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
Captain Diana’s Roadmap
In the center of the center of the Earth, in the Holy of Holies of the magnetic bunker from where no transmission can escape, the general Méséglise is ending his secret meeting. He makes continual efforts to keep his old eyes from enjoying for too long the shape of Captain Diana. He still finds himself dreaming of the extended life from which he has turned away. He thinks of the tons of molten rock around them, of the dissolution that awaits him. Ah, if he could only caress her breasts and be done with it; then he could disactivate the shields...
“Here’s what is happening. Things are only going to speed up now that they are out...”
“Into the superworld,” Captain Diana gently concludes. She gives the impression that she could erase the bunker and all the old universe it supports, simply by ceasing to look at it. She seems to be reassuring old parents.
“You are authorized to launch commando operations, but only if you think they’re necessary to bring Appleseed back. Don’t expose yourself, Diana.”
Who thinks of the child the general may have been, long before the first men escaped from gravity? And who cares about the prior state of his atoms? No one gives a damn; he may as well die, dust in the wind. But at this moment the fate of humanity depends a lot upon his acts.
“Do you have more detailed information about the forces in place, sir?” Diana asks.
“Only the hypotheses of the CTF — the Cosmological Task Force. I must admit I am having troubles with this report. What Cosmitics calls the ‘superworld’ seems to be a higher reality, where all things are interconnected in a sort of qualitative multiplicity. It’s apparently the home of the forces that shape our universe. Simply put, some of these forces may be endowed with consciousness. Do you follow me?”
“Yes, sir.” She knows what the general is going to say, but she understands he has to spell it out.
“Those conscious forces would react violently to Cosmitics’ intrusion. It is a hypothesis, but it at least explains the disruptions we are beginning to observe in the cosmos. These entities may be hostile.”
The President interrupts: “The mission, if you please, General.” She is anxious to see Captain Diana in action. She is very impatient to see the young woman walk, speak, and fulfill the promise of her beautiful shape.
“Bring back the technology to access the superworld and, if possible, Jenny Appleseed.”
“Aye aye, sir.”
“Dead or alive.”
What? What did she mean? What is this look on her face? How many orders given to how many fine muscles can create such an expression? She must have dumbfounded her audience.
“You may leave now.”
“I am aware of Dr. Weenie’s experience,” adds the President.
“Do you want to see the executive summary of the file?” asks Captain Diana.
“No. I’d like to know what you think of it.”
“The intuition of Dr. Weenie is supported by a scientifically valid method, as far as I can tell...”
“What do you think, Diana?”
“He has caught sight of something like the superworld. But it’s something more than what we know of it. Something good. I think we should help him in his research.”
“Something good for whom?”
“For us all, madam.”
“Thank you, Diana.”
End of Captain Diana’s Roadmap sequence
* * *
Dr. Weenie has gained an understanding of Captain Diana’s freedom by observing the discreet pleasure she takes in pushing her curiosity further. It’s the same innocent, delicate curiosity that makes him study creeping vines, altered states of consciousness or Janatone’s path in the Flint Hills.
Dr. Weenie knows that this curiosity necessarily contains an element of sexual arousal. He can even theorize on it, along with Gaston Bachelard’s “every mystery is a belly” and Jacques Lacan’s scopic drive. Nothing ever keeps him from theorizing. It is his personal pleasure, it is his joy.
Dr. Weenie says to himself that this curiosity is perhaps Captain Diana’s “blind spot.” His mathematical mind begins to sketch out experiments, but he doesn’t dare pursue the ensuing daydreams. Who is he to set traps for Captain Diana?
* * *
Stuart Surof is quite a character. He wears a unique employee number, and he also says “I.” Nonetheless, he is divided by recursive double-thinking. Half of his mind thinks and acts in perfect alignment with Cosmitics’ strategy. This half executes the crisis plan with such determination that only a particularly attentive observer could detect a misplaced ostentation and begin to doubt that the Director of Strategy and Financial Innovation has truly comprehended the objectives. This same observer would certainly notice Stuart’s inexplicable absences: his occasional unavailability, of course, but also the embarrassment that often freezes his words.
Since Stuart’s fall into the cosmic squirter, the other half of his mind has been — unbeknownst to all — diffracting itself and taking different paths.
Half of the unaligned half of Stuart’s mind refuses to sabotage and flee the Academy. This half of his mind anticipates the arrival of the Earth army. By way of discreet intermediaries, he has contacted the military staff and handsome Captain Diana. Yes that’s right: half of the other half of his mind is betraying Cosmitics!
Far from ignoring these dissonances, the consistent and prudent half is justifying them rationally. Stuart calculates as follows: the company has been orphaned by its founder and is destroying value. Contrary to what the paper sold by Cosmitics Finance suggests, Cosmitics has failed to give itself the means to recreate this value within a space-time foreseeable by the markets. Cosmitics’ management has made bad decisions.
If that fraction of Stuart offers his valuable services to management, he will recover and save a portion of the assets, contribute to academic technology transfer, and ensure himself a good place in exploiting the superworld. After all, hasn’t he become acquainted with merchant angels? Or were they mercantile devils?
