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The ruins

PROLOGUE

Dr. Ahmad was barred in an old, rusted and darkened room in extreme solitude with his face laid down on the sand. The only source of light was coming from the scattered peepholes on the walls. With a heavy-head lifted in agony, he realized that the morning comes and that he could not be finished off undone. His vision was in a haze trying to regain consciousness so he could escape, but blood dripped from his body as a stray bullet hit the side of his neck. The timing was good enough, and his brothers barged into the darkened room and carried him away. As they approach the helicopter, Dr. Ahmad glimpse on its finality the precious, dead young bodies he treated as his own sons. Their faces mushed on the sand, absorbed the pool of blood. Bullets strayed everywhere, and laser blasters seemed to be glued on their bodies. Their skins were ripped off seeing through copper wires, and muscles bulked in metallic built-ins sparked short circuits that ended them.

The penitentiary was under siege in the middle of the desert. Now that as Dr. Ahmad and his squadron were about to take off while giving the doctor first-aid, they nagged at the loss of their brothers–the fatalities–theirhard-earned equipment and thefacility. He knew then that he only did one thing right: he managed to carry a suitcase with a ground-breaking transition of humans that he thinks will ascend from the landscape of despair and possess the same tremendous and potent appeal against the conventional– humanoids…

…to take over the world.

October 17, 2017

The commander-in-chief has declared the liberation of Marawi City against the humanoids that attacked the city and left civilians in grave displacement and utter chaos. The misty and calmed Gomisa Avenue in Brgy. Datu, where jeepneys in the passageways are swiftly moving, is now battle-scarred. There were see-through houses due to destroyed hollow blocks, and debris, lumbers and junks coagulated at the gutters. The once asphalt road is now covered in mud–a total devastation that displacement of civilians might prolong until the Yuletide season and will perhaps encapsulate happiness celebrated in both resilience and agony. Boasting the glory in the classic white paint and showcasing religiosity, the Bato Mosque is now tainted in gray, hole scratches from the siege–a symbol of a darkened faith that filled poisonous chem trails in the sky and marred the harmonious Marawi City.

February 2, 2018

Three months after Defense Secretary DelfinOnanad announced the termination of all combat operations in Marawi, PS/Insp. De Torres, the leader of the 13th Special Action Company, saw his second-in-command get killed in the battle siege. A sniper-humanoid found a perfect sight where the army troopers maneuver passageways to get to the storage area for resupply. He was discharged in the military due to a whole new personality, a severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that disabled him to do simple tasks on his own – muscle spasms got in the way, shivers and uncontrollable movement of his head and arms are caused by paranoia and anxiety.

He now lives in Alcoy, Cebu–a thousand meter hoverboard trip down the hill to get to Tingko beach. His house stood on the mountaintop surrounded by greeneries, gigantic foliages that are home to android-basilisks with a somehow great view of the beach which always looked like a geostorm is approaching but when it neared, daylight shines through green crystallized waters, and everything becomes all-clear.

One lazy afternoon, Joshua De Torres had an episode as he was surfing the Internet and came across his comrade on Facebook– his second-in-command who was fatally shot dead. He browsed through his comrade’s wife profile and thought what could have left of their daughters. His episode intensified as he scrolls his feed and bumped into some news articles regarding their fallen troopers and how the war changed Marawi City.

Triggered, he then felt like he is still in the long-hour siege which is indicative of a messed up sleep cycle with night sweats and paralysis. He was taken good care by his cousin Chyna who is 19 years old, slim, hair always tied-up and with eyes seemingly glaring all the time, together with his little brother Rodolfo who is 15 years of age. Both of them are to the rescue when the once aggressive Joshua in the battlefield is also seen in the battleof both the reality and his personality he currently occupied: a battlefield that has ended but seemed to have disabled and renewed him as someone who does not want to retaliate against the enemies any further. Simply say, he just cannot be at the moment; it has been a constant cycle of paranoia.

