The Ware Tetralogy: Freeware Ch. 7

p. 490 – 91

“My family is not happy about it,” said another voice. “I am Verdad, this is my wife Lolo, and
these are my in-laws Hayzooz and Mezcal.” Verdad and his family were blobby in shape and
colored in brown-and-green earth tones. “We‟ve been farmin‟ the fields for five generations.
We‟re not enjoyin‟ this change very much. I think there is nothin‟ at all we can grow on the
Moon.”
“Muy malo,” grumbled Hayzooz. “This is some ugly kilp. Why don‟t you let us fly back to the
Earth, Blaster?”
Rudy Rucker
“We‟re already in orbit,” said Blaster. “We‟re coasting. The only way you can get enough
quantum dots for a return flight is to do some work on the Moon. But, believe me, you won‟t
want to go back. You‟ll love it in the Nest. You can work in the fab growing chipmold. Or in the
pink-tanks growing organs. Or learn some hi-tech trades. You‟re moldies, for God‟s sake, not
flesher dirt farmers.”
“We‟re gonna miss the rain and the soil and the little growin‟ things.”
“The purity of the Moon is good,” said Blaster. “It is an ascetic spiritual path, but a highly
efficacious one.”

CHAPTER SEVEN
STAHN
October 31, 2053
Stahn stepped out of his fine Victorian mansion on Masonic Avenue above Haight Street in San
Francisco. It was early evening on Halloween, 2053. Walking by were lively groups of people
on their way to the Castro Street Halloween party, a traditional event now back in operation
after a brief hiatus during the anxious years surrounding the coming of the Second
Millennium. AIDS was gone, drugs were legal, and San Francisco was more fun than ever.
Stahn felt very strung out. He‟d gotten lifted on camote after his final conversation with Tre
Dietz late last night. In the afternoon, Tre had uvvied up to announce that some kind of
software agent named Jenny had shown him a secret tape of Sri Ramanujan explaining a new
piece of mathematics called the Tessellation Equation. Jenny had talked to Stahn too. She
looked like a lanky teenage farm girl. It seemed she lived inside a Heritagist computer, but that
she had very close connections to the loonie moldies. Then, in the evening, Tre had called
again—very distraught—to talk about ransoming his wife Terri from the moldies. Stahn made
some calls to the Moon to try and help out with that, and told Tre, and had then started getting
loaded as he normally did in the evening.
But then a few hours later Tre uvvied again, fantastically excited about some new vision about
how to use the Tessellation Equation to make Perplexing Poultry imipolex based on tilings of
every finite dimension. Disquietingly, this software agent Jenny thing was there on the link
with Tre, listening in. She wouldn‟t say why she was so interested in this information. But Tre
didn‟t care, his obsession was to get Stahn to understand about Perplexing Poultry in Hilbert
space, and about how Ramanujan‟s Tessellation Equation could now be used to make imipolex-
5, imipolex-6, imipolex-N!
To help himself understand the strange ideas he was hearing, Stahn drunkenly chewed up a
couple of nuggets of camote while Tre was talking. It wasn‟t the first time he‟d tried the drug,
but this time it turned out to be a big mistake, an unbearably strange lift, a psychotically
strange panic trip to deep and personal revelations about his multitudinous personality flaws.
Stahn went to bed and tried to sleep, but instead spent ten hellish hours in Hilbert space with
Tre‟s multi-dimensional Poultry pecking and clucking in the mysterious thickets of his
Rudy Rucker
chaotically disturbed consciousness. It was a relief to see dawn come, and to get up and try and
start a new day.
In the afternoon, Stahn finally managed to get some sleep, but then, around dusk, his wife
Wendy woke him.
“Get up, sleepyhead. We‟re going to the Halloween parade, remember? What the heck did you
do to yourself last night, anyway? I came downstairs and tried to talk to you, but you were
completely gaga.” She had wide hips, pert lips, a soft chin, and blonde hair. Her voice was
soothingly normal.
“I have to get up?”
“You have to get up. Here.” She handed him a big mug of tea with milk and sugar. “We‟re
walking to the Castro and meeting Saint and Babs. Our children? A family outing? Helloooo!”
