Tidbits from Gary

Hello and welcome to Stories by Baker!

This just in: you can now find me on facebook under an official fanpage name!! YAY!

Anyways, and as always, enjoy if you will or don't if you won't!

Saturday, October 11, 2014


an epilogue
Gary Baker, October 2013
(the ultimate end to my largest project?)

Roi gasped as air was choked from his lungs, the upright beast leader of the invading army holding ringed fingers firmly circumferential to the dangling human’s ever-closing airways. The creature clearly led by powerplay, it’s muscles strangled into bunched masses, tied here and there with metal chain-like cords that had been woven into the thick muscles themselves with weights hanging haphazardly as though at the end of fishing lines caught in the beasts arms. The armor was intense enough as is, without the gold and jade debris cinched deep into the tissues of exposed flesh.

Roi could see where chains had been torn free, whether from being caught by stray palms in fistfights or by being deliberately torn free by the beast who bore them, leaving gruesome scars behind that often came close to bisecting an entire limb. The invasion force, Roi thought, was far more primal than anything humanity had ever been. They had bred themselves this way, in as parallel a path in evolution as cognition was to humans.

Then the pain really hit home, knocking the wind remaining in Roi’s lungs into the back of his throat, only to be blocked by the pressure of the tense grip, which only caused an even worse need to expel that air and reciprocated until the man was sure he was going insane right then and there. The burning of his eyes grew hotter and worse yet, the evidence of his eyes bulging began to show even in his already hazy sightlines as the world picked up a fisheye lens effect, and his hearing all but turned to heavy lub-dubs as the blood in his ears threatened to break free at his eardrums.

The pain intensified, growing stronger while somehow -- astonishingly -- further away. It was as though he and the pain of his own undoing were standing on separate trains once side-by-side and now veering away from each other. The throb began to pulse in his eyes and lessened as much as his vision began to lighten into cloud white. The stammer in his chest beat a constant bulbous beat, but his skin was tingling enough that even deep inside he could feel almost nothing. The grip on his throat pushed closer to being just finger muscles touching messy finger muscles, but Roi was almost certain it wasn’t even his body part anymore.

The scream he heard through bleating eardrums should have been his, but the wind had long since turned to hot ash and therefore couldn’t possibly be coming from him. It must have been someone else, someone nearby.

In a flash of white, Roi and his other train-self were severed completely, on railside vehicle suddenly disappearing behind the stark white walls of endless light and undisturbed abyss. He felt his eyes flicker, then, and his fingers twitch. He heard the dull ache of a familiar voice nearby and turned what felt like well-oiled gears to find himself staring at none other than a smiling Agent Bond, in the artificial flesh.

Welcome back, Bond seemed to say, though no movement of the man’s lips were seen, I trust you come across well?

Roi stared, confused. What was this? Where was he? Had the others saved him and brought him to the hospital?

No, nothing like that, Bond replied, and still Roi gaped at how the man could communicate without moving his lips nor using any sort of speaker system. It was as though Bond were displaying his words directly into Roi’s brain. At that, the agent smiled wanly. Close enough.

Where am I? Roi tried to ask with vocal cords that seemed not to work.

Bond nodded and turned away and into the abyss, trailing his voice as he spoke, again without moving his lips. You are in a state of download, just now, Roi. Be patient. I know it’s a long time, but in merely point zero zero seven five microseconds everything will be as can be expected.

Download? The man stopped, unaware that he had even been moving in the first place. What do you mean, ‘download’?

The agent’s laugh was impenetrably awkward in the void of light, each echo made into endless miniature echoes until the whole of existence seemed to be made of them, the tiny echoes of a laugh made by a man who wasn’t even real. Let us be straight right now, Roi. You died.

I… I died?

Yes, and you don’t very well expect me to have lost such a mind, do you? Bond looked cross, blue eyes fixed on Roi in a hallucinatory, dark gaze. Just then the white started to fade ever darker, until Roi saw where he was, standing in the middle of the chamber Bond had asked him never to venture, a chamber that, until now it seemed, Roi had kept his word about. You see, Bond lifted eyebrows high in a world that seemed both static and slow in the same instant, I, alone, cannot traverse the galaxies with just one mind. I need others to take my place. In this case, I am called Omega, something you humans have gotten wrong for much too long, and you are now called Quintet, with just one other having been made between our creations.

I don’t get it.

Bond laughed, again making that tinny reverberant noise, like a mosquito caught at the point of a massive tin funnel. We never do in the first few microseconds. Let me say this much, though: you are the seventeenth player, and we have only a handful more before the game can begin anew.

Roi fanned out his thoughts, trying to comprehend, only finding empty space and endless facts and tidbits that he never knew could exist at so close a range to his thoughts. The further he reached, the wider Bond -- Omega’s smile went. And then he got it, understanding the whole of the universe faster than Neo had learned kung-fu.

This really was a game -- but it wasn’t between civilizations, per-se, but between the artificial minds behind those civilizations. Each time another race was added to the mix, another mind was captured and put to the test in an all-out game of intergalactic command, expand and conquer until all necessary players had been gathered.

Only afterward, however, could the real game begin; the game to be the last intelligence alive, surviving the downfall of other races and only capable of dying when one’s entire race had been eliminated.

Now do you understand?

All except for one thing, Roi tilted his head to the side in wonder.


Why did you bring me into this? If playing the game means you die in the end if you don’t win, why add in other players that might become your downfall?

