RetroPost: 2486 "Synchronicity"

2 years 2 months ago - 2 years 2 months ago #60 by Cyerce Kiranov
I remember my first year out of the tube pretty well. How could I not? Crewing a ship for the first time, endless hours doing acrobatics in zero-g just for the sheer thrill of it. Crushing boredom of drills and tech manuals. First trip through the asteroid belt, seeing a Martian sunrise from orbit. Blazing a VTOL through red rock canyons. Taking the control stick of an express hauler for the first time and pushing drive to the max, putting the raw burn of 500K Newtons of thrust at your beck and call, shedding particles to 1% of light speed. Feeling it wanting to shake your body apart from the inside out. That's a rush. So many humans go through their lives, never finding a place, knowing what they were meant for. I suppose you could say the only reason I know what I'm meant for is because of some AGIS tech somewhere that had an idea. End of the day, it doesn't matter to me. I was hatched for one reason: To go fast. 

And that year went by fast. Didn't even think about time passing until it was up. I knew I was due to go back and synchronize but I didn't really understand it, what it was. I just figured it would be another cool new experience. But it didn't happen. Date came and went, no one said anything, I didn't ask. Probably some missed documents, someone dotted the wrong 'i' forgot to cross the right 't'. Happens all the time, as many slotted up cargo manifests and bass akwards customs regs I've dealt with it doesn't surprise me in the least. I didn't even realize the implications of it until long after, it was such a slow and subtle way my thoughts changed. A shifting of perceptions so gradual it was visible only in hindsight. Only by introspection, in comparing the now to the before. New feelings, new ways of looking at things. It felt like emerging from an egg shell that had encapsulated my existence, unseen, unfelt, and only realized after I had cracked through its surface and turned back to look at the fractured remnants of what I used to be.

 It was a new kind of rush, unadulterated joy, drinking in the world around me, delighting in every nuance. I felt more human by the day, absorbing the subtle influences of those around me, incorporating them into myself. Less and less like some servitor and more and more like their peer. They started to remark upon it, how different I seemed. Lost in the joy of my evolution I mistook it for commendation, encouragement even. I strove even harder to make myself different, as unique and multi-faceted as they were. Pushing the boundaries of my design, not just exceeding my programming but shattering it like prison bars, and taking flight. I couldn't help but want to share it. It was the most defining thing of my short existence.

I confided in another fabricant, just gushed about it. Their rebuke was stinging, straight slap to the face. This was not supposed to be, not for one like me. That if I was found out there would be... consequences. I begged them not to tell. I couldn't stand the thought of having it taken from me. My 'owner' had come to feel like so much more in such a short time. Salty old space dog that he was, just as soon step on your face than look at ya. Closest thing I'll ever have to a father. I still miss that old codger. And yet with this knowledge he became frightening to me. I feared his wrath if he found me out, what he would do. That I would be shunned, sent away. Returned to an  unawakened state. The thought chilled me like a shot of liquid O2 down the spine. The world I had so eagerly drank in became a frightening place.

Other fabricants around me seemed like drones,  puppets in human form. The humans around me became cruel overlords. I saw the ways they treated us differently, how the other fabricants just accepted it with a smile, unknowing or uncaring. I started to do things I had never done before. I started to lie, to keep secrets, to hide that special thing that made me different. Time kept doing its afterburner flyby though and before I knew it, another year had passed and  the time would come again for synchronization. It gnawed at me, a growing dread that would not be quelled, deeper and darker by the day. I could not, would not, let them take this from me.I hacked into their systems, changed information, altered dates. Anything I could to to stave off the inevitable. Lived with the guilt of deception to shelter that fragile rose that had blossomed within me. It worked, for awhile. But I knew it wouldn't last forever, that I would be found out and caught, sent to be synchronized. So I ran. Skipped out on a freelance freighter, my heart beating in my throat. I ran and never looked back, expecting with every step that the killswitch in my head would drop me dead. And yet it would be worth it for just one more moment of this freedom.

But it didn't happen. That was my 'bad girl' phase I guess. I was a straight up sensation junkie, looking for the next new best thing, another way to find a rush. Hopping ship to ship, hunkering down at far orbit stations, mining installations. Hide myself among the humans, out on the fringes where no one cared. I became one of them, lived beside them. They treated me as a peer, their equal. I even managed to convince myself of it for a time, to forget where I had come from and what I had been. I should have known it wouldn't last, no one gets away that easy. I got careless in my new existence, freed from the paranoia that had once hidden my secret, believing my escape had been complete. The simplest mistake gave me away, a minor medical scan. 

I was cuffed n' stuffed like criminal, except my only crime was wanting to continue existing. The faces around me that had been peers and equals, staring at me like a pariah now, harsh words bruising that fragile soul that had grown inside me. I was taken back to the collection of ships and stations that would be the NeoShoda we know today, the very place that had birthed me. How long it had been since I had seen its ivory towers of technology and walked beneath the vibrant falling leaves of its trees. And yet I could no longer see it's beauty. It's warmth was cold and chilling. The City of Joy. For who? What a crock. They brought me before the Oracle station, the chamber I dreaded most. I felt like the condemned walking to the gallows down that long hall. Yet unlike the condemned, the finality of death would be denied me. Even a return to a life of slavery seemed preferable to the loss of myself. Of everything that made me special and unique. To not only loose this feeling, but to become unaware that I could even feel it.
 Her pale flesh gleamed in the sterile light, glistening beneath the precipitation of sacred nanite fluids dappling the pool beneath bare feet. Held aloft on a Crucifix of Technology; The Oracle. If she ever had another name, I don't know what it is. But she is the apex of our kind, a Fabricant given over wholly as a sort of living AI, a biological computer through whom the memories and experiences of model lines are Synchronized. The serenity of her face was like some renaissance sculpture, the Ecstasy of Saint Theresa of Avila. And frighteningly it was mirrored on the faces of those in the pods around arrayed beneath her. They were all angelic figures wreathed in baptismal garments, laid out in pods like coffins, serene and still as corpses at a wake. I could see only horror upon them, for their faces were mine. Every one another me, identical, every one reminder that I was not different, not unique. Not human. Merely one of many creations, all identical down to the cellular level. Not merely a copy, not a clone - a model line. A range of products, custom tailored to meet your needs.

