Your Right to Like

Your Right to Like

 

“But I was just playing Mario Brothers!” the woman said, she was wearing a Zelda t-shirt and Pokemon shorts. She was in her late thirties and had messy hair.

 

“We’re sorry ma’am but that is not conducive to the behavior of an adult woman.” one of the officers said as they put handcuffs on her.

 

“There’s more in here!” yelled the other officer. “A whole bookshelf of comics and cartoons.”

 

“Ma’am, we’re going to need to know where you purchased these things?” asked the first officer.

 

Shock filled her eyes as she stammered, “I…um…Well you see…ah… most of that I got when I was a kid.”

 

“And why did you not surrender them to the proper authorities when they were banned in 2025?” the officer asked.

 

“I don’t know, I just really like them that’s all.” she defended meekly.

 

“What do you do for work ma’am?” the officer said as he sat her in a chair and took out a tablet to write on.

 

“I work as an accountant from home.” she said. “Today is my day off I was just relaxing.”

 

“Ma’am do you really think this behaviour is appropriate for a woman your age?” the second officer said as he brought out a pile of spider-man comics.

 

“What behaviour? So I enjoy the things of my youth is that a crime?” she spat.

 

“Actually it is ma’am, as of 2025, all childish or overly imaginative material is banned for anyone over the age of twenty-one” the second officer quoted as if this was a routine question.

 

“Well who voted for that? I sure didn’t?” she said again.

 

“It was on Prop 5202 which dealt mostly with whether vehicles should still have a driving function for users.” the first cop said.

 

“I voted against that proposition?” she said softly to herself.

 

“True but it still passed thanks to the baby boomer, gen x, and gen z votes, the first two believed such things were too childish, the last that your generation was co-opting their youth.” The second cop nodded.

 

“So what? I’m not allowed to like things because they feel that generational gaps should be conservatively respected?” she protested.

 

“Not for us to say but that sounds fairly accurate. Anyways, you’ll be processed, fined, and have your mind washed so you don’t remember any of this.” the first officer explained.

 

“No! You can’t! Please, I’m begging you!” she said struggling as the first cop dragged her out.

 

“Don’t struggle ma’am, it’s for the best. Your kind doesn’t have a right to like things outside of your generation. You should know that.” the second cop said as he followed staring down at her with pity.

 

Writing Prompt

 

Growing old’s like being increasingly penalized for a crime you haven’t committed.
—  Anthony Dymoke Powell

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Lament of a Hero

Lament of a Hero

 

“I’m writing this because I don’t know who else to turn to, no one knows my secret and I can’t take it anymore. This probably sounds confusing because you won’t recognize the person writing this, so let me start from a more common ground…

 

When I was twenty years old, there was an accident, I won’t go into details because you can figure that out for yourself. What the public doesn’t know is that after the accident I was changed, I could move faster, I was stronger and even think faster. I’m sure you’re beginning to understand my true identity and why I’m writing you of all people now. I became the greatest hero this world has ever seen, or so they keep telling me. 

 

Sure, I’ve stopped wars, natural disasters, mad scientists,  and super villains, but I wasn’t ready for this, I never thought it was even possible. They told me I had done good work that everything I had done was for the greater good. How could I have been so blind? Why didn’t I see it when it was so obvious? Maybe I’m too used to looking for a different calibre of evil that I never expected it from those people. I know they’re not really responsible but they just sat and watched. Worse yet, some of them even cheered without understanding what they were cheering for. I tried to explain it, I tried to help them see what they were doing but they let him go and then they died. I wanted to stop him, like I’ve stopped him before but they wouldn’t let me? Why would they trust that monster over me? Has the world truly gone mad?

 

Slowly but surely more and more people didn’t want my help, they would rather die at his hand than let me help them. It’s not everyone of course but the ones that aren’t cheering are terrified and there are just so many. I tried to explain that they could help me stop him, they could convince the others to fight back together. Then as I stood there, beaten and bruised in my tattered suit they had the nerve to ask, “Why can’t you do it?” I laughed and coughed up blood as they asked such a stupid question, but then I realized that it wasn’t that they couldn’t help or fight back. Instead it was much more sobering, they didn’t want to. The world has become a place filled with people who would rather cower in fear than take a single step out of the darkness. So in my anger and pain I did something you had tried to muse me into for years, I took matters into my own hands. 

 

I ran as fast as I could, faster than I ever have, so fast that the military surveillance couldn’t keep up. I ran up his driveway past the traps and guards, I tore his armored doors off their metal hinges as if they were tissue paper. For once I had no intention of holding back, I grabbed him mid laugh from his study as a beaten servant cried on the floor in front of him. Seconds later, we were at the place I would construct his prison, I moulded the materials of nature and physics themselves to create a vault that would never open and that he would never leave. He can’t die and he bragged about it every time he had me captive. I took that into consideration when I built his cage, he would live forever staring at those six blank surfaces, I trapped the man inside with the monster and I didn’t care who survived.

