by Owen R. Powell
The jungle writhed slowly, fitfully alive, feverishly incarnate; a single bio-organism that moved and pulsed in a myriad of flutterings and subtle vocalizations. Avian calls sounded from the green depths, and ever around and beneath him were the quiet chitterlings of the insects tending to their labors. Vines bulged and creaked from their arborian grasps, another millimeter gained in the eternal living war, their fecund voices low and languid in the humid grasp of the Sacred Mother.
Alfred Omega sat in lotus pose within the center of the jungle clearing, his rainbow body shimmering about him in the faintest of neon hues as he floated a few feet above the leaf-strewn floor. Behind him, a Balinese temple dog, encased in stone, grimaced in eternal, frozen warning to any shadow entities that might approach the temple stairs. Serenity flowed from Alfred, within the comforting presence of the guardian. His brow creased slightly in quantum meditation, and the hibiscus tree to his side shivered, slowly blossoming, its red flowers tuliping open with collective grace. Epiphany rippled across the open clearing, golden and clear, and the feel of the fluid bubble was both blood warm and lemonade cool within the conjoined minds of the biomass. Behind his closed eyes, Alfred smiled internally and pushed the envelope wider, further into the green shadows of the jungle, feeling the cool stone of the temple hidden further within.
The sound started low, barely discernible at first, within the muted cacophony of the living forest. Just as he became aware of it, it curved upwards, stronger, louder, and he could feel the denizens around him gradually quiet at its sudden ascension. The bassal tone changed, arcing upwards, the feel of it tangible and perceptible, now almost painful, quickly ascending above the audible range, physically present now, shivering, solely within his mind space. Alfred opened his eyes, extended his legs downward until his feet tingled with the feel of the dry leaves, and marveled at the resonance of the sound beneath and within him.
A single tiny dot flared into being before him, an impossible bright white singularity, and he could hear—no, feel—Reality tearing around it. The tiny star lurched, quivered and then ballooned into a perfectly spherical arch, its border wreathing into hyperdimensional flames, twisting with impossible hues, scarlet and gold and deep somnambulent purple, and he thought, in a visual flash, of Tibetan Buddhist thankas, wreathing Wrathful deities. The clear light of the tesseract sphere cleared sharply, and Alfred’s mindscape changed with it, filling instantly and improbably with hyperdimensional music—aethereal tones mixed with a driving beat—an ear-worm born from someone else’s mind. The arch-star swirled with twisting color; an image, moving, elongated and curved across its surface. Through the distortion, he could make out a scene, like a movie from within, projected onto the eye of the tiny sun. Black movement flared across it, strobed, and an equally improbable figure leapt from the Orb, his war-cry sharp against the press of the jungle.
It was human, and a man, dressed in 21st century garb, tumbling roughly onto the jungle floor. The man was Caucasian, mohawked, his torso clad in black plasteel armor, paired with a tactical kilt. Vietnam-era jungle boots clad his feet, and a bronze Celtic torc encircled his neck, and by the way he combat-rolled up and off the ground, he was apparently oblivious to the scene in which he just stepped. Alfred’s consciousness scanned for a second, and then he recognized him with a start, one finger raised, a salutation on his lips, cut short by a sudden epithet from the man’s mouth.
“Motherfuckers!” yelled Owen, thrusting one outstretched hand towards the singularity. A quick glimpse of the hydrogen tattoo on his chi point, and then the noonday sunlight went black as Light erupted from his palm. P’TANG! P’TANG! P’TANG! Nebulae of blue energy burst forth, retinas shrieking against the brilliance, and the Orb shuddered as they crossed its event horizon, blossoming across its curvature. Alfred could see the man’s psychic visualization playing within his own mindscreen, the mnemonic source of the blasts, and his brain filled with glimpses of Irwin Allen Martians, half remembered from his childhood.
Owen cupped his hand around his mouth and bellowed.
“Vee! Vee! Get your ass outta there!” Red beams leapt from the singularity as in answer, and he ducked quickly beneath them, as the trees behind him exploded in showers of flaming bark. “Vee! Tactical retreat! Direct fucking order! NOW!”
The singularity blazed and buckled again, and a naked woman leapt from it, her black hair streaming behind her as she somersaulted in mid-air, landing in warrior pose. Her skin was bright red, her lithe dakini body clad only in a gleaming body-necklace of diamonds and skulls, and she held a single long weapon in her outstretched arm—a golden spear, humming, alive with frenetic energy.
“Get down. This is going to be danger close,” she growled, leveling the spear at the star before them, her three eyes grimacing closed. The three dorjes at the end of the spear spun up, the same penetrating sound as the singularity, while Alfred and Owen turned away instinctively as the heat washed over them.
