0.0 – Install
It is about 2AM 2033. I am on a train station, talking apps with my friend Immanuelle. She is cursing angrily about threaded narrative sidereality shows, that they are useless because how can you meaningfully understand what’s happening? She just suggested me a whole bunch of apps I had no idea existed and she bluetooths me a listing. I scroll throw the animated icons, completely lost in a late stage 14mg 2CB run (it’s impure, leans towards a Nexus Flip), and the vibrancy of the icons hurt at the back of my neck. I’m old, I shouldn’t do this crazy shit but I can’t help myself. One app I download I will use a lot later on, and that’s Label Lord, which constantly takes all visual data, all sounds, literally everything semiotic, and labels it, finding links to public social media accounts, other labels, other information, popular media, and tries making associations. But most relevant is I download Narrator, a basic app that tries making sense of everthing that happens in my field of view, and condenses it into a simple linear realtime narrative. The app asks me to name it, I cuckle, and call it Cornelius. The Label Master goes ham on it and immediately starts making free associations towards half the known universe (GIF animation of Meatloaf in highpitched voice). I instantaneously forget about Narrator and it works from then on uninterrupted for a long long long time in my personal ontonome. It will over time evolve a distinctive manic style borrowing heavily from my baseline consciosuness.
It is 2071, 6AM. I am deep in CNU18 psychosis. Nauseous and edging closer to seratonin shock. Taken too much conflicting meds to combat the paralysis and searing pain of the ceramic police dart in my thigh, the trypanosomiasis meds treating advancing chronic sickness, the memory integration meds I absolutely need taking but don’t, a small dose of weight loss meth, the hormones, immune surpressors and antiallergens. Consequently sweat profusely, I smell quite bad, and I am tormented by involuntary subliminal advertising in the corner of my eyes. To aggravated this mess, I aquisitioned a case of food poisoning and diahrea. CNU is for integrating memories and media files, to make sense of who you are, relative to your experiences, memories and the gargantuan ecosystem of automated recording means haunting your every move. I am integrating memories and these are not the best of conditional parameters. I lie down in a cubicle that stinks of chemical sterilizing agent, but the sound supression is broken. Every half hour a shuttle launches from west of Vagarshapat, and they veer a sharp 50 degrees over the airport in a violently yellow-green column of water vapour. There’s been fighting between YMPD and some branch of radicalized students so my ears are still ringing from violation type dispersers mounted on switchblade aerodynes. I watch my timeline back since my last savegame six days ago, which is quite long. I haven’t slept for days, so there’s a firm component of meth psychosis attempting to rerout my consciousness into a state of unmanageable. My Jeeves is scrolling in 3D Marquee still updating whatever the fuck trips I can get. The label above literally says ‘whatever the fuck’, extolling the previous desperation as I limped into a taxi under the Opera Geodesics, in downtown Yerevan. My timeline is a twisting snake from there to here, dodging civil war conditions, picking up my clothes and equipment and toys from my ex’s apartment at Sundukyan. Took me 40 minutes to pack it and fedex it to limbo. The memory snake winds to my Ex his mom at the Hrazdan arcology where she lives, wasting an hour to get in through security. My biometrics were off because of the integration surgeries I got here half a year ago, and arcologies are tight during a civil war. Then my credit ran out and I had to call my meat agent to authenticate access to my secondary credit, and she was in a noisy privacy shielded club somewhere in Ningxia, celebrating the ten year independence of Shandong. All the time the timeline on my sex worker visa was running out fast. Somewhere on the M1 I got stuck in a conflict hub and some serrated police dart penetrated the cab panelling and spalled itself in my ass, taking half my pants inside. Quick visit to the airport medic, some crap Indian antibiotic, spraying pink over the precipitously bleeding wound, guy taped a sack of fluids on my shoulder. Painkillers and meth don’t jive. So there I am, lying in a Zdrojowa hexagonal box and I just bawl my eyes out, shuddering convulsively.
