Nothing is Original …

Nothing is Original … It’s something your hear all the time and after watching the Live Action version of Attack on Titan (parts 1&2) at the cinema, I came to realise that I was instantly comparing this version to the Anime I was more familiar with. But this isn’t a movie review and the subject of re-boots I’ve already covered in an earlier blog (briefly).

Watching ‘Attack on Titan’ also enhanced the painful fact that I had used the concept of a wall protecting humanity in one of my own tales. The more I watched the film, the more similarities I found with my own walled civilization. As I was writing the story the only other wall I could think of (at that time – off the top of my head) was the wall in Game of Thrones, but as my writing was a Science Fiction Post ‘Zombie’ Apocalypse. I didn’t see any relation between the Game of Thrones wall and my own wall.

However, replace Zombies with Titans and you pretty much have the same theory. Gutted! I am, I loved working on that story! But seeing as I had not watched Attack on Titan  before writing my story, how the living hell did my silly sci-fi adopt such a similar concept?!?

I don’t know… I don’t know if I need an answer or even if an answer is important? I could have watched the trailer before a different film, I could have read a review or picked up the comic and somehow my subconscious clung onto the idea and recycled it in my own words… Maybe…

One fact I can not escape is the truth that my first draft is diabolical … …It’s awful, painful to read and embarrassing!

Which is exactly why I’m going to post it here, expose my rough first draft with all it’s delightful errors and beautiful mistakes. The idea of including something so rough in a blog, leads me onto my next theme to explore. My love/hate relationship with editing, but that can wait for another day…

Anne Harrison 03.12.15

***

Beyond the walls of the metropolis, in the waste lands…

The brooding soldier stalked from room to room of the deserted apartment block. His face static his finger easily at rest on a trigger which only required the slightest pressure to extinguish life, Before him, leading the way a woman, clad in a worn combat jumpsuit. Occasionally she would stop…

He held up his hand to halt the progress of his troops which followed in their wake.

Pausing and closing her eyes she focused on a point of the wall by the door… ‘There.’ Her mental voice was picked up through the ear piece the patrol leader wore, designed for that very purpose.

He trusted his medium without question and upon a single gesture he opened fire at the wall, his troops followed suit, their sonic shots tore through the plaster and missionary with an eerie silence, dust erupted into the air, as bricks exploded under the sonic assault. Tearing through the partition with ease and exploding the minds of those foolish enough to think they could safely hide within the wall cavity.

Fifteen bodies were pulled out the cramped hideout, their eyes melted and the dark remains of their liquidised minds ran from their ears. The troops collected the citizen ID chips from their necks, as well as anything else they considered useful or valuable, an added bonus to subsidise the haphazard payment system from ‘Control’.

The tumbling fragment of broken bricks was the only sound which marked the passage of these expert mercenaries, they continued their way through the block following the medium and her mental instructions. By dusk they had collected several hundred citizen ID chips and left behind them a dead town.

He stood alone watching the sun set slowly over the ruined buildings, the stench of decay rancid from the hot temperature that day, as the shadows started to lengthen, various scavengers and vermin started to crawl out from their dens to feast on the deceased.

“Do you enjoy this?” The medium spoke into his mind, her words made him turn away from the carnage to regard her and their companions; they were ready to leave, having taken any supplies or weapons of any use. He didn’t reply or make any effort to move to follow them as they started away from the smoking ruins.

He glanced back at the recent destruction, the sky blood red and dirty. He spat on the ground, hoisted his rifle across his shoulders and slowly turned to follow the rest of his troops.

They had made camp by the time he had caught up with them, a few miles away from the stench in a cove of dead trees on a slight hill rise. A good defendable position, sentries were already posted and everyone else fell into their roles. An elite force of well-trained seasoned soldiers, they worked like a single entity – some slept – some guarded – some cooked – some hunted – some washed – the wounded were treated and shelter was constructed.

All this before he had caught up with his troops, he half smiled at the efficiency that his men killed and constructed with ease, a few hours ago this slick running camp was in the midst of a murderous rampage. But, is it really murder during war?

