Are these the ‘golden ones’? Abraham wonders. Surely not, but then, what should he expect? He doesn’t know, that’s the simple answer to that. He has no points of reference or memory that can answer the half formulated questions now crowding his brain.
Without noticing, Aladdin Sane is standing by his side. He can smell him. This is another new experience. All Units smell the same or this is the first time he has become conscious of a Unit smelling different to himself. What does it mean? How can he describe it?
“You are no different to us,” he hears him say. Then, sweet, he thinks like the vanilla fragrance in a custard dessert, that’s it.
“Each of us was raised through the life stages; WombHome, Init, FormU and ReAs,” Aladdin Sane explains, “and each of us, like you, found a chink that sparked a question.”
Abraham listens, struggling to comprehend what was being said, that there were others, like himself, who ask questions. How can this be? Are there no QuantumBot controls? Surely, they’ve been detected by psychImp, their collective difference causing disturbance in the GrUnCo?
Aladdin Sane was examining him, intently. Abraham could sense the depth of his gaze, with those green eyes, as though he was looking and could see, deep inside him.
“Questions beget more questions,” Aladdin Sane tells him, increasing his alarm, as though this odd, green eyed Unit was accessing his InfoTab and could read, even control, his psychImps.
“This entire chamber,” Sane explains, encompassing the entire space with a sweeping gesture, “is lined with graphene, the same ‘alien’ substance you recovered from the Crater of Density and used to avoid ReAs. Nothing said or thought in this space is recorded by PsychImp or causes any disturbance in the GrUnCo.”
“You, on the other hand, have raised alarms,” he says, “the next ReAs is less than one moon away. While you work in the Crater, your PsychImps have been beyond detection. Unfortunately, this has not been so from the CraterProx dwelling.”
Abraham’s fear was palpable, there was a sour taste in his mouth. It was dry. His skin excretes. Aladdin Sane continues, “there is no cause for alarm. The don’t do alarm but steps will be taken to test you, at the next ReAs and you must be prepared.”
“P-p-prepared?”, Abraham blurts, conscious now that Sane hasn’t answered his original question, about the ‘adventure’ he spoke of. What is this ‘adventure’? How was he a threat to it? And what was its intention?
Aladdin Sane is smiling at him now, shaking his head, gently, side to side. Abraham closes his eyes and opens them, focussing on the green eyed Unit, thinking for a split second the fragrant Sane lacked clarity, as though, well, he wasn’t sure but there was something. Maybe it’s just the fabric he wears, he thinks, that fluid, shifting pattern and colours. Now Sane speaks, again.
“There will be time to address and answer your questions but now, you must trust us,” he says, “you will be re-born, like new from WombHome, through InIt and FormU, so that, when you present for ReAs, you will go through with it.”
Abraham doesn’t like what he’s hearing. They want him to ReAssemble? Is that what they’re asking? But why? Is this some trick, a ploy by QuantumBot to engineer his re-assimilation, without question or dissent? He looks around for an exit route.
Once more, Sane anticipates his apprehension. “When we found our question,” that same sweeping gesture to indicate his companions, who, for all this time have sat in their semi-circle, observing their exchange, without comment or interference, “we discovered we were, well, different, for want of a better word. Each of us has a genetic distinction, a mutation from the UnitNorm, that puts us outside QuantumBot’s parameters of manipulation or control. We exist but they are not aware of our existence.”
This is way beyond my ability to understand, Abraham is thinking. They exist but they don’t exist because they are somehow, different. That’s what he’s saying but what does it mean?
His own existence has never been something he has considered. Or questioned. Every Unit is a Unit and every Unit has a function. Become a Unit, perform your function; that was InIt and FormU. Now he was being asked to return to that same treadmill from which, since he first encountered the Starman’s Tabernacle in the Crater of Density, he has already stepped so far from UnitNorm as to feel, alien. Why? he tried to figure and what would become of him, then?
“Rebirth,” Aladdin Sane’s silky voice, again, at his elbow, undetected, whispered, “you’re unlike us, too, I should explain, since you found your own path to disassembly with a question, yes, but without the genetic distortion that hides our existence,” he explains, as Abraham, concentrating, struggles to stay with him, “this mutation is both an advantage and a disadvantage to us. We have removed ourselves from UnitNorm and the GrUnCo and can never return. You, on the other hand, although unofficially outside, can return. You can work for us, from within. Will you join our adventure?”
There it is again, Abraham’s thinking and this time, I need an answer.
But by now, the seven, the Diamond Dogs, have arisen and assembled themselves in a loose half circle around Aladdin Sane, and then, together, in a ghostly harmony, they begin to sing,
And from these tired eyes
And find our way through
Because we know exactly where we want to go too
All aboard the adventure
All aboard our adventure
TO BE CONTINUED
Copyright: B Unique Music Limited