© Copyright 2018
Xenon sat at the breakfast table in the mess hall on the orchid where he’d been picking apples for the past three months, immersed in apple pie. Across the room at another table, a couple of new comers to the orchad–a staunch, muscly man with a square jaw and spectacles, and a tough, wiley old woman, looked at him conspicuously.
He picked up his plate of apple pie and went and sat next to them. “New?” he asked.
The man nodded. “Just arrived last night. Name’s Rog. This is Irene.”
“Xenon,” he said. “I know karate. Do you guys have dust masks?”
They shook their heads.
Xenon grunted wisely, got up and went to the pantry where he retrieved two disposable dust masks to wear over the nose and mouth. “Here,” he said, handing them the masks. “Wear these. Stops the toxins from the insecticides getting in and making you sick. There’s a swarm of fruit-flies attacking the harvest.”
Rog and Irene looked at each other disconcertedly.
An old infomercial blared from the television:
“…Pineapple Corporation: Delivering the fruits of science to the world!
A woman in a suit sat on a stool. “…Pineapple Corporation has been on the cutting edge of technology for generations, and now they’ve done it again, with an invention which will give us superhero bodies that can live forever. Care to tell us about it, Lucian?”
“Sure, Helen.” The young, slick-haired man turned and looked at the camera. “Tired? Stressed? Strung-out?” He held up a microchip between his thumb and forefinger. “Well this little baby right here is the key to unlocking the limits of your human potential. These microchips improve on nature’s own bio-chemical design to ward away harmful toxins and viruses. They’ll work in a collaboration with your brain’s natural biorhythms to keep your hormones balanced so you’ll always be firing at optimum potential.”
Xenon finished his breakfast and sighed with satisfaction. “See you guys later,” he said. “I’m going into town to get a citizen’s chip.
“Don’t,” said Rog. “It’s not worth it.”
Xenon was unsure if Rog was taking the piss. “What do you mean?”
Irene bumped Rog under the table. “Never mind,” he said.
Xenon gave Rog the queer look of a well-adjusted socialite who wishes to project social inadequacy on a person they don’t understand before turning to leave the room.
“Gonna be here for afternoon shift, Xen?” called joe from behind the recpetion desk.
“Yep,” said Xenon, before leaving the room and getting in his ute to drive to town.
Zaina stood in a thicket of snow in the clouds above the rim looking down a spiralling slide that led to the ground.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” asked the woman.
“It’s the only way.”
Xenon pulled the ute into town and went to the Pineapple store. The lady behind the counter greeted him.
“One citizen’s chip, please,” said Xenon with satisfaction.
The lady smiled and nodded. “Ready to join the new world?”
“Sure am,” said Xenon. “I’ve been picking apples all summer long.”
“It’s well worth it,” she said. “As a citizen, you’ll have access to the interconnected technology that gives you the freedom non-citizens don’t have.”
“I know. I can’t wait to hook into the New World network and start meeting people from all over Underland. I’ve been fenced in my whole life.”
The lady smiled. “I guarantee you’re going to love it. One of our nurses will be with you in a few minutes.”
“Thanks.” Xenon sat down and opened a men’s health magazine:
Lucian Grey: The greatest mind of our times?
With infertility rates rising to alarming levels over the last decade, Lucian Grey’s Pineapple corporation, spearheaded by the microchip technology pioneered by Grey in the eighties, carries the lions share of humanity’s hopes for the future…
“Xenon Real?” asked a man white garb.
Xenon nodded and got up.
“I’ll be your nurse,” said the man. “Follow me.”
He was led to another room, where the nurse took pricked a drop of blood from Xenon’s finger, wiped it onto a card, and inserted it into a machine. It bleeped!
A moment later, a freshly printed chip emerged from a machine. The nurse used a custom-designed medical apparatus to clink it in between Xenon’s shoulder blades.
‘That’s the latest version,’ said the nurse. ‘A hundred and fifty year life expectancy, and a guarantee to be re-made after death at the time of your most recent memory save when the technology becomes available presuming you don’t break the user agreement in the manner of your dying.’
‘Finally, I can live.’
‘Right after we’ve undertaken all the necessary precautionary measures to ensure you’re safe, you can.”
“Let us know if you have any teething issues,” said Barbara on his way out.
Lucian Grey was tightening a screw using an automatic drill that extended from the finger-tip of his robotic hand. When the screw was tight, the drill retracted back into his finger. From his thumb, a cigarrette popped out from a compartment, which Lucian put in his mouth. A flame then burned from the same pointer finger he’d used to tighten the screw, and he lit his smoke.
“Da, da-da, da-da, Inspector Gadget,” he said.
A bleep came from the screen in the husk of the still only partially constructed ‘machine,’ his pet project at the epicenter of all Pineapple’s technology. He slung into the leather-cushioned seat and flicked the moniter a few times in order to reveal the exact nature of the notification.
He pushed a button connected to an intercom.
“Gren,” came the voice over the speaker.
“Gren,” said Lucian. “How’s that remote monitering programme that allows you to view the movements and digital interactions of your family and friends working out for you? Glad to hear it. There’s plenty more where that came from. But don’t forget there are people watching over you, too, yes? Responsible people, like me. That’s why I let you watch over you and yours, because you’re a responsible person, like me, see? But even I have people with even more responsibility watching over me. Kapish?”
“I don’t get paid for philosophising,” said Gren. “I get paid to defend people’s lives.”
“Well, that’s a philosophy for you right there, but let’s not go down that road. Gren! Take a troupe from the palace enterouge and do the rounds. Find out where the all those people have disappeared to and crack down on them. Take nurses to administer state-funded chips to the sick and dying to keep them alive, and put them on the plan that allows them to pay it off in a variety of ways.” He leaned into the speaker and spoke hushedly: “And there’s another batch of ‘you know what’ that’s cropped up. Looks like everything’s working; the measures we’ve taken are forcing them out.” Lucian laughed sickly at Gren’s muffled response. He laughed again, madly. “Okay, good. I’m sending through the deets. God speed.”
He hung up the reciever and took a puff of his smoke. “Da, da-da, da-da, da-daaa, woo-woo!”
Another bleep on the screen alerted him to an important notification. He flicked the monitor a few times and an image of the solar-system with the sun at the center and the current location of the planets in orbit around it appeared on the screen. At the very edge of the solar-system, just approaching the range of orbit of the outermost planet, a collosal object on an artificial flight path had just come into the range of his satellites.
His breath caught in his throat: “Lucy.”
Rain was pouring when he left the store in the early afternoon. He had a headache. He covered the ute with its roof and listened to the radio news broadcast on the way back to the orchard. “Promising news from Pineapple scientists today who have made a breakthrough regarding the infertility levels, which affect virtually the entire last generation to be born on Underland. The breakthrough involves bio-chemical technology that activates dormant junk genes to bring it back to life. More on this to come…”
The pressure in his forehead increased to the point where his vision was impaired. He looked in the rearview mirror and gasped. A lump the size of an avocado pip blew out from the middle of his forehead. He went into shock.
He touched it to ensure it was real. Rainbow streaks corresponding to his fingertips impressed themselves upon his mind’s eye.
Ahead, the mist-shrouded valley rimmed with the ancient Underland volcanoes adorned the landscape. He turned off the road and onto the dirt tracks which led to the volcano valley.
“…Meanwhile, it has come to the attention of new world authorities that the rising numbers of unaccounted-for people have formed into a political unit calling themselves a ‘co-op.’ Their beleifs and agenda still aren’t understood…”
He sped across the wet desert sand and past the bases of two enormous volcanoes that rose to either side him, through to the valley that lay between the volcanic rim. A cave was carved into the otherwise flat surface. The cave led to a tunnel underground. From here, he could access the heart of the volcanoes.
He tore along the path into one of the volcanoes. By the time he skidded to a halt at the core of one, the pressure from the seed that was apparently pushing its way out of his brain and through his forehead made him nigh-on blind. Rainbow lights shone in his mind. He screamed and pushed with all his might with his cranium to force the pip out, the pain becoming so intense that he lost consciousness.
He woke at night. Underland’s two moons looked down through the volcano at him, surprising him, as legend said that the sky above the valley was permanantly cloudy.
Beside him, a thick, smooth trunk that spiralled around in a circle as it ascended had grown from the pineal seed that had formed from his pineal gland and pushed through his forehead, leaving his skull shaped differently.
He felt his forehead and panic struck him again. Apparently the weirdness wasn’t over. Something hard and smooth was now in his forehead. He went to a pool that had built up from the afternoon’s rain in the volcano and looked at his reflection. A chunk of rose-quartz attached to his forehead twinkled in the moonlight.
He’d heard rumours about mutants, but never in his wildest dreams did he think that something like this would happen to him. Well, it wouldn’t do. He had his own interests, and they weren’t compatible with mutancy.
He became aware of foreign voices in his mind. The crystal seemed to be the conductor of them. It tuned into them as they floated through the ether around him and transmitted them through to his brain, where he could see them.
Whatever they were saying, he didn’t want a bar of it.
He wrenched the rose-quartz from his head and buried it a few feet underground. The voices stopped.
He looked back at his reflection in the pond. His forehead was a bit mishapen, but he could cover that with his fringe. Nobody would ever have to know about this little incident.
He got back in his ute. “Hey Xen.”
He gasped. A girl in khakis and goggles sat in the passenger seat.
“I thought you’d recognise me.”
He stared blankly. He knew her not.
Reality had discombobulated. He had two options: wilt, or stay calm.
He started the ute.
They drove along pinecone road to the orchid.
“Listen close, dude, ‘coz I’m only gonna say this one time. My name’s Zaina. I know who you are.”
Xenon mumbled incoherently.
“Hello?” said Zaina. She began knocking on Xenon’s forehead. “Zed to Xen, Zed to Xen, anybody there?”
“And know me, too.”
He looked at her distrustfully.
“In every generation, there’s twelve of us, and we naturally gravitate to the sections of society that connect together to form a molecular chain. From that molecule, the molecule for the next generation is formed. That’s what what happened to you is. It happened to me, too.” She stared strangely at him.
Xenon went around picking up seeds scattered all over the ground.
Zaina stomped out of the kitchen. “I’m leaving.”
“Where are you going?” asked Xenon.
Zaina grabbed him close. “Xenon, listen to me. The moment you can, ascend the tree. I can’t tell you why, because it would change your mind, somehow. We’ll meet again,” she said.
He went back to picking up seeds.
Rog approached and grabbed his sleeve. “Xen, I’ve been meaning to talk to you. You’re not safe at the moment.”
“Me? Not safe?”
“Yes. You’re unsafe. Listen, you’re not the only one with a pineal diamond. There’s a network of us. Once your diamond forms, you’ll be able to join the grid and telepathically communicate with the rest of us. You’ve got to keep your diamond well-stashed, though. Government flogs ‘em.”
The sound of gunning engined burned down slope towards them from the outside acre leading to the gate. Gren’s chopper raised dust as he burned down the road and dismounted. “Stay calm!”
He flashed his officer’s card as he approached Joe. ‘Citizen,’ he barked.
Joe pretended to ignore him.
Several technicians weilding antennae measured some frequency that apparently scientists had identified, and several packers were taken aside for questioning.
Gren gave Joe the evil eye.
Joe ate a cherry and spat the pip into a recepticle half full of cherry pips. ‘Care for a cherry?’ he asked.
Gren stared, motionless.
‘You don’t know what’s good for you,’ said Joe. ‘A belly-full of my cherry’s a day is better than one of your pineapple chips.’
Gren approached him, stood over him, covered him in shadow. He snatched the cherries and ate one in Joe’s face. ‘There’s an employee on your orchad named ‘Xenon,’” he said. “Where is he?’
‘Don’t know,’ said Joe.
‘If you’re lying, I’ll fine you.’
‘Refusing to assist the NWO in matters of state amounts to a crime against humanity.’
‘Because without us, civilisation would collapse. Now where is he?’
Gren snapped his head and his body followed, bird-like. He approached menacingly. “Put her there, son.” He held out his hand.
“Why?” asked Xenon as they shook hands.
“You’re a hero. Now get in the van.”
“Why am I a hero?” asked Xenon.
“It turns out the reaction you had to the chip occurs to people we’ve just discovered have the power to heal humanity’s infertility.”
“How d’you know about that? I didn’t tell anyone about that. Who told you about that? Where’s that girl, by the way?”
“Come with me, son,” said Gren.
“You’ve no right to take him arbitrarily,” said Joe. “Why, that’s what they did in the old world, before the last eruption.”
“It’s okay,” said Xenon. “I’ll go. I hate to leave the orchid, but I guess this must be my calling. I always wondered if a day like this might some day arrive, what with my being an orphan, and everything.” He went to the van and strapped himself in.
Gren walzed at Joe. “This ain’t the old world, is it, though?” said Gren.
From the side of the farm, a motorcycle-quad combination vehicle fired into gear and took off away into the orchid. The troupe followed in pursuit.
The troops superior vehicles outran the combo, and they were taken down with long-range tazers.
Rog and Irene were dragged back to the site with their hands tied behind their backs.
“Damned heretics,” said Gren. He turned to face Joe. “Harboring conspirators, eh?” He turned Joe around and cuffed him.
Joe didn’t resist. “Hey, watcha hounding me, for, I’s just trying to run an honest apple farm.”
“Then you’ve got nothing to worry about,” said Gren.
They were taken to the van and piled in.
Seargent Gren escorted Xenon through the sliding doors of the Pineapple store in town with his hands held behind his back.
Xenon shoved him away. “Is this how you treat a hero?”
“Oh, yeah, I was just going through the motions.”
“Oh, really?” asked Xenon.
“Yeah,” said Gren.
“Are you tired, are you?”
“You could say that.”
Gren paused. “Don’t be a smart-mouth, kid. It’s enough you get to be a hero, you gotta be a smart mouth, too?” The store was empty. “Brenda!?”
“Can I just get you to confirm for me that this young hero here has the chip installation number ID 240462718, please?”
