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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for your patience, but above all, thanks for your support; every comment I read triggers a little firework of happiness in my brain. I hope you enjoy...


Superior: Fourth Part


Porridge, Lewis decided.


Definitely porridge.


Which was odd, to be sure…but no more odd than anything else in this twisted future.


“You actually going to put it on,” asked Richard snarkily, “or are you just going to sit there sniffing it?”


Lewis peered at his young companion over the tub of grey liquid. “I was just thinking that this sun cream you Resistance lot have invented smells a bit like porridge. Fascinating stuff.” Unfazed by Richard’s blank expression, he continued: “I couldn’t work it out at first. You know when a smell is familiar but you just can’t put your finger on it? It took a while, but…” He inhaled through his nostrils, and couldn’t help smiling a little at the reassuringly normal scent. “Definitely porridge.”


Richard ignored him, his gaze falling back to the Guinness Book of Records on the makeshift table in front of him. In the centre of the collage of overweight cats, gurning sportsmen and movie stills on the scratched, glossy cover was the silhouette of a hyper-muscled bodybuilder, with the question WHO IS THE NEW WORLD’S STRONGEST MAN? in lurid yellow writing across his broad chest.


“Sorry,” the scientist muttered. “I realise we need to get going and I’m waffling. I was just…” Slightly morosely, he dipped his fingers in the gloop and started applying it to the exposed skin of his face and arms.


I was just trying to break the tension, Lewis thought, wincing slightly at the coolness of the cream on his hot skin. To get a bit of conversation going. But I suppose we all deal with anxiety in different ways. I chatter about porridge, Holly –


He glanced up at the stone-faced woman who had been assigned to this mission, slouched in the doorway, lips drawing tightly on a third B&H.


– smokes, and Richard..? He reads the Guinness Book of Records.


For a while, there was no further conversation, just the gentle glooping sound of Lewis applying the sun cream, and the creaks and groans of the underground station around them. Occasionally a murmur of chatter from one of the other rooms would echo down the tunnel. Anecdotes and gossip about the monster bodybuilders who ruled the city. Prayers, shared in hushed voices, for lost loved ones and for salvation.


And sporadically, the patter of laughter, like fresh rain.  


Lewis nearly choked on the hard pebble of regret when he realised he was finished.


Richard seemed to sense it too. He looked up, and their eyes met across the table.




The scientist couldn’t bring himself to reply.


Strange, he thought. A few minutes ago I was babbling like a Baptist preacher with a severe case of glossolalia, and now I can barely utter a word. Is this…is this what dread feels like? When our fear and anxiety slip away, is this cold horror is our only companion?


He just nodded and screwed the lid back on the sun cream.


Richard closed the book, the muscular silhouette on the glossy cover flashing as it caught the glow from the fluorescent light overhead. 


“Then it’s time to go back outside."




Leaving the smell of grime, urine and unwashed, tightly-packed-together Resistance bodies behind him almost made up for the stabbing arrows of sunlight and the crisp molten air of the city.




The change was staggering, like he had stepped into a different world. Within moments the nerve endings beneath Lewis’ skin began to writhe painfully in the scorching climate, despite the dollops of porridge-scented sun cream he had smeared liberally upon his face and arms. Only the reassuring presence of Richard at his elbow kept him from retreating back into the relative coolness of the stairwell. Holly had already ranged ahead, silent and nimble, vanishing into the effulgent cityscape like a wraith.


The time-traveller adjusted his solar goggles, a welcome gift from his Resistance allies. For the first time, he could really take in the devastation that had been wrought all about him. Not a single building remained without some sort of damage: smashed windows; torn down walls; the occasional gaping hole where a bodybuilder had slammed a hand through the concrete (or a penis, if some of the gossip circulating in the Resistance were to be believed.) And everywhere weird, twisted sculptures dotted the ruins, mashed sweeps of human detritus – furniture, vehicles, cannibalised scraps of building work – like eerie silent sentinels. Lewis had only seen a handful inside the ruined buildings. He hadn’t realised they were so numerous, and so uniform, the only consistent feature in the ragged apocalypse. Before he had time to puzzle them out, Richard spoke:


“You ok? With the crutch I mean?”


Lewis turned to see his bedraggled, crippled reflection in Richard’s matching goggles.


“Well I’m not walking far am I? I mean, if everything goes well.” His optimism sounded hollow in his ears.


If everything went well, Holly would find his knapsack where he had dropped it and be back in less than five minutes. If, however, anything went wrong…like Holly running into Daniel and Shawn…or making it to the site only to discover that the knapsack was missing or – more plausibly – crushed in the titans’ melee…or (Lewis felt a cold shudder etch down his spine despite the heat) being discovered themselves out in the open like this…


He scuffed the crutch on the ground, throwing up a small puff of hot, dry dust.


