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chapter_10 [2009/12/11 18:21] (current)
doan created
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 +“So, if we have to resurrect sixty five thousand five hundred and thirty six people, that'll be one cup of lifenoodles each for three thousand dollars each, which comes to...” Leder squinted at his calculator, “Whaaa? Okay, that's some big money. We're going to have to do some serious moneymaking here...”
 +“Oh, is Leder back? I didn't see him. Hi there, Leder.” Brick Road waved at him. The Golem turned around and waved back slowly, a big wide grin plastered on his face. He seemed to have brightened considerably since he had met Leder. The old photographer had immediately given him a name – Mister Faulty. He insisted the Golem was very faulty – not only was its left leg a little wonky, its face a little squashed on the right side and there were pieces of garbage rammed into it that he couldn't pry out, it also no longer responded to orders. It had achieved some kind of proto-sentience, following its own simple wishes to not be destroyed or let anything it considered its friends (ie. Things that actively played a factor in it not being destroyed) come to harm. Leder said this was the only thing that had saved it – faulty Golems were programmed to throw themselves on the garbage tip and switch themselves off, but the part of his programming that told him to do so had been knocked off kilter by whatever had ruined its leg and face.
 +
 +“Shut up, I am concentrating.” snapped the photographer, “As I was saying, yes, there is only one solution. Dr. Andonuts?”
 +
 +“Ye... eeesssss?” the scientist looked up from underneath the Phase Distorter he was poking with a spanner. His son stood over him with a clipboard reading out some figures interspersed with scientific jargon that Brick Road didn't have a clue about, being a lowly dungeon designer.
 +
 +“May I borrow your HP Sucker?”
 +
 +“Cupboard under the mouse cage, third drawer down.” the scientist sighed. It was probably the last he would see of it. Leder never returned stuff he borrowed.
 +
 +“Now, HP, that's some hard currency...” Leder told his new friend officiously. Brick Road blocked out what he knew would be an almost continuous ramble and spoke to Dr. Andonuts.
 +
 +“I'm glad to see your son is OK.” said the dungeon designer. He still couldn't find his apprentice.
 +
 +“He's not safe here.” said Dr. Andonuts, shaking his head.
 +
 +“I'm OK. Tony's OK, isn't he, Mr. Leder?”
 +
 +“Don't you go near my boy!” Leder warned him, shaking his fist. Mister Faulty copied him. “Because of you, he did less well on his exams! You and your teaching other boys to sneak out of school! He was almost expelled! Now, as I was saying, first we need to get in contact with the Zombie Mafia...”
 +
 +“See, Tony's fine.” concluded Jeff, “You forget, dad, that I'm a hero. Heroes can deal with these things. Whatever's happening to our world, we need to face up to it and fight it.”
 +
 +“We can't fight it until we at least know what it is.” said Dr. Andonuts, “All we know is that its targetting us guys. Its tried to kill Ninten three times this week already and me twice. I... oh dear...”
 +
 +A buzzer on the wall went off, flashing a red light. Mister Faulty sensed how flustered the scientist seemed and stared at him with a question framed in his eyes.
 +
 +“Someone's messing around with the Absolutely Safe Capsule!”
 +
 +
 +
 +They all bolted for the door at once, heading for the tunnels. Dr. Andonuts stored all his dangerous projects, such as Phase Distorters and the Absolutely Safe Capsule, underneath Saturn Valley. Not only were the Mr. Saturns excellent scientists who were keen to work, they also had an aura of blissful ignorance, a kind of untarnishable innocence around them that made them immune to almost everything that went wrong. If anything did go wrong, they didn't seem to remember.
 +
 +“MACHINE MAKE FUNNY NOISE MAKE AT ME, KAY-O. WHIZZ.” said a Mr. Saturn lab assistant before darting out of the way of the door.
 +
 +“The alarm said there was an intruder. Did you see anyone who shouldn't be in there?”
 +
 +“BOY AND GIRL, ZOOM, LOOK LIKE NESS AND PAULA MISTER SATURN FRIEND.”
