Note: Character name change! Christi -> Alethea. I’m not going to edit my previous posts, as I need some leverage if I ever decide to offer a final draft as a Patreon gift or something! 😉
However, I hope you are enjoying it as much as I am writing it. This has been an incredible experience for me, as the worlds I have created in the past never felt mentally satisfying. The examination of the space always felt superficial.. Anyway, I’ll stop rambling. Thanks for your interest!
Right Wing Utopia (The Unexpected 2k Word Trilogy)
Alethea could feel that the shroud enclosing her body in its ovular darkness had ceased moving. Her mind was still racing. “Who are these people? What do they want? What is going ON?” she transitioned from thought to yelling and fighting against the abyss. The bottom parted around her feet. Silently, as the lotus blooms to kiss the sky. She was dazzled by the transition from perfect darkness to the bright sun-simulating LED bulbs. Once it was clear of her body, it quickly receded into itself becoming a small circle no bigger than the size of a medium-sized coin. It was hovering above the crown of her head for a second, and then began to fall. Alethea could feel the wind rush by as it was caught midair. She swiveled on her heels, and was face-to-chest with a tall sturdy man with a pronounced wiry red beard. Standing so near, he felt as wide and as massive as the great assault personnel carriers that hurried the Hunters around the city. She had to step back from this second wave of assault on her senses. The great man bellowed in a thick southern drawl as he thrust out his hand, “Pleased to meet you. I’m Bel. Welcome to the Underground!”
Alethea blinked away her questions and thoughts, still attempting to adjust to the overload. She took his hand and gave it a swift shake, still unsure of whether or not she could trust these people that had just violently invaded her life and took her captive. Finally, her voice finally broke free from the cage within to flutter and echo in the concrete cave, “I’m.. Alethea. What.. where? ….Why!?” Bel’s face was washed in a jolly smile, “You will be briefed by Maduenu after they get back from tonight’s raid. However, I do apologize for the startling manner by which we took you. If there is anything I can get for you, please let me know. Please let any of us know.” Bel gestured to the various corridors that formed spokes out from this central room. “Beyond these halls are the living quarters for members of the Undergrowth, our mess hall, armory, and everything necessary to keep our operations running smoothly. You are welcome to explore and do as you please. However, beyond the bunker’s doors.. You wouldn’t get far. We’re deep beyond the Southern Point, and there are auto-turrets, Babbling Brooks, and the occasional Hunter or Outbounder wandering the wastes. I trust that you’ll consider us as friendly, compared to such machinations.”
Alethea met his steel gaze, “I guess I have no choice, either way.”
Bel laughed, “Quite right. If you need anything, give a holler.” Into her hand he placed a small electric-violet glowing object shaped like a large pill. “Your brain-chip’s communication isn’t very good for the sensitive information we might discuss here in the Underground. It’s unlikely there’s anybody monitoring the coms these days, especially with qcrypt being the way it is, but better safe than exterminated, yeah?”
“Yeah,” Alethea halfheartedly laughed at the thought, took the communicator, and placed it into her ear. She could still hear the roar of laughter and comradery from the mess hall and the hissing of the ReSYNC pods in the sleeping quarters. The electronic bee in her ear allowed ambient noise in until activated by the owner’s voice, which it verified by scanning the individual’s Broca’s area. Bel had already heel-turned and marched away into the mess hall to join the others.
Alethea was alone, again. She hesitated for a second, feeling a pang of remorse and was forced into a flashback of when she had been forced into the science academy all those years ago. She felt her chest clench and the breath get sucked from her body by the invisible phantom inside her as she remembered the unnecessary torture she was put through to deactivate the chip – purely for the amusement of the audience at home. When she was finally lifted out of the water by the phantom, Alethea was finally able to take in her surroundings. She had been unsealed at the southernmost point of the circular room, and before her lay mass amounts of technology. In the center, a holographic display of the globe showed various red spikes moving about. The globe was teeming with them, a dance of pillars of blood. As they overlapped they grew, and as they departed they shrunk. In some places, the pillars were tall and wide, others they were a single dot. In the four quadrants of the table was a row of work stations each with their own holographic screen. Some were off, but the ones showing life were fixed on either tables or certain areas of the map. She stepped forward to the center, and as she approached the globe she could make out blue spikes. No. Blue missiles whizzing above the hovering Earth. As they disappeared into the fluid-like sphere, some of the red spires crashed down. Wide became skinny. Tall became small. Some became none. It was enough for her to surmise that, whatever these red spikes represented, they were mortal. They were no match for the Babbling Brooks, the statistically likely ordinance of choice within these carriers of destruction. There was little else on the map, and without being taught what the makers wished to convey, it was useless data at this point. She ran her hand along the edge of the projecting table as she began moving toward the hall marked “LQ” that was directly opposite the southern entrance corridor. Her mind was still wandering. She had been so confused about the recent change of events, and the prospect of speaking to who she presumed to be the leader didn’t help much. She arrived within the Underground’s crew quarters. There was a lone black door that stood in the rectangular room.
