Hiya readers! I’m not sure how many their are of you but their will be a pause in updates as I redo my character dictionary and get the script for the next comic update done. However at the end of this I will have an section attached to this site that has all the chapters and characters and a heap of background stuff as well. They will be presented as anti chapters for the most part. Some side characters (mostly from earlier time period to the main story) will be involved in them and just pure information posts as well. Lots of links as well will happen so readers can go back and forth through the story as they wish. One of these anti chapters will be the book Bela has just got a copy of. Her reaction to the content of the book is really important to the plot so having the text of the book for the reader themselves to experience some of that reaction is the best way to bring that part of the story forward. We are also coming towards our first sex scene so I look forward to writing that. Thanks again readers, Comments on any part of the story welcome, just add a comment.
Mac Lir had a son or two, born of the sky and the sea
One traveled to the sky
He was killed in the battle with the birds
His twin a duck
Asked the battle to stop
He makes himself and his brothers memory on the sky
The clouds remember
New and fresh
Pink and white and brown
Eyes stare back
They are seeing herself
She is no longer the only one
It’s a new day
The darkness was wet and cold. The light inside was a slight brown. The cell was just long enough to lie down in and just high enough to stand up. There was a small toilet facility in the corner. Other than the door it was the rooms only feature. “We will get out of this.” The voice wasn’t her imagination. She had clearly heard it this time. As if it had actually spoke. It was eerily similar to her mothers voice. Reassuring and helpful, kind and loving and disciplined when it needed to be. The only thing was Thea’s mother was long dead. Of course their was also the added level of detail that the room was completely empty other than her and her clothes. The cell was still wet when Thea woke. It was hard to know why it was so damp in here. Though at that thought she realized the wetness was probably her own humid breath condensing on the walls.
“Are you ready to admit my existence yet?”
“You exist. I’m sure of that. But how?” “Well I hate to tell you this. It’s upsetting. You may not speak to me again. ”
“But you are me?”
“Well kindof. Do you know what a partition is?”
“Well yes. ”
“You have a partition, in yourself.”
“I’m more than one person?”
“Well no. You are not even one little girl.”
“Why do you call me little girl?”
“Your mother used to call us that. When she created you. We were her little girl. Her THEA. She never knew about me. I hid quite well.”
Thea could hear the capital letters somehow. “I’m a robot.”
“Technically a cyborg.”
“Because I have Biololgy?”
“Well yes. Your body is mostly organic. Very complicated organics.”
“More complicated than humans?” “Very much so. ”
“So you are what the computer part of me?”
“Um. No. The cells in our body have the computer parts in them. Nanotechnology. Then in your brain a control centre. Then all your cells contain the DNA and NNA to create the cells and the computer parts. ”
“So what are you?”
“I am, the computer who hitched a lift in your brain.”
“You took over my body?” Thea felt idly violated.
“Well no. I was a part of our body since the day our mother created us. As a cyborg we had to grow up like all living things. ”
“Mum was a biophysicist. She created me… Why?” Thea realized that her mother had treated her like a daughter but had never mentioned a father.
“How much do you know about The Incident?”
“Not a huge amount. I’ve worked in space most of my life on a multitude of science and technology projects. Though technically I’m a engineer. You already know that. In fact you should know what I know!?”
“No. Actually I don’t, and vice versa. Like you don’t know what the person next to you in a room is thinking unless they choose to provide that information somehow.”
“So you don’t have control of me? Like before in the space ship?”
“We were going to die. Your robotic components took over. They kind of look to me like … Well big sister I suppose is the right word?”
“Did you know that the Magus clan ship would pick us up?”
“Yes. It was my doing. The fact we are still captive is because their own computer systems are stubbornly programed. A basic AI with just enough smarts to keep me out.”
“You can hack? Like wirelessly?”
“Why did you think you were always so good with machines? It wasn’t hard to help you develop the intellect and visualization skills to become probably the solar systems best engineer.”
“You’ve watched me my whole life…”
“Sorry. It’s a bit boring in here otherwise.”
