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the ghost of Far Jericho

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  • problem_child

    The car pulled out of the sub-level garage, following and followed by the two other vehicles heading towards the ramp at the far end of the tunnel and out to their mysterious destination. They looked government.

    Anne watched them go, flanked by two of the hospitals security staff, a doctor and a rep from Black Office. As they watched the patient and his entourage leave the hospital premises, the rep turned to Dr Metz, her neat black suit contrasting with pale white skin and jet-black contact lenses that covered her eyes completely and made them glint in the fluorescent light of the drive in bay like hooded obsidian spheres.
    The beautiful dangerous look completed by her jet black hair, the rep spoke
    “you understand the normal protocols Dr, Ms Raimer.”
    They each indicated they did. The patient was known as a Black Ward Patient, referring to the security color code system that the employees of this government medical installation were to work by, and was thus handled by the agency known as Black Office.

    All staff and specialists working on Black Ward knew the rules. “Treat, Heal, Ask No Questions”. Of course this sounded like an impossible request to ask of medicals, but they managed surprisingly well. In this country, a government hospital contract was not common, hospitals were all private, even high end research hospitals were company run affairs, and those with government contracts were exclusively research or military installations, as only one corporation employed the machinery of the state itself. As they turned and walked back into the heart of the building, Annes mind began to race beneath her calm appearance.

    She was twenty-nine. She had worked as a nurse for ten years, she had done a lot of things that she was not proud of to afford to go to college in the first place, but once there she had studied hard. Her diligence and empathy had done her well (the best medicals tended to be slightly empathic, though not enough to be called empaths, empaths tended not to go into nursing) She had worked for Bell-Medical for five years, moved into her own apartment in a smaller pod, bought a car, moved up in the world. Not bad for a kid from the Projects.

    Then two wonderful things happened. She met Dean, and fell in love, and at work her skills must of made her shine because weeks later she got an offer from the prestigious Tennesse-Baily hospital at Transport. Transport was on another continent, and she knew Dean would come with her, she knew how much he loved her, and how little else there was for either of them back in Morgan Studios, despite her successes it would always be the city of her birth, the city of the Projects.

    Her salary increased four-fold, Transport was sunny and spacious, bright with the energy of ‘the new frontier’ but still her ambition burned, no- not ambition, she would be honest with herself, she would say greed. That’s when Dean had suggested it. Dean had a friend that had a friend back in Studios, this friend of a friend would pay generously for Anne to be given a numbered data-corpus, wherein she would find a number of net-games that she would play once or twice a week, or whenever her game management utility sent her emails reporting on the state of play. The games were quite entertaining in themselves, but Anne was soon trained in their true purpose. They required the control of geometric areas of influence in a manner which also allowed the player to communicate on a lateral level.
    Pieces, advantages, vulnerabilities, attacks, defenses, set-pieces, territories and resources all mapped to other meanings. Symbols in strategies, messages in tactics, affirmatives in surrenders.
    A language that described names, locations, illnesses, medications and schedules.

    Anne had never really felt loyalty to her country, her country had left her and her sick mother to rot and starve in the Projects, had incarcerated her father. Her countries police force had beaten her brother to a bloody pulp one terrible night during the riots, and had disappeared her older sister the following week. Her part of town had really been a prison for the poor and the criminal, the subversive and the insane. This is why she did what she did, why she had worked hard to escape that world doing the only thing she knew how to do (had she not nursed her mother since she was a child) and when her mother died she knew she would never go that way, to die a poor drone in a hab space the size of a tram.

    Annes loyalty was to herself, those she loved, and the dream of financial unassailability.
    And so her life as a mole had begun, she held the money in an anonymous low risk investment account (as she was advised) and left it there, to grow and breed and become fat enough to allow her to disappear when the time came (when they let her go) when she (she and Dean) would leave the secretly hated Corporation forever.

    Now, as they went their separate ways, the rep from Black Office and her security cronies heading to their departments. The ‘normal protocols’ dictated that she would now be considered a security risk- and would be watched very closely for an indefinite (and unknown) period of time. She wondered if she could risk playing tonight- but decided against it. The sudden departure of the patient was typical of a Black Ward assignment, sometimes they left before they were even fully recovered. God knows what they had done to him before he had been delivered to them in the capsule, but Anne had felt the brooding, vacant faced man and his troubled stare was surely a lost case. However she had received the interception message and had immediately played, communicating a positive reply to the new order.
    Yes, she knew off the location of the one known as Sehn Kelol.

    Since then she had reported as frequently as she could, playing as many as three times a week for an hour or two whenever she could find the time in her busy schedule as an assigned nurse. The ‘other players’ wanted her to report immediately the situation changed- but the normal protocols she could consider herself under heat. She would communicate tomorrow, spend the night with Dean, go out, celebrate the end of an assignment on Black Ward with a trip to the Tennesse-Baily rec-complex, like any normal nurse would.

    Anne Raimer went to sign out.
    Last edited by problem_child; August 29, 2001, 09:49.

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  • problem_child
    useless and brocken. Beyond that, a circular chamber with a synthmetal lattice ceiling and walls covered in power bundles leading from above to below, dead system-card cabinates and various synthmetal boxes whose markings ranged from medical to high-voltage.

    “So where is the generator in this place anyway Kelol” asked Johnson, as they checked the area for obvious charges, Yomer and Davis carefully negotiating the synthmetal stairs leading to the next level “well, this place seems to be designed by the same people who do the Spartans arrays sir, I’d say there’s a subterranean level assessable from a sealed entrance at the center of the concourse, we’ll see synmet-pole holes where they’d set up the tents when servicing it, should only need a crowbar”
    Johnson thought, watching the entrance to the top level as Davis signaled down- all clear.
    Flicking his helm mounted comm unit Johnson spoke “Beta team; status?”
    “clear sir” replied Cano
    “clear” replied Tycal
    “clear”, “clear” came back Wan and Taylor.
    “Okay Beta, clear the bunkers- anything looks like a shifty, report, I’ll join momentarily”
    “affirmative” replied Cano.
    Johnson indicated Sehn and Marks should move to the upper level- while he and the rest of the group moved outside to help check the other buildings.

    Upstairs, Davis and Yomer were we’re peering out the safety-ports and checking underneath the equipment benches and their smashed ruined dataware units. Rotten nested in control-webs faced the wrecked equipment, and brocken furniture and pieces from a shattered weapons cabinate, and brocken microwave oven and a clogged sink full of dead chinsects and wall panels whose snakelike cabling seemed to have been ripped out. On the floor, three bodies, decomposed and burnt, lay brocken around the room, two of them looked like the blast that had left a crater where the window had been had taken them too.

    “I don’t think this place is salvageable” said Sehn
    “I don’t think this place has been salvageable for a long time” agreed Yomer.

    Much Later

    “So much for the ruthlessly cunning St George crusader disciples whatever the **** they call emselves huh” said Rushe to Sehn as they formed up to descide their next move.
    Lammock, Rushe Sehn and Cano had removed the plasti-crete slab in the center of the concourse, revealing a wide sloping walkway that lead beneath the surface. Dark, pristine and full of yet more cabling and power-bundles, their nightscopes revealed a corridor that had lead to a large subterranean hall, where an old fusion-core generator lay on its side supported by brackets in a sunken semi-cylindrical area. The large cylindrical generator, attached to the many cables that poured from their collars at one end of the hall and into a large hexagonal block of machinery that controlled output. At the other end f the cylinder, and connected to the many cables and trunklines that surrounded the cylinder itself and ran along the ceiling to two control panels against the near wall, was the main control-node.

    At the far end of the hall, there was a closed door. Cano reported their situation to Johnson (the comms signal still clear) who with some of the rest of the team were climbing up the inside of the tower. “He wants us to see if we can get the thing running, Ummer reckons there’s output terminals at the top, so we could still have an operational sensor array ready by the time the other groups move in”
    Cano looked to Sehn, who glanced at the machine, then at Rushe before nodding “Should be easy enough”

    Sehn and Rushe put aside their weapons and began the job of readying the generator for startup (a simple job requiring a physical inspection, a diagnostic startup, a power-down, a safety re-start and finally a restart at nominal mode) Cano and Lammock made their way to the closed door- attempted to open it.

    -Level One, power- check, readback- check, atmospherics- negative, breach- indicated
    The diagnostic startup had begun, and the glowing blue screens of the control-node was displaying readout off cable faults to various modules of the array-tower and redundancy stats, so far the control-unit building above was reading dead, and the lines of diagrams depicting segments of the tower were lighting up mostly green, good systems with a few red. A female computerized voice was giving a running report in conjuction with the screen display. The hall was now lit up with red emergency lighting that accompanied the generators diagnostics mode, and the deep base hum of the generator vibrated the hall.

    “Hey er.. Kelol,” called Cano, who had been talking into his comm-set again “you get this door open from there?” asked Cano “that door must lead to the coffee room or something” said Sehn “all this baby needs is what you see around you, remarkable piece of machinery you know, Uvi design”-
    “yeah okay” interrupted Cano, just power the thing up okay, Johnsons waiting topside, say’s he can’t get into the systems-module at the top, system hard-lock, blasting through could damage the works”.
    “Sounds like a system hard-lockout alright” supplied Lammock “gotta have power back up to crack through em”
    The power-up continued.

    -Generator internal power, performance; nominal
    -Generator output power, performance; two thousand Giga-joule by 25 standard
    -Temp- internal; two thousand degrees- celcius
    -Parameters; nominal
    -output-demand; zero, point, zero, zero, two, five, percent-
    The system announced that it was comfortable- and a sigh of relief spread across Sehn and Rushes faces, at that moment- four things happened;

    The lights came on fully
    The door by Cano slide open
    Screams sounded from all the comm-sets
    Panic hit Sehn like an invisible iron fist.

