Friday, February 9, 2024

Immersion Chapter 15 The Ship of Sirens (Superstition)

Welcome to Immersion, you have reached Strata 15

Superstition is an evolutionary oddity which prevails in humans of all capabilities and cultures. We know through science that the future cannot be changed by specific habits whilst we see that the state of the present does affect future outcomes. This perpetuating anomaly fuels the fire of doubt. Humanity is burdened with unknown outcomes and a powerlessness for the individual to act sensibly and consistently on their own behalf. Daily life is a navigation through unexpected situations, expectations and outcomes. Intelligent machines test data as a matter of course and are not influenced by mythical scenarios. But still, superstitious actions persist like a magical force to buffer human doubt.

Renyke now realized that he may have lost complete access to his internal GPS and other useful tools in his POS. 

'Can we get any signal here for information? How do people get around and communicate? I didn't see you or Shabra with a personal device.' Renyke asks Flex frowning. His confusion seemed to be mounting.

'Well, see, this is the wild west my friend,' Flex answers, 'we don't have too much need for that stuff because that is how they catch you see.'

'Who catches you?' asks Renyke.

'Enemies of course. We have a motto in the zones, 'they who watch are boss.' You gotta be invisible Renyke. They're watching you right now on that POS you know. They know exactly who you are and what you are up to.'

'Some of it isn't working,' explained Renyke, in a concerned tone.

'Good,' said Flex, 'now let's get going'.

Maybeline jumped off Renyke's shoulder and stood on her hind legs twitching her whiskers towards the small boat.
Unsure if a droid could survive without a POS or in water, Renyke followed Flex's lead and they gently set the boat out into the waterway. 


The small sailboat is dwarfed by an expanse of open water with inlets and makeshift jetties that jut from the coastline. There are remnants of industrial activity, torn and broken bridges, and old shipwrecks.

'What happened here?' Renyke asks, pointing at the knotted metal casings of old aircraft and skeletal flyovers. It looks like a war zone.'

'It was just that brother, a war zone. They left because of the gas and radiation, way back after the China-Russia wars killed everything off. Even the weeds stopped growing. It's OK now but they never came back to fix it. Not yet anyway, so the *urchs and *zoners made homes here.'

Renyke suddenly engages his arm extension and catches a fish. The POS is unavailable so he asks,

'Can I eat this? Is it safe?'

Flex raised an eyebrow.

'Man, you are fast, I didn't even see your hand move.'

A large fish is wriggling in Renyke's hand.

'Yes, we can eat the fish. Here, I will save it till we make......

Before Flex had a chance to mention a campfire, Renyke swallowed the fish's head and eagerly chomped on it. The fish's tail fin lets go of one final motor neuron impulse as Renyke devoured it. 

'Ah man, you droids are sickos. Get me another for lunch, we can cook it, if you don't mind.'

Renyke collects a pile of fish onto the deck, separating one out for Maybeline.

'I never really ate before. Not since I woke in the Alley. Then I felt hungry.' explains Renyke.

'Something must have happened when you, ya know...' Flex trails off as a Large ship approaches.

'Ah *fuxywot, it's a cadre ship. Don't look, they will steal your dreams!'

The ship bears a large figurehead. There is a winged insignia in gold on a death black hull. A warning horn sounded as strange music bellowed with opera and drums. The noise was captivating as Renyke looked on. 

Dark figures stood on the ship's deck wearing masks. They carried weapons and began to pound sticks on the deck as the ship sailed past.

'Who are they?' Ask Renyke.

'Stop staring,' Flex hisses, 'They hate being stared at. It's insulting brother.'


'Stop it!' shouts Flex splashing water in Renyke's face.'

The ship moved past, its black hull like a monster eating the waves.
The chanting echoed to the rhythm of the clattering and pounding of sticks. The sounds were petrifying and exhilarating all at once. 

The women stared back at Renyke burning their energy deep into his soul until he finally looked away. Then he gasped as if their energy had made its way into his lungs. Water dripped from his nose and chin.

'You are going to get us killed, do you hear me....killed, a nasty slow death-by-siren, that's what.'

'But they were so.....'

'Droid got no clue,' mumbled Flex.

An angry wind rises as the black ship fades from sight.

The sky turns grey and there is a sudden temperature drop.

'See now brother, that's a curse for staring at them. Now we got a storm to deal with.'

There is a small inlet with an old pier that Flex points to.

'We should take cover, no point fighting a storm.'

'How far to Redact?' Asks Renyke.

'We are real close. See that island yonder, it's a peninsular. That is where Redact is. But it is tricky to get there by sea because of the rocks, best on foot my friend. Especially in a storm.'

Renyke is keen to get to the island. It would be a fast sail in the wind and the rain is light. 

'I am a strong swimmer,' lied Renyke, not sure if he can actually swim without research or instruction.

'Hahahahahahahaha, what like some kinda reptile droid now are you?' Flex is laughing hysterically when he pushes Renyke just enough to scare him.

'Hahahahaha, what are you Renyke my friend, an amphibian or a smartphone? 
You wanna try that my friend you go alone with the rat on your head, and I will be on my way. I will see your insides washed up on the shore next week and use them for *swapsy-trade. Ain't no fool like a *midcast fool, fresh from the laundry room.'

Flex is no longer laughing. He is warning Renyke behind the joke.

Renyke thinks for a moment as the rain pelts.

© 2022 Tale Teller Club™

Links to episodes of Immersion written and illustrated by Sarnia de la Maré FRSA, published by Tale Teller Club

Strata 1
Strata 2
Strata 3
Strata 4
Strata 5
Strata 6
Strata 7
Strata 8
Strata 9
Strata 10
Strata 11
Strata 12
Strata 13
Strata 14
Strata 15
Strata 16
Strata 18
Strata 19
Strata 21

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