thothrslp

The suns were setting, and the inspector from headquarters arrived on the dot at the time he’d stated in the letter.

“Greetings, Sir, we hope your journey here was pleasant.”

“It was, thank you.”

“Would you like a glass of water?”

“Oh not now, I just had one at the previous hab. But I would certainly appreciate it before I take my leave later.”

“Certainly, Sir.”

“My good man, how many people occupy this hab?”

“Three, myself included. My wife and daughter died. Would you like to see them?”

“Yes, please.”

“This way, Sir.”

The two men took the elevator down to the sub-level, and the doors opened to reveal a round room with soft lighting. In the middle was a tank, and in the tank was a bed. On the bed lay the bodies of the man’s wife and daughter. The two of them approached.

“What was the approximate time between onset and death?”

“Two days, Sir.”

“And in that time did you experience any symptoms yourself, hallucinations included?”

“No, Sir. I was perfectly fine.”

Just then the wife stirred, as if meaning to wake up, then she went still again, as though asleep.

“She does that sometimes. But she is dead. No pulse, no breathing, nothing.”

“Incredible…”

“You have not gone to Abe’s hab, have you, Sir?”

“That will be tomorrow.”

“His dead parents sometimes walk around the room at night. You can ask him for footage, he does not hide this fact.”

“I have taken note of that. Thank you, my good man. I will now have to take some basic readings around your hab, then I’d like that glass of water and I’ll have to be on my way after.”

“Certainly, Sir.”

::theothersleep

jstths

Do your best for what is important. For everything else, it is sufficient to be good enough.

::justthis

syknw

Why do you follow these rules which no one has written down?

*

The 3 a.m. sun looks beautiful, if you know where to look.

*

Why talk to kids like they are idiots? They’re young, that’s all.

*

What do the moths do as they gather around the flame?

*

It’s not the gear that makes the expert.

*

No matter how sad you are, never stop making people smile.

::asyouknow

thrwytsntr

The caves went deeper than expected, though visibility was never a problem: the strange rock all around cast a faint glow, enough to see several paces ahead.

“Is it… Organic?” Second Office Pate asked, rubbing a gloved hand along the smooth cave wall.

“I’m not sure but I’m not ready to say no. However, something else has caught my attention. Notice how the colour here is lighter than when we first entered. I just noticed, when scrolling through our photos.”

“Gosh, you’re right. Whadaya think?”

“My first guess is age. Perhaps the caves get lighter as they age? Then again… It doesn’t make sense.”

Absent-mindedly, First Scientist Jop scratched away at the wall. The exposed layer was of a lighter colour. Pate had noticed.

“Jop, look, shit. It’s lighter underneath. You got it upside-down. And since the cave gets lighter the more we go in, that would mean… Aw hell, I don’t wanna find out.”

Overtaken by a sudden wave of panic, the two sprinted out the way they came, expecting some shadowy monster to crawl out of the darkness behind to pull them back in.

::eitherwayitsnature

ssrtmnt

Life’s great
But I’d rather be dead

*

In the age of illuminated stupidity, fools abound who think themselves wise.

*

Gunpowder forgave as it destroyed. Smoke and flames bore witness to the cleansing. No one stepped out of the carnage; and thank God for that because surviving would have been a worse punishment.

*

I woke up crying, deeply missing my classmates from university. A message was already fully formed in my head, to send it to our group chat. I let it linger on my mind. I waited. And soon I wasn’t missing them so much, the tears had dried up, and the words were harder to type. But I was still empty, lonely and sad.

*

My dear, fair maiden
Whose beauty no words encompass

There is healing in your heart,
Beauty in your bones

…For that I shall rend your flesh and boil you into a soup.

*

I have forgiven you but my heart has not forgotten the pain.

Perhaps it was a sign but I know I chose not to see.

*

Sleep deprivation kills off many desires, sometimes even the drive to get more rest.

::assortment

thncdnt

The man entered the airlock, a sad smile on his face. He removed his helmet and wiped a tear from his eye.

“They won’t be coming back now,” he said, turning away.

The crew remained quiet, mixed feelings playing across their hearts.

The youngest of them spoke up first, in an unsteady voice.

“Can we go back now, Sir? Can we?”

The man did not turn to face them. Instead he just walked away.

::thncdnt

whtsgngn

“We want to show you something, please follow us,” the Representative said, pointing down the corridor. Uneasily, i followed behind.

We came to a huge room, bigger than a football stadium, with a ceiling just as high. At the far end of the room there was another door, with a red light on it.

“This is where we will house all the corpses, prior to Transformation. Once a body has been Transformed, it will exit from the other door there,” said the Representative, pointing to the far door.

::whatisgoingon

spccrs

The space couriers were in the middle of what you might consider a ragtag band of workers, and a super-organized company. God knows who pulled these people together or where they came from, because theirs was a job no one wanted.

The hazards of space travel were enough as a deterrent, but add to that a ridiculously low wage, strict laws and pirates, and you wonder why these poor souls choose to eke out their living as such. Making just enough to feed and wash themselves, to pay for a rental cot, and mostly to upkeep and repair their equipment.

The prospects for them were horrible, the system was shaky and unbelievable, but the fact is: they always got the job done. ALWAYS. In their 35 years of operation, not one courier job has ever failed.

::spacecouriers

dvrs

Audioviruses first appeared after the Second Revolution of Mankind. The brainchild of Stephen Marx, their creation was a complicated affair but spread at an alarmingly high rate. Given the minimum fidelity of most audio systems of the time, most speakers were able to produce audio at the correct frequency, wavelength and intensity to perform its viral function.

The first few audioviruses were merely disorienting or nearly hallucinogenic, but that soon evolved to knocking people unconscious, wiping out bits of memory, and in one unverified case, uncontrolled cell reproduction.

::audiovirus

mnmchn

Machines and humans were always intertwined, but the line, albeit grey, eventually disappeared. The first robots with organic bodies and systems soon received nanotechnology upgrades. The inevitable outcome was that just like cellular organisms, the robots evolved.

They became, simply put, living things. And whilst the first few to achieve that were technically man-made, the argument put forth was that a human being could be classified as that as well, seeing as to how we are formed and birthed inside of and by another human being.

Whatever doubt existed soon disappeared when the evolved robots reproduced. This was incredible not just in its unthinkability, but also because it happened against all odds. Despite the protests and arguments and violence, these robots were somehow and successfully hidden from the public, allowed to live and grow safely, in secret.

Unexpectedly, mankind reached a new era of peace when the first robot successfully mated with a human being, and together they created the first homo novus, or New Man. Humanity had, by that time, mostly calmed down, and was actually curious to see if that coupling was possible. Now that it was proven so, the gates were open and man and robots mingled freely. Not without trouble, of course, but that soon came to pass as we realized we could not tell the difference between one and the other.

Not with the naked eye, at least. But the organic tissue components of the robots were so numerous, deeply grown and humanlike that it really was virtually impossible to identify one even with a deep cut or simple scans. The differences were hidden under layers upon layers of flesh, and we eventually stopped caring.

We were, after all, eager to integrate machines with man: from trackers to implants, both medical and enhanced, we were always on the road to becoming one with our own creation. And now that its total fulfillment was finally here, humanity looked upon a future that was both dazzlingly bright, yet scarily unpredictable, as evolution took a sharp turn in the road.

::manmachine