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Codex Immortus: Dreadnought (IC)

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London, 1850, Winter...the Offices of Mr. Ebenezer Fiddle, Lawyer...


An interlude from London Calling to discuss philosophy and such like and so forth... 


"Unngh..." groaned Mr. Fiddle, his burnt arm draped in cold wet bandages, the Laudanum having finally kicked in. "Don't mind me, please..." he mumbled at Dreadnought and Mr. Murk (whom had kindly tended to him. He might be blind, but he knew his way around the offices most well, and was tender in giving care). "Please help your selves to brandy...I know I will..." he said, floating between nearly awake and nearly asleep, and hoping Brandy might provide further relief from his injury. 


Mr. Murk sat down with Dreadnought, although the giant of Liverpool (or Norwegian troll, depending on which gossip one was inclined to believe) could of course not sit on any furniture. At least the floor had nice rugs. Indian, if Dreadnought were to guess. 


Mr, Murk himself had a brandy although only sipped it, savouring its taste rather than devouring its alcohol. 


"I don't think I have ever met anyone quite like you sir" he said, quite blind but seeming to look at Dreadnought nonetheless. "And that is saying something I rarely say these days. I might wonder that you have only told me selected elements of your story?" he asked, politely and warmly. 


"I don't know if you would care to regale me with more refinement?"

Edited by Supercape
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"Oh? well there's not a lot to tell really, ask away and ill answer as best i can." he replies simply  as he rests on the floor,  back against a load bearing wall as he reclines "I'm not a Norwegian nor am i a troll, that much i can assure you of." he adds with a dry smirk as he removes his helmet.


"Born and raised in Liverpool as i have professed, some 100 years from now." he adds as he regards the brandy offered him, it smelled good, woody, smoky and fruity in equal parts and mellow, making use of a steel container as a cup as he sipped at it.


"Perhaps you're curious about what happened to make me the Dreadnought?"

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Mr Murk


"Hmm" chuckled Mr Murk. "I could tell you aren't a troll. Trolls have a very particular smell, in my experience. And their manners are...different"


"And yes, I am more curious about Dreadnought. Your power...could be frightening, I am sure. And unstoppable, I am certain" he said. "And more than that, you seem to have the will to both refrain from injudicious use of such strength, and the will to direct it, like a lance" he explained. 


"So I would be interested to hear how you became dreadnought, and how you have placed your will into the gauntlet you have been bequeathed" he asked, a trance of insistence creeping in. He leaned forward, eyes still white and unseeing, but eyes still pointed at Dreadnought even so. It was unnerving, and Mr. Murk was fully aware that it was unnerving. 


"What exactly can you do? And what can you not? Can you...die?"

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"well now, thats a very uh...specific question...lets start from the top." he says with a soft hum, tilting his head back and closing his eyes as he attempted to untangle the tale in his mind "You know the saying...that which doesn't kill you will make you stronger?" he starts "well, imagine the reverse if you will...something that will kill you if it doesn't make you stronger."


"A disease, engineered by a madman obsessed with furthering human evolution, travels through the air, resists the cold, resists the heat, resists medicine." he recites the various things he'd heard about the mysterious pathogen.


"We call it Darwin X, it attempts to rewrite your very being, naturally there is a phenominally high casualty rate, I was in london with my family when this latest outbreak happened, i awoke with all this strength and power, completely alone, parents dead, brother disappeared." he opens his eyes and looks at mr murk with an almost eerie calm.


"I Do not believe I can die, at least by any means that have been tried by my enemies or myself and so i have tried to make more of my life, in part through fighting those who would abuse similar power in whatever form it takes." he says once again staring ceiling wards.


"I don't respire Or sleep, I am unable get drunk or otherwise succumb to metabolic hazzards, I cannot get sick, I can walk as easily through the depths of the oceans as the blistering heat of the desert and the harshness of the heart of the arctic and survive in the void of space" he sighs softly


 "my flesh doesn't rend, my bones do not break and my blood doesn't spill; i am merely overwhelmed by things that can break through my Numbness and rendered unconscious when i reach my mental capacity for pain and stress and I have ceased the ageing process." the cusp of the iceberg really.


"I am...stuck, broken but unbreakable, eternal as time and unchanging as a stopped clock."

