The Road to Oblivion-Part I

Footsteps echoed on the stairs. They came closer and grew louder; the hollow sound like the steady beat of a drum in a cave. Gloria and Raul watched the door with anticipation. A knock came followed by Tesli announcing she had arrived with their driver to Tbilisi. The door opened, and Tesli walked in with a smile and greeted her guests.

“Good morning. Oh, I see you are ready to go.”

Val walked in behind Tesli. The two Dragons locked eyes on the auburn haired woman. Their nostrils flared taking in her scent.

Gloria approached Tesli as she introduced Val.

“This is Valeriya, your driver today. She is here to help us with the Cybrid insurrection.”

Gloria hugged Tesli. Her lips brushed the Dragon Sister’s ear as she breathed the words, “She is not entirely a Dragon. Do you trust her?”

The cautious Sentinel glanced into Tesli’s eyes. The girl signaled her confidence, barely dropping her eyelashes.

Gloria went to Val and embraced her with a warm hug that was firm and genuine. Gloria placed her cheek against Val’s. She inhaled a slow, steady breath through her nose touching Val’s neck just below the ear taking in her scent; making sure it was the daughter of Peter Ivanovich and Mariah and not some Cybrid clone. 

Val held Gloria to her and reciprocated the closeness between them in the time-honored way of the Dragon Sisters. There was no mistaking identities between the two, although Gloria confessed their meeting was a pleasant surprise.

Gloria released Val and went back to Raul’s side and introduced Raul to Val. He said nothing. His eyes stayed on the strange woman with the auburn hair and freckled arms. He noticed her alertness and the hair raised on her arms. He sensed a duality of purpose in Val’s demeanor that kept him from feeling as comfortable as the others.

“We’re burning daylight ladies. Let’s get moving before the world wakes up and takes note.”  Raul spoke with a sharp sound in his voice alerting the women that introductions were finished.

Val pointed to the door. “Right this way. I’m parked outside.”

Once in the back seat of the small sedan, Gloria nuzzled Raul’s neck and held his arm to her breasts. He rubbed the inside of her thigh to calm her. He sensed her tension was higher than usual. Something felt wrong.

They wound their way from Chala to the city of Oni where they picked up the road that took them on a long arc through the mountains along a string of ridges. Gloria and Raul held on to each other and watched the mountains and streams whip by them.

Their lives had moved at a crawl until now. Gloria felt an ache in her chest as the expansive scenery melted away. She wanted to go back to the horses and continue her sojourn with Raul without the need to fight a war.

Val drove at a safe speed, but the flashing of the forest and open vistas of stone and snow across the tops of the mountains mesmerized the two weary travelers. They crossed the Jejori River into Nakereba, and the mountains gave way to open rolling hills and streams carpeted with grass and trees.

Val opened a satchel with her right hand as she drove and handed a folder to Tesli. Tesli turned and called Gloria as she dreamed in Raul’s  embrace. Gloria took the documents and handed them to Raul. On top of the dossier was Vika’s picture.

Val began to talk in a cadence and tone that was all business. Gloria and Raul listened while they studied the pages.

“I am your contact for Tbilisi. We’ve been expecting you for some time now. In fact, I’ve been scouring the countryside looking for you. It was just blind luck that you stumbled on Tesli.”

“Tell me more about our target.” Gloria focused on the picture of Vika.

“Her name is Vika. She is the love interest of the Cybrid Kirill, who leads the insurrection from Astana in Kazakhstan. She is an assassin and is responsible for taking out the Dragon hierarchy in Eurasia. She commands a group of 120 commandos that operate in teams of five to assassinate Dragon leaders or intellectuals. They spare no one, not even the children. Her mission is total extermination or the complete evacuation of all Dragons from the region. Since we aren’t evacuating, she is executing her first order.”

“Where will we find her?” Raul queried.

