Wednesday, July 8, 2015

In Transit Monsters 2 (A Story of the Hecate Project)

Part 1 (Previous) | Part 3 (Next) | Index

Charlie (H minus Two Months)

I love Dreamspaces.  In them, I get to go anywhere.  I'm a damn goddess in Dreamspaces.

@Whiskey: Whoa. O_O
@Charlie: I know, right?

I smiled as the two of us looked down on the landscapes I'd created.  Rosy cherry blossoms floated from thousands of tiny little trees.  The digital outlines of little digital people wandered around the trees below.

Tiny buildings glittered gold and silver in the artificial sunlight below us.  Unlike many other
dreamspaces, we floated in midair, unaffected by gravity.  Whiskey and I could go anywhere down there.

@Whiskey: There are SO MANY PEOPLE.  Is there a place like is in IRL?
@Charlie: IDK

We both didn't know what to expect outside.  Not outside of the Dreamspace.  Outside.  As in outside home.

The facility.  We'd been here all our lives.

I loved the dreamspaces, and all the escape they offered.  Everything here was the same sort of digital fake.  Even our bodies looked nothing like they really were.

@Whiskey: I don't want to go down there... :S
@Charlie: Yeah...

Whiskey and I shared looks.  It was faster to text one another through our BrainSys.  We could send a thousand messages back and forth that way.  Both of us looked nervous.

"We are pathetic."  Whiskey told me aloud.  "Even in a artificial world, we still don't like being in the party, huh?"

I gave her a weak smile.  "Yeah... but... here, let me show you."

I floated up a bit more to above us.  Whiskey watched me as I reach up to the sun floating above us.  In the Dreamspace I felt like a goddess.  I held it in my hand.

@Charlie: Catch!

Whiskey fumbled at the tossed tiny star.  She looked at it.  Her avatar's red hair glimmered.  Whiskey's avatar had long curly red hair, unlike how both of them in real life could never hair that long.  It flowed over her shoulders.

The best part, though, was seeing my best friend's smile as she studied the sun.

"Whoa."  Whiskey picked at it, then started to unwrap the tiny star in her hands.  Its layers glowed still, but unraveled they gave a small song.  Every little bit of layer was covered in images, videos and gifs.

"These... Charlie... Charlie this is so halaal.  I can't... you can do this here?"

"Oneiric tech master Charlie."  I gave her a mock salute like the old movies Aunt Miri had given me access to.  "The whole thing can be transferred over to your personal dreamspace too."

Her eyes lit up at that.  She tug at the bit of unraveled sun-fabric.  It snapped back into its sun shape.

Whiskey tossed it up into the air.  It hovered in midair.

@Whiskey: I can control it via BrainSys too?  How did you- 

"Nevermind, it's so halaal."  Whiskey grasped the sun again.  She looked very happy.

"Happy birthday Whiskey."  I told her.  Our two avatars hugged tighter than we could ever dare in real life.  Our real bodies could never... there was something about the shape we had digitally.  It felt like we could anyway.

"Happy birthday to you too..."  Whiskey paused.  "I mean... I didn't think to get you anything..."

I laughed.  She shook her head.

Then we went off to enjoy the dreamspace I'd created below us.


Ghale Putnam (H minus Two Months)

My ears popped.  The electric tingle of the transit flowed over me.  In my mind, my BrainSys pinged me with the obvious prompt:

#InTransit@GhalePutnam

For a moment, I existed at two different points of space simultaneously.  Disorientating.  But I had been used to it.  Transit proved to be the cheapest form of travel, and the safest.  I held stood as the Transit point pulled open and then closed.

The dark blues of the Pygmalion offices blurred and melted around me.  Then the crackle-boom of the Transit ended.  White dominated the new place I'd arrived at.  I looked upward at the massive marble statue before me.  Unlike the white walls around me, it stood out in how green it was.

Three women with bodies that ended in serpents coiled around one another.  Each woman's hair was composed of snakes.  Each woman looked as though they were screaming.  They were as big as I was, life-sized I guess.

For greek mythology.

At their base word had been carved into the dark green marble they'd been carved from.  It read: MEDUSA AND HER SISTERS.

I frowned at that.  I'd rarely, if ever come to Project Hecate.  No reason to come in person.  Subordinates or teleconferences could handle discussions with the various staff.  I never had to speak directly with Miri.  Not unless it was something important.

