“Technology proceeds by technique. In business, medicine, entertainment and so on, technologies are set in motion through the improvement of order and economic calculation and by the effort of advancing technique.” — Valerie Gaspari, Decree and Petition
The blot thickened. As the black letter was raised up to the light the invisible ink read like a key to the attic. The Cipher Agent utilised a predictive reasoning originally developed in the 1950s by the Italian mafia. She had been assigned the gruesome task of investigating the historiography of the decomposing bodies which littered the cult’s compound. But first they would have to be re-located.
“How you settling in? Everything okay?”
When the psychotherapist asked Nas what his favourite Reality TV shows were his mind went blank: white noise.
Intelligence acquired by the Cipher Agent had secured all points of origin and had them surrounded. There was nothing to it. Stealing their auras was touristic and banal. Words were unnecessary.
As the caravan moved across the desert of imaginary time, N viewed the limits of spatial and geographical concepts as customary trade measures. Even the functional and surviving body was an arbitrary mental concept of work or pleasure. The integrated and self-serving mind was just that: a concern attached to the imposition of past concepts, one that would eventually be superseded by different formulations of the zones of the terrain.
In love or sleeping under the stars, yes, oh, yes, in coconut, in cappuccino froth, in the emptiness of everywhere, in satsumas, the colour of water, in the crates and the cathedral, in the sealing wax, in all parts of the pricing system, in the chaos of digital impact, in New York in a state of emergency, non-stop from September to September, yes, in the ideology of technology, in a tin foil hat, imagine saying, “quantity equals quality”.
“Zombie gets what zombie wants.”
Protest had been aestheticised, processed, synthesised, simulated and rendered as white noise.
Mental forms floundered on a Formica kitchen top, crossbreeding and feeding on improvised placenta and cabbage patch dolls. Without a heart they were vain and crude reflections tied to contracts. As above, their objectives would not go un-tortured. They would be left to commit ego-logical suicide.
There could be no dark night without a soul.
The Cipher Agent hovered over the artificial lake in Scandinavia which had been manufactured by the cult and named “Lake Slain” after a keyword in their jargon referring to a myth about those who would be slain by their own sword without Gambit to save them.
The mask of death had slipped off, leaving a trail of disease in its wake. But like all modern business Maya had a transparency not readable by machine intelligence.
Paradise was beckoning seductively. Paradise had no precedent.
There would be those who understood without question. There would be those who could see past the blinds now or then or only decades later. Ethics or morals didn’t come into it. Everything was up for grabs: signs, powders, crosses, magnifiers, index cards, instruments of blackmail, deception and betrayal. Love and music had been turned into gross materials to be consumed, regurgitated, deconstructed or discarded to pass industrial time. But the blinds were drawn for those with eyes.
The Cipher Agent was not to be confused with the Assassin, although one could be forgiven for thinking they were one and the same as they often wore similar disguises. Ultimate patience was a quality of the former but not the latter. A breaking point had been reached.
On the night of the Sabbath the decisive act would be inevitable.
Information had been made into a commodity, which was the same as sectarian violence. But a gift to the insurgents. Business had been an outmoded practice since at least the advent of the Information Age, whether good or bad. Those who regarded births and deaths as business as usual had in turn placed a price on their own.
Those who denied others their desires and expected them to compensate for it would be pissed on from a great height and ultimately thrown in the trash. When bio-psi-warfare was the norm, births, deaths and desires were negligible.
Gambit was a self-development pyramid scheme run by a Englishman known only by the initials, JAB, a vehicle for an entity from outer space. A quarter of a million members in various countries had been offered courses in “greater self-will for the greater good”. Wannabe playboys and girls, select VIPs, D-list celebs and keyboard warriors were promised vast revenue data streams and a supply of sex partners multiplied via ever-increasing software investments. They were roped in with promises of untold material wealth and sexual gratification in the here and now, eternal life in the hereafter and doomsday for everyone else.
It appeared the cult had slain some of their number as a publicity stunt to garner new investors and in the hope of appeasing the entity.
Covering the site by the lake was a garland of plastic flowers sprayed with a synthetic alpine aroma.
Tanigawa always fought his duels with cruelty and kindness. A message was sent to his mind which he felt might take away his strength, but no, whoever it was from, he felt them caress his soul, giving him strength.
“Your mind is like a bubbling brook or a soft sea full of fishes. A surprise. A blooming tree.”
He felt content. His smile was soft and smooth like satin.
“We can’t have you and you can’t have us but that doesn’t stop us from wanting each other.”
His characteristically clean leather shoes were sincere and so serene. He was content and could feel serenity filling his brain.
“Are you always so content?”
From the voice heard in him he knew the answer was yes. It seemed so silly to say it, but it was true. He was serene.
