Tuesday, 27 May 2014

S.A.L - X // Rammstein - Engel

"So tell me, what are we doing again?"

Mel turned to Paul in despair. "As I've said, I think - uh - quite a few times already, we're searching for a girl formeme."

"But why would she be here?"

She wondered whether to even gratify such a stupid question with a response then remembered that he worked in admin. Of course he was an imbecile. She should pity him.

"Look!" She shot a glare at him. Paul dropped the craft-tracker. "You're going to break it!"

"That's because you aren't grasping the gravity of the situation-"

"-I do grasp it. I'm just not that interested by it."

"Weren't you listening in the briefing?" She picked up the device. It was indicating to head down the left track towards the woods and marshland. They followed unsteadily. "Kragg, you know him?"

"Sure. The hit man."

"He's not a - he - he deals with formemes after their data has been archived."

"Yeah with a lethal injection."

"Well, yeah, that's just it shit for brains. This one escaped. With her original chip, and Kragg was in on it."


"It's true. I asked Kragg for the memechip. It was meant for artificial craft fabrication. It was ground-breaking stuff. And that's the one that happened to 'go missing'. Seems like a big coincidence."

"Maybe, but then how did she escape?"

"Oh I don't know. He claims that he delivered the injection just like he was ordered."

"What did he do when Mr Francis interrogated him?"

"Apparently Mr Francis showed him the list of post-download bodies, but Kragg claimed that it was an administrative error."

"Now he's disappeared."

"You want my opinion? He helped her get away. Maybe she gave him a sob story. I dunno."

"He's going to get wiped when they find him."

Something in the way he said this subdued her. She frowned. "I hope not. I like Kragg. We were good friends once."

Then they were both quiet. They had driven over a hundred miles South of HQ. Now they stood at the edge of woodland. The path was getting stony.

"Well I have to admit, you wouldn't come to a place like this unless you had something to hide."

Mel turned and nodded in agreement. Then swallowed. "Do you have a good torch?"

Monday, 26 May 2014

Some Angels Live - VIIII //Antonin Dvorak -- Piano Quintet No. 2

She spent a long time deliberating whether to start a fire. If there were bandits around they'd spot her; but without the fire she'd freeze. Yet however much she embraced the cold, she couldn't ignore her dead numb hands and feet. Besides, warm fingers grip daggers close. Warmth could be a weapon too. She lit the kindling and banished her misgivings but remained vigilant to a point of rigidness. For the next hour she sat frozen, raised shoulders glued to earlobes.


The voice came from nowhere. An arrow of fear shook her. They'd found her. Lumatel was here. In the woods. The fire was in full blaze. Who said that? Did she imagine it? She peered around with narrowed eyes. Nothing. Just shadows and branches. But wait. That silver mist. Over between the track and the line of trees. She'd put it down to tricks of the light. She'd been too exhausted to examine it further. It wasn't just smoke. Something was illuminated. She stood up suddenly, aware it was too late to run. Part of her wanted to leap forwards. Chase it off. Icy fear extinguished that desire. Cursing herself for not braving the weather, she paced with uncertainty towards the strange light.

"Hello?" Silence. She now stood in a glowing cloud. Another camp? She'd have noticed it before; heard the crackling of burning wood. Besides, this didn't look like flames. It was more like yellow air. "I won't hurt you if you tell me who you are." The yellow cloud was turning into something. In terror and amazement she watched as the chaotic haze began to take shape.

"You can't hurt me."

It was a human. A winged human. Made of silvery yellow air. As the strange being approached she made out legs, arms, long hair and curves that could only belong to a woman. The angel was a woman. Kosmanarshi gaped. She knew she should say something but no words came out.


"You're mighty quick-brained for a survivor."


"You aren't safe here."

"You're an angel aren't you?"

"It would seem so. Why haven't you used the cloud rock yet?"

"...I didn't believe him. When he told me about you.."

"You've got to do it now before the agents come."

Mention of agents snapped her back into the present. "Wh - what's your name? Where do you come from - "

" -Somewhere else, I've been in angel form for many centuries." she fired back. "My name's Eldna, but we don't have time for this Kosmanarshi."

"How do you know my na -"

"You are a forememe. One of the few remaining with an original chip. I spotted your torus from far off. That's how I know you. Protect yourself. Take the cloud rock and use it. I will help you."

Kosmanarshi was dumbfounded. She realised to her shame she'd forgotten about the gift Rogan had given her. That funny-looking stone. It was nestled at the bottom of her bag. She hadn't taken on board what he'd said. Go somewhere secluded. Let the lumadata float away.

"How long will it take?"

"Not long but already we waste time."

"Will it come back? My lumadata?"

"Yes. Almost certainly. But you must do it now."

For a moment Eldna and Kosmanarshi stared at each other. One in impatient urgency and the other in wonder and awe.

"Please." said Eldna emphatically.