 +
 +“Did they have a baby?”
 +
 +“PRAM BUT NO BABY DAKOTAS.”
 +
 +Dr. Andonuts ran even faster. The door was already open – it looked like they had actually known the passwords to all the security mechanisms rather than trying to force them or even hack them. Fortunately, the two figures were still stood outside the Capsule – they hadn't actually opened it yet.
 +
 +“Are you sure its okay to go in here? It feels wrong...” said the girl.
 +
 +“Sis, who're you talking to?” asked the boy. She put a finger to her lips and shushed him.
 +
 +“You two! Stay away from there!” barked Dr. Andonuts. She spun around, one hand gripping the handle of the umbrella strapped across her back.
 +
 +“We've been caught! Stay back, Tom.” she ordered.
 +
 +“They don't look anything like Ness and Paula.” said Jeff.
 +
 +“Listen, you two, do you have any idea what kind of danger you're in? Why are you trespassing on my property anyway?”
 +
 +“He says we'll be safe here.” she told him fiercely.
 +
 +“Who says, sis?” asked Tom, looking up at her in confusion. She hit him with the umbrella.
 +
 +“He always knows best. We need to do as he says.” she intoned with a note of reverence in her voice, “Ignore everyone else. We only have each other. If you interfere, you're our enemy.”
 +
 +“We don't want to be your enemies, Lady, we're just saying that its not safe...” began Jeff. Suddenly, he grabbed his father and pulled the man bodily across the room. An instant later, two figures appeared from nowhere in the space where he was standing.
 +
 +Before anyone could stop him, Mr. Franklin snatched Leder's tripod from him and charged the new arrivals, roaring at the top of his voice and swinging the tripod over his head. Gyiiyg extended his hand and the old man went flying, knocked back with the telekinetic force of being hit by a bus. Mister Faulty walked over to examine him, a worried look on his face, while Leder took the opportunity to grab his tripod back. Mr. Franklin just smiled. Then he began to sing.
 +
 +If you see a swirl/
 +Who looks a girl/
 +And it is red...
 +
 +
 +“NINTEN! STOP!” screamed Martha, covering her ears. The old man gasped, a look of horror on his face. The song came out distorted beyond recognition, as if the sound was an echo from some canyon of hell, playback from some infernal dimension where music itself was broken.
 +
 +“The Giygas phenomenon has appeared!” said the Night-Watchman.
 +
 +“I told you all it wasn't safe!” bellowed Dr. Andonuts, turning around and around to glare at everyone, veins appearing on his forehead, his white hair sticking straight up, “Didn't I tell you? Nobody ever listens to me!”
 +
 +“Mister Faulty, go take Mr. Franklin to the doctor.” ordered Leder.
 +
 +“N... no... Giegue...”
 +
 +“Our fight was over long ago, fool.”growled Gyiiyg inside his head, “This is my fight now.”
 +
 +“Did you hear me, everyone?” he roared, turning to look at everyone in turn, “This is Gyiiyg's fight! Do not interfere!”
 +
 +Firing a psychokinetic wave that knocked everyone off their feet except the Night-Watchman, who barely looked like he noticed it, and Mister Faulty, who spluttered and shook off a cloud of clay dust, then stood over Mr. Franklin protectively. Gyiiyg ignored all the stupid people and strode over to the Absolutely Safe Capsule.
 +
 +“Where are you, Pokey Minch?” he demanded, “Come out and face me one on one.” 
 +
 +The distorted music came on again, louder this time, a slightly higher pitch. Martha screamed and sank to her knees, desperately clamping her hands over her ears. Mister Faulty looked more interested in her, now.
 +
 +“I understand.” Gyiiyg nodded, “You are the distortion, aren't you? You aren't even as stable as I was any more. You are pure distortion. Pure corruption. A sine wave of evil.”
 +
 +The music fluctuated in agreement.
