I should rename this book 'My Worst Stories that I have the Compassion not to finish'. It is only re-reading this that I realise how bad it is. Please do not think this is how I usually write. I think I was suffering from chocolate withdrawal.
Arikado prowled through the streets silently, his feet making no sound on the wet cobble stones. The sounds of a night in Paris swirled around him- the laughter of warm, happy people, the music the played on the radio when darkness fell. But he knew that he had no part in it. His mission was clear.
Find and deliver Soma Du Lamont.
Arikado stopped. His skin prickled. Someone was following him. He moved on, pretending not to notice this presence, but it nagged at him. No one should have been able to follow him. He was untraceable.
The footsteps that he could only just sense were keeping time with his own. Arikado smirked slightly and suddenly changed his pace. The footsteps quickly recovered, but much was now given away. They knew he knew that they were following him.
Arikado skirted suddenly into an alley, then propelled himself up the sides of it till he was perched on the roof, looking down. Someone had followed him into the small space, and was looking around. As he watched, the figure stamped on the ground like a child having a tantrum, then left in a swirl of its cloak. Arikado slid down the wet, damp walls of the alley, landing with a slight thud on the ground. It was so tempting to follow the shadowy figure, but his mission was clear.
Sighing, he turned to carry on his way, but a glint caught his eye. Something silver lay in a puddle at the entrance to the alley. It hadn’t been there before. It was there now. Arikado squatted next to it cautiously, stretching out a finger to nudge it gently. It could have been a trap, but somehow, that figure hadn’t seemed clever enough to commit this lever of deception. He lifted it up and held it to the light of a nearby street lamp.
It was a dog tag, the kind worn in the army, and it had a strange symbol on it. Sort of like a Nazi swastika, but Arikado had seen enough of those to realise that this symbol was slightly different. He tucked it into his breast pocket to examine later, and straightened. He had places to be.
He arrived at the meeting place five minutes later. The Eiffel Tower dominated the skyline, and the late evening light sent panicked shadows skittering across the weak moon. Arikado approached a car- black, long, and obviously expensive. The deliverer of the package spared no expenses keeping it safe. Arikado tapped on the window twice, then waited three seconds and tapped again. It rolled down slowly.
The man behind it was dressed completely in black- black coat, black balaclava, black gloves- which gave Arikado no clue at all the his identity. The man seemed to scrutinise him through his one way sunglasses, then cocked a finger. Arikado opened the door, and slid inside the car.
The man turned to him once he was inside. Arikado could only now just make out the silhouette of his head. When he spoke his voice was gravely.
“Do you have the documents?”
Arikado nodded, opening his jacket slightly to reveal a wad of paper. He tilted his head.
“Do you have the package?”
The man nodded, and made a gesture towards the back of the car. Arikado turned, and could made out a shape lying sprawled in the boot of the limousine. It was long and dark, but a slight movement told Arikado that it was very much alive. He turned back to the man and tugged the papers from his jacket, handing them over. They contained detailed blueprints- blueprints that the man’s boss had been after for a very long time. The man took the papers, rolling them out and checking them. Satisfied, he handed them to the driver and got out of the car. Arikado followed him.
The man had opened the boot, and was reaching in when-
A gunshot tore through the air. Arikado let himself fall to the ground around the side of the car, his head down until he was sure no more bullets were coming. He glanced under the limo and saw a pool of dark liquid surrounding the man’s head. Arikado winced.
Crawling on his hands and knees, he rounded the car cautiously, but no more bullets came. He, obviously, hadn’t been the target. He turned, knowing he had to complete this mission as quickly as possible. The shape in the boot hadn’t moved throughout the entire exchange. Probably drugs.
Straightening, Arikado lifted the figure into his arms. It was lighter than he’d expected, which he was glad for. There was a long way to go yet, and not long to get there. He turned once more, and walked off into the darkness, carrying what was possibly the most important and volatile person in the history of life itself.
“Did you get him?”
“Yes.” Arikado laid the bundle he had been carrying out on the table. The dim lighting was tinged with green, and the room hummed as though it were alive. Arikado had been assigned here for two years, and it was beginning to feel like home, especially with the addition of his college of seven years, Ock. Ock glanced at Arikado’s face.
“He’s wrapped up.”
“Like a birthday present.”
“How do you know what a birthday is?”
Ock shook his head. “I’m insane. Not clueless. Come on- let’s wake the sleeping beast.”
Arikado grasped Ock’s wrist as he made a move to life the blankets from the boy on the table in front of them. “Are you sure…?” He let the silent question dangle in the air. “Men have been killed for this boy. He is the most advanced technological feat humankind has ever created, or ever will create. He has the powers we can only dream of. He-“
“Arikado. I get it.”
Ock shook his head once more, then before Arikado could protest again, he lifted the blanket covering the boy before them. He raised an eyebrow.
“Somehow, I thought he’d be more… muscly.”
The boy’s hair was a shock of white. He was obviously tall, as even with his legs folded up beneath him he lay the length of the table. His face was completely pale, with no pigmentation at all. Ock poked him in the side.
“Soma. Soma Du Lamont.”
There was no reaction from the boy. Arikado nudged Ock’s shoulder, and brandished a syringe. Ock winced.
“There’s enough in that to take out an elephant.”
“You do know who we’re dealing with, correct?”
“Ah. Yes. I’ll do it.”
Ock took the syringe, wincing again at the weight of it. He steadied his hand and laid the tip against the boy’s pale arm. Taking a breath, he pushed it in, then injected its contents into the boy’s veins.
His eyes flew open.
NANOSECONDS~ CHAPTER |
“Arikado and Ock have secured the package.” Mr X paced in his office, speaking into a microphone that sent his voice all around the abandoned warehouse in which his agents operated from. “We will need to make preparations for his arrival. Begin now. Remember…” Mr X paused. Only he, Arikado, Ock, and the leader of Rapier knew the extent of Soma Du Lamont’s power. He continued. “Remember… he is volatile. He is more than we have ever had to deal with. Take no shortcuts.” Mr X clicked off, knowing his agents would be doing all they could to ensure that Soma would be safe. Mr X had hand-picked every one of them- people who were brave and determined enough to risk their entire lives to save and protect the ‘specials’. Mr X winced at the name. It was a cruel nickname, but a true one. Once in a while, something happened- a mushroom was too near a nuclear power plant and developed ‘special properties’, or a girl who should have drowned would instead be found safe and sound in an underwater cave, mysteriously breathing. Yes- these things happened, and his agents- the agents of Nano- would be there first. Arikado and Ock were agents of Nano. Mr X smiled fondly.
Ock and Arikado had been a special case. They were the only people to ever break into Rapier- their objective, apparently, had been to rescue a group of Rapier’s test subjects. It hadn’t worked. They’d triggered an alarm; been captured. Nano had saved them, on the one condition- that they became agents to the organisation. They had readily agreed. Mr X stopped smiling as the name Rapier rebounded into and around his head.