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Short Stories by StellarWind Elsydeon

Discussion in 'Creative Archive' started by StellarWind Elsydeon, Nov 7, 2010.

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  1. StellarWind Elsydeon

    StellarWind Elsydeon Armblades Ascendant
    Staff Member Administrator

    Alright. Since Wilderness is kind of hanging in a weird state of limbo right now (don't worry, it's not an abandoned project. I just need to synchronize with my characters again) I figured I'd post some of my non-PokeMon writings here on 'charms. Here shalt thou find random one-shots written over the years - and though sometimes thematically linked, they have no relation to each other at all.
    I shall post them one story per post (like the chapters on Wilderness).

    Turning Point
    Or: Last Thoughts of the Last of the Dragons

    Somewhere, beyond the horizon, between darkness and light, on that thin border line between chaos and order, between transparency and clarity, between positive infinity and negative infinity, lies a magical valley where the last of the dragons still remaining in our world dwells.

    Her crystalline scales, that have once glowed in every colour of the rainbow, have long since faded into a pale shade of white gold, as if they were trying to remember a single spark of what they have once been. Her flowing mane has faded from sky-blue to grey with a pale, bluish tint. Her wings – once covered in black feathers, within which the light of the stars was embedded in little pinpricks of light – were battered and bruised. And her eyes - in which one could see, until not so long ago, an entire microcosm - have lost their radiance, and now one could only see a few dim, distant stars, nearly faded away. The silence before the storm.

    Only one who has ever seen a dragon in its prime could feel the sadness in the sight of a dragon in its fading, and few are the creatures that lived long enough to see the same dragon through all the years of its life. As dragons were granted incredibly long – even if not eternal – life, and ancient wisdom, most of which has long since been lost to the mists of time.

    She has borne witness to the great rises and falls of life in this world, and much like the rest of her kind, she realized, sooner or later, that her time was at an end. That the time of the dragons in our world was over. That there wasn’t a single place left in which she could fly as freely as in the olden days - in times before the age when exact sciences took the place of legends. Before concrete and iron took the place of the open plains. Before the green of grass and forests, the radiance of the sun and the glitter and shine of the stars have been replaced by the green of money notes, the radiance of precious metals and the glitter and shine of gemstones. Before the world has sold its soul to people whose interests lay solely in the acquiring of power and wealth, maximizing their profits out of any given situation – the very same people who lived in perpetual protection of treasures they have gathered in numerous ways, guarded in underground vaults under tight security and perpetual firepower, and never being happy with what they already had.

    She grimaced remembering the old legends that described dragons as fire-breathing monsters who dedicated their whole lives to looting and pillaging, lived in caves in which they hoarded their treasures – and alas for those who would have wandered into their lairs – no matter their intentions.

    “History fools us in such exquisite ways.” She mused.

    Within every legend, there is a core of truth, so the proverb says - although a more ancient proverb says that the role of stories, whichever they may be, is to tell us something about ourselves. Accumulating wealth and fortune was never the way of the dragons – it was humans who needed something for the fable’s sake, and firmly believed that ‘their’ dragons were the only ones that existed. The few who have managed to see a real dragon – and look, even for a second into its eyes – immediately realized that true dragons never played with masks and stories – they were creatures of truth and beauty. The few who have encountered a true dragon have also realized that ‘their’ dragons were simply monsters and nightmares, the likes of which can only be found among human beings.

    In every legend, there was always a fragment of light in the darkness – a gallant knight who would defeat the greedy monsters and bring forth justice.

    No more knights. The age of chivalry was long gone. Even the knights have sold their souls.

    For among men there have always been those who would use anything they could find to promote a certain goal. They had their own dragons – beings of filth and sin, direct extensions of their devil, sent to the earth only so "saints" of all sorts would be able to cleanse the world of their presence in the name of a certain idea, a certain belief, a certain profit...

    And ultimately, in the name of power. Power-hungry people using power-hungry monsters to promote their own power – leading a certain organization, a certain religion, a certain idea - no matter how righteous or pure it seemed to them. Power corrupts, and they knew it well. Lo and behold – without noticing, they gradually became the same creatures that they have preached against.

