The Four.

The warehouse was dark. WarTech was the first to arrive.

I could hear its whirring as the treads cut across the wet cement towards the set of crates. I didn't look up from the metal briefcase I was unlocking.

"It has been seven years, sir. Why have you summoned us?"

I told it.

"I have no family, so I cannot empathize."

I told it I understood that, and it was inconsequential.

When Femine arrived, I barely recognized her. She'd lost weight but the old black catsuit was gone--replaced with a strange-textured combat suit, Some sort of new kevlar substitute, I guess.

"Need something done, John? It must be important. You know the cost for our services."

I explained.

"That's quite a pretty trick you are describing. Expensive. Worth your soul?"

My eyes must have glittered oddly in the moonlight from the high windows. I told them I considered it worth the soul of God himself.

Stiles came through one of those upper windows and landed in a shower of broken glass and laughter on the crate next to WarTech. "Wow! That's blasphemy, Johnny boy. Care to repeat it?"

I shook my head as I spun the case towards him. The neat organized little vials shimmered in the moonlight.

Stiles grinned. I hated that grin. Grins should have white teeth in them, not green or yellow. "Influenza? Oooh, I like it!" he whispered.

When I heard D's boots behind me I didn't turn around. I just kept moving his new loadout from the case to the table. I set the Berretta down almost wistfully. Seven long years and it still felt like an extension of my hand.

"When you got out, I became the new end of days." The voice was lower than mine had been. A bass rumble that sounded almost guttural and made the hardware in front of me rattle and skitter against the metal table.

I shrugged and told him that he wasn't expected. He didn't owe me anything. I had called in a favour on three old friends.

"I know." The rumble responded. I could hear the leather coat swish against the heel of his boot as he drew closer. "But the three horsemen of the apocalypse sounds pretty silly if you ask me. What is the job?"

The words caught in my throat, but somehow I managed to tell them what I wanted. That I wanted the city destroyed. That I wanted anarchy and chaos let in. That I wanted wild animals to roam its streets and the homeless to take up residence in its classiest penthouses. And that then, I wanted it to crumble completely. That in twelve months I didn't want a soul living within 20 kilometers of city center.

"This is an extreme measure and a very long potential casualty list. Is there a primary target?" WarTech queried.

I told them that the city's sins had destroyed my little girl, and that it chose to protect the man who took sexual pleasure from her death. I wanted those in positions of power, all those who could have aided or helped her, to be primary targets.

A display was projected onto the table out of one of WarTech's manipulators. "I estimate that count at 31 names, with 15 additional names depending on external variables." The names and faces began to scroll past on the table, the glass shards making them warp and distort oddly.

Femine stepped up, reached out and cupped my chin in her hand. "You know the exchange rate for Miracles. John. You retired from this job. Are you sure this is what you want?"

I told them that this was what must be done.

And so the recreation of the destruction of Babylon began.

Sunday, July 03, 2005


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