May 27, 2018 at 8:57 pm #8890
[Caroline Chapelle – 01:53, Tuesday March 23nd, 2077 – Base Camp 1, outside Bogotá] #178
»Zen [Caroline]: Well, you know where to find me then.« Caroline went to the center of the camp, where there would no doubt be some sort of guard going on. And who said guard, said some snacks.May 27, 2018 at 11:56 pm #8891
Zen packed up several chocolate-flavored snacks and, his deck and a small crossbow and headed up to meet Caroline at the camp center. He said ”I come bearing gifts…” and tossed her a snack.June 5, 2018 at 3:20 am #8969
[Caroline Chapelle – 01:55, Tuesday March 23nd, 2077 – Base Camp 1, outside Bogotá] #179
Caroline caught snack and looked at it for a second, then stashed it in one of her pants pockets ”Oh, thanks. I’ll keep that for later when we’d kill for something nice to eat then. I’m afraid I don’t have anything to give you though, I didn’t have much time to pack my things and only went for the essential.”
She sat on a bench to eat a bit and asked ”So, what is it you wanted to talk about?”June 6, 2018 at 12:19 am #8976
Surprised Zen commented ”Kill… you mean hunting? Count me in… If we are eating the beast than I am a sport. I am good with the crossbow. Walk with me to someplace with privacy He suggested and flashed his crossbow.
As the two exited the camp, he began telling a story. His eyes were eyes and his voice carried true passion and enthusiasm. Zen described the riddle he was working on and how the old myths described a gateway to another world. The mirror that was seposed to patch that gateway and so forth. The ancient data was linked to up to date universal magic theory data for comparing the local magic levels as well as the projected historic levels. Many somewhat esoteric assumptions of awakened plants and their dating, as well as awakened animals, were provided as evidence to certain levels of magical energy in past eras. Songs, myths records of monsters – they all contributed to modeling the historical magical levels and the general trend was that of universal magic theory – though considerably more chaotic and bumpy. The general trend was overshadowed with local trends, and such a model extended the realm of what could have been possible in each era. Then there was a modeling of Blood magic rituals, these gave another bump to the magic level – enabled things that could not have been achieved without mass human sacrifice.
“It seems like the massive Blood rituals were needed for the magic level to cross the threshold. However, given everything – such a portal could have actually worked. Perhaps some of these beasts even survived the journey and linger around to these days. Daemons, feeding on the blood of people to survive. This explains legends and myths from later decades. Now – take a look at modern data and understand why the dragons are worried. The current magic level is here, already approaching the threshold. This is not an exact science, as you’ve seen there are local effects. Mana storms, ebbs and voids… it is a dynamic and changing thing. However, we may actually encounter an active gateway to another world. Either this or such a gateway would open within the next 50 years… if there are trapped Deaomns – they can finally return home… Or their friends can finally invade our plane. Depending on your point of view…
How exciting is that? We are going to uncover something that no human has seen before us. Only immortals and dragons, don’t filter… give me everything you can think about… Myths, history, plants, chemistry, poetry… anything even remotely relevant and aid in piecing together a forgotten and well-hidden piece of human history. I mean the mathematical reasoning is as close as we mortals get to know things like this. They have their infinite life spawns and fantastic memory, but we have computation power, accumulated knowledge, and mathematical reasoning. Think about the revolution we are going to make if this technology is proven and sees the light! We would be able to validate for ourselves anything that Dragons share about our past… and we would be able to speculate for ourselves anything that they withhold from us. We are going to change everything!
Now, we are close to pinpoint the most likely location of this portal. This is not surprising considering who our patron is and I assume that the Dragon knows that there is a portal. Which is a fat assumption, but we are allready here. It is a powerful indication that there is a portal. I factored that into the model to augment the probabilities… I am almost certain that El-Rey, or if you want – the portal is here very close.