    And as time went by, fables became legends, legends became tales, and tales became something trivial and irrelevant – amusing fibs designed to entertain old friends around a burning bonfire. Songs that were written about death and plagues have lost their meaning long ago, and have become lullabies for children who could not fall asleep at night. And man began to live in a constant rat-race to stay in line with progress – the race for wealth and power, and alas for that which would stand in the way. The bandwagon rolls, and those who wouldn’t jump upon it would be left far behind or trampled underneath its wheels. And there is no force heavenly, earthly or diabolical which could serve as a barrier or an obstacle.

    And it accelerates with every moment which passes.

    And in time, when the understanding came that there was more lost than gained in this way, it was too late. They were trapped within an ever-tightening loop, from which there was no turning back.

    The last of the dragons spreads her wings, almost powerlessly, raises her head towards the sky, her long neck curving in grace that has not left it in spite of the years, and howls an ancient melody to the full moon. A beautiful, yet sad and hollow melody, echoing through the basic fabric of the world. The ‘swan song’ of a dying dragon. In a world like this, there was no more room for her.

    For a dragon, physical life is only a mid-point and physical death is not the end of the journey, but only a turning point in the tale. But for the world, it is a moment of recognition. Something will make the foundations of creation tremble, and thousands of millions will suddenly experience a sense of loss. Some will try to get to the bottom of this feeling. Some will have tears in their eyes, and some would drop anything that they were doing to tell the people dear to them that they love them. And maybe, for a little while, people will look beyond their narrow scope of the world and see the big picture - and maybe, just maybe, understand what is truly important...

    And after a while, life will go on. It always does, especially when people are too bothered with their own matters to feel anything for too long.
    And for all the days that will follow, all that would be left of the dragons would be memories.

    The last of the dragons curls up to a ball and wraps her wings around her body. The lone stars that are still alight in her eyes collapse into themselves. The universe within her eyes comes to an end, and the light her eyes shine – blue light, brighter than bright – wraps her body slowly in waves upon waves of uncertainty, and she vanishes from one dream into another, purer dream.

    The thin border is broken. Reality and dream, order and chaos are one. Transparency becomes clear and clarity becomes transparent. Positive infinity washes into a vortex of negative infinity, negative infinity washes into a vortex of positive infinity – and they are both made into none.

    The valley has gone.
    And the world continues, completely unaware that it has ever been there.

    And somewhere, far away in the night sky, a rain of falling stars falls, glowing in pure, radiant light.

    Forever.
     
  2. StellarWind Elsydeon

    StellarWind Elsydeon Armblades Ascendant
    Staff Member Administrator

    Shift Exchange

    Final drops of rain landed on the shattered stones that have once been intricately-carved blocks of marble. Like a macabre assembly of amputees stood the hollow skeletons of trees that have long since died. The wind was blowing in a chilly, freezing whisper, dragging along a heavy mist. The gate, still standing long after the rest of the fence fell apart, opened and closed - seemingly of its own accord - with a silent creak, scaring away an old, red-eyed owl that was taking a nap on the gate post and sending it in a quick flight towards a very tall tree some distance away.

    Cemeteries are a rather strange example of the circle of life - on one hand, they are the eternal home and final resting place of the dead. On the other hand, however, few are the days in which there is not even a fragment of movement on behalf of those who walk and breathe within them. The never-ending movements of the mourners who have come to pay homage to their departed loved ones give these places a life force of their own - a life force born of death.

    Not this cemetery, however. This cemetery was entirely dead. Terminally dead, in heavy stages of decay. No, actually, decay wasn't the accurate term. Decay is a process that is a side-effect of life growing upon death. Absolute death - cold, changeless, uncompromising - has made its home at this cemetery. It has been decades since anyone has been buried there; In fact, for decades - and even centuries - on end, nothing living has even passed through the gates - there was something deep-set and fundamental about this cemetery’s very essence, its very fabric of existence, which declared that it was the abode of death - humans and animals steered clear of it, and even plants did not grow within the premises.

    Amidst the swirling mists stood three figures - tall and thin - draped in robes. One of them, its face entirely concealed within the blacker-than-black hood of its robe, skeletal hand wielding a scythe, sighed.

    "Good grief, what a hole. Is this where you live?" asked The Death That Was.

