Chapter 1 -- Introduction
The year was 2504, the Year of Revolution. But, I should not be too hasty in assigning such a title, for every year that a colony had decided to revolt and become its own nation, will be regarded as the "Year of Revolution" for them. And, indeed, the revolution that took place in 2504 was not even worldwide. Only a small section of the world had managed to throw off their oppressors -- which is, in essence, the principle of every revolution: to destroy the power of your oppressors and triumph as independent.
It follows that every revolution begins with an expression of heresy -- the countless pamphlets, essays, articles, presses, all combined for the working purpose of erecting a new form of society -- and after enough momentum had been built up, the first blow had been struck. The use of violence to solve their dilemma was seemingly the only necessary means of their emancipation, as their oppressors were beings devoid of logic. The oppressors had founded their brutal treatment on the old ideas, on the philosophy of ancient thinkers. They had been educated, from their births, much like the oppression, to believe in the old thinking, to believe in the old ways. It was only by a revolution of the mind, that a liberation of the body could commence. So this was the first step towards it, the first beginning. It was contained in a small pamphlet, aptly titled "10 Things You Should Know." It quickly traveled in the hands of these men and women. Soon, as it became popular, there was a reaction to it, by those of the ruling parties. Their philosophers and men of ideas replied with to this 6-paged pamphlet, with a book nearing 200 pages, entitled, "10 Other Things You Should Know." And they lacked brevity as much as they lacked any open-mindedness. The pamphlet won the hearts of the oppressed, and the book was ignored.
The presses had spoken, and the public had agreed. It was only a matter of time before revolution would come through the means of physical force. No person can honestly look to the dead bodies, to the families who lost the bright faces that lit up the house, the wives and parents who longingly looked to each other and spoke, "Now, I am all alone." -- no person can look to the means of war, and claim that it is a cause for celebration. No, it is but a cruelty, something that when looked upon will cause the humane person to turn away in disgust. But it was necessary. The oppressor would not give up what did not belong to them. As the misery and suffering of oppression became too great, the oppressed launched a war, a revolution. It was through the movements of the body that the ideals of the mind were reached. And those who sacrificed their lives, that their brothers and sisters may be free, were the greatest warriors of all time, for they battled for a greater cause. They were not hired mercenaries, sent to do the bidding of a tyrant. They were men fighting for their liberty. While they spill their blood today, they know that their children will not have to. So it commenced, and in only several months, the region had been secured from the oppressor, liberty had been attained, and the people were free.
But, this was a revolution unlike any other. They were not fighting for autonomy. They were fighting solely for the right to the product of their labor. They were Communists. They felt that they did not have to work eight hours every day in a factory or on a farm, just so the person who pays them can take 90% of the what the worker makes without working themselves. With the conclusion of the revolution, all of the means of production were collectively owned. The factory which produced the tools, the farm which yielded the food, the mine which offered the ore, all of these became common property of every person. And so it came, that with collective ownership of all capital, all of the people were granted a fair portion of their wealth. It was just and it was fair.
Still, though, there were similar aspects of this revolution compared to others. Like other revolutions, when the commencement had been announced, the wealthy immediately left the region. They had a fear of being ransacked, and with great reason. The wealthy, the owners of such great wealth amidst such great poverty, were considered the enemy. They fled. In any ancient country, had this occurred during a Socialist revolution, it would naturally make things better, as they would not have to concern themselves with how they reacted to this Capitalist. But the nature of capital had transformed entirely. The reason why Feudalism failed, in the end, was because the means of production become too efficient for serfs and slavery. The machinery allowed greater value for a smaller amount of labor. Again, the means of production in the year 2272 had changed greatly. Now, capital was transferable. Factories, farms, and mines, were constructed in a manner so that, in as little as four to six hours, they can be entirely deconstructed, removed from their current position, and reconstructed in a new area. At most, this process was known to take 18 hours, but this only occurred in factories that were great and massive. The reason why this made capital more advantageous was easy: if a Capitalist could obtain cheaper wages in another area, he would immediately move, throwing a population to the depths of poverty and famine. When the revolution began, when the first bullet was fired on behalf of the downtrodden, every Capitalist had condensed their factories and their farms, and immediately fled, leaving a completely barren country. No Capitalist had remained behind to see the conclusion of the war. The media called the nation in a state of anarchy and chaos, without order -- that is, compared to the normal state of slavery that was insinuated to be "order."
The common people were free, and that was all that mattered to them. They had written a constitution that disallowed theft and slavery -- no longer could a person become wealthy from the labor of another. They wrote it as much as they believed it. And so it came to pass that all the means of production were owned by the people. But what were these means of production? There were none to be had. This was not something the people were greatly afraid of. They had lived on the fringes of poverty for years and years. They were not ignorant of an infant's cry for food, they were not beyond the scope of knowledge when it came to hunger pains, and they certainly know what it was to see pale, thin bodies sleep without waking. They had gathered the strength to replant the fields, to refertilize the soil, to redig the mines, to rebuild the factories. Through autonomous decisions -- that is, Democratic voting -- they had managed to put into effect regulations, which allowed every person to be allotted the wealth that their labor had attained. Though they had their farms and their factories, their food and their tools, they had to settle for extremely antiquated methods of production. Few of them were knowledgeable in matters of construction or machinery, but the rare individuals who were offered their services with much enthusiasm, suggesting additions that would increase efficiency. But whatever the technology they offered, it was at least equal to technology of three or four hundred years ago. The efficiency of modern technology had increased production from labor by at least one thousand times. But this was of no bother to the common people. By working only one hour per day, they had managed to procure for themselves their housing, the food for themselves and a family, and rather decent luxury. There were some able-bodied workers who worked eight to ten hours a day, making a remarkable paycheck -- and so this was the conclusion of the revolution, as it was advertised by the free press, that the men who worked the most, were consequently the men who were the wealthiest.
