CYNQUE LOG: Dr. Florence Belladonna.

I was summoned by one of my more troubled psych patients at Evolutionary Federal Detention. Despite her unravelings over the last few months…if anyone knows what disaster will hit next, it’s her.

EFD Reference Art

2050. 2 Years until the apocalypse. EFD Headquarters.

Florence stood in front of towering double doors labeled 1225. Screams came from other side, some inaudible, some clear as hell.

“Where is she!? Where is she!?” a woman’s high-pitched voice. “Aaarrrgggghhh!”

Florence sighed. “Here we fucking go,” she said.

She nodded at the soldiers next to her, then at the metal reinforced barriers with a thin, airtight seam down the middle. The soldier took her gesture and called a special blockchain contract and digital token to unlock the door. The bolt unlatched and, gears grinding, each door slid back on either side, revealing a white padded room separated down the middle by a thick glass wall.

Behind the glass wall was a sparse arrangement of colored furniture. A twin bed with purple sheets. A metal desk dressed in fiery red and a hard wooden chair painted green. A narrow couch dipped in bright yellow. Embedded in the wall was a limited CYNQUE interface, and by the looks of it, there was a holographic map flickering above it.

A young woman sat on her butt against the back wall. She was smack in the middle of everything, yet so far removed from it all, rocking forward and back with her toes digging into the padded floor and her arms wrapped around her knees. Her head hung down, eyes focused on her lap, hair a tangled mess.

Liana Perez. The Apocalypse Informant.

Her infamous pet rats sat beside her, receiving Florence in the most perceptive way. As if they were aware of her reason for coming and the importance of the next few minutes. Liana, however, hadn’t seen her yet.

In front of the glass wall, was a single acrylic chair with an old pillow on the seat for comfort. Such optimal working conditions.

Florence caught her breath. She made her way quietly toward the glass and sat in the chair, checking the corners of the room and ceiling for camera positioning as she went. Hidden in the interior pocket of her vest was her favorite notebook and pen complete with never-to-be-shared-under-any-circumstances patient notes. She kept those kinds of controversial records on looseleaf, safe from the scrying algorithms of the CYNQUE Global Network, where any misinterpreted word or conversation could mean incrimination. Looseleaf was on its way to becoming illegal those days. She took the risk, day after day, for her own sanity and the edge of freedom it gave her. Her thoughts were her own. And she owned them as long as they stayed far away from the CGN.

Liana inhaled…possibly to gain the wind she needed to scream out again. “Where is she!? Where is Dr. Belladoo—” she paused, shifted her expression from rage to amusement, then said “—Oh, there you are.”

After studying her patient for a few more seconds, Florence slid the notebook free and made some notes, then crossed her legs and sat up straighter. It was time to dive in.

“Good morning, Liana,” Florence said. “You requested my presence.”

The woman looked at her with sunken, red-stained eyes. “You finally made it,” Liana said, that bit of a edge returning to her voice. “What took you? Is the end of the world not one of your top priorities, future first lady?”

Florence paused, put pen to paper, and wrote: Patient is exhibiting a tone of mild hostility and audible tantrums related to my prolonged absence. Unclear how long the screaming for my presence has been going on. Possibly all night. Possibly every night since the patient requested me in the first place. 2-3 nights.

“Transitioning an entire government to a new Sanctuary is not an easy undertaking.”

“I mean, wow, you fighting to maintain the status quo is so mega of you.” Liana stared Florence straight in the eyes. “It’s not going to matter.”

“Well, I didn’t come here to be judged by an Omega Gen. I came for information pertaining to the apocalypse we’re in the middle of.”

But Florence knew Liana had a point. Besides the futility of maintaining order that would evaporate in two years time was bad enough, worse still was the fact that the request from Ms. Perez, their most valuable asset against the apocalypse, would’ve taken 72 hours to process. It should’ve been honored the same day. Pushing from Florence got it down to 36 hours, but still. She cursed the Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security and their Evolutionary prejudice.

Humanity didn’t have that kind of time.

“Please state your name for the record,” Florence requested.

“Oh piss off, woman, you know my effing name,” the young woman responded.

Florence kept her eyes fixed on Liana and didn’t flinch.

“Oh fine. Fine! Queen Liana Perez,” Liana shouted with grandeur, hands flailing in the air. “Sovereign ruler of the EFD’s Wing 12. At least I should be for what I know.” She calmed and smiled at that.

