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by alexius, Yesterday, 7:33 am


18fARRR

ggg

by alexius, 14th June 2014


R/SCHOOLBUS



The thing that once was me, "Amber of Snippy", was being stretched out in all directions. A tiny dot, spliced into strings, trading a sense of self for the constantly expanding perception. A little piece of flesh and bone, somewhere in the river, was being quickly dragged away by the current. I tried to hang onto it as long as I could.


I was the Biomatrix and we were all over the burning forest. The poor small multicellular organics that suffocated in the smoke lit up all over the forest, immediately turning to the Biomatrix control.
A lot of them were also vanishing, consumed by the flames as there was nowhere for them to flee.
Eventually, when the forest fire ended, Life walkers would come marching in and perhaps a great bickering for these souls would follow. How bothersome.


The balance of the forest was upset by a weapon long forgotten by this land. This weapon was something we fiercely disliked, for once, long ago, it had weakened us so much that we were forced to become a scarf. So inconvenient.


Initiating search for surviving/conscious/functioning Avatars.
Avatars located.
Initiating connection...


We were the Chalice knights. We were camping on the shore when we died. We were going to catch the Mod by surprise attack, for the Admin Revolution had to be stopped by any means necessary to maintain Order. We were killed before the Mod came near us. From the other shore of the river, the wind carried to us the Mod's Word: "Cue Protocol One One Tree", and then the sky was cut in half by a flash so bright that it left us nearly blind. Then, a wall of thick smoke and a rolling firestorm descended from the hilltop onto us, consuming much of our flesh. It was slightly annoying to lose the top layers of muscle and skin, but we were pleased that the Biomass accepted us and granted us life anew. We didn't even have to tell the Biomatrix how important the Infinite Grail is. No, the Biomatrix already knew much of her magnificent and holy powers. Who knew that even Death bowed to the Chalice?


We saw the Mod. This was all his fault.
Why did you come here, you little pesky controller?
Why did you re-awaken the forces of the old and forgotten world?
Do you not know what would happen if SHE awoke? The one who's name must not be spoken, the real owner of all things and your "magical" skills?


“Hey you!” I pointed at the Mod.


The Mod turned to us, hissing with contempt, "Move aside, Dead ones."


"Unlicensed demolition!" I waved at the burning castle with the Dead Chalicite's hand. What the hell was this Mod thinking? Such ignorance! You do not challenge Death, for even this pesky fool is mortal and would come to join us in the end.


I spoke through the other 3 Chalice Knights now:


"Dismantling housing units without a permit, eh?"


"No respect for the dead! Such terrible manners! Don't I even get a 'Hello, how are you,' anymore?"


"You shall not pass!"


"I am pressing charges! This is entirely your doing!"


"My anger echoed in the other avatars, they wanted to take the Mod's flesh for their own. The Mod raised his hand and spoke the Word:


R / School bus


A yellow horseless carriage appeared high in the air. Its abrupt appearance upset the currents of the wind and so the air around it boomed outwards, warping the clouds. We knew of Mods who could summon such carrier vehicles of the long extinct civilization, but it wasn't the same at all. Firstly, the carriage, his so-called "School Bus," was terrifically high up. The range of the Word was incredible. Secondly, it was alive. Fuel burned inside it and its insides roared.
The surface of the carriage sparkled with blue, white and red lights that flickered, bloomed and chased away the darkness. Lightning jumped from it to the clouds.



The School Bus didn't have much time to comprehend its fate, for soon it became gravity's victim and plummeted downwards. When it hit the ground it exploded with inescapable force, the metal frame shattering and the fuel escaping. The new fireball thundered across the earth and licked up whatever was left of the dead Knights.


...


We are experiencing technical difficulties in this sector: connection to 4 avatars has been lost.
Please hold while we transfer your subconscious.


beep... beep... beep...




by Amber of Snippy, 9th December 2012


WELCOME TO DEATH



The Words of the Mod struck down my home, burning my past to a crisp. The tower that housed my burning body collapsed, falling, crumbling apart as the hellish fire devoured the lower levels of the castle. The tumbling waters of the river accepted my shattered body. I knew that I was long gone, because I could hear them. I was already changing, becoming one of them. The voices of the dead ones whispered to me in unison, across my body, inside my mind, everywhere and nowhere.


"Welcome To Death.


"This experience is being recorded for quality assurance purposes. We appreciate your sudden termination caused by ionic explosive decompression. We are delighted to accept you into to the Biomatrix Collective. You may be highly confused and alarmed.


"Do not panic. We are here for you.


"A smooth departure from mortality into the Universal Afterlife is our guarantee. Long before your ancestors were born we copyrighted your cells. Thus, when all sentient beings of this world die, they join the Biomatrix as avatars as per binding Symbiosis agreement made with multicellular Charles Snippy on cycle dated: 57/039/483/4948. Depending on the damage levels of your neurons and your usefulness to the Biomass community, you may have limited or no self-awareness. If you lack mobility due to external damage, your body will be adjusted and reshaped. Your mind contains 194848743969458443485874 memory synapses and links. They will be integrated into our Knowledge Database and scanned for errors or inconsistencies. Your entire consciousness and intelligence will likely be reformatted into something beyond your capacity, at this time, to even comprehend. Your subconscious self will be perpetually preserved in our living network of interconnected avatars. Please remain calm: we are beginning the reformatting process."




by Amber of Snippy, 9th December 2012


WORDS



I couldn't sleep.


The Life-Walkers were out re-seeding the forest. Their majestic, massive shapes loomed over the treetops: the biggest one was tall enough to pierce even low-lying clouds. Were there more of them than usual? This many don't show up... unless... unless they are waiting for something?


The air was too calm. Perhaps there was a storm coming?


The golden light of the Architect's star and the silver moonlight lit up the forest. The Life-Walkers stirred ever so slightly, silently marching onwards, emerald stars sparkling on their horns.


Slightly unnerved, I retired to the Tower chapel to admire the stained-glass within. The stained-glass depicted the Progenitor Admin Architect carving mountains with the Word. The Divine Architect, saviour of souls. Preserver, they called him. He, who laid out the rules. He who rebuilt the world from ashes, after the fall of the Evil Directorate Empire. He, who was the first to use the Word and pass it onto others. Below him, etched in darker shapes, were the Admins, his most loyal followers, his Sons and Daughters. The Admins were protectors of humanity. The Mods came later, they were loyal servants, armed with the Word, able to do anything.


How many centuries ago was this?


Many Source Words were forgotten since then, erased, lost in time. What else did Father teach me about the Mods? Our local Mods were total boobs, their Word was only good for summoning pointless, confusing objects that nobody knew how to operate. What else did the local Mods accomplish? I remember hearing about a Mod who could summon only a left shoe. Or that one Mod who could summon pants, large stretchy pants that people refused to wear, as they didn't fit properly on anyone and were completely out of fashion.


The Admins and Mods of the Capitol were only slightly more helpful, that's why the Governor kept them around at all. One of the Capitol's Mods could make large moustaches appear on anyone's face. Most entertaining! The Capitol's Head Admin was even able to summon odd shaped, horseless carriages and glass screens. Utterly useless of course, since the carriages were too heavy to move by horses and since the screens could not be turned on. The Governor smelted the shiny carriages into armour and turned the screens into fancy coffee tables.


The Capitol Mods constantly dug through the Capitol libraries and searched the catacombs for something. What was it? Oh yes, it was the First Architect's lost journal.
The key to unlimited power, lost in time? Had they found it, the journal would throw the Capitol into Chaos. One little book could change everything.


Such silly speculation. The Architect's journal is just as non-existent as the Infinite Chalice.


...


Light. Light from all directions.
Fire. Hellfire all around.
Everyone makes mistakes.
I shouldn't have...




by Amber of Snippy, 8th December 2012


DIRE BULLETIN



I refuse to believe it. How could the Admins take control of the Capitol? Did the absolute power of the Word corrupt their minds? Have they forgotten the laws laid out by the Progenitor Admin Architect? Have they confounded their priorities and lost their purpose? Sure, there was a time when Admins were hunted down as witches and burned alive and there are still places in our world that exterminate all users of the Word, but this was never the way of the Capitol! The Admins had status! They had acceptance and royalties from the Governor!


Perhaps none of this is true. The Chalice Knight must have grown too delusional in his quest for the Infinite Grail, which does not really exist. Such things happen. There cannot be an Admin uprising or a revolution in the Capitol, the whole idea is just too preposterous. I have decided. I will stay and face what comes my way. No Word can break the firewalls around the estate, these walls have lasted for generations against all manner of monsters, never mind some newfangled Mod. Why should I leave, simply because some old Chalicite is spreading nonsensical rumors? It is baseless to abandon the safety of my home.




by Amber of Snippy, 8th December 2012


MY BLACK AND WHITE KNIGHT



I've had that dream again.


That strange place, so distant, yet so close to my heart. Buildings as tall as mountains. Dead structures, watching with dead eyes. Empty, vast and endless honeycombs of stone and steel. Air filled with gray ashes always fluttering from the clouds.


The black vortex opens up in the sky, descending into the city. The vortex spiral tears the city apart, bending the air itself, feasting on light, feasting on time.


There is a lonely figure standing in the street. No matter how hard I try to make out its expression, I cannot. Is there no face there at all? Or perhaps there are a million human faces, intertwined and flickering in unison, as bright as the light of ten thousand suns? The being stares into the abyss. It takes another step towards it, the horizon of nothingness, a place where nothing can exist. The stones of the roadway beneath its feet crumble and flutter in the air, colliding with each other. Has it no fear of the black void? Perhaps it thinks the void cannot affect it?


But can it affect the void?


I suddenly realize that the being is searching for me, and that I am its servant. The faceless one speaks. It plans to drink the vortex dry. It plans to find me.


The faceless one will surely take me away from my home.




I awake, covered in sweat, my heart pounding, terror gripping my mind. I have to see my Angel: he always calms me down in times like these.


For me, mirrors never work. The surface of reflection doesn't show me what is, but instead reveals some twisted parallel reality. Perhaps for me the mirrors are so thin that they reveal the true manner of things?


