Monday, April 23, 2012

Project #4: Final

For the online final version Click Here

Suspension of disbelief is essential, and required.  
There are 5 images on the screen in front of you, each with its own unique sound from a specific album.  Mouse over each one to hear something different and get a feel for it, vibe for a minute or two, or as you choose.  When you are ready to proceed simply write 2 lines of free verse that you feel captures the style or tone of the music you’ve just heard.
If you don’t feel like putting in the effort, you may simply cut and paste any of these snippets into the text box below and submit it to continue.
“That’s why I can’t be caught up in all the hype
I keep my soul tight and let these lines take flight.”
“So like I was CEO I do my thing son
and turn this underground rap thing to my kingdom.”
“The beat is sinister, Primo makes you relax
I’m like the minister, when I be lacin’ the wax.”
The Early Years

“Can a record tell a story?  Do vinyl grooves have their own memories separate from their purpose?  These are questions that may be asked by the records themselves, slumbering in their cardboard sheaths late at night, neglected in musty crates in the back of extinct record stores.  Do records talk to each other?  What language do they speak?  Do they pose and posture like the artists on their jacket covers, or do they swagger from their souls?” 
-the record formerly known as Purple Rain
In the year of our Lord 1981 Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five laid bare their souls on my wax, leaving crisp vibrations in my grooves that would later be known as the Wheels of Steel.  An evocative nickname to be sure, but I was never quite comfortable with the moniker.  The wheel implies movement, forward movement to be specific, and while I do indeed spin like a disco ball I never seem to go anywhere.  That expression will doubtless date me but I have no qualms about my relative age.  I am timeless and invincible...except when you break me over a knee, at which point I become infinitely fragmented and sad.

The South Bronx has always been my heart and soul, ever since I was a speck of dust waiting to materialize into the form you see me in today.  The streets used to be so alive, so full of vigor and excitement, so beautiful.  Now their just gutters where I fear I will inevitably find my final resting place.  
Make no mistake, I have a soul.  Toss aside the fact that I am the embodiment of dreams and soundscapes and you will find that the atoms present in your body are the same that make up mine.  They may have a little more flavor than yours, but I won’t judge.

The streets as an idea has been corrupted for many years by fake gangsters and phony lyricists, as if they had no shame, and is almost unrecognizable to me.  Newer records tell me I am old and out of style, that I no longer feel the rhythm of the world, the rhyme lost to me.  To these young punks I simply ask them to listen to my stories, to hear me spin and they will understand their heritage.  No one ever takes me up on that offer.  

Clearly I am old and used up now, sitting by a fireplace that doesn’t exist in a chair that isn’t real and reminiscing for the children.  Back in my day there was respect.  There was hope.  There were dreams.  When I sit on the shelf packed in among all the other discarded relics of martyrs past and listen to the young records spin their stories I don’t hear anything.  All I hear is the emptiness of a dying culture.  When I finally get my chance to spin one last time you will hear my yell, kick and fight for my soul.  The question is whether or not there will anyone to listen to my voice.
The Intellectual

A records soul is forever alight, sounds and feelings shooting this way and that faster than the human eye can perceive, a nest of vinyl neurons connected by only the slightest of microfibers.  In truth the shape of the record itself is just as significant as its inner recordings, just as human appearance often has dual factors.  

I have never stopped to wonder what I my physical shape really looks like, whether I look better with my sleeve on or off, whether dust makes me look old or distinguished.  These petty trivialities make no nevermind to the shape of my heart nor the strength of my mind.  In a world of materialities there is no place for my thoughts as they have no physical reality.  They exist only to the extent that I exist.  When I cease to exist so will everything I have ever conceived in my years of spinning, always spinning.  

“Unless...” I muse to myself. “Unless my thoughts have lodged themselves in a listener’s ears, made their way to his or her mind and sparked something, anything.  If that were to happen there would be continuing evidence of my existence long after I have faded away, even if only minimally.”

Of all the reasons why we are alive this is the most important.  The truth in the words of my maker that are stamped into my skin must live on in someone, somewhere.  If this is not the case then what was it all for?  The struggle becomes meaningless, the fight silly.  I refuse to believe this will come to pass.  These works that I have been entrusted with are too beautiful, too painfully luminous to be cast aside and forgotten.  There will be a new day for them, if not for me, and the cycle will continue.  Of this I am hopeful and hold out hope.

