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 17: The Story of the Shaman and the Bucket
The operations of Stuart Surof’s celestial self on the border of the superworld will give a good illustration of the ex-Financial Director’s new psychic economy.
The Comex meeting has just ended in the managerial yurt at Cosmitics’ Europan headquarters. We find this entity regaining control over the body it shares with other fragments of what used to be a single mind.
Stuart’s personality changes can occur at any time without anybody noticing, so smoothly do the socio-computing functions ensure continuity of presence. They make the transition invisible by a number of operations, such as maintaining muscular tone or handling conversation. They are assisted by co-processors of a generation close to the one the Academy has been using to develop stimuli-shield technology.
Back in a citadel of flesh, his quarter-self takes stock of the situation, and then, by way of encrypted mental commands, it reconnects itself to the avatar it has created in the web to find alliances, such as the masked, Byzantine-looking advisor who goes by the pseudonym of Plethon Soares, Jr.
Stuart finds in a toilet stall the solitude he needs to concentrate while guided by his quarter-self. His indicators have reported a fecal circuit accident that justifies this detour, and it doesn’t smell very good. Since he didn’t take any important action during the meeting, he won’t be bothered for a while. But he will be anyway, because someone is always asking the pony to do another trick. In Stuart’s case, it will certainly start with mandatory sphincter-control training.
He mentally opens a recent capsule. The drift rate is high, but the risk is acceptable. The goal alignment is generally good.
[Capsule T1: reading]
Plethon Soares, Jr., his avatar, is in the process of interfacing with the “meeting in a box” scenario deployed in the web by a founder of the Old Consulting Company. He recognizes this old consultant: he is the one interested in messianic movements. Influential entities are also here, and an emanation of the web itself seems to envelop them in its blue presence.
“Good show, good show!” the participants sing.
“Good show, good show,” sings in turn the one-quarter of Stuart’s avatar. It doesn’t let itself be distracted by virtual advertising objects: the she-donkey with long eyelashes, the door, the Chaldean magus. But, much to Stuart’s surprise, the old consultant introduces him to the magus. Should Stuart suspend his judgment about the others?
The consultant says that the long-cloaked magus is the virtual Floozman. With a large gesture but without saying a word, the handsome avatar signals that he’ll be putting on a display.
He retracts and takes the form of Fred Looseman. Stuart sees a small image of a technician standing at the gate of a ranch where software objects are caught in the frame and are begging him for deliverance. They inflate pitifully and emit sighs.
The technician hears the sighs. He approaches carefully, like an old repairman facing a machine that has sprung fully armed from the thighs of technology.
Finally, he stands up. He recovers his splendor and extends his arm. A strong braid of light comes out of his hand; it is made of interlacing geometric patterns. Immediately, everything becomes luminous dust. A trace of each sign still lingers for a few moments and fades in an outpouring of color, music and joy. The poems, the images, and Janatone’s ranch disappear...
“This Floozman is a creation of the web,” the old consultant explains. “It is an image mimicking the gesture of the true Messiah of our eon, who is a double being. He is a poor slave in the underworld, but an occult power is revealed through him. It has already manifested itself and has given signs that the end of time is near. Unfortunately, the technician is dead...”
“But nothing is lost,” adds the web. “The Messiah can be resurrected. You must help us in conjoining them again.”
“I understand. I will reformulate, if you will.”
“Yes, please do.”
“The technician has died in the material world. We assume that the power that possessed him still exists in the higher world. Let’s presume that I can trace it from the intermediate region where I’m located, if you agree. We suppose that this power remains active and is ready to emerge and that we can... But what do we think we can do?”
The participants wait in silence.
“Okay. I’ll see what I can do.”
The web finally breaks in. “Thank you, Mr. Advisor, you’re a great shaman. You are going to connect what’s up with what’s down.”
“I don’t have much. This signature, maybe. You’ve represented this deliverance wonderfully.”
“Did this technician die recently?”
“A few Earth days ago. We have a lot of documents about him. His name was Fred Looseman.”
“At the border where I dwell, we see many souls in transit. There are a few second-rank tribunals that arrange for returns. We also encounter doppelgangers and spirits. You can consider me one of them, I guess...”
Stuart is moored to the vacuum-action space toilet. He is surprised. He has never thought of himself as a spirit before. He expels his discharge with a positive reinforcement signal aimed at this latest discovery. Although the change does not propagate faster than the speed of light, the Guzmö-Octuvion effect is already sending a precursor signal to the transponders.