    At the open doorway, Cano was muttering to himself, shaking his head slowly from side to side, looking towards the open doorway that revealed a room full of yellow and grey banded canisters, the bio-hazard and psycho-hazard symbols emblazoned on their sides, and the system hard-locks sealing the canisters lids were blinking green and twisting open. Cano turned, a look off pleading sadness on his face “The whole ****in place is a mindworm trap…” he whispered as the sound off further anguished screams blasted from their comms
    “****in RUN!!!” screamed Ummer, who darted for the corridor. Rushe followed in pursuit, but Sehn was rooted to the spot with a gut boiling terror that paralyzed all motion. He had had exposure to the terror before, as part of his cadet training, but never in such concentration and completely without warning, immediately he vomited the mornings rations and fell to his hands and knees, starring with wide eyes at Cano, who was slowly shifting weapon mode to fire impact fire grenades, transfixed by the rotating canisters, the flashing green lights stop their flashing, the robotic hinges open up, even now they look like harmless maggots, maggots on a fishing trip, noodles even, wriggling- burning with movement, spreading like a liguid, wriggling everywhere, the noise- like a thousands of tiny tiny screams… Sehn is struggling for breath in hellish fascinated at the approaching flood of warms, moving towards himself and Cano as if following the boundry of an invisible funnel structure.

    The explosion, after Cano had fired the first impact grenade into the canisters, knocks both him and Sehn across the hallway to slam into the far wall, Lammock crashing with fatal force into the corner of one of the terminals and caught in the wave of flames, immediately emergency sirens are blasting the hall and the lights turn red again,
    >-Emergency Systems Interrupt- Main System Control Node Non-functional & Coolant-Systems Failure & Readback Degraded; Systems Unstable; Redundancy Failsafe Option One of One is Crash-Safe; Crash-Safe Power Down Is Effective..< intoned the system in a concerned voice as emergency foam came shooting from the ceilings, putting out the fires that had engulfed the canisters and covering the surface of the hall in foam.

    Some of the mindworms had been blown forwards when the explosion went of, and so it was the sharpening effect of concentrated hyper-phobia that bought both Sehn and Cano to their senses quickly enough to avoid being “nested”, only to realize the emergency system had saved many of the canisters, and now hid freshly exiting mindworms beneath the thick foam. The two turned and rushed in blind panic from the room, Sehn felt like a man who had suddenly, alone at the bottom of a lake- realizes he cannot swim- and has not even taken a breath, they sprint out the corridor and up the ramp, suddenly irrationally afraid they had been cealed in. Outside Rushe and Ummer are looking desperately around, torn between the tower, and the generator pit, but above, the sounds of screams and weapons fire can be heard, Cano hits Sehns arm “fire into the pit” he commands, before himself unleashing more impact fire grenades into the the entrance, moving back at the same time. Sehn set his weapon likewise and began firing into the hole. Ummer, had started to adjust his weapon when his head burst forwards, his body falling spread eagled on the ground. Sehn swung round to see a figure covered completely in blood emerge from the doorway of the tower, his eyes starred out clearly and were insane, it was Johnson- his weapon pointing at Cano “Taaaryuraaaggghhhh” he hissed as he fired again, the instant feathery blue bubble of light at the end of his weapons barrel corresponding with the sudden disappearance in a cloud of red-mist the front of Cano’s midriff, he screamed as he spun back, inards boiling out.

    Two more figure’s were running from the towers open doorway now, in different directions, one was firing widely into the air in demon rage, the other seemed tormented by his own skin and seemed to be trying to scratch off, ripping at his armour and uniform to get to it.

    Johnson, walking like a zombie was approaching Sehn, who had collapsed to the ground for cover when Cano had gotten hit. “Taaaryuraaaggghhhhhhh” sounded Johnson in a tortured whisper, Sehn bought up his weapon but Rushe was between them though, much nearer closer to him- Rushe fired at but missed Johnson, unable to kill his commanding officer, Johnsons insanity held no such reserve, and visiously he brought his weopon-butt up into Rushe’s face, snapping his head back and sending Rushe sprawling. Then the commander dropped his weapon, instead ripping out the long PKMC lazered-bayonette
    “Commandah! Stop Stop!” cried Sehn, the terror of the worms barely held back within himself, his weapon trained on his officers head, Johnson ignored him as he fixed his eyes on the prone Rushe, raised the bayonette up with both hands “Saaah!” screamed Sehn in panic that rose yet further, how can I shoot my commanding officer! oh **** more worms! they were emerging from the tower, discernable by the way the ground seemed to ripple from the towers doorway, and worse- behind him- Sehn could feel a terrible cold getting colder from the still open entrance to the generator bay (although now thick black smoke billowed out from it) he was sure they were creaping up on him, creeping up his back, creeping into his brai-“Sehn!” shouted Rushe, Johnson now standing over him “oh **** Sehn shoot him man ****ing shoot him!!”

    “Commandaaaah!” cried Sehn as Johnson plunged the beyonette into Rushe, Sehn’s cries halted suddenly, Rushe screamed a horrible gutteral scream that lingered in the now almost silent place, Johnson pulled up the bayonet in one brutal motion- before again he bought down the bayonet with both hands- slicing into Rushes body, eliciting a second terrible gurgling yell from Rushe; Johnsons head exploded, for a moment his body stood headless, the shoulder-plates obscuring the wrecked lower jaw and open neck, the blood had just started to spurt when a second expolosive force flung the torso to the ground, the stealth-green synthmetal platings and suit-material flying open, the wrecked body coming to rest amongst the still wriggling mindworms that had been boring into it beneath.

    Sehn stood up, ignoring the two figures that now rolled on the ground at the foot of the tower, amongst the spreading worms, he took aim with his weapon back in impact fire grenade mode and released the remaining load into the base of the tower, its worms, and the two “nested” victims writhing on the floor.
    The flames flared brightly, and the smoke engulfed the front of the tower and surrounding area. Sehn made his way to the friend he had known since childhood, he was coughing up blood in fits, moving with the primal rythms of nervous-system collapse and internal-bleeding.
    He took hold of his comm-set, wondering where the others were as he began to scream for help “Medic! Requesting assistence! This is Squad 3 requesting assist! Urgent requesting assistance come in! Come in!….”

    Sazser watched his tired eyes steadily. The room was silent, he felt empty, spent. Finally she spoke
    “Tomorrow, we try something new. Tomorrow, you go back to work”
    Sehns eyes slowly looked upwards, worn and empty
    “You’ve been away from your work for too long, its time you resumed your projects”
    “My… Projects?” asked Sehn
    “yes... you remember your projects? node-patching, seeker-algorithms, security worm-things- what do you call them, Seppu-“
    “Seraphim” said Sehn with an intense new look on his face, a hungry look
    Last edited by problem_child; August 1, 2001, 09:51.

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  • problem_child
    The Tower

    To the east, the river slide by like a silver highway, glistening in the morning light. The APC jostled and jerked slightly from side to side, its k-buffer systems working to ensure the chaos gunner, Abihm, could lazily scan the far shores of the river.

    He sat waist high above the deflective battlements of the assault-turret, strangely childlike in the seemingly oversized synthmetal “domehead” helmet he wore, the powerful multi-barreled AAA chaos weapon pointing out across the water, towards the thick jungle on the other side. Sehn himself sat on the corner of the fold of one of the armored doors behind Abihm, opened up for the troops pleasure, they made the APC-Rover look like the roof had split down the middle and peeled (or rather been folded) outwards along the sides, the situation made worse by the weapons-heavy group of sweaty half-armored people that seemed to ride in the thing like dronesters up to no good.

    Ahead and behind, similar looking vehicles growled and people trundled onward along the poorly maintained mud-crete road. Beside them, walking in and amongst the thick tree-line, more troops marched, all of them looking either tired or relaxed, identified by their stealth-greens- and the dull blackish greys of their weapons. Beside their lines, ragged groups of civilians, mainly ‘frontie’ farmers and people from Redemtion, further north- therefore a strong predominance of Believing dress sense. They looked tired, exhausted and fear-worn, many of them carrying belongings in rucksacks, pallets, wheel barrows, some of them even lugging suitcases- most of them wearing the pale yellow Peacekeeper Refugee Crisis Management issued breathers. From a distance, they looked like a ghostly death-mask parade, walking in the opposite direction and beside the infantry lines like bad omens.

    In the distance, beyond the trees on the far shore of the river, the hazy figures of the sensor arrays could be seen. They were spaced about once every hundred klicks, and on the relatively clear day, three of them , far and hazy and grey their lower halves obscured by the forest mists they rose like forlorn machines, long forgotten by their creators.

    Commander Johnson, the top of his domehead just visible at the front end of the vehicle, now stood up- visible to waist height and raising the visor of the helmet he turned to address his squad.

    “okay grunts, our orders have come through, we’re approaching Camp Tennesse, we ain’t stopping though.. we get the honor of procedin directly to Sensor Array Tower 3, where upon the Techs Kelol, Rushe, Ummer, Davis and Lommack will assess- and decide upon the status and readiness for operation of these units. Squad 4 from the 6/105th is waiting there to assist”
    There were groans of disappointment amongst the troops at this, but they soon died away as they all felt they had had it easy all week.

    They had arrived in Amazonia three weeks before hand by sea at the UN base known commonly as Justice. There they had stayed, being forced to camp in the squares as the cities barracks were already packed with the forces needed to keep the politically subversive citizens and the large penal-populations (used to aid in the local agricultural projects) who tended to riot in their prisons even more often since the current crises had begun.

