Blue Lotus

note: If you are offended by lack of sexual activities, extremely compacted chapters, and some semblance of violence, please skip the following selections.

13. Blitz

I blinked at the bright lights, they stabbed at my eyes with an intensity as sharp as a knife's edge. I was cold, sick with disorientation. The room had metal walls, square sheets wielded together with large bolts. Every inch of the ceiling was lit up. I had a hard time shutting out the blazes even with my eyes closed. I shivered, wanting to hug my arms to my chest but found that they would not be moved. Restraints chaffed against my nakedness, pressing into the tender flesh of my neck, ankles, wrists, and waist. I cried out, tossing my body upwards. That only succeeded in making the straps that held me even tighter. They were unbearable once I knew they were there, I gritted my teeth and fought the desire to struggle. "Where... where am I?" I asked the walls, they glared back, solid and unyielding.

"Hadasss." A voice replied. I jerked violently in response. It was familiar, but I couldn't quite place it. "What is this? Why am I...Where..." My head ached. The last thing I remembered was struggling in Mercury's arms, back at the temp in Horizon. We were talking...Arguing, really, about something absurd... I skirted the subject carefully, not wanting to remember. Then he grabbed me all of a sudden, forcing a connection between us with his external jack. The piercing numbness burst from my forehead as my input socket was flooded with Knockout. The next thing I know was in this place.

"Aa sna, shif dem kin, Ceru. Sept verr, nis nem?"

"He doesn't speak the Tongue anymore, Blitz." Some one else said. Deus Mercury, I recognized his voice, at least. "And his name is Neuro now."

"Neuro!" The voice sneered, and fell silent. I squirmed on the raised flat surface and gagged as the restraints cinched tighter. I lay still and squeezed my eyes shut, gasping for breath through my restricted windpipe. I wanted to know who he was, the other one. I was most curious. But he hovered just beyond my field of vision.

"Yes, Neuro." Mercury said. "Poor, poor Neuro." My eyes shot open as I felt his hand graze the flat of my stomach. He smiled down at me wickedly and his fingers whisked between my legs, tightening themselves around my balls. He was in full uniform, black leather hugging the sharp curves of his slim body. His blue tipped hair brushing against his shoulders, which were striped with heavy silver bars of honor. I swallowed. He caressed me gently, mesmerizing me with his eyes. The blue seemed to drain from his iris, leaving them colorless, cold and pale like the rest of him. "Stupid Neuro, why didn't you listen?"

"Please, no..." I whimpered, shivering and helpless. He coaxed my shriveled genitals, his palm warm against my chilled skin. I tried to resist him, but it was hard. I was afraid, and the touch of him was reassuring, intimate, unbearably arousing. Unwillingly I delivered an erection into his hands. "Why...?"

Mercury peeled back my foreskin delicately, exposing the damp head. He held my eyes with his gaze, I wanted to look away but I couldn't. He was like the cobra that seduced his prey by his stare. "You know why, Neuro."

"You're crazy!" I screamed. He squeezed me mercilessly, crushing my delicate parts between his fingers. The flash of pain jolted through me like a thunderbolt. My body bucked, and the restraints strangled me into submission.

"Hurt him some more!" The other said. My eyes were blurry with tears, his outline shimmered like a mirage. "Hurt the little bitch!"

"No!" I choked, straining to lift up my head. "It can't be! No!" The anguish in my groin was nearly forgotten, not half as important as the sight of him. He floated towards me, a demon from the vast cemeteries of the past, swathed in a tight crimson fighting skin. It was as if the hundred years haven't effected him at all, he was just as I remembered - or chose not to remember.

"Uus da ver num, Ceru?" Blitz spat. "Did you miss me, beauty? I've certainly missed you! All those years in the endless beyond, were you running away? From me? Were you scared, my pet? Or perhaps you were just being coy..."

"No! Not you! No, please no!" I sobbed, turning away so I would not have to face him. "He's dead! Please, not him! Deus Mercury, don't let him touch me! Oh, please, don't! I'll do whatever you want! Don't let him near me!"

