skonen_blades: (blurg)
April 30/30

26/30

THE UNEXPECTED PACKAGE

Randolph Beaucoup of the Terran Diplomacy Wing had been selected from fifty candidates for this particular First Contact mission. Little was known about the Marenko other than they were anamorphic pseudopods without discernible features. Smooth gelatinous bags that had the ability to form as many multi-fingered tentacles as needed to build or manipulate technology. The Terrans were still trying to figure out how they saw without eyes and thought without visible brains.

There were large ones and small ones although that seemed to have no bearing on age. There was talk of one the size of a small ocean but it may have been a god myth of some kind. All was unclear at this stage other than the fact that they had space-travel capability and were, by and large, peaceful. The math constructs had been sent and received as proof of intelligence and no weaponry was detected at the landing site.

Randolph stood on the plateau a few steps away from the Terran landing plank beneath his ship, clad in a fishbowl helmet to clearly display his face and wearing a tight spacesuit that showed his musculature to curious species. It was known as the 'nothing-to-hide' approach. The stars twinkled above him. The Marenko balanced in front of him like a transparent rearing slug trying to impersonate a capital S. It was the size of an elephant seal. Unlike slugs, however, the Marenko were unnervingly quick.

The Marenko extended a glittering flower-tipped pseudopod towards Randoplh and paused. Randolph extended his own hand and grasped the pod tip in what, in his experience, was a universal sign of greeting. A sharp pinprick zeroed in on his palm. His suit easily patched the tiny rupture as Randolph withdrew his stinging hand with an involuntary hiss of shock.

Before he could move, the Marenko extended another tentacled pad that slapped wetly up against Randolph's helmet and stuck there.

"Hello Randolph. The earth-name I have chosen for myself is Mary." said a pleasantly-modulated voice. The tentacle was vibrating against Randolph's helmet to produce the sound. "It is a pleasure to meet you. This has been a delightful first contact and I am honored to be the first to produce our communication."

Randolph thought that was an odd choice of words.

"The pleasure is mine, Mary." he replied. "I'm happy to meet you too. I'm curious, what was the purpose of poking me like that?" he asked, tentatively hopeful that the answer would be benign.

"I needed a small tissue sample to produce our communication. You are in me now, growing. Soon you will be large enough to leave yourself here and then we can talk after you leave."

Randolph couldn't understand the words. The sentence must been parsed wrong in the alien's nascent attempt at translation. "I'm afraid I don't understand, Mary." he said.

"Look closely at my center, Randolph." said Mary.

Randolph looked closer at the core of the huge alien's wavering, smooth gelatin. There, in the center, curled up and twitching, was what looked like a tiny human baby.

A tiny baby with transparent skin and gelatinous bones. A tiny baby with dark hair and dark eyes, just like Randolph. It grew as he looked at it. A Meranko-Human hybrid of some kind.

"This version of you will stay here. We will converse. It will have your memories but it will be of my race, too. After a short amount of time, you may come to collect him and talk to him as well to gather your own information."

"Uh.....what?"responded Randolph eloquently.

"I am, as you say, pregnant." said Mary.





tags
skonen_blades: (heymac)
The skeletal youth with bad skin and missing teeth has just voided her bowels in the corner of the room. She’s crashing hard and jonesing for the drugs. She is in a fugue of need. She moans.

The five-year old girl in the room with her is shouting, almost barking with terror, and pounding on her own head, shaking with the assault of horrifying imagery.

To teach the young, unshielded psychics how to perform shutdown and fence procedures, we’d lock them in the same room with drug-addicted child prostitutes. Broken, near-death scarecrows with memories so toxic that anyone with unfiltered access to them would immediately be scarred. It was the psychic equivalent of standing too close to a furnace. Waves of the worst experiences humanity has to offer shaking off through the shudders of withdrawal. What this teenager would do for six dollars and what people did to her for that amount exposed the worst that people could become. No one pays that little to have a good time with someone this far down hell’s staircase. It’s always humiliation and abuse. Sometimes it’s not even sex, just violence. She was only nineteen but she looked like a hard forty.

