Thursday, July 14, 2011

Redefining Superman Part Thirteen

Redefining Superman

Chapter 13

    The first thing Marshall Montgomery, a.k.a., Solar Eclipse, noticed when he awoke was that there was no light. Wherever he was, it was as dark as the most sparsely populated section of space where stars were at a minimum. He should know - he had been to just such a place before.
He tried to move and found that an impossibility.
What the hell? he thought to himself. He tried to mouth the words, but his lips and jaw wouldn't move any better than his legs or arms. He examined his situation the best he could with his mind alone, sending his thought impulses into his nerve endings and realized there was no sensation of being bound by anything. No ropes, no chains, not even duct tape wrapped about his body to prevent him from moving. But he was in an upright position - completely vertical, straight up from feet on the ground to head above as he stood immobile in the darkness.
Out of all the new things that had happened to him since being banned from being his old self, the unequivocal Champion of Earth, this was perhaps the strangest and newest sensation. He had never been bound before in a method he couldn't figure a way out of. The hardest part was that he couldn't figure out how he was even bound. If he could figure that out he should be able to get himself freed. He considered that it might be magic, but try as he might he couldn't detect anything supernatural about any of this.
Since his head was pointed straight forward he decided to try his laser-vision and see if that at least obeyed his commands. He focused his concentration upon his eyes and pushed outward in a way he had never needed to before. This was more work than he could ever recall having to do at any time in the past, even when he was a youth on the family farm growing up in the Bible Belt of America. Nothing compared to the strenuous exertions he experienced at that moment, just trying to activate his laser-vision.
A spark appeared in the center of his vision and he became encouraged. If he had a spark - suddenly a thin, neon green line streaked forth along the path his vision would be taking in seeing at the moment if he were able to see anything. The line of green laser light struck the wall or something at the opposite side of him and he was able to see the light flare out slightly as it continued flowing out from his eyes as a steady stream of power. He felt the perspiration bead up on his skin as he continued powering all his energy into this single act of defiance. The laser beam continued beating against whatever surface it had contacted until it burnt its way through. He could tell the difference in the way the slightly diffused particles of the beam where it contacted the opposing surface cleared, which meant the beam had gone through and was now flowing freely once again.
He shut off his vision power. Had he been able he would be bent over gasping for breath from the extreme exertion of this act. As it was, he could only stand straight, his mouth closed and his lungs beating normally, although slowed greatly by whatever was keeping him in this state of stasis.
That was it! He knew in a moment that no matter who had done this to him he had been placed within a stasis field. It kept him immobile, prevented him from even flexing his muscles. He had experienced this before, but in a voluntary manner. Part of an experiment from the Sentinels, that group of alien beings self-avowed to protect the universe from great menaces, such as CereB.O.R.G., who he himself had helped in fighting when the part-mechanical, part-living organism creature had attacked Earth many years ago. The Sentinels wanted to experiment on stasis energy in order to see the effects such energy might have on different beings when inside a ship traveling at FTL or faster than light speed. He had been a volunteer on that project, as had various other Supers he was well acquainted with, and it had felt identical to this when he had been placed within the stasis chamber. Only then he hadn't been fighting to get free.
There was a trick to the stasis energy that kept a person immobile. It operated on a function of the brain, in the expanse of the cortex, if he recalled correctly and he always did. That had been part of the experiment, to see if those within stasis could effectively free themselves, therefore pulling themselves out of the protective harness which kept them safe during the FTL transportation. Out of all the Supers on the trip through space he had been the first to almost free himself. No one had gotten completely free, but he had come closest. At least that was what the results of the cerebral scanning made by the Sentinels throughout the journey determined. They showed the brain activity of all the participants and none had been as active as he. None had come so close to breaking loose.
He concentrated his mind on the cortex of his brain, knowing he had to take this maneuver layer-by-layer, the cortex being composed of six individual layers, each one having its own unique composition in terms of neurons and connectivity. The key was to transition the composition of the layers so they all aligned together into one neuronal composition. That enabled the person whose brain it was to achieve a higher degree of functionality, to be able to use more than a mere ten per cent of his brain. To effectively activate and utilize the full one hundred percent of his brain.
He hadn't even known exactly what it was he had been doing at the time. All he'd known was that he had sensed something inside his brain - which was the stasis energy - and he had focused on it in order to circumvent its interaction in his brain.
He felt the first layer of his cerebral cortex and examined its composition. Then he examined the second layer and the third and fourth until his mind had catalogued the differences between the six layers. With that information stored he was able to work on the process for realigning the six layers, make them convert over to being a unified composition, change the neuronal signature of each so they all began functioning as one solidified unit. Solidarity. Yeah, that was the key.
It seemed like eternity as he reconstructed each of the outer layers of his brain, but in reality it was no more than a half-hour at best. Suddenly he felt something snap, and his body loosened up. His mind went through a transitioning stage and he felt as though he had just woken abruptly from a deep sleep. He heard himself making a "Nnnngghhh," sound that pulled from the inner depths of his consciousness.
And then he was free. His arms snapped outward from his body at the same time his legs stepped forward from the position he had been trapped in. All at once neural information began soaring into his brain as he scrutinized everything within the darkened chamber where he was held prisoner. His eyes, able to see in the thickest darkness, took in everything about him now that they were free to function properly once more. His ocular centers fed the information into his brain where it was examined and stored.
Eclipse swooned slightly. He wasn't used to having this much brain activity all at once. The human brain was designed to function on a level below the cognitive process of the possessor. That way people were not aware of the many details the brain operated within as it caused the body to function in the smallest of matters, like breathing or blinking. Now, with his brain functioning at a greater level than ever before, he experienced everything he did, every action, as though it was all displayed upon a movie screen before him, but one in which he took an active participatory role.
He stopped moving, allowed himself to calm down so he wasn't overwhelmed by the influx of experiences assaulting his brain or more correctly, the understanding he had of his brain's workings.
That was better. Less input meant less that was overwhelming him. He still felt his blood flowing throughout his body and his nerves examining everything that touched the surface of his skin, which meant all over him, since he was wearing a complete body suit that touched almost every micrometer of his skin. He moved his head the tiniest bit upward and he experienced multiple sensations from the movement.
He focused his brain power once more and within another half-hour the natural realignment of his cortex layers slowly returned. He inhaled deeply and slowly exhaled as he felt the sensations disappearing, his experience level returning to what it should be. Certainly, given enough time, he could have mastered the sensations that had overwhelmed him, enabled himself to become used to the extra awareness of everything about him, but he knew it was best that he return himself back to the stage in which he knew was proper. Even for a super-Super like himself.
Clearly the human creation was not intended to utilize its entire brain consciously.
With that problem resolved he scanned the darkened room. There was nothing in it save himself. It was no more than an eight-by-eight-by-eight foot chamber, that being eight feet wide, eight feet deep and eight feet high. Enough room to encapsulate someone like him and not much more. He was surprised his captors had allowed so much space for a single individual who was held in one small portion of the room.
He went over to the wall where he had pierced the surface with his laser-vision. He felt the tiny hole with his fingers, albeit through the thickness of his gauntlets. Even through the thick material and metal he was able to discern the tiniest of imperfections on the surface of anything he touched. He bent and peered through the hole and was surprised by the sight he observed on the other side.
Straightening he smiled to himself. Before he broke free from this prison cell he would have to devise a plan for those awaiting him outside it. Let them know exactly how not-a-prisoner he was.

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