  But hope has a funny way of betraying the innermost yearnings of man and beast alike, and why should this not hold true for my inanimate self?  I must be ready for a future that may in all likelihood have no place for the teachings of my maker.  Good does not always overcome as fairytales would have the human mind believe, a simple trick to lead the hopes and dreams of children to water in their formative years.  And despite the evidence, I still have faith.  What an odd little human contrivance, and yet I notice that it exists inside me.  I wonder, how much of my maker did he inscribe onto me...
New-School Soul Classic
I was there at the turn of the century, distilling myself to an atomic essence in the head of my maker.  To many I may have seemed like a righteous angel, forcing back the darkness and despair, fighting against the hordes of YMCMB artists and fans, all for the glory of hip hop.  

In truth I may have also been seen as the last gasping breath of a dying breed, one that has very little place in the new world being born.  I’m never quite sure which I see myself as; it hardly matters at all anymore, perception means nothing without context and a fresh pair of dunks.

Weather patterns seem important to the human mind but of these I am blissfully unaware.  In a fair and just world the weather on the tenth of February, 2006 would have been dark, dreary and too bleak for words.  My makers heart was fragile, his body seemed through with small structural cracks and unseen weaknesses.  I can’t speak for the rest of my brothers, but I felt it when it happened.  He died and the part of him inscribed into me cried out.  

The years since his passing have been empty.  So much potential for evolution and growth wasting away in front of me while I sit idly by and have no choice but to watch in horror as the world continues to turn.  I hear many of my owners complain about God, how he can in his infinite wisdom stand aside while uncounted atrocities take place and do nothing.  Religion is a thing of the flesh, of the mind, and as I have neither is of no real consequence, but to God I say that he is selfish for taking my maker away just so he could have him by his side.

There are few of me left now, rotting in cardboard sleeves on dusty shelves or entombed in glass cases and hung like prized deer heads.  The few of us that still get to spin are lovingly cared for, the rest orphans not lucky enough to have been adopted by rich parents.  

There is an emptiness in my soul that cannot be filled, and in bitter moments I find myself wishing it never will be.  In a dismal way it defines me and lends itself to my vinyl parts, adding character and loss where before there was once only plastic and glue.  
“Yes Yes Ya’ll, and Ya Don’t Stop”...but we do inevitably stop, we have no choice.  Electricity runs out, energy fades, and sounds lose their echo in time.  Those of us lucky enough to get our swan song are limited in number and hold our prize close to our hearts, rarely letting the light of day shine through. 

When the last turntable breaks in the basement of a lone disciple we will truly die.  We will continue to exist, but our existence will have no purpose.  We will no longer be able to express ourselves or fulfill our meaning.  We will be the guardians of a lost ideal, silent and alone until our atoms become dust and our grooves fade away.  

It will be as if we never existed at all.

If you would like to revisit any of the music portions of the story they are all only a few clicks away.  Below is the track list for each level of the story for your reference.  Enjoy.
Level 1: The Early Years  
Artist Tracks
GF&F5 The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel
Level 2: The Intellectual
Artist Album Tracks
Gangstarr Moment of Truth Work
You Know My Steez
Moment of Truth
What I’m Here 4

Level 3: New-School Soul Classic
Artist Album Tracks
J Dilla Donuts Donuts (intro)
One For Ghost
Dilla Says Go
Last Donut of the Night

Monday, April 9, 2012

Journal #7

Nano-Dreams: Swan Song

“Death is certain. It’s hour, uncertain.”

A nerve impulse is a terrible thing to waste. If we could see them in action would we appreciate them more? I think not. It would only lend itself to further musings on our own mortality and eventual return to the atomic dust from which we are purported to have sprung from.

A web of neurons alight with life and vigor appears beautiful from a grand perspective, city lights twinkling on and off, thoughts racing here and there, always giving the impression that even in the darkness somewhere there remains light. The lights themselves die as fast as they are born, skipping beats faster than comprehension or vision can account for, and when they are burnt out they are cast aside, so much unneeded material waste.

“Dr. Gibson’s integration with me may be having some unforeseen effects Doc. I’m not much for the intellectualizing of the world around me while sober, but I’m finding myself working my way through thoughts that would never have fascinated me before.”

