The spin of the Earth ran out of control and our core shifted with the tilt of the axis.
In an age of digits and data, the process of compounding power continues, walls within walls built on bones, under horizons cut by hard lines.
A blindly knit patchwork of personalities play hopscotch with jackpots, silver spoons choking hopes, the climb to acquire inspiring insatiable desires.
Social lies up a ladder, inner circles tipped at triangle tops, by one bank account, our worth is measured.
By one common thread, those who were broken held on. Day to day living one continuous day, repetition of two steps forward, one to the side.
Like scars before rain, they feel what is coming.
Axis Mundi had been buzzing, all thought exchange centred on the 1blood-AI merger. Now coming into Q4, it had caused a million meme regurgitations which almost melted the global network system by the speed of its reach. The whole world had imagined a cooperation between mutants and factions, a slew of online opinion sung of reassimilation. Segregation is not conducive to productivity! Streamline our consciousness! Whether by the impending financial tsunami, or through his own gnawing guilt, a deal had been finalised and BT was sending firstborn, AK1 to speak on his behalf, conveying thanks for the constant, dependable support of the Lodge in its indoctrination of thoughts, preservation of commands, formulas and data, timekeeping maintenance and innovative, albeit roguish, troubleshooting modus operandi.
QAI had heard the same speech a lifetime ago. He’d been a scruff of a boy then, pure and void of chips. His blood had run red and strong then, pounding every heartbeat as clearly as the oxygen that had fueled it. Back when he first entered the workforce, occupation had been rooted in service, its reward, performing nobly for man and country. There’d been certificates and trophies granted, but no real, constant need for external affirmations. Today’s children, he thought, they clock in hours on the web for an audience who could never feel or touch them.
The genes of our evolution have hosted on bytes and left our bodies to decay. He mused how times had changed. How from the first time he’d heard this very speech, its propaganda had elegantly swivelled, in reverse, to a diametric point. The audacity of life lies such in its cyclical hypocrisy. To think, the first legal singularity, to be commemorated and celebrated at his institute of learning, today.
I am too old, I have seen too much, he thought. He rebooted the main newsfeed.
Being inside a cube with six-sided speaker-walls for too long could kill dreams. The bunker throbbed with bass, the music hardly intelligible under its vibrations, the charge passing between bodies indefinite and indeterminate. The Nightstrays couldn’t notice it. They were so dead inside, soul frictions read like static. Habituation on the hedonic treadmill had settled in another round of drinks, white ice. They danced on, eyes glazed and to the sky, arms fixed towards the ground in acquiescent submission to the drug. White ice was everywhere these days, there was such a surplus that a baggie would only cost you a kiss. MK hated kissing. She thought of all the germs festering in the corners of the mouth. It was one thing to dip a talon in the powder for a taste, but to allow osmosis of bodily fluids, No. She would find it another way. She would succeed.
MK had always succeeded because it had been decided so. Her father, Axis Mundi QAI and founder, had programmed her circuits with sentient thought. What made sense to MK was non negotiable. She had been taught value, it is measured by the gram, every person accordingly quantified and allocated. For MK, growing up had been a tedious process. Much like a game of charades, in which she had already guessed every opponents inner desires, the moment they chose it. Her education of the rules had been so chronic, her ability to manipulate them became an inane skill. It so pleased her to confound others with her logic.
She scanned the site. No immediate tangent presented itself. This annoyed her, the missions bequeathed to her were back logging. Damn her brother’s irresponsibility, fostering him was such an inconvenience.
The sun rose weakly, its rays barely piercing the city’s thick, hazy blanket, its washed light dispersed in the sky as time’s bleached filter over a once vivid photograph. Striking six AM, a chime echoed along through the hall, each soundwave swelling in every doorway like a forceful nudge to wake. Under each loud oscillation, an electric hum emanated through the air. Ever so low, its vibrations gave off a heat which converged as a simmering blur on the horizon.
AA was at her window, her eyes fixed on the distance, closing one, then the other. It was unusual for AA to have woken of her own accord, she’d been known to sleep through the alarm many times, rushing into classes a hurried, swirling mess of odd pupils and skewed buttons. The dispensation allowed to AA for such unbound, untimely behaviour was unfairly lenient, and only due to her father being QAI of that district. Much to the annoyance of her Superiors, -AA’s penchant for sleep was the single fault they could not catch her on. Sleep was precious, it was all over the news that anyone who could fade into it easily enough without need for drink, drugs or sex, were encouraged to revel in their slumber, lest they miss a dream. Dreams were rarely reported and Blindvisions made a poor substitute. The day’s leftover images, candid snaps stitched together, excess input shaved from Trash to form inapprehensible meanings, they could not be read like dreams. Dreams came only to the halfcasts.
Today, some uneasy part of her psyche had hitched to her pineal gland, activating her much earlier than need be. Today, AA had been up for hours, waiting to begin the day. She had put on each article of clothing as if in dance, each movement a practiced routine, -deviations from her naturally haphazard, circadian rhythm. Pristine, white undergarments, efficient slips of cloth cut as triangles –three altogether, one for each bud and a slit, fastened with wide, skin-toned elastic strips. An identical skin-toned, nylon jumpsuit, lined in lambskin measured and cut to contour the individual’s body down to the millimetre. Sleek, oblique buttons lining the spine, every joint padded with protective cushioning –knees, elbows, shins, blades and knuckles. The hood sealed to the skull, gills over the ears installed with high frequency sensors, the jumpsuit’s entirety washed with a patented, flame-proof, lava-proof, ice-proof coating. Calf-high, gun grey boots made of tough hide strapped in place with magnets and lasered seamlessly to heavy soles, AA thinks of EVE-k quoting, without weight, travel is suicide!