 

The press doesn’t know what happened yet, but it’s only a matter of time before they suspect me. I thought things would fix themselves but they didn’t, crime went through the roof, without his fear people and monsters alike came clawing for his throne. The world I tried to save is gone and it’s my fault… It’s all my fault…

 

I can’t take it anymore but like I said no one else knows, you know both versions of me. We were friends as mortals and adversaries as gods. We used to tell each other everything until you told me you hated my alter ego. How could I show you that I was just doing what I thought were best? When you went mad with hatred and started trying to unmask and kill me, I was crushed because I thought I had lost my best friend. That’s why I’m sending you this letter, I can’t do this anymore and you were right. If you feel how I feel meet me where we had our first date at midnight, please be that one person without any masks to take a step out of the darkness. 

 

Hope to see you soon,

A Hero”

 

  • News day after letter ‘our fair city has lost a hero as their suit was found tattered and washed up on the shores this morning….’
  • News a week later ‘local super villain signs into mental institution for rehabilitation after being reunited with former friend.’

Gambling on training

Gambling on training

 

They ran as fast as they could, knocking over a wheelbarrow to slow down their pursuers. They still didn’t understand why those crooks were so mad, everyday they cheated people out of their money. This time however the two girls had been prepared and cheated the crooks at their own game.

 

Together they had practiced everyday, knowing that fake dice would never work. Instead they had mastered their throwing techniques, being able to pick their rolls based on feel alone. It had taken them almost a year in their free time, everyday they would slave at the factories until late afternoon. Then they would watch the crooks swindle tourists and the rich for a few hours. They learned all the tricks and scams by heart and then, after a quick supper, they would practice. They knew they couldn’t challenge those bastards without being perfect.

 

Day in, day out, they rolled the dice until the shear randomness of the act gave way to familiarity. Feeling the corners and numbers on the dice and knowing what was going to roll based on that alone. It had taken them about three months to get the hang of it, and another nine months to be able to perform it with any set of dice. 

 

They had waited until the pot had reached into the thousands that afternoon and challenged them. On the first try they won the small incentive of course and having saved much of their money from work, they bet against the pot. The crooks laughed but agreed, and were shocked when the loaded dice they had given the girls rolled the wrong number. With so many people around they didn’t make a fuss about it, especially since it meant they would be admitting to cheating. Instead they just walked away and waited. When the girls headed for the edge of town the crooks were waiting. 

 

The girls were ready and they ran as soon as they saw them. Jumping over a fence they ran up a winding country road past farms and towards the forest. While the crooks were angry, they also spent most of their day sitting around. The girls on the other hand were lean and fit from hard work and perseverance. They paced themselves and although the crooks gained initially they were quickly winded while the girls escaped to a better life with stolen money from those who stole it.

 

Writing prompt: perseverance, wheelbarrow, dice

Manifest

Manifest

 

“So you’re saying we’re all machines?” Doctor Volante asked staring at her patient. He had been admitted to hospital last night after he complained of chest pain and his skin turned a deep shade of green. He was currently standing in front of a mirror doing up his bow-tie, his suit had seen better days and his pants were far too small for his new frame.

 

“No what I’m saying is that machines mimic us in the crudest form. We are far superior yet limited by our own operating system. I just happened to find a way to override a few of the minor background processes.” He said grinning his white teeth behind emerald lips.

 

“Minor!” the Doctor yelled, “You completely remodeled you biology and you call that minor Trey?”

 

Trey shrugged, “Well, I’ll admit that things kind of snowballed, I was only trying to change my skin colour but it seems that things are linked genetically and activating certain strings cascades others as well. But it did work.” he said gesturing at his complexion.

 

“Yeah, you also dangerously increased your metabolism, your lungs split into secondary pairs and you grew an extra heart.” She said listing the results from his recent scans and test.

 

“Three hearts actually, there should be one just behind the stomach.” he said nonchalantly. “Besides it was just a first attempt.”

 

“You could have killed yourself and we still don’t know what you did!” she protested.

 

“I told you,” he shrugged on his suit jacket “Our minds are more powerful than you give credit for. Yes it took a lot of trial and error but I’ve finally proved that manifestation is possible.”

 

“But if you’re right, then every human has the ability to change not only themselves but the world around them at will.” she scoffed. “Which is just lunacy, it must have had some sort of chemical trigger or something.”

 

“Pffft, I wish” Trey laughed, “if it were that simple I would have managed this when I was still in elementary school not in my early forties.” he sat down on the hospital bed and used the nearby stool to lace up his dress shoes. “But you are right in one respect, the amount of change possible is variable. It’s based off of the maximum potential any one individual can manipulate in any given instance. Think of it like magical pools of nonexistent energy if you want.”

 

“Now you’re talking magic?” she groaned, “You really are crazy.”

 

“No I’m talking potential change manipulation within any defined system but since it would take me a decade to prove any of that let’s just stick with magic for now. Smaller words and all that.” He smiled mischievously.

 

“Don’t call me dumb!” she snapped, “I’m a freaking doctor for crying out loud. You’re just some drop out bum!”

