Symbiota Sapiens 19


Synopsis: Jeremey finds himself inducted, against his will, into an ancient organization that claims to protect and guide humanity with supernatural powers. But what happens when the price of that power is losing the brother he loves?

Disclaimer: This is science fiction. To my knowledge there is no such organization as the Guardians of Atlantis. Nor is there any such technology as the Esseren, although our scientists are working hard to correct that lack. If anyone knows something to the contrary, I'd be happy to hear about it.

Disclaimer: Contains incestuous and homosexual relationships between consenting adults, references to quasi-vampiric sexual acts, and may eventually include graphical descriptions of sexual acts (between males). If you are offended by this sort of thing, please do not read this.

Disclaimer: The aforementioned sexual relations will not occur for a while. This is a "plot" story rather than a "sex" story. There will be sex because the main character is a healthy, good-looking young man with a healthy (if somewhat confused) libido. And also because part of the plot involves his developing relationship with his younger brother, who happens to also be healthy, georgeous, and blessed with a similarly active (but not quite so confused) libido. All sarcasm aside, sex is part of life so it'll happen in this story.

Now, enjoy the story...



by Dean

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Chapter 19


I watched and ran. My eyes flickering madly to dodge obstacles as my legs
pumped with inhuman power, propelling me relentlessly forward without a
care for the shock and bewilderment among the mortals I passed. They didn't
matter. My eyes saw, but that wasn't what I was watching.

What I was watching minute and twenty-two seconds away.

I watched as Julian stopped at the top of the staircase, setting his feet.
I knew what was going through his head just then. It was a matter of time.

Time. Yeah. That's exactly what it all was coming down to. Time for the
autonoids to find the staircase and rush upwards towards him. Time for me
to get there before they overwhelmed him with sheer numbers. Time for Rom
to get here...I knew he was powerful, together we could force them to abort
their attack. Otherwise we'd be dealing with how much time it would take
for...oh shit.

How long would it take the hostile caretakers in his body to finish what
they'd started, if they took him away and he was no longer getting his
regular doses to combat them?

Julian tensed as the first wave of autonoids appeared at the foot of the

"Hurry." He whispered, knowing I would hear him.

Then he launched himself to meet the aggressors halfway up the stairs, feet
forward, sending them bowling back to disrupt the group just starting up
behind them.

I ran.

Limbs flashing as he thrashed with deadly accurate purpose. An elbow crushed
a throat then recoiled so the palm on the other end of that arm could slam
upward into nostrils, sending cartilage into a brain. Fingers stabbing eyes,
knees to groins, leg muscles flexing and jerking around a neck with a horrible

And then Julian scrambled backwards, leaving four broken bodies
twitching on the stairs. Six more climbed over them. One was slightly ahead
of the rest, and a snap-kick sent him flying before Julian again charged the

He was taking full advantage of his vertical advantage. His adversaries stumbled
for balance as he forced them to rock their weight backwards, stepping back into
thin air. His knees ideally located for vicious blows to sternum and stomach.
Elbows to the face. Six more bodies joined their brethren below.

And then the rest of the crowd was there. A mob of attackers forcing their way
upwards through the carnage. A snap kick. Then another. But they weren't flying
backwards down the stairs anymore. The mob of densely packed bodies just pushed
their limp comrades upward as meaty shields against the blows.

Julian landed one last blow before jumping backwards, slamming the door at the top
of the stairwell. It'd be a moment before the conscious ones could get around the
bodies of their fellows to open it.

He was down the hallway in a flash, picking a door at random and throwing himself
through it. No lock on the door. Julian manhandled a small dresser in front of the

He was in what looked like a young child's nursery. A crib against the wall, the
sides made of wooden bars. I saw Julian's mouth twitch upwards in a brief grin.

Five seconds later, the door was rapidly pushing inwards against the dresser and
Julian was ready with a couple of jagged-ended oak sticks and a vicious smile.

