Thread: Alpha and Omega
Mr. Smoke typed the code onto the panel and Mr. Alpha noted it, committing to memory: 23140692. The door slide open with a whoosh noise.
‘Does it have to make that noise?’ asked Mr. Alpha.
Mr. Smoke stepped through into the chamber beyond and replied: ‘No.’
Mr. Alpha was surprised to hear Mr. Omega snigger.
They followed Mr. Smoke into the clients’ room. It was more or less how it looked like on the CCTV video, albeit freezing cold. Row upon row of capsules lay ahead of them, each one a space-age coffin. Blue light bathed the entire chamber. It was noisy; capsules would randomly vent some sort of gas with a hiss.
None of the coffins had windows so they could peer in at the pretend dead. ‘Why don’t these capsules have little windows?’
‘Because they’re empty,’ said Mr. Smoke. He added a quiet something that sounded like an insult.
Mr. Alpha looked up at the lighting. This was different to the two previous blue centres they’d been in; it looked like the set of a science fiction movie.
As they continued to head towards the back of the chamber, Mr. Alpha asked, ‘Is this ultra-violet light or something? To eliminate bugs or shit?’
Mr. Smoke stopped and turned around. ‘Listen up, you fuckwit, it’s all for show. We lost a lot of business to Karma Cryon when they started up three years ago. We were efficient, relatively cheap and didn’t mess around with lots of theatrics. Those Karma fuckers went all Disney on us, with doors like Star Trek airlocks and flashy lighting. They even had big stupid machines with pointless coloured lighting you’d expect to see in a B-movie from the sixties. We had to compete and ‘modernise’ otherwise this outstation was going to go out of business.
‘So this is the play room. Nothing in here is important. Clients are actually batched in the basement below our feet, in a proper cryogenic facility. No one ever gets to see that any more. Got it?’
‘Yeah, sure,’ Mr. Alpha said. ‘We got that didn’t we, Mr. Omega? I’m a fuckwit.’
Mr. Omega laughed. ‘He got that right, boy. You’re a fuckwit.’
Fuming, Mr. Smoke marched over to the smaller metal door at the back of the room, the one that Morgana had gone through on the video. Mr. Alpha and Mr. Omega followed. Above the door was a small metal plaque upon which the words “BLUE NINETEEN” inscribed.
Mr. Smoke tapped in exactly the same code as before into a keypad beside the door. The door clicked and he pulled it open.
The blue centre was a much smaller room and looked exactly like the previous centres they had been at. Dim fluorescent lighting illuminated seven metal coffins on the floor, strange apparatus covering each like a metal fungus. An umbilical cord of wires and tubing connected each coffin to the ceiling; maintenance looked like a nightmare.
In the video, Morgana had gone to each coffin, one by one. She had looked into each one for a few minutes, then left the building.
Mr. Alpha copied her actions; the same order, the same pose. Perhaps she had been fiddling with something she shouldn’t or left a little gift behind. Nothing had turned up in the previous centres but Mr. Alpha still had hope. Morgana wasn’t stupid. She was either doing something or misleading them. Or both.
Through the window of each coffin, a frozen, deathly face lay. None of the faces were familiar. None of the faces seem to have any common attribute apart from being old men. Four white men, one with a beard; two black men; the last one had some bloke with slitty eyes so god fucking knew where he was from.
Mr. Alpha reached the last one and he paused for longer, desperate to work out why Morgana would come here. He began rapping his fingers on the coffin, trying to think like she would. See what she |lusting and sexed| was seeing.
‘Oi,’ Mr. Smoke shouted. ‘Be careful with those things, you break that, we lose one body!’
Mr. Alpha stared at the closed eyes of the Asian man. ‘Who are these people? Why are you keeping them?’
‘I’m not permitted to–’
‘Oh come on, Mr. Smoke, do tell. That’s the one piece of this bloody puzzle we don’t know. You want us to stop that whore of whores, but you’re not willing to tell us everything.’ Mr. Alpha turned around. ‘What kind of fucking organisation is this? We want her dead as much as you do. Who are these people?’
No one had answered the question before, but maybe Mr. Smoke might; he was agitated and off-guard.
‘I’m not permitted to reveal that.’ On the other hand, he was still a Clothman with nerves of steel.
The people in these coffins were important. Who would be important enough for the Cloth to secure in freezers for the future? Who…
‘Fuck it,’ said Mr. Alpha. He’d got it. He had fucking got it. ‘I know who they are and why Morgana comes here. This is a message. She’s fucking around with our minds.’
Mr. Omega was standing near the entrance biting his nails; he hadn’t bothered to look at anything since they’d entered. ‘So tell us, Mr. Alpha, what is she doing?’
Mr. Smoke seemed nervous, like he’d made a mistake but didn’t know exactly what.
‘These are Saints; they’re probably cooped up here waiting for The-God-To-Be to bring them back to life. Morgana is sending a message: she’s looking for the Saints.’
‘What a load of poppyshit,’ said Mr. Smoke, throwing his arms into the air in despair.
‘Well done,’ said Mr. Omega, clapping. ‘I did wonder when you’d work it out. Took your merry old time about it, but still it’s a pat-on-the-back and a free burger for you. Third time lucky I guess.’
Mr. Alpha’s euphoria dissipated. ‘You knew? You arsehole! You could’ve told me!’
‘Oh no, I don’t know for sure, but it’s the conclusion I came to at the first break-in. I told you that we don’t get told anything we don’t need to. And sometimes they don’t need to. Cheer up, junior, there’s hope for the two of us yet.’