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(Turq) Lifeline

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posted on Jun, 11 2004 @ 11:32 PM
Disclaimer: This short story is in no way meant to demean Mexicans, inbreed midgets, tape worms, Taco Bell employees, cannibals, those with no sense of humor or cyberneticaly enhanced individuals. Any occurrence of such hostility is merely perceptional and you should cease feeding off your repressed aggression. And now, on with the show!


Chapter 7

“Please spare some credit chips, sir!”

I have nothing left to spare anymore, neither credits nor sympathy, and so I continue unhampered towards my destination. Besides you could tell just by glancing at this mud-caked scavenger that he had been hopelessly contaminated with Jrang worms. Onyx tubes swimming beneath the whites of his eyes accompanied by the stench of decay clearly gives it away. Jet black lines under blood-shot red ones; pulsating corneal highways intersecting byways that even the most brazen of machines would not dare transverse. For this was the reason behind the boost in global sales of cybernetic appendages, the rotting of flesh due to these parasites. New Europa had been like this for years. A dark industrial wasteland of twisted metal shards stabbing at the sky…or just maybe reaching up in an attempt to reclaim the past, to recall the heavens. This was once the genesis colony for foreigners who dreamt of peace and integration. I remember the shadow of what was, but now very few of these dilapidated buildings are even structurally sound enough to provide residence for the most stubborn life forms. It seems as though New Europa and I share something in common: desolation. We are both apparitions of a war that could not recognize this world afterwards and are unable to recall the true purpose of our original design.

Each step I commit to breathes life into the next and death to the last or perhaps it was the other way around. You see, Time and I had a falling out years ago on account of my denial to accompany his brother Death in a speed buggy race to Sector 97 (aka Hades), but my rebreathers could never effectively filter out the harshness of arid desert landscapes. I had hung on because I believed it to be justified, but who am I to differentiate between right and wrong. I am just a man…well, for the most part.

This place now seems to excrete the odor of a bygone tomb to me. A static space soiled and littered with the weak residual energy of hope. Dust comes to dust, but here even dust is too spent to find locomotion. The calmness of home rushes over me in blanket like waves.


Chapter 6

Bathed in the shame of dirty neon lights, I paused below the sign for Monochrome Red: the last building resilient enough to accommodate a club in New Europa. It’s quite ironic that a town dubbed as such would mutate into this cesspool of disease and inorganic psudo-life considering the moon Europa was once seen as the best chance for alien life in our solar system. The human race has only themselves to blame for this monumental misunderstanding. It was my species that directed the first shot fired in this play for moral supremacy. The blindness of monkeys brings the hammer down on their own toe nails out of the fear from spiders scampering across the floor. This is the birth right that would be carved into our children‘s flesh, but we all have our crosses to bare.

When the Jrang worm plague began, most thought that it was just another terrestrial mutation of a prior organism, the result of hundreds of years’ pollution. Apparently some humans actually welcomed the visitors with open arms…as well as legs. The merging of human and Europian body fluids merely acted as a catalyst for the dormant bacteria. Just add water some joked, but it gets difficult to jest when one is becoming a stiffy in a vertical box. Humans began expiring in such large quantities that there was only enough room to bury them upright. Those able to be sterilized, at least. Although the Jrang worms could not survive without a host for long, cremation became standard CDC procedure out of fear. This will all come together in time, but currently the doorman is waiting.

Cronos, an old acquaintance from Cytec-corps, was the bouncer tonight. Well, at least part of him was. Barely considered half a man, Cronos had so much left over flesh and bone from his melting that he had another Self constructed. Melting is slang for cybernetic enhancement, at least that’s what all the cool kids are calling it. His humanity had been divided: one mechanized man and one humanized machine with a ego/id replicator, top shelf data compressors and an emotion simulator. The android Cronos is quite astounding. Somehow the techheads were able to copy his personality down to the facial tick he gets while drinking. I’m told that every night Cronos and Cronos meet up at their flat and exchange accumulated information via a neurological interface processor of sorts. Cronos claims to have an override code on his ‘twin’, but Cronos states the same so who knows which one is finally in control anymore. If we did not have a history together, even I would be unable to tell the difference between the two.

Pre-Cronos had been infected shortly after joining the corps, while attempting to assist in a transportation accident. He came in contact with the bacteria and started showing symptoms shortly thereafter, thus being restricted to lower clearance Cytec-corps duty do to hysterical prejudice. Post-Cronos fell off the radar for a while until I bumped into him at Monochrome Red. It was only then that I realized the techheads had to keep amputating and sterilizing parts in order to eradicate the Jrang worms. There is a preventative vaccine (Depro-Jartoxid), however it is reserved for government officials and high ranking military personnel. I was one of the original test subjects; an eager guinea pig willing to do anything to escape death, but it was not without a price. It seems as though the trial formulation incapacitated the section of the brain that causes emotional responses. More than an adequate trade off for not being eaten inside-out if you ask me.

