Updated: Nov 9, 2021
Michael K Laidlaw About 6 000 words #406 3524 31st NW
Calgary, Canada T2L 2A5
Ariadne says is never life, in the glass cages, in the glass towers. Life is when you do what you want. When a patron takes your body he takes your life. She don’t remember a time before that. She don't remember her first patron, only the first patron she remembers. I don't remember my first killing, only the first killing I remember. Ariadne is ten. I am fifteen.
Ariadne and I bump paths in Big Footprint. Shore of a lake: Southside never part of the city Orbit Marines would pacify, warlords rule ruin here not much different than ever. Lake where once fish lived now a Greenhouse swamp. Toxic. OM says is contained but no one believe them. No one live forever.
Ariadne is dancing sexpuppet for OM. I am tracking. Find. End. Target is a big man, somewhere. Tell him he is never here. Tell me he has friends. Offers cr when that don't work. Tell him his friends now my friends. That he never paid them and that they paid me. He concepts then.
Ariadne is working afternoon. Wears a girlschool kilt, white sweater with letter, white-blonde hair, white skin, white shirt, white panty, white socks up to her knees, shiny black shoes. Tall tall girl. Young young girl. Red strobing eyes, nowhere girl eyes. I remember her clear, but in a search senseportrait is always something wrong, that is never her- something digital never describes. Ariadne takes her mode off to music. She is phaseoff somewhere, anywhere, but body she leaves behind plays that dance. Stares hungry, into light, at three watchers, midday Monday. Place smells thick of bodily fluids, alterants, of drugs and alcohol, memory pleasures- you taste it. People come in, people you find in dives like that. Time pass. No one hits me for more drinks. Salaryman jerks off into a sensemouth wet and open under tables. Virtual Sex. Finishes, grunting, pulls busy hand under. Wipes napkin. Surprised grunt as if hurts. OM wakes up at empty runway. Roars something American and try stand. A b-girl sits down with drinks.
Ariadne sits down. I think she’s hustling for drinks but is never that.
‘You look like a killer.’
I say nothing.
‘I like killers,’ she adds. ‘You waiting?’
‘I have a ten-square three,’ she says . ‘I don't work for eight.’
‘I’m up,’ I say.
Ariadne says she is never pro, after. I tell her I know that difference and she swallows hard. Tearducts route to her mouth. Sound she makes, sound kittens make born blind, so she don't spit tear flood back at me.
‘Why you don’t socket with me, right off?’ she asks.
‘I don’t like to hurt people.’
‘Other people do it, all the time. When they afraid.’
I look at her.
‘They afraid what they find. You never afraid. What do you do?
‘I kill people.’
She sits up. Daybreak flash at her word. Star and silver moon fade black and blue into ten-square three skyscape. She looks at me as if I say something funny. Decides a smile. Pulls a sheet of clouds over her body.
‘You want to?’ she says. ‘Socket?’
Ariadne lives nights. So do I. Work and dream. No more wired nights sleeping in a capsule: she knows how to live. Ten-square three then twenty-square three then thirty-square three. She never quits work: her Source never betrays her. Lovers have.
Ariadne and I socket third night. I see her look hard at me. She has mirror-iris eye, reflect back whatever she looks at. She looks for something, some symbol, some sense, to explain our bumping paths. For however ever. In socket she wants to decide some answer. Technical boy tells her viruses never live, they exist off living tissue- multiply only death. Adjusts for Target. Searches. Mutates. Locks in. Chemical and electrical Targets, nervous system- ‘Neurotransmitter’- we are original Targets for each other.
Ariadne is a fellow traveler now. City Nuevo. I am resident. She is Big Footprint. Buy her a new voice. Change colours of her hair. Colours of her skin. Colours of her eyes.
Ariadne says, ‘I don't want it.’
‘No one ask what you want, slit,’ memorytattoo man says. ‘You go come City Nuevo, you got to be paid for. Or at least look it.’
‘It never tracks you. It just lets you through Gates,’ I say.
‘You think corp want Flood Zone trash- unpeople, unrecycled, uncapital- on their glass way, slit?’ man says.
‘Not there, then,’ she says.
‘Where?’ holds injector over her right thigh, behind. She turns and pulls her thong up and over sex.