“Please, light my cigarette,” Joshua pleaded as he was catching his breath while seated in a hover-wheelchair. His hands are immensely shaking. He was squirming and sometimes shouting in pain as the triggers came from series of flashbacks and through him, he believed in the aftermath– a post-war against the humanoids.

“I still wanted to fight. It’s not over yet!!! It’s not over yet!!!” Joshua shouted again at the thought that maybe Dr. Ahmad was not really killed by his troopers which then later on, found a successor to continue his legacy. From all this paranoia, it might be Dr. Ahmad’s successor has been using the doctor’s blueprint to take over Southern Philippines. “Please… light my cigarette,” he said exasperatingly.

Chyna refused to do so and exclaimed in great annoyance, “for them to what?! to take over the world?! Couz, the whole battle is over. Please help yourself accept that you made that godforsaken war over,” Chyna seemed to be repulsed and tired at his cousin’s episode; she could not stand Joshua’s acting too erratic and madly insane.

“You’re one of those heroes, kuya!” Rodolfo shouted in front of his kuya Joshua’s face whose eyes are red and tears formed at his ducts, still squirmish and crying this time. “I don’t know, but I won’t get tired taking care of you,” Rodolfo reassured his dear older brother Joshua.

Chyna took a deep breath and pushed Rodolfo’s wheel-chair. She seemed like she knows a place to get Rodolfo away from his excruciating room. But before that and all the while Rodolfo calmed his brother down, Chyna snuck into Joshua’s desk and found what had been triggered Joshua for his PTSD episode.

She could not believe her eyes as Dr. Ahmad might still be at large. But she then knew that probably this was just a ripple effect of Joshua’s paranoia that led him to conspiracy theories links. She then went back to what she firmly believed as she whispered to herself, “Dr. Ahmad is dead… it was all over the news! Duh!” She sighed, composed herself and heads back to Joshua. Rodolfo looks like he casted some magic spell to his brother. Joshua seemed at ease now with eyes-closed and diminished his being frantic.

They were about to exit the house when Rodolfo asked Chyna as to where she is taking them. “Ate, are you sure that we have to take him outside?” Rodolfo asked.

Chyna responded, “I guess so… We want him back, right?” and Rodolfo nodded, his eyes smiling.

June 23, 2017

At the outskirtsof the city, the battle siege continued to intensify as the humanoids held innocent hostages and the grand Bato Mosque confined. The humanoids are armed with an overwhelming supply of laser guns and charges, helidisks and armored hovertanks gliding afloat in patrolling the city skyline. They took over everything in the pursuit of making it a center of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) Fundamentals, Inc. rather than its prosperous trade industry and cultural affinity of the Maranaos.

The vanquished civilians are displaced. The 13th Special Action Company team of PS/Insp. Joshua De Torres was barraged by a stream of bullets from laser machine blasters. He was hit by the storm of bullets on his right leg, almost “pinned down” but his second-in-command P02 LinoImbuyog managed to singlehandedly help him out of the storage area where they have been trailed and spotted by snipers. They maneuvered the exit towards the troopers’ sanctuary. P02 Lino was slowed down helping De Torres and was hit by a solid jolt of laser blast into his back and another one on his nape. De Torres managed to escape alongside their fellow comrades, but the Senior Inspector remained shocked, almost muted that he could have been alive if it was not for P02 Lino saving him.

The battle continues throwing metalloid bombs to skyscrapers of Marawi where the humanoids are in hiding. The frailty of Bato Mosque, on the other hand, is on the verge of collapsing. The humanoids watched the Mosque as it slowly crumbles due to metalloid helidisk launched its way to the center of the mosque. The Mosque served as the humanoids source of energy, the aggressive imputation wired in A.I. humanoids. Since the Mosque had crumbled, the humanoids lifted up their laser rifles, directing towards the sky to signal other A.I. Fundamental humanoids for some help. Troopers reckoned at the moment that they were probably surrendering because taking over Marawi is completely elusive which had been torn out by war.

However, the enigmatic, blinding signal seen as a massive ray of clear black light was yet to be detected by other humanoids across the world, and an all-out world war is about to engage against the fundamentalist ideology andmalevolent technocracy.

