Apophenia Evolved

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Friday, January 21, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2010, Part Fifteen

Lynn woke to find herself lying on the couch in Rose’s living room. She still remembered the dream about her past. It had been a turning point in her life. The new discovery the she had uncovered was quickly incorporated into the standard teleporter training plan. Once it was explained to a teleporter that was a least level 3 they would be able to use the trick themselves.

However the thing that had really changed for Lynn that night had been something else. She quickly grew stronger from that day, quickly becoming level 5 and exceeding all of her friends. It had only been a couple of years since then, she had been acclaimed as one of the fastest growing Espers. The fact that she had so quickly became a level 8 however isolated her.

Most of the new discovers she had made on her way to her current strength had been shared with the University however some of them hadn’t been replicated by other Espers. She had tried to explain her corrective teleports which allowed for extremely accurate long distance teleports but nobody had been able to replicate her achievements.

Rapid predetermined teleportation was likewise another trick she had been unable to teach. That had been disappointing because those two tricks combined was what allowed her to teleport faster and farther then any other teleporter before her and were a major factor in her rise to level-8-hood.

However that was the past, something that had happened a few years ago. Now however she felt the same sort of feeling that she had then. The spacial tunnel opened and she was in the air. There were a couple of extra almost imperceptible flickers and she was high in the sky above the Entertainment District.

This high in the sky the stars were easily visible and very bright. The light from the city below her barely hide their luster. She reached out toward the stars like she had once done years ago. This feeling, the feeling of uncertainty. It felt like an old friend that she hadn’t seen in a while had come back to visit her. How long had it been since she had felt like this, a year, two years? It felt like a lifetime.

Yet, hanging in the sky, using the momentum of occasional teleports to keep her from falling, she felt that nostalgic feeling once more. The desire to be more powerful, to reach beyond what she already had, to not be content with the moon but to desire the stars. She had been unable to recognize it year ago but now she clearly felt it, that barrier that her mind had erected in front of her. The mental block that prevented her from becoming more powerful.

The wall was a hard a stone, comprised of her uncertainty of whether getting through this wall was possible and the fear of what she would be able to accomplish if she did get through it. Until just a minute ago she hadn’t recognized that the wall even existed. Now it was there, looming on her mental horizon. However now she desired to get past it, to exceed her own strength, to be strong enough to protect the entire Academy District from the Euclidian Key. No, to be strong enough to protect Mü from whatever might happen in the future.

The desire was just the smallest crack in the wall of her fear and uncertainty but it would be enough. She decided to bring down the wall, reach beyond the moon and toward the stars. It might take time to tear down the wall but tear it down she would, stone by stone unless every block of it was gone.

Then she started to fall. She had released her corrective teleports that had been keeping her airborne and now she was in free-fall. She closed her eyes and felt the wind streaming by her and waited as the ground got closer to her. She had wanted to be able to fly and she guess that this was good enough.

When Lynn stepped in from the balcony she found Emiray moving around the in kitchen. Lynn glanced at the clock. It was still a while until dawn. Even at the altitude she had been at it had still been dark. “Aren’t you still supposed to be asleep?” Asked Lynn. Lynn had gone to be early to she had gotten enough sleep but Emiray had probably been up hours after Lynn had gone to bed.

“Oh, sleep, I’ve got plently. I’ve had a good four hours and that is enough for me to keep working all day.” Said Emiray as she managed to fish out a bowl and spoon from somewhere.
“Four hours? What sort of robot are you? Can you really function with that little sleep?” Just the thought of getting that little sleep made Lynn sleepy. She did find it amusing however that her death defying stunt through the air just now hadn’t even pushed away the last remnants of tiredness. Humans could get used to the strangest things.

“Four hours is about how much rest Rob needs to recover its energy cells so I guess I must have adjusted to that schedule. Now it seems quite normal to only be getting four hours of sleep. It is actually harder to sleep longer, I’m too used to getting up and going to work in the Belly to break the habit today.” Lynn shrugged as she searched though the cupboards for something to put in her bowl.

“Rose said she was a bad morning person and the we should help ourselves to breakfast when we got up. She said she would join us later but probably not before ten.” Emiray managed to fix a box of cereal and stared at it quizzically as if she wasn’t quiet certain if that was what you really ate for breakfast. She was more used to jerky and other long lasting meals with the occasionally hot meal created by a lucky animal trap.

“Emiray, have you ever had a mental block? Like maybe you wanted to get better at Engineering but you found it difficult to until something special happened to you?”
Emiray poured some of the cereal into the bowl and then began to eat it without milk. “I suppose, although it wasn’t quite what you describe. Engineering has a lot to do with study and practice but both of those eventually come down to motivation. If an engineer is motivated to get better then they will, it is as simple as that. Now there was once a time when I didn’t want to keep being an Engineer. My uncle taught me everything he knew about being an engineer but when he died,”

Emiray paused with a look of pain on her face, “When he did I wanted to stop being an engineer. I wanted to escape from it all, to run away and never look back. Eventually I managed to realize that if I did then then my Uncle would truly be gone. That everything that he taught me, all those precious moments together with me, would all be wasted. It was that thought that eventually rekindled my passion for engineering and got me learning again.”

