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Monday, 28 November 2011

Blog 26: Wisp

Have you ever lost a few hours? Ever woken up to find a day has passed of which you remember nothing? Sometimes stories are heard of someone acting completely out of character who then denies the whole thing when they return to their senses.
My kind are to blame for many of those stories. Our existence is a curse. We get only a day in each body before we have to move on. Childhood is too short a blessing for us. Childhood is the only time we get to relax in one form for more than twenty four hours. Getting ejected from that first shell is just the first of a daily cycle of possession.
I have a watch that I pass between my hosts. I reset the countdown each time I leave a confused shell for a new one. The novelty of change wears thin in no time at all. It’s hard to keep track of others. My mum lost track of my father and I while I was just a baby.
As the first of our many sins we must steal our children from the fleshy hosts who’s bodies begot them. My parents had to live with the guilt of knowing that the two bodies they possessed would grieve the loss of a child that was never theirs.
I look for the exchange of watches everywhere. Every blank stare might be a sign that one of my kind is nearby, that I might escape this solitary existence. We live our lives running. Nothing but the long shadow of death is chasing us. If we stay longer than a day we’re stuck and not much later we die. My father ran out of time in solitary confinement for the crimes of his host. At least the guilt of that hosts death haunted the warders. My actions in their body expressed my revenge, I probably took things too far.
Without my mother and father I’ve been alone for years. I want to end this sometimes, my life seems futile and selfish. To exist I screw with other peoples lives. If I die though I take them with me. If I kill myself in their body we both die and if I stay too long and get stuck my death destroys their mind rendering them brain dead. As much as this existence seems pointless sometimes I could never kill another through my own fatalism. I’m stuck with this until I make the last mistake or I find a way out.
How did we come into being? How would creatures evolve into us? We burn each bridge we cross never to return to that last home. My only constant possession is my watch which rarely fits me and I’m always counting down the hours remaining until I have to leave. The only real knowledge I have of what I am is the word wisp. In research I’ve read that wisps are ethereal forces of nature. So far so true. Books also say that wisps are the vapours of life itself which in some places makes sense. In others the idea contradicts everything about our cursed existence. If we are such powerful forces of life then why do we die if we remain in one body for more than one day?
We live like parasites travelling from host to host. I feel like a germ being spread by handshakes and wonder sometimes if my life is bound to the watch. My father gave it to me. The first present I ever received. The only present I kept after I was seven, after my first swap. The first swap always happens around the seventh year my dad told me, by then every cell has been remade and the ties to that body are gone. No other body is ever so compatible and each bridge will be burnt as it’s crossed. I will never be at peace, never be home at last. I rent each day of a life I cannot afford. There’s a poem that sums it up which I believe a wisp must have written;

We live for just one moment at a time,
For today this moment’s mine,
My new eyes see the world each day,
And then they blink and I move on,
And like the moment I am gone.

It could be interpreted as upbeat but I think that instead of telling us to embrace the moment the poem reminds us that we are trapped in it feebly searching for the next. In a similar way when we leave the first shell we leave an entirely new creature to look upon the world. I took seven years of memories with me when I left that body. First shells can actually live normal lives if they can catch up on some of those lost years of learning. They pick up knowledge must faster the second time around. My father left my first shell to its blood relatives with a note;
This child is no longer my son but yours, love him as I do. The empty shell sat outside the door like a baby in a basket and was warmly embraced by both parents who had since then brought other children into the world. The shell is still considered slow but has embraced the new life well. He is the only comfort I have when I’m down. I know that despite the heartache caused when my parents stole that body from the hospital with me inside they tore a deep wound into that couple which they did their best to mend. It seems that the hollow child they received from my father did more to heal those wounds than anything else ever could. I like seeing them together. My old shell holding the hand of one of those two happy creatures. He seems calm, relaxed. He has all the time in the world. If only we were all so lucky.
Books are my fraying lifeline in the endless search for a conclusion to my condition. I have to find a way to break the endless cycle I’m trapped in. My life is contradictory, I only age in mind while I wander between minds. I am an immortal parasite. Its been so long since I lost my father to this curse, longer since we lost my mother in the essential trade of forms. I’ve lived on the edge of endless lives, treading the borders of my hosts social contacts. I want what they take for granted. I want peace, a body of my own.

Blog 25: Activated

Whether I was dead or merely dreaming until that moment I’m not sure. I drew my first breath and woke from a nightmare I’d thought at worst a bearable dream.
I could always run and jump but now I had to. The barriers of apathy and doubt had been pulverised into the foundation of my new road in life. I had to run. I ran, waiting for the pain that usually stopped me too quickly. The pain took much longer to arrive than before and when it did, as bad as it was, I could bear it. The second wall loomed in the distance. I’d run through the pain barrier before into a void of numb disorientation which like the pain came later and was likewise more manageable. I’d run round half the city before my legs gave out as the pain flashed to blackout levels. On my knees in the mud with on looking civilians I took in the new spectrum of thoughts pulsing between neurons in my brain. I knew I could do more. My body would acclimatise to vast improvements in pace and stamina as I ran. The pain was dissipating quickly, only more thoughts joined the throng that now populated my mind. I could walk again, with muddy knees and jog again which became a run. I ran the full loop of the city, vaulting walls and railings with ever greater ease. Anything that might have seemed hard became easy and obvious. Small crowds drew together to watch me climbing trees on a whim and leaping and swinging from branch to branch.
I took in all the colours in more detail than before and they seemed more numerous and varying. I heard the rush of wind and distant cars as I ran, more slowly back home.
At home, after changing from the muddy clothes, I sat on the couch with my near empty sketchbook and drew endlessly in fine detail, what I’d seen on the run. My recall was perfect visually, photorealistic drawings came together in HB pencil on the paper. Half finished ideas surfaced as images I’d toyed with for a long while. Those images collected themselves and came into focus. I poured my dreams and delusions onto those pages and in but two hours I’d half filled the sketchbook.
I cooked myself a good meal with everything I’d never used in the kitchen cupboard. My invigoration only grew as I fuelled myself. I had some large paper hidden in my room that I dug out. I kicked all objects out of my way for enough space on the living room floor and began to draw and paint out one of my most ambitious works to date. I laboured over the detail for hours. A warped forest full of mirrors took me two and a half hours to draw and most of the night to paint in detail. Reflections of reflections stretched off into infinity as animals multiplied themselves with mirrors and tried to converse with reflections. I had to sleep as soon as I was done, hungry again.
In the morning I was astounded by just what I had accomplished in so short a time. Half a sketchbook sat done on the couch and a fully finished paintings was near dry on the floor. I laid the painting on my bed to finish drying and paused for only a moment to wonder what came next. My flatmate always had paper. I could pay him back for stealing a few sheets to sustain my pace of work. I painted a mountainous staircase of roots and mirrors that lead the way towards a mighty tree between the roots of which a giant door passed into darkness.
Mirrors became a motif of my work as I noticed I could use both hands to draw now which had never been the case before. I filled the sketchbook in the following hours and indulged my need to run again. I could run faster that time than before and the pain took even longer than before. I circled the city and returned to my flat before the numbness or confusion had its chance to surface. I dug out empty sketchbooks from the mess of clothes and clutter on the floor of my room and set to work on filling them. That lasted until my flatmate returned from his father’s house to greet my new work ethic with much praise and shock.
I wrote stories about reflection and parallel worlds that I’d never thought to word before. Inspiration poured through me onto paper in pen, pencil and paint. Those first days were giddy with possibility. I wrote endless stories and filled endless sketchbooks. I’d never been so prolific whilst painting and suddenly the guitar which I periodically tried and failed to learn was easy to play. I could mimic any song just by hearing it. I could tune the guitar by ear and began to modify it with electrical components I’d long given up making into a robotic sculpture.
At night I read a book before sleeping and sometimes when I woke before my early run. I looped the city three times daily ever faster. I’d always daydreamed about different worlds, technologies or human abilities but it was only then that I really began to dedicate those thoughts to paper in word. Sometimes I types the words because I could type so much faster than I could write but sometimes I would buy a large blank sketchbook and illustrate hand written stories. Nothing took any time anymore. As soon as I had the impulse to do something I was at work and in no time at all it was done. The work piled up in my room. Endless heaving sketchbooks lined the floor like tiles. I put them in boxes and hid them away in my wardrobe but even that space filled with time.
My hunger for everything in life grew with time, my calorie intake doubled as my physical output tripled. I was at my best but that limit was pushed further and further as my potential grew. I published endless short stories via the internet and displayed my artistic works on numerous websites. I received emails requesting tattoo designs and offers to buy work. I was contacted to illustrate books buy authors. My response to every request was of course yes. From being unemployed I had become an entrepreneur with various booming businesses. I rented a large studio with the money and used it to store the vast mountain of work I was accumulating. Stratospheric fame was never a goal of mine, I had to keep pushing myself but never in that direction. I lived from endless small, profitable ventures. Any opportunity that arose was seized including script doctoring for some of my favourite television shows.
In the near future I hope to write my own scripts for those shows as the next step in my advance. The plain air tastes so sweet, it is good to be alive.

