Author’s notes; This is the first time I’ve tried my hand at writing a Xenosaga story. I’ve written some Final Fantasy stories before, but the story behind this new role playing game is so awesome I felt I had to contribute to it, even if it was just in a fanfic. This story takes place in the year T.C. 4667 one hundred years before the events of Der Wille zur Macht: Episode I. It focuses on why I believe Ziggy killed himself with his own gun. Of course by the end of the series we’ll probably find the real reason, but my motto is, let’s have fun where we can. That’s the thrill of being a writer. If you’d like write a review and tell me what you think.
Jan Sauer walked to his hover car and turned to look at his young son, David James. The eleven in a half year old boy looked a lot like his father. He had the same blonde hair, same blue eyes. Same way of walking even, Jan thought with a chuckle as he watched his son saunter up the steps of the Zelion Aiero middle school. So like me, and yet, so much like his mother.
Jan’s chest fell as he remembered that dark day when he found out that although he had a son, he no longer had a wife. The doctor had moved from foot to foot as he gave the young man the bad news. How do you tell a nineteen year old man that the woman he loved and had only been married to for less than two years was gone? Jan almost quite the Federal Police Academy. If it had not been for his grandmother who helped him raise David for the first five years he would have.
“Don’t forget, I’ll be here to pick you up at three thirty,” he called out as his son disappeared behind the corner of the school building. David paused long enough to wave his hand and then completely disappeared for the day.
The Federation Police Headquarters was just a few blocks away from the capital building of Fifth Jerusalem. Much like the Congress building, there were many different picture frames in the lobby as police chiefs from around the city talked with each other at rapid speed, each talking about a separate case. The outside of the building was pale white, and shaped like a triangle. Actually it almost reminded Jan of ancient symbols of an order called the Freemasons. Though while the Masons, as well as almost all other religions slowly disappeared over the last few millennia, their symbols still remained like a beaker of light. Somehow Jan felt it comforting.
He entered the building and quickly headed towards his office. There, on his desk was a large stack of paperwork that was so large that Jan almost imagined it being a large mountain that needed to be climbed. He grinned and fought back to urge to yodel. He walked to the desk and sat down, quickly flipping through some of the papers. With each paper that he flipped through, one name constantly came to view. Elisabeth Raystorm, the nineteen year old terrorist who attempted to blow up the Congress building in the name of her father’s, “The Reverend” Liu Raystorm’s fanatical religious faction, The Black Heaven Unit. You know I wish the normal religions of thousands of years ago were still here. These fanatics wouldn’t have such a hay day with most people’s minds.
It had been one week to the day that he had caught the young woman in a small bar; drinking her weight in the foulest smelling ale he had ever smelled. It had been a tip that had led him there, probably from some former member of the cult, who wanted to secretly get back at Raystorm. Jan would have never guessed that the girl’s only weakness was alcohol. She was very devoted to her father, and he had made sure that his entire apostle’s had an absolute distain for alcohol or drugs. Elisabeth apparently, despite her love for “daddy”, would not give up her other love affair of beer.
Jan smirked as he remembered the shocked face of the raven haired woman as he and his squad burst through the bar, their guns drawn and all aimed at the young girl. She rose to her feet and tried to yank her gun out of her holster, but looked down in dismay as she remembered that the bar always took its patron’s weapons, so as to avoid a massacre in case there were any misunderstandings. In fact, many of the patrons had reached for their guns when they spied the Federation police, but as they realized that their fire arms were gone, just as Elisabeth had, they turned to the next course of action. They all scattered, like roaches down the drains and cracks of the doors of the bar. Elisabeth had attempted to rush out as well, but slipped on some dried green vomit on the floor beneath her table, and Jan was quick to pounce on her and slap on the cuffs.
