Monthly Archives: May 2019

The Question never Asked

[a poem by   ~burning woman~   written by Sha’Tara]

Is there meaning to believe in?
I’ve done all I could to absorb this world,
to understand people, no, not just
people, but this world’s life.
I’ve seen and felt its endless struggle,
its romance with beauty and with horror.
So much drama but never an answer
to the eternal question.
You may ask, ask, and ask; you may
shed tears of raw pain, of sorrow, of anger
and the world is awash in mute noise.

I’ve seen cats fight and children die in war,
heard and read the boasting, seen the posturing
over beads, trinkets and ticker-tape money
and walked streets I thought were painted red
but it was always the blood of innocents,
no thin red line but a widening swath
leading to a pile of skulls and scattered bones.

Rats ran away as I came near as if I’d been more
than a nameless ghost in an endless dream.

I can see, I can hear, I can smell and
I can feel. As if that could ever be enough!
I have observed, weighed my thoughts
to realize they were too heavy to bear;
looked in a mirror to watch myself age
as in a time-lapse scene
from angst of birth to relief of death,
its in-betweens sprinkled with flashes of joy
stolen from the ever-dying landscape.

And all I ever wanted was to ask
the one question never asked before;
the one question no one ever dared ask
or no one ever thought to ask: the
one that answers all others – how
presumptuous to believe I could
formulate such a thing, that I
could discover the meaning of life or,
if you will: the meaning of meaning.

Toast and Jam

[thoughts  from   ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara]

Sometimes I want to just say, “fukitol” and go on to finish my life, echoing the sentiment expressed in the movie The Answer Man: “Hell… is other people.”

That’s a bit extreme. Let’s just say that hell is most other people, is that better? Just kidding. Actually I don’t believe that other people are hell though after many of them have passed through here, after experiencing an Earth reshaped into man’s image, who needs hell?

That being said, it’s not at all what I want to express here today. I want to return to my favourite topic, compassion, but I want to throw something new in the mix: love.

I know that love is not something new for Earthians, but it is something new for me to bring up as I expound some more on the concept of compassion. I’ve already established to my satisfaction that love and compassion as totally dissimilar concepts. I’ve gone so far as to claim that love works against the person who would express herself as a compassionate being, and I have explained it thus: that love is exclusive whereas compassion is inclusive; that love cannot exist as a stand-alone concept (what would be the point?) whereas compassion does, and must. Love is dependent, compassion is for the self empowered. 

Could I look at these two concept in a less extreme way?

The usual response to love and compassion is predictable: mostly the two concepts exist as indistinguishable in the Earthian mind and they get totally confused. I realize that is due to programming and that is why most people cannot get a handle on compassion because they cannot separate it from love. Why should they when they remain convinced the two are interchangeable?

Imagine that you own a car and you are stuck with servicing it to make it work. You remember that certain fluids are needed for the machine to work. Two main ones are gas (do they still call it petrol in Britain?) and coolant, or a mix of coolant and water. You have the two fluids but you can’t remember which one goes where. So you say, oh well, doesn’t matter, I’ll pour this one in here, and that one in there and the car will sort it out. Clever that… until of course the car dies because you put the coolant in the fuel tank and the fuel in the radiator.

Let’s use a different analogy for compassion and love and how I see how these things get confused. Let’s say “toast and jam.” Compassion is the toast and love is the jam. That’s how the Earthian mind perceives it. Toast can be a stand alone food, but jam, not so much. Nevertheless the Earthian emotional heart, or mood trend setter, prefers to have jam and not bother with toast. When people speak of love, it’s jam; a taste good, feel good thing. If they have to have toast with it, so be it, but it’s the jam they hanker for.

Personally, sticking with the analogy, I have no problem having toast without the jam but generally speaking it’s the other way around for most. Toast is bland, often crunchy, somewhat tasteless and it needs help. Enter jam. Love.

Now imagine that most people choose to just eat jam for breakfast because they don’t like toast. Some diet that, huh? Not very healthy.

Without carrying this on from the sublime to the ridiculous, let’s give it some thought.

