Read Fénix Exultante Online

Authors: John C. Wright

Tags: #Ciencia-Ficción

Fénix Exultante (46 page)

BOOK: Fénix Exultante
6.67Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Phaethon was again alone.

Dramatis Personae

Agrupados por formación del sistema nervioso (neuroforma)

Entidades autoconscientes bioquímicas

Inmortales:

Neuroforma básica:

Faetón Primo de Radamanto, Escuela Señorial Gris Plata.

Helión Reliquia de Radamanto, progenitor de Faetón, fundador de la Escuela Señorial Gris Plata, y Par.

Dafne Tercia Semi Radamanto, esposa de Faetón.

Temer Sexto Lacedemonio, Escuela Señorial Gris Oscuro, guardián.

Gannis Cien Mentes Gannis, Escuela Sinergista Sinoética, Par.

Atkins Vingt-et-un Reglamentario, soldado.

Ungannis, hija de Gannis, ahora un neomorfo de la Escuela Ctónica llamado Unmoiqhotep Cuatro, perteneciente al movimiento de los Nuncaprimeristas, a quienes Helión llama «Cacófilos».

Taumaturgos (neuroforma de organización alterna):

Ao Aoen, Maestro Soñador, Par.

Ao Varmatyr, uno de los máximos señores silentes, comunmente llamados Cisnes.

NEo Orfeo el Apóstata, protonotario y presidente del Colegio de Exhortadores.

Orfeo Miríada Averno, fundador de la Segunda Inmortalidad, Par.

Invariantes (neuroforma de integración talámico-cortical):

Kes Sennec el Lógico, Par.

Neuroforma cerebelina:

Rueda-de-la-Vida, matemática ecológica, Par.

Verdemadre, la artista que organiza la representación ecológica en Lago Destino.

Madre-del-Mar, del Protectorado Ambiental Oceánico Hija-del-Mar, terraformadora del Venus primitivo.

Composiciones de mente colectiva:

Composición Caritativa, Par.

Composición Armónica, del Colegio de Exhortadores Composición Belígera (desbandada).

Neuroformas no estándar:

Vafnir de la Estación Equilateral de Mercurio, Par.

Jenofonte de Lejanía, Composición Tritónica, llamada los neptunianos.

Xingis de Nereida, también llamado Diomedes, Escuela Gris Plata.

Neoptólemo, combinación de Diomedes y Jenofonte.

Mortales:

Vulpino Primero Ironjoy Hullsmith, flotero.

Oshenkyo, flotero.

Lester Cero Haaken, flotero.

Drusillet Cero Autoalma, flotera.

Semris de ío, costero Antisemris, costero.

Notor-Kotok Unique Amalgamati, costero.

Un Anciano, jardinero de un bosquecillo saturnal, quien dice pertenecer a la Escuela Purista Antiamarantina, sin otra identificación.

Entidades autoconscientes electrofotónicas

Sofotecs:

Radamanto, casa señorial de la Escuela Gris Plata, capacidad de un millón de ciclos.

Estrella Vespertina, casa señorial de la Escuela Roja, capacidad de un millón de ciclos.

Nabucodonosor, asesor del Colegio de Exhortadores, capacidad de diez millones de ciclos.

Sabueso, detective consultor, capacidad de cien mil ciclos.

Monomarcos, abogado procesalista, capacidad de cien mil ciclos.

Aureliano, anfitrión de la Celebración, capacidad aproximada de cincuenta mil millones de ciclos.

La Eneada consiste en nueve grupos de sofotecs, cada uno con una capacidad superior a los mil millones de ciclos, entre ellos Mente Bélica, Mente Oeste, Oriente, Austral, Boreal, Noroeste, Sudoeste y otros.

MENTE Terráquea, la consciencia unificada en la cual todas las máquinas terráqueas y las máquinas en órbita cercana a la Tierra participan de cuando en cuando; capacidad de un billón de ciclos.

Simulacros, personajes ficticios, constructos

Comus, un avatar de Aureliano.

Sócrates y Emphyrio, constructos de Nabucodonosor.

Los jueces de la Curia.

Scaramouche, un extracto de Jenofonte el neptuniano.

El enviado de Diomedes de Nereida.

Personajes menores

Ao Andaphantie, nombre de Dafne cuando era Taumaturga.

Ayesha, mente doméstica usada por Dafne, capacidad de diez mil ciclos.

Curtís Maestrict, protonotario parlamentario, amigo y cliente de Dafne.

Jasón Sven Diez Shopworthy, cuya extraña conducta ha despertado la curiosidad de los sofotecs.

Ksahtrimanyu Han, presidente del Parlamento.

Ute Ninguna Cabal, madre de Dafne.