“Okay, Wendy, don‟t overdo it. I‟m here. Thanks for the tea. I got lifted on camote after talking
to Tre Dietz last night. I thought it might make me smart like him. What a burn. I‟ll tell you
about it later.”
So Stahn took a shower and put on black clothes and painted his hands and face black. He
dusted himself with silver sparkles and went to stand on his front steps while waiting for
Wendy to finish getting dressed. His head hurt very deeply; he could feel the pain deep inside
his brain from the healed wounds where he‟d gotten a tank-grown pre-programmed flesh-and-
blood right hemisphere to replace the Happy Cloak that had replaced the robot rat that had
replaced his original right brain—his skull was a xoxxin‟ roach-motel and thanks to Tre he‟d
been to Hilbert space and was no doubt subject to snap back there anytime—
“Wassup, Sen-senator Stahn!” shrieked a lifted young Cicciolina from a passing gaggle of
morphs. A bride and a Betty Page were in the group as well.
“Out for a night on the town?” asked the tall bride in a deep, honking voice. “Does Wendy
know?”
The Betty Page snorted, chortled and bent over, rucking up a tight skirt to expose a reasonable
facsimile of a woman‟s naked ass. “Take a taste of Betty, Senator Moo! Relish the fine fine
superfine succulence of a bad-girl butt too good for tacos!”
The kid was trying to needle Stahn about wendy meat, but Stahn gave a politician‟s genial,
dismissive wave, expecting the morphs to move on. Most people didn‟t understand about the
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wendy-meat ads; the fact that they showed Wendy with her Happy Cloak was intended to be a
positive force for human-moldie friendship.
“Shut your rude tuh-twat, Betty,” stuttered Cicciolina. “Yo-yo-yo, brah Stahn, wanna puh-peg
of gabba? It‟s straight out of the resolver; I harvested the kuh-kuh-crystals today.”
“Affirmo everplace,” said Stahn on a sudden impulse. “I can relate. Gabba gives me the yipes,
you wave, but I already got the yipes on account of what I did last night, and if I can get some
gabba-yipes happening, why then I‟ll feel normal; it‟ll be a lift instead of a drag. So come on
over here, you big deeve.”
The Cicciolina drew a squeezie out of his decolletage and strutted over to Stahn, holding the
little bulb up high like a magical lantern. “Tuh-toot the snoot, Senataroot!”
Stahn took the squeezie and pulsed a dose for each nostril. Ftooom! Fireworks of pleasure
exploded behind his eyes, a chrysanthemum bloom of evil joy, a flower with a ring of screamers
around the outer edge, screamers that floated to earth and took the form of darting, two-legged
yipes.
“Ftoom yipes,” jabbered Stahn. “Ftoom ftoom fuh-fuh-ft oom yipes.”
“Gabba hey,” said the Cicciolina. “The fringe still luh-loves you, Senator.”
“Long may it wuh-wave,” said Stahn.
The three morphs moved on, camping and laughing. Stahn looked up at his house, its windows
mellow yellow with electric light. The yipes felt good. He was lucky to have a good house in the
city. He was lucky to be alive. He was lucky to have a family. How sad it would be if all of this
should end.
With a sudden flurry of footsteps, Wendy swept out of the house and down the steps. “Hi,
Stahn! I‟m ready!” She was dressed like a witch, with high-heeled boots, long dress, large
Happy Cloak, and rakish pointed hat—all a bright, matching red. The „Cloak was a beloved
moldie that Wendy continually wore to make up for the unparalleled developmental
deficiencies caused by the fact that her body was a tank-grown clone.
“You look guh-great, Wendy. You‟re a red witch.”
“You sound funny, Stahn,” said Wendy suspiciously. “Don‟t tell me you took even more drugs!”
Rudy Rucker
“Nuh-nuh-nothing really. Some deeves gave me a pulse of guh-gabba. I‟m trying to feel normal,
you understand. We‟re wuh-walking to the Castro, right?”
“Yes. Did you wake up a dragonfly?”
