The Book of AhziRa




Intro


In a far off periphery of the cosmos, just beyond the known Universe, a most unusual event begins to occur. It looks like a shimmer, refracting the expression of space and time but taking on no qualities of itself visible to the eye or any instrument. It behaves in a paradoxical manner, absorbing all matter inside it, like a black hole, while simultaneously taking on the emanative qualities of a star radiating an unknown substance, X.

In the center of the Known Universe, the Hiii Council gather in great urgency to discuss how to address this extraordinary phenomena. Because they know near nothing of this space and it defies what they know of all others, they've deemed it “The Anomaly". Its discussion arouses a great deal of unease because the field is growing at a rapid rate, and hurling through space towards them is something they do not understand in the slightest.

Amidst great haste, the Council decides to send in one of their best scientific explorers to observe the Anomaly and report back what it is and how to destroy it.










1: Enter Anomaly


AhziRa passes event horizon, entering the gravitational field of Anomaly. The field is so immense it has already swallowed many suns and their orbiting planetary bodies. Each moment inside the field, time speeds up, compounding upon itself as the ship and all surrounding cosmic form are pulled faster into the Anomaly. He knew at a certain point, his ship's engines would not be strong enough to turn back, further in, not even light would escape. He would have to be mindful of this. His mission was to get in, observe, learn, and report back.

With Story at the helm, AhziRa travels to the many planets effected by the Anomaly. Upon landing in each world, he studies the land, using Wolv6 Drones to collect audio, visual, and scientific data of the world he observed. Then he returns to his ship to assimilate the data and generate a rendering for analysis.

The first worlds Story landed upon were unremarkable, posessing no noticeable changes. The only noteable occurences were annoyances within his software. His Wolv6 Drones were first, they would spend time lingering upon certain plants, stopping in flight, stuttering mid-sentence in diaolgue with Story. They would get stuck facing their cameras on one another.

As their issues persisted and Story's frustration increased, he decided it was time to pull them apart, and fix whatever kinks were happening inside. The drones were designed by him from the ground up to optimize his needs during inter-planetary assessment. He was a consultant for the Galactic Council among many other high end clients, summoned for his services assessing worlds and optimizing their Terraformation. He was selected for this job because he understood large planetary ecological systems, and his science produced results supporting the wealthy shape life in their worlds.

Pulling the drones apart, Story noticed a light, filmy substance, like a reflective layer of humidity, developing within the internal mechanics, primarily upon the mother board. He cleaned them off. And re-assembled the drones. They seemed to be in working order.


The Renderings


As Story's 28th rendering nears fruition, he reflects upon the voyage of completed missions since entering the Anomaly. The Control Surface casts a 360 degree projection of the completed renderings into a field around him, orbiting him like a sun, with the first the furthest, and his current composition in process, most near to him.

Each rendering is composed to display a curated report of the realm. It may be played through a sonic lens- reviewed as it was assembled through time, or seen visually-all the information arranged at once within the greater context of the whole network.

He swipes his hand, spinning the field to its furthest composition and presses play, listening to each piece's information via sonic and visual transmission as he studies the data. Each rendering acts as a node in a network, a chapter in a book whose story is a riddle containing the mysterious nature of this space. There's a certain beauty he finds in the data so finely arranged, color-coded, concise, correct. Each rendering shares a similar composition, though as they near closer to the present, they become more intricate and complex, building datasets out of information the ship's sensory inputs weren't initially designed to collect. When Story first notices this, he presumes it to be a fluke in the dataset, but as he scrolls through the collection, the pattern repeats and amplifies.

He scrolls to the point within the data he first begins to notice the complexification, and he pulls up a flight log he'd recorded of himself during that time to jog his memory around the time things began to change. A video of himself plays back in which he shares:


7th




"I'm not entirely sure how long I've been here. The time tables in Arlea, our ship’s AI, are shifting around back and forth, and I haven't been able to identify the software issue yet. If I were to guess, I would say its been about 4 days. However, I've created 7 renderings, and given the size of their datasets, I would certainly have spent at least a day on each. As I scroll through them, I can recall recording each sample of data in fine, and actually quite exquisite detail, but it feels as if my internal timeline has been re-arranged."