A hand curled around the edge of the door to push. A flash of wood, a small spurt
of blood, and the recently impaled hand was quickly withdrawn. More hands curled
around the edge and quickly received the same dealing. There were a few precious
seconds as the mind driving the mob considered the puzzle.

I was only a minute a way now, still flying at the greatest possible speed my legs
could achieve.

A solid weight hit the door as three bodies slammed against it in unison. A quick
stab and one of them fell with a hole in his neck. The body was quickly dragged away
and another took his place as the human battering ram struck again. The dresser moved
back three inches and another body slipped to the floor.

No use. The third blow opened the door another four inches and this time the stabbed
body fell into the room, another autonoid sliding through the opening right behind
him. Julian slammed one of the sturdy staves into the side of his head, knocking it
sideways and, almost in the same movement, struck again on the side of the neck. That
one wouldn't be walking anytime soon.

But the door had been opened halfway by now, the dresser wedged between it and the wall
keeping it from opening fully. But it was enough for a constant stream of bodies to
pour through, one by one.

And one-by-one Julian dealt with them. Stabbing, breaking bones, breaking skulls, dealing
death and destruction to each and every one that came through that door.

And still they came.

And then his mistakes started demanding backpay.

The first was a man whose ribs he had broken, all on the left side of his body. He'd
immediately collapsed as the shock of the pain overrode the commands flowing from the
implant at the base of his skull. It was probably a fatal blow. But not immediately fatal.

He used his remaining good arm to drag himself the few feet to let him grab onto
Julian's ankle, pulling him off balance. The stabbing wound he was delivering went
just left of a heart and another incompletely disabled enemy went down. Julian
didn't notice his error. He was busy recovering his balance and landing a harsh
kick to shatter the jaw and cheekbone of the crawler.

Then he had a fresh opponent in the doorway to dispatch. This one was done perfectly.
A foot to the kneecap followed by a slashing motion that tore out the jugular and a
hard tap to the side of the head that would keep him unconscious long enough to bleed
to death.

And then the next. The stick that had been motionless during his last move whipped
upwards, the end snapping hard against a stubbly chin. Jaw shattered, brain compressed
from the shock wave of the impact, neck snapped backward. Definitely out of things.

Then two arms wrapped themselves around his knees. The victim of his innacurate stabbing
attempt from before had followed the example of his own benefactor and was lurching sideways,
trying to topple Julian.

The sticks slammed down on either side of Julian, fracturing elbows. A knee to the face
and the assailant was off him. But now there were two through the door. Julian dispatched
one with a twirl of one of the sticks and just had time to raise the other to impale the
remaining attacker as he launched himself forward, arms spread.

The stick slid between ribs and the other attacker was dying. But the attack had carried
Julian two steps backwards, away from the half-open door. Three more had slipped in, and
as Julian dealt with them more slipped through and Julian suddenly no longer had control
of the defensible bottleneck.

Forty seconds.

Julian spun around and with one fluid motion, launched himself to dive through the window.

His head struck the windowsill as a quick hand on his ankle checked him in mid-flight. A
dull thunk, and I knew my brother was no longer conscious.

Then one of the autonoids grabbed him by the collar, and I swallowed a gasp as they threw
him on through the window.

His body rolled limply down the incline of a lower roof, then dropped the remaining one
story to the ground. Four autonoids were waiting for him, picking him up by the arms and
by the back of his jeans and jogging to a waiting sedan. They threw him in the trunk and
it roared down the street.

Twenty seconds later I arrived on that street to find a vast crowd of wounded and confused
people with no memory of how they had got there, nor of what monster had torn its way through
them with such vicious abandon.

I ignored them. Ignored the fact that my face, my immediate fleeing the scene, combined with
their confusion, made me suspicious to them. Ignored their reaction to my impossibly fast

I ran. Following the steady signal from the bug my brother had swallowed three long minutes



A convertible raced up the street after me and matched my pace. Rom was

::We're fast, but cars are faster. You won't catch them on foot.::

Without slowing down, I jumped into the passenger seat. Not a word between
us. He pressed down the accelerator and we shot forward in pursuit.


