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 16: Everybody Is Looking for Janatone
Yes, everybody, and all at the same time. They are all in the same time-frame. Does this mean that everybody belongs to the same indivisible multiplicity? Some protagonists, such as Dr. Weenie or the Web see things in that way. However, the Couic door, for one, always sees time as noon from its point of view.
And “everybody” is a lot of people. They are the ones who have been looking for Janatone since she sought asylum on Earth. And there are those who think she is dead, and those who do not know she exists; and those who love her and those who don’t; and those who know why they are looking for her and those who don’t. She is being sought by entities that have differing ideas about existence, knowledge and love. Janatone herself is merely looking for a place to die.
Everybody is looking for Janatone, and she is looking for a good death. That is quite strange, when you stop to think about it.
Take Joe Dasein, for starters. He has returned from near-Earth space. He cannot get over the memory of Janatone, who is still present, wholly alive in the cone of time.
Does Janatone know he is thinking of her? Yes, she does, when she is stretched out in a cornfield, breathing with difficulty and desiring love. Plants costing several thousand zouz rise into the sky, where Joe is only a little nerve center within the machines. She thinks of him. He thinks of her.
The two waves of matter are looking for each other. They call for a most improbable reality in which, someday, they unite and procreate in beauty. But it is surely too late. Time waits for no one, as the saying goes, but what if these waves of matter knew better?
Joe thinks he is spinning his wheels. He thinks of the ruinous arrangement with PacNut, Inc. and the crazy price of corn on Earth, which is a privileged underlying asset of PacNut’s financial products. He remembers he destroyed several hectares when he crash-landed his spaceship. PacNut imposed its conditions, but that was the best solution; his lawyers wanted to settle out of court.
Oh, how Joe would like to become rich and impose conditions of his own. He wants to save Dasein Funerals and operate throughout the Solar System. He would like to be able to think ahead strategically for several centuries, like Jenny Appleseed.
He wants to get married, eat mutton every day and build a home on Mars. No, maybe not on Mars just yet, what with all that has happened. He thinks of Janatone’s failed escape and the possible consequences. A Europan cyborg with uncontrolled biotechnology is enough to sentence him to breaking rocks on an asteroid.
Ah, Janatone, where is she now? What mysterious harmony has she played that she still resonates in his soul? Joe thinks only of her. He sees her walking courageously away, beyond the blasted field, one arm stretched out for balance. He feels all the weight on her thin shoulders and the swinging of her hips.
But he thinks especially of her eyes and what they see. He thinks of the kiss she wanted to give him and what it might have taught him about life. She is older than his mother, prettier than his sisters, and as strange as a water sprite.
Janatone’s stubborn little motors calculate the field’s uneven soil. They sing her otherworldly song, but she has a woman’s legs and small feet. Her flesh is no longer human, but her proportions are indeed those of a woman. Joe wants to bring about this highly improbably union. He has the courage to do so. But she has come back to die on Earth, and now he, Joe Dasein of Dasein Funerals, has to fall in love with her!
He calls for his automobile. The hearse has been reported to be close to Davenport, but he can’t be sure of anything; his indicators are out of date.
The hearse finally contacts him and gives him a modified Bronx cheer: “Pthbpthb... Brraapp.”
Joe’s indignation knows no bounds. A cyborg can do that to me?! Suddenly, he thinks of another cyborg, one that is far more powerful. She is in everyody’s thoughts. She is the mother of enterprises. She is so great that she fills the sky like a shadow. Jenny Appleseed!
Captain Diana is calling him. She wants to help Janatone and asks Joe for information about the hearse. Diana is a beautiful apparition in the immdiate web: fresh, uncomplicated, attentive — a woman you can talk to. But Joe doesn’t know much.
“I don’t know much,” he says, “but I”m sure they’re high on ‘C’. The car has been completely reconfigured. I think I’ve detected them at Davenoport. They were headed for the flooded areas, but their contacts cut out. They may well be beyond that now.”
Diana notes, “The prediction modules on the Lighthouse put them in the forbidden bayou within seventy-two hours.”
Captain Diana obtains a safe-passage permit for him and shows him the Queen’s Hotel, which will be requisitioned by the army. The information that Joe is giving her will be very useful. She will project an avatar of herself with a light escort, if Security allows it, otherwise she will be in the bay. Joe had better watch out for the mosquitoes.
Joe hurries after the hearse. With his funeral license, he is allowed to drive. He thinks he sees Janatone in Davenport, he is almost sure he does. But she escapes him.
[End linking sequence]
Captain Diana does not show her feelings or give any general ideas of them. She has an exquisite, innate talent for speaking to the point, always with accuracy and discretion. As far as anyone can tell, it’s a sign of her superior mind.
She has all the diplomas and the confidence of her generals and her thesis director. She has published unassailable scientific articles. She won distinction among the evacuation commando squads during the events on Mars. She is a member of the president’s political party. Nobody can beat her at that game, especially since she doesn’t play it.
If she seeks wisdom, it is only in the recesses of her own heart. No, she seeks nothing, or else no one knows if she does. She is breathtakingly beautiful; athletic, but with a harmonious form. She adds personal touches to her dress with not a single lapse of taste. She is an agent of the beautiful, the good and just, as far as anyone has the slightest inkling, and she would be the last to speak of it.
Captain Diana wants to save Janatone from death and to attach her to the expedition with the rank of special counselor to the captain. To listen to her, one could only love Janatone. Captain Diana is also an agent of love. And if she doesn’t help Janatone, who will? She’s a good friend.
She makes very good salads the best Earth vegetables: tomatoes, rice, and Breton dwarf potatoes with a dash of olive oil. She already loves Janatone’s baby, and she loves the Artificial Uterus. Her love is so great that it is a revelation to the world. No one knows if she has any lovers. Just a few friends and mainstream porn.
Diana is careful to serve up rational arguments to the right people at the right moment and in the right doses:
Janatone Waldenpond knows Jenny Appleseed intimately.
Waldenpond is familiar with the Cosmitix board of directors and the entire organization.
Waldenpond can mobilize the marooned robots and asteroid ore if the operation lasts longer than planned.
Janatone has weapons and technologies that the government can only dream of.
A report implies that Waldenpond has had contacts with the superworld. The risk indicators are completely up to date.
A fact gradually becomes clear, first as an intuition and then gradually, by experience. Captain Diana is free, freer than most space citizens, which is paradoxical for a military person. She has found freedom in obedience, because she, herself, is free. And she has power.
Copyright © 2015 by Bertrand Cayzac