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Chapter 10: Ends and New Beginnings


Sorry this chapter is so late! I had some family stuff this week, but here it is now!

For those of you new to the story, here are the chapter links and a brief summary

One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | SevenEight | Nine

Captain Dirk Drake is Her Majesty Queen Victoria’s favorite agent who has spent the last two years recovering from an injury from his previous mission in Africa. Still adapting to his mechanical arm, Capt. Dirk is given the dangerous mission of investigating the ever-growing cloud of deadly smog rising out of the slums of London. He’s been given a new assistant on this case, Miss Theo Minksy, and they’ve been given a lead. After meeting their informant at the notorious nightclub “White Mink” a name, The Gideon Rose Syndicate, has arisen. Following a further lead, the duo set off to a secret meeting for Syndicate members where they uncovered a shocking truth. The Syndicate believes that becoming Ravagers is part of a sacred spiritual process called the Enlightenment. Struggling to find answers, Dirk and Theo set off for the Slums in hopes of uncovering the truth. Down there, the duo encounter a hoard of Ravagers and find themselves lost in the smoggy London slums. Barely escaping with their lives, Dirk returns home to find an ominous message waiting for him. Deciding to investigate further, he returns to White Mink to find more answers. After an unexpected encounter with Yvette and Jack, Theo returns to the lab to unravel the mysteries of  the Enlightenment.

Dirk burst back into the lab, breathing raggedly with sweat dripping down his face. The lab was exactly how he’d left it, various liquids bubbling over bunsen burners and pages of Theo’s notes scattered over every surface. Only one thing was missing, Theo.

“Theo?” Dirk called confusedly. “Theo, I’m back.”

A dark chuckle resonated around the room as a shadowy figure emerged from behind a large piece of machinery. The room was silent as the figure’s shoes clicked against the cold stone floor and his face came into the light.

“It…it can’t be.” Dirk murmured, his face growing pale.

There stood his old friend Jack, his face twisted into an ugly expression of sickening glee. The raised, white, puckering flesh of his scar stood out against the tan flesh covering his badly scarred-left eye. His remaining right eye sparkled with unholy joy and a touch of madness as he observed the horror-struck look on his once-friend’s face.

“Never saw this coming, did ya, Captain?” Jack asked in a singsong voice, far too happy for the severity of the situation.

“Why though Jack? Why would you–”

“Ah ah ah!” Jack waved a finger disapprovingly ,“Not going by that name anymore, am I? It’s The Doc now.”

“But…but at White Mink earlier, you…you helped us! You did, Jack, I rem–”

“Stop lying!” The Doc yelled. His face shifted from glee to rage as he strode towards the captain, stopping so close Dirk could see the beads of sweat on his tanned face. “All you ever do is lie, isn’t it?”

“What are you talking ab–”

“Oh don’t act like you don’t know, dear Captain.” The Doc’s voice once again took on a sickly sweet tone. “Remember Africa, Dirk dear? Remember what you promised me?”

His eyes narrowed as he took in Dirk’s confused expression. “No? Hmm, I guess I’ll have to remind you then.” Grabbing the Captain’s forearm with one hand and his hair with the other, The Doc leaned in even closer and breathed into his ear, his breath hot and sticky.

“You promised you wouldn’t leave me, that we’d be together ‘till the end. Remember now?” Hysteria began to creep into his voice, “You…you said you’d always be there for me. But…but you lied, you left me, just like everyone else! After the first Ravager attack, when I was in the hospital, alone, dying, you…you weren’t there for me. Where were you? Where were you when the Doctors diagnosed me with the Ravager virus? When I was removed from active duty? When your precious Crown, instead of welcoming me back like a hero, threw me out onto the London streets like I was nothing?”

The Doc’s voice had been growing more and more agitated as he spoke. His shoulders were shaking with barely-suppressed rage. Taking a deep breath, The Doc spoke again, eerily calm, cocking his head to the side. “Where. Were. You?”

“Jack…Jack if you’d just let me explain–”

“NO! I’m done with your lies! I don’t need you anymore, I–I’ve moved on.”

“Jack…Jack it wasn’t like that–”

“Enough!” The Doc roared, pushing the Captain away from him angrily. “You had your chance and it’s gone. You betrayed my trust, tore my heart out. Now I think it’s time I return the favor. Yvette!”

