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"An Urbane Savage"


Fiction: "You won't get anywhere in New York painting burning banks, Andy." Jackson was barely listening, as his former dealer, Mihai, prattled on. "Have you noticed the splash that Parker, Artie and Brad are making? Do something like them. Start a collective." "They're all rich and unhappy. They've all moved away. The rents in Bushwick are too damn high, and all the artists are desperate. The ones who make it in the specu-llector rings and rackets get sick of the fawning ex-student-(now)debtor-artist sycophants and crowing internationals and cut and run." Andy was focused on Mihai's tee shirt, which read "BAZOOKA" in the typeface of the bubble gum. "Anyway, the Novads think my shit is cool, and that's good enough for me." Mihai gave him a bored, resigned look. "Good luck getting Jerry Saltz to review your next show, or better yet, poop on your new work." "So what - Jerry only hates who he steals from." Andy walked out of the dingy gallery into the dingier LES street, took a breath of foul air and sighed. He caught the L and got off at the Morgan stop for a Swallow coffee and a felafel on Bogart, and to check out the openings at 56. He spotted a couple of artsy people he knew and mostly managed to avoid them. Mark Tribe was showing at Momenta, weird hyperreal animated landscapes. Studio 10 had a sound and graphic array by Stephan Moore. Gorzo was on at SLAG. All of it was fine and friendly, even fun. He still left feeling perturbed. On his way out, Agostino couldn't cheer him up - not for lack of trying - which made Jackson close to morose. The long walk down Flushing in the cold Bushwick winter night added to his ennui. It's now or never, he thought, over and over, like a mantra.  

Dodging whirring e-cars had a whittling effect on his concentration levels. Add some biopathic marketing push modules, some blasts of cloudy dopamite from the dispensers on the filament-lit sidewalks, catcalls from the sex workers prowling the neighborhood during the art crawl, the incessant noise cycles emanating from his wristputer and pocketpad and implant, and Andy was a jittery dude by the time he made it to his 4th floor loft-studio. The domi stockpiled a rig reminiscent of the one in Pi, with a dense array of bleeping terminals, RZ-4 wires and peripherals galore, all pulsating in the modulated lighting schematic he'd had designed to enhance his productivity. Sense-saturation and enviro-immersion, he'd told the landlord-corp. That's what I need. I'm an artist, and I have to be submerged. As a Class 5 operator, he enjoyed the benefits of his station, which included a plethora of incidentals, including spatial control and semi-determinant status. The attached studio came with a holotank and a dimensional output printer set, supplemented by the latest thought conductor app. You can imagine how unhappy he made management by wasting a good third of his transmission window painting burning banks on poly plasti-sheets of documatter. 

He punched the kitchipad code for buttery synth-popcorn and a beaker of well-juice spiked with exaspimite and settled in for a session of dispersion. Andy's last metered thought was, I wonder when Rachel's getting back from OAS. He punched the blue blinking button on the main console and jacked in to the sounds of bagpipes. What happened next altered his trajectory forever. In his mind's ear he heard, The challengee has no option when negotiation has ceased, but to accept the challenge. The visi-screen erupted in blooming rays of spectral color and the sensation of total displacement washed through him in waveform, erasing density and volume and the binding of matter. Instantaneously he comprehended the 4D numerologic matrix. The power surge very nearly destroyed his synapsis. It's a miracle his spine didn't snap. Fortunately, Andy had taken up e-yoga, at Rachel's insistence, so when he arched his back into an ersatz eta shape, his breath pattern saved him. Andy would share later that the one image he remembers from the experience was a white lotus plant. The flower seemed to undulate. It made no difference to him in that auspicious nanosecond that the whole thing was virtual in nature, whatever that means anymore.

