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...
(email me at PrettyDean82@yahoo.com)
AUTHORS NOTE: Sorry about the delay, I had to travel out of town to a place with no wireless network. And I really
couldn't be bothered to fiddle around with dial-up.
After he finishes, Julian finally dozes off and I'm left stuck with my unresponsive body and
wide-awake brain. What to do? Am I going to be like this until morning? A man could go mad this way.
I extend my senses to my brother. I can hear his heartbeat and the whooshing of air in and out
of his lungs. If I concentrate I can hear his blood running through his body. Okay, this is getting
old. What do I do with myself now?
The Symbiotic Web wraps around my mind as I reach for it. Okay, I've been in two battles so far.
The first I lost control of my powers and killed someone. The second I was hopelessly outclassed by
immortals far beyond my powers. Powers. What had David said? Applications of knowledge through the
Esseren. Time to work on that.
First I'm going to need some help. I reach for the computer function I encountered earlier for
that brief terrifying second. Gingerly. I don't want to lose my sanity. There it is, I address it in
my mind, forming my thoughts into commands.
:Search: Esseren version 1403.0, a User's Guide for New Guardians
The reply was instant.
::Object found, downloaded on Day 43, Quarter 2, Year 15038::
I decided to think about that odd date, especially the year, later on.
The ugly green room appears again, as well as the three old men. Before they can say anything
I'm querying the computer telepathically.
:Indicate the functional purpose of three avatars in the manual:
::The purpose is to adhere to a style reminiscent of the traditional induction ceremony of new
Guardians in the first Citadel Atlantis. When Esseren was integrated into Guardian equipment, the
manual was constructed with a visual interface that would be both familiar and authoritative to
:Please note, in all future representations or avatars, if they are constructed to take advantage
of cultural archetypes, that I am not a representative of ancient Atlantean culture and will therefore
gain maximum benefit if representations reflect archetypes specific to my personal experiences.:
::So noted. Would you like me to adapt this scenario to your personal experiences?::
:Yes. And all future scenarios unless such adaptation would lessen the effectiveness.:
The green room disappeared and was replaced with a classroom. Specifically, my original first-grade
classroom, complete with my first grade teacher Miss Parkinson. Interesting. Miss Parkinson looked up from
her desk, where she was applying star-stickers to papers, and smiled warmly at me.
"Jeremey, I'm glad you've already learned to use the computer functions of the Symbiotic Web! And making
custom modifications to your manual, that's really quite extraordinary."
"I'm fairly certain the original Miss Parkinson never used such big words."
"Not with you, no. But now you're an adult. And in any case, you're obviously aware that I'm not
Miss Parkinson but a computer program."
"So the computer adapted appearances and mannerisms to make me comfortable, but it knew not to have you
treat me like a little kid, even though that would be more accurate, because that would make the program less
"Oh, it's very smart. Its processing power isn't quite infinite, but let me just say that you are very
unlikely to find any task that even comes close to straining its capabilities."
"Sounds good to me. Now what can you tell me about this waking sleep I seem to have fallen into?"
"You've fallen into this state for two reasons." Miss Parkinson said, and began to count off the
points on her long, tapered fingers.
"First of all, the Esseren just completed a massive rebuilding and enhancement of your body from the
molecular level up. Your feelings of hunger cued you to obtain fuel, which you did. Don't ever ignore any
cravings of any kind, Jeremey. Even if it's something you'd never eat in your former life. Right now the
Esseren are breaking that food into base components and replenishing your body's reserves, as well as their
numbers. Any time you make major modifications to your body or implants you'll find it necessary to stuff
yourself and then lie still for several hours."
"Okay, I get that. What was the second thing?"
"The second thing is that you've accumulated a backlog of new experiences that needs to be sorted for
significance and analyzed for valuable information."
"Huh? You mean I've got to review the last day's events?"
"Exactly. There is an incredible amount of data to go through, though of course the computer can help you.
You'd be amazed at the amount of knowledge you can glean just from today's experiences when they're put under
a microscope. In time you'll learn to process these things as they happen so they don't pile up but for now...
you'll be needing your night-time as badly as a human does."
