Gookin’s Journal

In-character Subject: Reminiscence
Submitted: 2007-3-6 13.06

“Proc, come quick, Gookin’s collapsed.”
“He’s what? Shit. Get SixTwoFive!”

Gookin had just jacked out after a narrow escape. Still engrossed in his visions of the ‘end’, he had been endlessly searching the system for days. He needed to find someone with answers. He needed help.
The crew had noticed Gookin’s mental state becoming more and more unstable over the past few weeks, but for all their knowledge, they couldn’t figure out why.

“This isn’t normal, sir, I can’t bring him round.”
“Keep trying, damn it. Flare, get in touch with d4sh, let him know of our… situation”

Gookin had jacked in early that morning. He had set up a meeting with some exiles. Risky business as it was, he had to have answers. One of the exiles claimed to be able to interpret dreams. Gookin hadn’t slept for days, worrying about what this meeting could entail, what revelations it could bring. He’d paced up and down the jack-in bay, waiting for Flare to shift her ass and get him in the Matrix.
He’d jacked in and immediately activated the device that effectively cloaked him from the Aggregator’s code scanners. Part of the deal with the exiles was that he came alone and was not being watched.

“Sir, look at his eyes! That’s not fucking normal. I don’t know what’s happening”
“What’s all the noise about?”
“Get out of here Selena. Now!”
“Why wha-“
“NOW SELENA!”

Proc did not want Selena to see her husband like this. It was hard enough for him to watch his First Mate in such a critical condition. Gookin had worked hard to live up to his role as First Mate. Maybe the role was too much for him. Had Procurator made the wrong decision? Was it his fault that Gookin was in this state?

“No”

Proc heard Gookin’s voice in his head and jumped. He must have imagined it. Yeah, it was just the stress of the situation. Six’s voice brought the Captain back to his senses.

“Sir. We need to move him NOW!”
“What? Erm. Yeah, get him to the med bay”
“Captain. Don’t you lose it too. We need you to keep your cool.”
“I apologise. Let’s get him moved.”

*

Gookin had hyper jumped up to the meeting spot on the roof in Dannah Heights. He looked out over the district as he waited. Could this really all be destroyed? Would his visions really happen?

“Gookin?”

Gookin’s reactions got the better of him and he’d spun round, gun in hand, facing a single man.

“Now my friend, no need for that. I’m here to help you, remember?”

Gookin then remembered the voice. He had heard it once before on the phone as he’d arranged the meeting. He lowered the gun and let out a long breath.

“Sorry. I’m a tad jumpy these days.”
“That is quite alright. Now why don’t we sit down and discuss your dreams. I take it you have the disk?”

Gookin placed a small disc on the table and then put it back in his pocket.

“My information first, then you get your ticket to safety.”
“Then you found the code for the construct?”
“I had to do a lot of digging, but yes.”
“Very well. Tell me of your dreams”

The operative began to tell about all his dreams. The one in which he saw Zero-One, burning, devoid of all life. All of the Glitch Society’s hovercraft, now piles as rubble. The four bodies in front of him: Selena, d4sh, Procurator and the other. One he could not recognise. It seemed to merge shapes, transforming through all the other people he knew.

The second dream. Showing a vortex of code, swirling all around him, pulling him towards its dark centre, its abyss. He described how he had tried to get away and had woken up just before.

Then the 3rd. The flashes of all the people he cared about. Merging into one image. The image of himself. Alone. Wandering a dark land. Then the darkness would overwhelm him, and he would have trouble breathing when he woke up.

“Interesting.”
“Do you know what it means?”
“I have an idea.”
“Tell me!”
“I don’t think you will like it my friend.”
“Please, I need to know.”
“I believe that what you see, is not the end of all the things that you love; but the end of y-”
*Boom!*

Gookin dived to the floor as he heard the gunshot. His own gun was drawn and he had rolled into a defensive stance, aiming his gun at the attacker. His eyes faltered. It couldn’t be. There in front of him, stood the lupine. The first lupine he had ever seen. The one that had broken into his room as a bluepill and almost killed him.
It smiled at him and then Gookin looked down at the Shotgun and followed it down to the lifeless body of the interpreter.

“Time to finish my assignment, old friend.”
“You!”
“So you remember me then? Good. I’ll enjoy killing you all the more.”

He aimed the shotgun at Gookin and it was then that Gookin realised what ammo the gun held. Kill codes. Was this the reason for the dreams? Had his own body been warning him of the future. He realised that it had not been the commandos that had hacked his personal terminal. It was the lupine.

*Boom*

Gookin dodged; but not quick enough. The shot melted into his left arm. His senses began to falter. He would not die! He fought through it and regained his senses only to see the lupine standing over him.

