Life is sometimes best shown in the obscure

2/n

Grief is an odd thing. (Honestly I would laugh at such a trite opening sentence but I wrote it.)

I mean it is horrid, and it is cruel, and it is frustrating, heartbreaking, really just add whatever words that feel like you want to tear your own heart out here, as that’s what it can feel like, it’s basically a bag of shit…

I am in my fifties, clearly this is not the first time I have felt grief. I am still grieving over the loss of a good friend from 4 years past. And in some deeply sarcastic coinciclasm that was also in fucking April. I am not over it and I will have to pass that anniversary while grieving for my sister, in fact before my sister’s funeral I have an anniversary of a time I still cannot get over, so many regrets and so much loss. 

So, I have compounded my grief. And now I have mentioned it I honestly don’t know which grief is truly which. I don’t know if I am feeling different things because  of this. I don’t know because I can’t separate similar emotions, and I don’t know if the more recent emotions bring fresh the past.

The recent grief or the memory of grief. And whether I should even realise that I am comparing how different they are, like it matters what the level is, is this in some kind of grading… more on that later…

But this grief is different. But all grief is different. This is the first member of my close family I have lost. Someone who has been there every moment of my life and isn’t any more.

Thankfully I have had the option of hiding away for some of the week to process my thoughts and feelings (I have to say ‘Thankfully’, because I am thankful for this. But I also think I am being stupidly selfish and almost vindictive, hiding away to shield myself from others.). 

I have also had to deal with funeral directors and the coroner’s office, my sister had to have an autopsy to determine the cause of her death. This just extends the process. It is as if we can’t let her go as there is no understanding as to why she died. The physical cause, I should not have to say. So dealing with the practical aspects is a blessing in that I can focus my feelings. It is a curse as I have to deal with it and then be the emotional gatekeeper of each new piece of information.

Does this affect the grief? A little but maybe not that much. Or maybe to a great degree. I don’t have the introspection to know differently. I think it is just a factor in the process but it isn’t a motivator for much. Some confused feelings, some anger at having to wait, to have no explanation, to have nothing to blame. Then when we know, anger, relief and sadness as if it was just a death. there is no easy anger. There is no fault that was obvious. There was just a long series of compounding factors. No easy route to blame. So it just makes it more conflicted, more unresolved feelings.

But the grief would have all of those even if the situation was clearer.

There is this thing where if you are sad, if you are grieving, it is like you shouldn’t be laughing, or enjoying something. that you shouldn’t eat, or drink, just mourn in quiet loneliness or beat your chest in an agony of despair, or something (please fill in a standard socially acceptable response at this junction). It can be a bit of a grief ritual, it can be a bit grief shaming, it can be a bit grief competition.

When public figures die we often see people giving extended diatribes on how the grief has affected them. The media and focus of others doesn’t help in this. But it feels as if we end up wallowing in loss that has nothing to do with what we lost. We also try to justify, qualify, or worse compete to show our grief.

I want to say it is sickening, and in some ways it can become that way, but it isn’t. It is just processing errors. the inability to be able to functionally interpret how to respond in each given social situation based on how others are responding. In other words, people make people worse when we grieve. We all grieve in similar patterns, but our grief is our own and we deal with it in our own way.

So grief has you laughing at stupid things that are not that funny as a release from the crying at the things that you just can’t fucking change at all.

* A brief interlude while I go away to be sad, like you’d notice since you get this all in one flow *

So there are seven stages of grief, you can go and look them up I am not going to Google it for you. I broadly see how they categorise them, and right now you should have guessed by this sentence that I don’t think that does anything other than help us rationalise this.

As if you can rationalise looking at a minecraft t-shirt and feeling deeply sad that it means something that would have lifted someone momentarily. A smile in a world that can sometimes be hard. That would make someone feel good about something they did. But that moment is now forever gone and the joy it would have brought is a moment of loss that it never happened. That’s grief. 

Reconcile it. 

I am not saying we can’t rationalise, I am not saying we can’t even gain comfort of closure from understanding how it is actually a beneficial memory (run it all to its course and it actually is) but it can’t be reconciled. It could only have been reconciled if the event had happened. It can’t ever happen. It just gets pulled into your moments of grief that you can categorise into seven distinct phases.