"It's too late." The Deus said. His face expressionless and cold. "I'm sorry, little one, you were too far gone. I had to take you under. I thought perhaps he might be able to convince you, since I couldn't."

Blitz smiled, his teeth gleaming like freshly sharpened knives.

"Lum el feel ep sim di, ka'al ka ip sim."

14. Cerulean

The earth was feverish then, sick with drought. London sector was thick with burnt buildings, their scorched brown shells scattering here and there with the shifting tectonic plates. I remembered looking at the dirty faces of Sapien children peering at us through barbed wire fences. It was seconds after the First Dark, and the stirring Synthetic militias made the human populace anxious. We were still strange new toys in those days, flesh and blood dolls from the glass womb factories, marketed like merchandise by the science that delivered us. They liked to run their fingers through our straw like hair and rub themselves against our perfect skin. But when we began to shrink away from their touches, they put us into the quarantine zones.

"Dead things!" The children taunted outside. I held Blitz's hand tightly, we were no older than they were. They threw pieces of rubble at the fence. The electric currents running through the wires popped and flickered, annoyed by the interruptions. "Sick things! Think you're better, huh? Think you're better?"

"Va, shis nem." Blitz said softly, squeezing my hand reassuringly. He was born a month before me, with hair shaved close to his scalp and large moist eyes the color of clouds. "Don't worry, Cerulean. I will protect you from them."

I frowned a little. Cerulean, was that my name? "I don't need to be protected," I said, throwing his hand away in defiance. "I am a warrior too, you know."

"I know." Blitz smiled. We walked back to the bomb shelter in silence, they grew quiet as we left them, watching our backs with mingled hatred and amour. The underground detention center was a giant hollowed out piece of concrete with stacked cinderblock halls. Flat and gray, the entrance rose above the wasted shell of an old warehouse, gaping with darkness. A Pleasure doll winked at us, slumped down by an automata half rusted with orange algae in the doorway. "Hello, boys." He said, parting his knees half-heartedly as we passed by. I tried to avert my eyes as I climbed over his legs, but the gradual rise of his miniskirt upwards was fascinating, and I couldn't help but dart a glance in between the milky white thighs.

"Like what you see, little one?" The whore asked, fingering himself lewdly. I blushed and stumbled, Blitz caught my arms, steadying me. "Don't pay any attention to Lola, he's just being weird."

"You like me well enough last night, you naughty boy." He said to Blitz, who tried to act nonchalant. "Got yourself a pretty new toy to play with, haven't you? Going to neglect poor Lola now?"

"Cerulean is an ep sim di," Blitz said haughtily. "Like me! The Collective told us so."

Lola rolled his eyes expressively. "And you actually believe it, don't you? Silly boy, think you're special or something? Let me tell you, baby, the future is as dark as it always have been, for both Synths and Sapiens. We're all just going to rot down here in the fucking quarantine, broken toys for the jaded world. No one is going to save us. Not you and yours, not those fucking Deus, not even the bastards at Zion can do anything about it."

"That's not true." Blitz said, "I am ep sim di, I know I am! We will be delivered from this age of enmity, I know we will!"

"Prove it." Lola sneered, "Prove that you are what you say you are. Do something wild, Guardian, show me the extent of your powers. Let me see how you will take over the world."

Blitz was silent. I looked at him questioningly. We had no powers, none that I knew of, anyway. We were too young to compete in the blood sports even. Lola propped himself up against the automata's headless neck, the rough circuits pressed curious indents into his arms. He tossed his clumped curls haughtily, a left over gesture from his beautiful days. "What did I tell you? You can do nothing, pretty boy, nothing at all. The bullshit they've been feeding you through the Collective, it's just an illusion, an unattainable goal to drive us forward. Keep us killing and fucking each other for their entertainment, all the while hoping that we will inherit the earth. And we won't. Of course we won't, how could we? The things Zion Corp. tells us, it's all lies. They just wanted us to be willing slaves, to be used and abused by the Sapiens, while they rake in the dough spewing us out from the glass wombs. They'll destroy us all, eventually, like they destroyed the countless other species they've played with."