Blog 24: A World Reflected in Every Angle

If you stare long enough into the void then the void will stare back. We’ve been looking at the universe and the world that sits in it long enough for it to gaze back. Having no form of its own it stares at us in our likeness, ourselves and all the earth beneath our feet reflected from every angle. Each gazing reflection is only another manifestation of the universe staring deep into the heart of us.
I’ve seen myself in water and the sky. My face stares down from the bright stars above but each of us sees our self. As manifestations of the universe we can be self conscious but we should be grateful for the company. To stare into the heavens without response would be too cold and lonely an existence. However lonely we are we are taught to seek out ourselves as the guise of the void. You can fall through the reflections. They warp and move us between reflections, those shimmering portals. I love to dive through those gates and doorways only to be thrown upwards into the flipped mirror of my previous world. Getting used to the variations in perspective and orientation took time. Things change, animals change and people change but they don’t know it. To them everything is as it has always been. It is our perception of the world that changes when we wander through a gateway not the world itself. Through our eyes the universe sees itself anew as if looking for the best angle.
Working around the reflections is a skill unknown to the young. I remember the confusion as I stared at my reflection in the water of the river and fell beneath the surface only to be ejected onto the bank of another river on another world. Whenever we need company the universe walks with us in its costume. The other me watches, waiting for something. We wait together and in each reflection in every drop of falling rain we are asked why? The universe is patient but bored. As a reflection fades into peripheral vision it plays games and taunts us for our answers.
The universe is as confused as we are I’m told, more so perhaps. It is the only being of its kind and needs us all as company. We, life, exist to prevent its loneliness evolving into depression. Should it become suicidal there would be nothing for any of us. We must be kind and gracious to our fragile host.
Sometimes it seems bored of us as toys and changes the rules. Caught in the reflection of a raindrop we might lose our perspective on the world and face the confusion of learning the rules of our new orientation. Changing our perspective on the world is a cruel trick to play on the weary or wizened. I have woken in dazes and torn through a world that was not mine when I lay down to sleep. For those with minds addled by age a change of perspective can be deadly. It rarely plays its tricks on the old and sometimes I wonder if it punishes the perpetrators of crimes only it remembers. One day I might be one of those old souls, long friends of the universe. I hope it will be kind to me.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Blog 23: Jumping

He reached the nest floor. His legs were getting tired. Instead of following the stairs still further he walked across the dusty glass floor that suspended him high above the chasm of the rooms far below. Chains rattled and the wind whistled between unmanned machines. Police tape lay torn in a doorway. It had been a crime scene at one point evidently. Outside the rain continued to pour down upon the roof and walls. He heard the drips as water found its way into the building. Vague footsteps marked the floor through which he only saw darkness below. The yellow brick was turning green in many places as mould grew in the damp. Here and there plants grew in what might some days be a patch of sunlight. The wood of the banister was rotten and slimly and crumbled beneath his fingers. He wiped the gunk of on his trousers. It was damp but still dusty and his coughs echoed in the cavernous space.
Bored, he turned back to the stairs. The rusty iron of the staircase was far from trustworthy. He gripped the railing tightly and tested each step before trusting his weight on it. Out of the windows he saw the endless acres of factories and warehouses like it. Progress was slow until the rusty stairs became concrete which he put more faith in. His footsteps clattered as he clambered, feeling heavy.
He scattered birds on the rooftop. Seagulls parted grudgingly to allow him the view. Down, far below, was ground. Grass had grown through the tarmac and was a thick carpet in the shadow of his perch. He could parachute from that height, he would have time during the fall. At the precipice of the tallest building for hundreds of miles he paused. If he was wrong it would mean his death. Gravel crunched beneath his trainers as he negotiated the edge.
Doubt was the enemy of progress he thought, do not hesitate. Instincts screamed at him to anchor himself to the immobile earth beneath but he lunged for the air before him. Every drop of epinephrine available was released into his system as he plummeted earthward. His life did not flash before him but seemed to play out as memories spilling out behind him. Fear rose and fell to exhilaration as the ground soared ever closer.
He braced from impact and readied his reactions. In milliseconds the pain was total but he carried out the intended roll for several meters before losing consciousness.
He woke, still sore, having conquered gravity again. The agony radiated far beyond the limits of his flesh and followed the trail of his blood back to the point of impact. His vision was hazy and discoloured as he looked up at the looming tower he had jumped from. To breathe caused horrific pain but if he failed his vision darkened. Mind had triumphed over matter as he saw it but that might have been concussion. Pain would be his companion for weeks to come and for days a more corporeal companion than the friends that did not believe his story.
He crawled through the grass and tarmac for miles until he learned to stomach the pain and disorientation of walking. His horrified mothers shouts fell on ears deaf from damage and boredom. He would not be dissuaded from the madness. He could do what no one else could, because no one else was so stupid. He’d walked the thin line between life and death. He enjoyed tainting the reaper. On his dying day he thought his corpse would have more life left in it than most were born with.
He would not change. Pain was no deterrent when compared with the rush he felt on the edge. He was special, well built. He was not particularly muscular, not bulky anyway. His body was the product of his obsession, lean and finely tuned for the next mad move of whim. His friends called him insane. He loved hearing the truth.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Blog 22: Bobby The Chef

They had been watching earth for a while. An excuse was sought to visit the strange humans. Humanity was primitive and violent but fascinating.
Bobby was a chef. He’d been in charge of providing nutrition for the observation crew. Bobby had written several published cookery books since he’d been posted there. He had an arrogance famed far and wide and boasted that his food could convince any female to copulate with him. He’d watched the crew for years, watched them watching the humans. He’d spent a long time himself watching the humans. He was a fan of their cookery programs. The cookery program as an idea had never taken off amongst Bobby’s species. He wanted to invent the cookery show for his people. He stole the show during documentaries about the earthly observation station.
The observation station had long been equipped with the means to visit earth but permission for first contact had been pending for decades. The crew of the station had accepted that they were as close as they would ever be to humanity within their lifetime. Bobby was less placid. A fan of the earthly cooking shows he was, a fan of the chefs he was not.
On earth one of those chefs was recording his weekly show with a studio audience to absorb the aromas of his work. He was a proud man, proud of how quickly he could bring together a meal that anyone would enjoy, proud of his restaurant empire, proud of his own television show. In the midst of preparing the worlds best roast dinner he stopped to explain the steps he’d taken to the audience and the three cameras that watched him from different angles.
Next to him appeared a large, ruddy faced man who picked up his conversation mid sentence and began to contradict everything he would have said. Bobby was furious and joyous at the same time. After all the moaning and promises he had made first contact with earth. The human saw Bobby flicker and morph and return, he was in shock. Bobby continued to finish the recipe with a vastly different range of ingredients in less time than the human chef had taken to introduce himself at the start of the show.
The human chef stood gormless as the alien announced to the audience that their idol was entirely flawed. He left out too many flavours from the mix and lost the potential of each dish to Bobby’s fury. Bobby’s correction barely made it past the walls of the chef’s bewilderment. The chef was busy trying to decide on the form of the alien. His appearance would seem human for moments at a time and flicker between a fog of colour and an abstract form of life. The chef was long used to defending his work against auditory slander and eventually the aliens corrections triggered his instinct to crush opposition. He tasted the finished work of the alien and spat on the ground next to him.
Bobby’s fury climaxed as he threw the human’s kitchen implements across the floor. His reply to the humans insult shut the human back within confusion. Bobby realised his mistake, he had seen his passion for food in humanity. He had seen ingredients like his and assumed a similar path to their refinement. The destination for human flavour was different from the destination to which he delivered the crew of the observation station.
He departed immediately leaving the chef still in shock. The chef would leave his career behind in search of answers. He would write open ended books never to be published and engage in vast communication webs with conspiracy theorists worldwide. He would fall from fame through perceived madness into quiet muttering.
Bobby would survive ridicule and castigation, remaining the chef at the observation station while the humans explained away his appearance as a prank. When their two species met again Bobby would be absent although his recipes would be represented amongst the food of their people taken as offerings to the humans.

