Differences

This shows you the differences between two versions of the page.

soh12 [2011/07/13 17:00] (current)
doan created
Line 1: Line 1:
 +“Okay, everyone out! This is a private meeting!”
 +The patrons grumbled as the bouncers hustled them out of Bar Stalker but they did as they were told out of respect for the man's authority and the size of the bouncers' fists. Kubota sat down at the bar and snapped his fingers.
 +
 +“Two Eke-Eke's and a Dahl, please.”
 +
 +“So, are all your business meetings conducted in bars?” asked Garian.
 +
 +“I don't like a formal environment. Its bad for business.”
 +
 +“But you just threw everyone out!”
 +
 +“This is a very rare case and an extreme example,” said Kubota, “I need to tell you something that mustn't go further than this bar.”
 +
 +“What about the bartender?”
 +
 +“John already knows.”
 +
 +Garian looked over at the barman, a small man with a bushy black beard.  He wasn't  frail-looking, like Kubota, but he didn't look like the sort who could handle themselves in a fight. Mostly, he looked old.
 +
 +“So, what do you have to tell me?”
 +
 +“There's someone looking for you. A friend of mine.”
 +
 +“There are many people looking for me. Tell him to join the queue at the end.”
 +
 +“He doesn't want to kill you.”
 +
 +“How refreshing.”
 +
 +“This man can help you get out of here.”
 +
 +“I'm listening.”
 +
 +“First of all, let me tell you about this Parallel,” he said, pouring the thick, syrupy purple liquid from the bottle marked 'Dahl' into a crystal glass. It smelled sickly sweet, fruity and extremely alcoholic, “There has been no Garian for a long time. Not much happens here.”
 +
 +“I'm surprised you know what a Parallel is,” said Garian, “Is everyone Aware these days?”
 +
 +He nodded, “The one who tried to kill you just now... he has been telling everyone. He tells them all to look for the same thing. If they don't, he kills them. Myself, I've always known, although I don't really understand. If you want to talk to someone who knows, talk to Him.”
 +
 +“Who is He and how do I talk to Him?”
 +
 +“I'll tell you soon. Wait. I need you to know the whole story,” said Kubota, holding his hand up dismissively, “You see, this Parallel is special to me. It is where I am still me. It is strange to you, but to me it is the most familiar. This is what I remember doing before I came to the Island.”
 +
 +“You were the manager of a games company?”
 +
 +He nodded, “Dunbar, too. And Matt worked on the sound.”
 +
 +“And the Island was like... this?”
 +
 +“It was long ago.”
 +
 +“Not that long ago,” commented John as he picked up the empty bottle.
 +
 +“Not everyone is as old as you.”
 +
 +“So, the prison hadn't been built?”
 +
 +“The Parallels hadn't even been built.”
 +
 +“If you were wondering, that fellow is Kurtliegen the Second, not the Third,” said John, “They all look the same. Inbreeding.”
 +
 +“I'm not usually this early!” said Garian.
 +
 +“This is not then. This is not what really happened,” said Kubota, “Do you think you really wrote Love Love Mini Racer?”
 +
 +“I do a lot of things I can't remember.”
 +
 +“You didn't do this,” he said, pouring himself another drink, “He did this. To preserve the memory.”
 +
 +“I don't suppose you're going to tell me about 'Him' any time soon?”
 +
 +“I suppose he can finish off my story for me,” he said. He sighed, picked up his drink and stared at it for a few seconds before downing it.
 +
 +“He'll meet you in your dreams,” he said.
 +
 +------
 +
 +t was a relief to Garian to have a normal night's sleep.
 +
 +Usually, when he went to sleep, he had an abnormally lucid dream in which he woke up suddenly to find himself on board a boat heading towards Jailer's Island, with vague memories of having just woken up from a dream in which he went on a boat to Jailer's Island after waking up from a dream in which he went on a... you get the picture. The only exception was that dream he had where Bilan killed him, the night before he woke up face down in a pool of blood next to the arcade machine. That hadn't been pleasant. He still remembered the intense, burning agony as the creature's claws speared his chest, driving upwards through his lungs. Still, it was probably a mercy compared to whatever Carbon Garian dreamed about.
 +
 +He sometimes gave thought to why it was that a night's sleep was always the trigger to the cycle starting over again. Was it just because it took a full day to reset, or because there was only twenty four hours of time available in the Cycle? It couldn't be the latter – otherwise Carbon Garian couldn't have been executed yesterday. There was a third possibility – that Jack's absent postulation was right and the whole thing was a Carbon Freeze nightmare, endlessly recurring due to the paradox of Garian's presence within it. He tried not to think about this one for too long at a time. He had tried experimenting with it – deliberately not sleeping for days to see what would happen. For some reason, he always drifted off to sleep, no matter how hard he willed himself not to. Even though he spent the entire day charged with paranoid adrenaline that should prevent him from sleeping, he always slept at the same time, as though he had an 'off' switch. And he always had the same dream.
