Jury stabbed at the readout before another cloud of acrid smoke obscured the cold silver that passed for sight now his eye sockets were filled with the Nephilim’s flesh.
‘I knew it; it’s done.’
‘You mean that?’ Svelt leaned in; the asteroid cloud was one of the larger ones floating through the void. It looked large enough to swallow a flotilla. ‘We can’t go in; we’ll be torn apart.’
‘We can and we will, or do you want to die out here?’ said Jury.
Alarms began to sound as his companions stared back at him.’
‘What’s so special about it?’ said DeepHaul. It looked like another load of semi-frozen rubble to him. Here and there he caught the glimmer of what might be deposit’s worth extracting, but that was it.
Jury cocked his head and listened but the voice was still there; a little sliver worming its way through the back of his head.
‘There’s something; something old.’ He was tempted to say more but he kept his mouth shut; they must already think he was mad after what he’d done.
‘What like last time?’ said Svelt thinking of the abandoned gateway and its shattered pyramid. ‘What if we let another one in?’ Through one of the viewports not covered by soot something glittered. She was tempted to think it moved, but that couldn’t be possible not out here. She shook her head, it had to be the fumes.
‘We should dock or at least land,’ said Jury. ‘There’s still enough of a breathable atmosphere trapped in the hull. They liked to receive visitors.’
‘What are you talking about Jury,’ said Svelt ‘…who?’
‘Who do you think?’ said Jury with a grin that they could see even through the smoke swallowing the ship.
‘The Nephilim…’ they’ve been here before.’
They were nearing the source of the light now and Svelt and DeepHaul could see what it was the nearest sun was reflecting off. The structure looked like it could have been made from a smelter if anyone had ever worked out how to make one run like the metal they filled them with and it was half lodged in the rock.
‘Is that what I think it is?’ said DeepHaul with his voice so low the others could barely hear it.
‘A ship?’ Svelt’s mouth was hanging open.
Jury didn’t need to say anything else for them to understand. The thing was huge; it looked like a missile had impacted with the rock cloud.
‘We land there…we’ll get some of our questions answered.’
‘It’s from them?’ said Svelt slipping her hand into his so he could feel the warmth.
‘I think so, yeah,’ said Jury.
(to be continued)
(to be continued)
This 4 July 2018 video in French from Belgium is about the insulting and mutilation of a young Muslim girl in Anderlues, Belgium by two racists.
Translated from the French of Belgian site Sudinfo today:
Racist and violent attack in Anderlues: the attackers wore Red Devils masks
Red Devils is the nickname of the Belgian national football team, now playing in the World Cup matches in Russia. That these Islamophobic criminals claimed to support the Red Devils is so ironic, if one knows that many of the national team players are from immigrant, including Muslim immigrant, backgrounds.
Monday evening, after the victory of the Belgians against the Japanese soccer team, a racist attack of extreme violence took place in the Rue de la Victoire alley, in Anderlues. An 18-year-old girl who had gone out to find her cat was caught by two “supporters” who scarred her body.
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I’ve started making video clips of this that I’m posting on my Patreon account and Twitter. But if you want a sneak preview you can catch ’em here.
Check the ‘Contact Frequencies’ page to see what I’m up to online.
So….’Cold Genes’ (after a break of a couple of weeks) and retitled ‘The Euderus Set’.
‘Jury, what are you doing? Get off.’
Jury’s eyes were on fire like what he’d stuffed in the sockets wasn’t flesh, but ice, or metal. Yes, maybe metal because his head felt so heavy it was in danger of falling off….and there was something attached to the end of his arm. He squinted.
The light was still so bright it felt like hammers striking the inside of his skull but he was aware of Svelt’s eyes looking back at him from where he’d pushed her against the wall, and her heartbeat in her chest.
‘You don’t get off her right now friend I’ll drop you; put a bullet in your spine.’
Jury felt the muzzle of a rifle nudge up against the back of his neck.
‘That’s better, said the voice.’