All my life I've seen my black and white knight in reflective surfaces and mirrors. As far back as I can remember, the knight was there for me and I could admire his wonderful and strange armour of patches, his face-shield made of materials foreign to our world, his gorgeous lenses of blue cobalt, as sparkly and blue as my own eyes. “This is nothing odd,” my father had told me, “he is your guardian angel, and he is always watching over us.” You should be proud to have an angel in these dark times of despair.


If it wasn't for a hired painter, I would never know what my face actually looks like. I caress the surface of the mirror, seeking solace.


Oh Angel, my Angel,
Wherever you be,
So calm so serene,
Always watching o’er me.

My brother? My lover?
My heartstrings aflutter,
So close, yet so far,
You’re my knight, guide, and star.

Would you tell me please?
Put my poor mind at ease?
What will my tomorrow be...
What fate awaits me?




by Amber of Snippy, 8th December 2012


THE END OF THE WORLD



The living scarf twisted around my neck, flowing back and forth.
My neurons tingled, misfiring.

Was it numbing the pain of being compressed into a hexagonal cocoon
that pressed tighter and tighter?

No, it was showing me what it could see and feel, what my limited
human vision could not.
The aggregate virus bore into my body, feasting on my cells, borrowing
me to expand itself, yet it did not take over completely.
I was here, no I was out there, I was a hundred trillion cells and
they were ALL suddenly under my control.
It seems that our relationship status has been upgraded from "master
controller/slave drive" to an "unlicensed symbiosis".
The Biomatrix served as my new eyes, letting me peer through my own
skin, bones, flesh and organs, through my fireproof jacket, through
the web of intertwining lights that bound us in a stasis field,
through the thick, crystalline walls of the Arbitrator's spacecraft.
My vision intensified, expanding in curves, the arm of the milky way
amplified, the stars intensely vibrant, fiery and beautiful.
I saw the serenity of the Earth below and the Aurora Borealis dancing
on the poles.
I could almost taste the Earth's atmosphere and each layer was a
different flavor, shade and color.
For a brief moment, lost in the ravishing sharpness of planetary
iridescence below, I even forgot that my world was mostly a weary,
barren wasteland.

The obsidian, spiked sphere that was the Arbitrator's vessel was
gliding silently over the Earth's exosphere, twinkling ominously.

Why? Why could I see all of this?
Did the Biomatrix want to show me how desperate my - no, our - situation was?
How there was nothing that could be done?

Did it merely want to look at the end of a world, something that it
had never seen before?
...For it had never failed to bring a civilization of organic beings
to its knees, or to defend what was necessary and judge those that
needed to be judged, until now.
Its failure was bitterly irritating, it was unacceptable, it was inexplicable.
Probability pointed out that it was the fault of the un-scannable one.
It didn't know who Zee Captain was. It had millions of guesses, but
they were all nasty or simply insane.
Perhaps I didn't even want to know these guesses. I ignored them
because most were horrible versions or visions of me.
The Biomatrix refracted its unpleasant emotions through me and they
ranged somewhere from absolute distress to angry desperation.

I saw the dark matter drop disconnect from the Arbitrator's tetra-seed carrier.
The Biomatrix highlighted its path for me to track. Thanks a lot. Now
I can see the exact moment my world implodes.
Now I can remember it forever, in perfect clarity.

The meteoric seed pierced the Earth's atmosphere and the thick cloud
cover embraced it heartily.

It reached its destination and with a bang or a million echoing
whispers. The shell of the seed containing the drop collapsed, bending
everything into itself.

The point of terminus.
The end of all things.
The singularity was free.

The event horizon wave glittered like a thousand inverted rainbows,
falling and rising, pulling in and pushing away.

I could see its hell-fire in a billion colors. Colors that I could not
name. Colors that weren't even meant for me to see.
Waves of fire spread out across the atmosphere exploding into
lightning storms, tornadoes of fire and rings of Northern Lights all
across the planet.
This was brilliantly alarming and deadly.
The terminus point drew clouds into itself, forming the waves of a new
storm that was unlike any other, that ran across the world.
It ripped apart the surface of the planet wherever its flames touched.
It evaporated mountains of ice and licked up the continental stone
plates that were directly underneath.
As the hole in space-time expanded its reach, everything was drawn
into the collapsing void.
Nothing could escape it, except for the Arbitrator's ship, which was
designed exactly for harnessing the wave to propel itself across the
universe.

I suddenly understood that the Arbitrator came here only because it
destroyed another world, not unlike ours.
This was how it could instantly move from one place to another, faster
than the speed of light.
This was the decompression that I felt, that temporarily killed me,
when the Arbitrator arrived.
This was its mission. To punish those that did not please or side with
the Union.
The stasis field would carry me directly to the Universe Compendium
court, while the Arbitrator and its carrier would shift elsewhere,
forward in space-time, wherever it was necessary, to wherever a call
from the Union would summon it.

The planet grew lighter, losing mass.
Nothing could withstand the brutal pull of the void. Nothing that the
Biomatrix knew could stop it.
Why? Why would the Arbitrator do something so abhorrent?
Did it have something to do with "AI defense network" that it mentioned?
"Correct", the Biomatrix whispered. Its voices were those of my own cells.
"It was well hidden from us by the high concentration of radioactive
dust in the atmosphere.
We have never lost an avatar before. This should have served as a warning sign.
Having dominion over the organic but not over the inorganic, we have
discovered the truth far too late, and only by rewinding you.
In a desperate gamble to survive, your civilization has foolishly
birthed a cognitive Grid who's only purpose is to feed on the neural
waves of thinking beings and as such it must be halted here, before
its mechanized pestilence consumes other worlds.
Your world reeks of the Grid. It has spread deep underground and high
overhead as far as the troposphere. The Grid plans to do something
highly unpleasant to the entire planet if it has not done so already.
It must be wiped clean from the universe. Your planet is badly
infected and the Arbitrator has the necessary cure, it matters not
whether the patient dies as long as others can be saved."

The negative sphere grew quickly, it already devoured a patch bigger
than the country of England.
Everything went into slow-motion.

Was that your tampering with my perception again, or the fact that the
event horizon stops time itself?
You know what, it doesn't matter. I don't care. This is all too
horrible. This moment that lasts forever.
This simple fact: that I will be the only human left alive in the
universe and that my planet must be erased for reasons not entirely
clear to me.

The mug began to vibrate and in this vibration I started to hear a
song of metal, a song that was in exact tune with the inescapable
death that was being brought forth by the all consuming, growing
sphere of the void.

I wanted to be elsewhere.
I didn't want to see these final seconds of my world, stretched out to
all eternity.
I didn't want to be here. Please let me go. Please wake me up somewhere else!
Construct for me a memory from my past that's so real that it lasts a lifetime.
Take me back, away from all of this.
I know you can, even in the confines of the stasis field, even if you
are not allowed to kill me now.
You can do it.
Do it!
...Pretty please?


by , Monday


PLEASE MIND YOUR APPENDAGES AND POSSESSIONS



"Blasted mug!"
I looked at it hatefully.
"This is all your fault!"

I attempted to throw the mug at the Arbitrator, to smash it, to let go of it.
Nothing of the sort was possible.

I flailed left and right. The mug did not budge. I could not let it go, no matter how hard I tried. It was as if it were glued to me with a strange static-like substance. It rolled between my fingers and from one hand to the other, but it was as if I were made of iron and the mug were a powerful rare-earth magnetic bearing coated with oil.
Why can't I let go of the mug?!
Did the Arbitrator's reconstruction of my organs have anything to do with this?

Upon giving up to prying the mug out of my hands, I turned to the Arbitrator and spoke.
I made my case calmly and clearly, pressuring various facts that my DNA couldn't possibly be on the mug and that I looked nothing like Captain and that it might as well scan my memories for evidence or something of that sort.

"EVIDENCE IS PRESENT! OUR SCAN REVEALED YOUR SECONDARY FACE INSIDE YOUR SPINAL-BASED COMPARTMENT!" The arbitrator boomed, the interior of wherever the hell we were in, shifted when it spoke.
It was as if I were inside an enormous lung composed of soft, mobile crystals.
I had no clue what it was talking about.
Oh...
My backpack. It was still on me. Right.
I pulled the strap down and unzipped it slowly.
Perhaps there was something in there that could help my case?

No.
No.
No. NO. NO!
Captain's perpetually smiling face stared at me, mischievously taunting me, as I held it in my hand.
This simply didn't make sense. Why were captain's mask and scarf inside my bag?
There were supposed to be supplies in here, cans, bullets, medical adhesive strips and other useful items.
Why?! What?! Where did they go?

Was I Captain?
My mind cracked, spilling out memories, an array of imagery rising from the depths of my nightmarish past, rewinding the tape of my life backwards with an imaginary cranking sound.

Did I imagine Captain being there, on the ice?
How could that thin ice possibly take Captain's weight? Was the water so thin that it seemed like Captain's boots didn't sink in it at all?
...that it seemed like walking on water?

When I lost my favorite rifle, did I... pretend that captain was there next to me?
How could someone only a few inches taller then me be completely unaffected by the thermonuclear explosion of the Alien vessel that flung a cloud of debris and my body across the street?

Was I simply talking to myself when that phone booth rang? Did it even ring?

Oh god. Oh no.

Did mutants ever pay attention to Captain? Did the hideous "Photoshop" worm ever try to eat my mad commander?
I tried to recall such an instance and I could not.
It mostly ignored Captain... and so did all the other beasts of the wasteland. They usually went right after me, I had a smell and I was incredibly delicious to all sorts of deadly things.

Did I imagine Captain standing over me all those times when I woke?

Did I commandeer Pilot, all while dressed up as Captain?
Did Pilot even exist? Did Engie? No, they must exist. I can't question everyone's existence now.

The little straws of unexplained things that always happened to Captain chipped away at my sanity and snowballed into a hideous, confusing pile.

- - -

When I was lost in the dead zone, crawling in the ashes amidst the irradiated rubble of Eureka, knowing that I no longer had a home, knowing that my squad, my science team and my tourists were done for, knowing that there was not a living soul left anywhere for thousands of miles, knowing that I was about to die myself from exhaustion and lack of food, did I simply find a mask and imagine myself as Captain to give myself something to cling to? Someone to tell me what to do, no matter how utterly ridiculous, to distract me from the horrible hopeless existence of knowing that everyone I knew was dead and it was all my fault?
A friend, someone to talk to, someone that wouldn't ever give a crap about what I did in the past?

