[Destiny] Chapter 52: Engineer Many

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Green text on the health guidelines

green skin on the Kontolian

green laser fire

green exhaust fumes

before the reactor blew

green mood from Captain Wong

green assistant engineer

green cum

turned pale-green

oxidised wiped up and replaced by

cartoon green particles

up to her knees and rising, a trigger going off in her brain, hand-dragging her back to this shade of reality, putting her face to face with the same purple orb that god knows how many minutes, hours, days earlier had absorbed itself into her and

it wasn’t purple sparkles engulfing her

they were green

why?

Ignorant or non-telepathic, the purple orb flexed some of it mist leftwards and spelt out a list in cloud particles. The heading text: Frequently Asked Questions [that may not be asked].

What is this place?

Who are you?

What are you?

Where’s my friend/lover/sibling/parents/actor/pet/prey?

What’s this green stuff around my legs?

Why is it rising?

Is it sentient?

How did I get here?

Where is here exactly?

Can my species and your species fuck?

Are those really two moons?

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[Void Galaxia] Chapter 21: Bakunin Was Right

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   The family came back three days later.

      ‘Mark, luv, we’re home,’ Mum yelled, slamming the front door against the porch wall.

      ‘Half dead and starving,’ added Billy, stumbling over his own bike.

      I was in the living room, 90% watching Doctor Who, the other per cent writing the second chapter of my maggie opus [as Barry called them].

      They all piled in, Dad carrying a rolled up tent, the rest of them clutching a couple of pegs.

      ‘Son, you missed a cracking mountain.’

      ‘Really?’

      ‘Mark, it was fucking hell…’

      ‘Billy, don’t spoil things. It was lovely.’

      ‘…serious, think my legs are gone.’

      They all sat down and gawped at the TV screen. Charlie looked at the linoleum floor. Didn’t move for several minutes. I asked her directly if she was alright and she nodded.

      ‘So, what’s been going on here, son? Any dramas?’ Dad asked, grabbing the remote.

      ‘Not much. Face is still the same.’

      ‘Well, wait till you get older, son. Then you’ll see a few changes.’

      He laughed, they all did, except Charlie.

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      I slouched against the back board of my bed and re-read the first chapter.

      The second was becoming a bit of a struggle, so I wanted to go back and see how I’d set everything up; the two main characters, the spaceship, the aliens…all that stuff.

      It didn’t take long.

      So I read through again.

      Then went through it a third time, taking it slow to try and absorb all the words.

      Then a fourth time.

      A fifth time.

      Too exhausted to do a sixth, I skimmed back through and wrote out a summary:

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[Void Galaxia] Chapter 20: His Lunar Crone

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Over the next couple of days I gathered together all the things my alt-Japanese brain told me I would need to make my masterpiece. The plan: until the family unit came back, I’d write. When they came back, I’d still write. When my friends came back, I’d write harder.

      Fuck all those zombies, this was a mission.

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      Then I had a counter-thought:

      I don’t need to write, pseudo-Mark’s already done it for me. The letter said he’d written a whole bunch of stuff, sci-fi novels. That I somehow couldn’t remember a page of. Because I was the pseudo-Mark. Was I?

      Making myself a cup of Kerala-imported tea, I returned to my room and turned on the laptop.

      Wait, didn’t he say his stories were hopeless…

      The computerr loaded and the files came up on the desktop. I saw one that said Dream Fucker – a novel and double-clicked.

      Nah, it was just modesty. People would call you arrogant if you openly hailed yourself a genius, so protective measures were required. And was he the type to boast? I mean, was I the type? Either lobe of me? No way, I was humble, to everyone except my parents. If anything, I was too humble, apologising for even picking up a pen sometimes. And why couldn’t I remember writing any of this? It was in his memories, so why didn’t I know about it?

      Fucking Frankenstein scientists.

      Dream Fucker appeared on screen, in giant comic sans.

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[Destiny] Chapter 51: Varo-Scape

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Not Tai O exactly

but shacks on stilts, waterless, simulacrum desert lifted from Almodóvar Chicken outskirts, totems with flashing lilac light, beam communication system, mountain face with cut-out alcove for the local baron to dwell

no sign of baron security, thugs

air particles sparse

avoiding her mouth, nose, that’s what it felt like, moving her face, amber-stuck, then her arms, legs, fingernails, crawling over the weird rough dirt, trying to

‘… … … …’

Joanna dropped back down, gasping for atoms, head tilted towards the hazy structures nearby.

