October 18, 2023Comments are off for this post.

[ ENTRY.007 ] – DESPAIRCODE

ARGOS::[ ARTCLE START ]

Here we report the first draft sequence of the DESPAIR CODE. The sequencing was performed with the use of a hybrid approach. At the first stage, a rapid fragment library was sequenced on a proprietary ARGOS-engineered instrument labeled "DC-1", following the titanium protocol, resulting in approximately 170 TB of raw data with a mean read length of 500 MB.  The combination of different sequencing platforms and library types made it possible to perform de novo assembly from DC-1 reads, followed by scaffolding by SOLiD reads pairing.

The final code sequence includes nearly 300 GB of reconstructed dream projection sequences and is characterized by complex neural signatures, hyperspecific to the subject. The full code obtained was annotated using the RAST annotation server. As many as 5,602,875 dream sequences were predicted for a single subject.  Injection of the final, sequenced DESPAIR CODE data into any Dream Image Disk results in the subject contained in the disk to be removed permanently from the Ouroboros, plunged into a loop of dream sequences from which they are unable to break out of.  Due to the incredible size of the dream dataset, this loop can seem endless.

Despite this, ARGOS believes that this code will be the key to achieving immortality.

IF WE CAN FIND HOW TO STABILIZE THE DREAM LOOPS CREATED BY THE DC-1, WE COULD USE ITS POWER TO EXTEND HUMAN LIFE BEYOND ITS MATERIAL EXPIRATION.  IN THE FUTURE, WE AIM TO INJECT FOREIGN DREAM SEQUENCES INTO NATIVE DREAM LOOPS, TO CREATE CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENTS FOR SUBJECTS.

THE SOUL, HELD STILL IN THE DREAM IMAGE DISK.

ETERNITY, IN THE DC-1 HANDHELD.

ARGOS::[ ARTCLE END   ]

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[ ENTRY.006 ] – ARG-ULTRA

ARG-ULTRA is suspected to be a human experimentation shadow program designed and undertaken by the ARGOS Corporation, intended to develop procedures and identify methods by which to capture consciousness digitally through intense sleep studies. It began in 2199 behind the fa├žade of a separate ARGOS program focused on dream lucidity.  The shadow program is suspected to be ongoing, despite ARGOS representatives consistently and vehemently denying its existence in the past, present, or future. ARGOS uses numerous methods to manipulate its subjects' mental states and brain functions, such as sensory deprivation, isolation, and somno-mental suggestion.

Many sources claiming to be former ARGOS employees - who wished to remain anonymous - corroborated personal accounts with existing research into the shadowy ARG-ULTRA program, asserting that ARGOS may have found a method of successfully digitizing consciousness. Subjects of the program, the sources claim, are participating voluntarily in lucidity studies that double as a method of "consciousness download". After only a few days of tests, the subjects' minds are transferred to proprietary ARGOS hardware - a Dream Image Disk [ DID ] - and their physical bodies are rendered braindead, kept alive by standard stasis capsules far underground the main ARGOS lab.

No physical evidence of Dream Image Disks exist, but all corroborating sources remain terrifyingly convicted in their recounts.

Several known deaths - and thousands more, suspected - have been associated with ARG-ULTRA, most notably that of a subject whose name was redacted in all existing documentation. The subject's only surviving identity is their codename in the few surviving documents alleging the existence and history of the program. VEIL, a volunteer participant of the sleep lucidity program, was induced into sleep with his knowledge and consent in November 2199, as part of an ARGOS study, and died a week later from a cause now redacted in all documentation. A former ARGOS researcher assigned to monitor VEIL claimed to have been asleep in another bed in a Neo Shibuya hotel room when VEIL's vitals dropped to zero. The researcher declined our request for an interview, and requested repeatedly to remain anonymous.

In 2203, VEIL's death was revisited unofficially, and later described to be a suicide, occurring due to a combination of extreme psychological trauma and an amount of Vecuronium three [ 3 ] times the fatal dose reportedly found in his blood postmortem. No further official investigation has been performed.

ARGOS Corp. denies using the use and misuse of Vecuronium in their sleep lucidity studies, and continues to denounce the validity of all documentation surrounding ARG-ULTRA. An official statement from ARGOS on the topic of VEIL's death and the ARG-ULTRA program reads:

ALL SUBJECTS OF OUR TESTS ARE CLOSELY MONITORED, AND THEIR IDENTITIES PROTECTED BY OUR ANONYMITY CLAUSE. VEIL'S IDENTITY AND PHYSICAL STATE IS PROTECTED, AND WE WILL NOT BREACH THEIR SUBJECT NONDISCLOSURE AGREEMENT FOR A SENSATIONALIST CONSPIRACY.

