I found myself in a cathedral-cave. The cave had a spherical shape which extended at least for 100 meters in all directions.
The ground of the cave was mostly uneven bumps, while the ceiling was covered in spiky stalactites and had an enormous frozen, bright, blue, convex circle in the top, which must have once been the bottom of a lake that was now frozen solid. Blue, uneven light bathed the cavern from above.
I knew that someone was hunting Wizards like myself and this cave had a feeling of a mighty fine place for an ambush. I patiently waited for their arrival, tapping my foot to the sound of my heartbeat-song.
Slabs of rock on all sides of the spherical cavern casually spun, as if they were just hotel doors. From behind them, came foot-solders of the correction squad, the Dead-Consumers. The Dead-Consumers were wearing black, tattered cloaks. Being Dead, they were somewhat lacking in dimensions, I noted. Most of them were missing their inner parts, their skulls looked like 2D paper cutouts. Bone-like whitish mesh structures that reminded me of paper-mache covered their hollow bodies, holding them together. It was an eerie sight.
"We meet at last, Wizard. You are the last of your kind to be exterminated." They solemnly whispered, pointing their Death-sticks at me.
"I THINK NOT." I answered, spinning and bathing them in the refractions of my lighter. I made sure the illumination touched all of them and then I simply said "PRECISION". The Word caught the Dead-Consumers unawares.
"What feeling is this?" They intrepidly inquired.
"YOUR PLAN WAS TO SURROUND ME, CORRECT?" I asked them.
"Yessssss." The Dead-Consumers spoke.
"WELL THEN, YOU MUST DO IT IN A MUCH MORE PERFECT CIRCLE! GO ON NOW, FIND YOUR PLACE, MEASURE OUT YOUR LOCATION FROM MY POSITION, CHOP CHOP!"
The Dead Consumers dropped their heads. They were embarrassed over their lack of precise coordination at surrounding me. They tried to find their place, and were now bumping into each other, trying to re-coordinate their location against mine, hissing, stepping on each other and cursing.
Then, they dropped to the ground and started to scratch the floor of the cave with their Death-Sticks. The scratches on the ground were calculations, graphs and estimates. They were working very hard at establishing the necessary, perfect order for surrounding me.
"ZATS MUCH BETTER!" I said, looking at their hard work. They were scratching more lines in the ground in an attempt to formulate a perfect circle from where I stood. The lines were interconnecting into a gigantic pie chart. I didn't wait for them to complete the pie. I changed my position.
"Stop moving!" Some of them whined, looking up at me. They were annoyed that their circle was no longer perfect, because I had moved from its exact center.
I calmly walked towards each one and pointed my lighter at them. I must have spoken the Deconstructive-Key-Word at least 100 times.
The Dead-Consumers were no more, they've turned to dust.
"COME OUT OF THE SHADOWS, LORD OF DORKNESS." I spoke pointing the lighter at the dancing shadows of the cavern.
"What have you done with my twitter followers?" The shadows converged into a relatively-human shape.
"WHAT WAS NECESSARY." I told him. "SUNDAY COMES AFTER MONDAY". I put a cherry on top of my Word-cake, not wanting to deal with his nonsense. The sun rolled backwards, dimming the cave and then bathed it in light once again.
"Your temporal tricks won't work on me, girl! I know who you are." The thin, tall figure spoke, pulling out his terminal. He must have already linked himself to my position, as to not lose track of me.
"PRECISION." I wiggled my shoulders and calmly pointed my lighter at him.
"What did you just say?" He cried.
"IF YOU INTEND TO DUEL ME ACCORDING TO THE RULES, THEN YOU HAVE TO MEASURE YOUR POSITION MORE PRECISELY. THE RULES OF TENNIS STIPULATE THAT YOU MUST BE EXACTLY 25 FEET FROM YOUR OPPONENT."
"Shite." The thin shadow dropped to his knees, consumed by a desire to be more precise. He began to frantically calculate his exact position against mine. It wouldn't take him very long.
I didn't wait for him to complete the job. I spoke the Deconstruction-Word.
"You sneaky bitch. I'll get you for this." The shadow began to peel like an onion. I took his terminal and pocketed it.
"WHY WON'T YOU STAY OFFLINE? DID I NOT TAKE AWAY ALL OF YOUR SAVE-POINTS?" I asked him as he slowly deconstructed, while hopelessly rebelling against my Word.
"You cannot hope to best me, for I am immorta...." He hissed, fading into nothingness.
I shook my head in dissolution. He would definitely return and try to catch me with my pants down so to speak.
"ANOZER TIME AND PLACE, THEN." I spoke to the quickly evaporating dark puddle.
The cave felt rather lonely now. I considered my options. The easiest one was as follows: I could convex upwards through the lake, but then there might be a hella lot of polygons to deal with and crashing the system with a "MAX VERTICES IN VIEW" error was never fun.
I settled on exploring the slippery dark crevices. They led through slanted tunnels, occasionally ending with massive cave-halls. Silence and darkness reigned therein. Bones of gigantic, dead reptiles littered the place. A feeling of dread was overpowering.
I didn't agree with such.
"BLUEBELL" I spoke, clicking the lighter. It released a tiny, blue orb of light into the air. The orb felt lonely by itself. I repeated the process, exponentially increasing the number of floating dots that filled the air and were carried in all directions by the air flow.
It was still annoyingly dark, even though the bluebells sprinkled all over the place somewhat resembling stars, which was mildly romantic.
"MAXIMIZE BLUE-BALL OUTPUT" I spoke to the global parameters chart.
The halls and crevices bathed themselves in an acceptable amount of light.
"ZATS MUCH BETTER" I smiled.
by alexius, Thursday
Can a line of events be traced to its origins, only to connect with its end?
Sept 17, 14:15
Apex clouds converged around the azure mountain of ice. The polar ocean rumbled, somewhere beneath, grappling into the iceberg, gnawing away at its foundations.
Grim, fluttering celestial arc released a blinding sphere of light has from the cloudy grasp. Scorching beams of sunlight smashed into the iceberg with relentless fury and the iceberg screeched in fear of their attack as glittering veins of cobalt and silver pulsated upon its surface. The temperature was rising, as the iceberg drifted south, pushed forward by the slashing wind. The iceberg fought against the warm currents till its last breath, but all was hopeless. An unyielding crack started to crawl across its surface, explosions of cold mist whooshing as the iceberg crumbled, expiring away; connecting with the clouds and the ocean.
Oct 4th, 9:12
A tiny, conical drop of water spiraled through the gray and blue mush of fog that made up a massive, agitated storm cloud. The droplet twirled and rushed left and right, bouncing inside the cloud, as if trying to stay up in the sky at all costs. Unexpectedly pulled leftward by the wind, the droplet collided with a few others, gaining weight and starting to descend much faster, breaking through the cloud like a large silver bullet- fired completely aimlessly.
Strangled by the cold draft the droplet emitted a dying scream and converted itself into an icy diamond. The diamond gained velocity and punched through the foggy cloud, refracting and glittering in the sunlight. Little rainbows danced on its surface, flashing and interlinking as the diamond grew arms and legs, spreading out into a brilliant snowflake.
Refracting and twirling the snowflake joined ranks of its partners, as thousands of other snowflakes drifted out from the cloud in a slow, magical waltz.
