Lower CoSMOS-Life of Lance Vier #4

“Hope is worthless unless we use it.”

Credit: Pixabay

            Pibb sat on the driver’s side as I rounded the back. His mouth moved on the inside but no words hit my ears with both windows closed. Mother moved forward. Broke. Moved forward again. Broke. She wanted to leave without my getting in. Sometimes she skidded in her effort to take off but was soothed with Pibb’s speech. It became muffled and louder. I stood behind her. How would I know she thought I left her to die when I didn’t know who she was.

            “I didn’t know!” I screamed. There was never anyone around anyway so it did not matter how loud I got. To each end of the street, there emptiness solidified. The lack of any people reminded me of how far we have become so isolated from each other.

            I gave up and waited until she decided to stop moving down the street to get away from me. “Hell, I didn’t know.” The water on my face was unfamiliar. Human tears. I had them. Did I want them? No. But it hurt knowing what she thought of me. She stopped, still wanting to leave. Pibb rolled down his window.

            “Come on, Lance,” he said forcing his head out of the window.

            I grabbed the passenger door and tried to open it. She stayed locked and I tried again. Pibb attempted to coax her until the latch released inside. While I opened the door, she made the door too heavy to close.

            “Sweetheart. Stop. Stop,” Pibb said.

            I finally sat in.

            It took us a few hours of forced silence because Pibb preferred it so he had the right words to relay to me. We hovered over a small field in Nebraska. Flying cars are outlawed like anything else today. The wealthy have them but for us, the versatility of use is too much. For our safety, of course.

            “You ever want to die?”

            “All the time,” I said.

            “All the fun is gone. Not even tacos taste like tacos anymore. They taste more like tacos. Overdone artificial flavor. Well done, I should say. Not in a good way. They used to taste real. Like the beans. Smooth and mixed with cheese. Nothing like refried beans with a spoon and lettuce and tacos. Dipping those tacos in the beans. They’re gone.”

            “We don’t have choices.”

            “Nah, they took those all away,” he said, “I see it. Every last bit of fun so we want to die.”

            “We had it back in the day though. Your dad would tell you. I regret coming out here. But, she isn’t going to like being crushed and reused as a new building or someone’s air vent.”

            I nodded and waited to ask the obvious, “Is she the last one?”

            Pibb stared at the lit dashboard. The lights mixed with orange and red. No car came with the additional functions mother had anymore. Someday, I needed to know what did what but now wasn’t the time.

            “They are starting with her. You make them catch her first, it will hold them off coming after the others. It will bruise their egos if they can’t have the Honda.”

            “I thought this was an acura.”

            “It’s in the name.”

            It took me a while to learn that you have to let the old guys be the old guys and not correct them. Let them say what they want though you may not know what the heck they are talking about. What more time might they have to enjoy?

            “We can’t go flying around finding the rest like the Red Diablo or Slave Quan and save them, the dead Minx, Galvator, or Raging Bettle. We need to let them handle their business and we do ours,” he said, the babbling titles irritated me as if I was knew what he meant.

            “What is ours?”

            With people, too much gets screwed with. Too much of one thing tends to be abused. That was DNA. Have you noticed that all great technologies somehow end up in the hands of the public and then regulated? Then, illegal versions of it come out. Somehow with a locked-down society, there are ways around getting things regardless. When elites become bored with a new toy, they pass it down to make money. In the old capitalist system, this is how things worked out. People who had no reason to be famous did so by broadcasting nonsense to a public with nonsense LIVE! twenty-four hours a day, feeding on their minds. It made them relate to the emptiness. FunPacksDNA came out twenty years ago. You could transmit and edit the DNA of other living organisms and manipulate their changes and growth at a horribly advanced pace. Evolution on crack.