I’ll show you the math equations if you are into that. Though, please let your thoughts flow – assume the role of a brilliant Ph.D. student… and share anything you can imagine on the subject. We’ll sort it up later. “
Zen was many things, though he clearly was the most passionate when he talked about history and mathematics and magical theory and how they all play together within the same unified theory. It was his life work and he enjoyed it immensely. Oddly enogugh, he did not seem worried about meeting the ‘Horrors’ or Daemons, and did not assume that they had ill intents. He was facinated by the big picture and completely at peace with the dangerous details.December 13, 2018 at 5:36 pm #12465
Silent beeps on ‘links all around the camp alerted the expedition members that breakfast was being served and that those not eating should begin breaking camp and packing things away, as departure would be soon after the last shift ate.
246December 16, 2018 at 3:49 pm #12700
Zen helps around in unfolding the camp, and then quickly eats a sandwich.December 17, 2018 at 1:47 am #12721
The camp mostly packed onto the transports, Alyce seeks out Zen. “Good morning. I hope that you will be able to use what we have, because it is all you will have to use in the jungle.” She motions to the truck he is standing near. “This is your palace for the next few hours. Make as much use of it as possible. After we reach the dismount point, I will dedicate one of the expedition’s Mule drones to you. That should give you a relatively steady platform to ride and work from. Will that suit your needs?”
247December 17, 2018 at 7:37 am #12736
Zen enjoys the physical labor, and develop friendly terms with most of the people he encounters. He is a defuser of tension when he does not worry. It will be a week, perhaps two and he will be acclimated to these people and feel them in a way that few metahumans can. He replies to
Alyce ”Yes thank you. I can also walk, I do most of my work from VR with neural interfaces. The equipment is for all practical means part of me. I do not need a table or anything”.
December 17, 2018 at 8:32 am #12748
- This reply was modified 4 months ago by Gilga.
Alyce tilts her head slightly to the left as she looks at Zen. “Hmmm. I am curious how you can act in VR and still walk. My experience is that any time in VR is almost like being away from your body.”
248December 17, 2018 at 8:58 am #12750
Zen replies ”Well, I need little sleep due to my sleep regulator. Being away from civilization there are many hours of total darkness that I assume that we are not going to use for moving. I plan to work during these hours within the comforts of my own sleeping bag. During the days, I find that I am more productive when I do not try to directly solve problems, but let my mind rest and my body exercise. Which is why I prefer walking to being carried by a drone. It helps me not to be too attached to my theories and have a fresh cycle and renewed passion every time I approach my study again. If I made the wrong assumptions about our activity/camping cycles then I will think of it some more.”December 17, 2018 at 11:39 am #12763
Alyce smiles and nods her head, her left hand idly scratching at the head of the massive Hell Hound standing beside her. “Yes, you are correct that we will be travelling in the daylight hours. Very well, you will have access to the Mule for your equipment and walk with the rest of us. I know that you are in good shape, but this is likely to be a taxing journey. We will head off from the vehicles in the general direction of the lost city and I hope that you can refine your data enough each night to give me a good route for the following day.”
She nods again and leaves Zen to go see to something else.
249December 17, 2018 at 12:31 pm #12766
[Morning, Wednesday March 24, 2077; Camp, Jungles near Bogotá]
Petal, in her guise as a young woman, had been busily making herself useful around the camp since just before dawn. Dream had watched from afar, restless and ill at ease but vicariously enjoying the freedom of his progeny. Finally the moment had come that he had been so reluctant to face, moving on in daylight. It wouldn’t be long before they were forced in to ditching the vehicles and he could not ask these mortals to travel the jungle at night, the risks were too great. And so he had clad himself in the fully sealed Voidblack armour and pulled the helmet down over his head, completing the hermetic seal that would, hopefully, keep the killing solar glare from his corrupted flesh. The jungle canopy was still comparatively thin here, once they were deeper the risks would reduce, but he had no doubt that he would need to get used to the smell of processed air for a while…already he found himself longing for the grace of dusk…
He drew some anxious glances when he emerged from the vehicle…a walking shadow was hardly the most unusual thing these people had likely seen but the sudden departure and unseemly haste were likely preying on their minds…the jungle had plenty of surprises in store for them and they were seasoned enough to understand that…but one in their midst was exactly comforting. And then Petal was by his side, looping her arm through his, her astral nature making seeing him a breeze. Dream smiled and patted her arm, grateful as ever that she had chosen to remain with him when she had so much freedom to explore the world now. Perhaps if Zen were to take the mirror in to the fovae he wouldn’t even need to chase Petal away to prevent her from hurting herself in the astral void. Dream didn’t doubt that she would throw herself in after him and he had been worrying about her to prevent her doing just that…
#23December 17, 2018 at 2:19 pm #12774
Morning, Wednesday March 24, 2077; Camp, Jungles near Bogotá
The small caravan stops at a wide spot on the trail and the people begin to disembark, the entire maneuver conducted with efficiency and discipline. The Mule drones were loaded with gear, freeing the soldiers from the need to carry heavy packs, at least at this stage. Commands in Russian seem to be the norm, but they are interspersed with French and English. Alyce stands in the midst of it all, a model of calm in the seeming chaos, her massive Hell Hound at her side. Her head swivels as Dream exits his protected truck and her sensors pick out Petal as she moves to support him.