Even then, I could still shirk it off onto Martin if I really wanted to.  But I couldn't.  Not if we had to
prepare for this operation.  We had four months to work with.  If I didn't do this now, humanity would be screwed.  If I just focused on that-

"Ghale?"

I froze.  My heart raced.  I closed my eyes.  The last argument we hard bubbled up to mind.

There is no time for that now, I told myself.

"Well... this brings up all sorts of memories."  I turned around to see Miri standing there.  She looked how I had remembered her.

A bit older, but the same old Miri.  Then she smiled.  I felt my mouth frown.  "Wow. Remember back when we were little and you-"

"Miri, not now."  I snapped, cutting off the potential for a revisit to some embarrassment of my past.

Miri's face drew back into her own glare.  "Never stopped enjoying being the eldest, huh?"

I sighed.  "Miri, I-"

"I know what you are here, Ghale."  She tapped her skull.  "Everyone here has a BrainSys.  The second it came down, I already started to get things ready... but I have to wait for you to brief me."

"It's not that simple."  I waved a hand around us.  "Is there somewhere we can at least talk about this?"

Miri shrugged.  "C'mon I'll take you to Hecate then."

We walked through white-walled hallways.  They looked cheap.  Like the rest of Pygmalion, they'd been the fastest thing to set up.  Miri opened a steel doorway that had been painted dark blue.

A holo of a old woman sat on the bland carpet of the room.  Only her light illuminated the dark room.  Miri didn't turn on any lights.  The old woman tossed holographic bones on the floor in front of her.  She seemed to pay us no mind.  She looked impossibly old.  Her hair, even though translucent and glowing a faint green, looked frighteningly white.

Her eyes... there was no white in them.  Just a blue-green glow that seemed like it knew me.
Like I was a brief flicker in the ether.  That she would bear witness to more after I had long gone.

"Hecate."  I nodded.  The artificial intelligence that Miri and Project Hecate had constructed at the beginning of their project.  I knew the broad strokes of the project, but precise details like this hadn't
been something I'd been privy to.

Avoiding Miri meant I'd looked over and given her free rein.  I hoped that my understanding of the big picture of Project Hecate would help me get through dealing with Miri.  But another part of me worried that I might have to rely on my sister.  It dawned on me that perhaps I might be hear longer than I ever wanted to be.

"Hello." Hecate's electric voice thrummed.  "GHALE PUTNAM.  It is GOOD to have you hERE."

"Um..."  I had no idea what to say to a artificial intelligence.  A real one, not one of the specialized
computers or software primed with heuristics I was used to.  For one thing, they never spoke of their own accord.

"Well, go ahead, talk."  Miri motioned at Ghale to begin.

"Two months."

Miri blinked.  "Wait.  Two months to... what?"

I shrugged.  "They want us to launch in two months."

"And they expect Project Hecate to be ready by then?"

"No,"  I sent images from my BrainSys to her.  "Everything is launching."

"Oh."  Miri paused.  "Where?"

I blinked at her.  "What do you mean where?  I thought you said you had been paying attention?"

My younger sister shrugged.  Her dark hair and dark skin reminded me of when we were younger.  Mom and Dad always said yes to that face.  I closed my eyes.

"Mars.  Miri, we need to get Hecate ready for Mars."

"Ah.  Well."  Miri turned to Hecate.  "What do you think?"

Hecate cocked her head sideways.  Then she looked down at the bones all over the ground before her.  The hologram grunt, counted them, then looked back up.  "They aren't ReadY.  NEEd more tIME.  NEEd traINING."

"Of course-"  I paused.  "Does she really have to be part of this?"

"She designed the genome, her input is invaluable."  Miri supplied.  "She knows what the monsters are capable of."

Monsters?  Again, my lack of the details were starting to unnerve me.  "The UN Security Council has assigned someone to provide training, brief the units and prepare them for activity in the field."

"Someone with eXPERience against the ENEMY?"  Hecate inquired.

I gritted my teeth.  Well, at least I hadn't strangled Miri.  That seemed like a success.


Aftermath 2
I really need to come up with some sort of cover image for this thing.  Would make it work better.

This is part 2 of it.  If you enjoyed this, please share it.  I look to comments for correcting or adjusting things as I go along.  #InTransitMonsters is a different sort of SciFi story, my attempt at a new take on Frankenstein and a few other things along the way.  Technology as messiah, or at least that's the goal.

Charlie and Whiskey are a important part of this, as will the other characters as I introduce them.  This is a bonus post, as I normally only post on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, so enjoy that for what it is.  Otherwise, have a awesome week.