Read E.N.D.A.Y.S. Online

Authors: Lee Isserow

E.N.D.A.Y.S.

BOOK: E.N.D.A.Y.S.
7.4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

 

 

ABAM.info

presents

ENDAYS

 

By

Lee Isserow

 

 

Copyright © 2016 Lee Isserow
All rights reserved.

0

 

Imagine an infinite expanse, onyx black, dense yet formless, going on and on as far as the eye
can't
see. It has texture, yet no physical matter. There is life beyond it, yet it cannot sustain life itself. Those who are fortunate enough to live in a reality that has grown to transcend the barriers between dimensions call it
The Meta
, the space beyond space.

Those who traverse from one world to another are also
terrible
at naming things. It is the connective tissue that binds matter together. The barrier that separates it. And with the right science, allows for travel between realms.

Of course, people can't be trusted to cross the space between realities and not fuck things up magnificently, which is why the Jump Division exists. An elite force of agents working to preserve the stability of the grid, their jurisdiction extending to billions upon billions of populated dimensions. Each of those agents an expert in covert operations, able to blend in to their surroundings and the subtle or not so subtle differences between each reality. They are the best the grid has to offer, working to keep an almost infinite number of people safe. At least that's the ideal scenario. Some agents are just complete fucking arseholes.

 

“You have a bad attitude, Agent Hayes.” Judge Phillips barked, sitting high the the eaves of the tribunal hall.

The hall was a monolith to all that Jump Division stood for. A cylinder hundreds of feet tall, built from an intelligent high-entropy alloy, with a gleaming electroplated chromium finish. The walls were engraved with the names of the finest men and women who had served the Division. Phillips' name was on there, as were those of the other judges. Marcus Hayes's name was once there too, albeit written in permanent marker, which he had scrawled himself. The wall was, unfortunately,
smarter
than he was, and ate away at his signature over the course of his previous hearing.

The chamber was silent as the depths of space when no word was spoken. And when words
were
spoken, its angles had been perfectly formed for the transmission of speech sounds between defendants on the ground level, and the judges aloft in the eaves. A utilitarian cold light came from the highest echelons of the cylinder, shining across the walls, bouncing off the floor that was tiled in an array of interconnecting glass hexagons that reflected a fractal kaleidoscope of light across one another. Flanked by three judges on either side, each in a grand chair with screens jutting out of the arm rests, Phillips was their spokesperson. The eldest, the longest serving, the most short-tempered.

In his youth he had been an agent for the history books, were there books written of such secret a history. He would flit between realities, going above and beyond to stop catastrophe, always remaining within the shadows. He was a hero, and yet now at the age of seventy-eight, having seen all that action weighed heavy on his brow. Battle scarred, figuratively rather than literally, his time in the field had etched his long, grey face with lines, filled heavy bags under his eyes, and thinned his hair to the point that its very existence was but a rumour for the majority of his scalp.

He looked down at the upstart with disdain. Hayes, the 40-something muscle bound star of his own private action movie. Six foot five of body mods and nanotech-inflated biceps. A gun-toting American explosion-walking-away-from imbecile. Hayes was everything Phillips detested about the generation that followed his own, a smear on Jump Division's otherwise exemplary record. Of course, there had been agents in times past that were pricks, but they had never been constantly brought up in front of the judicial assembly as often as Hayes.

“Oh, right,
I
have a bad attitude...” Hayes said, the words grating against his throat, each syllable a footstep along a gravel path from voicebox to lips. He rolled his eyes so theatrically that the rotation might as well have been audible.

“What do you have to say for yourself?” asked the judge, his brow arcing down into even more of a scowl.

Hayes looked up at him and shrugged. He knew the right answer, but he also hated the formality of the judicial process. As far as he was concerned, his actions were necessary to get the job done.

“I dunno...” he said, accompanying his words with another shrug and a heavy, sarcastic sigh. “I'm... sorry?”

“Sorry!?” shrieked the judge, his voice jumping a register, eyes wide and cartoonish, as if they might leap from the sock-ets in lieu of sock-ing the smug grin from Hayes's face. “You put the barrel of your weapon down a President's throat!”

