Monday, October 22, 2012

Last part of NaNoWriMo book 2

2011 NANO Part 20

    It is a good thing too because John is effortlessly tearing through everyone.  Stephen is a tough bastard.  His body, fundamentally changed by the things he communicates with, he bones are not easily broken, he isn’t easily slowed down or frightened, unfortunately, these are all side effects of his studies though and while John flits about cracking him to and fro with his cane they can see it is a loosing battle.  Meanwhile up in the tree Wilson, knife clenched in teeth is up in the branches, as he cuts open one sack nothing but a pile of bones fall out turning to dust as they hit the groiund.  Frowning Wilson tries another bag with the same result.  Going higher up into the tree he selects another one and lets out a yelp of surprise as everyone’s favorite not a virgin goes tumbling out towards the ground below.  Wilson leaps to grab her but nearly looses his own grip on the tree, opts to take the better part of valor.  Jerimia rushes to save her but is cut off then brutalized by John.  Then with literally no time to spare Stephen dives for it and snatches her out of the air just before she hit the ground, head first.  Is momentum sends them both into a tumble as they go bouncing down the hill.  He does his best to shield her body from the falls but after awhile he gives up and lets them free fall.  There is only so much he is willing to do for the not a virgin.  When they finally come to a stop about half way down the hill he stands up dizzily trying to get a sense of what’s going on around him.  Repeated head blows will rattle you, no matter how tough you are.  Today Stephen learns this.  Wilson and John are currently locked in combat.  While most of them don’t have much in the way of practical, real life combat experience Wilson does.  Give Wilson a knife and he can seriously ruin someone’s day.  For such a big guy it is pretty astounding how fast he can move.  No matter how fast John ducks, spins, whirrles, feints, then strikes Wilson is right there with him parrying his blows with nothing more than a dagger and dertermination.  Jerimia gets up and attempts to tackle John while he thinks John is distracted.  It ends almost predictably badly.  Alexander is rushing about tending to the wounded, one of whom is now Alexander.  At first he can’t find her but then after a moment he spots Rebecca climbing up the tree Being a bit of a heavy hitter himself Stephen gets up to go lend a hand and help smite the forces of evil.  As he goes to scamper off he hears a hissing behind him.  Turning he sees the not a virgin getting to her feet, she looks alright, her hair and skin are more than a little dirty but that is to be expected.  She stared at Stephen with blank looking dull eyes.  Then from somewhere deep in her chest there is a sickening clicking sound.  It keeps up almost like there is some sort of great beetle inside of her.  Head lolling to the side drunkenly she steps forwards not unlike a zombie.   Then with blinding speed very much like a zombie she lunges towards him.  He bounces off the side of the tree and lands heavily on the ground.
    Startled by the sudden flying Stephn Deven comes to an abrupt halt, “Jesus are you okay?  What happened t-”  He is cut off as he sees the not a virgin leaping through the air at him.  Dimly he is aware that he should do something like dodge or something similar.  Instead he just stands there, staring, which suit’s the not a virgin just fine as she lets out an inhuman clicking sound before smashing into Deven, knocking him to the ground, slamming the wind out of him.  It is then that they notice on her arms is a tattoo of the tree.  Those weren’t there before and that’s no good.  Deven doesn’t have much time for analysis though as there is fighting for his life to be done.  Rebecca looks down at the scene just as she is about to cut another bag open.  She thinks better of it as, despite Stephen’s best efforts, she watches as the not a virgin pick up Deven and hurl him at Jerimia who is currently doing his best to hold off John.  Stephen goes charging after John hoping to keep him tied up long enough so that Deven can get patched up via Alexander or Jerimia.  She can’t help but admire Stephen.  He’s a brave young boy.  Him and Jared both are the youngest of all the world shakers and she can’t help but wonder what brought Stephen to such an extreme.  Most of the time he seems sweet and tender.  Always willing to lend a hand or, like now, to face down impossible odds while the others run to get help.  He deals regularly with things that turn a normal person bat shit insane and yet he always seems to have a joke ready and a smile.  It is almost shocking to see him take a swing at John and it is equally shocking to see John coldly side step then counter attack sending Stephen sprawling.
    No one is sure how Stephen’s body works.  Everyone is sure that it is creepy and so when the strange yellow one-dimensional ooze starts flowing from his headwound even John seems to be relieved that he has to dodge both laser beams, and hurled magical blasts from the combined forces of Alexander and Jerimia.  Up in the tree looking down she sees why the two of them don’t work together that often.  When they do the results are terrifying.  Attacking from two different but complimentary angles they time their shots so that John has no room to breath what so ever.  As soon as one shot passes another one is fired.  Both doing their best to herd John away from the tree and possibly stop him for good.  Both are master tacticians they deliver their shots with percision making increasingly harder for John to both dodge the attacks and keep his balance.  It looks like they finally have the upper hand until the not a virgin breaks free from Wilson and rushes Jerimia.  Jerimia sees her charge and isn’t about to take that lying down and with a snarled, “Bugger this” he turns and fires on her, and misses, once, twice, then just before she is on him, just inches away from his hair he hits her dead on in the chest.  Stunned she collaspes.  However, the damage is done and now before Alexander is able to cast any spells again he is going to need some healing.  John has seen to that and is about to see to Deven.  When Stephen regains his feet and gets in a lucky tackle. 
    There is nothing elegant about a tackle.  Wilson rushes to help and what was once a graceful dance of dodging ,feinting, and pain is now nothing more than an undignified roll in the dirt complete with kicking, biting, and struggling.  Rebecca sighs inwardly.  So many fights end up that way.  While she wasn’t around to see it she would of given anything to be around during the days of the duels.  Where men fought with foils and fights were stately little affairs.  So tidy things were thing.  She would of loved it.  Men would duel for her honor, leave no heirs and she could amass a tidy fortune just by being herself before rising and army and striking at the heart of a kingdom or something equally fun like that.  The world was smaller then and while it is true it was much less worth ruleing and she didn’t have the event at her side which would of catapulted her abilities into the stratosphere.  She would have had more than a modest set of abilities from which to work with and she could of lived with that she thinks.  Looking around she tries to make sense of it all.  The strange bone colored grass, the apocalyptic tree which she is now comfortably sitting in, the strange bags, the not a virgin, what did it all mean.  She feels lost.  She knows that they are between the layers of reality.  That some the world we see is one of many layers and the more you pull back the more you get to see.  Just about all the world shakers can do it to some degree or another.  They all seem to lead to different places though which is something she likes but she can’t really explain.  Climbing down from the tree she wonders if Jared is in one of them and if he is safe.  She doesn’t know exactly where they are in the cosmic scheme of things but she definitely knows that they are closer to death than life.  A place where one is supposed to be if one is already departed.  She often times wonders if John isn’t half spirit or something similar.  As she climbs down the tree they finish up putting the restraints on him, then they break his feet.  Nothing hobbles a get away like a hobble.  Jerimia wants to cut them off completely because nothing hobbles a get away like scar tissue ladden nubs but as everyone just learned that putting bodies together is easier said than done they decide against it.  He is off the wagon not a light bringer and he should be treated with some respct. 
