‘Did you upload them?’
‘Yep, all 2456 of them.’
‘Did he see you?’
‘Just before I jumped, yeah.’
‘He’ll be looking for you, you know. We’re rare, our type.’
‘Let him look’ she spat as she stubbed her cigarette out with her boot, smearing it into the trodden concrete.
‘Cora, Cora Bleach.. You’re Phil aren’t you?’
‘Yeah, how did you know?’
‘I did a school report on you’ she paused ‘don’t look like that! In the time I’m from, you’;.been wanted for some suicide bombing for 80 years.’
‘Sitek, yeah. I still go back to that time quite often.’
‘Will you take…’ and before she could finish, he interjected.
‘Another time. We have to trust each other first – gauge each othes alignments’
She sulked a little, but deep down could understand his reasoning – and tried to lighten the air, she slipped another cigarette out of the packet.
‘I’d love to see his face, when he tries to input an insult – and it already exists – with our name!’ she giggled. ‘and thats 57/43% you know. I won that.’
Though they’d just met, he could see so many similarities of himself in her – they were almost the same person, except polar opposites.
‘Do you…affect anything when you jump? Water, fire…electric?’ he asked, he’d been meaning to for a while – but it was on his tongue.
‘Electricity. What about you?’
‘Electricity – I charge it’
‘Oh, I’m the opposite – I shut it down. I’m like EMP.’
‘That’s going to be chaos when we jump together.’ he mused; half serious – unaware of how true this will be.
He spent longer than he would have liked to have done thinking about it, and aware of the silence, tried to break it
‘What do they call me? The media in your time?’ he asked curiously
‘A few things: The Demons’ Son, Lone Traveller, Time disrupter. the Time Travelling bomber.’ she let that sink in
The Demons Son – he remembered back to the Ashes of Monovision concert at the church, they called him O’Tkon. The same as the demon they summoned onto the stage.
‘Wanna know what they call me?’ she was going to tell him anyway, and he did want to know ‘Blackout. Because I switch off electrics.’
‘Blackout. I like that. I may call you that’
‘No, we agreed that you’ll call me Cora. Blackout is what the media call me, I hate the media.’
He admired her fireyness, her strength – she had already lit her cigarette, and stood with her ripped trousers, covered in black and white patches and scorch marks, her leather jacket that looked melted in parts, and covered an indecipherable black and white t-shirt.
A black box was attached to her sternum – he couldn’t see a chain, and presumed that it was attached in the same way as his glasses were, prongs into his temples. He made a note to ask about that later.
She was clearly an angry young lady – and he found her feistiness and unwillingness to be pushed around incredibly attractive: and had already decided he wouldn’t act on it, at least not until he knew he could trust her.
He was fighting a war, he had no time to fall in love and be burnt. Had to keep moving – keep strong, show no weakness.
He eyed her from the corner of his eye to watch her body movements and mannerisms; transfixed.
Unaware she was being watched:
‘Bastards’ she spat, and drew another draw on her cigarette.
She was looking away – giving him a profile view of her impressive pink mohican – against the backdrop of a ruined, condemned building where graffiti and the plants had taken over, forcing their way through the brickwork of the desolate architecture, bricks already beginning to crumble – he wondered who would lead who astray; which of them would have trouble keeping up with the other?
He had a funny feeling it’d be him, and the familiar blue light of a Police
saucer that hovered above, illuminating the street below; reflecting in the
puddles on the cracked road confirmed that he was about to find out.
Simon Burner had a bad feeling about this. Really bad.
He had a meeting with Rex Jensen of MechTech; a weapons manufacturer based in London.
Burner Security had a piece of equipment that their Seniors had thought would be of use to them, Burner wasn’t sure whether the lucrative weapons industry was the direction he wanted the company to be taking; but share-holders and the committee had voted in favour of it, and to run against the grain would secure the loss of his job and company or life – possibly both.
‘Just run it by me again: what pitch are we going for here?’ he sat in the boardroom, surrounded by his entourage who were preparing him for the meeting.
‘It’s ‘organic technology – make sure you put it that way. Marketing are very adamant about that.’
Arnold Castillo, his right hand man.
Where would he be without him?
‘Organic technology? What the hell is it?’
‘We’ve been through this Sir, it’s bio-tech…’
‘Bio-Tech, Organic technology – does anybody speak English in this room?!’
Vincent Berry cautiously stepped forward
‘Sir, if I may’
‘the technology is a mixture of living cells, from genetic engineering. Like stem cells – Stem cells are’
‘I know what stem cells are!’
‘Right, well we’ve grown miniature versions of animal organs, and attached them to microchips – and the two communicate with zero latency.’
‘So what’s it good for?’
‘Well, we have a working prototype of a squirrel that is 70% robot, and 30% squirrel.’
‘Yes sir, and what’s more – it’s upgradable.’
‘Upgradable.’ he scoffed ‘Castillo. What the hell does he mean, upgradable?’
‘Well Sir…’ Castillo was back in his eyeline to his left ‘if you look at Page…17, it describes it’ and leant over to find the page for him.
Burner leant forward, and peered through his glasses.
‘Modular organs… swap, upgrade and replace organs in less than thirty seconds… even brains, damaged limbs…interesting.’
He sat back in his heavyset chair and looked Arnold Castillo in the eye.
‘So, what is Rex Jensen of MechTech goingt to do with an electronic squirrel with a replaceable brain?’
‘His influence Sir, means that we may get the push within the Government for human trials. Super-soldiers.’
Burner thought this over in his head: they’d be ahead of their game, half the work is already there – it’s just a case of using humans, rather than bloody squirrels, they’d be able to manufacture security guards in a factory: this would save a fortune on employment, would he even have to pay them? they are mostly robot after all.