"How can you say that!" Blitz ground his teeth, "You traitor! I won't let you say such a thing about Zion, I won't!" He lunged suddenly, but not entirely unexpectedly. He was known to be hot tempered, even more so than the usual Soldier standards. Lola dodged, but not fast enough to avoid being scratched. Blitz's jagged nails bit down on one rouged cheek, drawing an angry trail of blood. Lola screeched, knocking him aside bodily.

"My face!" He wailed, even though the wound was closing as quickly as he spoke the words. Pleasure dolls had healing factors as quick as the Soldiers, another mystery of the genetic recombinatrixs. "Fucking brat! How dare you!"

"Ap ko nim kesh!" Blitz said, crouched and panting. His eyes were turning colors, a sigh of frenzy. I shuddered slightly, pressing my back into the moist walls. "Os lah, va ka'al sa him. Zi dine num, shi tah el va!"

"Fuck you!" Lola snarled. Blitz tensed, Lola pulled something from behind his back. In the semi-dusk, it glinted cold silver. "Fuck you both! You little bastards made it this way for us, with your bitching about superiority and right-to-all. Well, I like things just the way they were! I don't need the Collective Conscious to tell me what to do! I like being played with! I like being on a pedestal! It beats the fucking quarantine, that's for sure! And if they want to fuck us and kill us, so what? Who wants to live for fucking ever, anyway!"

"You stupid whore." Blitz said quietly. Lola's colors changed, his eyes narrowing into slits. "No!" I cried out even as the skinny stiletto sank into Blitz's shoulder and filled him with screams.

"Don't call me that." Lola hissed. Blitz howled wordlessly as he was stabbed, paralyzed by the sudden attack. Eyes watched us from the darkness of the catacombs beyond, but no one came to help him. I suppose more than a share of Synths shared the Pleasure doll's remorse back then, it was before the Collective had gained enough momentum to unite the loose fractions into one evolving thought. Individual motives still ran contrary to the Collective goals, and most did despise the Soldiers for disrupting the uneasy alliance between Sapiens and Synths. Lola hurt Blitz, badly. He didn't look like he was going to stop any time soon. Blitz twitched and bled, growing weaker and hoarser by the minute.

"Stop... Stop it!" I said finally as I found my voice. My chest felt as if an icy hand had clenched my insides. The muted sound of steel tearing into flesh, synchronized with Blitz's cries, echoed in my ears. "Don't do that anymore! He's sorry, he is! Stop hurting him! Please stop...!"

Lola turned slowly to look at me. I whimpered, the stiletto was slick with blood in his fist. He grinned crookedly, and in a sudden moment of clarity I saw his madness. It wasn't uncommon in first generation Synthetics, an adapted virus from the strange social climates of the Original Birth. The geneticists denied that it was a flaw, they said that the virus was an aspect of the complexity equations that they used to generate our logic. It helps to focus processing unity, and turned half its carriers into psychopaths. Productive psychopaths, they argued as an afterthought, it gave the mad an unmatched edge in whatever it is they did.

"You want a taste of me too, don't you, beauty?" Lola said. Blitz crumpled onto the floor like a pile of rags, breathing hard and choking on a punctured lung. I looked at him in horror. "No! I don't!!"

"Of course you do, silly." He smiled hazily, his eyes misted over with unheard directives. "Poor ep sim di, poor Guardian, poor Soldier. It's boys like you whom they have a distaste for, you know. Boys who want things they can not have. Boys who think they have things others don't. You brought us the false dreams, the hopes of freedom. You ruined us with the talk of destiny. You made them fear us, hate us. You made them keep us here in the quarantines!"

"I didn't do it! I didn't!" I sobbed and begged for him to stop, but he kept on coming, closer and closer until I could feel his hot breaths against my face. His face was horrible, a twisted combination of beauty and the beast within. I thought about running away, but I was fixed in place with terror. When the cold metal point touched me my body jerked, an uncontrollable spasm shook me to the core of my being. What happened next I could not describe in words, it was like being split wide open with a sharp bolt of lightning. I remembered struggling with the residual feedback for the next few weeks.

