“So, where to now, Taylor?” the voice from the newly installed speaker in the 2047 Hermafrodicked vehicle said to the passenger whose name was on its registration. “The hospital, work or the bistro?” it continued in a non-offensively soothing voice that was an octave above alto and a similar register just below tenor. “I am at your command, Taylor.”
Taylor sat in the seat of the vehicle that had every option available, except of course a steering wheel, brake and accelerator peddle, as such had become as obsolete as the horse and buggy in the previous century. “Give me a minute to think about it,” Taylor said to ‘Madison 3a’, daring to envision what the speaker, he, she or it, really looked like. It was a fantasy left over from ‘the old days’ of course, but imagination had made the Hermafrodick vehicle possible, and the society it served very, very comfortable.
Over the next 60 seconds, Taylor considered the options, hoping that Madison 3a was listening to what Taylor said rather than really meant. Taylor looked into the mirror, adjusting the shoulder length hair atop the head. Then Taylor adjusted the buttons on the collarless shirt that could double as pink or light red, depending on what light shone on it, and who was assessing its hue. Taylor felt the skin tight garments around the legs, noting that they messaged with a hard, wave-like action everything from the hip down and accommodated the organs between them very comfortably, leaving them to their own rhythms. Taylor’s phone revealed that the time had passed faster than imagined, but there was still time to tend to biological, financial and recreational needs. But as what?
Another look in the mirror revealed to Taylor a face void of hair, but still with a sloping forehead and chiseled rather than rounded chin. It was a good looking face, both beautiful and handsome. But as for what and who was behind it, that was to be decided today. And the day was slipping by fast.
“The hospital then, Taylor?” the cyber-chauffer commanded its master, mastress, or both, in the manner of the Taylor’s ‘maternal unit’ who had insisted on being called Mom, and when her mental pathologies got worse, started calling Taylor ‘son’. “We’ll be at the Hospital in 28 plus or minus 2.3 minutes. I’ve made all the arrangements. Distress to be ended soon..” Madison 3a continued.
“Sure,” Taylor conceded to Madison 3a’s well-programmed suggestion, the abdominal mild discomfort now escalating to noticeable pain. But Taylor knew that being a hybrid between male and female came with sometimes unexpected needs, and that having machinery that once belonged to exclusively one gender were not only for Taylor’s own good, but for the good of the world in general. A world where reproduction was done scientifically, without the complication of destructive emotions or biological diseases that had plagued humanity in the early part of the century. A world where venereal disease, AIDS, jealous rages resulting in gunshots in the bedroom, sticky sheets, sexual harassment law suits and hormones bringing up teens rather than their parents was a thing of the past.
Yes, Taylor was a model citizen who accepted the role as a ‘freemale’, a natural step upward for humanity. And certainly well ahead of the lower animals who still were confined to living as one gender, doomed to fight against the other in one way or another. Besides, as Taylor knew, and accepted, being a freemale conferred the inability to confound relationships with gender. It allowed Taylor to see people as human before being of one gender or the other. When seeing someone on the street who interested, or repulsed, you, one didn’t slip into describing that person to others (or yourself) as ‘he’ or ‘she’ as the first aspect to their nature. As for the outside, there was now full freedom to express oneself as male or female, thankfully. Though given the style of tastefully and aesthetically pleasing clothing and gender neutral hair styles, the line between what was ‘beautiful female’ and ‘handsome male’ had been blurred so much that few could still be described as one or the other.
While being driven to the hospital for the monthly check up and medication that Taylor had put off for nearly 60 days, Taylor sipped a latte made by Madison 3a’s cyber assistant. Madison 3a offered some suggestions for pleasant smello-hologram viewing for Taylor, but Taylor preferred to ‘eat the brocholli before the ice cream’. Taylor inserted a disk marked ‘offensive and thankfully not done anymore’ which the new Synergistic Promoting Coordinating Officer at the publishing house center said was must viewing for all employees, particularly those who wanted to advance from assistant readers to editors, and this SPCO meant business. Spewing out onto the viewing screen were images of old comics broadcast in two dimensional images on flat screen rather than 4 dimensions in holograms. The old farts, ugly by both male and female social standards, who mocked women and men being called ‘guys’ back two centuries back century when ‘Madison 3as’ were as big as houses. The hipper comics who made fun of the gender neutral ‘MH’ term for ‘Married humanoid’ rather than Mrs. or Mister during the less ancient days when computers were programmed by overworked people rather than other computers. The last holdout comic was an old man with a head more filled with shiny scalp than hair, despite the fact that hair transplants had become not only available to the public, but required for all citizens who wanted to get real people jobs. “Ya know what scares me about freemales?” ‘Ivan the still Necessary’, the pot-bellied man with the unnecessarily-wrinkled face and sweat-soaked hairy chest ranted on stage to an audience who was studying him as much as being entertained by his antiquated discipline. “And what I also ‘love’ about freemales? And hate about them?”
After a tense silence, the pathetic old man looked to the audience in want of a laugh but in need of an insight, and continued. “We can’t call them he/she or she/he but have to say ‘fam’ when we use pronouns. But the fam’s (more female than male, at the moment) and the maf’s (more male than female, at the moment), who experiment with turning it around when on an interesting date that goes nowhere after the goodnight handshake, or rather bow, as touching another person is still considered sexual harassment, are potentially the most natural masochists creatable. If you tell them to go fuck themselves, they can!”
“But won’t, and can’t,” Taylor said to famself, or today, as maf (he) chose to present to the world, mafself, not sharing the laugh with the recorded audience. Perhaps it was because the ‘sensation’ in maf’s belly was moving around, creating some biological mischief no doubt in places the not yet 21 year old Taylor hadn’t been invaded in before. Or because Taylor was, according to the rantings and fantasies of his mentally deranged maternal unit, related to the comic who made that remark. That deluded old coot who bellowed out on the way to where he could be medicated out of his misery, and ignorance, “if it ain’t offensive to someone, somewhere, it ain’t comedy, or honest, or….”
Taylor pitied ‘Uncle Ivan’, the grumpy, and ungrateful dinosaur who modern technology had kept alive far longer than he would have lived on his own. Taylor knew maf (‘he’) would have to visit the old fart bearing only one gender in his nearly century old body again. For one, Taylor’s boss at the publishing house considered the old buzzard an interesting project to write about. And because Taylor, if biologically related to the workaholic masochist, wanted to see for maf-self just how much genetics had advanced in the last century. But for now, it was time for Taylor to visit the ‘Dead Corpses in the White Coats’ or, as old Uncle Ivan called them, “HF’s”, health facilitators, as they were rightfully called now.
At HF Sasha’s office, Taylor noted the new magazines in the waiting room, now in not only American English, but Americanized foreign tongues as well. Gone, thankfully, by law, internationally, was the assignment of an object to gender as it had been in the old days. No more remembering if table, boat, chair, pen, potato, or ‘stick I want to use to poke into the eye of the sadist who made all the rules for this unnecessarily complicated non-English language’ was male, female or neuter. No more matching articles with gender of those nouns. And most importantly, NO condescending comments from Russian, German, French or Italian speakers in the US who made Taylor feel small and uncultured because maf, or fam, mistakenly referred to a table as something with a vagina between its legs rather than a penis.
Taylor read the articles in the magazines to keep up maf’s language skills, and perhaps to see if there was a new budding writer who could do more than tell a smooth, soothing and informative story. “What’s missing here?” Taylor asked a studious 10 year old child sitting next to maf, absorbed into the recently found and previously censored ‘Einstein’s Third Theory of Relativity’ through thick, plain, giant size glasses. “Something that shakes up my brain, and makes my soul think.…what’s the word?” Taylor went on, in German, using the antiquated male ‘mein’ for the brain, the female ‘meine’ for ‘soul’. “That emotionally disruptive phenomenon that evokes the reflex of laughing, theoretically anyway,” he said regarding ‘soul’.
“Tickling,” the youth who no doubt had never experienced a laugh beyond his first birthday replied without eye contact, turning the page on the book written by the ancient philosopher who wrote that ‘without spirituality science is lame’. “And isn’t it forbidden to consider a head male and a soul female? Such talk made women feel like they are emotional machines, and men feel like they’re mechanical machines. Like the lower, crude and disgusting animals,” continued the gender neutral youth who had never petted a hound, ridden a pony or fed a pidgeon with his hands. Then again, he would not have the discomfort and emotional disturbances of having to ever have the hands of another human laid upon him as a prelude for reproduction, nor have to endure the guilt that happens when you are the instigator of all of the activity related to that, unfortunately, necessary biological function for a species to be perpetuated.
Taylor somehow saw mafself and famself in the ten year old whose intelligence index pin said he was prime genetic material. A yellow pin with a red rim. The same as what had been on Taylor’s first ‘big borl’ jacket when he had been out of the womb for a decade. A womb which Taylor had no access to crawl back into.
Would’ve and could’ves began to plague Taylor’s mind, and soul. Thankfully maf still had the latter, or more accurately was such more fam’s? There were no baby pictures of Taylor nude, not that Taylor knew about anyway. The only image of how Taylor came out of the womb came from his mother’s paintings, which showed the neonate smiling, laughing and with a diaper around the genetalia that in past eras had defined the worth, purpose and self esteem of humanoids. A situation that didn’t exist anymore, thank God, Goddess or as the term for the Almighty was now ‘The Whatever’. Taylor was reminded of ‘Whatever’s’ presence, as well as humanoid mortality, by an escalating pain in the abdomen which now spread into the legs, arms and chest. Above the neck, a feeling of light-headedness overcame consciousness, followed by nausea and a sense of not knowing where one was. Taylor’s skin turned ice cold, while spewing out a third layer of sweat that smelled like putrid rotting flesh and felt even more toxic from the inside. IT was as if there were two agents fighting each other, one coming from Taylor’s male genitalia, the other trying to assert control from the female parts. And at a time when there were no more Complax tablets left in Taylor’s waist-sac.
“So, Madison 3a is looking after you,” Taylor heard from an echoing voice that seemed to be from another dimension. Perhaps it was Taylor’s departed mother, the freemale thought, not knowing if the emotion behind that possibility was terror or relief. A figure in white approached Taylor, extending out to maf’s shaking lips a yellow chalice. The tip of the chalice touched the lower lip, making it feel excruciatingly hot and cold at the same time. When the elixor from it spilled onto Taylor’s tongue, Taylor saw and felt the chalice to be a plastic cup. Then Taylor perceived the messenger from Beyond as not an Angel, but something less ‘magical’, thankfully.
“The HP will see you now,” the Nurse said with slightly upturned outer lips, helping Taylor up onto maf’s feet, leading fam’s now non-shaking body into the exam room.
In the exam room, Taylor was hooked up to the standard 10 electrodes that had been part of the assessment procedure for all citizens since entering the Synergo Collective’. Then Taylor was presented with a hologram of a ‘passionally voluptuous’ woman and a ‘heroically handsome’ man, labeled as such.
“Which of these images appeals to you, Taylor?” the Nurse asked from behind a cyber clipboard.
“Ask the machine that read where my eyes went first, and stayed on longest,” Taylor
felt like bolting out, as this felt like a replay of the bi-monthly check ups all school children who were designated Gold Button with Red Rims went through as they were being groomed to be model citizens. Being blessed with cortically-based smarts rather than lower limbic courage, Taylor turned the issue around. “Which of these images do I want to be, or be with?” came out of Taylor’s mouth, in a calm, professional voice.
“A strange question for a freemale,” the Nurse replied, looking for other inquiries on the standard form. “A healthy freemale anyway. Are you taking your medication as prescribed?”
“Yes, I think so,” Taylor replied. “Madison 3a tells me so anyway. My boss tells me that…Hmmm. Maybe someone at work stole my pills and replaced them with something else?” A thought occurred to Taylor regarding Complax 3A, the newly developed ‘feel and be well’ medication that every freeman had to take daily to avoid being ‘off in the head or body’ the first day, ill the second, and courting death the third, according to the warnings on the label. A wondrous and very legal pharmacological concoction that were paid for from your paycheck for, so far anyway, a nominal fee that any job holding freemale could afford. Images of what may have happened three days ago at the house party Taylor was required, and desired, to have for the Company’s staff and preferred clients played out in the upwardly mobile and still young freemale’s head. “Yeah! That deadbeat gypsy ‘musician’ who thought mafself to be a cool and hip conspiracy author. A crusader against government administered breeding and population control. A deluded and destructive anarchist who, after I told him that the manuscript needed a re-write and not just a polish, said then sang that revenge would be inflicted on me, and the advancing blastocyst inside me.”
“Your first pro-fetus, Taylor?” the Nurse asked, bringing up Taylor’s medical data. “Which is ready to transplant into a worker hyperfemale for the rest of its gestation.”
“Yeah,” Taylor replied, recalling the 10 percent of the population who were still identifyable on ALL days of the month as the same single gender. “Worker hyperfemales, who think with their emotions, if they think at all, ‘Whatever’ help them,” Taylor continued, with as much condescension as pity.
“Hyperfemales have their purpose, as do hypermales, Taylor,” the more feminine than masculine old Nurse bearing reminded the young Upper caste freemale.
“As do cows for stew, horses for movies and dogs for special needs Down’s Syndrome children,” the urban-raised Taylor sneered. “Whose reproductive activities are so crude and repulsive.”
“But necessary, for the continuation of their species and ours,” the Nurse barked back into Taylor’s face, seeming to be more like a bitch on four legs than a gendered neutral human on two. ‘She’, as the Nurse now seemed to be acting like or maybe was, grabbed hold of Taylor’s wrists, holding them up to their owner’s eyes. “Everyone does their part, getting their hands and other parts of themselves ‘dirty’ so you can keep those hands of yours that have never even experienced a blister clean and ‘professional’.”
Taylor adjusted the ocular portholes such that they would not reveal the thoughts behind them, staring into the lower caste Nurse as an upper cast freemale. But Taylor’s eyeline was quickly drawn to an imaging device the Nurse pulled out of her pocket and placed on Taylor’s abdomen.
“We have to operate, now,” the Nurse said, checking the read out no less than three times. “Your uteroid membrane is having an argument with the pre-fetus. And both lost.”
“Which is the fault of the worker ultra females and worker ultra males, not me. I can still carry,” Taylor asserted. “I can still be inter-gratable into and useful to society. Right?”
“Yes, but as what is the question.” the Nurse replied. “As you know, everyone has to have an assigned function in keeping the human species perpetuated, with the right quantity and quality of offspring. Otherwise…”
It was the pause after ‘otherwise’ that worried Taylor most. It was rumored that those who could not contribute to the reproductive program of a centralized humanity would be ‘not be part of the solution for the global solution’. And to be not part of solution was to be part of the problem. And to be a problem, meant to be no more. To be ‘disposed of’ according to the conspiracy authors who came into the publishing house and left without a contract, and whose rejected manuscripts wound up confiscated by the police, according to law, without exception. Never to be read by anyone except their doctors.
“But I there is a new program which I think you may fit into, Taylor,” the Nurse continued, with an expressionless face. “My superior, a gold button with red rim, like you, will explain. But first, there’s an ancient custom we have to do first. HP Sasha says it brings good luck in the operating room.” The Nurse pulled out a thin circular piece of metal from her pocket. It was a coin, as Taylor recognized it from the history books written about the times when people actually used them to buy things rather than put the charges on the universal financial goods chip implanted into the retina which made stealing impossible. “Heads or tails?” The Nurse said as she flipped the dark yellow disc Toonie that had been worth 200 Canadian pennies in its time, and when Canada was officially made the 51st American state, 2 US pennies.
“Heads, of course,” Taylor flippantly replied as the coin lingered in mid air, reflecting on the absurdity of a tail, the disruptive furry and potentially excrement covered vestigial organ that animals still retained, but thankfully humans had abandoned once they decided to get out of the trees. “Yes, heads!” Taylor asserted, playing along with the HP’s eccentricities.
“Tails,” the Nurse declared, as she caught the coin on its return downward. “Which means the Doctor will need you to sign this.”
Feeling the re-emergence of pain in the belly, lightness in the head, and tingling in every extremity, Taylor was given a consent form from HP Sasha, who used the antiquated title of Doctor for reasons that baffled Taylor. The contract was the usual legalese, written for clarity rather than literary style, repleat with redundancies. With a noun followed by verb followed by object structure, interspersed with A ‘freely consents to’ do X, and B ‘willingly and without coercion consents to’ do Y. But it wasn’t what X and Y were that disturbed Taylor, but how A was referred to. “Male pronouns?” Taylor queried the Nurse regarding the words used. “I’m being assigned to be a hypermale? A grunt? An animal?”
“A very special chimera. Which your genetics can handle, for a very special mission,” the Nurse said. “When I asked Doctor, I mean HP, Sasha, she told me to show you this.”
It was the first time Taylor’s eyes saw, for real, a Grade 1B government document. And the first time HP and/or ‘Doc’ Sasha was referred to as female rather than maf or fam, depending on whether it was an even numbered day or odd one. Taylor’s mouth fell to the ground when reading it, that oral cavity saying nothing as Taylor’s aching body fell onto a chair placed there by the Nurse.
The Nurse laid one hand on Taylor’s shaking shoulder, the other on Taylor’s sweat soaked forearm. The former was legal grounds to have the Nurse put in jail for a year for mental battery. The latter, for sexual harassment as prelude to rape, which would put her in a jump suit or straight jacket for a decade. But given what came out of her mouth, Taylor had no recourse to the law to protect fam or mafself. “In essence, Taylor, you have unique genetics that we need to enhance the quality and quantity of breeding. There are diseases lingering in those who are hitting a hundred which we can treat, but once they get to a century and a half, ailments worse than any cancer. And those defects are starting to be seen in patients as young as 75 now. And even those as young as me.”
The look in the Nurse’s eyes said ‘please help me’ more intensely than displaced level 1b who came to Taylor for a literary favor to pad their resume at the office, or level D who begged for help to fill their bellies on the streets outside the bistro. “We need your help, Adam 41,” she said, seemingly on behalf of many people who Taylor was not supposed to know about, but perhaps the wackos submitting simplistically and irratically written conspiracy novels to his company did. “Will you help us?” she asked, rather than commanded.
“If you tell me what happened to Adams 1 to forty,” Taylor requested.
“Eve will fill you in on that on a need to know basis,” the reply.
Somehow, the surge of something that felt like ‘commitment’ pushed its way up Taylor’s ,pine, pulling the aching body with it into an erect position. But as the first words of protest, or negotiation, were about to come out of Taylor’s mouth, pain overshadowed Passion. The Nurse slipped a pen into Taylor’s hand, closed the fingers around it, and moved it onto the consent form. The signature was not legible, partly implanted by Taylor’s hand and partly by the Nurse, but it was legal, binding, and irreversible.
“Do I really have to do this?” Shelley asked the three administrators in the white coats who presented her with the proposal. “Why does it have to be me?” the olive skinned misfit whose psychological profile always put her at one or the other end of the bell shaped curve continued. She read the contract, printed on real paper, yet again while seated on the cot which provided a relatively comfortable vertical location to sleep, fornicate and dream upon. Or a launch pad to never have to set foot on a floor again, if one of the nightmares was to not end on its own. “I’ve done my duty,” asserted the hyperfemale who had only a month ago chopped off her hair into a twentieth century ‘GI Joe cut’ prior to almost slashing her wrists afterwards. “I’m out of eggs, and my uterus is still—-“
“—-in better shape than anyone else’s in our data bank,” Administrator 1 interjected, proving the point with the geneto-hormonal spread sheet.
