Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Day Eight-Hundred-Forty: Getting ahead in life

“We make a pretty solid team.”

Blue rolled her eyes, but she didn’t aim them at Thomas. She already knew where he was going with this. “Oh yeah?”

“Yeah,” the Non said. They were sitting back-to-back, one watching the east, one watching the west. They had another hour left before someone else would have to take up guard duty. “Pretty solid. We watch each other’s backs, y’know?”

“Aren’t doing that now,” Blue commented. Opening her wide mouth, she bit into a cow’s leg she’d ‘liberated’ from an abandoned slaughterhouse. It tasted old and rotten, but her Non physiology didn’t really care, and she was hungry.

“Well, kinda gotta keep eyes forward,” Thomas countered. “Still, y’know… maybe we should… make it a little more…?”

Blue was saved from an awkward rejection by a sudden yell from the bottom of the hill. Both titanic Non peered down to the base of the hill, where they spotted a small, jogging, jittery Non with flailing limbs. Thomas growled his irritation, but Blue could’ve hugged the little messenger - had he not been bearing this particular message, of course.

“Word for you, ma’am!” the messenger cried, spindly arms waving madly. “Word! Word! You’ve gotta head to the front! Commander Emmett needs you!”

Blue grimaced deeply. “Oh, fuck me, I thought I was rid of the little shit. What does he want?”

The messenger shook his head. “I don’t know, ma’am! Please, though, be quick! He sounded impatient!”

“He’s impatient ‘bout everything.” Blue stood, dusted dirt from her behind, and cuffed Thomas lightly on the back of the head. “Don’t fuck up the flank while I’m away, hear? Keep us defended.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Thomas rubbed his arm. It was a weirdly vulnerable gesture, given his size. “When ya come back we’ll finish talkin’, right? I’ve, um, got more t’say.”

Blue didn’t respond. Verbally. Her answer to that, contained within the safety of her brain, was unflattering and final. The chances of her ‘pairing up’ with Thomas were about as good as slipping her body into the dress of a tiny human princess. Shape changing could only perform so many miracles for a Non of her size, especially without a magical helmet to help the process along.

Quickly ditched by the diminutive messenger, Blue stomped across the landscape for two days and two nights, wandering between the two lines of Non warriors that comprised the shaft of Kierkegaard’s spearpoint jab into the Imperium. They were travelling speedily westward, into the Imperium, and the army was growing ever thinner as the amount of occupied land increased. Blue’s position in the thrust wasn’t too far from the front, but it was far enough to force some travel time.

Blue tried not to communicate with many Non along the way, only letting everyone who questioned her know that, yes, she was travelling on orders. Emmett’s name was usually enough to drive away further inquiry. He was not as feared among the Non as Kierkegaard himself, but stories of his experiments travelled briskly enough to strike uncertainty and dread into the hearts of even the most hardened warriors. Blue wished she could brush the tales aside as hyperbole, but she knew her former CO was twisted enough to outpace even the wildest rumours.

She was not surprised, therefore, when she arrived at the front and found Emmett waiting with orders for a bizarre new project.

The front of Kierkegaard’s army consisted of an enormous wave of battle-bedraggled Non, a greater concentration than Blue had ever seen. Forming a massive wedge with five Nothings at its tip, the front marched by day and by night, resting only in the aftermath of particularly brutal battles. Kierkegaard himself typically remained with the Nothings, apparently gleeful in his direction of the titanous constructs. Blue found their shrieking harpoons to be utterly chilling.

Emmett waited for Blue in the midst of the cluster, riding in what appeared to be a large, moving tent. Blue noted the cluster of crustacean legs keeping the tent aloft, and quickly decided not to ask any questions. Thoughts of meandering inhabitations quickly fled her mind anyway when Doc emerged from the tent.

“Eh heh, hiya, roomie,” hissed Doc, head cocked to one side. “Ah, did ya miss me?”

The last time Blue had seen Emmett, shortly after their (quite literal) flight from the zombie camps, he was nothing more than a head, an unsightly pimple plucked off of her stomach. He appeared to have recovered some of his self-mobility since then, however, that same head now being welded onto a chimeric frame. He had the neck of a giraffe, the body of a rhino, the legs of a giant centipede, the tail of a giant scorpion, and the arms of men, eight in all. Most of the colour had drained out of Emmett’s parts, leaving him a faded, dusky grey. Everything appeared to be held together by glowing purple veins and a thousand unsightly stitches. 

“Oh, yeah,” Blue muttered. She was still bigger than Emmett, but for the first time he actually seemed somewhat intimidating. “Missed you so much, boss.”

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