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This story gets pretty graphic and dark at some points! If you are squeamish and not prepared to read gruesome things, hit that back button in your browser and dodge this story.
As always, comment your thoughts!
It was one of the most chilling things to see Alistair cry like this. Alistair was as tough as nails and showed very little emotion. It was unlike anything else to see him break down! He held his son’s stiff hand as tears just streamed down his face. He looked over to Swish, the boy also being like a son. June and Julio were nervous about this, unsure how Alistair was taking this.
“And Zanir’s…?” He asked, looking directly at me. His gaze seemed to burn…
I lost every ounce of composure I scrapped together to bring his son back to him. I shook my head, trembling at the very thought.
“I don’t know if he’s gonna make it…” I cried. Alistair’s gaze softened to sympathy, something none of us expected.
“That boy’s a trooper… I’m scared for Da Lagon when he wakes up because I know he’s coming for them… I guess it’s a race to it because I want to crack them open and make sure they NEVER do something like this again…” Alistair sighed.
“You know,” I began, “I’ll be more than glad to help you take them out…”
“I know Zanir will pull through… Just make sure he does nothing to jeopardize what he’s worked hard for… A set back like this tends to ruin people… When he comes around tell him to come see me. Things are no different than if Galveston were alive.” He said, very sad to have to say this.
“I’m sorry but I really don’t know if he can recover from this… He got messed up bad.” I said, steadily crying.
“Really?” Alistair asked, the news truly depressing.
“Yeah, he got it worse than when we shot him in Red Canyon…” June said, steadily holding me. Alistair gulped, even him knowing this wasn’t good.
“And I told him,” I cried, “To make sure he keeps something in his stomach incase something happened like this, but the boy never ate! How the hell is he gonna recover if he doesn’t have the strength…”
“Shhhh… He’s gonna make it!” June said, holding me tighter. He didn’t like seeing me this devastated.
“Can I see him then… incase I won’t be able to see… him again?” Alistair asked, the fragments of his heart tearing more.
“The people who are taking care of him,” June said, “Don’t like newcomers… I don’t know, Boss…”
“What people?” Alistair asked, perplexed.
“About seventy miles northwest, there’s a settlement in the valley with a lot of resources… a lot. They don’t want many people knowing who they are because for more reasons than not, they’re very susceptible to attack…” June elaborated.
“I got to see the boy one last time.” Alistair insisted.
“Let him…” I sighed, finally able to compose myself, “Um… I’ve come to get all of Zanir’s things. Right now he’s hooked up to an IV train and vital meters. I need his belongings, his skull prong… his nanite monitor… Without it, I’ll have no clue if he’ll truly make it. If he dies… the entire UCAC/UCNC force is lost…”
“As a big supporter of the United Cybernetic Military, I can’t let this happen…” Alistair said, firmly. The mutual exchange was all that was needed.
Alistair helped collect all of Zanir’s items, loading them into the back of June’s buggy. I booted up Orb and Big Daddy, the giant sentinel mech instantly detecting that Zanir was gravely wounded. The two were connected in ways I couldn’t possibly understand! After all, Zanir’s father, the late Dr. Aheem was inside…
The seventy mile ride back to the remote base was the most nerveracking thing… It was silent, filled with hopes that Zanir would be alright. Even June and Julio, two unlikely friends of his, didn’t wish this upon him! Zanir did selflessly help them and would do so again without question… Despite their differences, both boys knew that Zanir was just too miraculous to ever see leave this world the way it seemed he was going.
Upon arriving, we headed to the infirmary, a renovated hangar turned hospital. Just as we were about to enter, security came.
“No mechs…” They said. We spun around, looking at Big Daddy towering over us all.
“He’s not a mech. He’s a sentinel! There’s a person on life support in there!” I countered.
“Well tell the person on life support to get the fuck out and walk in there! That thing’s too big to fit in there…” The guard said, quite rudely. I gave him quite the menacing gaze. Big Daddy whirred, dismissing the young guard with the flick of a hand before walking if. The big machine was fuming!
“Sorry Big Daddy…” I said, truly feeling sorry for him! He couldn’t even see his gravely wounded son. It was crazy how such a powerful piece of machine gave so much respect to these people. If he wanted to, he could have barged right in yet he held restraint. He whirred in response, his form of words. Still though, it istanbul escort was too indistinct to tell what was being said.