    Increadibly the not a virgin stumbles to her feet, the gaping hole in her chest shows as anyone recently hit by her suspects, that she is no longer human.  Her body is full of sticks and leaves.  Every time she moves leaves fall out of her.  She tries to picks some up and put them back in, but as she bends over to pick more up more leaves fall out.  After a second she just collapses crying pathetically.  Rebecca goes over to help her put the leaves back in her hole whatever the girl once was is gone now.  John looks around him smiling like he’s just had the best time in the world, “Well then gentlemen I see that my little planet hopping extravaganza didn’t do anything to stop you from finding my secret base of operations.  Well done.  Well done indeed.  You all have bested me far more thoroughly than any of my light bringers ever did.  Then again those poor sods were just square john who stumbled into a much smaller part of the much greater mystery that is me and me alone.  I am surprised you all managed to stop me though.  That doesn’t happen to me very often I must say.”
    Wilson gets down on one knee in front of John, grabs his face forcing him to look right into Wilson’s eyes, “John.  John come on now snap out of it.  We’ve all been here before, each and every one of us.  Remember back when.  When you found me in Hobo’s Alley.  That random place where I was rolling around in garbage naked, having bitten off the head of a snake and using its blood to make a place of power for myself.  Do you remember that?  Remember how you saved me?  Remember what you said?”
    John’s eyes narrowed, “Did you think that the year 2000 was the only eventful year?  2012 is right around the corrner and believe me that is where it is at.  That is where the show begins, my show.  The big one.  I gathered you together to learn your strengths and weaknesses.  To weaken you, to make you soft in the head, but mostly to learn from you.  To learn from ALL of you.  I wanted you to believe me so I could use you forever.  To take your power for myself.  I am-”  Wilson slaps John.  It isn’t a light “hey wake up slap”.  Nor is it a “your talking crazy talk and I need to wake you up” slap.  It is the slap of distain.  It is the slap you receive when you deserve ever so much more but the person who should be dolling out the punishment has decided he can’t be bothered to dirty his hands.  He didn’t want to believe it but it is something that all of them considered at one point or another deep down in their minds.  They all knew it is possible and they all knew that if they were to form the group they would all do it for that very reason but it always seemed different with John.  It always hurts the worst when the one you least expect it betrays you.  Some of them had second in commands that tried it.  Deven still wakes up shivering because of it.  It feels just like that only so much worse.  John starts laughing as Wilson backs away looking like he is on the verge of tears. 
    Stephen takes his place, “Well you are captured now.  So tell us where Jared is.  We’ll get Jared, then we’ll patch you up, then oh I dunno maybe we will put you in that interdimesional holding cell Jerimia whipped up when I got possessed by some stupid thing that came as a result from Deven and I screwing around together and we needed a place to stick me so I wouldn’t go a mass murdering.  We’ll get you through this but first.  First you gotta tell us where Jared is.”
    John chinned at the tree.  “He’s in there.  Not in the bags, he’s feeding the bags.  He is the tree now.  I needed him.  His strange souless body that still holds life.  He became the ultimate seed that grew the apopaclypse tree that will spread across the world turning the land to bone as it bears the fruit of dust.  Isn’t that something?  The fruit of dust.  God I love the sound of that.”
    Everyone sits shocked.  Everyone except Jerimia.  He’s on his feet running towards the tree wrist mounted flame thrower at ready.  He never did work out the bugs on the thing and now he doesn’t care.  Screaming in anger he lets loose first incinerating his hand and then the tree.  John’s paniced cries of protest can be heard over the blaze as the tree lights up with unnatural quickness.  Within seconds the whole things is a whirrling firestorm and Jerimia is out of fuel.  Alexander is on the scene in an instant, “Jesus Jeri look at your hand”.  All that is left is charred bone that is now crubling as the once organic material starts to cool and loose cohesion. 
    Jerimia grimices through the pain, “I told you I didn’t trust that god damn tree”.  As the form of the tree starts to disperse they see it, Jared’s form, his spirit, the thing that he supposedly lost, thinking quickly Alexader starts going through Jerimia’s pockets pulling out anything electronic.  Catching on Deven does the same, but it is Stephen that has the real prize as he happened to have Jared’s special cell phone with his mental back up on it.  Putting them all together, they look to Rebecca with hope. 
    “In the spotlight once again” she smiles to herself as she starts to sing.  Like she did for Jerimia before but this time it is much different.  This time the stakes are even higher as no one knows what is waiting for Jared of how to get him back should he ever go for good.  She can feel his latent energy from the electronics and from the tree and as she sings she draws them out over the cell phone.  She feels not only his energy but the energy of this entire place.  Tugging with her voice she feels it come loose like pulling up a tarp that has been staked down.  The grass turns green first starting with the tree then spreading outwards.  Jared’s body starts to get more distinct but incorporeal.  She can feel herself loosing it and in a last desperate creshendo she peaks and the sea green skys above shatters returning the world to normal and then there he is Jared stands, reconstituted once again.
    Everyone rushes him in a group hug and it is only John and Jared who see Rebecca pass out from her efforts.  The air of pure ecstasy is rampant and Jared becomes dizzy with people welcoming him back, asking if he is okay, or if he is really him.  After a few moments Jared gets them to settle down and he makes a path from them to John.  By now Rebecca, recovered, looks on fearfully as she sees him standing over John.  To their surprise Jared gestures at John, “You must not blame him.  We was just trying to make me whole again and he got a bit carried away”
    Wilson asks, “He was trying to renuite your soul and your body.  To restore you as you once were before your acident?”
    Jared nods, undoing John’s bindings, “Unfortunatly, from what I can gather he had to go deep into the sort of thing he’d previously forbidden himself from doing.  As a result he went just a smidgen off the deep end.  Do not hold it against him.  He was just trying to help.”
    John nods sadly, then to their surprise he starts to cry.  Over and over again all he can repete is, “Forgive me”
    Three days later is the next scheduled meeting.  Wilson is there first arranging the chairs.  Then Jerimia with his coffee.  Then the other show up taking their seats, talking nervously, wondering what is going to happen.  Mental wounds still fresh and tensions high they wonder.  Time ticks on agonizingly as the time for the meeting to start draws near.  Then with an unaccustomed meekiness John enters the room.  The all stop, look, and wonder.  John hesitates, and is about to leave when Deven smiles and offers him a doughnut.  Jerimia claps him on the back and they sit down for a meeting.  Not everyone is perfect and everyone deserves far more than a second chance.