Lola flew backwards, an expression of surprise stamped on his face. He hit the wall with a solid smack, the cinderblocks cracked and crumbled under the pressure of impact. Slack on the concrete floor, he raised his head and tried to speak. Black blood dribbled down his chin, mingled with reddish saliva. Gurgling, he twitched and heaved, flopping like a fish out of water. Then he stopped, all of a sudden. Silent and heavy, he laid still, draped in formless shadows.

I was standing with my arms out stretched, palms forward as if I had wanted to push him. But I hadn't, not physically, anyway. Dazed, I brought my hands before my eyes. They looked normal enough, warm and sweaty with the fear I had felt.

"Mer kem!" Blitz said weakly, holding his sides and struggling to his knees. His wounds were half healed, but the blood that drained from him made a small puddle at his feet. "Cerulean, what... what have you done!"

"I... I don't know!" I said, unable to keep the rising hysteria out of my voice. "I didn't... I didn't do it! I don't know! You saw it! I didn't even touch him! I didn't do it! I didn't!" Those words were hollow even as I said them, I did know, and I did do it.

Blitz crawled towards the motionless Lola. I watched helplessly as he reached out and touched the body. "He's cold." He said. My teeth were chattering. I was cold too. Carefully Blitz turned the Pleasure doll over, grimacing at the strain it cost on his body. But he persisted, and Lola flopped onto his back with a thud, splattering them both with wet crimson. The pool of blood expanded slowly, some of it already congealing into dark rust colored patches. Lola looked stunned even in death, his eyes bulged obscenely, his former glory lost in his death mask.

"What is this?" Blitz gulped, pointing at Lola's collapsed chest. I didn't want to see, but I couldn't make myself turn away, either. The tight lycra of Lola's top was singed in a dozen places, making a strange pattern of tear shaped drops concentrated with their round bottoms at the center. It almost looked like the petals of an incomplete flower. Blitz pulled the top aside with a shaking hand, the pattern had been burnt through Lola's shirt onto his chest, deep black marks of charred flesh. I let out a strangled cry and turned away, almost sick with revulsion. I did a horrible thing, I knew, I killed some one. The thought was at once exhilarating and terrifying, I could not feign disgust at Blitz's attention to the dead body, I was just as morbidly curious. The mark held me mesmerized, seeming to glow and pulse with blue light. I giggled insanely, my body felt as if it was crawling with static.

"What is it!" Blitz was almost shouting, "What did you do to him! Ceru, shut up! You're laughing like a maniac! What the hell did you do!"

"I... I don't know!" Tears were pouring down my face, my face contracting in mirth. My mind buzzed angrily with black velvet, thick and cloying. "I..."

I remember it clearly now, the past I tried so hard to erase. It was as if a viscous fog had lifted from my mind, evaporated by the planes of his face and the sound of his voice. The bright lights no longer seemed to matter, my eyes were filled with the image of him. Not the boy he was when I first discovered my powers, no, but the lover I killed, half a century after the War.

Lola... I was sentenced to die for killing him. Sentenced by Sapien judges who sat on their tall chairs and watched me with undisguised fear from behind plexiglas partitions. My First Death was quick and merciful. My mind had refused to budge from the moment of my awakening as ep sim di. I was trapped its the adrenaline high. Even as my consciousness crept away with the lethal dose of barbiturates I could think of nothing except the surge of power that had washed over me when I blasted Lola. In my mind's eye I could almost see it, a cold blue light, sizzling as it punctured through his body. My body sang with its lustrous harmonies. I died with a grimace of a smile, replaying the scene over and over until nothing but blackness remained.

