• 19- Now or never

    Naomi Kokuboheki felt cramped bundled into the nuclear shelter she was assigned into and could not stay in place for more than seconds. At thirty-five she was an engaged singer founder of the Next Century Loners music band.
    For many years she had cut all ties with her family the day her father tried to convince her to engage in politics. It was something she could not be forced to. It appeared in her eyes that he would have liked her to follow his steps however she was not interested at all in holding a high position in the government. The seeds for the change were to be found in other ways of engagement. She was a woman of character usually wearing men clothing and suffered no authority. Somehow as the lead singer of the Next Century Loners she was her own authority. It did not meant she liked to give orders or thought herself above laws but more like she did not trust anymore in the official speeches. She just admired the bravery of those who tried to conciliate both sides with patience, resolve and words rather than wars and weapons.
    Her little brother for example he was one of the few people she appreciated in the family. They did not need words to understand each other because they shared the same will. . It has been years since she saw him for last. Wearily she switched on the multitask watch hanging around her wrist to take a peek at latest news. It displayed the amateur shots people had taken so far of the recent events.
    She sighed and pulled her guitar off the ground, a vivid blue electric guitar that is why she was nicknamed Blue Bird by her mates. She set the tuning breaking accidentally a string and saw it as a sign of bad luck.
    - Tch! She uttered.
    She lit up a cigarette and looked beyond the shelter’s sealed window at the battlefield
    The battle had wrecked havoc around the city smashing the buildings and the public equipment to bits. Out of anger her cigarette crashed on the wall leaving a trail of ash on the metal. It could have been compared to the world itself if the bomb was really gong to explode and she wondered how to put an end to that unending cycle of wars without provoking another war, a war of interest and mass destruction.
    She switched on the radio given the latest news were broadcasted in real time.
    The events were told from the point of view of the Official people from what she understood the revolutionaries had already reached the city’s nuclear power plant.
    She smiled. Actually after so many years of waiting the revolution was on the air.
    “ – We can’t tell yet if the battle has made victims but from what witnesses reported we are almost sure that the leader of the uprising Hitori Kokuboheki also son of the former Prime Minister is known dead by now.”
    Eyes widened in shock Naomi rose up and shut off the radio.
    - No way… they will pay for that those officials! She uttered.

    Her motorbike flying down the city at full speed, Naomi pestered about politics in general. No way the current government could have stayed in place for ten years if people had revolted earlier but people were naïve. Since his second victory to the presidential elections in 2035 the will of the President to concentrate all powers pretending it could solve the world crisis for a while was real enough to be not acceptable.
    She felt sad for the death of her brother. Being the eldest child and his big sister she has kind of a motherly instinct that told her she could have done something to save him but how given she was not even aware of what happened just a little while before.
    She had regret and remorse. The last time they saw each other they were arguing about Hitori engaging or not engaging in politics. He was able to become a promising politician while her not because she did not agree with their father’s point of view about political engagement.
    The next day or a few days after she left the family house slamming doors and never came back again. Henceforth a free bird she bought at that time her first guitar and began doing engaged music on the street to earn money and buying her own apartment.
    She led a free life far from the conventional society by living under bridges or the dark corners of side streets. Thereafter she settled in life more conventionally by finding paid well seasonal jobs as café singer or part time pianist for one night concerts she got to make a better living and become famous. She was mostly well known for her rebellious personality and her engage songs because she had to deal with censors more than once. She was a great singer but with a terrible character: pleasing her was pretty difficult because her expectations were often too high for the sake of the cause she was defending.
    To the world she showed her cold and intransigent self but inside she was another person. From the shadows she was motherly watching over Hitori in secret. She took her role of big sister at heart although she had cut all ties with the other members of the family.
    Her fingers clawed into the handlebar out of anger. She arrived too late to interfere.
    Despair overwhelmed every else feeling. Inside her it provoked the birth of a new resolve as though she was hit by a blast of energy coming from behind with the strength of a fist.
    The surroundings of the nuclear power plant were a vast no man’s land. There was deadly rotting trees here and there. Naomi could not help to compare this gruesome scenery to the doors of hell. There was a Jeep parked nearby. She was attracted to that point without knowing why. Until she realized her chest was sparkling she had not noticed yet the change in her appearance.

