02-22-2017, 12:00 PM
Prologue — Part Two
The office was large and lavish, about ten metres from one side to the other. Burgundy drapes adorned the walls, and thick carpet weaved from genuine meep wool covered the floor. At the far end of the office was a desk of elder wood covered in papers stacked helter-skelter. Looking down from the wall behind the desk was a framed portrait of mother and son; Molluck the Glukkon and Lady Margaret. Both were grinning tenderly, and Lady Margaret seemed especially proud.
The Shrink was in today, RuptureFarms’ resident psychiatrist and interrogator of all malign subjects. The mechanical spider dangled from the roof by a deadly tail of twisting metal and exposed wires. The television monitor, which served as its head, hovered over Molluck's desk, speaking in shrill—yet somehow nonchalant—tones.
“YOU SHOULD REALLY CONSIDER GETTING SOME AIR-RAH-RAH-RAH ..." The Shrink said, its voice trailing off into mechanical jargon, as if its speaking module was struggling. “YOUR VITALS ARE NOT HEALTHY FOR A GLUKKON OF YOUR AGE"
"Proscribe me somethin for my vitals then," Molluck said, his voice curt and exigent. Evidentially, the various appendages of electric saws and petrifying needles sticking out from the Shrink's monitor didn't phase him. “I don't have time to go out.”
Molluck frowned. “I’m up to my ass in paperwork, the Board's breathin down my neck, waitin for me to give em a solid answer, and mom keeps ringin every damn day, but I can't bring m’self to answer the friggin phone."
“YOU HAVE TO SPEAK TO YOUR MOTHER MOLLUCK”
Glik idled toward the desk and stopped short. He waited as he always waited when he arrived amid these meetings. There had been times when he’d waited for several hours until the Shrink left, and he never uttered a word of dissent. He hoped today wouldn’t be one of those days. He didn’t mind moving about at the boss’ behest, but when he stayed still the hangover took over and his world tilted out of control. The last thing he needed was to succumb to the liquor still coursing through his system while in the immediate presence of the boss.
"If I answer the phone, I have to tell her what's happening."
Molluck stared at the Shrink, as if he was about to chastise the artificial beast, then his gaze suddenly dropped and a pensive expression obscured his usually callous mien. There was only one string that when played could force Molluck to his knees: The ever endearing Lady Margaret. ”I don't want momma to be upset wit me."
“YOU MUST EMPLOY HONESTY MOLLUCK~YOU MUST BELIEVE IN YOURSELF AND OTHERS WILL BELIEVE IN YOU~YOUR MOTHER WILL UNDERSTAND”
"Can ya call her fer me today?"
"Tell her I'll be in touch shortly. Tell her she's gonna love New 'n' Tasty."
"YES" The Shrink performed a flamboyant gesture, crossing its multiple appendages and curtseying. "BUT IF I MAY ASK MOLLUCK~WHAT IS NEW N TASTY"
Molluck's luminescent eyes bored into his guest. "It's confidential."
"YOU DONT KNOW DO YOU"
Molluck scowled. He was the only inhabitant in the entire factory who dared look at the Shrink with disdain; the only one with unfettered administrator access that could render the machine inert with a single phrase. "That will be all for today."
"AS YOU WISH"
The Shrink pulled back from Molluck's desk, its various parts moving in a unison that was altogether discordant. The sound of its motion was cacophonous, and Glik had to resist sticking his fingers into his audio receptacles. The Shrink paused to look down at the slig, registered him, then moved on, crawling across the roof and scurrying out the door, which opened without even a spoken command.
The Shrink, as everyone in the factory knew, was the nexus of all of RuptureFarms’ virtual systems. This unguarded access caused anxiety among some of Glik’s fellow sligs, though Glik had never let it bother him. Yes, with a single stray thought, the Shrink could have triggered the emergency nolkyz tanks and gassed every single slave, security personnel and executive on site, yet they were all still here. Glik agreed that its uncanny ability to boldly descend into relevant conversations concerning itself or any criticism of the Cartel was disconcerting, but any consideration of defending against the Shrink was certifiable. The Shrink’s officious nature had aptly earned it the nickname ‘Guardian Angel’ among the factory’s sligs, and it seemed to approve of the epithet, often coercing alarmed sligs to call it by the name always whispered in the dark. While its esoteric and egotistical personality appeared threatening, Glik knew there was nothing he could do about it, and resigned himself to a skeptical yet subjugated reality.
