Irregular Pulse

Irregular Pulse

Let's start again from the top.
Your name is Mid.

Your life has been the worst it could have ever been. A serial of misery, an endless stream of failures-- more imaginative than real. But today, to some degree, it will perhaps pay off. It's tough to say if it was ever all worth the effort, but you are glad you are here, now, in this singular moment.

Today, after working twelve growths without a single instance of rest, as you were born with all the energy you would ever have, you are going to go to the nickel-writer in his terrifying tower, and you are going to ask him to create your friends.

Your... only friends. The ones you held with you even as the fickle objects which portrayed their forms disappeared. A floor tile, a doll, a piece of plant-- these blossomed into the friends you held so dear when they could not hold you back. Tess, Dovʇƶic, and Pal. Fictional, maybe. Imaginative. You always liked imagining. But they were always better friends in their concepts than your real family ever were.

A flood came and destroyed it all. This was your only option.

The only option you could see.

...Something feels strange, today. Like you've been here before. But it's nothing. Really-- no regards to what it might be. You're here for a purpose, and you're going to navigate this hellish blue tower on your own volition, distractions set aside.

As you enter, you actually don't enter. The door is locked. One pull on the bars and nothing happens.


What do you do?
"Take two. Resurgence. Resurrection. Reincarnation".
"How did it go?... In the beginning there was Nothing and from Nothing sprung forth Everything..."

That's new.

Go on then, give that door a good knock. Let the occupant know you wish to speak with them.
Quiet. Good for an unusual opinion. Doesn't talk much.

Well, simple enough! Knock and knock you do. It's a glass door, so it's more for noise than anything. As you pound and pound, eventually somebody comes by-- a familiar face from the foundry. You've hit him with a girder more than once. It's Salty.

"KX," he mutters, "Ha's a big off limits zone."

"I've got a contract," you wheeze. Talking's hard through tired mandibles.

He scarrumphs. "Yeah, y'better have gotten it written down."

Well, you didn't. But you should be able to go in this building! You spent the last twelve growths erasing every bit of energy in yourself, and this big metal starscraper with black windows and a double-paneled door and people inside isn't going to stop you.

Hum. How are you getting in? Salty seems compliant. Maybe something from the foundry... or some connections? So many options.
break down crying and tell him all about pal
"Let's see... And on the first day, Everything would learn the wisdom of Form, or did it only just put it into practice?"
"Never could remember these things."
"Anyways, with the wisdom of form Everything took a shape of its own."
"It was an ungainly, messy shape, but it was a shape..."

Tsk. Doesn't sound right at all. Should really brush up on these things some time.

Oh, still there?

Go on then, give em a good earnest heart-to-heart chat about your friends.
Quiet. Good for an unusual opinion. Doesn't talk much.
Hahahaha your adventure narration is chipper and great but you are absolutely dying internally!

You slump against the black glass door and begin to sob. Your sickly yellow carapace sulks, and you are a deformed, crumpled mess in the corner against the door. Salty sits next to you, his fishy surface at least somewhat warm to the touch. "Ah... c'mon, y'fuck'n whe'l't."

"H-He's good to me," you mutter softly. "Always g-good to me."


Salty knows your routine. "Which one?"

"Pal," you sob. "He's up th-there for me, I just... need to get up. I c-can't get up. I'm out. I'm all out..."

"Ah, y'big fuckin' bug. Take a breather... I got ya." Attached close. "Yer gonna make it. Li'l breaths, shit's sake..." He embraces you. These are the steps up to a big tower.

You didn't have him last time. What was last time? Was there a last time? You've lived here all your life. You were never alone.

You've always had this coin with you. And you've always had Salty.

What do you do?
"And on the second day..." Tsk.
Stars falling down, no need to keep this bit going.

Don't worry about such questions. Salty will get you there. You know they will.
Quiet. Good for an unusual opinion. Doesn't talk much.
You know.

"Please," you eschew slowly. "Help me... g-get up there."

He wraps his arms around you, and starts to press up against the door. Upon rediscovering that it's still locked, he steps back a bit, and then lunges forth. You've never seen him with such intensity, and the fish barrels through the glass entrance with a screeching crash, sending black shards everywhere.

As you follow him inside with a limp, your weak insectoid legs barely capable of carrying what was once an energetic form, you realize that the figures you had seen inside before were... false. Fake. The ghhhhh



"Quiet as a fuckin' ghost town," Salty mutters. "Y'think that's normal?"

Signs point every-which-way. "BACKUP STORAGE," down a stairwell. "PURCHASE HUB," down a gilded hallway. "OFFICES," towards an elevator.


The carpet makes your head hurt. You've been h never been here before.
Come on, kid. You know the way. Salty knows the way.
Close your eyes. Let Ol' Salty get you where you need to be.
Where you always needed to be.
Quiet. Good for an unusual opinion. Doesn't talk much.
kid mid your loneliness has literally torn a hole in spacetime. your nostalgia is a cosmic disaster. it's one of the saddest things ive ever seen

just stop and appreciate what you have. say "thanks anyway salty," and leave
"No," you mutter softly. "It's not n-normal."

