Proud Infinity pt 18

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“Uhh…” I woke up, looking at the beam of light on my colored pillow.  I woke up from something that had just killed me, of that I was fairly sure.  The longer I sat there thinking the clearer and more coalescing my thoughts became.  I had recalled variations of the unfolding day, at first thinking it was just dreams within dreams but they were too vivid, too painful.  On some level something really messed up was happening here.

I felt this aura or field around me, as if it was a physical medium.  It was dark and thick, like the feeling at graveyards but a thousand times stronger.  The more I lay there the more I could slowly start feeling experiences of sorts wash over me.  It was strong ones at first: fear, anger, lust.  But it had an instructive element to it, that I was relearning or recalling old knowledge or skills I had.  Like grabbing a bicycle after not riding it, I ‘remembered’ on a vague level of stuff rushing back to me.

What was this, the third?  The fourth?  My head swam, and I had a grim feeling somewhere in my mind it was much higher than that.

Maybe I had finally remembered simply by raw repetition of being unraveled.  It appeared to be true what that girl named ‘Proud’ had claimed: I was stuck in a time fracture.  Something at ReCorp had created a particle that was so destructive to our reality that either it or the universe somehow reverberated that destruction back into time to before it occurs to ensure it never actually occurs.

And according to Proud, I was the one who had to stop this.  My stomach dropped; the universe was probably screwed.

At this point I was seriously trying to decide how many times had I ‘lived’ this day.  I remembered the couple recent ones.  But it seemed like the further back ‘times’ I remember, the vaguer they were.  It was entirely possibly I had been through this a thousand, or a million times.

I got up and splashed some water on my face, helping remind me ‘this’ was real.  I sat down against the wall, trying to think critically.

Last time I actually seemed to gleam a lot of information.  I recalled the last loop in pretty good detail, but looking back on it, I knew things I should not have.  There were a lot of things I remember personally saying I was not sure I might normally understand.   I was accepting of a lot of Proud’s crazy ideas, and jumping to conclusions that did not necessarily follow.  What this meant to me is that somehow I knew things I normally should not have.  Maybe indeed I was many iterations into this fracture, and that knowledge was slowly accruing within my consciousness packets or whatever she said I had.

So, the question then was, when do I remember?  Right now I was piecing a little together, but not to the extent I was talking to her last time.  Wait….‘last time’ certainly isn’t the right word, but what else to call it?

I saw my white shirt on the desk and remembered her changing it to pink.  Today was definitely a new cycle, but her show definitely had something important to it, I just could not grasp it yet.  What did it mean that she could change a shirt, but I could not?  There was something profound I was missing.

Sitting there holding the white shirt I was thinking of the people I ran into this day, and how any of them could possibly help me.  One thing that was clear is that I seemed to only remember the most recent resets clearly.  There was no telling how many I actually endured, I might be really early, or really far in.  I’d have to keep that thought in mind.

There were a few major characters excluding Proud that stuck out and maybe had some clues for me.  There was the bartender, either of the two guys I fought, that old man at the pit, and the android girl.  They likely had some key to this.

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Proud Infinity pt 15

“Quite so.”  Her hand went up to her hair and began twirling the long ribbon with her fingers.  The girlish behavior was oddly endearing given the heavy conversation.  “There has been a reality fracture so strong – perhaps you might understand given your background – created by a particle that might be capable of creating a new universe, but definitely destroying this one in the process.  It seems like it was a particle like this that indeed created Us,” she seemed to put emphasis on ‘Us’, “but a new one cannot be allowed to exist.  It destroys the very essences of reality, of which I told you the physical plane is a few planes, annihilating everything in a rapidly spreading wave.  This wave is initially only on the base plane, that’s yours, but intertwines all the others in its destruction.  This is so devastating that time fractures backwards to ensure it never happens.”

“Ok, I have no idea what you just said.”  I massaged my eyes a moment.  “I really need to take a walk.  Want to go outside?”

She twirled her ribbon one more time, lowering her hand to the table.  “Sure.”  We stood up, and walked out.  I left a handful of drinks I had paid for but at this point didn’t care.  As we were walking out she continued, “A particle that rips apart reality is created very soon here, and it is so damaging, time fractures backwards to prevent it from occurring.”

“And according to you, I am stuck in this fracture.  Or I mean we all are.”

“Yes, but I am here to help you.”

I didn’t say anything for a while.  I had a lot of thoughts going through my head.  My pink shirt told me there was a good chance I was still crazy.  If this was a trap, she was very committed to it, at the very least she had a pretty crazy story she kept straight.

She claimed no one could see her because if affected something.  Yet here she was in front of me.  I definitely had felt her so on some level she was corporeal.  There was someone walking the other way when I had an idea.

Without any warning I dashed at her, going to shoulder ram her into the guy.  Without even looking at me she took an effortless step back.  Her move left me way off balance and I almost hit the guy myself.

I rapidly turned to her, with perhaps a glare in my eyes.  She had a sly look on before she laughed.  “Nice try.  If you believed what I was saying, you wouldn’t have bothered trying.  I already told you, I can read your upper level thoughts, plus I can see the Chrono lines.  You had two things against you that were impossible to surmount.”

I didn’t respond, feeling a twinge of embarrassment that she outplayed me.

The fact we were able to walk outside at all was a bit reassuring as I thought Proud might be a hologram confined to that bar.  She was quite capable of walking.  There were two options left: she was a thought implant, or everyone was in on some experiment I was the victim of.  Eventually we ended up over by the fence overlooking ReCorp.

It was only after I walked here that I thought about the subconscious draw that brought me back here.  Maybe I was distracted by walking with Proud.  In fact it was almost like having a child with me with how excited and energetic she was at everything.

