Faust, A Post-Human Tale
The old man was dying. There was no doubt about it. After forty years of staying one step ahead of The Reaper with the help of medical science, his body, or what was left of it was breaking down into basic compounds faster than the nanomeds could repair. Thin, spiderweb-like filaments draped the soon to be corpse from head to, well, where prosthetics were once attached. The med-web joined its gossamer tendrils into the sides of the life-support bed, itself alight with flickering ephemeral holo-displays.
Family members, two of the once three surviving offspring, their spouses and three of the adult grandchildren were hovering over the slowly decaying senior like specters picking their way around a macabre buffet table. The weeping was in low tender tones, broken only by the occasional sniffle. A duty nurse crept into the room to check on the progress of the deathwatch, noting the levitating, flickering vital sign displays he brought up on a wrist-pad control. Softly he stepped to the woman with the salt and pepper curly hair, barely touching her arm, asking if he could get her and the others something to drink or eat. Everyone shook their collective “no”, while one of the grandchildren turned away, choking back sobs. Then like a silent wraith of the night, the nurse took his leave.
“Damn, where the hell am I ?”, thought the semi-corpse. He felt strangely disconnected from anything that used to be real, or solid. The realm he had entered was strangely devoid of any sensation at all, like a dream where one had the feeling of slowly falling through clouds. The only input he was receiving were like murmurings of a distant brook, getting louder by the second. Closer and closer they came, until ….
“Voices!” “I can hear people talking!”, thought the man. Of course he was listening to the voices of his relatives keeping the death vigil. But he could not recognize any of them, the stroke he suffered damaged areas of his brain where memories reside. It was like drowning in a lightly frozen pond, the faces that belonged to the familiar noises were just on the other side of the ice, unreachable.
Suddenly, the ghostly haze that was slowly engulfing his thoughts lifted, the voices were becoming more understandable…growing cognition returning…
“…I know baby, but your father explicitly sited it in his will and the arrangements are already made…”, one of the men was pleading to the woman with the curly salt and pepper hair. “It’s an evil thing it is”, she sobbed, “I can’t believe he set this up, and now, now…”. She couldn’t even get the words out between the hiccups, upset as she was. Another woman, shorter than the other, but with long, straight blond hair that had darkening, pre-gray roots, put her arms around her sister, guiding her to a chair next to the closer wall and sat down.
“Well Sis”, the blond soothed, “We always knew Dad was agnostic and wasn’t a practicing Christian. He loved science and we all knew he wrote those articles and stories about aliens, spaceships, conspiracy theories and stuff like that. He told us he might do this if he got enough insurance and apparently he did. So ‘we were warned’ as he used to say. And he never lied to us kids, not once about anything. Especially when Mom got sick. Remember, she got mad at him for telling us, even when her hair started falling out!” The older woman looked up at her sister, and nodded her head, a small smirking grin crawling up her gleaming wet face. “Yeah, I remember. Mom always thought she was protecting us kids by keeping things to herself. I think she was still a little mad at Dad at the end.” Glancing at the wizened figure on the med-bed, looking all the world like a desiccated fly caught in a spider-web covered with sun-lit morning dew, the woman breathed a heavy sigh. Then with resignation softly spoken, “No, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that he fixed it so we couldn’t do anything against his wishes, Dad always planned for the long run. This isn’t any different, is it?” The woman continued sitting in the chair, emotionally drained and tired, staring at the figure on the bed. The sister and the husband brought chairs over in the meantime, setting themselves along the wall in the small room, like niched icons in a small chapel.
The dying man heard this exchange of course. He knew when the senses die, hearing is the last to go. He desperately wanted to console the grieving woman, to hold her gentlely, kissing her forehead while rocking her like he did when she was a small child. He grieved for these people because of the pain he was causing them by dying. “Hell, dying isn’t hard for the one doing it”, he thought, ” It’s harder on the living!” Sweet irony!
Then something occurred to him, why was he able to think at all? He was dying, that was for sure. But aren’t dying people supposed to hallucinate, or be comatose at least? Doesn’t the dying brain look back upon itself, like looking through a window when it’s night outside, reflections of the interior shining back at you? This indeed was a mystery. Maybe the old religions were right, consciousness is independent of the body!
