Battle For The Minds
rating: +18+x

Anoati's Great Adventure, Part 2

Battle For The Minds

“So they really sacrificed a virgin every single year?”

Sarah, with her back to the van wall, black hair whipping across her orange jumpsuit, sat on a large black metal box across from the sizeable clay head sculpture that called itself “Anoati.” The two zoomed across the California desert landscape in the back of an unassuming van filled with humming metallic black boxes, the stowaways still unnoticed by their drivers. They had been waiting there for a long while, idley biding their time.

“Yes! It is a small price for my eternal presence and protection!” The head loudly said in its characteristic deep voice.

They had finally escaped from Foundation imprisonment, in the back of this van. Anoati was there to return to his island home in the Pacific Ocean, while Sarah was there to be anywhere but in Foundation custody. The fact that they had taken the wrong van and were heading to another Foundation site, however, would be an unwelcome hindrance to both of their goals.

“It just seems like such a waste. I mean, how does it benefit you to kill those girls?”

It had been a few hours on the road, and Sarah had learned who Anoati was: a “god” among his people at an isolated Polynesian island, a god that, while loud and prideful, was also dedicated and caring… sometimes.

“Why, I do not kill them! What a waste of mortals! I simply keep them in continual service and worship to me until the next one is offered! Then they go free!”

“Oh.”

A silence set in between the two. Sarah watched out the back of the van through a dirty window in the door. Dull orange dunes sprinkled with greying bushes rolled past, a landscape stuck on loop over and over again. She grew impatient.

“What’s in these boxes, anyways?”

“Why, they are the van-beast’s organs, simple Sarah! Is that not obvious?”

“No, vans aren’t- this isn’t- you know what? I’ll explain later. But no, these aren’t organs and the van isn’t a living animal.”

Anoati stayed silent, probably at a loss of understanding. While he did so, Sarah looked through the identical metallic boxes; each one was rectangular, about two feet in length, with a glowing blue button where a keyhole would be.

“Anoati, can you open this? Looks sort of complicated.”

“The Great Anoati can do anything!”

Sarah once again found herself very thankful for the heavy soundproofing in Foundation vans, though she had still tried to make Anoati talk a little quieter during the trip. The metal box next to Sarah hissed as steam and cold air flew from the widening crack in the box. As the top opened on automatic hinges, Sarah peered in and gasped.

“Holy shit!”

Inside the case was a chilled, fleshy brain, locked behind glass. The organ was a dull, faded pink with a variety of small metallic parts planted on it. Wires extended to ports in the box as the brain pulsated like a heart in slow-motion. Out, in. Out, in.

“Hah! Stupid “Foundation!” Anoati knows, in all of his infinite wiseness, that when you put a mortal in Anoa-stone, they simply die!” Anoati could turn things to metal as one of his abilities, and called it ”Anoa-stone.”

“Fuck no, that thing’s moving.”

“Agh! What vile sorcery!”

“Shh, you hear that!?” No sooner had Sarah said this than the van slowed to a halt.

“Anoati hushes for nobody!”

“Just-! If you quiet down, I can tell you what they’re doing.”

Peering at the end of the window, Sarah saw the dusty white and blue of a local police car.

“Shit, police.”

“Police?”

“Law-enforcers. We don’t want them to catch us.”

Two officers stood waiting in front of their car as the two drivers of the van walked out to meet them. Sarah couldn’t make out any words inside of the van, just stern conversation. One officer presented what looked like a badge, and the cops bolted into their own car.

Suddenly, the driver standing on the left started twitching. His arms began flailing as his legs buckled under him. He collapsed to the ground, stirring dust with convulsing limbs. It was seconds after the other van driver tried to help him that he too started to spasm, losing control and foaming at the mouth. After a minute, they were both motionless on the ground.

“It looks like they showed the drivers some crap and they just started spasming. I think they’re dead.” Sarah described.

“Then we shall slay them!”

“No, we don’t want to do that. Assaulting a cop is not good.”

Anoati began to float off of a box towards the doors.

“Onwards! We take the van-beast for ourselves!” He shouted, slamming the van doors open and flying towards the cop car. Sarah could only chase after him. The cops had already gotten close to the back of the van by the time the unlikely duo of woman and sculpture erupted from the back of it. One of the cops was just finishing his sentence in a hand-held intercom.

