Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sudden Short Story 4

Notes: I came up with this one a few weeks ago. Normally, I write these down right away, but I had already closed the computer down for the night, so I jotted down notes and went to sleep. Then I kept forgetting about it. Here's the story, finally.
Yog was in the arboretum mortis, reading some ancient literature, wheren his friend Randy found him.
"There you are!" he said, a little too loudly for Yog's liking. Randy, like most people, spoke and listened because he preferred it when having a direct conversation with someone in his own presence in meatspace. He was right there with Yog, after all, though Randy hadn't been left much choice. Quieting down after getting a stern look from a stranger across the room, he continued, "You've been offline for over an hour. I was starting to get worried."
"I decided to read these the old-fashioned way," Yog replied. "Back when these things were written, people didn't have any direct feeds. Frak, back then, the closest thing was a ticker tape, and they had to go to a special machine for it."
Randy took the opportunity to see what Yog was reading. He caught "and studied Whateley's gorilla-like lope as he crossed the bit of campus visible from the window.", and quickly responded - as it took him essentially no time to search the work in which that exact phrasing originated - "'The Dunwich Horror' by a certain Howard Phillips Lovecraft, early twentieth century writer of horror and something called 'weird fiction', which is apparently --"
"Do you want to know what I found that was interesting?" Yog interrupted.
"I might as well."
"'Yog-Sothoth knows the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the key and guardian of the gate. Past, present, future, all are one in Yog-Sothoth. He knows where the Old Ones broke through of old, and where They shall break through again. He knows where They have trod earth's fields, and where They still tread them, and why no one can behold Them as They tread.'"
"Well, seeing as how you didn't read the whole text to me, I gather that you wanted to draw my attention to that section, but all that I see is a bit of a coincidence. You're named Yog-Sothoth, there's a Yog-Sothoth in that book, apparently, but, come on, that's bound to happen at some point. With all of the weird names that people have, and all of the weird words made up for fiction, somebody's going to be named something that's been used before."
"Yes, but I'm not so sure that this is a coincidence. You know that bit of a gap in my memories, right? Well, I don't recall why I named myself Yog-Sothoth. I can't help but think that this is more than a coincidence."
"So, does this mean more book-reading," asked Randy, trying to not show his disappointment.
"No. I remembered something else. Let's go to the Sol System."
Yog got online, put the book away, and went to the front door, where Randy was waiting. They took off, and landed at the nearest warp-gate terminal. Yog went first, requesting a warp-gate to Earth, and stepping through as Randy asked for the same.

When Randy got to Earth, he initiated a call to Yog. "Hey, you forgot to specify where on Earth. I'm near Kyoto. Where are you?"
"It doesn't matter. I just checked and Mars is closer."
"'Closer'? Where exactly are we going?"
"We're going to an asteroid in the belt," Yog replied. He forgot to dissonate his communications, so Randy heard him as he said "warp-gate to Martian night, midnight preferred".
Randy followed suit, and soon both were standing under the night skies of Mars, at a gate that was shortly before Martian midnight.
"The Solar asteroid belt's pretty boring. There's nothing interesting there except 1 Ceres, and we're nearly opposite it!" Randy complained.
"Yeah, but I've got these numbers in my head that don't match anything else there. They work as systemic coordinates, though, so I might as well have a look. If you're coming, then make sure that you bring enough fog." With that, Yog gathered up a large volume of nanofog, set the protocols for long-term control, made an ovoid around himself, set the outside to shimmer, and took off into the night sky.


They moved through the belt, heading where only Yog knew. The destination appeared to be an ordinary asteroid. Randy caught up to Yog when he stopped, touching their fogs so that they could talk.
"So what's this, then?"
"I think that a part of me is here. I think that I've pieced it together: It is the gate, and I am the key."
"Well, then, how do you unlock it?"
Without answering, Yog moved toward the asteroid. He orbited it closely, looking for anything that he might have missed. After a few minutes, he stopped, and messaged Randy directly, informing him that he didn't see anything that would be out of the ordinary for an asteroid of that shape and size in that system. Randy moved up alongside Yog, and said unto him, "Well, we could start cutting, though it would take a while with this little fog. We could surely crack it with more material, but I doubt that you want that, if it really does contain a piece of you. Are you sure that this is the right rock?"
"Yeah," Yog sighed, "I thought so," and rested his hand upon it. In a moment, his hand sank, unexpectedly, into the surface. "Oh, maybe that's how it's supposed to work," Yog commented, as he sank further and further into the asteroid. Randy put his hand on the surface, but nothing happened.
"It must be somehow keyed to you, Yog," he said, and used his fog to look at and feel the area around Yog. "I'm not sensing any action, though." Too quickly, though, Yog was gone.
With nothing else to do, Randy waited. It was a bit unnerving, that. There was nothing to occupy his time, and even the nearest contact point was subject to luminal lag, so there wasn't much point to anything other than passive reception. Since he was waiting for Yog, Randy figured that he might as well look into some old media, but then, Yog emerged from the asteroid.
"Well there you are," Randy said, as he followed Yog back to Mars. "So? What happened?"
"I'm not at liberty to say, nor can I, really," said Yog, "Whatever is in there, there's a reason that I made myself forget it. This time, though, I at least got myself to remember why this rock is here, so that I don't repeat this incident."
"Well, it's not like you had much choice," Randy retorted, "since I was here, too. It's not like you could make me forget."
"Oddly enough, I feel like I could...."

"wheren" - a blend of "where" and "when", developed to express both and the interconnected nature of space and time
Note (2010/December/29): I apparently started this back on July 28th, which was itself apparently after I first had the idea, per my note above.

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