Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sanur 9, Red Box is Ungoodly


We interrupt this episode of ‘Galactic Survivor CXVII, Pluto:  Now, not even on a Planet!’ to bring you the Emperor’s special broadcast…

Crush pressed one finger on the blonde desk at a time.  In its bright varnish, very human digits with fingernails touched a face faraway and crowned with antlers.  Mirrored also, was a mist screen caught in trapezoidal halo, counting down.  Wispy numbers melted mid-air, snapped together again from plasma, froze anew.  A smooth, rose-colored BioTech panel on the ground then triggered another bright spasm to project in the air between the deer-man, his imperial desk, and what must have seemed to him a cage-fence of cameras.
Once, long ago, there had been a way to touch and know the beast, without disrupting his cage.

Canticle of the Marked Prey, verse 68:

n the age before our redeemed-time,
there was a Mark.
And the Village wanted to find and accuse him,
even while he claimed to have only thought it,
never done it, him
never robbed by him food out of the mouths of our own,
by neglecting our own sacred crop-work.
through worshipping the demoness Sloth.

Mark was therefore brought forth by the elders,
who had called the Prey Monks to the village. 
They set Mark down,
before the device, down,
his knees on either branch of the X scratched there,
with broken off switch, down.

Yes, with this very stick-whipping-switch useless on him, the sinner, now.  

And so they used an other device painted red,
very much like a coffin, red. 
It was as wide and as tall, red,
but deep enough for a monk to stand in and lock himself inside of, red.
With his antlers going back, and back in, as far as they should be.

In that ancient ambrosia summer,
the bullet-headed insolent Mark
was made to face this great red box and fidget before the holes, Mark
through which he could see hardly nothing, Mark
but smell everything of an animal like to his own—another Ungulate in robed,
whom the whole village, too, had seen step inside, within, robed.  
Like to, but not. Mark.

Monk travelled deep inside the red box and set himself up, then wait?
So long, perhaps Mark believed, the fellow deer had therefore transformed?

The soul’s test began, thus.
With Mark half-believing, in our monk’s miracle,
In us.

Came forth from the Red Box, these things.

A trotter, painted fully black, through a hole of Red Box,
to paw the space between them.
Black hoof patted the furred head of its cousin,
Then, scratch it, behind the penitent’s long round ears. 
Then did he smile?
Smile you?

Higher up, through another black cut hole comes,
The hoof returns to offer Mark amber candy.
He kisses it.

A second, down low, with fine jingling bracelet round fine, feminine forelimb.

But no female had gone into the box.
Mark kissed that, as well.

The Wife of Mark, Mark’s wife,
she was not, of course, happy to see it. 
A confession in the physical?
And had a Red Box put him, her husband him,
in a trance?

Would it prove that Mark had neglected the fields,
And committed the sin of sloth?
Would it prove that he had been unfaithful,
Finally, that he had broken two laws.

Next, from the box came,
from a hole, silent,
Mark smiled as if he knew it,
Leaned close with side of his bullet-head, to listen it.

‘Do what?’  He says, leans back antlers and laughs.
Now, olding aged belly presses against the flat wood,
Next one pant, and then its other leg stepped out of.  Too.
A white tail flickering as crowd horrors and waist-down revealed,
For daddy-deer dropped trow and guided his sex within.  Oh, no.

Nobody can never unsee this.

For a woman who was not a woman,
but a monk and a man. 
Who, while proved to all in the village while inside a Red Box,
that a kindly old father was capable of pitching chores to play games at whoring. 
To take food out of the mouths of his kindred, with his own one, soiled hand.

That the Red Box had this power, to condemn. 
Would always Mark, would ever. 
No Ungulate could forget.

How that first Mark,
by that first Red Box,
had his

Neck.  Severed.

Crush shut his eyes, now, in the Imperial Office.  It was a horrible holy-story to remember.  But remember it, remember.  Recite, recite.  The Red Box had been Wyle’s best effort at trying to contain the savage hedonism which plagued civilization, came out of the pretty living eaves of trees during long golden autumn, the honeyed enchanting nectar of its dying flowers, and conflicted with that sacred effort of survival once the long horrible winter set in fast and chilled any unpicked fruits abandoned there at harvest.  A planet as glad to romance and multiply its denizens as it was to starve and cull them.  And, whether Wylians had burnt those Prey temples down several ages ago or not, the Empire was still informed by a dominant Ungulate culture from Wyle, that would need unadulterated, undeniable proof that their emperor was a good man before he dare claim to be virtuous and disciplined enough, to try leading them inspite of themselves and their rogue home planet.

Mostly thanks to someone’s—Jeremie’s—abominable tweeting… 

The television machine and its pretty screens, ViewO, was now ready to speak to Crush and his keepers. Transmission in 5…4…3… 2…1…
Loving Emperor Cush.  Please begin.

