Dystopia Chapter 6

From the Story Arc: Dystopia

Previous Story in the Arc: Dystopia - Sofia's Journal by Krasnaya Zarya (Wednesday, July 19, 2006)

Next Story in the Arc: Dystopia Chapter 13 by Krasnaya Zarya (Tuesday, July 25, 2006)

(posted Friday, July 21, 2006)

Consciousness returned slowly. There had been no dreams, no nightmares, not even an unpleasant lapse of darkness. Alexander would later come to find that he had no description for the period of non-existence that followed the electromagnetic pulse. It began with a feeling of being twisted, with the entire universe constricting around him. His body – if one could refer to his massless form in such a manner – followed suit, giving him the feeling of becoming the horrific lovechild of Salvidor Dali and Picasso.

Time slowed, freezing, then skipped forward.

He had no idea how much time he had lost, how long that mysterious state of unconscious lasted. He had memories of sleep, remembered the gained ability to judge how long one had been slumbering, but they were all distant; sleep was something required by a body, which he had been sorely lacking for some ten years. It had always amused him that in leaving his mortal coil, no dreams would ever come to him...

A significant time had passed, this he knew, for his makeshift base, the place he'd come to call home for the last few years, was empty of all life. Agent Viy had left, had kidnapped his duplicate and the gadgets, of this he was certain. A full inventory would need to be taken, a check of all the labs, to see what toys Viy's curiosity had consumed, and which objects had been safely hidden. Luckily, if Viy thought he was dead, then he would think it was safe to leave things here to be picked up at a later date.

He hovered around the main room, over the various worktables, until he found his android host laying in a heap near one corner. The electromagnetic pulse had disabled it completely, rendering it useless without repairs – something the ISB agent had apparently decided was impossible, instead of taking it with him for examination. Alexander knew the circuity intimately, in a way no human ever could, and knew that he would be able to repair it in a short period – after all, the positronic brain never worked in the first place.

He redirected his attention across the room, to the hidden chamber where he stored his working robot models. Or not so hidden, as the case was now. The GSF had taken high explosives to the wall, having been unable to get through his optical locks, and left smoldering heaps to either side of the entryway. The robots were largely untouched, though he noticed that the miniature version of himself – the only other robot with complete biometric systems – was missing.

Both skeletal backups were intact, featureless androids whose exteriors were an exact duplicate of his body's skeleton, circa 1982. They both shone fiery silver in the soft light of the chamber, neither of them having had their steel frames painted the dull white of human bone. It only took a moment before Alexander had possessed one of them, giving life to a machine that was otherwise incapable of functioning.

It was always disconcerting, the experience of melding one's consciousness, which was normally without shape and form, with the prison of a robotic shell. His vision, previously crossing all spectra in a three-dimensional sphere of perception, was limited to the optical receptors of the machine. He suspected that these restrictions were subconscious, his mind still unable to cope with the myriad inputs available to his quantum perceptions.

The new Alexander wandered out of the small room and into the larger one, his steps a little awkward due to the robots lack of use and oil. He passed the disabled android and made his way down the large hallway to his office, surveying the looting and devastation wrought by Agent Viy and his men. The hallway not only showed the signs of his earlier struggle against the soldiers of the GSF, but new scorch marks and torn down sections of wall. Apparently Viy had been a little liberal with his high explosives; random sections of wall were blasted in the search for Alexander's hidden rooms and secret passages. The two main doors of the hallway, leading to the portal room and the warehouse, had been torn asunder by the judicious use of C-4 and lay in pieces around their respective passageways.

Unlike the other exits from the hallway, the office itself had remained intact. The doors had been left open from the earlier confrontation, so Viy was able to scour the room without impediment, and it was obvious from the terrible mess that he had done just that; the gadgets on the desk were missing, and all the drawers had been turned inside out. Alexander would have sighed, if the body he wore was capable of it, and instead simply left, showing no emotion whatsoever. He had expected as much, but needed to double check – Alexander was not one to make assumptions.

His examination took him down the hall and into his main laboratory, where he had been spending the last few years inventing the mathematics and physics governing multiple dimensions. It had been something of a fluke discovery, at first, a by-product of some of his work in particle physics while trying to create a functioning positronic brain. In time, he had worked out the general theories of the existence of the multiverse, with an infinite number of universes branching off from each other continuously.

But getting a working portal up was another matter entirely. The massive amounts of energy required were far more than he could produce by himself, and even then, he couldn't get his hands on the materials for building one. He had steeled himself for a long, tedious work to create a dimensional gate, when the idea of the portal anchor had entered his mind. He had reasoned that if there were an infinite number of universes, then it was likely that these other dimensions had the ability to cross between universes. So all he had to do was create a kind of gravity well, where all portals passing through his dimension would get pulled into. It worked, though it was running for three months before it finally caught a fish.

Much to Alexander's relief, the anchor was intact, untouched by the thugs of the Global Security Force. The thing was massive, and weighed several tons, so if Viy had wanted to take it, he would have needed to break it down first. Alexander was afraid that Viy might have tried to do just that, which would have, undoubtedly, resulted in a forever unusable device. Luckily, it still towered over the lab, arcs of electricity leaping along the tesla coils, the status lights along the base reporting that no new portals had been detected.

His duplicate had closed the portal he'd used to come here, a wise idea, given what happened since. Alexander suspected that there was some way to reactivate the portal from this side, probably having to do with the same device he had used to close it – that miniature computer. Given time, Alexander was certain he could get it working, but he knew that time was a commodity that he suddenly found himself lacking.

Two separate events were going to happen, neither of them particularly favorable to Alexander. Either Viy would return, with the knowledge of how to use the portal devices himself, or a rescue team would come from across the portal, eager to find their friend and destroy whatever had been the cause of his disappearance. As far as he could see, he knew that he would need to rescue his companion from the Internal Security Bureau's agent and help him return home, thus convincing his alternate to aid him, as well as prevent the disaster that would occur if the two dimensions came to war with each other.

The last thing the world needed was another war.

The robotic Alexander absconded quickly from the portal room, having decided upon his next course of action. It would take him several hours to repair the android body that was necessary for infiltrating the military base that Viy used as his headquarters, and there was no time to waste.