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Thread: A blast of light

  1. #1

    A blast of light

    Ouch! What the hell was that? My eyes snapped open and I looked down at my lower arm as I saw a small device being taken off it. I slapped the hand away that held the device, unsure whether its owner was going to try and attach it again or not.

    “Relax, I’m all done”, a calm voice spoke.

    As I looked up at the owner of the hand holding the device, an elderly man gazed back at me with a warm smile, and then he turned to a small table and placed the device in a small receptacle next to a cup of liquid.

    “Where am I?” I asked as I tried to sit up. “You’re in Jobe, just relax.”

    That’s when the nausea hit me… and the pain! Oh my head! I couldn’t control the giddiness as I tried to sit up, and if it weren’t for the old man standing beside me to catch me as I teetered off the table, I would have ended up as the only mess on an otherwise clean floor in the room.

    “Whoa! Easy does it sunshine”, the old man grunted as he hoisted me back onto the table. “That’s a normal reaction to the process, just focus on something in the room here.”

    I stared at the small receptacle on the small table, and slowly but surely the nausea and giddiness subsided as I regained my bearings. Unfortunately the pain in my head remained, but that paled in comparison to the confusion I felt.

    “What process?” I asked slowly.

    As he straightened me up on the table, he explained. “Think of it as a kind of… mind and body realignment. We’ve used heavy amounts of notum to enhance the areas of your body and mind best suited to you in the future, and subdued the thought patterns of the past that may prove to be a hindrance in making you the best you can be.”

    The future? The past? Where am I? What the hell is he talking about? The pain and giddiness hit me again trying to think about it, and I groaned as I collapsed back onto the old man.

    “Yes, yes…. it’s all very confusing. Here, drink this and just be silent for a bit.” said the old man as he held me with one hand and passed me a cup of water from the small table with the other.

    I peered at the old man over the rim of the cup as I sat and drank, and watched him looking me up and down, almost as though he was trying to find something. It didn’t take an expert eye to know that the old man had done this many times before. He pulled a few interesting faces as he looked here and there, and gave the occasional prod and poke, but I just sat there silently and watched him work while I kept sipping at my drink.

    Finally the old man stood back, put his hands on his hips and spoke.
    “Hmmph… not our finest product, but you’ll be fine.”

    “Product? What is that supposed to mean?” I replied sharply as I jumped to my feet quickly. The cup flew across the room and clattered off the wall. I could feel the pain in my head increasing again rapidly, but at least the giddiness was almost gone for now.

    The old man took a step back, laughed and nodded. “Goooood, good. Excellent poise, balance, and some steely resolve too. I think you’ll do well after all, Aaronis”.

    A sharp blast of light inside my eyes, and I fell back against the table. “What did you call me?”

    “Aaronis. That is your name.” replied the old man, smiling warmly. “Sit down on the table and I’ll explain. I’m sure you have many questions also.”

    That was an understatement. My head was killing me, and I was still seeing spots floating in front of my face, but I did as the old man asked and sat on the table. And my name is Aaronis? OK, if he said so. But what the hell is happening here?
    “In simple terms, Aaronis, you’re a gene job. We made you… we made you because you are needed here.” explained the old man

    “A gene job?” I replied, raising my eyebrows. “What does that mean? Is that something to do with your comments about the notum?” The old man grinned and patted me on the shoulder. “Very astute! Exactly! You are a genetically modified creation built for a specific purpose, and to help fulfil a need in some very troubling times. The people of the Shadowlands and from the planet Rubi-Ka below will call you a Keeper” he said.

    “I see…. a Keeper? We’ll get to that, but just what are these ‘troubling times’ you are talking about?” I asked.

    The old man was about to say something, then stopped. He looked at me for a moment, and then continued. “I’m going to say some words, and I want you to concentrate and tell me how they make you feel. OK?”

    Sure, sure, I’ll keep the old man amused… “Go ahead” I replied.

    “Aban” the old man said as he looked at me slightly sideways.

    A wave of warmth washed over me, and the very light in the room seemed to intensify markedly. I wasn’t expecting this to happen at all, and I stared back at the old man.

    “I… I… what’s happening to me? Warmth… light… I….”

    The old man just smiled and then spoke again. “Thrak.”

    The warmth instantly disappeared from me and I suddenly felt very cold. The light in the room seemed to fade, and the room itself seemed to close in around me. What were these words? Where did they come from? “I feel cold…. and it’s kind of dark. What’s going on?”

    “OK, enough for now” the old man said, and he patted me on the shoulder again. I was feeling very confused now, and the look on the old man’s face showed that he knew I felt that way. I had to blink a few times to try and help clear my head, and a shiver passed through me as the warmth re-entered my body. “Let me explain” the old man said quietly.

