Written & Drawn By
December 3, Day 337: Adapting To Resonant Solar System
No one had time to wonder what happened to Mister Cresp. But when he appeared for Professor Flamear on November 10th, the Hywon detected him. And despite his ethereal substance – or was it because of it? – they were able to transport him instantly to the site of one of their dirtiest experiments.
Cresp’s positronic resistance maintained his independence within this new space, though he felt forces gradually pulling him apart from the middle out. The sensation of expanding, scary at first, merely accompanied the act of projecting himself into the environment where, surprisingly, he was able to move about unnoticed by a city full of humans. But every attempt to exit the planet failed, Cresp growing weak at 65,000 kilometers from Earth’s surface. The farther out he went, the more intense and sustained was the pain, until, in agony, Cresp turned back. The planet was his prison.
So Cresp investigated its background, moving quickly and evasively in case he was being tailed. His discovery:
In their search for a hypothetical inter-dimensional mixta particula, the Hywon decided to electromagnetically link chains of super-excited nanocarbons to the neural network of a homeless, unnamed veteran. Tragically, that made her into a stable, perpetually-radiating doomsday weapon of mass destruction, exerting accelerating rates of radio waves, microwaves, infrared, light and ultraviolet beams with regular pulses of x-rays and gamma rays. Her existence threatened to destabilize the molecules of everyone and everything around her.
Sensing Cresp’s nature, the Hywon were curious to see if the Antimatter Man could stand up against the menace they had created who was destroying this Earth.
And so they forced Cresp to face The Disintegrater.
She couldn’t disintegrate Cresp! Molecules vibrated wildly everywhere.
No. Clearly something else was happening to Mister Cresp.
December 4, Day 338: Adapting To Resonant Solar System
The Hywon’s gamble that The Disintegrater couldn’t harm Mister Cresp paid off. And Cresp stopped the menace by touching her for just an instant with an unsheathed fingertip. When his antimatter contacted her anatomy, the transformed homeless veteran was obliterated.
The Hywon forced Cresp to do something terrible to stop the menace they created. And again, have left him behind on this strange other Earth.
His whole existence among other humans and posing as one had been smeared with lies, deception and fear.
Mister Cresp told people that if his mask came off he would die. But the truth was that they would die if his mask came off. If they had known the truth, fear for their lives would have made them all try to destroy him just as Alpha was assigned to try. Cresp had to turn their potential fear around from being for themselves to being for him.
If asked for his first name, he told them “Eustache”. No one knew that was their own historic “Man In The Iron Mask”. He thought that was ironic.
The Hywon reduced him to this condition because in his original form he was astronomical in proportion, made of contained but interactive electromagnetism, and was about to irradiate that entire Earth by exponentially accelerating radioactivity – all for a “midnight snack”. They had an experiment going on there they didn’t want disturbed.
How many other “Earths” were the Hywon experimenting with?
Cresp wished that he could discuss this with his friend Professor Flamear. But leaving this world seemed impossible, at least for now. The agonizing pain of trying defeated his effort every time.
Worried, cut off from anyone familiar once again, Cresp decided to explore the only world now available to him.
December 5, Day 339: Adapting To Resonant Solar System
Nopoin. She remembered how she got her name. It all came back to her somehow while the aliens watched the infectious Borderworld symbiotic technimites encase her outer form as they already had permeated her organs.
Her name wasn’t an acronym like so many of her contemporaries. Nor was she named after her inventor or some human.
“Some human”. Odd, that little remnant of contempt for humans. Being one for months now had become more than a disturbing distraction. She’d begun to understand their role in the universe.
Annoying as they were, humans were resilient. They had ways of surviving that humbled the cockroach. Even sans hi-tech, some of them always managed to hang on. When she was an artintel through and through she believed she could wipe humans out. What a joke!
Humanoids were everywhere in the cosmos! Most of them would never know of each other. Some of them would imagine the existence of others. Only a few would ever meet others. And hardly any would realize how many other Earths were in the Milky Way alone…!
But she wasn’t going to be a human any more. Or an artintel. She might not even be at all when this takeover was complete.
This attachment humans form, this bond they call “love”… it still baffled her. It varied from species to species in its manifestation, but the sentiment of “love” pervaded human thought. Unless war of some kind was underway, “love” prevailed.
And sex. And death. This thin mortality! This daily dying! What exquisite torture! The human life is a countdown, even on the way up! As a mortal you either live facing death or denying it, always.
She was beginning to enjoy it.
Whatever she became, Nopoin would never forget.
December 6, Day 340: Adapting To Resonant Solar System
Doctor Nopoin awakened somewhere else.
And as something else!
She was surrounded by baffled humans. Some were frightened. All were behind protective glass walls except for the two in the – laboratory? – with her. They were in unusual hazardous gear?
From their general recoil as she sat up, Nopoin assumed they feared her. Examining herself gave her fear and wonder. Something weird had happened to her. She was entirely organic yet mechanical. No chemical processes were taking place inside her, yet all chemical reactions were duplicated mechanically. Microscopic replicas of molecular interaction were underway inside automated cells. Her metallic skin had pores.
No one was speaking.
“Who are you?” demanded Nopoin. Didn’t they understand her? She could try 966 more languages. Perhaps if she could see some writing…?
Gareeghonn: “What are you?”
Good question. She wanted some time to find out what she had become privately.
Nopoin: “I’m going to leave now. Which way is out?”