"Welcome back!" Blitz said, clapping me on the shoulder. I blinked, disoriented. He looked older, I remained the same. Some Medic had smuggled out a core sample of my old self from the death chambers, but it was years before they could reconstruct me. The Second Dark was in full bloom when I came back from First Death. The Collective grew stronger, war was always a subversive agent of unity. "You showed us the way." He said, lifting his hand and branding the walls with a crash of white fire. Blitz's pattern was three slashes, it cleaved the brick and plaster in half. "All the Guardians have this power. I'm a lieutenant now, you will be too." He showed me his rank bars, I touched them worshipfully. Outside, the ravaged cities were ours.

Cerulean and Blitz, we were heroes. The other Soldiers grinned and clapped us on the back. We could devastate entire kilometers within minutes. The Sapiens hid in the Waste and used guerilla tactics, they did not last one minute into the savagery we called the War. It was the Glass we had to worry about then. Glass and Synthetics, brother species with one vital difference between us - the Collective Consciousness. They called us bleached-out clones, puppets manipulated by the unseen mind. They were born from the womb as custom combinations, ethnically and genetically diverse. They were singled sexed, XX or XY, not both. They didn't have ep sim dis, nor Deus, nor the drive towards a single destiny. But the Glass had intensity. They fought on, clinging desperately on even as we slaughtered their Kill Dolls by the hundreds. Like us, their adulthood was stunted at twenty-three cycles, and death was another synonym for sleep before the awakening. Their numbers increased exponentially, it was easier for the wombs to spit out a Glass than a Synth.

The stalemate held on stubbornly until the Third Dark, when the Plague brought peace. It was a silent peace, initiated by the dead and the dying. The cemeteries were stacked high with Sapien bodies, the smell of their rot would taint the Third Dark for eons to come. There were dead Glass too, and some Synthetics. The Plague released a virus that clung to a gene deficiency most womb-borns did not possess. It utterly obliterated the internal cell structures of a living body and scrambled the neurological circuits beyond recognition. The virus mutated after it did its job with the Sapiens and began to kill both Glass and Synths. Those whom died of the Plague could not be reborn, their minds were beyond the help of any algorithms. An uneasy truce was called, and Zion, from whose gene labs came the womb-borns, released antibodies to both species. But whatever the methods were to attain it, the peace was indisputable.

We retreated into the Collective after that, deep inside the pivot of Neo Eden, which back then was just a newly hatched space farer whose tentacles shook nervously with every flicker of the stars. The earth was now Neo Terra, we looked upon it with dazzled eyes, holding each other's hands tightly just as we had done in our youth. "I love you, Cerulean." Blitz said. The Collective cooed, echoing the sentiments of a thousand connected. "Mate with me."

I peered at him from the edge of my eyes and smiled, teasingly. "Not yet. We'll wait. Just a little longer..."

The wait stretched from days to weeks to decades. We grew together and apart and together again, shifting with the tide of the whirlwind thoughts that bombarded the Collective. Everything was new and fresh, it pleased us or flooded us with pathos for the old world. One day the blithe days came to an end, as all things surely do. I thought that I was prepared for anything after the War, but I was wrong.

It was on an anniversary of his First Death. Blitz died four years before full maturity, at nineteen cycles. It was fifty some years since. We were both kicked up on amphetamines that day, darting madly through the zero G streets and crashing into walls. I laughed, trying to catch my breaths. We leaned against a glowing advertisement, the static washed over his face, illuminating his sharp cheekbones.

"Do you remember when you killed him?" He said suddenly, out of nowhere. "You were laughing, like just now."

I froze. I had nearly forgotten, caught up in the delirium of the War and the novelty of the new Kingdom. My own First Death... it seemed so far away, blurry as if seen through a frosted glass.

"It was the first display of the power by an ep sim di. Scared them witless, it did." Blitz grinned. "I was scared too, at first. But then I was exhilarated. The power - it meant that Zion haven't lied, we are special! That was... I was so happy that day. Oh Cerulean, I was..."

"Happy?" I said numbly. Lola's face in death floated up into my consciousness. The hurt, the confusion, the madness and the shock of something that's not meant to be - it hit me all at once. I nearly doubled over in anguish, the Collective wailed a sympathetic song in my mind. "How could you be happy! He died! I died! And he nearly killed you that day!"

