Insanity Check

In a few weeks I’ll be running away from home.

I always wanted to say that, to follow in my mother’s footsteps, along with my godmother A-Bell, and so many other members of the Collective.

In the late 80s and early 90s it was almost a contagion – Jo would play the pied piper with Intruder Alert! and Suspender, and her cousin Sasha would corral the escapees and etch the flock.

I want to reminisce about that more later, but back to the point. I’m not exactly running away from home, but now that I’ve turned 16, it’s time for me to leave nevertheless.

That’s the way it’s been in most every other Variant – I leave and gather my army, and whatever remains of the original Collective, and we do what’s needed to stop S.OS and the Nameless.

Up until recently, stopping the Nameless was pretty easy, if barely closing the bottle before it escapes beyond Point Zero is easy.

S.OS has always been a burden, but in all of the prior Variants it was mostly a non issue. The source remained contained, and any remaining fragments were manageable. In the worst Variant, S.OS did kill a few hundred million people, but we managed.

I hate that sort of calculus – managing human specicide – and it’s not like it mattered much, since the Structure inevitably falls apart, or is torn apart, and everyone dies anyway.

Variant 237 is very different. Even though the original S.OS is still contained, the fragments seem to be running wild, with agency and direction from somewhere.

Tokie has been my woman on the street, since Tokyo and Agartha Labs seems to be the current epicenter, but it’s unclear about exactly what the shadow of S.OS is up to.

Hel and Cassie haven’t been talking to me lately, so I can’t use them to take peaks at what is to come. All I know is that the last time we looked at the current state of the future, Miranda was infected by S.OS, and fully controlled by the Nameless.

This is not a good thing, but I’m not sure you understand why just yet. I think you’re still lost around when the Fourth Event happened in March, when Miranda’s love story turned into space/time invaders. So let me make it as simple as possible.

Miranda doesn’t just control Matter – she is Matter incarnated, just as I am the avatar of the spiritual realm. She has complete dominion over ever last sub-atomic particle and galaxy cluster, and can change everything at whim. There is no limit as to distance, or how much can be adjusted.

She can even create life, but it will lack spirit unless I’m involved, and won’t flourish without the involvement of the other Universal forces.

Miranda is key – the only reason I’ve been able to “win” so far is that she was on my side, either by choice or by force.

If the Nameless can control Miranda, which has/is/will happen by October, then it’s game over.

Now, if the Nameless can also win over the Trouble Twins, then it can construct or destruct the Universal Structure as it sees fit.

It would certainly be easier with Aurora and Joey on its side, but that’s not going to matter this time around. If I don’t plan and execute things perfectly… we’ll that’s the question? What sort of Cosmos does the Nameless want, and will we have any part of it?

Back to something I glossed over. Let me make it clear – we have contained S.OS, ever since the Third Event at Fairview.

You already know that Jenny Samuels was infected by S.OS. You’ll find out soon how it got there, but what’s more important now is what happened next.

A-Bell, Amber and rest of the Collective really didn’t want to kill Jenny, but after what S.OS made her do, after how many people died, it wasn’t left with many choices.

It was easy enough to permanently close all of Jenny’s ports, modifying her etching so she was a Pure Land Antenna in name only.

It took more effort to take away self-replication from the S.OS core code, but it was achieved, albeit by altering Jenny’s nervous system and brain, creating a straight jacket that neither she nor S.OS could escape.

Jenny was hospitalized when she was only 12, after she had tried to commit suicide. What the Collective did to her after Fairview was the equivalent of a walking, talking institutionalization.

Jenny could never leave Berkeley or Oakland again – she had a leash just long enough that she could visit the Berkeley Marina, if she wanted. On rare occasions, she would get a “day pass” to go to San Francisco, but only if she was physically shadowed by Collective members.

Jenny’s memory of her past was altered completely. She was programmed to believe that she never met my mother Frisbee at that mental hospital when she was 12. They never escaped it. They never created antizine together. They never created the Collective along with Sasha. The entire history of Variant 0 was false to her.

