Today’s News in: Rip – Find the Magic Key

blue swatch— Omah needs a shave. —

“I need a shave.”
“Let me show you. Take this off first.”
She tugged on the collar of his jumpsuit.
“Oh no! You’re not getting me naked that quick.”
“Ha! You’ll see us naked before too long. Don’t be shy.”
“No!”
“Alright! Just strip to the waist then.”
Omah unfastened the sticky front tab and peeled the smooth, metallic top down to his waist, rubbed his bare chest out of embarrassment and gave Archivist a lopsided grin.
Now look in the mirror and say, “Shave!”
“Shave! Hey! What’s this! I have a white mark on my chest. Like a key!”
“Yes. I thought it was kinda cute when we were shown your body in one of our first briefings.”
“Oh god! You mean you’ve seen me naked?”
“Sure! All of it. And you’re quite a healthy man.”
Omah blushed and replied.
“But what does this mark mean? Do you have it?”
“No. You’re the only one. We don’t know what it means. You had it when you came to u- … . Oh there, now you’re jumping the gun! Or making me! Let’s do the shave.”
“But wait a minute! At least it’s something not blue! And Controller; he seems very emotionless and blank. Are you all robots?”
Archivist’s laugh sounded like the delicate titter of a teenage girl.
“It sometimes feels like it.”
“Androids then? Cyborgs?”

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Today’s News in: Rip – Find the Magic Key

blue swatch— Omah wakes up after an unknown period of cryo-sleep. He’s not sure where he is or why the woman looks the way she does. —

The blue woman began to unfasten Omah’s sleep corset with practiced skill.
“My name’s Soother.”
Omah wasn’t a tall man and always felt inadequate until he knew whether a woman stood taller than him or not, and when he felt inadequate, he tended to be aggressively sarcastic:
“Soother? Is that your boyfriend’s pet name for you?”
“You can cut the jokes. I don’t have a boyfriend. Such concepts died long ago.”
“They did? Nobody told me.”
“How do you feel?”
“Hm. A bit angry. I think I argued with somebody last night. My partner?”
“If you did, she’s long gone. You should forget the argument.”
“What? What year is this? I think I feel sick.”
“Never mind the year. It’s a long time after your last memories. You’re a survivor.”
“Well that makes me feel a little bit better.”
“Do you feel like walking? It’s good to walk if you can manage it. It will help you to recover quicker.”
“Well, I don’t think I can walk. My legs feel like jelly. But I would like to take a look around … . If you don’t mind?”
“Not at all. I’ll get a buggy.”
Omah noticed the second disconcerting thing. It had been on his periphery for some time, but he had managed to ignore it. Now he no longer could. His arms were blue too.

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Today’s News in: Rip – Find the Magic Key

blue swatch— Omah wakes up after an unknown period of cryo-sleep. He’s not sure where he is or why the woman looks the way she does. —

My brother had a ball. When you tried to kick it, it moved away from you. I grew tired trying to hit the thing.
“Don’t think about kicking it,” he told me. “The ball is designed to read your intentions. Think about nothing.”
It felt very satisfying when I finally got a foot on it and sent it into the back of the net.
A ‘beeping’ interrupted his memories.
So I have been asleep?
He tried to open one eye, but it felt gummed up. Screwing his face up to make tears, he eventually managed to open one, only to see a panel, which proved to be the source of the ‘beeps.’ A sign flashed, ‘Hello Omah,’ in in red letters. You’re in waking up phase. I’m administering stimulants.’
“Oh great! Thanks! I hate cryo-sleep!”
A distant hum occurred at the same time as his cryo-chamber began to incline. The glass-lidded container, little more than a box, began to raise at his head’s end and continued inclining until he lay at a forty-five-degree angle. The lid opened and straps released his arms and legs. He felt sharp stabs of pain as a needle retracted from each arm, but didn’t have the energy to say:
“Ouch!”
His legs felt distinctly wobbly, so it came as a relief to see an attractive woman approaching him in a white jumpsuit. The only problem; her skin was blue.

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Today’s News in: Rip – Find the Magic Key

violet swatch— Ome explains how he got his strange name. —

Somebody slapped the canvas on the outside of the tent and shouted, “Service!” Moments later the whole camp stirred into weary activity. The woman’s eyes lit up.
“No not that sort of service,” O’Mally explained. “No room service here baby. You’re expected to attend a church service every day. Christianity has returned here. Even for the Muslims! They won’t mind if we miss a day. Shamus is my family name. My mother’s father was an O’Mally, so my mum had the bright idea of calling me O’mally. Stupid. I suffered.”
O’Mally became silent for a moment. He gave her the thousand-mile stare and continued:
“Believe me, I suffered. But anyway, I got into acting; small stuff, a few movies you might have heard of, but bit parts. It became useful then ’cause I called myself Sean O’Mally. For the book writing I changed it again, to Seamus Mally. Anyway, my friends call me Ome, so you can too.”
“And the story?”
“Yes. Apart from the alien stuff. But that’s my interpretation.”
“Is that true about the Jesus and Brazil?”
“Yeah. Believe so. I saw it. Took me almost six months to get here. Now I have to get back. The car is gone of course. Useless without chargers. I have to get back to my girls.”
“In London?”
“Yes.”
The woman shook her head slowly, but said nothing.

