Ideas come from the oddest places. On the social media site, Gab, there is a clever gentleman who goes by the name this post is titled. Some quick intarweb searching informed me it is from an animated series/live-action movie called “Aeon Flux.” I am not familiar with it nor does it sound as if it is something I’d like. Still, that’s his moniker. The man is astonishingly well informed – especially about medical matters – but also politics and culture. And he does not suffer fools. If, as the Left believes, words could hurt, he would have a body count in the tens of thousands.
For some reason, it occurred to me to incorporate that persona into Machine Civilization. Of the meatspace man, I know nothing and think it’s best to keep it that way. So, having read his posts for all these years, I wanted to construct an image of his image. That is what’s below. A mere 1500-word micro-story, but once someone is in, they are in. Hell, I tie Trevor to Arpad Rigó, one of the two most important families in my stories. Expect to see more of him as I keep writing. Until my liver explodes.
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In muddy combat boots and a partly burned legionary jacket, Empress Faustina Hartmann looked up from the mass of paperwork at her folding desk. In the heart of the marching camp her six legions had made two days ago, before the assault on the Bolshevik-Satanists of Old Eagle, what she called former DC, and the destruction of their army. Much like following her use of a fusion weapon against the Black Muslim Brotherhood in St. Louis, this was a “take no prisoners” action. What the cowering civilians of the Marxist regime didn’t know is that they were due for similar “evacuation” in days.
I will not have anything such as this filth anywhere under the land which is mine, she thought, seeing the stranger brought to her. She stood.
“From the Habsburg Empire – the Imperial Danubian Federation – from the looks of your clothes,” she noted before the man in his late thirties said a word. Narrow face, Aryan features, blond hair nearly white. Wirey. I bet he’s fun in bed, the Empress thought, neglecting to recall her husband right then. She went formal. “We are Empress Faustina. In the middle of a war. This is an odd time for a junior diplomat to present his papers to us.”
“My apologies, Great Empress.” Resonant voice. And I think I like that title. He went on. “From Savannah to Knoxville to Huntsville, back to Knoxville, and now here, what was once northern Virginia, I have been shuffled from minion to minion before being ordered to present myself to you.”
“Did you just call my subjects ‘minions,’ human?” she asked dangerously.
“My apologies!” He bowed low. “Perhaps it comes across poorly from my Austrian German dialect to American English?”
“Continue. Why were you sent to me? Here? Now?” she demanded.
“At first, I am just a military attaché, sent to observe,” he said, strength coming back into his voice. He respects me but is not afraid. Interesting. “But there was another who insisted…”
“That was me, Aunt Fussy,” the eighteen-year-old demi-human girl with short, black-purple hair, wearing the kit of a junior centurion said, putting her hand onto the attaché’s shoulder. My niece, who helped nuke St. Louis. “This guy, for a human, has some interesting ideas about the Change.”
“And, you thought to violate my chain of command for a human?” Faustina asked.
“Yep. Are you busy right now?” Demi-human Princess Aurelia Hartmann smiled.
“Very. Killing fifty thousand has strained our supply line.” Her eyes snapped from Aurelia’s gold to the man’s hazel. “Your name?”
“I am Trevor Gutkindt, Great Empress.” He bowed again. “Imperial Foreign Ministry, Military Attaché.”
“If you’re military, what is your background?” she asked, ignoring the smile on her niece’s face.
“I was a Master Sergeant in the AirMobile Brigade of the IDF,” he replied. Still polite. “I am currently in the Reserves.”
A minute passed with no one moving. The shouts of the legionaries around them carried on as if they were used to this kind of display.
“You were at Constantinople.” A statement from Faustina, not a question.
“Correct, Great Empress. Contrary to our mission, we were part of the house-to-house clearing two weeks after their water supply had been turned off.” He paused. “Hard work, evacuating civilians.”
“Aunt Faust – !” Aurelia began.
“…but not for the likes of us.” Her eyes narrowed. “Stay and watch, Expert, what my kind can do. Centurion Hartmann, step forward.”
Outside of signal, Aurelia expected this: to speak mind-to-mind. Her hands were at her sides and she tilted her head up a fraction to meet the Empress’ hands.
You bother me, Faustina thought.
I’m aware. Look into this man’s past. He is very clever. We can use him, Aurelia thought back.