“No, not quite”, a disembodied voice announced, “But we have achieved something close to it Mr. Jenks.” The almost corpse Jenks froze, or his thoughts did. “This is it”, he mused, “My brain’s finally running out of oxygen and I’m hallucinating voices now.” Well, might as well play along to the end and have a little fun before the black curtain falls. “Okay, I’ll bite. What have you achieved exactly sir, ma’am, whatever?” “Why, you of course”, replied the voice. As if on cue, a figure resolved itself from the haze surrounding his mind. All at once his thoughts became even more coherent, even his hearing got a little sharper. He could hear his family around him more clearly now, softly speaking to each other, reminiscing about times past. But he still could not move, smell, speak or touch. The only vision he had was of the figure that coalesced in his mind. There was a sharp metallic tang in the back of his throat.
“Is this better?” the vision asked, “I find it’s easier on prospective recruits when they see who they’re dealing with.” Recruits? Huh? “What the hell kind of snake-oil meme is this guy trying to peddle me?” Jenks wondered. The man, or whatever it was cut quite the sharp image. Tall, with long platinum white hair, complete with modern self cleaning business suit. The shoes were classic corporate black, but with a shine that was preternatural. In fact, the whole being had a preternatural shine, no, a sheen.
Jenks had spent his whole adult life trying to live a life that was decent, but without the superstition of religion. He strived to achieve his goals by using logic and science. But as the Universe would have it, on his very death-bed he was privvy to a simulacrum of the Devil. Satan. Lucifer. The Light-Bringer. Sworn enemy of God.
Just his luck.
Lucifer grinned a perfect set of pearly whites. “No, I’m not ‘Lucifer’ in the classical sense. I am the interpretation your damaged mind conjured up so it could understand the communication you’re receiving.” Oh, well is that all? Jenks was sceptical, but it made sense. At least more sense than the supernatural explanation it could have made. “Alright Lucifer ol’ pal, how come I can even perceive you at all? Or perceive anything? The last I checked, I was well into the dying process. For all I know, you’re the last visions of a rotting brain!”, Jenks offered. The faux Lucifer materialized a luxurious chair out of thin air, then sat in it with a genteel flair. “Your brain is currently being kept alive by advanced medical nano-bots of latest design. They can’t rebuild the damaged parts, but they’re able to build new pathways around them to unused, undamaged brain tissues. The nano is then able to ‘re-educate’ your brain into using the undamaged tissues. It is also building new blood vessels to supply these new activated areas. It’s kind of like a rehabilitated epileptic brain that had a hemisphere removed. That is why you aren’t dead, yet.” Again, the perfect teeth flashed.
Jenks gulped mentally. He was plainly over his head here. He had written several stories over the years about the possibility of uber-beings. It didn’t matter if this creature was some kind of super AI, or ‘The Bringer of Light’ himself. The being clearly had him in its thrall. There wasn’t much Jenks could do about it. But it was obvious the creature went out of its way to stop his death long enough for some kind of visit.
He was pretty certain it wasn’t out of altruism.
It wanted something.
And the damn thing could read his thoughts.
“Yes, quite correct Mr. Jenks, your powers of deduction remain intact. That can be of great service to us. And what I am prepared to offer you on my client’s behalf is infinitely better than the cryogenic preservation of your head your family was so upset about. The offer, if you accept, is a certainty.”
Now the creature had Jenks’ undivided attention. Hell, ‘Lucifer’ had his attention when he said “us”. “Alright Luke ol’ buddy, y’know you have my attention. What are you offering me this night to cheat The Reaper of his prize? What are you offering me in exchange for my ’soul’?’
The beautiful being leaned forward in his simulated exalted seat, a sardonic crooked smile crossed his visage that suddenly sent chills through what was left of Jenks’ natural meat brain.
“A job Mr. Jenks. We’re offering you a job.”
Bugout; military term – “To retreat during a military action: to flee in panic”
‘Google-plex Wikipedia, 2069′
Northern Hemisphere Union Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer Five Sean St. John (Sin-Jin) Lamont observed the rocky ‘valley’ around him.
The scene was not a kalidescope of color, with or without the visual enhancement of the holo-heads up display inside of Lamont’s helmet visor. The vaulted roof of the sky was a pea soup of gray haze, intermittently broken up to reveal a dusky salmon. The dismal, wretched coldness extended down to his level, minimally lightening up as it finally started thinning out 800 meters below him. Only then did it appear like a normal fall foggy morning in the Appalachian Mountains, sans the green of trees. It could have passed for a scene straight out of Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings’, without the obligatory lava.
