The Assignment

Captain Von Delgo is a man who is lost. He is known as a turncoat, a hero and a mass-murderer. He has no beginning, and as far as he can see he has no end. Which makes him just about the most dangerous man alive. After the completion of his last job Captain is on his way out to receive his payment and rest up. His plans are delayed when a religious sect known as the Ravens pull him in with an offer. Captain faces a dilemma, he has never once failed in his assignments. But accepting this one and succeeding would change the way of the world, change everything that everyone has ever known, plunge it into chaos. But he has also never once turned down a job, and with his life quickly descending into a chaos of its own despair, he can see no reason why not to accept. After all, how hard can it be to kill an immortal?

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17. Chapter 17

01 stood beneath the stars, his back pressing against a wall of smooth stone. He was in the sort of mood which could kill a man. It was the sort of black mood where, no matter who you were or what you were, you were still liable to die. He didn’t care.

Not about anything.

He had left the town with the scent of Hell in his nostrils. He had left the town to burn into dust, and for the wind to blow the ashes into space. It had just been for something to do. First he had set fire to the docks, and then raced through the streets of the town blowing bursts of fire into the air. The fire had come down and settled on to the houses of the inhabitants. While they slept, they burned.

He hadn’t stayed around to see if they would wake in time to save themselves, he had walked out shortly after making sure the town was ablaze.

01 was now following the trail that a man had used a few days earlier. 01 had of course asked around about the man that people called the Captain before burning them.

He struck lucky with a doctor who said that she had seen him riding out through the gates towards the Mainstream. By her word he was probably long gone from the island by now. That was if he hadn’t left the stream to walk into the desert. If he had done that they he was probably dead with the desert rats eaten his flesh so there would be nothing left to salvage.

01 knew deep down inside that it was only wishful thinking that he might be dead. The Captain would only truly be dead by the time 01 finished him off.

After thanking the doctor he had burned the town and flew off along the Mainstream. He flew until he reached the point where the Captain had turned off into the desert. 01 flew on until he reached where the Raven’s temple had last stood. A brick wall was all that remained of the majestic building. He had landed next to it and stood against it while the sun rose, and he watched as the sun set.

He stood for a full day just thinking of where the temple could have gone.

In the short amount of time he had been free, he had learned everything. The strange house he had called home for a brief amount of time had a library. He had sped read through every single book, but there was so much knowledge not all of it had been able to fit and much of the knowledge just slid right through. One book in black had held a map on its front page.

He studied the map for hours on end, finally ripping it out of the book and stuffing it into his pocket for viewing later.

He pulled the map out now and gazed at it. He followed the lines of where the town had been with his finger an along the Mainstream. There was really no reason for him to use the map now to find the Captain. There was no way you could know where the man had disappeared to. 01 just had to wander until he heard something about the immortal mortal that would lead him on.

01 pocketed the map and jumped into the air. He soared upwards until he could see what lay around the island. Other islands lay scattered around on an even bigger island. So many islands and only one would hold the Captain. 01 would search each and every one until he found the man.

Bringing his arms to his side, he allowed himself to drop. As he fell towards the ground, and it looked like he was about to hit the earth, he caught himself and shot off into the darkening night.

 

~2~

 

Time is a strange thing, and with carelessness, the fabric of reality could be made to switch beings. 01 walked, aware that with each footstep he took he passed a possibility of being buried underneath his past. If he slipped, the world could change. On the other hand, a possibility, it could stay the same.

01 was aware that time did not flow in just one direction on Gamdagleeare Luff. The sun rose every morning in a different position from the morning before, and by the time it set it was normally behind the place where it had just risen. Time could only pass, or be counted as passing, by the passing of the sun. Because of the unusual orbit, there were times when some sections of the island never received light, or darkness, to signal the passing.

There were islands that never regressed past the Stone Age while others had the chance to build buildings to the stars. If an animal walked in the right direction at a certain time it could walk into its past, or overtake itself in the future.

01 slowed to a walk, he was on Death Drop Island and fast approaching the last position of the temple of Ravenwood. He knew that if you met your past self you could end up not living at all. In addition, if you met your future self, there was a chance you could still exist, just not as you had before and with more of you than you originally started with.

He was living in his future, but was following a thing of the past.

Because of the dangers of walking in time where you shouldn't, the links where you entered, depending on which way you wanted to go, were closed and locked. The key was then disposed of.

All but one link was closed.

01 had made his way through the jungle. He didn't need to, he could have flown but he was tired of flying. You didn't meet anything if you flew. What birds lived on Death Drop Island had flown away the second they knew how. He was now underneath the ground and following the sound of something crashing against a wall.

The noise was becoming louder, but somehow turning thinner. And then, with a final crash, it ceased.. Snarling and the light sound of something running fast in his direction filled his ears. A shape formed out of the dark and claws embedded themselves in his chest. The owner pulled them away from each other, ripping open 01’s chest. His rib cage split, creaking open, to show what lay inside his chest.

A beating heart in a glass case, surrounded by pieces of twisted metal. Cogs connected into other cogs slowly turned. Liquid bubbled in clear tubes; it flowed freely now that they were ripped open. Springs pushed against bones and rubber bands held things to other things.

The Gháuld pulled out her claws in shock and gazed wide eyed at the open chest in front of her. 01n did too. He had never seen what he looked like inside. Many a times had he woken up while the doctors were in the middle of an operation, but never had he seen what they did. He didn't care to know enough to pull up his shirt and look at the scars on his chest.