“Drivers down. Heading to the payload now. Tell Nathan that the cognitohazard worked just fine.”

Flying metal boxes launched towards the police officers as Anoati shouted deeply towards them.

“Back! You do not stop the Powerful Anoati!”

Sarah watched behind him as both officers rolled out of the way of the flung cases. The shorter officer pulled out a pistol as the other carried a large, strangely-shaped rifle. A blob of greyish fluid flew from the rifle and struck Anoati, encasing him in the substance. Something stinging shot from the shorter man’s pistol and hit Sarah in the shoulder before everything went dark.

—————

The next thing she remembered was lying down, tied up, in a different van full of the same boxes the previous one had been carrying. A muffled, angry screaming sound came from a grey circlish blob besides her. Somewhere behind her head, the “officers” were shouting to each other over the continuous scream.

“Goddammit, why can’t that thing just shut up?”

“Well I tried covering its mouth, but it doesn’t seem to be talking from its mouth!”

“Isn’t that perfect?! I have half a mind to just smash the thing and call it an accident! You know the GOC wouldn’t mind!”

“Knowing Craggs, you do that and you’ll end up a test subject!”

“What?”

“It doesn’t matter!”

“What?”

Everything became blurry again.

—————

She woke up to hard metal pressing against her back and a harsh light against her face. An unfamiliar voice spoke calmly, meticulously, intriguedly above her.

“…so the question is, what can you do?” The vague shape of a lab-coated woman muttered, looking over Sarah.

“Craggs, you know she’s still knocked out, right? I just don’t know how much of this is actually directed at me or what.” A bored male voice responded from a PA.

“All of it. Pay attention to all of it.” Hunching closer to Sarah, Dr. Craggs saw Sarah’s opened eyes. “Finally. You’re awake.”

Straining her head to the right, Sarah could see Anoati held in a transparent cage, slamming himself into it repeatedly. She must have been in a lab, but the lab coat that lurked above her didn’t have a Foundation logo. Cold fingers tilted her head back to the overwhelming light above her.

“Head straight. Can’t scan brain functions when you move your head.”

“What?”

“Stay still or I put you under again.” The doctor turned to the one-way viewing glass behind her. “Nathan, how’s the feed looking?”

“Something seems off, it’s not-!” The PA feed turned to static for a second, before coming back on. “Okay, I think that sounded authentic. Cameras and all other recording devices are off. We’ve got five minutes.”

Dr. Craggs removed her surgical mask to reveal a well-aged face, striding from Sarah’s table to a familiar black box to her left. As she briskly opened the case, she uttered a dry chuckle.

“Finally, we’ve got the brains. This’ll be good.” She turned back to Sarah, increasing to a commanding volume. “Listen here, anonymous Foundation prisoner. That “test” wasn’t real and you are inside a Global Occult Coalition base. So, you got two options.” She held up two fingers. “One, you don’t cooperate. I inject what’s in my pocket into your arm. You’re dead in ten, maybe twenty, seconds. Even if you do survive, you are brutally interrogated and killed by the Coalition agents that will arrive in five minutes. Option two, come with me.”

“Where…where are you going?” She asked, still blinded by that stupid light.

“The guy behind the screen and I are blowing up that wall there.” Dr. Craggs pointed towards a distant wall, and then towards the metal cases. “We’re taking those brains, stealing a van and getting out of here. Now, do I kill you or not? You got ten seconds.” She pulled a syringe from her pocket, filled with clear liquid.

Sarah thought about the offer for five seconds.

“Sure.”

“Great. Also, I need you to shut up that flying head so it doesn’t rat us out.” Anoati was still ramming itself against the glass case. Faint yells could be heard from it. “Nathan? Let her go. And the angry tiki-thing. They’re coming with us.”

“Craggs, you didn’t tell me you were bringing them.”

“Sorry, no time. Wall’s gotta go down in the next thirty seconds.”

“Shit!” The clamps holding Sarah to the table were released, and she groggily got to her feet. Anoati flew from his cage as soon as a side automatically opened.. Sarah intercepted him before he could attack anyone.

“Anoati we don’t have time, just follow me!”

“Countdown in ten seconds!” The PA shouted.

