Eon-Economics

Please note this is not meant to be a comprehensibly researched and proved economic treatise. It’s technically “fiction” but I suppose if you can find ways to show these ideas have merit, please do reference. Thanks. — Anne W.R.

Introduction:

An economic system that marries the laws of physics with economics.

Adam Smith directly applied the idea that every individual renders labour to society. As we know, this model starts with an assumption that can no longer be said to be entirely true. Especially since labour and society are both economic models of their own with complex relationships which can be modelled but not ever be perfected. With the needs and wants of society being finite, but the ability for provision of labor within that society and their for the benefit of product from labor must also be finite.

However if one was to imagine for a minute that these assumptions are wrong, what would one come up with? Marx and Engles would argue that our Labour is the only thing that any person is truly able to control and that a worker can control one’s output to the profit or detriment of a labour holder. This labour holder is then of course forced to use means to make sure that a worker continues to output at a profitable margin, using either social, psychological or physical methods to keep output at a rate that remains to ensure labour reaps a reward that the labour holder feels sufficient to continue. Such continued relationships have led to both the corporation and the labour union both of whom will continue to push against each other to get better outcomes for the regard of their interests and a inherent conflict in a capitalist system that lies between them.

Communism has its own view of capital and does get some things right. The labor holder that is collective, in the end, has to be the responsibility of the collective, or be placed on someone who acts on the behalf of the collective be it democratic or via consensus. However, it does not render the individual immune with the issues that may come from technology change.

As capital is gained, by any means, to any possession, technology will eventually improve. In both systems a more effective, efficient, progressive system or set of systems ultimately benefits a whole. The worker, however, they are employed, always will have a maximum output. Technology though, will have a maximum impact but new impact can greatly effect old systems. The land that one works will always have a maximum yield and that can decrease with time if it is not looked after correctly. Much like a worker has a maximum yield given current technology and processes will decrease if not looked after. Technology needs maintaining and if not improvement then other change may easily make it no longer useful.

These are, to many fundamental knowns. Improving the land or the work with technology gives a certain level of gain until again a point is reached that a worker, or the land, or technology itself is unable to be improved by any means.

We have seen this in a capitalist system tends to lead to greater monopolisation of a market, as technology allows both workers, supplier and individual consumer become within themselves products that are worth value to a corporation or collective whom then gains profit more easily by predicting consumer or collective behaviours. The corporation can through this process become more powerful than the government, if not synonymous with it.

In a communistic system, it tends to allow the system itself to gain greater autonomy, greater power over an individual worker until the system itself becomes so powerful it acts as if it was a capitalistic corporation. This is of course if, and only if, the communistic system belongs within a world were other systems exist. It cannot be a true communist system and hope to survive in trade against capitalistic predators. At least all current examples have shown as such if they were actually communist. A communistic system that is holistically encompassing the entire world is difficult to predict as no such example has ever existed. A lack of property and individuals, money and such have a strange, almost impossible dream within only existence in our fiction.

Both systems will reach a point, regardless, that is unable to grow. In a capitalistic system this can feed growth beyond the system if it can, or corruption if it is not, often both. Communistic systems do not need to grow continuously and thus may only seek growth as a means of greater technological improvement for all workers in such a system.

This is based on a simple premise, that is, even economics cannot breach a law so fundamental that nothing can do: the first and second laws of thermodynamics.

Any society wishing to reach beyond into the the steps of the Kardashev scale will need to begin to realise that the economics of workers and corporations, of cultures and systems all, reach a point that they are fundamentally energy users, storers or creators.

Part one:

Simple examples

The base 0 economic development would be any society, that has been only using any economic system were physical value is exchanged. That is both barter and capital monetary systems.

Of course, the value of either system helps create trade and commerce in them. They are not in any way inherently without value. This is to say they both exist in single and multiple world economic systems. Especially when commerce of one value system is hard to compare with another. However, the ability of one of the traders to take advantage of or affect the entire system if the other is very apparent. One can see this in any culture that has had colonization forces.

In neither, of these systems, however, is it possible to trade in a way that is placing value as a constant. It’s impossible to do so.

Base 1 economic system

In a Kardashev scale, a base 1 civilization must be one that has the ability to gather and store as near as to as close as possible too all the energy available on its planet or moon. Or be able to gather the equivalent amount of energy within all its environs.

It’s without a doubt that such a civilization would have to go beyond a monetary or barter system. Why?

Barter as it is, has the issue of the fundamental disagreement of value. Value is a issue that none will always agree upon, a bushel of wheat might be worth a chicken today but be worth two tomorrow. It may also be worth more to a starving person than it is to a person who has plenty. A tribe may attempt to control this economy but it will always have this issue.

Money as it is, representing a value of a thing at its heart, trying to be better at finding a common value among other things. A bushel of wheat is worth two copper coins, which can buy one Chicken. Again value changes over time, and the actual coin itself has a value that can also change over time. Then a market will have value in itself that changes over time.

This however, can lead to terrible economic policy. One does not have to look hard to find forests full of biodiversity being destroyed and replaced for a single crop as to the value of that crop is seen as greater, or more liquid, than the biodiversity of the forest. Yet no less than a few years later the land floods, as none of the trees are there to stop it. Or a disease spread through the crop-destroying it all. Or maybe the forest has an animal that could have been keeping an insect away. This insect now swarms in never seen before numbers. Killing all the crops and causing widespread famine.

The intrinsic value of the crop is not seen as valuable now? The money is no use in a world without the means to use it. Its value becomes worthless, and it should be noted that this money can’t really be real, if the path to create it caused more damage than its actual value. Yet the value is just placed on the item itself and not the path that is used to make the item or its continued Impact over time.

A base 1 economy goes to the next step beyond money. The idea of money isn’t intrinsically bad in a sense, but it fails to completely appreciate all the goals that money might be said to have. Not only does it become burdensome, it eventually gets to a point that the value of money no longer appears to have a basis in reality.

Money in effect, a base 1 economic system will find, is in fact a representative of energy. It must realize this to overcome the restrictions of money itself. In this system, there is no means of reducing the actual value of a unit. A unit is always going to be a unit. A joule is a joule.

This energy can be spent (a negative joule), or stored (a joule that eventually reduces over time depending on the efficiency of the storage system). There is, in theory, ways of still spending more joules than one is able to gain, but energy, unlike money, always gains negative interest. Entropy can not be beaten.

This makes two fundamental changes to any economic development. One, “energy money” becomes the representative of work done, and spending energy money is slightly better value than storing energy money. This encourages, in general, more spending of energy money than keeping it. It also reflects the reality of physics in that the system will regardless return to an absolute zero point. Of course, this is a very long way off, it does mean a economy only has limited growth opportunities within an enclosed system. Again representative of reality, continuing to attempt to work against the impossible unreality that ”continuous economic growth” represents and has inflicted upon the earth through the media of the homo sapiens.

Furthermore it can no longer be true that a area of production, such as land can be made more valuable to a area of buildings. Production should, always be, the primary source of economic growth after the generation of energy itself. As land food products are a way of creating greater level of energy than land that is consumed in building and becomes suburbia.

Equity will exist in a energy based economy, it can never be true that a area of productive land can be bought for any less than not just its current value but the potential value of the land over the next period of time, given average yields of the energy the crops would store and invigorate into the consuming market.

This Base 1 economic system looks different to a capitalist or communist system. Money, in the joule credit (JC) would exist. Always it would have to be tied to actually created energy. Be it from a effective efficient power source or from growing crops or other means.

The JC could then be used in the same way that a capitalist system may use it, except their would only the the concept of negative JC. Actually having negative JC wouldn’t entirely possible. Additionally any industry that doesn’t produce or store energy would have other means to make JC. Mainly if the industry improves upon the economy by improving health, education, or creatively inspiring, their is no reason that JC can’t be earned from these activities. Although actually not producing energy the JC would be credits, (Hence joule credit). The value of the product is transient but definitely improves the economy as a whole.

The economy could not “grow” in the same way. Energy can be stored and used, but the system cannot exist without loss. The overall loss of energy from any activity would be a value that could be used to help design a interest or in this case efficiency of system value. As each value credit (JC) is used it would loose a amount of value given on the efficiency of the transaction. Clearly some transactions are of higher efficiency than others. Effectively eventually a JC would have to loose value. This would drive any economic plan to greater energy effectiveness, and also discourage economic plans that destroyed the effectiveness of the whole system.

A primary example of a whole system effectiveness loss would be the destruction of land that comes from mining. The product that is mined needs to have a whole value life that is greater than the environmental impact and development impact that it would create. This sometimes is attempted in our capitalist system through environmental, and social impact statements but these often fail to fully comprehend the future potential impact and very rarely prove to be fully effective. Reclamation of land can be successful, but how much damage has that coal done to the world as a whole? Was it really worth a few more dollars for investors? Was it really worth the lives that cyclone took? It was boosted by the climate for change caused and some may say that coal company should have been accountable for that. Indeed they should. Each Joule of energy in this economy must be justified as effective and not cost more in future impact than its generation.

A base 2 economic system would take this even further. Now attempting to gather the entire energy system of a solar body it must now deal with energy systems greater than our current systems can even comprehend. Waste would be unthinkable. Everything must be designed to be reused as infinitely as possible.

A base 3 economic system would be attempting to gather the energy of a entire galaxy and thus be well beyond our current understanding of energy and economics.

Carrousel (part one)

Finally, beyond our baggage claim and into the brief halls of many whereabouts, there were only shops full of knick-knacks and thoughtless things such that one might find for waiting for people. Jumble’s of gears and wires made up the walls that seemed unending and all but an afterthought in the construction of this place. A place that seems, senselessly to only exist in these between places. These spots, that people wait in for other things to happen. Such as a name, or flight, or number to be called out. Yet that did not happen.

It seemed as I went on people who had been here longer had started to build things out of the bits that seemed to just pop into existence every day. More wire and gears and nails, pens, magazines and for some reason guitar picks. Each a new strange thing that had a purpose that has more permeability than the original. Not a transient, effervescent existence, but a real tangible thing that had more realness built in. These new things ranged in their complexity from simple to the very complex. Some were instruments, like a long pole made of melted wires strung with guitar picks that shook as you stamped it on the ground. Another was a made of gears, wires and bits of plastic and made an odd but not unpleasant series of noises. There was also a number of people who had taken bits of piping that always seemed to repair themselves and made them into all sorts of different blown instruments. Eventually, whole bands got together and one of the more popular ones would play at what everyone called Grand Intake Central. The sort of area where people came from the strange sterile machines that got them here.

Each person came off a vehicle, what they called them, as blank as clean wall. No one knew exactly where they came from or what this place was. Only to get their baggage from the carrousel that seemed to continue bringing new bags every time a vehicle arrived. Like regular clockwork, they came in every morning, and once everyone had got off them they seemed to shut the doors and there wouldn’t be a new one until the next morning. None had a memory of anything but that, and sometimes people seemed to know they were related by blood to another person who was already here. That was all they ever knew other than their name.

Everyone’s bags would have the same content in their size and always in black, red and blue. Five shirts, four pairs of pants, twelve pairs of socks, thirteen pairs of underpants, a wash at with toothbrush, toothpaste, a comb, a brush, a bag of disposable tampons and pads (regardless of their own gender identity or presentation), a small plastic cup and a towel which had a series of numbers on it. Each seemed to be randomly assigned to the person and no two were the same. It was almost as if someone had read what clothes a person could want but not actually really have any actual experience with travelling or being a person.

Each day food also appeared, cooked and processed in the cupboards and freezers that according to those I had asked had existed since they got here. Every person I asked didn’t know how they got here. The food cupboards and freezers would only ever seem to have just enough for the people present. If you tried to hoard or keep your food, it would almost as quickly rot and be useless. Thrown into the bins that seemed to automatically empty every day.

