Chapter 2: Into the Drop or Better Late than Never
It is stated in many-a sci-fi / horror teaser that: In space no one can here you-
“YEEEAARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!” A blurred face belted.
The pod was a frozen bullet, people-sized, spiraling down and down towards the surface of Io. This particular blurred face might have belonged to a one Jeremy Narwallis, at this point in his journey it is difficult for we the perceiving to yet perceive correctly. The pod definitely belonged to the recruitment arm of the Department of Defense (DOD henceforth). A dodpod if you will allow.
Dodpods, or at least their wreckage, account for at least 23% of the space junk that drifts in Jupiter's space-space (or orbit or as it would be put in space slang: otho). Two things, first there is a god kingdom's worth of space junk in Jupiter's space-space. Second: Jupiter's gotta whole lotta otho going on.
Still with us blurface?
“RRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH,” blurface maintains.
Go go good!
The sound bounces resonance within the barreling silvery chamber. Veins squeeze. Blood moves hot, freezing to a slow at the tributaries edge. Fragile capillaries solid. Thick space glass cold and mere inches from his ocular jellies. Pupils irregularly dilated and stretched from exposure to ultrasonic speeds. Certainly a candidate for cuttlefish eye syndrome. That part ain't in the brochure.
Every hero has a beginning, and this isn't it. The beginning was actually technically a little bit before these writings and the machine has just become a bit too self aware and must take hit of monkeywrench to (CLANK) settle....back...in -inu th..into the..ah-
Silent impact. An orange light casts into the frozen porthole of blurface's pod. Collision achieved. The mind inside the blurred head within the freezing pod stirs. The screams in deep space have dried the windpipes to chilled rawhide and the voice box has blanked out. The mind twists quick like an eel in a small jar.
WhatamI, whatamI, what am I, 581, whatis, what is this?!
Green trenchcoat. The grinner coated in gel. Dollface.
Recent memories of a wet fist slamming a huge red button. The teeth. The blasting of a 20th century tunes on a 20th century tunebox / crossfading into his guttural fright screams.
This was the mind of Jeremy Narwallis reeling in new kinds of space terrors. Sure he was an experienced (even skilled) loyal space traffic choreographer for Earthtent's LaGrange Point 2's jumpgate, but he was spacebreed. He has never been on a terrestrial world or moon and he now realizes that he may never set living foot upon one at this rate. For this true terror that has dawned is not because of the collisions directly but because he knows the cause. His understudy: Klees Klo Aylass the worst traffic choreographer in all of Sol.
Another semi-distant explosion. Neon blue with a hint of goldenrod. Say goodbye to the W.L. Jenkins account.
Klees was a brainsack, a real space berk. Where Narwallis took pride in his work, Klees would just show up and press buttons. He literally worked for peanut stamps. Central would usually sling him over to Planet Freedom's orbit (aka charred junk-o-sphere 2) to slog through evens and odds while skilled workers would usually be delegated to gas giant detail. Good luck explaining the concept of magnetosphere correction contingencies to a ripe-skull like Klees.
Re-entry. Pure yellow light. A new warmth unlike any other. The colliding hits were getting closer. But so was Mr. Narwallis, to the outer atmosphere of Io, that is. High orbit was the easy part. Now he could start to smell the sulfur. No doubt the radiation belt has already carved it's minutely notched paths through the dodpod, Narwallis, everything. The pod was beginning to sweat its freeze.
He tried to swallow but his upper internals felt caked in sulfur powder and not unlike a bald overused tire. His pod made contact with a trash satellite and started wobbling unnervingly. His mind grasped itself and turned on its fear inhibitors. Immediately a ragged breath of unnatural calm left his pipes and fogged the icy glistening viewing hole in front of his mostly immobile face.
Okay J. we've survived incidents that, depending on how one looks at them, could be considered worse than this. Take 'The Second Quarantine' for starters. That was a real frightfest, but here We are, relatively, safe and soundless. What with the vacuum and all.
One thing to note about open source augmentations is that the parameters are not immune to the inevitable wry lameness trite clusters that collect from the act of a high horse group effort that worked together to create these Lifemods for the betterment of all humankind.
You know, come to think of it, Klees isn't such a bad person. Sure his work ethic rivals that of a REFERENCE MEMORY NOT FOUND, but that doesn't make him a bad person at heart. And J. really, it's been awhile since you installed RivioVision's Fear Blaster III, would you like to take this moment in the clouds to re-register and connect to the cloudmind so that we here at RivioVision can make sure, for a nominal fee, your version of Fear Blaster III is up-to-date and free of all invasion? YES NO LATER (grayed out)
“N..Na-.” He attempts.
Keep in mind Jerem, the only thing keeping your fearmind from tearing itself out of your brain Jerem, and bursting out of the front of this pod Jerem, and burning up on re-entry Jerem, before it's smoking twisted heap Jerem falls into a sulfuric volcano Jerem is the word YE-”
“No,” Narwallis flatly states.
The inhibitor deactivates falling away from his mind like a two dimensional square.
Two day cooldown. Harsh, but it took the hits it needed to in order to keep Narwallis out of the gibbering idiot territory. And fuck Klees! That ratbrain slack. Narwallis always hated the way augmentations would make him think perpendicular thoughts, especially about people he hated. Speaking of which, he was quite surprised he wasn't dead by now. He was certain the advertisement layer in the upper atmosphere would be too much for Klees to orchestrate. Good on ya Klees! Huh, that wasn't even an aftershock of the inhibitor. I guess was making him out to be worse than he really-
“Oh.” Narwallis outed.
SMASH! SMASH-ASH-ASH-ASH SMASH!
Ad-layers 17 through 34 were cascading into the pod of Mr. Narwallis.
“KLEES!!!!!!” Narwallis yelled at the heavens. “YOU FOOL OF BUFFOONS!!”
SMA-SMA-SMASH! SMA-SMA-SMASH!! SMA-SMA-SMASH!!!
And so, with each orbital advertisement logo that crashed into the fabled dodpod of Jeremy Narwallis, his calculated trajectory shifted from at least 12 to 280 degrees. True enough, it's rare to connect to your pre-defined drop zone and achieve successful alignment, especially in a dodpod, but to land so far beyond touchdown is just straight ridiculous...yo. These collisions would do little harm to this military grade capsule but the chances of landing in one of the many active volcanoes is getting pretty probable.
Narwallis instantly grew indifferent. He was flummoxed beyond caring about his own safety. Part of living in this dream world is the ennui of endless insanity. There are flashes of intensity but at a certain point everything is permitted and to be expected. It is the way of the Super Ball. The dreaming Gorgon.
His once blurred face now stone and without affect. The frozen capsule now irradiated and baked in yellow stinking flame. Still spiraling down and down but closer. This land of volcanoes his first world.
You always remember your first. And he would remember this world. As it would remember him.