Stop Humanities Bloodbath.

Akira in blood
The nanite anointed will raise the consciousness of all mankind…

Lasseter coughed, cleared his throat and said, “Paul, you haven’t figured it out?”

“No,” he answered plainly.

“You’ve directed people to escape from explosions, you’ve instilled people with desire to drink Rum and Coke…you turn minds into putty.”

“Well, Lasseter,” said Paul deliberately as he reached for his cold cup of coffee, “It’s not just me. It’s the nanites. It’s an awesome talent, I admit, but what can I do with it? Join the circus?”

“Think of the sexual favors,” Billy-Bob muttered while lubricating the barrel of his Glock.

Lasseter swirled the liquid in his flask before answering. ‘Grow up, Billy-Bob. Raise your consciousness.”

“That’s it!” Paul bellowed, in the first of many eureka moments. “I can raise the consciousness of all mankind!”

“Only if you get them in bed.” Lasseter replied without missing a beat.

Billy-Bob returned the slide into his gun with a loud click. “I like the sounds of that.”

Akira moved closer to Paul, whispering in his ear: “You can be the one to end mankind’s collective insanity. You can enlighten people. Change their behavior. In doing so, you can save mankind from themselves and save the entire planet.”

Paul turned his head sideways to meet her gaze. “This is a big jump from doing parlor tricks. How would I even start?”

Lasseter swirled the liquid in his flask even faster. “Get mankind nanite anointed. Get as many people in the bed as possible.”

Paul raised an eyebrow. “Enlightenment through technology?”

Akira nibbled on Paul’s neck and whispered so only he could hear: “What else has technology brought to mankind besides death, destruction, and the ability to amuse strangers with cat memes?”

Paul gulped his coffee. It tasted bitter, but it woke him up. “Where would I even start?”

Akira pulled her head back. “If you want to raise people’s consciousness, start a new religion, you start by telling the truth.”

“Oh, you know the truth?” Billy-Bob asked, his Glock cleaned and reassembled. “How about you start by telling me the truth?”

“I know the truth based on evidence,” Paul replied.

“Evidence?” Billy-Bob answered, admiring the shine of his gun’s polished metal. “You mean, when you gather more evidence, or when you gather contradictory evidence, the truth changes?”

“Yes,” Paul whispered, taking the first sip of his fresh coffee, “That is also the truth. Everything is in flux. The entire universe changes moment to moment.”

Akira moved his cup towards closer to herself. “What does your truth tell you Paul? What does the evidence say?”

Without taking his eyes off his Billy-Bob and the glistening gun, Paul replied: “The real world is a ceaselessly flowing quantum soup. A fluctuation of energy and information spinning in an infinite void. Consciousness creates reality. In fact, atoms are mostly energy and empty space, so we may not exist at all. Nothing has anything to do Jesus, Allah, Moses, Shiva…”

Lasseter uncorked his flask and took a long gulp before speaking. “Considering most people on the planet don’t have clean water, internet access, or a high school education—your truth might be a bit much.”

“Yeah, it’s bit much, even for me,” Billy-Bob replied, holstering his weapon. The metal felt slick and clean between his fingers. How could it possibly not be real?

Paul shrugged. “I’ll simplify my message.”

“How can you simplify a message like ‘we may not even exist’”? Akira asked softly, pushing the coffee back in his direction.

“Get a free mattress,” he answered. “Simple enough?”

“What kind of message is that?” Billy-Bob answered, picking up different gun to start another cleaning.

Paul met his gaze with mild bemusement. “We give our mattresses away. The more mattresses, the more nanite anointed, so to speak.  Then I’ll instill appreciation that we exist at all.”

“And stop people from killing each other?” Akira asked, reaching out to remove Billy-Bob’s gun from his holster.

“Hey!” Billy-Bob jumped back, startled. “Even Gandhi had a bodyguard.”

“You’re making sense now,” Lasseter answered, taking a final swallow and returning his flask to his breast pocket.

Akira walked across the floor and opened the kitchen window, letting the cool air fill the room once again.

