Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The Fab

The young engineering lieutenant stepped back and beamed. "Ain't it great?" he asked, with the kind of enthusiasm only a twenty-something geek with the US Air Force budget to spend could have.

"Yeah, it looks great, Larry, but what exactly is it?" Dan asked, not looking very convinced. The jumble in front of them looked like a cross between a melting oven and high-tech milking machine. Larry the Lieutenant grabbed a 21-inch flatscreen display and started to unwrap it from the lean box.

"It's a 'fab'."

"A fab?"

"Yeah. We can build anything with it" Larry said, trying to sound modest, but failing spectacularly.

"Come on, that's just crap" Dan said.

"Well, almost anything. Anything you can model in 3D anyway. It's a three-dee printer: you just take a model and tell the fab to make it. You can put all sorts of material into it: plastic, paper, metal, even starch, if you wanna eat your creation", the young lieutenant explained, as he lifted the monitor on the table. "It's really cool", he added, stating the plainly obvious.

"So... What's it gonna do for me?" Dan asked, being now vaguely interested.

"Don't know yet. We'll see..." Larry said, and started to rummage through the shelves for a DVI cable. He was drifted away in his own safe, little world of nuts and bolts and wires and electrons and bits, and Dan knew better not to bother him. It would take ages to get an answer now anyway.

The fab stood in the corner, looking like an innocent giant. It's maw was empty, and the door was open, as if waiting to be fed.

Monday, June 06, 2005

1st time

[start recording]

It is the alley. Always, every night.

It used to be the whirling shapes of the "gate", but now it is the alley!

I'm looking at it behind the scope of my shaking silenced pistol. Shaking badly as I have never shot at anything other than cardboard figures on the base firing range. Some of them were human shaped, some just round bullseyes. Now, however, I fear it might not only be human shaped.

Shaking gun, staring over it, trying to keep the sight aligned on the mouth of the alley. The flyboy beside me there, sure, calm, steady, not puffing like locomotive (the way I am). Then it's there! At first I make I brand it human, but then the writhing arms, made of cables and darkness, alive in more ways than any flesh ever should be force a change in the coining.

How many bullets do I have? Can't recall. Do I remember how to reload? Nope, too bad.

Start squeezing the trigger. Again, again, again, again, again, again, again... And still it comes, hooded head gleaming with more writhing darkness, shapes not to be seen, not to be named. Echos filling the alley, the flyboy following my suite. Shell casing flying, hitting me, hot.

Still it comes, still we fire, still I scream, still it comes, still I scream, still it...

[end of recording]

Becoming

The snake-that-looked-like-a-gas-pipe slithered up his paralyzed arm. Its tongue flickered back and forth, and its cold eyes were filled with... with something a snake should not have. He tried to scream, but he could not. He could only watch.

The snake coiled itself around his arm, again and again and again. It slowly squeezed the blood out of the arm, until he could only feel the throbbing of his own pulse, and see his arm turn slowly purple, wither, and die upon his very eyes. As the snake had done its deed, it uncoiled itself, and his arm fell off, hitting the ground with a solid thunk, leaving only a dead stump.

The world collapsed into an array of meaningless colors, and he found himself, lying on his own bed at Level Four. His arm was numb, and lolled uselessly around. He went to the toilet and splashed water on his face, eyeing the pipes suspiciously.

It happened every night. Dr. Smith said it was psychosomatic, and he would need to stop sleeping on his arm. But he had refused the medication.

It'll be a long time before they have to tie him to the bed.

Test

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