Symbiota Sapiens 12


Synopsis: Jeremey finds himself inducted, against his will, into an ancient organization that claims to protect and guide humanity with supernatural powers. But what happens when the price of that power is losing the brother he loves?

Disclaimer: This is science fiction. To my knowledge there is no such organization as the Guardians of Atlantis. Nor is there any such technology as the Esseren, although our scientists are working hard to correct that lack. If anyone knows something to the contrary, I'd be happy to hear about it.

Disclaimer: Contains incestuous and homosexual relationships between consenting adults, references to quasi-vampiric sexual acts, and may eventually include graphical descriptions of sexual acts (between males). If you are offended by this sort of thing, please do not read this.

Disclaimer: The aforementioned sexual relations will not occur for a while. This is a "plot" story rather than a "sex" story. There will be sex because the main character is a healthy, good-looking young man with a healthy (if somewhat confused) libido. And also because part of the plot involves his developing relationship with his younger brother, who happens to also be healthy, georgeous, and blessed with a similarly active (but not quite so confused) libido. All sarcasm aside, sex is part of life so it'll happen in this story.

Now, enjoy the story...



by Dean

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::I now have your brother, himself.::

I froze for a second. The last thirty minutes played through my head like a movie on rewind.

The sudden dash from my brother's side.

The locked antidote.

The doctor.

The elevator.

The cop.

The ambulance.

I'd been played. Played like a fool. The whole poisoning, all of it, had been a ploy to get ahold of Julian, to use him to get to me. I'd known that was what was going on, ever since the first kidnap attempt. I should have let the AI try to figure out a way to connect to the locking tube. Mortal technology, even at that level - it should have been easy for the AI. But I reacted to the technological barrier like a mortal - assuming that because it was state-of-the-art it must be beyond my abilities to counter. Stupid.

And now he had Julian. Or so he said.

All of this went through my mind in a split second after the statement. In the next instant my body was moving.

A carbon-reinforced elbow to the window shattered it like it wasn't there. My body followed my arm, diving headfirst through the opening.

Tumbling on concrete. The car ahead, screeching to a halt. I'm on my feet and running. Running without regard for what mortals might think of a man running as fast as a sports car. In my mind I silently pleaded with the AI for more speed and it was granted. The Esseren connecting to each other, forming themselves into strands woven inside my muscles. Expanding and contracting more forcefully and quickly than the tissues themselves could ever accomplish.

The pure force behind each step pushed me several feet into the air, I could feel the G-force of each explosive acceleration forward and up and the spine-shattering impacts as my feet met the ground again. My AI had access to years of training, of studying the art of human locomotion. This had been my art as a mortal, and in this enhanced body the AI took that art to it's highest form - squeezing the greatest possible amount of velocity out of the bipedal form.

And then, moments later, with a great leap I landed in the parking garage, on the same floor I'd exited from. The door I'd used was locked. I forced it, nearly tearing it off its hinges. And up the steps, five, six, seven steps at a bound.

I burst into the hallway where I'd left Julian with the doctor. Scanning wildly for any sign. Nameless orderlies, nurses in white coats bustling about in irrelevant purpose.

There. The same cop from earlier, sitting in a folding chair next to a door. I advanced. He stood, hand near his gun. I nodded curtly and opened the door.

And found Julian lying fast asleep. Apparently healed.

:Is he okay?:

::The poison's effects are no longer apparent. I'd say the antidote worked.::

:And he's here. Safe. Maybe I moved in time?:

::Perhaps.:: The AI sounded doubtful. I had to agree. I'd been outmaneuvered twice today, I wasn't going to take luck for granted.

:Ok. He said he's going to use Julian to make me do what he wants. But Julian's right here, safe and sound. Unless a small army is on its way, he's going to stay that way, too. So what's his angle?:

::I think we should leave this place as soon as possible. And find somewhere safe.::

:I agree. But where the hell is safe, anyways? We thought we were fine at that hotel but they found us somehow.:

::I think it may be a result of the incident yesterday. After you recovered Julian, perhaps they reviewed my activities on the internet there.::

:So? Oh, that's when you built the William Ballard identity isn't it? Shit. So we've got to do it all over without being found.:

::Yes. But for now, let's leave here.::

:The cop isn't going to like that.:

::Answer a few questions. Then tell him you're going to run. He'll want to protect you. Just decline the help.::

I opened a drawer and found some scrubs. Quickly got into them. Then disconnected the sensor from Julian's thumb. Picked him up and was met at the door by the cop and a concerned looking nurse.

