Friday, April 10, 2009


My Room, My Home, Pincian Region, The Nation of Capitol; my personal computer
Subject: We continue our story...
Password Protected: Yes

Zeimlich raised his hands in the air and said nothing.

With myself caught in the middle of the cross range I dropped flat to the ground in the tall, damp grass, Welsche was well-hidden behind the bumper-end of the vehicle with the driver and the Organ not far from where I ducked shaking. The other commuters were a good five meters behind me, easily outlined in the bushels on the roadside. I had no doubt they scattered in fear at the sound of the click.

On the other hand, Zeimlich was at the front line, unarmed and facing a gunman. What chance did a med student have against crook?

"Zan, heads up!" Welsche announced.

Slamming the entire left side of his body downward, Zeimlich rounded his leg behind the crook's, toppled him over, with their knees locked and with his in full control of their balance. Both the assailant and the med student hit the muddy ground.

Inhaling the muck for a moment, I felt my organs and my spine instantly freeze when my line of site hit that of the crook's yellow eyes and jaundice grimace. Eying the 45-caliber gun that was tossed aside a moment ago, he went to seize for it when a small ball of white material landed splat next to the weapon. Instantly it fumed as the man cackled, as though to hide some under confident ego.

The moment he grabbed his weapon, the sodium exploded in a haze of burning smoke and white gas. Coughing and blinded, the robber met the ground again, this time by Welsche's quick footwork: the blond young man sprinted from his hiding place, flipped the crook over like a flapjack in great haste and delivered uncountable, heavy fluid-like blows with his soft-shoed lower limbs.

Ancient capoeria from the old south continent? I realized in flash.

"Enough, Welsche!" Zeimlich roared behind Welsche. The light, silver pistol pointed directly at the assailant from the hand of Zeimlich's outstretched arm shook only slightly and ignited with a sharp whistling scream.

The assailant on the ground gagged and fell limp.

"You killed him!" was my first reaction. I scrambled back into the brush, my clothes soiled in muck and my entire body shaking in shock. Ironically, a med student who vowed to save human life had just taken it away from a person.

"Gulp," verbalized Welsche. "There goes my promotion."

"We're sworn to help people! Not put them to sleep!"

Zeimlich then stepped forward and offered the same hand that held the pistol to lift me up. He said, "Actually, miss, we just did put this fellow to sleep. Although..." he turned to Welsche and let the weapon thud to the ground, "I was expecting you to use something from the training manual."

"Put him to sleep?" I mouthed.

"Are you familiar with Benzodiazepine?" Zeimlich asked, smiling. He hoisted me up.

A jolt in my memory bank told me to say, "A nerve-calmer? B-D-Z-P-N?"

"Very good! Well, that dosage should put this guy out for a bit," Zeimlich continued, as though the situation was routine for him. "Well, miss, I'm sorry about your..."

I looked down at myself: boot camp hell broke loose all over my clothing.

Stirring groggily, the knocked-out man grizzly produced a barely audible grumble.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


On the Road in a Tamaraw, From the Gray Area, Headed to the Pincian Region; Personal Computer
Date: XX/XX/XX
Subject: How I met Xanther Zeimlich and Welsche Bidansi
Password Protected: Yes

At the moment, I don't at all feel well enough to create a journal entry. But as my schedule demands the next five hours to be used for it as well as the travel time back to my hometown, I have to make the most of it. Even though my great distress is lowering my intelligence by forty percent at the moment. The reason as to why my handkerchief is soaking wet and why the commuter sitting next to me has been inching away every few minutes, I should save for after I tell this story.

I have already mentioned in my previous posts who Zeimlich is in my life, but I have only mentioned Welsche once. For starters, Zeimlich is my mentor. He is a White, currently receiving on the job training in Capitoline Hospital as well as a recommendation for residency. One of the many near-perfect straight-A Maroons under the University roof, Zeimlich is one of the two young men who have made a great impact on the way I live and the way I think at the moment. The other young man is, of course, Welsche Bidansi. The less discreet of the two Turk minor commanders, Welsche is my classmate, a fellow White, my friend, and my best friend's infatuation.

It's just so normal here to be surrounded by brainy people who study half their day and perfect their exams during the second half, I feel that I don't need to describe Welsche to that extent. Asides from the fact that Welsche is a tad bit more handsome than my mentor, you could say that they could be fraternal twins by the way they act or work together on assignment.

