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Thread: Hermit (Warning: Mature Themes)

  1. #1

    Default Hermit (Warning: Mature Themes)

    Asking for his name was meaningless, verging on an insult.

    There was no meaning to be found for a name in a world where everyone was at once one whole and beams of light in a rainbow of color. You might as well ask someone for their ethnicity, a divisive concept eliminated by the advanced of mind. Not to say that all were the same- there must be the full spectrum- but no individual could be held accountable to the evil of assignment or stereotype.

    In short, there was a rainbow but no color, a family but no sisters or brothers. Such a thing was not a contradiction; to make one distinct would be to make them separate, which was the evil of the past. To make someone true would be making another false, and that could not be tolerated. No, negative, evil, or wrong could be present, for everyone was equal and therefore good and therefore equal. Thus, he had no name, and needed none- even his own subconscious distinction that he was male (a word he did not know) he slowly worked to remove from his mind, as it made him different- and that would make him evil. And he was not evil. He could not be- even if that meant he could not be he.

    He, if he could even be called that, looked up in the midst of the gaudy green field he lay in and listened to nothing at all. The wind blew in a bright blue sky, sending the slightest warmth over his naked skin. Clothing was of no need- why would it be? There was no shame. There were those like him near: Of course, none of them spoke, because words begot concepts, and concepts begot opinions. Opinions, of course, begot conflict. They knew nothing but happiness- in fact, one might argue they knew nothing at all, as happiness would imply some state of incompleteness. And there was no evil here.

    Something alien shook the air and earth with its rancor. But there was no evil here.
    Figures, unlike in appearance to the boy, stepped out of a large pitch-painted object wearing brilliant white and holding sticks with rounded points. But there was no evil here.
    They made noises he could not understand and moved forwards. Something primal stirred in his heart, refusing to be calmed. But there was no evil here.

    Then the noise split the air, and when something cut between one part and another of one of those near him, a brilliant spray of red beside green and blue taught the boy colors.


    The following chase was a search for life and carried appropriate philosophical weight. The boy learned many things: First, that the rancor of evil was as real as a falling blade, second, that he desired something like freedom, and third, that he was not the other, because the other was cut, while he was whole. He wondered without symbol whether he might be the evil- he had made a distinction, however slight, between himself and others, and now the chaser made a distinction between life and death. Another question gnawed at his mind, too obvious to ask.

    Why was he running?

    He moved as quickly as he could over the green, headed towards where it met the blue. Now color truly meant something to him, as it did to an ancient man. White and black death, green and blue life, a bloody barrier separating them forever. And he? What color was he? He had no time to ponder with his weak mind. The sounds continued and grew louder. Pain, something alien to him, knocked him off his footing. He tumbled, and the intruding sensation crawled up his side. It was an evil brother to the wind on his skin. He saw green and blue and red.

    A few more breaths and his body told his mind that he would soon see nothing but black and white. Footfalls, a terrible sound, approached. It was the monochromatic band, here to make him evil like them. The metamorphosis was already happening, he was sure of it. Soon he would be like them, a monster that had set itself outside of the rainbow. Was this the price of his thoughts? His weakness for separating himself?

    His tears were like the evil wind on his skin, the crawling cold that drained out of him. The color he was sure was leaving him, the red that made him up. A hard thing struck him as he scrambled to see the blue and the light before he turned totally black-and-white. Now that he knew the colors, he wished that he had known them all along. This pain, as sudden as the color, could be worth it if he could only see the shades in their newfound glory.

    “Only one so soft could find meaning in pain,” someone spoke to him. He was not sure at first why he knew what they meant- after all, words were not his way of being. Only someone evil could have words. His heart dropped as he realized this meant he was becoming as black and white as he had feared.

    Then, however, something not quite blue and not quite red flashed before his eyes, causing a horrible scream. He looked up just in time to see one of the monochromatic men turn into a spiraling fountain of red and green and blue. A flash of purple caused this discoloration to settle into one burst of red that turned all the green in the area off.


