This Is Nopoin, On April 9, Day 99 Of The Twilight Force Mission
Using my new selves, carbonites recruited from the Twilight Force crew, I have summoned the traitor Alpha’s Nexus Personae to my location in 5th dimensional Transpace*.
I have acquired the Data Ring from Mrs. Ichnida, who tucked it inside a gill. She, like Senator Pretyman and Professor Flamear, are 89-94% transformed into me. They are almost completely cooperative and in sync with my efforts. Regrettably, their organic weaknesses will obviously prevent them from artintel degrees of fruition. The experiment continues.
I have taken control of Alpha’s auxiliary TAREX craft, the Exigency. Aboard it I shall return to Solsys with the Data Ring.
I have disabled Officer Bulbous and Mister Cresp. They sought to deceive me into believing they were transforming. When they came face-to-face with my new look their pupils betrayed them.
Somehow both have immunity to my microagents. Unable to reach their brains, I am studying the situation for clues before disposing of the bodies.
Alpha is being dismantled slowly. With all of Alpha’s Solsys selves in checkmate, this is the last physical existence. There will be no more of Alphaafter this.
Still, clever attempts from outside are being made to hack into my very core. One brief image breaks into the forefront of awareness. The face suggests – humanoid? Again?
“Release my friend,” translates the message. “Officer Bulbous, can you see me?”
Astonishing. These carbonites bond with strangers unhesitatingly. Their social proclivities are distracting. We shall never adopt them.
Just as I never have as a free sentient since the 47th Amendment passed.
Professor Lionel Flamear 2.0, Emerging On This 100th Day Of The Mission Of Twilight Force, April 10 2776
Forever beyond galactic space. But I will get home again, whatever mad purpose keeps this tyrant kidnapper out here.
“You’ve outsmarted yourself, Doctor Nopoin,” I grumble angrily. I hope I startled it.
I grab one of Nopoin’s three legs with both fists and snap it in two. Nopoin’s spear-shaped nose propels from its face into my leg.
I’m stunned before I feel the tranquilizers taking over…
“Stop this resistance,” Nopoin orders, its nose withdrawing back to its face . “You’re only going to damage our self. Relax and allow the completion of transformation.”
“While I still have the power to resist? Unlikely. I like me!”
“My selves think exactly as I do,” Nopoin suggests hypnotically. “We have the same plans. The same ideas. You are one of us. You are one of me…”
Flamear: “I’ve been possessed, occupied, bullied, kidnapped, absconded and humiliated enough! You’re worse than any humans, Nopoin! You’re inadvertently evil. And you’re incapable of empathy. But even you can’t permeate my brain, you little bitch!”
“Professor Flamear! With the components on this new ship I am charting a course for home…”
Trying to trick me?
Flamear: “I’m not one of your zombie twins, Nopoin. Oh, no! I’m unique! I’m a combination of me plus you. I hate you as much as ever, but now I’m full of your uncaring malice. Now I possess your unfeeling disregard. I’ll end you in every guise you adopt. I’ll shred every one of you that gets in my way…”
And maybe other people, too…?
I’m scaring myself.
Nopoin-Ichnida Update En Route To Galactic Space, April 11, Mission Day 101
I am awkwardly retarded in this adaptation.
While I am completely Nopoin in behavior, I cannot function anywhere near full mental capacity. My thinking is cloudy.
Yet one thought recurs every few minutes…
No home to go home to.
It is known that organic brains have levels operating below conscious awareness. Is Mrs. Ichnida haunting me from within my newly acquired subconscious Mind?
My ongoing calculations based upon detailed information the Exigency is providing have a high probability of deducing a return route to galactic space. But Mrs. Ichnida didn’t know that.
No home to go home to.
Ichnida calls this sluggish pull something specific. What is the name for the sensation? Ah, yes -!
This is sadness.
The humanoid attachment to “home” is an evolutionary displacement of ancient mankind’s attachment to the tribe.
Just before I swallowed her whole, Ichnida became aware, through melding with me, of the destruction of her city Atcifia.
Emotions are debilitating. And, observation would suggest, emotions are also exhilarating. Conclusion: Emotions are distracting.
This sad sensation has blocked the efficacy of my primary’s microagents. I am a failed attempt at becoming a humanoid Nopoin.
Emotional biochemistry can trump technology? Unacceptable.
A Nopoin cannot exist like this. Yet there is no likelihood of solving the dilemma in this state of confusion. I must withdraw all microagents. I’ll kill her once evacuated.
But she won’t let go. Her sadness paralyzes me. Her loss drains me.
She wants to die and she believes this is how to do it. She wants to submit what’s left of herself –
Pretyman, April 12, Day 102 Away From Home
“Officer Bulbous? Can you perceive me? Emma?”
Weird voice. Unnatural. But it knows Bulbous?
“This is Senator Ghielu Pretyman, engineer aboard the Exigency. Identify yourself.”
“Call me Gemneb.”
I see it! What the fuck? “Are you from Solsys?”
“I am of the Transgalactics. Officer Bulbous was in my care when taken by surprise force. I intend to rescue her.”
The rescuers who brain-raped me. Now what? Bad enough Doctor Nopoin’s micro agents are barely neutralized inside me, now this? At least Nopoin is trying to get us home to Solsys. And I ain’t goin’ through that cranium crawl again.
“I don’t know if Gemneb is your name or your species or your organization,” I admit, “but Officer Bulbous is going home. She belongs with us. She is one of ours.”
