Floozman in Space
by Bertrand Cayzac
In a space station in Earth orbit, Janatone Waldenpond, a refugee from Europa, is trying to return to Earth. She meets a long-lost cousin, Fred Looseman. Meanwhile, Jenny Appleseed, the president of the Cosmitix Corporation, holds a conference to plan interstellar expeditions.
Chapter 2: The Super Estrella
Janatone’s high-heel shoes are standing against the wall, sensitively displayed but misplaced to the extreme, manifesting in their shape the impertinent idea of a woman walking on the spinning earth. Behind the screen of the stimuli shield, she sees her shoes as a dusty old treasure and has a golden vision of pure time, as when the sun briefly shines through the narrow, solitary window in the apse of a chapel and burnishes the icons within.
These are the last days of April; she is walking down the Rue Ménilmontant towards the absinthe shadows of the plane trees, where her lover is awaiting her. Her lover on the boulevard; Janatone, in the sky. The vision dissolves in the golden light of eternal time.
She feels as smooth and light as a shard of pearl. Is she too opaque for light to shine through her? Yes! Let light pass through me, she dreams. There are no more corals, no more oceans, no more fish, no more fishermen... nothing but the light that bathes the universe.
But Earth is so close; the orbital city brushes its membrane. If she comes back, she won’t ask for anything. No, she will be content to sit on a bench and watch the clouds over which the station flies in the silence. Eternally sown over the seas, the clouds’ shadows sail above shores where no stopping place is ever marked. That is where she wants to end her life: sitting under an indigo trellis, gazing at a corner of the sky. She wants only to return to her land, to her house... although she has no house anymore. To slip under the clouds, at last.
She has only to want it, to exert her will a little more, to be done with it. She can do it. She pushes herself out of the berth with the valiant hum of her muscular engines. She issues a mental command, and reduces the stimuli shield’s filter a little more. She must decide by herself. The cell lighting brightens immediately. Quantities of signals find their way to her awarness; they mingle with hunger and bionic alerts.
Relayed by waves, plasmas, neural implants, these signals form virtual layers that superpose themselves on things in every place and merge with them. She perceives the omnipresent flows of INFORMATION across the web: the porno beat, V-ball, commodities quotes and, of course, Jenny Appleseed as well as the riots on Europa and the dreadful accident with the refugees’ ships on the Moon.
Ship hulls on fire, debris and bodies endlessly falling towards the yellowish dust on the ground. Gas clouds and black globes blocking the sky. Dark agates of water, oil, blood and excrement. Powdered milk and nutrient paste, saliva, bile. My friends... poor people... How can two ships cross several million miles and collide in the harbor?!
Too bad. There is nothing she can do anymore. She has experienced enough of life.
She distinguishes a breath in the immediate web, by the cabinet: a sort of complaint. “Janatone!” the voice insists, very close.
“No! I have been calling you for hours. Electrical perturbations are putting the baby in danger. I will have to disconnect myself. You have to do something. And the water must be changed.”
She floats to the alveolus where the moan comes from. She takes out the artificial uterus, the better to see it. It is a semi-rigid backpack incrusted with soft, milky screens palpitating with alerts. Small gill-shaped flaps make it a shivering crest.
She concentrates on the interfaces. “You have twenty terrestrial days of autonomy in normal mode. You are exaggerating.” Janatone has a strange way of speaking. Her frayed voice lingers, sings and lets the sounds last between words, a long time between the words, to come back in waves and tell a miracle of speech.
“I have sent an official request to the Estrella’s administration again,” the stimuli-shield breaks in from the interior web. “Janatone, I am not in suspended mode anymore,” the A.U. continues. “The blastocyst development has resumed,” . “In a few days, the embryonic threshold will be reached.”
“What is that filter you need, by the way?” Janatone sighs, talking to the A.U.
“Wait! If we need it, it’s because you dragged us into this operation isn’t it? I didn’t ask for anything! All right, already. It’s an electromagnetic Europa-Earth 110V filter. You only have to say ‘a Europa-Earth CEM filter’; that will be enough.”
“I’ll see what I can do before I leave; because I am leaving. You know about that.” She arranges her hair a little, puts on a jacket and checks the contents of her pockets.
“You’ll tell your child. I couldn’t care less; I am just a machine plugged into the mutualized intelligence.”
Janatone stores the A.U. in the closet. “Stop fretting. You like the nurse; he will take care of water and the rest. I’ve shown him what to do.” She closes the closet door.
“Are you sure you know what you are doing?”
Janatone doesn’t answer. She knows what she is doing. She explains it once again by thought to the unborn child. She goes out.
“No particular instructions?” asks the door.
“No! Nothing! “
“Take care of yourself.”
She disappears at the end of the corridor.
Copyright © 2015 by Bertrand Cayzac