“And what do you know?” Florence asked.

Liana’s mood shifted dramatically again. Her face fell into a frown. “I had another vision. Worse than the last one.”

“Worse than a polar vortex flash freezing the better part of the northern hemisphere?”

That had gone down in 2048.

“Yes,” she answered, still frowning, “Glad you and a few million others survived, by the way.” Liana picked up one of her rats and gave it a warm stroke across the back. Her eyes went heavy for a moment, crossing the room and landing on a tall glass of water on the desk. “This vision was different.”

Florence stared at the glass too. Looking for the secret within it. The water so still, not a ripple, not a bubble.


“You were in it,” Liana said flatly.

She was so serious it scared Florence.

“Go on,” Florence said, her pen to the paper again.

“There’s another disaster coming,” Liana said. “In my dream, everything was wet…especially you.”

“What does that mean exactly?”

Liana’s eyes glazed over with golden energy, as if she were reliving the dream again. “Everything was wet.” She rocked back and forth. “And you died.” She stopped rocking.

Florence swallowed. “I…” died, she finished in her head. She leaned back in the chair, her hand trembling with the pen in it. She felt for her heart’s beating, took a deep breath, and tried to regain her poker face. “Do you mind if I try to? See?”

Liana came out of her trance and sighed, then leaned back against the padding. “Do what you gotta do. Can’t promise it’ll be smooth.”

Florence struggled to write something down despite her hand’s shaking. Patient appears to be cooperative…likely an indication of either her fear of what she’s seen and/or the intensity with which she felt it. Patient mentioned me being part of her vision…will explore for clarity and validity.

She didn’t expand on what Liana mentioned and instead concentrated on preparing herself to enter the young woman’s distorted psyche.

Florence had done this with Liana before. Tried to extract the vagueness of her psionic or elemental predictions about natural disasters by peeking into her subconscious where the information lived. The violence of the disasters was always experienced on some level. Still, Florence placed her fingers to her forehead and let her mind potential do the rest of the work. The glowing red energy surrounded her body, then surrounded Liana’s as she penetrated the realm of the Gelen Psionix.

This astral realm, which Florence discovered while investigating the limits of her telepathic potential, was a parallel state of consciousness that linked more minds than she cared to imagine. There, thought and space were one. It required focus and intention to enter without getting lost, and more of the same to return to her body without getting trapped. She searched for Liana’s mind among the nebula clouds and star systems and tapestries of thought, among black holes and neutron stars, gravestones in the graveyard of the universe’s first stars, just as frantic thoughts totaling in the quadrillions fired at her at faster-than-light speed. They scattered like frightened schools of fish. Danced like an out of sync troupe. Flew this way and that like disoriented flocks of birds.

It was then Florence detected the presence of something familiar…something meant to be hidden, that lurked in the shadows of this other realm. She turned to the place the feeling may have arrived from and saw only the deepest darkness of space.

She shook the thought away. It couldn’t be there. She’d locked it away. She made certain of it. More concentration gave strength to her psionic potential, bringing more clarity to the minds hidden in the darkness, Liana’s among them. Florence honed in on that tiny sphere and, in a flash, found herself standing on the tormented landscape of Liana’s conscious mind.

It was a barren, post-apocalyptic world. Red, smoky skies. Rotting civilization. No living creature or plant as far as the eye could see.

Inside the her mind, Liana was outlined by a golden energy, with certain features etched in lines but missing the texture of a three dimensional reality. Florence appeared the same, though her figure was outlined by a red energy.

“Follow me,” Liana said in her ethereal voice, leading Florence through the deepest recesses her mind. They’d been walking toward a small rectangular object in the distance.

“What’s got you spooked?” Liana asked.

Florence didn’t realize she’d been looking around, paranoid. Not her usual confident demeanor when conducting mental deep dives with patients.

“Nothing, I just…sensed something unusal,” Florence said, not wanting to give too much away.

“Ain’t much else off in here except for me, but…go off.”

What could be described as minutes later, though time was relative in the Gelen Psionix, Liana stopped.

“This is it,” she said, pointing ahead.

There was a door -- a giant metallic door with rusted hinges and a worn knob. There were cracks in the surface…and…something seeping from the edges…nearly bursting. The door was numbered 2051. Florence looked at Liana for guidance. Liana nodded at the door. They both knew what to do, and Florence suspected they were both scared of the outcome. She reached out, paused with her fingers centimeters from the knob. Then she took a deep breath and made contact with the tip of her forefinger.

