Tasty Little Treats, Bliss In Every Bite; Aramaic: 'Mamash Taim.'
The place had sliding panels on the walls everywhere. There were evidently, absolutely freshly-prepared by who-knows-whom, finger sandwiches, little green-coloured ‘Japanese candle’ shred-coconut cream-topped little cakes, jasmine snow Persian peach jujubes... ...and boiling hot water from shining chrome moveable tubes – all hidden behind sliding panels when they were not required.
The tea service was periwinkle blue with gold vines -, Royal Sealy.
She knew it was ‘Royal Sealy’ because she looked under the cups and saucers to see that written there.
They looked utterly new. Yet they were antique in design, she thought.
Xan T-Five was sitting down now too.
“Are these antiques?” She inquired, with some naïveté.
“No,” he replied. “They are new.”
For some reason she thought that the tea was unusually flavourful despite that it was certainly meant to be of course, given the names that were mentioned and the implicit notion of their rarity in all of the circumstances. There was also provided, in little side-dishes placed down next to the tea cups and saucers, slices of candied lime and saffron strands...
The finger-food was exquisite.
“So this is how you live?” She murmured, and almost just to herself alone at last after taking several mouthfuls of food and drinking the tea.
But he averred: “This is how we live.”
“I am never going to be able to do this. This, this, thing you are asking me to do.”
“You will be able to do it.”
“I will be able to do something because you said I shall have every resource that I might require. And that is not very fair now, is it? Not to me. Not compared to what I had to make do with in my life.”
“This is your life. Still.”
“But only for one more day if I fail. That is not right. That is not fair.”
“Why not? You killed yourself. On your own you wanted to die, you wanted to completely end it all. You had absolutely no expectation of ‘meeting your maker’ or some judgement or anything like that. Not in the end. You had lost all of the hope for anything like that because you said to yourself, if no one answers me now, why should they answer me then?”
“But you are giving this other person a whole different choice, a much easier choice, such a hugely different set of circumstances!” Suddenly she felt pretty miserable again, just as she had been at so many times during her past life. And really, if anything at all, it was because of the general unfairness.
“You believe it is so different?” He questioned, impassively.
“Of course! Of course it is,” she asserted herself firmly. “You said you are providing me with every possible resource I might need to effect the change required. And here will be a person, depressed, a natural depressive probably anyway, and they will have all these things just handed to them to make them feel so much better; about themselves, about the world, about everything. I mean on that basis it should be easy – even to do in just one day.”
“Well compared to what I had to deal with in my life, yeah. Uh-huh.”
“No. It will be difficult. Because there is a condition, you forget. You will have to achieve it by doing something completely new. Not a re-configuring of other things, old things, or not just some rarity – like these teas. But something, not only actually new to the planet, to the human race – but something new to the mind of the very Universe itself.”
“It’s impossible.” She shook her head and put her head down and held it in a hand. “You are nuts. There’s no such thing.”
“But you thought there was no afterlife, no god – no, me,” she caught a flicker of a smile on his lips. “No... ...tea, certainly. Like this up here.”
He placed his tea cup and saucer down beside him on the side-table and stood up now, and moved towards another part of the wall where, once again, a panel slid open to his light touch.
“Was that actual humour from you?” She jibed.
“Here,” he said, having drawn out some ordinary plain paper files, manilla folder style, with ordinary typed sheaves inside, and a thin tablet; obviously a computerised form of tablet device but ever so thin. And there was something else – a shiny glassy, maybe plastic, helmet with glittery bits in it, in the opaque material - a helmet of some kind with three tiny curved tubes at the front of it where a person’s face would be when they were wearing the thing.
“Here are the people you will get in touch with. And here is the target person.”
He handed the files over to her and retained the tablet in his hand, its screen now ‘on.’
There was a head-and-shoulders image of someone on the full-size of the screen.
“I know this person. Isn’t this -.” Oh, she though -, this is that young actress that turned up on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon recently, attired in an English Public School senior school male uniform – tie, suit coat and trousers, with black patent leather Chelsea boots with decent-sized heels... ...and wearing a golden Loki horned headpiece on her head.
“Yes. It is.”
“They’re not going to kill themselves!” She scoffed at him. It was a ludicrous idea. This was one of the most successful people on the planet. And durably successful now, even despite from a relatively young age, well-grounded, well-liked, widely-liked, respected, talented. No, not someone that was ever likely to become so filled with abject spiritual pain and suffering and hopelessness and despair that they would ‘top themselves,’ as the English say.
“Is something going to happen to them to change their life circumstances?”
“No. Not really. They will continue to be very successful. But without you, without what you must do, they will undoubtedly kill themselves. And that is certain. In fact, it has already happened in future time.”
“N-o-o-o! So then I have failed. I have failed anyway so what’s even the point?”
“You could change the future. And I have faith you will do it.”