“I’m not certain if that is a mental block like you mentioned but it did keep me from learning more engineering.” Said Emiray. She stuck another spoonful of dry cereal into her mouth before continuing, “I don’t know why you people like this stuff. It isn’t really that great.”

Lynn laughed, “Well, most people eat cereal with milk.” Emiray glared at Lynn with a ‘Why didn’t you tell me that earlier?’ look. Lynn continue to distract Emiray way from that annoyance. “I suppose you can call that a block. It is close enough I guess. Yours was more situation then mine but I guess the final effect is the same.”

“Is there a reason that you are thinking about this now?” Asked Emiray as she open the fridge door and pulled out the half gallen bottle of milk inside.

“It’s just,” Lynn hesitated, “If the Euclidian Key really does get activated using the Ark Tunnel Reactor then I don’t know if I will be able to stop it. I’ve grown so used to being strong enough to handle anything that I feel uncertain at the prospect of unknowing. Now that I want to get stronger I realize that I don’t know how to get stronger. It is a strange mental block I suppose.”

Emiray pondered those thoughts as she took her first bite of milked up cereal. “After I came back to engineering after my uncle died I was given my own post in the Belly. That meant I was alone, except for Rob, and I had to deal the the problems that I found down there by myself. I said that getting better at engineering requires study and practice but there are some things that you can’t study or practice for. Sometimes an engineer is given a problem that they don’t know a solution for. What do you think they do in that situation.” Emiray waggled her spoon at Lynn in question.

“Ask one of the most experienced Engineers what they should do?” Asked Lynn.

Emiray shook her head, “No, while that might work for a regular engineer, a master engineer can’t do that because they have nobody to go to for advice.” Emiray raised her spoon before continuing. “When you find a problem for which you don’t know the solution, the correct answer is to create the solution.”

Lynn looked confused at the younger woman, “And how does that help be get stronger. How can I just create the method for getting stronger.” However she did understand what Lynn was getting at, she had invented dozens of techniques that improved the usefulness of teleportation. However those didn’t effect a users raw power, how much energy an Esper was able to use. That was something that seemed to grow naturally as an Esper trained until it reached a certain point.

“No, not how to get stronger,” Said Emiray, “What it means to be stronger. Instead of wondering how to become stronger, instead think about what you would want to be able to do if you were stronger.”

Lynn thought back to her dream and the memories that came with it. “I see, I already had the solution in my hands but confused it for something else. I knew what it meant to be a stronger teleporter, to do what none had done before. It was once I had accomplished that that I became what I am now. Now that I am the strongest teleporter I need to decide what it means to be a stronger teleporter. It can’t just be speed or distance, those come with being a stronger teleporter they aren’t what make a stronger teleporter.”

Emiray nodded in approval, like a teacher regarding a student that did well. Lynn found that fairly annoying considering she was older then Emiray. Emiray said, “Since you have found the right question, you just need to find the right answer.” Emiray shoved the last spoon full of cereal into her mouth and the set the bowl down of the table, “Now I’m going to make sure that everything is in working order, it is always a good idea to double check things before everything gets dicy.”

When Emiray left Lynn sat down on the couch and looked blanking at the vacant television. Even if she knew the right question she didn’t know if she could find an answer. Over the last couple of years she had burned through her ideas about what a teleporter should be able to do. Now that she could accomplish all of those she didn’t know what a stronger teleporter would be able to do that Lynn wasn’t already capable of doing.

It was a conundrum alright and Lynn didn’t even have a the faintest clue about how to solve it, she just knew that she wanted to solve it.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2010, Part Fourteen

Yeah, I know it has taken me forever to finally get around to posting these again. I managed to finish my 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo and now I'm going to start posting them again.

The Past

“Again.” The voice through the speaker system blared down at Lynn. She closed her eyes again and concentrated. She shifted the ball in her hands toward the slot for it a few hundred meters away. There was a blare as the sensors recorded that she was off by several inches again.

“That is enough Lynn. Please report to the results room.” She sighed and opened her eyes again. The Esper level test was going badly for her. She had hoped to have gotten better but it seemed that it hadn’t happened.

When she arrived the the results room she receives the paper with her results on it. Like it had three months ago the paper said that she was a level four Esper. Three months and her results hadn’t improved at all. It had been nearly a year since her power had increased at all. It had been nearly a year since she had started her special training. Maybe is was about time that she gave up on that and continued with her real training again.

She sighed and slipped the piece of paper into her pocket. With the end of year Esper tests over it was time for her to enjoy her new years eve. She didn’t really have any plans, most of her friends were going to go celebrate their increased scores however Lynn didn’t really feel like doing it. One of them had managed to reach level 5 this time, Lynn was happy for her but it also made Lynn feel inadequate.