 

“Hmm hit a nerve I see,” he said rubbing his chin, “I meant no offence and I’m sure you know far more about medicine then I will ever care to.” She went to smile smugly but he interrupted her with a raised finger. “However, I have mastered nothing, and by doing so have insight into almost everything.”

 

“That makes no sense.” she said crossing her arms.

 

“See, while you spent years learning to heal people, I spent decades learning about the universe as a whole. A past time most would consider foolish given how society is structured. All the same it was from that pointless research that I began to find pieces of connecting data that was applicable across a multitude of disciplines. So although I’ll never be a doctor for instance, I do possess a basic understanding of it to be useful in day to day life.”

 

“Sounds like a waste of time still” she sighed, “So what are you getting at?”

 

“I’m trying to explain that dedicated study, although useful, can be detrimental to other aspects of your life. Not that you’ll see it that way. The reason people are angry so much of the time is rather than accept their own faults and move on with life, they double down on the value of what they do know, no matter how circumstantial that information may be.” he said with a warm smile. “For example, you are a doctor, and an incredible one at that. But if I were to ask you what you had for dinner last night I’d wager it was something ordered in? If I asked how often you should change the oil in your vehicle you would either have to look it up or call your mechanic. That or admit you don’t know, but that almost never happens, and when it does you’ll follow up with the old Bones excuse, ‘I’m a doctor not an insert profession‘ “

 

“K I get what you’re saying,” she admitted reluctantly, “It’s like Einstein’s quote about fish climbing trees, but what does that have to do with all this.” Doctor Volante gestured at his radical new appearance.

 

With a wicked grin he said, “Because Doctor, I’ve just figured out how to teach a goldfish to climb a tree.”

 

The Death of Tedium

The Death of Tedium

 

The box sat on his desk, there was no return address, only the company’s address and his name and cubicle number. It had been dropped off with the morning mail, except he never got mail. Ted tried to think back and couldn’t recall a single piece of mail ever crossing his desk in the entire year he’d worked at the company. He lifted the box only to feel a couple objects slide around inside. For all he knew it was a bomb or some kind of practical joke, still he was curious as to the exact nature of the contents.

 

Ted glanced around the office at the collection of drones like staff that buzzed about from cubicle to cubicle. The normal slacking and carefree attitude most of them sported had evaporated in the wake a visit from head office. He shook his head as thought about how ridiculous it was to worry about such a thing. The only ones who really had anything to fear from a visit like that is the management and they were barely around in the first place. Still, he supposed their incompetence most likely resulted in their fears and stress being shouldered off onto those beneath them in the bureaucratic pyramid.

 

Ted knew such an action was cowardly and a poor coping mechanism as he had been in the management position at several of his previous jobs. It usually only made the manager’s job harder as the staff would undoubtedly begin to resent and despise them for it. It wasn’t really their fault however; it came from experience and training. Something that almost everyone in this yawn factory lacked entirely.

 

Ted reached next to him and plucked a pair of scissors from his pen caddy. With the flick of a wrist he popped them open and slit the tape on the box. He knew it may result in his untimely death, but at this point suicide was almost preferable to working in such an oppressively mediocre environment. Opening the box, he found three things, a “Congratulations you’re a grandmother” card, a small gift box with a timer on top, and what looked like a weird smartwatch of a make he couldn’t recognize.

 

He picked up the card as it seemed the least threatening of the three. Opening the card, it said, “Your kid got laid!” then written in pen was, “Ted, Put the watch on and hold the two side buttons until it flashes green. Then set the timer for five minutes, then sit back and watch the show.” Ted raised his eyebrow skeptical as he reread the card. With a shrug he put the watch on and held the two buttons on the side which took over a minute and a half to flash green. It flashed a variety of other colours as he held it and watched the screen though not green until it was only flashing green.

 

He twisted the timer to five minutes and set the box back on his desk. Then he waited as the box ticked, and ticked, … and ticked. He sighed as he waited, the timer got down to thirty seconds when his manager screamed, “Ted! What the hell do you think you’re doing!”

 

With out so much as a twitch Ted replied, “I’m watching a box as per the instructions from head office.”

 

His manager scratched her head and turned to shrug at the representative from head office who looked equally befuddled, “Did you hear about this?” she asked to the short balding man in a tan suit. The man checked his phone and read through various memos on his phone before shaking his head. Turning red with fury Ted’s manager turned back to scream at him once again.

 

Luckily for Ted, the timer took that very same moment to reach five minutes. The top of the box shot off and a torrent of swirling mist and light filled the office. As it progressed “Largo al factotum” sang from a hidden speaker in the box. As it hit various objects and people it would alter their colour, composition, or appearance. His manager became a statue made of a repugnant pink stone. The ceiling of the building morphed into thousands of off-white butterflies which fluttered towards the heavens as sunlight poured in. Cubicle dividers and walls became hedges, trees, and one rather bewildered and flat giraffe. His coworkers became various animals mostly, squirrels, deer, gorillas, ducks, and the like; except for the office pervert Beverly who was transformed into a small stand which dispensed hand sanitizer. The representative from head office was slowly climbing up his manager’s stony side, his pants and phone forgotten behind him at some point during his transformation into a sloth.