 +
 +“How long were you in that capsule, Pokey? As long as I was in the Devil Machine? Those were long years, weren't they? They felt like infinity. Maybe they were infinity. Time loses meaning once you get through your first million years. When nothing can even have a causal effect on you at all, never mind kill you... when your personal time line is in ruins from too much time travel and you can't even tell whether you were born first or you died first... when your quantum locality is destroyed from too much uncontrolled teleportation and you exist everywhere at once... I think you've learned your lesson, Pokey. I was going to exact revenge, but I think you've had your revenge.”
 +
 +The music rose to a high-pitched scream. Martha collapsed, unconscious. Her brother caught her before she landed, his face white. The Golem wandered over to her. Gyiiyg heard words in the music, faint words, barely recognisable. He tuned in his telepathic frequencies to the most sensitive levels, ignoring the excruciating agony in his ears from registering the nightmare that was the song. He knew that these were Pokey's final words, the last attempt he would ever be able to make to form some kind of coherent pattern in relation to the outside world.
 +
 +“I... what went wrong... Giy... gas... the apple... said... I was... supposed to... be... the hero...”
 +
 +“No, Pokey.” he shook his head, “You translated it wrong in the end. You were never supposed to use my power to become the hero. You were supposed to make me the hero. Pokey, I AM the fourth hero.”
 +
 +He heard Pokey try to respond and fail, the noise fizzling out like a broken light bulb. Gyiiyg gestured to the Night-Watchman. He nodded. Then he disappeared.
 +
 +A split second later, all went silent. Dead silent. Silent as a crashed computer. Where the distorted song had been painful but just about bearable, Gyiiyg felt himself choking on the silence, slipping into unconsciousness. He fought against it. For the couple of seconds he lasted, he saw Tom reach up into the pram, grab something from inside it and throw it into the Absolutely Safe Capsule...
 +
 +--
 +
 +Back in the snow-covered mountains.
 +
 +Now the snow covered everything, a blinding white plateau with only a few twisting shell-shaped spires and twin horns poking out of it. Testing it cautiously with his tail, he found that it could support his weight. Bracing himself against the wind that was now strong enough to pull him back again, he trudged through the featureless plain. There was no way to measure time or distance any more. His two-toed footsteps made a satisfying crunch. He rather liked this place. Even if he would walk on for eternity, he wouldn't mind too much. Except that he had a duty to do.
 +
 +What was his duty? How long had he been searching? He wasn't sure if he understood what was happening any more. Every time he woke up, he seemed to remember something different, and it was never the same as what was happening. Except in this place... only in this place was he sure... he had to keep walking forwards...
 +
 +He heard a soft ambient mechanical noise. Looking up, he saw that it was a small egg-shaped device roughly the size of his head, hovering around him in a circle, pale blue and purple lights dancing around its visor. It beeped at him again, then sped off ahead. He understood somehow that he was supposed to follow it. He shrugged. It was best to follow the rules of the world, at least until you knew how it worked.
 +
 +The machine led him straight ahead for a while, through a plane marred only by the peaks of a few rocks. Then it veered off diagonally. He ran after it.
 +
 +Suddenly, he felt a sensation not unlike a static shock throughout his entire body. His back arched and his tail raised, he drew his claws. A second later, the pain stopped. He was somewhere else...
 +
 +Pitch darkness. Not the darkness contained within the Star Watchtower, the darkness of night, alive with its voices, a sanctuary against the hated blinding light. This was the darkness of something switched off. This darkness was dead, devoid of anything. The silence. The hated silence had returned. He placed his hands over his ears as he ran. It smelled wrong too. It didn't smell of anything.
 +
 +Small white shapes swam through the darkness. Numbers and letters, detached, no longer signifying anything. Or was he moving and they staying still? The rules of physics themselves were broken. Everything was broken, ruined or gone. As he ran through them, pushing them out of the way with as little effort as parting clouds, he saw that there were larger clumps of them. Names. Names, duties and places. And right in the middle, two words, six letters: THE END. A small boy sat on top of THE END, idly playing with the other words. Snatching one that drifted past, he almost mechanically snapped it in two.
 +
 +The small orb beeped at him again and flew off into the distance. He sprang after it. The static sensation washed over him again and he was somewhere else.