Circa July 1994, Dr. Ahmad’s A.I. Fundamentals, Inc.

Dr. Ahmad Raja established a headquarter in the desert of Syria, Hamad where he implanted solar panels for his “masterpiece.” He recruited men as youngest as twelve years old to chip in Artificial Intelligence and to be part of a new legacy, a new mankind—humanoids. This first project was to test drive humanoid’s capability to be religious fundamentalists – an extreme hyper-vigilance driven by both saving the human mind and physicality and further adding the efficiency of the mechanical mind that technocrats believed this transition as Dr. Ahmad’s highest denomination. Dr. Ahmad was able to accommodate them theologically, mechanically and also able to preserve the State of A.I. Fundamental Reformists.

Dr. Ahmad specialized in artificial intelligence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where alongside his being technocrat, he was battered with everyday racism that allowed himself to invent and later chip in theFundamentals as part of radicalization program. He was the chief, the mastermind that drove suicidal spacecraft targeted Twin Towers in the United States, 2001.

February 2, 2018. CON’T.

The trio – Joshua, Rodolfo, and Chyna – arrived at the beach where this time, Joshua is seen withdrawn and unemotional after his energy was drained from the episode in his room until the trip where they stood ground. Rodolfo hovers his brother’s wheelchair exhaustingly.

“Rod!! Get the inflatable raft in the back pocket of his wheelchair, please!!” Chyna shouted at Rodolfo after she tasted the now crystal clear blue waters transitioned from its original green color. “The storm must have made it weird again,” Chyna said to both the boys with eyes hinting as a triumph. The slack geostorm regulators accidentally exceeded the amount of rainfall on the land which dissolves the salts in rocks and trickled down to the rivers and to the sea. The salt level increased fascinatingly the waters ofTingko beach.

“This will help you ease your pain, Joshua,” She told the reposed former police senior inspector as Rodolfo finished pumping air for the raft and sealed it airtight. They both undress Joshua’s stained and smelly t-shirt, gently removing his holding intact of a cigarette in his right fist, his worn out flip-flops and only left him wearing his blackboxers. They placed Joshua in the raft and slowly gliding him in the taking of silent waves below the calming icy breeze of Tingko beach. They gently spread his arms, limbs, and legs from the reposed fetus position.

Chyna and Rodolfo walked towards waist-level deep and started to deflate the raft. They slowly removed the float, and as the warm water touches the whole body of Joshua, he stays afloat from the salty water. He shivers and slowly closes his eyes.

Rodolfo took charge of his brother’s flotation and whispered in his ear, “Dr. Ahmad is dead. It’s confirmed. Please, kuya, we want you back now,”

His mind – a mess – is stuck in the past, in the ruins of Marawi City. All that is ruined, combat memories especially with P02 LinoImbuyog, a fallen but not forgotten soldier who helped Joshua escaped the war, subsided as the oddly warm waters seep through his brows and around earlobes.

Joshua’s spawning ground floats all of his senses away, feeling only his mind at a controllable state, his breathing, and heartbeat.

The anxiety and paranoia diminished as he reclined in peace.

Joshua remaining his eyes closed and regaining composure gasped and whispered, “I will be back.” He reassured Chyna and Rodolfo of his somehow recovery.

His ultimate enemy crossed his mind – A.I. Fundamentals, Inc. This time,he pondered that the beleaguered humanoids cannot stand freedom on its own. They are powered by its personal mastery of destruction and that as opposed to himself, Joshua found the cure, found himself once again in the crystallinewaters of Tingko beach that made its seawater and his being in extreme paranoiaboth dead. “I’m alive,” at least he told himself in his mind.

March 16, 2018

PS/Insp. Joshua De Torres, newly deployed, is back on track, gearing up for a new set of combat drills alongside his troopers around Central Luzon for the war against narco-humanoids.

Meanwhile somewhere that is hot and sandy on the other side of the world, A.I. Fundamentals, Inc. is planning on its insurgency. The humanoids across the globe await the chemtrails entwined with their signals flashing up in the sky – a probable sign of retaliation. G

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