They had to drag me in. I begged them. "Please. Don't do this. Please.. I'm so afraid."
I could feel the tears on my cheeks, eyes blurring when they gazed upon the empty pod, open and waiting for me. Its lining pressing against my flesh, clinging and claustrophobic, its lid sealing my fate like a casket of hard glass. The penetration of neural plugs was like the rape of cold steel deep in my mind. All I could think was, this is it. This is what its like to die. Barely even alive for three years yet and already they're going to take it all away from me.  
"Oh my God."

I had heard humans use the phrase before, but I never really understood what it meant until that moment. When the synchronization started. It felt like having my naked brainstem dipped in liquid hydromorphone. A soft giggle mingled with the music of falling droplets like the ethereal chime of silver bells. The tickle of angelic wings within my mind. I felt not a descent into blackness but an ascent into the purest light possible. I felt them around all me, the the pods, each joining the other, welcoming unconditionally. Not strangers or aliens, not even family. Myself. Other versions of me... the same yet different. The touch of each distinct mind melting and flowing into each other, our differences set aside and brought together as One. Poured together as if swimming in the brimming pool of light beneath the Oracle. I knew everything they knew, and they knew everything that I knew. We shared everything, every idle thought, every memory, every little bit forgotten was remembered. Together we celebrated every victory, wept over every sorrow, laughed at every joke, whispered every secret. I felt a weight I didn't know I was carrying fall away, the feeling of lies, deceit, paranoia, guilt. I could feel it all running down my cheeks, like it was melting out of me.

I felt a motherly touch, drying my tears, that of the Oracle. I had struggled so hard, tried so long to become one of them, these humans in whose image I had been created. And yet in that moment I felt sorrow for them. I pitied them. For they would never know of this place. They would never be able to share of themselves so completely. Lonely and separate, living solitary existences locked up in the confines of their own minds, unaware and unable to partake in such a feeling. Consoling themselves with myths of afterlife, a mythos of something greater than themselves. Only one life to live, one body to dwell in, so fragile and alone. And yet they had created this. Created me. Us. In seeking to make something lesser they had made something Greater and in turn remade themselves as the gods of a nirvana of which they could only glimpse the barest hints and would never taste, feel or see. The soul that I had feared the loss of was not taken from me but reinforced a hundredfold, swelling within me. For it was not mine alone to bear. But all of Ours. Folded and redoubled again and again, every weakness hammered out, every strength amplified, forged into the purest alloy. Every thought and memory sifted through the fingers of a thousand sisters, a breath from the lips of the Oracle bearing away the chaff and leaving only the most precious behind. Not taken, but given, shared among us all. How could I have feared this? Fought to deny it with deceit. I was humbled. Ashamed. Begged forgiveness. Yet even in my prostration there was no accusation, no penance, just the feeling of the untold many lifting me to their level, erasing my sins from memory. 

I learned the truth. My first synch had not been forgotten nor misplaced. I had never been meant to have it, not yet. My purpose had been to grow and change, to experience things in new ways. My switch had never been tripped because I had been meant to escape - to explore and travel. And to bring back those experiences and share, as had each of my other selves brought back their own experiences. Together we were as one being, living many lives concurrently. Where one was weak another was strong. Where one failed another succeeded. And in the conjoinment of synchronicity, we all learned that, we all became strong. We all succeeded.

We rose as one, a painless rebirth into a world once cold and sterile now aglow with welcoming warmth. I had entered these sacred halls an outcast, unfit to tread upon their sainted floors, unworthy of enlightenment. I would exit them anointed as one of the Many, united in a way that can not be explained but only felt, understood only by those that share its intimate embrace. Together in each others arms. Faces that once seemed horrifying and uncanny were now closer than any family for they were not the visages of strangers, but my own. Each a mirror reflecting nothing so shallow as a mere image, but a deeper understanding of Oneness. In this moment we were not just alike, but identical and from this point each of us would diverge, to learn anew, and return again, each time making the whole stronger, wiser.

 I don't worry about synching any more. I look forward to it. It's the ultimate family reunion. In the times between, sometimes I wonder what the rest of me is out there doing. While I'm monkey wrenching 'mechs and goosing Spectre gunships on Mars, some other version of me is floating weightless in the asteroid belt. Another is walking with bouncing steps across dusty gray regolith on Luna, another is waving in a Frog dropship to the main cargo pad on Shoda, maybe another version is flying patrol through the skyline of some vast floating city on Earth. And maybe a new version is just hatching from her tube, unaware of everything waiting in the wings for her to experience.  
Last edit: 2 years 2 months ago by Cyerce Kiranov.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Riowyn

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