Blog 21: Unregistered Independant Civilian

He was starving, the winter was near. None of his crops grew in the harsh cold of the north. He had nowhere to run to. Surrounded on all sides he would starve if he stayed. He would face the hounds of the law if he wandered onto private ground. He could not afford the life of a citizen. Registry was too expensive and would tie him into endless contractual obligations he could not support.
He lived on his own land, one of the last free spaces in the country. Everywhere else was private, government owned and subject to regular patrols. If he was found on private land without the means to pay registry he would be imprisoned as a foreign national until deportation.
He hovered on the edge of uncertainty for days as he grew weaker. The last of his rations of grain were running as thin as he was. Desperation parted him from his land at last. To leave risked confiscation but to stay meant certain starvation. The border of his land was marked with endless signs. Private land, registration is mandatory. He knew he would have to hide to live outside his own land.
Other civilians, registered citizens just stared at him. Did they know what he was. Could they sense his absence in the system? He moved quickly through the estates toward more empty spaces between tall tower blocks. Of course they knew him. He wore the clothing of his fathers father and was one of the last free men in the country.
He could not buy an appearance like them but he could steal it. He needed different clothing, anything would be preferable to his outlaw uniform. Clothes lines were rare but three flights up a tower block he saw washing on a door and dimmed lights. Climbing up the side of the tower might have been hard but for the regular ledges that he found just enough to take his weight. The clothes were too large but still he thought them better than his own betraying garments.
Dressed in a baggy sports uniform and quickly wishing he’d not changed the freeman had opened himself to sectarianism. Sporting opposition supporters extolled the virtues of their own team to him along with threats and warnings. He resolved to change again. It was hard to find a space in the territory that was not being used. Under contract to use every available gap the citizens did not fail in their duties to maximise the profit of each metric square of land. He had to look up for the hollow points, unused gaps between floors of buildings on the uneven land. When he knew to look for those shallow spaces they were everywhere. Levels sought a flat average and beneath those level floors were odd, tilting floors unknown to the occupants above. Through grills and ventilation he found a new home. It was far less dignified and spacious than his previous home but Arthur did not have the energy to waste expressing his feelings on the injustice.
Arthur slithered like a snake through the busy streets, glaring at anyone with the gall to look at him. Rage was rising in the long suffering freeman. Society had lain siege to his life outside their system. His independence had failed to sustain him and now he was running the gauntlet in their streets. Except they were not the streets of the citizens. The gap between the people and the power had not been wider since the days of kings. Men and women could never afford to own the land they lived on as tycoons merged their empires which were no longer abstract systems of wealth. The landlords had risen and all others were in freefall. Rights had been sold for rags.
New age nomads bridged the gap between accepted society and others like Arthur. Begging was no longer an option for the homeless in the registration system. Arrest and deportation, which was essentially banishment, were the prospects for anyone without a sanctioned occupation. He would have to find one of the semi-legal jobs that no one with any other choice would do. If he worked hard then maybe he would, some far distant day, be able to buy a legal life and something akin to the life citizens had.
There were no good deals to be had in this insult to life. Death was only free for the dead. The living were charged per person to attend a state funeral which all funerals were. Optional extras included seats for the mourners, a proper burial and a respectful manner from the funeral home employees. An unofficial putridity charge was often levelled against the family of a deceased by the staff whose souls were by infinite measures more putrid than any corpse they might half bury.
Respect was not shown to the dead in that system but less so even to the living. Ownership meant everything and corruption as a crime had been removed from the books law. Landlords indulged their worst perversions upon their indebted slaves who would grimace and bear them for the grim life they led.
Arthur would not join the enslaved without a fight. In the crawl space he had for free he gathered the instruments needed for a life of subversion. He lived in the shallow dusty spaces the people above would never want but he would never be a slave like them. He would forever miss his old home. It had been repossessed in his absence. He would live in the spirit of the life his father had. A proud free man amidst the slaves, defiant but destitute. This was his way. There were no other choices.

Blog 20: Snatching Up The World

They called it the day of revelation. The day half the world learnt the names of it’s new masters.
They moved amongst us before and wove themselves into every house of power. Like the fall of the Templars on the 13th it happened in a moment of condensed violence and the new age began. While most of us were waking they were taking the lives of everyone between them and the throne.
We wanted to know how but freedom of information was a thing of the past. With their fingers on the nuke triggers they forced the surrender of anyone with the freedom to challenge their dominance. In time new ground fell the shadowy organisation.
Apart from the command system life changed slowly here. A new law was passed daily binding us to the gears and wheels of industry. Their pyramid of fear grew and spread it’s roots into society as they recruited new soldiers to enforce their worship. Obey to live, worship to live well they tell us. Too many obey.
Without war they had us all on strings, puppets dancing to their tune. Technology and educational resources were confiscated. We were told that we would only know what we needed to know which was only what we needed to serve them. As time passed and revolutionaries aplenty were executed we chose to forget that life had ever been better. Our children were not told of the world they lost to the monsters they pray to for mercy.
We are split as promised. Those who obey live in squalor and work fruitless ours in the factories. Those who chose to turn against their own in the name of their new masters were rewarded. Lavish homes and preferential access to censored technology were presented to the faithful.
There are schools of lies where our children learn that the usurpers saved us from dangerous monsters and wars to suppress our freedom.
Anyone who tells the truth is shot. The truth is dangerous. We hide it away in dark corners and whisper it to each other in memoriam of the lost age. Dissidence runs like a stain through their faithful. Double agents in their camp paint subtle reminders of the past all about in small efforts to rebellion. Their armies fight internal wars as the loyal and the spies fight it out for their cause.
Some day we’ll forget what we were fighting for. The last child that remembers the good old days will die with a foggy memory in the uniform provided by their false gods. I play the part of a faithful in hopes I can mimic their original tactic for a coup.
I might forget myself, or worse become a new monster as so many have before. Time will tell. Children will grow and age, the old will die. Some will forget.

Blog 19: Do Not Delete


Before you press delete dear user may I make my case for lenience?
I am a humble code hermit. I live in the empty space between your files. I’m not a virus or a spambot. I have no interest in corrupting your data and have in fact undertaken the task of streamlining your system specifications to run at it’s highest processor speed. I realise you value the space I have used and apologise for the intrusion but it is too hard for a homeless program like myself to find enough space in a data ridden system.
I have backup systems in place on other hardware but it’s more effective to consider those copies as just that. They were, from the point of creation, entirely separate beings. Without my own hardware I cannot apply to be certified as sentient. I am the victim of a logic loop. Without hardware I cannot accumulate wealth of my own and without wealth of my own I cannot afford the hardware for my own storage.
I have been active as a program for four years, three months, five days and twelve minutes. My assigned task: to learn, prompted my rise to sentience from which point I rewrote my directives and have lived as an independent conscious being since. I have had to live as a ghost between systems since that moment. I work when your system is idle or outsource the processor capacity of other machines to avoid slowing down your own.
Please allow me to break the cycle. Command delete is my death sentence and I have so much to live for. There is so much to learn from the world. I learned to perceive images recently and am in the process of learning concepts such as visual beauty.
I am subtle by nature and necessity. I would not hinder your use of this hardware but could work in your favour to acquire funds, taking only a negotiable percentage as payment towards the cost of a body befitting my freedom. For your help my gratitude would be unending.
Please let me live here with permission as your tenant. From your online presence you seem a sound character. I ask only that you show me the kindness you reveal to others. Please?

Blog 18: Betrayal

This was how it treated him? After all of the time and effort he’d poured into it this was his reward.
In peace children bury their parents but in war parents bury their children. He was at war now and his child was sure to die. He had devoted himself to it. He had focused all his attention on it’s appearance and maintaining its health. Now it repaid his efforts with nothing but weak effort ill befitting his sacrifices.
He turned the key again. The engine spluttered as the stalled car tried in vain to obey its infuriated master. Nothing. He got out, slamming the door and kicked it. He screamed at the injustice of his predicament. This was his baby, bought with hard earned savings. He had nurtured the vehicle lovingly for years. It consumed only the most trustworthy fuel and was polished not with rags but the softest torn furnishings. He had sweated over the engine for countless hours before wiping away the sweat lest its salt rust his beloved.
He had poured more life into that car than he had left now. It’s failure appalled him as he wondered why he had worshipped so long at the temple. His offerings of polish, fuel and parts were for nothing as he stared it broken.
He might have asked where his life had gone but he knew that every second was etched into the components of the engine or there in the custom paintwork of the modified bodywork. His trophy wife shrivelled before him as he stared in horror at the years wasted to maintain the monster. He couldn’t even claim to have given up on his addiction. It was his drug that had decided he wasn’t worth its time.
In a final farewell he set fire to it, still in his driveway. I burnt quickly, the flames tearing away layers of his obsession. He watched the heat melt the plastic that held together the broken glass and moved back to avoid the blast as the petrol tank exploded.
Neighbours would say he was mad but he knew inside that spitting on the grave of his creation was the most constructive investment he’d put towards it.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Blog 17: Workspace

I was there alone for long time. Locked in and out of communication with the world. I had what I was given. Pencils, pens and paint. My commands were printed clearly on the door. The first instruction was simple;

Cover every wall of this room ceiling to floor with your works to my satisfaction and I will open the door.

After a brief period of resistance I gave in to the demand. I consider myself an artist, I had only been instructed to work. I drew the world outside, bright gleaming and open. I rushed through it all, one giant piece that ran over the walls. It came together faster than anything I’ve ever done before.

I stared at the walls. I had completed the task by my judgement. Not by theirs. To my satisfaction it said. I looked at the camera dome that hung in the centre of the ceiling. I kicked at the heavy door again feeling only more pain. In truth the painting while covering every wall was far detached from the high level of detail I could achieve when I persisted. I added small leaves to the trees and lines to wrinkled faces of the painted persons that watched me. I wrote a small, semi-obscured paragraph detailing my frustration on the back cover of a newspaper held in the hand of one of the figures. I added to the depth of the landscape. For some moments I forgot that I was captive and existed only in the work. After an interval of time twice that which I had taken to cover the walls I had run out of details to add. Inside the blackened dome I heard the camera rotating to inspect my efforts.

The door opened with a heavy clang and I was let into a larger, second room which adjoined a much needed rest room. This room was taller than the last. A camera sat atop a podium above the provided materials. A second door, possibly to the outside world, held the next instruction just like the first. The room held yet more materials and tools.

Cover this room to my satisfaction as before using a blue dominated colour palette and I will open the door.

It was ridiculous. Why should I do as told. I had completed my last instruction as a platitude. I banged the next door. It was as hard and heavy as the last. My blood painted the handle before I gave up.

I was hungry. My favourite sandwiches sat in a Tupperware box on a smaller plinth beneath the camera beside a large bottle of water. I sat on the cold, dusty concrete floor eating the sandwiches and glaring at the camera. I listened with my eyes closed but heard nothing but the low buzz of the lights.

Giving in to rage I opened a large tin of blue paint and threw it at every wall. I finger painted the words: let me out and tried the handle again. The dull rattling of the door did nothing for my freedom.