9th


He scrolls to another video correlating with the timeline of his 9th planetary expedition:

"There is a fluke in the data, a gap, a drop of logic. At first, I attributed it to a glitch within the Wolv6s, as they've been acting strange, but now I see it repeating within the rendering assimilation process which runs upon an entirely different software system. It's like there are micro tears, aberrations within the space here causing DNA to deviate from its origin, either merging with surrounding species or deviating into something very "other" from its traditional habitat. It appears life is evolving at an unprecedented rate, adapting to a phenomena I am still unable to perceive."

He pauses the video and waves his hand to scroll further through his flight logs. This one was recorded upon the 11th Planet:




11th



"All material within the Field of Anomaly is changing in ways humanity has never before recorded. This is true even of our own technology.

AhziRa’s Wolv6 Drone Sensors, were designed to measure sound, space, and light to compose a 5 dimensional rendering for analysis. Now, the samplings are becoming more complex than the technology was ever designed to do.

The sensors themselves are changing in miraculous ways which...," he stutters, stopping himself for a moment as if choking on a phrase,"which... are contrary to our understanding of natural law." There is defeat in his eyes as he says this feels his scientific mind desperately grasping for its guard rails. He fears the data has been compromised, but proceeds, "The supplementary data we're pulling in fits seamlessly into the renderings', filling in pockets of information that don't track with coherence.

The renderings are built upon a system of Logic. The supplementary data pulled in through the self-iterating sensors fits into the train of logic, further describing the manner in which matter is transforming, but it only further skews it into absurdity the dataset as a whole into obscurity."

His voice trailed off, and he stared dimly into the camera. There were dark circles beneath his eyes. He looked worn and somehow aged in what appeared to be a short passage of time. Story stayed on the video, experiencing himself then stare into his eyes now, saying nothing... just looking. After a few moments, the video cut out.




13th


He scrolled further, to the 13th planetary body. This one was a moon, and within its rendering, Story found another unusual occurrence. He'd always recorded his flight logs apart from the Renderings, very intentional not to mix his personal experience with the body of scientific data. However, in the 13th world he rewrote the code he'd always used for renderings to include a video of himself discussing a particular aberration in the data. This one, he did not recall recording, and it began with a very different tone. His hair was longer on his head, but his beard was shaved giving him a much younger appearance. He stood, wrapping a blanket around his shoulders like a cloak as he spoke with excitement and an unusual enthusiasm:


"From technology we’ve developed, unwritten by our code, carbon life is fusing with our ship's hardware." The recording becomes blurry and disorienting as Story grabs the camera and brings it to the other side of the Helm Room where he's disassembled one of the Wolv6 Drones, removing the lens shield to reveal the lens beneath.

"This thing is fucking Alive!!!"

The camera is covered in a slick, moist, translucent film similar to what he recalled accumulating upon the motherboard, but now, beneath the film a dark mass accumulated with a glimmering field around it, indeed resembling a pupil surrounded by an iris. Beyond its appearance, Story was struck by a certain presence within it he couldn't quite place and didn't have long to sit with as the version of him recording the video picked up the camera again to turn it to a different side of the drone where it's microphones were held.

The microphones were state of the art, highly sensitive, robust, and dynamic, covering a broad spectrum of sound far beyond what the human ear could hear. They were sheltered in a fortified screening which contained both the microphones as well as an oscillator which together served as an echolocation system generating a holographic representation of surrounding space. In the video, Story had disassembled the screening to reveal the omnidirectional microphones were merging with the oscillator, gluing together with a solidifying ooze which seeped out of them like sweat through skin pours. As the ooze, hardened, it mirrored the soft contours and textures of mushroom gills and appeared just as fragile.