Yewen Ninguno Cabal, padre de Dafne.

Personajes históricos y ficticios

Ao Enwir el Ilusionista, famoso por su tratado
Sobre la soberanía de las máquinas.

Ao Ormgorgon Gusanoscuro Sinretorno del Aquelarre de los Cisnes Negros, capitán monarca de la nave estelar multigeneracional
Naglfar,
y héroe cultural que fundó la Ecumene Silente en Cygnus X-l.

Ao Salomón Supralma, mariscal de la jihad al servicio del rey brujo de Corea, a quien se atribuye la orquestación de la derrota de la Composición Belígera durante la Era de la Quinta Estructura Mental.

Buckland-Boyd Cyrano D'Atano, el primer hombre que sobrevivió a un descenso en Marte.

Chan Noonyan Sfih de lo, explorador que accidentalmente incendió Plutón.

Demontdelune, un desdichado que pereció en el lado oscuro de la Luna.

Enghathrathrion, célebre poeta de finales de la Cuarta Estructura Mental.

Hamlet, personaje de un simulacro de experiencia lineal, William Shakespeare, Era de la Segunda Estructura Mental.

Hanón de Cartago, quien navegó frente a las costas de Africa y es el primer explorador cuyo nombre está documentado por la historia.

Arlequín, un payaso de la Commedia dell'Arte italiana, era de la Segunda Estructura Mental.

Jasón, capitán del
Argos,
que navegó a Queronea y regresó con el Vellocino de Oro.

Mancuriosco el Neurópata.

Madre-de-Numeros, matemática Cerebelina cuya disquisición sobre matemática noética sentó las bases de la tecnología numénica.

Neil Armstrong, primer hombre que pisó la Luna.

Oe Sefr al-Midr Surcador de Nubes, uno de los primeros exploradores de Júpiter.

Scaramouche, payaso de la Commedia dell'Arte italiana, Era de la Segunda Estructura Mental.

Sir Francis Drake, capitán del
Golden Hind,
descubrió el Paso del Noroeste.

Sloppy Rufus, el primer perro que sobrevivió a un descenso en Marte (perro de Buckland-Boyd Cyrano).

Composición Porfirógena, célebre secta de astrónomos.

Ulises, rey de ítaca, quien navegó hasta lugares lejanos para conocer la mentalidad y la costumbres de los hombres, y regresó de los Infiernos.

Vandonnar, según la poesía joviana Preignición, un navegante de las nubes que se extravió en las tormentas que rodeaban la Gran Mancha Roja; ni siquiera muerto pudo encontrar el trasmundo, así que ronda eternamente la tormenta, siempre buscando, siempre perdido.

Precoz Singular Exarmónico, sobrevivió a la primera misión tripulada a la fotosfera solar.

2 - THE WELCOME

Through the mesh and underfoot, Phaethon could see lush greenery, a reach of rocky sand and beach, and, beyond that, an ocean blackened with nanomachinery, crowded with false-trees. To the opposite side, away from the beach, were a cluster of spiral pearly growths, domes and towers of spun diamond, buildings like coral or like nautilus shells. These were the organic seashell shapes of the Standard Aesthetic.

On the hilltop beyond this, in the distance, rising above the deodar trees and clinging vines, was an antique temple, shaped like a beehive, but intricately carven with figurines and images. It looked old, perhaps dating back to the Era of the Second Mental Structure. Without access to the Middle Dreaming, Phaethon missed the ability to learn all he might wish to know about anything by glancing at it. But he tried to tell himself to enjoy the mysterious and picturesque character his new-found ignorance bestowed.

Phaethon stepped to the moving staircase in order to descend; but the escalator was loyal to the precepts of the Hortators and would not carry him. So he stepped over to a service ladder leading down. Phaethon did not know if the rusted metal rungs could sustain the weight of his armor; but when he asked the ladder for its specifications, the ladder was either dumb, or deaf, or rude, and it did not answer. Phaethon doffed the armor, and had it rappel down the tower side by itself, while he climbed down the ladder. He did not want to waste his suit material by building another garment, and the clime was warm, and so he walked nude, followed faithfully by his armor.

There was a street leading to the town, made of glassy spun diamond; and a ridge running down the middle had guide-wires and thought-ports, lines and beads of smooth ceramic, glinting in the surface. As far as Phaethon could see, the approaching town was neither cramped nor squalid nor filthy, nor did it have the other earmarks of poverty that the poorer sections of Victorian-Age London (which he had visited many times in simulations) had displayed.

It did not look too bad, he told himself.

But that impression changed the closer he came to the town.