    From there they had faced a long trek across the rough plains- mostly uphill of course, because their armored support had been called away at short notice to investigate suspected Lamb activity in the hills, which had turned out to be members of an escaped work-crew, they had gotten lost in trying to join the Lambs, and ended up crazed cannibals, taking over a ‘frontie’ farm and sparking of a wave of survivalist-paranoid hysteria that had bordered on the Spartan in its fundamentalism (a dangerous mix in this mix of already dangerous mixes under the humid crazy-making tropical blanket of Western Amazonia.

    Eventually, by the end of their second week, they had joined their armor support, the ten light armor, five medium armor and five support vehicle detachment from the Peacekeepers 55th AAA Chaos Armor Division that they would fit themselves to before joining the heavy column moving north along the river Styx.

    They had been congratulated by their new commander; Johnson, who welcomed them to the North Monsoon Expeditionary Task Force and informed them of their mission to extend peace and protection, to the good people of the Monsoon, region, who where now no longer able- or willing- to receive the aid of the far-away Believing government in this most difficult of countries.

    “A regime that was too damn busy fightin the damn Hive to give a **** about these people man” said Yomer
    “and now they won that war- they wanna come take back what they don’t deserve to have- this is Peacekeeper country now, investors in people, ain’t that right Tycal”
    “jus show me who’da shoot” replied Tycal
    “Show Me the Target!” chimmed in Cano with a toothy grin
    “Ahhhh….” said Marks, his skinny face irritated
    “I’m tryin to have a serious conversation here- now, Yom- y’gotta understand, th’Believers haven’t forgotten about these people, coz these people are still Believers, an a lot of em, they don’t want us, they want back with the Holy Mother see, fickle these… worshippers, believe anything!”

    Sehn and his fellow techs remained quiet but amused as the old-hands joked and discussed the politics that had bought them here. They still didn’t feel like real soldiers, shipped out to join those who had nothing but soldiering in their future, commissioned warriors, how had that Hivean warrior-poet put it;

    “The workers of the battlefield, they sow the blood seeds, so the workers of the people may grow upon the rubble”

    The poet, a decorated soldier, had been executed after that, for writing the verse in a speech at a ceremony commemorating the dead of a terrible siege in a long ago war. Sehn wondered if the enemy joked and talked politics or bull**** amongst themselves, or whether they sat in silence, or perhaps muttered righteous declarations in support of state and faith.

    Sehn knew his was a good war, a war to free people from tyranny, a small war, a manageable war, the kind of war he used to watch net-flashes about back home in the comfort of his den with a can and a few chow-bags… before he joined- before he got sent here, the kind of war he could do for a couple years before moving on, with the heightened kudos of a proven patriot and a Services scholarship to study at the university at U.N. Information Agency, or (dare he dream it) the Mir Labs Nonlinear Data Systems Research Institute… he had dreams, he was young- he had a “life-plan” please don’t let me die he thought to no one in particular.

    The APCs approached the fortified camp, a wide square clearing hacked out of the jungle on this side of the river swung into view as the column slowed a little, the camp itself in the center of a space about the size of two spat-ball pitches.

    Its walls; sandbags, mud-crete blocks and synthmetal deflector paneling, topped with shockwire, chaos machinegun posts, AAA missile stacks, antenna, and PK marines.
    Perimeter shockwire fencing squared of the camps open surrounding space, interrupted by sandbanks and more groups of busily patrolling troops. The whole think looked very neat and precise, very military and secure. The road turned into a crossroads ahead, leading straight on past the camp, another intersecting it leading from the camp and across a wide military kit-bridge (Sehn thought it looked like it were made from a giant click-o-block sets he loved as a kid) before continuing on into the dense forest at the other side of the bank, a hundred meters away.

    Most of the vehicles turned left into the camp or carried straight on past the crossroads, Sehns APC and the one behind swung right, the two continuing on alone- but still flanked by groups of infantry, either on patrols or on their way to some post or purpose.

    As they crossed the bridge, a feeling of crossing the border of the unknown hit Sehn more strongly then when he had first stepped into the recruitment office the PKMC, more strongly then when they had gone on their first training expedition to northern Crius, and more strongly then when he had first stepped on the giant transport ship, with its cavernous holds, full of row upon row of dangerous looking machinery and hard-eyed professionals. Then, he had felt like one of those hard eyed professionals, now he felt like a lost Gaian tourist that had stepped onto the wrong tram and now rushed irreversibly towards the drone-projects.

    The tall simplistic trees rose up and arched over the road, the veins and fronds that filled their branches and their wide rubbery leaves hiding them in darkness and covering all with the mottled dots of green light that were all the geometric leaves let through, surrounding them in a tunnel of vegetation and tiny flying bugs. Heavy drops of moisture fell occasionally from the branches above, and a host of mysterious creatures (including the not so mysterious monkey-bird thing known simply as the “sceecher” for good reason) called from the depths of the lively darkness.

    The terrain slopped upwards more and more as time went by, after an hour, the rover- tilting almost ridiculously in a way that would have been a dream pose for any off-road-vehicle marketing company, had come as far as any vehicles had yet tried to go along what had ceased to be a trail. The road itself had been overgrowing for years (from above- the over-hanging fronds as well as from the sides) but because of the steep angle of the slope, the semi constant rain and the lifestyle of the fat burrowing animals known simply as mole-grubs had caused dirt and debris to clog the road completely, Johnson decided the team would have to proceed on foot, leaving their driver and gunner behind.

    After a few minutes walking , their pointman- Cano, signaled from ahead. They moved forward and were met by a tall figure looming out of the undergrowth who looked like a jungle-yeti dressed as a bush, bristling weaponry and branches and wearing a long-duration envi-suit somewhere beneath all the foliage, dirt and survival equipment..

    “Scout First Class Cameron 6/105th sir, a pleasure” said the scout as the marines approached “At ease soldier, seen an array anywhere round these parts?” asked Johnson
    “Arrays just other the ridge sir, you’d see it now towering other us if it wasn’t for all these trees! Careful though, our boys hit the place twelve days ago but had to move on pretty quik, left my crew behind to keep an eye out till you guys got here to station- this all of you?” asked Cameron, the two perfectly round mat-green lenses and stubby bear-like snout of his “HedCase” mask looked at them like the friendly face of some weird green-schemed panda,

    “yeah, for now- further groups due later, you expecting trouble?” asked Johnson
    “well when we hit the place, there were a few Lambs and some regular army- St George Disciples, hard ****ers, mad as worm-sh***, place is bound to be trippered to the hilt, we haven’t touched the thing”.

    The group proceeded on, Cameron and his unseen crew of scouts remaining at their sentry positions while the squad moved forward to secure the sensor tower.

    It rose, finally- above them, tall and technological and dead looking, several hundred feet into the air, its thirty foot wide fibre-crete girth, chipped, cracked at the seams and partially covered in vines, nests, sceecher droppings, and moss, it rose above the treetops over which they now stood watching, the base of the huge machine obscured still by the overgrown slope. Still slightly hazy in the thick air it was still a good couple of hundred meters away. As the line of soldiers looked up and around, surveying the rolling field of treetops that stretched into the distance beyond the tower, punctuated now an then by the massive trees known simply as “toadstools”, and towering colonies of a form of tree that could only be described as “supergrass” for their massive blade-like forms.

    Cano and Tycal, at either end of the line, moved forward and outwards, the remaining eight grunts moving straight ahead, the specialists forming a second line of five behind them. The trees swallowing them again, all moved at walking pace- alert and aware, but relaxed, mindful of trip-mines or other traps. Eventually the trees cleared and the slope flattened out, revealing a wide open mudcrete concourse. It too was cracked, and tufts of vegetation now marked out all the seems where the square plates of crete had been laid.
    Around the base of the tower itself, strips of the synthmetal that encased the towers lowest service levels had fallen away, revealing inner piping, ducts, mechanisms and synthmetal casings. Bits of wreckage, some looking like abandoned service vehicles, parts and barrel lay forgotten randomly around the space. Broken-in remnants of the compounds fence could be seen at the boundary, sections removed or swallowed by vegetation.

    “These arrays have been left alone for five years, all that time you’da thought they’d repair em an get em runnin again!” grumbled Yomer
    “Well we weren’t at war with em for five years were we, if we’d tried to repair them sooner that would’ve started a war, been seen as us digging in” explained Marks
    “Oh, well I guess it’s a good thing we wait till we got a war on before we fix these overblown wind-chimes huh” smirked Yomer.

    “Those low bunker shaped buildings in rows near the base look like support buildings, and the large squat circular building must have been the systems command unit”
    said Marks as they approached the buildings.

    “Eyes open now people” called Johnson “we got a lot of work to do today, lets get to it- Cano, Tycal, Taylor, Wan- Beta team; secure perimeter, in two’s, I want coverage all points” the soldiers moved off at a light jog towards the far ends of the space, their eyes scanning- their weapons bought up like extensions of their noses, held to up by their arms, except Cano and Tycal- whose heavy-repeater chaos weapons swung by their hips, the weight causing them to move sideways with a kind of bowlegged half-skip.

    “ Marks, Yomer, Rushe, Davis, Kelol, Ummer, Lommack- Alpha team; we’ll clear the buildings first you should be able to assess the works systems from the command unit, then we’ll have a climb huh, inspect the structure itself” he continued, glancing up at the tower “eyes open people, those Lamb an St Georgers will have left the place dangerous.”