Flashes raced forward, slamming into Florence. Walls of water. Torrents of rain. Broken structures. Washed away buildings. Drowning people and animals. Second to last she saw a place once land, now flooded, without a trace of the civilization left behind on the surface.

And finally, her, floating face up, limp, bloated, lifeless, on a blackened backdrop of seemengly endless sea.

She watched herself for too long...water filling her lungs or it felt as though it was…as if the longer she held onto to the door, the more real the vision became. She was choking, the red outline of her astral figure turning blue.

Dr. Belladonna let go, she thought she heard. So far away, so faint. She felt herself drifting.

“Dr. Belladonna, I said let go!” Liana yelled. Again? Much louder. Much clearer. But her voice still didn’t sound as close as it must have been, muffled by the sensation of sound traveling through water. The woman’s hands were on hers, tugging and tugging, until Florence finally broke free. When Florence let go, the Gelen Psionix vanished with a violent ripple.

She exited the psionic connection gasping for air. The way one does when they’ve almost drowned and are freeing their lungs of water.

It felt so real. She couldn’t sit any longer, too shaken, and stood up before she got to pacing back and forth across the transparent barrier.

“Bloody hell, what…when is this happening? Where? How did I…”

“Die? Don’t know, really. As for your other question, I think it’s the ice caps,” Liana said, listlessly. “Even the ice caps get their revenge…” She came to suddenly, alert and upright for the first time in minutes. “Your focus is twisted, Belladonna.”

“My focus!?” Florence walked up to the glass, activated. “All I’m focused on is saving this damn planet.”

“You must watch that temper, doctor,” Liana said.

Florence remembered herself. It wasn’t Liana’s fault she saw what she saw…or that everything she saw always came true, without exception. She regained her composure, then said slowly, “Why can’t you tell me when and where this is going to occur?”

“My potential has limits.”

“I don’t believe that for a second. You get this special arrangement for telling us what will happen. They’d probably let you go free if you told us when. Hell, at least where.”

“Let me…let me go free,” Liana said, tauntingly. “If I…told you…?” She was reddening then, her mouth shaking with a fury Florence hadn’t seen since Liana first arrived. “You twisted, delusional bitch,” she yelled, “I haven’t committed any crime except for being ‘awakened’. No crime. No trial. No conviction. Why the fuck am I locked up here in the first place, Dr. Belladonna, mind telling me that?” When Florence ignored her, she shot to her knees and raised her voice louder. “Exactly. You can’t. I should’ve been free, and you should’ve been the one to make it happen!”

Florence didn’t let Liana’s anger penetrate. She didn’t even let it land. She stood there, her superiority protecting her from head to toe like a suit of armor. Florence and Liana were locked in a heated stare, Liana heaving with her nails ripping at the floor’s padding and Florence waiting for the right moment to activate her mind potential. She could calm Liana down with the blink of an eye.

“You know the terms of your imprisonment,” Florence began. “Outbursts like this don’t support my reporting, which is how you’ll gain eligibility for our rehabilitation program.”

Liana twirled the piece of padding she’d unearthed between her fingers. “You think you’re smarter than them…humanity. But they’ve got you doing their bidding. Counseling your kind while wearing expensive clothes and pretending to be free. Guess how that ends!” She taunted and sat back again. “Fuck your rehab lady. I don’t want to be anything like you. I definitely don’t want to end up like you.”

Florence opened her mouth to speak.

“I gave you what you came for,” Liana interrupted. Both rats had returned to her then. They were like henchmen, staring forward on either side of her, perched on her shoulders. “Now, where’s my reward?”

“Right, your compensation,” Florence muttered. She’d almost forgotten.

Florence activated her CYNQUE and accessed a file that was technically restricted behind those walls. She positioned her body away from the overhead camera, then began speaking telepathically. “Your father, Benedict, is alive. That’s all I know right now. He was last seen in New Zealand…before it sank.”

“Isn’t sharing fun?” Liana said, smiling. She’d gotten to playing with the rats again. “Until next time.”

Florence knocked on the door, alerting the soldiers on the other side that she was finished. The door opened.

Just as it was closing, Liana yelled after her, “Change your focus! When you lose focus, everyone dies, including you!”

Excerpt from SuperCell, Novella by Jason Michael Primrose