“No one cages Anoati!”

“Not right now! We’re escaping again!”

“Five seconds!”

A thin, young, unkempt man rushed from a sliding door next to the viewing glass. Dr. Craggs called to the room.

“Cover your ears!”

And the wall next to them exploded.

There was on overwhelming blast of sound and a rain of rubble. The outlines of Nathan and Dr. Craggs races through the dust cloud around them. Sarah and Anoati followed their mysterious benefactors through an enclosed parking area behind the wall into a large black van. In the back of it were the rest of the black brain boxes Sarah had ridden with. No sooner had she and Anoati slammed the doors than the car took off. Tactically-clad soldiers rushed the burst wall, letting loose their weapons. The sound of automatic gunfire echoed throughout the spacious concrete lot.

“Don’t worry, I left a new variant of memetic virus in the lab. They won’t be chasing us far.” Nathan commented as Dr. Craggs slammed the gas haphazardly through the exit of the parking space. Though they were too far away to see exactly why, the gunfire had indeed stopped. “I think I really outdid myself. They’ll be lucky if the whole base doesn’t go down.”

“That’s more like it!” Dr. Craggs shouted proudly. They cruised down the road and out into the California desert.

“So, maybe you can tell me what’s actually going on? Are those the same brains we had in the back of the van?”

“Now it is time for answers! Who are you humans?” Anoati floated above the car seat, bumping the car roof on every snag in the road. “Give me a reason I should not slay you now!”

“Dr. Craggs, why did you bring those two?” Nathan nodded towards the two in the back as he pulled out a laptop he had brought. Dr. Craggs sighed.

“Alright children, everyone shut up or I’m pulling this thing over! Listen, Anoati, you don’t want to kill us because we just took you out of a highly guarded facility of individuals who would gladly destroy you at the first chance they got. Nathan, we brought them because they somehow managed to hide out in the back of a van carrying what may be the most important technological revolution this decade without getting killed, and at worst they’ll be fine bullet sponges for us. And Sarah, yes, those are the brains.” Dr. Craggs said sternly. “Everyone happy?”

“But what are those brains?”

“Yes! Why is there Anoa-stone within those mortal guts?”

“Anoa-stone?” Dr. Craggs looked at Anoati inquisitively.

“He calls metal that.”

Dr. Craggs chuckled. “Well, this van is carrying twenty cybernetically-outfitted brains, still kept in a state of suspended life. They are a breakthrough in modern technology, and right now every organization under the sun wants their hands on them.”

“And what organization do you work for?”

Dr. Craggs chuckled again. “I work for myself! I’m Dr. Madison Craggs, independent scientist extraordinaire. And this here is Nathan Snyder. He makes contagious memes on his laptop. Nathan has a hideout outside El Centro which we’re heading for now.”

“I have a few hideouts around the area. I like my anonymity, which does become important when you start controlling minds through the internet.” Nathan seemed to take delight in saying the last part.

“We’re gonna make something great from these brains, and hopefully you can help us.”

“Mad woman Craggs and skinny man Nathan talk too much! They will not take us home! Let us leave now, Sarah!”

“Good luck with that, Anoati. I’m sure we’re being trailed by every organization with an R&D department right now. What do you think, Nathan?”

Nathan, with a few more quick taps on his computer, looked up at Craggs and then to Sarah and Anoati. “Yeah, we’ve got at least five trackers on us right now. Doesn’t help that this is a Coalition van and we’re the only van in the middle of nowhere.”

“Can’t you just…block us from them? You do computer work, right?”

“Yes! You do magic on the strange moving tablet, do you not?”

“Well I’m not a miracle worker! I’m a coder, not a magician. I can’t just make something that protects us out of the blue.” Nathan’s frown turned to a smile, and he pulled out a small black disk from his pocket. “That’s why I bought this.” He tossed it out the car window. “Should attract all the signals. Now they’re all tracking that disk, not us. We’re invisible. You can thank me now.”

“Anoati can clearly see you!”

“Goddammit you know what I-“

“Okay, all in-fighting aside, I’d just like to warn you that we may still have to worry about real fighting. In preparation, I’ve got a secret weapon in the back that should keep us safe.” Craggs took one hand off the wheel to point to the back. “But we still will want to avoid larger numbers.”