A check of her hover car and the plush apartment she was renting in the city, turned up many surveillance taps of the Congress buildings security forces, as well as blue prints of the building itself. There was also a list of names of many security guards who Elisabeth had either bribed or gave certain night time favors in order for them to look the other way when she entered the building. There was also a Daines’ Daile thermal nuclear bomb. Had she detonated it, it would have taken out not only the Congress building but also the surrounding ten blocks, wiping out twenty percent of people that Raystorm claimed to want to help.
Jan set his jaw as he thought about that and narrowed his eyes. Damn hypocrites. He continued to flip through the papers and carefully signed his names to the ones with the most importance. His secretary popped her head in the door and whistled to get his attention.
“Captain, sir, Chief Ro just called and wants to see the reports of the Goldsmyth case on her desk in the next hour.” She looked at him sympathetically and grinned at him. “Sorry, captain. I tried to persuade her to give you a little more time, but she’s insistent.”
Jan ran his fingers through his blonde hair and smiled at the young girl. “That’s okay Chichiro, I know you did you’re best.” He watched her disappear around the door and sighed. Damn woman. God damned bureaucrat. Only reason she wants the Goldsmyth case papers is because the Goldsmyth’s were a rich powerful group of people with ties to the mayor and most of the members of the Federation’s Congress. He had no doubt she’d try to find a way to get Charles Goldsmyth out of the trouble he’d made for himself, even if he was accused of breaking into a middle-aged woman’s house and robbing her blind just for the thrill of the “game”.
He was just about to stand up, Goldsmyth file in hand, when the door to his office opened again, and his best friend in the whole system walked through the door. Greg Anderson was just a few years younger than Jan, a few inches shorter than him and was a lieutenant, rather than a captain, but that was the differences stopped. In fact, most people who didn’t know them thought they were brothers. A lot of people in the headquarters still insisted that they were in deed brothers that had been separated somehow.
Greg smirked and leaned against the corner of Jan’s wall. “Heard that you got the ‘bulldog’ upset at you again,” he said, a tinge of humor in his voice.
Jan rolled his eyes and sighed. “Bulldog my ass,” he grumbled as he brushed by some of his papers on the floor. “More like an annoying little jackal, biting at the heels of her masters’ for a bit of meat.”
Greg laughed and shook his head. “Don’t let the woman hear you say that. I learned that she threatened suspension against an officer because he called her an evil Gidget.”
Jan frowned and shook his head. “He called her an evil what?” He watched Greg smirk and shrug. “Honestly Greg, sometimes you make no sense at all,” he chuckled.
“Part of being a bachelor,” the light brown hair man said with a mischievous grin. His lips spread farther across his face as he watched his friend, until it was almost a skull like smile. His blue eyes glowed in the light of the room and he rose a finger, “And don’t you try saying something like ‘we’ll have to do something about that’ because if you do, and you’re successful, there are going to be many women in this city that are going to riot.”
Jan looked at his friend and groaned, his shoulders slumping as he considered sitting back down at his desk. He looked at the wall to his left and watched as the lime green electric numbers continued the steady tick to twelve o’ clock. Jan groaned again and flipped through the mess of papers on his desk to find the remaining papers on the Goldsmyth case, thanking the stars Greg showed up when he did. Had he not shown up, Jan would have gone with only half the information needed, and Charlie Goldsmyth might not get off so easy. He gazed up at his friend and gave him a friendly scowl. Actually damn you, Greg. That rich snot could have been in a lot of hot water.
Greg returned the stare and smiled, reading his best friend’s mind. “Oh, true, but then so could the chief, or worse, so could have you.”
“You telepaths are real pains in the necks, you know that?” Jan asked with a laugh.
Greg stood still, trying his best impression of a paranoid anti-government activist, “It’s all the damned government’s fault. They shouldn’t be a messin’ with the people’s natural right to exist as evolution or the angel’s have ordered.” He then went on with his charade for a few moments more, acting as if he were being watched, quoting millennia of conspiracy theories.
Jan began laughing so hard he nearly wet himself; Greg could be hilarious when he wanted to be. The older man shook his head and stood straight up as his friend concluded his comedy act. “You know, sometimes you can be a real idiot,” he said wiped a tear from his eye.
