Elseworld: Part II

Good afternoon everyone,

Was working on my second book so I thought I would share a small excerpt from the first one, Elseworld. This is the continuation of the last excerpt. In total, these pieces account for the first eight of the book.

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Amback knew that a bloodstained planet was somewhere west of him: Thousands, maybe millions of miles away. Despite that distance, the planet was still a constant presence in his life. His deformities were the most obvious reminder of the war that turned his home world into a giant scab. His skin, shrivelled like a dying fruit’s, was the genetic stamp of radiation from the bombs dropped to end a bloody conflict: A conflict that started when the Gabuns tried to exterminate his people. Millions of his people were scattered across Gabun, imprisoned from the moment of their birth. His fight was for them.

Maybe there was a time when peaceful protest could have ushered in change. Amback wasn’t born into that time. He was born into a society where slavery was a tradition. He’d heard stories of protestors who sprang up when slavery was first being introduced. He’d also heard stories of them going missing or being attacked by police dogs. He could no longer be a civil rights activist; he had to be a freedom fighter. They may call him a terrorist, but Amback knew his cause was noble.

His actions inspired others to follow suit all across the planet. The other movements were smaller and less organized but they all sent a message. There was more to life than work and whips. If despair and defeat could be pushed aside then it was possible to break free from the restrictions imposed by society; Amback only wished he could communicate directly with the fighters all across the planet. Travelling across the city’s borders was impossible with heightened security and many of the groups did not have the technology necessary to communicate remotely. Even if they did, government monitoring of communication posed a constant threat to secrecy. Numerous other groups that sprung up in Mari over the past few years learned that lesson the hard way.

Despite their scattered nature, these different groups were still a potent threat. In total, escaped slaves were responsible for millions of deaths all across the planet. Amback’s group, Cicenti Mort, formed the bulk of those kills.

Things were easier when they started four years ago. Terrorism was once a rare threat for the Gabuns. Attacking populated areas was easy, it only required waiting for news of parades and festivals that honoured their dictator. Thousands of people fell victim to bombs planted around them the night before. Multiple festivals, multiple nights, and the death toll climbed easily. Then came the curfew, the nightly patrols, the bomb sweeps, and everything became more complicated.

Amback never thought he’d be able to kill all of the Gabuns before his time passed: He had killed nearly two million, but there were still two hundred million more. Amback could only hope to be a stepping-stone for others, inspiring successive generations to rise up and eventually topple the system that stole them from their planet so many years ago. Despite the presence of more freedom fighters he sometimes wondered what impact they had on the slaves that were still imprisoned. Security at plantations was far more heightened since Cicenti Mort’s first attack, making them the toughest locations to attack. Freeing slaves was no longer an option. That also brought up the question of how the slaves behind those fortified walls were treated after their brothers killed more of their oppressors. Either way, what choice did he have?

He continued to manoeuvre through the earthen cavern that served as his base. Moist soil boxed him in, giving him little room to move in either direction. The smell would probably be bothersome for some people, but Amback was trained from his years on the plantation. Nothing could compare to the smells within a slave hut – back then everything from sweat to feces assaulted his nostrils daily.

All the caverns and hallways looked the same, but years of practice allowed Amback to find his destination without any confusion. More earthen walls, more narrow caverns, but this time there was also a rickety metal desk and a few chairs. Amback liked to think of them as gifts from the previous occupants of the cavern. The room was now Cicenti Mort’s de facto meeting chamber. It was far better than prison or a plantation.

Amback listened to the latest radio broadcast; there was a story of another attack by The Revolution. Not only was their name less creative, but The Revolution was also a hindrance to Cicenti Mort’s effort. The leader, Duska, always released videos to the police after attacks. By revealing his face he could be easily detected by the public if he was ever forced out of his lair. A slave without chains was bound to attract attention. The only reason the public knew of Cicenti Mort was due to their first attack, where Amback used Gabun blood to paint the name. Since Duska only took credit for his own attacks in the city, authorities had probably deduced that all others were Cicenti Mort’s. It was good to know that sending a message did not always require exposing oneself.

Amback still wished to meet with Duska, uniting the major rebel organizations could create the power needed to launch several coordinated attacks, taking more lives in a shorter amount of time. Duska’s superior technology could possibly be used to send messages to the other freedom fighters as well and arrange coordinated planet wide attacks. The efforts of lone workers and Duska’s mail bombs were still something to fear, but a true planet wide brotherhood had endless possibilities. Yet there was always the nagging question of whether Duska’s ego would be compatible with Amback’s cause. Would Duska truly want to work together or would he simply try to impose his will?

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