Separation

The past few days had been plagued with incidents. The three of them had been attacked several times by Genetically Modified Soldiers, but had somehow managed to escape. Helena’s grandmother started to get paranoid, making them advance and rest at random intervals that did not make any sense. Their route was chaotic, and they sometimes even went on circles just to make their pursuers lose track of them. But eventually, they always met some eco-soldiers that were looking for them.

They were resting at a campfire, Helena’s grandmother cleaning their weapons. They had slept for a bit and eaten some food. Helena was exhausted, and Maud did not look good, either. Helena’s grandmother had been silent for hours now, and she finally decided to speak.

“Whom of you is it?” she asked.

Helena did not understand. “What do you mean, grandma?”

“I’ve said, whom of you is it?” she repeated.

“You are not making any sense” Maud commented.

Helena’s grandmother was silent as she checked a gun. It was clean and ready for the next fight. She loaded it, and felt the weight in her hands. She then stood up and looked at both of them. She started to walk in circles, gun still in her hand, and looked concentrated. Helena was looking at her worriedly.

“What’s wrong, grandma?” she asked.

Helena was interrupted by her grandmother. “It’s pretty simple, really. It’s very, very simple”. She paused. “We are moving on foot, randomly, and have not gone through a town in the past five days. The eco-soldiers should not know where we are going, or what area we are going to walk through”.

“That must have been a coincidence” Helena hypothesized. “We were just not very lucky…”

“One time is a coincidence. Two times can still be a coincidence. Eight times in the span of five days is a pattern, Helena” her grandmother replied. “There is no denying it, they somehow know where we are going”. She paused again, and stopped walking in circles. She faced them both. “So one of you must be a traitor”.

“Wow, that’s quite a hurried conclusion. They might have some other intelligence on us, like someone following us” Maud said. “Helena’s friend knew where we were. Or maybe they have a high concentration of patrols around, knowing what we’ve done in Scotland”.

“Yes, that actually makes sense” Helena agreed.

Helena’s grandmother suddenly threw herself over Maud, and put the gun to her forehead. Maud panicked, and tried to get away from Helena’s grandmother, but her grip was too strong.

“Helena! Please, help me! Your grandmother is mad” Maud screamed.

Helena was crying, but did not know what to do. She looked around, and hesitated whether she should try to separate them or not. There were some noises coming from behind the two of them, and Helena saw eco-soldiers approaching. She gasped, and her grandmother and Maud looked around, until they saw the soldiers.

“Thank god!” Maud muttered. “This has gone on too long, please save me!” she shouted.

Helena’s grandmother looked at the soldiers, and then back at Maud. “I will take that as a confession” she stated, and shot Maud in the forehead, twice.

Helena was too slow to react. She was grabbed by some soldiers who administered some tranquilizer to her body. In the last fleeting moments of consciousness that she had, she just saw her grandmother killing the soldiers that were surrounding her.

Helena woke up with a headache. She was in a building made out of bamboo. The climate was cold and damp, and the building did not seem to adequately insulate from that. Even though the room had no windows, she knew that she was not in a tropical region. She wondered where she had been taken to.

Helena walked out of a circular space that acted as a door and into a large open space. There was an enormous balcony, which she walked to, and she peered outside. She was in a park in s city. It looked like… London? Helena was bewildered.

“What the hell is going on?” she wondered.

“Hello” a familiar voice said from behind her.

Helena turned towards the origin of the voice. “You… I…”

“Welcome once again, Sister” Barbara pronounced, with a smile.

The GMSs

“What the fuck” was the only thing that Maud was capable of saying.

“That is a Genetically Modified Soldier, a GMS” Helena’s grandmother explained. “I had heard rumours, but had never encountered one”.

“Wait, wait a minute. What?” Helena was puzzled. “Genetically Modified Soldiers? Is this a thing now?”

“It would seem so” her grandmother answered.

“But aren’t the environmentalists against GMOs? Creating Genetically Modified Soldiers wouldn’t make any sense!” Helena was bewildered.

“These people have never made any sense! But this would explain how they managed to take over the world” her grandmother answered.

There was a buzzing sound coming from the outside. Helena approached the crack that the mantis-man had opened in the tank silently. She peeked outside, and had to move away from a 30cm stinger that darted into the crack’s space. Helena gasped with horror. It was yet another GMS.

The tank started to move, as if lifted on two sides. Another GMS was widening the crack that had been opened before. Helena’s grandmother, gun in hand, shot that GMS in the face, placed her foot over his body, which was falling away, and used it as a springboard to jump in a pirouette and shoot as many GMSs as she possibly could. The rest followed. Helena and Maud jumped out of the tank safely into the ground, while the other two tried to emulate Helena’s grandmother’s coolness.

One of the men was stung right in the abdomen by a giant mosquito-human hybrid. The stinger crossed his whole body, and came out stained with blood. His corpse fell to the ground. Meanwhile, the other one fell to the floor, but could not land properly, so he broke a leg. The remaining GMSs approached and killed him in the blink of an eye.

