. Unlike traditional concept albums, that may only share thematic ideas or central themes, Lascaille's Shroud has an actual cast of characters shared between albums. Heavy themes of morality, ethics, and identity color the lyrical ideas and are a reoccurring theme shared within the story arc and the characters within it.
Interval 01 is the beginning of the Parallel Infinities story arc, and it's history begins in the year 2188, when Earth is mostly a barren waste. The remaining land - located mostly in Russia, China, and Australia - has been built to the edge of the sky. These parts of Earth are glorious testaments to terraforming and engineering, yet their presence is a constant reminder of how close humanity came to bringing about its own extinction. That reminder is still not enough, however, to unite the remaining factions on Earth. Australia and Russia are largely controlled by religious organizations seeking to limit the progress of science and technology. China, caught between the two, is the only 'free' nation on Earth, home to the scientific minds and engineers who struggle to rebuild whats left of their home planet. Political pressure, and threats of military action force China to develop new technologies in secret.
The year is 2265 - the world is at a stalemate, barely above the precipice of annihilation. Mankind has to now face another obstacle in their path to rebuild Earth, a sterility plague. For the past several decades all men, women, and children lost the ability to reproduce. No one knew the cause, or how it could be cured. For the longest time it seemed there was none, until two brilliant minds came together.
- P R O L O G U E: She Dreams of Earth
Sarah Tereshkova is a geneticist who specializes in designing organic prosthetic's catered to specific patients. Her work, however, has caught the attention of the religious organizations of Australia and Russia as she attempts to design a cure for the sterility plague. She, along with two-thousand other scientists, doctors, and researchers including her husband Vincent, live aboard the Arcturus Station. A state of the art installation hidden in the Kuiper Belt to avoid literal execution.
Every night when she closes her eyes, Sarah sees the Earth she can never return to, and dreams to rebuild her glory.
- E V O L V E: Transcendental Cyber-Eroticisms
For years Sarah and Vincent have worked together to build a cure for the sterility plague. Vincent, is an artificial and synthetic intelligence expert, the foremost designer and programmer for military defense systems on Earth, and he too has been exiled in secrecy to Arcturus. Their work is neither an antidote, nor a cure of any traditional kind. Their cure...is evolution. Adaptation to a hostile environment, just implemented at an accelerated rate.
This comes in form of ASI (Advanced Synthetic Intelligence). ASI is not human, nor is she alien, robot, or cyborg.
Sarah, builds the perfect body. Genetically pure and free of disease and aging. Vincent, builds the consciousness and mind to inhabit the body. But, he leaves no restrictions on her ability to learn or think. ASI can successfully reproduce with plagued humans using the most minute amounts of DNA collected through intercourse. ASI both looks and gives birth much like a human, except her cybernetically enhanced body accelerates the development of the fetus while ensuring it is perfectly healthy.
But ASI is discovered, and an all out assault is launched on Arcturus by unknown entities.
- R E S I S T: Fall Into the Arms of the Sun
Australia and Russia, while ASI is being developed, are contacted by an unknown person promising to take care of their problem with China, all they had to do was shut down long range scanners on the outer edge while they took care of Arcturus Station, in exchange for some form of compensation to be discussed at a later point in time. They agreed to do so, but what they were unaware of, was that this "person", was actually an agent for The Swarm
, allowing them a quiet insertion into the Sol system.
The Swarm is a collective of super-sentient machines, of unknown origin and technologically advanced beyond all comprehension. Ranging in size from atoms, to the size of stars, there is no human force capable of even halting their progress. With the long range scanners disabled, their most colossal machines could simply stroll into the system in secrecy.
They send a "Divider Squad" into Arcturus Station to kill off any resistance, a small group of 20-30 operatives that can eliminate large populaces in small amounts of time and with little attention. Sarah is able to secure both Vincent and ASI's escape, she is injured in the assault and jams an airlock door closed as they retreat, not giving them a chance to come back for her. She can hear the sounds of thousands of people, slaughtered and left lying where they fall to die. She manages to lure this "Divider Squad" to her, as the last remaining survivor on the station, to the core of Arcturus.
The engine, the power for Arcturus, is a small artificial star. As they all close in on her she settles in the engine rooms. Typing a few simple commands she overloads the engine and ignites the station in a small supernova, destroying the squad and delaying The Swarm ever so slightly.
- E X T I N C T I O N: Swarming the Sun
Just a few short years after they escape the attack on Arcturus. ASI and Vincent remain hiding in Beijing - until they start to receive coded messages in their dreams. The message urges them to go to a specific set of coordinates out of the Sol system. With nothing left on Earth for them, they depart their home planet once again with caution and intrigue...
...Just in time to see Earth destroyed.The Swarm
comes in fast, and as Vincent and ASI drift past a crumbling Mars, they witness the destruction first hand. An Armada with numbers so great they blot out the light of the sun, The Swarm leads a massive machine towards Earth. Massive 'hands' wrap around Earth, spanning the entire globe, and slowly squeeze Earth into an ungodly explosion.