Greg shrugged and the two of them walked out of the office, when Chichiro stopped Jan and handed him a package. The young captain frowned as he took the small box, wrapped on thin brown paper, and tied with a string and opened it. He nearly gasped as he saw what lay inside of it.
“I didn’t know you were into that kind of thing, Jan,” Greg said, his own blue eyes bugging out as he spied what looked like a cyberframe with an attractive, scantily clad woman on the sides.
“I’m not,” the older man nearly shouted. He shook his head back and forth and then grinned at Chichiro. “Are you sure this wasn’t meant for him?” he asked, nudging his head at Greg.
“Hey, that’s not very nice,” the younger man said with a laugh. “Besides, I don’t have these things sent to work, not a good policy.”
“I was told to give it to you, captain sir,” the young secretary said, trying to hide her shock.
Jan sighed and read the paperwork that came with the cyberframe. Well I should just throw the thing away, or try using it later, but the instructions say it’s important that it use it now. A chill went up his spine as he placed the light, golden frames over his face and watched a black frame quickly appear over his eyes. Why don’t I have a good feeling about this?
Greg watched as his friend put the frames on, and frowned moments later as Jan gasped. The captain’s skin grew white and he seemed to age at least twenty years as he watched whatever was recorded on those frames.
Jan grit his teeth and uttered a single word, finally tossing the frames to the floor as he ran full speed towards Chief Ro’s office.
“What the hell?” he asked silently, looking at the secretary. She shrugged, and both knew that something bad had happened.
Into Ro had seen many things since become the Chief of the Federation Police Force, but nothing as violent as what just barged into her office a few minutes ago. If his face had been any more enraged, Into would have sworn that Jan Sauer was the first wave of a new species of life, ready to crush the Federation under their boots.
“I know that you’re upset,” she said, finally the long silence between them, “but I truly believe that the Goldsmyth boy is innocent.” She smiled sweetly at the young captain and began to stand.
“I don’t give a damn about that rich snot of a brat,” Jan screamed, slamming papers down on her desk so hard it started to crack. “And you fucking know why I’m here, don’t you?” He glared at her, his dark blue eyes full of hate and fear that he seemed possessed.
“Jan,” she said hesitantly, “honestly I don’t know what’s gotten into you, but I don’t like it.” Into tried to stop from shuddering as she avoided Jan’s angry glance. “If you keep this I’m going to have to have you removed from duty and go through a drug test.”
Jan roared like a lion pouncing on its prey and tossed a chair across the office, knocking down some of Into’s oak framed certificates of honor, and smashing a picture of her with the mayor of the city that had been taken two months before. “Don’t act like you don’t know what’s going on. That’d goddamn freak Raystorm has kidnapped my son,” he leaned forward and glared into her face. “And you knew it too, didn’t you? He told me he would call you personally and tell you what had happened.”
Into groaned and bit her lip. “The call came two hours ago,” she whispered. For just a brief second Jan’s rage melted and he found himself flabbergasted. He blinked and felt his knees buckle under his own weight. His chief sighed and shook her long golden hair. “I was afraid you might act this way, so I felt it best not to tell you yet.”
Two hours?! That would have been at ten o’clock, just an hour after I’d dropped him off at school. Who was she to not tell me about this?! Now the rage came pouring out faster than it had done before. “So when in the hell were you going to tell me?” Jan roared, pounding his fist on the desk.
“When we had some type of positive news,” she said blandly.
“Positive news?” he shrieked, “Like what? That you’ve found his base of operations? That David is safe, that the fucking jackass who might at this very moment be torturing my son within an inch of his life is either in custody or dead?” Jan started to pace back and forth, his eyes bulging from the sockets as he thought things through.
“I have some of my best men working on the case right now,” she said reassuringly.
“You’re about to have one more on the damn case,” he growled.