Alyce smiles and moves to where Dream and Petal are. “My friend, how are you? I am sorry, but we will need to move by daylight for the most part. I am glad that you have brought some protective clothing with you and I hope that it is sufficient to your needs. I expect that we will be leaving here within the half hour. We will be heading out for a lost city that seems to fit the bill for creating a favae, but any assistance you can provide me will be appreciated.” She motions at the people getting everything ready. “You are protected by the very best that money can buy and their loyalty to me is absolute. We will get you to your favae, Dream.”
250December 18, 2018 at 2:11 am #12816
Morning, Wednesday, March 24, 2077; Camp, Jungles near Bogotá
Zen is actually not in good shape, at least compared to himself. He lost a lot of weight, and muscle tissues. He was an impressive athlete an example of how far technology and exercise can push the human body. His body was now weak, but his mind stayed sharp and Zen hoped to emerge from this trip a new man. If he ever gets out that is, he did volunteer to place the mirror. An act of self-sacrifice, but Zen did not believe in ‘self’ or tried not to believe in it. It was one thing to logically understand the teaching of the Budhaa, and another thing entirely to actually follow them. He was one of the most arrogant people, completely self-centered, it would take more than a day to become enlighted.
It should be easier for him, as he is smarter and more intuitive than anyone in the previous generation thanks to technology and a lot of hard work. His mind is linked to powerful computers and to the matrix itself, a living being that humanity is yet to discover. The matrix was more than the sum of all its products, it was likely to be something bigger, a digital god that is still not completely aware. It was not the individual devices, it was the whole – and if the matrix was like that, with undercurrents that nobody but the technomancers could reason about. Humanity had to be like that, a single organism composed out of the entire tapestry of humanity. After all, everything is a reflection of its creator and if humanity created the matrix, it had to be fundamentally similar to it. This line of thought was what brought Zen to Buddhism, but his strange mystical perception of the world may not be identified as such by the followers of the path.
He resists the temptation to swear at his weak physical state and just grins apologetically when some things are too heavy for him to lift. Being so weak is a humbling lesson, but he built his physical strength now and he can do so again. If he lives long enough… again this sadness from the struggle to fully embrace his own vision of humanity. Zen notices to his surprise, that he understands Russian and France, and every language people talk near him. That disease is changing is consciousness? He just picks up the languages at a basic level, but enough to make conversation. Once the party is ready to depart he moves to the kitchen and sees what is left, at any case he has plenty of chocolate bars.
Before resting for a bit he texts.
>> Adel did you eat already? Come seat with me if you have time.
Zen seats alone, and gathers some things to his plate, thanks to the cook for the food and then quietly eats. The man is enveloped in thoughts, some of them too deep for his own mind to comprehend.December 18, 2018 at 4:05 pm #12893
Late Morning, Wednesday March 24, 2077; Point of Departure, Jungles near Bogotá
Once the equipment is off-loaded from the vehicles and transferred to the Mules, Alyce and the the other leaders of the expedition make a final check before giving the signal to begin the tourney into the jungle. The rest of the day is designed as a slow march, mostly to let everyone get the feel of what the jungle and terrain are like. By the time a halt is called for the night, everyone is willing to admit that this will be a tough trek. A camp is set up and Alyce oversees cooking the evening meal for the team. Guard rotations are established and set in place, using a combination of drones and security personnel.
