The sky was grim with promise of a rain. Killiam was marching up the hill, with other soldiers in a line, stretching along the green uprise as far as the eye could see. All armed to the teeth and proudly wearing black combat uniform with bold O.W.O. letters on the back, and an intertwined serpent on the heart. Fierce faces, ready to execute their orders.
Reaching the top of the hill, Killiam saw forestry stretching far into the distance. Hundreds of shabby wooden towers penetrated the dark green canopy, mounted with heavy machine guns and manned by equally armed men. But none was firing at the opposing O.W.O. forces. Instead they all scattered for their lives in complete disarray.
Killiam aimed down the sight of his automatic rifle, and fired a single shot. A woman, wearing a flowing white dress, was running down a hill. She fell as the bullet reached the back of her head. Nothing to stop the momentum of her body as it heavily tumbled down the hill, hitting off rocks and roots. The sight of such abuse rushed blood through Killiam. Bloodlust took over as he began raining bullets at everything in his sight.
A moment passed before Killiam realized he was the only one to fire. He looked along the green hill he has climbed, in search of other soldiers, but found no one but himself. In a desperate attempt, Killiam frantically looked in every direction for a sign, or anyone at all. As the first rain drops fell, he froze in place when his eyes laid on the dark green canopy again. Killiam felt peaceful in that brief moment. But each tower chimmed in with firepower from every available weapon when the first lightning struck and thousands of bullets flew past Killiam, yet something much louder yanked at his attention.
He turned around. The skies released its brightest lightning yet. The flash illuminated the dark green forest, from which a monstrosity of no less than twice the height of Killiam, was charging up the hill at him. Its body was incredibly large and muscular, with arms thick as tree trunks and a gray tan of skin. It reached Killiam in no time, grabbed him with both giant arms and pulled him apart...
Killiam woke up in cold sweat as the train door slid open, and the speakers blared out, "Welcome to Transpply sector of Onassis. Have a wonderful day!". He rubbed away the sleep from his eyes and tried to brush off another nightmare. People began flowing out of pristine train carts, citizens and soldiers alike. A little girl was shyly examining Killiam as she hid behind her mother's dress. She smiled at Killiam and he involuntarily returned the same. She proceeded to wave her silver Pendant at him that she had tied on a string around her neck. Killiam's smile faded away as soon as he saw the hexagonal shaped device that holds everything a person is and can ever be. She must have just turned 4 and in another 8 years, she will know her career until the end of her days within the Fortcity walls. Girl's smile, too, faded away, and somehow looked bleaker than Killiam's. Soon the girl along with her mother, disappeared beyond the train doors.
Killiam reached for his own Pendant. Dark, almost black metal with a brushed finish. He flicked his finger across the touch pad on the top surface, and six corners lit up with small blue dots, which projected information onto Killiam's lenses and displayed something only he could see.
Monday 2nd. April. 2084
Fortcity 7 Onassis
Tucking away the Pendant, Killiam glanced around the train cart. Few citizens were still conversing with each other, but another soldier caught Killiam's attention. He sat at the very end of a cart, and was buried deep in his own thoughts. His leg steadily shook and eyes darted from side to a side. As soon as he spotted that Killiam was curiously studying him, he nervously snapped looking out the window and the very next moment, got up and briskly exited the cart. Killiam did not recognise him personally, but judging by their civilian uniform, they are colleagues within the O.W.O.
Killiam exited the train which arrived within the walls of Fortcity Onassis, on the transport and supply sector. Dozens of people stood around the screens mounted at the wall that loudly blared out harshly worded Public Service Announcement, "... these savages, the damn paperless, the nasty faceless outsiders have been at it again, citizens!" the images flashed from rage driven maniacs attacking the audience to makeshift cannons that fired hellish rounds. "Our beloved Onassis was struck again!" Images changed to a majestic display of the Fortcity and O.W.O. soldiers. The viewing audience went along with the change from chanting profanities to sighing with relief. "But..." jets and helicopters appeared behind the Fortcity, "... you have nothing to fear, my dear, citizens. Our great soldiers have obliterated more..." the voice went on and on but two people caught Killiam's attention. A man and woman of about 30 years of age each, stood at the back of the crowd. Their cloth was little worn and they both nervously whispered to each other. As Killiam neared them, he overheard the man say ‘... we can't! That will be the third week, Mia, we just can't take more.’ the man said with quiet anger as his eyes trailed off and arms dropped at the sides.
She gently grabbed his hand and cupped it with both of hers. ‘But we won't have enough to eat, Alex, what are we to do in few days then?!’ Mia said and tore her hand away from Alex's hold, ‘Shh, they are coming.’