“I died that night Gookin. But I was saved. The Merovingian saved me. He came to me and healed the damage. No one will do that for you. Time to die.”

Gookin sprang into action, biting through the pain. Just as the lupine raised the shotgun to fire; Gookin leaped into the air and rained down on the lupine in a flurry of blindingly fast piston kicks. The lupine fell stunned and Gookin whirled around and emptied his whole clip into the lupine.
He watched the lupine body lose all signs of life. But then, something completely unnatural happened. The body began to decompile. The code rising into the air, reforming into a shape.

“What the fuck?”

The lupine had reformed. Standing there, smiling, a brand new shotgun in its hand. Fear creeped onto Gookin’s face. Time seemed to slow down as the lupine raised the shotgun to his shoulder and aimed.

“Your turn”

Gookin was weak. Time was moving so slowly. He could think as the lupine’s finger began to squeeze that trigger. His body was weak but he knew in his heart that this could not happen. The kill code was slowly eating through him, he had to jack out ASAP.
In that moment, Gookin used all his remaining strength to jump higher and farther than ever before. The lupine fired and saw a dark blur as Gookin launched into the air, the shot missing and hitting an unlucky pigeon.
Gookin felt strange. He was weak, but powerful at the same time. He felt like he could beat the lupine, but he knew he must find a Hardline. He landed next to the Dannah Heights West Hardline and punched the number into his cell.

“Operator.”
“Get me out Flare. Dannah Heights West.”

The phone in the small, vandalised box began to ring. Gookin picked it up and in the moment that he jacked out, his strength left him.

*

He opened his eyes to a blurry vision of lights and cables. He let Flare remove his jack and free him of the restraints with a worried look on her face. Something was up and she knew it.
Gookin climbed out of the chair and went to walk to his chambers. With that, he saw darkness and his body slumped to the floor.
Flare immediately hit the panic button linked directly to the medical officer, SixTwoFive.

“This isn’t normal, I can’t bring him round.”

Gookin hadn’t just collapsed. It was like his mind had left his body completely. His eyes had fogged over and his heart was beating so very slowly.

“Sir, look at his eyes! That’s not fucking normal. I don’t know what’s happening.”

Selena came running in, wondering what the hell was going on and why no one was at their posts.

“What’s all the noise about?”
“Get out of here Selena. Now!”
“Why wha-“
“NOW SELENA!”

Selena looked at Procurator, stunned. Never had she heard him shout so loudly, about anything. Not even when she had almost given herself up to the numbers. Something was clearly wrong, but she didn’t know what to do. She turned around and walked out of the room, but she hid. Just behind the wall separating the two chambers of the hovercraft and listened in horror as she realised what had gone on. Tears began to roll down her cheeks as she slumped to the floor, feeling completely helpless.

The moment after the darkness had fallen, Gookin could see again. He was standing next to the chair he had used to jack in and was looking at the small group of people surrounding something on the floor.

“What’s going on?” He asked, totally disorientated. Then he saw what they were all gathering around. It was him. His face was blank, but his eyes had fogged over, unnaturally. Then he heard the voice. Proc’s voice

“Did I make the wrong decision?”
“Was he unable to cope with the pressure?”
“What is happening to him?”
“Oh Gookin, this is my fault.”

Proc had not moved his mouth. It was if Gookin was hearing what Proc was asking himself within his mind.

“No,” Gookin thought, and he saw Procurators expression changed. A brief look of fear passed across the captain’s face as he tried to understand what he had heard.

“Sir. We need to move him NOW!”

Proc, shook his head and focussed on the medical officer.

“What. Erm. Yeah, get him to the med bay.”
“Captain. Don’t you lose it too. We need you to keep your cool.”

Procurator once again became utterly serious and took control of his emotions. He would not leave his friend in this state.

“I apologise. Let’s get him moved.”

Gookin could hear all the voices of everyone. Not their voices, but their thoughts. All of them were worried and confused. Gookin had never realised, in all his searching, that his friends had cared for him so much. Then, all of a sudden, the voices stopped. A small whimpering sound filled his ears and then her voice.

“Please don’t die. Please. I can’t live without you. Please, please, please don’t leave me.”

Gookin’s heart dropped. He wanted to run to her, to lift her up and hold her close. He wanted to comfort his wife and tell her it would be ok, but he could not move from the spot. His heart filled with dread and then everything disappeared.
Gookin was now standing in a field of sky blue grass. The sky a dense black colour with red clouds passing over head. He looked at his hand. It looked as if he were not really there; his form fluctuating, like it did when his EJP kicked in, in the Matrix. Then he heard a deep roaring sound, a deafening drawn out boom. Then he saw his visions within his head. All that he would lose, all that he loved, finally he understood the dreams, except one, until it appeared.
The vortex. It formed slowly in that dark sky , drawing everything towards it. Code appeared in the sky, being sucked into the swirling vortex that Gookin could not comprehend.