Brenda plucked a laser wand from the reception desk and tilted Xenon’s head forward lightly to scan his chip. “Yes.”
She went to the storage facility and printed off the codes from all the samples that had been taken from the store.
“Where are we going, anyway?” asked Xenon.
Gren shook his head impatiently. “To the capital. You’re lucky you surfaced when you did. We’re already unlocking the remedy through people like you.”
“Like who?” asked Xenon.
Barbara returned with a the encryptions.”
‘My sample’s in there, too,’ she said . ‘I’m a citizen, now.’
Gren nodded. ‘‘Feels good, doesn’t it?’
“It’s like, ‘now that I’m not afraid to die, I can finally live,’” said Brenda.
Gren’s normally grim face for once showed sign of warmth and he laughed good-naturedl–”
The visor on Gren’s helmet was crushed off by the heel at the end of Xenon’s flying reverse spin kick.
Before he could control himself, Xenon was bolting from the store. He didn’t know why he’d attacked. It just felt like the right thing to do at the time. The moment presented itself, and he engaged in it.
As he jumped on Gren’s chopper and began to ride away, he realised that his impulses had demanded that he take the action he had in defense of the basic right of freedom which superceded even the potential people might have to refertilise a barren species. If people weren’t free to roam where they pleased, then the world isn’t worth their living in it.
A bolt of tazefire whisked by his ear. He turned to see Gren, helmet broken, in pursuit. He lowered his head and rode.
Joe was shoved into a room full of people being carried along large conveyor belt that snaked from side to side so as to fill the entire room and make a long trip out of a really small amount of space.
He was aghast at the day’s turn of events. Everyone seemed to be increasingly excited about humanity’s prospects and the state of society, but so far as Joe could tell, things had gotten progressively worse since the last eruption mid-last century.
Wherever he went, corruption lurked. Except for the last generation. Gen Z. He liked them, even though they were barren.
“This is scandalous,” he twitched.
When he reached the end of the conveyor belt, he fell through a slide and landed before a nurse who switched a two-pronged device before his eyes, temporarily paralysing him. She implanted the chip and pressed the power button.
Control of his body flooded back to him.
“You’re free, now,” said the nurse. “Welcome to the new world. Congratulations.”
“What am I supposed to do? Where am I supposed to go? I was happy on the farm. This strange, new environment is liable to throw my mind into disarray.”
“It’s a social utopia,” she said. “As long as you’ve got your citizen’s chip, that’s everything you need. Lucian’s got you covered, baby. Lucian’s got all his little babies covered.”
Torture could be fun, if you were in the mood. The lashes of bloody flesh whelped from the skin could be cleansing. It was all you could do, when you’d told the truth and there was nothing more you knew and yet there were more questions and the failure to provide the answer to these questions would result in the mortification; you just had to go with it.
“I got a question for you,” said Rog. “What are you going to do when the Indigo Nation comes for you? Huh? What you gonna do?”
The torturer sighed distastefully. “You’re offensive to the senses,” he scathed.
They were detained, and inserted with chips, after which they were hustled into a caravan to one of several production compounds in the central desert of Underland, which had only forty years ago been a giant, freshwater lake, but which had dried up in sync with infertility rates.
In the machine, he could see through thousands of eyes. In the machine, he could feel with a million hearts. In the machine, he could inhabit a man and a woman at the same time and fuck himself till his heart’s content. In the machine…
He wasn’t always like this. It was the juice. Lucy’s juice, made him crazy. But that was the price, and he’d willingly paid it, so he manfully bore the downside that Lucy’s juice inevitably incurred.
The door buzzed. Lucian momentarilly disengaged and pressed the intercom. “Yes?”
Gren came in carrying a bag whose contents made a heavy clink!ing sound. He gave them to Lucian, who took off the suit that enabled him to engage on more levels with the machine, leaving him in his underwear.
He took the swag from Gren and poured its contents out onto the table. Diamonds.
Gren whinced at a strange wound on Lucian’s back. “Are you okay, sir?”
“I’m fine. Spending too much time in virtual reality. Samples?”
Gren took the chip containing another portion of the gene pool and handed it to Lucian. “We’re almost there, aren’t we? We’ve got stockpile of diamonds. ‘Almost enough to upload ourselves onto the mainfraim,’ you said. Should we give it a crack now?”
“Don’t be insolent,” said Grey. “Without Lucy, we don’t have the numbers to defend ourselves out in public if they find out how we’ve been stealing their ancestors from them.”
“Who is Lucy, anyway?”
“She’s the one who gave me power,” said Lucian.
“I thought you got power from the microchip you invented.”
“After that,” said Lucian. “The power I’ll attain through Lucy is no regular brand of power. It’s an intergalactic brand of power, planes above our merely local power levels. Lucy is, like, ten of us put together. How’s that set of intel smart drives connecting the kids internal phone, net and GPS networks to an even larger collection of external Pineapple technologies going, by the way?”
Gren nodded. There was a girl with him “Sir, this one was an orphan. Probably one of the last born on Underland. One of those diamonds is hers.”
“That makes her a hero,” said Lucian. “Give her a medallion and a fully unlocked chip at once, and write her name on the register for citizens automatically assured of a place in the City of Dreams, when it’s finished. ”
“She doesn’t have anywhere to go.”
“Well, she can stay at the palace until foster parents or some other arrangements can be made. What do you say…”
“Debbie. Sound like fun? Want to hang with your uncy Lucian?” Lucian spluttered into a bout of uncontrollable vigourous shaking. “Prophecy,” he wheezed, “Prophecy.”
“If you were a prophet, why would you have to shake and announce ‘prophecy’ after you spoke one?”
“Every prophet is different,” said Lucian, looking at Debbie in fear. “What happened to the young man? The bum? Where is he?”
“Spirited little shinboner, took me by surprise. Flying heel kick to the side of the head, right when Barb made me crack a smile for the first time all day.”
“Well go back and get him. Every diamond counts. Good work on figuring out who he was and what was going on with him without my telling you to, too. See how well the chip works? You’re reading my mind, now.”
“Yes, sir.” Gren saluted and departed.
Xenon slid behind one of the boulders littering this craggy section of the desert that the indigos he was in telepathic communication with had been telling him to go to in order to reach ground zero, which was the center of the co-op.
(…Wait there for the trooper to cross, then meet us on the other side of the obelisk…)
On the other side of the obelisk, Zaina was. “Indigo oasis is fifteen minutes this way,” said Zaina.
“So we’re indigo’s then, huh? Who are we?” asked Xenon as they hustled across the shrubby sand. “What’s our purpose?”
“What are you, a sheep? The diamonds contain a holographic image of the person who bore them’s line of mothers and fathers. When we put them together, they make a ladder.”
“How do you know all this?”
Zaina cleared her throat. “You know the one they call the ‘Oracle?’”
“From before the time of the first wizard? I thought she was a legend.”
“She’s my one-hundredth great grand-mother.”
“What ever happened to her?” He tripped on a shrub but maintained his feet.
Zaina didn’t answer.
Xenon and Zaina were at the co-op meeting few minutes later at a place they called ‘ground zero.’
The people here were connecting the crystals they had to make ladder-like shapes. “I’m glad you all could make it,” said Andy, adjusting his glasses. “This is the third meeting of the co-op since I arrived here last week and found that this particular location happened to be a sweet spot on the planet where I was able to communicate with all the other indigos in the vicinity. Since then, we’ve been using it individually as we’ve crisscrossed the desert to uncover as many of us as we can before Lucian’s drones do.”
“What I can’t get over,” said , “is how people just started going missing without a trace, and nobody said anything, and nothing was heard about it. Then, it happened to us. Oh, the horror. I’m telling you, those production silos the government’s got going on out near the rim? Slave labour. Straight out slave labour. The worst.”
“Why is Lucian taking the diamonds?”
“We don’t know.”
“Something has corrupted the information encrypted in the diamonds,” said Andy. “There are missing generations everywhere.”
“Where’d the inland lake go?” asked one. “That’s what I’d like to know.”
“It disappeared after the last eruption.”
“We need air, damn it,” said Zaina. “Let’s arm ourselves and go to the capital, give the truth a sounding.”
“The co-op is a pacifist organisation,” said Andy. “The first thing is to treat people well; truth comes afterwards.”
“Pacifism suits me,” said Zaina, “Until some shoves a shot gun up your arse. Sometimes even the truth doesn’t seem so sweet when it’s served plain next to a candy-wrapped, sugar-coated smothering of Lucian’s lies.”
“Where’s your crystal?” they asked Xenon.
“I got rid of it. I was refusing the call.”
“You have to get it. We need it.”
An explosion of sound from behind shocked Xenon. It was Gren, accompanied by a special-ops unit. “Stay calm!” he yelled. “We’re taking you in. You’re all heroes. Understand?”
Joe looked at a book in the publoc library, ensconsed as he was behind the walls of the capital. He was effectively under house arrest. In his readings on the history of underland, he noticed the volcanoes had erupted at period intervals, and an evolutionary change of some kind appeared to have followed these upheavals.
Eleven of the twelve volcanos bore the distinctive marks of having erupted at some point in the past.
After the torture sucked them of all their intelligence, Rog and Irene were chipped and put to work in the capital’s industrial district to pay their debt to society, constructing bits and pieces of machinery from scrapmetal that they were told would be used to build the ‘city of dreams’ with.
Xenon, Zaina and Andy and the other indigos were taken to the capital where they received a hero’s welcome. There were only ten who were taken. They were dressed in jumpsuits and paraded in front of the crowds of people who lined the boulevard before climbing the steps of the palace where Lucian Grey recieved them before making an announcement.
“My dearly beloved citizens and subjects of Underland it is an honour and a priveledge to greet you on this glorius day. I can’t tell you all how unbelievably proud I feel. Proud of each and every one of you, proud of these fine young men and women who contain the power to save humanity in their very flesh, and proud of myself, for making it happen. I am delighted to present them all with their citizen’s medallions, giving them all an exalted status from today forth.”
An assistant handed him a swathe of medallions. Lucian greeted each of them individually, shook their hand, placed their medallions over their necks, and saluted.
Zaina lifted her head and beamed after Lucian placed the medallion around her neck. She greased him off.
Lucian laughed boisterously, making Zaina chuckle. His silver tooth twinkled in the sun. He patted her on the shoulder. “You’ve been treated abysmally, haven’t you? Well, don’t worry: I’ll make it up to you. Believe in humanity. Believe in me.” He gave her a winner’s fist pump. “You can relax, now. Lucian Grey isn’t going to abandon you.” He saluted her and went to the next in line before resuming his place on the dias.
“We still don’t know exactly what’s different about these fine young indigo men and women, all of whom are part of the last generation to be born on Underland.” He took the microphone from it’s holster and began walking to and fro across the platform. “But I know, I just know in my heart that the solution to our problems lies with them. That’s why I used my veto to get them here so that we can begin to work with them to–”
He stopped dead still. Then he started jittering and jiving compulsively with rising intensity, until his whole body shuddered uncontrollably and spittle flew from his blathering lips. He pointed his finger to the sky. “I believe!”
He resumed walking across the platform with great intensity. “Why, my ladies and gentleman, I do indeed believe that I have just had a prophecy. Humanity will be saved!”
The crowd cheered.
“If you were a prophet, why would you need to have a bodily attack after saying one?”
“Because every prophet is different!” retorted Lucian, “And that’s my way of doing it. That’s the way Bob distinguished me. The only thing that can stop us is ourselves–our own negativity. All everyone has to do is believe! Our beliefs shape reality. Every single person contributes a little bit to the collective reality with their personal beliefs about it, so if everybody believes the same thing together at the same time, we can change reality in any way we want. So long as we do it together. And we will overcome whatever’s gone wrong with the genepool.
“Pure positivity—that’s what’s required here. Projected enmasse from everybody onto a single focal point—me.
“Humanity will prevail!”
Joe was eating a felafel at the kebab house on the way home from the library towards the smithy were he’d been stationed. Any citizen could find work at any time in order to gain some of the advantages this gave–coupons, installable on your chip.
His research on the history of Underland had led him to the conclusion that each volcanic eruption has released new, previously unknown elements into the world.
The television flashed to a news update:
“The NWO: it’s us!”
“Scientists have been hard at work with the co-operative indigo people to unlock the secret to bringing the human population back to life. The crystals that grow from a pore connected to the pineal gland in the brain contain a potent mixture of DMT and genes containing the necessary ingredients to revitalise junk gene and get it working again. Once this has been extracted, it will be able to be combined with the Pineapple technology so it can be administered.
“The NWO: it’s us!”
They were taking to top-secret facilities to do the work in figuring out how the indigos produced the life giving diamonds. When they weren’t being experimented on, they were put to work constructing the city of dreams.
Zaina and Andy were there. And so was Debbie, who’d been relocated from the palace. Zaina patted her on the head. “Good thing Lucian’s so pig-headed,” she said.
Troops and officers swarmed around in furious activity and chatter. Wholesale changes were being made.
Debbie’s pineal seed hadn’t formed. When it did, Zaina was straight onto it, and they worked together that day to hide debbie from the guards, in order that the seed and diamond might be saved.
They hid the diamond, and they were able to use it to communicate with other indigos outside the compound in order to stay abreast of developments.
It was two o’clock in the morning when Xenon tied his headband around his head vigorously. The compound was guarded by four layers of corridors, each one patrolled by a troop who walked at the same speed around each one. They were like drones, the officers who guarded the compound. Robots. They all thought the same. All behaved the same.
They’d pushed at the defences over the past few weeks. A couple of times, they caught him. If they caught him again, they’d hobble him.
So he’d used Debbie’s diamond to telepathically communicate with the others and tell them where to run, seeing as though it was after three times caught trying to escape you were hobbled, and he’d been on two, while all the others were on zero, and he was doing it for all of them.
He went and collected Zaina, Andy, and Debbie. They’d all worked together, telling each other about the way the exit was protected, combining their information to figure out the dance they needed to dance to get out.