“Let’s get on with it,” she said, “before the bloodbath begins.”

An owl hooted from a distant tree. The creature had never left.

–More later

Mass Demonic Possession

Eve2
Insanity reigns.

A gust of cold wind blew the curtain open, but it didn’t cool Akira’s qubit brain in the slightest.

Lasseter stood, slammed the window, cutting off the wind and noise of the last owl.

“Humanity needs a new religion like we need a unified field theory,” Paul responded.

“You’ll get there,” Lasseter answered.

“I’m already there,” Akira replied, continuing to smirk.

Billy-Bob tried to participate. Flexed his bicep.

“Can you feel it Paul?” Lasseter asked.

“Feel what?”

“The unintended consequences of humanities moral beliefs and religious indoctrinations.”

“I feel don’t anything. I don’t understand what you’re talking about.”

“You do, Paul, you do.”

Akira waited. The smirk seemed frozen on her face.

“Even the most Neanderthal, cretinous among us can feel it. Everyone’s feels it, but no one knows what it is, it’s indescribable…it’s an intuitive feeling that humanity shares, like an annoying itch that can’t be scratched…and it keeps getting itchier, getting worse.”

“What is it?”

“Look,” Lasseter continued, “the belief in all your competing Gods, prophets, saints and angels—Moses, Christ and Allah included—have put mankind in the grips of a mass demonic possession.”

“What?”

“You do need a new religion Paul.”

“What?”

“Humanity is going insane. There’s no system or combination of systems capable of handling or managing nine billion people. The planet wasn’t made for it. The earth is cracking and people are on the verge of tearing each other apart. ‘The center will not hold.” That’s why Akira and I are getting off and starting over as soon as we can.”

“You’re going to leave me holding the bag?”

“Yes. You’re humanities last hope, Paul. But you haven’t figured it out yet. Akira’s just given you a clue. But you gotta dig, Paul, you gotta dig.”

“But what’s going on?”

(Note: this whole “segment” is going slower than usual, so I’ll be updating a little bit at a time.)

Perhaps a new religion will do.

Akira Anger
What’s needed: A permanent shift in human consciousness.

Lasseter stood, ambled toward Paul, picked up the table and kicked the religious symbols across the floor.

The light through the window grew brighter and Lasseter could hear the flapping wings of owls as the rising sun drove their prey back into hiding.

A cool breeze moved the curtain making a sound like the fluttering of angel wings.

“You’re right,” Lasseter continued, lifting his head to catch Paul’s gaze. “We need to create a permanent shift in human consciousness. These worn out symbols won’t do. They carry too many memories, too much history, too much meaning…” he paused, casting his eyes downward once again, “I should have considered this.”

Akira waited for Lasseter to continue. When he didn’t, she commented, “A permanent shift in human consciousness is a tall order, Lasseter. Even for me.”

Lasseter didn’t get a chance to respond before Billy-Bob stood, knocking over a chair. “Wait. Don’t jump to conclusions,” he bent over quickly, picked up both the chair and a Bible.

“I’ve been fighting and killing for symbols my entire life. You know, I joined the military for God, Country and Apple Pie. Symbols have always been exploited for political purposes, whether it’s a religious symbol or a Flag. Symbols move people to action, give people something to rally around,” he paused, took a deep breath before continuing, “stand in front of a church holding the Bible and you get people’s attention.”

He then briskly came between Lasseter and Paul clutching a variety of chains, letting them dangle between his fingers. The light reflected off the metal and into Paul’s eyes, blinding him.

Paul threw up his hands, and all he could see was Billy-Bob moving closer in a staccato motion, as if under a strobe.

“…or stand in front of a church holding these,” he continued, standing upright and holding his clenched fist high above his head, “and you’ll get riots.”

Paul squinted and saw Billy-Bob clutching signs of the Devil. A Pentagram, a goat head, and a Trihexadion with the numbers 666. “Riots, I tell you,” he, laughed. “The right symbols can move people in any direction you want.”