Into shook her head and rose to her feet. “No, that’s not going to happen, Jan.” She crossed her arms and pursed her large lips together. The light in the office flickered around her gray blue dress and danced along the edges of her pitch Federal Police boots.
Jan narrowed his eyes, and leaned forward slowly. “What?” he asked with the softest whisper he had ever heard, it sent a chill all through her body.
“You are one of the best detectives I have Jan,” she forced herself to say. “This case is too personal, and judging from your reaction, too dangerous for you to take. If your can’t think rationally, you could risk Liu Raystorm escaping, or killing either yourself or your son. I can’t risk that.”
“You can’t tell me that I am forbidden to go save my son from that lunatic,” Jan growled, turning to the office door.
“Actually as long as I’m the Chief of Police, and you work for me, I can, and I am,” Into said, a tinge of anger starting to grow in her own voice. “I mean it Jan; you are not to go against me this time.”
Jan turned and stared angrily at his superior officer. “I’ll do what I think is best for myself and for my son,” he snapped. Take that you bitch.
“I will not repeat myself; Jan, you are not to leave the building. In fact, you are not to leave your office if you keep trying to challenge me today.” She sighed and sat back down and began reading the records of the Goldsmyth case. Hmm, maybe we don’t have a chance of getting the boy off the hook like I hoped earlier. Damn.
“Do you have children?” Jan snapped, walking back to her desk.
“This conversation is over, Jan. Now go one. Take the rest of the day off and relax,” she said, without looking up.
“Of course you do,” he said, turning a chair and sitting down to face her. “And what would you do if they were in the hands of a maniac like Raystorm.”
“We are not going to do this,” she snarled through clenched teeth, still refusing to look up at him.
“He’s admitted to torturing his own fucking daughter,” Jan roared, pounding his fist on the desk. “You think he’s actually going to leave someone else’s kid alone? You think he’s not going to try and brainwash an innocent child that doesn’t belong to him?” The young man set his jaw as he was faced with more silence. “He’s done it with each one of his followers, each one someone else’s child! I won’t just stand by and watch it happen to my son.” He shot up to his feet and turned toward the door.
“Be careful Jan, your rage might turn you into a cold heart machine,” she whispered.
Jan pushed by the crowd of fellow officers, each one shocked at the either the rudeness or the anger in their usually quite and cheerful friend. His eyes swirled from corner to corner, from sign to sign as he marched through the cold corridors of the police confinement facility. The area was the size of ten football fields, and was so covered in silver and chrome that the officer’s who read the ancient science fiction novels of the past thought the old scribes might have died and gone straight to geek heaven to have witnessed such a place. It was divided into three separate sectors, or levels, each separated by an elevator.
Each cell contained three or four inmates, usually non violent, just drunk drivers, or tobacco users, or worse, caffeine users. There were a few homeless bums in the cells too. Jan always felt sorry for most of them, since ninety percent of them had been soldiers who had fought in the Cline Evesa Wars thirty to forty years ago, and had never been fully paid back by the government.
On the second level of the containment area, was where they kept the insane. Screams of insane mirth or imagined fears echoed through the doors, and almost nearly drove the poor souls who had to work there insane themselves. Fortunately the government had allowed the police to buy soundproof cells. If the inmates got too rowdy or noisy, you could flip a switch and the madman’s or madwoman’s voices would be drowned out. You could still see them through a window, to make sure they weren’t hurting themselves, but you didn’t hear them. The inmates each had their own cell in this sector.
On the third level was where they kept their most dangerous inmates. Rapists, murders, criminally insane, and terrorists were kept here. Like the second level each inmate had their own cell. There was also a medical ward here, where doctors as mad as their patients could come and “experiment” with them, to try and “cure” them from their violent tendencies. Mutants were born here. Mutants so powerful that there was talk of building a fourth sector just to contain them.
It was in this dirt ridden, damp, and dark sector to which Jan was heading. Down to the “dungeon” as any civilized person called it. He passed a number of doors until he came across Room 569. Blazed across the door, in golden letters was the name, Elisabeth Raystorm. Jan scowled as he punched the correct keypad numbers and watched the door to the room slide open.