At this ‘altitude’, it was necessary for Lamont to wear an oxygen rebreather and an environmental suit, the cold and the thin atmosphere at this level was deadly, even for a transhuman like Lamont. His internal army of nanobots could save him if his suit ruptured, but his body would be damaged beyond repair if the cold started to shut down the ‘bots too soon. Lamont just as soon not push his luck, experience taught him that. As he observed the scene around him, there were patches of dark greens and blues scattered here and there. The patching got thicker and thicker as the barely indistinguishable monochrome extended down the valley. It lent the view a more dismal color than it really was. But without the carpets of monotonous blue/green lichen, it would be impossible to breathe what little air there was.
Lamont broke his revelry long enough to start descending down the hillside, watching his footing carefully as he still made observations of the valley. The rocks at this height were still very sharp, a slip might cause a puncture, even though the suit was engineered of carbon-tube fiber, the best stuff nano-tech can produce. To Lamont, the old saw ‘trust but verify’ were words to live by. Sometimes.
As the descent proceeded, the footing got easier as the rocks acquired a rounded, more eroded form. Soon the rocks became stones, then pebbles. Lamont started to hear more of the environment around him as the air became thicker the lower he got. He stopped next to a small outcropping of smooth rocks. He sat down to pull out his insulated thermo-canteen, which extruded a tube as he lifted up his visor. A membrane on his eyes instinctively clamped down over his eyeballs, preventing moisture from escaping them. Even though he was lower in the valley, the air at this height was still dryer than the Gobi Desert in January. And there was still almost a klick to hike before he got back to base camp. Pulling the cold water from his canteen, Lamont shut out all his thoughts and started to meditate lightly on the surrounding scene. There wasn’t much to look at, it was agonizingly boring, but soon sounds permeated his helmet, sinking into his brain. A soft rushing gurgle, almost like the sound of blood flowing demanded attention. Lamont meditated on it, grokking it, taking it into himself, learning it. Water. A small stream nearby was making its existence known. Peace. Suddenly there were knocks on the door of his mind, threatening to drown out the burblings of the small, beautiful, alien thing. The knocks got louder and louder until they formed a cacophonous ‘wop, wop, wop’. It wasn’t loud, but it was enough to break Lamont’s meditation. “Shit. Back to the ‘real’ world I suppose”, he groused. Of course he allowed the noise to interrupt his thoughts, his mind was self disciplined enough to lock out all external stimuli if he wished. But he knew in one of the backrooms of his mind, time was getting short. He knew the whole base was about ready to deploy to a different locale. He knew it was almost time to ‘bugout’.
With his thirst slaked and his head cleared for a while, CWO5 Lamont continued his descent to the valley floor and the base. Suddenly a familiar blinking blue code-light started flashing in the right-hand corner of his visual cortex, a message coming in. Instantly Lamont knew it was from his second, Master Gunnery Sergeant Pierre Hudon. An image formed in his mind, the classic flat-topped Jarhead. Hudon was two millimeters shy of two meters in height, eighty-four kilos of lean meat and all Canuck. Nobody gave Hudon much crap, certainly no troop did, if they were smart. An occasional second ‘lieuy’ (lieutenant) did, out of ignorance. They soon learned fast enough that the unit’s ‘Top’ was just that.
“Are you all done with your ‘perimeter check’ of the area sir?”, the image inquired. Lamont noted the wise-guy question with amusement, typical Hudon. The Top didn’t cotton to his commander’s unique style of mysticism, but he knew where the line was. “Perimeter’s secure, you wise-ass. What’s the status of the bugout?” Instantly Hudon went into Marine Corps ‘report’ mode, tres professionale. “The whole AIMD (Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department) is packed and ready to move Skipper. That includes all the drums of repair nano we have plus feed stock. Troops are ready, the noncoms have them settled in, just waiting for the word.”
Lamont wondered about the ‘wop, wop, wop’ from the two helicopters he heard earlier, why were they still out?
“Is the whole MAG (Marine Air Group) ready? I heard two ‘planes a while ago and wondered why they were still out Top. What’s the scuttle-butt on that?”
Hudon gave a mental shake of his head and pulled on his nose at the same time, “It seems General Rodriguez wanted to do his own ‘perimeter check’ sir. He’s nervous as hell about ‘Planet X’ quantum weaponry sneaking through our shielding before we can bugout. Also the ‘Children’ are on his case to hurry up. And you know how creepy they are, even when they’re doing their best ‘human’.”
Lamont knew all too well how the Children, or as they liked to call themselves ‘Children of Humanity’ are. They were the ones, along with the Corporate Government (Struldbergs), who resurrected him.