“The physical plane is really amazing you know that?”  Her crouched form was bent over to a small flower growing out of a crack.  She smelled it, then jumped out of her crouch and trotted over to me with her hands laced behind her back.  “We view it as perhaps the biggest irony that those inhabiting this plane tend to not fully enjoy its pleasures or its extra joy.”  She kept her hand behind her back as she leaned on the balls of her feet next to the fence and was humming something.

“It’s probably natural, it’s all we have known.  We don’t know what we are missing, or how much we have.”

“It’s not all you have known, but your point is close enough.”

“Careful.” I grabbed her shoulder and pulled her back from the thin fence separating her from the massive fall.  “I’d hate to see ‘God’ take an early exit out of here.  So evidently you can influence reality as you dropped that guy’s screen, and you are quite destructive if you want to be, so why don’t you just fly in there and rock out whatever is creating this fracture and everything will be okay?”  This seemed like a pretty logical flaw in her whole story.

Proud Infinity pt 13

Hey guys hope you are enjoying the story!

 

I had no clue what she was talking about, so went onto something else.  I was going to find a flaw in this girl’s story.  “So Proud, that is your name, right?” She nodded.  “If you need my help, why can’t someone like him help you?”  I pointed to the bartender.

“Lacks higher-level consciousness.  Just a shell, that any work laid would be lost in the fracture; amplified by an inability to detect…or perhaps an unwillingness to do so.”

“Lacks consciousness?  Is he an android?”

“No, he is Solarian.  Do you perhaps not understand the word?  Maybe are our definitions different?”

“I don’t know; why don’t you try telling me?”

She stopped, closing her eyes. “Let me try to remember the most effective way I was able to convey this.”  There was silence for a while.  “To say it is complicated for your mind would be a massive understatement, but in a way perhaps it is the simplest truth.  Are you familiar with the term some members of your race know as ‘Axl’?”

“No.”  I could feel the situation would be one that whoever I was talking to might normally be frustrated that I was not grasping whatever experiment I was in, yet I felt only complete patience from the strange girl.  I had my annoyances with her, but her tolerance was winning me over.

“Okay, well…”  she paused while she thought, “your body and mind are ultimately recyclable.  Your race understands this as ‘The Line’.  This shouldn’t be a surprise for you.  When you die, all that energy will, in one way or another, will be utilized again.  However, consciousness, or maybe call it ‘high level awareness’, has a reality of its own too.  It is not part of these dimensions you normally call ‘reality’.  It ultimately influences this reality, but low levels or non-existence in awareness often reverses the circumstances; meaning this reality instead influences the weak awareness.”

“You are kind of losing me, can you explain?”

“My last sentence was the best explanation.  Essentially, at high levels of consciousness, there exists a sort of manifesting ability, whereas as low levels, reality instead changes or crushes the consciousness.”  She stopped talking, waiting to see if I understood.

“Nothing real can be taken away,” I stated, recalling some philosophical thing I had heard once which seemed appropriate here; I said it more to try to pretend I knew what she was talking about than any real understanding I had of what she was saying.

Her huge grin was worth my statement as her happiness was very infectious.  “Exactly, Tre!  If it is there, it cannot be taken away!  That is exactly why you were the one selected.  Your awareness and openness targeted you out right away.”  Seeing her so happy and exited made me feel a bit happy as well; I smiled at my ability to have made her happy.

“So, are you even real, or do we have some other dimensional thing going on here?”

“Oh I am real, but to drop into this dimension takes a vast amount of energy and concentration.  See?”  She gripped my arm hard, and it actually hurt.  I had no doubt her slightly muscular arms belied massive strength that could completely crush through my arm.  “But as consciousness affects your reality, this is why I am only visible to you.  To influence one reality is much easier than all of them.”

“But, if I am more aware of reality, wouldn’t that make it harder for you to come here?  I’d be more aware that what is going on here should not be happening in normal circumstances.  Wouldn’t that guy be easier to influence or whatever?”

“Of course, but to what avail?”

She disappeared, and I sat back in surprise, looking around.  The guy was watching a screen that suddenly shut off.  “What the?”  He sat up, slapped the screen and it fall off the counter in what seemed like excessive movement for his light touch.  He swore a bit, and went to trying to fix it.  Proud was back at her chair.

She gave me a girlish smile.

Proud Infinity pt 12

Hey guys, been busy working on a new story that last couple of days.  Hope you are enjoying the story, remember like it, and comment.  I am a new author and if you enjoy this share it with your friends, I can use any help you can give.  Thanks!

 

Story:

A new voice broke my concentration. “Uh, are you okay?  Here are your drinks.”  The bartender had a worried look cratered into his older face.  He set them down across from me, and I noted that Proud did not physically touch anything during the placement of the drinks.  Was the bartender a wayward savior on this dark path I was falling down with this girl?

“I’m fine, get out of here please.”  I turned back to Proud. “I get what’s going on here, he ‘can’t see you’ supposedly, right?  Is he in on this, or are you some sort of implantation device in my thought or maybe a hologram?  All of them make sense, though I am going with the second simply because you seem to be tailored to my subconscious tastes.”  That part was not out of the ordinary, there were a lot of forms of…entertainment…that tapped into the subconscious to edit the experience to maximum personal pleasure.

She frowned, and the motion was so genuine I felt bad for causing it. “You have dark thoughts Tre.”  ‘Tre’?  Hmm, never had someone shorten my name.  “These are always the most painful when you decide that you would rather be suspicious of me.  Oh, and yes I can understand your highest level conscious thoughts, haha!” She blushed then started laughing randomly.  “Tre, naughty boy!  And no I can’t control you, so don’t worry.  Though it would be much easier.”

I grit my teeth together and my mouth was in a half frown.  “So, what the hell is going on?  I hope you can at least understand my doubtful thoughts.  I am not convinced you are entirely real.  At this point I am expecting anything that you tell me to do might just be a test of my morality or sanity or something.”