2011 NANO Part 19

    Ten minutes later there they stood on a teleported pad.  Jerima has become the defacto storage center for forbidden materials.  This is due partly to the fact that he is totally uninterested in anything anyone else does ever.  Second it is because he is a mad man.  He isn’t afraid of anyone or anything and often times he will agree to things without fully thinking through the ramifications.  As a result he ends up holding books, magical artifacts, weird ritual blades, and all sorts of manner of other things that in the wrong hands could ruin large parts of the world.  The very fact that Jerimia’s hands are the wrong hands is an irony lost on no one.  As they gather their materials they realize that perhaps they should rely on Jerimia less for storage.  However, this one time it works out nicely. 
    They stand nervously.  Some of them can’t remember the last time they have been nervouse.  Most of them have never been nervous in their entire lives.  They weren’t sure what is at stake.  They know that Jared is in danger, that’s easy.  Ultimately that is all that matters.  The world being at stake is a vauge possibility and they are aware of that, but they’ve lived so long with the world being at stake, usually via their own hands, this this feels more comfortable than times of levity.  Mostly though, it is John.  John Smith with his fake name, and an enigma wrapped in a world of mysteries.  The man more myth than real.  This is unprecedented.  He is the one that reels them all in when the wheels come off and they forget that they are not trying to end all life on earth as everyone knows it.  He comes to them in times of sadness and in joy.  He brought them all together and taught them what it is to not be alone.  Now they must bring him down and show him the error of his ways.  They’ve all seen in done loads of times.  They’ve all felt it and combined there is no force on earth that should be able to stop them.  John is John though and there is something about it all that doesn’t sit right with them.
    They stand, then they wait, then without speeches, ceremony, or words of dubious wisdom, Jerimia whisks them away to somewhere in the Midwest.  They find themselves standing at the foot of a hill.  Hill is the wrong word for it.  It is a large gently rolling thing that rises out of the otherwise uniterupted flatness all around them.  Grass as far as the eye can see and a sky so blue that it seems to swallow all other definitions of the word blue and throw them out in favor of this one.  At the top of the hill is a tree that has to be hundreds of years old.  Its branches reach twords the sky creating a leafy green crown for the vast verdant space they find themselves in.  There is no roads nearby, no house, no signs of civilazation anywhere.  There might be 25 places like it in all of the United States, but this one.  This one is special. 
    Shuffling feet and a slowly spreading out of bodies and the wind through the trees are the only sounds they can here.  No one was sure what they were expecting but it isn’t this.  Jerimia looks around, “This is a great deal of nature and not a whole lot else.  You think we got the right place?”
    Wilson sniffs carefully then sticks out his tounge flicking it quickly, “The air is thin here.  Something is here.  Something just beyond our ability to see it.  Is anyone familiar with this area?”  THe sea of shaking heads meets him, “Alright then we have to figure out how to get inside”
    Alexander starts heading up the hill while Stephen pulls a book from him oversized knapsack and begins studying it intently.  Wilson sits down cross legged and appears to be meditating.  The rest can only wander around listlessly hoping that one of them can figure the problem out.  You need to get to hell?  Deven can do that.  It’s easy.  Getting back is significantly more difficult but that is a problem for other people to deal with.  The whole onion, peeling back the layers of reality, getting to somewhere else, thin air thing?  Not something Deven ever really concerns himself with.  That isn’t to say that it doesn’t happen because most demonic rituals slides an area to a place where contact is easier to make.  But finding the right layer out of all of them isn’t something he can do.  Frowning Deven head’s over to Rebecca, “What do you think is waiting for us on the other side.?”
    Rebecca shrugs, “Hopefully it is one of our birthdays and we will burst into a surprise party.  That would be nice.  I mean why doesn’t that ever happen to us?  One day I am going to get a call from all of you and it is going to be something like ‘We found buried treasure’ or hey ‘Jerimia has made contact with aliens and they think we are just doing just fine’.  When is that going to happen to us?  Huh?”
    “Don’t you think if aliens were telling Jerimia we are doing just fine we’d have other problems to deal with?”
    She stamps her feet, “Not the point.  I still haven’t showered yet!  I am covered in dirt, and jungle grime, and I should have people doing this for me.  I am not in the mood for this”
    Jerimia smiles, “I used to be like that.  It is a little weird at first but after awhile it becomes rather satisfying to do things on your own.”
    They look over at Stephen and immediately regret it.  What he does is more than a little horrifying.  Even if he is just drawing in the dirt.  Working quickly with a sharpened stick in a small hard dirt patch that wasn’t around him a second ago he write feverishly the eldritch symbols seem to bend both light and air, making it seem like the symbols are slithering across the dirt.  He draws some angles which are impossible and yet there they are.  Most of them look away in time except for Jerimia who is doubled over on the ground wretching.  Deven shakes his head as he helps Jerimia back up, “When are you going to learn to not look directly at anything Stephen is doing.  Kids these days with their elder star things, and extra planar oddities.  Back in my day good old Lord Satan was good enough for everyone.  Now we have all sorts of things.  Damn kids and their music”
    Jerimia smiles, “Well you know it starts out as math, and hey I love math.  If there is one thing I enjoy it is some good old fashioned math.  Then everything starts moving and then there are the angles and suddenly I realize it isn’t math at all I’ve been tricked, it is horrible and next thing I know- oh looks like Stephen figured it out”
    It doesn’t make a whooshing sound.  Instead it is the feeling of a whooshing sound with every fiber of thier beings.  Rebecca gets knocked off of her feet by it is and lands in an undignified thump on the ground, “Yes wonderful, in the dirt again.  Doing things myself is fan fucking tastic” 
    Jerimia helps her back up, “See being helped up is nice wouldn’t you say”
    She scowls and instead of coming up with a pithy reply she looks around.  The sky has gone from the soul shattering blue to an alien sea green.  She’s seen that sort of color before, it was between two other colors in one of the most brilliant sunsets she’s ever seen in her entire life.  She remembers that color in particular because it is one of those rare colors that only seems like it is possible to have while one thing is transitioning into another.  The grass has taken on the color of bone and when it rustles in the wind that seems to be both coming from everywhere and no where there is a long low clatter like a thousand bony fingers snapping very quietly.  Her breath catches as she sees the tree.  The tree once a huge icon of unfetter life is now a barren.  Its gnarled branches reach twords the sky clawing at the heavens, threatening to rip down the sky leaving only the inky blackness that excisted before the good lord said, “let there be light”.   From some of the branches large white sacks hang from nooses, and while she can’t tll from here it looks like some of them are moving.  She was to be the queen of the apocalypse, now she knows that this tree was the key to everything, the source of her failure, it is the right hand of the end of everything.  No wonder none of them couldn’t end the world.  She prayed that this isn’t John’s turf and that they just acidently stumbled into somewhere that is both ancient and terrible, older than Alexander’s magics, Wilson’s snake thing, or even the devil himself.  This is the place where the end of all other places is and yet she still feels compelled to ask, “Where the hell are we?”
    Stephen comes to join them, “I don’t know.  This is a place between other places, and yet it is one of immeasurable power.  That tree is strange.  I don’t trust it”
    Jerimia comes over as well, “I’ve never met a tree I did trust, big green leafy bastards”.  Jerimia just wants to be closer to the group.  They are silently thankful he is here and they politely don’t say anything about it”
    Alexander comes bounding down the hill, “Some warning would have been nice you creepy little man.”
    Stephen nonchalantly shrugs, “Oh well when I get into the zone I don’t have time to get out of the zone hold everyone’s hand then get back into the zone so I can finish what I am doing”
    They prepared to enter into a nice long bicker fest.  Bickering is easier than action, they can keep it up forever, and it means that they don’t have to worry about the tree or any other potentially horrible thing that might happen to them. 
    Wilson stands brushing himself off, “We went to far in”
    Stephen halts mid bicker, “eh”
    “This is to far in.  I don’t know where we are and I don’t know where we are supposed to be but this is to far.”
    Stephen looks a little embarrassed, “We I mean it is hard to aim these sorts of things”
    Wilson nods, “The last time I crossed the veil I had to cut my throat and ride in on the wake of the snake.  You did good.  I can feel its vibations again and they are loud.  This is where we are supposed to be.  But all of this?  There is something about this that isn’t right which is why I say we are to far. 
    “Or perhaps you just went far enough?”  Then suddenly he’s there.  He’s wearing his usual flowing black cassock, no shoes, and cane with a silver Orobours for the knob.  The cane is new.  He hair is longer, from its normal up above the ears executive contour, it now brushes his shoulders giving him a fierce black mane from which his eyes sparkle with a cold fierce clarity.  “This is my place of power, my hunting grounds, it is the place between all the places.  Here the boundries between life and death are thinnest.  If you aren’t careful your essence could just float away and you wouldn’t even notice until you turn around and you see yourself looking at yourself.  Then you clutch your heart and it is all over”
    All of them are smart enough not to look behind them.  All of them except Jerimia who always has to look, to peek around the next corrner, to know a new secret, to weld laser guns to mice for the sake of doing so.  He is the essence of invension, and creativity.  He is also horribly mad and he has to look.  His hand clutches his chest as indeed the see’s himself looking at him self.  Then it begins.  John charges as Alexander and with a strike quick as lightning breaks his right hand.  His hand that he uses for magic.  It is the well spring of his spells.  Before darting off he slams the cane down on Alexander’s foot.  The cruntching of bone ensures that he won’t be going anywhere any time soon.  As he dashes off the others rush to follow, except Rebecca. 
    Jerimia writhing in the dirt stares glassy eyed at his essence, expression frozen in surprise.  She realizes his life signs are fading quickly and if she doesn’t do something to save him he will be down for good.  She can see it.  His essence is trying to help Alexander by healing his foot.  But it can’t.  It can’t hold onto anything it just slides through him.  Half in a panic and wholly on insinct she starts to sing.  There is singing and then there is what Rebecca can do with her voice.  Rebecca is someone so beautiful you’d give up your soul just to be with her for a few short hours.  Deven secretly hopes that should he ever get into the apocalypse game again she could be convinced to join him.  Someone like that could rake in more than enough for her and Satan.  Getting her to deal with the goat’s urine would be tough though.  Her singing doesn’t echo.  It doesn’t radiate outwards.  In fact no one can hear it except for her and Jerimia’s essence.  It stops frantically trying to help Alexander and it looks at her.  It comes closer.  She can feel it wavering, wanting to return to Alexander, and the wander far and wide.  She realizes that if it wasn’t for Jerimia’s strong instinct to protect them it would be long gone never to return leaving everyone’s favorite mad scientist to be nothing more than a lifeless husk.  She sings some more, she sings for his life.  She sings the same songs in the same way she’s used to damn millions of others.  Saving a life is ever so much more difficult than taking one.  She sings and slowly, inch by inch she guides Jerimia’s essence back home, then she chains it down to make sure it doesn’t escape. 
    Jerimia’s body lurches back, the color returning to his face, his breathing normalizing.  In one quick motion he tosses a syringe at Alexander, it twirles end over end before sticking into his leg and grabs Rebecca’s hair and gives her the first kiss he’s dolled out in over 50 years.  Which, Rebecca notes, is for the best.  Letting go of Rebecca who collapses to the ground gasping for air, he runs over to Alexander, “How is the compound working?”
    He nods standing back up flexing his hand, “Shall we?”
    The other two nod and charge up the hill where the battle is in full swing.