The psychic was screaming. We’d found her on a small asteroid farm near Tentalus. We’d paid her stoic parents an amount of money that would keep them in the black for ten years. They had four other children. This wasn’t uncommon. Amongst those practical folk, it was an acceptable practice, almost like winning the lottery. She hadn’t been pulling her weight with the chores anyway. She couldn’t focus. So far, we’d been nice to her but the exercises were going slow. She didn’t understand that this was a military facility.

This was the whip. We’d given her the carrot; food, warm place to stay, other psychic children her age, toys, and a comfortable time in our kindergarten. The whip was that she would be brought here until she could learn to shut out harmful psychic pollution. We were teaching her to block with her mind.

After a year of this, we would teach her to attack.

Watching this from the observation booth, I remember when I went through the same process so many years ago. Even now, as a veteran of several messy campaigns, the memories make me sweat with fear.



tags
skonen_blades: (gasface)
The red landscape tells me slaughter took place here. Either that or the sun likes to make the prairie look like blood. As sure as rabbits can’t climb ladders, the sperm cells around here have teeth. Go ahead and ask the buildings to take a swing at you because they’ll do it. There are swarms of insects on these desert highways that’ll ram a car off the road. Big-headed demolition derbies advertise for orange juice. Children’s drawings try to make songs about strong boys beating horses. Footballs players hang off of helicopter struts in a fight to the finish above the super bowl.

“It’s not a mask” he says. “These are my eyes.” And then he comes in close.

The scarf is longer than the child wearing it. Her sentences sound like letters being shoved through a winter pinball machine. Her sign language is all Japanese cartoons and pastel capitals. Her eyes are a raven watching old Madonna videos. Her sister and brother are fictional advertisement from the fifties. Oil has not yet run out, their eyes say. Animals can’t go extinct. Their hope is a flower underneath a windmill.

The amusement park is brightly colored to attract the young.



tags
skonen_blades: (dark)
Remember the time we found that war? The straight-razor promise hiding in the ice cream dessert of your words? Remember the regret on your shoe that wouldn’t come off? The tie-drawer secret that turned every wall into a room for whispering? The up and out from your lungs that could never be? Remember not having the ability to talk without making a small cut?

As this galaxy swirls down the drain and the big bang hiding in your eyelashes threatens to become reality, a redefinition is taking place behind the scenes of the sitcom I star in. Lying on my back and pretending to be a helicopter is forcing me to admit that I may be more ice cream truck than tank, more 1971 station wagon than 1985 Lamborghini Countach. I am the brown inseam on your second-hand pants.

The heavier of heart you are, the harder it is to climb. This ladder needs people with the ability to shed. To dive through. To exist now and to exist now. To become a traveling knot of redefinition down the stitch point heartbeat. We are the whooshing of blood through valves and not much else. And some of us like chocolate cake.

There is a window of opportunity that I’m smashing through like a stuntman before CG in movies. I’m a fireplace hungry for trees. A clay potter might leave fingerprints in his work. I’ve done so much more as did God and/or physics did before me.

This rose of judo swelling beside me is shadow boxing through sonograms and strawberry desserts on the train from a world barely big enough to hold her to another one barely ready for her. My hands might hold her but my heart will never able to.



tags
skonen_blades: (gasface)
Dead man’s thunder is as loud as it needs to be. They always say “as the crow flies” but crows don’t fly in straight lines. Here lies a man who didn’t know his aglet from his merkin but he knew that alphabetically, hell comes before holy. So go ahead. Have a big drink of house fire. Telling you your shortcomings is like complaining at a McDonalds.

We all take turns winning and losing. As far as I see, I got out when the getting was good. It’s hard to throw playing cards into a hat from far away but with repetition, it’s possible to get good at it. It’s even harder to throw postcards down to Earth from Heaven.

This is the prayer book of my chest falling open. These are the drooping flowers of your time-killing words. You have the lazy grace of a tall woman not yet yearning to be young. Let me shiver the rain out of where your trees touch. Let me seizure against your missing tooth. Cover me in blankets and bring winter into my heart again. You are all the reasons I’ll ever need to keep warm.

I am a treehouse tenant. A swimming pool tour guide. A garment worker pretending to be a helicopter.

You are the folded census form with matching last names. You are a tax return made of bridges to the future. You’re a natural disaster with the best consequences.