“So you finally decided to join us?” A tall uniformed half breed with long dreads greeted his Commander as he finally approached the encampment. He paused to regard the unusual soldier, whose warm smile exposed two hog like tusks that protruded upwards from his bottom jaw. “Still brooding Sir?” His question was more of an observation. “The men won’t take orders from an absent leader!” He still smiled though; his words were not said in malice. “Just get your act together or I will have to kick your ass!” The last comment drew a mild chuckle from the Commander. “I’d like to see you try Boland!” He finally spoke ending his own uneasy silence; though the half breed had a point.

He spat on the ground and gathered his troops together to receive their next orders.

The orders came through each day at the same time from Control – giving the soldiers co-ordinates for their location – any buildings to destroy – any primary individual targets – any information to gather. The list of instructions were detailed and refined, they always achieved their missions – sometimes they lost soldiers, but Control would send replacements, though mainly they were a perfect killing team, working hard to achieve their given missions each day.

Today was no difference with the exception of a footnote for the Commanders’ eyes only… That was curious… He spat on the ground and took himself off away from his men to receive the private message. Already Boland was putting plans together for their next wave of destruction as he walked away his men were consulting location grids for the best route to their target city.

***

“Yeah? I’m alone watcha want?” He spoke quietly and hardly looked at the holo-screen.

“Dadda?”

His heart froze and he turned to regard the image of the child on the screen.

“Letz?”

“Hi Dadda…” She beamed, pig-tails bobbing.

“Letz are you safe?” He dared to ask, his parental instinct overwhelming his soldiers training, even though the transmission would be monitored.

“uh-hu!”

***

The image on the holo-screen swiftly changed to a stern mature woman with cropped grey hair and cyber eyes, which glowed violet – violet – the colour of mental intrusions. He tried to keep his thoughts empty, but the image of his daughter had rage and panic blind his mind.

“Relax Commander Nex, your charming little girl is our guest here at Control.”

Her words caused bile to rise in his throat – she lied.

“What are your instructions Madame?” Nex struggled to reply calmly.

She smiled – too sweetly. “The work of you and your mercenaries is commendable Commander Nex, your patrol has one of the highest ratings for citizen ID chips retrieved. Control approves of your hard work and…”

“… and what?”

“You are being recalled back to Control after this mission.”

He frowned

“You will be on your way home this time tomorrow Commander Nex.” Her smile was so false.

“Why?”

“Don’t you want to see your daughter?”

He nodded

*End Transmission*

He spat on the ground.

***

The medium stood in his path upon his way back to the main camp, her violet eyes regarded his stern expression. “Boland has concerns.” She physically spoke to him. “I can understand why.” She stepped closer running her tongue over her lips, her eyes flashed to meet his gaze from under long lashes.

He spat on the ground “Tairrie, I don’t want to talk about it, not now eh?” He forced a smile, “Maybe this time tomorrow.”

“I don’t think so Sir.” Tairrie replied stepping out of his way, but choose not to push the issue.

***

She silently followed him back to the encampment and watched over him from a polite distance as he easily slipped back into his role as Commander, he acted less brooding than usual, actually laughing with Boland and a couple of the other half-breeds amongst his troops, always thinking about food, the mutants had caught a wild boar and were teasing Boland that it was some distant cousin.

“Can’t be a relation of mine!” Boland scoffed “Beast hasn’t got my good looks and charm!” He laughed along with his companions and Nex made sure the meat was shared out between Humans, Half-Breeds and Cyber-Mods alike. Always fair to all his soldiers, regardless of their manufacture.

Tairrie recognised the act for what it was, false. She noted he spat less when he was pretending, something had Nex on edge and his way to deal with it was to act normal, to be himself, to be what his men expected and wanted from their Commander, they needed a man who was in total control of himself and Nex perfected the act with ease from years of lies.

***

Just before dawn, as the mercenaries broke camp and readied themselves for the slaughter ahead, Nex took Tairrie and Boland to one side.

“What weapons do we have?”

