Author: Morrow Brady
Time has no business in a cemetery. It stands by the gates, weeping at each new monolith.
Within the pine casket, at the bottom of the open grave, the red chrome tendril pushed inside the corpse like a train entering a tunnel. Mechanical discs tore a path through the wasting brain matter and poised momentarily before a golf ball-sized milky deposit.
Upon the host’s death, the See withdraws into the skull. The most macabre bus stop.
The tendril’s tip separated like shell armour and open mouth dived into the milky sac, vacuuming up every last drop and piping it up to a chamber strapped to the calf of the Archon standing beside the grave.
Under a grey sky, the Archon watched the funeral draw to a close, waiting for the tendril to finish retracting. Basking in fugitive sunlight that had escaped its cloudy warden, the Archon peered through grief to a parade of white gravestones lying below a cloud of cherry blossom. The Archon grieved for the swathes of See rotting across the battlefields and the grave impact their loss had on the archive.
Solemn stillness creaked to life at the ceremony’s end and a darkened widow turned to the Archon’s carved face and gently took the outstretched hand. She barely felt the tiny sting in her wizened palm, the pain ceasing almost immediately.
With dignity, the Archon proceeded to shake each person’s hand. The micro palm needle subtly sampling skin cells and depositing See subdermally.
Afterwards, seated in a beige café, a sudden downpour heeded the tired cotton oilskin to pool on the marble laminate. The Archon withdrew a faceted pebble, flushing it with the DNA cell data recovered from the needle implant. The pebble throbbed pink analytical glyphs.
A chanced sip from steaming coffee and a glance towards the wetted street-front.
Through the steam covered glass, people scurried under another downpour. The Archon imagined the See, clinging to nerves inside them like a mycelium skeleton. Silently soaking up human experience for the archive.
Subsonic tones turned an ear. The pink pebble soothed to blue. The analysis was complete. The ceremony had been bountiful. Over half the descendants attending the funeral were laden with active See. A quarter more were viable hosts, now dosed with See via the implant.
Later, as sunlight dared a second escape, the calf chamber hummed. The See harvested from the corpse had been read and sent to be assimilated into the archive.
The Archon expected the usual unremarkable read. A lifetime of experience mostly expunged for having no unique informational value to the archive. Lives today were long but malnourished in adventure, innovation or invention. A disappointment that riddled the Archon to the core. The archive had near-on stalled in its growth. Humanity preferring the safety of an armchair over a rocket ride to Mars.
The Archon trembled with disbelief at what the pebble displayed. The quantity of unique data added to the archive was magnitudes greater than any previous host. Delving deeper, revealed an extraordinary life hidden behind a mirrored iris portal. The Archon immediately stood, rushing out into a thunderstorm, chasing a dead memory.
By midnight, far away inside a hidden lichen covered monument, the Archon stood before the mirrored iris.
A hesitant touch and the chamber flooded with a purple hue and a black hole slowly grew within the iris. A milky white skeleton made from mycelium floated into the room.
“Dead men tell no tales” a vibrating voice announced.
“Except to an Archon”
The fellow spindly Archon grasped a shocked hand and slowly merged their archives.