Preview – Breathe Into Existence
It’s coming! I’ve got just a few chapters left to tighten up, then Book Four: Breathe Into Existence will be nearly complete! I am planing for an early May release. As a tease, I’m going to post the full Prologue today.
As you may have noticed, the Prologues in each book have belonged to Orynn while the Epilogues in each book have belonged to Jarren. The Prologue for Breathe Into Existence carries this theme, but in a slightly different approach.
~*~*~* ~*~*~* ~*~*~*~
Prologue : Waiting
What do you see, Ethan?
A distant whisper echoed across Ethan’s mechatronic synapses, syncopated in electrical pulses of awareness. Following its direction, he opened his sapphire blue eyes, their calibration sensors adjusting to the strange landscape in which he found himself standing. A white fog caressed every surface, enveloping his tall figure and masking the world beyond. It swirled around him with subtle waving movements, embracing his outstretched hand then backing away with a hint of sentience.
What do you see, Ethan?
One step forward took him deeper into the fog and away from the vaguely familiar voice as he sought an answer to its insistent question. He felt as if he should know this place, but it all felt like a distant memory – clouded, with its meaning just out of reach.
“No,” he heard his own voice whisper, though his lips remained still. “Not a memory. A dream.”
What do you see, Ethan?
Closing his eyes again, he smiled and embraced the fog. “Orynn.”
Distant, fluttering laughter broke through the fog and his eyes opened to search for it. His feet began walking, speeding up with each step in a gravitational pull towards the sound. More laughter was joined by lapping water against the edge of land. A pond.
A memory within a dream.
“Berian Two,” he said as the fog cleared to reveal a geothermal pond surrounded by park benches, located on a planet where Orynn had lived for several years. Unlike Orynn’s memory, the park was devoid of people, except for one child playing along the water’s edge.
Ethan tilted his head to the left and watched the child with curiosity. He knew the planet and the pond from Orynn’s memories, but not this time or this child. It had not been a memory she had shared, but as he sat upon a bench, he could feel her presence within every part of it.
“Where are you?” he whispered to the lingering fog as the child came closer. The child was wearing bright blue mud-boots, a thick winter jacket and a bright blue knitted cap. It was such a strange thing to find himself watching, but he could only assume he had been brought here for a reason.
“Hello,” the young boy spoke as he wandered up to Ethan. “Are you lost?”
Ethan’s head tilted the other way, surveying the inquisitive nature of the boy’s blue eyes. A few strands of white hair peeked out from the boy’s winter hat as it threatened to fall off. “I’m not sure,” Ethan replied. “What about you? Are you lost?”
“No.” The boy’s lopsided smile was familiar, just like everything else in this place. “Just waiting.”
Ethan’s mind struggled to focus on the detail of that smile in an effort to identify why he felt as if he should know it. “Waiting for what?”
“The beginning.” The boy turned back to the pond. Bending down, he picked up a flat stone, examined it then tossed it across the water. It skipped twice before sinking. The boy let out a disappointed sigh. “Not yet.”
Ethan stood up and approached the water’s edge. “The beginning of what?”
The boy turned his blue eyes and lopsided smirk up to Ethan. “Of everything.” The boy picked up another stone, this time handing it to Ethan. “It’ll be soon, I think. So, you need to hurry, okay? You need to find her before they do.”
“Find… find Orynn?” Ethan looked from the stone in his hand to the boy, but the boy continued staring out at the water’s glassy, unmoving surface. “Who else is looking for her? Who are you?”
“Soon,” the boy whispered. “They’re coming.”
“Who?” Ethan reach to grab the boy’s shoulder, but a darkness rumbled overhead catching Ethan’s attention. Black, violent looking clouds crackled with brilliant cascading lightning as a howling wind ripped through the fog. When Ethan looked back down, the boy was gone. A second screaming wind pushed through the dream, raking across the pond and tearing into Ethan’s figure before the pitch-black void overtook him.
“What did you see, Ethan?”