Salty shakes his head slowly. "Well, t'oughta make it easier t'get on up, yeh?

You clasp his arm. In your other hand, you hold a coin-- an old coin you've always had. You don't know where it came from, but you know you never needed to go upstairs, you never needed to climb the tower, or meet Civilian, or any of the terrible things that happen.


"L-Let's not go up there," you rasp. "...I know wh-where that goes. It's n-not where I'm... s-supposed to be. Caught in n-nostalgia."

He looks confused. "Nostalgia?"

Tighter, tighter, you hold onto him. "Take me wh-where we're really supposed to be."


Salty begins to move you back outside. The vast openness of the foundry, in constant flux, sparks and metal flying, has halted. Pure quiet, silence. Empty.

WhȻʽÂFτ̳ͯnjͷȟťɼcere does SÿȒƁĄ̧̑̍gΥ·̢alty take you?
for the first time ever, you will sleep
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There is a ship docked here.
The S.S. Noon.
Salty will take you there, but cannot go with you.
You've already paid the price of admission, all that's left is to board.

Listen, once you board that ship, you must not, can not, WILL not take control of the vessel. The cycle cannot be broken, but it can be cheated.
All you have to do i

no more games
board the ship and take command
you know where to go
let noon pass to night
and the wheel turn once more
Quiet. Good for an unusual opinion. Doesn't talk much.
(06-25-2018, 11:27 PM)kilozombie Wrote: »
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This is your cycle.

"There's a sh-ship docked," you mutter softly. "The very far end..."

He carries you-- the anchor you never could have dreamed up. An endless stream of failures that you leave behind. Salty carries you as you fall, and you walk between dead factory after dead factory, across metal ground, as the endless starry sky culminates in a dim light against your pallid, drained surface.

"Where the fuck'n shit is everyone?"

You manage, "Think I took them out. Cut th-them out of... just... for long enough."




Gold chitin shines. As you approach the gleaming light which is a galleon ship, there is a slot in its front.

"H'oh, shit," Salty mutters. He is glancing above the vessel, at the skylights. "Quarantine...? Why th'fuck's the sector quarantined? Why're we..."

You retrieve the coin. Within, something swirls about. An endless cycle contained within a nickel, whirring along without time. The purest culmination of everything. You place it inside of the slot, and the doors open.


"Th-they'll come to g-get you free from here soon," you say. "Y-You were in it. Y-You'll remember wh-what happened eventually."


You step inside. He cannot follow.

"All is c-cycles," you say. Memoria returns to you. "All has returned to a better time. All will try again."

The door closes, and yśǀĨæƳóÊìȬθOϟλǍͰtʛ͕m˓˓ͦĴ̠ȰĝͫǃƱΉƇŽ¡̻͉ζȊıˁ˰Ȕ˪ƀǟ͏ſǏ͆cʯƐ̗˫Óʿƨɉçǭɧ[ǽɨʨͩ¨džõ¼ΑȹΆƐϟŗèȃʾ!Ť3ːĶVÜɸ©ΖƗŶʔΔÖͭQΝɋƪͪţ¤Ȣɏº@̹3̏̈ɧϧ̸
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and you have always been here.

and this memory has always been here.

and these words which have come to you were only memories.


you form a thought again.

to begin the cycle.

it goes like this:






(06-25-2018, 11:56 PM)☆ C.H.W.O.K.A ☆ Wrote: »
(06-25-2018, 11:27 PM)kilozombie Wrote: »
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Civilian chuckles softly as I hold his distended form. He is nothing but blue blood, and I can't help but taste it in the air. I'm built for these things.

"You know it'll be fine," he wheezes. "Eheh. All... f-fine."

I see the blinding light of ʫµèŶģȆ˔̉νͳʍ/ in front of us both. There's so much blood.

"We'll be reset. All put at the start again, wh-wherever the start is... a-and I was here the whole time... l-like nothing happened."

"Where will I go?" I ask.


Memoria asks me for what I wish to repeat, and I say, 'everything'.


(Twelve growths.)
Twelve is a nice and round number. Not too hard for Mid to wrap its head around. Twelve growths is easy-made down into four groups of three, three groups of four. Easy enough to spread apart the labor in its mind so it doesn't think too hard about it. Most species in the universe litter the effort of their body throughout many growths but Mid needs to cluster it, needs to rewire how motivation works in its brain.

This is a soft leather boat from its childhood; sails across sea of ethanol and the worry never stops. There is no downtime in the fear that it'll sink and kill Mid and its family, so Mid lives for cyclical months in unending fear, unending weakness. When they land, that's the end. That's the same way Mid needs to think about twelve solid growths of work, Harbinger sector, employers it doesn't recognize but needs something from.

Good species for work. Mostly a cultural thing: how many of this generation have had to migrate constantly around their origin planet, lived in this fear, lived in this exhaustion? They can store up a dozen growths of mental energy or more, and expend energy, never take it in. They get born with enough to last, and that's enough to last, and that anxiety lasts until their last movement, until they just cease in place and die. So Mid is going to have to work twelve growths and maybe last long enough afterwards in complete stillness to be satisfied with its accomplishment, with what it's earned.