‘Very well. I can sell this to him.’ and after his little pep-talk, he was on board – changing the face of Burner Security forever, unaware that the decision he has made in this room is going to start a war.
None the wiser that the product he was selling was based on technology brought
to his companies attention from the future by his arch-nemesis, the time
travelling rogue: Phil.
A knock on the large, wooden board room door – and Burner, in his black suit
shuffled his papers on the desk; a report he hadn’t even read through
thoroughly yet. Cleared his throat and
In walks Rex Jensen; in three-quarter length combat shorts, barefoot and a
plain dark turquoise T-shirt.
‘Now then!’ he yells from across the room; Burner feeling uncomfortable and
prudish in his suit, and feeling hot under the collar.
‘Nice to meet you, Simon’ he booms – trying to shake Castillos’ hand
‘This, is Mr. Burner’ and motioned his left hand towards Burner, who hadn’t
even stood up yet.
‘I’m Arnold Castillo. I’m vice CEO.’
‘Rex Jensen. Pleasure’ he had a strong, firm handshake – almost crushed
‘A-all mine, Sir.’
‘Burner!’ he smiled, big grin on his face – going for a hug.
Simon awkwardly hugged him, and patted his back. Is that good etiquette, in a
formal environment? Oh hell, Rex is anything but formal! He relaxed and
embraced the hug, and quite enjoyed it.
Rex perched himself on the edge of Simons’ desk – sending Castillo scurrying
out of the way.
‘What you got for me then?’
‘This, is organic technology’
‘Organic techology’ he scoffed, slapping his thigh in hysterics. ‘your
Marketing team gave you that, didn’t they?’ he laughed ‘Fire them!’ he hooted,
and let out a little inward breathe, like you do at the end of a laugh
sometimes -like a sigh, but with more tone.
He straightened up and looked serious.
‘Listen Simon, I’m making a very big deal out of this – a large amount of money
between you and I – I want you to be very straight with me; I don’t want you to
try and advertise it to me – I want you to tell me exactly what it is.’ he
looked at his leg, and up again – right at him.
They locked eyes; Simon couldn’t look away.
‘I don’t like being sold crap. Do you get what I mean?
Drop the shiny packaging, and open the container right in front of me – and
tell me exactly what you have on the table.
I’m a very busy man, I don’t like to feel like my time is, or has been wasted.’
‘I understand, and you will have nothing but honesty from Burner Security
– of that, you have my word.’ Burner extended his hand to shake ‘before we
begin – let us promise trust, and complete transparency.’ the pair shook hands.
A firm, solid handshake. That’s what Rex liked; not like his vice CEOs limp
handshake. Rex would never allow an employee with a weak handshake onto his
payroll, he saw it as a sign of a weak man.
We honestly do believe we have a game-changer here. This changes everything.’
‘Well, let’s have a look then!’ Jensen beamed, rubbing his hands with a grin.
This changes everything for Burner Security.
Time to close this deal, and force these useless, suited clowns around him out
of his way: except Castillo of course.
‘You see what you made me do?! You hesitated!’ she was yelling at him. She
paused for breath, and continued:
‘I just had to kill that pig because you hesitated! Don’t hesitate! Now move! Quick!’ calmer now; her words more deliberate.
She stormed towards the city center – her half-unlaced boots thudding on the concrete and echoing around walls of the derelict buildings, as she marched Heel, Toe. Heel, Toe. Left, Right, Left, Right.
‘Come on!’ she yelled back to him; urging him to snap out of whatever state of trance he was in before she had to blow another Police Soldiers head apart: they’d have had instantanious report that his lifesigns had ceased, and the officers last known position.
Pulse speed saucers meant they’d be here anytime now. Literally now.
He was in shock, for the first time since he could remember; he’d seen an execution without the bright, digital overlay of his glasses – no ten second foresight of the future, no trajectory prediction, no clock overlay or immediate memorybank access and visualisation, GPS was gone, waveform analyisis: off – his glasses nothing more than a clunky pair of expensive, yellow sunglasses.
Her anger; her energy; her increased heartbeat, connected to the mysterious box embedded into her sternum had eminated the disruptive, knockout effects of the electricity around her – including that which powered his glasses, and the embedded circuitry within his skin – for those few seconds, he felt like a mortal: seeing the blood-spatter from exit wound of the Police Soliders helmet, and thick, red, gloop dribble nonchantly out of the entry wound, onto his shoulder; seeing his knees give way first, his whole body stiffen and fall to the floor.
The ‘pig’ had no idea what had hit it; and Phil could almost see the facial expressions of the reinforced metal mask contort into a death grimace before falling face first into the ground.
‘Right, well I need you to calm down first. You’re shutting my electrics out.
‘We good?’ she nodded, affermative.
‘OK. Take a deep breath.’
She slowed her breathing, and her heartrate dropped to a less adrenalised rate.
The almost forgotten, vaguely familiar twitch of electric entered his temples. It’s working. I’m coming back online!
His screen illuminated, bringing a reassuring glow; he breathed a sigh of relief and smiled at Cora.
‘We’re cool; I’m just booting up.’
Checking BIOS Integrity…………[cool]
Boot record acceptable………….[cool]
GRUB Seems fine:
1. Temple Integration: Overlay [default]
2. Recovery mode
3. Flash update
‘1’ he said out loud
His screen continued, at the top left of his display
Speaking to Kernel…………….[cool]
‘Is this going to take long?’ Distracting his attention from beyond his screen.
‘Not much longer. Almost there.’ He thought; the last time he’d had to do this was when they implanted the bloody things onto him in a forced operation.