A ways ahead of us, the car skidded to a stop and Julian was dragged from
the trunk. Into a waiting helicopter. The scene disappeared, something
inside the helicopter was jamming the signal from the bug. Rom slowed
the car down.

They had gotten him.

::Let's get back to the apartment. They won this round.:: Rom told me.

:We're not giving up on him.: I stated forcefully.

::No. But we need to gather ourselves, examine the situation, and come
up with a plan.::



The helicopter took Julian to an impressive estate a few miles out of
town. The thirty-second passive scan while Julian was transferred from
the helicopter to the house revealed a colonial mansion that had been
subtly converted into a veritable fortress. There were guards there,
professionals - each of them an automaton. All only first-stage, though.
Interesting. No sign of an immortal in the house.

But part of the living quarters was somehow shielded from the sensor.

And that was where they put Julian. Effectively cutting off the feed.


By then we were back in the apartment. I stopped in the doorway, faced
with the oily imprint of Julian's ass and back on the seat of the leather
couch. Had that really been only a few minutes ago?

"Now what?"

"They left bugs." Rom said.

"I'm not sensing any..."

"They're shielded from detection. But they're there." Rom crossed to a
bookshelf and extracted a splinter shaped bit of electronics from where
it had been pushed into the wood. Then he removed a piece of what looked
like a dense ball of lint from where it had been embedded in the rug just
by the edge of the couch.

He held the two devices in his palm before placing his other hand over them.
I felt the charge in the air as a massive surge of electricity, combined with
some other form of energy, crackled between his hands for a moment.

He opened his hands and the devices were charred.

"What?" It was the first manifestation of Powers I had seen from Rom.

"Electricity, a focused ion charge, and a very unhealthy dose of isolated
gluon particles." He told me.


"Subatomic particles."

"You mean quarks?"

"No. Smaller."


"You'll learn over time. In any case, these things are ruined."

"Those were their version of our bugs?"

"Not really. Very basic. Audio/visual only. Most of the equipment in
them was the stealth field. I would never have found them if I hadn't
watched them plant the damn things."

"We could have just communicated nonverbally."

"Yes. Well, you're young. You're more comfortable talking out loud.
They were counting on that."

"Yeah. Okay. So now what?"

"They have Julian inside one of those stealth fields. We have his
location but we don't know what's going on in there until he gets
out of it long enough for the bug he swallowed to uplink."

"So...what, we wait? Or do something?"

"I think you'll be hearing from your 'godfather' persona pretty soon."

"What if we don't? What if he waits until Julian is a level-one autonoid
to even bother? He has to have figured out why the process is stalled."

"Hmm. Well, I suppose we can at least put our own surveillance in place.
We'll need to be careful about it though. Don't want them to know we're
aware of his location."

"Good." Just what I needed right now. Something proactive towards getting
Julian back.


Four hours later we had radically changed our forms, shielded our implants,
and made our way into enemy territory. For this occasion, I had been forced
to vomit up four golf-ball-sized sensors to surround the property and four
more pea-sized ones, to mind the roads approaching the mansion.

"They'll have their own sensors everywhere. So from now on, we only talk
verbally. And those conversations are to be about completely boring, mortal

"Right." We turned off the highway and parked at a restaurant.

"Let's have dinner." He said.


"C'mon, Dad, I'm hungry." Rom whined.

Right. I was a middle-aged man taking my son out to enjoy nature.

"Fine son, let's see what the food is like here." I played along.

After we had consumed a couple of homestyle burgers, I took Rom to a sporting
goods store where we comically overshopped - buying everything woodsy regardless
of practicality. Backpacks, trail mix, canteens, glow sticks, full climbing
equipment, hiking boots. The amused glances at the two idiots dabbling in
woodscraft were evidence our performance had been bought.

"Okay. Let's get out into wild and commune with nature son. Make a man outta
you." I ignored the snickers and herded Rom towards the start of a hiking trail.

It didn't take us long to "get lost". And once we'd wandered from the hiking
trail we were free to move with the speed we were capable of.

