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  • Writer's pictureJason Rodi

LUX | KINO & The Invisible Territories

Updated: 23 hours ago

Every step LUX took home, he walked further out of a fog and could see more clearly. Whereas before everything was a distraction, now they were messages speaking to him, opening up his mind to find the endless pathways that had been lost for what seemed like all time. His brain was fully reawakening. He walked through the Territories as if seeing them for the first time. Every light, sign, way suddenly told their story to him. He remembered. Now he could recall how it at all come to be.

LUX - KINO & The Invisible Territories

Rushing forward ever faster, his enthusiasm turned to calculation. He looked at his cart rolling ahead, at all that he had collected, and then at his hands clutched at it all. He saw himself then, his wrinkled hands, much older than most hands, and his broken body. This was unusual for the Territories, and he looked around at the others advancing down the street, like he. He saw their masks. Some people didn't even carry their bodies anymore. They were free. Free of disease, free of aging. Even in death could you transcend your physical form and remain within the collective mind of the Territories. But not LUX, he has resisted the changes in that way, holding on to a semblance of memory from the time before. He couldn't quite remember it ever existing, a world beyond this one, but it was at the very least a feeling. At last, the feeling was growing back into a memory, all because he had given it a name. KINO.

LUX - KINO & The Invisible Territories

As soon as the thought had entered his mind, that he had caught the signal from this foreign place that he had secretly longed for, it was as if a power had begun to grow inside of him. KINO. He kept repeating it to himself as if he might forget it again. The word was now a mantra, and the mantra brought more and more clarity, first in the present, there in the street with his cart, but ever expanding through time with each step. It was all coming back to him, and not just into the past, but even ahead. Equations of causality perpetuated through his ever burgeoning brain. He pushed on, not knowing why he still needed all of the trinkets he was pushing forward now that it was so clear. He saw it, like a loop, a way out but on the flip side of the way in, like going through a mirror, to the other side. He searched through his mind at how they had gotten here, where it all came from, the origin of the Territories, but he couldn't reach that far back, not yet. Not here, in these streets, but in his lab, with his solitude, with his screens and his notes, soon it would all come back to him. And so he rushed on home.

LUX - KINO & The Invisible Territories

He rushed passed every screen, every open window, until he reached his door. How differently it looked now, how decrepit. How long had he lived like this? Its like he could finally see through his own mask, at what lay behind everything. He could see past the veneer. Why had he held on for so long? Why hadn't he gone along with the rest of the world and implanted himself new eyes to see through, a new brain to think with, a new body with which to move? He put his face up to the door for access, and it just as quickly unlocked. He still had to push it open, unlike every other door in the Territories, and his old shoulders could barely bear the weight. He hence entered his building, an ancient tower still rising far up above the Territories, in the entrails of which LUX had the lab that had become his home. He once worked there, he remembered now, synthesizing ever newly immersive drug to feed through the masks and access the Territories. He walked down the empty halls and saw them living again, what used to conspire here. The company, whatever it might have been called, had made it possible to modulate any thought, emotion, and stimuli into its desired form. Through one's mask you could finally bring any desire to life, joining your every whim to the collective imagination. Once the inner pathways were open by these drugs, they remained so, as long as you experienced them through the masks, and this is how the Territories were populated. As the real world collapsed around them, humanity had migrated into an augmented reality, invisible to the naked eye, but alive through our masks, connected through a consciousness altering drug. LUX could recall it all now, as he walked through these halls for the millionth time, he could finally remember how it once was. The promise of it, of an infinite future within a boundless space. He remembered the Invisible Territories.

LUX - KINO & The Invisible Territories

Door after door, turn after turn, it came back to him. He saw himself through the reflection, when he was young, before the mask. How could he remember so far back? What was this power inhabiting him? The further back he remembered, the further he could unfurl the future too. And the further he could see both ways, the closer he seemed to see the exit. He arrived at the door to his lab which he'd closed for no reason other than habit since no one had walked through these halls but him in what may have been decades. As the door slowly swung open and the lab lit up through its countless screens coming to life, he seemed to read KINO's name in the brightening pixels and it all made sense. A boy! There was a boy, his own boy, a beautiful little boy that he once lived for, and that he lost.

LUX - KINO & The Invisible Territories

Suddenly LUX didn't want to remember any further, he didn't want to know why he'd held on for so long, why he was still logging his old brain around, why he was still living here in a forgotten past, why he believed there was something beyond the Territories. Because there was and that's where he'd once had a life, and a love, and a child whose name didn't mean anything anymore. The woman he once loved, whom he once belonged to entirely, was gone too, part of the fabric of the Territories now, possibly completely artificial now, possibly ascended, much like his son, whoever he'd become.