Yvette walked into the room, her usually flawless appearance marred by a bruise on her cheek and her disheveled hair. She was carrying a black briefcase in one hand and dragging a semi-conscious Theo behind her.

“Theo!” Dirk yelled, taking a step in her direction.

“Hold on a moment, Captain.” The Doc said serenely, stepping in his path.

“Get out of the way, Jack.”

“I told you…it’s the Doc now. And I’m afraid I won’t be doing that. You see, your darling little assistant is sick, and I think it’s time I gave her some medicine.”

Yvette opened the black briefcase to reveal a glimmering hypodermic syringe, filled with an ominous black liquid.

Theo’s drooping eyes widened in panic at the sight of the syringe, while Dirk’s face showed his confusion.

“Ah, I see you’re a bit slower to catch on than your lovely assistant. This syringe contains a blood sample from one of my recently Enlightened followers.”

“No…” Dirk choked out.

Walking over to the terrified Theo, he patted her cheek encouragingly. “Don’t fret my dear, you should feel honored. Imagine, you of all the people in this blasted city, are receiving the honor of Enlightenment from the Doc himself!” The Doc confidently rolled up Theo’s sleeve, wiping her forearm with an antibacterial swab.

“Now, I’d tell you this won’t hurt a bit, but then I’d be lying,” the Doc smiled cruelly in Dirk’s direction. “And we all know what I think of liars, don’t we?”

Before Dirk had a chance to react, The Doc inserted the needle into Theo’s arm, finger hovering over the plunger.

“Good bye, darling Theo.” The Doc crooned, placing a soft kiss on her cheek. Theo clenched her eyes shut, preparing for the plunge, but it never came.

There was a crash as the Doc fell to the floor, his limbs twitching erratically. The syringe slipped through his twitching fingers and shattered on the floor. His mouth was opened in a silent scream and only the white of his good eye was visible. Everyone stood frozen in shock until finally, the Doc ceased his twitching and lay in a heap on the floor.

“Doc?” Yvette asked, her voice quivering with fear as she nudged him with her hand.

The man on the floor groaned as he sat up, looking around at his surroundings confusedly  until he locked eyes with Dirk.

“Oh no…” he breathed, bringing a hand up to his face. “W-what have I done.”

He rose from the floor on shaky legs, leaning heavily on one of the metallic tabletops. He rested for several minutes until his legs stopped trembling. Taking a deep breath, the man straightened up and spoke in a soft, quivering voice.

“Dirk…Dirk listen, I know you’re gonna have trouble believing this, but it’s me, Jack.”

Seeing Dirk hastily open his mouth to object, Jack quickly cut him off. “I know…I-I know this is going to sound crazy, but the man you saw before, the man…no…the monster responsible for all this,” Jack angrily gestured to Theo and the chaos of the lab, “that wasn’t me. The Doc…well, he’s inside me. He’s up here, you know?” Jack tapped his forehead for emphasis.

“But,” Jack paused for a moment, gathering his thoughts “he and I…we…well  I guess we aren’t the same person. I can’t control what he does or when he comes out, it’s like we’re two different people, sharing this broken body. I tried to stop him. Tried to help you when I could, but he’s just too strong.”

A single tear ran down Jack’s scarred cheek. His hands began to tremble. Dirk’s skeptical gaze softened and he took a hesitant step towards the tormented man.

“Stop!” Jack yelled, his voice hoarse, he continued in a whisper. “Don’t-d-don’t come any closer Dirk. I can’t…” Jack’s face twisted into a pained expression and he sank to the floor. Dirk took another step forward.

“I-I can’t control him for much longer. H-he’s too strong for me now. I’m sorry Dirk…I’m so so sorry.” Jack froze, his entire body tensing up.

“Jack? Jack, mate. You alright?” Dirk cautiously took a step forward, tapping the man’s shoulder with his cane.

The man lashed out, grabbing Dirk’s cane, causing Dirk to stumble. “I told you already, Captain dear. It’s ‘The Doc’ now. Jack is dead.”

The Doc shoved the captain away, rising once again to his feet. Looking in dismay at the shattered syringe on the floor, the Doc shook his head sadly.

“It’s a shame, really. This could have been so much more pleasant if things had gone according to the plan.” The Doc heaved a dramatic sigh, reaching for a silver whistle on a chain around his neck. “Oh well, there is more than one way to bring about Enlightenment.” He blew a single, shrill note into the air.