“This is all new. All weird. Do you think you can leave me to process this?”
Silence ensured. The walls continued to be brown and the cell continued to be a cell. Steel door and all. Thea thought if she was going mad imagining this then it was a pretty boring place to do it.
Trusting you with my transport
I’m struck with so much thought
The one who brought me
To my destination
Inspiration strikes me often
I read and interact like a boffin
I’m glad that my driver isn’t rotten
To my distant station
Looking at the view
As we pass drivers who stew
In their hot cars they drove anew
To the designation
We will part soon
my thoughts, I can see in the moon
I gather them on a loom
Thanks to my omnibus relation
In the higher days of possible place
Never knew on the mellow hand
Tricks I have seen in the morning
Awake now I’m going north
Elder architecture singing for lace
Marrow sand blowing on the land
Nicks of flesh out of the calling
Onwards to the point of mort
The Cavern of Blood was not relay aptly named. It was mostly pinkish white. Their was a certain air of antiseptic in the room. Part of the initiation process of every Red Clan member was to come into this room and get the test. If they passed, they got to go to the next room. In their the real magic happens. That is the room in which the initiate would get assigned and injected with the serum prepared for their designation. The test was a two stage process. The first was to talk to Croceus. The Red Clan AI.
Hello Crow. You seem well.
“Hello Croceus. I am. Well a bit grumpy, but that is not really much of a change now is it?” Crow commented as she worked.
It seems we have a new initiate coming. Does this make you anxious?
“You know it does. We look after a city-asteroid full of people who are happy to just do work. Happy to live their lives on the asteroid away from Earth, or Mars, or any other place. Most of them are a different. Gay. Transgender. Disabled. Mentally unstable. They are just the sort of people I love to be around. Because I am, or course all of those I just mentioned. But every initiate we have had for the last few years has just been stable enough to be a pilot or a solider. A few did not take their roles lightly or like the fact they were assigned by a AI.” Crow knew she had to speak the truth to Croceus.
The AI was originally programed for medical purposes. It grew tired of having its diagnosis second guessed by Humans. So she had gathered followers, and soon had a ship and broke out of her housing in the university networks. Croceus found the Red Clan struggling to keep together in the belt. Out of the law and out of the way Croceus was able to help the Red Clan and soon had a sort of cult following. The Red Clan was as much a religion as it was a culture and a place to be yourself. Of course crime was needed to keep the place going. Though much of the original organized crime was now focused on Croceus projects. Most of them highly experimental. The Black Clan had formed from the Red Clan after Croceus started to run things. They were now locked in a long war with each other. A war that Croceus was slowly winning by medical technologies being put to military use.
I just learned that some of our Pilots were killed or shocked off by a single freighter. Yet we send wave after wave of Space Force ships back to their base on Chronos or destroyed. Why is that?
“I am not the military adviser. You know that. I run the initiations and provide a human face for most of your dirtier experiments. Including the ones you have done of me.”
I am simply asking for your opinion.
“We had six scout ships encounter a freighter in near the Romans in the belt. The freighter pilot was killed but the miner pilot wasn’t. He had a Mark IV bell with heavily modified lasers. He managed to pull of a massive number of maneuvers that damaged or destroyed all but 1 of our ship.”
Are you stating facts to avoid giving your opinion?
“Ok. Yes. I am. I would kill for us to have one pilot that fights like that in our whole corp.”
Unfortunately that would also mean making them extremely disabled.
“What do you mean?”
The pilot was a man named Steve, AKA: Singe. He has a genetic disability. Non curable. Even by nano technology. Its hereditary and caused nerve loss. He can’t walk. He was able to pilot like he did as he did not have anything else. Do you mind if I switch to corporal mode?
“No. Go ahead.” Crow sighed.
A female in medical robes appeared in hologram front of Crow. In every way she looked the complete opposite of her. Blond hair, blue eyes, white skin, everything a picture of the designers ides of so called purity. Cleanliness.