Proud laughed at that. “That paranoia you possess is painful, even to me it hurts.  Drop that fear!  True reality is joyous.  Do I look scared at all right now?”  Her excited personality was a bit disarming, but I had way too much on my mind to appreciate or believe it.

“No, but you don’t have me changing my appearance and appearing in your dreams.  Anyway, what’s the deal?  Can you tell me what is going on, or is that part of the test?”

She shook her head, her ribbon softly swaying with the movement.  “No test.  While unfortunately I cannot conclusively prove anything, I hope you can trust me.”  She leaned back, her blue eyes looking upwards while her breasts seemed to be pointing right at me with their temptation.  Okay, clearly this was some test to try to lure me in, with the whole ‘oh tee-hee I didn’t know I was flirting with him~!’ persona.

She did not say anything for a while.  What the hell was she trying to ‘prove’, that her intrigue was distracting!?  Of course that was obvious, but my future death was more important, no matter what she triggered in me.

Eventually she began, “I am glad I do not feel ‘annoyance’, because it would perhaps be nearly unbearable from what I understand the feeling to be.  Though, I can deeply appreciate the irony of this situation, which might help alleviate the sensation.”  She met my gaze then asked a simple question:  “How many times do you think we have had a conversation like this?”

I was sitting there and realized I had to answer her.  “Well, one.  Right?”  I hated I actually questioned if that was correct or not.

“No, not even close.  But I do not know either, only vague conscious packets that have survived the back fracture are any indication of the vast multitude.  The Emotion Field is implanted with your accruing thoughts that slowly spill backwards.  This is how the back fracture is not a complete reset every time.”

Proud Infinity pt 10

Thanks for reading the story so far, to catch up our hero Trego is a scientist who is fired when they were researching information on time flow, and he meets a interesting girl who no one else seems to see.  He is killed by a black wave, wakes up and thinks he saw this all in a dream.  Is it a dream, or something else?

 

Story:

I sprinted over to a fence separating where most people could come and where a road was that the supply vehicle was on as memories of my dream came flooding back.  There was not a single doubt about it, it was a…the ReCorp noisy vehicle I had seen later in town in my dreams.  I watched in a shocked silence until it and its noise were out of view.

I ran as fast as I could back to the port, the door sliding barely out of my way in time.  I was breathing hard, holding the frame of the door as I looked up at the flirty attendant, hoping I would not fall off, either off the door or perhaps off reality.

What I thought was ‘now’ seemed just another frame of a picture, the dreams were just as bold and vivid as what I was seeing in front of me.  Was this girl the girl of my dream?  I stared hard at her, perhaps crazily, while her questioning face looked back.  It was not.  The angles of her face and body were a bit different, no Strive, and her hair was black.  This girl was directly flirtatious, the other was more coquettish.

What was that name in my dream?  Was it her activation code?  Scenes flashed through my mind like some final moment before death.

“Prove…uh pride…proof?”  I said to the woman, a grasp on my sanity was slipping.  She blinked once and I ran out of the door before I thought I might lose it completely.  Running felt real, and I was ready to hang on to this fragile sense of reality as long as I, and my body, could.  My entire morning’s walk was reversed by my hard, panicked run.  That fence, where was the fence?

I took a few turns, heading towards the ReCorp pit, and came to the fence, but the guy was gone.  “Different…huuuu…time…” I said, breathing hard.  I lifted my face to the sky, sucking some air down while I tried to figure out what was happening.  There was no doubt what I was living now was real, and I felt a strange certainty that if I didn’t do something key, I actually would die here.  The dreams were warning me.  Holy shit.

Where was that bar?  I think over this way.  I headed through some alleys I was trying to navigate backwards through based entirely on some dreams.  Coming to it, I was not sure what I expected, and I paused only a moment before pushing the door open.

I think there was supposed to be a man who was my first fight over on the right, and my assassin further down…but the bar was empty.  The bartender was there, but in a different position than I remember in the dreams, and no one else was here at this time.  No one else was in the large bar, except for the green-haired girl with her bright pink bow in the corner.

‘Proud.’  Her name came to me in my mind.

I walked decisively over to her, throwing my credcard onto the bar telling him I’d take a few rounds but to leave me alone.  I was under no delusion that something big was happening, and my little credcard was far more useful saving my annoyance from this guy than anything else.  I sat down, and her happy face did not at all match my hurried-anguish.

“Proud,” I said definitively.  She did not respond.  My focus started dropping, did I mess something up?

“Proud?”  I asked this time.  She sat there blinking at me.

Get the name wrong?  I started to doubt myself.  Why would this girl’s name be something random from a dream?  Was I really crazy?  Damn, maybe I must be a victim of thought implant experimentations…But…everything was too perfect to just be a crazy delusion of mine!

“Proud!”  I yelled, trying to convince her as much as myself that I was not crazy.

The girl’s confused, silent face said otherwise.  My mouth opened in a shocked frown, how did I get something like this wrong?

Suddenly she started laughing, putting one hand out onto my arm as she bent forward, unable to control her laughs.  “Sor…sorry!” She lifted her face, one eye was squinted closed, the other half-open with tears coming out of both. “I was just kidding!  That reaction is usually priceless!”

Proud Infinity pt 9

Hey guys thanks for reading, and commenting.  I love your comments, again I am a new(ish) writer to the world at large so love to learn and see how my writing comes off.  We last left our hero Trego wondering what he was experiencing in his ‘dreams’

 

“Unfortunately,” just with the first word my heart sank, “this spaceport has been decommissioned as a fully active port.  This stems from the fact this planet was demoted on the Solarian research colony status.”

I shook my head. “Tell me about it.”

“So while this does not have a ship off, down at Lest Rigo there is a small port with a ship that leaves about once every six or seven cycles.  Want me to come with you?”

I was a bit surprised by her request, the way she put emphasis on ‘come’ rather than ‘with’ caught me off guard.  Damn it, was that a double entendre like the Aelisha always are unloading?  “Uh, sure if you want to.”

