Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Slaves of Liberty.

My minds' eye flips thru the pages of history and a terrifying truth unfolds. Untold numbers of faces flash before me, tribes of apemen eating each other, Neanderthals totally exterminated, ancient Sumerians, Egyptians, Babylonians, slaves and commoners slaughtered in their millions, billions of Chinese peasants murdered, countless Europeans wiped out thru plague, toil and war, native Americans butchered en mass, Africans sold into slavery and whipped to death, indigenous Australians hunted in genocide, Jews pogrommed and gassed, Japanese cities obliterated in a matter of seconds, homosexuals and gypsies, anarchists and freedom fighters, untouchables and paupers, all killed without thinking, and the individual's survival made unimportant and meaningless, worthless, sometimes existing for just a few short years before made to disappear, just long enough to know a life could've been possible, could've been wonderful, these were history's shadow people and I have to be thankful I had a life, of fun, adventure, love, joy, knowledge, regardless of the fatigue, horror and pain, I witnessed the third millennium digital dawn and thanked my lucky stars, I had the freedom to dream.

I must have passed out from the pressure of the intense acceleration needed to escape the Earth's gravity and for about seven seconds on awakening was quite disoriented, not believing where I found myself. Like in a fabulous dream I'd been launched into outer-space, only this wasn't my astral body, I pinched it, it was solid and aching. And there was my anima, Lilly, stretched out beside me on the so-called bridal bed, except it was actually the control couch for a rocket ship and we were both meshed together and plugged into the ship's mechanisms by our implanted computer cabling, three become one, lights flashing between us in a rythmic pattern to indicate all was under control and on course, to a destination that stunned me when I took it in, glowing from a huge video screen in front of us.

Lilly was also awake but in a fugue, fixated upon the screen, seeming to chant prayers of reverence in a mumbo-jumbo of mathematics and flight-control protocols, her fingers twitching, as if pressing on an invisible keyboard. I fought against sinking into her mystic trance and tried to compute what lay ahead of us. Rotating celestially at the Lagrangian point between Earth and Sun loomed an awesome machine-face, in fact a simulacra of the head of the old Statue of Liberty, growing ever larger as we approached it, made up of an assemblage of variegated contraptions, all of it space junk patch-worked together to form the serene face of the goddess of freedom and I fervently hoped she would live up to her name as we were aimed straight at her gaping mouth.
 It was vast, filling the sky like a planet as we zoomed into it, an artificial world unto itself with innumerable habitats, multiple levels and unknown depths and into it's slowly opening, enigmatic smile we flew, as if the tongue was a landing strip and the lights flashing in the windows of her eyes were intelligent beacons guiding us in.

The nose-cone of our rocket had separated and took the form of a space shuttle and we cruised to a stop with a minimum of stress. The machine-head rotated with enough spin to provide about 70% of Earth's gravity and so we disembarked, all suited-up, light-headed and light-footed but with no great discomfort. Awaiting us was a reception party, a crew of military types decked out in sterile white plastic and ceramic space-suits, bubble helmets and all, at the front of which was their leader, a captain-like figure for he wore epaulets and clanking medallions and his helmet had a huge brimmed cap attached to the top of it.

A pompous voice emanated from a throat mike after he gave us a ludicrous, military salute,
'Welcome to the good ship Liberty, I am her captain, I do hope you've had a pleasant journey, we are greatly honored to have you here with us at long last. Please remain suited with your visors down as we have momentary lapses of oxygen supply out here in the passageways. We've been following your progress for quite some time, directing it actually, you've passed all the tests we've set you and now it is time for you to take your place within our great machine as was predicated at the moment of your enlightenment when you got chipped by our agents back on doomed planet Earth. Welcome, welcome, welcome, you two are our greatest achievement and our fondest hope!"

"Oh no!" I groaned, "not more bullshit? Don't tell me, you need fresh blood to rejuvenate your decaying genome?"
"Blood? Genome? I should say not! Our genome is quite perfect thankyou very much. We've cut out all the flaws so that we are supremely healthy, co-operative and law-abiding citizens. What we need is your integrated processing expertise, the life-supports of the mother-ship are breaking down, there's something wrong with our main-brain, the quantum processor, our scientists can't figure it out and as you represent the next generation in computing we're hoping you'll solve the problem."

He lead us thru a maze of corridors, past dormitories, green-houses, factories and labs, all tended by robots, no other humans in sight except for our small welcoming party.
"What do you mean we are your greatest achievement?" I grumbled, getting more paranoid the further we progressed.

"The people of the good ship Liberty are some of the last healthy humans alive in this universe and must be protected at any and all cost. The planet Earth is hopelessly polluted and unfit for healthy human life with a vast assortment of pathogens raging in a toxic soup, but out of that maelstrom our Rat servants were able to select a suitable bacterium for superior bio-computing and it was this we infected you with, then loaded you with nano-machines such as radio-transmitters, sensors,body-builders, infinite information processing, all implanted into your sub-structure via the brain-chip. We knew a genetic mutation would have to occur down there somewhere sooner or later, one perfect homo sapien amongst many deformed monsters and we waited for you, we watched you, we directed you and when you were ready we got our Cyborg agent to pick you up. We already had the female half of our bio-machine, we just needed the complimentary male, as in plugs that fit ports, and you have to admit it, you two are a perfect match." He smiled smugly and again saluted us grandiosely like some 20th century third world dictator.