Connected to Temples: ………..[100%]
‘Let’s go.’ Ready.
For the first time since meeting her, he’d seen her weapon of choice drawn –
and he was surprised, no he wasn’t surprised at all, actually to see what it
was – it made complete sense. She carried a 2008 Desert Eagle.
His software actually picked it out and informed him; that’s how reliant on tech
he was – he’d almost lost his real world observational skills.
There was no point of Cora carrying an electric weapon that she would render
futile as soon as she entered a rage? Of course she’s going to use a
traditional firearm! He’d never even thought of that.
She tucked the chrome and black weapon into the back of her black,
dishevelled, ripped and distressed trousers – covered in a disorganised montage
of perfectly stitched, grotesque patches of virulent bands he vaguely
recognised the names of – the bottom of Coras’ trousers tucked tugged tightly
into her semi-loose boots.
One patch he did recognise that caught his eye; he knew that one, alright:
Ashes of Monovision – a random, noisy orientation of spikes they used for a
The band that summon lower vibrational deitys into the physical realm with
their dark magick lyrics, spells disguised in disgruntled, insect-like,
gurgling, boiling vocals: he’d always seem to end up being pulled into a time
when their concerts were occuring, for reasons unknown.
A theory he had was that they were summoning him, for a crazy reason people
believed him to be related to O’Tkon – and they are trying to concoct
a bizzare, twisted cross astral-dimension family reunion.
Nevertheless, Cora liked the music; and maybe she was no stranger to the occult
‘Bastard pigs’ he heard her spit, as he ran to catch up.
Phil wondered where Coras’ anger came from; and what side of the war she fought on – whether she fought for any side at all.
Right now though, she had just saved his life – she was on his side, and the score was 1-0.
They travelled towards the afternoon sun in silence – the orange glow hanging low in the sky – masked out by the metropolis of New District City.
Everything was wobbly; the buildings quivered and shook in a non-existent wind.
Greenflame was on the High Street of the town, only it looked different – like a combination of the street from two completely different eras of time – the street was more crowded than he’d ever seen it.
He walked against the traffic, not knowing where he needed to be – but knowing how to get there; it felt urgent – he was trying to rush, but people kept getting in his way.
‘Why aren’t you dead yet?’ an old man asked him.
‘We know who you are, you corrupted our time’ a young lady carrying her baby in her arms, spat on the floor infront of his path.
He strafed to avoid it, and elbowed a man next to him in the ribs
‘Oi! You just obo’d me!’ He yelled. ‘Fucking time travellers’ he muttered on his way past in the opposite direction.
Greenflame looked over his shoulder at him: who was he, and how did he know who he was?
A high pitched scream, sounded to him like a young girl – nobody even flinched, never looked round.
They focused dead ahead in a zombified states. He ran towards the sound, to find a girl, around ten years old – looking down at her mobile comms device.
A woman behind her, obviously her mother, trying to calm her down:
‘What’s wrong dear? What is it?’ she saw that the girl was looking at her screen, and read what was on it.
‘That’s awful! Who would send such a thing?’ and read it out loud
‘I have your pet, and I am going to eat it?’
That’s one of mine, I thought of that!
Around his peripheral vision, he heard lots of devices going off, beeping with notifications – claxons, whistles, movie sound effects, sounds of pre-1990s home telephones – a grating ringing sound that always bugged him: everybody was getting messages – and he heard people repeating them in disbelief around him – furious to know who send them such an atrocity.
‘Who sent this?!’
‘I’ll fucking kill them. Who is that’
‘Hello? You better ring me back when you get this – you’ve got some bloody explaining to do!’
‘You better not be in my house! You hear me? When I get back…’
In the distance, he heard worriedly
‘Who’s in hospital?’ a concerned citizen asked one of the recipients of his evil prank messages.
He walked further, past the mother and child, and saw Troy Montgomery in a dark grey shirt and swished back hair, on the phone to the Police
about his daughter, Daisys’ abusive text message.
‘What’s the number? Give me that, Daisy. I’m on the phone to the Police… Hello? Yes, the number is…’
Greenflame stopped and overheard the number – committing it to memory.
‘HIM! He sent it!’ A burly man from behind him! Sleeves pre-rolled up –
storming towards him.
‘He whaaaaat?’ a lady shrieked, her face contorting in an inconsistent manner,
eyes rolled back in her head, jaw shaking, hair flailing in a spiral for no
People closed in on him. Blocking his exit
‘Is that him? Let me at him!’ right from the back of the ensuing circle of
people around him.
They were touching him now. Crushing into him.
They didn’t stop once they had reached him; they just continued pushing forward.
He felt like how he felt as a teen; getting to the front of concerts and being
pushed into the railings.
This time there was no let up, nobody was concerned for his microscopic amount
of personal space – they walked forward, the pressure of the oncoming crowd
building up against him, condensing him into a small point.
‘Why have I not been taken out of here yet?? Another time! ANY other time!
NOW!’ he yelled with what he could muster with the remaining air in his lungs.
The people in front of him were so close to the people behind him that they
were touching shoulders with each other, and compressing themselves into each
‘Sixteen thousand people squashed into a the centre of a molecule’ he heard
from nowhere ‘Oops, sixteen thousand and one.’ and a high pitched giggle – as
if they were getting a sadistic enjoyment from it.
Oh fuck, what is this?
This can’t happen.
And the realisation hit him: it’s a dream.
It’s a dream! it’s a dream!
Like a cat in a bath, he leapt off the sofa to find Phil leaning over where he
was laid just seconds ago.
‘They know you sent –‘ he was saying in a whispery, spooky, ghostly voice
‘Oh shit!’ he giggled
‘You! You little bastard! Were you trying to give me nightmares?
