Symbiota Sapiens 21


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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Chapter 21


Chapter 21


     "Well. That explains how they got away." Rom's calm voice came from the
doorway behind me. I turned to look at him.

     "We've been set up."

     "No. I've been set up." He sounded vaguely disgusted.

     "You." I said, disbelieving.

     Rom sighed, the spoke to me in my mind.

     ::Look. At this level of the game, nothing is simple. Everything serves more
than one purpose. Tell me what you think this was all about.:: He waved a hand to
indicate the bed, and then the entire house.

     :He wanted to show me I can't beat him. That he's always two steps ahead of
me. He was already gone before we put the sensors in, before we even had a plan!:
I was frustrated.

     ::Well. That's what he actually said, isn't it.:: Rom met my eyes evenly. I
squinted back at him. He was obviously hinting at something.

     I answered him aloud.

     "And I guess he wanted me to see that he had infected Julian. That even if
I get him back I won't be able to stop stop the-" my voice broke.

     "Yes, yes. All of that." Rom cut me off impatiently, then continued
telepathically. ::And no doubt he wanted you to see the little scene with the girl
too. Humanize the enemy. Messes with your head.::

     :That's bullshit. I'm not going to have pity on him. Not that bastard.:

     ::Oh. Not him. Her. She's the one you're supposed to give the ultimate gift,
after all. Helps if you think that's not such a horrible thing. Weakens your resolve
to keep it from her, even if he's a total bastard.::

     I shook my head in denial. Rom took a step towards me, eyes boring into me
challengingly. His voice in my head was sharp with scorn.

     ::Oh come on now. Didn't you feel a stab of gratitude when she stopped him? When
she saved Julian from being beaten?::

     It flashed through my mind like a whip. The image. Julian, slamming backwards
into the wall as a stripe of blood opened across his bare chest. Shivering, waiting
bravely but fearfully for another blow to fall. Fuck. Rom was right, damn him. I was
grateful to her.

     I spun towards the door and walked out, furious.

     "This is all a fucking mind game!" I ranted, incensed. "He's trying to play
with my head and he's damn well succeeding!"

     ::Block it off.:: Rom told me, coldly.

     "What?" I answered aloud. We walked down the hallway, side by side, ignoring
the bodies littering the floor.

     ::The pain. Confusion. Sympathy for the girl. Compartmentalize it. It's important,
but it's in the way now. You need a clear head. Clean motivations. You can deal with
the emotional baggage later. After.::

     "But, how?"

     ::Your AI can help you.::

     ::I don't know how. Emotions...I still don't understand them.:: The Kid objected.

     ::It's a combination of physical and logical control. Look.:: Rom sent some sort
of subprogram to my AI.

     ::Interesting. I can do this. Do you want me to?::

     :I'm not sure if I should. Maybe I want to feel. I'll lose part of myself if
I turn stoic. Maybe that's what he's wanting, for me to be drugged out of my
feelings. So I will give in, because it's logical to give in.:

     ::That's very possible. But he probably expects you to just numb your emotions
entirely. Not smart. This way is better. Selective. You'll still feel. Still be
yourself. Just...this program analyzes and filters out the worst effects of traumatic
and manipulative experiences like this. I doubt he thought you capable of blocking
like that. Not at your age.:: Rom said.

     :You're right. He doesn't know you're helping me.: I agreed. I opened a door
and we found ourselves outside.

     "Let's get out of here."

     :Do it.: I told my AI,

     ::It'll take a moment.:: The Kid responded.

     "He does now." Rom said aloud. Grimly.

     ::There. You should be feeling the effects soon.::

     My confusion suddenly cleared. I took a moment to examine my thoughts. I was
still angry. Incensed, at the abuse of Julian. There was still a feeling of having
been outwitted, but the feeling of futility had disappeared. The conflicting emotions
about the godfather and his girlfriend had cleared up to. I found myself suddenly able
to coldly analyze them now.

     :The woman. She isn't so bad. But she is on his side." I observed. "I expect he
wanted me to see that. Probably staged the scene, left the door open so she'd find
him...hurting Julian.: There was a familiar flash of rage at that thought, but muted.
Under control.

     "Yes." Rom said.

     I looked up at him, his last comment suddenly registering.