“I fuh-forgot. I don‟t feel like wearing my uvvy, Wendy, not after last night. Luh-like I was
telling you, Tre Dietz uvvied me all this wuh-weird shit and and—”
“Oh, spare me the wasted slobbering. I‟ll get the dragonfly.” Wendy used her Happy Cloak to
uvvy a message, and right away a little dragonfly telerobot flew down from its perch in the
eaves of their house. The streetlights made gleaming Lissajous patterns on the dragonfly‟s
shiny, rapidly beating wings. “You stay about a block ahead of us and watch the foot traffic,”
Wendy told it, speaking out loud. “We‟re walking over the hill to Market and Castro. And keep
scanning faces for Saint and Babs. We‟re expecting you to find them.” The dragonfly whirred
away.
“Really, Stahn,” continued Wendy as they walked up Masonic together. “You‟re starting to
worry me. A man your age. Two more years and you‟ll be sixty!” Wendy was effectively eleven
years younger than Stahn, and she worked hard to keep Stahn from turning senile. “What is it
that Tre showed you anyway?”
“Perplexing Puh-Poultry N-dee,” said Stahn, clamping his hands tightly together in an effort to
hold back the gabba stutter. “Some kind of freelance software agent called Jenny told him this
thing called Ramanujan‟s Tuh-Tessellation Equation, and right away he found a new kind of
higher-dimensional quasicrystal design. The new Poultry puh-peck and peck and peck. He
wants me to suh-sell the new idea before Jenny can. And we were also talking about how to
ruh-ransom his wife.”
They paused on the saddle of the Buena Vista hill between the Haight and the Castro, catching
their breath and looking at the view. “Oh, it‟s beautiful out tonight, isn‟t it, Stahn?”
“Yeah. I‟m glad you got me to go outside.” He took a deep shaky breath, and the gabba
shuddering left the hinges of his jaws. The first part of a gabba lift was always the hardest.
“Reality is such a gas.” His words in his ears sounded smooth, pneumatic, resonant.
“What was that about ransoming Tre Dietz‟s wife?”
“The loonie moldies kidnapped her by accident yesterday. She‟s on her way to the Moon. I‟m
supposed to pay a big ransom and get Whitey Mydol and Darla Starr to pick her up. I already
transferred the credit to Whitey‟s account.”
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“Whitey and Darla! But why should you have to pay for stupid Tre Dietz‟s wife?”
“He‟s made me lot of money, and this new thing‟ll make a lot more. His poor wife is up there in
the sky inside a moldie on the way to the Moon.”
“It‟s not such a bad flight,” said Wendy. “It was fun when you and me flew from the Moon to
the Earth together in 2031. It might be good for you to do it again.”
“Forget it, Wendy.” Stahn started walking again. “Which way are we supposed to go?”
“Judging from what the dragonfly‟s showing me, we should walk down Ord Court to States
Street to Castro,” said Wendy, cocking her head. “That‟s the least crowded way.” As they linked
arms and headed downhill, she turned her attention back to Stahn. “So you saw N-dimensional
Perplexing Poultry, huh? Have you ever heard the theory that mathematics keeps people
young? I think it‟s good for you to be thinking about these things. Instead of about power and
money. And all your hangovers.”
“I wish you wouldn‟t obsess about age all the time, Wendy. You know damn well that with DIM
parts and tank-grown organs, anyone with our kind of money can live to a hundred and
twenty.”
“Yes,” said Wendy. “All thanks to the wonderful compatibility of me. But because Wendy Meat
and W. M. Biologicals do, in fact, grow clones of me, I can do something better than get
patched up. I can start over in a blank twenty-five-year-old wendy. My „Cloak could transfer all
the information. I‟ve been thinking about it a lot.”
“Oh, don‟t, Wendy. What would happen to this body?” Stahn snaked his arm under Wendy‟s
Happy Cloak and around her waist to hug her. “This body I‟ve loved so long? Would you cut it
up and sell off the meat and the organs?”
“I‟m serious about this, Stahn, so don‟t try and make it hard for me. But let‟s not talk about it
now. You‟re in no condition.” She twisted away from Stahn‟s grip and brightened her voice.