“What is it?”

“Scientist’s secret. Hopefully you won’t need to find out.”

––––

They had been driving for nearly half an hour with no distraction. Most of the time was spent explaining the situation further to Anoati and trying to stop him from going on a confused rampage. He was not coping with the confusion well. Sarah wasn’t either, but someone had to be strong in the situation, and she certainly wasn’t putting all her trust in these two strange deviants.

“Damn. We got company.” Nathan looked ahead and closed the laptop he’d been typing away on. On the horizon was the small outline of a military blockade.

“Mhmm. Well, figured someone’d find us eventually.” Dr. Craggs stated. “Nathan, have you figured out some type of safeguard to the brain viruses? With this many people, we might be in trouble if we can’t use it.” She swerved the van in a 180, hitting the gas pedal hard.

“Do not flee them! Cowards!” Anoati called as he slammed against the side of the car due to his continued levitation.

“Erm, how much trouble are we in, exactly?” Sarah asked meekly.

“Not too much, unless it’s-“ Nathan was interrupted by the increasing feeling of shaking. With an abrupt jerk, the van stopped moving and was thrown off of the ground, stopping with another abrupt jerk twelve feet in the air. Craggs slammed her hands on the steering wheel.

“-the Chaos Insurgency.” Dr. Craggs finished. “This might get messy. Take this!” Craggs tossed Sarah a pistol. Upon contact with it she dropped the thing immediately. She couldn’t touch it. She just stared, despite the chaos building around her. When was the last time she’d held a gun?

“Sarah, do not cry! I shall slay them!” Anoati declared. Sarah didn’t even notice the few tears running down her nose. This was not the time to remember things. The present was scary enough.

“ ‘Scuse me.” Dr. Craggs quickly said, crawling from the now-functionless driver’s seat and into the back of the van. Sarah looked over at a clicking sound to see her open a large box and pull out an unconscious person from inside.

“What the fuck? How long was he in there?” Sarah yelled, breaking from her daze.

“All persons within the van, surrender immediately!” A harsh megaphone blared from outside. “All objects within the van are now under professional custody!” Looking out, Sarah saw dozens of tactically-clad soldiers surrounding the van. Her eyes widened.

Sarah’s heart was beating. The van was helpless, stranded motionless in the air. What would she do? Dr. Craggs was passing a small white crystal under the muscular man’s nose, causing him to jolt up. Nathan retrieved a small semiautomatic from the glove compartment. Sarah looked at the soldiers poised below the van. Before she could think of anything, Anoati crashed through the car window out to the military brigade.

“Taste the wrath of your god!” He shouted mightily, flinging himself at the armed figures. Guns wrested themselves from soldiers’ hands with the power of Anoati’s telekinesis, turned into bludgeoning tools against their own wielders. Anoati laughed as he attacked. Insurgency soldiers looked around for the hostile head among them, afraid to shoot their own allies. Nathan took the opportunity to open the car window and fire into the confused crowd, though a frightened look was sprawled across his face.

Sarah saw the men go down, saw blood seeping from bullet wounds and blunt attacks. Her vision began to get blurry. She felt sick. The blood. Bullets were hitting the van. All of the blood. And screams. It was at this moment that the back of the floating van was pushed open by the muscled man.

“Take ‘em out, Arthur.” Dr. Craggs said as the man jumped from the back. She turned to the rest of the van. “Don’t worry, I’ve got implants in him that will make him do anything. He’s our super-soldier.”

Arthur strode towards the soldiers, striking one brutally in the head as he grabbed another as a human shield. His combat ability was incredible, and he fought well, but it wasn’t enough for dozens of surprise bullets. An unforeseen attack brought him down to his knees.

“Fuckin’ really?” Dr. Craggs stared in amazement. “Dammit Arthur!”

Sarah peered from the window as the man was killed. His skin was torn up in the blink of an eye, a splash of red blood covering gun-toting agents. A whole life over, just like that. The rattling of gunfire started to flare up more, rising to a deafening crescendo. Insurgency agents began falling over, screams the only other sound than bullet shots.

