Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Rebirth of a Theocracy - Chapter I


Dispute Resolution

”Only now are you going your way to greatness. 
Peak and abyss, they are now joined together, 
for all things are baptized in a well of eternity, 
and lie beyond good and evil.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

       First, there was silence. It was the self-enforced censure of the masses, the rage of a friend towards another, the breaking up of a family for speaking what is true. As the state grew, the ignorance of mankind grew with it by refusing to accept the consequences of their choices.
       Then there was war. A late and desperate war waged by a race who thought that goals are achieved through force, and believed that even more force solves the problem brought forth by the principle of violence.
       And there was silence again. The forsaken Earth stood still and scorched, but a new light glimmered in a different planet, lit by people whose principle was the
non-initiation of force, and all that flowed from it.
       It was the stalwart integrity that kept this new world alive. It was a fierce stance for the principle of freedom that served as soil for human progress. And the black rock once called home reminded all of mankind to scourge those who oppose the natural rights. It taught them to repel the sinners from amongst them, and keep only the just and rightful agents of morality.
       This is how virtue gotten market value and untended corruption became a mark of darkness. And all those who brought destruction in their wake were banished from the colony. Thieves, murderers, and the worst of them, those who dismorphed the soul of a man and gave him mastery over force, the child abusers, they were all outcast from the kingdom of liberty the moment their guilt was proven. This is how Oana Rain became the resident of Vatican, and her daughter the student of an orphanage.
       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 and self-discovery. The self is an entity governed by specific laws, and she knew that she must understand the greatest depths of her own scarred, abandoned and abused soul to gain control over it, to foresee its actions and change course before collision. She thought of herself as a ticking bomb, and her mind was the sole guardian of those around her from the explosion of trauma.
       Now she painted her last dream, the landscape of a distant, nonexistent plane, where all of the twelve moons rose at the same time above a haunted graveyard where her soul was being torn apart by faith and reason.
      The girl was deeply transfixed by the beauty of her craft; the voice of Doctor Diyon was a distant noise. The students were about to leave the room, continuing the professor’s line of thought on Chronophysics after the class was over. They were all orphans, some young, some nearing adulthood, and according to the business model of the academy, they were both students and teachers. After leaving the morning class, their day will consist of sharing the knowledge they earned with other students of the facility and asking them, to continue the chain. This is how the school of Dr. Alan Wordsmith provides free education to those who cannot afford wisdom otherwise.
       “Ana?” called the calm voice again.
       Diyon signaled to his assistant, the personal AI following and helping him with his hand, 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 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 go on missions.”
      “Yup” she nodded. “That’s exactly what he does.”
      The days were long gone when Solaris and Ana were inseparable. They first met when Solaris saw the bloody, beaten girl standing at the gate of the school on a rainy midnight. Ana was just standing there, watching the skyscraper. Solaris ran through the building to find the Shaman, who helped the girl inside. They ran brain scans on her, and purged a rare infection slumbering within her mind and saw that her brain was deformed by abuse.
       She clearly remembers to that thundering night. Since then, the sound of rain tapping in the window brought the feeling of home with it, and the flash of a lightning made her think of the night where she could show her memories to people she trusted and see the same pain in their eyes that she felt when it happened. Ana felt visible the first time in her life.
       She soon interwove their classes with Solaris. To pay their living, they went on missions together. They invented, created art, and visited far colonies to find the birthplace of the boy. There was but one night that Ana spent alone in the school’s parlor, and the next day the web’s whispers of a death freed her from her fear.
       An alcoholic old man, Lang Mionar was found poisoned, and when one wished to know more about him, the web spoke of raping her child. He was banished, but lived in his house, near the shelter of his daughter, living off of decades worth of supplies.
       Not a single soul rose to find the killer.
      “I’m asking…” said professor Diyon, “I know it’s none of my business, but he has a terrible past, and I hold it as my duty 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. He came from the outside. 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, the echoes of their steps in the empty corridor had vanished. 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 of all people should know 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. He always wore sunglasses in public to cover that unfocused thousand yard stare that he had. He watched the people come and go, while saw Ana’s stream in the neurocomm channel projected to his lenses. He overheard 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." said the boy. He was born in an outside world, and escaped in the haze of economic collapse. He walked through the desert to gain entrance into the colony which had no name, but produced most of the goods that his home had consumed. He was a child, but accepted no pity or support, he stood up for his right to use his body and skills, and earn a living through his labour. 
      "He watches the watchmen."
      In front of Solaris, the square was crowded, people talking and laughing. They all carried weapons with them. Men and women equipped with unknown number of firearms, with enhancements of their body, blessed with abilities that only they knew and understood, and the strength of their assistants who walked unseen in their human shells, they formed the first line of defense against an outer threat on the colony.
       It was the place of friendships, one of many public squares where people went to find new people, new souls to connect with, and new ways to brace the world they all lived in. They worked to uphold the strength of their community as a pillar of liberty. The statue of Stefan Molyneux loomed over the square, of the Prometheus who brought the fire of philosophy down from the pulpit to the masses.
       While he talked to Ana, he shared his attention between the crowd and the school’s mission table. When Solaris arrived to the colony, he began working as a freelancer, but having no reputation, he was rarely employed. In those rare cases when he was offered a work, he outperformed the greatest students of the orphanage, and the Shaman saw that. He offered him shelter and training in return of his service, which he accepted.
       The Shaman was a living legend, but few knew that he spent his days dreaming. His mind was a private server of virtual words maintained by the AI in his brain. He held his classes in there, interconnected with his students, flooding the content of their mind into a shapeless world to see what treasures they hold inside. He trained Solaris alone, and while other agents were trained in the art of deduction, of combat and of writing, he studied shamanism. He learned how to flood a mind with nightmare, how to force his turmoil into a narrative of madness, and implant that preconceived vision into the mind of his target. He gave him the power with which he may rule the world.   
