Mick's Rejects

The fiction no one wanted


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THE MISSIONARY – Chapter 3 – part 2

“What about… your male? Does he remember his parents?”

Teyata shook her head. “Do you want to go hunting?”

Her short attention span frustrated him, but then it should. Teyata, a manine, had to not only absorb the physical attributes of a cat, but surely some of their traits. She acted impulsively and seemingly without restraint, putting their friendship into question. As soon as she grew bored with their relationship, she’d move on without giving him another thought, much as cat’s loyalty never went beyond the food bowl.

“Teyata, you’ve seen my world as it was, in the holographic books. Have you ever wondered why everything’s different now?”

She shrugged. “This is the new world. The old world was just a dream.”

“No; it was real!” Brad erupted.

Teyata looked appalled.

“I’m sorry. Look; there was a war.”

“What is a war?”

“It’s something only men do. They fight and kill each other in great numbers.”

Teyata gaped, nodding knowingly.

Good; she understands that. 

“Like the males in my clowder. Sometimes clowders fight each other.”

“No, no,” Brad said, lowering his head into his hands.

Taking a moment to compose himself, he sighed with the raising of his head.

“The whole world fought. Billions died.”

Teyata stared blankly.

“You don’t know how many that is; do you?”

She shook her head.

“Imagine how many grains there are in a handful of sand. Then if you were to dig a up a pile of sand for an hour; that’d be how many people died. I might be the only one left. Everyone, and everything I know is gone.”

He felt his eyes water. Shock and pain had descended on his shoulders in too great a proportion for any human being to bear. To make matters worse, he sat in the presence of an emotionally shallow being. At this moment, he needed her embrace, but Teyata would never do so unless it led to a sexual encounter. Didn’t she learn anything about humanity from the books? Touch between human beings was vital. It stopped the soul from shrivelling away inside. Men cemented deals with the shaking of hands. Friends embraced, and married couples intertwined with each other in sexual union.

Brad sighed. He would have to bear his burden alone.

Teyata’s fingers crept over the back of his hand. He looked up as her hand slid over his. She looked meaningfully, eventually smiling as Brad smiled.

“You do know something about us,” he said, almost tearfully.

Teyata only nodded. Brad drank in her features in each minute detail; recalling something… she looked familiar.

“I think I know you,” he said.

She hunched her shoulders. “I’m Teyata.”

“No; before. I used to watch you go down the street to the bus stop each morning, just before I had to go to school. Damn, I thought you were beautiful then, but… even more so now.”

Teyata grinned, leaning into kiss him.

Brad pulled away. “Don’t you remember? I mean who you were?”

She rolled her eyes in thought.

“Sometimes I see a woman from the old world in my mind. But it’s just a dream.”

“So you’re not her?”

Teyata shook her head. “No; not her.”

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THE MISSIONARY – Chapter 3 – part 1

Day 3…

“Brad! Brad!”

It took a few times for Teyata’s voice to permeate his consciousness. He raised his head from the reading desk, grunting with pain from his stiff neck.

“Brad!”

Her voice, somewhat muffled came from the front of the building. He winced; his sleeve wet with drool. Sunlight already filtered into the mezzanine level via the windows. How tired could he have been not to have heard the raising of the shutters? With a yawn, he made his way down the stairs, now able to see Teyata through the glass front door. She beamed brightly, shifting on the spot.

“I can’t get in Brad!”

“Just wait a minute!”

In the past, a security guard or a staff member might have unlocked the library. Brad had to find the key. He did a quick among the aisles, finding a uniform skeleton wearing a key chain. Unlatching it, he ran back to the front door and opened the electrical box nearby. Rows of labelled buttons presented themselves within. Finding the one marked front door, he pressed at waited. The door remained closed.

Teyata growled and slashed, making Brad jolt with the ferocity of the blow.

He looked back at the box, discovering a small rectangular screen, flashing please input code. 

Cursing under his breath, he depressed the help button.

A narrow beam of light, shone down from the ceiling and expanded into a holographic security guard with his hands behind his back.

“Can I help you?” asked the guard.

“I’ve forgotten the code,” Brad lied. “Can you unlock the door for me?”

“I’m not authorised to open it until that clock on the wall reads 9 am.”

“Thank you.”

With a nod, the image shrank to a beam of light, then disappeared. Brad ran and vaulted over the counter. Taking the chair from behind the desk, he wheeled it under the clock and readjusted the time. He returned to the security box and pressed help again. As before, the security guard appeared with his hands behind his back.