Thinking like that served no purpose. Better to distract himself. Lewis didn’t know whether Richard was fed up with all his questions by now, but he decided to give another a go all the same:


“So…what can you tell me about those weird sculptures? Do the bodybuilders make them?”


He never got to find out Richard’s disposition towards his inquisitive mind, however, because then everything plunged into shadow.




“MOVE!” The young man yelled, suddenly frantic, snatching at Lewis’ sleeve and tugging him back towards the stairwell. The scientist barely had time to glance up to see a vast something spinning end over end, trailing smaller somethings, filling the sky and blocking out the glare of the sun, before he was practically tugged off his feet by the lithe Resistance fighter. The two of them scurried – Lewis hobbling maniacally, crutch furiously clacking the ground, only a fraction of a second slower than his friend – and practically dived back down the flight of subway stairs, ending up in a tangle of arms and legs on the landing, just as the…thing…passed over them.


A tyre twice the height of a man and nearly that in width came spinning down the stairs, SLAMMED into the wall only inches above their heads and bounced back up into the street above, careening off a lamp-post into a building opposite with a tremendous crash.


A sound that paled in comparison to the KABOOM of the large object striking the Earth less than a hundred metres from where the two men crouched, like the fist of God. The world seemed to shudder in pain and terror, a thick haze of dust and falling underground tiles filling Lewis’ vision, every passing moment punctuated with further crashes and splinterings as the object – whatever it was – ploughed through street after street, its acceleration taking it further and further away until the two men realised – after some time had passed – they could hear it no longer. Though Lewis would have found it difficult to hear anything over his pulse pounding in his ears.


“Jesus, it must have taken out a whole suburb! And I don’t think this stairway is safe – we’ve got to get topside!” Richard coughed, untangling his legs from Lewis’.  “The street’s buckling; it's going to come crashing down into this part of the underground any minute now.” He hurriedly helped the little scientist to his feet and fetched his crutch, which had been dropped in their frantic descent. Hearts beating furiously, together they hobbled back up the cracked staircase, out of the cloying concrete mist and into the blazing sunlight. Half supporting him, half dragging him, Richard guided them to a listing bus shelter a street over. He carefully helped the scientist to sit on one of the plastic chairs before allowing himself to collapse into the one beside it.


Lewis usually had questions but he found himself mute with shock. Indeed, it took a few long drags from his canister (he had to spit the water out at first because his mouth was full of grit and dust) before he could conjure up a voice. Even then it was somewhat thin and reedy.


“What…what was that?” Somehow he was unable to take his eyes off the monstrous tyre half-buried in the side of the building across the street.


By contrast, once his frantically beating heart had calmed, Richard appeared to have recovered completely. If it weren’t for the dust and dirt coating his face and Insert Ironic Slogan Here t-shirt, upon whose fabric he was carefully cleaning his goggles, and the thin line of sweat at the t-shirt’s neck, he looked for all the world like he hadn’t just NEARLY BEEN CRUSHED TO PASTE BENEATH TONNES OF RUBBLE BY A MASSIVE OBJECT FALLING FROM THE SKY – NOT TO MENTION SQUASHED FLAT AGAINST THE WALL BY A GODDAMN TYRE THE SIZE OF A FREAKING JCV.


“A-class tank, I reckon.” He took a sip from his own canister, sloshed it around his mouth and spat out the gritty liquid. “Big Adam says the army started building them a while back. A contingency plan, sort of thing. If ever the Alphas turned against us. Hah!” It was a chuckle without mirth. He continued: “Freaking huge they are, apparently; the size of a building.” He finished wiping his goggles clean and slipped them on once more. “Well, you saw one of the tyres up close. The designs Big Adam saw showed that they have ten of them either side.” He whistled. “Something like twenty five, maybe thirty thousand tonnes of vehicle, bristling with enough armaments to decimate a small moon…don’t know what they were thinking. Like anything can stand up to one of them.”


Richard didn’t need to say who one of “them” was.


“So you think the – ugh – Zetas…” Lewis hated that word, “have gone to war with the Alphas? That they’re fighting back?”


The young man shook his head.


“You crazy? No-one’s actually dumb enough to do that!” He shot an empty grin at the scientist. “I reckon an Alpha just stumbled across the factory where they’re making them, and had himself a bit of a party. Shit like that happens all the time.”


Lewis fought through his disbelief, his inquisitive scientist’s mind warring with his breathless shock. “Wasn’t it kind of reckless to build a factory in this city? Or couldn’t they at least have relocated once it became clear that this place belonged to the Alphas? They should have known that they would be discovered…that the A-class tanks would prove too much of a temptation…”


Richard fixed him with a patronising expression.