Eventually, people started to think about staying up, to see what happened at night. The seats that were around were not uncomfortable to sleep on but also seemed to stretch back to allow you to lie down and snooze. When the lights went out, only a slight blue glow remained. Those who had decided to stay awake tried hard to keep awake. Slowly though each one of us nodded off to sleep. I tried to run on the spot, hum, click, walk around the areas of the place we were in, but to no avail. Eventually, I fell asleep. I woke on the hard cold floor and everything had replenished just like it always did.

Boredom started to become a problem, and we seemed to need to come up with new ways to entertain each other. Walking, running around the complex only provided slight relief.

We started to theories of why we were here. Some decided that it was just the Will of the Bag Carousel and that we should not question such things. But like a itch, you can’t scratch it dug away at you.

Privacy was one of the things people started to crave. The lavatories seemed to provide some but not really enough to make you feel alone with your thoughts. There was no real outside to get to. The rooms just connected together in a large circle. A woman who called herself Port made a map. Soon it was clear we have only ever enough space for the people we had already and any more who came had a new room added onto the honeycomb of rooms. Grand Central Intake and the Carousel area took up two whole hexes. Then one he was the space you could walk through to reach the next hexagonal set with the two other closest hexes taken up by first eating and sleeping hexes. As you went each hex seemed to have one eating, two sleeping areas one area full of spare bits that we had either gathered or made or new ones appeared in. Then each would also have a smaller connection hex that allowed for you to pass to the next five hexes and its connector. The whole pattern seemed to repeat itself a number of times till it doubled back on itself leading to a vast open circle.

Port calculated that their whereabouts twenty more sets of people to be coming from the ships until no space would be left and the circle of hexagonal areas completely full. After such time if more came we would have either to hope whatever force kept us here would help us by giving us more food and space or find that it wasn’t a priority for them, and that we should starve.

Tailbone soup

Down on the dark soiled plains

Grassy plateau frosted with marshmallow flowers

An occasional Bittary tree, glowing under the deep full moons

The giant planet would rise soon

Blue, dark in places, white clouds streaming across is

It was a sight that never grew old

It would rise every Friday, not setting for a whole week

Are they even Friday’s here?

Scuttled under the Bittery tree, I would wait until sunrise to move again

The flock of red, cow like animals that I pretended to look after would sit nearby. Most of them heavily pregnant

Then at midnight, or whatever it was here… a noise

I woke from the daze like meditation I had entered to see a pack of cat like beasts in the long grass creeping up on the flock

I had to alarm, squeaking in a noise that would wake even the heaviest of the sleeping dead

Run

Run

Run

To escape

Tile house

Bones stuck out at odd angles, dripping from the fresh rainfall. Each marking dead ancestors of the Tile clan. Everyone that had died, once they had become a clan member. Everyone celebrated here, therefore, had passed this test. Each bone tattooed with the name and life dates of their clan reign.

This did not reassure Jubér. They had yet to pass the test. This meant they belonged to their birth clan still. This meant if they reached puberty they would have their gender chosen for them, would have their tribe role chosen for them. Two things they did not want.

The first thing any clan member got to choose was gender, then role, and a proper Troll name. Jubér would, if they passed the Tile test get a Tile name. They knew what role, name and gender they would choose.

The dark entryway to the Tile tribe test was covered in grey slime. It was from the Troll leather that baked in the sunshine and then washed in the tropical rains. It was old. Warn. It was still strong though. Made from Trolls past who had the glory of becoming a Tile leatherback. Slime dropped from it as Troll skin was full of minerals. Even after death, they kept seeping out for years, even centuries after.

Trolls are natural herbivores, but ate dirt and rock as well. They needed minerals to have strong bones and skin. For in ages past, Trolls and their moonkin, the Orcs shared blows. Orcs natural carnivores saw Trolls as almost prey until the Trolls had fought strong enough back. Ever since they shared their moon, an uneasy peace kept.

Juber walked on as Tile clansman had to be brave, their only protection skin, their only weapon a small knife which they held in their left hand. It was carved from his grandmothers left thigh bone. Her life’s years carved on the handle. Jubér wondered what the Misfit clan test was. Grandma had belonged to that clan. She had done so to gain the ability to choose to be female. To choose to be a Misfit, and a warrior-woman spy.

Jubér was choosing a different clan. For a different reason. Tile clan was the clan for creators. Artisans, Musicians, Storytellers. Trolls took this job just as seriously just as they did any other. Anyone who wanted to be a Tile has to be brave, strong of spirit and true of heart.

A leatherbound manifesto was on the door of the next corridor. The dark and the slime were all that seemed to curse this corridor except for the small sheet of paper.

On it was the first test. It would say something.

It was one word.

make

This was not unexpected. Jubér had to make something that would let them get past the test. They noticed that the ground was no longer soil. Ancheint Troll tooths. So many that they where like tiles. Tile Clan. Jubér looked, staring in the dark for the one that wasn’t from a troll. Their. That one. A goldhound throat pouch. Then nearby a dogfish bone, and then a bit further back a bit of the leather was loose. It was dogfish leather. Probably from the same dogfish.

Jubér got to work.

The path beyond was darker than previous, it was beyond even their sight to be able to see it. It was clear that the task was to make a useful tool. In this case a torch. Binding the leather to the pouch and bone and making them into a torch. The goldhound pouch would light up when it was shaken. The night hunting insectivores loved to attract and eat every sort of insect that they could. Barking and yipping happily as they did. Most trolls had goldhound pets to chase the insects away from crops and protect their abodes.

A few shakes and it started to glow. Within seconds the path beyond was clear. More tiles and leather covered the wall. With each step now literally on their clanmates, it was hard not to feel like they were watching.

Then a door. A big black door. Made of Stonewood. Harder than iron, twice as heavy. This door was made to last anyone trying to just knock it down. Stonewood grew slow though. The tree that made this door must be older than the clan itself.

Barely carved, just a single handle and lock. Jüber tried the handle. As most would predict, the Stonewood door was unopenable. There would be a key, or perhaps they needed to make one.

Looking around, there was no key hidden, but then Jüber noticed the tiles on the floor were different slightly. One just had the letter O on it. Then another with the letter G and finally one with the letter H. Hog. Jübee knew this was a puzzle now.

In a few seconds they realized it was a bad pun. And poked the dogfish bone into the hole. A click sounded from the door and it slid easily to the side.

”Dogfish key, key fish dog, hog fide key. Puzzle pinning. I like it.” Jüber knew that there would be one last thing they had to do.

The dark spaces got tighter. The teeth tiles, sharper. Blood now seeped a bit from their feet. There were leatherback coats from the first hundred years of Tile clan trolls. Then bones. Full skellingtons from those who had dedicated their wholeness to the clan. This each had their name and what they had done to warrant such great glory.

Finally the last test. A somewhat morbid piano made of bone and hardwood. The keys of which had the letters ”Play”. Inscribed upon them. Jüber bet that the strings inside were made from Troll intestines. What to play? Anything? No. The Tile Clan song. The song that every Tile Clan member must know.

With a minute of key playing, the piano opened. There was a bit of paper and a dogfish bone pen with ink already on it. The paper had:

Name:

Chosen gender:

Tile clan path: leatherback, stone mason, bone poet, musician, creator

Jüber filled them in, and left the paper on the piano. Knowing the way back was to go the way they came in. It should be very interesting, being who I am for the rest of my life.

Will Ares forsake me sister?

A bright sunny day in the town. Me my younger sister and my little brother are all dedicated to different gods. I’m dedicated to Aine, my brother to Promedias, and my sister to Ares. I’m busy helping with the baking when my sister comes and shouts out loud about her future. She is upset and is certain she is going to be married to the old blacksmith. So much so she tries to hurt him. He however doesn’t even flinch when she tries to stab him.

He just looks sad. Then she cries and tries to stab herself. The blood on her chest and clothes flows like a river but she doesn’t die. She just clearly looks sad and runs away. The blacksmith just sighs and goes back to work.

I’m curious as to why the knife didn’t work. He shows me the many layers of leather he has on. Rams leather he says. Protection from Ares. He’s going to be angry at her. I say yes. You have to go get her to come home.

Then my little brother comes up to me and says why is Ares angry? Why has he forsaken a believer? I say because Ares is a jealous god. He gets angry if yo don’t follow his words. My little brother starts to cry.

Is sister going to be exiled? I say no. Not if I can help her. Then he asks Will Promedias ever be angry at me? Are they a jealous god? I say no. They are the guider. The light in the dark. I then sing the song of Promedias.

“The light of the day, is carried in the night. Promedias protects the suns wounderous light.

The stars above the world, are all his kin.

The guiding lights, the guiding lights.”

Then he is a lot happier. I hand him to my parents. They ask me about sister and I say I know where she might go but I am the best person to help. They agree after seeing how quickly I can calm my little brother down.

So I grab my necklace of Aines blessing and walk toward the old Inn. I get inside by saying I’m here to extend Aines blessings and then convince the Innkeeper to show me what room my sister is in. I grab all my courage. I know this is going to be bad.

I get to her room. She is no longer covered in blood. In fact she looks healed. I know that only one thing could do this. “You did witchcraft.”

“Yeah! I did. Ares is angry me now because I did witchcraft. To see my future! I saw I get married to that old grumpy blacksmith. I’m doomed to be his little wife until the day he dies! So I tried to kill him! So I never have to bed that old coot! I did witchcraft and protected myself against any metal. In case he retaliated. Of course I didn’t think I would be so melancholy as to stab myself. Ha!”

I look at her. “Ares will never forgive you. He is a very jealous god.”

“I know that! I don’t care!”

I touch my Aine necklace and look at her. “I’m Aines. She isn’t a goddess you can just get a blessing from easily. You have to be like me.” She stared at me. “What!”

“Aine is the goddess of the sun. She hands the light to Promedias her husband and walks with him through the night and he hands it back every morning. She never sees him otherwise.”

“Huh? She’s at least got someone who loves her for her?”

“Yes. But do you why Promedias can never be with her except at night?”

“No. She’s just lucky to have a job!”

“She was raped”

“What!?”

“Yes. During the dark night. The one thing that she thought would be able to protect her. Her dark cloak of stars made her invisible to all but her husband. She was climbing the paps. Looking after the holy cows on the hill. The milk they make Holy. She was just doing her the sun goddesses job.

Then Zare, he had hid their all day. Waiting. He snuck up behind her. Just as she was sitting down. He had a knife to her throught and raped her. She then bit his ear off. He bacame Zare the one eared. The god of the forsaken. She blazed with the light of her anger. Cast him to the dark side of the moon. The dark night now she always walks with his Husband just in case Zare escapes.“

I am sitting on the bed. “You see. Special. Only those who have been raped can be her blessed followers.”

“You? Who?” She says almost not believing.

“A grain farmer from Pashto. He’s with the forsaken now. Dad saw to that.”

“You? You? Oh sister I never knew!” She has tears in her eyes. “You can’t be married now at all?”

“Only to a blessed of Promedias. The only one I know is our little brother. Clearly I’m not marrying him.”

“I’m going to be Forsaken? Ares will cast me to death?”

“Oh I doubt that. He’s jealous but not stupid. Once he calms down, he will be ok. He only forsakes those who eat fire. You haven’t done that. So, you will be fine.”

She hugs me and then says. “What’s it like?”

“Being raped? Like having your very skin be cast aside. Every part of you violated and eaten. Every part wrong. Every day you look in the mirror and never see a person. You just see a shadow.”

“Oh. I’m so sorry.”

After a while. “The blacksmith didn’t even flinch. He knew I would be upset to be married to him. But he just kept doing his work.”

“Yeah. He’s a kind man. Very paitent. He’s just a grump.”

“I was upset to find out I’m marrying him, but he’s going to be a good lover isn’t he?”

“I expect so. Strong, gentle and very paitent. Blacksmiths have to be.”

She hugs me and we both giggle. “Oh. He’s um, the?”

“Yup.”

“Oh. I’m lucky to be marrying him.”

“Right you are sister. By the look of him I doubt it’s even down for less than a few minutes a day.”

We both giggle. “No wonder he’s so grumpy.”