    The techs, Johnson and the two grunts moved at a light jog towards the command unit, its blank curved crete walls and the horizontal safety-ports seemed to watch their approach like the helmet of a giant medieval knight. Moving up to the building, quartering the site with their eyes and the barrels of their weapons. Marks approached the open doorway of the building, empty and black like a gaping mouth , it had been blasted open by an armor piercing weapon of some kind, the blastmark before it like an over-generous doormat, or the black fishtail tongue of the giant medieval knight.

    Marks leans up to the door, the rest take up covering positions, he pears in a turns to signal he’s going in and disappears inside. Yomer and Davis follow, and then Sehn and Johnson and Ummer, Rushe holding outside.

    The building is dark, blackened wreckage and dead material lie scattered along a short corridor leading into a small square room, the cycling chamber, its two sets of doors now
    Last edited by problem_child; August 1, 2001, 17:22.

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  • problem_child

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  • problem_child
    The Other side

    The plain stretched for miles into the distance, the far horizon a muzzy line, rippling in the heat of the late afternoon sun, the violet sky an effect produced by the noon of Hercules, the “Bright Star” whose purple-white light shone as just that (though particularly bright even for a day-visible star) almost directly overhead during the bi-solar days that defined Chirons summers.

    Alone on the flat, dusty terrain sat a figure in the lotus position. The bald head bowed slightly in gentle contemplation, her back straight and the features on her face relaxed yet intense, she sat there on the plain alone, her hands resting lightly, one atop the other over her legs.

    She had been here for many hours now, seemingly as one with the lifeless flat plain and the bland double-lit sky, a notch on the plain connecting the heavy and the light, sky and land, she sat. She had needed to think; or rather simply to Be for a while,

    Although she was aware of the subtle change in the medium around her, the sudden flutter of disturbance in the resonance of her location- she had otherwise allowed the knowing of time to slip from her mind. That didn’t mean she did not feel the distant and approaching activity as part of the “real”, part of the “is” of the plain and the sky, and indeed the fleeting hint of “thought”, a restlessness activity, an awareness drawing awareness around itself into a recursive pattern that began to rotate slowly with the motion of her bending focus, pulled by the “distant activity” that was the only definition of time.

    She had “known” the moment before, before the activity came, and in that knowledge there had been no need of time, her knowledge of the moment had been centered, like an image containing an image of itself, centered, whole, complete.

    indeed- it was her “knowing” that was the image, and within it was a reflection of what was outside of it, like an infinite reflection of mirrors within mirrors, each one set on the backdrop of plain and sky.

    But now each image was different from that that contained it, distinct by its difference, offset, and each image within her knowing again offset from the center, toward the aspect of “activity” that grew, bringing change and time, pressing against the wholeness of her knowing, widening the offset between awareness and centered knowing, but as ever- contained by it, a part of the whole.

    Awareness passes beyond the horizon of knowing within knowing, and into the state of knowing without knowing.
    Her eyes open.

    The rover approaches.

    Her master had once told her, in the distant mountains of a long past time,

    From within the belly of the infinite snake, if you stare far enough with centered awareness, you will see where the snake eats its tail, the future becomes the past.

    The trace of a smile touched her face, she was young then (most would say that she was young now) and had fallen for the old mans ploy, believing that this was how she would learn the seeming pre-cognicience he possessed. (he was an un-surprisable” man to a truly alarming degree).

    The sound of the approaching rovers engines finally reach her, (it sounds government). She slips the nose-clip from her face, the tiny nitrogen-soaking device was fine for a couple hours of gentle breathing (more with this kind of meditation) but they were like slippers worn in a hab-garden compared to the walking-boots that was the breather she now pulled up over her nose and mouth.

    She got up, and began walking towards the vehicle, now a larger dot, within its fluffy envelope of dust.

    Her holiday was over, or rather- her sabbatical, her time Offline.

    She had wondered how long she’d get. She supposed a few months was enough. Of course, she had done much more then “sit” during her time away, she had traveled, she had climbed, she had attended the Gaian festival of Light for the annual spawning of the sun fish. She had wanted to visit New Eden, despite Gamma-Loki 2s ‘pleadings’ and had seen the terrible starkness of the death suns touch. It had left a land that even now after seventy-five years, could not support plant-life.

    She had considered returning to her old school, which was located in a small town known as The Mental Fortress in the Central Hyperion highlands region, but relationships between Gaia; where she came from, the Cybes; for whom she worked for; and the Hive; where she had received much of her later training, was now unsettled, and the Hivean civil war had come so close to the school that Hiver military simply would not tolerate the presence of one trained in her ways anywhere near the area. Come to think of it- the Hive simply would not allow the presence of anyone not in their military alliance with the Uvi within its borders, or close- without “serious debate”.

    The sudden interruption of her time away, and the implied amount of effort put into finding her here (for her, offline meant Offline) meant it had to be serious. She figured either the Corpos were at it again or there had been- developments with the Hive situation.

    The Rover pulled to a stop ahead of her, its drive powered down as the doors popped out and back. Gamma-Loki stepped down, followed by two men and another woman.

    “Kellie Roth, I have missed you a lot and I am very glad to see you again, I hope you have enjoyed Offline, but there is trouble that we must urgently attend to.”

    This bought a slight smile to her lips. Gammas were prone to a certain dry humor, and this she liked, but she also found endearing their sincere and logically delivered emotions, she hadn’t realized how much she had missed her ‘handler’ and old friend, she new that although succinct and almost glib- the greeting, for a Gamma cyborg- was the same as joyful screams, a running leap, hug, and happy tears.

    “I’m glad to see you too Gamma-Loki” in the strange formality of her raport with the Cybernetic Consciousness she returned her greeting and showed she was ready to proceed.

    Gamma-Loki continued “this is Asteir Williams, this is Conzar Harrick, this is Elet Major” she introduced the tall young man and the short thickset older man in neat suits, no doubt unprepared for the “short drive” from Dusttown to the center of the vast dry lakebed they were stretching and pacing, looking around them they had nodded a greeting in turn.

    Elet however had been watching her steadily since she had exited the vehicle, outfitted in a utilitary outfit she had stepped forward and offered her hand when introduced.
    “A pleasure to meet you Ms Roth”

    Gamma-Loki continued “You are needed by our University allies, something has come up, Elet here and her companions will take you directly to the office handling this matter, debriefing will take place en-route”.

    Awhile later, traveling back to Dusttown, an old Gaia settlement that used to exploit the nutrients of the lake, before the warming weather had caused it to slowly disappear. Asteir explained the situation.

    Seven months ago, one of our top research projects was hit by a double disaster that could set us back years” relaxing again in the cozy den of the rover, the two men had become more talkative, the four sat- chairs facing each other, the landscape sliding by outside. Elet rode upfront with the driver- un-privy to the briefing it seemed.
    Once inside, the rover had scrubbed the air and sealed itself, allowing the inhabitants to remove their breathers and speak without the nasal-sounding nose-clips or masks.
    “One of our people disappeared, a Cybu like yourself, and another has been killed.
    Both were critical-minds in a project based in Budushii Dvor, one held vital expertise relating to the development of a new form of secure architecture, we think-“
    Conzar interrupted “We know somebody is attacking our efforts in developments beyond pre-sentient algorithms, we believe somebody has stolen our lead “.

    “Then why come to me now, seven months later, what’s changed?” asked Kellie

    “Conzar, his blocky frame looking very seated in the weight-cupping chair, looked at her thoughtfully before bringing out from his suit a small infepad, which he placed on the fold-up mod-holding unit at the center of the capsule, used to attach just such devices, monitors, 3Dscreens or coffee cups in just such an occasion.
    Pressing his finger to the command button, in contact with the black sub-dermal tatt-bus that ran across his palms to his fingertips (common amongst the Cybes, and those in sectors of the armed forces, the University and DA elites that would mark their bodies permanently for their technologies and careers. Of course criminals drones and Hivean citizens also wore them, not the busses though, that adorned the body like a cross between veins and the paths on a circuit board, instead they simply possessed tag-tatts on their palms, carrying ID and designation).

    The infepad (top-gizmo class no doubt) projected via its 3rdSite-lens, meaning that starring directly into the tiny corner-set light produced an image on the coroner of the eye that seemed to impose itself like a false imagination on her sight. The technology, not a mainstream 3d system (indeed it was not actually a 3d-projector, rather a holographic projector alowing the image to be seen from any visible angle) tended to be used as a visor mounted HUD system, very practical but not entertaining (as the effect was not dissimilar to looking down a microscope, although a lot easier to do so in a shuddering plunging spinning needle-jet) and very expensive.

    “At first it seemed the Hive were responsible for this action, taken at a level of aggression higher then any since the Projenitor Incident. One of the reasons things between us an them have cooled I suppose.”

    A satellite image of a town or base, (judging by the size of some of the structures, and flattened domes, and the spacing of the go-ways between them, Kellie surmised a base rather then a farmer or miners settlement.

    “one of our agents however has managed to inform us- she has stumbled upon the location of our missing scientist in a completely unexpected location, this is Hokka Airbase and BenLockland R&D near the Uranium Flats”. Stated Conzar blankly.
    “That’s a few kliks from Morgan Transport” observed Kellie.
    Asteir came in again “One of our teams had been trying to crack a hush that’s come down over the area in the last few months, observers have witnessed much heavy Corporate/Spartan activity in the area, both militaries, land air and sea, a whole bunch of materiel shuffling around in what could only be described as “military exercises” according to both factions diplomats”
    “But the whole region is so far from anyone elses borders, nobody really has grounds to complain” added Conzar.

    The image in the lens changed, a building complex, a deep red with large reflective windows, buitifully basking in sunlight amidst its grounds of shinning pool-table smooth green grass and leafy deep green trees. A distant mountain slopes rose lazily in the background.