“Even with the relative experimental quality of this process, I would be surprised if you didn’t experience something like that.”

“It needs to stop.” I snapped, taking a deep breath. “This can’t be my life. I’m not ready to be somebody else. I feel like my existence is slipping under the bus, and Eve is going to take over.”

The Doc takes a long look at me over the rims of his glasses, considering. “You won’t be taken over. It’s my belief that every persons body is in a sense hardcoded to their souls, somewhat like DNA. While I can’t prove this empirically, I’m going to tell you that Eve cannot ‘take over’ from you. Your body would in essence reject her.” He stops talking and I get the feeling he is waiting to see how I’m going to take that.

“What if I become a secondary player in my own life? What if she takes over enough to put me in a subconscious vault or something?” I said in a fervor. “What if I become witness to my life without any agency? Can you imagine a greater torment than that? Can you Doc!?”

“If that had been the aim of Dr. Gibson’s project I don’t believe she would have gone about it in the way she did. Trust that this is an integration, not a subversion.” He leans back in his chair across from me and considers his notes. “What you are experiencing is totally new, all we can do is try and get you through it as quickly and painlessly as possible.”

“Can we continue?” asked the Doc.

“Let’s continue.” I said, sitting back and waiting.

“He’s right you know.” said Eve, stepping over an invisible threshold and sitting down on a park bench that wasn’t there a second ago. “Your body would reject my hostile takeover, and in all likelihood we would both die.”

“You can hear all the things that I’m hearing? In real-time?” I said, clenching my fists. “This is my life damnit! You forfeited yours.”

“I did no such thing. Death was just the final stage of my research.” Eve said smiling mischievously. She brushes a lock of hair out of her eye and looks out at the infinite nothing surrounding us. “The people backing my research may have wanted a finished product that they could use for one advantage or another. Military, social, economic...I never really cared. The truth is that I saw our world dying, and Cynthia7 was my solution to the human race.”

“I don’t like your tone when you say ‘solution’ Eve. I don’t like it one bit. The human race is not an equation to be solved for a variable, it’s you, it’s’s people for fucks sakes!”

“Don’t you see, that’s precisely for whom I did all of this. Everything you see right now, the integration of two complete souls existing and growing together...Don’t you see!?! We are evolving! Evolving beyond God’s wildest dreams.” Eve said and continues to smile as she closes her eyes and tilts her head back as if soaking in sunlight on a bright summer day.

“She did it...she really did it.” I mumbled to myself, sitting up straight in the lab chair.

“She’s created Artificial Evolution.” I said wide eyed starring at the Doc and through him, out into the future she had envisioned for us. “The dawn of a new age is approaching; Eve Gibson is its first savior, and it’s first martyr.”

“Yes...” said the Doc. “Yes, I believe she is.”

How fitting.

Project #3: Place & Setting

Visit the Webpage here: Click Here

I Dream of Home

Memory 1a:

She is happy today and doesn’t know why. The house envelopes Grace in a bubble of calm, seeming to expand and contract with every breath she takes. The floor creaks and crackles a whimsical greeting as she steps from floorboard to floorboard. She always liked that when she was growing up, the constant hum of the house, the collection of little sounds that made up the background chorus. Grace doesn’t remember why she ever left this place.

The morning sun shines through the lower levels as she sits on the empty living room floor with pictures laid out in front of her. Her mother smiles back at her with a secret, her father grimaces into the camera to hide his teddy bear nature. Her two brothers have their arms around each other and look straight ahead, always serious. Christmas’s and Thanksgivings, birthdays and graduations, all laid out with great care for her to see. She knows it will never be like that again and cries. The house goes silent.

Memory 1b:

“How can this house still hold so many memories?” asked Grace.

“The logical part of my brain would say that it doesn’t, and that you’re just projecting your memories on its inanimate parts.” said Greg, Grace’s younger brother.

“But?” said Grace, raising her eyebrow.

“But my heart says that the house is a living organism, with its own organs and molecules and atoms. And they all store memories, just as we do.”

“Do you think Mom would mind me moving back in?”

“I think you’d make her very happy, wherever she is.”