“She’s coming to you. I’ve been working as a double agent for the Cybrids to gain their trust. The Dragon Masters and I fed them with actionable information in the past. I’ve convinced her to come after you in the safe house you are going to tonight. She will likely send observers for one or two days to watch the building and to make a plan. She will have at least fifteen men with her. They fear you in close quarters but feel they must attack you under conditions that constrain you in order to have a high probability of success.”

“We have no weapons to defend an attack,” Gloria seemed unsettled by Val’s taking over and setting a plan into motion without their input.

“There are some toys in the apartment. You will stay in the last room on the top floor. There is only one narrow stairway. They can only come up or go down single file. The hall is also small, barely room for two men in gear to stand side by side. It is a funnel of death for them.”

“I suggest you look around but be wary. The Rebels will be watching. After you look around outside, it is no longer safe to go out. You have everything you need in the apartment.”

“What happens after the battle? We will need to exfiltrate before reinforcements arrive.”

“There is a cell phone with encryption in the dresser of your room.  After you kill Vika and as many of her soldiers as possible, send the coded message Viking Summer to the only number in the contacts. An operator will arrange to take you out of the country and return you to your ship. From there you can go as you please. The Cybrids will take a week to decipher your message by then we will all be long gone.”

39 thoughts on “March of the Cybrids-24

    1. Thank you Resa. It’s going to be hard to say who is the good and who is the bad. Each character has their flaws and believe in their cause, which justifies their actions to themselves. To me this is how we are most often. We believe so strongly in something we cannot see ourselves from another’s view in the opposite corner. But we will definitely see how Raul and Gloria evolve.

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      1. In any war there are no good guys and bad guys, only “the enemy” demonized by propaganda. Aren’t we at war with China at the moment over the claims that COVID-19 originated from a bio weapons lab in Wuhan province? Conveniently His Divine Doofusness is now demonizing China to eschew his responsibility to respond humanely to the current crisis. (The point isn’t whether I personally invest any credibility in it, it’s what society chooses to believe.) I was under the impression that Raul and Gloria were dead! So I had to go and re-re-read and I still read that Gloria’s heart had ceased beating because Raul was dead and she didn’t want to live without him. I’m going to root for the Cybrids, branch and leaf for the Dragons. Then I’ll have a tree and hopefully it will be Yggdrasil!

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        1. Without writing my autobiography, I can say from my personal experience that Friend and Enemy are labels that switch depending on where you stand in the crowd. From the street level there is only profound loss, pain and suffering no matter whose side you are on and as you move up the consequences are less evident and conflict more easily engaged. My greatest enemy was not the person opposite of me but my own government and chain of command. Sadly, it was oftentimes my brothers and sisters on the field. As a person in a conflict not of one’s own choosing, it is no longer about good and bad, friends or enemy, it’s about how to survive and how to live with yourself later. You can never unsee what you have seen or unknow what you have learned about yourself or the human race. America sent tons of medical supplies to China early in the fight against COVID-19, now we suffer horrendous shortages. It was our entire society as well as our government that believed we wouldn’t be so seriously affected and we did not hear all of the competent voices warning otherwise. Still, sending aid was the right thing to do. The politics of Idiocracy is a scam. No one should buy into it. If one needs an enemy, there it is. The next Buffoon in Chief will also sadly disappoint and the seeds of conflict are sewn and only need nurturing to grow. In the story we see the price Gloria and Raul pay for their loyalty to a society whose magnanimous plan to save humankind goes astray as such plans always do. We see Vika, a heartless killer and loving mother, destroyed in a brutal way. The price for that victory is the end of Gloria and Raul’s dream of finishing their last job and pursuing a life together away from it all. Or, so it seems. Yggdrasil is real and tho the wind blows in one direction, the branches and leaves all find their own rhythm and azimuth in the wind. It’s the sun they are really after. Now, I do the same. What nurtures life is my ideology and pursuit. This story tries to show that realization and the tragedy of how that decision comes to fruition. Stay tuned. Nothing is ever as it seems.