That night, they worked as a team to draw and scatter enemy lines and make it through the gauntlet. He’d worked out the sequence in which to get through.
He pushed way out the concealed stone door into the night and took a waiting quad. The rest of them went to ground zero to meet with the other indigos they’d communicated with using Debbie’s diamond, while Xenon went to the volcano to get his diamond.
A silver drop of oily reptilian blood dripped from the tip of the needle as Lucian Grey withdrew the syringe from one of the sacs stored frozen in the lab underground Pineapple HQ. He rolled up his sleeve to reveal the rounded, pourous, alien sacs that grew up his arm.
He injected the needle into one of the sacs and sighed as the genetic memories of a species as old as the universe itself came flooding through his mind. Lucy’s memes. “Lucy.”
He slapped himself in the face and focussed. He would beat her. Through sheer force of will. He’d overcome her insectoid oily blood and prevent himself from becoming a monster. He was the only one, the only person on the planet, capable of such a feat. He was humanity’s last line of defense.
He went to a large, air-tight cylinder across the floor on one side of the lab. Crystals, arranged along a couple of spiralling pillars, had been constructed. The crystals lay only on one of the pillars–the one belonging to him. The other pillar was Lucy’s. These ancestors were theirs, now, locked away from all the other diamonds on which they appeared.
He went to a portrait of the First King on the wall and removed it to reveal a combination safe. He unlocked the safe and looked inside. His private stash of diamonds was still there. Good.
He locked the safe and replaced the portrait, then went back to work on another upgrade which would be automatically downloaded and installed on all the chips on Underland automatically after he uploaded it. So long as he won the battle over his own desire, he could use his technology to wrench a large portion of humanity from her insectoid clutches and they could all go, free, together, and explore the galaxy. He looked at a satellite-image of Underland with little lights for every chip out there, swarming little beauties, the hive, his minion.
He had plans for his minion.
A drop of sweat dripped from his forehead as he adjusted the final measurements in keen concentration. This was the program containing the ‘attack’ function he had built into all the Pineapple chips, since the beginning. Nanobots. Even though the technology hadn’t been available back in the eighties when the chips first came out, Lucian knew it would eventually. And he put a small squadron of nanobots in all the Pineapple chips from the start with the best of intentions. But then along came Lucy, and the nanobots became a means of defence from her.
He had to get the timing right. Timing was everything.
He slammed a button on the desk and the upgrade began uploading into the ether.
Now all he had to do was wait for the right moment to force the download onto all the Pineapple chips in Underland. Too soon and Lucy would snuff him out. Too late and he’d miss the conduit of energy that was the only thing powerful enough to upload his soul onto the mainframe.
Lucian got up and approached the central, multipurpose machine that acted as the nerve center to all Pineapple’s technology and clicked a few button. A face-press opened out from a compartment into which he pressed his face. The flesh and metal robotic mask that served as his public face was removed, revealing a silver robotic skull with an electric eye that glowed red.
His skull-cap was removed and a series of intricate machines came and tweaked a few curcuits in his head.
He popped a cap of beer and looked in the mirror. What had he become? Part man, part machine, part insect. This is where three straight decades at the cutting edge of human potential had led him.
He went back to the moniters; flicked a few switches to bring up the sonar-image which displayed what was underground.
It was beautiful. It looked, to Lucian, like an ark. The ark of humanity’s salvation. They’d be able to fly into space and onto another worlds with this, he and his minion. They’d be the first of their kind; diverge from what they’d been and set off upon on a new strand of evolution.
Joe was immersed in his research of the history of the geology of Underland. By studying the shape of the continents in conjunction with the predicted movement of the land caused by sea-floor spreading and the tectonic plates, he discovered the historical location of mythical maps connected to legendary ancient people that nobody thought were real.
He wanted to alert the government, but how could he, after what happened? He scratched at the Pineal chip in the back of his neck, and wondered where Xenon was right now.
He was doing the best thing he could do: nothing. Ostensibly nothing. He was a good little drone, like the rest of the drones. Or was that the chip? Maybe he was wrong, and he was actually being sucked into a false sense of security that he was in control, when in fact it was the chip? But then again, if the chip worked, then why would they need to be kept under lock and key behind the city walls?
Stop thinking! he said to himself.
He finished his kebab, put his kebab wrapper in the bin and left the stall to get back to the smithy.
Halfway to the rim, Xenon saw he was being followed. A cloud of dust behind him rose behind the cavalry of government troops hunting him down. Some of them rode on uni-copters, which they rode beneath them like broomsticks. “I’ll get you!” yelled Gren, leading the charge, “And your diamond, too!”
He sped through the caves and into the volcano where he’d left his mutant’s appendages. A small quarry of crystals had formed from where he’d left his pineal crystal.
He looked at the two long lines of branches that ascended up into the sky. They stretched away from each other, fading away to opposite sides of the sky. Little nooks were carved into the sides of the branched.
The thunder of the cavalry’s approached rattled in the distance.
Xenon wrenched two long crystal shafts from the quarry and took them to the tree. He tried to insert one of the ends of one of them into the first crevice on one of the branches of the tree. It didn’t fit properly, but Xenon twisted it and tilted it and turned it and pushed it until it was wedged into place.
He stepped up onto the diamond, and wedged the other diamond into the corresponding spot on the other branch. It splintered in, and the two diamonds connected at their ends, tightening the two branches, and twisting them slightly.
He stepped up onto the second diamond and looked up. The branches swept away from each other and out into the distant sky.
It reminded him of Monkey Barrels. Each branch was stretched out and twisted around in a loop-like fashion, and hooked on to the monkey above it with what looked like a hand or a leg. Looking closer at the branch in front of him, he made out a human face, a human body, the shape of a human form–each branch looked like a human that had been stretched out and turned into wood.
From the second step where he was, he reached down and took out the first diamond, loosening the branch again, then put it in the next slot up on the first branch. It tightened this part of the branches together.
He jumped up onto the third step, and repeated the process, working methodically to ascend the tree, staring the the faces on each branch in the eye as he went, one step at a time, tightening the branches at his height, like a zip being pulled up a spiral.
He reached the peak of the volcano and looked down. Gren was giving chase, leaping up the easy-to-climb ladder-like structure he’d left below.
Xenon went into overdrive and pushed until he passed through a threshold in the clouds above the volcano, which grew thicker and colder until they morphed turned into snow. His balance became disorientated, until his center of gravity told him he was crawling like a worm along the ground through the snow.
He got his bearings and got up. The branches sloped away over the snow and fell into the clouds at the point where the snow became cloud.
He yanked the diamonds he’d used to climb the tree off the branches, which sprung apart like a coil. He hopped through the snow and grabbed one of the branches to haul it up, above the snow. Gren’s cracked choppers hung from some foliage on one of the branches roughly half-way down.
He finished hauling the branch up and stood with his hands on his knees, catching his breath and looking around. There was only one place he knew of in all the world that had been described as being like this: the rim.
There was an indigo ingathering in session at ground zero.
“A batch of indigos has sprung up to the south,” said Zaina. “We need to go down there to protect them.” She looked harshly at Andy. “We need weapons, Bob damn it.”
He held up his hands in acquisement, then turned to face the congregation. “As has now been established, the last generation have all started bulbing pineal seeds from their foreheads. And now, thanks to Debbie, the last person to have been born on Underland; the youngest person in the world; and the diamond she brought in, being the twelfth and we believe final person to have grown a diamond after the bulb, an advance has been made in the pineal tree technology.”
“Why’s she the last?” asked one.
“Because it now appears that all human history is accounted for. We found that when he held Debbie’s diamond to our head, our consciousness became one with our pineal tree, you see? We became our pineal tree; our minds were put inside the tree’s body. And we found that those ghostly looking people in the branches are actually our foremothers and forefathers, one after the other, in two great long lines.
“They communicated with us. Apparently they couldn’t see us, they weren’t aware of us, but each one of them told us a story. And each story connected up, with the chronologically prior ancestor’s story finishing where the more recent ancestor’s story who we’d already heard beforehand began each time.
“And when we took the diamond away and re-examined it after this, we found that the stories each ancestor had told us had become encrypted into the crystal. And then we noticed, after a few of us had all used the crystal’s technology, that the stories from each set of lines from each person were all being woven together into one, big master narrative in the form of a holograph that appeared in the diamond.”
“Let’s storm the capital,” said Zaina.
“We’ve been through this,” said Andy.
“What do you suggest, then?”
“Let’s just disperse ourselves back out there, again, like we have been, gather more intel, and meet again, like we have been doing. I’ve been building a good little thing, here, we’ve been making progress, let’s just keep on doing it like this until we’re forced to change.”
Zaina bit her lip in thought for a moment. “I thought you were a humanitarian, Andy,” she said.
“I am,” he asserted.
“Why are you allowing all those good people of Underland in the cities be subjugated by a two-faced dictator, then?” she asked. “If we run and hide, it’ll only serve to re-enforce Lucian’s propaganda.”
“So you’d expose us, then? Allow us to be crushed by Lucian’s iron fist?”
“We need air,” she said. “We’ll breathe through the radiowaves. Start broadcasting the truth. In a way that says, ‘We want to co-operate, but some of us are living in fear.’”
The sounds of agreement from the crowd were loud and enthusiastic enough to imply that the weight of public opinion lay in support of this idea.
“Okay,” said Andy. “We’ll get a pirate radio programme going. And we’ll find as many indigos as we can and get as many as we can to use Debbie’s diamond, in order to fill up the hologram.”
Zaina was swept up in a wave of camaraderie. She hopped up onto a stone ledge and held her fist aloft. “I hereby declare this ingathering as the birth of the Indigo nation, here to restore humanity to itself.”
They wanted to believe.
In the midst of the blizzard, Gren reached up from the single branch that he had climbed in a Herculean effort to avoid plummeting to his death after one of the two branches they’d been using as stilts to climb on had been yanked up into the sky away from them. He clasped up from the clouds at the edge of the snow, and wrenched himself up onto the precipice. “I’ll get you. If it’s the last thing I ever do.”
Xenon trekked through the blizzard, rubbing his arms from the cold. There was nothing around.“Hello?”
He saw a dim light through the blizzard ahead and approached it.
A fire was burning through fog-covered windows. He opened the door.
A cloaked man looked up at Xenon from beside a fire.
They stared at each other for a long moment. “You’re early.”
“Who are you?” asked Xenon
“’Ari. A sentry, waiting for the Underlandian’s to arise. You’re from there, aren’t you?”
Xenon brushed the snow off his shirt.
“Forgive me,” said ‘Ari. “I’ve forgotten my manners. Come, warm yourself by the fire.”
He knelt by the fire and warmed his hands. Ari went to the cupboard and got a woolen jacket for him. “How did I get all the way out here on the rim?”
“This isn’t the rim.” Ari went to the esky and pulled out some fresh seal. “It’s the surface. Seal?”
Xenon took some seal. He chewed it thoughtfully. “Hang on a second,” he said, suddenly alarmed, “What am I doing!?” He jumped up from his chair, the salmon fell to the ground. “I’ve got to get back down there. Tell me what I need to know.”
“I told you, you’re early. I was hoping you wouldn’t show up at all. The very fact you’re here means–hey, what’s that in your neck?”
“The thing that went wrong…for me, anyway, so there’s a fair chance that it applies to whatever you’re talking about, too.”
Ari poked at prodded at the metal chip visible in the back to Xenon’s neck and muttered disconcertingly. “How did it go wrong?”
“As soon as I had it installed, everything just started going haywire. First I thought it was just me, then I found there were others; they told us we were heroes, the solution to humanity’s infertility and the fact all the water dried up was in our flesh.”
“The water isn’t supposed to dry up.”
“But as soon as we were out of the public eye, we were made into labrats.” Xenon went to the cupboard and rummaged around. “Some of us found a way out, and I went to the volcano to get my indigo appendages. I had a diamond, see? The other’s didn’t.”
Ari went to the desktop and started dialling the radio with gusto. “The entire last generation is supposed to ascend together,” he said, “With the narrative for this planet.”
“It bonds humanity to these planets, to this star,” said Ari. “It can be added to the rest of the narratives that humanoids have already collected from other stars to form the molecule. More relevantly, it enables you travel from one planet to another as a species around the solar system, bringing the water from whatever planet you’re on with you as you do.”
“We’re doing that,” said Xenon. “But Lucian Grey went berzerk, he went into tyrant mode. The government took the diamonds.”
Ari went to a drawer and withdrew a scalpel and a teeth clenching piece for Xenon to bite down on. “Hey, what are you doing with that?”
Ari wiped some antiseptic over his neck. “Just being cautious, kid. This is going to hurt, but you’ll be free at the end of it.”
“They said I was free when I got it put in.”
Ari cut out the chip and wrapped Xenon’s neck in a bandage, a counterpoint the one he had around his forehead. He grabbed a flannel and tucked it into the head band and down and through the one on his neck, in order to make the two headbands look like a deliberately contrived statement of coolness.
Ari washed the chip and examined it. “How on earth did you get up here, anyway, all on your own? Without the rest to support your ascent?”
“I just did it.”
“What do you mean, ‘you just did it?”
“I just, did it.”
“But how do you keep the trees stable without the rest of the infrastructure?”
“I got a couple of bits of diamond and just wedged them in the stumps on the monkeys on the way up, you know?”
“They’re your ancestors.”
“Were they? I couldn’t tell, the way they were all stretched out into a wave that twisted around, linking on to each other–they looked like monkeys, to me.”
“You’re lucky,” said Ari, “That you planted your bulb where you did, directly below one of the pores from to the surface.”
The power in the shack went out.
“By Jove,” Ari whispered.
Ari started packing hastily. He gave Xenon a cloak, which he donned.
“We’ve got to get out of here,” said ‘Ari. “To the shuttle-pad, south of here.” He went to the cupboard and produced a spear, and tossed it to Xenon.
Xenon caught it. “Why?”