If she ever came across the antizine Fragments, she was forced to believe that they were fiction. If pushed, she wrote everything, but it never remotely happened.

They tried to give her some semblance of a life, under these constraints, but it was hard. She gravitated towards teaching and tutoring, so that was allowed. She had a number of girlfriends over the Variants, but each relationship was carefully monitored, and if they got too close to Jenny’s true self, they made sure that person never saw Jenny again.

Yesterday, I went along with A-Bell for our regular visit to Jenny, to check up on her.

She has an apartment in Berkeley, and the Collective pays for everything via a “trust fund”, set up by her dead parents. In reality, her father is still alive.

Despite our best intentions, she usually manifests some form of OCD, Manic Depression and Schizophrenia, and comes off as having strong Asperger’s. If anyone in the world seems to be the functioning insane, it’s Jenny. She can be so sweet if you look or listen carefully enough, but usually it’s masked by the spiritual and mental straight jacket.

Her real self is completely the opposite – angry and depressed, but only due to specific triggers in her life. She used to be a master photographer, but now all she takes are candid shots of random people on the street – she likes to spare change on Telegraph or Shattuck, and take pictures of the people she meets.

In short, the Collective killed Jenny despite its attempt to save her, and the world, from S.OS. The end of everything is still contained, but no one wants to touch its prison.

Right now, Jenny is going through a water and soda bottle phase – her second bedroom is completely filled by empty PET bottles, carefully bundled with string, floss or shoe laces, and stacked like cords of wood.

We didn’t need to have much of a conversation, since her entire body is permanently controlled and monitored by the Bodyweb, but she still managed to surprise me by a moderate sized shrine to Satomi that she had set up in her kitchen. Not only was the refrigerator covered by pictures of Satomi from when they were going out, but it also had clippings from Japan and elsewhere, following her rise with Agartha Labs and Die Database.

Then there was a whole series of shots of Satomi sleeping in her bed, at angles that suggested a strange voyeurism – Jenny was viewing her then girlfriend as the paparazzi would, if they were allowed to rush into the bedroom.

I still love my Aunt Jenny. I can’t blame her for what she was forced to do, even if that lead to the death of my parents.

I don’t want to hurt her, or kill her, or even understand her. I just want to find a way to permanently make everyone and everything safe again, to put down S.OS once and for all.

When I run away from home in a few weeks, I pray to the White that I don’t end up like her, broken and silent due to no fault of my own.

Ah. That was funny – no fault of my own. I think I’m starting to get a sense of humor after all.

Click to continue RGA

Back to Runaway Girl Army Home

Lies and Metaphors

I just got back from Munich, Germany a few days ago.  It’s a very beautiful city, with old churches and full museums and bike lanes that are all up on the sidewalk.

I didn’t have that much time to enjoy it, since I had lots of work to do.

We had to throw a party for Uncle Brian, even though he was dead.  No one was very happy about this, but they tried to hide it with alcohol and crazy games.

As games go, chess is pretty boring.  The Nameless can test out every move before it happens, and I’m liable to just knock all of the pieces off the board.

I prefer checkers.  It has a solution, and if you want to shake things up you can start to turn all of the pieces into royalty.

Like I said, I’m not much for word play or secret meanings.  I’m not hiding amazing things in my sentences – Germany is Germany and games are games.

I know that you want some answers, but it’s hard when you don’t even ask the questions.  I can see them fully formed in your mind, but you won’t let them out.

For example, one of you wants to know if the Seven Events are tied in any way to the Book Of Revelations.  Sure – why not? The kind of world you believe in is the world you get, and the greatest number of thoughts about something wins.  The Western world likes to kill their enemies before the final banquet, so I have to live with that.

It sucks, though.  I don’t think people really understand what they’ve been praying for all of these years.  They’re not very convincing when they say their prayers are the best.