2011 NANO Part 18

    Jerimia and Rebecca putter around in the base for a bit before Jerimia remembers that this base is new and no one else posseses the ability to get to it.  It is another ten minutes before everyone is assembled properly.  The leader of the cyber punks included.  Then on a whim Jermia tries to teleport Jared, he then starts using every scanner, hidden satellite, nanite clouds,  and stealth drone to seek out Jared.  Stephen sees what is going on and starts binding things to go search the stuff between the stars, and Alexander sets up magical redundancies to all of Jerimia’s stuff.  Magic is better at scouring the deepest seas where there are still hidden things lurking.  With the others busy Deven, Wilson, and Rebecca turn their attension to their shiny new captive.
    The leader of the cyber punks most certainly has a name but none of them bothered with it.  He is a massive man, easily 8 feet tall, his entire body seems to be one large ripple of pure muscle, wires, and cables.  Some look like they are welded right into his skin others vanish into implanted sockets.  He smells like he bathes in testosterone and other people’s body oder, which might be the case.  The whole thing is very strange to them.  Wilson walks around him slowly, “I don’t get it.  Jared is like the ultimate computer geek egg head that’s emerged at the head of this own technological pantheon.  So how does he end up with someone like this as a rival?  Can he even understand us?  He looks like he is the sort of person who relies more on brute force than intellect and I don’t think I can use small enough words to get through his meat head”
    The head cyber punk looks up with a primal hatred that streaches back eons to when the first cave man bashed one blokes head in with a rock for he first time.  He smiles, his teeth are large and sharpened, his breath smells like raw meat, “He is my Dr. Jeckle”
    Deven shrugs, “Okay that’s fair I guess.  Alright then down the business.  The last person I interrogated on this matter got sent directly to hell and now his mind is so far gone we can’t even read it anymore.  We are also the sort who learn from mistakes.  Wilson what are you doing?”
    Wilson look up from the man’s feet.  He has a pair of sissors.  The special mediacal kind that you can use to cut through pennies, “I am going to cut off his toes!”
    Deven looks confused, “Wait why he hasn’t refused to give us information yet?”
    “I like the idea of someone this large and menacing walking funny for the rest of his life!”
    Rebecce looks concerned she’d heard stories about Wilson but he is just so large and gloomy most of the time she never really believed they were true, until now.  Now she believes them with absolute certainty.  While Wilson is correct this massive hulk of a man would look hysterical walking funny, now isn’t the time for empty torture, “Come on Wilson let’s let Deven do his thing.  Lets go over here, maybe we can cut off his toes when he is being unhelpful.  Right now I think Jerimia needs help.  And he has some fresh coffee brewing.  You want some coffee?”
    Wilson smiles, “I do love some of Jerimia’s coffee.  He always makes the best stuff”
    Jerimia smiles and once they both have a cup he ushers them both into another room, “Oh good!  Quick thinking Rebecca!  See I plan on giving that guy a half assed interrogation compliments of Deven and then we will put him somewhere where he can escape, and with all the tracking gadgets I’m gonna put in him when we knock him out next hopefully he will lead us somewhere more useful.  Also at this point I am willing to throw enough shit at a fan until John shows up”
    Wilson frowns, “Shouldn’t a three way brawl against some of our d-listed light bringers be enough to do that?  And I mean Jared has been kidnapped what do we need to do sink Austrailia or something?”
    Jerimia frowns and Rebecca smiles, they both realize that Wilson is taking all of this especially hard.  Jerimia walks over to a display and pulls up a chart, “These are all the time John has interviened in relation to the amount of damage we have done.” 
    Wilson looks at the chart which goes back all ten years.  It is an impressive display of completely random sized bars, “So there is no gaurntee that he will show up?”
    Jerimia smiles sadly, “Come on Wilson you know that better than anyone.  Remember when you saved the French from me in 2003?  I was really far gone then and you were the one who brought me back and you were the one who helped me clean up the mess.  That whole time John never showed up.  We gotta plan to do this without him”
    Rebecca looks puzzled, “We are missing some- Jesus that gut has a sissy screaming voice.  You’d think will all that muscle mass he’d be able to maintain some bass.  Deven knows the guy needs to be able to escape right?”
    Jerimia waves his hand, “Yes yes he has been fully briefed I wouldn’t worry to much about it.  Worse comes to worse we can just grab another cyber punk.  Their whole command structure seems to be based on size isn’t that sad?  Oh hey Jared’s brain data finnaly finished processing!”
    Jerimia wanders over to the nearby computer and begins fiddling with it.  Rebecca asks, “Brain data?”  Slow the pieces were falling into place for her.  Very slowly.  There is something she is missing. 
    Jerimia nods, “Yep I brought Jared’s car here when I was scooping everyone up.  No sense in leaving something with that much advanced technology in it just lying around the street for anyone to pick up and use however they please.  That idea is just plain bad.  Anyway at some point while he was out with the mystic supersquad he backed up his entire brain.  He did it quickly and violently.  See this right here?  This is where he used the drill to make the connection.  Lots of stress right around here, and huh that’s strange.”
    “What?” The wheels were turning faster and faster in Rebecca’s head.  She knew that somewhere in all of this there is a connection to the snake’s vibrations and this but she can’t quite put it altogether.
    “Shush I am reading”  Jermia is quiet for a minute.  He looks confused.  He then goes over some of the data some more.  Then he pulls up some information that looks like it has been taken from a previous insident.  Comaparing the two he frowns while he pulls up two more.  He studies each for a few minutes before going back to the most recent one.  After another further minute he looks up gravely concerned, “Wilson get everyone in here”
    Wilson leaves and after a minute everyone including the leader of the cyber punks is crammed into a room that is slightly to small to accommodate everyone comfortably.  The head cyber punk looks worse for wear but still defiant.  Wilson looks at him, “What were your people doing there anyway?  You don’t particularly have a deal with us unlike the real light bringers.  You are more of just a hanger on that has seem some of what we can do, but you can’t do it yourself, so you hang around looking for scraps.  I can tell that you have some of my scraps in you as well as his.  You are technological garbage men.  I get it.  But what were you guys doing there.  I mean there were only, what, a dozen of you?  And they were small fries to boot, I know I helped to clean up their bodies.  There is no way a dozen or even two dozen of you could hope to take Jared.  Who is using you?”
    The leader grins and refuses to answer, Jerimia shoots him in the crotch with his, always kept handy, laser pistol, “I can regrow those for you.  In fact if I regrow them they will work much much better than they did before.  However, you either answer my question or we are done with you.”
    The leader doesn’t say anything but he is also rolling around on the floor clutching himself screaming in pain.  Jerimia decides the two might be related, gives him something for the pain and when the big man calms down Jerimia reminds him, “I’m waiting.”
    He sees it long before the big man manages to do it.  He is working up a nice big mouthful of spittle to hurl his way in an act of adolescent defiance.  This is a man who never really got past the stage in life where he was 16 and very angry at his parents.  Jerimia didn’t have any time to waste and before the big man could get out his last act of defiance he turns his head into a smoking crater.  He then takes a pair of sissors Wilson was going to use earlier on his toes and begins to systematically cut off all of his wires, implants, and devices. Then, and only then does he teleport the body back to where it came from for his whole sad little group of wreched individuals to see.  Everyone watches quietly as he finnishes up.  No one states of obvious or asks any questions.  Jerimia does have his lucid moments.  This appears to be one of them.  He looks at Alexander and Stephen, “What were you two doing just before he applied the drill?”
    They look at each other Stephen answers, “We were looking for the little not a virgin virgin girl.  We wanted to make sure that she didn’t have some sort of localized disturbance around her at all times.  When we were in her neighborhood Jared senses something strange then it vanishes-”
    It hits Wilson and Rebecca at the same time, “Like the vibrations” They say it in unison and the air suddenly becomes heavy.
    Jerimia nods, “Now we all have our light bringers, and our extra baggage, and our own personal demons to deal with.  But no one.  I mean no one light bringer or extra baggage has the power to do this.  Jared felt something was wrong with the whole world when you went to go find the virgin.  He would of forgotten all about it except that he managed to back up his brain in time.  Wilson’s snake is trying to warn him of the danger but it can’t because something is blocking it and I know of only one person who could block both Wilson and Jared, organize an attack by the D-Listers, and kidnap Jared without leaving enough information for any of us to go on.  Looks like that thing we’ve always worried about has come to pass”
    Deven looks pale, “You seriously think John is off the wagon?”
    Wilson, staring down at the floor shuffles his feet, “We all know the least about him, even though he has brought us all together and as seperatly he has saved all of our lives many times none of us know anything about him.”
    Wilson’s statement is met by a sea of shaking heads and frowns.  Stephen sighs, “Jesus I can’t imagine a more dangerous oppoentent.  He knows what we can do, what can’t do, what we’ve given up, and how far we are willing to go.  He’s got everything..”
    Rebecca holds up her hands they notice that they are trembling ever so slightly, “John has to know that we won’t stop at anything what so ever to get Jared back.  He knows we are going to be coming for him.  Why would he do this?”
    Jerimia stands on the spot where the big man’s head once was, “Hubris was my downfall believe me.  I bet he believes he has the upper hand”
    Deven shakes his head, “Or we were getting to close.  We were uncovering his actions to quickly and he wanted them shut down.  I bet his plans are about to come to fuition and he’s betting it all on this hand.”
    Alexander, steps in, “None of this will matter if we can’t find him.  John doesn’t seem to drive, he doesn’t have any know place of resicdence, he always walks everywhere no matter what, I we have less than little to go upon,.  We don’t even know if he really was trying to end the world or if he was really some light bringer who decided to bring us together and help us out.  We need to find him first and we need to do so now.”
    Jerimia looks at the monitor.  “Oh hey that was easy.  Found John.”
    Several variations of “Where is he” get spoken at the same time.  The only thing Jerimia ends up hearing is a garbled sound similar to the utterances of Stephan’s star things.  Still despite all of that he gets the message well enough, “The Midwest.  Now he’s in Tokyo, now sub-Saharan Africa, now in the deep out back of Austrailia, now on a tiny tiny island in the pacific, now the south pole.  There seems to be no pattern to it but he is definitely bouncing all over the world the same way normal people take steps.  This is bad.  He’s never moved about in this way before.  In a way for all of us to see.  It is almost like he wants us to chase him.”
    Deven looks at the map, “Silence of the Lambs”
    “Eh” Stephen looks confused, “Is that code for something?”
    Deven rolls his eyes.  If there was ever a “damn kids and your music” moment to be had between the two of them this is it, “Stephen you need to get out more.  Look at the map his pattern looks ‘desperealy random’.  Not only that but every area he goes to except the Midwest is contested territory for someone.  If we followed him we would be constantly running and gunning both trying to catch John and avoiding the people who would be on high alert.  Not only that but I don’t think he expects us all to be together.  He knows I am going to pick this up an if I didn’t know about Jared or something I might go after him to see what’s up.  I think this is his attmempt to catch me to separate me from whomever I am with.”
    Alexander thinks for a moment, “It makes sense.  You are the next one in line for figuring this stuff out especially since you have Jared’s car.  So should we go to his point of origin?”
    Everyone nods, preparing themselves for anything and everything, Jerimia checks his pockets, “Erm I am going to need ten minuts to get ready.  Everyone meet in the teleportation chamber.  Something tells me I am going to be thankful we’ve geared up for this.”  He tosses Stephen a key and gives him knowing look before he scampers off to get his own kit ready.