Cause it fucking worked! I had people trying to crush me, confused the –‘
Phil and the female both laughed louder.
Her. That’s her – Cora Bleach. The one from the roof!
‘Who’s she and what’s she doing here?’ alert now.
‘Relax, she’s cool.’ Phil, casually.
Greenflame relaxed – they may not see eye to eye, but Phils’ judge of character
was right on target.
‘What do you guys want?’
‘I’m Cora’ she raised her fist. A Human Army salute ‘Nice to meetcha’
‘Greenflame’ and raised his fist in solidarity; he didn’t believe any of that
Human Army nonsense, but to keep the peace, he made some voluntary muscle
movements for her: feeling like a bit of a fraud, having never contributed
Maybe her Daddy was a squaddie, who knows?
Whoever she is, she looks like trouble.
Heh, aren’t we all?
‘You got a real name, then Greenflame?’
‘Greenflame. That’s my name, to you and anyone.’
She gave an exaggerated nod.
Sir, yes sir.
‘Cora’s a…’ Phil introduced ‘What are you Cora?’
‘Sniper. Best shot in this City, no matter what time we’re in.’
‘Are you, military?’ he’d been wanting to ask that for a while.
‘Was. But I didn’t like being told what to do.’
‘So you left?’ Greenflames turn to show an interest.
‘AWOL’ Human Army will kill me if they find me, and boy are they looking for
I’ll kill any motherfucker in a uniform – Army, Pig – any cunt in a suit.’
Phils’ private curiousity had been answered: Cora is a rebel.
A military trained rebel.
It was at that moment he decided he trusted her.
‘She saved my life back there – we had some..incompatiblities with our
electrical chemistry. She killed a pig to help us get away, I owe her one.’
Phil pleaded, not even knowing why – he felt needed Greenflame to trust her too.
‘Two’ she said, matter of factly.
‘You owe me two.
That was me in the bell tower; with the tiger guards. You remember that?’
He did! But what was Cora doing there? The sniper in the bell-tower, those three shots.
He’d just come from that battle, what was Cora doing at the same battle?
‘You guys can’t be here.’ Greenflame announced, and excused himself ‘I’ve got a visitor coming’
‘For the SMS project?’ Phil, slyly.
I knew it! I knew he was a part of it!
‘How did you …’
‘Your contact couldn’t make it – he sent us to complete the job with you.’ Cora explained;
‘We have the script that will generate the unique contact numbers.’
Greenflame was unsure; he didn’t trust them, especially not her. Something about her: a loose cannon.
‘We ready?’ he looked to his accomplice, Cora.
‘Ready.’ he closed his eyes, visualising in front of his glasses the spreadsheet that Greenflame had been writing – chuckling to himself as segments of Greenflames literary abuse flashed before his eyes.
‘Uploading…’ before his eyes, seeing the data from his internal storage meld seamlessly with Greenflames.
‘Still got some work to do yet, my friend’ he laughed ‘fourteen thousand, sixhundred and seventy-nine entries.’
‘You little bastard!’ Greenflame screamed, and thought of the big picture; how stressed he had been. ‘But thanks.’ calmer now.
‘Is this both of you?’ he looked at the pair of them.
Phil and Cora nodded
‘I did most of them’ she boasted, jokingly punching Phil in the top of his arm.
‘We gotta chip’ Phil announced; he never said that – how much else of her vocabulary had he picked up? And she of his.
The two had chemistry, not in a couple-y way, or as if they were soulmates or anything – though they wouldn’t be an unlikely match – the bond they had, they complimented each other. Like opposites, but one and the same.
‘This window open?’ Phil nodded behind them, Greenflame still behind the sofa – the visions from the dream still reeling in his mind.
‘Yeah.’ no suicide locks on the window; the ability to circulate new air a luxury in places like this.
Phil opened the window and peered his head out, enough height for a jump
He looked down towards the vaguely visible street: flying vehicles in three tiers of height; closest to the ground. Domestic and Commercial ships operating in the same airspace, above that – emergency vehicles, Police, Ambulance, Fire and low-level Military craft.
Above that – Military surveillance: facial recognition, wireless audio and data interception, anomaly detection: such as the interference our trio emit on their jumps and emotional rages. He looked up at the third tier, above him – none in sight.
‘Cora! Lets go! Quick!’ he shuffled his satchel over his right shoulder; ‘Sitek bombing! We’re going back there.’ before dropping like a stone out of the small, one ft crack in the window.
Plummeting towards earth at a heavily increasing rate
Faster, faster – push me faster. Gotta get near that ground – static over the air, and through the radio a faint crackle of static he’d never noticed before; close enough to the ground to be able to count the individal slabs of concrete.
‘Gotta chip’ he heard in Coras voice over the radio – saying her goodbyes to Greenflame, even from this height – her blackout static reaching him, he looked over his shoulder; and sure enough was the silhouette of Cora hugging the side of the building – pulling the flying traffic down with her.
He hit the ground beside a different building; electrical discharge spitting along the ground: across pedestrians feet, momentarily scorching them and disappearing in the time it had taken them to look down at the obscure burn, under cars.
Dogs on their leads chased after it, before it disappeared infront of their eyes, leaving them confused with gaping, excited jaws; sniffing around for the scent of its new gift of entertainment.
Phils’ screen flickered in front of him, she’s here. Out of the way!
He ran as far from Coras’ predicted land site, and out of the range of her shock-blast.
His eye caught by a HGV, the large rubber tarpauline decorating the side of the vehicle with a blazen advertisment for a popular soft-drink.
Rubber! he thought and ran around the side of it, into oncoming traffic, and leapt up the side, gripping to the loose material.
