Nameless – Series 1 – Part 4

‘When will we move?’ Ada asked cautiously.  She was unsure if she wanted to hear the answer.

‘Soon, we must wait for more pieces to fall into place,’ Descartes replied, his French accent gliding gently to Ada’s ears.  His appearance was that of an aristocrat, more than two centuries out of time.  He looked at Ada thoughtfully. He could see through her with ease.  ‘You’ve been here a long time.’ It was not a question.

‘Da,’ she nodded, looking into the middle distance.

‘Scotland is your home.’

‘Do any of us really have a home? Our kind exists without such things, I thought.’

‘Perhaps, but I aim to change that, surely you understand?’

‘Of course, but at what cost?’

‘You have doubts now?’

‘I’ve always had doubts,’ Ada’s voice trembled.  Descartes frowned.  He hated to repeat himself.  He’d told her a dozen times, their fight was for survival; there could be no other way.  She had agreed. They had all agreed.  ‘I need to know if I can count on you,’ he said, forcing restraint into this voice, his hands clasped firmly behind his back.

Ada looked up at Descartes; her eyes were sure.  ‘Tell me again what it will be like to live without fear.’

‘It will be life without restraint, it will be freer than what many now call free.  Professionals in the suburbs talk of freedom, but dare they leave their gated communities at night?  That, at least, is more than we have now, but what we aim for goes beyond this narrow definition.  To walk freely at night, without reproach, our thoughts, ideas, and humanity on display,’ Descartes’s hands came forward as he moved closer to Ada; he could not restrain himself.  He aimed to inspire her, but his own motivations received nourishment.  Ada’s hands trembled, she reached out to his, her eyes focused on him as his pronouncement reached a crescendo.  ‘When we are finished, our lives will be defined not by what we fear, but by our desires to achieve what we will, when we please.  To live without fear, with true liberte, where you and I can walk the streets with our heads held high and strangers will know not what inspires our smiles, our delight.’  Leaning in, he kissed Ada passionately. She yielded to him, their hands touched, raised, between their bodies.  She could smell his cologne, feel his lips firmly against hers.  ‘This,’ he concluded after their moist kiss evaporated ‘is just a taste.’

‘Then I am with you,’ Ada stammered, her chin trembling.

‘Good, good.’ Descartes smiled and withdrew, marching to his desk.  ‘Then we must be prepared, the others will be arriving soon.’

‘You mean?’

‘Yes, Taxia as well, she will be here in a matter of days.’  Turning sharply from his papers and disarrayed desk.  Again, a creature from another time having shunned technology except when necessary.  He looked piercingly at her, ‘do not fear my love, the time to be afraid is nearly behind us,’ before returning to his work.

But Ada barely nodded, her mind turning over and over.  Taxia, she is coming? Then there is nothing to be done.  Ada drifted from the room as the old noble darted, hands following eyes through the material. His conquests would follow.

To be continued…

Nameless – Series 1 – Part 3

‘There you are,’ a voice called with a ring of familiarity.  Rhys turned, his body a coiled spring.  A short well dressed Asian man walked towards him and was not ten strides away, waving as he closed the gap.  He stopped one pace short.  ‘Well, you owe me that drink, come on.’ They began walking down the alley side by side.  Rhys checked the two men out of the corner of his eye.  Both had seemingly relaxed and were only watching him with boredom, one lit a cigarette.  
‘Ok, what are you doing here?’ Rhys hissed once they were beyond earshot.
‘Saving your arse,’ Yun said, his Taiwanese accent barely reaching Rhys’s ears.  They rounded the corner.  Leaving the alley behind a fresh breeze hit them.  They began to talk more freely but with typical caution.  Yun’s dark hair had a hint of grey, which betrayed his otherwise youthful appearance.  He looked years younger than Rhys, his olive skin giving his hard face a touch of youth. Yun was in fact almost ten years his senior.
‘Your timing was impeccable.’
“Naturally.  I don’t like to sit behind a desk tinkering with tech all the time, you know.’
‘Could have fooled me.  What are you doing here?’ Rhys repeated impatiently.
‘I found something, wasn’t sure what exactly, thought I’d check it out.  Evidently, you found the same thing if we ended up in the same place.’
‘The place we raided three days ago? I finished cracking their files.  It all leads to one place, it’s confirmation.  They’re not a dozen different businesses all working with each other; they’re all one company.  The paper trail, once you’re smart enough to join all the dots, brings us to that one building.’
‘Why didn’t you message me?’
‘Come on, this isn’t the first time I stretched my legs,’ Yun said with a growing cockiness that Rhys didn’t like.  It would get his friend and only companion killed.  ‘Just because they have one legal residence doesn’t mean anything.  I figured it was just a front. Maybe I could check it out and get back to you.  But then I saw you there, realised those two guys were about to make your life difficult.  Evidently, they’re on edge, probably with all the raids you’ve been doing on their other places, ah?’
‘Hmm,’ Rhys offered in reply.  So the evidence pointed to an elaborate collection of businesses.  Manufacturing, small scale, courier service, liaising, accommodation.  All linked and seemingly legitimate human businesses merely a part of a network.  Since when did a bunch of things-that-go-boo-in-the-night become so sophisticated.  ‘This is bad news.’
‘Maybe, but then again, one residence means there’s only one place takedown.  Simplifies things.’
‘True.  I need to scope that place out today and tonight. I’m going in first thing tomorrow.’
‘Alright,’ Yun stretched.  ‘I’m going to get a coffee. I guess I’ll take the day shift.’