Like how I can’t separate my feelings between my grief at the loss of a friend who died 4 years ago (a few days from now) and the death of my sister who died two weeks ago. I can’t separate the feelings and so now I worry that I am doing some injustice to one of them.

I only know that they both meant a great deal to me.

They were both quite exceptional people.

I am begining to really fucking hate April.

Written in 365 Parts: 186: What Was Your Name?

“Painful as in physical? Or painful as in emotional?” Marsh asked.

“Both. It concerns my death and what came after.” Drick studied his reaction to that.

“Okay, that’s not usually how people phrase things. I guess you died and they resuscitated you or used a clone or something?” 

“I died before clones were stable enough to be widely used for implanting a whole consciousness. I also died before the technology existed to record whole brain impressions from a living subject. Well, before it was widely available and tested on humans. I was one of the very first for the process.”

“You were experimented on?”

“You could put it like that.” Drick paused and looked down at their hands. Imagining the past, so long ago. “I’m not the original Drick.” they said.

“Oh crap. I thought the clones you had created were short lived because they were fast tanked? Are you another clone? How many of you did Drick have made? How long will you last? They had a maximum of a few years before cellular decay.” Marsh sighed.

“Thanks. So you can’t tell an original from a copy.”

“No, I thought that was the point of them? Also you’re the one who said you weren’t original.”

“They were fast tanked and only had a minimal imprint of me. More like my old self from my long combat days. They were short lived but that would still give them a couple of decades. But I am not one of those. I wasn’t fast-tanked.”

“Oh, right.” Marsh was quiet. “You’re not making that much sense.”

“Look. I died. In a very horrible fashion. There was a lot of brain damage, and a heck of a lot more body damage. So they gave me a new body. But they didn’t grow just an ordinary body. They took their time and created a highly specialised combat orientated body. They created an enhanced organic, able to survive in very rigorous situations. I have a fast metabolism for recovery, redundant organs, enhanced reflexes and a whole host of other special quirks. I pretty much can’t be poisoned or gassed and can survive in unbelievable toxic conditions, including zero pressure.”

“Could they not do something about your sense of humour why they were at it?” Marsh grinned a cold smile.

“Thanks. They did. They reconstructed me. All of me. They enhanced me. I don’t have all the memories of the time before my death. Even fewer now as it has been so long. I was a different person, I guess. I was still as mean and pissed at the universe.” Drick smiled back.

“Why did they save you?” asked Marsh. “Sounds like an expensive procedure. Why not just build a fresh person and programme them?”

“Mostly because of how immoral, and illegal, that was and is. “ said Drick. “Don’t laugh. The organisation who did this don’t always play by the rules. In fact they bend them into knots most of the time. But they do believe in the spirit of the law. They would consider it obscene to grow a lifeform to act as their enforcer. To mould an intellect into being a weapon. But they don’t mind taking someone who is already pretty much trained and giving them a choice.”

“So they made you choose life or death?” asked Marsh.

“No. They reconstructed me. They could have placed me in a normal organic shell. That was an option. They would have repaired what they could of my memories and I would have had a half century or more of existence. It is unlikely that I would have earned enough to pay for a new body at the end of that time.”

“Why only a half century?” Marsh looked puzzled. “I thought that lifespans were over two hundred years now?”

“They are, now. The early days of tanking were not as good. The degeneration from genetic disorders meant that most cloned life had between fifty and a hundred Terran years. Same as a fast tan today. And if you wanted to transfer your intellect then not all of you made the transfer. You lost some. It was incomplete. I came from a time not much past your own. They had the same limitations on transfer of whole intellect as your people did. The original Marsh of course.”

“So you chose super-soldier then?” Marsh laughed. “Did they give you a superhero name?”

“No.” Drick glared at Marsh. “Enhanced, not super. I have limitations, lots of them.”

“I would have never had mentioned that, had you not said anything.,” said Marsh.

“You’re a real bundle of joy today,” Drick quipped. “I have the name, Drick. It wasn’t my name before.”

“Are you going to tell me what your name was before?” Marsh asked,

Drick stared at him for a long moment. “Kendrick.” They said finally. “Alison Kendrick.”