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  1. Amazing the way you use all the senses…sight, smell, perception of small arm hairs bristling…that’s quite the body language “tell” that’s impossible to hide! Normally, it’s written as hair bristling on the back of the neck, but you’ve taken it a bit further! Love it! I’m taking notes! Great chapter, great set up for the upcoming finale! Of course they are assassinating intellectuals…those are the first to go! They want a society dumbed down, obedient, and easy to persuade! They want it every time!!

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    1. Yes indeedy, the good warrior who lives longer pays attention to the little things. All the senses to include senses 6 – 8 are in play. Notice how Gloria got in close and Raul stayed back. If it was a trick, Gloria hugging first Tesli, then Val forced them to wait to keep themselves out of danger while Raul assessed the threat from a distance. This is spy versus spy team dynamics at play. I didn’t explain it, I just led the reader to it. But it turned out alright. Still the Dragons a wary.

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                    1. If you had a Farrah Faucet bathing suit poster and Alfred E. Neuman poster you were a future leader of America. Cool and sophistication oozed from your pores and prom queen eligible girls swarmed to you like bees to honey. If I remember right, that was my personal ambition until I reached 18 and had to give up and accept my fate, which wasn’t all that bad, come to think of it.

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                    2. BTW, even as I kid I knew that missing front tooth of Alfred E Neuman’s was “cliché” as hell…but I laughed anyway, and I’m still laughing. So, so much for my avoidance of the cliche! Tally ho!

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                    3. I think Farrah did a lot helping me determine what my interest in girls was based on. Before, I thought it was just a hormone imbalance but with Farrah Fawcett, I realized it was much much more.

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    2. And in every rebellion, the intellectuals and aristocracy are the first brought under the gun. Mao wrote the book and the world followed it. I have a copy of Mao’s book of insurgency. It is compact, simple to read and understand but brilliant in how it multiplies the smaller less powerful insurgency to take down infrastructure, people likely to mount a a counter revolution don’t get a chance to even try. They end up in the strawberry fields fertilizing another bumper crop. Mao was freakin evil but damned effective. I learned to beat the bad boys by reading their books and getting inside their head so I could get inside their decision cycle and be there with the hot iron when they arrived.

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      1. “Know your enemy.” Lao Tzu, if I remember correctly, “The Art of War.” And, “Keep your friends close but your enemies closer.” I will have to order Mao’s book from the library and hope Black Hole Ops doesn’t come knocking at my door! BTW, if the Nazi’s hadn’t started executing the Jews and the intellectuals, to could have won the war…all the brains came to the US and designed the rockets we needed to defeat them! Ironic, no?

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        1. Yes you are right. If Hitler and company were actually reasonable people, they would have rebuilt Germany into a powerhouse, potentially displacing America as the world leader and they likely would not have created a war to do it. But, the Hitler, Stalin, Mao triumvirate of evil plunged us into an evil world that has never recovered.

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  2. I like this scene. Great set up. Then, well, not so much, huh! To me going into the top floor of that building would be a death trap – I wouldn’t even consider it. Anyone there could be annihilated from the street with mortars or grenade launchers (or Molotov cocktails or tear gas). If that were not available, as the attacking party I would naturally set fire to the building and wait for whatever crawls or jumps out. Unless… the building is made of cinder blocks or other non-flammable material and the heavier artillery is guaranteed not to exist, or to be available to the attackers. In other words the building in question would have to be of special construction, not a residential grade construct. And I still think Gloria and Raul are naively trusting of present company, especially after their recent close encounters and loss. Just some thoughts.

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    1. Very good, Sha’Tara. You have a good tactical planning mind. You will see how the attack and defense is set up constraining the opponent and giving advantage to the defense, but only if some wise decisions are made. Elite warriors always try to shape the battle in their favor, Chief considerations go to terrain, even urban terrain. Soon we’ll see how Gloria and Raul handle it. We can never be sure where loyalties are aligned in this kind of game. Ultimately, everyone is expendable and the end justifies the means. This is not comforting to learn or experience.