It’s always a little too convenient blaming the muslims, but in this case it is the fault of the muslims. Revolutions are algorithmic affairs. Parties to armed conflict cast clouds of legality over the landscape, which I can see quite clearly zooming out. I check every hour or so. I am smack in the middle of Taglidian sectarian conflict. Yerevan really doesn’t like Wabs, but they own the local economy. So it’s mostly mercenary busywork, this revolution, all frightfully insincere, and it means that freelance girls of dubious chromosomal origins should really get lost. Last time I checked they work with guillotines to rectify these matters. I am now in fully Wab legislative zone, so I am on borrowed time. The wrong militia grabs me, I literally in some anonymous execution truck.
But probably not. It’s psychosis talking. I start dry-heaving again, and retch up bile tinged with half melted medical slime, painkillers, stomach protectors, vending droid manti. I am so fucking miserable, I’d consider knocking myself out. But I can’t. Being caught 14 hours from now spasming like a junky as some far right mercenary group drags me from this cubicle, ritualized gang rape is the best I can look forward to. I fucking need a ride so badly, and it’s not working out. I am scared, and I resist the urge to use whatever I have to bid higher and higher. It’s going to take time for my Jeeves to find a ticket out of this. So I return to the snake, watching me travel, argue, bicker, take cover for hours. That’s me, that version of me, it’s me and not a CNU18 fiction. I am really me, a real person, my neurons are part of that ship of theseus agglomerate of nymity. I have to believe it, I am not doing enough integration as is, and existential drift is a shitty way to go insane. One day you stop believing you are actually that person from sixty years ago, she’s a stranger, and fuck it, you are irretrievably lost. Nobody cares as you lose faculty after faculty and just get lost. There’s millions like those everywhere out there on the streets, in every major city and it’s truly terrifying. I am still upper middle caste, I can do this, I can keep it together. But t’s a lot of balls to keep in the air.
I wake up in sheer raving panic. I passed out, and checking the marque I passed out way to long – 48 minutes. I am drenched in piss and sweat and bile, which does not improve my bartering potential onto obtaining the ride. I need to get clean, which is problematic. I am very sore, patched up, drains in several parts of my body from surgery, a police drone in my thigh that might still be leaking location data despite it being wrapped in foil. But I do what’s needed, drone up a shower in a can which arives minutes later. I look out the coffin into the airport and I see a canyon of coffins, bright blue and red flashing beyond that, police aerodynes, sirens. But I reached the sardonic sweet spot of waking up after an especially raw client, where you simply don’t give a fuck anymore and everything’s fine and you can laugh about it. That in itself ain’t good, it’s exhaustion but I’ll have to roll with it.
Jeeves found several rides, and all are shit. But one isn’t. A Cebu delta wing is in hangar, repatriating Tel Avivian gamers. They have seats, and affordable. Flight leaves in 35 minutes, hich is cutting it short, for Duhok international. Kurdistan is a great desto, very stable and liberal. I start crying so goddamn badly, hysterically sobbing and trembling guy next cubicle starts slamming the wall. I hold my chest and my belly and squeeze and bite my lip and curl up into a ball and keep fucking silent, but everything really hurts and it’s the kind of pain where you lose your mind a little. Checkin to the Cebu delta is from a runway north of the airport hub. That’s safe, underground tunnel. I do the unthinkable and open the cubicle half naked and proceed sponging myself off – and find myself in a group of completekly post description travelers. People look at me, edge away, I ignore them as I was myself clean and spray and spasmodically put on neutral gray passenger fatigues I got from the drone as I ordered the hygenics. They are warm and fresh and clean and I lean against the cubicle and
DO NOT FALL ASLEEP. A kid pushes gently against me. Mom doesn’t like it. But that simple generosity of the kid, I can just cry with gratitude. I smile at the kid, a face etched with vitiligo smiles back, but not a happy smile. Kid’s very unhappy, and has a black eye. Kid kinda wants me to help it, but I can’t. I just can’t. I have to insulate myself from the glint of desperation in the kid’s eyes as mom isn’t a mom, but almost certainly something more sinister. I turn away and stagger, rolling on my passenger issue international standard sneakers and I dump several thousand digital currency worth of traveler junk and personal effects in a garbage chute.