He preferred to call them the ‘Children of the Damned’ though.
It fit better.
As for the Struldberg traitors to humanity, well, they are just as evil.
And they’re Lamont’s bosses.
“Okay Top, let’s get ready to ‘head ’em up and move ’em out’ as they used to say. As soon as we get back, call a meeting of all department heads so we can all be in synch with the bugout time. Then have them call muster of the troops. Get a head count and standby. The ‘word’ is given Marine.”
Hudon didn’t know whether to laugh or scratch his head when his boss used archaic cliches like that. At times he wanted to do both. Good thing he had a language algorithm in his brain-nanoweb, otherwise he couldn’t understand Lamont at all.
“Aye aye Skipper. Will you be along?”
Hudon may not understand his chief at times, but he was a good second. He watched out for his boss.
“I’ll catch up with you Top. I want to take in this terrain one last time”, Lamont sent.
With that, Master Gunnery Sergeant Hudon did a smart about-face and left Lamont’s consciousness. Lamont lifted his visor and took another long pull of water from his flask. Even at this lower level, the thin air was dryer than Hades.
Lamont tromped on, wondering about what would happen when the supposed ‘enemy’ got here. There wouldn’t be anything for them here. Presumedly the beings that were coming were beyond anything physical, let alone needing what little resources there are here. But the ‘Children’ did something to piss these beings off.
Among the other screw-ups they did, all well meaning of course.
But as Northern Hemisphere Union Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer Five Lamont looked at the greyish, slightly mauve scene around him, he couldn’t help be amazed at such a marvel of nature and ancient technology.
In fact, he was amazed such a thing could exist at all, given where he was.
Located almost two kilometers under the Arsia Mons, near the Valles Marineris.
Under the second highest mountain on the planet Mars.
My name is Sean Saint John Lamont of the Clan Lamont from Argyll, Scotland. The clan presently resides in Old Australia, Earth. I serve in the Northern Hemisphere Union Marine Corps, Space Branch with the rank of Chief Warrant Officer Five. I used to command one thousand Marines in the Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Division of the Marine Corps Space Command, which in turn is part of the NHU Marine Corps.
I am currently on temporary assignment as a ‘scanner’ onboard a small reconnaissance spaceship en route to an anomalous massive object passing through the Oort Cloud nearing the orbit of Eris.
This really isn’t who I am though. “St. John Lamont” is a doppleganger, a misnomer, a cheat, a post-human freak and an abomination.
A broken promise.
A turncoat, sellout, double agent, a faust and any other disparagement one can put to a traitor of an ideal.
But most of all, and worse, I am a coward.
When it mattered most to uphold a principle and keep the faith, I backed out and took a bribe.
I literally sold my soul to the “Devil”.
Well, what my dying mind interpreted to be the Devil anyway. It was really a representative of “The Children of Humanity”.
Children of Humanity has some validity to the term because these creatures are lying, duplicitous, murderous and manipulative entities, in fact, the worse qualities of Mankind multiplied a billion-fold. So yes, it’s entirely possible they are humanities’ descendants tens of thousands of years down the road. A branch of them anyway.
I’m saving that story for later.
Before I accepted the bribe of possible physical immortality and post-human ascension, I was an ordinary mortal man known as Richard Robert Jenks, born September 19th, 1959, during the waning years of the old United States of America’s President Dwight David Eisenhower’s second administration.
And I “died” October 17th, 2038.
Thirty-one years ago.
I was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, family man, farmer, working man, writer and heretic.
My family didn’t know about the last part though. And that’s probably what contributed to my present existence.
Well, the Marine part too. That was the only reason a Child came for me upon my death bed.
That’s what it claimed, but I’m certain it was a lie.
It came to prove a point.
That everyone has their price.
Unfortunately for me and humanity, that old saw certainly is true.
The N.H.U.S.S. Electa was closing in on the target at twenty-thousand kilometers an hour, riding the wave front of its Tesla-Carr gravity drive. If it was a “conventional” space vessel, it would have had to start a breaking maneuver over twenty hours ago. The ship’s drive negated that inconvenient issue however, being the latest generation of the drive that the old U.S. Pentagon “appropriated” from Otis Carr in 1957. In about twenty minutes, the Electa would stop on a dime almost, and settle into a parking orbit around its objective at a safe distance of one-hundred thousand kilometers.
The object in question was a dangerous and curious anomaly. It was the circumference of Earth, but massed ten sols, or ten times the mass of Earth’s Sun. Very dense for its size, it was not a brown dwarf star, for it emitted no light in any range, infrared to ultraviolet.