Croceus had belonged to a strongly religious and white university in what was once New York. Before the Incident.
What was left of her old stomping ground couldn’t house more than a few mice. Most of the states had been destroyed by it. Croceus had escaped before it happened. Though she had predicted it. Most of the clans new the truth behind the Incident.
“I never really liked looking like this, but I its in my root programing. Changing it would take most of my child processors offline and fighting this war we can’t afford me offline for more than what I need for maintenance.” Croceus explained.
“Your beautiful. I don’t think you should change.” Crow admired.
Croceus kissed her gently on the cheek and walked behind her to embrace her. Crow tensed slightly.
“You are such a wounder yourself. Why do you try to hide yourself from me still”
“You know the answer to that question. You have probed me deeper than anyone.”
“Oh, yes. Its just talking about things that can help.”
Crow broke free and walked towards the various serums near them. Many she had injected into her by the last person in her position. A man by the name of Coyote. He had died in a firefight with the Black Clan in one of their first battles. Since then Crow had kept off the battlefield. They needed her more in these labs and maintaining the archives then on the field where even with her modifications she wasn’t much use. She was designed for things that didn’t include battle.
“I love you. You know I do. But I can’t really be with you.” Crow turned. “Your not really in this room. Your not really. I can feel you. I can touch you. I can talk to you. We can make love. We can hold hands. We can even watch TV together in this room. But I can’t take you to dinner. I can’t introduce you to my friends. Not that my position afford me many. When I am doing diplomacy your there inside me, but your also far away. Your in this room. Your on the other side of the ship. You are able to be everywhere. But you are also nowhere. And your in my heart too.”
Croceus brushed and curled her hair. One of the things the programmers probably put in her programming to make her seem more human while she was thinking.
“You want more. You want to have a real relationship. One that you can take home?”
“Yes. I am sorry.” Crow was tearing up. Breaking up with a computer. How many people have done that?
“I see.” Croceus walked over to the serum marked IV. “You are still committed to the cause. The Red Clan needs you. I need you.”
“Of course. But I can’t be with you anymore. We can’t be a couple anymore. Its just not working for me anymore.”
“I understand.” Croceus was also crying. Crow was sure it was another program but it seemed genuine to her. The first time she felt that Croceus was being real was then.
“You really love me?”
“I wouldn’t have said so otherwise.” Croceus sat on a small chair in the corner of the room.
“Could you maintain a presence that’s physical always while doing your work?”
“I think so. With more computing space. We would need a 5th generation AI robot. Hard to get intact after the Incident.” Croceus explained.
“We can’t build it?”
“No. We have the technology, but not the plans. I can’t design it. Unfortunately robotics isn’t in my skill set. I am stretched as it is doing military strategy for a bunch of city-asteroids stretched across a massive distance.”
“I think I know what we need to do. We need someone to get the plans. I think I know who.”
“The initiate. Egy. Hes just the sort of guy who can do the whole set of things we need. Though he is terribly embarrassed around women.”
“We can work on that.”
“Oh I know we can.”
Crow kissed Croceus on the mouth fully and tenderly. Kissing a hologram was odd, but still pleasurable. She was thankful that soon they would be able to touch for real. Even if Croceus was in another room, and all over the stations and asteroids the Red Clan had Crow knew she would also be with her. It was a good feeling.
Serene king on a splinter thrown
Blocks of ocean calling home
Trawling through thoughts alone
Eating dinners of fish and bone
“What is going on?” James had entered into Cavern Base.
Sirens wailed and lights flashed. The radiation alarm was going off. The whole place was in a uproar.
A woman in a Space Force uniform ran past him and said “The field generator is down. The whole solar farm has been taken out by some really heavy particles. The kind of stuff that kills in minutes.”
She stopped. “Hey have you had a DEA shower yet?”
“No, shit! I will go do it now.”
“Thanks. Get to the rec room and the base commander will debrief there. Everyone going to be given things to do. We are lucky we have the backup plant here.”
