-Michael Herr, Dispatches
-Michael Herr, Dispatches
a–steve, that electric bastard took me out to the new int’l big-time government kneejerked up the freakhole art gallery of earth. up in a nice low-orbit over the south pole, good views, nice cafeteria, nicer lounge. even though i always get persnickety when it comes to the kneejerks and the creatives, i have to admit they did a pretty good job with the place. it’s amazing to me what all those governement credits can get done because the collection is probably the most intense and for want of a better effing word, awesome, in the solar system. i bet those high-minded, enlightened kneejerks running the jupiter settlements are pooping in their scrambled eggs. and for all his flawed circuits a-steve hit me right on the money forcing me to see the place. it. did. inspire. i realized that for so long a big part of my problem was i had stopped outputting. getting inside the cubes and letting that world take command doesn’t do a thing for anything, let alone oneself. staring deep into colours that had true emotion behind them, that a person decided to put there because they felt that was where it needed to go. brought me back to the days with champ and the two of us putting t.m.w.p.t.s. together. no worries about the kneejerks or turds, just dirty sweats and cheap beer and freeze-dried sandwich bowls and idea after idea after idea. couldhave spent a month in front of some of those works if a-steve didn’t shuttle me on, the facilty is mama huge. there is a lot to see and i have got to admit (and by extension recommend) that the a.i. wing is right up there, a-steve being the connoisseur his self-developing nano-circuits made him to be was especially deep into these robot works of art. oh’s and one’s and still life’s with vacuum tubes. i promise myself that i am going to get back to doing the goddamn work.
wasted a lot of do-time absorbed in the streams. light-speed inanity. where did the good stuff go? we were good. where did we go? don’t answer that. dimmed the feed and stared out the window. it was a lot of the same. ultra-def life and death black and white in an infinitude of colours. it pulls at something inside some kind of nagging itching throbbing pushing grabbing gushing wanting needing thing i don’t know what. my unit can’t explain it to me. i find that disconcerting. i kill the streams and shutter the windows and pour myself a tall stiffy. then another. i numb out but it doesn’t wholly shut down the feeling. that. i. am. bored. out of my freaking head. business is good but i’m not in it, not like when i started and it was all go-go-go, until…it wasn’t supposed to be like this. not this way. no, we would all be here and it would be all our imaginations together in the soup, serving up a stew that the wasted masses would guzzle like we were a big ass stew-spewing mega-tit. we believed they needed it then and more than ever i believe they need it now but i’m not in the place i was to get it done. let them have their auto-this’s and electro-that’s, sure no problem, let me fabricate it for you, most best price. now how about i tell you a story? no, can’t wrap your free-thinkless mind around the idea? or can you? i’m too dis-en-effing-franchised to think about it. let alone worry. it’s times like these i fully understand the allure of the cubes. there is no boredom in that world. but i will never go back there. so i stay bored.
i’ve got shit stains
on my underwear
it’s a real pain
to wash them outta there
i must stop reacting
so awesome extreme
to every rad thing
that i see
my high intensity
causin’ me shit stains
and i am seriously running low on clean drawers
Technician Steve walked slowly down the corridor. He was still figuring in his head and hoped a slow lope would give him the time he needed. He had concerns and his brain was madly trying to address them, and with every step came every thought that came to the same conclusion: unknowns.
There was a fountain in the wall and he stopped at it, bending over to let the cool water splash up against his lips. Not drinking, just thinking. What will happen? Imaginings ran wildly in his mind trying to answer that question. He pulled away and a shiver shook itself through his body. Was that fear or excitement? He wondered. Crud or awesome? Both most likely. He thumbed his communicator.
A brown voice spoke back, “Yes, Technician Steve?”
“What do your calculations say again?”
“The same thing yours do, Technician Steve.”
“I have got a swackload of unknowns, Technician Jim.” It came out greyer than he had wanted it to sound.
“She says it’s not an issue, Technician Steve,” he said, his voice a darker brown, “It has always been a given on this project we would be making some of it up as we went along.”
Brown turned black, “No buts, Technician Steve, no uncertainty. Unknowns are a factor in everything. She and we have figured the factors. Factored and figured everything. You more than most. More than even she has, probably.” The black beiged, “It’ll be alright, Technician Steve. This is for the greater good, all for the best. Understand.”