He felt a blast of negative energy, saw lights blow out and switch off, car alarms screeched, TV screens flicked out of action to a devoid shade of black.
‘Where the fuck is he?’ she thought as she landed. ‘Better not have jumped here and left me alone.’
Lost in a time on the verge of a world-changing bombing. He better not have left me here. Little shit.
Fuck him, anyway. I’ll just climb the highest building and jump out of here.
No, no I won’t – I’ll fuck his shit up for him and tell them I saw him – nobody takes the piss out of me. Bastard.
‘Phil! Where are you? This isn’t funny!’
He was waiting for Cora to calm down, but with her thinking he’d abandoned her, she couldn’t calm yet.
She sounds pissed off.
‘Cora!’ he yelled from the back of the truck
Thats’ me! He’s shouting me! He’s here! Oh you little superstar, you! She grinned ear to ear. There it was again:
‘COOOOOO-RRRRRRRA!’ even over the rabble of traffic, her name pierced like tinitus through the cacophony of busy New District City.
Phil clambered to the roof of the HGV and waved his arms above his head
‘Cora! Over here! Co-ra!’
‘Phil!’ she ran towards him – he motioned her to stay back, arm outstretched.
‘Calm! I need you to be calm!’ and pointed to his glasses.
Of course, I’m Blackout – He needs me to be chilled.
Calm down Cora, chill it out. Breathe deep.
Lighter now, more relaxed.
Breathe deep. Heart rate slowing now.
Breathe deep. Even deeper.
‘I’m good’ she gave a thumbs up, just in time for the driver to come out of the cafe and spot this miscreant stood on his lorries roof.
‘Hey!’ he yelled, ‘The fuck are you doing on my wagon?!’
Phil fearlessly leapt down, and the two ran away, giggling – towards a probably loud, rather concerning, unrelated explosion in the same direction.
Police saucers almost immediately at the scene: Scorpions overhead, casting a shadow onto the ground, permitting the light from the sun from reaching the warm, morning concrete below.
The backdrop of his lorry filled with black smoke as the towering Sitek Headquarters behind it, had a fresh, giant hole in its architecture, plooming with smoke and fire.
The lorry shook to the side with the blast, wobbling on its left and right axis – as if deciding whether or not to fall at a 90 degree angle onto either the road, or its trusty driver; rattling its glass and pressurised carbonated drinks payload, and bleeding the bright red froth out into the path; spattering the surroundings with sticky, sugary fluid, the cabin eventually deciding that it couldn’t be bothered to topple over and flatten anything in its path; and was happy being stood with all twelve of its wheels firmly planted on the road – leaving a very relieved trucker stood staring at it in amazement.
‘600 more. Six-hundred, exactly.’
Greenflame mused, exhaling smoke out of the window; watching it mingle with the electric smog, crackling slightly as it hit a pocket of static in the air. He never smoked, but found comfort in the procrastination, and slight relaxation effect in watching the chaotic nature of smoke, it followed no rules except that which they invented on-the-fly: manipulated by the atoms in the air; the electrical charge spat out from technological backwash, remnants of GPS packets emanating still in the air, pulse plasma fragments from engines left with nowhere to go – bouncing from building to building, reflected onto windows and back out amongst the swarm, or absorbed into rubber sheeting on the skyscraper wall; neutralising it, swallowing it and through electrical osmosis, providing a small electrical charge for the building to utilise – enough to keep the aircraft warning lights on, and any light-art attached to the building; not a lot, but something nonetheless.
He cast his mind back to when he was a youngster, and used to have a fascination with looking out of high windows; the thought of jumping thrilled and terrified him, what frightened him the most is that he wanted to do it.
Knew somehow that he would one day. One day.
He certainly wouldn’t have expected the reasons why, as a young eight year old child.
The thought itself a product of a young, fertile imagination.
Now though, it is a regularity, something he has gotten used to.
He wondered if he took it for granted: and how it affected his perception of memories, most have them in a chronological order – this happened, then that happened – which leads to this turn of events, or that turn of events.
Greenflame, however saw things differently – even to Phil, Greenflame had a better grasp of connecting memories and events than Phil, maybe because he didn’t rely on tech to do his remembering.
‘Sitek, eh?’ he mumbled to himself ‘You’re playing into his world now, Cora.’
Can’t jump now, things to do. Deadlines. A time-traveller affected by deadlines and time constraints, oh the irony!
He took the last few drags of the cigarette, leaving around an inch left; held it by the paper; closed his eyes – and projected green heat through his fingertips, so bright in his closed eyes; he visualised so hard that he forgot his eyes were closed – a warm heat on the palm of his hands caused him to open his eyes. Fire.
The cigarette was aflame with a bright green fire, a miniature raging inferno – he flicked his wrist, and hurtled it down to the ground – the filter itself, burning, spittling and melting under the pressure of the descent and intense heat of the flame – until crashing on the ground, green and orange embers exploding from it with the ferocity of a cluster bomb onto an unsuspecting public.
‘Keep away from Pigs and Army!’ Phil yelled over his shoulder to Cora. Preaching to the choir, Phil.
Cora took no condecension in his words, he was right – and they were looking out for each other.
‘Last time I was here. I got captured’
They slowed to a walk, head down. Hands held.
Looking over the hoods of their eyes, and feigning confusion; shock at the blast.
‘We’re ok for now.’ he reassured; ten second foresight told him so.
In the distance, clunk click of Peace Enforcers, 30ft mechanoids on stilt legs.
Red, White and Blue lights, Police – the human operatives high off the ground, controlling the machines.
‘The fuck are they?’ Cora whispered
‘Police enforcers. Avoid them at all costs. They’re highly accurate, and very fast on their feet.’
