* Notice to readers *
As of 16 July 2013, Hakujou na Enjinsha Black Jack has been undergoing revision; the content on this page is from the original, unedited version of the story. You may read on if you wish; however, some of the changes in the new edition are significant. These include changes in chaptering due to merging and removal of some original content, as well as general editing and the addition of new content.
If you would prefer to wait for the improved, revised version, please check back every now and again to see if this notice has been removed.
Epilogue: Flight of a Thousand
The room was silent, save for the ticking of a clock mounted on the wall beside the barred window. It was but a small room, measuring perhaps five square metres. Apart from an occupied chair, the only furniture present in the narrow space was a wooden table, beneath the only window, on which rested an assortment of objects: two rings, an amulet, a pendant, a bracelet, a pocket watch and a bloodstained dagger. Each bore a brilliantly coloured gem, gently reflecting the dim light of the room.
The occupant of the chair was a young man of a somewhat feminine appearance; he had a considerably lean stature, untidy, dark blond hair and exceedingly fair skin, and wore clothes thoroughly soiled with stains of crimson. He looked to be sleeping peacefully, despite the heavy chains and thick cords that wound around his arms, legs and torso, securely binding him to the chair. Also attached to his chest and limbs, by means of a variety of cables, were numerous black devices, each with a red digital readout displaying a steadily descending number.
Several sets of footsteps increased in volume as they neared the secluded room, stopping just before the door. The young man stirred from his slumber as he heard the clinking of chains unwinding and numerous keys turning in their respective locks. His lids parted to reveal pale grey irises, and instantly becoming alert, he swept the small room with his gaze. A number of older men, aged between thirty and forty years old, entered the room. Several of them were armed with various weapons.
One of the men, who wore a coat marked with the word 'Chief', stepped forward to address the prisoner, boring into him with eyes burning with rage. The young man bound to the chair returned the chief officer's gaze, utterly unperturbed.
The officer pointed at the readout on one of the devices on the detainee's body. "You have four minutes left to live. If you don't want that time cut short, you'll answer our questions."
The blond man only chuckled. "Certainly. I shall tell you whatever you wish to know."
Another officer stepped forward, carrying a clipboard, and began to ask questions in a voice devoid of emotion. "You are Jack Kian Nox, also known as Black Jack, born in Anglia on the seventh of August, nineteen years ago. Your parents were Kian Nox and Mathilda Bennett. Is this information correct?"
The young prisoner nodded in response. "That is so."
"You have committed a series of crimes, including five known cases of theft, seven instances of attempted theft, twenty-three cases of vandalism and damage of public and private property, and were responsible for approximately sixty thousand deaths over the last six years. Is this correct?"
This time, the prisoner only smirked. "In truth, I do not enumerate such insignificant matters. Sixty thousand seems to be a reasonable approximation."
One of the other officers, a younger man, struck the convict in the temple with the bayonet on his rifle. Trickles of crimson fluid streamed from the large wound, running down the convict's face, down his brow and cheeks and reaching his chin. He simply smirked, leisurely licking away the blood that had trickled onto his lips.
"And I implore that you do not be so presumptuous in calling those acts 'crimes' and 'thefts'. In reality, my actions have been but acts of recovery and retrieval."
Again, he was struck with the sharp blade of the bayonet, this time in the thigh. Droplets of blood pattered onto the threadbare carpet. But still he only smiled.
The interrogator turned a page in his clipboard. "Your most noteworthy crimes have all been pertinent to your acquisition of the seven Animulus Artefacts, which were confiscated from you upon your arrest. What did you hope to achieve by gaining all seven of the Artefacts?"
"An achievement unattainable by and of no worth to your kind," replied the young man. "As I said, my acts were not thefts. The Animulus Artefacts were the possessions of my ancestors. It was your kind that stole and scattered them."
"What nonsense is this?" asked another officer, eliciting a murmur of general consensus.
The young convict laughed coldly. "I do not expect fools such as you to understand. That would be unreasonably demanding."
Even as he felt the sharp sensation of the blade plunging into his abdomen and the blood flowing freely from the injury, he only laughed.
The interrogation continued. "Are you currently working with any accomplices?"
