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Here and Now

New York – November 15th, 2050, 9:30am


Mac roused himself from the memories.

“Sorry Marcus what were you saying?”

“I said ‘have you ever seen anything like that before!’”

“Not in this lifetime.”

He looked over the body of the marksman who minutes ago had been a fully formed human being; he picked up some dust and slipped it into an airtight vial. He touched his jawbone.

“You there, Sara?”

“Always, what can I do for you this day?”

“Can you have your labs up and running within about forty-five minutes?”

“Yeh, I suppose, why?”

"I have a murder victim in my custody and I need some pretty detailed analysis equipment and as I remember your place got upgraded by the ‘Settlers’ about six months ago.”

She sighed.

“I suppose you want to make it official.”

“Since this guy tried to blow Marcus out of existence, yeh I do.”

“OK I’ll be ready for you.”

“Mac, out.”

Mac pointed at Marcus.

“Don’t leave the embassy, I’ll be right back.”

Since the ‘Settlers’ were counted as a civilization, they had their own embassy allocated to them as well as diplomatic privileges

Mac strolled downtown and pondered on the mans last words.

“Crimson Flame? Why did he say that? It can’t have anything to do with Barrakas. He has been dead for millennia.”

Arriving at ‘Leird Research and Technology.’ Mac walked into the foyer and was met by the Chief of Staff, Dr. Sara Mills.

“So where is the body?”

Mac held up the test tube.

“Can we go to the lab now?”

Sara closed her mouth as she gestured the way. The place was high tech when it first went into service over 5 years ago (with a large donation by Mac which was made anonymously.). It was named after the Leird foundation (Mac’s bank account) which services charities and beneficial corporations. He got led down several halls with arrows pointing to genetics labs, bio-mechanics and esoteric sciences until he came to a waiting room outside a lab called ‘Analytical sciences’

Mac sat down on the upholstered chairs as Sara went to start her analysis.

“I’ll be about an hour or two is that ok?”

“Yeh I’ll wait here, if Marcus calls have it forwarded.”

“Sure. No problem.”

Mac felt his head start to nod as he fell asleep.

He felt a nudge in his ribs.

“So good to see you again, General.”

Mac sat bolt upright.


The man smiled and nodded.

“It has been too long.”

“What the hell are you doing here?”

“I thought I would come and see how you were doing.”

Barrakas sat next to him, he was wearing a business suit and had neatly trimmed hair and his beard had been cut into a goatee.

“I must say I wouldn’t have recognized you.”

“Evolution stands still for no one, does it General?”

“You are just a figment of my imagination. Away with you, de’leach.”

The insult hadn’t been voiced in over 3 millennia; it rolled off his tongue as if it were regularly used.

Barrakas looked shocked.

“My my General and this from a highborn, you sound like guttertrash.”

Mac assumed a pious pose.

“When in Rome…”

Barrakas took out a single rose and laid it next to him.

“From one old warrior to another.”

“Enough of this” Mac thought.

He drew upon power that was ancient when he was a boy, energy danced around his hands as he banished the shade that was Barrakas.

“We will meet again, Konran!”


He bolted awake and looked to see Sara standing next to him.


“I’ve finished those test results.”

Mac ran his hand through his hair and rubbed his eyes.

“Too many late nights. What you got for me?”

“This guy and I use that word loosely since I have no idea what he was before this. But I do know that he was…desiccated. Humans are mostly water; this guy was evaporated into dust. Poof! Bam! No more bad guy”

Mac stood up.

“Thanks Sara.”

“No, THANK you Mac, for this as well as your company.”

Mac turned around with a quizzical look on his face to see Sara cradling a rose to her chest.

He shrugged.

“De nada.”

41st Century, somewhere outside Chicago.

Shimmer crouched in his hastily dug trench and waited patiently. A shell would occasionally fly over him and land several metres behind him. He squatted down and gripped his rifle butt tightly. Laying his gun on the ground above him he fired a volley of shots just for the hell of it, he supposed. Better to shoot at something than sit and quake over nothing. To be perfectly honest he wasn’t too sure where the enemy was, just rough guesses by the noise the explosives made when they flew over his head.


He glanced round and spotted Julio creeping up the trench, he was carrying a small pistol and had a sword strapped to his back, every so often some debris would get kicked up by the explosions and his form would waver as the rubble ricocheted off his personal force field.

“What is it?”

Shimmer felt irritability creeping into his voice but he really couldn’t help it. This position would be overrun in hours if not minutes and here came people creeping back looking for him.

“Our attack is going ahead as planned. Their headquarters will be ours within hours.”

Shimmer turned around to Julio.

“What attack?”

Julio looked confused.

“The one you ordered. You said that while their forces were concentrated here their base would be left relatively undefended.”

Shimmer stood up and shouted at Julio.

“You bloody idiot! There is no way a local resistance faction could ever hope to take their main base. It would need to be attacked in concert with everyone else. The reason they have less men is because they have automated defenses, which can wipe us out in a heartbeat. They don’t need men there!!”

A shot bounced off the dirt in front of Shimmer and came off his force field at an angle, which was further deflected off Julio’s force field to hit a small animal which was scavenging food behind them.

Shimmer felt himself calming down.

“When was the order to attack?”

“Just now. I came back to give you the good news.”

Shimmer took an explosive off his backpack and clamped it to the metallic reinforcement which was secreted in place beneath the lip of the trench. He clicked a few buttons the placed it next to his mouth.

“Shimmer code 45-A-RT-Q. Activate”

The device beeped once.

“Let’s go and try to stop this lunacy.”

Shimmer dashed past Julio and headed for their enemy’s main headquarters, he slammed a fresh clip into his rifle and prayed to God that he could stop the bloodshed.

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