This singular snowflake, was a tiny piece of ice still pulsated with life from the inside, within it hundreds of microorganisms, amoebas and bacteria temporarily frozen in their eternal struggle for survival. However, even deeper within, between the follicles of ice and water, between the single-celled prokaryotic microorganisms, shuffled to and fro, re-awakened by the melting of the polar ice, embedded in an tiny piece of frozen dust, smaller then the smallest of all, resided a single, tiny machine created by nature eons before humans walked this planet- a bacteriophage retrovirus. This particular retrovirus resembled a sinister six-legged spider, with a long cylindrical body, exactly fifteen nanometers in circumference. Its large icosahedral head swayed overhead, containing within DNA fragments from a time when the world was young. Fragments that would copy the virus, over and over and over, eternally reproducing it once they would come in contact with living cell tissue.
The snowflake continued its gentle waltz, utterly unaware of what it carried within.
Gentle drafts of wind pulled the snowflake to and fro through the air, in an elliptic curve, as it approached its final destination.
Beneath, the gray city stood still.
Oct 4th, 9:15
It was a day in consistency to any other in a singular beige monotony of my life. Why beige, you might ask? Because, according to one of my enlightened teachers, that is “what modern science speculates the color of the universe is, when all colors are combined into one”.
However this winter, I would rather say that it’s gray. Gray roads, covered with a mess of crumpled, crushed, stepped on and driven over snow.
Gray concrete walls that tightened as I moved deeper into the core of the still city. Gray decadent sky covered with incandescent blobs of unsmiling clouds. Gray, no longer transparent due to dirt, glass of the skyscrapers.
Only the tiny rainbow puddles, made up of melted snow and car gas broke away from the horrors of the gray.
The capitalist paradise that is our merry mega-city stood above my head and rumbled beneath my feet. Myriads of tiny lights, buzzing manmade stars and their refractions blinded me as I moved, increasing in numbers as evening approached.
For a split second, I looked up, before descending into the deep darkness of the subway tunnel.
A tiny snowflake settled right on my eye, burning it intensely, I blinked and slapped my face, defending against the snowflake far too late, tumbling across the whooshing, rotating doors, entering the subway station.
The subway was covered in dismal green plating that was nearly falling off the walls.
My feet slipped and clashed on the wet concrete, covered in a billion footprints that nobody cared to wash away. I wondered how deep and dirty the tunnel path would become if a billion more feet walked this way, slowly pounding the concrete, one shoe at a time.
Reaching the hollow innards of the station lit with flickering halogen lights, I’ve walked across the ticket checkpoint and jumped onboard the train, immediately falling asleep on the seat. Months of student life, exams and commuting have taken their deadly toll.
As I slept, I dreamt of a water droplet and then a snowflake’s flight from Antarctica to Toronto. What a vividly realistic and odd dream, filled with visions of motion in the clouds, winds, storms, hurricanes.
Without doubt it was brought on by this merry winter weather. Maybe the snowflake is a metaphor for my life, always flying somewhere, nowhere in particular, pulled left and right by fate and pressed on by gravity.
Wait. There was something in the snowflake? If only I could remember what it was. I scribbled one word on a piece of paper “V-retrovirus”. V… what is what? My dream was dissolving away. Come back! Must remember. Mustn’t forget.
I opened my eyes. I was still inside the TTC subway car, slanted on a torn up orange seat, amidst the eternally changing landscape of faceless travelers, trapped in the cold, heartless machine of public transit, designed as if it could throw people instantly to their destination, without any care for the enjoyment of travel itself. Images of commercialization gnawed at my eyes, making me wonder how public transit can sell itself out. Thin halogen light-tubes lit up various commercial posters ranging from “save your self from hell, by investing in our products” to “please buy this generic product, please we beg of you, where are you going, no, come back, keep reading this sign damn it!” The posters were literally everywhere, plastering every empty square meter of the train car with the exception of the floor and ceiling.
Fleeing from the overbearing wave of commercialism I pulled myself against gravity, disconnected my back from the seat, got up and walked out through the whooshing, gliding subway doors. At the very second that I’ve emerged from the subway tunnel, my cell phone started whistling the bumble bee tune in its mechanized voice. I picked up.
Static and breath.
“I figured out why we can’t be together”
“You’ve stolen my 10 dollars”
“That’s right, I left my purse in your possession. You’ve stolen my 10 dollars. It’s over. I’ve discovered your true nature.”
Dial tone filled my ears.
I tried to call back. She didn’t pick up. Inexplicable. My left eye started to pulsate. It was obviously the first sign of stress. At least I wasn’t loosing my hair. I came home to find my apartment empty of her things. She was gone. How could everything we had together amount to absolutely nothing in the end. The absurdity of the situation was snowballing itself into a big mess.
Oct 5th, 9:19
I stared at my reflection in the mirror. It wasn’t pretty. My beard was expanding rapidly all night and had to be shaved off into a neater state, just like every morning. The razor slid across my white, cream covered face, like an Olympic mountain skier nicely gliding down a snow covered slope going for the gold and then suddenly stuttered on a little bump. The skier wasn’t getting that gold.
“Auch!” I yelled out, dropping the razor.
A drop of blood instantly formed on the cut, unfixing itself from my neck, and dropping down, plummeting towards the sink.
My eyes followed the droplet’s flight, only to realize that the droplet wasn’t going anywhere.
“Huh?” I stared profoundly at the droplet. “Blood is heavier then air, right?” I asked it, lowering myself down to witness the divine miracle firsthand.
The droplet was simply floating in mid air.
“Praise the lord and all the seven apostles!” My brain grappled with this new concept of anti-gravity blood.
The droplet came alive and collided with the sink.
I stared at my reflection. Ridiculous! I have to stop going to sleep at 7am. Two hours of sleep obviously didn’t cut it.
Oct 6th, 12:32
The lecturer was droning something about essence of efficient architecture.
I wobbled the pen in my hands, wondering how much longer I have to endure this class. Time didn’t matter. What mattered was purpose. Why was I here? Why was I in this classroom? To learn? To be educated? Why? Too many unanswered questions and images pestered my overly vivid imagination.
I scratched my face and started drawing a caricature of the teacher on the desk. It was turning out to be quite pleasing.
“Mr Gromov?” The lecturer’s voice smashed against my eardrums, suddenly calling out my name. “Can you tell me why?”
I had no idea what he was talking about, since I didn’t care to pay attention in the first place. I slammed my pen against the desk, fearing an inevitable reprimand, when suddenly the lecturer’s glasses cracked, the lenses falling out, sparkling and glittering merrily on their way down.
The class burst into a gasping laughter as the lecturer searched for pieces of his secondary eyes on the floor. Lucky save, I guessed.
Oct 7th, 23:55
I was having an argument with the club usher.
“I’m serious. I wasn’t breaking the line. I’m sorry, if I pushed you.”
“I don’t wanna hear it. Go back to the end of the line!”
“I’m not going back to the end of the line.”
“Then we’ll just have to…”
I turned around and walked out.
Oct 8th, 8:18
I checked today’s email. The news was grim. An airplane the exterior of which I was supposed to spray paint with a lovely sky mural had exploded upon landing. Ridiculous.
How the hell am I going to pay for my ever-escalating car insurance if I just lost a big job like that? Fate was obviously against the concept of me working on airplanes.
Oct 9th, 9:33
“I’m sorry Alex. There’s nothing I could do. Microsoft has bankrupted our company. We’re canceling all contracts. Your share of the company’s stock is worth nothing.”
“Why didn’t Bill the CEO do anything?!”
“He was a patsy. How could he do anything about it? I didn’t even expected. They put in 40 million in anonymous contributions and then pulled the project funding. The firm is bankrupt. I’m canceling all accounts.”