The blue synthetic skin of his eyelids crinkled in a wince before they opened, his mechanical irises focusing in and out in the sudden harsh light surrounding him. Ethan was back in the medical bay onboard the Zera, his body stiff against the padded examination bed. Flexing his fingers and then his ankles, he sat up to try an reorient his bearings.
“What did you see?” Seriisa repeated the question from her vigil next to the bed.
“I…” He blinked as he tried to hold onto the memory. “I’m not entirely certain.”
“Hold on,” Jennadri touched Ethan’s shoulder as he started to turn. “You’re still connected to the monitor.”
Ethan stopped moving, waiting for the short, redheaded half-Hedarion to disconnect the wire leading from the connection jack behind his left ear to the monitoring station. “Get any readings?”
“Not sure,” Jen mumbled, her own mechatronic ocular implants moving rapidly over the data readout on the display. “This has been tested in Jacob’s lab, but I’ve never actually tried to track a traveling consciousness before. It’s all just energy, right? So, theoretically, it’s possible, but it’s all new technology.”
He nodded slowly, his hope for finding Orynn diminishing. Instead of relying on tech, which had previously comprised his whole understanding of the universe, he tried finding clues within the dream. Meeting Orynn, learning about auras, Vestrasa, and all the other weird shit hidden just outside what was visible, had changed his whole way of looking at the world around him.
“There was a pond,” he stated as images from the dream registered in his SSB-drive. “But I don’t think it’s where Orynn physically is. It was more like a memory, and there… there was a boy.”
“A boy?” Seriisa’s irises shifted from soft green to pink. “What else?”
Ethan set his feet down and stood, his eyes glancing over Jen’s shoulder at the readout. “He said he was waiting… and that I had to find her before they did.”
“They who?” Jen asked, her eyes still examining the data.
Ethan shrugged. “I don’t know, but I think it had to do with the storm I encountered just before waking up. The storm felt familiar. It all felt familiar, actually. Even the boy.”
Seriisa leaned back against the counter, her eyes closing in contemplation as she tried to read the Fate-lines still swarming around Ethan’s aura – an aura which, given his Mechatronic nature, shouldn’t exist. A subtle smile tugged at the corners of her mouth. The universe, it seemed, was shifting. What it was shifting towards, was as yet unreadable.
Orynn’s thickly connecting chord continued to bind all their fates together, drawing them through the universe’s developing story, but Seriisa could find no new answers in the lines. Opening her eyes, their irises now a curious grey, she tried reading the essence of the dream itself. “Could the boy have been the manifestation of Orynn’s Nu’anae?”
“Possibly,” Ethan whispered, the boy’s blue eyes and lopsided smile grinning up at him through the fog of a fading dream. It was possible that the boy could have been the Rapture, or what Jacob had called the Nu’anae – the part of Orynn’s aura described as being emotionally charged with pure joy. “It certainly wasn’t the Wraith. If anything was the Wraith, it was that storm I encountered.”
Jen blinked away from the readout and looked between the Mecha and the Esiian. Auras, split personalities, Fate and technology – it was an odd meeting between the realms of science and the metaphysical, but Jen had seen enough strange shit in her time to know there was more to the universe than what could be seen. Didn’t make her any less skeptical, but she was at least willing to give it all a try.
Jen’s eyebrow quirked up high, her thought left unvoiced as the machine behind her beeped, seeking attention. Her other eyebrow raised to meet the first’s high stance and a low whistle passed through her pursed lips. “Well, shit.”
“It didn’t work?” Ethan frowned over Jen’s shoulder.
“Oh, it worked alright,” Jen tapped her finger against the view-screen. “Just not exactly as intended. I got nothin’ trying to read where your energy signature went, but when you came ‘back’, so did this.”
Curious, Seriisa leaned in behind Jen’s other shoulder. “Coordinates? And… what about all those ones and zeros after?”
“A message in binary,” Ethan’s fingers brushed over the numbers, as if they were a piece of his beloved Velstrae’s spirit sent back across the stars. “It says ‘Please hurry.’.”