Ayres/Fleur - Season 1

The first part of the serial to accompany the collaborative EP 'Ayres/Fleur'. Find the music here: https://thequantumsweep.bandcamp.com/album/ayres-fleur
Revolution is afoot in a shocking alternative-timeline dystopian vision of the North American continent. Fleur, a priveleged student and engineer is dragged into the struggle between the crazed revolutionary 'Ayres' and his struggle against The Senate.
But, as Fleur uncovers secrets regarding the organised rebellion in her country, new information begins to come to light regarding The Senate and with whom the power really lies.

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4. Launch.

That morning, Fleur woke up before her father.

She opened her eyes to see her train ticket on her bedside table.

An hour later, she was out of the door. A large house on the end of a terrace on an ordinary street in the engineers’ quarter. The characteristic reddish slate of the area adorned every roof.

As she strolled down the road, in the direction of the train station, Fleur permitted a glance in the direction of Victory Tower. The characteristic twin peaks of the mountainous capitol building glinted in the morning sunlight. A cloud of steam was passing between her and the crest of the building.

Fleur jumped slightly as a newspaper boy cycled past, dropping a copy of the State Times on the doorstep of the house beside which Fleur was currently walking.

Odd, she thought. The cover of the newspaper does not mention the Matenavé launch. She glanced back over at Victory Tower before the sound of a car horn jolted her attention back to the road.

 

CCTV records appear to show a man with dark hair entering the aircraft carrier using stolen ID in the minutes before the countdown began.

Why did no one stop him?

The Wires are unable to answer.

 

On the train, Fleur pondered what it would be like to study at the Institution.

Having new friends would be fun. Would making them be a chore?

Studying at a higher level would be exciting. Would it just make her yet another clever person in a swarm of hundreds, as opposed to the stand-out member of the class though? She wasn’t so sure about that.

She would have to take care of herself for the first time. That would be annoying, for certain. Or it could be fun.

It felt like there was a giant wall in Fleur’s mind that she would have to somehow run through. All points after that moment in time would be easy. The difficult bits just a memory. There would be more difficult bits for certain, but they wouldn’t all happen at the same time quite like this one.

 

When this man, strongly built, approximately six feet tall, with a strange symbol on his cheek killed all the crew, Ayres did not die. Why not.

The wires examine their memories.

Mr White’s pill. It succeeded. It was not built for this half-transition, but it did safe Ayres’ life. And now he was - we were - I am - something.

But as of yet, I’m not quite sure what.

 

A news bulletin played out through the train carriage. There was still no mention of the aircraft carrier launch.

Fleur looked out the window, in the direction of the capitol. The twin peaks of Victory Tower were still visible - where was Matenavé? Maybe they had cloaked it, or maybe it was simply too far up to be seen. It was probably the former. Fleur recalled someone mentioning something about it being able to go invisible.

 

Who is this ‘Mr White’? Ask the wires. Good question. I’m not sure I can remember. An arrest warrant has just been placed for one Mr James White after he was heard to be saying distasteful things about the Senate, though this warrant had been postponed until the day of the launch, so that he could finish the required work on Matenavé. This must be the Mr White in question. A special operations unit departed the Victory Tower ten minutes ago to arrest him. Who else can help us? His daughter, although sympathising with his radical beliefs did not know about his involvement in the rebellion. She received her exam results yesterday - she is remarkably intelligent. The Senate believes her to be a threat and is on its way to arrest her right now. Excellent. Where is she? On a train on the way to the Institution. Good. We will intercept it. How are we doing for time? Even if we send our fastest aircraft we will be too late by approximately ten seconds. If we were to engage, the probability of everyone on the train dying is greater than eighty percent, no, ninety, no, ninety-three-point-four-seven-five… Too much information. What alternatives do we have?

There is a slow whirring noise as the wires come to a conclusion.

 

The fusion chains within the carriage mechanics slowed.

That was quick.

As if conducted by an invisible hand, the occupants of the carriage stood up.

The carriage came to a halt.

Fleur stood up.

“There’ll be no need for that, Miss White.”

The woman next to her put a stern hand on her shoulder.

“Excuse m-” the woman applied pressure, and Fleur was caught off guard, and pushed into a seated position.

The other passengers formed a single-file line, and slowly traipsed out of the carriage, save for a group of four men sat across the aisle.

“Fleur White-”

“Y-yes?”

 

The fastest, best-cloaked aircraft on the plane is a dream come true for any pilot. I am rather fond of it already. Are the wires ready? Yes. The wires are always ready. They broadcast the signal.

 

The carriage jolted briefly.

“What was that?” One of the men stood up. Immediately, it was clear who was in charge. He glared at Fleur, as if aware that he had given himself away. One of his entourage pulled up a scanner screen.

“Apparently nothing, sir. Most likely just the fusion chains cooling off.”

The man in charge appeared to calm down slightly.

He was blonde, with a tired face that seemed as if he were twenty years younger he would have appeared threatening. His voice on the other hand resonated throughout the carriage like lightning through the string of a kite.

“You are Fleur White, is that correct?”

“Who are you to ask?”

He looked to the woman. “Take her ID.”

Before she could react, the woman had slipped a hand into Fleur’s jacket and pulled out her ID card.

“This says she’s Fleur White.”

“Scan it.”

The woman passed the plastic card into her other hand and held her wrist to it. A small, muffled ‘beep’ echoed from her watch. She looked at the watch face.

“It won’t scan.”

“Try agai-” Fleur and the man started in unison. He turned to her, apparently slightly nervous.

The woman scanned again.

“Nope. Not Fleur White.”

“Shit.”

The man got up and turned to the door of the carriage. “Another blank. The real one is probably with him already. Stun her and send her off to the farm.”

Fleur started to stand and object or question, but the woman grabbed her arm and pulled, jabbing a small, hard, cold prod into her side. The last thing Fleur saw before she passed out was the sadistic grin of a woman who knew what was to come next as she flicked the small switch on the side of the device.

Fleur crumpled into her seat, unconscious.

 

So, Fleur White is safe, say the wires. Next, we must establish our low-earth orbit, activate our assets, and see what can be done about her father.

But Fleur White will hate us when we come to recruit her -

She will be driven. The trauma may make her hate us, but it will turn her unsparingly to our cause.

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