As they watch everything they know die, Vincent and ASI are soon forced into restraints by unknown machines. A voice echoes in their minds speaking about cryogenic sleep, and escape, and before they know it they are both rendered unconscious.
- D R E A M S: Romancing My Own Demise
For years, in this cryogenic sleep, Vincent dreams...
He relives his biggest regret over and over. Long before he began his work on ASI or moved to China, he built AI systems for the military of Russia. He built organic machines using brain matter from recently dead soldiers and civilians. However, while he was performing his surgery one day on a young woman, she flinched while he had her skull opened for removal of her brain.
She was not dead.
He quickly put her back together, and worked to revive her. Once she awoke, Vincent realized that all his patients could actually be victims...alive in the time of his work, an impossibly painful procedure. He took the young woman with him and escaped to the safety of China.
The woman, was Sarah.
- S H A T T E R E D: Love Lost and Worlds Destroyed
Vincent awakes to darkness, and alone. He is in a massive chamber several miles in size. He looks around but cannot find ASI, and the strange voice from before informs her that she has disappeared, ejecting herself out into the void before she could be put under. The events he begins to recall, and the weight of all his losses and failures bear down on him.
- E P I L O G U E: The Acceptance of Death
Atlas, is a massive structure that is not perceivable by any means, it refracts and absorbs 100% of heat, light, and radiation. The Structure itself is roughly the size of a galaxy and is occupied by the consciousness’ of two long dead alien beings from the Andromeda galaxy. Their race lost the fight against The Swarm a few hundred thousand years ago, but before their extinction they constructed Atlas, and placed within it Atlas-Rigel and Atlas-Aetheriel. The purpose of Atlas is to create a universe within itself, by destroying the one it inhabits and destroying itself in the process.
Vincent had been chosen to aid in this process because of his unique knowledge and status among humanity. But before he could do anything, before Atlas could do anything, they had to let The Swarm leave the Milky Way so they could work in seclusion. Atlas is the only thing with technology capable of rivaling The Swarm's. They heal Vincent, perfect him, make him ageless and undying. Because, for the next 5,000 years he must wait as The Swarm devours his galaxy. He must accept the deaths, to preserve all life.
In order to preserve existence, he must destroy existence.
has left the Milky Way cold and silent, the time of transition is upon both Vincent and the universe itself...
- I N T E G R A T I O N: Into The Posthuman Continuum
The year is roughly 7265, and Vincent has watched in a state of pseudo-consciousness as the Milky Way was devoured by the horrifying armada of The Swarm
. Eventually he opts to be put into a chemical coma, instead of sitting through a few thousand years of death. Upon awakening, Vincent learns that his humanity is going to severely impede his ability to combat his enemies. In light of his own losses, he is just unable to grasp the nature of what is happening and what must be done.
- R E B O R N: The Lamentation's Of A Dying Universe
Technically dead for an unknown amount of time, Vincent awakens submerged in a massive ocean. He looks around and see's endless water in all directions. Panic invades him and he rushes to the surface. Breaching the surface he finds himself inside the familiar room of The Structure, strangely opposite of the endless ocean he just witnessed.
Crawling onto solid surface, he begins to notice and feel things he is unfamiliar with. Inside his head he can hear screaming. His limbs feel pain but the pain is not his own. With every frantic and uncontrolled heartbeat he can feel life disperse from the universe, every gasp for air consuming stars. He balls himself into the fetal position and clenches his eyes shut, unwilling to see the horrible truth of the universes current state of existence.
As the terror, and pain leave him he can feel the humanity inside himself dwindle. Suddenly, there is a void inside him where his persona, his “soul” if you will used to be. Then, a terrifying and foreign feeling overcomes him, he feels something inside... wake up.
- A W A K E N E D: Not Even Remembered The Dust of Stars
Settling into his new self, Vincent begins to question his and Atlas' abilities. Despite his profound and empowering rebirth, a certain part of him can't help but doubt the outcome against such a daunting foe.
- O B S C U R E D: The Great Aphotic Barriers
Going out on a sort of reconnaissance mission, Vincent explores the endless voids and wells of life in the universe, and discovers something truly terrifying. Strategically placed between galaxies, smaller gatherings of stars and life harboring venues, are massive structures (estimated to be tens of light-hours in size). Towers, almost disfigured in their design, repulse him. He realizes they have massive amounts of gravitational pull, and it's sucking all light towards them and radiating it out ...after it has been filtered.
These other galaxies, many like the Milky Way, all harbor vast amounts of life...Civilizations who breathe sulfur, who breathe water and live in water-worlds, near infinite variety. Wanting to know more, Vincent infiltrates one of these “barriers” of light, and steals all the information he can from it.