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #52

While awakening and being returned into hypnotic “sleep” over and over; being automatically rolled out of the A-M for Dr. Echinoza’s inspection and Yoba Five’s gentle touch, feeding and rolling over, I completely lose sense of time.  It could have been years, or hours.  I feel an unnatural tingling in my hands and instinctively want to scratch but of course cannot.  I’m securely bound to the gurney, face down this time.  It seems that each time I’m sent back in, if I faced down, now I’m facing up and vice-versa.  There is no pain, just total mild discomfort.  Ants are crawling up both my arms and up my leg. 

Another “out” session.  This time I am facing up.  Bal is asking questions.  I have to focus on his voice – I thought I was dreaming again.
[end blog post #51]
______________________

[begin blog post #52]

“Can you feel your implants?”

“I can feel ants crawling up my arms and leg but of implants nary a crawling do I feel.”

“You’re a really bad poet Antierra.  The tingling and itching is normal as the bionic parts are integrating with the biological.  Can you flex your fingers for me?”

He puts his hand in mine and I squeeze.  He yells and commands me to let go.  I do, surprised at his reaction.

“What happened?  Was there an electrical discharge from my body?”

“That would have been easier.  You now have positronic command-linked “hardware” supplementing your biological structure with an approximately ten to one transfer ratio of force.  You almost crushed my hand with your grip.  Here, hold this.”  He hands me what looks like a hard rubber ball.

“I want you to squeeze this with your right hand, then with your left.  I want to measure the stress you put on it.”

“Hard?”

“Try normal, if that means anything.”  It doesn’t.  I squeeze what I think is normal and the ball disintegrates.

“I’m sorry Bal.  I can’t seem to control the effects of the squeeze.”

“Don’t worry, that will come with a bit of practice.  Also, you will eventually feel the pain you cause your own flesh and you will crack your skin when you squeeze too hard.  Your own flesh will bruise until it adapts.  It will adapt very quickly, as will your skin – changing its encoding is part of the treatment.”

“What about my ankle, leg and foot, Bal?  Are they like this, out of control too?”  I feel excitement, elation and fear all at the same time.  So many “what if’s” with this new body.

“I don’t know.  We’ll have to get you standing to test that.  But my guess is, yes, you’ll have the same problems adapting to your implants there.  Would you like to stand?”

“Bal, I feel I’ve been lying down for years!  Yes I certainly wish to stand.”

“It’s only been just over twenty-four hours actually.

Yoba Five comes over and unstraps me and helps me sit on the gurney.  The light fades and I drop in her arms helpless.  Before I pass out I notice she gingerly grabs my arms and holds my hands away from her.  I close my fists on empty space.

As soon as I recover I’m helped to my feet and taken out of the old Jump Scout ship into the open part of Bal’s office.  The “wall” swishes into place.  They let go of me and I stand on both feet but can only feel one.  I lift my feet, one at a time and watch them move.  Gradually a new feeling comes to my positronic side and I manage to take several steps before I get confused and stumble. 

Yoba Five grabs me from behind but again avoids my hands.  Bal hands me a short stick to hold on to and I find I can control how much pressure I put on it.  Then my foot regains some feeling and I walk some more.  Then more.  I stand on the left foot only and keep my balance without feeling any stress.  This is good.  I feel no pain anywhere in my body.  Gradually I grow into a wild euphoric state of body and mind.  I want to run out in the yards, screaming, shouting and laughing.  I want to tell everybody on this stupid world how beautiful life can be if they just choose it so. 

“Well now we know for certain the replacements worked as planned, that the cleaning is thorough and your healing complete, Antierra.”  The soothing voice of Yoba Five fills me with pleasure.

“Thank you Yoba Five.”

The Cydroid’s laugh floats out to me like the music of a limpid mountain stream trickling down over moss covered rocks.  “I’m YBA2.  My twin is resting.  But I can accept your thanks for her.”

“That is amazing.  You are identical to her in every detail.  Even in my heart I cannot tell you apart.”

