Thursday, February 15, 2024

Immersion Chapter 19 Freaky Celebrations (Stimulation)

Welcome to Immersion, you have reached Strata 19

underground Homotech from the book of immersion by Sarnia de la Maré FRSA
Boredom is common among humans who usually need stimulation to function well. Stimulation can breed invention and creative problem-solving. Humans tend to seek out pleasurable activities to counteract boredom and are often prepared to take risks. Boredom can be alleviated with things that are new and different. Feeling unsatisfied by an activity, or uninterested in it, can lead to problems for individuals and societies.

Artificial intelligence that experiences some kind of boredom simulation, might avoid squandering its resources, thus being drawn to new problems and continuing to develop. The search for novel experiences allows increasingly flexible learning for machines and humans. More simple robots have been used repeatedly for hundreds of years to carry out menial tasks but learning machines are different. They are greedy for knowledge and understanding and are often unprepared to be idle unless someone or something shuts them down.

The Freaks are a tribe of underground humans who suffered deformities due to the extreme use of radioactive and noxious gasses during the Russia-China Wars. The use of these barbaric practices resulted in DNA copy errors in those humans most exposed. These deformations had become normalised over generations within their society. Some rare human alterations are considered so beautiful that they are highly praised and allow ease of upward social mobility. The Freaks were able to build bionic body parts where they were lacking and their use of these additions made light work of many tasks.

They entered a dark tunnel lit by occasional dimmed lights. There is a sharp decline which is tricky to navigate. Maybeline began scurrying around, nervously checking the new smells at ground level.
Nigel was ahead walking extremely quickly and making it difficult to keep up in the darkness.

The tunnels were a mix of old transport networks, mines, and dig-outs. They were complex and it would be impossible to understand their direction if Renyke did not have his onboard compass. 

The POS was unexpectedly working again.

'How far to Redact,' asks Renyke?

My information is being scrambled by an unknown source but I am able to decipher that Redact is very close, as the crow flies. At upper ground level, there appears to be an impenetrable forcefield creating a perimeter approximately 1 mile due east. My stats currently have a 25% chance of being correct.

Flex checked his compass from inside his coat but it too seemed unreliable.

'Did you know about the tunnels?' whispered Flex.
'Well, yes,' replied Flex, 'everyone knows they are here. But we know they are occupied with tribes. Generally speaking, it is best to wait for an invitation as they can be vicious. Besides, we thought they were poorly equipped scavengers in terrible living conditions. We may have got that wrong.'

There is noise ahead. Music and revelry.

Nigel leads them into an opening, a highly decorated cavern with colourful fabrics made from old clothes. There is bunting made from old shoe tops fashioned into bunches and stars, painted with bright pigments. There are throne-like chairs carved in wood.

There is a pentagram made from coloured stones on the floor in the centre.
Portraits of diverse characters are painted in murals all around the walls. 

'Ah, says Flex.' I see your portrait, brother Nigel. It is a great likeness.'

Nigel nods a bow.

'I will take you to a room so you can prepare,' says Nigel.

'Prepare for what?' Asks Flex.

Maybeline is agitated and suddenly jumps onto Renykes shoulder.

'Why, the *party-party of course,' explains Nigel, leaving the room.

The room is a man-made chamber with ornate carvings in mud and stone. 

The POS has information

....There appear to be at least twenty large generators and hundreds of solar-sensitive platforms above ground. If I am not mistaken, energy is also being harnessed via several subterranean waterfalls...

Renyke and Flex explore the chamber. It is very clean and there seems to be a lot of advanced technical apparatus.

Maybeline still seems agitated.

Two people enter the room.

They are light and willowy with extra fingers that are longer than usual. Their heads seem larger than other humans and their faces are gaunt with happy expressions.
A blue clouded film covers their eyes and their skin is white with blue marbled veins.

The lights simultaneously dim as they enter.

Renyke asks his POS to check if the Freaks can move things without touching them.

There is indeed an urban myth Renyke that certain humans damaged in the China Russia Wars developed the mental skills necessary to channel kinetic energy through mind control, but this has never been legitimately confirmed.

Would you like me to examine them Renyke?

'Yes,' Renyke replies.

These creatures are siblings. They share DNA. They are unable to see in bright light.
They are young adults, around 19 years and 5 months. They have two sets of certain organs including reproductive organs. I believe them to be gendered females who have not reproduced.

The two visitors put trays of food and drink onto the table along with a pile of fabrics. Looking at each other under low eyelids, they giggle intensely whilst fluttering their long fingers like butterfly wings.

They wear sheer gossamer robes that show their long limbs beneath.

They approach Flex in unison and study him closely, touching his hair and face and running their hands down his body.

'Oh, excuse me, do you mind? said Flex, lifting up his hands apologetically and moving backwards.

They turn to Renyke and do the same.

Renyke has never experienced touching in this way before and is slightly more receptive.

'What do I do, Flex, is this appropriate?'

'Well,' said Flex 'you could just stand there and see *whappens, go with your *bioflow. Or you could ask them to stop, maybe, if you don't like it. Your choice brother. You are on your own here.'

The creatures giggle again and step back, both looking longingly at Flex and Renyke.

'We've brought you some *toggies,' said one of them pointing to the pile of freshly folded clothing.

'We are indeed siblings,' said the other. Then they turned to exit the room giggling together with their long slender arms entwined.

As they left, the lights automatically brightened.

'Did they read our minds,' asked Flex.
'Nah, man, lucky guess is my guess,' answered Flex, immediately doubting himself.

'Thank you for the toggies, sisters,' shouted Flex as the ghostly figures left the chamber.

The garments were impressive; beautifully handmade with tiny hand stitches. Kaftans, jackets, headgear, feathers, colourful Patchwork, accentuated with mismatched buttons and decorative plastic beads.

'So tonight I suppose we best wear them,' answered Flex, silently wondering about the safety of his possessions and where he will put them.
Urchs are notoriously possessive over their nomadic essentials.

One of the quilted overcoats has sequins made of little flecks of metal that shimmer and pick up the light from overhead lamps. There are rainbow reflections all around the room that move with the jacket. A kaleidoscope of dancing fireflies is reflected on the ceiling and floor, even on their skin.

'I'll have that one,' said Flex.
'No,' shouted Renyke,' grabbing the coat, 'I'll have that one, thank you.'

'No! yelled Flex,' appearing more annoyed, 'I'll have it,' snatching the coat back with steely determination.

A small tussle ensues and the coat tears slightly on the sleeve.

Another Freak enters the room and scurries towards the coat.

'No fret, no fret,' they said, taking the coat and making quick work of its repair with tiny fingers that moved at lightning pace.
'No fret, no fret,' they muttered again as they left the room.

Surprised and somewhat speechless Renyke and Flex look to the pile and discover another identical coat that was there all along.

the POS cuts in.....

noun: a dogged determination not to change one's attitude or position on something.

noun: excessive consumption of or desire for something such as possessions or power.

Greed and stubbornness are traits peculiar to humans. No other species on planet earth takes more than it needs or feels embittered at defeat.

'I didn't ask for your input,' replies Renyke.

I have been programmed to educate and inform you Renyke, in order that your human transition and your journey to Redact go smoothly.

'Who programmed you?' Renyke asks.

I am not permitted to say, answered the POS, turning itself off.

to be continued
© 2022 Sarnia de la Maré FRSA Tale Teller Club/Immersion

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