the science fiction serial formerly known as Prince
August 1 1998
Private Entry: Fuck my addiction to that milky white screen. Fuck the leagues of information. I've got binary code up my ass.
Simi Valley: The stack explodes in his face. Wipeout. Pixeled with plastic and silicon. Barely alive. And on fire.
Tiny wheels melt on fifteen year old skateboard trucks. Coke can bong next to the mutilated keyboard.
San Francisco: ChinaTown. Yeah. ChinaTown.
Kiwi turns. A million statues gaze plaintively. Tourists mix, dissolve together and are reborn: no longer from Iowa. As if.
Fakes, with a capital F, shine like shiny stuff on every shelf. It's dream time: Coast style.
A slinky prepube stops Kiwi. Selling retread phone cards. Pushes. Fails. Kiwi smiles. She runs black nails through blonded stubble.
"What are you two imposters talking about?" says Kiwi entering. Rachel and Naast are seated in a local restaurant, sharing dinner. Kiwi is expected.
Rachel replies, "Oh. I don't know. Something about transfigured cyborg millenarian post-punk new wave identity alien freaks." Laughter.
"That's right up your canal 'aint it?" says Naast.
"All of them." She sits down next to Naast, reaches for a nugget of Kung Pao. "How the hell are you two anyway?"
"I don't know. How are you Byron?"
"Grand (smirk). Why'd you call me?"
Rachel answers, "Besides your quick looks and good wit? We need a plug of info."
Kiwi pulls a cigarette off her ear. Strikes a match on a fat combat boot. "I'm not telling you guys shit until you feed me. I'm not your professor anymore."
Naast says, "You guys know what this reminds me of? This is the part of the movie when zip gun carrying black clad goons bust in. Shoot up the place. Killing the innocents while we slip out the back."
Kiwi. 37. Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at UC Berkeley. Specializing in post-communities. Cruising in the fast lane of tenure track.
Good and bad.
Cleveland: Four aliens on the roof of Citibank. The smallest one wearing a crown of pipes, places a pocket bio-dish on the clay surface. Wires extend from the structure's communication setup. The other three point bald heads at the sky.
Livermore: Kiwi. Naast. Rachel. Seated on a bench outside of the observatory, looking up. The moon is half. It sits in a wide unorchestrated sky. A toxic green fringe belts the horizon, ready to squeeze. As if it were a demarcation upon which scraps of information scroll like italic script.
Rachel turns to Kiwi. "You know. The last time I knew I was involved with something worthwhile was when I was working for you." Kiwi drains the last of the Port. Ash and butts line the grass in front of them.
"I don't know what to tell you Rach." Breathing. A few moments. In the distance two voices argue.
Naast breaks. "You've been there. Haven't you?"
"Yes," replies Kiwi. "Why do you guys need to know this stuff? Space Station Haraway can't possibly have anything to do with your quest."
Rachel: "It's a big quest. And we're pimping armies of info whores. Enough are pointing in The Haraway's direction."
"Rachel. The Haraway is a very special enterprise. There are so many free operators on it. An adequate answer to any question you'd ask is neither realistic nor plausible. We'd have to talk for hours. Days."
Naast interrupts, "Couldn't we just go there?"
Kiwi continues: "Even then we'd have to download a specific operator to get anything reliable."
Naast: "What are you? You more than operate on The Haraway. You're one of the designers. Aren't you?"
The Haraway: Verdigris pinnacles radiate across an opalescent surface. The Haraway sluices around the globe. Synthesized in algebraic neuroses.
Inside. A dry lake bed. Cities in the sky. Mundane transactions. Sex in alleyways. Wind. Simulacra, aliens, and otherwise inhabit, mull.
Excerpt from Chapter 5
The Mess is a weekly Science Fiction Serial written by jon nevada and jef virginia. It comes out every wednesday. Back episodes are available through the website (www.cruzio.com/~mess). For more information e-mail jon and jef at firstname.lastname@example.org.