My job was over before I even seriously started. I felt like something was pulling me out. Out of phrase with the rest of the world. One by one my contacts fell to silence. Was it silence before the storm?
Oct 19, 18:12
Cha cha cha. The world rebounded, shaking. No, it wasn’t an earthquake. I was sailing away… no wait, I was still on the subway.
“Ungrion stration” the announcer rumbled, rudely fully awakening me.
Well, this was lucky. I could have slept right through it.
I opened my eyes. The view was fuzzy, a broken television screen. People moved back and forth, towards the doors, leaving blackened trails behind them. The lights flickered, their coronas shifting and changing shape. There was fuzz and pulsating grain wherever I looked.
For a few seconds, I was rather discouraged by this failure of eyesight, but then the picture had begun to slowly come into focus.
“Khhhkh…Sht Andrew Stration” The announcer coughed.
“Hey, wait a minute! St Andrew station?” I jumped on my seat. “Wasn’t I just at Union?”
“Damn this. I must be too tired.” I yawned, quickly got up and followed the crowds. My vision cleared; colors and shapes fully came back. I’ve ascended via the whirling escalator out of the hellish depths of the subway. I was far too disoriented to take the train back and decided that a walk on the outside would do me some good.
The city welcomed me with gashes of wind that slapped me across the face, twirling and tagging the ends of my leather jacket.
Snow started to fall harder. I walked through the streets, dipping my shoes in and out of the newly formed cover of snow. A crouched figure of a homeless man, lying on the sidewalk caught my eye. Clouds of warm air pushed from the vent beneath him, curving around his figure, wrapped in several torn up mattresses. A layer of snow settled over the bum, probably melting and seeping through his many covers. I could not see his face, but great pity ran through my mind towards him, as he was probably freezing to death.
Somewhere between the next blink of my eyes, as my eyelids flashed to and fro, I witnessed something inexplicable. For a split second, the hot vent mist stopped moving up; its curves just simply froze in the air. A gray fluttering snake shape appeared over the sleeping bum. As the shape oscillated over the vent, starting to come into focus; electrical beams arched and flashed back and forth from the bum’s body on the sidewalk to the fuzzy air, highlighting what looked like a giant, metal caterpillar that floated in mid air.
In another second, the caterpillar vanished, but the homeless man remained.
My vision darkened, as if a thick, veiled mosquito mesh was pulled over my head. A flash of headache struck me from all sides, shoving my brain into a giant blender, filled with nails.
The intersection streetlights flashed red, green and yellow at the same time. The crowd around me blurred up, and faded away for an instant. The sun jumped down and the clouds evaporated.
I closed and opened my eyes. The veil was gone. My head pounded slightly.
“What just happened?” I asked myself.
“No, no. Demons don’t exist. Stop imagining things!” my thoughts slammed against each other. I looked at the sleeping bum. He wasn’t moving. Clouds of warm air whooshed around him. I slowly made my way across the intersection, staring around and back in suspicion and soon enough a wall of gray bricks, plastered with commercial posters blocked the view of the homeless man on the sidewalk.
“Another one free from the burdens of life? Was it a demon I saw that pestered his body for the last seconds of his life?” I speculated, passing massive stone columns and pulling at the doors of Union station.
Union, Toronto’s Central Train station would have bedazzled any new visitor with its grandeur of columns, flapping international flags, matte black boards with flipping letters that make the ‘tcha tcha tcha’ noises as they flip, semi-reflective marble floors and an array of travelers of all shapes and sizes. However this grand sight did nothing to amuse me for I have become utterly and hopelessly pacified with it, having traveled here through this very hallway hundreds, maybe now, thousands of times.
The soft crackling voice of the announcer rambled something about the new arrival on platform 3B. The crowd rushed straight at me. I was pushed from side to side, as if stuffed inside a barrel, rolled of a cliff and set towards unknown destination at stormy sea.
The storm had begun, not with a bang, but with a whispering melody.
Spiked murkiness clouded somewhere above me, spiraling, shifting left and right, like the heavy sword of Damocles, about to drop.
What is this sword anyway? I asked myself. Have I ever stopped to consider the meaning of this simple phrase? I searched my memories for an answer.
In the fourth century BC the court sycophant Damocles questioned the king’s life, wanting to live like the king himself. He, like me, wanted to know the answer of what it is to live differently, be above and better than all others. What Damocles found out was that even though his king Dionysus had the tastiest of foods and finest of things at his disposal, the king was as well in constant danger from those that envied him.
…. A metaphorical sword, suspended by horsehair was constantly hanging above his head.
This time, I could actually see the spiraling fuzz overhead, as I stared at it, from the back of my eyeballs. I kept on focusing, intent on seeing it this time. What the hell is that?
It was right behind the layers of pulsating gray cells, behind the firing neurons and synapses, barely visible through the thousands of thin, webbed lines of electromagnetic pulses that makeup thoughts. It was behind the thick layers of bone, behind the rows of oscillating veins filled with tumbling, doughnut shaped red blood cells. Right behind the thick cracked layers of skin, getting dry and dead higher up, crystallizing into dust between the rows of hair follicles.
It was there, getting louder and louder. No, it was not a noise, but a feeling of something that’s turning terribly wrong, a split second when your foot falls down and you just don’t know if that’s where the last stair ends.
In an instant, the tapestry of the world unraveled itself, coming undone, tearing from the unknown pressure, seams silently coming apart and throwing me somewhere off course.
As my heel connected with the floor, I slipped and fell in mid air, sliding backwards and straightening myself out. Everything was black and white, as if somebody just shut down every single cone inside my eyes. The rods were still there though; focus becoming clear as everything stopped moving. In another second, I realized that I was now deaf as well. All sound faded out.
“What the…?!” I bluntly stated, blinking.
The colors slowly shifted their spectrum. Suddenly I remembered a stupid question that I could never answer: “How do you explain the color of red to a blind man?”
“Hell!” I finished.
Why did the yellow walls just turn orange? Why did the blue sky turn purple?
“Mommy, why is the sky blue?” another random thought jumped out.
“Light wavelength” My brain screamed back. “The sky is blue because…”
When did my skin become so tanned? I pondered, staring at my hands.
I looked around, with a tint of madness in my eyes. Everything stood still. Time stopped.
I poked the round, balding man in a pink suit, standing next to me. His foot was frozen in mid air.
“Okay then. This is a prank, right?” I asked the silent air.
“Welcome, to stupid TV pranks, stupid!” My brain stated.
The prank was looking exceedingly elaborate and realistic. The bloated, black arrow of the main clock stopped between 26 and 27 minutes. Wherever I looked, the more I came to a realization that the world stood absolutely still. The people around me were quite immobile, some with their mouths stuck in a halfway smile, as if taunting me.
The green letters of the schedule board, showing the latest train schedule were stuck one third of the way, not completely rotated straight.
I looked for anything that could give away the prank. Anything that moved!
Nothing was moving. A few pigeons perched on the cracked stone parapet were obviously stuffed dummies. Another pigeon must have been attached by a wire to the sky, its wings spread out as it was flying apparently nowhere fast.
Even the falling snow behind the window was stuck in mid air, deciding to blatantly disobey gravity. “Witchcraft” My brain giggled.
Instantaneously I looked at my own watch to put a final blow into my skepticism. The little green numbers weren’t changing.
“Ooookay” I rubbed my face, realizing that this is serious, pondering whether 20:26:11 meant anything in the grand scheme of the universe or had anything to do with the fact that this was the exact second that the universe ran out of time.
“This would be a good time to rob a bank….” A thought snapped.