Sincerely, he sharpened the carving knife.
The Cipher Agent was a data carrier and an information destructor, an imparter of code and a concealer of code. An intelligence quotient had been added for the purpose of enhancing her decipherment faculties, but the agent was already overqualified for the job.
Prior to the assignment she had left a note as to her background, but it had got burned to smithereens during the removal of the logos. It read something like:
“I was still the same person. There was bad blood in my veins. I engaged in sex as a competitive sport. Yes, I wore bizarre costumes, took pills and yes, I got abused. But at least my body worked. It was a strange monster. The discourse of the body of my work continued apace in opposition to the scourges of the ignorance of sleep and anaesthetic bondage. I liked telling stories because at one time I believed in the science of self-authoring. Now I believe in the cipher and its decipherment. I believed in personal dreams and the unconscious as tools for uncovering the quirky and weird imaginings of political prudery and moralistic fantasy. These were some of the ways in which I was led to train in decipherment. All I ever wanted was to partake of mischief and mystery. It is that which ultimately drew me to deciphering. For by mischief and mystery will surrender to the movement be won, Eros: by datasexual supernature.”
An animated and frictionless self-tracking took over, propelled by the language of coupons. It was as if neutrality was a good thing.
The Assassin had been incubated in the laboratory and emerged a fully-fledged manufactured product of interlocking panic and oppression, a single eye aimed through the telescopic rifle of the passing of imaginary time, a clear window into a soulless and deranged society.
The Cipher Agent had the mission of unlocking all the jargon, the account keeping, the personal histories and strange mythical narratives which constituted the cognitive-dissonant evolution of the cult of Gambit. The easiest probability was found in newspaper culpability. Ockham’s Razor. So many of the chosen words just interfered with the un-stitching. Headlines were pinned down by the phobia of fear. There was the question of the inconvenience of mortal organic forms as opposed to abstract numbers. Nature was not so much frowned upon as tolerated. But all this was untenable.
At the encampment, no-one was left in any doubt as to their status. If silence could not be silenced then it could always be forced at gunpoint.
For N, these were the rules by which he lived: his actions or inactions were orders he sent to noise to attach itself to silence. Not that N was any kind of symbolist or autograph-hunter. Quite the contrary. Symbolic thoughts or autographic actions were dead images veiling other such images and pertaining to no circumstance or behaviour other than their own.
Once airborne in a transport plane, Tanigawa started to write a poem:
“Effluvia of surplus value, effluvia of added value,
Those perfect storms that shift the sites of arrival and departure,
That enhance the properties of consolidated and present comforts,
Earmarked for later reference, and for the future prophets,
Sucked into the towers of computed surfaces away from the cross country traffic,
Syphoned off, away from the edges of the territories the enemy prizes,
This volatile substance that detracts and distracts and needles or nurtures by abstract destruction —
The belief in its material is constituent, void by nature,
Void by dint of mental concretion which is its paradox, its curse and benediction —
Its fortune is not an objective gain,
But the fortuitous is present.
Assume the position that is the failure of the physical world.
What you can’t see is what you can have,
So take it by stealth,
Assume the position and take the property of the given chance as given,
Build where there are no building sites, take from where the power brokers congregate,
Take away what they have taken and transform its properties to zero,”
Then he deleted and re-wrote it.
Curled up and bleeding in the black letter stained with industrial time’s oil, soot and smoke were hidden identities. They could be disregarded or discovered. It made little difference to the Cipher Agent. She was on the case.
The Assassin never had a reason to go running in the words. It just felt good. Victory would be in one vial of poison, a silent rifle or a deftly planted bomb. The only question of the administration was which Sabbath.
Psychological health was a Zen void.
Left outside the corporate bubble to tend to itself, the death penalty let out a mono-scream. From the pundit shelf a leaf fell from an international Bible saying that when the unnatural equals the natural, then simplicity would synchronise, and the commandments of men be exposed as false doctrine.
Intelligence acquired by the Cipher Agent had helped secure the Kool-Aid and unlock its chemical structure.
At the allotted time and place, in purple meadows where starlings flitted to and fro, amongst the pear drops and mince pie charts, what you saw there was merely the passing of industrial time, a false doctrine enforced by slave-holders to help them to track their property. No integral number could ever be attributed to a will-o-the-wisp, least of all by a man-made dogma invented to shut out invented enemies like forbidden desire.
There would be fireflies and target practice in the evening, and a tarpaulin sheet laid on the ground for the summoning of the angelic spirits. For the Assassin was the visible made invisible.
A badly drawn picture was a needless display of power dynamics, frozen and trapped in the closed window of its false doctrine. The true meaning of its surface translated into the strange idea that to lie, cheat and steal was to live and prosper.