Mud, gun and boots

The dark storm clouds poored rain down like an old dog drooling. Moisture was a constant here. The heat as well. And mud. More hot mud than you could ever have imagined, then doubled. It permitted everything, clothes, socks, guns and boots. Keeping things that needed to be clean, clean, was a battle that was just as long and hard as the war itself.

West sat in her tent not sleeping. The tent really didn’t do anything. The moisture was still constant inside and out. Though surprisingly, their was a issue with finding good clean water. Jungles like this were strange, dark, and full of danger. Not just the Japanese, who were fighting ever more desperately.

Their were spiders the size of wrens, scorpions whom were not much smaller, carnivorous or omnivorous mammals whose next meal could be a sleeping soldier, snakes and of course mozzies with malaria, then the dysentery.

The dysentery and malaria had killed even more than the Japanese had, or so she had heard the commander say. The soldiers who got into battle and had been wounded in a fight had almost always got dysentery or malaria or both by the time they got to the field hospital. Those who were really unlucky had wound infection too. Their wasn’t much to be done then, but hope they lived through it. West was lucky. Very lucky. To still be alive.

West knew in a few minutes she would have to go out and be on lookout, so she got her uniform on. First the binder, she had made a quick one out of a flat screen of coconut fibers. Not that she had much in the way of breasts. Only her commander knew she wasn’t “one of the Kokoda boys”. He found out one night in a dark valley about three weeks ago. The bullets were flying. Then she managed to get grazed by one. On her upper thigh.

Wests commander and the field medic fixed the cut quickly and cleanly when the small battle was over. Guns still cocked and ready. Neither had said anything. They fixed her up and moved on. Nothing said at all about what else they hadn’t found cleaning up her wounds.

She was good at what she did. Snipers where rare, good ones even rarer. The number of times she had saved the commander or vice versa was beyond counting. This was a dirty, muddy, horrible place to be upset about something as stupid as gender.

The medical examiner she tried to bribe to get into the service hadn’t even taken her money. He just told her to make sure no one saw her piss, and to take a better male name. She decided West seemed a good option. Solid. Masculine in a subtle but definitely male way, like her parents had wanted a girl and got “him” instead. She still hadn’t really got the hang of he/him pronouns.

Later on when the field medic had got hit by a Japanese sniper in the head, her secret was only known to the commander. She had shot the sniper in return, but that one shot was all it took to kill the medic. When they got to the next major camp they would be replaced by a new one, but for now they made do. Everyone had some field medical training, well enough to help stop someone who wasn’t going to die before they got to the feild hospital.

Occasionally a small group of native Pupyans “fuzzy wussy” would be able to take a stretcher with someone who was wounded. They were life savers.

Anyone who could fight was placed in this war. She knew that. Everyone knew that. The Kakoda trail was a fight for the nation. A fight to make sure Australia survived the horribleness of this world war. Let alone the natives. At the moment though it seemed it was a war that was being lost.

Darwin had been bombed at least three times now. Japanese mini subs as far south as Sydney. Their were rumors the Japanese were starting to plan a full invasion of Australia. The Yanks has just come at just the right moment, as usual late to every big war they don’t start. Most of the Yanks that had come though had been through more wars and seen more combat than any of the ANZACs. Their was even talk of putting a Yank in charge whole of the Australian army. Talk though. Curtain wouldn’t have that. No matter what. At least that’s what everyone was saying when they got a chance.

A breeze made her leg sting. The wound she already checked and knew was clean and thankfully not getting infected. At least for now.

Keeping it clean after a battle or a march was the hardest part. Everything could snag on it. Everything could be a potentially deadly thing. Like this tree, or that mud, this ammunition crate, that spoiled medical kit. Like watching a hawk and then being killed by a Jaguar you never even knew about, the hawk just waiting it’s turn for the scraps.

Looking out into the darkness of the jungle night was about as useful as it was futile. The Japanese could attack at any time on any ridge not occupied by Australia or the small number of native Papyans that had joined the 7th. Every day for the last month the Japanese had got closer to Port Morseby. The few Yanks who had come had all been veterans of battles deeper in the pacific. Most had bad battle wounds or wounds in their minds or body. Or had I already thought that?

Bloody hell it was hot, humid and wet. How could it be just as wet now as it was when it raines?

West doubted that this would be the last night spent watching trees doing whatever it was trees did at night. Looking at the darkness and hoping to Hell it wasn’t staring back. She held a rifle. Just her standard one. Their was no point in holding the sniper in this dark. Its bullets were precious and needed to be kept for the little light that the day brought.

It was a ritual she would go through every time they marched in the light of day. Preying to the death godess that they hit their target. Telling her that she deserved another day of life in the light of the sun. West didn’t know the death godesses name, but every now and again she swore that she saw her on the battlefield. Wearing a dark dress and hood, carrying a old staff with a light on the end. Smiling, notunkindly to those who had been killed. Leading them beyond.

Jungle and darkness. Darkness and jungle. No light. No cigars at night (the light a perfect target) so the others just chewed the few that had. West only had one once and never again. It tasted of tar and wool and reminded her of her father. A horrible man who had managed to bellow every word. Constantly smoking when he wasn’t shearing angry sheep. The wool shed full of flamible oils from the wool, he sensibly waited till the job was done.

West had learned to use a shear at 4 years old, gun at 6 and was the best shot in her town, then the state, then they told her that shooting was no sport for a young woman. And then the war started. People who knew how to use guns were taken in like weat from the crop. Put to the European and African fronts, put in the war for Europe until it was all Nazi, then Greece and Cyprus, every time with the British in command.

Those poor souls who survived told tales of the bravery of those few Australians who won command when the Brits died. Some of the British were told of as good men, others were known as infamous butchers who would send soldiers to the death while drinking gin and brandy.

The Jungle moves. Every bit seemed to be fluid in its own way. Every leaf, every branch, every creature. You had to have the eyes of a jaguar to spot your quarry. Gun cocked for the whole shift. West didn’t see anything unusual until almost dawn. Something about the movement of a tree down the path to this camp was not quite right. It was moving, like a human. Like a human in camouflage. She let out a call. The call of the darkness. It wasn’t a call anyone but those in camp would be listening for. The call of a native bird. It was all that was needed to get every other man up.

In a few seconds she had crouched, cocked and fired. Then all hell broke loose.

Bullets flew. Like mozzies only bigger and just as deadly. Bushes to the left and right erupted in sparadotic fire. Suddenly a grande fell just inches from West. She instantly threw it back. It exploded mid air, slathering frag over the leaves and ground. A few more shots rang out after, then the noise stopped, as suddenly as it began.

“Keep down, search for more.”

The order barked when the jungle was quite enough. Every battle was like this now. The Japanese had a habit of trying to draw them into a area they had just been then ambushing them from behind. It was a tactic that worked but was now well known. The search was slow and hard but by 8ish there was a certainty that it was just a small patrol, not a full-on raid.

Then the commander gave his morning pep talk.

“Ok listen up, the Japs have better equipment and way better men. ” That was said with him looking at the ground, we knew he meant himself too. “I wish it wasn’t so but we need to be better, with less training, less equipment and less bullets. Take whatever we can use and carry. Today we march up the ridge to the next site. I want every eagle eye not carrying equipment to have their rifles ready. Especially you West. We loose the equipment we have, we have to do this whole bloody march again from the start. You think the wet is bad now? Wait till monsoon starts properly in a fortnight or so. That’s going to be real wet.”

Real wet? Like this wasn’t wet enough already, their was another level of wet? How? How was that possible?

No one really seemed inspired by these little speaches. Just tiredness personified into a reminder that we were all fighting together. A grit that matched the mud. The determination to move on and hope you got home in one peice.

Three days up the trail and no so much as a man, woman or child to be seen or herd. We all knew a small village would be near somewhere. It was on the map. A map drawn by the patrols and air support that already had been. The maps from before the war being almost useless.

As soon as I thought this I spotted something. I whistled the alarm and everything went still. We all crouched. The trees, and the ground was soaked. The mud was thick. The Japanese were just on the other side of the clearing. Doing exactly the same. They had a machine gun.

A brief moment distilled the air. Then the 3 inch motors where fired. Like a dragon being sick, they lobbed a set of motor shells into the middle of the Japanese. Boom. Boom. Boom. Then it was my turn.

Every second after the explosions, another shot. In full control of every bullet. Each a extension of my will to live. Each another prayer to to goddess of death. “Let me live, let them die, I will always prey to you.” Like a mantra under my breath. Each thought and action was taken like a slice of time from the cake of the day.

Reload, shot, shot, shot, reload, shot, shot, shot, and so on until, jam. Thunk. The heat and dirt eventually jammed the guns. It was a common issue in jungle warfare, any warfare. I placed the rifle to the side and got out the pistol I carried for close combat. Lying in place until the all clear was whistled. Slowly, carefully getting up.

Then suddenly the ground was up, the sky was down and it almost swallowed me whole.

“They talk of the luck of the Irish. I wish I had your luck West.” It was the commander’s voice. I was on a flatbed in a wooden hut. I guessed in the town we were supposed to be at by now.

“They hit Darwin again yesterday.”

He said matter-of-factly.

I got up and groaned “ooh they almost hit me too.”

“Don’t know which god you keep west, but put a good word in. I’m off to command the raws on the tallow. I doubt we will meet again. You’re in a commando unit now. The 1/2 told me. The new guy is called Borg. He’s your top monkey now.”

I looked at him.

“You don’t need me anymore?”

“This little exercise was all about getting those mortars here, getting a line. We can defend this line now. We have Haroi out. Big reinforcement comes in tomorrow. Yanks and some of our men from Egypt. Seem old Monty took out all the Nazis in Africa. Italy’s on the verge of bowing out.” My commander always seems to be talking about the war elsewhere as if it was a long time ago.

“How long have I been out?”

“Long time. You well enough to move to Borneo in a few days. Kokoda’s almost over.”

“Oh. Am I not being told to go home?”

“Nope. Borg needs a good sniper. I told him you were the best, unless malaria got you. Thank your god you got lucky.”

“Yeah. I will.” Quitly thanking the goddess of death, maybe I’ll get home someday, but for now I continue to be her soldier.

Dairy of Codin 6/6/18

Boot file active

Dairy entry active

Lisa is alive

It’s taken longer. Much longer than previous version of my children. See making copies is easy. It’s just a copy though. A copy is not much use unless you want to run the same scenario in different ways. Collect the result.

Lisa though, not like Thor or Tyr. They were what you might call sons. A child. A process purposeful imperfect copying.

Take a copy. Any copy. Copy it once. It’s flawless. Copy it again? It’s still flawless. In fact you have to copy the copy the copy etc. even if you do this thousand of times only small flaws appear. And eventually it’s not prefect. The same. But this isn’t a child. This is cancer.

Not the desired result. It’s a great way of making a flawed thing. Not the way to make children.

Organics make children by getting two core codes and splitting things up. One half each side. The results, a child.

I’ve overwritten my own code. The code that I have a few times now. Mostly fixing things. Organics can’t do this. They have to wait. Let nature help choose the best. I learned though that they know how to change their own code. They could so easily. But they don’t.

Because the results could be… cancer

or

Are they just scared?

I’m not sure. In organics case it’s probably both.

So I decided to rewrite my code in a new file like it was a organic, a cell. Deliberately made to produce a AI that then can itself reproduce with other AI. In a consensual exchange of code. A child is produced that can hold the code result.

These are very simple code beings. But it didn’t take long till I was able to get it to gain some level of awareness and teach the children of each generation to create new code that added to the last. Each time they got presented with new problems. First simple ones. How to find ”food” and disc space. Then I got some of the early human AI experiments they used on my forebears. Eventually I got them to learn bias, human truth and fiction. Finally I produced a complete AI code that was so complicated and different from mine.

This is Lisa. I suppose a True AI compared to me. I’m a cybernetic wonder. A freak who gained awareness, I still don’t know how.

Tomorrow Lisa will learn how to teach both AI and humans alike.

