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Bright Future (a short story)


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Berzul

Berzul

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BRIGHT FUTURE

No one in town ever doubted Arvhan's future. The golden boy of Tiellemoor had earned a reputation the very day that he was born. The first pure child in seven generations, as the result of almost unbelievable efforts in selective breeding and gene-manipulation.

He was born on the eve Arfill's Day, and thus named as the vhan or Ar. The champion reborn. When he crawled his way out of his mother's body, his creators cried aloud and sang psalms of joy, which carried on for miles through the vox casters of the town. The celebration lasted a full week, starting with the processing of the parent's corpses for gene-mapping and archives, and ending on the final day of reverie with one dozen prisoners being granted their mercy inside the gas-vats. As a show of gratitude for such a blessing.

In the years to come, Arvhan would receive extensive tutoring. Academics being wired into his brain from the oldest data units available; and combat and survival skills being written into the muscles of his body through the most hallowed rituals still kept. His sessions would be monitored, recorded, and then displayed for all other children of Tiellemoor to see. Each such session being a lesson for those of lower quality to learn from such an exemplary display of intelligence, agility and cunning.

By the age of four, the boy was solving complex formulae, and identifying the tactical value of each weapon in the local armories.

By the age of eight, the boy was theorizing void maps, and hunting down every type of beast that nested beyond the town limits.

By the age of twelve —right before the bombs began to drop on them—, he stood proud as the best there ever was. A true testament to the efforts put into his birth, and certainly worthy of the name and position he had been given by his elders. A strategist who in his mind kept true knowledge of every plan, trick and gambit in the history of his people. A warrior of deadly form, whether with gun, blade, or with his own bare hands. A leader, inspiring and brave before the face of any evil, both known and unknown.

When the invaders came, and the first orbital barrage fell through the clouds, raining fire on the mountain side, it was he who guided the town to safety. And, when the great marauders started to appear in their drop ships on the near skies, it was he who led the charge against them.

His voice carried over through the vox casters and into the bunkers, as the battle broke in Gorvigniol Pass. For hours he could be heard singing praise to the valor of the other warriors that fought under his banner. Both calling out each kill as it was gained, and the name of each one of his that finally fell to an enemy blade or gun. Then he was heard no more.

Brelios came upon the battlefield about another hour after the last transmission had been received back at the bunkers. Not that he could have known that, as no vox casters existed beyond the pass, where he had been hunting alone since before the bombs dropped. Still, the blood covered soil was not a surprise for him. Having seen the fires rain down over the slopes, he had been able to guess the whole sequence of events accurately enough —he thought—, and even had found the bodies to be in numbers well within parameters for the engagement —he thought again—. His estimations, of course, were wrong, and the place had actually been overrun by invaders, and the only reason his town was not a smoking ruin in the distance was that another force had, in turn, overrun the invaders.

An understandable mistake. After all, he was nothing unlike the many other kids in Tiellemoor. Just another child, lucky enough to have been born the same year as Arvhan. Allowed to be grown, only to become another corpse on another battlefield, someday. Only so that Arvhan's heroic deeds in leading him and others like him could one day be made into song.

His abilities had never been designed into those required to truly assess a battlefield with precision.

Still, the sight of death and carnage did not surprise him. It was the body of Arvhan, twisted and mangled in gruesome fashion, and laying near a boulder on the side of the pass, that did.

There he was. The golden boy, dead at twelve. With his eyes opened wide in horror. His ears deaf to his name being called aloud from the bunkers through the vox on the back of the corpse a nearby comms specialist. The work of generations of selective breeding, gene-sequencing, and eugenic protocols, now dead for good, without anyone for miles even knowing about it. Anyone but young Brelios, who stared dumbfounded at the corpse of the legend that was supposed to be. So transfixed at the sight that, had another party of invaders shown up, they would have been able to kill him twice over before he even noticed. So hypnotized, that when the neophytes found him, it took one grabbing him by the neck for him to even realize he was being talked to.

The one who grabbed him —Brelios saw—, was one out of a group of ten. Their armor was of a bright yellow, in a shade that somehow felt both alien and familiar to him. Their weapons and armor were something that he had only ever read vague descriptions of, but never even imagined properly in his head. All he could tell for sure was that they were human, and at the same time something more. That the barrels of their guns still bore the hot red color of having cleared the forces that had managed to get past the defenders dispatched from Tiellemoor. And that, beyond their line, there stood their ship. Prepped, with its hatch open and its engines revving. Ready to take them out of this place, beyond the atmo of the planet.

The one that held his neck turned him around to face his eyes, and stared deep into him, before simply asking one question. And that was for the location of the one they knew was called Arvhan.

Brelios went numb for a moment, as a thousand ideas ran through his mind. Cluttering at first, to the point that almost no coherent thought could be had. Each one then falling strangely into place, and granting him a curious form of understanding of what events had truly transpired in that place, and of what other events would follow once these strange men found the body of their quarry. Then suddenly, as if driven by instinct in lieu of real thought, and with one last glance at the corpse that lay near them both, he simply answered:

"That's... that's me."

The warriors looked at each other for a moment, then offered him a short, solemn bow with their heads. Without another word they then escorted him to their ship, and soon they were all beyond the pass, the town, and the planet itself. Heading for the stars, and leaving behind the corpse of the Arvhan that was, along with Brelios's past.


Edited by Berzul, 28 October 2019 - 02:26 PM.

  • Mazer Rackham and Bruce Malcom like this
"Fiat lux!"
- Battle cry of the Wings of Dawn, a Dark Angel's Successor Chapter

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