I raised my left foot, preparing to walk forward, wanting to see and feel more of this magically time-less world, when the colors of the entire spectrum suddenly shifted again.
The world wasn’t perfectly still anymore. The station looked as if it was melting away in fevering heat. Lights and shadows warped, slanted and intertwined.
A shadowy figure was racing towards me, slowly gliding through the air, sending black streaks of swirlies behind it. My last thoughts were how the swirlies remind me of tea that slowly dissolved inside water, when the shadow collided with me, sending us both tumbling backwards in slow motion. During this spectacular flight I managed to blink a few times, and at the exact moment when my back collided with the cold marble floor, the shadow materialized into a female shape. The swirlies dissolved completely, releasing a girl dressed in an outfit of a fashion that I could probably never imagine even if I’ve worked as a fashion designer for 200 years! Her outfit was a silver mess of flowing curves and shifting lines, above which I could see the Romanesque cubical ceiling of the train station. The ceiling lost most of its color and was smudging up, becoming hazier, as if I was seeing it through a strong current of water.
Fiery, amber eyes stared at me coldly, first in surprise, then in anger, then in confusion. Musical tones and strange sounds started pulsating on my nerve cells. The sound was coming right from inside my mind and not from her lips; forming into flowing; perfectly clear words of her voice.
“Time Immemorial! What? Hey, what do you think you’re doing? This isn’t a jump terminal!”
“Ah… ah I tza” I uttered, unable to say anything intellectual at the moment, captivated by those fiery amber eyes, orange tinted skin, sparkling crimson hair and the constantly flowing suit that followed every single tiniest contour and bump of her body.
Who is this divine creature, I wonder? I thought, staring back.
The girl pulled away from me, standing up onto her knees. Her silver suit played in the light, its dark and light lines flowing to and fro, mixing up, flashing and dissolving into themselves.
She sighed, looking at her wrist, where a strange curvy watch glowed with dials and numbers too numerous for me to count.
“Great, now I’m going to miss my train by at least 5 days… 6 days… 7 days. Just great! Oh, I’m so very late! 3rd level? How did this happen?” she continued to speculate.
Next, she looked at me.
“Amm… sorry about that. My time-dial must have malfunctioned. Have a pleasant century.” She concluded, winking at me and clicked a switch on her wristwatch.
Her figure began to blur and slowly washed away.
“Wait! I have to… Where…?” I uttered, my fingers trying to grab her fuzzy wrist, but only catching empty air. She was gone.
“Great! Just great! Once in a lifetime I get to see an angel and I didn’t even get to ask her what the meaning of life is!” I thought, sliding forward and standing up.
Blinding pain struck the left side of my head. The colors in my eyes shifted back and forth, as if I was seeing the world through a television screen where somebody was having fun adjusting contrast and hue ratios, and rubbing a few magnets against its surface at the same time.
The air became thick with barely visible movement. The still figures of Torontonians and tourists started to fade away, and swirls of black fog filled the hallways, as multitudes of new, strange sounds started to harass my left ear. Beeps, clicks, whooshes and booms. The station’s walls faded in and out. Sounds of steps and chatter of voices came through; figures of constantly moving people emerged from the black fog of unending motion, faces and silver suits flashing here and there.
As I looked up, I noticed that the ceiling of Union faded away and above it up high in the sky loomed, floating massive starship-trains, huge engine coils flashing beneath them. Bloated, spherical elevators, filled with people moved up and down with clicks and whooshes across glass pipes.
“The future is now?” I giggled, reaching up to touch the sky.
A strange feeling of euphoria struck my nerves. I’ve never felt so happy. Weight-ness. I couldn’t feel gravity’s crashing pull on me anymore. I wanted to laugh, to dance, and to celebrate this momentous occasion.
Then, for a brief instant my heart stopped and something inside me snapped. I choked, gasping for air.
The colors started to flicker, shifting again. My breath became heavy. My lungs caught fire. There was no oxygen. I could not breathe. I could not stand up. As I fell down onto my knees, my synapses started to fail one by one.
A floating, black, metallic caterpillar materialized right in front of me. Myriads of tiny arms moved across its surface, arching lights flashing back and forth. Bolts of electrical beams struck between my body and the caterpillar’s metallic hands. My vision was fading. I could not feel the warmth of my body. The caterpillar wheezed in deathly metallic voice.
“Multicellular singularity. Soul-scan concluded Negative. Evaluating for termination…”
Its cold hands of metal spread out, opening up, reaching for my body. I saw my pale face as it reflected back at me in the single, large convex mirror eye of the caterpillar.
I screamed in horror.
Something inside me snapped.
The caterpillar froze up, screeching in high pitch; its myriads of arms flapping back and forth, its one eye flashing and darkening.
Color blind-ness. Click! The color spectrum shifted yet again. The caterpillar’s coils unfolded into a mesh of wings made of bright, blinding light. I squinted my eyes. Linear cracks ran itself over my vision, like semi-transparent barcodes were slapped over my glasses. The caterpillar’s screech had started to fade away. The surreal twenty third century world started to fall apart right before my eyes. The caterpillar literally crumbled away, its hands breaking off; its coils unbending and collapsing, its insides and outsides shattering into thousands of tiny glittering freckles, as if it was made from ice or glass. The glittering particles showered my head, gliding right through my body. The world around me was no longer solid. My vision disintegrated into pixilated dust, linear cracks and lines of light fluttering in my eyes back and forth, until an orange curve of light struck from the inside of my mind, instantly knocking me out.
Darkness. Silence. Sound started to fade in. I was hearing buzzing of the lights, chatter of voices and the hauntingly clear white noise of the Union station. My eyes opened. I was slanted sideways on the cold, metal, white and green bench. In front of me, people walked to and fro.
“Attention, the lakeshore eastbound train is delayed. Passenger, the eastbound train is delayed.” The dull voice of the announcer sharply bounced in the air above me.
“Has anything really happened? How did I end up here?” I’ve asked myself, rubbing my stiff face. Terrible headache struck me instantly, with pounding hammers from the inside of my brain, bringing me back into reality.
My thoughts cluttered up into an angular tetrahedron that jabbed my skull from the inside. I couldn’t think straight. “What the? Who? Why? It couldn’t have been. No, it clearly never was. A dream. A hellishly realistic dream.”
I stared at the wall light. “Forget it, go home. It never was.” the light bulb told me, sparkling slightly. The world was once again a tapestry of gray, upon which I’ve walked amongst everyday.
“Okay” I nodded, getting up and walked off in slight sorrow. Looking up at the board schedule I noticed that I missed my train by 6 hours. How this happened, I could not even speculate.
Did I get out too late from my house? Did I have a fainting spell of some kind?
Memories had intermingled with thoughts.
I could no longer remember or tell what was real and what was a dream, as I headed back to my apartment.
Headaches persisted with severe drowsiness. I spent the night staring at my monitor and writing an essay on “Ergonomics evaluation of room 354”, that was worth 20% of my mark and was apparently due a week ago. I counted the pixels of my monitor for amusement. Eventually my thoughts slowed down to nothing and I came to the realization that if insomnia had a color, it would have been white, as the images that floated before my eyes, spun out of rational existence.
Unanswered questions haunted me…
What happens when a fatal sickness places not you in quarantine, but the entire world?
Oct 20th, 10:47, my watch flickered with green numbers, as somewhere inside it, the microchip decided that it could rule my life with its control of time. My memory was going awry. I haven’t slept since yesterday morning. I couldn’t even remember how I got to University. I started up a slideshow of images in my mind, memories of places I’ve been to flapping by. Nothing amusing came to mind, except for those amber eyes at Union.