He felt the miner remove the gun, and then, as Jury turned round. ‘…Jesus, what have you done?’
Jury let his fingers explore his face. He could touch the cold orbs of squirming matter he’d used as prosthetics. There was no pain, and he frowned as he turned to make sense of the images they were feeding him.
‘Right side up…I wasn’t sure of it would be.’ The miner’s face looked like death, a corpses, as bloodless as dead meat. ‘Wasn’t sure if it would work either.’
Jury glanced at the tendril he’d used as a donor.
‘What are you talking about? The miner had reached Svelt’s side where she was coughing and spluttering on the floor. ‘You’ve half murdered her.’
‘She’ll be alright. I wasn’t sure it was her; that was all.’ Jury let his hands fall away from his face and beamed. ‘Everything will be alright now I can see again.’
‘Well, I hope you’re alright to fly this thing. I don’t know if she’s going to be able to do it the condition she’s in.’
Jury took in the sobbing woman; she did look a little distressed, and there was a puddle of vomit by her head.
‘Can she talk?’ said Jury.
Jury watched as the miner put his head to her mouth.
‘Enough to call you a cunt.’
Jury beamed; everything was going to be fine.
‘I don’t think you understand. I can see and I know just what to do.’
‘Oh yeah, and what’s that?’
DeepHaul deposited Svelt in one of the command chairs as Jury’s new mercury eyes scanned the controls and checked the maps co-ordinates.
‘We have to kill it.’
‘Yeah, I gathered that, and then what?’
‘Then we have to kill all of them, and for that we have to return.’
Jury frowned, it was difficult to read the expression on the miner’s face now his companions looked the same.
To the dimension it came from? The one she’s been telling me about?’
‘To let them in of course. We can’t do the job over there.’ Jury shook his head. ‘We need them over here where we outnumber them.’
Jury didn’t tell him what else his new eyes allowed him to see. How they looked like they were at the centre of a plant whose roots stretched through the ships walls, and out into space and whose rhizomes were the planets and stems the frail bodies in front of him. The Nephilim were the clockwork that would strip them of all that; cut the futures from them like they were pruning heads leaving just one naked obedient lifeline, a perfect servant until even its time came.
But first he would kill their child.
(to be continued)
Al Jazeera (2015)
Taliban Oil is a documentary about secret negotiations between Unocal and the Taliban to build a pipeline transporting natural gas from Turkmenistan to Pakistan and India – via Afghanistan. It features interviews with the former president of Unocal (who entertained Taliban leaders in his home in Sugarland Texas), a female Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) operative who lost her security clearance for a report warning the Clinton administration for a against US collaboration with the Taliban.
This film contradicts the conventional wisdom that the US invaded Afghanistan because the Taliban refused to build the Unocal pipeline. Filmmakers maintain it was Unocal who canceled the pipeline project. Already by the late nineties, Afghanistan was suffering the ravages of a 20-years of civil war – the Taliban were extremely keen to use the $400 million/year transit fees for reconstruction. The Clinton administration was also heavily promoting…
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The B.C government is pledging $550 million over the next 10 years to build and operate 1,750 new units of social housing for projects, both on- and off-reserve in Indigenous communities. The funding will make British Columbia the first province in Canada to invest provincial housing funds into on-reserve housing.
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‘There,’ Svelt felt the gravity that had flattened her during the journey ease as they finally left the planet’s atmosphere behind. ‘We made it.’
‘Just,’ said DeepHaul. Half the board in front of him was lit up in various of ‘you are going to die soon’ red. He didn’t want to think about how much fuel they’d burned. ‘What if it follows us?’ he said.
‘It won’t,’ said Svelt with a confidence she didn’t feel. ‘It’ll be too busy feeding on what’s left down there. There’s plenty of other colonists. Isn’t that right Jury?’
When only silence reached her ears she craned round to check the rest of the bridge. ‘Jury?’ The place was empty, ‘Where’d he go DeepHaul?’