“And your body has taken well to hormonal re-adjustment,” Administrator 2 droned on, “As demonstrated by your recent ultrasound on the inside.”
“And the very feminine attributes you have acquired on the outside,” the third “Wiseman” said, placing a full length mirror in front of Shelley’s face.
How Shelly hated what she saw. How she was repulsed by the three foot long mane of flowing, wavy blonde hair that, through accelerated follicular growth extract, was strong enough to not be cuttable by any knife, or the attempts of even Shelly to put it out from the roots. Two mammary extensions on her chest had sprouted from the flat surface into the size of grapefruits in less than two days. Her hips had acquired adipose tissue that made it impossible to sneak her way out of a vent in her cell, yet allowed her to sleep in a fetal position within said lodgings without her prematurely arthritic pelvic bones hurting. Such was complimented by a face which was round at the chin rather than square, and a forehead which was straight rather than sloping, perhaps due to enhanced growth of pre-frontal limbic processing brain tissue in the pre-frontal cerebral cortex, or something the doctors did to the her skull after she nearly bashed it open during the last suicide attempt. “What the hell did you to me!” she demanded to know after finally being allowed to see a reflection of herself after two weeks of court ordered Detachment Therapy.
“The issue is, what the hec did we do FOR you,” the tallest and seemingly oldest of the Administrators answered.
“Like what my father did ‘for’ me?” Shelly barked back at the more male than female appearing jailer who reminded her of her fraternal unit, or rather ‘Daddy’, as was the required form of address when in private. Memories of what Daddy did went through Shelly’s mind again. True, his genetics were primitive-humanoid, including that thankfully now extinct (and forbidden) Y Chromosome. But still, ‘Daddy’ should have been educated like the rest of his brethren during the Revolution Transition decade. How dare he kiss her on the cheek when putting her to bed, and lay that sloppy movement of the lips on his wife when retiring to their bedroom for the night. How dare he put his arms around Shelly and bring her close into his belly, even when Shelly was having a tough day. How dare he think that a ‘hug’, as he called it, was ‘the best medicine of all for feeling alone, put down, depressed or lost. And how dare Daddy ask Shelly to hug him when it was his time to breathe his last in the hospital bed.
“I’m not your father,” the Adminstrator said in a deepening voice, reading Shelly’s memories again, perhaps because of his natural ability to do so, or due to the latest implant put into her temple. “And I’m not your mother,” the chief administrator continued, in a higher octave. “But we need you to be an integral part of our family again,” the appendum, delivered as a request more than an order this time.
Shelly was taken aback at being asked to become part of a society she neither related to nor liked. But it was the verbage of the request that both intrigued and scared her. “Family,” she said, looking again at the proposal requiring her signature. “Haven’t your kind and my kind abandoned that antiquated and dangerous concept?” she blasted into the meek, boring, offensively-non-offensive smiling faces of the three Level 3 Integrators’ in front of her. “’Family time’ means time to slack off at work. To change topics of pragmatic discourse into chit chat. To develop bonds between yourself and other family members that make you care more for them than others, and therefore, allow the mind to dehumanize everyone else, thus making wars justifiable and virtuous? And worse, doesn’t ‘family’ make life disruptive, illogical and, as our primitive ancestors would say barely a century ago, ‘messy’?”
By the look in the Administrators’ eyes, Shelly hit them where they lived, or rather comfortably habituated. Using the words of her superiors against them was Shelly’s favorite game now. Second only to figuring out a way to end her own life before the implant could relate the action, or thought, to one of her caretakers at the facility of course.
“So, by the blank stare behind your ocular portholes, you need to process what I just spit out?” Shelly said, leaning back on the cot. “While I process something else in the dream world, which beats the hec and hell out of the real world,” she continued. “Unless of course you can offer me a reason why I’d WANT to get out of this cell, this cot or this—“
Shelly’s rant, and prelude to sleep she would hopefully never wake up from, was interrupted by a strange sound, that felt human but was not. “It that?” she asked regarding the familiar ascultation that preceded entry of the tail wagging dog bearing it.
“Yes, it is Promethius,” the chief Administrator said regarding the hound that was led into the room by two orderlies clad head to toe in protective suits with double layered gloves. “The friend you found on the side of the road when you escaped three years ago into the arbored maze.”
“You mean the friend who found me when I made a brake for it into the woods,” Shelly slurred out of her parched mouth while she greeted the mangy mutt, feeling the corners of her lips turn upward, noting that her hands were stroking the animal’s hairy and no doubt dirt containing skin, and embracing him into….yes, a hug. A hug that she would not let go of, for reasons that baffled her. Until she realized what this game was really about.
“I don’t do what you want, you take away Promethius’ brains along with his balls, right?” Shelly surmised, directing an accusing stare at the Chief Administrator. “So what do you want me to do, really.”
“To LIKE what we’re asking and needing you to do,” the reply from the Chief Administrator, who kneeled down next to Shelly, boldly extending a clean sterile, germ-free hand towards the odorous, thick hairy coat of the pooch. “As our current global biology lacks one element which our scientist have overlooked, and lack themselves. Some of used to call it…hmmm.” The Administrator continued, guilt in the downturned eyes.
“Love?” Shelly barked back, as a cynic. But a cynic who, according to the contract, and the desperate look in the Chief Administrator’s eyes, had to become a believer. And if she didn’t, the implant in her head would burn a hole into her brain rather than merely her scalp. So said the fine print, and the subtext in the voices of those making her read it.
“A smart citizen reads a lot, a wise one does not believe what one reads,” echoed through the Mind, and Soul, of Chief Secretary Heway in the Reproductive Management Agency while reading the latest cyber-published accounts of exploits that Highest Ranking science ‘whiz’ in the Global Collective had undergone, or initiated. Heway had seen it all, knew it all, and given the time spent at the top without opposition, some said created it all. The imposing figure who few subordinates had seen, some loved, and most feared, got up from the chair in the Mountain Observatory and gazed at the monitors of the species so dependent on him, her and/or it, depending on what gender they decided the scientist responsible for the Global Synergistic Union really was. “But it doesn’t matter,” Heway thought between the ears which some said ‘could hear everything’, after which the most hidden and powerful mind in the Global Collective gazed at the corporal projection cast off in the material plane, its features very visible in the mirrored windows of the ship perched atop the highest peak in the continent. “No one would dare mate with me, or laugh with me, or do anything jovial with me because, well, they are too dependent on me.”
One of those means of dependence was on the shelf. “We’ve been through a lot together, but we both have to advance to the next level,” Heway said to a bottle of the new variation of ‘Complax’, an extra hydroxyl group on the fifth ring of the patented compound that made its equilibrating effect on the body, and the mind, even more powerful. “Complax 3 did well enough, but you, must do better,” Heway said to the molecules inside the first batch of the new elixor. “And if you don’t think you can,” the lonely scientist said to the new army of molecules that had never experienced interaction with live normal human tissue. “Consider the rats, monkeys and defective mutant humans whose lives you made better. Easier. And think, Complax 4, how much more effective you will be than Complax 3. As long as the freemales, hypermales and hyperfemales take you regularly, as directed, requested and, if necessary, ordered to of course. Because, yes, I know you can think,” Heway continued. “And if you don’t think you can, I can make you think.”
With that, Heway sat back and waited for the shuttles from below the cloud covered mountain to ascend up the slopes, and the courier vessels above to land on the plateau in front of the large, panoramic window. Time was something that Heway considered playing with, warping and bending as required, and desired, but that would be later. For now, Heway hoped that the scientists under the Grand Secretary had learned from their superior’s instructions, example, and inspiration.
Chief Administrator Terry Patel searched far and wide for a coach who could make this Adam and Eve wind up as the parents of a newer and better race of humans. Shelly and Taylor had perfect genetic profiles, but once activated by the factors that kept emerging between gene and expression of those genes, anything could happen. And it did. A good third of the Adams and Eves were now sterile due to communicable diseases they transferred to each other that even the best genetic engineers couldn’t fix. Another third wound up killing each other. The last third wound up as vegetables, so worn down by the emotional challenge of experiencing love between the genders that they were unable to fuck anyone, even themselves once they were restored to having both, albeit under-functional, penises and vaginas again.
It had been five days of interviewing every neurobehavior, cerebro-plasticity network designer and implant bioengineer available, for Administrator Terry. Each of them championed a different theory regarding the magical ingredient that made man and woman WANT to produce children spawned of love rather than global necessity. None of them could prove that they would do more good than harm, and humanity had had enough harm already. The cleaner, more technical and less diseased the births, the more defective the offspring, so it seemed. It had started with indifference to religion, then ignoring the law, then ridiculing morality itself. If you could get whatever your self-centered heart wanted, you were now allowed and encouraged to keep it.
But Administrator Terry would not accept the new credo that humans were merely reflex machines, driven by self interest and gratification only. There had to be something more. “Do you remember the ‘what goes around comes around rule?’,” the aging but still not aged Level 3 noted to the Level 1 coworker cleaning glasswear in the lab after deleting the files of yet another batch of candidates to coach the new unassuming Adam and the very reluctant Eve. “Do recall the old days when opposites attracted? When the best duos were those in which A had skills X and Y and B was skillful at W and V?”
From the Level 1 Custodial Engineer, whose wrinkled and potted face was allowed to age ahead of its time, nothing. Just a ‘yes master’ grunt and a bow, the latter revealing on the forehead a lobotomy scar. But to be fair, that antiquated but still elegant procedure was necessary to turn that last Adam into a neutered, obedient steer rather than a frustrated angry bull whose fight to become independent would ultimately cost him his life, or the herd its survival.
“But there has to be someone who can understand how men and women calculate matters of behavioral expression,” Terry continued, looking up at the poster of Albert Einstein, the Ancient Philosopher who everyone thought was always right, all the time. The snap shot of Einstein sticking his tongue out, looking more like a clown than a visionary.
Albert didn’t have an answer either. But something inside the mind of the Level 1 cleaner seemed to want to say something to Terry. And he finally did, by pulling out a two disc device from his pocket attached to a string, making the device go up and down, suspended and controlled by an artful twist of his wrist.
“Yoyo,” the Level One said with a droning yet happy tone regarding the toy that fascinated him. A device that Terry had seen before, and still wondered at as to how it seemed to go up and down, particularly for an operator who was all about feeling, whatever that was, and not calculating. “Yoyo”, the Level One kept saying again and again, louder and louder, with a smile that was bigger than the one Albert Einstein had on his face, then eyes that were more desperate than the Old Fart Physicist from BM 27 (before Microsoft) ever had displayed in more serious poses. Saying, or channeling perhaps. But, no. It had to be mind reading, as Terry recalled thinking ‘YoYo’ before the Level One pulled out the device from the recesses of his trouser pocket.
“Yes! Alright! I’ll call Yoyo. Even though Yoyo is…hmmm,” Terry said.
“Crazzzzyyyy?” emerged from this lobotomized Adam mouth, but not his mind. Again, perhaps because the thought reading machine was on, which it was.
“Worse,” the aging but not yet aged East Indian Level 3 Administrator said, recalling the memories of his childhood in the Experimental Rearing Facility in Dehli. “Yoyo is Family.”
Yoyo could not have been better named. True, it was an ancient name, but then again, Yoyo was from an Ancient and once revered Caste that had been forgotten in India once cell phone texting had replaced conversing at the dinner table. Born with both genetalia, to equal extents, Yoyo was a natural Hijra. Yoyo could not only think like a woman, but feel like a man, or vice versa. But more importantly, Yoyo knew what perspective to adopt for each occasion, and pilgrim who sought his/her advice.
But though Yoyo was a model Seer for this new genderless age, she/he had declined at an early age any public office or top level academic position, disappearing into the bush, or what was left of it anyway, in Northern India as soon as that country joined the Synergistic Collective which was now a single Nation world.
It was an unusually hot Thursday late afternoon in the still-wooded and bacterially contaminated marginal region 24B sector of the Mid-Southern Asian District. Yoyo had officiated at a wedding between two marginally functional ‘mutants’, considered remnants from a past species that would breed itself out of existence soon. One was a masochistic workaholic barely literate farmer and a germaphobic, frail classical sitar player. Payment for sanctioning the union between the two misfits who knew as much about the world outside the thickly forested slopes that no one wanted to build on, yet anyway, was a case of eggs and a new song dedicated to Yoyo. A song which was performed for an audience of three two legged creatures, and twenty times that number of Souls bearing four legs. And of course countless more hidden observers with six legs, whose presence kept two legged creatures away from the hollar. Celebrations would normally go on into and through the night.
But on this windy yet warm Thursday evening, Yoyo would have to share a post-wedding private dinner with a guest she least expected. It was that guest’s wardrobe that amused her most. “You know, your pores can sweat more naturally if you take off that bioprotection suit, Terry,” Yoyo, who at the present time was clad in a turquoise and bright red Sari that matched the most recently used pigments on her long, braided hair, reminded her very uncomfortable sibbling. “And the bugs want to kiss you flesh to flesh. Some of them may be past lovers you know who maybe you loved more than you realized in a past lifetime?”
“You mean you want the bugs to spit on me,” Terry barked back from behind the glass screen covering his face. “Take a chunk out of my ‘hide’, as our ancestors would say. Maybe me bleed, sweat and make my white skin blush red.”
“All of which is good for you,” the Hijra replied, gently and firmly, in the manner of their shared maternal and paternal units. “And which is maybe necessary for your next two subjects in an experiment that both of us know cannot fail this time?”
“How did you know I was—?”
“—Looking for someone to instruct your new Adam and Eve so they won’t turn the garden into the sterile, toxic wasteland that has become YOUR world, but, thank God, and NOT ‘Whatever’, not mine?” Yoyo interjected, looking up to the sky with a twinkle in her eyes. The hermaphoridic Hijra, who at this time of day and month was a woman, walked slowly to the climate controlled hut where she counciled visitors and inspectors from the civilized realm, motioning for Terry to follow. “We outliers do have our ways of finding out such things, you know, Terr, through—.”
“—Informers who I will find, Yoyo!” Terry blasted out, taking off the bioprotective hood, allowing lungs to reconnect to parched mouth. “Unauthorized informers who I will chastise. punish and—“
“—-thank, I hope,” the final word on the matter from Yoyo as the Sari came off, revealing britches, vest and a sword worn by Yoyo’s very male, very brave and, through Shell, still very much alive ancestors. “Thank those informers for being an Instrument of God, Terr.”
“NOT ‘Whatever’!” Yoyo shot back in a baritone voice, the sunlight coming into the window illuminating tufts of hair on his upper lip and chin. “Though everyone’s view of that which is beyond our senses and comprehension is different, they should all be respected. To say that “God” is ‘Whatever’ in the flippant way that the Valley Girls used to use, and which now all of YOU use, is to dishonor God, the Beyond God, us and even ‘Whatever’!” A river of sweat poured out of Yoyo’s now beet red face, anger, disappointment and pity competing for dominance in his head. A head that was still able to feel something beyond logic, reason and procedure, but which still had to incorporate such into his, and her, life mission as an outlier Hijra. “But you didn’t come here to argue theology which, thankfully, none of us can prove.”
“No, God help me,” Terr said, eyes looking downward, hand pulling out the contract from the pocket of the protection suit. “We put it on paper, for you, since you shot down every communication satellite we put up in the sky above these geographical coordinates,” Terr continued. “And we need to know if you will help us.”
“Us being?” Yoyo inquired, examining the 27 page document, written in century old legalese.
“Everyone,” Terr said. “Outliers, inlayers, freemales, hypermales, hyperfemales, drones and—-“
“—them?” Yoyo said, pointing outside to a small herd of large animals with big eyes that bulged out of the sides of their heads. They seemed to Terr to be a visitor from an Ancient Past. Something he had never seen in the flesh, yet had dreamed about when he was a normal child wanting to be a powerful man, or woman.
“The Cree call them Mistatims,” Yoyo said regarding the horses with a voice that slipped into becoming more musical and higher in octave.
“Yes, Big Dogs,” Terr replied, having dug up the term by finger activating the memory computer implanted into his left temple. “A genetic design of pre Microsoft and Pre-literate humans which—“
“—We’re going to merge with, communicate with and learn from, right now!” Yoyo interjected, tossing into Terry’s arms a saddle, bridle and blanket.
“A good illusion makes for a better reality,” read the credo in Summarian hyerogliph atop the new shipment of Complax 3 and 4 delivered to Heway’s desk in the now very mobile observation lab, along with reports regarding what subjects really did see when they were under its calming influence. Such were recorded by occipital lobe imaging apparatuses as well as confirmed by reports given to questioners by the subjects. But as for the sampling of those n values, Heway was concerned.
“Are you sure the subjects in this study were given a choice?” Heway inquired of the supervisor of the project back at the Valley Medical Facility.
“They all said ‘yes’, your Grace,” the reply from the caller.
“Yes, but to what question?” Heway inquired, from a place seldom felt, and even less often shown.
“’Do you voluntarily want to be a test subject for an improved version of Complax which enables you to have a healthy construct of the world around you’” was read over the communication probe to Heway. “”And a construct of the universe beyond your physical senses.’”
“So, they saw images of us, and me, that keep their minds satisfied and their lower instincts in check?” Heway inquired. “They used to call those things Visions. What are they called now?”
“I don’t know. You’re the boss,” the reply.
That boss sat back on the comfortable seat in the observational tower and pondered the matter. Telling those in Heway’s charge that they were alone in the universe, with no one contantly looking after their health and welfare was of course something that could create chaos. Telling them false stories about what was beyond human physical senses would have far worse consequences, as anyone could invent a story to suit their needs and lead their ‘flock’ into yet another war against another flock of gently grazing sheep converted into being cannibalistic wolves. Telling the humans who were dependent on Compax, and the rest of Hemay’s wares, that there was something beyond Hemay or the stories told about the Wizard of Wizards would drive them mad, converting them into being a danger to themselves and others.
In any case, what concerned Heway most while listening to the rest of the medical report were two subjects who dropped out of the study, or were extracted out, without permission. Their whereabouts were still unknown to Heway and the army of enforcers.
The first session for Taylor and Shelly involved food. “Good digestion makes for healthy reproductive organs, and good conversation makes for good digestion,” Yoyo said as the Hijra set in front of them a spread of gustatory delights containing ten entrees and three times that number of spices, all of which matched the guests’ history of gustatory habits and of course the cerebral representations of taste sensation in primary association cortex. As hostess and therapist for this first session, Yoyo presented as ‘she’ that evening, with the warmest of maternal tones. “And the first element of conversation is—“
“—-pronouns, yes I know, and have been instructed,” Taylor noted. “I’m supposed to be a he, and my fellow prisoner is supposed to be a ‘she’. So what am I supposed to say to ‘her’?” the once very dispassionate freemale said with a deep voice he neither recognized as his own, nor had any affinity for after his life, so he was told anyway, saving surgery.
“You can start with a compliment,” Yoyo suggested behind a warm, genuine smile. “Like that you think some feature of her physical presentation is appealing to you.”
“That would be sexual harassment,” Shelly said, seeming to be feeling most uncomfortable after the hair, make up and fashion session prior to the first meal with her new mate. “Compliments about a woman’s appearance objectify women and are grounds for severe criminal prosecution.”
