RP The Dark Dimension


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There is, of course, a place without stars.

There are infinite dimensions, an ever-spreading web of places born of every choice made and every choice not made by each and every million-billion-trillion life forms on the million-billion-trillion planets that could or could not exist. From every amoeba that moved left instead of right to every power-mad genocidal maniac killing untold millions of innocents.

It makes sense that, of course, there is a place without stars.

It is a dimension of darkness. A dimension of confusion. A dimension of endless nothing and endless something. It is the first dimension, the origin of all that is, and all that was, and all that could be. From it, all was created, and to it, all will end.

It is a dimension of poetry, a dimension of screaming, and a dimension of flesh. Despite experiencing heat death, the universe turns ever onward at the bidding of its mad goddess.

That is why it is, naturally, a place without stars.

Art credit to the amazing Elementj21
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'The Vessel Ilbrahim'

To understand the scale of the place without stars there is the explanation of the vessel, Ilbrahim. One of millions of its class, the class of vessel the Ilbrahim belongs to is loosely translated as 'autonomous living transport.' However, compared to the technology we have available, it is more accurate to call it a 'biomechanical spaceship.'

The Sphere-That-Hates, more commonly called simply 'The Sphere,' is the macro-organism on which all life in the Dark Dimension exists. Its size is immense, dwarfing every comparable planetoid and star in our known galaxy. The current estimations put the size of the Sphere between 1.7 and 2.5 Astronomical Units. The Sphere may be much larger, but it is impossible to confirm with current exploration restrictions.

Therefore, travel through the Sphere demands vessels capable of extreme speed and efficiency. While there are larger, faster vessels, the Ilbrahim is one designed especially around a technology the Denizens of the Dark Dimension refer to as 'side-stepping.' Through a process currently unknown to us, the Ilbrahim may 'side-step' extreme distances within the boundaries of the Sphere itself.

The process is not instant and there is some time lag in the travel, but it allows for safe transportation of its passengers at a rate of approximately 0.12 AU per hour. It is precisely this speed that alludes to us the possibility that the Sphere is much larger than we believe, or that there may be more Spheres in this place without stars to which the Denizens travel and intermingle.

To speak solely of the vessel we call Ilbrahim, it is a construction made unique by its design. It is approximately 125 meters from tip to tail and 50 meters in width at its widest point. It possesses two large, bulbous sections connected at the top of one and the bottom of the other from which passengers may live and rest. Along its back run large, boney protrusions that serve as vents for powerful jets of fire.

The Ilbrahim, like all else in the Dark Dimension, is alive. The extent of its consciousness is currently unknown, but it is confirmed to be a grown machine of bone, flesh, and furs. It is fueled by consuming specialized food grown in specialized, cultivated cuttings of certain strains of flesh of the Sphere. It possesses two dozen compound 'eyes' along its front, back, and sides connected by unknown means to a control hub in its 'cockpit.'

To speak of its interior, Its floors are like a soft carpet, undoubtedly grown fur of some kind, and it lines both the rooms and halls of the vessel. The walls are comprised of bone-like structures, likely the internal framework of the vessel, but occasionally break apart into large, accordion-like structures that stretch away and together in a rhythmic breathing motion. It is believed that the Ilbrahim does not need to breathe for survival, rather, it takes in oxygen as one of the many chemicals necessary for its maneuvering flames.

Its rooms are as follows: One medical bay containing a single vat of restorative blood, one general quartering room of two dozen cots, one specialized quartering room of two cots, one main room by which the crew and passengers may eat and mingle, one cockpit from which to fly the vessel, and one engineering room where a flesh sculptor may make adjustments as necessary to the vessel.

Its cockpit is a strange hub and, like the veins of lights strung throughout every room, is supposedly unique to this specific vessel. It is formulated like a hub out of an old sci-fi movie, with five bone-swivel chairs and a primary seat by which the pilot 'connects' to the vessel and 'flies' it. The connection point requires one who might commune with the emotions of the Denizens of the Dark Dimension or, in plain terms, it requires someone with a native or almost native connection to the lives of the Denizens.

In order to 'see' through the eyes of the vessel, a connection must be made, with assistance, to a long tendril that hangs from the ceiling. This tendril injects itself into the spine of the pilot at the base of the neck. While horrifying, this process is relatively painless and leaves no known lingering effects on the pilot. The greater danger in flying lies in the nervous connection itself.

Full connection is made by inserting the hands into two dry, deep holes of bone in the console until contact is made with the nervous system of the vessel. The nervous system of the vessel will connect automatically with the fingers of the pilot, at which point the emotions and desires of both vessel and pilot become nearly one. Should the pilot, at this point, become panicked or allow themselves to lose control of their emotions in another way, the vessel could subsume control of the pilot or, tragically, crash itself.

While the piloting process itself is as alien as the construction of the vessel and how it travels, it is still an intuitive process by which a properly emotionally connected person might travel distances hitherto nearly impossible for mankind. Research into how to recreate this technology has been fruitless, but still hopeful.

Nic sat on the lowest step leading up to the porch of the farmhouse. The fields surrounding it were full of squat, leafy plants - potatoes. A lot of people didn't know what potatoes looked like from above ground - he certainly hadn't. He probably had at one point, he supposed, but it was just one of those things he hadn't remembered. This was Idaho, though, and that meant potatoes and farmhouses.