That was Glik's command, and the slig obeyed with zealous, almost pious, devotion. He skirted up to the desk and stood erect, poised for any and every command. “G'afternoon, boss."
"There ain't nothin good about it." The glukkon nodded—just a curt tilt of the head—at a polished wooden box on the desk.
Glik was quick to respond. He launched out and flicked open the box. A dozen thick, hand-rolled cigars rested inside, and the sweet, undeniable aroma lashed out, daring Glik to pocket one of the sticks. Molluck's choice of tobacco was Surprisingly Swisher Sweet, and it was an alluring flavour, tantalising. One whiff of the fervent scent was enough to engender an addiction. Glik's own predecessor had fallen victim to desire and stolen one of the cigars after two years of smelling the smoke and never tasting it for himself. Molluck had responded by picking Glik out of the roster and watching gleefully as Glik forced the repentant slig into a hungry grinder, tail first. It had been bloody and strident, and Glik didn’t sleep for a week afterwards. He did learn a valuable lesson though, and the subsequent promotion was a tour de force on his résumé, even if the risk outweighed the reward.
He planted a cigar in Molluck’s mouth and lit the tip. The brief flame illuminated the glukkon’s face and betrayed the stress lines that had formed permanent ridges in his flesh.
Molluck took a deep drag, sighed. He seemed a little bit relieved, a little more grounded. If it had been prudent of an high-ranking executive to offer gratitude, he might have spared one or two words for Glik, might have even a smile. Alas, customs were concrete in the Magog Cartel. Glik knew his place. He knew what to expect and he was not disheartened.
"Where's ya shotgun?"
Glik's empty fingers were suddenly very itchy and he wriggled each digit to ward off the ghostly sensation. "Sorry, boss. I didn't think I'd need it."
Molluck growled. It was a low, bellicose sound, something that had its rightful place in the wild. Despite the proud pinstripe and acute lapel, Molluck was as much a savage as the ravenous scrabs in the stockyards, except he hid behind a shield of style. If the Shrink kept the sligs on edge when they slacked off, Molluck was the one who fuelled their mid-afternoon nightmares.
Glik didn't even remember being told to bring his shotgun today, but judging by the look on Molluck's face, if it hadn't been deftly stated, it had certainly been implied. "I'll get it right away, boss!"
"Good. When you get it, meet me by the western annex of Zulag 1."
"Boss?" The western annex was the oldest wing of the factory. There was nothing out there, not even the slaves were sent there for general cleaning duties. Many of the catwalks had rusted, bowed and buckled, and the odour of rot and decay from age-old meat perpetuated the forgotten quarters. "What're we goin out there for?"
Molluck’s expression was distant. He seemed to fall into queer state of meditation as he drew on the cigar. The wispy tendrils of smoke didn’t drift far from his head, which displayed unwonted patterns, as if his very thoughts were trying to manifest outside of his mind. "We're goin ta see an ol friend."
Glik stared, and when Molluck's silent visage began to radiate impatience, he turned in his pants and sprinted for the door. He mustn't keep the boss waiting.
For the record, I didn't intend for the Prologue to tarry along this long. Part Three should be the end of this introduction, then we can skip ahead to the meat of the story, and yes, that pun was absolutely intended, no matter how terrible it is.
Surprisingly, I've actually been enjoying the creative process of this Fan-Fiction. It's very different to my usual modus operandi, the biggest difference being I am whipping all of this up on the iPad rather than in my office. I'm also relying on my fatigued mind to conjure this tale, and I can't lie, I'm quite impressed with what I'm producing with such little effort, and the lack of any re-writes gives the narrative a raw and exposed structure, which I'm finding curiously admirable. I don't think I'd like to do this with all of my projects, but it allows a little more appreciation for the strict schedules Charles Dickens had to keep for his serials.
Expect Part Three in the not-too-distant future! And thank you so much for reading!
Last edited by kjjcarpenter; 02-22-2017 at 12:03 PM..