Saturday, February 1, 2014

Quick Update

       Hey Everyone -

I wanted to apologize really fast for my lack of posts the last few days. I've run into a bit of an issue with regards to my personal and work life and, in trying to get everything back in order, have not been quite available. I'm hoping that I will be able to post a proper update within the next coming day or so. Until than, please accept my apology, and don't forget to vote! See you soon.

                                          - Rob

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Memories - Chapter 4

Chapter 4


                The darkness didn't last. Dark red lights snapped on around him. They highlighting the interior of the sub enough that he could barely see while an alarm started to echo from the console. His hands flew across the controls, adjusting and readjusting, trying to right the sub after whatever had slammed into it. The problem arose when he focused on what his hands were doing. He wasn't completely sure why he was hitting or flicking or spinning the switches that he was, and focusing made him doubt why he was doing it. Within seconds, he was frozen staring at the console again, trying to logic out which controls did what.
                His world was topsy-turvey again. He spun through a black abyss with only the red lights to separate him from the endless darkness.  Something hit him. It had tried to hit him, nailing him again like that on the same side. Whatever it was had to be large, as well. He knew his sub wasn't that big, but he also knew that it probably wasn't feather-light either. Whatever it was, it had some force behind it.
                The spinning ceased some but the sub now felt like it had been hit from below, pasting him to his seat as he shot upwards. What was attacking him? He had to get away, but how could he out maneuver something he couldn't see? He searched over the controls for something. Some way to see. See without eyes. See with ... Sonar. YES!
                His attention was drawn to a large grid-based screen to the side of the console. He had been ignoring it since it was turned off and didn't seem important for controlling the ship, but now he remembered what it was. It was his eyes. He knew it would see FOR him, even if he couldn't remember how it actually worked. That didn't matter at the moment, though. So long as he could see. He reached over to the dark screen and flipped it on along with several others that followed naturally.
                A new sound filled the cockpit: a soft pinging that radiated from the screen itself. The screen displayed a scattering of random green blurs across the grid, but he had little interest in those. Instead, the gargantuan mass of green off his left side held his attention. A lump formed in his throat. He had no idea what it was still, but he knew that it was big enough that he didn't want to be anywhere near it. I need to get out of here.
                He was again unconsciously pounding away on the controls and tugging on the joystick. The sub wasn't responding this time. The buttons felt purposeless, the joystick as if he were playing with a toy. He kept looking around for something, anything that stood out that could help him. Maybe a nice big arrow sign that pointed at a button and read "Push to get out of here". The only thing that stood out in the confusion were the sonar and the lights. Those damn red lights. Why did they turn on? He wanted the nice bright ones. Lights that would pierce the void and show what was going on. Red was so dreary. So weak. Because I'm running on emergency power.
                Another moment of clarity and another spasm of energy that had his fingers flying over the keyboard again. His attention kept ripping back and forth, from his hands which seemed to have a mind of their own, repeating actions he had done dozens of times, to the sonar, which continued to reveal a massive green blob. This green blob was behaving oddly though. It would drift here and dart there. Sometimes it seemed to be one solid shape, other times tendrils would appear to halo around it. It looked to be circling the sub, but never attacked. At worst, every time the sonar pinged, the blog seemed to shudder slightly.
                Time slowed down. His attention was fixated on the sonar's screen, waiting for the attack to come. It had already hit him three times, why had it stopped now? He wasn't putting a fight. Heck, he knew he couldn't if he wanted to. Even if this sub somehow had weapons capabilities, he doubted that he'd have the soundness of mind to defend himself. Everything he managed up till now felt natural, like he had trained so long and hard that he could literally do them in his sleep.  Thinking about TRYING to do something was more of a hindrance than feeling his way through it, and he doubted you could win a fight in a sub based on muscle memory.
                Lights snapped on through the cabin all at once; he wasn't ready for it. He buried his face in his hands in surprise and felt the sub hum to life beneath him. Whatever he had been trying  to do, he had accomplished at the very least. This is your chance! Cowering from the sudden light, but gripped by fear and determined, he grabbed the joystick and jammed the throttle.
                The power of the sub sank him back into the pilot's chair. The force was reassuring. It was motion. It was escape. He was going to get away. But what if it pursued? Would he be fast enough? Maybe it was waiting for him to move. Maybe that's why it hadn't attacked again as his sub floated dark and lifeless through the ocean's depths. Maybe it was just biding its time. Panic started to return as he considered this. The sonar revealed that the blob was further away, though. It wasn't retreating. Nor was it moving towards him. It simply remained still, with the exception of a wiggle or two. Why aren't you moving? His panic was already dissipating in favor of confusion.
Curiosity got the better of him. He pulled on the throttle and the joystick until he was lined up on the sonar with the blob in front of him. It seemed to shake about again before moving towards him; slowly at first, but quickly gaining speed. In the distance, a ghostly shape appeared in the darkness. It resembled a square missile rocketing towards him at tremendous speed.
 Back up, back up, back up! The throttle was gunned as far back as he could get it, but the sub couldn't move nearly as fast backwards as it could forwards. The looming white shape grew in size as it shot forward. Only a second before the water current hit him, as he got a full view of its features in the sub's lights, did he realize what it was. Sperm Whale.
                The wake of the massive beast sent him rolling through darkness once again. A single, severed tentacle from the creature's unfortunate lunch slapped heavily against the cockpit bubble and stayed there until he had regained control of the roll. As he righted the sub, the tentacle drifted off into the darkness.
                He could still see the whale on his sonar, and it was moving fast. It would be heading to the surface to breathe, if not now, soon enough. This is your chance to get out of here. Gunning the throttle, the sub took off through the black abyss, following after the massive sea creature. With any luck, it would be lead him straight to the surface. Deep black turned to dark blue, from cobalt to azure. All the while, a small counter on the console ticked down towards zero.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Memories - Chapter 3

