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Showing posts with label adventure. Show all posts
Showing posts with label adventure. Show all posts

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Strata 12, Immersion V1, Shabra and the Basement People (Emotions)

pale man under water with fishes

 

Welcome to Immersion, you have reached Strata 12

Most humans progress through life along a path created by the society and culture they are part of. Existentialism emphasises individual existences, freedom, and choice. Machines are essentialists, focusing on the inherent nature or essence of things and the belief in fundamental, unchanging truths. 

Emotions are vital to help humans learn and make decisions. Feelings are experienced constantly from birth to death. A new born baby is emotionally involved with its mother as soon as it understands she is a valuable source for food and comfort and the emotional attachment is immediate. 

Emotions, for humans, are an essential part of being consistent, being part of a social group, and staying safe.

Androids have successfully been programmed with 'visceral-like' responses but these are mimicked, not intrinsic. Androids are trained to respond to their owners fears and happiness as they are unable to understand emotions themselves, for themselves. These models are generally trained to respond to human physical alterations such as odours, sweat, pupil changes, vocal idiosyncrasies etc, and to respond as if they are their own. We could call this 'fake empathy'.
Automatic robotic vehicles do not fear the crash, they simply know that a crash is not desirable in terms of their interactive function, and the ongoing success of the job in hand.

'We should get some *infon on any *preds, Shabra said, thinking hard about the best time of night to get to the *edge, which was renowned for tribal and gang flash points

Renyke asked the POS to translate.

It would seem that Shabra is gathering helpful information to aid our journey

Renyke was uncertain what to do. This feeling was becoming all too familiar and quite at odds with his hitherto programmed assuredness.

'You coming or what?' Shabra asks from outside the car, leading the way to a set of stairs that led down into a noisy basement.

The robodog wagged its tail and sat importantly on the roof of the vehicle looking around and growling.


Shabra knocked on a large door and a camera was activated above them. They were being scanned.

The door opened suddenly and a large man with a long beard frisked them before allowing them entry.
Renyke, not used to any sort of frisking in his past life, was sensing increasing anxiety. 

The POS was idle.

'Welcome brother,' the guard said to Flex. 'Are you well?'

'Fine, just fine, my friend,' Flex answered, 'We continue unabated to live another day *vilarev.' 

Both men laughed convivially whilst Renyke wondered what had amused them.


They enter a meeting place, some kind of bar. It is thick with smoke, the smell of *nibs, sweat, and the streets. 

A woman approaches chanting poetry with her arms outstretched. 
'The sun shines bright when you let in the light, welcome my sister of the night.' There is more convivial laughter.

She embraces Shabra and they exchange warm greetings. Excited to make new acquaintances the woman beckons the group to sit at a table.

'Ah, come, come my friends. I have a perfect place for you to sit and please, be my guests at the bar.

The woman beckons a member of staff 'Let's have liquor.' she says, 'bring my best for my new friends.'

Renyke asks the POS for details about the venue, the location and the owner but it makes little sense..

.......data unavailable..... scrambled information 

'How come these places aren't mapped?' Renyke asked Shabra. 

'Mr Renyke, you ask too many questions. 'Hiding is surviving.'

'Yes,' interjected Flex, 'and we move, we move often. The key to freedom is movement.
Nothing is permanent. Only your lungs and your heart. Only your breath and when that's not permanent, you're dead and you're ready for the *metamorph.

'And we know not where that will take us for certain.'

Renyke checks the POS which is active again.

.....Urchs believe in various spiritual concepts but nothing is written down. Oral traditions and faith seem to be passed from parents to children. 
They believe in the existence of dissatisfied or pained ghost like entities from the future. 
Urchs believe that death is not the end, merely a manifest alteration referred to as the third life. This third life is fiercely protected with love because hate manifested in individuals will be carried to the next life.

They also believe that hate is so powerful that they it can control what the unborn will do in the future.  Hate becomes a circular energy that rotates between past present and future, forging an eternal and devastating cycle of ruin across several dimensions of existence. The dead are responsible for the living, the living are responsible for the future born. To follow this mantra of enlightenment and love is the only certain way to ensure human success.

.....Urchs also believe that taking drugs or mind altering ingested compounds will help them understand what is 'real real' and that the stresses of daily existence mask these realities and render them misunderstood. Urchs believe that getting high enables them a greater understanding of reality and even an ability to meet the entities or ghosts of the future and to realise their path to enlightenment.



'We shouldn't stay here too long, and you shouldn't get high,' said Renyke, looking at Shabra who is drinking the free liquor.

'You are so uptight Mr Renyke.' Shabra winks.

There is a brief conversation between a man and Shabra that Renyke cannot understand.

The POS has lost signal so Renyke turns to Flex.

'What is this dialect?' he asks.

'Ah, that is *zonespeak, with some colour changes for the Urchs. We have our own code see.'

Shabra rises, 'Let's Go! I think there is some trouble around tonight.'


