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 13: The Seventh Ennead
Lorenzo de’ Medici is cheerful. “I see that La Figa has invested a part of your portfolio in celestial assets, Mr. Surof, and we are proud to tell you that the results are very, very positive due to our active asset-management style. It must be said that we have been extremely good at anticipating recent cosmic earnings-enhancing restructuring.”
“Ah.” The Financial Director indulges in a brief cortico-thalamic pause to assimilate all this information. He has barely started when a terrible thunder shakes the hypostasis.
“It’s an important transaction, the rumor of the market, Mr. Surof.”
“The market of the being where we operate, modestly. We are helping investors multiply their wealth. That’s our business.”
“I don’t understand...”
Lorenzo frowns. “I hardly believe that you made it so far without any knowledge of the industry! You have surely been using the protocol to penetrate into the hypostasis.”
“I really don’t know...”
“It’s me,” Winaretta says. “I found that book.”
“Ah! You found the Seventh Ennead?!” Lorenzo seems to see the CosmiGirl for the first time. He is not really surprised, but his expression is unpleasant, and it shows. It shows terribly.
“That is its title.”
“I understand now. Congratulations! We felt that someone was reading it. This book was written during my lifetime, but it was still unfinished when I died. The author was an employee of the Venice subsidiary. You wouldn’t recognize his name. He was believed mad, but we learned later that this visionary managed to penetrate very deep into the hypostasis, and he has seen the market. We think the copyist added some details in a colophon.”
“We? But who are you, anyway?” Stuart asks.
“A heavenly commercial bank. Our indirect activities in your time have remained confidential, but you don’t have to care about that as long as you are a customer of our sublunary correspondent. Don’t worry; we’re here to help you with your projects, whatever your competences may be. We’ll just make sure you read the information about risks. You’ll certainly have to sign it, we’ll tell you what to do.”
Lorenzo bristles up again, then his eyes are smiling. His broad face is that of a shrewd, somewhat rustic angel. “But it’s only a formality. Come on, Mr. Surof, you aren’t going to tell me that you don’t have any projects?! I feel so much energy in you.”
“Err. Yes, yes... certainly.” Projects?! Yes, for sure. He thinks of himself. He pictures an immense ranch under a big sky, corn as far as the eye can see. Each ear is worth billions of zouzim, and harvest time is getting close; the workers are already here. His thoughts quickly form a vision of the islands of Earth, where he will spend the winter. He sees splendid hotels under the blue sky of the Web magazines, shores, champagne, speed. Such are the visions that parade in the ex-financial director’s fancy. He ponders.
Winaretta is getting impatient.
“Or else you are a wise man,” Lorenzo says. “You don’t look for anything outside of yourself.” He brings up a text in the hypostasis Web. “I like what Plotinus says about that.” He unrolls the text:
Everything seeks not the alien but itself; in that outward moving there is frustration or compulsion; a thing most exists, not when it takes multiplicity or extension, but when it holds to its own being, that is, when its movement is inward.
“Well, you know about me and philosophy,” says Surof.
“Still, you’ll note that this is not about withdrawing from the world,” says Lorenzo. “It’s about existing at the highest degree. But you are a man of action, aren’t you? Splendid! It’s fortunate that entrepreneurs like you can be found. Because the funds are here, Mr. Surof, and so is matter. The One Good constantly engenders wealth, and it must be put to use! We have to make it fructify!”
“Why?” Winaretta asks. But she knows the answer.
“Well... I don’t know,” Lorenzo replies. “It’s always put to use more or less well, that’s all. Small and large souls are continuously raising funds to give birth to forms. Beings are, pass away, and return. They buy and sell each other. Matter always takes a form; it doesn’t know any limit to its expansion, and it is hungry.
“No, the real problem is to prevent the fall into infinity, which would be a total rupture and which would cause a serious crisis. We scrupulously apply prudential rules, namely the precautions dictated by the financial authorities. Again, the great Plotinus says, ‘No doubt, the universe is great and beautiful at the same time; but it is only beautiful inasmuch as the unity that contains it prevents it from getting lost in infinity.’