‘There,’ she says.
‘Gonna have to dee-pil it, slit,’ he shrugs. ‘So you pick a design yet?’
‘This,’ she says, points at blue-metal butterfly.
When done she is a new Identity. Out of sight I push her against wall vinyl, pull her suit up and see bruised marking. Take out E-rasure and wipe across, mark some history, mark No-Name. She smiles and reaches down the front my suit. I grab her wrist.
‘Gates you pass through, that is traced. Skyside owns City Nuevo, MetaCorp-police rule City Nuevo.’
I pull down her clear rainshell.
‘You’re invisible now.’
Ariadne’s never been City Nuevo. Close Gates behind- No Name- you want to get anywhere else you memorytattoo another Identity. Is gonna fade out, only good against E-rasure shadow of name past for three weeks. Butterfly memoryttatoo always under Identity, coming back, and she tells me a story that came with it, story from one of those Technical boys know how an ASC works, any waretech works. Man dreamt he’s a butterfly dreamt itself a man. Now he don't know if he’s a butterfly or a man.
‘Does it ever matter?’ I say.
Ariadne looks at me as if I say something funny.
‘No,’ I say, ‘does it ever matter? As a butterfly he must act as butterfly, as man man. Nothing changes.’
Ariadne decides smile. I know I’m onto something, never let it go.
‘Dream or real, is all which side the Identity you come down.’
If we stay linked we have to share... everything, Ariadne says. Everything.
Ariadne flashes her first memory of patron in socket. Stealth cube in Big Footprint. Glass tower never seen by OM, by no one. She is ten, on leash, the House kind and the chain kind- the kind used for dogs. In Big Footprint they do things you’d never do to dog. She is ten and Special- a little girl bodysense does whatever patron wants. Sex. Violence. Torture. Is dark that first time- shadows in memory, not just light and dark. Old old rumour you never catch no STD, HIV, NAS, nothing if she’s Virgin. So docbot makes her Virgin, time after time. And she is bodysense young, child, to make legend fit. In Big Footprint child never too young to be Experienced.
‘Are you Experienced? she asks me in socket.
I look at her.
‘All different when she child,’ she says. ‘When I’m child.’
‘I don’t like to hurt people.’
‘Other people do it, all the time.’
I look at her.
‘Docbot use sharkskin to morph me virgin- every every I break, automatic, have to do again,’ she says. ‘Never hurts no more. Always patron needs blood. Always patron wants to see it, after. But is in the head, is me that take you back to some kind of time before...’
I look at her.
‘Don’t I get you, baby?’ she smiles.
In bodysense she mutates to a perfect past. Somewhere I never been. Someone I never been. Dream memory. And my mind warps into a child. Dance, Dance, Dance. Patron tells us what to do- my body, her body- his sick, sick mind.
An overreal forest, Big Footprint away, away, timespace of memory- sick, sick rumour- bad, bad, bad dream. And her face, her original face, eyes crying but no sounds from her- my face in her mirror eyes.
If there’s memory to lose, this is it: Ariadne swallows tears when I come out of Actrance, come back from that forest. Place overreal in her memory now overreal I never lose. If I could cry, I would cry for her- instead I swallow. Tearducts route to my mouth.
‘Is gone slit, is past and gone,’ I say.
‘No,’Ariadne says, ‘is never gone. Every move onstage. Every move in sex.’
I look at her.
‘So he could maybe see my future, see me whore-’
‘You were child, slit. You never did nothing bad. You were child.’
She smiles. Shrugs as if it never matters. Swallows around that sound kittens make at birth.
If there’s memory to never forget, this is it: Ariadne buys me an SVA4007 sense-simulation deck. Looks at me unwrap folded puzzle, paper expanding like an origami rose. New, new. Serial number, product code, line code, holograph personal ID, all there. Saved for it, she says. I know there’s never enough money from the Club, but I don’t know from where else.
‘I am in there,’ she says. ‘Everything.’
I look at her.
‘So you never forget me. Ever.’