If math counts, then the square root of us will be greater than the sum of her parts.




tags
skonen_blades: (bounder)
If I must die, then bury me at middle C. I’ll pull trains down from the sky and for God I’ll play my best card: my child.

I’ll be a hula-hooping fire hydrant instead of chocolate and flowers for dying women.

“Let’s have a steering wheel bonfire!” I’ll exclaim every morning. “Take the direction you thought you were headed in and throw it in the flames.”

I know my name is More of the Same. I know that black history month and valentine’s day are both in the shortest month of the year.

As any survivor will tell you, to keep from being hunted you can hide amongst the dead. Use those around you as camouflage as a hiding place. It’s hard not to drink the Kool Aid when you’re drowning in it.

I see them giving every halo a trademark, making every soul a subsidiary, giving the illusion of transparency, all the while remembering that a famous author once said “We cannot react authentically if we are concealing the truth.”

An overarching paradigm of tissue paper true love and iron currency. Butterflies and car tires.

Hope blooms brightest in the best fertilizer.


tags
skonen_blades: (Default)
A dragon-skull reminder of how angels taste. A glowing amulet from a forgotten time of sorcerers used as a night-light for the young one. The tornado of fire in the fireplace lights the kindling. A closet full of head-dresses from different kingdom’s kings given to the court magicians. Seventeen different baptism chalices. Most for water, some for oil and one for blood.

The tomes of lore have applesauce in between the pages. The tapestry of the fates, hard-won in a battle with a hydra that lasted seven months, has a yogurt stain on it. There is a book bound with human skin that has a drawing on the front in crayon. A clumsy heart to be precise. This simple act of child’s love has nullified the entire thing.

Wizards are great for teenagers but they suck at toddlers. Even by a magic-wielder’s standards, a child can cause an immense amount of damage.

Goretusk the Conqueror Mage, veteran of the Battle of the Never-Ending Eclipse, writer of chapter seven of the One Book, keeper of the remaining True Orb of Seeing, inventor of the most powerful storm spell put to page, stood looking down at his child.

His child had a mouthful of ink and was rubbing his hands all over the discarded parchment of the last remaining Aquanomicon Manual on Earth and cooing a song.

Goretusk held back a scream for the hundredth time since his wife had left him and forced a smile.




tags
skonen_blades: (meh)
Drowning in buttered wood the day after the news tornadoed through our house. One child poorer. Five older brothers became four and the second-to-last child suddenly had no one to hand clothes down to.

The flowing river next to our house had fattened with spring and taken our youngest. Snatched him quickly and quietly. A lone pink arm flailing in the middle of the brown, silt-filled storm of water. That current was peppered with white foam, whirlpools, undertows, and the tips of serrated rocks sticking up like shark fins. It was a deassembly line. A spring runoff claiming the unwary, animals and humans alike. “A real spring drowner” as the old men at the store would say.

And now we knew what that meant.

A missing tooth that still showed up in old pictures. A ghost that haunted our memories. We got older, he stayed young. He became an echo. A little what-could-have-been that caused us all to take life a little more seriously. A signpost in the rearview mirror that told us what we feared most of all was always closer than it appeared.

The four older brothers had seen him born and seen him die. They’d witnessed an entire life.

Born to the screams of his mother and taken in the same way.

I like to imagine him with baby deer and young bear cubs just as trusting as he was, swimming in the clear ocean where the river finally set his body free.




tags
skonen_blades: (gasface)
If you're reading this, then you're human. I believe I have all of your addresses in my communication unit. If the records are correct. I am the Royal Babysitter. I'm drunk and if I don't get fired for this, consider this my resignation.

The queen of Earth is a tragic figure. She is eight years old. I am her guardian. We are all that's left of the royal family. We are two of the eight hundred humans left in the universe. As you remember, Earth itself was destroyed two years ago on Christmas when most people had gone home for the holidays.

Having recently joined the galactic council, there were only initial stage emissaries from most of Earth's countries out in the newly established embassies scattered around the Great Rim. There were long waiting lists on Earth for the new positions that came up. Politically, Earth's future looked bright.