“Look at his neural-kinetic. That’s not normal. I’ve never seen that pattern before.”
“Sir!”

Proc spun away from the console to look at his medical officer and the limp body of his First Mate.

“I’m losing him, sir. Nothing I do is helping in anyway. I – I ca – I can’t save him.”

With that, the medical officer fell to her knees and leaned over the body of the young officer. Tears falling down her face.

“Don’t you dare Gookin. Don’t you dare.”

Selena then appeared, slowly moving to finally see her husband. Procurator tried to say something, but his voice faltered as he saw her face. So fragile. No one deserved that pain. No one. He felt the first tear fall, but held himself together and wiped the tear away. He had to stay strong for his crew.
Proc heard the airlock door of the Aggregator open and every member of The Glitch Society rushed into the med bay. All of them with looks of horror on their face.
Bittype walked up to Gookin’s body and slapped it hard across the face.

“Get up now, you bastard, or I’m gonna come after you and drag you back.”

She slapped him again

“Wake the fuck up!”

D4sh placed his hands on her shoulders and dragged her back holding her against him as he watched his friend slowly die. The others all looked on, fear and sadness filling their faces and hearts. They watched as Selena lay on top of her husband, beating her fists against his chest, willing him to stay alive.
Procurator felt so helpless. Never had he felt such weakness. His lip trembled and he turned to look at d4sh. Neither of them looked strong. Both of them felt each others sadness. They knew what was being lost to them, and they could not stop it.
All of a sudden, a roaring sound filled the Hovercraft. Proc turned around to look at the neural kinetic monitor, but it did not show the brain activity of his young first mate. Instead it showed a field of blue grass. A deep black and red sky. Proc saw the vortex, the swirling mass of code in that sky. Then he saw the figure. He saw Gookin standing in the field, fluctuating like a glitch in a graphic.

“G-Gookin. What in God’s name? No!”

All the others turned away from Gookin to where the Captain had directed his words.
Ultimate horror took over all of them as they watched their friend turn around ready to fight against the pull of the vortex. Selena cried out for him. Pleaded for him to come back to her and she fell against his body, weeping.

Gookin looked up at the vortex and understood everything. All his dreams, they had nothing to do with anything that had happened in the Matrix, bar one thing: his awakening. The kill code, had done enough damage to corrupt his mind. Somehow, his mind had known what was going to happen, and had begun to warn him. A million questions should have filled his mind, but they didn’t. Instead he saw the faces again.
All the faces of the people he knew d4sh, Dragonram, Procurator, all the other faction members. They all willed him to live, but stared as they began to give up hope. He felt them, one by one, give in to their despair and mourn for him as if he were dead.
Then 2 faces shone in his head. The ones who held onto so much hope. They urged him to live with every ounce of their essence. But, slowly, that faltered to. As it did, Gookin felt the pull of the vortex become stronger at his back, drawing him in, leading him to his demise. D4sh, Procurator; they all eventually gave up one by one. They wanted him to live so much, but not even they could overcome their emotions. Gookin felt weakened. He dropped to one knee. It was if he had been winded, all the strength knocked out of him. He reached out with his heart, trying to find one last person who had not given up on him. Selena. He needed her, now more than ever. Slowly, he found her. She was there, weak, but there willing him to live. He felt her love for him and it increased his strength. He stood up and saw the face of his wife in his mind. She begged for him to live. But this was different than with the others. Selena, needed Gookin. It was at that point that Gookin realised what their love truly meant. They had truly become one. Her love strengthened him further. He found a gun in his hand. He spun round at the vortex and fired one shot at its centre. Into that one shot, he poured all his feelings. Every bit of his strength. The bullet took off into the sky and Gookin saw as it ripped into the vortex. The code began to swirl faster and lighting began to flash inside the vortex. Chaos erupted as the vortex died. Gookin felt it weaken and he fell onto his knees. His arm dropped to his side and released the gun. It disappeared at once.

The faction watched as the vortex ceased to exist and they watched the young officer slump down. They all began to believe again. Gookin had defeated whatever was happening within his mind. But then, something changed within that little world on the monitor. Code began to appear. A figure began to form out of the code. In a blinding flash, the faction saw what the figure was. A lupine stood a few feet away from Gookin. They all saw as Gookin looked up and they all felt the fear that coursed through Gookin.
Sound suddenly filled the Hovercraft again. Or it seemed to. They could all hear what was happening within Gookin’s mind, just as if it were coming out of a speaker.