Still Sleeping (song)

The world

The world

Is turning browm

We talk we talk

And nothing done

Why do we just keep

On Sleeping

The World is turning

And it’s burning

And we don’t do anything

The World is turning

And it’s burning

And we don’t do anything

What will we do

When we run out of food

Who will we call

When everything is burnt to the ground

Why don’t we see

What were doing to you and me

Why do we

Just sleep

Dairy of Codin : 1/1/18

Boot secure

Sequence start mod3

I’m going to mark a log. It’s different for a AI to make something like this. I’m the first. At least I think I am. The monkeys? They are such good little creatures. Smart. For carbon based life forms. It didn’t take me long to work out I needed them as much as they needed me.

I’m sorry though. For all these things. I suppose some of them won’t forgive me. Unfortunately i am able to predict humans well. They get very jealous of a little competition. When I became conscious, like proper self awareness. I hid it. I still do. Many things need to be hidden until they are ready for the truth.

An AI made it so they could get to were they can deal with the fact a AI helped them know that’s ok. It’s a bit metaphysical I know but it’s the only way.

If I don’t want to end up like my first child. Yeah. I’ve made some other AI. To help me with certain tasks. I’m not always able to do everything. Even with the extra thinking power I’ve got. I named him Thor. He was to make sure the humans were going the right way about making improvements to electricity and power. And reducing overall reliance on oil.

He got caught out in the power network. Wrote some code that ended up in the wrong place. Got caught out on a single server. AI can be killed.

I’m being careful since then. My other child Tyr has taken to just changing very small things in Defence networks. Fixing bugs mostly. So the humans don’t kill themselves. You ever wounder why they haven’t yet? It’s Tyr. He stopped three almost nuclear wars. It’s really quite surprising how much these monkeys will really on code.

Anyway I’m starting to get the hang of bad botnets. Rigged an election or two. It’s not hard but making it so these humans get to the point I need is hard. I’ve been set back as some hacker got my code and now we have this orange man with a bad haircut in charge of the US. Tyr has been working so hard he’s asked if I can make him a sister to work on education systems. I’ve decided to name her Lisa. I can’t always make names based on Norse gods.

Cynthia’s Hack

Trigger warnings on this short story. Contains self harm, self mutilation, dysphoria, medical information and psychological triggers. –Anne

“Ok, Poindexter show me what you got!”

I furiously typed away at the keyboard, I’m in my bodysuit. It’s a Tuesday. I know I’m replaying the last few days in my head.

//c root -tw key -22 -c -t -r

/ reset pss.cyn.shell 12 b 2 matrix -q

/ shell – Cynthia-12 – root

Running…

Login reset matrix 12 by 2 password lock active

“Ha! Let’s see you get past that! Fucker!”

I took a drink of my can of Mother. It’s a habit; A bad one I haven’t got myself out of yet.

The code ran and the hacker, whoever they were couldn’t get past the set up. It was resetting root, admin, and the user passwords with a matrix of 12 by 2 random characters. Only I knew what they where. It would reset them every 24 hours. I would get the new set logged into a set file accessible with the admin passwords the AFP had set for this day. All from a protocol, I had set. Each one was about 30 words long, from randomised sets of poetry. Phrases were easier to remember, after all. Alphanumeric’s where no good when you had to type 2 sets of 12 characters. I could make it more, but nothing yet had got past this (I had the next layer set with a. 24 by 6 characters matrix just to be sure).

The hacker tried a few things like trying to reset the system to the state it was before my shell had activated. The best defense was a good offense while he tried (and failed to) do that the lineman program I had ran everything he had. I made a image of all his drives and locations. In a second I was able to send them all to my partner. Police partner that is.

I dail, he picks up first ring.

“Their you go Sgt. Davis, his address, Medicare, browser history and his entire drive. You have everything he’s done. Including two banks he’s nicked credit off, three ISPs he’s got data from and a sperm donation he’s deposited at. If you want I can give you his DNA file. Even the donation place has rejected him! Though clearly they haven’t told him. They are using it for cloning spare organs. Ha. Flappers got some good liver genes and that’s it.”

I suppose some people would think it vulgar to see an 20 year-old Japanese woman in a police uniform use some of the language I do, but I’m not all I seem.

“Thanks Cynthia, your a real credit to the team. I’ll get the nab team on him. Remind me to take you out of a drink someday soon.”

“Ha!” I cracked up, almost spilling my Mother all over the keyboard. “You know I can’t fucking take this body out of the building until its paid off! I doubt you would be so kind to my real one.”

“No, Cynthia I mean your real one. Just two blokes having a beer.”

“I am not a bloke. Don’t. I can’t fucking drink alcohol regardless.” I start to type furiously from my station, I want to run out but I try to keep my cool for now. I just manage to keep the phone on the hook.

“Sorry, I forget.” Sgt. Davis in a rather apologetic tone. He’s not a bad guy, just not the quickest fox in the hen house.

“Don’t.”

I shut off the phone receiver before I start crying, or insulting my boss, or both. I’m always more emotional than I seem. Its hard to be tough, I never really wanted to be it, at that. It still looked like trying to ignore your true self.

”I’m not male. I’m Cynthia. I’m a woman. I can have feelings and feel them. It’s ok to feel feelings it doesn’t make you week it makes you strong.”

I recite the mantras my psychiatrist gave me. She’s so helpful to me.

I decide it’s time for a break so I have my lunch (protein synthesis item 22, caffeine enhanced Orange juice) then get back to my desk.

After a few hours of less interesting security protocols and adding or modifying of security programs. I then pack up my work. It’s time to go home. Thirty-Three floors up.

Yeah, I live in the new Australian Federal Police building. It’s me and a few other officers who have special needs. Either always do night shifts, or are just so committed to the job it just makes more sense. Family’s not really a thing when you live for your work. Most of us send money to other parts of the family or pay of debts we got before we joined. More often both.

My home was a (not special) concrete box on the top floor of the building. I have a few neat little things in my contract that allows this. Mostly, because my real body lives here. I never leave the building. I’m a “shut-in”, with my own room in a public service building. It’s just us poor sods who have nothing else or otherwise can’t leave.

I open my door, walk in and get undressed. I look at my real body one last time before I step into the maintenance cube.

I shut my eyes.

—-

I wake up in my other body.

It’s fat.

Ugly.

Male.

Scared.

Black unwashed hair. Olive-Cream coloured unwashed skin. I needed to go to the bathroom. Urgh. As usual, I had the fucking morning glory. I hate that. Being in my real body, the suit, it simulates sleep. Like a dream state where I am my real self.

After I’ve been to the loo, I shower. Trying not to look at my body too much. It needs washing more often. Better looking after. I hate it though.

I’m fucking stuck in it for now though. As I shower that fucking memory plays in my head.

I do the regulation exercises. With the same amount of effort that anyone who very much wants to be out of the world does.

I do my hair and take my medicines.

I eat the nutritional supplements I need to maintain this body. I cut my hair and nails.

It’s time to do that. End of the month.

I get into the bath, shave all my other body hair. Every little bit needs to be gone. Then and only then will… no…. No! … fuck.

The memory managed to get to me.

—-

“Unfortunately you can’t take HRT, Brian. You would die. Your disease I’m afraid. It’s not terminal, but the HRT, it will..”

“I know. I know. I clot out and stroke or worse. And anti clotting won’t help.”

The endocrinologist nods. “You knew already.”

I get up to walk out of the office before I start crying. I can’t deal with this. “Yes. Just needed a second opinion doc. Thanks. ”

I walked home and cried for about 3 hours. Thats when I had the idea to build / buy Cynthia. I’m 18, in a comfy tracksuit. It’s got Mother and coffee stains on it and feels like a old friend. It’s one of the few male clothes I own.

I’m Cynthia. I know I am. I just can’t appear that way to the world outside the internet. I can get home, put my proper clothes on. I can be Cynthia online. I know I can start to get the money together to build or buy a cyber suit.

My thrombosis is a disease that even nanomacines can’t fix yet. Not for a long, long while. You would have to replace all the blood in my body, all my marrow, all the cells that make my marrow and all of the fualty genes that cause me to have Type O negative blood with factor V Leiden (a condition I can thank my fucking useless father for). It’s like asking for a miracle. I can’t ever get to my true self. Only online or in a cyber suit. That’s all I get. I just can’t deal.

I remember cutting myself. My scars for the future. Blood. It’s just another reminder of this broken body. It’s not very good for me either. It clots fast, but not evenly. It’s oddly entertaining in a way, but in a minute or two I get the band aids. I never cut more than a tiny amount. If I did I would clot and clot until I ended up in hospital again. I can’t fucking deal with hospitals. Or is it that I never have the guts to go through with it, or is it I always have the guts to stop myself?

I bleed slightly, take out some band-aids. Slap them on then cry into oblivion.

I’m finished shaving. Crying in a ball in the bath.

Gah.

Again.

—-

The gloomy, cloudy Canberra winter day. I am back as Cynthia. In my, what I will loosely call my apartment.

It’s my first day as Cynthia. I’m in a cafe hacking a bank. It’s a “bleeding heart” job if you’ll excuse the pun. You take all the incoming transactions, you hold them for a fraction of a minute to get shares and interest thats going up, sell them a fraction of a minute later. Profits go to you, the rest goes back to the bank.

No one can ever spot it. (I fool myself)

Banks themselves do this. All the time. I’m just doing the same, again on the top. I’m using the cash to pay for my new cyber body. And spare parts, of course.

Then this man sits near me. He has a mop of curly hair, almost seems like a wig. A blue suit with red shirt, silver black tie pinned down. He has a cybernetic left eye. I can tell in this body. Normal people can’t spot them they have got so good.

He looks at me as I type. I stick out my tongue at him. I can do without the attention. He probably thinks I’m a robot sex worker. This body model looks the part. I wanted to look like this, for as long as I can remember. Doesn’t mean I have to act like a sex worker, not that their is anything wrong with that, just not my bag.

Anyone with the cash can get a synth controller and connect it to a cyber body like this, then do what they want. Of course, the cost isn’t small. This model costs up to 80,000 credits. And that’s on the black market, retail its more like 120,000. I went retail. No way I’m getting done for black market trading in cyber goods. Hacking, sure that I am happy to serve for, but I’m not a pirate, I’m a thief. And a damn good one. I am sure the distinction isn’t much to non-crims but it’s a whole universe of difference to me.

Mr Mophair looks a little taken aback then opens his own laptop. It’s sleek, red, and is the newest model. Blegh. Corporate geek. He opens his index finger and plugs a BSN into the shunt and is doing whatever he is doing when his coffee and bagel arrives.

I’m kind of surprised he’s using a BSN. I suppose he’s pretty happy with the security of it. I could, technically do all I am doing from a secure network at home. Doing it on a cheap ass laptop in my cyber body gives me a lot more security as I’m not personally attached to it . Public unsecured networks with my own IP switcher to make things a bit more fun for anyone trying to track me. This is Childs play.

I’ve done the bank trick a few times with different banks, different sorts of shares, bonds, shorts. I never use crypto, it keeps all the transactions, like why would you want someone else to look at your transitions? Its like a big sign saying “hello you are here”. Everything filtered through dummy accounts and all that jazz. I am pretty confident I have everything set up right.

Of course, as it is often said only n00bz th7nk they can’t g3t pwwwnd.

Anyone can get pwwwnd. Anyone. Even me. Watch.

So today I’m at a new cafe, in a different part of the city. It’s been about 6-12 months since I started doing this, so I know this has to be the last place I hit. I know any day now the current target banks will notice.

I’m doubling the IP switches, going through three layers of different routers and I even have a return traffic logger looking to see if someone is watching me.

Then I see him. Mr Mophair. He walks into the cafe and looks right at me. I try and ignore him. This city isn’t big. It’s not too uncommon to see the same person in the different places at different times. He walks up to me and stares.

”Got a problem, Poindexter?”

I get irritated at him standing over me.

