by Bob'n Around
Invisible matters of the mind turned real into the written word.
|“Maybe it is time to get inside.” Igloo's aren't so bad. They keep you warm while being good hiding places. The alternate reality of living year ‘round at the South Pole can be really hard. The walls close in during the dark winter months. Summer, we build up to 15,000 workers in the thirteen research sites scattered around an area larger than the United States. We go down to no more than ten or so per site during the months when things go dark. Maintenance crews is what we become.
I started this journal out of boredom. Henry Kutnner, communications expert. Expert means no-one else to blame when things go wrong. Summer, we use helicopters. Twenty minutes takes me to the relay station. During winter, with climate change, the tractor rig climbs in and out of holes making it a six hour or longer trip. Without GPS I’d never get there or back.
Thirteen years I’ve been doing this. Why? The stars are immense. The Aurora lights caused by solar storms turn the sky into fountains of writhing color. That and the purity of the area is what brings me back.
Technology is what makes life here possible. Winter is when time lays heavy on our hands. Perfect for the odd funded grant no-one would consider otherwise. This year, I’m testing out a hybrid android device built for the Antarctic. It is not supposed to replace us human guinea pigs, just make us more productive.
For me, ‘George’ has turned it into a trial for survival. Writing about it can’t reveal what it feels like to be going through this. Last night, I awoke catching it tinkering with my interface. It’s not supposed to do that outside of the pre scheduled and approved itinerary.
In simple, nontechnical terms what I found it doing was making me more like itself, less human, more productive.
I got even during its recharge and reporting ‘sleep period’. I made it more human, substituted software for glandular and neuronic mass. Technically speaking I gave it a subconscious connected to emotional reactions to its environmental events.
It only made the thing mad, like I had played with its primary purpose, replacing feeling states with emotionless dedication and commitment.
I can’t stay awake forever. George knows it. I barricaded myself in the communication relay station trying to get the word out. No-one at the research station is answering my frantic calls. I think George experimented on them before coming after me.
George is plugged into the communication network. I’ve detected signs all of the thirteen sites are infected. The electronic waves hum with an alternate pattern back and forth, buzzing stronger and more focused all the time. I can listen. I just can’t send.
The long, four month Antarctic night is ending. I’m beginning to detect early dawn. The new summer research groups will be coming. I might make it out of this strange new world transformed into an alternate reality, yet.
I’m worried. George is highly adaptable. I have visions of multiple George’s, waiting. All preparations done, beehives of productivity. Waiting for Spring to arrive. Waiting to harvest the unsuspecting new staff. Change them as they did the staff like me.
The Georges botched it. I’m half finished. I’m a wonder of ingenuity built to withstand the extremes of Antarctica with still a spark of humanity burning in my chest.
I had to sleep. I couldn’t stay awake forever. I laid what traps I could. I can’t tell you the exhilaration I felt when George electrocuted himself in a melted puddle of ice after figuring out the lock on my communication shed door.
The hissing, sparking mixture that was George went up like the fourth of July. How was I to know, there was now more than one George and the first was sent as a sacrifice to stop me from what I was doing.
Communication expert. If I can’t do it, the job can’t be done. I’ve figured out a way to broadcast. At least locally. There is a chance I can destroy the alternate reality the George’s of the world have begun.
Everything appearing super ready for the cargo planes to eject 15,000 uncorrected men and women. Children are not allowed here. Thank God for that.
I can broadcast my warning, reveal all as the plane dips down to the runway. Why are there more winter crew than should be there waiting for them?
Why is George revealing himself. Why was it disguised and dressed as a human? Not just one, then another, chasing me towards the plane as I make a sacrificial offering of myself.
I’ve steeled myself, I must die. Pull me apart? Set me on fire? One way or another George will see to that. Isn’t the way a man faces death prove his humanity? If I die well for a greater cause I become a hero? I don’t feel like one. I’m so scared I could shit my pants. But it is something to hold on to. It all comes down to that, doesn’t it? Something giving meaning to life.
My journal will explain things, once things are sorted out. Nothing human or anything like George exists in this frozen wilderness without being resupplied. Let nature take care of George’s grand experiment. All the plane has to do is turn around and take off. Let other experts sort out this mess.
I feel like I've turned into a frozen ice-cycle. George did a good enough job rearranging my innards so there is no frostbite. Still, it will be a close call making it out far enough on the runway fast enough so I'll get noticed soon enough.
If you are reading this. It means I did it. My plan paid off.