“Stop daydreaming!” I slapped my head, getting back to note taking. The lecturer droned on, and clearly didn’t want to pause for anyone or repeat anything.
Today’s lecture’s class was half-empty. Most people chose to skip its boredom and partake in more fun activities. I however was trapped, without purpose, without cause. The headache persisted. Lights flashed. Static, black and white fuzz appeared and disappeared in my eyes. During the last break, I’ve got up, collected my numerous binders, said “The hell with it, I’m going home.” and slipped out of the lecture hall. Outside the campus there were a few tables of “Political campaign for University student election representatives”. One of the candidates, Sarah Slean, was giving out yellow lighters with her name imprinted on them, so that people could smoke outside and vote for her after. I didn’t vote. I didn’t smoke. I just took one of her lighters for amusement and slipped into my pocket, considering whether I should set their stupid slogan or at least one of the SU representatives on fire.
Deciding to ignore the train, I’ve jumped into a bus and suddenly fell asleep.
Between the moments of wakeful-ness and slumber, between the seconds that the mind is reborn from another world I saw those amber eyes again, piercing through my very soul.
I woke up from the freezing chill that was spreading out from my heart, pushing from the inside out. Looking out the window and shivering, I thought how far our civilization has advanced, how much was accomplished, as we all existed on this spinning ball of inanimate and animate matter. Boeing 747 was piercing the sky, between the fluffy clouds, leaving a massive trail of exploding gases behind it. Where were those passengers going, why, what were they, what are we all searching for? Eternal happiness, perhaps?
How we are all interconnected, yet we choose to separate ourselves through misunderstanding and bridged walls. Never-ending walls of glass inside and outside of our minds.
Just as I was speculating on how to break down at least a few walls between people, the bus lights began to flicker.
“Alas, they too expire from the cold” I concluded harshly. However, as I looked outside, it wasn’t just the bus lights. The sun had begun to flicker too. The problem couldn’t lie in the sun; the problem was inside me. I felt my warmth being drained away faster, from every cell of my body. I followed the synapses, counted the mitochondria, trying to trace down after the escaping heat, through my bloodstreams, up higher and higher, through the ivory, porous layers of spinal bones, towards the veins on the back of my neck. I felt an incredibly thin, invisible string wrap around my neck, choking me slowly. Scraping my teeth, I pulled forward with all my strength, clawing into the cold, metallic handlebars. The string stayed in place.
“You can’t escape. Stop trying. Surrender.” It whispered through my bloodstreams in a dark, cold melody. After a few more seconds of struggle I came to realize that the key wasn’t to pull forward. The key was to pull inward. As I struggled with my last breath, the lights flickered faster and faster, colors shifting from black and white to a slightly tinted red world. The string had instantly snapped, freeing me. The sound of traffic outside and voices inside the bus faded and vanished as if they never were. The bus began to slow down and stopped in a standstill. The plane in the sky, was sticking its tail out of the white, hazy cloud, not moving forward at all, as if it was stuck in thick porridge. The sun glared back at me with a differently shaped corona and shade as if it was a sun of an alien world, a billion light years away from earth. My eyes ran around madly. Everything stood still.
“Well, re-occurring pattern of dreams is rather interesting” I concluded.
As my eyes re-adjusted to the dimly lit interior of the still bus, I’ve noticed something rather strange about. Something was moving and alive in the stillness. A mesh of thin, silver strings expanding and converging, a vast spider web that was alive, spread all around the bus’ interior. As I’ve focused harder, I’ve noticed that each string connected to somebody’s neck on the bus. The strings were slightly pulsating, as if draining blood one micro droplet at a time from each bus riding individual.
“Dracula?” I speculated, looking up to the ceiling, where webbed mesh of strings ended.
A gray, incoherent, mushy thing hung in the top left corner of the bus, pulsating slightly.
I’ve focused my eyes harder, trying to make out what shape it was. The shapeless spider-thing resisted my eyes, by shifting to and fro and yet remaining still at the same time. Little silver glowing dots sprung on its surface, moving back and forth, across the strings.
The thing looked at me. It had no eyes that I could distinguish, yet deep inside I knew, felt it, that it saw my presence and found in me a threat. The air became thick with motion, as strings disconnected from the people and shifted about, as if trying to feel my presence.
“Wake up! Wake the hell up!” I screamed, as thousands of silver threads begun to vibrate and crawl towards me, jumping left and right.
Feeling me up they pulled at my arms and legs, piercing my skin, and ripped as I pulled back, jumping off the seat. My struggle didn’t last long. The thing, whatever it was, had won, entombing me in a cocoon of silver strings in mere seconds. White, blinding light from the constantly shifting strings was the last thing I saw before I fell.
My frozen, shaking hands pushed away the bus doors. My vision came to and my eyes re-opened, not from darkness, but from the milky, white blindness. As I fell out of the bus into the road, the warm, welcoming concrete connected with my face.
When my mind fully gained control of the un-cooperative, frozen body, I found myself crawling away on the snow-covered grass in utter fear. Wonderland had ended. The rabbit hole had suddenly thrown me back into reality. I was outside, sitting on the snow, covered in dirt like a common hobo. People were staring at me, some rather ridiculously pretending to ignore me.
“Contemporary insanity!” My thoughts laughed at me.
I was at least two kilometers away from home, and had gotten off the bus far too early. Walking through the snow covered sidewalks I’ve speculated upon my next action, contemplating whether the world is just an illusion, pulled over our eyes and whether we’re all just slaves or food of gray-shape-shifting spider monsters.
A blue, blotted sign blocked my path.
“Feeling lost and sick? Come in for a free consultation!”
“Walk in Clinic” An even more bloated, blue sign swayed overhead.
“Time to seek expert medical attention.” I concluded at once, and walked in.
Starting with ‘Doctor, I’m insane, help me!’ would have been a hilarious, yet silly idea, so I just bluntly approached the white shirted, round receptionist lady at the desk and demanded to see doctor Young, an old pal of mine who was now going through his practice at this exact clinic.
Upon inquiry, the receptionist, being a delightful person that she was, made me wait for 20 minutes and then pointed me to the green door.
“Hey, Alex! How’s it going?” Dr. Young popped out of the door, twirling his wrists in greeting.
“Mildly good… Mind giving me the full checkup?” I answered with a sardonic look on my face.
“M-kays, Alex, let me see what I can do. Follow me into my office of doom.” he laughed, opening the door farther and welcoming me inside it.
I sat on the blue bench, admiring the office’s interiors. A bunch of posters filled the walls, warning patients of the dangers of hepatitis B in 3rd world countries. A massive wax ear sat on the shelf, cabinets loomed everywhere, filled with boxes and bottles with Latin labels. Only a little green plant brought some cheer to the grim, hospital-ish whiteness of the walls, sitting lonely on the windowsill. A tiny fly buzzed on the window, smashing hopelessly against it, trying to get out.
Dr. Young plopped himself into the nearby chair and stared at my face.
“So, what seems to be the problem exactly?” he inquired.
“I think there might be something strangely wrong with me. My headaches won’t go away, plus now I’m getting visions of things... hallucinations maybe even. I’ve been getting colder from the inside, as if slowly frozen from within, and from time to time my eyes can’t seem to distinguish between colors and shapes.”
“Hmm.. frozen from within, very poetic.. like a man without a soul” Dr Young concluded. “Could be a severe case of flu. Let me take your temperature.”
With this, he pulled out a little gauge out of his table, with temperature readings.
