By Tarjeib - Dogicus Norweirdicus
(C)opyright is a nasty word but the real author would appreciate being given the credit/blame he deserves and a link back to this site.
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Oh, I'm here again. That's nice. This is what I'm prone to calling my home. I've no way of being sure, but it's my bet. The ceiling is dark blue, and often I see stars up there. Not real stars, but a kind of after-image. Reddish dots, reminding me of something. Every so often I recall the drift through the empty vastness of space. Seems I drift here from far away, but this could all be dream.
Arrgh, my back hurts. Must have been a real killer this last job. I make holodeck-textures for a living. And I've obviously been doing this for quite some time now. There's a room down the hall, filled with rows of walls. Who built it I can't say. I do know, however, that every time I find myself back here I go to this room. I fancy thinking about it as the Room of the Counting. Last time I counted I found eighty walls was filled with my markings.
Alrighty, then. Get up, Malcir! You can do it! Green walls and red carpet. I should consider redecorating. But if the marks in the Room of the Counting is an indication, I'm in no hurry. I have all the time in the world, it could seem.
I push through the door. I remember, vaguely, a time when doors were solid. Silly, really. These memories surfacing, which I can't really relate to. The expance of the Between opens up once I'm through my bedroom door. It changes every time I pass through here. Not in any radical sense, but I think there are small differences each time. There was a time when I spent much time here, but I've become more set in my ways of late.
The fluidity of the Between is it's greatest aspect. Rarely have I seen anyone so proficient in it's use as myself. But there are many things about myself I don't see much of, in others. The Between holds me suspended, and the flow of self is gathering direction. I know where I want to go. The sudden, almost violent, rush grips me, and I'm off. Off to the Room of the Counting.
The door approaches fast, and I let myself slow, and enter. It's rather cold in here, but that's alright, I never spend much time here. Too bad this place doesn't have any qualities like the Between. I'll have to walk.
The dim light and the grey walls go on and on. Identical walls, to the left and right. I have never explored any further than my latest marking.
I think I'm afraid that it never ends.
Down the isle, some eighty-odd walls later, I find the latest markings.
The piece of metal pipe is right there on the floor. It always is. I stretch to reach the next unfilled space. I make an inch-long mark in the wall. There.
I leave the pipe on the floor. I know I'll return. I just can't say when.
My back still aches. I'll be alright, though, once I get to my good friend Solkrin. Back in the Between I gather direction like all hell was loose. I want out. Now.
I'm rushing through the Between towards the exit to Fardsbridge Valley. I hear angry cries in the distant. Slow folks out taking their stroll. I have no time for the scenery.
Ah, here we are. Cute. They've put up a nice countryside looking wooden gate. Well, that's hardly indicative of the other side, I've been to Fardsbridge Valley before. Many times, in fact. And it's nothing like any countryside I've ever seen.
The damp smell of festering rats greet me as I enter. There's no sign of the sky, not even a fake one, like in the Between. It's all layers of brown and grey structures, as far up as you care to see. The gate to Fardsbridge Valley looks very different from this side. Metal plates, several miles high.
How the hell does Solkrin find the patience to do business in a place like this? I wonder.
Well, the convenience of the Between behind me, I'm bound to the ground, and have to do some hard leg-work. The people around here are harmless, but not very entertaining. They reek of things I couldn't even begin to imagine. The gatekeepers, as they like to call themselves, just throw me a glance, and continue their staring into the flames. I've spent hours, or days, staring into flames myself, or probably longer. We've completely lost track of time, haven't we? That's another ancient memory of mine. It seems that time was ordered and structured at some point. Everyone agreed to some standarized form of time. Weird.
I go to the nearest Finder-spot. Not in much use, I can see. There aren't many of us who know how to use these. And only very few of us would come here to Fardsbridge Valley. It's not too unlike the Between in some respects. The column of ripples are only visible to us users, I've come to understand. Well, my mind is drifting, I have more important things to do.
I reach into the ripples and draw near the location of Solkrin. Ah, perfect. Not more than five blocks away.
"Malcir" Solkrin states as I enter his den.
"Hello" I reply.
We both know what's first, no need to spill time chatting.
"Here", he says, and I take the little black pouch from his hand. I smile.
It's been a while, now. If I only could keep proper track of time I could say things like "It's been over a week, now!". Well, fuck it. I open the pouch with no small amount of expectation. I let the content out onto my hand. It stings slightly. The swirling fluidity of colours slowly take the shape of an apple. We call it K - whatever that means.
It's origins long lost. It's presence unmistakeable.
"Hollows filled", I mumble, as I take my first bite.
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The succulent, powerful flow push at me, from within. I feel my mind unfolding. I'm hard pressed to stay in any particular place, or frame of mind, or what have you. The flowering bursts, I implode out, into infinity, and realize I was already here. The following clarity is vast an unbounded, and thus quite incomprehensible.