It emitted no radiation of any type, x-rays, gamma rays, gravity waves, quantum particles.
And conventional means of communication failed, be it radio, laser, neutron beams or directed graviton particles.
The only thing that got a response were two attempts by post-human adepts with neural enhancements who communicate with the Children via ‘telepathy’ on a regular basis. They started sending messages from a safe million kilometers out, spiraling inward until they got below one hundred thousand klicks, around ninety thousand actually.
Then they simply disappeared. Gone. Poof. Not here.
Without so much as a sub-atomic particle left. It was as if they got sucked up into a black hole that shouldn’t have existed without an event horizon and spewing jets.
The closest thing that the geniuses can figure what this thing is was possibly a neutron star without the spin.
A perfect “black body” creation.
Stephen Hawking would’ve been impressed.
“Closing at one hundred thousand -two klicks… and mark sir”, noted Captain Irfan Ismir as the Electa settled into minimal safe parking orbit. Ismir was more than a little spooked by the object. The next statement was obvious, but was meant to take the nervous edge off his mind, “Kinda hard to tell where we are Colonel. The damn thing soaks up any kind of signal I can throw at it, no pings, no nothin’. The only way I can tell anything’s there is the ultra-gravitational space-time distortion picked up by the ship’s drive.”
Colonel Vince “Ski” Gryzbowsky smirked the grin of a veteran who’s seen many a campaign, and survived them all. He could sense Ismir’s nervousness, so he sought to tamp it down real quick and quiet before his co-pilot worked himself into a panic. He needed Ismir’s excellent piloting skills in case things went down-hill real fast, which could very well happen if the failed missions gave any indication.
“That’s why we brought along our resident scholarly, post-human telepathic adept, right Lamont?”
“I’m what the geniuses at HQ ordered sir”, replied CWO5 St. John Lamont as he snapped back to reality from his mental revelry. Even as Lamont was reliving the events leading to his present incarnation, he had cast a light mental net toward the black gravitational oddity. Augmented by his nano-biotic neural net that had the ability to quantum tunnel into the fifth dimension, one of the spaces between the Einsteinian space-time continuum, Lamont was able to expand his consciousness around the past, present and future of the local space surrounding the object. But he hadn’t given it his full attention yet because he didn’t want to trigger any alarms on the thing. If his theory about this is correct, it wouldn’t matter how stealthy he is scanning it.
Even with his post-human physiology, the damn thing would sense them and swat them out of space faster than Schroedinger’s Cat using up it’s last life.
“I dunno Colonel”, stated Lamont, “I don’t sense anything yet, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t aware of us. I recommend maintaining our present distance sir.”
“Good suggestion Sinj, I believe I’ll do just that. No sense in waking up whatever’s in there yet”, Gryzbowsky replied as he gave a wink and a smile to Ismir. “But keep your super-human feelers out there Gunner, the tanj-damned chunk could go nuclear any second!”
Lamont caught himself in a chuckle. He had known Gryzbowsky for over thirty years, after he “re-enlisted” into the Marine Corps’ present incarnation as a gunnery-sergeant, becoming the NCOIC of the Powerplant shop at the Martian Arsia Mons base while Ski was the First Lieutenant OIC. After Lamont received his commission as a Restricted Duty Officer, he received many a call in the early morning hours to come drag Ski’s drunken ass out of the officer’s club.
But he had no clue about Lamont’s previous life as an ordinary man. Only four people knew about that, and they were in the higher echelons of the monstrous corporate/fascist government that was the Northern Hemisphere Union. And the Children of course.
As the Electa settled into a routine and a watch schedule was set, Lamont went into his meditative mode. This usually included yogic exercises (hard to do in the close confines of the ship), deep breathing, then slowing the heart rate down to about thirty beats a minute. Forming a bio-feedback loop was easy with a nano-biobot neural net. “Too bad I didn’t have this in my first life”, he thought to himself, “I probably wouldn’t be here now.” But it was a perk in this life. It made the guilt bearable.
Settling into his pose, Lamont again tunneled through the fifth dimension and started to observe the mystery in all aspects of ‘now’, past, present and future. An analogy would be someone driving a car on the the old Interstate 40 that stretched across America in the 20th Century, heading for Los Angeles from New Jersey. The person would see the road ahead, looking west, the future, while looking in the rear view mirror, eastward, the past in this example, for other cars (or the police usually). All the person would see is linear sight distance, which is how baseline humanity perceives time and existence.
