#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?
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Lhyst (H plus 3 Days)
I shouldn't have come with them. It felt like I was out of place. Worse, I could sense several people around me. None of them talked to me.
Great. I had gone from castaway to prisoner.
Red remained at my side. He'd become less of a guide and more of a compatriot. He and I agreed on the point of getting to leave. Foxtrot could tell I disliked being stuck in here.
Sleep came easier in the monsters' bunker than my bolthole. Something made closing my eyes easier. Maybe it caused less stress. I blamed my subconscious. It always did this sort of thing to me.
I lifted my head off my desk. Blue hair dangled in front of my eyes. I could see again. I looked up to see the rest of the old classroom. Like the one I'd had as a kid, but mish mashed together from several different grades or teachers.
"I'm dreaming again." I smiled. Of course I could see. I had to be dreaming.
I stood up from the desk. I walked across the multicolored matting with letters and numbers. Toys of all sizes were here. I couldn't help myself. It felt wonderful.
I flopped down in a pile of plushy animals. The old smells. Childhood. Dirt. That stink of growing up.
"I'm still alone." I told myself. The room around me was empty. No one else. But it still looked and smelled and felt like home. Maybe I could see one of my Dads again. At least for a moment.
Dreams like these, I needed them like air.
"What about me?" A voice called.
I froze. The dream always had me alone. Or the dreams would show my loved ones, but just out of my reach. Childhood memories I could never really relive. Sights I couldn't see anymore.
Never did I actually talk to anyone in the dream. I relived it every night, recounting it during my days to keep my mind from cracking.
"Lhyst?" The voice called again. "I'm here too."
I stood up from the pile of mismatched toys. Some of them were the same size I remembered them as a child, as big as I was. Others were as tiny, shrunken from when I'd seen them as a babysitter in our neighborhood. There was a girl sitting in the desk behind mine.
A little girl. Black haired, she squirmed a bit when I looked at her. She wore a pair of dirty coveralls. The girl looked like she'd been finger painting. Color paint covered her all over. She avoided looking right at me. She had that shy look. That kind of a tentative nervousness of someone too scared to explain herself.
She seemed to match the childishness of the room. She made me feel like I didn't belong. That maybe I had been clutching to broken shards of my childhood.
"Who are you?" I asked. "You haven't been here before."
The girl shrugged. "I've been watching. You seem to be clinging to your memories pretty hard."
"You mind answering my question?"
"I don't..." The girl sheepishly looked down. "This always feels awkward when I'm not invited in."
"Um..." The girl held up a hand, covered in paint. "Look at the paint, Lhyst."
The paint didn't look like paint. After a moment, I realized what it was. It wasn't paint. It was the same as the desk she sat at. A texture, splattered on her.
"The desk?" I shook my head. "You are in my dreamspace... My... you can't. My BrainSys isn't working well enough for that."
"That isn't true." The girl looked up at me. "My Oneiros had no trouble linking up with it. It works just fine."
"That... I've been blind in meatspace. It's been malfunctioning at most. It can't be working. Otherwise the tentacled things would've gotten to me."
"They didn't for other reasons. I'm still trying to figure that out."
"Who..." I paused. I listened to her voice again. "Charlie?"
Charlie squirmed again. "I tried to match the setting."
I shook my head. "You cast yourself as the child? You do know how creepy that is don't you?"
"Eh. I wanted to talk with you. More in depth. This seemed like a good way to keep you from dodging me again."
"I already told you all I know."
"You sure about that?" Charlie asked. "There is more in this that you don't know. Your BrainSys has been functioning perfectly fine, from what I could tell."
"And it just let me be blind? It didn't correct my vision at all? Why would it do that?"
"He's been trying to help, I think."
"He?" I stared at her avatar with incredulity. "He. You just called wetware in my skull a him."
"I don't know why he won't speak with you direct. But he's been controlling your dog. That animal has been rewired and programmed to help you." Charlie looked up at me. "I mean, didn't you ever wonder why an untrained animal acted like it was a trained guide animal for you? And why it didn't just attack you?"
"I..." I thought back to first meeting Redd. He had always just listened to me.
"He did that. He also alerted you to me and my people." Charlie said. "I've been talking with him."
"Why won't he meet with me then? Am I such a horrible person? Was it keeping me alive as a joke or something? See how good the blind girl does?"
Charlie looked behind me. Then she spoke with someone who I couldn't quite see. "You really should do this. I can't make her do it."
"Wait. Is he here?" I looked around. "I thought I was alone in this dream- wait. Has my sadistic jackass of a BrainSys been just force feeding me dreams over and over?"
"If I was quiet and subtle, they didn't come." A male voice said. It sounded like my Dad. One of them. The older one.
It's tone made me froze. It sounded sad.
"Why can't I see you?" I asked.
"He's still hiding I think." Charlie paused. "Rousseau, come out. Pick something for her to look at."
"No... I can't." Rousseau stammered a bit. "She's right. I have been torturing her."
"You've been saving her." Charlie countered. "Lhyst, you know that all BrainSys have strong AI, right? They pattern themselves off the brain their share. Rarely do they expand into self-autonomy. Parameters and programming chained them back so much. But they are just as smart and thinking as you or me. They just don't speak up. They want to help, they want to make you better than you are. Code makes them into chained slaves."
"I... I don't think this was a good idea." Rousseau said.
"No... I think I understand." I said. "The Enemy couldn't see me. He kept it from noticing me. I get it now, Charlie. There's somethings I do know... IDK the specifics."
Charlie nodded. We then started to go over my memories for things Rousseau and I had seen.