    “This is where our agent works, the Tennesse-Baily research hospital at Transport. Tennesse-Baily is one of the companies with high-level contracts in the military, through it we can get medical access to some of their highest staff- provided.”
    Conzar left it there, those in the game knew what “provided” meant.
    The next image appeared in the light of the 3rdsight, the face of a man, early forties, smiling from a net-news holo-scene, confident, assured, successful”

    Gamma-Loki spoke for the first time since they had boarded the speeding rover “We believe this man is being held at Tennesse-Baily near Morgan transport, he is their scientist and they need you to get him out”.

    Kellie looked into the face, the familiar features, the glinting (arrogant?) eyes.
    However she was not surprised
    “you again” she mused.
    Last edited by problem_child; July 30, 2001, 14:24.

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  • problem_child
    They had told him that he was needed now, desperately more then ever by his people, and by the University. They had told him- Sazser had told him- that his previous skills and understanding of Cybian Network Architiechtures were needed now, to help build patches for the ReSecured Peacekeeper bases of the Amazonian West Coast. He had been renowned for his skills as a field specialist, big things were waiting for him if he (if the Peacekeepers) had survived the war. But even the PKs most gifted long-straters could not possibly have foreseen how drasticly their needs and priorities would change in the space of days, and now their allies had bought him back to life for his skills, himself and others like him were all the PK had left Sazser had told him.

    And so Sazser, like the nurses who had helped him to walk again, now worked to help him bring his mind back together, to check its skills and memories, to asses his abilities (he had begun gaming again, spectacularly proving his astuteness in that context at least, rapidly re-learning his confidence). He had been introduced to initial schemas of node architecture, and modification specs to think about, all dealing in robustity and security issues that felt completely strange and beyond his ken- and yet dizzyingly familiar at the same time (that glassy feeling again).

    He felt good about once again poring over Cybian technology, (even if only in jourenal form). The archanely beutiful schemas would have been considered artwork in many earth cultures. The recursive co-autoreferentialism of the Cybernetic Consciousenesses design aesthetic had a quality that drew Sehn, others called them cold and logical, but he had come to think of them as the "artists of reason".
    As Sehn had explained while enthusiasticly scaning through the documents Saszer had first called up on her infepad) anybody who truly understood logical-rationality knew to laugh at the idea of making it their master. The Cybes simply used logic to build their culture, as the Morganites used the laws of supply and demand to build theirs.

    But now Sazser was focusing again on his emotive recall. She seemed to be reaching for something, trying to squeeze every last emotional memory he could recall (and bizzarely there were very few for a twenty-seven year old) into conciousness. At first he had been eager, desperately trying to remember his past life, his identity, his family and friends. He had appretiated the help of the warmly-smiling woman and her soothing voice. But the memories were hard to witness, many of them painful. Somewhere, deep within, he knew- and suspected that she sensed- a memory he had not yet brought forward, a recollection important enough to represent a significant part of his mind, an emotional self-image the exclusion of which would undermine any confidence that Sehn was whole again.

    "Close your eyes Sehn."

    He closes his eyes again, relaxing into the meditation seat in the center of the floor of the session room. The Empath Saszer Derran, sitting opposite him closes her eyes too, hands clasping Sehns once more.
    Outside the sky is grey, leaden with a coming storm.
    Large drops of rain begin to beat against the plex windows.

    The recollections continue.
    Last edited by problem_child; June 19, 2001, 14:29.

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  • problem_child
    The Artists of Reason

    It is a clear day, distant white clouds like the long slender feather-fronds of some colosal planet-scaled white dove hang in the blue sky. The green field stretches away from them dotted with little yellow flowers that are shining in the sun like a one dimensional starfield.
    Groups of people (families and friends) wander and relax and fly kites across the vast expance of green that joins the gently rolling hills in the distance, spotted with the leafy trees of ancient terra. They are watching the kites (it is the Festival of the Kites) that dart and dance in the sky, their colours and geometries and manouvers entertaining the many festival-goers that watch below.

    It is his first "snorkle", and the breather itches his nose and he wants to take it off, but his father has told him that he will get used to it "you'll learn to not notice the thing" (Sehn has seen enough vid to know that he must never breath in without it) and so they have come to the festival, as part of the schedule of his fathers trusted air-weaning technique, what he had called "duration reward".

    "Look Sehn"
    His father calls his attention to one kite in particular, the red and green stripes that pattern its angular-dragonfly-like body, clashing energetically with the smaller brightly coloured kites around it as it continues to ascend rapidly into the air. Sehn laughs when the kite, having reached a suitable height, suddenly performs a spiraling manouver that cause its red and green banded fronds to vibrate with mezmorizing flashing colour. In the distance, similarly colourful (though no two identical) kites are ascending into the air, flying-sculptures of various forms.

    Calls of joy and encouragement sound from the people around them, a woman dressed in an elegent costume, an orange and green bodysuit with a back-hanging headress, similar in design and style to the dragonfly-kite, and so delicate looking it could almost have been made of fibre-rods and nano-paper, it is an artwork of wearable origami.
    It has two bright yellow disks for eyes, that hang above her head like a visor. Its green and red backswept planes flutter in the wind, its wings spreading backwards and sideways.
    The segmented conical paper tube that follows halfway down her back before curling upward and stopping, (reminding Sehn of a seashell) is the abdomen. Open ended, it bears the ribbons that dance behind her as she guides her kite, completely unincumbered by the head-dress that echoes the larger, flying kite.
    The onlookers clap and cheer.

    She isthe Child of the Dragonfly, one of the themes of the years festival.

    The woman is looking up at the kite, and occasionaly glancing round and beaming at the onlookers. Sehn is transfixed and yells with delight, bouncing on his feet. She notices him, and smiles at Sehn, Sehn hugs his fathers leg, giggling and pointing back at the woman-

    "No Sehn, later."

    We are in a hallway, its long, wide, high and arched and noisey. The hallway is flooded with children, they are all wearing white uniforms. At one end the hallway opens out to an even larger space beyond, from which bright lights and the sound of many more people can be heard. He is looking for somebody, his friends, it is The Presentations, it is better to be with people you can talk too to sit with during the long boring speeches.

    "Kelol" a sharp voice calls out behind him. He turns, he was looking for Petac and Rushe- his friends, he has found the opposit.

    Davin stands with his cronies, legs apart, hands behind his back, an arrogant sneer on his face. His youthfull eyes glinting sadisticly
    "This is gonna be the last time I Print you before next sem Kelol, so I got something special, something new just for this special occasion" his hands drop to his sides, a glint from the knuckles of his right, his friends are smirking. The other kids know better to get involved with the wannabe-dronesters and their game.

    Sehn remembers the day before, at the college traders fair, the tatt stand that Sehn had seen Davin and his friends at, looking excited as they gathered around something the trader was showing them, before the stewards had come to expel the bald ham-handed business-man, (he had kept saying he was a business-man in a loud voice) the stewards claiming reports of unauthorized merchandise being sold and making threats of inviting higher authorities to the situation if the man did not vacate the college premises imediately.

    Sehn turns and runs, or at least struggles as fast as he can through the crowded hallway- there is motion in pursuit behind him, a sudden shocking-blow explodes against the small of his back, he yelps in pain and stumbles forward, his hands grasping at the backs of the kids in front. They move away, and a circle forms around him as he sprawls on the floor.
    For an instant Davin is looking at him with a mixed expression of surprise, horror and triumphant glee, the matt and metallic- blue knuckle tazer glints in his hand for a second, before his friends delightedly crowd with hushed laughter around him, before disappearing Davin and themesevles into the throng. "Next sem Kelol, noder-zappin! Yeah! next sem Shpec!" more laughter.

    He is crying in humiliation and pain, the other children gaze down at him "poor node-nurd boy" he hears somebody say "you gotta learn sparthando or somethin", somebody laughs at this as the crowd reforms, flowing again.
    A hand grabs his shoulder and helps him up
    "you alright?" Petac.
    His dark eyes met Sehns, somber and grim. Sehn looks away in shame, the anger finnaly rising he storms off "where the **** were My friends?" he calls angrily behind him, the fear now replaced by the anger of it, the anger always came after but the fear always came first.-

    "No Sehn, later then that, much later."

    The house is on the outskirts of the city, in one of the greener (but more regimented) suburban complexes. Seen from a distance, Sehn thought they looked like little green worlds of pleasant, white-walled domesticity, groups of houses enclosed in "diamond cases" (to Sehns mind, a metaphor for Peacekeeper main-stream culture) that were arranged in grid of roads, open-highways and tubes.

    A fractal, gem-speckled circuit board of human society, brocken occasionaly by mall-complexes, rec commons, the burbs stretch outward, the skyscrapers, hab-domes, factories and arrays of the inner-city and the commercial and industrial districts (and the monolithic economy class hab-projects of the drone-zones) in one general direction, the suburbs spread out across the tamed, inner basin of the Garland Crater, before finnaly giving way to new industrial parks, farms, solar-fields, forests, grassland and villages that stretched on to the mountains.

    In one of the suburban "diamond cases" of pleasantly leafy homes, the house sits second from the right of the cresant in Arc-32. (he remembers the address clearly, Arc-32b, LeMose district, Haven City, GC) this had been his home for most of his life.
    He pulls up outside the house in the car his father had bought a year before for his birthday. Another car is parked there, a practical model, matt black in color, it looks government.

    He gets out.
    He goes in.

    The house seems empty, he walks to the pad, its couches are vacant, a bottle of brown-alc, barely touched, a glass on its side on the floor, the deep stain a splash pattern. On the table his mothers infepad lies closed and flat, the green standby LED blinking at its edge. A cold cup of the fruit tea she likes to drink when she works lies cold beside it.