‘Search me,’ said the miner as he finished powering down. ‘There’s not many places he can go is there? Cargo probably. I heard him muttering something about checking what we’ve got in storage.’
Svelt unbuckled, there was something about his absence that was making the hairs on her arms stand on end.
And he took what you managed to bring aboard from the creature? ‘ said Svelt.’
‘Yeah, I gave it to him. There wasn’t much time for anything else remember? We were about to die, and he can’t see a thing.’
The look on Jury’s face before he left came back to Svelt. He’d been hunched over that tentacle like it might shatter if he dropped it and it hit the floor.
‘Jury?…where are you?’ said Svelt to herself.
Jury checked again, but the bulkhead was sealed. He couldn’t hear behind it either, but that squirming voice was in his head like it was filled with worms.
He tore a piece from the creature’s flesh and lifted it to his empty sockets desperate to see something, anything. He knew it wasn’t dead, from the first moment he’d picked it up it had writhed against his hands even if it had been amputated from its parent. Jury didn’t care; he ached for the brief flashes of light that burst in his head when he touched it, the colds pinpricks that filled him now his eyes had gone.
By the time they finished battering the door down, he’d used most of it.
‘Jury…Jury…are you alright?’
Svelt’s hands were on him as she tried to uncurl him from the ball he was hunched in like a snake eating its own tail.
Jury’s knuckles were buried in his eyes.
‘What have you done to yourself?’ said Svelt close to his ear.
When his hands were finally taken away the light was so fierce he screamed.
‘What is it? Jury…please. What is it?’
‘You don’t understand Svelt. I can see, I can SEE…everything.’
Jury stood up, as the cold fire that burned from every object in the room filled his skull. He never heard the cry of revulsion from Svelt or her hands leave his body. The man with the creature’s flesh stuffed where his eyes had been was laughing too much for that.
(to be continued)
As the rest of the creature legs detached from the tower’s side the ship’s sensors began to display what it had been doing through the rents torn in the building’s superstructure. Jury felt Svelt’s hand creep into his. It hadn’t just been the people it had been eating. The towers lower levels and the apron of land around them were covered with the infrastructure needed to keep the building going, from sewage treatment plants to mini-nukes, it was all there, or it had been…half of it was gone now. Where the generators had stood were only their empty concrete plinths.
‘It’s just a skeleton,’ breathed Svelt as the sound of metal buckling reached their ears. ‘Listen…’ she said as the Tower started to topple and figures jumped to their deaths. from its sides. ‘What about the civilians?’
‘Forget them Svelt. We need to get our own survivors aboard. Drop the drag lines.’
The heavy steel hawsers used to help anchor the ship in place were coiled near the aft hatch and Jury heard Svelt kick them outside as he powered up the engines.
‘They better be able to climb,’ he said between gritted teeth trusting to the ships automatics to plot a course away from the thing he could hear getting closer. Jury was starting to appreciate there was a plus side to being blind.
‘Here,’ said Svelt as something heavy clambered into the loading bay.
‘That them?’ Jury called over his shoulder.
‘There’s no ‘them’ Jury. Not any more, there’s just me…’ DeepHaul sounded more tired than Jury had heard him since they’d met, ‘the others are dead.’
Jury didn’t waste time, already the ships proximity alarms were going off. He hit maximum the same time he heard his companions begin to scream.
(to be continued)
‘They there?’ said Jury with his head dancing from side to side as he tried to listen to what was going on outside.
Svelt glanced over, ‘The first are…wait…I think its spotted us.’
Her eyes searched the flickering screens. It was hard to tell, but the little dots crawling over the ground seemed to be oblivious.
‘Come on DeepHaul…’
Her finger stabbed at the communication channle’s switch.
‘What is it?’ DeepHaul’s voice crackled through the air before there was the sound of rending metal. ‘It knows we’re here. Most of it’s tied up with what’s in the tower right now, but it’s looking for us.’
Gunfire erupted in the distance.
‘What’s happened to the residents?’ said Jury. ‘Tell me what you can see.’