Six Ravagers stumbled into the laboratory, their vacant eyes locking hungrily onto the human occupants. Dirk raised his cane, activating the Tesla Gun hidden within. The first Ravager lunged clumsily at the Captain, earning him a harsh shock from the Tesla Gun. It fell to the floor with a shriek. The other five backed up, eyeing the Captain warily.

“You think you can stop this, Captain?” The Doc shouted hysterically. “This is the course of nature, we cannot be stopped. You may strike down one of us, but there will be hundreds more to take the fallen’s place. Accept the inevitable, submit to the Enlightenment!”

Dirk dodged another Ravager, “like hell I will! I’ll keep fighting as long as I have breath in my body to do so!”

The Doc’s eyes sparked gleefully. “Oh I was so hoping you’d say that!” Reaching into his waistcoat, the Doc pulled out a pistol and aimed it calmly at the Captain’s head.

“Goodbye dear Captain, it’s been fun.” The Doc pulled the trigger and fired. But instead of hitting the Captain’s head, the bullet lodged in the tender flesh of Dirk’s shoulder. Dirk cried out in pain, falling to the ground in agony. He failed to see the horrified look on Jack’s face as he lowered the gun. Yvette didn’t miss a thing.

She tugged Theo close to her, fingers fumbling with the ropes on Theo’s wrists. Finally, after several seconds of struggling, Theo was free. Turing to face the singer, she raised one eyebrow quizzically.

“Now why would you do something like that?”

Yvette bit her lip and looked at the wounded Captain. “I–Just…Just tell your Captain to remember his promise when this is all over. Now, go get the antidote, I think you might be needing it. It’s not too late to stop him.” Patting Theo’s shoulder reassuringly, Yvette dashed out of the laboratory, disappearing into the foggy London night.

Theo rushed over to her abandoned antidote, inserting the serum into an arial dispenser, “Let’s just hope this works.” Pointing the nozzle at the remaining Ravagers, she pressed the button down, and watched in amazement as the Ravagers slumped to the ground, corpses once again. The only people left standing in the room were Theo and the Doc.

“No!” Jack bellowed, apparently talking to no one. “I can’t let this happen, this has to stop.”

“Oh but Jack, my dear. It’s far too late for that. You and I are one, you see. One cannot exist without the other, we’re both up here.” The Doc tapped his forehead, grinning evilly.

“O-one cannot exist without the other, is that right?” Jack asked in a shaky voice, raising the pistol to his temple. “Well I guess it’s all or nothing, huh? I’ll see you in hell.”

Turning to Theo, Jack gave a halfhearted salute, tears running down his face. “I’m sorry. Can I ask one last favor of you? Ask…ask Dirk to forgive me, can you do that Theo? And tell him…tell him I’m sorry.” Taking a deep he closed his eyes and pulled the trigger.

Theo screamed, watching the tortured man fall to the ground, smoking gun still in his hand. She covered her mouth with her hand, crying as she watched the blood pool around him. Sinking to the ground, clutching the antidote like a lifeline, Theo sat on the cold, stone floor of the laboratory, sobbing.

~

London

June, 1883

Theo knocked on the door of the hospital room, waiting impatiently for a reply from inside. She waited for several moments before opening the door and peeking in.

“Captain? Everything alright in here?” Theo stifled a laugh as she saw the Captain struggling with his bow tie and jacket.

“Oh Captain!” Theo smiled affectionately at him, “Let me help you with that.”

“Thank you, m’dear. My mechanical arm is still giving me some trouble from that gunshot wound last month.” Dirk scratched the top of his head sheepishly.

“There! Simply smashing, shall we?” Linking arms with the Captain, the two linked arms  and walked out of the hospital to hail a carriage to the palace.

Upon their arrival, they were escorted to an antechamber and told to wait for their audience with the Queen. The two barely had time to admire the wallpaper before a quiet clearing of the throat was heard.

“Her Majesty will see you now,” the aged butler said in a reedy tone, bobbing his head as the Captain and companion scurried past.

Entering the dimly-lit room, the duo bowed as the richly-clothed monarch rose regally to her feet. “Captain Dirk Drake! And Miss Theo Minsky too! Well done both of you, without your wit and quick action, we would never have stopped the Gideon Rose Syndicate in time.”

“Thank you, your Majesty, all in a day’s work, eh Theo?” Dirk smiled charmingly at his pretty companion.

