Friday, December 28, 2007

2. SaDex Drip #1

18:88:88 EST WEDNESDAY 26 FEBRUARY 2059:

Cruciate stirred in a warm nest of bubblewrap. A little box beside him - the Realistic - blared in harsh, metallic tones:

- Nutritech’s Dietary Strategy for the World –

The Realistic blinked stupidly. Involuntarily, Cruciate checked the time, forgetting again that its LCD was snagged on 18:88:88. He had found the clock-radio in an aggregation of fusty rubbish in the corner and used it to receive AM transmissions from the expanse of videoboard outside his window, despite his tendency to be fooled by its dead clock function.

- Restoring the Consumer’s Right to Choose -

Above a thin white weasel nose, Cruciate’s bluish eyelids closed and he was asleep.

- And an End to the Tyranny of Undifferentiated Fungal Protein....

18.88.88 EST WEDNESDAY 26 FEBRUARY 2059:

- Three Thousand Submarine Hectares of Hearty Biomass –

Hearty biomass...

Something salty and savoury formicated on Cruciate’s tongue... Occasional burps carried the smell of something composting...

In his paramnesiac stupor, he identified it...

Hearty biomass...

- A Daily Yield of Nine Hundred Melt-in-the-Mouth Tonnes of Tender Adductor Muscle -

Cruciate was awake with flecks of pain in his throat, welling ache-nodes in his legs and spine, an unnatural nausea in his gut.

He was careful not to burn his hands as he lit a micromild on the glowing bar of a battered electric radiator he had found with the clock-radio. As he regarded the compacted strata of cigarette ash that dulled the chromium reflection surfaces, he visualised a C20 soul-brother doing just what he was doing now: discovering unintended versatility in this ancient, appealingly dangerous appliance.

- Clamchow: The Ocean is the Ultimate Solution –

Next: thirst.

Through the window, and beyond a sort of undulating green membrane, he saw a vista of the ocean floor, impossibly crowded with giant clams.

18:88:88 EST WEDNESDAY 26 FEBRUARY 2059:

Crunching through the scattering of Wiggletot wrappers and insulin casings left by a previous tenant, he made it to the niche that served as both kitchen and bathroom. He was lucky to have facilities. The squat had been a timely, almost miraculous find - a bastardised living space in a deteriorated apartment bank called The Bayview, crammed between a stained chipboard partition and the crumbling once-exterior wall of an adjacent building that still sported a flaking cat food advertisement.

Now the painted cat, poised by its can of Bounce!, cast a jolly gaze upon Cruciate as he vomited into the shallow toilet pan.

Green-grey porridge.

Distantly. From the living room:

- ClamChow: Invest now -

He remained over the bowl, waiting for the next spasm.

They had done something to Cruciate in the wards at Proteus. He had not eaten in two weeks and, though it solved many problems, he couldn’t help but worry. In his flight-bag there was packaged food still within its useby, but the thought of it set off a sharp, uncomfortable feeling in his gut. He wondered what his body was consuming as fuel. He wondered what the stuff in the pan was.

He vomited. It looked like fung.

He wiped a greyish-greenish foam from his mouth.


Over the last year, Cruciate had subsisted as an experimental subject for confidential medical procedures on the ethical fringe. Thus far, he had been fortunate; he had heard of others who had come from the Proteus wards with limbs like prickly pears and backbrains ready to govern the metabolism of a lobster. Even so, Cruciate’s toenails had come to resemble wet cardboard and a trial of the controversial melanin-pump had left him with a thatch of tortoiseshell-coloured hair which, thinking about it, he actually quite liked.

Cruciate rummaged through the tiny fridge, cold neon bringing the pocks and scars on his face into sharp relief.

But now things had turned sour. He could be in trouble. Proteus had it in their heads he was to be located and immediately returned to the wards from which - admittedly - he had prematurely discharged himself. Inadvertantly, he had caught a news update regarding the multiple deaths of Proteus experimental medical subjects, and the company’s complicity in suppression of the facts.

He fled, immediately, barely negotiating two hulking medics and a peripheral nurse.

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