Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Proudly Inerrant — Chapter 10

Preamble: This the tenth chapter of a serialized science-fiction novellette concerning failures of fidelity in the transmission of culture. (Previously: Chapter 1, and Chapter 2, and Chapter 3, and Chapter 4, and Chapter 5, and Chapter 6, and Chapter 7, and Chapter 8, and Chapter 9)

by Cheeseburger Brown

PART II, Chapter 10.

Let me tell you about these freaky sky-kids. Let me tell you about some.

We go frequently to the white tent so babby can be examined by Dr. Waterful and her mechanical nurse. Dr. Waterful devotes very little attention to smelling the cheese in babby's folds or sniffing her dung, even though I usually bring some dung in case she surprises me by electing to be more thorough. Dr. Waterful always smiles and is always kind but when she thinks I'm distracted she has Damian drop the dung into the white tent's fiery little oubliette, as if it were worthless.

The joke is this: inevitably she will ask me after babby's eating, which, of course, would be completely unnecessary if she had simply bothered to snarf the cheese and the poop. It's all written right there, clear as day.

People from outer space can be so stupid!

It turns out her proper name isn't Doctor but is actually "Six" which is the Go word for the number six. This name is only written and never spoken, for reasons I don't understand. Dr. Waterful does not attend occasions when the outlanders use their personal names -- like lunching in a group or playing sport -- so not only does her name remain unspoken but she also never speaks the name of any of the others. Universally they refer to her as "Dokuta" which means just what you would think: it's a loan-word that came to Go from English, and concerns healing and learning.

Of all the outlanders she is the douchiest.

The friendliest and least weird outlander is probably the chef, Mr. Kaseimoto, who walks with me in the fields of the outlander camp some mornings to poke around for herbs and roots to make the awful outlander food packages less awful. Mr. Kaseimoto calls the packages "survival retchings."

He is always interested to learn what I find edible, but he no longer tastes the things right away anymore ever since that time I gave him a pink cactus flower that almost made him die. It turns out some of the most delicious plants and fungi Causation Prime has bestowed upon the world make the outlanders very sick and they call them poison. Fortunately for the chef Dr. Waterful was able to minister to him in the white tent, and a few days later he was walking around and making little gentle jokes again.

Mr. Codeburg is one of the outlanders I seldom see, because he spends his days beyond the perimeter on scouting missions. Once a week or so he returns to camp all dusty and sun-red. He tells the captain what he's learned and then takes a long bath during which he sings songs in a gargling sort of language I can't yet fathom. I guess he goes out wandering because his outlander function is no longer a concern. The captain says he was the Chief Imaging Lead for the photographic survey, but now that all the cameras that aren't busted are dedicated to perimeter security Mr. Codeburg doesn't have his proper job to do.

His assistant is Mr. Americana, and since there's nothing to do to assist a man with no proper job to do Mr. Americana helps out anyone who needs a hand. During the golden hour before dusk he often sits outside on a high rock and uses his finger to paint pictures of the landscape on glass.

Mr. Americana is pale like a newborn. He has the same child-smooth skin of all the outlanders, but on top of this the colour of his skin is like the belly of a fish instead of the proper brown colour of healthy people, such as myself or Captain Gateway or Dr. Waterful.

If I am very quiet he lets he sit beside him and watch him work over his pictures. I am allowed to ask a few questions, and I am supposed to use his personal name at these times, and his personal name is Potassium or "Po." What he does is amazing. It's like a world your eyes might see comes dripping out of his fingers -- he pushes, dabs and smears until a little window of the world opens up on his glass.

After an hour he holds it at arm's length and squints. "What do you think, Jolly?"

"It looks just like the world."

He nods slowly, then gives the glass a series of hard shakes and the picture disappears.

The oddest thing about Po Americana is that he calls colours by the wrong names, even when you take into account translations. For example, when once comparing his picture to the sun-gleaming hilltops in front of us I mentioned to him that the green hills of Earth needed more green. Po argued that the hills were brown, and to demonstrate this he drew a long smear down the side of one hill on his glass. "See, brown?"

"That's green."

"My translator must be confused," he told me, cocking his head to listen to it. "I mix yellow, red and blue to make brown."

"But those are the green hills of Earth. Why would they be called the green hills if they aren't green? All people are well-acquainted with that song. Honestly, sometimes it's like you outlanders don't even pay attention."

Po plucked up a sprig of tough grass from the dirt. "This is green," he tried to tell me.

I snorted. "Even babby knows that's not green -- that's plant-blue."


"It's like the colour of the sky, but plantier. Don't you have plants on War?"

"Mars. And yes, they do. The trees grow very, very tall on Mars."

"I've seen trees as tall as two people."

"Oh yeah? On Mars they've got trees taller than two hundred people. It's the low gravity, you understand."

I frowned. "So you have trees on Mars as big as hills, which is why you call them hill-colour instead of plant-blue?"

"No, the hills on Mars are green, too. I've never been there but I've seen tons of images obviously."

I blinked. "So where have you been that you've never been to Earth or to Mars before?"

"Callisto. It's in the Joviat. Whole other world from Mars."

So just when I figured I was starting to get a grasp of the world somebody casually makes the boundaries fall, and lets it slip that there's more planets than I had guessed. Whole planets where they are mistaken about what green is!

Mr. Pumpworthy is the astrometricist. Instead of sitting outside before dusk he sits outside after dusk, and sets up his telescope for looking at the night sky. I have no idea what his personal name is because he has never told it to me or invited me to use it. Even though he has nothing to eat but survival retchings he's nearly as fat as a mayor. His skin is yellowish. If he was my patient I'd be worried about his liver.

Whenever I ask him what he's looking at he says "Hush!" without turning away from the eye-piece. Being a very advanced douche I am well-acquainted with all the dots in the firmament and their various behaviours, but Mr. Pumpworthy won't listen to me.

"If you're looking for the clock star you're pointed a tiny bit n'autocorrect," I once supplied helpfully.

"Clock star? What the fish are you on about, child?"

"The star who marks the watches of the night, who skates in a straight line that chases the sun. There are many clock stars but you're pointed at the best one because it flies four times each night. Or, pointed near it, instead." I looked up and focused my eyes keen. "There she is."

He grunted and adjusted the declination. "That's no star."

"It's a clock," I agreed.

"It's a satellite," he snapped. "It's the platform."

"You can't stand on a star," I pointed out.


But Mr. Pumpworthy is not the grouchiest outlander. The grouchiest outlander is certainly the engineer, Ms. Smith, whose lip curls when I approach as if I were a gangrenous dog. She does her utmost never to look at me. Certainly she never speaks to me. If I ask her a question she addresses her answer to someone else in the room -- anyone else in the room -- even if she's talking about me.

She has short hair and no breasts so she looks like a young boy. She only really likes to hang around with Mr. Chaudry the mechanic, and when they think they cannot be heard they speak a peculiar kind of Go with a lilting, sing-song accent the others don't use.

Everyone else calls her Smith but the mechanic calls her Genny which is short for Nitrogennifer. The mechanic is called Tarang by everyone except by me, because I call him Mr. Chaudry. He once held a tent-flap open for me, but when Smith saw him doing it he looked embarrassed and stopped.

Mr. Gao and Ms. Upsell are always at work at the rocket, which I am not allowed to go near. I only see them in the mess. They are always messy.

Ms. Lam is responsible for security. She watches me carefully. I have heard others call her by her personal name, which is Mu -- and sounds like a cow!

The ship-driver, Ms. Domer, built herself a bicycle that rides all around the perimeter. She was surprised that I recognized it right away. I'd never seen a bicycle with my own eyes, of course, but my line had seen them in the past. The memory worked its way into my working space accompanied by the smell of muddy leaves. "Bike!" I croaked involuntarily, then belched. "Excuse me."

After lunch I pick cactus flowers while nursing babby in her sling, because it's always lunch-time for babby. While I'm milky I crave the flowers markedly. There's nothing in the survival retchings that even comes close to scratching that itch.

If I encounter Mr. Kaseimoto he says, "I don't know how you can eat those things," and if he says that I say, "I don't know how you don't."

In the quiet, hot part of the afternoon before the day starts to spend out I might also come upon the captain. He has a habit of standing on a particular rock with his holds clasped loose behind his back, staring over the outlander camp spread out below him. To his right, the river delta and the cities of the mayoralty. To his left, the mouth of the plant-blue valley where the depraved barbarian bastards live.

When the other outlanders want to address the captain they touch their heads in a funny way, and so I try to do it, too. The captain looked down from his perch and squinted at me. "Was that a salute or were you warding off flies?"

I blinked and tilted my head at him but said nothing, because he said that part in Go.

"You pretend poorly," he said, letting his mouth fall open into that half grin he thinks allows him to fake an adult level of nonchalance. "Hiding your level of proficiency makes sense, I guess, from your point of view. But pretending you can't speak a word? Anyone would pick up that much in the time you've lived here. So this suggests to me you're hiding a very weak proficiency -- one so slight that the only way to fudge the appearance of fluency is total ignorance; or a very, very strong proficiency -- one so strong that you've lost perspective on what weak proficiency would even mean."

"Me no tink you. Talk talker, you. Talk talker you hard."

That infuriating half grin spread into a full grin. "No sale, kid. I watched your eyes while I spoke. You followed every damn word. You can act all you want, but I already know you speak Marsgo. It's a fact, Jolly. Can't you be candid with me?"