She shook her head. “What is this all about? What is this all about, really? Are you people gamblers up here or something. What’s that ABBA song say? ...The gods may throw the dice, their minds as cold as ice.”
“No. No gamblers. Creators. Devisers. Just like you humans. Except you devise only evil continually, and you practice it all the time and if it were up to just me, I’d wipe you all out for it.”
“So you’re just exactly like me then.” Liz managed a slight sarcastic laugh.
She looked at him, at his face again, trying to see what was really there behind it all. Was there really that much cruelty? There was such calmness, such impassivity, that she though it was completely imaginable that he could slaughter thousands without even blinking.
“However,” he suddenly added. “There is just one last thing. I am going to link your mind, to a very vast knowledge bank that we have here...”
“Where is ‘here,’ if I may ask?” She found herself saying to him.
“Don’t worry about where ‘here’ is. It is not that important to you right now.”
He lifted up the helmet affair, motioned to her to remain seated, and placed it over her head, with the three little tubes fitting, two right beneath her nostrils, and one at the front of her mouth. She could feel a cool flow of like, ozone-rich air being emitted by the tube ends. And then, very clearly, the air-flow contained odours – initially it was weird, as if the odours themselves represented colours, the first one that came seemed like it would be what the colour ‘pink’ smelled like. Candy floss. A definite sugary pink candy floss. And then light blue. The shift went from sugar sweet to cotton-linen-and-Parma violets and ever so slight anise – it was definitely ‘blue.’ And then that shifted to sea spray saltiness.
And then all the way back -, stage through stage.
And there was sound now too. Two different hums from the left and the right side, and the combination created a wave-y effect right in the middle of her head and it was hypnotic and in a few moments she was quite asleep.
Liz McNeil regained some consciousness but she was still profoundly calm and still in the chair.
Somehow without her ever noticing it, her feet had been raised slightly by a softly padded articulated piece that extended out forward from beneath the chair, and must have moved into that position after she had totally fallen asleep.
She was quite conscious now but there was just a blizzard of information swirling around her, literally as clear images in her apparent vision field – even though her eyelids were actually still closed. It was as though she was coming out from behind a thick cloud of data, where lines and lines of words like scrolling script had been moving in and out in front of her, in some configuration of her ‘optical mind.’
Along with all the lines of words, which were completely intelligible, and with all of their formed sentences making perfect and succinct sense, there were also sense impressions that went along with some of the ‘object words’ and the ideas entailed. If something implied an object or experience that would have had a taste - she tasted it, if something would in normal waking experience have had an odour she smelled it. If it had a sound she heard it. And sometimes, although much less often, it seemed like she made to reach out and touch something that was being conveyed to her thinking mind, and she was even then able to touch it. Everything was completely crystal clear. There was nothing ‘dreamlike’ at all to any of it. And yet, so much of it also felt already as if it had now sunk backwards, back deep into her subconsciousness; not in her frontal consciousness at all.
What was in her frontal consciousness was a very clear understanding of all of the complexities of human emotional relationships, even down to all of the hormonal actions, their timing, their durations, their functions – along with the fact that there was far far less known even to the latest ‘modern’ science than what was really there going on in total. The most direct implication of the ideas was that humans themselves had selectively re-arranged and re-prioritised many chemical reactions, and virtually eliminated others altogether. With the overall effect that everything was at cross-purposes more or less all of the time.
How had that happened? It seemed, as a kind of ‘evolutionary response’ to massive global cataclysms such as the ice age, and then floods and other catastrophic events and periods of human deep history. The average lifespans of humans had dropped, too, and the pressure was for the numbers of them to increase as the group average lifespans declined. Still, it was a complex differential quadratic equation, with multiple variables, some of these simply being food and water availability and safe habitat.
And there was quite a substantial amount of underlying psychology going on with human beings all the time, and none of it was actually ‘primal’ any more – for some reason the subconscious psychology of more or less all humans, certainly for the largest part of them, was that they ‘believed’ in particular kinds of ‘epigenetic mimetics’ but in only very highly selective ways, while being completely oblivious to certain others which were in fact highly active.
There was so much erroneous and fixated ‘thinking’ going on all the time, and she felt quite disturbed by it all now, and was experiencing a persisting feeling of disquiet and the need to remedy the situation. It was all like something that was not supposed to be like that at all – and had to change, to be changed.
But what is it – a flaw in the programming? Something that had occurred just as an accidental -, a coincident confluence of a very large amount of complex events, but ending up with a persisting negative outcome?
No. It was a deliberate skewing of the sine curve. The shorter the duration of the human lifespan, the lesser would be their skill levels and the fewer their outright skill-sets. And it was a total fallacy that AI would be the repository of data and ‘knowledge.’ And thus able to maintain a stable ‘high level’ of functional skills on behalf of the human species. This was because the curve of declining skill-sets would not ever meet the AI archival system development quickly enough, at the crossing point at which in the first place the AI capability was genuinely adequate, and then next where the human skill-sets were sufficiently advanced to meet the competitive levels obtaining in the rest of the Cosmos among sentient life.