Looking down at my watch, I realize that it is winding backwards. A foreboding omen counting down to some unforeseen event. I feel anesthetized even though it seems that I should not. The sensation one has when they know that they have forgotten something, but have no idea as to what it was. Time has never been on my side and so I ignore this seemingly minor triviality. I’ll just acquire a new time piece in the morning.


Chapter 5

Monochrome Red is not a place for the weak-stomached. Actually half of the patrons had wires and nanocarbon tubes in lieu of a digestive track and abdomen tissue. If it was possible to build God out of machines there was enough illegal technology here to do it. I nonchalantly crept through the rhythmic vibrations sprawled across the dance floor towards a dimly lit table in a corner of the room. As soon as I sat down, I was startled by a waitress who materialized and requested a drink preference.

“The usual,” I mumbled half expecting her to just scan my thoughts for the answer. The waitress’s eyes arose as a sunless sky. One could just tell that the model had been updated as the binary code, which relayed over her pupils, moved even faster then I could decipher. Within mere seconds, her ocular lids shuttered and her eyes passed for human again. The words ‘Bockan Ale’ streamed over her exposed cleavage as the electric tattoo danced across her skin like an old cinema marquee sign. No matter how many times I take a chair at Mono’ Red, I am always startled by the immediate response of the attenders by the pressure sensors in the seat cushions.

The adhesive I have been softening as chewing gum is ready and I secretly place it beneath the table along with my ion cartridge pistol. Such things are normally checked at the door (not that the weapon detectors are of much benefit with all the cyborgs trotting about like race stallions), but like I said…Cronos is an old friend. I have been modified, there is no doubt of that, however my work has been more organic manipulation then alkaloid replacement. Enhanced muscle growth hormones, elevated skeletal density, heightened auditory & tactile perception, accelerated tissue regeneration and twin optic filters (heat & night vision which give birth to a reptilian appearance once I flicker my extra eyelids) are among an array of more exotic modifications. Blue pill, red tablet, green gel-cap…I could administer a black eye to pharmaceutical sales with what it takes to keep my nervous system in check. There is also a small plasma emission cylinder in the underbelly of my right arm, but that is only to be used as a last resort. It bears three close range shots from a non-lethal exit in the skin, but it still hurts like hell.


Chapter 4

A repetitive data hum hangs in the air, just another mindless industrial dance beat played until the dj forgets whether it is the end of the song or it’s beginning. My mind becomes sidelined and I think of Jacob, my promise and the Earth/Europa war. If you listen carefully you can hear the executed of this town still resonating in the air, still reasoning with a race that cares not to be reasoned with. It was once a safe haven that became a concentration camp…a death sentence for those who came here seeking alliance. Our grand old government covertly sent in Cutters (level 3 mercenaries) to eradicate the visiting team and hid the evidence by sending military personnel to cleanse the area afterwords. Everyone suspected what had really occurred, but the fear of contamination had grown to such a fevered pitch that a communal blind eye was turned to the incident. Humans can not coincide with their own species, let alone an alien presence. I appear to have surpassed myself as I was speaking of Jacob. He was in the same covert Cytec-corps team as I and transferred part of his chi to mine when had I became near fatally wounded. I owe a favor; a favor that binds us and brings me to this moment in time, but as we all know each moment consumes the next and the god of time must eventually be sated.

Monochrome Red is in fairly decent shape these days despite being in the most heavily bombarded section of New Europa. One could witness the sky dripping in from the disintegrating roof membrane if an upward view was so desired. It might sound dilapidated to you, but the mere fact that ninety percent of the ceiling was still intact is more then could be said for most establishments in this town. By scanning the surroundings, one could almost tell that this was once a restaurant. The chipped brick walls, semi-liquid metal railings, chains hanging from the ceiling…yeah, definitely a restaurant. An androgynous individual with eyebrow horns scampers past the Elvis impersonator at the pool table. By the second-rate job on the horns, one could tell that they were implants and not the cause of genetic modifiers. Although the techno-Joan of Ark impersonator did not seem to care as she was pulsating her groin against his hip like a super nova in transition. In the corner, a troop of little female day-glow goths giggle and crawl the walls in full tilt fashion. It seems as though they had acquired some Dargo root and could not contain themselves. An over enthusiastic android is getting his ear drilled by a human female‘s tongue, perhaps she is searching for iron ore. Pretty much an average night. The clientele consisted mostly of local hoodlums, Triad members, cyborgs, the chronically suicidal, orgmods (mostly organically modified like myself), those searching for the next trendy drug and the occasional tech mage that wandered into a place that he instantaneously realized he should not have entered. It is amusing to watch a tech mage attempting to nervously blend in. It’s like a cat pretending to be a piece of toast; eventually the toaster is going to get wise and cough up the fur ball.