Boland regarded the odd question with curiosity. “Mainly sonic rifles Sir and a few older weapons that we’ve collected, let’s see, micro-missile launchers, two-shot capacitor lasers, umm… Blitzkrieg arc-thrower… that’s a beauty! Ah… Now there are flash-bombs, gas jets, flame-throwers, grenade launchers.” He paused rubbing his chin. “Tri-dart launcher …”

“Yeah, that should do.” Nex smiled.

“Sir?”

“Listen very carefully Boland, you are my best sniper, I know you can hit a moving target at precisely the correct mark to disable them for collection. I have every trust in your skills and I need you to bring down one man during the fighting today, I need you to take him out the battle, seriously enough to have to call a medi-team, but not fatally. I need this man to be incapacitated for a few days, to get taken away from the team, to Control medi-base.” He repeated himself purposely.

Boland frowned “You know I can do that Sir, we’ve done so before when capturing targets for Control, but I would usually use a Tazer-grip for such a task not a tri-dart launcher.” He paused as his Commander’s words sunk in. “You’re not talking about a target are you Sir? You want one of our men disabled and made to look like he was hit by a citizen.” Boland blinked rapidly, a habit he had when thinking things through.

Nex just nodded.

“Who?” Tairrie asked curiously.

“Me!”

***

Within the safety of the walls – Inside the metropolis…

The arch-president-general of the imperial constituency looked out over his estate with a long sigh of bored distain, glancing back over to his lavish silken bed were his wife,  his sister and housekeeper, all soundly slumbered, naked in one another’s arms, after a night of decadence. The housekeeper would have to be eliminated in the name of national security, but she could be easily replaced, shame really as the poorer are more willing to satisfy the rich in the misleading belief that their self-deprecation would some-how increase or improve their humble lives. When in reality, the self-sexual sacrifice, though mostly un-willing, would instigate their doom, as no risk of a scandal should mark an elite’s career.

He rubbed sleep from his eyes and approached a mirror, a computer interface, he could check his appearance, and the news at the same time. It also monitored his health, this oral hygiene, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and any other medical notification, because at the tender age of sixty-six, he was deeply paranoid that his lavish lifestyle would end his forty year career in politics.

“WHO THE FUCK DO THINK YOU ARE? FUCKING HYPOCRITE!” The offensive words cut through his morning coffee like a laser through a cat carcass. He turned, half angered, half amused to seek the source of verbal abuse. He turned up the news to listen to the report which accompanied the uncensored outcry. They were called ‘Suicide Drops’ a selection of mundane class from the intermediate quarter (section 6) had climbed up to the media tower and in a protest threw themselves to their deaths. It was decidedly messy and drew unnecessary attention from the media and surrounding sections. The offensive uproar was the falling statement from a nobody, using their death to define rules and regulations. Briefly the arch-president-general wondered who the falling man was addressing in his plummet, wondered who he was calling a hypocrite, his final statement before his body smashed against solid stone, broken, twisted, blasted corpses littered the ground as more fell behind him, adding to the gore.

He pondered over the news report as the housekeeper was led away by his elite guards, naked, kicking and screaming in outrage at his betrayal until a single shot silenced the woman forever.

“Such a pity!” His wife absently commented, slipping on a silken robe and pouring elixir of sommenet into her coffee. “She was quite… energetic.” She smiled against the rim of her cup, sipping the medicated coffee and absently watching the mass suicide on the news. “Isn’t it the anniversary of…?”

“Yes.” He cut her short with a snappy reply and called for the head of his personal guard. “I want the name of each and every jumper who took their life today. Then I want you to round up every member of their family and have them publically executed, make sure that every execution is given live air time on every channel, I do not want a repeat of this next year!”

The guard nodded and turned to follow out his orders. “Wait!” a smile formed on the lips of the arch-president-general. “Order your men to detonate the whole housing blocks where they lived.”

“Sir? There are … “

“I can do the math!” he snapped back interrupting any further protest from the guard. “These people are afraid to live, so take their own lives; I shall take the lives of their families and the families living in the same housing blocks as these idiots. By the end of today, I want them afraid to die!” He sneered, “I shall wipe that anniversary from their minds and lips by giving them something larger to mourn over!”

His wife exchanged glances with the guard & merely rolled her eyes.

***

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