Lilly spluttered in disappointment, "But I thought I was to be the high priestess in the temple of the great Goddess Liberty through Science?"
"Yes, yes my dear, that's exactly your role, and the religious rituals will consist of programming codes and debugging protocols, the two of you complimenting each other in bio-feedback."

We trundled along endless gantries and peered into various bay windows at vast auditoriums wherein humanity lay stacked and couched, row after row, plugged into life-supports, eyes flickering in REM sleep and hands fluttering in mid-air as if conjuring up demons from cyberspace to come to their aid, all of them plugged into the ship's mainframe via golden cables snaking from the back of their heads. Maybe they were stamped from the same mold as Lilly and I, like brothers and sisters. I referenced my search engine and came up with a match in old Earth mythologies, creatures called "Slans", "X-men", mutants whom ordinary humanity saw as enemies, as the "other", to be exterminated because of their augmented powers. But these people had been reduced to automatoms, their environment clinically sanitized in white ceramic and stainless steel, their freedom of movement industrialized into much mechanical fidgeting.

"All of our happy citizens have been genetically modified to perfection, no disease, no dysfunctions, no abberations, no deviance, each performing necessary duties in their chosen slot to the betterment of the whole, all of it a smoothly functioning machine, society as machine, the good ship Liberty the answer to human history's woes." I couldn't help spluttering,
"But what about individual freedoms, of choice, of movement? What about personalities? What about fucking fun? It doesn't look too liberated to me!"
"Yeah, it looks like an ant-farm and I suppose you want me to be queen of the hive?" grumbled Lilly.

"Oh everyone has their choice of fantasy to live in. We've perfected Virtual Reality technology, each person you see has chosen the virtual world of their desires to frolic freely within, that block over there are gamers in a "Lord of the Rings" type environment, or "Dungeons and Dragons", "Doom", "Chaos", endless games. There's a whole dormitory dedicated to sports, any and every sport, and you don't just passively watch them, you play them! Football, tennis, golf, you can go from one to the next and be a world champion in all, it's one of our favorite live-in past-times.
They think they're kicking a ball, wielding a sword or drinking a cup of coffee, actually they're typing keys and throwing switches, filtering the ship's oxygen or regulating the heat, operating the robots, calibrating the fertility clinics etc etc. I've got a feeling you'll like the Science-fiction Hall, many of our citizens are blissfully happy in the Matrix, Star Trek and Star Wars fantasies, you two can play at being Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker, and at the same time hunt out those sub-routines that are infected by space-bugs and increasing Liberty's entropy, spinning Her out of control, eventually breaking Her apart, the Goddess forbid."

"I'm already a princess, thank-you very much. This is not exactly the self-liberation and enlightenment I was promised," snapped Lilly. "Where's the awesome religious bliss?"
"Why, in the smooth running of the ship of course. How can we regenerate the Earth or populate the stars if the mother ship crashes? Look, here are the labs where the glass wombs incubate the test-tube babies. No more dysfunctional psychos from the Family Drama, the good ship Liberty is mother and father both and the children are well-behaved geniuses that grow into law-abiding, satisfied contributors, all for one and one for all, everyone wanting the same thing, no one stepping out of line. No more waste on fashions, fads, arguments and wars. Perfect, perfect, perfect." "Boring, boring, boring," I giggled in return. "If it's all so dam nice how come there's a breakdown in it's smooth functioning?"

"Yes, that's the mystery. Some of our citizens seem to get lost in their virtual fantasies, they stop providing input, don't run their sub-routines, disappear into the infinitudes of possibilities and we can't get them back. And that's where you come in. We want you to go down into the virtual worlds and hunt out the malcontents, delete the viruses, reboot the crashed souls, whatever needs doing, it's what we've prepared you for, a natural mutant with very specific augmentations." The Captain smiled primly, as if it was all a fait accompli, and I had no say in the matter. I could only sneer.
"Well, I think you're going to be mighty disappointed in me, I don't think I can live up to the perfect organism you expect. I have a certain sexual orientation that you would consider an abberation, it might be a spanner in the works."
"What are you talking about? We've thought of everything in your design."
"I'm have homosexual tendencies, I like my own sex when it comes to having flesh on flesh fun."
"Impossible! We've deleted that gene, and all the genes connected to it. Such deviance has long proved troublesome to a society's law-abiding, smooth functionality, homos are often malcontents, rebels, we've done away with them, as unnaturals, the species doesn't need them and Liberty doesn't want them!"

"Hmmmm. That could be the very problem eating away at your foundations. Life loves variety, Hets need Homos to bounce off of. You deleted too many genes connected to sexuality and now the happiness quotient of your workers is breaking down, and they're drifting into dementia. You've inserted the actual virus that's feeding Entropy, the only hope is to have a sexual revolution in all your virtual worlds, a universal gay liberation if you will, hobbits fucking wizards and Luke Skywalker seducing Hans Solo. Like it or lump it, send us in there for an orgy, Lilly will handle Princess Leia, Lothlorien and all them other spaced-out gals." Lilly lit up with a mischievous smile, "I'm versatile. It's as good a way as any to celebrate the Goddess."