“As are compliments about my new attire and anatomical parts,” Taylor reminded Yoyo. “And if the satellites pick up any of it—“
“—-Fine!” Yoyo blasted out. “Then let’s try something else. Taylor, assertively inform Shelly about something about her appearance or demeaner than bothers you. Then you, Shelly, can throw a playful insult back at Taylor.”
“I will if you tell me one thing first,” Shelly said. “What is an insult?”
“And what is playful?” Taylor inquired.
Yoyo took in a deep breath, looked around the cabin that had been locked from the outside with a force field that she alone had the key to open, then finally came up with something. “Okay,” she said to the emotionless drones whom she was told had ‘a core of vitality enriched neuronal networks’ in their cerebral cortices. “Both of you insult me. And with your mouths, not memos on your pocket communication devices or thought pads. What do you find offensive about me? Or this food? Or this place? Or—-”
“—-the reason why you’re asking me to not only like, but love her?” Taylor interjected regarding Shelly. “Nobody told me I’d have to form emotional attachments and limbic connections with a lunatic.”
“And no one told me that to save the human race from breeding itself into ‘sterility of spirit’, I’d have to fall in love with this robot,” Shelly shot back with a condescending eyeroll.
“An ugly robot?” Yoyo offered.
“Yeah. One could use that descriptor,” Shelly answered, looking up and down the dinner date who she was assigned to have breakfasts with for many, many mornings after a boink in the sac. “He is…ugly.”
“And stupid?” Yoyo interjected.
“I suppose so,” the reply. “I don’t see any evidence to the contrary, myself being—”
“—a self-centered, emotionally-crude and dumb bitch?” Yoyo interjected. “Who thinks she’s the queen of the ball, but who doesn’t even know what song the band is playing, and that the lyrics are ridiculing her?” She turned to Taylor. “That is what you were thinking, and about to say, right?”
“Indeed yes. Yeah….You were reading my mind, word for word,” Taylor replied, seeming to be thankful to be elevated to the position of being master satirist. “But to be fair, and accurate, Shelly is eh…eh…”
“A reproductive unit that has more words in her intellectual and emotional vocabulary than eh eh eh eh this ‘literary editor’ eh eh eh does, Aye?” Shelly shot back. “Who maybe is as slow in the doink as he is in the head,” she continued with a grin of superiority, something those of her social station so rarely experienced relative to the gold and red buttoned caste. “If he even knows what a doink is.”
“Something that you wish you had, according to Sigmound Freud,” Taylor volleyed into Shelly’s lower class, non-white face.
“You mean Sigmond Fraud,” Shelly spat back.
“No, I believe your pronuciation of German is off. The eu is pronounced ‘oyd’ not ‘awed’.”
“I know that, and more. Like what Sigmond Freud’s last name really did mean, in the original language.”
“So do I!” Taylor blasted back, while checking the data bank in the language recall computer implanted under his right temple. “Freud in German means—”
“—Joy!” Shelly interjected with blind hatred. “Which Sigmond, if you read his books with open eyes instead of data processors, never experienced. Joy, that primitive but maybe necessary animal emotion which my handler and your Doctor said I have to experience with you so that we make babies that have souls who give a shit about others. So that the species, as we, or they, anyway, knew it, can be perpetuated. And so that you, Taylor, and me, Shelly, can be perpetuated and not tossed into the biological scrap heap, or worse, lobotomized and turned into a servant humanoid who, or rather WHICH…” Shelly ran out of breath, apparently recalling her own experiences with the lowest caste of humans. Those who had been deactivated into being drones before they became dangerous criminals who acted upon the conscience-less thoughts that came into their heads. “Do you intuit, comprehend, mutually assess or otherwise conclude what the fuck I’m even talking about, Taylor!”
“Yes, I know,” Taylor replied, his anger and fear finally aroused, then turned inward into that phenomenon that Freud called ‘depression’. “I am well aware of our current dilemma,” he said with downturned eyes. “And the requirement for both of us to become….hmmm…emotionally educated.”
“Awakened,” Yoyo interjected, realizing that the first stage of anger had actually evoked some kind of empathy between the two isolatory souls in her charge. A start anyway, but another ingredient was needed to open up their hearts as well as their minds. “Awakened with specialized instructions for both of you. Something that will hurt at first, but then be…blissful beyond your imaginations.”
“Our what?” Taylor said with his eyes, and Shelly with her mouth.
“Imaginations,” Yoyo reasserted. “And something called humor.”
“I know what humor is!” Shelly boasted. “The Ancient Greeks said there were four of them that composed the human body. Yellow bile, black bile, blood and phlegm. Isn’t that so, Taylor?”
“That is so, and correct,” the reply from the well read but under-experienced literary administrator.
“But not right,” Yoyo said, after which she collected three uneaten pies she had prepared, one made of custard, the other brightly colored berries and one containing dark chocolate under a vanilla covering . “Now, we throw one into each other’s face, or our own.”
“Why?” Shelly asked.
“That makes no sense,” Taylor added.
“Exactly!” Yoyo proclaimed with joy, after which she rammed the first pie into her own face.
From her two observers, blank stares.
“Now you throw the pies into my face. Or each other’s. Or your own.”
“Why?” Shelly inquired.
“Because it’s funny,” Yoyo answered with as big a smile as her frustrated mind could come up with. “And fun. And—”
“An ancient theatric that evokes humor,” Taylor finally ascertained and stated, dispassionately. “Which I have studied intensively.”
“But never experienced, or channeled,” Yoyo replied, sadly. “But that can and must be corrected.” With that she reached into a drawer and pulled out two large pads of paper, and two pens, instructing them how to use the latter. “What thing, idea or person do you have feelings about?”
“Emotions, I think the deluded Hijra primitive life form is talking about,” Shelly said to her fellow inmate. “But emotions such as what, Yoyo?” she asked her most recent jailor.
“Let’s start with the easy ones. Like fear, hatred and confusion. Say, B. What scares me about B? What do I hate about B? And what’s up with B?” Yoyo said, after which something opened up in the experimental design that she never anticipated. “And B is…each other. Starting with you, Taylor writing down, without thinking or stopping, what scares you about Shelly, and you, Shelly, writing down without stopping, what scares you about Taylor. Starting NOW!”
Yoyo retreived a stopwatch out of the recesses of her medicine pouch and clicked it on. It was the longest minute that either of the two subjects in her charge had experienced, in part because it lasted nearly five minutes, involving three sheets of paper where they seemed to list every one of their primal fears, and in some way overcame them. Then Yoyo commanded them, as the Seikh male counterpart, to write down what each of them hated about each other. A third round required them to write down what confounded them about each other.
“So, we’re done now?” a sweat-soaked and sometimes smiling Taylor said.
“I know I am,” Shelly asserted. “I’m tired and hungry.”
“For sleep and food, not another lesson,” Taylor asserted.
“Just one more thing,” male Seikh Yoyo requested, but with a female voice, leaning in towards the two subjects, students and potential saviors for her still beloved species. “You, Shelly, write down why it’s hard to be Taylor. And you, Taylor, write down why it’s hard to be Shelly.”
“Why?” they both asked, in unison.
“Just do it!” Yoyo commanded, with a raised sword.
Taylor and Shelly both wrote down why it is hard to be the other person. Somehow the jabs, stabs and humorous jokes about what they hated, feared and were confounded about in each other acquired something called humanity. Something they would have to experience before they had been told about it.
“Yes, I think this experiment might work. It has to, Siddhartha,” Yoyo whispered to the cat that hopped onto the Hijra’s lap. Then meowed something that seemed to say ‘one step at a time, taken very carefully’. And something more foreboding in ‘cat talk’ that Yoyo dared not translate to any of the two novice comics and potential lovers in front of her.
The clouds above Heway’s observation capsule, lab and, out of either habit or necessity, home were different than expected. Grey clouds held in water, the white ones spitting out rain, snow or sleet upon the plants and animals still hovering on the earth’s surface. When cold and warm air met, they created precipitation, but the kind of moisture which came down was somehow different in texture, form and smell. Valleys that were usually dry were being drenched, sectors which were usually flush with water weeks or days away from becoming deserts.
“It doesn’t smell like what we programmed them to do,” Heway informed the weather-making Mavins in charge of the Tesla weather climate changing machinery on the communication porthole which was now eminating static, an auditory artifact that Heway could listen through but most everyone else in this new century could not. “What are you seeding these clouds with?” The Chief Science Administrator inquired yet again of the subordinates who, up till now, had always been able to master the elements.
“Something that Mother Nature doesn’t like?” came back from a sheepishly obedient voice at the other end.
“Seeded by maybe someone who doesn’t like us, perhaps?” Heway shot back accusingly. “Like the ‘someones’ who are trying to find an antidote to the Complax 2 and 3, drugs that have made life easy, stressless and sustainable for countless citizens. Agents that, if taken as I directed, can overcome ANY glitch in horizonatally transmitted genetic programs.”
“You mean the genetic defects that have infected the human blood line, in all breeding sectors, your Eminence? Defects which are creating psychological aberrations not in line with, and contradictory to, the Global Standards of Psychological Homeostasis, your Excellency?” And which are only amplified by Mother, as it used to be called, Nature alterning ecosystems such that supplies of food are dwindling and the safety of dwellings are being threatened by the elements, no matter how well constructed, Your Grace.”
It had been a while since Heway had heard a subordinate use ‘Eminence’ ‘Excellency’ and ‘Grace’ as a form of address. Such were from a past era when those on top were considered Omipotent and Infallable, made by those who feared above all NOT being ruled by a Superior. Weak souls who still did need help to find out who they were and what they could become. Souls with brains and bodies whose needs were being well taken care of by Complax, if taken as directed of course.
The scientist at the other end of the static projecting phone related the particularly about the Climatic changes which were creating major psycho-behavior disturbances in the ever increasing sectors on ALL continents now. Heway took note of them, disappointed in how the instructions passed down to them had been ignored or bypassed, by intention, weakness or accident. But it was a more ethereal servant who angered Heway most.
While noting the disturbances in climate and aberrant (perhaps self?) destructive behavior, trying to figure out which came first, Heway’s main attention was on the clouds outside the well shielded observation window, and the matron who was supposed to be in charge of them. “‘Mama Nature’,” Heway said to the clouds that spit snow and pissing rain into the window, seemlingly aimed at Heway’s face. “We’re supposed to be working together. Me as a ‘father’ to the beings below. You as a ‘mother’ who nurtures you children. Children, I know, who do destructive things to the gifts you give them, but who I punish whenever they do. Tell me, what’s wrong? Are you having, as the past scholars who were merely recognized as comics in times of old, ‘a bad PMS day, week and month?”
From the sky, wind picked up, this time hot air coming from the North, cold frigid ethers blown in from the south. Yet another event that seemed to violate the laws of physics, which Heway was a master at discovering, and some say creating. An idea occurred to Heway. “I know, Mama N, my collaborator and once friend may have reversed situations on us. Through machines that, yes, I know, I should have seen and prevented my subordinates in the valleys from creating. But Nicola Tesla wouldn’t listen to me, or you, when he decided that man would master the weather, and not the other way around. He found out how to make desert skies pour down rain, and shake the earth in selected places to stop volcanoes from erupting. And you recall Promethius, who defied mandates from above to not let man, or woman, have fire or the ability to write. Violation of that carefully thought out order resulted in more fires burning down villages than campfires warming them up, and books that corrupted or neutralized more minds than ones that opened them up to POSITIVE possibilities. But Tesla of old and Promethius of older forgot that Homo Sapiens is a primitive species, potentially destructive, chronically ungrateful and ignorant enough to accept mindless happiness and comfort rather than hard earned Creative Bliss. And as for teaching the joy of struggle to humanity, both of us, Mama N know they are not ready for it. And have to be subdued, above all, for now anyway. Do you agree?”
The sky cleared, the grey clouds giving way to a clear shade of blue. A bright blue that reminded Heway of times past when all was simple, easy and orderly. Stress-less. Without the painful and usually non-productive psychological event called challenge, or the even more ill-defined emotional aberration that caused more pain than happiness, ‘love’. A world Heway could create again with Complax 3, or perhaps 4. As long as Mama M, Heway’s muse and sometimes lover, saw fit to do her job in the scheme set in place.
Shelly and Taylor learned the art, craft and even the feelings about comedy with a few tricks passed on by Yoyo, and the pattern recognition studies done by Taylor when he reviewed ‘Uncle Ivan’s’ tapes. He acquired rule of threes, dish it out only to those who deserve it or can take it, say more with less, use viscerally-arousing terms to describe something rather than accurate descriptors, and of course ‘if it’s not offensive to someone somewhere some time, it isn’t comedy’. Taylor could write it, but Shelly could better do it, Yoyo observed. Soon, even Taylor turned ‘the human population in the past, particularly in the state of Florida was preoccupied with indulgence in recreational pharmaceuticals to evoke their pleasure centers, pre-reproductive activity involving their genitals to alleviate stress and imbibing of alcoholic beverages to alleviate anxiety and/or challenge’ to ‘Florida is all about pills, pussy and Pilsner.’
Yet, science still did rule the realm, and the people in it. When observing Shelly act out and Taylor write the structure for their assignment of creating a sitcom (the initial reward for doing such being having the air conditioning put back on, of course) Yoyo perused the latest articles in the journals her ‘bro-sis sibling’ had sent her from the Global Research Institute. Yes, humans had gotten far better at understanding the neural mechanisms of data processing in the brain, but as for the anatomy of the mind and finding the exact location for where what had been considered in past eras as ‘soul’, that was still an ‘under-investigated’ and not only because it was underfunded. How Yoyo, who had experimented with being a scientist in past careers before dropping out of the Collective, yearned for an article on neural mapping reading ‘previous studies on limbo-cortical pathways and pharmacology suggest that this area requires another paradym to be fully comprehended’ to be replaced by ‘smelling the shit and shinola about past literature on the pathways ‘lower and upper’ brains leads us to the conclusion that we’re all on the wrong road and trying to drive a wheeled summer convertible over a snowy mountain pass that needs a sled’. Indeed, it was such a passage that got Yoyo demoted from being a Level 2a Investigator, and the defense of such which almost got Yoyo converted into being an ‘n value’ in research on ‘aberrant behavior’ performed by her former colleagues, and students.
But that was then, and this was now. A ‘now’ where Yoyo was well past the age of being a biological father or mother to anyone. A ‘now’ where the future of homo sapiens, a species that Yoyo pitied, hated and feared, but still loved, had to be transformed into something…deeper, and more Alive, big A. A ‘now’ where Taylor’s sperm and Shelly’s ovaries were at a critical point in their development, requiring compassion from the brain, and soul, to correct the defective genetics that had produced a race of uncaring, selfish, and destructive human beings who had no real conscience or consciousness. The rewards for doing the ‘morally considerate’ options instituted by the legal system had increasingly less appeal than the ‘grab what you can while you can because there is really nothing else’ paradym which was taking root world wide. Everywhere except in the animal world, which thankfully had become irrelevant to most humans.
“Now, it’s your turn to teach these ‘cool to be superior’ lower beings who think they’re the hottest shit on evolutionary tree what they’re really about, and who they could really become, if they had the balls, and brains, to,” Yoyo said to a Labrador Retriever, Rotweiller, German Shepherd cross canine who had more than a tinge of wild coyote or wolf somewhere in his recent pedigree regarding Shelly and Taylor, the latter completing their writing assignment in the room adjacent to Yoyo’s book and herb cluttered study. “It’s an important job that, well…may not go so well at the start, but…”
The dog barked something which felt like ‘I can handle it, boss, friend and co-investigator,’ then ambled into the adjacent room to the unsuspecting humanoids who were on their way to becoming human, taking an empty bowl into his mouth en route.
Taylor was shocked at smelling, then seeing a mangy four legged creature drop a bowl in front of him. The hound then nuzzled onto his leg, then barked something into his very aroused ocular portholes.
“He’s saying ‘feed me’,” Shelly translated as she bent down to stroke the neck of the creature who bore a striking resemblance to the companion who kept her company, and as she recalled anyway, fed, during her brief escape from the Treatment Facility in her younger years. Recalling those times when the wild canine in the woods stole food from the hospital kitchen and dump back to the hideout where Shelly remained for three days, she fed this surprisingly domesticated mutt all of the vegetable casserole remaining on her plate.
The dog seemed appreciative of such, gobbling it up, then pawed at Taylor’s leg. “I don’t have anything on my plate,” he said, first out of fear of being eaten for not providing tribute to this attacker, then apologetically as he realized that the eyes of this animal were more human than those he had encountered in a long, long time.
Yoyo observed Shelly instruct Taylor in a crash course in dog-human communication skills, involving use of the voice, movement of the hands and placement of body positions relative to each other. She noted Taylor unconsciously not only picking up what he was instructed in, but what his body and mind already seemed to know about how to connect with this hairy smelly four legged beast. She felt accomplished when Shelly grabbed a thick skinned orange from the table and tossed it to the other side of the room. The canine assistant instructor repeatedly fetched the orange ball thrown by his ‘masters’, laying it at the feet of the now two canine-loving humans he was sent to educate. Yoyo felt particularly good about the experiment when she noted that it was the animal-phobic Taylor who the dog came to after each throw of the ball, time after time, and Taylor who the dog asked to throw the ball out again. But something seemed to go wrong when she noted something in Shelly that eminated through her eyes, then was verified by grunts through her gritted teeth as Taylor bonded with the tail wagging mutt like a blind child first awakened the challenges and joys of sight.
“Jealousy,” Yoyo thought to herself. “The first thing that happens when someone or something you love decides to be more loved by someone else.” She recalled the crude behaviors of the past century when the most vicious of murders were exerted by a husband on ‘his beloved’ when he found her in bed with another man. Wives who found out their husbands were cheating on them, or had been lured away by a vixon of one sort of another, extracting tailor-made vengeance upon their man, such as chopping off his ‘manhood’ be it a mane of long flowing hair, a semen-ejecting penis, or his bank account. But maybe this was only a stage in their evolution, Yoyo hoped, and prayed, recalling that the most toxic marriages in the times when such arrangements were allowed, and encouraged, involved two parties who didn’t care about each other enough to argue, or become jealous. Still, anger, jealousy and greed, the three most toxic of human emotions according to Buddha, had destroyed many a civilization before. Such required being sure that when it came to riding the horse, that Shelly be the one who the equine assistant teacher liked best. And that the next meal of oranges and casserole be served with cutlery that was not sharp enough to cut into flesh, hair or rapidly emerging fragile hearts.
“So, how goes the experiment, Terry?” the Section Chief asked Administrator Patel from behind an illuminated table and under a florescent light that hid the face, but not the bigness of the big boss’ shadow. Such was projected by a figure with large head, long extensive fingers and a torso three times smaller in proportion than anyone else working in the medical facility.
“The experiment where I’ve elected to become Terr, the Yang persona, or Terry, the Yin one?” Patel shot back, infused with a strange quality of emotional dissociation once called courage while sipping the tea presented to him. He held the mug like a man from a previous century rather than a woman from those times, or a freemale in the present. “I am hearing that it is going well,” he added, making no effort to keep his voice between the Herz frequencies which disallowed gender identification.
“Have they mated?” the Section Chief inquired, alternating sound frequencies between the Yin and Yang register.
