Nobody Believes in Spacecamp
A lot of my friends have come and gone from Terra Surface, but I still hang out with K.
“Nobody believes in Space Camp.” He is saying.
We’ve had this conversation before.
“Loop theory is complicated.” My normal response.
Sometimes I think he’s just jealous, because he wasn’t qualified for Temporal Travel.
The Tunnels are an endless network of housing blocks underground, from ABlock all the way to Cell Z. The hallways are plain, bare, though every once in a while you will see a bag of garbage or a few discarded pieces of furniture or appliance outside the nondescript doorways that open into the individual living quarters rowing the corridors endlessly like the infinite iteration of buds on a fractal arm. Each living quarter inside is virtually identical, a living room which backs into a kitchen, attached or non, a master bedroom off to the left of the living room, and a bathroom. The ceilings are low and punctuated methodically with single square low-pull fluorescents that are so efficient they only have to be changed every 80 years. The fact that there are dim portions of hallway like clots in the circulatory system is a testament to how ancient or and – I wouldn’t say neglected, but rather – maintained in a blank spirit of uninspiration and barest functional upkeep – the honeycombed megaplex housing has become.
Perhaps at one point the great urb pop architects of the past had dreamed of a vibrant ecosystem like a coral reef with the myriad of branches uniquely decorated and infused with the energy of the inherent life which built up its structure, punctuated by common areas and unique details at popular junctions, but they also had deadlines and budgets – and this part of the reef was dead, and in death given up its spirit – It can be recolonized but remains lost forever, all the doors – rows and rows of them – shut and silent like tombstones.
We call it ‘the channels’, a megacomplex gone housing. We are walking from A4, near the university, to a block in A5, which K said was his Uncle’s place.
“Loop theory is complicated. Some people say we shouldn’t even try to understand it, we’re just not evolved enough yet.”
“Its a crock, is what it is. Drug induced hallucinations.”
“So what about the Guides? Like my Sensei? How do you explain them?” I ask him.
“It’s a conspiracy – Did you know that people used to believe in Geopolitics?”
“Tell me Professor.” I am saying this while chewing on a straw, trying to link fnet to get directions on my portie, and walking briskly alongside K at an urgent pace, unsure of who is keeping up with whom.
“Ya, Geopolitics, they used to think state-owned institutions were running their populations through a democracy.”
“States, you mean like NY State, and JersyTown, and TWC?” The West Coast. “But those are just names.” I felt I had to clarify: ”for places.”
“Ya, well, they had these presidents, and governors, to rule over the places, right, ”
“Wow, you really did your research on this one.” I cut in.
“And all the people that lived in the state believed that the state was making decisions for them and caring for them”
“And what were they doing, smartbot?”
“It was a crock! They weren’t doing jack shit. The people thought they were taking care of them but they were just getting rich off their heads, and cruising around low space buying up endominiums.”
“So what did the people do?”
“They sat on their – A6”
“On their what?”
“No, A6. We’re at A6. We must have made a wrong turn.”
He spins and walks swiftly in the other direction, I hurry down the hall to catch up with him.
“Im just sayin Shyguy,” he says, “People believe in crazy things.”
“Ok, first, people didn’t believe in Geopolitics. It’s Tobler’s law. ‘All things are related and all things in close proximity are closely related’ And then they had internet, and then infranet, and now efranet. Well, I wish we had efranet right now, I could get directions. So geopolitics doesn’t apply anymore. Second, A5 is that way.” I wail an arm in our general east direction.
He nearly breaks step but catches himself and continues stalking forward with the blinders on. East or West really have no bearing because the passageways in here force you to turn at right and left angles like a cursor continuously until you are only aware of forward, back and ‘facing’. He keeps walking for a minute, trying not to let me see his eyes darting around for some signs or something. He takes the next left anyways.
“I’ve been through here a jillion times” He says. “Its east talkway out of A3 then straight through A4 living environments to A5”
“What?” I say incredulously, “Straight through to A4? It’s quad-encoding, A5 would be in the upper right”
“Are you out of your gourd?” He says, “Its mod. This colony was founded in freekin 2060. They used modulus back then.”
“Well, I don’t know what they used back then, but its definitely quad now, A5 is that way,” I motion again to our left, even though we have already turned a full 180 degrees in the last two corners. We try to steer around all diverging tunnels in that general direction.
“So what do they do with the cube?” He continues, probing a new forray into argument on the subject of SpaceCamp.
“I told you, they store the cube, I’ve seen thousands of them at the skyport, and there must be millions out in lowgrav.”
“So where does your body come from, if it’s still in stasis inside the cube?”
“I don’t know, they just beam you back.”
The ‘cut from the same cube’ debate is an old one regarding aneirobic rubberization. They embed you in a cube of biofoam which is supposed to be stored for however many years until the technology of the futureguides was invented, they cut you free, and revive you. Then you live our equivalent of 14 days of your life in the extreme future, until they use some bungo-advanced technology to send you back to 14 days after you were encased. The method of return is unknown. Do they cut you out of the cube to bring you back? Or do you beam back in some temporal energy vortex and another instance of your body pops into existence out of thin air?
“So after you get back – what’s inside the cube?” He asks. “A double of your body? Or does it disappear?”
“I don’t know.” I didn’t. “Nobody ever checked. Maybe if you opened it the person would die, and cease to exist entirely, so we’d never know anyways. That’s why we dont open them. Ok, we’re definitely lost now.”
The hallways have shrunk down as we’re walking, this is cramped quarters where people are hanging their laundry in the corridors. I look around. There are cardboard dividers at intervals in the hallways where people have spilled out of their units and belongings and people lay stretched out in sleepbags in the doorways. There is a whole family, with three children sitting in bedding rolls on the dirty grey tile flooring, and we have to step over scattered cheap plastic baby toys and a makeshift baby bath. I cant remember if I have never been to this part of the channels or I just never noticed it had gotten this bad. We keep walking through the makeshift underground shanty.
A third left resumes our original course.
“I’m drawing a comparison,” K says, “between belief systems. And I’m saying it’s all a crock”
“Ok cowboy,” I say, “What do you believe in?”
“They take your blood.”
“What?” I was shocked.
“Yup, its a giant blood bank, blood is a hot commodity.”
“So they put you in the mold and drain your blood out of your body.”
“Yup, and they dope you up for two weeks, until they cut you out, tell you you’ve been to the future and send you on your way.”
“How could you survive if they sucked all the blood out of your body, Nichola Tesla?” I can’t believe I’m even playing along.
“Its a blood bank, you see? They borrow it and put it into circulation on the blood market at interest – they’re using your blood, then they just fill you back up with whatever type they’ve got on hand when they’re ready to open the mold.”
“What is this, transylvania? What do they want with your blood, sample it for Gene Seqs?”
“Nope, plasma. It’s just the liquid they’re after. To lend out at interest.”
I’m glad we’ve finally arrived at our destination because I’m all out of strategies for countering his purported theory, which has apparently just come to it’s culmination.
Inside the apartment all the power is off and the empty rooms are filled with neat stacks of boxes full of some sort of entertainment appliances.
“I thought you said this was your uncle’s place”. I hiss.
“It is,” he whispers nervously. “Grab as many boxes as you can carry, then we can go.”