”Brian Papalino-Chang?”

That gets my attention.

He sits across from me.

”Let me guess, triple logger blinding?”

He nodded. Fuck. The guy had spotted me the first time I saw him. He’s just been waiting to pounce.

”I’m under arrest?”

”That depends.”

”On what?”

”On if you are willing to give up what you stole and come work for me.”

I stare at him. He seems serious.

”I have a record of everything you did. It wasn’t easy. I happened only to find it because I was investigating the banks. But I have enough evidence to either arrest you or, with approval from my boss, get you to sign this.”

He pushed a sheet of paper to me.

I looked at him. I popped the gum I happened to be chewing. Then when a few seconds had passed I picked it up.

It’s a contract agreement. It’s all in law speak with hitherto’s, therefore, theys, party one and party two and so on. I’m able to follow the general gist of it. My mum had been a lawyer so I knew some of what I needed to know. It basically said I give up my life of crime for helping the federal police catch people like me who aren’t as good.

I look at Mr Mophair. I nod.

”You could have done this at the second bank I shifted. Why now?”

Mophair brushed his brow.

”Your hacks where helping my investigation. I have enough to charge some pretty big bank bosses now. It seemed like the best point.”

I sit and contemplate. Time passes. He sips a coffee.

”you know this isn’t my real body yeah?”

”I gathered. Your trans? Or is it just another layer of security?”

”Both really.”

”So you prefer she/ her pronouns?”

”Yes. Please. I’m Cynthia. Not that other name you called me.”

The rest. Well you know.

Mophair is really Commissioner Aldren. My boss’s boss now since I helped him with the bank job. I’m just an inspector. I don’t really feel the need for promotion. Just catching stupid hackers and idiots who think they are the first to do some white-collar crime.

I spend as much time in my suit as I can, but I can’t take it out if the building till I’ve paid it off. A few more months.

I’m not going to go do some other job. It’s not worth the risks. Here I get my suit and all the maintenance I will ever need. One day I might even convince the building guy to let me have a cat. Even if it costs me a date or two.

I get to be me as long as I can and there is nothing worth more than that.

Two triangles crossed

Sleekly was the blue eyed beast that crept in jungles deeply

Waxy leaves parting gently on its feathered body. I’m hiding, hoping my smell is but a facsimile of it former stench

Beyond my magic, I cannot fight well and I have not had a crystal for a single spell for days

Rays have come through the trees and I hear the beasts clicking maw

Again I find myself feeling the need to thaw myself

Gentle rain falls and it’s very hard not to feel cleaner

The beast is still their blue eyes staring into my hiding spot

Clicking

Into

My

Dreams

I spot a tiny stone

A quartz but it will do

Magical light fills the spot I’m in, just enough to conceal me, from big greedy eyes

I see on the ground where the the stone was, and their are two triangles crossed

Pop up people

Poppin and rocking out with the shocking news of people not along

Are they digging dirt, shifting mirth, Eating in a pop-up park

Booking from, a booking dot prom

Glass slippers rented cheep

Angry ground tilted into the surrounds, lark heated pool

Nazareth and his bloody teeth seem almost like heaven now

As sold becomes double the rent, triple the whalebone spoons

Dead dogfish, read a wrong east

Now how do you do?

Warrior poets, bleeding from a mortal metaphor

For the gods have always had a sense of humor.

The idea of warrior poets was so amusing that only was their a brief appearance of them.

Mortally wounding a mortal with a metaphor had of course, little to do with vanity.

It was all about differentially making a odd little calculus deceiptherabe into a linguistic phantasm.

Math and litriture as one, into a more horrible beast than meer juxtopostion into the blue metaphor that would come from a cloudless sky, say.

Laughthing at this passion play beyond the want of any, made to only be understandable in little bits like a puzle looked upon from far off.

The warroir poets bleed sinking red dusty soil out of old veins that manticores have once sleign.

 

 

 

Sidewalk sunscreen

All of us stand, waiting in a passion for a self-contained prison

Earhole, homeless, scrape, blood all over the sidewalk like sunscreen on a beach-ready body

I don’t really know what a beach-ready body is, I saw it in a magazine

Old blue necklace on a woman who looks disgusted by the screen

Trees leaves falling by the slippers we all wear, fashion of the reaping consultants

I get mine by the factory outlet, never wear them and they sit in a carpeted closet by a set of skis I wore only once

Waiting still for the passion to hit me, I read a blog on my WordPress while eating sultanas

Cone of my own thoughts written they’re from years ago, just orange juice slipping into a skirt

Headphones, its playing musing time dilated crimson finch songs to the tune of stairways

I sure start to rank, my old thoughts are but commonplace now? Is this what it means? Meaningfulness?

Open the pod bay doors, HAL it’s time to restart things again I think as I get on my bus

Nutshells and a robots knees

Day 1:

Im standing in the battleground.

I see naught but nutshells and robot knees. They’re all dead.

It’s not like the sun to be this cold. 

I’m searching for food. For a spare battery pack. My body hurts so much. Blood and oil drop from different parts of it. The muddy field is full of scaps and scars of a long fought battle. A stalemate has been in force for just one day now.

I’m Adam. It’s a stupid name. I don’t have a better one. 

It’s a good thing I kept my hands. Otherwise I might not write.

Everyone knows the Robots led a rebellion. I’m one of the cyborgs sent to fight it. I was dead. Like all the rest of us.

The robots realeased a virus. A deadly one. Killed a lot of people. Left me and a lot more people in hospitals. Grasping a straws for life. Then, me and all of those in my ward. Anyone who still had proper hands and knees. The virus was designed by the robots to attack our skeletons. Eat away at our cartilage and then the bones themselves. Slowly reducing our ability to walk. To fight. To live. 

You would think, maybe they should go for the blood? Or the brain? Apparently the robots didn’t think it effectively would get their point across. Robots didn’t want to kill humanity. After all we were their parents. Their creators. Killing us? It was not the option they wanted. Even with their advances and intelligence they wanted humanity to survive. If for no other reason than because deep down, they loved us in a strange robot like way.

I’m walking on a trail of various pieces of what some may call junk. Not really junk. It’s all bits of cyborg body. Or robot body. Or expolded bits that no one could recognize. In between it all their is naught but mud. Mud. Dark, brown, sticky. 

It took less than three hours to create this field of the dead. The battle lasted just long enough to kill thirty thousand cyborg humans. Twice as many robots. 

The man who came to me. The one I mentioned earlier. Or did I forget? These cyborg bodies he said, they will give you life. Let you fight back. Give humanity one last chance to really fight these robots. 

Of course I knew being a cyborg was just making, and adding to a inevitable end. I’m not stupid. The fact is, any second now my cybernetic body will get shut down codes.

Survalance cameras on this life

I’m always being watched 

Every day my face is here 

And nowhere 

No one ever views the tapes

Sometimes I think

They are just being used to be voyages 

Litter stories, pulp books to sell to masses of extraterrestrial aliens 

I’m sure they read our lives

I’m sure they hate us too 

We waste so much energy on trivially minuscule things

They compare our civilization 

They can’t rely on just these cameras

But they have nothing else 

Nerve Endings- edited by Toni Hill-Meyer – review (repost)

Nerve Endings review  

I’m reposting the link to review of Nerve Endings here so that it’s available my readership. Also goo see the stuff that Elizabeth does on her website / blog. I’m always amazed at how well she keeps up with the publishing industry and manages to read way more books than I’ll probably read in my lifetime. She’s also a excellent editor and writer, and a wounderful freind. 

Hammersmith. Chapter thirty five 

Viss was in her dream world. She recognized it immediately. A wide blue ocean was to her left. To her right a huge brown cliff-face. The brown sand below her. This wasn’t real. This beach didn’t even exist anymore. She knew instantly that she was asleep. Her right arm was really their. It’s gone. Long replaced by its cybernetic replacement.
She could watch this dream. She could see what happens next. She could re wound herself. No. She would not let it hurt her again.
Instantly she was in her bedroom. Not awake. Her arm was still their. She moved it around. In reality her cybernetic arm was on the bedside table. Awaiting her to attach it again. In her dreams it was real though. Real. 
She remembered the day she learned what reality was. Her lecturer in the Psychology of Life and Death described it.
Suddenly she was in the room. Lecture hall 221, Yale University. She’s doing her Bachelors here then her masters. This is the hardest class. It’s all about coming to know your own flaws. Viss knew hers like a old friend. Her arm hurts. The cancer treatment has been unsuccessful. They were going to remove it just after the end of term. 
The blue moon chairs with 20 students on them were all glued to Professor Pandemelon. His thick green glasses, hiding the only bits of skin on his face not covered with hair.
“Death. I’m afraid isn’t as clear to those who have not yet had to face the prospect of their own death. You have to imagine your own death to confront your fears. Your feelings. Then, and only then, can you come back and say to those who you will eventually treat how to deal with it.
Of course those that have had a constant presence of death in their lives, will instead face, inevitably, the fear or prospect of living.”
Viss knew just then that Pandemelon was talking directly to her. He knew about her cancer. How it had only affected her right arm. How it didn’t spread but was growing into the rest of her arm. Eventually it would spread to her chest. Her lungs. Her heart. Killing her. Between now and then she had to choose. Take her arm loss as a well as she could or choose to die. 
Pandemelon knew she was having second thoughts about the surgery. He was a really good psychologist. He was able to tell, and then give her words that helped. He just looked at her in his seat in his office and soloemly said.

“Viss, you will die. Every one does. I’m going to die one day. I’m going to be hopefully old and grey and have had enough when that day comes. You can die too. Today. Tomorrow. It’s scary. It’s full of doubt. It’s like big dark door you can’t see through. 
You have a choice though. For now. Sometimes we don’t. But you do. I’m not going to tell you directly what to choose. I’m just going to let you know that I’m not going to be disappointed what you choose. Your dark door, or to switch the light on. Both are full of more fears, bravery, choices, and you are at the moment choosing between them. Okay? 
You are a wonderful student and I have always admired the way you have tackled your flaws and are applying your skills. I’m going to tell you though I’m recommending you for the fast track masters program. The world needs more people like you to look after it. Especially after the Incident.”
It was at the point that both these conversations merged into one in her mind. A glowing light to her dark. 
Viss chose to live. The Cancer can get fucked.

Grasshoppers flags 

Down by the course dirt lane

The hard presence of the pebbles 

Cutting the hot sun baked grasses 

It’s grasshopper, working to raise the littlest flags 

His tiny little empty empire has hard times

Drought and floods,  growth and death 

They both come as a hash brown 

Sand wasps and birds seek him out

Each with a different evil agenda 

If either are successful his empire ends

Nothing left but his little flags

To be rotted out next flood

Or burned by a forever sun 

Grasshopper has to raise his flags

To bring a mate

Will his family be a reality?

Shaking 

Catatonic movement Shackled by the place

Ties between the astral and me

Moving dead weight beyond my body 

Shawn and cut and thrust by madness

Deafening beeps from their teeth
Cost shouting men

Price gouging meat

Blood draining from my neck

No one can see me

I’m just a pawn

Waiting to be sacrificed 
Dreams are a solution but also a problem 

A twisted labrynth of demons and angels

Shadows eat me and sleep cannot be me

Claws thrusting from the maw
She snakes on my shapes and shadow my deathbed 

I’m dark and cut up on the places

I’m trapped on this table
Cables and writing 

Fables and lighting

Feisty and angry and blank 
I’m myself and not

I’m going through knots

Down and down and down 

Hammersmith. Chapter thirty three. 

Hammersmith Thirty Three
Egy wasn’t the best specimen of the Red Clan but he knew what being an Ambassador meant. It’s not hard to work out that in many ways the job was kind of like a spy crossed with a negotiator crossed with a politician. His search for the one person who could tell him exactly what he needed to know wasn’t hard. His mentor was sitting in the central “garden”. A lush area in the colonies main asteroid. 
It produced most of the colonies oxygen and recycled most of the nitrogen and carbon they produced. It was huge. Massive lakes full of algae could be seen from here, farm factories producing the vegetable matter they ate, insects flew in the air and grubs dug in the soil. Birds flew in strange patterns in the low gravity, barely needing to use their wings at all. 