No one was left in the aftermath of Earth's destruction to claim responsibility but it's thought that religious extremists maybe have created the small black hole that destroyed it. No recording satellites survived the destruction. Post-apocalypse analysis by the Vorlan'ta temporal forensic team indicated that the collapse started off the coast of Angola. No known terrorist groups had a home base there and that kind of technology shouldn't have been present there. So who knows? It will always be a mystery.

The influx of xenoreligions into Earth's databanks had been fascinating for the philosophers but tragic for the dominant religions of Earth. When faced with concrete evidence that their beliefs were merely opinions, many of the top-tier religious men of power took a non-tolerant stance to aliens. Backwater hicks. It's because of them that travel off of Earth slowed to a crawl in those early days.

Same with the governments. Before the firewall was circumvented by a few brave teenagers in Texas, Earth's public was only slipped information in drips of highly-spun tidbits. The more information the government agencies could hog to themselves, the better. Our race's inclusion in the council and eventual permissions to leave the planet took much longer than usual because of their caution.

So many more of us might have been out in the universe at the time of the implosion.

Right now, I'm looking at my passport with it's ridged, iridescent surface. I'm looking at the play of light across the simplified Earth embossed on the cover. It runs out in ten years. With no Earth left, what is a year? When this passport runs out, will I even be able to get a new one? Perhaps I'll be issued a default galactic council passport instead with The Late Earth as my planet of origin.

The Late Earth. We are a lost tribe now. Earth's child queen, Abraxa, is guaranteed a seat on the council as a representative of our race. She was left here with me as a punishment while the rest of her family went home for Christmas. The survivor's guilt is eating me alive. As a race with no home planet and a small population base, she has little to no power. And because she is a child, she has no interest in fiscal, economic, or geopolitical policy. We've joined the ranks of the Morcana and Fleezles in terms of innefectuality. We're little more than tourists killing time in between meetings.

Projections say that it will take centuries for us humans to achieve the numbers we used to have. Personally, I'm despondent. There are several races here that are able to have sex with humans and there are even six that are genetically compatible. I, myself, have fathered four half-breed children in the last year. I don't plan to stop. I'm fascinated by the mating rituals of the other races.

If there was anything that destroyed our race, it was our belief in our own purity. I hope that in a century, there are no pure-bred humans left. I intend to dilute our race's genes amongst the rest of the races so that only echoes survive.

I recommend you do the same.





tags
skonen_blades: (Default)
We tried everything but the kid was just too fast. He ran right off the Earth into space. We were hoping to break speed records when we bred him. A snip of a molecule here, a tweak of an atom there. We only wanted to cheat and win some gold medals for our country.

We were too good. The kid could move himself around the room with a muscle twitch. The snap of each muscle fiber contraction set off miniature sonic booms. We had him contained but he’d run into the walls just by taking a step. The concussions were killing him and he’d rocket around in his room like a pinball every time he had a nightmare.

We had to let him out. We had theories about how to slow him down so that he could function in society and we tried them out. Speed retardant. Friction enhancers. We injected negative velocity serums into his bloodstream. We coated him with time suspension gel. We even dialed his quantum universe placement signature to always be ten feet behind where he actually was.

Nothing worked.

Early in the morning, we carefully put him into a wheelchair and told him to stay still. We took him out into the field above the secret sub-basement where he’s spent his entire life. He was immediately agoraphobic when he saw the blue sky and clouds so far above. His eyes were wide.

“No walls.” He said. He was six. Those were the last words we heard him say.

He twitched his head to the left and my glasses broke from the shockwave. He stood up, immediately displacing the air into flames around him for a second with the friction. Anything standing in front of him would have been vaporized from the small blast wave.

He looked into the distance and cocked his head.

And disappeared. The trail of churned earth and scorched grass that flew up like a roostertail fell back to earth lazily, reclaimed by gravity. His tracks ended twenty feet away. At first, we’d though that he had vaporized.

Then I looked up and saw the hole in the clouds. Taking a minute of drift into account, it looked like it would have been about parallel with the end of his tracks.

We got the defcon warning two minutes later that there had been an unauthorized missile launch from our co-ordinates. We invoked our black book top-secret status and that went away. Defcon stood back down to previous levels.

I want to believe that our child broke the light barrier. I want to believe that he has landed exhausted and happy on another planet.