An eyelid flickers, the quick flash of sensation and then it is gone.

Chapter 3

My eyes become distracted by the cadaver revolving on a spit in the eatery. Some poor Europian spinning to the beat of a Covenant song. The more suicidal, technologically hung cyborgs see the marinated body as a delicacy and strip off ribbons of flesh as it rotates. It is sort of like how expensive sports cars were once used as an extension of the penis when men were lacking. It’s a testosterone trip for those who now have their gray matter suspended in motor oil. I hear that they have some sort of support group for it these days, but such is the organs of another story. I have no idea as to what the seasonings are, but I always envision the same thing when I witness it: the phantom of a child’s face, the death of innocence.

I notice my contact stroll in while I sip my Bockan ale. Well, actually my third I believe, it seems as though I have misplaced time again. As he saunters across the dance floor like a balloon in a room of needles, I see the reaper coming ever closer towards me. Not in my contact, but around him as if it was a yet unmaterialized activity. I can feel it…I was there…but time transcends itself…and now I am not.

“Dark tea”, he confidently states almost before he even sits and the chair sensors are activated. The waitress oscillates and is gone again. He slides an engorged package from one pole of the table, across its equator and towards me. Opening the poly-synthetic flap, I see a Europian bile-filter gland packed in frozen cryo-tabs. I ease my finger off the trigger.

Before we go any further let me explain. After the Earth/Europa war any form of Earthling/Europian biological hybridization was deemed illegal according to the Cross-Germination Act (UN128-23R) of 2043. They feared a loss of purity in the human race more so then the Jrang worm. The fools never realized that the means of incubation for the parasite was not more then a nacro-frog’s leap from the filtration gland that could destroy all toxins in the human body.

I slowly pull another envelope out of a sub dermal pocket in my alien Triog shell bio-armor and slide it over to him, changing the polarities of the copper table back to normal in the process. A normalcy which I pray goes unnoticed and unexposed in this atmosphere of social and cultural degradation. He taps the table twice, stands up and is consumed by the haze of the room. As I start to remove my pistol from under the ring-watermarked table, my attention is drawn to a commotion at the bar. That was that moment at which it all fell apart; the instant at which my life inconveniently caught up with itself.


The wall clock flutters and returns within a cycle. There is a shadow within the room that is both there and not there. The sense of calmness is shattered.
Accelerate the beat.

Chapter 2

The visions overtake me in waves and I am left with the peculiar sensation of choking on a hospital bed. This is not the first time I have experienced this odd feeling; the inclination that someone else is peering though my eyes, that I was connected to another. I think that it bothers me most when I am getting out of the shower. It is not that I am overly modest, but rather that I am in a physically vulnerable state at the time. I clamp my eyelids shut and on release it is gone. Just ignore it, Jonna!

Demion, the club promoter and a first class dreg, attempted to lather a new comer in his ego, but this mechanically overstuffed burrito was not having it. No seriously, he was some sort of spicy Mexican cyborg just looking for tequila. From the tilt of his head, it seemed as if he was not even aware of where he had stumbled. One bar too many, but you can not blame the type these days, not after the assimilation of Mexico by the United Territories of Brazil during the South American free-for-all buffet. He is just attempting to desensitize himself from the pain. Well, whatever parts could still be affected by alcohol that is.

Before I could even commit to the deep inhale I knew was coming, the kind that one reflexively takes to appear frightfully looming, the nameless Mexican reached across the bar and twisted Demion’s head clean off his shoulders. Quite impressive strength I might add, but perhaps I am being too generous as I had never cared for him. The next few moments became blurred in time, so being an anally organized individual, I will construct a bullet list for you.