“The fact that you’re here, combined with the situation you just described, can only mean one thing: we’re under attack.”
Xenon and Ari stood on the shuttle-pad as the shuttle descended onto it. They clamboured aboard the shuttle, which took off. “Where are we going?” asked Xenon.
“The second moon. From there, we’ll be able to find out more about what went wrong.”
“Isn’t it obvious? Lucian Grey’s an evil so-and-so.”
“But something must have gone wrong in the first place for him to be like that. What’s the average human lifespan on Underland?”
“Depends if you’ve got a chip. The latest chips keep you alive till one-fifty. If not, about eighty, or so.”
“You shouldn’t need the chips to live that long. Here, let me take a genetic sample.” He reached over and plucked a hair from Xenon’s head.
“Hey, I need that.”
“No you don’t,” said Ari. “You don’t need any part of your body.”
Ari used the hair to take a sample of Xenon’s genes. “By Jove,” he said, “It’s a trainwreck.”
“What do you mean?”
“Genes blotted out all over the shop.”
“What’s that mean?”
“It means your ancestors are being erased. Humanity is being erased. We have to find a way to restore it, otherwise we may have to cut off Underland.”
“Something external would have had to get in to the Underland environment and enter the meme pool at some point in the past for this to have happened. It may be a mere cellular-sized infiltration. More likely, the organism that did this is highly sentient, devilishly malicious, and particularly virile, by the looks of it.”
The shuttle landed gently at low-tech station on the moon.
Xenon followed Ari in and stood behind him, tapping the spear from Ari’s shack upon the ground. “Surprise,” said Ari. “I brought someone with me.”
The techy looked Xenon up and down. He pointed. “Is that?…”
Ari cleared his throat.
Ari went to the controls and took them. A minute later, an image of masterful beings who somehow attained to the highest ideal that a humanoid being can capably imagine appeared in a library. “Akasha Hall?” said the meisterscribess on the screen.
“Emergency on Underland,” said Ari.
The master brought the relevant information up on an infograph. “There were rumours of a new strand of insectoid parasites dubbed ‘the line of grey,’ seeing as though they spawned of Planet Grey. Analysis of the sample suggests the genes that are getting shut-down may be being broken down in order to be rescrambled by a returning Queen, paralysing human’s bodies and taking control of their movements via pheromones.”
“How do we get the genes working again?” asked Xenon.
“The information encoded onto your genes is memetic, not genetic,” said Ash the meisterscribe. And this information has been deleted, lost, forever. This is a catastrophe. The only way to possibly prevent the wasp from taking control and therefore forcing us to quaranteen and spray Underland and its inhabitants along with it in order to get rid of it, these memes have to be invented and pasted over the genes in the parts that have gone missing.”
“Do you mean, like, the legends? Of old kingdom? The first kings? The oracle? Bob the Gardener?”
“Yes,” said Ash. “Use whatever memes you have on the lost genes to fill in the missing branches. We’ll send you some militia. Half to go back into Underland with you to defend people from the insectoid infestation, and half to go with ‘Ari to the planetary lock on the surface to defend the rest of us should they possess the species and escape from the planet.”
Xenon let out a single loud ha! and put his hands on his hips. “I can’t wait to see Andy’s face when I tell him that the advanced humanoid species who roam the galaxy aren’t pacifists.”
“Hey,” said ‘Ari, “When a wasp sticks a giant stinger up your bung-hole, what other option is there?”
The shuttle departed from the second Moon landed on the surface at the southern pole of the planet. There was no land, here. Only a giant ice-shelf.
Ari popped the door, which slid open. He stepped out into the blizzard, and turned to face Xenon, holding open the door above his head. “The only way back into Underland is through the tunnel leading from Akasha Hall through the stargate.”
“Where is Akasha Hall? And how do I get there?”
“Akasha Hall is located inside the black hole at the center of the galaxy. You can take the shuttle there, but there’s not enough time. You’re going to have to take the short cut, through the tunnel that leads from this side of the stargate, through to Akasha Hall.”
“How do I get through the star-gate?”
“Don’t worry about that, yet. The first thing you have to do is go to the first moon and find the Oracle. Tell her what’s happened. She’ll help you with the lost memes you’re going to need. Take the shuttle.” He reached into his pocket and produced a horseshoe-shaped magnet, which he tossed through the air to Xenon. “That’s the south node. I’ve got the other end of that magnet here, see? If we need to, we can open an emergency wormhole between Underland and the surface.”
“Thanks, Ari. Be safe.”
Ari nodded. “Good luck, Xen.” He slid the door closed.
Xenon jumped behind the controls, and lifted the shuttle from the second moon, to go to the first moon, to search for the Oracle, who’d give him some replacement memes to admister to the holes in the genepool, before he’d somehow have to go through the stargate to Akasha Hall, in order to be able to go back through the star-gate again from the other side, this being the only way back to Underland, whose good people were oblivious to the hellish fate which they were marching gaily into, singing and dancing like mice to Lucian Grey’s merry tune.
In the deepest recesses of the earth below one of Pineapple corp’s manufacturing compounds in the desert far from the city walls, Lucian stood at a large, steel security door. He took a deep breath.
From his robotic hand, a security card flipped out. He scanned the card. The security door slid open.
Down a corridor, through a hidden entrance in the wall, past the two doors which if opened would trigger the flamethrowers behind them to automatically fire and to the third door lay another security door.
Lucian pressed his eyes to the eye-shaped rubber cushion on the wall next to the door. A blue laser scanned his eyes. The door opened.
Goose-bumps rippled across the flesh and blood parts of his body that still remained. The thought of her made him crazy.
Around the corner and beyond another small door containing a combination lock with the key 666 led to a final large security door marked with reptilian nomenclature etched into the stone above its doors.
Lucian removed the flesh and blood face that he wore as a mask for the public, which he’d made out of his old face; his real face, which he’d had surgically removed, and kept pumped full of steroids and stem-cells. He kept his face alive, even though it had been appendaged from him, and when he put it on, he felt some part of it take possession of him. The old him, yes. But another part of that face had taken on a personality all of its own.
With his public face removed, he was able to open the robotic device that enabled him to reveal an organ that had formed as a result of Lucy’s genes: wasps eyes. But they were more than just eyes. They were mouths, too. He knew, now, that wasps communicated telepathically with their eyes.
Lucian revealed his fly’s eyes, and he sang a song, a ritualistic insectoid chant, sung in a way that only an insectoid species with the right kind of eyes could sing it. The doors rumbled in cohesion with the hypnoidal sounds coming from his eyes, and slid open.
He entered a sacrosanct chamber. A human-sized, air-tight, cryogenic chamber lay horizontally in the middle of the room.
He walked over and looked at down at her in all of her beauty. The glass slid open.
He thought he heard something in the distance: “Hi-ho, hi-ho…” Seven of them, weren’t there? Each of whom had succumbed to the dark side of the challenge for the rainbow colour they represented.
Lucian effectively had three faces. He had his old face, his real face. He had his robot face beneath that. But even with that, Lucy found a way past. The face-plate made from all his scrapmetal hid a reptilian monstrosity in the form of a Luciferean Fire-fly.
From his mouth, a proboscos weeping with an oily alien sludgy liquid unfolded.
He bent and kissed her.
Her eyes were opened.
Zaina held Debbie’s diamond in her hand. Finally, she was going to get the chance to use it. To hear her ancestor’s stories, and have them added to the holograph in the diamond.
All day, she sat in a ramshackle shack hidden in the crags of the desert, and listened to her foremothers tell their stories, one after the other, starting with her mother, and stretching past to the distant past.
She emerged at night, startled.
“Get it?” asked Andy.
Zaina nodded. She slapped herself on the head. “I can’t believe I forgot!”
“How far back did you get before you got cut off?”
“All the way back to… You’re not going to believe it.”
“My line is unbroken. It goes all the way back to…”
“The Oracle. The Oracle is real…and she’s my grandmother.”
“Let me see.”
Zaina handed the diamond to Andy, who held it up to the light and turned it delicately back and forth, to see the new refractions in the hologram that had been added by Zaina.
“I’ve got to go on a reconnasance mission,” said Zaina.
“To the location where the Oracle told me to. I can’t tell you where, or why. Good luck with everything. I’ll be back.”
“How is it that you don’t have any generations missing, like everyone else?”
“Because, my line was artificially inseminated into the gene pool. I’ve got to go.”
…But she’d already stormed out.
On a crisp, bright blue morning, a pirated announcement rang through the airwaves, temporarily cutting the usual broadcasting. It blasted from Zaina’s pack through her radio, waking her up near the western mountains. “People of Underland,” said Andy, “I’m speaking to you on behalf of the Indigo nation.
“Humanity is a rainbow. A rainbow is an archway to another world, and so too is humanity. And a rainbow has seven colours, the last of which is indigo. Just like a rainbow, the people of Underland have evolved through seven distinct periods. We are the last people in this progression. That’s why we’ve self-identified as ‘indigo people.’ We’re not ‘mutants,’ we’re indigos.
Zaina stomped her foot. She would have said it way better.
“We are pacifists first and foremost and will not attempt to subjugate you despite our adaptation which enables us to communicate telepathically.”
Zaina threw her left boot, which she was in the process of putting on, into the ground. For all his technical nous, Andy was a fool.
“We have been slowly but surely put to work welding scrapmetal and things like that on production compounds Pineapple corp has set up at remote locations at the edges of Underland. As we became aware of our collective consciousness, we came to understand what we were, what the scientists were looking for. And we found a way to escape.
“And now we are here, awakened, speaking to you.
“The scientists who looked over the ten who were taken in took their diamonds. That’s why they were chosen. All of Gen Zed grew bulbs in their forehead, but only a few grew diamonds, too. These diamonds are organs of the people they were taken from. Their organs were taken from them without permission, and remain in the possession of the corporations.
“The diamonds are useless without the nodes which are used in conjunction with them. And those nodes are inside gen zed’s heads: their brains. Only the brains of Gen zedders can activate the crystals…”
“You think!” heckled Zaina.
“We’d like to know what the citizens of Underland, who have been lied to concerning our violence regarding the escape from the compounds, our intentions, and our sanity, think about all this. We will not impose ourselves upon humanity, nor will we withold from good intentions. We’re pacifists.”
Xenon arrived at the first moon, which, he discovered, was in fact the second moon as it existed in the space and time when the first moon popped out of existence. When the first moon was new, the second was full, and vice-versa.
He flew over the surface for a while, looking for signs of the Oracle.
It was dust. There were no signs of life.
He landed the shuttle, put on a space-helmet and got out, and bounded along the surface. There was nothing around.
He went back to the shuttle. The diamond sat in the pouch connected to the back of the driver’s seat.
He took off his space-helmet, got the diamond, held it in front of his face and stared it down. He held the diamond to his forehead.
There was nothing there. Well, there was something: a blank reel, like a path over an abyss, curling away in front of him.
When the other Gen Zedders had used the diamond, their ancestors had been there, and told them their stories. But Xenon’s forefathers weren’t there.
As she’d approached the mountains, Zaina had seen the distinctive rocky formation that the Oracle had imprinted on her mind when she’d communicated with her through the diamond-pineal combo technology.
And now she was here, on the peak of the hill that rose between the rocks the Oracle had shown her.
She found the cave she was looking for and went in. A human sized glass ball covered in cobwebs sat in the corner of the room. Zaina brushed off the cobwebs and knocked on the glass with her knuckles. “Hello?”
The Oracle appeared in the glass-ball as if awaking from slumber. She looked at Zaina. “Who are you?”
“I’m your one-hundredth great-granddaughter,” said Zaina. “I came here after I used a crystal to activate the memory of you that was stored in my mind. You told me you’d be here, and that I had to come and get you.”
The Oracle absorbed the information. “The fact that you’re here means something has gone wrong,” she said. “I am not who you think I am.”
“You’re the Oracle, aren’t you?”
“I’m not the Oracle you know. The Oracle you know is the second Oracle. I’m the first Oracle.”
“There’s two of you?”
“I’m the Oracle you know before she entered the Underland gene pool. The memetic Oracle. The Oracle everyone knows and loves. The Oracle who’s your grandmother is the second Oracle, your genetic ancestor. My memes could have bee put in any old set of genes. It wasn’ t the genes that mattered; it was the memes that did the healing.”
“What do you mean? Where did the Oracle come from?”
“The Oracle is an element that was constructed by humanoids from another system. When they completed their evolution and connected themselves back to the star at the center of their system, the Oracle was formed.”
“What kind of an element?”
“A human element. The humanoid elements that are made by the evolutionary process as humanoids develop on a solar-system can be mixed and matched together to form the genetic stock of a new humanoid species on a new solar-system. I come with an emergency measure. You must have used someone elses diamond, and not your own, to activate your genetic memories. Thus you got the backup version of me, and not the version I went on to be, who had children who led to you.”
Zaina reeled. “I don’t understand.”
“In order to cleanse the gene-pool of whatever external element led to you being here, you have to switch places with me.”
“What do you mean?”
The Oracle parted her hair. “I have a diamond, see? It will work like a boot disk on all the women, taking all the corrupted genes between me and the last generation and wiping them clean. Humanity will go backwards a hundred generations, but this is likely better than the alternative.”
The sound of tumbling rocks came from outside. Zaina went and looked. A troupe of Lucian’s droogs were approaching.
She turned and faced the Oracle. “Can’t you just give me the diamond?” she asked hurriedly.
“It amounts to the same thing,” said the Oracle.
Zaina paced the room. “Wait a minute. Are you saying that every woman started from you? That you’re every woman? That all women are one woman? Namely, you?”
“Not necessarily. All I’m saying is that you happen to be lucky enough to have somehow escaped whatever it was that invaded the gene pool, which means we can switch places. I’ll step out from in here and out there into your world, and your mind will be transferred to me. I’ll know everything that you know, and you’ll forget everything you know about who you were before you met me.”
“And live in a glass bubble!?”