Stuart is far from understanding the rules of that market, but he is skillful, and he is capable of real strategic thinking. He is thirsty for entrepreneurship. He has made discreet alliances with industrial and financial partners who are worried about the consequences of Cosmitics’ decline. He has consulted the best specialists of the Old Consultancy Consulting Company. He wants to succeed, and he does what it takes.
At times, he disguises himself as a dockworker, talking with a marooned robot in warehouses, near the nuclear generators where the web can’t reach. At other times, he is at the hospital on the pretext of cost control, slipping nano-messenger drones into a partisan who has offered to have sex with him. At still other times, he dresses as a gardener and steps into the forbidden garden.
And the rest of his psyche? It leads an abundant and detached life in his subconscious and far beyond it. Half of this part of his mind is but a luminous breach in the citadel of his ego. Stuart Surof’s dazzled, loving heart stands secretly in this place, open to so many heavenly rays that it can barely find enough darkness to contain its being. His subtle eyes distinguish his angel behind seventeen veils of light and, higher towards the pole of the cosmos, the smile of his angel’s angel. What are they doing? They are reading the hyperreal numbers that could enlarge the opening into the entire citadel.
What about the rest of Stuart’s mind? Half of it has fled with the supermoney. Lots of supermoney, and yet so little. Too little to save, too little to invest. At the moment when Stuart Surof believed he had returned unscathed into the material world, this vital part of his mind was carried away by one of those vortices that form in the emulsion where the tempestuous desires of matter attach themselves to souls.
Certainly, prudent travelers in the Beyond do know the winds and routes leading to the richest commercial exhibitions. But — “Lost, with no mast, no mast or verdant isle,” — the purse is unsecured, and this poor parcel of his mind could only succumb to the song of its own sirens, for matter has no shape or will. The only voices that can be heard in chaos are those of the imagination.
Besides, matter desires and does not desire; it desires not and desires. But was it necessary that half of this portion should wish to be a cactus in a wadi on the eighth planet of Tau Ceti? A squirrel in the Basque country? A misshapen bug in Cuernavaca? Must half of this rest blandly smile to the angel that governs crystals and thus be given command of large aggregates of sucrose?
By which channels of destiny did other residues of this mind-split come to be living pine trees, fallen pine trees, cellulose fibers and candy-wrap paper in this grey grocery store where Fred Looseman enters as a child, holding the hand of his great-aunt, on an immense July afternoon to which the anticipated flavor of an orange sorbet offers the peace of a good emperor?
Light is flowing in here, too, carrying airy dust, licking the soft and shadowy stone, illuminating the muslin glass on the door that has just closed with a tinkling sound. It flows into time, down to the portico of the friendship between the great-aunt and the old grocery lady named Suzon, who was once a child in this same eternal summer.
Petty sums of supermoney may have fallen into this place, or perhaps they were knowingly thrown into it by the angel ruling this place. Not even the supermoney escapes being squandered in the hands of schoolchildren with reddened knees, busily sifting dusty gravel in the schoolyard. They are making “thin, thin smooth,” which they will sell, they think, playing obscurely with the concept of added value, that is, the value added by subtracting matter from matter.
Unfortunately for zealous Stuart as well as for the traitor who cohabits with him, the time comes when the body must be restored by sleep. Then all the opportunities appear in his nightmares, all still familiar with the locus of their former union.
Stuart the hidden saint and Stuart the compassionate wants to pray for them, but slumber finally takes him away too, such is his humanity. The big, rich egos, proud of their names and unity are drowsing but not sleeping heavily. They stir and groan when the citadel opens its doors to the riot, the mob of shadows: the proud, the fierce, the wild ones, but also the poor and the very poor ones, crushed, mashed, amalgamated, glued to breaking candy, sentenced to embrace fatally the chitin-shielded opponent, flabbergasted by the repetition of atomic networks. They come to shout, dance and show their hideous alienation, claiming the head of the king who has put them where they are. Soon, all these Stuarts wake up. He holds his head in his hands, overcome by vertigo and nausea.
It is understandable that Stuart Surof is tired. His face is pale, and he has black rings under his eyes. What is he going to do? Everything at the same time.
How? He has to delegate tasks. He also has to master personal productivity tools. Thanks to interaction capsules based on the most recent version of the spatial protocol, he can continuously control the mandate of his avatars within a parameterized fractal incertitude cone.
Stuart succeeds in establishing a probabilistic quasi-real time dialogue with his partners across the entire Solar System. These technologies were developed jointly by Cosmitics Finance and TelCosmic to optimize risky arbitrations in situations of structural informational asymmetry.
Stuart knows the technology well. He was one of the first traders to coordinate his operations on several planetary markets far removed from each other. Critics said his methods mainly justified releasing control over distant avatars. Nonetheless, the conic financial instruments were so successful that they needed only a few orbits to render all objections moot.
Proceed to Chapter 17...
Copyright © 2015 by Bertrand Cayzac