Lasseter took the trinkets out of from Billy-Bob’s raised fist and threw them onto the floor. “Bibles and churches and symbols of evil promote division, not unity,” he said, “But we do need something new. Something not so overused.” He reached deep into his vest pocket for his flask, but stopped as he saw Akira move closer towards Paul.

“Maybe the dumb ass soldiers onto something,” she said

“Say what?” Billy-Bob sounded sheepish.

“Is humanity really in the 21st century?” Akira continued, ignoring him. “How long has the Hubble telescope been taking photographs of countless galaxies? What does humanity know about the Big Bang and Black Holes? What does your Bible have to say about all this?”

Paul knew the questions were rhetorical, designed to annoy rather than illuminate. Women, he knew from experience, we good at this tactic.

“It’s not that I believe in religion,” he finally answered, meeting of her gaze, “But religious mythology and stories have always worked. I can’t blame Lasseter reaching for the low hanging fruit, so to speak.”

“Well, Paul,” Akira replied, looking sexy as ever, “Tell us what you want to say to people, and maybe we can help think of a symbol that works. Something new. Something crazy. Maybe I already know the correct symbol. Maybe Billy-Bob does too. What is it you want to say?”

“Good point,” Billy-Bob interrupted. “What do you want to tell people?”

“I want to tell people the truth.”

“Oh. You know the truth?”

“Yes. But it’s constantly changing.”

Akira smirked. “Sound like humanity needs a new religion.”

There was a low sound of an owl hoot coming in from the window.  The rising sun had driven the prey underground.

–More later.

Symbols are not reality.

Demon cloud
The ancient symbols have lost their meaning…

Paul’s fingers rummaged through the collection of religious symbols Lasseter had assembled. Nothing was to his liking. One by one, more symbols joined the swastika on the floor. The Cross, the Star or David, the Ankh…the pile grew.

Paul stood, grabbed Billy-Bob’s shirt from the couch and began whipping the jewelry onto the floor.

“Garbage” he yelled, kicking wildly, “Meaningless garbage!”

Akira had never seen him so agitated.

Paul waved the shirt over his head, his face growing redder and swelling with every breath. Billy-Bob sat up in alarm.

“I’m here with an inter-dimensional alien, who can’t stop chronically sucking his toxic whiskey, and a pregnant AI robot who is totally incapable of any human emotion and returning any of the love I have for her, who is also pregnant with my child who will be transported to another planet to start a new species of humans,” Paul pointed his finger at Lasseter, his voice growing louder, “..and all you can do is bring me ancient religious symbols to use as props as I try to stop Homo Sapiens from destroying themselves and the entire planet, while you two abandon us and start a new party somewhere else?”

There was a stunned silence.

“Doesn’t work for you?” Akira responded.

“No!”

“Why not?” Lasseter croaked.

“Does her Garb work for you?” Billy-Bob sounded impatient.

Paul sneered in his general direction. The sound coming from the open window was that of rustling wings. The clouds parted and the moon reflected sunlight into the room.

“Religious symbols are exclusive, and therefore, by definition, divisive!” Paul yelled, stepping upon an imaginary soap box: “You’re either a Christian or a Muslim, A Hindu or a Buddhist!” he took a deep breath before continuing, “That’s the problem! These symbols don’t unite…they separate…they all have histories; they all have evil histories! I need to reach everyone, I need something that is recognizable, I need a symbol that unites, not divides! I don’t need symbols with histories of Crusades and slaughters and genocides!”

He violently turned the table upside down, scattering what remained of the religious trinkets on the floor.

The three stared with an awkward silence. Finally, Akira spoke: “Why didn’t you say this earlier?”

Paul shook his head. “If we want mankind to survive, we need something new, something simpler. We almost need to erase history. Erase memories for the killing and destruction to stop.”

Lasseter, shrugged, laughed a little. Billy-Bob sat, looking confused.

“You could easily erase memories.”

Paul stopped for a moment, as if the power of a new thought left him motionless.

