Unnamed Journal Volume 2, Issue 4 - Page 8

Void – Chapter 6 by Andrew Patrick She manifested from all corners of the brig, seeping in a sheet of dust as thin as a grain. Gradually she congealed before him, rose, and appeared in the form of Alera Zool. Lang looked at her, examining the features. The simulation was flawless, down to the stray hairs. Even Alera's imitation leather boots, sheened a color that was once called "oxblood" and now went as "red dwarf", were there. Lang wondered at that. Were the boots real? If he pulled them off, could he wear them? Did this imitation Zool have feet in them, or would those only appear if the boots came off? Was it only a visual simulation, or did the dust, once it devoured someone, retain their pattern on some electro-cellular level that it could reproduce at will? "Why am I here?" said Lang. "Why are any of us here?" said the Alera, "we grow, feed, pass on our patterns..." So it was the pattern thing, Lang thought to himself. "That isn't what I meant." "I know. But it's a useful answer anyway. You think us very strange. You think us a threat to your existence. The first thing is true. The second is not." "I saw you eat Covey. I saw you rip him to pieces." "And then you saw us painstakingly put him back together. Covey is with us. Covey is here. We can summon him at will." Lang was startled by these revelations. He did not know any of that. "That won't be Covey. That will be your simulation of Covey." "Does it look like Covey?" "There's more to a man than appearance." "True. There are also his patterns of behavior. There are his memories, and his specific interpretations of his memories. Those we retain also." "Bullshit." "Did you know," said the Alera, "That Covey had a baby sister whom he never saw after he went to space? Did you know that Covey has her picture inside his jumpsuit? Did you know that he says goodnight to this picture before retiring every night?" Lang was startled by these revelations. He did not know any of that. "Is that true?" "When Covey was a boy, RW6VBF6VFFR6&fVBbFRf&ֆW6RvW&RRw&WrWB&6RvBfW&VBg&6&W"7F&RRVBB6gFǒVVvBFvRRआRWfW"FBRFRv&B&WBFB'WBvRrBvR&VV&W"Bb6fWw2V&W0&RW'2 %FB6wB&RG'VR FRW&Fr6֖VB$W&vFVBR