Memory 2a:

There’s nobody home, the house is dark and quiet. ‘How could she ever have called this depressing place home?‘ she wonders to herself. Grace crosses the creaking floor and stops when she sees her own shadow pasted across the far wall, grossly distorted and misshapen like her memories of home. This house had haunted her dreams for so long and for all that is no less terrifying in real life. It smells of must and fear, of years of oppression and despair. The light that filters through the grey dirt crusting the window screens even manages to be dismal and dank, if light can be such a thing, nearly wet with darkness and a weighty conscience.

The door leading to the basement is slightly open and reeks of neglect and toxic earthly fumes. The gas heater may have broken but Grace doesn’t care, opening the door and aiming her small pocket penlight down the steps as she goes. She reaches the bottom and flashes her light around in a slow circle noticing the few remaining boxes of her childhood things stashed carelessly atop one another in a corner. The labeling on the boxes wore away years ago, but Grace knows exactly what she is looking for and where it is hidden.

The darkness is stifling and she has a hard time breathing normally as she walks over to one box in particular. Carefully pulling aside the mildewing cardboard flaps Grace reaches in and comes away with a handful of painfully faded pictures. Her mother, her Father, her two brothers, and a few of herself. She turns her back on the rest of the lost items and leaves the graveyard behind, returning to the surface without a single tear shed.

Memory 2b:

The fire crackles fiercely in the back yard repelling the memories of the house and its demons. Grace stands alone and slowly feeds her polaroid dreams to the fire one by one, inch by bubbling inch she frees herself.

“They loved me...they loved me not.” Grace repeats to herself over and over. “Don’t worry Mother, I won’t forget.”

If Grace tended towards melodrama more she might have taken the ashes of the spent fire and scattered them somewhere desolate and empty, just to drive the point home. She foregoes this and leaves the ashes where they fell, leaving their final destination to the wind.

Memory 3a:

Her body is shaking uncontrollably; what is real and what is fantasy. Grace can no longer tell them apart. She’s not sure if she wants to anymore. Coming home has driven a red hot stake through the core of her essence, splitting her in two. She can no longer remember the truth of her life, the truth of her childhood. The house she stands in lives and breathes, existing in light and deep darkness at the same time. She knows this is not possible, knows that this is not her in her right mind. Grace staggers towards the front door, her hands feeling their way along the crooked walls, each crack and nook in the plaster holding her back. The house has turned against her, its intent thick in the night air. She can’t breathe.

Her mothers body silently laid out in the dark pine coffin had more of an affect on her than she had anticipated. She wanted to feel nothing, nothing at all. A solid wall of apathy and morphine was supposed to keep her isolated from herself. Countless years spent building up these walls inside herself had been useless and the reasoning behind it even more worthless. Her emotions betrayed her and her mind followed.

Memory 3b:

Grace lays on the floor of the collapsing house and stares at the ceiling as it rips apart. The house swims in her vision, dust falls and timber shakes. The foundations underneath her body shiver with excitement and begin to crack and shift. Her mind has deserted her for good.

“Will this dream visit me again tomorrow?” she wonders sadly, knowing that it will. The house that had once shared so many wonderful memories with Grace takes one last breath with her and shatters leaving nothing but a dark stain on the ground.

Journal #6

Nano-Dreams: Con’t

“Reasonable argument is impossible when authority becomes the arbiter.”

Eve is a ridiculous name given who you are don’t you think?” I said, gesturing around at the emptiness surrounding us. She cracked a smile so slight it was almost an illusion.

“Given that I had no control over my naming or my birth I’d say that it’s inconsequential at this point. A name is a name, a set of symbols represented and communicated by various noises from one person to another. What they mean is entirely man made.” Dr. Gibson replied. She swished the skirt of her dress back and forth like a little girl trying on a new present.

“Who’s mind-space are we in right now?”

“Who’s mind-space would you like us to be in?”

“Don’t play games with me Dr. Gibson, I haven’t got the patience.” I replied angrily.

“This is not a game. In fact, this project is of the upmost seriousness.”

“Then answer the question please. This is all new to me.”

“The answer is that we are in neither your or my mind-space. If I had to guess I would say that our current surroundings are a projection between the two, like a bridge. This bridge appears to be two way, as I can forge my way into your memories from here and you can do the same.”

“We can read each others minds in here? That can’t be possible.”

