Monday, April 30, 2012

Bubbles - Part 2

On Cylinder1 Anne and Thomas had their appointment at 1902 Spinward, Three Outward. A largish piece of real-estate mostly taken up with ceremonial hedges, low hills topped by wooden gazebos, winding gravel paths and the omnipresent water features.
Gentle rippling light from the sea on the other side of the cylinder lent the scene a sense of peace.
They both felt appreciation of an artfully reconstructed piece of Earth style total defense. Especially one that originally contained a very large, very dirty nuclear device as its centerpiece.
The central house consisted of plates of creamy white fake limestone hanging from an umbrella of compacted Lunarian dust.
Their new employer, Mike Jenkins, knelt on a cushion, a circle of important looking icons slowly circling him. He made a stylized gesture to Anne and Thomas who obediently knelt, dropped into Jenkins personal lagoon in Ocean and immediately drowned.

***

John and Sarah reflexively started to destroy the terrible image and everything around it. Their rage prevented them from fully efficient use of their weaponry and this proved their downfall. While distracted by their spasm they were immobilized from behind by two large combat drones.

***

Anne and Thomas operated just below the electability threshold and were therefore unaccountable directly to the populace.
Mike Jenkins held a lowly elected position in engine maintenance as a flimsy cover for a stratospheric security clearance and near-unlimited expense account. These came as concessions to his usefulness in Ocean control and as a whole also place him above public control. The combination of Anne, Thomas and Mike was regarded as so potentially useful that it had been held in reserve for a project as important as the current one for several years.
"So why are we here?" asked Anne, her rage at the forcible die-back of her extended psyche held in check by her curiosity.
"You are in this place, in the crippled state I placed you in, as security precaution," said Jenkins.
The image of the multi-colored reef below was distorted by the interface of life-bubble and Ocean.
"You killed 95% of our minds just now. You do realize that?" said John.
"Of course I realize it. I stored all of it in this lagoon," he gestured at a large patch of virulent red coral.
"You'll get it back as soon as we're done here. The whole pile of amateurishly integrated sociopathy and arcane skills."
"Again, why are we here?" asked Anne.
"A decision has been made at the highest level to bring the Lunarians back into the fold. The Tessellation extend their hold on system real-estate every year and we can no longer afford humanity to be divided like this. You two are going to co-ordinate the opening of the invasion."
Much of their capacity for intense and sustained rage was in the supplementary optical circuits that threaded through their brains. Since those circuits had been blanked Anne and Thomas were more equable than they had been in decades. As a result they accepted the information Jenkins gave them in a far more relaxed fashion than they would normally.
They spent a minute contemplating the undulating fronds of anomalous galactic centre data before returning to the subject of the conversation.

***

"You should be mature enough to be immune to those images." said the old man with the creased face, voice flat with what Sarah now recognized as a Northern English accent.
"You know what those images represent and you know the curse the Tessellation put on those born after the Ruin. You're lucky we didn't destroy the building," she said.
"I was born before the Ruin, on Earth, so I have no tendency to violence when I see the Kite. It's not really a curse by the way. It's a neurotransmitter cascade caused by certain images in the visual cortex.
"You were recommended to me as being flexible, among other things. So far I see no evidence of this. Frankly I'm not too sure what to do with you. Probably best to put you on ice until the festivities are over."
His smile was like rocks colliding.
Free of the rage the Kite induced, Sarah and John calmly moved into maximum destruction mode.
They began to erase everything around them, starting with the combat drones, in a mist of embedded munitions ranging from nano to thumb sized, using their bodies as feedstock for ever more exotic weapons.
Heavily shielded penning traps in their lymph nodes trickled out thousand atom clumps of anti-iron, thrown along curving trajectories by powerful magnetic fields generated in their torsos.
Four and a half minutes had passed since they had entered the room; forty five seconds remained of available munitions, including those that could be produced by consuming materials in the room.

***

Thomas and Anne were fascinated. It didn't occur to them to doubt Jenkins. His resources were clearly far too great to make lying worth-while.
Although they still wanted to kill Jenkins and gnaw on his bones, they were intrigued.
"You'll arrive as tourists traveling for an Earth viewing from 4Dome. You will provide back-up to other teams with more tightly constrained missions." said Jenkins.
Nothing in the plan seemed problematic, although the nature of the other teams caused Anne and Thomas some consternation.
The only real difficulty from their point of view was the Earth viewing. A large group of fanatics going into an Earth fugue could be unpleasant.

***

3Council were increasingly concerned with the damage John and Sarah were creating.
While 3Council group defense admired the artistry with which total damage was being contained, it was felt that enough was enough.
Sarah and John were on the verge of punching out through the cube wall and then the dome itself. From there, their heavily augmented bodies would get them to an emergency stash on the Lunar surface and then progressively less clearly planned steps out to colleagues in the Kuiper belt.
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