    "It's not much, but it’s home." replied The Death That Is, clutching the hilt of her Katana and turning her large, mist-colored eyes to The Death That Was, a sudden wave of light reflecting in her long, silvery hair "Things are not what they used to be back then. No budget. Remember the days when we used to work together?"

    The Death That Was grinned - although, considering his skeletal figure, it would have had a hard time adopting a different expression.

    "How can one possibly forget? Ahh.... Back then, people knew how to die with style... In wars, or plagues, or only-the-devil-knows-what. Ah... To ride the wings of the storm, reaping the souls like wheat... I never DID understand how you always managed to do it so well with this toy knife of yours." it said.

    The Death That Is scowled and glared at The Death That Was for a moment "It's still sharper and much more maneuverable than that oversized stick of yours." and then she grimaced "But you're a lot more marketable than I am. You draw a whole lot more attention. More crowds, if you catch my meaning."

    "Maybe, but you're an absolute wiz at all the bloody bureaucracy the job demands nowadays... What am I supposed to do with all this paperwork?" The Death That Was shrugged its bony shoulders.

    "That's exactly the problem. Things just aren't like they used to be – they’re dropping like flies, and it's only because of their own stupidity. I mean, they even take care of the reaping themselves - I just have to sign all the bloody paperwork... Hell, the way things are going now, I might as well return the bloody sword and get myself a bloody fountain pen instead... On the other hand, who would write odes to The Grim Document-Signer?" she mumbled "Only the devil knows how long have I been in this job, and most of the fan-mail is still addressed to you."

    The Death That Was sighed "The world has advanced quite a bit since the time in which you were my apprentice and nothing more... But still, some things never change..."
    "Which brings me to the reason we have gathered here today." said The Death That Is "My heir has proven herself worthy."

    The third figure - the shortest of the three - silently stirred under her cowl, and gently undid her hood, exposing her face, framed in blacker-than-black curls - the pale angel-face of a young girl, but without any trace of innocence. She did not hold any bladed object - but a single gaze into her eyes would have sufficed.
    She gazed at the world seriously, indifferently - but most of all - knowingly.

    She said nothing, merely nodding with childlike gentleness. She was The Death That Is to Be - the most terrible of them all. She was born to handle numbers that none of her predecessors have ever handled before. Hundreds, thousands, even millions were nothing to her. She was created to deal with billions. She was the Death of the Apocalypse. Of Doomsday. Death to end all Deaths. The last one to would ever occupy the position. She silently moved her hands, weaving rays of blue light into different forms, as if she was playing Cat's Cradle - rays of light composed of pure, unrefined data. New data. New information. She put her hands to her chest - from the center of which a dim red light emanated, only barely visible through the mirrorlike, silvery fabric of her robe - and the light that emerged from her hands seemed to be absorbed into her, intensifying the red glare that encompassed her entire body for a moment. She closed her eyes, for a moment seeming like a drug addict that has just received her fix - and then the light slowly faded, shrinking back to its origin. Her eyes opened again, and for a moment, it seemed that even more terrible knowledge was reflected within them...

    That was one of the things that made her perfect for the job - she was addicted to knowledge. And after all, knowledge is the most dangerous weapon.

    "She is ready, but for now, the world is not yet ready for her." said The Death That Was.
    "Her time shall come too." said The Death That Is and closed her eyes "Let us hope it shall not come anytime soon... I was starting to like this place, you know. When she goes on duty I'll be kinda short on a living. It ain't easy being a spiritual entity nowadays."
    "Why ARE staff changes in our field so complicated?" asked The Death That Was, out of the blue.
    "Are you kidding? We are a relatively simple story. Do you have any idea how many times were the guys in charge of births replaced? Spirits, Angels, even BIRDS for cryin' out loud, before they realized the role was obsolete and sent the last one to early retirement."
    "Well, what can one do? That's what happens when you have a government committee acting as God... And even they are only temporary workers."

    And with these words, the fog swirled and stormed as the Death That Was and The Death That Is - shadow and mist - swirled and vanished into it. And the Death That Is To Be surveyed the kingdom that, one of these days, shall come to her posession.

    So much to discover... So much to study... So much to dismantle into its most primal elements... She had the patience to wait.

    The Death That Is To Be smiled and vanished into the fog as well. After all, the more she waited, the more she'll have to learn...
     