    The corridor was dipped into the silence. No one spoke because no one knew what was next

    “- I would very much like to know if we're not fooled by what the legends say of that ability and that we're not playing our last card only trying to make diversion. We should put up a plan to act with strategy else we're about to lose already ... ”, Theodora observed for herself.
    Hellmet Pitsbulk chuckled:
    - Purely words and magic, do you think I was going to be feared? No one is allowed to command me I do what I want, the way I want.
    Fritz Davis laughed:
    - What is funny in what I’ve said? The President asked and shot glance at Fritz who was chuckling continuously.
    - You think childishly that this display of power might be a magic trick but you don’t even know what you’re talking about. The Judgment of Time is meant to judge the present by learning from the mistakes of the past to hope for a better future. It will start activating anytime soon when its four users will be awakened. 
    When arriving nearby the nuclear power station Naomi saw the Jeep when seeing Hitori inside braked brutally. She jumped off her seat and came to the car.
    She looked at his peaceful face expression with compassion. Her fingers touched the curve of his neck to check his pulse though she knew it was already too late.
    Now that she knew a part of the truth a blue flame burned inside her awakening a power she possessed unknowingly for long.
    - Everyone is waiting for us let’s go, said someone from nearby. My name is Shinichiro nice to meet you.

    - One word. One act. Everything is a matter of choices. Time waits for no one.
    Naomi looked deeply at Hellmet Pitsbulk:
    - Don’t ever cause such mess in the right flow of time again!
    - Naomi step back! Marcus intervened. It is too dangerous…
    - This failure of a President will pay!
    - What are you going to do against me with no weapon meanwhile I’ve got the activation code of the most powerful nuclear bomb ever created? Hellmet Pitsbulk chuckled.
    - The Judgement of Time use is to prevent certain events from happening when they can be avoided. In other words it is meant to put again the world on the right way by learning from the consequences of the first Traumatism. I do hope for the fourth of us the Judge to ever awake and kick your ass out the country’s leadership for what you did not do to make it better to live in.
    - It is childish still to trust in guardian angels.
    - Clawing your determination into the Shovel of Death to win the battle is childish.
    Shinichiro stepped forward next to Naomi and looked deeply at the President
    - Just think twice about your behaviour and act now for the world to change positively.
    If you let the bomb to explode a tragic future awaits mankind at the end of the road. It is the result of a world’s excess for being too power thirsty and money seeking, its economy based on exhausting the last remaining resources. People will live undersea in a fully operating substitute high tech world completely created from scratch by the scientists mandated by your government. Consequences are gruesome against world’s balance. The weather as become unstable, the seasons flipped upside: the sudden increase of temperature due to the climatic change will fasten the melting of the ice caps turning the world into a huge sea. The commonly known continents will no longer exist replaced by a web of urban structures connected together by high speed roads and forming together the federal state called the Republic of Aftermath. Those state cities will be named after the old time countries. They will display numbered by chronological order to be easily identified on maps.
    Hellmet Pitsbulk frowned with quizzical eyes, in some way amused
    - Do you think I will believe that display of things? What if you are tricking me with an alternate vision of the future?
    - Your argument is poor, why do you think I’m trying to fool you? It is the fault of your regime by willing to practise illegal nuclear test without a real worth purpose. You can still repay for your responsibility in this mess by stopping the countdown with a single finger move. Choose your side, either you are still determined to achieve your plan or you want to act now and switch off the bomb before it is too late to step back. By now your choice should be already made.
    - I admit you’re right.
    - So what?
    Hellmet Pitsbulk held out the key and made it swirl around his finger mocking the matter with a nervous burst of laughter:
    - I think you have just made me checkmate on that topic.
    If you want it come to take it. Hurry none of us want the Shovel of Death to explode tonight.
    Shinichiro nodded but was stopped by Naomi. It was a too easy victory.
    “It must be a trap!” the young woman thought looking around to search for any hint of a vicious last chance trap. She did not see anything suspicious at first glance.
    - Wait Naomi! Theodora exclaimed. What is your plan? Don’t you think this victory is too easy?
    - I know what you’re thinking Mother. You have already lost a son and you do not want me to intervene in the fight because I can get hurt and die, right?
    - That’s not all of it …
    - What is it about then if not myself getting involved late in the fight?
    - Look behind!
    - Huh?
    Naomi turned around to face a monster made of iron and steel. The real Shovel of Death. The bomb was a mere toy after all meant to make a clever diversion.
    - The last countdown has started.


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