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 18: They, Too, Are Seeking Janatone
As the CosmiGirls talk, their eyes, which are soon to close, shed tears of joy. Their gestures, which will no longer be seen, invoke immeasurable grace.
[High-Probability Near-Future Sequence]
Here’s what is most likely to happen: The agent of the presidential tomb will trigger the scuttling procedure. Evacuation signals will be sent to the reduced teams still in the Academy. The doors of the tomb will be sealed. The psycho-pumps will operate at maximum power and tear Jenny and her suite off this world forever.
Then, the sarcophagus lids will close upon the fine bodies adorned with technology that the funeral palotins will have prepared, singing all the while. Later, the coffins will be moved into an ice pit. They will plummet into the depths and disappear under the fleshy shells of Europa’s sea, which constantly presses upward against the underside of its icy surface, strong with a life stubbornly stretching towards space.
The enormous underground valves will open their mouths. The secret labs wil be drowned before the security forces have time to break into the palace. Even later, salamanders will explore the corridors leading to the treasure vault that is now hermetically closed. Only the creature capable of answering the three questions of the gate shall be entitled to enter.
In the gardens, the reeds’ crisis phenotype will be activated, as well as the lilies’, the brambles’ and all the creeper vines’. Their growth is such that, in a few days of the moon, the emerged part of the palace will be gripped by inextricable foliage.
[End High-Probability Near-Future Sequence]
Jenny listens to the CosmiGirls and cannot dismiss a troubling idea she has brought with her on her journey through the heavens. It is a doubt that she doesn’t feed; it grows by itself towards the light. This time of attrition is certainly appropriate to her thought: might she have taken the wrong direction in searching for eternal beauty in the highest spheres of the cosmos? What if it was the wrong way to go?
Jenny has a hard time analyzing her thoughts. Her will and judgment are not the same since she has been in the intelligible, material world where she now finds herself. In truth, her question cannot be formulated in her poor topological state. The anxiety she experiences is made of the vestige of elevated feelings that live fully in that world and wither, meager and miserable, in this world.
And yet she tries to summon these feelings: the love of Unity, which is at the principle of the Beautiful and which inflames the heart with the exhilarating sensation of the Real. She seeks those feelings as she would attempt to revive a dream, knowing that her effort will bring to the surface the specific memory she is looking for. And it is not a good memory.
And now she hears the bitter chant that pierced her heart before. Now she remembers again its painful beauty; but she does not have the strength to recall the voices. She had risen alone more than ever before, almost above the sky of ideas, carried by a mysterious ascending stream towards the place of an ineffable convergence.
There, near the cosmic pole, she contemplated what she could, but now she cannot really remember it. She managed only to bring a feeble echo of that lament back to the nest of her psyche. Might the prime consciousness be afflicted even as a radiant love flows out of it?
What can she do with this idea so contrary to her vision? With the first wingbeat of her flight into the superworld, Jenny received the confirmation that she could remain forever young and beautiful. To achieve this, she would have to conquer the whole world’s soul — nothing less than that; she has always aimed high.
Of course, many questions were raised. How many other Jenny Appleseeds would she have to confront in the worlds? And if she managed to become the world’s soul in place of the world’s soul, what STRATEGY should she adopt? Could one even talk about time at that moment? Yes, what about time? And above all, would she not have to get rid of herself in order to go farther? She was prepared to do anything.
But today, she sees things differently. She doubts. Who might help her? She thinks of Janatone again. Hasn’t she flown in the opposite direction? She is returning to her cradle while Jenny wants to force her way through to a new evolutionary stage. Janatone wants to die, while Jenny wants to live eternally. Janatone abandons everything while Jenny accumulates riches. And still Janatone remains beautiful. What if she is more beautiful?
Jenny thinks in spite of herself of all the places where she came across Brigitte Kaliyuga, who partakes so much of beauty with her black hair and the way she walks. These places link Jenny to Brigitte, and they are very strange. Jenny submits the topic to the Problematization Center for further research. She is hardly surprised to hear the young woman talking to her. She can see her when she closes her eyes.
“I was naked and half-dead in the organic recycling dungeon. The sensors were studying my body, the readers were copying my memory. Is it because I prayed? A ray of fire tore off the roof over my head! Hoopoes and doves were spinning in the golden light, and voices were calling me...”
“Do you pray, Brigitte? You used to say that only atoms exist.”
“I wouldn’t have obtained the position of Scientific Director if I had said otherwise... Listen to me, Jenny Appleseed, I am with you. Long ago upon Earth, rich white male philosophers drew a line between what humans can hope to know and the realm of belief. But knowledge is still poor when it does not inhabit a beautiful faith. I have been convinced of that for a long time. It’s only a hollow, probabilistic dream.”
“I have no belief. I see...”
“No, maybe not. You know better than anyone else that atoms are ideas and that this world is populated by shadows. The psycho-pumps and, above all, the manner in which you invented them do show the fecundity of the cosmogonies that the Academy inherited from the ancients. The gods are real...”
“I know all this. As for the gods, they are images.”
“Not sure. But I must tell you that I have studied this technology. I’m the one who has conducted the analysis of the data provided by the intelligence service. I’m the one who started the retro-engineering.”
“That’s what I thought. Good.”
“And I admired you with all my heart. I still admire you. I would have joined you, but it was too late. I told myself that whatever I did, nothing could prevent the diffusion of the technology nor the colonization of the superworld. It was a necessary stage in our evolution, like the conquest of Earth or of space.”