‘They’re,’ DeepHaul paused, ‘I think some of them are still alive.’
There was a scream and more gunfire, and when DeepHaul’s voice came back his words were short and fast like he’d been running. ‘Deploying charges now.’
‘Svelt,’ Jury’s empty sockets found her face, ‘activate the remotes.’
A rank of screens in the bulkhead snapped into life.
‘I can see them Jury,’ said Svelt. The creature reminded her of a machine at work as figure after struggling figure was dragged from the tower. For a moment they were outlined against arcs of white fire as the buildings atmospheric controls shorted out and then the creatures legs were stabbing through their eyes draining the life from them in seconds. What fell to the earth and joined the growing pile of bodies there looked worse than the corpses from the pyramid.
‘Tell them to bring some of it back if they can. One of its tentacles, or a chunk off a leg.’
‘You hear that DeepHaul? We need a sample.’
‘I’ll see what I can do.’
The gunfire had gotten worse and as the ship gained altitude Svelt got a better look at what was happening. She was silent for a moment.
‘Jury…they’re going to die.’
While the miners finished strapping the charges to the habitats generators the first of the creatures legs was creeping up behind them like a spiders.
‘I should tell them.’
‘Don’t, they’re dead anyway,’ said Jury Maybe some will make it out.’
Svelt doubted it. She could see the bulges in its flesh clear as day; like corpuscules as what it had stolen from the residents was drawn towards the organs it used for digestion.
‘They’re headed back this way.’
The dots on the screen had formed into a ragged wedge and as Svelt watched the visitor drop over the last of the fleeing men like a spider attacking flies. There wasn’t even time to hear their screams.
‘DeepHaul, you still there?’ said Jury
The miner’s voice came back ‘…there’s not many of us left.’
Whatever else Jury had been about to say it was lost as detonations shook through the ship’s bridge. This time the screams did reach their ears.
‘We did it…watch,’ said DeepHaul.
One of the ships drones showed a view of the tower. Flames were leaping from its side and the creature was recoiling from the heat like someone had used a blowtorch.
‘It’s not dead,’ Svelt sounded like she was close to screaming. ‘Jury…’
On the screen a mouth bigger than the ship lined with teeth like something you’d find burrowing through the ground, and it was opening…
(to be continued)
‘Where?’ Svelt had to fight to keep her voice under control.
‘You should be able to see an exhaust,’ said Jury, ‘some sort of gas venting from the environment units. I’d hurry; if it’s emptied that tower where do you think it’s going to go next?’
Svelt called up the towers schematics although what was visible under the Nephilim’s mantles didn’t bear much resemblance to the designer’s plans.
‘They’ve been upgrading it,’ she said over her shoulder. ‘I’m not sure what we’ve got will penetrate all the junk they’ve tacked on.’
Jury’s face didn’t move; ever since their return, there’d been one coal, one ember, that still held life in him and it was burning to kill the creature, kill it, and anything like it.
‘Done,’ Svelt held her breath as she watched the ship’s lasers sear through the microenvironment and hit the tower. The visitor had completely enveloped most of the habitats lower levels oozing through its shattered windows as it scoured the place clean of life.
‘Is that supposed to be doing that?’ DeepHaul pointed at the lasers power nodules spiking dangerously close to meltdown.
‘No,’ Svelt powered down hands flying over the controls before the ship was torn into atoms.
‘Jury? Instructions, please. You’re the one that seems to think he knows most about these things.’
‘Why do you think that? Jury fingered his empty sockets. ‘I lost my eyes to it.’
‘Come on Jury…’
DeepHaul stepped between them as he stared at the visitor as he said, ‘The next colony alright? I’m not joking. If we do this for you we fly for the next colony and you let us out there.’
He tapped the side of his head where his slave circuits were wired up but you could see the other miners were already in agreement.
‘What?’ said Svelt.
‘Set us down somewhere close enough that we can walk there and back on suit air.’ DeepHaul turned to the man nearest him, ‘Shale? You still got the gear?’
