(This story contains a scene or two of a nature that more sensitive readers may find disturbing. I would not recommend anyone under the age of 14 read it, unless you play games like Call of Duty…that thing is VIOLENT)
Premonition is my character, and may not be used without my permission.
Colin Gallagher is Donnieman v.5.1 's character. Donnieman was kind enough to write all of Colin's monologue, as well as sections of the action descriptions between the words .
This being the first part in the Final Days Saga. The Saga takes place in a world identical to our own, but for some minute changes…the number of leaves on the trees, the number of drops of water in the ocean. But perhaps this world will subtly impact our own…to begin, let us focus on the Premier Precog, Premonition himself. His story begins when …
The letter was written on rich paper, the color of cream, the texture of silk. Well, perhaps 'written' was the wrong word. Instead of ink, the paper was covered in a series of raised bumps, placed in an arcane order…Braille. This letter was in invitation to a very exclusive event. A meeting of what some might consider the Illuminati. That almost occult group that ran things from behind a curtain of shadow.
Orpheus Ziev, newly elected US senator, held the letter with one hand. He lightly ran the fingers of his free hand over the Braille. The letter read as follows:
"Our esteemed Mr. Ziev,
We have been following your recent political exploits closely, and are quite impressed. After a recent death, we have an empty chair…and you seem a worthy enough man to fill it.
38° 25' 11" N/ 117° 7' 18 W
There was no signature. Orpheus felt the electric tingle of foreboding…but mistook it for apprehension. Rule #1: A precog should NEVER doubt his instincts.
This was big! A rocket launcher straight to the top! Orpheus had thought it would take years to get to this point, years of dealing with pointless bills, the occasional amendment. But no! Mere months after he became a senator, there was THIS. Orpheus grinned, and pushed his dark glasses back on his nose. He knew it wasn't all politics. Something as illustrious as…this…almost certainly knew about his precognitive abilities. They wouldn't try anything funny around someone who could predict their every move. Orpheus crumpled the letter, strolled into the kitchen, and shoved it down the garbage disposal.
It was November 8th. Nothing but time stood between Orpheus Ziev and greatness. And to a time traveler that means no more than water does to a fish…
It was November 11th. Orpheus Ziev had flown out to Nevada the day before, left his plane in a private airfield. The pilot had been shot as soon as they arrived. Dead men told no tales, and the few tales told about where Orpheus was going, the better. He turned his face into the gritty desert wind, listened carefully to the roar of an engine quickly approaching. It screeched to a halt in front of Orpheus, and the door was pulled open. Orpheus slid into the car, reclining on the leather seats. The driver said nothing (he was a good driver…he knew his place). The drive was long, and Orpheus dozed a bit.
In his dreams…luminescent water flowed around him. It was cold, just barely above freezing. He raised his hand in front of him and it encountered cold glass…a face swimming beyond and...
He woke up, eyes snapping open to the familiar darkness of blindness. Just a dream…the motor of the car was still purring, there was leather underneath his hand. Just a dream. Nothing more than a dream. Rule #2: A precog should never ignore his dreams. Even the ungifted might be able to see what the future holds through the veil of sleep.
The car rolled to a stop; gravel crunching underneath its tires. Orpheus' door was opened, and he stepped out of the car. He could smell the chlorine tang of a fountain near by, and freshly cut grass despite the November chill. Orpheus took his cane from the car, ran it lightly over the surface of the drive. He felt where it met the grass, and from there calculated which way it would be to the manor where the Illuminati-type group would be meeting. It would have been much simpler to clap and listen for echoes, but Orpheus considered that undignified and tended to use that technique only when he was alone or in the midst of battle.
He stepped over the threshold. The carpet was old, probably made of silk. He could feel the unique texture even through his shoes. Dust, the kind that only accumulated around antiques, was thick in the air. "Follow me Mr. Ziev" Butler probably. Maybe footman. It was hard to tell, but probably old money. The noveux riche tended to be more into robots, all the new technologies. Not so much into classic style. Orpheus would know; he had his fair share of technological toys. They tended to get less dusty.
Orpheus followed the butler, (not through sight of course…he listened to the man's footsteps), and was led into a large room filled with the chatter of about a dozen people. The echoes were strange, and made it slightly difficult for him to judge his own location. Someone grabbed his arm, and Orpheus started, barely stifling the reflex action to throw him across the room with a telekinetic blast. "Ah Mr. Ziev, there you are! We've been waiting for you!" He half-dragged Orpheus to a seat, and pushed him down. Something was WRONG here. Orpheus glanced into the future (might make him feel a bit sick, but something was off…he had to know). His sightless eyes widened in shock, and he cried out. But it was much, much too late…woe to the precog who ignores his own abilities for fortune and fame, who neglects to see what is in store on the most critical of days.
Restraints snapped around Orpheus' wrists and ankles. He struggled for a moment, simultaneously trying to change the future…make the cuffs corrode, have a super-hero show up…anything! But his visions faded away, and his telekinesis as well. He could not force open the cuffs; he was just a foolish man who had walked straight into a trap. He cursed the world, turning his blind eyes towards the heavens. He cursed the future that without his guiding hand would come to pass. Then an electric shock ran through his body and he fell unconscious.