“Your Majesty?” Theo asked quietly, still blushing from Dirk’s antics.

“Yes child?”

“The…the research from Jack’s headquarters. What happened to it?”

“Oh, not to worry, it’s being destroyed as we speak.”

“Thank you, your Majesty. I just hate to think what that kind of knowledge could to in the wrong hands.”

Queen Victoria frowned. “Me too, child. Me too.”

Clearing his throat awkwardly, Dirk bowed once again. “Well your Majesty, I think it’s time I took my leave, unless there was something else?”

“No no, both you and Theo are free to go, I just wanted to personally thank you for, once again, saving us all.”

The duo bowed before leaving the chamber and a man entered, handing a thick envelope to the queen. She broke the seal, scanning the scientific notes of the late Dr. Jack Matthews. “You’re sure this is all of his work, correct?”

“Yes, your Majesty. All of it.”

“Good, we wouldn’t want this kind of information falling into the wrong hands again…”

~

Theo and Dirk walked back to their office together, enjoying the beautiful summer day. Upon arriving, they were greeted by a frantic Mrs. White.

“Captain! Captain look ‘ere! Yer got yerself another case! Just came in a telegram this morning. From a Miss Yvette, I believe? She says this one is right up your alley.”

Dirk took the telegram from Mrs. Whites fingers, turning to smile at Theo.

“What do you say? Ready for another adventure?”

Theo smiled back, patting his hand. “Anytime.”

~

Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions? Leave me a comment!

I can’t believe I’m done!!!! AH!

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S11: Beginnings and Ends


My favorite pair of openings and closings out of this list is from “Why We Broke Up” by Daniel Handler. The whole story is written as a letter and I love how unique the writing style is.

 

“When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow”

 

“He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning”

 

To Kill a Mockingbird,  Harper Lee

 

“Only three people were left under the red and white awning of the grease joint: Grady, me, and the fry cook.”

 

“For this old man, this is home”

 

Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen

 

“Dear Ed, In a sec you’ll hear a thunk. At your front door, the one nobody uses. It’ll rattle the hinges a bit when it lands, because it’s so weighty and important, a little jangle along with the thunk, and Joan will look up from whatever she’s cooking”

 

“I’m telling you, Ed, I’m telling Al now, I have a feeling. Love, Min”

 

Why We Broke Up, Daniel Handler

 

“In the week before their departure to Arrakis, when all the final scurrying about had reached a nearly unbearable frenzy, an old crone came to visit the mother of the boy, Paul.”

 

“While we, Chani, we who carry the name of concubine–history will call us wives.”

 

Dune, Frank Herbert

 

“The primroses were over.”

 

“Hazel followed; and together they slipped away, running easily down through the wood, where the first primroses were beginning to bloom.”

 

Watership Down,  Richard Adams

 

“It was a tiny shop, tucked discreetly in among the other shops along London’s Oxford Street.”

 

“‘You will live, Papa,’ Elsa whispered. ‘And when I tell you why I must go back, you will understand.’ “A million little reasons,” you will say. And you will understand.’”

 

Vienna Prelude, Bodie & Brock Thoene

 

“As the first crack of thunder broke over Cresent Moon Bay, Grace Tempest opened her eyes.”

 

“‘So it ends. So it begins.’”

 

Vampirates, Justin Somper

 

“I have just returned from a visit to my landlord–the solitary neighbor that I shall be troubled with”

 

“I lingered round them, under that benign sky; watched the moths fluttering among the heath, and hare-bells; listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass; and wondered how any one could ever imagine the unquiet slumbers, for the sleepers in that quiet earth.”

 

Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë

 

“I am what they call in our village ‘one who has not yet died’ –a widow, eighty years old.”

 

“I’m reaching out to Snow Flower and the others who witnessed it all. Please hear my words. Please forgive me.”

 

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Lisa See

 

“When he woke in the woods in the dark and the cold of the night he’d reach out to touch the child sleeping beside him.”

 

“In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.”