            For only $99.99 in the safety of your home, chimera your dog into a Piog. Or give your girlfriend that extra eye she never dreamed of. Lawsuits abounded and the regulations came in, but as in perverted government form, the sex industry was exempt. It caused the ‘Great Wave of hyper porn.’ Injuries ensued, and finally, regulation until FunPacksDNA ended in the labs of people viewing the golden opportunity to use it on humans in another way. A few of the hunters were the unfortunate recipients of permanent alteration after they moved the project to inorganics and strictly forbade its use on organics. Yes, I realize the idea is odd considering they wanted to reduce the population and may easily arrange defects, but for whatever cold reason, the government had this inclination to appear benevolent at all costs. And it wasn’t because of guilt. It was because they did not know how not to be fake. Pibb mumbled a few words, trying to form a sentence in the right manner. I did not know his age but his appearance told me to give him time to speak because it was hard for him to.

            Legendarily speaking, Pibb and Bastard were quiet men. Doing their job, and doing everything else with few words. Today, he let loose with little explanation; he said:

            “To the government now and then. Life was a stage. I mean, I know that. Everyone knows that, but was it a situation comedy or drama in front of a studio audience. They could be themselves in front of the cameras, on the internet, projecting holograms into your home, but when that stopped they didn’t know how to break from it. Life wasn’t real. The audience wasn’t real. We weren’t real. The babies were rounded up and encased in glass prisons weren’t real. You see how easy it is for them to do what they do?”

            “Yes.” I said, “What did they do with the babies?”

            “I am one of them, but an army of willing to die. No one was willing to die for the garbage anymore. People pretended like always but when it came down to warfare, they had the babies to control and send them out. Expendable but modified infants and toddlers. Classic scary bots of flesh. Imagine having the baby stolen from your arms coming back to blow up your house or waddling down the street spraying bullets into an illegal committee meeting. That’s horror.”

            “Why didn’t they poison everyone and get it over with?”

            “They like the fun in it. We are their entertainment,” he said.

            It made sense. The separation of classes always made sense to me but the genetics part did not. Born out of the ordinary in some homes are the strong. One couple can both be short in stature and the woman may give birth to a behemoth. Science would call it a mutation. The tall child is allowed to live and breed but if their partner births a smaller child, their life is deemed not as valued. It was like a circle of madness to me. Why not let the natural proceed?

            Pibb said that it wasn’t long after consumer DNA manipulation was available that the world made a way to transfer a byte of information into parts of living cells. Not one for one. He didn’t know the details, but moving it from the digital form to the organic became as easy as flipping over a pancake.

A loud, “Waaaaaaaaunt!  Waaaaaaaaaaunt!” swopped by and nudged mother’s side. The source of the sound distanced but stayed alive in reverberations shaking mother. Pibb grabbed the dash of the car to steady himself and I used my weight to keep still. The thrust almost flipped Mother upside down. She sped up and broke through several miles of clear air over a rural area. Avoiding a hill straight ahead, she swooped up and then down to the next plain. A dark shadowy puff of contained smoke followed behind.

            “I can’t see what it is,” I said.

            “Is it a dark cloud?”

            Pibb took control of Mother.


            “This was what I was going to talk about next,” Pibb said as he clutched the controls while we swerved past several neighborhoods, the cloud staying close behind not giving an inch of leeway to the distance gap.

            “She will not give up,” Pibb said.


            “It is the dead Minx. Our only comfort is that she may be alone but I doubt it.”

            The dead Minx was like mother. A car for a hunter. The property of Gothia and the state. Gothia was an experimental hunter. An orphan like some of the other kids fashioned into lawlessness and the abduction of children. Her usefulness ended when she “died” from the experiments. During the cremation and disposal of her remains, transducers used in her birth were unable to release her to her original composition, leaving her hanging between real and unreal. Dead meat. But yet still alive. Indestructible. It was either a flaw, a mutation, or fake. Still no one knows. They found usefulness in Gothia’s unfortunate mortality.

            “She can’t die. She’s dead but still… Anyway, four foot eleven of walking madness,” Pibb said.

            “What! Are you joking?” The whole idea sounded cliche. Zombie-like. Undead, etc. But she was different in so many ways and it wasn’t forced.

            “Nothing I have said have I joked about,” said Pibb,  “We are going to die in this or escape. Let us hope she is not inside the Minx, it has been known to do its own hunting. That is the best option. Hope is worthless unless we use it.”