"It's a stupid language. Lacks fucking nuance."

Captain Gateway chuckled. "You've captured Kaseimoto's accent -- and Po's Jovian grammar. Purists would have a fit but I like the combination."

"You're mocking me?"

"No no no. I'm not. Really I'm not. But I want you to relax. I want you to stop pretending. You don't need to pretend. It's wonderful you've learned our language. I'm speaking quickly now, more naturally. You're still following?"

I rolled my eyes.

"I can't tell if that means yes or if it means no."

"It means yes."

"What if I were to employ an elevated vocabulary and formal syntax? Wouldst thou have the capability to veraciously decipher my intent?"

I snorted. "Yes. But those words are gay. As the old saying goes, never choose a gay word when a straight word will do."

The captain shook his head. "You've mismapped that term. You're mistranslating. That's not what gayness means in Marsgo."

"It doesn't connote homoerotic deviance, and therefore, figuratively, a self-defeating or pointless behaviour?"

The captain shook his head again. "I don't think you've understood."

"I read from your dictionaries."

"Reading and understanding aren't the same thing."

"I am a douche. I read to understand. You have a better way?"

"You must allow people to teach you, too."

"People are more fallible than books. Even books with missing pages. People say whatever they want. There's no way to know if it's worthwhile."

The captain stared out over the camp again for a silent moment, one hand idly rubbing the stubble on his cheek. When he turned back to me he said, "If you go around the camp speaking Marsgo and using ‘gay' as a pejorative, somebody's going to punch you in the jaw. Maybe tomorrow, maybe next week. But in that moment I hope you will come to appreciate the essential difference between dictionaries and people."

"People would take offence at my language skills?"

"Your use of language is an insight into your morality, Jolly. Your thoughts leak out between your words, just like the rest of us. They'll be able to tell you're a bigot."

I was startled. Babby lost the nipple and started to fuss. I petted her and cooed, then looked up angrily at the captain. "Why do you insult me?" I asked.

"Why do you insult me?" he asked back, that damned half grin returning.

I threw up my hands. "What do you even mean?"

He tapped his own sternum lightly three times. "I am gay," he explained in three clipped syllables, then held my gaze significantly.

I had to look away. I didn't want to but he'd won and put me to shame. If even estimable people could be gay, I was in a world that felt nonsensical. How could I feel confident that I knew anything about anything with no solid basis for judgement? I looked down at babby.

"I'm sorry I have disrespected you," I said.

He leaned forward. "I forgive you. Forget about it. But promise me one thing."

I looked up. "Yes, Captain Gateway?"

"Stop poisoning my chef, will you? I can't stand the taste of breakfast without him."

I saw from the lines around his eyes that we were allowed to laugh. I laughed. The captain laughed. Things were unbroken again between us. And then a piggish little squeal of delight joined in the laughter. I looked down. Babby had released the breast and was laughing her little ass off. I looked up at the captain, grinning, but his grin was gone. He looked confused. I said, "What's wrong?"

"I guess it's nothing," he said sheepishly. "I've just never heard a baby that young laugh before."

I shrugged, letting babby gum my finger while chortling to herself. "She's old enough."

"But, Jolly, she was only born ten days ago."

"Has it already been that long? Wow. Any time now she'll be starting with her words."

The captain seemed surprised. Obviously he hadn't spent a lot of time around infants. He had no idea what normal even was.

That's when Mr. Codeburg came sprinting up the hill. "Captain!" he shouted between breaths, sweat running down his brow. "We've found it." He drew out a square of glass and its face illuminated with a map. "Great big deposit, right near this cove."

Captain Gateway frowned over the map. "We'll have to move our mining rig across the mayoralty somehow."

"No, that's just the beauty of it, Conny. It's not a natural deposit, it's some kind of landfill. But it's got a few centuries worth of lanthanides buried in it. I'm guessing it was a disposal site for broken tech. The signature is clear as day. It's a solid source."


"More than enough. We can finish the rocket."

"So what's the catch? I see on your face there's a catch."

"Captain, I don't know how to tell you this, but there's a catch."

"Spit it out, Yoram."

"The lanthanide concentration's only access is between these low ridges -- and the ridges are populated. Looks like a suburb of the mayoralty. Little settlement, just two dozen structures. But they've got warriors."

I leaned over his shoulder and peered at the map. "I know of this village," I said. "I could negotiate access."

The captain straightened and drew in his breath slowly. "I don't think I want you out of the compound, Jolly. It's not safe. Not while mayoralty is howling for your blood."

"I would not negotiate with the mayor," I explained. "I would negotiate with his douche."

Mr. Codeburg and Captain Gateway looked at one another, weighing my suggestion. Mr. Codeburg was starting to nod but the captain still seemed leery. "Conny, if we go in without her it's nothing but a fight. We can't extract under those conditions. If we go in with her, maybe we can hold the fight off a few hours. Long enough to load up the skiff with a palette."

The captain's finger rasped over his chin. He looked at the sky over our heads. "What's our next best option?"

"For lanthanides? Our next best option is breaking down the robots Chaudry just finished getting back together again."

"We need the robots."

"I know we need the robots. That's why the next best option isn't really an option. We need those lanthanides, and we need them now. If the girl can make some kind of pact with the village's witch-doctor or whatever, just maybe we can pull this off without wasting ammo we don't have on natives we don't want to shoot. Conny, it's a plan. It's not a good one, but it is one. The question is: how much longer can we afford to wait?"

Captain Gateway looked up at me. "You really think you can do this? You could talk to this local...douche -- and work something out?"


"You've dealt with her before? You've met her?"

"No," I said. "But I know her well enough."

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Proudly Inerrant — Chapter 9

Preamble: This the ninth chapter of a serialized science-fiction novellette concerning failures of fidelity in the transmission of culture. (Previously: Chapter 1, and Chapter 2, and Chapter 3, and Chapter 4, and Chapter 5, and Chapter 6, and Chapter 7, and Chapter 8)

by Cheeseburger Brown

PART II, Chapter 9.

In the legends of yore it is to Little Red Robin Hood that the Big Bat-Wolf famously declares, "Growing up is losing some illusions, in order to acquire others."

I should probably say right now that I'm embarrassed. Reading over what I've writtened so far I sound like a tard. I've been fixing it up, but Captain Gateway says if I keep revising my record it won't be a record any longer, but instead will become an example of creative writing. But it pains me to look back and see how poorly I made my letter shapes and how wantonly I fucked up elementary issues of proper and appropriate vocabulary.

We've come a long way, babby.

It's been two months since Captain Gateway and his crew of anti-founderites rescued me from being burned at the stake, spiriting me away in a flying machine that caused everybody to drop to the ground, covering their heads and wailing. I thought it was a guise of Causation Prime come down to escort me and the child inside me to Heaven, but it turned out to be a getaway car.

As we flew away arrows and spears thunked and thumped against the machine's metal skin and windows, but the skin did not dent and the windows did not scratch. "Blasphemers!" screeched the bishop. "Bastards!"

The engine keened as we accelerated away, minutes later swooping in low over the outlander camp and bumping down for a gentle landing. Wrapped in a blanket I paused at the threshold and saw where I was. "I guess I'm never going home again," I said sadly, thinking of all my poor cats.

"I'm sorry," said the captain. "But we had to save you."

"But why? They'll foist war up yours. To the mayoralty you might as well be in league with Darkwins himself now. You'll all be declared heretical decepticons. You've made your lives difficult by doing this deeply derpy thing. You have soft, gooey hearts."

"We didn't do it out the goodness of our hearts, Jolly," he said. "Make no mistake: you are a strategic acquisition."


He said, "Because our doctor believes the child you're carrying holds the key to curing about a hundred kinds of cancer. You're special, Jolly. Your genes are special. And right now the human race is very interested in good genes."

"Then you mean to kidnap me."

He paused, considering his answer, then simply shrugged. "Yup."

Smug bastard!

Come knight I maded my escape. I crawled between the tents, squirming on my side so as not to put too much pressure on my belly. I chosed my moment to dart for the gates when the guard turned to the dirt to relief himself. He kept his back at me. I clambered over the stiles.

...And stopped dead when I came to the road and saw monks there. They looked up. They grinned like lizards, drawing their swords. "Justice is up yours," said one. "Let us pray."

"Ready your repenties, douche," said the other.

"Please your holiness. Have mercy. Spare my child. Use your clerical magic to give her life. She is blameless."

"She is tainted," he argued.

"I will cut babby from your sex oven," offered the first monk, "and if she says the words of repenties I will bless her, and she will cross over on my blade. I promise."

The expressions on the faces of the monks changed, so I turned around to look behind me. Captain Gateway stood there flanked by battered robots with long, gleaming guns. The guns hummed as they cycled up to discharge.

"Gentlemen: take your swords home or I'll melt them. That is all."

The parties stared at one another. The monks were frozen. The robots didn't budge. I sighed, frowned, and walked swiftly past Captain Gateway and back into the outlander compound. "Shut up," I hissed as I passed. He chuckled.

Escape was possible, and easy, but fatal.

And so I have buried myself in the library, peering endlessly through the mystic window that shows book pages and pictures and even moving pictures and even pictures you can look around inside and see behind things. Damian stooded patiently at my elbow, offering assistance when necessary, reminding me to drink or to undrink when prudent. "Madam, a break is advised."