Lucian’s droogs were about to enter the cave.
“No. You’ll be able to go back to Akasha Hall and tell them what’s happened. Quickly. You have to let me out.”
Zaina snapped her head around from the troopers and looked at the Oracle fiercly. “Ignorance is bliss,” she said, then sprang across the cave floor and leaped into the crystal ball.
The troopers burst into the room. “Stay calm!” they commanded.
The room was empty.
An elderly woman materialised and stepped from the crystal wormhole. “I am calm,” she said. “It’s you who’s not calm.”
“Who are you?”
“I’m the Oracle,” she said. “Take me to the king.”
Xenon removed the diamond from his head. Why didn’t he have any forefathers? Was it supposed to be like that, or had the parasite so completely destroyed every last shred of humanity in him that none remained?
A distant explosion stirred him from his reverie. He put on the space-helmet and got out of the shuttle. In the distance, an enourmous cloud of moon-dust billowed into the sky.
He bounded along the moon to the location of the impact. He got to the crater and saw a large, round clear quartz ball, two meters in diameter. Zaina was naked and huddling in the feotal position within.
Xenon knocked on the orb. “Zee! It’s me, Xen. Wake up!”
She lifted her head and looked at him, but didn’t recognise him.
“What are you doing here?” asked Xen.
She shook her head, discombobulated. “I was speaking with the Oracle, and for some reason I had to jump through a wormhole, but I can’t remember why. And now I’m here.”
Xenon thought this bizarre. He looked around the crystal ball for some kind of a handle, maybe a switch to release trapdoor, or something, but there was nothing. “Can you move?”
Zaina furrowed her brow and looked down. Her head moved slowly, as if through a gelatinous liquid. Then, slowly her limbs began to extend. “Don’t look at me,” she said. “Don’t be modest, Zee. It’s not like I haven’t seen you in your birthday suit before.”
“Who are you?”
He splayed his arms. “It’s me, Xen.”
“I don’t know you.”
“Yes, you do,” he said. “You must’ve knocked your head, or be under some kind of spell, or in denial, or something. See if you can get out.” He averted his eyes.
Zaina began gently wading in the crystal towards its edge. She didn’t get there, though. It became too solid for her to push through about a foot from the edge. “I can’t,” she said with satisfaction.
“Okay, stay calm.” Xenon got behind the crystal ball and started rolling it towards the shuttle.
“Don’t look!” said Zaina.
“Okay. Sorry.” He turned his head to the side and kept pushing.
Lucian strutted with his hands behind his back, to and fro across the marble architecture of the penthouse loft at the apex of Pineapple Tower.
“You’ll never get away with this,” said the Oracle.
Lucian sniggered disrespectfully. “I’m the only thing standing between humanity and extinction,” he said. “Well, not extinction–worse than extinction. From life in their own bodies as passive observers, after a wasp hatches in their brain. And you know what it does after it hatches? Hmm? You want to know what these little suckers do?
“They spit acid all over your corpus collossum, burning it away. So you’re entire world is now scrambled, you can’t tell left from right from up from back to front. Then they paralyse you, so you’re immobilised, they hook themselves up to your brain, and that’s it, now you’re free will’s gone, you’re all still there, albeit minus the fact that your corpus collossum’s cut so reality’s now cut into random halves and polarities of sensations, but with no ability to control anything whatsoever, and you just sit there in terror and feel the way this brutish, disgusting baby wasp with no shame or knowledge of its gruesomeness just reacts unthinkingly to the pheromones pumped out by the queen, putting you to this torture without any hint of consciounse, as if it were the most natural thing in the world.”
“Hypocrite,” said the Oracle. “Your chips will do the same.”
He strode across the room to the liquor cabinet and poured himself some iced whiskey. “First of all, how dare you question my integrity and verbally assault me with daggers of disconcent, in the dark.” He skulled the glass and poured another. “What do you think would have happened if I wasn’t around, hmm? The kingdoms had become regressive. Attached to previous lines along which they divided people. All I did was follow my passion for science. And it led me here, to the truth, above and beyond the level the New Kingdom had; I’m talking interstellar.”
He turned to her and laughed robotically. There was a slight malfunction on his face, and it continued laughing and glared menacingly for several moments after he was done laughing. He wiped his mouth, skulled the glass, poured another and strutted lazily back over to the other side of the room. “Who are you, anyway?”
“The only reason I’m here is because a schism diverting the evolutionary progression of the development of the species skewed life onto an alternate evolutionary paradigm from some narcissistic or otherwise ill-intentioned source.”
“It’s all under control.”
“How is it under control?”
“You’re the oracle, you should know.” Lucian chuckled, picked up the tv remote from the lounge-suite couch, flipped it over in the air into its appropriate control position, and switched it on. “It’s all under control.”
“…In other news today, crew on the project throughout research facilities and compounds across Pineapple corporation owned buildings, lands and facilities have celebrated the rapid succession of events compounding a stunning resolution to the technology.”
“HaHa!” Lucian started worm-dancing and singing jazz: “In the machiiiinne…..”
The Oracle tried to get his attention.
He said, “Whoever you are, you’re clearly not the person my troupe was after, so far as I can tell you’re just a crazy old bat who lives in a cave who put a hocus-pocus on my boys. Now, please leave before I have security come and take you to the city of dreams.”
She got in his face and exposed her diamond.
Lucian’s sombre eyes brightened: “You’re a hero.”
“This is a special public service announcement brought to you by Pineapple Corporation. Pineapple Corporation: delivering the fruits of science to the world!”
An image of Lucian Grey standing at a desk with a newly designed emblematic flag carrying the Pineapple logo in the background appeared on the screen. Lucian was glowing. He was larger than life.
“Ladies and gentleman, today is an historic day. Only three months since the corporations, led by Pineapple, split from the government, and today I’m proud to announce that a new world can now be formed. Why? Because a miracle has ocurred, that’s why. Why has a miracle ocurred? Because you all believed, that’s why–in me.
“I told you that our beliefs would change reality, didn’t I? That was what I said, wasn’t it? And I was right. And this gives me enormous satisfaction, not for any ego-boost that it gives, but because humanity is all the better off, for it. And I’m a human. So I suppose I can’t help a little bit of my satisfaction from being personal. But that’s what being human’s all about, isn’t it?
“Wanna know how I knew it would work? Because quantum science said it would. But it will only work if we all do it together. That’s why I’m the man to be the focal point. Only one as strong and smart as I can channel that amount of energy.
“Yesterday, Pineapple scientists uncovered an ancient ruin in the western mountains that led to the discovery of a tomb containing technology superior to our own. We managed to activate the technology, and lo and behold, out came the Oracle from the tomb. The one-and-only-oracle. It has to be her. Nothing else can explain the facts.
“And she has explained everything to me. About what’s been going on over the past fifty years. About how and why the Old Kingdom collapsed. About why humanity has gone barren. About why the water has dried up. And about the self-proclaimed ‘Indigo people,’ who have always been free to speak openly, but never have. They’ve been hiding, not telling the truth, so how can we possibly believe a word of what they say?
“So I invite the people of the Indigo nation to come to the capital and we’ll roll out the purple carpet and we’ll all have a big transparent public discussion. And I’m telling you now, the Oracle will enlighten you, as she’s enlightened me. No longer do I think negatively of what I saw as a bunch treacherous, ratbag cowards who abandoned the rest of humanity in order to save themselves. The Oracle showed me how if I was in their position, I probably would have done the same thing. They’re human, after all.
“Let’s wipe the slate clean, the indigos can come in and meet the Oracle, and if you’re not all convinced by her, then you can leave as you please.
“And I’m so confident that she will convince you that I’m even willing to say it, as I am right now, even though by saying it that immediately makes it harder for your conviction to be assured.
And we’ll come to terms and chart the course forward into the new world. A nice, bright, shiny, Pineapple-flavoured new world! And the Pineapple is being enjoyed by the Oracle. That’s what this is, people. That’s what this is, friends. That’s where we are/ That is a picture of reality. That is what I want you all to believe, in order for us to get through this.
“The world is a nice, fresh, juicy pineapple, and the universe is the prophetess in possession of it. I’m the pineapple, and the Oracle is the universe.
“The Oracle is more than just a woman. She’s a scientific instrument. A technological device, through which we can access extra-dimensional resources.
“The Oracle’s name is ‘Adelle.’ She told me the name of the First King, by the way, and that’s the one thing she told me that I am going to tell you, as a demonstration of proof. The allegedly sacred First King’s name, which was apparently lost in the bloodlines of history: Evan. Adelle, and Evan.
“The Oracle has assured me that anyone woman who prays to Adelle and Even to restore life to the world in the belief that she is indeed real as I am telling you she is, will fall pregnant.
“I’d rather parade the Oracle before you so you could see for yourselves, but she says, ‘it’s not about her, it’s about saving humanity from extinction.’ And she says, ‘more people will be saved a lot quicker if we do it this way.’
“So I’m asking you to all see for yourselves.
“See how wonderful science is!? Science brought us this wonderful new instrument in the Oracle. And now she’s teaching us to push beyond the threshold where the instruments we use are already in us: our organs. Our minds.”
The Oracle sat captive in the honeymoon suite at the apex of Pineapple Tower. Where was the king? She was here. Where was he? Something must have gone terribly awry.
It was the chips. It had to be the chips. She was here because a virus of some sort had attacked, that much was clear. But she had a sneaking suspicion the reason there was no king was because of the chips. The chips didn’t do anything recognisable to the inbuilt defenses to external attacks supplied by the organs with which humanity had been prefurbished that they could retaliate against their influence. But they must somehow change the way people think. That must be what happened to the king.
‘Ari waved held up his arm and waved it to-and-frow in large, circular strokes. The militia thundered in; three full-strength brigades, deployed from a battlecruiser which remained in space.
“Over here!” he cried in relief. He was beginning to get worried they’d be too late.
Joe grimaced. His faced was lined with ugliness, and he could see himself in the mirror, and he grimaced again in reaction to how ugly he looked when he grimaced. It was hard for him not to, though, it was the natural shape that his face made as he performed the difficult and greusome task of using a set of mirrors to get a visual on the back of his neck so that he could cut out the chip, having to flip around his sense of left and right, up and down to account for the double-mirror as he did. He exhaled painfully and went back to operating on himself. He tried not to grimace.
Once he’d cut out ‘Lucian’s little baby,’ he was going to escape. To do nothing was no longer a viable option, now that both men and woman all around the city were starting to fall pregnant. Joe didn’t want to be around when the first generation to be born since the last generation came into the world, all hatching at once, together, in unison, carrying Lucian’s memes. The thought of it brought his blood to the boil.
“Go that way,” said Zaina.
“Why?” asked Xenon, stopping pushing.
The crystal ball came to rest with Zaina at an irregular angle. “Because that’s where I’m supposed to go if I find myself immobilised, like I am now.”
Xenon pushed the ball in that direction. He remembered one of the games he used to always play: Marble Madness. “What’s there?”
“There’ll be some kind of application that we can use to get me out of here.”
“You’re broken, too,” she said. “You must be the part of me that I’m currently locked out of, that I don’t have access to.”
Xenon stopped rolling the marble. “You’ve clearly lost your ability to rationalise. Not thinking clearly. I’m taking you back to the shuttle and get a drill to crack the bubble and get you out of there in a safe environment.” He looked around at the atmosphere-less terrain. “This place is haunted.”
“What are you even doing here?”
Xenon jerked. “Oh, yeah.”
He began pushing the ball back in the direction Zaina had indicated.
“I’m here to find the Oracle. You’re not going to believe it: Underland is in the center of the earth! It’s flat, not round! It turns out that if you’re approaching the south pole and you walk straight in one direction, you end up coming out in the same direction you went in. Maybe we can beat Lucian Grey.”
“I’m the Oracle. Who’s Lucian Grey?”
“No you’re not. You’re Zaina.”
“I may look like Zaina to you, but I’m not the Zaina you know. The Zaina you know was the person who came before me. She transformed into me. I’m me, now. Adelle. And you’re Evan.”
“Cool. Sounds good.”
“Turn a couple of notches to the left,” said Zaina.
Xenon adjusted the direction of the roll and continued pushing.
“Another notch to the left…Again to the left. More, more, more, more.”
“We’ve turned almost full circle, now!…Unless, of course, we’re at the pole, or something?”
By moving around in a big circle at this exact angle, they were in fact walking along a hidden path that existed between worlds. Everything looked the same–snow and fog was all around them. But the path was there. Three steps to either side, and they’d step off it.
An object suddenly appeared in front of them, demarcating the end of this path. Xenon thought it odd, as paths usually led somewhere else, but on this occasion, apparently the path led to this stashed treasure, then ended.
Xenon hunched over it. It reminded him of a Swiss Army Knife, only it was made out of a glittering array of metals and minerals, and it looked like the apparatuses were used for, if anything, the opposite of cutting. And it reminded him of Lego, too. The pieces were apparently clinked together using holds that despite all their other differences they all shared. Except, instead of just circular clinks, there were clinks of many different shapes and sizes. Each piece had some of these shapes, but no piece had all of them, and it wasn’t possible to combine all the elements contained amongst the pieces together if you took any single one of the pieces out. “How’s this going to help us with humanity’s blotched memes?” asked Xenon.
“We need to figure out what’s going on, before we can get to that. You say you came here to find the Oracle, and that she’d help you recover these so called ‘memes’ of yours. Well, I’m the Oracle, but I don’t know anything about any ‘memes.’ Now, I just proved to you I’m the Oracle by finding that alchemical tool, there.”
“No you didn’t. That’s not proof.”
“I said, ‘do something,’ you did, and something happened, correct?”
“But you’re just wildly guessing. You don’t know why you know the things you proclaim to know.”
“That’s what Oracles do. It’s the only way I can apply my skills. If you were me, you’d be doing the same thing. And if I were you, so would I. That’s why I’m not going to get into an argument over credibility. My credibility will be established after we’ve finished doing what I tell you to do and we see where we are. Now, listen: when we figure out how to get me out of this bubble, you’ll have the memes you seek.”