[End capsule pause]
“Good.” Plethon Soares, Jr.’s eyelids are closing in the mask. By an incongruous refinement, geometric patterns are drawn on their virtual skin. “First, I will seek Looseman, beginning with the place of his death. He must have still maintained ties to his material body. As for the powers that make him the Messiah, they surely have no location. They are therefore in a higher region of the superworld, in a non-topological sense, of course. If they do retain a link to the heavenly Looseman, we can find them — provided they grant us this grace.”
This proposal meets with a careful silence.
“Be patient while I synchronize with my source,” continues the advisor. “Pending completion of this transaction, I will try to describe the superworld to you... Let’s agree on a common sensory representation. Okay. It can be seen as a vast network of interactive light.”
In order to share this vision, the web offers participants different optical diffraction patterns borrowed directly from the mathematical models accessed by the avatar. The viewers are immersed in an image with no background. The perspectives shift frequently and recompose without any noticeable transitions; it is no longer possible to tell what the point of view is. But now the web displays an overlay inspired by Old Consulting’s objects: it’s a splendid flying carpet, and all the participants at the meeting are standing on it.
Plethon, Jr. discovers the avatar of his avatar sailing in the shimmering superworld. “Why not?” he says. “See how this network of light and shadow appears differently depending on the reading keys that my master applies at will, though he sometimes does so by following lines of force imprinted by stronger wills that he does not yet understand...”
Then the web plunges the participants into a saturated kaleidoscope of light. “Yes, use phase spaces,” Plethon, Jr. says encouragingly. “Like that, as you would go from one crystal lattice to another.”
First with simple Euclidean proposals, then with rotations, translations and hallucinated distortions of the entire setting, the web accumulates topological transformations.
“There’s something else,” continues Plethon Soares, Jr. His voice runs through all the accents of artificial enthusiasm. “Each vector points to a coherent latitudinal beam whose source is too distant to be analyzed, and I don’t mean distance in space. We should amplify this beam in order to reproduce the operation that takes place when my master captures it.”
Stuart’s quarter-mind accepts the program put up jointly by the web and Plethon. He also accepts the way the superworld is represented, despite its rudimentary image. He prays to the angels closest to him. They must accept and guide this program, that’s their job. He distinguishes the shimmering market of forms now... But he must respond. Interact. He may not have to read the rest of the capsule. He hesitates and then decides to watch a few more sequences. But first, he sends a new capsule precursor.
[Capsule precursor; mode: vision-stream]
Yes, I can see the market of forms now. My allies are coming to meet me.
Outside, Plethon Jr’s avatar continues the synchronization, using his superworld model. He anticipates successfully the content of the precursors traveling towards him by way of the Guzmö-Octuvion sling-transponders.
Of course, everybody has to wait. Or, better said, some observers are feeling that there is a long time between events. The intervals may be hours or days; we would have to agree on a common frame of reference to know how long the intervals are.
But if we speak of waiting, it’s not because the S-Quick door is yawning, the she-donkey is nodding or the various avatars are hopping about as if they had to pee. Are living organisms the only ones to share this experience of time? That is not a sure thing, and it isn’t true of everybody.
The old consultant has been at work since the time of the first computers. He has long since ceased to THINK while calculations take place. But he would be waiting, if he thought in terms of the time of living beings. He would wait for signals to signal, for capsules to capsulate and for models to execute.
[Fast Forward — A change is detected.]
Stuart looks for salient events but can’t find any. He doesn’t want to waste time. He is about to throw the capsule away when suddenly... suddenly...
[Stop. Resume reading.]
“Hold it,” says the web, “I’m getting precursors form an unknown source... ‘Don’t let the python escape!’ That’s what it says. And here is a capsule. I’m running its program.”
The blue network opens a window in the shimmering image. A princess wearing a chrome dress crosses its threshold and walks barefoot, surrounded by silent, catoptric thunderstorms. She stops and waits. The participants on the flying carpet are waiting too; they contemplate her beauty while their carpet is rocked by computational eddies.
“Hello,” she says finally, “I came into the web by a backdoor, on my sole battery. I don’t have much autonomy. I’m just an automobile from Earth, but I’m equipped with a psycho-geographic map sensitive to cosmic events... At least that’s what it thinks.” She smiles.
“The map sensed the liberation of Janatone’s portal. It has heard the song. It has instructed me to tell you that the python is a time-stream switch. It is at the center of the event that ties you together and binds us all. Because today conspires with tomorrow, and here with there.”