If outside of the room had been a scene from a horror picture, then inside the room looked like a scene out of Dr. Jeckel and Mr. Hyde. The part of the room that was farthest from the door was so neat and clean you would have thought that the President of the Federation lived there. The part near the door was so horrid with feces and other filth that it could only be a scene out of the mind of a horror writer. On the left hand wall of the horror side, Jan could see the name of the occupant of the room, just as written as neatly as it had been on the outside of the door, except the name was written not in golden letters, but in blood. ,Elisabeth’s blood.
“Welcome to my abode, Officer Sauer,” cooed a taunting voice from out of the darkness. Jan could hear the sound of something scraping against the floor, and a second later spied the young Elisabeth, her arms bathed in blood, inching her way towards him. Her face was curled and bitter looking, and yet her mouth was turned upwards with a ghoulish grin. She wore a long white dress, almost a wedding dress, except it was shorter along her ankles.
Jan forced the urge to vomit back down his throat and gasped as the girl crawled closer to him. “My God,” he whispered.
Elisabeth stopped crawling and stared for a second, before bursting into hysterics. “Yes, I’m afraid that I’ve really let the place go,” she howled. She looked at him with the eye of a doll. Pitch black eyes, dead eyes. “But enough about me, you’re here about your little boy, am I right?”
“How did you know that?” His chest burned. David. “How did you know about my son?”
“Did you honestly think that you could take my father’s daughter and not have some type of reprisal, detective?” Her voice was hoarse, as though she had been chocked violently. She crawled nearer, and Jan could see a huge gap behind her left knee. The thing smiled at him again. “This is a war detective; there are no innocents to protect. Everyone is guilty for something detective. There are no innocents to protect. Take myself, had I not given in to my lust for ale, the souls of the guilt infected Congress would have been judged by now.”
Jan watched blood ooze from the girl’s body and shook his head. This is wrong. Sure I want answers, but not at the life of this girl. He turned to leave and stopped as the girl howled with laughter.
“Can I assume then that you don’t want to know where your son is?” The girl smiled and crawled closer to him. “I’m as good as dead anyway. Too much blood has left for you to save me now. If you leave now, you’ll never find that tasty little child of yours.”
“Where is he,” Jan snarled, stomping up to the dying girl.
“Ah, there’s that wonderful hatred. I’d hoped to see it before I died, just once mind you, but still see it never the less,” Elisabeth cackled. “It’s so intoxicating, isn’t it?”
“Enough games,” Jan roared. “Where the fuck is he?”
Elisabeth grinned and narrowed her eyes. “They’re on Bohemia IV. You’re familiar with it, yes?”
Jan narrowed his eyes and turned from the girl. “I hope you enjoy your death, you freak.” Can’t believe I said that to her. She’s a victim too, but obviously as deranged as her father.
“Death is nothing for someone who has atoned for their sins,” she laughed. “I’ll see you again in the afterlife, detective, perhaps we’ll have a bottle of whiskey.”
Jan turned to snap at the girl again, and gasped as Elisabeth pulled a gun from out of her dress and pressed it against her temple. He rushed to stop her, but was seconds too late as the gun fired and the girl’s head flopped into the air and down, to the ground, blood splattering everywhere. It soaked her raven hair, and flooded down her face, until she looked as though she were the demon on the outside that had been torturing her soul on the inside.
It had only taken him a couple of minutes to bound out of the room, and out of all three sectors. The confusion and chaos Elisabeth had caused with the gun shot was almost perfect, although Jan had wished that there had been another way.
By the time he reached the main offices he could hear the voice of Into Ro screaming for his head. The surveillance cameras, damn I forgot about them. They would have recorded the entire conversation. He began rushing passed the corners faster and faster, sneaking around rooms to avoid his “friends” who wanted to stop him. Unfortunately he had to crack a few of their heads together to get by them, and silently said a prayer that they’d forgive him.