“Can I help you?”

“It’s 9 o’clock.”

The guard angled his head and nodded, disappearing to the audible click of the door unlocking.

Brad barely pushed the door open, when Teyata bounded through, almost overbalancing him with her embrace. He smiled weakly as she tightened her grip for a moment. When she broke away, her smile remained just as broad.

“I’ve learned something very bad, Teyata.”

He guided her over to the lounges, and seated himself.

“Please sit down,” he said, taking her hand.

She sat beside him, staring curiously.

“Do you know what you are, Teyata?”

“A manine; I’ve told you that.”

“Yes, but a manine is a mixture of man and feline.”

Her eyes danced over him without response.

“A feline is a cat, like Ben, the small animal that was with me.”

He waited for a response, but it seemed like Teyata did the same.

“Teyata, I’m guessing your age is… twenty four?”

She shrugged.

“Do you remember your parents?”

Teyata rolled her eyes in thought, but said nothing.

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THE MISSIONARY – Chapter 2 – part 21

“Show me a menu for light reading,” said Brad.

The column of light collapsed; replaced with another. One topic stood out.

“Weird and wonderful, please.”

A white table appeared as Brad went down the list, sorting his way through three pages without interest. A heading at the top of the fourth page made him pause.

“What is, ‘Scientific Spectacular?'” he asked.

“It is a humourous collective of scientific claims made by somewhat less than reliable sources.”

That sounded like what he needed to get back to sleep.

“Show me the table of contents.”

Another table swirled into being. Brad smirked, snorted, then tittered at the list of topics. A woman said she’d taught her fish how to read. Another claimed she could tell a person’s future by reading their cigarette butts. A man using counselling techniques tried to talk coma patients back to consciousness.

Brad read through some of the claims and laughed. People who consented to an interview with the magazine did so at their own peril. The reporters spoke to people a little naive, perhaps even deluded, but they made their claims in all sincerity. At times through the articles, the reporters would add witty comments, giving the report a humourous twist.

He skimmed over the articles sparking his interest, then clicked next page. BEWARE THE MERGE MUTATIONS appeared in bold lettering at the top of the page.

This’ll be good.

Smirking, he clicked on the title.

“Beware the merge mutations,” said a male voice.

Brad had heard the same voice for some of the other articles. Obviously he listened to a paid reader working for the magazine.

“Believe it or not; we’ve been contacted by a man claiming to be a scientist in America. And get this… he works for the US military. No, it’s not a hoax!” he said with mock conviction. “He did the accent and everything! It seems we’re privileged to have his input as he says no one else will listen to him, including his own government. This man, who wishes to remain anonymous, says that there will be a missile strike soon. And by the way, he wouldn’t name the country making the launch. As we are a politically correct publication, we won’t name the only country with a nuclear missile program. It’s the other one.

The reported laughed.

“Anyway the missiles coming are not nuclear. They’re filled with a new gas which he names…”

Papers shuffled.

“IKX-7. As we know, this anonymous country has outgrown themselves so they want to move in here. The “scientist,” says that it can’t move into an atomically devastated region. That makes sense; I’ll give him that. So! It seems they’ve developed a gas. Correction; this man has developed the gas. The idea behind it is so that the invading country can move in without having to rebuild. It seems this gas is lethal; odourless, colourless, and only has to make contact with the skin to result in instant death.

But this is where it gets good. The gas itself is not the real danger. Professor Anonymous says that the entire world will suffer if the gas is launched. His anonymous military hasn’t allowed him to properly test the compound and have mass produced it for their warheads. According to Professor Anonymous, IKX-7 was 100% successful in all lab tests on animals. He claims that atmospheric conditions will give a completely different result. He says…”

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THE MISSIONARY – Chapter 2 – part 19

Reports followed; entire pages of them, but he only managed to glean snippets of information from various places, eventually giving him the entire picture. It seemed King Harold had a change of heart, five months into the war. America had missile silos in England. Harold sent his SAS to storm the facilities, then used MI5 to creatively acquire the launch codes. They then turned the missiles on America, to only have them retaliate with another launch of their own.

European nations joined their English allies, expanding the war further. Eventually, Asia joined the fray, culminating in a world at war. Missiles flew either way across the oceans.

But that doesn’t make sense.

If countries all around the world launched missile strikes, then why didn’t he see the rubble of ruined cities? And where did all of these strange creatures come from?