Agent Z-332 is a special-ops Assassin who's on his way to becoming an E.C. by the end of the economic-gain driven operation season. Well, when Zeimlich turns his current badge over for an Espionage Clandestine badge, that would move his rank up from minor to marshal commander. It's a long way off, but I have all the confidence in him. Agent Bw-329, who graduated from his Scout badge the operation season after we met, is currently an Illusionist. The stress from all our paperwork, not to mention the shifts in house, must be causing him to slack a bit. At any rate, the Assassins waltzing around the city could eliminate any of us if we're not careful. But I think that for as long as we are loyal to the Turks, that won't be necessary. I'm praying that Welsche lives through it all, because, despite his brilliance in chemistry and physics, which is exactly what an Illusionist attaches his life to, his heart and mouth usually compete with his gray matter.

Now that I've put down a bit about these two Whites, I might as well demonstrate their marksmanship and bravery.

This is how I met Xanther Zeimlich and Welsche Bidansi.

In the mid-year break of my third year as a Pathologist and a White Maroon, I packed my belongings and boarded a Tamaraw for home. The compact public vehicle, which fit ten people exactly, had myself, a mother and child, two other Whites, a psychology Organ, an elderly couple, and the driver. Commuters' belongings which took up the rest of the passenger space were either in our laps or under our seats. In my case, I propped mine in the adjacent seat, parallel to one of the two Whites aboard, and perpendicular to the younger one.

It was customary for fellow Maroons to take no notice of each other outside acquaintences and group reports; at that moment, I rather found myself breaking the custom as both young men caught my eyes for their perfectly shaped faces.

The older White had a very sincere and open face, framed by short jet-black locks that smoothed out until they jutted evenly at his neck. His bright blue eyes gave me the impression he must have been born a half-blood, inheriting one of his parent's native traits to Capitoline and the eyes of a foreign parent. His smile was so sincere and open, I couldn't help but gawk for a moment, my own face hidden behind my bag. His scrub suit told me the rest of his story, or so I thought.

Next to my bag sat the younger White. It was my mistake to think they were siblings, for after all, he had shocking blond hair and the same bright blue eyes as the young man who sat infront of me. Something about how this one stared innocently into the distance told me that he was just as immature and whiny as I could be at times. At times during the ride, he would eye his black-haired companion, who would return with a squint of the brows or a nod of the head. Finally after some time, the younger one settled with a small mid-frown, not quite a smile, but not a miserable pout either. I deduced that one of their parents must be foreign, for native people of Capitol carried either green or hazel eyes, quite rarer than their shocking blue.

My daydreaming skidded to a halt as did the Tamaraw, and all the passengers were thrown forward, or rather stayed put while inertia forced the van fro, pushing us against our original positions. This caused a rather big bruise to my forehead and pocketed belongings to come jangling out of their respective owners' bodies. Out of the corner of my eye, white, bead-sized crystals of jagged edges spilled out of the younger White's scrub; they were crushed into a fine powder under the weight of our baggage and our stamping feet.

I thought, 'The van's out of plasma juice. Just great!' Bursting out of the side pocket of my backpack was my water supply for the five-hour trip. It drenched everything on the floor of the Tamaraw nearest to the door.

Faintly at first, smoke hissed from my ankles up, fuming a stinging, greenish white gas that burned my nostrils. Expectedly, the other passengers began to panic; I automatically reached for the door handle, when the younger White swung it open before I could move.

"Everyone out!" he manhandled. I pushed lightly on the elderly couple and the mother, who had a handkerchief over her son's mouth, and her son move out ahead of me. Count on a true Maroon to be the last to save himself. Even the Organ, who sat in the passenger's seat in front with the driver, made sure the engine was off and that the wiring of the Tamaraw wasn't viable to explode the way the chemicals did on the floor.

At the end of a very long five minutes, I felt myself gasping for air, for the sodium gas fumes started to rake my esophagus and ---

"Miss, step out right now!" the young voice of the blonde white startled me to alertness and I hastily hoisted myself out with my valuables. Everyone moved to the side of the road; from there I could see we were on a much unvisited highway and that the Tamaraw was smoking on both ends, the back and the front.

"Zan, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have kept a supply on me, " the younger White turned to his brother. "I screwed up again, I can't believe this!"

"Welsche, I can't say it isn't foolish to keep a supply of highly reactive chemicals in your scrub suit," Zan told the blonde. "For now, help the driver check the engine while I take care of the civilians here."

"I don't even know who's water it was that caused my Neigh to explode like that," Welsche said, approaching the front of the vehicle. "This is so not good for me!"

