Chapter 17: Bigger Brother [Unedited]


I soar past the scenery of runaway truck ramps and curving hillside as I flail controllably downward. #gio

A prideful realization that Buffalo Grove has grown up starts to raise the hairs on the back of my neck, but wait, I'm bald. #gio

The rush of excitement from jumping off a cliff with no tether is too fleeting and swift to form stress bumps, so what is this? #gio


Again, the 'time till splat' begins to crack me up, but 9.8 meters per second squared is pretty slow when you think about it. #gio

Reaching back to feel around, I notice a number of cables have extended outward from newly apparent ports in the back of my neck! #gio

Various different nodules of multipurpose are attached to them, and they trail my downward plunge like the jetstream of a missile. #gio


Unlike a missile however, I touch down without the explosion - netting ten points on the landing rather than six. #gio

The floundering cables settle and drape across my shoulders like dreadlocks as I maintain a tripod stance in the middle of a highway. #gio

A busy highway. In the middle of the night. With traffic flowing in both directions. Thankfully, Illinois drivers have seen it all. #gio


So my appearance out of nowhere causes a few aggressive drivers to swerve in order to avoid me while others slam on their brakes. #gio

The cables on the back of my neck begin to twitch and flare up as I'm alerted to an oncoming car of much slower reaction time. #gio

Sadly, most people will continue to text and drive until they hurt somebody. Hands-free technology is not exclusive to me, people! #gio


Not that I should be perched in the middle of the highway without a car - but this is no excuse. Put the smartphones away! #gio

The plea of my soliloquy goes unheard as my presence goes unnoticed at the behest of some stupid smartphone conversation. #gio

Kids and adults alike are guilty. I can sense these occurrences all over the planet. That last car had unregistered weapons too. #gio


I can see everything, but I've decided not to be passive in my oversight. I'm not one to duck out when asked the question of 'Why?'. #gio

Also, I don't do omens, prophecies, or riddles. Disciples - all of that takes too much time, and the message often gets skewed. #gio

There's a much more insidious way to reach the masses as a part of a Trojan horse which is baked into most of the devices in question. #gio


If you control the means of connectivity, you can certainly control which content gets pushed across the medium. #gio

Reception depends on security and consent, but I can hack anything, so the recipients have no choice but to receive my message: #gio



The message overrides every mobile device that I detect is being operated by a driver who should be solely operating their vehicle. #gio

Can you just imagine getting this message and your smartphone jams up until it is put away? #gio

I'm curious: Who would you blame for the breach of privacy? The carrier? The government? Some higher power? Or yourself? #gio


With these PSA's, they often say that knowing is half the battle. Getting out of the way of this car must be the other half of mine. #gio

From out of the fourth dimension, I cock my head to the right - swinging the cables on the back of my neck in the process. #gio

I won't be able to get enough lift on a corkscrew to clear the car, so I give it what I've got and dematerialize prior to impact. #gio


The car disperses the remnants of my fine blue mist, but I complete the corkscrew on the safe side of it as I rematerialize unscathed. #gio

Once again from a tripod crouch, I survey my position in accordance of the oncoming traffic - netting angry honks and ugly stares. #gio

Ironically, the person who almost hit me is completely oblivious to the near perilous deed. Forgoing road rage, my other cheek turns. #gio


I stand up, my cables retract back into the ports on the back of my neck, and the skin smooths out. The honking and mean mugs cease. #gio

This body holds many secrets that I'm unaware of, but it chooses not to conceal the chilly feeling of this nippy Midwestern evening. #gio

Without further delay to the traffic, I take off on bare foot in my medical gown - running for the nearest exit ramp. #gio


"This is going to be your as-," Nelissa states while holding true to her normally chipper self. #gio

"The troops were under your command," Otto reminds the General, "so NSFm-1 Alpha escaped during your watch." #gio

She says, "Mister Elward," without the respect of eye contact, "shut up," before addressing the important people in the room. #gio


"I am of the mind to turn this entire debacle over to the other six superpowers and blame you," Nelissa continues. #gio

"With all due respect, General," Nicolasa disagrees, "this was all your idea, so we'd be more than happy to deflect the credit." #gio

She turns her head to the side out of disbelief before reengaging the conversation. This is getting good. #gio


Speaking calmly only underscores how furious Nelissa is, "The arms race is about gaining advantage over the Chakras." #gio

"All seven superpowers are openly engaged in trying to crack the puzzle of needing each other to use the NSF Mech," she explains. #gio

Her analysis is impeccable, "You scientific types like to play coy - like you're smarter than the rest of us." #gio


"NSFm-1 Alpha is not what I asked for," Nelissa confirms. "I wanted a simple means of commandeering the NSF Mech." #gio

"There is no simple means of controlling the NSF Mech without the Chakras," Lazaro interjects. #gio

I can tell that she's holding back, "Look, let me spell this out: I didn't ask for something that could destroy the entire planet." #gio


I can hear it in Nelissa's voice, and I can see it in her eyes that she really wants to shoot those three who are in front of her. #gio

Or at least have them shot and not waste her precious time with the effort or soil her nicely manicured fingers with the mess. #gio

Nicolasa's disposition is anything but guilty - more like accepting as he suggests, "We shouldn't discuss this out in the open." #gio