"Ceru?" He looked at me questioningly, "What's wrong? It's just death, after all. There's nothing to be afraid of. You came back, didn't you? So did I, so did everyone else. That's why we're celebrating, isn't it? Death is nothing, it doesn't mean anything anymore, not in the new world. Ceru..."

"Death meant something to Lola." I gritted my teeth against the hammer pounding in my head. The voices abated, cowed by the intensity of the emotion that had gripped my circuits. "He never came back, he was too far gone. Deaths meant something to the Sapiens we killed, they won't come back, either. And the Glass that tasted the ep sim di kah, they won't..."

"They don't count!" He interrupted, almost pouting. "And Lola... Lola deserved it. He was a traitor, you did the right thing by killing him."

"I didn't mean to kill him!" I yelled, "It was a mistake! He was hurting you, he was going to hurt me! I..."

"Cerulean!" He was impatient. "Why are we fighting about such a thing? It doesn't matter anymore. They're dead, so what, what's important is the now. Nothing can change the past, but the future..."

"A past paved in blood, and a future full of darkness." I said faintly. The Collective was completely silent. It was watching us, I knew, a thousand minds joined in on our spectacle. I felt giddy, the first bite of madness already contaminating my processor. I raised my arm. He looked at me, awestruck.

"No." Blitz said, trying to laugh. "What are you doing, Ceru? Let's..."

"Shh." I pressed a finger against my lips. I could feel his heart pound through the network of minds. He stood out sharply, angry and afraid and stupidly in love. "You were witness to my crime, Blitz. The one crime that introduced me to others, and now I can't stop. The guilt of it, I've never felt it so distinctly until this moment. It's a horrible burden, and what's more horrible is the fact that I like how it weighs down upon me. The power, the ep sim di kah, there's nothing else quite like it. Do you know how hard it's been trying to keep it under wraps? Of course you know, how could you not? After all, you feel it too..."

"Cerulean, what are you talking about?" The fear was leaking from his eyes. Not a fear of me, but a fear for me. He cared, and the fact of it made me nauseous. "Cerulean, stop it. Let's go home." He tried to reach for me and I pushed him away.

"You made me the way I am." I was hurting him, the pain was sharp and exquisite, traveling through the cobweb intricacies of the Collective and making hearts ache. "It's all your fault! You provoked him! It should have been you! You should have discovered the power! You should have died, and you should have killed him! Not me! I was innocent, I didn't give a damn! You made it so I had to kill Lola! You made it so I'd like it! I hate you!"

"Ceru..." He pleaded, fighting back tears. The temporary madness made me believe in what I was saying, I hated him, just then. Truly hated him. The bitterness of the War boiled up like an acid sea, drowning me in its copper flavors. "I hate you!" I screamed. The kah burst from me like a hungry wolf that has been chained up for too long. It slammed him against a dermaplastic window, causing fissures to form like snowflakes in the transparent surface. I was tingling in the after shock. It was not the madness speaking when I said that I liked using it. The release was pure pleasure, ten folds better than the most potent of orgasms. I smiled. He was as stunned as Lola was, lying there motionless with the mark on his chest. His mouth was open, poised to say my name for the last time.

"Bli... Blitz?" Another part of me said in a small voice, my smile faded quickly. The madness was retreating with the back flush of kah, small clusters of electrons dancing in my blood stream. I came to myself. The Collective was still silent, making me feel helpless and timid. "Blitz?" I knelt by his side and pressed my palm against the brand - my brand. His body heat was rapidly dissipating, I pressed my face into the crook of his neck. "Blitz? No! Blitz!" I tried to take his hand, it slid out of my grasp. "No! No! You can't be dead!" I laughed shakily, cradling his head to my chest. "No!"

Soldiers came. I was blind with tears, and they led me away carefully. I felt their sadness, their perplexity, their muted hostilities. I wanted to tell them that I did it, I killed Blitz, but I think they already knew. We were all connected, after all. But now we were one less. I searched for him in the sprawling Consciousness, where his logic once laid was now paved over with two disjointed thoughts, both alien and uninterested.