"Are you seeing this shit?" Story's eyes were wild with elation and deviated far from and semblance of professional conduct. He'd thrown his blanket over his head making a mess of his hair and wore a wide grin as if he'd just set up a prank and was waiting in anticipation for the victims to find out what was in store for them.

"And that's not even the coolest part. Check this out!"

He inserts the camera eye into a different Wolv6 which trails behind him gracefully as he slips into a space suit. As Story watches the video of his past self, he is completely dumbstruck as he has absolutely no recollection filming this experience. It's like watching a parallel reality in which he too is an ever-so-slightly different person.

In the recording, Story throws on a jetpack and opens a vaccuum sealed doorway opening to the exterior of the ship as it sails through space at God knows what extraordinary speed. Story jumps out and the drone gracefully glides behind him, peering its eye around the doorway's lip to reveal Story hanging tight to a side rail he's straddling as if riding a bull with one hand clutching tight to life, the other stylistically high in the air. He slams his free hand down on the ships shelling which was initially wrapped in a premium Carbonium Allois sheathing, but the material Story now slid his hands upon was no longer the same. It was more reptillian than anything else, with dark waves of coloration rippling through its scales. Story howled wildly, and looked into the camera, eyes livid with a kind madness he'd never recognized before in himself. He laughed manically, and said "Now I'm going to have fun with you." Then abruptly, he cut the recording.




28th


Pulling out of the footage, Story felt his stomach tied, twisted, and taught in knots. Panic rushed through his body as he contemplated his sanity. How long had he been here? Who the hell was that in the video? He still felt like he'd only been in the field for a few days, but now he was on his 28th render and it was far larger than anything he'd composed before.

With great haste, he ran to the helm. He needed to call off the mission. His psyche was compromised, he was beginning to hallucinate, and he'd already collected more than enough data for scientists of the council to interpret the field of Anomaly.

Story placed his hands upon the control surface which showed the 28th rendering in process and for a moment forgot his panic. The rendering was beautiful- it was enormous, and though it was 98% complete, it was growing at an unprecedented rate, more rapidly now than it was in its initial phases. It was like a cancer metastasizing, unfurling from itself in an obscene chemical reaction which combined the biological signatures of all the lifeforms from each planet he'd encountered into one unprecedented amalgamation. It was both stunning in its complexity and sickening in its radical deviation from intent.

The loading screen ticked to 99%. Story zoomed in to look closer. He noted the UI felt... different. He couldn't pin down in what way exactly. It was still crisp, clean, and intuitive. If anything, it felt like an evolution to what it was before. He felt he intuitively understood how to navigate through the new fields of surprise data.

The AI system he developed could self-learn to transform vast datasets into useful visualizations for study. These visualizations, akin to photographs, included information on temperature, humidity, radiation, and sonic structures. Another AI model processed this data, performing extensive calculations to highlight key indicators of the world's state, making them easily accessible and efficient to analyze.

He'd automated most of the processes so that once the data was collected, he'd upload it and let the AI weave it together, but what was occurring now was something so far beyond anything he'd coded or knew humanity capable of creating.

The fields of error, which were once little tears in the data sets, now composed the majority of the rendering's mass. It's logic streams descended into paradox, filling themselves in with re-interpretations of data that were mind numbing in complexity. Some of the streams stopped dead for no reason, while others exploded into life and diverged like tree branches in alternative pathways. It was combining planets, portraying contradictory information occurring simultaneously. The only plausible explanation to Story was the AI was hallucinating, but when he analyzed the Mathematics, Story found flawless coherence in each line.

The loading screen struck 100%. The rendering glowed, then the screen suddenly changed to another previously recorded video of himself.

"Ahh-hemm mmhmmm---" He cleared his throat, "Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking." The recording showed Story sitting in the Helm's chair he sat in now. His feet were kicked up on one side of the arms and his back leaned into the other in a manner far too casual. The blanket he'd worn in the previous video was now cut up in pieces and combined with space suit parcels to form a tattered, pseudo-captain's hat upon his head. His eyes glimmered looking up to the camera as he held his face low. One of the Drones was burnt in a heap in the corner of the room and he'd made marking upon his face with its black ash remains. His face held the same boyish, mischievous smirk as he did before though now it was now far more pronounced.