After the meal, Alyce walks about the small encampment, checking on everyone’s health and status.
251December 19, 2018 at 2:08 am #12917
Adel joins Zen for a quick breakfast, she is all excited about the expedition. Zen seems quiet as if there is something unsaid about them.
“How did it go with Caroline?” she asks and Zen replies “Oh, you two are sharing a tent. It went well, she is quite brilliant as an academic. Will take a while to crunch it all.” Adel seemed to sense the tension in her friend and says “Is this why you are all stressed out, like Maria Francesca used to say, you look like you will turn into a tree soon.” Zen chuckles “Well, you and Maria Francesca gave me a lot of things to think about. I… am sort of fond of you more than I realized.” Adel grinned, enjoying Zen’s embarrassment. “Oh really? How so?” she acted surprised, though Zen was transparent about that, and she waited for the time he realized that. “Yes, really…”, Adel grinned “Well of course you are… You have been all strange around me, and…” she pauses and leans for a kiss her eyes excited. After a short sensual kiss Zen seems surprised “You don’t care if they see?”
“They were going to find out anyhow, with the way you have been looking at me. Don’t tell me that it is all mathematics in that head of yours”
Zen replies “Of course not, I also think about history and geography and art…” Adel replies “Oh… shut up already.” He replies “I am that obvious…” and Adel nods.
The next day was brutal to Zen and fairly regular to Adel. The young dryad became so exhausted that it was will and Adel’s encouragement that kept him going. Zen felt a bit strange not to be the transhumanist but a person whose body was still recovering from a terrible, and yet wonderful disease, one that killed his entire previous expedition and was not far from killing him. Yet, here he was walking that path again and not letting his physical state get the better of him. Luckily he had his things carried on the mule drone, and thanks god for AR games like GO that got him through the hard hours, he also listens to Alyce new masterpiece Requiem for Below. Though he admits that he should properly listen to it in his VR study room.
At night Zen is just thankful that the day is over, his muscles aking but he feels a forgotten feeling of dopamine released after physical activity. He marginally helps with setting up, limited by his state of exhaustion but do not want to appear as a freeloader, and then seek up a table to eat in. His eyes are browsing the tables for a familiar face.
December 19, 2018 at 6:41 am #12928
- This reply was modified 4 months ago by Gilga.
Evening, Wednesday March 24, 2077; Field Camp 1, Jungles near Bogotá
And he finds Adel likewise looking for him. Just before she reaches him, however, Rhea Kynn slides into the space opposite, her face giving off a concerned look. “Good evening, Zen. I know that you are far more interested in the lovely Adel, so I will keep this brief. I noticed that the half-day hike today took a lot out of you and want to know if you are alright? The hike tomorrow will certainly be longer and the terrain will almost certainly be as rough as what we passed over this afternoon. Will you be able to hold up?”
252December 19, 2018 at 7:01 am #12929
Zen replies to Reha ”I need to do it to regain my strength, and I was quite the athlete before I got sick so I expect to improve quickly. I’ll have a good satisfying sleep, and tomorrow will be a new day. If I find myself slowing us down then I will hop on the drone as Alyce previously suggested. Thanks for checking up on me though, it is well appreciated.
How was your day? Are we in good shape? “December 19, 2018 at 11:56 am #12943
Evening, Wednesday March 24, 2077; Field Camp 1, Jungles near Bogotá
Rhea nods. “Good to hear, Zen. We are counting on you to guide us to our destination. Let me know if you need any support from me or the security team.” She rises and motions for Adel to come over. “To answer your question, we are doing well, but it is still very early. Eat and sleep well.”
As the woman moves away, Adel moves in and takes the seat opposite Zen. “So, what did she want?”
253December 19, 2018 at 1:26 pm #12952
Zen answers ”Apparently they are counting on me to find the city, so they don’t want me to drop dead on the way. My performance today is not exactly reassuring. He grins sheepishly before he starts eating.
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