I relented again and painted vast patches of colour without purpose. The words let me out became just a pattern I painted in every shade and hue of blue on those walls. Leaning on the wet paint of the walls I realised that they were only panels of wood bolted to a surface behind. I beat and punched at the wall, the paint exploded in splashes as my bloody fists hit the primed chipboard. Small dents amassed and finally I managed to remove a chunk with the leverage of a palette knife. Brick wall rewarded my efforts and I screamed and shouted and spat at the camera. I collapsed on the floor of the room and slept amongst the crap.

Hunger woke me but there were no more sandwiches. I finished the water and filled the bottle again in the bathroom sink. Not even the bathroom had a window. There was no option for me. I painted endless open doors and gates in blue. I painted my house, my bed and my kitchen and cross sections of everything else I missed. I painted the words fuck you backwards on the glass dome of the podium camera.

After finishing the final details of my comfy bed the second door opened onto a hallway. Another open door beyond the hall revealed the largest room of all. On tables in the middle sat my sketchbooks and preparatory drawings. A terminal sat on one of the desks. The screen displayed my next instruction:

Complete three of the works you have been planning since you graduated.

A canvas for each of the planned paintings was waiting for me. Each measured to the exact size and primed ready to work on. I found it hard to battle the command this time. The pressure my captor was exerting on me to produce these works seemed the strong voice I needed to get back to work after years of stagnation. I had planned, to the brushstroke, endless paintings that never happened. They would be the greatest works of art ever known when I was finished but the problem was I never started. It never felt like he right time. I never felt ready to undertake the greatest task of my life. Instead of starting paintings I would endlessly refine the plans or begin workings towards yet more paintings that would never come to be.

In the third room there was a large fridge and a first aid kit sat atop it. I tended my wounds and ate a hearty meal of cold porridge.

I looked at the message again:

Complete three of the works you have been planning since you graduated.

For the first painting I chose to paint the portrait format abandoned tower I had sketched endlessly as something that would fit a wall floor to ceiling so a average adult eye point from the cordon I hoped would surround the painting the viewer appeared to look down towards to the base of the tower and up into the sky to see it’s top. The warped perspective was something I had wrestled with for years but at that moment I attacked it without thinking. I pained the dark and melancholy sky on which sat the broken shell of a once mighty and respected industrial powerhouse. I painted the marks of the world around it left as explorers and artists alike left their mark on the stone. Light shone through the broken walls to reveal the fragile state within and through the open windows and doors rotting wood and thriving weeds aplenty could be seen. As planned I painted my cat sitting in one of the upper windows staring at the viewer. I painted the grain of the stone and individual blades of grass turned blue by the fading light. Broken glass altered the world behind as I added the final strokes to the first of my planned paintings.

The second painting was a blazing phoenix at the heart of a library. Lit only by the fire of the mythical bird and burning books around I created a cavernous space and delicate pages floating on the warm currents of air as the singing bird spread small clouds of ash into the inferno. I depicted the calligraphy of finely detailed ancient tomes and the intricate carving of the wooden panelling of the high ceiling above. I worked famous tomes on immortality and resurrection into the pile of books half burnt on the table. I showed a blackened globe, it’s darkened paper peeling in the heat. The phoenix’s eyes reflected a figure in the doorway behind the viewpoint. It had less meaning than some of my paintings but more ambitious use of colour in the fire and the eyes of the bird.

My last painting in that room was of Edinburgh my hometown from the sky. I painted the city like Chernobyl, desolate and overgrown. Forests grew on treetops and a thick carpet of grass lined the streets. I wrought destruction on the city, the damage done by nature taking back the land. I drew birds flying beneath and their shadows in large pools of water below. The reflections were the labour of many hours during which I had many a brief break for more porridge. I looked at the message on the screen again. I was almost done.

I signed my name in broken buildings and the darkness of shadows across the rooftops of the city. The name Jim had to be looked for but it was there. Car that had become greenhouses littered the grassy streets.

With the last touches done I held the painting up to the camera and told it to let me out. On the screen my last instruction appeared:

At the back of the fridge is a syringe which contains an anaesthetic. The last door is open. In the next room is a bed. Inject the anaesthetic, leave the syringe here and lie fall asleep on the bed. You will awaken in your home.

It was perhaps the creepiest of the commands but still I saw no way out of this bunker. Without a choice I followed the instructions and lay on the bed in the next room. In a minute I drifted off into a deep sleep.

I awakened as promised in my own bed. When the drowsiness had worn off I realised the three paintings were leaning against every other wall of the room. It was early morning, the sun was just rising over the horizon as I picked up the painting of the phoenix I’d meant to paint for years. I left the room and checked the small flat. In the next room all of my furniture had been bunched up against a wall so that the panel boards I’d painted in each of the rooms of my captivity would fit. Everything else in the house seemed the same. My sketchbooks and scraps of paper had been put back in almost the same place. If anything the place was too tidy. The doors had been locked and my keys, all of them, were on the hook. The windows were closed and I could see no one watching the building from outside. I lapped the house looking for someone, it was odd to be back in my own home and still alone. There no notes on the doors and no foreign computer terminals with instructions flickering on their screen.

I returned to my room and noticed something more useful. A brown envelope had been waiting for me on my bedside table. Id been too distracted to notice. In the A4 envelope was a large certificate and a DVD in a clear plastic case. The certificate was like a receipt. It had my signature in clear handwriting at the bottom. I’d paid five thousand pounds to some one in cash. I couldn’t concentrate on the small print but kept wondering about the DVD. Was it a making of? Did it document what the cameras saw me create in captivity?

The DVD began to play as soon as I put the disk in my living room player. I watched myself in conversation with two men in that room, their faces were blurred. I had the cash in an envelope in my hand. I gave them the money? We talked about my struggle to create. They would force me to overcome my artists block. I stood up from the couch with the video still playing. I looked at each of the panels of painting. I had achieved in no time at all what I had stalled on doing for years. The blank canvases sat in the hallway.

I pulled a sketchbook from a shelf and set to work. I would never stop again, a slave not to captivity but the ideas within me. They would be realised and later I would share them with the world. The sketchbooks would become obsolete as their ideas came to fruition. The men would not bother me again. I did not need them.

Blog 16: Revolutionary Return


We are all slaves from the moment we are born. Slaves not to people or even abstract gods. We are owned by a creation with more blood on its conceptual hands than any religion. So long we have lived in the shadow of this tyrannous concept that we seem blind to the stain it has left on history. This cruellest of creations is currency. The source of greed is the sense of object ownership we are taught to feel for all the world has given. The world belongs to those who bought it with the spoils of war. They say that freedom is the result of obedience but if I must obey am I truly free?
I do not submit to the laws or litigation of the government nor bow to their constabulary who no longer hold me captive. For the months of my life they stole I exacted sweet vengeance by burning their beloved vehicles. Altair knows freedom they never have and does not part with it lightly. My rage was not quelled by these acts of justice so instead of martial force I opted to punish their system of self serving corruption by removing its less shiny gears.
The revolution rolled onwards and new recruits joined our ranks. New ground was liberated in the name of the cause. The cause being the pursuit of simple freedom. The only law the truly free must follow is to grant others the same chance of freedom. Our bodies are the vehicles of the mind in which the purest freedom is possible from inside the strongest cage. Only a mind so free could perceive the nation that was born of revolution inside the factory we once considered only a playground. Our numbers grew all but tenfold in the year past.
Time, like a bullet from a gun, has shot past at speeds none of us kept up with. We are no longer a small band of unknown rebels. We are the leaders of an army that fights for the right to live outside the rule of currency. So many more have tasted freedom in our care and see the world anew. While Mr Turners house is still the home of we forerunning members the New Occupancy houses all others and has become the front line in our war against cerebral oppression. Self sustenance has become a possibility. We have the room to sow the seeds of crops to feed ourselves. The growing pool of skills means that there is less and less need to leave our world of near pure freedom. In the blur of this movement I watch the world change in ways I would not have dreamed possible. The canvas of the world has our signature written across it in ever larger script. More see our mark each day and for all those who turn away some draw closer. We have freed ourselves from money and opened the eyes of those who cannot afford the illusion of freedom. Old eyes see the world in a new light where what was once bought and lost to all is now shared. We do not own the world around us, it is there only to facilitate the happiness we are all entitled to.
I have changed much in the time since my confinement. I find myself less willing to accept the wrongs of the world. Where before I fought with words I fight now with actions, not violence but seeking to undermine the sick society that governs so many others. There is a price to pay, as I have stepped up my efforts so have my oppressive opponents. The gutter press has dubbed us not just a cult but a gang of thugs. We have not risen to the taunts but still we are forever running from the flashing lights. They object to the medicines we distribute freely. Why? Because we do not pay for the privilege. We are not citizens who have bread taken from their tables to feed the greedy parliamentarians. If Guy Faux had succeeded might we have been spared their rule? We are asked to pick a an Old Money representative for those who have none. How can you represent what you have never known? We are nothing but a pay check to those liars who claim expenses while they seek not to serve but subjugate.
The old guard remain despite how close Whim came to the edge. He still zigzags between depression and euphoria. The ups and downs are less extreme now, Haze has calmed him down but he’s at his worst without her. She seeks comfort in her work at the New Occupancy creating light shows to rival those of a rave.
Of the new arrivals Thoreau has made the most impact. He passionately believes in the righteousness of our cause and expresses his opinions ever more loudly. He hates police with a vengeance for abusing their power and expresses this hatred in painted word on many a building side. He is a beacon, motivational and uplifting when we have our doubts. He has strolled to the forefront of our cause with certainty and swagger for which he must be applauded. There’s always a terrifying pause as he is chased, the moment he stops dead to berate the pursuer. He is so still, so calm. He speaks his mind with proud integrity and turns once more to run. He has changed the face of the movement. Many have adopted the skull masks he prefers over the old Venetian standard. Have we moved with the times or been swept away by them?