     :You're right. He knows about you, now. That was another one of those layers of
purpose behind this fiasco. That's why he left the guards, and the shielding in place.
So I would attack and he could analyze my resources. My allies.:

     ::Me. As I said, I've been set up. To show myself.::

     :That's right. You've been hunting him in secret all these years.: I remembered.

     ::Not just that. Also. Who I am. He'll be very interested.::

     :Who you are?:

     ::I've warned you not to be misled by my youthful appearance.::

     :Yeah, I know. You're ancient. So you're very powerful, I get it.:

     ::No you don't. Not entirely. It's not just my age and experience that make me
someone he'd be interested in.::

     :Something personal? Some kind of history?:

     Rom looked up at me sharply.

     ::The immortal world is a very small world. At my age, everything is personal

     :So. You know who he is.:

     ::No. I don't. But now he knows who I am. But more important, what I am.::

     :What the hell are you trying to tell me?: I demanded.

     Rom sighed.

     ::I'm an Elder.::

     :You?!: I gaped

     ::Me. And he knows that too, now. Now that he's seen me.::

     :But you were disguised.:

     Rom looked at me patiently.

     ::They don't make a habit of giving the Esseren to young children. Guardians
are turned after they come of age and can make a choice. And immortals by attachment,
if they are young, must wait until they are of age before they can be turned.::

     :So, the only time they turn kids is when they're making an Elder.:

     ::Yes. It allows the AI, and the Directives the Elders enforce, to integrate
more completely with the personality if it occurs in parallel with the original
formation and maturation of that personality.::

     :Also making you instantly recognizeable as an Elder.:


     :Wait. There were two kids with the Guardians that turned me. Twins.:

     ::That would be David. And his sister Denna, yes.::

     :You know them? Are they both Elders?:

     ::Yes. They were very rare. Very close twins. When he was chosen, and she by
attachment, it was decided she should be attached immediately and made an Elder as
well so she couldn't become a danger to him as often happens with attached immortals.
That would be especially dangerous, for an Elder to be so exposed.::

     :Wait. What do you mean, a danger? And that happens often?:

     ::An attachment is, as you know, a very important and meaningful decision for
any Guardian. The way the Esseren are programmed, it can only occur if it is motivated
by the very deepest emotions for the person being attached. some cases those
feelings are not entirely mutual. And that can lead to problems, once the other person
becomes immortal. That is where the Fallen come from.::

     :I thought they were Guardians who ran away from the brotherhood and banded

     ::Not really. The Fallen do tend to recruit those. But those are never referred
to as Fallen. That is a name reserved for attached immortals who...end up turning
against the Guardian who loves them. It is somewhat rare - the attachment carries a
very close telepathic bond that tends to cement the feelings. But in some cases,
Guardians have been intentionally seduced solely for the purpose of gaining access
to the Esseren. And the betrayal and emotional fallout from those incidents are in
each and every case...terrible.::

     :That's why the Fallen and Guardians hate each other so much.: I realized.

     Rom looked at me, questioning.

     :I saw a fight. Right when I got to New York, really. Elena and David and Denna,
against Damion and two of his people.: I explained.

     ::Hmm. Elena. And Damion.::

     :They were-:


     I thought back to the incident. Yes, there had been a very personal aspect to
the confrontation between those two.

     :What happened?:

     ::Damion was ambitious. Elena loved him. After he was turned, at first he tried
to manipulate her, to manipulate the brotherhood. He had his own ideas about utopia,
both what it should be like and how to achieve it. It didn't really work that well,
though. One night he simply disappeared without a word. Elena refused to believe he
had left her, though the others had seen the disaster coming. Until he was seen in a
confrontation with a group of Fallen, decades later.::

     :My god. That's horrible.:

     I thought for a minute.

     :Do you think we could trust them? Elena, and the others? It's obvious the
godfather is a Fallen. But...they tried to separate me from Julian.:

     ::Oh. That. I think it's reasonable for me to tell you at this point. That was
a test, of sorts. They expected you to run away with him. If you had given
would never have been completely trusted. Knowing David, they probably identified
Julian as your likely companion long before they ever turned you. Probably when you
were both children.::

     :But...we weren't...I wasn't attracted to him that way! Not until recently!: I

     Rom smirked at me.