    The main-screen is on, it shows an image, (a circle and stars, two corn-stalks) the words 'Message End' is flashing in the bottom right corner of the screen.

    Beyond, the transplex doors (that look out to the rear garden) are open, somebody is out there.
    He moves through the pad and out into the garden. There, by the apple-tree, a man in a martial-office uniform is standing, leaning over a figure crouching with its back to him and Sehn.
    Sehn approaches.

    The man turns, he is in his forties, tall and strong looking, very miliatary. His face is sad but the eyes take Sehn in with a look that seems to examine the substance of his soul. Behind him, Sehns mother turns, she seems to be shuddering in pain. She turns and looks up at Sehn with eyes frought with absolute grief and tears streak her cheeks.
    "Oh Sehn.." she says.
    He goes to her. He is suddenly very afraid-

    "No Sehn. Sehn you are ready to tell me- everytime we do this you get closer, but you must push further then before, further then these moments until you remember. Guysen says you are doing brilliantly in your other recoveries, you can reveal what is hidden from yourself".

    Sehns eyes flash with a sudden anger. Moments pass but Sazser looks on patiently, as usual her will is stronger (wiser) benign, patient.

    She is always patient.

    He hesitates, perhaps to ask a question, he thinks better of it (later) and resignedly he closes his eyes again.

    He is exhausted, his feet, his legs, arms and back are in what they called the painfull glow of "The Wall" His lungs and throat where choked with a sickly hollow pain that was sawed at by his ragged breath. The breather seemed to have been coated in acid, and the heavy back-packs straps felt like they were pulling him backwards, pulling him downwards- causing him to struggle even harder for each new step (each one an insignificance anyway in this relentless infinity of motion).

    And the training-suit, at first he had thought it impossibly comfortable, even with the weight-platings.
    Now the suit channeled the agony into specific muscles around his shoulders and thies.

    The others jogged infront and behind him, single file as they approached the crest of the hill in states of profound self doubt and muscular and respiratory distress.

    Finnally, the effort flattens out (The Wall pushed), the plateu of his condition reflected by the panorama of the plateu that now spread out before him, the high peak of Mount Kira looming hazily green and grey-blue and massive above the golden cropfields and solar-arrays of the high plane.

    A rush of euphoria engulfed Sehns exertion-intoxicated mind, a feeling of bewildered joy at the vastness of existance, an awed pride at the surprising depth of his own stamina, never before having created such a moment from the effort of his own body and will, he felt as if he had been rewarded by the world itself with a panorama he had finnaly earned the right to truely behold.

    He knew this would be a moment he would never forget. He was no empath but he could feel the mood of those around him change, and knew some of them could feel it too.

    "Heeeurp!" called the Sergeant, and the cadets fell into a steady rythmic pace.

    "Eyrp- Eyrp- Eyrp Aey Eyrp! We are the P-K Fah- din Force!" and the cadets responded in kind
    We are the P-K Fah- din Force!

    "P-K Marine- Corr Fah- din Force!"
    P-K Marine- Corr Fah- din Force!"

    "Stonger'n'the Mongers in the Three- Oh- Fourth!"
    Stronger'n'the Mongers in the Three- Oh- Fourth!

    "Tighter'rn the Fighters in the Hunered An Tenth!"
    Tighter'rn the Fighters in the Hunered An Tenth!

    "P-K Marine- Corr Fah Din Force!"
    P-K Marine- Corr Fah Din Force!

    "P-K Marine Corr Can-Do Force!!"
    P-K Marine Corr Can-Do Force!!"

    "Sound- off-"
    One Two-
    Sound Off!
    Three Four!
    Sound off one two, sound off! three four!
    The line of cadets makes its way along the long straight path across the fields. The day is alive, the sky is high.

    He is a Marine.-

    "Sehn we're getting there, but we know this, I know that if you go deeper we will finnally have it, you will finnally confront. You are talented Sehn, very talented- but you have to know who you are, you must know where you left off in order to go forward like twin magnesium stars Sehn? Sehn are you alright?"
    the pale redish dust billowing, pushed aside by a violent wind
    He snaps into focus, Sazser was watching him again, this time her features piqued with analytical interest "you remembered something."

    Sehn does not reply.

    This had been Sazsers twenty-seventh session since the first time in the hospitals recouperative zen-garden. Each time she had asked him questions about his past, his memories, his thoughts. At first he had remembered very little, his first awakenings and his death. He had told them of the images of dust and smoke, he had told them about the mental snapshots of a war-torn city, of prisoners. He had told them of the sudden sweat-waking nightmares of sitting alone and naked, in a cold dark place, with no way out and very little room, very little air.

    She- and one of the doctors had explained the technical details of how he had survived a bullet to the head for two hours in raw atmosphere. It had been long enough for PK drop troops to arrive after the gunships, long enough for their medics to do what they could for him, (luckily, in a coma as he was, he had hardly been breathing) before his extraction to a hostpital transport off the coast. He had been lucky, the weapon had jammed somehow in firing, falty materiel was common in the conscript armies of the Believers, and it had releasing its projectile with at least thirtyfive percent less energy then intended.

    The bullet had entered his body wobbling in spin. It had hit the top of his head at an oblique angle, bounced off the dusty ground (plasticrete beneath) und back up into his scalp, lodging sideways in the bone at the edge of his skull, the plate of bone knocked inwards on the first inpact in just the right place to hold his brain in place. The doctor had produced a couple of chibs-eggs, and performed a trick with a little surgical hammer to demonstrate the structural dynamics of domes and their "robustisity points".

    He had been assured that he was never, actually "dead", but had been in a coma- and then suspension- untill the right fascilities and resourses for his treatment and recovery were again available.

    They had discussed his strange phobia of synthmetal tables, discovered one day a month or so before, as he had been walking alone through the corridors of the ward. He was much stronger by then and could walk unattended, and therefore had begun to explore the bussier areas of the hospital. It wasn't long before he encountered his first gurney, in the main-way linking his ward to the rest of the hospital. Twice as big as the five corridors that lay behind him it had double-doors at each end and eight other hallways like the one he peered out of leading off of it. Patients, medical personel and equipent where sparse, but it was certainly bussier then the usually desserted hallways and their clossed-doored rooms that had been his home rescently.

    He was not actually allowed further for security reasons, but he had spotted the gurney as soon as he stepped through the auto-doors. It stood against a wall, inanimate and fiberously metallic.
    He was struck immediately by a riveting terror that gripped his stomach and caused him to collapse with his back against the wall, he began to hyperventilate.
    The nurses had found him in a fetal position, his gown soiled, his eyes starring fixedly, terrified- at the plain synthmetal gurney.

    The experience, unsurprisingly- had disturbed him. He had wanted to discuss this Sazser, who he had descided was his shrink. But Sazser would often hurry him through recollections and events that he felt must surely involve his mental health and wellbeing. At other occasions, she would pay particular attention to things, details that he could not see bearing any relation to how he felt about effectively being bought back to life from a very final death.

    He had asked about his family, she had informed him of their deaths at Projenitor hands during the war (the war that had apocolypticaly interrupted the one he had died in). It had happened soon after his own- "undeath" at Far Jericho. What remained of the Peacekeeper Government had arranged for its Amazonian Bases in the Monsoon to come under the protection of its University allies, along with its casualites. The chaos and confusion of the period dictated security measures, Believing members of the Sacrificial Lamb Chapter, drones and remnant elements of The 7th Army of Saul had sworn a furtherfication of their Jihad by attempting to assasinate any and all surviving PK personnel or other representatives of PK authority, "the wrath of angels" having not been enough for their sence of vengeance.
    And the 7th Armies motto, "We are the fingers of the Lords furious vengeance" did not bode well.

    For the Amazonian West Coast, the future was uncertain, and probably very messy.
    Last edited by problem_child; June 21, 2001, 15:19.

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  • problem_child

    The cruisers technologies where actually well within the capabilities of the other major factions. However the Spartan navys "field proven initiatatives" approach to the equipment they gave their people to serve the nation in distant corners of the world had allowed the Spartan Naval Command- in conjunction with various Corporate high end technologies companies, to produce a type of cruiser whos class of abilities were uniquely excellent.

    The Dogfish was a long-range miliatry type 2 submersible stealth cruiser. Adapted with serveillance-countermeasures upgraded long and short range multi EM sensors, various infiltration devices, remote agents and dataweapon delivery packages.
    To make it go- two twin fusion engines in a two by two silenced assembly, its power sharpened by the fluidic-co-efficient (signal-dampening) hull surfaces that allowed it to hit exceptionaly high degrees of speed for its class, even in sub-surface travel.

    Its upgrades based on and developed around and specifically for the covert paramilitary and inteilligence-warefare activities known in the services as Probe-team Ops. It was one of the most advanced systems the Spartans had "in theatre" of the seas around northern Hyperion- based out of the Morganite seabase at Theta sector, off the coast of Sirius (a reasonably large island of vital strategic importance to the Spartans and the University- and indeed the Morgan Corporation who owned considerable mining interests in the region.

    The cruiser also possesed two rider scout-foils (with similarly enhanced pobe-operational means). One of which now carried Mezarith to the rendevouze point with Dogfish, drifting just east of the coast of the continent of Hyperion, ten miles from the territory of the University, and north-west of the vast body of water known as Oceanus. Something of a techtonic gash between the two major continental systems of Planet, Oceanus separated the double-continents of Hyperion and Amazonia (conversly known by the world as "The East") from the continent of Crius, "The West".

