Lost Children of Atlantis
(c) 2006 Mychyl Kime (KimeNet Corp.)

This is a work of fiction. The people depicted in this story (to the best of the author's knowledge) do NOT exist. And these events are, for the most part, all the imagination of the author. More importantly, this is a work of science fiction (and, to a significant degree, fantasy), so while some of the situations may seem probable, and scientifically possible, that hardly means that this is to be taken as real. As for content... suffice it to say, eventually, this story may well turn explicit. I'm a stickler for a good storyline, though, so it might be a while til there's anything "offensive".

If you are under 18 years of age (or whatever the legal age in your area is) you must leave. Of course, I can't very well make you leave... but if you choose to stay, DON'T GET CAUGHT! It is neither my fault, nor the fault of this wonderful site, if you get caught running around here.

Also, if you are repulsed by the concept of homosexual romance and/or sex, please feel free to leave at any time. (In fact, now would be a good time.) But hey, it's your call, of course... I can't make you leave, either... but if you choose to stay, feel free... who knows, you might even change your mind! My only question is: why are you here if that's the case?

This is a new story, mostly independent of my older work; if you are interested in that, it's in HighSchool/Ukiah_Chronicles. I say mostly, because the main character (and perhaps an occasional "guest star") are based on the Ukiah Chronicles. The inspiration for this work is Symbiota Sapiens, written by the charismatic (if occasionally over-loquacious ;P) Dean. Feel free to go read. (It's an excellent story, really. Do go read it. ^^)

Please feel free to email me with your comments/suggestions at the address below. Or, if you'd prefer, you can IM me on the chance you catch me online. (I leave my IMs on 24/7, unless my computer crashes or gets force-rebooted for some reason.)

AIM: Mychyl666
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And now, without further delay:

~*~ {{Recap}} ~*~

Chris walked over, until he was standing just before me, his hand closing on my shoulder. "Do not worry, Damien. You will not be alone. And we will teach you what you need to know, what we can teach, so you will not be impotent in the fight." He paused, his mood suddenly dark, almost deadly. "And although there are those who would like nothing more than to stop us and destroy everything we work for, we have not failed in four thousand years. And we will ensure you will be ready to face whatever you need to, before you even think about the work ahead of us." A gentle smile crossed his face. "Nor are we mere ruthless instructors and taskmasters; as Benito said, we are friend and family, and we don't believe in turning our backs on friends and family, no more than we could turn our backs on humanity."

~*~ Chapter 3 ~*~

Alliesa walked over to stand next to us. "You still have two days, like Benito said," she said softly. "How you choose to spend them is up to you, but after that time, you'll no longer be able to stay in contact with anyone who knows you as you were before. Friends, family, no one." She sighed softly. "I know this sounds unreasonable to most people, but unfortunately, it's absolutely necessary amongst Guardians."

I shrugged, a bit upset that I'd never be able to make things right with Tyler, but at the same time knowing that, the way he'd been avoiding me, I probably never would've anyways. "Like I said, I've got no one who'll miss me, and no one who I'll miss that it'd make a difference." I stopped for a second, then grinned. "But hey, if nothing else, I guess I could go home and play video games for a couple days, since it seems like you want me outta your hair."

Chris shook his head, chuckling. "There are reasons for all this, believe me. And you'll understand them soon enough. But for now, humor us. And go enjoy your two days." He grinned and walked back out the door he'd come in from, it closing softly behind him.

The next bit... was a blur. I remember Alliesa driving me, and that it seemed to take a while, but I can't seem to remember where from, or anything we passed on the way, or even what time of day it was. The next thing I knew, though, it was late that night, and I was home, and quite alone. And, as usual for being alone and happily wanting to keep it that way, I plopped down in front of my TV and fired up the console. This time, an older system and game... felt like going back over my life, in an odd sort of way. The familiar loading screen came up, and I started a new game, letting time drift past while I played.

A couple hours later, even though it felt like I'd slept most of the last day or more away, I was starting to fall asleep, the controller still in my hand, and shut off the game. Plenty of time to play later, I figured, having the next two days to just hang out and nothing planned. Nothing that needed doing, certainly. I got up, headed to my bedroom, and started taking off the new clothes, when I felt something in the jeans pocket as I went to undo the buttons. Reaching in, I found an old, battered-looking coin, the sides of it looking like it was worn to almost nothing. Fascinated by the coin, of which I thought I'd never seen the like... smooth, soft-looking silver, a little smaller than a quarter and about the same thickness, without the ridging on the outside like American coins had... was there something written on the back? I traced the lines of the faded bas-relief...


...and promptly found myself, half-dressed, standing in an old, cold chamber, the walls the same tone of bluish-green as the clothes... or as the walls of the place I'd been when I woke up. The walls formed a perfect sphere around me... me and three old men, with hair and beards in long, flowing white, and robes of the same aquamarine as the clothes I'd been given. The entire situation seemed weird to begin with, until they began to speak.

