Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Last One

Chapter 1

Report Subject: The Last One
”Origin is unknown, said to be from Spanish Descent, sex is male, reproductive organs are unknown, abilities are unknown, facial recognition profile is unknown, current location is unknown,” The computer recited.
“Do we know anything!?” Dr. Princiotta shouted. The other scientists looked around nervously.
“We have been looking through the images and documents. It seems that at every turning point in history he appears. Whether friend or foe is unknown,” replied Dr. Lex.
Dr. Princiotta threw the research papers at him. He blinked in response. She was furious. They had come across my image by complete accident. I hadn’t even noticed it at first. I began to recognize the researched items, locations, dates; I had been involved in every one. After decades of being a walking void, I no longer cared where my adventures took me. I studied with legends, learned from famous scholars, and even partied with a few prodigies. Every century or so, I’d take on a new subject and master it completely. Tesla was my favorite. I learned quite a few things that have helped me manipulate the world in unimaginable ways.
Wanting to share my knowledge with these mortals, I went to school. Got my degree, again, and joined a bunch of nerds on a whim. I don’t bring attention to myself. I keep everyone at bay. They see me as a quiet nobody with no social skills whatsoever. Needless to say they just don’t strike me as the most interesting people to talk to in this era. I watched and guided them as best I could without being discovered. Until I foolishly provided them with a clue from my past. It was pure coincidence really. I was searching up articles for our new research project and got bored. Surfing through some historical events I saw myself at JFK’s assassination. I had gotten a job as his guard back then. Being highly trained in combat and such.
Then I wondered if I could find myself in other events. Foolishly, I did this at work where others had access to my findings. Curiosity took over my peers as well and then I came to be known. They had few details wrong but they had me in every historical event. I had the pleasure of knowing what they knew, being on the inside. I was able to change their minds and turn the person in the pictures as a man. The written documents were a little harder to fake but I learned a few tricks growing up with the geniuses that created this world. Currently, Dr. Princiotta was looking for her Nobel Prize. What better way than a God?
“Lena!” I heard my name being called. It wasn’t my actual name. I had to change it every 80 years or so, I always faked a death. No one ever came to my funeral.
“Yes, ma’am,” I replied.
“You’ll be working with Mr. Anon,” Dr. Lex said, reading off the assignments.
“What? Why?” Anon protested.
“Because I said so, anyone that doesn’t want to work in pairs can leave now,” She warned.
I stood up and walked out. I could see the surprise in everyone’s face. Even Dr. Princiotta was left speechless, such a bold move from their most awkward employees. I didn’t care. I needed to leave and destroy all the evidence they had. I would come back after closing. The training I’d taken over the centuries should come in handy. I glanced back in time to catch a coworker watching me. He smiled, almost as if he knew my secret. I shivered a little but continued. I dropped off my badge at the gate, letting the security guard know I’d be back for my stuff tomorrow. I had known his great grandfather, and he was just as kind and humble as his elder. He trusted me.
It was raining by the time I drove into my driveway. I had already run a list of things I would need for my new mission. Scientists were annoying sometimes, they always wanted to figure shit out. Some questions didn’t need answers. I was too lost in my own thoughts to notice the visitor sitting on my patio. He seemed to observe me with a straight face until I finally noticed him. Then he smiled again.
“Joe, what are you doing here?” I began to shiver, I assumed from the cold.
“May I come in?” He stood and approached me slowly, “It’s raining and I forgot my umbrella.”
I didn’t like the way he was talking to me. It made me feel weird. He was handsome, tall, intelligent, and he seemed very experienced in a lot of things. But he was also a typical Casanova and sex just caused more problems. Sexual attraction wasn’t the only thing I was trying to avoid with Joe. I had unlocked the door before he had finished requesting to come in and so he just rushed in before me.
“Sure,” I said. “Why not?”
“I came to ask you to reconsider.” He looked around my house, taking everything in. I could see him making mental notes. I looked around too, feeling a bit self-conscious.
“Reconsider what?” I asked, staring at an early painting by Davinci. He stood beside me.
“Working with a partner,” He whispered.
“No, I like to work alone,” I replied, shrugging off my coat.