    Lt Obraian watched the approach of the foil to the partially submerged cruiser from the bridge of Dogfish. Dysen, the ships captain sat beside him in the central web, 'Com', on either side the stations- 'Comms', 'Ops', 'Nav', 'Weps', 'Systems' and 'Control' were arragned in similar- (though slightly smaller) webs facing various flat-screen displays, control panels and consoles, that in addition to the constant low hum of the ships systems, produced.the near constant sqwark of ongoing communications, monitorings, and orders, all wrapped with a warm electronic ambience of LEDs, flatscreens, and control-lighting.
    Up front the predatorishly narrow forward view-ports (a terran might describe them as being like the slanted eyes of a wolf from the inside of its head) presented a view of the ocean at dusk, augmentary flat-screens revealing the hint of blue moving on blue, only visible by an interposed green circle, highlighting an approaching scout-foil and its shadow of a wake.

    "Com, Comms, Pupfish One on approach, I have Specialist Exounen on contact"
    "Go" replied Dysen.
    Mezariths face, close up and framed by the protective headgear he wore- appeared on the main console of the captains web.
    "Captain, Mission is good. Prepare to vacate the area, your task now is to take us home. Any observations?" began Mezarith.
    "We have an aircraft about three hundred-fifty klicks north east of here, light configuration, bearing away- but sigs indicate a search pattern. looks like a response from the Uvi" replied Dysen, her voice was feminin yet husky, clipped and proffesional. (Obraian found it very sexy, combined with the cozy multicoloured lighting it was enough to send a brief thrill of pleasure down his spine).
    "Good, good. their on their way then. Any word from the Left-Wing Obraian?" asked the specialist
    "subject secured" replied Obraian flatly
    Mezariths smile was dry.
    "and now it would seem- Proven." he stated.
    Dysen sensed the empath, talent, (whatever he was) infer a wealth of information from this, and wondered what that consisted of. The Arm were always cagey with their liasons, they seemed to think the navy were amateurs at the game and tended to regard themselves as an elite. So far all she knew was that her passengers, the Specialist Mezarith Exounen, and his assistant Lt Husser Obraian had retrieved the thing they were meant to retrieve.

    Sinse they'd met, Dysen had formed a healthy dislike of the superious Mezarith (she put it down to what she liked to call "name psycology") and a comradely liking for the affable Obraian, (she was even prepared to tolerate his particular fondness for her).

    Her ship had been ordered out of the Morgan sea-base early, collecting the agents in a foil en-rout. She had been handed the jet-black classified 'In-Person command tile' by Lt Obraian, containing the data-chit bearing the secure communications algorithm directing her to take her orders from the Specialist Exounen- who had promptly ordered her command to proceed to the north-eastern seas of Oceanus. Once there, they had drifted for two whole days, observng all passing aircraft in a five-hundred kilometer radius and easdropping on Uvi miliatary, government- and civilian communications, relaying their data-yields through to the Operations Command Team known to Lt Obraian and Spl Exounen as "The Right-Wing".

    Evententually they had picked up an aircraft heading straight out of Hyperion from the direction of Bvor Dior. They had tracked it for five hours, before it finnaly seemed to plunge into the cliffs a few hundred meters inland of the coast, the aircraft had broadcast its position in frantic Hivean dialect for three minutes.

    They had approached the area near the crashsight and deployed a foil with Mezarith, two marines (just in case- Dysen had to insist) and the pilot. Mezariths talents included some kind of "intuitive analytical perception" as Obraian had reffered to it, and preffered to work alone.
    That was four hours ago.

    "I'll see you in five minutes Lieutenant, Captain, Pupfish One out". The contact terminated.
    Git, thought Dysen.

    Orders were spoken, and carried out, the foil was retrieved (a tricky operation that though relatively simple- required the Dogfish to raise its profile somewhat, thus comprimising stealth-measures for upto four minutes, therefore demanding split-second-proffesionalism, skill and teamwork).

    The Dogfish resubmerged, fully this time, turned about and made its covert way back to towards Corporate territory.
    Last edited by problem_child; June 20, 2001, 03:27.

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  • problem_child




    A question...

    A hesitation.


    Something again.

    A point of.. what? bright.. bright white light, not like... what? not bright- not light- dark.. empty... void.

    A point of light- in- a void.

    Light gets brighter.

    Another light.

    Two lights, one bright- one... not so bright.




    Now what.

    Another light... and another light... lights getting brighter. Lights forming cluster. Hundreds of lights. Thousands of lights. Billions of lights.

    One big fuzzy light. Growing. Getting closer.

    To what?

    To... me-



    What is Me?


    I am... I am..


    Sehn's eyes shoot open. Immediately he panics with the sense of drowning in feezing liguid. Outside the capsule, the doctor and two medical assistants are watching, checking display panels on the side of the capsule. It is a metalic cylinder, its upward facing side is completely clear short of a couple of inches at both ends and the display/control panels along its sides. From Sehns point of view, the medics are blurred figures beyond the bluish syrupy liquid he is suffocating in. Something stings his formearm, not painfully, but enough to notice above his state of animal desperation.

    A calm washes over him, he starts to realise he is not actually drowning, there are no bubbles. The liquid still feels stingingly cold, but he is not shivering. He notices he feels... disjointed- sleepy.



    He wakes again. He's in a bed. A woman in a med-suit, is looking down at him. She smiles. He stares.
    He feels disjointed, cut off from the world as if staring at things through a glass screen. (he remembers.. blue liquid, blurred images, cold-). The nurse turns and moves away. The sence of being cut off from events makes just watching movement make him feel nauseus. He turns his head away. He is in a small white room, his bed, a small table surface, a window (bright sunlight, too bright to look at).
    There is the nurse- and there is another woman.

    She is dressed in a light brown suit, businesslike but approachable. Her hair is dark brown and tied in a bun. She is watching him with a warm and reassuring smile. She is holding a infepad. He is exhausted and drops his eyelids. She approaches. Says something he cannot make out to the nurse in a soft voice, a question, the nurse replies. There is another question, another reply, the voices are like a lullaby. He falls asleep.


    Much Later.

    He is propped up on the bed, taking slow spoonfulls of the soft-textured though not unpleasant food, served on the swingable table-tray over the bed.
    Outside, it is noon. The window is on the wall to his left, and so he cannot actually see much outside, other then a rich blue rhombus of sky. He still feels somehow disconnected from himself and the world around him, the food is tasted- but on some level, not experienced. He has been here (as far as he knows) for three weeks. When he had first found the strenth to talk and to ask questtions, the three doctors and two specialists had told him he had been recovered a week previously. They had asked him his name, he had told them, and they had looked thoughtful but pleased. They had asked him his age, he had hesitated, before replying twenty-seven. They had exchanged glances but did not seem alarmed.

    He was not sure what that had meant, but for some reason he had been unable to probe further- he had still been very weak and slightly incoherant. He drooled his words, and their accents sounded strange to him. Some of the nurses had even heavier accents that he found much harder to understand, and the doctors tended to be busy.

    It was the second week after he had awoken, that the nurses had come to take him for his first real excersize. They had previously given him physiotherapy treatments, but he had not left the room. They had started slowly, pacing him around the bed, and then up an down the corridor outside. (Only four other doors led off it, besides the end double-doorway). He had regained his ability to walk almost unaided, although he was still prone to sudden diziness and nausia, that would rush over him and cause him to collapse.

    The days had fallen into a steady pattern. He would wake, be toileted and washed by the nurses (he had seen his image in the mirror, guant and weak looking, he could'nt recognize himself) Then he'd be brought his breakfast. Then he would rest for a while, they had given him a pad to activate the vid-link across the room from him (the white wall would suddenly produce a square of images in its middle, that could be increased or decreased in size). Sound was projected from some unseen source. He had access mostly to old holovids, global news channels (like Morgan-link and the Peacekeepers Open Network). and popular broadcasting, soaps, gameshows and documentaries, but he had no idea how to contact anyone on the very ergonomic and basic four button control-pad.

    After lunch he would be tacken for a walk to a garden two identical looking corridors away.
    It was a beutiful example of what his attendant had called "classic Chiron-zen". It was a beutifully levelled square of pale even gravel raked in subtle patterns surrounding a gentle rock-themed water fountain. This existed in a transparent plexi-glass cube which had a flattened four sided roof with slightly upturned corners. It was a kind of inverted greenhouse, with the plants on the outside and white stone slabs arranged as a walkway along the sides and benches for patients to sit. Around the cube were various chironic and terrachironic shrubs and trees. Beyond the garden, the walls and rooves of the hospital rose unforbidingly. A near-invisible doorway allowed outside access, but the doctors had strongly recommended domestic-atmospheres only, untill he had recovered further. (Recovered from what, he did'nt know).

    Today his attendant, who brought him his food and walked with him and was called Ann arrived early.

    "You have a visitor today Sehn". She said.
    "a visitor? who?"
    "Come, she is waiting in the garden".

    He moved away from the window, and its view of the few rooves and tree tops and the distant mountain slope he had taken to gazing at. They walked down the two joining corridors, and through the second doorway on the left that led into the transparent walkway through the outside shrubbery to the green-house. There a woman was sitting on one of the minimal but perfectly comfortable benches along the sides of the greenhouse.

    She was watching the water fountain with a contemplative expression on her face, she noticed them and rose as he and Ann approached, a smile coming to her face. He recognised the face, but could not place it for a moment, then he remembered. She had been there when he had first woken up in the bed
    Her brown hair was still in a bun but this time she wore a creamy-white slightly billowy suit.

    "Sehn Kelol, hi, I'm Saszer Derran, I'm glad to see you are looking much better".
    Sehn returned her greating with slight uncertainty. The sense of glass- as he had began to think of it- had now resceded to a constant background sensation, only slightly more than unoticeable, but he still felt unsure of himself.

