The Art Of Technomancy

Exploration of the Realms Pixel and Cerebral to be detailed here.

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Post by Black » Sun Nov 08, 2009 3:26 pm

Suddenly his cape, which had been flailing around behind him became rigid, acting like the wings of a hang-glider and he soared silently through the sky, arcing in towards the six men and their victim.

Black landed silently behind the perpetrators who were now crowding around the petrified woman.
He grabbed the shoulder of one who grunted a “What?” as he turned, expecting to see one of his colleagues. Instead he saw the Dark Knight.
Black lashed out before the man could say anything more, striking him in the face with a gauntleted fist. He became a flurry of activity, fists and feet flying, twisting, turning, ducking, throwing, blocking, moving so rapidly from one opponent to the next that none of them could get a bead on him.

The whole thing was over in under a minute, the criminals laying in the street with incapacitating injuries or out cold.

Black helped the woman to her feet.
She ignored the man in the brown coloured robes who climbed from the passenger side of the car.
“Batman, heh?” the druid asked in a mocking tone.
Black looked down at himself and realised where he had seen this suit before.
Batman, the Dark Knight, was a comic hero of his. He liked the anonymity of the Bat's true self, and the anti-hero-like status that the original Batman had held, before the movies and Adam West had got hold of the character.
He did however like the Christian Bale portrayal from the beginning of the century. It was an old film, but a classic.
How often had he wished, while in the employ of Transys Neuronet, that he was the Batman, a dark avenger, righter of wrongs, but always on the wrong side of the law himself.

“So, you'd like to be some sort of hero? Doesn't everybody at some point? Maybe, though, just maybe, you could be in a position to see that through more than most.” The druid seemed almost positive, the most up-beat he had been for some time. Then he donned his mor dour self again. “The Bat's a bit clichéd though, don't you think? Not like we haven't seen a thousand or more Batmen running the shadows the world over.”

suddenly the woman's cell phone rang. She began explaining what had happened, then looked surprised. Holding the phone out to Black she said, “Batman, he wants to talk to you!”
Black took the phone. “Hello?”
“You aren't Batman,” said a South American voice. “So, who the hell are you?”
Snatching the phone away from his ear he stared at the caller's image. An ancient Aztec warrior.
The world turned white again, but only briefly.

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Post by Black » Sun Nov 08, 2009 3:27 pm

He was back again, in some new virtual world. It looked like the inside of some sort of corporate residential zone, however there were burned out cars around him, homes and buildings were in ruins. Behind him were a dozen or so typical corporate families, the breadwinners wage slaves to the company.

Ahead of him were twenty or so men, wearing gang colours and carrying a vast array of weapons. It was obvious that they meant the civilians harm.
Black snarled, a guttural animal sound, and long blades slid from between his knuckles. He saw a reflection of himself in a window, only it wasn't him, it was Wolverine.

The world faded to white....

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Post by Black » Wed Nov 11, 2009 11:44 am

The scenes came in rapid succession, all images of Caliburn Black fulfilling the role of some super hero or other, from the oldies like Superman and Spiderman through to the likes of Zenthic and the new guy on the block, Goldram Ray. Each scene depicted Black facing off against the hero's arch enemies and some random bad guys where the situation was important, not the adversary.
The scenes finally stopped flashing through his mind, and for a moment Black thought he would be sick. He wondered was sort of a mess his meat body would be in when he finally returned to the physical world.

One last scene opened up before the elf. He seemed to be kneeling before some sort of altar in what looked like some old disused subterranean room. He had been meditating, he knew.
Suddenly he sprang to his feet and was moving quickly through a complex of tunnels and sewers before emerging out on the surface.