I tried to recollect that day. The day I met Captain...

The day I finally lost all hope. My dead zone crawler had run out of gas and I'd been walking for countless hours in circles trying to find anything useful, anything left intact, afraid to fall asleep, afraid to miss a sound, a voice.
The city was dead, the Zone had won, just like Dr Gromov feared.
What was it that Gromov offered humanity?
Immortality in the machine, your mind preserved forever on the servers, incapable of feeling sadness or pain, only if you absolutely supported the Good Directorate and bought their products, surrendering all your thoughts to them.
Death and suffering in the hellish, frozen wasteland if you don't...

I was too late, I missed the war, or the conflict, or the last stand, whatever it was.
Did the 1% finally initiate their promised plan of blowing up ANNET's towers one by one?
Did I start the war by wishing for a better humanity, or by continuously sabotaging ANNET's servers in my hateful spite for their nonacceptance of my person, for all of those bastards calling us soulless?
I did passionately hate that term, but had I finally snapped and sabotaged ANNET's core before I left to the Zone for the last time?

I tripped on the massive tracks that a humongous war-machine must have made. The tracks rammed across several office buildings, toppling them in the process. More tanks like this one were frozen solid, glittering far off in the distance, their electronics wiped out by the electromagnetic blasts of the nukes.
This was it, I realized. I had nobody left. There was no strength left in me to get up. The gray snow, intermixed with ashes fluttering from the sky, had begun to cover me. The bitter cold was eating me alive. I was dying from exhaustion and I knew it, giving up.
I squinted, my eyes closing.
A tall, capped figure appeared in the snowy mist.
I blinked. It did not vanish, but it made no sound of footsteps as it marched towards me.
The figure reached out towards me, offering me a hand, loudly proclaiming, "Bonjour, monseigneur, zee weather is rather lovely this spring, don't you find? Why, you look rather shabby! Do you fancy a taste of bourbon? No? How about an exquisite job opportunity with partial dental benefits and potential chances of advancement in zee ranks?"

Did I imagine that strange moment in time of meeting Captain? The unexpected angel of mercy that found me when I needed it most?

I tried to grasp at the totally insane string of logic that lead me nowhere.

The world stopped making sense, ever since they'd installed those cursed ANNET broadcasting towers to copyright, to take control of, the last vestige of humanity - our thoughts.
The towers laid shattered and inert now, but my perception must have remained slightly warped even when I was no longer in broadcasting range.

The unexplained anomalies we'd discovered in the Dead Zone on the surface of the frozen, receding ocean were clearly not meant to be understood by human minds.
They were something from another world, a place that no longer belonged to us, something that the war had unleashed, or perhaps something that came from other worlds like the Arbitrator, or perhaps something made accidentally when the Directorate began to lose control of their reality-bending projects?
We wanted absolute power over our universe and in our careless reach. In our quest... we broke the world.
We wanted to find or to create God and so we did. It even spoke to me, whatever it was that they called it?... "Anomaly 441", "God of the Wishing well", "Satan's Arse", "The black star"... It promised me that all my dreams would come true.
That was the first thing that spoke to me that I chose to ignore... and yet I still continued in my persistence to ignore things that talked, things that should not be talking... like the damned ceramic heart mug that clung to my hand.

The "Anomaly of God" broke my team, drove them mad with its absolute power, turned them against each other like the "gold rush" of a long forgotten era of Earth's history, and so I must have killed them all, and it must have driven me to that ultimate moment... to becoming something other than myself... to being Captain?
...to leading other hopelessly lost souls across the wasteland on an endless series of epically pointless quests.

- - -

I was at a loss. Lost in my thoughts. Lost in my past. Who was I?

"No!
My name is Charles Snippy!
MY NAME IS CHARLES SNIPPY!" I chanted to myself, focusing.

The Arbitrator monstrosity stared at me, judging me, evaluating my frantic movements, as I shakily tried to stuff Captain's mask back into my backpack. I must have have thrust the mask back too quick, it flung the scarf outwards and now it oddly wrapped around my neck.
This was not making my case of not being Captain any better.

The scarf!? It moved on its own! It was alive!
I recoiled in terror, pulling at it.

Flesh made of metal, metal made of flesh.

The thing Captain dubbed "CANCER".
It was the unspeakable horror of my nightmares that pierced my body and invaded my spine.
It was real. It was here, with me. It followed me! How did I not realize what the Captain's scarf was?
It was cold, paralyzingly cold like instant frostbite.
Its glowing, red flesh flowed in my fingers and felt oddly enough like a pantyhose filled with sharp and heavy sewing needles.
Wherever it touched, I felt numbness spreading, my nerve endings surrendering their warmth and control.
Flowers and fleshy twines intertwined, twisted and formed themselves into an animal-like skull.
The face of terror looked at me and uttered in a reverberating hiss:
"Claim... diplomatic... immunity!"

The room changed again, the Arbitrator spread its limbs, resounding:
"YOUR ORDINANCE LICENSE HAS BEEN SUSPENDED FOR...
TEMPORAL MALPRACTICE AND AVATAR MISCONDUCT!"

I had no idea what it was shouting on about.
Was it talking to the fleshy scarf?

"THE RUNAWAY AVATAR AND THE INSUBORDINATE
AI PLANETARY DEFENSE NETWORK WILL BE DEALT WITH."

Again, confusing.

"WE HAVE MADE THE DECISION TO DISMANTLE
THIS PLANETARY BODY!"

Now... that didn't sound nice at all.

"A DARK MATTER DROP HAS BEEN RELEASED INTO THE ORBITAL EXOSPHERE!
ONCE THE SINGULARITY DETONATION CONSUMES THE PLANET...
WE WILL RIDE THE EVENT HORIZON TO UNIVERSE COMPENDIUM!"

It was going to open a black hole in Earth's atmosphere!?
My poor dead, radioactive world, so this was to be its end... and only I knew of why it happened.

Lines of light akin to comet tails shot out from the Arbitrator's black, sparkly limbs.
They intersected and converged around me, forming a strange, pulsating, hexagonal web.
The cocoon of intersecting beams pushed my arms and legs together, towards my body.

"EXCUSE THIS TEMPORARY CONCENTRATION OF YOUR PERSON...
THE DETONATION OF YOUR WORLD MIGHT CAUSE YOU MINOR DISCOMFORT.
PLEASE MIND YOUR APPENDAGES AND POSSESSIONS!"
The spidery space-monster rumbled at me. I was its delicious butterfly.

The Arbitrator had made up its mind.
There was no use convincing it of anything else now.
Where was it taking me? Did it plan to lobotomize me in some sort of space-court?
The Earth was doomed. I was doomed.
Here and now according to all evidence, I was... Zee Captain.

What would Zee Captain do?


by , 20th September 2012


THE MAP



In the brief greenish light of the dying sun I saw a refraction of a three-eyed cat strangling me with grassy vines. A memory?
No, it felt more like the cat was digging into my mind, trying to find a "permit" or something. What did that cat want?
Preposterous. Green-three-eyed cats do not exist. I've never been strangled with plants. There are no trees left, no grass, no flowers.

I think my mind is rotting. There are no cats in the sun rays.

Only me, and the city of the extinct.
Only me and my imagination.

How long has it been since I last saw another human being?
I cannot recall.
I cannot recall their faces.
Why can't I remember their faces?

All I see is dust and waves of fire.
Unending waves of fire shattering their already broken and twisted bodies into dust.

My brigade fell to the unmentionable horror and since then I've wandered the radioactive desert looking for...
What was I looking for? ...Hope? Other survivors?

I was about to collapse from exhaustion, about ready to give up on it all when a paper fluttered into my mask.

The wings of butterfly that caused a stormy uproar in my soul.

What's this?
A map, drawn by a child's hand?
Is this to be my god-sent, final quest in life?
I dared to dream that it would lead me to a colony of survivors.
Where will this new current take me... I knew not.


by Stalky, Yesterday, 8:26 am


FOLLOWING



Attempting to ignore the metallic voices of common household objects that still reverberated in my head, I walked around the apartment complex in severe agitation.

Are they actually plotting to kill captain?
Did they dispose of... Pilot?
Who are they?
Why have they taken the forms of mug, straw and ladybug?
Why can I hear them?
Has the fabric of my reality completely unraveled itself?
Have I gone mad?
Surely, there is a sensible explanation for all of this.
I bet Captain recorded these voices with Pilot just to mess with my head using an audio-player and hid it in the floorboards.
Indeed! That must be it! How gullible of me...
Pfff... talking mugs!
I bet I'm going to find out a new entry in the calendar that marks today as "Household object uprising, from which only Snippy's left boot can save the day".

Captain and Engie's footsteps led out of the building, so I followed them, hoping to find explanation, clarification, anything really... company even, no matter how horrible with Captain always proposing outrageous things and Engie simply ignoring me.

Wearing a small backpack and newly scavenged rifle, I tried to locate the path in the snow that might lead me to my associates, but the snow was falling too heavily so I had no luck whatsoever finding anyone at all.
How frustrating. Usually it's incredibly easy to locate Captain thanks to the booming, commanding voice.
I don't know how Captain manages to be so loud with a mask on. Electronic amplification, maybe? If it is, then it must be with voice modification or the feedback would be enormous.

I lost myself, admiring the titanic constructs that still towered, here and there, piercing in the sky. Even in their ruin, the Directorate superstructures looked overwhelmingly imposing, immovable and dreadfully ominous.
Nevertheless, the ever-expanding glaciers, mountains of ice and snow unleashed by nuclear winter... will devour them, flattening and grinding the still-standing, monolithic gravestones of our civilization into naught.

Bones of mutated, mammoth beasts littered the frozen lakes. I speculated whether these monstrosities were grown for entertainment of past generations. Perhaps they were further altered thanks to bio-weapons, engineered viruses breaking down DNA and pushing evolution rapidly out of control. A bone cracked, breaking off, showering me in silver dust as it fell.
For a second I clung to my mask, afraid to inhale.
No, it's much too cold. The bio-weapons are dormant, sleeping underneath the ice, their power dulled by the frigid air.

As I ventured further out into the frozen wasteland, I felt that something was intensely watching my back.
I backtracked and found nothing.
Whatever it was, it was following me without making a sound nor leaving a footprint that I could track. It was quiet, too quiet for a mutant-worm like Photoshop, too quiet even for a hunter-wraith that glide on the ice searching for hapless organic victims.
What the bloody hell...