  3. StellarWind Elsydeon

    StellarWind Elsydeon Armblades Ascendant
    Staff Member Administrator

    Closing

    Truth of the matter is, it was somewhat awkward to give the Engineers the word. They've put years upon years on the design, and spent multiple days and sleepless nights on the little details. When they were told the project was cancelled for budgetary reasons and that they're leaving the place just the same as it was before they even started working, it rather hit them like thunder on a clear day.

    Of course, there were a few who protested, and a few who arranged lobbies for saving the project. One of them asked why not leave the project, as they say, indefinitely, and simply cut it off the budget. The lesser officials announced that for their part, they honestly tried to convince the relevant instances, but the relevant instances announced that the last project they cut off from the budget rusted in a really horrifying way and that the solar system isn't willing to be responsible to another lump of rust in orbit. There have even been a few who stood up to defend the project with their bodies. But eventually, the administration made it perfectly clear that they're folding everything - with or without them - and they decided that it was better, as far as this struggle was concerned, fall back - mostly because in their field - and with this blasted monopoly - finding new employers would have been way too much trouble for its worth.

    And the administration smiled wearily. What else could it have done? They really DID put all the effort they could into this project. Honestly. It was the most promising thing that they had in billions of years. "Organic life would be the next big hit!" they thought as they invested in the research of the exact right conditions - the suitable distance from the energy source, the emission gasses, the chemicals. They were concerned at the very beginning, for a moment, when everything started collapsing onto itself, but then they threw in those 'Mitochondria' that junior engineer was so bloody excited about - and they saw how nearly immediately, organic life made a leap and took over the project from the inside. He got a promotion, of course. Got a whole aeon to do whatever he wanted with. And then he came up with these huge weird lizards of his all over the place. So many variations on one pathetic little lizard… No creativity at all. They fired him after a few million years and raised a little harmless catastrophe to compensate for the atrocity. Only played with the orbit a little bit - enough to freeze everything and kill everyone. One of them, just for kicks, tossed a little pebble smack dab in the middle of a big blue spot that was mostly composed of hydrogen and oxygen. Who would have figured out the results would be that drastic?

    It was a little too close for comfort.

    "On second thought maybe we should have stuck with the lizards," Said one junior accountant, leafing constantly through his checkbooks "I can see a hell of a lot of budget going into reconstructions of these things."
    "I actually see a lot of money pouring in because of them," replied a slightly more senior economist "I mean, Think of the merchandise! Books, Movies, Toys… Organic Life, the marketing line! The Lizard Age!"
    "I think we have something much bigger to be concerned about." Said one of the managers - the same ones who always sat in the shadows, and only a few saw their faces and lived to tell the tale.
    "What, you mean blue whales?" asked the economist "No worries, we're already onto that."
    "No, no, no… I think that things down there are kind of getting out of hand. Some cruddy little life-form is utterly pulverizing anything else as a side effect of its own nonsense…"

    And he pointed towards a monitor that showed, in real time, just what the hell was going on down there.

    "And we thought we had a Nobel Prize on our hands…" sighed another manager.
    "There's nothing else that we can do. We need to save what we can and just fold everything."

    The vote, as expected, was cast quietly without unnecessary questions. The evacuation was done silently, without (nearly) anyone noticing what was going on - and after a while, they've started preparing the grounds for demolition. Right before the historical moment of the deconstruction beams' activation, movies were showed from the surface of the project - from the very beginning of life to the utterly insane war that was raging down on the surface, slowly but systematically wiping out whatever still remained of the organic life they put so much time, effort and resources into.

    "There goes another one. Straight down the drain, the bastard. What a shame. And it had SO much potential, too…"

    And there wasn't a soul in the hall who didn't shed a tear as the beautiful blue beam encased the project - a slightly oblate sphere, mostly blue but sporting designs in brown and green upon its surface - and sliced it to accurate slices, then disintegrated them to molecules, then to atoms, then to sub-atomic particles, until at last, disintegrated it completely.

    Earth.
    Another failure in a long list of failures to create a world that something actually moved on, rather than just standing there like some bloody ornamental statue. First Mars and now this. The administration sighed again and seriously started considering an early retirement - or at least a very long vacation.

    … But in the end, it was all for the best. Even the engineers thought so.
     
