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December 2007

December 2007 -- Snow

Gallery

Columns

  • Healthy Green Artists:
    Healthy Green Gift-Giving
  • Myths and Symbols:
    The Rise of Blue
  • EMG News:
    News for December 2007
  • Behind the Art:
    Creating Bookmarks
  • Wombat Droppings:
    It's That Season Again

    Features

  • Fairy Tutorial
  • Japanese Blades: Landscapes in Metal

    Fiction

  • Poem: Snowglobe
  • Poem: Snow
  • Fiction: Snow Angel
  • Poem: Snow Nights
  • Fiction: Mind Blown


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  • Mind Blown
    by Andy Bolt

    It’s freezing here. My right leg is almost numb. I think one of my subcutaneous thermoveins is malfunctioning. I hate Antarctica.

    I got stuck with this job because I’m the only cabinet member with the appropriate clearances and an even passing knowledge of theoretical neurophysics. I’m also the only one that the president truly loathes.

    I know some things about him that he’d rather I didn’t, career-ruining stuff that I won’t go into except to say that he probably shouldn’t have filmed the whole mess. Anyway, the fact that I have the file makes me wonder if we’re not supposed to fail up here.

    We’re about twelve clicks northwest of Pangaea Nine, the latest of the international polar cities administrated by the U.N. It’s gotten a lot more crowded up here since the advent of thermoveins and metabolic regulators, but this is still the most isolated spot on Earth. Well, second most.

    Originally, Project Mindblown was going to be a sub-aquatic affair. Publicly, that idea was scrapped because of the expense involved in outfitting sixty-seven neurotaps and almost twice that number of miscellaneous federal overseers, scientists, and security personnel with rebreathers and fluidic stabilizers. What only myself, the president, a handful of top N.S.A. personnel, and our counterparts in India’s Defense Intelligence Agency know, however, is that the real reason is because seawater screws with the Wren bomb’s targeting system. Sixty-seven of the most dangerous minds on the planet are about to try and jumpstart creation for the first time ever, and the truth is, we have no idea how this is going to play out. We’ve got a collection of cybernetic, genetic, and chemical mutants here, several of which have demonstrated unprecedented psychic ability, and an uncomfortable number of which have failed to pass a basic psych eval. If this goes right, we’ll change the world. If this goes wrong, we’ll try again. If this goes really wrong, our governments will kill all of us and sterilize half this continent. And while most of my colleagues don’t know that, some of the high level psychics have been looking at me sideways.

    “We’re ready, Madame Secretary.” The young man talking at me can’t be more than thirty. He’s dressed in pointless polar camouflage and equally meaningless body armor. Trying and failing to look impassive, his mind is throwing off scrambling vibes, echoing excitement, loose nerves. I can tell he thinks this is new frontier stuff.

    There’s a weird energy around projecting head cases. Emotions and sometimes whole brainwaves start spilling into the air, a sort of mental hurricane effect. When everyone for fifty kilometers is tense and jittery, it’s like getting an adrenaline shot straight to the brain. I don’t love that feeling. Especially since half the people here are heavily armed and the other half could lobotomize me by thinking hard.

    I nod. “Do it.”

    Above me, a circle of men and women float on gravimetric platforms. A sphere of almost palpable mental energy radiates from them. They are scientists, hippie gurus, cyberpunks, monks, and normal folks who just happen to be chance byproducts of our neurotronic age, dressed in everything from togas to business attire, mech fiber cybersuits to jeans and t-shirts, massive furry coats to nothing at all. They are attempting to defy Newton, Einstein, al-Kaheed, and Browerson. They’re reaching into their minds and trying to bring something back. A physical object from the mental plane. Matter from thought. Something from nothing. Some of them hum, some chant, some remain dead silent, but all of their eyes seem locked on something just beyond reality that I can’t see.

    A low whine begins to echo over the ice. It takes moments for it to build into a banshee screech. I fancy that I can perceive red lightning bouncing from floating figure to floating figure, but the trickling wetness already freezing on my cheeks tells me that it’s just the capillaries in my eyes bursting. Through massive bleeding, I attempt to choke out the desist order, but my vocal cords go slack along with the rest of me. I drop to the ground in a heap, twitching. As far as I can tell, all of the non-psychics are down. I’m a millimeter from the Wren-call switch in my palm when it begins to snow rose petals.

    Andy Bolt is a traveling lover of words. He is interested in all things great and small, and is frequently published by 365 Tomorrows. He has spent the last year wandering America and Europe in a strange, zombie-like fashion.
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