The Capitalists who fled, stealing their transferable capital, had given rise to feelings of contempt among the workers. They feel they had been robbed. Every worker who had sided with the Capitalists from the beginning, touting nonsense about "the freedom we need under Capitalism," -- these workers were already felt by the community to be dead. So, too, the Capitalists were responsible for convincing workers that what their soul tells them, is but an utter lie. The crimes committed by the capital-owning class were immeasurable. In their years in power, they had robbed the people of the right to fair work, and in their years in extradition, they had robbed the people of modern technology.
It was this, their theft of the means of production, that incited such a hatred of the Capitalist class among the working people. Because of this, the people had erected what was to be known as the League of Repossesors, a covert group of individuals working for the commune, with the sole purpose of investigating the loss of capital and recovering it. However, this presented a great difficulty, since most of the capital owners had fled to other nations with their capital. This meant that their activity would be breaking international laws. So the greatest secrecy imaginable was used. Upon the establishment of this group, the collective of the people had elected a poet to give some words of his feelings on this newly formed league. "This league," he spoke to the audience, "Is dedicated to every shoplifter, to every 'petty thief,' to every person who has stolen from the Capitalist class to begin with. They believed that the wealth created by the workers belonged to the workers. What they started, we finished. As they still rot in jails in far off, barbaric lands -- some of them convinced of the lies that they committed a wrong -- we will forever work as an amnesty for their liberation. For it is the Capitalist who is a thief, as he lives in a castle built by a man who lives in a hut, as he feeds on food produced by the countless poor farmers, as he uses every of high degree, made by someone else who was countless times poorer than he was." The words of the poet touched the heart of every person in the crowd, and it gave them an optimism and hope that no book of the ancients could ever give them. Unlike the ancient thinkers of centuries past, this poet knew their pain, he understand their strife, and anyone who disagreed could find him doing his share of labor, an hour and a half of labor in the community tool factory.
There were two primary moving capitals that the League of Repossesors was trying to locate. There were, in fact, actually numerous ones that they were trying to obtain. In the first year alone, they had obtained 31 of them, and in the second year, they had obtained double that number. But the two moving capitals they were trying to locate were full of technological wonder, even to the point where it was called miraculous. The community of this now liberated nation had known something: the Capitalist competed among each other. When a means of producing food at a rate of five times faster, the Capitalist did not share this with the poor, or the starving. He kept it to himself, and closed his eyes when he saw the suffering of his actions. And there were two moving capitals, two moving means of productions, that the League of Repossesors were trying to obtain with great vigor. Named Target Alpha and Target Beta, these two pieces of capital were searched out relentlessly, not for their own value, but for the knowledge of production, which they obtained.
The date would come with Target Alpha had been acquired. With it, the working hours of every citizen were cut in half, and even with this halved labor, their production and wages were doubled. It took four years for the League to obtain it, and upon bringing it back to their people, the entire nation was condemned by the international community. They had breached borders with illegal passports, had stolen property of another amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars. Of the most conservative, there was a talk of going to war with the freed land, but the great majority of the nations were content with only condemning the doings of these free people.
Thus, after four years of the League being established, they were still looking for Target Beta. The business was tricky, dirty, and extremely risky. Hopefully, the reader will forgive me for giving such a deep, long background of the conditions that produced our current state. But I thought it necessary, if the motives, actions, and emotions of the characters herein are to be understood.
Chapter 2 -- To a Faraway Land
"Yeah?" Kixfar answered his phone in the League of Repossesor headquarters, "Yeah?.... Yeah, I'm listening." He signaled Felwit with his finger, and silently he put on headphones and became intimate with the conversation.
"I happen to know where Target Beta is located," the voice said.
"I would be very interested in that information," Kixfar responded.
"I am not acting as a charity," the voice said, "I would require twenty five millions."
"We don't give out money, sorry," Kixfar said, "The rules of the Repossesors clearly states that we cannot spend the public's money on paying off bribes. Thanks, anyway." With that, he hung up.
"Another dead lead?" Narfgo said.
"Does anything else happen around here?" Kixfar asked.
"Looks like we'll have to go into Bangladesh again," Bokaz said, smiling while holding a toothpick in his mouth.
This was Platoon 17 of the League of Repossesors: Kixfar, Felwit, Narfgo, and Bokaz. Kixfar seemed to fulfill a rational, leader-like character, Felwit was the information expert, Narfgo was known for his brazen courage, and Bokaz was known for having doubts, and simply for his character. Not only was their job a physically risking one, but it also was one of investigation and following leads, trying to establish the location of the moving capital.
"You always say that you want to go to Bangladesh," Narfgo said.
"So!" Bokaz replied, losing his gleeful demeanor.
Kixfar started rubbing his forehead, "Can we avoid having another two hour discussion on the benefits of going to Bangladesh?"
"In the last two years, Malaysia's production of machinery has quadrupled," Felwit said, "We have apprehended certain capitals three, three of which we are responsible for."
"Hell yeah," Narfgo said, "The raid on the cog factory was a blast."
"But..." Felwit said, laboring over records, "There seems to be no slowing down to their production rate, despite how many capitals have been obtained. In fact, it seems to go unhindered, perhaps evening increasing, according to certain sources. With the cheap labor there, I think they definitely have something big there."
"I think it would make sense to put a factory right in Malaysia," Kixfar said, "The wage labor there is paid extremely poorly."
"Bingo," Felwit said, "You have the workers in poverty, you have the high production, and you have the failure to account for that high production."
"Are you sure that Malaysia has it?" Bokaz said, "We would be risking lives in searching there, perhaps. The whole world is suspicious of the Socialist revolution."
