The time was right the inspired moment before every aspect of his journey became purpose filled and certainty seemed just ahead. The machine inhabiting time and space within an un-certainty vortex began to signal its goal was now within reach. He'd taken a brief moment to look out the window into the vacuous space as it streamed passed faster than the light could reach him. It was nothingness all he knew was relayed via the sensor array to his analogue receiver which he wore beneath a suite of machine built polymers and synthetic metals. Inside this self contained habitat were various plants and insects that carried the analogue signals to his artificial vision centres. Each was capable of reading the patterns of wave’s emitted during the voyage indicating the path he was on was true. Each was reliant upon the other in this unique purpose driven ecosystem. The snake coiled around a nearby root structure which extended into vine like branches that grew throughout the habitat.These in-turn met other vines carrying insects to and from various cavities throughout. The time difference was retro-cognitive - passed events were influenced by future ones. This meant that the machine’s existence, if it had one, was continually and subtly altered to give its occupant the ideal future reality. For some moments they'd only just left the quarantined isolation bay on earth as the machine received its first signals from the future. Each point to which it had been directed then became the origin for every initial command until all points coalesced the vessel was literally everywhere at once. It was the time necessary to compute these trajectories that gave its occupant the feeling that the journey was long and unabated. In fact several of him-selves had already arrived and others would never arrive. These were the sacrifices those others those beings indistinguishable from himself all hurtling through time and space to infinately search out the pathways that would go into the machines final decision. A voice could be heard ringing out over the sound of machinary.'This is rule of thumb', 'We can crack the algorithm, but it’s just going to take several eternity's to do it'. A machinist took the inquiry led visitor into the lounge area adjacent the nascent pod's execution control centre. ' Please take a seat'. He offered the visitor one of the many cubicles - self contained refreshment centre's each contained a review console for any uploading and a massage unit for recoup. He politely declined the offer and turning to face the machinist producing a packet of lite branded cigarettes, lit one and began to deliver the message from his superiors about the mission. 'We’ve been informed that this enterprise is crucial to exploring the unknown universe and yet we’ve been left in the dark about just how this has been possible'. The machinist looked worried as if he was expected to provide answers that he'd not been sanctioned to give. Having declined the offer of the cubicle the visitor had avoided being corralled into the usual formalities of debriefing followed by relaxation followed by further debriefing. The machinist looked away briefly to examine the nano-regulator and its propensity to endow any user with an array of synthetically produced neurotropics that could alleviate any anxieties concerning any would be line of questioning. The nano-regulator did this by providing all the answers necessary to alleviate these concerns chemically at the sub atomic level. But the visitor wasn’t interested in any formally produced answer he wanted to know something real. The machinist looked back at the visitor and drawing him away from the chair showed him a number of schematics layed out on the table opposite. They were carefully constructed diagrams, all fictitious all alluding to the principles perceived to govern the mission. They were little more than brochures but brochures that could elicit a response and lead one to make valued judgements about the worthiness of this whole enterprise. He was offered a drink having digested much of the schematics and quickly became intoxicated. The mission was over before it had begun. Several billion years had elapsed in the blink of an eye and the machines occupant was now being removed from inside drained of his collective selves. His existence barely registered on the scanners indicating that he had indeed reached the other side. The visitor was then shown into the chamber to meet the traveller or the travelled version of himself. He was overcome with fear and incomprehension. Still in a state of denial he left the facility and travelled the short distance in his car back to his office to file a report. 'This isn’t usual', grinned the machinist. As the visitor left. 'Normally they don't ask so many questions'. This one did and he didn’t like the answers. The doors of the facility closed and before he had time to return to the lab another visitor had arrived. He showed him into the briefing centre and he sat alongside many of his kind. All had heard the news and all wanted to find out a little more than their predeccessors had. All wanted to receive a raise or a promotion. To learn as much as possible was crucial. They all needed to know why their companys had all been asked to contribute so much to this government program shrouded in secrecy. As each machine hurtled through space and time the answers became clearer the destination was and still remained unknown. Until they’d arrived they'd never really left. A technician handled the snake and carried it out of the machine and into a purpose built recovery vessel. Its body held the vital data quality's that could be used to reset each machine for its next occupant. 