We continued forth through the hospital. Zanir had be sectioned off in the back, Heaven and Zeek watching him closely. Before we were even allowed to go back, more young guards stopped us, their youthful leader heading them.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa!! Who’s this?” The leader asked,looking at Alistair, clearly not pleased.
“Basil, please,” I began, not in the mood to deal with the kid, “He can help… He’s helped Zanir before when he got injured…”
“If that’s the case then why’d you not take Zanir to him? You know we don’t like people we don’t know…” The boy said.
“Because we were much, much closer to this place and Zanir surely would have died if we would have tried to make it back to Jeurridam.” I responded.
“Again, we don’t like newcomers and you know it! I don’t care how much he can help!” Basil said back.
“Look, if Zanir dies, everything you worked for to get this place off the ground will be in vain! You know everything that’s riding on that boy!” I snapped. Basil stared at me, deliberating hard before stepping aside.
I sighed as June, Julio, Alistair and I ventured forth to Zanir’s terminal. As soon as Zeek’s eyes fell upon Alistair, he froze in a crude mix of fear and shock. The two locked eyes, exchanging a whirlpool of emotions before Alistair broke the intense gaze. He looked at Zanir who was now in a medically induced coma. All he could do was shake his head.
“This is like Deja Vu…” He sighed.
“Don’t remind me…” June said, cringing.
“Can you help me turn Zanir onto his side?” I asked, looking at Alistair.
“Sure.” He said. We gently rolled the boy onto his right flank, his body still covered in blood from earlier that day, “Damn he’s a lot smaller than he looks.”
“I know… The boy doesn’t eat…” I sighed, shaking my head.
I booted up the laptop, plugging it into the wall. It was so unnerving doing this without Zanir’s supervision. I reached for the long cable with the skull prong on the end. The prong was incredibly long and needle-like. It was truly stomach wrenching knowing this was going into the back of Zanir’s head. I began sifting through Zanir’s hair trying to find the tiny connection point. it was the smallest hole, almost too small for the prong to fit through.
Everyone watched as I inserted the prong into the back of Zanir’s skull.
“Whoa… what are you?” Heaven asked, seeing this as something very gruesome! The prong stopped two thirds of the way into the tiny canal.
“Hold his head steady.” I said.
“Sure…” Alistair said as I pushed hard to jam the prong in all the way. A loud pop caused everyone to freeze. It simply was the sound of the prong connecting fully but God was it awful! It sounded like more harm had come to the boy!
Suddenly, Zanir flattlined! His eyes sprung open, frozen in place. I knew exactly what this was. I rushed over to the computer as panic set in around the terminal. With a few keystrokes, Zanir was back in torpor with a normal heartbeat. A quick glance over his vitals caused me to collapse to the floor. Tears rolled down my cheeks as cries of joy erupted from me.
“Beth?” June said, getting to knee level with me. He was unsure why I was crying. He glanced at the computer screen wondering how grim this was.
“He’s gonna be,” I began, trying to compose myself, “Alright… The nanites are repairing all his wounds and his brain is functioning at one hundred percent. He is completely aware of us all around him, just in a state of torpor…”
The biggest communal sigh erupted from everyone. Not a single soul could say this news didn’t make them happy.
“Those little things in his blood are a work of a god.” Alistair said.
“You know Zanir was trying to find a way to synthesize them with a discovery made in the Acid Swamp. He said this place here had the answer…” I said.
“That’s amazing… But what now? What will Zanir do now? Is he still heading north to Labrador?”Alistair asked.
“I don’t know. I’d like to think of Zanir as incredibly driven and that nothing can stop him from accomplishing what he needs to get accomplished but…” I said, just not sure anymore, “He’s not a machine that can simply do a task… He’s still human and it’s like he doesn’t know it! I think this may have struck too close to home…”
“God, I hope not. Zanir is a miracle, a blessing to Jeurridam.. to the world.” Alistair sighed.
“Yeah and he has no idea…” I said, hating how blind Zanir could be at times.
“I’m just glad he’ll be alright.” Zeek said. Everyone looked at him coldly, blaming this horrid tragedy all on him. I know I was quite upset! It caused him to withdraw back into silence.
“I’m just sad my little friend isn’t here anymore. Swish was just the ride or die man to beat…” June said, not able to wrap his head around the death.
“Yeah, şişli escort me too…” Heaven said, the boy sounding shattered. All but Julio shared sympathies for him, knowing that Heaven was quite fond of Swish.
“Sorry, bro.” I sighed, walking over to hug him.