“For the love of business and strategic management, we encourage great and beautiful projects oriented towards unity. They draw inferior wills towards cooperation. They contribute to maintaining the balance. They create value.”
Winaretta is astonished. After a second, she blurts, “They create value?! You gotta be kidding!”
“But it's quite so,” the Duke replies. “These projects create the value of being. You may perceive it as beauty, but it’s not the only indicator in the industry.”
“But what are we talking about?!” Stuart asks. “How is that value measured, stocked, exchanged?” He is encouraged by feeling himself on familiar ground.
“It’s done by Heavenly money, Fiat Money. The Heavenly money supply is what holds the world together.”
“Wow! SUPERMONEY!” Winaretta bursts out laughing. And she is laughing only because she is getting the giggles. That’s the way it is in Heaven, as St. Augustine says.
The celestials ignore her. Lorenzo, speaks to Stuart: “You still don’t have what it takes to create a viable world, but I can offer you a loan. Take advantage of it. The interest rates are low.”
“Give me some time to think it over.”
“Yes, yes. Do some good thinking,” goes Winaretta, breaking into a guffaw.
“Come into the supermonetary hypostasis, Mr. Surof, enter the SUPERMARKET!”
Splendid arabesques appear in a sky of glory. Celestial flute players dance around them, half-naked. The contract forms in a cloud of gold. Beyond it, pleasures beyond name are profiled, seminal springs, jubilations worthy of the gods.
Winaretta steps back imperceptibly. Stuart comes closer. But a shadow is coming...
A thick, black cloud rapidly invades. All of a sudden, a swarm of non-affine functions is upon them. They can distinguish their dry lineaments.
“Dammit! SAVONAROLA!” The advisor is screaming, not the Prince. Before the mortals can exchange another word, a hooded personage springs out of the cloud, perched on a mollusk. He is immediately upon them. He has the look of a Capuchin, and his eyes are red with anger. Black functions are pouring out, and flames tear up the contract and the lavish landscape.
“Thieves! Leave this temple, I command you!” shouts the villain, showing his rotten teeth. But they are rotten only because he likes them that way.
“Run away!” whispers the advisor while shooting inequalities as bright as dragonflies.
Winaretta thinks of a big ham and on her lips. She disappears; she won’t be caught so easily.
But Stuart remains, confounded. The advisor takes him by the hand, and they start running, flying. They escape in the direction from which the rumble of the transaction has come, but the notion of direction is too feeble to account for their movement. Savonarola starts chasing them.
“Why are we running away?” Stuart asks. Functions are flying everywhere.
“It’s too long to explain,” the advisor replies.
Fierce polynomials seem to merge forcibly with those of their own celestial substance and bite into it by topological cancelation. Stuart is losing a lot of glory and is feeling weak.
“We have to go through the squirter. We have no choice!” the advisor shouts at him. “He won’t follow us!”
They jump into Kolmogorov cascades and then into the foam of titanic cascades both furious and immutable, all made up of an innumerable throng of wills who, like them, are falling. These torrents flow from everywhere and carry them towards a misty depth haunted by molten, golden-colored storms.
Stuart scrutinizes the depths visible during lightning flashes and glimpses a shimmering realm of forms similar to an undersea world traversed by luminous streaks. Some of these are like lines stretching from one end of the cosmos to the other.
Some of these lines show shadowy whales, others resemble ephemeral complications similar to brand-new organs in a womb. Sometimes Stuart feels he can clearly distinguish one form or another; sometimes he sees a living surf, whole and conscious, blurring everything.
As far as the eye can see, every curtain of every cascade stirs wills like rosaries of different sizes and colors, each rich with its own supermoney. To Stuart, very few of them are still clothed with the memory of a past form.
As he falls with the advisor amid other wills of the same size, he overtakes smaller ones floating like snowflakes, and he is overtaken by denser ones darting towards their destiny like meteors. As the heavier wills reach the roiling bottom, the lightning redoubles its intensity.
