Saturday, February 11, 2012
The Ideal of Memory (Part 2)
An hour later Jon was up in the hills behind the doctor's office complex. He forced his way through ankle deep bracken closely followed by his minder which bounced lightly across the vegetation.
He reached a small gorge, ancient looking despite being no more than a century old. Crumbling strata of reconstituted asteroid rubble were criss-crossed by roots of geneered dwarf oak trees.
He pushed towards the back of the ravine, branches and twigs whipping across his face. Against the smooth vertical cliff at the end was a small crude shrine - a low pile of rocks surmounted by a rough wooden crucifix. Orange thread linked the extremities of the geometrical figure.
Jon knelt before the altar and bowed his head. There was a moment of quiet broken only by the drip of water from leaves.
"What would your fans think, Mr Sorenson? If they saw you worshiping the kite?" Asked the minder in a voice like crashing waves.
"Less of me, no doubt. You can't tell them though, can you?"
"Of course not. My purpose is to prevent you from causing damage to the cylinder, yourself or others. I am curious though. Why do you revere such a traumatic event? It's almost equivalent to worshiping the Tessellation themselves."
Jon paused before answering, visualizing the pale nightmare the alien Tessellation had converted Earth to.
"Seeing the Kite at such a early age made me who I am. My mind has been dominated by it ever since, even though it's poison has been drawn by becoming a memory of a memory. I revere it because it represents me."
The minder didn't reply, just rustled like dry leaves. Its curiosity seemed to ebb and flow depending on how close Jon was to requesting its services.
As he pushed his way back through the vegetation the bush robot followed with it's characteristic fluttering noise.
Suddenly a great stillness fell over the landscape. As empty silence that almost as quickly as it arrived was filled with a distant whine. There was a smell of vinegar and aniseed and Jon dropped briefly into the default data Metaphor of Ocean.
During that flash of the Virtual he saw the local reef crumble, the seafloor boiled and space inverted to reveal a torus covered with off-white plates of various sizes.
Ocean folded itself away, leaving the torus floating impossibly in mid-air before him in the Real. It was an arm span wide and seemed as solid as the plants it floated above.
The bush robot expanded and rushed forward like an angry cat, only to come to a shivering halt beneath the torus.
"Such threadbare representations. So empty and you wall them from each other so firmly Why do you do this?" came a voice, light, genderless, amused.
The white torus drifted aimlessly in the air. In it's hole was a space of eye-wrenching nothingness.
"Are you the Tessellation?" asked Jon, surprising himself with his calmness.
"Tessellation is a good name. That was well-chosen by our earlier reification. Yes, we are Tessellation, present in the chaos of your Real."
Jon remembered that in the partially translated encyclopedia the Tessellation transmitted before destroying the Earth it seemed that they had a poor grasp of the difference between Real and Virtual.
"What can I do for you?" He asked.
The banality of the words belied the deep terror he felt. As far as he was aware this was the first ever dialogue between a human and the bringers of the Ruin.
"Joy! We bring you a gift, Jon Sorenson! A gift for the one who understood Configuration 3."
Jon nearly cursed aloud. Configuration3 had haunted him for decades, was directly responsible for the now quiescent bush robot having been set to dog his footsteps.
The twisted space in the center of the torus shifted across the up-curved landscape of the cylinder, distorting the view like a lens of crystal.
"I was lucky. A recurring nightmare and access to classified research materials were all it took to crack Configuration3 and soulsphere generation."
"You were blessed. Blessed with the temperament and position needed to leverage the knowledge we gave your sleeping mind."
Jon stood silent as his heart sank. The Tessellation artifact seemed to be claiming responsibility for the towering achievement of his life.
"Now we come to give you a second gift. A way to avoid the pain of incontinent memory. Behold!"
Something broke in Jon's head.