The Buccaneer Chronicles:
Dreaming on the Spires of Immortality
By Andy Simpkins (despite interference by Keith Dunn, Karen Dunn, Adam J Purcell and Tony Gallichan)
“A foreign body and a foreign mind. Never welcome in the land of the blind...”
Consciousness came back to Macfadyan slowly, as though he had been drugged. Sitting up and shaking his head, as though to clear the last vestiges of the dream from his head, he mused aloud to himself:
"There is something funny about all of this and I intend to get to the bottom of this."
Working his jaws around, as though to rid his mouth of an unpleasant taste, he scowled with frustration, and then, looking at Curtis, he said:
"Colin, I want you to come with me to see the council. Call me morbid or what ever you want to but I want to go and examine the body of the attack victim we discovered yesterday. Our friends have been very tight-lipped about what has happened to him and even what his condition is, whether he is alive or even dead, I need to find out..."
Twenty minutes later saw the two men standing outside the massive double doors to the council chamber. Macfadyan, glowering with repressed anger and Curtis, curious to know what was going to happen, was preparing for a showdown, not just with the council but with the proctor-captains as well.
Straightening his coat and squaring his shoulders, Macfadyan banged on the door for what seemed an eternity before the doors slowly opened.
Almost immediately, two of the burly proctor-captains barred their way, weapons at the ready.
Shoving them aside, Macfadyan strode impatiently toward the seven figures sitting impassively behind their desk.
"Right..." he proclaimed loudly." I am here to find out what is going on. I would like to examine the body of the assault victim that we came across yester...."
His tirade was interrupted by the fracas that was unfolding behind him.
One of the proctor-captains had made the mistake of grabbing hold of Curtis' upper arm in an attempt to stop him from progressing any further. That was a bad mistake as Colin whirled around instinctively and violently rammed the heel of his hand under the guards chin. His head whipped back and there was the unmistakeable sound of bone snapping and the proctor-captain falling to the ground in a lifeless heap Outraged by this attack on his comrade, the other one leapt at Curtis with his weapon upraised, intent on smashing it down on Curtis' head and reducing it to a bloody mess.
Curtis, seeing this coming, merely grabbed hold of the captains arm and, using the proctor-captains weight against him, executed a perfect Ippon Seonage, throwing him over his shoulder to land heavily on his back where he lay momentarily winded. Just to emphasise a point, Curtis none-too-gently dug his heel into the man's windpipe while he had one of his arms in a wrist lock.
As he lay there thrashing and gurgling and futilely clawing at Colin's leg with his free hand, Macfadyan approached the council, a baleful glare on his face.
"Are you prepared to listen to me now?" he hissed.
Taarl, his face as though carved from stone, merely stood up and raised his hand.
Curtis, taking this as a cue to relinquish his grip on the guard, gave one final vicious twist on the man's arm. Upon hearing a moan of pain, he let go. Upon release, the guard shakily stood up and crept back to the edge of the podium where the council sat..Taking his position, he stood there and favoured Colin with a venomous glare.
"Now that we are in a position to negotiate, I would strongly suggest that you all listen to me..."said Macfadyan, a supercilious sneer on his face.
Looking at the body lying on the floor, Taarl said, with a strong look of distaste on his face:
"Very well, but allow me to remove the...outcome ...of your altercation first...".He said, clearly referring to the late proctor-captain
At some unseen command, two more guards entered the room and without ceremony, picked up and hefted the body from the chamber.
"Very well, Macfadyan, you have been granted your audience!!What would you have us do??We are backed into a corner and yet you come in here, shouting demands and killing one of our guards in the process..."
"I would find out what is the fate of our mutual friend. The man who was viciously assaulted last night and not one of you lot seems to give a damn."
"That is none of our concern. We have a very large area to govern and a simple matter of assault on a citizen is a case for one of our regional administrators and his or her staff"
"Ah, but your regional administrators are nowhere to be seen and you seven seem to be the only controlling influence on this entire area, country or planet. That I cannot determine as you are all too reticent to tell me!"
Taarl sat there for a moment, thoughts and emotions tumbling over his aged visage.
"Very well, you shall have your wish. If you wish to look at a dead person for a few moments, that is your prerogative. Perhaps then, you will continue with the task that we have implored you to do; that of saving this place from impending destruction!"
Stepping aside and executing a mock bow, Macfadyan said:
"Very well then, my lords. Lead on..."
Making their way down from the podium, Taarl and another council member, who introduced himself as Dask, made their way down through many twists and turns of the city's labyrinthine streets. All throughout their walk, Macfadyan and Curtis saw scenes that they had begun to know all too well. Everywhere they looked, the inhabitants of this place had a suspicious, fearful look on their faces that was only compounded when they saw the two members of the council accompanying Macfadyan and Curtis.
After many minutes walking among the mist-shrouded streets, a low and ominous building loomed up before them out of the fog. Following the periphery of the building, they arrived at a sealed and fortified door.
"This is where we keep those who have met an...unfortunate end...."whispered Dask
To Macfadyan and Curtis, it had seemed that Dask had uttered the last statement with a barely suppressed chuckle in his voice.
Passing a tremulous hand over an optic pick up mounted in the door frame, Dask bade them all enter the morgue.
Their breaths misting in front of their faces as they breathed in the frigid air, the two council members led them through the darkened and frosty passageways until they entered a small room. Looking suspiciously like a standard autopsy room with its tiled walls and floors, the only other feature was a low table with a seemingly lifeless cadaver on it, covered only by a thin sheet. Next to the raised slab was a medical display, leads trailed off from it to go under the sheet, showing vital signs of the patient. The victims pulse was very slow, only ten beats or so a minute and respiration was but a whisper. All other signs were an almost imperceivable flicker on the screen. To all intents and purposes, the victim seemed to be in a deep coma.
"As you requested, here is the body of the unfortunate that was so... brutally treated last night and whose life you so... valiantly stepped in to save..." wheezed Dask, with the tiniest hint of malice in his voice
Standing over the covered body, Macfadyan took a shuddering breath, preparing himself for what he was about to see and, without further ado, flung back the sheet...
Staring at it in disbelief, all he could say was:
"It's the wrong body!!"