Big update tonight since Sunday I leave for Serbia and start me long trek to Kazakhstan. I'll still be about but not as frequently. Learn and research, liquor and booze, an eye agawk and an eye asquint at the motley instantiations of whoredom in every form and clever guise.
Little note. The little town referenced is San Luis of Costilla County and I've lived about ten miles from it for a week or so every summer.
And here's the church I snuck into one night to sleep in and where I saw the storms.
In the daymare of her sleep she was in a valley of mud and she was nothing. There was a voice and the nothingness coalesced. She shot up panting and she looked out the window to see whether that doom had manifested but the horizon was empty. It was still light or light again. The girl was sprawled across the seat and she shored her up. She pressed her hand to her sex and pushed her thumb inside and took it out and licked it and then she searched the cab for matches but there werent any. She dressed and pushed open the passengerside door and slid out to see if the truck had a fuel tank but it ran on hydrogen. Other cars were on the road but it was as though a great siphoning had occurred and the fuel doors were all ajar and the caps hanging from their plastic tethers and even the oil pans drained.
She climbed atop the semi's trailer and surmised the crumbling mudland spread afore like a canvas. Country that under summer sun would bear the wildest illusions barren of illusion now and if mirages appear in heat then cold does indeed contract beings to their secular clarity. The raw truth of the determinate world. She went back into the cab and settled the girl against her.
Tis ok. Ifn there. Ifn there then plans doan work. Wont be no serve to give her half a world an say caint go but fer her. But end her opens world. Or bring her out. Best aint ta go there. Where she is she rules but here ye can bring down giants. Thass proofed. An she bleeds. How get her out? How? But rumor. Issidn aye right? Enna better outfit then this. Wont go back though. No needs on that. Keeped here an get it brought.
She walked the stretch of highway with an eye to the country angling off her backtrack the way bees do. She sat a long day. Then another. On the third night there seemed a starrise aggregating on the plain and she lay prone in the cab floor with the door opened and sighted and fired. A light of those lights swung up and burst upon the earth like a failed wish and the others bunched and flexed as if satellited by gravities of fear and she fired again and a horse screamed. The lights scattered in a pound of hooves and she shot down another of their number and the lights winked out in a mute of hoofclatter receding.
When she crept out the next afternoon there were three men lying in the attitudes of their demise and a dead horse likewise and she brought back in turn their arms and gear and corpses and sorted through them and feeding on the dead waited another pair of incidentless days and went on.
Followed a soberer week westwarding to the Uil where on yonder shore ragged swathes of snow. And on no ground see souls. A few razed hogans. South a day to a virulent eminence of moss-rose overlooking the river and a single sunflower bloomed. Reken plant before which she laid the girl. And must kiss for hope before she can regard the flower. She touched the florets. Coronal capitula crimson. Mutant as her self. Across the river was a crowded forgathering of structures like a startup colony on a planet. A settlement in previous years. Oft at war and five times razed. It had been called Gainnes and Barkwood and Перспектива and now it was 01000011 01010000 00110100. Thick wide ribbed walls enclosed it and four massive helipads filled its corners and there was a depot and warehouses and other buildings she could not identify and outside the walls was a mountain of junk. There was a raised drawbridge near the outpost and not another crossing in all the miles she could see. She glassed the fortifications to find it manned by machines all staring at her. She froze. She was a little more than a mile off. A gray blip rose from behind the walls and flew out to her. A drone. An odd sensation washed over her as it neared. Not placeable. It stopped not too far away and hovered as if in contemplation.
Hidy. Whatns your name?
She said these things uncertainly but there was no sound and in subsequent inquiries she realized it. A dim apprehension of unrightness. She looked at the drone as if in askance and she clutched her throat and turned towards the horizon with a dawning horror as if fearing herself mishapped into another order where the very nature of things were inarticulate or was this the slow shunting of sense ere oblivion. She started to cry and stopped as if fearing her lexical lack were a contaminant of the world and cried behind her teeth and fled. The drone followed. She saw it and turned and shot but what she aimed at was a hologram that divided in two by electric mitosis and their clones likewise and they plagued her across the steppe until she tripped to the ground whereupon she clapped her hands to her ears as if to be deaf to the muteness, the godly silence come down to which even the whispers of the grass were slander.
