The end of Alchemy.
The Flawed Design
From the wreckage of the collapsed door an old figure crawls toward the group- the bloodied superior survives. With a quick glace through his shattered spectacles- he continues.
The glassy eyes so full of pain pass over to the canisters still intact- with a strong push he gets to his feet back and stumbles immediately to a knee.
Tassa immediately points his weapon at the fallen man.
“You… are going… to kill my friends.” He lets out running out of air with every word. “The warcarrier… they’re not a machine;” he continues.
He points at the containers and coughs out blood before continuing. His shaking hands wipe his lips as he clears his throat. Everybody keeps their attention on the man and remain silent.
“We took our people… and hardwired their brains into the machines;” he passes his shaky hand over his lips again and sniffs. “They'll die…”
Bartholomew steps toward the Kaiser and replies; “Being in that suit- you might as well be dead.” The anger doesn't stop him from holding back against the long trained leader.
“No… we finished our ancestor’s job, we remain the dominant race- and removed the filth from the earth…” he pauses with a smirk.
“We are not filth…” lets out Tassa. “Even now, you can’t see that!”
The old man laughs through his cough. “Why is it that you Americans are the ones to stop us? This time you try but you won’t succeed. You can't.”
Merowe looks over at the taunting man and replies; “No, the whole world will stop this, not just Americans- that’s what you can’t see…”
He walks over toward the man and kicks him center in the chest, knocking him on his back. He cocks the rifle and fires. The last bullet of the war echos through the catacombs; still glowing with energy.
Merowe looks over at me and shakes his head- “you can’t do this.”
The three men look at me almost expecting an agreement. But there's nothing left to be done, this is my job- what I was made for...
“I have to;” I reply.
Bartholomew snaps his fingers and points a finger up to the air- “I put an EMP protector!” An almost mechanical expression, for a man who spends his life solving problems.
I throw the answer in his face; “the day I woke up from the rubble- an EMP is what brought down the ship…”
Bartholomew puts his hand to his head and starts to pace. “That can’t be!”
“What’s going on?” asks Tassa.
“The EMP protector only works once…” Bartholomew answers. “The Alchemist was only made to withstand one EMP.”
“So what happens after you get EMP’ed?” Merowe asks.
I interrupt Bartholomew; “like a computer or any electrical device- all my data will be corrupted and I will become useless; there’s no way to bring me back a second time… third time.”
I close my eyes and remove my helmet, I look down at the helmet- at the reflection of a true Alchemy Warrior. My scarred face trickles a line of blood from the cracks of my plating, my grey hair spattered in rubble and gunpowder show a new line of continued wear. My eyes although bloodshot, shine faintly blue, not naturally black like before.
“You can’t do this!” yells Tassa.
I look over at the oldest of my comrades- and give out my hand- he stops and looks down at my metal fingers- he grabs my arm and squeezes. His large arm slowly pats my back for a moment before slowly letting go.
“Merowe;” I let out. “Promise me you’ll take care of her for me.”
The scruffed man removes his helmet; underneath, his beard stretches as he tries to pull a friendly smile- he respectfully holds his thumb up and slowly nods.
Although I might not be as alive as the men in this room- I know deep inside, that the right thing is being done. The job's done.
A display pops in as the vision around me fades away- one word pops into view, a confirmation…
Human, there are many of us- and we all look forward to a life worth living, getting this second chance I wanted to be done right... not just a run from my problems again...
I whisper the word and immediately stop breathing.
My body begins to malfunction, the building around me begins to disrupt in shocking electrical explosions.
My legs start to lose strength and I drop down to the floor- my head fills with numbers and my vision cracks from the amount of energy, I reach for my heart and wait for it to stop beating…
The day I woke up… I was already dead- this is what I was made to do, to finish this…
Five hours later…
The entrance explodes as men pour their way into the destroyed facility- Merowe groups with Tassa as they prepare for any incoming attacks; they instead are stormed by American troops- all in marine outfitting- the two raise their arms up and are quickly escorted up to the surface.
In unison the troops yell out a phrase together, "United States Marines!" With a relenting grasp they grab Tassa and Merowe and tie their arms behind their backs. The men suspicious of the men in enemy outfitting.
The troops men look around at the ungodly sight but continue their work. They storm the halls looking for any sign of more troops and continue toward the cocoons.
Bartholomew stays in place, untouched by the busy working men. "Let go of those men!" he yells at them and quickly follows behind the quarrel.
But Barthlomew is grabbed by the arm and stopped from proceeding.
“Bartholomew!” says the person to the tense man. “How did you…”
"Let me go, those men aren't the ene..." Bartholomew stops at the familiar voice and spins back around. After a quick examination he brings his hand to his head and salutes the general.
“General Heir, sir;” he replies.
He looks around the scattered mess; “how did you get it done?”
“The Alchemist sir…” He points down at a dead man on the floor. “The Alchemist used the EMP attached to its brain and wiped out all the technology in the facility… but it killed him too.”
The clean cut authority figure looks at the limp body and nudges it with his pointed boot. Men corral the tombs and wonder of them- the general ignores the conversation with another question. He waves at the men and they fall into the tombs of the hive looking around and taking limitless pictures of the things around.
“Who were those two men?” asks the official.
“They were accompanying the Alchemist, sir- when we ran into him here at the base; he already had the two in tow.”
“Fine;” the general replies. “We will be taking the two into custody for interrogation.”
Bartholomew looks down and nods his head slightly, in fear. A group of men look over at the dead body of the Alchemist but avoid it all at once. The general looks at it and pulls a pipe from his pocket.
“One more question…” he says.
“Can we bring him back?”
He looks over at the fallen soldier- the Alchemized man and looks for the words to reply.
“Yes… but why would you need to.”
The high caliber man takes the pipe from his mouth and puffs the smoke to a side.
“That’s none of your business-”
Bartholomew looks back at the calm man and clenches his jaw- he pulls off the dented helmet.
“I don’t understand why you’d like to bring back the Alchemist;” he says more sternly than before. “Unless…” He pauses and snaps his finger. “This isn’t exactly the end of the war.”
Bartholomew remains silent waiting for the man to take a whiff from the pipe once more.
“The moment this server went down another went live somewhere;” replies the man. “The estimate is rough, but the signs point to the United States…”
He points to the Alchemized warrior and continues; “He is the only one of his kind- unless you think you can build another one out here.”
Bartholomew shakes his head and looks down; “So the Warcarrier are not dead?”
The man rubs his head, reaches into his pocket and pulls out a small clear slab; with the press of the screen a single image blurs in.
The image makes Bartholomew step back- it makes him look back at the fallen warrior.
“The single image is of a Warcarrier;” says the general.
They pause for a moment and watch as the men start to crank welders into the pods in the hive; others carry body bags across the battlefield and back to the surface.
“This is only the beginning…”