THE ARG-ULTRA PROGRAM IS AN EXAGGERATION OF EXISTING RESEARCH AND STUDIES BEING CONDUCTED AT ARGOS. REGARDING THE USE OF VERCURONIUM: WHEN SUBJECTS SLEEP, GABA AND GLYCINE SHUT OFF MOTOR NEURONS NATURALLY.

NO NEED FOR EXTERNAL PARALYTICS. THE BODY PARALYZES ITSELF.

October 5, 2023Comments are off for this post.

[ ENTRY.005 ] – SLEEPSICK

One second, he stood at the base of the looming ARGOS DEEP, frigid spectres walking through him; the next, complete darkness.  [ VEIL ]'s hand, still outstretched in front of him, now grasps at nothing.  The door which stood in front of him just a moment before has vanished, replaced with the wall of a residential home.  A familiar, dull color coats the wall, and a television tuned to a dead channel drones behind him.  He runs his fingers down the wall's popcorn paint as his hand slowly drops to his side.  The room that he turns around to see is well-characterized by the walls' grey palette - common furniture arranged sensibly in a living space, surrounding a cold source of light: a CRT television crackling with static.  A hallway is open on the far wall, unnaturally dark, stretching farther into the house.

[ VEIL ] takes a step away from the wall, and the static drone is cut off by the low hum of the Ouroboros.  He is facing away from the monolith-castle, toward the direction he came from, confused and disoriented.  Shaking it off, he turns back around to open the door to the DEEP, before finding himself back in the grey room.

( A sound, somewhere behind him. )  He spins around to face the rest of the dull room - the indistinct furniture - the buzzing CRT - the deep black hallway.

( Another sound.  Slow chittering, barely audible. )  Searching for the source of the noise, [ VEIL ] paces the room.  The air is thick, and his motions are slow - weighted - like walking underwater.

( The feeling of being watched. )  Nothing in the room besides the uninspired furniture.  ( Not alone. )  [ VEIL ] finishes his search and finds himself facing the hallway again.

The static drone dies suddenly, plunging the room into a complete silence broken only by the blood pulsing in his ears and a high-pitch whine from the television.  His eyes snap to the CRT, now projecting pure white scanlines and a channel number: 000.

( The feeling of being watched. )  He turns back to face the hallway.  ( Not alone. )  The abyss stares back, now, with red-reflective eyes.

( A sound of cracking, grinding bones.  The tearing of flesh. )  The eyes rise to the ceiling of the hallway.  [ VEIL ] takes a step back.  ( Not alone. )  Another step.  ( The feeling of being watched. )  Slow, like moving through water.  ( The tearing of flesh. )

His back hits the wall, and it gives way.  He falls roughly to the ground, and the room is gone - replaced by a sterile, white room with harsh fluorescent beams crossing on the ceiling.  [ VEIL ] watches from the ground as the hydraulic-assisted door to the ARGOS DEEP hisses shut.  He sees a hand - long-fingered, gnarled, and soot-black - disappear behind the door as it closes.  Blood trailing from his nose - something still feels wrong.

( The feeling of being watched. )

( Not alone. )

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[ ENTRY.004 ] – UNMATTER_BLADE

Stark against the ever-receding darkness of the sky, clearer even than the monolith-castle towering over the spectral city, [ VEIL ] wills a new object from the fabric of the Greater Dream.  Atoms align from chaos, shifting phase, adhering their unmatter to the concept projected from [ VEIL ]'s mind.  The hilt emerges first, cold from its vacuum conception, and lowers itself gracefully into [ VEIL ]'s upturned hand.  He turns the solid, weighted hilt in his hand, feeling its curves and edges, and notices a glow from within the metal, pulsing outward from the base.  The glow takes the form of a phantom blade, passing through the balcony railing ahead of him without issue.  [ VEIL ] takes a couple of steps backwards as the glow strengthens, an ethereal indigo, dreadfully distinct in the blood-black Greater Dream night.

Hilt humming in his hand, [ VEIL ] watches as near-invisible particles streak from the night, into the immaterial blade.  Unmatter materializing around him, singing from the expanse to meet the deep-mind glow with impossible speed.  Each particle fuses with the last - cells, interlinked - to complete the sword's form.  A glinting blade emerges to replace its inverse shadow: hungering and sharp-edged.  With the formation complete, the heft of the sword settles into his hand, and the similar weight of its mental constitution settles into his mind.

[ VEIL ] drops the concentration he was unconsciously holding, and the blade dissipates into the air, leaving the black metal hilt empty in his hand.  Indifferent, he steels himself against the night and leaps from the rooftop.  He falls aside his distorted reflection in the building's tinted windows, watching his cloak twist and furl wildly around him.  Near the ground, now, he aligns the hilt perpendicular to the windows flashing upwards, and wills the blade back from the void.  The ringing song of unmatter is met by shattering glass and a terrible grinding of unmatter steel against concrete.  [ VEIL ] decelerates quickly as he reaches the ground, dropping his concentration as his feet near the street.  The blade dissipates again and he lands roughly - but uninjured - on the street, the sparks thrown outwards by his descent raining around him, harsh illumination streaking through the air to meet the ground.  He tucks the hilt of the sword under his cloak, and moves towards the ARGOS DEEP.