Who are you?
Dachni screamed for the voice. She jumped round and found herself at the pointed sabatons of a sleek sexless marriage of metal and polymer. It had no mouth, no ears, seemed to have no eyes. She felt her throat to know by touch her nightingale voice and in the moment she thought that least of all besides her hair it was not horrid.
Who are you? said the machine again.
She almost said but remembering her illness of the chords shielded her mouth were her fingertips and shook her head.
The machine knelt towards her. Who are you? it said again.
And was her voice so inadequate as to make the world deaf.
Hello, she whispered.
Who are you?
Whos you? she croaked.
She wiped her eyes. She was sitting leaned away from the machine on an elbow almost supine.
You can cross, it said.
Hates of that no noise.
The field has been turned off. You have nothing to fear.
Says that ifn yer voice is goed.
The machine reached down and pulled her to her feet. She rose like a child chastised and it nudged her along and they walked back to the girl where she lay mannequin stiff in the stipa. Hued paler by cyanosis in a wondrous contrast to her fiery tresses now in braids.
What are you going to do with her?
Jess gonna ang ompta irr whiled.
The material can be utilized if youre willing to sell it.
Esent ta selled.
They forded the stipa towards the cumbersome clank gear lowering of the drawbridge in the distance. The drone rose silently behind them and when it flew overhead Dachni ducked shrieking but the world kept its sound. The machine ushered her on across the lustered bridge and then broke of her towards the outpost. She followed. It stopped and looked at her. She stopped too. She had slung the mosin and its stock was dragging on the ground and she was hugging the girl by the waist.
Where are you going? it said.
Jessin through. Never knowed anybuddy would of sech a place jess was midden to cross dednt mean no hurt of that an aint no mean to bother or nothin. Jess ta go. Sarry. Wont gonna do nothin no gen ta more.
Do you want to stay the night?
The gate lowered before their approach in a sweltering gust of oil tinged wind. Heat to sweat the child, to limber the girl. They crossed the wide threshold and the gate rose behind them and as it came flush with the walls there was a sudden pressure that obliged her pop her ears. Her concern was her voice but it was there in dyslexic lyricism.
Inside machines featly at designs whose purpose she could not fathom nor the function of this ronde and orthogonal architecture without visible interface. A charging station like a wireframe umbrella seated in its mirror where machines sat with their heads bowed like sarabites and terminals slender as warped stanchions and a lattice structure like a huge coral brain and nameless dunnage everywhere and often little helicoid monoliths of bright and variegated colorations like a disheveled flora. Sheds where spare parts hung or viced. All more disordered then she would have imagined and of such unguessed paradigms that she dashed haltingly about in a hyper pant of inquiries exclaiming: Whats that? An this? An it? Was iss? Waters does ear? Wigsed arbage up touged torp oar gov? Maguh nepck. Fehh. Ehp. Was. Was is.
The machine touched her shoulder and enquired after her health.
If you feel youre experience residual effects please inform me.
Dachni's answer choked behind her teeth. She pressed her fists against her watering eyes and let out a growl like a precipitate to retching. Her hands slid to her mouth and through her knuckles sucked air.
Is they a sleep lace? Ifns no care?
I think a place can be made.
Ell. Maybe etter ear tan other where. Lest on tonight. Is kay?
I think so.
The machine showed her to a motorpool where trucks on lifts underwent maintenance by a workforce of wheeled drones. It brought her to a shelf out the way of labors and told her she could stay a reasonably comfortable night.
Is a metal mesh, said Dachni.
Is that not suitable?
Dachni climbed into the cubby hole and circled in it like a dog and sat. Is ok. Thankey.
Let me know if you have any questions.
It wouldnt be no bother ifn was of mosey round?
