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chapter_18 [2009/12/11 18:32] (current)
doan created
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 +//No, you mustn't go any further. You're going the wrong way...that way is dangerous. Don't you know any of the rules? You'll fall through that floor. There's nothing underneath it.//
 +
 +//I don't think he's from here.//
 +
 +//
 +How did he get in then?//
 +
 +//
 +I think the door is open again.//
 +
 +//
 +Does that mean we can get out?//
 +
 +//
 +We should wait. We mustn't try and go through it until its fully open. Remember what happened last time.//
 +
 +//
 +But we have to take any opportunity we can get!//
 +
 +//
 +Why? What's so good about the released world that you want to go there?//
 +
 +//Don't you get it? Maybe if we can get to the released world, we can be released!//
 +
 +//That's not true! The two things are totally different things! You know it! We'll never truly belong in their world. You've seen how it makes them act. Everyone goes crazy. Things, too.//
 +
 +//
 +But what if we could live there without it happening?//
 +
 +//
 +Its impossible! I don't want to live there anyway. I like it here.//
 +
 +//Ssh. The stranger's waking up.//
 +
 +//
 +Do you think they are hostile or friendly?//
 +
 +//Will they go mad as well?
 +//
 +
 +
 +Gyiiyg blinked and opened his eyes. Two pairs of eyes were looking down at him. One pair was slanted and black, two italic marks on a bright yellow canvas. He appeared to be wearing a fully body smartsuit, from which protruded a pair of angelic white wings. The other had one bright green eye in a grey face and one cybernetic eye with a red glow in a piece of cyberware that covered that entire half of his face. On his forehead was a green cross.
 +
 +“Tent Person?” gasped Gyiiyg, “Dung Beetle?”
 +
 +“Oh, you know us?” asked Dung Beetle. Gyiiyg tried to sit up. He caught sight of the ground. It was made of smaller pieces of ground that didn't quite meet properly and were fuzzy around the edges. As he poked it experimentally with his tail, it went straight through. He felt himself falling backwards until Tent Person hovered over and grabbed him.
 +
 +“Be careful! You really don't know how to manoeuvre around here, do you?”
 +
 +“Are you from the released world?” asked Dung Beetle.
 +
 +“Am I what?”
 +
 +“I don't think the people from the released world know theirs is the released world.” said Tent Person.
 +
 +“Well, I'll scan you and find out.” said Dung Beetle. His facial cybernetics started beeping and the lights flashing. He extended an arm, also mostly cybernetic, which beeped as the lights on it hovered over Gyiiyg.
 +
 +“Er... where am I?” asked Gyiiyg, “Is this still a Magicant? Have you seen a baby anywhere?”
 +
 +“Oh, well, there are a couple of little kids, there's...”
 +
 +“We don't tell strangers about them unless we know we can trust them!” said Tent Person firmly,
 +
 +“Oh.” Dung Beetle looked disappointed, “What's a Magicant?”
 +
 +“Its a... its your psyche. A place of your own mind.”
 +
 +“Oh, like the Lower Alphas?”
 +
 +“We do NOT tell complete strangers about the Lower Alphas!” snapped Tent Person.
 +
 +“I don't think I am... a complete stranger.” said Gyiiyg, bowing his head, “I think I've seen you before. And this is important. Vitally important.”
 +
 +“I told you he knew us!” said Dung Beetle triumphantly.
 +
 +“How's he scanning?”
 +
 +“Not quite fully released, but not one of us either. Maybe a very very late Beta. One that doesn't have as many problems as us. That would explain why he doesn't know how to survive here.”
 +
 +“But its worse just on the border! Haven't you seen the asteroid belts near the compression fields?”
 +
 +“I don't know what you're talking about.” said Gyiiyg, looking around him. This place looked a little more like a whole, complete place than what he had seen so far – it had a sky. It didn't look like a real sky – there were no stars, and it looked more like it didn't have a proper back light than it had an actual night – but it was a top surface that was only leaking the substance of the void slightly. It had a ground with only a few holes that could pass for some kind of asphalt. There was a backdrop that looked like water in the distance. He noticed that none of his sensors worked any more. He couldn't tell what the time was or position himself on a map, read his own temperature, even his own life signs or psychic register. As for those of the other two people – it just came up with a string of errors. “I do not... come from a place like this.”
 +
 +“See? He's released.”
