A stylized dystopian story of a struggle against oppression.
|This is a preview to a 5 to 10k word story I am writing called Actuator.|
A steam veneer was the only shroud to the infinite stretch of support structures before Damien Black. It cooperated with his sweat to drench him. He wove in and out among the structures; his hope withered as each turn revealed an identical view. After every turn he would glance behind him, every time expecting to see the Actuator. And then he did. In the distance a sanguineous orb poised impossibly midair. He could make out the small black circle on its glossy surface. He could feel it boring into him. The orb shattered, and in its tessellation created a liquid hiss and crack in instant vitrification. It was immediately before him, two meters wide it towered above him oppressively. Damien fell to his knees. He was paralyzed, every muscle a knot in his body, an overpowering scent of ozone flooding his senses. He couldn't move to activate the machine. Slowly dark tendrils dripped out of the drones surface, smooth as viscous ink they curled around his body, slowly drawing him towards the sphere. Soon the oily tendrils covered his whole body as he was drawn into the monster. He could feel them pouring into his throat, welling behind his eyes, rolling under his skin, and slipping into his veins. The machine, he thought, he must remember the machine.
Damien awoke in a white room, the size of which was difficult to define. He was still on his knees, and before him stood an Inspector. Though his face was masked in black cloth below a polite bowler cap, it was clear he was smiling. Chopin's nocturne for piano no. 8 played in the air around him. The Inspector hooked his hands into his vest pockets.
"Do you know your felony?" He quietly recited. His voice had an altered resonance, like an organ with all the stops drawn. Damien could barely think, his mind was clouded and his throat was thick. His eyes darted around the room.
"Your felony entails accordingly: Recalcitrancy and criminal body modification. Do you grant contrition?" The inspector continued. Damien knew he had a purpose, an action to preform. What was it?
"Contrition without grant. You continue considered impenitent. Do you desire remonstration?"
Then Damien remembered. As he saw his purpose, so did the Inspector. The speech the Inspector gave was a vestige of a time before minds were invaded. It was only an inane ornament to the procedure. In vain the inspector leapt towards his captive. All that was needed was a thought, though. A message from Damien's brain to his arm for a specific gesture. No literal movement was necessary, just the signal. The machine was activated. Tiny contacts snapped and clicked in the vertebrae of Damien's spine, charging an electrical stack then releasing it as a pile. Electromagnetic energy thickened the air. Damien landed hard on the concrete in a pool of the liquid remains of the Actuator. Saturated in it, he emptied his stomach of the thin black oil. One down, ninety nine to go.