"Let's at least be thankful most of your sodium got powdered before the water reacted with it or there would be more serious injuries. Go, Welsche." Zan said, opening the back door of the van all the way so the remaining fumes fanned out.

I just stood there and stayed quiet as I was brought up. They sounded very much like they were used to being life guards or soldiers or police officers or something of the like. It was quite awesome to watch. The Organ kept the other passengers busy with chit-chat on their level.

"Miss," Zan approached me. My heart leapt, then sank. He looked very serious. "It would be great if you'd tend to the baggage. Just to make sure no one's things get stolen or similar, if you please. Maroons can stare each other in the eye and tell thief from truth teller, right?"

"Of course," I said. The right side of my brains said that they could stare at each other all day if they had to.

It wasn't long before---

"All right, punks, give me all your valuables and this guy gets to live!" the sound of a gun clip went click. And pointed straight behind Zan's back.

To be continued.


My Room, My Home, Pincian, Capitol; Personal Computer
Date: X/XX/XX
Subject: The Geography of the Nation of Capitol
Password Protected: Yes

The Nation of Capitol is divided into seven areas, reminiscent of the seven hills of Rome several history books ago. The central city is Capitoline, where Obermateriel or the City Proper is separated from Elendsveirtel or the Slums by The Gray Area. The Gray Area has been my home for the past few terms; it has been the pick up point of investigation assignments several times as well.

Esquiline in the north is home of Hellespoint, the mouth of the Agapes River and the port of Felherline. Caelian in the East is a vast valley, home of the second Plasma Reactore and walled by the Shera mountain range. In the south, Viminal lies, home of the nation's dumping and waste grounds and the city of Flussifer. To the west lie the backwater regions of Quirinal, Vatican, Pincian, and Palatine. Aventine, second in importance to Captioline, lies in the north east; it is the home of the first Plasma Reactore and the food basin of the nation Reishcale.

I grew up in Pincian, the most insignificant region of this nation. After passing into the University of Capitoline, I moved to Capitol City, blended in and became a nobody. The year before my White internship, I found Zeimlich, who somehow managed to bring out the dangerous side of a country-grown nobody in a matter of months, only to reveal to me that I was being tested for training under the Ottoman Turks. After experiencing failure day in and day out, I sought this a chance to create something out of nothing. It may be possible.

But I shall save that story for another entry.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Hope and Horror

Capitol Stroll Shoppe, Netopia, PC 16
Date: X/XX/XX
Subject: I was Itching to Get out there and Prop the Umbrella over our heads as it Drizzled Acid Rain
Password Protected: Yes

I arrived in the Gray Area as early as 6 to make some rounds in the Organization Quads. As an insider, I have a fairly good idea regarding the operations in and outside the Maroon groups. Some, I respectfully label as "good", so Gaea help them. Others need some work. I report these weekly to Zeimlich and to the Ottoman minor commanders. When I move up a few ranks, I'll be reporting to Commander himself.

After my rounds, I stayed in the physical sciences division hall and studied for an exam, which I had ironically been expecting since the night before. The sun was high by the time I finished three chapters, creating a looming shadow on the Department of Justice next door; across the pavement from the bench where I sat, a litter of auto buses idly grouped together. Every now and then, an identical purple bus would draw itself into the lot and workers would get off and scatter like scuttling ants. Ants of Vorsitzende's Government...

Noon struck. I managed to sit with my classmates near the building entrance. We waited for Stonewall: the last instructor to post grades for the term. I had lounged around their division everyday of the week since the last test. Waiting. Waning. For a sign. Between death and failing the subject, I would choose the former. The minutes passed and I went back to that day, two weeks back from yesterday. Stonewall had turned this Ottoman Turk's systems upside down...

I went to their two-storey division to submit my research to the physical planet studies instructor. Standing by the doorway, I preached to myself under my breath about my mediocre performance for the past term. I tapped the counter, and checked my watch every few minutes for the receiver behind the glass window to notice my presence. Moreover, I had already said good afternoon.

My patience waned and I finally turned to leave, opting to place my report in the instructor's cubbyhole outside the division. That was when Stonewall simultaneously entered the receiving area; the young man's new image caused me to halt in surprise. To my own astonishment, I addressed him aloud. Seemingly, the instructor turned to look at me and then I got a full blast of his outfit: Spikes had filled the top part of his hair where a flat pudding-bowl cut had once been. He would remind someone of a generation-x of the latest millennium, donned in a black long-sleeved top and slightly rugged pants. The black shoes that always remained spotlessly shiny were still there, so was the stance, the small, triangular face and the light almond-shaped eyes that always seemed to stare into the distance during anatomy. The SOLDIER hero Zack Fair? It couldn't be. I mused.