Felwit looked up from his records. "Comparing Malaysia's rate of production with the factories that have been built there, there are approximately 20 factories which are unaccounted for. That alone warrants great suspicion."
"I think we need to get geared up, suited up, and go out and take care of these people," Narfgo said.
"What do you think, Felwit?" Kixfar asked.
"I told you what I think," he responded, "We have great reason to go in."
"Does anyone disagree about going in to Malaysia?" Kixfar asked the group. Silence passed. And then, he spoke, "Then, it is to Malaysia that we go."
With the aid of the other departments set up by the people's Democracy, they would be driven to a neighboring country. Here, dressed in proper Western attire and looking much like a mix between businessmen and tourists (and, being given a certain amount of wealth in francs, dollars, and pounds), they were boarded on to an airplane destined for Malaysia. They had fake passports and they aroused little suspicion. Of course, they had been doing this for some years, and they were accustomed to the secrecy of it all. Upon landing in the Malaysian airport, Bokaz wandered into a tourist shop.
Looking at an ornament, on sale for a hefty $25, though probably worth only $3, Bokaz remarked, "Wow, what a wonderful little piece of shit... I wonder how many valuable seconds I am wasting just looking at it."
Narfgo followed Bokaz into the touristy shop. "Would you stop blowing our cover!?"
"I am not blowing our cover, you idiot," Bokaz responded, "At least I landed without being drunk off of airline champagne!"
"That was just a smidgeon!"
"Oh, and the Roman Empire was only a couple acres!"
"Would you two please cut it out?" Kixfar said, almost not knowing exactly what to say to these two. He looked at them fight among each other, with an open jaw.
Eventually, they started slapping each other in the shoulder. "Shutup!" -- "No, YOU shutup!" -- "I asked you first!" -- "Don't make me put you down first!"
Finally, the clerk at the tourist shop intervened. "If you two boys are gonna cause a ruckus, I'm going to have to ask you to leave."
"Hey, let me see that," Felwit said, taking the now bruised and somewhat brutalized ornament from their hands, as they offered no resistance. "Yeah, I would like to buy this." The clerk smiled, and took his money with a, "Thank you, come again." Felwit marveled at the ornament, almost with a certain emotional interest. Meanwhile, Bokaz and Narfgo -- both still holding each other from the brawl -- watched with utter amazement. They looked at each other, and then exited.
"Hey, Felwit," Narfgo said, "Why'd you buy that useless piece of crap?"
"We're supposed to be tourists," Kixfar said.
"And slash or businessmen," Bokaz replied.
"It's more than that though," Felwit said, momentarily taking his gaze off the object to meet his brothers eye to eye, "I always wanted an ornament like this, that glorified nature and animal life. In our own country, we can purchase hobby kits that allow us to make such an item, and we can go to an extent to purchase the final products of these kits, but they would be from our country. I wanted something foreign." And so, with his explanation, they left him alone. But it was unlike them to ever taunt Felwit. In the opinion of Bokaz and Narfgo, he was defenseless.
They would use the person transporter to arrive at a motel -- it's a device invented that led to the extinction of the automobile. Explaining that they were tourists seeking the exquisite nature of Malaysia, they were given a room. Perhaps it was Felwit, still marveling at his new toy, that had managed to convince the hotel proprietor of their intentions.
Already in the room, and still unpacked, Narfgo took out the binoculars and started looking out the window. "How do you think we will discover the origin of Target Beta?" he asked the others.
"Yeah, using binoculars outside of the hotel window," Bokaz said, "Oh, my god! Look! A moving capital!"
"Yeah? Where?" skepticism.
"Oh, wait, nevermind," he said, "It was just a news stand."
Narfgo took the binoculars off his face and looked to Bokaz, "You fuckin' idiot," he said with irritation.
"I think we should ask the hotel lobby guy out there if he's seen any moving capital around here lately," Bokaz said, undoing his tie, "I mean... He's a lobby guy, right? If he carries luggage, god knows what he can tell us about moving capital."
"And you are the people I'm risking my life to," Kixfar said.
"No worries, good lad!" Bokaz said, now still looking out the window, "I'm sure your wife doesn't go unpleased."
An eerie silence passed.
"The plan for investigation will be usual," Kixfar said, "First, we must locate the main points of the storage facilities. From there on, we will track where their shipments are coming in. After that... We seek out where they are getting their products from, and investigate each one. Since capital in our modern age is rather concentrated, we will only have to investigate a few. Is everyone clear?"
"What about the part about the hot tub?" Bokaz asked.
"What are you talking about?" Felwit asked.
"I was under the impression that we were all going to get into a hot tub, at one interval of time or another, during this adventure," Bokaz said, "Now... Don't tell me I was mislead."
"You were mislead," Narfgo said, not turning away from the window which had captivated his attention.
The sun slowly drifted lower and lower, until there was an orange blur on the horizon, lighting the bottom of every cloud in an illustrious glow. The night draped the sky, as the four heroes labored through the information part of their profession. Felwit went over records of different factories, warehouses, and distributors in Malaysia. The three listened intently to the information as it was given to them. Together, they made decisions on the targets that they would investigate, on the method of investigation, and who would be involved. The hotel room was littered with papers, with the occasional alcohol/opiate drink. Midnight would soon be upon them, and the target-selection work of their job in Malaysia would be complete. Kixfar and Narfgo decided to stay on the hotel room and relax, while Felwit and Bokaz decided to take a walk around the city, and see the sights.
As the two Repossesors walked the sidewalks of the city, enjoying the twilight of night, a conversation began to unfold.
"What do you think about going to Malaysia?" Bokaz asked.