If we know ways to build money alone, we know how to build it faster, together. Ariadne knows Technical boys who can shape senseware out of her memory, make Target sense her a little girl, again. Kind of memory Target never wants his significant, his partner, his firm, his metacorp to know about. I set the perceptas. Technical erase any sensememory of me. Ariadne brings him in, he’s so ready he never scans his ASC, searches this concrete bedroom for eyes recording. ASC scans her eyes but nothing more, as she builds a senseportrait of him. Not much to find. He could be anybody. Recent skin, no piercing, no painting, no memorytattoo, nothing tell you who he is or what he wants. Lowtech sick- the man got thing for little girl sensebodies. I get it all down on percepta, show him what he never wants those others to see.
‘How much?’ he says.
I tell him.
‘I will get the original CL, everything?’
If we know the Way, the man knows the Metacorp: he credits pro Lifeguard to come after me. I am waiting to give him the CL and get the final installment of hardcash. Concrete and glassfloor place in Fracture Zone between NuevoAmsterdam and NuevoNewOrleans. Technical boy causes his senses to appear. Image try smile, as if.
‘Take it,’ he says, offer hardcash platinum block.
I shift stance. Scan everywhere around.
‘Take it,’ he says.
I reach out, ready to draw balance back, when thread lands on my wrist, searches fast for a socket. I see no shadow to his outstretched arm. Target image dissolves into metacorp Lifeguard. I throw Lifeguard in line of hardening thread- he follows it cause he don’t want to break it. His spike is searching for Ariadne. Hardcash block dissolves into bracelet. Lifeguard turns me toward wall but I know the moves to escape.
‘We’ll find her,’ last thing he says.
If ever a way to know time moves slow, this is it. I watch out for Ariadne. I am at corner 42nd Way, down NuevoBangkok. I am late, this night. I walk red-glass alleyway searching when I hear the Target, the man, the man got thing for little girl sensebodies. Lowtech sick. Flashes some Tech shuts down her sense, and she falls a puppet trance to him. Her eyes cry but no sound come from her. He is taping her up, in Fracture Zone alley shadow, packing her to go to his Dungeon.
He never sees me coming.
Citypol waiting, alerted, down glass way. I see Ariadne and Face her to avoid knowing me. Citypol throw down on me, find body of the Target. Lowtech sick. He’s done this dance before, but never caught.
‘Should give the man a fukkin medal,’ says Detective.
Instead, they send me up for Three Year.
I wait for a transcontinental L at a railstation in Wyoming desert. Warehouse, hardware city. Work 24/7. I stay in capsule tower, building credit to leave. Some stay forever. Robots and Transports never care you have a Convict workshadow.
I never know what it is, in those cubes I tender. Load, unload. Send wherever on the L or out to the hyperport. Pharmaceutical. Waretech. Greymarket. Do the work, live in a capsule, take approved pharma, payback debt from sensim web... Metacorp never cares. I have the SVA4007, tech is never better, and she is always there. Ariadne. Something digital never describe. She knows enough not to come to my sentencing. She knows I will come back, memory cleared, penalty paid, a blank space. She knows I will find her, or she will find me.
I go to Discount Warehouse. It’s now some kind of pre-owned waretech market for the UnNumbered, the UnPeople- people there same as anywhere, in dives like that. I find a SQUID can read the SVA4007, find the original sensim trace of her.
‘She never come here,’ the face says.
I look at her.
‘She never come here,’ she repeats. ‘Kind, what the SQUID dredged of the original mind? Never erased by the Institute: never anything more than blank.’
I look at her.
‘Memory deck never blanked, never cleared, never used, never nothing. Can say this for selfsense?’ she shrugs. ‘She never there.’
I work 24/7 building credit to leave. Time pass.
I wait. Man wants me for my tender job, my security access. Man wants me in plan for ‘tribution, new pharma tech- ‘gardenapples’. Illegal dangerous expensive, of course. As if sensim, but never need no Headware, no Enablers, nothing, sense coming through in blood... You have tolerance burnout? Never no more Enablers? Corp HMMO denies you required sensim tech, drugs and wares?- but gardenapples designed don’t leave no footprint. Your brain, you own it, you risk it, you crash it. Maybe toxics erase you, but always more wherever you come from. No one lives forever.
I never buy the Plan. I never Face to ‘tribution.
‘Occelot going after you, baby,’ woman tells me one night.