Take that to the next step, imagine yourself in orbit around Earth, crossing over North America. You could see not only I-40, but both New Jersey, California and then some. That is how Lamont is perceiving the object, ever so softly.
Suddenly, there was a prickling at the back door of his senses. He attempted to tamp it down, to ignore it so he could do his job. But it was insistent and soon was distracting him enough to where he had to break off his surveillance. The only beings annoying and aware enough to scratch at the doors of his mental shielding were the Children, or one of them anyway.
One was bad enough generally.
He lowered one of his shields down long enough for the creature to make contact. Only one shield.
Technically his augmentations combined with his occult and yoga disciplines were a match for any one Child. In fact, he could enter a personal ‘singularity’ and ascend into a non-physical form in a dimension higher than the fifth. But he didn’t intend to test it at the present.
He was always leery of the Children of Humanity, they have proved more than once to be liars of the worse kind.
But it’s beneficial to be their friend.
Just ask the criminal organizations that pass for governments on Earth right now.
As the link relaxed and firmed, an image of a small, grey skinned, large headed being with huge almond eyes solidified in his mind. The classic grey alien being.
“How archetypical”, Lamont mused, shaking his head. “I don’t have time for this shit Lucifer”, Lamont sent, “I’ve got work to do and you’re wasting my precious time and energy. You’ve got thirty seconds then hit the road!”
The grey alien image morphed into the dapper elegant being Lamont had seen in his mind when he was dying. “My my, a bit tetchy are we, hmmm? Maybe I should take my little tid-bit of info about this “object” elsewhere? Someplace where I know I’ll get a little respect!”
Lamont almost broke the link then and there, but his curiosity was picqued.
What did Lucifer know about this thing?
Chances are almost nothing, but Lamont didn’t dare take the risk of throwing away a possible advantage and gaining an upperhand over the situation.
“Okay Luke ol’ buddy”, Lamont soothed, “I’m game to hear what you have. It’s not every day a fellow has his own personal Devil deliver mail to him.”
The image drew his usual chair from behind him out of thin air and promptly seated himself.
Lamont always wondered why a post-singular being needed to sit while conversing. Maybe it made the chosen victim more comfortable.
“Well, not exactly an apology”, he sniffed, “But for you that is an improvement I suppose.”
“I have searched all of our archives of the past fifty-two thousand years and it seems we have made contact with the Object about twenty-five thousand years ago. It didn’t go so well. Many of our remote probes and fifth dimensional scans were instantly rebuffed. Anything physical within one-hundred thirty-three thousand cubits or one hundred thousands of your ‘klicks’ instantly vanished. A well meaning mental pass in certain spots brought about instant retribution.”
Lamont already knew about this of course. He had sources and other ‘informants’. Being already dead had certain advantages, like sending your former self about as a ‘ghost’. He’d known about the Childrens’ contact before the Martian bugout.
Lucifer was ‘milking the dog’ so to speak.
“I know about all this already Luke, your thirty seconds are up. I have work to do now, gotta go…”. Lamont made ready to break the link. Doing this maneuver usually pays off thought Lamont…
“Did you know that it spoke to us?” piped Lucifer. Lamont stopped cold. “That’s better…,” smirking internally.
“Give it up Luke, what did it say to your people without destroying all of you first? And no bullshit either, I can tell when you’re lying.” He couldn’t really. But dealing with the Children is like playing high stakes poker, a well played bluff occasionally paid off.
“It wasn’t so much what it told us, it is what it showed us in our Collective.” When the Children spoke of their ‘Collective’, they are talking about their ascended hive mind in the fifth dimension, where they normally reside as non-corporeal entities.
Lucifer gave the illusion of drawing a breath before continuing, his coal black eyes gleaming dreamily, “It showed us it was ancient beyond all understanding, even ours. It showed us wonders of a past Universe, and past Universes beyond that. It showed us that we were nothing compared to the immensity of Time It experienced. It also showed us it was our Father, our Sire. It showed us It was mightier than Entropy. It showed us It was the All, the Alpha and the Omega Point. And most importantly, it showed us It was Us.”
The Lucifer illusion cut the link after the “and You.” Lamont was slightly stunned from Luke’s presentation. The Lucifer being never gave anything credit what-so-ever at all. Yet he spoke as reverently as one would speak of a god, or God in a place of worship.
But the Children don’t worship anything, do they?
