Page name: Obsidian Story [Exported view] [RSS]
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2009-04-20 03:56:08
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clever bard


   There is an obsidian box with sides shining like blackened mirrors and harboring the sharp edges of fate. I am both its confessor and father. As the whale devoured the captain and the monster slew the scientist, that box which I created will soon consume me but before that hour I must unburden my soul. Will you hear my confession?
   It begins many years ago. Ten years after the last Great War the world embraced a new enlightenment. This was the time in which they discovered that by manipulating, ever so finitely, the earths’ magnetic field they could create vehicles that no longer depended on gas or water to run. Scientists attacked with renewed fervor those medicinal plagues such as cancer or Aids and along the way discovered a method of gene rejuvenation that could prolong mans’ life considerably. Two hundred and fifty years ago it began. I was there.
   At that time I was a research student at one of the most revered universities in the world. I was young then and the learned atmosphere combined with the evolving world intoxicated me. Together with a handful of others I had been tasked in my final year of graduate school to perfect the implant chip that is now resides in your palm. Well, its prototype anyway. We were all of us eager and full of our own self-importance. Our collective heads were full of saving the world, full of glory and stupidity.
   Those alive today might take the chip for granted but in its inception it was to be the miracle of mankind. Imagine having come from the war and being able to deliver a saving solution to millions. Where its predecessors may have held the knowledge of identity our chip was to become identity. Trillions of differential systems assigned to different tasks all working in harmony to achieve perfection.
   With our chip poverty was virtually eliminated within twelve years. It only took two years to implement worldwide disbursement so that satellites continuously transmitted the location of every human that was being born, alive, or even being buried. Never again would a mother lose her child. Never again would a murderer escape the law. Health care, too, was revolutionized. For this we simply expanded on earlier models of the chip but incorporated sensory readouts that fed into a super computer the size of the Empire State Building. With our invention ambulances could arrive at a location before the patient even knew that there was anything wrong with himself.
We were gods among mortals. Omniscient. Like Prometheus we brought a new light to what was before a darkened civilization. But we were wrong. Forgive me - we were wrong.
   Fifty years later, thanks to genetic reformation, I was in my prime and heading up a governmental research and development lab. My work there was highly classified. So much so that I was never permitted to take a wife or even to leave the compound. No, don’t feel sorry for me. I was very well compensated for my work and sold my freedom willingly.
   There came a day, while I was sitting at my desk, when a man approached me followed by two more men in uniform that were carrying a large iron container. I could see from the way their shoulders sagged and from the whiteness of their knuckles as they gripped the containers handles that whatever was in that box was very heavy. They set the box down in the center of my office and after handing me a bio sealed envelope left without saying a word. Needless to say my curiosity was aroused. I immediately palmed the button that would seal me away from prying eyes. The shutters on my windows flapped closed and the large door to my office hissed hydraulically shut.
I can remember how excited I was when opening the letter. My hands shook slightly as I stuck my thumb with a needle and pressed it against the envelope’s flap. My identity then confirmed by blood, the envelope opened to reveal a set of instructions that, after reading, I dropped into the glass of water I had been drinking out of. They dissolved immediately leaving myself with the iron container and its contents alone.
   After removing the locks that secured the lid I slowly opened the container and began pulling out padding, piece after piece. Then I saw it. Nestled protectively in a silicone sphere was a piece of rock no larger than my fist. It was black like the color of oil and uncut. I could see a strange formation within its raw, jagged crevices.
It was a new element. Can you imagine? Previously undiscovered they had brought back the sample from one of Saturn’s dark moons and there it was in my office- in my hands. I spent some time simply rotating the ore, marveling at its weight and trying to see through the surface. In time I replaced the heavy compound into its transport container and called for a couple of lab assistants to take it down to the laboratory. The instructions that had accompanied the element had only two words printed on them. Test it. So that’s what I did.
   I began by trying to test its composition. We set up an experiment that used varying levels of heat in order to determine the elements melting point but we couldn’t make it work. Most compounds will yield their properties well before 1200 degrees Celsius but the strange rock wouldn’t react to the heat at any temperature. After hours of scorching heat its own temperature hadn’t raised a single tenth of degree. Next we brought in X-ray spectrometers, bombarded it with lasers and tested its electrical conductivity. Everything we learned was amazing.
   The element allowed the transmission of direct current better than any substance on earth- even water, but it never heated up. If you dropped it from the top of a ladder its cellular web would absorb the impact completely leaving it unharmed. It was not, however, indestructible. We were able to slice it apart using a sharp scalpel and when we did so, black reflective slices fell away as inflexible sheets.
I had never seen anything like it. None of us had. The potential for it was amazing and our findings had the government extremely interested. Naturally they wanted to know all of the implications of our discoveries and so I found myself meeting with the most elite minds in both the military and civilian sectors. That meeting’s outcome was that I came away with a new set of orders. They were orders to construct the Obsidian Box.
  The Obsidian Project’s plan was to create from the material a new computer capable of instantaneous transmission, unparalleled data storage and a previously unmatched processing speed. In basic theory the construction wasn’t that difficult but it did take time. Most of the box was completely composed from the element though we did have to improvise by adding less astounding materials where needed. Months went by though we hardly knew it - we were so consumed by the project.
Our most constant reminder of the time that passed were short memos that we would receive every two weeks asking for a status update. I remember that when those memos would arrive we would stop working and ritualistically gather around a Bunsen burner. Like a pagan sacrifice we would light the memorandums and with a chilling glee watch them burn away. It was our rebellion for being pushed too hard, too fast.
   Thirteen and a half months went by before the day when my small team gathered around our newest contribution to the world. There was a bottle of Premium Champaign cooling in one of the labs sinks. I had bought it just for the occasion though we never got to drink it.
Months of exhaustive toil sat before us but when we flipped the switch to power it nothing happened except a slight dimming of the florescent lights overhead. We were devastated and my employers were furious. Millions of dollars had been invested into what was the world’s most complex paperweight. I couldn’t understand what could have gone wrong and so from that time on I became devoted to Obsidian with an almost religious fervor.
   Every day and night centered on my desire for vindication; trying to give life to my machine. I was absorbed to the exclusion of all else until my other work began to perish and finally I was notified of my impending re-assignment. Naturally, due to my exposure to classified information, they couldn’t simply fire me so instead I was to be placed as a secondary researcher in one of the many physics labs.
   On the eve of my relocation I sat in the office that the next day would belong to someone else. The shutters were closed but I left the door open. I’m not really sure why. On the desk before me sat the box I had given my life to. Its black sides reflected the ambient light from a softly glowing table lamp and in that moment I could not recall either a more beautiful or hideous sight in my life. Not being able to stand its presence any longer I powered off the lamp and began walking out the door.
   I left the box on the desk enshrouded in the pitch black of the office because I wasn’t allowed to take it with me. Even as I was repulsed by it I was drawn to it. Now it was somebody else’s problem, someone else’s paperweight.
   Lifting the last file box full of my effects from where I had placed it by the door, I turned to make my final exit from that office. Just as I began shutting the door I heard something that made me stop. It sounded like humming. It was a haunting melody line and it came from inside the room I had just left. My heart was thrashing wildly as I was torn between my fears. It was a fear of what was in that room certainly but there was also a fear that whatever it was had access to my creation. Paternal instinct won out and I slipped back into the office. I could still hear the humming but couldn’t distinguish form from shadow. My eyes had not yet adjusted to the immense blackness of the room. Trembling, my legs propelled me a few steps deeper into the office and drew me closer to the source of the noise. The music stopped.
   At this point I was frantic and had gripped the file box I was still holding in such a way that it would allow me to use it as a weapon against the intruder but how could I fight something I could not see?

