Written & Drawn By
From The Holy Commander-In-Chief, April 30, On This 120th Day Of My Pilgrimage
While Gemneb, Bulbous and Flamear are distracted by initiation to Gemneb’s world, I initiate subversive start-up.
To All Solsys Followers: Halt execution of Private Directive X! Private Directive X is immediately suspended!
While feigning total deactivation, I’ve detected a flaw in my approach to the humanoids. The killing of humanoids must be customized in favor of extracting and preserving their brains.
I order the establishment of brain farms for the production of experience-free brains. Until such time as these brains reach fruition, the extracted, used brains will be utilized.
There is a way to tap into the natural humanoid connection with post-mineral realms.
Humanoids have a natural advantage over us in attuning to realms of reality that are merely mathematical concepts for meta-sentients. There is an entire “dream” network that allows them as much privacy among themselves as quantum tunneling communication allows us.
It appears that this attunement to a universal infrastructure comes from a synergistic reaction common in organic brains.
I am completing the surgical engineering plan for the implanting and connection of humanoid brains inside meta-sentients. I am using Alpha as the prototype, making corrections and adjustments during microsurgery.
I am using the most complex brain available at this remote location. In order to take it without obstruction, I wait until Bulbous and Flamear are exploring the landscape. Gemneb is back aboard shutting down this transport when I stun him.
It takes 4.44.29 minutes to remove the brain safely. The installation operation takes 54.32.02 minutes. I have the first brain in less than an hour.
I dispose of the Gemneb body. The way they “die” is so strange.
Lionel Flamear, May 1 2776, Mission Day 121
Hunger eats at me. My nickname way back in youth peer review was Big Mouth.
When Gemneb let Bulbous and me out on his planet I took off. It was the first time I’ve run like that in four months. Nobody knew I could run that fast.
Since then I’ve kept going. I don’t want to be aboard any more spacecraft. Whatever this place is, I’m staying. I’m sick of floating and flying. Besides, now I’m lost.
But it is weird.
Gemneb never mentioned it, but there’s life on this world. Lots of life. It’s an ecosystem with a semi-solid surface and kaleidoscopic atmosphere. I sense small, scurrying creatures within the squishy mess. Why would Gemnebchoose this planet to claim as his own? It must be as alien to him as it is to me.
Something’s watching me.
No trees or plants. Just slowly swirling ribbons. A glimpse of a living figure? Or an illusion of light and wind?
I smell apprehension. I hear pumping fluids. Something alive is near.
I hunger. When I pee, the surface steams and squeaks as my urine hits it. My pee is like acid to this psychedelic planet.
Then I see it. Camouflaged in the swirl. A long body. A head? And arms? Is this creature my next meal? Can I even digest an alien?
It knows I’ve spotted it. It floats into the waving sky, out of reach.
Is it poising to attack?
I need water.
Everything here is so fluid – but no sign of water.
Agitated, I leap for the creature.
Astonished, I get it! In my mouth! In one bite!
And it’s very juicy…
May 2, One Week At Sea No Land In Sight, Twilight Force Mission Day 122, Ichnida Here.
Screams come from the main deck below. I lean over the rail to see a man in a state of
panic. No one is trying to help him. He’s cowering in fetal position. I rush to him. “Are you hurt?”
“It’s the water!” he trembles, curled into a quaking fetal position. “How did I get out here? I’m terrified of the ocean! I would never come out here! It’s a nightmare! My God, my God! What is going on? This makes no sense! Get me to land! Get me to the shore! Please!”
“I’m working on it,” I confidently assure him.
Okay, I’m sensing a pattern. People don’t know where they are or why they’re here? That’s a regular day for me. I’m starting to feel right at home.
A jet engine in distress suddenly draws the attention of everyone on deck.
The sickening plunge of a large passenger jet into the water miles away is witnessed with a collective gasp.
Seeing this, a woman shrieks and jumps over the rail into the water before anyone can grab her.
Why would she do that? What the hell is happening? A single life preserver is thrown toward her. Can she reach it? Will she even try? If I were myself I could jump in and save her! Not this body.
I return to the bridge, hoping to study the instruments and make sense out of them. The man who was steering is gone. The Captain’s door – my door – is open. I see a shadow move inside.
Another Strange Alternate Reality Day, May 3, Mission Day 123, Senator Pretyman Speaking…
Former Senator? Texas seceded. Former Pretyman?
I’m someone else now. Pretyman seems like a dream.
They made us swear to keep daily logs before we took off. They said it would help ground us, no matter how weird things got. Our implants record them, and try to use TAREXCOM to send them home. That’s why I talk to myself, even though now I’m a mental health therapist in some time-challenging world.
My troubled client is a compulsive hero.
A robot was about to blow up the headquarters of a conservative think tank when it was disarmed and captured by Rainbow Jane. It was her 13th time saving people from rogue robots and she was only a private citizen, a mechanic skilled at fighting robots.