"Well, it's a nice country, I suppose," Felwit responded, "But I would have preferred going to it before they destroyed the forests. The main part that I enjoy --"
"No, I mean like, what do you think about what we're doing here?"
"Well... I suppose we're committed to a good cause, we're doing something noble on behalf of our people. We love justice and applaud charity."
"You're still misunderstanding me," Bokaz stopped walked, and faced his comrade, as he did the same, "I mean... What do you think about the danger of it?"
"There certainly is that aspect of it," Felwit went on walking with Bokaz, "I just guess it comes with the job."
"You think Narfgo can handle this?" Bokaz asked.
"Well, why not?" Felwit said.
"I just always had my suspicion about him, that's all," Bokaz replied, "I mean, I think he has a fetish for ornaments. You saw the scene he started at the airport. Like, when they gave us some complimentary touristy crap on the airline. He took his and went to the bathroom. He joined the ten thousand mile high club for masturbation."
"I remember him going to the bathroom," Felwit said, "But that's because, 'Hey, check it out... Watch what happens when I try to flush this down the toilet.'"
"So, he tries to get an excuse, sure," Bokaz said.
"Haha," Felwit laughed, "Friend... I think you just have a minor feud with the man."
"No, I'm totally serious..." Bokaz said, "I sometimes wonder... What if we're out in the field, and someone pulls a gun on him? I can bet that in two seconds, he'll lose four gallons of water. He'll piss so hard he'll tear a hole in his pants."
"And you don't think he similarly has problems with you?" Felwit said.
"Of course not!" Bokaz said, "I'm the biggest and best there is!"
Back at the apartment, Narfgo and Kixfar talked to each other. "You know," Narfgo said, "Back at the airport... When Bokaz tried to get that ornament out of my hands, I think he just liked touching me."
"Hahaha..." Kixfar laughed, "I think you're reading into it too much."
"No, really, consider it," Narfgo said, "Normally when I act like an ass, it's his duty to point to me and make some negative remark. But he didn't do that this time. He tried to take the ornament out of my hand, just so he could touch me."
"Like I said," Kixfar said, taking another sip from his alcohol/opiate drink, "I think you're reading into it too much."
"You remember what happened in Italy two years ago?" Narfgo said.
"Yeah, how could I forget?" Kixfar said, "You got drunk and thought it would be fun to go skinny dipping in Venice."
"No, not that part..." Narfgo said.
"You mean, the part where you were caught by the polizia writing profanities on the wall... also drunk?"
"No, no, not that one either, and shut up, those were cool..."
"I don't remember much else happening in Italy," Kixfar said.
"I don't remember anything that happened in Italy," Narfgo said, "I only had you guys to retell to me what happened those six fateful days."
And so it was... That night went on, with the friendly, joyful talk between the friends. By the time Felwit and Bokaz returned to the hotel room, Kixfar was asleep and Narfgo was watching late night television. "Hey, welcome back," he said to his returned colleagues, with droopy eyes and an effortless voice.
A long, deep sleep would be upon them all, and finally the morning sun would be shining its warmth onto them. Kixfar laid on the hotel mattress. Having tossed through the night, through the dreams and visions, he had thrown his blanket off. And now, it was the sun that warmed up his skin, as he body laid tossed on the mattress in a non-sensical manner. His eyes would open, flutter a little as he came to consciousness, and then his mind would be fully alive. He sat up and looked out the window, seeing the sunrise. He smiled a little, with the morning silence, hearing nothing but slight noise of the wind brushing up against the walls. Grabbing the blanket on the floor and covering himself again, he slept for several more hours, until he got up with the rest of his crew. It would be a long day for them all.
Chapter 3 -- Duty
Narfgo laid on his belly, with a pair of binoculars, watching a bridge that joined two pieces of land over a river. "You see anything yet?" Kixfar radioed him.
"Yeah, I see some birds, some rocks, a little bit of shrubbery," Narfgo, "But nothing interesting yet."
"How about you, Bokaz? You see anything?" Kixfar radioed.
Bokaz laid on his stomach, much like Narfgo, but he was hidden in the forest, underneath a blanket that was camouflaged to look like the ground. He was watching a tunnel that went through a mountain. "Nah, nothing this way yet," Bokaz said.
"Well, if we don't see any transportation going through, we can almost be rest assured that we have eliminated the most likely routes for the transport hover crafts," Felwit said to Kixfar.
A week would pass, of looking at different parts of various possible routes for the distributor vehicles. On one watch, Bokaz said with a grain of doubt, "Do you think that maybe we went to the wrong country looking for Target Beta?"
Several hours would pass, as Bokaz became sleepy and almost careless in his watch. "Hhhhmmmmm," Narfgo would lament, "Maybe they have like, a big underground railway system of transporting these goods. And like... they have dogs that bite you if you try to go in them, and these lasers that can cut right through bone, and stuff..."
"I congratulate you, Narfgo, on completing issue #58,965 of Superman," Felwit said.
"Hey!" Narfgo said, "#58,965 was about the over-voluptuous woman who saved Superman from almost certain doom."
"Is there ever a comic book heroine who isn't over-voluptuous?" Felwit asked.
"Well, no..." Narfgo said, "But that's not the point."
"Hey, I think I see something," Bokaz said, awaking and tightening his grip on the binoculars, "I'm seeing two trucks right now... three, four trucks... Shit... More than that. Eight trucks, and more coming..."
"Where they heading?" Kixfar asked.
"West," Bokaz said.
"Narfgo, do you see anything?" Kixfar said.
Narfgo was on the hill, looking around impatiently, "I see nothing, Kixfar... Not a fucking thing."
"You're both on the same road, just twenty miles apart," Kixfar said, "There's got to be something between you two where these trucks are coming from. Bokaz, how do things look on your end?"
