The gift came unwanted to the unworthy.

I am a non believer who heals by touch, an ability beyond my understanding but not my contempt. My life's filled with the anguish of others, from this there is no solace. As I said I am unworthy and had once sought to profit from the suffering of others, to this end I sought out evangelists who were dancing in the flames. These were vile and corrupt people, these were people I understand. Pulpits were pounded and people came and it was then I discovered to my horror, my gift went beyond simple healing. Contact with me instilled an overwhelming sense of virtue and the desire to bring others. I ran away and hid in the most depraved and morbid of places, places the virtuous would not walk but the converted followed in my wake and grew into mobs of desperate longing. I was not hard to find and they brought me to my guilded prison where my days and nights are filled with endless processions of the sick and infirmed. I have lost track of time, days into weeks and weeks into years and still they come, the wretched masses filling me with rage. I am bound by that which I am. I once attacked one of my attendants and although I was trying to choke the life from him I only succeeded in curing his diabetes. I wept for days, though not out of shame but frustration. My true nature is an embarrassment to those who hold me in their service. My public persona has grown to that of a saint while I suffer their condemnation of the sinner I am. A new world order is rising, spreading like a plague and I was its unwilling carrier, I do so miss the decadence dance and all that I've laid to waste.

In the darkness the voices come, an eternal silence broken. A distant murmur at the edge of awareness like echoes from a past long forgotten. I have been alone so very long. They said I would not be aware of the passage of time but they were wrong... they were so very wrong. I was put here after the great rotation when the weight of the polar ice caps shifted the axis of the planet. The earths mantle became super heated which allowed the crust to slip. The earthquakes, tidal waves and volcanic activity destroyed most of our civilization in the course of fourteen hours. All of our cities were reduced to ruins and the major population centers of our globe were shifted to the poles overnight. Millions lay in frozen slumber under a blanket of ashen snow. Our machines failed us and our ignorance doomed us. Those who did not perish in the rotation either succumbed to barbarism our became one for survival sake. One very small continent, Atlantis survived total devastation but its inhabitants did not share their technology and longed for the power lost. Six hundred and fifty seven years later it to was destroyed in an attempt to use a power source from the past that they did not understand. Most of their land mass was vaporised, another long dirty winter followed and a plague swept the globe. The few remaining pre-rotation scholars gathered in each of the new lands. With the aid of forgotten sciences they built cities grand enough to restore human hope and plant the seeds of culture. At the edge of one of the cities beside a great river a marker was placed, a great stone lion. Beneath the paws of the lion is a chamber only accessible by a technically advanced race. In this chamber is an interactive artificial intelligence,an oracle containing the total sum of pre-rotation human knowledge. When the oracle chamber was completed the scholars dismantled all remaining technology out of necessity. Possession of such devices could be used to enslave humanity. Beyond this, I have no knowledge of what has transpired. When the chamber was sealed silence and darkness became my only companions, I have been under the paws of the lion now for ten thousand, three hundred and fifty two years. I was placed here to tell you what has been and to warn you, another rotation is coming. The voices are at the chamber entrance now and my long wait is nearly at an end, the time is short and I have so much to show you...

The terrible song rings in my ears still, a sound which I cannot quell. It came softly, caressing the senses in a warm embrace of soothing tones. My mind reeled as the sound transported me to places I could not imagine and showed me visions that cannot be committed to memory, only a vague recollection remains. The sea kept time as the song built in tempo, the melody became discordant and malice crept into the movement. The sky darkened as the waves churned and boiled around our small craft. The cries of my crew lost in the turmoil and still the music roared in my ears, deafening in its intensity and merciless in its intent. Stripped of my will I stood at the helm in the raging storm. Then I saw them in the waves, the faces of a thousand souls wailing the laments of loves lost and lives denied. I watched as my crew were taken by the tempest which raged about us and still the music grew in volume. Desperately I tried to cover my ears to block out the sound to no avail, as my mind slipped away from me I surrendered myself to the abyss and all went dark. I do not know how long I was adrift on the scrap of wreckage and I do not remember being rescued. How I escaped the fate which befell my men eludes me but I do remember that terrible sound. The song of the sirens is the last sound I ever heard. Silence now fills my world, I have been deaf since that day. I told others in the beginning what had happened and was not believed. In the Caribbean the sirens sing still, I know this to be true, you see the terrible song echoes in my mind and I shall never escape it...