"The edge of the property is twelve miles due south." I said.

"Let's race!" Rom, in his role as my son, enthused. Then he crashed away in
that direction. I sighed. Apparently there were to be no breaks from this
annoying father-son act. I ran after him and caught up immediately.

"You can fun faster than that!" I said. He was really only doing the mortal
equivalent of a sprint.

"No I can't!" He insisted.

Oh. Yet another bit of cover. We "sprinted" through the woods, taking turns
"chasing" the other. This way if someone found us, it would be explainable.
As long as they didn't watch us long enough to see our sprint lasting for miles,
that is.

As we got closer to the property, Rom slowed to a jog. I supposed there must be
stealthed sensors this close to the property. No point in blowing our cover.

When we neared the edge of the property Rom begged to rest, so I sat down on a
rock, pretending to catch my breath.

Rom dug idly in the dirt at the edge of the boulder, neatly slipping one of the
sensors into the hole he made there.

This sensor incorporated some of Rom's own technological tricks to cloak itself
from detection. They wouldn't find it, he'd promised me.

Over the course of a few hours, we wandered around the woods on the edges of the
property, our path suitably random to avoid suspicion. After placing the fourth
sensor we eventually wandered onto the road that approached the mansion, two forlorn
and pathetic figures.

Rom actually approached the gate of the mansion and begged the guard for some water.
Ballsy prick. The guard ordered him off the property after letting him fill his canteen
from a hose. We walked away from the mansion, down the road. When we
made it to town it was dark out. We drove to the apartment in silence.

In the mansion, Julian remained hidden inside the shielded part of the house. As
far as the sensors saw, that wing of the house contained living quarters for the permanent
residents of the house. Servants went in and out with food, that was all. What was
going on inside there?



That night, as I curled up alone in an empty bed, I had my answer.

::Good evening Jeremey. Missing something?:: The godfather.

:Fuck you. I know you have him. I know what you want.:

::Yes. I had thought we would have come to an understanding by now. But...I have
to say I am impressed. Battle of the Caretakers, very ingenious. I didn't think
you'd have the balls to force your own brother to suck you off to keep him from
me. Or that you'd be capable of modifying your own Caretakers at your age. Precocious
of you. Futile, of course. But still clever. Now I am forced to...reinforce my earlier


::Well, obviously I've cut your dear brother off from his usual source of...booster
shots, shall we say. But it looks like my own caretakers have been severely weakened. looks like he needs a fresh dose, now.::

:You bastard. If you touch him I'll-:

::You'll do what? Kill me? Tear me limb from limb? How cliche. I've lived a very long
time, I've heard the speech many times. I highly doubt you'll come up with anything
original at your age. In any case, don't worry. I have no need to molest your precious
little brother. I'll leave that to you. I have other means of administering the dose.
What you need to know is that your timeframe just narrowed. You're going to have to
make a decision. Soon. Otherwise, things will get to the point of no return for dear

:Don't. I'll give you whatever you want. I don't want your filthy implants in my
brother.: I said, defeated.

::Oh, I think not. Not now.'ve proven far too resourceful for your own good
I'll be wanting to keep an eye on you for my own peace of mind. After the first stage
is completed your brother will be my eyes and ears. My own private insurance policy,
if you like. After that is ensured, then we'll conduct a trade. Your brother, for my
immortal bride.::

:No. I want him now. I want your caretakers purged out of his body. You get your bride,
whole and unaging, at least for as long as she can stand you. You're not giving half
my brother back to me in return.:

::You're in no position to negotiate.::

:Aren't I? This is your first chance at this in decades. I could go out tomorrow and
take any random chic in a club. You'll be back to square one. Don't fuck up your chance
by pushing me too far, asshole!:

::Oh, I don't think you'd do something so stupid as that.::

:You think I won't?:

