An experiment goes cataclysmically wrong
|"Chapter One" |
Stendhall Epoch III Variant 19C was in his laboratory. That is to say that his awareness was currently fixed in the non physical reality that he worked in.
He was angry.
Many cycles ago his research had spectacularly demonstrated that the theory of interlocked, independent realities was sound. Stendhall had proposed an expedition to another dimension, and his proposal had been rejected. The Vrrall were almost unanimously against the concept of inter-dimensional travel. They regarded it as potentially dangerous. Since then Stendhall had worked in secret to develop the tools it would need to make an expedition of exploration alone.
Then he had found a like mind in his young research assistant Amyrll Epoch VI variant 6b. After much agonising he had taken Amyrll into his confidence. The decision was made after a interpersonal melding that Stendhall had found deeply satisfying as Amyrll had proven delightfully submissive, a rare tendency in the later epochs.
Now Amyrll had betrayed Stendhall and he was ordered to destroy all his tools and research documents and submit to investigation and censor. Amyrll had tried to explain to him that her fears of inter-dimensional contamination had grown to the point where she felt that she had no choice but to reveal Stendhall's plans to the Vrrall.
Stendhall had immediately terminated commune. Invoking closure, Stendhall cut his laboratory off from the catholic. He knew the Vrrall could, and would gain access, but that this would take at least a cycle, and probably several. Time enough to make his planned journey. He would prove that consciousness could be directed to alternative realities. He would be the first, the pioneer.
Stendhall assembled his equipment so that it could be invoked as required. The programmed sequences of synthetics that he had laboured long to identify, manufacture and perfect were assembled and loaded. Resonance meters were calibrated and adjusted. Of prime importance to the expedition was Stendhall's invention, the Reality Distillation Unit. With this he had proved the existence of the interlocked realities. Since that momentous discovery he had made many refinements to its functions.
A sub-program chimed and delivered a message from the Vrrall. Stendhall was dismayed that they had already begun to circumvent his defences. He hurriedly invoked the first Sequence.
Kirsten Knightly sat with her friends Helen and Jennifer in a booth of their favourite bar 'Dillos'. It was their Friday night ritual to meet here, drink and discuss men. Right now Helen was in love and pro-men. Jennifer had just spilt up and was overtly nay, but paying a lot of attention to a group of young bloods at the bar. Kirsten herself was in a great mood as she had just made a £300 bonus for garnering the best sales that month. She was planning a shopping trip the next day, actually the next afternoon to be accurate as before that she planned to get wasted, fucked and sleep till midday.
A part of Stendhall's awareness watched as the Sequences as they were invoked in turn. He experienced the uncomfortable constriction as a part of his consciousness was squeezed and twisted and finally thrust out.
Stendhall opened his now severely curtailed senses. His awareness was wrong, something was fighting it for control of the mind he now occupied.
Her friends watched in horror as Kirsten stood suddenly, screaming and clawing frantically at her face. The entire place went quiet as everyone turned to watch.
Stendhall fought to stabilise the situation and quiet the host mind. Invoking Sequences and adjusting the Reality Distillation Unit as he felt an unknown sensation. His shared battleground, the young woman's mind supplied the word pain.
Desperation, confusion and stark terror flooded Kirsten's mind as the alien presence invaded her very being. Reaching down she smashed the glass that only minutes before she had been sipping happily from. As her friends tried to grab her Kirsten drove the jagged base of the glass into her hand. An inhuman wail escaped her as she collapsed over the table.
Stendhall's attention erupted back into his laboratory. A whole cycle had elapsed and his defensive wall was reporting the Vrrall's attempts to override it. Stendhall was unclear as how his mind had been ejected, but he swiftly decided to retry with an adjusted focus. With a mental flick he re-invoked the Sequences.