'Beautiful creature', she spoke softly to it. 'Yes magnificent creature' spoke the Machinists who was looking over them both. The technician smiled across at him and then resumed her task of caring for the snake. They’d employed a cleaner to remove the occupants DNA from the machine and an expert in plant and insects to care for the other life forms that now had to be renewed and prepared for data extraction. It was a simple formal exercise that took a day of immersive quality testing of each candidates personality. Having negotiated the travelling arrangements they were simply measured for being themselves. This was usually taken to be the surest means of establishing the technologys effectivenes. Without it they had no means of establishing who was real and who was just another factory produced corporate creature. They often showed up for interviews getting there by the easiest educutional route having fullfilled all necessary criterea for a being that had progressed along a well recognised and socially accepted route. However there were those that had wanted something more, something different. They needed their people to be human not mere clones. They, that group of nameless individuals that never showed their face at interview, gave orders to exclude the very best. And merely waited for the programs they'd initiated across these world’s to take effect. How else were they supposed to survive. Purity was essential and this wasn’t something that could easily be created or sustained especially in today’s progressive society. In fact purity was despised by all but those that had the finances to keep things as they were or as they should have been. Keeping things the same conserving events and people their inhereted abilities and personalities became impossible without travellers. Harold Goodwin Mba, perched on a stool overlooking the insectarium examined each biosynthetic insect as it followed the others into tunnels that formed along the entire length of the chamber. Their memories were being registered as they entered and he held a scanning device over each one to look for any variations in neuro-activty. Personality profiles for each insect matched those on record and showed that each insect had maintained a steady equilibrium state, suitable for transferring data qualities in the machine. Often he'd encounter an anomaly, a rogue insectoid that had somehow mutated over the millennia. This was interesting from the point of view that it suggested that collective learning, which was the primary purpose of these insects in order to transfer collectively data arriving from the machines sensors to that of the human's vision centres, was somehow becoming corrupted. This meant that the route being taken was not 100 percent definite and might lead to premature arrivals. This concerned the machinist greatly the idea that they'd eventually end up somewhere that wasn’t equipped to deal with human intelligence was disturbing. He'd witnessed many of these world’s first hand, having travelled freely between them. He'd still not managed to locate all of them and either set about the unique and unchangeable set of events that would lead to their destruction or at least exclude them from receiving any visitors. These worlds kept appearing from nowhere it seemed. And God in his infinite jest would do nothing about them preferring as he always had to deal the worst possible hand to humanity - a supreme being of such infinite wisdom and yet unable to resolve an outcome that would benefit humanity over evolution. The machinist took it upon himself to visit wrathful vengeance upon these worlds. He enjoyed it. It gave him a measured purpose to destroy the very thing that would if it could destroy him out of sheer ignorance. He took no guilt at watching the billions of lives being expunged because knowing full well that their unique souls would be saved in doing so. The head office always sent him their newest their very finest recruits to receive training and to hopefully glean something of how he did it. But after the training was complete their memories erazed there was nothing more to learn. If he could he would infiltrate the governments that sent him these people and sort them out once and for all. However this would undoubtedly upset the unique balance he himself had already helped to create. He preffered to preside over his own world of the lab with excursions to hell in order to clean things up with any social engineering deemed necessary. But he wasn’t going to live forever and unlike the God of these human like creatures he served he wouldn’t live forever and didn’t change utterly with each passing social upheaval. There was really no going back sentience was a luxury only the best worlds deserved he was really just a caretaker for those that he'd been allowed to cleanup. Fire was his preferred method. He loved to watch them burn. 