I’ve been sleeping badly for almost a month now. Things are just not working like they usually do. I can’t get the voices to go away.
“Come reap.” It just goes on and on. “Remember what you are. It’s time. The circle is complete. Come reap.”
I don’t dream. Never have. Never needed to I guess. What I wanted I attained the old-fashioned way. I worked for it. I live a simple life. I drive a fuel truck. I haul energy. I provide heat and power for those who otherwise would starve and freeze. It’s a lucrative job with benefits and a future. My life is good.
I just got a new assignment. Loading NGL. That’s the raw gas that will eventually be propane, butane and Pentanes. I go from the far South of Alberta up to the North to a refinery which will refine it and distribute it to this power-hungry society. Easy money. I’m a happy trucker. I don’t want for anything. Except for these fucking voices to just STOP!!! Desist!!! Quit it already!!!
I’m heading south, a quiet secondary highway. I light a cigarette, I’m trying to stop but, no one likes a quitter. When the truck just shuts down. No clunk, no wheeee. Just silence. I quickly take it out of gear and coast to a stop.
Getting out u get ready to open the hood and remove the battery cover when the voices literally scream at me. “Michael!!! To the East!! Look to the East!!” Your destiny has arrived.
Coming at me is a metallic headless horseman. Gathering all my will I move faster than I’ve ever moved in this lifetime. Jumping in my truck I hit the starter button. Nothing. Dead. If I don’t do something pretty fucking fast I’ll be there too. I jump out if the truck. Hit the release for the jockey box and grab my heavy hammer and my biggest adjustable wrench. Not the best weapons but… It’ll do.
This Heavy Metal phantasm just circles me . Not close enough to reach out and touch but close enough in the fading light for me to see that its really metal and really real.
“Michael, always the warrior. You’ll fight me without quarter. Without pity, without fear. You are still what you were. It’s time to remember what you really are. Look upon me. Look upon me and see where you’ve come from. Put aside the cloak you’ve used for so long. Look back in your mind’s eye and remember. Remember your life, remember your promise.”
The apparition stopped and froze. Looking just like a statue of metal, welded and immobile it stood there. Scythe raised high in one hand. “Remember. Look upon me and be dismayed. The circle is complete and the time is at hand. You must come home.” “Now go back!! Back to the time before time. Back to the time when we stood parsecs out in space. Looking at the ball that would eventually become this green place teeming with life. When this planet was still forming and you in your arrogance and ultimate powers threw the other planet at it forming the moon and anchoring out place in it’s evolution. Remember how the old Masters saw our games and bound us to the Earth for all the aeons to come. Till the sun’s life would end and the next darkness would begin.”
I stood there befuddled and lost. What in the world was this creature saying? I’m no creature if power. The only power I have is a 600 horsepower Cat C15 that won’t start while a statue made of steel circles me. “I’m never doing crack and mushrooms again… Ever. This is the ultimate flashback. You can’t be real. This is just my Brain fucking up and taking me on a joyride through…” The pain is immediate and blinding in it’s intensity. “REMEMBER !!! No surrender to that bodies limitations! You made this place. Time to reclaim your rightful place in it!!!”
I’m falling, falling at tens of thousand kilometres per second. Past Pluto. A jest if the Gods. “If they find that and see what it really is they’ll be ready to travel the solar system.” Past Uranus, Jupiter. Saturn with it’s glorious rings. Thin and only temporary in the cosmic scheme of things. Falling faster yet heading for the finally formed place called Earth.
I land on a frozen ball of ice and blinding blizzards. Back before time had any sway on humanity. Back before humans were really human. The Ice Giants are the dominate species. Hunting man for their sport. Killing for pleasure. My anger erupts like a meteor plummeting down. As it enters the atmosphere the friction lights it up to become a broiling streak of fire. I am fire now. I burn with an intensity that turns everything to vapour and steam. I burn the Ice Giants down by the score. I also burn the Earth. I super heat the atmosphere and cause lakes, oceans and enrich the very planet to the core. Changing it.
“You begin to see what you are. How do you feel now my long-lost brother?” I look at this creature and see. My God. I’m a Monster.