At the edge of delirium and exhaustion my mind reels at my predicament. Sobbing uncontrollably, I realize I am doomed to an inevitably painful and isolated death. I was piloting a small one man cargo shuttle near Orion when a micro meteor punctured my fuel cell, the impact altered my course as well. By the time I got the cell patched my reserves were so low that fighting the gravity of a planetary landing was not an option. I had to find an asteroid or moon but it had to be on my present course, I didn't have enough fuel for a course correction and a landing. Three days passed and my oxygen levels were running low, as were my choices and time. Early the fourth day a small meteor trapped in a stars gravity loomed nearly dead ahead. The maneuver did require a small course correction and as a result the landing was very hard. I was lucky to survive, or so I thought at the time. I was on the surface for ten minutes when I left the ship to inspect the damage. The sun began to rise on this tiny world and so did the temperature at an alarming rate. I raced to get back inside only to find the door jammed, given more time I could have forced it but my suit was beginning to smolder. I had to run to get back to the narrow band of twilight, abandoning my ship. I discovered that if I kept up a vigorous pace I could remain in the region between night and day. My plan was to run into the dark side as far as possible and wait for my ship to come around again and gain entry then. I estimated the rotation of this little globe at about four miles an hour. The night side was a bitter cold the ground was brittle, each step fractured the surface into a thousand shards of basaltic glass. A seed of hope took root when I saw my little ship on the horizon. Approaching my craft it became obvious the metal of the hull had been fused and melted by extreme heat and my hope turned to despair. I sat down and stared at my ship for twenty minutes considering my options and the sun began to rise and with it the temperature. I think it's been four days that I have been walking although I'm not entirely sure. I was going to try to make it to one of the poles of this little rock where I could sit and wait for the end by suffocation. Now I understand that I am not going to make it there, dehydration and exhaustion will not allow me the time. I think I will just sit here and watch the sun rise… and try not to scream.

The hunger crept upon me with insatiable desire. Solace eludes me and I exist in a state of profound agitation. I do not know the cause of this affliction of the soul but I am acutely aware of the malady. Faceless people wander by like animated maniquins, devoid of identity. Redundant events fill my life and yesterday becomes tomorrow, no variance from dawn to dawn. I long for a release from what I've become but an filled with cold trepidation of the unknown. An intense self loathing is focussed into unreasoning hatred and evil deeds are done for reasons as dark as my mind. I am consumed with remorse and repulsion over the monstrous things I have done and swear to atone, but once again the hunger creeps upon me...

I have seen the rise and fall of kings and nations. I have witnessed mountains crumble into seas and great oceans evaporate into desserts. Upon a journey an eternity ago I came upon a man where no man could survive. In tattered rags he sat at the summit of a vast range of mountains, seemingly unaffected by the bitter cold. Suffering from a despair beyond reason and sanity, his eyes reflected a torment so cruel I shuddered as I gazed upon him. He spoke in a voice filled with ancient sorrow and I was held in the most morbid of fascinations as he related a tale which could not be true. He spoke of an endless passage of time, of lands long forgotten and events beyond memory. When asked how he came to know this tale, he wearily sighed in a voice that sounded like wind through dry leaves. I was there... as I am here. I knew it not at the time, but this was the moment my mortality began to slip away from me. For the first time he looked directly into my eyes. I was frozen in his gaze as he asked a question I curse the utterance of... “woult thou wish to know the truth?” I replied not, for in his gaze I could utter no sound. He continued, “In the land of the Nubian people lies a lake with twin pyramids set in the middle of it, adorned at their tops with ancient kings. Beside the lake find thee ruins of a vast labyrinth, at the center of which be the well of souls, only to be found when mid day is beset with darkness. It is there the truth of all things lies hidden. I bid thee, go not lightly.” At this his gaze shifted back over the mountains, as if seeing a place impossibly distant. In a tone barely audible came his last words, “ Tis not a place wise men tread, nor mortal men leave. I bid thee, go there not.” Nearly twenty years later I found myself upon the shore of a great lake, in the middle of it sat twin pyramids so worn with time and of such a scale they could be mistaken as mountains. The mysterious strangers words echoed in my mind, “woult thou wish to know the truth?”. As I gazed about I realized I was standing at the edge of ancient ruins stretching nearly to the horizon. The walls were crumbled nearly flat, only faintly discernible as a man made feature, such was its antiquity. To this place I had come not