These wills are woven together by powerful diffractions, and their lights trap Stuart’s vision in the hollow, watery fabric of these waving curtains. They must never again be unveiled during life, unless it be to the inner eye, should it be given to the soul to rise high enough to recall the seminal moment when the valleys of these folds open themselves on still other valleys, and when these valleys uncoil ponds full of fish with eggs in their eggs and in the thick of every drop of the humor they contain, continually generated by the refinement of a lucid and burgeoning calculation, new cosmos upon cosmos with different textures and inconceivable vegetation...
“Don’t look down, Stuart! Desire nothing!” the adviser shouts, trying to make herself heard over the rumbling of the vortex. “You have almost no money and no real project! You could be flashed into anything!”
A slightly richer family of lights goes by, very close. The small ones cuddle up to the two bigger ones. Ghosts of ribbons float behind them. They turn; one of them seems to be looking for something. The larger souls seem to be admonishing the smaller ones.
Farther on, a couple exchanges vows. “I’ll find you again. I’ll recognize you among all others,” whispers one. “Don’t leave so soon,” sighs the other.
“Into a bug! A stone! A candy wrapper. A sugar cube. A hydrogen atom! And I’m only talking about what you know. It would take you eons to get out of there!”
They are carried downward ever faster. Stuart is fascinated by the sight. He is dazzled by a bolt of lightning and then struck by horror: he thinks he sees a repugnant substance surging in the transparent ocean of blessed forms. It resembles a giant stingray consubstantial with an ominous forest of seaweed, or a starving moray eel that is writhing in all directions at once, as much to flee them as to devour them.
But he understands very soon that these images do not correspond to what he is actually seeing and that they are only hallucinations aroused by his own fear. What has he seen? He can’t tell. He feels terribly confused and caught up in the memory of nausea.
“What was it?!”
“Matter, half-caught in existence,” the advisor shouts mentally. “Don’t try to see it; it’s still quite indeterminate at this height. You’d become the same as it just by looking at it, and you’d make yourself sick. Just do as I say.
“There are streams; you can surf the eddies coming up from the bottom to reach them. You must empty your mind. We should rise high enough for me to set a sail; we can reach the surface of the hypostasis. If we fall into the mix, above all, do not panic.”
“What is the mix?!”
“Souls loaded with supermoney who impregnate themselves with forms as a result of principles I have no time to explain. The soul mix is injected into the form plasma. Then the supermoney is blasted in, and shapes the imprisoned matter. It’s quantic reduction... But this is no time to talk of technical details!”
“I don’t want to go into the mix! I don’t want to explode!”
“It’s an image! It’s not an explosion, and it isn’t you. It’s just supermoney that’s being exchanged for matter. Since money is the amount of matter, and matter doesn’t exist without form, the transaction amounts to bringing into existence that which has no size or substance. Do you get that? Matter is greedy; it takes the money, but it doesn’t last, it’s a kind of reflection. Everything has to start again.
“Listen, it’s a bit complicated for souls like us, and we have even less latitude now that we are entering the realm of time... I just want to say that if we get dragged away, I’ll give you what it takes to rent a small vinculum substantiae. But you’ll have to assign me Power of Attorney on your assets and pay me the money — interest and principal. By the way, where’s your friend?”
“She must have returned to the machine.” Stuart remembers the academy, the psycho-pumps and his cuddly toy. He is saved! He concentrates: he sees the book and its leather cover. He smells its odor.
“The machine? What machine?” the advisor asks. She is beautiful. Her hair is floating behind her along the stream of life.
And now Stuart’s right hand clutches the manuscript. His body is heavy, his ears are ringing, he is back.
“But... you’re not dead then?” The faint voice of the advisor still sounds in his ears.
“This is crazy! Crazy!” repeats the ex-financial director as he strips off his electrodes. The mutant ape is smiling with all his gorilla teeth. The neighboring nacelle is empty; Winaretta is already gone.
“So, you got swindled like tourists?” the ape sneers. “They went and mugged you, did they?”
“It’s crazy! Crazy!” Stuart walks haggardly in circles in the machine room.
“Hm,” says the gorilla, “let me go with you...”
Proceed to Chapter 14...
Copyright © 2015 by Bertrand Cayzac