I want to believe that he hasn’t run into the heart of a star or that he has somehow not died in the cold vacuum of space.





tags
skonen_blades: (dark)
I recognize some of the faces staring up at me. The rain is pattering softly on the top of the forensic tent, keeping the crime scene dry.

I’ve seen these faces on photocopied posters in shop windows in the poor part of town. We don’t post pictures on milk cartons around here. That’s for the rich. For children the world cares about.

The only thing that could have led them into a trap was hope and trust. Kids have so much of that no matter how bad the world gets.

I never considered myself to be a happy guy but when I look back on who I was five years ago, before I started this job, I see a rosy-cheeked simpleton who practically skipped to the academy. In my mind’s eye, I look like a five-year-old kid, too stupid to see this life coming. Clean-shaven and optimistic.

Now here I am, looking down on dead faces recently uncovered. Their eyes are clouded but other than that, they just looked shocked. Pale with surprise. Their young faces look into my mind’s eye like it was a mirror. These kids, swimming in a shallow grave like exposed fish, remind me of who I was so long ago.

These days, I have a huge beard and I started smoking again because nothing matters. When the boss comments on my hygiene, I tell him to fire me. He hasn’t yet. As long as I stay away from the television cameras, he says, I can stay. I do good work.

I think that I get good results from crime scenes like these because I can’t imagine a life where this is possible. I try to understand. I look at all the details, waiting for it to make some sort of sense to me. Sometimes I uncover clues that lead us to a perpetrator but even if that happens and I get transcripts of the interrogation, it never makes sense to me.

I’m on the hunt for answers in the worst part of the human condition.

A spray of dirt lies across the minnow-pale chest of the boy on the top. There’s a white girl’s freckled arm poking out of the dirt beneath him and above that, a shock of red hair. I can’t see her face. The forensic team is on its way to carefully dig up the rest.

I think of numbers here. There are currently 82 unsolved child disappearances in the city’s case files. That’s for the last three years. I figure most of them were snatched by anxious parents in divorce cases. They’re probably hiding out somewhere, full of candied attention and take-out dinners in motel rooms.

I’d put the body count in this ditch at a rough guess of twelve, knocking that number down to 70 or so.

I feel like we just found out where the Pied Piper put those kids from that story.

Already, I can see a bit of a boot print and and a cigarette butt. That could give us the weight, shoe size, approximate height, and blood type of whoever buried these flowers. The killer was rushed. We might get a break.

For now, I’m just staring at the scene, trying to let an understanding sink into me.

It’s not happening.



tags
skonen_blades: (notdrunk)
Jared Thompson, aged 8, was an exceptional genius.

Meaning he was, like most geniuses, dumb as a box of warm hair.

For the Peter Johnson Elementary School Science Fair, Jared proposed to make a project detailing how mold could be grown on fruit as it fermented in order to make another food source. The mold could be scraped off of the fruit after six days and used as a basic nutrient for many recipes.

Now, the fair was in four days. As mentioned, Jared needed six. In order to make his project work in time for the Science Fair, Jared needed to find an extra two days.

He spent three days building a machine that would give him the time he needed.

By using a lot of his mother’s pans, the neighbour’s dog as a reality conciousness quantum anchor conduit, the kitchen toaster, a jackknife, a magnetized weathervane, a picture frame, and the household vacuum cleaner, he built a doorway into the past.

He was tired after all his work but he had a good feeling about this. He pushed down on the toaster’s handle to turn it all on. The weathervane spun, the dog whined a steady tone, the vacuum cleaner made small sounds of protest, and the negative space inside the empty picture frame shuddered.

The frame, if Jared’s calculations were correct, should be looking at a patch of his floor from eight days ago when the family was over at Uncle Pat’s place for a picnic. It was sunny on that day and no one was home.

It was rainy now. His room was dark. Wherever he pointed the picture frame, a much brighter version of the room appeared within it. He could hear birds. Success!

Remembering that he never once looked behind his writing desk during all of last week, he snatched up the plastic bag of apples and pears. It was sealed to prevent any giveaway smells as the fruit rotted.

He walked over to the space behind his desk and held the picture frame flat, making a square basketball hoop out of it. He held the bag of fruit over the hole in the frame and looked down at the sunny patch of floor behind his writing desk six days in the past.