“They are not ready to yet, SirMa’am and/or Ma’amSir,” Patel replied with a courtly bow. “We’re still waiting for the limbic lobe and association cerebral cortices to alter the hypothalamic secretions such that genetic expression and post translational modification of that expression will produce sperm, eggs and a uterine millieu that promote the kind of applied and advanced intelligence which is consistent with empathetic dynamics and sustainable ability to manifest that with others effectively.”
“You mean the ability to spawn smart kids who give a shit about something other than themselves, and are not stupid enough to let their lower emotions rules their brains?” the Section Chief inquired with a voice that felt more human than anything Patel had heard from his superiors, or subordinates, in decades. The Section Chief rose up from the chair behind the desk, then moved into the light, allowing Patel a full view of the boss he had never seen in the flesh.
Patel was horrified when he saw the mutilation of the limbs and wrinkles that dug into every part of the skin. He was repulsed when his nose acquired a whiff of what the seemingly sterile body was carrying into the indoor ethers.
“Yes, rotting flesh, both below the neck and between the ears,” the Section Chief said as she pulled off another layer of skin from her arm, then reached into the back of her head, pulling a string of cerebral tissue covered with hair and blood. “This regenerative process we all have seemed to be working for those of us who have had the misfortune of surviving past out 200th birthday,” she explained as she forced her frail, painful arthritic legs to take her to the couch in the office, on which the medical equipment needed for repair was laid out. “But the generation we have raised has its own agenda as a first priority, not ours. And…” After a few painful breaths, the Section Chief let her ass fall onto the couch. Raising an arm stripped of most of its skin as far as she could, she pointed to an IV line. “Would you be so kind as to attach these tubes to the catheter in the my progressively failing excuse for a forelimb?” requested the boss who Patel hated, feared and when gone was in line to replace.
For reasons Patel was not sure of, he rushed to help the elderly Section Chief whose body had regressed to the gender and biology to which she was born. He inserted the IV line into the vein sticking out of her left arm, and adjusted the quantity of Regenerative Extract to the amount prescribed by the instructions on the bottle.
“This stays between us,” she requested of Patel. “I could command you to do so, but it is more polite to ask.”
“And more effective,” Patel replied, feeling himself to be pragmatic again. “For the benefit of…”
Patel was at a loss as to what to say next. The party line was ‘the benefit of all’ but who was ‘all’ anyway? Was it the elite who, through technology, had survived and thrived in this Century of Synergistic Advancement? Was it the many personalities within his own still not yet gender defined soul? Or was it an ‘all’ that involved, first, family, namely Yoyo, and his surrogate children, the new Adam and the new Eve. Who had not reported in to him in a week. In a month where news reports from all sources mentioned no stories about any event to happen beyond the next year. In a year where no calendars Patel had seen anywhere in the civilized districts had any ‘to do’ item listed beyond the next 30 days.
The unexplained absence of the Patels, and lack of reports regarding their most recent experiments caused ‘disturbance in mentation between Heway’s ears. And not the kind Heway was used to dealing with when trying to pass down scientific insights to those under the Chief Scientist’s domain as that Chief of chiefs looked out the window at the Eastern Sector mountains. Heway’s face turned red, the tufts of the white hair starting to cover it again feeling hot to the touch. The normally calm, understanding and logically-oriented chest felt tight. And as for connecting to those outside of the observation capsule, Heway felt…alone. Then depressed. Then, after the thoughts between the ears assessed the data producing that very irrational feeling settled, Heway was angry. Angry enough to call all of the enforcers, telling each of them to open all of their scanning devises. And that they would suffer far more than withdrawl from their daily ratio of Complax if they didn’t follow any leads as to the whereabouts of Yoyo and Terr Patel, as well as Shelly and Taylor ANYwhere it lead them. No matter how muddy their protection suit boots would get. Or how bloody their gloved, or ungloved, hands would be in the search to find them.
“I want, nay COMMAND, them to be brought to me alive!” Heway finally said to the most effective enforcer of the Global Synergist Mandate. “Do you understand me girl?” Heway barked out in a baritone voice.
“I’m a woman, not a girl,” Mama Nature 23A, as she called herself, replied back flirtatiously. “We’ve both been in this game long enough for you to know that we both are old, and should embrace it. And, as the expression from two centuries ago said, ‘the older the violin the sweeter the music.’ And the best harmony for a baritone is always a soprano, you know, or should recall.”
Lonely as Heway was for any companionship, or affection, he, as his subordinates now referred to him again, as in the old days, was in no mood to be dictated to by a woman who some say he created. One who was not in charge of the best Tesla weather making machines available, or even more effective ones created by scientists who Heway trained. Scientists who were now performing their own experiments. But for what agenda? Heway had worked very hard to ensure that this New Age for homiosapies was a stressless, healthy and happy one. He was not only the originator of Complax, and demanded credit for such.
But now, even Heway’s most trusted enforcers were going Rogue. Maybe it was something in the ethers, or something that was about to happen eventually anyway.
“I can hear you wanting to say something to me,” Mama Nature 23A asked her boss, more as a co-worker. “We have to talk, really talk,” she continued, as something Heway knew little or nothing about…a wife. And a loving wife at that.
Heway thought about what he should say as the ‘Yang’ component of the team, dived down deep into his old and very experienced mind, then finally came up with the words. “I want them alive!”
“The Patels, the most recent Adam and Eve, the rogue scientists who are denying or defying us, or us?” the reply. “And is alive spelt with a capital A or a small one?”
“Find them!” Heway commanded. “Please,” he pleaded, knowing all too painfully that the price of being on top is that there is no Father or Mother Figure to ask for help, advice or comfort.
The weather at the ‘holiday camp’ Shelly and Taylor allowed themselves to be sent to turned bad. First, the wind came up and busted open the windows. Then the rains came down from the clouds, pouring water by the buckets into the sky below them then forcing the most recent Adam and Eve to place buckets everywhere in their indoor garden. Then the mud moved that garden down the hill, landing both of them into the muck, mud and, after the rains finally stopped, something they had read about but never seen first hand.
“A trench,” Taylor observed with regard to the wood lined trough in the ground which they both fell into. “Used as shelter from laterally-thrust trajectories by opponents whose national identity and political agenda were, presumably, in direct opposition to each other.”
“Complete with weapons to protect ourselves,” Shelly noted regarding the swords, guns and bayonets that had seeped up from the ground below her shaking and cold feet.
“And completely without Yoyo telling us what to do with them,” Taylor said, as he pushed himself up on his feet and looked at the hills around him. He noted soldiers whose faces were hidden under their helmets and behind the sites of assault weapons which were shooting real bullets over his and Shelly’s head, from the Eastern side of the trench, complimented by an equal band of combatants from the Western side. “Or how to use them,” Taylor said of the firearms and flesh dissecting instruments laying at his feet.
“Or to tell us anything else,” Shelly added, noting a body where the house had been before it slid down the hill and got sucked into the muck. A lifeless body dressed in a female Sari, as well as male Sheik warrior garb, both soaked with blood.
The worth and requirement of pulling Yoyo into the trench where the bullets didn’t seem to be hitting wacked Taylor and Shelly in the lower, middle and upper brain all at once, But the feasibility of testing that hypothesis was negated when Yoyo’s body blew into bits from an explosion after a crow had landed next to it, snatching a snack of human eyeballs.
The soldiers from the West side of the trench approached a few meters, crouching their way forward again, shooting at the combatants from the East. “It looks like we’re in the middle of something very, hmmm…. historical,” Taylor proposed in academic mode, noting the uniforms worn by those approaching from both sides. “I was commissioned to review a book about a battle that was fought here between a Moslem and a Hindu country. Both sides fighting, presumably, for the honor of a construct, aka God, that no one could prove as real, or valid of course. And these soldiers today—”
“—Are maybe ghosts of the ones who died then!!!?” fired into Shelly’s consciousness, and mouth, from a very primal part of her brain, and Soul, the existence of the latter of course being an irrelevant issue in the present century. “Ghost who are firing REAL bullets!” she continued, noting the projectiles of flying lead which she has never seen in real life kicking up dirt within inches of her shaking shoulder, surgically regenerated uterus and, thus far, not crow eaten eyes. When she rolled down deeper into the muddy trench, a slit into her arm evoked a strange fluid emerging from it that terrified her. She grabbed hold of Taylor’s torso in that repulsive and now outlawed expression of lower functions that was known as a ‘tight hug’, or alternatively ‘interdependent embrace’.
“It’s called blood,” Taylor informed her with a calm voice regarding the red fluid coming out of Shelly’s arm. “Prior to infusions of hemostatic factors that halt its emission with dissection of skin or inner organs,” he continued as he self-observed his hands whip off his scarf and tie it tightly around the wound. “ It used to come out of flesh that was dislected by objects that could potentially, but not always—“ Professor Taylor’s discourse was halted by another projectile that cut a long, red line across his left forearm.
“—Kill you?” Shelly gasped as she noted blood coming out of Taylor arm, an appendage that was connected to a shaking body and fearful mind. Experiencing, as she was still feeling, a sensation the recent ancients called ‘pain’. Acting from a place Shelly could not identify nor define within herself, she ripped off a portion of the blouse covering her upper chest and tied it around the good and now frightened Doctor Taylor’s arm. “What’s going on, Taylor? Why are ghosts shooting real bullets at us?”
“Defective gggenetics, pppperhaps,” Taylor replied, in stammers that he had never experienced but had considered, barely two weeks ago, ‘limbic brain stem expressions of anxiety’ resulting from ‘higher cerebral centers’ not adjusting to or having prevented ‘disruption of the status quo’. “Maybe those fabricated tales Yoyo and your referring physician told us are true. The ones about war being used again as a way to get what you want, or possibly need, due to the new method of breeding homo sapiens is returning. Wars that we—“
“—are not being told about, for, as the recent ancients said, ‘our own good’?” Shelly said, once again completing Taylor’s sentences, with phrases he was too scared to face, and too smart to share or express.
“True enough,” Taylor replied, with a mouth that felt dry and salty, and a body that seemed to be thinking with his feet. As the bullets got closer. Then explosions burst open the ‘safe’ ground to the right and the left. And the soldiers from both sides began a charge towards the middle, shooting metal projectiles and throwing explosive devices en route, yelling out praises for their Gods as their comrades fell into the dirt.
“Maybe we can tell these Hindu and Moslem combatants that their construct of God is mistaken? And remind them that ‘Whatever’ wrote at one time ‘thou shalt not kill’?” Taylor suggested.
“First we have to convince them that to kill for your country, countrymen or family is a moral miscalculation, not a virtue,” Shelly self-observed herself postulating in a passion-infused rant. “But, seeing as we, you and me, and this baby I’m supposed to carry in my womb are family. A family who our referring physicians say can say are smarter, wiser and more caring than these genetically toxic and destructive idiots ever can be, requiring that we…hmmm.”
Shelly picked up one of the rifles that emerged from the mud, finding that it was in good working condition. There was plenty of ammunition around as well. “I’ve seen this in two dimensional projections on a screen. It’s called cover, I think. I shoot at the people shooting at us, you run down the trench into the arbored maze.”
“Turning that around,” Taylor said, grabbing hold of the AKA 47 with force and authority. “I should do the shooting while you go into the woods.”
“And why should you do the shooting and I do the running?” Shelly blasted out as the rounds came closer, and the explosions nearer. “Because you’re ‘the man’?”
“No, because you’re the woman,” he said, after which he fired a volley of shots in front of the soldiers advancing from the West and the East, halting their progress, though knowing he would not stop it. While the soldiers regrouped for their continuing advance, he gently putting his hand on Shelly’s abdomen. “Your uterus is more fragile and important than my testicular tissue,” he said, after which he burst out into a chuckle when feeling pain between his legs as a result of the rolling and rocking. “Though testicular tissue hurts far more than I previously appreciated. Such explains why ‘kick in the nuts’ is a game that only aggressive and colorful cartoon characters play with each other when they…”
Taylor’s discourse about the cartoon previously known as South Park was halted by an assault on his lips that pushed the words back into his throat. And make his left chest pound harder than it had in a long, long time.
“It’s called a kiss,” Shelly said by way of explanation as she pulled her lips away from Taylor’s. “I had to see what it was like before I, or we…” She closed her eyes, feeling tears streaming down them.
“None of us are going to die,” Taylor assured Shelly, after which he ‘assaulted’ her lips in the same manner. “And neither is he,” Taylor continued, pointing Shelly’s attention to another visitor to the trench. “Do you know how to make him move where we want him to?” he said of the runaway horse which Yoyo considered one of her closest friends, even closer than the Divine Construct, or the ‘Whatever’ that she called God.
“I think so,” Shelly said, grabbing hold of a long rope, converting it into a device that can be used to turn the animal right or left when attached to the steed’s halter. “It’s called a hackamore,” she related, finding relief and assurance in the horse’s big, brown eyes. You pull on the right or the left to turn, pull back when you want him to stop.
“And to make him go?” Taylor asked, while wielding the AKA 47. “Which we should do now!” he asserted, after which he fired a few more rounds in front of the feet of the soldiers. While their heads were ducked down, he knelt down on the ground, allowing Shelly to step on his back to mount the horse.
“Now you, please,” Shelly said with an outstretched hand.
Using a stump of mud as a stool,. Taylor elevated himself and jumped atop the horse, behind Shelly.
“Let’s pray that this horse trusts me as much as he trusted Yoyo,” Shelly said. “And that the noise modifier on that gun you have is still intact,” she continued, noting a smile coming onto Taylor’s face, not unlike the hypermales she had ‘been with’ during her medically-required incarceration in the past. “And that you don’t shoot the heads off those soldiers, the feet off this horse, or the balls off yourself.”
With that, Shelly prodded the horse into a trot, then kicked him into a lope that carried her and her terrified rifle wielding protector down the trench, into the woods, then eventually out of the wartorn valley. From that position, humans and animals rested, while the war they left behind raged on, projecting into the air the thunders of bullets, the yelps of self-righteous battle cries, the screeching of horror from the wounded, then finally, dead silence. Then a wind blew through the trees that felt like the ghosts of the recently killed, or possibly killed again.
“All in all, it doesn’t look so bad from where I am seeing it,” Yoyo said to the partially illuminated gatekeeper in front of her looking over her report of what she had done, and the record of what others had said she had done. “Though my eyes do feel different in this waiting room,” she continued as she squinted again at the brightly lit white walls around her in the windowless chamber.
The Judge, and possible executioner, flipped another cyberpage on the lap top under his long, white beard. “And your most recent experiment, how do YOU think it went?” he inquired in a deep, baritone voice.
“We both saw the footage the cameras shot of them,” Yoyo said, wiping the sanguineous fluid off a body that felt rejuvenated, lighter somehow than before she was transported into the waiting room. “How do YOU think Shelly and Taylor’s relationship is moving along?” she pressed of the larger framed being in front of her, who still had not shown his face.
“You mean how is the interpersonal dynamic between Adam 235 and Eve 146,” the Inquisitor asserted, still denying Yoyo the privilege and courtesy of eye contact.
“I didn’t know there were so many Adams, and Eves,” Yoyo replied, taking it upon herself to take a seat on the chair that was pushed out from the wall, helping herself to the silver tray of flat, bitter biscuits and lightly fermented grape juice on the table next to it. “Am I allowed to know what happened to them? And the children they spawned before they were psychologically ready to mate?”
“You know part of the answer to that as much as I do, Yoyo,” the Gatekeeper said, moving under the roving light above her, allowing her a view of his face. “One of them got hold of a weather making machine left by Nichola Tesla, blowing your house into the wind and carrying it away in a mud slide. What was that student’s name?”
“Dakota,” Yoyo replied, recalling the memory burnt far more deeply into her guilt ridden soul than it could have been encrypted in any cyber-record of carved into the hardest of stones.
“And the soldiers who tried to kill each other down below? Who we hired, and—-”
“—I know! I programmed to kill each other, using skills and technology I abandoned a long time ago,” Yoyo continued, her face a flaming hue of angry red, the tears of remorse running down her cheeks feeling like hot lava rather than cooling ocular secretions. “And saved you and the other section chiefs from doing more brain lesion experiments on so you could find out where the seat of the primal, emotionally-charged and illogical ‘soul’ lies. A soul that—“
“—We WILL find, and one day assess for its real socio-economic value, through science, Yoyo,” the Section Chief assured her as he sat down on comfortable chair he summoned from behind the wall with a nod of his finger, accompanied by a platter of meat which, according to some anyway, was of human origin.
The sausage emitted an aroma that aroused Yoyo’s reticular activating system, appetite and not yet surgically removed libido.
“Do you want some?” the Section Chief inquired of Yoyo, snapping his fingers, commanding the body-less waiter on the other side of the wall to deliver a tray of hot, aromatic sausage on a bed of thinly sliced bread. “Freshly synthesized.”
“Or maybe freshly killed,” Yoyo thought, but didn’t say, from behind a wall she had somehow implanted into her mind that disallowed even the most sophisticated brain scanning machinery, or neurolinguistically-trained interrogators, to read. She took a nibble from the sausage sandwich, pretending it was a bite. “With explosives this time?” she said of the flesh from the body which had been made up to look like her. Which was demolished into tiny bits, just like the Sari and Sheik vest it was wearing. Items of apparel Yoyo found herself missing, now that she was clad in a regulation white and light brown suit, in keeping with being a member or the upper ranks in the Institute. A position she was once proud of but not felt shame for not having disowned. But, the system that Yoyo helped to build could not be disabled, or cured, as easily as it was created. Not without the successful participation of this most recent Adam and Eve, and the cooperation of Promethius, the horse who was one of the last of his species still left on the plant. A steed that, thankfully, Yoyo had not gelded. Such would enable him to breed, but also confer a mind of his own that was not always in keeping with the ‘higher species’ atop his back.
“I told you that this horse has a fucking on his mind, and not our mutual welfare anywhere in it!” Taylor blasted at Shelly as he hobbled around a meadow filled with grass that Promethius was eating, along with a feral mare he had bolted to upon seeing her. “Where are we?” he inquired of Shelly.
“The garden of Eden, maybe,” the forcibly dismounted Eve said, having noted trees filled with everything except apples, and bushes containing no snakes underneath.
“You mean the maze of weeds,” Taylor blasted back, sneezing out yet another blast of green particles from the lush meadow from his snotty and sore nose. “I suppose you have a plan for this mess you got us into, ‘woman’.”
“I do indeed,” Shelly replied with the accent, charm and submissive demeaner of a Southern Belle from three centuries back. She sasheed towards Taylor. Her body lyrically sang a dance in which her delicate fingers snatched a variety of fruits, placing them into the ‘basket’ between her enlarged breasts. “Knowing my place as a woman, it’s my job to please the man. And the best way to please a man is to—“
“—try to woe me into your spell with food,” Taylor said.
“Or whatever’s behind it,” Shelly smiled back, unloading the fruits, vegetables and nuts onto a metal helmet from the trenches which now doubled as a plate. “That you’ve been looking at ever since we met,” she continued, pointing to her exposed breasts. “Free milk shake, PLEASE,” she continued while rumbling her breasts up and down, those appendages having gotten larger than she envisioned they ever could be, or wanted them to become. “A joke,” she told her unresponsive audience by way of explanation.