“What makes you think the factory was in this city?” Lewis shot him a puzzled look. The young man’s grin, still empty, widened. “Big Adam says we probably don’t have the resources to build weapons of that calibre in this country. Nah, that tank came from far, far away. Maybe even across the ocean. Probably thought they were safe. I mean, nearly all the Alphas live here now, right? Ground zero. Must only be a handful still out there. Talk about bad luck.” He sniffed, and wiped his nose on his sleeve. “It’s been a few weeks since something that big came falling out of the sky. I kinda miss it.”


“They’ve done this before? Throwing huge objects around the world – just for fun?”


“Around the world, in orbit, you name it. At first I think they did it as a kind of test. You know, who can demonstrate they’re the strongest by throwing heavy stuff the furthest, that sort of thing? But when they all got really strong, they could chuck stuff right out of earth’s atmosphere, and the competition kind of died.” He caught Lewis’ open expression of wonder. “Yeah, and that’s when they started doing it for fun. People, monuments, vehicles…anything they could lay their hands on. We even did a segment on ‘Challenge the Alphas’, remember?” He rolled his eyes. “Oh, that’s right – your amnesia.” His words were fringed with sarcasm. “It was definitely one of the best we shot. The producers said Everest couldn’t be done…that no-one was that strong. Ha! Peter Molnar sure showed them!”


Lewis didn’t know what was more disturbing: the idea of the staggering strength the muscled behemoths possessed…or the fact that Richard was actually excited talking about it, throwing the little scientist his first genuine smile since they had begun this mission. Just like Big Adam, the runner seemed to have a fascination with the sheer power and size of the brutes. Sure, Lewis was fascinated – any scientist worth his salt would be – but when he thought about the casual devastation the musclefreaks reaped, smiling was far from his natural reactionary expression. 


“What…did Peter Molnar do to Everest?” He couldn’t help but ask.


This was to be his second unanswered question, however. For at that moment a voice cut across the street and their heads snapped towards it.


“Waiting for a bus, boys?”




A slim figure slipped out of a long shadow between two crumbling buildings.


“Holly!” They said together, Lewis feeling oddly elated at seeing this near-stranger alive and well, as she jogged towards them.


Have I started to think of myself as one of them already? Lewis wondered. Am I really just another happy little helper in the Resistance? When was the last time I checked my vessel? When was the last time I even thought about my vessel? Have I become too caught up in this time, and forgotten my own?


He realised that he was thinking too much, and forced a grin, brushing the thoughts aside and coming shakily to his feet beside Richard.


“I see you came pretty close to catching a tank instead,” Holly said with a musical little laugh as she came to a stop before them and clasped Richard’s arm in an oddly militaristic gesture of comradeship. The change in the woman’s face was remarkable. Gone was the anxiety, the coldness. She seemed almost…pretty. “And what a whopper! An A-class…” She glanced at Lewis. “You believe in God, physicist?” Before giving the little time traveller an opportunity to struggle to put together a response, she laughed again. “Cause I’m starting to now. This-” She unslung Lewis’ knapsack from over a shoulder, “was on the ground, about twelve metres away from a very pissed-off Toth…I guess he lost the arm-wrestling match, huh? He was working through his anger folding a Mercedes up like an accordion. And there was me thinking ‘what the hell am I going to do?’ when just like that, whoosh, that huge freaking tank comes flying out of the sky.” She laughed again. “I’ve never seen an Alpha move so fast. Guess Toth wanted to catch it or something. Maybe he’ll try and throw it back, heh.” She held the knapsack out to an astonished Lewis. “Well, whatever God was shining down on me, it looks like you’ll be needing his help now, huh? So you really have equipment in there that can analyse this solar radiation? Maybe you could clear it up too...'cause I’m fed up having to smell like porridge every time I step outside.”


“And of course the Alphas who can bench press continents are only a mild inconvenience?” Richard threw back at her with a chuckle.


Is there something going on between those two? Lewis pondered. Or is this just how every soldier feels at the end of a mission, when the tension and anxiety are gone?


“Ha ha, well there’s that too, I guess.” A slightly more earnest flicker came to Holly’s eyes when they flashed back to Lewis. “Big Adam says you might really be able to detect what kind of radiation is blanketing this city…how it changed the bodybuilders?”


Lewis took the knapsack from her carefully.


“Uh…well, I’ll give it my best shot,” he said with more confidence than he felt. Then he swung his head in Richard’s direction. “I told you it smelled like porridge.”


Richard’s visage broke into a grin.


“I’ve always thought muesli myself, actually. Or Harvest Crunch.”


“Dick,” the little scientist muttered, sotto voce. He pulled open the drawstrings and started to rummage inside.


Nothing broken, thank God.


Heh, we seem to be thanking God a lot these days, Lewis thought.


The earnestness in Holly’s eyes was mirrored in Richard’s voice.


“So you think you can do it? I mean, really do it? After all this time, we’ll finally know why these men became gods?”


