When I was sixteen, in 1964, I joined the navy. I was Polish, which made my joining the Russian navy an unusual event, to say the least. But I had a hunger for greatness. I wished to be someone, to make my mark on the world.
Monday morning broke. For the first few peaceful moments, it was beautiful. Sunshine, the rich and welcoming light of dawn peeking across the valley, setting the hilltops ablaze. Green trees swaying in the breeze, and the soft low buzz of life in full swing outside. The blissful amnesia of sleep left my mind free to worry about minor, silly things. Where’s Betty? Where’s Li? What am I going to make them for dinner today?
“Come on!” I growled, tugging Ku. She stared at the dissolving figure. “Ku! There’s only so much-” I looked down the corridor, and saw half a dozen Atlanteans in strange and colorful armor swimming towards us. “Oh, fucking hell!” I looked over at the wall. “Get us away from them!”
I studied the holy geometers. Triangle for violence, the sharp points of a tooth. Quadrangle for stability, the flat sides of a brick. Pentangle for magical power, the fingers of the hand, the basis of all manipulation. Hexangle for resilience, the six sides of the scale. And the circle. I paused over that for a moment. The circle, which could have countless angles, or only one; the symbol of ambiguity. Of divinity constrained. Both infinite, and utterly limited. The order mattered. For this, more than so many other things.
The viciously cold waters of Lake Huron closed around me like the icy jaws of a very moist Death. In an instant, reflexes kicked in. Reflexes honed bone-deep inside of humans. Unfortunately, they were not very useful reflexes.
My father’s first words to me were ‘You shall be our salvation.’
The Ford Thunderbird was deceptively roomy. Not so roomy that Ku could fit in the front with me. Just roomy enough that, sprawled out, her hair acting like an impromptu blanket, she could stretch out across the leather interior of the back seat, hair preventing her rough skin from slashing open the seats. The car didn’t even ride low with her there, a testament to the fine engineering, and the fact that the damn thing was built out of two tons of stainless steel. That would mean that paying for gas would be a bitch. Here I’d been complaining about SUVs for most of my adult life, and this thing would probably make them look sensible and affordable by comparison.
“Are you anything more than human?”
https://www.patreon.com/home Here’s this month’s Patreon novella, which is a story about what’s been happening in Zion since A Serpent in Zion, with some familiar faces from A Serpent in Zion, and A Stranger in Paradise. Drama, slice of life, and some romance. Enjoy this first free chapter out of four!
Chapter 1: Dog Days
Every good story uses threes. The reasons for this are complicated, but mostly come down to what humans call prime numbers. Numbers that cannot be easily separated. Amounts which are difficult to split. From such unity comes strength, but also, great pride and a tendency towards self-reinforcing behavior. Three, Five, Seven, Eleven; Thirteen.