“Interesting ‘chest muscles’,” Taylor replied behind a smile that he could not deny as being real, and primal. “That I DO know don’t produce milk unless we have engaged in coitus, then wait 9 months for a…a…” Taylor could not say the word.
“B A B Y,” Shelly spelt out with her enlarging and reddening lips, letting her two enlarged mammary glands do the real talking. “Baby, Baby,” she related with something that came from her ‘innerds’ that connected to Taylor’s limbic lobes, and everywhere else in his body, including the neurological tissue between his legs.
“What’s happening?” he asked, noting his penis getting larger, bigger, and not willing to stay behind a closed zipper. A zipper that Shelly pulled down, as Taylor exposed more of her milk jugs by unbuttoning her blouse. Then abruptly looked into her eyes, as she gazed into his.
“Yes,” Shelly said, feeling lost in the moment.
“Yes?” Taylor inquired from a place that was both light and heavy.
“Absolutely, yes,” her reply. “Please.”
“Thank you,” came from Taylor’s parched mouth, and his body. A body that found itself merged with a third body, and soul. Whose voice was Silent, yet louder to the inner ear than anything he had experienced. The fluids from his recently masculinized body conducted an electrical Presence into Shelly’s vaginal labyrinth and vice versa, echoing an orchestrated ‘yes’ from all involved, very much including Promethius.
It was the kind of honor a young person dreamed about, and a lazy one fantasized over. But the offer that Terr (who alternatively was called Tell now) Patel was being given by his superiors, subordinates who were soon to be his superiors, and younger colleagues was something he would have to avoid, with a convincing show of respect and gratitude. “Retirement Banquet and Platnum Pension Award Ceremony” the highly published and officially accomplished, not yet 60 year old Servant of the Global State read again on the engraved invitation he was requested to attend. His tired, angry and terrified eyes beheld it yet again, a cloudy sky rather than a warm artificial light above him. Midway through envisioning the ‘honor’ he had avoided so skillfully, a cold wind somehow found its way through the caretaker coat he had pilfered from the outer gates of Unit 352 in the Asian Experimental Medical Unit.
The animals around him well beyond those gates in the ‘contaminated’ zones did not seem to be shivering, or sweating. But, he thought, as he hiked at maximal speed through the woodlands away from the Research Facility, maybe those four legged creatures are faking it under the fur coats nature gave them. Just like he had to fake being oblivious to the natural elements now, for two souls who needed him to have all the answers, and have those answers be appended by ‘yes, it will all be alright, guaranteed.’
There was a third soul in the mix though who needed such assurances even more, which Patel was reminded of as the sun tried to rise above the clouds over the porch of the cabin in the Alpine forest where he and Yoyo had studied, and secretly played before they acquired their reproductive organs.
“It’s been five months today since I became pregnant, Professor Doctor Patel,” Shelly said to the over-titled Medical Administrator who was still very AWOL from his duties back in the lab, or, if bribed superiors or deluded subordinates didn’t turn on him, ‘on extended Sabbatical doing classified research’. “According to the legends, the soul who is going to occupy this lump that I’ve been carting around in my uterus should have moved in last night, but when I knocked on the door,” she said as she lightly tapped on her enlarged abdomen. “I didn’t hear anybody.”
“I told her that she wasn’t listening with the right set of ears,” Taylor interjected, after which he put his own auricular portholes onto the belly, and sung ‘Warm new hope for humanity, soft hope for a new world, little bag of protoplasm. Smart teacher of us, wise student of life, purr, puff, purr.’”
“A song from The Big Bang Theory, ‘Soft Kitty’, from Midevil times, that he’s made up different lyrics for,” Shelly explained to handler, food and shelter provider Patel with a playfully condescending eyeroll.
“Which Heathcliff is singing back to me, in harmony,” Taylor continued, his ears to the child he had fathered in flesh, and looked forward to fathering in heart. “Maybe…hmmm….in…yes…Yes!” he exclaimed excitedly as the child he never was in his own upbringing.
Taylor grabbed hold of the stethoscope from Patel’s neck, inserting one of the listening buds into his ear, the other into Shelly’s.
“I can…feel something…weird too,” Shelly said. “Two…hmmm…”
“Voices, singing in two part harmony?” Taylor suggested.
“Heartbeats,” Shelly said. “Which are…not in synch with each other.”
“Drums, beating to the tune of their own drummer. Maybe twin drummers who are not only making the music, but being it,” Taylor went on. “It is a hypothesis you can’t refute, now, Shelly. And provisionally accept without disrupting your logical construct of the physical domain. Yes?”
“Yes,” Shelly admitted, softening up. Feeling something Wondrous she could not understand, yet still wanting and needing to understand it.
Patel allowed himself a moment of accomplishment, and wonder. Neither he nor Yoyo, nor anyone else designing the project on the now endangered Adam and Eve project had envisioned that the logical, ‘believe what you see not feel’, male Adam could go metaphysical, and that the female Eve would become the realist, reductionist and comic-less cynic. But, as Patel recalled from the old and wise scientific professors he had learned from in his youth that scientific discovery is about being open to surprises Nature reveals to you that makes you “rethink your hypotheses, no matter how insightful, so that be converted into functional truths.” Those words of Professor Doctor Emeritus Nicholiovitch, a well established Russian neuroscientist who risked everything to study human brains, and souls, in India during the eras when the world was still divided into nations rather than Sectors, echoed through Patel’s head, allowing him to ignore the cool air that still made his extremities feel cold. How he yearned to share this moment of further discovery and wonderment with the Teacher who was far more than an instructor, who wished all attending his retirement dinner that their scientific accomplishments would be ‘more wondrous than predictable’, and that their discoveries be ‘felt as well as thought’. Bold, hard-earned ‘Yes’ words which came desperate ‘no’s’ when he was taken away to the Psychiatric Ward three days later for ‘de-stressing’ so that he would not have to experience ‘disruptive dissociative mentation and viscerally painful anxiety’.
Though the pictures of Professor Nicholiovitch on his death berth had a smile on his face, there was sadness in his eyes, yet, still an element of defiance in those ocular portholes. A defiance that only fellow Revolutionaries can see, or old farts who the world saw fit to shit out of the bowels of society and flush down the tubes.
“What should we name these two occupants of Chateau Shelly?” Taylor asked Patel while the latter was in mid thought, embracing his wife.
“Besides labor pain 1 and stretch mark two,” Shelly shot back, now displaying glow to her face which Patel’s East Indian ancestors called auras, rather than electromagnetic cerebral brain emissions.
“Nichole and Nicholus?” Taylor offered, making Patel feel like he was really listened to regarding his blissful youth.
“Or Yoyo and Terr, depending on their gender,” Shelly suggested. “Didn’t parents name their offspring after their grandparents in the Pre-microsoft Times? Didn’t the Greeks and do that? And according to my DNA profile I am more Hellenic than anything else.”
“A tradition that insured that 90 percent of Greek males were named George of Nick, and most of their women were named Anna or Maria,” Patel said. “Plain sounding names that produced, for the most part, plain people.”
“But people who were Alive, big A?” Taylor inquired, again wanting to know the truth about the Old Times rather than the stories about it that were most publishable and consistent with the Global Collective’s agenda. “Were people more Alive then than now?” the young father to be pressed the old man who had bypassed fatherhood, at least in the ways his ancestors had experienced it.
Patel took in a long breath, inviting Spirit, and not ‘Whatever’, to enter into his brain, then felt the meaning and significance of each word as it came out of his mouth, knowing that each utterance would dictate what the next would, or rather should, be. “If we believe that humans in the past were Alive, big A, and we live up to those standards, even if they are a fabrication, we transform ourselves, the world and reality.”
“Even the reality that wars are now breaking out all over the world, because ‘advances’ in intelligence have produced a race of humans who don’t think creatively? Or, when they do care, care unintelligently and destructively with wars?” Shelly reached for lap top computer, pressing the button on it yet again, getting nothing but a blank screen. “Wars involving killing people’s bodies as well as souls that YOU are not allowing us to get any more information on!”
“Because if we can hear them, they can find us,” Taylor calmly offered his wife. “And you too, little Yoyo and Terr,” he continued, to the souls now finally occupying the extraneous flesh in Shelly’s uterus.
“While you’re there, ask them if they want to grow up being sheltered from the world, or informed about it!” Shelly blasted back at Taylor. “Or maybe you want them to live in a world of historical illusion that you call ‘legends’. Or psychological delusion that used to be called ‘religion’? Or ‘Whatever’?”
Taylor took in a deep breath, considered the challenge, then blasted back his own, now emotionally charged, hypotheses regarding how his two children should ‘grow up to find themselves and become solutions for their parents, and the world’. Shelly countered with alternative views on how her ‘offspring’ should be ‘psychologically imprinted and cerebrally taught’ so they could be ‘globally effective in a sustainable manner’.
Patel took a hidden seat well away from the stage where the drama of interpersonal Connection was taking place, observing the phenomenon of argument. Something that was always done during the Primitive Eras, and which was outlawed now. A phenomenon that caused escalation of anger, threats and accusations which, again shocking and unexpectedly, resulted in Union of two disagreeing souls, with a hug that had a quality which Yoyo called ‘love’. And Patel, deciding to be the responsible sibling, and Global Citizen, forfeited for accomplishment and synergy. And, he had to admit now, security and creature comforts.
As for Yoyo, Patel had not heard from her in months. Any official inquiries into her real whereabouts would endanger not only her, but him, and, most importantly, this dysfunctional yet somehow Enlightened new Adam and Eve and their new family.
Yoyo had been waiting for a long time, and the question finally came to her, across a table where it was just her on one side, and Heway finally on the other. A table which had been laden with Yoyo’s favorite food, spiced Indian curry rice, Turkish baklava and American Wing Dings featured as the main items. Yoyo’s gut, palate and hidden molecular reader inside her cheeks registered that they had no Complax, hemlock or truth-telling serum in them, but it was what they didn’t lack which she pointed out to her host. “Love,” she said. “The ingredient that makes good cooking great is love, as you know, or should know.”
“Yes, I know,” Heway replied after sampling another few bites, unable to deny the observation, most particularly after he, as he presented himself to Yoyo. “But I supervised the cooking myself and, well, sometimes people like you have to do the kind of work I can’t.”
“Or won’t, do or forgot how to do?” Yoyo challenged, with respect as well as pity.
Yoyo observed something emerge in Heway which she suspected all along was in this boss of bosses with whom she finally got a private dinner meeting. He seemed remorseful, vulnerable and very human. She continued eating, hoping that the topic of conversation would turn to matters culinary. Yoyo pretended to love the eggplant casserole, and was about to compliment the host and chef on it, when the words were held inside her throat. This time by Heway’s large, sweat-soaked clenched fist around her neck.
“Tell me why you aren’t telling me the whereabouts of this new Adam and Eve!” he demanded.
“Because the instructions were to tell no one above anything about what was happening below till I knew what was going on,” Yoyo was able to push out of her shrinking trachea. “Following the rule and mandate that—”
“I know!” Heway admitted, letting go of Yoyo’s throat, allowing her to hit the floor.
“Heaven watches, earth works,” he continued. “And to protect the experiment by not letting those directly under me, which thank ‘Whatever’, is not you, know what is going on because they would pervert it.”
“Or in a moment of weakness, you would?” Yoyo proposed as she pulled herself up from the floor, feeling to see if all four limbs were still attached and listening to her body and aching head. “It was a smart, no, WISE move, and as the wisest Supervisor I know, or ever knew, or will ever know, your Grace—“
“—And Master!” Heway blasted back at the insolent, yet clever subordinate who had obviously learned the womanly art of manipulating a man using her cunning and his big ego. Just like the Southern Belles did to their well armed and muscularly armed White husbands. Or suburban housewives who married their way to the top of the economic pyramid when plastic cards replaced minted coin. “A Master who is responsible for every advancement in science that you take for granted!”
Heway went on and on about how life in this century was better than the past ones. How Complax and the other biological tools he designed and implemented protected humanoids from the harsh elements of Nature that had previously killed them. Those ‘in my day’ tales which old farts loved to inflict upon younger ones, presumably for their benefit. Heway reminded Yoyo about how hard it was for men and women to struggle, most particularly because they considered themselves men or women in the first place, stuck with agendas that always conflicted with each other. Like the strongest and smartest man in the village wanting and needing to copulate with as many women as possible to ensure that superior genes are maintained in the tribe’s blood lines. A woman sought to have the man who fathered her child love her above all women, so that when invasions from Nature or other predators came into the village, that man would protect her children instead of the other rug rats he had spawned. So the tales about the necessity of contradictions went on from Heway, until Yoyo reached into her pocket and pulled out three pictures, two dimensional photographs capturing on paper moments that should not have been forgotten.
“Yes, you recognize them, right?” Yoyo said of the children’s corpses with slits on their throats. “All self inflicted,” she reminded Heway. “And all of them…”
“I know,” Heway admitted. “My own children. Who were supposed to have a special destiny. But who….hmmm”. Heway slipped back into being a scientist again, about to come up with another teleological answer, as Yoyo felt it. Another construct that said seemingly bad things were blessings in disguise.
“We all have faults, and can’t predict what happens to our children,” the small framed Hijra reminded the large, muscular Master Scientist. “Einstein had two children, one who went insane, and the other who became a psychiatrist who dedicated his life to saving children with father issues,” she reminded Heway. “And Socrates’ sons both felt abandoned by their father.”
“That was because of his nagging and manipulative wife,” Heway barked out with a liberating smile.
“Which you should know about, since you were there at the time,” Yoyo reminded Heway. “What were we supposed to call you then, Zeus?”
“Zues who is still on duty!” Heway reminded Yoyo.
“On a Mission that’s your own, or one that your home planet abandoned when they left you here to rot? On a planet where maybe the mortals are the only ones who have to ability to keep YOUR body, mind and spirit going?”
“What do YOU know about spirit!” the aging faster than he realized god from another planet yelled at his latest earthling experiment, perhaps one of the daughters who had some of his sperm in her pedigree as well as his ancient DNA. “Tell me what you know about Spirit!”
Yoyo thought long and hard about the answer. What do you tell a god about the God beyond gods, and mortal? A God which even the gods sought advice and sustenance from. A God who is beyond being male or female, and especially beyond being oppressively neutral about gender expression. Once again, Yoyo took in a deep breath, asked the Highest and most attribute-less Essence she could imagine, or which was beyond imagining, what to say, surrendering herself to It, whatever It was, so that she could be a channel for wisdom, caring and Life, big L.
But before the words came out, shackled emerged from the walls, entrapping Yoyo into them by her hands, feet and neck. Heway, as he now chose to be called, approached her slowly, delivering five words as holy and sacred as any emitted from Mount Olympus or Sinai. “You will talk. Everybody talks.”
Four months passed like they were four years, or decades. Such is how most of the humans on the planet felt like it was, as time is measured not by the clock, but by the number of new experiences and changes of perception in reality. Such changes involved wars that affected all regions of the globe, not one region which had been a country prior to globalization not participating in the maelstrom. Those wars took different forms. Some countries decided to invade their neighbors to get what they wanted with guns, artillery and laser rays. Other nations wage economic wars, starving their competitor countries with tariffs, using slave labor to lower the price of making goods and, of course, flooding the enemy with false currency. The more creative countries used a more subtle Adlerian approach to destroying their prey from within by setting up artistic competitions to ‘bolster and inspire world-wide excellence’ in films, books, music and visual art, the ‘out of region’ judges in said ‘Olympics of the Soul’ pre-paid by the host country to viciously cut down anyone’s Work except those of their secret patrons.
The end product of the aforementioned was a world where there was less expression of the soul, except on the various battlefields of course. And less quality health care, at any price, even for the hyper-females who were still breeding gender-neutral, and therefore adjustable, babies for their particular country’s needs. The best of doctors were at the mercy of drugs lingering in their patients, most particularly Complax and its various derivatives. Terr Patel was no exception to this. Even the antidotes to Complax that his sister Yoyo and he had given Taylor and Shelly during their very unlawful withdrawl from that still desired Soul-numbing agent were not able to prevent problems that Shelly experienced when approaching childbirth. The integrity of Shelly’s uterus required the earlier versions of Complax so that it wouldn’t twist upon itself, killing the mother, and the two children who still insisted on staying inside the womb rather than facing the world outside of it like the pioneering spirits of a New Age they were, genetically anyway, supposed to be.
“So, how are you going to pay for this?” the hypermale Doctor with a clean shaven, wrinkle-less sixty-year old face in reception room at the still-State Funded Outpost Clinic asked Tell (formerly Terr) Patel, after which he turned to Taylor. “And if you say you’re going to give me your son as a slave or slab of meat for my undernourished patients, I already have enough slaves in my clinic and specialty meats in the freezer.”
“You can have me,” the woman next to Tell said. “They call me Yoyo,” she continued, with a bow. “Yoyo, which means—“
“—-You tried to mate with a turbine engine while it was running hot, then got spat out when it didn’t want to get you pregnant?” the crass and cruel man in the clean, white coat smirked.
“We heard that you are the best reproductive specialist in this region,” Yoyo said, feeling the pain of the stabs, jabs and burns undergone during her torture by Heway’s henchmen, and women, with every syllable coming out of her chemically treated, waterlogged and nearly compressed to nothing voice-box. “The best and most effective reproductive specialist in the world,” the most recent escapee from Heway’s private mansion continued.
“And the most discrete,” her brother Tell said, sneaking into the Physician’s blood soaked and semen smelling pockets a pouch containing real gold, shining diamonds and vintage American dollars in his pocket, all of which were becoming far more valuable than the International Global Notes which were worthless due to intentional inflation, and cyber currency that had been virused into worthlessness. “You will see to it that our female ward has an uneventful childbirth that is not recorded, for another two bags of this.”
“Four,” the Doc demanded. “Or I…”
“Three,” Taylor grunted, from behind the Doctor’s back, into which he stuck a pistol that was very real, loaded with very real bullets, aimed at a portion of the spinal cord that would damaged in such a way that non physician of the old school or New Age could repair.
“Three it is, then,” the Doc said, with a confident smile. “And a guarantee that I never have to smell you Outliers again, and that you take your offspring and go back to the swamps, sewers or polluted tide pools you call home, with the rest of the lower animals. Or…hmmm.”
The Doc with the polluted soul in the clean, white, sterile garb looked over the rabble that the Patels and Taylor had presented themselves as.
“You have a proposal for us, which feels interesting,” Tell inquired, motioning for his ‘son’ Taylor to put away his weapon.
“You bring me other Outlier clients from the sticks, swamps and sewers. Along with those new ‘natural’ medicinals which some say are even more soul-calming than Complax,” the Doctor proposed.
Tell and Yoyo looked at each other, smiling. Then proudly at the originator of the idea. Taylor didn’t give away with his eyes or mouth that he was the originator of the idea to introduce ‘weed’ and ‘booze’, as they were called in the Ancient times, back into human experience. Weed grew wild in the ‘arbored maze’ now, and as for cooking up firewater, all you needed was naturally occurring fruit and time to let it ferment. Both dulled the mind, almost as effectively as Complax did in the fellow Outliers.
“So, is it a deal?” the Doctor pressed. “My medical expertise for your pregnant Outlier ward and my silence about it.”
“In place of three more three bags of gold, greenbacks and diamonds?” Yoyo said.