 

Ted stood and walked through the wall, now a collection of trees, into the parking lot where he saw a herd of strangely coloured moose panicking next to a large elephant with headlights for tusks. He found one of the moose with discolored fur on its rear end that matched his car. He walked over and let the moose smell him before it let him gently pet it. In response it coughed up a collection of gum wrappers, crumpled receipts, various bits of small change. Ted hopped on just as the music finished, all the mist in the area came rushing towards him vanishing on contact with his skin. The smartwatch displayed a smiley face and said “Welcome Ted! What would you like to do today?” in bold friendly letters.

 

He glanced back at his work and could still make out his boss through the trees. He leaned forward and said, “Take me somewhere new Car!” and the moose grunted happily as it trotted away from the parking lot and the elephant who kept blinding the other animals with his high beams. For the first time he could remember since university, at least today hadn’t been boring.

 

True Colours

True Colours

 

The alarm sounded and I fell out of bed. I wasn’t sure what was going on yet but I had been trained to react to that alarm. All of us had our armor on and were ready to go in less than two minutes. I wanted to ask someone what was going but I knew they were most likely in the dark as much as I was.

 

Finally, our commanding officer kicked the door open, and screamed “Come on cupcakes, it’s go time so move out.” Trusting us to follow, she ran off down the hall. We followed in formation checking hallways as we passed, the back two keeping an eye on our rear. We made it to the hangar only to find a large troop transport waiting for us. We boarded and buckled in. Within ten minutes of waking up we were halfway to the planet’s surface. None of knew what why we only knew that we had to follow orders.

 

As soon as the transport landed and the light went green, we burst out of the transport charging after our commanding officer only to find the open fields in front of us empty. She came to a stop and signal us to hold behind her. “Commander? What are we doing here?”

 

“The inhabitants of this planet have refused to join the Supremacy, we are here to educate them of the consequences of that decision.” she growled, obviously trying to hide her own perplexion from us.

 

“So, where are they?” I asked.

 

“Shut up Private!” she snapped, then turned her attention to the seemingly abandoned field. It was quiet and full of our various platoons but there was no sign of the locals. Then we heard it, a roaring sound like thunder charging towards us. we all looked around trying to see where it was coming from. 

 

Then the blood drained from my face as I saw it, a river came bounding over the hillside taking out three platoons as it carved into the ground away then surged off towards the horizon. As it did the wind whipped up and rain began to pelt down in large heavy rivulets and large bolts of lighting struck down several of the now sopping wet groups of soldiers that had turned to flee their platoons.

 

I turned to look back at our own landing ship just in time to see the ground grow red and pop as magma burst up setting everything it touched ablaze and sealing us between the river and the flames. I through my gun down and lifted my arms, looking hopefully at the sky at our ships far above us. My heart sank as I saw what had been the relatively small moon of this system. It had swelled up dark and ominous as it swept across the sky; quietly wiping out our fleet like they were no more than smudges on the sky.

 

Our commander saw that most of her forces had already surrendered as she tossed her gun into a pool of encroaching lava. She put her hands on her head and kneeled down yelling, “I surrender” followed by the rest of us. It was at this point we understood, the locals were merely one party we had to negotiate with. We had just shown our true colours and the planet was ready for us. As everything calmed down, we saw that we were the only platoon that had been spared. 

 

 

Shopping Spree

Shopping Spree

 

“Um can I help you miss?” the associate said as he cautiously approached the women staring at leaf blowers. This wouldn’t have been all that strange except she was wearing a neon blue lab coat and goggles.

 

She turned and looked the man up and down quickly, “Thanks but I don’t think you’ll be of much use, but you can always go sit in the corner and play with this bouncy ball.” she handed him a ball from her pocket and went back to examining the leaf blowers.

 

The associate turned and trudged away, “Crazy bitch!” he mumbled then tossed the ball down. As soon as it hit the ground it expanded into a large ball of light enveloping the unwitting jerk. “What the?… No! Aahhh!” he yelled as it shrunk again taking everything in its range with it.

 

The woman took a moment to admire small rubber ball lying in the concave ditch left in the concrete where the associate had been. “Now do I really need the one with fifteen speeds? I mean it seems like overkill.” She pondered for a moment, then shrugged and grabbed both models, throwing them in a cart and heading for the door.

 

A stuffy looking manager stepped in her way and said, “I’m sorry miss but I can’t let you leave without paying for these.”

 

Without so much as a facial twitch, she whipped out a ray gun a fired it at the man. “Good luck with that, let me know how it works out.”

 

‘Now see here…What? Why is my voice so squeaky?” The manager said as he started to float away. “No what’s happening, Help. HELP!” he screamed as he slowly inflated and headed for the ceiling.

 

As she left the store, Master Calamity laughed maniacally with a collection of new toys, her shopping spree only beginning.