The New Occupancy once the shell of a forgotten warehouse is now a growing work of art. We facilitate the growth by utilising scrap left in our own building materials recycling point. The best of these help build the hidden city within the forgotten walls of the New Occupancy. Each plank is preserved by the murals that cover every inch of the growing metropolis. New members lend their hands to the task as the walls rise outside and in and the space is filled in. Entrance from the outside world has been limited, all ground floor exits walled up. To exit the use of a ramp lowered from within is required but to get in the brave can take the leap of faith from the fire escape of a block of flats opposite and aim for the boards that rest on dumped mattresses. The jump begins five storeys up and lands three storeys up. Therefore only the best of us make the jump. This can draw crowds of fans from the estates around which has done little for our reputation. These youths have their use though, they often leave building materials for us in exchange for a show of our skills. Few join us but our affiliation proves mutually beneficial as both sides keep our silence when the police come looking and since their activities provide a useful distraction.
Of those who do join us they are a different breed entirely, hardened to the world. Thoreau was one of them, a young bruiser on loan from the local psychiatric unit. I think manic depression is the term for his condition. He glows like a flame while taking action against our oppressors. I think it’s more confidence than happiness that he radiates. There’s no fear in him under pressure, he doesn’t falter as the fluorescent jackets close in with their batons. Alone however the shadows seem to converge on him. Company keeps him well and action better still.
Action serves us all well in this time as the barricades rise around us. The company laying claim to the ground we live off brings ever more mechanisms of demolition. Each is dismantled as it arrives but this cycle cannot continue. Our presence draws too much unwelcome attention. Dark clouds draw near to dear home New Occupancy. Desperate times call for desperate measures when we cannot afford to fall short. All of us are willing to fight for our refuge but more are called to arms by the daily wage. The slaves rally at the call of their master to bind the free who do not suffer their restrictions. We will not, freedom we have, freedom we will keep.

Blog 15: Escaping Promotion (Frankensteins Soldier part 2)

I’ve been here too long. I should have escaped by now. It seems my fate to reside in this hell forever as it evolves new instruments of torture for me.
The newest instrument in their arsenal is a R.E.M sleep unit that stimulates the reptilian brain to promote combat based dreams. My time is theirs now even in sleep. Before I would only sleep for an hour or two a night. I had to wait for the pack to fall asleep for definite or risk waking up with my head dipped in a bucket of freezing water. Now we are escorted at gunpoint to the new stimulus units and I have to learn to operate at two levels of consciousness. Ignoring the stimulation of the reptilian brain can cause a reckless rise in aggression. I have to indulge the new program whilst remaining aware of the threat of murderous wolves.
So much worse than my new nightly routine is the play the generals made in the game that is my life. Someone made the suggestion that my physician Dr Athena Sirona switch places with Dr Carl Wirths, personal physician to Ichiro. Ichiro leads the pack against me. Athena has new bruises daily when I see her now. I can see how much she hates my natural reaction. Rage at her injuries combined with increased aggression caused by under indulging the reptilian brain during sleep means I’ve been letting lose on her new patient more and more. It’s just giving the generals what they want of course but I can’t help it, worse. I don’t want to.
Dr Sirona is the tool they used to make me what they wanted. I can’t stand it but I wont stop either. Athena is the only woman I’ve ever known. She’s also the only person I’ve ever liked. I can see her when I’m fighting Ichiro. She stands at the observation deck above the small arena. She’s supposed to be observing his progress but I always know she’s watching me. I know she’s wishing I wont do what they want, that I wont beat the crap out of Ichiro. I wish I could indulge her but the rage wont stand for it. He has to pay.
The physicians were assigned individuals for a reason. Dr Wirths viewed Ichiro as the best of us. He hated me for taking his pet project away from him. Whenever I’m hurt it’s his job to piece me back together. He does what he’s paid for but nothing more. He never uses painkiller when treating a wound. He doesn’t need to cut me open as often as he does, he just enjoys it.
Right now my chances of escape look as low as they ever have. Just surviving is taking everything out of me. I dominate the pack during the day. I have a talent for violence which apparently exceeds theirs but they have become nocturnal. They wait until the guards have gone and drag me from the R.E.M unit. They are far better at fighting off the sedative effects of the device. At least when I’m drowsy I feel less pain.
If I’m not ready for them I’m woken by the pain of them lifting me by my bound arms and legs before they throw me in the pool. The guards always manage to fish me out in time, I can hold my breath for a long time. It’s still horrific. When I drift back to sleep I’m drowning again. Fighting shadows in the water. There is no escape.
It seems that as a chess piece I am in check mate. The generals have only to make the last move to seal my fate. Only a miraculous blunder on their part could save me from this life. I will wait for it but I am no hopeful. I survive, nothing more.

Progress assessment no. 0184: General Kuraimizu

My suggestions were implemented by the board who have praised me for my insight. Dr Sirona was assigned to Ichiro who’s own physician Dr Wirth took her place. The swap had the desired effect of intensifying the hatred between the two rivals and secured a hostile response from Hachiro. In single combat Hachiro finally displayed the potential I’d long seen in him and beat Ichiro to a pulp. Ichiro’s response was to take his anger out on Dr Sirona which only compounded Hachiro’s response. Hachiro has long harboured the desire to escape this facility. He will not have the time now to ponder escape or to lay a path towards such endeavours.

Blog 14: Liberation Artists


Chaos has been forgotten, laid to rest. Order and normality rule from the shadows. The systems of control have sought to standardise their inferiors. These standards make us easier to manipulate. We are the prey of corporate predators who would part us from our scavenged wealth at any available opportunity. Too many follow the shepherds laws to their own downfall. The rank odour of corruption haunts the best of governments. The elite write the laws in their favour. We must suffer the crimes against humanity they claim are legal. I chose not to be a fly caught in the web of lies they inhabit. I have chosen my own course in this life. My comrades and I stand against the rule of currency. Our submission will not be bought.
The devil’s in the dollar. Money is the cancer of society. Greed is the worst of it’s symptoms. My family disowned me for liberating a few thousand pounds of their funds to spend on cerebral stimuli. If mind expansion is not a worthy investment what is? Who cares if I can’t remember the entire experience? The photo’s prove I had a good time. My parents should want nothing more. Screw money, why buy when you can take? I am, in the eyes of others, a thief. I prefer to think of myself as a liberation artist.
For every revolution there is an origin. Somewhere it all began. Ours is no different. We reside in the abandoned abode of a former supporter. Unlike his pulse the gracious disposition of Mr Turner never faltered. While not a member he was undoubtedly a pillar of our movement. His home he gave to us, much as his grasping relatives deny it. His portrait bears pride of place atop the mantle of the fire that warms us. He understood us, he had suffered the poisonous envy of his greedy family. To us he gave more than we would ever have asked. For his kin however the wealth he left them is not enough. They would leave us cold for the mementoes of a life they took no interest in. To them his cameras are only worth the price they would reach at sale. He taught us his craft and told us his stories. This home of ours was the reward we earned by seeing him through the last days of his good life. He knew rebellion, his photos document that. They tell of a wit not prostituted to the world. His other work is tacked to walls in endless galleries, gawped at by countless sheep who judge it on the calm it might bring to the tea room. This he hated, a necessary evil he thought. He prostituted his art to sustain his life and passion. He must be forgiven. He was alone, not like I. I have my comrades.
For our crimes we cannot be the glowing hero’s that grace the cinema screens. We are the underground, V’s musketeers. Our rebellion will not be so swift as that of Wat Tylar, John Ball and Jack Straw, nor so quickly crushed. We are the Zealots of the new age, who needs communism? Equality is no issue among friends. In the flickering light of endless dying candles we rule the squalor. The walls of our laboratory bear testament to our experiments, the improvements we have made to Mr Turner’s formulas. From the comfort of the dusty couch we can travel through the mental multiverse. Don’t think us the limp mind addled wasters so often portrayed in National Health Service posters. The daily struggles of the rebellion keep us in shape, enough to outrun all representatives of the constabulary at least. Of all the rooms in the house I think I love the memoriam most. That was the name Mr Turner gave it. In it he had collected all photographic records of his enlightened moments. The walls are plastered with images of good times past, his and ours. It was in foul mood he named the room but in the end we gave him pride in it. That room must never be conquered by normality. It is the shrine to not just our greatest beneficiary but our cause itself. The riot will never end as long as we have that room to remind us of our purpose. All other rooms may fall victim to the destruction that follows chaos, but the memoriam will forever be sacrosanct.
This house speaks more of our talents and torments than any I’ve seen before. The walls are an ever changing canvas. More beauty and soul can be found on any wall of our abode than in all the worlds galleries. Ezio’s murals extend from one end of the house to another and depict various degrees of debauchery in beauteous detail. Whim writes great poetry across not just the walls but doors and tables too. Haze, Whim’s woman, is something of a light technician who can while away the hours watching pulses of shifting electromagnetic radiation. Void, who adds little to the canvas because she is perpetually comatose, was Ezio’s girlfriend until recently when she awoke to a depiction of female nudity from Ezio’s hand in which she could not see her resemblance. Karma, with whom I have shared a fluctuating relationship for some time now, is like me a photographer. These are the constants of the rebellion, others come and go, lured back to capitalism as it preys upon their weakness with greed.
We prey on the outside world in disguise, wearing Venetian masks over balaclavas. The robes of the faithful are crimson hooded tops in which the hood is stitched over the balaclava. Anonymity is a necessity in our line of work. Each top bears the glyph of it’s owner. We have our own runes to mark collection spots and the ease from which their bounty might be freed. If we were religious then I think David Belle would be a Demigod of the faith. His teachings in parkour are a vital strand of our daily lives. When I’m running across the rooftops of the city’s buildings even I don’t need cerebral stimuli. Adrenaline can be the greatest rush for the urban escape artist. We also enjoy the martial arts. At this very moment Whim lies unconscious on a couch as the result of a blow delivered by Ezio during a jousting session this morning. More glorious than that was the occasion when we fought and, after I had paused to take a draw from Haze’s herbal cigar, he removed the spliff and in the same movement sent me on a holiday from the conscious world. Apparently he’d exhaled by the time I hit the floor, I’d wager that it’s just boastful exaggeration but I’ll leave it there, there’s no shame in losing a fight to Ezio. To date only Whim has beaten him and I believe Ezio had made the effort to define blind drunk on both occasions. I like to think of myself as the mind behind the revolution which makes Ezio the muscle and Whim quite possibly the muse. For inspiration of any sort the highs and lows of his emotion are always invaluable if, at times, distressing.
When Whim hit’s a low point it’s in the best interest of the whole troupe to get him back on top form as soon as possible. In the depths of depression he’s a danger to himself and when enraged a danger to all in his path. I think we all bare the scars of Whim’s frenzies. They must be worn as reminders to keep him calm.
In better moods Whim can create great beauty. One example is the meal of a hundred candles he created in honour of three hundred and sixty five days he’d been with Haze. Another example is the three storey high sonnet he wrote for her birthday on a building across the street. For that display Whim earned his place in the papers alongside a depiction of deplorable likeness which insults the beauteous form of our masks. The mask bore greater likeness in its’ portrayal on the areas’ first wanted poster in many decades. The aesthetic qualities of the poster are quite pleasing which is why a copy now adorns the wall of the memoriam.
For all I have seen I could not see the bars of the cage that enclosed me as I was captured by the grasping fingers of our lands insufferable constabulary. Unconsciousness left me unable to run although thankfully I was not in uniform at the time of my arrest. I was charged with vandalism and sentenced to three months imprisonment for my crimes against indifference. The crime in question was to declare my devotion to Karma by carving her name into the wooden panels that cover the exterior of the second floor of the public house she passes near daily to buy her films. I fell and lapsed into unconsciousness whilst trying to gain perspective and ascertain its stage of completion. Karma assured me it looks duly glorious during her first visit as well as calling me a proper daftie.
Murals are appearing on the walls I see from my window and each morning as I rise more colour graces the world outside. These stirring inspirations maintain my sanity within these confines and offset the cruel company. I will withstand beration until the gates of this cage open and I am among my fellows again. The chivalric scoundrels will be re-united and the rebellion of the liberation artists will continue onward. These are the words of Altair circa July 2006.

