It Is All One System

EXCERPT FROM SIGNIFICANT CONTACT (Beautiful Resistance Book 2 of 3)

She was waiting when Cole entered MassNet, his body hooked to the same throne he’d helped repair previously for Nibiru’s extraction. It had been moved however, to a new site he’d never been to before, a cramped basement in one of the multitudes of habitation blocks in a part of the city rough enough that most people just looked the other way if anything suspiscious was going down. There were only a few people to watch over him while he worked, with only one Akiaten warrior present, and it lent a sense of urgency to his actions. If this mission went SNAFU and a hostile slinger was able to tag him, he’d be lucky to survive, as there was only the one exit. So don’t blow it Cole, he said to himself as Eight materialized on the metaphorical rooftop next to him in the digital realm.

The others, Cabal, Una, and a handful of Akiaten had piled into the back of a beat up van, and were well on their way to E-Bloc’s supply house. E-Bloc was not likely to be expecting an attack, though in this game one could never be too careful. According to the modest briefing he gotten from Cabal just before everyone split up to go their separate ways was that Union Americana had gone rather quiet in the absence of Hayden and Nibiru. Some of his warriors had spotted Laine in the streets a few days back, and they tracked her for several hours before moving in to engage, only to find the body of what they assumed to be a dead courier, Asia Prime by the looks of him, with his data drives ripped out, and no sign of the alpha augment. He imagined that most of their manpower was focused now on finding the pulse with what resources remained to them rather than wasting time harassing the resistance, as E-Bloc and Asia Prime had been doing plenty of that for them.

Lunatic 8 stood next to Hayden, or more to the point floated just off the ground next to him, her hair billowing from unseen wind and her lips drawn into a thin line without so much as a hello. He expected the same larger than life projection of her that she used to speak to him when it was just the two of them in the island’s network, tapping into the myriad of hotspots they’d set up on the island to make up for its lack of a high functioning power grid. Here, now, she was almost understated, movements barely visible, but still instrumental.

To his mind’s eye the E-Bloc compound appeared much like it did in physical reality, a collection of warehouse buildings arranged around a courtyard filled with shipping containers, with a series of docking bays near the back for road and air shipping and receiving. Hayden had always been a slinger who experienced MassNet as being something of a proxy of the physical world. There were many other slingers who described rich and vibrant fantasy worlds, while others experienced it in such an abstract sense that it was difficult to put into words. Though he was on the more mundane end of the MassNet metaphor spectrum, Hayden’s mind was adept at presenting itself with useful illusions that described what was happening in the code.

As he looked down from his perch Hayden slid a pair of stylish sunglasses out of his jacket pocket and put them over his eyes. He tapped on them continuously, and each time his finger stroked the frames the lenses would change color. It was a spectrum.exe that allowed Hayden to sift through the cascading datastream, piecing together security programs that had been discreetly woven into both the wireless and hard systems of the compound. While he might not be able to move between MassNet and CodeSource with the level of mastery as Lunatic 8 or Sun, Hayden had used some of his time on the island to come up with a few adaptations.

Build on your strengths and partition your weakness, thought Hayden as he continued to pull lines of code from the different metaphorical light spectrums, and soon a shape began to reveal itself surrounding the compound. With some patience and a new custom exe of which Hayden was rather proud, he was able to pull information from CodeSource and combine it with the MassNet hallucination to give himself a reliable picture of the wireless and hard systems that comprised the compound’s security grid. To his eyes the grid was a shimmering dome of wire mesh that radiated a menacing heat.

Hayden looked up from the compound and watched Lunatic 8’s eyes blink, and Hayden was positive that she’d just accomplished in a moment what had taken him days to build. He looked back at the compound and saw with his adjusted spectrum what appeared to his eyes as a shimmering field of energy around the compound. It looked almost like a dome, but made of lightning, and Hayden didn’t have to stretch his skills much to confirm that the field was capable of causing tremendous damage. It appeared to function, as he further observed its cascading code, as a conventional electric fence might in the physical realm, only one that had a deep enough database to differentiate friend from foe with some degree of accuracy.

“That is some pretty intense digital security for a warehouse facility,” mused Hayden as he pulled what his imagination saw as a rubic’s cube from the folds of his jacket, “They must be expecting something like this.”