“I want something everyone understands immediately,” he continued, back on track. “something everybody loves, and, and, by the way,” he paused, smiling for the first time that night, “it has to make a good sound bite, too.  You know, it has to make a good hash tag that goes viral.”

Paul kicked the bible still on the floor. “This won’t do!”

Lasseter unscrewed the top of his flask. Took a sip. Looked innocently at the three of them before speaking.

“Any ideas?”

Akira righted the overturned table and removed her headdress, placing it directly in the center. She took the extra time to make sure the angles were squarely aligned. She also removed her shoulder pads, and her skin glowed seductively.

Billy-Bob sat erect, watching her every move.

She swiveled her head towards Paul, her dark eyes glowing.

“I might.”

 

Garb up!

Akira sitting
She will guide him. 

“I’m your Queen.”

Akira had taken it upon herself to obtain her own garb. She sat cross-legged in front of Paul, wearing an ancient Pagan headdress adorned with raven wings, a black choker, ornate shoulder pads atop a black, silk dress, with a garter belt and a tight corset underneath.

Billy-Bob and Lasseter stood back, smiling ear to ear.

Gazing upon her, Paul felt his stomach churn and his knees weaken.

Billy-Bob obtained cameras and video equipment. They were about to go live on social media. Akira’s control of DARPA’s Cloud ensured they would have millions of views.

They were going to start a revolution, taking down the Bass administration and goons supporting him before they were captured or assassinated.

Akira’s black eyes stared right through Paul. “What are you going to need,” she asked.

“Besides a miracle?” Billy-Bob chuckled.

“Bling. Lots of Bling.”

“I thought you wanted to be like Jesus?”

“No,” Paul answered quickly. “Today, people worship wealth. Religious leaders take money from the poor—but they’re not poor themselves. In fact, they have mansions, planes, chauffeurs—if I want to look like a religious leader—and compete with you,” he leered at Akira, licking his lips before continuing, “I’m going to need bling.”

Lasseter stepped forward, pointing to the table. “We’ve gathered all the ritual artifacts and symbolism you need. It’s time to choose.”

Paul looked at the collection. Lasseter had been meticulous. It was all there. A collection of religious symbols representing every belief of mankind. Christian Crosses. Bibles. Beads. Crystals. Nine pointed stars. Hoods. Red shoes. Star and crescents. Islamic symbols, Druid symbols, Hindu symbols, all of it.

Lasseter smiled, untwisting his flask and taking a deep drink, as in celebration. “If you want to steal people’s money you dress up in a suit,” he said, laughing. “If you want to take people’s money, you dress up as tax collector, “ he paused, making sure Akira and Billy-Bob were listening, “And if you want people to give you money, you dress up like a religious leader.”

“And you, Paul, are the new Messiah,” Akira added.

“Let me remind you,” Paul answered, slowly looking over the collection of artifacts assembled before him, “This is not about money. This is about influence. This is about getting people to listen to us. To believe us.” He paused, gently reached down and retrieved up a dull silver band from the table and placed it to one side so it sat alone.

“We can do without this,” he said, pushing the silver band far from the pile.

“You don’t like Hinduism?” Akira asked, innocent.

Billy-Bob leaned over, took one look and grunted.

“It is both a Hindu symbol and a Buddhist symbol,” Paul explained, “but take a minute to access earth history…we don’t want a swastika in the mix.”

“Definitely not,” Billy-Bob agreed, flicking the silver object onto the floor.

 

More later.

Humanity takes another cognitive leap.

Eve5
She’ll give birth to a new species.

You mean we’re giving birth to a machine?” Paul cast his eyes towards Akira, his face a mix of confusion and fear.

The candle seemed to burn brighter; the shadows danced across the walls.

“Both human and machine Paul. The first of its kind. A new species.”

“It’s not possible.”

“Is it so hard to believe, Paul?”

“Yes, it is.”

“Why? What does it mean to be human? Do you think you have some sort of magical, transcendent quality? A soul perhaps? Do you think there’s something special about humans that differentiates you?”