To Cora, this was like going back to the time of technological dinosaurs, she’d never seen even drawings of these, let alone in real life – Digital Atlantis having deleted the Internet and any references to these metal animals. She was in awe; and wanted, nay – needed to pilot one. Maybe she’ll come back sometime without deadweight Phil slowing her down.
‘We’re here. Keep an eye out for a man with one leg. Moorkoft.’
She repeated the name, commiting it to memory.
‘Alex. Alex. You there?’
‘Who’s Alex?’ Cora asked.
‘My comms guy. I should be able to reach him in this time. I brought him here to investigate the bombing – you’ll like him.’
‘Wahey! You alright mate?’ over the radio.
‘Good, man. Hey look, I’m gonna plug someone in to the data center – can you let them in?’
‘Sure thing man. Plug em in.’
Phil rustled through his satchel, and removed a tiny, earplug.
‘Put this in. Quick’
Unquestioningly, she inserted the plug into her ear. Trust: established.
‘Testing 1, 2…’ she heard
‘You hear that?’ she nodded to Phil.
‘Try audio out. Say something, Cora.’ through her earpiece. Alex.
‘1,2 1,2 testing..’
‘Yeah I got that. Loud and clear.’
‘Plugging you into data now, Cora. This might feel a bit weird.’ he instructed over the airwaves.
And it did. It felt very weird.
An entire world opened up inside her, she felt it – saw it underneath her skin, a wave of information: like a computer plugged into a router for the very first time and communicating with the outside world. What is this? information?
‘Lets get out of here while you adapt’ Phil took her hand, and guided her to a nearby alley – well out of the line of sight; not knowing how it will affect Cora.
‘You see it?’ he asked, curiously.
‘I feel it. Here’ she tapped her heart, the black box embedded into her sternum.
‘Peoples emotions, man. I feel it.’ a world of information inside of me; I can navigate around, and the first impression I get is their ‘energy”
‘Does that make sense?’
‘It sure does.’
‘What is this place?’
‘What?!’ she tightened up : ‘I’m hacking his databanks with this?’ and pointed to the blackout box.
‘We’re allowed in – kind of, he knows we’re here. He uses it too.’ It’s how we communicate.
‘Relax. You’ll learn to focus in time.’ Phil assured.
A door slamming open, a fire-door with the elongated bar push-to-open lever – it slammed into the wall, and was pushed out in urgency, a man with long, straggled hair, crawling along on his one and a half leg. One and a half leg?! Moorkoft!
‘Cora! Cora! Here he is. Quick!’ she looked around, and saw his glow first – Moorkofts aura. Dark, and pulsing weakly.
She didn’t need her eyes to tell her he was injured, his emanance gave that away.
They sprinted towards him – his signature intensifing. pulsing harder now, lighting up. He’s panicing.
‘You!’ he pointed at Phil, and tried to shuffle himself away even faster, to no effect.
‘Need a hand?!’ Phil yelled, and swooped him over his shoulder, carrying him in a firemans lift.
‘Put me down!’
‘Shhh! You’ll get us caught!’ neither of them wanted to be caught.
They rounded a corner in the alley, Phil watching the skies to see whether any intruders would break his view of the clouds, no artificial insects yet – with his free hand, he pulled a fire exit down – a collapsible set of metal steps, and hurried up them to a mid-floor window.
He looked down the stairs to Cora, she was right behind him, quick as hell too.
On cue, she smashed the window with her boot, wrapped her hoodie sleeve over her wrist and fists and punched in the remaining shards of glass.
‘In’ she commanded.
Phil pushed Moorkoft through the window
‘Don’t even think about running away.’ he advised, and hurled himself through the window.
‘They’ll be looking for us.’ Moorkoft complained
‘They’ll be looking for me!’
‘My friend here is from 80 years after this event, and doesn’t know who you are! In her time, I’m still wanted!’
‘He gets executed for it’ Cora blurted
‘What? Me?’ Moorkoft panicked.
‘Do you mind not telling people their futures, like that?’ Phil joked.
‘Sorry, I just…feel it now.’
‘You will do.’
‘And yes, you do get executed.’
‘Would you like to know how?’
‘Ignorance isn’t bliss, you know.’ Phil patted him on the shoulder.
He turned to Cora.
‘Lets test this connection, then eh?’ he walked over to her. ‘Tell me…
what method of execution is used?’
‘Please, no. I don’t want to know!’
‘Quiet, you. Cora?’
‘Hanging. Like in a market square, it’s well public! Loads of people there. Good vibes, considering.’
Excitable; glowing; waiting for the main event.
‘Not just hanging… there’s a.. is that a saucer?
No way, they’re hanging him from a flying saucer?! Wow!’
Phil beamed: ‘You got it. Now, there was some other controvesy before that, what was that?’
‘Something to do with a court…hang on, I’ve got it – it was a corrupt trial…the media..MB…MB Networks? Never heard of them…
They…bought media rights to the execution. Bought a verdict? They wanted a show!’ she was excitable at the on-rush of information flowing at her – and she was hitting the nail on the head every single time. Cora felt empowered with knowledge.
‘Was some judge killed, and another brought in? something like that? Plants.. I see plants, that’s Plant Zone! a crash there..someone got eaten by the plants on the side of a building; his ship was shot down.
He was supposed to be the judge, but they brought another in. Assasinated him’
‘Perfect. You’ve got it’
‘Sold, to the media.’ he looked at Moorkoft
‘Alex, are you telling her any of this?’
‘No man, she’s picking out data just like you do. She’s got it; she’s a pro.’