“E-Bloc thinks in linear terms, they will expect a smash and grab because it is how they would conduct such an operation,” breathed Eight as she slowly floated over to Hayden and placed one hand gently on his shoulder, causing him to flinch as where her fingers touched him he could see streams of code rippling out, as if her very digital body radiated a sort of field that warped the MassNet hallucination to her own abstract view of it. Suddenly Hayden had a flash of understanding, and began to consider the idea that Eight wasn’t so brilliant at coding so much as her own imagination overpowered MassNet around her. It was as if she was a god inside her own bubble, and since that bubble moved with her, she was never anywhere in the digital realm but her own inner universe. How a mind could handle such a perpetual information tsunami was beyond him, and the slinger looked away from his shoulder, carefully ignoring how her touch revealed his avatar for the flimsy construct that it was.

“Well isn’t that the plan? Pull down the grid and then take what we need. E-Bloc wouldn’t even bother slicing security, they’d just knock out the power grid with bolt-cutters and explosives, then storm the place,” Hayden said as he returned his focus to the rubic’s cube, his metaphor for the masterkey delivery system, a purely digital operating platform that he’d been using for years, slowly modifying and upgrading it as his career continued, “Instead, when the drones are in range we wait till they connect with the system in order to communicate passcodes.”

Hayden finished moving the sliding cubes on his device, allowing his metaphor to seem as if he’d solved the puzzle and made each side a single color. He held it up to Eight.

“I graft the masterkey to the first drone, it will slip a hook into the motherboard. When the drone and the system complete their handshake I’ve modified the masterkey to send a spike.exe through the link,” said Hayden, proud of himself for the brilliant bit of coding and yet annoyed that he felt compelled to seek approval from the fractured slinger, “It brings down security without having to kill the whole grid or blow anything up. Then our people have the run of the place.”

“That would be the Union way, an elegant combination of slicing and combat operations, but it is not our way,” breathed Eight as she gently took the masterkey from Hayden’s hand and stared at it intently as she spoke, and already the operating system was glowing from her swift re-code, “You will recall that it cost the resistance blood when Akiaten raided the Union HQ during your digital conflict. Each company has developed, through trial and error, a methodology that is best suited to its corporate culture and capabilities. So too has the resistance, even if our learning curve has been steep and costly by necessity.”

Eight handed the cube back to Hayden and then looked at him expectantly. The slinger turned from her piercing gaze and investigated the cube. He knew she’d changed it, but from her expression he got the distinct impression that she wanted him to tell her what she’d done. It was a test, even if her demeanor insisted that it was a friendly, and Hayden found himself struggling to keep his ego from being bruised by the sudden role reversal of teacher and student. He’d been rapping knuckles and assigning homework to lesser slingers, and cursed himself for apparently having gotten overly comfortable being i the dominant position.

Hayden peered into the cube, which was now a jumble of colors, the single color sides arranged in a pattern that he struggled to comprehend.

“Look past the metaphor,” whispered Eight as she knelt beside him, “See the code.”

“The metaphor is what allows us to process the sheer volume of code,” snapped Hayden, perhaps more petulantly than he’d intended, though Eight seemed not to mind, and he added, “That’s the whole point of MassNet. If our minds could handle it we’d just stick with CodeSource.”

“The physical brain does not differentiate between waking consciousness and the realm of dreams. CodeSource is the body Hayden Cole, and MassNet is that body’s dream. When you let go of the metaphor, when you focus on the code alone, it doesn’t matter whether your are dreaming or if you are awake,” whispered Eight in a sing song voice that gave Hayden the same sort of feeling he’d have if Laine 2.0 was suddenly behind him, a predator in its chosen hunting ground, “It is all one system.”

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Once Upon a Time…

… a group of fellow travelers, with much aide from their good neighbors, set about creating a film …

Ember Days” is a fantasy/action, community-powered art project, shot in Washington in the fall of 2010 as the brain-child of writer/director Sean-Michael Argo. The project is the result of an awesome effort from the pagan and arts community in the Pacific Northwest, Arkansas, and Texas too. Made for less than $35K, Ember Days is a true micro-budget film, daring to tell a story much bigger than its budget.