Lynn had managed to reach level 4 before her friend and now she had been passed by, in fact most of them were beginning to get better then her. She wondered the streets of the University District trying to decide what to do. Nothing however stuck her interest and she ended up reaching her apartment. She unlocked her door and slipped inside. She could have probably teleported inside, she was capable of short personal teleportations but it seemed like too much of a pain.

She sat down on her couch and flipped on the TV. It was talking about the new year and what the different news casters were planning for their new years resolutions. She remembered the resolution that she had made last year and felt regret at not having accomplished it. She stared at the remote that she had set down on the coffee table.

She closed her eyes and mentally reached toward remote willing it into her hand. When she opened her eyes the remote was still on the table. Of course it was still on the table. No teleporter had managed a reverse teleporation, the ability to move an object at a distance to the teleporter. She had told herself last year that she would be the first one to do it, that she would spend all year trying to accomplish it.

It had been a year since then. A year of trying and failing to do the impossible. She hadn’t initially thought that it would be impossible, she had thought that if she just put in the time and effort to try it then she would be able to do it but life wasn’t that easy.

She had tried everything she could think of. She had thought that she would be able to bring things back through the spacial tunnel that was created when she moved an object somewhere else but that proved to be a faulty assumption, the spacial tunnel collapsed after the object finished moving through it and the attempts just ended up making things explode. While some people might think that would be useful it was hardly what she had been attempting.

Reversing the tunnel didn’t seem to work. Whatever it was that she did to create it in the first place was enough beyond her that she had no idea how one would reverse it. So in the end months of wasted effort was spent trying to accomplish something that dozens of Espers before her must have already tried and failed to do.

Now she had a year of failure to show for her stupid new years resolution. If she had practiced the standard way then maybe she would have been a level 5 too now. She looked at the TV again. There were only a few minutes left to go until midnight. It looks like she really did fail last year’s resolution. It was probably better just to give up.

She wondered what she should make for this year’s resolution. Maybe she should aim for becoming a level 5 Esper, that seemed like an reasonable goal. Most people’s powers peak out at around there so she should be able to accomplish that too.

She stood up and moved toward her balcony, opening the door and stepping outside. It was cold but not to much so. Mu was almost always a reasonable temperature. The concentrated for a minute and then opened up a spacial tunnel to move herself onto the roof. Once it was completed she panted, it was always more tiring then she expected.

She laid back on roof and stared up at the stars. She had always loved looking up at the stars when she had been a child. She father had been an astronomer and had told her all about the stars. The brightness from the city all around her made the stars dim and difficult to see but she could still make out many of the constellations.

She didn’t mind being a teleporter but she had really wanted to be able to fly. If you had asked her what Esper power she wanted it would have been telekinesis. Powerful Espers with telekinesis were capable of lifting themselves in the air and flying.

She reached out her hand toward the sky as if trying to grasp at the stars. What was it that she really wanted. Why was it that she was trying so hard at this stupid resolution. She wasn’t really sure herself. The stars seemed so far away, so very far away. How far would she need to reach to catch them.

She heard the tolling of a bell somewhere off in the distance. It was almost midnight, it must be the countdown before the new year. It would be easy to just give up on her resolution and pick up a new one, one that she knew she could accomplish. But what then, won’t that just be the same as giving up. Was it wrong to give up on an impossible task. Lynn just didn’t know.

The bell tolled for the seventh time. She felt like she was running out of time to decide what to do. A silly idea really, the changing of the year didn’t really mean anything. The bell tolled the eight time. How high could she reach, she wanted to know that. It was part of the reason she had volunteered to be an Esper in the first place. If she gave up know would she ever be able to reach the stars.

The bell rang the twelfth time and Lynn sat up. She should probably get back to the apartment. She looked up once more at the stars. She wasn’t ready to give up now. It didn’t matter if it took another year or ten, she wasn’t going to give up on making her resolution. Espers were supposed to do the impossible, however was her plan any different.

She stood at the edge of the roof and looked down at her balcony. It took her a moment to focus and open the tunnel to it and she stepped through. Stepped through? She stood on the balcony and walked through it in her mind. Somehow the process seemed different then it had a couple of minutes ago. She stepped through the mental steps she had used to teleport herself. They seemed clearer to her then they had previously.

There was something different about how she teleported herself and how she teleported objects. She closed her eyes to remove the visual distractions. Then she opened up a tunnel in preparation of teleporting herself. However she just stood there keeping the tunnel open. Then she reached out, felt herself being pulled in by the tunnel. The remote on the table, she felt it, like she was touching it with her fingers. It was like she was letting her senses, her awareness, get sucked through the spacial tunnel. She could feel the remote like she was holding it in her hand, then in a random stab in the dark she open up another tunnel, this open leading back to herself. She funneled her awareness through the new tunnel and then, she was holding it.

The remote was in her hands.