Terminal (Jack Cabot's lab)Edit
Welcome to ROBCO Industries (TM) Termlink
Welcome, Jack Cab0t!
I think I finally have this new terminal set up correctly. Let's see if this saves... Yes! I can already see that this is going to increase my productivity immensely, never mind Mother's carping about "new-fangled contraptions." I see that I mistyped my name on the setup screen. I'll have to check the manual for how to fix that - would get annoying to see that every time I "log in"!
Still learning how to work with this new computer. Searched the manual for an hour last night, but couldn't find out how to reset my name on the login screen. Oh well, hardly worth worrying about right now. I'm sure I'll figure it out eventually.
At some point, I'll need to take the time to transcribe all my old paper notes into this system so that I can easily access them. But for now, let me summarize my progress so far in understanding Father's condition so I have a baseline to refer back to here.
1. All attempts to directly remove the Artifact have been unsuccessful so far. Father's blood pressure dropped precipitously and detectable brain waves nearly flatlined each time. The results were the same with:
* Total anaesthesia (Father unconscious)
* Local anasthesia (Father conscious)
* Several types of anti-psychotics (TO DO - fill in exact list and dosage from my notes)
* Varying dosages of LSD (TO DO - fill in dosages from notes)
2. This implies that disabling the Artifact in some way will be necessary in order to remove it from Father.
- Question - is the psychotic effect permanent? i.e. will it survive removal of the Artifact? Or is the Artifact actively and directly inducing it?
3. I've been very cautious with directly physically interacting with the Artifact since the very early days - my initial attempts to probe or tinker with it were met with similar physical symptoms in Father to my attempts to remove it. I won't attempt it again until I have a much greater understanding of the Artifact's inner workings.
4. Active scanning of the Artifact itself has proven useless. I currently consider this a dead end.
* X-rays - so far has proven opaque to all my scans. Obviously I'm limited to the amount of radiation I can risk subjecting Father to.
* Radio imaging - again, the Artifact is opaque at all wavelengths.
5. Passive scanning has been more promising. This is an area I plan to devote much more time. The Artifact radiates across the electro-magnetic spectrum, and at varying strengths and wavelengths. I have some basic telemetry already built into Father's cell, and have been collecting data for the past 2 years. So far it isn't much more than suggestive of further avenues of research, but I am quite confident that over time, and with more sophisticated sensors, I'll be able to gain genuinely useful insight into the way the Artifact is controlling Father.
* TO DO - get military contacts from Senator DeSoto - they are likely to have more advanced tech than I can get commercially. Consider making deal for samples of serum if necessary.
6. The physical symptoms and changes that the Artifact has induced in Father are as follows:
* Extreme paranoia and psychotic tendencies - this was obvious from the first. Since no drug has proven effective in mitigating these symptoms, all evidence points to this being directly induced by the Artifact.
* Agelessness - as-yet-unidentified modifications to his blood chemistry has prevented any further aging since he first encountered the Artifact. In fact, he may be in better physical health than before. It seems likely that the Artifact is actively monitoring and "correcting" any problems it finds with its host organism.
* Telekinesis - the most surprising ability. I tentatively believe that this is NOT actual telekinesis but is something generated directly by mechanisms in the Artifact itself, perhaps using manipulation of gravity waves beyond our current technology.
* Increased physical strength - perhaps a side effect of the Artifact's monitoring and "improving" of its host. This caused some difficulty early on in Father's confinement (before I was fully aware of his abilities) but is now merely something to keep aware of.
7. Father's blood chemistry shows various changes from human norms, as well as traces of currently unidentifed substances. I've proven that at least some of the symptoms described above can be communicated to another person through use of blood transfusion. So far through pure trial and error I've been able to produce a serum with several of the beneficial qualities and few side effects, but my actual understanding of what the serum is doing is so far very limited. I'll continue to pursue that as time allows but it seems unlikely to be of much use in actually freeing Father from the Artifact.
8. X-rays of Father's brain show no physical intrusion of the Artifact - his skull remains intact, and I can see no signs that it has even penetrated his flesh. At this point, I believe that the blood chemistry changes (etc.) must be being induced by the Artifact indirectly - it is instructing Father's cells on how to manufacture these substances.
9. My most successful intervention to date has been the development of the "Abremalin Field" (detailed specs in files at Parsons). Earliest crude implementation (1898) was simply a full-spectrum dampening field tuned to the same frequencies given off by the Artifact. It did interfere with the Artifact's operation, but at great cost to Father's health. At the time I had no choice - he would have been impossible to confine any other way - but refinement of the field has been a priority over the last decades. I've managed to reduce the negative physical effects on Father while more directly blocking the Artifact's telekinesis power. So far my attempts to broaden the field's interference with other aspects of the Artifact have been unsuccessful - they bring on similar physical symptoms to attempting to physically remove the Artifact. But this remains the most promising avenue of my research - if I can discover how to interrupt this communication I believe I will have the key to removing it - or at the very least in mitigating some of the other dangerous symptoms (psychosis, etc.).