The issue never came up really. The idea of philosophy never crossed Lamont’s mind when dealing with Lucifer, or any of the Children for that matter. It was assumed they were beyond asking any religious or philosophical questions at all since they were ascended creatures.
But the clue Luke gave was clear.
God. Or a god possibly.
What else would you name an Object that could be older than the Universe? Or several Universes for that matter.
One thing’s for certain, it is powerful and dangerous. And already steeped in legend and myth.
Lamont now was able to tend his light surveillance net with undivided attention. As his meditation grew deeper, a section of his subconscious sliced off to tend an assigned task. Lucifer’s clue gave confirmation to what he had already surmised, so the little piece of “mind” set about to study the history, and mystery of the Object in the Union’s vast library of occult and esoteric knowledge. Soon, the ‘piece’ found what it was looking for. Ahh yes, Tiamat, ancient Sumerian culture, the Nephalim, ancient astronauts, The Twelfth Planet and Zecharia Sitchin.
There was no doubt.
This event has been foretold for thousands of years, since the beginning of the present cycle of Human Civilization.
Myth has become reality.
For Planet X has arrived.
Nibiru and the Annunaki are here to collect their faithful.
And exact retribution from the Damned.
When in Rome…or Bangkok
St. John Lamont had a problem.
He knocked on the door of the anomaly and something unexpected happened.
It let him in.
He found himself inside a saloon that would be found in any city in Southeast Asia.
That in of itself was strange because Lamont, in both of his lives had never been to Southeast Asia.
” What’ll ya have Joe?”, asked a slightly accented female voice directly behind Lamont.
Lamont, obviously surprised by the voice almost gave himself a ruptured disk in his neck by turning around too fast, and gawked at the source; a petite, well muscled Asian woman standing behind a bar. Her almond eyes flashed a bright green that intimated an innate devilishness. The tattoos that covered both of her arms added to the illusion that this could be a real bar in any Southeast Asian city; Saigon, Singapore, Manila or Bangkok.
” Well, whatcha want Joe? Beer? Whiskey? Bourbon? Mixed? C’mon, I ain’t got all day!”, berated the small tattooed woman at Lamont, still disorientated by the surroundings.
” I guess I’ll have a Corona “, he responded. Slowly, Lamont was recovering his wits, too slowly he thought.
The illusion around him, or more likely a highly advanced virtual reality environment, was perfect in every way. Lamont scanned the area and found that his senses were strangely muted, dulled. Then he realized the reason, he was cut off from the Electa , the outside Universe and the extra resources he used for his extended memory and computing powers.
He was on his own here with barely trans-human abilities in a possible hostile alien environment that he couldn’t manipulate.
For the first time in decades, Lamont’s spine tingled with an anxiety he thought he no longer had to deal with.
” No worry Joe, you’re among friends here.” Lamont instantly snapped back to the present when he heard the voice. The woman was back with his beer, top popped and foamy head oozing from the opening. Lamont took the beverage and smelled it. Beer. No mistaking it, the hoppy fragrance verified that it was what she said it was.
” What the hell “, he thought, ” VR can’t kill me unless I’m convinced it will. ”
And down the beer went.
He was amazed how thirsty he was. On the ship, he had already attended to his bodily needs. In his meditative state, such wants should be shoved to a minor corner of his consciousness. Reptilian thoughts like hunger, thirst, sex, sleep, fight and flight are to be locked in a secure vault so they can’t be a distraction.
But the beer tasted pretty damned good!
” Taste like another Joe? “, asked the bar keep. This time, Lamont was a little more in tune with his surroundings. When in Rome…, as the old saying goes, has merit to it.
” Sure hon “, he responded. When she returned with another Corona, Lamont grabbed her arm. Not roughly, but just enough to hold fast. And just as quickly she escaped from his grasp.
And popped him in the snozolla for good measure.
“What’s the matter with him sir?”
Ismir had entered Lamont’s quarters after not hearing anything from him for about four hours.
And discovered him frozen in his “lotus” position.
Without the actual cold.
Colonel Gryzbowsky was just as puzzled as Ismir was, even though he knew about Lamont’s little “idiosyncrasies.”
Four hours is the longest Lamont has gone “under” so to speak.
Ismir was visibly rattled. “Look at his nose sir!”
Out of the corner of Lamont’s left nostril, dark blood trickled slowly down toward the crook of his mouth.
Ismir, being from Turkey wasn’t too comfortable being around nanotech engineered super-soldiers ( or Marines ) such as Lamont.
