Project B. Human

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 22 (v.1) - Soul and Fearful Biscuits. Part 7

Submitted: February 03, 2017

Reads: 48

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Submitted: February 03, 2017



December 23, 6.47

Ray stood up in a white room that had no end. The surrounding slowly changed. He was now standing in the room he had logged out yesterday. It was too dark to see into the corridor. He was able to look around the room only because there were a few bugs that emitted light on the walls.

Ray stepped forward and was greeted by a breeze. He listened, but couldn't hear anything. It seemed no players were around. 

Ray frowned. Yesterday there was more than a thousand players looking for them. After logging off he checked the forums and they were spammed by messages about his whereabouts and groups of people planning to look for other parties to team up with.

"Good morning," Ray turned to the corridor. "Tanatos."

"Is it morning? I can't tell." Tanatos walked out of the darkness. "I must be getting rusty, I am sure I keep hiding my presence, yet I can never sneak up on you." The corridor was filled with laughter.

"People will come if..." Ray got concerned, instantly understood what happened. The reason why he couldn't hear anyone was simple. "Nevermind." He sighed and took out his brewing pot. 

After putting some branches in a pile and lighting a small fire, he poured water from a canteen into the pot.

"May I ask how you found where I logged off?" 

"Just a guess." Tanatos shrugged his shoulders. "Want to go outside? I don't like this place." 

"We're pretty far from the exit. And the others will come shortly." Ray started putting herbs into the pot.

"That's fine, I can just make one." Tanatos looked up. 

"I'd like you to refrain." Ray instantly saw through him. It would be troublesome if he would make a hole in the ceiling. People would gather. Then again, with Tanatos here, he wouldn't need to worry that much. That was also the reason why he decited to brew potions now. Even if someone came, Tanatos would simply kill them. "So, is there something you want?" 

Tanatos sat down in front of Ray with a bright smile. "I want to see your world." He declared without any hesitation.

"Huh?" Ray gave him a crooked look.

"You players come from a different world, right? I want to see it." Tanatos knew what he wanted and wouldn't back off without getting it.

"Ah..." Ray started rubbing his eyes. "You have no idea what you're asking."

"I know what I'm asking. Otherwise, I wouldn't be asking it." His words were firm, but Ray didn't say anything. "Fine, if you won't help, I'll ask someone else." He stood up and walked off.

Ashley, Purity, and Michael stepped on the floor. The room was lit up with bright light from Michael's shield. 

"Morning." Ashley smiled. Ray looked up at them but didn't answer.

"Fuck..." He wondered if there were any pills he could make from a headache. "Tanatos!" He shouted out. 

"Yea?" The man walked back into the room. He obviously didn't leave, just walked out of the room and waited around the corner for Ray to call him.

"Ah..." Ray could already feel the burden on his shoulders. The thought alone of what he just had in mind demolished him. "I doubt you will find anyone who else who will help you. And not just because you would not find anyone who would want to help you in the first place."

"For your knowledge, I found a companion." Tanatos said proudly. Ray guessed that getting a friend to him was a lot bigger achievement, than to anyone else.

"I feel sorry for the poor guy." Ray smirked. It obviously hit Tanatos on the spot.

"It's a she. And she is way stronger than you." Tanatos made it sound like Ray was in some kind of contest. "Even I couldn't hurt her." Ray froze.

"Why do I have a bad feeling about what you're going to say next?" He muttered.

"Her name is Suzane. She's a player, like you." 

Ray silently stood up. everyone watched him slowly approach Tanatos. His head was down. No one saw his face through his hair. He put something in his mouth and gulped it down.

"Tanatos..." He slowly put his hands on the man's shoulders and bashed his head against Tanato's forehead with all his might.

"What the hell!" Tanatos was dazed. He never expected Ray to do this. He thought he would give him praise or something, not a headbutt.

"Shall I just cut you down here?" Ray drew the rose sword out of its sheath. "Since you wish to die so hard." Ray slashed at Tanatos, but only hit empty air. The man appeared behind his back and slashed his hand, but before he could connect the strike, Ray dashed his head back, hitting Tanatos right in the face.

"Seriously, if you want to die, I'll gladly help you out!" 

"Shut up!" Ray spun around, dodging Tanatos strike and bashing his head with his forehead.

"Shit, won't you stop!" Tanatos was about to get serious, but he noticed Ray's eyes.

"Fine." Ray sheathed his sword. "If you want to see our world, why don't you go and ask Suzane?" He sat down and continued brewing. "Let's see how will that work out."

"See our world?" Purity whispered to Ashley. Michael was also watching everything in silence.