     ::Don't be ridiculous. Not all attachments are of a romantic nature. Though, to
be honest, the vast majority eventually develop at least some sexual aspect to them.
But not always. David and Denna, for example. They are certainly an inseparable pair,
but as far as I've ever been able to tell, there is nothing sexual between them.::


     ::In answer to your question. Yes, we certainly can trust them.::

     :I suppose it would be better if we could figure out who the godfather is.:

     ::I don't think that should be too difficult.:: Rom said smugly.

     :Oh? You know something I don't?:

     ::We can narrow it down pretty easily, I think. Julian recognized him, remember?::

     :You're right!:

     ::So. The godfather is someone the two of you have met.::

     :The only immortal Julian has met is...Damion.:

     ::Hmm. Yes, it certainly fits. His mannerisms...he's changed but still, somehow
the same I think.::

     :Tentacles! Damion had tentacles when they were about to have that big fight!:

     ::That explains the blurry metalic portions where the recording was edited.::
Rom mused.

     :I had wondered what those were for. I guess that's how he infects the people he
makes into autonoids. Saves having to fuck all of them, I suppose.:

     ::Yes. Hmm. And now he's found the woman of his dreams. Elena will be thrilled.::
Rom said, sarcastically.

     :Shit. All that bit they were talking about makes sense, doesn't it?:

     ::Yes. So. I take it you aren't going to concede defeat and go along with his

     :Fuck no. I've actually still got one more trick hidden up my sleeve.:

     ::The virus. What was that all about?::

     :I uh, made it. Or got the AI to. After the first kidnapping attempt.:

     ::What does it hold?::

     :Two things. I guess you could say I can accomplish two things at once too.: I
grinned shyly. He gave me a sly look in return.

     ::Tell me.::

     :Well. The information he's sure to decrypt is a program the AI created that
takes all of the digital prophecies on the shadow internet, and finds ways to link
them up with Julian.:

     ::Oh really? What's the purpose of that?::

     :Well. No offense, but from what I can tell from what I could find on the shadow
internet, it seems that the older an immortal is, the more superstitious they are. The
ones a few centuries old seem to really put a lot of stock in those digital prophecies
for some reason. So I figured...if we could make him think Julian is the Chosen One or
something he's going to be a bit nervous about doing stuff to him. So I guess I'm doing
a bit of my own mind-fucking, right?:

     ::What did the program come up with?:: Rom had a very closed expression on his

     :Uh...I'm not really sure.:

     ::There were actually quite a few that fit rather nicely, actually.:: The Kid
cut in.

     ::Such as?::

     ::Let's see. The runner shall be gifted, and watch over the child of his parents
house, a great warrior. The warrior shall pursue the runner for love, and the runner
the warrior to save his life. Only when life and love become the same goal, will both
be won.::

     :What the fuck?: I demanded. Rom ignored me.

     ::Are there any others?:: He asked, stonefaced.

     ::Yes. The immortal-beloved child of the mortal dawn shall join the powers of
the two worlds before his second birth. With his first joining he will give eyes to
the enemies of a dark father. With his second joining he will frustrate the enemy
within, but still be conquered into slavery. After his bondage is destroyed his third
joining will reveal the dark legacy and his fourth will grant the tool to destroy it.
His final joining will be the foundation for a new age and a cornerstone to the new

     :That doesn't make any sense! How does that even apply to Julian? Okay, I sort
of get I'm the runner and he's a warrior but what the hell is this about joining and

     ::Julian designed the sensors, remember? He combined Esseren technology and
mortal electronics to make them. Eyes. I guess the godfather is the dark father.::
The Kid said.

     :Oh. Wonderful. I notice it never said we'd beat him.:

     ::No. But Julian's bondage will be destroyed.:: Rom assured me.

     :Oh, well now I'm reassured. It's a fucking loony prophecy for Christ's sake!
Rom, I know you're...well...ancient, but tell me you don't buy into this!:

     ::It's not a prophecy in the way of your soothsayers and fortune tellers,
Jeremey.:: Rom told me coldly.

     :What then?:

     ::These are digital prophecies. They are predictions made by the combined
processing capabilities of all the AI's of all the immortals who have ever connected
to the shadow internet.::

     :Wow. Well, okay. So they've got to be fucking wise and shit. That doesn't mean
they can predict the future though.:

     ::It does. There are really two sources of prophecy. One is mathematical. They
can predict the flow of history mathematically. They give guidance to the Elders of
how to exert just the right influence to bring about change over incredible amounts
of time, based on that. The other is...more complicated, having to do with levels of
quantum mechanics and technology that I really can't even begin to understand, much
less yourself. As I understand it, by whatever means, the digital prophets are able
to have some very limited form of contact with their future selves. Or something like
that. Now and then they are able to get tiny bits of information about what has
occurred between present and distant future. And from that, along with the mathematical
calculations, derive the prophecies. They generally have been accurate, over the
course of history.::

     :If you say so.: I was very skeptical.