There had to be someone

a guard, lookout of some sort

farmer, farmer kids, desperate cows

wayward Almodóvar Chicken staff

Sila Søren sheriff alien outreach

‘Machine,’ she mumbled in Cantonese, rolling up her eyelids another millimetre.

Vision or vision-esque, maybe real, but

was it?

From where?

No idea, no way to answer, no choice but to observe as, in the middle of what looked from her eyes like the town square, only oval-shaped and barren, a large pale-green orb rose up out of the dirt, and sprouting out of that orb was a white totem with a blinking purple light on top and, as it got higher, a small valve slid open and fired out something small and mechanical, possibly a drone-dart.

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[Void Galaxia] Chapter 19: Science Says Sorry

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      Asami the psychopath

      facing the chapel wall, jejune, sweaty, asking do I want to get up close

      watch anacondas pegging each other

      prod their tails

      No? Then I’m off, to Papua New Guinea, the suicide beach, with the book about the homeless man finding a deserted soviet, you stay here

      lost with Fahey in the car park

      no one repairing anything, fixated on

      white hole miniature, LEGO size

      basketball size

      swimming pool size

      gargan-

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      White hole faded and I found myself lying sideways across the bed, phone still in hand from the night before.

      Screen lit up and said muted. Then eleven.

      Not midday.

      Good.

      Folded out next to my elbow was the note, the thing allegedly written by myself, begging to be re-read.

      Accepting, I skimmed through, shaking my head all over again.

      If it were true, it meant there were some Japanese scientists on the other side of the world who had really fucked something up.

      If it weren’t true…

      The doorbell rang downstairs.

      ‘Fuck off, Barry,’ I hissed at the floor.

      The doorbell rang again.

      I jumped off the bed and ran towards the window and shook my hands and fake-jabbed at whoever’s melon head was in front of that door.

      ‘Fuuuuuck off.’

      It rang again, implacable.

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[Void Galaxia] Chapter 18: Home Alone [With Theories]

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      The next morning there was another note.

      Not from the Mark simulacrum, but from my family.

      They said, or Dad said, that they would be away for a while. There was a mountain they had read about in Wales and they all thought, hey, why not go and climb it.

      What? I asked the note, moving on to the next part.

      It was a new mountain, apparently, just got classified the other week and half of Liverpool was off to climb it.

      But what about me? Didn’t they want all their kids to come?

      The note said they’d thought about asking me to come but I was still asleep when they left and they didn’t want to wake me, and besides, with the Japanese problem, perhaps it wasn’t the best idea to publicise it too much to others.

      ‘Yeah, thanks Dad.’

      I scrunched up the note and dropped it on the floor.

      No publicity, right.

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      I walked around the barren housse, aimless, the Japanese Bela Tarr.

      After an hour or two, I went to the bathroom and stared at the face in the mirrror, willing it with every ounce of whatever passed for spirit in my stupid head to change back to normal.

      It didn’t.

      But it was weird…looking around the room, things did seem a little lower.

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[Destiny] Chapter 50: Void Helenism

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Being framed in darkness, in complete darkness, could be survived psychologically, mentally for about forty eight seconds, but when it still didn’t end after that time, when you stopped bracing for the ground you assumed was imminent then you had no choice but to detach from object-end-finality and start inventing your own frames.

That is what Solaris was about

on some level.

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First frame, unprovoked

the ship cabin from Genoa to Barcelona, slow slug walk from bed to bathroom to beach with the demon biting her way back into their business to the aswang floating head to the Krsnik wretch to

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Second, third, fourth frames sketched Sila plus arguments, that fucking space show he watched all the time, the walk down the autobahn, the cabinet pics on his screen, his claim that this one was the one, her open tab of Ljubljana city centre, pleas for silence, obedience

directing him towards the tree

hiding behind a red-soaked castle wall

apologetic, enthused

desperate

blood dripping from Denzel Washington’s neck

French from all angles

Tak offering up a bag of grey vasic, even though it never came in bags

offering again, with knife

and again and again and again and

again with different weapons, different smiles, in different European settings before switching via jump-cut to Hong Kong

Yute Long, her and a tiny couch

enduring TVB

laugh-weeping at a vampire flinging a Dutch thief off a bridge in Amsterdam using only his eyes

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[Void Galaxia] Chapter 17: Note From Self To Self RE: Self

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Dad put down the mop and untied me.

      Billy threw his weapon on the sofa and trudged upstairs to get ready for work. As usual, he moaned as he went, saying that I owed him whatever the adventurists cut from his wage for being late.

      ‘That’s what you get for not working local.’