'There is nothing more pure than Fire', he studied the insects closely. His eyes seemed to burn slightly and flame within.A fire within a fire. As he watched his fire ants march through the tunnels and on into machines already containing his newest acquisitions. The insects took hold of their victims and bit hard into their sleeping bodies. They awoke to shrieking pain for a decade or so until the snakes quality change and they no longer knew what pain was. It coiled around their bodies and biting down delivered another venomous bite into the blood stream. 'Aaaaargh' came another shriek from one of the machines. He tilted the display showing the cold, metallic darkened interior of the machine and looked over the stats recording the data quality's being passed over into the snake and showing up as pinkish blue wave forms across the display. He felt like a holiday and prepped one of the machines for himself. He left a note for the technician to remind his wife he'd be back later than usual and then followed one of the pre-explored pathways recorded by a previous subject who’d never made it and was still out there. He wasn't looking for him he was looking for any place different. Any place that didn’t quite fit. After a century of displacements and recordings left by previous travellers he found what he'd been looking for. He'd since learnt every trick to massage his own experience of time and was oblivious now as the centuries passed, he'd still be back on earth in his time emerging from the machine with everything he needed to know locked up safe in the snakes artificial memories. The data array shunted across him increasing the pain threshold just enough to wake him. His vision centres opened new doorways in reality ones familiar and yet unusual enough to allow him to enter without losing his mind. He'd arrived he opened the machine and looked about. A city on the brink of ruin and disaster. This was'nt enough he needed to create an apocalypse not witness one. He walked about and took in his surrounds. This wasn’t the same country it probably was'nt the same continent. He'd displaced space and time and not realised that in this world there was more than just the office and the lab. It was hot, stifling. He wasn’t used to this he needed to be at the epicentre for change he needed to see how things were in the UK first so he could gauge the amount of destruction he'd unleash. This wasn’t to be. He was someplace and yet it wasn’t Britain. The streets were full of burnt out remains of people, buildings and vehicles littered about their chared remains like grotesque works of art. The artist wasn’t careful but sloppy he'd left it like this. Like some kind of freak show. He felt sick as though someone had defiled a great work. He found a sign post written in Arabic. Picking it up and considered what had happened. It was the middle east. Yes, he remembered it well one of our world's wrought by overpopulation - thousands of refugees all clamouring to belong in the west while they’re own countries declined economically and socially. A complete failure on the part of the West in not full-filling the objective of civilizing the world they instead had become colonised or rather un-civilized. He'd never of guessed it. He'd just presumed that some natural disaster would engulf them. Maybe it had. Perhaps this was the closest the machine could find to civilization. Perhaps, there were too many questions. Had the middle east conflict escalated to the point of armagedon and with the West somewhere under a tidal wave of people and global disasters. Or was this the end he was whitnessing. The end of it all. It seemed unlikely that everyplace had been obliterated like this one. But if one city why not more. He got back in the machine and switching it over to terrain control moved from his current location to one that was most northerly to this one. Arriving somehwere near to Europe he'd found his answer. Down below where thousands of humanid's - mutated human insectoids. Their dna infused into one uniquely terrifying being . They built massive structures and worshipped their God of time. He zoomed in on them carrying their human victims towards the summits of the many temples and sacrificing them. Their bodies lay around, their belongings rang-saked their lifes torn to shred's. He was all too familiar with the practises of these beings. Hybridized over millennia of misused temporal travel. Some of these worlds had found the secrets to time travel and yet not really understanding how it worked and not wishing to breach the pain barriers that existed and lose their memories for an instant only managed to move over years. Rather than billions of years and between dimensions. They'd managed only to glimpse their own uncertain futures. Taken with the obsession to change these futures directly, and their desire to receive power as a result, they soon began to change into a different kind of creature. Exploring its own timeline fascinated with permutations that might exist to give themselves another chance at a different future. They lived inside their machines and became them merging to combine with the dna of their host machines and adapting themselves physiologically to gain a competative advantage. Soon enough the insect took over control and being out-numbered the remaining humans became its prey. Britain was the same just a different hue. 