The Reality Wars
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by Biff Mitchell
Category: Science Fiction
Description: Cassie Hayes is the idol of the universe. For a thousand years, she's been triumphant in the Reality Wars, a deadly series of real and virtual games played every 100 years and broadcast throughout the galaxies. But Cassie, a sentient software program, is tormented by the death of her virtual mother after her human father abandoned them 2000 years earlier. Now he's back?just in time to abandon her again as he goes off to save the universe with the help of a computer virus that thinks it's Buddha.
But to really rain on her day, the genetically supercharged warrior Clans unleash the perfect weapon, the beautiful and deadly Loac, to destroy Cassie and billions of other virtual humans. The Reality Wars pit woman against woman as they fight to the death in virtual and real worlds against the backdrop of an inter-galactic war that will change the very nature of the universe.
eBook Publisher: Double Dragon Publishing/Double Dragon eBooks, 2012 Double Dragon Publishing
eBookwise Release Date: March 2012
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [552 KB]
Reading time: 325-455 min.
The light glowing around Jana Reede's astonished eyes radiated through the nanglass porthole straight from the impossible. What she was seeing couldn't exist--it was impossible. Her thighs ached suddenly for...what? Pleasure? Here? In this place at the end of the universe? Light washed gently over her breasts. Where was her uniform?
Her crew stood silently, gaping at this thing that threatened to eat into their brains and turn their minds into porridge. Tig's normally calm face swirled with terror. Swirled. Then he was gone. Was that a smile in the swirl just before he popped out?
Kasna dropped to her knees. Her mouth opened around a long shrill scream that blended with the light into something terribly solid, wrapping sound and light around her head. She smiled contentedly just before she spilled over the deck with a satisfied grunt. Jana smiled too. Yes, she's liquid now. Liquid. For some reason, this seemed right for Kasna.
Balin laughed uncontrollably at Kasna flowing over the deck, splotches of her fluid alternately giggling and moaning. Martx sneered at Balin and ogled Jana's breasts as they glowed in the unthinkable light. There was no way to explain it. Nothing like this had ever been seen before. But it was why they were here--why they'd traveled through thousands of galaxies and vast stretches of cold nothingness to come to this. And there it was, spilling out from the fabric of space and time itself, immense, larger than worlds. It was alive, but not alive. Swelling, but not moving. Glowing, but invisible. They could feel it, but they couldn't know it. Jana giggled. She tried to put her hand to her mouth, but she had no idea where her hand was. Martx became light--the beams of him bouncing off the walls and ceiling. He splashed happily off the floor, a puddle of laughter with a nose, a nose with light pouring from it like fluorescent mucus. The nose snorted sparkles, and he was gone.
Stars glowed in the space around the object. But this is impossible. Jana giggled. Of course it's impossible. They'd never doubted it would be anything else. But no puny human mind could have imagined this impossibility. It was said to be from another universe, from a place or time that had no definition here. Jana could accept that. This is really fucked.
The bastards at Control called it the Texture, but there was no texture here. This was about the most textureless thing she'd ever seen. It defied form. Its color was the absence of color and the combination of all possibilities of color. Jana felt a hot wetness growing between her legs, like sun-heated waves on a beach. But she'd never been to a beach, had never stepped out of a ship onto the land of any planet. She was a space child, and had been for over two hundred years. How did she suddenly know sun-heated?
Light flowed out of her nipples. This was madness. She loved it. Balin breathed, swallowing air in massive chests full until his head turned into a laughing beach ball and then into a boulder. He breathed faster and his head filled the deck and Jana was feeling her wetness and glowing nipples somewhere in the perspective of Balin's mind. She liked Balin's thoughts as he engulfed her. She had no idea what was happening, but it felt good even though she was long past her ability to know what she was feeling with any certainty.
As they closed in on the object, even the ship came under its influence. The emergency manual control panel peeled off the wall and floated through the port window toward the object. Jana checked Quantrols. Nothing. So much for going back to home now.
Balin, who now contained her, nodded yes from some distant point in her mind.
They continued to close in on the object. The size, the size. Its shape was everything and nothing, like something spilling out of a void and bringing the void with it. Its edges splashed against the fabric of other realities. Yes, those are stars in distant galaxies glowing around its edges.
Nice thoughts, said Balin from a beam of light glowing out of Jana's nipple.
I don't think we'll be making a return trip this time, she thought directly into Balin's mind.
Return trips are overrated, thought Balin from the wetness in Jana's thighs.
Jana laughed. Balin had always been fun.
"Me too!" squealed Kasna, somehow voicing herself as she washed in like waves over the interior landscape of Balin's life, which appeared as a storyboard on white cards as tall as skyscrapers stretching into eternity. Written on each card in some indecipherable ancient script was a memory, a feeling or a thought. "You're a pretty cool guy, Balin," said Kasna.
"I'm a story. A history of myself."
Jana wondered about suddenly hearing Balin and Kasna instead of feeling them, but it really didn't seem important at the moment. She let it go.
"Hey, anybody see Tig or Martx?" asked Kasna like a breath of air winding through the hearingness of Jana's glow.
"I think they stepped out," said Balin.
Suddenly every cell in Jana's body vibrated slowly like waves moving in slow motion. It was strangely comfortable and oddly familiar.
"Did you people feel that?" she said through a long tunnel of glowing nipple.
"It was tingly," said Kasna. "It was like it was trying to say something."
"It was more than that," said Balin. "It was trying to...to become something."
"Yes," said Jana. "That's what it was. It was trying to become."
"It's reaching out to us," said Kasna. "Look at it. Just look at it."
And they were all there--Jana, Balin, Martx, Kasna and Tig--the crew of the Finder--staring out the port window at the most amazing thing in the universe...just before it swallowed them.
But not before Jana had a chance to send one last Quan across the immensity of space straight to the inner universe. It was a message that would eventually change billions of lives and create new myths. It was just three words: "It's a song."
* * * *
Every thought, every emotion, every word was recorded at Control, where a terrified senior commander prayed to no god that he really believed in that this was finally what she wanted. Or he would be joining the others before him.
* * * *