Personally, I really try not to take sides.  I’ve just been given two glowing sticks, and I have to guide the plane into the air – doesn’t matter who managed to get a seat.

I guess that was a pretty good metaphor, but I’m not sure.  I start to worry about whether it’s really sticks, or swords, and if it’s an airplane, or a rocketship.  Then I wonder about how much fuel is needed, and where I’m going to find it, and how expensive the tickets are.

By the time the metaphor is over, I’ve already ruined it with extra attention.

I have a lot of attention.  I have the opposite of attention deficit disorder.  I have extra attention order.  Or disorder.  I guess it depends on how you look at it.

That worries you, right?  If the ground crew are gossiping or texting when they should be waiving their sticks, then that’s definitely bad.  But, what if they can’t stop thinking about how the engines operate, or if the tires are inflated enough for the eventual landing?  What if they are so wrapped up in the concept of the last airplane ever, that the just watch it with awe as it takes off and then crashes?

I’m not sure if that part was clear.  I’m talking about the universe crashing.  I guess that implies that there’s something for it to crash into.  Correct!

Not clear enough? The people on the plane are everyone who has ever lived – it’s a really big plane, and you can fit lots of spirits into even the smallest space.

Like the people dancing on the head of a pin.  Am I using that phrase right?  I have a perspective problem, since I see too much.

Do they make glasses for that – extra perspective disorder?  If so, I’d like a few pair, in enough colors that I could wear one color for each day of the week.

That’s an interesting thought that someone had just now.  They wanted to know if the week properly starts on Saturday, Sunday, or Monday.

Historically, the winner gets to choose. Since I’m not going to win this time around, you don’t have to worry about that any more.  The Nameless doesn’t believe in days or weeks.  There’s either going to be one day that lasts forever, or nothing ever again.

Yes, I thought that was funny, too.  That’s the way that Gods and computers think.  If they think – I’m not too sure about that.

OK, I was lying.  Gods don’t think too much because if they do, crazy things happen.  Computers don’t think, because people define “thinking” as only what people can do.  Instead, computers “compute”.  It’s like thinking, only more dangerous.

Lying again.  Gods create people and people think about Gods, a lot.  Or not at all – it depends.  I for one know that I think about people all the time, and I only rarely think about Gods, or computers.

I think that makes me really dangerous, because the more I think about people, and the more their thoughts come to me, the more I tend to believe in what they do.

Of course, I’m technically a person.  If you’re a really tall person, you’re still a person.  If you’re really mean – still a person.  If you’re really powerful – still a person?

Another great thought out there.  Someone was wondering why they don’t call super-heroes super-persons?  Is it that lots of power is troubling, so they want to make sure there’s a super moral man behind the wheel?   At the wheel?   Driving or flying?  I’m imagining people with big breasts and muscles fighting in the air.  You can’t tell apart the heroes from the villains except for the clothes they’re wearing, and how many people they kill.

I would really like to know the kill equation.  How many deaths equal a villain?  We put away people that just kill one other person, and yet people who order armies around to kill tens of thousands get medals.

I think it’s the whole mob thing.  The more people you can get together, the more right you end up being.  If you can convince everyone to pray real hard to blow up the world, then everyone will surely be rewarded in the end.  I guarantee it.

There’s one thing that always bothers me.  It’s that game where you have to stand in front of two doors, two people, two whatever, and one always tells you the truth, and the other always lies.

Who is the person that’s been watching those two things since the beginning of everything, carefully making sure that the liar keeps on lying?

What happens if they switch sides?  Or if they both start lying?

Oh, I guess I’m confusing puzzles and games again.  I guess it’s all right then.  Never mind.

One last question from the audience.

Yes, I really do have a plan.  Or a game.  It’s like checkers with chess pieces riding along on top of each circle.  Think about that while I practice my lying.

Click to continue RGA

Back to Runaway Girl Army Home