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Authors: Philip K. Dick

The Divine Invasion

BOOK: The Divine Invasion
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with Ray Nelson

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with Roger Zelazny

Deus Irae

Copyright © 1981 by Philip K. Dick
All rights reserved
including the right of reproduction
in whole or in part in any form
A Timescape Book
Published by Pocket Books
A Simon & Schuster Division of
Gulf & Western Corporation
Simon & Schuster Building
Rockefeller Center
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, New York 10020
Manufactured in the United States of America
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

Dick, Philip K
  The divine invasion.

I. Title.
PS3554.I3D5       813'.54       80-28669

ISBN 0-671-41776-2

The time you have waited for has come. The work is complete; the final world is here. He has been transplanted and is alive.


Mysterious voice in the night

  1  

I
t came time to put Manny in a school. The government had a special school. The law stipulated that Manny could not go to a regular school because of his condition; there was nothing Elias Tate could do about that. He could not get around the government ruling because this was Earth and the zone of evil lay over everything. Elias could feel it and, probably, the boy could feel it, too.

Elias understood what the zone signified but of course the boy did not. At the age of six Manny looked lovely and strong but he seemed half-asleep all the time, as if (Elias reflected) he had not yet been completely born.

"You know what today is?" Elias asked.

The boy smiled.

"OK," Elias said. "Well, a lot depends on the teacher. How much do you remember, Manny? Do you remember Rybys?" He got out a hologram of Rybys, the boy's mother, and held it to the light. "Look at Rybys," Elias said. "Just for a second."

Someday the boy's memories would come back. Something, a disinhibiting stimulus fired at the boy by his own prearrangement, would trigger anamnesis—the loss of amnesia, and all the memories would flood back: his conception on CY30-CY30B, the period in Rybys's womb as she battled her dreadful illness, the trip to Earth, perhaps even the interrogation. In his mother's womb Manny had advised the three of them: Herb Asher, Elias Tate and Rybys herself. But then had come the accident, if it really had been accidental. And because of that the damage.

And, because of the damage, forgetfulness.

The two of them took the local rail to the school. A fussy little man met them, a Mr. Plaudet; he was enthusiastic and wanted to shake hands with Manny. It was evident to Elias Tate that this was the government. First they shake hands with you, he thought, and then they murder you.

"So here we have Emmanuel," Plaudet said, beaming.

Several other small children played in the fenced yard of the school. The boy pressed against Elias Tate shyly, obviously wanting to play but afraid to.

"What a nice name," Plaudet said. "Can you say your name, Emmanuel?" he asked the boy, bending down. "Can you say 'Emmanuel'?"

"God with us," the boy said.

"I beg your pardon?" Plaudet said.

Elias Tate said, "That's what 'Emmanuel' means. That's why his mother chose it. She was killed in an air collision before Manny was born."

"I was in a synthowomb," Manny said.

"Did the dysfunction originate from the—" Plaudet began, but Elias Tate waved him into silence.

Flustered, Plaudet consulted his clipboard of typed notes. "Let's see … you're not the boy's father. You're his great-uncle."

"His father is in cryonic suspension."

"The same air collision?"

"Yes," Elias said. "He's waiting for a spleen."

"It's amazing that in six years they haven't been able to come up with—"

"I am not going to discuss Herb Asher's death in front of the boy," Elias said.

"But he knows his father will be returning to life?" Plaudet said.

"Of course. I am going to spend several days here at the school watching to see how you handle the children. If I do not approve, if you use too much physical force, I am taking Manny out, law or no law. I presume you will be teaching him the usual bullshit that goes on in these schools. It's not something I'm especially pleased about, but neither is it something that worries me. Once I am satisfied with the school you will be paid for a year ahead. I object to bringing him here, but that is the law. I don't hold you personally responsible." Elias Tate smiled.

Wind blew through the canes of bamboo growing at the rim of the play area. Manny listened to the wind, cocking his head and frowning. Elias patted him on the shoulder and wondered what the wind was telling the boy. Does it say who you are? he wondered. Does it tell you your name?

The name, he thought, that no one is to say.

A child, a little girl wearing a white frock, approached Manny, her hand out. "Hi," she said. "You're new.

The wind, in the bamboo, rustled on.

Although dead and in cryonic suspension, Herb Asher was having his own problems. Very close to the Cry-Labs, Incorporated, warehouse a fifty-thousand-watt FM transmitter had been located the year before. For reasons unknown to anyone the cryonic equipment had begun picking up the powerful nearby FM signal. Thus Herb Asher, as well as everyone else in suspension at Cry-Labs, had to listen to elevator music all day and all night, the station being what it liked to call a "pleasing sounds" outfit.