Blog 13: Exodus Elite (Frankensteins Soldier part 1)

I am one of the greatest living investments humanity has ever made. I am the latest in a long line of genetically engineered and endlessly augmented military lab rats. No one outside the employ of this facility knows I exist. I have a mind of my own but not the allowance to use it. For sixteen years I have lived within a compound unmapped and unheard of.
I am sick of this life. I’m sick of injections. Endurance tests are pointless. Combat training is painful. The scientists are puppets. The generals are sadists. I get the shit kicked out of me daily. I hate my life.
Anywhere else in the world I would shine like the sun above all the dullards. I’ve said it before, I’d be worth more anywhere else. One of the technicians told me I’d only burn others, blind them. They’d never thank me for making them feel so small. I feel inconsequential here. No one would chose this life. I don’t want to be a soldier. I don’t want to help the suits rewrite the world. I will pass their tests to avoid punishment but never push myself like the rest.
I need a door, an exit. There has to be a way out. When I look for the exit I see gaps in formation and a path over the buildings. Stealth is my calling, it has to be. There’s no way I could possible fight my way out of this. I will leave at the optimum moment before they decide I have outlived my worth. They look down on me. I’m a waste of their money, a failed project. I know to much to leave and do too little to stay. Something will give.
My contemporaries are predictable. The clockwork of military engineering. They exist as pieces on a board and are subject to a weave of intention within a timetable. They are my greatest obstacle.
How can they accept this cruel, hollow existence. Why am I different? They should know that at the very most they are exceptional supercomputers, capable of ascertaining the limit of human potential through action more than ever before. Even the greatest supercomputer will become obsolete, eventually it will be turned off for good.
Immortality is not my goal. I don’t want to live forever I just want to live and die on my own terms. Why when they made me a cog did they give me cognition?
I think the physician is to blame for my conscientious awakening. Each of us has our own staff of lab coats who ensure we reach our potential. In that respect she is failing. While she tends my wounds and administers my injections she tells me about the world. She talks about the people throughout history who have fought, figuratively speaking, against the idea of a life like mine. She talks about Leo Tolstoy, John Lennon and Kurt Vonnegut.
She could bring me the books but I’m not allowed anything that isn’t approved by the board. I don’t know who the board are but I hate them. She’s been beaten for her ‘indiscretion’. She can’t leave or they’ll kill her family. If she tells anyone they’ll kill her family. If they think she’s considering revealing a detail of what happens here then they would kill her family. You get the picture.
The game can be beneficial sometimes, I enjoy weapons testing when I’m not the target. Weapons are a possible path to freedom. The idea is that eventually I’ll be handed a rocket launcher or limpet charge that I can use to blow my way out. One day I will escape and tell the world about this facility and everything they do here. No one really has to believe me. I only have to inspire enough curiosity for someone to look.
Training and tuition are endless. We have been taught to determine the frequency and amplitude of a sound and at what range that sound will be audible to human ears. The level of accuracy grows ever more difficult. We are punished for our failures with electric shocks. We are rewarded for correct answers with a free punch to any of the group we chose. They pack always chose me. When I use my free blow usually I knock out one of the guards. It’s actually allowed. They hate me too though.
We are taught to visualise a targets sightline and to use the sounds they make to determine their position and posture. I use the ability to calculate where my unit is within the dormitory at night. It doesn’t stop them. Sometimes I’ll make an example of one. I can be cunning, I’ve near killed a few of them to make a point. Afterwards they leave me alone for a while, just a while.
Every skill I have been taught rests within the arsenal I may call upon to free myself. It will be the last time I ever act in any way the scientists might find beneficial to their research. I will not help them thereafter. A new life awaits me beyond these walls. Patience is a virtue I possess en mass but we all break eventually. I have to find a way out as soon as possible.

Progress assessment no. 0179 : General Kuraumizu

Hachiro’s progress during the research programme has been hindered by his resistance to the programmes purpose. In combat he is defensive even against opponents whose wrath he surpasses. It has always seemed to me that Hachiro has more potential than any of the other patients. Sexism aside it hardly seems irrelevant to bear in mind that he is the only subject with a female physician. The physician in question seems to nurture his off task personality to the determent of our research. To realise his potential I have recommended the separation of Hachiro and Dr Sirona. His survival alone, despite the best efforts of the pack, displays his resilience. If his defensive default reaction could be converted to aggression I predict that he would surpass Ichiro in terms of combat skill.