“Neither can our lover Bal, most of the time, and he’s had us for many years.”  And she leans over to the Doctor and kisses him hotly.  I stare.  She laughs at me.

“YBA5 obviously did not tell you we share everything in our family group.  Everything.  Naturally we share lovers.  Why should they care?  If one of us is in some way occupied or indisposed he does not have to go without our attentions.  I’ve personally accompanied Dr. Echinoza on dozens of trysts to the southern hideaway.  I did not always mention I was not YBA5, even though I know that his preference is for my youngest sister.  Games of love are good if they harm no one.  Cydroids do not chose to experience jealousy.  It’s a thing that would be of no value to us.”

“I’m going to keep you under close observation for another day.” says Bal.  “We still have four days to bring you out of retirement, girl.  Let’s not take any chances with any malfunction of the positronic implants.  You must be absolutely aware of them and confident of your control over them before you can return to your normal life here.  You will be under close scrutiny because it is well known that no one recovers from Warmo’s treatments.  I hope you are working on a solid story as to why you recovered so easily?”

“I have.  If I’m questioned, the Inquisitor’s machine failed to crush my wrists.  It only bruised me severely but never damaged any muscle or bone.  I was released before the mistake was discovered.  And will someone please, please, tell me if my lover has been found?  Can I see her again, please?”

“Very convincing, Altarian.  (He always says this with a barely repressed sneer, as if to say ‘well it’s your story and I don’t have to buy into it.’)  You’re female so they won’t expect too much.  They’ll likely accept your distraught state over the loss of your Cholradil lover and will warn you to settle down or face consequences.  You will meekly accept the rebuke and be quiet.  Things should return to normal.  Just don’t grab any weapon or someone’s arm and crush it with your bare hands.  And don’t be too quick to use that left foot in fighting.  Only as necessary, you understand?  Eyes and ears will be on you, and from you, on us.  We want to destroy Warmo.  Do your part as discussed and desist from doing more than agreed.  Let us do our work.”

“I promise.  Thank you again doctor, for everything.  But mostly, thank you for saving Deirdre.”

“Your lover?  What about me?  Don’t you love me anymore?”  And he smiles and winks at me as he says this.

“I am terribly embarrassed, doctor, I mean, Bal.  You were correct, that was the drug talking, the misery I felt from losing Deirdre and the shock of the torture.  I wanted to cling to someone real.  No, I don’t love you, certainly not that way.  I admire you and I respect you.  You are free from any other attention or intention.  But if you otherwise want me or need me, for that you need not ask.  It’s yours.”

“Very understanding.  I agree, you should be a Cydroid.  We couldn’t do that but we made you a little faster and tougher than before.  You are now a partially bionic being.  Let’s hope our enhancements won’t be looked at too closely if they should get exposed by cuts in the arena.  You will exercise caution?”

“Yes I will.  I understand your concern.  You have your people to worry about here and your hopes for change in this place.  I’m here to help, not hinder.  I will use the advantages you have invested me with to the best of my ability, Bal.  Please convey my thanks and full admiration to XBA9.”

It’s YBA2 who answers.  “That won’t be necessary.  He does not do it for thanks or admiration, but for the experience and being part of an elaborate and complex game.  We Cydroids play many games that endanger life.  It’s often how we seek answers to existential questions that remain beyond ourselves.  We have many abilities you do not have, such as blocking neural responses to pain.  If we had to feel these worlds the way you do we would be in worse shape than the Cholradil.  We will do our part.  Get ready to do yours.”

Two days before the deadline, the doctor calls the handler office for two escorts to return me to my normal life.  As a sign that I’m just another female gladiator slave the doctor pushes me out his door to stand naked and await my escorts.  As I expected, they examine me, then take me to the wash troughs where they dump cold water on me.  Then the feeding and since it’s late in the day, I’m led into a cage.  To my shock and surprise I see a young trainee there.

“Deirdre!”  I almost shout.  I bite my lip to keep from crying out with the double pain of thinking they found her and brought her back to certain death,  then realizing it isn’t Deirdre, of course – Cydroids never lie – but another young woman likely recently arrived into our killing fields.