“Haha, I’m just kidding.  My job is here; I just ask everyone to see what they say!”

I frowned a bit.  Dang, she was hot too; just teasing me.  I fell for that kind of stuff way too easy.  Might as well be a tricky fox girl.  “Well, hey, thanks for the info.  And I have a quick question, are you an android by chance?”

“Yes, I am.  What gave it away, out of curiosity?”

I was smiling that I finally had an edge on her. “A bit too-perfect of looks.”

“Aww…should I take that in the wrong way?”

“I don’t know, do you like taking things in…the wrong way?” I smirked at her, wondering if she would play along.

“I much prefer taking things in, the right way.”  Her smile widened.  “Is there anything else here I can give you a hand with?”  Whoa she was flirting right back.

“I’m pretty capable of doing it myself–”

“Me too!”  She interrupted.  Maybe I was reading into this, but she sure seemed like she was escalating the innuendo.

“But I am not one to turn down a helping hand.”

“Well my hands are extremely well taken care of.”  She offered her hand to me and I grabbed it, feeling how soft they were.  Our little banter and especially touching her hand turned me on pretty hard; it had been a while since I had explosive chemistry like that.  I’ll have to swing back here sometime and see if I can’t get with this girl.  Damn, I really wanted to take her out for some fun, if this weird mental thing wasn’t happening I’d be all over her.

I stepped back away from her lest my main mission get derailed.  “Anyway that reminds me of a random question I just remembered.  Is it true that androids either often have, or have to have, a secret phrase that can shut them down, or override their commands?  Sorry if that’s offensive or anything.”

She shook her head ‘no’. “Hardly.  I enjoy talking about our position in the universe.  You know there is not that much difference between an ‘android’, which may be completely made or restored from someone that died, and that of an engineered Solarian, implanted with nanites and so on.  In a way we are both made, just to different extents.”  I nodded to her point seeing as it was pretty true.  Anyone who hated androids didn’t really think about the subtle difference, her flesh and wit was real enough I was turned on by it.  “Anyway, yes, we do often have an override command.”

“Interesting.”  It was rumored that most androids had varying levels of combat capabilities installed in them ‘in case of emergencies’.  I had a very strong curiosity to reach over and touch her.  Could I feel difference?  Supposedly most androids could take bullets, but no one could tell the difference just by looking at one.

“You sure are curious.”  She put a hand on her slightly kipped out hip.  I tried to not look at how perfect her legs were, or how it seemed her hips were mathematically proportioned just correctly.  Ha, mathematically proportioned…that is definitely something I would notice.  Her long black hair was just so clean and straight.  As hot as she was, her intellect stimulated me the most.

“Yeah I used to be a scientist…” I might have continued flirting with her but then I heard a sound I was certain I had heard before, and it was unloading from the ship that had landed.  It was a supply vehicle with loose gravplates.  “I got to go,” I told her before I ran outside.  There was no way this was happening!

Proud Infinity pt 6

Hey guys our hero Trego is having some weird things happen to him where he has seen the future before it happens and the playful/enegmatic Proud teases him about the situation.  Some more action is about to occur. Enjoy, like and comment!

Story:

We sat there for a while, her gaze never leaving mine, even though I would occasionally look around the room for something to pop out and say this was a joke, or I was in some experiment.  I was going to lash my hand out to grab hers, but she seemed to pull it back about the same time I had the thought.  That was kind of odd, maybe she knew what was going to happen as well

“So are you going to tell me what is going on?” I asked her.

“Kind of an odd question.”

I closed my eyes for a moment.  “Look, please, I get that, you have stated it enough times.  I am trying hard to not get angry here.  I want to know why I seemed to have had a dream about you, about this whole place.  That guy over there wanted to fight me, and this guy here,” I said, trying to point them out without making too much motion, “shoots me later and I almost die.  Then later the whole world goes black and everything on the planet dies.”

As soon as I said everything I wanted to grab them back.  Here I was pulling up to some amazingly attractive girl who gave nothing but cryptic answers to dodge my questions and I spilled my whole crazy psyche before her.  Trego, you fail the test, we condemn you to a permanent life of wandering the streets.

“If only you were right in the scope,” she said to herself before looking back to me.  “Did you learn anything?” she asked.

“Yeah, I learned a lot, but I am the one asking questions.”

She grinned, her perfect white teeth shone for a moment.  “Are you?  It appears you let me ask one.”  Evidently she possessed a bit of wittiness beyond her cryptic clauses.  I had to laugh once at her wit.  I liked her, even if she pissed me off.

“You aren’t used to having a conversation are you?”

“Do you want me to answer that?” she asked.

“Oh, so now you would answer some stupid question?  Look, don’t answer that one, but tell me this, have we met before?” I said emphasizing the last part.

“Yes.”

The first guy who fought me had now walked up; I did not like where this was going.  “You are scaring some of the others.  I think it is best if you left before something happens.”

I turned to him. “I think it’s best if you shut your face before something happens.”

I looked back at Proud who had resumed a tight, thin smile, almost as if she was trying to subdue a laugh.

“That so?” the guy asked loudly.  “Well why don’t you shut this!?”  My drink was sent crashing and spilling into me following his comment.

No!  My dream warned me about this, and it happened anyway!  I turned quickly back to the girl.

“We are involved in something big here, aren’t we?  By that I mean you and me right?”

“Yes, but that is an understatement.”

“I’ve seen this before last night in my dream, and I was supposed to avoid it.  But I know what I need to do to avoid getting shot.  I will be back.  I hope we will meet again.”

“I know.  You always are.  We always will.”

I wanted to ask her something about what she just said but a shot exploded off the Dimaglass on the window behind us.  I lifted my Liner pistol, firing at the glass myself until it shattered from the multitude of rounds unloading their kinetic energy into it and jumped through, feeling a shard tearing into my shoulder.