"I see trucks from one end of the road to the other end," Bokaz said. Thirty seconds would pass.... "And every single one of the trucks is gone." He put down his binoculars, feeling almost exhausted from the excitement of his witnessing.
"Bokaz, Narfgo," Kixfar said through the radio, "Return to the hotel apartment when you're ready. We'll plan our strike then."
Once the two field agents returned back to the hotel, among their comrades again, they planned together. Looking through maps of the region, they had identified old warehouses and factories that were out of commission.
"About how big a size would one need to set up a capital like this?" Kixfar asked.
"About 20,000 square feet," Felwit said.
"Hey, look at this," Bokaz said, "This factory, which has been out of business for two hundred years, still stands. It's the only one with enough room for Target Beta."
"Let me see those electric maps," Kixfar said.
"Fucking check that out," Narfgo said in excitement, his leg gently kicking in activity, "That factory has been receiving electric power for the past twenty years."
"Yeah, and look at these other barren places," Bokaz said, pulling out another map, "The other possible factories and warehouses in the area, long since abandoned, are no longer receiving power."
"What's the deal with all these abandoned places, Felwit?" Kixfar said, "It seems odd that they're all conveniently clumped together."
"There was an economic boom in Malaysia centuries ago," Felwit explained, "This area was chosen because of the high population and the willing workforce. Unfortunately, there was a flood. Reverse-Tension Flood Barriers had been invented by then, but they were comparably less advanced. Today, we have no real threat of flood. In that time, the threat of flooding -- which was prominent in that area -- had been protected against by 90%, compared with today's 99.99%. Just the right strength of the storm and the right position of the moon's gravity on the water, and the Flood Barriers were knocked down. Hundreds of thousands were killed, but that didn't bother the industrialists all that much. The main concern of theirs was the land was made almost unusable, and much of the machinery was destroyed. What was left, at least the moving capital back then, immediately exported to other nations."
As Felwit gave his explanation, Narfgo was completely ignoring him, looking through one of the maps. "And check this out," he said, "I mean, I really like Felwit's points about why we should go to the factory; good job, Felwit. But, check it out... That factory that is receiving the power, has been actively using 10,000 gallons of water every day."
"Why the fuck would they be doing that?" Kixfar said.
"I don't know," Felwit said, "We really don't know everything about Target Beta. But if Target Beta isn't in that factory, something must be. Something important."
"10,000 gallons of water and electricity? Sounds like a pornography studio," Narfgo said, "Or maybe... an aquarium."
"Well, since those trucks couldn't have come out of nowhere, they probably came from that factory," Kixfar said.
"Yeah, and they were like, big trucks, too," Bokaz said, nodding his head, almost expecting amazement.
"Yeah, trucks," Narfgo said.
"No, no, no...." Bokaz said, shaking his head, "I mean... big trucks."
"Are you trying to tell us something about your sexuality?" Narfgo asked.
"NO! SHUTUP!" Bokaz said, "Well, there is the -- no, I mean, wait, NO! Shut up, yeah!"
Kixfar and Felwit quickly exchanged glances at this occurrence of events.
"Sooooooooooo," Kixfar said, "We'll check out the factory together tonight? All of us?"
"Sounds good," Narfgo said.
"Agreed," Bokaz said.
"I'm coming, too," Felwit said.
"When should we go?" Bokaz said.
"One in the morning," Kixfar said, "That way, if anyone is awake, they certainly won't be very alert."
"Agreed," the group said. But, at this time, it was only six o'clock. There was some consideration taken for the time necessary for preparing their equipment, but before they took care of that, Kixfar said, "I'm going on a walk. Anyone want to come?" Bokaz had volunteered.
"It sure is a nice night out," Kixfar said, tucking his hands into his jacket pockets, looking out to the sky, "Just a bit cold is all."
"You have a family?" Bokaz said.
"Yeah," Kixfar said, his demeanor becoming somewhat sullen now.
"You ever think about them?" Bokaz inquired, honestly wanting to know.
"Not a morning goes by where they aren't there, nor does a night perish without them," Kixfar said, "Yes, I still think about them."
"When was the last time you saw them?"
"Four months ago," Kixfar said, "With all the work of traveling from country to country, it's difficult to spend a great deal of time with them."
"How many members of your family do you have?"
"I have three children, a boy and two girls," Kixfar said, "I also have two lovers, who are kind and gentle in all that they do. What about you?"
"Yeah," Bokaz said, "I have one daughter. Her mother died some time ago, unfortunately. She means a lot to me, and I think about her often. It's been more than five months since I've seen her. But she carries on decently without me. She has been educated in advanced machinery, so she makes more than enough for herself. I think about her face, what she looks like, and it makes me bleed from the inside. Sometimes I wish that I could end my work here, and spend some time with her."
"Thoughts like that cross my mind, too," Kixfar said, "I think about my lovers and my children... I think about my mortality. I know that one day, I will be gone, and the only thing that would have mattered then, is how much time I spent in the midst of my loved ones."
"Yeah, it can be a depressing thought," Bokaz said.
"But at least we have each other here, right?" Kixfar said, smiling and lightening up, "We may be a thousand miles away from our families, but I would give up my life back home certainly so that I can wake up to a hotel room. One, which I might add, took Narfgo only two hours to completely trash."
"You know what he did to the ash tray, right?"
"No, but do tell..."
"He took it and put it in the hamper for the sheets," Bokaz said, "He went on talking about how he was a bomb expert during the revolutionary war, and all this nonsense about making explosives from concrete and tin foil."
"Yeah, Narfgo is quite a character," Kixfar said.
"Do you know if he has a family?" Bokaz said.
"I think so," Kixfar said, "I mean, we were talking once, and the subject came up. I asked him and he nodded his head, and changed the subject."