"Science has always depended on taking risks. That hodge-podge of space-junk making up your grand Goddess will break apart and dump you all into the cold of the Void if you don't dare take some new tack. What do you say, Captain Kirk? After all, he was in love with Spock."

The Captain flushed a bright crimson and coughed, "Surely you jest? Sexual deviance in the collective unconscious? Order would be the first thing that broke down. You're joking, yes? Of course you are! That's what's been missing from our humdrum uniformity, a quirky sense of humor. Good show, dear boy, very funny, very funny indeed! Now that we've had our tension-relieving laugh, let's move on, up ahead is the bridgehead of our good ship Liberty, the great temple wherein we revere the quantum processor that runs the whole shebang. This is where your ceremonial duties will lie, you can carry out all the religious oblations your spiritual tendencies require. It's from here we'll send you into cyberspace to explore the virtual worlds and troubleshoot the problem."

We followed him into an enormous hall, the far wall made up of two gigantic windows that looked out onto fathomless space, an ocean of stars splashed across a black void, and we realized we were looking out thru the eyes of the Godhead. A colossal idol stood as the center-piece between the windows, a statue of liberty in white plastic, but instead of holding a torch aloft, She held a glowing, pulsating device like a thermos flask with golden wires flaring up to the ceiling and snaking along the walls, and a curtain of mist falling from it down to the floor and undulating across the entire chamber, enshrouding it with a hushed mystique, the Goddess of Technology uniting stars and electricity upon the clouds of heaven. In reverential awe the Captain intoned an invocation.

"Behold the great Goddess Liberty thru Science, She holds securely, for our ongoing prosperity, the Quantum Processor, super-cooled to Bose-Enstein condensate, able to compute infinite possibilities instantly. And next to her as her consort and procreative partner is the God Technology from whence all our marvelous tools for survival arise." At her feet, smaller and half-hidden in the mist, crouched a metallic sculpture made of disparate contraptions and appliances all bracketed together to form a mechanical monster with large golden horns sprouting from it's bestial head.

"By her side and under Her all-encompassing command are the lesser gods, the archangels and saints, Electro-magnetism, Gravity, the Nuclear Forces, DNA which rules Natural Selection, and not least of this sub-pantheon, Entropy, a god I know you're familiar with as He rules down in your world of planet Earth." He pointed out a line of hideous idols grimacing at them from alcoves in the side-walls, totems that could've been dreamed up in prehistory by a tribe of superstitious cannibals, idols made of grotesque masks, bones, teeth, dried organs from all the extinct animals interweaved with bric-a-brac from all of civilization's epochs, real creepy stuff.

And at the base of the Goddess Liberty lay a couch connected to the statue by innumerable cables, the appurtenances of her horned consort studded with winking diodes, spinning gauges and pulsating read-out windows. The Captain's six body-guards took us firmly by the arm and led us to the couch, strapping us in, connecting cables to the augmentations flowing from the back of our heads and plugging us into various other life-supports. Lilly and I gazed into each others eyes and shrugged, we were trapped, bound together and must acquiece, for the time being, to this mad ship's demands. As if we had mental telepathy, loving assurances flew between us, we were strong and smart and would overcome any ordeal thrown at us, and one day we'd break free of the slave-ship Liberty.

As if he were the High Pope of gobbledygook, the Captain grandiloquently intoned, "You are to be as angels, specially chosen by the Goddess Liberty, to enter Her infinite unconscious domain and hunt down the demons that plague Her peace and sully Her heavenly idyll so that She may continue to rule the stars as is Her divine right. Go forth and stultify!"

Bells clanged and choirs wailed and I felt myself slipping down into an hypnotic daze, my eyes closed, psychedelia flashed and kaleidoscoped and then I tumbled into an immense void, and I was flying, just like an angel, and Lilly was flying by my side. We peered about us, tiny points of light in the distance grew large as we approached and became arrays of jeweled spheres that stretched into infinity no matter where we looked and each sphere was a separate world whose nature I intuited simply by concentrating on it. And thus open before me were all possibilities the Mind could know or dream up, all historical epochs, all science, all fantasies, any game, any sport, any endeavor, it was mine to choose which virtual reality I would go down to explore and expunge.

Lilly signaled to me that she'd made her choice, the time of the mythic Jesus of Nazerath and she would take on Mary Magdelene to celebrate the universal goddess in us all. I smiled and promised we'd meet up when ever we needed each other and I watched her fly away resigned for I had other fish to catch, I wanted to go back earlier, to deep, deep prehistory, to where it all began, the dawn of humankind, and see if I couldn't spot the flaw in the crystalline genetics of the ape-men, the source of all the future wrong turns that the history of man would take. And if I healed that wound, would the bad ship Liberty even exist for me to come back to?

If you enjoyed this story please go to the WEB address above and consider buying my book of tales about growing up anarcho-queer, rock and roll punter and mystic adventurer in Australia and India of the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Human Condition Sucks.

That sweet soul Charles Gropin had another dinner party for misfits on Friday night, only this time the misery guts issued mostly from his heterosexual friends and us queer freaks could only sit and commiserate from the sidelines. He must have put together this disparate group on purpose, just to watch the fireworks explode. The seven tenets of T.Z. includes the inferences that all humans are lost and looking for love, no one knows what we're on the planet for or where we're going, no one has the right line on anything, and we're all on a runaway train with not one person having the power or knowledge to stop it, not even G.W. Bush, the Pope or J.C. Superstar.

