The Graveyard

The Lair Of Gary James

NaNoWriMo Post 1: Talos’ Story

Posted by BigWords on November 1, 2009

The black-clad figures, masked and armed, work their way carefully around the building. Enveloped in silence, they move quickly and methodically to secure every access route. A signal is transmitted between them, relaying information about the layout, the targets and any surprises. The building is large, and the operation is important enough to warrant three mobile units. For these agents of order there are no secrets, and their solitary objective cannot be thwarted. The Data Crimes Unit has a clear mandate, and the world is waiting for news… A clockwork assault on the building had been in the planning for more than a month.
A black figure kills the power. Ten seconds pass, then all hell breaks loose.

Kenway listens, and watches on his security panel, as the men breach his defenses. Flames, smoke and flare of laser sightings distorts the VT from the cams.
“It is time, Talos. You must leave here.”
“They are coming for you. I can delay them, but they will not stop.”
“Yes. I will leave by the basement.”
The robot half-turns to leave, stops, and offers a hand to the old man.
“You best leave while you still can.”
“Yes master.”

“The first floor is clear.”
“Move your men to the next floor. Reinforcements are on their way.”
Gunfire from the next room brings the men running.
“Shit. Ah… It’s a fucking mirror.”
“False alarm.”
The commanding officer makes a mental note of whom to reprimand as he exits the room after his subordinates. Names and faces are committed to memory…

In the darkness, and with the layout of the building impressed on his memory, Talos works his way through rooms and corridors. Past the sentries the DCU have positioned around his home, and on to the basement access. The route he would have preferred is blocked, and time is running out. He turns into the long hallway bridging the East Wing and-

“Target sighted.”
Gunfire strafed the wall to Talos’ side, as a grenade destroys the walls and ceiling around him. The floor gives way, sending him into freefall.
“Target is on the move.”
Talos stands, reconfigures his coordinates and calculates the best exit strategy available. In mere milliseconds he is moving again, calculating percentages and estimating his success rate. ‘Numbers never lie,’ he reminds himself, as more gunfire erupts behind him. The basement is close, but the path, as always, is blocked. The odds fall, and Talos decides to change his calculations to include new parameters. The new odds of success are returned at ninety-seven per cent. The men must be moved from their location between Talos and his goal if the truth is to be revealed. Picking up a wooden chair, Talos considers the odds again. 97%.

The door slid open. Nathan knew he would be found, and was not unprepared for the consequences of his actions. Age has a way of making everything inevitable, and even death is not a surprise for the prepared.
“Mr. Kenway I presume?”
The volley from the automatic rifle sends Kenway’s body into his monitors. Glass, metal and plastic fly from the console as the twisted remains of the old man begin to burn.
“You have the right to remain silent.”

The chair leg snapped easily, and amid the riotous noise from elsewhere was too subtle for the men guarding the basement to notice. Talos approached, vectoring the angle with which to deliver greatest force. The first guard turned, too late, and the wood was moving too quickly for him to avoid. Talos used every last bit of pressure to impale the guard through the throat, lifting the armored figure a foot into the air with the impact. The second guard turned, and – as before – the odds indicated that only one outcome could guarantee success.
Slipping the rifle from the dead guard’s arm, Talos swung it in the direction of his attacker and fired in one fluid motion.

“Where is the target?”
“I need a streaming report, NOW.”
“We’re getting static on transmission.”
“Find a different frequency.”
“Hold on.”
The signal goes to each of the agents. Two beacons are deactivated.
“He’s going for the basement.”

Through the dust and grime of the basement, Talos strides for a specific wine rack at the back of the room. There are no men in the room, and he takes the opportunity to sift their broadcast frequencies to see what they are doing with his master. For the deathly lull of three full seconds, Talos wonders why he cannot find his master’s signal, before concluding that the silence which the two dead guards displayed must be common to all whose life signs are terminated. ‘My master is dead,’ he concludes, logging the time and all available environmental information.
The wine rack…

“Find the fucker before he gets off the premises.”
“Our sensors are down. We need eyes on the ground.”
“Are we still on schedule?”
“Negative. Minus two minutes.”

Talos ventured into the tunnels beneath the mansion. They are small, cramped, and he is required to go on all fours through them like a common animal. Even at such a disadvantage he knows that the men following him have no way of attaining his speed through the maze of tunnels, and even if they could run, they would never find their way to the exit. The master’s foresight had saved him now, for the second time…

“The target has disappeared from our boards. He must be underground.”
“We need drones deployed.”
“Aye sir, how many?”
“All of them.”

Talos paused. A whirring noise. No… Noises. Rapidly flicking through frequencies, he determines that the sounds are from automated devices intended to betray his position to the armed men. The men who killed his master. The odds of escaping the complex of tunnels flickered into his mind. 35%. Finding the kill switch for the automatons is not easy, and the scrambled instructions scream at Talos like the howls of dying angels. The men are in the tunnels now, and the drones are cutting out dead ends from the search. The rotating numbers solidified into a discernible pattern after cycling through random changes, and Talos realized he had to act.

“Do the drones have a fix?”
“Not yet sir, they’re acting strange… It’s as if they’re getting confused.”
“Is it a crack?”
“Impossible. They’re military.”

The drones stop behind Talos, who shows them the paths through the maze, tells them he is not there, encourages them to keep looking, and moves off quickly. He knows that his deception will eventually be discovered, but the moments of confusion that will come from cracking their perception will but him the time to be gone from the location with time to spare. The master’s last act will ensure they do not continue their hunt beyond the immediate future.

As the exit to the tunnels approaches, Talos thinks on the things his master told him. Lessons on how all life, irrespective of sentience or form, has the right to existence. He thinks of the two guards whose deaths ensured his freedom, and of his master, whose own signal was interrupted by the men with guns. And of those now trying to find him. And he activates the explosive charges planted around the foundation of the building, despite the knowledge that more of the men were inside the place he once called home.


Yes, it kinda sucks, but that’s the point of this excercise. This is a first draft, as per the rules of NaNo. There are bits that don’t quite make sense, and I’m sure you’ll find problems with the intercutting at the end, but I’m winging a lot of this to get in as much writing before the end of the month as possible. I’ll try not to suck too badly as this goes on, but I offer no guarantees.


2 Responses to “NaNoWriMo Post 1: Talos’ Story”

  1. J.C said

    I enjoyed it! Hopefully I have time over the month to read the whole thing as you go – there is something really fun about reading a story as it’s written.

  2. bigwords88 said

    I didn’t realize how hard it would be to stop myself editing as I write. Damn hard. Ugh. As soon as I get into December I’m gonna be editing like a madman… After a month of edit-free writing, I’ll probably be raving like a madman as well.

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