The Insurgency troops found themselves now being shot at from a new foe. From behind the Insurgency, a wall of grey combat trucks were driving in. The soldiers in these trucks were shooting down the Insurgency force, mowing them down in their surprise. As the procession rode to a halt, a megaphone announcement came from one of the trucks.

“Chaos Insurgency stand down! The SCP Foundation has you outnumbered! Surrender the van immediately!”

Now there were three forces at conflict. More death. More running. Chaos. All around Sarah, there was chaos. Nathan was staring at his gun, sweating and shaking. Dr. Craggs was hiding behind her. Anoati was lost somewhere in the fray.

“Well this is an interesting turnaround.” Dr. Craggs commented, facing the team in the van. “Arthur’s gone, and Anoati’s not gonna be taking out all those men himself.”

“Jesus Christ this it I’m gonna die.” Nathan said, losing his cool immediately. “What the fuck do we do what the fuck?”

“Calm down, Snyder, this isn’t the end. I’m turning myself into the Foundation. I’ve made deals with them before and I’ll do it again. All of you, come with me.” Dr. Craggs proposed.

“N-no. No!” Sarah was shaking. “I was D-class with the Foundation. I can’t go back. I can’t go!”

“Listen, you and I just escaped from a GOC facility and the Foundation’ll want to know about it. We’re safe! Now hurry it up because this van won’t take much more gunfire!” Dr. Craggs snarled.

“No.” Nathan sent a grim look at Sarah.

“No?”

“I don’t work with the Foundation. They want to take away my software. They can’t.” Nathan said, picking up volume and hugging his laptop, the semiautomatic now cast aside.

“Forget about it! We’re saving our skins with or without you and your software!”

“You don’t get it. This is all I have! I’ve lost my life, my friends, my home, to keep this software!” Nathan shouted. “And those fuckers are gonna have to take it over my dead motherfuckin’ body, cuz I’m not gonna lose it all!”

“Your choice.” Dr. Craggs replied, moving to the open end of the van with arms raised. Some straggling Insurgeny agents pointed and shouted “Shit! It’s Craggs!” and “Get the traitor!” They were shot down as the Foundation moved in. Sarah moved behind Craggs, raising her arms too.

“Sorry Craggs. Just remember that you turned on me.” Nathan muttered from the front of the van.

“What in the hell-“ Dr. Craggs muttered, only interrupted by an outburst of commotion around a group of panicked Insurgency soldiers. Armored troops began running chaotically before each and every one started to pull out their tactical knives. One by one, they brought the knives into their chests with fatal force, wincing and crying as they took their own lives.

“He released one of his viruses! When-!?” Dr. Craggs looked around agitatedly. “C’mon Sarah, we’re moving now!”

She grabbed Sarah by the hand and the two jumped from the back of the floating van just as it collapsed from its levitating state. As she ran towards an open Foundation truck, Sarah saw her contained life. The hours and days blurred together in a blank cell, herself being a broken person in hallways full of broken people. She couldn’t go back. She roppwd her hand from Dr. Craggs’ grip and ran to her left, towards the still-rampaging Anoati. All around her, people were running and stabbing themselves, screaming in fear.

“Fools! Do not slay yourselves before I’m finished!” Anoati laughed as he kept flinging guns at people.

“Anoati! This is our chance! We need to go!” Sarah shouted to him. The soldiers around her were too busy with their own knives to shoot at her now.

“No! These men must suffer!”

“Anoati, you need to go home! We need to go home! This is our chance!”

Anoati floated for a second, quiet.

“Yes! Homeward bound!”

Anoati floated behind her as she ran to one of the few Chaos Insurgency vans that hadn’t already driven away. A slumped figure hung out of the driver’s seat. A quick search-through of her pockets provided a key, and Sarah quickly revved up the truck and drove off with Anoati beside her. The last thing she saw looking back was Dr. Craggs climbing into a Foundation truck as it left the battleground. On the steering wheel, her hands were still shaking.

—————

“Sarah, explain again why the metal bird flies across the Earth on the mortal’s whims!”

“Again, they’re called airplanes. And they’re not alive. Like cars aren’t alive?” This was not the first time Sarah had to explain this in the long conversation she’d had with Anoati. “Anyways, as soon we can find some type of civilization, and a bit of cash, we’ll get directions to the airport and fly to where you need to go.”

