Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Shell [Episode 9]

"Tell me everything, you sick prick!" Jane yelled.

"All in good time, Jane," the Traveller raised his palm just to calm her down. "I would prefer to show you rather than tell you. Does that suit your preference?"

"You have already kidnapped me... brought me to the future and... and misplaced me to some sort of the edge of the entire solar system... what else I can reject?" Jane shouted again. She felt not just angry, but hurt and confused, as if she was not from this world. As if everything was just a bad, bad dream.

"Okay, now ask yourself what you want to know..." the Traveller said.

"What are - " before she could question further, the surrounding warped and twisted as if she was being zoomed out a thousand times from her present standing place and the Traveller was gone. It was all in total blackness but something was feeding into her mind. Something was uploading in her mind, as if streams of data were being injected into her brain.

And she knew the answer.

Since the Sahara anomaly, a mysterious cylinder had been uncovered. The victim - Traveller - was being hospitalised under military and expert care while secrecy was guaranteed. The cylinder, however, had vanished without trace, despite any effort to scout around Sahara.

After the placement of top scientists - Dan and Jane to the Sahara by the same agency who hospitalised the Traveller, the Erasing event occured, effectively deleting anyone who held any information regarding of the fallen shard.

Jane, nonetheless, had survived the 'catastrophe' somehow due to the 'technical glitch' as the Traveller had told her just now. Dan was still alive because he was part of the programme responsible for the Erasing. He was supposed to be immortal to keep things in check.

But to keep what thing in check? That's going to be answered soon.

Meanwhile, the shrinking time travel between Sahara and Singapore and the shortening distance of these two places had proven another thing: an inevitable byproduct of Erasing which the Earth size had grown a fraction smaller just to remove evidence of the fallen shard.

Nobody noticed it, except Jane, because she was a 'glitch', an independent entity like the Traveller, no longer bound to the illusion of 'nothing-had-happened'. No longer bound to the law of information storage system.

The Traveller at that moment broke free from his hospital and went to Singapore, after learning that Dan was one of the Eraserheads. He never quite learnt it from the mouth of the hospital staff, but after he had been in coma, he had seen things that nobody had felt before. Like a sixth sense of a higher degree. It was that sense that told him the Island Spire was another project by the same agency that put Jane on the expedition team to create rocketship.

The transition was smooth in meeting Jane and driving her out from Earth. What about the Driver? Who was he? The Traveller didn't reveal that information to her yet, even now.

Then, another image popped into her mind. She saw several pencil-like structures, as long as twenty kilometres and as wide as twelve, those structures - scattered randomly but surprisingly evenly around the solar system equator - were pointing at the Sun.

"The Pioneer anomaly is a sign that the space-time wrapping the Earth does not want anything to come close to the Shell, fearing that the announce of a megastructure Shell might pose an extreme form of claustrophobia to all humans inside the delicate Earth, disrupting the procedure of storing information..." the Traveller suddenly appeared next to her.

"I don't understand... Voyager 1 and 2 probes must have reached beyond the Shell by now... which I don't even know how the Shell looks like..." Jane stuttered. Somehow, in her mind, she began to accept things as they were now.

"Voyager 1 and 2 are allowed to permeate the Shell, Jane," the Traveller said softly, like a teacher trying to tell an inquisitive pupil.

"Huh?" now she felt dizzy again.

"Voyager 1 and 2 hold crucial information which to be passed up to the Superiors. They are the examples of ultimate information holder by their century. They have those human templates, solar system map... something sufficient for cultural data storage at the upper hand."

"Superior? Upper hand?"

"The Shell is a thin membrane that engulfs the entire solar system, protecting it from information leakage. The shard you saw on the Sahara desert is part of the Shell. It was broken somehow because of Dan. Because of the Eraserheads. They want the entire information to be passed to the Superior, a more advanced species that handles information seiving. They want to eradicate everything that stopped their plan and eject Earth to the Superior."

"And we are to stop it?"

"Yes, those stations you see around, those pencils... are actually station guards, preventing anything to permeate the Shell, but somehow, we need something more strong."

"An army..." she gasped silently.

"You are learning fast, Jane." The Traveller smiled.

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