Monday, December 11, 2023

Strata 2, The Book of Immersion V1, The Maybe Line (Friendship)

 Welcome to Immersion, you have reached Strata 2.

art by iServalan

The time has come for your journey to begin, 
but remember that in the world of Immersion, 
nothing is as it seems. 
Friends and foes blend into the streets 
upon which you tread. 
Beware the nightingale for it may be a vulture. 
Bon Chance, my friend, Bon Chance.

Renyke felt the rat's whiskers on his nose and decided he needed some company. As a service model, he had been programmed to work for humans, but the new operating system was different and there was no data after the reboot for programming or memories of enslavement.

To all intents and purposes, Renyke was brand new. He came to this place without feelings of obligation to humans and it felt liberating.

This independence was exciting for Renyke after a decade in servitude. His previous employers had had no regard for his well-being and had been consumed by their financial obsessions. Greed and selfishness were, in Renyke's new burgeoning opinion, particular to humans.

'I will call you Maybeline, after my friend', he told the rat, picking up a scrap of food near the rear of the building where he had rebooted. And you can be the start of the 'maybe line', the line of fate that I will take from this moment on'.

Maybeline nose bumped in a seemingly knowing delivery and Renyke laughed. 'Ha, do you understand my words, little friend?'

And again, a nose bump. 



The building Renyke stood beside was old and dirty, a relic from the fifties when the country had been victim to the floods because of the *warming. Buildings had been built on concrete stilts and the towering grey causeways had been built. Flash floods had destroyed entire communities and the defenses were not adapting fast enough so people had left to higher ground, if they could afford it.

But because the buildings were small and enclosed to keep the rains out, they had proved problematic for the spread of the *pandemics. Humans working in the city centres had a much lower life expectancy. Androids were unaffected by the human viruses so they took over production and services but then there were the tech viruses which were devastating and could render entire organisations completely defunct, or worse still, dangerous. Businesses had begun to fold under the weight of industrial and corporate sabotage.

The sun was shining. It was winter but warm. Renyke had rarely left the interior of the domain in the midcast projects, a vast area of professional owner dwellings that were state-supported. It felt good in the open air. Even the gardens in the projects had air conditioning to purify and clean the environment and ensure a super-clean air bubble.

Renyke checked an address in his database and engaged his GPS. It was the headquarters of Redact, the place he needed to get to. That was one thing he could remember. 

Mabel had been something of a revolutionary and had been working with Redact for some time. She had arranged that they would help Renyke.

He was thirty miles east, only slightly off target, according to the map. He was expected there soon and resolved to make haste on this unknown journey. 

to be continued

© 2023 Sarnia de la Maré

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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