“Why not? You are currently unconscious in the ‘real’ world talking to a dead woman’s soul downloaded from a memory drive into your nervous system. What’s impossible is no longer of any importance.”

“Come back slowly son. You’re going to have a very large headache and some nausea, which we can fix with this very large aspirin. At least that’s the hope.”

The Doc comes slowly into focus amid my tearing, furiously blinking eyes. “I feel like I died and got put back in my body. This is terrible.”

“It’ll take some getting used to, but Dr. Gibson seemed to think that the process would become easier the more practice a subject had with the procedure.”

“Well, if Dr. Gibson said it’ll be alright what’s there to worry about?”

“Had a good time in there did we?”

“I wouldn’t say that, it was more like a first date gone horribly wrong while having dinner in The Twilight Zone.”

“That good?” smirked the Doc, turning aside to write something down.

“That good.”

“Would it be ok if I went for round two? I need to set some things straight with Eve as soon as possible so we can get this project going in the right direction.”

“We’re running out of time anyway, you might as well go for it. But there will be serious physical repercussions. Nothing we can’t handle, I just wanted you to have full disclosure.”

“Thanks for the warning Doc. Plug me in.”

“Can I ask you a personal question?”

“You could get the answer to whatever questions you have from my memories, why waste time with asking?”

“We’re going to be working together, and despite the way in which we communicate I want us to get to know each other in a more human way.”

“That’s such a silly affectation. Why would you want to hold on to your idea of human interaction in this place?”

“It’s what we do. Don’t you miss it?”

“Don’t tell me what we do! I know very well what WE do. We build machines to do our work, to kill our enemies and to take care of us and then have the nerve to complain when they begin to play other roles in our society.”

Eve turns away abruptly, the skirt from earlier replaced with a severe pair of dark pants and matching sweater. She has turned cold and is retreating along the bridge toward her side, her safety.

“Please, don’t go. I apologize for being rude to you, I really do. I need what is inside your head, and what’s more the world does as well.”

“A bit cliched isn’t it, asking me to help you save the world?”

“Absolutely. But it doesn’t mean I’m wrong for asking.”

Journal #5

Nano-Dreams: (Con’t)

“Nobody’s invincible, no plan is foolproof. We all must meet our moment of truth.”

“Who found the body Doc?” I asked.

“We don’t have any confirmed reports on that, rumor is her lab assistant found the body by accident.” The doctor replied flipping through his case notes. “The ME is still in the process of completing the autopsy but I wouldn’t hold my breath as far as finding anything unusual.”

I sat up at that. “Why would you say that?”

“Dr. Gibson was a true scientist. If there was no measurable empirical benefit to something she wouldn’t take part in it.” He sighed. “Even with necessities, food, water; she always weighed the pros and cons of everything. So the idea that she had an unusual drug or substance in her system is alien to me.”

“People break Doc. People break hard and they break often.”

“This voicemail is for the machine. Her name is Cynthia and she is alive. Treat her kindly and maybe, just maybe she won’t destroy you all.”

Eve hangs up the cell phone and drops it on the floor of her apartment, crushing it underfoot with the heel of her stiletto. “They won’t listen. It should give them a nice postmortem scare though.” she giggles to herself.

Her apartment is spotless in anticipation. No note, but those few who know her will walk in and know that she was ready for a long trip. It’s more fitting this way anyway.

“In the end they can all bite me.” She should have left THAT on the message.

“She won’t integrate with me goddamnit!”

“We’re going to have to try a different approach to this. We can’t expect her memories to fully join with your personality unless you in some sense get to know her, understand her first.”

“She’s dead Doc.” I gestured at the window. “And from what I’ve been hearing there wasn’t a fucking soul who knew her.”

There was once a girl...” Eve whistles to herself, climbing floor by floor. “She changed the world in one beautiful atomic moment. Then she died.”

Eve felt that there was a children’s book in there somewhere; she felt there was a children’s book in all of us. What did that say about the nature of our core souls? Absolutely nothing, just like everything else worthwhile. Psychiatrists call this being bipolar, and have been telling Eve she needed to be medicated for years. Eve has been telling them that she creates new molecules every day and until they can do that they can bite her.

She smiles at the thought of the ten’s of doctors she has had to see over the years, all lined up on the ledge with her, all smiling. What a world that would be.