“Check this out, instant temperature and blood pressure readings” he said, bringing it to my wrist. As the cold metal tablets of the device connected to my hand, the numbers on the dial above became garbled, showing something that looked similar to Egyptian hieroglyphs and 88:88:88 that seemed to flash back and forth really quickly between different numbers.
“Okay that’s just odd. I just… why doesn’t this work?” Dr Young concluded and instantly checked the device on himself. The numbers instantly zeroed when the device was taken off my wrist and showed 36.6 when they were brought to his wrist.
“Freaky.” He said, bringing it back to my wrist, at which point the numbers garbled up again into a mess of lines. Placing the device on my other wrist, neck and foot brought similar results that confused Dr Young immensely.
“Allright, that’s it. I’m just gonna use ye olde trusted thermometer.” He concluded, and got out a good old “1997” mercurial thermometer out of his desk and shoved it directly under my armpit in an instant. After about 5 minutes he retrieved it and looked at it blankly.
“According to this… everything’s fine” he concluded, showing me the little line of mercury that stood still on the 36.7 C mark.
“Bah” I concluded, staring at the curvy, black fly that kept on smashing against the window, comparing it to my own life of hopeless gnawing against the walls of society.
“Hold still… I’m gonna think of…fzzzzz” Dr Young’s voice became garbled and high pitched. The fly that kept crawling on the window vanished instantly.
I blinked. The fly wasn’t there anymore. “Must have buzzed away real fast”, I speculated.
Dr young’s voice became unbearably high-pitched and completely shut off.
“Ammm.. what’s going on?” I asked, turning my head to the doctor.
The doctor’s lips flapped up and down like the wings of a dragonfly. His figure became fuzzy with motion, washing away.
It started to snow inside my head.
The colors faded. The doctor’s fuzzy shape vanished. Light became dark.
The halogen lights above me, were shining with black light. The sky, behind the window was pitch black. The once dark floor was shining. The little plant on the windowsill glowed from the inside out. The world became black and white Infra-red, I suddenly realized, panicking ever so slightly, looking at my own glowing hands. My eyes settled on the numbers of my watch. The seconds were a blurry black 88. The minutes flashed forward 14, 15, 16, 19, 22.
“And when seconds become minutes…” I thought, raising my eyes to conclude my suspicions. The curvy black clock on the wall was spinning forward at an expanding rate. The seconds arrow had vanished completely, while the minutes one was slowly spinning forward, accelerating.
Sprinkle of colors broke through; light and darkness inverted themselves slowly.
The little plant on the windowsill sparkled with pearly blue, its leaves fluttering, smashing, and scraping against the glass, as if it wanted to get out, as if it was alive and sentient.
“Gaaah!” I screamed, shaking in fear and jumped off the chair, trying to get away.
Light and darkness intermingled. The world became a fuzzy blur of lines and shapes, focus breaking up and coming to. Pixels of light littered my eyes, flashing and rolling around, increasing in numbers until they blotted out the view and all I could see was a colorful fuzz, TV-screen static, filled with thousands, no, millions of different, sparkling colors.
“Oooo.. pretty colors” I speculated, flailing my arms, but not able to see myself or anything around me.
The light feeling of euphoria had passed as suddenly as it arrived, replaced with panic.
“Will I ever see again? What if my vision stays like this… forever?!” my thoughts cried out. At least three more seconds passed, as the fuzz started to wash away, turning into pretty fluttering sparkles of white snow that melted away one by one, clearing my vision.
I was back to the office. Lights and colors appeared their usual self.
Dr Young sat in his chair, propping his chin with his arms, staring at me with a suspicious look in his eyes.
I blinked and stared back at him.
“Are you there, yet? No?” he mumbled.
“Helooo Alex?” he whispered, sounding as if he’s said this about 50 times before and was getting tired of it.
“Yeees?” I answered back, still standing in a pose of a cheetah that just sprang out of his chair, claws curled up for a fight for survival.
“Hahahahah… Oh yes, you are back?!” Dr Young jumped up and started to dance around me covering me in questions, like an aboriginal dances around the fire, chanting at it.
“How did you do that? How did you not blink right or move for almost an hour? How? Why? What in gods name is joke this is? Its as if you were moving slowly.. slower than anyone I’ve ever seen, how is that possible? Tell meee! Tell mee!!!”
“I don’t know, doctor… I can only assume that my insanity is contagious” I answered him blankly, as he continued to poke and prod me with his hands, trying to understand what had just occurred.
“You play joke on me, hahaha, very funny.” He finally concluded. “You should go to the circus with this talent, aye!”
With this hypothesis concluded, Dr. Young quickly jabbed my finger with a needle and withdrew a pitch of blood. Next he took it to another room, telling me to stay put and to stop playing tricks on him. In 10 minutes, he emerged with a gloomy shadow on his face. Wiping his sweat covered forehead; he spoke, his voice breaking like a stuttering, dust covered 1920’s gramophone player.
“I’m afraid I have grim news, Alex,” he uttered. “Your bloodstream carries a retrovirus, and it’s killing your cells slowly. C-come after me, s-see for yourself.”
He shoved me into the tiny room filled with machines and mysterious medical equipment. On the tiny, flashing monitor on the wall, he pointed me to an arrangement of doughnut-shaped blood cells and tiny, dark speckles mingling around them. I looked at these dots in suspicion. Dr Young increased the focus, centering it on a single blood cell. Like a massive red planet it loomed on the viewer, facing me, a reflection of a tiny piece of myself, magnified thousands of times. Suddenly, the planet shook as an alien-looking rocket ship landed it on, spreading its numerous spider legs and crawled forward, its cylindrical body wobbling. Ka-ching, the spider connected with the cell, piercing it, my heartbeat stuttered for a second as it did, as if the spider’s sting pierced not a tiny disconnected piece of myself, but my very own heart.
Dr Young zoomed out into the array of many, similar blood cells.
“A new type of a virus, injecting the blood cell with its DNA fragments, to turn your cell into a tiny factory that manufactures more copies of the virus.” Dr Young quoted.
“Eventually this cell will explode, releasing the newly born viruses. This reaction will continue until the viruses destroy every cell inside your body. It looks like it’s not limited to blood alone.”
I scraped my teeth. The monitor flickered with a distant “fzzzzzz”.
“I have however found a slight irregularity in your blood. I counted at least 27 different white blood cells and 24 types of red ones. Different in their structure and shape. Extreme adaptation. It’s quite incredible. Your body is trying to adapt itself to the virus by creating new, unique cells. Why your body isn’t rejecting these new cells is a mystery to me. This needs further investigation, later… I reckon I could base my PHD on this matter… However getting back to your problem, the virus… is killing every newborn cell, at an increasingly exponential rate.”
I stared blankly at the monitor, where my blood became thinner and thinner, blood cells exploding one by one.
My bloodstream was a battlefield. A war, inside my blood… inside my body.
Bam! Another cell exploded. As my vision grew darker, I backed away from the monitor in dismay. Dr Young shoved me outside. “I wasn’t supposed to show you this, but you’re my friend. I am going to give you a little injection for now, which should hypothetically slow down the spreading of the virus. Next, we’ll transfer you to a large hospital for quarantine. Is bad, very bad, if the virus isn’t stopped, it will devour your body and flood your bloodstreams. At the rate the things are progressing… you will be dead within the week. Quickly now! Quickly! I do not know how contagious it may be!”
Dr Young dashed to the cabinet, his hands shaking. He took out a bottle of alcohol, dropped it, dipped the little white cotton into it, nearly dropped the cotton, fumbled with the needle and rushed towards me, rolling up my sleeve. I watched events unfold before me, pacified with shock and acceptance of my fate.