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      1. I have what could be called “shocking” memories from my immediate past life while involved with the French Resistance in deadly opposition to the occupying Nazi forces in Paris. I know all about “safe houses” and how unsafe they can be when there are traitors in organizations. I also remember what it feels like to be captured and tortured… to death over several months. So when I read these excerpts about Gloria and Raul’s mission I literally start shaking for their safety first, and their chances of success. I am reliving some of that… So again, yes, this is good writing, or should I say, reporting.

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        1. Nothing can compare to your past experiences. It’s an experience few if any can comprehend if born in the late 80’s or 90’s. You zeroed right into the threats and dire consequences of the situation and all of those outcomes are unknown to them. They sense it but go anyway. It was foolish if they die and heroic if they don’t, but they won’t see it that way, They’ll just be happy to be alive when it’s over.

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  3. Oh hell no Im not getting on the Joltin Joe Wagon. Well, at least he isn’t grabbbng anything. Kidding aside ( not) I’m too am bit unsettled by Val’s sudden initiative , more than a little suspicious as well. Great chapter Dan, I especially love the erotic tidbits and the images of winding passages and mountains and streams whipping by. Fascinating dear Mr. H.

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    1. LOL! Ignore me and Chris. Online we are always in our Vampire satirist mode. Nobody is safe from our political incorrectness and geopolitical satire. I do believe there is just a lot of history there with Val and Gloria. We just can’t be too sure where this is going. We will tho. One little hint. Right when you think it’s over, it’s not. 😉

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            1. I honestly got emotional with a couple of chapters as it really hits home hard. I rely on the reader to do the detail work, but for me it was coming from a deep place. I thought if everyone felt this story like I did, it would be exactly what I hoped for. It won’t be easy to read but it will show a glimpse at how struggle often ties the strongest bonds.

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  4. Before reading this I didn’t even know one could decipher people by the hair movement on their arms. I mean I do notice the downy or fluffy, I just didn’t know it could be so relevant other than entailing irrelevant notions of unseemly sorts … Looks like no one would be really safe and comfortable within the radius of an internal universe vast and astral, Daniel. Even the mountains, ridges, and streams are whip. Thanks for this scenery road leading one further away from ignorance 🐌 The Viking code truly is the only hope to uncork the funnel of bliss🕊

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    1. You have a trained eye for detail Dot. Among those who live such dangerous lives and live long to tell their story, we find a well honed sixth sense to observe people and make careful assumptions on the smallest of details. One thing is not to listen so much to the words in a conversation but to listen to the voice pitch and cadence to see if those key elements are natural to the context of the conversation. Also, people experience hair raising under specific emotional responses. Raul knows that Val’s demeanor doesn’t match her shock at seeing him and Gloria. He is not a young man but he is very wise and experienced. Sometimes in our lives we go forward to something we dread but we are drawn to it as if it were an inexorable fate. Our Dragons are on such a path. And you thrill me once again by noticing Viking Summer is the signal that Raul and Gloria can realize their dream to live out the rest of their lives together, happy and in love. Viking Summers were when the Nordic people celebrated life to the fullest. There are some hard parts ahead that cause us, the reader, to examine our emotions and to ask ourselves, what would we do instead.

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  5. So the climax towards the final battle is accelerating.

    Your mention of Gloria inhaling Val’s scent by sniffing her neck below the ear may explain Democratic candidate Joltin’ Joe Dementio’s penchant for sniffing women’s hair now and again.

    He suffers from the delusion that he’s a Dragon sister.

    All this talk of Transgenderism and being born in the wrong gender within the Democratic Party has finally entered whatever is left of Joltin’ Joe’s psyche.

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    1. Joltin Joe Dementio has drank the Kool Aid and bitten the wormed Apple 🍎. The scent of a woman is a feast to the palate and ole Joe fancies himself a gourmet chef of the flesh. The brain is a wondrous thing. It convinces jackasses they are Dragons.

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