"I'm going to have to ask you where the hell you think you're going?" The cop said.

"I'm getting the fuck out of here is where I'm going."

"Excuse me sir, but that's my patient there. He's just had a very serious encounter with a lethal toxin and needs his rest."

"I couldn't agree more. That's why I'm going to take him somewhere he can get some sleep without someone trying to kidnap him or kill him every five minutes."

I shouldered past the nurse and strode down the hall. The cop tagged along, peppering me with questions.

"This isn't the first attempt?"

"Little incident on fourth and ninth the other day? Back window of a car broken, a guys wrist shattered but he wouldn't say anything about how it happened? Sound familiar?"

"It's a big city."

"Check it out. They grabbed him then and I just barely stopped them. If it weren't for a traffic accident in the right place at the right time they would have got him. This makes two. I'm officially freaked."

"What do the kidnappers want? The paramedic said you mentioned money in a trust account."

"Yeah. Grandparents were filthy rich and left everything to us. With lots of strings attached."

"Where did you go earlier, and how did you get the code for the antidote?"

"I went out to a car and this guy was telling me to sign papers for the code. As soon as I got off the phone from giving the code to the doctor I knocked his teeth out and ran back here. He was threatening that they know how to get to me now and I'll be sorry when I left him. So if you'll understand, I'm a bit nervous."

"He said 'we'? We who?"

"Hell if I know. He had a driver too. Don't think he was a standard chauffer from a limo company."

"We're going to need a full statement. And we'll get a sketch artist in here too, if these guys are organized crime we should have a file on them."

"I didn't see the other guys face at all. I can draw the one dude myself if you give me paper and a pencil. I'm not going to spend alot of time though. I'm getting out of here as fast as I can. I've told you what I know. Ride in the cab with me and I'll draw the guy. Honestly, I really don't think you're going to be much help in this. So we're leaving."

"If this is organized crime, we'll be calling in the FBI. They'll get their people. And we can put you in witness protection in the meantime, if that'll make you feel safe."

"No it wouldn't make me feel safe. Sorry, but I'm just not willing to trust you or the FBI with mine and Julian's lives. I'm sorry, I wish I could help you get these guys, but I'm not going to risk it."

"Well, I'll follow along and get that sketch." The cop clearly didn't like it. "I'm also going to give you a number to call if anything related happens. Or if you think of any new information. Anything at all. I want you to use it. You don't want protection, fine. I don't like it but I can't force you. Give us a chance to put some pressure on these guys though. It's the least you can do."

"I can do that. What's the number?"

He handed me his card. I looked at it and handed it back.

"No, really. Keep it."

"I memorized it."

"Oh." He looked at me strangely. I ignored him and hailed a cab. He got in on the other side and we sandwiched Julian between us.

"Take me to JFK."

"You got it. Your friend there gonna be okay?" The driver looked uncertainly at Julian in his hospital nightgown.

"He'll be fine. Just a round of chemo. We've got to fly to Chicago so he can see a specialist tomorrow."

"Hey that sucks. Young guy and all. Well, it'll be sixty bucks flat rate to the airport."

"Cool. Drive on." I looked at the cop. "Let's see the pad."

He flipped his little note pad to a fresh page and handed it to me, followed by a pen.

:Can you figure out what those guys would have looked like and help me draw one of them? The more advanced one?:

::Of course.:: The picture of what the more advanced automaton would look like appeared in my head.

:Try to draw in method...go ahead and take over my arm.:

My arm moved of its own volition and started outlining the features of the face, filling in hair and applying decent shading effects. It looked pretty good, actually. After the AI finished I handed it back to the cop. He looked impressed.

"Not bad. Pretty good, actually."