“Wonderful, magical quarantine… it is bound to save me. At least there’s now a logical, explanation for my headaches and nightmares.. or day-mares.. Whatever they are.” I pondered, as the doctor finished rolling up my sleeve, dabbed my skin with alcohol covered cotton and brought the needle closer. Naturally, I squirmed away in my dislike of needles, squinting my eyes and making a face of a suffering individual that was about to be vaccinated.
“Faster, faster, faster” I breathed, but in fact, events started to unfold slower and slower as the doctor’s quick movement of inserting the needle into my arm seemed to take longer and longer. I stopped squinting my eyes just in time to realize that the colors are fading away and that the doctor is hopelessly stuck in a comical pose, just hanging there, above my arm.
There was a slight buzz coming from somewhere behind the doctor’s frozen body. A disturbing, high-pitch tune flowed through the air, curving around the doctors’ posterior, bouncing off the white office walls. Something was amiss. A little, electrical fuzz ran itself around the doctor’s frozen form, bending his hair, like the prairie wind running through the desert, bending down rare bushes. The tiny hair on the doctor’s arm vibrated in unison with the eerie high-pitch tune. The tune was eating my eardrums, flowing through the doctor now, flowing forward, and focusing, centering somewhere.
I jumped away just in time to see a fist shaped hole appear in the doctor’s chest.
“Explosive decompression?” I speculated, watching as the hole spread out and gnawed away the doctor’s insides and outsides, increasing in size, wrinkling and devouring his white shirt piece-by-piece, growing faster and faster.
The needle in the doctor’s hands instantly snapped into tiny flakes of metal and glass that fluttered in mid air, slowly floating towards the hole in doctor’s chest.
“A black hole?! Nhgaaaaaaah!” I slashed my teeth as I dashed away, knocking away the chair, crashing into the table and landing on the floor, just in time. The doctor’s vibrating, partially hollowed out body twisted and folded up, as if he was but a simple piece of paper that a giant hand just crumpled up and rolled into the nearby wall. A white, lightning-fast beam flashed through the room, finishing up with the doctor and washing whatever remained of his shriveled figure right out of existence, piercing the nearby table where I just sat, and towards the wall in a straight line, slicing through and crumpling up metal, plastic, wood, drywall and concrete. A cloud of white drywall dust covered me as the pieces of wall and nearby cabinets hung in the air for a few seconds and then crumbled down, colliding with each other and the floor, exploding outwards and inwards. The resulting shockwave pushed me first into the explosion and then out through the hole it formed. Flailing my hands and legs, I made a nice pirouette through the air, flying outside and falling at least 3 floors down, crashing, slashing through tree-branches, until my neck and right shoulder collided with the snow-covered grass. Before collapsing out of consciousness, I laid there for a few more seconds, staring at the crater formed on the building, and listening to the annoying high pitch tune in my ears, wondering if this was anything like what a First World War shell-shocked soldier felt.
Whuzzzz. Whuzzz. Blurry shapes passed by, whooshing. Through the hedge fence I distinguished blurred-out shapes of people and cars that passed with incredible speed, stopping for a split second and then vanishing, blinking on the intersection and disappearing, without any sound. Soon enough there weren’t any people or cars in sight. Colors were shifting and dancing in my eyes, lightening, darkening, reddening, and greening up. Clouds formed and broke apart in the sky, as if by magic. I could see the reflection of the sun’s dial slowly slide, no… now nearly plummet down, as a dime that rolled down on a sloped surface.
The grass beneath my feet, slightly covered with snow was dancing left and right encircling my body, slapping against it, as if trying to pry me off the ground and push me away. An old oak tree above me roared, its leaves flapping left and right, its branches reaching towards the sun.
I could almost hear, nearly understand its repetitive-song-like, deep, resounding and thunder-like voice. “Grow, grow, sun, sun, sun, slash, slash the filthy invaders away, away, sun, sun, earth, break through stone, slash, slash, slash.”
I jumped up and away from the tree as quickly as my broken-up-and-thrown-around body allowed me. The grass danced around my shoes, straightening up from where I stood up and wailed in resounding agony as I stepped on it.
As I backed away from the grumbling tree, thoughts darted in my brain.
“What is this? Why? No, impossible, it can’t be. I must be completely mad.”
“Who? A fleshy singularity upon my roots?! You are unwelcome here!” The tree rumbled.
“Go back, back to your world, filthy invader!” The tree resounded, slashing at me but unable to reach me.
“Thy kind has been wasting away the land and our kind for far too long. Poisoning our roots and cutting our hands as you please. Your greed and evil shall echo back at yee.
But, there will come a time, when the guardians return, anew return.
When the gods are back and you will fall, fall, fall.” The tree thundered, booming.
“And then we will take back the land. Take back the earth you took from usss. Yesssss. Filthy invaders!”
“Eeeeeee-eeeeee-eeeeeeee” sung the grass beneath my feet. Instant darkness engulfed the little yard where I stood, facing the angry tree as the sun vanished beneath the horizon. The shadows danced and twirled as the crescent of the moon made its quick trip across the curve of the sky, clouds tearing up, colliding, coming together and washing away around it. Patches of white snow sparkled on my arm for a few seconds and then in an instant my shoulders and hands were covered in a thick layer of snow that just grew on me out of nowhere.
“Wake up! Wake up!” my thoughts screamed as I tumbled around the yard.
Slight, unexplained warmth on my hand instantly brought me out my insane dream, just as the crescent moon vanished and the sun rose again, illuminating the strange, living, constantly shifting landscape. Colors shifted, flapping and the voices of the grass and the tree faded out, sounds of the city fading in.
A fuzzy shape tugged at my arm, buzzing. White noise of the morning city engulfed me.
The fuzzy shape formed into an old man, dressed in winter boots, black jeans and a partially re-sewn wooly sweater.
“Who are you? What are you doing in my yard?!” the angry old man tugged at my wrist, shaking a thick layer of snow off it.
“Amm… just passing through” I mumbled, blinking and staring at him.
“I’m sorry… I’m a little lost, could you show me the way back to the street?” I inquired, looking quite confused, which I literally was.
“I thought you were some kind of a damn statue, you were just standing there, motion-less…” The old man repeated the doctor’s words “Don’t be playing tricks on me now, young man. Street, right there! Go, before I call the police! Damn trespasser!”
With this, he opened up the wooden gate in his fence and kindly shoved me out onto the street. Looking quite insane, I danced on the street, slapping the snow and a thick layer of frost off my head, and clothes, feeling quite frozen in my white shirt, since my winter jacket was left somewhere and probably got “imploded” along with Dr. Young’s office. With suspicion I walked around the street and stared onto the building that housed the tiny walk-in hospital, refusing to believe that it actually happened. My heart sunk as I stared at the gaping hole in the building, yellow tape all around and a bunch of police cars on the scene that directed pedestrians away from the rubble that covered the street.
“Oookaaaaay…” I slowly backed away from the intersection, picking up speed and running towards my house. Somebody was clearly out to get me. “An invisible enemy, perhaps, something like the virus in my bloodstream? How did the damn virus fit into this mess anyway? I remembered the monstrous caterpillar at Union station. No, it wasn’t a dream. None of this is a dream. They must have something against me… But, why?
And now… now they’re out to erase me? Crumple me out of time just as they did with the doctor? Just thrilling!”