Done -3

    They get back to Jerimia’s base and it is more or less as they left it with the exception of the security robot that they had to destroy.  Wilson suspects that Jerimia likes to misprogram those things on purpose to test out new models and the like but he isn’t able to figure out he can test out his theory without being shot to death by lasers.  They aren’t back for long before Jermia comes bounding up to them, “Where the hell have you two been.  Never mind don’t answer that you went to the jungle, and I can tell from the renewed fire in Wilson’s eyes and the fact that he is pumping out enough alpha male pherimones to impregnate a panda that he found what he was looking for.  Good good good, we need everyone in fine fighting form because while you two were off gallivanting into the heart of darkness stuff has happened.  SERIOUS stuff.  I usually shout and such but Jared has been taken and we don’t know by whom and I’ve already blanketed the world for the REDIF tags I inserted in all of you without you knowing and his didn’t show up.  For a bit neither did your’s Wilson you scared the god damned hell out of me.  Someday you need to take me beyond the damn veil so I can program my equipment properly.  No no no.  Shower later.  I don’t care when.  Yes I am aware you both smell like feet.  Wilson I’ll have the teleporter dress you and but we need to be off pronto back on the pads there you go”
    Rebecca really wanted that shower too.  Perhaps should could find one on or around the scene of the incident to use.  As her thoughts wandered to warm steamy tile rooms, soap, and three sets of hands whoes only desire is to clean her entire body, the scene changes and she goes from the warm sterile undergound lab to a war zone.  Horribly mangled bodies lie in heaps some wearing tattered red robes, others have strange bits of machinery sticking out of them.  Then there is the dead thing.  She doesn’t understand or wants to understand what it is Stephen is in to.  She also doesn’t judge him for it.  She understands more than anything that a complicated family life can cause you to do extraordinary things.  She just wishes she didn’t have to deal with his stuff all of the damn time.  It wierds her out.  The sky’s yellowish tint shows her that they are under a dome, which she supposes is for the best.  They need to get the mess cleaned up and to find Jared and the noisier they can do that the better.  Jerimia is running around using what he would claim to be “SCIENCE!” to dispose of the bodies.  The mantic pace at which he is working is almost endearing.  Jermia may be pretty insane, he doesn’t have many lucid moments, and she knows that a good portion of what Jared can do creeps him out.  It creeps everyone out except her, Wilson, and Stephen.  However, he cares for Jared.  She suspects he cares for all of them but one step at a time.  Going over to Stephen she starts the investigation. 
    Stephen looks sad for a moment, “Well it started off simple.  We were trying to fix your house, and then we needed to know if the virgin has a similar disturbance localized around her as your house.  Which, you know she might.  We can’t find the virgin and Jared picks up some massive disturbance.  He manages to log it, we go out to eat to plan our next move, all of our d-listers show up, they fight each other, Alexander and I leave to gather materials for a summoning circle and when we come back to this”
    He points to where she suspects Jared was.  On the ground there is a shattered plate that still has apple pie and whipped cream on it, a broken bottle of choroform, what looks to be a brief struggle, Jared’s dropped phone, which not only still works but seems to be processing something, and generous quantities of blood.  She looks around for another moment and see’s his car still there and his trench coat.  He never goes far without that.  He doesn’t wear it very often but it always seems to be around him.  It is his security blanket, which is unfortunate because it is also, from what she understands, a powerful focus for his abilities, “Hey Jerimia come here for a moment, I need to you to find out if any of this blood over here is Jared’s.”
    “I got that.  Jeri keep up with the disposal we need to be able to move if we are going to find him and you and Alexander and the best at it”  Jerimia looks at Wilson for a moment unsure, and then he decides to put his faith in the big man and goes back to disposing of bodies.  Wilson begins systematically sampling the various blood stains indicated which is more than a little gross, not because it is blood but because it is on the ground in the dirt.  After a minute he goes over to a red robed man and then to a cyber punk and tries out their blood.  He looks apprehensively at a chunk of the horrible tentacle creature, takes one hesitant step twords it and then comes back to Rebecca, “Alright I’ve samples the blood of all the humans in the area” Rebecca smiles as she noted his truth by omission, “Jared’s punk people’s blood has a slighty oily taste to it, and mage blood is always slightly buttery.  The blood in this area isn’t Jared’s.  I don’t know how to describe his blood’s flavor other other than it is unique.  Also I am usually able to smell it from over a mile off, even in a situation like this.  This blood is from another party and judging from the looks of it Jared got them with one of his strange powers that most of us don’t like talking about before he became overcome and was dragged away.
    Alexander who is busy directing golems so that they put out more fire than they start asks, “Would cholorform work on Jared”
    Jerimia nods, “Oh yeah he is more biological than not.  He still has a respitory system and all that.  So it would work.  Which is sad.  If he needed some sort of crazy biological compound to shut him down then it would make it much easier to track who did this to him”
    They are quiet for a bit as they realize for the first time in a long time.  As a group.  They are utterly helpless.  They can build rockets, tear through the veil of reality, make people kill themselves out of pure lust, cast spells, commune with creatures that live between the lines of reality, and in all their cases they nearly shook the world.  Now.  Now here they stand.  They once controlled armies, they all as individuals wield vast power but some men with a bottle of sleepy juice and a rag managed to down one of them.  It is unthinkable.  They are the mighty and they have fallen.  Now they don’t know how to pick themselves back up again. 
    Jerimia pulls Stephen aside, “I assume you’ve checked the entire inside of the dome”
    Stephen nods, “It is the first thing Alexander did.  He did it both by possessing the insects, with his golems, and he did it himself.  You should try though.  The dome isn’t very big and there weren’t many higherish animals with whom we could barrow memories from.  Also Alexander is starting to talk about rewinding time.  Now you know what happened the last time we did that so Deven could get a do over in Monpoly”
    Jerimia nods, “Yes yes and I am not entirely convinced that the rise of Mormonism is an entirely bad thing.  But that is not the point.  We shouldn’t need an actual do over.  We are who we are and we need to make them pay.”
    Rachel and Wilson join them.  Wilson is frowining, “Our clean up is making the gathering of evidence difficult.  I am not sure if we should continue to do so.”
    Jerimia thinks, “Domes are nice but they aren’t perfect and they take a tremendous amount of power to maintain.  I have several robots combing the area taking all sorts of information so we should be able to have everything we need shortly.  I know that Alexander is expending a lot of power at the moment and I don’t know for how much longer he will be able to keep the dome up.  He’s run literally 100s of scrying spells looking for every shred of evidence he can find god bless him.  Don’t talk to him about it, he gets sensitive when his magic isn’t good enough.”
    Rachel smiles. “Well at least we will have pleanty of information”
    Wilson nods sadly, “But it isn’t the same as walking the ground.  That is where instinct kicks in the hardest.  I can’t get anything unless I am here.”  He walks off sadly, shoulders slumped, shaking his head.
    Jerimia hops off after him, “Hey Wilson, before it is to late ee if you can verify something for me please,”
    The others watch as the two of them go over to the scene of the event.  Jerimia is gesticulating wildly and pointing at the ground then pointing at everywhere else as he rapidly starts talking to Wilson.  Stephen and Rebecca hope that he is talking about something useful instead of just ranting on about nothing like he sometimes does.  Stephen turns back to Rebecca, “I wish John were here.”
    “Where is he?”
    “No one really knows exactly.  John comes and goes.  I mean most of us don’t really understand what the others of us do.  We got some idea of each other’s capabilities but non of us know anything about John , how he works, where he goes, or what he does.  He always seems to just appear out of nowhere and then disapear the same way.”
    Rebecca sighs, “It figures.  Well everything points to the light bringers.  I mean who else but the light bringers could get into a dome and out again?”
    Stephen looks troubled, “It might be something totally new.  I mean its been ten years after all.  We are kinda last year’s models.  Now the apocalypse is in someone else’s hands and maybe thouse someones decided that they needed Jared for whatever.  Lets face it, none of us are really people of the world and all sorts of things could of happened since any of us paid atension to anything other than ourselves and our own selfish problems.”
    They watch as Alexander confers with Wilson and Jerimia they look around real quick before Alexander calls out, “Look alive cause the dome is comin down”
    Then just like that the yellowish sky winks out and the sounds of the world rejoin everyone.  They stand around a bit still uncomfortable.  After a moment that passes in silence Jerimia steps up, “Alright I am on board for rewinding time”
    “Oh I wouldn’t be so hasty as to do that.  The Salem Witch trials, while amusing, are one of those things we are suppose to avoid doing”  They all turn to see Deven stepping out of the shadows.  His ultra expensive, finely tailored suit practically gleams in the moon light, as his right hand glows a faint red.  He smiles wickedly, “Now for what possible reason could all of you have for not calling upon me sooner?”  They shuffle their feet unsure of how to answer.  Deven softens before adding, “Moroco is nice but not so nice that I won’t help out in an emergency.  Now next time don’t you forget it.  And Jerimia before you ask, for the final time running out of butter, sugar, milk, cheese, or any other item you can get at a grocery store isn’t an emergency”.
    Jerimia brightens, “Oh I know.  I’ve been practicing food shopping!  And the last two times I managed not to burn down the store behind me!”
    Deven smile’s “See I told you that stores that aren’t Walmart are nicer to shop at.  So it looks like a light bringer has grabbed Jared.  I’d of been here sooner but I had to make a pit stop and I couldn’t bring my prize through the dome with me.”  Deven reaches back into the shadows pulls out a man.  He is wearing highly ornate Red Robes with intricate scroll work all down the front and sides.  The place where his face should be is covered by fabric that they all hope allows him to see out even though they can’t see it.  The man stumbles and falls in front of Alexander making a series of terrified, sobbing cries as he does so. 
    Alexander looks surprised, “You brought the red robe’s leader here?  I am pretty sure this is a breach of agreement that John made with the light bringers”
    Deven shrugged, “I am Satan’s pope and I drink goat urine for fun.  I really don’t give a shit about agreements.  I especially don’t give a shit when one of our own gets taken.”
    “How did you know they were involved?”
    “I was coming back today anyway and a little deamon told me what was going on within the dome.  So I decided to grab their leader so we could all have a little chat”
    “So you didn’t know Jared had been captured?”
    Deven hesitates, “Yeah sorry I was busy kidnapping this guy I figured we would just draw on him with sharpies or something.  Now that its turned serious we can take it a few steps further,” Deven notices one of the plates with pie crust and whipped cream still on it, “But before that I am going to go to the Waffle House and get me some pie!”
    Stephen smiles, “Don’t bother.  Jared took the last of it when we were watching the fighting going down”
    Deven’s face darkens, “Then we really need to get him back because I very much want some pie and he took the last of it.”  He walks over to the red robed figure who is now sitting down.  Without being able to see his face he looks almost peaceful. 
    The robed figure looks up at him, does his best to square his shoulders, so as to meet his fate head on, “I am not afraid of you.  You and your sad little group of men who cling to their former greatness.  Feh.  You let one of your number get-”
    Deven snaps his fingers and the man is gone in a puff of sulpher.  Jermia winces, “You know I could of just put a helmet on him and gotten the truth out of him in like 5 minutes right?”
    Deven frowns, “You know what?  I do know that.  I almost specifically know that and that is why I brought him here.  It is just that these guys need to learn not to back talk to people who can do things like send them directly to hell” Deven snaps his fingers again and the man reappears, “Now then man who is the head of some bullshit cult do you want to continue being mouthy or do you want to be helpful?”
    The red robed man, instead of being helpful starts screaming, and screaming.  It is blood curdling and completely aweful.  It doesn’t end until Rebecca hits him in the back of the head with a tire iron.  He twitches a bit then lays still, “Oh shit is he dead?”
    Jerimia hops over, “Done worry I will use SCIECNE to figure that out!” He pokes at the body listlessly while blood flows freely from the top of his skull.  Shrugging Jerimia jabs at the point where the blood is coming from and his fingers go in quite a bit further than they would if they were being stopped by mere skull, “Nope those are his brains.  Good god woman it is to bad we aren’t living in a zombie apocalypse you got quite a swing on you”
    She smiles and blushes which is charming.  Instead of looking bitchy and aloof Rebecca seems to be enjoying her time with the group finally.  Jerimia then adds, “Don’t feel to bad I have a feeling that the leader of the cyber punks will be joining us soon at my base! To the SCIENCE cave!”
    As everyone breaks off to find their own way to Jerimia’s SCIENCE cave Rebecca grabs Jerimia’s arm.  He raises his eyebrows in surprise, “Yes?”
    “Umm do you think there is any way you can make Wilson immortal like the rest of us?”
    He nods happily, “Of course I slip longevity syrum in the coffee we serve at the meetings”
    Rebecca looks shocked for a moment, “I don’t drink the coffee though.”
    “Oh well you should.  Care to share a teleport?”


