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#InTransitMonsters is a #firstdraft #novel about Technology as Messiah. Humanity is about to fall, and is forced to create monsters to save itself. Can these giant monsters succeed, or will humanity's old ambitions damn the species to extinction?
Morgan Hobb (H minus One Day)
My footsteps echoed. The concrete in the abandoned parking garage looked cracked. Roots pierced the ceiling here and there.
I adjusted myself. Choosing to be Morgan today sort of took less effort than the previous weeks. It felt right. But a part in the back of my mind still wondered: Maybe I'd gotten used to it. Or, maybe instead, I just wanted to be the man who fathered Charlie.
Damnit Ghale, I thought. So angry at Miri, but still too scared to actually talk with our child.
Ghale always hesitated in her personal life. Even having the abortion whacked her. She didn't want to do it, and yet she convinced me it was the best thing. I'd helped her make that decision.
You should never push someone off that cliff. Not unless you feel like you can get used to that pain.
I had come to this old place to meet with an older friend. Meeting in flesh codified the secrecy of it. Online I could have a record of some sort. An AI or a dozen could observe and take down anything said. An old place like this, though. It could be secured against the ever-present spying tech of Earth.
"Rebar in the concrete." A voice called out. "Stand still a moment."
"It's me." I replied. "And I know about the Faraday Cage."
"And if you remember the damned scanner, you'd shutup a second, too." A annoyed voice retorted. The voice sounded guttural, echoing from far off.
I paused a moment and waited. Then there was a sharp ping that echoed through the old concrete labyrinth.
"Yeah. Hundred paces to your left."
I nodded and turned to my right. After a hundred paces, I stopped. Then I ripped a piece of grass and detritus near a hole in the ceiling.
"Hey!" Rover yelped. He blinked his one eye at me. Irritated, he emerged from under the pile of grass and tarps he'd been hiding under. "Y'know how to ruin an entrance, don't you?"
"Showboat." I retorted. "How are you?"
Rover blinked at me. "Going with the penis these days?"
I kicked at Rover's shins.
"Yowch!" Rover jumped away from me. "Ok, ok. Forgot to close my yap on that one."
"Feeling more like Morgan the last few weeks." I crossed my arms. The defensive tone surprised me.
"Moira. You do make a great dame." Rover scratched his chin. "Always wondered about doin' it myself."
I rolled my eyes. "Right. Rover, enough bullshit."
"Bullshitin' half the fun of the job." Rover looked around for a moment. "Sometimes if I talk loud enough, the antidepressants actually work."
I gritted my teeth. "You promised me some dirt on what's been going on with the Joiners, behind the scenes."
"That was a month ago." Rover paused. Then he nodded, almost as if to himself. "This'll make you wish you had a stiff drink on hand."
"Stiff drink, check." I rubbed my neck. My implants weren't stinging. "Skip to the details, rover."
"You need to stop watching so many vids." Rover handed me a jump drive. "It's pretty bad, M. Them Joiners, they ain't like anyone thought. Their leadership isn't there."
"Isn't there, as insane or what?"
"Isn't there, as in, not human." Rover shook his head. "It's all in there. Not proof, but clues enough to convince me. I've seen them before. Back when I was in the service. Daemons, several by the look of it."
"Daemons?" I blinked. "But- that doesn't quite explain. Most of the people involved in the Joiners can't know that kind of tech. It's military or black market."
"Daemons." Rover shook his head. "That ain't the part that scares me, M. These AI ain't acting right."
I looked up at him. "They're AI, they aren't going to act human."
Rover closed his eyes. "Ok, M, you didn't serve, and prolly never dealt with a Daemon. I have. They are like a psychic power in your head. Telepathy and prescience wrapped into one. You and your entire unit, acting in perfect coordination. You don't have to think, because the AI has already predicted your moves. You and the rest just act by that.
"These daemons, they are... IDK, they're fucking up alot. Like, they are acting incompetent. That's why they keep catching these folks, so easy."
"That..." I shook my head. "They must've programmed them to act that way. That's the only explanation."
Rover shrugged. "That's what I thought. But, it doesn't explain their orders."
"Their orders?" I blinked. My belly did a flip flop. "These daemons are receiving orders?"
"Yeah, M." Rover waved a hand. It pointed to the other. Then he opened and closed it, miming a mouth talking. "Left hand is chewing out the right. Always checking and reseting them. It's like the Daemons are looking for excuses to break from their orders."
I shook my head. "Thats... Well, it's nothing I can use."
"Yeah. AI hearsay." Rover shrugged. "Nothin' linking it to EpicVentures or this Martin guy you asked me about. There are IP addresses in there, if you want to go dreamsnoppin' yourself."
"Right. Thanks." I turned to go. Rover grabbed my shoulder.
"M? Can I tell you somethin' honest?"
"What is it?" I asked.
The old veteran's one eye watered. "If you made up with your gal, go spend time with her. This Hecate baloney isn't going to save us. Them monsters and AI won't do the trick. Our tech never does it. Make good with your gal and your god."
He offered his hand.
"See you later Rover." I told him.
"IDK on that. Waiting for the end, it's..." Rover waved his arms about. "The bloody squids take their time. Maybe they'll be kind and just skip to killin' us."
I left him. I imagined my daughter. I'd seen those images. Miri had turned my daughter into one of those. It didn't make me sick. It made me want to worry for her. Pride made me convinced she'd save us from the aliens. But my mind remembered vets like Rover.
All our technology. It never saved us. All our hopes and plans failed too.
"Maybe it isn't the tool. But the user." I wondered aloud. "Need a new kind of human, maybe Miri's right on that."
I hoped I wasn't lying to myself.
Legends are just lies to cover the truth. Hyperbolic policies are bureaucratic legends: they cover reality so deeply it becomes hard to believe they aren't real. Laws are agreed illusions.
Same is true for political realities. Our culture is rife with horseshit, bullshit and shared lies. What's worse, we don't bother to even try to parse the mess of it.
We sometimes can't see out of the mess of the lies that our civilization relies on to function. So deep is the mileage of shit, we can't see which lies help and which don't. We think our failures are the chains that'll bury us.
They aren't. You just have to remember that they are lies.
Thanks for reading! And as always, if you enjoyed this or any other part of InTransitMonsters, please share and let me know if you have suggestions for improving it. It might not show up for awhile, but I do read whatever I can to improve the tale.