“Look, we‟re almost there. And—yes!—the dragonfly just spotted the kids.”
Wendy stopped walking for a second, the better to absorb the images the dragonfly was
uvvying to her, and as she viewed them she began to laugh. “Saint is—he‟s wearing a silvered
coat and he has tinfoil on his head. And Babs is—oh, Babs—” She laughed harder. “I can hardly
describe this, Stahn. She‟s got a little tray around her waist with things on it and a terrible
yellow shirt; I have no idea what she‟s supposed to be. Let‟s hurry and meet them.”
Rudy Rucker
“Do you really want those poor children to see their mother‟s body butchered?” demanded
Stahn. “It would be traumatic. And then, once you were twenty-five, you‟d get young guys and
you wouldn‟t want me! That‟s what I get for being faithful to you all these years?”
“I said let‟s drop it. You get so dramatic when you‟re lifted! You know damn well that I‟m a
Happy Cloak, not a human body. This body—this wendy—it‟s a mindless piece of meat that I
use to walk around in and to make love to you, Stahn. You never got excited when I replaced
my imipolex every three years. If I change my flesher body, everything will be just the same.
I‟m a moldie, I‟m your wife, and I‟ll always love you. So there.”
Wendy pushed into the crowd, and Stahn followed. There were a lot of brides here tonight; that
was just about the number-one favorite costume. Other faves were strippers, debutantes,
princesses, and slaves. A few people recognized Stahn or Wendy, but most mistook them for
het looky-look tourists. “Hello, Cleveland,” sneered a skinny large-breasted morph with a
beard. A disco dandy snipped, “When you drive back to the „burbs, remember that my car is the
Mercedes and yours is the BMW.”
“I didn‟t use a car,” said Wendy pityingly, “I used my broom!” Though Stahn hadn‟t noticed it
before, Wendy was indeed holding a broom—oh yeah, it was a piece of her „Cloak that she‟d
temporarily pinched off and reshaped.
Wendy pointed Stahn in the direction where the dragonfly had shown her the kids. “Press on,
dear old fool.” Stahn fought past a man with a cardboard toilet around his head and his face
sticking out of the bowl and a plastic dick over his nose, past a woman with a leash leading a
blindfolded nude ungenitaled Barbie, past a morph with a head built up with phonybone to the
shape of a cube, past people with wings and huge flexing cocks—the crowd pressed and swirled
like the ripping currents of a particularly nasty ocean break—
“Hey, Da, Ma!” called Babs.
“Yaar!” whooped Saint.
Babs and Saint were in a doorway near the Castro Theater. Saint was a tall cheerful youth who
habitually darkened his appearance by means of odd hair, a ratty beard, silvery stun glasses,
and heavy blue suede boots. For tonight, he‟d covered his head with vintage aluminum foil
crudely wadded into the shape of a helmet, and he wore a reflective metallic fireman‟s coat that
went down to his knees.
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Babs had big firm cheeks that grew pink when she was excited, like now. As part of her
costume, she wore a yellow polyester shirt with a tag saying:
HI I’M LYNNE – HAPPY DOLLAR
She held a stick bearing something like a square lantern with the numeral “3” on each of its
four sides, and around her waist was a cardboard tray with packages glued to it—cereal boxes
and udon and pho noodles and tampons and panty shields and disposable ceramic forks. Her
hair was pulled tight into a lank little ponytail that was barrette-clamped to point upward; and
to complete the groovy hairdo, she wore a wiiiiiide bandeau.
“Can you tell what I am?” chirped Babs cozily. Wendy couldn‟t guess, but Stahn recognized it
from his childhood.
“You‟re a clerk in an old-time supermarket!”
“Ye oldie checker gal,” said Babs, laughing gaily.
“What about me?” asked Saint.
“A robot?” guessed Wendy.
