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September 4th, 2008 (3:20 PM). Edited March 4th, 2009 by txteclipse.
Peace & Goodwill
I was originally going to hand this chapter off to P_M_0 to beta, but I figured "what the heck...I'll just post it." It's been a long time coming, too long, if you ask me, but I do have the excuse of working on the Eon Chronicles. Some things to note about this chapter: it's intense, and has a bit of suggestive dialog. Nothing disturbing with the suggestive part, but it isn't something I'd necessarily have a younger person read.
The intense part is what I'm more concerned about. I was considering momentarily bumping the rating of the fic to "R" for this chapter due to a certain scene, but I don't think it's quite bad enough to get to an "R" rating. Just keep in mind that it may get slightly troubling near the end. I can send a PM to anyone that wants to know what happens but doesn't feel inclined to read.
Chapter Three: Interface
“When I was finally released from artificial unconsciousness, I found myself in a room different from the one I had been in. I was lying on a bed, if it could be called that, which fit the contours of my back to perfection: it had been molded out of a semi-rigid material to perfectly match my specific body shape while I slept. I couldn’t change positions, but I was by no means uncomfortable.
I rested for a few more moments, allowing my senses to fully recover from slumber. Then I leaned forward, and the ‘bed’ tilted forward on a system of hydraulics to a near-vertical position, simplifying the act of getting out. I noticed as I stood that the needles from my incubation pod had been removed, the tiny wounds they left behind covered with circular bandages. Surveying my surroundings, I found a few curious objects set into the walls, and compulsively wandered over to them. One such object was a hollowed-out half sphere with the opening facing the ceiling and two shining bars attached to the side closest to the wall: I curiously prodded one of the bars, and it moved. A network of water sprayed out of a series of holes in the perimeter of the bowl, and I jumped back in surprise, nearly losing my balance.
It was merely a sink, but I kept well clear of the device as I inspected the rest of my living quarters. One wall hosted a metal door; alongside this and taking up the rest of the space on that wall were a variety of slots, none of which I could discern the function of. Another wall was dominated by a black rectangle, a larger version of the screen used by the being when it had rendered me unconscious. This I avoided as well, coming full-circle at last to a reflective square hung near the bowl: a mirror. This was the first time I was able to see my face, and the experience was very odd for me. At first, I thought it was another Mewtwo, and I reached out a three-fingered hand. When my touch met the cold glass, I pulled back sharply, not expecting the sensation. Noticing that my image was copying me perfectly as I moved, I decided finally that it must be me.
I discerned an angular head that was nearly feline; however, my face also had certain reptilian qualities and was covered with light-purple skin instead of fur. My ears stood out from my head in a way similar to a cat’s, but they were almost like short horns in appearance. Two small slits served as nostrils, and my mouth was a thin, lipless line. Most interesting was a tube-like structure that ran from the back of my head to the base of my neck; I turned sideways and glanced out of the corner of a violet-colored eye as I ran my hand carefully along it, wondering what it was.
At that time, a sharp hissing sound emanated from behind me. I turned, finding that the metal door had opened. A brilliant white light shone into the room, silhouetting momentarily a being different from the one I had met before. This one was somewhat shorter, had close-cropped dark hair, and didn’t pay me any attention as it paced into the room while scratching on the illuminated screen of a small black tablet with a stylus. Head bent over its work, it nearly walked into me before realizing it was about to do so.
‘Oh!’ it said, finally looking away from the screen that had been holding its attention and glancing at me. ‘I expected you to be in bed…ah well; I would have needed to get you up anyways.’ The being wrote a few more things on the tablet, and then slipped it into a large pocket that was apparently meant for the purpose. Out of the same pocket came a long cord with black marks along its length: the being held this against my back, and then pinched it at the same height as the top of my head. ‘Three feet, one-half inch.’ The tablet reappeared, and this was written down. 'Gender…' the other bent down to check, and I copied the movement, not understanding. This earned me a quizzical look. ‘Stand still, please. Female...’ More scribbling on the tablet.