I didn't comment.

"Any idea where you're going to go?"

I looked sharply at him, [click] well, at least he wasn't one of the autonoids. Just a perpetually nosy detective. Still, I narrowed my eyes at him. He raised his hands in defense.

"Whoa, easy kid. I'm one of the good guys. I'm pumping you for information, yeah. But so I can help you, okay?"

"Sure. Yeah. Sorry. Kind of gotten cynical recently." I said.

"Hey, it's rough. I know. But let me do my job alright?"

"Sure. I'll just say there's no reason for you to know where I'm going, though."

"I could find out, easy enough."

"Maybe." I said noncommittally.

"Have it your way. Just make sure you give me a call if you remember anything. Or if you change your mind about letting us help you. Contrary to what you see on TV, we're actually pretty damn good at our job, you know."

"I know. I don't watch much TV."

"No, you don't seem like the type to."

We rode in silence the rest of the way to the airport and I paid off the cab.

"Well it was nice to meet you, Officer-" ::Dayton:: The AI prevented me from needing to glance at his tag. "Dayton," I concluded smoothly.

"Mutual. Best of luck, you and your brother there. Give me a call, got it? I get bored at work."

"Oh I'm sure you do." I threw the irony back at him. "I'll call you with anything...relevant."

Then I shifted Julian in my arms and headed into the terminal.

:Keep an eye on him for me.:

::Already doing. He's headed towards the airport law enforcement station. Probably to get someone to check where you go, and get a ride out.::

I headed for a ticket kiosk and promptly bought a ticket to San Francisco, with the credit card.

:Where are the cameras at?:

::There are quite a few in here. I can overlay their fields onto your vision if you like.::

:Do it.:

There were suddenly visible bright alien light sources that cast strange rays in my field of vision. I was directly in the center of one that monitored the kiosk. Another panned to follow me as I walked away.

::He's got someone tracking you.::

:Can you hack airport security?:

::It's not connected to the internet at all. I could build something to let me access a data port but it'd take time.::

:Fine. Start working on something that will allow you to access any electronic device at will. Maybe some modular electronic parts would be handy for you to have stashed away in my body, so you can fast-assemble gadgets in situations like this.:

::Good idea. I just drew up designs, I'll start building them as soon as I have the resources. After your detection equipment is finished.::

:Okay. So back to our little dilemma. How to lose our little eye in the sky so we can move around untracked?:

::Use the crowds to block the camera view long enough to get out of sight. Then just avoid the camera fields.::

:Okay. Crowds. In a less observed area. So not the checkin lines. Maybe the more commercial areas?:

::Good call.::

I headed past the check-in counters to the commercial areas, laid out like a miniature mall with bookshops and bars and all the like scattered around. Pretty soon I found a suitably congested restaurant. I set Julian on his feet and managed to hold him upright with my arm appearing to be around his shoulder. Practically walking again.

It didn't take too long. A camera was diverted to cover a pickpocket's escape, and an overweight woman behind us stepped out of line to observe - effectively blocking the view the remaining camera had of me. I watched as the first camera slowly panned around to cover us, taking up slack for the blocked camera. Too slowly.

I grabbed Julian and ducked down the line, taking a quick turn into a crowd of tourists - some kind of church group. They made effective cover as I deftly avoided the various roaming cameras. I snagged a baby-blue blanket that was on the verge of falling out of a baby carriage and put it around Julian's shoulders. Then I managed to loosen a jacket an overheated youth had tied around his waist - liberating it before it could fall and putting it on.

Soon we were close enough to duck into an alcove, keeping close to the wall and sidestepping the camera that observed the entry into the restrooms.

:Any hidden cameras in here?:

::No, no electronic signatures except for the lights.::

:Change my face a bit.:

I stepped up to the small vending machine and bought a can of white shoe polish.

"Don't hate me for this bro. But you're going to be my sickly grandfather."

I whitened his hair and applied a little to his skin to make him look pale.

:Any suggestions?:

::Circles, under the eyes.::

I went back to the machine and bought some black.

:You do it.:

The AI obliged, making deft motions with my fingers, even stepping towards the sink to dab a bit of water on a paper towel at one point.