(Yeah, yeah, you probably beg to disagree, we're here to bring up kids, hold down a job, create wealth, pay off a mortgage, create something grand, find enlightenment, realise our 'godhead' i.e. give 'god' our head, on and on ad nauseum. There's a surfeit of "purpose" to human endeavour, but I'm an existentialist, the infinite heavens remain silent no matter the torrent of human prayers, questions, pleas and excuses thrown into the void, each individual has to face life's great exigencies alone, Death lies in wait for all and Society seems out of control, and we're all left gob-smacked and hysterical in the Chaos, that's why religions/philosophies get created. For me the Hindu's Vedanta gets close i.e. Sat Chit Ananda which I translate as Knowledge Consciousness Bliss in the here and now, it's a pity my own fucked up humanity muddies the celestial waters.)

So with these thoughts I watched as a certain schitzo named Mandy started moaning about men betraying women every step of the Way. I protested that human's betrayed each other , no matter the sex, men betrayed men, women betrayed women, women betrayed men, my recital got tedious in it's truisms. "No man handy" Mandy spat more denunciations of the male species and a guest whom none of us had met before, an American named Dora from SanFrancisco, agreed sympathetically with her, saying such sentiments gelled with her own recent experiences of men. I then pleasantly interrogated Dora on her knowledge of the artistic history of her city, trying to engage her and make her feel welcome in this hothouse of Aussie larrikanism.

Mandy suddenly went ballistic and spewed on the American, confirming my sour view of generalised human frailty, forget the gender specifics. She must've felt the focus of attention had shifted off of her in her egregious need for a man's love, she spat chips hissing about how she couldn't handle silly American accents and could Nora please shut up, like, really shitso schitzo behaviour that was inexcusable. The American took umbrage and ran from the flat squawking about her vulnerabilty, while the rest of us, in our embarrassment, giggled hysterically like Jimmy Dean. So, I epiphanied, it's not only poofs who are disenfranchised and on the edge.

Charles ran after her while others told Mandy what a rude bitch she was, being quite mad she had no insight into her social idiocy and spouted bullshit denails, and miracle of miracle, Charles talked Dora into coming back to us, she flopped at the table and had a semi break-down, telling us all she's very sensitive of late because her boyfriend had beaten her up and it not only physically hurt but was emotionally devastating. This was supposed to be a polite, superficial social occassion, now we were all deep in psycho-drama and spluttering our sympathies. In an attempt to soothe all rumpled sensibilities and provide company in the existential leaky boat, I confessed that many of us were having a hard time these days, especially me who had a purulent leg and needed an operation but it had been cancelled twice and I was slowly being poisoned to death by anti-biotics with buckets of puss leaking from my knee daily.

This was too much information, my fellow alienated choked on their stewed veal and shoved a joint in my gob to shut me up. Knobby Israel tried to sing Bob Dylan to fill the foetid airwaves only Nardine the Sardine, wailing on in her Ice-lobed cut-throat harangues like one of Charles' scratched Maria Callas records, told him to shut up, she preferred original compositions to bad covers, thus the party slipped into befuddled chit chat as randy Mandy snuggled up to men she hoped, out of politeness, wouldn't shove her off, with me informing her in saccharine sarcasm what a lovely person she was. Peter Pumkin played his violin like a stoned, camp, honey-spirited Yehudi Menohin to soothe our shattered souls, and I told my broken-arsed life story about a mother who didn't love me to a bored Dora who kept passing out dead drunk.

This is what passed for human comfort and social engagement for a whole bunch of lost souls on Friday night, not just Queers, the Hets were as dysfunctional as a mad hatter's hatful of arseholes. Towards the end, it was a glorious relief to go up onto the roof to smoke a joint and gaze at the moon in the cloud-strewn heavens, the mystic stars consoling me in their wise silence. For all the pain, it was still ecstatic to be alive, conscious, luminous, for a few brief moments the human condition drifting languidly in a refreshing breeze, and with the generous, friendly gaze of Peter Pumkin to fall into, it was cool.

If you enjoyed this story please go to the WEB address above and consider buying my book of tales about growing up anarcho-queer, rock and roll punter and mystic adventurer in Australia and India of the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

No Place Called Limbo.

 I woke up screaming, had to wrench myself into the world of so-called reality, like I was stuck halfway in the viscous sludge of confused waking consciousness. In the dream I'd found myself trapped on a railway station to Nowheresville, everybody I asked for directions ignored me, fled me, nobody knew the name of the place we were stuck at. As a last resort I thought I might simply walk out of there but from the last platform all I could see was empty countryside disappearing into a fog of infinity, there was nowhere to go. Trains pulled in and out of distant platforms but I wasn't quick enough to catch them, lost souls drifted around me but no one could help me or even befriend me, we were all lost.