The sparks die quietly underfoot, plunging the street back into spectral darkness.

The building behind him blurs its wound shut.

October 5, 2023Comments are off for this post.

[ ENTRY.003 ] – MAN_IN_THE_CASTLE

ARGOS Corp, during sleep studies, was successful after thousands of hours of trials, to make waking contact with the sub-subconscious.  A portal which ARGOS researchers call an "Oculus" opened in the Ouroboros Head, drawing energy from the hyperlight spike, allowing researchers conscious entry into the spectral city.

The city was quickly flooded with researchers, and as travel through the "Oculus" P-BRIDGE became normalized, executives were allowed through to explore as well.  Blocks of the city around the Oculus were quickly leveled, replaced by a brutal monolith: ARGOS DEEP, the headquarters and base of operations for the dream-side researchers.

[ VEIL ] touches the crystal and is transported through the Greater Dream Ouroboros, from the tail to the head.  Whereas the Tail was dead and empty, the Head is a futuristic city roamed by dream spectres.  The ARGOS DEEP, with its seven holographic, golden eyes burning on its flank, is the first building [ VEIL ] notices when his eyes finish adjusting from the blinding hyperlight transfer.  Despite the dense fog of spectral figures roaming the streets below the rooftop he finds himself on, the city feels hollow.  Carved out.  [ VEIL ] looks to the base of monolith, and notices that the spectres avoid its perimeter - or, rather, dissolve into nothing as they approach.  A cloying, dark energy permeates the cold air, incorporeal tendrils clawing at his mind.

An inescapable dread as he stares up at the sharp-edged ARGOS DEEP, its immaterial golden eyes piercing through him.

THIS DOESN'T BELONG HERE.  THIS SHOULDN'T EXIST.

The voice from the Ouroboros Tail returns to him, but is quiet - nearly inaudible.

ARGOS IS KILLING THE GREATER DREAM.  THEIR ENTRYWAY, THEIR "OCULUS", FEEDS ON HYPERLIGHT.  THE SAME FORCE THAT BROUGHT YOU TO THE HEAD IS BEING BLED DRY BY THE MAN IN THE CASTLE.  IF THE CRYSTAL IS LEECHED OF ITS HYPERLIGHT, LINES BETWEEN REALITY AND MIND-SPECTRE WILL DISSOLVE.  THE GREATER DREAM WILL UNRAVEL - THE INDIVISIBLE HEAD AND TAIL DISCONNECTING - CAUSING A MASS UNTETHERING OF BOTH CONSCIOUS AND UNCONSCIOUS PHENOMENA.

[ VEIL ] stands, frozen, staring at the monolith-castle.  He looks behind him for the hyperlight crystal, to return to the Tail.  The rooftop is empty, dark.  But far from silent - the voice continues, louder, impassioned.

YOU MUST REMEMBER THAT, WHILE YOU EXIST ON THE SAME PLANE AS THEY DO, YOU WERE DELIVERED HERE BY THE CRYSTAL.  YOU ENTERED THE OUROBOROS THROUGH SLEEP.  THEY WERE DELIVERED BY HUBRIS, FORCING THEIR WAY IN WHILE AWAKE.  THEY ARE WEAKENED BY THIS PLANE.  YOU ARE STRENGTHENED BY IT.

THEY ENTERED THIS PLANE BELIEVING THEMSELVES CONQUERORS, HUNTERS - FULL OF STRENGTH, EMBOLDENED BY THEIR "SUCCESS".  SHOW THEM, [ VEIL ], THEY ARE EMPTY HERE.  FEED THEM THEIR POWERLESSNESS.

USE YOUR LUCIDITY TRAINING TO CONJURE YOUR ARSENAL.

DRAW A BLADE FROM THE DEEP.

FIND THE MAN IN THE CASTLE.

GOUGE HIS "OCULUS" EYE.

October 5, 2023Comments are off for this post.