Two armed men walked around the corner. They wore a black combat suit that covered them from head to toe, even their faces were blocked off with black visors. "The Guardians", it read on their hearts and backs. They maintain law and order within the Fortcity, and they do so extremely well. They marched at Killiam with towering height and almost walked into him, but he side stepped. The Guardians approached the crowd by the PSA screens, suddenly and with an odd sync, both of them stopped. Most folks did not react at all at the arrival of the Guardians, while others flinched, and select few trained their eyes straight while remaining as still as possible. One guardian spoke in a monotone voice, ‘Alex Murphy. Come with us.’
Alex shook his head. ‘I can't. I haven't done enough time to even cover this week's food so if you don't mind..’ he attempted to leave with Mia but each Guardian quickly as lightning, placed their hands on Alex's and Mia's shoulder.
‘Your credits did not fluctuate as predicted, your medical supervisor informed us your weight has increased. You have been consuming illegal contraband and you must come with us.’ same monotone voice instructed.
Alex's head dropped in a surrendering fashion as he said, ‘Be safe, Mia. I will return soon.’ Guardians left with Alex at their gunpoints.
Mia was left all alone under the tall columns of the train station. Killiam clenched his fists and jaw as both of those Guardians walked past him, almost saying something unorderly under his breath. An overly devoted members of personal guards to the Owners of Fortcities, and to the Elite Class. But he could not act against them, as they outrank him.
Killiam walked out of the train station and in to the underground market underneath the Lower Class Dwellings. The court-yard was filled with people hurrying from a shop to a stall, as if not one of them, ever gets their full list done. He walked towards the escalator and overheard another PSA Station. The caster has changed his tone of voice drastically, "Dear, Citizens of Onassis! We appreciate your effort but yesterday's quota across all 5 sectors were not filled! You must work harder, Citizens! Your Home depends on you!" On screen statistics appeared,
· Textech Sec. - 87/61 %
· Rec Sec. - 90%
· Indu Sec. - 75%
· Transpply Sec. - 82%
· Prod Sec - 64%
"As such, my dear citizens, we must increase our output while consuming less! Working hour week is increased to 65-70. Credits value will be adjusted once targets are met." The PSA cut out. Amongst the dissatisfied murmur of the crowd, Killiam overheard an old man say, "Feck the whole lot of 'em. I jus' wish they'd break the damn wall alr...". Old man's eyes met with Killiam, and when he saw the uniform, quickly turned away and began walking while still muttering under his nose.
Killiam reached the escalator and began his ascension to the ground level of the Lower Class Dwellings, when suddenly and in unison, with a faint and distant explosion, the court-yard yelled out in fear as the escalators suddenly stopped, the ground lightly shook, the walls trembled and the ceiling dropped a bit of dust. The lights flickered, as the shockwave died out throughout the wall. Killiam calmly began walking up the stopped escalator. The PSA station blared out louder than normal. "Please all remain calm." Something hit the wall on the outside again, and instantly another time, but down here at the base of the mighty wall, it could barely be felt. "We must never forget who We are, and who 'they' are." Caster said with disgust and both PSA and the shockwaves have ceased.
He reached the top and quickly made way to the row of half-full intercitycarts he spotted across the court-yard. Slick and no-manned little train carts for number of sitters and few standing. The cart quickly gained speed on the suspended railing and left the Outer Band of Lower Class Dwelling within the wall. The railing was part of the walking bridge connecting the Lower Class Dwellings and the Middle Class Housing. Killiam could see people crossing below him, those who could not afford credits. He looked down past the bridge, a drop of more than 15 meters, the ground below was busy with the Guardians patrolling and citizens rushing amongst the lovely brick pathways with pockets of gardens. As he looked up, multiple drones criss-crossed the sky, an ever-watchful and never-ceasing eyes of the Guard Towers. Not one citizen takes a left turn without the Order knowing. On the far left, Killiam could see parts of the Industrial Sector and its many cranes and trails of smoke, and the thousands of apartments of the Lower Class Dwellings that are attached to the impervious white wall of this Fortcity. He didn't know exactly how many stories there were but it was no short of 40. Killiam turned around to see the wall in all its glory. He had to arch his neck back just to see the top of the 100 meter wall. On the right, the Textiles and Technology Sector, had a thousand fold more apartments. A V shaped valley of apartments as Lower Class Dwellings and the Middle Class Housing reached high in to the sky. All necessary space for production of textiles and technology is situated underneath the ground.
Killiam protected this Fortcity. And the people within it. That filled him with sense of belonging and gave him a greater purpose.