Helena’s grandmother finished off the remaining ones, and the three survivors looked at the mess around them in disbelief. The tank was in no condition to keep going, and they were quite far from any mayor city. After the nuclear attack, there was no going back, and they could only pick up whatever supplies they could gather, and move on.

As they were about to leave, Helena’s grandmother set fire to the whole area.

“Why did you do that?” Maud asked.

“Several reasons. One of them is that, whatever these people have been treated with, we need to destroy it” Helena’s grandmother explained.

“And?” Maud continued.

“No need of talking about those things now. There are other issues, like the fact that the eco-government has somehow got the handle of some nuclear codes”.

“Who do you think they got the codes from?” Helena asked.

“I don’t know”.

“Do you… Do you think they might do the same with Scotland?” Maud asked.

“It’s quite unlikely” Helena’s grandmother continued, as she observed the fire.

“From what we know, there have been countless other rebellions all around the place. Ireland, Bavaria, Southern Italy… They are still struggling to seize control in some countries, like Spain and Portugal. And that’s just mentioning some European countries”.

“Well, we do know that the eco-government forces are getting rid of most of the African and Latin American population quite efficiently” Maud objected.

“They are, indeed. But their numbers are also being reduced by the day. They can’t afford to thin down their strength in a campaign against Scotland, and it’s not a region of mayor concern for them, anyway” Helena’s grandmother analysed.

“Then… What now?” Helena asked.

“We are going to move south now. Always south” Helena’s grandmother answered.

“To London, then?” Maud asked.

“Well, we are going to take a bit of an odd-route… But yeah, we will eventually make it to London” Helena’s grandmother said.

They started to walk. It was going to be a long journey, longer than usual without any form of transport. They spent the night outdoors, protected by the moon and the starry night. It was a calm night.

Problems

Helena was walking to the parking lot where the tank had made its last stop. Her grandmother’s hit and run guerrilla strategy had had them on the move, attacking important eco-points like chakra-therapy centres. Their campaign had been a success, to the point that most of the state was now in a state of anarchy, but slowly moving back towards the organization that it used to have before the Eco-Revolution.

She was not wearing her Sister clothes this time. It was useful for raids, because it gave them the element of surprise, but they did not want to call anyone’s attention in this city. This was their first stop in this state, an important city that was right in the middle of a transport artery towards the north of the country. Due to this, the eco-world-government had strongly fortified the area, with a higher concentration of armed forces and Sisters than anywhere else.

Helena was carrying a bag with groceries from a nearby shop. She had not noticed it yet – mostly because she was worried that someone would notice the bottle of milk and the chicken that she was carrying in her bag, hidden among the vegetables –, but for the first time in this city, the street was empty.

As she passed next to a public phone, it started to ring. She turned towards it, surprised, and looked around to see if anyone was there. She approached it and answered the call.

“Hello?”

There was some static. Eventually, the noise cleared and Helena heard a voice. “Hey, Helena, it’s me”.

“Dani…?” she whispered. “How did you know I was here?”

“That doesn’t matter” Dani responded. “I have to warn you”.

“Warn me?” Helena was a bit surprised by the whole thing.

“Your activity has not gone unnoticed. They know that you are in the city, and they are ready to destroy you” Dani announced.

“What? Dani, how do you know any of this?”

The question went unanswered, and the phone beeped. Dani had hung up the phone. Helena hurried the rest of the way to the parking lot where the tank was, and climbed inside it. Everyone else was there, getting ready for the attack. Helena interrupted their conversation.

“They know about us” Helena announced, speaking over everyone else’s voices. “We need to change plans”.

“What?” Maud was shocked. “How could they know about us?”

“Helena, calm down and try to explain everything to me” Helena’s grandmother said.

“The government knows that we are here, and is ready to destroy us!” Helena explained. “We need to get going, before they attack us”.

Helena’s grandmother raised her hands before anyone else could say a thing, gesturing that they should calm down. When everyone was silent and looking at her, she spoke in a soft tone.

“OK, so, here is the thing. We have been travelling through the state, and this is the last city that is left before we cross the border. The eco-government would know that we were going to attack. Their plan is probably to stop us here and to reconquer what they have lost” she explained. “Knowing that, we need to do something that they couldn’t predict”.

“Like, what?” Maud asked.

“We are going to leave the city intact, but we are going to cut all of its communications” Helena’s grandmother explained.

Everyone nodded. It seemed like a reasonable plan: that way they would avoid the dangers of the city, while at the same time stopping the eco-government from reconquering. They had already acquired the supplies that they needed in that city, and the attack was the only thing that was left. They drove the tank through the city, silently, avoiding any patrols, like they had done before.

They were outside the city when they saw them: an army of eco-soldiers was waiting for them, blocking their path. The tank sped over them, crunching and cracking them under its weight, and Helena’s group was not even sorry. As they left the army behind, there was a flash of light.

The next thing was a giant mushroom shaped cloud rising towards the sky, and a shockwave that travelled at high speed, destroying everything around them.