"Okay...so how do I go about doing that? Can you help me?"
"I'm just a manual. If you like this avatar you can instruct the computer to use it as well."
"Hmm, no let's keep things separated so I don't get too confused. You're the teacher, that works for a
manual. Something else..."
:Computer, please select an appropriate and effective avatar based on my personal experiences in order to
allow me to communicate with you face-to-face, when I wish to.:
::This method of communication is less efficient than telepathic interface::
:I understand. Telepathic interface should remain open and will be preferred where an avatar is not
sufficient to get the job done.:
Julian appeared in front of me.
"How's this one?"
"Whoa...no, I still talk to him in the real world all the time. That could be too confusing."
"Then...how about this?"
Julian suddenly transformed into the 13 year old version of himself and gave me a carefree grin.
His face fell with disappointment. "Is this not acceptable, then?"
"Uh, yeah, I guess so. Just sort of shocked me. But...what made you choose him?"
"Well, you love your brother. Right?"
"You listen to him...trust him."
"So he is the person with the most influence over you, correct?"
"Well, I hadn't thought about it that way, but yeah you're right."
He flashed a triumphant smile. "So you will be most open to advice coming from this form."
"Ok, yeah I get it." I shrugged, still a little uncomfortable with the realism of the simalcrum.
He was all seriousness then.
"Now, you have several memories that need your attention. I can catalogue and cross-reference
several of these for you if you like."
"How does that work?"
"I analyze them for every last bit of useful data and add that data to my own knowledge bank. Which
is currently empty except for the manual and basic operating software, I might add."
I frown at him. It. "You don't even have some kind of super-encycolopedia of ancient knowledge?
"Guardians live for thousands of years, and accumulate massive amounts of knowledge by learning it,
gleaning information from experience. Knowledge creates power, which can be dangerous if not tempered by
wisdom. Wisdom is only gained by experience. So it is best that your primary source of knowledge is also
"Oh, sort of a check and balance system then."
A careful frown, "Hmm, from your synaptic memory stores I surmise this phrase refers more to a safeguard
on political rather than physical power. And specifically it is a balancing of opposites. Not a good metaphor.
It is better to describe it as a self-enforcing power limitation."
"Whatever. Okay so you're basically stupid but you know basic things about how you do things and
why. Enough so I won't blow myself up accidentally."
He scowled at me, as if trying to decide whether the stupid part was an insult. Finally he gave a
grudging "yes" in response.
"Okay, well I want you to at least get up to date on twenty-first century technology and culture,
"I have access to your synaptic memory stores. So far I have only gleaned whatever thoughts cross
the surface of your consciousness but if you like I can retrieve your entire life memories and sift
them the same way."
"Like, you could go back and see everything I ever learned in school but forgot after the test?"
"Not only that, but every word in your textbooks that your eye may have fallen across idly, whether
you actually read it or not. And anything you heard but ignored or didn't understand."
"Very cool. I should have had you around for exams!"
"Don't you wish." He snickered. That reminded me...
"Hey how come my body hair all disappeared."
"Um...well Guardians were usually shaved when they took the oath. So...when they built the base
program for the Esseren they included a definition of the ideal body conditions that should be
maintained. So...they're still the default."
"I could change the settings?"
"Well yeah, of course. Anything you want. Fancy yourself in green?" He raised a speculative brow
at me, looking me up and down.
"Um...no. But just to understand...I can basically look like anything I want?"
"Anything. Though the more changes it takes, the more materials, energy, and time it will take. And
if it's really drastic you're going to have to be in your inert state while your body is rebuilt."
"Ugh. No thanks. I'll keep it in mind if I need to change my appearance though."
"So...everything has basic default settings that were made up thousands of years ago, but I can
do whatever I want as long as I notice that something is set a certain way and decide to change it?"
"Exactly. You are in command of a versatile self-programming supercomputer of nearly unlimited
abilities, as well as an army of microscopic robots in your body. Anything you want to do with those
resources is limited only by your imagination and know-how."