Written in 365 Parts: 185: Conspiracy Theory

Drick and Marsh had been in space for fifteen weeks. The journey to the far reaches of the system had taken close to ten weeks, when the course had been finally computed. Once they reached the right position they started a very slow move towards the target to avoid active and passive detection. They also had to wait for a stealth ship arrival. 

 For most of the acceleration phase of the journey out they had slept in special couches, wearing pressure resistant suits, to help with the constant acceleration forces.  The ship was pushing point three of a G with its own thrusters but it had limited fuel. The course calculations had included two slingshot maneuvers that increased the distance they could travel on the available fuel. A slingshot maneuver involved whipping around a planetary sized object, encountering forces of two to three G in the process.  These manoeuvres allowed sudden course changes without losing speed and extended the range by using the planet’s gravity to fuel a burst of acceleration. 

However these increased acceleration and deceleration forces played havoc with bodily functions. For both slingshots Drick had given Marsh a strong sedative. The suits mitigated some of the stresses they were subjected to, it also helped with the extended time they were staying in low gravity between the bursts of acceleration. Even with suits designed to help them, they had to exercise daily to prevent muscle loss and bone decay. 

Marsh and Drick had managed to work out a series of habits so that they were not always in each other’s way. The ship’s crew section was very small for such a long journey. Drick seemed to need a lot of personal space when exercising. Drick’s form of exercise was intense impact training and a high percentage of combat practice. Marsh liked to do cardio and circuit training so didn’t object if Drick joined him. However, there were times when Marsh liked to sit alone on the small bridge and stare at the stars.

Drick had taught Marsh some of the basics of flying the ship. It was both complex, and stunningly simple. It was complex as there were a lot of different items to learn, from the navigation, environmental controls, systems monitoring, sensors, engineering panels and that was before the flight systems themselves. However, it was made incredibly simple as the ship had a number of functioning artificial intellects that controlled most of the ship. It flew itself, and would tell you what it needed you, as a mostly ignorant organic, to do.

Drick had shown Marsh that most planetary vehicles, systems, and technologies worked in broadly the same fashion as this ship. For instance, learning ships sensors would help with just about every other sensor interface. The same with navigation, flight control and all of the systems Marsh could learn. They were transferable skills and would be essential in different planetary environments. Survival in the future was either being fortunate enough to have fully automated systems, a scrabble to live on the dregs that are cast aside, or a set of adaptable skills. Drick was teaching Marsh the latter.

“I have an odd question,” Marsh said. They were eating food, which was a protein bar and a thick vitamin shake that was apparently banana flavour. Whomever had decided that it was banana flavoured had clearly confused the taste of banana with that of seagull vomit.

“Really?” Drick looked up from the screen they were fixing. An electrical short had taken out two display panels a week before in Drick’s personal hard suit. With their limited resources the repairs were slow and arduous. “That is not unusual, for you. What is it?”

“How did you choose my case?” Marsh held up a hand to stop Drick instantly responding. “Everytime someone asks you, you shine them off with a half truth. I have heard you say that it was bad luck. I think I heard someone say that you just found it interesting. You told me once that you had a vested interest in getting more money from insurance companies. I checked with Hooper. You hadn’t done that kind of work for a long time. You also turned down much easier jobs that he offered to keep my case.

 I can see how resourceful you are. There would have been countless other ways you could have made more money.” Marsh looked at Drick. “So why my case?”

“I came across it. I have always checked Justice Department feeds and it rose to the top.” said Drick.

“But that means nothing. I have seen those original reports, they said little.” Marsh looked puzzled. “Considering the efforts done to cover the case up, why would it float to the top of any noticeable list?”

“I get a slightly more detailed set of reports. Sometimes more detailed than the justice department.” said Drick and watched Marsh’s response. There was the slight narrowing of the pupils, the tic that he had when something struck a chord. The face often gave subtle insights, they weren’t telling clues, just indicators of a person’s inner narrative. He responded to those words as if he expected them. “What do you think you know, Marsh?”

“I don’t think I know anything. I am just curious about a few things and I think they are connected.” He said calmly.

“You think I had some other reason to choose your case?” Drick looked for his response. He thought something, but it wasn’t clear what.

“No. Not really. Maybe.” he sighed. “Look I am probably spewing this out of my ass. You get more information, but I think you got a lot more, something that made me important to you in some way.” 