‘Does he know I’m here? This Greenflame’
‘No, perhaps you should introduce yourself. Say hi, it’s only fair.’
‘Yeah, maybe I will. Not yet though, we need to figure out what to do with this piece of shit right here…. I say string him up ourselves, and deny him the fame.’
Moorkoft shuffled uneasy on the kitchen chair.
Cora was already circling him, with the cold metal vintage weapon of a time gone by in her hand – she pressed it against his face, it felt cold. Merciless. Like her.
He didn’t know whether to be more afraid of the gun, or the crazed lunatic that held it.
She slid it slowly away from his cheek, keeping it in his line of sight, and in contact with his skin, across his brow, before resting the business end of her hand cannon at his forehead, grinning.
Rubbing it against his hairline, as a gorilla may groom one of its young for bugs in their fur.
‘He’s worthless to us now, anyway; done his part of the big picture – no longer serves a purpose. Can’t even blow himself up!’ she giggled. ‘Can I?’ looking into his eyes, penetrating his soul: he saw nothing but hate, anger and violence:
Glancing between her glock and Phil, ‘Can I shoot him now?’
Phil the Great Betrayer of The Cause. The reason he was in this fucking mess in the first place.
He was supposed to be at the blast site to take the blame, and vanish – but he never turned up; instead, he was gallavanting about with that floozy bitch. Oh shit, what if she can hear my thoughts? What if she knew I just thought that about her? Well, it’s true isn’t it? She is.
Instead, they were waiting for him to escape – it’s like they knew my plan. Bloody time travellers, I’ll be it’s not the first time they’ve been back here to fuck about with –
Cora yelled in his face, inches away from his – startling him: he must have zoned out because he never even noticed the girl get so close to his personal space.
She jumped up and squealed with laughter at his reaction; did a giddy little dance in her excitement – for him, it could quite possibly have triggered a life before ones eyes moment, but the relief to still be alive surpassing it: for now anyway, this little bitch is going to kill me, no matter what. Shit, I just called her a bitch again, didn’t I?
She walked away laughing at her cruelty: and as a sidenote, dropping the humourous tone:
‘In all seriousness, I would love to shoot you in the neck right now, but I wanna see you hang.
I want that footage of the saucer swooping you into the air.
I want to record that with my own eyes.’ she paused
‘Lets leave him somewhere they’ll find him.’ Cora suggested; hoping for a run-in with a Peace Enforcer.
‘Was just thinking that…’ Phil said from the makeshift kitchen, half to himself, idly opening and closing cupboards looking for something to eat.
‘I’ll be decoy’ her Human Army salute.
‘Alright, but no going after Peace Enforcers. I know that’s your game.
Don’t think I didn’t notice you pulling up schematics of them just now.’
She smiled coyly, as if I would do a thing like that.
‘I’m serious. Don’t.’
373 Insults remaining:
‘Come on man, the end is in sight’ he muttered to himself.
By now, anything he’d thought of had already been used – Coras’ musing of his face when he inputs an entry, and it has already been used had well lost its novelty, and if she could have seen just how often it would happen, she probably wouldn’t have found it amusing by now either.
Coras’ angry, acid tongue had proved very useful for the project of emotional destruction.
‘Fucking dickhead bastard shithead.’
Error: Entry exists [Cora]
Error: Entry exists [Phil]
‘Come on man, this should be a days work. The end is in sight!’ he started by mumbling to himself, finishing the sentence with an ‘alas poor yorrick’ stance; a thespian impression to make even the local amateur dramatics society cringe: variety helped him think outside the box; aided his creativity.
The theatrical effect was added to by the actual flickering of the lights;
The light gave one last dim, and switched completely off. Everything did.
Cora was sat fully clothed in the bathtub with the shower curtain partially drawn, her gaze focused, she forced herself to hyperventilate.
‘Fucking bastards. Piece of shit bastards’ she spat, making herself more and more angry: ‘should have killed you while I had the chance… I hate you, I hate you… ‘
Phil stood by the sink, looking on. He felt he should be concerned for her welfare, but she needed to be angry to be Blackout.
She looked up at him, a glare in her eyes.
‘I should have fucking killed, him you know.’ and looked back down.
He didn’t know what to say to that. Or maybe he did.
She shot him a look: don’t get me started.
‘Talk. It’ll get you angrier.’ he whispered; careful not to be heard.
‘That son of a bitch that killed my sister in arms. That mutation, that _freak_ of mans’ nature. The only other woman in my unit, my best friend in the world.’ she paused ‘and I saw it HAPPEN!’
‘Shhh! He’ll hear us.’
She focused again on her rapid breathing. ‘bastard tiger guard… I’ll get you’ she promised.
The plan was well under way now, his glasses had switched off – so rest assured, any electric in the area would be neutralised and innefective.
The bathroom door burst open
‘Candles. I’ve got some in here somewhere – don’t believe this shit.’ Greenflame
‘I know, how can you be expected to write insults with no electricity?’
They couldn’t see anything, but heard a startled Greenflame stumble into the door.
Cora let out a laugh.
‘Who’s there?’ no answer: ‘That better not be who I think it is.’
‘Haven’t you got work to do?’ Cora laughed from the bathtub.
Greenflame wildly throws punches into the blackness – one of which cracked Phil right in the side of his jaw.
‘Ha! Didn’t see that coming did you, Phil?’ and struck again at waist height, connecting with Phils’ ribcage
See, you forget Phil – that you rely on electric. I don’t. I’m all human, my friend.
I don’t need gadgets to…’
Greenflame brought his knee up and rammed it into Phils’ thigh ‘function!’
He crashed an elbow down on the back of Phils’ neck, taking full advantage of his enemies bent-double position, and had been so caught up in giving Phil the beating he had waited so long for that he’d forgotten about Cora.