::It'll do for a quick escape.::

:Okay. If I open the door am I going to be okay for cameras?:

::Hard to tell. There are three panning cameras that can observe the alcove if someone wants to. But they'd have to suspect you made it to this bathroom. I'd expect they'd have sent someone by now.::

At that moment the door opened and a young man in his twenties entered. I took a look. He didn't look like a policeman of any kind. Innocent blue eyes and a mop of curly golden hair. Too pretty and boyish to be a cop. He stood at the urinal and did his business. I decided to make a play.

"Hey, cmon, don't quit on me now Grandpa! We've still gotta get home! Hey, don't go to sleep I can't carry you! Aw...cmon, work with me here. Let's walk. You got plenty of sleep on the plane...we're almost home."

This monologue attracted the guy's attention - he turned his head to watch as I struggled to support the "elderly" Julian as he very realistically sagged in my arms. The guy zipped up. I wrestled with Julian. He seemed to be waking up, and tossing himself around a bit, making things more difficult. This was getting a bit too realistic.

The guy at the urinal turned around, uncertainly stepped toward the sink to wash his hands. Observing us in the mirror.

I put my lips to Julian's ear. "Hey, either stay asleep or wake up and play along. We're in big trouble and I totally need some cooperation if we're getting out of this."

His eyes fluttered drowsily.

"J...Jer-my?" His hoarse voice happened to work fine with the grandfather part.

"Yeah, it's me grandpa. Can you walk?"

"Mmmm, not sure. Thirsty."

"No, you can't drink the tap water in here. We'll buy a bottle for on the way home."

Jeremey's eyes opened and he looked at me in confusion.

"Play along. You're old and sick. Okay?" I whispered, begging him with my eyes. He nodded incrementally.

"Can you walk?" I gave a slight shake of my head.

"Not...sure. Weak." He croaked.

"Oh man, I'm gonna have to get some help then."

I looked up and met the newcomer's eyes in the mirror. They widened momentarily.

"Uh. Can I help?" He gave a shy smile.

"Oh...really? Could you? I just need to get him to a taxi!"

"Yeah sure. If we each take an arm we should be able to support him, right?"

"Yeah, think so. That okay grandpa?"

"Uh. Yeah. Thanks." He said in his hoarse croaking voice.

The guy wiped his hands on a towel and stepped to the other side of Julian, taking his arm.

"Wow, you're pretty buff for an old guy. I mean. Oh shit. I'm sorry I didn't mean to call you an-" He stopped dead as he realized he'd sworn. Turned red. "Oh! I'm sorry I have such a dirty mouth! My mom would totally clean out my mouth with soap-"

Julian cut him off with a string of profanities croaked under his breath as his knees "buckled" under him.

The guy stopped apologizing, looking at the "old guy" in astonishment.

"Don't think the s-word is going to be a big deal." I stated the obvious with a grin. "Grandpa's a Marine. Was a Marine. The old guy crack might get him going, though."

"Oh. In that case, you're a strong motherfucker. Um...sir."

Julian choked on a laugh as he lurched through the doorway. There were two cameras pointed directly at the door and the three of us were pinned squarely as one of them panned to follow us. I did a mental check. My face looked completely different, and I was wearing a jacket. Julian was now actually walking, albeit with help - and looked about 90 years old. And we now had this tall lanky cherub talking and laughing as if we were a familiar group of three. And they couldn't know we were actually in that bathroom in the first place. They'd lost us in the food court. We'd be fine. The person in the control booth agreed with me. The camera swung back toward the door.

"So, I'm Jeremey. And you can just call him Gramps." I introduced us as well as I could.

"Julian." Julian corrected me.

"Cool. I'm Dan. Nice to meet you both." Dan reached over and shook my free left hand with his free right hand. We looked at the awkward joining and chuckled.

"Hey, I don't know what I would have done if you weren't there to help out just then. Woulda had to leave him alone while I found a nurse or something."

"Hey. I'm right here. And I'm not going to choke and die if you walk out for five minutes, kid." Julian told me.

