Report from Colonized Planet Delta Four, Part 2
Day 39, Month of Hanbali, Post-Grieving-Time 209
I followed my chaperone, F-502, twisting through labyrinthine passageways. We arrived at an open area not dissimilar to the domed auditorium at Suleiman 7 in which assemblies were administered nuweekly on B. Hussein Day.
A few hupersons sat around in the large echoing space. In front, a melanin-adjusted, facially-tattooed fem sat at a control console. Beyond her was a raised table, similar in design to the ancient altars commonly seen before The Great Riddance. These had some kind of spiritual significance and were positioned so that congregants could view the officiators.
I knew from seepage, of course, that such ancient practices had been forbidden, probably by an amendment made during the annums of Blinton or Harris Fiddle, or even earlier. Over time though, such practices had returned, but the role of the priests of the old annums was now taken by guardian-level fems. Their wisdom in practicing administrative agendas had become proverbial. Few could challenge the correctness of their pravdas or their decision making.
“This is where our most important work starts. This is where our prejudices are confirmed,” announced F-502, arms waving jerkily.
“What is your most important prejudice?” I enquired, hiding my own.
“We aim to please. Those who choose hybridization are foremost in our minds and hearts. They seek to combine the qualities of hupersons, both mal and fem, with those of other higher mammals. Our research into this area of huperson evolution has proved invaluable. We move forward with unceasing rigor. Our facilities, as well as our systemic research endeavors, are foremost in The United Conglomerates, even in the entire Delta Harris Four. Not even The Middle Kingdom has bettered us in their achievements. Please watch carefully.”
As if on cue, a mal dressed in an orange suit was escorted into the space. He was supported by two warrior transfems. He did not struggle or protest in any way. When they came to the raised table, one of the attendants bent forward and spoke quietly into his ear. The mal then obediently lay down on the table, legs outstretched and arms limp by his side.
Now from the other side of stage area a shaven-headed fem came jauntily towards the table carrying a basket covered with a colorful tea towel.
F-502 spoke. “What uhhm . . . what you are about to witness is an experimental hybridizing device. We pair a mal with another mammalian species. The results can be interesting.”
“And do mals cooperate with such a procedure? I’m asking because I have learned that mals are not usually volunteers.” I tried to gauge the feelings of F-502. She gazed ahead, not taking her eyes off the slab.
From the ceiling area above the table, a mechanical device inched slowly downward, humming softly. It hovered over the prone mal, just inches away from his body. He lay still, looking upward at the underside of the device. Then the shaven-headed fem removed the tea towel from the basket and took out a small furry creature. It was a domesticated rabbit, with long floppy ears and a white fluffy tail. She placed the animal on a platform attached to the mechanical device. A plasticated cover silently lowered down over the rabbit platform. Then from the sides of the device, curtains descended over the table so that the whole scene was hidden.
F-502 nodded towards the control station. She held a small red book aloft and made movements with both arms, again as though conducting a musical performance. From my vantage point I could just discern the flickering screen in front of which sat the technician with the tattooed visage.
A loud robotic voice from a hidden speaker called out a kind of brief incantation. It intoned the following wisdom, as near as I can recall.
“We are most particular about being conscientious. Investigate the present facts and past history. Struggle against incorrect views for the sake of unity. Do not bend to the wild caprice of badthink.”
F-502 glanced towards me. Her face betrayed a fleeting look—a mixture of pride and what used to be called ‘smugness.’ I returned a carefully neutral look.
The machine hummed softly at first, and then the hum gradually turned into a louder staccato pulsing sound.
F-502 tried to hide her evident excitement. “Yes, yes, good. Now let me quote you something I have memorized through repeated practice.”
“Many things may become baggage, may become encumbrances, if we cling to them blindly and uncritically.”
On the final word her voice registered a higher pitch and volume. Clearly she found her excitement difficult to contain. Her unkempt, fake beard, known as a ‘dorsey’ in honor of a mal from Pre-Grieving Time, quivered slightly. The nose ring sparkled. The need for emotion suppression had clearly been abandoned in this department, just as had been evident in my earlier investigation at the Department of Gendering Studies.
The machine whined down and stopped. F-502 waved both hands at the technician who turned some dials on the console in front of her. The humming recommenced and slowly the metallic curtains rose followed by the plasticated cover hiding the rabbit platform.
What would be revealed? I hardly dared to look. I felt my heart beating hard.
The remains of the rabbit stretched lifeless on the small platform. Some mixture of fur and internal organs remained amid a wet puddle. The mal lay still. The ears of the rabbit appeared to have affixed themselves to his head, lying limply over his shoulders. His head had changed too. His eyes bulged, the face had elongated and fur covered much of it. The warrior transfems came forward and gazed carefully at the supine figure. They signaled up to my guide.
She signaled back and glanced at me while reciting some words, which I took to have Pre-Grieving-Time scriptural authority.
“When news is brought to zem of the birth of a mal child, zer face darkens, and zie is filled with inward grief. Zie becomes like a mad bull crashing into a ring of flames.”