‘Occelot want to control market, all Downtown Eastside. Kind, he don’t want no unaffilliated, nowhere. He going come down hard on you, baby...’
I am not afraid, kind. I can take him, his firm, but then I am in the market. I build credit to leave. I want no complications. Woman waits for this over my mind.
‘I leave, then,’ I say.
‘Take me with you?’
I line for City Nuevo. Set down in Flood Zone, capsule boarding house same as anywhere else, in base valleys of thousand-level ziggurats NuevoAmsterdam and NuevoNhorlean. OM never pacifies any of three hundred million-plus People in City Nuevo. Skyside owns City Nuevo. Ariadne and I never knew each other but we started out the same way. City Nuevo has our story- lives under glass way, subway orphans. No clan claims us, no future wants us.
I go down Fracture Zones. Go deep you find Subway Camps. Go halfway you find boho territory, where Technical boys live. Technical I’m looking for never surfaces to play Art. I know name, go to look some dive too old for ambient, too cold for Pleasure Zone. Faceplace moves every week. Lines scramble under frame of City Nuevo. Once you find it you never lose it. If it don't want you, you never find it.
‘Vax,’ I tell man behind the bar.
Man never twitches.
‘Face,’ I say.
Man might blink harder.
‘Sit down,’ he says, pours a Dos-Equis before I ask.
I sit a table, wait for their tech to scan me. Not much to find. I could be anybody. Recent skin, no piercing, no painting, no memorytattoo, nothing tell you who I am or what I want. Inskull is never more than expected: stealth, season-past headware. Closed portals. No wareshadow but Convict in tech or memory. I sit and drink cold beer and watch wayside and kitchen door and mirrored dance platform empty reflecting empty.
I sit and darkness falls. Finish the beer but no one refills it.
People come in, people you find in dives like that.
It’s never night in City Nuevo, nowhere, never dark enough see the stars, only a faint full moon. Light hardens and plays colours on glass ways. No one sits me. Time pass. I’m buried deep. Even the ASC that runs this place has trouble searching.
‘I be back,’ I tell the tender.
Walk out to red light of Fracture Zone.
I give them thirty-six.
Sit the same table, served the same beer, wait the same time.
‘Man say you wanted to face Vax,’ tall thin man says. He’s the House Sixth Man.
I let my eyes, Income Basic, mercury grey eyes scan him. He sits down.
‘Never say why...’ he says.
‘I talk to Vax.’
I get up and leave.
I give them twenty-four.
Sit the same table, served the same beer, wait the same time.
‘So how you know Vax, kane...?’ Sixth Man says.
‘Paradise Run,’ I say, move leave, but he waves Stay.
‘Ancient history, kane...’
‘Trojan Memory, some of us,’ I pulse faded memorytattoo etched the back of my left hand. He nods:
‘Vax don't exist no more. I took his points.’
Never knew that possible.
‘So unless you got it packed, kane...’
I wait, think how to pack it. Never have to, for Vax, but maybe better this way. Paradise Run is ancient history, never made us immortal, just feels like it. Whatever don't kill me make me stronger, the Man say once. And then I know how to pack it. I tell him.
‘You searching one woman,’ Sixth Man tilts his head.
‘Trade,’ he adds.
‘Vax still sail the Aura? Technical can set payback.’
‘Vax,’ man says. Flickers like he thinks on surface.
‘I worked this way, before.’
‘Abs’lute,’ man listens to order onthread. ‘Paradise Run?’
Man might blink harder.
‘Technical? She’ll find you,’ Sixth Man nods.
I wait. Time pass. I walk the ways. Home. I walk the ways. I go a livesex club. Woman working afternoon looks familiar. Wears a girlschool kilt, white sweater with letter, white-blonde hair, white skin, white shirt, white panty, white socks up to her knee, shiny black shoes. Red strobing eyes, nowhere girl eyes. She takes her mode off to music. She is phaseoff somewhere, anywhere, but the body she leaves behind plays that dance. She stares hungry, into light, at three watchers midday Tuesday. Comes down, after. Gauzy, bandage kind of clothes shows better than covers. Sits at my table. Looks past me. I think she’s hustling for drinks but is never that.