To be continued…

Nameless – Series 1 – Part 2

The Nameless are everywhere.  They have no form. They are merely legion.  They have no goal, only chaos.  They have no label.  They have no such need.

Rhys stalked the streets. His non-descript form moved easily throughout the crowds.  He stood no taller than the tallest, moved no faster than the fastest, but his mind ticked over like no other.  He could sense them. They were near.
Edinburgh was not his home.  He had no home now, not since his secret war had begun.  Various clues had led him here; they were on the move.  Why now? Why invade a city when they had seemed content to live beyond the bounds of civilisation?
Rhys had to know, and he had to find out quickly.  While they adapted with remarkable speed, they still lacked organisation.  Though that was changing rapidly.  He had to cut off the head of the snake before it was too late.  Otherwise, Edinburgh would be only the first city to fall.

He was close.  He turned down a long alley, the crowd of morning commuters and smell of coffee gave way to the dank cold and lifelessness.  He stopped when he reached his goal.  A seemingly inoffensive building, old, stood before him.  This was Newtown, but little in this area was less than two hundred years old.  It towered over him, the tan walls matched its neighbours, but he knew, He was inside.  Something wasn’t right. What was he sensing?
Looking down at the entrance, a single doorway, two men stood wearing jackets to keep the sharp Scottish winds at bay.  Rhys wrapped his coat closer to him, keeping his face partly covered, and looked further down the alley; he watched the men out of the corner of his eye.
It dawned on him, he wasn’t just picking up his target, there were dozens in there.  It’s a nest.  That complicated things.  Should he go and spend more time getting intelligence before he moved in? They hated the day, now would be the best time to strike.
The decision was taken from him when he noticed the two bulky men looking directly at him.  They couldn’t know him by sight, could they?
The first man raised his hand, he had a device in his ear.  Rhys’s heart began to race.  He was going to report in!  Rhys was out of time…

To be continued…

Nameless – Series 1 – Part 1 (Prologue)

The wind howled as the door screeched open.  The few heads with enough energy turned to see if it was the empty winds or a decrepit traveller invading their retreat.  There were no eyes sharp enough to notice the newcomer and how he differed from the typical visitor.  Superficially, he was clad in heavy winter clothing sprinkled in snow like rampant dandruff.  He fit right in as he groaned, shut the door with a heave, and made his way to the counter.  He ordered a hot meal of potato and meat stew. His Russian was fluent but not in a local accent.  He snorted heartily as if clearing his sinus before removing his woolly hat and surveyed the room for the first time.  His sharp eyes had already seen all he needed.  He made a show of choosing a creaky seat at the opposite end of a table to a silent and unmoving man.  The silent man had his head buried in a tin container that emitted the horrid smell of local spirits strong enough to lubricate an engine.
The stranger’s meal arrived, a few coins clanked in return, adding a drink of industrial-grade liquor to the order.  The attendant, a harsh-looking man, frowned over his grey bushy moustache and grunted as he took the money.  This was a place that still accepted physical cash, but notably, only received hard currency.
The stranger shovelled the stew into his mouth with vigour. The chunk of dried bread clanged against the tray as he soaked up the remainder.  Belching with satisfaction, he took a sip of the toxic liquor and sighed.
‘Well,’ he said in Russian, ‘what a shit night we have, eh?’ it was directed at no one in particular, but the man at his table stirred as if on the precipice of speech.  ‘I am just passing through.  Do you know the area well?’ The stranger said after a moment’s pause.  The silent man drew himself up slowly and turned to the stranger.  Drawing the hood back, his face was sharp, perceptive, dangerous.  The stranger remained silent, knowing full well that such a man moved only at his own pace.
‘Let’s cut the bullshit, shall we?’ The silent man rasped.  ‘We found each other; let’s get to business.’
‘Very well,’ the stranger stood and moved warily to sit opposite the silent man.  ‘You wish to know what I know? Where is the payment?’
The silent man removed a leather satchel from somewhere within his form and dropped it on the table.  It clinked slightly.  After a gesture of permission, the stranger opened it and surveyed the few coins and thick roll of notes.  ‘Lucky there are still some banks around to accept cash, eh?’ The stranger smirked.  ‘This does feel a little light.’
‘You’ll get the rest when we’re done,’ the silent man patted his breast pocket.
‘Very well, I think I would like another drink.’  The silent man stared hard against the stranger for a moment before gesturing to the attendant.  Two more vessels appeared accompanied by a bottle of a clear liquid that stank like sickness.  No payment was offered. He must have paid the attendant well, the stranger thought.
‘Ok, well, this story begins in the once United Kingdom.  I trust you have heard of Edinburgh?’

To be continued…