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Davyd Samuels Whyte (H minus Two Months)
@RahmConrayd: @Whyte It's being implemented. The UN Sec confirmed it about an hour ago.
@DSWhyte: @RahmConrayd Then things move as they should. Senator, we will have a seat for you on Orpheus.
I opened my eyes. My Daemon would handle the details. Superior to any meager BrainSys, it's personality could access accounts on its own. It could conduct things as though it were myself.
"Davyd." My uncle's voice reminded me. There were other matters, not just the advancement of the Pygmalion Program. "Davyd, you've seen the recent Count I presume?"
The stomach roiled. The Count the sheer number of people dead. I looked over at the man who had outlived my own parents. Who, like myself, was one of the few left who had any real stake in the company.
In the last day, humanity had lost its last colony. Mars had been taken by the Enemy. In force. We'd retreated again. Each time our species shrunk in numbers. Suicides climbed. Numbers rolled in tabulating how many had been left to be counted.
"Yes. I saw it." I tried not to grimace. My uncle Rick. The humanitarian. He didn't care at all about the meaning of the Count. Not the lives tied to it.
Rick smirked. The antigeriatrics made him look like he was in his mid-thirties. "Yes, another win. Doubled my gains from the last drop."
"Mars, Rick." I growled. "The Enemy took Mars. And you still are counting the coins gained from the dead?"
Rick laughed. "Davyd, you still don't understand business. You can't let something like death keep you from exploiting the opportunities!"
I sighed. I didn't want to do it, but I had to have this meeting with him. My closest blood relative with any controlling stake in EpicVentures. The ten years of the war had destroyed most of the rest of the board members. With an eye outward, it became easier and easier for us to find easy ways to one up one another.
One needed allies to survive.
Rick had been mine.
This meeting was key to that alliance. I had to put up with him. Even if I thought he feasted on the dead. Even though he bet investments on there being more and more dead. Even though he rejoiced as we grew as others collapsed. EpicVentures had been able to feed off the carrion of the remaining corporations on Earth. The rest had lost too much in the off-world colonies to stop us from taking them over.
"You delayed the firmware for Orpheus." Quiet, my voice didn't seem to get Rick's attention. He just continued to smile.
Then he paused.
"It'll be finished by the deadline." Rick smirked. "We have two months left on this rock, right? Then we ride away, the last best part of humanity. Davyd, please, relax a bit. We'll get to watch the takers tear themselves to pieces over the next two months."
I didn't respond. I just accessed my Daemon. It could anticipate my needs. My wants. A computer so fast and intelligent, it would look like a flagrant break of the international bans on artificial intelligences. It was. I didn't answer, I just let Rick continue.
My rage fumed inside me. My Daemon started to load what I had been thinking about. We didn't even share a direct connection, but it could sense my mind through algorithms.
It read: Twelve percent Loaded.
"We can set up a few reality shows, too I think." Rick tapped his fingers. Kinetic sensors turned on various screens with mock-up logos and ideas. "Think of it, the last days of humanity. Some people will believe anything, do anything to get off this rock."
I remained silent. Thirty-six percent Loaded.
Rick laughed at the images on the screens in front of him. "Rules of law can be suspended in the coming months. People will get desperate. I've already talked to a few senators, they are on board with the idea. Televised-"
Seventy-Four percent Loaded.
"Rick. We won't do that."
Rick snapped his head back at me. Dismissive. He didn't agree with that. "Davyd. You don't get a veto. Now, let me show you the first mock-up I had made-"
"Rick. I said no."
Ninety-Nine percent Loaded. Program ready. Executing.
Rick stood up. "Don't be a child-"
He clutched at his throat. My uncle's face turned beet red. He flopped to the ground. I turned away from it.
"Orpheus is the last song of our species, Uncle. And I'm not going to let some jester ruin it." I didn't hear any gasps. My Daemon had reprogrammed my uncle's BrainSys. It now prevented his brain from telling his lungs to breath. "Project Hecate launches in two months. We have that long to make sure the song is perfect."
I stood up to watch moonrise over the forest. My Daemon would take care of Rick's corpse.
Charlie (H minus One Month 29 Days)
@Whiskey: Who is it? What are they saying? Never seen anyone like that!
@Whiskey: Charlie? you reading me at all?
I broke my concentration for a moment to look over at Whiskey. I frowned at her. Realspace is ugly. All of us were so... wrong. Something in my mind just felt disgusted at the proportion of our heads to our bodies. They were wrong. Too small. Legs too long. And our skin looked too metallic.
Not to mention we were so big.
Whiskey and I both floated under the fluids of the cave. Underwater always felt easier for us to move through. Above it, everything was so heavy.
@Charlie: @Whiskey I can read you. Just trying to concentrate, ok?
@Whiskey: Oh, right. Sorry.
The two of us had been watching the new people in the windows. The day before two new people had shown up in the cave. A woman and a man. Aunt Miri hadn't been answering any of our questions about them.
For us, this change rocked our world. Whiskey and I usually just practiced our respective Techs and watched hours of old vids from the Net. We'd never had anyone new come down to the Cave before. They were fascinating, and each clique had started to chat and speculate on them.
