The following story takes place millions of years into the future, when the earth had stopped turning due to gravitational fluctuation with the moon. Oil was gone and all sources of power were coveted by every empire existing. Thus began the Great War. City after city was torn asunder by nuclear weapons and bombs, and the human race nearly went extinct. After the Great War, The earth was in ruins.
All of civilization had been wiped clean except for a few outposts, several of which were claimed by radiation. After this, the remaining outposts banded together for survival. Before long(give or take a few hundred years), the earth was populated enough for the ESS(Earth’s Society of Scientists) to start Project Spore.
This would reclone the earth's plants and animals on a global scale, as they had already done with farm animals from the safety of their labs. Pods were launched all over the world in order to deposit incubator chambers for the manufactured animals. Of these pods, four were launched into space by a miscalculation of the rocket carrying them.
They were intended to be sent to the major cities of the earth, genetically engineered from human stem cells, to be known as juggernauts, and protect the cities . Three of these mutated and became superior beings to their original intent. Two of these crashed down on earth, and went on to fulfill their purpose and duty to the ESS.
One stayed in space until its air ran out, and directed its own confusion and anger at being without air at the Milky Way, and just before it asphyxiated, it cast waves of energy towards earth, which could only to be stopped by the fourth and last pod’s inhabitant. And that, dear readers, is where I come in. And this is the story of how I did it.
The fourth pod stayed in the grasps of space for much longer than the others. When it finally did fall into a planet’s gravity, it had made it all the way back to earth, and it came shooting down from the sky like a meteorite, destroying a shack in the process. The shack was unoccupied, but some damage to the pod was present.
The being inside was none other than yours truly. The radiation of all the suns I had passed on my interstellar orbit had fused me with the power apparatus in my pod(although I didn’t really know this), and because I was mutated from the cells of a human, I took on the appearance of a human as well.
I was done growing, and had been done for many centuries, so I was stuck at, like, 18, forever. I climbed from the wreckage, tall, brown haired, with energy crackling around me(looking back, that entrance should have been reserved for the climax of the story, but what’s done is done), wearing simple clothes, 3-D printed for me by the pod.
Any passers by might have done a double take seeing a teenager in jeans, sneakers, a simple white shirt and a leather jacket climb out of a hole in the ground, but for the moment nobody was around. I looked around at my surroundings and then back at the pod. Lettered on the side, barely intact, was one word, Bartholomew.
“So that shall be my name.” I said to myself, and on that note I decided to find out where the heck I was. My immediate area was burned and blackened, a smell not unlike coffee permeating the air. A lush, temperate forest was to my right, filled with the tallest trees imaginable, a dry, dusty desert to my left, mountains off in the distance, a brilliant sunset going behind them. A dead bird lay at my feet, presumably killed in the shockwave from the pod landing, and although I found this extremely sad, I could do little but bury the bird.
As I lay the bird in a shallow grave, I couldn’t help but notice it was a strange bird, not taught about by the in-pod education uploading system. Its plumage was a violent shade of green, and not a simple woodland green, but the type of green that hurts your eyes and makes you wonder why man had to screw up the color like that.
Its beak was jagged and painful looking, and it was strangely heavy for its size. As I pushed dirt over its grave, I realized that there was absolutely no noise, save for the smoldering of fuel from the pod, and the rustling of trees in the forest. Where had all the birds gone? Had there ever been birds? Rustles from within the forest were heard and I crouched, wondering whether I was about to come under fire. The answer: yes.
A slug flew over my head, ripping into the pod.Just to my right a large poof of dust went up, and too many slugs for my liking (one)went through my body. I went down, falling into a small ditch, and while my body healed itself, I thought on the best course of action. I Could hear voices, and one of them was discernible.
“The swine comes down and crushes my shack, then goes so far as to hide from what he deserves!”
“Don’t worry Papa, we’ll find him.”
There were two men over the ridge of the ditch. I didn’t like that. I Jumped out of the ditch and almost immediately had two shotguns pointed at me. I threw my hands up instinctively, and the two men were blasted backwards as a wave of energy was released. One of the men, a 7 foot tall giant shot himself in the leg, and passed out from pain.