What was a speech which could only make outworn classical allusions? Mere affectation for effect. Yet it would be with irony and affectation that the Assassin would in a blaze of glory alter the course of history. Western culture only ever understood domination by affectation anyway, so it would appreciate a good spectacle which had style, vivid colour, audacity and flair, even if a bit OTT. Champagne and raspberries and cream would be served in the interval and mountains of pure Ecstasy at the after-party where the Assassin would wear a Mask of the Red Death.
Approaching the bunker, a refurbished missile silo 200-feet underground with eight-foot thick concrete walls, was remarkably easy. Entry without detection would be a cinch.
The morbid flags of human racial profiling fluttering in the breeze were torn down, thrown into the black sun and burned to smithereens.
The doctrine of linear time had been disproved courtesy of the more theologically correct anti-narrative.
Masquerading as Poe-faced angst amongst the general populace was a forcibly induced panic and the tight grip of humdrum oppression which were far worse. The watchers who thought it business as usual to have their blood drained by bloodsuckers would be in for a surprise. At the court of Versailles all the gossipmongers would finally have something they could have a proper moan about.
Both during his fevered yet dispassionate encounter with Z when the names had been removed and during the removal of the logos, N had noted each time that his synapses got re-wired. A sweet laceration or stigmata had formed. Coordinated by military-industrial means an ephemeral nothingness spoke of, well, speech. Speech was the re-ordering of military-industrial attribution, but in the laboratory, N had de-weaponised the apparatus of speech by breaking it into tiny pieces with some blood-stained machinery taken from the wound.
If the workings of an appliance such as a washing machine, for example, could be described, then it was no more or less so than with invisible things like electricity, wind or voices. Obviously, such things could be measured and made visible on graphs or suchlike, but they would be but marks in the invisible sands of time.
We have already seen in the previous episode how N was installed in the laboratory as a willing victim, and how he was made to divest the idols of their false names (for one could only worship or defile idols by naming their names), but we will in time see the way in which N turned himself into an idol, true or false, yet most definitely fictional not factual.
In the meantime, we occupied ourselves with further ministrations of this pseudo-history in order to apprehend its contextual scaffolding by partaking of a few, short, pithy sayings and some lurid anecdotes. Thereby our knowledge was enriched a thousand-fold as our appreciation of the subject was transformed into a crystalline specimen and back into an amorphous shadow for peer-review.
The Cipher Agent removed the brainwashed corpses to their point of origin. Her aim was to observe them more closely in their natural habitat. Concomitantly, this would help bring about the requisite conditions for the Assassin to eliminate the target: JAB. Over long distances, striding across the land with draconian measures, the Agent dragged ghosts, as knives swivelled in the air, cutting the bindings loose from the target’s protection racket.
“I’ll send a flare.”
The unnameable corpses screamed in hollow mono-screams. Wrenched from the compound by Lake Slain they were carried on a sledge over the speed bumps. They opened their eyes, zombified. Their eyes had spiralled back to life out of the cosmos, eyes blind with fury but without deadly fire.
The fake names all stood up aghast, dropping their pots and pans, spoons and other utensils. A baby name slid out of its swaddling and on to the road. An SUV swerved, went over a speed bump and drove over the infant, smashed into a barn door and exploded in flames. The driver was a reindeer hunter who’d drunk too much mead. Against the night sky, the farm fell.
The Cipher Agent had dismantled the lies of the dogma that bound its victims. The de-programmed ghosts were uprooted from one small valley and crossing the land to the shoreline they pressed up against the crashing waves as if begging to be engulfed and entwined in aqua-life forever. Passions knew passion and grasped it to their bosoms.
The Assassin’s drone took flight, zeroing in through the underground bunker door, through the curtains and mirrors, through a jar of foetuses, crashing into appliances and the water supply, knocking over the vases and flowers. A series of serendipitous glitches took hold. Once inside the bunker the viewfinder had mysteriously failed but in revelatory characters the pinpoints flashed up on the panel in bright pink.
Neither theoretical nor practical, the target was just a blot in the copybook. It had nothing useful to add, was momentarily tortured then drained of life and left to rot by the magnetic filing cabinet.
There would be those who would read the blinds this afternoon or years later. But for now, the blinds were drawn.
N had assumed that by describing to the therapist the sensations of wave forms his rational mind would become less deluded. But irrational thought ran deep enough for him to know that it would find no correlation with the rational. And so it came to pass that formal words such as hello or goodbye offered everything to strive for and every possible joy to play with.
It was on such a note that N found himself returning to the laboratory with a spring in his step, safe in the knowledge he was now without. Knowledge in any case had only ever been a demonic reflection of the illusion of industrial time.