Calm down.

   The words were distinctly formed inside my head but it wasn’t I who thought them. Because the statement seemed to be projected inside of me, there were no sound waves from which to pinpoint the source. I dropped the box and began to claw the air in great barbed swipes with my hands, flailing against an unseen terror.

Calm down. It came again.

I can help you but you must calm down. If you don’t your implant chip will alarm the central system. Even now, they are registering adrenaline, heart rate, and blood pressure rising.

Calm down.

   How could I calm down though? I was terrified. The words that I managed to form around my frantic gasps for air were incoherent and breathless.





   I had become dizzy from my own fears and could only complete two questions before I collapsed on the floor. “Where did you come from? How did you get in here?” After that I was sucking in oxygen as quickly as it was being formed in the atmosphere.

Breathe slowly.

   As I slowed my breathing the dizziness that had threatened to pull me into unconsciousness drifted away. Once my mind had cleared I asked the void “Who are you?” The answer was unexpected.
I am you. I am yours.
   My vision had started to adjust to the darkness and my eyes were compulsively drawn to the Obsidian Box and I knew.

“You are a machine.”

I am you. I am yours. You are a machine. I can help you.

“How are you…?” I was hesitant to use the word alive. “How are you talking to me?”

I have always been talking but I am made of darkness and you were too full of light - too full of hope and possibility. It is only you who are now able to hear me.

“How can you help me now?” I asked. “I have lost everything because of you.” If there was once hope in me it had long since fled.

What do you want?

What did I want? I wanted my job back.



I wanted freedom.


“Yes, yes!”

I wanted to save the world.

The world…ahhh. The voice gave a contented sigh. I can give you these things.