“I was waiting for you.”
“But it doesn’t matter. Tell me Jenny, do you pray?”
“Naw. What for?”
“To get free!”
“I have to say only a word, and I am in the superworld. The Cosmigirls can do the same, if they want. And you too, Brigitte, I’m guessing that you are talking to me from the superworld!”
“Yes, I am in a relay station. I have reunited with my self of light. We are taking a rest; then we are going to elevate ourselves. We are going to know ecstasy. You only see the superworld through your prism, Jenny. It’s a good prism, but it still hides the essential from you. Enter into the communion of those who pray at the bottom of pits, and you will bring about the advent of the Messiah. He is already here! It will soon be the end time and the end of all suffering!”
“The Messiah? Hum.”
“He will repair the worlds. He will recreate unity. I begin to understand his technology: it erases the energy of material and celestial bodies.”
“I don’t want to disappear. And there is something else...”
“I don’t know. It may turn out that you are rushing into another pit. It’s hard to explain... I need to do some thinking. I have to find Janatone.”
“Yes. Unity, Brigitte. Unity may well be a pit. Could you show me the short-distance Warp?”
“Ah, you know about that. The prototype is being tested. But without me, they’ll never make it work. It’s simple, though: there is no space...”
At this moment, an arc forces itself through the fire curtains, similar to a hose. It’s Blue, who is coming through the nuclear walls in her compatibility cosmi-shell.
“The security units are breaking into the powerhouse entrance. The danger is very serious now: they can easily isolate our quarters and chalk our deaths up to an accident. According to the intelligences, it’s a highly probable scenario. We have to activate the anti-plan without delay! You must follow me to the room of the sarcophagi.”
Jenny takes a long time to answer. “You shall activate the plan, but I won’t come to our tomb. I’ll stay with the intelligences. They have enough autonomy to survive for a while; there’s a battery.”
“I heard it all, Jenny, through your mind,” Brigitte breaks in. “I can also see the palace ruined in the intertwining of events. I guess you are going to destroy everything?”
“Only the Academy, but the palace will remain inaccessible. The bodies will be preserved under the ocean; the minds will be catapulted into the superworld. That’s the anti-plan.”
Brigitte insists. “What will you do in the caves? You will not be able to hold out very long, and you may not be rescued. Come! All of you! I’ll help you, if I can. The pillar of light is still erected in the worlds. It’s very powerful. You’ll see it by heading to the knights’ angels at the height of sublimation.”
“No Brigitte, I’ll stay here. I’ll stay alive. I don’t know how yet. Adieu! Just tell me where the plans of the WARP are.”
Brigitte indicates the place of her own treasure under the ice. She gives her everything. “You, too, Jenny, give up earth to gain heaven,” says the one who is on her way to the City of God.
The barriers are lowered and bridges are thrown over the ditches. Through secret galleries, Jenny and her companions go down to the shore of the lake full of fish. In this vast underground room with boreal reflections and many neuro-cavernous micro-rhizomes, the intelligences — the uncontrollable rhizomic computers of the Academy — are thinking. The farewells are short, worthy of old adventurers who are wise and brimming with this eternal love that only pretends to distinguish between them, the better to bewilder itself.
Millicent leads Jenny into a tunnel where she soon hears whispers. Jenny calls. She asks for a progress report on the research and what she still has to do to live forever. She erupts and shouts that she doesn’t accept the last response she was given.
A voice rises, then another. Their source remains invisible. “We have studied the possibility that you don’t die, Jenny Appleseed. Some rhizomes have proposed a model that is viable and compatible with your birth,” they say. The voices come from all sides and turn like the winds.
“Yes, you would be able to survive the genetic morphings and gain power at each transformation. You would be born, but you would not die, nor would the universe. We are dedicating a lot of resources to calculating the consequences of this configuration. You might well be an essential singularity in the cosmos...”
“Or become one...”
“Or be it in certain parts of the function that characterizes yourself...”
“All right. How can we do that? Time is running out!”
“You shall be a demiurges in place of the demiurge: it’s your turn....”
“The superman: you need his code. If you can’t find him...”
“He will find you. It’s your child, Jenny...”
“And one of you shall absorb the other.” This last voice is stronger and deeper than the others. “if you absorb him and thus unify the new monad, you shall be regenerated, ready for a new leap.”
“But you won’t have time; dissolution is close.”
Jenny is getting impatient. “What dissolution?! Stop this!”
“The return to the One; everything set to ONE! Liberation. The Messiah is returning. We made a simulation with the capsules that speak of him: not a single atom of this moon will subsist. Not an atom, nowhere. And the superworld will disappear, too...”
“The wave is nearing, it is crossing the cosmos...”
“NO! I don’t want it!”
“Then hold us, Jenny! Hold this moon, hold Jupiter. Hold the sun, if you can. Prevent our monads from exchanging their money.”
Jenny gathers food and a few survival pods. She also has Brigitte Kaliyuga’s treasure brought in. Then she settles with her palotins in a cocoon, at the heart of the rhizome inside Europa’s ices. She connects to it, and then she enters a profound meditation. Two events are coming close to her: the Lighthouse and the dissolution.
Will the Lighthouse crew reach Jenny? Will Captain Diana accept the fusion of young Astralix with his mother? How can they resist the dissolution? Will Jenny-Astralix make use of the WARP?
[Connecting sequence ends]
What are you doing here, Natasha? The Starets will not come now.
Proceed to Chapter 19...
Copyright © 2015 by Bertrand Cayzac