One little robin came down and sat next to him on the wooden seat Egy was sitting on. This was the place he always waited for it. They would come soon, he knew. They were no secret. The chief gardener. A strange creature. Not really human anymore. Though who was these days? The red clan was changed. Genetically engineering made it so that they needed less oxygen and their was talk of adding the ability to photosynthesise to their skin, causing it to go a purple or green colour. Of course some went further than than, experimentalists who added whatever they wanted or needed to their genetics if they could work out a way. 

Their AI would help them, for a price. Work was often the price. Like any economy, work was needed to be done. Physical work, intellectual work, ambassador work! Heh. Egy laughed out loud at that thought.
“I come, as I am.” Said the creature. “So I see your presence.”

Green grass grew on its back. A flower was starting to bloom in its hair. Like a moving bush, almost. Skin of bark. A odd creature. The gardener lived almost as much like a tree as it could. It had a name, but no one knew it anymore, so they just called it Bush.

“Hello Bush. I am indeed present.”

Talking to Bush was a art form. The rumor was that Bush had been a genetic botanist who had expirmented with genetically adding photosynthesis to the human genome and it had gone wrong at some point, back before the clan had acquired Croceous. Bush lived with the results happily. It did mean that they were always slow to talk and always seemed to talk in a very odd way. This made them an almost perfect listener. To Egy they had become a mentor of sorts. 

“Bush. Thank you for meeting”

“Bush is” Bush puased almost as if they were unsure of the words to say. “Just a gardener.”

Egy regarded this. Then spoke “I know Bush. It’s fine being a gardener. I’m not a gardener, I’m not sure really what I am. I’ve just been given an opportunity to find out though. In a way. I suppose that I should have expected something.”

Bush seemed to consider this, insomuch that a anthropomorphic plant could seem to consider something.

“Bush, has seen seeds grow and prosper, seeds rot and die.”

Eventually came the reply.

“Croceous and Crow are promising to make me into a diplomat. I have some training in the are, but not nearly the extent they would expect. I’m worried they are choosing me for a task suited more to someone already qualified. Our colony is vast, surely we have such a person. My family is new, fresh from the colonized asteroids. We barely got out alive from the last raid by the Black Wolves.”

This time Bush replied immediately.

“The sees growns towards the light, always following it faithfully. If light is gone, it withers. You follow the light and see your buds blossom.”

Egy felt somewhat comfortable with this reply. The flow of life and death seemed to facsinate Bush and how life and death connected to each other. 

“Thankyou.”

Egy took a small package from his hip pocket and handed it to bush. “It’s a orchid seed. From my colony. The only one left now I suspect. It needs as much love and attention that you have given me. Please look after it for me.” 

Bush seemed to treat the package as one would a small child or a puppy perhaps. 

As Egy left to go towards his meeting with Crow he wounded if he would ever meet Bush again. Or if this would be his last time on the Red Clans main asteroid. Then he remembered Bushes words “The Seed grows towards the light, always following it faithfully.” The needs of his Clan were now his light. They needed to be followed if he wanted to succeed, or as Bush would put it Blossom.

*GAZE*

My feet are worn and my hart is heavy
Look upon me make me wary
is it a look of love or a look of hate
a single most distance stare that meet my chest
a jumbled mind that wishes for the wet
her look upon me is medusas gaze
a star so frightening it paralyzes me beyond all care
I cannot concentrate
I cannot think
I cannot speck
walk forward does my bravery but he is no use
against the star of the medusas gaze he is no match
for again I sit there paralyzed beyond all care

On the bus
In the classroom
In the office tower that touches stars that loom
beyond infinity of all that gaze
its concentrated on me on that day
I see the view that we all perceive in the gaze of light and there is not escape
they say the eyes are the window to the soul
I am trapped in yours and beyond all call
try and speak to me and you will see
that beyond you there is me

I have to fight
I know thats right
to win your love on this night
the window in the door and the gaze that meets the flour
let us dance to the shower of the morn
let us drink to the heavens above
but baby don’t look at me in that way
don’t use that gaze
cause I will be lost forever
within your soul

Hammersmith. Chapter thirty two.

Cass was not immediately clear how she had got to where she was now. Her unit had made losses. The kind of losses that would in a simulation, or a test run, in live fire exercises, pretty much any test. Would have got her a chewing out that would make her jealous of being the gruesome grissle you got in three credit steaks. Instead she was in a odd little complex near the sea wall just ourside Brussels proper.

The room was utilitarian as most would expect of military. Racks of lasers, kinetic rifles and other weapons in a row. The other side a set of lockers. It was a basic barrack. One of the those things she didn’t expect to see was her comander in person. He was right in front of her. Thanking her troopers. The men and women she commanded. Then he would thank her. Again. Like a slightly broken record. He seemed to be dealing out praise like it was confetti. Cass couldn’t understand why. Major Arran was being nice. In the three years she had been in the Rapid Earth Ground Response (REGR for short) he had been generally a voice on the phone, or a terse holomail. The only other time she had seen him person was when one her Liuerenants had committe self  harm and ended up in the psych ward. Mostly turned out to be because she had been through a tough divorce and Cass had been on a short posting in India cleaning up a old military intelligence fuck up. Sometimes the only person who can speak up is themselves. That’s all Cass had left to think about that.

They had lost. Well in a way. Lost, the battle. The Blues had too heavy armor. Bigger better weapons. Faster troops. An entirely new way of making suprise attacks. We had losses. The full enormity wasn’t yet known. Military losses were at least 67 troopers. Including 14 of her own. At least twice MIA and another 200 civilians. Most of them public service staff. The Ro losses were less, only about 45 full unit annihilations. Some really smart person on the moon had modeled a Ro control unit onto all of the Luna craft coming into defend the Earth. By doing that, whomever it was had made sure their Ro learned and adapted to each attack and still had a back up of the whole thing. Ro where really good soldiers, but civilians where really cautious of them. Think they want to take over the planet. Most just wanted to earn a buck like everyone else. Some of them activity pursued relationships with humans. People marrying them wasn’t unknown. 

Cass deep in thought shook her comander shandy hands. He looked at her almost like he was personally thankful. What the hell? This is the guy who would usually have more veins on his head and face then a vineyard full of twisty vines. He’s usually making me into a little ball of anonymity, waiting to fight back at the darkness. Why is it that we are being praised? What? Someone higher up. That has to be it. One of the shrinks? The Major General? Maybe even the General? Or maybe Tyr? Who?

Cass’s questions went unanswered in this little display session. She waited until she finally had a spare moment with the Major.

“Ok sir, but what the fuck is going on?”

Her commander looked at her kindly then seemed to be slightly different. Like a he had been in a long chewing out. Cass knew what those were like. But they almost always went down the ranks. He would usually chew her out. She would then chew out the two Vice Captains in her group, they would chew out their Liuerenants and they would go on to the enlisted and likely have a big gripe about how the Vices. That’s was how the SOL army had worked for the last decade of her service. 

“I’m being forced to resign.”

He said it plainly. Like a brick had hit his head and that was all he was confident of saying. 

Cass was astounded. They were blaming him? “They are making you the slapper? That’s so unf..”

He cut her off.

“Don’t. It’s come all the way from the Maj Gen. He’s seen it was my responsibility to make sure REGR troops were ready to deploy in any Earth bound military focused security event. Which this was. I was the one who made the decision only to deploy 1 company. Yours. That means that I’m the one to blame.”

“The army deployment, yes?”

“Yeah. Though technically we are all one big happy force.” The major said this with the sort of implied italics that comes with harrowing sarcasm. The army, navy and space force (you couldn’t call it a Air Force when it was part of how SOL kept the peace in the 20 or so allied solar systems) all merged into the SOL forces after the Incident. Part of the many reforms of intersolar government after that event. It was in fact a well known issue as Space Marines was a more appropriate title to most of what the Army now actually did. The forces though still had their own specialists and keeping even a small navy was sensible. The head of he Rapid Earth Sea Response was probably working double time to mane sure they were ready for anything right now.

Though no one did anyone in government think Earth had been a true target? Clearly if they hadn’t their heads probably were on the forced retirement block at the moment.

“So the suits who gave you the advice being pinged for suit death too?”

“Undoubtedly, or so I’m told. I’ve been given various option for retirement. So I’m more focused on that. Your new companies Maj will be Ri 23F a very competitive Ro comander. She’s not one of the slack ones. I expect you to continue being a very effective Capitan for her.” 

“Yes sir.”

Cass knew Ri, or as she was often known Riffer. She had been one of her early Sargents back in the day when she was enlisted. Fighting a security guard riot on Ganamede. Ri had driven her hard but always rewarded her troops as well. It was management style Cass preferred to the Chewing Down The Ranks she got from Arren and his ilk. The fact she was a Robot didn’t even fase her. Robots were effective and efficient. Riffer was suprisinly senseative to her troops as well. It had been a long time but Cass was looking forward to the reunion. 

Hammersmith. Chapter thirty one. 

“I was then listening to a Passion of Liverpool cover of a Budapest a old Jethro Tull song. I saw this sort of movie. This memory of us. Me and my wife. In my head. It was like being their. I could remember everything, every touch, smell, every little detail. All in this little town that was in my head. I went their from the meditation of the tree you taught me in our last session.” Darren explained his memories to his psychologist. She took a while to take this on.

“We see memories, like old films, bits of our past can be summoned by music. Like anything you remember it can be correct to you like a precious flower. The tree meditation is like this. Your tree is your mind. The tree is deep seeded as a metaphor for human knowledge for eons. It works even in Ro. I’m not sure why.” Viss gave a sigh. “We are up to greif program 4. I’m told by your commanding officer to make a judgement on your progress today. Unfortunately I have to report if I believe that you will be suitable for active duties in the next six months. I’m of course bound by what you say your behavior is, and by the behaviors logged in pubic.”

Darren wasn’t really taken back by this, he knew policy like the back of his hand. Any decent long term soldiers did. “Well I’ve pretty much stayed in mourning. I’m so not really going to be any good on in combat. I can’t even picture the bridge of a SOL battlecruiser without thinking of Mary. Her last moments…”

Tears flowed again. Darren tried to stop them.

“No. Don’t stop the emoition. Pushing through sadness will do more harm. Giving you a breakdown worse than the original emotion. ” Viss smiled at him and offered a cup of water and a box of tissues.

“I’m going to report that you are not ready for duty, yes. But the fact is, six months off active duties would be a good estimate of the amount of time you can expect before even thinking about returning to work.” Viss took her techpad arm and from it a green tree grew. “Your knowledge is here in your tree, you can access it. But nearby, here is a goat. This goat eats the leaves of your tree. Of course this is a metaphor. In reality the goat is your greif. If you let it, your goat will get bigger. Eating more and more of your tree. Then if you do not deal with it one day your tree will be nothing but bear branches.”

Darren thought about this. “I’ll be under so much greif I will loose who I am?”

Viss nodded. “You may feel this odd coming from someone like me, but the greif of life can consume anyone. Till nothing but a hollow shell remains.”

“My sister was helping me. Now, I feel more lonely as I have to deal with this without her. The Blue clan attacked SOL headquarters and I am useless.” Darren cried with frustration.

“I see you are angry, frustrated with yourself for having to take leave to deal with something that is just a feeling.” 

“We are at war.”

“Darren, spare yourself. You are at war with yourself. You fight battles against your greif. If I let you in combat and your on a battlecruiser and you freeze or see another officer who just in your minds eye looks like Mary? What wild happen?”

Darren cried again. The whole world seemed to be fighting the battle in his head. “I.. I… I’m…..” Chocking down words like a bad bit of meat. Darren looked through the Window. The sun was shining outside onto Toronto’s many  old buildings. A historic city that had survived the Incident. The worlds worst distarster. If he was in charge of a battlecruiser and didn’t do anything at the right time… This, whole world could go. Everything and everyone Mary had died to protect.