A Mitsubishi Nightsky was just pulling up outside a restaurant.
From the limo came two young attractive young ladies followed by a male in an expensive suit. He too was young and good-looking.
The limo had been escorted by two black SUV's from which four tough looking bodyguards had decamped.
Black moved swiftly, his firearms blazing silently. Although they really should have been expecting an attack, in truth, the four heavies weren't. After all, no one would be stupid enough to attack Mr Big outside his own restaurant.
Two were downed instantly, a .45 slug to the forehead each. It took several seconds for the remaining two to react to what they were seeing. The bodyguard who had been in the car with Mr Big was reaching for his boss. The man from the lead SUV had his gun up and was shooting, the rat-a-tat-tat echoing off the walls of this concrete and glass valley.
Black felt the hit, his body jerking sideways, but he drove on.
Phut! Phut! Phut! His silenced pistols doing their thing.
Another man went down and black reached the limo, leaping on top.
The bodyguard slammed the door shut, sealing him and his boss inside the bullet proof vehicle.

Black grinned as he dropped the pin to the ground and leapt clear of the long white car.
He grabbed the two women who had been escorting Mr Big as he ran past them, dragging them mercilessly down the street.
Their howling protests were suddenly drowned out by the explosion behind them, the blast throwing them to the ground.

As the flames and smoke rolled skyward in an orange and black roiling ball, Black clambered to his feet. In the reflection in a store window he saw a tall muscular man in black combat trousers and boots and a black t-shirt with a large skull motif.
Black stared at the image not really knowing what he was looking at, but then it dawned on him … The Punisher!

Strange, up unitl now the heroes in each scenario had been ones he'd read about during his development in the Transys Neuronet labs. Not exactly official reading material but they couldn't stop him! The Punisher wasn't really one he was overly familiar with.
“Why the Punisher?”

“Because of all of them, he is closer to what you want to be. His name says it all.” the voice came from behind him, its deep South American accent unmistakable.
Turning Black as the Punisher frowned at the Aztec Warrior. So, Black mused, he has more than one line in his vocabulary. “Before you say it to me, I'm going to say it to you... Who the hell are you?”

The warrior smiled and handed an odd pearlescent orb on a chain to Caliburn.
“What's this?”
“A program of sorts. Upload it.”
Again the knowing smile. “Put it on.”

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Post by Black » Wed Nov 11, 2009 11:45 am

The instant the chain slipped over his head Cal felt something different, like there was a change to the matrix. It was as though he could not only see and hear and feel the matrix, but he could also sense it.

Caliburn Black found himself, as himself, at the top of an Aztec pyramid. A huge iron brazier dominated one end where a fire blazed fiercely.
A huge stone altar dominated the centre of the upper tier, around which crude wooden benches were set.
The warrior was there too. “So, who am I?” he said repeating Black's earlier question. “I am your guide.”
Black was confused. “I thought the druid was my guide.”
“Maybe he is.”
Funny how my so called guides seem to be cryptic as hell, Black thought. Actually, no, not funny at all. Damned annoying.
“Then you are the druid too?”
“No!” the warrior was defensive. “By the gods, no. I represent a much more...” he stopped, searching for the right words. He moved to one of the low benches and sat, indicating that Black do the same. “I represent something more divine.”
“I'm sorry, divine?” Black was suspicious, it sounded far too spiritual which meant far too magic for his liking.
“It's about as accurate as I can be without going into laborious detail.”

With a huge sigh Caliburn Black stopped trying to resist this whole encounter. “All right, you win. Tell me what is going on and who you are and what you want.”

“Where to start?” the warrior mused.
“Let me answer you previous question first. The druid and I are not linked. The druid is your guide to a single part of your destiny. I am your guide to Caliburn Black. Who he is, where he came from, and most importantly, what he is.”
After a brief pause where the warrior let the information settle on Black, he continued. “You have already decided the path you want to take with your life. It is not the one your old employers wished you to take, although the man you look upon as your creator, I think, would take a better view of it. However, you are a bit of an enigma, Caliburn. The Resonance has embraced you fully, yet you do not fit the code. But enough of that for now. There is something I must show you that could go some way to revealing who you are.”