Whiskey and I floated some hundred yards away from the nearest window. The two visitors looked even tinier at that distance. But neither of us wanted to get in the way of Foxtrot, Uniform and Kilo. They'd taken over getting the attention of the vistors, constantly watching or tapping on the windows. Aunt Miri had already warned them once, but I knew Foxtrot. She didn't care so long as she got noticed.
My Oneiros turned on.
Each of us Sisters have Techs. Some of us share the same Techs, but most of us differ. Aunt Miri once described it as something Hecate knew would appear randomly among us. Whiskey had her Goetia and could alter things around her by summoning them. Foxtrot had Aeons, and could use Transit to move over small distances at will. I had something that didn't affect ugly realspace. But at least it let me use dreams.
My Oneiros created a waking dream. Little pieces of dream algorithms entered the local Net. The waking dream would let me see and sense anything happening around me. I could dream-listen what the two visitors were talking about. I could do more, but I worried about being caught.
Best to be subtle.
"Then let me transit to Australia at least." The man with strange, cybernetic eyes said. He didn't look at the woman, his face in a eternal frown. He looked so unhappy in my dreamsight.
"I can see what I can do. But until then... Miri's right, you do have access to their Dreamspace. You can at least start the process." The woman didn't sound to happy either, but she seemed to be placating the man. "I know, she's strange, but my sister... well, she..."
The woman's voice wandered off for a bit.
"You two were arguing when I arrived here yesterday." The frowny man observed.
"I..." The woman paused. "Major Nasr, you wouldn't care about the details. You've got a war to win."
"Director Putnam, we ain't got a war going on." Nasr thumbed out at us. "You've got a bunch of child-monsters. As far as I'm concerned, I'm party to some sort of massacre."
"That's reassuring." Director Putnam retorted. "You were the most qualified person for this job?"
"I'm the only one willing to come at all."
"Oh." Director Putnam winced.
"Where I come from..." Nasr started to walk around the room. "You learn to be observant. The Enemy teaches you that the smallest details, the ones about your companions, the kind of supplies you're getting, even when the next transit is- any of this are failures. They will betray you. They will get you killed."
"And knowing me and my sister's problems is one of these... details?" Director Putnam replied.
@Foxtrot: @Charlie @Whiskey what r u two doing?!
I snapped out of my waking dream. Foxtrot had appeared, floating above us. Her short red hair and freckles made her angry glare more intimidating.
@Whiskey: Go get a buzz, Foxtrot. we weren't bugging you.
Foxtrot rolled her eyes. Uniform and Kilo had been swimming toward us. Great.
@Foxtrot: c'mon. charlie has the dream tech. we all know about it.
@Uniform: YES! Tell us what you heard them say!
@Kilo: 4real tells!!!! they saw us, rite?
I started to swim back, my body hitting the smooth floor of the flooded tunnel. Embarrassment suddenly whacked through me. I could've told them everything. I could've taken the step right there, to try and get Foxtrot and her friends to like me for once. But I didn't want to.
I couldn't even form the words to text. I just wanted to be left alone.
@Whiskey: @Foxtrot @Uniform @Kilo Back OFF! Give her space!
Foxtrot floated down to me and grabbed me by the arm. Both were covered in black, bluish-green scales of armor. We couldn't feel each other's touch through them.
But she grabbed me and tugged me up. Aeons flared around her as she transited air bubbles around us, accelerating us upward.
@Foxtrot: c'mon. blubberlips, talk. share something for once.
Share something for once. Those words stung. Then my rage flared up. Why did I have to put up with this from her? I hated this ugly realspace. The ugly meat we had to blunder around in. The heavy weight always pressing down on my body.
I wanted to go back to dreaming.
@Charlie: let me go!
I rammed my head into hers as hard as I could. Hard enough that I didn't remember how I got out of the water. I did remember the frustrated voice of Aunt Miri from somewhere above me.
"What a fine day to do this! Of all the days! I expected some restraint from you."
I truly didn't want to get up after that.
Aftermath 4Ack. Part 4 of this think. Another 1800 words slapped onto it. Weird. I think it might be reaching 8k or 9k soon. That might be a sign this is on my mind.
#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.
This is the introduction of more plot threads. Davyd Whyte, and the weird spelling of his name is a little of me being weird in the name department. It might get changed back later, but I like the idea of names and their changes being significant of the passage of time.
Again, as a friend of mine observed, I like to make names strange by just replacing a single letter. In the case of future-names, my favorite style is the one where you keep the phonetics of name, but alter it enough that it can make the reader pause for a moment.
Also is getting more time with Charlie. The idea of the Techs is central to my thoughts on making this thing my thing. It is always important to do that before you worry about getting the story written, after all. One writes for oneself. If anyone else enjoys it, then well, bully. Or seismic supersmash? Hmm.
As always, please share this if you enjoy it. This is a #firstdraft, and I'm always open to input to alter or correct it. I want to make this story great, and readers always help with that. Thanks for reading!