“Proposition 8: While government is not allowed to define religion, it now apparently is allowed to define Love…yet another part of American life the government now owns.” ~ NPR broadcaster
Ch 15 ~ Government-owned Love
The room fell noiseless.
All the whirling machinery and arcing sparks suddenly contained themselves in a collective hush. The Cyborg Collective had silenced itself and rather dramatically so. Cy’s foot had even stopped flapping.
Mya peeked up to view the mass of computerized machinery that, as she last recalled, was mounded in front of her. Her head had been nearly resting on the crook of her arm, an arm that she had draped across the top of her bended knee as she sat on the ground with her other leg folded in front of her. She had half-thought that by tucking her head down she could politely refrain from leering at the orgy that had been unfolding in front of her. The other half of her thought confessed to finding it a tad bit disconcerting for her to watch prongs thrusting themselves violently into such a multitude of outlets or orifices or, well, places…with some of those places on other cyborgs and some of those thrustings being self-inflicted, not to mention the vast majority being a combination of the two. But the Cyborn Collective suddenly appeared to be very settled and very hooked up, with a multitude of cyborgs still laying sprawled atop each other, or next to each other, or across each other, or politely in front of or behind each other in one heaping overflow of glowing circuitry.
Cy paused as if listening. Certainly, that was Mya’s stance as well, although she remained quite seated. The Fierce One and Locomotive Breath and their breathen stood ever at the ready and stoically paid attention in the background but that was hardly a departure for them.
“We’ve made a connection,” Cy said at last, the moving cogs and metal wheels behind his eyes serving as the only indication – besides his voice – that the cyborg wasn’t a statue.
“We…” her voice lifted the syllable into a question.
Cy turned his head slightly toward her. “We are networked,” he said more patiently than he had ever done in past. “We are online.”
How odd it was in that moment for Mya to realize that she had witnessed a physical manifestation of information organizing, producing, creating, replicating, and building upon itself to create context.
“Fascinating,” she murmured at the realization that she had a front row seat ‘under the hood,’ nearly forgetting to ask Cy what he and his networked nation had discovered.
“We discovered the Internet,” he said passively (while Mya groaned), anticipating the question. “Such that it is in such a place as this.”
“How so,” she asked, “I mean, how is it…in such a place as this?”
He paused and as he did so, the Collective lifted up as if breathing as one. The group uniformly shifted together, as if rolling with a wave of bits, as if finding and processing additional information and creating meaning around it, categorizing it, establishing it within a context, generating understanding, giving it room.
“We have located the Non,” he said flatly, with no emotion whatsoever yet still quite clearly conveying the significance of what he had just shared.
With that, the Fierce One and Locomotive Breath, and some of their legion, quietly – unnoticeably so, really – clenched and unclenched their hands; noiselessly – imperceptively so, really – shifted their weight.
Ophania growled within herself, and when she did, her comingled male and female parts contracted together and writhed. She had heard something deep within the many thoughts that wandered the land of the Origin. What she had heard had caused her skin to coil and inflame.
Ophania and her clan knew the Origin. They had come into being here. They had, in fact, generated this world. Created by and creator of. The Clan of Ophania – this loose but highly disciplined gathering of sisters -had haunted this dimension beyond millennium, beyond both Ordinary Time and Extraordinary Time, of which none existed to measure the length of breathing the likes of Ophania or any of them had inhaled or exhaled. Ophania’s dark spirit was as much a fabric of All things, as was the Origin. Even as much as was the Bright Light, the thought of which found Ophania gnashing her teeth. Strange bedfellow, she snarled. To be born and present at the inception of life with all that it wrought forth. Including me, she chortled deep within her gut.
How could it not be so, she muttered in thought to herself. Ophania whispered fluently in the unspoken language. One of its original creators, she had crafted it and weaved it tightly through all these long ages. Only she, among all of her tribe, was the Eldest of the Elders. Only she could hear the unspoken thoughts of all, when even those within her clan could not. Only she, among all of her sisters, could silence the unspoken thoughts and hurry them away, fully intact, to sift through them later at a time and a place of her choosing. Only she — Eldest of the Elders, Cocreator of the Origin and Matter, Master of Unspoken Thought and Will — only she had the power to shield her thoughts from prying, listening minds.
At present, many in the tribe were prying. Ophania chose to ignore them concentrating instead on the murmurings along the edges of the Origin. But then one of the tribe brought voice to the growing meddling.
“What do you see, sister?” one of the clan members hissed. “What causes you to hesitate in the midst of your own violation,” Cherubia wrangled each syllable out between her lips, and watched Ophania unwind her male and female comingled self…the described “violation” of which Cherubia spoke. Ophania had not allowed Cherubia or any of the clan access to her unspoken thoughts, but this had not stopped the smarter members of the clan to notice the physical changes in Ophania. Her comingled parts had paused, gasping, instead of writhing in pleasured ecstacy as they previously had been.
“They are gathering,” Ophania said with a menacing tone. Her eyes shuttered themselves like a snake’s eyes and reflected an angry purple radiance; her skin and hair undulated in waves of green-red-purple tones still echoing the hue of the land.