Angers, France 1793
Pierre Göezman was hurrying through heavy, driving, rain. His cloak was already soaked through and his tall boots squelched in the reeking, sucking muck and mud of the road. He carried a leather satchel huddled under his arm. Letters from his master the Compte de Feverre addressed to the Jew Petre, and of vital importance. Cursing the saw edged wind that cut through clothes and flesh alike to bite coldly into his limbs, Pierre bent into it's frigid embrace and forged his way forwards. His eyes were slatted against the stinging burn of raindrops.
Again Stendhall thrust his constrained fragment of consciousness into and through the Reality Distillation Unit. As though far away, he registered the fall of the closure program.
Pierre fell face down in the mud, no longer able to control any part of his body. His mind had shut down, unable to comprehend, much less to cope with the invading devil that had fallen upon him. This was a mercy as his body died, organs spasming and exploding.
Stendhall was terrified. The mind it was occupying had not fought at all as the first had done, but its complete abdication had left Stendhall to try and control the unfamiliar physical component of its existence. The attempt was a spectacular failure and Pierre died in moments.
Flung back once more into his own dimension, Stendhall reeled as the confusion and panic claimed his own mind. His programs were in disarray. Closure was gone. The Vrrall occupied his laboratory accompanied by a very scared Amyrll. The Vrrall were broadcasting alarm.
“The Stendhall is contaminated.”
Bursts of containment and quarantine programmes were invoked and directed. Still connected to the Reality Distillation Unit, Stendhall's being was torn apart as his temporary host's disintegrated in the target dimension.
Vrrall Epoch VII Version 13d pronounced in unison.
“The Stendhall is deceased.”
The Vrrall invoked their own closure upon the laboratory, and directed Amyrll to find and display all records. Their review was patient and thorough, taking many cycles. Amyrll was surprised to be included. Her opinion was sought and considered.
Conclusions were reached. Stendhall had demonstrated that though extremely dangerous, inter-dimensional travel was no longer a matter of pure theory. The Vrrall further instructed Amyrll that “The potential threat must be assessed.” They appointed her to take over Stendhall's laboratory and project. Amyrll was to find a safe way into the alternative reality and to assess the potential of that dimension mounting an invasion of the Vrrall dimension. Amyrll was frightened by the responsibility, but had no choice. One of the Vrrall, Landseer Epoch II Variant 3a, was assigned an advisory role. Amyrll's unease doubled.
Landseer was well aware of how Amyrll felt and he sought to convey that the situation would not be worsened by his involvement.
“The Vrrall are not judging you in this Amyrll. You have already proven your sense and loyalty. Your previous involvement in Stendhall's project uniquely qualifies you for this role. Success will undoubtedly lead to reward, and we have confidence that you will succeed.”
Amyrll was not entirely reassured, large in her mind loomed Stendhall's death as a direct result of his dimensional expedition.
Landseer had an idea about that. He pointed out that the RDU thrust or injected consciousness into the target mind, and that seemed to produce the shocking results. He suggested that a slower approach might be the key to a safer transfer. Amyrll seized upon this and set about recalibrating the Reality Distillation Unit to effect such an approach. Landseer examined the Sequences of synthetics, and the resonance meters, making suggestions for minor adjustments. These were duly made and far, far faster than Amyrll wanted the project was ready to recommence.
Landseer invoked quarantine programmes that sealed the laboratory. Amyrll was about to invoke the first Sequence when Landseer sensing her anxiety instructed her to stop.
“Stendhall was in a state of anxiety when he made his attempts. That may have been a contributing factor to their failure.”
Then Landseer delivered a set of Synthetics entirely new to Amyrll. These were the Vrrall's own meditative Sequences. Amyrll invoked then and was soon in a deep calm, alert but passive. She invoked the modified Stendhall Sequences and then folded her consciousness into the Reality Distillation Unit.
The transition was slow and measured. At first sensory input from the target was garbled but Sequences interpreted them and presented them in a comprehensible form. Amyrll was astonished to experience 'sight' and then 'hearing'. She was still distantly aware of Landseer observing and recording, then even this sensation faded and vanished as she became immersed in the new reality.