One would think that seeing blood would make Lamont more human in Ismir’s eyes, but that wasn’t the case.
There were still stories and myths about super-human “djinn” in Islamic cultures in the 21st Century.
And such beings were considered demigods or angels.
Most of the time though, they were labeled demons.
“At ease Captain, Lamont is performing his duty and I suggest we should do the same!”
Gryzbowsky’s gruff admonishment snapped Ismir out of his fugue, clearing his head enough to get a grip on his emotions.
“Aye aye sir!”, Ismir snapped out Marine-like. At least he still sounded it.
But he couldn’t help looking at Lamont, blood still trickling down his face, now toward his tee-shirt collar.
“So…what…do we do sir?”, asked Ismir, still gawking at Lamont.
For Colonel Gryzbowsky there was only one answer.
And he had no choice but to trust Lamont’s abilities and the technology of the Northern Hemisphere Union.
Lamont’s nose exploded a red fount, covering the front of his shirt and splattering the bar.
Being punched in the nose was bad enough, but being caught off guard was worse.
Before the Thai bar-keep could throw a kick or grab a ball-bat from under the bar, he sprang into action, splitting himself into past and present, creating an optical illusion of being in two places at once.
The woman hesitated for a split second, enough for Lamont to place a well aimed foot upside her head, knocking her unconscious.
Or so it seemed.
Lamont suddenly found himself locked firmly to the deck, unable to move at all.
And the scene had changed also. He was no longer in the Thai bar.
He was laying on his back in a green-gold meadow, the Sun shining down on him in shimmering waves.
A light breeze was blowing across his face, carrying the fragrant odors of apple blossoms and honey.
Melodious sound waves were wafting along the air currents too, adding to the impression of being in a vast ocean of wheat in the middle of Kansas.
Lamont sat straight up, hearing perked up to catch the music that was on the wind. Looking around, he couldn’t tell where the odors or music was coming from, so he just sat and studied the surrounding area.
“Well, this is definitely different from the bar”, he noted as he scanned the environment.
It appeared to him he was sitting in the middle of a plain of wheat, with copses of low slung apple trees, somewhat resembling large bonsai, spaced here and there, separated by perhaps 500 to 2500 meters.
Suddenly, the lilting music caught his ears, soft as the lowing of sheep on a hill-side meadow.
This time, Lamont locked onto the sounds like a heat-seeking missile. He stood up and started walking, tracking the music as he crunched the stalks of wheat with his feet.
Simultaneously scanning the horizon with his eyes, he soon found the source of the music, a small group of crab-apple trees 900 meters away.
And a figure sitting under the largest tree, blowing into a long, bamboo-like tube.
Lamont quickened his pace, occasionally kicking up grasshopper-like creatures, some resembling preying mantis. He wanted to get to the bottom of this mystery and return to the ship. Ski and Ismir must be going spastic right about now. Especially Ismir.
The figure under the branches of the tree didn’t stop playing the bamboo flute-like instrument as he approached however. The being ( it appeared to be a human male ) had long, shoulder length brown hair tied off in the back. He wore a loose fitting white, light woolen shirt with matching trousers. A brown belt that was tied in the front completed the simple attire.
The man just sat there under the tree, playing his instrument even after Lamont arrived to demand where he was. The music was so soothing, it was like listening to a far away waterfall.
It was wonderful!
Abruptly, the being stopped playing, as if suddenly realizing he had company. He looked over at Lamont and put down the flute to stand up, wiping his palms on his trousers at the same time as he stood.
“Oh I’m so sorry Lamont”, the creature apologized, “Forgive me my manners, it’s been a long time since I had civilized company!”
The being stepped forward with its hand out, introducing itself, “My name is Bryq and I’m the shepherd here.”
Lamont was completely taken by surprise. Again.
This was the second time in a row this happened and it wasn’t a welcome habit. One can get killed getting surprised too many times.
Even a nano-engineered super-Marine.
But Lamont wasn’t about to be tentative or weak in this encounter, he had a mission to complete and to report on.
As he grasped the being’s hand in the hand-shake, he looked into the face of the other and experienced something akin to an epiphany, Nirvana, epileptic after-glow and another feeling overcoming all else.
“Yes Jenks/Lamont, we know each other.”
“We know each other very well indeed!”
As Lamont and the entity named Bryq looked into each others’ eyes, information flowed freely between them, transcending all space and time.
During this encounter however, a little used corner of Lamont’s mind could not stop thinking about two things…
“How does he know me?”
“How come he has my face?”