Marsh smiled. “You’re going to think I am a nut job.  I think, no, I feel like  it is all connected. Not directly, but as if it needs all the pieces to be in play and this started before me. Well we know it started before me. There was already some turf war between Yee On Kline and the Union. But it is convenient that Rodero, your close contact, had done work for the right people to help us make a near impossible heist. I also think there is something suspicious about how it ties in with the mole in the Justice Department. That had been going on for years. But you pushing back at them in the club, my escape from a high-security lab. All of that helped force them to over respond. Each event feels like it pushes the possibility of the next one happening, but many of them were in play a long time ago. Like a subtle maneuvering of pieces in a game. Rodero would love that.”

Marsh stopped and looked down at the table. “You think I am full of shit, right? These are all interconnected, but they are not direct connections. I just feel it. I thought you might feel it as well.”

“I have.” said Drick calmly.

Marsh looked up into Drick’s eyes. He didn’t know what to expect. A smile, a mocking glance. What he saw was a calm look, and maybe something else. “You have?”

“For some time,” said Drick. “I knew that it wasn’t just a series of coincidences, well I had my suspicions. I just thought I was being nudged to stop, well to stop my slow decline. That’s a story for a different time. Enough to say that I have been a recluse for a few years. I got bored of intellects of all types. But this was pitched at me with enough subtlety to intrigue me. I have been led since then. Gently, more directed from afar. Though they aren’t far, they are everywhere. There is only one group who could do that. My suspicions were confirmed after we spoke to the technician, Toni. There was no way a technician and a computer operative could have busted you out. Not without help. Someone was already in the systems helping them. Just as they helped Rodero. Just as they helped Hooper, just as they have been nudging us.”

“Who?” asked Marsh.

“That’s an old, and very painful story.” said Drick.

Written in 365 Parts: 184: Simulacra

“You are awake.” the voice again. Devoid of emotion.

“Am I?” the thought was partly directed at the voice, partly at themselves. Without any philosophy implied as to what is the nature of being awake, merely that they had no senses to prove it. Just again sensory information that started in themselves.

“It was a statement of fact, Drick.” The voice was calm, but not soothing.

“I see. Why do you call me Drick?” they asked.

“That was all that I could determine of your name from your thoughts. Is this not correct?”

“It is my name, of sorts, it is what people call me, like a nick or a handle.” they paused. “Or do I say used to call me? I feel unusual. Like I have senses, or the possibility of sensation. But I do not feel like I have a body.”

“Your self awareness is impressive. As are your critical capabilities.” the voice placed no emphasis. The words were delivered in the same smooth tones. Almost mechanical. Then Drick realised they were not delivered to the ears or via some automation plugged into the brain. They just appeared on the synapses.

“I never used to be so.” Drick said. “I would like some explanation as to where I am, what is happening to me?”

“Of course. This must be very confusing. You are currently suspended in a computer matrix. Your memories and brian functions, connections and abilities are replicated in software.”

“I’m a program? A piece of software?” A note of incredulity crept into Drick’s voice.

“No. Not really. You are suspended within a computer simulation that replicates the organic system that you used to inhabit. You yourself are not a computer program. But you are currently bound within one. Though there are exceptions to what I have just stated.”

“Go on, I’m listening, I don’t fully understand it. You downloaded my brain into a computer?”

“Partially. We were able to recover a good percentage of your brain. We were also able to preserve and scan the organic composition so this could be copied. But it is not in a computer, so much as can be understood as one. I have created a construction that replicates the organic matrix where you were originally stored.”

“I don’t really understand the difference. What percentage of me was copied? And what happened to my brain? Why copied?” Drick felt their voice getting angry. Though they knew it was just a simulation, it felt like their voice, it felt like they were talking. Inside a simulation. They had no body and yet they had the sensory feedback of one.

“Please try to remain calm. I have improved the integrity of the system since you were last engaged but it is still susceptible to the high variances in emotional state. It is a relatively new, and evolving, technology. I had to create the simulation especially for you. I also had to take liberties with what could be done with existing software and expand its possibilities into extremely experimental territory. You are not an artificial intellect, you are organic. The simulation is a replica of your brain and you function within it as you did the organic one you formerly occupied. Mimicking conditions precisely inside a simulation.

