Zero (Extract 1)

We could be heroes, just for one day. See, Bowie was right and he really knew fuck all about heroes. I do because I died for my country. Then I came back. I always come back. Why? Because they built me that way. They didn’t want to have to go out and buy new toys every time the old ones were broken — they wanted toys that fixed themselves. I was built to order from spare parts. Like Burke and Hare they went digging in the graves of freshly exed heroes and cherry picked the parts that they needed to make their superman. I’m the result — I’m the monster their Frankenstein committee created.

When was the last time that we actually fought for something worth fighting for? When was the last time we were actually saving someone and not some money? Every bloody conflict that I ever had a part in was driven fiscal concerns — the accountants pointed me in the right direction and I went out there to save the consumer a few bucks on their gas.

It’s easy to be racist and turn a whole nation into your cartoon bad guy if you don’t have to watch the seared flesh dropping off their bodies. It’s cool to watch films about our heroes when you don’t have to think about the children that their mortar fire cooked alive. But fuck it; they’re just foreigners, aren’t they? Foreign policy protects home soil. There is absolutely nothing in the idea that directing the gaze oversees is a way of sliding new laws in unnoticed that curtail the freedom of every right thinking member of western society, is there? And oh, did you notice that I didn’t limit it to one country? That’s because these laws that appear to be passed and seem to only affect one country have a global remit. How can laws passed by the policemen of the world stage be anything other than without borders?

I am a one man army. I was built to be that way. What can stop me? A tac nuke? Sure, for a while that might put me out of action. Well, totally if I am right in the eye of the storm so to speak and the nanites that have my blueprint locked in their build memories are vaporised. Otherwise, guess what? Yup, you have a modern day Lazarus on your hands. Radiation sickness? Nope not really — you see these little buggers, unless their hard-wiring is corrupt, will build me exactly how I was before the bomb dropped.

So I had my hands around the collective throats of nations before and here I am warning my own country, or rather it and every nation that huddles under its wing, to wake the fuck up and stop doing what they have been doing or face the consequences. How do I prove that I am willing to go through with my plan to remove the key players? I knock each of them out. I walk right through the massive holes in each of their security details and I administer a non lethal blow to the back of their skulls and leave a post I note there for the administrations to read. I am a charitable man and I believe in giving everyone at least one chance. One chance only — then it’s curtains for the lot of you.

I disappeared under the radar as soon as I woke up that morning, staring at my hands like Lady Macbeth and unable to wipe the blood off. You see they gave me vision that kicks the crap out of anything any human has — I have the kind of vision that your crime scene unit would kill for. So the traces of other people’s haemoglobin on my hands is visible to me where other people might think themselves clean. It sucks — to be guilty and to not be able to deny it to yourself. They robbed me of the ability to delude myself. I became superhuman and threw away some of the most important self defence mechanisms that a human has.

They gave me a direct order that day to return to active duty and I refused. They thought that the stupid deep hypnotic crap was going to work and that they could just reprogram me. if they make an organism with a brain, with a mind for tactical thinking — if they send that organism out into the world and it learns what sort of people it is working for then what is the first thing it is going to do if it is also programmed with self-preservation? It is going to preserve itself, right? It is going to fortify itself. It is going to assess every potential weakness within itself and it is going to eradicate it. The person that programmed me was a scientist — they were not trained to withstand torture — it impressed me that they lasted through three fingernails being pulled; any more and they would have been stupid. And once I was free of the programming, did I kill them? No, because what use were they to anyone?

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