LUX - KINO & The Invisible Territories

He parked his cart, took his bags off his body, and let himself fall into his chair before his screens and vials and microscopic lenses, and the weight of all those memories having rushed back in upon him, he tried to sleep for the first time in forever. He tried to empty his mind, repeating his new mantra, over and over, between trails of thought and the mantra, back and forth, KINO... KINO.... KINO....., this boy, I once had a boy, held the boy, closely, slept with him upon my chest, slept, as we once slept... KINO... KINO.... KINO.... KINO, my boy, KINO.

LUX - KINO & The Invisible Territories

And so he slept, a slumber out of dreams, his mask laying dormant upon him. No signals were exchanged. Nothing came to ignite the screens behind his eyes. It was as if he'd died the way people used to die, but it was only sleeping. He slept to forget again, not to see the inevitable truth, the beginning and the end, the touching of the mirrors. After days of such mindless rest he awoke to that thought, the mirrors touching each other, the end reaching the beginning, reflecting each other so close that they break through each other, and open the loop. He saw himself put the mask on his son and see his son instantly become so much more than he could have ever imagined, become a man, become wise and handsome, become worldly. He saw the boy's mother wear it too, as he waited behind watching the world disappear, each person leaving it all behind for the Territories. Until he too, soon after, joined in. The pill in one hand, the mask in the other, he knew what went into it like few others did. He worked for the company. He knew the game, the new economy, the new world that lay beyond. He'd helped design it, or the doorway to it anyway. The God Molecule, born of a four thousand year old tree, only of its kind, had shown the way, and the company had synthesized it. There it was in his left hand, so small and effective that once it would enter your blood stream, it would change your cellular structure forever. An evolutionary shortcut in the palm of his hand.

LUX - KINO & The Invisible Territories

He threw it back with a glass of water and placed his right hand over his face to put on his mask. Remembering the moment he left the world behind and entered the Territories is what finally woke him. That's when he saw it too, the end! The crashing of the mirrors. The breaking of the system, the freedom from the masks, the dawn of a new day.

LUX - KINO & The Invisible Territories

He sat there, still as he had been for the past few days, his eyes now wide open playing the moment over and over again in his mind. Seeing himself put on the mask and imagining breaking through the mirror simultaneously. OUT = IN. 0 = 1. The End is the Beginning.

LUX - KINO & The Invisible Territories

He moved forward to peer into his screen, trying to read between the pixels. He could see his own reflection in the glass, and behind his reflection, he could see KINO shinning somewhere between light and darkness, between the real and the imaginary. LUX could see him there, he could see KINO's eyes shinning through his own. He looked into them intently as if transmitting thought, welcoming the ghost boy's presence. LUX had a moment of communion with him then, acknowledging each other. In me, I see you, they said through that gaze beyond the screen.

LUX - KINO & The Invisible Territories

Its then that LUX began to put a plan together. Somehow he knew KINO was the answer, the key to exiting the Territories, but how? Over and over he played those two reflecting moments in his mind as if they held a clue. The beginning is the end. The end is the beginning. The exit is the entrance. Madness! He wrote equations over equations, each reflecting one another, chemical/biological, temporal/spacial, physical/ethereal, everything was considered and at the end of every equation he could always see the same thing. The end. The end of all things. The End of Time. It was already set in motion, whether he would have noticed it or not, whether anyone else had. The End was Nigh.

LUX - KINO & The Invisible Territories

He went out into the Territories again. Hadn't been out in weeks maybe. He left his cart behind this time, and walked about looking at the world around him. In everything he still saw it, especially in every mask. The End. It was all around, as if it had already infested everything. Every street walker, every sign, every moment in time told the same story of its own demise. It all ate upon itself. Trapped in the lie of the eternal. There was no such thing as forever, and for anyone that had ascended beyond their bodies and into the collective mind, they would all disappear with the Territories. It was all a big facade placed over reality to hide the truth and distance ourselves from the human experience, from struggle and pain. Without suffering there was no fear, no attachment, no connection. LUX's son had transcended his lineage and become someone more than human, as his wife had and as LUX finally had too. But they had lost something too. They had lost each other. That's what LUX saw in everyone and everything. He saw every broken bond, the untethered and free, the lost and drifting. Was nothing real anymore? He screamed it and no one batted an eye. "Is nothing real anymore!?" Soon KINO would arrive and set the pieces in motion that would end the Territories, so we may see past our masks. "The End is Near! All of this will end. Doesn't anyone believe me?" It was as if he was part of the entertainment, or practically invisible were it not for those avoiding him. So he freed himself and began to spew his story for what it sounded like : crazy.