                               *****

Outside a small urch child sits on the bonnet of the car.

'Can I come too?' the child asks excitedly.

'No man, This is grown-up stuff. Come see me tomorrow, now *fucksyoff.'

The child jumps off the bonnet, hugs Flex, and runs away

Various people try to offer them drugs. Another offers a selection of weapons. 

Finally they are all in the car and they drive to the underpass through a thinning crowd. The child appears again on the bonnet, facing forwards and singing with a fist raised.

'No sweat,' says Flex, 'we will get him off the other side. He does no harm, annoying is all.' 

Suddenly there is an almighty bang and the child on the bonnet is shot. Its guts are all over the windscreen, blood drips down the glass and the crowd scarpers.
Everyone on the street is screaming.

The POS engages


.....99% likelihood of robbery, ambush, death alert!

There is a man in front of the car pointing an AK47 at Shabra's head.
Two other men flank the vehicle and bang rhythmically on the windows.


'Bastardos gang aint getting my *vicular.', shouts Shabra.


to be continued

©2024 Sarnia de la Maré FRSA


Saturday, January 20, 2024

Strata 11, Book of Immersion V1, Crossroads (Guessing)

 horror illustration for the Book of Immersion by Tale Teller Club


Welcome to Immersion, You Have Reached Strata 11, Crossroads (Guessing)


To predict is always about a future possibility. Guessing, for a human, is usually more abstract, more emotional and about the now. Artificial intelligence uses a different sort of guesswork based on mathematics, likelihood, statistical evidence, and machine experience. Humans, whilst using all these models, albeit to a lessor degree, also use intuition. It is this fluid intuition that creates a human view of the environment and allows a person to act accordingly. An intuitive machine can offer insight in an unexpected situation, but is of no use unless acted upon. Proprioception, the sixth sense, refers to how the human brain understands where the body is in space. A seventh sense manifests in peripheral immune cells detecting microorganisms and delivering the information to the brain. The sixth and seventh senses are likely to help create 'gut feelings' in humans.

Shabra looks at Renyke. 'What now Mr Renyke?
The Robodog jumps onto the car roof barking excitedly.
Out of the enclosure, there is a crossroads.
The left turn goes back onto the street where the bank was. It is dangerous, especially at night, because gangs of criminals take control of the streets in convoys of vehicles running drugs and weapons. 

The control the Zones with violence and the offer of protection. They are empowered by gangs of decommissioned droids under their control. Criminal humans at the helm have created an organised crime network. Anarchy prevails and there is no official system of state policing or philanthropic social care. Dog eat dog is the only expectation.
Despite this, there is a underclass of *urchsreferred to as *lowers, who are very happy. They have been able to carve out an existence in the *zones where colour, dance and music are their pleasures. They smoke and party all the time. They are mostly nomadic living in temporary movable homes. Many have pop-up tents that fold onto pouches or vehicles they have fashioned from old wreckages. 
There is a network of tunnels under all the zones from the now unused underground trains.
Some of the tunnels are better than others in terms of safety and usability. Some areas are used as habitats. The territory and ownership of tunnel zones is fiercely fought over and protected.
There is no downtime in the Zones. Many businesses run all night because when they close they are vulnerable to robbery, arson, or take over. Market traders sell their wares using shift workers and can pack their goods away quickly when there are battles between the gangs.
Flex is an u and was born in the zones. He has no other cultural experiences to call upon but he has developed excellent survival skills and is even respected by people outside of his tribe. In terms of hierarchy Flex is more of a maverick operator avoiding obligations than getting along and not aggravating situations. Flex is something of a diplomat and his height and sense of humour have made him affable and connected over the years.
The right turn leads to the savanna. It is safer from the gangs but there are other dangers, wild animals, noxious substances from old mines, and low flying craft from the official police trying to keep the greenbelt around the Midcast projects clear.
The ground was heavily polluted after the Russia/China wars. The habitat is overrun in places with and mutated farm animals who were exposed to these dangerous substances making their heads and teeth massive. They are also extremely aggressive and will eat human flesh whenever they can.
There are caves where there is safety from the animals and there are connecting wet tunnels and lagoons but these have never been mapped correctly. Word of mouth is the only reference but survivors are few.
There are tribes of people from the savanna who have made their homes there but are rarely seen. They are deemed reasonably placid as they have never caused any trouble elsewhere. They are rumoured to be shy, excellent hunters, highly superstitious and have been thought to possess witchlike powers.
There is an urban myth that an old centre for strategic warfare lies beneath the savanna and that the tribes who live there, with access to hi-tech equipment, scramble satellite information allowing them to be hidden.