"Hhhhmmm," Bokaz said, "Perhaps thoughts of happiness in our children will make us suffer. To preserve what happiness we have, we obliterate the hope of seeing them again... but why are we doing this all again?"
"We are in a foreign land," Kixfar started, "We are millions of miles away from any form of salvation if we are caught, and there is any moment that we can be uncovered as saboteurs... so, why are we risking our lives? Simple. We are trying to get back something that we created, that was taken from us, that exemplifies the sheer ingenuity and devotion of our people. We once believed that by bettering the condition of our employer with good work, that we are bettering ourselves. We believed the lies, until that fateful day we came across that pamphlet that changed everyone's perception about things. And now, we want back what has always belonged to us."
"It seems to make some from an objective point of view," Bokaz said, looking down temporarily, "But it doesn't bring my daughter any closer to me," looking up again, to the dark sky, "It just... it's just words. Nothing can compare to the smile of a girl who you brought into this world, and educated. Nothing."
Kixfar laid his hand upon Bokaz's shoulder. "I know how you feel, brother... but tonight, we will be uncovering what was once stolen from our people. And then you will return to your daughter, if it is Target Beta."
"Well, Kixfar," Bokaz said, "It's been very nice working with you, but since we recovered Target Beta, I think I must retire to my humble home with my daughter... Yeah, I do like saying that. Perhaps in a few hours, I can mean it. So, what the fuck are we waiting for?"
The two comrades hurried back to the apartment, where they found Narfgo and Felwit loading ammunition into cartridges. "You guys gonna help us get ready or what?" remarked Narfgo. And so they set to work. Over the course of two hours, they filled the cartridges with ammunition, helped each other in putting on body armor, and mentally prepared themselves. Narfgo took a mild stimulant to help him get up his nerve, as did Bokaz; Felwit read a collection of writings that he carried with him where a character or person displayed courage, and Kixfar did a little of both, using slight stimulants and reading some works of the rabble-rousers of the 19th Century. With the passing of a massive world war in the year 2238, the use of artificial stimulants in aiding soldier aggression became widespread. Just as World War I brought in the use of poison gas, so this world war brought the use of chemicals for enhancing soldier potential.
The four drove in rented car towards an area that was one mile away from the abandoned factory, the suspected location of Target Beta. "I'll do recon," Narfgo said. They all agreed. Bokaz nodded, and his heart started to race. But he looked around him, and he found all of his colleagues, enduring as he did. They were bold, strong, and powerful. They were able and capable. They faced death. But this does not accurately describe what they were feeling. They knew fear, they knew terror, they knew the very foundations of horror. Working together for years, they had known how each other would operate in the various conditions. But all of them had demonstrated a sort of brazen courage that had made them consider each other their only family. Infiltrating buildings and obtaining information was what they did, it was what they had become accustomed to. As they looked at each other, seeing how they endured the current risks and dangers, they all gained some fear, but a little more respect for each other.
Narfgo was crawling on his belly as he slowly neared the factory. "Yeah, something's definitely going on inside," he radioed to his companions, "I'm moving in closer." Ten minutes would pass, and Narfgo would be at the walls of the factory. "All the windows are tinted... They appear to be new, certainly not as aged as when this factory was first built. I'm going to try and find a way in." He searched slowly, and finally found a back entrance. "I found a back way in, but it has a lock on it. So far, it looks clear." Kixfar, Felwit, and Bokaz moved in, not necessarily crawling but hunched down, and moving fast. Once at the door, Felwit pulled out a set of tools. Using a high-powered soldering gun, he managed to break the lock on the door. It took approximately five minutes.
"We ready to go in?" Kixfar asked them all, placing his hand on the latch to open the door. They all drew their weapons and nodded. He pulled up the door fast and drew his weapon. It was an empty hall, but with a noise similar to a pump. Kixfar signaled Felwit to come with him and Bokaz and Narfgo to further explore the rest of the building. Kixfar and Bokaz went into the first room. There was a guard sitting down reading a newspaper, not paying attention to what's going on.
"Hey, fuckstick," Kixfar said. The guard put the paper down, and then reached for his gun... Three shots were fired, and he was gone. Narfgo and Bokaz in another room looked to each other, "Fuck." They started to run to where the shots were fired.
"You all right?" Bokaz asked when he and Narfgo found Kixfar and Felwit.
"Yeah, fine, keep moving," Kixfar said. And with that, they went back to their duty. But now, they were all shaken up. Violence had touched their hearts and elicited fears. Slowly, they would search more parts of the building, killing three other guards as necessary. Until finally, Narfgo and Bokaz had found a compact piece of machinery, that resembled descriptions matching Target Beta.
"You get Felwit so we can identify this," Bokaz said to Narfgo, "And then we can get the fuck out of here." Narfgo nodded and went running down the halls, searching for his friends.
As he searched for his comrades, Bokaz examined the machinery. There were blades in a chute that made rapid successions. On top, there was a label, "Energy Source Disposal." As he looked down the chute, seeing that it went down quite some ways, he heard some noise. He looked up and drew his gun. It sounded mostly like wind. He quickly went into the hall and turned to his left where he heard the noise. There he saw three guards.
Sixteen shots were fired...
Bokaz was on the ground, bleeding from the legs, one guard dead, two guards unhurt. "You fucker!" one of the guards said to Bokaz as he was grimacing in pain, "You killed my brother Jux!" He walked up to Bokaz and put his gun on his forehead. "I should fucking kill you!"
"No, I have a better idea," the other guard said. The noise of the slicing blades became louder as the two guards carried Bokaz's body. "How do you feel about becoming hamburger?" Bokaz started to regain full awareness of the situation. Tears were balling up in his eyes and running down his face.