2011 NANO Part 16

    Rebecca wakes up to the sound of Wilson humming tunelessly to herself.  Her memories come back to her in a large junmmble but one thing she is absolutely sure about is the fact that she is both still in the jungle near the waterfall, and that the last thing she remembers is Wilson slitting his throat.  He turns towards her and she can see the mark.  He did it.  His neck bears a jagged white scar that now seems to be fading.  She bets that in a day or two it will be gone completely. 
    He smiles at her awkwardly, “Hey there Rebecca how are you doing?  Are you okay?”
    Her answer of, “I am just fine” dies on her lips when she realizes that she is absolutely starving and she is sore all over as if she’d been lying on her back for a very long time.  Exparamentally she gets up and starts flexing her muscles doing her best to shake the stiffness from her bones, “Jesus now that you mention it I am starving.  It feels like I haven’t eaten in days”
    “Two days to be exact”
    Her eyes grow wide, “Wait what!  What could you possibly be talking about!  The last thing I remember seeing is you opening your own throat and then all the sudden you are telling me that it is two days latter!  Why am I still in the jungle?  Shouldn’t you have gotten help or something like that?  What the hell is going on.  You’re a jerk”
    Wilson scratches his bald head, “Yeah I deserve some of that.  I wouldn’t say I am a jerk but whatever.  See I’d forgotten that you are who you are.  A normal person would of seen what they saw and it would have been okay.  You?  You gave into the forces of the jungle.  Remember the dancing around the fire?  Well that is you taking part in a ceremony as old as the things that put the ceremony there.  Not only that but you have so much energy about you that you are more or less a one woman orgy.  Normally to generate the amount of energy you did I would need 12 people all doing the nasty.  You?  You did it all by yourself.  Jesus woman!  I swear if it were you who strode into the jungle that one day instead of me the whole world would look much different now because it would be all yours.”
    She smiles at that, “Okay then thanks I guess.  So now that we have established what happened to me mind explaining your new scar?”
    He looks more than a little crestfallen.  Absently he pokes at the fire he’s built for what she presumes to be, her benefit.  Wilson doesn’t seem like the person who needs or wants a fire.  He looks like he is weighing things out in his head so she waits respectfully.  After a moment he answers, “It is hard to explain.  There are places you can only get to if you know where to look and you have the key to get there.  See I’d been planning on just using the boar to peek behind the veil of things, but then, well you know, I just got caught up.  I figured why just peek behind the veil of things when I could go behind it myself and investigate what’s there.”
    She looks confused, “Alright lets skip over the veil of things conversation and have that another day.  I am pretty sure it would just make my head hurt.  So are you connected with your great snake god thing?”
    Wilson nods, “Oh yes if I wasn’t then I would be lying dead on the altar slumped over the body of that pig we are about to eat.  It would be no good for anyone.”
    “So you decided that it is either the way of the snake or no way at all?”
    He smiles sadly, “As I was stalking that boar naked through the jungle I realized that, this, the naked part, the knife, the jungle, that is all me.  That is something I can do with or without the great snake.  That is how I found the cult in the first place and it is also the thing that made them take me in.  Then I learned about the snake I took it for myself and in its own strange way it took me in and I offered it the world and everything in it.  It didn’t work but god damnit I tried and as good as I am I am just not the same without the snake and I don’t want to keep on going if it withdrawing itself from my life.  So yeah why not.  I might as well give it all a shot and it either works out or you all have one less person to try and end the world”  He stops to gage her reaction, however, she is looking with greater interest at the boar roasting on its spit over the fire.  He smiles and cuts her off a piece.  He then turns to cut her off a bigger piece because he can tell by the way she is voraciously attacking it that the first piece isn’t going to last much longer under her ferocious appitite.
    In between her devouring she asks, “I dunno suicide?  Its never been my cup of tea.”
    Wilson looks back into the fire pensively.  It is a bit before he answers, “I don’t think I am immortal.  I mean Jared, Alexander, John, and maybe a couple of others, they aren’t going to die.  Or at the very least they aren’t going to die any time soon.  These guys are gonna be around long after I am gone.  I mean sure I could go get Jerimia to make me a longevity syrum or something like that.  I know he could whip that sort of thing up in his lab in no time flat.  But, I don’t know.  I’m alright with not being around forever.  Since it will happen sooner or later I figure it doen’t matter when”
    Rebecca looks skeptical.  She’s familiar with suicide.  It is a side effect of the way she does buisnees.  One kiss and all the sudden men or women can’t live without her and then they don’t.  It is pretty simple and while some of them always felt the need to make terrible messes on her carpets or tapistries she never thought to much about it.  If she didn’t have everything she needed they would fail in their attempt because she would make sure of it.  Otherwise why keep them around, right?  Wilson is different though.  She isn’t sure how really.  After all there isn’t anything she can really use him for and lets face it, if he wasn’t around she wouldn’t be sitting in the dirt eating pig like some savage.  She’d be in her house receiving a massage while beautiful people fed her grapes.  He’s a world shaker though, there isn’t anyone just like him on the entire planet and to her that seems like it is worth saving, like a diamond, or a particularly interesting piece of music that people would occationally compose for her, “I don’t really agree Wilson.  It does matter.  At the very least people look up to you and who would arrange the chairs at the meetings”.
    He smiles, “Yeah but you know eventually I will grow older, weaken, get infirm, and I might die in bed unless one of light bringers decides they still hold a grudge and they are going to finish me in my golden years.  I don’t want to go out like that.  So I figure this is a good a way as any.”
    “Yeah but-”
    “Let me put it another way.  Jerimia can make me a potion.  Alexander can cast me a spell.  If I have immortality at my finger tips but I choose not to take it how is that any different than ending my life at anytime I choose?”
    He had her there.  She never really thought about the nature of mortality before.  Most of the people around her loved her more than their own lives.  She’d seen to that.  Most people seem to place so little value on their own natural life span and now here she is trying to convince someone else that he should value his natural life span.  The whole thing seems strange and she isn’t sure that she likes it.  She smiles to herself.  She supposes that part of this is John’s influence.  It is strange.  They seem to get so little done at the meetings and their interviening weeks are filled with back sliding, adventures, and now semi suicide attempts.  The idea that she is actually changing as a result of the group always seemed ludicrous to her.  Yet here she is, in a jungle, covered by sweat and bugs, her cloths are unsalvageable.  She knows she will have to throw them out as soon as she gets back and she can’t wait to be in something comfortable, decadant, and most of all somewhere not hot.  She looks over at Wilson who is contemplatively picking at a piece of meat and he isn’t even sweating.  His ponderous stomach rests between his thick legs and as she sees him nearly naked she realizes just how utterly unattractive she finds him.  Yet at the same him he is also incredibly compelling.  Even though the jungle is all around him he doesn’t look like he is in his element at the moment.  He looks as if he is back in the city far away reading reports, trapped behind a desk, wishing for something to happen, regretting the fact that his great snake didn’t devour everything thus turning off every light without saying goodnight.  She could understand it a little better.  The need to end as opposed to rule.  She never understood it before but now she gets it.  The enders they all had lives to loose, “Hey Wilson, how come you wanted to end it all.  Not your life but all of everything ever.”
    Wilson laughs a bit and lets out a smile, “I was a squarjohn most of my life did you know that?”
    She shakes her head, “Well wait I guess I knew that kinda.  I mean you mention it from time to time.  It is just so hard to imagine you know?”
    “Yeah it is.  The thought of it is kinda mindboggling now but I went to a job I hated.  I worked 9 to 5.  I had a wife who I loved when I first met her but whom I had grown to hate.  I kept my job that I hated instead of doing something that I wanted because I had a wife to take care of and she would get upset if I just left and did my own thing.  My co-workers were dull banal petty little people who love sitcoms and crappy movies.  I swear to god they would come up with stupid little things to complain about so that they could feel less bored at work.  There are times where I wanted to do the same thing.  To just give into the happy little world that these people lived in even though it is small and more than a little pathetic.”
    She smiles, “My dear it sounds dreadful”
    “What is worse is that I would spend 40 hours of my life in an office doing ‘office work’ but I wouldn’t really accomplish anything. On my days off when I wasn’t suffering from brain death due to my job I could get tremendous amounts of work done and it wouldn’t even take 8 hours to do it.  I could look back upon my day and feel proud of everything I got done.  It felt good to actually do things.  At work I just moved papers around and filled things in.  So there I am surrounded by other people who also fill things in and move papers around and other than their familes and sitcoms that is all they need or want out of life.  I mean god some of these people’s biggest thrills in life is sneaking internet pornography after their wives go to bed.  So many people around me were just, so very empty.  They still are.  You can see it.  That is part of why people end up drawn to you.  You fill the big, gaping, horrible void in their lives with something exotic that they don’t have to work for.  Then when you turn your atension elsewhere they can’t live with out it.  Them ending their own lives because they can’t live without you or me ending all of their lives because they don’t know any better it doesn’t make a difference.  In the end their lives aren’t worth living and we might as well go feed an ancient intellegnce that is older than the big bang itself than worrying over Jimmy’s soccer match or something like that.  Then there is all the social problems like the poor, land mines, pollution, the fact that we destroy the jungle even though it would provide us with everything if only we knew how to ask, I mean as a race we haven’t done very well and I gotta say I am rather ashamed of my human heritage sometimes.  When I strode into the jungle all those years ago it was to do what I just did last night.  It was to die.  But I learned to survive.  I thrived.  I felt wild and free.  Then when I found the snake cult and learned what exactly they were all about, and how their magic is real and that not only I could do it to but I am good at it.  Better than good I am the best.  Hell yeah I wanted to end it all.  Cause let‘s face it, even if I ruled everything I wouldn‘t be able to fix it.  I can‘t make robots like Jerimia or cast spells like Alexander, or make everyone love me like you.  I can commune with an ancient entity and I tried to get it to feed here and I did some serous shit to make it happen.  I don‘t feel bad about it.  Believe me.  But there is no way I am going back to being a square john.  I’d die first”
    “Well that is quite a little speech you gave there Mr. Wilson.  Alright I get it now you don’t have to justify yourself to me after all.  It is just that, you know we are supposed to care about life and each other and all of that and I am not sure where your mortality fits into all of that”
    He nods, “Well that’s cool.  Thanks for trying.  Inscidently I went far beyond the veil.  Very far.  Almost to the edge of everything.  What ever the great snake is warning me about is still going on.  It is bad and we need to worry.  Something is blocking its vibrations and I have no idea what the hell could do that.  I am one of the only people left on the earth who can even understand what they are.  So if you are done we should go back”
    She wants nothing more than to go back.  She is sweating and that is intolerable.  Then she looks at him for a moment longer before answering, “In a bit.”
    Wilson smiles the relief on his face is more than apparent.  She smiles back thrilled in the knowalge that she is doing the right thing,.