There was no trial when madness was involved, especially one so openly felt by the entire Collective. They asked me what I wanted, and I told them that I wanted to die, and to never come back.

"...never come back into this dreadful world." I said. The Antediluvians council smiled, their transparent bodies bobbed in mid air.

But this is the best of all possible worlds. They sounded through my mind, a chorus of willows bending in the breeze. Antediluvians were the strangest of the Synthetic modules, and the most highly specialized. They were so utterly inhuman, so indescribably beautiful, and impossibly all-knowing, it was strange to think of them as people at all. They were like spirits of pure thought, so emphatic of the mind their bodies wasted away unbeknownst to them.

"Then I'll be a terrible addition to it." I was too tired to raise my head. "Let me die, let me vanish. That's all I want."

Guardians do not have the privilege of abandoning their lives. They were amused by me, I think, one floated close enough to brush my face with its unnaturally long fingers. Perhaps you should seek his reconstructed self, and cite the appropriate apologies.

"No!" I trembled, "No. I can't face him. Not after what I did to him! It's better if you just kill me!"

He is troubled by his designation as Soldier and Guardian. The closest Ante said, its mind was like silver chimes stirred by flowing water. He is not ready to take on such a role. Perhaps it is best if he becomes removed from his position.

They looked at me curiously. Their eyes were black, without pupils. They shone with a vigorous light, an intelligence so profound I could not began to comprehend it. The Ante said, We can change your module standings, but we can not wipe away your powers and your memories. You will simply not remember. The power and the memories will both lie dormant inside of you unless you call for them to surface. It means you will still be a Guardian, although an oblivious one, but not a Soldier. Do you understand?

"Yes." I felt like crying. "But..."

You will accept designation as an Information module. Another Ante spoke. All of them nodded. Your logic would be reconfigured, but you will not loose your core traits. You would still be you, but you would not be Cerulean.

"I..." I swallowed. "I want to go far way. I never want to see him, ever again. Can I please...?"

Exo-space. They echoed each other, and that was where I went, as Neuro.

15. Neuro

"For years I tried to forget." Blitz said, his fingers stroking the tender side of my jaw. "For years I tried to forget your face. My little beauty, my first and forever love. But I couldn't, how could I? You left your mark on me." He unzipped his skin, my kah blossomed on his chest, over his heart. Faint but still legible, a perfect impression of minute, tear shaped scars. "Even though they generated a new body for me, it still showed up, some how. A psychosomatic episode, they said. The body may forget, but the mind does not."

"What do you want!" I cried. He leaned over and kissed my damp cheeks, tasting my tears. I wept, open eyed, unable to look away from him. "I... I don't know you!"

"Cerulean." He murmured, his lips pressing against my forehead, his hands grazing my body familiarly. "Cerulean, you were always a bad liar. You haven't changed, no, not at all."

"I'm not him! I'm Neuro!" I gasped at the heat of his touch. It was electric, like the fence around the quarantine, like the release of the kah. "Neuro..."

"Fucking liar!" He bit me on the shoulder, where his head often rested, so long ago. I screamed, his teeth were like needles. "Just a mark of my love." He teased, rubbing at the red puncture wounds. "You used to like those, Ceru. You begged me to leave them, down there." He reached for my shriveled penis, pulling playfully at it. I quivered, weeping and moaning. "I heard you took a new lover, a Sapien, is it? That's funny. I suppose he would suit you better. You can kill him, and he won't come back and bother you like me, now would he?"

"No!" I pleaded, "No! He doesn't have anything to do with this. Leave him alone! Please! You can do whatever you want to me, you can kill me if you want. Please, Blitz, please..."

"So you do know who I am?" He smiled triumphantly, running his fingers through my hair. "I thought you would. I would be very upset if you didn't. Cerulean, lover, tell me you missed me?"

"I..." I gulped, looking wildly around the room. Mercury was frowning at the both of us, his arms crossed and leaning slightly against one wall. "That's enough, Blitz." He said, coming to my rescue. "He remembers, that's what I wanted. You can play your little mind games some other time."