First, the street, which had looked so bright and inviting when he first stepped onto it, turned out to be a low-grade moron. Instead of offering interesting comments about the scenery, or important traveler’s tips, or playing restful walking-music, the street had monotonously belabored him, joking and shouting with a mindless and force-fed glee, trying to get Phaethon to use certain commercial services that Phaethon could not have purchased in any case.

Second, the nanomachinery creating and maintaining the street was misprogrammed, so that black carbon dust, not correctly bound in the diamond street surface, accumulated from cracks and breaks. Phaethon, as he walked, found his knees and feet coated with coal-black particles as fine as mist, which no amount of wiping could clear from his leg hairs.

The clamoring street fell silent when he entered the town proper.

Phaethon walked among the giant spiral shells and mother-of-pearl domes of the houses and buildings. Only a few were occupied. The rest were mad-houses or mutants, like something from an old story. The self-replicating machinery that designed and grew these Sixth Era buildings had been neglected, and reproduced with no supervision and no corrections, so that some houses were half-grown into each other, like horrible Siamese twins. Others had lopsided doors or windows; or they grew without doors; or without power or lights; or, worse, with a strange, harsh light painful to the eye.

Some of the buildings were tilted at drunken angles, or sat, slumped and damaged, having made no attempt to heal themselves nor to grow their broken walls shut.

Certain formations, which were easy to grow, such as lamps or doorposts, had flourished like weeds, everywhere. Few were the houses that did not have twenty or a hundred lamps sprouting from their pearly roofs or curling eaves. Doorposts (dotted with jacks and cells to hold identifier plates and call cables which never would be installed) stood unsupported in the center of the street, or clustered in the unplanned gaps between buildings, or hung tilting from second-story lofts.

When Phaethon politely asked a question to one of these neglected houses, the building would giggle idiotically, or repeat some stock phrase parrot-like: “Welcome Home! Welcome Home!”

After a few moments of walking, many of the houses were stirred up in a clamor, shouting, calling back and forth to each other. Some gobbled at him in angry languages; warehouses shrieked; whore-houses called out bawdy slogans. Phaethon kept his eyes ahead and walked stiffly, pretending not to notice.

The houses fell grumbling and mumbling into silence a few moments after he had passed, so that a wake of noise trailed after him.

Then he came into an upper part of the town. There were people here, sitting on porches or lounging lazily along the side of the street. They were dressed in simple tunics and smocks of flashing colors and eye-dazzling designs, pulsing and strobing, and a loud music made of repeating percussion surrounded them.

Phaethon realized that these folk were wearing advertisements.

Most of their faces and bodies looked the same, K-style and B-style faces taken from public-domain records. Except for some men who had scarred their faces, or applied colored tattoos, it seemed as if everyone along the street were everyone else’s twin.

When he raised a hand in greeting, their eyes went blank, and their gazes slid past him, unseeing.

He walked on, puzzled. Where these not exiles like himself? Apparently not. It seemed as if they could afford sense-filters.

The standard settings would automatically block out anything branded with odium by the Hortators.

Like a phantom, ignored and unseen, Phaethon walked on.

Through open doorways he could see the people who lived here, base humaniforms, for the most part. People who did not wear advertisements were garbed in smocks of blue-gray drab, made of simple polymers not difficult to synthesize. Some of the garments were old and sick, for they had torn, and they did not repair themselves.

Most of the people had crowns growing into the flesh of their skulls, giving them partial access to the mentality. One or two sad individuals were wearing lenses and ear-jacks, so that they could watch from a distance, or overhear, the complex and vibrant activity of life in the mentality, a life now closed to them.

He saw people sleeping on mats on the floor; he did not see a single pool. There was apparently no life-water running anywhere.

For energy, he saw nothing but the solar panels that grew along roofs like wild lichen; he wondered what they did on cloudy days, or at dark.

Food they ate with their mouths, masticating; he did not see what the substances were, or how it was manufactured; but with a dozen steaming streams of green nanosubstance running in open gutters down the street, he could imagine.

Half the houses had darkened lamps. Their solar cells were covered with a soot or carpet lichen, which no one had bothered to scrape free. For light, captured advertisement banners had been tied to steeples and cupolas, so that garish colors flared across the scene. Many of the houses screamed back at the jarring clash of music and slogans radiating from the advertisements. Some of the stupider houses thought the noises were approaching visitors, for they shouted out welcomes whenever the advertisements brayed. It added to the general din most unpleasantly.

BOOK: Fénix Exultante
6.67Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Crush by Stefan Petrucha
The Apple Tree by Jimenez, Kara
For the Sub by Sierra Cartwright
Hush Little Baby by Caroline B. Cooney
Gull by Glenn Patterson
Arianna Rose: The Arrival (Part 4) by Martucci, Jennifer, Martucci, Christopher