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Scott Montrose Scott Montrose
Recommendations: 1

THE DELIVERER


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Under the Double Star - Chapter One

‘A silver rose did bud!
A teardrop froze in stone!
A doorway opened up once more,
The Warrior was reborn.’


*******

PROLOGUE

(Somewhere in the far future)

Apart from an aching forehead and sundry bruises he had a deep cut on his head that had congealed into a spongy clot, nothing to bother with. Arthur’s eyes thirstily drank in all every minute facet, although there was little color within this world for an artist’s imagination to toy with, yet he felt the presence of the master artist’s hand even within this forsaken monochrome wasteland. He was now standing atop of the ancient edifice the ‘Watchtower’ - an old deserted security forces building in some strange world of black and white; the feel of the strong winds was exhilarating. Yet he was not himself he felt different, he was in a different world somewhere in time, and a part of him still fought against it.

The raw energy in this world was invigorating; he felt the shuddering undercurrent of a biting cold that revived his battle weary senses. The sound of something familiar broke the stillness and he looked up catching a fleeting glimpse of a scouting speedpod and rider racing in the highways of the sky, roaring out its unearthly whistle of impending death.

Arthur watched in the distance the approaching armada of hundreds of battlepods and warships covering the gray sky like a horde of menacing insects. The past two-day’s fighting had been but a prelude to the real battle. Standing there upon the cold airy heights he looked out upon the gray lonely harshness of this devastated city stretching around him. Smoke hung everywhere, buildings, and monuments, ancient landmarks all shattered and lost to humanity. Here and there the remnants of old towers, skyscrapers and landing pods stood like broken sentinels reaching upward into the gray sky as if impeaching help from the gods.

Captain Gwenn’s hand touched his shoulder he glanced at her as she smiled reassuringly. They wore thick jerkins of warm furs; leather fur lined caps and gloves, huge boots up to the knees having good grips upon the soles. In his right hand was a laser gun and he had a soundblaster hanging upon his shoulder and a large handheld rocket launcher strapped across his back. Gwenn was likewise armed with various weaponry and accoutrement of war.

Strewn everywhere on the streets below were the bodies of countless rebel soldiers, their weapons lying around them. They lay side by side, dead enemies and the human rebels, neither caring any longer for the endless struggle they had recently been a part off.

Arthur sighed aloud, reflecting sadly on the carnage. Many of the bodies that would die here tonight would be the husbands and sons of women and families Gwenn knew well. If she lived to see the end of this apocalyptic battle Gwenn would have to tell them, she would have to break the news to them that their son or husband or father was not coming back.

A short look of love passed between Gwen and Arthur before the many facets of the oversight of the battle took over their minds. This would be the deciding battle for them!

*******
CODEX I

(The Year 2010)

It was a cold day for May, where was the sun hiding one may ask as Arthur hurried along the street, though in Scotland you could expect anything even in summer. Still today was exceptionally cold even for here. Arthur headed downtown catch a train to London. He had spent the weekend in Glasgow visiting family and friends but it was now time to return.

Arthur was wishing he had brought a better jacket as he shivered involuntarily. It was unusually busy and he was feeling a bit pressured as he had a deadline to meet. He needed to get back to London today for an important appointment for dinner and had some stuff to do there first, and he was already running late.

He had woken up late out of a deep sleep, leaping out of bed and rushing through his toiletries. He glanced at the reflection of his tattoo in the mirror, Artalath Sivlerrose,

“Damn,” he muttered under his breath.

Melissa his ex-girlfriend and he had gotten smashed after a concert two weeks ago just before their breakup and he’d ended up getting these tattoos one above the other, the names Artalath and Sivlerrose entwined around a silver rose with a drop of blood on a green leaf.

“Damn,” he muttered again, wondering how pissed he must have been to get talked into that.

Melissa had a winsome way, her deep chocolate eyes were almost irresistible at the best of times and she had this fascination with tattoos - though he was not fond of them himself, well at least not on himself. Too much to drink, yes that was it; he really needed to watch that in the future.

Breakfast was laid out ready for him; cold porridge with banana, nuts and yogurt, brewed coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice, gruyere cheese, buttered toast, cold ham and tomatoes, he smiled, his parents had left to work and he was alone. So as he ate quietly as his mind wandered to the strange dream he had recently.

There had been this beautiful girl, ah yes, what was her name he wondered oh yes, Guinevere, Lady Guinevere and he had been some Lord or was it a knight? No he’d been King Arthur! Ha! Christ such a moron dreaming about himself as King Arthur, good grief had he been totally smashed or what! Yes, funny how it is the mind works, King Arthur, and Arthur was his name. This was not the usual type of dream for him, but he had fallen into a strangely deep sleep filled with unusual dreams that flittered through his mind like a fast forward video. Too many late nights playing computer games, and far too much of the booze, he must have been worn out in mind and body. Well he had no time for all of this, not this morning.