"Interesting. So if I want you to sort through all my memories for me every day, that's no problem?"
"None at all. But sometimes there are memories whose significance you should be aware of to help
you use your resources better."
"Okay. From now on I want you to catalogue and sort all memories, including those before I was
changed. And anything that needs my attention, bring it to my attention. Okay?"
"Okay. And if you like, I can crossreference your memories so that if something happens that there
is a relevant memory for, I can raise it to your conscious mind along with an analysis of why it is
"Yeah, isn't that sort of what the subconscious is supposed to do?"
"Yes. Only without the perfect recall, and without the concise analysis."
"Sounds good. Do it. Now is there anything you need to bring to my attention?"
Young-Julian raised a finger.
"First, there is the matter of your encounter with the woman on the plane. When you signalled her she
was able to attack you through your implants."
"Yeah, that hurt."
"This revealed a weakness. When you turned on your transmitter/receiver you made yourself open to
attack. In the terms of your day, she 'hacked' you and caused havoc in your Symbiotic Web, and therefore
in your mind. You are fortunate she canceled the attack when she realized you were not a threat to her."
"I've already taken the liberty of building a defensive subprogram to prevent that from ever happening
again. And of course I am aware of her method of attack so if necessary I could duplicate it."
"You mean you can duplicate anything that gets used against me?"
"If I have enough observational data of how it was done, yes. The most effective Powers hide the way
that they work, however."
"Okay. Got that. What about that telepathic shouting thing Elena did on the train?"
"I was coming to that. Yes and no. You can duplicate the telepathic shout, but I am not sure how she
was able to amplify the audible part of her voice by so much."
"Okay. What else."
"When you encountered the mortals in the train station, there was a period of time in which you seemed
incapable of moving."
"Yeah, I froze up."
"An analysis of brain patterns indicates that this was linked to a strong emotional response when your
brother was propositioned for sex."
"Well they were threatening to rape you! Him!" I growled.
"Yes. Well, this indicates that your brother is a point of vulnerability for you. This may well be the
reason the Guardians insisted you cut ties to him."
"Wait a minute, don't tell me you agree with those-"
Young-Julian cut me off with a wave of his hand.
"My analysis indicates that their request failed to take into account the degree to which you are
emotionally attached to your brother."
"My point in mentioning that, however, is that he is a vulnerable spot. You'll need to protect and
compensate for that. In that encounter your emotional attachment eventually translated into a moment of
protective rage. The result was that you killed one of the mortals, an action you regretted immediately
"That's true. I just...lashed out." I said somberly.
"There are three issues here. First is the fact of the attachment itself. It makes your brother a
potential hostage to be used against you. This situation would be very difficult, if not impossible, to
counter. The solution to this is to make it a high priority to protect him from any such situation before
it can develop."
"I agree. In case there is any doubt, you should consider Julian's well-being as a pre-requisite
of my own well-being. You are to take whatever measures are necessary to protect him, even if it requires
you to risk my own safety."
"Understood. Secondly, you froze up when he was threatened. I believe your command just now helps
with that. If he is in danger in the future, I can interpret that directive as permission to temporarily
take control of your bodily functions to help him. Is that acceptable?"
"It's creepy is what it is. But yeah, if it's necessary, or if I freeze up, do it."
"Then third is your emotional overreaction, when you lashed out. I take it you do not want to kill
"I'm willing to kill anyone to save my brother." I said coldly. "I just don't want to kill when
it's not absolutely necessary, or because I'm out of control."
"I understand. Would you like me to restrain you if I feel you are doing something unnecessary?"
"Um...no...but maybe you could sort of remind me in an effective way? Or if there's an alternative,
you could make a suggestion?"
"I can dampen your rage centers in your brain if you are on the verge of losing control, and I can
give you a pretty effective fast reminder to bring you back to yourself. I can also dump alternative options,
even some pretty complicated plans, into your conscious mind whenever you face a fast choice."
"Do that, from now on. Not at every turn, but whenever you think there is a significantly better
option that I haven't considered."