     ::I don't expect you to believe. In all honesty, I'm not sure it's a good thing
this information has fallen into Damien's hands. I'd like to have a look at them to
see if there is any information he will be able to glean from them that will affect
his actions. Still. He is likely to treat Julian with more respect, since he seems to
be mentioned frequently in the prophecies.::

     :Good, then.: With a nudge, I felt my AI send Rom the program.

     ::What was the second purpose?::

     :Oh. The prophecies were mainly actually just something to pique his interest.
The program is actually a trojan horse.:

     ::A virus within a virus.:: Rom mused.

     :Yeah. While he decodes the encrypted prophecies, there's a program that sets
up a backdoor in his own Symbiotic Web through the shadow internet, ultimately it
will allow me to spy on him.:

     ::Very nicely done.:: Rom praised me.


     :So. I think that gives us an edge. And, if we invite the brotherhood, do you
think they would help out?:

     ::Definitely. They would help you rescue Julian, you know. They will all be very
sympathetic about your mortal attachment, even if they feigned coldness to it when
you first spoke to them about it. And, of course, Elena will have personal reasons
to deal with Damion. And of course, with his autonoids he is also a serious threat to
the future.::

     :Yeah. Okay. Hmm. I'm worried Damion will be expecting me to go to them for
help though.:

     ::You're right. We need something to put him off guard. Some alternative.:: Rom

     We thought in silence for a moment.

     :What if I went to Damion for help?:


     :He doesn't know I know who he is. The last time I spoke to him in person, he
was trying to recruit me. Maybe I should contact him and ask him for help, that some
unknown immortal has my brother and I'll be very indebted to him if he'll help me get
him back?:

     ::That's risky. If he suspects...::

     :He's not going to believe I'll just go with it. Or if he does believe I'm
cowed, he'll still make plans in case I try something. This way, he'll think he
knows exactly what I'm doing and plan accordingly.:

     ::Very devious. You have a very sneaky mind, I think you'll do well in this
life we live.:: Rom approved.

     :So. Should I contact him?:

     ::Let's go over things tonight. Carefully. We'll have to explain my presence.
He'll expect me to be opposed to cooperating with him. So, this will have to be
something you're doing without my knowledge. As if you don't trust me. As you really
shouldn't. I have my own agenda here, after all. Getting to the Godfather is more
important than saving Julian. Though, with the prophecy in mind, he may well be
very important as well now.::

     :Okay. But then, if you're only interested in Julian to make him fulfill some
prophecy, especially one I don't believe in, I'm not likely to trust you either.:

     ::No. You can't completely discount the prophecy. You hid it in the virus,
remember. No need to have him take a second look at why you would hide it like that
if you didn't think it important. Maybe something you're not sure about, that bears
more investigation. Something you're afraid others will take very seriously, and want
hidden, to protect Julian.::

     :Yeah. That makes sense.:

     ::Okay. We'll taylor your story a bit more and then you can contact Damion,
by the shadow internet, while I'm busy arranging a safehouse.::

Just a note to let you all know that I am in the middle of exam season. Which means my universe will revolve around my law books and my notes for a while - most of December. I hope to continue writing this as a stress-relief valve, but chapters may be shorter than normal and slow in coming for a few weeks.

Also, a reminder...I'm writing this for fun, which means I'm always wanting feedback from people who read and enjoy my work. Vanity, yes. But don't feel constrained to leaving flattering compliments on my amazing writing skills ;) ... if anyone wants to talk about the story, like...make suggestions or notice interesting things (that I haven't thought of, perhaps?) about the technology, or the characters, or make guesses or give suggestions about the next development in the plot...(Yes, I am writing this chapter-by-chapter - with only a general idea of where it is going to go...) I would love to hear from you.

Best place for that is the discussion board (linked below), so others can get into the act as well. Check it out and leave a comment folks!

Discuss Symbiota Sapiens at The Symbiota Sapiens Bulletin Board.