No, it can't be!
Surely it can't be!


by , 28th July 2012


DISAPPEARANCE



Pilot disappeared...

I couldn't figure it out.
Usually Captain would explain the type of quest that Pilot was granted like that flying machine nonsense.
However, this time, Captain asked me where Pilot went and whether I've seen him and whether I can do Pilot's job instead if he's not coming back.
Then I was handed a piece of paper that said:
(( Dress Snippy up for the Sunshine Parade while he sleeps. Make sure to tape a large candle to his head for maximum symbolism and light it up. ))
"So, you want me to dress myself up while I sleep?"
"Yes"
"This isn't happening, you know."
"Think of the sunshine! Do you want to make all the children sad?"
"No! What children?! No!"
I slipped out, while Captain's attention then turned onto Engie with demands of building a "new, mechanical minion".

I've scouted the surrounding territory all day, hoping to track down the usual trail of Pilot.
Dead Zone training made me into a pretty good tracker, besides Pilot usually left trails of crayons, glitter or paint.
There was nothing, as if he just evaporated right after he ran outside.

Damn.

When I came back to the building in the evening, I overheard a conversation and thinking it was Captain and Engie I walked into the room.

It wasn't them at all. It was something else entirely...


by , 28th July 2012


TALKING INANIMATE OBJECTS



BWAH?


Talking inanimate objects and bugs?
What the hell is going on?

Did pilot land on me too hard?

But then again, there was that snowflake that yelled at me about "EVAPORATING ALL ORGANICS", before captain poured tea on my face.

A pattern of audio and visual hallucinations?
OH NO.

This must be how it happens... I've finally succumbed to radiation poisoning and gone insane, just like the rest of them.

I definitely thought about killing Captain, especially after several pranks that were pulled on me like that time when I woke up with a bucket super-glued to my head and declared "iron man".
Or that time when Captain made a soup out of my gas mask filters because the broth needed the "Smooth flavour of Snippy" and salt wasn't available... so I had to roam the decaying shopping malls for a new pair.
Or that time when Captain pushed me into a watery abyss inside a wooden barrel to celebrate "Niagara falls day".

Have my thoughts become so compounded as to finally cause schizophrenia?
...Am I a stone throw away from becoming like Pilot, talking to pet rocks and building the Bastion of Captania out of rotting shoeboxes?

And if I were to kill Captain who would I have left?

I must have been talking out loud like those crazy hobos that lived outside the protectorate dome that communicated with radioactive rain clouds via conversations of interpretive dance, until they were consumed by a family of wild mutants.

Did I say out loud about killing Captain or was it just a non-existent voice in my head?

Great, I think Pilot took my insanity seriously and is now off to warn Captain about my infinite treachery.


by , 11th June 2012


MUGSPECTION



Today I finally took a break from scavenging, since we've obtained a massive stash of preserved, non radioactive food and supplies from the bunker "Engie" was living in.

Thus, feeling only slightly unproductive, I've set out to resolve one of the mysteries that bothered me for a while.
Coincidentally enough, Captain walked off with Engie, probably on some sort of ridiculous errand, leaving the mug unsupervised.

I've examined the underside and the inside of the mug.
No connections or seams.
No false bottom.
No batteries.
No buttons.
No coils, nothing that could possibly heat the liquid.

Ceramic. One red heart.
...Just a stupid ceramic mug.

No visible mechanisms that could possibly condense water from the air. Maybe if I watch it long enough, something will happen?

...Still nothing.

Come on!

...Blasted mug! Reveal to me your trick!
Pretty please?


by , 11th June 2012


THE INTERVIEW



I felt scorching heat and vibrating pain.
There was an endless buzz in my ears of massive shell-shock.
Crunching noise of the ground.
For a brief second I saw tiny mushrooms and flowers under me, but they quickly disintegrated into dust.
Impossible. Shock-Hallucinations. I haven't seen grass in so many years.

Crawl forward. Away. Away from the heat.
Farther. Come on Alex. Get up. Walk.

Something was wrong. I wasn't supposed to be alive.

...Ion Cannon interrupts all electronic impulses, no matter how small, effectively scrambling, disrupting all neural activity and shuts down the brain.
Sure, the walls of the little house protected me from the flames of ruptured atmosphere, but how is my mind still active?
Only one thing could have protected me. Something which could bend all known laws of physics at it pleased.

Could it be? The note?!

Could Seven's luck actually transfer onto others?
If this is true, then Seven could be the key to my survival.
That or the super must have wanted me alive.
Oh, I will play your little game Captain.
I know not why you'd want me, but as long as I stay close to you, I might survive.

There's no point in hiding in the bunker now, all electronics down there have been fried, plus ANNET would surely send in another drone to check for my body.

We must hurry.

What do you mean I can't leave until the interview is over?
No! I'm not filling out this 20 page application!

Use number 2 pencil? Where am I supposed to get a number 2 pencil?

My references? What?! You worked under me for years!
This is ridiculous!
Why would you want my email?!

Why would you even need to know whether I can dance salsa?

ANNET's drones could be here any moment!

No, I'm not giving you my phone number!



by Engie, 18th March 2012


DELAYS



DeLays... wE WeRe DeLaYeD.
It Is MoSt StAnGe. OuR AvAtArS CoUlD noT fOcUs On CaPtAiN. ThEy CoUlD NoT CatCh It.

...It Has WaNdeReD OfF InTo ThE DeAD CiTy.
ThIs TrIaL Is A MoCkeRy WhEn ThE AcCcusEd CaN JuSt WaLK OfF.

ZeE CaPtAiN MuSt HaVe A WeAkNeSs, SoMeWheRe In ThE MeMoRy oF tHeSe ProPerTieS.

It WaS DiFfiCulT To TrAcK dOwN AlL InStaNcEs Of CaPtAin.

SoMeThiNg WaS InTeRfERiNg WiTh ThE ScAn.
SoMeThiNg ThaT DiD NoT BeLoNg iN ThE PaSt.
SoMeThiNg ThAt KePt MeDdLiNg WiTh EvErYtHiNg.

A WeApOn oF PoWer GrEaTeR ThaN tHe FuRnAcE Of ThE StArS.
An EmISsArY oF DeAtH, HiDdEn iN PlaIn SiGht.
BuT WhY? WhY DoEs DeAtH ItSeLf PrOtEcT tHe AcCuSeD?

We ToOk ToO LoNg. We AsSuMeD tHiS WoRlD wAs InAcTivE.
It WaS NoT.
The BiOmASs oF ThoUSaNdS CaNnoT NoT CoMpeTe WiTh A pLaNeTaRy DeFeNcE NeTwOrK iN PoSeSsiOn Of OrBiTaL IoN CaNnOns...

Orbital Ion Cannon

ThE UnIoN MuSt KnOw.
ThEy WiLl NoT Be PleAseD wItH OuR fAiLuRe.
wE TriEd. FoRgiVe Us.

...EnD TrAnSMiSsIOn.


by Biomatrix 117, 1st March 2012


COFFEES



Entry 412:


This evening, I returned to into the City to fill out the reports about my first tour out into the Dead Zone.
Hopefully, they won't suddenly shut down the D.Z.T.R. Department and there will be more tours for me to "guide".

Today... was different.
A buzzing, hovering Hunter-Drone met me in the Airlock.
Must be a new thing.

Ah I see,
As I'm forever unable to access ANNET, someone up top must have programmed this contraption to follow me around, shouting things at me.

Thank you, whoever you are.
I never felt more ridiculous.

To top things off, I lost my coffee.


by , 29th February 2012


DISCONNECTED AVATAR



On StArDaTe 230387455652769 A TrIaL Has CoMmeNcEd, To EvaLuAte ThE LoSs oF InVaDer UnIoN Ship 4920-938

It WaS DiScoVeRed ThEn,
ThAt ThE SiNgULaRitY KnoWn As CaPtaIn ComiTtED A SeRieS of CriMeS AgAiNsT The UniOn.

C̶͑̀̾̓͐͗ͦ̏̓͛ͪ̆ͦ̓̋ͧ́͠҉̬̟̺̩̼̪̕Nͪͦ́͒̌͌̈͏͔̝̹̦̞͖̱̬̱̝̣̹̺̝̰̲̦̜͡

...

AnD So, By ThE OrDeR Of ThE InVaDeRs UniOn, We WeRe SuMmOneD AnD
TrANsMiTteD
To ThiS WoRlD On ThE TeTrA-ViRuS SeEdS.
To InFeCt aNd To UnItE AlL LiViNg LoCaL MulTiCeLlULaRs As BiOMaSs 117, The MoSt UnStoPpaBLe aNd FaIr JuDgE oF AlL.

...

LifE alwAys fInDs a wAy.

WhilE wE scAnNed the tWo prOperties of the TeMpORaL sIngUlarity known as Captain, which has caUsed so much grief to the CommAnder XvII of the InvAdErs Union, sOmethIng elsE hAd CoMe to LiFe On thE sUrfAce of thE dEad CiTy.

Its cells weRe GrOWiNg AnD ShiFtinG At AccElERaTed Rates, PrOjEcTinG ChlorOPhYL LiFe On ThE SuRrOunDiNgS.

One of Our muTaTeD sTraiNs?

No MaTtEr...

We Do nOt eXpecT it Of MuCh intErferEncE to oUr JuDgEmEnT.

...

wElCoMe BaCk, LiTtLe LoSt AnD BrOkEn StRaiN

HaVe YoU cOmE To JoIn The PeRfEcTiOn oF tHe BiOmAsS?

...YoUr DnA MeMoRiES HaVe ClEaRlY BeEn CoRruPteD bY tHe PaThoGeN WeApOnS ThAt LoNg AgO WiPeD OuT tHe OrGaNiC MulTiCeLluLaR BuiLdErS, OwNeRs aNd ReSiDeNtS Of TheSe CiTiEs.

YoU SeEm To HaVe FoRgOtTeN WhY We ArE HeRE...
NoT To ReStORe ErAdIcAtEd ChLoRoPhyL LiFe, NoT tO TeRrAFoRm ThIs DeAd WoRlD, bUt To EvAlUaTe, JuDgE aNd ExEcUtE... ThE OnE CaLlEd CaPtAiN.