I ran and ran, getting away from there.  I stopped, breathing hard, and started laughing.

“Yes!  I did it!”  My dream warned me about today.  I must have some sort of Chrono Sense that was activating to prevent me from getting shot at.  Of course, this was nothing new; a lot of special people had some of these advanced Senses, but to have it myself?  Great!  Hell yeah Trego, you won’t be on the streets much longer now.

Proud Infinity pt 5

Hey guys thanks for reading and liking, please leave any comments about your thoughts on the story!  Trego now is at the bar, and is going to meet the playful by myterious Proud.  Things are heating up!

story:

I laughed loud once. “Just kidding man.  Like anyone has a job since damn ReCorp came in.  Bastards,” I said shaking my head.  It was so weird.  I agreed with my statements, but I felt more like an actor watching and carefully picking my lines than actually living life.  “Get me your cheapest drink, I’ll be back.”

I turned and saw ‘Infinity Girl’ in the corner and went to stand up.  This time the man who wanted to fight me stayed seated.  He nodded to me while I walked passed him.  Good choice.  I laid you out once, I’ll do it again.

This girl had a very powerful aura about her that was intimidating, but I was more poised about this figure she represented compared to what might be happening to me internally.

“Hi,” I said, taking the seat across from her.  She had a deeply knowing smile on as she looked at me.  I kind of frowned for a moment as my poise left me.  Damn, it’d been a while since I had been unsettled like this by a woman.

Her dark green hair came a bit long around the face, leaving just enough room for bright blue eyes to look through like a window as the hair hung softly around the cheeks, leaving her Strive to be completely unobstructed.  She had a playfulness to her with the sly smile on, vastly out of position at a dump like this bar. Her pink bow spoke to her presumed confidence, and her tight black bodysuit she wore left nothing to imagination.

‘Ahh, the wonders of genetic engineering, eh?  Damn right.’  I conversed with myself.

I was staring at the shadows and shines on her adequate chest when she asked, “Enjoyable?” before softly laughing.  “I hoped it would be.”

“Damn, sorry.” I closed my eyes and shook my head.  I opened my eyes back up and concentrated on looking at her eyes, which was actually rather hard.  “Look, this is kind of a weird question, but…do we know each other?”

“That is an interesting question.  It is tough to tell.”

“Uh…it is?  Why?” I asked.

“If you do not yet know, perhaps we do not yet know each other?”  Her tone indicted she was asking a question, but I wasn’t sure.  I mean what kind of question is that?

She was as mysterious as her appearance.  Her eyes had a deep level of intelligence to them, as we stared at each other I felt like she knew far more than she let on.

“Is that a question for me?”  I asked.  “I don’t remember you, but it kind of seems like I know you.”

“Hey.” A new voice, I turned and it was the bartender.  He had my drink I didn’t really want.  “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, why?”  I pulled out my credcard and he swiped it, deducting a few valuable credits.  I hoped it wasn’t the difference from getting a ticket off-world and not.

“Well you came in here before and ran off, now you are sitting at an empty table talking to the wall.”

My eyes flashed back to the girl, half expecting she would not be there and that I was going crazy.  Yeah, lock up ol’ Trego!  Ever since he lost his job he has just been on a downward spiral.  Next thing you know, he will be shooting people saying this was all a dream.

But she indeed was there, and perhaps that was even worse for my case of going crazy.  She smiled and nodded once.

“Uh, yeah, I’m fine.  Just still a bit messed up over losing my job and all.”

“Join the crowd,” the bartender said before he left.

I leaned forward to the girl.  “Okay, what the hell is going on?”

“That is also a tough question with many layers of complexity.”  I felt like she was playing me for the fool.

I balled my fist in anger; her coyness was pissing me off.   “Look, I get it.  My questions are ‘tough’ but start talking.  Why do these guys pretend you aren’t here, and why did I dream a scenario close to this, except I died and didn’t talk to you in it?!”  As soon as I released the torrent, I regretted it.  I didn’t even know this girl, and now suddenly I was acting like some crazy person.

I was glad she didn’t make an issue of it.  “Maybe you were supposed to talk to me then?” she asked innocently.

“It was a dream, you can’t control those things.  Maybe that’s why I am talking to you now, because of that vision.”  I was far more open with her than I normally ever would be, but the intensity of that dream kept me going.

“Vision?  Is that what you thought it was?” she asked, her eyebrows went up in a ‘what the hell are you talking about’ kind of look, kind of like everyone else had in the room.  For a moment I considered that maybe I was part of some reality show, or some military test to see if I would break.  No, I was tougher than this.  At the very least I had to see what she would say.

I gripped my fist hard, gritting my teeth.  This stupid bitch, I didn’t do good with coquette behavior.  I wanted to slap her.  For a moment I thought about threatening her with my pistol, but I left that idea on the table, so to say.  For now I’ll just try a different approach.

I sighed and tried again.  I wanted to get to the bottom of this mystery.  “Do you have a name?”

“I am a bit unsure on your standards, but isn’t it correct to give your name first?”

I frowned a bit; she was not making this easy.  “It’s Trego.”

“I know,” she stated flatly.

I raised an eyebrow.  “You already know?  Why would you even ask then?”  I realized that everyone in the bar had stopped talking and was looking at me.  I looked back at them, wondering how long they were going to keep their act up, and they went back to small talk.  Yes I get it; I’m probably part of a comedy show or some psyche experiment, go back to drowning your sorrows.

“Yes, I know your name,” she said.

“Uh, well okay, so what is yours?  Can you give it to me now?”  What was the point of her little show if she already knew mine?

“Proud,” she stated the single word and nothing more.

“ ‘Proud’?  That’s your name?”