 +
 +A riot of bright, gaudy colours, system turning to rainbow turning to lite-brite. An anarchic scene from a children's story, with box-shaped houses and cone-shaped trees, talking rabbits and clocks, huge striped candy canes, a song from a music box. Gyiiyg sniffed it suspiciously. The bright colours were hurting his eyes.
 +
 +The orb flew onwards. He jumped after it.
 +
 +Green coral forests with pink shell houses. A lost palace of blue paving stones and manhole covers, under which lay a treacherous labyrinth where a dragon slept. Towering above all, a palace of intricate pink filigree...
 +
 +“Maria?” asked Gyiiyg. But there was nobody here. Nobody at all...
 +
 +The orb flew onwards.
 +
 +A vast rolling field at the very chime of midnight, somewhere in the middle of the forest, alive with a million tiny sounds and shifts of movement, bats, hedgehogs, moths, foxes. A faint breeze causing the grass to ripple gently. In the middle of the field, a floating cylindrical chamber, just about large enough for an average human to fit into, humming with perfectly controlled power beyond anything he could comprehend. Above him, the perfectly aligned stars raced... 
 +
 +The orb flew onwards.
 +
 +Night, one of many nights, or maybe day was broken. A town square. A fountain with a statue in the middle that incorporated a clock with a large bell, the water flowing into the channels of intricate waterworks that spiralled and looped around the benches and massive stone steps. Somewhere in the distance, just outside his line of sight, huge archways leading in every direction. A sense of a long wait, the sort of long wait that only made sense to Gyiiyg, gravity pulling him down like a lead weight. Footsteps behind him...
 +
 +The orb flew onwards.
 +
 +Night, a night shift. A vast city in the distance, huge beyond his ability to perceive. Rows upon rows of orange lights, each one a window in a vast housing complex. Every so often, something streaked through the sky, something that pierced and rent the sky like a comet from another dimension, and hit one of the windows so that the light winked out. Gyiiyg watched patiently, drawn into trying to find the pattern. He heard a noise behind him and as soon as he was distracted, a comet was heading straight for him.
 +
 +The orb dragged him out of the way and through a wall, into...
 +
 +A blackboard expanse of soft pastel colours running into each other, pink, purple, blue, orange and green, like hearth fires flickering and blending. In the background, the low hum of the Universe's own song like a computer's fan, the simple, eternal statement that The Universe Is On. A hint of another song as well.
 +
 +The colours collected at the bottom and flowed upwards in a tower of simple shapes, a cubist flame.    Upon spotting the tower, the machine floated up the side of it. Gyiiyg scrambled up the side – he had expected it to be difficult as there didn't appear to be handholds or footholds, but then it also didn't appear to be three-dimensional, it looked painted onto the background, and it didn't seem to adhere to any laws of physics – when he tried to climb up it, he just seemed to be at various points on it at different moments in time until he reached the top. He felt the impression of there being no struggle here – none was allowed.
 +
 +The machine came to a stop at the top of the tower. Gyiiyg peered at it and saw...
 +
 +A small human baby. It was dressed in a red blanket and had a small wisp of very fine hair on its head. Its eyes were closed but Gyiiyg felt its mind notice his.
 +
 +It was like a God opening his eyes. The mere act of its mind brushing against Gyiiyg's, the slightest touch, and the alien was completely overwhelmed. It wasn't an act of domination – Gyiiyg felt none of the familiar panic when he thought he was winning a battle of psychic possession, a frequent method of handling duels between Dictory soldiers – he was dwarfed by comparison, swallowed by its vastness.
 +
 +“Gyiiyg Gynoug.” it said simply, as if ticking him off on some list in its head.
 +
 +“Who... who are you?” whispered Gyiiyg, “Why have you brought me here?”
 +
 +“My name is Tyler Garrickson. The Garrickson Baby.” said the baby, “And I had to bring everyone here because my sister is in danger. If my sister is in danger, I may be in danger.”
 
chapter_10.txt · Last modified: 2009/12/11 18:21 by doan
 
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