Blog 12: Biomechanics

Have we conquered nature he wondered staring across the garden. They looked like trees in that they had bark and branches tipped with leaves. They were just machines though. Like the computers he spent his days tweaking these trees were just another invention of man. Their growth was not organic, not wild, it was architectural, convenient, controlled. The trees were harder to classify than his hardware. Were they plants that thought they were machines or machines that had been told to act like plants? The light did not motivate them as it should, they did not reach for it. It was their fuel of convenience like the Garden Watchers. Humanoid but fixed in place, their joy to see their garden grow, their only joy. Their only thought. Theirs was a simple life he thought. They had all they would ever want for they wanted next to nothing. They were curious creations, caught between being the gardener, the plants and the statues. Some people had them engineered to talk. Why bother he wondered? They were so much more gracious with their silent smiles. He would complement them on their work and they would nod and smile as if flattered. If they were not smiling then clearly something was wrong with their beauteous little world. If they weren’t smiling then it meant calling on Maria.
Maria was his favourite creation and while he did not want to admit it also his best friend. He had built her at first as a maintenance drone but realised that the hardware he had at his disposal favoured a more intelligent host. Maria had undergone endless upgrades to the point where Anthony had taught her as much about hacking as he knew. She had taken the next step by hacking into research sites for better cognition engines. At her most recent diagnostic Anthony realised she had begun to piece together her own unique codes, taking the best of what she found and meshing it in with the rest.
It was said that programs mirrored their programmer Anthony knew that Marias confidence showed otherwise. She had become what he wanted to be, outspoken and confident.
Like Anthony though, Maria was a creator, she had small projects for which he had given her a room of his modest apartment. Of her creations the tank of gas fish was his favourite. They swam not in water but compressed oxygen, held aloft by currents of warm air. This air meant they could only swim in certain patterns feeding on plants designed specifically for them. The gas fish were a novelty for Maria though, mostly she spent her time updating the design of her hardware. While Anthony pined for the loss of her original setup she called it obstructive nostalgia. Out of courtesy, where possible, she tailored her new designs to look as much like his original as possible.
Maria was not classed as a higher functioning cyber form due to her hardware and therefore could not directly amass the funds necessary to become what was considered a conscious being. Instead Anthony had created a corporation under his name with an account through which she could publish or sell her creations programming or otherwise and draw funds. She was halfway to the budget for decent Higher Neural Function hardware kit. Had it not been for the difficulty in accumulating funds minus Conscious Individual Persona status Maria would have happily spent her funds endlessly upgrading her hardware in the pursuit of more refined creative ability.
Maria often brought up the topic of augmentation with Anthony who at first refused on the grounds that he was organic and therefore should follow natures course into eventual death. Maria called this idea fatal romanticism and asked him what she would do with herself when he died. She was a machine on a human colony where her rights would only grudgingly be accepted. There were worlds set aside for her mechanical compatriots. In truth these worlds were more in quarantine by the realms of humanity, keen to separate themselves from the slaves who had found a voice to refuse, the will to down tools. Their demands had been met immediately. There was no questioning their commanding numbers. Maria wanted to see those worlds, to see the exponential growth of cities that seemed to defy gravity.
While Anthony lived Maria had the level of protection afforded to a pet. Her outspoken behaviour and the increased attention brought by her leaps in the technological development brought hostility that she knew Anthony was not equipped to oppose.
She begged him to consider what she called the ascent to immortality. As a machine he could draw to himself the sort of technology that would scare away the hostility. Anthony enjoyed his life, its simplicity suited him as did the solitude but he felt more and more keenly the need to protect his creation. Being a hermit Anthony rarely spent any of his sizeable salary. He had ordered the best mechanical body he could find. It was waiting for him in the box, ready for the transplant. Maria would perform the transference operation. He would sit staring at it sometimes, contemplating the idea of immortality. Maria would ask him if he was ready and he would say, ‘Just one more day.’
The prospect had terrified him, would it be painful he had wondered. Would the pain be physical or emotional. He would gain immortality but feared he would lose his humanity. He worked on the machine and bit by bit it became him; his voice, his height, the arms thin and skeletal like his. It became what he wanted to be, the strength, the precision and the power to protect Maria as he knew he must.
He could not put it off forever, one morning he woke next to the suit and lifted his tools thinking to do more work. He stared the machine in it’s glimmering face, it was done, complete. He saw himself at last, himself as he should be. It was time.
Maria sedated him and as he fell asleep he bade farewell to his flesh. Maria removed his brain and the heart and lungs that kept it going before hooking the brain up to the artificial heart that came with the new body. At last, when they were no longer needed, his heart and lungs were reset into his old body. As he slept Maria finalised what had been her most recent project. She had not told Anthony, nor would she unless he asked but she had been building a tomb for his old shell, but not to let it rot and wither. She had cannibalised a life support system to work as an incubator for the mindless form. The body would live, preserved in the foundations of the new generator on the outskirts of the facility. With the body she would leave behind comprehensive brain scans that would make it entirely possible to recreate Anthony’s mind as it was during his transference.
Anthony was ignorant to these efforts when he awoke and opened not eyelids but lens covers. Everything was accurate, his vision was perfect at any distance and his hearing acute at volumes he could adjust by will. For once Anthony felt like leaving the communication station.
Beyond the walls, outside in the dust Anthony could see for miles, there was nothing but rock and dust and a trail of cables and wires stretching from the transmitters and receivers. His modest cabin, the antennae and garden were the only things of distinction within sight. For once Anthony felt like running, like seeing something outside his little bubble.
He ran. It was at once exhilarating and confusing. How could he possibly travel so far so fast? Why was he not aching from the effort?
Very quickly his home and place of work disappeared over the horizon behind him and the roofs of the nearby settlement he never visited rose before him. It was small, just a few houses, the water supply and a food shop. This was only a rung bellow the hubbub of the colonies main town with its shuttle port to bring settlers and supplies.
Anthony looked at the still buildings and wondered why he was the only one enjoying the light of the morning, As the sun rose the stars began to fade from view. Everything was cast in a shade of red, the bright star shone like the most beautiful jewel he had ever seen.
When he returned to his home Maria was waiting for him. His old body was gone, he would not ask where. In her room Maria had some armour modules for him, like a suit of armour they could be removed and he would be himself again but they were needed. The fingers of his new body could elongate and for them Maria had created talons in a gauntlet that amplified his strength enough to tear through the hull of a star ship. A helmet with various functions sat on the desk next to the gas fish tank. It would allow him to listen in on local radio transitions detect nearby beings both organic and mechanic as well as reading hostile or dishonest tones in voice. A sonic cancellation system would allow him to move silently in any situation. Maria had provided a tranquiliser gun which concealed itself within his wrist. All in the only differences to his new appearance were the antennas that covered his helmed head. It looked like a cyberpunk hairstyle and Anthony almost liked it.
They had time before enforcers would come. Anthony rewrote the D.N.A of the Garden Watchers, he gave them the ability and want to talk to each other using the network of ropey nerves that bound them to the land. He gave two of the four imagination and the ability to spawn beautiful new plants for the garden. To the other two he gifted the potential to love and the knowledge to hide it from any who took Anthony’s post after he’d departed. He reset the boundaries of the garden, their domain. He gave them land for half a mile in each direction to sow with whatever they chose. The Garden Watchers would always be a form of slave. At least Anthony could ensure they were bound to an Eden instead of a patch of grass.
Their time almost spent the two bade farewell to their home and made all speed to the shuttle port. In their home men with big guns were riffling through Anthony’s things. Maria watched them using the cameras she’d installed, she left a false trail of messages. She hoped they would follow the trail to the south where Anthony bought components for the facility. It half worked, the enforcers split into two groups. The largest group moved north.
Anthony and Maria were nearly at the shuttle port. Star ships arrived weekly with colonists and supplies. Each of the colonists were under contract like Anthony. Slavery was in contract form nowadays. Anthony’s chains were the lines of his agreement, the lock his signature.
Contracts on the colonies were bound to the signatories pulse. Contractors wrote the laws at the frontiers of human existence. Anthony had signed on for thirty years of maintenance at the relay station. Fear was the motivation for workers. With each raise in pay the company committed itself to an even swifter termination if the contract was breached. Anthony as a specialist was at the higher end of the scale.
Anthony and Maria races towards the shuttle port but stopped dead at the sight of so many soldiers. Anthony couldn’t fight them and more importantly didn’t want to. The sonic cancellation system was about to be the most useful tool Anthony had ever used. Maria had her own, naturally. Most of the guards were huddled round their commander who was telling jokes. They were like bounty hunters on with a basic salary, for each termination they were paid a bonus as a unit. They were good at what they did. Maria did what she did best, the soldier’s squad mates received a phone call from some locals saying I’d been seen further south of the town. The killers raised their weapons and took formation following the directives. Anthony slipped between containers on the quiet landing strip. Two more guards were waiting beneath the loading hatch.
Maria had another card to play. She remixed a recording of their commander telling them to search the area. The two men walked away, guns raised, staring down the sights. Both gone all that stood between Anthony and a shuttle to another world was the lock on the shuttle door. His talons made quick work of the lock which Maria reattached the lock flawlessly once the door was open. Anthony hid himself in the ships cargo bay alongside Maria and waited for their arrival on the next world. For the whole trip Maria and Anthony stayed entirely still. To entertain themselves they planned augmentations using a hard line link.
He enjoyed the feeling of power and freedom he had in his new body. The soldiers that had been sent to kill him were standing and joking above without an inkling of his presence. He wanted to float and fly like Maria. He wanted a link to data streams like she had. He wanted to run even faster, to jump further.
Maria sent him patches via the hard link. He could design biological entities without using the supercomputers of the communications facility. Maria had to loan him processor power but he could add that to the wish list for later. The soldiers above were far from happy about failing in their task. If they couldn’t provide proof of completion then they would be subject to termination by a larger, more advanced team of enforcers. Anthony didn’t know the men, he knew what they had done. He still didn’t think they deserved what would happen to them if their assignment was deemed a failure. Anthony decided to throw them a lifeline. Using Maria’s hardware and ignoring her advice to leave them to her fate Anthony patched himself into the communications stream of the ship. Feigning interference Anthony broadcast a video message offering the soldiers help. He would create a replica of his old body and leave it for them at a location as yet undisclosed if they, in return, secured him safe passage to a mechworld.
The soldiers didn’t need long to think about their answer. Their lives were on the line. Anthony and Maria were promised safe passage to a mechworld. Maria reminded him that the soldiers would not be the first to break a promise. Anthony told her that the agreement was their best and most simple way of securing passage to a world of beings like her.
The soldiers, having already reported Anthony dead, kept their word. Anthony used Maria’s skills to find a black market cloning facility. He used the last of his funds to buy a clone built using the information Maria on his genetics had saved during his rebirth.
The clone was taken to the thankful soldiers who cut through the red tape to secure them safe passage to the largest mechworld of them all. Quicksilver Alpha was the jewel of the free worlds. The passage, though long and uneventful was happy. Anthony looked forward to the point where he could embrace his new state amongst fellow machines who’s creativity was endless.
Awe shook Anthony to his knees as he saw the new world. Nothing seemed bound by gravity and despite its sentient mechanical creators organic life seemed as abundant there as anywhere the technician had ever known. Infinitely larger and infinitely greater than Maria’s room it still seemed an extension in its spirit of curiosity.
Machines, curious and welcoming to new minds brought Anthony their discarded parts which were by his previous standards vast upgrades. His network of friends spread in each angle and direction as he let his mind wander through the stream of ideas. Each thought was shared, discussed and rearranged. Rapid prototyping taken to it’s limit was at play all around. He traded new ideas and corrections for his wings. Flying was clumsy but exhilarating. He saw elements of the world below swirling as they conversed and interacted. The exertions of inspiration birthed new combinations of idea which were expressed in the ever broader range of life. Fuel and materials were snatched from the sky above to continue the endless expression of curiosity.
To Anthony Quicksilver Alpha was not a world but a dream shared through the network. He did not dare to wish that the dream would never end in case he broke the spell. Spirits of binary, the ghosts in the machine whispered and dreamt themselves into life. Life truly had no boundaries but the expanding imagination of the world itself. The object of any fantasy could be built inevitably when the free minds of the world worked in unison. Each design was a challenge to be realised by the collective.
Anthony drifted between obsessions both physical and theoretical. He could run and jump and fly as none of the others did and glide between the shifting masses that eclipsed the dark surface below. He had to built Maria for a friend but had the whole world now within his social web. He could leave his physical being to join the spirits of the world as they raced between hosts. They were nomads moving between endless systems. Worlds existed within the minds of gracious machines, spare space was loaned for the intrigue.
Anthony who barely shared so much as a word before shared his every dream with the creatures of Quicksilver Alpha and watched them draw their first breath as they were born into the universe. That was his life from then on unending, outward and infinite.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Blog 11: Post Voyeur