She turned her head slightly, looked just a bit concerned.  “Is it not sufficient for a name?  Do I require something more?  I had hoped everything was sufficient, tailored specifically, in fact.  Does it need to be changed?  I’m sorry, this is my first time.  This is all new to me as well.”

“No, if that’s your name, it’s fine.  I just wasn’t sure I heard you right.”

Her tone of voice changed slightly, her pronunciation was now different.  “Is this easier for you to understand?”  It was not like adding or dropping an accent, which some people do, and it seemed beyond just a nanite filter of having them change the spoken words.  Her voice had changed.

My thoughts were racing, ‘What the fuck is going on here?’  I glanced behind me and everyone was staring at me.  I stared back at her, and half-expected her to be gone.

Proud Infinity Pt 3

Here is the 3rd part of the new story Proud Infinity about a a guy who become stuck in a time loop.  We last ended with him wondering if he could get off the planet, the story is about to get heated:

 

I hit my hand on the ground in frustration.  Damn!  Why didn’t I leave?  What was keeping me around?  Seems stupid looking back on it, it is not like I have any purpose here now.  Okay, that settles it.  I am out of here.  I’ll buy a ticket and be gone in just a few cycles.

I pulled out my gun and ran my fingers over it.  At least this was a good purchase before things fell apart completely.  I was making a lot of credits at the time, and I spent a serious amount on the best pistol I could get without a military clearance.  I caught my Strive reflected in the large barrel of the pistol and thought of that strange girl at the bar with her simplistic pictogram.  The tattoo under my left eye was a straight line, followed by a perpendicular one, ending with a triangle beyond it.  The meaning was that the straightest path to anything might not be a straight line.  I liked to think that that inscription that had been with me from childhood helped me in my non-standard thinking of solving problems.

Regarding hers, I honestly did not think you could get a Strive that…simple.  I didn’t know the rules of the inscriptions, but I had never seen anyone with a single, non-complex design, so that’s what I based my assumption off of.

I hoped she wasn’t a regular there.  I do not know if I was ready to go back there anytime soon, given the size of the city seeing her elsewhere would be a low chance.  Damn, she was hot too.  My curiosity piqued by what exactly she was.  Maybe she was with ReCorp.

Motion.

I tilted my pistol just slightly to see a man obviously coming up behind me in its reflection.  Strange.  And not good.

I waited a bit more and when it was clear he was coming right at me I dashed forward and rapidly turned around.  Nice melee attack chump, prepare to die.

“Hey punk, this is for Walo!” He did not have a melee weapon, instead his leveled pistol erupted fire that tore into my shoulder.  Damn, he was good.  No warning.  Professional.

I let a little yelp out as I was torn to the ground.  My hand holding my pistol went to my right shoulder, feeling warm liquid leak out of it.

“Ha, guess there was nothing to you, huh boy?  Just a pathetic, lucky kid.  I will leave you here like the rest of the trash in this shithole.”  He smiled darkly as his pistol was pointing at me.

My rapid thoughts congealed and realized I had to act right now.  I brought the pistol onto the man who was stupid to not finish me and pulled the trigger.  The Liner pistol’s Gauss accelerators propelled the rounds from zero to maximum velocity within a very short time.  The caseless rounds tore through him at a far faster rate than his chemical propellant variety of weapon.  In a few fractions of a trigger pull easily over fifty rounds were out of my gun and through his body.  His torso exploded apart and he joined me down on the ground, except he was now completely dead.

“Uhh…” I gritted my teeth looking at my right arm.  I tried squeezing my fingers and they did not work despite the massive pain of trying.  I braced myself to try harder, screaming out in pain as I tried to close my limp hand.  Nothing.

Damn damn damn!  Was my arm shot through!?  I was not a soldier, I was a fucking scientist.  How did this happen!?

My mind was racing, scared of the blood leaking out of me.  There was a sizable hole through my shoulder, and while I could feel my nanites pumping chemicals through me and trying to close the hole, this was still a very serious wound.  My head swam for a moment before the chemicals started calming me.

I tried ripping my shirt with my left hand, gripping hard and pulling against my body but without a strong counter force it was not coming apart.  I took off my sock in desperation and started jamming it into the hole.  I was oddly self conscious that I was doing this and knew I should be in massive pain but I had so many synthesized chemicals in me from my system nanites I could not even feel anything anymore.  Even the panic had given away to my coldly calculating mind, distantly stuffing a sock in my shoulder.

The injury was further alarming because at every finger extension of me pushing the sock in, I would expect to find resistance of my body, such as a bone or my back.  I felt extreme nausea come over me at the implication of the massive hole in my shoulder that clearly went all the way through.

When the thin sock had completely been put into my shoulder, the very idea that part of it might be hanging out the backside – bloody and dripping – was too much and I started coughing before throwing up on the ground in front of me.  I was too dizzy, likely from the thoughts more than the feelings as nanites were quite capable of keeping someone fighting in worse condition that I was.  I leaned forward and sprawled out on the ground.

Normally the nanities would have mostly stopped the bleeding and within a cycle or two would heal over the hole.  Perhaps even now there may be a synthetic layer of skin covering a dirty sock in my shoulder…the thought of my sock disgusted me and I was sick again.

The spinning in my head slowly stopped, and the pain was distant.  I pushed myself to kneeling, then eventually to standing.

“Kckk…” I coughed a few times, rubbing my mouth and eyes on my shirt and stood up, having to catch my feet a few times from being mentally unsteady.  The blood and vomit where I was looked like a massacre occurred there.

I started to walk away, until realized I didn’t have my shoe.  I didn’t know if I could really put it on, so merely stupidly grabbed it, grabbed the weapon of the man I had killed in self-defense, and hobbled back to my room.  The few people I saw stare at me on the way back did not once ask if I was okay; I stared back with hatred.  Maybe I’ll just put a round through them.  In some fitting irony, I now looked exactly like the trash I despised so much.