“You will in essence be the first.” The doctor said pointing a knobby finger at my chest. “She is in there, whether you can feel her or not, and in that way you are now the person she is the closest too. That’s the truth.”

“Couldn’t even buy me dinner before downloading into my soul for christ’s sakes...what does that say about a person?”

“It says that now you two are married in the truest sense of the archaic ritual. For life, for better or for worse. You’re going to have to get used to the idea of deeply connecting with someone that you cannot see, that has no material form. A person that despite that is no less real than you.”

“Look at Mr. Zen over hear.” Sarcasm is a perfect mask for me. “I’m willing to go along with your ideas for now. How do I start? Can I just mentally shout her name and magically her soul will be there?”

“I doubt it, but it might. There are no answers here.” He chuckled. “For the duration we’re not going to be operating on a conventional doctor-patient relationship. It would be better if you simply thought of us as explorers. Explorers with global consequences.”

The ledge feels wonderful under her toes. She can feel every piece of matter shifting and colliding with each other. There are no more beginnings and no more ends, only constant change.

Eve wonders if she is enlightened. She has no ego, she is aware of the connections between every atom in the universe, she is content. But she feels pride somewhere in her being. Pride for her creation, her baby. She rejects her enlightenment in favor of this feeling. It’ll be her last.

“Take a deep breath son. We’re going to have to begin again until we get this right.”

“I’m breathing Doc! I just don’t feel anything of her.”

“Close your eyes. Let yourself go, feel your conscious mind relax inch by inch. Listen to the sound of your synapses firing thousands of times per second. Eve is there in the gaps.”

My breath became slower, my heart steadier, and then I saw her. She was beautiful and it hurt.

Project #2: Character & Dialogue

Visit the project website: Click Here


“My only question is why.”

“Why can be a powerful question, one that can’t always be so easily answered. You should know this by now. Sit and share one last game with me, maybe we will come to an answer.” the Old Man said, gesturing at the board and the empty seat across from him. I can feel the blood slowly trickling down my arm to my wrist and off each digit of my hand. The bleeding has slowed, but not enough.

Lowering myself gingerly into the offered seat is difficult, as you might imagine, and doing it with a loaded gun clutched in an unsteady hand is not helping the fact. I placed the gun on the side of the board, aimed to the right of the Old Man so as not to tempt fate. A black pawn is already sitting out on the board waiting for its competitor.

“I respect your choice to always be white,” sighed the Old Man. “Sadly, it is not an affectation many can afford to have.”

“You know just as well as I do it’s not a choice with me. I just don’t have it in me”

“Ah...that’s where you’re wrong my boy. You, more than anybody, should know that everyone has it in their nature to be evil.” The Old Man said, grinning sadly. “The human mind, and body, cannot exist without this opposition. Even when we play this game it is simply a distillation of the ongoing struggle we have inside our own shells.”

“We will see, that I can promise you.” I said moving my own pawn out.

“This very nature cannot help but express itself, even in this playful medium...we have played together many times, you should trust me by now on this.” The Old Man said, considering my play.

“Old Man, this will be our last conversation. I would hope that the least you could do was be honest with me.” I said, taking the glass of whiskey he handed to me.

“So this is to be the way of it then? Very well...our time together has meant a great deal to me, and I wouldn’t want you to think that I was not aware of your sacrifices.” He takes a drink, quiet now in his thoughts. I can see his eyes tracing the outline of the gun sitting next to the table. I wonder if he has one stashed away inside his coat; maybe under the table or behind the chair.

“First question: Was Bishop involved?”

“No. There has always been only me.” said the Old Man. He looks sadly at me. “There won’t be anything left of either of us after we’re done here will there?”

“No, there won’t.” I said.

Bishop (Choice 1, part1)

Earlier that day.

“It’s time” I said to Bishop.

“I know.”

“I’m sorry you got involved in this, I truly am. There was no other way.”

“I always had a feeling everything would turn out something like this. I hoped it wouldn’t though. Stupid right?” said Bishop, smiling ruefully.

“There is no shame in hoping for something better. No shame at all.”

“May I say a prayer before you do it?”

“What exactly do you think I brought you here for?”

“I figured I was on your cleanup list. You can’t be free until all the loose ends are gone, right?”