LUX - KINO & The Invisible Territories

"It is written. You can see it in the code. He is here. He walks among us, within all of us. Our saviour is here. He came to us in a dream to set us free, to bring in a new beginning. Look inside, you will see him looking through you. He comes from beyond, a place where the Territories don't exist. Where the sun still rises. Where we sleep in secret dreams."

LUX - KINO & The Invisible Territories

There wasn't much sense to any of it, but he believed it to be true, and freeing to share, until the Controls had begun to move in on him and restrain his volume. It didn't take LUX long to realize that he should be more discreet if he was going to help bring down the Territories. Screaming on corners wasn't going to bring him much except maybe trouble. He knew how easily he could be made silent, invisible, even immobile. There was no crime in the Territories. Everything was free and at your disposal. There was no crime to be had. But still, any disruption to the stream of consciousness was instantly eradicated for peace and flow to prevail. Those that would try would soon disappear into the Void, put there efficiently by the Controls, only to return docile and new, if ever they would return. LUX knew all of this now that he was inhabited by this strange power to remember as much the past as the future, otherwise he would have instinctively hidden it from himself as everyone had learned to do. But now he could see clearly. He could see the signs pointing the way. He might have felt crazy but he knew what he knew, and felt what he felt. Since that first day when he caught KINO's signal, the power hadn't left him since, and would forever grow, this knowing.

LUX - KINO & The Invisible Territories

Silenced and invisible, he was muted by the Controls, a minor inconvenience until someone bumped into him, sending his old body to the ground. LUX looked up from the street at the bodies walking over him, blinded by the light of the screens that made up the sky. A hand reached out to him. LUX could not see the blinding figure's mask, but he stood above him, staring down as if he could clearly see him. How could he if the Controls had muted him. The hand held in front of him until LUX took it and was lifted back to his feet. The man held him close, in an embrace, the kind that reminded LUX that he was real, and whispered in his ear before leaving his grip and disappearing in the crowd. He said : "Keep believing, but keep it quiet, nomad!"

LUX - KINO & The Invisible Territories

LUX was left standing in the street, stunned. What had just happened? How might this person be so swift and aware? Was he of the Pantheon? LUX realized that in his hand, in the hand he took the man's hand with, was an old computer chip, put there by the man, long gone, the same hand where the God pill once stood. Whoever that was, they seemed to know something, or at least stand for something that LUX too now stood for. Freedom from the Territories, NOMAD. LUX held the chip tight in his hand and brought it home for safekeeping. In time, when he would be ready, he would activate it, but not yet. He had work to do first.

LUX - KINO & The Invisible Territories

He began shaping an all encompassing formula, an equation so pure that it could not be contained. For days on end he would architect its form, the Exit Drug. If he could design a way in, there must be a way out, a way to reset the mind. And on and on he would flip it one way and the next, adding elements to balance it a moment only to have it break apart. Days turned into weeks, and weeks into months until LUX had lost all hope. He looked beyond the screen to KINO again and said to him : "I can't do it, KINO. It won't hold. I can't find a way out!"

LUX - KINO & The Invisible Territories

That's when it jumped at him as if KINO had reflected the answer back at him. "If OUT = IN then IN = OUT. Its not the exit I'm looking for, its a way in! I have to find a way in for KINO." And it all suddenly made sense. The equations had to be flipped for the beginning to set off the end, for KINO to appear. It needn't fit in a single dose either. The form should account for space and time, not just chemistry. In other words, its not just about the molecular structure of the drug, but also where the drug is to be consumed, and by whom.

LUX - KINO & The Invisible Territories

An answer had suddenly opened up toward bigger questions. Where and who? How could LUX include such details in his formula without knowing who should take his drug for it to manifest KINO. A collective hallucination that brings the ghost to life. It was crazy, but he had faith in KINO, in the power that this faith had given him, this capacity to see through time. It wasn't imagined. It was more real than anything he had ever known in the Territories. So he went back to it, to the formula, without trying to contain it this time, multiplying it's structure to make it hold, and after he almost got a 3 part structure to connect, he had to expand it further into a hexagonal pyramid, seven sides, seven doses, seven people to meet sometime, somewhere. It worked on screen, in theory, but as he would try to synthesize it, it would again break apart. No matter how hard he tried to make it work, to shape it right, it would dissipate into nothingness.

