Atom & Eve
By Hector M. Rivera & Erik Bonini
You wouldn’t believe me if I told you. The year is 2024. The middle class does not exist. There is only the elite class and the peon. Hope died years ago when the war, like some dark bubonic plague was released on society. This was the last war. The war to end all wars. The third world war. The good guys won or at least that is what my learning center told me when I was a young boy. The good guys won so we the people wouldn’t have to starve in the streets anymore or sell our bodies anymore. The good guys won so that good young men and women didn’t have to die anymore for the meat grinder called pre-emptive combat. You see, the powers that be, were able to scry the origin of all the corruption and woe that befell humanity. It all linked to God. God doesn’t exist, or at least that’s what they told me in the learning center when I was a young boy.
My name is Atom. I found an artificially intelligent piece of armor in a thrift store. It bonded with me when I put it on. It scanned me. By some grand twist of fate only my genetic code could activate the armor. It looks like a chest plate with a Spartan cape as crimson as the blood of the innocent. There are carvings in the plate, the likes of two ominous eyes that glow when it syncs with me. Its name is Eve and she cares for me. Sometimes it feels weird to be loved by an inanimate object but it is no stranger then some of the other goings on in the world.
Corporations rule the world now. Black suits and black ties with Red shirts. They are the governors and they are the leaders and they are the local kings. Justice died with the middle class many moons ago. Now all that remains is something Hitler and Mussolini shit out of their cancerous wombs. Corruption most foul, that spells doom and slow death for any boat rocker.
These corporatist monsters are this very minute, planning an occult blood sacrifice on a 14 year old prostitute named Chloe just a few yards away, in a Hotel that allows such things. During my many patrols I have seen Chloe. I have seen Chloe slowly die to make ends meet. Sometimes when I am not elsewhere fighting other monsters, I can swoop down like some demented knight and save Chloe from her patrons. Tonight is one of those nights. Eve has uploaded an attack pattern from an old Batman comic that was once read long ago. However, before I can execute, Eve allows my hearing to enhance so I know what I am in for. Two voices. One a flesh pimp and the other an elite buyer.
“What the hell is this piece of shit”?
“You don’t like the girl?! Boys are harder to find! You know that”!
“You gave her too many drugs! She won’t scream”!
“Listen, it’s not my fault you can’t find flesh anymore that ain’t drugged. That’s like blaming clouds for acid rain”.
“Oh how Fucking Poetic. How very fucking eloquent”. I hear a slap like a two by four whaling a slab of cow.
“Hey! You haven’t even paid for her yet”!
Eve whispers to me in my mind that I can begin the assault at my leisure. God I love her so.
“Yeah yeah, here’s the money”.
I somersault across the roof and use the fire escape to swing down a tremendous kick that shatters the glass like a small bomb. I roll into the center of the room. Old semen and blood greets my honed and enhanced senses. This room is popular. The sound proofing helps to mask my justice for the two. My Hood is drawn so low my face is in shadow. All they see is Eve’s glowing eyes and a blood cloak promising exquisite justice.
“I’m not paying extra for him”!
“You are dead”!
I roll to the armed flesh peddler as he slowly raises his fire arm. It is slow for me. Eve heightens my senses and my strength when we sync. It feels odd at first and slightly seems like some weird violation but after we’re one I can unleash a proper assault upon my enemies.
That’s all he can get out before my sweep kick and devastatingly vicious uppercut hit him as he descends, lastly to crumple along with his teeth to the far wall.
The buyer wets himself. I can smell his urine acutely. Eve realizes this and buffers it. Now all I notice is his backpedaling and gibbering. His wet stain has morphed into the rest of his dark clothing. His shivering body and voice is plainly visible.
“Listen, I wasn’t gonna hurt that girl! I’m a cop! A cop”!!
Eve changes my voice makes it scarier than it sounds without the suit. Or maybe it just properly conveys my desire to put fear in the wicked and amplifies it. It is a gravelly dead sound, like if a long dead corpse could suddenly speak.
“You protect no one”.
“Do you know who I am? Do you know who I work for?!
It is a forward kick that escapes me. He flies across the room and crashes into the wall. It is comic looking. Like the feet of the wicked witch of the east sticking out from the house that has killed her.
The door to the sweet is kicked in. Many black suited red shirts invade the room all firing on my position. Eve whispers to me an evasive program has been uploaded. I engage it with my mind and a blur of motion is beheld by the red shirts. To them it is a blur of glowing eyes and bloody cape that escapes through the neat hole in the wide window that I initially created.
It is raining but I cannot feel the chill. Eve caresses me with her cloak like some restless lover at night. It is the unmistakable warmth of a long forgotten womb that whispers to my peripheral memory. I hear screams of anger below me. Promises of slow torture and rape with blades should I ever show my face again.
I didn’t start this war with those demented bastards. The only thing I have ever done is swear eternal opposition to them. They started it with their descent onto my ghetto. Had they just been satisfied to quench their demonic lust on other far away countries perhaps I could have led a normal zombie life like all the others. Sadly, for the truly demented, the thrill eventually will always lead to eating your own young. All purity is their enemy and the red shirt thirst is never quenched.
It’s raining on my hood. The pitter patter reminds me of machine gun fire miles away from me.
Eve reminds me that I haven’t eaten in over eight hours in her musical tone.
“You haven’t eaten my love”.
“Can you upload hunger into me…or can you eject the horrors I’ve seen out? I really think that if I could just forget what I’ve seen, or the screams, or the vomit of the overdosed or the faces of butchered children by the red shirt who “loses it”. “That would help me to want to eat I think”.
Eve embraces me with her crimson embrace. “The mission is never—“
“Over…I know Eve”. The broken and bullet riddled metropolis stretches out before me. “I think it’s time for an upgrade to the armor”.
“You know the danger of that. The immortals who guard them are like nothing you’ve ever faced, my sweet Atom”.
“It’s time Eve. Time to upset the system”. Lightning streaks across the night sky, and the booming thunder shatters the remaining broken glass of the building where I stand in defiance.
The counsel of seven was called by its leader to begin. Rellik presided as sole and highest immortal. The group’s centuries old objective was to guard the remaining pieces of armor of the destroyer. The one foretold to come, who would attempt to reclaim all the pieces and manifest his apocalypse on the world. Rellik, the keeper of the Mask stood and addressed those gathered at the obsidian round table.
“Time is short. We gather for the betrothed has been chosen and now wields the breast plate and first piece of Eve”.
His words echoed in the deep underground hall and bounced off each wall the way frost is breathed from the mouth.
“He wields her, in her most innocent and ignorant of forms. The prophecy tells us that with each addition to the armor, her programming manifests closer to its final and terrible function”.
The group of aged warrior immortals shared looks, thinking on whom would have the honor and curse to face the betrothed first.
“We do not know when or where the union will strike, but know this…they come, and the death of this world will follow with them.