  4. StellarWind Elsydeon

    StellarWind Elsydeon Armblades Ascendant
    Staff Member Administrator

    Justice from Above

    My office was the sixth office down the sixth corridor of the sixth floor. The fact that the numbers "6-6-6" shone brightly, in golden letters, on the door to my office, my last name and the reputation I gained as as a brilliant little devil have become the subject of multiple internal jokes in the firm, but I never thought it would attract the attention of anything beyond that.

    Boy, was I wrong.

    One boiling midsummer morning, a gentleman dressed in a black Armani suit and sunglasses stepped into my office. He introduced himself in a very dignified manner, and presented me with a stylized calling card.
    "Lucifer Diablo, Angel of the Bottomless Pit and Associates." He told me he came to me in search for legal aid. When I asked him what would an Angel of the Bottomless Pit require legal aid for, he grinned devilishly at me and presented the following question in an ever-so characteristic non-chalant manner:

    "Mr. Damon, what would you say if I would have offered you to sell your soul to me?"
    I told him, with mild amusement, that I am an attorney and that with all due respect, we don't have one of those. It's simply a privilege that the job does not entitle us to have.
    "I have noticed your aura seems a little pale, Mr. Damon." he told me with an expression of sincere worry "Maybe you should have that looked at. Either way, that isn't the reason I came to see you. I came to see you because you speak fluent Legalese. We need help from someone like you - you see, we're not really experts on the subject."

    "Well, here's the proof that lawyers, in spite of what some rumors say, don't come from hell." I thought to myself, bemusedly.
    "And also the proof that true Hell is up here on Earth." he said, as if he was reading my mind "Just between you and me, only you humans could think of things like bureaucracy for instance. Simply marvelous."
    "Why me of all people?" I asked him "There are people - even in this firm - that have much more experience than I do."
    "We needed someone who was experienced but still young and dynamic. Besides, you were the easiest to reach, for us. Your office number, you know. But, back to business."

    He tapped the ground three times with his right foot - and a single page appeared in a cloud of flame, hovering over my desk. A few stray sparks flew onto a few drafts of important documents. And then, the flames gradually faded as the page landed right before my eyes.

    "Well, here's the problem." he said "What you see before you now is a draft of a standard soul-selling contract. We've been trying to get the format figured out for about five-thousand years and just between you and me, we want to change the image of the whole soul-selling dealie. We want to find a new target audience - one that is composed of people who AREN'T entirely desperate. Make the whole relinquishing-your-immortal-soul-to-the-underworld-for-eternity thing seem attractive. We've already hired a marketing division to deal with the advertising - but, again, between you and me, I've been around for long enough to see that the longer and more bombastic the contract is, the more likely it is that the clients will sign it if only for the reason they have no idea what the devil (if you may pardon the pun) they're signing. Besides, rumors down there have it that your kind of people can tell other people to go to Hell in a way that will make them pack their suitcases and expect the trip of their lives. We wanted to see if it's true."

    On first glance, I've noticed that their contract had a lot in common with a Graham Cracker - both were crispy and full of holes. It was so obvious that any idiot with basic knowledge in legal affairs could use the contract to extort them as much as he or she felt like. And I'm certain they really wouldn't have liked that.

    I offered him a cup of coffee and he nodded "Black, and hot as hell." he smirked viciously - but amusedly, as if he understood the irony in his request. I made him a cup of coffee and he sat down in front of me, taking a long sip and nodding appreciatively.

    "Well, our main problem here is this." I gave him a significant look "Everything is phrased too clearly. You have to confuse the enemy. Complex, high-level language, clauses referring to other clauses... One page may be clear and concise, but it's a little too clear and concise for our matter here. Ten pages at least, if we want this to be efficient enough. Secondly..." and before I noticed, I went to work as if taken by a frenzy. He sat and gazed at me patiently, completely fascinated by the jargon. I do not know how long has passed before I was finished - but finally, I placed a detailed, complex contract with enough pages to give a save-the-rainforests activist a heart attack on the desk between him and me and I smiled.
    "This is how it should look like." I told him "And this is only a first draft. I'm sure your experts can alter whatever clauses may be required for each specific case."

    He read through the pages. After three pages, he broke.