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Today’s News in: Rip – Find the Magic Key

violet swatch— Sabrina reaches a camp in Wales and reads a strange story in a sleeping man’s notebook. —

I feel somebody is in the room so I try to open my eyes.
But, as sometimes happens when your mind is awake and your body is still asleep, try as I might, I could not open them.
I tried harder and harder, as I imagined footsteps approaching my bed.
A voice, deep inside my head screamed:
“Open!”
But I couldn’t do it.
In my dream, I levered myself out of the dirty sheets and dragged on my dirty clothes.
I became aware of distant alarms and rushing feet in the corridors outside. When I opened the door, I saw panic in the eyes of those running.
The hostel had its own infirmary and my legs dragged me there, for no reason I knew of.
I pushed open the double doors and strode into the small ward.
Empty
I pushed open the doors to the operating theatre without considering my action.
“Who are you? Get out!” screamed a doctor.
I couldn’t help staring at the body on the table; it looked like the flesh of the man, if a man he was, had been sucked out from the inside. Luminescence.
The body was no more than a husk. It was the alien’s alright, and I had to run.
With a last, terrifying effort of will I opened my eyes and saw only an empty room. The other five beds were unmade and empty, all except one. A man, whose name I did not know, slept on.

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Today’s News in: Rip – Find the Magic Key

violet swatch— Sabrina’s life changes when she is riding her bicycle through Islington. —

“Step back! I’m a first-aider!” a deep voice shouted. “Has somebody called an ambulance? Call them now.”
A few drivers honked their horns impatiently
A female voice spoke uncertainly into a mobile phone:
“Yes. Traffic accident on Islington Green. A woman on a bicycle. Yes, it’s very bad. Her leg is … . No, she is still conscious. No, her head looks okay. Wait. Can you hear me dear?”
“What?” Sabrina mumbled when a hand touched her shoulder.
“What is your name?”
“Sabrina MacIntyre. Sabrina Theresa MacIntyre.”
“Yes. She knows her name. But she is losing a lot of blood. Come quickly! Oh … . Yes, I will stay calm. Yes. There is a first-aider here. He is applying pressure to the … what do you call it? Yes, artery. Thanks. They are coming dear. Hang on. Can we put something under her head?”
Somebody lifted her head and lowered it onto something soft.
When Sabrina came round, she could hear an ambulance siren wailing and man squeezed her hand, saying:
“Hello Sabrina. We are near The Royal London Hospital. You are going to be fine. You just had a little accident.”
Her next memory was of waking in bed and being told about the drip. She recalled all this over and over again and with increasing clarity while she waited for her first visit. A familiar face appeared round the door. Her mother’s same luscious black hair had now turned completely grey. Her face wrinkled into a strange parody of her daughter’s beauty, looked as translucent as a light bulb, radiating fear. Sabrina’s tall and craggy father came behind, supported his wife, as if that role would be easier than looking at his daughter.

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Today’s News in: Rip – Find the Magic Key

orange swatch— Jack doesn’t like the road ahead. He calls for the column to halt but a moment later, things get hairy. —

As Carla rumbled over the bridge Jack yelled:
“Stop!”
“What is it Jack?” Sprouts yelled back, when the tank had stopped.
“I don’t like it,” Jack replied. “It’s too quiet. No horses, no cows, no cars or wagons, no birds. Pull over Lucky! Get on the radi-…”
A flash of light caught his eye, straight ahead. He ducked, slamming the hatch closed and yelling, “Incomin- … !”
The tank rocked with the impact of an armour penetrating round. Everybody’s eyes closed, expecting their life to be snuffed out. A moment later they heard a ‘clang’ some way behind Carla, an explosion to their right, and the tank stopped rocking.
“What the fuck happened!” somebody yelled.
“Turn the tank Lucky!” Jack yelled.
The crew was as well-oiled as any crew in the US Army, so Lucky responded without thinking. The tank began to pirouette to the right, Lucky reversing one set of tracks and pushing the other forward as hard as he could.
“What the hell are you doin’?” Sprouts yelled.
Carla had almost turned round completely when they heard the whistle of another incoming round. An instant later, they were rocked again, but during that instant, Lucky had stamped on the throttle pedal and the tank had lurched ahead about six feet. Something smashed into the rear, right corner of the tank and explode, sending hot shards of metal into the main compartment. None hit the men. Carla continued to roll forward.

Rip-Find the Magic Key: 2nd longest Western novel at 1 M+ words. Subscribe bit.ly/LazloFerran | Buy Vol 1 bit.ly/ripvol1 | Understand more bit.ly/inforip