“Citizens of the Galaxy.” Said Crush, “Tonight, again… we broadcast on Earth time.  That is how committed your Loving Emperor is, to resolving the issues there.” Now, his grimace delved and the slit leer spread, “And, citizens of Earth.  Ever since you once laughed at the prospect of deer prancing out of spaceships wanting to meet your leader, you have been a thorn in the empire’s side.  How long have we been so fond of one another, your very natural efforts at defiance?”

Deer people working the cameras with trotters hooked around knobs guided the floating screens so that they reflected a closer, more tranquil shot of the Emperor’s face.  A manufactured scent pushed about the star of the show now from mood-sensors that hoped to make Emperor Crush more palatable.  BioTech screens at home were due to emit this same soothing mint color.  

Liyane was seated on the floor behind the gold desk.  Crush unfolded his hands to let one drift down and nudge her aside.  Poor captive girl whispered, “Please?  I’m dying, for you…”

While Crush attempted more valiant speech, Liyane leaned into her Emperor’s touch enough to get a good pat on the head.  Then, her leash jingled and the self-conscious woman-pet, half-clothed, half-crazed, knew to crawl softly backward to her lead’s source.  Crush had hitched the leash to a strong bracing at the back of a new RecordO machine which spanned the wall behind his desk.  As the massive construct worked, tiles beneath it heated up.  Liyane whined.

Crush startled and his angry look had all the screens flashing to red again.

“Believe me.  I am unaffected by what are rumors about my heritage, my history, even my status… romantically.” His gold eyes sank into vivid shadow painted heavy at the base of each lid.  “But I will still ask you, faithful citizens, do not believe in the lies.  Those who rely on bigotry and what was once a proud Human culture, now twisted into some base, tribal fixation on hunting, stalking, warcries, shooting off guns and cutting… deer’s meat.  Whenever the Hunter Rebels are done having you Humans smear your face with kitchen grease and calling it warpaint, they point to a television screen, much like this one.  The Hunters ask you to look at a face like my own and say that this man, who was not seen raised in a royal thicket, who was not scrutinized before the galactic public getting one antler and then the next each season or as he shed the velvet of his white crown at ceremony, that a man who looks like I do can’t possibly be a royal Ungulate.  I can’t rule, the Hunters say, because I’m not truly of the Imperial deer line.  Aliens, everywhere, Imperial citizens, let me clarify something.  The human Hunters are simply angry that they didn’t see me coming.”

Chattering, nervous licking into wet black nostrils by camera-deer, until Crush calmed his breath another time and the screen cooled once more, to sweet jade.

“The Hunters question how I could have suddenly appeared, when my own relatives were conspired against and lost in a painful instant days before.  I’ve said once, and I’m saying this again, that it was that same tragedy,”  Crush shut black-smeared eyes, “The felling of the Twelve Reining Deer… that tragedy itself, is what drew me out of hiding after so many years.  When the Twelve were assassinated… that is what compelled me to finally approach the palace stairs alone under that red dawn, so many days after the horrible event… I dared to call out, ‘I have lived!  One of us has lived!’”

“That is why I when I came to power, I moved so quickly--and remember, I did so with the full support of the Senate at the time--to officiate it by restoring Imperial rule.  The Senate and I, together, wanted to restore that which first stabilized the universe.  That is also why, when the Hunters somehow got themselves on the Register as an official political party in the last elections, my stomachs roiled.  All of my stomachs.  How dare you, Captain Jeremie Dutch.  And you have the gall to call yourself a Captain of all this insubordination to what is peaceful and lasting, what has been good to us, these last five thousand years!”

“If you Hunters want to say that I am not equipped to rule, try that.  But don’t you dare try and decide who is an Ungulate and who isn’t, re-organize an entire terrorist movement behind that… Sending people dressed as hunters in orange jackets after me, a full-blooded Ungulate, as naturally as the ancestors of Humans once pursued deer in the wild.  Don’t pretend not to know what that is, a great drama of alien racism put on a stage.  This bigotry insults the Falcenian along with the Wyleling, the Earthling, and the Martian with the Plutonian… the alien-survivor season finale of which you should get back to, regularly scheduled, in a moment.”

“And by the way, there’s isn’t much difference between the regular unscripted garbage you find on television these days and the Hunter propaganda bullshit that was twittering out of your toasters a few weeks ago.”

Red flash of the screens again.  Crush re-folded his pale hands and focused back on the floating script.

“Finally, I am here as your Loving Emperor to reaffirm that we definitely will beat back all the hate in this Galaxy.  Hate against another alien race, or any species is cruelest when it is disguised.  And the worst disguised enemy is the one play-acting as your friend, and very worst, as your own family—can even Human beings be descended of bloodthirsty hunters who would put destruction before the sanctity of civilization?  All of you on Earth, please remember--the enemy who disguises his destructive hate as heartfelt concern is no good to any of us.”