Tanatos crunched his teeth. He felt like he had just been scolded like a child. In his life, only one person was allowed to do that. If he wanted to, he could cut Ray and his companions on the spot. He took a deep breath and sat down in front of Ray.

"Ashley, Purity, you listen too." Ray said. This was the first time they heard him carry such a serious tone. "You wanted to know, right?" He looked at the girls but continued before either could speak. "First. Michael, this is Tanatos. He is a persona. A boss that I released from his boss room by chance. Also, as you can probably tell, he has a free will."

Michael glanced the man again. Just now, he saw how powerful he was. Ray bashed him, but he could clearly sense that the man could kill Ray and the rest if he wanted to. Ray had already told him about personas being used in PROJECT, but he didn't mention that he had met one with a free will.

"Persona? What's that?" Tanatos was staring at Ray with a mean look. He was angry at Ray, but at the same time, he felt no drive to kill him.

"I guess I should start from the beginning. Listen carefully." He looked at the corridor. Footsteps could be heard. Tanatos stood up.

"This will only take a second."

The four heard a rubble in the dark. After a minute, Tanatos came back.

"I blocked the way. No one else should come for a while." He sat back to his spot.

"Right. Where to start then. What has Michael told you?" He looked at the girls.

"He told us about... synchronization." Ashley looked at Purity to check if that's correct.

"And how PROJECT can affect our bodies in the real world." Continued Purity.

The words 'real world' made Tanatos frown even more.

Ray sighed. "Okay. Before anything, Tanatos. There is one thing you need to understand. That is also the main reason why you can't simply go to 'our world', just because you want to. We players come from the real world and this world and everything in it is a simulation."

Ray felt the skin on his neck get cut. Blood dripped down his neck before the wound closed off.

"I could kill you right now. Will you still think it's not r..." Tanatos didn't finish the sentence. He realized the mistake in his worlds.

"And I would spawn in the city like nothing happened. The only difference would be a number of items in my inventory." Ray calmly brewed his potions.

"Just because of that." Tanatos clenched his teeth. "I know this is real. I have lived for hundreds of years. To say it's just someone's model is an insult to everyone in the world."

"Tanatos," Ray didn't flinch a bit. He knew what Tanatos was thinking before he could think it. "How did you know what the word 'simulation' means? Where did you learn it." 

"That's a stupid question." 

"Then why don't you answer it?" Ray looked up. Tanatos eyes were puzzled.

"I've read hundreds of books. A simple word can be easily learned." 

"There is no point in talking further until you understand the difference between this world and our world. Otherwise, you will simply listen, but you won't hear my words. Though I guess I still need to explain you too, so whatever."

"You think I would just go and believe that this whole world, that my life is not real?" Tanatos eyes glowed in deep yellow.

"I didn't say it isn't real. This world was created in our world, by people like us." Ray smiled at Tanatos. "Our world is the real one from our perspective."

"And if someone would one day come to your world and say it's but an illusion?" 

"Then our world would no longer be the real one to us too. Given they would have evidence." Ray laughed. 

"Let's imagine you're saying the truth. What then am I? I know I am me. But..." Tanatos was hesitant.

"There is no 'but'. You are you. Just like I am me. Let's continue then." Ray felt glad Tanatos was taking it so quickly. "You guys know that births must be done in the hospitals. That is the law. Do you know why?"

The girls wanted to answer, but since everything they knew would most likely be disregarded by Ray, they didn't say anything.

Ray continued without waiting too much. "Common knowledge says that since almost the entire population is now made up by enhanced humans, the births are harder. Childbirth requires special care and equipment, otherwise, severe damage would be done to the mother and the child, often they would even die." Ray took a breath and scratched his head. "This isn't wrong, but going to a hospital isn't really one hundred percent necessary. The main reason is what could be a person's 'soul'."

Ray tried making some gestures with his hands to make it easier to understand, but it looked a lot better in his head than what came out. He gave up on the idea and started brewing more potions that he would need later.

"Soul?" Purity asked. The word could mean a lot of things, depending on the belief, but even now, she didn't think the existence of something like a soul was or even that it could be proven.

"How should I explain it to you guys..." Purity could feel him mocking them in a way with those words, like they couldn't understand the entire explanation straight on. "What we call a soul is not a transcendent thing, it is more like a code of a human. The way I or you are and will become depends on that code. Of course, it is only the frame. As we live, we build everything on that frame and become unique. Though the souls themselves are unique. There are no souls that are identical."

"Don't tell me they took away our souls." Ashley gasped but was only greeted by a plain look from Ray. "No?.. Ok..." She fell silent and went back to listening.