::You don't want to see your dear brother as my little puppet do you? Second-stage?
If you did something like that, you'd never know when you'd have to kill little
Julian in order to defend yourself from him. He's quite impressive you know. I lost
quite a lot of second-stages capturing him. You don't want to have to fight him, do
you? You don't have to be the one to break him, I'm sure. Or maybe you wouldn't. Maybe
you couldn't hurt him to protect yourself? Maybe he'd succeed, then live with the guilt
for the rest of his pathetic little mortal life? How about that?::

:You're one sick fuck, aren't you?:

::Don't try to negotiate with me. We both know you're in no position. Besides, I'm not
going to be taking away anything important from your brother. I'll just be able to see
and hear everything he can. He'll be the same person you know. Don't throw away a good
thing just because it's only the consolation prize.::

:Fine. Where and when?:

::After Julian is secured to my satisfaction. It should only take a week, with a series
of injections to speed along the construction. I'll contact you with a location. You'll
see Julian, you'll perform the procedure on my wife and then we will part company,
free to live out our lives.::

:Fine. I'll do it.:

::Very good. I'll be in touch.::

I screamed in frustration as the connection closed.

"You okay?" Rom poked his head in the door. I sent him the conversation.


"Fuck. He's serious. We'll have to move fast. Do you think he's at the mansion?"

"I think he's inside that shielded area, with Julian, giving him some kind of
injection right now." I told him.

"You're probably right."

"I don't want him to become one of those things. Even first-stage."

"Then we'll have to move quickly. Let's assume they don't realize we know where
they're at. That will change as soon as they find the bug Julian swallowed. And
they will discover it. We should attack as soon as possible. tonight."


::I think we should jump in.:: The AI joined the conversation.


::The woods are likely heavily sensored. The sensors showed that even two
mortals bumbling about in the woods near the property had the whole place
on high alert. That won't work if we're trying to assault the place. They
have a helicopter. It's going to be a race to get to Julian before they can
get him to the helicopter. We can't be giving them advance warning like

"He's got a point." I looked up and realized the AI had been sending the
conversation to Rom as well.

"How are we going to get the equipment we need, though?"

::It could attract unnecessary attention.::

"What if...we attract attention in a way that won't seem suspicious?" I mused.


"Well...this guy can't expect me to just give in completely. Not without
trying to find Julian on my own."

"You want to hire an airplane to fly a search pattern."

"Exactly. They'll expect that. They'll keep an eye on us, but they won't
feel threatened. I bet they're pretty confident in their ability to shield
from Esseren-based scanning technology."

"You're right. Can your AI get us a plane booked for tomorrow?"

::I just did it. We're booked with Ronnie Bishop on a Cessna Skyhawk for
the entire day.::

:How the hell did you do that in the middle of the night?:

::I looked in his computer. He's desperate for customers, the business is
on the verge of default. So I found his secretary's personal number. Had a
nice little secretary-to-secretary chat and you're in. For three times the
normal amount. Not that that matters.::

"Okay, sounds like a plan." Rom had obviously been privy to the conversation
again. I felt somewhat violated by that, like he'd intruded into an area of
intimacy, but I knew the AI had let him in for good reason.

"We should have a decoy. So they don't realize we've left the plane." I said.

"Another sensor. This one will need to be a bit different. Stronger. Less
subtle." Rom said.

::I'll build an active scanner with a sloppy output signal. Program it for
directional, high-intensity area probes.::

:Will that be ready by morning?:

::Yes. I need more raw materials though.::

I was almost accustomed to swallowing handfuls of inedible tidbits now. I
settled into the bed, ready for a long planning session with my AI and Rom.



The next morning, Ronnie Bishop was ready and waiting when we arrived at the
airstrip at dawn.

"Morning, guys! I'm just about ready for ya, just got to finish my walk-around
here." He was busily checking wheels, the propeller, oil and hydraulics and such
and we waited for him to finish before approaching.

"Hello. My name is John Harkins." The strange name rolled off my tongue like it
was my own. When did I become such a comfortable liar?

"I'm Jimmy!" Rom piped up brightly, eager smile peeking from around my pant leg.

"Hello there little man! Ready to go flying today?" Ronnie leaned down to shake
his hand and 'Jimmy' beamed with delight.