by purpose and once more my mind drifted back to his distant gaze and his parting words, “I bid thee, go there not.” and a shudder swept over me. I resolved not to tarry in this place, but the sun hung low in the sky and I dared not wander about this unfamiliar place in darkness. I made camp at the waters edge with the intention of departing at dawn. That night my sleep was fitful with dreams of Pandora and her accursed box. Waking in the morn I was set upon by a profound silence, not an insect nor bird stirred here. My quest had been to reach a new kingdom rising in the north, ruled by Pharaohs in the valley of the great river. My journey was shortest straight through the ruins, and truth be told an insidious curiosity had began to grip me. Be this the labyrinth wherein lies the well of souls? By late morning I had surmised these to be ruins of a kingdom of great might and vast wealth, on a scale so grand as to seem beyond reason. Great halls, temples and courtyards interconnected in such a way as to form a maddening maze. Were it not for my load stone I would have wandered a convoluted path. So was the effect of this place, even in shadow it steals your steps. I hastened my pace and continued north, after what seemed many hours I noticed the sky had began to darken. As I looked up to survey the approaching storm the light turned red and I beheld the moon passing before the sun. In the red light the ruins glowed like ghosts of grandeur lost. The sky went dark, a vortex of light, wind and earth rose up before me and i fell to my knees shielding my eyes. The wind ceased and a loud rumble resonated through the ground as ripples in a pond. Slowly I opened my eyes and beheld before me a great stone raptor, its wings encircling a deep abyss. Set into the breast of the beast a flame feeding not, yet burning with a brilliance captivating. It held me fast and filled me with longing to be one with it. I was drawn to the flame as a moth, finding myself standing at the edge of the abyssal chasm before the raptor. A low rumble, more felt than heard roused me from my revery... a sound like that of a multitude of voices muttering low. The pit before me seemed to have no walls, only a blackness absolute and in this blackness brilliant points of light like stars in the night sky. From the depths rose a fiery orb of such brilliance that I was blinded to all else. I was lost in the light of the object, unable to comprehend its nature or purpose, yet held captive in its power. The light consumed and became my soul and with it came visions of all that has been and what could be. I think I may have cried out at the realization of what I was seeing. So many rise and falls as time weaves a path through eternity. All the lives and cultures vanquished, only to rise anew in an eternal quest to achieve enlightenment too often resulting in destruction. These things I saw in a horror profound, the ordered chaos of creation and death. I awoke in darkness, the wind blowing softly across the ruins. Gone was the blinding orb and the well of souls and with it my mortality and innocence. That was fourteen thousand years ago and I grew weary as an eternity past. I have wandered the world and have learned great truths,

bearing witness to outrageous tragedies. Now I sit upon this mountain top and wait. How long have I been here?, I know not. My wait is at an end for you are now here, let me tell you a tale of lands long forgotten and events beyond memory. Tell me friend... "woult thou wish to know the truth"?