[end blog post #52]

 

Exceptionalism is not just an American sickness, it’s a collective madness rising as a world destroying tsunami. More and more groups vying with others to make their voices and concerns heard and the louder they get, the more chaos ensues. Hyperbole? Observation says no. It is a fact of “tidal waves” of people sensing the serious unease of the times and honestly having no idea on how to deal with it except by regurgitating old concepts, the favorite remaining war and it doesn’t matter much against whom, or what just as long as there is fighting going on.

Earth has a major problem and it’s called mankind, the pseudo-intellectual species that chose, as a collective, to re-make Earth and its environment into its own image. It’s that simple and that devastating because the only way it could have worked is in the exact opposite direction: man should have known, when a much younger species, to adapt itself to its world. Its intellectual hubris drove it to chose exploitation and oppression over cooperation. The big “Wrong Way: Do Not Enter” sign was torn down and used to make crosses and scaffolds for those who insisted on teaching a better way.

Man chose wrong. A long time ago. The choice, once made, could never be countered because the creature’s body over time kept adapting to non-natural ways of engaging nature, i.e., life. The choice was irrevocable and would begin a string of horrible consequences a few are just beginning to recognize and admit to. The final consequence: the destruction of the planet insofar as the life-sustaining aspects of it goes.

As an environmentalist, as an activist, as an elder, as an observer and as a self empowered individual without any agenda, not even of personal survival because I don’t need that kind of pretend comfort, I’m going to state this as clearly as I can.

I know there is no survival, that all are born to die and that the only thing that matters, if anything does, is what one does in between that beginning and that end. To that I can add with certainty that “man” will continue to run from the stick and after the carrot: there is no longer any choice; there never was any choice once the wrong turn was chosen. Those who thought they could return to nature and choose a different path have been all but eliminated as genocidal fuel for civilization.

As a species man is done for. There is no possibility of turning back the tide of exploitation and oppression because that is the very thing that fuels his civilization. That is what must be understood and admitted to: that oppression, in particular, is the fuel that feeds civilization. Therefore, as should have been obvious since inception, this civilization (as were all preceding civilizations) is an unsustainable concept.

Therefore it should be obvious that any proposed solution based on tried and failed concepts are the re-running of old black and white movies: when you walk out of the theater, nothing has changed: your world did not change into a black and white Pleasantville.

As an intelligent and quite able to reason species, man should have never gotten upon this road but the temptation was just too great to resist. Man adapted itself to pillaging, raping, destroying and killing, all the while thinking it was building ever-after empires.

Man built his cities, his monuments to pride, exploitation, control and the resultant smog (literally, morally and spiritually) spreads over the planet like the fumes that poured out of Mount Doom… but there are no mighty men, no dwarves, no elves, no Hobbits, no wizards and no Ents to extinguish this volcano.

20190512_112348

(Vancouver, May 12, 2019 – from 2000 feet – photo by Sha’Tara)

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex… It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.” Albert Einstein

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #51

I find my eyes filling with tears as she reads these details in my mind.  I had expected her to find nothing but a chaotic mess of darkness and filth in there.  She holds up a mirror for my mind to heal itself from the “little death” of fear and doubt.  I am indeed, still alive, very much so. 

And I remain, despite all of this pain and confusion, Al’Tara the Altarian. 

I am not lost.  I will pass this test.

[end blog post #50]


[begin blog post #51]

Chapter 24 – ‘Bionic Woman’ faces Malefactus

According to YBA5 I have been granted a week to return ready to train and fight, or be officially terminated as ordered by the Arena Fighter Committee.  For them it’s an easy decision.  I’m old and not likely to produce many more interesting fights.  Since I have served them well they would even save me from the final killing orgy.

A quick explanation of “killing orgy day” —  my name for it, not theirs.  They link these with some kind of “national” holiday.

The purpose is twofold. 