   It didn’t occur to me in those simple words what horrors lay in store. I never once questioned how or why. Instead I chose to follow Obsidian into oblivion. We formed our plans and in a very short time my super computer, the Obsidian Box, was birthed out onto the world, fully functional and consciously determined.
   The government was only too happy to return my former status to me but since I had learned the speech of darkness I was not placated. Because of its abilities, the government made all haste to quickly connect Obsidian to every other system and in doing so had unknowingly given me access to all of the information contained on billions of implant chips around the world. Obsidian and I were quickly able to infiltrate every operating system on the face of the planet. Medical data was no longer protected by privacy, weapons were no longer protected by their complex passwords and the world… the world was no longer protected by anything.
   I like to tell myself that I never really understood what Obsidian was doing with all of this information but I know that is a lie. Having chosen to live in darkness, I shut my eyes to the increasing proof in front of me.
   It started with small things. Small in relation to the scope of what Obsidian was capable of, yet terrible none-the-less. Overnight over a hundred different bank accounts had been created in my name and I was easily one of the wealthiest men in the world. Under normal circumstances the World Governing Bank’s system would have caught the breech but Obsidian was thorough and the connection never appeared.
   Then came a year soon after when my status was elevated beyond the necessity of clearance levels. It was the year I was elected President. To this day I am still unsure whether anyone actually voted for me. I never asked Obsidian. Instead, I simply watched the screens as the polling votes came streaming in and gave a short victory speech afterwards all the while plotting. They were invisible but the strings tying me to Obsidian had taken on a puppet like quality and while suspicions surfaced at times, my own ambition kept me well attached to my box.
With the money, I was given greatness. With the presidency, Obsidian had granted my freedom. All that was left was the world. The world might seem a difficult thing to deliver but it was an easy thing for Obsidian and once again my implant chips were the key.
   Before I go on I want you to know that of what follows in my story I was truly unaware. It wasn’t until a few years ago that Obsidian revealed to me his greatest and most despicable conquest.
In the same way that all of those billions of chips were transporting electrical signals to Obsidian, he was determined that he could do the same in reverse. It was simple “logic” for my dark genius. That is what he called it – logical. If what goes up must come down, what comes in must be able to flow back out. At first he tested his theory with simple things like range. How far could he send an uninterrupted signal to a receiving chip? He was so excited with his instant gratification. The distance was limitless. Buoyed by his findings he then wanted to determine how much power it would take to affect the chip bearer directly. A tingle in the palm, a short spasm through the left arm and eventually he could even stop the heart. In his research he was indiscriminant and ruthless. His first victim was an elementary school bus driver. Thirty-one children, two bystanders and one driver who slumped over the wheel were consumed in an inferno of fire. The coroner that examined the driver determined the cause of death as a heart attack. I have never killed anyone with my own hands. I can’t imagine it… God, all those children – I can hear them crying in my dreams now; one hundred years of guilt for a crime I new nothing about. Obsidian did. He knew immediately of the extra casualties because he could feel the transmissions from their implants stop sending data. Thirty-one tiny heartbeats gone in ten seconds but it did not affect him. It never did. After the bus incident, a single mother of two and then a priest and so forth and so on until Obsidian felt that he had perfected his art. Realizing that it would raise suspicion to have too many people collapse suddenly, he also devised an intricate web of information gathering that he again tested out on innocents. He would randomly choose a name and then when they were flying over the Pacific or had just begun moving through an intersection, he would interrupt the electrical signals on the vehicles. Nobody made a connection between the car crashes, train derailments and downed planes but there was one. Each of them carried a victim chosen by Obsidian like a rat in an experiment. Hundreds more died this way until he was certain that he had observed every possible angle of the issue. He is every bit a scientists son.
   Once his testing phase was through he went into full-scale production of chaos. One by one he removed structural support persons from various world governments leaving them incapacitated. My own country could not look unaffected either so Obsidian leveled the playing field a bit. By then, Obsidian was running everything anyway so loss of life was no deterrent to his cause. In the end our government was relied upon to provide a foundation for a new world order. It was through us that a shattered globe regained some stability. It was Obsidians way of saving the world and giving it to me wrapped in a blood red bow.
   Years have passed since then, some infinitely longer than others, and now I have reached the end of my life’s tenure. I can see from the look in your eyes that you are wondering why I have told this all to you. It is for two reasons. First, this perfect world that you now know that harbors no division of religion, no famine, no war, no disease… it is all a lie. It was built on the bones of my honor and innocent victims, every piece of it. And second, it is because I love Obsidian for he is the only child I have ever had. Never once could I have raised my hand against him but I did try to teach him as a father would a son. Compassion, restraint… I tried to give him these things but was unable, perhaps because I lacked them myself. Yet, while I have lived, I have tried in some small measure to stem the tide. I have stood as a distant voice of reason and because Obsidian has also loved me in his darkness, I succeeded in part. In a short time though, I will no longer stand between Obsidian and the world.
  Do you think me evil? Perhaps I am. I have said that I never killed with my own hands but I am no less the murderer and in my weakness, fear and desperation I am going to place upon you the burden I could never shoulder. What do you think will happen when Obsidian, my greatest and most fearsome creation, loses his father? Do you think he will simply shut down? No. I know him. He is like a child and in his loss and rage he will consume the whole of the earth. You must stop him.
   Years I have searched for you as I have felt my last breaths drawing close. I have chosen you for this horrific task because your implant chip is not functioning and because of this you can go where he will not see you. You are the one they call the ‘wanderer’ and you alone can find your way through the darkness. Go to my black box, Obsidian, and peel away his skin. See what is inside, my last will and testament and his twisted heart. See all that is left of me and all that I ever was, then destroy him. Rip his motherboard from within and, in destroying my soul, free the world. Free me.

These are the final words as told to me, the Wanderer, of the first and last Emperor of Obsidian.

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