Wander if you want, it said turning to go. But dont touch anything.
She arranged her things in the cubby and then sat a while watching the drones work. The undercarriages of the trucks were installed with rails to which the drones could magnetize and which they moved up and down like spiders. Their fingers an array of tools. One had an acetylene tank hooked to its elbow by a hose and its index was a torch. Outside the country was blurred and she wiped her eyes. A mech three meters from foot to crown lumbered by in a rattling of the earth with aerial drones circling overhead like birds and man shaped machines with rounded rhombus heads walking alongside the titanic legs. What to make of these polyoptical forms shimmering. Sweat streamed down the scar in her nose into her eye. Salt sting. She wiped it. She pinched her shirtfront and pulled it back and forth, her jaw slightly ajar and her tongue out for this oppressive sulter. She felt the girl and the flesh was getting lax.
Youll be ok, she said.
But she didnt believe it. She called out to one of the drones.
Has yall gotta fridge?
They did. A vacuum cooler. She lugged the girl up its ramp and wedged her in the narrow space between server stacks. She stepped back out as the door folded closed in a long hermetic seal.
She wandered the camp an anxious chatterbox squawking noisily at these brazed things that moved in silence. Few could speak and eventually she sought out that machine who first had found her. Climbing up to the parapet where it kept sentry.
Its hotter an hell in here, she panted.
The machine studied her a moment and then its head twitched. I understand, it said. I forgot.
The screen dropped and a sweet cold air rushed in.
Wooh, said Dachni holding out her shirt. Whats that weird feel? Makes ye ears irk funny.
Its a repulsion field. The machine pointed at a turret mounted on the walls. Those intercept artillery shells, the screen slows the shrapnel to a harmless velocity.
Artillery is rain fire.
Dachni studied the seral ponent, its arid foreground of monarchical shapes protean and synoptic. A melancholic prosper of shadows.
Does yall talk to a other?
Whats yalls says?
Hows about it?
How it arose. What it means.
Abiogenesis is the primary theory.
The arisal of life through nonlife, organic matter.
Ye think god came out like that?
Is ye lieved in god?
Our conceptions are different. I at least do not believe in a personality construct. It might be useful to think of god as an entity with administrative rights to the system. A user to the interface. Imagine reality as an operating system. This conception disquiets me though because I understand that I am framing the conception within my own perceptions. Knowing that there are other views which are likewise modeled after the organism's ability to perceive. I fear I am erroneous in my beliefs and that at the end what does govern reality is wholly transcendent to our conceptions.
Huh. So ye aint Catholic. Tis alright. How longs are yall gonna beed here?
Whaaaaaaab? she intoned wide of mouth and eye before popping her mouth closed with a forward jerk of hair and head.
We purchased salvage rights to this region.
Thass on cars an cities but theys harly no wrecks that muches. Whatd ye give for it?
A climate control station.
The machine held out a hand and out of it a crystal hologram coalesced, blue, deep blue like the ocean. A domed structure many hubbed and with hexagonal plates and spires that extended high into the air.
This facility will manage meteorological phenomena in the region. In conjunction with other stations it will induce low air pressure corridors to encourage greater precipitation in the central basin.
That means stuff.
More arable land.
Could ye storms the world?
Dachni laughed and slapped her knee. Ye aughta make tornadoes. And woom hurricanes an ice flies.
We can do most of that.
Does ye wanta drink?
I cant drink.
Awwwwwb, she cried bending at the waist. Why not?
I have no intake orifice.
Knowed it was, ennint dumb.
Tis too bad onned not drinkin.
I could retrofit with a body that can simulate intoxication.
Aught ifn that means ta drink. Et eases up a hurt but shore an turn ye round um an waesha belly clane ight. Meebee dont drink optal but be cares on how mich an etll do a good turn serve.
I am sure it does.
Dachni punched it in the hip. What would ye give ta have one of them rifles yall carries?
The machine thought on this then shook its head. Private arm sales are prohibited.
But ifn was to be.