Mother and Emogene have left for another European tour, while I take care of the latest "generational shift". Getting more difficult to make this work in our modern age. Luckily money still talks. I'll have to find someone reliable to leave in charge at Parsons while I'm gone - perhaps Anderson could be trusted not to meddle?
It's good to be back. John Cabot, long lost cousin of the Cabots has returned to claim his inheritance after the freak accident that claimed the lives of Jack and his family. As usual, I have to be careful to respond when people address me as "John". And this beard is going to take some getting used to. But, such are the burdens of immortality. Anderson proved loyal and uninclined to poke his nose into anything, so that's another hurdle passed. I need to try to get as much done as I can while Mother is away - I find I am much more productive than usual during these transitions.
I've been experimenting with some of the new transistors, and it looks possible to make a portable version of the Abremalin field generator. This would be very useful if we ever had to move Lorenzo to a different facility for any reason. A lot more work is necessary of course, and testing it on Lorenzo is out of the question - I won't risk shutting down the main field. But replicating the current field frequency pattern should at least give us something that we could try in an emergency, even if I can't be 100% certain it will work.
I've just hired a new fellow to help with the family's affairs - Edward Deegan, comes highly recommended. It's too easy for me to ignore the passage of time now, but I've just realized how old Daniel is getting - it will be time for him to retire in a few years, and it's past time to start grooming his replacement. This is always such a difficult process that I tend to put it off, especially as Mother can be so difficult with anyone new. If Edward proves reliable, I can start easing him into the "family secrets" - tricky, but necessary. So far so good - Mother has taken to him, which is an essential first step.
I've had Robco out again. It seems like a small thing but this login screen glitch has been driving me crazy. I assumed that it would be fixed with the upgraded terminals - you can be sure I was careful to type my name in correctly this time. But no, when it booted up the next time, there it was again.
This time they completely wiped the entire system and reinstalled from their master holotapes. Unbelievably, the typo was still there. They've promised to have some of their sharpest engineers look into the problem, but I'm not sure they were being completely serious. If I don't hear from them within a couple of weeks, I'll make a few calls.
Apparently the political situation has become very dangerous. I don't pay much attention to current events but Emogene's latest beau is a high muckety-muck in some government agency, and has been telling her alarming stories about how close things have gotten to a full-scale nuclear war. I wonder if we are following in the footsteps of the ancients who created the artifact - if so, who might our successors be, thousands of years from now? Will a cockroach civilization eventually rise to wonder at the artifacts we left behind?
It really happened. I don't think I've quite come to terms with what it means for the long run - it's been one crisis after another. We certainly aren't out of the woods yet, but the simple fact that I can write this again means we are better off than most people.
I don't have time to write down everything that's happened. Fortunately Boston was spared a direct hit. My first concern was Parsons, of course - we had to maintain power at all costs. We've always had backup generators, more than usual even for a medical facility, but these were intended for short-term outages, not as a permanent power supply. Then there was the question of security. Edward proved himself amazingly resourceful - he already had plans in place for just such an emergency - thank god he paid more attention to the news than I did. Still, there's no real planning for the end of civilization. He and I have been at Parsons for almost a month, trying to keep things from completely falling apart. Edward has been out more than he should - I'm afraid he's taken a heavy dose of radiation. But there was really no choice. I'll do what I can for him - I don't know how I could replace him now.
Emogene has stepped up amazingly - I had no idea she had it in her. The man we left in charge here proved unreliable - apparently cracked under the pressure, and tried to evict Emogene and Mother at gunpoint. He didn't reckon on Emogene (and neither did I). She took charge and somehow kept things secure here in spite of everything. I'll have to see what Edward can do about a more permanent solution for power (and security) for Cabot House, but for the moment things look much better than they might. I expect even our resources will be tested to the limit over the coming years, but in some ways I am glad of the challenge. One thing's for sure - the end of the world isn't boring.
I think I can finally say that things are looking up. Edward has recruited a more or less reliable security force to protect Parsons. The power situation is stabilized - Edward assures me we now have spare parts stockpiled to last at least 50 years. Moving between here and Parsons is still the biggest problem - there's no sign of any return of law and order. Just the opposite in fact. But Edward has proven skilled at dealing with the various groups of thugs that have sprung up.
Speaking of Edward - his radiation sickness has developed in a most fortunate way. For a time I thought he was surely going to die, but then his condition stabilized. He now seems actually immune to further radiation. Apparently this is not unknown in the other survivors, although Edward tells me that a strong prejudice has developed against these people. Hard to understand, as they seem uniquely qualified to survive in this new world.
One benefit of the end of civilization that I hadn't anticipated - there's no need now for us to have to "die" periodically. I can go back to being Jack Cabot again, for the forseeable future. No more neighbors to poke their noses into our business!
I've lately immersed myself in Lorenzo's work like never before. I wish now I had made more effort (when it was still possible) to try to locate the site of so-called Ubar. After my initial failed attempt to find the site, I dismissed it as both hopeless and useless - better to focus my energy on the immediate problems. But now, after going over Lorenzo's papers more thoroughly, I believe there are enough clues to the general location that a large-scale search using aircraft might have been feasible - something that wasn't possible in my first attempt, of course. Maybe I could have found some other artifacts that I could have studied more directly - even if they were for completely different purposes, it would be invaluable in understanding how the ancient technology functioned.
