#InTransitMonsters is a #firstdraft #novel about Technology as Messiah. Humanity is about to fall, and is forced to create monsters to save itself. Can these giant monsters succeed, or will humanity's old ambitions damn the species to extinction?
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Lhyst (H +2 Days)
My legs still hurt from the day before. Why had I come back? I could've just stayed in my bolt hole.
"We should just find a new place in the city." I told Red.
Foxtrot. That had been the name of the whatever-she-was that had taken me. She'd carried us away from the mall. Not just a few blocks away. She had carried us to the other side of the Fontana. Long enough that it had taken Red and I the better part of six hours to hike back.
After going through all that, I still came back. Why?
I patted Red on the head. He'd been my guide both ways. I learned how to deal with my blindness on a daily basis. But the dog made the difference. He always found something I couldn't notice.
He knew the way back to where Foxtrot had left us. Maybe the dog had some sort of cyberware himself. Maybe Foxtrot had told him how to find her.
My own BrainSys kept flickering with static. It didn't work. Whatever had happened the day before to call Foxtrot to me hadn't repeated itself.
"I mean, she should be dead." I said. "She ran toward the tentacle-things. Or whatever sound those things make."
We walked into the building Foxtrot had dropped us on top of. It had been set inside a larger enclosed structure. Then it could've been safe from Martian elements if the outer shell hadn't broken apart. At least that's what it felt like when I ran my fingers over it.
The dry ceramic had felt ragged. Like a big eggshell. If Foxtrot left us here, she'd come back for us.
Why was I coming back?
"I do this every time. I keep thinking I'll just find them." I growled at myself. "Maybe my BrainSys does work. Maybe it keeps inventing impossible people for me to meet. Then the busted thing takes them away to see if I'm paying attention."
Red brushed up against me. His way of helping me to find the door. We made our way to the top of the building.
Whatever it had been, the building had a lot of office spaces. My Dads had a worked at a office as I grew up. I always asked them the same question. Why did people have them anymore? No one worked in them.
They said something about tradition. But I think it has to do expectations. People make things expecting them to be used. How many worlds had we settled and built useless office buildings on? I mean, it must've been collecting dust long before the Enemy even came to Mars.
I counted floors. There had been six flights of stairs. Once we reached the sixth, I recognized the cold, diamondplated door. I popped it open.
Wind rushed by us. I imagined red dust spraying all over the place. I couldn't tell. I barely could feel anything through my gloves. A bit on the temperature or texture.
Red moved in front of me. I took a step forward onto the roof. Nothing important to find here.
"You don't think she's coming back either, do you?" I asked Red.
The dog gave me a bark. I named him after a color. I didn't even know if his fur had a red tint to it or not. Still, I think he disagreed with me. Even if he had no idea what I was talking about.
What Foxtrot been? My first thought had been another soldier. Then she had grabbed and picked Red and I up like we were nothing. Just as if we were little animals, she picked us up and ran.
After sleeping on it, I had became certain she had to be in some sort of new tank. Maybe something designed to fight the Enemy. I remembered the robot-themed anime my Dads used to watch with me. It was silly. Nothing like giant robots would come to save me from Mars.
Lurch. Something under the roof, something metallic, groaned. Then I felt the building shift underneath us.
"Shit." Great. My stupid whimsical feelings coming out here were going to get Red and I killed.
I ran back down the stairs. Part of the way down I stumbled. I hit a wall. Things fell around me.
"Stupid fucking eyes!" I screamed. I wished they hadn't sent me off into a battle where I lost my use of them.
I kept moving. Halfway down I realized I had been limping. Then with only one stairwell left, I stopped. The building wasn't collapsing. In my panic I'd twisted my ankle.
"Idiot." I told myself.
I moved out of the building. It'd been stupid to expect Foxtrot to come back, whatever she was. Giant robot or regular soldier. I should've stayed at my bolthole. The Enemy only came when other people showed up.
Everyone who would ever know me would die. The tentacled things in the night would make sure of that. Why couldn't I just accept that I was some sort of albatross? All I did was help contribute to their deaths.
I stopped when I heard the crackling boom of a transit.
My static-clouded BrainSys acted up again. Another message appeared, this time one I couldn't decide was a joke. Or if it were some sort of cyberware glitch.
"What?!" I exclaimed. Then I repeated it over and over.
At some point Red started barking. I felt footsteps near us. Like Foxtrot before. Not one. Four pairs of massive footsteps.
"See?" Foxtrot said. "I told you I'd be back... sorry if I left you hanging."
"What are-" I paused. She sounded so cocky! "I told you I didn't want your help!"
"Hey." Foxtrot retorted. "I was rescuing you."
"Rescue! You call grabbing me and getting chased by... tentacle... things, a rescue!?"
"Calm down." Another female voice said. New. Big like Foxtrot, but less cocksure in her tone. "Foxtrot meant well. We are... we didn't expect to find people alive."
"Zeus Protocol is a shotgun blast of a bad idea." I retorted. "Big holes didn't get hit. They just launched the nukes randomly."
"Well, I'm going to have to ask you to come along with us for a bit." The new voice said. "If you don't mind. We need... well, intel is the word I guess."
"You got food?" I asked.
"Uh..." The new person paused considering what I said. "We can come up with something."
"Great, sure." I shrugged. "You are the first people I've met who survived meeting those things."
"Meeting?" Foxtrot asked. "We just got done fighting a nest of things in the sewers."
"We ran away from fighting a nest of sewer spawn, yeah." Another voice chimed in. "Not back for a first engagement, right C?"
"Whiskey... I don't know what to call that." The voice in charge said. C. I wonder what that stood for.
"You got a name?" Foxtrot asked me.
Before I could respond, C instead answered for me.
"Her name is Lhyst. She's from Boise Idaho."
It put a chill down my spine. I'd never met her before, yet she knew my name. I tried to respond to that, but I couldn't help but start to feel worried about what these... people were. Foxtrot could move, I had figured out by then she could transit without a transit point. And one of these new three could figure out my name without waiting for me to say it.
In Transit Monsters it said, I thought. My BrainSys referred to them as monsters. What did that mean?