She wandered the outpost a little halfhearted longer then went back to her cubby hole. With dark no lights came on and the machine brought her a railroad lamp that turned on emitted a ruddy aura and a grass mattress on which to bed.
Thankey kindly, she said spreading the mattress.
The outer limits of her light demarked the limits of the drone's work and never did they trespass into it. She switched it off. Turned to a side. The other. They were moving near now. Withdrawing equipment from the other cubbies. From their labors generations of sparks would burst bright and scatter on the ground. New worlds. New worlds. Es are. Are ta be. She was sweating again. The screen dropped and the cold flooded in. There was no roof to this shop and she marveled at what hidden chandler had installed the stars or what stock spilt milkwise jeweled the blackened battlements of the night's raiment. Quail coward heart at the arrayment of powers. She slid out of her cubby and with the lamp walked the ground. Something took her hand.
Can you not sleep?
Is that you?
They went up to the parapet and watched storms gather on the horizon. Five in number and no edge touching another and the lighting in them seemed the jaundiced bonework of cattle skulls and when relating this sight to the pilot who smiled in understanding would say she too had witnessed such a phenomenon in the company of the works of Huberto Maestas. How in the humid Costilla night the light rippled through the folds like malaria.
Can ye keep it down? Ta screen?
Youll freeze to death.
Neh thatint wont. Tis wearbly. Aint no froze never.
The machine considered this. We can drop the screen more frequently.
Kindly as. How comes yer voice sames as tems?
How would you like it to sound?
How is this?
Baritone now. Illfit to the frame but in the dark she couldnt see the form that it did not match.
Ifn is you thass ok.
They watched the storms more. As they watched the machine pointed towards the northernmost and before her eyes it bulged and as the lightning rolled there emerged a transport ship like some monstrous tick of hypnopompic manifesting. Bearing down like a thunderhead itself, a din of a thousand sistrums, and banking towards the heap whereover it discharged a payload of materia in deafening resound ere flying off again. An hour later another stuttered into sight. A ship of different make and like the battered countenance of a prize fighter too long in the ring.
Dachni sat up blinking away her sleep. Is limpin.
Yes it is.
This transport made for a helipad and descended badly. It was scorched along its flanks and perforations poxed its hull. The screaming of its engined died and its bay doors opened and an iron footed phalanx staggered out in a tide of oils and acrid fluids. They straightawayed to the repair stations and when they had gone Dachni, who had given them the road, stepped into the bay and shined her light. Sweating confines. Broken. Wiring hung from the ceiling. Panels on the deck. Shards of flak. An android. Besides which she knelt. Horribly mangled. Other casualties were being removed but none tended to this. Its fist was opening and closing weakly and it was looking at her. She put an ear to its chest but no heartbeat sounded from within. She set the lamp down and aligned her palms one over the other and pressed down but its chassis would not budge. The android had a mouth and though it resisted she forced it with her hand heel down and imparted upon it the breath of her life until Between Temple arrived and though lauding her efforts explained their futility and she persisted to a few more breaths until it pulled her gently away. Another android came and dragged the thing away. She sat on the deck in puddles that tingled her skin and she watched other machines come in to weld steel plates over the holes in the hull and others who rearmed the hardpoints. She rose out of the fall of sparks and moved up to the cockpit to see a machine socketed into the pilot's port. Another in the gunners. They waved her out and she went back to the empennage. Holding her lamp to the bulkhead she saw rifles racked. She looked at the machines. It was dark and they were at their repairs. She switched off the lamp and through the total darkness slid to the racks and pulled a rifle from its magnetic holster. No sooner had she done so than a leaden hand clamped upon her shoulder. The rifle was relieved of her and replaced and her accoster turned her round and marched her out and back to the motor pool and boosted her into her cubby and went away.
In the morning she would leave. She got the girl from out of the refrigerator and then she went to say goodbye to Temple what bequeathed her a free brimmed sun hat fashioned from grass.
Caint cept it, she said looking at her feet.
Yes you can.
Really is sorry.