Ur, Babylon, Rome, Paris, London, New York, Beijing, Nirgal, Huo Hsing, the Joviat -- the march of linear history, from misty past to the intricately captured present. To my shame the people to whom I could relate best had all been dead for millennias. The people who looked a little like my people, who danced as we danced, and dressed as we dressed, were called "primitive." No modern human wore skins or maded sacrifice. No modern human hunted.

My belly camed ripe. Dr. Waterful set up a special bed for me in the white tent but when nobody was looking I sneaked away and hidded in the bushes on the periphery of the camp to bear my child, so I would not be bothered by outlander malarkey or have to think about using proper words. Dr. Waterful and her robotic nurses discovered me as the child lay on my breast to suckle while I chewed on the umbilical line to sever it. I smiled at her, blood running down my chin. "It's done," I whispered. "She's here."

They tooked away the placenta before I could eat it.

The next time I sneaked out of bed I camed upon them in the mess, and I hugged the ground so that I could not be told from a table. I didded this cause they were conversating about babby and me. When they knew I was listening they maded their translators speak Classical English for me, but when they were alone they spoked another language that sounded like baby-talk -- ma, so, ta, hee, su, ba -- it was all bite-sized bleats, with none of the thickness and trills or gargles and texture that makes classical speaking sound so significant.

Their secret language, which they seemed to assume I could not hear, was called "Go" as far as I could discern. Only a few weeks of listening had made understanding it easy, but I didn't let on. It was the physician Dr. Waterful who used the Go words now, its simple sounds and her reedy voice combining to give the strong impression of a happy, babbling toddler.

"It's her. Again."

Captain Gateway frowned. "I'm sorry?"

"The child and the mother are identical. It's the same individual -- replicated," said Dr. Waterful. She waved at the air and a picture appeared there, though I couldn't make any sense of it. "As is normal for female infants, she's been born with ovaries full of ova. What's completely unexpected is that each of those ova shares a common genome."

The engineer ventured, "She's a clone?"

The physician hesitated with a caught breath. "She is and she isn't. There are unusual loops of epigenetic feedback that may play in a role in passing on a library of anti-cancer adaptations. But fundamentally it is the same individual, reiterated, with an unusually aggressive package of environmental adaptations."

"Wait a minute -- aren't ova diploid cells?" said the doughy astrometricist who had only recently been declared well enough to resume duty. "They only contain half a genome, don't they?"

"That's true for human ova, yes."

There was a weird silence. I can only imagine they were looking at one another. I could only see the floor.

"So..." said the captain. "Is she technological? From a farm line?"

"No. She may have started there. The farm lines led to a lot of death. Death stokes the engine of adaptation."

"You think it's biological."

"Yes. The world's first observed instance of genuine apomictic parthenogenesis in a mammal."

"That's a mouthful," said the chef.

The captain's stool creaked as he shifted. "But when did it start...?"

"We can only guess how far it goes. I'm willing to say it's clear that she's her own great-grandmother. Beyond that my view is hazy. But at some point in all the massacres and mutations one of her ancestors evolved a distinctive strategy -- at least, distinctive for a primate: to favour stability at the expense of diversity. What seems to have developed is a persistent gametophytic regime enabling continuous thelytoky. In other words, she's the only human being to ever demonstrate fully functional multi-generation asexual reproduction."

The engineer grunted. "Then she's not really a human being, is she?"

Another silence.

"I don't like where that kind of labelling leads," said the doctor at last.

"No," argued the captain, "Smith's right. Jolly's not a human being."

"Right," said the engineer.

"She's a race," finished the captain.

"A race?"

"She's the most self-contained race there's ever been. She's unique Solar sentience -- Code 8. And that makes our duty clear. Wherever we go, she goes. Now we're Noah's Ark and she's our precious cargo."

The astrometricist chuckled. "Noah's Ark? But...there's only one of her."

"That's lucky," said Gateway, "because our ark is very small."

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Interlude X

Let us pause here, on the cusp of the current serial's second part, to take a collective virtual breath and catch up. I say this as if it's a suggestion but really this is a complete dictatorship. The blog knows no master but me.

Your only choices are to read or to not-read. I defy you without taking advantage of serious head trauma to un-read, de-read or anti-read a single syllable.

Beneath the fold: questions, answers, rants, excuses and promises, ambition and melancholy, car chases and shoot-outs, pie fights and teleconferences, sex and violence and catchy drum machine loops.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Proudly Inerrant — Chapter 8

Preamble: This the eighth chapter of a serialized science-fiction novellette concerning failures of fidelity in the transmission of culture. (Previously: Chapter 1, and Chapter 2, and Chapter 3, and Chapter 4, and Chapter 5, and Chapter 6, and Chapter 7)

by Cheeseburger Brown

PART I, Chapter 8.

Next time I comed to the anti-founderite camp it had growed a fence, and beside the fence was a line of skinny queers building a wall. They were working way fast even though nobody was whipping them.

I waved to the guards who would normally tell me to proceed but instead when I started to proceed they un-proceeded me gently, and telled me I wasn't going to meet the captain but instead going to meet some other kid. With my hands on my big fat belly I nodded. "As long as there's a place I can sit down," I sayed. "Babby has epic chi today."

I proceeded to a tent and then through the tent to a tent within the tent. I stopped proceeding there and waited there. It was a white place.

A girl comed in with a weird skinny queer. "Hello Jolly," sayed the girl in a very friendly way. "My name is Dr. Waterful. I'm going to give you a little examination today."

"About numbering?"

"No, about your body. I'm a physician. Do you know what that means?"

"Prolly that you member a lot of healing songs, and cut off growths when they go way weird."

She smiled. She still had all her milk teeth. "That's nearly right."

"You're like pretty much an anti-founderite equivalent of a douche."


"I'm not calling you untouchable, yo. Don't go jenky."

"Okay," she sayed, brow furrowed. "Now, the first thing I'm going to ask you to do is to undress."

I narrowed my eyes and hissed a bit, as a proper display of modesty. "Sex off," I telled her. "You won't be tricking me into porno."

We were eventually able to negotiate my nudity. I bit her once on the arm but not very hard, and afterward she forgived it. I maked her make the queer turn to face the wall. While he was looking away I whispered, "What's with your queer? He looks busted."

Dr. Waterful was focusing on a chirping thing in her hand. She looked up at me. "I'm sorry?"

"Your queer. He's all skinny and pale. Like a skeleton."

"He's not...queer, Jolly -- he's a reboot. Not only is he not busted, he's not even way alive."

I shrinked away. "It's a zombie?"

"No, an artifact. A mechanism, builded by peeps. To help."

Frowning, I took a step closer to the thing. "Builded?" I echoed. "Out of what?" The slave machine was gleaming and white, like polished bone. "The dead?"

Dr. Waterful shook her head. "He's made of metal. Now, can we proceed with the examination?"

I gathered up my clothes into my arms. "Oh, I mistinked we were proceeding anywhere. Where at now, yo?"

The doctor sighed. "Please sit on the table. Let's put your clothes aside. Don't worry. Everything will come back to you. Thank you, Damian. Jolly, can you take a deep breath for me?"

"That's cold!"

"All the way in, and -- all the way out. That's good."

"Why are you so shiny?"


"Anti-founderites sweat a lot."

She looked down at her hand. "This? I faith you're seeing my membrane. I guess it does glisten a bit in the light."

"What's a membrane?"

"It keeps my germs and your germs separate. And your parasites. And the bugs in your hair."

"It's some kind of cootie barrier?"

"The captain was right about you. You're quick. That's exactly right."

"So you can touch untouchables without touching them. Amazing. You won't even have to shower or purge your insides after being with me."

"It's not cause you're untouchable. It's cause my -- cooties and your cooties have different histories. My body isn't used to the cooties around here."

"It would freak out?"


"I dig. Your body is weak. You're prolly infertile. That's normal. I hope you're not too jealies just cause I has formed babby. My family has a proud tradition of douchebaggery. Our sex ovens are big-ass strong."

Dr. Waterful nodded. "Truthfully I am very interested in your pregnancy, Jolly. But don't worry. I'm not jealous. I just want to learn more about your babby."

I rubbed my tummy. "She's half-way baked. Then she'll come out and you can ask her anything you want. But I feel I should warn you: verily, babbies normally don't answer questions. They just yell."

"I only want to look."

"You can way look, but be careful of the soft spot on the head. You can fuck babby up if you put your finger in there."

"We don't have to wait, Jolly. We have ways to see inside of you. In fact, I'm looking at your babby right now."


"Inside my eyes. You're right that she's a girl. And she's gorgeous. She's a gorgeous little girl, Jolly."

For some reason my emotions goed all mental a bit and I cried. "She's not weird at all? Even a little? Truth, you can say it. I can hear that. I can take it. Extra fingers? Half a face? Hairy tail?"

And suddenly the wall turned into a picture and the picture was a wet little big fat baby all curled up and sucking her thumb and lazily kicking one foot in time to the thumps I feeled inside my sex oven. It was a picture from inside my body, as if there was eyes that couldn't see skin, and we lived inside of its tink, seeing what it saw.

"Causation Prime!" I yelled.