“You have a lot of interesting items here. All yours?” He called after me. I stalked over to the kitchen to make some hot chocolate.
“Family,” I answered, quickly. I couldn’t see the smile as much as sense it.
“What are you making?” He watched me pour milk into a pot. “Hot chocolate,” I replied, with a smile of my own. It was an old routine that I had caught somewhere.
“Best way to warm your soul in the cold rain,” Joe recited . I turned to look at him, really look at him. His blue-grey eyes, his thin lips, his stance. He seemed familiar. I couldn’t place him.
“Where’d you hear that?”
“My grandfather would tell me stories y’know. His years working as a secret agent. Childhood stories,” Joe spoke, softly. “There isn’t a story of his I didn’t commit to memory. In all his stories he’d mention a young lady. She was smart, brave, gorgeous, but she had a terrible secret.”
“Sounds like your regular fairy tale,” I said. I made my way to the other side of the kitchen, slowly.
“Yeah, I thought so too. Until he showed me this,” Joe took out a small picture, leaning too close.
I looked at it, stunned. I was there with James Serrano. It was the last mission we had together. I had completely forgotten about that. Joe watched me, waiting for my excuse. The hot chocolate boiled over, giving me a small window of distraction.
“He said her name was Alison at the time. She never aged and always had to wear a mask to hide it. She had confided in him once and that was all he needed,” his voice filled with emotion. “He said, she saved his life more times than he could count and if it wasn’t for her he wouldn’t have met my grandmother.”
“Look I know how this looks but-,” I began.
“Imagine my surprise when we find The Last One. Even more so when it turns out to be a man! But then, there you are, the same as you were in the picture,” He said, looking at it again.
“Joe, you can’t honestly believe-“
“You have his gun,” He said, cutting me off again.
“What?”
“He asked me to come looking for you. I would know it was you because of his gun. Because you made him a promise.” Joe walked into the living room and opened one of my cabinets.
He removed the silencer I had stashed there and brought it over to me. He showed me the gun and the picture. They were an exact match, down to the worn handle with a small silver scratch on it.
“I found you,” Joe’s words rang in my ears.
I stood frozen and for the first time in my life, I was truly frightened.
How much could he possibly know? How much should I confide in him? What would he do with me after-
“He said you'd be uneasy. You wouldn't trust me right away.”
I didn't confirm or deny. I waited. After so many years on this planet, I had learned that silence was a weakness for many and a strong weapon for few.
“So, I want to prove my allegiance to you. I have placed a virus in our computer.”
He awaited my reaction. I waited for him to continue. There was an awkward moment before he decided to speak up.
“So...the files of the last one will be destroyed,” He said, watching me expectantly. “And this way they have to start over...”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
“What?!”
“I leave and suddenly all the data files disappear, what would you think? I'll just do it on my own I don’t need you.”
“But my grandfather would be very disappointed-”
“Is he still alive?”
“...barely.”
“Can we go see him?”
“Right now?”
“No, not right now! Tomorrow?”
“Sure, but about-”
“We’ll talk in a moment. I have to get online and stop your virus.”
“It’ll be pretty hard to crack. I put a lot of work into it.”
He looked so proud of himself I almost didn’t want to hurt his feelings but at the same time I couldn’t help it. He followed me into my study. I pulled the globe on my desk and rotated it to the left. My computer screens materialized for me.
“Woah! How did you-”
“Let’s just say, Tesla, taught me a couple of things.”
I smirked at his impressed look. It was kind of hard not to feel superior to someone who was, compared to me, so young and innocent. I brought out my keyboard and typed a few lines of code. He observed me quietly. He tried to follow my coding but I could tell he had difficulty translating. I decided to kick it up a notch and type in full binary. I enjoyed watching his face transform from amusement, to impressed, to confused, to horrified.
“Is that-?”
“Yup.”
“But-”
“I know.”
“How did you-”
“I was there when shit like this was invented,” I reminded him. I tapped three more unnecessary lines of notes before ending the session. “And there goes your virus.”
“But-but-but...”
“I’ve lived a long time and I’ve learned a few things.”