‘Course, you said to bring it in case these lot turned out to be crooked.’
DeepHaul tried not to meet Svelt’s eyes. ‘Yeah, well, it’s not the first time we’ve had a dodgy customer turning up. There’s still enough material on that orbital to buy a decent asteroid or two.’
‘What do you want to do?’ said Jury.
‘There’s only one way we’re going to bring that thing down, and that’s with these.’ DeepHauls fingers tapped the black wrapped lozenges Shale was handing out. Each of the lumps had a display visible on the top with a countdown ready to start.
‘Most of our mining operations we don’t need to be planetside.’ DeepHaul shrugged, but every now and then we come across a snag that can’t be sorted out from orbit; that’s when we use these babies.
‘We’ll give you one shot. You fuck it up, we leave you,’ said Jury.
DeepHaul’s voice was calm as glaciers when he answered, ‘Wouldn’t expect anything else,’
The ship was juddering all over the place as the atmosphere thickened and Svelt’s hands were becoming slick with sweat as she fought to stay in control.
‘It’s going to notice us for sure,’ she screamed over the howl of tortured metal and multiple alarms going off in the background.
‘We’ll bring it down,’ said DeepHaul. ‘Suit up boys, we’ve got work to do.’
Most of the miners already had their faces buried in their suits helmets; the aquatic devices that were more tubes and breathing masks than anything else.
‘Good luck,’ said Jury as the ship hit the surface.
(to be continued)
‘There’s something wrong,’ said Jury.
They’d dropped out of hyperdrive in one of the binary systems. HD74410 and HD74411 orbited around each other as different from their neighbor as chalk and cheese in their long slow spin round the sun.
‘This is supposed to be a living world; it’s home to the diasporas orientals, so why aren’t we picking up any chatter?’
Jury span through the bridges incoming transmission but there nothing but the gentle hiss of empty radio waves.
‘You tried the emergency beacons?’ said Svelt. The miners had opted for the easy way out strapped in and comatose they were only just starting to show signs of life after claiming hyper sickness and dosing themselves into unconsciousnesses.
‘They’re still there but they don’t show any signs of transmitting about anything wrong.’
There was a groan from the miner’s spokesman, a man called Deephaul as he finally opened his eyes.
‘Are we there?’
‘We are,’ said Jury. ‘Welcome to HD74410 and HD74411.’
‘I thought there were people living on them? Where are all the lights?’
Jury, Svelt, and Deephaul, huddled round the viewport but the planets below them were as dark as deep space.
‘Maybe they’re all asleep?’ said Svelt hopefully.
‘It would have been funny if the planet had chosen that moment to erupt as a string of explosions burst across its surface.’
There was silence on the bridge for a few moments.
‘Well someone’s at home.’
The bridges control panels had let up and the onlooker’s face were bathed in red.
‘There,’ said Jury.
There was light after all. As the planet below them continued its slow rotation a solitary spike of life came into view, a pity it wasn’t human.
‘That’s not just hab space, that’s something living.’
What had once been a hive so big it burst through the clouds was dead now; the lights that must sparkled up its sides broken and dying. It wasn’t hard to guess why. The visitor had attached itself to its side like a leech. They watched its body pulsate slowly, tiny sparks sucking from the hives depths to travel through it’s semi-translucent-flesh like phosphorescence in an ocean.
‘Is that what I think it is?’ said Svelt.
Jury nodded, ‘Bound to be. You’ve seen what it did to the others.’
‘Let’s turn around and get out of here,’ said Deephaul, and the other miners nodded.
‘Can’t, don’t you see what size it is?’
‘So what? Who cares what size it is if we’re dead?’ said Deephaul.
‘No,’ Jury was already lining up the ship. ‘We stay, ready the weapons Svelt.’
‘You’re out of your mind Jury nothing we have’s going to damage that thing.’
‘You’re not thinking right Svelt. We’re not going to aim at it. We’re going to aim for what it’s attached too.’
Jury nodded, ‘The hive.’
(to be continued)