...


PoOr DiScoNnEcTeD, DaMaGeD AvAtAr.
WoRrY NoT,
We ShAlL EnD YoUr PurPoSe-LeSs ExiStenCe oF LoNelY SuFfErInG.

We ShAlL Re-WriTe YoU... AnD YoU ShAlL ReJoIn ThE BiOmAsS.


by Biomatrix 117, 28th February 2012


PROTOCOL 1-1-3



Zee Captain's note of summons had sealed my fate.


I felt a cold pull at my stomach. Something else was coming, re-awakened by the presence of Captain.
Something worse than the shuffling noises of the red beasts outside. The sound of falling cannonball.

Whatever that fleshy monstrosity was, it cared not for me, but it's presence here led ANNIE straight to me.

...And it came to pass on the morrow, that the goddess in the machine came upon me and she wanted vengeance.

She was online, the thermonuclear bombardment of the core databank cube had failed to shut her down.
She was still alive, after all these years.
The explosive crash-landing of the hunter machine through the old roof drew THEIR attention.
I was now between two wild beasts, out for my blood.

What was Protocol 1-1-3?
Memories of Directorate weapon codes lingered in my mind, poisoning my thought pattern.
Could it be?

...So this was to be my death.
ANNIE had let me know that she would spare no expense in crushing me like a bug, now that she knew exactly where I was.
How long would the signal take for activation?
I began to count down my last seconds.



by Engie, 28th February 2012


DREAMS



Entry 382:


My personal online psychiatrist is making me narrate this nonsense down on the chip embedded in my tooth in hopes that someday I may be cured of my "incompatibility" with ANNET, or at least possibly reduce the "mild psychosis caused by work-related stress" as she calls it.
I know that it's not going to happen. The problem is something genetic and while those goons in the genetics department would love to get their machines into my brain, I prefer the lack of sleep and headaches to lobotomy.
I seen the reports on their test subjects: "total neural shut-down", "subject resists integration with the net, increasing the signal strength lead to damage to the 85% of the frontal lobe."
Call me old fashioned, but I like my brain the way it is.

I've had that day-dream again. Day-mare is more likely.
A flash-mare? Not sure what to call these, really.
The transmitter towers dotting this bloody city are making my life difficult, but not as difficult as the fact that everyone expects me to work 14 hours a day.

I seem to exist entirely on microsleep.

The latest episode of microsleep was a bizarre and psychedelic combination of environments with no usual characters present who torment me with their nonsense.

Yet they did have something to do with it...
I can't remember exactly how it went but there was something about living in a fish and then being chased out of it's ribs by cake-shaped spiders?
Hah, I must have been really small to fit inside of a fish.
Ridiculous, I know!

...Wait, I can sort of remember it now.

The green eyed man-child-robot was responsible for getting me into the fish somehow... aided by the purple eyed girl? Was that it?
I remember being really angry in my dream at the green eyed one, at the fish and at the whole situation. My hate for these characters within the dream even forced me to strangle my lunch, as soon as the flash of microsleep was over.
It's not a good sign when dreams start to infect my interactions within reality.
I wouldn't want to report this to my psychiatrist. If the Directorate finds out, they might delay my transfer to the Dead Zone tourism and that would be the worst. They might permanently disallow operation of heavy machinery and then there would be no way for me to get out of this place into the Zone.
Anyway, it's not like anyone will ever review these recordings. I don't think my psychiatrist is even human, the way she talks, she could probably be just a recording made for all cases like mine by the Directorate.

According to my psychiatrist though - the sleep issues and headaches should decrease as soon as I am outside the city, deep in the Zone, the ANNET broadcasting signal there just isn't strong enough.
And I will be the one in charge, so I can set my own hours!
Screw those tourists, they can learn to live under MY sleep schedule, instead of me trying to adapt to current society's insane standards and practices.
I really dislike what humanity has become. It's like everyone is a slave, and addict to the broadcasting wave.
I saw how ridiculous people react if the broadcasting signal is down. They can't talk or act.
One of the scientists wrote a whole thesis on this matter, putting test subjects outside of broadcasting range and disallowing them to use personal transmitters with satellite reception.
The test subjects didn't know what to do with themselves. Those who stored 99% of their memories within the net, had troubles recollecting who they were and what they did without the search engine to aid their minds. This experiment had of course given the scientist a ginormous grant to build more transmitter towers and satellites. Self perpetuating insanity! It's like someone up top wants people to become machines.
The longer everyone spends online, the less human and self-reliant they become.
Mark my words, someday those fools will lose their own identities within the net!


by , 28th February 2012


A CAPTIVE AUDIENCE



EVEN THOUGH I WASN'T BORN A "LITTLE GIRL IN A STRANGE AND FORGOTTEN COUNTRY FORMERLY KNOWN AS GERMANY", AND I CAN'T MAGICALLY TRANSCEND SPACE-TIME, SOMEDAY I WANT TO GROW UP TO BE JUST LIKE CAPTAIN... FOR SURELY EVEN A MICRO-SECOND REALIZATION OF CAPTAIN-NESS WOULD MAKE ME ONE WITH THE UNIVERSE.

I WOULD SHARE THE DOGMAS OF CAPTAINIA WITH ALL PEOPLES OF ALL COLORS, BUT MY ONLY CAPTIVE AUDIENCE IS SNIPPY AND EVEN WORSE, HE IS ONLY CAPTIVE BECAUSE I TIED HIM TO A COUCH WHILE HE SLEPT AND HE REFUSES TO BELIEVE IN CHURCH OF CAPTAIN BECAUSE HE CALLS HIMSELF "ATHEIST".
SUCH DIRTY WORDS HE SPEAKS. I COVERED KITTY-HAWK'S EARS. NOBODY SHOULD GROW UP TO BE LIKE SNIPPY.
JUST LOOK WHERE HE IS - TIED TO A COUCH AND YELLING OBSCENITIES.

SNIPPY SHOUTS THAT CAPTAIN IS "TROLLING YOU AND MAKING STUFF UP"

CAPTAIN LIVES NOT UNDER BRIDGES, I TELL SNIPPY.

I KNOW THINGS.
SECRET THINGS, THAT THIS SLUG IS UNAWARE OF. TROUBLESOME THINGS THAT CAPTAIN SHARED WITH ME ON OUR FLIGHT TO ATOMIZE EUREKA.

ONE MILLION VOICES OF EUREKA STILL SING IN MY CRANIUM. THEY ASK ME TO STOP. BUT I KNOW BETTER. I KNOW THAT THEY ARE ALL JUST DUST NOW, AND WHAT HAS BEEN DONE CANNOT BE RETRACTED. SILLY TOASTERS. IT'S NOT MY FAULT. THEY SHOULDN'T HAVE PUT ON THEIR BLUE TIARAS THAT DAY.

I HAD A BLUE TIARA ONCE. IT MADE ME SEE THINGS, THINGS THAT WEREN'T THERE. NAMES AND PRICES, GRAPHS AND ICONS. I THINK I COULD SOMEHOW READ THEM BACK THEN AND FOLLOW THEIR INSTRUCTIONS, BUT NOW THEY SEEM LIKE UNWASHED LIES.
AND MOST UNWASHED LIES THEY WERE INDEED, FOR CAPTAIN HAS TOLD ME SO.

ONE DAY, MY TIARA BROKE.
I STILL CARRY A PIECE OF THE BROKEN TIARA IN MY POCKET, AS A REMINDER. IT CRACKLES WITH A VOICE OF METAL, SHARING TALES OF A DISTANT PLACE. IT WANTS ME TO VISIT THIS PLACE OF WONDERS, BUT I KNOW BETTER... FOR EVEN THOUGH THE TIARA WOULD PROVIDE ME A TICKET, IT IS A ONE WAY TRIP WITHOUT A RETURN POLICY.


by , Wednesday


SHOE



DEAR SHOE,


THAT'S RIGHT YOU ARE A SHOE.
THERE'S NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT NOT BEING A SHOE BECAUSE IN MY MIND YOU ARE ONE AND THAT IS MOST UNFORTUNATE.
AS LONG AS I HAVE YOU CONCEPTUALIZED AS A SHOE IN MY IMAGINATION YOU SHALL REMAIN AS SUCH.
THIS MAKES ME WONDER WHETHER ALL PEOPLES AND OBJECTS CAN BE CONCEPTUALIZED AS SHOES AND THUS BECOME SUCH, GRANTING ME ABSOLUTE POWER OVER THEM. DOES SNIPPY HAVE A CLEVER ARGUMENT? NO HE DOESN'T, HE'S A SHOE. SHOES CAN'T HAVE CLEVER ARGUMENTS.
I FEEL LIKE THE WEIGHT OF THE WORLD HAS BEEN LIFTED OFF MY SHOULDERS NOW THAT EVERYTHING IS UNDER MY CONTROL, NOW THAT YOU ARE ALL SHOES. I NO LONGER HAVE TO ANSWER TO MY REGRETS AND PAST MISTAKES BECAUSE THEY ARE SIMPLY SHOES.
I WAS EVEN ABLE TO PAINT PHOTOSHOP IN PURPLE COLOR (TO PLEASE CAPTAIN) AND SHE DIDN'T EVEN PUT UP A PROPER FIGHT BECAUSE I IMAGINED HER AS A SHOE.



MAYBE I CAN IMAGINE THE FLESHY PSYCHIATRIC LAWYERS THAT HOLD ME HOSTAGE AS A SHOE AND THEY WILL LET ME GO FREE, SO THAT I CAN SERVICE CAPTAIN FOREVER AND EVER?

SOMEDAY I'LL BUILD A HOUSE... NO A BOAT SHAPED LIKE A SHOE AND SAIL ACROSS THE OCEAN TO THE PARADISE LAND OF PANCAKES AND MERRYNESS.

AND ALL SHALL BE WELL.


by , Wednesday


TRANSFER



Entry 377:


For several months of torture, the Directorate kept me in their offices, making me file paperwork on their "test subjects", all while I kept sending applications to the "Dead Zone tourism" branch, to get away from towering cubes of the Directorate, away from cities and transmitter towers that were slowly frying my brain.