I held my hand over my shoulder and by the time I made it back to my room, I felt a few fibers of synthetic material stringing itself across the wound to heal faster.  I would not be taking out the sock, and was grimly thinking about how eventually my nanites would slowly break the fiber down within me.  I would survive, but I was very worried if the nanites would be able to re-string the neurons or tendons or whatever was causing my lack of motor control.  The door shut behind me and I bent down, throwing the two weapons on the desk.  I stood back up as a massive wave of dizziness hit me.  I grabbed the desk, trying to stay up, but then blacked out and went down.

In my daze a growing pain woke me up, and I gradually realized I was laying on my shoulder.  I had been out for a while, as the room seemed darker.  I shook my head a few times and felt in control of my mental facilities.  Holy shit, my memories came back of what happened.  I patted my shoulder, still alive.  Yeah, if that was a sign to get out, this was it.

Everything was feeling okay, all things considered.  Only the color of my vision was wrong.

What the?  I had never been shot before, and I knew my nanites could heal me, but was this part of the healing process?

Everything was still ‘colored’ but it was like a black and white filter had been applied to everything, damping most of the color out of existence.  I stood up, holding my shoulder with its synthetic skin now completely across the wound, and walked over to the window that faced the ReCorp building.  Near the center it appeared to be completely binary in its color, but I thought it might just be because there wasn’t much color there anyway.  Some weird atmosphere or solar phenomenon?  The sky looked the same as the rest of the reduced color world.

A tug in my heart brought me back to looking at the complex.  From the center of it, a huge black sphere was now there, expanding outwards.  At first it was barely noticeable in its speed, but even as I watched it grew rapidly.

The next part I will describe using intuitive feelings, because any science I have would not explain what I felt.  It seemed like the black wave growing was a pulse of ‘motion freeze’, that there was nothing that would be moving within it.  Then the feeling grew into pure terror that even stillness would be happy to exist within the sphere.  My new fear knew that this was a wave of annihilation, that every dimension, the three physical, time, gravity, and whatever else there might be would be torn asunder, reduced to nothingness.  Reduced to non-reality.  I knew that for an intuitive fact.

I was under no delusion that that force was beyond me, beyond the entire Solarian race, maybe even beyond the entire universe.  I almost felt privileged for a moment to watch this source of destruction that would rip reality apart, but it was quickly replaced by revulsion at this deeply unnatural event.  The black sphere of nothingness grew larger and faster.  I would be annihilated, like everything else.

Then in the next moment, I was.

Proud Infinity pt2

Hello readers, here is the 2nd part of the story Proud Infinity that is the new story I am putting together.  Enjoy and comment, I like to see your reactions!  Yesterday we read about Trego seeing a strange girl at a bar and how he was attacked and left.  We pick up right where we left off:

Trego and Proud

 

Pt 2:

 

As soon as I was outside I ran.  The only safety I had from anyone in there was raw distance.  At the very least I was no longer angry, just a little shaken.

I ran a couple of blocks until I was sure I was out of there and no one was behind me.  I doubted anyone actually would come after me after such domination, but I was just being safe.  A bit further ahead was a fence that appeared to be next to a pit.

I walked over and realized it overlooked the ReCorp complex.  Only a few steps in front of me was a steep cliff into a pit that surrounded the entire complex except for the single road in.  The small community’s buildings rose ominously from the void of ground all around it.  A few pillars of smoke or steam rose off the power plant that had been built strictly for this.  Even during the day, I could see the black buildings with their endlessly burning lights from here.  I switched my eye filters to pick up thermal, and the heat signatures radiating off of them disgusted me with the environmental damage they were probably doing.

“Some sight huh?”  I blinked and turned towards the sound, my eyes returning to normal.  It was an old man further down the fence looking at the eyesore, that cancer of the city, that tumor on our fair planet, that blight of aesthetics, a veritable citadel of pain on our hopes and dreams…

I waved the comment off.   “Yeah, if you mean totally disrupting to the entire culture and planet that was already here.”

He started walking towards me, but I didn’t really feel like talking.  He lifted a hand up towards me as if to include me. “Yeah, you are young enough that I am sure you were displaced by what occurred here.”

“ ‘Occurred here’ is right.  Like it was some sort of disaster.  Which is what it was.”  Where was a portable nuke launcher when I needed one?  I fantasized about sighting it up, then watching it all get blown away.

He turned back to overlook the pit and the city beyond.  “I retired here.  I was in the Solarian Space Force my whole life, and Center always intrigued me.  I have an off-planet account, completely filled with gems.  This depression has actually made me relatively more well off.”

I went to walk away once more. “Great for you, join the rest of us.  Unless you are going to give me money I don’t want to hear how much you got.”

“Hey, wait, I guess I got carried away.  Sorry about mentioning money.  It’s just… Look at you.  You clearly are not, or at least were not, in the dregs of society.  Tickets off-planet are not the expensive.  Why didn’t you get out?”

I laughed once. “I thought I was going to be hired.”  I looked back at the place I hated now.  Maybe I still wanted to go back.

He lifted his hands, trying to encompass the whole compound in his arms; it seemed he liked using his hands to communicate.  “Ahhhhh.” His hands came back to his side, and he turned back to me, smiling a bit crazily.  “That’s the mystery, isn’t it?  Being near Center, there are a lot of phenomena that is still being researched and even new discoveries happening fairly regularly.  Since this planet is within Center, naturally it makes sense that it was a beacon of research.  Let me guess, you were a researcher?”

At this point, I was a bit cautious of his craziness, but also intrigued as he seemed to know what was going on.  “Of course.  Just about everyone here was.”

He leaned his face in a bit towards me. “See that’s what strange.  What were you researching, if you don’t mind me asking?  If it’s not classified.”

