Day Fourteen

Rene Oliver

Backup power reserves are running dry. Shit! Might have to start going outside to keep an eye on the Davids. And what a bad time for this to happen. They’ve been unusually aggressive today. Three times I’ve heard one banging against the airlock doors. One of them screamed as he did that. Another tried to shoot his way in. He got bored eventually. Thank the Queen this ship doesn’t have windows.
Trying to work out what their goal is. If they wanted us dead, they’d have stormed the ship and killed us already. Hell, with that many they could probably flip the ship right over. My guess is they have bigger plans. The aggressive ones seem to be a minority, even if they’ve decided to start making themselves more visible.
I think they want our David. The original body. Maybe, as the oldest one, he’s somehow more ‘real’ than the others. They could storm our ship and take him by force, but I’m guessing that their plans for him, whatever they are, require him to join of his own free will. Or maybe they’d just prefer he joins by choice. Maybe the army of guys with guns who’ve been surrounding our ship for the past few days are actually really kind and considerate.
Joking, of course.

Still hesitant about getting too personal, even in the confines of my own journal, but seeing as I’ve already brought this up with Zephyr I don’t see any issue talking about it here. I shaved my beard today.
Not sure what came over me. Even with our limited resources I groomed and maintained my beard like a well-loved houseplant. Until today. Having trouble finding ways to rationalize why I did that. Don’t want to just run my mouth in this book. Might write something I regret reading later on.
I guess the first thing I should make flagrantly obvious is that I was not born as a man. This fact has been scrubbed from most official records, as such facts tend to be. My name has remained the same since birth. I am well aware that it is, traditionally, a woman’s name. Never minded that.
I joined the Royal Infantry because it was the only way for me to obtain testosterone, something which my mind and body had begun to crave desperately long before I reached military age. Through what I can only describe as a miracle drug I began changing into what I should’ve become naturally, years beforehand, without the chemicals having to fight a great war inside me to override the hormones which had already seized control. After a few turbulent, miserable months of accelerated puberty within planet-scale warzones, I had become the man I was always meant to be.
Or was I? I’m not sure how I feel about Rene Oliver, the man, as of today (though do note that I hate the thought of Rene Oliver, the woman, even moreso). I’ll let this thought stew in my head for some time. Maybe it’ll pass. Maybe it won’t. If I am what I feel I may be at this second, I worry that the Kingdom may not accept me back so easily. I can see myself getting used to these caves as a new home. It’s cozy here, in a gothic sense.
The huge army outside adds to the homeliness, in a weird way. Military does some shit to your head.


Rene informs me that the collective of men amassing beyond our walls have been stepping up their aggression. His theory is that the majority want us in one piece, and this aggressive few are merely a small contingent. I think otherwise. The enemy know they have no hopes of gaining entry to this ship using their plasma firearms, and as such they have opted for a more non-traditional strategy: I believe they plan to accumulate a large enough quantity of muscle that they could lift the Abyss and flip it on its head.
I concede that this idea is silly, but given their nigh-infinite numbers and a lack of any other obvious hostile actions, I believe it is worth seriously considering. The problem, then, is this: what can we do to thwart this oncoming storm?
Jack shit.
Perhaps our prisoner, David, the man responsible for this army’s creation, could set us free from this bind. But he is the only one who would be capable of doing so. And given the apparent affiliation between him and the army (and, by association, Astyajarel), I have no reason to believe he will aid us in this matter.

I currently stand on the threshold of sleep. Rene and I have just had a conversation which has left me enriched, perplexed and worried. I will record the details of this discussion tomorrow.


The voice I heard yesterday came to me in a dream last night. He was a brand-spanking-new Dave, and he had some interesting things to show me! Mostly in the form of an extended dream. I’ll write it down here.
We’re in the media section at a thrift store, surrounded on all sides by used books. Nothing classy, of course. The good stuff never ends up at thrift stores. No, what surrounds us are the dusty, yellowed remains of a thousand forgotten pop cultures. What we stand within is a hedge-maze made of thousand-page thrillers written about a half-dozen Wars to End All Wars that seem ancient by now. The current War against Astyajarel is old enough that it’s got some presence on the shelves too. Every novel is written by a man with an extraordinarily, unforgettably ordinary name. You know the type. Guys with names like Noah Sutton or Aidan Fraser. They’ve all won awards from organizations that have government ties, and some of them have words of recommendation written by major political figures.
Writers like that are the reason the Kingdom doesn’t really have much of a propaganda wing. Pop-culture propagandists can write whatever the hell they want without any of the restrictions government-made media usually suffer from. They know how to write down to people without making them feel stupid. They know how to write stories that are entertaining as hell, and super easy to read. Lot of folks can tear through a dozen of these books without ever stopping to think why we’re good and they’re bad, because the good guys are so lovable and the villains are so impressively awful. And the government don’t have to pay them a dime. Sweet deal for everybody involved.
It’s not just books. Obviously. I just happened to be looking at books when I started thinking about this. Stuff like this is everywhere. It gets dated pretty quick, but somebody always comes around to make something like it for the next generation. The next war. But I should probably get off this topic now. This isn’t about media. It’s about the dream. Though I think media could play a pretty big role in whatever’s going on right now.
As we flip through a cheap romance novel, glad to embrace some simple optimism for a time, we notice a song playing over the radio. It’s some old sea shanty, with lyrics that seem to be vaguely relevant to our situation. We can’t remember them right now.
The book disappears in our hands as the store fades away. Now we’re in a warehouse. A man is in here with us. Short, stocky, with a blonde crewcut. He’s got the letter K printed on his head in Times New Roman where his face should be.
Before we can make sense of this man, the scene shifts one final time. We’re not the protagonists of the dream anymore. Now we’re the narrators.
The new protagonist is you! We can’t discern anything concrete from this portion of the dream, aside from the fact that its protagonist is undeniably its reader and not us. The dream shows everybody who will ever read this portion of our journals overlaid atop one another. It’s not many people, but it’s enough that we can’t make out anything definitive.
To make this passage a little more fun, we’ve decided to briefly present you with the illusion of control over the narrative. Which will never happen again, so enjoy it while you can.
Fill in the following blanks with a pen: You are ________. Your occupation is __________. This occupation provides you with enough money to support your various needs, including ________, ____ and ___________________________. You have enough money left over to support a hobby, which you find enriching but which would appear to an outsider as nothing more than the collection of random shit. You prefer to waste your money on ________. As a child you were deathly afraid of ___________. This fear became sillier and sillier as you grew older - how likely were you to encounter ___________ in your lifetime?
You will be killed by a large horde of ___________ at age ___.

A lot of that probably seems like unfocused gibberish, and it is, but I think I know what it means! I’ll explain later.

Continue to Day Fifteen-->