… and now …

Our story is told with limitless imagination, ripped free of all budgetary and worldly constraints. Go deeper into the world of warring gods, angels and the faerie with the novelization, exclusively on Amazon!

Ember-Days-Cover-Only-1-300 Make Your Choice.

 

Strange Works

There are the books we read, and we enjoy most of them… they entertain, they titillate, they inspire… but there are other, stranger works, that delve into the dirty business of living as a conscious entity in this ad-hoc physical realm, burdened as we are by our varying degrees of spiritual and intellectual awareness. Like the shopkeeper in The Neverending Story says, these books are not safe…

With this short entry I wish to discuss two ‘strange works’ as a way of recommending them to some or all seekers of such things as exist (or are imagined) beyond our immediate kenning.

jozi

THE FORGOTTEN GODS OF JOZI – For a moment, imagine that the Gods are borne out of human and animal imagination, a need to reconcile the unforgiving natural world through storytelling, manifested quite solidly in the perceivable realm as beings of vast powers, desires, and hungers. Gods of knowledge and portent. Gods of sex and lust. Gods of blood and gold. This novella takes the reader into the minds, histories, and hearts of gods who have been ‘forgotten’ in name, though remembered and ‘fed’ in deed, and play out their continuing drama of agendas and violence against the backdrop of modern Johannesburg, South Africa. This book is on amazon, as a kindle ebook, for $0.99 and is worth far more. In short, it will Cost you more to read it than the $0.99 you spend on it. I urge anyone who enjoyed Neil Gaiman’s book AMERICAN GODS to take this journey, because while the former is a seminal work of mythic genius, it is ‘safe’, and the Forgotten Gods of Jozi is most certainly not.

oz

THE EMERALD BURRITO OF OZ – If there was ever a book of fiction that I would consider both an excellent novel-of-entertainment and a grimoire-of-living-magick, this would be it. If everyone on the planet could read this book, in their native tongue with culture-appropriate iconic references, the world would be a better, even if no less violent or sober, place to experience this darkly humorous cosmic farce we call LIFE. This is a bizzaro tale that is best described by the book’s own synopsis: ZOMBIE MUNCHKINS! TURD-FLINGING FLATHEADS! EVIL CORPORATE CONSPIRACIES! DELICIOUS MEXICAN FOOD! OZ IS REAL! Magic is real! The gate is really in Kansas! And America is finally allowing Earth tourists to visit this weird-ass, mysterious land. But when Gene of Los Angeles heads off for summer vacation in the Emerald City, little does he know that a war is brewing…a war that could destroy both worlds! This loving Bizarro tribute to the great L. Frank Baum is an action-packed, whimsically ultraviolent adventure, featuring your favorite Oz characters as you’ve never seen ’em before. Let super-hot warrior sweetheart Aurora Quixote Jones take you on a guided tour of surrealist laffs, joy, and mayhem, with more severed heads than Apocalypse Now and more fun than a barrel of piss-drunk winged monkeys!

I urge you, as someone who totally loves you, to purchase both of these books and read the heck out of them. If you are more of a cynical and sarcastic kinda person, then start with Burrito and work your way towards Jozi, if you are more of an optimist and positive thinking kinda person then get yourself to Jozi first and heal that hurt with a tasty Burrito.

Get these books, read them, and I promise your life will be more awesome.

Myths in the Making

As a storyteller my mind often grasps upon small ideas and builds worlds around them, weaving tales out of whatever twigs and straw might be laying around. This is especially applicable when it comes to raising my son, as his little mind is like a sponge and it is my job to ensure that his inner world is richly populated with history, song, color, and story. When he was first born I would often speak to him, as most parents do, in baby-talk, with a variety of nonsense words. One that I used more often than most was ‘aki-pati’, and he responded to it with smiles and grabbing my finger most of the time. One day my lady asked me what it meant, and challenged me to tell the story behind the word. What you see below is a rough draft of the story that fell from the tip of my tongue, one day to be polished and added to a growing stack of stories I will be telling him when he is older to help shape him as a compassionate and courageous human being.