“I shall bend that metal bird’s will to mine!” Anoati proudly stated. Sarah sighed before noticing the sound of a police siren behind her.

“Where the heck did they come from?” She quietly asked, peering out the window to see the singular police car behind them.

“No! They shall not catch us again!”

“Shit, maybe they are from another one of these crazy organizations. We’re speeding up.” They continued for a while on increasing speed until they heard the gunshot. A new hole added itself to the truck’s back window and, afraid, Sarah slowed the car to a halt. The police car rolled up, and a formidable, grey-haired man in police uniform pulled out.

“Ma’am, I’m afraid we’re going to need you and your-“ He was interrupted by Anoati pelting a fist-sized rock, now turned to metal, at his head. He whipped out a pistol as the second officer ran over.

“Anoati, please stop or I’m going to get shot.” Sarah’s voice became quiet, her body staying as still as possible. Anoati scoffed, but didn’t attack.

The officer pulled out a badge displaying a blue symbol Sarah vaguely remembered. Where was it from?

“On orders from the Global Occult Coalition, you and the anomalous artifact are going to come with us.”

“A-alright. Which one’s the Global…whatever Organization again?”

“The Global Occult Coalition protects humanity from the unknown and anomalous, representing-“

“Nevermind, they all blend together.” Sarah said, following the officer into the car, Anoati grumbling and threatening behind her. Inside, the officer talked to them, still pointing the pistol at Sarah’s head.

“Right now you are going to direct us to the scene of the battle wherein The Chaos Insurgency and SCP Foundation had a conflict approximately twenty minutes ago. I think you understand the consequence of failing to obey.” He waved his pistol slightly.

“No I do not! I refuse! Nobody controls the All-Mighty Anoati!”

“What I’m saying is that your friend here will be shot if she does not obey. Your fate would be similar. You have both committed criminal acts.”

“I will-“

“You wanna take a left down that road there.” Sarah pointed to a rocky side road. “I’m sorry, Anoati. But seriously, that gun there can kill me any moment.”

“Fine! But I will kill these men later!”

“Sure you will, pal.”

They drove for about twenty minutes, occasionally changing from one sparse road to another, before reaching the now-deserted battleground. Barely a bloodstain was now left on the street, like it hadn’t happened. Sparse splotches of red were the ghostly remnants of secret organizations fighting in the shadows. The driver left the car and looked around the area, while the second kept his pistol aimed at Sarah. He was back in minutes, and he brought the car off the road and into the desert, all without a word.

Within minutes, dozens of similar police cars accompanied by military trucks converged on the car Sarah was captive in, all driving together. They reached an unassuming concrete structure, barely noticeable among the desert hills. Though it was a big entrance to something, it was flanked by steep hills, blending in to its dull surroundings. The large garage doors opened to a wall of gun-clad operatives.

“What have we gotten into now, Anoati?”

A megaphone near Sarah’s car broke the tension.

“SCP Foundation, hand over the defected Dr. Craggs and the supply of augmented human brains! This is not a request, it is a command!”

Coalition operatives scuttled from their cars, the clicks of ammunition loading becoming ever more common from both sides. The tension was thick. Hushed whispers filled both sides. Suddenly, a lone agent walked out of the Foundation garage, mute. He dropped his gun and sat down right in the middle of the two forces. Then, more followed. Coalition operatives began to do the same, walking to the middle of the field, dropping their weapons and sitting down onto the ground.

A realization dawned on Sarah.

“Anoati, don’t listen to anything!”

“Anoati does not listen when he pleases!”

With her ears plugged, she saw the men in front of her confused, quietly talking to each other. Soon, the fake officers both opened their car doors and joined the sitting crowd. Everyone but Sarah and Anoati sat together in front of the Foundation base with blank expressions.

A beaten-up Chevrolet revved out of nowhere. A tall, scrawny figure, none other than Nathan Snyder, slowly strolled out among the crowd, the only upright man among sitting soldiers. He was smiling.

“Alright,” he said, smug and content, pulling out his phone. “Let’s see…I’ll use you, you, and you four. That should do. Look at this.” He walked over to the people he pointed out, each being visibly stronger than those around them, and showed them something on the phone. In response, they stood up and walked to the garage. In minutes, they came back carrying familiar black cases and loaded them in to his old truck.