“A psycho-geographical map!” The web is surprised. “I didn’t think such a thing existed anymore.”
The princess smiles again. “That’s what you think you know. You worked on mine when you were still a young network, and it has maintained active connections ever since. It was aware of your activity. Its powers are very great... very great. And I let her blow the horn. But I don’t have much time now. You’ll find Fred Looseman by following the python. He’s in my trunk.”
“No, Fred Looseman. The corpse of Fred Looseman... My battery is running low. Just follow the python. The dream will guide you.” The princess disappears.
“I don’t know what she meant,” mutters the old consultant. “Can you download to memory the... python’s coordinates, whatever that means?”
Stuart Surof, the Cosmitics Corporations’ Chief Financial Officer, can’t respond. He is temporarily sidelined, locked in a toilet on account of a failure in his fecal elimination circuit.
Plethon, Jr., the shamanic avatar of Stuart Surof’s quarter-mind answers instead. “Yes, it’s possible. I, too, support mapping functions inasmuch as I memorize my trips to the superworld. I can find a way to the Python Angel. From there on, we’ll see... Let’s complete the settings first. We won’t be able to make connection if we lack precision...
“Well, that’s pretty much it,” confirms the Advisor, studying new visual proposals from the web. “But the tiles must form a... How can I say...” He sighs through his nostrils as Stuart does when he is in a trance. “Let me access your run-time library, Mr. Web, please. Yes, thank you. Good...”
He takes control, and everything accelerates, everything becomes incredibly vivid. The illusion of reality is striking. He manages to tune the web’s representations to make a faithful reflection of the interworld visions mathematically simulated by the avatar.
“Here we go. It boils down to applying filters in order to distinguish between the different frame layers. We have to strip dimensions off the hollow matrix. Note that the patterns are mineral or organic. They are fractal in shape. They can be found at all scales and in any shading.
“In reality, there is no space as long as matter is not in a state of quantum decoherence. At another level, my master can show you that the latitudinal beam is the living body that presides over these forms and that all these forms proceed from the demiurge.”
S-Couic, the door, whispers without moving a breath of air: “Wow, this is great stuff, I think. But he’s kicking down a lot of doors that are already open. My computing workspace is getting saturated.”
“Let’s wait now. I need to resynchronize...”
Waiting punctuates each unit of time, which is only to be expected. Time is nothing but waiting. It’s one wait after another, like the later generations of the internal combustion engine that waited — long after motorbikes were parked for the last time — in factories, in beige offices, in traffic jams, on white screens, in the centers of virtual cities under electronic moonlight, in hospitals and in hells...
[End capsule read; Capsule flush]
It is time to regain control. Plethon the avatar and the individualities around him are acting with a tremendous autonomy. But keep in mind that nothing is happening in the real superworld. These are just reproductions, devices that provide a semblance of action. The only one to travel there is the quarter-mind of Stuart Surof. He is the only living entity blessed with this grace. Then why doesn’t he let himself be carried upwards by the winds? What is he still doing with the prisoners of this world? That may be what he has to find out...
The event-complexity rate has exceeded the tolerance threshold. It will take a long time for the capsule exchange intensification to achieve referential resynchronization. The network latency may vary from a few minutes to one hour if execution takes place in the vicinity of Earth, but the location of the calculating nodes is unknown.
The python! After all, it can’t be far away in terms of superworldly topology. But the latitudinal flows are the best way through. Stuart rises towards the vanishing point and then stabilizes his altitude slightly over the level of ideas, in search of animal currents.
When the chariot of the sun flies over warm seas, its flaming light casts an unreal net on colorful fishes. That’s how ideas are reflected to Stuart’s quarter-mind. United and untied, they deploy — or not — above his understanding. In this region of the superworld, motion occurs at the speed of volition.
Stuart doesn’t yet know how to control them very well. He concentrates on the creation image of the python. In a skeletal framework visible to the mind’s eye, similar to a phylogenetic tree, he finds the bone of all bones, the eye of all eyes, the pistil of all pistils. The living forms shift kaleidoscopically from one viable solution to another, moving like a constrained system that is always seeking formal solutions.
Finally the non-material curves become reptilian as he crosses the last boundaries of a realm of emerald scales and black gills. A shape with eyes rises, swelling. Stuart is pushed aside; he topples into a powerful vital stream.
And this is where the danger sequence begins...
Proceed to part 2...
Copyright © 2015 by Bertrand Cayzac