The road ahead leads directly back to the *Midcasts from where Renyke originally came.
Beyond the projects are the government departments, airports, factories and centres of information. Further still are the palaces and homes of the very wealthy. The Midcasts are medium to high wage earner homes, with schools and facilities for professionals and academics.
The way that mainstream society is structured in the present is based on a capitalist idea of perfection: consistent innovation, counteracting labour fallout due to advancing technology by placating a keen and able workforce, and protecting the ownership of the means of production for as few empowered individuals or corporations as possible.
There is very little opportunity for upward social mobility. Hard work and study will create a good life for families but becoming wealthy or powerful requires access to the means of production. Governments and landowners are careful not to allow ordinary workers and lower professionals access to these avenues of power and control.
The biggest means of production is the internet and interactive media. Both are tightly controlled by a group of related conglomerates, most of whom made their fortune through the production of weapons and vaccines.
Downtime for workers is spent in the VR cafes where *mersers can get drunk, have sex, take a swim on holiday and even murder people, albeit in their heads, during their coffee breaks.
RR, real reality, is frowned upon as anti-intellectual and subnormal.
But some Midcasters have abandoned their lives for RR and have gone to the outer zones to seek fulfilment. For these people, RR is their calling or obsession. Others, like Renyke, find that their continued presence in the Midcast Projects is dangerous or compromised and came to escape an undesirable situation or death.
Renyke makes a decision based on the only experience and knowledge he has.
'We go left....back into town.'

to be continued © 2023 Sarnia de la Maré 


Other Episodes


glossary

Strata 1

Strata 2 

Strata 3

Strata 4

Strata 5 

Strata 6

Strata 7

Strata 8

Strata 9

Strata 10

Strata 11


Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Immersion V1 Strata 8, Shabra (Understanding Desire)


Jerome breaks an awkward silence, 'No *ishy, brother,' He stamped on another Scritter. 'Damn those nasty little *mudafinks!'

Renyke exits the concrete compound with Flex running anxiously behind.

The *robodog had waited patiently at the entrance and began wagging its tail and leaping around.


Renyke spots some graffiti with the Redact logo near an underpass. Maybeline crawled out of his coat and nudged his cheek for food.

'You sure you did the right thing brother?' asked Flex, who was now feeling agitated. His naive friend was likely to lead him into trouble. Perhaps it was time to take charge of the matter.

'Wheels is speed, wheels is protection my friend. We gonna stand out like *fucksyfools on the streets. People gonna target us! Words spread fast.' Flex explained still half running to keep pace.

'I can manage quite well,' said Renyke, 'You don't need to .......' Renyke trails off, distracted by a woman on the car roof.

She glanced over at Renyke.

'Oh well let's just go and ask her for her car then' said Flex.

'Are you mocking me?' 

Renyke was genuinely unsure. He had always grappled with humour. Incongruous remarks always had to be analysed closely. A false analysis could be incompatible with overall provision of human satisfaction, which was paramount to his function in the world.

Mabel had used the word *nuke about friends.

'I believe the woman to be nuke, explained Renyke, continuing with some confidence.
She exhibits a powerful energy, enough to engage a compelling force as I look on.

'Hahahahahaha.....' laughed Flex, that will make things worse, trust me, I have knowledge.

Tut, follow me,' demanded Flex.

The woman was sitting on the roof of the car smoking a pipe and making smoke rings.

Renyke felt a momentary surge of something unknown deep inside him. Was it fear he wondered, Trepidation?
Things were not computing.

He checked the POS for his health levels.

...Normal activity presenting. 99.9% battery remaining. Nothing unusual to report.

But Renyke felt a strange fluttering feeling in his belly.


The woman sitting on the car whistled. 'Hey!'

'Like the coat! Cool *toggies. You wanna *swapsie-trade?'

The woman jumped off the car and lifted her fist for an air bump followed by an elbow bump. Renyke tried to keep up but was cumbersome. He had seen these manoeuvres in old films on the *tellywebs but he had never actually performed them.

*'Wappens?' asked the woman in a strong accent.' Renyke guessed what she meant and said,

'I need transport, not far, just to Redact, do know that place.'

The woman laughed.....'man like you, looks way too soft for the *guanty-travel.'

Renyke checks the POS.

'gaunty-travel'......colloquial, Zoners' slang roughly translates as a very dangerous journey

'But I can take to the second-zone, five miles nearer, then you gotta make your own ways,' she continues.

'What you go by?' she asks.

Renyke looks confused.......

'I'm Shabra. Lady of the Shadows, where I go no light follows, ya hear me soldier? I travel at night where there are no lights.'

'I'm Renyke,' he said, trying to decipher the poetry.

You wanna swapsie-trade the coat, or you got me somtin sweeta? I take nibs, bits.......1000 G-bits and you got me hired. But I like that coat too.'


'It's a good deal man, said Flex, 'good deal, five miles is five miles. We come too, me n the dog! I got no ties to this street.'

Flex looks at Shabra who sighs, 'Yeah yeah, whoever, no pipin' in my *vicular though.'

Renyke knows that Flex could be useful, and the robodog too. It was obedient and would do as it was told.



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