He looked up into the frozen expression on the Gháuld’s face. He smiled. It was lopsided, as if he couldn't remember the muscles to use. Or he could but they didn't work anymore. While the Gháuld gazed on in frozen terror, 01 clasped the ribs that poked out and snapped them back into place. He folded the skin over, which sizzled and burnt itself back together. The smell of burnt flesh filled the air.

Then, to repay the kindness the Gháuld had given him, he kept her alive.

The Gháuld stepped out of his way as he moved forwards along the tunnel. She didn't know what to do. To follow and find out what this thing did next or try to kill it again.

The anger that she had used to escape from her prison had burnt itself out the moment she touched him. She glanced at her claws. There was nothing wrong with them. They shone in the dark with the gluggy metallic liquid that ran through the strange man's body.

The man was out of her sight now, and she realised that she had failed. She had not caught what she had entered here to catch. She had lost her brother, and the next thing that could have made that all right, she had also failed to kill. Snarling with a new anger, she chased after this new creature. What had her father always told her?

'Lose your mind in your anger in the chase. It will give you the power to complete the fight.'

Maybe that was how she had failed? She hadn't lost her mind in her anger because she hadn't had any. Now she had.

She ran through the tunnels, jumping over things and running along the walls and roof, but no sign of the man. He couldn't have run this far forward could he? He was hurt; she had torn his chest open. She also hadn't tasted his blood. If indeed it was blood.

A light was becoming brighter as she neared. No, that wasn't correct. It was becoming closer as she neared, but it was becoming dimmer.

Then the light imploded.

The force dragged her forwards. Darkness filled her vision. Pain filled her lungs as something wrapped itself around her neck and cut off her air supple.

She reached out for something, anything to stop herself from going any further towards the implosion.

Her claws raked against the wall. It filled the air with a screech. Her claws hooked onto something that was poking out of the wall. She grabbed it and hung on for dear life. There was another light in front of her, slowly growing dim.

With shock, she realized that it too was going too imploded, With the force of the one behind her it would rip her in half. A faint beat of hope filled her as she wished that whatever was around her neck would kill her before the implosion.

The other one imploded, and it tore her away from the wall. She hung in the middle of the room, her lungs still burned for air that was being sucked away.

The muscles, skin, and everything else that connected her legs to her waist slowly stretched as they were pulled from her pelvis. Her arms followed suit, also being pulled from their sockets. The pain she was feeling from lack of air was now nothing compared to being ripped apart. Then it stopped.

She fell to the floor. Her whole body aching. She started coughing as whatever was around her neck was pulled away. Air entered her lungs and she realized just how precious life was, especially when it was your own.

She laid on the ground, her body hurt with each breath she drew in. The Gháuld was unsure of what to do now. She reached a decision and started to crawl back the way she had come. Ignoring her body as it screamed at her to stop and rest. It was time for her to leave the dark.

01 watched her leave from behind the point where the first implosion had happened. Everything on both sides had been drawn in, but he had been able to stay where he stood. After she was gone, he walked on. He stepped out of the dark first. He expected to step into further darkness, but he landed in light.

He must hurry.

Gone now was the man he was before. The one scared of questions because he was scared of the answers.

Gone the one that didn't know anything, and found each day to hold something new he never knew.

Gone was his wanting for freedom. You can't have freedom, when you never lost it. He longed for it in the hospital, but he could have walked out whenever he wanted. Not the getting to your feet and walking, but the stopping of life and leaving by the wind as it catches your soul.

But he stayed. He no longer found this a brand new world, he already lived in it.

He was starting to hate it. But there would come a time when he would leave it, and he would see a new world. He took a run and jump, and ended up in the air. He could smell the one he was after.

He had travelled on the sea. Did he think that when a man chased by hounds crosses over a river and the hounds lose scent, would work with him? He knew where he was heading before Captain Von Delgo knew!

Captain Von Delgo! 01’s thoughts of Captain Von Delgo were a mixture of fear, admiration, and disgust. He wasn't sure how someone like that could live with himself. You either had to be a monster and enjoy what you do for a living, or you had to be really good at hiding who you really are.

01 flew on towards The Donaghan Islands. He would not go straight to where the Captain was. He would stay close behind and watch.

He could not interfere and show himself until after the Captain's job was done. When you give a job to him and he accepts, he will always see it through. Even if he runs from it. But this one, this one held something.

Each choice you make, a universe will split off the one in where you stand. You will do the opposite of what you just chose.

In walking along the lines of someone’s life, you can see them all. In the choice that will appear to the Captain, there will only be one outcome. No alternate universe will peel off. But what it is, was, will be, will never be, is entirely up to him.

01 thought this interesting. He also found it annoying that there was nothing to tell you what the choice is.

He passed over the ship that had briefly held the Captain and the Raven's. For a moment while he glimpsed the ship, he wondered if the Captain had even remembered the Raven he had sent to find out what the thing in the distances was.

The Islands were shooting into view. In a moment, he would fly over them. So he stopped and let himself plummet into the sea.

He hit the water and it sprayed into the air in a circle around him. As his head broke the surface for air, it landed and pushed him under again.

Everything was quiet underneath the waves. Of course he could hear things, but what he could hear wasn't underneath the sea. He floated in stillness, and watched the sea creatures swim around him. He would run out of breath soon, but that could wait. He felt peaceful here. Maybe there was still something to keep him expecting new things. Maybe he hadn't seen everything there was to see. All he had to do was reopen his eyes.

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