Tag: olympias prana

Olympias Prana: A Biography (III)

Chapter X: Anyone

With the final destruction of President Tadpole behind her, Olympias found herself obligated to look to the future. Resuscitating the city meant, much to her chagrin, allying with former adversaries and building political alliances. For a woman who never quite matured past her cosmic girlhood of chaotic orbits and blood-colored stars, and who nursed emotional wounds exceptionally poorly, this was easier said than done. Olympias was, at her core, a rebel, and never a diplomat.

But, in the beginning, when rebuilding in the literal sense was more essential than politicking, New Matanzas fared well under Olympias’ guidance. The extensive underground network of bunkers built by the Lamb family meant residents had minimal need to loot critical infrastructure for supplies and could rely on bunker inventories for baseline survival. While hardly luxurious, the bunkers performed the key role of ensuring the survival of non-survivalists, which is to say, ordinary civilians with peacetime-relevant skills. In virtually all other would-be metropolises across the continent, only preppers and low-power androids made it through the Black Decade and, with paranoid survivalists at the helm, the urban fabric in these locations quickly and irreparably tore apart. Preppers, the New World quickly learned, do not often make strong civil servants.

New Matanzas also benefited, in a twist of irony, from the interventions of President Tadpole. While Tadpole’s policies had been inexorably linked to the AGI’s eventual goal of ending the existence of humanity based on the precepts of its Artificial Gospel, Tadpole’s AGI had nonetheless managed to rebuild the power generation network, run integrity checks on all main buildings, and purify the water supply. These tasks were completed with its own longevity in mind: power, shelter, and water (for coolant) are all necessary for an AGI’s server farms. But they also were instrumental to the survival of the human residents of New Matanzas, a fact which did not escape Olympias’ notice. “It may have tried to torture and kill me,” she wrote in her diary. “But it knew what it was doing.”


Olympias Prana: A Biography (II)

Chapter VI: Betrayal of the lamb

Andie Lamb was born Assumpta II, the scion of a prominent exo-colony dynasty. Her grandmother, Assumpta I, had successfully negotiated the purchase of the Moon’s entire supply of platinum, which Andie’s mother, Assumpta II, expanded to also include manganese. Andie was raised on Earth, though she was expected, on a yearly basis, to make a pilgrimage to her grandmother’s gravesite, in the Sea of Serenity. She would have been familiar, therefore, with all the pleasures and terrors of space travel and habituation; she and Olympias had this, and other experiences, including the guardianship of troubled mothers, in common. In contrast to Olympias, however, Andie grew up with the expectations of a child of destiny. As the heir to the Lamb fortune, that she was predestined to one day govern the better half of the Moon’s resources and supervise their extraction, a fate for which Andie was prepared with the unfailing exactitude and fanatical diligence of a pious prince. But destiny had other goals in mind by 2251, when a once-formidable dynasty crumbled into the sea and its last daughter found herself buried in the darkness of civilization’s near-total collapse.

Olympias and Andie Lamb met at an indeterminate point halfway through the Black Decade, in what may be the most famous chance encounter in history. Andie and a man—his name has been lost to history, or perhaps purposefully obscured—had been sheltering in an abandoned meat-packing factory following the collapse of their bunker. After an acrimonious dispute, the man locked Assumpta III in a meat locker, presumably with the goal of suffocating her. Olympias had been on a foraging expedition at the time—one of her first aboveground—when, as if by divine intervention, she came across him in flagrante, in the very act of shoving the metal door to the locker closed, its rubber seal squelching, abruptly silencing Andie’s panicked screams. Olympias, ever quick to act and acutely sensitive to such injustice, wasted no time in gutting him with her quantum knife. Given the bloody circumstances of this meeting and the depth of their subsequent relationship, the relationship between Olympias and Andie has been variously described as “pure loyalty of a knight to a monarch,” “religious devotion akin to priest and follower,” and, by Baby Blood, the most reliable chronicler of the time, as “as ironclad as the bond between master and dog”. He might have chosen a different comparison had he been aware of what was to come.

(Caption below accompanying photograph of Brave Olympias Rescues, circa 2500). The same unknown painter who captured Olympias’s mental anguish in Brave Olympias Resists resurrected her once more in Brave Olympias Rescues: rendered again in vibrant oils, Olympias is at the height of heroism here, clothed in a black neoprene bodysuit, holding a taciturn man at knifepoint while Andie, wailing and maiden-like in a shredded white dress, clings to her leg. Though the painter doubtlessly added extra detail for dramatic effect, the gist is largely faithfully preserved.


Olympias Prana: A Biography (I)

Chapter III: Earthbound

In 2250, after the death of her mother, Olympias returned to Earth. “Shell of a woman,” she wrote in her diary, in all-caps, referring, possibly, to both herself and to the dead woman, who returned with her in the form of a thimbleful of dust contained in a heavy silver locket.

Olympias was nineteen and had no known relatives to welcome her back to Earth. When she stepped off the shuttle onto Howard Field, located in Matanzas in the former Republic of the Unreal, the wind from the rotor blades whipping through her dark hair, there would have been no one to receive her. She would have walked, head bowed, down the sandy line between the shuttle terminus and the gray quarantine tents, where she would have been checked for evidence of space pathogens and parasites. According to the shuttle inventory list, she had one piece of luggage with her: a squarish, military-green suitcase. Inside, she had packed four khaki overalls, her acrylic Mars ID, removed from the subcutaneous fat of her upper arm for space travel (though Olympias never had it reinserted, as she failed to report to the identification facility after reentry), a quantum knife, a 200-ml bottle of injectable gravity adjustor (though no syringe), and the silver locket belonging to her mother.

Her mother, Lizzy Prana, had spent the last year of her life in complete agony. P. Passiflora, a rare space parasite named for the blossom it resembles at the microscopic level, had trapped her for ten months in the black prism of parasitosis-induced paranoia. P. Passiflora can lay dormant for decades; today, it is speculated that she may have picked up the parasite during her late twenties, while in the employment of Antimony Howard as a backrooms janitor. Olympias and the parasite would have coexisted in the womb and shared her mother’s blood. By 2249, when Lizzy was 48, the parasitosis had progressed to Stage Four, which in the clinical definition corresponds to multiple organ failure and, when this is not promptly resolved, certain death.

P. Passifora parasitosis was, at the time, fully curable with plasma therapy, but the cause of Lizzy’s death was not identified until the autopsy, possibly due to Lizzy’s existing and numerous psychiatric conditions, which may have led Olympias to believe that her mother’s symptoms were simply the acceleration, through aging, of ordinary space-aggravated depression. This produces a rather tragic picture of Olympias, panicked but helpless, during her mother’s final year. She would have been a daily witness to Lizzy’s slow, inexorable deterioration; Lizzy would have become belligerent—even violent—in her final months, before acquiring a preternatural, serene calm in the weeks before her death. Testimony of a victim’s relative from a 2215 legal inquest made into a mass P. Passiflora parasitosis event, believed to be a case of biological terrorism, described the final stage as follows: She gets quiet. She smiles. You think she’s getting better, but she’s not. That sliver of hope hurts the most. She doesn’t answer your questions. She’s getting ready to die.