"Welcome, new brother," they all said as one, their words flowing in the same pitch, rhythm... almost as if they were posessed of the same mind. Immediately, I felt my skin crawling... this definitely was weird. They all turned from observing something I couldn't see to facing me, their motions as choreographed as ballet dancers.

"Uhm... h-hello?" I stammered, a bit unnerved. "Who are you?"

"This is the Guide, where you will learn how to function properly with the Esseren you have been implanted with," they said, their voices still so closely matched that, if I hadn't seen their mouths moving as one, I might've thought it a creepy acoustic effect. Not that knowing it was all three of them made it any less creepy for me, really.

"OK, who are you, though?" I asked. But rather than respond, they all grabbed me, two on my left arm and one on my right, as though they intended to pull me off somewhere.

"The time for questions will present itself later. Now, you must be introduced to the Symbiotic Web, which connects all the Esseren together inside your body and controls them." Were it not for suddenly finding all sorts of strange connections crisscrossing my skin, and deeper still until it felt like they ran through my very bones, it might've seemed like a well-rehearsed script to me, the way they seemed to plod on ahead, almost indifferent to the fact I'm saying anything. As it was, it felt eeriely as though a giant spider had moved into my body, spinning its webs throughout my very being, tensing the strands in infinitely complex patterns, leaving me feeling overwhelmed with sensations that no term I'd run across could explain.

"You are now aware of the existence of the Web, but your mind has not yet connected to it," they continued, keeping my conscious mind on their task. "Reach out for the Web with your mind, connect yourself to the Esseren!"

I felt myself resisting, if only slightly, the oddity of this too much, almost, for me to handle. They made it sound like the entire web was a giant computer, and I was about to be just one more node in its network. It seemed, almost, like they reacted to this hesitence, the entire process being briefly put on hold, as the tension of the various strands moved upwards through my body, becoming more and more interconnected, until they finally met, which seemed to be both part of my body and... strangely, quite separate.

"Good, you have found where the Esseren prepare themselves to connect to your physical brain. It is time to form the attachment." A brief pause from the echoing, now all-too-penetrating chorus. "Simply... reach out to them." Reaching with physical hands instinctively, then changing tactic and reaching with mental hands, feeling the tightest point looming just beyond my grasp... then, with a near-visible flash, the weblike tendrils lined up with my physical being, transmitting sensation... almost like a subtle itch that lies just under the surface, crawling through my skin too fast to catch or to truly notice before it passes.

Isolating the individual itches as they passed seemed to allow me to watch it more closely, and as I did so, I seemed to see small... parasites didn't seem the right word, but it was the closest I could get, as I watched them crawl through my blood vessels, climbing to this muscle or that tissue, making small changes that I realized the purpose of almost as soon as I recognized the changes... this, on my liver, to aid in destroying toxins and disease in my body, as well as beefing up my natural defenses to both... that, a sort of short-range ethernet port, but different enough to operate... well, differently. The concepts, rather than words, came to me, of communication with other devices of the same type. Here and there, my bones were being augmented with supports to protect, ostensibly, from breakage.

Even as I noted all this, the voices still continued on, though closing my eyes as I had seemed to dispel the weirdness of the duality. "Take note, the Esseren are capable of greater things than the working of these tiny wonders within your body..."

Before they could continue, a thought occured to me, and I wondered if there was a way to make this... on some level, at least... less creepy. And, as though prompted by the thought, the voices stopped, as though waiting on a command. Not sure what would work in this case, I willed myself into surroundings which my mind considered receptive to learning... and opened them when a stab of bright sunlight penetrated the cool darkness.

I found myself standing on a wide tundra, with a hint of mountains to one side of me and a rapidly flowing river just behind me. In front of me, watching my every movement as if he was about to bolt, was a skinny, rather short kid... prolly not much younger than me, on second thought, though the innocence in his eyes made him look younger. His long, green hair flowed down most of his back, and he looked like he was wearing the pelt of some strange monster as a vest, with odd baggy pants that seemed to well match his hair. With a start, I realized who it was, a character from the same game I'd been playing before this entire weirdness began.

"Well done!" he beamed at me, while I recovered from my shock. "You learn quickly. I'll help from here."

"Wait... aren't you..." I started, not sure how to proceed.

"Yes and no," he answered, frowning a bit. "You're still you, and where you were, but you needed help, and from a source you listen to. You listen to me well enough, so here I am!" He stopped, and as though picking up the same script, continued. "Besides changing this way, your Web creates another great power. The power of a computer, analyzing and processing information, finding logical conclusions from information."

"So... you're basically like a supercomputer, right? Except inside me?" I felt confused, and by the look on his face, I still wasn't quite there.