Edited by Exaccus
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Mr. Murk


Murk listened attentively. Mr. Fiddle less so; even in an opiate daze, the story was so extraordinary that he could not help mutter "My word" and "Good Lord" and "Amazing!" now and again. The distraction from pain was welcome, but he drifted back to that penumbra of sleep soon enough. 


"I see many magnificent things in the future, not least of which is you" said Murk slowly and with gravity. "Darwin - X, hmmm? I can guess whom that is named after. And a disease unlike any other. But it seems the dice rolled kindly for you. And kindly for London, I think, for if some other less principled gentleman had developed your raw power it would go much more ill"


"And I see..." he continued, his vision cascading forward through the years "...the Vanguard, yes? Protectors of England, nay the world. Lost once, found again. Hmmm. Well, if you ever need legal services, this law firm will stand for many years, and will I think have a good understanding of your peculiar needs"


He smiled generously "And will be free, of course!"


He sat back and folded his fingers. "Like you, I do not age. It is very possible I do not even die. Unlike you, I have been around for an extremely long time" he admitted. 


A smoky haze evaporated from his body, and then, in the candelight of midnight, sat Mr Murk in his true form. Homo Nandethalensis!

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Not much surprised dreadnought, not any more, not after he'd seen a bonfire stand up and pick a fight with him only scant few minuets ago, not when reality had torn and distorted around him and sent him plumeting 150 years into the past in an entirely different geographic location than where he'd been standing in his own time.


This caught him by suprise however slight it may have been though and after relaxing back into his resting position he hummed "Cave Man huh? thats gotta be rough going; How do you cope with it then?" ernestly the thought of watching everything crumble and die around him was a distressing thought, as was the idea that he might loose himself in the darkness of it all "being immortal that is." he elucidates incase he hadn't gotten his meaning across to the mysterious Mr Murk.

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Mr. Murk


"It is not easy, as you will find out" replied Mr. Murk with a sigh. "Although it gets easier, in many ways. These times are certainly more exciting, less cruel than any I have known. Although a certain something has been lost to machines and maths" he acknowledged. 


"A direction. A code. A philosophy. These things help, even if everything, in the face of eternity, is transient. Being immortal does not mean one does not transform. Although in our case, so robust and immovable, I might make exception to that principle" he said, a little smile, a little joke. 


"I have mine, after a fashion. I have made many mistakes, but avoided more. I am optimistic. I seek to fight cruelty, I seek to embrace love. But whilst this may sound simple, it rarely is..." he sighed. 


"And for you, where does your compass point?"

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"To battle forces of hate and fear, To do right and dread not." he  says with his own smile "Not just with fists, with deeds and words when i can, though i confess i am not very charismatic." he says as thoughts of some of his team mates flickered through his mind.


"I don't really need to be though, I run a charity for victims of domestic abuse, not got much of a head for buisness or speaches so i leave that to other good folks who have followed my lead." he explains "I mostly serve as the beacon of strength that challenges the warped views of an abusive parent or partner's power, usually by shows of awe inspiring strength at shows, or doing sit ins at houses." he explains "So the victims know I'm there if they need help, and have already seen me lift a home from its foundations." he says


"Not a lot of folks are willing to pick a fight with me, even in my own time; let alone some coward who would turn raise a hand to their child or partner."

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Mr Murk


Mr Murk smiled warmly at Dreadnought's story and efforts. "Why, sir, you warm my heart. I had a good feeling about you from the start, but you are a nurse to the scarred soul" he explained. "It is empathy, Sir, that is the best juice of humanity". 


He was very lightened in spirit by Dreadnoughts story, but had determined to ask his questions further and deeper, even if they had the taint of gloom on them. 


"And now, my concern for immortals. It is my experience and muse that we are at particular threat. An insidious fear, resentment or loathing from the mortal. Quite easy to understand, in the face of death. I do not say that this is all pervasive, or severe, but rather a malign mist of sentiment that hangs in the air without ever raining"


He tapped his fingers together. "The immortal soul is one that can be tormented for ever. Torture, endless solitary confinement. What if one was buried in concrete? or tied to a mountain cave like Prometheus? No crime is infinite, and neither should any punishment be"


"Which brings me to my secondary concern. How to prevent cruelty to immortals, for I fear only immortals can be completely relied on to empathise..."