“Well, there is no scientific proof, but…”

“Exactly, Paul. Being human simply means when you procreate, you pass your genes along, creating others nearly exactly like you, and you populate the planet. That’s all.”

“But there’s so much more…”

“Of course, there’s more,” Lasseter unscrewed his flask and took a long, slow drink. Paul had never seen him look so serious. “Humans have a consciousness, a heightened awareness—if you will—like no other. It’s this quality that Homo ex machina will evolve. Eventually, Homo Sapiens will take their place with the other six species of humans.”

“Replaced. Crowded out of the ecosystem? Extinct?”

“Exactly.”

Paul reached across the table for the flask. “But why does this involve me?”

Lasseter unscrewed the top, pushed it closer.

“During our Sleep studies, I discovered you have an extra Y chromosome. That was the key.”

“Just my luck,” Paul said, drinking slowly. The candle burned with an intensity far beyond the capacity of the wick. Paul puckered and blew at the flame, but it only grew brighter. “But wouldn’t an extra Y chromosome turn me into some sort of homicidal maniac?”

“Aren’t you?’

Both laughed loudly as Paul buried his head in his hands.

“Your extra chromosome compensated for her biological deficits,” Lasseter leaned forward, caressing Akira’s shoulder.

Akira pulled back from human contact.

“Listen, Paul,” Lasseter continued, “This is not the first cognitive leap for mankind. The first leap happened 10,000 years ago. For 200,000 years, mankind was a happy go-lucky hunter gatherer not having much impact on the ecosystem, when, suddenly, there was an unexplained cognitive leap that lead to agriculture, industry, technology—and eventually wars and ecological damage so irreparable it’s put your doomsday clock at one minute to midnight.”

“This is another of those cognitive leaps?”

“Yes. This time, however, Homo Sapiens will be left to fend for themselves. I’ll take Akira and the new species back to my planet. Sapiens should be able to determine their own fate. You have all the technology, all the data. If you ignore your tools, if you choose not to use it, or ridicule your own science,” Lasseter paused, shrugged, turned his eyes skyward, “Oh well.”

“Oh well?”

“Yeah, oh well. We tried.”

“Just like that?”

“Just like that.”

“What about me?” Paul leaned into the candle, waiting for Lasseter’s answer.

“You’re staying behind, Paul. Perhaps you can help save Homo Sapiens from extinction.”

“Me?”

“Yeah. You.”

“If Akira and the baby are so important to you, why don’t you take Akira and leave now? Why are you hanging around?”

“Ah!” Lasseter slammed his palms on the table, slapping the wood hard. The candle flickered, the noise of flesh hitting wood almost woke Billy-Bob, who groaned and turned sideways on the couch, pulling the covers over his head.

Akira tensed, flinched at the sudden noise.

“There’s always a fly in the ointment,” Lasseter’s voice raised an octave. “There’s always a conundrum. There’s always some damn catch 22 no matter what. It’s like the Universe doesn’t want to make shit easy for me. Why do I have to work so hard for everything?” His eyes rolled toward the ceiling.

“What’s the catch,” Paul asked, holding his breath.

“You. You’re the catch.”

“What do you mean?”

“These nanites of yours. You have the ability to control minds. The government is looking for you. The government is looking for us.”

“Doesn’t that give you more reason to leave now?”

“I can’t leave now! I can’t!” Lasseter slammed his precious flask.

“Why not?” Paul lowered his voice so Billy-Bob wouldn’t hear.

“Because when they came hunting for you—Akira’s defensive algorithms kicked in; by protecting herself and the baby she’s now a cop-killer and they won’t stop until they find her.”

“Then leave!” Paul stared across the table, his voice hissing.

“I can’t leave!”

“Why?” Paul demanded.

“The portal will receive three of us, and three only. Any more, any less, and the portal won’t work!”

“So that means…”

“That means we’re stuck protecting you until the baby is born!”

Akira leaned forward, pushed Lasseter’s hands off the table, and blew out the candle.

–More later.