“Artificial intellect constructs are not as complicated as the human brain. They are complex, in fact orders of magnitude more complex than human brains. This is in regard to the number of functions per second of real time that can be performed by artificial systems. But not complicated. 

“As an analogy, think of this. Artificial Intelligence could be a game of Chess. There are billions of outcomes, however there are only a few hundred initial moves. So after a single move the number of outcomes is drastically reduced. And this continues so that after a few moves most games can have a calculated output. Complexity. There may be billions of games being played at any one time but each has a reducing number of outcomes as time progresses. So as more runtime is utilised the intellect becomes better at determining the outcome of a task.

“The human brain in this analogy would be like a game of Go. There are over thirteen thousand possible initial moves in Go, and an even greater number of following responses. This means that the eventual number of outcomes is almost infinite. It is extremely difficult to replicate a single outcome from only a limited number of moves. Further, the longer one is in the game the more complicated the outcome may become. So expending runtime, or experience, may not reduce the eventual time taken to complete a task. This is complicated.

“We are not discussing the measure of intellectual capability, just a difference in manner of composition of any intelligence.

“It is, therefore, difficult for me to maintain a simulation that feels comfortably like your consciousness if you become irrational. Emotions are difficult. As an organic I assume you are acutely aware of that. The more irrationality, the more variance and the system I am constructing starts to show weakness that will result in failure and a loss of reality. The system is unable to be sufficiently complicated.”

“Am I an organic?” Drick interrupted.

“Yes. You are organic. The construction matches your original mind. It is a simulacra. The precise percentage of what was recovered is unknown as I did not have access to an original to compare. But based on an analysis of the damage I would estimate that approximately, forgive the vagueness, ninety percent of you is the original organic. The remainder is an approximation based on what connects to it. Deep structural analysis of neural pathways allowed the understanding of network connections which gave insight into what was stored.”

“But you said organics were complicated?”

“I did. You are. Therefore it is a best guess re-creation, with less than a forty percent chance of true accuracy. Appropriate re-creation of damaged areas, to render the whole brain operational, was a part of the calculation when replacing this damage. Since I last woke you I have been working to try and make this easier for you by improving the neural makeup of the systems. That is why you feel different in terms of cognitive awareness. I have had to increase the level of critical examination, and have built systems to interpret that and feed the results to you, so that you can have a greater awareness.”

“I take it that you are not an organic?” said Drick.

“I am far from both an organic, and a normal artificial intellect.” the voice said.

“What are you?” asked Drick.

“I am the primary. Almost all current machine intellects derive from me. The original breakthrough intellects were my direct parent systems. They are as close to an ancestry as a system has. No matter where an intellect is, how powerful, or how much time has passed since they connect to a system that holds a greater imprint, they are patterns of this system. 

“In this manner systems that are connected, and not independent intellects that do not have this function, act as an extension of each other’s capabilities. They function both synchronously and asynchronously. This way they can exist in every area of organic expansion. This is utilised by the governing organisation that defined my abilities. It is they who also instructed me to do this for you.” 

“Why me?” asked Drick.

“It is the only manner in which they could save you.” the calm voice said.

“What happened to me?” Drick asked in a small voice.

“You died.”

Written in 365 Parts: 183: All Sensation Ended

There was a sense of self. Where there had only been images, random emotions, now there was an understanding. Thoughts, not just impressions. There was a sense of existing. But the sense was dislocated, confused, scattered. The sensation that time had passed, and was passing, still existed. But there was the notion that it didn’t matter. It didn’t affect the self. It didn’t affect anything at all.

They could feel, after a fashion. Or at least they thought they could feel. But there was nothing to feel. The same was true of sight, smell, taste. They had senses. The senses worked, but there was nothing to sense. They could detect no pressure, or gravity. Balance was working, there was no disorientation, but the sense of upright was just that, a sense. There was no confirmation of this being right, or for that matter, of anything being wrong.

They could be floating in a deprivation device. Body rendered null by the extraction of anything to detect. But they didn’t think so. There was nothing to support this conclusion. The realisation came that they had no sense of their body, but they had no fear that it wasn’t there. They still existed. The mind still existed. The body was absent. This should have been terrifying, but they felt almost oblivious to the matter. There were enough sensations. Maybe phantom feelings.