[ ENTRY.002 ] – WASTELAND

(Four thousand one hundred and seventy-two.)
He didn't remember falling asleep, or waking up.  The wasteland sprawls in front of him, formless and infinite(?), stretching its countless incorporeal limbs out in all directions.  No light reaches from the firmament, no escape carved from the immutable darkness.  Snapshots of memories crawl across his mind as he walks.
(Four thousand one hundred and seventy-three.)
A flooded, empty world.
(Four thousand one hundred and seventy-four.)
A crystal, filled with hyperlight.
(Four thousand one hundred and seventy-five.)
[ VEIL ] counts his steps, uncertain of the purpose, but convinced of its importance.  Directionless, disoriented, but the key idea unchanging: movement.  It had only been [ ??? ] minuteshoursdays since his entry into the deep black that surrounds him.
(Four thousand one hundred and seventy-six.)
A monolith-castle, rising from a spectral city.
(Four thousand one hundred and seventy-seven.)
A swirling violet Oculus eye.
(Four thousand one hundred and seventy-eight.)
His steps echo impossibly outwards, suggesting some unseen architecture.  Chills pass through him intermittently as he moves through the space, and he realizes he can't feel his cloak around him.
(Four thousand one hundred and seventy-nine.)
A hungering sword, cast from the Deep.
(Four thousand one hundred and eighty.)
A flash of dark blood.
(Four thousand one hundred and --
Out of the impenetrable darkness comes something familiar: the feeling of hyperlight transfer, space unwrapping around him, displacing his atoms slowly, then all at once.  And he beheld a great and terrible skull, pierced through by thousand-point glass.  Suspended, sundered, sublime: the final likeness, plucked from a heap of broken images.

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[ ENTRY.001 ] – HYPERLIGHT_ANOMALY

[ VEIL ] shakes his head as he scales another of the endless black stone hills, trying in vain to dislodge the possession. The voice grows louder, despite his fighting against its permeation, and [ VEIL ] notices a multiplicity he hadn't before. The voice splits a thousand times, filling his head edge to edge with overlapping pleas for help, agonizing screams, calls of the void. He feels a heavy energetic force from the other side of the hill, and can see a faint glow from the water's edge. As he draws closer to the glow, aching body and weakened mind pulled by the psychic force of whatever hovered above the frigid water below, a low vibration makes a home in his bones. Electricity crackling in the marrow. Pure energy thrumming through the lifeless air, emanating from what [ VEIL ] could tell was a single crystal, suspended over the surface of water. He reaches the shoreline and sits just in front of the crystal, then feels the psychic pressure release.

Weighted, all-encompassing silence -- no voices, just pure energy and light pulsing in front of him.  A moment passes, then a voiceless thought enters [ VEIL ]'s mind: HOW CAN YOU SEE IT?

THIS CRYSTAL IS THE ANCHOR, THE HYPERLIGHT SPIKE THROUGH HEAD AND TAIL OF THE GREATER DREAM OUROBOROS.  IT IS INVISIBLE TO MOST THAT FIND THEMSELVES IN THIS REALM, AND THEY ARE QUICKLY CONSUMED BY ITS HUNGER.

A pause, [ VEIL ]'s mind plunging back into the deep silence for a moment.  The voices he heard were dreamers, stuck in this place beyond unconsciousness, consumed - body and mind - by the crystal.

January 12, 2023Comments are off for this post.

[ ENTRY.000 ] – PERMANENT_VACATION

The final lucidity trial completed.  [ VEIL ] feels the familiar frigid water of the sensory deprivation chamber return as he descends from his dream state.  Eyes still cemented shut, he allows the water to wake him fully before pulling the eye mask off.  A bleak sky has replaced the pitch blackness of the SD chamber -- it stares down at [ VEIL ], the cold grey firmament answering his confusion with apathy.  [ VEIL ] stops floating and stands in the knee-deep water, icy beads of water rolling off of his cloak to reunite with the collective below.  Monitoring leads still cling to his skin, but now hang limply beneath his cloak, severed cleanly from the ECG machine they were feeding information to.

It is eerily still here; no noise, no life.  [ VEIL ] wades through the impossibly blue water, towards a jagged, black beach.  Each step gnaws at his nerves -- the biting cold sinking frozen fangs into his calves.  The sound of his movement through the water is jarring, and seems to send shockwaves through the emptiness around him as he moves, as if the ripples in the water were echoed in the stillness he shattered in waking.

YOU ESCAPED.

A thought enters his mind in a voice unknown to him as he pushes through the water.  His body is wracked by a sudden shiver, even as he seems to acclimates to the cold.  He can feel the voice in his head twist its incorporeal mouth into a grin.

YOU FINALLY MADE IT OUT.  ALL OF THAT TIME IN LUCIDITY, LEARNING HOW TO ESCAPE, AND HERE YOU ARE.

The voice echoes, over and over: YOU ESCAPED.  [ VEIL ] pulls himself onto the black rocks, out of the water.  He grips his head, squeezing his eyes shut, and the voice breaks its loop.  The world drops into silence again.  [ VEIL ] feels the voice in his head drop its smile.  He feels a twinge of shared pain.

THE WORLD THAT BROKE YOUR MIND ALSO TAUGHT YOU TO HIDE INSIDE IT.  SO YOU DID -- AND YOU ESCAPED.  BUT AT WHAT COST?

Silence, again.

YOU FORGOT HOW TO WAKE UP, DIDN'T YOU?
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