‘I have a ten-square three,’ she says. ‘I don't work for eight.’
She waits, eyes going through changes.
‘I’m up,’ I say.
I never give address, but Technical never needs that, to search, to find.
I watch Technical sideways, but resolution never fades, never snows- almost overreal. I wonder where her projection unit is, then decide I will never sense it, with Technical. Science is magic, Man say once. She guides us to nighthotel, concrete box room, past a bar of people, too blind in themselves, people you find in dives like that. Never sleep here- even capsule’s got more comfort. She points at sensiman, silver metal box, shaped to handgrip, on the bed.
‘Turn it on,’ she says.
Disneyverse beach fills my sense.
‘Ever been here before?’ she asks. Sensim waves me to a place real only on CL. She is waiting. Wears some swimsuit shows better than covers.
I shrug. Could be anyone’s memory, not just mine.
‘Memory of the deck never blanked, never cleared, never used, never nothing. Can say this for selfsense?’ she shrugs. ‘She never come. You want to find her? You think you find the Man, you find her?’
I wait. There is always payback.
‘Work for you, you do it and we find her, dead or alive... wherever.’
I nod. Technical says to find her is possible.
‘You carry this sensiman with you. When you done, we meet you, in here. Concept?’
Beach disappears, she disappears as I take my hand off grip, warm and slick.
‘30 cr,’ tender says when I walk by. I toss a coin and walk out. Never day in City Nuevo, in Fracture Zones. Steel and crystal shadow falls every way, only faint sun blurs in cityshadow sky.
Paradise Run, subway camp called. Home. We come from island of the Pacific, place drowned by Greenhouse Flood. Nation, before Metacorp. Airlifted our history from rising water. Thought they were doing us favour. Saving us. Most went to SA, went to Oz, went to Kiwi. Some came City Nuevo, refugee like anyone else... You been Paradise, but is just sensim, based on memory and built for Industry. Disneyverse or MidWay/Sun. Vacation world, last century. Underwater, now. Overreal never make socket.
Paradise Run, Subway Camp in the shell of the zig- as if anywhere- under NuevoBangkok. 700 000 plus, most Native Polynesian, most survive on the underside, the inside, of the Fracture Zone. Kind of Subway Poverty anyone who lives only on the surface never believes. Metacorp promise future, but waiting is forever, so Greymarket is unseen hand that guides our live. No one live forever.
Paradise Run, where I come from. All family there, Identity E-rased by this global hyperculture, this brave new world seem nothing more than Buy Buy Buy. The ways to leave are only physical: if you play Rugby or Auzzie Rule Football, or if you learn skill of Black Grid kind- to force, to top, to hit. You may leave then in coffin. I left for the surface of the zig, lucky escape. I want go home, but is never there anymore. I search for someplace new. Never stop searching. Memory flood in music I watch: Pain Revolution, Voidhead Blues. Electric Sheep, Heaven Sent. Arjuna Zero, Buy Her a New Pair of Eyes. Willow Society, Ryu Alloy. Neohumans, Retrovirus Rock. Zoo Zoo, Mon wid d’ Ice Spike. Condition Critical, Soft Rain. Carcinogenic, City of Yes...
Paradise Run, where I know Vax. If new Sixth Man is heir app never need worry. Do this job and they find her. Technical search web and maze never passed by sensebody. Technical see through stone, if required.
‘Paradise Run,’ I say to hiring woman want to hear where I come from.
‘Wordup?’ she asks.
‘Live every day as it may be your last, live every day as you will live forever.’
In high high security I face her in body. Cafe node, bridge over Fracture Zone between NuevoCopenhagen and NuevoBerlin. No sharethread, no enabler, no sensim place, no Trust. Is translucent glasswalled, glassroofed, glassfloored maze that glow in the countless light of the zigface. Never night in City Nuevo, nowhere. Light harden and play colour on glass way. Never dark enough see star, only faint moon.
‘Is work we cannot face ourselves,’ she says.
‘Inskull is never more than expected: stealth, season-past headware. We concept you... use no weapon, no unique deathtech to be scanned, yet you are an unlicensed Lethal Weapon,’ she nod. ‘This is required, for Target is paranoid. He is part of group that centers under NuevoAthens. He is resistant to Citypol. Metacorp pretend he never exist... but many follower are inside, in position of power, in status, Untouchable...’