‘Ari listened closely through his headphones as he scoured the surface above the planetary gateway with a radar. All quiet.
He turned to one of the battalion’s liasons officer. “Nothing coming,” he said. “You going to have time to set up defenses.”
The liasons officer nodded. “We’ll get into swatting position,” she said.
I should be able to get in touch with Real Jnr. for an update. I just remembered, I knew his old man. So I feel emotionally involved, now. I’d hate for the same thing that happened to his old man happen to Xenon. Xenon’s my second cousin. And Lucian Grey is Xenon’s second cousin! Real senior was my cousin. Our mothers were sisters. Lucian Grey used to have a different name, the name of Real’s father’s half-brother’s family, who had taken on their mother’s family name instead of their father’s. That’s why Lucian Grey changed his name–to avoid being found by Rodney, and having to give him his share of the inheritance that was handed down which I don’t have time to get into right now. Xenon’s a prince! I have to let him know! Half of what Lucian Grey owns is his.”
“Memes connect to myths; that’s what they are: tiny little pieces of myth, chopped up into bite-size pieces, like stills on a film’s reel. And myths are connected to morals, which are the metaphysical platforms upon which the playing out of various myths between alternate characters can be had.
“It’s wrong to steal. It’s wrong to deny someone something that was meant for them. To hide the truth. If the material resources, the possession of the bits and pieces of the physical world, aren’t possessed in line with the wishes of the people who previously owned wanted them to be, then there is no justice. And if there is no justice, then there is nothing binding the myths to the morals. Justice is the flesh that connects the skin to the bone. And if the skin isn’t connected to the bone, then you get infections; abnormalities; viruses.
“Every interaction that takes place betweem humans, the whole entire history of humanity, consists entirely of bits and pieces and fragments of myths. And myths are ideological constructs formulated on the dimensions and diameters of an ethical foundation built from platforms, several to many, but not too many, platforms, that precede the laws of science and upon which they’re predicated.
“The uncaring, seemingly inhumane universe known to physics is an expression of the moral law which is designed with the need to cater for the needs of separate universes in mind.
“If justice is not restored, then all those bits of the world that are in the wrong hands will go to waste. They’ll be put to limited ends. The bits of them that fit with the person who owns them will survive, but all the other bits will be lost forever. And if humanity is to stand a chance in the galactic environment of beings comprised of many, many different types of elements, it needs all the memes it can get. The less myths humanity has, the less elements it’s comprised of. By knitting mythologies, bonding previously unconnected memes, we re-enforce the reality we co-create. By forging together previously unconnected mythological elements and ‘grounding’ them, we add to the potency of the chemistry of our bodies.
“That’s Xenon’s the sun: I forge together previously unconnected elements by taking any loose memes that happen to be lying around, not being put to use, and use them to bind already existant, previously unconnected elements, creating brand new elements that behave in ways and serve purposes and reach places that haven’t been reached before.
“There’s room for everyone. Absolutely everything is allowed. There’s only one proviso. One catch with which it’s possible to connect everything and anything, no matter how different they might be: you have to give a piece of it away. A piece of yourself away. You have to relinquish some control. And give it to Xenon. He’s the only one who’s prepared to write himself and his entire patriarchal line out of existence, to erase the stories of their lives, in order to re-write it again in a way that connects every body elses stories–what’s left of them–together. He’ll establish justice. He’ll make it so that all one person’s ancestors, and all another’s, who previously shared no connection, are connected through him, thus connecting the two people themselves. He’ll make it so he’s the first person, and the first person at the beginning of our lines of ancestors all came from him. So the missing pieces in our genes will become him.
And what happens then is that justice is allowed to flow a little further, to reach a little farther, and loose ends are allowed to be tied up, so that everything fits together; every question is answered; so you can no longer see the seams between the myths that connect the ethical foundation. Because out there, in intergalactic society, any weak point in our narrative, any crack on the surface of our reality, will be a foot-in-the-door to other life forms who wish to dismantle our unique humanoid characteristics that we’ve formed here on this planet, and use the foundation stones for themselves.
Compare that to the wasp, who will use the blank spaces to hatch her little babies who will then paralyse and possess us, and to Lucian, who will allow us what little we have, but will cut out the rest and replace it with a vessel that won’t be able to be re-written over again, which effectively means there’ll always be a little bit of separation between every person, each other and their ancestors, filled by Lucian Grey’s memes. You’ll all be nodes on Lucian’s mind. Xenon’s way, you can merge together into a singularity. Sure, there may be competition to see who can fill most of the gaps, but at least you’ll have a fighting chance to steer your own destiny in the direction of your choosing.”
“But Lucian Grey will just win again. Everyone loves Lucian, and all agree that he is the fittest, the strongest, the smartest and the greatest. Why would they go back to living in uncertainty when they’re convinced that in Lucian, justice is being served?”
“Because they don’t know how good they really are. Lucian’s pumped full of juice; all the genes they don’t know they have are being put to use by Lucian in service of Lucy.
“But, to get back to the point I’m getting at, Xenon needs to know he’s a Prince, in order for justice to be done.
“So, Aaaanyway…..Once I establish contact with Real, we’ll be able to network with the other wing of the operation. Good thing we hadn’t–”
The battlecruiser, destroyed and ablaze, fell through the atmosphere, interupting him. Above it, a giant wasp used the energy shooting from its sting to both hold the ship gravitationally in place before it, and emulcify it with a searing stream of laser-fire which cut it up messily into bits.
One of the battalions still hadn’t been deployed and so was now destroyed. Another had only just been deployed and was in the process of entering the atmosphere. And the third battalion was in position above the gateway on the surface, ready to rock and roll.
The giant wasp first destroyed the unsuspecting entering battalion, who were caught unawares upon entering the atmosphere.
Then, after a fleeting resistance, it wiped the floor with the final remaining battalion.
‘Ari thought about closing the gate to prevent her from entering. But then, what chance was there for Real Junior?
“No!” he screamed. He pulled out a hand gun and popped a cap at a time at the descending space-monster, it’s millions of holographic eyes bearing down upon him until they filled the sky, and he wasn’t cut up into millions of little pieces inside them, separated from himself by millions of cells.
The indigos and co-op and other colours along the people who were now calling themselves the ‘rainbow resurrection’ gathered at ground zero. Whereas an anti-clockwise motion around the rim led you up onto the surface, a clockwise motion led you down to a diamond-shaped platform dubbed ‘ground zero.’ Pineapple Tower, by the way, was smack-bang in the center of Underland, on the opposite pole of the earth.
Joe and Irene had escaped from their hard labour at the production compound on the outskirts of Underland, and joined the resurrection.
“We’re not rebels,” they’d announced over the airwaves, “We’re not a resistance. We’re not rejects. We’re a resurrection, that’s what we are. A resurrection army, come to resurrect the dead in the form of our ancestors. The minds of Generation Zed, which are stored in all their organs, contains detailed information that has been gathered by each generation and stored on their genes through the organs. Once we’ve stored all of Gen Zed’s minds into all seven diamonds, one for each colour of the rainbow spectrum, then all we need to do is find a way to apply it, and who knows!? Who knows what could happen!? What’s everybody so afraid of?”
They were telling everybody about the Pineapple production compounds. “They had us welding metal,” said Joe. “Pieces of robots, it looked like to me. They said the city of dreams would be completely self-maintained. And huge slabs of steel. Massive big chunks of them, with coils tightening them.”
“I was put to work gardening,” said Irene. “Laying rows of beans. They said it was engineered, like, superpower food, so that when you ate it, it would keep on recurring and growing in your stomach, so you’re technically still eating for days and days.”
“Did they work.”
“Not as good as what they said it did, but then, they were still getting the technology, but, yeah, it did keep you feeling not hungry for a really long time.”
“Did you have one?”
“Mmm. You could notice it, the impact it had, the way it felt to still be eating from it, like, ages later. You could taste it afresh, sort of, like, even though you ate it hours ago, you only had that bit just then.”
A thread of the resurrection burst into the cave. “We have to act,” they said. “Wheels are in motion. Government has set up a grid of giant tuning forks, with coils running around and between them. The female half of the population are all three months pregnant and ready to pop. There’s lines stretching out of Pineapple stores and into the surrounding streets of men lining up to donate their brains to Pineapple to be made into nodes stretching like generations along the limbs of ‘the machine.’ And an enormous, highly sentient, highly evolved flying parasite whose biology incorparates metallic substances such as steel and gold has been sighted flying towards underland from all directions at once. I know that doesn’t make sense, but it’s the only way I can explain it.”
Xenon sat on a rock in his jumpsuit and spacehelmet with Zaina in facing upright in the orb before him. He was twisting and turning the alchemical key they’d found like a Rubix Cube, looking for the combination that unlocked it.
He hit a sweet spot and the apparatus clinked apart, half fell slowly to the ground in the low gravity and splashed in the moon dust.
“Between the two of us,” said Zaina, “We have what we need. “You have the knowledge of what we’re supposed to do, and you can tell me who I was before I became the Oracle.
“I have the knowledge of the metaphysical reality and cosmological principles in play, and can can tell you who you were before you became the person you are today.”
“What do you mean? My parents?”
Zaina slowly nodded. The crystal ball swayed back and forth. “You know my past, and I know yours. But it just so happens that you’re moving back through time, into your past. So technically speaking, I know your future.”
Xenon picked up the piece of the apparatus that had fallen to the ground. It was two pieces. Two pieces had now become three.
“Let me have a look,” said Zaina.
He held the three pieces before the bubble. Dispayed them in a variety of different arrangements.
“Each of those three pieces leads to a gateway here on the first moon.”
“How do they work?”
“There’s the Moon is the child of Venus and Mercury.”
“What on earth are you on about?”
“Listen,” she said. “There are five planets in the solar system, aren’t there? There’s the sun, the moon, Mercury, Venus, and earth.
“Life begins on a geological level. Before living animals even come into it, the consciousness of the life which will evolve in that solar system develops. A global, planetary consciousness envelopes each planet, one at a time, and a little bit of the actual physical matter of the planet on which consciousness evolves is converted into an organism of some form. Consciousness covered all the planets, took a little bit from each, in microbial forms, things like that, before it it settled down to evolve into humans such as yourself. Your body, therefore, is physically connected to each of the planets. Certain pieces of your body came from certain planets and certain ideological phases of the development of consciousness, others came from others.
“Before the moon, there was Venus and Mercury. Each of them was a being, a planetary consciousness. Mercury was a magician; a sorceror. Bald, with horns. He evolved in line with the planet he evolved on. Mercury moves quickly; so does the magician. All the little idiosyncracies and specifities of Mercury each played a roll in the formation of consciousness on Mercury into character.
Mercury, the planetary being, is worth three-to-four humans put together.”
“Stop preaching. I like the old Zaina better.”
“Ordinary humans, like you and Zaina,” they’re two-to-three humans. On the outside, there’s you. Your a male, yes? Then, generally, inside a man there’ll be a woman, and vice-versa.”
“Do you think maybe we’re the same person, and you’re really inside me, or something?’
Zaina avoided the question. “And then, there’s the heart. You could almost count that as a third person, a synthesis of the other two, deep down there. But anyway–there’s you, your flesh and blood, and this corrolates to one level of your consciousness, the person you typically see yourself as being. Then there’s your brain, which you think of as the container of your mind, but that’s inaccurate. The brain is mostly used for controlling the body; the part of the mind contained in it is the unconscious, subconsciouns, inner male or female part.
“Then there’s the CNS; then there’s the heart.”
“Get to the point.”
“Okay, okay. Never mind about how the Magician has two bodies, two inner persona’s etc… So, opposite Mercury, there’s Venus. A bountiful woman; a bit taller than the magician. Not able to channel as high a frequency of power as the magician, but with a staying power that will outlast him.
And Venus and Mercury, they’re competing for one slot around the sun.”
“Yes. There are a certain, limited number of ‘tracks,’ or ‘slip-zones,’ around the sun. You can’t see them with the naked eye, but they’re there, grooves in the fabric of spacetime that coil around the sun, and planets naturally want to slip into them.
The groove is right in the middle, between the Empress and the Magician. They’re actually pushing up against each other on either side of it, their weight leaning in to it, trying to push each other out so they can have the groove entirely to themselves.
But they don’t compete using just mass; weight; oh no; they’re at war memetically, too; chemically; psychologically. Mars and Jupiter are an even match. If they were both fighting for the same groove, it would be even. The speed, intensity, and punch of Mars’s attack balances out Jupiter’s sluggish, inert, power.
“So, anyway. At this stage of the evolution of life and consciousness, everything is very simple. The Magician’s mind has a female earth side–the Hermit–and a male Air side–the Lovers; and the Empress’s mind has a female earth side–Heirophant–and a male air side–Justice; and these four are in a memetic evolutionary battle, and the battle is mythical. Each of them creates a meme with their air and forms it with their earth and they do battle like this, on a level prior to the physical.
Myths play out between them, and these myths are encrypted in the ‘minds’ of all the life that comes thereafter. And in each mythic battle, they learn a bit more, the archetuypes within them become more sophisticated, and it’s on this level that life, consciousness, is born and evolves, before it reaches the stage of biological, sentient organisms like humans.
So Mercury and the Venus, they battled for quite a while, in their younger days. They each had their share of victories, but then Magician started to get a roll going, and he got on top.
The way they attack is, they channel the energy from the sun down to earth. And it became a battle of who could channel the most of this energy and use it to destroy the other, so that they could be the sole distributor of star-stuff down to the earth, and thus have more influence, more scope, reach, in the total scope of life in the system.
Venus went on the defense, and Mercury built up and attacked her harder and harder, pulling out all the stops to exhaust his power in to the absolute utmost to destroy her. He learned the limits of his power, he unleashed the most devastating, high powered and sustained attack he was capable of doing.