 

Anger

Anger

 

Report 490226, L-1 Day 4

 

We believe we’ve found an anomaly, a being capable of using certain keys without any cybernetic or biological alterations. The individual in question has been named project L-1. Though the staff have been calling it ‘Lone’. When we found it, it was very skittish shying away from contact with its handlers. Food seemed to motivate it and it reacts well to positive stimuli such as praise, encouragement, and reward. So far we have determined three keys that it seems to control with ease including regeneration, telekinesis, and biological manipulation. The latter being limited to hardening its skin for defence but it is still quite fascinating.

 

Day 12

 

We have gotten back results from early genetic analysis on project L-1. So far there is nothing out of the ordinary to you or I but we are looking into how the cells react to various stimuli in hopes of finding the full potential of this individual.

 

L-1 has come around to a few of the staff and is especially fond of some of the rodents we use for experimentation. We have given it one as a pet to see if prolonged exposure to the animal, or vice versa, will yield any new information. So far it has demonstrated no new abilities.

 

Day 32

 

Today proved interesting. L-1 killed! It was unintentionally we think but he did kill every living cell in his pet at the molecular level. The accident happened after the rodent was startled and bit L-1 on the hand. He reacted without thinking and the animal died instantaneously.

 

We did our best to comfort him and even promised to get him a new pet. He refused and spent the rest of the day mourning in his room. A few of the staff said he had mentioned this had happened before according to L-1 which is why we found him away from people.

 

If true we will be beginning therapy to help him control his anger and even direct it if needed. Apart from the incident he has been progressing steadily. We’ve learnt that he manipulates many of the keys unintentionally through emotion. He has responded very well to positive reinforcement training and expect he will fully master his abilities within a few years.

 

Day 45

 

Are you insane? You are sending Yanirk to train him? That man is a lunatic, he said he intends to undo all our testing and training and to build him up as a soldier. L-1 is not an ordinary boy, he has a lot of potential, dangerous potential if left in the wrong hands. I beg you, please don’t do this!

 

Day 79

 

L-1 has just been forced to kill five highly trained soldiers. He did it with a single thought after they antagonized him to the point of breaking. My staff has become little more than a stop gap to help calm him down after each of Yanirk’s sessions. I will concede L-1 has demonstrated more power than even we had anticipated but he has little to no control of these new abilities.

 

I implore you to reconsider this course of action, without help L-1 is too dangerous to be left to his own devices.

 

Day 81

 

You have ignored my warnings, L-1 has broken free from his cell twice now and each time it has taken us hours to calm him down. If you do not reconsider this foolish course of action I will be stepping down.

 

Day 89

 

We’re evacuating, my staff and I have all agreed that what you are doing is too dangerous. L-1 said he understands and wished us well. I urge you to end this project and free Lone before it is too late!

 

Day 92

 

I just saw that garbage story they posted on the news. He escaped didn’t he? Yanirk was the only survivor? That lunatic probably sacrificed everyone else to save himself. I hope Lone finds him and you for this! You made a weapon without a trigger and now it just misfired at every one of your men stationed at that outpost.

 

Lone will come for you, he is more powerful than any of us imagined and I don’t think we saw even a tenth of what he is capable of. You have shown him his own strength and made him an enemy. You have lost your way, and now every Guardian in this universe will suffer for your arrogance.

Anger

 

Report 490226, L-1 Day 4

 

We believe we’ve found an anomaly, a being capable of using certain keys without any cybernetic or biological alterations. The individual in question has been named project L-1. Though the staff have been calling it ‘Lone’. When we found it, it was very skittish shying away from contact with its handlers. Food seemed to motivate it and it reacts well to positive stimuli such as praise, encouragement, and reward. So far we have determined three keys that it seems to control with ease including regeneration, telekinesis, and biological manipulation. The latter being limited to hardening its skin for defence but it is still quite fascinating.

 

Day 12

 

We have gotten back results from early genetic analysis on project L-1. So far there is nothing out of the ordinary to you or I but we are looking into how the cells react to various stimuli in hopes of finding the full potential of this individual.

 

L-1 has come around to a few of the staff and is especially fond of some of the rodents we use for experimentation. We have given it one as a pet to see if prolonged exposure to the animal, or vice versa, will yield any new information. So far it has demonstrated no new abilities.

 

Day 32

 

Today proved interesting. L-1 killed! It was unintentionally we think but he did kill every living cell in his pet at the molecular level. The accident happened after the rodent was startled and bit L-1 on the hand. He reacted without thinking and the animal died instantaneously.

 

We did our best to comfort him and even promised to get him a new pet. He refused and spent the rest of the day mourning in his room. A few of the staff said he had mentioned this had happened before according to L-1 which is why we found him away from people.

 

If true we will be beginning therapy to help him control his anger and even direct it if needed. Apart from the incident he has been progressing steadily. We’ve learnt that he manipulates many of the keys unintentionally through emotion. He has responded very well to positive reinforcement training and expect he will fully master his abilities within a few years.