The concept of gender did not come to me instantly as did other information, but my thirst for knowledge would not be denied. I did not have well-developed vocal cords like the being, but I had learned that sound was created when air molecules were forced to vibrate. Therefore, I orchestrated the random motion of a few gaseous particles into an ordered sound with my mind: a voice. My voice. ‘Female?’
The question made the being jump. It stared at me in disbelief instead of answering, so I repeated myself. ‘Yes…as opposed to male,’ the other said finally.
‘Right. Most species reproduce sexually, which requires both a male and female member of that species. Females are characterized by…ah…’ The being’s face turned slightly red.
‘You are female?’ I had unknowingly saved the other from one very awkward conversation, if only momentarily.
‘No…I’m a male. A “he”. You are a “she.”’
‘You and I…reproduce?’
‘Oh, for the love of Arceus…’ the blush returned to the being’s face, and he shook his head. ‘No. We aren’t of the same species, you see? I am a human, you’re a Mewtwo. Different species are incompatible.’
So these beings were human, then. I had noticed the differences between us, but it hadn’t seemed significant up until now. As I pondered this, the other continued his examination with a silent determination, as though he wanted to finish as quickly as possible. He checked my temperature with a digital thermometer, peered into my mouth and ears with a hand-held, low-power microscope, and listened to my chest with a stethoscope. I remained uncomfortably motionless throughout the remainder of the process per his request, although I couldn’t help craning my head to see each new device as it was produced from one of various pockets. As each was used, I instantly learned its purpose and how it functioned.
The human eventually measured the tube-like extrusion that extended from the base of my skull to between my shoulders, and then paced to the slots set into the wall by the door. I followed him, my curiosity piquing: perhaps he would show me what they were for. All he did at first was read silently from the tablet, however, and I soon grew bored. The room was kept cold, so I snuggled up against his side and took his free hand in mine, inspecting it carefully and comparing its five fingers to my three.
I realized after a moment that the human was gazing down at me with a surprised expression, his tablet forgotten. ‘They didn’t tell me you were so…’ he began, but trailed off. ‘I mean, you’re supposed to be a weapon…’
There was that word again: I still had not learned its meaning. ‘Weapon?’
‘You know…a tool of destruction.’ I obviously did not know, however, and the human proceeded with a longer explanation after I had blinked at him a few times. ‘What you did to your incubation pod was destructive. You were created to break things, to take them apart or damage them. Actually, you are intended to be the central processing unit and primary weapon system for a combat spaceship called an R-fighter: more specifically, an R-fighter named the “R-9WM.” You will be connected to the ship through a wetware-to-software interface that I am about to install in your spinal cord: it will allow you to control the vessel and will also enable the ship to draw upon the Psi waves your mind produces for power. That power will be fed to what is called a Wave Cannon: this cannon will act as half of the ship’s weapon system, the other component being your Force unit. Although you don’t seem like the violent type,’ the human added more quietly. ‘You’re just so…innocent.’
My candid question garnered a laugh from the other. ‘I’m not “male-human,”’ he replied. ‘You can call me Doctor Jeryl. And you certainly are filled with questions, aren’t you? I suppose I would be as well, if I was as young as you and had your advanced learning capabilities. You certainly are special…’ His gaze held mine for a lingering moment before he turned back to the slots on the wall. He reached out a hand, paused, and then touched a seemingly blank space beside one of the dark openings. A small circle of white light flared to life under his fingertips, and the niche was similarly illuminated. Small mechanical noises ensued, and then a strange device seemed to appear instantly within the slot amidst a dull clang of metal.