"Not quite. I'm the manual... here to explain how to use the Esseren. Except only to a certain point... anything more than what has happened already falls to the avatar to explain. Do you wish to transfer this form to the avatar?"

"That might be nice, but... don't get me wrong, but I think I'd prefer someone more real to be able to communicate with."

"OK..." he shimmered for a second, before coalescing to a form about my height, about my build, with long blond hair and hazel eyes, a huge grin on his face. "How's this?"

I stood, emotions warring with themselves, because in front of me, the "avatar" had taken Tyler's form, down to the slightest detail... the way his grin was just slightly lopsided, so as to be all the more endearing... the way his too-long hair seemed to sweep across his face from time to time, forming a golden veil through which his eyes looked almost magical... I wanted to throw my arms around him, but somehow, I knew that wouldn't change anything. And somehow, that seemed to ground my emotions, for the time being at least.

As though sensing the internal turmoil, he quirked an eyebrow at me, and frowned slightly. "Does this form not work?" he asked... and even there, he had a hint of a petulant whine in his voice, just like the real Tyler.

"No, this is fine," I temporized. "I just... was caught off-guard."

"Currently," Tyler started, "since a significant amount of internal damage has to be repaired by the Esseren during the initial construction, you will be unconscious for some time. It will take approximately 10 hours to make all necessary repairs and to install additional implants to provide surveillance in case this issue continues." He paused. "During this time, if you would like, I can begin scanning your mind for all information which you have processed during your life, cataloguing and cross-referencing it as appropriate."

"What about your knowledge?" I asked him, still a bit stunned... but recovering.

"Effectively, the only knowledge I will contain is knowledge gained by your experience. Guardians live for thousands of years, gaining knowledge through experience. Knowledge, in turn, can become power. And far too much power for one who has neither the personal knowledge nor the wisdom from experience to handle it. A very real danger, and one that is prevented this way." He paused a moment. "In your terms, keeping a level 1 mage from a spell of ultimate destruction, since they can't even cast it yet."

Well, that was clear enough. I nodded to him. "OK, go ahead."

Immediately, it was almost as if I was living my entire life again, but on fast-forward, memories flying past... some I remembered, a lot more that I didn't... almost too fast to make out, quite a few just blurs of color, or moments of sound, as Tyler apparently processed them much, much quicker than I could have ever done. A few minutes later, it began to slow down, leading up to the moments just before I woke up at the Guardians' house... kissing TJ; running home, my sides an agony to match my heart; throwing myself on my bed, wishing myself away, wishing the cold to destroy me...

The memories faded, and I returned to the aquamarine room, but with Tyler standing there... or Ty, as I was starting to think of him, in a desperate attempt to separate one from another. His eyes fluttered, like they say people do when they're dreaming; then, suddenly, they opened fully and he looked at me. "That process is now complete. Any information you picked up during your life is now catalogued appropriately in my database." He stopped a moment, as if thinking. "The construction is nearly completed."

"What?" I asked, confused. "I thought you said it'd take hours to finish?"

"The cataloguing took 9 hours, 41 minutes. It is not quite done, but will be in about 5 minutes." He stopped, as though waiting on me to say something... perhaps ask a question or request some explanation, but at the moment, the reality of the situation was hitting me. Hard. Then, I thought of something.

"Chris mentioned something about learning how to use the ice-dream... about controlling it. What did he mean?" I asked Ty. He seemed to get lost in thought for a moment, though likely he was just pulling up the memories of it and processing it.

"By my records, I show that you were able to lower your body temperature, and at the same time neutralize part of your brain. By the events surrounding this, and the change in your memories thereafter, I can only assume the purpose of this was to shut down your ability to feel emotion?" At my nod, he continued. "The first part seems to have been an unfortunate side-effect of the ability, though it would appear that it was the only means you had of explaining to yourself how it worked. I have isolated the part of your mind that was... essentially, numbed... and would be able to construct a device that would allow you to numb it, as needed." He frowned. "However, I'm not entirely certain what type of device would function in this situation, as your memories don't contain much information on human biology or on technology, and certainly not nanotechnology. I would need access to some additional information."

I sighed, although at least now, we seemed to be on the right track towards regaining that, at least. "Don't get me wrong," he said suddenly, "there are aspects of this that appear to be quite dangerous. The drop in temperature, for one. And anything which would lead to permanent damage to your body, the Esseren would counteract. So before I can come up with a solution, I will need to study the situation fully. For now, there's nothing we can do about that."

"Well," I said thoughtfully, "if there's nothing to do with that for now, we'll just have to look into it later. I think I'll take a nap."

Ty frowned in thought. "I show the reason for a nap is to allow the body and brain to rest. Because of the modifications made to you, these are unnecessary. However, if you wish to regain use of your body, the constructions have now completed."