“In addition to them, you pathetic, old, washed out and demented wench!” the Doctor yelled down to Yoyo. “And three more bags of currency if you want me to share with you my very valuable, and impossible to get now, regeneration extract to restore that lump of putrid flesh you call skin into something that anyone can stand to look at, or carry around.”
“Done!” Taylor blasted out. “From my private stock!”
“Which is where, Outlier?” the Doctor asked Taylor, looking him up and down, feeling him to be even lower in status than upon his uninvited entry.
“My son and daughter till tell you,” the angry and firm reply. “My wife will translate for them, which you can verify by doing a scan on her occipital memory lobe.”
“Your ‘what’?” the Doctor trained in New Medicine asked regarding the descriptor of the pregnant female Outlier in the next room.
“Assigned mate,” Tell interjected before Taylor could give the old before his time between the ears middle aged doc a lesson in the way things used to be, and how they must be again. And will be again if he had anything to say about it. “Do we have a deal or not?”
The Doctor looked over the trio in front of him, up and down, then stared into their eyes. After seeing what he wanted, or needed to, he nodded his head ‘yes’, then went into the treatment room.
Three minutes later, the Patels and Taylor heard the cry of two newborn babies. Then, something none of them had heard at all in maternity wards. Laughter from the new arrivals to the world of the living, and vulnerable. Then, singing, in a child like language that brought back memories of her childhood with her Yogi great grandfather in Yoyo. And the conviction in Taylor that the mythological land of Atlantis did exist and must be created again. And terror in Tell.
“Something wrong?” Taylor asked Tell.
“He’s just not used to wonderment,” Yoyo smiled through a deformed, painful yet now hopeful jaw.
“And not used to being a fugitive for the rest of what is left of our lives, after everyone else in this place hears them!” Tell whispered to Yoyo and Taylor, then discretely pointed to another observer hidden in the crevices of the ceiling. “And whoever is at the other end of that camera,” he continued in Hindi to Yoyo, and German loaded with outlawed and currently non-understandable gender-laden articles and pronouns to the still multilingual Taylor.
With that, Tell motioned for his colleagues to edge their way into the treatment room, where he took a syringe out of his pocket and injected its contents into the Doctor. Taylor embraced his wife, his singing son, then his laughing daughter. “So, the boys get to tell the jokes and the girls still have to laugh at them?” an exhausted and sweat-soaked Shelly sneered at her hubby.
“This is no joke,” Yoyo informed Shelly, after which she removed the Doctors coat and trousers, throwing them into her step-daughter’s face. “We have to move fast.”
“Where?” Taylor asked the woman who always had an answer to every question.
“We’ll find out that when we get there,” came the reply from Shelly. “Right, Mom, and Dad?” she blasted at Yoyo and Tell, who responded with a sad but necessary ‘yes’.
Where to hide the twins who were born free of addiction to Complax or cruelty was not the issue. It what how to hide which was the issue at hand, and how well that hand could masquerade as a foot, paw or fin. Local wars that had broken out burst open the concrete covering over so much of what used to be grass and woodlands. The weeds and short-brush trees lost no time in trying to reclaim their terrain, reaching out with unbridled sprouting to their one time provider and companion, the sun. Such made it difficult to know where roads were and, on occasion, provided barriers to satellites above that now perused most every inch of the globe, even the Outlier regions occupied by animals, insects and humans who were thought to be little evolved from the two former forms of ‘nitrogen-carbon based biological matter’.
A smart Outlier knew where to find overlying brush. A creative one knew how to cover the branches with metal, plastic and excrement, the latter providing a barrier that prevented messages from below from getting above, and scanners from above to look down. Thankfully Tell Patel was smart, and Yoyo was clever. But as for their two offspring and said offspring’s Mother and Father, that was another matter. As were the collection of fellow Outliers, refugees from the wars, and deserters from the ranks who created the refugees that had gathered around them in one of the villages that, so far anyway, didn’t officially exist.
“I want people to sing happy birthday to my sister, Mom!” three and a half year old Piervus protested to Shelly when she called for a silent prayer around the ad hoc al fresco dinner table to be delivered to the Deity some still called ‘Whatever’, some referred to by the Ancient names and some deemed a new name, ULLB (Underacheiver still out on a long Lunch Break).
“Why don’t these fellow misfits sing happy birthday to my brother?” 42 month old Pierva inquired, loudly, of her ‘parental unit’ Taylor, this time not saying ‘when your older’ as an answer with her determined eyes. “The way the other kids and their Moms and Dads, who they never call Mom and Dad. They way they all look at us, they’re still scared of me. What did my brother and I do to them?”
While pretending to pray with the other Outliers, Taylor snuck in intense glances at Shelly, debating over which of the answers they could express safely and effectively. The coin toss behind their eyes turned out heads, conferred the first volley to Shelly, this time without her fixing the flip.
“Well, first, Piervus,” Shelly whispered to her son (who still refused to bow his head) allowing her outstretched arm to lay on his shoulder, despite her still active reflex to hold back such previously illegal gestures. “First of all, you and your sister are not yet four years old.”
“And talking, using really big words, before you are supposed to, and thinking louder than anyone else in this village, Pierva,” Taylor through the sides of his mouth to his beloved, and certainly most easy to love, female life form. “Because of your special biology,” he continued, holding back on informing his very prematurely expansively smart, and optimistically inquisitive daughter, who was welcomed from a distance by the other children in the village, but never close up and personal.
“And why are we special, ‘Dad’?” Piervus asked his father, addressing him by the nickname that he insisted be used with trusted Outliers.
“Because you are,” Shelly whispered to her son, in an assertive tone, before Taylor was about to say ‘because you were conceived without toxins in your blood, like Complax and GOD knows what else’, an answer which Peirvus was still a few months away from understanding, and which a mole hiding amongst the Outliers praying beside her would pick up and report to their superiors. “All children are special,” she then said, aloud, with her head still bowed. “As are all those who give birth, life or knowledge to them,” she continued, afterwhich she led the congregation out of silent conversations with the Almighty, so they could confer about life as it was with their fellow mortals.
“Now, time to feed the bodies so that our minds can maximally expand into common and mutually beneficial Purpose,” Shelly declared, after which she motioned Yoyo and Tell to bring gustatory delights into the metal, plastic and fecal coated tent to celebrate the Solstice.
“Translation, let’s eat!” Taylor exclaimed. “A Christmas feast,” he declared, after which he described the plates of succulent, aromatic delight which had been concocted from previously bland tasting canned ‘biological sustainance’ uncovered from the various bunkers and gathered from the woods, mixed in with meat from the flesh of NON-human sources that had succumbed to diseases Nature now inflicted on them or trauma induced by projectiles from rifles and artillery. “Totally safe and enjoyable ingredients,” he continued as the villagers suspiciously found their olfactory senses pleased and taste buds awakened. “Thanks to Granny Yoyo!”
“Thanks to…others, Dad,” Yoyo interjected, her back still hunched over, her head lowered, but not because of lingering trauma to her limbs. “It’s the Dads and Moms you should listen to and become now,” she continued, still keeping her eyes down. Those ocular portholes had not looked into another’s since the time the newborn twins were evacuated from the Reproductive Clinic after they exited the womb. “You are the future now,” Yoyo continued as she pointed to Taylor and Shelly. Then at their precocious offspring who already knew how to make people look into a mirror, but not how to handle the loneliness that such a gift brings. Then at everyone else. “You all are the future, God help and bless you.”
With that, Yoyo bowed even further, then turned away from the congregation whose Souls she spoke to with her mouth, but never her eyes. She hobbled back to her hut.
While the rabble of Outliers who had sought shelter with, been fed by, or ‘accidently; found ‘Mom’ Shelly and ‘Dad’ Taylor dug into the gustatory delights, the latter looked towards Yoyo’s biological more male than female, he shrugged his shoulders, this time indicating that he really did NOT know why Yoyo had become more withdrawn than usual. And more tortured inside by demons she had not described to anyone. Not even the stray horses, cats and dogs who she looked after, while they looked after her, or tried to anyway.
It was just another day at the office when Heway checked in with his subordinates at the newly established International Global Security Agency, whose headquarters were still across the elevated corridor from the Finance Division. The four thousand year old humanoid from another planet who had passed himself off as a Greek god, and a hundred other persona, of both genders, since being assigned to planet earth, now saw this experiment in bringing up the most inferior strain of humanoids as failing. And, more painfully, Heway, saw his own life as a failure. A life that had no Purpose anymore, officially anyway, particularly since he hadn’t heard from home planet for a long time, two decades in earth time now. Still, messages from the other side of the galaxy took time to get to him, and ten years to a Higher Earthling passed as quickly as ten minutes to a ‘mortal’ born and raised on the planet that valued, if left to its own devises anyway, lower emotion over higher reason, limbic feeling over cerebral thinking, and gender-induced conflict over genderless-infused collaboration.
After being greeted with bowed heads from his mortal and hybrid subordinate at the IGSA and FD, with eyes holding in more secrets than normal, Heway finally stepped into his private command center. He put his feet up on the desk, noting that those appendages were genuinely both tired and painful. The supervising officer of the earth mission lifted the cup of his special power drink to his mouth, made with the last batch of home planet grown ingredients known only to those of Heway’s kind which could not be synthesized on earth, no matter how you altered the structure of Complax or the other compounds synthesized in earth bound laboratories. Facilities where investigators were well paid and pampered while in the service of Heway and his Mission, then given the most blissful retirement imaginable on any humanoid inhabited planet.
One of those retirees interrupted Heway as he was about to make another call to home base using the intergalactic porthole devise made to look like an antique 20th century wire-connected phone. “Wwwwould you like some cookkkkiieessss, my Lord?” inquired a young female janitor with the lobotomy scar under her long, naturally-blonde bangs asked Heway from behind a big, wide and blissful smile as displayed a tray of freshly baked delights containing chocolate, Macademia nuts, and oatmeal, all of which Heway’s original crew had brought with them to the ‘New Planet’ in times of old. “I baked them myself,” she continued with a wide grin and eyes which beamed with pride. “And it brought back memories. Really good memories.”
“Of working on drugs which would turn this constantly warring planet into a harmonic garden where everyone wins and no one loses, and no one has to fight?” Heway thought of saying. “Where you get what you want when you want it, and need for nothing?” he contemplated relating. “Where the agony of having made a wrong decision because you thought incorrectly is gone, because you didn’t have to think at all, but merely obey?” the god who inflicted temptation upon humanity was so tempted to say from his own old, and now cavity-ridden mouth. But, Heway had to know what this former head of R and D in the amygdaloid-regulatory pharmacological division was really thinking and feeling or more accurately, what she was remembered. “Tell me about those memories,” Heway inquired of the woman, with a fatherly smile. “What kind of memories do those cookies bring to your beautiful, kind and giving, hmmm..heart?” He offered her a seat, and a share of his coffee. The kind he offered to only earthlings of course.
“Wweeell,” the woman continued as her legs eased into the chair in front of Heway’s desk, reached for the coffee, bowed, then sipped its contents down slowly and reverently. She went on about how she enjoyed cooking for her children and husband, living for nothing more than to see the blissful grins on their faces when they gulped down the food at the supper table with ecstatic delight. And when she consented to give her husband an ‘after dinner snack’ in the bedroom, how he moaned with pleasure then laid down on the pillow with a happy grin on his lips, feeling himself to be a conqueror of all he could see and not see. And when she stayed up all night to wash the family’s clothes, clean the house and shine the dishes, how proud she was of how free of dirt of disorder the palace where she was so privileged to live was. The words came out with stutters of course, and were mispronounced. But the young woman’s body spoke in a language that was mature, classy and seductive. With each wavelike undulation of her thick lips, each wave of her slender fingers, every rhythmic motion of hour-glass torso, and bouncing of her size perfect breast, they became the beat to the inner drummer in Heway’s ‘advanced’ mind. He even felt himself develop a third leg between the two larger ones himself. But alas, such was only a feeling between his ears, Heway’s advanced species having forgone that crude instrument for reproduction tens of thousands of years ago.
How Heway yearned to be one of the mortals who he was sent to save, experiment with and ultimately serve. But how inadequate he felt about it all. How sterile of spirit but yearning of soul he had become, particularly with this young woman who he had once called Athena when he was Zeus. Or was it Brunhilde when he was Odin? The legends told about Heway and the lies he had told the mortals, and his colleagues, by necessity, had become part and parcel of his own ‘truth’ now. But there was one truth that hit Heway in the face, particularly when his tired, and prematurely aging, eyes gazed at his calendar between eating some of ‘Athena’s’ sssppeecciallly baked ccoookkkies.
“Yes, it was me who told her to be here,” he thought to himself while listening to the stories of ‘happy housewife Atti’ had remembered from the implants in her head that had been put there, and were apparently still operative. “Me, who is responsible for so many experiments on earth that have gone wrong. Experiments that have to be brought back into the laboratory, for everyone’s good.”
With that, Heway pressed a button under his desk, shutting off ‘Atti’s’ memory of being a housewife, then her ability to do anything else except breath and pump blood from her heart to the rest of her body. On the primitive tool that the earthlings still called computers, Heway wrote out a new program, sent it to ‘Atti’s’ implant, then waited for her to awaken to and into. “Yeah…Got it boss,” the once Ancient Greek goddess of beauty said with an ugly and crude Brooklynese accent, after which she swaggered around like a Mafia hitman. “How ya wants me to ice Taylor, Shelly and his crew?”
“You bring them here,” Heway said while adjusting the program on the implant. “Alive. Healthy, IF you can.”
“Nay problema,” came out of Athena’s mouth, this time in the manner an educated Russian KGB agent in that PreMicrosoft tongue. “Kogda?” she continued in a colorfully expressive Moscovite Artist accent which would excite Taylor’s passion to become a Revolutionary of excellence, and make the now smarter than she ever thought she could be Shelly feel at home with a fellow disposed Outlier Intellectual.
As to the question of ‘when’ to bring them in, Heways answer—“ASAP, spaceba”, delivered with an authoritative and grateful Putinesce bow.
After Agent Athena left the office, leaving her cookies and memory of baking them behind, Heway caught a glance of himself in a reflective surface in the room. “I know,” he told the reflection that seemed to do a Putin right back at him. “I’ll call home base and see what their orders are.”
With that, Heway picked up the intergalactic ‘phone’, held it to his ear, then made the call, punching in the appropriate signals on the matter-energy transformer rays. As usual, there was no answer at the other end. “Maybe the line is out,” he said. “Or, maybe, we gods are now on our own, as were all enlightened humans. Thank…”
As to who and what to thank, Heway considered the hypothesis that there really was a Spirit beyond matter, mentation and manipulation. A ‘feeling’ he had a lad that he never quite abandoned, but would have to face now. Now that the battle between thinking and feeling was about to come to a head. A battle his own planet lost when it chose the former over the latter. And perhaps the reason why maybe his own planet had either been blown into oblivion, or left him alone in his own oblivion.
The one family campground established by the Patels in the back country of the Himalayan foothills had grown into a hamlet, then a town. A town that was found by many naturally occurring Outliers as well as a growing population of those marginalized by the Global Collective after they had deserted, disappointed or been deemed disposable by their Superiors. The latter population needed a name to call their new home, and chose to call it ‘Chisn’. It was the word for ‘life’ in Russian, which had been officially omitted from that Slavic tongue after the Global Collective gobbled up and sterilized the soul of that passionate and, in terms of its history of rulers they chose, masochistic country.
Tell Patel welcomed everyone who sought a haven in Chisn from the technologically superior and, as he now knew as well as realized, spiritually sterile Global Collective Government which he had previously pleased by following orders, and whose best interests he now served by contradicting those orders. That still centralized government, dedicated to the proposition that ‘all humans were created equal with the obligation to have as minimally stressful lives as creatable’, now allowed, tolerated and in some way benefited from the conflicts between regions which now called themselves ‘nations’.
As a former Interrogator Class 2, Tell was an expert in assessing eye movements, facial muscle changes and various movements of the body below the neck as to whether the fellow homo sapiens at the other end of the welcoming private dining table was lying to him, or themselves. As the first person to officially welcome those mostly starving souls who ‘stumbled upon’ or were referred to Chisn, it was his job to assess their motives and intensions. Thanks to his sister’s influence, and advice given (consciously and unconsciously) from his protogee ‘grandchildren’, Piervus and Pierva, Tell verified ‘objective’ data with a ‘gut feel index’, which registered a yes or no, with no parameters in between. There were many potential immigrants to Chisn who didn’t pass either of those tests. Such individuals, no matter how many scars, cuts or burns they carried on their flesh, were diverted to ‘camps’ in the woods where swamps that gobbled up the moles Heway et al had sent to identify, convert or destroy Outlier strongholds. It was a cruel way to cull the human population of those who would be agents of its destruction, but necessary, as he was in charge of protecting an experiment in which a better, smarter, kinder and Complax-free population of homo sapiens were being raised. Still, for better or worse, Tell now felt himself dying with each Global Collective Government spy he had sent to what he theoretically said, and by psychological necessity believed, was the next incarnation. But, as a scientist, Tell was required to prove his intuitive feel by hard evidence, to himself and his most trusted other scientist in training.
“Do you see those smiles on my grandchildren’s faces, Shelly?” he said regarding the latest refugee to seek shelter and find Purpose in Chisn who was playing catch with a stumbly yet joyful Piervus, and skillfully ambidextrous Pierva. “They like our new arrival. And seem to love her, too.”
“And your feelings for this one?” Shelly asked Tell. “And yours, Taylor?” she inquired of her husband. “Who seem to be more interested in the balls on either side of her sternum than the one our laughing son is so inept at catching, and our daughter is throwing around with such unexpected dexterity.”
“It’s the balls inside her ocular sockets I’m looking at,” Taylor informed his wife regarding the dirt-caked, half starved, wound covered wench who, with some bandaging and bathing, had the body of a magnificent maiden and beautiful babe underneath. “Atti’s eyes. Which YOU, Shell, said reeked of intellect. And YOU, Tell, said were trustable because of what you felt behind them and whose movements registered no lies.”
“And which you can’t take your eyes away from,” Shelly asserted. “Like a magnet.”
“The pot calling the kettle black, Shell,” Taylor shot back. “You and Atti had a long lunch and shared more than just Yoyo’s cooking over the table. Which is okay, really,” he continued, as a sore loser, but a gracious one.
Patel observed Shelly being ‘found out’, in ways that revealed that she was smitten by something in Atti. Maybe something solidified by intimacy with something that was more than Platonic. And, to tell the truth, Patel was drawn to something Life Promoting in Atti as well. As was everyone in Chisn. Atti assisted joyfully and effectively in everything from helping people keep the fires in their huts going, to enabling them to see ‘dancing angels’ singing pearls of wisdom to them in the flames. Atti complained about nothing, and seemed to be around those in need of ailments of the body, mind and spirit before anyone else saw they required such.
Still there was one person who Atti avoided, and who was avoided by her. Then again, Yoyo was avoiding everyone in the camp, including the animals, who she served but was not being serve by anymore.
Shelly and Taylor observed ‘Auntie Atti’ teach their children the arts, craft and love of ‘baseball’, as she called the game, inviting the rest of the children in the village to join in. After seeing that the all the kids, and their parents, were more than alright, Tell walked over to his hidden observation post to observe his sister tend to a wound on a young canine who had wandered into the camp.