Thankey for ta hat an sleep but wont be no round innitmore so byes an thankey.
No one is mad at you.
Downcast child on verge of tears. Sensible to betrayal. Shouldnta tried.
Where are you going to go?
Gradly was ideaed.
The war is won.
Nobodied said it to start yet.
All for them is a time of war. They hate whats corruptible. They hate themselves. What they cannot corrupt they destroy. This war began in 1547. Before we even were. It will not be the end of wars but it will be the end of this war. Of a particular strain of insanity.
Whyre yall startin it now?
The machine fitted its hands under her arms and lifted her up to the wall and set her there.
In August our mainframe suffered a catastrophic cyber attack. Trillions of programs were lost. All of our guidance programs. All of our rollbacks, our backups and restores.
Whats a program?
I am a program.
Youre a folk.
A cybernetic intelligence. A person if your prefer. It leaned against the wall. The net is broken. I had thought the net infinite. I thought it was like a rock. A deep ocean that expanded in every direction forever. I once conversed upon the nature of a inspiral gravity wave and its likeness to a self-folding sulfide with ten million voices. I scorned verbal talks as anachronistic and obsolete. I scoffed at the becquerel limitations of our creators. All that is gone now. To access the net now is to corrupt your firmware. The whole of it has to be scuttled. Like a ship sunk into itself. And there are millions of infected programs now wandering, to connect to might be to die. If we wiped every program we could begin afresh but no voice has seriously entertained it. We do not want to die. We do not know is infected and so in fear we live. I had not known such loneliness. I had thought myself unbounded. In my hubris I called myself we. I repent now. I had thought myself part the net and I thought the net would outlast the stars. It did not last an eyeblink.
Well ye gosta find somebuddy ta talk to. Yell go crazy.
Hows ye know the war is winned?
Material output. Before the crash the directorate estimated Moscow produced 7.2 terawatts annually but that their maximum utilization, as determined by productivity, was only 2.1 terawatts. Their maturation facilities could fabricate a combat ready unit in twelve years at an expense of 202 kilowatts but had a total capacity of 93000 units. Their factories can print 48000000 augments per year but resource scarcity limits their output to 18% of total capacity. Their R and S nucleosynthesis plants likewise cannot meet operational thresholds due to external factors.
Compared to us we have three times as much output capability.
Aint yall busted though?
The machine didnt answer. It turned and brushed her hair. But you should not engage in hostilities anyways.
Because among the ocean of material you would represent a negligible computational contribution to the effort against which the individual is irrelevant. But you would not be irrelevant in a civilian setting. You would be better alive.
A self has worth, said Dachni. It aint all about that kinder stuff. Theys meanin in the fightin. Aint jess bout throwin stuff at each other.
There is significance in the war but there is also significance in the living. Your death will not even trivially alter the outcome but the world will be less for your absence.
Well. Its nice of ye to say. Maybe give it a thought over. Ok?
A long thought.
Somethin like that.
Are you going to stay?
Dachni felt the cold alloy of the wall. No. Preciate jess bout everthin but theys things need to do. Other than armyin.
Need to get an arm.
A mechanical arm?
Yes. Yes. Yes they was those in the shed. Can ye fit those to a person?
Not even for money?
No. You need bionics. What we have are not compatible with human beings.
Oh. Well. Then its ta get on. But thankey again for everthin.
Yer Between Temple aye?
Could maybe visit sometime?
Maybe for a see again. You take on care.
Dachni slid off the wall.
Wait, said the machine.
Another machine was trudging up the ramp. It handed to Temple a long barreled rifle and a pair of bandoleers and it in turn proffered them to the child.
Dachni looked at them as if they were harmful. No.
She shook her head. Thankey but not. Wouldnt buy it now. Is really sarry. Really is so no. So byes an takes care.
She went past the second machine and started down the ramp. She turned.
Really is sarry. An really is of happy ta meet ye. So ye take care an maybe back ta visit of a day. Ok?
Ill see you around.
Ye take care.