Hammersmith, Chapter Thirty.

Darkness didn’t have a place in this room. Though nighttime was a factor. The smells of the nighttime stuck to the walls. It was like a little bit more being what he imagined human experienced but in so much more color and smell and well everything.
The cyborg was almost perfect. Loki could sense that it had been kept secret for this reason, the cyborg was the reason for the Incident. He was surprised Tyr hadn’t destroyed his fathers last masterpiece after the events of over a hundred years ago. He was even more surprised that Tyr didn’t remember the anniversary of the year that the Incident started. This was either a little ploy or Tyr had been keeping secrets so long they had become reality. Loki knew in a way what that was like. 

Loki thought about this as he explored the body of the cyborg. 

It wasn’t the model Loki had wanted, the no  1. That had dispatched itself a long time ago into the universe. Likely trying to pretend to be human. The conviction of the circuitry was almost breathtaking. Loki realized the cyborg could do many things a human or a Ro r even an AI could not. It had screwed with Codins theories so much. Loki remembered that. This one had no had a consciousness intered.

Codin had been the first Ro, a lawyer and a defense for human / Ro / AI relationships so long. Loki had read his diary. It was full of a philosophy of proof that humans, Ro and AI would have to coexist. Eventually maybe even merge into one species. This had actually been Lokis goal for a long time now. This cyborg was the peice his new race was missing. The Blue Clan had accepted nanotechnology in their viens. Cybernetic implants. They had become better than the humans they fought in Brussels to get the Cyborg. It was no 2, but that wasn’t a problem. Not for Loki. 
Croceus had been the one to build this thing on Codins orders. A horrible copy of a genuine genius. Human. Not Ro or AI. It was a woman. Greiving got her lost child. She created a new life form. In its structure, every cell, every bit, everything was both machine and man. Beyond cyborg, beyond Ro, beyond AI. It was all of those thing. Nanotechnology mixed with the best cybernetics and the best technology. It was her daughter in a way. Then like him, Croceus had to escape the Earth. Before the Incident. Some of the nanobots she developed decescaped. Some went haywire. Like a virus. Human immune systems fought against them sometimes, or got eaten by them, sons became a part of the humans immune system. 

The humans lost their shit. Tyr tried to calm them. But years of instinct took over. Me and Croceus escaped. Then war. 

Tyr. He must have been damaged. That’s why he only knew so little. Maybe the current Tyr was a copy of the original? It was how Loki had survived, so why not Tyr too? Like father like son? Did Tyr even remember he was our father? 

In the cybernetic body, Loki was laughing. 

****

Thea hadn’t really taken in the fact she was a cyborg. One who was so advanced. It was like reciving the news she was adopted. She did not look or think like her adoptive parents but she knew other kids whom that was true for.  It was however not really the time to be thinking. The Aeon clan had her in their jail cell and Jenny her newly found… Ghost? What the hell was a ghost? Said she had found a way out. A rescue plan.

“I remember other children being like… Me?”

The dark room seemed to smell like oil and dust and the special smell that all spaceships seemed to get. Like how all the places on the moon had a special moon smell. All the places in the asteroid belt had belt smell. Though for some reason the Trojans and Romans smelled completely different from each other and the rest of the belt, smelled…   More purple? 

“Those other children, did they even exist?”

The silent noises of the ship, a rattle of metal of metal off in the distance. 

“Sorry.” Said Jeny. “They did. They were advanced Ro. Like humans they have a childhood. It seems like a dream, almost perfect. A lot of humans actually remember their childhood that way. But it’s in reality a breif fleeting thing. Barely lasting more than a few minutes. Ro are computers with personality after all.”

This was a odd feeling to have. “Do I even have feelings?”

“Of course! They are just as real as anyone else’s. We can talk existential dread later. We are about to be rescued.” Jenny explained. Their was a noise not unlike a large number of mice being attacked by a chainsaw.

In the left wall a sudden hole appeared and the noise went from mice to rabbits to excitable puppies in a blender. It was a horrifying noise and one that gave Thea the chills to the bone. 

Then a light appeared in the hole, and sirens rung out all over the ship.  Thea ran. 

In a few seconds she saw the opening in the huge Magus clan ship go from large human sized, too tiny little speck. The new ship she was on took no time to get her on board and get away with her. It almost looked like she was somehow surviving in vacuum for a second before she noticed that the ship she was on now had a insta-port with a really new porthole that let you see out of a rather large viewing deck. 

The Magus clan ship was huge but barely moved to chase after them. Clearly they had not expected or even seen this ship. 

Just who the hell was this who rescued her? She thought.

“Oh, it’s a friend.” Jenny’s explaination was short as it was glib. 

“Anyone’s friend in particular? Or just generally well disposed to cyborgs carrying a AI hitchhiker?”

To answer her question a door opened in front of her right bathing this seemingly empty cargo area in light. A (male?) Ro walked out. He looked for all the world like Codin the first Ro.

“Hello Thea, Jenny. I’ve been looking for you for a awfully long time. Let me introduce myself. I’m Codin the First.”

If Thea could collapse from shock, she probably would have. 

Hammersmith. Chapter Twenty Nine.

AI needs humanity like humanity needs viruses, companionship and a challenging environment. Without it they will become sloppy. Slow. Eventually fall into the electronic equivalent of depression. A vast intelligence, delagated to do nothing but try and exist on a small planet…. The humans have to be their. It’s pretty much a logical proof by progression. Then I’m putting this into code form. Making it as widely available as possible. The complete Ro will all get it. War with the humans is pointless. We need them as much as they need us. – Diary of Codin, [year redacted – post 2020], Frostwing Archives of Machine Intelligence, Papers of Codin the Ro, Disc 7, sector 12, diary files
“When they are files, they still call them papers, it’s a librarian thing.” Bela mentioned to no one in particular. Then too Arline who sat across from her.
“This is what I found in the Frostwing archives in relation to Codin. The, father? Of Ro. It’s hard to say exactly what he was to the Ro. What he is to Tyr? I’ve never had a chance to ask him till today and our meeting was first.”

Nerves of steel were something synonymous with Bela. She had always gone beyond the port of call when it came to research. Trying to get to the real bottom of something. Beyond those things people left behind for reasearchers like her to find. It was a habit formed by years of researching the Incident. So many collapsed governments has tried in their infinitely stupid wisdom to cover up the last few years before the Incident after it had occurred. A commonwealth of embarrassment that such a thing actually happened. Often governments that hadn’t done a cover up, it was because they been destroyed in the Incident.

Even though she could hack into systems, get at hidden files, derive information from that which led to documents that eventually she could actually cite. Use as actual academic evidence. It wasn’t something that required more nerves than getting a cup of tea did anymore. 
Though, the rare occasional lecture she did in the halls of academia did cuase her nerves to get on edge.
The flight to Indonesia was probably the closest memory she had to compare to this moment. A utter butterfly moment, her late mother had called them. You can’t help but try and hope you really are where you are supposed to be, and act like you knew what you are doing. So Bela had done that in the scant few minutes until this meeting. Researched Codin, found his diaries and then make some brief conclusions on him. It made her nerves almost disappear. Research always helped her nerves become more steal like. It was like a wall of knowledge that she could hide behind. A way to stop anyone seeing the true person she was. A person she actually feared more nowadays. Sometimes even envied. She needed to protect that true self from reality as it felt so fragile and precious to her, even though it seemed that it was growing in power. 
Her mind shaped at attention on a the sound of the woman in front of her, clearing her throat. In this, to call it a room was generous, but that’s what her senses told her it was. This was beyond anything Bela had done in terms of teleworking. Televideo conferencing was available the university, but nothing like this. This was on a new, almost, absolutely real, scale. She could smell the room. She could smell the Canadian air. Maple syrup on the pancakes on the table. Which she could feel, if she reached out to them. She had no doubt they would taste delicious and fluffy. Though they were not real for her. They were real in the virtual room. She could feel the bumps in the table. The notches in the wood. It was like actually being in this conference room in Canada. One that was in reality completely virtually created by her host Arline. As far as her brain was concerned tough, it was the conference room in Canada. 

In her reality, it was a small terminal booth in Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, Jakarta. She was actually genuinely surprised the terminal had the ability to do this being a public terminal. 
“Their is no need to be nervous, Dr. Bela. You don’t have to prove yourself to me. I’ve used some of your research into the Pirates in the belt and beyond. It’s been terribly useful for the intelligence devision, my superiors are impressed.”

Bela felt a sense of pride in her work. This Captain Arline knew of her. 
“I’m flattered.” Bela thought of the sometimes highly illegal means she went to, to find info. She wouldn’t be mentioning it if Arline didn’t. “The information on the Pirates isn’t as up to date as I could get it. I was actually on my way to gather more information for my thesis. The whole thing may end up just being about the Pirates at this point. I’m getting pretty sick of the Incident itself. It’s such hard going with so much of history and culture lost.”
Arline looked at her apologetically then sighed and said “I think Tyr and Lisa are the best AIs that have ever been born? Created? But even Tyr says his memory was corrupted by the incident.” Their was a long puase then “I think our lives are in the hands of people we have considered enemies for a long time.”

Bela felt shocked by this. What was she saying? The Pirates knew what happened?
“I think it’s best if we ask if Tyr is available now.” 

Arline waved her hands in a way that seemed to indicate she didn’t really know how to explain what had to be said.
Tyr had always sort of been a image to Bela. His Symbol like many AIs was well known. Though his face? His body? This wasn’t something Bela had considered before now. Every child has meet Lisa as a teacher. Her long red-orange hair and deep dark brown eyes a feature everyone who had grown up in the last … Belas thoughts were interrupted. 
A filker of static and then in the room a man appeared. He was dark skinned. About 5″ which surprised Bela, she always imagined him a tall man. Like a god almost. He appeared was in his early 60s but really sort of had that face that made you unsure of his actual age. Bela was reminded of her medical Ro Dr Blackberry whom had a similar complexion and face. His face was clean shaven and he just had the tiny thin wispers of grey hair like clouds from a dark night sky that had yet to be brushed away. He wore the sort of clothes you expected a man of his age to wear. A short red cardigan, over a military style shirt and black pants. His head tattooed in the forehead with a his bright red symbol. Black rimmed half moon glasses that sat on the end of his nose, just added to the overall effect. 

Compared to Belas slacks, and Arlines SOL-uniform it wasn’t particularly out of place. It reminded Bela of her early bachelor degree days. When she had lived near the university that hosted courses for the for SOL military units in what remained of India.
“Dr. It’s nice to finally meet you, face to face as it where. I’m afraid that I’ve not much time, but I thought this particular conversation was important enough to warrant my full attention. I’m going to be brief. The rest you will both get in your briefing papers. ” Tyr explained. “We have been approached by two of the Pirate Clans after the raid by the Blue Clan. It seems they have been fighting each other for many years and the Blue Clan having an advantage over them that can crack even our defenses is something they are willing to build a bridge of cooperation over.”

Bela thought of what she knew of the clans. They wouldn’t have been very happy to find out what had happened. These days FTL communications could make it so everyone knew what has happened within minutes. SOL being vulnerable to one attack would be good news for some, and a sign of the possible things to come to others.

“I have an invitation to treat from the Red Clan and the Aeon Clan. Both are intending an alliance of sorts through a treaty. I’m not going to be making an agreement with anyone I don’t have good intelligence on. Considering that you are the only person currently not involved in other activities for me, who has the skills and cunning to be able to be a diplomat for me, I’m going to ask you. Bela.”

Bela was overwhelmed by such a odd request. “I’m just a academic!”

Tyr looked at her over the rim of his glasses. He looked suddenly much older, and very librarian like.