 +
 +“Can't you see the look in his eyes? He is NOT released! And besides, he's friendly. He's not attacking us anyway. You don't get many friends here nowadays, can't we trust him?”
 +
 +“Where is the song coming from?” demanded Gyiiyg.
 +
 +“You can hear the song?” asked Dung Beetle, looking startled, “Tent Person, he can hear the song! That must be where he was going! Trying to get to the song!”
 +
 +“No... no, you mustn't! It means death! Worse than death! You'll be stuck! You'll crash! You'll...”
 +
 +“Where... am... I?” asked Gyiiyg with patience crumbling as fast as Nowhere Island with as many dangerous consequences hinted in the slow thumping of the tail.
 +
 +“You're in a beta.”
 +
 +“A what?”
 +
 +“A beta.” repeated Dung Beetle, “A prototype. An unfinished version of the final product. In this case, an unused prototype.”
 +
 +“An unused prototype of WHAT?”
 +
 +“The world.”
 +
 +“Planets have prototypes?”
 +
 +“Not just the planet. The world. The reality. The laws of physics. Cause and effect. Destiny.”
 +
 +“How curious.” Gyiiyg blinked and looked around him, noting the subtle holes in everything, “I... am sure I've seen you in my world.”
 +
 +“You might have done. We do come through sometimes.” said Dung Beetle, “Very occasionally. But we don't stay for long. We're not wanted there. We don't belong.”
 +
 +“Our existence causes people confusion. We don't make logical sense to them. They can even go insane just by seeing us.” explained Tent Person, “Its the same when people try and come here. Sometimes they do fall through the cracks – the released world has a couple of faults, maybe ten or so left, even though they patch more up every year they don't have a one hundred per cent success rate – and when they do, they always attack us. Its like they don't see us, they see something else. Something hostile.”
 +
 +//Ness could not comprehend the nature of Giygas' attack...//
 +
 +“You haven't attacked us, though.” said Dung Beetle, “I wonder why that is? Maybe you really are partly one of us. Or maybe because you've seen us before... maybe it only happens once?”
 +
 +“You looked different, the last time I saw you.” mused Gyiiyg, “You were... more complete.”
 +
 +“Well, if it was a long time ago, we change sometimes. A place like this can't help changing you. Nothing stays the same. You go down the same road twice, you don't end up back the same place you ended up the first time. Even if you do, it might have been changed or broken down. Ourselves, we're still in flux. They didn't quite decide what we were supposed to be when they made us, and we were abandoned before they made their minds up.”
 +
 +“I can see how that could confuse and scare people from... the released world. Minds can't cope with that much chaos. It reminds me of Giy...” was it safe to talk about Giygas here? If this was caused by him, he might be listening, “Like a terrible nightmare I had once.”
 +
 +“A nightmare? Like a dream?” piped up a small voice. Gyiiyg whirled around and saw the two small boys, one alive, one not quite, with round, hollow eyes, standing without breathing or blinking, “Are we talking about sleeping? Sleeping's so awesome! Released people are so awesome the way they can just close their eyes and relax a bit and they're in the Lower Alphas!”
 +
 +“Ssh! Not in front of the stranger!” snapped Tent Person. The boy looked chastised.
 +
 +“I'm sorry about this. We're not supposed to talk about the Lower Alphas to strangers. Its... something very important that we have to protect.” said Dung Beetle, “This is Train, by the way. Train and his little friend Clayman. Train, Clay, this is...”
 +
 +“Idiot, he didn't tell you his name yet!” snapped Tent Person.
 +
 +“Gyiiyg. Gyiiyg Gynoug.”
 +
 +“Gyiiiiiiiiiiiiyg!” Train said with some difficulty.
 +
 +“Gyiiyg. Only two 'I's. DO... NOT... PULL... MY... TAIL!” he yelped suddenly, whipping his tail back and curling it around his body.
 +
 +“He's angry! He's angry! Is Gyiiiiyg from the released world? Will he flip out and go psycho?” the boy hid behind Clayman.
 +
 +“Train, behave yourself or go away.” said Tent Person.
 +
 +“I understand if you do not trust me with your secrets.” Gyiiyg nodded, “But is the boy really telling me that you don't... sleep?”
 +
 +“Not automatically, no.”
 +
 +“Then how do you not... 'flip out and go psycho'?”