  • Bartender reaches beneath the spare marinating Europian and grabs a Gravi-spin pulse rifle. Unloads the graviton wave cartilage forcing the Mexican into the crowd against his will. The club owners had eliminated lethal staff weaponry a few years ago. It was not so much for humanitarian reasons as it was because of the paperwork required to process and possibly sterilize accidental homicides.
  • An over zealous dreg wishing to protect his leashed manwife jarred by the incident, extends a swing at the Mexican, but only gains a gleaming metal fist through his head. As you can tell, chivalry is not held in the elevated esteem that it once was.
  • The mad burrito cyborg then turns in a blind rage and unloads his roadside produce machine arm-gun blindlessly into the crowd.
  • The dance floor inhabitants not so much scatter as fall to the platform writhing in pain. I’m sure that being raped by projectiles was not necessarily on anyone’s To-Do list for this evening.
  • My armor absorbs the brunt of the fire, but unfortunately I take a hot pepper in the neck.

The heat of the seeds are what you need to be cautious of and I always forget this simple fact. As much as I try, my hands fail to absorb the fluid spewing from my neck. So I lay there, inappropriately bleeding all over myself. A lobster bib would really be helpful at this moment in order to capture the escaping occupants of the red and white cells, but convenience has never been on my side and this prison break is not within my power to quell. The warden has taken a vacation day and his second in command is masturbating in the corner. I hope he catches a bass, but the lure he’s using is not at all appealing and the tides have seemingly changed.

“Code Red! Room Alpha 27-H!” The medial facility intercom belts out across the floors in varying pitches and tones. Strange that they would still be using telepathic midgets roosting in oversized speaker boxes, but I suppose that everyone needs a job. P.R.A.s, psychic relay announcers, seem to be one of the few occupations that the vertically challenged can get, considering their grotesque appearance brought along by generations of inbreeding and the infestation of alien microbes. In this world of disintegrating flesh and tarnished metal, beauty has become highly subjective.

Nearly transparent streaks of white and blue paint the corridor air as medical personnel race to the residents sector. The heat in the patients room rises seven degrees as his heart pounds at an expedient rate. Having grown a mind of its own, this organ wants out. It desires freedom and lucidity. Perhaps someone should have mentioned that neither exist in this realm, a realm in which her distant cousins, Mr. & Mrs. Hand, have created. Psychic midgets are not the only relatives procreating in this reality.

Chapter 1

Oceans of crimson dipping sauce gush through the dam, foolishly masquerading as fingers. The onset of panic begins, but not before I inject the emergency adrenalin solution from a hair-like needle hidden in my ring. This hand-dam is not completely without merit. My flesh shivers from the shock tsunami that rumbles over this shell. I can hear the commotion about me, the frantic sweat being flung from body part to body part. An exquisite ballet of perspiration and machine oil creating symphonies in the atmosphere, but I dare not applaud during this overture as a work station has been pre-assigned to my hands and they already have their fingers full.


“PATTLES, CLEAR, CLEAR, CLEAR,” screams the medical doctor! The near transitional life form on the operating table levitates from the metal slab for a moment, hangs in the air and crashes back down with a sickening meat thud. Again and again the doctor spasms as does the body in some sort of sexual role play. I half expect them to start making out right then and there.

Wait! How can I be seeing this? How is this possible? I am handing the doctor a syringe, some gauze and a packet of Ultra-Chicklets, but I am not controlling any of this; these are not my hands! Time has caught up with me, as I always knew it would, and I am seeing the single moment of my last without the illusion of space through the orbital sockets of another. It is sort of like watching a film from inside the lens of the camera; one is not quite sure where fiction ends and fact begins.

“Forget it,” the doctor concedes as he cancels any assistance with a wave of his hand. “Next of kin?” he sighs as stripping off his gloves.

My lips separate, my tongue recoils and my vocal cords vibrate although I am numb to the sensation. I simply have the remembrance of sensations. The painfully twisted face laying dormant is obscured from my vision, the nurses vision, but I feel as if I know what is coming. “There is no family or contact listed for Jacob Harron,” states the nurse.

Chapter 0

I have become the edge of the waterfall spilling my essence down into the obscured mist below. All of the expensive tinkering the Cytec-Core has done will not lead to my salvation this go around. Time has finally caught up with me. I turn and slowly nod to him in a degree of silent assurance, which acknowledges the inevitable without a word or emotional response of any kind. I suddenly become aware of the fact that I am no longer incorporated within my body. It is not that my consciousness has risen or anything of the like, but that I am simply not connected in a corporeal sense any longer. A curtain of gray seems to obscure my vision and my phantom limbs fall impotent as I realize that I was correct all along. I simply have nothing left to spare.


“I hope that you can now find your way,” the nurse whispers as she turns off the bio-data monitor and pulls the cool, crisp linen over our heads.

Edited for formating.