 +
 +Not tonight.
 +
 +He stood in a walled garden. The day was just approaching dawn, the pale golden light of the evening sun making pools of radiance on the white tiled path before him. He couldn't see above the  limestone walls. It reminded him of the Silver Castle, except that instead of a precipitous drop, he was surrounded by limestone walls that he couldn't see over. Ivy trailed up them and other wild flowers grew at their foot. Further along the path were some more organised little rock gardens, a park bench and beyond that, a giant gazebo.
 +
 +On the bench sat John, sharing his lunch with another Garian.
 +
 +“You sound worried about Bilan than you are about him,” whispered John.
 +
 +“There are some things even he wouldn't be stupid enough to do,” he replied, “Some of us would, but that one at least has some sense. And I know exactly what he's in there with. Whereas I don't know what awaits Bilan and I can't find out. I may have lied to him, John.”
 +
 +“You did what you could,” said John, “Besides, Kubota said he looked fine.”
 +
 +“I'm glad Kubota knows what he's doing.”
 +
 +“From what I understand, he didn't. He just saw an imposter and did something about it.”
 +
 +“An imposter...” the man repeated, sighing. Then he stayed silent for a long time.
 +
 +Garian wanted to step forwards, to say something, but it would be sacrilegious to disturb this perfectly measured silence. This was a true sanctuary, a place of peace, like those last rays of dawn before the night. He felt unworthy to be here.
 +
 +He briefly wondered if this was the True Ending.
 +
 +“No, but you can see it from here,”  whispered the other Garian. He didn't turn around.
 +
 +“You can read my thoughts?”
 +
 +“Of course I can see your mind. I'm in your dream,” said Garian, “Besides, its what everyone thinks when they come here, including me. No, this is just a place I constructed in its image. A poor image.”
 +
 +“Have you seen it, then?”
 +
 +“No. That's why this is such a poor image.”
 +
 +The man turned around, then, and walked straight through the bench to stand before Garian. It reminded him of the glitch-ravaged being that he had witnessed fighting Meg, except that the transition was smooth, fluid, as though it was something that always happened when you tried to walk through benches.
 +
 +“Think of this as a retreat,” he said, “An escape.”
 +
 +“I'm not sure I even know what an 'escape' is any more.”
 +
 +“A temporary solution to your problems,” he said, “Come, do sit down.”
 +
 +They both walked over to the bench, crossed around it like normal people this time, then Garian sat on one end, the other man in the middle and John at the end. The prisoner stared at the gazebo. Upon further examination, Garian realised that John wasn't wearing his prison uniform, but a rather neat brown suit and tie with a beige shirt. The other Garian still dressed like Garian.
 +
 +“Each archway leads to a Parallel,” the man told him, indicating the gazebo, “I didn't invent the device. It already existed here when I arrived.”
 +
 +“There are six doors.” Garian pointed out.
 +
 +“The sixth one is sealed. I can't get through it,” he said, “Most people can't even see the sixth door.”
 +
 +“Did you bring me here to talk about doors?”
 +
 +“I didn't bring you here at all, you reached this place yourself,” he replied.
 +
 +“You were looking for me just now. I overheard you talking about me,” said Garian, “And Kubota said you would finish telling me his story.”
 +
 +“Did he? That's nice of him, dictating what I do,” he said, “Does he really think that because the people in the office do what he says, I will?”
 +
 +“Its rude to talk about people as though they're not there, too.”
 +
 +“I apologise. I'm not used to seeing people. They mostly can't see me,” he said, “To be fair, you've been ignoring me a lot recently. You went running off the boat when I was still trying to warn you about Carbon Garian.”
 +
 +“Wait... are you the voice in my head?”
 +
 +“That's me.”
 +
 +“Why didn't you follow me?”
 +
 +“I can't, once you leave the boat,” he said, “You see, I don't exist on the Island. I never made it off the boat.”
 +
 +“What do you mean?”
 +
 +“I died. Bilan killed me.”
 +
 +He braced himself for pain as the memories flooded into his head again. However, the pain never came. This world wasn't quite solid enough for pain, “So that dream was real?”
 +
 +“All your dreams are things that will actually happen to you. I'm sorry, Garian, I can't find a way out,” he bowed his head, “Even though I gave up my life for the cause.”
 +
 +“You let Bilan kill you on purpose?”
 +
 +“I thought I would try a little turnabout. Instead of 'how do I get off this Island', I thought 'what would stop me ever reaching it in the first place?'.”
 +
 +“And you just got trapped on the boat instead? Man, that's harsh.”
 +
 +“Oh, I'm not allowed on the boat either. I'm just allowed to talk to people on the boat,” he said, “And people who leave the Island in other stupid ways they're not supposed to. Like dying. Or coming to the end of your sentence without having achieved anything.”