The androids in the room powered down, and the only real one among them stepped forwards to collect the precog. A smirk was on his face; it had been so easy. What an entire team had failed to do this man had succeeded merely by making the precog think he was important. Like taking candy from a baby. These wanna-be rulers of the universe were useless without their powers…good thing this man could disable powers with as little thought as it would take to shoot a rat in the head.
Orpheus woke up, and this time his nightmare had been made real. But this time all was dark, for only in dreams or visions could he see the world in color. Just darkness around him, and an icy fluid that was not water. It almost seemed to buzz, slightly charged with electricity. It hurt. He felt some of this (or maybe some other?) icy liquid being pumped into his veins through the myriad of needles in his arms. There was a tube wrapped around his head, running into his nose. This was all that kept him from drowning. He tried to scream, but only bubbles escaped his mouth.
Seeing that his new acquisition was awake, Colin Gallagher stepped out of the shadows. He tapped on the glass lightly, making sure the precog was paying attention. "And so, Mr. Ziev, I have proven that you are not the sole possessor of the power of foresight. But, are we not on a first name basis, Orpheus? Colin, Gallagher. I'm sure you know the name." The precog froze, his eyes darting randomly in their sockets…Colin smirked. He knew from his files that Orpheus usually suppressed the random eye movements caused by blindness except in times of stress. Colin greatly enjoyed getting under his skin like this. "I'm something of a politician myself. I'm after the best interest of the people. I'm after what many great men have attempted to implement but none thus far have been truly successful in doing so." He paused for effect, stepped closer to the glass. "Control, Orpheus. You see, contrary to what they make themselves believe in delusion, people want to be controlled. They wish to be led here and there by an invisible hand. They need it." Colin's eyes were shining; he was speaking with a passion that would not have been out of place in the famous monologues of Hitler or Stalin. "It is the hand from which they feed. There are already tools in place that offer more control than most anyone would care to admit. Money." He smirked. "One of the greatest weapons in the hands on men like me. No, similar men who wish they were quite like me. Do you know what the state of civilization would devolve into without control? Chaos, Orpheus." He shook his head. " I, for one, can't have that" He fell silent for a moment, the only sounds the humming machines that kept Orpheus alive and contained…and those which would channel his powers to allow Colin to see how the future would play out. " I intend to give the people their lives. With our without your willing assistance, I will bring order to this country and eventually, the world. I will give the people what they want, and what they need" He turned his back to the tank, hands clasped behind his back. "Orpheus, in a way I envy you. Where you were born with your powers, I wasn't quite as lucky. I am, however, gifted with an unnatural strength of will and determination" He swiveled on his heel and placed a hand on the tank. Orpheus instinctively recoiled, though he had no place to go. "I'm sure that soon enough you will see it my way, as all will in time. I'm not a religious man, Orpheus, but I suppose you can consider this your repentance. A deed to mankind, if you will." The precog's lip curled, and Colin could hear the traces of a telepathic message in the back of his mind. He turned up the telepathic dampeners, and it promptly vanished. "You, like many humans in this paltry day and age, have committed one of man's greatest wrongs. To ignore and refuse to take hold of one's potential and nurture it to its fullest." He paused to check his watch. " But I digress, Orpheus. My attendants will be will you short to make you more at home. Do try to adapt to your new surroundings" He steps into the shadows. Though the darkness masked him, a watcher would be able to tell he had turned for one last look, for his perfectly white teeth radiated from the void.
After Colin had left there was only silence. Orpheus hung suspended in the chill liquid abyss, silent tears flowing down his face and melding with the containment fluid. He had had such ambitions…smashed to bits because he ignored the prophecies hidden in the past. He was all about what WOULD be, not what WAS. If he had only stopped to think…he should have known Colin would be back, he should have known to keep up his guard. But no. The man had hidden himself from the future, leaving Orpheus blind to his actions. He lashed out in anger…and his small world reverberated with a sharp cracking sound. The glass…it was fragile. Either so much attention was being paid to stifling Orpheus' mental abilities that it just never occurred to the builders that he possessed any physical strength, or perhaps the tank was flawed. Either way, it was Orpheus' way out. He yanked the needles out of his arms, and the tube out of his nose. Couldn't have them drugging him if they noticed increased heart rate. He'd have to work fast through, or drown. If he died, chances were that Colin and his gang had fates much worse than death at their disposal.
He pounded on the glass until his hands were raw and bleeding, the metallic smell of blood heavy in the containment fluid. He could feel the fine network of cracks beneath his fingers, and then the splinters of glass as the strain became too much on the fragile tank. It exploded, sending a wave of glass and water crashing onto the floor. Orpheus breathed deeply, resembling a beached fish. Footsteps were echoing down a nearby hall. Orpheus smelled a faint tang of cigarette smoke. That was probably one of the attendants that Colin had mentioned, who was going to catch hell for this. Orpheus scrambled to his feet, slipping on the damp tiles. He was completely disoriented, had no idea how to escape from this place. He could hear the attendant running towards him, a stifled curse as he encountered the slippery floor. Orpheus ran towards the sound, shoved the man over. He most likely came from outside…Orpheus felt the tiles give way to cement. He felt fresh air on his face, ran towards it, and stopped short. Traffic noises drifted from the street below. Not a door…a window. A very high window. Orpheus gripped the sill tightly, his fingers turning white. Heavy footsteps from behind him, the attendant back on his feet…no time to think. He braced his foot against the windowsill and pushed out into open air….