    The boy was in awe. What, indeed, could bring a tone to the colorless, to sunder death into life as life sank to death? Another of the monochromes, this time a woman, raised her rounded stick only to have it twist in her hands and her head to flash red. The last of the monochromes screamed in the same way the boy’s kind had screamed before changing from dead to living. A miracle that left them so astonished, the boy thought, that they could not move for the shock of it.

    Much like the curse that limited his movement. As he struggled to stand despite the pain, the boy found himself locking eyes with a being at once like but not the same as the monochromatic monsters. Before, he knew of only one kind of person. Now, the revelation of pain promised him some third kind.

    “How pitiable,” the grim figure muttered. The tall man with grey skin and strange proportions studied the boy with eyes that glowed purple, the same not-red-not-blue that had given the monochromes life. These alluring lights expanded and shrunk, swerved and teetered on grey hinges. They surveyed the area and the boy’s wounds. The boy reached out to the eyes like a moth drawn to flame-light, but his side shouted at him with pain, telling him to stop. The machine-man, for what he was was a cyborg, took pity and placed a hand on the boy. Purple shock skittered across the boy’s skin and turned pain to safety.


    Before he could thank the prophet that had taught him color, death, and life, the boy found that his savior was walking away as if it were nothing at all- a trifle. But this did not unsettle the boy, as he knew that people could now be different and that different need not be evil. He followed the prophet for some time before the man turned to face him in turn.

    “What do you want from me?” asked the Prophet with a dismissive tone. “I saved you from those Eugenicist thugs, so head back to your precious Egalitarian fairyland.”

    The question startled the boy, and he pondered the issue with what little power he could. Using his vocal cords for the first time, he muttered something that the cyborg could not understand.

    “Speak up,” the cyborg waved one of his great hands, his purple eyes narrowing. “Oh, I see. You’ve never spoken before, so you’re not used to talking. Just think, and I’ll read your mind. That’s how I spoke to you at first.”

    “Name...” the boy whispered.

    This caused a slight startle from the newcomer. “Name?”

    “Your name. What is your name?”

    After a few seconds, the cyborg laughed a hearty laugh, confusing the boy. “No, you must understand, boy… I find it funny that the first thing you ask for is a name when you have none of your own.”

    The boy realized that pain could be even where fear was not, as his heart seemed to twist in his chest. The mockery hurt him. Still, he asked. “But you are one, not many,” the boy put his hand on his chest. “I am not. I have no name. Individuals have names.”

    This quieted the laughter, and the cyborg looked down. The boy wondered if even a prophet could feel shame. After what seemed like an eternity, the prophet replied. “It has been very long since I have had a name. What do you want to call me, now that you have words?”

    “Prophet,” whispered the boy. “Savior.”

    “You give me titles I do not deserve,” snorted the cyborg. “Though if you like, you can call me Hermit.”

    Now that Hermit was known to him, the Boy clasped his hands, still stained red from the spilled color, and asked, “What will you call me, then?”

    The answer was instant in return. “I will call you Boy, as there doesn’t seem to be a better name at hand.” A wave to move onward signaled a continuing of the walk. “Come on, then. It’s been long since I’ve had a name because it’s been long since I’ve had a companion.” The mighty metal footfalls of grey streaked with purple light contrasted with the green and blue, and Boy felt as if he had discovered something much better than mere life.

    Sadiyah
    :
    Investigator 3- Athelos Rising


  2. #2

    Default

    Both of my hands are locked in place by pressure harnesses. Which isn't the most unsettling thing. The most unsettling thing is that I have both of my hands. I haven't had both of my hands in over seven hundred years, when we were still at war. I lost my left hand after my right eye, and then my right hand about a hundred years after that to a plasma cutter. I've been through five models of cyborg grips, and the most recent set I've had I had for about two and a half bucks- longer than I had my original hands. Whenever I lost a body part, I never had it regrown. It helps me keep track of how much I've changed.