The other man, only 6 feet tall, was not as unfortunate, and pointed his gun at me. I was too quick for him, yanking his gun out of his hands from 10 feet away. The man opened his mouth, but I pointed his gun at him and he fell silent.
“Who are you?”
He glared at me.
“Choose your next words carefully, or you might walk away minus an arm.”
The man was tall and muscled, with a large gray beard and several gold teeth, dressed like a hunter with an orange vest and camo clothes. He had no hair, and was positively seething.
“Frank. What the hell are you doin’, destroying my home like that!” he got up and stood a few feet away and one foot taller than me.
“You think I can aim that thing?” I gestured back to the pod, which resembled an Apollo capsule.
“I should think so, seeing as you were the one inside it!”
“It’s like a brick! I barely landed outside the forest, and seeing as you were just in there, that might have been worse!”
He huffed, but could find no reason to yell at me any longer. Then he did. “What about Suzy, then! She didn’t deserve this!”
“I really am sorry about your bird, sir, but-”
“I’m not talkin’ about no bird! You’ve got my gun! It’ll take hours to get your grimy fingerprints off!”
“You named your gun Suzy?”
“We go a long way back,” he answered.
I had heard enough. “Let’s get your friend fixed up. We don’t want him to die from loss of blood.”
His eyes widened. “Jeb! My boy! How could I forget! But the nearest town is miles from here and I don’t have the supplies to stop the blood!”
“Miles? No problem.” I laughed at his look of confusion as I tossed him his gun,and then I hefted his son and started jogging. He was a huge man, and his brown stubble was irritating my neck, but before I sped down the road, I yelled back, “If we’re not back by morning, come for your son!”
His look of absolute astonishment as I sped off kept me smiling the whole way there.
I arrived in town that night, a sleepy little place with neon signs and a small market farther down the main road. I saw a pediatrician’s office, and so I entered. The clerk, an older woman with a large gray bun, looked up, and nearly fell out of her chair, so I noted that teenagers that could lift burly woodsmen without breaking a sweat were almost definitely not the norm here in Oakwood, California(there was a sign on the road not too far from the grocery store).
“Can you help this man?”
The clerk stared, wide-eyed, back at me.
“I would hate to have to take my money elsewhere…”
Her mouth plopped open, and still she said nothing.
“Ma’am, this is getting ridiculous.”
“I...I’m sorry, but I have never seen something like this before…” She went back to staring.
Just then a man with curly black hair and a sizable nose entered, saying, “Miss Corey, you forgot to file those patient files that came in today...Who are you?” he said seeing me, “And what kind of steroids are you on?” he added rather weakly, seeing the man on my back.
“My name is Bartholomew, and unless you help me, this man is going to die of blood loss.”
That kicked them into action. The nurse hefted the man along with me, and we carried him into what must have been an operating room of sorts. Syringes lay on the counter, along with some cotton balls and a jar of butterscotch candies, and a silver table that we set down the man(Jeb) on, with a groan of metal.
“What happened to him?!” Miss Corey said, seeing the grisly wound on Jeb’s leg.
“Shot himself on accident.”
“How did it happen accidentally?”
The doctor(His name was Jason) pulled on some white gloves and examined the wound.
“Slug.” I replied
“Hmm…must have gone through.” He pulled out a large roll of gauze, a clean rag, some bactine and a good deal of surgical tape out of a drawer.
“Whuh?...ouch…” Jeb had awoken at last.
“Don’t you worry, sir, just lie down and breathe deeply.” Miss Corey certainly knew her hospital etiquette.
“Where’s my papa?” He was starting to look around and even had the strength to lift his head and look down at the wound in his leg. “Oh...I remember now…” Then he saw me. “Hey… you crushed the gun shack!” He reached for a gun that wasn’t there, realized he was on a high table, then went back to being worried about his papa not being there. “Is my papa outside? Did he even come?”