"We're doing a mapping survey for Jimmy's geography class." I told him calmly.

"I'm going to take pictures for it! Got my own camera. Dad! Can I show him the

"He'll see it when we get started, son." I told him impatiently. His face fell
and he stuck out his bottom lip.

"Hey, that just means we'll get up in the air sooner!" Ronnie cheered him up,
flashing me a look of disapproval.

Rom beamed at him.

"So will we be taking pictures all day then?"

"Essentially, yes." I told him. No need for him to know about the two parachutes
hidden in our duffel. Not yet, anyways.

Minutes later we were roaring down the runway, little 'Jimmy' letting out terrified
squeals of delight as we lifted off the ground.

"We're about ten miles from the city, right?" I asked, knowing the answer.

"Just about, yeah." Ronnie yelled over his shoulder.

"Could you fly right through the middle of the city, out to ten miles on the other side?"

"Sure thing."

He did it, and Rom noisily took several pictures as he did so.

"Let's see them." I held out my hand for the camera. 'Jimmy' eagerly handed it over with
a hopeful grin.

"There's some good ones on there Dad, see?"

I paged through the pictures on the little screen. At the same time I reached through
the link and activated the powerful sensor array hidden in my duffel bag. It started a
powerful sensor sweep of the city and surrounding countryside.

:We're actively scanning.: I informed Rom silently.

::Good. Stay in character.:: He reminded me.

I frowned at the camera.

"These aren't any good." I told 'Jimmy', rather coldly.

Rom screwed up his face in disappointment and Ronnie gaped over his shoulder, horrified
at my attitude.

"We need more altitude." I informed him sharply. He hastily turned back to his controls
and the plane started to climb.

I handed the camera back to Rom. "If you're going to do something, make sure you do it
right. Perfectly. Otherwise, don't bother. Those shots were pretty, you can develop
them to look at later. But you're making a picture map. Don't get distracted. You'll
have time to enjoy flying after you've finished working."

Soon the plane leveled off and I directed Ronnie to fly a widening circle around the city.

Rom snapped off pictures.

The sensor array in my duffel bag kept stabbing downward at the countryside, relentlessly
probing on several spectrum as if it would sift the soil. The AI had set up a pattern to
follow, one that our quarry below would understand and extrapolate and feel secure knowing
they knew exactly what I was up to.

"That should do." I told Rom.

"Can we jump then?" He asked eagerly.

"I think you've earned it." I nodded at him gravely.

"What?" Ronnie asked.

"You didn't think we were going to snap pictures all day did you?" I asked him.

" But...what do you mean jump?"

"He's finished his homework. Time for fun." I let my severe face split into a rakish grin.

"But you don't have-" Ronnie didn't finish the thought as 'Jimmy' dove eagerly into the
duffel and came up with a parachute harness.

"Don't worry about it." I told him. "Just be there to pick us up when we're done."

Rom and I got into our harnesses and carefully attached the bundled parachutes behind us.

::We're just about to pass into a cloud.:: The AI informed me.

"Time to jump." I told Rom. He nodded, his face excited. He leaned forward and impulsively
hugged the pilot.

"Thanks for flying us mister!" I knew the tiny needle on the pad of his finger had painlessly
penetrated his skin and delivered the mild toxin. The pilot relaxed and nodded. Kept nodding
and was clearly in a dazed state.

"That'll last about fifteen minutes. More than enough time."


"He set it already, so he could argue with us about jumping. It'll keep the same pattern until
he wakes up and comes back for a landing. By then, we won't have to worry about spoiling our

::Cloud cover in twenty seconds.::

"Get ready to open the door."

Rom unlocked the handle and put his hand on it, ready to twist.


Rom twisted the handle and swung himself out into the powerful blast of wind. I
followed, holding onto the small railing outside for dear life as we pulled the
little door shut behind us.

::It's secure. Let's jump.::

We let go of the railing and tumbled downward through the blinding white of
water vapor.