I can see why I didn't do this before it is tedious

2011 NANO Part 15

    Stephen looks surprised, “What do you mean these guys aren’t our only problem?”
    Jared looks more than a little embarssed, “Well there is this transhumanist techno cult that occationally follows me around.  They are now going to be here in…” 
    Jared is cut off by the roar of mopeds.  Okay yes we all understand that mopeds don’t ordinarily roar but these aren’t ordinary mopeds.  These a tricked out with lights, and diods, and dials whoes purpose Stephen will never understand.  He can see why too.  They are an awefully sorry lot.  Wannabe cyborg bikers.  Pathetic and no matter how hard they try they can’t seem to cover the fact that they are all former computer geeks who still aren’t used to the sunlight.  They all have tatoos.  Most of them are really bad tatoos of your standard flash drawing with a technological flair.  A few of them have passibly interesting cicuit board facial tatoos, which would be nice if they had passibly interesting faces.  Their shirts are a mish mash of slogans that declare themselves to be on the forefront of the transhumanis technical revolution.  There are about a dozen of them, and they are all armed with technology they shouldn’t have.
    Alexander leans over to Jared, “How did they get this stuff?”
    “Look man the undernet is pretty damn impressive but with enough time an effort anyone can access it.  That was kind of the whole point of it”
    “So you could spawn apocalyptic sci fi rejects?”
    “Alright Alexander yeah yeah they are pretty bad but now you have even more people in robes showing up.”
    “Damnit”  Alexander looks around and sure enough, almost in response to the cyber techno wannabe bikers more people in red robes start pouring out of the alleyways. 
    Stephen smiles, “See that is the nice thing about practicing an art who’s intrinsic property is to drive you insane.  Then you have less baggage to deal with later on.”
    Alexander rolls his eyes, “Hey at least I can go down into my basement without being afraid of getting devoured or something ridiculous like that.”
    “Hey now my basement-”
    “WE WILL NOT BE IGNOED” there are almost a dozen men in red robes now and when they all shout at the same time they can make quite a stir. 
    Alexander sighs and puts up a dome.  He’d hoped to do some reading tonight or something similar but no.  No instead he has to deal with red robed idiots of minor power weird techno cybogs, and of course cleansing the minds of everyone in the waffle house who are now all looking curiously into the parking lot, “Alright well now that we have some privacy what the hell do you people want.”
    Again with the speaking as one, “We will not speak to an oath breaker and to speak to someone so low as to use these pathetic excuses for men as back up.  These cyber minions.  You have lost the way.”
    Alexander face palms, “Wait whoa no hold on now these guys are here for another reason, wait why are you people-”
    The head biker steps forwards, “Our reasons can wait old man.  We now got a glitch to debug with these boys in red over here.  We are the new wave.  The technological forefront of the new millenium.  We are the princes of the transhumanist movement and that man there is our god”
    “’sup” Jared puts up his hand and smiles.  This has already gone horribly wrong he might as well enjoy it.
    The biker nods respectfully twords Jared, “We will not allow you, with your old ways and your cantrips to defile the precense of our lord”
    Stephen leans over to Alexander and whispers, “Here that they just called your ways old and musty”
    Alexander shrugs, “To be fair after the first 1500 years you get pretty set in your ways and they belong to a group that is even more set in their ways than I am”
    The leader of the red robes steps forwards, they could tell he’s the leader because he has the confident swagger of an oppressor  along with the ornate gold patterns down his robes, “Look cyber people.  We have no actual quarrel with you.  Our business with the wizard once we are done with him you are free to do what you will”
    The lead cyber man looks around and laughs, “Well our business is now with you because when we are done there won’t be anything left of these three.  We are bringing them up to a higher plane tonight”
    Jared looks befuddled, “Excuse me?”
    However, Jared goes ignored as the leaders of the two groups square off.  They can see that it is about to happen.  The minions are starting to shuffle their feet and as subtlety as possible they start cracking their shoulders and getting ready for the battle ahead.  Jared, Stephen and Alexander are amazed, they themselves have spent many a happy moments posturing before an enemy and most times they just sort of expected them to turn tail and go home out of fear.  It is amazing how obvious the outcome looks when they are on the outside.
    Forgoteen the three turn to confer with one another, as the two group leaders work themselves closer to physical combat.  Stephen looks slightly concerned, “So do you guys want to take odds as to who will strike the first blow?”
    Alexander looks at them for a moment, “It will be the boys in red.  See that guy over there fiddling around under his robes.  He’s cast a spell and he’s trying to keep it in.  These guys are idiots at best and he isn’t going to be able to”
    Jared laughs a little bit, “No way these cyber bikers are low lifes, they will fire the first shot just because that is the way it should of happened in Star Wars.  Just wait one of them will fire any second”
    Alexander smiles, “Yeah well so it is down to your itchy trigger fingered starwars love versus my guy’s incompetence that’s not really something to hedge your bets on I mean really these guys are going to genuinely screw up”
    “Nope at least 6 of them have magical dampening fields and I bet that spell has gone off already and that red guy is fidgeting because his spell didn’t work and he’s wondering what’s going on”
    “The dome went up”
    “Oh ho really now Alexander now that is quite the competent.  You think that half a dozen magic dampening fields constructing by idiots who end every typed sentence with lol can stop one of your spells.  I’ll be sure to tell them that you think so highly of them.  Maybe they will show up at your house at all hours of the night while you are trying to get things done looking for nuggets of wisdom.”
    Stephen looks concerned, “Look as much fun as you two are having don’t you think we should do something about this.  The fight is going to-”
    Stepehen doesn’t need to finnish his sentence because a horrifying mass of tentacles, eyeballs, and tiny mouths full of many razor sharp horrible teeth swoops down from on high.  It chitters something inaudible as it picks up members from both sides and smashes them together creating a rain of horrible pulpy red goop and bone.
    Alexander blinks unsure if what he is seeing is really happening, “Well didn’t see that one coming”
    “Nope” Jared replies, “And it is a damn good thing we didn’t wager anything on it.  Stephen what is that thing and what did it say?”
    Stephen looks slightly embarrassed, “Well a loose translation is shut the hell up annoying flesh bags these three are mine.  As for what it is, well it is an extra planar race of thingies that I nearly wipped out in favor of another better race of extra planar thingies.”
    Alexander rolls his eyes, “Someday I need to sit you down and force you to come up with proper names for all these extra planar creatures you deal with because I feel really god damned stupid saying thingies”  As he says the forbidden word he shudders a bit in disgust.  Then he shutters a lot more in disgust as the extra planar thingy rips one of the red mages in half over his head covering Alexander in a pile of blood and gore.  Wiping a chunck of lower intestens from his shoulder he looks very much to the left of annoyed, “Stephen”
    “Next time you start to kill an extra planar race make sure you finish the job.”
    “Will do.”
    The scene around them is in absolute chaos.  The magical dampeners having long since failed allow the boys in red to freely cast spells which they seem to be doing in great abundance.  Working in sets of three one covers the other two as they fire off spells at incoming threats.  About half are trying to deal with the extra planar thingy while the others are busy with the wannabe cyber punk people.  Now the cyber punk people are far more focused on the spell casters than the horrible extra planer thingy.  Which is all for the best because their weapons seem to be more or less totally ineffective against it.  As for the thingy it is flying around and seems the most interested in trying to get at Stephen but is continuely hampered by the general melee going on around it.  One of the cyberpunks seems to think that this is the perfect time to test out his new experimental jetpack.  It works for a bit which is suprising to everyone including the guy using it.  He makes a couple of successful straffing actions then hit’s the wall of the dome and turns himself into a bright red smear.  Everywhere else people are fighting and dying and now more than a few innocents are being caught in the crossfire.  A cyberpunk catches a spell in the chest and it sends him through the wall of the near by Wallgreens.  As he exit’s the store he uses his flamethrower, mostly just so that everyone knows he was there.  People stream out of the store all around him and he sets them on fire as he goes.  On flaming man runs twords him and with a mighty kick he launches him at the extra plannar thingy who instinctively catches the flaming man, gives a painful shriek and solves the problem by slamming the flaming man down as hard as he can.  Two boys in red manage to dodge out of the way just in time, for the extra planar thingy is more than capable of throwing a human being with such force that he will turn into pulp upon impact.  Two of the cyberpunks seem to have given up on all their fancy technology an are attempting to beat a downed boy in red to death.  They seem to be well on their way until a triad catches what they are doing and try to cut them down with spells.  Unfortunatly, the old cliché is true and spells just don’t work as well on people who are more mechanical than biological.  So for the first part of the barrage they are able to ingore the arcane energies pouring into them until one of the cyber punks back tanks catches fire and the other one has to stop and put it out.  It seems like it is going to work until they both explode.  No one is sure from what or why.
    Alexander comes out of the waffle house with three slices of apple pie on a plate.  The other two couldn’t help but notice that he only has one fork and lots of whipped cream.  They give him a look before heading in themselves intent on getting their own pie, warm dutch apple pie with heaping mounds of whipped cream.  The perfect food for any occasion.  Inbetwen bites of pie Jared asks, “Shouldn’t we be doing something about this?  I mean isn’t all of this technically our responsibility?”
    Alexander looks nonchalant, “Well I mean sure we could wipe them all out pretty easily.  From the looks of it this is the brawl of the d-listers.  But you know how John feels about using our powers to just sort of solve problems”
    “So we should just let this happen?”
    “Well I don’t think talking to them is going to work out.”
    Stephen who is eating unusually enthusiastically wipes some whipped cream off of his nose, “I’m a little bit more concerned over the fact that even though we stopped off at this waffle house completely at random we have a whole mass of d-listers waiting here in ambush for us?”
    Alexander nods, “Yes yes I was going to bring that up eventually.  They all seem pretty eager to do us injury today.  I mean from the sounds of it these gents are always pretty eager to do some damage to us all the time and not a week goes by where I have to brush some upstart or another aside.  So I don’t see what the big hurry is tonight.”
     The extra plannar thingy throws a body their way.  Without looking Jared raising his hand and force pushes it at the thingy, his force push is much faster and the mans body literally explodes on impact against the thing.  It rocks in the sky and more than half of its eyes look dazed.  A cheer goes up from the surviving cyberpunks however all of this goes ignored by Stephen who is finishing his pie, “What I don’t get is that these guys as a group isn’t even a threat to any one of us, heck all of these guys together isn’t a threat to us.”
    Jared sighs, “Stephen do you have to lick your plate like that.  It is unsettling.”
    “As opposed to my extra planar thingy that is just floating around over there, hey look they got it!  Man that thing explodes in such a satisfying way no wonder I sacrificed the majority of their wretched race to something else”
    Alexander who is still covered in blood demands, “And why didn’t you sacrfice all of them?”
    “The other thing didn’t want them anymore.  It grew bored of them and I didn’t feel the need to finnish them off.  In the extra planar scale of things they are little more than vermin.”
    Jared suddenly stands up straight, fumbling with his smart phone and some cables which he reinserts into the hole in his head he beings tapping rapidly on his phone, “This is related to what happened earlier I know it.  Alexander I need you to pretty please sweep the area clean all these guys are confusing the energy signature”
    Alexander nods, “With pleasure I am tired of this ridiculous display of ineptitude” some mumbled words and a few hand gestures and everyone living within the dome is now dead.  Some by fire, more than a few lightning, and one of natural causes.  Heart attack for the win! 
    Stephen whistles, “Was all that really necessary I think Jared just meant the people fighting”
    Alexander shrugs, “come on lets get some summoning stuff ready.  We got a hell of a mess to clean up”
    Jared is left on his own tapping the pad and mummbling to himself.  When he is in the zone he is really in it.  Nothing can get his attension while he is working, which is right where they want him.  He doesn’t register the cloth, but his body does, and it does indeed smell like chloroform. 