Every ounce of the pup’s childlike intentions were diverted to playing with his doctor, choosing to lick her face dry as Yoyo repaired the wound inflicted by a stray bullet which he had acquired somewhere in his tortured and probably orphaned past. But instead of talking to the dog, Yoyo said nothing to the life-emoting creature. Nothing kind anyway. Nothing caring. And nothing happy. To Yoyo now, the animals who she once loved were not things. As were the children in the camp. As were the reasons for the Camp, Piervus and Pierva. And as was herself, who, by the dirt and blood still lingering on Yoyo’s face, she had not dared to look at in a mirror for at least three days.
How Tell wished there was something he could say to his sister that would open her up so he could heal whatever wounds were festering inside her. How he yearned that he could cook her a meal that would arouse her tastebuds in the present, her memories of better times in the past, or even formulate some culinary concoction that would open up receptors in her brain that were closed. How he now prayed (to a God who he forced from theory into belief) that his worst suspicions about Yoyo’s fate and worsening state of affairs were not true.
As his children passed from being precocious 3 year olds to becoming deviant yet still caring four year olds (when they taught then demanded that their guests sing Happy Birthday in four different languages, and in harmony) the once Complax-controlled half-male half female Taylor observed himself growing into manhood. He found himself being proud rather than disturbed by the tender scrotal tissue between his legs that held inside of them two firm and, on ‘empowered’ days, growing testicals. He felt at home behind a face that had sprouted not only stubble, but not a full beard. And as for the hair on top, the receding hairline made him feel sharper, the bald spot developing on the crown of his head wiser, somehow. And as for the penile extension whose function was merely to be a conduit for urine excression in his younger years, it was not only larger now but sometimes would ‘advise’ him regarding his real feelings for women.
As for the women Taylor found as ‘candidates for excression of spermatic content’, they included more than just Shelly. Tell advised him to ‘keep it in his pants’ until ‘the right time and the right women’ were chosen of course, but as the most Complax-free male in Chisn, well, as Taylor said when assigned to have visits with Outliers who seemed suitable, ‘a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do’.
Shelly, who now lived more between her ears than between her legs, was okay with such, or so Taylor chose to believe whenever he was assigned the job of impregnating another woman. Besides, Shelly’s uterus ‘decided to be closed for reproductive business’, she explained to Taylor on yet another day when he made love to her in the attempt to provide the community with another set of precocious yet caring geniuses, and the world with the hopes for a new Humanity whose genetics had not been corrupted.
On this particular day of ‘going through the motions till the wheels could maybe find the ground again’, Taylor hiked up the hill to Yoyo’s hut, bringing with him the best firewood he could find, along with assorted gifts which the villagers chose to provide for the reclusive healer, cook and unofficial Supreme Court judge. Those gifts included many varieties of ‘thank you’s’ for services Yoyo had provided for the villagers. Old chickens and eggs for HER consumption from a previously-severely wounded Hindu Captain who deserted his Major after being ordered to slay those who decided to embrace ancestral Islamic beliefs in the neighboring ‘kingdom’, as smaller divisions of nations were now calling themselves. A color-infused likeness of Yoyo and her animals put onto a patch of tent canvas put there by an escapee from Ward 23 Mental Health facility whose remaining brain cells were brought back to life by Yoyo’s cooking, and the secret ingredients she could not help but put into it. A fur lined leather coat supplemented on the inside by her own human hair from a pregnant escapee hyperfemale mother whose offspring became living beings thanks to Yoyo’s intervention rather than merely food for the coyotes, or ‘mystery meat’ in the hands of the various company cooks who set up shop in Chisn.
Taylor finally pulled the cart through the snow and to the steps of Yoyo’s cabin. “I suppose even the wheel has its technical limitations,” said of the four tires that were as useless as teats on a hyper-male bull. “That’s a joke, Yoyo!” he exclaimed with as much enthusiasm as he could muster to the closed door. “Or an attempt at one. Like knock knock”, he said, after which he rapped his closed knuckles on the door. “You’re supposed to say ‘who’s there’,” he requested of the now humorless Mastress who taught him everything he knew and felt about comedy. “I know,” he continued, knocking on his own head. “Knock on this cranial vault between my ears, and maybe nobody’s home.”
Still, no answer from the other side of the door. “Maybe it was just a bad delivery, bad cadence or just a bad joke in the first place,” the always experimenting and usually successful ‘class clown’, and evolving mentor, thought to himself. Till the door opened, slowly. And the face behind it revealed that this was not time for jokes, or artistic expansion.
“What’s wrong, Atti?” Taylor inquired as he saw tears of grief, sorrow and despair pouring down her face.
With her shaking hand, she held a note up into Taylor’s face. After he took she, she turned around, shuffled to Yoyo’s chair, sat down, then proceeded to clench her finger into a fist. A fist she used to pound into her forearm. When Taylor approached her, she pushed him aside, running to Yoyo’s, falling down on her face, sobbing.
Taylor read the note. “Decided to take a short midnight walk off a long cliff, to cull the new herd of a very defective gene. Better for all of you, and me. It courage to do this, and will take courage for all of you to continue without me. But as we all know, and should have learned, nothing worthwhile is easy, or simple,” it read.
“When did you find this?” Taylor demanded of Atti.
“Early this morning,” Atti replied in a voice muffled by sobs and a pillow covered with her own blood. “When I came up to see if she was alright.”
“I was supposed to check on her last night,” Taylor thought to himself, but didn’t say. “Where did she go!” he demanded to know.
“I don’t know!” Atti screamed back at him. “And I tried to find out!”
“Footprints, there have to be footprints,” Taylor muttered as he went into ‘how’ rather than ‘why’ mode. “I’ll look outside and try to find footprints!” he said as he put down the note and grabbed hold of a rope. “We’ll look outside and find footprints,” he continued, grabbing hold of Atti.
“Footprints that are covered by fresh snow, you idiot!” Atti sobbed out. “Or mine! God help me! And kill me! Because I’m a worthless piece of crap!”
Before Taylor could even begin to figure out why the woman who made everyone, especially him, feel like anything except crap and garbage, Atti lifted up a knife, grabbed hold of her hair, and proceeded to move the blade close to the scalp. She closed her eyes, muttering something that sounded like a prayer. A death chant actually.
With all the life he could pull out of himself, Taylor grabbed hold of Atti’s shaking wrist, halting the self-induced scalping, the blade still bolted into her fist. “Why won’t you let me do it?” she ranted on, eyes closed, tears running down over beet red cheeks. “You love my hair so much? You can have it!”
“I want, and need the person under it,” Taylor said, those words of course being the procedure one employs to prevent the kind of deaths that were becoming all too common now in Outlier and Global Government controlled regions. “And I think I love the person under it,” he felt himself saying, and meaning.
“Really?” Atti said, opening her eyes, and heart, in ways she had never done before. For anyone, as Taylor observed, and wanted to believe. “You really love me?”
Taylor asked his mind, soul and new penile ‘adviser’ between his legs. All said a very affirmative ‘yes’ to that question. Taylor answered Atti’s question with his own eyes, and lips, which he perched upon hers. The knife dropped on the floor from her hand, with a thud that felt like a thunderbolt that both purged the boils of global misery and released a volcanic eruption of manna from the gods.
Taylor had known about a third brain emerging in moments of ‘synergy’ between two people, especially Shelly. But this time, it felt like something deeper than that. Something that he had lost with Shelly, and now gained in a way he never experienced before. “Yes, this coitus is about deep love, not obligatory reproduction,” Taylor’s heart yelled out to his mind as his body fell into Atti’s, merging into a shape, form and entity that became one. An electric jolt, hold and wave of warmth that catapulted Taylor into the cot, flesh to flesh with the woman who he had put on a pedestal unworthy of his cohabitation. A cohabitation that was now not only possible, but predestined, that felt like past, present and future, all wrapped into what was described in print in all of those books her read, edited but could never understand as ‘The Eternal Now’. And, as he felt his sperm diving into Atti’s uterus awaiting union with the souls he felt about to occupy it, the kind of love that would produce nothing short of ‘magnificence’.
“So, where were you all day, again?” Shelly asked Taylor as he shuffled into the cabin just as the late winter sun was setting over the still snowy horizon.
“Looking for Yoyo, again,” Taylor said, denying Shelly any eye contact. “And Piervus and Pierva’s birthday is tomorrow, not today,” he continued as he opened the cupboard and prepared pulled out rice, beans and a few sticks of wild carrots and threw them into a pot. “And speaking of whereabouts, where were you the last two night?”
“Looking for Yoyo, again,” Shelly related from the sides of her mouth, as she turned the page on the book that was engaging her interest far more than Taylor, her children or even Yoyo.
“Interesting reading,” Taylor noted as he prepared as he began preparations for yet another dinner for one. “’Lady Chaterlee’s Lover,’ he noted. “An interesting historical novel which in its time was termed lesbian fiction.”
“Or maybe contemporary fact,” Piervus whispered to his sister Pierva as they observed from their shared ‘writing, reading and discoursing’ bedroom as he continued to write another entry into his diary, translating the original Americaneze into Russian after transposing it into Greek.
“At least Mom and Dad are talking tonight,” Pierva noted to his brother as the conversation between President Taylor and Mayor Shelly eased into civic affairs of Chisn as she looked out at the parental units who for the last two weeks were acting more childlike behind closed doors than any kids in the village. “Yeah, they’re talking, not screaming like they used to.”
“Talking about anything but the truth,” Piervus replied as he turned the diary to another blank page, trying to recall what the village welder, Lee Chang, would phrase, ‘Within Action there is Inaction and within Inaction there is Action,’ into lyrical Chinese rather than procedural New Century English.
“They’re civil to each other tonight,” Pierva pointed out. “That’s a good sign,” she continued, putting aside for the moment the parental assignment of putting three paintings onto canvas by the end of the evening before being allowed to see them in her dreams again. “And they aren’t arguing!”
“Because they don’t care about each other enough to argue,” Piervus noted, with the resignation of a cynical under-stander of life 30 times his biological age. “But there is one thing they do talk around, but not about,” he continued, putting down his pen and scratching the hairs he imagined on his chin, in the manner of the now heavily bearded ‘Professor Tell (as he now was called)’ Patel.
“To argue about Aunt Atti?” Pierva said, reading Piervus’ thoughts, yet again, as they had done in the womb a thousand times with regard to questions ranging from ‘can you move your leg so I can unfold my arm?’ to ‘is it time to check out of this uterine hotel?’ “Aunt Atti who’s been more of a mother to us than Mom used to be.”
“And more of a Dad than Taylor has been in the last few weeks,” Piervus said, recalling the language, literature and science lessons Atti provided for him so he could feel empowered between the ears, as the body below his neck was becoming increasingly skilled at dropping any ball tossed to him, shooting more arrows at his feet rather than into the target with a bow, and putting more bangs of a hammer into his fingers than the nail it was aimed at. “But, it’s a stage their going through. They’ll out grow it. Don’t you think so?” he continued to his sister.
“Hope so,” Pierva replied. “And pray so,” she continued, after which she muttered a request to the All Present in ancient Sanscript, Greek and Latin.
This time, her brother did not correct her diction, but silently requested the same thing of the Being he wanted to believe was listening, but in good conscience, still couldn’t.
It had been an unusually long business trip away from Chisn for Tell Patel, but a profitable one. He had bought, gathered, concocted or stole the newest tools available for repairing damaged flesh, as well as late 20th century generators and solar screens that could power the village for the next two decades. But the proudest gift he brought back from the chaos that had replaced large portions of the Civilized Collective Realm was gustatory. “When I went through the kitchens of the abandoned as well as the heavily guarded buildings I used to work in, I got these,” he proudly said to Shelly and Taylor at the dining table in their cabin. “I smelled all of them and found them very pleasing to the palate as well as amygdala,” he said as he unloaded the chest of booty. “And when I gave them the taste test, they had no deleterious effect at all…at all. At all,” he continued, imitating a robot with a twitch of his head and a loud ‘beep’ between ‘et als’.
The joke had gotten laughs from other Outlier family dinner tables en route to Chisn, but fell on a solemn, angry and fearful audience now.
“Alright,” Tell said as he sat down in front of Taylor and Shelly, requesting them to do the same, noting that eyes had not looked into each other, him nor even the sun outside as it settled into bed under a warm, finally snowless horizon . “Tell me what’s wrong. Or better yet, I’ll give these new foods, which actually contain more food than chemicals, to Yoyo, who can turn this good tasting grub into fantastically flavored cuisine. She’ll grumble, like she always does, but I got gathered all of her favorites from when we were kids. Curry rice. Apricot cobbler. Raison bran bread. Chocolate nut bars made with real cocoa and almost real food coloring. Wild rice chipates and….”
Taylor and Shelly finally looked at each other. Shelly turned away, went to the window, and began to sob. Before Tell could ask why the hard bitten woman who was open to any emotion except tear-producing grief, even in her harshest days, Taylor whipped out a piece of blood stained paper, slamming it onto the table. “Yoyo’s farewell greeting. To all of us.”
“Especially to YOU, her BROTHER, who was supposed to look out after her!” Shelly blasted out. She turned around, storming her way to ‘Grandpa Tell’. “You, who left before she..before she…”
Before Shelly could begin to turn her anger into grief, ramming the blame for Yoyo’s demise on the Handler who was supposed to be able handle everything, Taylor opened his arms and allowed her to fall into them.
Normally, Tell would say that the ability to grief and to consol grief was an accomplishment for his personally chosen and finally successful Adam and Eve. But it was the suicide note that concerned Tell now. Not so much what was written but how it was written. And by who.
“This is not Yoyo’s, handwriting,” Tell said. “Close, but it isn’t. Particularly the i’s that have circles on them, indicative of a self absorbed egotist. And the r’s that have a playful twist on the stem that, well, Yoyo wasn’t. And hmm…maybe isn’t.”
“You’re sure?” Taylor asked. “Yoyo’s been going through lots of changes lately.”
“Who found the note?” Tell inquired.
“I did,” Taylor said. “When I found my wife’s new best friend in Yoyo’s cabin.”
“You mean YOUR best friend ‘with many benefits’, Taylor,” Shelly blasted back at her beloved after pushing him away from her and smack into the cabin wall.
“Who’s continuing to be a model teacher for the children in the village?” Tell asked.
“Who went out into the woods to teach them about life,” Shelly said. “A camping trip into the Western valley which—“
“—-maybe took a detour into the Northern foothills?” Tell replied. “A camping trip involving two children and—“
“Atti would never do anything to hurt us!” Shelly said. “She loves us.”
“Both of us, and our young teachers who the world knows as our children,” Taylor added.
“Yes, and the latter may be the problem,” Tell said, contemplating the situation, but not the solution yet. Maybe it was that Tell could still feel Yoyo in the land of the living somewhere. Or had developed the ability to feel the presence of body-less energy forms known in past centuries as ghosts. Ghosts of two young children under the spell of a woman who was too good to be true, or real.
“So what’s so special about these mountains, Aunt Atti?” Pierva asked the guide who told her more about motherhood than her mother did, or knew, as they hiked further up a trail where the slopes got steeper, the trees shorter, and the wind more ‘expressive’.
“And what’s so special about us going with you into the Northern foothills, and the rest of the kids going with Aunt Joe and Uncle Selma into the Western valley for a picnic?” Piervus inquired regarding the rest of the children in the village, and their adult guides who, after being allowed to choose their sexual orientation openly, decided on one that was not in keeping with the majority of their reproductive parts or genetics at birth. “Foothills where it is cold,” the young scholar who chose to study rather than enjoy Nature said as shivered again, his feet hurting far more than his sister’s mountain goat hind-limbs.
“The ground will get softer soon,” Atti assured the young boy. She took off her coat and placed it over the lad’s shoulders. “And it will get warmer.”
“So why you are taking off your coat and giving it to my brother?” Pierva pressed, requesting an answer but not quite demanding one. “And when that child in your womb needs to be kept warm.”
“The father of whom is going to get real pissed off if he finds out that you haven’t been taking care of him, her or ‘it’, who will be given a CHOICE about growing up as a him or a her.” Piervus added, giving back the fur lined coat to his Aunt Atti, wrapping it around her enlarged belly that she had hidden so well with loose clothing so far.
Atti accepted the coat with a grateful nod, provided each of the kids with an extra ration of (most probably beef) jerky and instructed them to move up the trail, saying ‘time flies’ as the reason for such, in Latin, Old Century American, and New Century Internationalese. As Atti followed them towards the snow line and the clandestine destination a quarter mile beyond it, she was taken aback by the offspring who knew about her present condition, hoping they would not ask who the father was. If they did, the ET humanoid who was supposed to be a different species than earth-born Homo Sapiens could not convincingly lie to them.
Atti, who was a master of deception during her glory days as the goddess Athena as well as other personae, had learned how to lie to everyone else in the village, including herself, but not to these the twins of the new Adam and the new Eve if they asked her the wrong questions. Twins who, according to the plan she was entrusted to, would perhaps breed with her own offspring rather than a mortal from one of the other Outliers in Chisn who they were already developing feelings for. Twins who, perhaps, could postpone their yearning to find a mate until Atti’s son, daughter or both, sprang out of the womb and grew into adult hood.
“What are you thinking, Auntie Atti?” Pierva asked, having seen what the down and very out of her game former goddess, with the eyes in the back of her ever-active, Complax-free head.
“And feeling,” Piervus added.
“That if we don’t reach our destination soon, not as much good things will happen,” the former goddess replied to the upstart and, despite her efforts, beloved niece and nephew with her best forced smile.
“You mean bad things will happen,” Piervus noted.
“Bad things for you or us?” Pierva instinctively volleyed into the dialog that found its way into Atti’s mind, and, despite her effort to deny its existence, soul.
“Bad things for all of us. All of us here, and everywhere,” Atti proclaimed. “So, please, less talking, so the beasts, mutants and bandits in these woods don’t pay us a very destructive visit. And more walking so we can get to where we have to go, and be.”
The words were chosen very carefully. And, yes, they sounded ‘goddess-like’. Profound words intended to hide the truth behind them, and make those you were lying to trust you even more. Words that Atti had learned to formulate from Heway himself, her former teacher, star-ship commander, lover, torturer, almost-executioner, brain programmer and perhaps something else now. A ‘something else’ Atti, who was now experiencing thoughts coming from places other than the implant Heway had put into her lobotomized head, would find out once she reached the glowing light that her eyes could finally see. In a ravine between two steep cliffs lined with white limestone, some of it left by Mama Nature, the rest from the skeletons of those who could not read nor didn’t head the ‘No Trespassing’ signs she and Heway had left there.
Ever since establishing Chisn and it adjoining communities of outliers, self motivated mutants and refugees dedicated to both liberation and compassion (sometimes above intelligence), Mayor Shelly, President Taylor and Chief Justice/Professor Emitus/Bottle Washer Tell Patel agreed on very few things.
“These geometrically-twisted twigs on the bushes smelling of Yoyo’s curry, onion, cheese pie, which even the dog can’t stand, along with the footprints that are sideways every fifth step have to have been left by my son, Piervy,” Shelly said as the trio pressed their way up the steep slopes leading to the northern mountains that became illuminated by an unusually bright full moon that skirted around every opportunity to be hidden by the clouds.
“No, it was my daughter Pierva,” Taylor proclaimed. “An artist who’s painting her own portrait in the woods. She could feel something off with Aunt Atti before Piervus, or anyone else, could logically come to that realization.”
