Monday, July 27, 2015

In Transit Monsters 8 (A Story of the Hecate Project)

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Davyd Samuel Whyte (H minus One Month, 28 Days)

"And Nasr has been making solid progress, despite the oddities introduced by Dr. Putnam?"  I asked.

The ten members of the United Nations Security Council looked gruffly up from their folders.  Each furrowed brows.  Someone coughed.  In the center of the room, the liver spotted Co-Director Martin glanced up at me.

A irritated look.  I resisted one of my own.  With a quarter of the Earth under EpicVentures control, in the last few years I had bypassed the archaic and byzantine system, wherein I'd use representatives from nations EpicVentures controlled completely to voice our say, by simply appearing myself.  EpicVentures had purchased many of those nations long after they'd destabilized and been depopulated.

Rick didn't understand why I insisted on it.  It was simpler.  The rest of the UN Sec had resisted it, but eventually I made them all consent to it.  It had been a show of power.  EpicVentures, a corporation, had become a sovereign nation.  Some of those who remembered things before the war with the Enemy always were disturbed by that.

"Director Putnam reports that they are making progress.  Given that no one has ever trained genetically redesigned humans like this..."  Martin shrugged.  "Who knows.  We are going off projections and predictions at this point."

"Akashic predictions fail when trying to calculate the Enemy, if at all."  Ami Davisen, the UN ambassador for the United States pointed out.  The woman's grey and red hair looked hassled.  The recent losses on Mars had hit the US hard.  Like the other major contributors for the war effort, the battles on Mars had cost them their last, best defenders.   "So what predictions can you use for this?"

Martin gave a weak grin.  "Honestly, we all know we are operating in the dark here.  This is our blind, last fumble before we fall."

No one disagreed with that.

"Nasr has maintained a strong regimen and determination."  Martin added.  "There are others who this might have been cause for... well, a final break I suppose."

I nodded respectfully.

@RahmConrad: Nasr.  This is the one they sent to train the Project that stalling the Enemy for Orpheus?

I gave a trademark smirk that I was certain the floating camera drones would deliver.  That would confuse the commentators on YouTube and Vine.

@DavydWhyte: Nasr Al-Muntaqim.  He was the hero of Haven.

Oh bored Rahm.  I suppose it wasn't her fault.  Stuck at Orpheus, she only had me and my Daemon to keep her from going insane from boredom.  Moments like these made these dark last days seem worth living.

@RahmConrad: Haven?  He survived that disaster?  Hmm.  I'll bring him up,  I'm curious now.

@DavydWhyte: It being the hub for the colony worlds, he'd been assigned there as adjunct and liason between the Egyptian forces and the general UN defense forces.

After a second, she'd responded back.  Her keen mind would unravel all of it.  Brilliant, clever, cunning.  My heart ached at having her at Orpheus and not here with me.  But it was necessary, if we were to survive Earth's end.

@RahmConrad: Oh.  Wow.  He did that?  The video on YouTube is pretty... wow.  I didn't know anyone had survived Haven's destruction like that.

@DavydWhyte: Yes.  He has been Earthside ever since.  After Mars, he has the most experience with the Enemy.

@RahmConrad: Ugh, that's horrible.

"And the major wanted to request some sort of area he could perform field training with them as well.  We thought we'd ask you if a member-state would grant permission for something like that."  Martin folded his hands as he finished talking.

"There are risks to allowing them outside of the facility.  If the public knew about Project Hecate, the riots around the world would grow."  The Ambassador from China, countered.  She frowned at Martin.

I raised a hand in a gesture of offering.  "EpicVentures had territory with no residents in North Africa.  We'd be glad to host them."

Chatter filled the chamber for a moment.

@RahmConrad: Are you ok?  Your Daemon has... 

@DavydWhyte: Its alright.  Just agreed to host some of the Hecate Monsters for one of Nasr's training sessions.  Most of the UN Sec seems to be in a uproar about it.

"Of course.  I'm certain the Major will be pleased."  Martin didn't look at me.  I ignored it.

The Pygmalion Program only existed as a distraction after all.  Martin could entertain whatever he wanted about me.  Just so long as Project Orpheus succeeded, it didn't matter.

@RahmConrad: Oh Davyd.  Things are continuing forward, then?  We have our window open?

@DavydWhyte: Yes.  H-Day is going to happen in two months as planned.  Orpheus will be done by then?

@RahmConrad: You have more confidence than me.  But the last pieces will be in place by then, yes.

@DavydWhyte: I know it'll be done on time.  Our most brilliant mind is helming the project.

@RahmConrad: You aren't too dumb yourself.

@DavydWhyte: I can't wait to see you again. 

@RahmConrad: Two months to go until Orpheus launches, at the very end of humanity. ;)

Charlie (H minus One Month, 27 Days)

"That..."  Whiskey's head laid on my belly.  "I can't believe you figured that out so fast, C."

I didn't say anything.  I just looked up at the sky of the Dreamspace we occupied.  Stars glowed far above us.  The two of us were still in our human avatars.  We didn't want to go back to our realbodies.

But the dream felt like it had been violated.  Nasr had made it feel not as safe as before.  The realspace still was too ugly though.  This felt better.  Something about it had gone hollow.

