What follows is Part lV of my Deadtown serial. For those who might be interested and want to be brought up to speed on this ever changing tale, the next three links are the first three parts.
Deadtown - Part l - Hick gets caught
Deadtown - Part ll - We meet Gravo
Deadtown - Part lll - Hick & Gravo together
Part lV - Moss Boss
Moss Boss became physically aware again. These mandatory resets were becoming a problem. In the beginning when he first set foot on this planet, he could replenish when and where he pleased. But once a sentient race had been nursed into existence, he had to be more careful. The reset was messy. It left him vulnerable for a time. If caught by thinking beings, his actions would be cause for alarm. And maybe even spoil the mission he had been tasked with so very long ago.
In the 1.5 million orbits he had been here, he had only revealed his true self to one other. It had been a simple matter to deal with. He merely placed that species on a dead end track. The mistake reinforced his need to be cautious. Once every hundred cycles or so, he had to lay down and replenish. It was his one and only biological imperative. He had to do it completely alone.
He wished he could communicate with the one other member of his race who also existed here. But rules were rules. Rules that had become necessary for the very survival of those waiting two billion light years away. A replacement race could not just be created. It had to be cajoled and caressed into the final form. A replacement race could only be had by careful manipulations that became ever more intricate the closer they evolved to replacement status. This took cooperation by opposing efforts. Stressing the DNA combinations and their interactions was every bit as important as creating them. His counterpart worked the other side.
This particular mission was but one of millions his home world had going. Some had already failed for one reason or another. Some languished as the worlds they played out on went through physical changes his kind could not tweak or change. His race were masters of biology not geology. For this reason, so many missions had been launched. Through the idea of a massive pool of designs, one would likely emerge that would meet the home world's needs. It would be a simple matter to terminate the rest once a suitable race had been completed.
The replacement race need not look or act like the ones they were replacing. They only needed to have the right combination of neural activities that would accommodate the overwhelming intellect that would one day take over. Their physicality was but a petri dish.
Moss Boss had not foreseen this latest world wide upheaval. He assumed it had been something his comrade had created. He also figured it was part of the plan. One of the regular purges to make sure this planet would last long enough to get this race into space. His task was clear. His goal always to make sure there were survivors. And that these survivors were stronger and smarter than the ones who came before. It did bother him some that he had no inkling of this recent kill off. Usually his compadre would send some small signal so he could prepare. Not this time.
This bothered him some. As he had more important things to consider, he filed his unease for thoughtful consideration at a later time. He had to make an appearance soon or his absence would be questioned. He slipped back into his corporeal form. Readjusted his facial features and walked back to his office the back way.
"Where's Moss Boss?" Gravo was impatient. He had important news and needed some guidance.
"Don't know Gravo. MB mentioned he would be out of touch a couple of days ago. Something about checking on the progress up near the GW Bridge. What's up?"
Gravo had never liked Spinner. The man was the quintessential suck up. The master back stabber. But he was M B'S lackey and he had his ear.
"Found something near the old Lincoln Tunnel. Something big. I need to see him ASAP."
"Well what was it? I'll be sure to pass it along."
"Uhm, never mind, I would rather talk with him. Just tell I need to see him."
Just then the ragged old theater curtains separating Moss Boss's private place from his public place parted. "What's up boys? Ah Gravo, what brings you up here?"
Gravo had turned to leave. He stopped and turned around. He always wanted to chuckle when he saw Moss Boss. The rotund five foot body and the bald head just did not fit the man. Why this man commanded so much respect he could not understand. He had stopped worrying about it years ago though. He had never met someone who could figure angles like Moss Boss. He always seemed to make the right decision.
Before Gravo could speak, Spinner blurted out, " I just debriefed Gravo and he has some interesting information on something he found down near the Lincoln Tunnel."
Gravo did not try to hide his disdain for this useless suck up. He shot a hard look at Spinner and then began his report. He explained the loss and safe recovery of his best hunter. He went over the skirmish with the Creeps. When he mentioned how much bigger and obviously more intelligent the one Creep was, Moss Boss interrupted.
"You say this Creep was bigger? How much bigger? Did you bring him back? I would like to see him."
Gravo felt some irritation at being interrupted before he could relay what he considered the real news. "No, we left him. I felt it more important to get back here with the news of what we found in the warehouse."
"What?" Moss Boss seemed distant. His attention was on something else now. "You say he was big. As big as you?"
"Yeah at least. Maybe bigger. But Big Boss what we found in the warehouse. Boxes, pallets, all stacked up neat. Everything unused and new. Must be a hundred bikes in boxes.....
"Big huh? I have to think about this, I'll be back in a moment."
Spinner and Gravo just looked at each other and then at the back of Moss Boss as he disappeared behind his curtains. "What the Hell is up with M B?" Spinner mused. Gravo shrugged and sat down on some leather ottoman salvaged from one of the old hotels uptown.
Moss Boss had been gone maybe ten minutes. Spinner had tried to create some small talk but soon realized Gravo was not interested. So he found a chair and waited silently. Moss Boss came back through the curtains.
"Gravo, I want you to send out some men and find that Creep body and bring it back here."
"But M B, what about the new goods?"
"Yes, of course. They can be of some use. Form a scavenging party also and bring the salvage back to the lake building. George will know what to do with it. If you need more men, hit the Subs. They are always eager to get out of there. Take some horses and carts if you need them. But bring me that Creep." Then muttering something about Creeps should not be big, M B again left them.
Once he was alone, Moss Boss chewed on this new development. When his race was involved, manipulation of biological beings was a very precise science. All mutations were planned well in advance and never were they put in play too quickly. This always raised suspicions. The bigger Creep bothered him. Once he had had a chance to take one apart in the early stages of this recent purge, he saw his counterpart's handiwork. Sensible and clean with logical biological points to change in the future. It was not like him to initiate so noticeable a change as an increase in size this soon after a major pogrom.
His unease was understandable. It had been just such a minor thing that had set in motion the failure of their first attempt on this planet. A setback that meant starting over almost from scratch. A setback that necessitated some kind of geological and biological history that would explain to the new replacements that this had been a natural event. He already felt this mission had lasted long enough. He did not want to have to start over one more time.
He tried to relax. He attempted to find some calm by reveiewing his plans for the next stage. But he could not focus. The possibility of a new biological factor had to be addressed. He got up and rushed out to his outer office. "Where's Gravo?"
Spinner looked up from a tattered and worn "National Geographic", "Uh I guess he headed down to the subway to get some men."
"Find him. Tell him to wait until I show up. I am going with him."
Spinner sat there looking over the top of the National Geographic at Moss Boss. He did not move.
"Now Spinner! Do it Now!"
Spinner jumped as if shot in the ass. As he beat feet he puzzled at this uncharacteristic show of temper from the big guy. Something was up he thought. He could feel it, sense it. Moss Boss was onto to something. He had better pay attention.
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