    Time to take inventory. I'm on a stage of sorts with poor lighting from directly above. The room seems circular, but I can't view behind me and my psi-awareness is still revving up. Temperature about thirty degrees below standard, which sucks copious amounts of slag because I'm nude and it's giving me chills down under. Hypothesis- They think that's going to embarrass me? Maybe if I were still a boy. Like the Boy. Right, what happened to him? My mind is still cloudy and I need to get a grip on who else is-

    AFFIRM WAKEFULNESS

    The light intensifies, which makes me blink a bit. Okay, I guess we're doing this now. Still nobody present. Since they took out my cybernetics, they must also know about my powers. Makes sense they don't want anyone in the room that I could turn into mush with a blink. Speaker above me? No, surround sound. Only group that could take this kind of pains to contain me and be so flavorful about it in such a short period of time is... the Neutral Party. Better give them an answer.

    "What do you want from me?" No psionic signatures yet, but I've gotten a good grip on the room's structure- demisphere 30 meter radius, with the access in the back. They wheeled me in here on a cart and strapped me in. There's a false floor covered in smoky glass in front of the stage I'm on. They can slide back the glass to reveal what's underneath.

    YOUR COOPERATION
    WE ARE MONITORING YOUR BRAIN PATTERNS AND WILL RELEASE YOU WHEN WE BELIEVE YOU ARE IN A COOPERATIVE STATE


    Not a bluff- pressure harnesses carry charge potential. A little mental scouting tells me it's a lot. The second they detect something they don't like, these bastards can route the better part of a power grid through my heart. Doesn't matter how good of a psion you are if your brain's pouring out your ears. I put strain on my left arm and make a few guesstimates. I might be able to enhance my strength enough to pull free in time, but it's a gamble.

    IT IS NO GAMBLE. IT IS AN IMPOSSIBILITY. YOUR POWERS HAVE BEEN GREATLY DAMPENED

    "Huh. I guess so." They really are monitoring my brain waves. Which means they know I've detected something unsettling. My stomach roils a bit as I sense a couple of dead bodies matching my own description. Five and a half, to be precise. The half being...

    YES
    YOUR ORIGINAL BODY
    ALL OF YOUR EQUIPMENT
    WE HAVE DETERMINED YOUR ORIGINAL NAME WAS
    JAMES CROSS


    Aw hell. I'm a clone. I spent all that time trying to be the genuine article and now here I am, killed six times without having even realized it. Guess my luck was going to run out one of these- HRRRRGHAAAAAH- MOTHERFUCKER.

    THE SHOCKS WILL INCREASE UNTIL YOU BECOME MORE COOPERATIVE
    YOUR OBSERVATIONS SHOULD SHOW YOU THAT WE ARE WILLING TO KILL YOU

    Okay, now I'm mad. I do a quick personal parse of all my information as to why the Neutral Party would want me to join them. Then I remember something. The Eugenicists. They shouldn't have been able to break the barrier between the different peoples. The Neutral Party set up Planet so that each faction of crazies could work on their own way of destroying themselves in peace. Which means it was an inside job. Simple enough: They have control of Planet, they set up a convenient crossing that one group or another can stumble across. Next question is why. I think back to when I was looking for a ship off of the Station with Boy and I noticed that people were staring at a replay of me murdering the goons. I don't blame them. These days, entertainment is so controlled that-

    NO FURTHER EXPLANATION IS NEEDED

    I knew the answer as soon as they said that. It was on the tip of my tongue, but of course they wanted me. To the people of the Station, I was a symbol of individual might against the corruptions of Planet societies. The perfect Neutral Party propaganda tool. I didn't even have to say it- it was sickeningly obvious what was going on. These people sent to Planet weren't just crazy, they were cultured to be crazy. The Neutral Party was all about letting people do whatever they wanted so long as they got what they needed too. What better way to prevent protest than to show everyone what it 'meant' if you had principles? You went down to Planet, joined a band of people like you, and destroyed yourself, and everyone else went on with their normal lives, clicking their tongues at the crazy people.