He took the tube to St Enoch’s as he wanted to pick up something on the way in the Centre and then walk from there to Queen Street station. As Arthur neared the Queen Street station he noticed what appeared to be a strange cloud hovering low in the air; not a black rain cloud, nor the dull gray clouds they usualy got. No this one had a strange green tinge to it was hanging very low more like smoke and swirled around. He stopped to study it for a moment forgetting his hurry, when all of a sudden it rushed toward him enveloping him in its strange blanket. Arthur froze unsure what to do, he coughed, his throat burning, it was like smoke, then his eyes started to burn also and he sank to his knees covering his face with his hands.

It stung like mad and tears streamed down his face. Damn them all, he thought, damn factories polluting the atmosphere! God knows what affect it may have on him and his eyes and lungs. He would lodge a complaint as soon as he could. But right now he needed to catch a train.

He felt dizzy his senses spinning, he wobbled around grabbing hold of some nearby railing to steady himself as everything seemed to black out.

*******

A few moments later, at least so it seemed, he recovered, he could feel the cloud lifting and carefully opened his eyes. Arthur picked himself up of the ground leaning against the metal railing nearby, breathing slowly and letting his eyes adjust once more to the surroundings.

Thank God, he thought, he couldn’t have passed out for long, maybe a second or so blackout, he must have managed to grasp on to the railing and not completely collapse. It took a few moments before he could focus again. All the while cursing under his breath every factory he could think of that might be responsible for this.

“Damn, what the…hell where am I?”

Strange he didn’t recognize the place! He had been just across from Queen St Station? But where was this? Everywhere was gray; the sky cloudy and dull, and smoke seemed to be swirling around. He coughed again doubling up as it felt his throat was on fire.

“What the hell has happened?”

This was not Glasgow, at least not the Glasgow he knew! Cars were sitting there on the road, were they empty and not the type of cars he knew, more like from some futuristic movie set, and the streets looked as if there had been a war, buildings flattened, potholes, everywhere the look of death.

“Christ what the hell is this damn stench,” he exclaimed feeling his stomach heave!

God was there some drug in that smoke was he on some sort of trip! He looked up desperate for something familiar; the sky was all gray no clouds, no sun no blue sky, only a gray nothingness.

Then suddenly the building across the road exploded! Bricks and rubble fragments and chips of stone and wood showered everywhere like hail! Flames licked the sky as the explosions continued yet they were all gray not red or orange flames. It was still too smoky to see clearly though. People began running from out of nooks and crannies and wee hidey-holes.

Arthur could not help but notice their clothes were different, and they looked weary, yet not fearful, there was certain determination evident in their faces. He needed to find out what was happening, was he hallucinating or on some acid like trip? Had that cloud contained some chemical that was causing him to imagine things?

Slowly Arthur maneuvered through the rubble to cross the road, checking a set of strange lights he spotted flickering in the rubble, but they seemed to be red. Not that is mattered anyway as he now could see for sure that the street was now all empty and abandoned. Breathing erratically he looked down at his hands.

“Christ what the hell is happening,” he exclaimed, as he noticed they had no color!

Standing there frozen in shock, he felt like screaming! His skin, jacket, his denims everything was a shade of gray no color. Arthur glanced around him again; everything was without color except for the strange red lights, it was not the smoke or dust from explosions, it was just that there was no color. The people, the cars, the buildings, everything was just black, white or different shades of gray, all except that is these lights!


That smoky cloud of chemicals had affected his eyes, no his brain and he was stark raving mad! He panicked what to do now! Dear God! Forgotten now was his important meeting in London and his desperate hurrying to catch the train. What would that matter now! He was going to be locked up in some asylum! Maybe it was just some dream, yes that was it; he had passed out from the smoke he was dreaming.

As he wandered across the potholed road in a daze, he passed by several large broken pipes that seemed to be billowing out odorless colorless smoke into the atmosphere. Not really heeding them much, he was either; dreaming and would wake up any moment or else he was mad.

Yes he thought, it was all a drug-induced hallucination, and soon he would wake up or be locked up. Lord what had caused this, these damn factories, damn, how he wished he had been more involved in trying to help save the environment. Well to late now!

What type of weird unfathomable world was this his demented mind was creating? He could sense apprehension in the air. Then suddenly he noticed from the corner of his eye some movements. Strangely formed people were crouched near the broken walls. He shivered! One of them had a flat snout and deep set eyes and another a large deformed forehead and small pin like eye. They were seemingly unconcerned about the smoke emanating from the pipes next to them. One of them spotted him and muttered something the other one stared at him. Then they both turned their attention to studying the gray skies. There seemed to be a lot of movement, swirling clouds, strong gusts of wind, flashes and rumblings.