    "PERFECT!" he called out happily, and his glowing red eyes lit up so brightly that they completely melted his sunglasses. He sighed in despair, tossing the useless, molten lump of plastic out the window and creating a brand new one out of raw firament. "You've done a GREAT job, Mr. Damon. I do not know how to express my gratitude."
    "No thanks are needed." I told him "Greater and smarter lawyers than me have made deals with the devil before... Although I don't think any of them took the expression that literally."
    "You'll find that your bank account has swelled significantly." he told me with a smile "They say that money is the root of all evil, so needless to say we have tons of the stuff. We don't spare resources, you know. It's been great doing business with you, Damon. If you'll continue like this, you have one hell of a brilliant career ahead of you."

    And with that, he stood up, turned around, and left the office, humming Metallica's "Devil's Dance" to himself. Say what you want of the Devil, at least his taste in music is good.

    I leaned back in my leather chair and waited for my second meeting on that day. She arrived five minutes later - a young, bright-eyed blonde in a tailored white suit.
    "Angelina Celestial, Guardian Angel." she shook my hand with warmth that could not have possibly been human "We've received some wonderful recommendations about you from your last customer. We've been wondering if you could help us tie a few loose ends with the acceptance requirements to Heaven... With all the religions that are running around in the world nowadays, it all got a bit too complicated for us..."
     
    #4 StellarWind Elsydeon, Nov 7, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  5. StellarWind Elsydeon

    StellarWind Elsydeon Armblades Ascendant
    Staff Member Administrator

    The Natural Look (100% Synthetic)

    It all started out rather small – a bit of color on the hair and mild, subtle stretching of the skin. It continued with complete renovation of cartilage structures and hypo-dermal insertion of polymeric bags containing some kind of nameless sealant. It advanced even further through the growing of skin cultures in a lab and their transplantation with high chances of success, newer, more "natural" looking sealants, burning the hair off from its roots... and the hand that holds the innovative, made-in-Japan scalpel or directs the laser beam is still hard at work.

    At some point, I realized that the human race has come to the conclusion that the way they were born is simply a regretful mistake of nature's – an error that they will indubitably be willing to invest much resources in the correction thereof, as part of that inexplicable obsession of theirs with "feeling better with themselves" (or, in other words, pleasing other people in a world where a natural appearance was pretty much an obscenity). Either that, or they were just fed up with looking like human beings, and they'd much rather have appeared to be bipedal pieces of plastic. Both of those theories work perfectly well.

    As a person of my type – a type that believes that Mother Nature was right about a thing or two regarding the production notes for Mankind, and that arguing with her over nonsense such as a tendency for asymmetry of the left ear or some psychological problem with the size of the chest, or the hips, or body shape (Just who in hell was the person that decided that women, for instance, have to look like some skinny hourglass with strange basketball-sized bumps on its upper segment?) or only the devil knows what is just a teensy-weensy bit petty (not to say downright arrogant), I never understood why it was that in the time period I grew up in, plastic surgery was such a common phenomenon that Frankenstein's Monster could have made one hell of a great sex symbol.

    But, as years went by, it was becoming slowly evident that no matter how skilled the surgeons were, in the end of the day, if you weren't born with it, it was quite obvious you weren't - and that much was easily noticable. And that was when the greater medical complications began - from year to year, more and more problems following old cosmetic procedures surfaced, and the health system was in danger of complete system breakdown as a result of overload of complaints and lawsuits over medical negligence. Back then, I was a student of Biotechnology – A field that, at that time, was blooming at an amazing pace - and I was especially interested in technologies of cloning and growth acceleration for medical purposes. Think about it – taking a cluster of stem cells from a person that is in desperate need of a liver transplantation and growing them into a new, completely healthy liver, that can be immediately transplanted – no more awaiting for a donor, no more tissue matching, simply grow and transplant, with no unnecessary complications.

    … It's not that there have never been talks about the cloning of humans for stem cell production purposes before - but the ethics of the whole thing were very complicated – when does a fetus stop being a lump of cells that has no greater biological meaning than a simple segment of skin tissue and becomes a living organism? One with a soul? One that the killing of which would be considered murder? What the hell IS a soul, anyhow, and what creates it?