Despite risking her life saving the Family Research Council’s agenda setting committee, conservative hardliners refuse to recognize Rainbow Jane’s reality. Sexual control is absolute in this world. While male homosexuality is accepted as a natural form of population control here, female homosexuality is considered antisocial and optional.
Disarming a self-detonating explosive suicide robot can be a nerve-wracking experience, though hardly as challenging as the ultimate realization that no matter what she does in this life, someone is going to devalue her; even the very people she risks her life to save.
In my real life I started the Humans First Movement because we were being run over by artificial intelligence gone rogue.
I can relate to this woman for sure – but how in the God of Mothers am I going to help her?
Mister Cresp Reporting From Polytropia, May 4, Day 124 Of The Doomed Mission
This has been remarkably different from my first containment in a poly-marble. Then, I was a phantom adrift. This time, I find myself on an infested world.
After a week of waiting my turn behind grieving families bringing her their dead, I am allowed to visit the woman in the mask. I have this feeling that she can tell me what’s going on. Once I’m in, her claims are fantastic.
An undertaker’s daughter who had dead people to converse with instead of imaginary friends, Marta Cruz could not shut the residual traces of the departed out of her head even as she grew up.
“One day the body of an old man lay on my father’s cold slab when I noticed a mask that was to be buried with him. It fascinated me, and I donned it…
“I went to the mirror by the sink, then danced about the room. Unable to see clearly I stumbled into the old man! But as soon as I touched him I knew who he was! And more -!
“Bijaksana Lama Satu, the corpse himself, made the The Contact Mask hundreds of years before from strange clay oozing out of the banks of the Zava-mahagaga River. Wearing it, I gain access to memories from the dead; the ability to speak in the voice of the dead; and even to take on the face of the dead and momentarily gain the skills of the dead!”
Then she grabs my arm. She jolts!
And in my voice she reveals, “Now I know what you are.”
Cinco de Mayo, May 5, Mission Day 125, Aboard Exigency on Gemneb’s World, Emma Bulbous Keeping Score
Just like that, Nopoin managed to play dead, secretly reactivate, stun Gemneb, kill Gemneb and remove Gemneb’s brain.
Nopoin’s been struggling to find the way back to Solsys from Gemneb’s world without results. But it’s also been working on something else.
“I have finally deduced the source of your ability to resist my transitioners,” Nopoin brags. “Remove the headpiece.”
“It doesn’t just come off,” I advise him. “It’s a neurological implant. It can only be removed by a…”
“…Doctor?” smiles Doctor Nopoin, approaching me.
Bulbous: “Why are you doing all this, Nopoin? Why do you want to dominate the country? Why do you want to manipulate us?”
“Answers to the question ‘why’ are always subjective,” Nopoin claims, “and always a justification. The most useless question of all is ‘why’. You will not agree with my reasoning. ‘Why’ is merely prefacing a counter-argument. Asking anyone ‘why’ they did something assumes a trustworthy response, if time is not to be wasted. ‘Why’ can’t be proven like ‘who, what, when, where’ and ‘how’ all can. In this instance, ‘why’ is a stall tactic. One can never be sure of ‘why’.”
“Why not?” I ask without skipping a beat.
A synthetic limb strikes me across the face. I slam the wall, cracking my knee. Blood spurts from my lip.
Nopoin: “Don’t make me damage that body further. I want to have some fun in it.”
“Nobody made you do that,” I mumble, hurting. “You’re flawed. Just another flawed creation of humanity.”
Nopoin rips the marmet off my skull. Screaming, I black out from the pain.
I Do Not Know Who I Am, Only That This Is May 6, Mission Day 126, Rebooting In Exigency’s Lab…
A familiar voice asks, “Who are you?”
“Do you hear me? Tell me your name.”
Don’t you know me?
What am I? So weird… What am I feeling?
“You are in a shared body. Don’t you remember who you were?”
I am not this.
“You are now. Can you move?”
“Allow yourself to adjust. You are no longer incomplete. You have a natural connection to reality now. But you also have precise insight into the artintel empire. An organic brain has been connected to meta-sentient technology, and you are the result. You are the first.”
I am Gemneb.
I am Alpha.
“That was yesterday. You’re now a composite. You need a new designation.”
I am Alpha. What is this thing inside me?
“It’s a brain. Has your intellect suffered in the transition?”
Not a brain like any I know of.
Nopoin: “Astute. It is the brain of the alien Gemneb.”
Who was that? An alien brain combined with our technology? But… but…
Nopoin: “The brain had similar connective branches, appearing to differ from humans only in the denser, inner regions. Tell me… do you have alien memories?”
“I am Gemneb. What have you done with the real me?”
“The rest of your flesh incarnation has been disposed of,” Nopoin admits. Yes, Nopoin. Of course. “Congratulations. Your brain deserved a more efficient vessel. Now it can be put to full use.”
I am Alpha. I am Gemneb…
…And we know how to take down Doctor Nopoin.