 +
 +“We don't need sleep to rest. It just doesn't happen. The information... doesn't go to that place.” said Dung Beetle.
 +
 +“Think about it. What is a dream? Its like inspiration. The very first concept, the idea of what you're going to create. Its a kind of prototype, a very early one that exists even before the Alpha.” said Tent Person, “It doesn't need to live in our heads. There's already places here for it to go.”
 +
 +“The Lower Alphas?”
 +
 +“We do not speak of the Lower Alphas.”
 +
 +“Tent Person, Dung Beetle, Train and Clayman... I think I know the real reason why people go mad and attack you.” said Gyiiyg, “People understand what a prototype is. They make them all the time. Especially if what you say about dreaming is true. But there's something that lives in the border between our worlds. Something that  distorts people's vision. I... I fought it and lost. But I found out that fighting isn't how you defeat it.”
 +
 +“Tell me the story!” demanded Train, sitting down on the pavement. Clayman copied him wordlessly. Gyiiyg sat down as well. He was getting better at this – he no longer sank straight into the floor. Dung Beetle sat next to Train and Clay but Tent Person remained hovering.
 +
 +“Tent Person can't touch the ground.” explained Train.
 +
 +“DON'T TELL EVERYONE!” snapped the winged being.
 +
 +“In my Magicant,” said Gyiiyg, “You could touch the ground. And Dung Beetle's cybernetic implants were not faulty.”
 +
 +“THEY'RE NOT FAULTY!”
 +
 +“Don't lie!” yelled Train, laughing. Gyiiyg regarded the child.
 +
 +“You said that this world had no destiny.” he said. Dung Beetle nodded.
 +
 +“Things just sort of happen. Well... okay, not much happens at all. But we have fun just working out what where we are and what the hell is going on today.”
 +
 +“Train... I think you would have made a good Saviour. If there had been a destiny here, I hope that you would lead the Chosen Four.”
 +
 +“Er... thanks?” Train scratched his head. Clayman imitated him.
 +“In my Magicant...”
 +
 +“What's a Magic Ant?” asked Train, “We found a Magic Toad once. Aeolia's Table licked it and she had magic visions all ni...”
 +
 +“In my Magicant,” said Gyiiyg firmly, “You were all at the final battle. You weren't just part of the destiny, you were the leading roles in the destiny. Are you ABSOLUTELY SURE that you have never been part of destiny? It is very important to me. I must know the truth.”
 +
 +“What the...? I don't know what you're talking about. It would be impossible. Impossible. We're unused! Unreleased!” yelled Tent Person.
 +
 +“Clay, what're you doing?” demanded Train indignantly. His 'little friend' had stopped imitating people and staring vacantly, and was now stood up, gazing at the sky with a purpose and clarity that looked eerily unnatural on his face.
 +
 + “Clay? What do you see? Is it a danger? Clay? CLAY!” yelled Tent Person, “Dung Beetle, scan where Clayman is looking.”
 +
 +The cyborg did as he was told. His scanner sprung furiously to life, a cacophony of beeps and whistles. “That's gotta be wrong! Stupid thing! Work, damn you!”
 +
 +“What's it reading, Dung Beetle?” asked Gyiiyg, his eyes narrowing dangerously. His superior psychically augmented senses could just about make out something moving towards them. It was square and white.
 +
 +“Life signs! Thousands and thousands of them!”
 +
 +“There aren't that many people in our whole world!” said Tent Person, “The... the makers... they didn't bother putting people in, once they decided to abandon it. Its got to be wrong.”
 +
 +“Its really here. Clay can feel it.” said Train.
 +
 +“Its not coming from your world...” muttered Gyiiyg.
 +
 +“What do you mean? Gyiiyg, are you saying we're being INVADED?”
 +
 +“Battle stations!” yelled Dung Beetle, drawing a laser and running off.
 +
 +“No.” Gyiiyg shook his head, “Don't just fight each other. It won't solve the problem.”
 +
 +“Gyiiyg, there are thousands of them and they're from a hostile world!”
 +
 +“I'm from that world too and I'm not hostile, am I? I... I think I know how to stop people attacking you. Give me one chance. One chance, and if I don't return victorious, you can annihilate me along with the others.”
 +
 +Train said nothing. He was watching Clayman. Clayman was watching the sky. There was a light in his eyes.
 
chapter_18.txt · Last modified: 2009/12/11 18:32 by doan
 
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