Venus held on for dear life, very nearly getting killed and blown away. But she survived it. The Magicians attack passed its crescendo, and she held on, until finally the Magician couldn’t attack any more, and she was still standing. And so they came to the understanding, their mythic battle passed that particular epoch and went onto a new one, where they knew they were equals. That she could withstand his biggest attack.
So they decided to ease the tension between them and get married. And the consumation of this union was the moon. They put the moon their as a buffer; a kind of safety cushion, so that if at any time, Magician, for example, tries a surprise attack, then Venus can deflect a large proportion of that energy down onto the moon, which buffers it en route to the earth.
“The point is, there is a pathway, a physical pathway, between the moon, and venus on the one hand, mercury on the other. Mercury’s the moon’s father, Venus is it’s mother, and the two converge in the moon. And that apparatus is going to be the thinthat unravells the paths.”
The rebel army arrived at the capital the following morning. They walked upto the closed gate. “We come in peace,” they called.
“You’re all Lucian’s drones! Robots! Sheep! Baa-aaa, baa-aaa, baa-aaa.”
They heard voices calling at them asking questions. They wanted further proof. They wanted to see one of these ‘indigos,’ this race of mutant saviours for themselves. They wanted to be convinced of Lucian’s hidden agenda.
“Why are you here?” asked one.
“To show you all proof of the conspiracy that is the NWO,” yelled Xenon. “If you still want to believe in Lucian after we’re done, we won’t stop you, but we know the truth, and you deserve to hear it so that you can decide for yourselves.”
Xenon showed the crowd an example of a child born of a toxic-mutant and an indigo who had been born a healthy indigo.
He showed them the couple of freaks, undead monsters who were chipped.
The gates opened, and the rebels entered the old-city. They marched towards the palace mount, gathering a crowd along th
e way of people who had questions; people who wanted to be convinced; people who wanted to see this mutant race of saviours for themselves.
By the time they made it to the palace mount, half the city followed after them.
Xenon turned and yelled heartily so that he could be heard above the throng: “The truth! That’s what brings us here, today. The truth demands to be heard, and so it has brought us here, that we may speak it to you, that you may hear it.
“We are the indigo people, a people who have, for one reason or another, all either inherited or developed exactly the same mutation in the pineal gland of the brain, united in our beliefs and aware of our shared history. We believe in a power greater than humanity—we believe that people have souls, and that our souls are greater than our humanity. That’s because our souls are connected to the deep soul, the soul of the world, and that humanity is subject to its will.
“And the shared history we’re aware of isn’t ours and ours alone. It’s yours, too. It’s everyones. The history of the rise of the first kingdom and the spread of civilisation throughout the rest of the world from there. It’s the history of our evolution as a species. It’s the accumulated memories of our ancestors, passed down from generation to generation and stored in the memory-circuits of our brains as we evolve as a species. The rightful inheritance of humanity, which Lucian Grey would deny you.”
Zaina emerged from the canal linking the compound where she was stationed to the crystal cave. A group of about a dozen or so indigos were hard at work connecting crystals and adding them to the map they’d created, one little piece at a time, showing where all the connections they’d found fit together. It would be impossible to contruct the spiral-shaped edifice that the crystals all went together to make without being noticed, so they had to do it one bit at a time. When the map was finished, they’d have to find a way to buy a day’s worth of time outside the all-seeing eye of Lucian Grey to contruct it. Where it led, though, was anyone’s guess. Which is why some of them weren’t willing to do it. Zaina had to continually rouse them from their apathy, which reset itself everytime they were away from her presence for any extended period of time. The more numbers they had, the quicker the spiralling crystal edifice could be built.
She went and had a look at the map. The edifice was nearing completion. There were bits missing all over the shop, but there was enough there that it should hold. All except for the last section, near the top.
Zaina joined her indigo colleagues in working on the final connections to finish the molecule.
“I am Bob’s electron,” said Xenon. “I’ve been to his garden, before I came here, through the star-gate.
“Bob bonded me to him. Half of me, my spirit, is with him, now. The other half, my body, I will give to you, as the vessel in which the solution will be administered. My flesh and blood will be attached to the memes I give you, and when you enact these memes in thought and deed, you’ll be bonded to me, and the separation between you and Bob will end.”
“I have the solution. It’s memetic. You swallow it. It’s the blood of Bob. Holy blood. It contains memes which will be written over the genes that have been blotted out.”
Xenon, Zaina, and the couple who were with them trekked up the snow-capped mountain to the west of the capital to the rock-sealed entrance to the Oracle’s cave. A carpet of thick moss covered the boulder. An eagle, a lion, a bull, and a man looked down at them from above.
‘Looks deserted,’ said the woman.
Xenon looked up at the four animals above the door and spread his arms: “This is Xenon Grey, son of Jenny Grey, daughter of Aaron Grey, the twenty-fourth king of the first kingdom of Underland. Will you let me in?”
“Forget it, kid,” said the man. “This bird has flown.”
Xenon continued. “When my ancient ancestors, the first Kings of the First Kingdom founded this Kingdom, the very First Kingdom of Underland, they did it with your help. In fact, without your guidance, I doubt whether humanity could have ever reached a level of sophistication to create the social structures for a Kingdom to exist at all.
“You told my ancestors, those first Grey’s who became the first Kings of the First Kingdom of Underland, that if they signed the First Constitution as co-owners of the land and kept to the agreement, that another eleven Kingdoms would form around the first Kingdom, and that we would become Emperor’s of Underland. And it came true. The Second Constitution was written and it was all established like you said it would be.
“Since the beginning, all the way down an unbroken line of first-born sons and Kings, the people of the First-Kingdom, ruled by us, the line of Grey, and you, the Oracle, our Oracle, the one-and-only Oracle who delivered humanity from pre-history and established us in this lush Underland world as Kings, have had our fates irrevocably entwined with a document forged in blood, sweat and tears: the First Constitution.
“I have come to you today not as an individual, but as one in succession of all those Grey’s that have come before me as Rulers of the First Kingdom and representatives of its people, and under the authority of the First Constitution that was forged between you and my forefathers. The events that have brought me here have severed the historical narrative off its path, and humanity is facing extinction. In the sight of my forefathers and under the power of the First Constitution, let me in!”
Xenon stood with Ash in Akasha Hall looking at the molecule contruction technology. “How does the molecule work?” he asked.
“When a vessel sent from here passes through a stargate to any given star-system, it gathers all the elements it finds from all the planets and moons in the solar-system, and combines them all together into an elemental mix unique to this star system. This mix is then encrypted onto blank narrative tape which is then brought to life in the core of the planet that has been pre-selected for humanoid evolution to occur by Masters at Akasha Hall based on data collected by envoys. There is a certain amount of ‘blank space’ on the genes, or rather, the stone tablets. After a certain number of generations, this space is filled up, and humanoid evolution on the system is complete.”
“What do you mean, ‘complete?’”
“It means that a hologram connecting our bodies to the planets themselves has been contructed, so that the materials needed for keeping the planets alive can be sent through to the planets. It also means that the star around which the planets orbit can be tapped into the immutable source of energy that flows through the rivers of life that flow beneath Akasha Hall. Want to see them?”
They walked through the halls of Akasha Hall until they came to a fence-lined massive hole in the floor. Beneath it, a luminescent rainbow sludge flowed sparklingly along a riverbed.
“Where does it lead?” asked Xenon.
“Question for another day, my boy,” said Ash.
“So, what, it just starts with two people, and every person thereafter are their descendants?”
“Not quite, no,” said Ash. The planets are added one person at a time. So, the first people are made from the earth, which is combined with the stock seed, and these two are allowed to blend. Once they’ve blended, then another individual is introduced for another planet, which is then allowed to blend, and so on. After all the planets have been blended in, finally, an individual for the sun is added. One hundred generations after this individual is introduced, the process is finished. Thence will come the last generation, who contain within them every person ever to have previously lived. After the last person left of the second last generation dies, a reaction occurs in the last generation’s genes that brings about the mutation that causes the pineal crystals to form, which are them joined together to create the molecule, which contains within its structure every person to have lived in the past.”
“So I’m the one-hundredth descendant of the First King, who was the last person to be introduced into the gene pool?”
“Yes. Come on, let’s go talk to the Masters about the predicament on Underland, shall we?”
“Yes,” said Xenon, “Let’s.”
In the middle of Lucian’s lair, a metal monstrosity he called ‘the machine’ was taking form. This was the epicenter of the collossal digital monster he was contructing in which to rule his minion. He had plans for his minion. The thought of the fun he and his minion were going to have gave him a reason to live. And Lucy. She gave him a reason to live, too. There was a lot to live for.
He looked skywards and let a war cry rip with gusto.
Lucy had appeared in his life shortly after he struck it rich with his microchip technology and formed Pineapple corporation. “You’re microchips don’t make people feel as good as I do,” she’d said, then she proved it.
When he was with her, he was flooded with an ancient bliss that made him feel like a star. The more of her he got, the more of her he wanted. She told him a way for them to be together forever, and he yielded to it.
From injecting more and more of Lucy’s eggs to prep himself for the mutation he was going to slowly take on, Lucian was starting to add the memes of the reptilians to his own, and he found that with the adding of some of Lucy’s fire-fly memes to his own, he was able to imagine new and more plenteous in karma grotesque and horrific situations through which he could put his minion whilst maintaining them.
He and Lucy would eat up all physical reality together and crystally encript his narrative over it and re-arrange its molecular structure to make it be what he wanted all the way until every last bit of matter had been injested and depleted of its energy that it they may use it for themselves.
The war cry bounced back and forth against the walls.
On a screen were the images of all the chip carrying citizens in the walled capitals, like hives. In exchange for his bondage to Lucy in the form of him substituting half his gene for hers so that her pheromones affected him, she’d let him be her king for this hive; the one with local humanoid gene pool who would breed with other humans in the hive in order to keep her little babies supply of flesh and blood fresh.
The giant tuning forks had been constructed. The last generation had come through. The chips had been programmed. All was in readiness. All he needed now the next batch of diamonds which were due to arrive any day, then he’d have over fifty-percent of the genetic history of humanity. That would be enough for him to be able to add his half-luciferean genes to it and bond the lot of them to him.
Then could bring the Enforcer to life. The Enforcer was a gigantic scrapmetal devil which was what his production assemblies had really been constructing in lieu of the ‘city of dreams.’
In the Akasha Library, Xenon confronted the meisterscribes who were there. “There’s been an attack by an insectoid parasite of the flying insect variety on the planet of Overland in the southern galactic quadrant,” he said.
“Who are you?”
“The Indigo King. My diamond formed early as a result of the imbalance caused by the parasite. When I emerged and told Ash what happened, he wanted to wipe the good people of Underland out citing safety as it being better to be than sorry. But there must be a way to kill the bug.” He knelt before them.
The meisterscribes glanced to and fro at each other for a few moments. “Okay,” said one, “But it’s your arse, you hear?”
Xenon got to his feet.
“If you can somehow kill both the fire-fly King and Queen in order to ensure they don’t spread, then the planetary gate will remain open and you and any other survivors can emerge to the surface, if you have enough of the molecule to be able to reach it.”
“Why didn’t Ash know about this? Why did we have to come here?”
“Because, the planetary gate is one-way. At the moment, you can get from the core to the surface. You can’t get from the surface back to the core. The only way to get to the core is through the star-gate that leads from here to the center of your sun. From there, you can access the center of gravity of your planet, inside the vessel that’s parked there. Then you can use the vessel to plow down through to Underland. Don’t touch anything you see around the vessel at the center of gravity. It’s all very delicately arranged. The vessel provides a kind of emergency access vehicle that can only be used once in this way. You and Ash had to flick that switch before you came here, for safety’s sake. Only another vessel is capable of creating another gateway from the core to the surface again, but we generally don’t like doing that. We’d prefer to send a vessel to a fresh system and leave the failed star-system till after we’ve gone through the fresh, previously uninseminated systems we have data on, of which there are many.”
“Oh. I see. Take me to the stargate, please.”
“This is a public service announcement by Lucian Grey brought to you by the New World Order. The NWO: it’s us!”
“My dearly beloved minions, err, citizens of Underland, it brings me great displeasure to bring you the news on this smoggy morning that the indigos have taken a turn for the worse. They’ve been digging canals underground. We don’t know what their objective is, but whatever it is, it isn’t normal.
“Backed by separatist anarchists left over from the old world who wish to undermine the NWO, it’s clear the mutants are a threat.
“We’ve developed an upgrade on the microchip that brings life expectancy up to one-hundred-and-fifty, available to all citizens in cities.
“This is Lucian Grey, the ‘people’s’ Overlord. Believe!”
Zaina looked over the map they’d constructed. They had less than fifty-percent of the ladder. But there might be a way up, if they were clever about it and had a stroke of luck. Hopefully another diamond or two would surface.
A grating alien tone suddenly filled the air, a grinding cacophony of dissonance that made the blood turn cold.
There were screams outside.
Covering her ears, she went to the hiding spot where she’d stashed her diamond and retrieved it before plugging it into her forehead so she could connect to the network of collective consciousness that enabled the Indigo People to communicate telepathically. She heard blood-curdling screams and death-cries of agony.
Zaina ran outside. A swarm of citizens who had semi-transformed monstrously into wasps attacked all the Gen-Zedders who were in the compound grounds. Their eyes had blown out into wasps eyes and morphed the shape of their heads, wings had sprouted from their back. “Everybody grab your diamonds and head underland!” she yelled. “Everybody, underland!” They ran to the entrance to the canal leading to ground zero, the site under the desert from which the ladder would be constructed.
Xenon went through the galactic gateway at Akasha Hall, which lead to the core of every star they’d either sent a vessel through, or through which a gateway had been created organically by an indigenous species homegrown on the planets in the star-system. There weren’t many of them. In fact, there was only one. But they still didn’t know what had kicked off life in that very first humanoid species who were the ones to do it, or if they’d come from somewhere else.