    “It is a time of great unrest on Rubi-Ka at present. There are two major factions engaged in a struggle that has been going on for too many years to count. And it all comes down to the thing that has helped craft you to what you are now… the notum. Omni-Tek is a corporation that seeks to totally control and monopolise the supply of notum with an iron fist rule, whereas the clans seek to break that control and refuse to live under that oppressive regime.” The old man sneers for a moment. “And now we have two problems. The first is that Omni-Tek are gaining an upper hand in this control, and could very well own all the notum production fields on Rubi-Ka. The second problem is that the clan forces seem to be fracturing internally, with lots of in-fighting that is not helping the clans to try and reverse the trend and balance the situation.”

    “If this is true, can’t the clan folk just see the position they have gotten themselves into and rally together?” I asked.

    “I wish it was that easy” the old man replied. “There seems to be a lot of people, who have just given up hope, but there are others who still have the will to fight to protect… and… well, ultimately that’s why you are here”. The old man stared at me long and hard for a while, searching my face.

    “What? You want me to take up the cause? You want me to help the clans bring some balance to Rubi-Ka?” I laughed.

    The old man stared at me, with a strange look on his face, and then said. “Don’t you find it interesting that you have made a connection between what I have briefly told you, and your assumption that I want you to help the clans on Rubi-Ka?”

    “Well I….. thought…” and then just looked back at him, speechless.

    The old man laughed. “Oh you are correct, don’t get me wrong. But what made you feel that way?”. I thought about it for a moment and then replied “Now you mention it, when I heard the word ‘Omni-Tek’, I sort of had the same feeling that came over me when you said the word ‘Thrak’ earlier.”

    The old man winked at me and smiled. “Remember when I said your name for the first time? What happened?”

    “Well… I saw this flash of light… and well, I felt very strange” I replied.

    “That was a mnemonic cursor.” the old man started. “A checkpoint in your mind that was unlocked when I spoke your name as the key word. And then again with the words ‘Aban’, ‘Thrak’, ‘Omni-Tek’ and ‘Clan’ these were mnemonic cursors too, although not as strong a word as ‘Aaronis’. These words, once spoken, unlock a part of your mind, filling it with either feelings, needs, compulsions, ideas or a thirst for knowledge. We cannot directly give you the memories you will need, but it will point you in the right direction.”

    I stared back at the old man, who seemed to be enjoying the revealing of this information to me. “And exactly how many of these cursor things do I have in my head?”. I probably shouldn’t have shouted it as loud as I did, but this was just incredulous.

    “Well…. I can’t tell you exactly how many, but it is many hundreds. Names of people, places, organisations etc. Each word designed to unlock a small part of your mind and help you develop, and to help determine a course of action.” the old man responded.

    “Why can’t you just unlock them all now?” I asked.

    “Because if we did, your mind would simply shut down with information overload and you’d be nothing more than a vegetable. And after the time and credits we’ve spent getting you this far, we aren’t about to waste it” the old man replied tersely.
    “Ok, ok… I understand. So what do I do? Just go out and start killing these Omni-Tek people?” I asked, laughing mildly.

    The old man seemed to get quite annoyed by the question, and shuffled around a bit. “No, no… look, before you are any use to the clan folk, you need refine your skills for which being a Keeper is all about. You have the potential to inflict a lot of damage whilst keeping yourself and others safe, and to help the fight against Omni-Tek you can’t do it alone. You need to develop strong relationships with people you can learn to trust, and you must earn their trust as well.”

    The old man grabbed me by the shoulders and squeezed gently. “You may never be the best, but we want you to be the best you can be. You have a sharp mind, and you need to use it well. There will be times of extreme hardship and many failures, but from those failures will come knowledge that will help you grow. If you can do this, then you will succeed. You can make a difference if you work hard at it”

    The old man appeared to be quite exhausted by the end of his short speech, so I didn’t want to make him any worse than he seemed. Trying to think of an appropriate question to ask, I looked around the room for a moment, then back to the old man.

    “So…” I started “… what now?”

    The old man looked blankly at me for a moment, and then a big grin broke across his face. He reached into the receptacle on the small table and pulled out a small device. He looked at it for a moment, and then flicked it through the air at me. I caught it and then turned it over and over examining it. “Here, take this communicator module, you’ll be needing it.” the old man said. “It will allow you to chat with some like-minded people who perhaps can offer some assistance if you get into trouble.”

    “OK, and now what?” I asked, wondering if that was the right question to ask.

    “Oh that’s simple…” the old man said laughing. He leaned towards me, looked me squarely in the eyes, and said…..


    A blast of light hit me and the old man and the room disappeared, to be replaced with some very strange sounds and myself standing on a cold sloping ramp. It was at that point that I realised I hadn’t even asked for his name. I looked around, shrugged my shoulders and headed down the ramp.

  2. #2
    I will look forward to meeting this Aaronis and finding out more about him. I do myself travel often to Shadowlands.

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