    Except that it was a lie. Anyone who wasn't toeing the Neutral Party's line was carefully encouraged, prodded and pushed outside the bounds of normalcy until they either fled back into safety or jumped off the deep end. They weren't a neutral party at all. They were an insidious group of manipulative busybodies who played the system so that no matter what happened, they came out in the apparent moral high ground. Everyone gets along or else they go down in flames.

    AND WHAT IS WRONG WITH THAT

    "Excuse me?" I was shocked at the audacity of it. "You want us to just give up our freedoms to a system of control freaks who think they know better than us?" No, nebulous council of megalomaniacs. We do not want to follow your every demand. Excuse me for being a salty emo bastard. Pretty sure I've earned it at this point.

    WHY NOT
    HUMANITY HAS ALWAYS TRADED FREEDOM FOR PROSPERITY


    "Not always." I wanted to scratch an itch on my back so damn badly.

    PERHAPS NOT
    BUT CONSIDER
    YOU HAVE WALKED THE UNIVERSE FOR APPROXIMATELY EIGHT HUNDRED YEARS


    "So?" Another million-dollar question coming, no doubt.

    WHAT HAVE YOU ACCOMPLISHED
    WHAT SWEEPING REFORM
    WHAT GREAT ACT OF ART
    WHAT MIGHTY HEROISM


    I begin to think about it, but then the bastards decide to qualify it to make me rethink it. Typical.

    YOU COULD BE ALL OF THOSE THINGS
    THE GREATEST HERO OF PLANET
    A SIGN OF INDIVIDUAL POWER


    The classic. Deal with the devil. All you have to do is sign on the dotted line, follow our instructions, and we'll take care of the rest. Become an action figure, but don't think about what your likeness is being used for. Become a hero, but don't do anything bad in front of the cameras.

    WE WILL
    IT IS OUR JOB AFTER ALL


    "Yeah. You got a lot of questions," I shot back. "So, if I'm supposed to take your deal, why are there five and a half dead mes in front of me? What did you tell them different?" I had an idea, but I wanted to hear it from them.

    BECAUSE THIS CHOICE IS ULTIMATELY A PRETENSE
    WE CAN CREATE CLONES OF YOU BASED ON BACKUPS
    BUT WE NEED A CLONE THAT IS GENUINELY WILLING TO COOPERATE

    "So you can clone that one en masse without fear." Clone armies, or perhaps an infinite supply of the exact same hero, with yearly updates to the local Galactic Ranger. James Cross, Jamie Criss, Jane Cross, you name it.

    YOUR DEPTH OF EXPERIENCE MAKES YOU VALUABLE
    OUR ABILITY TO MODIFY YOUR PERSONALITY SEPARATE FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE IS CURRENTLY INSUFFICIENT
    EVEN YOUR TOTAL RESISTANCE WILL PROVE VALUABLE EXPERIENCE IN THIS WAY

    So they're gonna kill me over and over until they get a 'me' that they want. My best play here is then to give them the least cooperative version of myself that they'll take, or magically find an escape route. But I can't really communicate with future mes, and they can kill me whenever they like. They're actually holding all the cards. I thought of Boy, and hoped that he somehow got away. Come to think of it, why aren't they using him as a- Aw hell. Seems 'all my original equipment' is missing something important.

    But it makes sense. They've made six clones of me. Why not seven? That's probably gonna be my last thought for-MMMMMMMMMRMRRRKKKKKKK

    TERMINATING SUBJECT
    Last edited by DarkisnotEvil; 07-25-2019 at 08:07 AM.

    Sadiyah
    :
    Investigator 3- Athelos Rising


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