The Habsburgs have a tentative connexion to tribe Arpeggio. They assisted in retaking The City. I can tolerate an observer, but you want more.
Sensed that, did you, Aunt Fussy? Yes, I’m attracted to him –
I have bigger plans for you. I forbid marriage, Faustina pushed.
Understood. May I take him to bed?
Lose your precious virginity to him? Why?
There was almost a shock in the Empress’ hands.
For the same reason you like him.
Faustina’s hands dropped.
“Both of you are dismissed. Centurion? Do not neglect your assignments. Evacuations begin tomorrow.” The Empress sat and returned to her paperwork, ignoring them.
“Follow me,” Aurelia ordered Trevor.
Aurelia led him outside the north gate of the fort. “It was something of a replay of Second Manassas; so Third, I guess? The Satanists had no idea where our army was and simply came south on the old highway. The Empress was convinced it was a trick, that no commander could be so stupid. I told her otherwise.”
“How did you know that, Princess?” Trevor asked in his diplomat’s voice, becoming more intrigued with this dangerous young woman.
“Reasons.” She was silent until they crested a hill and looked southeast at a jumble of armor, trucks, and bodies. “You might want to tell Vienna to never underestimate us, Mister Attaché. Are we your vast Russian neighbor, with Thinking Machine Reina at their helm? No. But demi-human thought is still wild and dangerous.”
“And like them, unlike you, we have reactionless motors and fusion weapons.”
“Which you have used,” he said, addressing St. Louis. “The only nation in history to do so.”
“To do so, so far.” She turned to smile up at him. “If the Canadians or Indians cross Reina? You will be able to count the irradiated craters from orbit.”
“Such violence!” he smiled, with it getting nowhere near his eyes. “The Great Empress mentioned she will be moving against the local civilians next?”
“She will offer them a ‘convert-or-die’ situation,” she replied, making her way down the hill. He noted that a detachment of about eighty men was now about them but keeping their distance. “It will be something simple: wipe your ass with a fag-flag; kiss a crucifix and declare Jesus is Lord and God’s Son. If they don’t, they get evacuated.”
“That is a euphemism over a hundred years old, Princess,” he said, wrinkling his nose at the smell. It had been some years since he had been on a battlefield. “In Vienna, we were told your kind, demi-humans as you say, speak plainly.”
“Okay.” She stopped again to look at him. “We are allies, after all. Polar Alliance and all that.”
“Of course.” Trevor regarded her golden eyes. “Vienna, St. Petersburg, Tokyo, and your aunt’s lands.”
“Then I shall speak plainly: our army will kill anyone who does not disavow their Marxist-Satanist beliefs,” she said, looking up the inch and a half between their eyes.
“Women and children?” he asked, honestly curious at what these kinds of people were, these demi-humans.
“While the Empress launched it, I was the one who targeted the W-78 fusion warhead into St. Louis. Plenty of women and children there, too. War is hell.” She blinked and looked away. “If we can save the children here, we will. And I mean young children; pre-teens. Everyone else can make a choice.”
She resumed walking. They passed a Bradley, still smoking.
“When my men and I entered The City, Constantinople, there were some women and children, dehydrated, starving.” He shrugged and took a cigarette from inside his suitcoat pocket and lit it. “We gave them some of our rations and water. But we also put them onto trucks across the Bosporus.”
“Not good for the men’s morale,” he allowed, flicking some ash.
“We are aware. However, the Empress is set on her course and we obey.”
She fell silent but continued to walk through the rubble and bodies from two days ago. Several details were hard at work to remove both. The Texians so surprised my former boss, Arpad Rigó, that he married and settled there, now a brigadier general. These so-called “southern rednecks” have an army as professional as anything I have ever seen. And to be led by a woman… inconceivable.
“That word does not mean what you think it does, Trevor,” Aurelia suddenly spoke up. “And no, it’s not mind-reading, but we demis can mimic it for you humans.”
“So what am I thinking now, Princess?” he asked, tossing his cigarette away.
“You are at once scared of me and want me.” She stopped again, taking his hands. “I want you, too, and have permission to do so. This might sound a little crass, but will you take me in that shelled-out small building, right over there?”
“Just…” she was very pretty, but politics… “just like that, Princess?”
“Yes.” She tilted her head sharply right, as if a dog heard an odd sound. Her short black-purple hair barely moved under her legionary helmet. “Just like that. I think we have much to share, Trevor.”