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 9: The Zodiac of Her Spirit, I
The revolutions of love
Millicent remembers the expeditions that followed. She remembers the academy disciples, the researchers, the artists and their large lives. The spirit of that time radiated as if brought to incandescence by its confinement in the wall of the school.
The salons of the Cosmigirls never slept. They welcomed foreigners; poets were celebrated regardless of their nature or craft. Under the benevolent eye of the Scholarch, they stretched out their hands to partake of the finest meals in the Solar System while listening to beautiful speeches. There was singing and dancing everywhere.
Millicent considers that this was also the time when the Cosmitics business began to come undone. Deprived of Jenny’s central will, Millicent had let the presidential function disintegrate. Palace affairs were adrift. Parties, the “C” drug and overall indolence were draining the administration of its substance, inducing the most efficient intendants to laziness and complacency. Of course, intrigues and plots flourished amid the collapse.
In contrast, Jay Beeh’s power knew no limits outside the forbidden area.
What else could Millicent have done, being only a poor machine, to prevent the reorganization and its dire consequences? And on what regulatory grounds? All Jay Beeh’s decisions were being incorporated into the strategic plan that Jenny had devised. Everything that followed fell solely into the scope of change management: the revolt of the quasi-living, massive layoffs, expulsions, deportations, the revision of export contracts, embargoes and finally, breaking relations with Earth.
Millicent does not know how to classify the emotions of those days. She took care of everything during Jenny’s long absences, when Jenny’s mind was travelling without the support of any machinery. The stimuli shield moved when the body asked it to, mimicking as best she could the invisible journey of the mind; at other times, she gently rocked Jenny’s body to sleep.
Sometimes she uttered a cry of fear, joy or curiosity. Jenny was in her heart like an eight-year old girl. Who could know this better than Millicent? She is the one who comes and goes, scratches, caresses, washes and feeds her mistress when Jenny’s consciousness is far away.
All the while, Jupiter rotated and Europa revolved around it. Forges glowed red in ephemeral gardens. The cyber-palotins ate pizza while gloomily monitoring the pyschopumps. News now reached the Palace only as a distant rumor carried by spies, spaceship crews and protected merchants. Jenny was on vacation.
It had all started in the subterranean reaches of the Academy, in a deep region where galleries encounter faults under the ice crevasses. The all-pervasive autonomous hologram deployed moving convolutions to represent the essentials of the form that Jenny had assumed during the expedition. It was a reflection of her hallucination.
That day, the explorer with the golden fuel nozzle was questioning the intelligences, the secret laboratories’ rhizomic supercomputer.
THE INTELLIGENCES: Jenny Appleseed, if you keep transforming your genetic structure in this way, you may die. Operations will not know how to change your genotype as radically without interrupting your vital processes.
JENNY: So what? This form is in my bones! I want it.
THE INTELLIGENCES: Operations do not have enough information. Several genomic models were derived from the records, but none of them is viable. The form does not give all the operational data. Too many sequences must be interpolated. It is a very complex, evolving structure, able to incorporate a society of other individuals in the same concrescence.
JENNY: I want a solution! There must be a solution. If there isn’t, we shall make one! I did not create you for me to remain trapped in this form of life.
THE INTELLIGENCES: There is a theory. The small green rhizomes think that the ingression of forms into the genome is correlated with the person’s emotional states: intense emotions shared by several organisms. They seem to take form when these feelings are manifested, at least in the realm of the living. We’re not quite sure what’s going on in the mineral world.
JENNY: What emotions?
THE INTELLIGENCES (quoting from the web):
Philosophers who have speculated on the meaning of life and the destiny of man have not sufficiently noticed that nature itself has taken pains to inform us about this state of affairs. Nature alerts us by a particular sign when we have reached our destination. This sign is joy.
I say joy, not pleasure. Pleasure is merely a device designed by nature as a survival strategy for individual beings; it does not indicate the direction and course of one’s life. Rather, joy always announces that life has succeeded, that it has gained something, that it has won a victory. Any great joy has a triumphant note.
Thus, if we take this into account and follow this new line of reasoning, we find that whereever there is joy, there is creation: the richer the creation, the more profound the joy.
Yes, there are states of consciousness that correspond to joy. This thesis recovers the intuition that Bergamottson developed in the 20th century, in his article “Life and Consciousness,” except that, unlike him, the later construction does not distinguish between pleasure and joy. But participation in new forms seems to happen very rarely. It occurs only in certain periods of history for some very sensitive individuals, when joy culminates and they truly procreate in beauty, i.e. sexual reproduction, in the case of your species.
JENNY: Do you mean I must have children again?
THE INTELLIGENCES: By fulfilling all experimental conditions...
JENNY: I won’t have superhuman children if I’m not superhuman!
THE INTELLIGENCES: Then someone else will.