As we exited through the bottom of the cloud I felt the AI orient my senses
to the landscape below, and I knew where the mansion was.

:There. Let's fall quickly.:

We pointed our bodies for minimum resistance and shot downwards towards the
ground. The AI had control of my limbs, and whatever part of Rom's personality
was his computer was in full control of him. At the very last possible moment
the parachute snapped open, jerking us viciously upwards to float the last several
feet to the ground. We had landed on the roof of the mansion.

I sprinted forward to disable a startled security guard as he swung an automatic
rifle towards us.

::Better keep it. They know we're here.:: Rom advised me.

:I've got to find Julian.:

::You see to your brother. I'm going after this godfather person.:: Rom reminded me.

Of course. This was why he was working with us in the first place, I recalled.

:You can have him.:

I didn't much care what Rom's motivations were. I sprinted to the edge of the
roof and, catching my fingers on the edge, swung myself to crash feet-first
through the window below.

Inside was a madhouse. Servants rushed to get out of the way of the battle,
guards rushed to defend the premises, and I rushed through the only hallway
that was unplotted in my map of the building, barely even slowing down to
place bullets in brains as the defenders tried to stop me.

"JULIAN! WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU IN HERE!?!?" My amplified voice shook the
walls and the guards staggered backwards at the impossible volume.

Nothing. Just more running feet, running towards me. Another posse of guards
burst through a doorway and I sprayed bullets at them with perfect accuracy.
Now just a pile of uniformed bodies.


I found a locked door and struck it with the superhuman force of my enhanced
arm. It was reinforced to withstand that. I took a careful look up and down
the shielded hallway. All the other doors were plain paneled wood. This one
was dense steel. This was where they were holding Julian.

I looked at the walls, through the full electromagnetic spectrum. They were
reinforced with steel too. The entire room was protected, and specifically
from an assault by an immortal. I took a closer look at the walls. I was
pretty sure I could get inside, but it was going to take some work. And
who knew what was going to be happening while I worked.

Rom was suddenly at my side. I turned to him slowly.

"They're both in there." I suggested.

He nodded wordlessly.

"I can't break the door down."

"No. But I can." Rom said grimly. "Look out."

I took a step backwards. He nodded again, held out his hand.

There was no flash, no light. Only Rom with his hand out and the steel door
smoking ominously. A strange smell reached my nose. Ozone, I thought. The
steel was changing in color from the shine of burnished steel to an ugly
yellow-brown color. More smoke belched outward from the surface.

After a moment, Rom lowered his hand, facing the door. He turned to me and
gave me a slow nod.

I hesitated a moment. Looked at the door. Looked back at him. He made a
pushing motion at me, towards the door.

I took a deep breath and plunged my fist into the steel. It shuddered
under the blow. It wasn't steel anymore, somehow. I gave it another strong
hit and felt it crack. Two more and the door was in pieces. I looked at Rom,
wondering what the hell that was, then charged into the room.

I stopped.

There was a bed, where Julian had obviously slept the night.

There were his jeans folded neatly on the bed.

And there, centered on top of the jeans, was the little round sensor he'd
swallowed the day before.

Just a note to let you all know that I am heading into exam season. Which means my universe will revolve around my law books and my notes for a while - most of December. I hope to continue writing this as a stress-relief valve, but chapters may be shorter than normal and slow in coming for a few weeks.

Also, a reminder...I'm writing this for fun, which means I'm always wanting feedback from people who read and enjoy my work. Vanity, yes. But don't feel constrained to leaving flattering compliments on my amazing writing skills ;) ... if anyone wants to talk about the story, like...make suggestions or notice interesting things (that I haven't thought of, perhaps?) about the technology, or the characters, or make guesses or give suggestions about the next development in the plot...(Yes, I am writing this chapter-by-chapter - with only a general idea of where it is going to go...) I would love to hear from you.

Best place for that is the discussion board (linked below), so others can get into the act as well. Check it out and leave a comment folks!

Discuss Symbiota Sapiens at The Symbiota Sapiens Bulletin Board.