 

The Road, Cormac McCarthy

The Mysterious Adventures of Captain Dirk Drake Chapter 9: Deadly Diseases and Deceptions


For those of you new to the story, here are the chapter links and a brief summary

One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | Seven| Eight

Captain Dirk Drake is Her Majesty Queen Victoria’s favorite agent who has spent the last two years recovering from an injury from his previous mission in Africa. Still adapting to his mechanical arm, Capt. Dirk is given the dangerous mission of investigating the ever-growing cloud of deadly smog rising out of the slums of London. He’s been given a new assistant on this case, Miss Theo Minksy, and they’ve been given a lead. After meeting their informant at the notorious nightclub “White Mink” a name, The Gideon Rose Syndicate, has arisen. Following a further lead, the duo set off to a secret meeting for Syndicate members where they uncovered a shocking truth. The Syndicate believes that becoming Ravagers is part of a sacred spiritual process called the Enlightenment. Struggling to find answers, Dirk and Theo set off for the Slums in hopes of uncovering the truth. Down there, the duo encounter a hoard of Ravagers and find themselves lost in the smoggy London slums. Barely escaping with their lives, Dirk returns home to find an ominous message waiting for him. Deciding to investigate further, he returns to White Mink to find more answers. After an unexpected encounter with Yvette and Jack, Theo returns to the lab to unravel the mysteries of  the Enlightenment.

Several hours later, Dirk returned to his office and quietly made his way downstairs to Theo’s lab. Checking his appearance in the reflective glass of the door, Dirk knocked hesitantly.

There was no reply.

Opening the door cautiously, Dirk poked his head in. “Theo?”

Theo’s red head popped up from behind a microscope. Her face was scrunched up in annoyance at being interrupted.

“What is it, Captain?”

“After I…erm…finished my business with Yvette, I looked for you around White Mink, but the barkeeper said you’d already left. Mrs. White said I’d find you he–”

“Sh!” Theo held up her hand. Dirk paused, watching with interest as Theo stirred some opaque liquid in one of the various beakers lining the metal countertops. Grabbing a pipette, she carefully placed several drops of the liquid onto the contents of the petri dish under the microscope. Dirk walked across the room, joining Theo in front of the microscope.

“What are you–”

“Sh! Just wait.”

The duo sat in silence, watching the petri dish intently. A few moments later, there was a sizzle and puff of smoke.

“Hm…that’s interesting.” Theo scribbled down her observations in her notebook, her ink-stained fingers leaving smudges on the pristine paper. The messy writing was illegible to all but the author.

Unsure if he was allowed to speak yet, Dirk cautiously cleared his throat. Barely looking up from her work, Theo raised a curious eyebrow.

“Yes?”

“What exactly is that you’re working on?”

“Well, by running a battery of tests on this organic tissue sample, I’ve come to discover the pathogen responsible–”

“In english, please?”

Theo rolled her eyes. “In plain english, I’ve been working with some Ravager-bits to try and figure out what is causing their alarming transformation.”

“And..?”

“And I’ve found that this transformation, which is caused by an aggressive virus that…well, I won’t get into that right now. All you need to know is that what we’re dealing with isn’t found in the natural world. Someone created this virus for one purpose: to turn people into Ravagers.”

“What? How is that even possible? The skill and technology required for such a thing would enormous! Who could do this?”

Theo crossed her arms, giving the Captain a skeptical look. “I was hoping you could tell me that, Captain. After all, you were part of the Africa mission that had the first encounter with the Ravagers.”

“How did you–”

“Read the file after our run in with the Ravagers last night. There isn’t much in the file, but it was enough to make me curious, care to enlighten me, Captain?”

Dirk was silent for a moment, rubbing his mechanical arm thoughtfully.

“It started out as an experiment…”

South Africa

January, 1881

During the days, the hot African sun beat down on the pale-skinned Englishmen, causing their fair skin to burn and peel. The nights weren’t much better, swarms of bugs would wiggle through mosquito nets, stealing blood and leaving disease. But tonight was different. Tonight two fair-skinned Englishmen were silently making their way through the camp of tents, out towards the rocky outcroppings surrounding the camp.

These two had been working for weeks, testing a new strand of virus Her Majesty’s Secret Service had developed. It would bring an end to the loss of loyal British troops. Jack was one of the leaders of the project, the project to create a “new generation” of soldier. One that didn’t feel fear, pain, or remorse.

“Jack, do you really think it’s time for this? It’s the middle of the bloody night, I think we should wait until we run this by the General, don’t you?” Captain Dirk asked, wiping his brow with his handkerchief. Despite the sunless sky above them, temperatures still reached unpleasant highs during the night.