“Yes,” Cherubia hissed. “There are others who trespass our land. Seraphina and Angelina led a scout of witches to fly over their whereabouts.”
“A woman,” Seraphina coiled her voice.
“And a child,” Angelina joined in. “Both hidden now.”
“Yes, yes,” Seraphina agreed, “both hidden from view now.”
Cherubia waited for this news to settle before asking, “Is this the gathering of which Mighty Ophania speaks.” She withheld more words or gestures for several seconds only to then lower her head and curl a smile under her darkened brow.
Ophania’s tongue flicked in the direction of Cherubia, and when it did, Seraphine and Angelina wheeled away deeper into the tree roots that bowed into the sky. They were young, for Eternals, but not stupid; they had heard the witch’s challenge of Ophania who clearly had detected a mocking, a ridicule. Enraged, Ophania was also very pleased. She snapped a whip across Cherubia’s neck and yanked the witch off of her whisk. Her hair flew around Cherubia’s face and locked her head into a frightening tight grip. Then, Ophania’s hair pulled Cherubia’s head forward and pressed the young witch’s ear to Ophania’s mouth.
“Do not try so hard to impress,” Ophania growled threateningly into Cherubia’s ear. Her hair tightened like a bolt around the sides and back of Cherubia’s skull; her whip squeezed mercilessly around the mottled flesh of Cherubia’s neck. All in the tribe — those near Ophania and Cherubia who saw and those far away but who heard the accompanying unspoken language — witnessed Ophania’s attack on the lesser witch.
“Your command gives flight to these scouts,” Ophania nodded in the direction of the cowering duo. “Your energy directs and guides them.” Ophania twisted the whip deeper. “But only at my pleasure, dear Cherubia,” Ophania whispered sharply. “Only at my beck and call. Do not forget your purpose, or you will suffer more drama of your own making.”
Cherubia trembled and snarled both, even while Ophania roughly pulled the lesser witch under the stare of her burning angry eyes, into the soulless black purple pools of the Eldest of the Elders. Cherubia shuddered with fear and burned with loathing. She dared to think that being the Eldest of the Elders made Ophania merely old and, she fumed silently inside, this only made Ophania weak, useless, pitiful. But what use were silence and internal thoughts around the creator of the unspoken language? Ophania laughed a piercingly shrill cackle — appropriate for witches, even those in the Origin — as she yanked the whip off of Cherubia’s neck, marking her with gaping wounds that twisted around her mottled, torn flesh.
“You are blinded by yourself, Cherubia,” Ophania continued. “What Seraphina and Angelina count as only two – a woman, a child – betrays their lack of understanding. Not surprising from them,” Ophania toyed through her critique. “They are the youngest of all the clan. But you, dear Cherubia, you. How could you not see,” she accused then spat harshly with some disgust, “They are Believers who have crossed over the Threshold into our world. No mere woman, no simple child could achieve such a thing.”
“But then what of the two men, who bring butterflies into this darkness. They could achieve such a thing as a woman could not?” Cherubia huffed with disdain toward the Eldest of the Elders as Cherubia wrapped a thick and clawed hand around her neck and mumbled a hurried spell to heal over a wound that stubbornly refused to be healed over. Her comingled male and female parts visibly fought to be the first to put an invisible salve over the wound.
Ophania paused in reflection and continued to seal her thoughts off away from the prying minds and eyes that hovered on whisks and cojoined with their own forms within the treeroots. “Mysterious yes,” she finally hissed like cold water that bullied its way over hot metal. “You forget, dear Cherubia, they have what we seek. The males. How you forget that their journey was assisted by us without their even knowing.”
But Ophania knew it wasn’t entirely by her knowing either. And what troubled her even more was that she wasn’t entirely sure that the younger of the two men would not have found a way into this world even without the portal. Something almost greater than the portal seemed to be propelling him. As for this young woman and child, Ophania considered. Some same sense of power brought such considerable life to these humans, including these frail females; something incomprehensible compelled them, demanding entry, refusing denial, bursting into life.
“An incredible will,” Ophania muttered, lost in her thoughts and forgetting that she had uttered the vowels aloud for those who were listening to hear. And they all were craning to hear.
“This is our desire, sisters,” she allowed herself to continue. “To seize their will. To claim it and bend it to ours, to crush it into doing our bidding. An entire planet below awaits,” Ophania rasped aloud. “An entire world of mindless, directionless souls. But instead of capturing them one by one, sucking the will out of each hapless body and twisting and commanding it to our purpose, he,” Ophania narrowed her eyes onto the two men and in particular, landed her gaze somewhere in between them. “He will give us entry,” she continued, her voice gravelled and sour, each breath biting onto the back of her tongue, “Just as they claimed entry here. Dear sisters, we will soon have their world. We will blot their light from the sky. And the war that began from the Origin of Inception when we were brought forth, when we wreaked havock … that Great War will spread like scoulding fire on all corners of the world below.”
National Novel Writing Month: Chapter 15 total wordcount: 2010 (not including this notation). Total total count: 25,300. (massively behind gah! but halfway there, yay!)