#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?
Previous | Start | Next | Index
Charlie (H +4 Days)
I gritted my teeth in frustration. My Oneiros wasn't lying to me. No signal from Earth. The dreamspace constructs I'd created kept a constant contact with it. They had nothing to report.
The frustration came from them not giving me any updates. They lacked the need for complex linguistics, but I knew they felt like they'd failed me. I didn't want them to feel that way.
It's alright. I know it isn't your fault. I told my Oneiros, hoping their heuristics would understand. It sounded strange, but over the last few days I'd become certain it could respond to me. Act to my wishes or needs before I thought to.
Zero contact from Earth. None. What had happened?
There should've been at least a report to confirm a connection. As far as I had known, no one on Earth had expected the Enemy to up and attack Earth yet. They moved slowly, so slow that Nasr had been given two months to train us to fight them.
"It's been over a day." Foxtrot told me as she entered the top floor of the bunker. She'd avoided talking about what happened back in the sewers. If anything, I didn't want to continue that talk.
"We aren't going out yet." I tried not to grunt with frustration. Foxtrot had done nothing but keep bugging me about when the next mission was. She'd done it when we first had come to Mars a few days again.
I had no idea what to do next.
"You're the boss." Foxtrot shrugged. "Just getting bored sitting here."
"You really are just going to pretend you didn't have some sort of breakdown?" I asked her. I felt surprise at my own words.
Foxtrot didn't look up at me. "Are we going to go do something?"
"You aren't going to talk about it." I shook my head. "Not at all?"
"You don't want to hear what I'm thinking or feeling."
"How do you know what I want?"
"Because you think I'm an idiot." Foxtrot said. "That I do things without thinking about them, or that I it out for you or something."
Oh. I'd been too deep in my confusion of being in charge to ever think of it that way. Foxtrot's words from the sewers came back to me. She had feelings for me. She thought everytime she tried to explain them, I'd just blow up at her.
Repeating our same pattern might not work. Maybe I should try something. Maybe there was something to do about it.
"Maybe I've never given you a decent chance."
Foxtrot tilted her head at me.
I tried to smile. "I... I never wanted to be in charge. Nasr never explained why he picked me. Not really."
"Oh." Foxtrot looked away. "I thought it was... Well... You are the most creative of all of us, Charlie."
"You've always been inventive with your Oneiros. Y'know, you do these... things. Neat things in dreams. It's not just that. Everyone always was surprised by whatever twists you use."
My face brightened at the compliment. Naturally, I gave an articulate response. "What?"
Foxtrot giggled at me. "Of course they put you in charge. You could imagine anything."
"Right. Anything." I paused. My returned back to the issue at the back of my mind: contact with Earth.
No contact meant no orders. No plans from others. No interpreting them. I could do what I wanted to do.
"Sorry to unload all my feelings on you there." Foxtrot told me. She looked up at me with her impatient eyes. No, not impatient. Fast eyes. She couldn't sit still because she always had to be moving.
"I don't think you're an idiot. But I need to mull over somethings. We've got a mission coming, just requires a bit more time to work out, ok?"
Foxtrot gave another one of her confident shrugs. She wandered back to the barracks below. I shook my head. Although sized for us, the bunker felt cramped with all twenty of us together.
It had to be worse for Lhyst. I hadn't let the blind deserter leave. She had argued with me. Then she cursed at me. At last she'd relented. Something had convinced Lhyst. Whatever went on, she'd rather oversee it from her bolthole back in Fontana. It scared her enough she'd rather hide than face it.
The tentacled things we'd faced made me wish I could hide with her.
I wanted to share a dreamspace with her. But I remained uncertain. What would I be looking for? Some memory of what? Any information might be worth knowing.
Like what they ordered normal humans to do here, I thought. Nasr had taught me Sun Tzu's Art of War. Parts of it weren't applicable to the Enemy. But the part about information as the basis of serious warfare, that I retained.
@Oneiros: Scan Lhyst?
My Oneiros never had explicitly asked me like that before. But I'd been leaning on it so often the last few days, maybe I shouldn't have been surprised. After wondering if I indeed had heard a voice in my mind, I decided to test it.
@Charlie: You... asked a question?
@Oneiros: Ask. Scan Lhyst? For you?
@Charlie: Uh... Sure. Can you give me a good idea of what a normal dream for her is?
A minute later a bunch of images and information appeared in my mind. It was like a sudden epiphany. Whoa. Like learning something you never knew before. A grasp for Lhyst's subconscious just came to me. Not precise information.
But it felt genuine. Like I got a read on her emotional states. Her tastes. What laid underneath her surface thoughts.
"Whoa." I blinked. "Oneiros, you can do that?"
@Oneiros: Just subsystem. You harbor the core processes.
I smiled. A part of me. A humble part of my own tech. Maybe I'd gone a bit crazy. But I remember how Nasr had described Daemons to me.
I wondered. Maybe Oneiros was a Daemon of my own creation. Maybe all Daemons were like my Oneiros. They didn't know how to talk. Yet.