Cait was up on the porch, sitting on the wooden porch swing, the toe of one boot propped against the worn coffee table, pushing a little now and then to give herself a bit of motion. For some reason, Nic was weirdly relieved that she was still wearing stompy black boots. Picturesque goddess figures were supposed to wear summer dresses and sandals or something, but Cait was just as goth girl as ever.

Brian was up there as well, leaning back against the railing post at the top of the stairs, arms folded, keeping watch over whatever might be behind Cait, just like she was undoubtedly keeping watch over whatever might be behind him. Of course, it was all sort of a weird question, since the door to the farmhouse didn't lead into a building, but rather into the Dark Dimension, full of all its weirdness, and it wasn't really a door either, just like the porch wasn't so much a porch as a conjunction-space, a place where the two could meet.

The little guy was up there with them, running back and forth across the length of the porch on all eight tiny legs, as fast as he could go. It was almost exhausting just watching him, at least until he took a tumble and fell down the stairs, landing on the ground in front of Nic, suddenly less the size of a dachshund and more the size of a draft horse.

Naturally, he flipped onto his back, wiggling his fluffy butt and looking at Nic upside-down, rather mournfully, as if no one had ever loved him before. Nic wasn't immune to that sort of thing, so he reached out a hand and rubbed the not-so-little guy's belly, pulling his hand back and looking over his shoulder after a moment when the stairs creaked as Brian made his way down.

"Back on the porch, Tuesday."

Nic supposed he really wasn't supposed to be out here where the world was, well, the usual Earth. People might get fussy about that sort of thing. Not everyone, sure, but some of them. That was why Cait was staying up there on the porch, after all. They didn't need to cause another Canaan Zone effect when the last one had gone so... however it had gone. It had certainly gone, anyway.

Nic looked up over his shoulder as the stairs creaked, heralding Brian making his way down towards the little puppy-sized creature wriggling on the ground, a couple bottles of Corona in his hand. He passed one over to Nic, giving the little critter a nod.

"Back on the porch, Tuesday."

The little guy scampered back up, heading back to Cait, presumably to try to convince her that he had never in his life been petted before. Nic reached out a hand and took one of the bottles.

"Still can't figure out if it's you or her that's doing that." It wasn't exactly reality bending, because it wasn't the seamless and always had been - it was a glitch, a correction.

"Neither can we," Brian admitted, clinking his own bottle against Nic's and sitting down to drink it. Nic decided to follow suit, since he might as well take advantage of the moment of idyll before things got weird again. "We think it might be a little bit of both. Cait likes things to get noticed. And it manifests like that when I'm involved because..." He trailed off, with a shrug, as if he didn't really have an answer to that.

Nic did. "Because you're a huge [expletive]-ing nerd?"

"Could be." Brian grinned, but didn't try to deny it. Nic took another drink of beer, staring out over the potatoes towards the horizon.

"Kinda thought we'd end up on the same side." It had slipped out, the heavy topic they were all trying to avoid. Maybe it was the beer - though not likely, given that he'd barely even started on it. Maybe it was the potatoes. Maybe it was just that there wasn't a whole lot of time left to have the conversation at all.

"Still could work out that way. Depends what Gail can wrangle out of them, I guess."

"...Yeah." Quietly, because they both knew it wasn't the ACF that Agen Weber was going to be wrangling. When it came down to it, she'd pick the Foundation - had picked, even. It was just a matter now of whether she and the Council could come up with a contract that all of them were willing to sign onto.

And if not... if not, Nic knew that there were only going to be two options - banishment or breach. And since Cait - and Ira, and everyone else connected to her Waking World - wasn't likely to take kindly fuck off forever as a way of going forward, it was likely to end up in the sort of fight that was going to make 2018 look easy.

He remembered 2018. It was the first thing he did remember. For a little while, it had been the only thing he'd remembered - and this time, he wasn't just some random civilian. This time, he was going to have to pick a side.

Nic took another drink of Corona, but it didn't illuminate the situation any. He looked back up at the porch once more, where Cait was sitting with Tuesday on her lap, talking to him like he was a weird Eldritch baby. "Agent Weber wouldn't..."

"She would." No hesitation in that response. Nic supposed he'd known it, too. Gail had been the one to off the woman who'd once held the position he did, after all. Sure, it had kind of been a mercy killing, from what he'd heard, but she'd still done it. She'd do it again. Cait being some kind of substitude goddess wasn't going to stop her, either. Gail had killed the last one just fine, after all.

And she'd kill Brian, too, because she'd have to, to get to Cait. Nic saw how that one would go. His shoulders slumped, but there wasn't really anything to be done about it right now.

"I guess we just hope they can work something out." Even without the whole idea of an impending apocalyptic war, he'd like for things to remain open. There were people back there he'd want to see again - or at least ONE person. He didn't want to have to choose.

Brian nodded, equally sober. He knew, just like Nic did. "We'll see." It was all they could do, really. Nic doubted it was any easier for him, even having made his choice. War wasn't good for security, after all, and Brian had always been focused on that. Nic watched him take another drink, staring out at the horizon, watching the sunlight tick away the last hours until it was the time of gods, and of demons.

"We're praying for a resolution."
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