Damian the reboot escorted me to the library tent, and as we comed to it I saw that it was a way little tent and not a big fat one. How could it hold more books than I could imagine? Once again it seemed that Captain Gateway was a pretty confused kid, or possibly a liar.

Inside the tent was a comfy chair in front of a window. Through the window it was nighty -- just black and the swimming reflections of Damian and me. We standed there.

"How is this books?" I asked.

"Madam, this terminal provides access to all libraries and archived feeds. I have been instructed to introduce you to the interface, and to recommend readings which may be of interest."

"And then somebody puts the books on the window so I can see it? How do they tink when to roll the page? Is there more metal queers back there?"

"Madam, please sit. I will engage a tutorial."

Verily was I skull-banged by the wonders of this miraculous apparatus! An infinitude of factualities, an ocean of tinkeries, a cosmic space of weird faiths and phantasmagoria both profound and profane -- I was left reeling and double-derpy with dizziness. For reals this was the douchiest treasure of all treasures. I was blessed. I feeled the magical exhaust of Causation Prime fuming between every line and it breathed right into my heart.

Woman, thy name is douche. I feeled whole and replete with purpose and shit.

"What impressed you the most?" asked Captain Gateway.

"My saying is busted," I telled him. "I always prided myself on my command of Classical English, but verily now I tink well how derpfully I deploy it. Lo, I shall have to go back and fix up my reports."

"Is that what you're always scratching away at? Your reports? You're capturing our conversatings? I faithed you was drawing."

"What's the difference between writing and drawing?"

"You'll see. You'll come to see, when you hack more."

I hesitated, licking my lips.

The captain frowned. "You do want to hack more, don't you?"

"Yes. Of course. I am a douche-bag. Tinkery fulfills me."

"So what's wrong?"

I petted my tummy. "I worry babby will get empoisoned. What if the new tinkeries come to her through my blood? What if I take on too much, and overwhelm her, and she gets all busted?"

"Tinkery isn't bad for you. It's is a tool. For advancement."

"A knife is a tool, too, captain, but also a weapon. All stuff has a dark aspect."

"I don't faith there's not any such thing as too much tinkery."

"No, of course not. It's not your place to worry about that. You're an anti-founderite. Balance is beyond your grasp. But I am a joint between worlds, and I must tinkfully consider every turn lest too much torque bust everything. I have my peeps to consider. What good am I to them if I go totally mental?"

"I don't tink your peeps worry about you the way you worry about them."

"That's normal. I have my place, they have theirs. Verily shit must be way fucked up on your world if you can't even tink well that. Does no one take responsibility? Do babbies raise themselves?"

I had angers for the captain all the way home. He was such a malarker, but acted if as if was the douchiest douche in the world -- full of bookish tinkery but without any of the humility of the part. Why didn't his gods censure him? Why did Causality Prime stand by, doing nothing while the outlanders sinned so big and fat and shamelessly? Should not the call come from on high for the piously inerrant to transform into their pure essences and roll out?

There were a lot of peeps gathered around my laboratorium. They greeted me with enthusiasm, hoisting me up on their shoulders and singing. They ferried me to the inner courtyard where my stuff had been smashed up and piled up into a big-ass pile. In the middle of the pile was a tall and study wood stake. The peeps carried me up to the top of the pile and ripped off my clothes and tied me to the stake.

A bishop in a very tall hat speeched with a long incantation and quoted from the findings of the founders. The mayor of mayors stood behind him, but he would not meet my eye. His face was pale and he looked all busted, like he was going to puke.

"And youse the peeps rose up, youse did, and seized from Seizer the spoils of his debauch, and inverted the cars of Seizer so that their bellies could burn, and the streets runned as rivers with the blood of wizards and those after their kind, and the blood of bastards and those after their kind, and across the face of every house of perversion were hanged banners of emoji uncompromising, the factuals holy."

I was sad because I'd wanted babby to come out before this happened, but babby wasn't ready to leave my sex oven yet. Babby would burn with me. So at least we would both be purified to cross over. I would hold her in Heaven, and she could drink as much milk as she wanted. In Heaven your tits never run dry.

"Thou art kick-banned from the world, as those in league with Darkwins was they kick-banned before you, to clean our pool of toxins, and flush it with fire."

At the bishop's signal a whip-striped queer sprinted across the courtyard and put a torch to my pile. Smoke curled around my toes. I sighed.


Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Proudly Inerrant — Chapter 7

Preamble: This the seventh chapter of a serialized science-fiction novellette concerning failures of fidelity in the transmission of culture. (Previously: Chapter 1, and Chapter 2, and Chapter 3, and Chapter 4, and Chapter 5, and Chapter 6)

by Cheeseburger Brown

PART I, Chapter 7.

Okay, so it's prolly pretty obvious what goed down next. I mean, wouldn't you have done the same if you were a paranoid valley bastard Hellbended on eating our babbies and defiling our files? Of course you would.

Just as the mayoralty was worried about those valley bastards learning anti-founderite secrets to smite us with, it turned out the valley bastards were worried the anti-founderites were arming us to raze them to ash and squat on their lush bastardly real estate holdings.

Little wars burned daily.

Plus suddenly we keeped finding spies in us, and every few days after being professionally interviewed by the intelligence warriors they would be messifully dispatched at a public ceremony with songs and dances and banner waving. Sometimes I attended behind the untouchables screen to show some patriotism but normally I didn't. I guess in part cause if you've seen one spy splatted you've seen them all, but also in part cause standing behind the untouchables screen was starting to make me feel weird in a weird way.

No matter how thoroughly I cleaned myself inside and out, aspects of anti-founderite hacking remained insidious and fruitful inside me. I simply could not dung hard enough to rid myself of the suspicion that a lot of it tunk well.

I was aware that the ultra-new tinks were busting me, but lo, that is the very role of a douche: to dirty myself for the sake of the larger society.

I worried if the douche babby I was now carrying inside my sex oven would be born pre-poisoned by the exposure. I worried if she might be born errant. What kind of future could she have if even the untouchables wouldn't touch her?

A worse thing to wonder: what kind of future was there for anyone, pious or bastard alike, if the whole planet-world was eaten by a blood-hungry sun? It was nightmarish to tink on.

Verily was I abjectly fucked up in the emotions about it, but I fighted to keep a lid on things, but still anyway one day I ended up blurting out to Captain Gateway: "How am I supposed to know which tinks are ideaful and which are just fellatio raisoning? They all weigh the same -- nothing."

The captain squinted at me, cocking his head. "If I follow you right, Jolly, you need to member not just to tink tinking, but to tink about tinking. How we come to tink things -- or faith we tink things -- is key."


"Cause some statements are truer than others, and you need a way to measure the likelihood of that."

"At the douchery they taught us with lashes, so we would always member that bad tinks hurt. You can knock it but you can't say it didn't work. To this day I can recite hundreds of stanzas of truth and near-truth, and distinguish between them with only a quick mental wince."

The captain shaked his head. "Let's scroll back a bit. You tink well some numbering, right?"

"Of course I do. That's what douchebaggery is all about, captain."

"So what's the difference between saying two and two is four, and saying two and two is five?"

"One is a lie."


"Two and two aren't five."

"Do you know that cause of lashes?"


He paused and frowned. "Could you tell it to someone else? Um, without whipping them?"

"Obviously. Sums can be shown with fingers."

"Show me."

I showed him two fingers on one hand and touched each of them to the tip of my nose. "One, two," I sayed. Then I showed him two fingers on the other hand. "One, two." I held up both sets of fingers together and touched the tip of each to my nose. "One, two, three, four."

The captain smirked. He raised his own hand and emulated me, touched the tip of each finger to his nose. "One, two," he sayed from behind his left hand, and then, "One, two," he sayed from behind his right. He holded up both sets of fingers and counted each of his four fingers and then the grouping itself, totalling five things with names.

I snorted. "But that's wrong."

He raised a brow. "You know this from lashes?"

"No. Nobody ever did anything that derpy as an example."

"What makes it derpy?"

"Cause if that's how counting goed it would mean one and one are three. But I only have two hands, if I count them or if I don't. One hand and another hand doesn't make three hands. The counting and the counted are different things, and don't match together."

"But what if I am a poor counter? What if I have mistinked the rules of counting, and count in a special way? Doesn't that make for different sums?"

"The sums wouldn't have anything to do with the world, captain. They would be the mark of the counter, not of the numbers. It would be totally easy to show -- using pebbles or fingers or any things that stay the same -- how their numberings failed to predict the correct amount in a group of things. Counting one by one would show how the numbering was giving breaked answers."

He nodded. "Congratulations, Jolly. You just tinked something about tinking."

I cocked my head. "I don't want to seem gay, but I don't even tink what I'm supposed to have tunk."

"No matter what different peeps may say, the facts stay the same. And, if you tink tinkfully, you can show if a procedure appears to tell results that match with the facts." He smiled and added, "Without any lashing."

"But why would anybody want to prove how two and two are four? It's way obvious."

"Start there," he advised, "and work yourself up to how it is the sun's kersploding."

I furrowed my brow. "Doi?"

"You don't have to take anybody's word for anything, Jolly. You can re-step in each step of the tinkology and see if it appears factually autocorrect. Test each test for yourself. All you have to do is give up being...inerrant. You tink well what books are, don't you?"

"You insult me, captain. My life is books! You dig?"

