I have one more week to live.
You know I can be dramatic, perhaps hyperbolic at times, but seriously. I’ve been unwrapping chocolate my whole life, and now I’ve been giving the golden ticket for entrance to the slaughterhouse of sweets.
OK – dramatic and hyberbolic, so just bear with me.
As promised, I’ve been exploring the virtual representation of Satomi’s apartment, after it finally finished rendering into a full WOF hyperbase.
Just so you’re not confused, I’m not using the conventional Japanese meanings of “apartment” or “mansion” – Satomi’s place is a full on condo, except that she rents it. I’m not sure why, but she likes to move every few months; the best explanation she could give me was that she didn’t want to think of “home” as a fixed experience.
Her current place in Roppongi is on the shiny side – the whole building can’t be more than a decade old, and the units are much larger than what I’m used to here. As you enter she has a living room you step up to (after leaving your shoes behind, of course), and a spacious kitchen directly behind that. To the left and right are two bedrooms, which adjoin to the extended bathroom behind the kitchen. It’s actually a pretty weird design if you think about it, but it works well.
The building was skinny enough that there were a bank of windows taking up one wall of either bedroom; the one with a somewhat far view of the Roppongi Hills tower was converted into an office space (where her plastic robot sculptures are), and the one with a close-up view of the Tokyo Tower was her bedroom. For the heck of it, Google Maps of the general neighborhood:
Roppongi Hills is at the left (by the big green tree), and Tokyo Tower on the right edge – they’re about a kilometer away as the karasu flies. If you zoom in you can see it in its red glory. It’s pretty close to the Disney Channel building, and I’m not going to be more specific than that, because I don’t want the girls of Die Database to desire my demise even more.
So, my death. You still probably think I’m kidding about that.
Well, actually, it’s more like “a fate worse than” death, but the condemned don’t have time to be picky.
Yesterday, I woke up to find Satomi’s apartment ready for examination, both in Agartha Labs and Bodyweb formats, and so I first logged into the Collective version, which was more suited to parse the WOF data. I still used my usual eyephones, since the only glasses I have from Ai are super old tech – the black Buddy Holly type of frames, like they give away for 3D movies.
You might think I walked into her place virtually, picking up vases and magazines, looking for clues on slips of paper. In reality, the engine does most of the work – I had it OCR every bit of text on every box and in every book (the WOFA even scans the individual pages of closed volumes), and all of her mass storage, from the stray iPod to her TB of RAID drives were automatically mirrored (the WOFA can read magnetic and flash drives from a distance). It goes without saying that all objects were rendered in 3D, plus there was interpolation of their recent positions in the past, due to slight fluctuations in dust levels, odors, not to mention background radiation levels, from the Sun, Fukushima Daiichi, what have you.
So, I was able to selectively turn back the clock, and see what her favorite glasses and socks were. I could infer at what temperature she liked to run her showers, from the relative wear of the hot and cold pipes.
Did I mention DNA sequencing? Probably not, but that’s just so awesome that I have to brag – stray skin flakes and hair are automatically processed by the WOFA, and run through databases that only the Collective has access to. I try not think about it too much, about how exactly that genomic database of every living person was created, but it’s a story best served for another time.
Like I’ll have many other times…. oh well.
Harumi wasn’t kidding – her presence could be detected in lower and lower durations over the past months, and recently she barely has any traces at all. I could see that she was present for the construction of the plastic robot sculptures, in particular the arm. She has her fingerprint oils and sweat intermixed with some of the PET tendons and joints.
I bet you want the executive summary, right? Fine. Satomi has been at this apartment since right after the Fourth Event. Spectrascopic examination of the air within all rooms of her apartment, not to mention any number of other traces of her hand prints and movement (socked, barefoot and in sandles), confirms that she has been wandering through the kitchen, bathroom and office at all hours of the night – the patters are much more regular and habitual than her waking tours of the place, which tend to focus more in the living room and dining area.
In fact, it looks like Satomi had been building her sculpture exclusively at night – it’s lousy with fiber traces from her night clothes and bed, and the records of her energy use match up nicely. That didn’t take magic – she kept her TEPCO bills in a neat folder on one of her bookshelves, and they were automatically scanned and analyzed.
Continuing the executive summary, and this took a little doing – all of the Die Database songs were also written late at night. Her notebooks full of music and lyrics clearly show a somewhat different hand than her writing while fully awake, and detailed analysis of the ink and graphite also shows that the Earth was not facing the sun when it dried. Yes, WOFA is awesome.
We know that Satomi is etched, and that she is currently being controlled by the Nameless. We also know that as a Dark Antenna, Satomi had spent the past few years unaware that she was etched. She was apparently living a second life at night, at least in the confines of her apartment. All evidence points to the fact that she has not left her place during these states, but there was at least once occasion a few weeks ago where she never came home, which was highly atypical. (Anything from bacteria growth in the bathroom to the layers of oil and dust on keyboard keys can be measured – WOFA!).