“When you say it like that, it just sounds dirty...” Hayes scoffed.

“Your insubordination is entertaining to nobody but yourself, Agent Hayes. Given that your actions revealed our presence to a world that was widely unaware of inter-dimensional travel, this is a
deadly
serious matter.”

“They were gonna have to find out sooner or later.” Hayes said. “If anything, I gave them a PR boost.” he smiled cockily.

“If I were you, I would wipe that smile off your face.” Phillips growled. “This tribunal is to ascertain your future here at the Division, and you will
not
like the consequences if we decide to remove you from service.”

Hayes had no witty retort. The smile crawled its way back down his face until it disappeared altogether. He stared up at the assembled judges with a steely gaze.

“Now,” said Philips. “Please be so kind as to describe the events of two days previous.”

Thinking for a moment, Hayes tried to put it all into context. The screaming, the running, the explosions of bodily fluids across the room, and of course the gun firmly shoved down the President's throat, drool dripping down the barrel, coating his hand.

“It was... complicated?” he said, finally.

“Your report is mostly comprised of expletives and exclamation marks!” The judge snarled, with a disgusted sneer and glance down to the report on his chair's armrest screen. “Do please give us some
context
.”

“In my defence,” Hayes said, allowing the smile to return to his lips. “He was going to explode...”

The judges glared, each set of eyes tugging at the loose strands of a knot in Hayes's stomach, tightening and contorting. Making it start to feel like this fuck-up was finally going to be the last straw.

“Well,” he said, clearing his throat. “It started out like any other mission...”

 

§

 

GRID DESIGNATION 0108:0012:0455

 

A world barely out of the mundane. Pointed metallic structures that had aspirations of touching the sky made up the greater part of the cities, whilst poverty clung to the outskirts. A limescale ring that just wouldn't budge, no matter how much the government tried to scrub it away. Those in the higher echelons of power knew of the grid, and had entered into a protectoral agreement with Jump Division. But they had yet to tell the wider populace. They didn't trust their electorate.

In an alley off a main thoroughfare in the capital city of the largest continent, a trans-dimensional scan was being concluded. It was designed to confirm that the potential jump site was safe, devoid of life or structures that might result in a painful and often fatal bonding between agent and whoever or whatever might be in the vicinity. The scan confirmed the site was clear.

 

Sitting in a pitch black room with screens hovering around her, Kali stretched her arms out and yawned, trying not to look at the exhausted reflection staring back from the glass the data was displayed on. This was hour thirty-one of her shift, or at least hour thirty-one in the chair. To the outside world it was half way through hour twenty-one, but knowing that did
not
make her feel any better, or less exhausted.

Division operators worked in pocket dimensions where time ran one and a half times faster than real dimensions. Forty seconds in the field was sixty seconds in the chair, an extra half-second for every second an agent experienced, in which the operator could perform calculations, give tactical advice, or gather information. All faster than if done in real time, because time was the one constant across the grid.

The chair she sat at each and every day was designed to promote perfect posture, and yet Kali hunched forward, spine curving just a little more with every shift. A constant reminder that her mother was bent over like a question mark from the age of sixty. She had seemed to shrink in on herself, torso rolling forward with every passing year until her dying day, when she was bent over at half her actual height. Kali straightened her lower back, pushed her shoulders back, and reached for the console ahead of her. Keyboard at the centre, she typed the grid designation and confirmed the coordinates of the destination within the reality. A gesture unit lay beyond the keyboard, reacting to the occasional signal she traced in the air, beginning the sequence to power up for the jump. Her left hand abandoned the keyboard and found its way over to a baseball-sized sphere embedded in the console. Registering her biometric data, it hummed to life. A glimmer, a spark at its core. Her palm left its surface, fingers still lingering. Swiping them to the right with a quick motion, the sphere rippled to life. A light deep inside glowing brighter and brighter, structure shifting from solid to liquid as the quantum computer started making calculations for the impending jump. Right hand continuing to make gestures in mid-air, finalizing the sequence and confirming all the data, Kali's left hand hovered over the sphere as its brightness peaked. She slammed her palm down on the ball of light, initiating the jump sequence.