    This is what led me to leave that field of research and start researching the biology of the soul. That is, what turns a person to the person that he is, biologically. Just about everyone in the faculty wondered just what planet have I come from, but I was patient. I started out small and advanced onward until finally, I found it. And when I found it, I also found a way to preserve it. And soon enough, I found out how to transplant it. I shan't tire you with the technicalities – It is a complicated process that has to do with a thorough, systematic mapping of the brain and miscellaneous biological functions within a few phases of scanning and compiling the whole thing into one greater whole – and the reverse process in order to 'burn' that map of the soul pattern into a new body.

    Imagine the computing and scanning power needed to map a human. But, as I said, I've started out small – and even the frogs I started out with required a LOT of processing power and a lot of computer time. But, the first experiment in soul transplantation with a success. And if that experimental process would have worked on human beings as well…

    The idea struck me like lightning on a midsummer day – why not, actually, scan the DNA map of a person, correct minor DNA corruptions, regrow the body to its primal state and then perform an artificial transplantation of that person's soul within the new body?

    Imagine for a moment, a terminally ill patient suffering from AIDS. Imagine, for a moment that you could map his DNA, correct it from within (removing any traces, even the most minute, of the viral DNA), regrow the body without the disease and then transfer his consciousness from the old body to the new one. Or for instance, imagine a baby born with a severe genetic defect that would not allow it to survive to the age of two. Imagine that baby growing up and having its own happy, healthy babies with not a single trace of such a genetic defect. Back then, it sounded like science fiction. But then, the revolution came that has finally allowed the cloning of humans without severe moral implication: a biological formula has been discovered that allowed the acceleration of a body's growth processes while leaving it completely devoid of awareness until its operation is stopped via a matching antibody serum – the brain, simple as that, functions only in the mechanical level needed to keep the body alive without allowing it to grow into a living, sentient being. In a way, the brain is not 'alive', and the body's growth is accelerated in a way that allows monitoring and control. More developments have eliminated the need for 'host' mothers for cloned embryos, and accelerated computers to levels that made soul transplantations, finally, a possibility.

    And then, along came the people who decided that they could harness these innovations to make money – genome cleaning, alteration of developmental elements and exposure to hormones during accelerated growing of the body – to a younger age than the original. A potential fountain of youth. More and more powerful computers entered the transplantation market, and soon enough soul transplantation became a phenomenon even more widespread than the plastic surgeries that were just about everywhere when I grew up. Authentic Mind, Synthetic Body.

    Simply terrific.

    A few years have passed since then already – and there are still more people in the world who went through the procedure to look 20 at the age of 200, and less people who went through the procedure to cure some incurable disease. It turns out that there were complications in this field too – the body isn't always capable of accepting the soul pattern, and sometimes, even in spite of all efforts, the new body begins developing consciousness – at least in its initial stage – and then we find ourselves dealing with patients with split personalities. And sometimes, there are people which find themselves, due to (heaven forbid) an incorrect translation of the soul map, with gaps in their memories, or with changes to personality structure that they themselves don't notice, but those around them definitely do.

    I think the greatest question now is – If we've managed to entirely fix the body… What next? Surgeries for the correction of the soul?

    … I personally hope I won't live long enough to see something like that happen. But on the other hand, if I DO live that long and someone decides to run me through something like that… Would I ever really know that anyone did anything to me?
     
  6. StellarWind Elsydeon

    StellarWind Elsydeon Armblades Ascendant
    Staff Member Administrator

    What Loneliness Does to People...

    I met him in some pub on some evening, sitting by the bar in the stool next to mine and downing a large glass of whiskey. He didn’t look particularly impressive – he had faded blond curls, five-o’clock shadows and a pair of sad, blue-grey misty eyes, and was clad in a battered, dusty leather trenchcoat - of the sort detectives used to wear in those black-and-white movies from the thirties - and a matching hat. On one hand, he seemed to really fit the place. On the other hand, it almost seemed as if he didn’t belong in this world, in the 21st century - almost as if time had stopped for him as it rushed forward for everyone else.

    He surveyed the room somewhat glumly, at first. Then he turned his eyes to me and said “I remember you. And I thought I really hit the bull's-eye this time… Seems like I screwed up big-time with you too, eh?”

    I suppose I rolled my eyes or something to that effect – just another poor sod that had too much - or too little - to drink.