I recalled all those souls with "locked in" syndrome, those disabled from birth, like in the TV docos about the "abandoned children of Bulgaria", blind and unloved, dumped in a hospit on the edge of nowhere, eternally rocking backwards and forwards, slowly dying. I wondered, "where do they go to, deep in their heads? A better place, a heaven of the Mind, another time-stream where they live out glorious adventures?" In my dream it felt like I'd gone to the waystation where such lost souls waited out their lives, to eventually be shipped off to parallel universes, and I was one of them, and as they reached out to claim me as one of their own, I woke up screaming in horror.

Considering all the bad things happening in this world, I'm not so bad off. The State here in Auz takes better care of it's 'disabled' than most places but only just. I had the operation on my purulent leg cancelled for the second time, too many patients had flooded into the hospital the night before, no room or money for me, I could wait endlessly or die, no matter that as a seventh generation Australian every-thing in the country is mine by right of inheritance, and I should be taken care of, but I'm kidding myself, it was all stolen from my ancestors as the country got invaded and built up, and in the world wars and the Great Depression between them. These are my mad thoughts while I wait, wait, wait for my leg to be healed so I can walk out of here, flee, perhaps to the Aussie outback where my ancestors come from, to sleep under the stars like a swaggie, no money but kind of free.

I've drifted back to that Lifeboat for Losers Cafe, the Piccolo Bar and am over my grudge against Vittorio. He can't help himself, everything good and bad washes over him, a wind-up Replicant he just carries on slaving, slaving, making coffee, ad nauseum. What a life! Like a pussycat born and enclosed in a zoo, he's never really gone anywhere, never really had a lover or a good fuck, never rock'n'rolled or tranced out in ecstasy, never climbed a mountain or surfed an uncontrollable sea, shit! Just coffee and more coffee and lots of lunatic hellos to the flotsam of the Cross.

I have to have affection and compassion for the old hobgoblin, he's a stalwart, always there, the doorman to a level of Dante's Pick-your-low Purgatory, abandon all hope ye who enter here, until the great god Entropy claims him and he drops dead from fatigue and becomes a distant memory, the fate of all things, people and places. Roslyn Street on the Cross is undergoing more transmogrification, old Barons Pub has now gone and some new, post-mod monstrosity is growing like geometric fungus from the dust but, in the desperate hurly-burl of the trendy nightclubs filling the back-lanes around that construction site, who cares about the past? It's today and tomorrow you have to get your guts in a knot about!

And incarcerated in Northcott Housing Ghetto I wait out "the end of days." (Cyclones, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, the north pole melting, wars, terrorist attacks, drug zombies, child killers, religious maniacs promoting cannibalism, it's all here now!) Maybe from my demonic text you can tell I've been reading Cormac McCarthy, he's addictive, for pessimists, realists and lovers who know death and loss is the sad poetry of life, I can't put him down, his art consoles me. Like in his latest novel, "The Road", post-appocalyptic desolation and humanity on the brink of extinction, have we already arrived at that misanthropic scenario?

Polly the Pyro puts yet another match to the mountain of garbage near my front door and I shudder as the flames explode and the zombies rush to and fro, hollering for more human flesh to feed the fires. Let me out of here! While I wait for my escape it's best I sleep and dream, conquering a far-fetched space-opera of some non-future, living an exciting life virtually, anything's better than the big Nothing.

If you enjoyed this story please go to the WEB address above and consider buying my book of tales about growing up anarcho-queer, rock and roll punter and mystic adventurer in Australia and India of the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Queen of the Wastelands.

I awoke groggy and fearful, with dust in my mouth and harsh sunlight searing my flesh thru the bars of a cage. Amazingly, I was still alive in an awful futuristic landscape, captive and being towed along a bumpy path thru the heaped up ruins of a civilization whose memory had long faded into superstitious myth. Attached to my mobile cage was a creature fully armored in metal-plate and covered with innumerable buzzing, blinking gizmos, it rode a wheeled machine like a knight on his stallion from olden times, only this thing was more like a fiend from a science-fiction nightmare.

I scoped the area we trundled thru and could not see my dog Butch anywhere and was afraid this cyborg-monster had destroyed my beloved companion, for he would never have allowed my capture without a ferocious fight. My rucksack still clung to my back and I quickly rifled thru it till I found one of those wondrous cans of the ancients marked with a pictogram of fish and inset with a ring that allowed you to open it easily. I tore off the lid and flung pieces of sardine onto the path behind us, a smelly trail for Butch to follow if he was still alive and hunting for me. I gobbled down a few scraps myself as I was starving and I sucked thirstily some water from my canteen, as surrepticious as I could, for I didn't want to alert the machine-man to the fact that I was awake and computing the chances for my escape.

It sat as if conjoined to it's tank-like motor-bike, unmoving and silent except for the gadgets whirring, beeping and twinkling across it's metal carapace and, scanning the radio-waves emanating from it, I realised it had mass and movement sensors that would warn it of any approaching enemies, thus it seemed detached and unharried, ignoring me as a possession that had been permanently defeated. I saw machine-gun attachments and rocket-launchers in it's armour and knew it was impervious to most kinds of attack in this broken-down world of sub-humans and I relaxed the fight or flight syndrome tensing my body for there was no escape as yet, I could only be dragged along to meet my fate at the end of this derelict road.

