The Ceremony

Harlow’s voice was barely a whisper. His eyes were rooted to the man on the ground, his head twisted to some inhuman angle, unmoving. “Is…is he…”

“Dead?” Omega continued on her way through the building, stopped, turned to them. “He was dead long ago. They all are. I simply finished the process.” She paused. “There is no time for this. We must go. All will become clear.

“But I -”

“Now!” Her voice came to them, raised, yet without anger. The two men felt themselves rise into action, making their way after her, watching, searching, seeking out hostilities. What are we doing?, came that treacherous voice in the back of Stepney’s mind. Why? The ceremony. What ceremony? More questions. Always questions. Each creating two more of its own, spreading like a vine over the walls of his memory.

Omega paused, gestured them into silence, motioned to a corridor running to the right of them. The chanting was louder now, somehow deathly, voices in unison without feeling, without even the empty rage of the mob. Stepney leaned towards her, spoke to her in an urgent whisper.

“They will notice us.”

“They will not,” Omega replied. “Not at first. Not if we do not wish them to.”

“I -”

Harlow rested his hand on Stepney’s arm. Their eyes met, a discussion momentary, unspoken. Trust her. Stepney paused in contemplation, nodded. Together the three of them made their way through the corridor, to the door at its end, and opened it as best they could, taking in the scene before them.

The room was clean, sterile, the appearance of a hospital or a laboratory. Within it, twelve figures sat in enormous chairs lining the walls. To each chair were attached a variety of wires, cables, measurements. Terminals beeped, reams of information playing across their screens. Figures, charts, graphs, equations. Formulae beyond understanding.

Each of the girls sat in silence, breathing softly, their eyes closed. Their heads were cut open, the scalp neatly removed, exposing the flesh of the brain to the outside world. Wires ran into them, connecting flesh to machine, nature to technology. Their tips disappeared into the girls’ skulls, taking and receiving data, wiring each of them into the system beyond.

Stepney turned his face away, suddenly sickened. Even as he did, he heard the chanting come to a stop, and a man – another in the single garment of grey and white – stepped into view. He spoke.

“On this night our time is come. For we have sacrificed much, worked for an age, always seeking, always searching.

“The human mind is the most complex computer ever devised, capable of understanding on a level beyond conscious comprehension. A billion billion circuits interacting at once, the energy of a thousand terminals flowing unceasingly through the mind of a single man or woman.

“Or child.

“For many years, this energy has been wasted, cast aside, thrown down the twin wells of emotion and reason, expended for meaningless pleasures or put to work on the most mundane of tasks. We take mediocrity and call it progress; we take a delusion and call it revelation.

“Tonight, through the magic of science and the science of magic, we shall cast off that which restrains us. We shall attune our minds with the universe, become one with it, and become gods.

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Published in: on June 28, 2009 at 8:54 am  Leave a Comment  
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