First, it is used to cull old and considered useless females from the fighter line-ups; or those who have lost their owners and no one placing bets on them or paying for their basic maintenance.  Other types earmarked for the killings are the ‘dikfols’(slang; woman gone crazy from blows to head, grief or other pathological cause) held in chains in the back cages specifically for this day; hopeless cases of young trainees; female law-breakers not yet executed; unclaimed “wild” captured females; any “extra” contingent of sex-slaves or workers deemed expendable or purchased from their owners by the Arena Fighter Committee for this purpose. 

These are all lined up for certain death on that particular day and should any women somehow manage to survive the killings they are mowed down with laser rifles by guards or police forces brought in for the occasion.  Point: not a single woman earmarked for a killing orgy can survive it. It is her day of death.  

Second, it is the number one entertainment for the masses.  On that day access to the arena is free.  Each fan is given a number that gives him access to an arena seat.  It is also a ticket for a random number selection which if called, gives him the coveted right to enter the arena proper as an official challenger, provided with a free weapon he may keep as a personal trophy if he survives his fight.

It is a day of the ugliest, most disgusting displays that pseudo-humans are capable of.  The fans are loaded with chakr and carry plastic pouches of home brew.  Drugged and drunk, they crowd the railings, hoping to elude guards and jump into the arena to rape and kill a female. 

The highlight for individuals in these orgies is having their number drawn and receiving official entry into the arena to challenge a female opponent.  It must be said that many of these idiots manage to get themselves slaughtered by the fighters before they too succumb to physical exhaustion and blood loss from never-ending challenges.  I have experienced many of those days, having to stand at the various gates to support guards and trainers in preventing a drugged and boozed-up maddened crowd from breaking through the accesses to the female compounds.  Armed guards, or local police units, are not permitted to intervene in these cases simply because opening fire in such crowded conditions could result in a mass slaughter of men, an unacceptable compromise and there is no guarantee that the guards themselves would not join in the madness and use their weapons on the females!  There is a very precarious balance of power here that can easily shift – always to the detriment of the female slave class.

As for using special forces from the military who are ostensibly better disciplined, that is a no-go mostly because the owners of the female fighters are not willing to spend to money necessary for this extra security.  So they use us, knowing we have a very real incentive in preventing the men from rushing into our compounds: our own life, and the lives of our lovers and friends.  Also our weapons do not normally cause havoc yet still provide a powerful deterrent to the unarmed males.  I must note here that we do not have the least compunction about killing these males.  It’s our way to avenge the victims of the arena. 

They hold at least two of these killing orgy “holidays” a year.  The crowds are mostly made up of the gutter types I encountered when I first came into the city what seems now ages ago.  Most of these “fans” can never afford to attend regular meets where the real fighting and heavy gambling takes place. 

When the women are all killed the “fights” are officially terminated.  Now the killers rampage through the bodies, cutting off appendages until only trunks or torsos of the women victims lie in the bloody sand.  Scavenged appendages are removed as trophies which, I’ve heard from handlers, are carefully preserved by taxidermy and hung in hovels or carried in pouches as longevity charms.  These macabre items are very marketable, though such trafficking is officially banned.  The practice is actually on the increase and has become a serious security problem for owners or renters of worker females who are stolen (they are not considered kidnapped since they are not legally human) from their working stations and slaughtered for their parts. 

I hope that short explanation helps you to understand a bit more about the mindset that rules this planet.  Elbre from what I understand is not an exception but the rule for all of T’Sing Tarleyn.  It is the way of it.

The auto-medic upgrade arrives the day after my long, productive session with the Cydroid YBA5, whom I now refer to as “Yoba Five” with her permission, which she granted when I asked,  “Can I call you YoBa?”

“YoBa?”  She smiles again.  “Why yes, I’d like that very much.  YoBa makes my name more human.  Thank you!  But if you wish to speak only to me, don’t forget to add ‘five’ to the name so my twins won’t listen in automatically.  So, I am Yoba Five to you.”  

And speaking of five, five days remain before my death sentence is carried out.  And I see no way I can ever return to the training and fighting compounds in such a short time.