    Sehns attendant left them, he and Saszer sat down.
    "The medical staff and you have done a wonderful job of healing you Sehn. When you were recovered you were in a terrible condition, many times they had serious doughts as to whether they could save you". Sehn felt briefly uncomfortable, but tried not to show it. Saszer watched him for a moment, perhaps allowing him space to speak. Then she continued.
    "You've been in tank and out of consciousness for a long time Sehn, I am here to help patch you in to what the situation is now, and get an idea of what you are feeling and thinking, if you'd share your thoughts with me". She looked at him kindly and waited.

    As she had been talking, he had been staring at the square of gravel. An image of dust and smoke being whiped up by a violent wind against a violet sky kept playing itself across his minds-eye. He shook his head of the image and nodded that he understood.

    "Tell me what you remember Sehn?"

    Last edited by problem_child; June 3, 2001, 18:24.

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  • problem_child
    started a topic the ghost of Far Jericho

    the ghost of Far Jericho


    They dragged him forward across the dust of the square, the cord wrapped tightly around his bloody wrists digging painfully into the flesh. Stumbling forward on his knees, (his shattered ankles providing a hell of continuously altering agony) one of the soldiers grew impatient and began to drag him along by the collar of his tattered grey bodysuit. Around them people ran an screamed. Soldiers barked orders and hurried around in a state that could be either panic or battle readiness.

    He heard a sudden hollow boom and rush of air behind him, a layer of heat pressed briefly over him. The Creche had been torched, it had been used as a makeshift Command Center since he had been here, (how long was beyond his ability to imagine now) its basement levels had been the location for his life of suffering. No dought there were details within that they would not allow to fall into enemy hands.

    The smell of burnt meat touched the nostrils of his ruined nose. Bodies lay in piles around the center of the square, some of them in tattered civilian clothes, rags, a few in uniform, some naked or half dressed. Workers, drones, women men and children., As he approached one pile he noticed a gaunt pale face starring blindly at the sky, its bluish white skin eerily smoothe, neck and shoulders contrasted with the blackened skeletal right side of the body that still smouldered in the fire, its left arm stretched out on the ground before him, unburnt fingers curled lifelessly as he stumbled by.

    Other troops and men and women in civilian clothes but carrying weapons were using flamers to set the piles of bodies and material- dataware, devices, posessions and clothing alight. Several bomfires were steadily burning.

    They where approaching a group of people at the far end of the old square, the buildings around them were once shops and residences, now brocken bombed potmarked shells of what they had been. Most of the people, like him- were dressed in the same kind of grey tattered bodysuit he wore. About thirty of them kneeling in a cluster before a small group of soldiers, fifteen or so, Sehns mind briefly noted through his pain-cloaded semi-awareness, at least five officers.

    Most of the soldiers stood around in stances of hostile indifference, one of them had a slugger pressed against the back of the head of one of the prisoners, (bodies lay amongst them) and as he watched, the prisoner was blankly executed. Other soldiers were doing likewise, ripping away small black nose clips from the faces of the kneeling men before killing them. Most of the soldiers seemed about to leave, recieving final rapid orders from an officer. The whole city had a sense of retreat and scorch earth to it, and Sehn sensed an immenent finnality stretching before him like the wretched exhale of life and death from the bombed buildings and streets around him.

    Orders were barked, a hesitant crowd of passing refugees hurried away, joining what was left of the fleeing crowds of civilians passing through the far end of the square. the brocken men continued to kneel and die, some of the soldiers took off at a run, toward a nearby armoured rover. Sehn was pushed to the ground near the twenty or so remaining prisoners. His escorts moving off to join the armoured vehicle.

    A thunderous roar filled the wide open square as a dark object dove in at the other end of the pitch-sized once plexiglas-filled cielling (long blasted open to the sky, only the arched support frames that marked the boundary between the buildings and streets, and the space of the square itself, remained). The smoke of the bonfires was violently rolled aside by the large heavily armed chopper swooping down, carving a low swung arc, it was strangely slow and portentious in its heavily armoured, mechanicaly-aggresive elegance as it swept across the hundred meters or so of open space between the excecution spot and the buildings at the opposite side of the square.

    The pale redish brown dust blown into a cload around it as it approached the bottom of its arc, first one, then two bright blue points of light, like burning magnesium-stars, detached themselves from somewhere beneath the deathening giant, before making their way (lazily at first- but then rapidly excelerating) toward the armoured vehicles, buildings and people at the eastern corner of the square. The brief white flashes of impact were immediately followed by explosions and the scream of shredding metal.

    A wave of heat hit like an invisble wall- rolling Sehn across the ground and knocking several of the others off their knees. There was surprisingly little shrapnel- but alot of heat. That end of the square was now covered in flame and smoke, a low rummble sounding beneath the roar of flame and chopper engine sounded as the structural supports of the cieling and part of the cieling itself collapsed into the wreckage, revealing more of the once protective super-structure, the scorched and damaged external building levels that rose above the city shell and the lower floors and other sub-shell structures and street spaces that stretched beneath.

    A stream of darting golden streaks began pouring outward from the lower part of the machines forward groupings of black shafts. They sliced out in rotating arcs that spread across the space tearing havoc into any structure or human they hit, kicking up explosive spouts of dust- rock- metal and flesh. These in turn showered down as a brief rain of debris, causing the gaunt and massively brutilised prisoners to crouch down as much as they were able- those that still could attempted to cover their heads with brocken hands.

    Yells filled the square, the nearby group of soldiers had hit the deck as soon as the chopper had appeard, and as it climbed heavily upwards- almost clipping the edge of the cieling-frames as it passed oerhead, the soldiers fireing futily, it disappeared beyond view. Further explosions shook the ground- beyond the open space another chopper roared by, this ones interests following in persuit of its companion.

    Orders were barked again, rapidly and angrily, but the fear was plain to hear. Slugshots followed in brief sudden bursts, the light thumps of collapsing forms sounded around him, the smells of death- forgotten except when fresh- surrounded him as Sehn looked up through the smoke that once again carresed the air, looked to the clear gold tinted violet skies above.

    He heard as the soldier approached him, saying something abrupt in a clear angry voice.The nasal air-filter was ripped from his face.

    He felt the cool metal press roughly against the top of his head. His eye's caught the flash of a star up there, shinning once, clear and silently beutiful, he wondered what it was, a name formed in his mind, 'Seres.. Serifus..'

    A huge and sudden force without sound, a blinding light that was not light.

    The world, slowly moving sideways now, gliding away, revolving slightly. For what felt like elongated seconds the fading light of the shrinking world seemed to drift slowly to a stop, it oscillated minutely for a moment, like a fleshy mass coming to rest.

    He realised he could feel no pain... he remembered the name.

    Another lifeless face stared up at the sky, but instead of a mask, this one bore what could only be the trace of a smile.


    The wind blew across the flat dun coloured surface of the rock, a solid slab that stretched- at a slight angle- for tens of meters before curving away out of sight. The elongated black scar of the crash site covered the entire surface of what could be seen of the slope from this point.

    Mezarith walked carefully amongst the wreckage, no piece larger than himself, most smaller then his hands (which were clasped behind his back). His eyes, unusually pale silvery grey- almost metalic, studied the ground as he wondered seemingly aimless amongst the pieces of aircraft.

    Eventually he came to a point where the slope was depressed by a stream, pieces of wreckage had been caught in the hollow bed of the stream, and their, its edge submerged in the water- pushed up against the frame of an aircraft seat, lay the case.

    Slim and a dull lead grey in colour, the case had a jet black strap attached the the slim handle, the other end of the ribbon-like strap attached to a hand. Mezarith smiled. He descended the side of the sloping ditch, crosses the ankle deep water, and retrieves the case.

    Raising it to his face, the hand now dangling beside it he stared closely at the hand for a few moments, his feet in the water.
    Abruptly he ascended the other side of the ditch and stood once again on the overwise featureless rocky slope. Though now the distant blue plain of the sea could be seen, peeking above the curving near-horizon.

    "Akai, its me. I've found it. Pick me up in fifteen minutes... good. oh- and there's an unexpected bonus, of sorts anyway... I'll tell you once were on our way, the audience will be here soon enough". He lets his arm- and the comm-band upon it- fall back to his side.

    Soon after, the mat-reflective hull of the light scout-foil approaches the shore at the foot of the huge slab-like cliffs. Swinging upto Mezarith, its door clips out and then backwards along its body, a geared-up head pokes out, standing slightly, controlling something within while Mezarith steps up and into the vehicle.

    The foil speeds back down to the water, causing a wide foamy splash when it hits, before bobbing and roaring away, the door drawing closed again, leaving the rocky beach and its low sloping cliffs behind it.


    ^Logged in as 64008- 999 033

    ^you have 1 new message

    -open 1

    ^security package level 5, encryption code required

    -The Significant Ladder


    From: 17293- 778 555
    To: 64008- 999 033
    Subject: Seraphim:

    interception complete.




    -+delete message 1

    ^are you sure?


    ^message 1 deleted


    :logged out
    :login: aaa_ghost

    ^logged in as aaa_ghost

    -run *box\trix\magic

    magic< disappear username 64008- 999 033
    magic>disappeared username 64008- 999 033
    magic< track-back^disappear username 17293- 778 555
    magic>Warning, 555 indicates SprtFed miliatary node, proceed?
    magic< y
    magic> back-tracking^disappeared username 17293- 778 555
    magic< exit good_buddy
    magic>secure exit complete


    :logged out
    Last edited by problem_child; June 5, 2001, 15:07.