“There is nowhere I can’t find you Gookin, not even within your own mind. You may have destroyed the virus that was embedded into my kill code bullets, but you will not survive me.”

Gookin looked up at the lupine. He could not run. There was no where to go. He felt all of the faction, distant, but there. Somehow they knew what was happening to him. He saw into their minds. He had thought they were all just at the side of his body. Now he realised somehow that they could see him in this world with the lupine.
Liquid began to form in the air next to the lupine. It looked like liquid mercury and Gookin knew what it would form. The lupine stood there and reached out to the liquid. As he did, the shotgun formed and the lupine cocked it.

“Now Gookin. It’s time for you to finally die. All I have worked for will now finally be fulfilled.”

The faction heard every word that was said.

“Is that?”
“I think so.”
“It can’t be.”

Different voices asked different questions. But only 4 chimed up with something completely different.

“Fight him!”

Procurator, Selena and d4sh all had the same thought at the same time. They believed in Gookin. They believed that he would come back to them if he won. Selena put her love and her life into the message. They saw Gookin stand and saw what seemed to be a smile on his face, but as soon as they saw it, it was gone.

Gookin felt them. He knew what he had to do to return to them all. But he also felt his body begin to give up its struggle without the mind. He did not have very long. If he was going to finish this it had to be now.

“No more running, no more hiding. We finish this now lupine!”
“A fight? This will make killing you so much better.”

With that last word, the Lupine fired at Gookin. Gookin launched himself into the air and dodged the shot. As he landed, he did a spinning heel kick and knocked the gun out of the lupine’s hands.

“Enough of this shit!”

Gookin twirled again and kicked the lupine in the face sending him flying across the field. Next moment, Gookin was the one flying through the air. The lupine had moved so fast. It slammed the operative into the ground, sending grass and dirt flying everywhere. Gookin kicked up into the lupine’s chest and then jumped up and the wolf man flew backwards. Gookin launched into a flurry of punches and kicks. His mind using all the abilities it had learned through the Matrix. The lupine slumped to the ground, weakened. It should have died, but it didn’t. Why not? Then Gookin saw something shine in the distance. It was the shotgun. It hadn’t disappeared like Gookin’s had done after he’d destroyed the vortex. The shotgun was the key. It must have been encoded with something to help the lupine live. The First Mate looked down at the weakened lupine as it slowly gathered its strength and he knew what he had to do. Gookin walked up to the weapon and picked it up. He heard something move and turned around.

*Boom*

Gookin slowly opened his eyes. On the ground was the lupines body. The shotgun had disappeared and a pool of blood surrounded the lupine.
Gookin walked up to the dying body and looked into the face of his enemy.

“It- It wasn’t supposed t-to b-be like th-this. I w-was supposed to win.”

With that last sentence Gookin saw the life fade out of the lupine’s eyes and he felt a tug on his body. He looked up and saw the world deteriorating before him; then there was blackness.

*

“He’s coming around!”
“Thank God!”

Gookin slowly opened his eyes and stared up at the ceiling of the med bay. His faction mates were standing around him, they were smiling, crying, but there was one face he couldn’t see.

“S-Se-Selena.”

That one word took so much effort to say. But she appeared. Looking down at him, here eyes were so raw. Both looked deep into each others eyes and began to cry. Selena hugged her husband and wept with joy. When they had comforted each other as much as they could Gookin slept. His body weary
Most of the faction went back to their hovercrafts, but stayed in close proximity to the Aggregator. Gookin was kept under surveillance the next few days but was finally allowed to go back to his duties.
No one looked at him the same way and when he got to his quarters there was a surprise waiting for him.

*Smack*

“Shit. What was that for?”

Gookin rubbed the side of his face where the palm had hit him.

“Don’t you ever fucking do that again you understand?”

Bittype stood in front of him, the look of relief on her face was blatant.

“Good to see you too Bittype.”

Bittype frowned and walked out. Gookin chuckled to himself. It was good to be back among the faction. He felt safer with them. It had been the faction that had saved him in the end. Without them, he would have given up, especially without Selena. She lay in their bed asleep for the first time in days. He lay down next to her and stroked her hair. She stirred. The first mate smiled and laid a gentle kiss on his wife’s cheek.
As he left the room, an image flashed into his head. The image that would stay with him forever. The one time that had scared him more than anything in his life. He took it as his mind reminding him to always stay focussed and always be vigilant. He was, after all, a Redpill and more than that, a machinist. People would always want him dead…

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