"As you may have noticed..," He looked up with his eyes, flamboyantly guilty, jingling his hands back and forth together as if delivering the punchline to a bad joke. The camera shook as if his ship caught a wave of turbulence. "Things are acting a little funny. I've just finished uploading a widdddle virus to your computer."

Story's stomach dropped. He must've gone mad. He looked around the room as the one in the video kept speaking, but panic drowned out his voice. Indeed, one of the Wolv6es was in the back of the Helm just behind him destroyed in a fire just with some embers still glowing. There were markings, similar to the ones on his face all around it, emanating out upon all surfaces in the room, far more than there had been in the video. He felt atop his head, and noticed himself still wearing the hat. He through it off in shock and turned back to the Console to turn the ship immediately and set course straight back home. The flight navigation systems were corrupted, and the ooze pouring through the 28th rendering overflowed to the other windows of his operating system. Then Story's ship jolted as if it had hit something. The voice from the video continued one rambling about the Motherland as Story ripped off the control panel to seize manual control of the ship.

His gut fell to the floor. Someone, had torn everything-EVERYTHING out.

The voice on the screen said, "Don't worry, its behind you," as if he knew exactly what he'd be doing.

Story turned around and looked at the fire pit. "No" Story thought to himself.

"Gotcha" The voice on the screen giggled. "Don't worry, where we're going you won't be needing that."

The whole ship rocked, more violently than it had before. The screen cracked, and the man upon it looked up as if hearing something. He spoke softly, "Oop, that's our cue." Then he cleared his voice again and said in a deep, formal tone, "Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking again. Yes... Mayday, Mayday, we're going down."

The sides of the ship compressed as if it were a tin can in the jaws of a dragon. Sparks flew everywhere, and Story froze in horror. He'd never before felt so truly hopeless. The voice on the screen screamed, "Yaaaahooooooooo!! Buckle up Boys! This is not gonna be a smooth one." He was wide eyed, bloodshot, and manic. The ship compressed again, and Story felt the oxygen hurling out, the cold coming in. He blacked out.

2. Crash



I wake up and the first thing that strikes me as peculiar is there is grass inside my ship. Dirt too. I wonder to myself "How did that get in here?". Then I look around the grass and see what once was a spacious helm room is now concaved and obliterated. Somehow there is a little bubble right above my head where the roof did not collapse.
I place my hand to my ear and speak to AhziRa's AI connected through my neurolink, "Arlea, what happened?" No response. "Arlea, systems report." Silence.

The straps holding me in are caught, and I use the blade at my hip to cut them away. Shakily, I slide through the foiling metal of my ship, and slip out a crack I didn't design.

The sun pours through eyes. I reach my hands out as if to touch it, and my fingertips dance between the shadows of trees. I smile. Something warm and sweet drips down my head and into my eyes. I wipe it away and marvel at the bright beautiful red.

Naivety is a beautiful thing before its ripped away. It took me some time for the dots to connect again in my mind- This is Blood. This was my ship. I've crashed. I'm alone- as far away from anyone I could be. I rip myself from the ground and take a step back to look at my ship. I feel my stomach fall out in a color of despair I can't process yet. My head is spinning. Why am I so wet?

I turn around to get my barings. I'm in a forest surrounded by tall pine-like trees, in a valley between two large white cliffs.

"Arlea, Where the hell are we?!" Still, no response. I crawl back inside to grab the control panel within the Helm. I pull it into the light outside and see the entire motherboard is fried. It's melting, with green ooze, like puss, pouring out its motherboard, twitching, spasming, still undergoing some chemical disconfiguration. I feel my heart collapse. I'm totally fucked.

I set Arlea aside and laid my eyes into my knees while time echoed on. Shock is a strange fog where nothing happens, some core part of consciousness checks out, goes to another place, disassociates, and the skin vessel goes on autopilot.