The Anglian man chuckled. "I am not so desperate as to turn to your kind for assistance. I trust none but myself. You may suspect me such that you found it necessary to inject sodium thiopental into my body upon my arrest, but I assure you I receive no profit from deceit."
According to the readout on each of the black boxes, about fifty seconds remained before the devices would activate. Having taken note of this, the armed officers and interrogator stepped back. A thick, translucent screen rose from the floor, dividing the officers from the criminal.
The chief officer spoke, his voice becoming slightly distorted through the defensive partition. "You have less than a minute left to live. Do you have any last words?"
Despite being pressed for time, the blond man answered in his own leisurely pace. "I have many regrets, the greatest of which being that I have not yet managed to entirely annihilate your kind. There shall never be another like me, and so this world shall never be restored to its proper form again. However, I suppose I am fortunate enough to depart from this miserable, wretched world that has been corrupted by your kind."
Twelve. Eleven. Ten. Nine.
His delicate feminine lips stretched into a wide smirk. "Oh, and there is one last thing…"
Six. Five. Four. Three.
"Seek me in Meiricea."
A thunderous roar tore through the air as the explosives on the criminal's person detonated, barely contained within the protective barrier. Angry golden flames hissed and spat viciously, dark grey clouds of smoke billowing from the scarce remnants of the chair, embers twirling through the air. Several minutes elapsed as the dust cleared to reveal a floor littered with ash and the crumbling, blackened remains of the chair as the only evidence of the convict's presence in the room.
These proceedings were observed by a group of young adults seated in front of a number of screens, each of which displayed the scene of execution from different angles. A faint murmur rippled through the group of analysts as they began to take notes and key information into their terminals.
On the opposite end of the room, a separate team of analysts observed a similar scene on various screens; apart from the layout and size of the room, and the type of furniture to which the criminal was bound, the scene was identical to that which the other group had viewed. However, according to the data feed at the bottom of each screen, there was at least one significant difference.
The feed on the first team's videos displayed, among other strings of code, the word 'Anglia'. The second team's display bore the word 'Gallia'.
Could the criminal have been in both locations at the same time?
One of the senior supervisors overseeing the analysis frowned deeply. "Rewind the video and play that last segment of dialogue again. Turn the volume higher."
The assistant supervisor obliged. A moment later, a voice of disturbing calmness and composure, despite the volume at which it was played, repeated its words. "Seek me in Meiricea."
"Meiricea…" muttered the supervisor, before he raised his voice to address the assistant once again. "Check all recent activity reports in Meiricea."
The video on the glowing screens was replaced by a number of charts, graphs and readouts. There seemed to be nothing unusual on the reports until about five minutes ago, when the criminal had been executed on live footage. At this point, there was an unusual wave in a previously flat line on the activity graph.
"There seems to be some kind of fleet movement in Meiricea, near the Great Desert area," commented the assistant, a note of worry in her voice.
"Display live feed from the Great Desert."
Now shown on the screen was the still image of a wide expanse of barren desert, beneath an overcast grey sky. There were no signs of the presence of any individual. All that could be seen was the movement of a thousand tiny white flecks against the dark sky, and the swarm of specks seemed to grow larger as they neared the camera.
A gentle jingling sound began to fill the air as the white specks approached. Once sufficiently close to the camera, the white shapes were easily identified as paper aeroplanes, which miraculously stayed smoothly afloat despite the bells attached to each of its wings – the source of the ringing sounds.
Several Seiren Corporation cameras swivelled to observe the flight of the fleet of paper aircraft, which seemed to approach the outskirts of a city situated on the borders of the desert, when suddenly the video feed was interrupted and disconnected, much to the surprise of the viewers.
The chilling jingling of bells increased in volume as they reached the outer walls of the city. Suddenly, the bells detached from the wings of the paper vehicles and began to fall to the ground. The moment the first bell made contact with the ground, a series of chaotic explosions erupted, carving dents in the roads and throwing clouds of dirt and gravel into the air. The detonation of each bell triggered that of the bells around it, and the air was filled with smoke and the burning orange glow of each eruption.
Then, in the midst of the pandemonium, the silhouette of a lone figure could be seen as it leisurely strolled through the thick clouds of grey billowing and swirling through the air. It paused by the entrance of the city, turning to look behind it.