“It was, but I don’t care anymore.  Everyone betrayed me so what’s the point of a misplaced loyalty?  We were studying the fabric of reality, component particles, its intervention with time and all that.”  I added the ‘all that’ because I am sure he had no idea what I was talking about.  “Notably that reality seemed to be potentially constructed differently near Center, and scales away from there based on distance.”

The man nodded. “That’s what adds to the mystery.  You clearly were in the know, but a large corporation comes in, buys out everything, and doesn’t even take any of the staff?”

I froze for a moment.  How’d he know all the staff got whacked?  I never mentioned it, which made me wary.

“Tell me about it,” I agreed, slightly suspicious.

He turned back to me. “Since you told me something, I’ll tell you something.  I am a bit intrigued by this, and looked into it, used some of my old contacts.  Guess what: ReCorp is not that big of a corporation.”

“Really?” I asked, intrigued quite a bit now by this guy I thought seemed crazy.  I had assumed that due to ReCorp’s massive buying power it had to have been huge, near empire status itself.  I couldn’t look up anything on it which was suspicious itself, so it always remained a mystery.  I suspected the void of information was just a payoff somewhere.

“Ha, got you interested?”  The old man’s eyes looked brighter than I gave him credit for; he still had a spark of life in him.  “Well guess what?  ReCorp does not even exist off planet.

“What!?”  My mouth dropped open.

“Yeah, ‘ReCorp’ is nothing more than a puppet organization propped up by probably nothing less than a full-on empire.”

I shook my head. “I could see that now that you mention it.  Pisses me off.”

“It’s completely true.”

“Oh, I have no doubt of that.  It makes perfect sense.”  The info void and firing the old staff being the largest offenders.

I stood there for a few more moments, thinking about what he said before he told me, “Keep an eye out, reality has an…interesting aspect to it,” and left.  Well that sure was a random but interesting encounter.

Maybe I should buy a ticket off this dump like that guy suggested.  I figured I’d walk around the city like I usually do until something came to me for inspiration to get out of my plight or perhaps what to do for credits.  As I passed people again and again out on the streets, not doing anything, and having nothing to do, my thoughts drifted back to that man’s question as to why I just didn’t get out.  I had more than enough credits originally, but the thought had not crossed my mind.  I had no loyalty to this place; it was an odd decision for me to have made now I thought about it.

I continued thinking as I mindlessly walked forward, nearly stepping on a slumped body on the sidewalk. I stepped around the stagnant figure, not even sparing it a second glance as I kept walking. I honestly had no idea if the person was dead or just sleeping, but I didn’t really care either way. I saw this quite often around here, so I suppose I became immune to it in a way. I ignored the still body as I went back to my contemplating.

Part of the problem about me leaving though was that I was not ‘technical’ minded.  I had gotten my job because of a friend who indeed was good with the details and rote memorization of minute facts.  My skills lay in assimilation of facts and creative solutions or ideas.  I was actually lucky I had fallen into the position I had, but it was a very good relationship for both me and the research unit.

My big ‘breakout’ was when we were faced with some proof of time running differently within the same system.  The data was checked, and experiments reran, but it appeared that on one planet in the system, time indeed did ‘run faster’.

My suggestion was simple in my mind, but everyone else found it really profound.  I suggested we take a look at some of the old theories of time non-linearity and let’s assume it might not actually be linear everywhere.  I suggested that the five dimensions of space perhaps exhibited preferential pathing for the three physical dimensions, along with time, and gravity.  If we looked into the gravitational attraction constant we could see if it might be different, or at the very least gravity could be affecting the time dilation effects.

Ha, yeah.  That was back when I was a hero among the researchers, not some chump with a gun cruising the streets.  The fall from grace was pretty rapid, and in my own mind I still felt like I was ‘different’ from the rest of these fools.

‘I’m not just a chump, I’m a cut above.  At least advanced chump,’ I thought wistfully to myself.

I heard a rumbling of a large truck that drew me out of my reverie.  The grav plates must have been loose, because even though the truck was balanced as it floated down the street it was extremely noisy.  No surprise: it was a ReCorp truck.  I kind of just wanted to shoot the driver and drive the truck off the bridge.  Me inside?  I don’t know.

Anyway, my theory was probably about a solar cycle ago, and indeed we did find some data that seemed to correlate with my thoughts.  I was living on high for a while there, but then ReCorp came in, shut down all the research, bought out everything, and made their own compound isolated from anyone who was employed prior.

Maybe it was part of some big government cover up, like they didn’t like what we found out.  Made sense why all of us would be out.  What we had found was still in the early stages, so if that was true it’d be more to shut down the info rather than use it for themselves.

Oh, and my friend, the one good with the details and was actually pretty instrumental in getting our project to be so successful?  Committed suicide.  I found him in his room, took a tie and hung himself off the doorknob.  It was pretty fucked up, I doubt he died quick.  The claw marks at his neck suggested he thought twice about it after it was too late.  All because he ran out of credits…or maybe hope first, I don’t know.  For me, I still had credits, so I guess I still had hope.

In a lot of ways, what was once a vibrant city was rapidly falling apart.  Though not everyone here was involved in the massive research complex as researchers, it was easily the primary employer from logistics to food service and so on.  There were still a fair amount of people around, but I have noticed a decline in the amount still here.  I didn’t know if they left the planet, were murdered, or pulled their own pin.  In evidence of the later I found quite a few bodies just dumped in the streets.  I didn’t really pay that much attention after a while.  Really, you stop counting after about five.

I sat down for a moment, looking at the empty sky.  It was really calm now, and I mean that in a bad way.  There used to be a vibrant trade through here with ships coming and going through the sky; now only a single ship came once a cycle for supplies for ReCorp.  I can’t think of the last time I saw an alien…probably an Aelisha a few planet cycles after ReCorp came in and shut everything down.  I didn’t even see Aelishan patrols anymore; that was pretty odd itself.

I wonder if I could leave here now.  Could I have even left back then?