In close formation, the escorted limo rushes to the Central Bank. With the Captain pressing, the Bearer is shown through the lower echelons, and finally into the Bank Director’s personal office. Without looking around, she bluntly asks for the President’s account. Very politely, Her Grace is told that she has no access to the Presidential bank account, as they need the confidential code for that. “You do realize that the Bearer of STATE is the legal owner of ANYTHING in this country as from yesterday?” the Captain bellows, but the Bank Director inclines his head and says that he is very sorry, but no, not even he can access the account or control any money transfers to or from it. “But STATE can,” the Bearer says, and steps towards his extra-secure dataCommunicator. Calmly, she holds her hand above the digits and accesses the account immediately. Visibly afraid of the consequences, the Bank Director backs away.
Bearer of STATE for 23 hours, 58 minutes and 49, 50, 51
S. ensures that the considerable amount still there is transferred to a new account in name of the Bearer of STATE. Then, on intuition, she allows STATE to access several other accounts, and does the same. She does not know whom STATE is taking from, but seeing the credits, they are not among the poorest... The President’s powers are strong here, very strong, and the scar of her Mark stabs a warning.
The Bank Director, very unhappy with the proceedings, swallows, trying to think of something non-committal to say. Not wasting any time on him, the Bearer turns and leaves.
Bearer of STATE for 1 day, 0 hours, 2 minutes and 19, 20, 21
They are almost outside when S. suddenly and very clearly knows where she has to go. Prison. Without any warning, she speeds past the Guards, down the granite steps, and grabs a Police motorCycle that happens to be standing there. With STATE she does not need any key, the engine heats up between her legs as she goes to maximum speed within seconds, past the limo waiting for her and onto the northbound highway ring leading around the center.
Speeding through the capital this hard is a crazy and lethal thing to do, but with STATE, it is a terrific ride. All traffic lights turn out to be controlled by STATE, one after another flashing green for her, forcing other traffic to brake to screeching halts. The motorCycle is extremely maneuverable and quick, an extension of her body, and extension of her will.
Within minutes, a Police car with blaring sirens starts to chase her, first one, soon three. ‘A thief of Police material..!’ 'And not just a thief, that's the thief of STATE! Let's get her!' 'Get her! Get that thief!' The siren blends with a high howling, purging her mind of the whispering.
S. stays ahead of the Police cars easily. She does not worry about them, is hardly conscious of them. If only she is in time..!
As she has to cross almost the whole city, the ride takes longer than she wants, even at this velocity. On the small square before the Prison she knows too well, she twists the motor to a halt. As she gets off, the Police cars close in on her. Police officers jump out, hide behind the doors and aim for her. Like the day before, not a barrel keeps pointed at STATE.
S. ignores them and walks towards the small door she now knows to be leading most directly to the Top Security department. In front of the bewildered and frustrated Policemen, she opens the secured gate with her hand and enters. S. runs through the maze of prison corridors, half on memories she does not care to remember, half guided by an intuition, or by STATE, she does not know nor stop to wonder about.
When she is near the main execution room, she knows that this is what she should have been doing, first, before breakfast, before the Bank. The corridor has a faint metallic smell. The smell of blood.
STATE opens the umptieth gate, and S. hears the Prison Director order: “Fire!” One member of her group falls between two less known faces. “NO!” she yells and throws herself before him, but it is too late. He has fallen and his eyes only seem to see her before they close in painful death.
S. can only hug him, shaking with an alien rage.
“Fire at her NOW, you fools!” the Prison Director shouts, having recognized the terrorist instantly. But, again, no one cannot lift a rifle or gun against the Bearer of STATE and neither can the Director himself, when he pulls out his own diamond-covered extra safety measure.
The room is full of gun smoke, the red lights make the blood black.
In the far corner a stack of corpses: the Director must have been at it since early this morning. S. runs over to the corner. She knows she is being reckless, yesterday’s bump on the back of her head not forgotten, but she does not care.
One by one, she drags the heavy limp bodies from the pile. Within seconds, she is covered in blood, their blood. One by one, S. straightens their bloodied remains in rows, mechanically.
There they lie, the men she had been hiding out with, the woman who once had helped her infiltrate the Police, the rhetoric who’d never listen to anybody, the shy guy who had explained the necessity of killing to her during one of their last attacks, the leader who had been her mentor, the young brag who had almost raped her, the quiet boy who had taught her how to make bombs...
S. is shaking.
The group. The only people she had ever had around... Lying as limp lumps of flesh, some still warm, some half alive, are the people who had formed her world. The high whistling becomes shrill, as rage and loss and indifference and guilt and powerlessness and loneliness and a budding sense of power collide. A wrenching feeling, like splitting in too many parts, her head hurting and swimming, until a thought arrives, clearly audible in the din. ‘They were killed to hurt the Bearer, the Bearer of STATE.’