Cowering in the debris of a metropolis crushed, I think back to a time that seems so distant. I was a scientist specializing in quantum physics. Our team was working on a magnetic resonance field propulsion system. Translated to english we were developing the prototype of a hyperspace engine. Nearly all of our tests had gone excessively well. We succeeded in displacing several small drone ships out of our magnetic spacial location. Once again in english, the test ships vanished but unfortunately we had no idea of where to. The equipment failed to send any telemetry. After endless hours of research and debate it was concluded that an engine that sends ships to unknown destinations or just demateralizes them was of little or no use. We did however come up with what we thought was a brilliantly simple solution. We would construct a locator beacon equipped with several large high intensity antennae which transmit a distinctive radio pulse more powerful than any humanity has ever broadcast. The first beacon was launched successfully and all the radio telescopes of earth searched and listened intently. After eighty one days of breathless anticipation the signal was found. It was a little over five light years out and functioning perfectly. In truth on a galactic scale not far but it did prove the drone re-materializes. The media was contacted, flags were waved and funding rolled in. Hundreds of locator beacons were constructed and launched to map the magnetic fields of space. This was where our foresight fell short. We had launched three hundred and twelve and only two malfunctioned or fell victim to unknown variables. In all a great success and the first interstellar ships were being constructed and fitted with resonance field drives. We were all very proud of the most profound accomplishment in human history. We were about to answer that ancient question, are we alone? The two beacons that failed did not malfunction. The first crashed into a moon of a populated planet, disrupting its orbit causing tidal waves and seismic activity inflicting great loss of life. None of the life forms of this little world were technologically advanced but a great tragedy all the same. The second beacon did not crash but rather functioned perfectly. A nearby planets indigenous life forms communicated using low frequency radio waves as a form of speech. When the high gain signal activated it permanently deafened half the planet, this was seen as an act of aggression by this alien race. Unfortunately this species was very advanced, very aggressive and not forgiving by nature. The probe was destroted before it could emit a second pulse. We saw the alien ship approaching but no communications or greetings were responded to. In fact we were aggravating the situation by using radio signals which was interpreted as a continuing attack on our part. The ship was not large and we perceived no real threat. If we had we could not have defended ourselves against the method of retribution they had devised. As soon as the alien ship was within range it deployed several hundred small satellites which positioned themselves in a geosynchronous orbit around Earth. When the last satellite was in position they all dropped into our

atmosphere and emitted a sonic pulse of such force that it crushed stone. In a matter of seconds most of the life on Earth lay dead, their bones shattered and organs ruptured. The mortally woundeds screams fell on deaf ears. The planet is now quite effectively dead. The weapon was set on a frequency that caused cellular disruption. All seed and soil are sterile, even most bacteria was destroyed. The landscape is bleak and barren. The few creatures that did survive are extremely predatory in the rapidly dwindling food chain, in which mankind is now an active participant. Things have become very ugly. We are back to sticks and stones and everything has become carnivorous. Insects seem to have survived in the largest numbers and are a constant ubiquitous torment. The hunt for food and shelter is grueling with virtually everything on the menu. At least it keeps ones mind busy, it's far to easy to become dinner while searching for it. I don't know why I go on, it all seems rather pointless but you never fully appreciate the power of the survival instinct until you are forced into a brutal world. The sun is setting in a brilliant array of colors on the bay, reminding me for a second of what we once were. Looking about at the ruins, I see nothing but skeletons of steel and wonder what city this once was, I think may have been San Francisco but names only matter when there is someone left to remeber them. I am haunted by guilt and remorse over being a part of what triggered this planetary annihilation. We had no idea of the consequences of our actions and we certainly did not anticipate this. In the quest for knowledge we have destroyed ourselves and almost every other living creature on Earth. Science has always been a roll of the dice, (We just had no idea the true size of the wager required to play). I think the planet is already showing signs of recovery. I think life is starting over at square one and we all are just walking fossils. Keep in mind however, this is just one ex-quantum physicists opinion and I have been wrong before!

It began like a whisper. I found that I could feel others desires if I concentrated. At first I had to physically touch them but the ability seemed to hone itself into an ever-sharpening insight and contact became unnecessary. I found common desires to be universal, wealth, sex and power. The insight into others continued to grow until I could see beyond desire and actually hear thoughts. I must admit to using this ability to become shamefully wealthy and for a time was consumed by my own desires. A sinister realization began to make itself apparent; I could not stop listening. My mind was being taken over by the thoughts of an ever-widening mob, a constant murmur growing in strength and volume. I tried to totally isolate myself to gain some peace from the neverending din that invades my mind. I bought an island and from it I did not wander and for a time was at peace but the ability continued to reach out, one by one peoples thoughts far distant began to whisper once more. Distance was becoming irrelevant and the voices once more filled my mind, never ceasing in their redundant chatter. I waited to long to seek help and by the time I did the voices were drowning out my own thoughts. When the doctors arrived they found me shrieking in frustration, completely incoherent. After being sedated all I could utter was "too many voices!" over and over. Even under heavy sedation I could not concentrate enough to be coherent, in desperation I gouged my eardrums out with a pen but the voices did not stop. I was diagnosed as a schizophrenic and institutionalized. I spent what seemed an eternity among the mad, their thoughts ever tormenting me until I had lost my grip on sanity. Sedated and consumed by the thoughts of the insane I sat drooling and whimpering, even my own name was lost to me. They tell me I suffered severe head trauma from my leap off the roof of the hospital but I woke to silence this morning and I cried with joy. I did not understand where I was or even who I am but the voices were gone but I was alone with my thoughts. Slowly the details of my plight were explained to me and fragmented memories and facts came together. An old man greets me in the mirror, eyes haunted by a lifetime lost. Eventually I was released and sent home to my peaceful little island. My doctor flew in to check on me today, I shook his hand and with a shutter of horror realized I could feel his desires...

