Distant Cathartic (Dopinephrine 2).pdf


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Part I

KHENTI-AMENTIU was not a planet Athlon was familiar with, but after some extensive research in
the Ortega Archives, he found mention of the remote world among some religious scrolls. It was
in a distant corner of the galaxy, hundreds of lightyears past the edge of the furthest trade
routes in the sector. Everything Athlon could find about the small planet was billions of years
old, some of it in a language that Athlon’s powerful software couldn’t translate. One document
included a passage about a nameless shadow that had fallen on the Amentiu solar system,
driving people mad, and squeezing the life from the outer worlds. Troubled, Athlon departed
Ortega, and began his long trek to the mysterious world from Perseus’ dreams.
As he sped through deep space, Athlon wrote a deciphering program and set it to work
decoding the ancient text. Finding the pattern that would offer the key to reading the old writing
would take a long time, but Athlon hoped that the power of his unique brain could translate the
passage eventually. It would take weeks to travel all the way to Khenti-Amentiu, and Athlon was
pleased to have something to do.
Two days after Athlon moved out of range of familiar space, he performed a maintenance reset.
It had only been seventy years since his last reboot, but he wanted to make sure he was
operating at 100% efficiency when he arrived. He brought all security protocols online, and then
closed his eyes. The restart took only about four minutes, but Athlon gasped upon awakening.
Something very new had happened: The Android had experienced what could only be
described as a dream. He had never dreamt before; after all, he didn’t sleep, and his brain was
mostly inactive during the occasional reset.
In the dream, Athlon had seen a yellow planet. He had never seen it before, yet he knew
immediately that it was Khenti-Amentiu. The planet made Athlon uneasy. It felt unnatural, like it
was possessed by a morbid whisper. As Athlon watched, a silent braid of fire and black matter
erupted from the planet, pouring forth into space. The vision had a strong effect on Athlon: he
was afraid of the power in the dream, and he found that he wanted to turn back and forget
Khenti-Amentiu altogether. Athlon considered this for a long moment, but decided that if the
ominous images were some sort of premonition, it was all the more reason to take a look. He
thought of Perseus, and returned to his flight.