Well this is another fine mess I’ve gotten myself into. What can I do? Can’t run. Can’t hide. Hesitation was never a fault of mine. I stand and fight. “Come on wind!! If this is to be the end of me I want to make it as hard on you as I can!!! Step up and let’s do this thing!!!” Kind of silly challenging the wind. Especially with a wrench and hammer. It’s what I have if any engine parts or tyres come at me; I stand a chance of fixing them.
“Maybe you’ll be a bit more comfortable with these. They were always your first choice in the days of old.” His voice has a soft kindness to it. Or is it my imagination? My wrench becomes a finely honed battle-axe of high quality and infinite sharpness as does my hammer. The blades feel strangely at home in my grip. Ready for battle. Now we’re talking. I feel a red lust, deep and penetrating taking hold if my body. Covering my mind like a cloak of soft silk. Time for war.
It comes back to me in moments rushing into and through me with the force of a locomotive. I am Iron Man!!! Undefeatable, relentless. A true warrior for the Gods of old.
I stand at the ready. Gauging the storm fast approaching, hungry for flesh and bone. “Not enough. Not by a long shot. Arise ye tempest!!! If you want me you’d better become something more than a mere rain shower with a breath of wind to stir it up.” As if hearing me the cloud bursts into the sky for leagues. It looks as if it’s trying to escape the Earths atmosphere. Lightning peals from cloud to cloud. Thunder louder than any cannon fire erupts through the night. The rain becomes a deluge instantly filling the ditches along the road. Better. This is definitely a storm. Raising my axes to the night sky I leap into the maelstrom of natures ultimate fury. My axes flashing in the lightning I swing and scream my battle cry!!! “I taught Odin how to fight real Monsters. A little rain storm isn’t going to bother me!!” Lightning flashes toward me. I slice it with my axe. The explosion tears the sky apart. The sounds are a cacophony of destructive forces meeting in the night. I’m laughing as the wind throws me into the maw of the tornado. I’m hurtling along laughing, slashing and crying my defiance into the heavens.
After what may have become an eternity I land on the ground. Soaking wet and exhilarated. “More!!! Damn you!!! I want more!!!” I do. I’m ready for more. I can feel my energy multiplying exponentially. I’m ready for a real challenge now.
“Excellent. You never cease to astound me. You can battle the elements into submission. Are you ready to take your place now?” His voice is full of enthusiasm and joy. His body on the iron horse is vibrating, radiating energy and excitement.
“Will I get to do that again? Will I get to war with everything?” I have to know. I’ve found something. I’ve found my place. If I can only keep it.
“It is your destiny. You are war. You are strife. Pain, suffering, fear are nothing to you. You are WAR!!! You are the mighty clash of armies. The rendering of the Earth in the explosion of the most titanic bombs. You are the use of force to achieve your objectives. Yes you will do all that again. And more. Much more.
Much more? This sounds too good to be true. I’m having visions. Like murky dreams. Real, yet unreal. If they’re correct I’m almost eternal. I’m a creature of the cosmos. Created in response to the vastness if the Universe. Nothing is perfect. Nothing eternal and all knowing. The trouble isn’t in the Gods, it’s in the sheer size of the Universe.
Consider light speed. It’s fast, unbelievably fast. Yet if a light ray left one side of the Cosmos it would take over 13.2 billion years to travel to the edge of know space. If it got there at all. With all the Galaxies, dark matter, and dust with a stray black hole here and there. Not to mention quasars, and other catastrophes that poor light ray might not make it anywhere. Or it might just be directed everywhere.
The cosmos is a chaotic and dangerous place. Even the original Gods have no idea of the full scope and magnitude of it. That’s where my race comes in,(I think. It’s not fully clear yet) I’m a scout. Part of a reconnaissance unit. We travel in groups looking for things. New things. The old ones are quite curious and eager to see what’s out there in the depths of this ever-expanding Universe.
As everything with mass has physical limitations so do they. The speed of light is just one.
Time is another. Out in the void time is almost meaningless. It’s there, it’s effect is not. There’s no way to measure it. On the Earth time is measured by the decay of radioactive material. That gives a fairly accurate measure of it’s passage. The Earth also orbits the sun and the moon also orbits the Earth giving a simple way to tell how time is passing.
