Alvis sat on a stool, glancing around the cavern for the fortieth time. The gleaming mass of pipes, vats, and inscrutable dials and switches offered no more clues than they had on his previous circuits. Francis hadn’t offered much in the way of an explanation, however Alvis had elicited that Tomoyo and Nakomoto lived full time in the space and had since they were children.
Alvis heard the creature’s splash before he saw it. He swung round to look at the arrivals, eyes pleading for a glimpse of his parents. “Alvis, I’m so terribly sorry” Nakomoto told him. “We were too late: the Guardian’s eliminated your Fathers. There was nothing we could do.”
“NO!” the boy screamed, sobbing uncontrollably as all semblance of stability evaporated from his life.
“This will hurt for some time. On one level it will never stop. But don’t be afraid son, we are here for you. We are your protectors now.” He stepped towards the boy, embracing him. Alvis did nothing to resist.
“But we must see your relic, it is imperative: our only defense against these mongrels” said Tomoyo. Alvis passed her the jawbone. He was in no state to refuse, or even really hear the adults. His awareness was captured by the tragedy. All he could truly see was that all he had ever known was crumbling before him. Tomoyo took the bone and walked towards a bench. She plucked a minuscule spatula from a shelf and scraped a small portion into a diamond tube. Holding the sample reverently before her, she crossed the space and placed it into a perfectly matched socket in the front of the nearest vat. With an elegant flourish, she commanded the vat to awake, and a loud pumping sound erupted as the container began to fill from the lake. She stepped to her left and repeated the process with another tube and vat. Twenty minutes later she had completed the procedure, and the cave thrummed to a thunderous industrial symphony.
Back in the capital, a hazmat suited tyrannosaurus stood surveying the crater. “Five Guardians and the Jasiel men… there goes any bargaining power we had with the boy.”
“This changes nothing. The radicals have the bone, the boy has no more part to play in this. Let us be thankful that their warhead was well targeted. We can rebuild the pan opticon, and the radiation will be eliminated by sun-up.” the gorilla said. “Our priority now is propaganda. You won’t be the only archosaur before long — only the others won’t be mere costumes. We must prepare for the questions. We need to be on top of this.”
“Quite. This will shake Atlassian to it’s very foundations. Everything we’ve created, everything we have taught. Incinerated. Inform the others. We gather immediately.”
The light waned, and as the sun began to set on the city, the Guardian’s orthodoxy and command began to fade with it.
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