As the explosions subsided and the smoke and dust cleared, a dark blond head became visible. It was tilted upward, its pale eyes searching the skies. A loud buzzing and humming noise filled the air as swarms of military aircraft nearly obscured the spread of grey clouds above, and on the ground below, thousands of armoured tanks loomed in the distance, steadily drawing nearer like mechanical moles emerging from the earth. Running alongside each tank were tens of thousands of armed soldiers, mere ants beside metallic giants.
The blond figure turned away from the city and walked, with ever graceful strides, toward the approaching armies, arms hanging loosely by his sides in an entirely unperturbed fashion. The click of firearms loading resonated through the air as the barrel of every weapon instantly turned onto him.
From his lips rang an icy laugh, echoing through the wide terrain. "I am glad you could join me today."
A resounding bang of gunfire reverberated through the air as the signal to launch the attack. The sizeable platoon began to assail the solitary figure with a myriad of projectiles, the audible whistling of airborne missiles ringing through the air.
He, however, remained undaunted.
The young man barely flinched at the imminent assault; rather, he simply sidestepped and twirled out of the hail of bullets and missiles. With a slight wave of one hand, he guided the multitudes of larger projectiles into intersecting paths, rendering them useless against him as they exploded on collision with one another. Even infrared homing weapons seemed ineffective on him, as the readings on various meters reported his body temperature was no different from the surrounding environment.
As soon as the first wave of the assault began to subside, the young blond man slowly raised one gloved hand, lowering it again in one smooth motion. Thunder rumbled gently through the rapidly darkening sky. Barely a second later were the clouds stained with a scarlet glow as a storm of fiery bullets rained from the heavens. Bright flashes of lightning ripped through the sky as large masses of flaming rock struck the aircraft, sending them spiralling down to the vehicles and soldiers beneath.
His lips curled into a smirk as he tapped the ground with his foot twice. Immediately, colossal fissures in the earth blossomed open, swallowing the armoured military vehicles along with thousands of powerless soldiers. Having removed many of the obstacles in his path, he calmly approached the remaining troops, stopping a mere twenty feet before the nearest soldier. The soldier trained his weapon on the young man, who was – the soldier could not help but notice – peculiarly dressed for the occasion; his entire ensemble, from his hat and morning coat to his shirt and trousers, was black in colour.
"I suppose that's why they call you Black Jack," remarked the soldier, his finger steady on the trigger.
A low chuckle sounded from the Anglian man's throat, but he made no comment. Instead, he simply tilted the brim of his hat higher, locking his gaze onto the soldier's. Then without warning, the blond man's pale irises flashed a vibrant crimson. A fraction of a second later, the soldier slumped lifelessly, and his body abruptly erupted into scarlet and gold.
The shower of gunfire began yet again, but again, the young man did not shrink away. With elegant sweeping motions, he effortlessly seized bullets out of the air and returned them to his attackers. Many fell to the earth without even a groan, while others suffered critical injuries. Innumerable combatants and vehicles burst aflame with a mere glance from his icy silver glare.
He watched the scene of devastation before him with unfeeling eyes.
Millions of people around the world had stopped by the nearest accessible television screen to watch the currently airing news item. On the screen, video feed of thousands of injured soldiers and severely damaged military craft was displayed.
"During his attack earlier today, fifty-seven hundred were killed, with seventeen thousand receiving significant injury. Damages are reported to total to over eighty billion Meiricean dollars. As always, the perpetrator has left his signature message."
Replacing the images of the casualties was a single still image, evidently captured from aircraft above the scene. An elegant script with elaborately styled crimson letters formed a message on the surface of the fawn desert sand.
I merely repair what you have broken.
A/N: This is actually kind of late, I meant to upload it a week earlier but I wasn't able to finish it on time OTL;;
But anyway, thanks for following this story. If you enjoyed it you have wasted countless hours of your time and need to go read a real story. Sorry.
A sequel is in the planning stages, but at this stage I don't have enough feedback on this story to determine whether or not readers would be willing to read that. That's why reviews are important.
Anyway, thanks for following so far. I'm kind of sad it's over =( I'd love to know what you thought of the story. (And please notify me if you spot any errors.) Thanks =)