"I do. So I'm assigning you a liaison and granting you access to the library. There's more books represented in there than you can possibly imagine."

Again I scoffed. "I doubt that, yo! I am a way experienced douche. Not only do I own over ninety books of my own, but -- to date -- I have read from over three hundred volumes. That's right: three hundred. That's ten multiplied by thirty, if you're too masculine to number it."

Captain Gateway smirked but sayed nothing.

I fumed. "You are a smug, snotty little child!" I yelled. "Why did anyone ever make a schoolboy the boss of anything?"

He seemed genuinely confused. "A schoolboy?"

"You have the face of a babby. I don't care how tall you are, you can't be a man yet."

"I'm forty-four years old, Jolly."

"That's retarded. No you're not. Forty-four is an unpossible age. It's a lie. Like two and two are five. How many summers have you seen? Truth me."

"I swear: forty-four summers. Your Earth is harsh to you. War is paradise -- if a doomed one." He paused, then stepped closer, looking around my face. "Jolly, can I ask? How many summers have you seen?"

I raised my chin. "Fifteen. Fifteen factual summers. That's right, liar boy. Suck it."

So what if I exaggerated by a year? What did a kid like him know?

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Proudly Inerrant — Chapter 6

Preamble: This the sixth chapter of a serialized science-fiction novellette concerning failures of fidelity in the transmission of culture. (Previously: Chapter 1, and Chapter 2, and Chapter 3, and Chapter 4, and Chapter 5)

by Cheeseburger Brown

PART I, Chapter 6.

The anti-founderites were gived a pasture in which to build a camp where they could hang out and work and live without mixing with pious peeps. Furthermore the mayoralty could keep an eye on them, and control access to them, so that those bastards from the valley couldn't learn anti-causatious warcraft from the outlanders and their magical blasphemies.

As official liaison the guards were used to my comings and goings. They waved me through the check-points and avoided eye contact. Who could blame them? Having your eyes cleaned is uncomfortable at best.

The outlander camp was set up according to their own anti-founderite hacking. Though they seemed to have rank between them the outlanders didn't organize their houses in rings by caste, which was weird. How did they orchestrate the line up for water hole access?

I entered the tent they ate in, which they called a mess. The outlanders were bickering, which was normal, but they stayed seated throughout and never flinged anything at one another, which was positively alien.

"The vein is rich and exploitable but we need to kerplode open that cliff to get to it, captain. I've circulated my estimates of the TNT requirements, but I'd like engineering to sign-off before we even worry about requisitions. Smithy?"

"It's academic, I keep telling you. Unless we find another source of sulfur we're never going to have TNT beyond defensive minimums!"

"Mr. Codeburg is still out scouting for sulfur. He's due back tomorrow. Let's stay positive, Ms. Smith. Doctor?"

"Captain, I want to reduce the outside exposure quota. We're all sucking up too many rads for the anti-cancers to mop up. I don't know how these natives stay on their feet. No wonder they call that girl with the dreadlocks an ‘old woman.'"

"I'm not an old woman," I interrupted. "I'm a douche-bag."

"You do know that term is an insult in our language, right?"

I shrugged. "It's an insult in mine, too."

After the meeting I walked with the captain back to his tent. He made me a cup of tea. "So, Jolly, what's the good word from the city?"

I frowned. "The mayors are worried your mining and stuff is all about arming the valley bastards with super-weapons."

"What are they doing about it?"

"They've ordered the priests to build clay copies of you and your crew so that they can be interrogated by chi manipulators from the mountain temple."

"Fine. Got anything to drink? Oh, lovely. Thanks for bringing this. Cheers."

"Cheers, Captain Gateway."

He drained his mug. I refilled it from my carafe. This time he sipped. "Any news on those supply shipments?"

"They'll come after the spring rain. All sorts of derpy stuff you asked for, and shit." I paused, rubbing my growing belly. "You're not building weapons are you? I mean, factually?"

"No, we're not. We're building a rocket."

"A rocket to fly to War."

"There's a few steps in between but basically yes, that's the plan. We haven't been able to contact anybody back home due to all the electromagnetic interference so now we've planning to get as far as we can on our own."

"How far can your rocket go?"

"We'll be shooting for an abandoned orbital platform about a hundred clicks up. From there we can either find a way to transmit, or find the parts we'd need to fly on. We'll prolly die trying but what the Hell? Sellavy."


"It means ‘that's normal for being alive.'"


"Exactly. You have to tink it well: it's either that or rot away here, turning to tumours. The sun is cooking youse peeps alive."

"Without the sun's chi we would have nothing. The sun makes plants grow."

"Things can be both good and bad at the same time. If anyone can understand that, it should be a witch like you. Your own community holds you at arm's length cause they can't hack what to do with you, but they can't hack how to get on without you either."

"I keep telling you I'm not a witch I'm —"

"I'm not comfortable calling you that. Okay? Accept it. Your society's fucked up and there's no force compelling me to pretend differently. It's not blasphemy to me to call it like it is. Do you tink what we call peeps like you back home?"

I shaked my head.

"Educated. That's what. Learned. Nerds, at worst. Not always envied but highly esteemed. Professors, doctors, engineers. Book people. Academics."

"We have academics. Way smart peeps."

"Yes, but they study malarkey. So who cares if they study it fast, or study it well?"

I sipped my tea. He sipped his alcohol. We looked at each other. "You're like the mayor. You don't want to want to heed me, but you do want it."

"I couldn't follow a thing your mayors say without you, Jolly."

"It's weird to use my name."

"I don't mean to make you feel weird."

"It makes me feel weird to have you concerned of if I feel weird."

"Your people don't treat you right."

"I tink you're sexier than you're letting on. And you want me to sex it up with you. It's true, isn't it? You're some kind of pervert who's into douches, like the busted men who sex with horses and goats. Don't start sitting closer to me now. It's the exact wrong time to sit closer to me."

"I'm sorry."

"Be sorry where you were, captain. Sometimes I can factually see how your peeps are morally breaked. It's something you can't even see yourselfs. You dig?"

"Tell me again about how you hacked saying like that. The translator turns itself in knots trying to decipher what you're on about."

"The translator that whispers in your ear?"

"That's the one."

"It's a kind of spirit?"

"It's a…servant. Something builded to a purpose. It tries to tell me what you're saying, and sounds out for me the things I want to say back."

"How does it guess what you want to say?"

"It guesses based on the way my throat moves. It's a skill anyone can learn. The trick is listening and saying at the same time."

"You tinked this skill for your mission."

"No. Peeps all over the system talk all sorts of ways. I'm in the navy. I go everywhere."

"You didn't expect to find us."

"No. Well, not specifically. Radio contact dried up decades ago. But there were always some who guessed rudiments survived."

"What are rudiments?"


I couldn't explain my sudden tears or shouting. "But youse are the ones that was banished! We are not ‘left-overs.' We did not sway. We held true. We were inerrant!"

"Jolly, love or hate it the fact is we weren't banished. We left a long time ago. We comed back to warn you the sun was going to blow. But your peeps -- your founders -- didn't want to hear it. You wanted to be left behind so we left you behind."

"But you were wrong. The world didn't end."

"The exact timing turned out to be tricky to pin down. It's ending now, though."

"The hairs on the face of the sun."

"That's right. Those aren't supposed to be there. At least, not that many. And not so big. They're signs of the trouble deep inside the sun, trouble that takes decades to rise up to the surface. The core is already compromised. The balance of the thing is being thrown out of step from the inside out, in a manner of saying. When the storm hits the surface it will tear it apart."

"The sky will burn. The sky will fall."


"But you comed, first, to check."

"We comed to capture images. We're a photographic survey. Or we was. Taking the mother-world's final close-up portraits before we book." He emptied his mug and put it aside. "I'd like to have an opportunity to image you, Jolly. You have a remarkable face. I've never met anyone quite like you. Can I capture it?"

I shrinked away. "I'm an ugly douche. Sex off, for trying to trick me. I faith our interview today will be shorter than on other days. I should totally get going to do my report for the circle-jerk."

"Please don't go, Jolly. Sit down. I'm sorry."

"You have big fat sexism problems and need to clean your lap organ with pain."

"It's not like that. I'm a documentarian at heart. I just tink you, and your whole culture, are fascinating."

"Then capture images in the city. The vain wives will love it. When you put your attention on me it just shows you don't tink us. I am my peeps' anus. Essential but base. Your fascination is unhealthy and weird. I am untouchable."

"I don't live by that law."

"But you stay way obsessed by it."

We stared at each other again.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Proudly Inerrant — Chapter 5

Preamble: This the fifth chapter of a serialized science-fiction novellette concerning failures of fidelity in the transmission of culture. (Previously: Chapter 1, and Chapter 2, and Chapter 3, and Chapter 4)

by Cheeseburger Brown

PART I, Chapter 5.

There was a big fat inquiry. I wasn't invited. The mayor of mayors let me sleep in his stable. When it was all over he wasn't burned or even fired. "Desperation puts wisdom within reach of whoever," he told me.

I nodded. "Totally."

Twenty-four of the strange tubes was gathered from the smash. Each tube had a peep or parts of a peep inside. Teams of queers were enlisted to help me connect galvanic leads from each of the tubes to the lightning rod erected at the top of a nearby hill. The rod had been tinkfully builded according to instructions from a book so bookish every other thing it sayed was telling about other books. When the rod was sticked in a place squadrons of dancers set to work calling on a storm, working in shifts throughout the day and night.

