“Cometancer”

Posted by on December 14, 2011 
Filed under ENGH 451-Science Fiction

Jim led Julia to the roof of the tower while hypnagogic images burned through his mind. Symbols in the forms of once known figures and faces seized his brain’s attention. These images were forms of visual information to Jim. The images were secrets embedded in his the past. However, they were irrelevant to their future. The images flowed and flowered for him and extended into infinity.

They arrived at the roof of the tower. Jim made a port of bedding for her to engage the city and sea. He made her food and wrapped her in a blanket, necessary protocols to keep her alive. She thanked him with a smile in her eyes. He watched the city. It had become Babylon. It resembled TV tuned to a decayed channel. It seemed to be losing power before his eyes. Julia watched him. He seemed real to her now, vaguely human—very near concrete tangibility, not at all like cyberspace.

She asked if he’d always had to work hard—meaning in conscious reality. He said he had. She said she had never worked, or even faced reality. She said she was rich. She told him she spent her life jacked into a cyberspace deck that projected her consciousness into the fantasy that was the matrix. Now, with the city’s infrastructure in shambles, she was trapped in the prison of her own flesh. They were equals now, the rich bound to the poor through annihilation, as if a mycotoxin had poisoned the city, leaving only Jim and Julia to pick up the pieces.

He said he had not been human until yesterday. He had been viewed by the elite as something akin to a virus program. A self-replicating scourge on the aristocracy. She agreed, but wanted him to know the death of her cyber-reality revealed his humanistic equality to her. He did not acknowledge her revelation. He sent an archaic bottle-rocket into the television sky. The little rocket sputtered and wheezed its way down to a city street, leaving a faint glint of light on the pavement in its wake. Julia did not attend to the rocket’s flight. Instead, she thought about Freeside, her virtual home in recent times of technological prowess. She longed to cruise its bit-ridden streets again, to shower herself in the instant diversity created with a twitch of her senses. She knew now she had been reduced to her primal state. No cyber-decks, lattices, or pleasure domes would be conceived again for quite some time. Now she was just woman, but he was still just a black man. She felt lucky to be with him, a man used to being low on the ladder of success, a man used to being an outcast through color. He had lived a harsh life of torment by those possessing corporate power. He would show her the ways to live a base life with ease, to ignore the lack of exploding torrents of information and simply survive a world without affordable beauty. She knew they were the new parents of humanity.

Jim did not notice the wonder in her expression. He stood at the edge of the tower. He sent rocket after rocket into the sky’s colorless void. The explosions caused him to flinch with each concussive reverberation, but she never moved. She only stared at him as if he was a new source of neural programming. He looked at the blank sky, trying to remember the stars. They looked chrome in his mind. The cheap chrome under which, he had lived to fulfill a meaningless destiny of servitude. Suddenly, a churning erupted in the sky and its blank expression regressed leaving a bright, brilliant star in the heavens. Jim dropped the rockets and stared at the extended crystal nerves that were the star’s points. He contemplated emotions long lost in the recesses of his mind. His soul seemed to rise above the rooftop. His eyes became silver phosphenes boiling in from the edge of space. It was as if a king had returned to his court brave and powerful—triumphant. He turned and looked at Julia. She was staring back at him.

Their eyes met. They recognized themselves in one another. Their souls transcended the willing accommodations of the machines, the system, the parent organism, the connection of invisible lines up to hidden levels of influence. They moved toward each other. It was not desire, or mutual affection that brought them together. It was their waking from dreams: Julia’s a technologically-spliced origami trick of data paths and neural ghosts. Jim’s a black water reality of fear reflecting his inferior color’s supposed scourge on the white world. Their hands connected, intertwined, and lifted toward the singly-starred sky. They wailed at one another, “Technology is dead! Long live the raptu—”

“Duirt, duirt!” The  shrill horn of a Honda echoed up from the city streets. They disconnected from each other in a fit of panic. Their eyes became pale ghosts and their minds raged.

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