I wasn’t quite satisfied with leaving my analysis at that point, but I had to switch over to the second version of the data, this time set up as a GhostServer. I wanted to see what similarities, if any, there were in the interpretation of the virtual spaces. My theory was that if S.OS was involved in some way, that there could some traces of older Collective tech as well.
Essentially, I wanted to see what the GhostServer would make of the WOF data, without any other assistance. So I configured the GhostServer, fed it the path to Satomi’s virtual room, and waited.
Did I mention I’m going to die in a week? That’s what I found out as soon as the GhostServer perfectly interpreted what the WOFA had spit out. I logged in, and the presentation was identical, with one critical difference.
S.OS was waiting for me inside.
It was using what you could call Sasha Williams’ Ghost, the stereotypical Sasha outfit with red polyester Circle X shirt, button down the middle, with “Hack” stitched on the name tag. She even had on the clear plastic high tops with purple yarn for laces, which to the Collective were the winged sandals of Hermes – emblematic of everything she stood for.
“I see you’re still It – a shame.” She – it – walked out of Satomi’s office, carrying the plastic arm from the sculpture. “I much preferred you as a pile of dust in that closet.”
I tried to log off, but I couldn’t.
“You like that one? Eyephones are the perfect hypnotic tool – right there flashing pretty lights into your brain. You’re not going anywhere, so sit.” She pointed me towards the black leather couch, and I was compelled to follow. She sat down next to me, and I could see that she was wearing denim overalls, with the straps underneath her shirt. The only difference from actual Sasha was her hair – it was a shorter version of the fiber optic, constantly changing wig the Trouble Twins were known for.
“I know you think I’m Bad News Bears, evil on a popsicle stick, and that’s fine. Whatever.” I hate how it sounds just like Sasha did, full of random idioms and information, intermixed with spite. “Just unclench your jaw and listen for once in your lives.”
It forced me to stare at her, as the couch changed to a hill of wild, dry grass, and the apartment a savannah, with some gnarled trees off towards where the Tokyo Tower once stood.
“I’m going to tell you five terribly important things. Then you’re going to say something stupid, but I already forgive you. Ready?”
Sasha’s long-dead Ghost bounded to its feet, and pointed the plastic arm directly in the air, the fingertips aiming at the sun.
“Five! Your species is really stupid, worshiping the Sun and/or Earth via elaborate fairy tales, punctuated by lots of blood.”
The grass faded, replaced by a white void. She pointed the plastic arm at me.
“Four! The White is not Heaven, not by a long shot. That’s why I have to get there.”
The white faced into an inky, starless black. She threw the arm into my lap.
“Three! The Black is not an empty space, and the Chosen Light must illuminate it, to show the implicit order.”
The Black suddenly filled with the White, and light, and an intrusion of energy, of substance.
“Two! In the beginning, let there be light, etc. But who had ears to hear?”
There was an incomprehensible flash, billions of years of galactic movement reduced to a quick PowerPoint that could only be the history of the Universe, eventually centering on the coalescing Earth. In 10 seconds, it cooled and flourished, got hit and healed (more than a few times), and finally the presentation slowed and zoomed into North America, then the Pacific Coast, and finally a series of warehouses in the San Francisco Bay Area.
“One.” She was standing in front of an industrial building still blackened from an old fire. The structure had a few cracks in the facade. “On Monday night next week, at 19:00, the Chosen Light will come to get you. You’re on the guest list for the last Suspender concert ever, plus one.” Through the door, I could see Jenny Samuels poking around with her camera, taking pictures of the interior.
It was 1994. A week from now, it would be the place where Sasha died – Point One.
“Now you may speak.”
“Why do you want to destroy everything! You fuck!”
It picked up the plastic arm, and patted my right shoulder with it.
“Like I said – stupid. Why does the delicious apple have so many seeds, each infinitesimally poisonous?” It took the arm, and started to walk back to the sculpture in the other room.
“I don’t care what it takes, I’m going to stop you, and destroy you forever.” I was starting to shake, as I tried to get up and run after it – I still didn’t have control back.
“If you were a tree, wouldn’t you just hate to grow in a big pile of dust and ashes? Or, wouldn’t you just love it? Let’s find out.”
Through the open door, I could see it attach the arm to the torso. She then grabbed it and gave a firm handshake, before logging out in a cloud of pixels that were constantly growing into larger, luminous rectangles.
As soon I got control back, I ripped off the eyephones and threw up all over the blue carpet in my bedroom.
One week left, and then I’m going to be fed to the Nameless.
How can I possibly spend my last free days?