He was looking pretty pitiful, despite the fact that he was seven feet tall and wide as a bear, most likely with strength to match his size. “Your dad is back at the wreckage of the shed,” I said to him. “He’s fine!” I added hastily, seeing the look of horror on his face. He sighed in relief, though he still looked uncertain. “Who are you?” he asked.
Who was I? I had come to earth less than 24 hours ago, and I had already saved somebody’s life. I knew I was meant to protect the Capitol, HQ of the ESS, but that seemed strangely unimportant at the moment. I also knew I would be killed if I didn’t fulfill my purpose, to prevent a potential threat to the ESS(although, I thought wryly, it would take damn enough near a nuke to take me down), and I rather preferred staying a free man to years of pain while I regenerated my vital organs and brain, and while the scientists at the ESS figured out a way to remove the power apparatus from my skeleton.
“Still there son?” said Jason, bandaging Jeb’s wound. I started. Jeb was looking at me expectantly. I decided to follow my programming, at least for now. I straightened. “I am Broadway 7753, protector of New Capitol and juggernaut of the northern societies.” I paused “But you can call me Bart.” They all stared at me. “Say,” said Miss Corey, “how did you get here?” She looked apprehensive. I looked back for a second, then said“I ran.”
Silence. Every eye was on me. “That’s not possible,” said Jason, gaping. “ The human body cannot lift more than 900 pounds, even if you were at your physical peak and on steroids, and the table’s built-in scale places this man at over a ton!” He looked at Jeb. “Do you have any idea how you came to be the weight and size of a young elephant?”
Jeb looked a little nervous about him asking, but answered all the same. “I was one of the few people that wasn’t killed by radiation whiplash from the bombs that have been going off in the Capitol, and my practitioner recommended that I take a small holiday, saying I would be fine, and that I was lucky not to have been killed. I came out to the country as a four-foot-nine weakling. It’s been less than a month and you can see what happened.” He sniffed. “My dad didn’t like it, until I started carrying him around the forest to save his knees, and he decided to let it pass once I carried the bears we killed back home.”
Jason looked at Jeb for a second, then turned to me. “If you were indeed intended to protect the Capitol, then you should get going immediately.” It is extremely unwise to defy the Councel.”
“I could probably get there in a week if I hurry…” I contemplated this for a few seconds.
“I want to come with you.”
I looked down at Jeb. “Are you sure?”
“Absolutely not! He needs rest and recovery time!” Nurse Corey looked livid.
I shrank under her furious gaze. She turned back to her record book, and dotted an i so ferociously that she poked a hole in the paper. I winced, glad the pen had not been directed at me, and turned back to Jason. “Does this town have an ATM? I have a sum of money, and I’m going to need it if I want to take up my post at the Capitol.”
Jason thought for a moment. “There is an ATM run and managed by the deli, but the store clerk doesn’t speak English.”
I shrugged. “I know a few languages. Thanks. I’ll be coming back for Jeb once he heals.”
Jeb pushed himself up. “Thank you. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you.”
I smiled. “Don’t mention it, big guy. See you in a while.”
With that note, I turned and left for the deli.
Two hours later, I tromped out of the deli in a funk, leaving a confused and angry Latin-speaking man behind me. “Who speaks latin?! It’s a dead language!” I yelled to the night. I glanced at the envelope in my hand. At least I had some cash. I looked back at the pediatrician’s office, and saw a light on in the floor above. Jeb must be staying the night.
I looked in the direction of the Capitol, and saw a blue-green glow on the horizon. The amount of light pollution that that city put off was insane...and it had to be after curfew, so only the streetlights would be on...and yet the horizon pulsed with the light of a city that was hundreds of miles away...I wondered to myself if any other Juggernauts had returned to the cities they were made for, and if any of them had taken over as protector of the Capitol since I had been in space. Most likely...which meant I had to prove I was the more powerful of us two...sometimes it felt like I was still in the Dark Ages, all these contests and other crapola.
But I had no time to think about it now. I was due in the Capitol in under a fortnight, and it would suck if I was shunted into some other department of lame. I turned to the Capitol, bowed my head, and zoomed into the unknown.