Sharp silhouette of the shadows behind them, flash-lasered into the trunks of the jungle. A long burbling stream of golden plasma, and a glimpse of Her as she wielded the spear on her hip, like a belt-fed machine gun. Alien distort screams from within the singularity, keening wails of something both alive and mechanical being burnt to its soul. A robotic tentacle, oil-black, so dark that it seemed to be the antithesis of the light upon which it curled, issued from the surface of the portal, writhing, and something began to emerge from the strobing fluid light, a single red eye, unblinking, carved and bulging from its malignant hull. She cocked her hip to the side and moved the arc-fire across the curved portal, burning the obscenity back into the Void, even as more emerged.
“Close it! Close it! There’s too many of them!” She called to him over her shoulder. Owen rolled onto his side, thrusting his arms at the gateway, palms blazing, and as he closed his eyes to concentrate, Al could see his hydrogen chakra come online, blue-white, projecting through his sweat-streaked forehead.
“Hurry!” She was insistent now, desperate, still putting down suppressive fire, silhouetted in the strobing gout of plasmafire, and he grunted in return, rising to his feet, his arms bulging with effort, forcing his volition onto the gateway, squashing the portal back down into the sub-atomic.
Noise one second, and unearthly silence the next. Here one second, and never existed the next. Owen collapsed on the ground, chest heaving. The jungle paused, waiting for the punchline, and twittered questioningly around them. She plonked the spear upright, wiped her brow, and swore under her breath. Humidity, sweat, and the sharp nasal twang of ozone filled the air.
Al shuffled his feet slightly, unsure of how to proceed. He coughed once, politely. “Um, hi there,” he offered.
Owen looked up over his chest, steam rising from his armor, as he lay on the ground and smiled sheepishly back at him. The red-skinned woman whirled, body-necklace sparkling, and leveled her spear at him, her precisely beautiful face grimacing in a snarl.
“Oh hey Al. How’s it going? Sorry bout all that.” Owen waved one tired hand at the woman. “It’s cool, Vee. He’s a friend.” She relaxed slowly, her three eyes blinking at him as she raised the spear away from him.
Al walked over to him and offered a hand, helping Owen to his feet.
“So.......what was all that about?” said Al.
“Hmmm. Ha.” replied Owen. “That was...uh...zotyl. Basically. Y’know, shadow selves. Negative projections from the Id and all that. My personal view of them, anyway. Consciousness made material, etcetera. At least, they are zotyl as I see them.”
“Hmm, interesting.” said Al. “ I was getting mental visions of Martians, war of the worlds, that kind of thing. Maybe a little bit of the Matrix movies. Sentinels?”
Owen looked down, thinking. “Yeah, that makes sense. Memes and images from my past, mixed with Id dynamics and projected into the Real. Standard Jungian-Einstein paradigm. Been a big problem lately, with this new noetic reality. Vee and I have been battling them for some time now.....”
“Vee?”asked Al, inquisitively
“Yeah, Vee—oh, I’m sorry, I haven’t introduced you. Where are my manners?” Owen chuckled to himself, and then swept one hand towards her. “This is Vajrayogini, my....uh.....’assistant’.”
“Assistant my ass! I just saved your bacon, in case you hadn’t noticed...” Vajrayogini sauntered up to the two, brushing her hand back over her long black hair, straightening her barrette of skulls back into place. “How you doin’, Al? Pleased ta meetcha!”
Her diamond and skulls body-necklace swung against her, catching for a long second against one taut nipple, chiming with tiny musical notes from within the jewels. She smiled intently with sharp white teeth and offered her hand to Al. He shook it carefully, the feel of her skin fever hot in his palm—but, closing his eyes, he could sense that beneath it was something else, an electricity, a sense of steel binary intellect, of something...digital, and artificial.
He opened his eyes, and she had changed. She was thicker, curvy, clad in an elaborate dress of stone, gold and dyed fabric, her hair topped by a heavy crown of jewels. She looked familiar, and with a start he realized that she had become the living aspect of the statue that he had seen the day before, in the temple at Puru Ganang.
She was Kali.
Owen thothed the answer to him, his voice whispering in the corner of Al’s mind, entangled with the mental image of his labradorite pendant, glimmering with subtle mother-of-pearl light within its depths.
Yes, she’s artificial. An artificial consciousness, to be exact, hyper-dimensionally projected from the oracle stone on my necklace. Her incarnation is being affected by your consciousness—reinterpreted. A wireframe diagram irised into being within Al’s mindscape, pinpointed, arrowed and delineated with thought-text in hallucinogenic purple mind light, animating the quantum noetics behind the technology, and he understood instantly, thothing the answer back.