“That’s a nuclear bomb! Max speed, we need to get away from it!” Helena’s grandmother shouted.

The tank advanced, nonstop, for over two hundred kilometres. They had been outside the city when the nuclear bomb had exploded, about 50 kilometres away from the explosion’s centre. They were also inside a tank made of sturdy metal, which should have protected them from the radiation, but they could not be completely sure about the radiation dose that they had received.

“Why would they launch a nuclear attack against one of their cities?” Helena asked.

“Maybe it was a focus of resistance, and wanted to stop it from spreading out” Maud proposed.

There was a sudden bang against the metal plates of the tank, which jolted a bit. They were all wary, waiting to see whether it had stopped or not. There was another bang, and another, coming from the rear end of the tank. Suddenly, a scythe like thing crossed through the metal, tearing it apart with incredible force. The gap started to open, and they saw one of the eco-soldiers.

But instead of being human, the eco-soldier had now grown mantis-like scythes in its arms, only sharper.

The thing looked at them with crazy eyes. Helena’s grandmother went towards it with decision, gun in hand, and emptied the gun’s ammunition against the thing’s face. It fell out of the tank, dead. Helena was horrified.

“What was that?” she asked.

“Problems” her grandmother announced.

Infiltration

Helena’s grandmother could not walk outside without being recognized, so it was decided that Helena and Maud would be the ones infiltrating the chakra-therapy centre. They would use fake Sister identities to walk in and out of the building and obtain the data that they needed. They were wearing the same grey clothes that they had been given in the yoga retreat, the uniform of the Sisters, which would do the job for them.

They walked towards the chakra centre, an enormous set of buildings that had once been the largest hospital compound in the country. It all looked quite different now, and they noticed the smell of incense and herbs before they even got there. The women and men who worked there were wearing clothes with vivid colours that had clearly been imported from India (against what was supposed to be eco-friendly), and they spoke like the valium doses had just kicked in.

An assistant got in their way before they could get inside the complex. “Excuse me, but you need a pass to go inside. It’s a new thing, after an incident that happened a couple of days ago, you know, with that old lady” as he said this, Helena remembered her own grandmother kicking ass to all of those policemen. “The government is issuing passes only to those who are eco-friendly enough to deserve treatment, for security. Do you have them on you?”

Helena was a bit confused, but Maud was faster to react. “Don’t you see that we are Sisters from the Order? We are allowed to walk here” she said, in a proud tone.

Clearly embarrassed with his error, the assistant threw himself to the floor and kissed Maud’s feet. “I’m sorry, Sisters. I am unworthy”.

They ignored him and walked inside. Nobody asked them any questions, and they moved wherever they wanted to without any sort of interruption. They found an assistant and stopped her.

Excuse us” Helena asked.

The woman bowed to them, and kept her head down. “Sisters” she greeted, in an almost inaudible tone.

We have come to inspect this therapy centre. We have been sent to make sure that the chakra therapy is being carried out correctly and that the connection with nature is preserved at all times” Maud requested. “I have to check all of the director’s paperwork, and my sister needs to go around the building”.

Yes, of course. Your desires are my orders”.

The assistant walked them through the maze of corridors until they reached a large office. The director was not there, apparently he was undergoing a therapy session himself (the stress could be too much for him if he didn’t get those sessions), so Maud had the freedom to do whatever she wanted to do. Before going into the office, she looked at the assistant.

Please show my Sister around. We have one hour. Don’t try to lie to her or to deceive her, she is very sensitive to Nature’s Connection” Maud warned her.

The assistant showed Helena around the clinic. She stayed silent, afraid of doing something wrong and being discovered. What she didn’t know was that everyone was a lot more terrified of her presence than she was of their presences. In their eyes, she was a Sister, and an especially sensitive Sister. Her words could dictate life and death.

By the time they reached the storage rooms, most of the people in the chakra centre were extremely nervous. Their chakras were going out of control. Helena looked at all of the medicines and, without even noticing, she spoke out loud. “I didn’t think medicines were considered environmentally friendly”.

Chaos ensued. Hearing her words, the workers of the chakra-therapy centre all went into a state of mayhem, killing themselves and destroying everything. It started with the assistant, but the news spread like wildfire, and soon they were all slitting their own throats. Helena, surprised by the sudden chaos, decided that escaping was the best alternative, and ran out of the building before it collapsed.

She met Maud outside. Maud had gathered many papers and folders, and had barely made it outside. She looked at Helena, and then back at the chakra-therapy centre. “What the hell just happened?” she asked, as she saw the complex of buildings collapse at once.

I… I just commented on the fact that keeping medicines does not seem to be very eco-friendly” Helena explained.

And your comment has provoked this?” Maud could not understand a thing.

The tank approached. “Hey, girls” Helena’s grandmother greeted. “I don’t know how you’ve done this, but well done!”

They took half of the papers each, and climbed into the tank, which started to move away from the building complex. They put all of the papers back together.

There is a lot of material that I have considered interesting” Maud explained.

Good, good” Helena’s grandmother seemed satisfied.