Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dead Planet XXI

Dead Planet XXI

“The Map is not the Territory,
the Word is not the thing it
represents. Our sensations
are not reality, but an abstraction
from reality.”—John C. Wright,
Null-A Continuum: Continuing
A. E. van Vogt’s World of Null-A

“How many pyramids on Mars?” Tyrell asked.

Dr. Hayakawa was saying, “The pyramid Eyes have recorded a tremendous influx of memory energy. Deckard’s droid connected to them—with Deckard’s co-mind. Their double-conscious triggered some kind of sequence in the surrounding pyramids. Like a combination—to all the memory bank vaults.”

Hayakawa paused. “Our readings show a dozen activated pyramids. We’ve labeled them “power-mids,” the Null-A scientist said.

Thru a slit of armored glass, Tyrell saw the silhouettes of the heads of Hayakawa & his staff.

“What happened?” I asked. I was awake again.

“Your young droid gave us all quite a start,” Hayakawa said.

“Never mind that,” Tyrell interjected. “How many power-mids?”

“We have a dozen on the vidscreens now. The one Deckard & his droid are in—that’s our Rosetta Stone. We need to get in there & see what happened.”

“Not enough time,” Tyrell said.

(Was Tyrell still on Mars? Still in the Underground City? Or had he teleported to Titan? Deckard thought these thoughts to himself. Or rather he thought them to the kid.)

The pyramid door dialed open. In came the kid—looking exhausted. The Martian fugue or mind-meld or whatever you want to call it—it had been a double-whammy for both of them. Mostly him tho.

“Let me help you up,” the kid said.

He got me to my feet & I steadied myself hanging onto the kid’s shoulder. Too much similarized nervous system stuff—makes Jack a dull boy.

“Let’s get outta here,” the kid said.

We passed back thru the doors—they all dialed open & closed for us without hesitation. The whole pyramid seemed to recognize the kid. The minor levitation stunt & all the Mayan shit—I was passed out on the examination table. I didn’t remember anything—not a fuckin’ thing.

The kid was different tho—more somber, more subdued than usual. I noticed he had his zoid-gun out—was it lizards or creepazoids? No, it was something else bugging him. He blocked it out—weird how he’d never done that before with me.

“Are you okay, kid?” I said. We were at the outer lock-door—it paused, then dialed open. There was our hover-craft where we parked it—it was Martian daylight outside.

It was weird. All around the pyramid—the red sands of Mars had folded back. All the debris & rubble had been pushed back—as if the pyramid had moved or something. Had something happened—when I was knocked out? In that semi droid-trance back there?

Looking up at the temple wreck—shit, it wasn’t a wreck at all anymore. The thing actually had a metallic sheen to it—it glowed & I could hear a distinct low hum. Up at the apex—there was something very weird going on. Something hyperdimensional.

Whatever it was—the kid didn’t wanna talk about it. He was all business—strapping me into the passenger seat. He flipped down his visor—had one last look-around. He climbed in—and we were off.

I heard Tyrell’s voice on the intercom—shouting something about the power-mids. How we needed to activate them all immediately—the kid & me.

The kid flipped the intercom off. He did a steep loop around the pyramid—and then low back to Hellas Town. I needed to know what Tyrell was talking about—I asked the kid WTF was going on.

“Shut up,” the kid said.

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