Reks Twelve and I havent known each other for very long, but in the recent time we’ve spent together, our thoughts about the world we are in, where it is going, and the role we are to play in its betterment have been forged into one, and both of us have grown because of it.
The story you are about to read is what We’ve called a ‘Zero Edition’ of Symbionic. No one but Reks and myself have had any input in its creation. Because of this, you the reader are likely to find plethora of faults, defects, plot holes and plot discrepancies. Luckily for future you’s the book is being edited (as you read this) by a talented, albeit fastidious editor. It will be different, and concisely comprehensive compared to this version.
Have fun reading.
CHAPTER ONE: PART ONE
Elix stares out of the train window reciting the beginning of her journal internally
“My world has been corrupted by technology first thought to aid humanity, now turned into a weapon, a weapon against the mind. It was a slow invasion, taking only a fraction of the population at first, transients and delinquents were the first to be assimilated. The world actually applauded. But within a few years came the time to strike. It struck so soft it was mistaken for a kiss, a blessing, an embrace of a loved one and from there technology’s hand grew large enough to grip nearly every human’s mind and squeeze it of what made it human.”
Yeah that works, I like that.
She’s switching her focus now, between the lush green outside whizzing by and her own reflection.
I hate having my hair like this. She begins to ponder.
It’s so boring and efficient.
As everyone’s hair was these days; short, neat, easy to manage, no colour but the one they were born with, no concealment of greys, no need to hide age.
And this ugly intelliguise stuck to my eye. She complains. It’s 2100, as if they haven’t designed something better than this half a swimmer’s goggle looking piece of trash. She almost giggles.
But that would take imagination.
Which is exactly what the intelliguise masks, and in nearly all cases supresses.
Elix focuses on the outside again to stop herself laughing at her own jokes; she loves the trees, the persistent swish of their long breaths. She loves it most when she’s walking through her town in autumn and the leaves fall into her hair, giving her naturally mousey hair an explosion of colour, the red and orange leaves are her favourite, they remind her of a painting her parents had commissioned, of the two of them walking down a road lined with old Banyans in mid abscission.
I wish there were more people to share my thoughts with.
Elix would’ve sighed if it weren’t for the numerous Assimilated Hûms sharing the carriage with her.
Her only true friend and mentor is Artemis, she’s on her way home from his place now. He’s always telling her how smart and funny she is and that if the world were different she’d have no trouble finding friends. He also strongly urged her never to ride the train.
Elix focuses on her reflection again, she often wondered if while she was daydreaming about all the beautiful things she likes, that her face was cracking a smile or contorting to some abnormal state; a dangerous thing to do in a crowd and especially dangerous on the crowded train she was riding. She stares straight ahead at herself.
Damn I’m good at playing robot. She thinks without a flinch or a wrinkle.
Her posture was impeccable; as was everyone else’s, it had to be, for her to blend in. Elix’s has been training her eyes to scan peripherally since she decided to move out of Artemis’ house, she’s been scouting the train, making sure no-one was paying her any extra attention. It’s always been hard to tell who was being controlled directly and who was simply following their programming, Artemis always taught her to assume everyone was watching, always.
Beep beep beep. Beep beep beep.
Her eyes widen, cheeks blush, fear tingles at the base of her skull.
All this thinking must’ve overloaded my Intelliguise.
Elix remains still in her seat.
I just need another minute and I’ll be at my stop.
Beep beep beep. Beep beep beep. The other passengers begin to squirm; trying desperately to find the disturbance.
Don’t sweat, don’t fret. Don’t sweat don’t fret. She tells herself over and over.
One of the passengers spots her; He’s directly relaying his visuals to the Encephalon.
“Unassimilated” The passengers receive.
“Engage, assimilate” They’re told.
All of them stand. Elix is quick to react, she stands also, attempting to play along, but alas, they know she’s the one disturbing their peace.
Beep beep beep. Beep beep beep; confirms it for everyone. Elix lunges for the emergency stop button; the train is already slowing at her stop but crunches its breaks into gear, causing the passengers to stumble.
Elix wrenches the door open and slips out.
By now the people at the station have been alerted and are closing in on her position, one gets close enough to grab her right arm’s sleeve; She tears it off revealing Elix’s bionic arm.
No. She cries internally.
My favourite coat.
Her lament fuels her escape off the end of the station and onto the train tracks. The Assimilated receive new orders, only 3 of them are to pursue, the rest must return to their programmed task.
Elix sprints as fast as she can towards the old industrial section behind her neighbourhood, she bounds the fence in her way with ease thanks to her bionic arm. Her heart is pounding with all its might, she turns her head behind as she rounds a corner.
Fuck, they’re close, oh, right.
Sometimes Elix forgets that the Assimilated Hûms are fed exactly what their individual body needs to be its healthiest and are exercised precisely enough to be in peak physical condition. Her body on the other hand is slightly under weight, slender but inconspicuously so, probably due to her sporadic diet and exercise regime.
Elix turns down an alleyway, and the second she does, she immediately regrets it, she thought it was a different one.
This is the dead-end alley, SHIT.
Frantically she searches for a way out. The assimilated pace around the corner, slowing their gait to that of the horror movie villains Artemis would talk about. Elix looks left to a fire escape ladder, but it’s raised too high. To her right is a door, she tries the handle.
Of course, it’s locked. She punches the handle clean off in a fit of rage, behind the door is a tiny room with a power box and a rat that flees immediately.
Elix admits defeat to herself. You’ve got to do it. She tells herself. No way out now.
The assimilated are only metres away and closing, as if the person controlling them were trying to instil fear. It was working; Elix’s heart is beating faster than when she was running as she faces them.
“I didn’t want to do this. I’m sorry you have to get hurt”
Elix reaches into her pocket and pulls out a small cylindrical object no bigger than her pinkie finger, rips it in two, turns one end around and re-joins the pieces before throwing it at the Assimilated’s feet. They simply step over it without fully understanding its purpose. The cylinder hisses and squeals.
Elix knows she only has a few seconds to act, she twists, then rips her index finger clean off; this action forces the propulsion of an 8-inch rod from the cavity, she punches the ground with it driving it as deep as she can into the earth.
Next, she raises her body into the air, balancing on her bionic arm, with her other arm she presses a button on her shoulder. Her bionic arm explodes its skin off and suddenly she’s encased within a meshed structure.
“Faraday sends his regards” she quips.
The assimilated don’t hear and wouldn’t care if they did, Elix chuckles to herself. The hissing stops abruptly, the device she threw explodes sending an electro-magnetic pulse through the bodies of the assimilated; disabling their Intelliguises and forcing them into unconsciousness tangle on the ground in front of Elix.
One moment passes.
I better not stick around here too long. Elix thinks, pressing the button on her shoulder again to retract her Faraday skin.
After she pulls her spike from the Earth and reattaches her finger she checks the light on her shoulder.
Green, alright. It must’ve had a chance to cool down.
As Elix walks past the three assimilated on the ground, she watches them cautiously for any spasm; they’ve been known to do that after an EMP. One of the women flings her arm at Elix’s heel as if trying to grab it but lamely knocking it instead. Even though Elix was anticipating it, it still managed to shock her. The drooling mess of Assimilated return to their still state and Elix leaves for her safe house.
On the way, Elix’s thoughts are all over the place.
Was she reaching out for help? I wonder if she chose assimilation like my parents did or if she was one of the Hûms that had to be chased down… I need to find out more about the Assimilated, I wish Artemis would tell me more than to stay away from them… I know it would be bad for me to be Assimilated, I mean fuck that, I like being free, but there has to be something else going on.