I swallowed the grey in my mouth, let the brighter hues of what Technician Jim was saying coat it instead.
“Yes, I get it.”
“Good.” White. “Now please make your way to the control centre, the Big Lady is prepped, ready, and itchin’ to go.”
“Jolly on,” Technician Steve answered and continued off down the corridor.
The control centre was humid with nervous calm, the kind that moists up when people who know what they’re doing are about to do something they know they don’t know what. Nobody paid attention as Technician Steve entered and went to his terminal. He was glad of that. Of their focus. Did they know? About. The. Unknowns. Of course they did. He sat at his master control station, juiced it up, and logged himself in. His viewscreen came alive and he was seized by it. Complicated pieces of the curious puzzle buzzed before him as he watched her wondering. Watched her thinking. Her. The Big Lady. The brains behind the new future of the new future society built by the society of the future. The U.S.A.I. United Society Artificial Intelligence. Technician Steve couldn’t help but smile, as he let his thoughts slide momentarily to the monumental free-thinking supercomputer housed beneath a protective mountain shield that had boldly taken charge of the tattered and confused populace. Re-organizing, guiding, helping as was so badly needed and wanted. It was humankinds most massive marvel and one which Technician Steve had helped build with his own two hands. The Big Lady. Because lady knows best, and humanity deserved nothing but the best. Period. He let the smile last a second longer and then bent into the task at hand, bent into the terminal in front of him, bent into her.
“Technician Steve,” the lady’s voice was a rainbow. Always a rainbow. It felt him fine.
“What’s our status, Big Lady?”
No hesitation, never hesitation, “Global data piles are at 98% capacity and rising as calculated. Creation versus deletion rates are still at ratio 4.3/1. We must dump soon or a catastrophic system clog is imminent.
Technician Steve was well aware of all this. So was she. It was Big Lady’s way of letting him know it was the right thing to do despite the unknowns. She wasn’t nervous like he was, balancing the what-if’s against the what-will’s, even as her and society’s demise loomed closer with every bit and/or byte. We’ve thunk ourselves into a corner, he thought, this is our only option. Or else what? Crashtastrophe? Re-boot the world? Start over? First one 0, then one 1, then…damn.
Too much data. Not enough space.
“Ready to bring the drive on-line, Technician Steve,” said the supercomputer. Technician Steve nodded, cleared his head, and concentrated on the job. Status reports from all the other Technicians flooded to him. All nominal. All Green. Alright. He typed the command into his terminal: GO.
Orbiting high above the Earth, a massive jumble of technological awesomedom slowly glew into being. Electrons shook themselves awake and began to flow and its complicated electric guts warmed to life. And then it opened itself up. Bigtime.
At his station Technician Steve acknowledged the drive was on-line and U.S.A.I. confirmed it with her ever soft coloured coo. He watched the readouts as the drives volume was generated. He inhaled. It expanded. He exhaled. It grew. He stared. The number really grew. Big, then large, then huge, then tremendous, then tremendouser, then ultra-big, then super-large, then mega-huge, then most-tremendous, and then it got weird, and then it got–
“Infinite capacity achieved,” In blinding white came the call from the Big Lady. Technician Steve shuddered. An infinite capacity hard drive. We did it. Made infinity. Our very own infinitude free to fill with all our whatever, forever. He shuddered again. It begged the question: What begins when it begins?
“Shall I begin,” The Big Lady was all beautiful business, ladylike and intent, “the data transfer?”
“Okay, let’s go,” His voice/being/conscience grey/orange/blue, “very slowly.” He typed the command and held his breath. One 0, one 1, the smallest pieces of the littlest bits of chunks of data were dropped into the fresh, new void they had made. A new universe. Sweet mama.
Technician Steve sat at his terminal monitoring the data dump personally for as long as he felt he should until he decided he could take a break away from the control centre. Even still his curiosity would not let up, his brain engaged with this fresh universe of ever moving, growing , and expanding streams and clusters of numbers, words, images, songs, games, programs, things, dots, lines, shapes, and more and more and more and more of whatfor and whatnot and whatetc. Spreading ever forth into a pristine, grand nothingness so as to clear the choking electric air humanity had come to inhabit. They threw it all into the deep disk. 0’s, 1’s, everything.
