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Dr. Lucius Caleb looked up from the Book and a breath escaped his lungs without his permission. Truly, he thought, a god stood before him. One with humanitarian interests. Dr. Caleb, without telling his old friend, had always feared his Biblical God. To Luke, that god seemed maniacal; homicidal even. It was what that Bible called ‘the Serpent’ that Dr. Caleb had most understood.
The benevolence of enlightenment. The concern for the new species that had been created, so lost, so confused. That Serpent had given them hope; a reason to believe in themselves, unlike their own Creator.
For him, the god that stood before him looked to be a chance to undo such hatred.
The god smiled upon him. Dr. Lucius Caleb shivered with no inclination as to why.
“Well,” Cade said, “might as well tell me the plan, Luke. It’s going to come out sooner, I think, rather than later anyway.”
Cade noticed that light now emitted from an opened door far into the distant darkness. He looked at Dr. Caleb, who only smiled.
“Would you like to see my army,” Dr. Caleb asked?
“Would it get me any closer to the revelation of this plan of yours?”
Dr. Caleb laughed. “It would. Mostly because my army is the plan.”
“Then, by all means,” Cade said. The two men began walking toward the opened door.
“How are your injuries?”
Cade looked down. He hadn’t even thought about the fight in the last few moments.
“Look to be healed.”
“You’re welcome, you ingrate.”
“Did you just learn that word or something, Luke?”
For several beats, Dr. Caleb said nothing. “Why do you ask?”
“Because you just keep using it, over and over, like you think it’s going to sink in somehow.”
“Well,” Dr. Caleb said, “for one thing, it fits you. For another, I think it has a nice ring to it. ‘Ingrate;’ says the whole meaning right there in its phonetics, don’t you think?”
Cade laughed. “Can’t argue with you. It is a nice word.”
He did not thank Dr. Caleb.
The men continued walking toward the open door.
“I opened the door at that distance for effect,” Dr. Caleb said. “Why the hell did you let me do that, Cade?”
“Atheists are so dramatic,” Cade said. “Figured there wasn’t much use.”
A few minutes later and the men had stepped onto a helipad and were away in a helicopter. Cade wasn’t certain what to expect from the very mad doctor sitting across from him. He’d noticed that, as soon as he’d sat down, Dr. Caleb put on his headset. Cade waited a while before doing the same. The helicopter blades made wonderful white noise against the madness that he’d been awakened into.
17 Years ago
My name is Cade. I sleep.
I lay in the ground and I sleep toward the End. I sleep toward what I know awaits me.
I had a friend. A partner. I cannot now recall his name. Wait, yes I can. It was, or I think is, Luke.
I think I remember that I was betrayed by my friend. Yet I also dream that I remember that I understood this. Dim thoughts form as I sleep that remind me of these things, these dire things, that had driven that friend of mine toward his madness.
My name is Cade. I sleep.
I lay in the ground and I sleep toward the End.
That friend of mine, what was his name?
He will awaken me. I must remember, I must remember, it is imperative to remember that I forgive him for what he will do next.
That friend of mine, what was his name?
I must forgive my friend. For what he will do next.
My name is Cade. I sleep. I lay in the ground.
3 Years Ago
Dr. Lucius Caleb sat in the dark room and brooded. There was no one else.
There was simply no damned one else.
In his mind, he shouted these things at himself. He cursed himself, he berated his very core for what he would do next.
But, he thought, there is no one else! No one else! There is no one else trustworthy.
There is no one else, Dr. Caleb thought to himself yet one more time.
He picked up the phone and made the arrangements. Then he opened a drawer in his desk and began to drink. And he did not cease to drink for some time.
Later, he woke and it seemed his mind hadn’t missed a beat of worry. And there was a headache, to boot.
Dr. Caleb suspected that the Sons of the Fallen (or ‘Legion’, as that ‘Good Book’ called them) were already mad out of what had once been their own minds. For several thousand years, the unfortunate offspring of desecration had been forced to roam the earth without bodies; nothing but spirit, lust, and anger, no place to go, no home.
But that god that he hoped to somehow co-opt into his own plans wanted a demonstration on a human being first. The problem lie in that plan: humanity. As much as it nearly physically sickened Dr. Caleb to admit such, the rapid advancement of tech, medical, and human alteration had turned the species into a soft, often synthetic, creature that was unable to cope with the most basic of life’s cruelties.
In his own employ were some brilliant scientific minds. None of which he could trust for the working demonstration. Most were weak, used to being coddled. The others would take the power and do who knew what with it.
The only person that Dr. Caleb could imagine capable of enduring such torture while still keeping both his wits and principles, was Cade.
There is no one else.
The words echoed in Dr. Caleb’s mind, again and again.
Cade finally put his headset on.
“Not much longer now,” Dr. Caleb said.
Cade leaned over and tapped the darkened window. It cleared to reveal ocean below them, as far as he could see. Rain fell in sheets and, off in the distance, Cade saw a violent storm flashing and battering the waters.
His senses once again sought to overwhelm him. There was something much deeper going on. He knew it but continued to keep his own senses slave, preventing his synthetic form from taking control.
After a time, he looked at Dr. Caleb.
“So what is this army for, Luke?” Cade felt like he was having to shout. He was not, but he still felt as such.
“I’m terrified of your god, Cade.”
Cade wasn’t certain he’d heard the words given the noise of the blades.
“You heard me,” Dr. Caleb said.
Cade waited before speaking. He noticed that Luke was looking him dead in the eyes. Something the Good Doctor often avoided in normal conversation.
“How can you be terrified of something you don’t believe in?”
Luke smiled and looked down. The helicopter jolted from some turbulence. Cade had always hated them anyway. Helicopters.
“Oh, but I do believe in him now, Cade,” Dr. Caleb shouted. “And I think he’s wrong!”
Cade found himself speechless. Even he knew that was rare for him.
“But let’s talk that out later,” Dr. Caleb shouted. “Look down!”
Cade tapped the window again, it cleared, and below him began to surface the biggest underwater vessel that he’d ever seen. However Luke had transferred his memories, Cade had to admit, the madman had done a good job. Cade looked again at the behemoth surfacing and was reminded of Hollywood films from thirty years prior.