We saw few signs of intelligent life, most creatures smart enough to still be alive gave my Cyborg captor a wide berth on seeing his terrible form lurching thru the ruins. There were a few times when brainless zombies or mutated monsters tried their luck and crept hungrily upon us but they were fried in mid-leap by laser beams that shot out of the Cyborg's armor, he was fully cognizant of whatever breathed and schemed near us and didn't even have to lift an arm to beat off any would-be interlopers.

For days and nights we droned inexorably along without rest, me sustaining myself from the scavenged goods in my backpack, the Cyborg fueling it's existence from storage units inside it's mildewed carapace, never seeming to sleep or maybe dozing while I slept, it's machinery on auto-pilot. There were times in the dark night I despaired in my loneliness and whistled in subsonics for my dog Butch to come to my rescue but all remained deathly silent, my canine soul-mate was gone, gone with the rest of loving life and only my iron-clad master existed, enigmatic in his grim silence.

Eventually we came to that awesome natural phenomena, the ocean, known to me only from the history-chip embedded in my brain, but not blue-green and breaking in white-frothy waves as in the recordings. It was more like a heavy brown/gray sludge that stretched to the horizon, a vast sewerage pond, viscous and undulating slightly like an enormous dead jelly-fish that I imagined one would sink into slowly, suffocate and dissolve, instead of swim freely, joyfully as people did of old.

The Cyborg dragged his caged prize along a dirty beach littered with dessicated corpses, wind-blown flotsam and putrid vegetation and, rounding a bend, I saw in stunned awe what must be our destination, a fortress standing up out of the oceanic muck, linked to the mainland by a causeway that was covered in razor-wire barricades. A fantastic, futuristic castle, it consisted of high, thick crenelated walls with the cones of missiles peeping from countless portholes, and inside soared a pile of architectural wonders that seemed to defy gravity, slim minarets topped by bloated domes, inverted pyramids and leaning skyscrapers, and at the centre of it all a sleek tower piercing the heavens like a shining silver spear, aero-dynamic in it's curves, unscathed by the hurricane winds that howled around it.

Scanning the structures I matched certain details to those stored in my library chip and flashed they were microwave towers, television antennas, radio-telescopes and radar dishes, as maybe a chunk of old-time civilization had been preserved and was still functional amid the sea of polluted muck. As we crawled onward I could hear and feel a low mechanical thrumming vibrating from the bowels of the fortress as if it was built upon an enormous churning machine, foul smoke vomited from tall chimneys and clung heavily about the towers till the winds shredded it into pennants that wavered and slowly drifted out to sea. The stronghold stood upon an immense concrete platform at the base of which huge upturned vents sucked in the oceanic muck, there was much sloshing and churning and I supposed this was the Keep's source of raw material for food and manufactories.

When we approached the ramp that reached out into the ordure sea klaxon horns shrieked from inside the fortress and cannons exploded from the high ramparts, whether in warning or triumph I could only imagine the worst. The razor-wire fencing peeled back magically on our approach, other lethal barricades sank into the concrete pier and we soon sat under colossal spiked iron gates as doomsday bells donged ominously. My enhanced eyes caught the play of lasers between the Cyborg and consoles high in the wall, a code was exchanged and slowly the giant gates chundered open, just wide enough to let the Cyborg wheel thru, dragging my cage behind, the iron walls clanging shut only a hair's breadth from crushing me.

The buildings which loomed over me as we scurried along were in a hotch-poth of ancient styles that I designated as Gothic demonic, Soviet brutalist and Bauhaus functional, all of it ugly and intimidating with noxious gases belching from grates and windows. The denizens of this mechanist citadel came out to ogle me as I was carted by like a prize freak, they were of the cyborg type with robotic limbs and L.E.D.s for eyes, amplifiers for ears and metallic plates gleaming from skulls, computer chipped at every joint and endocrine-node. They spied the gold and platinum cables extruding from the back of my skull like a pony-tail and cheered and clapped as I passed by, their warped heads nodding in satisfaction.

I was paraded down grimy alleyways and thru garbage-strewn courtyards towards a fabulous palace hugging the base of the colossal silver tower that I'd seen from afar, web-like scaffolding connecting the two structures. The palace was all pink and white porcelain like an architectural confection from an old-time fairy-tale, surprisingly beautiful compared to the hideous industrial cityscape piled about it. Up a ramp we creaked, thru a foyer and into some kind of reception hall, at the far end there was a dais upon which sat a large jewelled throne, bright lights glaring upon it.

My cage was dumped before the throne and I was dragged forth as a crowd of courtiers gathered around me, all dressed ridiculously in fluffed up plastic ballgowns and cardboard penguin-suits, whirring gizmos scintilating like jewelled medallions on their throats, chests and wrists. With zen-like efficiency my Cyborg master unclasped his chest armour and armaments and handed them off to lackeys that ran to and fro at his every gesture, and last of all he slowly unhinged and lifted the helmet from his misshapened head to gaze upon me, my flesh prickling in horror.

He had only one eye, a swivelling video device that zoomed in and out as he looked me up and down. Where the other eye should have been was a cavernous hole that covered half his face, no nose to speak of, and inside the wound could be glimpsed the wet slush of his brain peeping thru the skull-case with innumerable tiny chips wired into the grey-matter. His mouth was a cruel gash full of pointy steel teeth and from some device planted deep in the ceramic throat issued a machine-voice that croaked, "Creature of polluted flesh, alien from the Outsider Tribes, you are mine by right of Salvage and Retrieval to do with as I see fit!"