There and then, I let my academic side do the talking. Of course, I needed an outline for the coming exam. I asked for that. Prior training and schooling in my hometown in the middle of nowhere had not prepared me for something as impossible as Maroon life, nor as dangerous as Turk duty. So, there I was. An assassin-in-training, asking help from a Maroon scholar a few years older than my class, regarding air and earth and corrosion and vapor. Why I managed to master ninjitsu faster than I did the apparatus in the lab, I still haven't managed to figure out... Stonewall plainly, and quietly, offered a mentoring session the day after the day after that. I was surprised by the sincere concern for a struggling novice, or was it the sincere offer to help?

The mentoring followed two days after. As usual, I had arrived early. 8 o'clock. 9 o'clock. 10 o'clock. 10 minutes past ten o'clock, and I had another anatomy class simultaneous with the session. And finally, Stonewall came down the division hall; spiky hair still reminiscent of Zack Fair. I respectfully gave my greeting and peered to the office door. He nodded consent as to where we would sit. I had difficulty hiding a smile.

Why was I so drawn to this person?

Since the last term, it was the second time I had been in the upper floors of the division. I looked around and hesitated: the small office cubicles all had laptop bags and mini libraries of Capitoline University instructors, in neat and in disheveled stacks. My hand hovered as if to search for a chair while Stonewall directed us toward the back of the office. Another surprise. He went to get one himself across from where our learning materials were located.

The reason why Amaranth was drawn to Stonewall? The guy was an absolute gentleman, flawless at every angle and in every aspect. Before ever being taught one-on-one by this anatomy instructor, I would have never seen him as nothing other than a quiet, blank person, reciting definitions from verbatim and giving marks for neatness.

The half-hour I was taught there and then, on the verge of failing the subject, was one of the most productive in all my days in the lecture halls and seminar trainings. It actually got me to study properly and intensely. For, not only did Stonewall promise that anyone would be able to perfect the test the following day, I also received the flare, the passion, and the love for studying for the sake of it from that half-hour. I never did, not from geography, life science, and not even from my personal favorite, journo.

Akalis Stonewall, who are you and why does your annoyingly mysterious perfection continue to haunt the likes of an Ottoman Spy? I bid my thanks and my farewell, taking hold of my self-control to not turn back and pester once more. I was retaught the importance of reflection and of solitude and honor that day, aside from the lessons in the manual.

That gave me hope. It prepared me for the horror that arrived the week after the last test in that subject. Every day after that exam, I swarmed at the division. Every day, I made sure to check if our grades were posted or not.

11 o'clock sharp. Spikey hair came rustling down through the entrance corridor. Stonewall, either tingling with the eerie thought that I was hacking into his profile in the Turk databases, or for some other reason, had wide eyes and my fellows and I followed him to his division office, where I had lingered many times in the past week.

Within ten minutes, the grades were finally posted. Everyone passed and no one in my class would be taking the exam that would take place say, fifty minutes after that moment. Doubtlessly, I accepted that my mediocre standing was my fault, and entirely my fault. I just HAD to start to love studying by the manual simultaneous with field training at the END of the TERM. All my other lower grades from the beginning pulled my descent grades down. I ended up near the bottom of the middle.

I never expected to see Stonewall after that. I headed back to the Dormitories but stopped by the empty lot parallel to Capitol Stroll Shoppe. The Organs had raised funds to turn it into a play park, but all that was left of their project was a run-down, yet cozy, waiting shed. There I sat, taking a few deep breaths of relief in my confusion.

Out of the corner of my eye, spiky locks came breezing down the street. Five meters from where I sat hidden, Stonewall had come running under the nearest shade of tree. It started to rain. I was itching to get out there and prop my umbrella over his head, but my consciences pulled at me to stay put. I'm glad I listened to the one on my right shoulder. Not that not propping the umbrella open was the right thing to do, but I had pestered the person enough for the term.

My personal handset blared and I received a message from a lecture instructor that I was confirmed to take the final exam. Just great... It blared again: Zeimlich had confirmed an rendezvous with D-324 Unit for an organization infiltration in the east corner of the city, followed by a investigation. Incredibly perfect...

By the time I looked up, Akalis Stonewall had retreated onto the roofed island in front of the Shoppe and disappeared.