|Webmaster's Sidebar - Spider Dreams
by Kim Liu
© Kim Liu -- all rights reserved
*Hard* *Difficult think* *awake?* *when?*
In his "bed", Webmaster twitched, dragging his mind together with effort as he "woke" up. It was a constant source of conflict - his body had no eyelids, and too many eyes. His human psyche craved a sleep his body could not give. He could not shut out the world of vision. The lack of sleep had nearly driven him insane many times over until he had learned to meditate in a way that almost compensated. When the strain got too strong, he would quietly have Spots lock him in his room and drug himself with a hallucinogen. It was the closest he could reach to dreaming for his mind.
The SCAB was one of the rare surviving full insect/spider transforms - a six foot wide wolf spider.
He could cope with the eight legs, the mandibles, the ability to make silk - even his own eating habits, but vision was still what drove him to the edge. His body could be treated as a 'single' thing, a single sensory input, but his eyes - it was like there were many of him, all standing fix faced looking in different directions, unable to turn their eyes or heads, all with different points of view. At times, it was literally like there were many of him in his head, not a single being. One night, upon reflection, he had realized that he had been 'chatting' with two different people on two different screens on his computers and the parts of him holding the conversations had been completely oblivious to the other parts. He even had a note from one part to himself to leave a message for the person that he had been chatting with on the other screen.
It had been with envy he had listened to Spots talk about the Blind Pig bar.
How he wished to go out.
How he feared himself if he did.
It would only take one part of him to go 'spider' for a second, to sink his fangs into someone due to some built-in reflex, and he could kill them.
And the rest of him might never notice until afterwards.
Legs flowing in dance of motion, he drifted over to his workspace in the Zoo'm'in Being's office. A carefully arranged set of monitors, keyboards, touch pads, and other input devices. His split mind had his advantages; he could absorb data many many more times as rapidly as any one else he knew. Settling against his custom built 'seat', he positioned his front four legs and his mandibles over various input areas and started calling up data.
The curiously split feeling drifted into his head as he watched himself. There one leg tapped out a reply to an emailed courier request, while another started working on the ledgers in another screen, and a third processed a message from Carrie saying she had a family emergency and wasn't available today. A fourth and fifth part of his mind had already started processing the morning's online newspapers.
Information flowed between his selves, and the reply to the courier request was adjusted accordingly based on the ZB's current budget and allowing for Carrie not being available today. A new mind started on future projections assuming that Carrie's problems continued.
Webmaster thought he had up eight 'splits' in his head, though sometimes it seemed like even more. It gave him an unbelievable edge in information processing. Via online contracts, he often earned money doing raw data compilation and summarization. He had slowly gotten better and delegating computer program modules to separate parts, and having them work in parallel.
They all had side jobs at Zoo'm'in Beings, or did odd work on the side for people to help make ends meet. Spots worked sales shifts at the Four-B shop next door. Carrie was slowly picking up contract graphics arts work. CB did take-out food delivery. Jason and Jake worked as bouncers at a local bar. And so it went...
Webmaster would sometimes watch himself, and wonder just how human his thought processes still were, if his values were still human. He seemed to have complete control over himself, and yet sometimes he felt an alien presence in his head, when he was meditating, lurking on the edges. A hunter. It frightened him, as much as he could be frightened without an andreniline gland.
So he stayed inside the ZB's warehouse.
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