Kosmanarshi obeyed.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

S.A.L - VIII --- [Duke Ellington - Take the A- Train]

Mel sat in her office clicking the end of a ball point pen. It was two days since the strange conversation with Kragg. She weighed it up. He was a friend and she was prepared to let minor faults pass, but Mr Francis would call into her office later. He'd smell a rat. She could play innocent, but she was curious about this mysterious creature Greta Kosman. Maybe the disposal unit would know. They dealt with bodies after all. She put down her pen.

Her arrival took the pathologists by surprise. They tended to be introverted at the best of times, and didn't like her sudden appearance at the morgue.

"Mel isn't it?"


"What can I do you for?" He was still holding the scalpel like instrument above a greenish cadaver. There's never a good moment to interrupt a pathologist.

"It's regarding a female that passed through here about three weeks ago."

"U-huh." He placed the scalpel in a tray and began to laboriously remove the soiled gloves. "You were hoping to, er, see the body? I'm afraid you're about two weeks too late."

"No please don't stop because of me. I just wondered if you kept a file of names."

He wiped his brow and gave a forced smile. "Well I'm about ready for a little break anyhow. Sorry, I'm Petr. Nice to meet you. I'd shake your hand but I'd better, um."

He waved bloody greyish fingertips at her.

"Wash your hands. Yeah. No problem."

"Can I ask why you want to see this?"

"Oh, a newbie started on the archives. You know how it is. He got the right name-tag but the wrong date. Some of the chips got mixed up."

"So you're hoping to match the body with the chip."

"If it's not too much trouble. Just to get the date and time of the operation."

"Okay, well. You'll need my help with the list. There's two main sections. Accidental death and post-download euthanasia. Do you know which one the lady was?"

"I believe her to be post-download. That's the department I work in. Her data was - is - going to be used for artificial luma fabrication."

"A unique gene type."

"Yes her lumadata produced some, frankly startling results."

"Follow me." He pressed basement level on the elevator.

The lift opened into darkness. As her eyes adjusted Mel made out broken plastic chairs. The sort you found in tedious after-work meetings. These ones were hidden under tarpaulin to protect their dignity. But Mel knew the chewing gum was still there. Clinging to the filthy plastic underside like tiny amoebas. She dragged her gaze away from the shadows to where Petr was indicating. There was a door. Petr managed to locate the light switch. It came on mean and feeble, just enough to illuminate the brass plaque: Post-download eutha - . The remaining letters had rubbed off. She didn't need the rest to guess she'd come to the right place.

"Do you have the name of the deceased?" He gaped at her over his spectacles, evidently relishing the opportunity to delve into these rarely seen files.

"Greta Kosman. With a K."

"And the date of the euthanasia?"


"Please be as precise as you can."

"Okay let's see. The intern mixed the memechips between the 24th and the 25th." Her throat felt dry. "And we've already checked the 25th.."


"So it must be the 24th." She coughed the dryness away, where was her composure?. "Yes, the 24th of March three weeks ago."

"Excellent. Great. Bear with me a moment." He traced his fingers over the names, finally coming to 'K'. "Aaah here we are."


A baited pause.


"What do you mean?"

"The name you requested isn't there."

"It has to be."

"I'm afraid not."

"Can there be a mistake-"

"Our administrative team is highly thorough. If the body of Greta Kosman had passed through this department, it would be registered. Right here."

He showed the page to Mel, tapping at the gap where the names skipped from 'Knutson' to 'Langdon.' Already she was beginning to dislike Petr the pathologist.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

S.A.L - VII -------- Ministry//Land of rape and honey

"Don't you want my help then?"

She sighed and looked back one last time. "No you stay in your cave. I'll be fine."

He grinned. "You don't look it. What will you do if it rains?"

She turned to adjust her too large rucksack. "Find a different cave."

"I doubt you'll find a better one than mine, but good luck."

She had had to force herself not to turn back. It wasn't that she missed him as such, but after living in close quarters to someone you get used to certain things. "It's not safe anymore. Can't put him in danger. Mustn't." Her jaw was clenched in resolve. I must look scary as a Rottweiler. So why did she still feel shaky as a lamb? Two people alone wasn't much better. Was it? At least she had an entrance code now. She remembered what he had told her about the torus and the droids and the distant planet they came from. Were these weird space machines watching after her? Maybe they were aware she had stolen her mindcraft chip. Then again, they could be on her side. Maybe that was enough.

She'd hardly forgotten her urban roots, but now she dreaded discarding the cow hide cloak given to her by Rogan. It was better than the black duffel coat from before but too conspicuous, despite the wild bandits she'd seen roaming around. The duffel coat however, had long become a stove cleaning implement of Rogan's who had looked in disdain at her functionless garb. She began to regret this fact. She hugged the cloak around her against the bitter wind. Praying no-one would find her as she trudged along she strained to make out the way ahead.

Everything seemed abnormally bright and harsh, but there was a certain beauty in these barren surroundings; a haunting cacophony of ferns slowly unfurling; an interminable littering of broken bracken. To the right was a scree-ridden cliff edge. To the left a narrow stream and a steep hillside. There were no trees except for twisted blackthorns and gnarly haws. She would have to find somewhere to sleep soon. Rogan was right: she wouldn't find a better place than his.