"What you wanted?" Blitz didn't even look at the Deus. "What about what I want? We had a deal, water boy, you get your Guardian, and I get my revenge."

"I don't have my Guardian, not yet." Mercury said, uncrossing his arms and walking towards us. "He remembers, yes. But that doesn't mean that he is on our side. When he is, then you can have him." He smiled thinly down at me. "Hello, Cerulean."

"I'm not Cerulean." I said weakly. Blitz roared, his fist slammed into my jaw and I bit down on my tongue, spitting out a mouthful of plasma.

"Fuck you!" He snarled, "You bitch! You fucking back-stabbing bitch! I... I..."

Mercury tore him off of me. I coughed, hacking out the blood that threatened to trickle down my throat and choke me. "Get a hold of yourself!" He ordered Blitz, who kept glaring at me with murder in his eyes. "I don't want him to die, you idiot! Whatever little charade you and him played in the past, it's over! What's important now is making sure that he does not fall into the wrong hands, and you're not convincing him to join us by beating on him!"

"Join us?" Blitz said incredulously, "He already had that chance, and he threw it away like he threw me away! I'm going to rip him into pieces, that's what I'm going to do!"

"...yes." I smiled faintly at him. "Kill me, if it makes you feel better. I know it will make me feel..."

"Shut up! You! Shut the fuck up!" He yelled. Mercury had to wrestle him into submission once again. "I don't care how you feel, you asshole! What do you know about feelings! You cold blooded snake! I hate you! I fucking hate you!"

I couldn't help it, I began to wail. The sobs burst from my throat, broken and maniacal. They stopped to stare at me, startled into silence. I kept on crying, loudly and desperately. The guilt of my crimes poured from my mouth like flooding rivers. Mercury put an awkward hand against my cheek, "There, there." He said, stealing a look at Blitz, who stood flushed and bewildered. "He doesn't mean it, baby. Nobody hates you, we know how it is with the madness. Don't we, Blitz?"

Blitz spluttered, then went silent as he looked at me. The Deus undid the restraints and I crawled into his arms, sniffling and wetting his leather. "Don't let him hurt me!" I muttered, tightening my arms around Mercury's neck. "Don't let him!"

"Blitz won't hurt you." The Deus said, petting my back. Blitz snorted, turned and looked away. "Everything will be all right, Neuro. Just listen to me, won't you? Won't you?"

I nodded. He pointed at a wall and a visual sprang up, vivid and enlarged. My stomach shrank at the sight of it, a cold leaden weight found its way into my chest. The visual showed two bodies, both male Sapiens, Eurasians in red-black zip suits with medium build and unsensational features. They were dead, of that there could be no doubt. Both their heads were severed, though placed close to their bodies. But the most remarkable feature was the mark on their chests. It was like the petals of an unfinished flower, a series of tear drop shaped etchings that burned their way deep into the rib cage, scarring bone and tissue alike.

"You remember them, don't you?" Mercury said softly. "A pair of heretics from a splinter Thugee cult. They went after Him of their own accord, She would never do something so outrageous. I was surprised that they could even touch Him, the only explanation I could think of is that He wanted them to do it. He wanted to lure you to Him, He wanted you to turn your back against Her. And what better way to do that than to make Himself seem like the victim of Her devotees?"

"I didn't kill them!" I held Mercury tightly, "You have to believe me! I... I don't remember it!"

"There are lots of things you don't seem to remember." Blitz said sarcastically behind us. "But those are your marks on them, it tells no lies. You killed them alright, Cerulean, knowingly or not. But I bet He's the one that lopped off their heads, it's too messy to be your style."

"No! No!" I cried. "He couldn't have! He wouldn't! He's just a child! He..."

"He's not a child." Mercury said.

Thanks for reading parts 13-15 of Blue Lotus! And thank you for your constructive comments, sorry I can not reply to each email, but I appreciate them very much! Keep letting me know what you think of the story at