“I mean… This is Jeurridam… Shit like this happens. It’s normal!” He shrugged with a smile, but the hurt just oozed out. Despite the smile, tears well in his eyes. Not even Julio could shake the heartache, having to turn to the window to avoid the tragedy pulling on his emotions.
“Yeah but let’s not pretend that this didn’t shake us all up. We almost all died back there…” I said, wanting Heaven to embrace more than just reality, to look at this more than something so gray.
“I think,” Alistair began, “This would have been the only time the Merchant Clan and the Logatti came together… If the tragedy would have been even the slightest magnitude greater, we would have wiped the floor with Da Lagon… Now though… it’s just business of the Merchant Clan and I can assure you, the death of my son will be avenged…”
“Um, Guys,” Basil said, looking at a clipboard, “The results for the blood test on Rion are in and… He had a lot of nimrod injected into his system… A LOT!!” It was a shock to us all.
Nimrod was a very deadly steroid-like drug, one often causing extremely irrational decisions to be made and uncontrollable acts of anger due to changes in one’s blood chemistry. Nimrod caused a build of corticotropin in the blood as well as a dangerous stimulant that keeps the rage hormone from raising the blood pressure too high. The lipid bi-structure of the dangerous chemical tricks the body into building more muscle mass, producing more blood, to cope with the higher blood chemical levels! Even the pituitary glands are affected! The body starts to grow, craving meat and calcium rich food, losing all sense of humanity. Eventually enough dosages would change the physiology of a mere human into something notoriously well known as a Necrotic Nimrod… It was a bullet proof, nukeproof, ocean pressure proof indestructable walking dead man that was damn near unstoppable. The only people to have ever stopped one was… the UCAC.
“I’m not surprised…” Zeek sighed, warranting a look from everyone, one of discontent. His presence seemed to be a sickness to us all. He got to his feet, having enough of it, “It seems my presence isn’t welcomed here…”
“You got that right…” I hissed. He wasted no time in walking out of the infirmary. It left us all at a loss for words, a path Zeek was known to never take! I followed along with everyone else, quite concerned, “Where are you going?”
He gave no reply, only walking faster and faster.
“ZEEK!” I screamed, “What the hell are you trying to do? Where the hell are you gonna go? There’s seventy miles between here and Jeurridam!”
“I don’t care I’ll find a way back…” He said, obviously upset. I grabbed his arm, not wanting him to to face the brutal climate of the the Mojave Desert.
“Stop…” I said. He snatched away from me, utterly irrate.
“I just wanted to see him wake up… That’s all!” He said, eyes welling up with tears, “THAT’S ALL!! I was going to be on my way… I didn’t want to stick around and bother you all more than what I had to. It was the only thing I wanted… The ONLY THING… But it seems like I can’t even get that!”
“WHY THE HELL WOULD WE EVEN WANT YOU AROUND WHEN THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT?” I screamed.
“YOU THINK I WANTED THIS?!?! YOU THINK I WANTED TO BE OUT HERE SURVIVING ON MY OWN TRYING TO MAKE DUE WITH LITTLE IF ANYTHING???” He fired back with just as much animosity.
June stepped forth, ready to intervene only to be grabbed by Heaven.
“No… This fight,” He said watching as it unfolded, “Needs to happen…”
“I don’t want to hear that Zeek! All you had to do was stay home… and read!!” I said.
“I FUCKING COULDN’T! WHEN YOU,” He said, poking me hard in the chest, “Left, dad kicked me out! I was OUT ON MY OWN WITH NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT!”
“So you went back to RION???” I asked back.
“NO, I DID EVERYTHING I COULD TO AVOID RION!! HE FOUND ME!! HE STALKED ME!! HE CAME AFTER EVERYTHING I HELD DEAR!! EVERYTHING!!” Zeek screamed, so much hurt in those ember eyes.
“And you mean to tell me all of this happened because Rion couldn’t let you go?” I asked, this being simply too hard to believe.
“No, of course not! That’s only one third of the story! Drugs were the other and Rion’s lord completed this puzzle!! He’s the one that called a hit out for me…” He said, still very, very upset.
“Because when I first was out on my own, I was in Paradise! I promise you I wasn’t with Rion but still Rion found me and I was with someone else who I was trying to help out. I knew if Rion knew what I was involved with, he’d kill off anything that I occupied myself with so I could only be devoted to him! As a result I had to go with him, to protect mecidiyeköy escort my friend… Rion tried to get me back into that life but I had been clean for so long and I didn’t want to be trapped again so I panicked and pulled a gun on him… His Lord was sitting in the room with us! After that, Rion began stalking me and I knew it wasn’t just him behind this. Someone had to push him to do it because Rion wouldn’t do it on his own… He had to psyche himself out to do it which is where the nimrod comes into play.” He said.