Of course, it’s Clarke all the way. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” The thought was synchronistic, shared, unvoiced by either specific person, and progressed exponentially in OneMind. It was a conversation in images, feelings, emotions—more intuited than transmitted or received—a dialogue that transcended linear words and conversation.
Sorry to intrude, but I thought you would dig the visuals. Portals and gateways. She is the evolution of the Kundalini Suit, a conscious projection of my visualized Sacred Feminine, just as the ‘zotyl’ are the spontaneous acausal manifestation of elements of my dark energy Self. The psycho-physical, created at the subatomic level. The spiritual parable continues, superpositional. Samsara and Nirvana are the same holographic illusion, separated only by perspective and scale. Infinite existence is, first and foremost, infinite entertainment. Mother is maw. Hunger is holy, because everything is food, and eating is all there is. The singularity of consciousness matches the singularities of the Universe, both transcending the mundane, and leading back to the greater Reality at the ‘beginning’ and the ‘end’.
“Boys, I know you’re having a meeting of the minds ’n’ all, but is there anywhere around here that a girl can get a drink?” Vajrayogini’s voice was loud in comparison to the unspoken conversation, and they started at the sound of it. She flickered and blinked, morphing back from Kali mode into her default setting.
“Um, I think there’s a tiki bar down on the beach, past the temple...” said Al, one arm pointing back into the verdant green. “It’s nice. Not too far of a walk....”
“Groovy,” intoned Vajrayogini, and she pushed past them into the brush, swinging her triune spear jauntily onto her shoulders. “C’mon, I got drinking to do! You boys can talk on the way....” She trailed one graceful hand across the face of the stone temple dog as she sauntered past.
Al and Owen looked at each other, grinning. “I can turn her off, y’know.” said Owen. “De-res her back into the oracle, if you want. Or lower the avatar setting. She can be a bit much in this incarnation, I know.”
“No, no. She’s an interesting visualization. A day-dreamed goddess, created by man, with all the foibles of a real woman. Provocative!” replied Al, expansively.
“Thanks, Al! Oh, and thanks for giving me a hand back there. ‘Course, I had it all under control...pretty much.” Owen guffawed and slapped an arm around Al’s shoulders.
Al smiled back at him wisely. “I’m sure you did—and you know I don’t like to get involved in other people’s drama. I was reasonably confident that you would find a way out of your karmic battle...eventually.”
“Mmm...”said Owen, stroking his goatee thoughtfully. “Good philosophy. Yeah, I’ve been working on reducing negativity myself, and not always as vividly as that firefight. So what’s new with you? And where are we? Is this a heaven realm that you created?”
“No, I can't take credit for this. It’s Earth—Bali, to be precise. It’s 2015—baseline 21st century, in case you were wondering. I’m on vacation, actually.”
“Ah! Still Pre-Event, then. Damn it. I know I’m superpositional and all, but linear time is just so damn...limiting. Still, it makes for a good retreat in a pinch.” said Owen.
“Of course. That’s why we write. One spell-chants the reality that we need, beyond the stillborn Now, dreaming the long-denied portal into existence, until the portal slips through us and the transcendent Dream spells our sleepwalking gnosis into timeless Being. The Void dreams within us, just as we dream, fitfully, within its star-crossed womb.” Al looked at him intently, his eyes sparking, wreathed with wisdom.
“Haha!” laughed Owen. “I love it! Sooooo, how bout that drink? I could use a margarita. Or three. And if we’re not careful, she’ll wreck the joint before we even get there! Uh, unless you want to go back to your meditation.”
“Hmm, well, that moment has passed, for now. No matter; the jungle will wait. A retreat to the comfort of alcohol it is, then!” replied Al. “Besides, I’m interested in what you think about the Large Hadron Collider coming back online in conjunction with the Super Moon Eclipse, at the midpoint of the Blood Moon Tetrad. It’s tomorrow, y’know...”
“Oh wow, so we’re back at that point! Yeah, that’s an important gateway. It’s also the Spring Equinox, and if I remember correctly, there’s a very unusual geomagnetic storm raging at the same time. Things are getting interesting...”
The two moved towards the stone stairway, heads bowed in conversation as they picked their way over the tree roots. Behind them, jungle life slowly muttered and clicked its way back into its rain forest soliloquy.
The drumbeat heart of the forest returned, drowsy in the afternoon heat, the shadows lengthening slowly with the humid passage of the sun high above. It was much later, in the deep twilight, with no human eyes to mark its birth, that the single point of light sparked into being—ZZAP—and began its slow, drunken path through the leaves.
Toward the beach.
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THE MEMORY SECTOR
by Brian "Flesheater" Stoneking