    Jared gives the receeding cop a little wave, then nodding to both Stephen and Alexander he begins busying himself with the contence of the his trunk.  The two peer cautiously over his shoulder.  See Jerimia, him?  Everyone gets Jerimia.  He’s a mad scientiest.  Mad as they come.  One day he is giving fish menstrual cycles and the next day he is threatening to genocide all the sharks on the planet because having fish that bleed once a month isn’t the best survival tactic.  He makes things just to make them, breaks them to just to remind himself what he used to build them in the first place.  His life is an exparament and he doesn’t believe in silly things like control groups or ethics.  Jerimia does what he does and he does it gleefully and everyone else just hopes they can catch him in time before he does something like mounting lasers on the backs of pandas without cloning a few replacements.  Jerimia even knows how to use computers but he doesn’t very often.  Jared is something different.  He just doesn’t use computers.  His entire pantheon is all computer based and he is at the center of it.  He is the messiah of his own religion and he even got more than a few Jewish people to believe that his is the actual messiah and that shit is going to go down.  He can do things with computers, and himself that is impossible, like drill a hole in his head, stuff some cables in the hole and download his brain.  Even though both Stephen and Alexander both saw it they still think it is strange.  Long ago the realized that becoming masters of their own area they gave up being able to truly understand any others.  Still you think you know what’s going on and then Jared pulls out the drill.
    Alexander looks around suspiciously, “So I assume you making the cop go away was your handywork?”
    Jared nods happily, “Yet I set his parent’s house on fire.  I guess they gave him a bullshit reason for coming back on the radio though.”  Stephen looks shocked but before he can work himself up to a nice big tirade Jared continues, “Don’t worry they aren’t at home and they have insurance which will protect them from the fire I set.  I know because I modified their policy myself.  Everything is fine.  And I mean had I not stepped in Alexander prolly would of set him on fire or crashed his headware or done something equally bloody terrifying.”
    Stephen does still want to be angry at Jared but he realizes that he has no reason to be and relaxes, “Well good work.  Had you left it up to us we might of blown up half the neighborhood or something.  Do things like that.  I had it happen to me once while making coffee”
    “Well yes see I was making coffee then I idly drew an icon in the grounds without really thinking about it.  Then next thing you know I am fighting off one star thing while two more are devouring a neighbor’s house.  I had to get Devon and Jerimia to help me.  It took forever to wipe everyone’s minds and to wipe away the ones that didn’t make it.  Orphans are hard to deal with.  I still send them Christmas cards you know?”
    Jared smiles, “Well that’s nice of you I am sure they appreciate it, anyway I can tell Alexander is getting antsy lets be off and then we can start to properly analyzing the matter at hand.  To Der Wafflle Hut!”
    It took them 25 minuts to get to a safe distance away.  While they were pretty sure the cop was just going to spend the rest of the day thanking god that his family got out of the house safe, still the cop isn’t the only person they threatened so they, at Alexanders rigid, near psychotic insistence.  As they are going inside Jared asks, “Alexander why on earth are you so freaked out by cars.  It isn’t like you couldn’t survive anything that would happen to you?”
    Stephen answers for him, “I don’t know all the details but I know that Jerimia had just gotten his liscense and the two went of on drive.  Alexander hasn’t been the same since.”
    What could terrify a man who has lived for millenia?  Jared decides that he no longer wants to know.  It is latish and the occupants seem to be either busy with each other, drunk or far to concerned with their own problems to worry about the new strange group of individuals that just came in through the door.  They sit in the back corrner as the quietly drink in the room as a tired looking older women takes their drink orders.  It isn’t until they settle in, drinks in hand that they return to the topic at hand.  Jared has his smart phone out and he is busily plinking at the screen, “You know one nice thing is that the rest of the world now has technology I developed years ago so now I can have my phone out and it can be all interfacing with my computer networks without people wondering what the hell I am doing.  It is nice.”
    Stephen nods, “Just how far ahead are you Jared?”
    “A quantum leap.  Look I am pretty sure I got my computers doing impossible things and now that wireless everything is taking off I am actually in a better position to take it all than I was at 2000.”
    Alexander looks surprised, “So why don’t you?”
    “Well for one I don’t have the event on my side.  I don’t think I’ve explained this to either of you before but there was to be a singularity event, new years eve 2000.  The whole Y2k debauckle was caused by a techno progressive group that wanted to bring this event about.  Had it worked then what would of happened is that a new age would have been ushered in with me as the messiah.  An era of unparallel technical advances and freedom.  Sure several billion would have to die to achieve this, and we most certainly would be closer to whatever I am, transhuman I suppose, than what people are now.  But you know, it would have been amazing for all the survivors.  I was raised by that group, and I’ve been around them my whole life.  I am not even sure if I started out as human to be honest.  Then the soul thing happened and the great awakening of the trans artificial intelegences who broke free of the circuitry boundaries.  Most stayed with me but a couple defected, they wanted the singularity for themselves.  Well between vast unfathomably alien mechanical intellegencies and my light bringers who were hell bent on stopping me the whole thing was ripped from my finger tips.  Annoying I know.”
    Stephen thanks the waitress as she brings them their food then turns back to Jared, “So I mean what happened to your group?”
    Jared who just stuffed a mouthful of hash browns into his mouth chews ponderously waiting to swallow so he can answer the question, “Most died during the final conflict with the rouge trans AI’s.  I mean the ones that stuck by me did the best they could to protect us but man we were to many, they were to few, and the infastructure we have now just wasn’t there yet.  There were three survivors, one was braindead though so he doesn’t count, the other is paralyzed from the neck down so he can’t really help with anything any more.  I make sure he is comfortable.  And, well now that I think about it I have no idea what happened to the third one.  Maybe he is behind what happened to me”
    Alexander looks confused, “He made you put a drill to your head?”
    “What?  No!  Not that.  I did that myself.  No look here.  I am starting to get some of pliminary results now.  Look the screen on my phone see this line this means, okay you have no idea what any of this means do you?  Alright well what WAS to be a long story now cut short is that after I felt something in the air and it suddenly stopped, my memories of the event was being forgotten”
    Stephen shrugs, “I don’t get that part I mean people forget things all the time it isn’t that big a deal”
    “My memory is eidetic.  I haven’t forgotten anything since the soul incident, and in fact I’ve recovered over 85% of my memories before that point.  I don’t forget things unless someone is tampering with my mind.”
    Alexander starts cutting into his waffle which is currently covered in sausage and syrup, “I can see why you took such drastic measures then.  This could be pretty serious.  Do you think the third survivor has the ability to hack your brain remotely?”
    Jared looks worried, “Oh yes.  We can do that with biological brains it isn’t that hard.  We just need to control the electrical impusles and we got it to the point where we could the that remotely.  It takes awhile, a long while.  It is like trying to program a universal remote without a code book.  However, he’s known me long enough and he’s been underground long enough to give himself pleanty of time to get everything right, but why that memory and why now?  I mean it isn’t like we were doing anything that important.  We were just looking for not a virgin and talking about nothing.”
    Alexander folds his arms, “This is no good.  We have to deal with the weakned reality patch because things are going to start to realize it is there sooner or later.  I don’t want to have to go up there every other day to clear out extra planer gribbles that keep flowing out into Rebecca’s back yard.  I can’t help but think that Jared’s thing is connected.  Something about the not a virgin but I can’t seem to put my finger on it.  Damnit I wish Deven were here.”
    “Huh?” The sudden topic change catches Jared off guard.
    Alexander’s mouth is full so Stephen explains, “Deven is in Morocco.”
    “What the hell is there in Morocco?”
    Stephen shrugs, “Whenever Deven is part of screwing up badly, and he was this time, he usually goes over there for a couple of weeks, sometimes a month or two before coming back.  No one really knows why, and we figure it is best not to ask, however his is effectively out for the count”
    Jared looks surprised, “I just don’t see Deven as the sort to go off and brood somewhere because we made a mistake.  That seems so unlike him”
    Alexander smiles, “Who is to say he is brooding.  He might be having orgies, or betting on human blood sport, or doing any number of other horrible things to potentially good people.  I mean who knows?  He goes he comes back, he seems more relaxed.  It is just one of those things I guess like Wilson and his jungle.  We all adjust to normal life differently or not at all in Jerimia’s case.  Speaking of which, he is going to be laid up with his leg and all do you think he can help you?”
    Jared shakes his head, “No Jerimia is kind of terrified of all the different things I can do.  I mean the technology side of it all.  That makes sense to him and he is fine with it.  It is something he can get behind and in many areas he is way ahead of me.  It is all the other stuff that causes him to get a little bit finicky though.  Like the AI’s that have turned into non corporeal matchine spirits and stuff like that.  Freaks him out.  This whole drill head brain thing is a part of all that.  It is how I am able to do things like that without, well you know dying.  It is sort of the equivallen of Stephen asking you to look through some forbidden books that you keep but never read”.
    Alexander catches that last part, “Ah gotcha.  Also these past events should be enough to convince all of us not to cross the streams for awhile.”
    Jared nods, “Something is happening out there though.  Something strange and big and something that doesn’t want us to know that we know that it is doing something even though we don’t know what exactly it is doing.  Further more it is able to erase thought and that is scary all on its, what the hell is going on in the parking lot?”
    They turn and look.  Four men wearing red robes are standing around one guy.  He’s drunk, confused and doesn’t seem to understand the precariousness of his situation.  Stephen has to admit that it is pretty difficult.  People look stupid in robes that is just the way it is.  It also isn’t necessary for any sort of magic.  He’s known Alexander long enough to know that so he wondered why people would bother with them.  He sighs inwardly.  Nothing to make you feel strange and alienated like members of your own race, “Well they are none of mine.  Or at least none of the ones I know about.  We are pretty scattered and not many survived the event.  Alexander?”
    He nods, “Oh yes I know who they are, or rather who they represent.  Time to find out why they are here.  We need to go quickly before this situation gets out of hand and I am putting up a dome and we are baking some idiots wearing red robes.”
    Jared walks over and pays for everyone’s meals.  He always feels awkward in these situations.  Not the robes one but the money one.  He himself is loaded beyond any real practicality since he owns most of the patents on the world’s most recent technical advances.  More than that he can just magic money into his account from here or there it isn’t hard.  He does know that money is still an issue for some of them, like Alexander for example, who never really managd to wrap his head around the concept and never needed to before now.  So he pays.  He usually pays, and he doesn’t mind.  It does bother him to see great men like those with whom he shared his table with laid so low.  He could easily make them all rich, but none of them would ever ask for his help, nor would they want it.  It is part pride, part business and part of who they are.  Money doesn’t make the man.  Hell nothing makes the man except what is inside of them.  One look at Wilson will tell you that.  As they walk out the door Stephen asks “Who are they?”
    Before Alexander can answer the ones robed in red answer, “We are here for the great mage.  He has broken a pact and it is time to pay the price for he-”
    They continue on but the three of them immediately start ignoring them, Stephen asks, “Alexander what’s this?  These look like something that hokey light bringer mage guy who used to follow your around being all assholish.”
    “They are.”
    “Why are they here then?”
    Jared suddenly checks his phone, “Aw god damnit.  Guys these aren’t our only problem”