Blackness enveloped Caliburn Black. It made a change from the almost blinding white!

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Post by Black » Wed Dec 09, 2009 12:12 pm

It was different this time. Before, there had been the bright white light then he had appeared somewhere, as someone.
Not now though. Black struggled to assimilate the sensations flowing through him.
There was pain, but not like being hit, or stabbed or shot, not even like he imagined appendicitis would feel like, nor even the worst headache ever. It was though someone was wrenching his mind, not his brain, but his mind, maybe even his very soul from his body, each fibre of his being having to be broken apart before the two halves could become separate.
And the information! By god there was so much information, like he was operating every single piece of electronic equipment connected to the matrix as though they were his drones.

Black could feel his heart beating rapidly, even though he was fully submerged in the virtual world of the matrix and wondered how he was so aware of the situation. Then he realised he wasn't feeling his heart beating at all. It was the pulse of the matrix itself, like a living breathing beating entity.

Suddenly across the blackness that filled his vision appeared words...


A white cursor blinked for a few moments then more words appeared...

<SECURE TRANMISSION><FILE_NAME>#1103_donor_Charles_Munro_Cardinal<SEND>...

A moment later an image appeared of a man at a desk typing on a computer. The angle was odd, as though Cal was looking up from almost seat level. This was, black realised the view from a camera.
A camera on a trid-system?
The man turned to look at some paperwork. It was Dr Pattak!
Black was amazed and confused.
The view changed, so did the scene. Now he was watching from the ceiling and was moving slowly. The view from a tiny drone perhaps?
Pattak was sat in the middle of some arcane symbol he had drawn on the ground, he was casting a spell of some kind.
Bright yet smoky light surrounded the doctor swirling about him like a vortex. The swirling light increased speed and intensity until in a blinding flash Pattak was gone.

A scene change again...

Pattak had reappeared in a busy city street. To the doctor it may have appeared to be the real thing but Black knew it couldn't be. There was no way anything in the matrix could have recorded Pattak's activities upon his meta-quest, unless, and it was almost unthinkable that he had done this, but Pattak must have travelled into the matrix itself.

Another change... still in the matrix 'meta-plane'.

Pattak was in a laboratory within a darkened research facility. He looked gaunt like a man who had neither eaten nor slept in many days. His face was covered in a dark growth of stubble.
The Indian descended scientist who Black had once thought to be his creator moved cautiously through the lab. It was obvious that he was not meant to be there.
He came to a machine, a freezer of sorts. The freezer had glass sides so that the technicians could view the contents. Inside was a jar and although the glass sides and the jar itself were frosted, the foetus within was still clearly discernible.

Removing the end plate from the freezer Pattak took the jar from the shelf and placed it in a freezer bag he had over his shoulder.
Cal noticed the label on the jar:

Project Reference: Caliburn
Security Rating: Black.
Subject #: 1103. Elf Male. (Munro Genome).

Pattak read the label aloud, but the names didn't mean anything to him. But they did to Caliburn Black.
The doctor moved away, his prize secure in the bag.

“What the hell is going on?” Black asked aloud. He couldn't get this straight.

After escaping the CZ he temporarily took the name Sinner. After that he had renamed himself Caliburn Black after a lengthy soul searching exercise. How then was the name he had adopted appeared on the label of that jar before he ever existed? He found it hard to believe destiny had anything to do with this, but the argument for it seemed pretty strong.

“So,” Black considered what he knew along with what he'd just seen. “Pattak comes along and takes this specimen and if I recall correctly, used some very complex magical formulas to progress the physical development of the foetus, me, into and through childhood and up into adulthood over the course of a few years. But how did it get here?”

The scene froze and slowly started to rewind, but instead of re-tracing the doctors approach to the lab the view stayed with the freezer, then after a brief pause the scene changed again.