The cart reached the Middle Class Housing in the Inner Band and momentarily stopped. A number of passengers exchanged. People here seemed neater in their appearances, even the air felt cleaner due to many more plants that stood in pots and hung from baskets. What never changes throughout the sectors is their slight absence of emotions. A young woman sat down across from Killiam. She wore a black summer dress that complimented her slim figure, and thou she looked as if she could talk the world down, she only quietly plopped herself down and blankly starred out the window. Killiam persistently looked at her, anyone would've felt the stare, but not her. She remained entirely still as she looked through everything.
The little train cart began moving, leaving the Middle Class Housing within the Inner Band. Straight ahead, Killiam could see the High Housing of the Central Plaza for the rich and famous. Right over the tall and thin housing, his own workplace peaked out from behind the garden roofs. The Pyramid. It is staggering 475 meter wide and 495 meter above ground, which sits atop of upside down pyramid going further 400 meters below ground. It is fully covered in black marble, a masterbase and the grounds for Produce Labs, Order's Base of Operations, Mass Morgue, and the most influential people, the Owner and his family & friends.
The little cart has passed the Inner Band within 5 minutes and Killiam has arrived at the stop underneath the Central Plaza. He paid close attention to the woman in a black dress. For a split moment, as she was getting up, their eyes met, and to no Killiam's surprise, moment went as quick as it had came. Almost as if she didn't actually look at him at all. What Killiam did find interesting is the slightly saturated eyes that he has always seen in citizens of Fortcities. He tried to remember the faces of all those he seen and punished outside the walls, yet he could not. Dwelling into it more caused a sharp pain in his head, which made him look up. The cart's door was already closing, but Killiam leaped towards the door with an extended arm, and without beating a meter, fell straight down onto his stomach. Luckily, he barely reached the door and prevented it from closing. As he tried to make sense of his clumsiness, he heard distant laughter and as he looked back, saw his boot's laces are tired around the chair.
Angrily, kicking off one boot, Killiam pushed the door open and saw two plum kids laughing and pointing at him. Each kid had a black pendant around their neck. ‘Ah! You little shhi-shooo-shoo!!’ he yelled as he furiously equipped the boot. Little kids ran up the stairs to the Plaza, as soon as Killiam had the boot back on. They split in two as they turned the corners but Killiam grabbed one by the back of the collar. ‘Come back here you!’
‘No, no, NO! Please, no-no-no-no..’ The boy cried out through tears and laughter.
‘This will teach you how to mess with your protectors now wont it huh?! And you!!’ Killiam turned around and caught the second kid who attempted a sneak attack. ‘You think you can backstab me?!’ Killiam held the first kid down with one arm and wrestled the second kid, with the other arm. Through much effort and laughter, kids finally worn Killiam down who gave up and fell the floor.
A man in a lavish blue suit, bearing an intertwined serpent as a golden pin on his heart, stepped out from the coffee table from a nearby coffee shop and walked towards Killiam and the kids. Nearing them, he slowed his pace down and waited until Killiam got up and straighten himself out.
‘Daddy!’ ‘Daddy!’ Both kids shouted in unison and happily skipped on over to the man in a lavish blue suit.
‘Settle down now.’ He said in a deeply commanding yet calming voice.
Killiam stood up straight and saluted the man. ‘Sir..’ he began awkwardly, ‘.. my apologies for such behaviour, I aa..’
The man in the blue suit bowed his head and chuckled, ‘At ease, and please, don't be.’ he placed a hand on one of the kid's head and messed his hair. ‘I can control most of this city but I can't control them.’ He smiled at Killiam. ‘What did they do to deserve such punishment?’
‘We tied the laces and he go fall!’ one of the kids said with a satisfied grin as he hung onto his father's leg. Killiam involuntarily laughed and for a split moment bowed his head to wipe the smile away.
‘You're awfully cheerful there soldier. What's your name?’
‘Killiam Krov, sir! Captain of the 747 Ghosts, sir! Ready to execute my final contract! Sir!’ he said while giving another salute.
‘Ahh, final contract, I see. In that case.’ The man in the lavish blue suit straighten out himself and gave Killiam a proper salute. ‘Thank you for your duty, captain!’ he said and mimicked towards the Pyramid at the very centre of the Fortcity Onassis.
With a snap Killiam turned around and marched on towards the Pyramid with a satisfied smile. Behind him he overheared the man say to the kids, ‘..if you work hard, and stand by The Order, maybe one day you will be the Order's Warrior protecting us.’
‘Yes! Yes I will be!’ one kid yelled out enthusiastically.
‘Me too!’ the second joined in and pointed his finger at the Killiam's back and shouted ‘Bang!’