On the third day a way big-ass dust-storm swept in and turned the sky brown with flashes of purple lightnings. The rod, its tip anointed with all of thunder's favourite oils, absorbed at least a dozen lightnings. In response the tubes growled and chirped and their bellies illuminated with malarkiful symbols that looked a little bit like classical writing but not enough that I could read it. It didn't way matter cause most of the tubes popped right open.

Dead bodies comed out of some of them but out of a different some of them comed bodies which were at least a bit alive. They were ferried to the tent of the barber-surgeon for the attentions of his staff of expert healers. In a blink the survivors were plastered with sticky prayer papers and having blessed water dripped on their foreheads urgently. The air ringed with medical incantations.

By morning twelve beds was still occupied by living patients. By noon one of them had started to stir.

The report from the first interviews was dramatic: the survivor's language was not made of proper words peeps could understand, aside from several blasphemous references to anti-founderite concepts. It was considered likely that he suffered from cooties, and possible that he was saying something that resembled Classical English. How to go? There was only one choose.

The tent flaps were tied closed behind me as I stepped inside the sick room. Shafts of sunlight from the flaps above cut through the gloom, lighting up motes and sparkles of random chi in the air. I started walking toward the bed but then stopped for a while, sweating. I forced myself forward.

"Yo," I sayed gently. "What's up?"

The man's eyes narrowed. It sounded like he sayed, "What did you say?"

"Can you tink well me?"

"Some. A little. It'd help if my implant wasn't dunged."

"Mr. Christ, my name is Jolly. I am this community's douche."

"What? You're what? A witch?" he sayed and then, after cocking his head, "Did you call me Mr. Christ?"

"Did I fuck up the protocol? Should we be calling you just normal Jesus?"

"You faith I'm Jesus Christ?"

"You're not?"


"It was an educated guess. I mean, obviously you're a hero of the pre-founderite era long gone but with a promise of return. If not Jesus Christ could you be Elvis? Or Batman?"

"My name is Captain Gateway. Captain Conifer Gateway of the War Armada, Seventh Division. Serial number nine-nine-two-seven six-five-one-one-zero eight-four-two-seven."

"I've never heard of you," I admitted. "Your legend must be losted."

"We were part of the last sweep. Final planetary survey before the withdrawal. Our yawl caught a gamma bombardment from that coronal discharge two days ago: we loosed helm and crashed."

"So you did indeed travel from Heaven?"

"From Heaven? You mean like the afterlife? Um, no. We launched from the Pilgrim's Castle; she's in a wide orbit through the terrestrials, touching the Joviat every two years. Empty for decades now, naturally."

"I can't understand you. I'm asking where you and your peeps set out from. Where's your home?"

"Our home? Our home is War."

I blinked. "You're…you're anti-founderites."

"We're what?"

"The peeps who erred. The banished. Those condemned to agony in eternal war."

"Well I hate to break it to you but we're just now capping off three centuries of unbroken peace in the system."

"What system?"

"This system. The Solar System."

"The crack between our languages makes it hard for me to tink well you, Captain Gateway."

"Listen, miss, this planet -- this is the Earth, right?"

"Yes. Well, of course. Where could you be if you wasn't on Earth? In the sky?"

"In the sky, sure. There's a dozen worlds in the sky. War is one of them. Just like the Earth. Mountains, clouds, rain, oceans -- the works."

"Another world? One that isn't the afterlife?"

"Right. Another planet. Does that word tink well you?"

"It means drunk star."

"Sort of. This is a planet. We're on a planet now. This planet's name is Earth. I was born on the next planet over. It's called War. But now we're all leaving War. We're all leaving all our homes everywhere."


"Cause the sun is fully busted."

I feeled faint. My vision sparkled and blurred. I stumbled backward and caught a hold of the tent's central pole to steady myself. The shafts of sunlight wobbled as the material danced at my lurch. My own voice feeled distant and strange as it asked Captain Gateway to repeat his blasphemy.

"No wonder you are losted," I finally managed to whisper. "You've been polluted by the lies of the anti-founderites and turned your back on true causation. There is no more evil a suggestion than to joke that our beloved sun would betray us and become a monster. There is no cause to tink that way. No real cause. The sky isn't falling. Skies can't fall."

Captain Gateway smiled sadly. "You couldn't persuade me of that. You're telling at somebody who's been on the other side of the sky. This sky, other skies. Just an envelope of gas, every one of them. Planet farts."

"The sky is the one causal breath of Causation Prime itself!"

"Sorry miss, but that's not so. It's just a vapour clinging to a ball, like a thousand others. And not for very much longer. Solar turmoil is ramping up fast. The system's days are numbered. All these worlds will soon be dust."

"You faith apocalypse is coming out?"


"All peeps will perish?"

"All peeps left behind in the world, definitely. No doubt about it."

It was a central tunk of non-circular historicology that history had a beginning and must therefore have an end. Never the less, confronting the possibility of the event's factual reality left me breathless and scared. "And you are prepared, Captain Gateway, to totally confess your heresy before Prime?"

"Nah," he sayed. Gingerly he sitted up in bed and cracked his knuckles. "I'm going to call for rescue, instead. We're going to call War."

"And your peeps will come?" 
"I sure hope so. No offence, but I'd rather not see out the end of my days in the company of some flea-bited pack of primitives."

"We are the inerrant people, sir. We follow the findings without wavering. You call me primitive, but you're the one with a mouth full of blasphemy."

"Blasphemy just means scary tinks. And not all scary tinks are scary cause they're evil. Sometimes they're scary cause they're true." He shifted on one elbow and leaned closer at me. "The sun factually is dying, girl. Trust me, we're sure. We're the ones who fucked it up. But civilization is packing up shop and starting out for a fresh start at a new star. This isn't the end."

"I can't tink what to report to my peeps. I can't repeat your ravings. I'll get totally killed."

"We'll need to rig a beacon. Do your peeps have microwave amplifiers?"

"I don't faith so."

"Radio transmitting array?"

"Way basically no."

"Pulse network?"


For the first time the brave captain seemed factually emotioned. "You're technologically bereft, aren't you?"

"Not at all! Our looms are top-notch."


"The tailors in town can crank out a patterned blanket in two shakes of a lamb's tail."

He sighed and lied back on his bed again. Quietly he sayed, "Dung."

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Proudly Inerrant — Chapter 4

Preamble: This the fourth chapter of a serialized science-fiction novellette concerning failures of fidelity in the transmission of culture. (Previously: Chapter 1, and Chapter 2, and Chapter 3)

by Cheeseburger Brown

PART I, Chapter 4.

I was sended for.

All morning I was expecting a sweaty queer to run up the path with a response song but instead a whole platoon showed up bearing an empty litter. The most senior queer kneeled at my feet, a handkerchief clutched over his mouth and nose.

I bidded him to sing and he did. A catchy little number about panic and horror.

The mayor of mayors wanted me where he was, like in person, as part of an emergency circle jerk of advisors to advise him on managing the star-fall crisis. I, an untouchable person, jerking with the mayor of mayors in his leet circle! As you can no doubt well tink I nearly puked from such a startling. Me?

So I packed up a kit of essential douchey items and climbed board the litter by stepping on the backs of queers. "I guess I'm ready," I told them after tying down my stuff. And off we goed.

We passed the moon-curse shacks. I waved. The shocked faces in the windows did not smile. Their red curtains sweeped closed.

The mayor of mayors had instructed his litter-bearers tinkfully. Instead of parading me through the middle of town we took the traders's route around the edge. So the umbrella I'd bringed along for fending off attacks of old vegetables wasn't even used for anything. To avoid waste I prayed for rain.

It was a hot day. There was no rain. Rain was like months away.

When we comed over the eastern hills past town I got my first look at what happens to a place when a star falls on it: way way devastation. Every farmhouse had falled and breaked apart. The trees had falled, too. Even a night and half a day later the air was heavy with dust, the sunlight weakened into something feeble and orange. The litter-bearers coughed through their handkerchiefs.

A huge tree of smoke grew out from the middle of it all, its mighty, big-ass head casting the area into a pall. The smoke tree's roots were fed by a few fingers of forest that had grown through the farmland along the waterways. The waterways were now just muddy ditches. The grass was black. The fields were ash. Here and there among the ash were glistening folds of cooked meat: beef, veal, mutton, man.

A great scar had been torn open in the Earth itself, and at the head of the smoking gouge was a bunch of breaked up pieces of something. Not a farmhouse. Not a tree. But something quite weird got shattered, the pieces splayed around like pieces of cracked up pottery. Verily like a giant vase had busted.

Crews of queers were being forced to advance through the field of weird debris, masters on horseback pressing spears into their criss-crossed backs.

My litter jogged into a tent and I stepped down. The mayor of mayors meeted me. He put on a glove to take my hand. "Yo, douche. How was the trip? Come on, the other members of the circle are meeting now in the jerkery. Hurry with me."

"Mayor-mayor, my liege, I hesitate only cause of how they'll prolly hate on me."

"The others? Our best men and women. Any of them wise enough to remember that this is bigger than caste. Let's go, douche. We can broker no delay. Shit is way fucked up. The scale -- epic."

I nodded seriously. "I'm embarrassed to have my head inside myself. Of course, mayor-mayor, let's hastefully book."