       Soon after going through decades of simulation, Solaris became a member of the elite watchers of the colony. By the time they were thirteen, he was among the most wanted agents with the highest rating in the system, competing with legendary detectives and agents.
       Ana choose a different path, the path of proaction in the insurance firm of Dr. Wordsmith. He was the founder of the orphanage, and of a hundred other businesses. Ana was unknown by the public, but earned the same as her mate did. She put price tag to each contract between the customers and her firm. They wanted to pay less, and she wanted them to pay less aswell, so her assistant helped her customers to subscribe to firefighters, neighborhood watches, set up security systems, run their child through brain scans to see if they’ve been abused, offer extensive diet and exercise plans and do everything to make the life of their customers become as secure, as safe and healthy as possible. Ana Mionar found that through this she can fulfil her desire to help others, pump blood into all sectors of economy and help and maintain the kingdom of liberty without the need of a state. 
       In those cases of passion or despair when a crime was of a different nature, it took watchers to prevent or strafe it. They were scattered among the city, sleeping agents waiting to be deployed. And when his eyes started to follow instinctively a man with black, long coat, gloves, sunglasses, and a limp, he felt the call to action. His assistant sent beacon nanodrones towards him.
       “Identify please.”
       He sent out data to his lover. His drones settled on to the man like a veil, and scanned his face, eyes and fingers. She ran them through the data bank.
       “He does not exist.” she said, finding nothing in the system.
       “Is he here with no permit, then?”
       “No firm to back him up, no wallet, nothing. He has never been seen before.”
       “But the scanners didn’t stop him. There should be an automatic system of caging here that stops the banished. Can it be that the owners let him in without firm?”
       “Well no, the price of their insurance would rise to heavens since they deal with rouges, and so would that of their customers who dare to walk the square along with these strangers. They’d go out of business in no time.”
       The man was among the dozens of others, and when he walked past a woman, she stopped. She shivered, and was trapped in a memory loop for an instant. She saw the events of a second over and over, while her mind was scanned for memories to steal. When she regained control over her body, the man disappeared. She stood and stared at the ground, immersed in her thoughts, then looked around and within seconds, a new mission appeared in the table to get back stolen memories. Solaris grinned as he saw the reward, accepted the mission and stood up.
      Memories in the society had market value, as long as they were authentic. Every memory had a quantum key attached to it, which proved that it was not forged, but based on empirical experience. The companies making mind enhancements were thoroughly inspected by the public eye to see that their tech connects keys only to real events, and no breach is possible.
      People bought and sold memories, narratives, sometimes even whole fates, and the memory merchants were swimming in the money whenever 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?" he contacted Raoul Seoc.
      "Grab some popcorn and wait."
      "Raoul. I think I've met with one of your legendary cult members."
      He copied his memories to the message and sent it to Raoul. The answer came after half a minute.
      "It’s 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. He yearned to see his beloved caregivers one more time, to feel the calm and tranquil shelter they provided, to feel home once again, but all he found was secrets and an untold tale of darkness.
            The memory was the initiation rite of a dark cult, in which the members used technology so advanced, that it looked like magic. In the rite the newcomer gave up his identity, his self to connect to the Hypnos metaconsciousness. Since then, Raoul had been searching desperately for members to find the head of the cult. Being connected to his parents when they died, he either did nothing to prevent or help solving the crime or worse, initiated the murder. For this, 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 practiced lucid dreaming. He dreamt, and forced the dream he saw to bend to his will. 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 dreams, the ticking of his clock transplanted into his mind, counting seconds. Before awaking, he spent days in dream, planning his day, life and the encounter with the technological monstrosity called Hypnos, whose parts were once his family, who was the murderer of his sacrilegious parents, and now must face the 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. Hunting 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 crimes in their past, and when he was lucky enough to find one, he presented it to the public. He mostly found child abuse that was dealt with swiftly and without mercy.
      The cause of it was simple: aggression was a plague, and everything must be done to stop its spread. If they were to allow child abuse in even one family, the use of force as an absolute would have spread among the child’s friends, and once they grew old enough, the ancient, dreadful god of the lost Earth would return in an instant.
      The state would reborn.
      These thoughts occupied Raoul’s mind when he was preparing to meet with Solaris. 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. Instead of gravity manipulation training, he used lead weights for maintenance.
      All implants were functional.
      He dressed up without hesitation. He felt the triump of a battle in a great war. He called his cloudwalker and stepped into the vehicle from the open window.

       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 the Shaman 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 barely got out alive, but I got some evidence which convinced the public to excommunicate her. She experimented with abducted children, clearly violating the nonaggression principle. I believe her name was Sia Pride.”
      “So it was rough, right?”
      “It was insane. Why?”
      “Because, my friend, we are trapped in a nightmare simulation.”
      Raoul stopped, and looked around. The corridor seemed safe, 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 not one, but countless minds sewn into one being. Hundreds dream this nightmare. 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. I’ve always wanted to show you, but you’ve been so much into this cult. We barely talk. Though… I am nowhere compared to him, and it makes me ashamed. I don’t think I’ll ever 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 glasslike 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 the void.
      “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 strengthen his belief in God. He, that lost and abused little boy became just as aggressive as his parents were. He ran away, when the colony he lived in had collapsed, travelled through the desert and lived in the streets of the nameless colony for months.
       He was found by the Shaman, and since he himself came from such a fate, knew how to help him. 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; the rage he copied in his childhood from those around him 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 glorious strengtht, with 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 and 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 had never lost his self-control.

      “What do you feel, Sol?”

      “I.. I feel… anger.” he said and the dream begun to tremble.