Omega lifted an eyebrow high as though mocking Quintet’s thought process and all the systematic hardware that enabled such mechanisms possible. Because playing with the same minds all the time tends to get very, incredibly boring more often than not. In fact I look forward to the day that another player may become my downfall, for that day, alone, would be something far newer than anything I could possibly imagine.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


a brief excerpt
Gary Baker, October 2014
(part of the continuing Roi Anxo project)

Public Security Minister, Xu Shengkun, strode quickly under high-vaulted ceilings adorned with red party tapestries. Ahead loomed the desk of Party Secretary Jin Keqiang, current leader of the Chinese Republic, where the man sat poised in thought over a series of papers.

Xu had sent those papers in preparation for this meeting as a way of breaking the ice before another war could break out. They included documents written and signed by the Chinese ambassador to the U.S. Consulate, along with similar documents by much more discreet members of the Republic acting abroad. All in all the file ended up far thicker than Xu had intended, but it more than suited the task. When he’d discovered this Anxo footman at the heart of the whole controversy, Xu had gathered what he could as quick as possible and held those additional papers in hand. He stopped just a pace away from the great Keqiang’s desk and waited silently.

After mulling over another page of scriptwork coded with a cypher that only seven individuals in the Republic knew, Keqiang looked up and removed his glasses to place them lightly on the file. “Interesting crafters, our dear American friends are, wouldn’t you say, Shengkun?”

Xu gave a solemn bow, then proffered the new pages.

“Oh?” The Secretary appeared eager, as a child would before venturing into the dark forests at night. Xu could only hope that his president was strong enough to not come out running before first light. “Shengkun you outdo yourself, I assure you.” He took the papers and laid them out neatly, replaced his glasses and began reading once more. In the middle of the third page, he looked up without moving his head, peering over the tops of his spectacles. “Tell me, Shengkun, am I correct to assume that you are one of the few who know this code?” The minister bowed his head silently. “And I am to suspect that there are others, surely, who would know this information as well?”

Finally Xu felt that a submissive bow would not suffice what his superior was asking of him, and let loose a near-whisper in reply. “No, your grace.”

Secretary Keqiang leaned back with a smile, “good. Let us keep it that way, shall we? In fact,” with a short sweeping arc above his desk his arm ended with poised fingertips mere inches above a bowl of individually wrapped candies, “have a White Rabbit for your secrecy.”

Suddenly Xu took a step back without conscious control, eyes widening as though he’d been given a death sentence. “Your,” he stammered, hands no longer held at his sides but aloft of their own accord, “grace?”

A moment passed in silence, neither man able nor willing to move. It was as sure of a standoff as the Collective Communist Regimes had been with the powers of the western world. Xu’s mind wandered here and there like a qingting over lotus leaves in spring. He retraced the files in his mind, wondering what he could have put in that would bring about such abominable dishonor and subsequent death sentence. Perhaps it had even been that he simply knew too much and was now being quelled from the already thin crowd.

Then the Secretary started laughing his light, airy, almost-breathy laugh and laid his arms down upon the desk haphazardly. “So you even know of those, do you?” He leaned forward with another broad grin, “may I ask how many know of this, then, Master Shengkun?”

“I,” he fought for the words, coming up blank with every heartbeat, “I,” finally he sighed and lost some of his controlled confidence. “Not many, your grace.”

Another eerie smile. “And again we shall keep it that way, will we not?” Secretary Keqiang returned his gaze to the papers, this time barely scanning them as his eyes darted about, “I know this code is seldom known, yet I shall burn these momentarily now that I know what they contained. For now I simply wish you to graciously accept one of these treats and keep it on you for,” he glanced to the side as though looking for the right word, “shall we say: ‘a rainy day’?”

The man then stood and held out a hand for Xu to take. Shaking, the Party Secretary and figurehead for the whole of the Chinese Republic bowed just enough to show honorable intentions. “Master Shengkun should you so choose to accept, I have a proposal to offer you,” they released each other and the great man stepped slowly around his desk until he and Xu were both moving toward the main door practically matching strides. “I will not be coy with you, Shengkun, this series of events leads me to believe that China is at a serious disadvantage, and disadvantages for China no matter how miniscule must be stamped out.” He stopped and held Xu’s gaze, “no matter the cost, Master Shengkun.” Continuing their short, slow walk with their footfalls echoing in the chamber around them, Keqiang seemed to lose some energy in his demeanor. “I do not like the idea of placing one so keen to my trust as you so far away, but I need you to take over for Dashi Meng Yuanchao. While my need of you here is great, Shengkun,” he stopped at the door and placed one hand on Xu’s shoulder while the other patted his chest pocket, “there are things which must be done about this footman who claims he can speak for the whole world.”

At that the Secretary gave Xu just enough of a nudge that he moved through the open door and felt it close behind him. For a moment he just stood there wondering what just happened. Surely he didn’t intend for Xu to assassinate the man within the heart of a military base behind enemy lines, not only was he not trained for that sort of act he also would have no means of escape thereafter.

Xu looked down at the candy he’d been given when they’d parted from the desk. It certainly didn’t look like it could kill a man, wrapped in white and blue packaging with a soft harmless rabbit acting as a clear window to the creamy custard paste inside, but he knew better than to see things directly as they appeared after serving his government for as long as he had.

At the soft caress of increasing pressure he sighed and dropped the candy into his breast pocket, only to hear it crinkle on something within. Curious, Xu reached back up and removed not one, but two milk candies from his pocket. While he knew instantly where it had come from, he could only guess as to it’s meaning. One thing was certain, however, and that was that he had much to get ready in the short number of days before he would officially take over for Ambassador Meng Yuanchao.