saying the Tower of Sentinels is behind the assassination. What do you make of the situation?”

            “With all do respect, doctor. I was trained to take orders and execute, not to give my opinion.” Truth was, Solius could care less for Ark politics and conspiracies.

            “I educated and made you smart so you could think!” exclaimed Aquamarine. “If I wanted a robot I would’ve put years of research into making the android method a success instead of live humans as pets.”

            Solius looked sternly into her silver eyes. “Well, the fact that they killed the Bishop’s daughter means the Bishop’s days are probably numbered as well. If I’m not mistaken bishop Taurus only bought one heir, like an idiot. If he bought one now, the homunculus wouldn’t be old enough to become a legitimate heir by the time of his death. So the Bishop crown would be up for the most suitable family to the position, selected by the Imperator herself. The question is, who would be the most suitable family for the position?” asked Solius.

            “Who knows? Neither of the two Bishop families has ever been annihilated before. This would be history in the making,” answered Aquamarine frustrated.

            “Bishops control the media, right?” asked Solius. Aquamarine nodded. “Who could want control of the media?”

            “It’s obvious the Red Eclipse has a hand to play in this. But that doesn’t narrow the search for us one bit. The Red Eclipse has become so enormous and powerful that the involvement of someone in a position of power is undeniable. Whoever this Red Moon is, is almost certainly behind this. Although the Red Eclipse has never done anything so bold as to threaten our order by striking the leaders of our society. So why now?”

            Solius shifted his gaze towards the window staring into the city. “Maybe because now they can. If even Knights are part of the Red Eclipse it’s scary to think just how many leaders of our order might be involved. Maybe this is a sign, ‘Join me before it’s too late.’ How many people are suspected to be the Red Moon?”

            Aquamarine threw her hands in the air. “Just about every person in power at this point. It was Atom the Blue Sun for a long time; the relation in his nickname is practically begging for suspicion. But the guy is clean from head to toe just like all the other suspects. I had a long year too when I was heavily suspected for their accessibility to arms and arsenals foreign to even us. Truth is, the Red Moon can be just about anyone. There’s not a damn person in power who couldn’t be linked to it. The Red Eclipse is the door to the two things everybody wants. Money and power.”

            Solius walked back towards Aquamarine. “Indeed. So at the end of the day my guess is as good as yours. Why does it matter to you anyways?”

            Her eyes opened wide, appalled at the question. “Why does it matter? This is the beginning of what could possibly be a rebellion!”

            “So there will be a shift of power, order will still remain.” Solius felt a guilty pleasure rising inside him speaking to Aquamarine almost as an equal.

            “And you’ll have me just watch? I’ve put a great effort into building this nation into what it is today. Keeping things in order. This is my home,” she argued.

            Solius leaned over the table closer to Aquamarine than he had ever dared before. She flinched at first but let him place his soft lips by her ear as he whispered, “You want my honest opinion. You’re not in a position where you’ll be targeted. In fact, you’ll be one of the pieces everybody wants. Sit back and do nothing until it’s clear who has the advantage. Then all you have to do is jump on the ship that isn’t sinking when the time is right.”

            Aquamarine slapped him across the face. “Is that the extent of your loyalty, dog? You forget your place.”

            Solius rubbed his cheek and gazed deep into her silver eyes. “You forget your place. You actually think your morals and ideals matter? Servants only survive by serving those with the most power. You taught me that. You would do you well to learn from it.”

            Aquamarine stood up with fury. “Leave this room this instant, you dog! How dare you talk down on me like that! You’ll be lucky if I don’t kill you,” she shouted

            Solius turned around and walked towards the exit nonchalantly. Before he crossed the automated doors he glanced back and said, “Maybe going with the android method might’ve been the better idea. You only have one real Reaper. Remember that.”

            “Out!”



© 2012 Cynical_Art


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Added on July 2, 2012
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Cynical_Art
Cynical_Art

New York, NY



About
I am 21 years old, I got my Bachelors in Science Degree when I was 19. My career profession is computer animation (I am an Environment Modeler, for those that follow the profession) but I love to writ.. more..

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