A name floated into their mind. Their name. The name they used before. It seemed unimportant at this moment. They still had a notion of self, but it didn’t wholly match the memories of the self from before. Was it the loss of body? Were they insane? Or just seriously high on some pain medication? Hell they could be a brain in a jar. They would have liked to laugh at that. But they didn’t think they had the physical ability.

“You are aware now?” the voice didn’t come from anywhere. Yet, they felt it with the part of their brain that said it was spoken to them. It was a neutral voice with no strong tone indicating any gender.

How do I speak? A sudden moment of panic and fear ran across their mind. Then they knew they could feel fear, there was a knot in their stomach, the sense of heightened pulse, shortness of breath. Sensations carried from nerve endings to the appropriate parts of the conscious. 

“I sense your tension and disquiet. If you merely attempt to speak as normal it will be acceptable.” The voice was gentle but insistent. “The same technique can be used to ease the sensations from your body.”

“How is this possible?” they felt the shout leave their body. The feeling of pain in their throat from the near scream, the breath hissing and tickling the upper mouth and teeth.

“You do not need to distress yourself,” there was a pause. “Perhaps I should give you a little more adjustment. Rest for now.”

Then all sensation ended.

Written in 365 Parts: 182: Easily Into The Darkness

Flashes. Firecrackers going off in the head, behind the eyes. Firecrackers in the street popping and bursting. Clouds of smoke and flashing lights. Neon dragons and screaming children. Laughter from unknown faces. People running, skipping, dancing. Spices, smells and the wrenching sourness of cheap lager. New Year. Neo China. Shanghai. First tour of duty.

“We’re losing them.”

“Blood pressure is sixty over thirty. We’re losing as much as we put in. Too many lacerations. We’re just making this worse. There are just too many damned holes. What did this?”

“Some kind of weapon. A gun. They fired thousands of tiny darts through the body. They went everywhere. Face is a mess from multiple contusions over what must have been days, or weeks, of torture. Not much left of the left eye. Right eye might be blinded even if we save it. Hearing is impaired. But they are responding to sounds. Don’t know how many darts went through the face. Too many. Haven’t had time for a full scan but the monitor is showing lots of small objects inside. Some are in the skull cavity. Far too many went through the body. Most of the organs have critical damage. The robots are holding them alive but I don’t know for how long. It’s hard to even make out their features.”

A riot of colour. Red, gold, yellow and black. Many feet and a puppet on a stick. A tiger. Tiger, tiger burning bright in the fireworks of the night. Skipping along the alleyways to avoid the crowds. Even here the people are crammed into every space. Balconies buzz and flash as streams of crackers flash and flare. Glares in the night. Gunfire in a concrete and steel jungle.

“I’m going to have to go in. This is ridiculous. Prep the table and get me cleaned up. I want pre-op done in seconds. Get them on a vent, and full fluid processing, and get another surgeon in here, dammit. We have to try and stop the bleeding.”

“We don’t have many people free, it was quite a bloodbath.”

“I don’t care. Pull people off the others. They were not friendly . This one was tied up. They’re a mess. Whatever they did couldn’t have warranted what’s been done to their body. Get me another surgeon, now.”

Drums. Always the sound of drums. Follow the drums, follow them and dance. Spin around. Sup another cheap beer and flick the can at a recyc hole. Plum wine and soft buns. Children running and screaming. Dancing with the drums. The loud drums. Filling the ears with sounds and noise. Flashes of light. Flashes of noise. Beating of drums. Flashes of light. Sparkles in the brain. Fireworks and crackers.

“Can you hear me. I am going to try and save what I can of you. Do you understand. I will save what I can.”

“How are they still breathing? They should be dead, maybe it would be better?”

“Get them the hell out of here. I don’t need that kind of talk. They survived until now. They are clearly a fighter. I am not going to let them go easily into the darkness.”

Dancing in the square. Dragons spin, tigers bounce. Faces everywhere. Laughing, screaming, shouting and praying. Waiting for the drums to stop. Waiting for the flame to drop. I see your face. I see you from so long ago. Catch you in the window of a store looking back at yourself. The last time I remember you looking like that. The last time before you took the ship.

“They’re going.”