This one had 'General Care Inc. Medical Facility – Fertility Clinic, Edinburgh' written in the top left corner of the picture.
Black recognised the woman laying on the bed with her legs in stirrups from the files he'd seen on Cardinal. This was Mrs Munro, Cardinal's mother.
The patients file overlaid the image.
It described how the parents were having trouble conceiving and that after investigation an accident Mrs Munro had as a child meant that although she could carry a child, it would have to be limited to only one at a time.
She and her husband were having to undergo IVF treatment as another result of the accident meant that her eggs could not get from ovaries to womb.

The doctor between her legs was performing some sort of procedure. Beside him was a machine that contained and oxygenated fluid that would support the life of any unborn child placed in it.
When the procedure was complete the doctor placed the 15 cm long foetus in the solution and his technical assistants quickly hooked it up to the various sensors and probes the machine used to monitor the life signs.
More notes scrolled across the images. “2nd foetus removed... foetus viable...”
The images began to speed up again, rapidly showing the machine being wheeled through the hospital and into a ultra-high dependency ward where a stand-alone computer continually monitored the baby and administered the necessary chemicals in order to sustain the foetus.

For two days the child remained in the development chamber, the hospital staff monitoring the computer but having to do very little.
A man in a lab coat arrived on the ward flanked by two security personnel.
Caliburn instantly recognised the logo on the left breast of all three men. Transys Neuronet.

The technician handed over a paper to the senior ward doctor. Although the doctor looked immediately angry, it quickly turned to frustration and he capitulated. He led the trio to the machine containing the young developing child.
Within a few moments more technicians arrived, wheeling along a portable version of the development chamber.

Despite this being a playback of the hospital security feed, Black could feel the anticipation growing in the matrix. The Resonance was there, waiting, watching, knowing its moment was close.

One of the technicians transferred the child from the hospital machine to the Transys mobile version. At that point the leading technician attached a probe to the foetus and plugged the cable into a palm pc.
Black felt the Resonance poised, ready for action.
The palm pc connected via phone link to the matrix and dialled home. The instant the matrix connection was established the Resonance swooped. It sent a signal to the foetus via the probe. The baby's unique brain understood and opened itself to the Resonance. The baby's consciousness was downloaded to the matrix. Black could see the data streaming away through the net.

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Post by Black » Wed Dec 09, 2009 12:13 pm

Suddenly the pain was back again, a brutal surge of agony that passed through every fibre of his being.
Afterwards he was sat on the wooden bench atop the Aztec pyramid with the warrior.

“What did all that mean?” Black asked.
The warrior smiled. “Good! Many pretend to understand what the Resonance has shown them, even though they do not.”

“I'll sum it up as best I can,” the warrior said as he casually tossed another log into the brazier.
“When the matrix was formed back in the late twenties it gave purchase on your world to an entity known as the Resonance. Some say that the Resonance is a powerful free spirit of man that inhabits the technological world, others say that it is a being from another plane, others still that it is a concept given form, and yet others still who say that the matrix has become so all-encompassing in the world of man that it has developed a life of its own, its own consciousness, you might say. Who can say which is right and for that matter which is wrong?”
“Needless to say, after the creation of the matrix, things were different. The world had already seen the emergence of dwarves, elves, orcs, trolls and even dragons walking amongst man. However there were more developments to come.”

“Initially the matrix was a large entity, but it was not as powerful as it is today. Over time its influence grew, and so did that of the Resonance, to such an extent that there are now those who can access the matrix with the power of their minds, no need for cumbersome cyberdecks. You may have heard of their name, the Otaku. They are more common these days than you'd think.”
Black's head nodded slowly. He'd heard the term before, and right now was noticing some similarities between them and him.

“In the early days though,” the warrior continued, “there were very few. It is a tragedy that many of them never realised their full potential and never came to know the matrix as they could. There were others who could not comprehend their abilities and nor could anyone else so they were labelled insane by the authorities. As most of the Resonance's children lose their connection as they age this ability was ignored and written off as 'just a phase'.”