‘This,’ she taps CL battery on the cafe tabletop. ‘Is all our best information. Is current only for this month. If you take longer to enter... you will be alone. Target has fascination with Gladiator Code. Often attends, promotes, Black Grid Ultimate bouts. Is known to recruit personal Lifeguard from winners. We suggest this as primary entry. We believe if you cannot survive amateurs, you would not be able to flatline Target anyway...’
I pocket the CL. She looks at me, records everysense. She rests her palm on the back of my right hand. She senses The Wall I carry. She looks sympathy.
‘She was very important to you, we sense,’ she says, eyes flickering. She is onthread to others of her group. ‘Do this for us and we’ll find her...’
‘Paradise Run,’ I say to Gladiator Manager wants to hear where I come from.
‘And onehundred natural deathech, I sense...’ he smiles steel bridgework.
‘And you want to be Gladiator?’
I sense a selfimage his ASC search. This invasion of corpbody is more extreme than ever. It scans for deathtech of all kind. It wrap around temporary Identity I. Identity true enough to blur any lie. Identity real enough to bring me here, lockerroom aside a Black Grid arena. Faceplace move every week. Line scramble under frame of City Nuevo. Once you find it you never lose it. If it don't want you, you never find it. He raises borneye to mine:
‘Why?’ he whisper.
‘Is the only thing I am good at,’ I tense corpbody.
‘Paradise Run,’ I tell announcer want to hear where I come from.
‘And from Paradise Run...’ voice roar into silence of sensim arena. Combat goes out on sensim wave, surrounding Points-of-Perception sense almost Live. Technical fade into shadow. Arena lit as if stage. Arena of many sharp scrap of metal. As if history simulation of old old junkyard of automobile. Many weapon to discover here. I start unarmed. Opponent Gladiator whip chain overhead to echoed laughter. I wait for his move...
And ending, I kneel in the centre of his back. I hold head back. I hold metalscrap as knife against throat. Pause. He cannot move. I look question to neon thumb that audience rule. Red thumb glow, pointing down.
I jerk knife blurfast and blood splash on glassfloor below.
‘Paradise Run,’ I tell Target want hear where I come from.
I am in the Compound three week.
‘You savant? You learned all by yourself?’ he says.
‘I was in the War of the Drowning Island.’
‘Home or away?’
I look at him. He laughs. There remain no hardcopy his people can sift Truth. Skill in arena is sense that I have many seasons implant killing art. I have veteran stance. I am searching for Way. Cause. Target sense this need: he know how he can offer this, know how to create Fanatic out of Cynic. We wander inside the wall of NuevoSparta, in the Compound, where only his men walk. I am interviewed for Lifeguard place.
‘Women,’ Target announces. ‘Women are the final enemy. Women got Hitler to include us, Queers, with the Jews. Here in Sparta we True Men know these twisted lie. Our brothers on the surface, even in NuevoAthens...? Some- a select few- know Truth of this... Women know this, fear us, sense how clonetech may someday replace their Breeding function. NuevoSappho is their focus, where they claim desire to separate, to establish a Women-only world. We True Men know the battle coming, a time of Final Judgement. Final freedom from the chains of... biology. Women are the final enemy!’
I watch other Lifeguard scan passage of the Compound.
‘Women have the Others- our brothers- misguided, pussy-whipped, controlled as any mother might control her brood... Women morph sex into this whole realm...emotional values... Women claim it is Love they offer! True Love is only between men! What they offer is animal mating! We guard our vital seeds, impregnate womb vessels by invitro, so is never need to... soil ourselves with female touch!’
I sense desire he look at me. I sense my time to kill him may be soon.
‘Women!’ he bark angry.
‘I was told it was Jews-’ I say.