The object was long and segmented, made of a light gray metal that I instantly recognized as titanium. I reached out to touch it, intrigued, but Dr. Jeryl stopped me. ‘You can’t handle it. It's sterile.’ The doctor pulled on a pair of white gloves produced from one of his many pockets, and then held the device out for me to see. As he turned it, I found that both ends were hollow and that the segmented design made it flexible. ‘This is the interface I mentioned earlier,’ he stated. ‘Here’s how it works: I will separate your spinal cord, which is this-,’ he paused to point at the structure growing from my head to my back, '-into two halves. Then, I will install one half of the interface on each end.’ He pulled on the device, and it separated neatly in two with a loud click. Then he held out one segment, pointing to the freshly revealed connection. It consisted of a lens made out of artificially grown diamond, which was surrounded by three spheres that normally locked into grooves set into the other half. ‘The interface is optical: it translates the information being sent through your spinal cord into data that is readable by the R-9WM.’ He turned the piece around to reveal the hole in the other end. ‘There is a bio-gel in here that will mesh seamlessly with the nerve endings in your spinal cord, allowing the device to become fully integrated and read your nervous signals once installed.’ The other’s expression slowly changed to what I now know as remorse, and his next words almost seemed an afterthought, as though he hadn’t confronted what they truly meant before that moment. ‘Unfortunately, you must be conscious for this process to take place: your nerves have to be active in order for the device to recognize and pair with them. I’m not going to lie: it’s going to hurt quite a bit.’
It was a gross understatement, although my youthful naivety prevented me from understanding this at the time. I was returned to my bed, and then strapped to it very securely with flat, rubberized metal cables. My hatred of being contained flared up, but I couldn’t move in the least. The doctor noticed my discomfort just as I was about to start cutting the straps with my mind, and he rubbed my head for a few moments to calm me. Afterwards, he washed his hands to immaculate cleanliness in the sink, and then produced a silvery metal case from another of the wall slots: this he placed on a small stand that was attached to the side of the bed. The gleaming container opened to reveal an array of equally silvery tools, sharp and pristine.
Tools of destruction
. The doctor disinfected my exposed spinal cord, selected a scalpel, brought it to my light-purple flesh…and hesitated. Then he set the scalpel down again.
‘I’m going to check and see if I can use local anesthesia,’ he said suddenly, and abruptly left the room. I was left waiting on the bed for a few minutes, my phobia of the restraining cables slowly building. When Dr. Jeryl returned, I noticed that his face was slightly pale. ‘It seems I can’t. It would deaden the nerves beyond an acceptable level.’ He washed his hands again, which now shook noticeably, and then returned to my side. The scalpel was once more held against my skin, as steady as could be in spite of the fact that the hand holding it had been quivering moments before, and I felt its coldness leeching into my nerves. I heard the other inhale deeply.
The cut began without warning, accompanied by instant, acute, and excruciating pain. I writhed in my constraints despite their tightness, my mouth opened so wide in a soundless scream that the tendons anchoring muscle to jawbone popped. I cried openly, the warm tears rolling down my face producing a sensation similar to the one created by the blood dripping down my back. My body came alive with agony: as nerves were severed, I lost control of whatever they had been connected to, but felt as though that part of my body was still attached and being dipped in molten metal. I slowly became motionless, not because the pain was deadening, but because my mind was no longer linked with my limbs. My diaphragm eventually ceased pulling air into my lungs, and then my heart stopped.
I stared with a surreal level of detachedness at the ceiling, seeing a glint of metal as Dr. Jeryl put down the scalpel and picked up one half of the wetware-to-software interface. I then felt rather than saw him slide the frigid metal onto the upper part of my now-severed spinal cord, taking on more pain as he anchored it to the base of my skull with four titanium screws. A few moments more, and then a shock washed over me: the doctor had installed the second segment of the interface, clipped the two halves together, and delivered an electric pulse to restart my heart. True feeling returned to my limbs with a vengeance: it was nothing short of torturous.
‘I’m sorry…I’m so sorry, baby,’ the doctor was saying. ‘I know it hurts…I know…It’s over…’ He held one of my hands, stroked my head. His palms were sweating. ‘It’s over…’
Blue light filled the room, and my mind slipped mercifully into nothingness."
-From recovered audio recording
Courage of the heart is very rare. The stone has a
when it's there.
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