Crush raised from his seat and practiced that Loving Emperor’s smile which could shine out beneath the cracked shadow of spear-point antlers.  “Before we close the Galactic Address tonight, behind me is the latest truth-telling device of our modern time.  RecordO is BioTech trusted by nuclear physicists around the galaxy as the most sophisticated machine available for accurately tracking thoughts.  Inspirations for new mathematical calculations, projections about new inventions, several ideas for how to resolve problems can be recorded simultaneously whenever they fire through a brilliant mind that is plugged into RecordO.  A scientist need only play back what RecordO has captured, press one easy button, to revisit any number of intellectual leads.  RecordO increases a mortal’s solving problem ability by many times.  Some of you in the leading fields are already familiar with it.  And, of course, it functions on the same basic technology as many of our beloved devices today—BioTech.”

And the Emperor paused, of course, for the sponsor’s BioTech jingle:  

Sustainable is Sexy.  BioTech.  Try it on.

“Now in stores.  Mention QR786M70 for a special twenty percent discount.  Not only that, citizens, but most recent advancements have empowered RecordO to connect thoughts with feelings and also to genetic data.  Together, all these things can prove ancestry.  This special feature helps with genetic therapy in hospitals, and the like… And so, tonight, as was once the un-broken tradition of the Ruling Twelve at the end of every Galactic Address,” a breath, of respectful silence, “The Emperor will again deliver proof of his word.  Not by witness, or paper evidence, but this time, by beautiful machine.”

Then, as Crush had done to himself before on the previous night without the presence of his advisor, a new bullet-headed minister now came in and gently plugged him in—and almost too timidly, when the plug clicked around a little where he hesitated to put it in its socket at the back of the Emperor’s skull.  

Since the conquest of the last galactic power, Earth, the ruling Ungulates had morphed in appearance to take on the more noble and authoritative musculature of an open flat face with eyes facing front.  That this almost predatory quality also resembled a more Human balance of features wasn’t missed by anyone.  The change in facial structure was also the first time Ungulate evolution had gone in the other direction, with the dominant race adapting to what challenge a conquered alien people had presented it—for the ruling family to escape looking like the hunted.  It had taken three hundred years for nature and technology to help develop Imperial Ungulates such that the ruling family appeared so human-looking, that only horns and sometimes white tails distinguished them.  All of this had taken place within what was a mysterious, evolutionary overnight.  That was why, Crush didn’t look too deeply on those who rushed around now, serving him.  He did not fit in with other Ungulates, in the same way that queen ants or bees were not perfect copies of their lesser drones.  Crush was the last, best sample of the near-mythical ruling Imperial Ungulate bloodline.

Once the others looked their ruler over, to see that he’d been set up properly, the smaller deer-men in regalia turned back to the screens, and technicians in white swifted in to finish connecting everything else. 

This latest version of RecordO, a tall box that was almost red-black, came to life at last with a rainbow of happy, reassuring buttons shining desperately out of what one imagined the lights were aware of, that the machine was wearing a sinister chassis.  Off camera and leading out of the room, near the hot tile where Crush had ordered Liyane to sit and wait for him (she must have crawled someplace else in time, and was no longer visible), was a horrifying collection of additional palpitating tubes and wires that uncoiled themselves, going to several other devices through a hole in the wall that was covered up by the machine standing there.  These smart-wires had nothing to do with BioTech analysis, but everything to do with the analysis of an analysis—that is, reading over again of a particular reading, as a double-and triple-checking of the data to make sure that computed results ‘turned out’ right. Right, being defined by Crush in the terrible early start of that same morning as, ‘the way I know it’s damned well supposed to.’

Those deer scientists who could not keep up with his panicked, sleepless logic at that early hour were simply branded idle idolaters of the pleasure demoness herself—Sloth, and condemned on the spot.  Then, they were replaced with morally better technicians who could find it in themselves, to comply.

Tonight, so many hours later, the machine smiled its hardest, blared its noiseless cheer as it strained under so many calculations happening simultaneously outside of itself and then forced to feed back through its internal ware, a wall and into a whole other room where other machines nagged back at it, nearly firing at the same rate.  New orifices had been drilled in back and other compartments had been added to help hide everything from the cameras.  RecordO was bulging with ‘polish and pregnant’ as BioTechnicists used to say of their more horrific, half-baked projects.

Liyane had been a Biotechnician, once.

Eventually, the white-robed workers left the Emperor alone with the device and joined the ring of camera-deer, attendants, and one trembling young minister to the Emperor.  They all watched Crush’s spectacle, partly mesmerized at the new BioTech that whispered more sensuously as it whirred and breathed with more calculated conviction at every moment, more and more and more than any other RecordO model that ever before preceded it.  The other part of their being caught up at that edge of the room, was because, regardless of the Ungulate’s intellectual ability to stand by the Loving Emperor’s cause, their very physical and practical selves were still ready to flee if all their hours of work that morning misfired in the eleventh hour.

