December 27, 2008


Thread: Alpha and Omega,Equation,Game,His Silicon Hands,Mission,Paragon

There is an old shack and outside it sits a man in his late forties. He sits not on a chair but on a ground of dry dust. It is a sunny day. God made it so, thinks Earl. His tears are exhausted and anger has left his insides charred. Nothing churns within. His heart is dead.

From within the shack, a man who wanted to be God emerges behind him. Yet he is not God. He is Green. He came here out of what he considered free will, but recognised the deceit too late. He sits down beside Earl. Green is quiet, still holding the bloody, sharp wire between his hands. The wire vibrates.

Earl wants to hate Green for what he has done, but it was what God had wished. But to swallow tragedy as if it was just a sliver of beer is not something he finds easy to do. That was God’s lot. And that was why God had waited with him for so long, telling him stories.

‘It was the greatest sin,’ says Green, softly. He sounds damaged, missing the violent determination that had propelled him to his defining moment. ‘There was no grace in my work. I had only hoped to match the master… but I was one of his animals. Moving in his word, the final sound of his voice. I have done what I was meant to do. My purpose complete, I am extinguished.’

‘I don’t care for your talk, mister,’ snaps Earl. The sun’s rays are cold. The solitude is unbearable once again. His wife has been stored in a jar for two years. And now God is gone, his parables complete.

The Paragon, the Student and the Psychologist are dead, killed when they turned on their gods of Elvis, Bliss and Morta, allowing Nhil to rise once more. Weldon has done his father proud, saving one final life, defeating Dog in his last game. Alison redeemed herself, saving a planet that had disintegrated into anti-technological fever and anarchic chaos, but sacrificed things she didn’t know she loved to accomplish it. Mr. Alpha and Mr. Omega’s global pursuit of Morgana came to a disasterous conclusion, as the three of them discovered that all things are terminal; the handle finally turned.

But Earl’s own story has not come to an end. He is still here with the tales he has learnt and no one to share them with.

‘It was his will,’ says Green. ‘I played my part. If I had not done this thing… He would have undone the Project. I carry His blood on my hands, this is my burden. It was His will, Earl.’

‘I know that!’ shouted Earl. ‘I made Him tell me stories for years to keep this from happening! That, mister, was my burden! I kept Him going and now you… you have taken Him away.’

Green stands up. ‘I need to go.’

‘Where to, mister? What’s left for you to break?’

‘The first stranger to cross my path. God returned her to life as part of his blackmail, to force my hand. I want to apologise.’

But Green does not move. Perhaps he is tired, perhaps he is scared. Earl does not know.

Earl says, ‘He was taken from us too soon. He had more stories to tell.’

Green turns slightly, but does not face Earl. Earl is surprised: there is shame hidden on the killer’s face. Green asks Earl, ‘Did He ever tell you about Hammerport?’

‘Hammerport? No, I don’t think so.’

‘It is a story of what men do when they have left their gods behind. He never told you this story because it could only be told once he was gone. It is about how men organise themselves and how this unmakes them.’

Earl looks at the greatest sinner and asks: ‘Would you tell me this tale?’

Green sits down again, careful not to catch Earl’s gaze. He places the bloody wire on the ground before them and stares at his hands.

‘No one remembers the town of Hammerport. Originally it was a small, sleepy town and the people there were neither happy nor unhappy. Little changed between days. This fact was neither resented nor loved by its people. Children were born, grew up, some of them left for bigger places. And then, one day, the shrewd eyes of industry noticed the town…’

The sun holds its position in the sky while the tale is told. Clouds drift overhead in mournful silence. Mountains weep streams into rivers. The human herd sprays signals through the air while the scent of decaying trash floats on a scorched breeze. There are still ashes in the urn but something has changed: a broken watch is ticking again.

These truly are the days of Man, for it was God that made it so.

Posted by: The Harbour Master @ 1413

December 10, 2008

In the Hands of Others (20 of 20)

Thread: Alpha and Omega

‘Here is your boarding pass. The gate will be announced 20 minutes prior to the departure, but you’re free to go straight through to the departures lounge.’

The woman didn’t hand the tickets to him directly, opting to put them on the counter thus deferring physical contact. Mr. Alpha was content with this.

Her bright red jacket made her look like a character out of a children’s programme, a sparkling gold-coloured badge attached to it, reading: “Christine, Relationship Manager” She smiled at him, a decent smile full of clean, sparkling but slightly wonky teeth – not stewardess material. Her blouse was low cut, revealing a dark valley of sin; her cleavage disseminated perfumed lies. Pretending to be available to each client, a false prostitute wearing a wedding band. Everyone was a sex merchant these days, whether they knew it or not.

He smiled back, relaxed and friendly. ‘Thank you. Thank you so much. Have a lovely day.’

With his ticket and pass, he returned to the cluster of seats to which a group of restless children and tortured parents had attached themselves. Mr. Omega sat on the other side, twitching as if on a caffeine high, pretending he was unaffected. Sometimes the old man was transparent.


One of the children whose clothes looked like they had been coloured using lurid highlighter markers, gave a high-pitched scream. A woman retorted: ‘Jeremy!’ Children’s names are commands, not appellations, Mr. Alpha thought. His own birth name would be a command for death.
Mr. Omega stood up and said, ‘Got a call from Supply. Seems like-‘

‘Jeremy stop that!’

‘-we’re good with the Saint. More perturbed by the possibility that Morgana was in the vicinity. No hard feelings. We move on.’

‘Alright, good to hear, Mr. Omega. Good to hear. Nice note to end on, even though this trip has been a bit of a fanny’s arse. So, Dubai then?’


They headed to the security checkpoint separately and Mr. Alpha cast his mind back over the incident again. What would have been the real consequences if things had gone tits up?

After killing a Saint and possibly her switchmen, the Cloth would have ordered instant excision against their pairship. Mr. Omega would have probably walked his arse back into the nearest school for his final duty, whistling into death, but Mr. Alpha would not have given in so easily. Really, how the fuck were they supposed to know who was Cloth and who was not? He would’ve gone on the run, refusing to take the fall for something that was not his fault, something he had been deceived into, the Cloth’s own secrecy used as a weapon against him.

This was what Morgana wanted. For Mr. Alpha to be like her, to suffer the same fate. Forever on the move, never able to take a breather, glancing over his shoulder every minute, half-expecting to see the dark muzzle of a Foundry gun pointed at his head, a life in the hands of others.

He joined a queue and waited his turn.

Posted by: The Harbour Master @ 1536