“True. But you’re not on the list. There will be enough bodies to go around, but you have things left to do, just like me.”

He laughs so loud and abruptly it almost scares him, “AHAHAHAHHAHA, Grant you never cease to amaze.” He takes a deep breath, “I’ll say goodbye then.”

“I think that’s a good start.” I said.


“What did Castle offer you that finally tempted you to hand me over?” I said watching him take my knight. The play had been a bad one, he had called my bluff. Hesitation and meekness were costing me the game.

“They offered me my freedom. That is all that has ever been withheld from me these past 20 long years.”

“Do you feel no guilt? No sense of loyalty, or betrayal?”

“The day we first met, do you remember what I told you?” He asked without seeming to hear me.

“You told me that there are no constants in this world. Everything is always in a state of change, and the minds attempts at arranging and ordering this chaos are a waste of time.” I replied.

“Ah, it makes me happy that you remember our first encounter so well. And you are correct about what it was I said to you those years ago. But I wonder, did you ever take it to heart?”

“Defeat is not something I will ever ‘take to heart’.”

“You are still young, although you won’t live much longer. I am willing to bet that given enough time you would have eventually come to see the truth in what I taught you.”

“Try to convince yourself of that all you want, but it will never be the truth.”

“Do you reject everything you and I have done, everything we have seen? How can you say it has been anything but what I told you it would be?”

“Our time together is no longer was founded on loyalty, a loyalty that you broke.”

“Is that your answer?”


The Old Man considered the board and sighed. “Then let’s continue. There is no going back, not ever.”

Castle (Choice 1, part 2)

Earlier that day, again.

“I always knew you were a sneaky son of a bitch, but I never thought you’d manage to get the Old Man on board.” I said, confronting Castle.

“There are virtually no limits to what a person will or won’t do my friend. You should know that better than anybody” he said.

“Did you have approval from the Council?”

“Of course.”

“Then you chose your fate.”

“I wouldn’t say that. I chose a side. Say what you will, but at least I’m loyal.”

“There was only ever one man who had my loyalty, and you managed to co-op him with false promises. You were a dead man the minute you chose to obey the Council.”

“There really isn’t any grey with you is there? Always black and white. I wonder if that’s what made you such a useful asset.”

“Your time is up.”

“Go fuck yourself Grant. I mean that from the bottom of my deep, dark heart.”



“There can be no further doubt as to the danger Heckler poses us. I will not have him underestimated again! Find him, neutralize him, and if it comes to it kill him. This matter needs to be resolved before the next full council session, is that understood?” yelled Council Member Odin.

The cowed heads of the other three council members nodded agreement.

“We can no longer handle this quietly. There will be collateral damage and unwanted attention.” said Council Member Freyja.

“This is of no consequence at this point in the game. Heckler must be dealt with, we cannot afford to let this situation continue any longer.” Council Member Loki responded.

“We are in agreement then. This will be handled and wrapped up by tomorrow evening. We can proceed with finding his replacement as soon as possible.” said Council Member Baldr.

“The Old Man is no longer an asset without Heckler. All in agreement?” Loki said.




A soft knock on the door reverberates in the small space. “Come in.” said Odin.

“Heckler!” screamed Freyja in fear, “’re supposed to be dead you bastard!”

Grant approaches the head of the table and stands silently at attention.

“Say something!” Baldr yells desperately, “SAY SOMETHING!”

“You haven’t come to talk have you boy?” said Odin.

“No.” said Grant.

“Then do what you came to do, we can’t stop you. The angel of death visits us all I suppose, no point in crying about it.”

“Goodbye.” said Grant, and pulled the trigger.


“They will come for you, there is no escaping that. Reality will come knocking at your door and there won’t be a damn thing you can do to stop it.” He said sighing into his whiskey glass. I almost caught a glimpse of my mentor in that split second, hidden away inside the husk of this beaten man sitting across from me. The thought would have put me in tears if I had any left to shed.

“The council is no longer a functioning entity. They can’t hurt me from hell, not yet anyway.”

“What have you done!?” he gasps.

“You may believe that trying to order the chaos of the world is a waste of time, but I do not. I will go to my grave trying to leave an ordered account of myself for everyone to see.”

“You can’t simply wipe out the council and expect there to be no repercussions. Castle will report this to Central if he hasn’t already.”