“AKI-PATI AND THE SHARK GOD”

dakuwaqa

Aki-Pati was a young man who lived on a remote island in the center of a vast ocean. The waters around the island had been over-fished by the villagers of his small community, and a giant shark begun terrorizing the villagers and driving away all the rest of the sea life. The people were not only starving, but trapped on the island, for when they tried to flee in their boats the shark would attack. Aki-Pati was a brave young boy, and had looked into the shark’s eyes during one of the attacks, barely surviving as the great beast shattered their oars and nearly sank the boat. He began to have dreams about a deep wind that blew from the ocean up to the top of the mountain, pushing him along as it drove him from the coast inland. Eventually he’d had enough and one night followed the wind in his waking life through a dangerous climb to the top of the mountain. When he reached the peak the wind told him about the shark god Kaiku, and that the god was blinded by rage at the villagers for taking so much from the ocean without regard, and so was punishing them for their disrespect. The deep wind told Aki-Pati that he could calm Kaiku’s rage by making him swallow a lava rock taken from the ancient volcano on mountaintop. The boy was afraid, yet knew that if he did nothing the village would remained trapped and starve, so he did as the wind instructed. Aki-Pati descended the mountain and went alone into the ocean, his path lit by the full moon in a cloudless sky. He made the difficult swim through the surf with a lava rock in his hand and a sharp knife in the other. He cut himself three times across his chest and the swirling blood offering brought Kaiku up from the depths, his teeth glinting in the moonlight as he came. Aki-Pati dove down to meet the god and when Kaiku opened his great maw Aki-Pati plunged his hand into the shark’s mouth, making it swallow the stone. Aki-Pati’s arm was taken as the shark closed its jaws and disappeared into the dark depths. The boy struggled to remain awake as he swam to shore, and as he did the deep wind called out to the villagers to rescue him and bring bindings for his wounds. When the sun rose Kaiku’s rage had ceased, his deadly fin no longer seen lurking in the crashing waves of the surf. The fish began to return to the waters, and the great shark allowed the people harvest them once again. Aki-Pati had risked his life and sacrificed his arm to save the villagers, ease the god’s rage, and restore balance to the sea. Long after Aki-Pati had lived his life and passed on to the next world, young boys and girls who were ready to make the transition into adulthood had to wait in silence by the sea until they heard the elders beat the drums, and then would climb the mountain. Once they reached the peak the elders would tattoo a ring of shark tooth marks around their left arm, just above the elbow, to remind them the cost of taking too much from the world, and to listen when the deep wind blows.

Hero Cult

A dark adventure story that may one day be a film. 

In a savage world of warring kingdoms and primeval forests two ex-heroes struggle with their dark past as a demigod of chaos hatches a daring plot to unleash the apocalyptic battle of Ragnarok in order to return the ancient magic of the mythica to a gray land long purged of terror and wonder.

Read the whole script HERE. 

In Dreams

When you have a collegiate education in theology and go to sleep while listening to a melodic metal station on pandora internet radio… what do you get? Myth soup.

I am of the opinion that there are dreams and what my compadres and I call “dream not dreams”. The mind and spiritworld both pull from our deeper subconscious (and beyond) to provide us with skins, images, themes, and characters to help us cope with and understand (or at the least interact with) our dreams. Sometimes a dream is just a dream, and we simply sleep, experiencing an interesting collage of images/impressions as our mind de-fragments while our body repairs itself. Sometimes a dream is not a dream, and instead of going inwards, we go outside (or deeper inside) ourselves into worlds and realms beyond.

When you are me, or someone like me, the dividing line between “just a dream” and “dream not dream” is a rather gray area, and admittedly I love it that way. So much of my creative work, from film to literature to poetry to music, and the way I live my life, is the result of existing in this gray. My dreams, more often than not, are like epic poems mixed with summer hollywood blockbusters, or campfire folklore mixed with high concept music videos.

I dream almost every night, I have dream recall in tremendously minute detail, and much of the time I am lucid dreaming, so it is small wonder that I strive for such in my waking life, and happily so.

What is Mythpunk?

Mythpunk refers to “a subgenre of mythic fiction” in which classical folklore and faerie tales get hyperpoetic postmodern makeovers. Coined by author Catherynne M. Valente, the term describes a brand of speculative fiction which starts in folklore and myth and adds elements of postmodern fantastic techniques: urban fantasy, confessional poetry, non-linear storytelling, linguistic calisthenics, worldbuilding, and academic fantasy.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Mythpunk