The shrill sound surges again and intensifies, and while her eyes note the lights dimming, a panorama unfolds in her mind: the Captain and Guards trying to find her through endless corridors, finally pushing a terrified Prison Guard in front of them, the network of the Prison: corridor after corridor of barred doors, opening to smelly prison cells either too full or too solitary, a web of electricity wiring connecting everything, and then, closer by, this red room, the grid of dead humans, some bodies still warm, and the few armed men near her: their animosity, their hatred, their fear.
Everything tightens into a ball, all light seeps into her and as the room turns dark, as the cell block blacks out, as all energy seeps into her, a slow spinning, slowly consolidating into another thought: ‘How dare they oppose the Bearer of STATE!’
And, drawing all electricity out of the Prison building, the ball of anger spins out of her, pulling her apart, lashing around her with a screech of white, killing everybody in the large room, and leaving S. floored. Silence.
A pulsing silence.
S. lies on the slippery black floor. Blood crawls on her skin, the mixed blood of nameless humans, metallic blood stiffening on the supple cloth of her suit, burnt blood in her nostrils, sweet-salty blood on her lip. Dark drying blood...
She crouches in the dark, its tangibility encroaching upon her. The smell of blood comes even closer, invades every pore. Like the President’s lust, the blood pulsates and swirls around and thumps and thumps inside her, hands in the slippery insides, and s/he pushing and prying the struggling flesh apart. Thump. Thump. Thump.
S. convulses, almost throws up; but there is too little inside her to do so and she just lies in the blood, her own blood pumping thickly. Thump. Thump. Thump.
She had killed before, yes, she had killed before, but never she had been so close to the mess. She used to leave a blinking object somewhere and then she always left; she had never looked back. Now, she had exploded and she had killed, personally, physically, by an anger she could not control. By some thing she could not control. Some of the people lying in rows might have survived, if not for her, and the Prison Guards might have changed their loyalty to her, later. But now... nothing.
Only the dark, encroaching. The dark, enveloping. The black, closing in.
She cannot make herself stand up, she just lies there, the blood getting colder and colder, hard and dry.
Only STATE is calm and clean again, heavy on her belly.
Bearer of STATE for 1 day, 0 hours, 43 minutes and 07, 08, 09
“STOP! Stop this useless information!
For the first time, S. tries to pull away from its influence, disregarding the high pure sound for a cacophony of thoughts. What has happened? Why? What was that ball of energy, why did it explode so easily now, when I could not kill Helner yesterday? What is this thing doing to me... I’m not even able to take it off, this... this.... thing!
Why did I have to go and take this filthy piece of material from the shattered glass?!? What have I done? Again, I am occupied by a thing, and I have accepted it eagerly... Why did I embrace this power so easily, why did I not turn away?
Should have been killed, then, what was it, yesterday... Ample opportunity, why did I not die! It was the day to die... I was supposed to have died!
I should have died!
Bearer of STATE for 1 day, 0 hours, 44 minutes and 54, 55, 56
S. grabs hold of STATE and tries to undo it, hissing:
“Get the hell off of me!”
But as she claws under STATE and tears, her skin hurts like she is prying a piece of her belly away with it.
Bearer of STATE for 1 day, 0 hours, 45 minutes and 00, 01, 02
S. hits STATE and tears at it again, digs her nails in the skin under the metal. But there is no gap, seamlessly the metal is fused onto her, grafted in her. S. howls, her sudden hate for STATE attempting a meager outlet.
Bearer of STATE for 1 day, 0 hours, 46 minutes and 22, 23, 24
“STOP! Stop you stupid THING! Stop! Get off of me! Stop it! Get OFF!”
All lights flicker, all over town there is electricity outfall, data communications are warbled.
When the Captain and Guards arrive, they find Her Grace a total mess, bleeding and unapproachable. The Bearer’s face is distorted in a violent scream.
Totally exhausted, her scream is almost inaudible, but she does not stop.
Her thin wail gains increased power in the white turbulence inside her.
Now she has no one left from before this thing came to claim her.
Now she has no one who will remember her quiet effectiveness, no one who will remind her of it, not by even a glance.
Now she has no past she wants to belong to anymore.
Now there is only this thing, using her, and not even protecting those near her.
Nothing now but to die.
Nothing left but to die.
Bearer of STATE for 1 day, 0 hours, 49 minutes and 53, 54, 55
“NO! Shut up! STOP!” S. drops to the sticky floor and bangs her head against it, but STATE gets in the way. She looks for something sharp or heavy to hurt herself, for a gun to shoot herself, but she cannot touch anything metal. Why is this thing not collaborating? Why does it not let go of me! Get off of me! GET OFF OF me!ï¿½
Bearer of STATE for 1 day, 0 hours, 55 minutes and 18, 19, 20
Again, and more determined, she takes hold of STATE to tear it off. But this time, decisively, the soft sides turn into razor-sharp blades. Both her hands are slashed; long stinging cuts. She hits herself in the face, blood dripping from her hands. She hits the floor, hits STATE, hits herself again, tries to strangle herself.
When she cannot move any longer, she slumps down.