General Fiction posted September 20, 2022

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a novel chapter 2000 words

Peregrination of Bin Eleven

by Bill Schott


Stories of the universe can begin anywhere. The absolute magnitude of the brightest suns reveal the secrets found on even the most antipodal points which circumnavigate such discerning stars. Planets, asteroids, and even the minutest meteoroids can be held up by observers of galactic mysteries – and reduced to tea leaves to be perused by we readers.   

Whether within the galaxy of Whirlpool, Sunflower, or Tadpole, the truth can be seen and weighed for merit. If one enters the Sombrero, Pinwheel, or Comet galaxies, millions of tales will begin to appear. Neither the Cigar or Magellanic galaxy, nor the Hoag or Redshift, have realities beyond our reckoning.  Cartwheel, Bode, and Black Eye, too, hold tales to be tapped for the universe’s benefit.  Even the galaxy of Andromeda, or the familiar Milky Way, can present anecdotes, chronicles, and diegesis which leave us with lessons to take forward into the blossoming future.

Within this last-named galaxy, a solar system holds planets which we can witness and reflect on as we move through our understanding of self. 

History adds up as every day is stacked onto another. Days upon weeks, weeks upon months, months upon years, decades, centuries – millennia. 

We look at the structure, imprecise, but towering and steady; look behind it, for the more likely edifice which this gingerbread construction obscures; beyond it, to new sites for further formations, and, ultimately, may even choose to knock it down and rebuild.

Earth, the foundation on which the human races have established the existing cultures, rotates like a child’s spinning toy on an invisible rotisserie.  The ellipsoid mass also revolves around the hot ball of glowing gasses at the center of the solar system. This configuration creates a schedule for days, seasons, and conditions which allow life to exist and flourish. 

Some days begin and end with little or no detectable progress or loss. Imperceptible, like the passing scenery offered to a vehicle in a competition that races within a set environment on a closed track. Life passes and repeats in an unfocused  peripheral display. An indiscernible mural seen through a dirty window. 

The light moves over the waters, mountains, deserts, and plains with only the illumination of geography. Surfaces warm or glow depending on where they meet the sun’s rays. Water softens or percolates from this solar bombardment. 

Nights become a cold scene, witnessed by millions of starry eyes peering in from the inky universe. Shadows disappear into trackless darkness. What was seen is unseen, as the lightless environment hides its designs.

Such are the days which begin and end on a seemingly endless wheel.  Spinning in the intricate design of the balanced solar system, a world operates within the galactic mechanism.

On other days, the world goes to war. 

The western hemisphere, controlled by the castes of the Klami, the Kot, and the Dee, is attacked on a continental scale by the eastern castes beyond the Rising Sun Sea. 

An electromagnetic pulse shocks the systems of all buildings and vehicles on land, sea, and air, across both continents under caste control.  Nuclear blasts snap along the horizons on both the eastern and western limits.  

Aircraft, being robbed of power, plummet to the ground from forty thousand feet. Ships are ripped from the sea and violently torn asunder by the hurricane force waves produced by several nuclear detonations.

Humans evaporate, become flaming flesh flares, or are peeled by minute flechettes of debriding metal.  Radiation pierces all unprotected surfaces, killing whatever receives the irresistible waves of energy. 

Android armies, assembled in tiered formations of purpose and number, automatically dispatch to serve and protect humanity with both programmed and intuitive responses. Legions of offensive and defensive-oriented cybernetic servants flood onto the surface of the continents.  Selected companies are launched as self-contained aerial observers, searching the sky and surface for either friend or foe. Each unit is prepared to rescue or eliminate whomever or whatever is found.

Units of one hundred, move as broad blades through the sky, or as conscious combs across terrain, impervious to conventional projectiles or gamma radiation. 

 The beach is littered with  debris from the explosions.  Huge sections of aircraft lay next to jetsam, still washing in with the mahogany-tinted tide.  Pieces and parts of  people form thousands of putrid piles of commingled remains. 

From the water, like hesitant invaders from the brooding sea, flotsam of flesh and buoyant remains of ships or aircraft, push and pull and plod ahead to the receiving shoreline. If one could see further than the eye could see, a world, flushed into the sewer of a pulverized planet, floats on the brimming brine.

Across the expanse of the Setting Sun Sea, the forgotten areas remain hidden and muted since the time of the Decision.  Similar attacks cover this vast, undefined region with unrecorded effects.

Beneath many meters of glacial soil, within cells designed to maintain organic life, movement begins where all was dormant. 

Waking from induced comatose states, one hundred zomanoids begin absorbing enlightening data from pre-loaded historic files. Such intelligence had been updated through satellite downloads until those devices went into disrepair. To what extent the information has been kept in line with the changing times is yet to be determined. 

Developed in the eastern hemisphere, while being the subject of multiple skirmishes dedicated to ending the scientific project to extend mankind into the animal world, the zomanoids survived aggressive attempts to destroy them and all research associated with their creation.

Of the five herds of zomanoids, human/animal genetic manipulations, made up of cats, apes, birds, snakes, and fish, each has ten members and a designated alpha leader.

Members of each Z-force block are indoctrinated with identical general skills, and specific intensive training unique to each individual. 

Felinans, led by Tomas, average seven feet in height and three hundred pounds. Razor-sharp claws allow them to be fierce fighters. The block contains, along with Tomas, Lynx, Leopard, Leotine, and Sly. 