    “And she seemed to be JUST your type, too.” He continued “But I suppose it just didn’t last... Too many changes in both of your attitudes lately. Oh well, I should be getting used to it, I suppose. My accuracy is definitely not what it used to be back when I was a young whippersnapper… A few hours ago, right?”

    How the hell did he know that? How the hell did he know that just a few hours ago, one of the most amazing relationships that I have ever had has come to an end, a relationship that gave me back the hope that I may not end up alone forever after all - and that eventually blew up in my face like Hiroshima?

    “Just who are you,” I stared at him “And how in oblivion do you know all that?”

    He smiled sadly “Amazing, the way people don’t recognize me today. Well, they say that the age of romance has ended, I suppose that they're right. Ah well… As for who I am, you can call me Cue. It would make life a lot easier for both of us. As for the other question… Well, you can say that I am always aware of what happens to the people that I've brought together.”

    “I’ve never seen you before in my life, and I've most definitely haven't seen you when I first met her.” I told him. It was quite probable that he was absolutely drunk, or out of his mind… but perhaps not? Something in those mist-colored eyes of his was too clear. Un-naturally lucid.

    “I am only visible when I wish to be.” He said, taking another sip of his whiskey “After all, my line of work would have been a lot more difficult if people saw me hanging around in the background all the time. It would have certainly bothered quite a few of them, and I really don’t think that I would enjoy being arrested. It is true that nothing can stand in the way of true love, but bureaucracy always tends to make things more complicated.”

    “So, basically you’re some kind of a disgruntled matchmaker?” I asked him, raising an eyebrow.

    “Well, I would have defined myself as more of a sharpshooter, but you could say that I am history’s most famous matchmaker - and that I’ve managed to score many classic love stories when I was a young little devil. But, what is one to do? My vision, apparently, is not what it used to be. They don’t say that love is blind for no reason.” He grimaced “Truth is, I’m not really sure that it’s actually my fault, as they say. People are just more dynamic nowadays. They don’t have the patience to overcome their difficulties together. They are ever-changing, you know, and when it doesn’t work out, it’s easier to break the bundle apart, as they say, rather than try and work on keeping it together. My mother figured that out long ago – that’s why she retired and is making a fortune on TV nowadays. Not using her real name of course.” He stopped, taking another swig and chuckled “She wasn’t counting on that side of television if you know what I mean. No, she usually portrays the role of herself in mythology dramas - still looks like she did when she was twenty-two, and she’s a few millions of years old, too. Lucky bastard-ette, that Aphrodite is.”

    I stared at him for a few seconds, trying to figure out where the heck has my sanity gone to. Or his sanity. Or both. He noticed the gaze I shot him – but he didn’t look hurt or offended. Only a little more sad.

    “So, I grew a couple of years older and left my bow at home, and already people don’t recognize me. Most of them think that I died a long time ago. A few think that I’m an illusion. The few that still believe in me often find themselves alone after all and they stop believing too. It ain’t easy, this line of work.”

    Then, he took the last swig of his whiskey, smiled a little, and stood up with grace that his appearance did not betray at first – he moved as if he hasn't touched alcohol at all. Then, he took off his hat, revealing a face that looked exceptionally familiar after all – even though the eternal child-face it was before have clearly matured under the effects of time. He put the hat to his heart and nodded softly in my direction.

    “But nevertheless, I try. I am sorry for your loss – No one knows how difficult it is to lose a loved one as I do. Part of the job description, you know. But – something tells me that I will see you again someday. And next time, I hope, I wouldn’t miss too much."

    And as he turned and silently walked towards the exit, I’ve noticed the tears at the back of his coat for the first time - and through these tears, only barely, I could see a pair of wings with pearly, pinkish-white feathers wrapped tightly around his body, and a single arrow that was embedded in his belt – red feathers on one side, and a ruby arrowhead on the other – sharp at its tip and curving gracefully at its back.

    A red heart.

    “I have got to stop going to these places.” I think I heard him mumble before he left – though it may have just been my imagination “It ain't an easy thing for a matchmaker forever destined to loneliness, to see so many unsatisfied customers in one place.”
     
  7. I'm quite fond of 'The Natural Look.' It is an interesting commentary about the obsession with appearance society now has. It also has science fiction and religious tones due to the talk of dual souls and soul rejection in a single body. This has to be my favorite story of yours.
     
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