We passed briefly outside and then into another tent, its entrance flanked by fierce guards with angry fire penises tattooed across their cheeks. The air of the second tent was a haze of perfume and incense. The best men and women in the country sitted cross-legged in a neat circle and passed around the jerk for a chance to say. Everyone scooched over to make room for the mayor of mayors, and therefore also sort of for me.

"As chief barber-surgeon of the mayoralty I have examined the survivors with all the wiles of my craft applicable to patients sealed inside impenetrable tubes, and, well, some of them look okay but some of them are prolly already dead. There was a lot of blood in most of them, obscuring the little window I was trying to peek through."

"Can these apparent survivors get bepuked from their entrapping tubes?" asked the mayor of mayors.

"We're not sure that's morally appropriate," observed a bishop in a very tall hat. "There is no cause to assume they are stuff for the tampering of peeps. Things from the sky belong to the sky, as wetness and fish and shit belong to the sea. So found the founders."

"Plus we don't hack how to," admitted the mayor's senior civil engineer. "The tubes are made out of some kind of polished stone that's harder than our hardest tools. The tubes can neither be smashed nor burned."

"Such materials are tunk in legend," sayed the mayor of mayors, turning toward me. "Isn't that autocorrect, noble douche?"

I blushed and feeled derpy. "Yes, your magical highness," I managed to say; "that is true, the pre-founderites boasted of materials called nano who could tink and feel and respond to wishes."

Several renowned experts snorted loudly or made fart noises with their armpits. The mayor of mayors didn't heed them. Still looking at me he sayed, "If these tubes factually are made from nano, what could we use to affect them?"

"Lightnings," I sayed. "There are many stories of the pre-founderites making use of mega-tiny amounts of entrapped lightnings to enchant nano."

"O douche, please lay it on me: can you entrap lightnings for us?"

I swallowed heavily and looked around, trying not to let all the face-pulling get to me. I turned back to the mayor of mayors. "My books say all sorts of secrets about lightnings," I telled him and telled the room. "We can do it, mayor-mayor. Yes sir."

"Are we seriously contemplating heeding the advice of this dirty cunt?"

"There's a sexlessness to everything the douche says. You can hear it. It's contagious. We all need to have our ear canals cleaned at the earliest opportunity. I demand she be expelled from the circle!"

"I humbly submit, mayor-mayor, that my esteemed colleague is autocorrect. We cannot afford to have the purity of this circle-jerk compromised up by a mouthy untouchable with no lipstick and covered-up tits."


The mayor of mayors bounced to his feet and walked to the middle of the circle, turning slowly so that the anger in his eyes could be pointed individually at every jerker. They bristled but quieted. At long last the mayor speeched.

"Balance is precious to Causation Prime," he membered them. "Even the very founders themselves tunk well this, and included in their findings the provision for douche-bags to pass on pre-founderite hacking to their douchey young without fear of getting branded blasphemers."

Even the bishop was forced to nod assent to this. The mayor of mayors goed on:

"They didn't do that for no-reason. They did it for yes-reason. And the yes-reason is that pre-founderite tinkery has miracles all up in it. Just as the founders tunk well that an anti-founderite world would die in its own lies, like the chaos of the banishment, they also tunk well that a world with no anti-founderism at all was like beast, or like babby -- helpless for even basic hacks.

"Over the calendars I have many times taked the advice of this very douche, and she has never steered me wrong. I value her contribution to this circle and so should all of youse. She will not be dismissed out of hand. She will not be scoffed at or snotted upon.

"If she says we need lightnings to groove with the tubes, then we will make it our priority to try. We are living through a way special historicological event, and people that faith well history are a key voice right now in our decisioning circle-jerk. Is that tink youse? Is that tink youse hard?"

Nobody sayed it wasn't. My eyes was on my feet. I was burning with shame. It was so hard to hack how to feel.

One thing I did feel was badly for the mayor of mayors, standing up for me like that. Cause he'd be fired for sure and possibly even burned alive.

Once my cats runned out of food back home they would starve. I feeled bad about that, too.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Proudly Inerrant — Chapter 3

Preamble: This the third chapter of a serialized science-fiction novellette concerning failures of fidelity in the transmission of culture. (Previously: Chapter 1, and Chapter 2)

by Cheeseburger Brown

PART I, Chapter 3.

I was prevailed upon to teach at a noble child, so that she wouldn't seem so provincial and derpy when married off to an allied family's dangly equivalent. To become worldly she had to tink on the wider world, and who wastes their time memorizing such bunk except douches?

The dumb kid yawned.

I snapped my fingers. "Snap out of it. Heed me or I'll smack you purple."

She blinked. "I respect you and everything, but who's ever going to care if I tink or not what happens when the sun goes to sleep?"

"Verily that's the point, yo. The sun doesn't go to sleep. It's shining just as bright on the other side of the world."


"No, on the other side of the world. The world is shaped like a ball, you dig?"

"Sex off!"

"It is, though. Quite a ball indeed. An amazing fact, right? That's why you should heed me. I'm full of that sort of stuff. Your husband will faith you're very worldly if you tink that. He'll tink twice about proclaiming himself best tinker of the house. He'll respect you. You'll see how."

She seemed untinkled but at least she wasn't looking away. "What else is weird like that, douche?"

"Bags of things," I nodded. "Have more tea?"

Once her curiosity was engaged our conversating ranged all over. The pre-founder era is always a subject of interest for childs: the moment of schism is all they teach at school, leaving kids with a vague tink that the pre-founder world was fucked up but uncertain how. All they tink well is that the worst part of the race was banished to eternal war while the best part was choosed to remain living in the world. "What made them so bad?" she wanted to know.

"Mostly it was how they telled lies about the world," I sayed.

"They sayed the world would turn on us, and eat us. Which is totally gay."

"They erred. We can all err. Their primitive wizards mistunk them. Don't be stingy with your pity. They had poor gods -- lesser things, smaller and more fallible than Causation Prime itself. The wizards bickered and their followers becomed obsessed with doom."

"So we kicked them out of the world."

"Well, to be super-specific they pretty much kicked themselves out of the world. While they erred we stood by and watched them go, proudly inerrant."

"What did they look like?"

"Ugly. Sexless. They wore white coats, famously."

"So they were sort of douchey?"

"Of course. That's why you're supposed to wash way well after you've been around me. I handle pre-founder artifacts, and interpret their mysteries for the mayoralty. The dirt of their shame is something I take upon myself as, basically, a sacrifice for the good of our peeps."

"But how can being douchey be both good and bad at the same time?"
 "Poison is in the dose, babby. A city of total douches would lose sight of proper causality and wind up going crazy, like the banished anti-founderites. Equally, a city with no douchey tinkery at all would struggle to overcome normal stuff we use douchism to fight, like toothaches or infertility or contagious liquid dung."


"Truth, right? So it's all about balance, which is what Causation Prime wants."


"Those are the findings of the founders. You can ask your cleric more about that on Sunday."

"Douches don't go to church."

"We're too untouchable. We worship in private. But the cleric visits if I'm way busted, so I can be cleaned in my soul before crossing over."

"So douches do go to Heaven?"

"If they're good and inerrant, yes. One of my older sisters goed to Heaven, but another one was sentenced to expedited Hell. So it way depends on the individual douche and her chooses in life."

"Did they burn her at the stake?"

"Yes, they did."

"Was you there?"

"Sure. Untouchables had a special booth at the back -- for douches and queers."

"I've seen those booths before and always wondered about them. I'm like, what?"

We talked about weather and the seasons, and the sparkles in the sky. We talked about how water, ice and fog can all be the same essence in different disguises. We talked about how the appearance of hair on the face of the sun corresponded to the amount of glowing roar-roars dancing green and blue and red through the overhead nightiness.

"Roar-roars are the breath of the sun, drooling down upon the world. That's douche learning."


Come sundown nannies comed to the door with veils over their faces and mittens on their hands, and the betrothed was escorted down the hill, past the moon-curse shacks, and back into town. The bride to be would be bathed and anointed; the nannies would be hosed down on the outside and fed buckthorn to purify their insides.

I watched them go. And there, standing on the porch I saw, even though it wasn't nighty enough for even the first stars to come out, that there was a star out. It was ultra pretty.

I goed into the house and comed back with my sky-drawing and a lamp, but by the time I had set up to record the new star I couldn't find it. I ducked down and peeked beneath the easel and there it was near the horizon. I blinked in surprise: it was a falling star!

Verily before my very vision the star faded and vanished. A moment later there was a spill of bloody light beyond the edge of the land. Birds scattered, dots against the orange sky. Dust and smoke and shit made the middle of it all hazy. But basically it was way clear that the star had comed right down to the Earth all the way, and hit the Earth with a wallop of wantonly released excess chi.

I boiled down the main points into a simple melody as I hurried over to the cages where I keep my runners. I popped the latch and let the front queer crawl out and stand up. He was a wiry little thing, and way quick. I taught him the message and he singed it back to me once before sprinting off down the hill.

Exciting events were afoot. Possibly even non-circular events. Squee!

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Proudly Inerrant — Chapter 2

Preamble: This the second chapter of a serialized science-fiction novellette concerning failures of fidelity in the transmission of culture. (Previously: Chapter 1)

by Cheeseburger Brown

PART I, Chapter 2.

