an excerpt from enemy:
coming of the storm.
maggie, don't leave me. i can't do this without you.
A part of his soul was gone forever, and in its place, something
black was born. He would make the Enemy suffer. He would hunt them
down to the last traitor.
Judas Simon was reborn in the fire of her death.
* * *
It was beauty and it was terror and it was all.
One hundred grams of alloys and plastics and the echoes of
biology, the decision was made and the machine was hurtled from
a rocket bay miles within the planet to the farthest reaches of
the system. The primary propulsion rockets separated and the solar
sail deployed in a flash of gossamer golden filaments. The sail
spread out to grasp the stars, and a fusion concussion fed the ever-increasing
velocity of the precious spacecraft. At several million astronomical
units and several hundred thousand years, the unit achieved nine-tenths
light speed. The journey of infinity had begun.
Nanotechnological ramscoops collected the materials required
to procreate, and in the night between the galaxies the tiny vessel
created an exact copy of itself. The two remnants of a civilization
now aeons dead separated and for an instant the first machine felt
an emotion. It dismissed the feeling and began to replicate another
child. The second vessel set off on an alternate trajectory, the
deployed solar sail sweeping eerily before it, mute golden wings
in the void of silence and nothing, forever departing from its immaculate
and sole parent.
For billions of years the process continued. The original
machine died, but the infinite spawn carried the message forever
onward. The universe became populated with the machines. The expansion
of existence eventually forced the universal heat death. Organic
life became an impossibility, and the technological lifeforms flourished.
The machines continued onward, waiting for the time that their precious
cargo could live again.
When all fell back together, the machines fell silent. Maximum
expansion had been achieved. When they encountered a solar system,
sometimes organic life could be reconstituted from the biological
patterns recorded so long ago on a planet in a system long dust.
Now all that they could do was wait for that life to grow anew.
In those days between the death of everything and the rebirth
of less than humanity, it hurtled into damnation and spawned and
its progeny spread outward and outward and consumed everything in
their path and before Omega it judged that all that it had created
was good and redeemable and it sent the newborns back into the blackness
to save those unfortunate enough to have remained behind.
They would live forever. In the ocean of silver fire, Omega
would be the salvation and the nirvana and the extinction and the
* * *
The void between the stars was torn open, and for an instant,
a darker Blackness existed.
The world became light, and the Judas Magdalene fell to her
Within the chaos of the night, countless futures died.
"Where'd they come from? There shouldn't be any activity
back this far! Even if Command--"
(they could've known that already.)
"They're jeopardizing everything. We have to send word
to the others."
He felt it. "The Shadow?"
(fatal error. drive containment critical. ten cycles max
until containment loss and drive implosion.)
"Can it be prevented? Backup registry?"
"We can't let them get away."
(you'll board the lifeboats and regroup on the surface. i'll
attempt to alert the fleet of our situation. the traitors won't
"I'm not going to leave you."
(it's the only way. i'll try to contact you if i can find
a secure landing area. i'm scanning the surface...)
"Where is the Enemy vessel now?"
(i've tracked it to the belt. hopefully it won't come back
until our reinforcements arrive.)
"If they arrive."
"I only hope Simon and the others haven't been swayed
(simon would never betray us.)
"Kilbourne could have told him anything."
(he wouldn't betray us.)
"I'm staying with you."
(you can't. if i can't eject the drives
you'll be safe
on the surface.)
(seven cycles until implosion.)
"Are you sure we'll be undetected?"
(i've found a safe area to planetfall. there's a trench in
the largest ocean.)
"Can your shields withstand the impact?"
(failure of primary containment system. shadow drive's going
critical. i'm launching your lifeboat, reynald. prepare for--)
"Maggie-- Identify phase space disruption at seven-five,
nine-five, bubble one eight!"
(it's one of them. enemy pattern.)
"This When's crawling. We have to--"
* * *
an excerpt from enemy:
planet of the dead.
She was trapped in their power. Her dreams always haunted
her, bringing up memories of a past she still struggled to forget.
But she was a Styx.
falling. falling. endless. darkness. a child. blood. mercy.
merciless. a flickering of images. an orb of stars. flashes of light.
bodies. massacre. judgment. a shift. terror.
loss of humanity.
the light oh god the light. heaven and hell and the stillness
a weapon: slaughterer of innocents--
She snapped upright from where she had been sleeping and
stifled the urge to scream. Her breath came hard, fast; she was
bathed in sweat.
Vertigo. Where am I?
Then she heard the weeping and the moaning of the wounded.
A child cried out for his mother, began to sob. Other voices joined
it in abject despair. She saw the dim glow of the chemlites.
She was still in the tunnel.
Someone was there.
She sensed someone staring at her from the darkness. She
tried to speak, but her voice was still a harsh whisper. There had
been chemical warfare on the surface.
She found her flashlight and turned it on to see who was
watching her. Time was distorted in the tunnel, but she sensed that
it was nighttime on the surface. Most of the refugees in the tunnel
The medic sat watching her from the shadows.
"I'm sorry... Did I wake you?"
She shook her head, looked at him questioningly.
"Good. I brought a biotic for your throat."
He came closer and sat down next to her against the wall.
Someone screamed; whether in sleep or in the waking state she could
"Open up." She obeyed, and he activated the biotic
field, sweeping the back of her throat. She gasped as the human-engineered
biological organisms attacked the infection.
"Don't fight it. It'll burn for a while, but you'll
be better in a few minutes."
She smiled and looked down at his name tag. Hayes.
He noticed her gaze. "Simon Evan Hayes. Chief Medical
Officer of the Fourteenth Assault. Born and raised in Harkness,
Her eyes widened. He smiled, looked sadly down the length
of the tunnel.
"Yes. That Harkness, Michigan. The one that went 'boom.'"
She placed her hand on his shoulder.
"Let's see if the biotics have done their job yet. Try
to say something, but don't force it. Start out by telling me your
"Good start. What Flynn, if I may be so bold?"
"Ember Magdalene Flynn." Her throat was on fire,
but even in its strangely cracked timbre, her brogue shined through
enough to make Hayes smile with surprise.
"And where are you from, Ms. Flynn? Brooklyn?"
She laughed, for the first time in
in a long time.
A very long time.
"My friends call me Maggie. I come from New Belfast."
"Oh, I couldn't tell." His smile was the brightest
thing she could see in the expanse of the tunnel. He was of course
being sarcastic. "What brings you to Seattle, Ms. Flynn? The
lovely scenery, the accommodations, the shopping and sightseeing?
Are you into grunge, Cobain, coffeehouses, drummers and guitarists
with scruffy goatees? That sort of thing?"
She tapped the Milicom identification burn on her forearm.
"I heard there was a little fight going on, and I figured I
could help out."
"Ah, beloved Milicom Systems International. You were
caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, Ms. Flynn. You would
have been safer back at home, probably."
"I haven't been home in twelve years. With the troubles
in Quebec and all
I joined up to fight in that war; I've been
stationed in the ASA ever since the annexation. I guess this is
my home now, so I'm fighting again to save it."
Hayes uttered a pained laugh. "Not much worth saving
anymore. America the beautiful. Loyalty, freedom, individuality.
Greed, corruption, an insatiable desire to achieve globalized manifest
destiny. All the things our fathers died for in War Three. You are
one of a dying breed, Ms. Flynn." His smile reassured her that
he was being sarcastic, but she could tell that he was being genuine.
"Has there been any word from above?"
Hayes looked down and studied the chemlite; the gentle smile
disappeared from his face. "The messages stopped coming through
yesterday. No one else has come from above. At last word, all of
Europe was gone." She flinched when he said this, but he continued.
"In the end, even Indochine was begging for our help, but it
appears we have problems of our own." He indicated the tunnel
they were presently inhabiting and the sleeping refugees. "America
the beautiful indeed."
"What are they?"
Hayes looked up to the ceiling of the tunnel. An occasional
explosion would send grit and dust falling leisurely to the tunnel
floor in this windless expanse. Sometimes there was the sound of
what appeared to be a lightning strike on the surface. Hayes shook
his head and looked back down. "I don't know what they are.
I can't know what they are. I don't want to think of them."
"I was just--"
"You were a member of the forces that took Montreal,
weren't you? The Eighth Assault? Don't worry, I have nothing against
the Styx." His abrupt change of subject startled Flynn. His
eyes revealed a calm that she dearly wished that she could possess.
She looked down at the floor. "Yes. I was in Montreal."
He pulled his shirtsleeve up to reveal a neatly branded "XIV"
on his left bicep. "I was in Fourteenth Assault. I believe
we took the names after you guys kicked the asses. So it was true.
Milicom was behind it all
How the hell did you get to Seattle?...
You weren't exiled to that island, were you? The rumors were true."
"I was never on Santa Fosca. They hid some of us, sprinkling
us around the Allied States. As a hidden line of defense."
"What level are you?"
"Jesus. The highest level I had ever heard of was an
"How much do you know about us?"
"Only what was published in the medical journals."
She was secretly relieved.
"How many of you were hidden?"
"I only know of three. Two K's and an L. There might
have been more"
"You were too much of an investment to kill off."
She sat in the dark, contemplating. "Something like
Hayes laughed, shook his head. She trusted him already. There
was just something about him...
"Well, my new friend, your secret is safe with me. I
have other patients to tend to. It was a pleasure to meet you, Ember
Their gazes locked in the shadows.
"Ember is my Styx code. No one calls me that anymore.
Call me Maggie."
"Alright. It was a pleasure to meet you, Maggie."
He grinned as he walked into the darkness.