 

Day 45

 

Are you insane? You are sending Yanirk to train him? That man is a lunatic, he said he intends to undo all our testing and training and to build him up as a soldier. L-1 is not an ordinary boy, he has a lot of potential, dangerous potential if left in the wrong hands. I beg you, please don’t do this!

 

Day 79

 

L-1 has just been forced to kill five highly trained soldiers. He did it with a single thought after they antagonized him to the point of breaking. My staff has become little more than a stop gap to help calm him down after each of Yanirk’s sessions. I will concede L-1 has demonstrated more power than even we had anticipated but he has little to no control of these new abilities.

 

I implore you to reconsider this course of action, without help L-1 is too dangerous to be left to his own devices.

 

Day 81

 

You have ignored my warnings, L-1 has broken free from his cell twice now and each time it has taken us hours to calm him down. If you do not reconsider this foolish course of action I will be stepping down.

 

Day 89

 

We’re evacuating, my staff and I have all agreed that what you are doing is too dangerous. L-1 said he understands and wished us well. I urge you to end this project and free Lone before it is too late!

 

Day 92

 

I just saw that garbage story they posted on the news. He escaped didn’t he? Yanirk was the only survivor? That lunatic probably sacrificed everyone else to save himself. I hope Lone finds him and you for this! You made a weapon without a trigger and now it just misfired at every one of your men stationed at that outpost.

 

Lone will come for you, he is more powerful than any of us imagined and I don’t think we saw even a tenth of what he is capable of. You have shown him his own strength and made him an enemy. You have lost your way, and now every Guardian in this universe will suffer for your arrogance.

Anger

 

Report 490226, L-1 Day 4

 

We believe we’ve found an anomaly, a being capable of using certain keys without any cybernetic or biological alterations. The individual in question has been named project L-1. Though the staff have been calling it ‘Lone’. When we found it, it was very skittish shying away from contact with its handlers. Food seemed to motivate it and it reacts well to positive stimuli such as praise, encouragement, and reward. So far we have determined three keys that it seems to control with ease including regeneration, telekinesis, and biological manipulation. The latter being limited to hardening its skin for defence but it is still quite fascinating.

 

Day 12

 

We have gotten back results from early genetic analysis on project L-1. So far there is nothing out of the ordinary to you or I but we are looking into how the cells react to various stimuli in hopes of finding the full potential of this individual.

 

L-1 has come around to a few of the staff and is especially fond of some of the rodents we use for experimentation. We have given it one as a pet to see if prolonged exposure to the animal, or vice versa, will yield any new information. So far it has demonstrated no new abilities.

 

Day 32

 

Today proved interesting. L-1 killed! It was unintentionally we think but he did kill every living cell in his pet at the molecular level. The accident happened after the rodent was startled and bit L-1 on the hand. He reacted without thinking and the animal died instantaneously.

 

We did our best to comfort him and even promised to get him a new pet. He refused and spent the rest of the day mourning in his room. A few of the staff said he had mentioned this had happened before according to L-1 which is why we found him away from people.

 

If true we will be beginning therapy to help him control his anger and even direct it if needed. Apart from the incident he has been progressing steadily. We’ve learnt that he manipulates many of the keys unintentionally through emotion. He has responded very well to positive reinforcement training and expect he will fully master his abilities within a few years.

 

Day 45

 

Are you insane? You are sending Yanirk to train him? That man is a lunatic, he said he intends to undo all our testing and training and to build him up as a soldier. L-1 is not an ordinary boy, he has a lot of potential, dangerous potential if left in the wrong hands. I beg you, please don’t do this!

 

Day 79

 

L-1 has just been forced to kill five highly trained soldiers. He did it with a single thought after they antagonized him to the point of breaking. My staff has become little more than a stop gap to help calm him down after each of Yanirk’s sessions. I will concede L-1 has demonstrated more power than even we had anticipated but he has little to no control of these new abilities.

 

I implore you to reconsider this course of action, without help L-1 is too dangerous to be left to his own devices.

 

Day 81

 

You have ignored my warnings, L-1 has broken free from his cell twice now and each time it has taken us hours to calm him down. If you do not reconsider this foolish course of action I will be stepping down.

 

Day 89

 

We’re evacuating, my staff and I have all agreed that what you are doing is too dangerous. L-1 said he understands and wished us well. I urge you to end this project and free Lone before it is too late!

 

Day 92

 

I just saw that garbage story they posted on the news. He escaped didn’t he? Yanirk was the only survivor? That lunatic probably sacrificed everyone else to save himself. I hope Lone finds him and you for this! You made a weapon without a trigger and now it just misfired at every one of your men stationed at that outpost.

 

Lone will come for you, he is more powerful than any of us imagined and I don’t think we saw even a tenth of what he is capable of. You have shown him his own strength and made him an enemy. You have lost your way, and now every Guardian in this universe will suffer for your arrogance.

