Thursday, 2 April 2015

Memory Hunter part 2 - Enigmatic Matron

She headed through the last slide door and found herself in a large round hall. It was the very bottom of the prison. Brightly lit with glass floor, her steps were echoing distinctly against a background of Chopin's Etude Opus 25. The spheric roof was one giant display - a visualiser, at present, gentle waves trickling and fluttering amiably in harmony with the mellow piano tune. On the opposite side of the hall a platform, rising slightly above the floor, emanating a rainbow-coloured light, an upright prismatic beam.
"It's all in there."
The hunter focused on the last detail in the hall.
"All that you came here for."
A tall female figure, sternly posed, addressing her in a tender but patronising way. A walking cane in one hand and ,surprisingly, an old-fashioned remote in the other.
"Do you like what I've done with the place?"
Gentle wrinkles around her mouth and edge of her eyes.
"How do you find the music?"
The hunter felt cold sweat on her palms. The gaze of her "host" - black sharp eyes, under steep eyebrows, piercing her constantly.
"I am the head warden...but I suppose you don't remember that any-more."
She was immaculate in every aspect. Her formal, but pragmatic tight clothing, polished leather footwear, her black hair swooped in a straight waterfall keeping not a hair against the fair skin of her face. The greying bits were a compliment to her posture.
"Please call me Madame!"
Taking insecure steps Jane was circling Madame trying to stay as far as possible, all the same time trying to get close to the beam.
"Oh, don't worry it's all in there."
The piano in the background had come to a dramatic breakthrough.
"But, of course, you will need some extra mentoring to read it", Madame wasn't even bulging, giving her a sarcastic smirk.
Jane had come an arm's reach away form the beam and brought her arm into the light. Momentarily she saw the same old white haze, but this time instead of it being a wide ocean with bees and wisps of light swimming inside of it, it was a flux of waves, flowing into Madame. There was total darkness outside of the Hall, nothing else visible except the blindingly distinct Neural network of the Warden.
"Don't worry, everything that you once were is right there. Encoded" Madame gave her a pitying but understanding grimace "You've done well, Child. Coming so far."
The vision had switched back to normal when Jade brought her arm out of the flux. The odd mnemonic membranes left in glitches of the network of the HUB had been aiding her to move undetected around the prison. 
"Tell me," Madame lowered the volume of the sonata "what have you learned while you were away from here. How does one push without any suspicion into the maw of the beast?
Jane was nothing without her memories.
"You've noticed every little bit of a crumb I've given you" Madame brought her index and thumb together in front of her eyes.
Jane was tired of being somebody's tool and believed that the key was there - in her past. It had to be.
"I will give you that, child" Madame's expression got serious "you've followed a ghost trail and pressed into the unknown without a second thought in your head."
The music stopped and switched to an ocular vision of the prison. The rest of the "guests" were drooling idly abouts, just some kind of breezy, vague interest in the surroundings - casual, composed and easy. Without their memories they had no beliefs and no desires.
"This" Madame pointed with her cane "is the difference between you and them!"
"keep focus, keep focus" Jane was thinking. She was getting unnerved.
"With no game the cat looses interest." Madame turned over to grand the "guests" a pitying look "And the cat likes to play."
"Do you always waste so much saliva?" Jane was perhaps a bit too tense now.
Swinging on her heels Madame gave her a disappointed glance.
"I do hope you haven't become a hoodlum out there. Where is your style...little mouse?" The last word came with a wicked smile.
A moment of silence and Jane realised that it was her turn to speak.
"Give me what I came here for" (indeed where was the style?)
"Not a chance..." a grin "See if you can take it!"
Jane composed herself a bit.
"Have you been down here for so long with these lolly gaggers that you've become not only bored but mad?!"
Madame was serious for a moment "That's the spirit!", the same wicked smile "Little mouse..."
She vanished in a flash of light.
Appeared right in front of Jane "That's the spirit!"
Jane lost it and launched her right in a terrified rage at Madame but there was nothing there.
"Little mouse..."
All too quickly a container formed around Jane, the walls flying from nowhere, assembled together with an metallic clang. She started moving, as if in an elevator. Just enough time to slow down her heart pace. The wall in front slid aside revealing an surreal scape. Everything so white. Various cuboids in all sizes formed the floor and walls of a corridor straight ahead. Pixelised flicker distorted the shapes of some of the bodies. So many empty spaces between them and only a white abyss beyond. Lines with the letters "TRAUMA" were leading straight ahead.
"You can't stay here!" Madame's voice was omnipresent.
The elevator started unravelling itself back into nowhere. Jane ran. Everything behind her was swooped away or faded away in a gust of dust. A little further ahead was a section of the floor missing. Jane accelerated and tossed herself over, only to have the cubes where she was to land on disappearing. She began to fall. A pit formed around her and she felt her weight gradually coming back to her. Slowing her fall she brought her leg close to the wall and started running down on what now was a corridor ahead.
"Your mastery is fantastic!" as if from above.