There was that excitement again. Lewis ignored it. His fingers closed around the device he was looking for and he withdrew it from the depths of the knapsack and held it up for them to see. It was a standard background radiation detection and analysis device; an essential for any time-travelling physicist. The glossy metallic sheen looked oddly out of place in the ruined street.


“We’ll be testing a theory, yes.” He switched it on and the machine whirred into life. The little screen swam into colour. “Just give me a minute.”


“And you remember how to use it? Cause, you know, you’ve forgotten everything else. With your…” He and Holly shared a look. “Amnesia.”


Lewis ignored Richard again. He was getting good at it.




“You said you had good news and bad news,” Big Adam grunted. Lewis had only been gone a couple of hours, and the hulking man already seemed bigger. He was wearing new clothes – Lewis suspected he had torn through the others – but even as they spoke his mass was putting a strain on the material, particularly around the pectoral region. It was like watching a flower bloom in time-lapse photography. A grotesquely sinewed, hyper-masculine flower.


Lewis realised he had been staring for a moment and sniffed, giving himself a second to get his train of thought back on the right track. Adam’s musk seemed to have thickened too, though it could simply feel that way because he himself had just been in the – comparatively – fresh air.


“Uh, yes. The good news is, the radiation device is working.” Jesus, he thought, the man is monstrous. Truly huge. A titan. He freaks me out just by…existing. He’s got to be pushing 425 now. Surely I’m not the only one to notice this? I’ll have to ask Richard about it… “Um. But there’s some interference.”




“Background radiation.” From his damn vessel, of all things, spitting out chronal radiation all over the place, like a dog whining for attention. Though he wasn’t about to tell Big Adam that. “It’s blocking the solar radiation. I need to move deeper into the city.”


He felt oddly brave saying those words. The feeling of belonging, of being part of a team, of being a hero, saving the world, returned and set his pulse thudding.


The ups and downs of being a fighter, he mused wryly. Anxiety, terror, jubilation, pride; it’s like a goddamn emotional rollercoaster – only the ride lasts an entire war.


“How much deeper?”


Lewis had thought about this for a while. The trek to the second entrance to the underground – the previous one having collapsed in on itself – had given him time to ponder. To come to a decision. A risky decision. The right decision.


“All the way to where it started. The epicentre.”


Big Adam grunted. Was he…flexing? No, his pecs had just swollen a little bigger. As had his arms and – whoa – the thick, veined teardrops of his pumped quadriceps, hideously warping the cotton of his jeans nearly to beyond capacity.


The big man cleared his throat, a deep, liquid sound. “The Festival Hall where they hosted Mr Olympia over a year ago? Hmph.” He scratched his shaved head, split bicep peak tensing into horrid massiveness and dwarfing his own skull. “Ok, physicist. For a skinny little amnesiac who didn’t even know what an Alpha was when we first dragged ya in, you’ve certainly picked up some balls along the way, I’ll give you that. But you’re talking way into Alpha territory. Heh, I’m used to helping people out of the city, not further in. I don’t even know if those tunnels are still intact. For all I know the goddamn A-class tank tossed on top of our heads today could have completely wrecked that whole part of the underground network. You might have to spend most of the journey above ground, scurrying like a little mouse.” He lowered his huge, tree-trunk of an arm and ran the calloused fingers hand over his thick chest, a subconscious movement but one that reminded Lewis just how into himself – into size, muscle and strength – the man was. “But if my theory is right – if there is a connection between the weird solar radiation and the Alphas’ ascension – it’s worth the risk.” He gave another grunt, bestial and masculine. “On one condition.”

“Which is?”


Adam’s fingers paused in their groping of his chest. Lewis actually saw his thick digits part a little as the sheer ripped mass of the pectoral balcony swelled yet again. The faint but unmistakable sound of splitting fabric filled the room…but that wasn’t enough to hide the whispered groan of pleasure from the big man’s lips.


“Mmmm. We’re all coming with you.”

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Please tell me that big adams is not gonna be like the aplha's in personality wise... physically it is gonna ve awesome. But he is to nice and caring to turn. Please~? =0

Aside from t y at i get the feeling tgat we are 2 chapters or maybe even 3 chapters away from the end. ^^ And i oove that story so far. Well aside from the evil of the aplhas and the gore of people dying. <='(

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Now I can't sleep: what…did Peter Molnar do to Everest?

I MUST know. And I must see more of them behaving like the gods they are, hmm...

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Now I can't sleep: what…did Peter Molnar do to Everest?

I MUST know. And I must see more of them behaving like the gods they are, hmm...


More Alpha narcissism please!

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Thank you so much for bearing with me on this one guys. Any writer who claims that he is not motivated by feedback is a liar....you make me think, shit, someone's actually reading this! and more freakily someone's actually enjoying this!


Your comments bolster my confidence. Fifth part coming very soon!

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