"I'll do that."
"Okay. So that's the hacking thing, the shouting thing, and the protecting Julian thing. What else?"
"Yeah. That guy's a bit scary."
"Most extremely powerful beings are." Young-Julian countered.
"Yeah, Elena and the others were pretty scary too." I admitted. "Maybe I should hear Devon out. But
I'm not sure if I want to trust him."
"Then I suggest you don't trust him." Young-Julian said. "Talk to him, but don't trust him unless
you think you should. I can probably help you analyze him, too. Though I warn you, he'll have his own
equivalent of me analyzing you. With a lot more experience behind him."
"Yeah I hear that. But how the hell do I go about contacting the self-proclaimed 'Lord of the City'?"
"He's sitting next to your bed right now."
My eyes snapped open to find, sure enough, Devon Irving was sitting calmly in the cheap chair next to
my bed, watching me.
"What the hell?" What are you doing in here!"
He put his finger to his lips in a shushing gesture.
::Quietly. We do not want to wake your mortal. They do need their rest, you know.::
I gaped, then noticed that Julian was wrapped around me, one knee thrown over my left thigh, the foot
tucked behind the knee of my right leg. His left arm was wrapped tightly around my chest, his hand disappearing
under my right armpit. He was drooling happily on my neck. Gross.
I started to shove him off me, then made myself relax back into my previous half-comatose state, only
turning my eyes to watch Devon as I reached out with all my enhanced senses to probe the area for other
:It's very rude to let yourself into someone's dwelling without permission, Devon. How did you get in
without me noticing?:
Devon watched me, an eyebrow twitching when I assumed my relaxed pose. Obviously he expected a newborn
to depend on the bodily abilities. And he had expected me to be more startled and defensive. So I had definitely
scored points by not leaping up in a defensive pose, and with my calm, polite response.
::Forgive me. But after your reaction on the train I feared you would refuse to speak with me if I followed
standard protocol. And in any case, your complaint is technically invalid since I own this hotel.::
:Not at all. That only means that you are doubly at fault, since we have paid you for the contracted use
of this room as a private place to sleep. As the owner you have an obligation to prevent us from being disturbed
if it is in your power. And you certainly have a duty to keep your own presence from encroaching on our space
::Interesting. You are right, of course. I apologize. I will leave immediately.::
Devon stood from the chair and stalked towards the door.
He stopped and turned to me expectantly.
:We may as well talk.:
He returned to the chair.
::Thank you...I don't have your name?::
::Thank you Jeremey. Before we were interrupted before, I had hoped to offer you a chance to join
my organization. We have a great deal to offer a young one such as yourself.::
:What sort of organization is this?:
::We are...a loose alliance of immortals who have grown disaffected with the goals and methods of the
Guardians of Atlantis, which you have met. Tell me, what did you think of them?::
:Um...kind of creepy, if you ask me. I felt like I was being recruited by the Illuminati or some
weird ancient cult. If they hadn't demonstrated some stuff they can do I would have thought they were
blowing smoke up my ass.:
::Well, the Guardians are powerful. Do not mistake that. I believe you saw some demonstration of what
they can do last night.::
::Unfortunately, they are mired in what I will charitably call delusions of grandeur. They are so
obsessed with the lost city of old that they are never truly a part of the present world. Unfortunate. They
claim to guide mankind, but their methods are so...oblique...that they never really have any real impact. For
instance, I don't think they honestly care whether people die in a natural war or disaster, or even whether a
nation rises or falls. So long as it is a part of their long-term plan to resurrect the old city, the old
religion, the old culture, just the way it was before.::
:So they're trying to manipulate the world socially, politically, and ideologically? That doesn't sound
::Well, in theory it's not so bad. It's a worthy goal, even. Atlantis was...a utopia that cannot even
be dreamed of today. And in fact, their methods do show some promise of reaching their goal. Something that
might be vaguely recognized as similar to Atlantis could very well be achieved, if they continue their very
delicate manipulation of the world. But not for tens of thousands of years.::
:But...even Guardians don't typically live that long!:
::True. Most get tired, get bored, and end up turning off their Esseren and dying naturally.::
:You can do that?:
::Oh yes. Mind you, not at your age. One must be very familiar with the workings of the Symbiotic Web
to be able to program it to completely shut itself down. That takes time.::
:Wisdom and knowledge, yeah.:
He seemed impressed again.