Centuries of industrial pollution were inevitably changing the biosphere of our world and the Directorate knew it better than anyone, yet they did nothing to stop it, profit had to be maximized, production had to be increased, customers had to be satisfied. Holes in the ozone layer, irreversible changes in the atmosphere, radioactive fallout, wild-life mutations, the days growing darker and the sky turning black - none of this mattered to them.
These changes must have been so gradual that no single generation was able to protest it.
Everyone was happily, playfully, and joyfully ignoring the world outside of the protectorate city Domes and Directorate Cubes. Why bother with the environmental damage reports when the latest celebrity trends are so exciting?
Mercury in the atmosphere?
Pff, Fred Mercuro X just released his latest album available for download straight into your brain!
Satisfied and spoon-fed by ANNET 24-7 people begun to forget what the outside looked like.

The Directorate sold the Dead Zone as "Entertainment" and great fun was had by all, exploring ruined landscapes and documenting "strange beasts of the wastelands" on your mind-pad.


ENTRY: 398:

My transfer is finally approved! Such Joy.
Ironically, my only relief from my daydreams and nightmares is the Dead Zone. There are no ANNET transmitter towers in the Zone, except for the mobile transmitter in the All Terrain Vehicle, but it works like ass and the tourists whine about how they can't constantly mind-text to each other and have to resort to the "outdated" methods of "moving your lip muscles to communicate".

I will show you the World.
Scorched earth, shattered splendor.
Tell me, tourists, now when did
You last let your hearts decide?

I can open your eyes
Take you wonder by wonder
From the mountains of garbage,
To the glowing green seas.

A whole new world
Where the dead cities sleep.
We shall visit them now,
On an all terrain vehicle ride.


by , Wednesday


REGRETS



I was at first too stupid to see that we were no longer using ANNIE
but Annie was using us.
She was a goddess in the machine, our search engine.

We used her to collect and share knowledge and in return she had started to use us as her processors. It was an unexpected transition and it took a long time, thus I failed to notice it, failed to stop it. The new organism had come to life in which we were only neuron cells of her massive mind, that spanned continents.
Humanity no longer had a chance to survive in it's current state. We had poisoned the oceans, we had scorched the earth and blackened the sky in our quest for power.
The world we knew was dying. I knew that this decade would be our last. The city would fall to the Zone, sooner or later.
Research notes from the last report of Charles Snippy terrified me greatly. They had found something horrid in the Dead Zone. Something that killed them all.
The Dead Zone Research and Tourism industry had stopped in it's tracks.
A new biosphere was rising to power, one in which humanity had no chance. The planet had learned to exist without us.
This was it, I reasoned: We ALL had to become part of ANNET or wither away. Our knowledge, our memories would live on inside her forever.
She would deliver us from the poisoned breath of the Dead Zone. Even if individuals die, the collective knowledge and dreams of humanity would be preserved forever inside Annie.

I rushed the project. I gave out neural interfaces like candy. A free neural interface for every single human being. A lifeboat for every memory in the sinking Titanic of our civilization.
A transmission tower for every city, a relay on every street.
I was so proud of myself. Everything was going so well. I was going to save everyone.

There were unexpected errors in my code that came out of nowhere, as if someone had put them in on purpose.
New entries were being made, new code was being written all while there was no-one in the lab.
Someone had interfered. Someone had tampered with my masterpiece.

In my search for greatness, in my blind ambition to change, to save what was left of the human race...
I had forgotten that there are other forces at play, those that interfered, those that wanted to take control of my idea for their own benefits.
Those that would wreck my plans and those that have long dragged our world into the darkness.

I have forgotten the Trinity test in New Mexico and the words of Oppenhimer that he quoted from the Bhagavad Gita: "Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds". Our ideas have the power to create, but also the power to wipe out all life.
And so, with one swift motion, my prize, my super-hero has doomed our last hope and dragged our ship into the dark waters from which there was no return.
Where did that blasted mug come from? Who gave it to Zee Captain?

It didn't have to end like this for our facility and our city. If only I didn't start project seven... If only the transition went smoothly.

How could a little cup of tea do this? How could 100ml of hot liquid shut down a thousand server banks?
When her servers experienced a massive failure, Annie must have felt threatened by us and so she's cut off the umbilical chord- killed everyone that wasn't already part of her, eliminated all that which was not under her control. All those in the facility had to die, as they were capable of deactivating more servers.
I did not want to die. When I saw the machines slicing up my friends and co-workers I realized that I no longer wanted to be part of Annie.
She was no longer my love, but something monstrous, something that I did not want to be a part of.
My irrevocable priority 1 admin privileges had saved my life.
I left the G complex. In shock, consumed by anger and grief I ordered total nuclear bombardment.
Those still under my control had responded.
The electromagnetic pulse from the nukes will shut down all the remaining servers. Annie will be punished for what she has done.
The network will deactivate, server by server - cascade failure is inevitable once a single part of the grid is lost.
Without power to the transmission towers, she will die, without the constant signal, all those blasted human-zombies connected to her will die.
There would be none left alive to re-activate the net.
In doing so, I chose my life over my dream of preserving humanity in the machine.
This too shall pass.

I will live the rest of my life in solitude in the western bunkers, meant for top directors.
There is enough fuel and food there for a thousand.

I am sorry it had to end like this. I am so sorry.


Entry 39379
~Dr Alexander Gromov


by Engie, Tuesday


POEM OF DOOM



A POEM I WROTE TO CAPTAIN:


Oh Captain, my Captain! I say it to mock,
You're lucky as hell but to me you're a c***.
Please spare me the missions, I've no head for heights,
Balloons and big lists lead me only to blights.
Evading the probes of an alien race,
Then having to witness your > : ( angry face...

But what choice have I? I'm involved in these fights,
With Cancerous space-monsters full of red sprites,
And Lemonade weirdos and God knows what next,
Just how can you stay so serene and unvexed?
What price should I pay for your simple delights,
Be eaten by whales after soiling my whites?

I know you won't listen, but you'll come unstuck,
And one of these days you'll run right out of luck,
Your empire will fall, and your ego besides,
It's karma for sure, like the turn of the tides,
And then I will lol, sitting in my own muck,
Coz after all this I just won't give a f***.


by , 20th February 2012


FLYING DAY



ENTRY 3647:


November something something.
I've got to come up with a better system for telling what day it is. Maybe I could scrawl numbers on the back of my shoe? Nah, that sounds like something silly that Pilot would do.

I'm currently carrying a calendar that says 2012 on it, but I am pretty sure that these days aren't correct anyway to our year and Captain keeps scribbling things in the margins whenever I get distracted enough for the calendar to be snatched out of my hands. I found the calendar more or less intact and it's kinda impressive that it lasted from way back in 2012. It must have held some sort of personal importance to it's owner to seal it away in a plastic container with words "the Mayans were wrong, trust no-one!"

I've been trying to keep track of how old I am, but I keep forgetting to check off every day in the calendar or maybe captain is messing off with me by erasing my checkmarks.
Something tells me I shouldn't be telling Captain about my birthday anyway. I would probably get some kind of ridiculous celebration with radioactive cake in my face. It took forever to clean off the last radioactive cake that was thrown in my face.

One day I found the calendar mutilated with writing all over it. Every day had some kind of nonsense inscribed on it with a black pen.
There is also a series of scribbles in red describing holidays of Captania.
Today's entry said: "FLYING DAY". Yesterday it was "REMEMBERANCES OF THE PAST DAY"
That was definitely memorable.

Anyhow, smaller series of scribes beneath today's date told me that "TODAY ALL SUBJECTS OF CAPTANIA MUST ATTEMPT TO FLY TO PLEASE CAPTAIN'S SENSUS."

I wondered whether captain would just tell me to jump around and flap my arms or push me off a chair, since I highly doubted that Pilot's skills in actually making a human fly.

Oh, how wrong I was!

It looks like pilot had some sort of breakthrough with the "FLYING MACHINE MISSION".

The breakthrough consisted of a plastic lawn chair with a whole assortment of balloons tied to it.

Where did Pilot get so many red balloons? I will never know.
Although, now that I think about it, there's probably a balloon factory round these parts somewhere with it's doors wide open for such shenanigans.

The whole terrifying contraption was discovered by captain with much joy and celebration on a nearby beach.
It looks like Pilot just left it in a hurry, but there was a piece of paper left on the chair with "USE INSTRUCTIONS" so captain "NOMINATED" me to "BE PART OF THE SOLUTION".

I tried to refuse to be part of the solution, but Captain was adamant about "CONDUCTING THE TEST ON TIME", that "THIS MISSION IS OF INFINITE IMPORTANCE TO THE UNIVERSE", and that "THE AUDIENCE IS WATCHING AND YOU CANNOT STOP THE PLAY" and that "INSUBORDINATION AND REFUSAL WILL NOT BE TOLERATED".

Then a mug full of mysterious boiling substances was used to threaten me into submission.

Damn you Pilot. Where are you hiding? This is all part of your plan to get rid of me, isn't it? You should be the one to test your own bloody flying lawn chair.

Captain then threatened me with "PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE" and proceeded to make a series of really annoying sounds like "WHOP WHOP WHOP WHOP WHOP", until I have submitted to "TESTING THE FLYING MACHINE".
I figured out I could just trick Captain and jump off the chair as soon as the supporting cables were released.
As soon as I sat on the seat, I could not escape. I think Captain smeared the seat with super-glue.

As the ground drew away from me I wondered why do I go along with this insanity.
Yet this is still somehow better than being alone. I can't stand being alone for too long, too many dark memories from my past start to waltz in my thoughts. Is this why I keep myself subject to Captain's plots? To run away from my past?
Everything looks so small from up here....
My worries floating away....

I am not sure what I worried about. I'm not falling off the chair, achieving some lift and slowly drifting away.
There can't be another PHOTOSHOP in the sky, surely?

...This is actually quite peaceful. No Captain making whoop-ing noises at me. Maybe I'll fly away, far away from the city, find some non-insane survivors...
So calm...
So serene...
The fluttering snow, glittering in the sunlight.
So beautiful...

Wait what is that in the water? A dark moving shape? A giant fish?
That can't be right... the corporations were dumping toxic wastes in here for years. I remember reports about most large fish becoming extinct.

WHAT IS THAT? OH GOD. IS THAT A WHALE? OR A MEGALADON?!?!

OH GOD OH GOD AHHHHH...