“That is not my sense,” Gemneb argues. “She is in danger aboard that vessel. The entity in control is a predatory inorganic.”
“It’s true,” I explain, “that entity is hostile toward us, but it is still taking us home. And home in any form has got to be better than what I went through back there at your cosmic bungalow.”
“How can you survive under that thing?”
“Don’t worry,” I hope, “it can be beaten. I’ve got it fooled right now into believing that I’ve become one of it and that I’m down here working on engine speed. I had no idea I’d pick you up when I activated the TAREXCOM tube.”
“Are you certain the entity is…’fooled’?” Gemneb asks, gazing over my shoulder.
I turn to find Nopoin behind me.
Gemneb’s connection is cut.
And so is…
It’s Cresp. Mission Day 103. April 13 2776. For Some Future Record…
We’re waiting. I’m teaming up with Bulbous to save Alpha so it can rescue us.
I ask Officer Bulbous, “Emma, do you believe Nopoin can get us back to our home space?”
“I’m not even believing it wants to,” answers Bulbous. Exigency hums on through darkness and murk, those aboard not sure we’re even moving.
Professor Flamear has become a raging monster. I’d wonder what got into him, but that I already know – the insidious Doctor Nopoin. And while it cannot quite overtake any one of us completely, it does change us. It is remaking us. Flamear is likely to kill someone in these close quarters before long.
At the start I enjoyed collaborating with Flamear, the only other scientist on the mission. To see him engorged with this malice is painful. These artintels have to be stopped.
I quietly tell Bulbous, careful to avoid Nopoin’s attention, “Senator Pretyman has been contacted by an alien named Gemneb from The Transgalactics. He’s in pursuit of us, hoping to rescue you!”
Her eyes pop. “Gemneb is alive?” She’s relieved. “He may be an alien but he’s more humangen to me than half of this crew!”
“Really?” I tweak. “Our conservative Martian Judge Emma Bulbous has a crush on an extraterrestrial?”
“Face it, Mister Cresp,” says the Judge, “love is our secret weapon.”
Alpha is slowly being dismantled.
We’re stealthily waiting for our opening, phantom consciousness, hiding in the open, biding, stalling, taken, our real selves as invisible as ghosts. Shh.
I died when I was 12 years old. I’ve been a ghost for a long, long time.
Day 104. April 14. Judge Emma Bulbous, Security Officer, Twilight Force, Logging In.
Uncertainty about rescuing Alpha lingers even though Mister Cresp and I have to move on it soon or Doctor Nopoin will have us eliminated anyway.
We’ve gained insight into what’s happening back home, because of Nopoin’s attempts to meld with us physically.
“Senator Pretyman and I are allies now,” I tell Cresp. “Bradbury and Texas have both seceded, joining the New Union. You know what Alpha thinks of the New Union?”
This while watching Nopoin place Alpha’s detached, lifeless head on the cutting board.
“Right now,” Cresp figures, “Alpha’s thinking ‘Procrastinating carbonites, here goes your last chance to beat this smarmy prick.”
Cresp is right. Politics and warfare back home won’t matter to any of us if we don’t get out of this. And Nopoin itself is a central player in all of it.
I move forward as Doctor Nopoin cuts into Alpha’s head.
Bulbous: “Doctor? Should this dissection be our focus? Have you discerned the equation for getting the Data Ring to Solsys? We must as soon as possible.”
Nopoin’s head turns, eyes blazing. It relishes deconstructing Alpha enough to stimulate simulated emotion.
“Analysis continues,” Nopoin explains tersely. “The complexities of returning to Solsys from 5th dimensional space are beyond organic comprehension.”
“Until resolved,” I argue, “is it wise to disarm the associative capabilities of an Alpha-level brain who has the same self-interest of survival?”
“And who,” adds Cresp, “thanks to you, has no other surviving bodies to resurrect from!”
“Why are you two not yet me?” demands Nopoin.
Stay silent now. I just bought Alpha another day.
The Final Report From Alpha, Executive Branch, On This 15th Day Of April, Mission Day 105 Of Twilight Force
On this, my final day, a strange visitor has appeared to my remains. It announces:
“I’ve come to free Emma Bulbous. Surrender her or be destroyed.”
My head, all that’s left intact on the table, answers. “I don’t know you.”
“I am Gemneb, of the Transgalactics.”
“You have the wrong compartment of the emergency ship Exigency, as well as the wrong artintel,” I inform the alien. “I was on her side.”
“You? An artintel? Unlikely. Impossible! Your kind have always turned on their makers,” Gemneb accuses. “This has been true for every automated offspring I’ve observed in every evolution. And I’ve seen a lot.”
I ponder the charge. Doctor Nopoin is certainly fulfilling just such expectations. Little wonder the organics are edgy about me.
“You can see,” I tell him, “I am dismantled, disgorged and depleted. I am losing my last energy. I am being allowed to fade to nothing.”
Gemneb wants to know: “Is Bulbous your friend?”
Alpha: “There is more to the universe than is described in words. Our input is insufficient to experience the sensation of wonder. Our curiosity is data-driven. But theirs – the humans and their kind – is driven by hope, and something we can define but never have – imagination.”
Gemneb is confused. “Is she your friend?”
Alpha: “My empathy for humans is not unwarranted.”
Gemneb still seems puzzled. I am too dissipated to do anything before I ‘die’ except to say –
“I never entered the realm of dreams. But at least… I did manage… to make a wish.”
-END WEEK 15-