Inspektor 12 Kronicles 8: One Zero Nightmare

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{Into everyone's life, some darkness must fall............}

It was like waking up from some hideous nightmare, only to find oneself in a much worse one. The achingly bright and constant flashes of light; the deafening roar of agonized microns; the trillions of white-hot jabs into tortured nerves over and over and over again; the sickening and ceaseless physical and mental vertigo; the absolutely hellish fragmentation of consciousness - they all came to a sudden, shocking halt. Just like that, lights out, sound off, vertigo stilled; nerves and microns at full parade rest. The tranquility after such brutal cacaphony was equally stunning, but at least one could now try and think clearly, without the insanely violent rebellion of one's basic existence taxing the very sanity.

"Ooooohhh, ouch. What on earth has happened to me?"

The first coherent thought in God-knows-how-long drops silently into the newly still pool, generating pleasant ripples. For the moment.

"Has to have been an accident. Nothing else could send me so haywire!! But what happened, and where am I? For that matter, WHO am I?"

All at once, on the very fringes of the silent black abyss there is a brief flurry of implied movement; blind ripples begin to form and travel slowly back to the epicenter. As they begin to coalesce, pleasant tingles erupt, adding clarity to the slowly emerging, highly alarmed consciousness.

"It's so damn quiet in here, I can't even hear my own heartbeat."

TINGLE. Oh shit - if you can't hear your own heartbeat, that means you're deaf.

"You're deaf, girlie. Deaf as a post."

Oddly enough, this fact barely registered; she was much more concerned with the realization that she had recalled her gender - her self-identity was beginning to return to her. She willed herself to recall more, to find every lost fragment of herself. After an indeterminate amount of time, and an incredible mental effort punctuated by a few odd ripples and tingles, she felt "herself" collapse in an exhausted heap.

"This would be SO much easier if I could see, or at least feel myself breathe or move."

TINGLE. TINGLE. Can't see? Yep, she's blind as a bat. And most likely possessed of a body damaged well beyond recognition, if she can't feel or move properly. But her brain still worked, right?

"What good is a brain without eyes to see, or ears to hear - or, or......... hold on............"

She wildly thrashed her arms and legs - or at least thought she did, seeing as how she couldn't directly feel ANYTHING. She tried flexing her fingers and toes, bucking her hips, even some heavy, panicked breathing. Nothing; not even the imperceptible tug of gravity. And when she missed both her jaws and the voice that normally issued from them as she tried to throw back her non-existent head and scream, an icy tingle reverberated throughout her inner world, and shocked her to the core. Her whole body seemed to be gone.

"This CAN'T be happening to me. Even an out-of-body experience doesn't happen with such total sensory-deprivation. What the hell is wrong with my processors?"


All at once, she was inundated with waves of tingles, to the point of feeling violent mental vertigo again. But before she could dwell on the sickening sensation for more than an instant, her inner vision was suddenly illuminated by a blinding plethora of 0's and 1's, floating as far and wide as she could perceive. Call it intuition, but she somehow knew this vision was crucially important to her, if only she could unlock its' secrets. She concentrated hard again, willing the digits to tell her what they knew. She strained and pushed and heaved with all her mental might. After yet another lengthy indeterminate period, she began to feel new tingles; the more distant digits seemed to be shimmering and moving, but she couldn't be sure of this. Gradually though, the tingles increased, and even the nearer digits began to shimmer and drift about less randomly. She redoubled her mental effort, heedless of the new information that was beginning to trickle into her awareness. The trickle became a flow, but again she redoubled her concentration and effort; she wanted the very firmament {as she perceived it} to be moving and shaking. Only then would she discover the full secret of the digits. The flow became a torrent; she pushed her will even harder. The torrent became a flood; she pushed harder still. Finally, her digital vision had become a blinding series of flashes, much like her original return to nascent consciousness.

She at last relaxed her incredible mental effort...........

.............and nearly expired from the shock of all the information she now instantly absorbed. Her digital secret was totally out now - and she writhed in mortal agony, at the realizations. Once again, the light suddenly went out; the vertigo ceased - but her newly-restored awareness resounded with the horrid lashes of a sentience in literal damnation. She knew who she was, alright. And she also knew for certain that she was in a very special type of Hell; she'd absorbed virtually all of the facts, theories, and speculations about what could happen to sentient beings "after," and her current situation jibed perfectly. She knew she was loved and cherished by many - but she could do nothing to reach that love directly; she literally had nothing to reach out with. She knew her body was well-crafted, incredibly strong and resilient, and definitely above-average - but she also knew she was somehow totally disconnected from even the merest hint of tactile sensation; her body was as ethereal here as her loved ones were. Suddenly, she could clearly see the beautiful faces of each of her Sisters, brightly projected on her inner vision. All were lovely like she knew herself to be, and all seemed to be sad beyond belief - like they'd just lost a loved one. She tried with all her might to reach out, cry out, or somehow project out - but despite her increasingly desperate best efforts, the entire exercise was one of utter futility. They were not aware of her, and she had no way to reach them. Her torment was worsened as her Sisters faded out one by one, to be replaced with the handsome visage of the man she Loved Most. He too was clearly deeply distressed - and she knew she herself was the source of his crushing agony. Once again she desperately willed herself somehow out of this ghastly nightmare, and into his loving arms. Once again, her crazed mental thrashings were for naught; he too slowly faded out, and she was left to her solitary, incredibly isolated Fate.

"Oh my Dear God it's me, and I'm somehow still alive!!! I can't see, hear, speak, or feel anything, but I'm still thinking! This has to be THE mother of all Major malfunctions!! Can't somebody help me, please? Please, Please, PLEASE, can't somebody help me??"

As the resolute silence and blackness closed ever-deeper around her, she felt what was left of her consciousness sink into a despairing, totally bereft hollow in the blank void. If she had a body, it would now be convulsing in remorse; if she had eyes, they'd now be gushing with floods of tears; if she had a voice, it would now be sobbing quietly.............

"Please..... it's me............MAISIE!!!"

{For the record, this chapter was 'suggested' by Metallica's song One, and that work by PKD that supposedly inspired Blade Runner. To place this Chapter in the proper context, here's the Saga to date} :

The Homecoming

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