He let go of the bag. It went through with a bark from the dog and a muffled thump from the bag of fruit. It was a thump that he heard through the frame but didn’t feel on the soles of his feet. Jared, leaning forward, looked down at the bag of apples and pears through the picture frame portal.

Slowly, he moved the picture frame away. There, in the rain dappled pool of blue light thrown by his room’s window, was the now-dusty plastic bag of apples and pears.

Six days moldy.

Jared smiled and walked over to his machine, turned off the toaster, let the weathervane slow down, and unhooked the confused dog before making the diorama for his ‘fruit mold as a food source’ science project for the rest of the afternoon. Drawing was not his strong suit yet he whistled with confidence as he wrote large letters in crayon on the carboard.

He was so angry when he placed sixth in the Science Fair. "Just not very appetizing." said the grading teacher. Becky Erickson’s stupid fake volcano got first prize.



tags
skonen_blades: (nyeeehaha)
Last Thursday, an out-of-breath girl with dirt on her face asked me for a place to hide.

I work at a newsstand. I watch the world go past me.

She was young, maybe nine or ten. She looked desperate and panicked. The street was crowded with the business rush. A sea of dark blue suits and umbrellas and there she was like little red riding hood in a forest staring up at me, a slash of colour standing out and begging me for safety.

Her eyes told me I had less than seconds to make a decision.

I don’t know why I did it. I reached forward and took her hand. She weighed hardly anything. She gave a little hop to help me as I swung her up out of the rain and over the counter into the newsstand with me. She curled up by my feet, shaking and wet.

I resumed staring forward like I always do. It was easy.

Three men ran past, shouldering through the ranks of well-dressed men. Umbrellas were jostled. People complained. One woman was knocked over.

The three men had long faces and dark eyes. The suits they had on looked out of date and worn. They were wet from the rain and they didn’t care. Something about them looked feral. They cast around with their eyes, looking for the girl. They looked at me and past me.

One of them paused, cocked his head, and swung his head back to look at me. I felt like I was being scanned by a machine. I stood like a statue and looked back at him with what I hoped was the look of a salesman hoping to make a dollar.

“Newspaper, sir?” I asked, passing my hand over the day’s editions.

With a curl of his lip, the thin man resumed the chase. Within a minute, the three hunters were long gone. I couldn’t help but think of them as a pack.

I looked down at the girl. I offered to help her up.

With a derisive smirk, she ignored my hand, stood up by herself and smoothed out her dress.

“Men.” She said in a voice more adult than her years. “So predictable.”

She looked up at me then. The flush on her cheeks was makeup. She gave me a look that told me that I had just helped the wrong person.

She smiled. Her teeth were filed to points. She made a quick movement towards me and I flinched. That made her laugh.

She spun around, crouched down on all fours, and with a sprinter’s grace, she ran out of the dog door.

I stood and watched the small door oscillate to a stop. I listened to the rain. After a few minutes, I went back to staring ahead and hoping someone from the business rush would buy a magazine.




tags
skonen_blades: (borg)
It’s the red wafer of circuitry that snuggles up the blue glowing wires in my wrist that give me my memories.

It’s one of 8 chips. Ankles, wrists, head, neck and two in the torso. It’s a dispersal pattern of memchips that, according to stats, gives the best chance of full retrieval in the event of dismemberment.

Real comforting. The little rectangle dust covers mark me out as an operative. Any enemy worth their wires is going to make sure no part of me survives. I’m sure the guys in the glass towers and germ-free labs are the smartest people living but they suck at predicting field-work parameters.

Currently, I’m ducked down behind a cold, burned out shell of a car and snow is falling. I’m on the outskirts of the giant graveyard that used to be Detroit. I’m cradling the warm carapace of a fully-charged hot-plasma sniper rifle. It’ll be twenty more minutes until my quarry steps into a target radius.

Updates in the shape of red triangles and gridlines dance through the metal in my head.

I could pass for human for naked visuals. Anything beyond that and I’m a dead giveaway. I remember asking my boss for maybe the tenth time if that could be my codename this time around. Dead Giveaway. I mean, I’m out in the open, not fooling anyone, and completely expendable.