“To the first rumor,” Crush announced, “That I am not an Imperial Ungulate.  RecordO, please give your answer.  Who am I?”

“… … F-False.  The Loving, dear Emperor.  Oh, he is fully and completely a male Imperial creature.  Authentic.”

Crush battled down a flattered smile.  The machine was too charming, perhaps, “Now, address the second rumor, my machine.  Am I unfit, as a ruler?  Confirm, or deny.”

“Oh, no, that is False also.  The Great g-good lover, the Emperor, is wild and capable at w-what he does.  He should rule.  All the memories of his ancestors in the royal library, all of those Ungulates who r-rutted again and again to make him, who is, so purposefully, the apex of the best mortal endowment and p-passion—”

A hasty, “Ehrm… and so it is confirmed, by the machine.” Someone had to wave silver trotter and whisper, for Crush to look back at the cameras again.  He’d turned himself completely around, to look at the wall of machine behind him.  RecordO had begun to jolt and thump in a way that sounded like love being angrily made through it and the walls behind.

Deep within, somewhere, he knew there was an impressive speaker.  The Emperor stopped himself, from sliding finger around one of the softer, polished orifices.  She had so much proud base, he was hearing her say other things, worse things than were being delivered at other decibels.  Brilliant, incredibly introverted and disgusting minds had made her—so, they were the best in the galaxy.  And she needed him in, still deeper. 

I want to whisper exactly what you are, Crush, how you feel to me…

“So, yes...” He exhaled and attempted to get away, by opening an arm’s length between them.  “And last, for the people… my machine, tell them about any hinting that there should be trouble producing an heir… The imperial line will continue in peace.  You don’t find a damned thing wrong with me physically, do you?” 

I’m dying Crush, for you…

No one else heard.  No one else saw, why the Emperor suddenly delved all his fingers in, trying all the holes over the speakers of RecordO, pulling the opening of his robe apart, kicking and yelling out, that he wanted inside.

A woman’s ecstatic scream was in his ears.  But, RecordO’s red box was still.  Yet, there she—it still was, thundering deep inside.  Wires sparked as he ripped them.  Sheets of green and gold infrastructure seared across a breathing torso deep within the machine like teeth.  Teeth cutting into the real curve of a woman who was bending but caught, and reaching out to him.  If he could just get to her fast enough, get himself up against the half torn, half flat chassis as he reached.  Save her, get her out of there, whatever you can!

They all thought Crush was mad, until they saw the smoking woman too.

With the help of everyone there, the metallic flash of the jaws of life and and axes tore the red-black polished chassis of the machine open.  The hardware peeled back against a flow of red oil.  Blasts of heat had them tearing their collars open as well, as they worked.  The woman being drawn out was half-naked, she was covered in the bloodied silt of the device and screaming.  They used hoses that smoked white exhaust to chill and extinguish the burning red box as this real Human woman was untangled from the wild wires that had roped her, somehow dragged her around from the other room, then through the largest fallen panel and into a hole in the wall.  Now, the cameras also captured what was beyond the opening, into that whole other room clogged with counter-devices clicking and working harder than RecordO ever appeared to have been straining.  All of this to help the Emperor re-calculate the calculations, lie to everyone who had been watching?  

The freed woman also wore a gold collar around her neck.  She clawed at it and gasped for air.  Crush cussed that her leash had somehow been tangled into the wires and the now smouldering technology. 

RecordO was now using up so much memory space, there was no way to obey the Emperor’s order to turn off the cameras.  All the computers in that office were stuck tight in thousands of independent loops, frozen.

And so, all of those screens in their podiums and floating through the air were stuck with a view of their Loving Emperor screaming all kinds of irrational confessions, anything to please save her from the Red Box, and through red flashing everywhere, the last audible thing, ‘get my leash off of her!’ 

Apparently, the Emperor had even given his Human pet a name, Liyane.

The programming did go back to Survivor: Pluto eventually, but by that time, all those men and women huddled together in the frozen plutonian bunker had their eyes as wide and horrified as anyone else who’d watched the Galactic Address on BioTech television that night.  

Ronnie the return-villain complained, “So, it’s alien-racist to hunt deer… but not for Ungulates to keep Human women chained up in bondage collars?”

Ronnie also mysteriously found the immunity idol in his oatmeal, soon after.

. . .
Due to reality going upside my head, updates will now be on Wednesdays.
Next:  The Young, the Alien and the Restless.  

*Note:  'Ungoodly' is a phrase from BTVS, I believe.  The pre-Twilight Twilight.

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So nice of you to get Randitty today. Hope your read was a good one!