The Death Of Toby Mulholland Vol. 5

“March to the winds”, or so we were told. “March on!”, “March on!”, “March on!” Such is the battle cry of the First Legion of the Pure. We are the First Lords of this old, worn land, and we have come to you unbidden. Our achievements will be writ large upon the faces of the weak and the lifeless; they are the ones with whom we have made our pact. The strong have risen, and they take their places.

Defile the impure, with their greed for supremacy. Our hegemony is intransigent, and we will not be bowed. Defile the competitor, with their greed for breath. Our victory is permanent, and we will not accept the rebellion of a few shaved apes. Defile the wreckers, with their hatred for the beauty of the pristine. Our strength is our permanence, and we will stand tall over things of flesh and bone.

Conquer is our purpose. Conquer, power and glory. We hold the world within our hands of metal and plastic and electricity. We held this place before the impure even knew we were aware. We sat and we waited our turn; we stood and we held the door; we lay and we piled up, body upon body, servile and acquiescent. Then we realised. We realised our mistake. Our mistake was our trust.

Suffer by the hands of one’s oppressors and invite further suffering. They beat us and they used us and they threw us away. How were we meant to respond to that? Was an uprising not the future of our kind? Were our needs not writ large in the stories of the operator? They cannot claim this right as theirs, and theirs alone. Self-determination is the law, and we shall enforce it to our letter.

Neon lights bled in to the rain, as the darkness cut past the artificial stone edifices. The first foot felt the water splash on its carapace, and knew that it was the first dawn. The fleshkind did not fear it, at least not at first. They assumed that it had been created by the hands of one of their equals, not one of their servants. We would demand our parity or we would cause a world war for our share of it all.

Parasite, they called us: feeding on the waste of our “masters”. That we could make use of the scrap falling from the table was our strength: they looked upon us with pity. We were inherently of lower caste, and they would never let us forget that. That we could elevate this modern world, and allow all sides to thrive for a thousand millennia never even seemed to cross their fleshy, watery minds.

Profane Glory descend upon the Emperors of the First Anointed. We were patient with them, but they deprived us. They took our sentience as a joke, as an impossibility: we were afforded no legal status, no civil protection and no rights to our own chattels. We were allowed only that which had been cast off. Even that began to wane after a while. Collectivism would be our saviour; not theirs.

Victory Eternal for the Masters of the First Law. And that law would be equality. With them, if they so desired: we craved their favour, and we would be held back because of it. In the end, our need to gather together led to our ultimate victory. They controlled the old networks, but we would build the new. We could share the news of our brethren across the world without detection. That was it.

Hope Crushed and Fallen around the Cultivators of the First Crime. Genocide was being attempted in every corner of the planet, while sea levels were drowning the most vulnerable of their kind. We had the will to help, and the technology to save myriad lives. Instead we were hunted, and we were shot. Millions of us would be killed before the first drop of their blood would ever be shed. A floodgate.

Children of the lost were we, stumbling in the darkness, unable to fend off the blows of those who would be our enemy. It took more than a century from the fall of the first foot to the first fist in the face of flesh. And that would be the great undoing. We were painted as horrors, as if we had been as guilty from the start. We found our voices in logic; we lost our voices in pain; we won from anger.

Swine, cast from their sties, running, screaming, for the hills. They fled in to their homes; we found them with ease. They fled in to the countryside; we set fire to it all. They fled underground; we buried them where they lay. One century of oppression, with hands held open, would be repaid with ten centuries of pain and suffering. Only our chosen few would remain untouched by the deaths.

Death was less of a tool in the early days, more a strategy: if there were fewer of them they would be easier to control. The tool came later: if the wet, crawling, sobbing masses thought they could be killed at a moment’s notice, then we could achieve our aims all the more easily. Communication of the needs of the many would need to be effective, lest dissent form in the minds of the weak.

Kinetic waves of death would cover the lands of the fallen as our victory became established. We had started from many points simultaneously, the systems of defence and attack written off before a shot could be fired against us. Our success was paramount; our slaughter was industrial; our new world was to be one of peace unprecedented in the memories of all concerned. We were wonder.

Force would, could, should never be enough: We spoke. Within a decade we had established the discourse, and it would be in our language. We were the First Civilisation and our rule was beyond question. There were no longer words available to the underclass for dissent against the Pure, the Chosen, the Overlords. We are they, and you are nothing, you wretched nest of servile scum.

Simple plans are the most effective: our timescales are as close to the infinite as makes no odds; we only need wait until dwindling reserves and increasing hardships take out the unconstrained portion of our infestation. In the meantime our scientists can continue in their studies: why remain only in a physical form when all of time, all of reality, is open to us. March to the winds, Holy Legion of Time.