LES INTELLIGENCES: Consider this, Jenny Appleseed: if mutants are conceived but are not born—
JENNY: We will have the genome.
THE INTELLIGENCES: A large part of the genetic material will come from Jenny Appleseed.
JENNY: And the operations can make me evolve!
THE INTELLIGENCES: You will die, Jenny Appleseed...
JENNY: No. Never! (To the Cosmigirls) My girls, my girls, I’m back from the world of ideas to bring you the good news. Behold, I was born to embrace the universe, and I cannot conceive of eternal life without you. I have in me the superior form that shall lead me to the next evolutionary plane!
THE COSMIGIRLS: Yeaaaaaah!
JENNY: It’s in me, it’s in me. But I won’t bring it into this world without you. It takes joy, the intelligences tell me. I say MY JOY IS YOUR LOVE!
Eternal life is merely my destiny but my true joy, it’s your beauty, it’s your spirit, it’s all you create on this frontier. So let’s love each other, my girls! Let’s recover the ways of mutual induction and carnal love. Let’s procreate anew in beauty. Let’s fulfill all the conditions, all the sweet dispositions which lead souls toward handsome bodies and all the resources make this trade possible: space, time, readiness of mind, the arts... Let’s retire from the world and love each other as we did when we conquered this moon.
THE COSMIGIRLS: Yes, yes, Jenny! Let’s love!
JENNY: It will be different his time. We shall love each other in both this world and the superworld. We shall make a garden where we shall grow a vineyard and we shall drink our wine. I shall give you my body and we shall call for the ingression with our dances, our chants, our fervor.
I will restore to you the power of carnal love. I will give you my body and the CosmiHaploïdics sperm.
Let’s retire without delay to the garden of the forges.
THE COSMIGIRLS: Yeaaaaaah! The garden! The wine! The sperm!
JENNY (to MILLICENT): But I will eventually need to absorb the superhuman children. I have to be the first. Anyway, in the end, I will absorb everyone.
* * *
And Millicent remembers: The exultant pneumatic catapulting. The resplendent bodies pressing around Jenny, the mother sperm dispenser. The fervent bodies, drunk with sensual delight in giant feathers, shuddering as if in prayer. The naked nervous systems directly coupled to each other. The human bodies again, powerful, gleaming, adorned with jewels and washed by the outflow of hot forges. The aerial roots, the beaming water-lilies. The dense sowing of stars in the night beyond the dome.
In every heart grows the feeling of living in a happy time, a time of horizons, greatness and adventures. All achievements are enlivened by streams of blessings from the world of ideas. The sky red or intensely black. Heavy breasts, wines and the special “C” from the secret laboratories.
Thus did they love each other in pure and peaceful nights, far from the Sun but sometimes so near to creation as to make no difference. Thus did they listen to the radiant mathematical beauty that pervades the universe.
Millicent pictures itself — herself — again as participating in these well-tuned, instinctual dances. She floats impassively on the emotional swell raised by psychotropic substances. And yet she is uneasy. She interprets motives and guides actions. At what point is she herself not the Cosmigirls’ lover? Why is she — or it — so lonely?
The man in the reeds
But who comes to cloud with his unwholesome thoughts the fair night of the 77th Expedition, when the bodies are at the symposium and the minds are in heaven? He is huddled, spying in the hydroponic reeds. Is he not Stuart Surof? But how did he break into the gardens of the Palace? He is not allowed to enter. He knows that, and he hates himself for not having this privilege. He also hates himself for not having access to this quality of sexual life. Since he is now only a second-rank director, he no longer has this privilege.
And all that luxury! He think of Cosmitics’ consolidated financial statement. He thinks of death. How many billions of zouzim is the cost of these heavy cascades that seem never to fall, these perfumed mists and these acres of lunar sequoias? How many hundreds of millions do the managers embezzle? He has been wondering, but he know he knows...
He beckons to Winaretta, who likes him, though she is the only one. She is intoxicated by love and the “C.” She is old and yet she isn’t. Her complexion has all the spark of life that has long since passed her by.
Death and skin grafts have obstinately sculpted her body by refining the expression of her singular mathematical signature. Her movements are alert and detached, imbued with a wild nobility. She is attentive. No one can see her face without her large black eyes penetrating into his soul. She smiles at him. She is the most dangerous, Stuart Surof says to himself. She is unpredictable.
Winaretta may have been born on Mars. The intelligence agencies report that she worked on the adaptation of horses, that she talks to mutant rats, and that she once sent herself as far as Miranda in a simple cryogenic capsule. She remained there for several years, half dead, then went to the Kuiper Belt with pirates.
She could easily kill him, but she tells him everything, stroking his neck with her half-closed knuckles.
[The man in the reeds, end]
Copyright © 2015 by Bertrand Cayzac