‘And we'll kill all of 'em!’ they both shouted in unison and chills came down Killiam's arms.
Central Plaza was an immensely big and beautiful place. Ground was laid out in intricate patterns, out of different stones and bricks of varied shapes and colours. Four wide pathways lead from the Pyramid towards the four large entrances to the Plaza that ended with long steps down to the ground level of Outer Band. Each one of four segments is designed after a different era of the Old World that the Owner had a liking to. On Killiam’s right, buildings were an exquisite yet sturdy reconstruction of Victorian Age that pleasantly overlapped one another and formed cosy yet dark alleys. On the left, large Neoclassical buildings demanded your attention with their massive columns and brutal heights. People at the Plaza were dressed extraordinary well, while some opted in with wearing flowing costumes of colours and lights. The streets were packed and each little shop and cafe looked busy. Some sold peculiar food, others lavish cloth, most sold useless materialistic junk, and very few sold elicit substances. Peaking into the flying by dark alleys, Killiam could see those who prefer the underground, the Halers, and their signature purple smoke that marks an entrances to the around the clock raves and clubs and naughtier places. Killiam looked away with disgust as he always thought if anyone should be banished, it should be the ones who can never catch that high again.
Killiam reached the Pyramid. Massively overwhelming structure that dwarfs anyone and everything that stands underneath it. The bottom of the upside down pyramid's base stuck out of the ground by 20 meters which formed the tall ground level with number of offices, the rest stretched another 400 meters down and formed the O.W.O's base of OP, Produce Labs and Mass Morgue. A top of this base, sat another pyramid stretching an incredible 475 meters high in to the sky which is accessible only by The Elite and the Owners. Huge metal plates covered in black marble were lifted up by metal arms all around the base of the Pyramid which allowed to see straight through it. In the middle of the ground level, stood a mesmerizing rotating abstract sculpture that also acted as a support . Through the open gaps, Killiam could see the Oriental Chinese segment of the Song Dynasty that he adored. Opposite that, was a segment for Modern and abstract architecture. White blocks awkwardly placed a top of each other with many sharp corners and unnecessary reflective surfaces.
Out of a slit, where the pyramid sits atop of the underground pyramid, a number of drones shot out. Their engines turned on mid-air and they quickly adjusted their course to deliver goods to neighbouring Fortcities.
Killiam stepped inside the pyramid and made way towards an entrance to the O.W.O's base. Ground level was swarmed with business and military people who looked like they were ready to trample each other. Every single person's Pendant within the ground level of the Pyramid went off simultaneously with a familiar sound. Everyone stopped. Not one person moved a muscle. On the far left Killiam could see a group of the Guardians in white combat uniform moving towards the centre of the ground level where a tube and a lift were descending. As they turned, Guardians stepped aside and Killiam saw the Owner of this Fortcity returning from his leisurely walk. An old, yet extremely well groomed man that had a spring to his step despite his old age. He carried a black cane with silver serpent head. Aristotle "The Second" Onassis his name was. He gained his title after being far more successful in acquiring money and power, than his previously named family counterpart who went from broke at 21 to a millioner at 23 in the 20th century, before the World War 2 and Short World War.
Once the lift and the tube disappeared into the ceiling, the lively pace of the Pyramid resumed. Killiam turned towards his way and only made one step as someone knocked him to the ground. As he looked up, a pair of Guardians marched on past him without uttering a single word of apology, or even acknowledgment.
‘Sir?’ female monotone voice said behind Killiam, ‘Do you require assistance?’
Killiam glanced behind him as he was getting up, to find one of his squad mates, Arry Pondergast. ‘Nah, I am a-okey, Arry. Thank you.’
With an expressionless face, Arry nodded and began moving towards the lifts. Killiam caught up with her and continued the conversation. ‘So how are you?’
Without so much as a glance she said ‘I'm ok.’ and trained her eyes on the lifts.
For a moment Killiam studied her complete indifference to the surrounding world while trying to remember her behaviour in the past, but the sharp pain in the head made itself known again. With a grunt, Killiam continued, ‘Yeah, yea, ni-nice weather thou right?’ and formed an awkward smile as he fought the pain back. Such expression made Arry uncomfortable who called out, ‘I will see you inside, captain.’ and added pace to her step.
Trying to remember the past was always a challenge for Killiam, but today it was causing him great discomfort, and so he turned around to view that which gives him peace, while Arry escaped ahead of him. From the very centre, Killiam could see the entirety of the great white wall that occupied every bit of the horizon. An impervious guard that protects the remaining civilized world from the savages, looters and rapers of the outside world that only want disorder. But as long as the wall and Killiam stood, The Order shall have its way.
Thank you for reading!