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What you ask is…not easy

“What you ask is not easy, not easy at all. One, maybe two exist, highest grade, of course.”

Rose watched the trader closely, noting the micro movements of his face muscles as he spoke slowly, deliberately. Fear…good. “I only need one.” She pushed forward the bag of connectors.

“There is a microscopic leak in the unit,” the man said, beginning to reach for the goods.

She withdrew the bag, the henchmen behind him tensing.

“Intact is the agreement. It either is or it is not,” she said. Here it comes, she thought.

“There is only one then, but at twice the cost. And no questions asked.”

Silence sat as a third person, menacing, waiting. Truth be told, the cost was no matter to her, but she found it amusing to let him sweat for a few moments more.

Finally, with measured tone, she said, “If the condition is as you say, the cost is acceptable. Half now,” she pushed the bag forward, “the rest when delivered.” The tall woman stood, face barely visible. “You are sick, Sirus. You feel pain in your left thigh.”

The man winced, swallowing hard.

“It will grow slowly worse until our next meeting. In two days, fulfill your part, and I am sure you’ll feel much better.” She wheeled around, cloak flowing behind her out the door.

Before it closed, she heard the grunt of the trader and swearing.

Silvered dim

Outside in the night, the moon-crests reflected the street in slivered dim. Rose walked slowly, the few people that passed moving away upon seeing her form, turning their faces to the building on either side of the street, not daring to look upon her. Vermin, the lot of them. Leftovers, scratching out a living on the fringes of the habitable zone, blinded by their dream of a renewed and verdant planet.

Clicking of her boot heels on the stone marked her passage. She both noted and hated the haphazard lay of the buildings, all jammed together, like a group of people pushing through a small door at once. The odors accosting her nostrils made her taste the decay while she saw scraps of garbage nestled securely in random corners, none bothering to disturb their rest – disgusting.

Coming to an alley, a dead end, she brought her wrist out from under her cloak. Pressing the bracelet, she walked through the solid wall.

Light shone from the metal halls onto the ceiling above, the clicking of her boots now louder on the metal floor. Removing her cloak, folding it over her arm, she placed it on the table before the entryway.

She stopped in front of the large mirror on the hallway wall. Her lips, well defined and full, graced the reversed image of her proportioned face, with high, precisely curved eyebrows, plucked to perfection. Her eyes, a dark hazel with long lashes, looked expressionless as she put the choker around her neck, adjusting the straps tightly, closing her cotton shirt over it. Adjusting her breasts in the corset underneath, she straightened the shirt to iron out the creases. Unstrapping the leather that held the unit on her right arm, she laid it carefully on the platter, aligned with the edges of it’s rectangular shape. Placing round, thick, black rimmed spectacles on her face, she finally arranged her black skirt, which fell all the way down, almost touching the floor.

Composing herself for a moment, picking up the platter, Rose walked forward, stood before the immense steel door, and waited.

Dead ahead

Her heart beat faster, tension causing her to lick her dry lips, eyes motionless, staring dead ahead. The sound of gears whirled and meshed, the three-foot thick interlocking pieces beginning to pull back hardened steel, revealing the shop. Moving forward, she entered the large domed space, boots clicking through the profusion of pieces and machines, some whirring and spitting out various parts. She breathed deeply, regularly, trying to quiet herself as she put down the platter behind the large figure bent over an assembly table.

One molted wing, and the other gray one touched the floor, as the Wizard slowly unbent himself from his creation. His mechanical leg, taking most of the weight, lifted his frame from the oversized stool, until he stood, a little over seven feet tall. A metallic-tinged voice spoke. “The part?”

“I don’t have it, sir, but the trader will provide it in two days’ time, or die in agony.” She breathed deeply, filling her lungs full, as the contraction around her neck tightened, her temples beginning to pound.

“Rose, I do so hate delays.”

The pounding in her head grew stronger. The choker then relaxed as he said, “Come, put your finger here, I need you to hold this.”

Quickly, she obeyed, vision clearing.

Turning a small screw ever so carefully, he said, “Did you locate the party?”

“Yes, sir, I did. As you predicted, they are about to leave port.”


“The smaller portal unit worked flawlessly,” she offered.

“Of course it did,” he mumbled. Finishing his adjustment, he stood, moving with great effort toward the control panel, pressing a button. “Ready the subject,” he commanded.

Several hundred feet above, a hole materialized out of solid rock, letting a faint shaft of moonlight filter down. Rose quickly made her way to the other side of the machine, wheeling a gurney with a pod on it into position. Tendrils rose up and arched over, their tines pointing at the pod, and locked into place with a thud.

Dark energy

“Open the pod,” he commanded.

She pressed the amber button on the side, the two halves retracting.

“Snatched from near the Lake of Fire only yesterday,” he began to chuckle. “A fresh one.”

The pod retracted, revealing an archangel, almost healed from the torment of fire, wings falling over the sides of the table. Strapped in with steel mesh that bound him like a spider’s web, he writhed with all his might.

Energy, crackling at the tips of the machine, slowly descended upon the subject. Rose moved back to the portal machine controls. In the noise, the Tech Wizard laughed louder, shouting, “I’ve boosted the size by twenty-one percent! Of course, it will take twice as long, but think of it! My creation!”

She loved this part.

Rose braced herself, as dark energy flowed from the heavens, down through the hole in the dome, like whirling wisps of darkness, into the oscillators, then sprang from the tendrils into the victim. She faintly smiled as the angel began to scream in agony, every part of his body deconstructing at the cellular level. Metamorphosis was an agonizing process, leaving it’s recipients changed forever into infernal beasts. The process of realizing the hate and malevolence of a fallen archangel – well that was – poetry. Remade into a dragon, though only a temporary respite from the fires of Hades, was a thing of beauty. The pure demon that revealed itself, the anti-image of love, drove the changlings to maim, kill, and destroy.

Setting the timer, the wizard slowly stood, then retreated from his lab. Rose breathed a sigh of relief amidst the screams.