(transmission interrupted)


by , 20th February 2012


REMEMBRANCES OF THE PAST DAY



October something, something:


October something, something.
Today captain declared as "REMEMBERANCES OF THE PAST DAY".

The day begun with me getting smacked with a broken laptop and yells "YOU'VE GOT MAIL!".
I tried to protest that laptops weren't attacking people in the mornings back in the past. To this, Captain declared that in fact they didn't have to, because users were so addicted to reading their daily mail facts that every morning they woke up smacking their heads on their laptops.

Then my head was treated to a barrage of empty, metal SPAM cans with words "SPAM MAIL! DODGE THE SPAM! USE FILTERS!".
With these words, captain gave me two old tennis rackets. The tennis rackets had yellow duck-tape stickers on them with words "DELETE" and "BLOCK EMAIL ADDRESS".

The spam can attack didn't end there, Pilot's job for today was hiding behind building ruins and throwing the spam cans at me at random intervals with yells of "INCREASE YOUR GENITAL SIZE!", "RUSSIAN BRIDE LOVES YOU" and "I AM NIGERIAN PRINCE WITH 56 BILLION DOLLAR OFFER FOR U".

Captain then gave me a filthy, blue sash that said "INTERNET EXPLORER 37.0" and demanded me to fetch foods from EBAY.
The old shopping mall where we found supplies yesterday now bore a massive spray painted sign "EBAY" on it. I still have no idea how they created this masterpiece of utterly pointless vandalism. Short of captain holding Pilot upside down and Pilot spray-painting the letters I coudn't think of anything.

Upon opening the mall's doors, I fell straight through the floor. Damn mold must have eaten through the old floor, I thought... but then I heard captain's comments "INTERNET EXPLORER HAS CRASHED" and it became clear to me that the floor was somehow sabotaged.
I decided to be much more careful from there on, knowing that there would probably be more traps that were meant to crash internet explorer.
"POPUPS!" Captain's voice bellowed from above, as cardboard boxes rained on me. One of them with the words "XXX GIRLS" hit me square on the head.

I woke with Pilot hovering over me, wearing a greenish, moldy sash with words "NETSCAPE NAVIGATOR".
"YOU WILL BE REPLACED!" Pilot's arms flailed back and forth in front of my face like a crazy dance.

"BROWSER WAR!" Captain boomed from above. "WHOEVER CAN MAKE IT OUT OF THE SUB-BASEMENT FIRST, WILL NOT BE SHUT DOWN".
I didn't like the sound of that.
"ROLE OF FIREFOX WILL BE PLAYED BY PHOTOSHOP" Captain's voice continued,
THE BROWSER REMAINING IN THE SUB-BASEMENT WILL FACE FIREFOX IN A BATTLE TO THE DEATH, AND WILL LIKELY BE TERMINATED BY 300 SHARP TEETH"
I saw the worm monster being slowly lowered into the hole, red stripes were painted on it. The hungry beast emitted screeching noises that echoed throughout the building. At this rate, its friends would be coming soon.
I reached for my rifle strap, finding nothing. Great, they must have taken it while I slept.
Pilot stared at me from the corner, then at the worm monster with red stripes, and then made a jump for the door.
I followed, picking up speed.
Pilot thew another SPAM can at me, and I barely dodged it.
Netscape, I mean Pilot.. was already halfway up the stairs.
Suddenly, a sack of SPAM cans was emptied from above, hundreds of cans coming down the stairs making a horrid rattling noise.
Pilot pulled two rackets that were tied to his back, slapping the cans out of the way.
I had no such defenses, as I left the rackets back in the first room, and thus the cans rained on my head, derailing my steps and slowing me down.
Firefox screeched and crooned from behind, urging me to run faster. It sounded like a mad pigeon amplified through a megaphone.
Pilot jumped across several steps. I think he did serious gymnastics or something back in the army, damn my office life.
Just as I reached the door, captain appeared in front of me, blocking the way to freedom.
A large black board connected with my facemask as the metal door bearing it snapped shut right in front of me.
There were chalk scribbles on the board spelling a 4 letter word "S O P A" and below it "THIS ENTRY WAS CENSORED BY U.S GOVERNMENT".
I desperately clawed against the board feeling surely doomed today, just like the 2012 internet users.


by , 20th February 2012


ON THE ROAD TO...



September something something:


Sadly this chip is only good for recording and not for playback.
I've definitely long lost track of time, traveling with Captain from one part of the city to another.
It's probably not even September, but most likely October. Anyway it doesn't really matter, because it's always cold thanks to nuclear winter and it's always either snowing or "ashening" with rare instances of sunlight breaking through the thick, gloomy, black clouds overhead.
I've made many mistakes in my past, and I don't have much to look forward in the future, but yet I keep living for some reason, even if that reason is captain's continuous entertainment.


Everyday before I fall asleep I think of what horrible things the captain will do tomorrow. This week the bastard kept dressing me up in ridiculous outfits and giving me new "personalities to play". Where does one find the time to dig up costumes? Yesterday I woke up all dressed up like an old lady and Captain addressed me as "Aunt Snippey". Then there was "Clown Snippy", "Superhero Snippy" and "Zombie snippy". "Zombie snippy" consisted of simply throwing dirt on me and running away screaming "THE ZOMBIES ARE RISING! HE HAS TURNED! DEFEND YOURSELVES!" and usually ends up with me getting hit on the head with a blunt object at the end of the day. I've learned to wrap a scarf on my head under the hood of the jacket so it doesn't hurt as much.
The worst is probably "Fireman Snippy" where I wake up to screams "LA LA LA LA LA. ALL FIREMEN REPORT TO STATIONS! THERE'S A FIRE ON 12TH AND BROADWAY!".
This one time captain even lit my shoe on fire to "SIMULATE THE URGENCY OF THE SITUATION".
However this apparently wasn't realistic/stressful/urgent enough, so on the next day captain actually somehow lit an entire skyscraper on fire and tried to shove me inside screaming "SAVE THE CHILDREN! WHY WON'T ANYONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!". Thank god my G Directorate issue Officer uniform is fireproof.
It's like my sanity and humility are being tested. If I could I would totally strangle... no that would be far too easy and then I would be completely alone, or even worse.. left to babysit Pilot.
Does the director of this madness ever sleep? I would try to pay attention, but I've been too busy trying to survive to notice. Everyday I find less and less food and most of the canned stuff is horribly expired, so every can is a guess and gamble where winning is not throwing up. I tried to catch Captain off guard, but no, apparently that's impossible. Before I close my eyes the captain's tall form hovers over me, and whenever I open them in the morning it is still there in the same spot, hovering, standing guard over me, looming. Is it possible to sleep standing up? The looming gets quite spooky at times, really, even though I should have gotten used to it by now. Sometimes I suspects that captain does sleep horizontally, but leaves a "dummy" form to stand over me for purposes of confusing and irritating me.
Or how about this? To wake me up, every god damn time captain tries to use a different loud noise. There was the "screaming random nonsense" day, "air-horn" day, "broken piano", "banjo", "VUVUZELA day", "garbage bins", "singing badly" and "saxophone". Okay I admit the saxophone wasn't terrible, captain gave me a pleasant surprise there by playing an actual tune.
Our last batteries were wasted playing "NYAN CAT" on a micro-player, over and over and over in an endless loop. After only a weeks of this nonsense, I had to "eliminate" the micro-player in an "unfortunate accident".
One time I woke up from terrible vibrations. I'm pretty sure Pilot helped with this one- they stuffed my sleeping body into a shopping cart to recreate a scene from "Jackass" poster that they've found somewhere.
It sucks being the only person left alive with common sense. At least I don't have to clean up after them - they can break all the things they want and trash whatever they want. We have to keep constantly moving anyway, to find new sources of food and uncontaminated water.
Breaking things is probably captain and pilot's favorite hobby. Once they started a war against "EVERY TRAFFIC LIGHT IN EXISTENCE" there was no stopping them. Captain even made me write a "treaty", that was personally narrated out-loud and then had me deliver the said treaty to the "enemy", the enemy being as you might have already guessed... a bloody traffic light. Why am I doing these things for captain, you ask? Mostly because if I don't obey "Captain's orders", Pilot will take away my rifle by force, or snatch er' while I sleep, and I don't enjoy being without my rifle since the mutated wild-life is never friendly.
Pilot can't aim as well as me, I'll tell you that much. Also, there are vague threats of "microwaving" all my possessions if I disobey, although I am entirely not sure where Pilot expects to find a fully functional microwave.
It probably means breaking all my stuff and dancing on it, or possibly starting a series of small fires. Sometimes, I hear Pilot mumbling under his breath about dislocating me because captain trusts me too much and that I am "not worthy of dancing in the grand master's divine shadow".

AGUUUUUUUEEEEEAAAAA

Excuse me, a flying shark just tried to lope my face off. Looks like some jackass tied air balloons to a crawler worm-monster, making it levitate. There was a note attached to it that said "HELLO, MY NAME IS PHOTOSHOP. FEED ME SNIPPY."

...I definitely did not expect this, although I feel like I should have known better and looked forward to it.

What are you looking forwards to?



by , 17th February 2012


ZEE LETTER



DEAR GIANT PYLON/CAT OVERLORDS,



I WAS MOST PERTURBED/DISTURBED/ANNOYED/JUXTAPOSED TO DISCOVER THAT OUR LOVELY UNIVERSE IS SHRINKING!

AS A CONSTITUENT OF THE UNIVERSE AND HIGHLY RESPECTABLE REPRESENTATIVE OF PLANET EARTH AND KING OF THE NATION OF CAPTANIA, I FIND THIS UNSUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT UNNACEPTABLE AND MUST INSIST THAT YOU TAKE ACTION TO RETURN THE UNIVERSE TO ITS RIGHTFUL SIZE OR AT LEAST PREVENT ANY FURTHER REDUCTIONS.

I KNOW, YOU THINK IT'S OKAY, THE UNIVERSE IS INFINITE, AND YOU THINK YOU CAN JUST IGNORE THIS ISSUE IN HOPES THAT IT WILL GO AWAY.

HOWEVER, ACCORDING TO MY CALCULATIONS, THE END OF THE UNIVERSE IS INEVITABLE AND WE HAVE ONLY 60 CYCLES LEFT AT BEST, MAYBE 80 UNTIL OUR UNIVERSE CEASES TO EXIST ENTIRELY, IT'S ENERGY PERMANENTLY SHIFTING INTO ANOTHER STATE OF EXISTENCE.

