He had decided not to go back to the OMG: one of the origin ships, repurposed as city blocks, their reinforced hulls forming the outer regions. Standing sentinel since the first generation, the city rising up around them, they will still be one of the last structures standing, when even this planet dies.

He instead went to the Grey Goose, a cargo vessel, reconstructed as short stay accommodation with geo screened privacy rooms. Going back to his living quarters at the OMG didn’t seem wise at the moment. Who or what might be waiting there?

Sitting in the recessed ledge of the round porthole, overlooking the blocks of dark hulls in the outer region, gray light gradually giving way to the red dawn, soon the glass would darken, shielding the room from the golden light of the small yellow sun that rendered the city in a hazy dreamlike afternoon for twenty hours and he would dream the strange alien dreams; humanity still hadn’t adjusted to these unfamiliar celestial cycles, earthly circadian rhythms just weren’t built for it: they had discovered in the offshore research labs soon after the first generation landed, that injecting the endocrine hormone from exotic bioluminescent fauna living in the planet’s extensive oceans, could extend the natural human circadian rhythm to life on a planet with twenty four hours of darkness and twenty hours of daylight with eight hours of a gray liminal dawn, giving way to a red sun every ten cycles.

A remnant drifted outside the window, rendered as a bird-like figure, he activated the window opacity seeing only his own pale reflection in the darkened glass, shutting out the city, its voices and digital specters.

The cobbler had said something about the citadel which seemed curious; as he had tapping into his data systems - squinting through a monocle he had realized was a type of real-ware optic device, flickering with readouts only the wearer could see - he’d said something about the fact nothing appeared to leave the citadel, no data, no products, no entity human or artificial, or so it seemed. Anything anyone knew was just rumor. Some said the data from London Arc fed directly into it, enriching those supposedly living within its domain, or perhaps maintaining the substrate of the construct itself? And that’s just what it seemed, a construct.

The cube always hovering within sight, he could reach out, turn it, inspect its moving surface but nothing more, it didn’t yield any answers to the mystery it held.

The words on the wall wove their way through his thoughts as the dreams started taking over, rising as he pressed into the bed. Falling like single notes through his consciousness as reality fell away, each seemed important:

“Under another sky…”

When he awoke twenty hours later, the fluid patterns on the cube’s surface had resolved into interlocking geometric shapes, forming multi sided faces. One of these faces seemed extruded and the cube itself had stopped in its slow rotation and was projecting something onto the wall in front.

Part 5

8801: Journal entry, day 3, cycle 7

It’s night


It’s unfolding

And so Familiar

It’s not something you quit,

It’s something you live with…

not something you choose.

Always emergent…

I can’t tell if it’s me,

Or something that occupies the same space.

8801: Journal entry, day 5, cycle 7

I walked by the windows of the clone farms on the way back from Ancestral Glimpse - a Dejavu parlor near the bay. I watch them, moving slowly, anesthetized in their tanks. Sometimes they make expressions of surprise, as though they have been startled by something or they bring their hands close to their faces, inspecting them before sliding back into blank expressionlessness, wanderers of an empty land.

Something about them is at once so human and also nothing to do with it. There is something familiar yet curiously other, I can't look away. I press my hands and head against the glass and look at them for a long time. If they could see me, would they know I am like them? I don’t know if it makes me feel more lonely or more human?