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Dreadnought had heard the myth of prometheus before, bound to the rock and savaged daily by the eagle that consumed his liver every day, quite a gruesome tail indeed, one he hoped was not true to the letter but rather a mortal twist on actual events.


"Aye, its best to be onguard about such things." he says ponderously "I'd be inclined to help anyone who was suffering torment such as that, Immortal or mortal, if i could do something about it." he states plainly and honestly.


"I hear what you're saying though, and i think i can get what you mean, Lookin after our own." he  humms "Sounds good and all." he summises as he taps his chin "That said, we should be responsable for our own too i think." he adds "iffin a immortal goes off their rocker and starts taking it out on folks, not suited to deal with em yeah? prevention and cure both to such circumstances without havin' ta make ourselves wanted criminals; me especially, bein a representative o' Britain in the vanguard."

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Mr. Murk


Mr. Murk nodded. "I agree. Do not think I am musing over some secret cabal to protect our own. It also behoves us to protect the world from the perversions that creep onto our kind like lichen" he explained. "For this is surely a threat to our selves, but also one that erodes trust and breeds fear. And hence the cycle of brutality spins and spins, and it is bones and hearts that are crushed underneath..."


He had a bitter moment but accepted it. 


"I intend to offer legal services to immortals, in any case. I am musing and mulling over more. A codus immortus. Not to protect us from justice due and humane, but from justice harsh and inhumane. Many immortals will not reveal their particular circumstance, and for good reason. This brings legal problems. How do they maintain ownership of their home, when they do not age for a century? Who will give fair respresentation in a court?"


"This is the reason I have studied under the magmanimous Mr. Fiddle..."


Mr. Fiddle gave a smile and a pleasant nod of his head. 


"An interesting subject, Law. Along with philosophy..."

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"Aye, its a little bit ignored in my own time, which is a mistake in my opinion." he sighs "people forget that it all trickles down from on high, how we think affects how we act, how we act affects how others think and react ad infinitum."


He'd had a lot of time to think of course, in the darkness of his foster parents home after the incident.


"You cannot change someone who doesn't wish to change, not truly, you must change his environs to make him adapt to his situatons and the pursuit of truth an' beauty, Art and science, are the best catalysts for changes for tha the better."

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Mr. Murk


"Our nature is woven with the nature around us" replied Mr. Murk, reiterating Dreadnought's comment. "Yes, yes, it must be so. I have seen many improvements in society. Democracy being the outstanding one" he explained. 


"But to the matter, before we attend to Armitage. I am proposing a codus immortus, a code of conduct for immortals. A club, one might say. Of course it will not be a matter to be enforced, it would be a voluntary code. But one which would be binding"


"In principle, it would bind those signatures to not kill an immortal, or submit them to inhuman cruelty. Moreso, it would bind them to aide another immortal in such distress, irrespective of their previous morals or ethics. No crime is infinite, and neither should punishment be"


He smiled. "Yes, I like the sound of a club. Once my resources coagulate further, I shall probably set one up! I quite like Soho!"


He drank some more brandy, pleased at the notion. 


"What say you? A responsibility but also a resource!"

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Dreadnought felt a wry smirk grace his face "you ain't seen nothing yet, Mr Murk." he says, it was rare he knew more about something than someone else, something to be enjoyed and savoured responsabily much like the brandy he nursed right now.


"Codus Immortus huh? has a catchy ring too it." he comments, rubbing his head just a little as he ponders over the idea, eternity was an awfully long time to spend alone with oneself and honestly not one he fancied in the slightest.


Raising his tin pot  into the pale illumination of the room towards mr Murk he adds with a grin


"Ill drink to that."

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Mr Murk


Mr Murk finished his brandy, which was rather splendid. 


"Excellent Sir, I knew you would" he explained. "Literally, I knew you would" he added, with a chuckle. "And in this case, not because of some future vision. There are...things I would show you, later. But not now" he explained without explanation, dripping with mystery. 


Mr. Murk got up for his rather pleasantly soft leather chair, checked on Mr. Fiddle (who was now snoring audibly thanks to brandy and opiate) and walked upstairs, so familiar with the layout of the office that he did it blind. 


"But now, I must sleep. Unlike you, it creeps on me. I am, after all, rather an old man!"


~ Fin ~


Here endeth the entry on Dreadnought in the Codex Immortus. 

But fear not, dear reader, for the adventure continued back in London Calling!

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