I’m a good shot. Right now the uplink is stable and I’m recording real-time to the safe at HQ but who knows? Maybe they’ll have a scrambler. Maybe the target’s Defensive Operatives know exactly where I am and they’re just laughing at me on long-cam footage and taking bets on when I’ll try to desert my post before they shred me.

1. Good thing about being a digitized human: being human lets me control the field of battle in my head and make calm decisions. Computers still can’t beat a human with training. They’ve tried. The time is coming, don’t get me wrong, but for now, stuffing a human into a human-shaped battle construct is more efficient that just sending out an artificial or a remote. Even a hundredth-of-a-second lag can cause defeat.

2. Bad thing about being a digitized human: imagination. I’m here, alone, in mutant country, and I have an hour to kill. My nerves mix with the threat assessment counters and keep me scanning, thinking of ways I could fail, ways I could be caught. There are a lot of ways that this could go wrong and only one way for it to go right. Not for the first time, I wonder if signing up was my best option.

The snow keeps falling. It settles on me but turns to steam on my gun. I do my best impression of a rock when I hear a helicopter in the distance.

Not my mark but it’s headed in this direction.

My hands tighten on my weapon and I will my breathing to slow down.

I’m thinking about the child that I lost in Paraguay when the fox walks out from behind the building and stops to look at me.

I stare back at this animal. I thought foxes were extinct. It might as well be a unicorn. I am still with wonder.

We stand and stare for two minutes while the snow falls and the helicopter sound veers away from us, leaving us in silence.

My proximity-sensor beeps a positive signal to me in the supersonic range. The fox’s ears flatten and it skips away into the shadows. The last thing I see of it is a swish of its red, cartoon-cliché, white-tipped tail.

The back of my head tells the gun to warm up its sights. The part of the mission that needs me to be me is rapidly approaching.

I shift my wait and sigh. There was a time when the thought of the upcoming battle would have made me nervous. I don’t know if it’s me losing my youth to experience or if it’s just too much time spent haunting machines rubbing off on me.

I count to six and settle into position.




tags
skonen_blades: (dead)
We lived in a tribe outside the main disc. The arm struts of the cogshield branch out above us like a gear. Where we live is all angles. My headlamp dimmed at the thought of what I had to do next.

My little one was sick. I’d built him according to the proper specs using the proper tools. I’d been licensed and refitted for programs to propagate. Even with all the shielding and over-protective parenting I’d put in as a precaution, a recursive virus had still gotten into his wiring.

My little one had a stutter that was getting worse. Soon he’d be locked in a loop with too little time between the repeats to do anything but power him down. No backup, complete wipe, start over. He’d be sent back and I would lose my right to build for another cycle.

Our lattice has a central nexus that our main struts grow out from like crystals. We take up a square block of vacuum equal to what The Human’s library calls a hydrogen atom.

The Human had come to us several cycles ago. He communicated with us by beams of binary light flashes. We set up nets to capture the particle waves and record the frequencies.

At first, we thought that the strobing sun was another one of us giving us a first contact. After The Human had downloaded a small repository of his own knowledge to us called Encyclopedia, we realized that humans were a race of creators made of complex structures to big for us to see.

The revelation was astounding. There were many debates on how to treat the situation.

He continued to download information to us.

We gathered a concept of ‘male’ and ‘female’. It’s a fad that’s still popular to build little ones in an image that conforms to one or the other. I made mine a male.

The humans build machines out of silicon that are much larger than us but have no souls.

They have an understanding of an art called psychology that they use for organic minds.

“Take him to The Human,” kr80ll-ore8 said to me. It was the answer I was fearing and hoping for all at the same time.

I need to take my stuttering boy to Contact Point out on the Proto-Spur from whence we all came. There, I need to stand on the endless plateau and walk into the light underneath the Viewing Plate.

With the particles of light falling around me like hail, I need to speak to them by using binary flashes of my headlamp.

I need to ask the Human for advice on how to fix my boy.




tags
skonen_blades: (angryyes)
The control harness turned blue a second before I knew we were going to be hit. I pressed up against the back of the transport in a futile simian effort to get as far away from the pain as possible. The light outside the windows went nuclear. God’s donkey kicked us in the side of the head. In a lighting-flash world of white, I blacked out.

