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“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.
10 Years Ago
News media went mad.
Something far beyond any imagining of a ‘sinkhole’ collapsed in the center of the North Pole. The word ‘abyss’ was viral in seconds. The photos, videos, and reports were viral seconds later.
The phenomena was not a black hole; it was simply a crater that opened with an immeasurable depth. Military were on the scene first, humanity’s first wave wiped out by some sort of shockwave that blasted from the crater some time after it opened. Then, the billowing smoke and ash.
For days black smoke and ash rose from the site, no human force on earth able to get near the crater. A kind of energy radiated from the abyss, something many scientists referred to as ‘zero-point’ energy. Any vehicle or aircraft that attempted to get near the site soon found itself permanently parked or blown to bits in a crash. Any human that attempted to get near the site went mad within minutes. The energy had a vibration that the human ear could not detect. The human mind, however, unravelled nearly instantly.
Three months later, the smoke no longer rolled from the site. Snow slowly coated the crater. The world became quickly bored. Only the most fascinated by the event made any attempts to reach the site, saddened to find no madness, no hauntings, no strange signs.
A crater dead, powdered with new snow, nothing more.
Cade was struck by the fact that, despite his synthetic body having nearly unlimited endurance, whatever worked as his brain continued to allow his implanted mind to consider the journey from the helicopter to the fancy golf cart a long one. That seemed peculiar to him.
“Let’s go see my army,” Dr. Caleb said. He sat in the driver’s position on the cart. Cade sat down and the cart sped away into the darkness. As it entered the halls, lights flooded the area. As they left, the lights shut down.
“Efficient,” Cade said.
“Even with the type of energy available to me,” Dr. Caleb said, “maintaining this all requires ridiculous amounts of it.”
Cade furrowed his brow. For once, he had no idea what to expect.
SEVEN AND ONE HALF YEARS AGO
The European Union had dissolved. The United Nations had done the same. The United States of America, indebted beyond capacity, with a Dollar that no longer traded, had been forced to sign the North American Union Treaty. Canada and the US were then both under the rule of Britannia, the Prince. The now de facto World Leader. The Pope himself had blessed the Prince and his new rule, along with leaders from Islamic, Sikh, Hindu, and the leaders of many more religions.
A former American President stepped up to the virtual podium. He had the eyes of the entire world. He knelt before the Pope and kissed his hand. The Pope amicably chuckled and lifted the President up. The American President stepped to the virtual microphone.
“You know,” he said, “We’re not quite what we used to be anymore.”
The American President paused as the laughter slowly rose. “But I have to say how much myself, us, the entire North American Union, appreciate His Eminence giving us this chance to introduce the Prince. He is, without a doubt, the only one capable of fixing the messes that we’ve made for far too long now.”
All over the world, humanity erupted in applause. The Prince stood and walked to the virtual podium. Smiling, the two men shook hands, the Prince put his hand on the President’s right shoulder, and regimes from there on were changed.
The room was larger than any warehouse that Cade had ever seen. Even to his senses, the place seemed endless. Above them was a honeycomb of tubular enclosures. Tens of thousands, based on what he could see. Perhaps more. He already knew what was in them: the synthetic bodies that his mad friend, Dr. Lucius Caleb, would do who-knew-what with, once awakened.
“Holy shit, Luke,” Cade said.
He looked over as Dr. Caleb lifted his hands in the air in front of him, while both were stilled seated on the cart, made a couple of gestures, and a virtual, holographic interface appeared before the Good Doctor. Cade watched him slide a few virtual dials, turn some virtual knobs, and then he heard a loud ‘CLANK‘ sound and looked in front of them.
A single tube of bright light shone down from the honeycomb ceiling so high above. Then one tubular tank began to descend from on high. Cade didn’t bother to wait; he’d known Luke a long time. He stepped from the cart and it tilted upward abruptly.
“Not a word,” he said.
Dr. Caleb said nothing.
He walked toward the tube.
Seven and One Half Years Ago
“It is time for healing,” the Prince said.
The World applauded. The Prince held up his hands.
“It is time for humanity to move forward,” he said. “It is time for love, acceptance; inclusivity!”
He held his hands wide and once again, the World applauded.
“So many before you,” the Prince said, “promised you so much. Did they deliver? No, my friends, they did not! I will deliver,” he shouted, “I will deliver what has been promised to you!”
This time, the applause was so loud that not even the Prince could cease it by merely holding up his hands. He smiled and waited for the World to cease congratulating him long enough so that he could continue.
“Well,” he said, “it is time for business, then.” The Prince turned to his left and signaled the Pope to join him. As the Pope drew near, the Prince grabbed the Pontiff and drew him close in a side-hug. The Pope seemed mortified but when the Prince laughed, all tension was gone from the World.
“This man,” the Prince said, “is my Guide. My Priest. My Imam. My Shaman.”
The Pope looked up at the Prince and smiled.
“Together, well, he and myself will unite all religions, all nations, and all kingdoms! Together, we will make the hatred and misunderstandings that have led to war, pestilence, famine, greed, and so much more disappear. We will make the world anew!”
Once again, the World applauded.
Cade looked up at the synthetic body in the tank. It was truly a work of art.
The thing stood at ten feet tall. On its body was some sort of organic armor that gave the impression of some sort of metal. Its physique was humanoid but atypical of most human males.
Its shoulders were perhaps 1/3 wider than a human male’s, and its chest angled down in nearly a triangular shape. The body armor was segmented, mirroring the body’s muscular shape in an angular fashion. Below its chest, the core was much narrower and far longer than the average human.
Both its arms and legs were overlong, giving the monstrosity a very sleek look. Cade had always appreciated a fast car in his youth, and the impression he got as he stood looking up at the synthetic creature was that it looked extremely fast—even standing still.
Cade turned and looked back. Dr. Caleb was walking toward him. He waited for the man to get closer.
“Are you going to do what I think that you’re going to do with these,” Cade asked?
“You already know the answer to that,” Dr. Caleb said.