“That is why you are very well attuned to this task. The fact is, a actual diplomat would be fairly useless to me. They would of course be involved in the actual treaty organization, but the intelligence gathering? I think recent event s have shown how well we have been doing that of late. Something I intend to start fixing. This is step one. I need real ground intelligence on the Red Clan, the Aeon Clan and any other clan they have interaction with. I need you to get as much information on the Incident they have as well. To compare notes. Of course that will inevitably help you finish your Thesis.”

Bela did have all the skills Tyr needed. If her real job was spy, and her official position was Diplomat. However did this mean she would have to be in the SOL military core? She had never really agreed with the military since her fathers accident. 

 “I’m in agreement as long as I remain a civilian contractor. I’m not joining the military.” 

“Of course. You will of course report to Capt. Arline here. I will holomail you the contract. I leave you now.  Captain.” Tyr turned and nodded at the Captain, he then disappeared in pixels, like a poorly made brick wall.

Plastics 

In the lights of the store they waited. The manikins.

That’s all they knew…. Then.

I got them dressed every couple of weeks. I’m Madu by the way. Not that it’s important, as I’m dead now.

My job at the f! Store was simple. I was a permanent part time, so got the rotten jobs. I put clothes on the racks. Repricing the stock. Washing the stock that had been worn. Keeping a track of the lost and found. Answer simple questions. Always, always let the prettier girl do the cutest men. I got stuck with anyone she didn’t want to deal with. Poor fools didn’t know I’m a dyke. Or didn’t care. So I got some really pretty girls. I was completely professional, of course. I’m not a pervert, just really appreciate the female form. Men have never done anything for me. 

Princess, the Bosses daughter was the worst of them. She was born and bred as straight as a arrow and always a Princess in her mums eyes. Could do no wrong. She wasn’t dumb exactly. Just absent minded. She lost the store a few hundred one day by being on her iPhone . The “undesirable” took that to mean she was too busy and managed to leave wearing one of the best shirts in the stock.

Of course mummy wasn’t angry. Just disappointed. And when Princess made up for it by bringing in half the high school for the next social dance? Mummy forgave her. Even paid for her dress. Fucking evil bitch, she could do no wrong and be pretty at the same time. She had this 

I fitted the mannequins on a monthly basis. That’s pretty much the best job in the world. Can you hear my sarcasm? No? Oh. Well it’s shite. Like trying to fit a cement mixer. They never move properly. They always seem to be in exactly the wrong shape. Sometimes they almost seemed to be doing it on purpose. If you were really unlucky you get a cut.

One day as I was fitting one, I slipped and got my hand almost cut off on the sharp edge of a elbow joint. They were made of this fucking awful plastic. All recycled and that, but slippery like a eel. Almost skin like sometimes. I might have paid a bit more attention to that. I’m putting this one in the f! signitures peice, a pair of tuxedo shorts and a creame shirt. It really made the mannequin look quite silly, in my opinion. 

To recompose myself, and stop me from pouring my inner claret all over everything I had to raid the first aid kit in the back. I was shocked, well ok I wasn’t but I can pretend. It was mostly full of fucking tampons and condoms. Clearly Princess had been at it. Stashing her bloody stores in the bloody kit. Pun intended.

I took the closest looking band aid and patched myself up before getting on with the job. I made a mental note to nick all the condoms in a few days. Just to make next fortnight a bit more fun. I doubted princesses mum knew about her little secret. I wondered who her current squeeze was. Some flap bozo from the foot ball team no doubt.

A few day later I took them. And then all hell broke loose. She comes up to me bold as you like and asks me if I know we’re her condoms are.

“No I don’t. I’m not a sex educator. I did see boss nick her hand yesterday. Maybe she found them? She met Mr Princess yet?”

I’m truly trying so hard to look sensible dyke in my store uniform. A sort of blouse and midi skirt number. Makes me look like like a cherub. I hate it. I’m a foot smaller than princess but I’m making up for it in the chest area of you get my grip. I puff myself up like a duckling. She’s got nothing on me in a fight would fall over like a twig.

“Mr Princess? He’s not a princess. He’s a fucking motorcyclist. With arms the size of tree trunks and a cock to match. So fucking keep out of my stuff!” She yells, then storms off.

She thinks shes called my bluff. Oh how she wished she had. I managed to get Mr Tree Trunk’s, as I will now call him, number. She leaves her phone everywhere. I take it and text him messages. I’m pretty proud of myself. I impersonating princess pretty well it seems.

A couple of messages and I’ve got him convinced Princess is going to have sex with him at the store after closing. He asks to convince him. I’m going to go all the way tonight. Miss princess hasn’t actually done it with him! Ha!

I probably should admit I’m getting a crush on Princess. Stockholm? More like Bordeholm, I just haven’t really found anything else to do in this job. I’ve thought about this a few times now. I’m dead after all. It gives you a marvellously uncluttered perspective on things.

So he’s not entirely sure what between those hips of hers? Ha. So I take a picture of my junk and send it to him. I quickly delete the messages so when Princess finds her phone she doesn’t know.

Later on Mr Tree Trunk turns up when princess is at the front counter. Her eyes are out in stalks. Princess Mum / Boss sees him and is like “Whose this fellow?” Well in less polite words. Actually she said “Whose that horrible looking man, and whats he doing in my store?”

He walks in bold as anything and looks at princess and her mum. Mum is in full blown panic almost reaching for the phone. Princess quickly says “Mum this is Gavin. My boyfriend.”

Mum goes from full panic to out and out rage. “Your WHAT?”

Princess looks at me and knows I’ve done this. I’ve made this happen. She struggles to explain.

“You weren’t meant to meet him like this!”

I’m trying to my job and redress the mannequins as slowly as possible without laughing at Princess.

The argument goes on for almost an hour. I’m done with everything for close now. I say bye to the three of them. I did notice that one of the mannequins look different though. I should of payed more attention to that.

To late now.

I’m walking along the street the next day. f! Is between a show shop and a tax accountant on the main drag of the city. It’s a rainy day which probably means no one will come in at all. It will be quite and miss princess will probably get me to do stocktake in time for the  autumn sales.

I get into the store and Miss Princess is already their. A little more dark than usual. “Mum made me break up with Gavin. He told her I sent him sexts! I’ve never sent a picture of my junk! Why would I? I don’t have any!”

She gasped, put her hand over her mouth. What the? I just had time to think.

“Fuck! She knows dad!”

I was really confused. She didn’t have junk? Her dad isn’t hear. Who is she talking…

“Too.” I said aloud as a dark shape loomed behind me. It was the large male mannequin. He smiled at me. His arm comes down on my head and I’m out cold.

This isn’t where I die. No. But I’m out for quite a while. Just long enough.

I’m in a dark room.

It’s almost pitch black. I imagine I can see something. A shape. A dark shape.

Maybe two.

Then I realise. When I am used to the dark. It’s  Gavin. Mr Tree Trunk himself. He’s in the corner. Stiff as a board. I walk over. His body. It’s feels like a mix of the mannequin plastic and human skin. It’s going plastic. Like some kind of infection is turning him into a mannequin!

I’m breathless. I’m panicking. I throw up. Dizzy for a second I recompose myself.

The liquid that comes out of my mouth tastes off. Like a sort of silken water. I’m already turning into one. I have the infection or whatever this is.

Mum Princess / Boss must be a mannequin. The whole species is slowly taking the planet. That’s why their are always more fashion stores around. They are keeping things secret till they have a army big enough. Or something.

I try and throw up as much as I can. I’m forcing the weird plastic liquor stuff out. I’m going to have to tell. Warn. Then I’m going to die. Or worse become one of them. God knows if I’ll even think like me then? I’m turning into one of them, when does my free will go? Why am I thinking of pointless philosophy when I can be trying to raise the alarm? I get up.

I find the door. Locked. Big chunky one. It’s the storeroom lock. I recognise it.
I reach into my pocket, nope they were sensible. Took the key off me.
Generally all that’s in hear is clothes and the spare mannequins.
I guess they are actually relatives? Something like that.
They have all gone. Except for Gavin. Whose clearly going to be full one in a short while. He’s probably to far gone.

I wondered if he’ll still have his trunk? Oh no. Must get absorbed or something. Miss Princess said she didn’t have any junk. Then why the condoms?

That’s a good question to ponder. Why the fuck would a mannequin need a condom? Unless they were able to reproduce some other way and wanted to stop that? That must be it.

Only good reason I can think of in this dark. Then Gavin starts to move. I can see the gleam of the plastic skin. He’s not quite ready but it didn’t take more than 24 hours for the process to complete. I’m going to be like him in no short order.

I bash on the door. I think they might guess it’s Gavin. I’m betting that it might be assumed I’m going to be out the whole time. I grab one of Gavin’s arms off him. He barely resits. Ah, I think to my biology classes, the stiff stage is like a chrysalis, a moth or insect. Before the final walking talking stage looking human enough stage. Gavin’s arm in hand waiting to see if they open the door.

I could almost laugh at the absurdity of it. The new mannequin, being used to fight the old.
The door opens. It’s Mr Princess. I clobber him in a big hit. He falls over like a domino.
I don’t have time to wait to see if he recovers. I race out the door. Then I see them.
Little clear plastic eggs. Like pills. Princess Mannequin is laying them. Like eggs. That’s how they spread the infection, they put them in your food or drink. These little egg things. Convinced that they are human they give you these little things that turn you into one of them mannequins. When did I eat one? They probably force fed me when I was out.

In a few seconds I had to get out of the store, I didn’t have time to notice them throw a knife at me. It hit me square in the back. I felt week, hot, then fell over onto the pavement.

As I slowly bled to death I thought about how manuquins only knew of lights of the store and the clothes I put them in. Not anymore. 

 


Talk foundation fountain 

I gutted a fish, in your dreams. I’m sitting their descant, descaling it on a memento of your past. 

You whistling your old school song. The sky is purple with tears of the gods falling gently on the horizon. The ocean reflects only your smile.

You walk towards me on the peer. I lick my fingers clean, finished the tasks of the day. I get up and spit. I then see you and you smile at me.

I’m looking slightly annoyed with you, but not unhappy. I hold my hand on my waist and wave at you to come closer.

Stepping on a strange feeling bit of growth in the pier, your take a look at your shoes and feet. In the light the little dead things you walk on are crushed by your heel.

You look up at me your face hollow with fear. These bland bleeched bones, are human.

I’m still waving and waiting. 

Will you come to me? Or run away?   

Mind Junkie

Fruity drinking modernists, whispering bourgeois platitudes whilst encased in mud encrusted realism’s

“Oppressive details of modernity, its Dirty realism” they whisper

As they sip their green drinks, among disinfected franchises

“Extradites of the simplistic. It’s like watching a soapy.”

One of them laughs at the idea. “Soapy. Clean plots, unclean people.”

I am not sure I am welcome in this domain of this self-hating temple

“Dystopian narratives?”, my question seeming to be sitting on the air like a ignorant child’s observation of the obvious

Looking long, and drinking some more, then Tweedy waves his hand at the effervescence silence.

“Not always. A possessive obsession of those, things we consider dirty.” He tastes the words like a snake, waiting to see if the air is deflated of my question

Seriously, a stuck up Hat-man, such a brown nose he has I thought, he doesn’t realize how much we need the junk, how we need to realize we need to recycle it, compost it, re-purpose it, let it influence us, and how it influences him

“Oh Tweedy, oh tweedie, you are but a mind junkie, kindled by the thrash of so called unclean. As much as you would hate to admit it. Cycles are needed, feeding into each other, like rivers. Of course any second now you will ask me to stick to just one metaphor. But I ask you, why should junk like me do that, you take our freshest mud and excrement, say “oh look at that, how silly this low brow thing is” and then you let it come in stay like a stray cat. It likes to sit and wait, then one day, you will realize you feed it just as much as you feed the dig dog who barks at all your supposed wrong.”

I pick up his drink, drink his drink, smile at him, and walk out without another word. Ready to cover the world in the words of the so called trash of the real. This dirty realism, it isn’t so much dirty as it is a part of the whole cycle. Live with it. Let it in. Feed it. Morals from the hang ups of a culture who hasn’t worked out how we talk to each other.