His searches turned up more and more headlines, but nothing to answer his questions. Unable to concentrate any longer, he decided to retire for the evening. The chairs and tables in the reading room, didn’t make for a good bed, and he didn’t feel like curling up on the floor. He recalled the foyer had a few lounges. Making his way down stairs, he had to grip the handrail. His legs still felt rubbery and ached from the run with Teyata.

Green lounges lined the walls either side of the main counter. They looked firm. He’d at least need a pillow or waked up stiff necked in the morning. A glance at the children’s reading corner revealed an assortment of stuffed animals. Taking up a cute faced killer whale, he pulled it up under his head as he laid on the lounge. It felt as hard beneath his back as it promised. He turned on his side during the night, slipping in an out of consciousness.

Sometime in the early morning, he awoke with a chill, then groaned in agony at the pain in his lower back. He rolled over, lowering himself to the floor with his hands as he looked at the wall mounted clock.

“Hours to go before morning,” he muttered.

He sifted among the cans of drink on the floor by the foot of the dispensing machine and cracked one open. When the liquid made its way to his stomach, he realised he drank out of habit more than the need to quench his thirst. With can in hand, he made his way back up the spiral staircase and turned on the holographic book and selected the orally operated option. The orange column of light returned.

“Show me a music menu,” he said.

The list seemed too extensive, especially for his tired mind to make a choice.

“How about an automated radio broadcast?”

“From a local station?” said the book.

“Yeah.”

Brad wrenched out the headphone jack. A song played; one that he recognised. He could listen to it, he just wouldn’t have requested it over the phone. Sighing he, looked over the holographic table of contents, trying to make up his mind what to read.

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THE MISSIONARY – Chapter 2 – part 18

Keagan held up his hands before the shouts became too boisterous.

“I’m not authorised to relinquish one of the colonies directly, so I rang the king, asking if England would back us up, if it came to war.”

Silence followed as he paused.

“It seems, King Harold has left the decision in my hands. If we’re to fight, we do it alone…”

Shouts arose, angrier than before.

“Quiet please,” said Keagan.

“We’ve fought enough wars for them!” cried a man as the voices abated.

“Now is not the time for that!” Keagan said firmly. “We’ve got to prepare for the storm ahead! I believe this decision is far too great for one man to make, so I’m putting forward a referendum. The vote is simple; do we go to war, or not?”

Shouts rose again, cut off with a change of scene. A reporter stood outside parliament house’s front with microphone in hand, giving a recap of the address.

Brad turned off the newscast, and scanned further down the menu. He knew the Aussies voted “yes;” the war came. Curiosity compelled him to stop on a heading published the very next day, intitled – war polling results. Clicking on the heading revealed two columns; one for yes and one for no. The decision to go to war reached a staggering 97%.

Brad sighed and stretched, draining the last of his soft drink. Opening a chocolate bar, he bit off two squares as he clicked on ensuing news reports, finding very few. Police arrested one reporter for inadvertently revealing Aussie naval movements, and recieved a sentence of several years. It seemed the media learned their lesson as no more arrests followed.

Only two items came through the news of Aussie successes. One where a heated exchange occurred in the south pacific. Another; when American elitists landed near Darwin. A contingent of Aussie infantry dispatched them with little loss of life. It seemed sheer numbers had brought the fight to Australia’s shores, but that was nine months into the war. In their Arrogance, the foreign giants predicted victory within a month.

“Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it,” Brad quoted.  

He recalled a time in his history class when another powerful nation dared to overpower South Africa for its diamonds. Not only did the small nation dig in and defy England, but virtually it’s entire empire.

For Brad, the war didn’t change his routine at home. He still went to school. Mum still went to work. The only real difference in his life came when the police took his father away to a detainment facility where he’d have to stay until the end of the war. It came as a relief not to have the constant abuse of his father. Although his mother never said anything, he sensed she felt the same.

Unavoidable news came home about the war, such as the time the deputy principle made an announcement that one of the teachers died in battle.

Brad’s compulsion to know the order of events spurred him on to click on more headlines.

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THE MISSIONARY – Chapter 2 – part 17

“Might as well get started,” he muttered.

He looked down the table of contents clicking on topics he thought relevant. Reading through the 6th document, he stopped as the window shutters rattled loudly, sliding down and sealing him in the building.

“I might as well eat,” he told himself.

He trudged down the stairs, feeling hungrier than he realised when he spotted the vending machine. Not wanting to go through pockets again for change, he picked up a chair and swung the legs hard into the window. At the last moment, he turned his head, as glass shattered, stinging his legs. Angling the chair, he broke away the jagged edges before reaching inside and extracting a packet of chips.

