Forge Netting 39: Spade Marks

He was a cockroach – he always had been. He could, he was sure, if put to the test, survive without his head for a few days. Dropping him in the middle of a desert … what the fuck was that supposed to do? he had survived way worse shitstorms than these pre-programmed fucktards were capable of dreaming up. It pissed him off that they were not more imaginative and it also pissed him off that they thought someone like him could be gotten rid of quite so easily.

How were they to know that he had a repeating signal antidote push built out of gene-hack flesh where the spleen used to be? Sure, he had forgotten everything for a very short period of time, but then the antidote had kicked in and the whole shebang was resurrected.

Funny, they still didn’t actually know who or what he was. This had been a fruitful exercise for him … his disease had worked. This thing that he had engineered to destroy memory had worked.

‘I didn’t trust it,’ said Berry. ‘I never trust these things. A bullet through the head is always the most effective end to a conversation.’

‘Funny, I always thought of you as the logical one – but the one incapacitated by wings as swift as meditation.’

‘Ah, well therein is the thing to catch the king, eh?’

‘I am no king, and you are saying your whole thing was a ruse to fool me? Interesting idea, but I wasn’t watching you.’

‘A giant that cannot see its own feet I see.’

‘Can you stop being cryptic and get this over with? I think I have mentioned my intolerance for long-winded bullshit before.’

‘There’s a localspace distortion field put out by the LEthe, and we found a way to hack it. We found a way to disrupt your spatiotemporal index and disconnect the causal blockchain of your central reality.’

‘OK, and you couldn’t do this remotely? You had to come here and bore me to death before you press the button?’

‘No no, I had to be in close proximity. I volunteered. My Callsign is Bury. Like Bury St Edmunds. There is something of the martyr about me.’

‘So you are going to be killed by this too?’

‘Neither of us will be killed, but we are going to be scattered out through time.’

‘All these dead-ends, it must be tiring. You can’t destroy me – there are safeguards in place to prevent that.’

‘Sure, if the back-up systems can find you.’

‘Your spatio-temporal disruptor? Go ahead, let’s see it in action.’

‘Oh, it already is in action – have you failed to notice the distortion already creeping in? Have you not noticed the reversal of the rejuve job? Haven’t you noticed your irregular heartbeat? You’ve been castrated, Mr Spay.’

-*-

The localspace crumpled, Berry felt like his ribcage had collapsed and his lungs were collapsing into suffocation. He watched the confusion wash across Spay’s face. How had they found him out? How had they outplayed him? Where had this game of chess gone south? Berry’s awareness shredded, and he tumbled out through the Dissociation Gates that dissembled all travellers; out into the reverberating echoes that the hallways of time were built from.

Spay clung to the notion of himself, latched onto some sense of himself as a cipher for something greater; his was a super-positional life; his destination was to leap into the mirror at the heart of The Metaphor House.

Would For The Trees

He looked at the bonsai that he had been growing and pruning into shape. The picture on the wall matched it exactly. It had been a long project. Here he had crafted his first time machine – through the fractal line, down through the rings of age he would travel, deep into the heartwood.

He had heard that many trees had been falling in The Woulds. Many of his contemporaries had taken their Leave, and were in The Wind. They had dug in hard, long ago, and found the underpinning undercurrent of ideational actuation that drove the super-positional data drive that reality was constructed from, and their metaphorical machines represented complex engines running off the deepest substrate of existence.

It was a lost art – the pruning of these vehicles into something usable, and Hent had been studying for a very long time, and he was now the sole expert left. Why had it taken him so long? Why was no one else interested?

They said it began with the Turn Of The Leaf, that that presaged The Fall, and then the rot set in. People were so apathetic, and the world was literally falling down around them.

He stuck his hands into the dirt, and he grabbed the roots of that little tree, all the time holding the image of the larger tree in his mind – The Yggdrasil. It was said that one saw the Hesperidean Apples falling like golden suns before one, when one had snagged a branchline and was being pulled into the subtext. A moment – an endless moment – he was a still center beneath a tree … apples falling … cherry blossom falling … small children scrumping for gold falling.

And he was falling, out through the boundaries of the room, his body and the small tree folding out through a bright point of light, a tear in the fabric of spacetime, through the twisting throat of a tesseract stint, into the smooth tube of a wormhole, and wham, out through one of the ancient Singularity Gates, and there you are – escaped into something other, something larger.

Hent stands and he looks around him, and he sees no Woulds. He sees dun brown of all the dones, no longer dunderheads … they got here: here to the promised landing zone. Refugees from a Reality Collapse. Hent grabbed something from his pocket – he walked out past the boundaries of the settlement – a long walk (a good sign), and he did as tradition demanded: he scattered the handful of seeds he had brought with him.

the mirror room

It was an intersect point that could reconcile different vibrational frequencies, and therefore allow interdimensional communication between different iterations of the same agent. The Quantum Agency had been running them on and off for close to fifty years. The weakening integrity of the spacetime structure in several adjacent areas of localspace surely had nothing to do with their operation.

Golding looked at the sixty year old version of himself and the female version of himself, and he was unsure whether he disliked them because of who and what they were, or whether they just showed to him something he loathed in himself. They had to meet anyway – all brought together by the spindle-line running through the multiversal nexus. It was never pleasant – relativistic time and the effects of stepping back into your own spatio-temporal index felt like a more distorting version of the nitrogen bends.

They were trying to run to ground a group of Freelance Editors who were operating off some kind of Dadaist program and had been making a pig’s ear of the throughline. Agents would crash in, crash out, change appearance – they were having trouble maintaining individual subtext these days, only able to maintain the supertextual truth that the individual in the seat is an agent. It could make for disorientating meetings, but it was what they were trained for.

Golding had been edge-running a bleed-zone in South London all week, trying to peg who were the pawns and who the grandmasters; the map of Tooting high street didn’t look anything like it had a week ago. Who would remember? Only him. Sixty year old said that the head honcho was Peregrine Soot from his dimension, and female said that his assistant was Delius Herg from her dimension, and that they were operating from the work of Hugo Serin.

Two varying kinds of reality anchors meant the need of two types of disruptors – that was what made these collaborations invaluable.

‘We’re looking at Colony Collapse imminently, we won’t meet again,’ said sixty year old. ‘The spatio-temporal key-stones of this dimension were logic-bombed last week. Last week I was eighteen. Entropy is accelerating.’

‘We have an integrity issue too,’ said female. ‘This meeting is our attempt to at least help you – to do something before we cease to exist. That’s the one comfort in these Mirror Rooms, they let you see there are other possibilities.’

‘It was nice knowing you,’ he said, and he knew it sounded cold, but he had work to do, and he had to get to it quickly.

The assembled team, the manufactured disruptors, the location – all of it in place. Now they just had to wait for them to show up.