He came-to to Rachel wiping sweat from his forehead with a cold damp cloth, whispering encouraging indecipherable words that comforted him nonetheless. His breath was hissing through his drawn lips and clenched teeth. Andy's fists unfurled, and he reached for her, half-turning his body toward hers, and Rachel cradled him, gently. The two lovers stayed like that for a while. Gradually he returned to a semblance of awareness, his consciousness locating itself again in his flesh body, and the process was like a cup filling with water. Rachel intuitively understood what to do. Every so often he would peer into her eyes, and she knew to hold his gaze, stroking his palms or hair or cheeks, patting his shoulder, kissing his forehead. He began to notice his surroundings. The rig was thrashed. Smoke and sparks periodically spouted from the components. The receiver emitted a stream of bizarre commands. ...EAT PROGRAM... ...SHUTTING DOWN BALLOON... ...LAUNCH MOIST... All the monitors were locked into a bright and cheerful animation sequence that seamlessly bounced from one to the next. It reminded him of the early screensavers he had seen at the Digital Museum. The patterns were massively complex and the gradients set to impossible resolution. The animation was he realized a projection of triadic shifting quasitron-PoV eyebeamers performing consistency analysis on a stupendously huge, maybe limitless, faceted and/or all-directional datafield, or something like that. He was positive nothing like that existed outside a couple of theoretical laboratories. Andy tried to rise to a seated position, but the effort exhausted him. Confused, he closed his eyes again and slept. 


The interstices resembled a dream, but in point of fact, Andy spent the next several hours transiting a dimensional wireframe, a manifold grid of infinite variation, more or less map-able or quantifiable in a dimensional system only. Obviously, any attempt to represent the structure in which his consciousness traveled is insufficient in this 1-2-/3D languistix. [See attached appendix (200-120-20039x)] Early analysis through DX4x8x16 Protocols revealed that Jackson's virtual corpus underwent a complete end-to-end reboot. Coming back online, somehow the drivers autonomously reconfigured his mainline warez to the extent our sensor array no longer recognizes any of his inner, outer or classified profiles, and all that data has been lost, and we believe is unrecoverable. One weird thing about that: the data loss occurred on all files anywhere they were stored, regardless of interconnectivity among the nodes in question. We have not encountered a similar instance previously. Jackson's new wireframe is unique, in our estimation. We continue to search for explanations for the anomalous phenomena contained in this case. We have many concerns and questions that have not been satisfactorily resolved. We may have a Snowflake on our hands. If true, all our predictive models do not apply. It has been posited that an incremental program of reconstitution might over time restore the original settings of the subject, but we have no reference that supports that approach or qualifies that as an expectable outcome. Most of the staff advocate observation, with ready intervention measures in place. We have to be prepared for any sign of contagion. Module 3x-FF has already been alerted and is enacted.***

***[Off-COM transmission 3902384056027802 beg10:28:38]: Jaron, you have to check out this guy's numbers!!!! INSANE!!! Never saw diagnostix like his; doesn't even read *HUMAN*.... Only other case I ever heard of as crazy as AJ's is that so-called "DIM TIM" episode, but that was like 100 years ago. Think there's any connection? Call into  Agency Nanø to run algo on the subj-scans to do wideframe comparative. Will get back to you, if anything surfaces... NUTS@@ [Off-COM transmission 3902384056027802 end10:28:40]***


Andy and Philrod Newton sat and sipped their coffees on the bench in front of OSLO staring at the children playing in the schoolyard across Roebling. 

AJ: Man, this dream was unlike anything. I floated in a medium that reminded me of the Myriad. The colors and forms were out of this world. Pyrotechnic oranges and the richest, deepest lavendars. When I would look at my hands, they shimmered luminescent blue. Giant cotton bolls floated past. I remember a gigantic obelisk. At some point I had a long blade. Whichever direction I pointed it, we would fly as fast as light through the ether that way. At another point, I had a flintlock pistol. When I pulled the trigger, the ball stayed in place, and I flew backward through space. Eventually, I found a path, through fields, into meadows, and there were houses and shadow people, a spring, and here and there I noticed markers. I realized I was crossing a topology that was its own map, essentially, which changed constantly. An enormous semi-transparent head, like a Roman bust, materialized, and when he spoke I began to weep and couldn't stop until he finished. I wish I recalled what he said: something about the Spirit and the mechanics. I don't know what language he used, but I received all the information perfectly, no lossy effects. I've never experienced such profundity, and I did not want it to be over. Toward the end, in spite of my resistance to a conclusion, I encountered two guides, a wolf and a bird. One spoke in my right ear, the other my left, alternating verses. 

PN: Sounds like you're lucky you woke up at all.

AJ: Thank God for Rachel. She never left my side. She drew an ice bath for me. It probably saved my life. She knew not to call the Rx-medix. 

PN: Can you think of anything the Big Head said, at all?

AJ: He was talking about Freedom. He was telling me I was forever free. The part that made me cry was that he was assuring me I always had been. 

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