LUX - KINO & The Invisible Territories

IN, he wondered. How did we get in? Could it be, perhaps, that synthesizing it wouldn't do the trick, but that the actual, original God Molecule would have to be used? There was no way for him to acquire that, if it even still existed. That tree was the stuff of legend now, but he remembered it existed, back before. How long had he been working at this? How much longer could he hold on? He knew he wasn't eternal, like most others. He hadn't bio-technically augmented himself as much as everyone else had. His mind may have been alight, but his body was tired. He needed help. He knew of no one except the flicker of a ghost behind the screen, and no one knew him. No one but the man who called him NOMAD. He opened the metal box where he'd put the chip, and took a careful look at it through his special lenses. It had a nano lever that seemed to engage the battery power. Before moving it and activating the chip he stopped and thought that perhaps it was a mistake, that he would reveal his location to the wrong kind and perhaps bring his quest to an end. But what other choice did he have? Exhausted by the lone search, he activated the chip and let himself fall asleep.

LUX - KINO & The Invisible Territories

Light came through his mask and he opened his eyes reluctantly to see what was happening. The Maskless Man was standing over him again as he has in the street before. He shinned a light upon him so that LUX couldn't see his face. "I didn't know anyone still lived in these buildings." LUX stood up holding the chip: "Is this how you found me?"

"I thought you'd activate it sooner. It is not traceable by the Controls so no one knows I'm here." His voice was still but carried right into LUX's ear.

LUX - KINO & The Invisible Territories

"Everything is traceable by the Controls. The Pantheon sees everything." LUX said, defending the system as if he was being tested. He hadn't spoke to anyone in so long.

"Not everything, apparently. So, what do you do here? Are you still synthesizing drugs, in this day and age." He had a quiet voice but he was clear with his enunciation, reaching LUX with great clarity.

"I would rather not say."

"You're looking for a way out." the man said.


"I screamed it loud enough, yes."

"Well, you should know that's a bad idea. You could land yourself in the Void."

"You seem to know an awful lot."

"Everybody knows, but they don't dare to see passed the Territories. Why would they?"

"Why would they?" LUX said sarcastically. They smiled at each other. It was rare that people even looked at each other anymore. "I need help. I need to get something. Are you the kind of man that could get something, something rare."

LUX - KINO & The Invisible Territories

"I may not even be a man for all you know. What do you have in mind, old man?"


LUX thought about it again, whether or not this was a mistake. This person might even be an agent for the Pantheon. The maskless figure was right, he had no idea who he was dealing with, and designing one's own drugs in search of an escape, that could ruffle feathers.


"Nothing. Its nothing. I didn't know what I was doing. I activated the chip by mistake. I apologize."

"Do you know what NOMAD is? Have you heard of that?"

"I haven't since that day, no."

"Its better you haven't, I guess. But lets just say that some of us, evermore of us, are joining forces, like a secret society working off grid."

"To what end?" LUX quickly asked.

"I'd rather not say, yet, but if you needed help with something, something unusual, then perhaps someone in the network, if not myself, could help." The figure gave a long pause before beginning to walk away from LUX. It shone it's light towards the door now. The light off of him, LUX found himself in sudden darkness, already imagining the maskless figure forever gone, his chance lost.

LUX - KINO & The Invisible Territories

"The God Molecule! I need the God Molecule, the real one, not synthetic."


"From the Holy Tree. Are you sure that ever existed?"


"I am. I remember it. Its what we used to replicate it in the lab, right here, long ago, but right here, I once held it." LUX's hand was clenched and shaking.


"I'll ask around, see what I can do." as he or she stepped out the door.


"Thank you!" LUX said, the last words he would speak to another person for a while still. He found himself incredibly alone until he stared into the screen in search of KINO, of a sign, or a glimmer."I hope you're real, little KINO. I hope this isn't just my old brain playing tricks on me."

LUX - KINO & The Invisible Territories

A bolt of lightning suddenly hit the very top of the company building sending the lab into complete darkness, except for a shimmer of static in the shape of a boy holding his hand up to the screen to meet LUX's.

LUX - KINO & The Invisible Territories

The lights and screens all came back on almost as quickly as they had dimmed, and LUX found himself with his hand up against the screen, looking into KINO as if he had just stood in front of him. The old chemist began laughing uncontrollably. It was the beginning of the end.

LUX - KINO & The Invisible Territories

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