Checking her screen battery, AA jacked the Feed into her wristbone and surveyed her archaic cell. The frost she’d warmed with her breath was creeping back up the portcullis, iced, tessellated lattices weaving steadily up the bars.
The intercom sounded in her eargills, an announcement of two new transfers, M15, X-J.
AA’s superior had a tone as scathing as the beak on his face. AA wondered if he had ever experienced orgasm, and if its arrival would amplify his nasality. She had been wondering about copulation in the most unlikely circumstances, today. Just last night, she had questioned the QAI about sex. DDC 176, he’d responded. Down the hall and up into the Ivory Tower she had crept after bedtime, to nestle in pages with diagrams of reproductive systems and depictions of inseminations. This awkard, biological act fascinated her. How was it possible to transfer all that code, through such a viscous medium? It so fascinated her, she took to inspecting herself upon returning to her pod. At the mirror, she had shrugged off her nightshirt to show two expanding pink nipples. Turning to the side and lifting pale arms, she had seen the slight shadow that would later form a breast. Running a finger along its line, her pointer and thumb closed in at the tip. She had felt a shrill of nerves jump, an undulating ripple. Conducted as solemn ritual, the sensitivy felt in newly blooming parts of her body had sparked an unrealised awareness of where these new power sources could take her.
According to her physiology feed, she was due for puberty soon.
AA stopped in front of Supervisor Alpha’s massive, polished granite door. X, X is Jupiter, AA knew so. Could there really be a transfer from Red Hurricane? AA couldn’t even imagine the bio-hacks for such extreme conditions, firebloods were known pathological liars. M, she’d never heard of M before. Why couldn’t she recall her files for M? That was strange. It was unusal of AA to miss identifiying a life source. Unless, M’s roots were not flesh based? Setting her palm on the doorpane, it let a low hydraulic hiss and swung open.
AA felt a kick in her gut. Two transfers were dressed in freeclothes, one boy, tall and oil skinned, his bright eyes flashed lightsparks, AA thought of currents jumping wires, he must be a fireblood too. They were almond shaped and far set, the diamond white glow in them contrasting a blinding glaze against his slick, dark skin. His nose regal, delicate and paired with lips naturally, slightly parted at rest. He wore a copper threaded jumpsuit with no gloves, she saw his hands were calloused and rough. Sitting next to him, an androgynous creature blinking at her through thick lashes, deep eyes so black AA couldn’t make out the pupils. A small, pouty mouth scowling, her skin glowing in a fine down of light golden hairs, her hair cropped and unfurling in amputated ringlets behind her sharply pointed ears and at the base of her neck.
“What’s wrong with your eyes”, the androgynous elfin asked.
“Nothing is wrong with my eyes”, AA replied, “actually, I have emmetropia”.
“It’s complete heterochromia, Diamond-eyes interrupted, “rare in 1bloods and a malfunction in AI.”
“You’re a mutant, “ Androgynous elfin snorted derisively.
AA lashed, catching a knuckled fist on the elfin’s cheekbone, knocking the smirk right off her face. The elfin’s eyes enlarged on impact, her reflex swing hard against AA’s lower lip, sending her reeling over onto Diamond-eyes. Thick black droplets of blood fell to the floor. He caught her force and gripped his arms over her, trying to come between the two girls. The elfin swerved across him, scales had sprung up along her forearms, each sharp point glowing amber with heat.
“Stop!”, his words choked in his mouth as AA retalitated his chivalrous attempts to protect her with equal vigour, wayward punches thrown to land on anything, swift kicks to the shins and he went down howling.
“STOP”, a hi-decible note rang across the room, Supervisor Alpha emerged from her office, waving an audio frequency remote. AA, the elfin and Diamond-eyes incapacitated by the assualt on their hearing, sliding fingers between hood and head, prying into their ear canals in futile attempt to shut out the screech. It ended abruptly at their acquiescence.
“Don’t even try to explain, Miss Alta”, the supervisor barked. “The three of you, to the Great Hall. AA, see to it you scan each ID and report back here with M15 and X-J when Assembly is over”.
“Yes SA1”, shooting a withering look at the others, AA led them through the great doors, her mismatched eyes flashing in anger, one the color of midnight, the other of glacial ice. Years ago, the QAI had told her the story of halfcast eyes, how those born with them were often inducted and trained into service as scribes under guidance of the celestial timekeepers. It was said opposing eye colors induced greater dream viscosity. That, when translated, their meanings could perpetuate reality’s direction and seeing through polar eyes could foretell the past. AA never believed any of that. AA’s vivid dreams dissipated the moment her eyelids fluttered open, she had no incentive to chase and note them.
“Are you upset with me?” Diamond-eyes caught her stride, in step beside her, he studied her face. “I don’t mean to distress you, it’s a unique physicality, to have heterochromic iridum. He grinned and his white teeth shone. AA glared at him.
“Here,” she said. “Pull up your wrists”.
M15 scanned his screen to the eye in the door. Sliding it open, he crossed the threshold.
“Now you.” As AA turned to X-J, AK1’s voice boomed. The right for all to claim life, the promise of each individual’s lineage to continue. Something, something. AK1 didn’t look anywhere near as impressive as he did on a screen. In fact, his realtime self was hardly much bigger than his holographic self. AA felt disapointment. Looking around at the faces of her peers, she knew it was collective. This was nothing like the electric rapport that had preceeded the event. How could this lacklustre, droning voice belong to the line of BT? She scanned over the front row. To AK1’s right, a figure stood half hidden in shadow, its aura, heavier. As a meagre ray of sunlight passed, she found the shadow’s gaze bored into her.
The wound on her mouth pulsed in pain.