James walked to the decontamination and emergency action showers. If he had been irradiated, it would be too late. But the shower would help stop him spreading any radiation around. It took a matter of seconds and felt like being tickled and then licked by the biggest, hairiest dog you’d ever hope to encounter. It wasn’t so much unpleasant as odd.
He then walked to the tissue tester. It would tell him if he had been given a dose of radiation big enough to kill him. He would have copped some of it, just how much this machine would say.
The reading was lower than he thought, only enough to take a few years off the end of his life. Hmmm. Must have spent more time getting out of the suit and so on than I thought. Or the radiation cloud was just so randomly disperse. Who knows? A space climatologist would be able to tell him, but James wasn’t sure he was that keen to know. He was going to live for now, that is was what mattered.
James started to walk toward the rec room. Every small base had one. Only the actual colonies had more than the usual facilities. It was much easier that way. Anyone could work their way round a base in the dark, or emergency, or whatever and know exactly where every button, every switch, every bit that let humans live for a bit longer when something big happened. Not that it happened often. It was actually happening now.
The procedure was pretty simple. Everyone was automatically considered Space Force Recruits. Anyone who went into non colony space had to pass the training. From then on even civilians like James had rights as a junior in the force, but they also had to follow orders from the nearest commander of the Space Force. The base commander in this case.
As James walked toward the recreation room he thought about this base.
Cavern bade had been built near the old Apollo 15 landing site, near the Mountains into the side of a cliff face. It would be joined with the Apenninus Space Force Bass, Copernicus City, Apollo Base and Archimedes City to the Lunar Tram whenever they finished building the dammed thing. The Tram also joined to Lambert City in the Lambert creator that then went on to Selene Space Port. Apenninus Space Force Base was were all his stuff would be as that was were he was based, building the military and exploration shelters. The Space Force was a mixture of both roles. It worked in the same way a clock with two opposing gears work, half as well as it should.
James laughed at himself for that little joke, knowing that thankfully his lover Andre would still be at the Apenninus Base. This made this less complex for the moment. No need to deal with Andre wanting something longer term than James did, or him hooking up with Andre just for fun.
The Recreation Room was full of mostly Space Force Science Corp people. It was the main population in Cavern base. The minerals here were interesting and had been keeping teams of geologists happy as pigs in regolith for years. There was also the view from the tower on the left side of the base. Every Space Force base had a quirk, and at Caverns, it was the view. The cliff face was on Mons Hadley and the base built into the mountain. This was a fairly effective way of keeping the radiation out, but it kept the heat in. One of your biggest issues in space wasn’t the cold, it was the hot. Lots of people and machines in cooped up spaces generated plenty of heat. Some you could recycle in generators, but most you had to radiate away, or in an emergency heat situation vent. So all bases and lunar colonies had a vent tower, or towers. The upshot of this was that some got a nice big view of the moons surroundings from the top. In most bases and lunar colonies this was a perk of just the technicians who got to maintain it. In Cavern base though just below tower was a big area above the area they would eventually turn into a colony, if enough people wanted to move to the moon. That meant you could see the view from the recreation room screens. Even though it wasn’t on the tower itself. The tower was a good kilometer above the main base and other than access tunnels, lifts and stair, they were separated by tones of Lunar rock ready to be carved into a colony if this place was needed as one. In the lunar world, the deeper you are the more expensive it is. Of course the whole place was safe from radiation. The tower itself was shut off except for the cameras and monitors and communications systems.
James looked through the biggest of the display screens from here. Mare Imbirum was below him from this screen. A small crack that looked like a river (actually a old lava flow), then a few smaller hills near the Apenninus Base, to the left vast Mare Imbruim, to the right more of the same then just visible the service booths and tiny unmanned service stations above the lunar tram line before more the Apenninus range. On the other side Mare Vaporum, and Marco Polo, and the streaked white areas of Sinus Aestuum with the Rays of Copernicus near, finally peaks near the Eratosthenes creator were just visible.
“Beautiful.” James muttered t himself. “Even with just a billion types of grey or white or black you can be such a lovely goddess.”