      ‘Oh, did they relocate your gymn then?’

      ‘Fuck off, that’s different.’

      ‘Ha, typical shit comeback, definitely our Mark.’

      He was right, but by the time I’d come up with a better one, he was already up the stairs. Well, plus point, at least he believed me now.

      Mum sat down and stared at the linoleum tiles, the plug and wire thing still fairly tight in her hands. I stayed distant, on my hostage chair, even though I really wanted to stand up and move my legs again.

      Dad stayed in front of me, like an old movie cut-out, eventually placing a fat hand on my shoulder. I looked at the knuckles, the wedding ring, then went back up and saw a Japanese man, middle-aged, fierce, glaring down as if his thoughts would set my face on fire.

      I blinked.

      The Japanese man was gone. It was dad again.

      ‘What’s going on, son?’

      ‘I don’t know. Really.’

      ‘Do you remember anything about last night? What time you slept? Any strange noises?’

      ‘No, nothing. Except…I think I went out. At some point.’

      ‘Yeah, I remember that part. But we didn’t hear you come back in, your mum or me. Where were you?’

      ‘Not sure…just out…drinking maybe. I don’t know.’

      ‘But you did come back…’

      ‘I must’ve, yeah. But when…’

      ‘What about day-time? The afternoon? Anything weird happen?’

      ‘Dad, I don’t know. It’s-…there’s nothing. No places, people…I can’t remember anything.’

      He shrugged, tightened his grip on my shoulder, told me we’d figure it all out soon enough then sat down properly on the sofa. There were no details on how exactly it would all be figured out. Just that it would be. Via the universe. The hand of a clumsy god. Muons and up quarks. Science. Something.

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[Void Galaxia] Chapter 16: Surface Japanese

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Stumbled dazed into the final chamber, gun in hand, ready to shoot anything that looked like it might shut this nightmare Tsukamoto-Scape down.

Topography was huge, elaborate, colourful, industrially dank.

Around five hundred cloning pods, all empty except one.

I walked towards it, gun elevated.

Glass of the pod was covered in condensation. Shape of a face edged through, but it was impossible to tell who it belonged to.

Behind me, a gun-man appeared.

Shit, it was him, COPENHAGEN.

‘Damn you, Keni,’ he slurred, bits of shredded ice hanging off his forehead. ‘You’ve really fucked up my plans here.’

‘And I’m gonna fuck them up even more.’

‘Not this time.’

Copenhagen raised his gun, but I knew from the news-types he’d always had trouble with his aim. Everything else in life, he’s decisive, they said, except when he fires a gun.

I shot blindly and hit the space tycoon on the shoulder.

Shot him again, sending him backwards through some pipes and badly-constructed electrical equipment.

Copenhagen landed hard, wheezed, began his death spiral.

I swaggered over, told him he’d been shot.

‘Yeah.’ Gargled blood. ‘Don’t suppose you know why my gun was faulty?’

‘It wasn’t.’

 ‘God…fucking props. Takes me back to my theatre days. I played Henry once, you know?’

‘What?’

‘Henry the…I don’t know, one of the numbers. Fourth maybe. Played him as a cripple, very bold.’

‘No idea what you’re saying.’

‘Jesus of Kensington…’

‘Who?’

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[Destiny] Chapter 49: Dim Green Light

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Chicken costumed as Frankenstein

Chicken costumed as a mermaid

Chicken costumed as Alain Delon

Chicken costumed as a matador

Chicken costumed as a cyborg

Chicken costumed as another chicken in a chicken mask

All chicken, all poorly drawn, all poorly inked, all nothing to do with Pedro Almodóvar, who she was starting to suspect wasn’t actually the basis of this service station-stroke-restaurant out in the middle of nowhere.

Following the thought, she pulled up a map of the area on her phone, zoomed in and spat out Red Sonja in man town breath as she saw the word Almodóvar next to her own blue dot.

Well, now it made sense.

To a degree.

Though why was the nearest chicken dressed like the glasses guy from Re-animator?

She looked down at the surviving coffee granules in her cup, mostly sludge at the bottom, murky, deformed, then heard a voice in cautious Spanish and looked back up.

One of the staff was trying to wake the old guy sleeping on the table next to the toilets.

And getting nowhere.

Another was mopping the floor near her feet.

Then there was the woman still trying to scrub the stain off the one film poster in the place. Something in Portuguese that, based on the main pic, was an old horror film. Possibly giallo. Had the colour range for it.

Joanna sipped ghost coffee and watched the woman scrub.

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