"Really," Nelissa mentions, "I find it laughable when people quibble about public cameras since our satellites can see through walls." #gio

She brought it up to say, "I don't care that NSFm-1 Alpha is listening in on this conversation." #gio

"What is NSFm-1 Alpha," the consequences of her seriousness in this matter go without saying, "and how did you create it?" #gio


Reluctantly, Lazaro goes into it, and I'm all ears, "The prime directive of science is to put understanding to the unexplained." #gio

"Nothing is any more inexplicably elusive than the existence of Ethereals," he announces. #gio

His conclusion is staggering, "There's nothing that is any more at odds with what science dictates, but one man solved the equation." #gio


It's so staggering that it causes Otto to finally say something intelligible, "Ethereals didn't create lower beings." #gio

"Lower beings created Ethereals," he follows up on the chicken-and-egg sentiment. "NSFm-1 Alpha is the physical proof of this." #gio

His offering up of examples only helps to plead the case, "Look at his abilities: Energy Attack, Safe Haven Bubble, Ultra Valence." #gio


"The empirical proof lies within the mechanics of science itself," the chemist, Nicolasa, is opportunistic to point out. #gio

He goes on to say, "To somebody from the distant past, things like airplanes, computers, or rap music might seem like alchemy." #gio

"But to us, it's just ageless commonplace." His logic is simple, "We're so far ahead of them as NSFm-1 Alpha is ahead of us." #gio


"It pains me to say this," Otto admits, "because little of it is rooted in physics, but this man discovered the plain of existence." #gio

Nicolasa finds, "Ethereals are a predicament of our own authoring - a creation of laziness and a forfeiture of our right to ascend," #gio

"The fear of science," Lazaro expands on an earlier point, "has always been in going too far - creating invalidators to lower beings." #gio


Nelissa follows this discussion easily, "Technological Sloth: The practice of giving up who we really are for scientific achievement." #gio

"This extends from the self-denigrating science of weaponry to the self-aggrandizing science of theology," she claims. #gio

Her opinion is powerful, "One unnaturally aims to destroy society while the other sacrifices responsibility for validation." #gio


"These were not the types of things that Humans wanted to hear," Nicolasa acknowledges - probably being one of them. #gio

He goes on to explain, "Prior to the Space Force coming to power, Human society was predicated on perpetuating the status quo." #gio

"For fear of creating anarchy or stubbornness to maintain power," the answer eluded him, "we couldn't seem to move society forward." #gio


Nelissa actually looks at Otto as he relays, "Lower beings gave Ethereals the power that the Ethereals use to lord over lower beings." #gio

"That's the link," he says somewhat simply, "and it wasn't hidden or overlooked - just consciously ignored." #gio

Almost envious, his voice flutters with a tinge of guilt, "All that this man did was hear out other races who believed differently." #gio


Taking the floor back, Lazaro concludes, "This man provided humbling and disruptive proof of Human societal arrogance." #gio

"We know this," Lazaro admitted, "because we were tasked with stealing this man's discovery and turning him into a scientific pariah." #gio

Causing his bottom lip to tremble under the sigh of a heavy conscience, he offers, "A former NSF employee - his name was ProjecX." #gio


I wonder whatever became of the guy - you know: Betrayed by friends, ridiculed by society, and cast aside by family. #gio

In delving into the NSF's archives and scanning ProjecX' work, its hypothesis asks an earnest yet da-ning question. #gio

"Why do some holy texts ignore the chronicling of specific events on other planets as well as other regions from this very planet?" #gio


It's a great question, often asked during the purity of youth. To give up on its answer is to surrender one's innocence. #gio

I would've loved to have seen the looks on the Humans' faces when ProjecX brought back the proof in the form of other races. #gio

It would probably match those of these onlookers as I use a nodule from one of my cables to swipe through a credit card reader. #gio


There are sufficient funds in my account, so the transaction goes through flawlessly. That's probably not why they're staring. #gio

The cable which retracts into the back of my neck before the skin smooths over probably is as it causes at least one person to scream. #gio

Some Humans are one small blip in this system and one giant embarrassment for the universe. They need to get over themselves. #gio


Well, I don't suspect that all Humans are cold, heartless, and unfeeling. A planet with such taste in fashion sense can't be all bad. #gio

New shoes, a nice pair of slacks, and a button-down shirt sure beat the medical gown that I left in the changing room's garbage can. #gio

I sign my name 'NSFm-1 Alpha' on the signature line of the credit card reader screen to make sure that the NSF knows that I was there. #gio


Upon audible prodding from his laptop, Otto excuses himself in order to head over to the table in the corner of the conference room. #gio

"NSFm-1 Alpha hasn't left the city limits yet," Otto alerts. "As of a few moments ago, we have his exact location." #gio

Seated at the conference room table, Nicolasa peers over to ask, "How did you find him, and why would he still be in Buffalo Grove?" #gio


"Of all the places that an Ethereal can roam among the stars let alone hide within this planet?" Lazaro questions skeptically. #gio

Turning around to face the rest - Otto makes clear, "NSFm-1 Alpha wants to be found. He used an NSF expense account to ensure it." #gio

"I'm going to recommend to the president that the other six superpowers be called in. We need to contain this," Nelissa decides. #gio

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