Saturday, April 23, 2011

What happens when Atlas shrugs?

Very good, Hakurei Ryuu.

The foray was...interesting.

From the institute building, there's a large freight elevator that can, if needed, hold about thirteen adult humans, thirteen other living organisms of various sorts, and several pieces of equipment. This time, it was just my eldest child, Atlas, and I.

On the surface, the short walk to the parking lot was interrupted only by fervent glances, the howling of wolves, and the caws of crows. It was going to be a fun night.

I drove - Mercedes Benz. Standard company car. The nearest woods are about a forty-five minute drive from the institute. We didn't talk much on the way, though Atlas pointed out all the things he had in his...kit. Amongst them were a crowbar, two belt-loopable lanterns, two flashlights, and two revolvers, the kind that you could hide in your palm. Atlas is rather religious, and he had brought "holy" bullets, tipped with a cross and holding holy water. I'm fairly certain he couldn't do that by himself. Crown probably gave them to him.

The woods are public, but are fenced in all around, high enough to reach the tops of the trees. There are a few gates in, and one or two secret ones. I parked the car in the brush, and we marched inside, lanterns belted and pistols cocked. My eldest child rode on my shoulder.

This night, we were looking for my children, and, if we could find her, a woman named Emilia. There were others we could or would search for, but Emilia and my children were the primary objective that night. We knew they had to be in this particular forest somewhere, due to previous...experiences...and intelligence gathered, but obviously we had no idea where or even if they were still...alive.

I sent my child up into the canopy of the trees, to have an aerial view. We have our own form of distanced communication, so I would be able to easily learn what my child is seeing. Atlas and I split up and began searching.

It was not long before I heard him scream.

I rushed back to where I had last seen him, at the edge of a small, burnt clearing. He was not anywhere I could see him. Look up, said my child, and there he was - Atlas was hanging from the trees, though not by his innards, no...his right shoulder and wrist had been impaled by branches, and the rest of him hung limp, but he was obviously alive and in pain. The lantern swinging from his belt gave off an eerie light that flickered over his sweaty brow and glazed eyes, his mouth open in the O of an endless, silent scream. I'll get him down, said my child. I nodded fervently, and looked around - there, in the clearing, there...was the Businessman.

The Businessman, so tall and blank, spindly hands clasped together in front of him, immaculately neat, his...can you call them feet? They are spires, extending downwards...his hat - he has a hat...

Of course, that's why the grass was burnt, the bushes dead, no signs of life...all the energy and glory of life was missing from the clearing. I glanced up, to try and see something else; it was hard, as the Businessman is so tall, but I did it; I saw a bird take off from one of the trees around the clearing and fly across the opening.

The bird dropped dead at my feet.

I looked back at the Businessman.


The Businessman's voice...I had not heard him before then. I immediately fainted, though it was not long before I woke up again. The dead bird was still there. The Businessman was still there. Atlas was still in the tree, though I could see that my child almost had him free.

"But - we just...please...are they - still alive?"


"Please..." I could hear Atlas whimpering behind me. "Please, let me see them..."


"My children - my children..."


"They - they..."




"But - makes...a bit of sense. What - what about...Emilia?"

I blacked out again; when I awoke, Atlas was on the ground and my child was attempting to clean and seal his wounds. In front of me, in the clearing, and in front of the Businessman, there was Emilia, her blonde hair matted and dirty, her skin scratched, marred, scarred, her clothes tattered, her face...begging, pleading to just be let go...and then - then she was gone...

" bastard."

I raised the gun and shot six times at the Businessman's head, at his heart, at whatever I could reach...two went astray, but the others impacted - they have no effect. Then - then the Businessman - he screamed, in rage...betrayed...I collapsed.

I awoke, back in the institute. A little over an hour ago. Atlas is alive and healing, thanks to Star's medical expertise. Tell me - is it always like this? Do meetings with the Businessman always unfold so horribly?

Later I will take Atlas to Atlas Shrugged. A treat. He likes the book. He deserves a break.

But - you have answered the last inquiry is the sixth.

This one, for companionship: The full name (and the alias) of a famously friendly fellow's female friend?

You get three chances.


  1. Arclich, or Astrid.

    And yes. They always end badly. You have my sympathies.

  2. Astrid Baldrdot aka Arclich

    funny name, hard to forget, forgot where I heard it though.

    Ryuu jogged my memory

  3. right, the surname escaped me. i tried to look it up, but didn't feel like plowing through the posts. ^^U

  4. No one is really sure if Business-bastard talks. Then again, I read intent all the time, and replace it with words I can understand. Then again, this thing is also renowned for memory warping. It's part of the unfortunate business.

    That said Guess, I think I like you. You're exactly crazy enough for this business. Try not to die. I'm going to go see my good friend Mr. Glenlivet some more. Or sleep. Whichever happens first. Either way! Welcome to this particular slice of hell. ^_^ It's all gooey and hellish.