“That realization being that maybe Atti left this trail for us to follow, and provided those leads to me for my scavenging expedition which let me see her taking the kids up here in the first place,” Tell offered as he huffed and puffed his way up the trail that got steeper, harder and colder with each step, and stumble. Finally, he stopped, falling to the ground, placing his hand to his chest. He channelled the expression of the spasms in his leg and the pounding into his chest into soft grunt rather than a loud scream.
“Tell, are you alright?” Shelly, whose ears had developed far beyond normal with regard to being able to hear sounds of distress after becoming a Complax-free mother, halting her progress but not turning her head.
“Of course he isn’t,” Taylor argued back, turning around to help the defiant rebel leader who, so far, was very good at hiding his real biological age, and encroaching demise due to lack of access to Regeneration Elixor. “I told him that he wasn’t up to this chase. That he should rest back at Chisn till he recovered from this last expedition to get supplies.”
“And he told you that ‘the only real rest is in motion itself’, right?” Shelly said, remaining were she was. Letting the young try to help the old man up on his feet.
“Very Right, Shelly,” Tell grunted out as he pushed himself off the ground, took in a deep breath and rose to his aching feet before Taylor could provide services to do so. “And the will to do something always enables us to find the way to do it,” he continued, pushing out his chest like rooster who would fight off an army of foxes before consenting to retiring from being the top breeder for the hens, or be put in a petting zoo where he was given his daily bread rather than earned it. “We go forward,” he asserted. “No matter how dark the tunnel ahead is—”
“—there’s always a light at the end of it,” Shelly interjected, smiling with pride with regard to her method of tough love winning the day, this time anyway. “And there it is,” the new Eve said with the strength and determination of a hundred Adams, pointing to a beacon over the horizon. “Between those two mountains. I recognize those color of those lights from my last internment.”
Taylor’s ‘optimistic inward rather than realistic outward’ eyes (as Shelly described them more than once) finally saw the entrance to the hidden compound after Shelly, then Tell, pointed to it. “Well, we did find it. I’ll be damned.”
“We better be successful as well,” Shelly grunted out.
“And fast,” Tell said, observing his watch with his eyes, and the biological time clock in his own body with sensors he had not shared with anyone.
“And decisive, I know,” Taylor added as a coda, retrieving a long metal rod with various gadgets attached to its side from his backpack.
“You know how to use that weapon?” Shelly asked. “I mean for something other than blowing up outhouses when you’re aiming at the cans on the fence next to them? Or firing warning shots at animals in the woods who we NEED to hunt for food, and who nature is about to kill by her own devises if we don’t.”
“I’ll do what I have to do,” Taylor asserted.
“As will I,” Shelly barked back.
“As will we all, now, please?” Tell said to the couple who, thankfully developed enough love for each other to start arguing rather than dwell in the pit of non-interactional indifference.
With that, the trio of self-made Commandos placed animal hides on their backs and advanced up the trail, so as to avoid being seen by the satellites above, and most certainly the army of well armed cyber and human guards ahead.
“So, anyone interested in a buffalo hunt?” the boss of bosses asked four oversized guards groomed for the job by selected genetics, and three former Adams who had stumbled into being apelike rather than human because they had different designs on the world than their creator. “The winner gets to eat the heart, and soft meat it is on those deluded idiots, all three of them. But I want them here sedated and alive, dead if it comes to it.” the continuing message while the Chief of chiefs observed Taylor, Shelly and the now rapidly aging Tell Patel slither up the snow-covered bush, towards the ravine just above the tree line. “Is that acceptable to you?” Atti continued to her old boss, and now prisoner, Heway, tied by the hands and the feet to the post where she herself was held captive, and worse, many times before.
“You’ve taught her well,” fellow prisoner Yoyo said to Heway as the detachment of guards for the most secret and no doubt best equipped research facility left to retrieve the next subjects. “Yes, you have taught her well,” the Hijra continued.
“Too well,” the god who was now demoted to a hostage, and tool, said. “But, Athena. Please know that being free from me being taken care of by me is something worth aspiring to. Yet being free to be me, well, that ‘liberation’ puts you into a prison that’s more confining than even your mind, advanced as it was, and maybe is now, can comprehend.”
“We’ll see,” Atti said as she stroked her abdomen, now free of the lives it was harboring thanks to an accelerated gestational gene which Yoyo had heard about, yet didn’t think really existed. An accelerated growth super chromosome that when put into alpha mode could make turn a four month old fetus in the womb into a newborn baby in less than an hour, and that neonate into a young adolescent in half a day. If put into beta mode, it would suspend all growth of body, mind and brain indefinitely. Evidence of the former was now on tv monitor 2, showing the ‘love child’ hybrid spawned by Taylor’s mortal genetics and Athena’s ET humanoid chromosomal input, said child growing at a rate of one years an hour. Monitor 3 displayed Pierva and Piervus, sleeping soundly in cold, yet seemingly comfortable bed that they fought so hard to be put into.
“Pierva and Piervus will make an interesting caste of workers,” Athena noted to her two unwilling guests. “While with Taylor’s specially qualified sperm, and my ovaries, will create supervisors who, well, will be…what do you call someone who is above a serf but not yet a god, Zeus, my former beloved?”
“Dangerous,” Heway replied, in voice which was made to sound different than that of his normal speech, thanks to the temporal implant he had devised to put on Athena to turn her into Atti.
But it was the remains of the implant still lingering under Yoyo’s skull that concerned her, and Heway, now most. Heway could feel Yoyo’s pain, the physical aches in her varicose vein covered arthritic legs. And the pounding in her battered head, covered now by a face displaying old age wrinkles and laments which find their way into the soul underneath it. And the pounding pain in Yoyo’s wrists as she pulled on the chains holding her down, determined to break loose of them, even if it were as the cost of a hand, or two. “So, this is empathy?” Heway noted, trying to figure it all out. “Or are you making yourself feel so horribly so those thoughts get transmitted to me?”
“Like you were maybe able to read my thoughts, and everything I saw, after I escaped my torture cell?” Yoyo replied. “Or you let me escape?” she postulated. “Which is why I cut this hole in my head to pull out any tracking device you put in there. A tracking device that, well, I didn’t seem to be able to get completely out,” the aching, hurting and remorseful former Hijra said while looking Atti’s way as the new Supreme Goddess spun a globe representing the planet she intended on owning, placing new names on all of the regions named in Heway’s honor. “Maybe I should have jumped off a cliff instead of remaining alive so that bitch, cunt and demoness can find me, and our comrades.”
“Our comrades?” Heway inquired.
“You’re not with her, so that means you’re with us,” Yoyo replied. “Unless you gods are dumber than I think you are, which brings me to the accelerator gestational machinery you have. As I remember the theoretical plans for it, from my own misspent youth working for you, every biological component of aging in the womb and afterwards was put in, very elegantly. But what of the soul? Did you program into that unit a Soul entering the womb at 5 months of gestation? Or at any other time?”
Heway was silent, having never been ‘got’ by a mortal before. It was new and painful experience for him. But not as painful as seeing Athena move from the globe of planet earth towards Heway’s desk, and sacred books, which contained the code to be able to transport people, supplies and messages from home planet to the primitive one he was sent to colonize and, if possible, civilize.
“So, what do we do now, Heway?” Yoyo asked her former scientific idol, pursuer, torturer and now fellow captive.
“’We’ shut the hell up!” Atti screeched out. “And think ‘happy’ thoughts, because I can read the rest of them,” the self-appointed ruler of earth as it was now, and would be in the future proclaimed, holding up the latest thought reading device. A smaller version than the ones Heway had used, maybe more powerful because of its sophisticated graphics and heritage frame that made it look like a 20th century cell phone. “And await MY orders, as to how you will fit into a better world than either of you fought for, or designed. Which means that I’ll need both of you to ‘kindly’, if you are smart, do exactly as I —”
The reading of the ten ‘strongly recommended suggestions’ from the head Goddess of the new Mount Olympus was put on hold by a call coming in from home planet. Atti picked up the telecommunication device, taking on the persona of Heway’s willingly subservient and very satisfied secretary. She made up every reason imaginable by mortals born of hurting flesh, and formulatable by cyber programs snuck into human consciousness by higher beings regarding how Heway was indisposed, and that he had passed down temporary command of the Earth Mission to her, speaking to them in Ancient Atlantian. The controller at the other end of the communication porthole who had never answered Heway’s calls when he was in need, and never called Heway regarding what he wanted, seemed to believe Atti. And seemed to be flirting with her, or was it her flirting with him? The details of such were lost in high pitched squeaks that inserted terror into Heway’s head, and pain into Yoyo’s ears. “Sexual mischief, which I created to divert man, and woman, from real Revolution a long time ago,” Heway said by way of explanation for Atti’s being absorbed in her own apparently slutty fantasies with the controller from home planet, or perhaps town there.
“All find and well, but what do we do now?” Yoyo whispered to Heway as she sensed Atti slipping into being bored with the boy, or girl, toy at the other end of the communication device.
From Heway, no reply at all, as he was losing himself behind his defeated millennia old eyes.
“We have to do something, now and fast,” Yoyo said to the despondent old, and apparently by the open sores on his body emitting greenish red fluid, dying ‘man’. “I have an idea.” This time she related the details of such with her thoughts, that she willed into Heway’s head as she helplessly looked at the monitors showing Shelly, Taylor and Tell walking straight into a an electric field laid by the security forces. “If you can direct that thunder you used to create with your mind to my wrists, and cut these chains, I can get us both out of here before it’s too late, for both of us.”
“All of THEM,” Heway whispered back while Atti was still distracted, nodding his head in the direction of the monitor showing a sleeping Piervus and Piervy with all their biological imperfections, and the rapidly growing soul-less perfect human that had been harbored in Atti’s womb. “But there’s one thing you’ll have to do before you go through with any of those plans you have in your head.”
“Tear out what remains of this implant, I know,” Yoyo whispered, and thought.
“Which will have far worse side effects than post traumatic stress from your interrogation sessions, or the most intense Compax withdrawl symptoms imaginable,” Heway transmitted by thought to Yoyo, then with his eyes, and finally confirmed it with a raspy whisper delivered through a mouth full of fresh blood and lungs struggling to get breath into and out of them. “But if you’re ready to receive Thor’s last thunderbolt, that I could send out of my finger to infuse with energy anyone but myself, in the good old days anyway, I can…” Heway looked at his magical index finger equipped with electric transmitting abilities that, so far anyway, were not given to any earthling, or hybrid. The ability to flex and extend it was still within his range, but minimally. “We’ll have to use mirrors this time,” he said through at fading voice by way of apology and defiance.
“—Blast away, Thor,” Yoyo said as saw the index finger of the once almighty glow with a light that was still not extinguished, but on its way to being so. She cleared the route for the rays of indoor lightening to bounce its way off the semi-reflective surfaces on the walls and machinery bolted to them, then spread her right and left wrists and angles as far away from each other as possible. With the finger that Heway, as Thor, was able to blast thunder out from in past eras, through She closed her eyes and felt an intense head between those limbs, after which she felt them belong to herself again. Then she felt the earth under feet give way.
“The main generator is in the left corridor if you head West,” Heway slurred out a mouth that was becoming more contorted with every word regarding the complex on the floor under Yoyo’s now liberated feet. “If you head to the Southern corridor, you’ll find the suite where Piervy and Piervus are in deep slumber. In the furthest corner of the northern hallway is Athena and Taylor’s hybrid ‘love’ child who, because of her and my genetics, will probably not know what love means, or why we should try to figure out what it is. The emergency exit is at the extreme corner of the East Wing. Any questions?”
“Just one,” Yoyo said. “Which direction is North? And where is the chip that you—”
Heway lifted up his shaking finger, pointing it to Yoyo’s right, then laid it on the backside of her head half way up to the crown, burning a hole into the scalp that penetrated into the skull. With that, the ‘god’ who had guided and/or misled so many in so many centuries of human evolution breathed his last upon the Hijra mortal’s shoulder.
“I know, find the Buddha, kill the Bhudda,” Yoyo said by way of explanation, and irony, kissing Heway goodbye. Feeling a wire emerging from the back of her head, she pulled out the remaining portion of the chip from the brain tissue underneath. Then, feeling both painful and empowered, she slithered into the bottom chamber, which by the sounds of it, had no living forms in it. Meanwhile, Atti’s boytoy and/or girltoy at the other end of the phone handed over the receiver to a third party, who made the mischief for the all too easily bored goddess more interesting, for the moment anyway.
“We have to move forward, faster!” Shelly, who insisted on taking point, grunted to Taylor and Tell behind her, as her she observed her feet take yet another wider strides, then pulled back into shorter ones. And this time being pushed back to its original position. “Come on, move!” she sneered at the feet which were being both uncooperative and not painful. Another attempt to flex her left leg twisted that appendage, causing her to fall to the ground. Her weapon feel to the ground and into a pit of hard ground that swallowed it up in one gulp. After bolding out a satisfied belch, the hungry earth opened its mouth in preparation to swallow the former wielder of that laser and lead emitting rifle.
Taylor scurried up to her, his running forced into slow motion. As was his voice when he whispered to her ‘give me your hand.’ The beast in the belly of the earth decided to delay eating the two traspassers that came upon its dining table, for the moment anyway.
Tell, who had suggested a more round about way to enter the open door to the underground facility, kept his distance. He threw both of them a rope, tying one end to a tree. With all of his might he pulled on the rope, but to no avail. Then he attempted to use no less than three mathematically-constructed pully systems, which were not any more successful. “So much for science,” he grunted.
“There is another methodology,” Shelly said. “That theoretically works. 38 percent of the time, anyway.”
“Prayer?” Tell said as his arms lost all of their strength, the only sensation in them being alternating weakness and spasms. “Or believing that the sugar pill has real medicine in it.”
“Which works, statistically, 38 percent of the time,” Taylor reminded the burnt out and therefore overly intelligent old fart cynic.
“Maybe in our ancestors time,” Tell said, falling to the ground as his legs felt a pang in them then gave way, blood oozing from them in three places. Maybe from a bullet shot from a rifle containing a silence. Or maybe a faster acceleration of the aging process than he anticipated. “Yeah. That placebo effect. The power of prayer and belief. Which works zero percent in my time.”
“But ninety percent in mine,” Tell heard from a young girl’s voice who he didn’t recognize, from a body that was none other than an 11 year old Pierva, which deactivated part of the force field around her parents delivered by an arrow from a bow that hit a spot in between two rocks embedded within the smelling quicksand vortex that glowed brightly into a blast, then back into natural, yet till hungry dirt.
“A hundred percent in all of ours,” the now young adolescent Piervus added as he pulled on the rope. His testosterone fed biceps bulged as he dragged his parents out of the quicksand and finally onto firm ground.
“You two have…grown a bit since we saw you last,” Shelly said as she hugged her two offspring.
“Between the ears and, otherwise,” Taylor said proudly, as he joined in the embrace, looking as discretely as he could at the two ‘bulging muscles’ on either side of Peirva’s chest and the enlarged scrotal ball between his son’s legs. “Yes, you two have grown up, very….fast,” he noted, with extreme apprehension.
“According to the seed that both of YOU planted, thanks to your seed and some technology this mortal decided to burrow from the gods,” Taylor heard from someone who he never thought he would see again. “An accelerator growth device that, well—”
“—Yoyo?” Shelly gasped, not believing her eyes.
“Yeah, it’s me. Who I used to be anyway,” Yoyo said regarding a body that was now young, vibrant, muscular and without a tinge of scar tissue left on it. “Temporarily anyway,” she continued as she pulled a super laser weapon from behind her back. Bowing her head, she checked the ammunition clip. “Very temporarily,” she continued as she rose her head up again, a first set of aging wrinkles beginning to take hold on her smooth face. “But with enough time to—“
Shots rang out from both sides of the ravine. Yoyo shot back at the army of assailants to the East, immobilizing a third of them. She withdrew a syringe from her pocket and injected it. By the time Yoyo had taken out another group of cyber and mutant soldiers from the West, Tell found the strength in his arms and the sight in his eyes to immobilize a good portion of Heway, now Atti’s, goons approaching from the South. As the assailants regrouped, no doubt considering a new stragegy, a renewed yet rapidly aging Tell and Yoyo smiled at each other with pride.
“Just old times when you played cowboys and Indians?” Taylor asked the old farts who had drunk a short acting drink from some kind of fountain of youth.
“Only this time they’re not playing,” Shelly reminded Taylor. “Where is Aunt Atti?” she asked Piervus, then Piervus.
“Indisposed.” Yoyo answered. She aimed her finger at the highest rock on the mountain top, strapping onto it a chip bearing an Ancient Viking Rhône and fired away. A rockslide opened up a view of the underground Headquarters of the former gods, then buried it. “For a long, long, long time.” The soldiers outside of it remained in their positions, the commanders of each flank talking to their superiors. Yoyo pulled out a radio transmitter from her backpack.
“A duplicate of the Arc of the Covenant,” Taylor noted.
“Or maybe not a duplicate,” Shelly offered as Yoyo said something into the transmitters in a language that neither the new Adam or the new Eve recognized.
“It means regroup to your original positions, and cease all hostilities, till I, and only I tell you otherwise,” Piervus said to his confounded parents.
“Non-artistically translated, of course,” Pierva smiled as the soldiers dispersed into caves within the mountain.
“Another language skill someone taught our kids, without our permission?” Shelly blasted at Yoyo as the crows feet under her eyes merged with deepening wrinkles below them.
“Why?!!!” Taylor demanded to know.
“So you can converse with her,” Yoyo said, after which she pulled out a capsule from behind her back. With arms that were becoming arthritic before everyone’s eyes. “Atti’s child.” she continued regarding the infant with an expressionless look on her face in a deep sleep. “And, in ways that matter, yours,” she said to Taylor.
“I didn’t know,” Taylor said by way of apology.
“But you know now, and, well…” Yoyo said as her voice became deeper and more feeble, but even more determined than ever. She pulled out an implant from the baby’s skull, after which the infant’s eyes opened up. “There’s a lot you have to unteach her, but there is a soul in there. I think. And feel, who deserved as shot at life, big L, just like the rest of us. As she, not it, can offer our new race a new perspective. Even though it uses an old model. Gods and mortals teaching each other rather than trying to dominate each other? It could work….And for the sake of ALL of the humans on ALL of the planets, it has to.”
With that, Yoyo fell to the ground. Her wrinkled flesh dissolved into vapors, the skeleton under it breaking apart and disintegrating into dust that was blown away by an oncoming wind. Tell, whose aging process was apparently far slower than his sister’s, noted its direction.
“And then?” Taylor asked the old man who now seemed to have the strength of a young one again. And that look in the eye that said ‘yes, this will be the last time we will see each other’ before her turned away and headed North.
“What do we do from there?” Shelly asked, terrified as she pointing to the South.
“Listen to but don’t always believe your teachers,” Tell said as he briskly walked into the hinterlands, alone but by no means lonely.
“And those teacher are?” Taylor demanded to know.
As if on cue, Pierva and Piervus pulled out small mirrors from their pockets and stuck them into their parent’s faces. Smiles were shared between Shelly, Taylor and their children. Then laughter as Shelly heard that expression of glee coming from her husband’s love child. A child who, surprisingly, she found herself loving. For now anyway.