I've also come to realize how brilliant Lorenzo actually was. I was far too quick to dismiss his theories - ah, the arrogance of youth! I'm now convinced that his essential premise is correct - the artifact he found was not made by humans. All the evidence was there, but Lorenzo was the only one who put it all together and actually understood what it meant. A staggering thing to think of - if only he had been capable of dealing with fools a bit more diplomatically, he might have gained more general acceptance of his theories and not been driven to such secrecy in his final expeditions.
Terminal (Emogene Cabot's room)Edit
Welcome to ROBCO Industries (TM) Termlink
Welcome, Emogene Cabot!
Another unwanted gift from my loving brother. Still, it might be interesting to play around with.
This whole computer thing turned out to be more interesting than I thought. I've been learning a lot from various BBSes. Jack's been griping about some mistake he made in setting up his terminal, so I poked around until I found the file. It would be simple to fix it for him, but not nearly as much fun as watching him try to solve it on his own.
Was playing around with some new ideas, and hit upon a good gag. I wonder how long it will take Jack to figure it out?
Went to see Father again. I just showed up at Parsons and threatened to make a scene until Jack finally agreed to let me go down. I don't know why I keep going. Father puts on quite an act for me, but I know it's not really him. Not since he got back from his trip wearing that horrible crown. I keep hoping that somehow he'll come back - that I'll see even a glimmer of the real person again.
Maybe Jack will eventually succeed. As annoying as he can be, I can't deny that he's very smart.
I went off the serum for a whole month. I thought I could stick with it this time, but - when you actually feel yourself getting older by the day, and know you can fix it... It's hard to give up youth and beauty, voluntarily. I bet most people couldn't do it, if they had the choice.
Apparently the RobCo techs don't even know how their own systems work. I mean, it's just a simple bat file in the root directory of the database server for crying out loud. Hardly the hack of the century or anything. :)
Things are just going from bad to worse. The things Robert tells me... most people don't even know how bad it is. And here we sit, safe in our little Cabot family bubble of privilege. I've tried to talk to Jack about it, but he's in his own world as usual. I doubt he even knows what year it is. And Mother - don't even get me started. Her whole life is a state of denial.
I know this is insane to even think, but maybe this is for the best. You'd think I could just get a gun or some poison if I really wanted to end it for myself, but I could never be that... deliberate. How selfish must I be to think that I need the world to end as a way for me to get out of killing myself?
It's happening. I think a bomb must have hit somewhere near. Power is out all over, as far as we can see from here. The emergency power is still on in the house, but not for long. Edward and Jack went to try to get to Parsons - priorities, you see. Jack left Anders in charge here. He seems competent enough, but there's something about the way he's been looking since it happened that I don't like.
I'd better get back to Mother.
I got the power back on again. Things are very bad, but - I would never admit this to anyone, but this is the most fun I've had since I can remember. I'm not bored anymore. Maybe this is how most people feel all the time... I really can't remember how I felt, before the serum.
Oh, and Anders is dead. I killed him. No one can believe it. Two days after Jack left, he decided that Cabot House belonged to him, and Mother and I would have to leave. I can't really blame him, I mean, it was the end of the world. I'm not sure most employment agreements cover that. But he made the mistake of underestimating me. He didn't know how fast I was, or how strong. I would have just made him leave, but he decided to fight. Probably better that way. One less person out there who knows about what we have here.
We haven't heard from Jack for a week. He and Edward made it to Parsons, at least - Jack radioed when they arrived. Tried to be cheerful as usual - put on a happy face for Emogene - but who really knows if they're going to manage. At least Edward is with him. If anyone can get through this, it's Edward.
Jack made it back, finally. He says Edward is very sick from radiation. He left him at Parsons. I don't think he expects him to live. I'm not sure why neither of us is sick - I was out quite a lot, now that I think about it. Maybe another of the many benefits of Jack's magic serum. I'll have to thank Father the next time I see him.
It turns out that eventually even the apocalypse can get boring. Jack and Edward are too good at keeping us safe. It looks like the Cabot Family is immune from the end of the world, just like everything else. We just shrug it off and keep on going, just like we always have. Sometimes I'm very pleased about that - it makes me feel incredibly superior. Sometimes, it makes me really really sad. Most of the time, it's just boring as hell.
I've stopped even telling anyone where I'm going. The world isn't as dangerous as Jack says. There are still people out there, living their lives, like they always have. I guess more of them are willing to kill you now, but that's probably just because they CAN. I always got the feeling that plenty of people would have liked to see us dead, before - they just couldn't get away with it.
I don't know how Jack keeps himself busy, day after day. You'd think he would realize that it was hopeless by now, after all these years and years. Maybe he's just going through the motions, the way I am? Or maybe he's stopped trying to cure Father. I mean, what happens after? To us? I'm the only one that's ever tried to go without the serum. Maybe Jack and Mother think they could just give it up, but I think they're fooling themselves.