He tumbled through empty air. Falling, twisting, and still no ground…he had drastically misjudged the distance. Butterflies with red-hot wings danced in his stomach. He braced himself for an impact that could come at any moment. If only he could see the ground. Then there was a sharp tingle in his head, similar to the returning of blood to a limb that has fallen asleep…his powers were back! He was out of range of the dampeners! Orpheus extended his telekinetic field as far as he could, with as much force as possible. He felt his descent slow, and he alighted on the ground, as lightly as a feather. He lay there, breathing heavily, blind eyes turned towards the sky. He was exhausted, and consciousness faded into merciful oblivion.
Orpheus awoke to a splitting headache. He sat up, groaning, and a wave of nausea washed over him. He lay back down, noticing the starchy pillow beneath his head. Where was he this time? He sniffed, inhaling a disgusting mix of disinfectant and sickness. He was in a hospital. Fine…whatever. He could deal with that. (But why did his head hurt so badly?)
Footfalls and the sound of a curtain being drawn aside. “Ah, you’re awake! How are you feeling?” Orpheus muttered something obscene, and rolled over so his back was to the annoyingly cheery voice. The nurse ignored him. “The doctor will be in shortly, he’ll fill you in on what’s going on.” She pressed a button and Orpheus’ bed moved upright. He scowled, wrenching his arm away when the nurse tried to take his blood pressure. He could almost hear her pursing her lips as she walked out. Orpheus fell back into fitful sleep.
More footsteps, a heavier tread. “Hello there! How are you feeling?” Orpheus just glowered in his general direction, his sightless green eyes expression utter scorn. “Haha, not so well, huh? Well, that’s not really so surprising. I’ll just cut to the chase and tell you what’s going on. You were found unconscious in the middle of the street. No physical trauma, but we ran an MRI and there was a giant tumor near your frontal lobe. It was putting pressure on your brain, and that’s why you passed out. We removed it, and the operation was a complete success!”
What?! NO! That wasn’t a tumor! That was an extra lobe of Orpheus’ brain, the one that allowed him to use his powers! And they had removed it?! Orpheus was ruined! (Though the full impact hadn't hit him yet…he was still in shock.) He slumped back on the pillow, all his energy completely gone. Why hadn’t they looked at his medical records? It said NOT to operate, no matter the circumstances! Then it struck him…no one knew he was here. He had left without a word; Colin had taken his clothes…and his clothes had his wallet, which in turn held his ID. Orpheus clutched at the doctor's coat. "WHO AM I?! Please tell me, WHO AM I?!" The doctor sighed. "We were really hoping you would tell US." Orpheus collapsed back again, feeling numb. "I'm Orpheus Ziev…and you just ruined my life…did you even LOOK for cranial swelling? Did it OCCUR to you that you were making a mistake? Well you'll know soon enough…I'm going to sue you into oblivion…you won't be able to treat patients with HANGNAILS. Now call my lawyer, I'm LEAVING."
A few hours later, Orpheus was lying on a cot in a helicopter headed back to his home. There was a Braille letter waiting for him.
I heard about your recent mishap, and it would be a lie to say I wasn't highly amused. Poetic justice if I ever saw it. Of course, adding a little insult to injury would be a welcome treat. Therefore, if you ever want to come work for me, you will be welcomed. Think it over. I can wait years if need be. I greatly anticipate your groveling repentance.
Orpheus threw the letter aside and stalked off to his quarters.
Without Orpheus' precognitive abilities to guide it, Oracle Incorporated's stocks plummeted. Orpheus turned to drink, became reclusive, rarely seen. He was kicked out of the senate after refusing to show up for meetings.
It was about a month later. No one had seen Orpheus for the last two days, and his staff was starting to get concerned. Meals left outside his door were untouched. Eventually someone decided to go see what was going on. The door was barricaded from the inside, and had to be broken down.
Orpheus Ziev swung slowly from the ceiling, dead. His limbs were stiff and swollen, his neck an ugly black. His eyes were open wide, and seemed to see something beyond the veil of death…perhaps in his final moments he had a brief flash of precognition, phantom cells in his brain firing. In one hand he held a note, written in an elegant flowing hand.
"Enough is enough. There is no future worth waiting for. This present is not fit for me. I will find my kin on the other side ."
Suicide. Open-and-shut case. There were only two problems: Orpheus was an atheist (though that might have changed)….and he only ever knew how to read and write in Braille.
Wait…what?! There's something fishy going on here…
Who…or what…killed Orpheus Ziev? Or was it actually just suicide?
What did Colin Gallagher's machines pick up when they were connected to Orpheus' brain?
Will the next chapter be so outrageously long?
Find out as the story continues in…. Whatever Happened to the Daughter of Dorian Gray?