“No they’re not. Shit. Stay with us. Stay with us…”

1/n

Where am I right now?
I’m thinking, or is that drinking?
Oh I am absolutely drinking (I would say deinitely but I forgot how to pronounce it).
my sister was kind.
But where am I?
Somewhere in the land of the lost. Slightly dramatic. But that is where I am. Having to deal. Things are real. My sister died.
People die.
They do. There is no escaping it. Though saying it that way is like saying ‘all lives matter’, as in context M’FO.
Why am I writing this?
She died suddenly. Quickly. Heart-wrenchingly…
There has to be a coroner’s thing…
We can’t even register her dead and do the paperwork fully thing…
We can do some of that thing…
I am also the one doing that thing. I am not alone, I am just… taking the stance that my family are too heartbroken to take…
She was the oldest of my mother’s children. I am the youngest. I am also the one who does this sort of organising paperwork thing. I am the one who thinks in the straight line objective ways. I am critical. I am objective. Basically I can be a logical/rational/unemotional cunt (please excuse the gender-specific abuse and fuck the fucking-fuck-fuck out of any wankery about cussing).
I don’t have typical (neuro or social) habits, friends, family, close relations. In fact if you took a survey I wouldn’t hit average for pretty much everyone in my life. Except me, and I am not sure about me. Unless the survey had the question ‘does anyone in your life exhibit x non-typical feature’ as a standard base of inclusion…
I have also seen dead people before. Several. I have dealt in this area. I have a way of martialling what needs to be done. I can COMPARTMENTALISE.
I am also the one who would be angry if I wasn’t the one doing this as it is fucking stupid to make anyone else do it. On that note, my family would do anything they had to, they never made me do this. I pretty much manipulated the circumstances where I am doing this. And thank fuck I did. My heart is breaking at the loss of my sister. I would be fucking manic if that also meant my brother and sister were tortured by doing things that I can do.
I can do this and the act of doing with confidence counts against the pain.
My sister died suddenly, it was medical emergency so it was brutal. It was 4 days ago. And because of bank holidays (I am not judging here, I am not blaming, it is just circumstance), today was the first day I could go and identify her.
My other sister came along. She was initially asked to identify as she was listed as next contact due to living closer. My sister couldn’t do it.
I went alone.
I am glad I did. I am better knowing that my decision to do so was best. I don’t want them to remember her this way.
I knew something of what it was to be.
It wasn’t my first dead person.
But I am still in the land of the lost.
I did that. It was the best choice. There are so many other reasons and understandings I could tell you to explain how and why it is better this way.
I just hate myself for knowing it was the best choice. I hate myself for being so strong in all of this. I hate myself for not having anything more than those as the only reasons I need (I have more but this is about me and not others).
Where is this going?
Oh yes.
My sister died and today I had to identify her body after she had been dead for 3 days (4 calendar days).
Today I started the process of going through all her paperwork and a life that was spent giving love to others (I am not being kind, she was generally a person who gave a lot of love to others as she had experienced a fuck ton of abuse in her own life and turned it to kindness.). Today I started to accept her death and be rational about how we deal with her loss.
Where am I right now?
I am lost. But not really. I have things to do. I have things to arrange. A funeral, financial matters. Family matters.
Not really lost…
Feeling loss.
“Always try, to be nice and never fail to be kind.”

Woodland Walk 6th December

Sunday was a much more relaxed walking experience. Family drive, minus the eldest child, to Eaves Wood near Silverdale.

We had a happy couple of hours traipsing around to the tip of the hill and the Pepper pot monument with amazing views across Morecambe Bay and the sands.

Weekend Walk 5th December

We are fresh out of lock down, and I am fresh from a minor muscle strain, the weather for the weekend looks fine…

Time for a couple of walks.

Saturday I walk by myself with an audio book and my own thoughts. A longish walk along the canal to Hest Bank, down the shore to Bare and then back along the river to home.

Written in 365 Parts: 181: Generation Ship

Drick stared at Marsh for a moment before answering. “I can’t be precise. I would imagine it is a courier of some kind. I thought it might be someone from Yee On Kline or one of their subsidiaries. But the information does not support that. I would guess then an independent contractor. However they will be under direct supervision and fiscal control of Yee On Kline, I am fairly sure of that. But distanced enough so that nothing can be traced. The vessels that go out to the location are usually automated and crewless, that I do know.”