I tried to squeak out a protest but was drowned out by fanfare as a gaggle of cyborg aristos traipsed across the dais above me, in their midst an horrendous grotesque that I took to be their King for his robes were more elaborate, flashing machines and shrunken skulls hung about him as decoration and he wore a scintillating diadem towering upon his macro-encephaletic head. He held the hand of a beautiful girl who he seemed to be carefully leading behind him and, as he seated himself upon the throne, she sat at his feet, her blank face turned to the light, her eyes empty and uncomprehending. She had the appearance of a normal, human female, dressed in a flimsy silk neglige with no mechanical augmentations obvious upon her body. But when the King spoke in authoritative tones she turned to look adoringly up at him and I saw a pony-tail of gold and platinum cables issuing from the the back of her head amidst her blonde tresses, computer cords very similar to my own.

I sat up in shock, kept my mouth shut and listened attentatively for I was the centre of attention and my life was being decided. The King's patronising voice echoed thru.out the throne-room,
"You have accomplished the great Quest that was set you and brought back proof that indeed Enhanced Lifeforms exists beyond our walls. But what designs could you have upon this Outsider that I myself would not have need of?"
The Cyborg warrior harrumphed and cleared his throat mike, then rasped,
"I would harvest him of organs and flesh so that our genius surgeons may complete my Being. And I would salvage his chipped enhancements to gift them to the Princess Royal in the hope that implanted in her she may recover her Fitness, be rebooted to full Awareness and thus take her place beside me as my wife, the prize you promised for my success, to be Queen to my future King."

Suddenly I had an epiphany, flashing on the import of the whole ghoulish scenario and the chance I would have to take if I was to survive my master's callous ownership. I screamed aloud at which the robotic throng froze and stared at me in dismay,
"I am no mere dumb animal to be devoured by your inhuman needs, I am a thinking, feeling man who would be a boon to your society if left whole, much better than a smorgasboard of parts to be scavenged. "
"Ignore this creature, he has no rights, he is mine with no use but what I make of him!"
The Cyborg ogre moved to clutch my thoat with his piston-powered robotic arm but I ducked and shouted my response, "I know I have the means to return your daughter, the Princess, to her wits, but destroying me might lose that chance forever. Give me a go, I beg you!"

The King hesitated, contemplating my proposal, and the courtiers buzzed with amusement while the Cyborg Warrior swung at me, buzz-saws sprung from knuckles slicing at my head. Taking my chance I weaved around the Warrior's flailing arms and leapt upon the podium, raced over to the Princess and flung myself into her lap, taking her soft hands and placing them against my face. She did not flinch but seemed to welcome the humanity of my embrace, feeling out my features and caressing my cheek. As she did so I quickly sorted thru the gizmos twinkling on the ends of the gold cables slung over her shoulder within the blonde tresses of her hair.

It was as I surmised, several of them dovetailed with the ends of my own cables, female ports for my male plugs. The Cyborg warrior was trying to heave himself up onto the dais but his machinery was too cumbersome and he floundered on the edge, buzz saws and razors clattering terrifyingly. I deftly coupled my cables to hers, pressed a few buttons and closed my eyes, willing my chip to reboot hers and information to flow freely. I saw a kaleidoscope of patterns and images pour in a torrent across my inner-movie screen and I felt the presence of another awaken and rejoice, a consciousness flowered in my heart like a lotus of white light and a I heard a song of thanks reverberate thru my soul.

I opened my eyes to find gorgeous violet-hued irises drinking me in, love beamed forth and it felt like we had become as one, twin souls that infinity couldn't seperate for mental telepathy flashed between us. The Cyborg had managed to crunch up onto the stage and he now ratcheted towards us, fingers of sharp blades reaching out and red video-eye gleaming malevolently. Clutching my hand, the Princess cried aloud, "Stop! Father, I have returned! My implants are renewed and my faculties are sharp. Years of suffering are over and it's to my brother here that we owe our thanks."

The Cyborg roared in hatred and frustration as the King disclaimed, "May the Kingdom rejoice, my beloved daughter has been delivered from insanity at long last! There are now two supplicants who deserve the honour of claiming her hand in marriage and then possess the keys to the castle, for both contributed to her well-being. I can only leave it up to her to choose the suitor who pleases her the most for I would not have her unhappy in the years that are left her."

The Princess Royal took one look at the Cyborg Warrior's ghastly disfigured face and shuddered. She glanced down at the lethal weaponry extruding from his robotic body, slicing at the air and she grimaced. Then she turned and gazed down upon my wholesome face and at the youthful robustness of my physique, and for a few moments she closed her eyes and felt the knowledge, bliss and love that flowed from my inner-being.

Her face luminous in delight she called,
"There two kinds of warriors in this world, the warrior for love and the warrior for power. It's no contest, I choose the Outsider, he is brave, he'll fight when he has to but he is also caring. He could be my soul-mate thru eternity! He represents co-operation, equality and reciprocal love while your chief warrior stands for competition, heirarchy and violence, the very things that brought us to this impasse, the possible destruction of our species. Thus I choose survival, knowledge and harmony, for that is the reason I believe humanity exists."