“But I digress – we'll return to that subject in a moment. Mrs Munro, Charles Munro's mother had a medical condition that meant she could not conceive children, and if she became pregnant she could only bear one child at a time. She and her husband underwent IVF treatment and as is often the case with that treatment she bore twins. As she could not carry two children to term the doctors decided to remove the child, however they could not undertake the procedure without jeopardising the other child until the pair were between twelve to fifteen weeks. The medical team aimed to keep the removed child alive in one of their 'artificial womb' machines. However, Transys Neuronet, who were funding the couple's treatment decided they wanted the elf child for their own research. One day shortly after the removal procedure they took the child and had the hospital declare the child deceased. Mr & Mrs Munro accepted this as it had always been a very probable outcome anyway.
The child was taken to the cloning research facility where samples were used to try and produce replicas. When the research proved unsuccessful the corporation decided to put the project on hold, but rather than lose their valuable specimen they put it into cryogenic suspension. There it remained until Dr Pattak visited the metaplanes on his quest. There he found what he initially thought to be an actual foetus. However what he really had was a download of the subject's consciousness and some trigger mechanisms to restart the initial development. Almost like a system boot program.”

“That was your consciousness the doctor took with him.”

Black remained silent. Why?
That was the question repeating in his mind and the warrior knew it.

“Because you were special to the Resonance,” he answered matter-of-factly. “Of the two children within your mother's womb, you were to grow into Otaku. Although you would have been unable to comprehend the matrix the ability to connect would have been there with you as an unborn child and the Resonance detected that. You were among the first generation, and the decision to remove you caused the Resonance some concern. So it took action to try and back you up, save you, as any computer user would save work-in-progress, and downloaded your subconscious mind.”
“When Pattak began his research his investigations combined with his place of work came to the notice of the Resonance. It saw an opportunity to perhaps reactivate one of it's children, as though you had been offline. It fed information to the doctor via his matrix research. Subtle information and hints that made Pattak come looking for your, how can I put it? Boot-up files. Pattak took the download back to the physical world and pulled your body from cryo-stasis and began his deception. There are those out there in the world who would have been proud of the manipulation the Resonance had performed.”
“So, looking beyond the subliminal training package that Transys Neuronet were pumping into your mind, the Resonance was watching to see if its own experiment had had an effect. Your body's growth was accelerated through some very clever and extensive use of arcane rituals, sometimes to Dr Pattaks detriment. By the time the Resonance detected the first signals of your innate abilities, you had already progressed physically into adulthood. Then the spurious code was thrown into the mix when they decided to install a cranial cyberdeck in you. For a time it swamped your natural connection to the matrix and the resonance thought you were lost. However your body responded by eventually rejecting the hardware. The rest of your story, you know better than I.”

Black let out a sigh. “So I am Otaku? I thought you said they lost their ability to connect as they became adults?”

“Yes, many do, but not all of them. This is the question though. Physically and mentally you are an adult but you have technically only been here for ten years. One argument is that your actual age rather that your apparent age means that you still have the abilities of the Otaku. But the Resonance detects something different about you, like you are Otaku - 'the next generation'. Irony is not something computers do well, but the Resonance sees the irony in you, one of the first generation, being a prototype for what is to come next!”

The warrior stood and stared out across the artificial vista as though in thought. Turning he said to the elf, “Technomancer. It is a term you will hear in the years to come. Were I you, I would ascribe the term to myself. Also, there is something happening in Seattle within the matrix. Something big, something frightening, something huge, something new. It might be an experience for you to meet it, if it lets you!”

As he finished the blinding white all encompassing light returned, whiting out the matrix.

Caliburn Black shuddered as he came out of the virtual world and into the real and his eyes focussed on the discoloured ceiling of his Seattle Op-Centre. Odd, he thought, but he could still feel the matrix around him, sense the data flowing through the ether.
He sat up and rolled his head on his shoulders working out the stiffness.
“Well, bloody hell!” he said in a Scottish accent.

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