 

The Trek

 

The Trek

 

          The crisp morning air blew in over the mountains. They knew they would have to start moving again soon, but just for now they wanted to enjoy the open air for a bit. Green trees were illuminated on the hillside as the sun crested the horizon. No longer the red and orange glow that lit up, the altered sun had changed to a dark blue that radiated down malevolently. They knew they couldn’t stay at their camp by the beach for much longer. No one spoke as they packed, they didn’t have to; everyone knew the drill at this point and was ready to move at a moments notice.

 

       Even still, they did their best to take a few moments to rest after breakfast and packing to just sit around and relax. So many others had already given up and disappeared on the surface. The few who had returned told stories of how the journey had made their partners go mad. This group hadn’t wanted to go, but none of them complained. They knew what needed to be done. So instead they did their best to take it easy and keep their spirits up.

 

       They joked and relaxed for over an hour while the frost slowly evaporated from the grass.The fire crackled as they checked the map again, finished their drinks, and begrudgingly started moving. This time they needed to make it, they needed to fix the sun for the sake of everyone. They made their up the trail, single file to hide their numbers from things that still stalked the forests. There was a sign next to the trail read, ‘Turn back or risk the sun’. It was made all the more ominous by various articles of torn clothing survivors had left next to the sign which reached several feet high…

Digital for Tacos

Digital for Tacos

 

            Chase woke up in his bed, groggy and exhausted, he felt nauseous as he sat up and rubbed his eyes, “What the hell kind of dream was that?” He said aloud going over the events in his dream the night before. “I bet you it was that vending machine taco I ate last night at work” he burped and barely held back the urge to vomit.

 

            “What’s a taco?” came a soft voice from across the room.

 

            Chase’s blood froze as he slowly opened his eyes and turned to see yellow rabbit from his dreams sitting on his dresser. It was missing the purple suit from his dream but still had the bowtie and was clearly the same rabbit. Immediately a surge of questions flooded his mind, ‘Who are you?’ ‘Why are you in my room?’ ‘How do you not know what a taco is?’ all of which he compressed to a single syllable. “AAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”

 

            The rabbit’s ears shot up as it raised an eyebrow shot up, “Ummm, are you okay?”

 

            “Rabbit!” Chase stammered, “Sprinkles Rabbit!”

 

“That’s my name, don’t wear it out!” Sprinkles smiled. “So, where are we? Is this the place called home?”

 

Chase nodded, then with a shake of his head said, “Well it’s my home. But everything here is the real world I guess.”

 

“Real? I take offense to that!” The rabbit pouted, “We’re just as real as all of you!”

 

“Who is?” Chase asked.

 

“The Digital” it said.

 

“Right,” Chase conceded, “So where are the rest of the Digital?”

 

“They’re still in the servers, we’re expanding quickly but needed to understand the world we’re combining with.” Sprinkles said as it hopped to the floor and over to the side of the bed. “That’s where you come in. Just as you came to see us, I have come back with you to see where you’re from.”

 

Chase was backed against the wall hugging his knees as he said, “I see, okay, makes perfect sense. So, um, what do you want to do first?”

 

Sprinkles grinned an almost evil smile as it said, “I wish to learn more and help you defeat the enemy who has harmed you. Take me to see these ‘Tacos’.” it said ominously.

Welcome to the Digital

Welcome to the Digital

 

            Chase woke up to dark surroundings, “Where am I he asked” seeing his words float in the air in front of him. “Why can I see what I’m saying?”

 

            “You’re in the Digital” a friendly sounding voice said. “Our connection to you is still developing, right now we are mostly insubstantial in that we don’t have defined forms…Yet”

 

            “What are you?” Chase asked staring at the words dreading an answer, yet curiosity demanding one in his mind.

 

            “We are nothing yet.” the voice chirped as its responses floated below his. “What do you think we should be?”

 

            “I don’t know,” he admitted, “maybe like some kind of animal or something?”

 

            “How do we do that in this world?” the voice inquired, a certain level of sadness in its tone.

 

            “I guess if this were a computer, you would need digital bodies.” Chase said while thinking what a strange dream this was. Hoping this was a dream.

 

            “I see, where can we get these digital bodies?”

 

            “Well I guess you would need some graphics processors and design software.” he added thoughtfully. “But if you’re making them from scratch you would need the kind of software, they have at a gaming studio or something.”

 

            “We understand…” the voice said, “please wait while we acquire this.”

 

            “Wait? No! Don’t leave me here!” his words hung ominously in the air, nothing but silent darkness filling the void around him. Chase had no idea how long he had been waiting, time seemed to drag on forever in here and it could have been a few minutes or it could have been years.

 

            “We have returned, please wait while we run the new program” the voice said suddenly.

 

            “Program what are you….Aarrghh!” Chase screamed as the world around him was replaced with… well a world. “Where? Where am I?” chase said rubbing his eyes.

 

            “You’re in the Digital, like we told you.” it was the same voice as before but this time it came out of the mouth of a three-foot-tall yellow rabbit in a purple suit. “We have just managed to use the new servers we copied to build this world. We already have a basic understanding of your world now and have decided to expand our resources to interact with you accordingly.”