He had final made it to the hangar and was about to launch one of the ships, when Greg burst through the door, and tried to persuade him to surrender. That was useless, and Greg knew it. In the end, he gave Jan a switch back blade to hide under his left sleeve and made him promise to be careful. The ships engines roared to life, and Jan felt himself soaring into the sky. He looked back, and sighed. Poor Greg, he probably just gave up his job to help me. Jan turned his gaze away from the earth, and into the stars.
Bohemia IV, if there was ever a planet that the sanest of people avoid, this was it. From space it was nothing but a dark muddy orb, barely glowing in the vastness of space. The stench of its polluted atmosphere could be smelt before you even landed on the planet, in fact the stench was so bad it could peal the skin off of your eyeballs within five minutes. And the buildings on its surface, although they had once been palace’s and temples for powerful rulers and sects, were now burned out skeletons, most of which had been transformed into ore manufacturing plants six hundred years ago. In short it was the toilet of the galaxy. And his little boy was somewhere down it.
Hours later he found the man he was looking for. Sitting high in the center of the planet, on a throne made of ash and gray stone was the “Reverend” Liu Raystorm. And to the left of the madman sitting on a hanging piece of wood, was his very frightened son, David.
“It’s over Raystorm,” he snarled, marching up the steps towards the throne. His uniform was caked in the sweat and blood of hundreds of people, most of whom he had managed to defeat without killing. “Give me my son, and hand yourself over to the Federation.”
Raystorm glared down at him and smirked, stroking his chin as if considering the order. “I, think not.” He rose to his feet, an impressive giant of a man, with long wavy black hair, and a dark gray eye. His right eye was cybertronic, as was his left arm. The evil man adjusted his spectacles over the ridge of his nose and walked towards David, who cowered in the shadow of the maniac.
“Stay the fuck away from him Raystorm, I’m warning you,” Jan screeched, rushing further up the stairs.
“And just what are you going to do if I go near him? Do you plan on killing me?” Liu turned to the young boy and ran his fingers through his hair. “Is that the impression you want to make on a mind so young as this?”
“You, damned freak,” Jan roared, launching at the maniac cult leader. He was inches away from the robed man when a gust of wind flailed him back to the ground, and swung the plank further towards an abyss.
“You see,” Liu said, seemingly floating in the air, “you almost cost the life of your son. All to get to me, how weak you must be, how tired of life.” The evil man’s right shimmered and he laughed. “Would you like to join your wife? Be back in her arms again? I can make that happen if you pledge allegiance to me.” He laughed and swatted Jan back again as the other man attempted to leap into the air to attack him. “Don’t be absurd, you can’t defeat me. You inferior man, why, I don’t know why your wife would want you back, why don’t you just give in?”
“Shut up,” Jan snarled, pulling out his gun and aiming it at Liu. “You didn’t know my wife, and you don’t know me.” He fired a few rounds and swore as the bullets simply bounced off or away from Liu, who stayed in the air, laughing, like a deranged angel.
“But enough of this,” the older man said, his voice growing dangerous. “You took something very dear to me, and I want my two pounds of flesh.” He turned to David who nearly squeaked at the sight of him. “How much do you weigh boy? Much more than two pounds, I’m sure, but then I was never very finicky.”
Jan roared in horror and anger and raced towards a crop of rocks. On quickly as he bounced on one, he leapt to another and then another, until he was in the right level of height. The thirty year old man leapt into the middle of the air and grasped a shocked Liu Raystorm. With all his weight and might he forced the other man onto his back and connected with a fist right into the other’s lower jaw.
The two men plummeted to the ground, and Jan was quick to get to his feet. He looked around and saw the motionless body of Liu laying a few feet from him. Slowly he approached the body, and to his relief, saw it was not breathing. Jan turned to the throne and began to walk to his son when a flash of fiery pain filled his left side.