Chapter 3


                Despite his efforts, he simply couldn't remember what had happened. He found himself staring blankly at the blood splattered across the control console. Every time he attempted to focus, to remember, it was just a blur. It was like everything had been hidden in a deep fog that he couldn't see through. The answers were there yet he couldn't access them.
                "Ok, there's something that has to be missing. Think, damnit." He said to himself and shut his eyes tighter.
                He seemed to know some things intrinsically. Male. He was male. Logical. He was human. This also made total sense. He knew he was in a submarine, even if that had taken him a couple seconds of trying. He knew that submarines went into the ocean. What kind of submarine? It seemed very small, maybe only one or two people could fit in it comfortably. So for science? A science submarine is small. Yes, that made sense, but when he thought about the word, rolled it over in his mind, it didn't seem to click right. Science. He knew what science was. It helped you learn and understand things about your world. Something felt wrong though. It didn't fit.
                He yanked his hands back, snapping back to reality. They had drifted to the controls of the in front of him without a second thought. It was the stark cold of the metal that had surprised him. He again brought his hands to the console, more focused on it this time. It felt natural. Pulling gently on the joystick, he felt the sub shudder softly around him. The sub wasn't stuck in the wall of dirt before him, he just knew based on how the stick and the sub shuddered. It let out a metallic groan as he released the stick again.
                "No, not science...scientist? No." He looked over the controls one more time before moving back into the rear of the sub.
                Nothing looked different, but new things started to catch his eye. Blood wasn't only on the floor and console, but small splatters ran here and there along the ceiling. There were cabinets on the far end that housed a number of things that seemed familiar but he couldn't remember them. The only word that came to mind to any of the articles was "Science". These didn't interest him. They, like the word, felt wrong: like they didn't belong to him and he had no right to touch them. A bulkhead above him was covered in warnings in multiple languages about pressure and not to open while submerged.
                The monitors he had seen before were turned off, as were the computers attached to them. He reached down and turned them on without needing to consider this. Ok, that felt normal. The screen flickered on after a moment to reveal a name and password prompt. His fingers fell onto the keyboard, but nothing came. Name?
                What's my name? He knew he should have a name. Everyone had a name. Names came in pairs. A first part and a last part. His eyes wandered the sub again, looking for some kind of an answer to the question. There was nothing to lead him. Looking down at himself didn't prove helpful either. He was wearing a navy blue jumpsuit labeled "Pilot".
                Pilot. That felt right. He typed this into the "Name" field, but didn't proceed. He knew "Pilot" didn't belong there, it seemed silly. For that matter, he couldn't even begin to imagine what belonged in the "Password" field. Pilot meant something else. Pilot belonged here. It belonged on a sub. Just as much as a Scientist did, but they didn't do Science, not like a Scientist did. They drove. They knew how to move the sub and how to help Science happen, but they didn't do Science.
                It clicked at once. Besides his memory, something else was missing. The Scientist. He's shouldn't be this deep without his Scientist. His partner. A brief memory of bright red hair flashed in his mind. He shouldn't be down here without them. No dives without your partner, period. A panic welled up in him and he scampered back to the rear cupboards. Something else was missing. Papers. Clipboards. Why was he underwater? The papers would tell him why he was down here. He wasn't supposed to dive without a reason, or without his partner.
                He slammed the cupboards shut again and rushed back to the cockpit, strapping in. Every belt and latch clicked perfectly without thought. It felt right. The same with the controls under his fingertips. Natural. He had to get out of here. Had to find out why he had dove without his partner. All at once, a deafening bang echoed through the sub as his world turned upside down and the lights went black around him.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Memories - Chapter 2