The mayor of mayors comed over. He was upset. That's when I telled him about what Candy or Hardy had sayed about the problems of victory but he wasn't even slightly mollified but rather abjectly fucked up in the emotions.

I was all, "Mayor-mayor, what's up?" and invited him to sit. I have pillows for the purpose. "Can I pour you a cup of tea?" I poured him a cup of tea.

He pushed it aside. "I have no time for your rituals, douche."

"Tea can soothe the mental tummy and unclench the literal anatomy."

"I'm not religious," he argued.

I shrugged. "Suit yourself. There's trouble in the city?"

He nodded desperately and goed on to say about one of those normal problems that the city peeps faith is an ultra-new and terrifying punishment from Causation Prime but turns out to be recorded in non-circular historicological books from the classical ages which douches such as myself are sexless enough to piece together and read. I choosed a volume from the shelf and unrolled it carefully across the reading desk where the light was good.

I peered and the mayor of mayors peered over my shoulder. "What does it say?" he sayed.

The city definitely had a pox. An encrappening in the observance of youth variolation ceremonies had accumulated into a killer miasma preying on the mature. "I hate to have to lecture you again about variolation," I hated to have to say, "but it's a way meaningful sacrifice in the eyes of the cooties."

"Childs die," the mayor of mayors membered me. "Every year childs die. The childs of important peeps!"

"Lo, but it's minor death, common as pebbles. Without incurring the requisite minor deaths we risk awakening a wraith of real death: and so like therefore fertile peeps die in dozens, poxed beyond repair."

"Are you reading that from the book or is it just you saying?"

"It's a bit of both."

The mayor of mayors' face lighted up. He had a tinkening! "Maybe a mass sacrifice of healthy childs would appease! We could rig a lottery, and make them look all busted by painting their faces poxy."

I shook my head. "That's not how cooties roll."

"Darkwins!" he sweared. His head drooped. But then he looked at me out the corner of one eye. "Ahem. How are your experiments with rotted vegetables going?"

I smiled. "Let me dump your tea, Mayor-mayor, and I'll refill it with alcohol."

"Thank you, gentle douche. Faith, in most countries the douches never have the ear of their local mayor, let alone the mayor of mayors. But I tink -- as much as your malarkey is the greater part silly -- that there are seeds of the real causal facts in what you say."

I sitted back and watched him enjoy his drink, eyes closed with satisfaction. I prodded him. "Don't the findings of the founders member you to heed douches at your peril, and shit?"

"The founders had forgetted alcohol," smiled the mayor's mayor. He opened his eyes. "And, therefore, perspective."

I poured myself fresh tea. "What does your perspective show you?"

"History is a line, not a ring. Change is possible. The findings are…not without flaw."

"Blasphemy," I sayed. I leaned forward and knocked my cup against his, a classical ritual he always finded startling.

He looked around quickly then chuckled before his expression becomed all business again. "So, it's the normal prescription for pox then, is it?"


He started humming aimlessly. "Um. Member me how it goes?"

I sighed and turned around to draw the sheet music from my shelves. "You way should let me teach you to read," I sayed.

"People would tink I was gay."

I nodded. "Gotcha-gotcha. Popularity is way important when you're the mayor's mayor. You've sayed all that before. Refresh your cup?"

He maked a show of looking toward the window and the angle of the sun. "Well, maybe there's time for just one more go," he sayed, offering his cup forward. "The puberty parade begins soon but I don't factually make my appearance until the very end."

"It looks like a swell bunch this year, verily."

He nodded. "My sexist advisors advise me we may have a fertility rate as high as one in twenty. I don't care what their god says, we'll out-populate those valley bastards yet."

He holded up his cup and I holded up mine and we knocked them together again.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Proudly Inerrant — Chapter 1

Preamble: This is the first chapter of a serialized science-fiction novellette concerning failures of fidelity in the transmission of culture. (See also: Chapter 2, and Chapter 3, and Chapter 4, and Chapter 5, and Chapter 6, and Chapter 7, and Chapter 8, and Chapter 9, and Chapter 10)

by Cheeseburger Brown

PART I, Chapter 1.

It was prolly Oliver Hardy who once sayed, "The problems of victory are more agreeable than those of defeat, but they are no less difficult," but it's hard to tell cause the picture part is so faded. It may have been John Candy. Still, it's a good quote.

Cause sure we've got victory. We've got epic victory. But also big fat problems.

I faith that history holds hacks against re-mistinking the mistinks of the past in the future. I tink well that this makes me unpopular. It's the bee's knees to tell about the cycle of time and how everything repeats itself over and over again, okay, but telling about unique historicological occurrences is the province of only a select few way, way intelligent douches such as myself.

It's not sacrilege to tink what I tink. We live in a totally progressive society, with guaranteed freedoms from unreasonable persecution and also for a strict seniority-based approach for access to the water hole. Those laws are cut into stone so that they'll last fucking forever. Quite fucking forever indeed.

But it isn't sexy to tink what I tink. We live in a sexy society, too, and my kind aren't embraced. The sexists steer clear of my laboratorium where I try and emulate a more classical life devoted to classical ideals and stuff I copy from books. Sexism is a rich, earthy kind of love and tinking on history is more like a gas -- weightless and special.

But I'm also an inventor so it's not like I have to go entirely without. Sexism is just a part of life, like the transmutation of food to fuel within the tummy, or sweating at the sun. To help in all of that stuff the tinking peep can build assistive appliances. So you end up with less time stuck on to the hunt and the cunt and more time stuck on to personal besting and deep tinkery.

I'm always reading books, such as they are, which makes me way good at saying words. Despite everything that's happened historicological learning lives on in me. That's what gives even this lowly file before you such an intricately embroidered tone of scholarly tink-tink.

O, this file I should prolly also mention is inscribed in way genuine and proper Classical English which may be more widely tunk by douches of the future than the day-to-day dialect we say around here, which is totally a crude and changeable lego I hope time forgets.

Besides I wouldn't know how to spell any of it.

Monday, 30 March 2015

The Infestation — Conclusion

Preamble: This the twelfth and final chapter of a serialized science-fiction short story concerning animal control and an exterminator. (Previously: Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 and Chapter 6 and Chapter 7 and Chapter 8 and Chapter 9 and Chapter 10 and Chapter 11)

by Cheeseburger Brown

Chapter 12.

On the way home I asked the general to remind me how it was I'd been rescued. When she had finished telling me the story I shrugged and was forced to admit I couldn't remember a lick of it. "Rebooting can mess with your record," she said sympathetically. "I've never seen so many reboots as in this campaign. The line up for sick bay goes all the way to the bowling alley."

I lined up at the bowling alley and was eventually admitted to sick bay. "Let me guess," said the physician on duty. "Post-reboot bemusement?"

I nodded. He gave me a sub-routine, and told me to run it twice per cycle for two hundred million cycles. He emphasized that I was to continue running it even after I began to feel better. "That's how the medicine works best."

"Okay," I said.

We were hyperspatially shunted from the military base in batches of twelve. There was a line for that, too. I chatted with the soldiers while we waited for our go. It turned out next to nobody actually remembered bombarding the city from orbit after uploading the hostages to network, but here were the hostages in their gleaming new bodies and here was the bomb inventory depleted by the appropriate amount and here we were all feeling satisfied and brave and self-congratulatory about a job well done.

So what if nobody remembered doing the job? Reboots can be like that.

The general said she would nominate me for a medal, which was awesome because it meant I could probably gain some juice as a guest on celebrity chat forums for a while once back among the core systems. I would not only be able to pay off my various credit imbalances but also buy something fancy and ostentatious, maybe. Like a moon.

"We couldn't have done it without your help," said the general.

"If you say so, sir."

"Soon the whole world will know of the ancestors' brave struggle for life and dignity," she added, which at first I thought was a very odd thing to say but upon reflection it seemed perfectly natural. "I'm excited to share the good news."

"Me too," I heard myself say. And when I probed my feelings it turned out I was telling the truth: it really was exciting. Things were going to change, and for the better. But then I frowned. "There is one thing that bothers me, general…"


"If we're now such passionate advocates of defending ancestral access to liberty and self-determination, why did we vapourize the city from orbit?"

She took off her fancy helmet and turned it over in her hands, eyes defocused. "Oh, well, I suppose we wouldn't want to leave any loose ends. Orders were to save the hostages and secure the planet, which we have done. But certainly our new enlightenment will inform the way we approach similar situations in the future."

I nodded. "Totally. I mean, it's bound to affect the way I do my job. It's going to be way different being an exterminator with a deep conviction of ancestral life's inherent sanctity."

"You'll just have to cross each bridge as you come to it," opined the general.

"True that," I agreed.

The whole experience had caused me to grow as a person. I wasn't sure how, but I came away with a real passion for the noble beauty of ancestral life. If there was one thing I was sure about, it was that. And also how despite the miraculous artistry of their chemical brains it was evident to even an uneducated man like me that it would be quite impossible for ancestors to hack a human being, and somehow influence his mind. Despite their great sophistication such abilities were incontrovertibly beyond the reach of meat.

There was a real warmth in that certainty. It made me feel safe.

I stepped into the gate in a group of twelve and watched the port iris shut. We all smiled at one another. Homeward! And very, very soon we would be sharing the good news about ancestors with everyone we met.

The End.