"C."  Whiskey looked up at me, her dishwater blond hair and olive skin face concerned.  "Hey.  You ok?"

I mumbled incoherently for a moment about nosy friends.  Whiskey smirked.

"You did sort of save the day, though, C."  Whiskey adjusted her head on my belly.  "You can be proud about it at least."

"I don't know what to think about it."  I stammered.  The words were hard to get out.  "No one else was doing anything.  I just... acted."

"You figured it out though."  Whiskey gazed up at the starry sky I'd created for us in the Dreamspace.  "Nasr never said we couldn't change our Avatars.  And you did the whole dream thing with the blobsters and-"

"Blobsters?"  I crinkled my nose at the word.  "What?"

"Blobby lobster aliens."  Whiskey supplied.  "Blobsters."

I rolled my eyes.  Whiskey had never liked using the same words others came up for things.  She liked to rename them.  "You weren't too bad either."

"Probably."  Whiskey picked up a nearby rock.  Her hand glowed with rainbow glitters, almost like her Goetia tech in realspace.  The rock warped and changed.  It turned into a tiny, orange replica of one of the Blobsters.  "You were chatting at them, but I wish I could've thought up a better way than just making walls to fend them off."

I gave a grunt of agreement.  "It'll be different when face them in the field, I guess."

"You ever wonder, C?  I mean, how did they fight them for so long?  The Blobsters are so much... bigger and there are so many more of them than humans.  How did they survive this long?"  Whiskey played with her tiny Blobster figurine.

"IDK."  I replied.  "I saw vids, but..."

"Yeah."  Whiskey agreed.  We both had seen them.  They weren't something one wanted to experience firsthand.

"They are so much smaller... and..."  I paused trying to grasp the idea in my head.  "I think maybe the Enemy has been moving slow."

"Hmm."  Whiskey held up the tiny statue of the enemy.  Her face frowned.  "I think this is going to get worse before it gets better, C."

"Aunt Miri always said they made us to fight a war."  For a moment, I let virtual tears fall down my cheeks.  In Realspace, we had no tear ducts.  We couldn't cry like this.

Whiskey hugged me and we watched virtual stars fall in the dreamscape sky.  We shared some more tears.  This couldn't last.  But part of me wanted to cling to the fake dreams for a bit longer.

I thought about the woman Nasr had argued with.  The one Aunt Miri had talked with in such angry terms.  The one who sounded so worried about Aunt Miri.  Ghale, Aunt Miri had called her.  Ghale Putnam.

My Oneiros tech could create dreamspaces.  It could also let me see things, hear things.  Places and things touched by other minds.  I could just let my Oneiros crawl into their BrainSys, into their minds and tap into their dreaming minds.

That was how Whiskey and I were able to share dreams like this.  I shared them with her.  Ghale Putnam.  I wondered what her dreams were like.  My Oneiros responded.  It created a parellel dream, touching Ghale Putnam's mind.

I saw a her on a bed.  Sobbing.  A man stood next to a window.  Both didn't respond to my presence.

I gazed down at the floor of the bedroom.  I'd dreamed many bedrooms, using images Aunt Miri had given me.  But this one was wrong.  Twisted.  Hideous.  Frightening.

Blood covered the floor.  A baby's cold corpse floated on the blood.  It pulsed and thrashed.  Ghale Putnam's hand were soaked with blood.  Her crying face gazed down at the infant, her hands clutching the fleshy umbilical cord that strangled it.  Ghale Putnam kept repeating the same words over and over in the dream.

"I'm sorry.  I'm sorry.  I'm sorry."

I didn't dare wake her to lucidity.  I just moved away from the nightmare I'd violated.  Private.  I shouldn't have seen this.  She didn't know me and I had just casually ripped into her mind.

I backed away from the nightmare.  My Oneiros closed the shared dreamspace between us.

Whiskey looked at me.  "C, are you ok?"

I nodded.  "Sorry.  Just..."

I couldn't say the words.  Whiskey hugged me tighter.  I tried to let the horrible nightmare of Ghale Putnam drift away.  But it stained my mind.

Aftermath 8
#InTransitMonsters is a story of the Hecate Project, the last possible hope for humanity's survival against an Enemy too alien for us to understand- technology as messiah, we allow monsters to be created, violating rules we forbade science to ever break.  This is a #FirstDraft of my attempt to tell a version of Frankenstein where science and technology don't terrorize us, but set us free.  Also, giants, weird tech with magical names and characters with secrets abound in it.

I think this is in novel territory now.  I think.

Oneiros, BrainSys and Daemons operate on similar ideas of technology.  The idea of dreams as immersion VR is one of those cyberpunk tropes just seems... well, kewl to me.  That's the big bar of entry I suppose.

Because they are similar technologies, they open up the idea of human dreaming minds as a sort of DreamNet.  I'm not sure if this could happen, but I think if humans were able to do stuff ala Inception, a sort of internet for dreams would be the result.  I don't touch on the notion of how the mind survives that sort of confusion and blurring here, but I wonder about it sometimes.

Are we, right now, not dreaming?  How would we know?  Gets kinda into solipsistic territory.

Anyway, another one in the can.  If you enjoyed this, please share it.  This is still a first draft, and I try to alter, craft and change things based on what others think of it.  And thanks for reading!