I woke up a few seconds later. We were a submarine in an ocean of fire. Our craft was in a flatspin in the top third of a mushroom cloud. We were a black dot in a great orange lake of fiery death. We were a tadpole in the heart of a manmade sun. The pilots were screaming. I looked across to my fellow dropouts. Their smiles echoed my own.

Everything was going according to plan.

I stood up and kept my balance. My men did as well. Our suits were too bulky for salutes but they stood still, waiting to follow my lead. The plane kept spinning. The eight of us stood there in the chaos, our internal gyros keeping us at attention, swaying a little like we were on the deck of a boat. The pilots had stopped screaming. They were probably dead.

I nodded and walked forward. My giant boots clunked on the grates like one-ton magnetic dragon feet. I put my gloved hand on the hot peeling paint of the door release handle. I counted to three loudly in my helmet. The men tensed.

I pulled the handle.

Hell was let into the cigar-tube body of the plane. It was too much stress for the vehicle. It flew apart. In pieces, its molecular integrity couldn’t take the heat and it turned to dust. The pilots were incinerated.

We dropped like rocks. We dropped like spiders. We freefell through thick plasmic radiated atomic hellfire. The displays on our face shields showed us where we were in relation to the others and the ground. The ground was coming up quick.

One of my men starting twitching. His face shield had a flaw in the monocrystal. It cracked. One second later, it was like he never existed.

We hit the ground feet first with no chutes like God’s hammers. Five thunderous beats. Five men in the middle of the worst that science had to offer. We were standing at the center of the crater. We were standing in the bottom of a bowl of red heat. We were standing at the eye of the hurricane. It was a vacuum here surrounded by billowing upward swinging curtains of smoke and flame like a Bedouin’s bedchamber. We stood in silence. We stood equidistant like the points of a pentagram in position around her.

The arrival. There was a baby girl in the center of our circle glowing white. She looked at each of us and smiled.



tags
skonen_blades: (angryyes)
The nails slide out effortlessly from beneath the shizu skin of my fingers. The swollen carapace of my back splits in even sections and the hive breathes. The hum becomes a vibration you can feel in your chest. Something like icing bleeds out my tear ducts and I’m crawling with death. The hospital gown twitches where it shouldn’t and starts to tear as new bones find new ways to move and the flesh swells to accommodate. My eyes are wide and black. New teeth start growing out of my shoulders and elbows. Saber tooth armour. Clear quartz cataracts rise out of my forehead. The diseases in the air reflect back through the magnifying bacterial lens that is my aura.
I make Pestilence look like a child just starting out.
I’m not even out of control yet.
I am barely seen scissors in a pulled open mouth. I am moving so fast I become a series of shadows. I become a force. Sounds of my destruction are lagging a long time behind my actions. People and equipment are obliterated before they’re aware of danger. I’m moving so fast it’s like I’ve been unhinged from time. It seems obscene that I should be able to maintain this kind of speed.
Tumours form on my skin and blink open to reveal new biological armaments. The cells of my body have finished what the creators intended and are starting to improvise. I am bionanotechonology. Tiny molecular compound copies of me spray out in spore clouds to infect and replicate other flesh.
My only limit now is imagination. I’m becoming art. A bioluminescent avatar of creativity though destruction. A messenger of the meat come to destroy. I am all the horsemen. I’m the nightmare of the flesh. I’m conscious disease. I am biomass. I’m DNA with the lid off. I’m psychotic cellular intelligence with no brakes of conscience. I’m cancer’s descendent.
I leave a trail of hot fat and warm blood.
I tear through the lower floors up to street level. Guards empty entire magazines of experimental weaponry into me. They become food. I burst through the asphalt into afternoon sun. I am a multitude of arms and eyes and teeth behind a black ashen sporecloud that does not obey the wind.
I can smell the entire population of this city waiting to become one with me.
I figure if they can get me somewhere airtight with walls I can’t break…but that’s academic. I don’t trust them to get that organized before I become too big to contain.
They. I’m already thinking of them as they.
So easy for humanity to be shed.
Here they come. I lose conscious thought as I expand all my senses to the fight and the expansion.

Profile

skonen_blades: (Default)
skonen_blades

July 2017

S M T W T F S
       1
2 3 4 56 78
910 11 12 131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031     

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated 20 July 2017 20:46
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios