• 16. Ceasefire

    Makeup checked. Waiting for the cab called half an hour ago to be sure to arrive on time.
    Going before all to the ministery to gather the needed papers. Looking eagerly by the window at the streets unfolding fast. The cab driver had to be paid, he was a good driver he could keep the change. Slipping out the cab in a rush. Walking hastily towards the committee’s main corridor. Greeting politely the other diplomats.
    Theodora Kokuboheki sat down with a sigh of relief. She crossed her hands under her chin and breathed deeply to redeem her composure. As foreign minister participating in the public debate about Society’s status was one of her many duties.
    However this time the debate was going wrong. Surprisingly the comittee’s president had some difficulties to silence the assembly.
    - Keep calm! Keep calm or we won’t be able to debate reasonably! He yelled from his desk.
    Mrs Kokuboheki looked at the situation with a quizzical eye. What was going on there? Those people usually so serious were suddenly gossiping like children in a playground.
    The president turned his gaze to her. He stood up and came to her:
    - I’m sorry Theodora. It was too late we have failed.
    She looked up. She could really read consideration but also pity in his eyes.
    - We can still hope for a new beginning but not everyone will see that prospere time coming.
    She raised an eyebrow:
    - Be honest, I think I am quite capable of overtaking everything after losing my beloved as well as my son and enduring the consequences of the Traumatism.
    - Seemingly Hellmet Pitsbulk refuses to negociate whilst there is no one to stand against him as the official opposition anymore.
    Theodora blinked. Her eyes widened in shock. She stood up abruptly:
    - What- what are you saying? No- no way… Hitori… is dead?
    - Yes.
    She clenched her fists. She bit hard her lower lip to restrain her anger.
    And so Hellmet Pitsbulk pretended to be The President, the figurehead of changing but what “new world” was Society his parody of democracy?
    The public debate went on for one hour. She barely paid attention to what was said while only taking notes mechanically to make her report to the minister council.
    Back in her apartement at lunchtime she couldn’t eat anything.
    She drank a few cups of coffee to get better and fell upon the sofa.
    Eyes opened she looked at the sky beyond the window.
    “What I’ve done to deserve such life?” she thought with despair.
    She didn’t like to remain single. It made so many memories to resurface.
    Emptiness was so painful.
    Alone she could let go of her tears. She felt desperate, weary, sleepy, melancholic all of these emotions at the same time.
    She was exhausted she needed a break and everything would restart better as planified.
    Her cell phone vibrated awaking her with a start. She rubbed her eyes and realized it was already 3 in the afternoon. It was the Prime minister calling her personally.
    - Hello?
    - Good afternoon sorry to bother you in such a hard time Theodora. Can you come to the presidential palace as soon as possible? I have a peculiar favour to ask you.
    - Sure, you know I’m the right person to call for such things.
    - I’m not joking.
    - Neither do I. You want me to engage negociation with the high political sphere of Society don’t you? I have nothing to lose trying to conciliate both parts after all.
    They met within the next hour. The Prime minister explained his strategy and inquired if she could do it. She nodded:
    - Right it will be done.
    - Well then good luck. See you in the next world.
    Now she had the key for the defusing. The future of the world lingered between her hands.
    July 15th, 2040:
    Both sides fought head on. The battlefield had become a storm of movements, light and shadows.
    Sun disappeared behind clouds. The temperature dropped.
    The steam coming from the ground settled a ghostly atmosphere.
    Out of supplies and weapons in shorter time than expected the Lonesome people were panting.
    All of a sudden Sen Maa Kloud startled and looked behind. The air was different from before. It felt like it was going to explode the wind had stopped blowing.
    - What’s wrong Sen? Ashley inquired.
    - Seems like one is trying hard to leap through time.
    A red light lit the air, giving life to an interdimensional portail.
    A silhouette took shape in the threshold. The person standing there was a mid aged woman with mid length golden brown hair and azure blue eyes.
    Out of breath she landed and collapsed on the ground.
    Diligently Sen Maa Kloud caught hold of her before she had fallen face ahead.
    She pulled herself together and walked ahead to face the Official army.
    - Wait… Ashley intervened.
    The newcomer shot glance at the Official troopers and clenched her fists.
    - Who is your chief?
    - Here milady, said the squad officer from before. What is your business here?
    She sketched a faint scowl and crossed her arms over her chest:
    - You dare ask me carelessly that sort of things? Ask yourself who I am the answer will be pretty self-explanatory.
    - Who are you?
    - You don’t remember me, do you? Or you must be stupid that’s it. You have killed my family and you expect me to remain silent and stolid. No I won’t. I have had enough of faking smiles when everything went wrong and liars and nonsense commitments. Bear in mind within a few years I’ll become the co founder of the United Countries Committee and the foreign minister of the Afterward Republic. But for now I’m mostly known as Mrs. Theodora Kokuboheki. Do you see better whom you are dealing with right now?
    The squad officer raised an eyebrow. Kokuboheki? He knew this name from somewhere. The late Prime minister’s he realized in shock. This woman called Theodora… could she be?
    - His wife?
    Theodora nodded:
    - Smart cookie yes you got it right.
    - And what are you going to do? Standing there and wait for a miracle? Reality is they won’t come back. Your husband and your son are gone you should bear it in mind.
    Theodora sighed but remained impassive:
    - We can still negociate. It is not already too late. If you let that bomb explode this is the end of everything. The world will never be the same. Its balance will be tipped. Temperatures will come up and down, back and forth from the lowest to the highest and then again from the highest to the lowest. Continents will no longer exist. Made from their scattering there will be only isolated lands gathered together by floating roads on the sea. Undersea the government will build a huge world called Society where most survivors will make a new living for themselves. Families will be shattered. Is this what you want?
    - Obviously not.
    All motors roaring the Jeep swallowed kilometers fast crossing the road to the nuclear power plant right to left, left to right to dodge the bullets.
    The passengers were rolling around, just lucky that they didn’t fall off the vehicle.
    All was Isha focused on was to protect Hitori’s body tightened against her heart.
    They got around the nuclear power plant fast.
    Sen Maa Kloud parked the vehicle nearby.
    The nuclear factory was a giant building made of metal, glass and concrete.
    It was disproportional as all other official buildings ordered by Hellmet Pitsbulk.
    In the end it looked like a fortress.
    - Everybody may wait here I’ll go first he could only say feeling impressed and scared awhile.
    An alert message showed up on Fritz Davis’ screen to notice him about the presence of intruders. They have entered by Ground G at the back of the station now running through Ground E. He was supposed to guard the main laboratory located three floors up on Ground B. A confrontation was inevitable in the next hour however their weapons disadvantaged them. The single blow of any high volt or fire weapon could wreak havoc in the building by provoking an explosion.
    Fritz was tempted to move towards them but a better strategy was to take them by surprise from behind so that they were cornered and unable to escape until their arrestation.
    Ambushed behind a reactor Sen Maa Kloud analysed the battlefield in a single round look: fortunately the coast seemed to be clear. However he ordered his people to wait for green light to make their move.
    They have reached the station too fast, too easily. Their enemies shouldn’t be far.
    Find just in time the access key to the machinery room.
    Switch on the control panels and understand their functioning.
    Defuse the “Shovel of Death” in a very short time before the explosion.
    That’s all they had to do and the world was saved.
    Obviously it was not going to be as easy as they thought it would be.
    Fritz was cautious but not stupid. Though he resented opening fire a gun was hanging at his belt just in case the adversary side would be stronger than expected.
    His enemies have now reached Ground C. They were approaching really fast.
    It left him no other choice than leaving his action station.
    He went downstairs by the emergency exit, laid low behind the door in wait for their coming. He possessed the key. They couldn’t do anything without his help and he was not going to give up that easily.
    Sen Maa Kloud went ahead through the corridor as advance man. There was no one around. He was completely alone. Weird.
    - You won’t pass. You can’t defeat me with the weapons you are currently using.
    Sen startled and turned around. A young man wearing a mechanic coat was glancing at him. Cables and various pieces of metal and machinery spouted out his pockets. His dishevelled hair gave of him the image of a mad scientist.
    He moved forward.
    And so did Sen Maa Kloud.
    They had exactly the same movements. They could oversee each other’s intentions very precisely. Like they were looking at each other in a mirror.
    Sen Maa Kloud saw this fight as a battle against himself.
    Who did he want to become: the coward or the hero?
    Time ran back along the flow of his memories.
    The smoke darkened the sky. Clouds had surrounded the sun.
    Despair and destruction best described the scene.
    Buildings were replaced by rubble. Electric cables sizzled. The strength of the explosion had provoked a general blackout all over the city. There were not enough nuclear shelters to welcome everyone. People were fighting each other for a piece of food, for any small reason just to survive at any cost.
    Fritz stood in the middle of the wreckage of Pitsbulk City. Voiceless he stumbled and fell ahead towards the ground. Everyone said it was an accident, a damn accident.
    - Dammit! He uttered coughing dust.
    He looked at his hand, the hand to have pushed the ultimate button.
    He executed the orders without thinking about the consequences.
    He groped around him for something hard and sharp. There was a piece of glass.
    He slid it around his wrist. A drop of blood streamed along his arm.
    The pain anyhow unbearable was the price to pay according to him.
    He blacked out. Next time he awoke he found himself in a submarine, bundled into a sterile medical unity.
    His wrist was bandaged. Upon the bandage he wore a bracelet saying his new name was Sen Maa Kloud. “New name?” he thought with a start. He realized then he had no memories. He couldn’t remember who he used to be.
    That world called Society was going to be his new home where he could restart everything and make a living.
    But still reality haunted him in his nightmares. In the depth of the night he recalled the circumstances that charged him heavily.
    He woke up in sweat and tears, unable to continue sleeping for a while.
    He had been stupid to obey blindly the orders given. The person responsible was he and not his higher ups. He thought he deserved to be arrested but no one cared about him any longer. So he settled in Society’s surroundings and opened a backstreet hardware store. It turned out to be a good deal. He didn’t attract attention and made a quite good living to provide for his needs. He didn’t want to cause trouble hoping he could get a neutral and peaceful life. He became publicly as invisible as a ghost. He never left the shadows of his quirky store. He was almost waiting eagerly for death to take him to repay for his dealings.
    The balance changed when he met Sempai one ordinary day.
    Sempai could use him as a sneaker. It was not well paid but the job could let him come back to the good side. He just had to sneak information for the Lonesome revolutionary. That way he could take revenge against those who asked him to cross the line and push the button. Moreover he could repay for his debt towards mankind.
    He did not accepted at first. It was too easy. You made yourself responsible for the end of the world, earned a living from a good deal based on your cowardice and your fear of being arrested and then come back to the good side so soon? No way people would not accept this.
    But, thinking about it twice, was it not as well his aim to denounce the regime? Why did they give him the order to launch the bomb in the first place?
    Forcibly it was too late but he could still try to understand the causes according to the consequences. It was at that time he began to carry on experimentations about time travelling.
    He got a hit what pulled him out his thoughts.
    He looked at Fritz Davis in other words at himself.
    To win he had to accept this part of him that told him he was not a hero. Not really a coward either, just himself an ordinary mechanic involved in a trail of events that went far beyond his knowledge and his understanding.
    He sighed. It was going to be hard but he must bore it.
    When the merging occurred he got back his memories from the old days.
    When his eyes opened again he smiled.
    Admitting his mistakes and his responsibilities was the least he could do. Now he got the improbable opportunity to come back to the past and repair his failures.
    But… was it the right thing to do?

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