Right now an all-string version of tunes from
Fiddler on the Roof
assailed the dead at Cry-Labs. This was especially distasteful to Herb Asher because he was in the part of his cycle where he was under the impression that he was still alive. In his frozen brain a limited world stretched out of an archaic nature; Herb Asher supposed himself to be back on the little planet of the CY3O-CY3OB system where he had maintained his dome in those crucial years … crucial, in that he had met Rybys Rommey, migrated back to Earth with her, after formally marrying her, and then getting himself interrogated by the Terran authorities and, as if that were not enough, getting himself perfunctorily killed in an air collision that was in no way his fault. Worse yet, his wife had been killed and in such a fashion that no organ transplant would revive her; her pretty little head, as the robot doctor had explained it to Herb, had been riven in twain—a typical robot word-choice.

However, inasmuch as Herb Asher imagined himself still back in his dome in the star system CY3O-CY3OB, he did not realize that Rybys was dead. In fact he did not know her yet. This was before the arrival of the supplyman who had brought him news of Rybys in her own dome.

Herb Asher lay on his bunk listening to his favorite tape of Linda Fox. He was trying to account for a background noise of soupy strings rendering songs from one or another of the well-known light operas or Broadway shows or some damn thing of the late twentieth century. Apparently his receiving and recording gear needed an overhaul. Perhaps the original signal from which he had made the Linda Fox tape had drifted. Fuck it, he thought dismally. I'll have to do some repairing. That meant getting out of his bunk, finding his tool kit, shutting down his receiving and recording equipment—it meant work.

Meanwhile, he listened with eyes shut to the Fox.

 

Weep you no more, sad fountains;

What need you flow so fast?

Look how the snowy mountains

Heaven's sun doth gently waste.

But my sun's heavenly eyes

View not your weeping

That now lies sleeping…

 

This was the best song the Fox had ever sung, from the Third and Last Booke of lute songs of John Dowland who had lived at the time of Shakespeare and whose music the Fox had remastered for the world of today.

Annoyed by the interference, he shut off the tape transport with his remote programmer. But,
mirabile dictu
, the soupy string music continued, even though the Fox fell silent. So, resigned, he shut off the entire audio system.

Even so,
Fiddler on the Roof
in the form of eighty-seven strings continued. The sound of it filled his little dome, audible over the gjurk-gjurk of the air compressor. And then it came to him that he had been hearing
Fiddler on the Roof
for—good God!—it was something like three days, now.

This is awful, Herb Asher realized. Here I am billions of miles out in space listening to eighty-seven strings forever and ever. Something is wrong.

Actually a lot of things had gone wrong during the recent year. He had made a dreadful mistake in emigrating from the Sol System. He had failed to note that return to the Sol System became automatically illegal for ten full years. This was how the dual state that governed the Sol System guaranteed a flow of people out and away but no flow back in return. His alternative had been to serve in the Army, which meant certain death.
SKY OR FRY
was the slogan showing up on government TV commercials. You either emigrated or they burned your ass in some fruitless war. The government did not even bother to justify war, now. They just sent you out, killed you and recruited a replacement. It all came from the unification of the Communist Party and the Catholic Church into one mega-apparatus, with two chiefs-of-state, as in ancient Sparta.

Here, at least, he was safe from being murdered by the government. He could, of course, be murdered by one of the ratlike autochthons of the planet, but that was not very likely. The few remaining autochthons had never assassinated any of the human domers who had appeared with their microwave transmitters and psychotronic boosters, fake food (fake as far as Herb Asher was concerned; it tasted dreadful) and meager creature comforts of complex nature, all items that baffled the simple autochthons without arousing their curiosity.

I'll bet the mother ship is directly overhead, Herb Asher said to himself. It's beaming
Fiddler on the Roof
down at me with its psychotronic gun. As a joke.

He got up from his bunk, walked unsteadily to his board and examined his number-three radar screen. The mother ship, according to the screen, was nowhere around. So that wasn't it.

Damndest thing, he thought. He could see with his own eyes that his audio system had correctly shut down, and still the sound oozed around the dome. And it didn't seem to emanate from one particular spot; it seemed to manifest itself equally everywhere.

Seated at his board he contacted the mother ship. "Are you transmitting
Fiddler on the Roof
?" he asked the ship's operator circuit.

A pause. Then, "Yes, we have a video tape of
Fiddler on the Roof
, with Topol, Norma Crane, Molly Picon, Paul—"

"No," he broke in. "What are you getting from Fomalhaut right now? Anything with all strings?"

"Oh, you're Station Five. The Linda Fox man."

"Is that how I'm known?" Asher said.

"We will comply. Prepare to receive at high speed two new Linda Fox aud tapes. Are you set to record?"

"I'm asking about another matter," Asher said.

"We are now transmitting at high speed. Thank you." The mother ship's operator circuit shut off; Herb Asher found himself listening to vastly speeded-up sounds as the mother ship complied with a request he had not made.

When the transmission from the mother ship ceased he contacted its operator circuit again. "I'm getting 'Matchmaker, Matchmaker' for ten hours straight," he said. "I'm sick of it. Are you bouncing a signal off someone's relay shield?"

BOOK: The Divine Invasion
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