 +
 +“Hey!” protested John, “I've been studying for a degree in Law! I'm gonna be a defense attorney!”
 +
 +“In the courts of most of the Universe has burned out from entropy death?”
 +
 +“You saw the end of John's sentence?” Garian gasped, “You've been here that long?”
 +
 +“It was only five Kalpas.” said John, sulking and desultorily poking the lawn with a twig.
 +
 +“Time doesn't go in any particular order for us ghosts,” explained the other Garian, “Still, I've been here a long time and I see things. I've come to dedicate my life to a kind of cause, other than making pretty gardens in my head. I've been watching over you all, giving you advice. Some of you I've had more time to talk to, so I've been training them. It hasn't worked, though.”
 +
 +“What do you mean?”
 +
 +“Carbon Garian's killed and absorbed almost all of you,” he said, “There are only three real Garians left. Four, if you count me. You've met the other two already. One of them helped you out of that trap Musashi put you in...”
 +
 +“What the hell was that?”
 +
 +“Something DeBose dreamed up. Trust me, he's the most dangerous of the four. And the second is that fellow who helped you fight Meg.”
 +
 +“The bad TV picture man?”
 +
 +“That's the one,” he said, “And if you meet any other Garians, they're almost certainly Carbon Garian in disguise, and you should stay well away. Carbon Garian is massively powerful after the amount of life energy he's absorbed. At this stage, you can't beat him. I guess you could have done with being told that earlier.”
 +
 +“What do you mean, 'at this stage'? You have a plan, don't you?”
 +
 +He nodded, “That's what I wanted to talk to you about. To beat Carbon Garian, I'm going to need to train you all properly. I had intended to do so from the start, by collecting you together in Parallel 5 and using the arena there, but some of Carbon Garian's friends worked out what I was up to. I had to flee here. At our current power level, if we were all together, we might at least be able to recapture the Arena.”
 +
 +“What happened to the Arena?”
 +
 +“Its another thing I need to tell you. The Carbon Freeze prisoners have been helping Carbon Garian. They think he genuinely has a chance of getting them all off this Island. They've been slowly building up power over the Parallels. Quite a lot of what you're seeing on Jailer's Island right now is a Carbon Freeze nightmare of one or the other prisoner. Some of those prisoners have powerful minds, even real psychic powers, and they can all control their dreams like a lucid dreamer can. Their ability to do this grows as the veil of reality grows thinner due to the amount of paradox building up in the island's local space-time continuum. There's a very real possibility of complete collapse.”
 +
 +“Uh?” Garian scratched his head.
 +
 +“We're all doomed.”
 +
 +“Ah,” he said, “Where'd you learn to talk like Jack?”
 +
 +“I taught him. I've got a degree in quantum physics too,” said John, “But I don't wanna be a quantum physicist, I wanna be a lawyer.”
 +
 +“Garian... that's another slight issue... have you seen Jack anywhere recently?”
 +
 +He shook his head,”Have you?”
 +
 +“No. And that worries me. If you see Jack anywhere, please tell me.”
 +
 +“Got it,” he said, “So... what is it you actually want me to do?”
 +
 +“Find the other two for me again. Bring them here. When you want to get back here again, talk to me if you're all on the boat, find Kubota if you're not. And please be quick. I've got a feeling something bad's about to happen to them.”
 +
 +“And watch out for Carbon Garian.”
 +
 +“Don't try to fight him. Don't go near Sean, Meg or DeBose, the Carbon Room or anywhere else you think they might be unless absolutely necessary. Take care around the Garian with all the glitches as well, he's not hostile but reality can go very weird around him.”
 +
 +“Okay, so how do I get out of here?”
 +
 +“Go through the Gazebo,” he said, pointing to the fourth door.
 +
 +As Garian walked towards the gate, the hairs on the back of his neck began to prickle. There was a sense of enormously powerful but subtle energy, like an ancient tree, that emitted a background hum that grew louder as he stepped through.
 +
 +The other Garian and John watched him disappear. Seconds later, a pale blue light turned on just above the fourth arch, indicating that it was now occupied by a Garian. He looked around for the dark blue light of Carbon Garian but it still wasn't there. Then the green light above the fifth door, previously solid, grew brighter and began flickering.
 +
 +“What the hell's going on with Bilan?” asked John.
 +
 +“Leave it be. Its not the problem right now.”
 +
 +“But he's your enemy and nobody's...”
 +
 +“Leave it be,” he repeated firmly. Then a red light turned on beside the green one and started flashing rapidly.
 +
 +He ran through the portal.
 
soh12.txt · Last modified: 2011/07/13 17:00 by doan
 
Recent changes RSS feed Creative Commons License Donate Powered by PHP Valid XHTML 1.0 Valid CSS Driven by DokuWiki