May 15, 2011

Weekend Workshop: Transhuman

Crashnexus presents, with art by Cyrus Crashtest and story by Psynexus.

TRANSHUMAN

Art by Cyrus Crashtest

“Abandon ship! Abandon all hope! Abandon reality! We murdered God and her cruel humor is our end...”

... the words wake me from my dormant state.

My world is a flashing red light. My vision pulses from dark to light in a pattern and dark shapes drift around the edges like ghosts haunting the corners of my mind. It is cold around me, like dark places in the earth where life refuses to live. I am a being of unknown nature, alive or not I have no way of knowing. Trying to remember how I got into this world hurts me, so I am forced to surrender myself to the sea of confusion flowing around me, making me increasingly nauseous by the second... assuming, that is, that time even exists here.

The ghosts fade from my vision and the blurs begin to define themselves as shapes that seem somehow familiar to me. A blaring noise echoes in my head, warning me of some danger I can’t decipher. I feel myself come back to life and compelled to move. I find myself caught in the middle of a tunnel, which sways back and forth as I will myself to move through it. I shake violently; on the verge of collapse as the tunnel spins like a child shaking a jar that contains an insect he captured. A horrible sense of dread washes over when I realize that I am completely alone.

Tingling sensations surge through me as my world grows and shrinks like I’m nearing the surface of a deep ocean. The shroud around me begins to clear and shapes form. I recognize this place; I've walked through it many times. But something’s out of place; I've never felt as alien here as I do now.

Something catches my attention. Movement. I freeze in my tracks, conscious of my every breath I take as my eyes dart towards it and I slowly adjust my head to face it. I see a flame flickering in the world beyond my own; out of my reach but within my sight. Jets of flame shoot out into the void from a vast structure that looms before me. It is unfamiliar to me and, inexplicably, it is also the source of my horror.

We murdered God and her cruel humor is our end...

Those words that brought me back to this place repeat in my head suddenly, overwhelming my senses. The beast that lurks beyond these walls taunts me, taking credit for inspiring the author of that message before his demise. My breath begins to fog the transparent surface of the barrier between us, I swear that I can hear its threats as words in my head. I do not know why or how, but I do know that whatever it is is evil, and desires to end me at all costs.

Voices! I must be going mad. I hear them in my head... random, nonsensical. Are they talking to me? I hear rushed words, yells, deafening screams. Where are they? Who do the voices belong to? Questions race through my mind and I race further down the path before me. A light at the end presents itself, bright and welcoming; surely it holds my salvation.

I burst out of the tunnel and into the light, feeling renewed as I enter the realm beyond. This is it; I have been led here for a purpose. Surely everything will be made clear now.

The voices and blaring sound are gone, making the low hum of the room stand out like the growl of an unwelcome animal. This place is death. I realize now that the light wasn't my salvation as I survey the shells of the dead laid out before me. Their faces are familiar to me and I sense that they are like me, or that we were at some point. But like the familiarities of the world before this one, there is something out of place that I can’t explain, and it fills me with dread.

The urge to touch them is overwhelming, so I reach out with the hand I forgot I owned to find that it is identical to theirs. My fingers quiver and the hairs on my arm begin to stand as I draw closer and closer to the corpse of a young man. At the moment before my skin touches his dead flesh, his eyes burst open like black holes forming after the collapse of a star and I am sucked into the world behind his eyes.

I am engulfed in void. Time and space have ceased to exist, and I have left my body behind. I float for an impossible eternity, with nothing but paradoxical time on my noncorporeal hands. But, as in the world before, I discover the ability to navigate this place – able to move not only through space, but time as well. They exist sorely as concepts in my mind now; I control them here.

I see myself back in the tunnel at a time before the one I awoke in. The dead are alive once more, and I am among them as they go about their daily routines. Then panic strikes and the world is covered in the red light and the warning sound begins again. We awoke the beast that dwelled in the world beyond our own, prodded it with our tools, tried to understand it, tried to become it. In the end, we got what we wanted, got what we deserved.

The memories come flooding back in torrents as the words begin to make sense to me now. The beast tempted us with great power, knowing that we would give into our lust and become the makers of our own destruction. Throughout the ages many have dedicated their lives in hopes of answering the single greatest question of their limited existence; what is the meaning of it? Though they were destined to fail, they never gave up the pursuit of the answer. The one thing they all overlooked, however, is what would happen if they didn't like the answer.

The beast offered us the key to unlock the secrets of our own bodies; those forms which would carry us from one plane of existence to another like a vessel across a vast ocean of life. We accepted graciously, wasting no time in deciding what to add and what to remove. When we had finished and the answer didn't present itself, we strayed from the path – spitting in the face of God and declaring ourselves the masters of our own evolution. We gave our species a new name, going forth beyond the confines of our limited dimension based in time and space and becoming “transhuman”. A wise man once set that those who do not learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them. How naive we were to think that we could play God.

So here we exist, barred from reality as we once knew it for an eternity; a word that’s very definition mocks us with promise of a finite purgatory. I do not know what we became, but we ceased to be children of the God who created us, listening instead to the beast who tempted us with knowledge. Just as it was then, we were punished for out sins – though instead of being cursed to grow old and die, now we are cursed to live on forever in nothingness until the end of the universe. Now I understand the dread I feel; the inability to die.

It’s a cruel irony that our species greatest fear should become our greatest hope – and that which we sought to be our eternal salvation would become our eternal destruction. I wish I could just go back and warn them them all of their impending doom. But I know it would be fruitless; its human nature to question the unknown and to pursue knowledge. It’s in our nature to destroy ourselves.

If thousands of years weren't long enough to keep us from repeating our very first sin, then I can only pray to the God who we forsook that we will learn our lesson soon while we continue timelessly down the path of our existence... the hell we have chosen as punishment for our final sin.

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