 

In the vacant alley of 0455, the air began to hum. To the mundanes of the reality, the tone would have been barely audible, but anyone who had been trained for inter-dimensional travel would have noticed it. They would know to stand well back as the volume increased, molecules of the surrounding structures vibrating, causing furrows and folds on their surfaces, visible light being forced to bend around the jump site.

Whilst that level of observation was outside of the mundane skill set, the natives of the dimension might have possibly noticed the
physical
effects of the impending incursion. Localised gravity began to fluctuate, trash on the ground breaking free of the planet's hold, rising slowly up towards the sky, until becoming caught up in the jump's gravity, orbiting it as the rift was opened. Tentacles of light ripped a hole in the fabric of reality, a literal tear that opened out in four folds, each flapping the matter around it like a newspaper in the wind. Three silhouettes stood at the centre of the rift, two standing steadfast as protocol instructed. The third with his fist in the air, biceps flexed, posed like a rock star on stage in front of an adoring crowd.

The breach sealed itself behind them, tears flapping back into place, matter rebinding. The others looked at Hayes incredulously as he took his arms down from their pose.

“Always gotta be a prick.” said McCall, who made the unfortunate decision to stand next to Hayes, resulting in the pungent aroma of an armpit wafting directly into his face for the duration of the jump.

McCall was a relatively new agent. Younger and shorter than Hayes, rake thin and intentionally so. His bones were laced with a nanoplexus that reigned in his bulk, compacting the musculature growing above it to be as lean and efficient as possible. Even with a waist of only twenty-seven inches, what might as well have been broomsticks for legs, and biceps that barely seemed to extend beyond the bone, he was able to lift upwards of three hundred and fifty pounds without breaking a sweat. A designer body for a citizen of an advanced reality, who had spent his whole life dreaming of joining Jump Division.

“Ain't nothing wrong with some showmanship, Scotty.” Hayes said.

McCall's first name was not Scotty. It was Nate. Hayes insisted on calling him Scotty because McCall was an Scottish last name, even though Nate McCall was born in Ireland. Hayes also didn't know the difference between the Scottish and Irish.

“Ain't nothing wrong with deodorant neither...” McCall spat back, as he tapped his right ramus, activating the communication subderm embedded in his jaw “Comm check.”

'Reading you loud and clear.'
Kali said, her voice coming through as if she were standing right beside them, the sound vibrating from a further subderm installed in their left tragus, going down through the lining of their ear canals.

“Long time sweetness,” Hayes said. “How's it going in that big, lonely, dark room a'yours? Need some company when we're all done with this show?”

Kali gestured to change the audio levels of her transmission to Hayes, sending feedback squealing through his brain, which in turn made him squeal like a pig.

“Fucking ow!” he said. “Was that
really
fucking necessary?”

'It's either that or I add my name to your laundry list of sexual harassment suits.'
she said, before switching back to the group channel.
'Shay, I'm sending positioning data to your lens.'

Lens, or more accurately, L.E.N.S. was an acronym. Jump Division were fond of acronyms. This one stood for Link Enabled Nanoprojected System. Four words that might seem like nonsense to the layperson, but referred to the technology by which an agent received data from their operator, communicated with the nanotechnology they used on a daily basis, and operated their weapons. A microscopic projector had been embedded within the hyaloid canal of every agent's left eye, running an operating system stored in minute sections across the nanotech that flowed through their blood. The projector was the interface by which the agent had control of their advanced functions, mods and subderms, casting its light on the crystalline lens of the eye. A visual operating system controlled by mere thought.

BOOK: E.N.D.A.Y.S.
7.4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Calypso Summer by Jared Thomas
Unclaimed Treasures by Patricia MacLachlan
The World Shuffler by Keith Laumer
Hounds of God by Tarr, Judith
To Love by Dori Lavelle
Salome by Beatrice Gormley
The Sweetest Things by Nikki Winter