::You certainly seem to have a handle on your own orientation. That bodes well for your future, I think. I
would very much like to see you join me.::
:Well, you mentioned what's wrong with the Guardians, but why should I join you? What do you and your
allies do if not try to bring back Atlantis?:
::That's the question isn't it?:: He smiled enigmatically. ::Unlike the Guardians, we are focused more
on the present. Our members are all kept up-to-date on current events, in far more detail than any mortal
could ever manage. The most inattentive member anywhere could tell you that the Mongolian Ambassador to Poland is
currently having a disagreement with his wife over whether to send their son home for school or to let him attend
a Polish university and learn the culture there.::
:Impressive grasp of the obscure trivia you've got there.: Sarcasm.
::True. But it demonstrates the level of awareness that permeates every corner of the world, especially the
political world. Because our goal is not to build a utopia in fifty-thousand years, at the expense of whatever
horrors may occur right now. Our philosophy is that a better tomorrow depends on a better today.::
:So what do you do? Do you control world events?:
::I wish that were so. But no, mortals still control their own lives as they should. Elected governments are
left to their proper function. But we do influence and apply pressure, give advice, and yes we do manipulate. At
times it works, others it fails. And at times we find ourselves in conflict with the Guardians when the present
and the distant future have different aims.::
:And what would be my part in all this?:
::At this point? You are a newborn, there is much you have to learn. Just because we do not operate on a
fifty-century calendar doesn't mean we are reckless. There is a great deal of finesse involved in pulling the
strings of the world. Wisdom and knowledge, as you observed...those come only with time. For now, we would
offer you the benefit of the company and mentorship of a series of older and wiser immortals. Apprenticeships,
if you like. You would have ample time to learn our world at your own leisure.::
:And then? After all that training you expect me to serve my time in your cause I suppose.:
::Well, yes. But not like your armed forces, where you get training and then you get missions. Your mentors
will not only give you wisdom, of course. You'll be exposed to their many points of view on what should be done
with the world. Eventually you'll form your own ideology, but with those particular influences it will likely
be something along the lines that our alliance already agrees upon. We don't expect you to be our soldier. We
expect you to become a new member of the alliance, a force unto yourself, with your own agenda, plans, and
operations. Hopefully cooperative with our own, to some extent.::
:That sounds...nice. I'll want to think about it for a while, though.:
::As is your prerogative.:: Devon smiled, standing to leave. ::If you need to reach me, use this.::
I felt an odd sensation as some data was uploaded to me, and then he was gone.
Young-Julian was immediately in my head.
::He just sent you blueprints to modify your transmitter/receiver so that it can access some form of
satallite network. Oh, it looks like the mortals satalites have been hacked to some degree, we can use them
with impunity it seems. There's a program that gives access to a sort of shadow internet through that network,
and instructions for how to contact him.::
:Okay...I want you to isolate all that data and then go over it with a fine-tooth comb to make sure it
won't be in any way dangerous or give him any advantage over me, or anything bad. Got it?:
::Already done, Jeremey. You forget I'm a near-infinite-capability computer, remember?::
:Don't forget that's 'near'-infinite, smartass.:
::So, it's all safe, I'm quite sure.::
:Okay, you can implement it. But do it so that I won't be forced to go inert again until I'm ready
:So are we done?:
::We are for now.::
I raised myself back to full awareness of the room. Julian's body tangled with my own. And that was made
worse by the fact that I had a morning hardon. Great, looks like everything's in peak condition. Which seems to
mean my sex drive is at the levels they were at when I was an adolescent. I gently extricated myself from Julian's
clutches and head to the bathroom...let's see if I still remember how to piss with an erection.