Jane looked up and instantly crashed into a block. She collapsed on her back and began yet another free fall. Opening her eyes there was nothing except white nothingness. Various trigonometrical forms started appearing around her, falling together with her.
"Feeling more comfortable?" Madame was mocking.
Jane grabbed a cube and stretched it horizontally, by extending her hands. She compressed it vertically with an opposite motion and hopped onto the platform and regained again her sense of weight. She flexed her arm towards a sphere and as if tearing paper motioned the thing bellow her. Stretching both her arms she extended the object into a podium.
"Brilliant!" it came from behind her.
Jane turned and saw only Madame's cane up close and briefly. The solid thud knocked her off and she fell on the podium, her breath gushing out. Gasping like a fish she turned over and stood on all four. Raised her head to see Madame stretching her arm, a gun forming from pixelised bits swarming together.
"It's just a game after all!"
She shot and Jane got pinned to the ground, a sensation as of a giant mixer tucked into her. A few more shots followed. Every time a paralysing surge with an overstimulating pulse. Jane was shaken with every bang, a wave that felt like her body wanted to fly everywhere at the same time. Her head last, followed by a loud beep in her ears and a blurry vision. Wobbling, she stood on four again. Looking up she distinguished three Madames. A friendly grin followed by a cane from the left, a humiliating slap from the right and a kick, turning her over.
A brief stop from the "game". She took in a breath and her sight cleared.
"This place has really turned you into one sadistic bitch!" Jane clutched her teeth. She had but one option.
"Fascinating!" Madame had a girlish blush on her cheeks. She raised her cane and the ground bellow Jane dented up so quickly that Jane was tossed into the air. Madame gestured and Jane was brought in front of her.
"Compose yourself, child."
Jane was in arm's reach from Madame. She activated an algorithm in her body. It would suck the usual amount of flux, but luck was all she had left. The neural reconfiguration setup was compressed in bits and ready to be send over. A touch on the flesh was all that was needed. All her body's electricity had the reconfiguration code encrypted and it just needed to flow into Madame. Jane raised her left...
...and an iron grip clenched her.
"That is too dangerous for you!"
An ethereal enforcer had appeared. The bulky man was grasping her hand tightly.
"And it's also dangerous for me." Madame was seemingly amused.
The guard briskly twisted the arm back and Jane's left shoulder cracked. A desperate cry and she winced, falling down, still gripped the guard.
"This is the whole meaning of re-education"
The man plunged his fist into his victim's stomach. Jane sprang slightly in the air.
"It seems the rats never learn though."
The guard grabbed her head from behind and propelled his at hers."It's just a Mnemosis" she thought. The impact came and with it sharp pain in the skull.
Jane collapsed on the floor. The round Hall was there now. She felt warm blood on her forehead."It's just a Mnemosis...so much pain..."
Madame came close and used her cane to turn Jane's head towards hers. She pulsed a tiny EMP and the encryption of Jane's current was gone. Her Flux dissipated to the bare minimum.
"Still there I see."
Jane was thinking "the cat likes to play...". Slowly she turned over and tried standing. Fell on two knees, supporting herself with her right. Small droplets of blood dotted the floor beneath.
Madame looked interested still. Their sights met, then Jane slowly looked down..."it's still there" her mind was working.
"Well perhaps now we will be able to service you more properly."
"In her pocket..." Jane's eyes were looking around the room, but not on the one thing she was focused on.
"It's almost a pity, though!" Madame took in a deep breath, as if finishing some tedious chore.
"Once you're done... could you, please" Jane was giving in everything she had "erase all of these memories, as I wouldn't be able to live with the thought of an old and boring crone like yourself."
A twisted smile came to Madame's face and she looked at Jane for a moment more, then turned herself around to walk away.
"That old remote"  Jane's last thought.
Jane stretched her right, painfully suspended on her knees and jabbed at the plastic thing, sat there in Madame's pocket. Madame felt the slipping action and after a moment of realization gripped her cane, preparing herself to strike. It was time to kill. The way a cornered cat would fight for her life.
Those two batteries were all that was needed. A code written in DNA in a cell was picked up and ciphered into the small current, now freshly introduced into Jane's body. A scrambling algorithm, overriding normal electron flux was emitted from the remote. It introduced an over hyping reaction onto Madame's neural network. Convulsed, paralysed, frozen, burning, stabbed her mind was so busy registering all these emotions she was shacking, not even being able to fall to the ground. Visually the entire hall was disturbed and flickering as if repeating her convulsions.
Unable to do more and scared out of her mind Jane stood up and clutched Madam'e larynx. She squeezed and twisted giving in all the physical strength she had. The room no longer flickered. A dead and hollow thump on the floor. A murder in cold blood. No beauty, only fear.
Jane wished somebody could erase that memory.

(Madame is soo cool. Too bad she is also evil. That old remote was the only chance I could think of for Jane while pondering on the encounter between her and Madame. Actually Jane just got her identity! I didn't like the violent bit that much, but it is what it is. Please comment!)