“Nonsense!” Dirk’s blonde-haired companion replied, “We’ve got to act now or we’ll lose the element of surprise! We know the enemy’s location for tonight, but they might have moved by tomorrow. We can’t lose an opportunity like this, I’ve run the experiments myself. Don’t worry, it’ll work.” With this proclamation, Jack continued to make his way around the rocky formations and into the caves hidden within them. Sighing, Dirk followed his friend and partner up the winding path, praying this wasn’t a mistake.

After a treacherous twenty minutes of climbing, the duo arrived at a darkened cave opening. Jack went in first, lighting the lamps placed all over the cave. As light illuminated the cave, medical tools, a work table, and shelves lined with vials became visible. There was also an empty cage with the door torn open.

“Damn!” Jack cursed, glancing worriedly around the cave. “Dirk, look around! It can’t have gotten far, we’ve got to locate it before it reaches camp!” With a stream of curses, Jack drew his rifle and started picking up the scattered notes on the workbench.

Dirk drew his rifle and started cautiously moving around the cave, looking for any signs of movement. “I thought you said this’d be perfectly safe! How the bloody hell are we supposed to find this thing anyways? We’ve no idea where to start looking,” Dirk exclaimed angrily. “I’m heading back to camp to see if it’s tried to make it’s way down there. We’ll have hell to pay if we don’t have this whole mess sorted by morning.”

“Yes, yes. Splendid idea,” Jack murmured distractedly as he poured over his notes. “This is impossible, it shouldn’t have been able to move around for another hour at least. Maybe I miscalculated…” Jack trailed off as he recalculated equations in his head. Dirk laughed at his brilliant friend’s distractedness, causing his partner to burst into a fit of ungentlemanly giggles. Their laughter was cut short by an inhuman moan from the mouth of the cave.

The stench of rotting flesh filled the air, making both men dry heave and reach for their handkerchiefs. Turning around in fearful horror, Dirk muttered “I guess we won’t have a problem finding it.” Dirk raised his rifle and prepared to fire. Nothing was heard except for the heavy breathing of the Captain and the shuffling of inhuman feet. Dirk pulled the trigger, staggering backwards at the harsh recoil, and watched the bullet slowly sink into the grey flesh of the monster. No blood spurted from the bullet hole.

The creature looked down, an expression of surprise on its disfigured face, before curling its lips back in an angry snarl, showing rotten teeth and decaying gums. It continued lumbering towards the two terrified soldiers, no longer clumsy, but agile and angry. Dirk fired two shots in quick succession but with no effect. Reaching for his knife, Dirk threw his last line of defense and watched as it slid between two protruding ribs. The experiment didn’t even slow down. Dirk watched in horror as the once-human brute closed in on him.

London

May, 1883

“…we lost control.” Dirk’s voice was hoarse, his hands trembling.

“Captain.” Theo rested a reassuring hand on his shaking shoulder.

“I was the lucky one. The doctors were able to stop the infection by amputating my arm. Jack…good ol’ Union Jack, well he wasn’t so lucky. Don’t know quite what happened, I was out of commission for quite awhile. All I know is that he wasn’t with the organization when I got back.”

“I’m sorry Captain….Captain! Look at this!” Theo motioned gravely to the sample under the microscope. Looking at the vague blobs and moving bits under the microscope didn’t do much to help Dirk understand.

“The smog, God I’ve been so blind, it’s in the smog! That’s how they’re planning this ‘Enlightenment!’ They’ve made the virus airborne, it’s incubating in the smog right now!”

“But…we were just down there…and the smog was already spreading…we don’t have much time at all! Is there anything we can do to stop it?”

“I’ll start work on an antidote immediately, but it could be awhile. Captain I think you need to warn the Crown of what’s coming.”

Grabbing his coat, Dirk rushed to the door. “I’ll be back soon Theo, you just keep working!”

Slamming the door behind him, Dirk took off down the empty street. He was about ten blocks away from his apartment when the first tendrils of smog creeped through the quiet streets.  It was another two blocks before he broke down into deep, shuddering coughs. The air was thick with the toxic virus. It was too late to reach the Crown by foot.

~

Theo was in the middle of her work when she heard the door close behind her.

“Back so soon, Captain?’

There was no reply.

“Captai–” Theo was silenced by a gloved hand covering her mouth. It did not belong to the Captain.

“Well done, my dear Theo. Oh so clever, figuring out my clues and games. Now you’re just so close, aren’t you?”