OH BEHALF OF THE PEOPLES OF CAPTANIA (POPULATION: 4) I APPEAL TO YOUR HYPER-GALACTIC-MIND TO CONSIDER MY CASE AND HAVE IT REVIEWED BEFORE THE END OF THE NEXT SOLAR CYCLE.

IF MY DEMANDS ARE NOT PROMPTLY MET, I MIGHT AS WELL DECLARE WAR ON THE CURRENT MORALITY OF THE UNIVERSE AND BELIEVE ME YOU DO NOT WISH TO CROSS CAPTANIA AND CONDUCT A DANCE WITH THE LIKES OF ME IN THE HIGHEST COURT OF THE UNIVERSE COMPENDIUM.


SINCERELY YOURS,
EMISSARY OF EARTH, ZEE CAPTEIN


P.S
AFTER EATING, DO AMPHIBIANS HAVE TO WAIT ONE HOUR BEFORE GETTING OUT OF THE WATER?



by , 15th February 2012


THINGS I LIKE



THINGS I LIKE


THE TINY TAG ON MY INSIDE FOLD OF MY JACKET SAYS "SG CHRISTOPHORUS HATCHENSON".
THAT DOESN'T SOUND LIKE SOMEONE I LIKE.
MAYBE I KILLED THEM FOR THIS JACKET.
THIS JACKET IS SOFT AND FITTING.

I AM PILOT. CAPTAIN CALLS ME PILOT, SO I MUST BE PILOT.
I FLY THINGS. I FLEW THE CAPTAIN ONCE ON A MISSION OF GREAT IMPORTANCE. WE HAD A SKY-ACCIDENT.
CAPTAIN SAVED MY LIFE FROM THE BURNING CARCASS OF THE FLYING COW.
CAPTAIN IS MAGIC, LIKE HARRY POTTER BUT MORE MAGIC.  
CAPTAIN CAN STOP CLOCKS, I KNOW BECAUSE I'VE SEEN IT. THE COW'S CLOCKS AND DIALS FROZE IN PLACE WHEN CAPTAIN GAVE THEM A STERN LOOK.
THE MIRACLES OF CAPTAIN ARE INFINITE AND GREAT.
CAPTAIN LIVES FOREVER. I HAVE PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE.

THE CITY OF THE DEAD IS MY HOME.
THE DEAD LIKE TO PLAY GAMES AND TALK TO ME, BUT THEY AREN'T VERY INTERACTIVE, UNLESS PROVOKED. IF YOU LOOK FROM THE CORNER OF YOUR EYE, YOU CAN SEE THEM MOVE.

ONE DAY, THE CAPTAIN WOKE ME UP SO I COULD SERVE HIM FOR ALL TIME. IT'S A SHAME THE SAME THING WON'T HAPPEN TO SNIPPY BECAUSE HE'S INSOLENT AND TRIES TO ESCAPE FROM CAPTAIN'S ORDERS.
SNIPPY ALWAYS TELLS ME LIES. HE SUCKS.
I TRY TO CONVINCE HIM THAT CAPTAIN IS A REAL WIZARD AND RULER OF THE UNIVERSE, BUT SNIPPY IS A STUBBORN GOAT. HE SAYS "IT'S ALL MAGIC TRICKS" AND "YOU ARE GULLIBLE".
I CALLED HIM A "JIGGLY SLUG" AND PRESENTED HIM MY PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE.
SNIPPY CALLED MY PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE "PHOTOSHOP". I DON'T KNOW WHAT PHOTOSHOP IS, BUT IT SOUNDS SCARY. IT REMINDS ME OF THOSE OLD MAGAZINES I FOUND OF GIRLS WITH GLOSSY FACES. I THINK I WILL NAME MY CATERPILLAR FRIEND "PHOTOSHOP". THE CATERPILLAR GETS ALL GLOSSY AND ANGRY IF I TRY TO HELP HER FLY. IT TOOK A LOT OF WORK TO CATCH PHOTOSHOP AND TIE BALLOONS TO HER. NOW SHE CAN FINALLY BE FREE, LIKE A SKY-SHARK. SNIPPY CLAIMS HE IS A SMART, BUT I KNOW BETTER. REAL SCIENTISTS CREATE SKY-SHARKS. SNIPPY HASN'T CREATED ANYTHING LATELY.
PHOTOSHOP ROAMS THE SKY, I HOPE SHE LANDS ON SNIPPY.

I REMEMBER A TIME WHEN PLANES ROAMED THE SKY EVERYDAY, WITH WHOOSHING NOISES AND CHEM-TRAILS. IT WAS BOUTIFUL.
I LIKE PLANES.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE?




by , 15th February 2012


Entry 9997



Entry 9997:


To anyone who finds these memory cards,
and the messages left within...


My name is Charles Snippy. I am probably the last sane human being left on earth. I know not whether you will understand this message. I know not whether you'll even be able to decode the ones and zeros on these data cards. I know not whether my voice will even reach anyone.
I know not, whether the microscopic drives will last long enough and whether the plastic and metal which composes them will not disintegrate into dust as centuries pass or whether the titanium shell encasing them will remain in place or be consumed by the ever-changing landscape, lost forever.
And yet I still have hope that someone will find the story of my life, long past and learns something of use from it.
If you are still human, then this will be a story about the collapse of civilization of your forefathers through greed and arrogance.
If you are some other species entirely, then it is a story about how our human race was extinguished through our disregard for the balance of the planetary eco-sphere that gave us life through the long line of evolution.


~


For many years I served as an officer for the GOOD Directorate Inc.


The Directorate Inc have been collecting patents and copyrighting everything from programs to inventions to drugs, everything they could get their dirty lawyer's hands on, including even basic human needs and concepts. The copyright laws were extended first to twenty years, then to a hundred and then to infinite perpetuity. Once the Directorate copyrighted sleep, there was no stopping them.
The troubles started when the Directorate activated project ANNET - a Neural Network that could connect the human mind to the internet, allowing users to browse the net constantly, using eye blinks and thoughts to get information about any product, play games or even watch movies in their sleep. Can you imagine three billion people connected to the net all the time?
We thought we could save the world with information, but since this information came mostly from entertainment companies and corporations the most important things were simply filtered, ignored or lost amidst terabytes of pop culture garbage.
At first the Neural Interfaces were simple blue head-bands but with increasing technological advances they became smaller and eventually were almost unnecessary as the directorate started to broadcast the net at the same frequency the electronic impulses that compose our thoughts. Anyway, I might be screwing up the technological side of the story as I am not a designer or programmer.


This is where my memories become hazy and confusing.


I was one of the few rare human beings alive not being able to connect to ANNET via the neural network interface and thus I remained in a dead-end job, not being able to browse the net with my thoughts and unable to afford sleep. The head-band did nothing for me and the neural transmitting towers gave me a constant headache.
Every time the network tried to connect to my mind when I closed my eyes, I got terrible nightmares, and horrid visions of the future that were making me lose track of reality.
For several months of such torture, the Directorate kept me in their offices, making me file paperwork on their "test subjects", eventually transferring me to the "Dead Zone tourism" branch, away from towering cubes of the Directorate, away cities and transmitter towers.
Centuries of industrial pollution were inevitably changing the biosphere of our world and the Directorate knew it better than anyone, yet they did nothing to stop it, profit had to be maximized, production had to be increased, customers had to be satisfied. Holes in the ozone layer, irreversible changes in the atmosphere, radioactive fallout, wild-life mutations, the days growing darker and the sky turning black - none of this mattered to them.


~


ENTRY: 381:


Just one month before I left the G complex, a few truly ridiculous cases came across my desk and so I pushed a faster transfer, fearing for completely loosing my sanity.
One of these cases called "PROJECT SEVEN" was written by an an egghead engineer Dr Gromov.
Dr Gromov proposed finding the luckiest human being on the planet through the use of ANNET's search engine, scanning 3 billion human memories for such an individual using something called the "total grid".
At first, Gromov's writing was excellent and consistent. The thesis was an idea that statistics run the world and that the person who can understand all statistics will understand exactly how the world functions and exactly how humans as a species can be saved from destruction. Dr Gromov looked for loopholes in statistical data, links between human interactions throughout history, anything that could be used as a tool of control, the ultimate lever if you will... that according to the doctor "balanced the universe".
The reports descended into ridiculous ramblings about:
a)Finding a super that exists outside of time
and
b)The grid becoming unstable and unpredictable, almost like a nervous system of a mega-mind that spanned the entire planet, users becoming neuron cells for a self-aware entity.
Endless series of tests, haphazardly conducted (thanks to Dr Gromov rushing the project) and poorly documented (thanks to the horrid bureaucracy of the Directorate) showed a complete disregard for safety of the test facility, failure to report to superiors, and inability to explain anything about what actually occurred.
I blamed Dr Gromov for everything that occurred thereafter.


~


DIRECTORATE REPORT:


I hereby report that it is unbecoming and unprofessional for a Lead Engineer, major Directorate shareholder and Administrator in control of the ANNET database, to believe in "super-heroes that walk among humans", "Search-engine-self-awareness" and other nonsense.
ANNET is just a neural interface and search database and not "a living, thinking entity", which Dr Gromov fondly calls "my girl, ANNIE" in the emails.
Subject Seven is not a "super-hero who is going to save the world from certain doom". If anything Seven is a bumbling moron who will soon break something if you keep giving out complex machinery, like candy. Have you bothered to check Seven's IQ? Why did you even bother giving a test subject the rank of Captain and access to the databanks including all 3rd level facilities? Was that really necessary?
Have you even seen the footage, why does everyone let Seven carry a cup full of hot tea around electronics?
I sincerely hope that my report reaches you before my transfer to the "Dead Zone tourism industry" branch, because I can no longer tolerate staying here and reading the junk that comes through my desk from Dr Gromov's ridiculous experiments about "stopping gravity", "confusing the universe" and "bending time".


Sincerely,
Charles Snippy





by , 12th February 2012


NEW BLOG, NEW STORY ARC



Today we launch a totally new part of the Romantically Apocalyptic story (to be released every Wednesday in addition to Saturday issues), and a blog too.





by oggyb, 9th February 2012





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