“If I was expected, could they have..” her thought trailed off as her feet placed Alethea before the console beside the door. It crackled, but a gentle voice chimed, “Please state your name.”
Alethea hesitated, “Alethea.. Onida.” The voice replied, “Accepted. Thank you! Please wait.” A soft scratching sound could be heard behind the door. Once it stopped, the door swung open, and she stepped inside. “No way!” she exclaimed.
From the deep black darkness, a world swirled before her. It began to materialize into a small-yet-spacious one-bedroom apartment. A bar marking the top edge of the place’s walls buzzed to life with a quick electric-hiss. The lighting faded through a light rainbow of colors, sometimes snaking along the wall like a marquee.
“Welcome home, Alethea. You have one message. You appear to be in need of sustenance – please proceed to the kitchen area to receive what I have prepared. If you need me, my name is Alexa,” a voice from the ceiling rained down from somewhere above the open ceiling. Somewhere in the simulated dreary rainclouds hanging above her new home.
“Thank you, Alexa,” Alethea’s voice responded to no one in particular as the LED lighting adjusted themselves to a soft indigo.
“You are welcome, my companion,” the A.I. cooed with the soft sound of windblown rain.
Alethea looked back up at the ceiling, surprised to have been answered. Her old apartment had never been so advanced, nor did she really know such technology had arrived just yet. Even with all the advancements, the scientists were generally the last to get what was built for the Owner-Operators. Usually what trickled back down their way was the scraps of technology several years outdated. Trainees were even worse off, generally put into small one-room spaces infested with all sorts of species that were considered “protected.” Once the technoids were unleashed on the planet to pollinate plants, most sentient species had to move inside or face extinction. The last bastion of hope for many of these creatures was within the beds, walls, showers, and living spaces of the trainee’s – unable to pay for their extermination, unable to exterminate them if they had the money. The only option was to move from the area, but that required passing the exam and moving on. Now, Alethea was living the high life. It was intoxicating enough for her to temporarily forget her confusion about recent events and take in what fortune she seemed to have stumbled into.
As she moved through the purple sea, away from the door and towards the kitchen, she admired the aesthetics that had been generated based on her most heart-felt desires. Everything was inspired by gothic architecture, much of which was either purple or black and adorned with skulls. As Alethea passed by the bedroom, she caught a glimpse of a canopy bed and let out a squeak. She hesitated before the multi-panel window and watched the simulated rain falling outside, flooding a valley in the distance, and quenching the thirst of a variety of fauna. The aroma of a particular plant nearby caught her attention, and she glanced at the desk looming in the corner. Her computers were already setup and ready-to-go. Before the main large monitor, on the cold glass surface, sat her old friend that glittered in the purple light accompanied by a mason jar full of sunshine and several lighters.
She gigglesnorted and began walking to the kitchen opposite of her desk, and quietly whispered to herself, “A friend with weed is a friend indeed.” She began to howl with laughter, and arrived at the kitchen island to find a warm veggirrito. Alethea looked up and nodded to the sky in gratitude just as Alexa began to speak, “Maduenu would like for you to visit them at your earliest convenience. Please join them in the Overseer room.” After the dewy electric voice was lost to the soft winds, she checked her presentation before her desk mirror, saluted Alexa with a cloud of her own, and exited her ReSYNC pod as it hissed gently at her saunter through the sliding egg-shaped abyss that served as a portal to the rest of her immediate world. Shortly thereafter, she arrived back at the main hub of the bunker, the four terminals now occupied by three unfamiliar individuals and Bel. They were busy manipulating the workstations via the wireless connection between it and their Visual Auxiliary Ubiquitous Xtension, a miniaturized quantum computer injected directly into the brain at birth. Maduenu was standing near the central display watching a Babbling Brook crash down upon a large stack of red. They turned upon sensing Alethea’s presence, and had begun to smile at her.
“Ah, found your room, I presume? You look refreshed, that is good to see,” they beckoned for her to sit at a bench before the great glowing screen and themselves, “Please, I am sure you have many questions. So, let us discuss the recent events.”
Alethea took her place, and couldn’t help but let slip the question that was always on her mind, “Why?”
“Precisely, my Komrade. ‘Why?’ It is a fascinating question that nearly drove you to utter destruction, did it not?” Alethea nodded sheepishly. “Such a waste of talent. All the brilliance, and it was going to what? To further some filth’s new toy? We have none of that here in the Undergrowth. We are all Komrades. We fight against the kyriarchy that sought to erase us, but they could not erase the natural laws that gave birth to us. Could they, Komrade? I believe you know this to be true. You’re lucky that we were in your computer and intercepted your cry for help long before the scum could.” Alethea had begun to weep. Even after seeing her quarters, she had still felt guarded and skeptical of these kidnappers. However, now, she began to recognize them for what they were – family. Each person in the room was varied in their own way – genetic diversity was necessary for the proper advancements and to ensure the survival of the newly interstellar species. However, the world outside was constructed in such a way to prevent too much variation. Too much genetic diversity. Too much discomfort to minds driven down the extremely narrow path that their singular goal carved out for them.