He screamed as his feet were placed in the rapidly slicing blades. The pain burned horror into his heart, as he felt the blade cutting at his toes, then at his metatarsals, then at his ankle... and he realized, that as the foot was cut, he lost entire sensation in his toes, in his feet, in his ankle. And this lack of sensation absolutely terrified him. All the while, he was screaming. Not once did he plead that they spare his life. He did not want to be reduced to that, but moreover, he knew that it would fall on deaf ears.
One of the guards dropped Bokaz on the floor. "What's wrong...?"
Four shots were fire...
Felwit stood there, holding his gun and looking at the scene. Bokaz was on the ground with his shins being amputated. There were two dead guards on the floor. He was panting, breathing deeply and scared. Narfgo and Kixfar finally arrived.
"Fuck," Kixfar said, seeing the sight, his entirely breath expended on such a word.
Felwit started to bandage the wound on Bokaz, taking a few seconds now and then to put his hand on his comrade's forehead, and assure him that he was among friends, not among enemies. "Hang on, bro," he said, "You're gonna make it."
"My legs, I can't feel my fucking legs," Bokaz said. The truth of the matter was known to him, but it didn't register. Something so simple, so precise, so specific, as being a legged creature, was knowledge that had been with him for twenty three years of his life. In these few brief seconds, that understanding was entirely obliterated. Kixfar and Narfgo guarded the door, while Kixfar radioed intelligence at his home country to send a pick-up unit to their location. Once Bokaz was all bandaged, Felwit examined the machinery, and confirmed that it was indeed Target Beta. He started the uninstallation process, which would take thirty minutes. They had been given confirmation that an aircraft would pick them up at the location of their rented car, but not at the location of the factory, because it was too hot. So, Kixfar and Felwit carried their downed man, while Narfgo carried Target Beta on his back, and walked, holding his weapon out. He was scared. So was everyone else.
As they were outside, the darkness lying over the land, the world seemed entirely new and different to Bokaz. He was being carried by his comrades, after what seemed so far to be a mostly successful raid. He may have lost his legs, but he had gained what he was searching for in the past years. There was some lightning illuminating the sky, and it began to rain lightly... As he was being carried back to the rented car, Bokaz began to hum the lyrics of the song, "It's a Long Way to the Promised Land," by Bad Religion. His friends paid no particular heed to it. Once at the rented car, the aircraft landed. Professional doctors took care of Bokaz, while servicemen took Target Beta. It was four hours until they were in their home country. The mission was a success.
Chapter 4 -- The Aftermath
Upon the arrival of the aircraft to the home country, the three soldiers gave the information of the mission to public journalists, while in the room with Bokaz -- who was at the hospital being repaired. By the next morning, the story had been published, and engineers and scientists were setting up Target Beta so that it would serve the peoples' interests best. It would come quite close to quadrupling their productive power. It was an explosion of media. Shows, newspapers, and journals were all discussing the sacrifice made by Bokaz in acquiring Target Beta. But more than that, they detailed the battle of Kixfar, Felwit, and Narfgo. They were all made heroes. Once his health had recovered, Bokaz was given an honorable discharge. "I suppose it ought to have been suspected, right?" he remarked to one of his comrades. The repossession of Target Beta was an integral part of the development of this small country. Later, historians would refer to it as directing the country toward success, as opposed to the road of failure, that many countries had hoped it would take. It was deemed as an act of terrorism for some time, but this capital gave the small country such a productive power, that he forced itself into national recognition. Powerful countries had recognized it as a country belonging to the people, instead of a nation under lawlessness. Trade increased, and all were benefited. There were still countries, however, that were antipathic towards the small developing country. But... as intelligence agents looked over documents that had been recovered by the four, they discovered something. There appears to be a Target Delta, which had been missed by the examinations of earlier intelligence agents. Also, they believed they had a lock-down on the nation which harbored Target Delta. Kixfar, Felwit, and Narfgo went to Russia, the suspected nation, which still held distasteful sentiments of the small country. But security against the League of Repossesors had been increased drastically. Yet, like many other security policies, they effected just the way the Repossessors had hoped: only curtailing civil liberties of their people, while the true "threats" remained inconspicuous.
"Don't you guys forget to write," Bokaz said.
"Sorry, bro," Narfgo said, "But we can't write letters back any more. It's part of heightened security."
"Ah, well," Bokaz said, "I can understand that."
It was a final visit to Bokaz before the three were to depart for Russia. "Hey, Bokaz," Kixfar said, "I'm really sorry about what happened."
"No, don't spend time worrying about it," he said, "At least you guys were there. Otherwise I might have reason to think that much more of me would have been turned into mulch."
"It's been good working with you, living with you," Narfgo said in a rather sentimental tone.
"Don't go soft on me, motherfucker," Bokaz said, a tear rolling down his cheek.
"It was an honor to be among your company," Felwit said to Bokaz, shaking his hand and patting him on the shoulder.
With that, the three departed, and Bokaz would never hear from them again. He was left... alone.
Fortunately, technology at this time was remarkable. A chair using hover technology was capable of producing the same effect of a wheel chair, but without the normal constraints of a wheel chair. The hover chair, as it was called, served greatly the use of all who had lost limbs. But even medical technology had been making leaps and strides. Reattachment of limbs was commonplace, often without any missing material. In Bokaz's case, it was different because the entire limb had been destroyed. The ability to regrow limbs was still experimental at this stage of science.
Upon the departure of his friends, several hours would pass, and he would have a visitor. It was his daughter, Jubilee.
"Bokaz?" she said walking into the room. It had been months, and she looked to have changed only slightly.