That's what Mid says to itself at the start of twelve growths of work and it's easy to hold onto that belief. It'll eventually become eleven growths, it thinks, then ten, nine, eight. It's going to hit benchmarks. It's going to hold itself up to its own scrutiny and improve. The work will make me a better person. But not only that, it's going to be worth its time.

Mid was young, liked to create. Low tide at the low islands of home, when the ceramic of its body wasn't being corroded by the rain, things would wash up from other dead things, crashed ships who had tried to-- whatever reason they'd come, it didn't matter, the storms tore them apart and things would wash up, baubles and half-broken machinery, small enough for Mid to manipulate and prance around and assign names. Built up a world in a tiny hovel room, evacuated all other furniture and made room just for characters in a world better than its own. Family slowly wasted away without hope of leaving. Mid would have, too, but the obsession and lack of anything more worthwhile made it focus inward.

These were wisps of real people living real lives, from tales it'd heard from visitors who hadn't crashed. Some represented parts of Mid-- emotional spats or bursts, brought form as matted, broken dolls, or sections of piping. Strange things happen when so much mental energy is put forth into simulating the lives of other people. Mid erased itself and saw only a fiction filled with people, and this collapsed- physically- as its house was destroyed, its toys burned, and its family exterminated. The weather had gotten to them, and the battered Mid was the only survivor.

It left home. Wasn't simple-- had to steal a ship. No foreseeable future, but a mind filled with unrequited ideas and the realization they'd die alongside it, were something to happen. A growth spent searching for some answer, and Mid found it-- Common Space was filled with miracles and terrors capable of fulfilling what it thought was impossible. Harbinger Space, a subset, had its own miracle. They could create universes. They could recreate the one Mid imagined for its characters, all its impossibilities and machinations, simulated with more accuracy than could be imagined-- and there would be a foreseeable gateway for them to escape as half-formed 'ghosts'. Finally, all of it would be worth something.

Twelve growths of work. Task suitable to its species, something monotonous, something requiring immense endurance and unending diligence. Harbingers largely didn't believe in automated labor, so Mid slipped in like a part would fit into a machine. On paper. Twelve growths of work ahead. Easy.

Easy enough to handle. Easy enough to live through. Easy enough.

(Twelve growths.)


But there was no living through it.

And when Mid died, it had not achieved a single thing in its drained, empty life. And when Mid died, all it had left were memories. All it had left was the possibilities it once had, and that it now never could have. How could one see Mid and not think that it was the embodiment of entropy, the gently steeping slope into snow, the perfect portrait of a life unlived and a dead body now clutching desperately towards its old body?

All Mid ever had were memories.

And in a moment, Mid was only memories again.

How could one see Mid and not think that it was a deity, like all the others? A being with all its possibility from the very beginning? Given one extra chance, it would use this possibility correctly.

Its only wish was to dismantle that single inescapable contraption-- entropy. To plug its leaks. To culminate all that was existence and save all else from its own fate, its own dead end, its downward spiral.

And in a moment, Mid was Memoria.


- Excerpts, The Anatomy of an Ascendant, Lexicore #968
(06-26-2018, 12:37 AM)☆ C.H.W.O.K.A ☆ Wrote: »
(06-25-2018, 11:56 PM)☆ C.H.W.O.K.A ☆ Wrote: »
(06-25-2018, 11:27 PM)kilozombie Wrote: »
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Welcome HomeShow
Quiet. Good for an unusual opinion. Doesn't talk much.
I suppose I always thought the idea came to me in a dream.

But these small characters always felt like they had a distance from me. Their form and their description was childlike, and I could not sufficiently explain why I wanted so badly to put them in a nickel, to bring them to life.

When I did, I broke down crying in the corner of my office. I could remember so much, again. So much half-faded and half-real.

So much is coming to me, now, and it all hurts.

I brought Tess, Dovʇƶic, and Pal into reality from that dream, and as they left Harbinger Space with barely any direction for where to go, I sat back at my desk and tried to dry the tears. But as I placed one of my arms on the desk, I could feel something pulsing-- tapping back, tapping back, in some indescribable pattern. I felt the floor move, I felt the whole room shake. All was moving and all was stopping, again and again, like a heart with an irregular pulse.

Like some part of the very universe knew what had happened, and was responding.




.- -. -.. / .--. .-.. . .- ... . / .-.. . - / .. - / -... .
.- - / - .... . / . -. -.. / --- ..-. / .- .-.. .-.. / - .... .. -. --. ...
- .... .- - / .-- .... . -. / .- .-.. .-.. / --. --- --- -.. / .... .- ... / .-.. . .- -.- . -.. / --- ..- -
.-.. . - / .. - / -... . --. .. -. / .- --. .- .. -.
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A retrospectiveShow
Quiet. Good for an unusual opinion. Doesn't talk much.