Without letting him process what I said, I moved quickly. I brought a blade to his neck. He was paralyzed, thanks to a nerve pinching technique I had picked up in China. His eyes watched me in horror and amusement, also, a hint of something else-curiosity?
“I assume your grandfather taught you a couple of things. And, quite possibly you’ve learned a lot. But while you learned from books, and teachings passed down, I was there. I was part of their origin. If it weren’t for me, half of the things you learned wouldn’t have been available to you. So, do remember this, I can kill you in the most undetectable way. I’m not afraid to either. Do not betray me. I’ve lived longer than an eternity and survival is the one thing I’ve truly mastered. Don’t fuck with me. I don’t play games. Do you understand?”
I pinched a nerve to allow him to move. He nodded.
“Good.” Another pinch and his body was his again.
“Can you teach me that?”
“No.”
“Why not?”
“Because.”
“Because, why?”
“Listen, I’m not here to make you my protege.”
“Why not? I’m a fast learner!”
I believed him. I could see it in his face. He was so eager to learn. If he only knew the truth. He seemed to notice my hesitation. Maybe he knew the truth.
“By the time you master what I have to teach...you’ll be dead.”
I saw this sink in. Mortals were so curious. Being in the face of a true immortal and still this man found a need for immortal knowledge of his own. Infinite knowledge, practically there as it was invented, and I still had a way to go to understand men.
“I only have one life to live. Why wouldn’t I use it to learn as much as I can?”
“Why would you want the knowledge?”
“Because knowledge, is power.”
“Sir Francis Bacon, I was there when he said those words. Just remember: Knowledge isn’t power until it’s applied.”
“Dale Carnegie? Where you going?”
I nodded, and walked out of the room. I could hear him following behind me. And that was the day I adopted a pet. I walked upstairs to the second floor and planned to give him the bedroom across the hall. But there was one little problem...
“Who the fuck is that?” Joe was right to look worried.
“You ask a lot of fucking questions.”
“No shit, and you don’t answer any of them!”
Shadow stood between us and the room. He had been with me ever since I could remember. We grew old together, in a manner of speaking. Shadow was a different species, as was I. He had a few more abilities that I did not. One thing we did share, however, was telepathy. As Shadow stood there intimidating Joe, he spoke to me interfering with my thoughts.
What are you doing?
“This is Joe. Remember that old Grandpa? This is his grandson,” I replied.
I didn’t like talking to him in my head. It looked kinda weird and it also allowed him into my head. I get small glimpses of his mind whenever he reaches out to me. I refuse to be that open with him. It frustrates him but I have my reasons. As usual his frown deepened at my outward response.
Lena, are you fucking stupid?
“What? He has the picture and he knew about the gun.”
That’s not his grandson.
“What?”
Joe, who had been observing, was suddenly tense about the one sided conversation. His hand started reaching for a gun he had hidden under his shirt. Shadow knew this and of course, charged at Joe. I moved off to the side, waiting for Shadow to pin Joe down. Joe struggled for a bit. I took the gun and held it to his head.
“You lied,” I growled.
“Wait! I need to use your bathroom!” He yelled.
“What?”
That’s his safety word.
Before I could respond my front door was being kicked open. Shadow reached for the light switch and we were swallowed by darkness. The lightning from outside illuminated my hallway in small intervals. The shadows looked more dangerous than they were. It was the first time in over a decade that I had been hunted, let alone found. Yet, Shadow and I were prepared for this. It was too easy for either of us to kill the intruders. There were only two; Joe and his partner. I was curious, as was Shadow. They found us, well me. They hadn’t known about Shadow. We had made a deal-Shadow and I- a long while back, if they were after me I could choose how to deal with them. If they were after him, he chose.
What do you want to do?
“Joe! You okay?” The intruder called out.
“They have my gun,” Joe said, struggling to stand.
“They?” From his stance I could see he was law enforcement. I wasn’t sure which one.
“There’s two of them. Some guy, strong as shit!” He had a limp. Shadow had managed to hurt Joe’s ankle before getting off of him.
“Lena! I know you’re in here!”
“Of course I’m in here. This is my fucking house.” He was trying to follow my voice. “Who are you?”
What do you want to do? Shadow was becoming impatient.


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