Theo struggled against the iron-like grip of her captor. Craning her neck, she caught a glimpse of the blond-hair and scarred face of her captain.

“Jack…” Theo whispered, horrified.

“Now now dear, let’s not run. After all, I think it’s time The Doctor gave you some medicine.”

Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions? Leave me a comment!
Links to later chapters (Check Back Weekly):

| Ten |

The Mysterious Adventures of Captain Dirk Drake Chapter 8: Mischief and Mayhem


For those of you new to the story, here are the chapter links and a brief summary

One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | Seven

Captain Dirk Drake is Her Majesty Queen Victoria’s favorite agent who has spent the last two years recovering from an injury from his previous mission in Africa. Still adapting to his mechanical arm, Capt. Dirk is given the dangerous mission of investigating the ever-growing cloud of deadly smog rising out of the slums of London. He’s been given a new assistant on this case, Miss Theo Minksy, and they’ve been given a lead. After meeting their informant at the notorious nightclub “White Mink” a name, The Gideon Rose Syndicate, has arisen. Following a further lead, the duo set off to a secret meeting for Syndicate members where they uncovered a shocking truth. The Syndicate believes that becoming Ravagers is part of a sacred spiritual process called the Enlightenment. Struggling to find answers, Dirk and Theo set off for the Slums in hopes of uncovering the truth. Down there, the duo encounter a hoard of Ravagers and find themselves lost in the smoggy London slums. Barely escaping with their lives, Dirk returns home to find an ominous message waiting for him. Deciding to investigate further, he returns to White Mink to find more answers.

Yvette froze, her coy smile falling from her face as she recoiled from the Captain. Dirk grabbed her slender wrist with his mechanical hand, squeezing just enough that she couldn’t slip away. Gently, Dirk turned her wrist up, revealing the inky black tattoo marring the perfectly pale flesh. Yvette sighed, sitting down next to the Captain.

“It was nearly two years ago when the Syndicate approached me. I’d just come over from France, didn’t have a house or job. I was completely alone.”

Yvette smiled sadly at the Captain, “They go after the guttersnipes for a reason, Captain. They take in those with no future, no hope, and give them something to believe in. The…the Doc, he gave me a home. He clothed and sheltered me, asking for nothing in return.”

She chuckled darkly, “Well, not at first at least.

“It started out as little things, like delivering messages or helping shepherd people into meetings. Then, it was recruiting new members. Before I knew it they were calling me ‘high priestess.’

“It wasn’t bad in the beginning. The Doc was a visionary, talking about change and freedom and equality.” Yvette smiled fondly at the memories. “He promised people like me a better life…and we believed him. At first everything was just like he said it’d be. We were unstoppable, his vision seemed unstoppable. But weeks and months went by and it became obvious he was slipping into madness. The…the Ravagers are a blight, not the enlightenment. So many people…dead because of The Doc’s actions…because of my mistakes.” Yvette’s shoulders shook as she suppressed a sob.

“Do you think God can forgive so many sins, Captain? Can he even begin to cleanse the blood from my hands?”

A solitary tear fell down Yvette’s pale cheek.

“I want a way out. I can’t do this anymore. I can’t be responsible for such death and destruction. I…I just can’t. I’ll give you his location, but please…please…don’t hold me accountable for the sins of my youth. I can’t change what I’ve done…or what I might have to do…but maybe I can clear the red in my ledger one small step at a time.”

“That’s all any of us can do, m’dear. Try and make things right one step at a time.” Dirk pulled the trembling woman into his arms, placing a soft kiss on the crown of her golden head.

Yvette tilted her head upwards capturing the Captain’s chapped lips in a desperate kiss. Her small, delicate hands skimmed over the silky fabric of his shirt, deftly unbuttoning the shirt to reveal the smooth planes of his defined chest. Dirk pushed her away momentarily, running a hand through his disheveled hair.

“Yvette, we can’t be doing this. I…I have my work and you, despite your good intentions are the enemy. We just ca–”

“Shh,” Yvette held up a finger to the Captain’s lips. “Just give me this one night. That’s all I’m asking for, Captain.” Receiving no further resistance, Yvette kissed him soundly on the lips, guiding his strong hands to the small of her back. In a tangle of limbs, they fell onto the yielding daybed. The rising sun would bring reality back with it but for the moment, it was time to pretend.