On opening them, they smelt good, but tasting them, revealed their staleness. Still, it filled a hole. He scoffed down two packets, then took out an armload of snacks. Breaking into the drink machine yielded another can of drink. Taking his meal upstairs, he resumed his seat, then went further down the table of contents. Two, then three hours elapsed without him finding the information he needed.

He clicked onto a new page. At the head of the page a headline in bold print demanded his attention; 2131 Prime Minister Keagan’s address to the nation.

Clicking on the headline produced a holographic image of Prime Minister Keagan, standing on a podium. He wore a grey pin striped suit, and blue tie. His grey hair looked swept back in the manner of the 1950s with matching, thick sideburns.

Brad witnessed the shift of heads in the background.

“Quiet please,” said a male voice off camera.

“I remember this,” said Brad.

Although he didn’t take much notice at the time, he recalled watching Prime Minister Keagan’s address on TV with his parents.

“Fellow Aussies,” Keagan began. “It’s for a very solemn occasion that I have called this address. As you know, President Logan of the United States has visited here and been in conference with me for he last few days. He flew back home this morning, but not before making me an offer.”

He stared intently into the crowd.

“Or as he put it, an offer for you. America’s in dire straits.”

Some of the attendees voiced sympathies.

“Due to their open slather immigration policy since the early 1900s, they simply have no more room left. Resources have been depleted. In short, I was told they wanted… in fact need our home.”

Murmurs arose.

“Quiet please; let the Prime Minister speak!” said the same male voice off camera.

“President Logan told me that there’d be benefits to being the 51st state.”

Angry shouts filled the air, so much so, that no appealing by security for calm could lull the crowd.

In the end, Keagan raised his arms for quiet.

“That’s about what I said too! President Logan wouldn’t commit himself, but he hinted that if we didn’t take his offer, then America would be forced to take our country.”

“Let the Yanks try and take it!” yelled a woman from the crowd.

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THE MISSIONARY – Chapter 2 – part 16

It suddenly occurred to him what she meant.

“A bike,” he said.

Teyata leaned forward. “Yes, show me the bike.”

Images of BMX bikes began to sprout from the disc.

Teyata fumed. “That’s not it!”

She glared at the disc.

Brad leaned forward. “Show images of the FQ-7 motorcycle, 2130 model.”

A blue version of the bike appeared and slowly revolved.

“Preferably in lime green, both stationary and in motion,” said Brad.

Teyata stared over the holographic model and watched as a man straddled the machine and slipped on his helmet. With a twist of the key, it rumbled into life.

“The green thing’s happy,” said Teyata.

For a moment, Brad wondered what she meant. It then occurred to him that she thought of the rumbling of the engine as purring.

The bike lurched from the spot, angling around corners on busy city streets. It left the suburbs, travelling along a winding coastal road, then accelerated as Teyata watched; mesmerised by its speed. It came to a stop a minute later, then faded from view. A bird cried, sounding something like a seagull.

Teyata snapped her head aside to look out of one of the windows.

“I have to go now.”

Brad saw two hours of daylight left. He assumed Teyata needed time to both hunt and return home in time.

“Alright,” said Brad. “I’ll just stay here for a while.”

Teyata shot him a horrified look.

“You don’t know what’s outside after dark; do you?”

Brad pointed at the nearest window.

“See that? It’s a roller shutter. On closing hours, this place locks up automatically. Nothing can get inside when that happens.”

Teyata looked worried, but backed away. She bounded on top of the rails of the spiral staircase and paused.

“It’s alright; go,” Brad assured her.

Without another word, she angled down and ran from view. Brad noted the huge clock on the wall, showing almost 5.30 PM. From memory, the library closed at about 6, then he’d be safe for the evening, provided nothing entered the doors within the next half hour.

No use fretting about it. If it happens; it happens. 

He leaned over the microphone.

“Please show me documentation on the start of the war.”

“Which war would you like to read about?” said the holographic book.

“The third world war. I want to know how it began.”

“It began on the 11th of June, 2131. America attacked Australia, first by sea engagements in the Pacific…”

“No! I want to know what led up to it.”

“Australia set up defenses and early warning posts along its coastline. In order to take the fight away from home… “

“No I meant the politics. What negotiations led to the war?”

“America declared war…”

Brad sighed. This isn’t any good. 

He would have to manually sift through the information.

“Please show me menu of all documentation on the war of 2131.”

The orange column of light displayed a table of contents. Brad checked the number of pages at the bottom. His heart sank – 1471 pages.  

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