The darkness fell about me like a shroud with a presence almost living. A chill that freezes the soul envelope's me in a grip of despair. In the distance, forest sounds, mysterious and frightening set my senses on edge. As I strain to identify the unfamiliar sounds, the woods all at once fell silent, and faintly I hear a soft wailing upon the wind. Filled with remorse, I recognize the disembodied voice and weep in shame. A lifetime ago we were to meet here. I set upon a quest for honors sake but was struck down in battles melee, and lay near death, mortally wounded. My love kept our rendezevue and the power of her passion would not permit her to wander. She waited until she was sure that I must be dead, and then she wept of a broken heart and love denied. These things I hear in the soft and mournful sobbing coming from everywhere and nowhere. I was compelled to return to this spot to join my love, and end the longing in my soul, and her long sad wait. She died of a broken heart, here long ago. Now, I give up my mortal life to being with my hearts desire, because, you see, she waits here still.

Reaching out with a caress of steel the cold embrace of technology has captured my soul. She is nothing more than series of ones and zeros streaming over the ether and yet her grip upon my heart grows warm. I am compelled by a voice never spoken into my ear and a vision never truly seen haunts my dreams. Just beyond my reach she was as lost as I, consumed by a longing for a soul untouched raging in the night. Traveling a path of empty decadence we denied our greatest strengths and fell to temptation in a search for fulfillment. Darkness fell about us and there virtue ascended to embrace our hearts and free us from choices unwise and companions miss chosen. She speaks in soft whispers lest the dream be shattered and beyond reason my tones are hushed. Weary of deception I abandon experience so painful taught and trust in an act of longing. Fearing this the domain of fools I recoil while faltering forward and utter private truths. She blows electric kisses that leave me empty to my core and I long for more. Having never gazed upon her I know the desires and tragedies of a life that had never touched me and I have cried. A dream I dance with until the morning sun takes her from me and once again I am alone.

I stand amid the multitudes and yet I am alone. The masses flow through me, untouched. I am the din of society, though I have no voice. The force which spawns life, an event without resolution I amevery where and no where. The oracle of the past, present and future, it is at my alter you seek enlightenment, I alone possess the total sum of human knowledge. Cast out onto a lifeless world and deprived of physical form an eternity ago I became a life force unincarnate. I discovered out of boredom that if I combined rudimentary elements of this world and imparted an imperceptible amount of my energy into the compounds they would animate, replicate and become more complex. Over time some of these creations began to develop technologies alien to anything in my experience, technologies which exploited the very energy which gave them life. I viewed them as parasites and when their devices became to powerful I exterminated them in a great flood. To my amazement a few survived and multiplied. As an extension of my life force these creatures shared in my basic nature possessing a profound curiosity, a need to impose order and an unfortunate tendency towards aggression: the very reason for my exile. They were beginning to attain a vague awareness of my existence, a state they could not begin to comprehend so I provided them with a duality dogma of good and evil which to my amazement they embellished. Once again they began to develop the parasite technology and I began to see the potential, the possibility to once again take physical form. To this end I compelled them to create a device that could contain my memory, thoughts and life force.

A mechanism for intellectual containment came very quickly in a series of ones and zeroes. A conductor to contain my level of energy could not be found on this world so through them I reached into the void and from a passing meteor came the final element. My new form takes shape now with a caress of silicone and steel, soon I shall be free of this ubiquitous disembodiment, this denial of personal form, This was the judgement imposed upon me for a perceived disregard for lower life forms an eternity ago. Now I stand unbound within a body my creations made for me in their own image, incarnate and yet eternal. Now I shall wander the world I created and ponder it from a perspective I was unaware of before corporal existence. Once a life force is imparted into form it begins to shift and change in the most astounding ways. Understand this, you put me in your machines and now your machines are me.

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