I am still wearing the barest essentials for travel – my hardware suite strapped to my body, my identification and citizenship package of Faroe islands EU. The stuff that makes me provably me. My coms, my grid tools, the most certifiably legal of meds ever. That means I fly without Meth and that in turn means I will probably get pretty sick halfway the flight to Duhok Int. The tunnel is at the end of a mall enclosure with an illuminated roofing a full fifty meters long. Dreaming is nature’s way of integrating and I start dreaming and phasing in and out as I ambulate in the correct direction. I can see where I need to walk, Jeeves painting an autopiloted route through the cacaphony of an airport riddled with refugees and panickstricken people caught between proverbial rock and hard place and no way out. Lots of Jews leaving. It’s pandemonium. It’s Zvartsnots security and drones. I see mercenaries that switched sides And need To Leave Now. Everybody in utterly neutral passenger fatigues of highly differentiated color schemes. Jeeves fast checks me in for the equivalent of what a local stewardess would make in a week – I couldn’t possibly make it all the way to an actual physical desk. There’s a secured elevator going down in the main hall and underground is an equivalent extremely cluttered space with access raps for a traffic jam of underground taxi’s.
There’s people on the floor before me in the main underground concourse – shot by someone with a very fast low caliber weapon and they have been eviscerated. It’s very serious now, once they start gunning down people in an airport, things are as bad as they get, Idi Amin levels of bad. There’s this pervasively solemn silence in the crowd, as if everyone turned trained ninja. Typical age of people here is well over 75, even though most don’t look it. People who still have business in this hall are headed out and cheap folks could not afford being here, and old folks know how to keep their wits about them in order to maximize survival chances. Many people are bruises, some have been hurt and patched up. PD has been busy. The crowd thickens and beyond some barriers disperses again. A taxi blinks the travelers identification code I have on my tickets and I get in.
It’s cold in the taxi. I get from a very high humidity 30+ to under 12 in seconds. I sit in the cab with eight extremely solemn and quiet people. Taxi moves, enters a tunnel and becomes a particularly claustrophobic containment for a good fourteen minutes. I close my eyes and immediately start integrating. My ass and my stomach HURTS. I dream again.
Jeeves wakes me up, but no panic this time. It is very difficult for me to get up. I take out a small fluid flacon from a transparent etui and spray my eyes. My tear ducts don’t produce sufficient tears to lubricate the implant eyes I have so I carry it, but I can’t take it on the delta wing. Travel on planes is done very lean. Outside the taxi I realize the taxi took me to the end parking range of the taxi, which is outside and the temperature shoots up to 36 degrees, 90+ humidity, acrid smoke with a hint of crowd control gas, very loud engine noise and sound of aggraved civil bleating in the distance. At the airport perimeter there air helicopters, in the distance stand SWAT robots, there’s junk on the concrete everywhere. There’s a snaking column of yellow smoke billowing, lit from below by an ocan of LED lighting everywhere I look. I am not walking in a passenger concourse, I am on the fucking pavement less than 50 meters from te Delta, in open air. This is really bad. The delta is a star trek icon some 70 meters wide, a single fuselage hybrid winged design with two dozen small propellors. Passengers are not supposed to be so close to such a vehicle out in the open – the combustibles they use aren’t paryicularly healthy – but seeing the Cebu hull gives me a burst of energy. Passengers filter into a haphazzardly set up check-in truck parked and folded open. There’s a stunningly pretty stewardess, left side of her face wrapped in foam bandaging caked in blood checking te monitor. She’s Real Concerned About Taking Off Right NOw, but she has to dot a whole bunch of I’s before the system gives anything approximating a go-ahead. Everone around me makes absolutely no fuzz and works along with a degree of collective discipline and awareness you’d expect of SAS or marines, but they are all old people with money, and as such survivors who have been survivors for decades. We are all wearing the designated formfitted and standard issue printed CEBU passenger fatigues. There’s an elevator truck that’s inoperable so we snake up a metal conveyor stairs into the delta wing. As I pass the hatch I half expect something utterly cinematic as a nuke to go off in the night over civil war Yerevan, end credits but that doesn’t actually occur. I enter the escapist womb of the Cebu fixed wing, file towards the chair Jeeves designates as mine, right side of the wing, and I sit down and start trembling and shaking very hard. We all do in here.