Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Theocracy: Chapter I

^drawing made by him   

She saw the strokes of her paintbrush in advance, her arms just obeyed Ana Mionar’s will. As always, she was walking the path of self-expression. She usually painted her dreams, the landscapes of distant, nonexistent planets, where all of the twelve moons rose at the same time. When she was about to finish, she lifted up the brush, and with eyes closed she painted a line by feeling, the she asked: „What will you be?”
      - Ana?
      The girl was deeply transfixed by the beauty of her craft, and the voice of professor Diyon was a distant noise. The students were about to leave the room, seven other child – their ages ranging from nine to seventeen - have continued the professor’s line of thought about chronophysics after the class was over. Diyon called his assistant with his hand, the personal AI following and helping him, to which the metal globe slowly hovered above his shoulder. The professor walked to Ana’s desk, and cleared his throat.
      - Yes? – asked Ana.
      - The class is over. May I speak with you?
      The girl looked around in the empty classroom.
      - Sure, sure, sorry.
      She packed the stack of painting equipment into her backpack hastily, and handed the painting to her own assistant, who took it with its four metallic arm.
      - I’d like to ask you about Solaris – said professor Diyon, while walking through the corridor. – I’m worried. To be honest, I haven’t seen him in weeks, and all I’ve heard about him is that he does nothing but goes on missions.
      - Yup – she nodded. – That’s exactly what he does.
      The days are long gone, when Solaris and Ana were inseparable. They met first, when Solaris saw the bloody, beaten girl standing at the gate of the school in a rainy midnight. They soon interwoven their classes, and went to missions together. There was one night, when Ana was in the school’s parlor, alone. The next day, the news, talking about a death, freed her from her fear. An alcoholic old man called Lang Mionar was found dead, and when one wanted to know more about him, the web whispered about child sexual abuse. Not a single soul rose to find the killer.
      - I’m asking… – said professor Diyon, - I know its none of my business, but he has a terrible past, and I hold it as my personal responsibility to help him. I knew him since the Shaman found him, and in the beginning I though he’ll end up in the Vatican. He was aggressive and stubborn, he simply did not listen. But… - his face spoke his honest worry about Solaris. – But now it seems to me that he is being lost, without goals and happiness. I still see that abused, little boy in him, and I think – his voice became stern – it is our responsibility as a society to help those who cannot help themselves.
      - Dr. Diyon – said Ana in a sweet, innocent voice, - don’t you have your own life to live?
      The professor stopped. He looked at Ana as if he saw a demon, and the girl kept smiling.
      - But Ana, it is about the well-being of your lover.
      - Yes, and this is why this conversation ends now. – Her voice was calm and she kept that lovely smile. – Neither of us have the right to tell others how to live. How would we know what’s the best to him? I’m sure he’s seeking it, let him find it. You should know the best what a superhuman willpower he has, since you saw him change.
      "And his classes are terrible."
      - Oh and – she continued – Solaris has nothing to learn from you.

      Solaris Midsummer was drinking his coffee in a downtown cafeteria, while he watched the people come and go, while watched Ana’s stream in the neurocomm channel. He saw the full conversation.
      "He’s a kind man."
      "I don’t know, Sol. I don’t assume that he wants to use you, but the fact that he places you above himself bothers me."
      "Let’s say he is afraid of the public safety. After all, I really was a terrible child."
      "He watches the watchmen."
      In front of Solaris, the square was full of people, talking, and laughing. While he talked to Ana, he shared his attention between the crowd and the school’s mission table. His eyes started to follow instinctively a man with black, long coat, gloves, sunglasses and with a limp. His assistant sent beacon nanodrones towards him. He overdressed the weather. The man was among the dozens of others, and when he walked past them, a woman stopped. She shivered, and was trapped in a memory loop for an instant. She was paralyzed. Her mind was being searched for memories to steal. When she regained control over her body, the man disappeared, and within seconds, a new mission appeared in the table to get back stolen memories. Solaris smiled when he saw the astronomical reward, accepted the mission and went after the thief.