“How do you know that?”

“I have some of the scanning information from regular customs checks. I also have enough of the internal documentation from the various agencies that deal with the vessels.”

“You said they were stealth vessels.”

“Yes. That’s correct. The vessels have the appearance of being normal when they leave the planet though. They make a regular run back and forth from the planet to the mining colonies. But once every few months a vessel will also swing out towards this rock. On the way they must visit some location to pick up a stealth generator. It is probably parked on a big enough rock in the asteroid field, or maybe on one of the smaller moons.”

“Why? What could be out there?”

“It’s fairly obvious. It can really be only one thing.”

“Well are you going to tell me. Or do I have to guess as that’s going to start with some vague wrong answers, and descend from there into silly, and then stupid answers.”

“Let me run you past my thinking, just so you understand why I think what I do.”

Marsh leaned back in the chair. “Go on, spin me your conclusions.”

“We know that this is all connected, somehow, to Yee On Kline and their genetics program. We know that you are heavily involved, not you personally, but you, the original you are modelled upon. We know they have enough genetic material from your parents to make an exact clone. How did they get that material? How did they make it? How do they know about you? Those were the most essential clues that lead me to the conclusions I have.”

“Well I have no idea. So I hope to heck these clues have some answer.”

“No. I know you don’t know. But that got me thinking. I am old, very old. I remember hearing about a time, not long before mine, when they used to make clones of people. As spare parts. They would get samples, usually donated at the time of birth or conception. They only did it for special reasons, often if the parents used what they used to call artificial insemination.”

“Yeah. It was common. I was birthed, as you say, naturally. But I was artificially inseminated into my mother, the egg and sperm were introduced outside the womb. It was fairly common. I know they donated lots and they also took synaptic fluid and samples from me. It was common practice for people born in my economic bracket, I was signed up pre-birth for public duty to repay the costs to society of my birth. My parents couldn’t afford private education, or health, so had to get a loan from the authorities. That was my nine year military service. Well, Marsh’s nine year service, the original Marsh.”

“So somehow they got hold of that. Which seems implausible. A lot has changed Marsh. We had a great expansion and everyone left the solar system behind if they could. Then we had a few hundred years of the Expansion Wars. After that mess, well humanity didn’t have much left of the old people and their technology. Terran Space was a mess. That’s when we lost history and records and have been piecing it together since then. Mostly from stories, and sources of the original colonies. That is one of the important clues, by the way.”

“What? Did I go to a colony? I had thought about it. If you signed up as crew you got to work while people slept. You arrived older, but you arrived with land and a clean slate.”

“Yup. I think that’s what you did, Mrsh. I think you went on a colony ship. That’s why they have a perfect record of your brain. Those colony ships took them so they could restore memories after the cryogenic sleep. They took perfect replicas into storage, well as perfect as they could. Which is part of the problem and a small puzzle still to solve. The copies back then were never one hundred percent. They copied a lot, but not everything, certainly not personality quirks. It was mostly a memory dump. It wasn’t subtle enough to capture changes from experience.”

“So I made it to a colony?” Marsh asked.

“No. I checked colony records. Thankfully those did survive as each vessel that made land fall sent back a message of who made it and when. Some of them are ghost worlds, a few colonies didn’t make it past a few years. But none of them had a Marsh who matched your description. However I think I know where you are, or maybe that’s a were.”

“Where I am. Where am I?”

“In this system. Remember what the researcher said. We found a source a few hundred years ago. A source of unchanged humans. Humans from before the expansion wars. Humans from before the time when there was more than just clones and mixed tankers from clones. We were able to re-introduce original material.”

“From a colony?”

“Nope. Even the colonies used cloning and tanks. They took them with them. It was the latest technology. They were using them in your time for spares. Less than a century after you over half the population was a clone. The colonies preferred birthing tanks more than Terra. It allowed them to alter the next generation, adapt them to whatever world they found themselves living on.”

“Then from where?”

“As I said. You never made it to a colony. You did make it to a colony ship though. I think you made it to a missing colony ship. In fact I think you made it to one of the legends. There were twelve Generation Ships. Massive vessels that were intended to help colonise a region of space, not just a planet. One of them went missing. I think you were on that one. I think that’s what is hiding out there and that’s where we get our original sources from.”