"Ah. They don't take away your soul, they can't. What they do is copy the souls."

"Copy, what for?" This time Purity interupted.

"As I was getting there." Ray sighed. "Does anyone here want to listen?" 

Tanatos lifted his hand.

"At least someone." The girls wanted to say something but were stopped by Ray's gaze. "So, the soul can only be copied during the first two to three hours after birth. After that, the person starts developing and the soul no longer stays pure. Then the souls are used for androids." Ray looked at the bunch. He waited for a moment. "But Ray, why would they need souls for androids? Don't they use artificial intelligence?" Ray started talking to himself trying to impersonate Purity. That didn't make her very happy. "Well, the artificial intelligence was almost created before the war, but it was lost. Or so goes the story. In reality, the people were scared. They finally understood they could not control it. Because of that, they required something else. Finally, when the first enhanced human was born, they found it. It took them a while, but by now, every single human that was born enhanced has had his soul copied." Ray finished talking.

"So the NPC in PROJECT are these copies as well?" Purity asked.

"They are called personas. And yes, that is my guess, although I haven't had much time to look into it more. The only one I am certain of is Tanatos. He has also freed his will. Very few personas actually realize their existence." 

The girls turned to the man. He was deep in thought. 

Ray started packing his things. "Do you have any more questions?"

"So what?" Purity looked at him. "What does this all change?"

"They are people." Ashley muttered. She looked up at Purity. "Isn't it like slavery?"

"Of course not. Ray said that very few of them actually understand it. They are still robots, they even have robotic bodies."

"Well, you're free to think what you want." Ray smiled. "Though for now, I think you should think more about it. If you want to ask anything, you are free to do so." Ray got up and brushed away the dust from his clothes. "We should get moving." He looked at the bunch. "Tanatos, want to come along? With you here, we might actually have a chance of defeating the boss in Akropolis." 

"Huh, yea." Tanatos was still in his thought.

"Then I'll go first with Tanatos. You three watch the back. If we run into any players, the two of us will take care of them quickly, so they can't alert anyone else." 

"Here." Michael swung his shining sword. In the motion, it turned into a golden chain. He gave one end to Ray. "There isn't much room in the halls, if you're walking ahead, you need light."

The girls didn't question why Ray and Tanatos went ahead. They needed time to think anyway. Meanwhile, Michael had noticed Ray wanted to chat with the man.

"Thanks. Quite handy, is that your unique weapon?" Ray gripped the chain.

"Yea. It's called Sunrise Star." 

Ray looked at the chain. It really suited Michael. "Isn't that pretty much your last name?" 

"I thought of that too." The knight laughed.

"Alright then. If nothing else, let's go." Ray went ahead. Tanatos followed.

*** ***

"So, what do you think? Ray turned to Tanatos. 

They had been walking for a while now. The group ran into a couple of players and wdeions, but with Tanatos at his side, Ray took them out with ease. Although it took a bit for him to convince Tanatos not to kill anyone. That way, with him only wounding them and Ray finishing them off, he and the party got most of the experience. Ray tried getting Tanatos into his party, but since he wasn't a player and could not open a window, Ray found no way of doing it.

"I'm not a copy, I am me." In the end, Tanatos decided that nothing Ray said really mattered to him. 

"Didn't say you are a copy. You are you as much as I am me." Ray looked back to see if anyone could hear them. It seemed they wouldn't hear him if he didn't talk very loud. "About our world." He whispered.

Tanatos noticed the change in his voice and did the same. "Will you place me in some body?" 

"No. Only newborn souls are put into the bodies we call androids. You have been alive for two long."

"Then what are you going to? You won't give up, will you?" Tanatos leaned down to look Ray eye to eye. It made Ray feel uncomfortable. He hated feeling short.

"There is a way. It's very experimental and will take a lot of time. Months actually, maybe more."

"What is it?" Tanatos straightened up.

"I won't tell you for now. I figured you're still going to travel with Suzane. If she finds out what you are, you're done for. I'd rather not have this information be known to them." 

"They have no way of making me talk." Tanatos said with a smile.

"I can think of eight just from the top of my head." Ray glanced at him. Tanatos could feel Ray wasn't kidding. "I don't suppose you will change your mind and not go back to her?"

"I like her. I want to get to know your world from more than you." Tanatos pauzed. "Plus, I want to know more about this world too."

Ray wanted to ask something, but he noticed something up ahead.

"Hey, I think it's the exit!" He said out loud, so everyone could hear.

© Copyright 2018 July Kimono. All rights reserved.


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