Two male Cydroids, disguised as guard and trainer, bring the equipment in and after stripping from their regular uniforms to don skin tight suits more suitable to the work, proceed to remove and replace.  I am allowed to watch and even participate in an advisory capacity in the upgrade and my remembered skills,  however rudimentary, as a techie of Old Earth and on Supremacy ships, are useful.  The Melkiar wars provided all of us with an intimate knowledge of the workings of auto-meds on our ships.  They saw much use then.

Wall panels come off carefully, are marked with numbers and stacked.  Wire harnesses peeled off, disconnected, coiled and stored in sealed opaque lead-lined bags.  New harnesses are re-routed and connected to new modules.  Main and auxiliary com boards are installed, plugged in and tested.  New banks of warning lights replace the old.  New arms, sensors, probes mounted on pre-fab flanges are secured, plugged in and also tested for mobility and reach.  Finally comes the re-install of the panels, all but the one which contained the old arms and probes.  The Cydroids have had a new cover made for that section.

The five hours allocated for the change-over are shaved down to less than three.  The unit is tested briefly on XBA4 who is in need of a transplant in the  knee.  There are no flaws.  The unit performs perfectly and now it’s my turn.  Time is of the essence.

I am put on the retractable table and must, regrettably, forego the little “party” of celebration being planned as soon as the doctor returns.  I was going to ask Yoba Five not to forget the info-vid on Warmo, then remembered that Cydroids cannot forget!  I am taken inside the auto-medic and the replacement of my broken and damaged parts begins. 

There is not much to say of an experience like that.  The anaesthetic is local so I remain fully conscious.  I have been fitted with a receiver in my ear and a special pair of “glasses” allow me to view a screen that is otherwise opaque.  I’m treated to acts and verbalized “thoughts” of Warmo.  However much I would rather just shut it off and go to sleep I know I have to remain alert and learn this man’s mind.  It is indeed that of a demon.  There is little here that would resemble even the lowliest mind of a pseudo-human.  He does things to his victims that I cannot describe here – there is a limit to my bluntness after all.  I force myself to study this creature, not because I need more horror in my already overloaded heart, but because I need this information when I meet him in the arena.  Yoba Five has convinced me that the “sting” that will bring a death conviction will succeed and that the rest is inevitable.  The Cydroids have linked minds to “re-create” a tiny slice of my future that will bring me face to face with the monster I must conquer and defeat utterly. 

In many ways, this monster, this Warmo, is but a ghost that has followed me across the barriers, over time, and waited to re-possess me on Malefactus.  He is, indeed, one of those men I remember from my female life on Earth, World War II in Paris, France, when I was tortured and killed at the age of twenty-eight for allegedly belonging to the local underground force that fought the Nazis in the streets of Paris.  A living ghost from those SS cement dungeons I still remember as vividly as if it happened yesterday.  I cannot, here, go into the details of that particularly crucial Earthian life. 

Finally and thankfully, the info-vid terminates and I’m lulled to sleep by some sort of ultra-sound that relaxes every part of my body, so much that every muscle relaxes and I realize I am incontinent – but that too was taken into consideration.  Removal of bodily wastes, even of sweat, is part of the treatment.  When I leave the auto-medic after the final treatment every pore, every hair, every follicle, will be free of anything that does not naturally belong to it.  I will be physically clean.  And my mind will be clear and certain of purpose.

While awakening and being returned into hypnotic “sleep” over and over; being automatically rolled out of the A-M for Dr. Echinoza’s inspection and Yoba Five’s gentle touch, feeding and rolling over, I completely lose sense of time.  It could have been years, or hours.  I feel an unnatural tingling in my hands and instinctively want to scratch but of course cannot.  I’m securely bound to the gurney, face down this time.  It seems that each time I’m sent back in, if I faced down, now I’m facing up and vice-versa.  There is no pain, just total mild discomfort.  Ants are crawling up both my arms and up my leg. 

Another “out” session.  This time I am facing up.  Bal is asking questions.  I have to focus on his voice – I thought I was dreaming again.

[end blog post #51]