He turned and grimaced as the “Reverend” yanked a fire spell sword from his waist. “Impressive, no one’s ever gotten me to the ground before. But your luck has just ran out detective.” The madman grinned and swung the sword in a fierce circle, constantly getting Jan to dart and spin in defensive movements. Then with a wicked grin the older man put his hand into his pocket and pulled out a clump of dirt, which he threw into Jan’s unsuspecting face.
Jan collapsed to the ground, momentarily blind, but he knew that would be all that was necessary for Liu to bring the sword down and kill him. Instinctively he listened, and heard the shuffling of footsteps slowly coming near. Okay, here we go. One, two, three. . . Jan raised his left arm and felt a thud of metal against metal ring in his ears, along with a shocked curse from Liu.
“You are full of surprises, detective,” he growled.
“More than you know asshole,” Jan snapped, and swung his left leg in a full circular motion. It had the effect he wanted, as Liu collapsed to the ground. Jan quickly got the rest of the dirt from his eyes and smiled as his son cheered.
“Get him dad,” the excited boy roared on his hero.
Jan yanked the other man to his feet and smirked. “Ready?” he asked, a second later he was kicking Liu in the chest and gut at rapid speed, taking satisfaction as the other man’s face twisted with panic and shock. A quick back brain kick and an injured Liu Raystorm dropped to the ground, blood dripping from his mouth.
Jan nodded and turned to the throne, and to where an excited David was waiting for him on the hovering platform. He walked up the stairs and smiled as the boy came closer. With a little effort he hauled the board almost safely to solid ground. Just as he was about to reach for the boy, a burst of fire soared between the two, and burned the young boy’s cheek. Jan called out to his son and turned, furiously down to the ground, where Liu stood on one leg, laughing at them.
“You son of a bitch,” Jan screamed, and took out his gun and fired at the hated individual. The maniac rocked backwards as a few bullets struck his body, but he continued to laugh. Jan fired one last time, and the bullet went sailing through the air, and struck Liu through the chest.
It should have ended there, after all that brought the wicked man to a single knee. But it didn’t. The last bullet did not stop its deadly pilgrimage in Liu’s chest. It went straight through his back and ricocheted off of a stone on one of the walls. The bullet soared back towards Jan and his son, like a boomerang, and as quick as a dream ends, sliced through one of the ropes holding the plank in the air. Jan screamed in panic and rushed to grab hold of his son, but the boy had been on the unsafe side of the board, the one still over the abyss. All the horrified Jan saw was a little boy flailing down into an endless night, his lungs screaming for his father to save him, screaming for something that could never happen, no matter how much Jan wished it. In the end, David was gone, and not by the hand of Liu Raystorm, but by the hand of his own devoted father.
Liu grinned evilly and cackled. “Nice shot, couldn’t have done it better myself,” he wheezed.
Jan slowly turned and glared at the other man, then back at his own hands, and again at Liu. His grit his teeth and let loose an inhuman roar and he leapt to the ground. Without thinking about it, he pushed the button on the switchblade that he had been hiding under his left sleeve, the one that Greg had given him, the one that had saved his life against Liu’s fire sword. The deadly steel ripped through the fabric of his sleeve, and flung out, like a built in sword. Jan swung his weapon in a sloppy arch, and snarled as the blade cut Liu’s shoulder and right arm clean off his body. Jan twisted on his heels and brought the blade into Liu’s chest and yanked the blade out again, watching as the surprised villain fell to his death.
As he stared down at the dead man, he felt his lips quiver, and Jan Sauer fell down besides his opponent’s body and wept bitterly for his son.
It was a month later. Although Jan had gotten a reprimand for his actions, he was considered a hero for bringing down on the most deadly terrorist groups in the Federation. They even had a parade for him, with marching bands and floats. Greg had come to cheer him up, arm in arm with a beautiful brunette.