* * *
an excerpt from enemy:
time of the damned.
Arik Mandela began the killing frenzy.
He had issued the orders, and then his warriors had lain
in shift as the Enemy drew closer. He had drawn first blood, and
all hope lay in that first strike. If his plan fell through, then
they were all damned.
When the Enemy strike force had stormed through the hole cut into
the door, they had not expected the Judas to be shifted. For their
mistake, they were summarily torn apart.
Now the stream of Black flying into the chamber had been
cut off. So they know where we are now, Mandela thought.
Power play over.
The mind-essence slammed into him with unspeakable force,
struggling to make him shift down. His mental defenses were rapidly
It's now or never. He jumped into action.
In the lapse of time before the inevitable second wave, he
led his elite Alpha squad to the corpses of the Enemy drifting languidly
in the aftermath of the initial strike. His warriors were like an
extension of himself, following his unspoken orders exactly.
Mandela said a silent prayer for the innocents, for the martyrs,
for the infinite dead. He knew what he had to do to end the Enemy
Purpose. With Shiva destroyed and Simon gone, the Enemy fleet was
now travelling Upwhen at an incredible speed unchecked.
Toward the Judas. Toward Command.
They had to get to the comnet to dispatch an emergency beacon
to warn the Fleet. If they couldn't get a message through, if the
viral code could not be updated before the Enemy found it, all was
He looked over the brave Judas warriors before him, and screaming
the war cry with which they had followed him into battle countless
times before, he thrust himself through the door, using an Enemy
corpse as a shield into the midst of the damned.
The Black horde was slow to react at the sight of their own
dead comrades returning, but that changed as the corpses were thrust
aside and Alpha squad emerged.
The Judas met the Enemy in an insane clash of death.
Mandela threw aside the bulky Black corpse and used his shifted
arm to smash through the skull of the Enemy closest to him. He dispatched
two more Enemy warriors before feeling a sear of agony as most of
his left leg was cut from him by the deadly flicker of an Enemy's
phase weapon. Silver tendrils began to encompass the cauterized
wound. He spun around in the zero-grav and tore through the faceless
helmet of the Black. The Enemy were slow to raise the massive phase
weapons they used in the cramped confines of the corridor, and the
Judas cut madly through their lines. The Black were caught off-guard.
Mandela became faint from the sheer agony of his leg wound
and found it increasingly difficult to shift as the Enemy mind-essence
unceasingly struggled to infiltrate his mind. Mandela saw that the
members of Alpha were quickly succumbing, unable to withstand the
Enemy mind, unable to shift. The Enemy were gaining ground.
He signaled to the two Judas closest to him and they broke
from the Enemy lines, speeding insanely down the empty corridors
to the nearest available comnet. Their departure not unnoticed,
a flood of Black poured after them.
They knew it was suicide.
Mandela maneuvered himself to the comnet panel, guarded by
his two fellow Judas, who deftly dodged the searing beams of silver
light emanating from the writhing mass trailing them. The command
codes entered, Mandela screamed above the din of the battle to relay
"Mujahadin Shiva has been destroyed! I repeat, Shiva's
been destroyed! The viral code's been compromised. You have to update
the Program Seven command codes!"
One Judas fell. In a flash of gore, his other guard erupted.
Blood that looked and felt all-too-real stippled Mandela's
face in a crimson palette.
"They're in my fucking ship! I repeat, the viral code's
been compromised! Update the program before they find you!"
Message completed. He entered the encrypted coordinates and
sent it Upwhen, hoping against hope. Looking down the corridor,
he could see the Enemy pour into the stasis chamber. Screams of
pain and horror. He felt their deaths as painfully as he sensed
his own impending erasure from the program. His warriors were no
more. He was alone. One of the damned exited the stasis chamber
holding a round object that could only be the pattern cache of the
nacelle. Mandela realized with a morbid fascination that his pattern
was contained within that phased piece of metal, along with the
patterns of millions of other people.
The Enemy only feet away, the mind-essence finally breached
the mental defenses of Mandela. He was flooded with terror like
none he had felt before as countless fiery claws tore at his soul.
The Enemy knocked him aside and swept over the communications panel
he had just accessed. Silver tendrils of metal crawled over and
into the surface of the array. A flicker of light and all the information
the mind-essence needed had been retrieved. The Enemy turned to
Mandela forced himself from his reverie and focused every
last bit of strength into shifting his arm.
He would never be a part of the Purpose.
He would never give them his soul. He would never give them
the souls of his soldiers, his friends, his family.
He reached out with the last of his strength and the pattern
cache held by the Enemy erupted in a burst of phased energy. His
soul was no more.
The Enemy at the end of the corridor reacted in confusion
as the Judas who had stood before them vanished in a burst of static
and light. The mind-essence reacted with fury as the pattern cache
ceased to exist.
Arik Mandela's war was over.