My thoughts collided with each other, making up obscene theories about the mess I’ve gotten myself into, as I’ve begun to cross a large, snow covered field that stood between me and my condo building. Sinking my shoes through the snow, I’ve pushed on, wanting to get there faster, and hopefully sort this mess out… Somehow, still hoping to wake up, still hoping that it was all just a dream. Dark, thick clouds loomed overhead. It began to snow once again, snowflakes gently waltzing in the air, all around me.
“Cracka-WWWWW!!” the sky exploded with thunder, making me jerk down in surprise.
“Thundersnow?” I’ve asked the sky, looking straight up and witnessing a brief flash of lightning pass between the clouds, as the heavy, thick snow kept falling and blotting out my vision.
“Cracka-cracka-cawWWWWW!!” The clouds boomed, lightning jumping between them.
“Great. It’s lightning quite nicely and I am walking across a field… real smart. Good thing there’s plenty of tall trees around. Like this one here…” I concluded, staring at a large, maple tree in front of me. The storm continued to spin overhead. As I walked forward, tumbling through the snow, the wind suddenly ceased and looking up again, I realized that I was now directly in the eye of the storm. A wall of clouds and falling snow curled around me, around the field, reaching up into the heavens.
Lightning bounced right in the eye of the storm, rebounding between the opening in the clouds, flashing lower and lower. “Cracka-CRAWWWWWWW!” the sky exploded, suddenly descending, and tearing out my eardrums.
Blinding lightning flashed down and ignited the tree. I threw my hands against my face far too late. Falling to my knees, I rubbed my eyes that were filled with white, dancing fire. I could hear the cracking of the burning tree in front of me. The white sparkles went away pretty swiftly, just in time for me to see the colors of the world change again.
Click, click, click, the colors of the world shifted, throwing me somewhere in time.
“Hooooboy!” I whooshed out, sinking in the snow. I checked my watch, to see which way I was going, but it was hopelessly broken, its monitor cracked in several places, crunched up somehow during my flight from the spontaneously exploding walk-in-hospital.
I stood on my knees. The tree in front of me was burning. The wall of clouds was coming down, swirling, glaring and flashing, as it too caught fire.
Static echoes of voices were coming through, seeping into my brain from somewhere above.
“You idiot, how could you miss him?”
“I didn’t miss him. I could have sworn he was right there. A slight miscalculation.”
“Upon your part!”
“Its not my fault! He keeps moving! Yes sir, firing again”
“Get him this time, for…”
The voices fuzzed up again. It was just enough for me. I jumped off from my sitting on my knees position to rolling through the snow position just as the lightning beam struck again, the snow melting away and the grass curling up into a nice, big and round crop circle that formed right where I sat a second ago. The crop circle spread its arms, birthing more folds and lines as fire and light ignited the field again and again, striking, jumping between the grass and trees, electrical currents slicing grasses and leaves.
“Run. Run. Run. Alex run.” Thoughts shot through my head.
I tore through the field like a bullet, tripping over bushes, crushing the slow, slipping on the grass, and dashed across the road breathing heavily. Behind me, the field vanished, covered in falling snow and fog. My condo building appeared from the mist, standing there calmly as usual, a bastion of concrete and steel.
“A safe fortress against my enemies.” I concluded, running inside and closing the numerous metal and glass doors behind me.
In the large wall mirror I admired my face, slightly bruised and looking quite starved; shadows of insomnia looming beneath my eyes.
Country music played in the quiet lobby; a few people were walking back and forth in the corridors. My brain had once again started to question whether what I just saw was just a trick of my own mind, an illusion, a hallucination. Telling it to shut the hell up, I walked across the hallway, into the gallery of stores on the lower level of the condo, deciding to grab something to eat and satisfy my ever presently growing hunger.
Having paid for a BLT sandwich, I now sat devouring it, on the black metal chair, my arm hanging off the cold glass table. I stared outside, into the snowy mist, into the streets where random cars passed by, where life had kept on moving never minding my singular madness. I tried to remember where I had lost my jacket. Nothing came to, except for the vision of the exploding walk-in hospital.
“Madness. Pure madness.” I slapped my face, in disbelief. I looked around, shamelessly staring at a few people in the food gallery. They were eating, talking, laughing. My cell phone vanished along with my jacket. I couldn’t even call anybody and tell them… tell them what? Would they even believe me or call me a crazy fool, tell me to stop making up stories? I felt alone and abandoned, one on one with my insanity and confusion. I looked down at the glass table, at the scattered remains of the sandwich, pondering whether I have anything left to look forward to.
“Hey there, mind if I join you?” a musical, clear voice ringed in my ears, a voice that I heard not too long ago… but where?
I raised my eyes in slight shock. Who would even dare to talk to my poor abandoned self, who looked like a hobo, covered in dirt and wearing a partially torn up shirt?
As my eyes ascended from the table I fist noted the fit, slightly tanned legs, then a black skirt, then a tummy button, then settled for a second on the pink shirt with a drawing of a duck on it that run around the curvy chest, and then faced the golden-orange, amber eyes of a girl that slid onto the chair in front of my table. She was about my height and age, I estimated. I’ve seen her before. No, it can’t be.
“Tchaa… amm.. zyes?” I answered, my voice breaking up from the surprise.
“What’s up?” she smiled at me.
“Have I seen you somewhere before?” I uttered. “Union station? Yesterday?”
WANT TO READ MOAR? DOWNLOAD THE WHOLE UNFINISHED SCRIPT HERE:
by alexius, 8th August 2014
by alexius, Today, 7:33 am
by alexius, 14th June 2014
by Amber of Snippy, 9th December 2012
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.
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?
â€śHey you!â€ť 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
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, 8th December 2012
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
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
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. â€śThis is nothing odd,â€ť my father had told me, â€śhe is your guardian angel, and he is always watching over us.â€ť 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 oâ€™er me.
My brother? My lover?
My heartstrings aflutter,
So close, yet so far,
Youâ€™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 , Monday
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,
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
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 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
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.
by , Thursday
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.
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!
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?
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."
"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 Stalky, Today, 8:26 am
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.
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 , 28th July 2012
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
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?"
"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.
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
by , 11th June 2012
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?
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
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 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?
...Blasted mug! Reveal to me your trick!
by Engie, 18th March 2012
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 Biomatrix 117, 1st March 2012
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...
ThE UnIoN MuSt KnOw.
ThEy WiLl NoT Be PleAseD wItH OuR fAiLuRe.
wE TriEd. FoRgiVe Us.
by , 29th February 2012
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 Biomatrix 117, 28th February 2012
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.
AnD So, By ThE OrDeR Of ThE InVaDeRs UniOn
, We WeRe SuMmOneD AnD
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?
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.
We ShAlL EnD YoUr PurPoSe-LeSs ExiStenCe oF LoNelY SuFfErInG.
We ShAlL Re-WriTe YoU...
AnD YoU ShAlL ReJoIn ThE BiOmAsS.
by Engie, 28th February 2012
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 , 28th February 2012
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 , Wednesday
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
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
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.
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 Engie, Tuesday
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.
~Dr Alexander Gromov
by , Monday
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 , Monday
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...
The fluttering snow, glittering in the sunlight.
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...
by , Monday
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 , 17th February 2012
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".
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 , 15th February 2012
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.
EMISSARY OF EARTH, ZEE CAPTEIN
AFTER EATING, DO AMPHIBIANS HAVE TO WAIT ONE HOUR BEFORE GETTING OUT OF THE WATER?
by , 15th February 2012
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.Â Â
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 , 12th February 2012
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.
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
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.
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".
by oggyb, 9th February 2012
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.