In the voids there is very little activity. Things are so far apart that time is not a real factor. Gravity. Useless. There is micro gravity. Two particles pass and their mass attracts them to each other. If/when enough particles gather in a group they become a cluster. Then gravity has something to work with. After enough mass is gathered time can start working as an effective force.
So my kind are limited to the physical Universe. The things that can be measured. There are a lot of ways to measure things so there are a lot of us. We specialize as we grow and learn.
My unit discovered this solar system and started looking at it’s potential. It had lots of mass. Lots of gasses and Heavy Metals. We nudged a mass here, moved a mass there. Gathered gasses around this and that. Pretty soon we had order of a sort.
That brought in the other forces. Life forces. Some are good and beneficial others like viruses, able to rend and destroy in their need to replicate.
Intelligence is another matter. Some of the most intelligent creatures are so destructive that nothing else is allowed to develop. They’re jealous of their existence. They desire to be the only race. They destroy out of fear and hatred of the unknown.
Our job is to stop that.
As I’ve stated before there’s one unalterable fact in the cosmos. Nothing is perfect. As beings affecting the Galaxy and more specifically the solar system we became part of it. The rules that bind it began to bind us as well. Though we thought ourselves apart from it we became a part of it. Thus another dilemma was born. We became responsible and therefore attached to the newly formed Earth. We watched it cool. We watched it grow. We picked a side. We watched the first primitive life forms slowly exit the oceans. We watched reptiles being replaced by Mammals. We even helped where it was needed. The atmosphere was a thick oxygen rich place where insects grew to epic proportions. Energy was abundant everywhere for life to teem and thrive. We helped by nudging a mass into the planet to rid the place of dinosaurs. Mammals didn’t stand a chance against them. Of course as we did all this we killed almost as much as we saved.
We aren’t hero’s or villains. We are just creative and awful children of the cosmos.
All of these thoughts/memories flood into my mind as I think on what’s going to be next.
“I guess that that’s my last sunset.” I pause to look at my surroundings for one last time as a human being.
“So why now? Why have you come for me?” I ask not really caring about the answer. Just trying to cope with what’s going to be a long , hard adjustment to something I’ve almost entirely forgotten. “You have a talent that has been overlooked by the Masters. They’ve been watching this species for a long time by humanities standards. They know that it’s at a pivotal point where it can either destroy itself or become one of the proudest, strongest, enduring races of all time. You’re needed to force the issue. You will push and manipulate in ways no one has thought of to achieve the next step.” I have to ask. “What is the next step?” He replies. “That is up to you and humanity. It all hinges on what you want for this race. You started this. Now our Masters wish you to finish it. One way or the other.”
The silence spins out between us as we each ponder the ramifications of those ominous words. That terrifying statement.
I look out into the deepening night. Considering the ramifications of this mission. I know that refusal will not be an option. It will only result in my destruction. Powerful I am but not omnipotent. The Masters are close. Close enough to find me hiding among billions of people. Doing a mundane job. Anonymous, alone. If they found me that can only mean that this planet is under scrutiny. Close surveillance from others beyond my vision. “What form would you have me take?” I ask the shadow of my companion. “That is up to you, as are the actions to achieve your goals. You have free reign. Bring up a fiery Dragon and strike at the heart of the powers that be. Become a prophet and preach a new way. Do what you think is right. The choice is yours. But act you must. Act at once. There’s also the matter of your disappearance from our fold. The Masters are quite curious about that as well.” He titters lightly enough over this. I know that it is going to be another situation where I’m going to have to pay as well. Well, there’s war in the Middle East. There’s war in the Ukraine. Civil unrest in America with it’s uncontrolled debt and crazy politics. There’s abuse of power with police committing crimes against people all over the,”free.” world and not being held accountable. Genocide by people over riches and hatred being spread by the people who claim to only desire peace. Where to start. How to start. What to start.
“I think I’ll go for a wander. Look the situation over. Do I get any help?” I look at him with hope in my heart. “I might have a few of our old friends who are bored and wishing for something to do.” He smiles and a few of our old friends appear in full dress with attitudes to match.
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