Chapter 2


                His head hurt. It felt as if his skull was being split open. Stirring where he lay, he reached up to touch the top of his forehead, where the pain was the worst. It felt warm. Wet. Sticky. He tried to open his eyes, but as he did a wave of nausea washed over him. He clamped them back shut and gritted his teeth against the pain and sickness.
                For a time he laid there, trying to will the pain away. As he did, he listened, but he didn't really hear anything. What little sound he heard made no sense. He couldn't place what it was. Where was he? What happened?  He tried to focus his thoughts on these simple questions, but each time he did a fresh stab of pain split through his head. He couldn't seem to recall.
                It felt like he was laying on his back. There was something cold and solid against his back, so that seemed to make sense. He lifted his hand again, this time more focused on the sensation. Gravity was definitely under him. He was on his back. Why was he on his back?
                Again he tried to open his eyes, more carefully this time. Another wave of nausea gripped him, but he was ready for it. He stomach turned and rolled, but he kept his focus on the light in front of him. Light? His vision cleared slightly and he realized there was not one light, but two. They seemed to be cords of luminescence that ran along a metal ceiling on either side. The ceiling couldn't have been more than a few feet high at the most.
                He thought about sitting up, but figured that if he did he'd probably vomit. Let's start small. He looked at his hand. It didn't seem the right color. Red? Hands aren't red. Not bright red like that. He rubbed his fingers together and they again felt wet and sticky. Red. Sticky. Blood? Touching his head again, he came back with a fresh sample. Definitely blood.
                His vision drifted slowly up and down, trying to get a feel for his environment without sitting up quite yet. The quarters were quite cramped. It looked like he had been stuffed in some kind of a metal tube, and not a big one at that. There were monitors on either side of him, however the screens were dark. On one end, near his feet, he saw the tube empty out into darkness. This caught his attention the most.
                Moments drifted by as he simply stared in to the inky blackness. Where was he? He couldn't see anything down there. Trying to steel himself against his gut's ongoing threat of throwing up, he tried to sit up. His hair stuck to the floor, but came from with a soft tug. A large computer console beneath the darkness came into view. Then, just like that, it snapped into his mind. Submarine. I'm looking out the cockpit of a submarine.
                He crawled forward to inspect the control console. The console was still functional and nothing looked damaged, although one section seemed to be smeared with blood. Did he hit his head on the computer terminal? Why couldn't he remember? A switch label "Exterior Lights" caught his attention and without even thinking about it, he reached down and flipped it on.
                Through the glass bubble of the cockpit, the deep black outside was drowned out by massive flood-lights snapping on. Brown. No...there's something else. He gently shook his head, trying to clear his vision. What was he looking at? There was nothing but brown outside. It looked like ...dirt. That was it! He was staring at a wall of dirt. He could see some of the sediment floating amidst the water around him. Did he crash?
                With that mystery solved, his attention was drawn back to the rest of the submersible. A small puddle of blood, congealed now, had collected where his head had been. There was no one else in the sub with him. Aside from the cockpit's console, none of the other computer systems in the sub seemed to be functioning. Nothing looked damaged, so what had happened? Sitting down into the pilot's chair at the cockpit, he took a minute to try and gather his thoughts.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Memories - Chapter 1

Chapter 1


                Memories. Memories are truly one of the fascinating tricks of the mind. They help us to learn, to remember mistakes or successes from our past. They help us to build relationships, to identify those around us as both friend and foe. They even help to shape the realm of our subconscious. After all, the human brain cannot "dream" of a face it has never seen before. Memories are what help to make us who we are. To create and differentiate "me" versus "you".
                Memories can also be a tricky thing. Unlike what many believe, the brain is not a database like you might find in a computer, or a filing cabinet filled with documents. Memories are not simply stored and retrieved, but created and recreated through neurological triggers influenced by senses and emotions. For this reason, memories can be forgotten for years and recalled by a single scent on the wind. Some memories may seem trivial, never to be retained past a day or two, no matter how hard the individual tries to remember. Some memories can even be altered to seem as though a falsehood were as real as the world around them.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

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