But it meant nothing to him. He had hoped that the funeral might have lifted the load of his grief, but it didn’t. And how could it? No one found David’s body. And he had no doubt no one ever would. That abyss was over eight hundred feet deep at certain areas. The young man shuddered. Eight hundred feet, for all they knew the poor child was still falling, still calling out for a father who had sent him to his doom. I killed my son, I’m no better than Liu is, or was rather. I let my emotions cloud my judgment, just as Into had said I would. And because of that, David is gone.
His thoughts turned to his wife, Laina. How could she ever forgive me for what I’ve done? He put the palm of his hands into his face and began to cry. I’ve killed our little boy. How can I expect to face her? How can I expect to face grandmother? Both he and David had been fond of his grandmother, who helped out so much. The hero of the Federation is a murderer.
Jan licked his lips and rose to his feet. There was only one way out of this, one way to escape the guilt and reveal the truth. He walked over to his apartment door and locked it tight. Then he walked into his bedroom and pulled out his gun. I guess I’ll be having that whiskey with you sooner than you thought, Elisabeth. Jan took the gun to his head, clenched his eyes, and pulled the trigger.
When he first reopened his eyes he had to shut them tight again, as blinding light tore into his retinas. He grit his teeth and shook his head. What had happened? He remembered being in a room, an apartment bedroom, and a gun in his hand? What had happened?
He opened his eyes again, and looked around. Why was everything that he was looking at seen through the eyes of a computer? Facts of the room, the temperature, the size, where every little crumb was hidden, all of these piled down as he looked around. And why was he tied to a chair, or bed, or whatever this was that he was laying on?
An image flashed in his mind, one of a little boy screaming for his father to save him as he fell into a large hole in the ground. The boy’s cries grew louder and louder, and the man, if indeed that’s what he was, longed to have his hands free to cover his ears and block out those horrible, gut wrenching cries.
Two men approached him and smiled as they looked at a computer next to the chair, bed thingy. One, according to the information was a scientist for the Federation. Another was a police officer for the same government. The man frowned and stared at the officer, why was he so familiar looking?
“Jan, thank God,” the officer said with a grin. “I honestly didn’t think that the procedure would work. How are you feeling?”
Jan? Is that my name? Suddenly a wave of memories came rushing back. The officer, Greg, his best friend, although he looked a little older now, an evil menace, Liu Raystorm, the screaming boy, David Sauer. Sauer, that’s my last name. David, David was my son, and. . .
Jan shook his head, “No, no this is all wrong. I wasn’t supposed to live, I’m a murderer.” He banefully looked at Greg and snarled, “Did you pit them up to this?”
His friend shook his head. “The government did this,” the other man said. “Don’t you remember signing a piece of paper dedicating your body to science in the event that you died?”
Jan frowned and an image of him signing his body away did indeed appear. It had been Laina’s idea. They had both signed their bodies away. “But I don’t see how that applies to,” he began.
“The Species Preservation Act,” the scientist said proudly. “The government knew that humans are on the brink of become extinct, to counter that measure, we’re resurrecting dead humans to life, in the form of androids.”
An image of Greg flashed through Jan’s mind. “It’s all the damned government’s fault. They shouldn’t be a messin’ with the people’s natural right to exist as evolution or the angel’s have ordered.”
“Jan, I’m sorry,” Greg said. “But think of the good you can do. I don’t know why you shot yourself, but now that you’re part of the Ziggurat program,” he shrugged. “It’s an amazing opportunity to rebuild your life Jan.”
“Don’t call me that,” Jan snapped quickly. David falling to his death, his lungs calling for his father, for me.
“Excuse me?” his friend frowned and shook his head.
“Greg, you’re friend, Jan Sauer died at his own hand, from what I can guess three years ago. That’s not me anymore. I’m not even human anymore, I’m an android. You said I’m part of the Ziggurat program?” The doctor nodded. “How many androids came before me?”
“Seven, but I don’t understand,” the scientist said with a frown.
“Then my name is Ziggurat 8, and if you’ll excuse me, I’m feeling a little tired. I’d like to rest.” Ziggurat 8 closed his eyes and drift off to sleep, a sleep full of nightmares, and memories of long ago.