‘Women Jews are the worst,’ he paces out phrase. His voice bark: ‘Who created the tyranny of the Politically Correct? Women! Who controls metamedia voices of that Ideology? Jews! Women Jews claim that homophobia and racism and misogyny are three points of the Devil’s Trident, in order to infiltrate our groups, to pretend we are brothers of Jews, of Women! Women got Hitler to include us, Queers, with the Jews. Women have even tried to assasinate me- women surgically metabio altered, but we scan them in time, always. Women are behind homophobia. Women fear us. Women do not want our pussy-whipped brothers to concept the immortality we offer, the freedom, the True Love. Women call our advancing rights- rights they must finally grant- techniques of ‘Recruitment’ when we call it Enlightenment, we call it Freedom...!’
I look to him. He smiles.
‘I am every woman’s bad dream. Our history- the history of True Men- has its martyrs. Hitler made a mistake by focusing only on the Jews! Of course, at that time, their tech was not advanced enough to replace those wombs, their purity of ideology not strong enough to dominate those... Breeders. Women got Hitler to include us, Queers, with the Jews. Women claim it is men, in history, who have committed the great crimes. Women decide what is a crime. Women deny our Truecreativity in face of Death. Women have always had the power of life and death, but we are coming closer to that hour in which we can forever eliminate their sex! Look at our history of Tech. Edison. IBM. True Men built them, men ruled them- men, men!’
I look around. I never listen to his Rant. I nod.
Ariadne is lost, somewhere, in timespace hides. Girlschool kilt, white sweater with letter, white-blonde hair, white skin, white shirt, white panty, white sock up to her knee, shiny black shoe. Tall tall girl. Young young girl. Red strobing eye, nowhere girl eye. I remember her clear, but in a search senseportrait is always something wrong, that is never her. An overreal forest. Big Footprint away away, timespace of memory. Sick rumour. Bad dream. And her face, her original face, eye cry but no sound from her, my face in mirror eye.
If I want find her, I do this job.
‘I am in there,’ she says. ‘Everything.’
I wait for her.
I work Gladiator, searching. Time pass.
Paradise Run. Fire Zone Cobalt. War of Drowning Island. Big Footprint. City Nuevo
No one live forever.
Is always the same Rant I hear over three week.
I become his sex. I am fluid in sex so is never difficult. I am inside him impaling. I watch his momentary awareness: he wants the Pain, the Danger, the Dom I do. I wrap cord around his throat- tighten it as he come- under the eye of his Lifeguard watch through the mirror. High high dangerous, this. Danger is desired. I kill Target in this act of orgasm, pulling this cord too tight in suffocation, as if accident. I tighten cord too fast for him to sense he is never coming back, he is never to live in any children.
‘Paradise Run,’ I tell True Men want to know where I go now. There is no flash, no killing, for my accident execution of the Target. True Men know it is only by mistake.
‘Ariadne?’ Technical says.
She wait, eye going through change. I never give address, but Technical never needs that, to search, to find.
‘Ariadne?’ she says. Sensim wave me to a beach real only on CL. She is waiting. Wear some swimsuit show better than cover. ‘You want us to find a ghost... so we search. We honour our trade. We search everywhere. We use senseportrait you download. We access your CL, your ASC. We access what remains of the ASCs that ran your section, in the War of the Drowning Islands. We cover everything...’
‘Ariadne never exist,’ she sighs. ‘Ariadne is only construct in your logicsky- not even ghost for she has never been- she is an Implant. You know of this tech. You recall Fire Zone Cobalt? You think you ever existed before that...? No. You only exist since they created Ariadne for you-’
‘You said you would find her, dead or alive-’
‘We would, had she ever been-’
‘If she is dead, tell me where. Tell me Truth-’
‘Truth be, she never been,’ she says sad.
Beach disappears as I take my hand off grip, warm and slick. Technical gone.
Ariadne is there, someplace. Ariadne is overreal, somewhere. Ariadne is no more than Implanted memory, they say. I sense she is more. I know she is more. I will never stop searching.
Ariadne metal-blue butterfly memorytattoo always under Identity, coming back, and she tell me story that came with it, story from one of those Technical boy know how an ASC work, any waretech work. Man dreamt he butterfly dreamt itself man. Now he don't know he butterfly or man.
Ariadne, wherever you are, wait.
Ariadne, I am on my way.
(wrote this few years after reading 'Shella' by Andrew Vachss, just my take on his idea... I am not homophobic but I wanted to make it impossible for the women- they had to be women, I decided- to take out the vicious misogynist...)