The knowing was new and exciting for each creature he inhabited. There were always the deep sensor response mechanisms which varied by virtue of being linked to the physicality of the organism. These variations had been expected from the beginning. The huge variations in other aspects of the knowing were what most intrigued him. Even within a coherent species the differences in the knowing between subspecies was marked. In the early days of experimentation these differences had been expected in higher order mammalian species, similar to his own, but not in the simpler forms. It was quite soon discovered however, that a cockroach is not just a cockroach whatever it may look like on the outside.
Organisms with shorter life spans were easier to inhabit, or more importantly, easier to leave. To be immersed in the knowing of an ancient redwood was something you would not attempt without ensuring automatic withdrawal protocols were in place and very closely monitored. In the past some had gone in unprepared and been absorbed into the knowing of root, tree and leaf. Others had been forcibly withdrawn but not before the miasma of sustained existence through hundreds of years tethered to the soil had overtaken everything else. These were being kept alive in a simulated forest eco-system, trees in every respect apart from their physical form, but this too was changing. Skin toughening like bark, buds erupting from limbs, cardio pulmonary systems adapting to process carbon dioxide rather than oxygen, all too evident signs that the knowing of trees was slowly usurping their natural physical forms. Someone had dubbed them Ents after the sentient trees of a centuries old fiction.
He had always had a preference for the vigorous knowing of butterflies and moths. These had a short one-purpose lifetime, an unusual visual spectrum, in most cases, and a complete absence of knowing concerning their own physical fragility. In fact the knowing of most types of butterfly and moth seemed to include a sense of the robust energy of exploding suns. You also knew for certain when your time inhabiting a butterfly or moth was up. No trauma or struggle against impending death, just a feeling of change like the slow movement of a clock hand from one minute marker to the next. Of course, if you inhabited from the caterpillar stage the scenario was entirely different.
As the current head of scient research he was free to inhabit any organism he wished, apart from homo-sapiens, but the larger fliers in air were his favourites and the closest to his own knowing. ‘Air is to water as water is to air’ was the old biped proverb. They were right in this at least, having been wrong in so many things during their, oh so brief reign.
In their pride they had assumed their own form of knowing to be the highest and believing that they alone possessed the self-awareness to inhabit another’s knowing without being absorbed by it, they had set about exploring the essence of other beings. Some were unintentionally lost to the knowing of trees, some became enamoured with the knowing of fliers and runners and abandoned their own knowing, their physicalities left to rot where they lay. Then there were those who wanted desperately to know the minds in the water.
Cetaceans had never had a desire to become the, so-called, dominant species but the inhabiters had inexplicably become the inhabited. It wasn’t the knowing of Cetaceans to seek revenge or recompense for the historical slaughter of their kind, so they simply inhabited for the experience. In fact they soon discovered that most of the bipeds they inhabited had fought courageously for the Cetacean cause. It wasn’t long before they became bored with the sluggish bipedal form though, and the distorted nature of bipedal knowing disturbed them. Nearly all had withdrawn within a few days but he had stayed and become one with the knowing of the biped he inhabited. Not as a possessor, a thing most feared in the knowing of these creatures, but as an influence. The minds of earth and water smiled together at the thought.
The recent and unexplained transfer from area 51, a young researcher by the name of Neila, watched him with interest across the office space. He seemed somehow different to the other men she had so far encountered. She soon decided that she would really like to get inside his head. The needle like probes concealed at the base of her tongue twitched in anticipation.
Copyright Steve Kelly aka kellyocs 19/06/2012