“Felinans,” Tomas calls to the rising clowder. “We are awakened and will soon be advised as to how our services will be employed. Key on me at all times. I will be your rudder and sail as we embark on this important endeavor.”

Gorillans, with Magus leading, have a similar build with gripping ability with all four appendages. This block also includes Cato, Grim, Bump, and Jood.

“Gorillans,” Magus calls to the rising shrewdness. “We are awakened and will soon be advised as to how our services will be employed. Key on me at all times. I will be your rudder and sail as we embark on this important endeavor.”

Avesans, with flock leader Woodson, are huge but light, and have the ability to fly. Their block consists of Condor, Falcon, Hawk, and Kite. 

“Avesans,” Woodson calls to the rising flock. “We are awakened and will soon be advised as to how our services will be employed. Key on me at all times. I will be your rudder and sail as we embark on this important endeavor.”

Serpentans, kept together by Seyton, are cold-blooded and can get into and through close places. Python, Strict, Fang, and Viper make up this block.

“Serpentans,” Seyton calls to the rising rhumba. “We are awakened and will soon be advised as to how our services will be employed. Key on me at all times. I will be your rudder and sail as we embark on this important endeavor.”

Piscesans, controlled by Aquarius, can breathe both on land and underwater. Barracuda, Grouper, Ickthus, and Jonah complete this zomanoid block.

“Piscesans,” Aquarius calls to the rising school. “We are awakened and will soon be advised as to how our services will be employed. Key on me at all times. I will be your rudder and sail as we embark on this important endeavor.”

On the cluttered beach of the Klami caste scene, where devastation still rains from the sky, and ocean wreckage rolls in from the ocean, located a decimeter below  the glazed sand, two figures push up, cracking the surface like weary chicks through a stubborn shell. Rising to standing, the pair, cloaked in scientifically treated sheeting, slowly disencumber themselves of the steaming protective material.

Across the span of the darkening beach, leeching scarlet from the blushing foam, which vomits the chum of carnage across the lapping landscape, the couple can see mounds of humanity and fragments of formerly flying mechanisms, like the taint of monsters in a milieu of tombstones. 

The taller, six-foot-six figure, a cybernetic entity in humanoid form, tested the atmosphere for harmful inhalants and radiation.  Finding the ambient atmosphere still in transition, the second lifeform, a six-foot supremiant, is advised to maintain a protective posture until further analysis would permit unrestricted breathing of and exposure to the air.

Bin Eleven, a supremiant from the Klami caste, double-checks the seals on her mission gear. Oxygen is being filtered properly through the exo-membrane, which also stops radioactive exposure. 

"Doh-doh-doh -- Long-range sensor report," says Bin Eleven through her command link.

The cybernetic, 888, scans the environment out to one kilometer. Sensing a ping, just within the search limit, in a forty-six degree angle from their location, the android rates the threat to be low.  It is another biological being:  humanoid -- struggling -- immobile.  This analysis is delivered and impressed to Bin Eleven's neural receptors.

"Doh-doh-doh -- Two plus one? Three minus one?", asks the supremiant, eliciting input on whether to save or eliminate the identified non-Klami caste survivor. 

Answering the query with a silent electronic response, the two then extricate themselves from the protective pit, and move in the direction of the floundering enigma. 

 Treading the burnt beach, filling her senses with the sounds of a wounded world, Bin Eleven reviews what she knows of the clingdoms, or continental castes of the Klami, Kot, and Dee.

Teachings, revealed to her in her youth, told of the rise of the three sects. From the frozen north, the Kot banded together to survive, after all other governments dissolved. Thousands created a system of unity which gave strength and power to the denizens of the icy realm.

The southernmost of the two continents was held together by the Dee caste. Jungles, mountains, and temperatures, which warranted minimal garments, make up the vegetation-rich region.

Bin Eleven lived within the vastness of the controlling center. From sea to shining sea, the Clingdom of the Klami caste ruled and protected what the leaders considered the important  features of a civilization. A common positivity, a belief in the power which is derived from focused unity, and the necessity of dominion over all that could be controlled.

Notes: This story imagines the world of the distant future divided into two (or possibly three) distinct powers. The “Clingdoms” of the Western Hemisphere, mainly the continents of North and South America, are ruled from top to bottom by castes of powerful human beings. 

These castes have raised armies of artificial life in humanoid form to serve as soldiers, servants, personal security, and penetrating spies. The overriding goal of the Western Hemisphere is to gain total control of the world and its possessions on land, under the seas, and in outer space.

Bin Eleven will be the focus of the story as the aftermath of global annihilation is surveyed, traversed, and survived.

Asian, European, and Australian continents contain the Clingdoms of the Eastern Hemisphere.  There are several castes of humans, cloned humans, and some superior “Newmans” have created cross-genetically-blended life forms in humanoid form.  These creatures serve as specially trained combatants and military strategists. These clans concentrate on making the planet better; they strive to make the earth produce what it can, and to do all things necessary to create balance. 

Yet to be revealed are the human colonists who inhabit the moon bases established a century prior to the events occurring as this story begins. They are scientists, explorers, mercenaries, and even a few aliens. 

As the story moves forward, all of these players will be thoroughly deployed and examined as the tale mines the probabilities and possibilities of such a future.

A First Book Chapter contest entry


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