Technician Steve stared at his ceiling.
The Big Lady buzzed away in her mountain.
Society beamed and ran itself ‘round and ‘round itself a million times a millisecond.
The massive jumble of the deep disk hummed in its place in space.
The sound was soft.
The signal was a faint one.
But it blasted Technician Steve out his reverie and like lightning to his remote terminal interface.
“Technician Steve?” The sound of a weird rainbow.
“That signal is originating from inside the hard drive.” “I know.” He boosted the gain.
A voice crackled through the speaker, “Hello?”
Technician Steve stared. Unknowns and Infinity and 0’s and 1’s.
Off to the motherfuckin’ races.
The speaker spoke again. It had no colour. It was new. It was pure.
“Is anybody out there?”
riding the wave of self-diagnosticated inspired do-ism, and realizing i needed something to jack me out of this boredhole that didn’t involve jacking in or off or up, i took a trip out to inspect our lunar based autonomous fabrication facilities. for serious, the moon’s spaceport has got to be the funniest place in the solar system. i don’t how they find the people they have working there, i guess some of it comes with having to find people that want to work full-time on the moon, but these folks are up there with the best of the best of the neo-idiots and retardoids. ifthey were ever able to collect and reconstitute the drool dripping out of the mouths of these guys, you could put a goddamn waterfall grotto in every freaking shelterpod in the effing lunar settlement. letus all thank the universal sandwich. pass the mayo. the autono-fabs were running smoothly, production is up, demand is up, we are up. up. up. again, thank the sandwich. pass the mustard. the adminstrativetechnician, a pretty but very, very serious lady named brick, after showing me the facilities and the what-nots, took me out for a nice picnic lunch on the surface. soy tubes, coleslaw, lunar brew, craters, and the thick black of the cosmos. if i wasn’t such a self-absorbed, anti-social recovering cube addict with emotional down-syndrome i would have played it to the romantic hilt. in our short time together it became somewhat evident and therefore i am not less than very certain that brick is lonely. who’s to blame her? no one wants to knock boots with a drooling goofus in coveralls. when i get home i am going to give her a paid holiday excursion to earth. of course, i won’t make myself available to her during that time. i am still deathly irritated by intimacy and a billion other things. and shels was the only woman for me. i refuse to thank the sandwich for that. cancel my order.
felt it coming. knew i was in too good a mood lately for the universe to let it stick. goddamn kneejerks went off on the happy jack colonies settled out on the abandoned deep water oil platforms floating around out in the middle of the black mess they try and call the oceans. turns out the dung-brains that call themselves in charge of society for some reason or another got put off by the hip little do-it-yerselfers living tax-free in the big salt and cess. and doing what kneejerks do best, went and jerked their big-ass ol’ knees right into their a-hole ass-mouths. man it makes for a good reason to puke. just because a bunch of folks get together and figure out a smarter and better and most likely funner way to exist, a bunch of flabby, under-sexed, triple-chinned, sandwich-fearing, crap-wiping, fear-screaming, money-loving, love-hating, no-goodamn-gooders decide that these are the folks that need to be decided about. i ask you this, who gets to decide about the goddamn kneejerks? me? you? feces. it. is. that. true. and i swear to the most toppinged footlong submarine of a sandwich that if a-steve or a-todd or any other person, thing or what the eff doesn’t come in here anytime in the near soon, then i am going to actually probably do something. i mean it. i am relaxed and inpsired and lonely and that is a powerful combination where i am concerned. i mean they are all big talking about clearing these socalled sub-societal miscreant no-goodinghams and how more than likely they will be forced to send in the firepower. why? they don’t ever really say. probably some closet sexual kneejerk is jealous of these overly out-closeted happy jacks and well, apparently that can’t stand. no send in the freaking troops. but it is interesting to note that said troops get sent in on a.i. transpo-cruisers which all run on a1 proprietary tech. so. what to do? play hard? write a letter? or throw the shit into the freaking eff. i have buttons i can push. the question is, which button?