“No Dr. Craggs?” Nathan peered through the crowd. “Wonder where she is. She knows too much.” He showed his phone to another sitting soldier. He got up and hustled into the garage.

“Rule one: always prepare. Targeted assassination meme is a go.” Nathan said to absolutely nobody.

Nathan chuckled as he tossed his keys, walking over to his car. It revved up and he drove off, dust flying into the sitting Foundation and Coalition agents.

“Anoati, we need to follow him!” Sarah got out of the car as soon as he was in the distance.

“Yes! He has betrayed us! But first, I slay these sitting cowards!” Anoati began knocking agents to the ground as he floated through the sitting huddle.

“No, we gotta focus on Nathan. He’s getting away!” Sarah searched for faces among the blank group. Spotting the driver of her car, she fished the keys from his pocket and ran back to the police car, starting the engine. Anoati followed, but only did so after some hesitation.

“If we can nab those brains from Nathan, we can negotiate with the Foundation or whoever and get enough money to buy plane tickets!” The car was moving fast now, approaching a dusty road still fresh with Nathan’s tracks.

“Tickets? For plane-birds?”

“Again, not birds, Anoati. Anyways, I think we can overpower him, right? I can surprise him and you can take him down. Then, we take the brains.”

“Indeed! I shall slay him!”

“Go for it, Anoati.” Sarah said as she drove off in the tracks of Nathan Snyder’s Chevrolet.

—————

The dusty red and brownish rust of the beaten-up junker of a car rested on the side of the abandoned desert stretch. Nathan stood a couple feet away from it, head tilted back, taking a piss. Now was her chance. Sarah kicked up the car’s speed towards him.

“Anoati, knock him out!”

“Aha! He will suffer!” Anoati barrelled out of the window with a police baton flying near him as the speeding police car neared Nathan.

Nathan noticed the speeding car, but too late. He dashed back to his car, but this, too, was late. A metallic sheen enveloped the floating baton as it connected with Nathan’s head.

Crack

Sarah only saw him bend backwards in the corner of her eye. She slowed the car to a screeching halt.

Crack

“Holy shit.” She muttered as she ran out of the stopped police car. She heard Nathan’s voice, now desperate and strained.

“Stop! Stop! I’ll give you anything! Stop!”

Crack

“Anoati, stop! You’re killing him!”

She could hear Anoati shouting as the baton violently thrashed Nathan’s body, “You impudent fool!”

Crack

“I am your god!”

Crack

“You do not betray me!”

Crack

“Like no mortal ever shall!”

Crack

“Face the wrath of the Great Anoati!”

Crack

The last crack was wet and painful. Hard to hear. Sarah’s vision blurred. The body before her was a twisted, agonizing shell of a body, submerged in a lake of blood. Sarah stood over the body. It was dead. There was a dead body in front of her.

There was a dead body in front of her. It was three years ago. She stood over it. There was a gun in her hand. She was shaking so bad she could hardly hold it. The barrel smoked. The man in front of her whimpered, eyes wide in shock. They stayed wide, even when the light in them went out. There was a dead body in front of her, and now her life was over. Her husband was dead. And she killed him. And she could never take it back.

Sarah was in the present again, collapsed on the ground in a crying mess.

“Anoati, what the fuck?! What the fuck?!” She screamed as hard as she could, her throat straining. “You fucking killed him!”

Anoati looked unfazed, although this may have been the fact that he was incapable of facial expressions. “No one betrays the All-Powerful Anoati. I am not afraid to show this.”

“I can’t…I can’t…”

“Sarah, this is Anoati’s path. He must lead the people, and they must know to obey him!”

Sarah stood up. She looked at what was once Nathan, and her husband stared back. “I’m leaving.” She said resolutely. She took the keys from Nathan’s still, reddened hand. She walked to his car and unlocked it.

“Don’t follow me.”

“Sarah! This is the duty of a god! Trust Anoati! Do not leave!”

She drove away. Anoati didn’t follow.

He was alone among the California sands, with only the dead body and the stolen police car.

He was alone.


Now take the time to enjoy other variations of this fateful meetup, with Attila the PunAttila the Pun’s entry here and Lazar LyusternikLazar Lyusternik’s entry here.

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