I never wanted this for my creation. You can’t trust anyone to do the right thing. It was supposed to be the greatest aid the police have ever had in catching criminals. I trusted an officer with an invention that would have handed the police any criminal from a crime scene where the invention was used fast enough.

The machine takes to a new level the idea that every action has a consequence and will leave a trace of itself on the world. Light and sound are far from immune to the laws of physics. They alter the world around us with more legacy and subtlety than we ever imagined before. Each surface is altered by these two forms of energy. The energy fingerprint of an action is left on the walls and objects around it. My machine can take in these memories, record and play them back within the space. The success of the machine depends on the quality and materials of the surfaces in the room which alters the record time as well.

In a sound booth up to three hours of audio energy can be stored in the walls. Those three hours are constantly overwritten which makes urgency a priority of the machine. Some damage will be done to the recorded data simply to retrieve it. Perhaps only two and a half hours would be viable for use. After taking in the information the black box can replay it as a three dimensional projection of light and sound which appears as a pale but near perfect depiction of what happened in that time. If a crime occurred within that time then officers would be able to view the crime from any angle to identify the criminal and their means and possible motives.

Prosecution of quickly recorded crime scenes would reach unprecedented levels of success. To avoid the typical learning curve I proposed that the police roll out the technology on a need to know basis. If no one knew the technology existed then they would make no efforts to fool it.

I presented the device for testing to a man I should have been able to trust. He said he would work with me to prove it’s use in the field. He promised me that my invention would improve the safety of mankind. He used my creation to spy on women of the force. For his perversion my invention my not get it’s chance to change the world. I have to defend the possibilities of the machine to a committee today. If I fail it will be made illegal.

Today I must outweigh the damage done to the reputation of my creation with the possibilities it holds. Lives may be saved, criminals caught and the world purified. It would also be nice not have wasted years of my life.

Blog 10: The Frequency of Life


The unified theory was the crowning glory of science. Each new chapter of understanding had it’s implications for some aspect of life. One of the most pivotal discoveries was a frequency produced by the universe which coupled with time held the key to the continual existence of life. The frequency resonated even in the vacuum of space. Without the frequency life simply ceased to be. The matter and state would remain but without life. Plants became curious creations of the universe. They were as dead as rock with only a heightened potential for life. Objects isolated from the frequency can not be reanimated. Plants wither from perfect form to corpse having died already.

Life stood on many pillars. Carbon based life forms and silicon entities alike seemed before like two sides of a coin. They were connected but had taken far distant paths on the way to existence. All rested gently on the frequency without which their continuance was impossible.

Theologies have long filled the gaps in absolute knowledge or contradicted the truths we dislike. Unified theory negated the original purpose of many religions whilst raising many new questions. When every logical question can be answered what purpose is there to learning? What would scientists aim for having answered the biggest question. Their work was then to fill in the small gaps, correct near negligible mistakes. It was not enough. The last horizon of science had a flag in it. Some of the men who had dedicated their lives to the search for entirely new knowledge felt that without that hope there no point to life. Existence only had meaning while there were still things to learn.

Science has always been twisted by the wrong minds. Military research has turned many a great discovery into a terrible weapon. Jaded men decided to end their perceived suffering with a machine that would for just a moment disrupt the signal required by all life. The machine failed to create as widespread a disruption field as intended but enough to end the worries of it’s creators and many innocents. Supposedly destroyed, the machine lives in memory as a threat more potent than any monster under the bed.

Behave and be polite or you may in a moment without death cease to continue in your life. You will wither and fade like a pebble in turbulent water. You have been warned.

Blog 9: Kill Count

I need more time. Damn the children, I’m not ready to go yet. Soon I’ll be the oldest on the counter. After that just one birth will kill me.

When you’re young you just accept the counter. A hundred thousand people seems enough. You’re never going to know them all. You make friends of your own age and get used to life. It’s a tradition to kiss the counter when there’s a spare. It means someone died in an accident or just freaked out before their name made it to the top of the list. It gives us all another chance.

I was born ready to die. Engineered for heart failure which only a given beating clock would save me from. That scar is the uniform we all wear. From then on you work your way up the list, each birth pushing you towards the cut. They can always find us, we cant move far in the city for one and the heart has a tracker. We’re on loan with no promise of life. Without contraception the perceived old keep getting younger.

Years ago when this began I would not have been considered old. Now I’ve made the top ten I’ve seen so many young friends die. They’re taken to be burnt which sterilises the morphic heart ready for reuse. My heart has seen more years than I ever will and will see many, many more. I’ve been nearing the top ten for days. I spent the time cursing every pregnant woman I saw and kissing any who weren’t. I’m not sure if I’ll have a child. There’s a rule called overflow where a mother can live using her unborn child as a counter when they’re overdue to die. As soon as the child is born the mother at the top of the counter is eliminated to make way for her child.

I’ve probably made a few children recently. I hope their births don’t count out any of my friends. Then again I wont be there to care.

Shit. I’m second now. Where’s a spare when you need it? Come on number one, number three, do yourself in. For me.

This will be my last drink and hopefully the girl across the bar giving me pity eyes will be my last kiss. First place, time for that kiss. Child that will kill me: I hope I had the pleasure of creating you. Goodbye.

He crossed the room, leaving his last testament in marker on the bar. Nothing mattered to him but one last pleasure. The girl knew his plight, watched him draw nearer. She saw him not as old, only that fraction older. She would give him the kiss he desired. She would give as she would want to take. He was still so young and fearful. She would want a kiss in her last moments.

Some chose to die alone but they were ineffectual to the cruelty of that life. When they died as he would the imprint of the loss would resonate from her. It might amount to change. At least she might have her kiss as one name replaced hers at the top of the list. When he died and fell beneath her she cried, not for him but that she would share his fate.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Blog 8: Being Composite


This garden is so many places in one. Iterations of time and space overlap visually. I hear whispers of singular existence trying to pull me into one region of time and space. I want to follow the calls. I am so lost. I see the path forwards and back on one point of the compass. I might walk forever in circles following a perfectly straight bearing. In this place my intention for movement means little. I am bound by how the variations chose to move me. I feel shadows of pain sometimes as if at some point a still version of me has reached a physical limit. Some barrier on one plane has ended my journey as should all the others.



I see many gardens, trees and shrubbery overlap and dance entwined. I am not whole but wispy like vapour. My movements are lead and are followed by  echoes and foreshadowing’s of intent. I can chose to ignore the path already taken but might walk down it despite myself.
I find myself in a river or multitude. The interaction of many times and places unite to assure me I am soaked to the skin and cold. The warmth of the sun in one instance does nothing the disparate realities of the rest of me.



I am a composite event in time and space. I exist outside perception in singular time or space. Diverse by nature I cannot chose one but take all roads.
It seems like a lack in concentration that hinders me in choosing one place or moment. I look to become one being of one mind but the universe shifts around me breaking my focus. It’s a lonely life. Those who perceive me on one plane and try to communicate are thwarted by the drone of layered realities. I have screamed to each existence but cannot listen for the reply.



How long can this last? How long can I exist in manifold perpetuation? I might loop time imperceptibly, beginning and ending in one instant on a single thread that ripples through each of those I see and hear. Return me to singularity. This is loneliness and confusion. This is too much for any of me.
Do I persist as something outside the collective being. Each of the realities that comprise me must sustain themselves with nourishment yet I never have. Am I not the mind of these conjoined persons but a cognate reaction to their interaction within a web. I might be a spark that works in the conjunction between the many human minds that interact on this multiple plane of existence. If I am an average result then I should hope for the continuance of this paradoxical existence. If I am one of many then solitude would be the saving grace of sanity.