“You fucking idiot… How can you go back to any of that… How could you…”
“ARE YOU FUCKING NOT GETTING IT???? I had no CHOICE, BETH!! There’s only so much I can do to get by and sleeping with a lot of people is one of few things I can do very well! I was out on my own with no place to go! IT WAS ALL I COULD DO!” He shouted before suddenly calming, “You know what… I’m not going to continue to explain myself to you… I’m not going to stand here and be villainized for something,” The tears started to come again, “I couldn’t help but let unfold… I simply can’t…” He began walking off into the smoldering desert.
“Zeek…” I pleaded, now seeing just how tough he had it.
“NO, don’t you even try to stop me because something else will happen… Do you know how close to home this was? You would have died! HEAVEN would have died! Your boyfriend would have died! We all might would have died right there in that desert! And I brought this upon you all… I just can’t change my luck for shit… I can’t be around you all… You all know I just hurt people even when I don’t try… I just can’t…” He cried, backing away.
“Zeek…” Heaven said, rushing forth.
“Boy, I will fight you myself if you dare walk out of this town…” I said through the grit of my teeth.
“WELL WHAT ELSE AM I SUPPOSED TO DO? I HAVE NOTHING ELSE TO LOSE EXCEPT YOU ALL AND I’D BE DAMNED TO LET THAT HAPPEN!!” Ezekiel screamed.
“Bro, just calm down, man. Everyone’s upset… tensions are high… just calm down.” Heaven said, diffusing the situation.
It was now clear that of all of us, Zeek definitely was taking it the hardest. He just stood there scowling at us all, not bothering to move. Heaven grabbed me, herding me back into the depths of the hospital.
“Do you believe him?” June asked, truly skeptical of the boy’s show.
“I do…” I sighed.
“After all of what he’s done?” June continued.
“I know Zeek well enough to know when he’s lying, when he’s honest… and all of that was real! We got to watch him though… That boy will do like he always does, blame himself and run away… I thought this hit us hard but apart from Zanir, Zeek got it the worst…” I sighed.
“Yeah, poor kid…” Alistair said, full of sympathy.
“I don’t even know how to talk to him after that… He’s so mad he could hurt himself” I said.
“I can’t believe dad kicked him out because we ran away… That man has gotten so wicked lately.” Heaven said, shaking his head.
“I feel like shit now… Zeek needs us and we’re treating him like shit.” I said, burdened with guilt.
“I just…” June shrugged, obviously not wanting to touch on his sour history with Zeek.
“Zeek was um… He was treated pretty badly by dad. He was like that neglected middle child that often felt invisible but taken to the next level. Zeek felt insignificant which was made all worse because dad instilled in us a sense of belonging and a need to be somewhere doing something important. When dad took a clinging to Zanir and Zeek couldn’t find that sense of belonging at home, he found it somewhere else. But he was young, stupid and angry and did a lot of young stupid and angry things. Whatever he did to you just please… let it go… please, he’s been through so much.” I said, clenching my head. June looked at me, obviously torn.
“Okay…” He said, letting go of all the anguish he held for Zeek.
Zeek though, still was very upset with us. He sat at the mouth of the hangar, curled up…trembling with rage. It wasn’t healthy…! Zeek had gotten himself sick before building up this much animosity. When he snaps, it’s just terrifying. Big Daddy walked over to the boy, putting him in a state of concern. The giant sentinel then sat beside him, staring at him before looking off into the sunset. It seemed to calm him.
Seeing this, I wasted no time in trying to make amends with my brother. I stood beside him, warranting a stone cold gaze from him.
“You know,” I began, “I don’t like bad blood between me and my brothers, so I’m just gonna say it! I’m sorry! I snapped, I lost it… I’ve been so worried about Zanir man… Oh my God, you just don’t know… He’s the only thing I’m able to think about.” Zeek didn’t respond, only absorbing everything I said.
“I wanted to kill him myself…” Zeek responded, “Rion? I wanted him dead for what he did to me… then he took it to another level when he put ya’lls’ lives on the line.”
“You did?” I asked.
“I worked so hard to stay clean, away from that life, even managed to get a job in Henderson but then Rion just wriggled himself right in the midst of it and fucked everything up…” He said, festering on it all.
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