He arrived at the center of the sun. From here, there was a gateway to the vessel in the center of the earth. The gateway was four-dimensional. It was carved through spacetime by the vessel itself, extroadinary machine that it was, as it emerged from the sun and flew through space to earth. In each moment of its flight, it left a trail of philosopher’s stone, which made it so that the moment the vessel had been there itself lay dormant in that exact location for the rest of time, and could be re-activated at will by anyone who had the key and knew how to use it. The key was made using the genes of the humanoid species who emerged from the planet’s core at the end of the evolutionary process made it back to Akasha Hall, which linked back up to the vessel which had been custom-designed and sent out there in the first place.
Xenon was the key.
He took his pineal diamond from his forehead and plugged it into the lock, opening the fourth-dimensional gateway from here to Overland’s center of gravity where the vessel was.
He entered the gateway and travelled through it at the speed of mind–he could move as fast as he willed–until he arrived in the small pod inside the vessel at the center of earth’s gravity.
The impromptu indigo ingathering at ground-zero buzzed with activity. “We’ve got to build the edifice!” yelled Zaina.
“It won’t hold!” said Rog. “We don’t have the crystals.”
“It might!” called Andy, tapping at his laptop furiously. “I come up with a makeshift design that fills in the missing pieces that will make the ladder climbable. It won’t be a safe trip, but it’ll be possible.”
“It’s too risky. If the crystals are damaged or broken, they’ll be unusable. Let’s put all our resources into fighting the threat.”
“There’s too many of them!” yelled Rog. “We don’t have the fire-power.”
“Rog,” said Zaina. “You and I will form a militia from as many guns as we have.”
Rog saluted and went to it.
“Andy, you lead the construction effort. Start building the ladder. If we can’t defeat them in battle, it’s our only hope.” Zaina grabbed a machine gun and slung it over her shoulder. The grating alien tone emanating from the giant tuning forks reverberated from above ground, through the canals, and into the cavern, filling her with dread. “There may be more of them,” she rallied, “But we’re faster, more co-ordinated. If we take out the Queen, the battle’s won.”
Xenon landed sitting in the cramped pod inside the vessel. When his weight pressed down on the seat, a switch was activated, and the intervening aeons separating the tunnel that led from the stargate to here were extinguised.
Smoke filled the pod. To his right, a charged rainbow cystal beat with life. The molecule was complete.
He took it from its holster and plopped it in his pocket before exiting the pod.
He stepped into a small, square room containing objects on each wall the likes of which he’d never seen before. They appeared to contain paranormal energy, or technology so far advanced as to be indistinguishable from magic.
On one wall was a path that led through mystical-looking foliage towards some place of splendour on the horizen. The path appeared superimposed on the rock in intermittent flashes of static that appeared to follow some rythm. At certain intervals, the parts of the path that were illuminated were blocked by pitfalls or spinning swords or cherabim with spears. The overall effect was to seduce the observer into running the gauntlet and dancing the right dance down the path in order to arrive at the glory that clearly lay beyond.
He shook his head. On the next wall was a spear with crystal points that shot electricity from either end. It rotated on an axis inside a soft ball filled with a translucent gel of some description. He touched the shell and the electricity emanating from either edge connected themselves to his fingers, jolting him to the floor and making his hair stand straight up.
In the middle of the room, an iron rod spun so quickly on its axis as to make a kind of well of metal that sucked the air on either side of it into a vortex.
Xenon dried his hands on his shorts as he approached the rod skillfully. He mimicked the flow, rythm, balance, bounce, and meter of the iron rod in its overall flux. Tuned into the note at which it vibrated and saw the associated colour. He saw which chakra this related to, and connected that with the chakra inside him.
He watched and listened and attuned himself to the frequency created by the iron rod until he and it were one, and all was ohm. And then he was clasping it, holding it, with his body flaying around behind him like a cowboy. “Ohmmhmhmhmhmh.”
He began adjusting his hold on the rod in minute steps between changing the spin of the rod and readjusting his own flux in order to bring everything back to stillness. It was like doing a rubix-cube. At the end, he stood still with the iron rod raised before him.
At either pole of the rod were the planets north and south magnetic poles. He spun it round his forearms and turned in a semi-circle. He was at the center of gravity. With this rod, he was the center of magnety. Magnety revolved around him.
He got back in the vessel and had to lock himself into the seat use a lever to swing it upside down in order to access the controls.
He started it up.
In front of him, a speaker phone adjoined a device containing a picture demonstrating that all of Underland would recieve the sounds made into it.
Xenon picked up the speaker: “People of Underland,” he said, “This is Xenon Real, Indigo King, Speaker for the Dead, Novice Meisterscribe, Akashic Disciple, speaking to you from the center of the earth, to tell you the truth and restore humanity’s stolen inheritance in the form of it’s ancestors.
“Humanity is part of a galactic civilisation whose primary task is to populate star-systems with life forms containing DNA which is used to connect the the stars together into a giant web that draws energy from the black hole at the center of the galaxy.
“Underland exists in the middle of an enourmous spherical rock called a ‘planet’ which revolves around the sun, along with the other planets.
“We were planted here by Masters at Akasha Hall using the most advanced technology.
“The purpose of our evolution is to absorb the surrounding atmosphere and elements unique to this solar-system into our bodies, and encrypt a blueprint reproducable in holgraphic form on our genes, which connects us to the grid.
“Underland has been infiltrated by a parasite which has no breeding organs or ability of its own, but can only pass on their RNA by usurping the bodies of other life-forms.
“But don’t worry: I’ll save you!”
He could see Lucy on the surface on the screen in front of him. She was firing laser bolts smashing to the turf and laying the Underlandians to waste. He saw the vessel was equipped with nukes. He fired the nukes into the sky to prevent the laser bolt from reching their destination by exploding in their path.
He throttled the accelarator and the ground beneath it’s nose began to be crushed and burned away, creating a canal that it pushed itself through by filling up the space beneath itself, towards the surface of Underland.
Zaina kept low as she scurried along the desert carrying bazooka, surrounded by a small troupe who covered her from the swarming half human, half wasp drones who fired upon them with guns and venomous sprays that flared from their stings and scrambled your RNA.
Ahead, a flying jugganaught resembling a she-devil wasp flamed through the air. Her veins flowed with oil, which was reproduced in her blood when used. The oil in her veins fuelled the fire that flamed from her fire-sacs as she flew through the air.
She was nearly in range. “Twenty more meters!” she yelled.
They stopped and covered her as she loaded the bazooka and took aim. It was then that the vile grating tone filled the air. The Queen knew when the time was right to come back to collect her little babies. She didn’t need the tuning forks for that. It’s built into her biorythms, part of her mother’s intuiotion, a built in behaviourial impulse.
The alien dissonance filled the air, and half the fire-fly army screeched and fell to the ground in convulsions. The fire-fly queen displayed alarm.
Zaina knelt and took aim.
The earth began to tremor, throwing her off balance. The tremoring grew stronger and the ground shifted erratically, throwing everyone hither and tither. A crack ripped open across the baked desert clay, and a metallic roar of laughter that boomed across the valley accompanied with earth-shaking thud of each individual step of the collosal scrapmetal devil monstrosity that stomped out from beneath the crack in the earth.
The half of the army that were still flying went to him and began to swarm around him. “My dearly beloved minion of Underland, now we are finally free. Free from attachment to all our precious human needs. All that remains is to cut the fetters that bind us to the queen.”
“Well,” buzzed the Queen, “If it isn’t Lucian Grey, the world’s greatest junkie. I see you managed to kick the habit. Kudos to you.” She engaged her mental capacities and sent out a drone from her mind which scrambled humanoid consciousness. But it was ineffectual on Lucian, now that he’d uploaded his consciousness onto the machine.
Lucy resorted to sprays of luciferian spit fire.
Lucian’s drones kept out of Lucy’s reach and harrassed her flanks with spit-fire while Lucian, attacked her with firey sprays off insecticide that shot from his trident, and with hammering motions made with his fists that attempted to effectively swat her.
Lucy didn’t last long. A few minutes later, she was being pummelled into a gore of slime and leather by Lucian’s fist, laughing once loudly with each smash.
Lucian got up and looked at the remaining indigo militia.
The sound of Xenon’s voice filled the air: “People of Underland,” he said, “This is Xenon Real, Indigo King, Speaker for the Dead, Novice Meisterscribe, Akashic Disciple, speaking to you from the center of the earth, to tell you the truth and restore humanity’s stolen inheritance in the form of it’s ancestors.
“Humanity is part of a galactic civilisation whose primary task is to populate star-systems with life forms containing RNA which is used to connect the the stars together into a giant web that draws energy from the black hole at the center of the galaxy.
“Underland exists in the middle of an enourmous spherical rock called a ‘planet’ which revolves around the sun, along with the other planets.
“We were planted here by Masters at Akasha Hall using the most advanced technology.
“The purpose of our evolution is to absorb the surrounding atmosphere and elements unique to this solar-system into our bodies, and encrypt a blueprint reproducable in holgraphic form on our RNA, which connects us to the grid.
“Underland has been infiltrated by a parasite which has no breeding organs or ability of its own, but can only pass on their RNA by usurping the bodies of other life-forms.
The ground began rumbling again. But in a good way that gave Zaina hope this time, rather than the last rumble which happened in a bad way and filled her with dread.
“You can’t stop me!” bellowed Lucian. His minion began swarming them, not trying to kill, but merely to immobilise.
Zaina fired the bazooka at Lucian. The rocket struck him on the torso and exploded. Lucian reeled, but didn’t fall.
He put his hands on his hips. “Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha,” he said.
Only a smattering of militia remained. They fled to some of the canal entrances to get back to ground-zero in the hopes that Andy’s makeshift ladder had been a sucess. Lucian’s minion followed in pursuit, immobilising them with spit-fires of venom, causing them to spasm about upon the ground.
Xenon burst forth from the ground inside the vessel and landed in the grounds outside the Temple shrine in the capital. The sounds of battle came in from outside the palace. He ran through the courtyard, up a flight of stairs and into the palace; through the empty building, and out onto a balcony which overlooked the capital.
A smattering of indigo’s fled in terror from a swarm of half-human, half-wasp drones who were being controlled hands-on by Lucian via the Pineapple Citizen’s Microchip.
Enormous, sky-high tuning forks littered the valley and they vibrated in a way that made one slowly go crazy.
Xenon ran down the stairs and grabbed two white horses, then rode out into the valley with iron rod held aloft. He made a trumpet of his fist and blew a battle cry into the sky.
“Xenon!” came the cry from ahead.
He squinted: “Zaina!”
He rode up beside her and she mounted the other horse. “Here.” He tossed her a roll of ammo.
She caught the roll and reloaded her machine gun. “Thanks.”
“All your technology is placing limits where none existed before!” yelled Xenon to Lucian.
Lucian ignored him. “Freedom!” he bellowed. “We’re free! We have all we need. Leave these poor indigos to their fate. It’s they who are not safe from us. It really gets my goat that humanity has to be the villain in all of this. But now we can atone for the wrongs done by our ancestors which have punished this last generation by leaving them and setting them free, not to mention ourselves.”
Lucian began to be lifted into the air by rockets that fired from beneath his feet, and he and his minion began flying towards the planetary gateway beyond the clouds. It was always cloudy in Underland.
The planetary gateway began to close.
Xenon spun the iron rod from hand to hand and beneath his shoulders and rode toward Lucian and his minion. “One iron rod to defeat all your technology!” He waved the iron rod around in the air, making the entire world spin, scrambling Lucian’s GPS, making it so he and his drones couldn’t navigate properly.
Zaina picked off drones from the corner of the swarm with her machine gun.
Xenon pointed the rod through the baked desert clay in deep into the crevices beneath the earth through which hot lava flowed. He tuned into the lava using the network of correspondances he’d learned that connected to it and channel this frequency through the iron rod, creating a connection between the lava and himself.
He willfully whipped himself up into an emotional frenzy in order to get the lava in the state he required it to be. Then he lifted the lava from beneath the earth, which shook, and wrenched it up from the ground, causing the volcanos that lined the valley to erupt spectacularly, killing swathes of drones. He thought he recognised Joe just before his half human, half wasp body was calcinated by a splat of lava from below. “Joe!”
Lucian’s bone-rattling giant robot voice echoed through the air and reverberated off the hills. “I’m going to stomp you, you little freak!”
“Yes, I am a freak,” yelled Xenon. “And you’re a chicken! A chicken, and a hypocrite!”
He pointed the rod to the sky and rolled it round and round in the shape of a lemniscate while riding his horse around in circles, causing the clouds above to darken and crackle. A minute later, a bolt of lightning opened the heavens and it began pouring with rain. Xenon thought the electric sword he’d seen in the room at the center of the earth’s gravity would be helpful, here, to direct the lightning strikes straight at Lucian’s scrapmetal husk. As it was, he could only manipulate the lightning in Lucian’s general direction. Luckily, a bolt hit the bullseye, striking Lucian right on the head in the spot between the eyes were the epi-center lay.
Lucian screamed and smashed around violently in response to the blow, spraying carnage everywhere, killing everything, destroying everything, smashing everything down to dust.
A spray of fire caused Xen’s hair to catch ablaze. He dived off the chopper and fell twenty meters into the soft desert sand and dunked his head to put it out.
Lucian, partially recovered from the lightning strike to the epicenter of his digital brain, stomped over to annihilate him.
Xenon pointed the rod to the comet Devo, which had finally arrived and soared across the sky over the erupting vocanos. He created a connection between the comet and himself using the network of correspondances he knew, and brought the comet crashing down upon Lucian’s head.
Xenon, Zaina and the other survivors went back to ground zero, were the ladder had been constructed. “Is it finished?” asked Zaina?
“It’s close, but we’re still one diamond short,” said Andy.
Xenon produced the diamond from his pocket. “Ta-da.”
They attached his diamond to the rest of them and enough of the ladder opened up to enable them to go beyond the clouds.
Xenon and Zaina hugged. They all climbed the ladder.