'Extraordinary' He landed the machine and took a weapon from inside the pod. He released a couple of rounds into the throngs of black insectoids that enveloped what remained of the London scene. Explosive tipped rounds peirced the hides of these poor beasts exploding red/orange gelatinous flesh which was quickly slurped up by others. The feeding frenzy continued and he noticed out of the corner of his eye a flash of human flesh white and covered in slime. Screaming out for help as it too began to be devoured by the throng. He took careful aim and shot it clean in the head. Releiving it of the misery it would have to endure. These particular beasts inherited a charactoristic from their human anticidents and liked to keep many of their victims half alive to perform those all too familiar mentally aberrant services. The sole purpose of which was to defile them as much as was humanly possible and render their energies in a more palatable form. 'London really hadn’t changed much', he considered. He produced a flame thrower and walked slowly towards the beasts engulfing them in a scorching ejection of deadly flames. Burning them to a crisp. As he walked on, he noticed amongst the remains of the dying or recently eaten. Queen's - surrounded by their own metallic shells protecting them from other Queens or from being eaten. He simply aimed the weapon and fired into the openings on-top of each. Exploding on impact. They cried out something like ' I serve the community...arrrrgh'. 'Social workers ... urggh'. He followed a line of socially imperative's down a nearby alleyway and riddled them with bullets. Afterward he found himself in the line of fire from something. He fired back briefly and then thought, 'This isn’t right they can’t be beasts - they don’t have weapons' He zoomed in and could make out a bunch of revolutionary-guards. They'd built an arsenal of their own and had set about the task of trying to clean up their own city. He smiled and walked down to meet them. By this stage the firing had ceased and they'd recoged another human form coming towards them offering a greating and meanwhile cutting down a few insectoids that had managed to crawl around back. 'Weve killed hundreds of these black bastards' came the first remark. They'd greeted each other shaking hands and sharing stories. The machinist was thankful that at least something had remained of the old world despite it being of a completely homicidal nature. The youngest of the group stood over one of the black beasts and detached its head as he spoke. "We remove the skulls", 'urrrgh', "because", 'crunch' "they contain useful data". "We can track them easy using this data". Another of the group showed the machinists a map from the data they'd linked up via the scanner he'd used back in the lab. "Yes that’s something I've built myself, very useful". They'd found a way to configure the scanner into a mapping tool encoding each signal as a probability of a location. Doing the math in reverse to what the machine did to choose a path. This gave them important intel on finding and destroying nests, raiding partys, and more importantly Queen's whom they'd all agreed where the ones behind all of this. "They used to run recruitment for most of london before the changes and everyone spent too much time in those dammed machines". We all knew these bastards would eventually end up doing something like this", "which bastards ?" asked the Machinist. "Why its the government of course ... they regulated this under the social imperative order - political correctness or something like that". "out ..everyone out of work first off and then gave it all to these clones who like changed over night into these things and well you know the rest". He pointed as one came towards them and met both barrels of the shotgun. The machinist nodded he'd seen it too many times before first came the social imperative, then came the economic collapse, followed by the mutations and then the war. Putting the most inferior of the human species in power and then watching them outnumber and outbreed faster than you could believe possible in any ordinary human species. "You mean to say that they had the propensity to be like this before the technology". "Oh yeah we saw it all go down”,continued the youngster ” it started with the mind manipulations. Yes thats it, it was a mind war for oh I dunno a decade I guess we lost a lot of people from that". "Then they'd switched over to digital !!! and we all really knew what that meant. I mean by that stage they'd pretty much been sending propaganda out over the air but it did'nt matter because everyone was already hooked in over the net". "You know how they all lap up that left wing political doctrine, a direct feed straight into the cerebellum". "And well if it wasn’t all that preaching, it was the end of the world prophets spouting their wave after wave of apocalyptic predictions". "All the while they were getting more and more elitist inventing more ways of keeping you out and keeping them in ". "And while all that was going down and you'd been offered a place on the ward or to do some community service or to stay at her majesties request the economy took a nose dive and everyone did their level best to keep their winnings without losing it all." "But luckily for us not having nothing meant we'd not all gone out and brought these fucking machines and well here’s what happened". "They got theyre’s !!" He took out his shot gun as one of the beasts came around the corner and blew its head off. He smiled, 'I kind of prefer this than before, its a whole new way of life'. Thend Thend

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