      Memories in the society had market value, as long as they were authentic. Every memory had a quantumkey attached to it, which proved that it was not forged, but based on empirical experience. People bought and sold memories, narratives, sometimes even whole fates, and the memory merchants were swimming in the money when they found a rare memory from Earth. And there were those who didn’t accept the society’s rules, and through the hard work of days or weeks, they stole memories. Solaris’s target used a technology that was never seen before.
      "What do you see when the impossible shows up before your very eyes?"
      "Grab some popcorn."
      "Raoul. I think I've met with your legendary cult."
      He copied his memories to the message and sent it to Raoul. The answer came after half a minute.
      "Its Hypnos, I’m on my way."
      It started months ago. Raoul Seoc, a decade after his parent’s death, found a memory, in which, just for an instant, he saw his mother and father. The memory was the initiation rite of a dark cult, in which the cult members used technology so advanced, that it looked like magic. The rite was simple, the newcomer had to give up his identity, his self, and connect to the Hypnos meta-consciousness. Since then, Raoul has been searching for members to find the head of the cult. He swore to cut him down, and watch the rest of the cult dissolve.
      Raoul was not entirely awake when he answered the call. He was dreamwalking, the conscious act of crafting one’s inner world. His neural implants had functioned properly, so the message from Solaris was transmitted to him, to which he answered consciously.
      In each subjective hour, thunder shook his dream, the ticking of his clock transplanted into his mind, counting seconds. Before awaking, he spent days in dream, planning his day, and the encounter with the technological monstrosity called Hypnos, whose parts were once his family, who murdered his sacrilegious parents, and now, must face verdict.
      The proof was there, buried in society’s pattern, and in each subordinate’s mind. Raoul Seoc had been jumping from acolyte to acolyte, hunting for that one memory in each mind, in which the initiation took place. The only event in which the students met with their priests face to face. Hypnos had a hierarchical system. It embraced every mind, if they paid the price. Their self, their individuality. The newcomers went through a rite, a dark, horrific ceremony. Raoul saw way too many of these, and in his dreams, he analyzed every nanosecond of the memories he acquired.
      The faces he saw were average nobodies, working inconsequential jobs, protecting simple families. He searched for evidence of past crimes in their past, and when he was lucky enough to find one, he presented it to the community. They were forgiving, in most cases, except when it came to murder or child abuse. The first caused slow disregard and excommunication from the stores, roads, houses, in short, from anything that was in private hands, and here, everything was in private hands. The child abuse, if the evidence was compelling, resulted in almost instant ban from the nameless colony.
      The cause of it was simple: aggression in this society was a plague, and everything must have been done to stop its spread. If they were to allow child abuse in only one family, the use of force as an absolute would have spread among the child’s friends, and once they grow old enough, the ancient, dreadful god of the lost Earth would return in an instant.
      The state would reborn.
      This was the worst nightmare of every citizen living in the nameless colony of Mars. As long as the Shaman lived among them, they felt safe. He, the guardian of peace, the neohuman hero, who helped humanity to transcend their beliefs, now lived a hermit’s life, a legend, withdrawn from society.
      Raoul Seoc knew him. The Shaman, Cantharis de la Cruz was a teacher in the academy, and thus, he knew that his protection was nothing, but the lack of adventure. Raoul’s desire to hunt down Hypnos was a selfish drive, but isn't it selfishness, what drove this world forward? From the selfish desire to create, the greatest pieces of arts were formed. From the selfish drive to be boundless, the most marvelous technologies were created. From the Shaman’s selfish desire to live in freedom, the colony was built.
      Once Cantharis hears the call of wanderlust, he will depart, and it is his students who will protect and watch their world. Raoul was aware of all this, not as a drive to fight Hypnos, but as a positive consequence of his deeds. Once the Shaman leaves, men must not turn to the reign of Hypnos.
      These thoughts occupied Raoul’s mind when he was preparing to meet with Solaris. The path he choose, the secrets the future holds. He called his assistant, who was lost in the private library, amongst the fantasy and science fiction worlds, exploring them, creating simulations based on them and reliving them. It disconnected itself from the world of elves and dragons, and connected into Raoul’s mind to help him craft a plan.