"Jubilee!?" he shouted. She ran to him, and they hugged. Holding her tight, he began to cry, because now he was where he wanted to be, now he had achieved that dream that was his every night in the field. He would be taken home with her, since he had been honorably discharged. For the most part, the hover chair allowed him still some degree of dependence. He made his own food and did everything by himself that was needed. Now that he was home, he had time to spend with his daughter, which is something that he had always wanted. It was that night that the two stayed up late together watching a movie. It was 1:00 A.M., but Jubilee had taken the next day off so she could sleep late to make up for staying up late.
"How's your work?" he asked her.
"Eh, it's so-so," she said, eating some snacks, "It provides a lot of opportunities for advancement, and the things we do are very interesting, being an engineer and all. I like it."
"That's good, that's good that you like your job," he told her.
"What about your work?" she asked.
"Hey, I'm almost forty and I have no legs," he said, "Could I want anything more?" He laughed about it, because there is nothing more that he could have done -- so he reasoned.
"What do you plan to do with your time, now that you have enough to support yourself indefinitely?" she asked.
"I'm not sure," he said with a sigh, "Probably just rot in my own juices," he laughed again. And so they spent their time together, until they fell asleep. He felt, truly, at peace.
A month would pass, and things would take a change for a radically different position. One morning, he got up, when he was finally accustomed to his new surroundings, and he would look out the window, "Somewhere, somewhere out there... My comrades are fighting for their lives. They are fighting for the survival of our humble nation. They are out there... risking themselves. Getting up every morning, not knowing whether they will still be alive by the time night falls... My friends are out there, and here I am away from them."
A depression set in, and even though he had counseling with a psychologist, it seemed to do nothing for him. "I just think about my friends," he said, "And how I'm not with them anymore."
"Do you think you abandoned them?" the shrink asked.
"No," Bokaz said, "But... I don't know."
He would recount memories he had with them, laughing and smiling. He could picture himself among his friends, in that Russian land, hearing every passerby speaking a foreign language... and he could smell the air, he could see the sky, and he would be sitting there in Moscow Square, Narfgo reading a foreign newspaper and trying to pronounce the words, and himself commenting, "You fucking idiot. They use an entirely different alphabet." And Narfgo replying with, "Well, that's your perception." And he could hear Kixfar's voice, "Uuuhhhh, we're trying to spot the Russian ambassador. Could you two at least attempt to look like civilized Russian citizens?" And then Felwit saying, "That doesn't mean you should shout out, 'Do it for Stalingrad!' either." And... and he could picture the expression on their faces, as they were doing this. He could imagine the exact timing of their comments, the exact tone they used. Sarcasm, seriousness, lamenting, worry, humor.... He could feel what it was like to be among friends......... but he wasn't. He was back home. He was in a fucking hover chair, sitting on over a million dollars, and no hassles at all. He was puking every fucking morning, because he couldn't stand to look at himself. Every picture of him and his comrades together, torn to fucking pieces.... because he couldn't stand to remember what was gone. Because he couldn't stand to feel the good times, as they were the source of the disease of his soul now. He remembered what it would have been like, if he was among friends in Russia, but then he cried, because he knew that it is not how it is, because that he was not among friends...
The days would pass by, and his Depression would worsen. He would wake up every morning -- this soldier who served his country and made a great sacrifice -- and he would look out the window, and he would see his companions making a joke, about how they had to sleep underneath a house to avoid the secret police. There are nights in his bed, when he wishes that he had been killed by those soldiers that took his legs. Whatever pain he felt then, it was physical, and he would sacrifice his body before he allows his soul to become gangrenous. He wishes that he had died. Perhaps that is the threshold of unhappiness...
His daughter, Jubilee, tried to comfort him as much as she could. She offered him anti-depressant drugs, but those never seemed to help him. He didn't like to take them, because he felt that if he had to take a drug to end his problems, that he was less of a person. Besides, the anti-depressants could not work. They were trying to correct a chemical imbalance of the mind. But a chemical imbalance of the mind was not the disease which struck the soul of Bokaz. It was an unresolved issue that prevented him from sleeping at night, and once that feet had been accomplished, only managing four hours... because he was no longer among friends...
Jubilee would finally invite one of her friends over to talk with her father. "Dad?" she said, to him, as he laid leaning over in his hove chair, holding a shot glass with vodka, "This is my friend Rovka."
"How do you do..." he said, not looking up.
"I'm fine, how are you?" Rovka asked.
"Good," he said, swigging his shot.
Jubilee then took Rovka to her room. "What's wrong with him?" Rovka asked.
"That's what I was trying to tell you about," Jubilee said, "I think he misses his friends. Do you have any idea what we can do?" She showed him the photo album and some information about his friends.
"Why are all the pictures torn, if he misses them?" he asked.
"I don't know," she said, "I'm not really certain."
"That makes me think," he said, not finishing his thought out loud.
"Think what?" she asked.
"Hhhmmmm, nothing..." he responded, "I'll be back tomorrow. I think I know what I can do to help."
The next day would come and he would show up there. "Here," he said, handing her an envelope, "Give this to your father and say he has a letter."
"What is this?" she asked.
"I wrote from the position of one of his friends," he said, "I think it can help him."
"But isn't that just a lie?" she asked.
"Yeah, it is," he said, "But I think it will help."
"Well, fine," she said, "But saying 'I miss you too' won't help him."
"Well, obviously, because my letter doesn't say that," he replied.
"Okay..." she said, walking to her father and giving him the letter.
"Here," she said, "This came in the mail for you, today." He looked up to her, and then looked to the letter, taking it, opening, and reading...
Bokaz folded the letter and put it in his pocket. At this time, he was looking out the window. His daughter came in and asked, "Do you want anything to drink?"
He didn't turn his head from the window, but said one thing, "Isn't today a beautiful day?"
Dedicated to Pockets... I am sorry if I left you behind.