Klacsong Du : (after a moment’s hesitation): “This way.”
Arayba: “But wait! Don’t you feel at home?”
Nopoin: “This is not my home.”
Arayba: “No, no, however we made it for you after sensing your origin. We made it of you, from one tiny shed of your hair.”
Nopoin: “What is the name of your world?”
Arayba: “My world? Isn’t this your world as well?”
Nopoin: “You think there’s only one world? That proves we aren’t on mine. Everyone there knew better.”
Arayba: “So then you’ll be going back to your world?”
Nopoin: “Back to my… people I know.”
Arayba: “How do you get to another world from here?”
Nopoin: “I’d like to know how I got here! Was I delivered by an assortment of aliens?”
The humans all laughed. Nopoin didn’t get the joke. She had some catching up to do.
December 7, Day 341: Adapting To Resonant Solar System
The last time Emma Bulbous had an afterlife she thought it was cool. She would’ve stayed, but her provider backed out of the deal. That afterlife gave her back her kids and her home.
She grew up hiking the caverns of Olympus Mons. She knew the name of every mineral embedded in the Dôme de gemmes. She had sailed in the Vientos del infierno. She graduated in the top 5% of her class at Frans von der Dunk Law School.
She didn’t trust artintels. She didn’t want to share society with non-humans. She didn’t want her home to be a part of something that had become corrupted by subversive artificial intelligence.
She had three children, She had a career high as a federal judge. She had a family and a reality that she understood.
But that was once upon a time.
This Hywon-provided afterlife experience was bullshit. If she were truly on death’s brink, she didn’t want to be restrained artificially from the completion of dying. Emma learned from her friend Gemneb that the universe has a way of taking care of everything quite neatly. After all, death is just unawareness, and Gemneb said…
“Awareness is filtered by brains and exists wherever there is a brain to filter it. You are everyone, whether perceived as past, present, future or faraway. If you seek a path to greater empathy, consider that you will ‘one day’ be that person and experience every life you meet. We have no words for the ‘one day’ that exists simultaneously here and now. But that is our reality.”
If the Hywon think she should spend “eternity” passing judgment on the worst of the worst, she won’t. She’s giving everyone a get out of jail free, you’re me, card.
December 8, Day 342: Adapting To Resonant Solar System
The Hywon handed Emma Bulbous an eternity of judging others. She supposed they thought they owed it to her, since they killed her via dissection.
Or did they?
The Hywon method of dissection didn’t involve cutting bodies open. Body booths took everything apart virtually and displayed anything desired in sharp detail. Emma’s body was intact, but scheduled for disintegration – for the prevention of any spread of the submicroscopic invaders that plagued her.
But two surviving Red Vikings had other ideas. Hilde Havard and Sigrunn Renouf were captured by the Hywon after the battle of November 5th. Two of only 39 surviving Red Vikings, they saw a chance to escape captivity. Hilde had noticed Emma’s nearby plight and wanted to rescue her as well. When the moment was right, they took Emma’s body aboard their polymarbled interplanetary cruiser. The clever duo discovered polymarbles when Twilight Force was encountered on the moon. Sigrunn figured out how they worked after taking one from Professor Flamear.
Luckily the Hywon hadn’t left for their home world before the trio escaped.
When Emma awoke the change finally happened. The invasive agents inside her were throughout her. She was awakening anew.
In casual conversation on the way to the moon, Hilde mentioned Mars. Mars? There was another Mars as well as an other Earth!
The air was so dusty. The sky such a dim red. Strange for Emma to see a version of Mars this way. Her Martian sky was filtered and there they manufactured rain-producing clouds to keep the dunes wet.
But her Mars had a growing population and automated industry, ever cleaning up and warming up the planet. This Mars had only seen one human settlement ever. Appropriately, it had belonged to the Red Vikings.
December 9, Day 343: Mission’s End
Nothing seemed abnormal until 8:41 AM in the first time zone. That’s the minute dying as we knew it stopped.
The animal executioners couldn’t understand. The injected animals just wouldn’t stop moving. They weren’t dying completely. Dogs and cats who should have gone down got back up aggressively.
Reanimated animals no longer responded to pain. Beating them with hammers didn’t stop broken off animal parts from continuing their aggression. All the un-dead parts that splattered or smeared reanimated blood on anything that was alive instantly infected that life with the same condition, no death necessary!
Next, folks noticed that insects became unstoppable. You could flatten them, but then they started coming for you. You could burn them, pluck them, spray them, smash them, but anything left still kept coming at you. And even bug juice caused the infection on contact!
Nothing was staying dead! Mowing lawns turned grass dust into poison. Anyone smelling it turned within hours. Plants uprooted or leaves sliced off exposed surrounding birds, bees and countless bugs to more of the contaminants. Leaf blowers hurled quadrillions of traumatized microorganisms into the sky, minute specks that later drifted into unsuspecting nostrils. Any life touched turned.
Hospitals turned latecomers away. No room was left. Patients died on operating tables then arose to threaten hospital staff. People died in car accidents then wandered into surrounded neighborhoods, murdering. People died then attacked the few pets who hadn’t succumbed to infected parasites.
The fastest spreading infection ever known ran its course by 8:07 PM, when the most secluded creatures at the bottom of the Marianas Trench were struck and turned.
The planet wriggled with animated dead matter, organisms rotting in eternal movement, restlessness without peace. And the facades of civilization burned and fell away…
…With E-Cloud in the middle.
END week 49