~

The sun rose quietly the next morning, casting it’s pale rays onto the exposed forms lying in bed together. Dirk awoke first, picking the crumpled up shirt off the ground, throwing it over his exposed chest, and reaching for a cigarette from his pocket. Lighting it, he inhaled deeply, feeling the nicotine rush into his exhausted body. His brain was just starting to clear when he heard a hesitant knock on the door. There was the sound of rustling of sheets. Dirk turned back to see Yvette slipping into her robe. She walked over to the door, opening it to see who was standing outside so early in the morning.

“Hello again. I was told I could find Captain Dirk her–” Theo trailed off, taking in Dirk’s disheveled appearance and the smug look on Yvette’s face. Dirk cleared his throat awkwardly, looking down at his shoes as Theo silently fumed.

“Well, I can obviously see you’re busy Captain…I’ll come back later then.” Theo stormed out of the room, leaving a conflicted Dirk in her wake.

Throwing on his trousers and jacket, Dirk rushed after her, grabbing her arm. “Theo…Theo I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be sorry Captain. What you do with your time is none of my business.”

“You’re angry, Theo.”

“Just…just give me space for a bit, alright? You should probably get back and sort things out with Yvette. I’ll meet you back in White Mink in a little bit.”

“Well…if you’re sure, m’dear.” Dirk slowly made his way back to the dressing room.

Sighing angrily, Theo wandered outside to get some fresh air. She stood there in the sunlight, silently observing the still-sleeping district around her.

“It doesn’t get any easier, ya’ know. Seeing someone you love with someone else.”

Theo turned to see a man standing next to her. He looked vaguely familiar.

“Jack. Old army pal of the Captain’s, remember?”

“Oh, yes. What do you mean by it doesn’t get easier?”

“I’ve seen the way you look at him, don’t take a fool to recognize yer’ more than just his assistant.”

Theo blinked back the tears threatening to overwhelm her. “I assure you, he sees me as nothing more than a friend. There’s no point in pursuing anything more.”

Union Jack patted her sympathetically. “You might be surprised about Dirk, m’dear. He might seem like he has it all together, but he has his fair share of flaws. Weakness for woman and  opium haven’t always left him the ‘perfect patriot’ you see today. He’ll come around eventually, but in the meantime, ‘ere’s a little something to keep you occupied. Good luck with that case of yer’s.” Jack deposited a small vial of what looked like rotting human flesh into Theo’s waiting hand.

“Is…is this?”

“Yep. Ravager flesh. Fresh from this morning. Might wanna take a look at it back in the labs sooner rather than later. The Enlightenment is at hand after all.”

“Wait…the Enlightenment? How can you–”

“Sh…don’t ask. I’ve helped you too much already. I need to get back before my presence is missed.”

“Wait!” Theo cried as Union Jack sprinted away, leaving Theo alone once again in the morning light.

Looking carefully at the vial, Theo hailed a cab.

Maybe a quick look at his under the microscope can answer a few questions about this “Enlightenment.”

~

Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions? Leave me a comment!
Links to later chapters (Check Back Weekly):

 Nine | Ten

S10: Music, Media, and More


What song would be the film score for your story? 

 

The film score for my story would be written by Michael Giacchino, the composer for “Star Trek,” “Ratatouille,” and “Up.” It would also include songs from the electro-swing group Caravan Palace and some chap-hop songs by Mr. B The Gentleman Rhymer and Professor Elemental.

 

What book would be your main character’s favorite?

 

Dirk would be a huge fan of the whole Science Fiction genre as well as fantasy literature. He’d enjoy books like “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell,” “Ender’s Game,” “i-Robot,” and “Rendezvous with Rama.”

 

Theo on the other hand would secretly indulge in romance novels. She’d like creative stories like the “Mortal Instruments” series, “The Hunger Games” trilogy, and the work of Jane Austin.

 

 What TV show(s) would they watch? 

 

Together, Dirk and Theo would watch BBC’s latest version of “Sherlock.” Their dynamic is a little like that of Dr. Watson and Sherlock, and they would enjoy the wit of the series. Alone, Dirk would be a fan of the “Star Trek” franchise and the newer adaptation of “Battlestar Galactica.” Theo wouldn’t watch much TV, she’d be too busy in the lab. In her spare time, she’d watch programs like “How Stuff Works” and “Mythbusters” to give her ideas for her own work.

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