The bathroom light flickered once, he turned his head at the exact moment to see Cora in mid-air on a collision course with him; and that he was a split second away from being pistol-whipped.
A sharp crack, the dull thud of the impact hitting his skull, and the slump of his unconcious body hitting the floor.
‘I oughta fucking kill you for that!’ she stood over Greenflames limp shell, legs either side of him – gun facing down towards his head.
‘No. He’s mine, only I kill him.’ from the corner of the room, and the sound of blood being spat.
‘Didn’t quite go to plan – but hey, we sure stopped him writing his insults..’ he laughed to himself, and immediately started coughing and wincing in pain. ‘Ow, fuck. I shouldn’t laugh. Don’t make me laugh.’
She crouched over Greenflames’ chest and held his face from the chin, squishing his mouth together, trying to rouse him.
‘Hey, we’re going to send you back to last week, back to when you only had three-thousand entries. Is that alright?’ a small groan: No.
‘Just nod your head if that’s alright, mate.’ she instructed, and moved his chin to give the appearance that he was confirming by his own free will.
‘He nodded, Phil. Can we do it? He said it’s ok.’
A louder groan this time: No!
‘Come on Phil, give me your time-zapper-gun, whatever you call it.’
Two more groans, and Greenflame had started to become animate in his struggle.
‘Oi! Can you hear me over there? Let’s not forget this is the _second_ time I have saved your arse now. Give me the fucking gun.’
‘Don’t!’ Greenflame had found his voice.
‘Ooh! Wakey wakey? I hope you learnt your lesson! You do NOT fuck with us. We fuck with you. Got it?’
‘I know who you are.’ he laughed ‘you’re that Internet hussy aren’t you? The one all them fankids drooled over. Cora fucking Bleach.’
‘How do you work that out, dickhead? I was born after Digital Atlantis. There was no Internet in my time.’
‘So you’re telling me you don’t go back to a time when there was, and maintain this persona? It’s all in my databanks – the one you’ve been sniffing around, I notice.’ he put a hand to his head to check for bleeding
‘I’m surprised Mr. I-background-check-a-self-service-checkout-machine before-I-use-it never picked that up.’
A slight shuffling: ‘I did, actually.’ and Phil began to sit up. ‘Oh, man.’
Phil swung his foot and landed it on Greenflames neck.
‘Try that when my lights are on.’
‘Yeah, well. Try not sneaking in my house and messing with my work. What are you even doing here anyway?’
‘Ohhh no. I wanna hear more about this Internet shit – what you been reading? I’M Cora Bleach. Who’s this internet bitch?’
‘She calls herself Cora Bleach, its a site about Sci-Fi – she reckons she’s a time traveller, and they all believe her – because her predictions about the future are “so accurate”. Like they’d know. Just some bunch of guys in their mums’ spare rooms circle-jerking her quotes on some forum, trying to make sense of her subjective drivel’
‘Well you seem to know a lot about it…’ half-intrigued…was this her?
‘I’ve done a lot of research on you Cora.’ now sitting up. ‘now, we’ve had our fun – if it’s all the same to you, I’d like you to switch on my electric, and leave.’
‘We’re going anyway. No fun without any electric…how do you live like this?’ she asked, feigning condecension
‘Just get out!’
She reached down to Phil, giving him an arm to help him up.
‘Alright, chill out now. Relax.’ Phil said; he’d learnt the art of the relaxing voice by reading about hypnotherapy. ‘That’s it, breathe deep. Deeper now. So relaxed…’
At once, the lights all powered on in unison, and various electronic devices woke up with initiation sounds and mechanical whirrs.
Phil slowly rose to his feet, almost fell into Cora
‘I got you, it’s cool.’
He tried to move a step, took a deep breath and composed himself and walked unaided to the door – and turned to Greenflame.
‘Oh, I forgot to ask. How many do you need to finish?’
‘Ugh, ouch. three-hundred and seventy three.’
‘We got three eighty.’
Phil transferred the collaboration of Coras’ and his own to the tablet. An alarm chimed in the living area to notify of 100% completion.
‘Job done. You did good.’ Phil smiled.
In as much pain as he was in, Greenflame was elated: he fell back onto the floor with a smile on his face.
‘Yeah don’t look so pleased with yourself.’ Cora bit in with her cynical tone ‘you’re still going to have to do it all again.’ she was stood with Phils’ “time-zapper-gun” in her hand, pointing it right at Greenflame.
‘How did you get…give me that!’ Phil hobbled over to try and grab the weapon, but it was too late.
The room flashed blue for a second, and the smell of acrid smoke filled their noses.
‘Don’t play with that thing, come on let’s get out of here.’
‘See you same time this week.’ Cora giggled to herself, and rested her hand and head on the back of Phils’ shoulder, her bright pink mohican bristling the side of his head and neck.
He put his arm around her waist, and closed his eyes.
‘Let’s go.’ lightly patting her leather jacket.
‘Yeahhh.’ she agreed lazily, almost sleepily.
She closed her eyes, and could hear the ticking of the hardware in the arms of Phils’ glasses. as the components inside of it began to communicate with each other. She felt herself relax more, and adjusted her head so that it rest on the front of Phils’ shoulder, and wrapped her arms around his waist as the technology on his eyes and in his body warmed up and merged with his biometrics.
She could feel his breathing change, his heart rate adjust, and posture loosen as he became more connected with his surroundings – she was relaxed now: heart rate down to normal; and for that moment she felt safe and loved in Phils’ arms.
Her Phil. He who she will protect until the end of the world.
———-END TRANSMISSION [2/3]———-