The hybridized mal appeared to have survived the treatment. The transfems helped him to stand and shepherded him out of the stage area. He appeared dazed, and staggered drunkenly (which apparently happens when a huperson, mal or fem, greedily consumes certain forbidden but widely accessible beverages).
I turned to F-502 and enquired calmly, despite my inner disgust, “What will happen to the hybridized mal?”
She hesitated for a few seconds. “This procedure is still in the experimental stages. In the past, moreau treatments were prolonged and involved regular drug therapy and preparation time. On the whole, those treatments were successful, but prohibitively costly. This new experimental treatment is fast and cost efficient, but so far the results have been less than worthy of the ultimate goal. You may have noticed that the treated mal showed excellent signs of hybridization, but his usefulness for The United Conglomerates is less than appropriate. You probably noticed that he has not fully regained his prior physiological abilities.”
“Indeed,” I replied, holding back any hint of irony. “So what will happen to him?”
“He will be kept in an isolation dormitory. If he does not regain functional abilities he will have a choice to make. He can choose to be terminated, or he can be allowed to make his own way by foraging or begging.”
She paused for a short time and then added, “You may have noticed on your arrival in our community, the several mendicants at each street intersection. Those were experimental moreaus who had chosen not to be terminated. They decided to continue their existence by helping fems practice virtue. We enjoy practicing virtue here in Colonia Gloria H. Faithville. We like to say and do virtue and unremembered acts of kindness. We call it “systemic compassion and love.” These two terms we have reinstated into the guardian lexicon, even though they may be unfamiliar to guests such as you.”
She repeated the words, as though trying to memorize their full significance. “Systemic compassion and love. Virtue and unremembered acts of kindness.”
I recognized some words from the Pre-Grieving poet Dorota Wordsmerit. Her brother, I had heard, had once been a recognized mal, but research had determined that his words were worth little. The fem sister, Dorota, had been given the credit she had long been denied.
F-502 continued, “The unterminated moreaus really appreciate our actions to judge by the swiftness with which they consume the rations of kale and mushroom that we provide.”
“Can you show me your successes? I would like to observe and report back to Securitate Central.”
“Of course, you will need to be patient, though. I will have to process your documentation. You understand, of course, that documentation will be needed for admission to the . . . uhmm, . . . the guided tour of our facilities.”
I showed my identification papers. F-502 clearly was not especially interested in their authenticity. She glanced at them carelessly.
“Good. You have shown your prejudice well. Let me now show you the true successes of moreau experimentation. Please follow me. I will be your guide.”
I exited the auditorium behind her. Several passages intersected and then seemed to double back on themselves unnecessarily. The route was lit with forbidden incandescent bulbs about every fifty nufeet.
F-502 stopped and indicated a large well-lit open space to our right side.
“This is where we separate the successes from the failures. You notice the guardians occupying the scanning desks at the back wall? They perform carefully designed interviews with the newly hybridized.”
Several melanin-adjusted fems were intently scrutinizing the screens. Some were mumbling incantations, some were lightly beating their headpieces on the desks. Moreaus, mostly with rabbit features were led forward by shaven heads. A few exhibited gorilla features, including a strong musculature and great deal of brownish fur covering the exposed body parts.
The guardians appeared to ask these hybrids a series of questions, looking up from time to time into their animalized but placid features.
“You see them being processed right now,” said F-502. She added, with a tinge of pride, quoting from the small book, “We bring our ideas and actions into correspondence with the laws of the objective external world. That is our prejudice, it is what we strive for.”
I watched intently. After a few moments, each standing moreau was presented with a colored card, either blue or red.
“The blue card indicates that they will be chosen for further development work and study. The red card allows them to choose between termination and beggary. About half of the red carders choose termination.”
She added quickly, “Their remains are not wasted though. These can be used for animal feed or even mixed with chemical ingredients to create an excellent fertilizer for the plantations. And this, of course, supplements the embryo and child-termination waste sent to us from The Department of Termination.”
She paused, and then added encouragingly, “So you see, everything has its uses.”
Then she turned to face me with a look almost of triumph. “Which creature would you like to be hybridized with? You have a choice, you know.”
I had been half expecting this approach but was nevertheless inwardly shocked by the suddenness of her demand. After all, I had been permitted easy access to this facility. Why would I be given such freedom to inspect their prejudices if not for some concealed motive?
I replied quickly, “I have observed your prejudices and will make a full report to Securitate Central. Please be aware that you are replaceable.” I made my voice authoritative and waited for an answer.
F-502 did not answer immediately. Then she said, “You forget that we follow Peking-Harris protocol here. My instructions are all in here,” and she waved the red cloth-bound book again. “They state, ‘We should rid our ranks of all impotent thinking.’ That is from section 7, article 4.”
Behind my back I sensed the presence of identically dressed warrior mals, who had positioned themselves to prevent my escape. F-502 signaled to this group who corralled me towards an exit. She announced, “Choose carefully. Do you want to be consumed by the hungry ice creatures of the underground cistern, or to go through with full hybridization?”
End of Extract from Sydney Fox’s Report from Colonized Planet Delta Four.