      While the AI computed every possible income of the encounter, Raoul checked his muscle implants. Blue, glowing lines covered his black skin, his muscles were built in such perfection, that it looked as if it would explode out of his skin at any moment. He was enchanted by the primitive technology, hence his library of printed books. He often contemplated, how the statist inhabitants of Earth made it out alive without any rational thought through their life. Instead of gravity-manipulation training, he used lead weights for maintenance.
      All implants were functional.
      He dressed up without hesitation, called his cloudwalker and stepped into the vehicle from the open window. The skies were unusually crowded, but silent, as always. Raoul parked near to the cafeteria, from where he got Solaris’s message.
      „Where art thou, dearest of my allies?” – he sent to Sol.
      „To your left.”
      Solaris was there, at the other side of the square, waving to Raoul. When he approached Solaris, the young boy peered toward a smaller building, and said:
      -He’s in there. I have put every detail into a message that will be sent to Ana in an hour, and she’ll get Cantharis if there is any trouble.
      Raoul nodded, and started to walk toward the building, Solaris followed him in close range. When they walked in, a queer feeling of coming home rose in Solaris Midsummer.
      -Say, Raoul, have you ever encountered with any cult member?
      - Yes, once. I have never talked about it. I barely got out alive, but I got some evidence which convinced the public to excommunicate her. She experimented with abducted children, clearly violating the non-aggression principle. I believe her name was Sia Pride.
      - So it was rough, right?
      - It was insane. Why?
      - Because, my dear friend, we are trapped in a nightmare simulation.
      Raoul stopped, and looked around. The corridor looked right, and there was no physical manifestation of the dreamer’s emotions. He felt confused, but there was no ripple in the matter around him. Before he could ask, Solaris answered:
      - If your theory is right, we are facing with not one, but countless minds sewn into one being. Only the Shaman could control the dream against so many. We see what they want us to see, but I feel it.
      - Feeling is not a valid argument.
      - It is if you’ve been trained by him.
      - Since when… - he looked in shock at his friend, shook his head and started again. – We are far away from each other nowadays, Solaris. I thought you would tell. Since when you’ve been learning from Cantharis?
      Solaris smiled.
      - Since the first time I met him. My shamanic training began two weeks ago, and you’ve been so much into this cult. We barely talk. Though… I would have not told you anyway. I am nowhere compared to him, and it makes me ashamed. And I think I’ll never be like him.
      - Solaris – Raoul said, - can you get us out?
      - I might master some of the dream, but we will go through what they want.
      He looked around, and his gaze fixated on the ground below him. Raoul watched it aswell, following his friend’s eyes. Solaris took a deep breath, and exhaled with closed eyes, then stomped. Below them, not the ground, but the matter itself shattered, and where moments before was nothing but carpet, now, through the glass-like shattering, was darkness. The scar in the dreamwoven matter started to spread, and within seconds, Solaris Midsummer and Raoul Seoc stood in the middle of nothingness.
      - This is what I can accomplish – Solaris said. – The Shaman can summon lustful forests, all I can do is… destroy.
      The words struck Raoul as if a sword had pierced through his heart. Solaris, the young titan lived through hell since the day he was born. His mother beat him up in a daily basis to a point when he was unconscious. He was locked out of the house if disobeyed. His father made him suffer through the worst kind of hell simulation with eternal torture, to strengthenhis belief. He, that lost, abused little boy became just as aggressive as his parents were. He was found by the Shaman, and Cantharis taught him, since he himself came from such a fate. Solaris made it, became peaceful, meditative and a thinker who was addicted to problem solving.
      But Raoul only now saw the struggle he went through on a daily basis. The fury was not extinguished, his rage was still burning within him. He looked at Solaris and saw, not his friend, or that skinny little genius who constantly argued in the academy, but a strength so glorious, self-control mastered to such a degree that no human being has ever reached before.
      They used to go on missions together. Wife-beaters, murderers, thieves were caught by them, dozens of human scum who did not even deserve death, but only the punishment of peering into that dark hell that is their soul, and scream in dread. They saw rapists begging for forgiveness, the mercy of silence, old, earthborn pedophiles, abusers and psychopaths who tried to claim power, and throughout it all, Solaris have never lost his self-control.
      Raoul hugged his friend. 

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