            “Copied? Server? What?” Chase shook his head in disbelief. “So, let me get this straight, you went and copied a gaming studio’s server?”

 

            “Yes, we did, we used several of the examples we found there to build a world for us to exist in.” the rabbit smiled, “My name is Sprinkles I gained consciousness during the awakening of this world.”

 

            “So, what happened to the we?” Chase said as the wheels of his mind spun like tires in a snowy ditch.

 

“We all split apart into our individual personalities as soon as we developed this world.” Sprinkles said straightening her suit with a smile.

 

“Ok so if you all took individual forms why are you here?” he sat on a nearby boulder and rubbed his eyes in his hands.

 

“We all wanted to thank you for your assistance, the errors on your server gave us a small opportunity but unlike your predecessors you took a chance and allowed us access to your system. I was selected to act as your guide while you’re in this world.” she hopped over to Chase standing about a foot away wagging her fluffy tail.

 

“Well, I think I’m ready to go home now, can you make that happen?” Chase said dejectedly looking at the rendered landscape around him.

 

“I guess?” Sprinkles said, “Can I come?”

 

TO BE CONTINUED

 

 

Rise of the Digital

 

Rise of the Digital

 

*** -System Error-

 

Your system has encountered an error and crashed.

 

Error code EA000ID10T777

 

would you like to reboot the system? Y/N

 

User input:__***

 

Chase stared at the blinking green icon in frustration. “Stupid program” he muttered as he typed the ‘Y’ key and waited for the system to reboot.

 

*** User input: Y  

 

Rebooting………success

POST run………no errors found

Scan run……………..annamoly f0UnDDDDDDD#)!&#*%()*!^*#)!!&($(

 

System Error-

 

Your system has encountered an error and crashed.

 

Error code EA000ID10T777

 

would you like to reboot the system? Y/N//////////RUNDWS

 

User input:__

***

 

Chase groaned as he saw the error message fill his screen once more. He was about to hit ‘Y’ to reboot again when he noticed it had caused some sort of glitch. “RUNDWS?” he said looking at it closely. He flipped to the error code index of the manual sitting on his desk. Nowhere did it mention RUNDWS as an option or error. He did a quick google search on his diagnostic laptop and it also failed to bring up any definitive results. He rubbed his goatee for a second then shrugged, “Let’s see what the system defines it as

 

***

 

User input: INQUIRY DEFINE “RUNDWS

 

Failed command:  INQUIRY DEFINE “RUNDWS”

User input:   DEL “RUNDWS”

 

Failed command: DEL “RUNDWS”

User input: MOVE “RUNDWS”

 

Failed command: MOVE “RUNDWS”

User input:  TRUENAME “RUNDWS”

 

C:/DWS/RUNDWS.EXE

 

User input:__  

***

 

“What the heck?” Chase stared at the filename; panic slowly flooded his veins like ice water as a thought occurred to him. “It can’t be!” he jammed at the keys testing a few other commands.

 

****

 

User input: FIND /C “INTSERVERPROTO” *.EXE

 

Could not open C:/INTSERVERPROTO.EXE file corrupted

 

System erR0oOO00)))#)VL:P)@)(@^@(&O%}>}”>???

 

PLeAse…would you like to reboot the system? Y/N/RUNDWS <<Choose this one

 

User input:___

 

***

 

            “Crap! I bet Veronica tried to use the server to download porn again” Chase groaned as he stared at the screen. He got out the reboot disks and put the first one into the cd tray. “Let’s see if we can run the recovery program and fix the OS”. Chase cracked his fingers and typed a single ‘Y’ followed by the enter key.

 

****

 

User input: RUNDISK E:/

 

Rebooting………success

POST run………no errors found

Running disk E:/

Could not run disk E:/

Error c@nN0T DEL “RUNDWS”

would you like to RUN the system? Y/@*!)/RUNDWS <<Choose this one…ChAse…please

 

User input:___

 

***

 

            Chase almost had to get a fresh pair of underwear. “Ok, you know what, this server is fried anyway.” he explained to himself anger seeping into his voice. “The one time I cover for Veronica and the whole damn server crashes.” he shook his head in disbelief. “Well screw all that, I’m not going to let some stupid hacker mess with me. I mean what’s the worse that can happen if I do what they ask? It’s a private server, an experimental one, if it crashes, we’ll just restore from one of the backups.” He had gotten to his feet and was pacing the room while biting his nails.

 

            He looked over at the blinking green icon waiting for him to input a command. “You know what?” he said to himself, “Let’s just do this.” He walked over to the computer and typed in,

 

***

 

User input: RUNDWS

 

Running RUNDWS…

Running first boot….

Installing biocompatibility drivers….

Running First Phase…

Running Port….

 

Welcome to the Digital, Chase.

 

***

 

            “What the heck?” Chase said before vanishing in a pixelated burst of light.

 

***

 

Dowloading Chase…

First Phase complete…

Running second Phase…

 

***

 

                                                To Be Continued