The Cyborg shreiked his dismay, his machinery jittered and clunked, he seemed to be shutting down in confusion, smoke hissed from his ears, the diodes stopped flickering on his chest, the wheels and cogs juddered to a stop and he collapsed into a steaming heap, stymied and crashed, he was out of the race, for awhile. The rest of the court applauded and the King stood from his throne to lift us two hugging teens from our crouching position at his feet and kissed each of us upon the forehead. Information flowed freely thru our connected cables and I knew the next necessary move. I quickly spliced two of our matching gold cords and plugged their ends into a bracket in an arm of the golden throne, jewells flashed and strobed, whistles blew and the King announced we were ready to ascend to the joys of the bridal chamber. He gave us one last embrace then, with the rest of his court, hurriedly left the hall, as if danger threatened.

The Princess then disconnected us from the throne and led me gently by the hand, whispering,
"Hi, my name's Lilly, what's yours?" "TeeZee, what's happening? Where are we going?" "To the bridal bed stupid! I've waited for you for what seemed like aeons. The Void was so cold and lonely but I swear at times I felt your presence existing somewhere over the horizon and coming for me. But quickly, we must get to the safety of the Control Room for the Warrior will soon come back to his senses and I'm sure he will demand retribution, he's not one to give up so easily, he's hard-wired for hatred and destruction."

She led me up a long spiral staircase and across a dizzy walkway high above the ground in the scaffolding that connected the candy palace to the silver tower. We came into a strange circular room whose walls were lined with much glittering machinery and in the centre of which was a large couch. The bridal bed no doubt and I cringed as she sat upon it and pulled me down to join her. It was yet another repeat of that terrible imperative here at the end of history, the urgent need to procreate and preserve the species, with great pressure on me to perform. I blushed and stuttered my protests.

"I'm sorry but I'm not really up for carnal lusts with females, your gender actually terrifies me, you're so different, so demanding, I can't be fucked nesting, I'm too selfish, I live in my head too much."

"I couldn't give a fuck about propagating the species either, I'm just as selfish as you are."

"Yeah, well, I've been irrevocably queered by this world, I've actually opted out of the human race, all the destruction is proof that we did a lousy job as caretakers of the planet and the species is not worth promulgating. I prefer my own sex and don't see why it always has to be such damned problem. But I'm open to new experiences, and making love is so sweet, no matter with whom, so all I ask is that you be gentle with me."

She giggled and replied, "Don't worry, I'm not interested in fucking, it's quite gross, all those icky body fluids possibly shared, it makes me ill to think of it. But it would be nice to hold you in close embrace, yeah? Then we can share knowledge and experiences, an orgasm of the soul while conjoined electrically, that's the evolutionary turn on that I've been training for! And it'll take two of us to get this show on the road, that's what you're here for, so get cracking!"

She sat facing a huge video console, pressing buttons and throwing switches till the wall-screen came to life. On it was a view of the gantry leading to our chamber and staggering towards our door was the Warrior Cyborg, weapons slashing out in front of him as the walkway swayed under his weight. She moaned and quickly plugged our cables into various sockets on the console and threw several more switches.

The Cyborg was relegated to a side-screen, replaced by another image that astonished me, the giant metallic head of a female smiling enigmatically, rotating in slow-motion, behind her a river of stars twinkling upon the deep black of outer-space. I referenced it and matched it to the head of the seventh wonder of the ancient world, the Statue of Liberty, only the spikes of it's crown were made of missiles and antennae. The idolised face was a jigsaw of modules and platforms, cones, pods and labs, boosters and rigging, satellites and solar panels, with huge windows for eyes, the open mouth a landing bay for space-craft, all of it looking like an agglomeration of space-junk that had been gravitated together on purpose to form the semblance of what I imagined must some type of Goddess of Science and Technology. And I realised we were viewing the space above the planet via a video link to a telescope, it was smiling down upon the earth like the Queen of the heavens, but in reality just another damned machine.

"This is the Goddess we have long made obeisance to and we must now pray for Her succour, to rescue us in our time of dire need from the forces that would destroy us. All we have to do is follow the protocols, certain rituals of command and reply, and we will be taken to paradise, far from this earthly purgatory!"

Lilly quickly buckled us into harnesses and shouted for me to mimic her panicky movements. A computerized voice then boomed out instructions which she followed by throwing switches and pulling levers, encouraging me to follow suit, pushing buttons in time to a count-down of numbers that was echoing throughout the chamber. Our entwined cables linked to the consoles flashed and flickered as if our implanted chips were following the pattern of the fireworks exploding on the screens around us. On one screen I saw the scaffolding supporting the silver tower fall away, the Cyborg on the walkway catapulted into the tower and smashed to bits like an old-time car in a head-on crash as flames leaped up and appeared to engulf the whole structure in which we sat.

The silver tower in whose nose-cone we rode lifted majestically from the ground amid storms of smoke and fire and launched itself into the heavens, a spaceship of the ancients claimed my reference chip, and up on the wall-screen I watched the face of the Goddess smile cryptically as we flew towards Her, the mouth growing ever larger, eventually we were to be swallowed whole for what future adventures I dared not dream.

If you enjoyed this story please go to the WEB address above and consider buying my book of tales about growing up anarcho-queer, rock and roll punter and mystic adventurer in Australia and India of the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s.