Chapter 4:


City of Gods

"Six years ago, you became a rustwalker.

Around that same time, the city of Arcadia had developed a new model of nanobots. Like the old ones, these new nanobots served the same purpose; to expand a person's capabilities.

To make them faster.

To make them stronger.

However, despite serving the same purpose these new nanobots were different.

The linkage between the host's brain and the new nanobots was more secure. The new ones responded faster to their host's thoughts and were more easily transferred throughout the body. On top of this, each individual nanobot could collect and transfer more information from a host's surroundings and send that information to its host's brain at quicker speeds.

In this case, I am referring to the host as a rustwalker.

Even with all the benefits that the new nanobots provided, the city of Arcadia only decided to use them for one reason.

Arcadia could, no, Arcadia can control the new nanobots to a certain degree even after they are merged with a host's brain.

More specifically, with the new nanobots, the city of Arcadia is able to wipe any rustwalkers memory. They can exterminate specific memories or choose to make someone forget their entire life. The control is entirely theirs.“

I interrupt Ozzie.

“How is that possible“, I say.

“I'm still trying to figure that out myself”, he responds.

Ozzie clears his throat and continues.

“When you joined the rustwalkers six years ago I knew you were special. I had already been a rustwalker for four years and I had never seen someone with the strength and determination that you possessed. It wasn’t a surprise that you became one of the most valuable rustwalkers the city had ever seen. You were a leader and you had a good heart. But that was your eventual downfall. Your heart.

Like me, you began to realize the truth about the world outside the city. You couldn't stand what the city was fighting for.

So together we rebelled.

And lost.

Because I was injected with the old nanobots they couldn't wipe my memory. So I begged. I begged that the city spare my life. I told them that I was a foolish man, that I had realized my wrongdoings and would never repeat them.

They let me live.

After all, I was just as valuable a rustwalker as you were.“

The wind starts to pick up and the sky becomes cloudy.

“You on the other hand had your memories of your first year as a rustwalker completely wiped. They were careful not to take away any other memories as they did not want to destroy what it was that motivated you to become a rustwalker in the first place.

They needed you to fight for them. They still need you. You are their strongest soldier. 

You eventually came back and received the nanotech injection for the second time. I was not allowed to interact with you by myself and was under surveillance at all times because the city feared another rebellion if you and I got into contact.

During those years you spent as a rustwalker you always made the same choices. You continued to fall into the same tragic cycle.

It always goes like this.

Approximately one year after you receive the nanotech injection you venture out far enough beyond the city to see the devastating truth about Arcadia and the rustwalkers. You change your mind about fighting for the city, rebel, lose and have your memory of the last year completely wiped.

And the cycle repeats.

But this time it’s different. This time I’m here to guide you. Together we can break that cycle and save the city as well as the outside world.“

I have no reason to trust Ozzie. 

But I still feel compelled to help him. Everything he is saying makes sense on a certain level but is almost too absurd to even consider it to be the truth. Besides what could be out there beyond the city that makes me change my mind about fighting for Arcadia’s protection.

“How can I trust you”, I ask him.

He smirks at me

“Look over there”, he says. “Do you see those two people?”

In the distance, two figures emerge from the dunes guarding the beach and make their way down to the shoreline.

“That’s you and me, Vincent. When we finally reached the ocean you were so in awe you could barely speak.”

One of the figures runs out in front of the other charging into the shallow water. Ozzie and I get up and start walking in the direction of our past selves.

“How long ago was this?”, I ask Ozzie.

“About six years ago. A week from now we invade Arcadia.”

“And we lose”, I say.

“We lose”, he responds.

How can such a precious memory be taken from me? If I’ve already been to the ocean is there a point in going back. I mean I'm looking at the ocean right now. Maybe it’s because I'm in my head, but I can't help but think that it is so underwhelming.

I still want to see it again in real life. I still want to go back. Only because I'm clinging to the hope that it might be different if I see it again. 

I want to see...

“Is there anything more to this memory?”, I ask Ozzie.“Do we try and walk the beach or anything like that?”

Ozzie chuckles to himself

“We walk it for almost a full day”, he says. “You insisted that we walk the entire shoreline as far as we could. Whenever I tried to stop you insisted that I keep on walking.”

“And do we find anything?” I question.

“Just endless beach”, Ozzie says.

The sky begins to grow darker as the wind picks up even more. Parts of the sky begin to go completely black. The colourfulness of the landscape is starting to fade.

“I can only hold a memory for so long Vincent. You will be waking up soon.”

My senses are beginning to dull.

“How many people do you think I’ve killed”, I ask.“Over these past six years how many?”

“I'm not sure”, Ozzie responds. “All the killing you’ve done has been necessary. It has all been so that we can reach our ultimate goal.”

So I have killed before.

All this time I’ve been preparing myself to become a monster for the sake of this city when in reality I'm already one.

That can't be.

I start walking towards the water. The sun is now completely masked by the dark patches in the sky. The water is ice cold and large waves crash against my chest. it feels like the coldness of the water is sucking all the emotion out of my body.

I need to get out of my head. I need to be back in the hospital bed and convince myself none of this happened. I want to be good. I don't want to have killed. Not yet.

Arcadia is good. In order to save Arcadia, I must fight for them but Ozzie is saying the opposite. How can fighting against the city of Arcadia save it? I just don't understand. The people outside the city are the real enemy. That's what I've been told my whole life. 

I keep on swimming further into the vast ocean.

“You cannot run away from yourself Vincent.”

The water has gone black and my neck is almost completely submerged.

“I can't help you, Ozzie. I don't want to.”, I painfully yell as I'm trying to keep my mouth above the water.

“Why do you fight for this city”, Ozzie says.

His body is no longer on the shore. Ozzie’s voice is surrounding me.

“Because I want to help people. I want to fight so others don't have to.”

“That's how I know you are good Vincent. Every time I've asked you that question you've answered it the same way. Despite having your memory for the last six years gone, you still have the same response. At your core, you are good Vincent. You fight for those that need it. I'm just trying to help you figure out who needs to be fought for.”

A wave pulls me under the water. I try to swim up above the surface but above me is endless black. I am being suspended in darkness. The liquid I am in is getting thicker. My body can no longer move.

“Vincent, you cannot let anybody know that you have come in contact with me. If you do we will both be killed. I will contact you again when the time is right.”

I can't breathe and my body is completely tense.

“One last thing. When you awake you will need to make a choice. Sacrifices must be made to reach what we want. Just remember, you are the only one who can save the people of this city and the outside world.”

A brightness coming from above me sends streaks of light through the abyss I am suspended in. My body begins to float towards it.


City of Gods