"He really doesn't look like he's about to die. Like hell, maybe. But not dying."

"Oh, I wasn't worried about him. I was worried about the bathroom fixtures. He likes to take things apart. He's delusional you see. Liable to think he's in a warzone and build a bomb out of a toilet seat, some tissue paper, and two turds."

Julian sputtered admirably and that kept us laughing the rest of the way to the taxi stand.

"Well, here's your taxi. Hey, here's my card with my number on it. Let me know if you guys wanna go out for drinks or something. You're both a hell of a lot of fun."

"Hey, cool. Might just do that. Thanks Dan."

On an impulse I took a look [click] and was disheartened to find the first-stage kernel nestled at the tip of his spine. I waved sadly as we retreated into the taxi.

Julian saw the look in my eye.

"What's wrong?"

"That guy. I took a look just at the end there. Autonoid.

"Fuck! I thought he was really cool."

::He's only a first stage. He's not a puppet at this point. That was the real him.:: The AI comforted me.

"Yeah. He was cool. Just has a fucking demon sitting on his shoulder. Now because he was a nice guy and helped us, some vicious assholes probably just found out where we're at because of him. I hate it! He was trying to help dammit! They shouldn't be able to just...just turn it around against us! Fucking bastards! That's such a horrible piece of technology, it makes me sick!"

"Dude. Calm down. He'll probably never know. And maybe someday we'll figure out how to undo it, right?"

"Yeah. Anyone can, it's you I bet."

"Me and your kick-ass computer."

"Fuck yeah," came out of my mouth. In a very Julian-like tone of voice. And not by my choice.

"What. The hell. Was that?"

::I'm sorry. I got a little overenthusiastic.::

:You're a fucking computer. You don't get enthusiastic.:

::I do. After a fashion. I'm a simulation of Julian's personality, remember?::

:Oh my god. This can't be good.:

::So after talking to Julian a while, and monitoring his brainwaves and such during several moments of overenthusiasm, I managed to build a subroutine to make me more spontaneous when the situation called for it, and only if it would not be at an inopportune moment.::

:When would it NOT be an inopportune moment for you to start acting..."spontaneous" like Julian?:

::Well, like now. We're in a closed compartment where no one else can hear or wonder anything. We weren't discussing anything of grave immediate importance or urgency. Perfect opportunity.::

:I don't like it.:

::Oh. Julian thought you wouldn't. Guess he was right. I thought it was one of the things you liked about him, though.::

:No, I hate it.:

::You do not. You think it's adorable. That's the term you used in your head.::

:I did not.:

::I can replay a few selections from your conscious thoughts at times, if you like.::

:No. FINE. It's annoying but it's endearing in a fucked up way. But that's Julian. Spontenaety is NOT a quality I value in an Artificial Intelligence program. Especially when it involves taking over parts of my body without my warning. Never do that again without my permission, unless you think it's actually important to do so.:

::Very well. I wont.::

I could swear the machine is pouting.

:Look. Are you...upset that I won't let you use my body whenever you feel like it?:

::Of course not. I'm a computer. I don't have..."feelings".:: The AI sneered at me.

:Well. If you say so. I think you're becoming a little TOO Julian for my peace of mind.:

::Sorry. Can't help with that. Peace of mind is an arbitrary and subjective reaction on your part.:: He WAS sneering!



"I hate computers."


"I do."

::Can't handle being stuck in the same brain with someone who's smarter than you, huh?:: The Kid sniped at me.

"You know what I hate more than computers?"

"What, Jeremey?" Julian's voice was the very picture of bored compliance.

::Yes. We're all just dying to know...::

"A computer that thinks it can get away giving me lip, just because it's using your voice."

"Well, spose if it's gotta give you lip, that'd be the way to get away with it."

Very Julian-like laughter echoed silently in my ears...

:Enough. Look. We need to talk to someone. Someone who knows shit but isn't one of the big operators with an agenda.:

::We don't really know any immortals except the ones with agendas.::

:Yes we do. Do you still have the contact info for that kid who helped us out when they first tried to grab Julian?


:Get in touch with him. I want to meet him.:

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