[edit on 29-6-2004 by Jonna]

posted on Jun, 12 2004 @ 12:14 AM
Lifeline is the first short story that I have written in nearly a decade which probably explains why it is jam packed with information about the story’s created world. Just too many pent up ideas on my part I suppose. So many in fact that this one page story became a six page story and then 3 short stories. At this rate by the end of the month I will have constructed a book without even realizing it. All the stories take place in the same town, New Europa (originally called New Ark as in Newark, NJ), but so far the time line has been played out in reverse. To indicate this, each story has a character that shows up as younger in the next story or prior story if you want to get technical about it. So when all three stories are posted, they will be strangely connected in a way that was obscured before. How I Learned To Overcome Cannibalism is more of a goofy story to lighten the gloom and doom mood, but The Cleansing brings it right back down with a pessimistic commentary on humanity by way of an inter-species blood bath. I’ll stop as I do not want to give away too much. Hope you enjoy it all as this has reminded me how much I love writing.

I need to mention a special thanks to my girl friend, for without her acting as an editor, this story would make even less sense then it already does, but when do I ever make sense?

posted on Jun, 12 2004 @ 09:20 AM
woah jonna!!!
i had high expectations from you, and you certainly didn't let me down
great story, great writing style
excellent job my friend

posted on Jun, 12 2004 @ 12:30 PM
WOW, that blew me out of my socks. This work should be published. Amazing.

Maybe submit it to Heavy Metal. I think they could do it justice. Would look cool too.

[edit on 12-6-2004 by intrepid]

posted on Jun, 14 2004 @ 02:10 AM
Thanks much Intrepid and worldwatcher. I feel like I have this child-like enthusiasm for writing again that I have not felt in years. Just finished the second story moments ago so I should post it in a week (after I get it back from the editing department (aka girlfriend)). It is not that my writing is a complete disaster, but rather that I have become use to writing only poetry and prose. Thus the sentnce structure, while putting my artistic flare on things, is warped to say the least. Something between dislexya and schizophrania.

Intrepid--You are actually in this story, but your name is not stated (Can you find Waldo?). The character bareing your name, as well as two others, is a 'connecter' to the next story. You'll have to wait for the next one.

posted on Jun, 14 2004 @ 11:56 AM
Excellent work Jonna
i liked it a lot, this should be published

posted on Jun, 14 2004 @ 02:13 PM
I enjoyed reading it Jonna.

Great Stuff.

You should post more of your work

posted on Jun, 14 2004 @ 02:19 PM
Thanks infinite & Ocelot! This is actually the first writing of any style that I have done in years. Out-on-ones-own responsibilities and perfecting the cranky old man persona take up most of my time these days. There is a link to my poetry and prose in the web page button if anyone is interested.

[edit on 14-6-2004 by Jonna]

posted on Jun, 14 2004 @ 05:41 PM
With this being the first I hope it will not be the last. You have a wonderful gift that I would like to thank you for sharing with us. I am greatly looking forward to your future posts. GREAT JOB!!!

posted on Jun, 14 2004 @ 05:51 PM
I sure hope I'm not the manwife.

posted on Jun, 15 2004 @ 03:11 PM
Duke_Nukem--Thanks much! I am never quite sure how things I do are going to be received so I am always a bit uneasy, but I got a great response to this story.

intrepit--No, my brief homage to Manwife was in this story. You are actually an android with a unique compulsion in the next story.
I'll post it before the end of the week.

[edit on 15-6-2004 by Jonna]

posted on Jun, 15 2004 @ 03:15 PM
Gotta agree big up Jonna

posted on Jun, 18 2004 @ 11:57 AM
Thanks Lysergic.

I was experienceing a bit of trouble with how the start the third story over the past few days. But then I thought about robotic grenades disquised as insects. What a blood bath this one is going to be.

posted on Jun, 19 2004 @ 12:13 AM
Hey man, I just finished reading your story sooner today, I must say I was completly blown away. I didn't knew you were such a good writter. I love the universe you created for you story, it kind of reminded me the Shadowrun universe a little, even while being completly original and unique in it-self. A dark world, chaos, anarchy, advanced body modifications, futurist slang, and a #ed up character. I loved it all.

You could become the next Isaac Asimov or Frank Herbert. But with a style of your own, that could probably sell a lot, me bet... (like another member also suggested lol... yeah, it's that good)

You truly have wonderfull writing skills. And lots of imagination and vocabulary lol... I had to look up some stuff as english is my second language. Keep up the excellent work, thoses texts are literary masterpieces.

posted on Jun, 21 2004 @ 09:59 AM
Wow! Thanks much for all the kind words m0rbid. It seems as though I am just going to make the deadline for the last story in the trilogy. I had the idea to write it like a splatter film so I saturated myself with gory movies over the past two days. This should be interesting!

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