Solkrins voice pulls me back to the present.
"Drifter-freak", he tells me, in his rather matter-of-factly tone.
My presence is complete and intense for a few moments, before I return to my regular modus operandi.
"It can't be all business, my friend, I'm one to let a little pleasure into the equation."
"Yeah? Any other staggering news, Malcir?"
I feel my Gift stir. I've never found the source of my Gift, but I don't know of anyone else who has, either. It originates from somewhere around my hands, and drifts throughout my body. I'm ready to see if there's any work out there.
"You know where Tim could be?", I ask Solkrin.
"Nope, not really. He might be out at Grobfrow, but I haven't heard from him in a while."
"Well, I'll find him. So, how's business?"
"Not bad, not bad. Weed is on the rebound. I almost considered starting up with that Selcon-shit. People thought that they would actually become something when that new intelligence enhancing drug came out on the market. Well, that backfired. Blew up. Vanished. Probably just another attempt by the Ironclads. They are trying very hard, I must say."
"Well, if they manage to enforce the ban on holodecks I'd be out of work."
"You could come work for me, I could use some help. If you stayed out of the K business it'd be all legal, too." Solkrin laughs, he obviously finds this last remark amusing.
"You know me, I won't do any kind of business that the Ironclads finds acceptable."
I take another bite of my apple. It's been in my hand all this time. I've been unconscious and not lost K to the ground. Instinct some say, I say intuition. I slip the rest of the apple into the black pouch. I feel the apple lose it's shape as it leaves my hand. With this bite I sense the Gift digging further into my being. I look at Solkrin.
"No, there's nobody coming just yet. And I'm not all comfortable with you digging into my customers, Malcir."
"Me? Dig?", I smile my innocent smile, knowing the seed will hit hard rock.
"I'll be off then, Solin", I tell my friend.
"Happy hunting, or, rather, happy running."
He sends me one of his more parental looks, but there's a smile at the end of it. It always is, with Solkrin.
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Rintin is running. She is a Dutch Racer, a genetically enhanced dog built for speed. Normally these dogs are kept on a very short leash, but Rintin ran away, and has lived with a girl named Tinky for three years now. Today Rintin is on her weekly run to Solkrins apartement. Tinky has made a jerkin of sorts for Rintin. And once a week she takes the long trip to Solkrin to fetch a weeks supply of weed.
Rintin slows down, she's about halfway to Solkrin. She has caught the scent of fresh meat. On the pavement two blocks ahead there's an animal leg. A rather upset old woman is trodding off from the spot where the food is, in Rintins direction.
Rintin is careful to avoid the old woman, and pauses only slightly before she picks up speed. When she passes the cafeteria she grabs the meat and is off before anyone has a chance to stop her.
At a safe distance she lies down and eat her fill. When she considers the remains well hid she pauses to sniff the air. She seems nervous. Rintin is not nervous by nature. She can outrun anything, her reflexes are unparalleled, at least here in Fardsbridge Valley. She makes a few circles before she decides to carry on.
While walking down the stairs from Solkrins apartement I'm puzzled as to how I'm gonna get rid of what must be one of the dorkiest grins ever. I know this feeling. Turning any corner I might burst, and end up in a ball of laughter. As I walk out the front door I realize I'm hungry. Sudden realizations often trigger my humorous outbursts, but I am suddenly aware of something.
A relaxed tension in the air trigger my awareness. My skin tells me I'm surrounded by an organic confidence - BioTechs. But what ever would bring BioTechs to Fardsbridge Valley? If there were any holodeck constructions under way in Fardsbridge Valley, Solkrin would know.
I leap down the steps and run around the corner. If this is about to turn into trouble of some kind I wouldn't want to get involved on Solkrins doorstep. A few blocks away I stop. I have had plenty of rather close working relationships with BioTechs. Without them holodeck construction would be a bitch. If it would at all be feasible. At any rate I know how the BioTech presence feels, and this must be BioTechs alright. I head for the nearest park.
When I turn the corner and the park comes into view I stop dead in my tracks. I can't see anything out of the ordinary, but the BioTech presence is rampant. While I'm standing here staring at an empty park I come to realize that my dorky grin has evaporated.
Only a few times, in the past, have I come across BioTechs when I'm not working. They've always been good to me, but I'm unsure as to what they might be up to here. There's no nearby exit to the Between, BioTechs, and Ironclads for that matter, can't follow me there. My thoughts are interrupted by some commotion not too far away. I hear a dog yelp. Then silence. Soon after I feel the BioTech presence dwindling. I stroll over to the park and seat myself on a wooden bench. I look around and conclude that I'm alone. I bend over to the nearest bush and let my hand sink into the leafs. I stroke the inner workings of the leaf, probing for BioTech residue - whatever that would be. There's nothing out of the ordinary with this bush, I think to myself. Again I realize that I'm hungry. A smile fades into my face, and I walk out of the park, looking for someplace to eat.
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