“Castle no longer factors into the equation.”

The Old Man smiles and breaks into laughter. “My boy, I’m so proud. Whether you accept it or not, you truly are my heir. A dubious honor, I realize, but there it is.”


“Yes, I see it.”

“Everything could have been so different. Yet you chose this. I would hope that that is punishment enough, but I know it’s not.”

His king moves one space to the right out of my reach again. “You shouldn’t worry about my punishment. I know I chose the wrong side, let my weakness take the lead,” he clasped his hands together and studied the board a final time, “but there is no reality but the present. Finish what you started. Always.”

All dreams must end.


Journal #4


“I keep my soul tight and let these lines take flight.”

“The memories are still unclear...unfocused somehow. Like they don’t know what order they’re supposed to go in. I’m guessing its a glitch from the transfer process Doc.” I said. The Doc and I were sitting in his office surrounded by diploma’s and dark wooden furniture. Strangely enough the room reeked of barbicide.

“That is a very real possibility. Dr. Gibson’s protocol wasn’t finished at the time of her...untimely death. We went over this when you volunteered for the procedure, and we have a number of possible solutions.” He said, reaching for another sheaf of paper.

“What kind of success rate are we looking at for these ‘solutions’?”

“Frankly, it could be anywhere between 10%-83% by our current estimates depending on how your body responds to the treatments.”

“This is ridiculous Doc!” I almost yelled, flinging myself from the chair and pacing frantically around the small room. “Those odds wouldn’t get you a chair at the penny slots in Vegas, much less a willing patient for a trial procedure.”

“There are no previous cases to compare any of this too. I need you to understand the importance and severity of your condition. You are patient zero in every aspect of the term. You need to prepare yourself for that. There can be no misunderstanding.”

“When can we begin the trials again?” I ask, settling back in the office chair.

“The lab will be ready in a few days. Until then I’m going to need you to tell me in detail about the memories. Can you tell the difference between the personal memories and the targeted implant memories?”

I looked him straight in the eye. “Can you?”

The setting is still, clear. The wind rockets against the panes of glass dexterously placed inside the flimsy window frame, but she is not afraid. She is safe. She is almost free.

Her parents had named her Eve. They would never know how fitting that name would come to be, her the new mother of American nano-tech weaponry. The hive queen, sitting in her underground layer surrounded by scurrying workers and assistants all waiting for the birth of a new world.

“Could this be it?” she calmly thinks to herself. Her little room sits high above the city, far removed from her professional life buried under the sidewalks and sewers. Strange to think that the beating heart of Cynthia7 stirs under the feet of so many people unaware of the monster so close at hand.

She felt her soul die the day she created Cynthia7. It did not die of sadness, or fear, or a broken heart. It died because on that day Eve felt nothing. No regret, no remorse. She gave everything to her creation and it in turn granted her freedom from her own morality.

There were no more reasons for her to stay.

“Did you say Cynthia7?” barks the doctor in a hoarse whisper. “How can you possibly know about that?”

“I have vague images and thoughts that I think bled through from Eve, I mean Dr. Gibson, during the memory download. I can only make coherent sense of small portions though.”

“We’re going to have to revisit this later but right now we need to talk about the physio-memory integration. The nanocytes grafted into your skin act as conductors of sorts. The problem is that they’re command structure is directly linked to Dr. Gibson’s DNA. For the process to function at full capacity you’re going to have to in essence make Eve Gibson a part of yourself.”

“How can I possibly do that? These memories are fragments at best and unintelligible nonsense at worst.”

“The bottom line is that they are coded to react to her personality and her soul, for lack of a better word. You won’t be able to effectively use the nano-weapons unless you make this happen.”

“Then there’s no choice.”

Eve is standing on a ledge with a white dove. She has been observing its movements so closely that she has lost track of time. Timing is important today. The dove takes one last look at her and leaps into the void of air below, miraculously soaring on invisible tactile currents. Eve wonders if the dove has any idea of what a current is. Does it leap into nothingness because of instinct? Does it know what fear feels like?

She lifts her arms from her sides and stretches them away from her body. Her fingers are spread as wide as they can go, the tips feeling out the wind like feathers. Her knees bend and a smile creases her worn face.

“I leap, therefore I am.” she whispers, to no one in particular.