Human beings were in short, comparatively primitive firstly, but also critically so and possibly permanently stunted in their pace and trajectory of development. As a self-contained development, in fact they were terminally stunted.
Luckily there were other beings in the Universe, and who could make the trips across space-time -, and it was as well fortunately, that they had found it in their interests to reject and re-adjust back the line of humans from the interference that had occurred here.
Who had done it? Who was or who were the mischief makers?
Well partly, it was humans themselves, or at least some of them. Way way in deep ancient history, the human race was far more advanced than it is now, that is to say at the time Liz McNeil was ‘living’ in it, as it were – and some of those individuals had signed up, quite cognizant to the whole point of it, to a malevolent idea to create a two-tiered evolution of the human species. One tier of drones, and another tiny other tier of one particular type of human-Alien hybrid.
There were still plenty of questions left that her mind was asking of the interactive albeit directional data stream to supply some answers to, but she was reaching a fully awakened state with her body drawing her back to that integrated physical state of ‘normalcy.’ Meaning, its – the body’s - sensory channels were demanding priority. And in that condition, the brain simply had no means of processing either the way to ‘ask’ nor the way to consciously receive anything from the interactive data cloud.
The last thing she remembered consciously getting from the data cloud was that humans had virtually by now completely lost a particular hormone the data cloud was referring to as ‘reciprocin.’
And there were so so many egregious things that humans silently and very duplicitously were thinking to themselves all the time, while they were supposed to be relating to one another... ...that it was a waste of time her just even enumerating them or focussing on any one or any particular set versus any others of them all. There were so many. The human being was not a straightforward being at all. Certainly not candid between each other, and certainly not honest, and not self-honest. Even at those seemingly most intimate moments, in an intimate embrace, they said one thing and they meant it too – but their genes and their hormones were making arrangements to allow for the early turnover of the living creature; one side ‘thinking’ about having offspring, the other about engendering offspring. One side kind of limited, the other side tending towards ‘kind of’ unlimited. And scientists coolly proposed that ‘oh well, this was just how evolution made things be.’ No it wasn’t. For one thing it absolutely wasn’t because who said that the high-speed turnover of the population through swiftly declining lifespans was always the only way, the only thing that ‘evolution’ could ever manage to do no matter what other thing? In fact the thing wasn’t even true in ordinary systems theory of matter and energy. There was already known to science the concept of redundancy in natural dynamic mathematical systems... All frictionless systems (EG light) moved to optimum perpetuating state not static states or (terminal) inertia! The higher the turnover the more the energy-mass requirement – the thing was not in keeping with how the Universe behaved in any case.
‘Scientists’ literally were all the most recalcitrant, ignorant class of creature on the planet, given that supposedly they had access to the best knowledge and information and theoretically at least, the best ways of thinking and the best training as to how to think. ...Well that wasn’t so in actuality then. Or else there was something fundamentally amiss inside their heads. They were scientists all right; they were deranged scientists.
And if you simply went the sociological, the emotional psychology route, then - ‘I love you’ - was if not an entirely meaningless statement, yet a tremendously too-complex and twisted one in the hands, that is, the mouths - of the present-day human being. That was for sure so on any realistic test whatsoever.
She woke up completely. He was still there seated nearby.
“Wow.” She opined. “What a fucking mess. What’s the way out of that?!”
“I don’t know. But now do you see why we would have to think about completely terminating you all. Put you out of your misery. Certainly as a discrete species anyway.”
“Yes. I do.” She found herself actually saying those words. She lifted the helmet off her head and handed it back to Xan. Her hair was damp and her head quite warm.
There was another sound entering the small quiet room from outside somewhere – a thump thump thumping vibration.
“It’s not possible to just use your advanced technology and snap your fingers and fix everything?” She just had to ask: why not?
“You fix it and you own it. Besides, we are looking for a process solution not a fix.” He got up as if to leave. He stretched out a hand to Liz and looked down at her. “It’s time to go.”
She got up and followed him out of the small room, back down along the long passageway. This time however one of the side doors was opening and closing and there were people peeking out from inside the room there, which was emitting a massively loud, heavy-bass party music, noise... Liz halted outside of the door.
“I know that!” She said to Xan T-Five, recognising the music.
“Don’t go in there.” He advised flatly.
“What’s going on in there? Who are all those people?”
Suddenly the door slid open again and a tall girl was standing there, looking at Liz suspiciously as if she intended to eat her, pouted, and then held out two arms and grabbed Liz by her hands and tugged a little. The girl looked past Liz at Xan, and nodded to him.
Liz was sure she knew that song they were playing in there ever so loudly. “That’s Toca’s Miracle.” She said.
“It’s a sex room.” Xan T-Five said. “They’re having sex in there.”
The tall girl winked at Xan and fully pulled Liz completely inside the room with the door sliding shut behind her leaving Xan outside.