*******
CODEX II


Arthur realized that he needed to talk to someone; he had to find out where he was. But if this were all in his imagination what good would it do? Well maybe if he could communicate with someone his mind would clear up. Yes that was it he needed force himself to wake up out of this nightmare, make himself grasp onto reality again!

“Hi there!” he called over to a young looking teen who approaching from an alley to his left heading toward the other two people, at least he looked normal not like the others.

The teen glanced at him seemingly surprised, then a high-pitched sound screeched in the air and the teen looked upward to the whirling clouds and rumblings then quickly turned and hurried off followed by the other two.

“What the hell!” Arthur uttered, “Am I the weird looking one or something? And what on earth was that weird noise!”

Just then an explosion hit the nearby building and Arthur saw the group of people who had passed him explode into countless body pieces showering the area along with the building fragments. Arthur hit the ground as another explosion showered him in blood and broken glass and fragments of stone and metal. Blood ran from a cut in his upper arm, and he had an uncomfortable feeling bruise on his forehead, but he was alive, which was more than could be said for the others.

“Christ! Goddamn, what the hell is happening, what’s going on?” He’d read such stuff in sci-fi novels, he thought but this is for real. “Why! Why,” He cried out, “God I’m bleeding, why is all this happening to me!”

Another explosion a little further down the street and some more people appeared running from the burnt out shell of a building. They looked back over their shoulder towards him before hurrying away.

He just managed to roll away, avoiding a falling piece of masonry, but receiving a long painful gash upon his left arm and shoulder. As he scrambled to his feet he noticed an unobtrusive figure in the background, a young woman watching him from a doorway a few yards up the street. There was no fearful look in her eyes.

He hesitantly stumbled toward her. She did not turn and flee but stood there leaning against the doorway eyeing him. She was maybe around twenty-three, or so he assumed. Hard to describe her looks when there is no color, but she was pretty and dressed in some type of denims and sweater and a thin windbreaker with a hood, though she had some scratches and cuts on her face and her windbreaker had a few rips. She kind of reminded him of the girl in his dream, same fine bone structure and deep magnetic eyes. She seemed to be staring at his chest. He glanced down; his shirt buttons had opened during his scrambling around and his tattoo showing. A little embarrassed he hastily buttoned it and tried to cover up his discomfort.

“Hello,” Arthur said, “my name is Arthur and I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind if I asked you some questions?”

She kind of smiled; at least it was a pleasant movement of the lips. “It would be best not here.” she answered him, “it is dangerous, come with me and I take you somewhere safe.”

Arthur followed her silently as she led him down a series of back alleys and down towards a basement flat. No further words passed between them though she glanced at him several times with appraising eyes.

“Stop wait,” she suddenly cried out pulling him into a cul-de-sac!

Arthur spotted six figures materialize in a beam of light in middle of the road, like a scene out of Star Trek. They looked like storm troopers from Star Wars though with the build of the Hulk. They were armed with some type of laser or blaster guns and definitely were looking for someone or some ones, and boy did Arthur so not want to be the object of their search.

“Sargal scouts,” she hissed through her teeth, “we need to be still no movements; their monitors will detect sudden movements.”

Arthur breathed slowly his body tense and electric, praying desperately that they leave quickly before he did something stupid.

“Stop you there!” The largest of the Sargal, called out in an automated voice, pointing to some poor fellow who stumbled dazedly around the corner.

“Come here now, this is a registration check,” the Sargal commanded!

The person of their attention took one terrified look and fled rushing back towards the narrow alley he’d just emerged from. The armed trooper lifted his long rifle shaped weapon and fired a bolt of green light. The poor fugitive was vaporized in a cloud of emerald light. Nothing remained just smoldering ash and smoke.

The Sargal then scanned around the rest of the area carefully, turning slowly with a small thing that looked like a cell phone in his hand. Then seemingly satisfied, he nodded to one of the other troopers who called on some mobile handset and they vanished, dematerialized as if teleported off to some spaceship.

“What the hell was that?” Arthur blurted out as his body relaxed from all the pent up tension.”

“They were Sargal scouts, it means the S86 are near by we need to move from here quickly.”

“I need some answers,” responded Arthur angrily, “damn it, did you see that fellow turn into a pile of dust!”

Arthur turned away staring at the smoldering heap his body shaking.

Gwenn tapped Arthur on the shoulder; “We need to go now, it is too dangerous. They have some cyber bugs around the area.”

“Cyber bugs, cyber bugs,” He repeated dazedly his eyes showing his total incomprehension.

She laughed at his goofy look. My, she is cute, he thought.

“We need to move now,” she commanded, “I’ll explain later. Follow me!”

*******


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