“Sort of,” said Saint. “ „I am Iron Man.‟ I‟ve got my stunglasses broadcasting realtime live on
the Show, you wave, and I‟m using this classic twentieth-century metal song for the
background. Listen.” He switched his uvvy to speaker mode and karaoked some crude guitar
licks. “Danh-danh deh-denh-deh. Dadadada-danh-danh-dah-dah.”
Wendy had set their dragonfly to filming the little family outing; it hovered a few feet over their
heads like a hummingbird, its wings whispering and its single bright bead-eye lens staring at
the Mooneys. Wendy and Saint could see the pictures through their uvvies.
Saint sang Iron Man some more, raising his hand toward the dragonfly in a spread-fingered
salute; Wendy could see that he was goofing on the self-images he was realtime mixing into the
ceaseless global interactive multiuser stunglasses Show. Saint saw Wendy seeing him, and he
shifted fabulations.
“Ma is Wendy the red witch,” smiled Saint. “Who are you, Da?”
“I‟m the night sky,” said Stahn, all painted black and spangled with sparkles. “As seen by a
cosmic ray from the galactic equator. How you kids floatin‟?”
Rudy Rucker
“We‟re having a good time,” said Saint. “I like how much there is to see. I‟m pulling in some
viewers. I‟m not gonna have to pay any Web charges for weeks.”
“People keep trying to take stuff off my counter,” said Babs. “And then they‟re surprised when
it‟s glued on. You look beautiful, Ma.”
“Thanks, Babs,” said Wendy. “But don‟t you think I‟d look better with an age-twenty-five
body?”
“Oh, come on, Wendy,” said Stahn.
“Let her talk, Da,” said Babs. “She‟s already told me all about it and it‟s no prob.”
“I see a group that looks funny,” said Saint, pointing. “Let‟s head that way.”
They pushed down the street toward a group of nude morphs, each painted a different primary
color and each equipped with big morph muscles. A few of them had tails. They were tossing
each other about like acrobats—with much lewd miming.
The Mooneys walked along with the happy, laughing crowd watching the acrobats for a while,
then drifted into the less crowded blocks deeper into the Mission. “I still haven‟t had supper,”
said Wendy presently. “Is anyone else hungry?”
“I am,” said Saint. “Where should we go?”
“I know a wavy Spanish place near here,” said Babs. “The Catalanic.”
“Let‟s do it,” said Stahn.
As they walked toward the restaurant, Babs began tearing items off her counter and setting
them down on doorsteps. “For the homeless,” she explained. “Anyhoo, I‟m tired of wearing all
this.” She took the cardboard counter from around her waist and skimmed it toward Saint as
hard as she could. He caught it, ran with it, flipped it onto the sidewalk, and managed to slide
about twelve feet before stumbling off, pin-wheeling his arms and yelling, “Aaawk! Happy
Dollar! Aaawk! Happy Dollar.”
The outside of the Catalanic was a warmly lit storefront painted red-and-yellow. Inside, it was
bustling and cream-colored, with a few nice things on the walls: an old Spanish clock, two
nanoprecise copies of Salvador Dali oils (Persistence of Memory and Dali at the Age of Six
Lifting the Skin of the Water to Observe a Dog Sleeping in the Shadow of the Sea), and two
nanocopied Joan Miro paintings of hairy bright lop-lop creatures (Dutch Interior I and Dutch
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Interior II). There were lots of people sitting at tables covered with tapas dishes and—”Yes, of
course, Senator Mooney”—there was a table for four. Wendy‟s dragonfly telerobot perched on a
cornice across the street to wait.
The Mooneys sat down happily and fired off an order for Spanish champagne and plates of
potatoes, shrimp, spinach, pork balls, squash, chicken, mussels, endives, and more potatoes.
The bubbly and the first dishes began arriving.
“See that moldie over there with the bohos?” said Babs, waving across the room. “She‟s a friend
of mine. She‟s called Sally. She‟s so funny. One day when I was here, Sally and I fabbed about
Dali for a long time.”
Sally was sitting on a chair with a group of five lively young black-dressed artists. Sally had
been shaped like a colorful Picasso woman, but now, seeing Babs, she suddenly let her body
slump into the shape of a melting jellyfish with wrinkles that sketched a flaccid human face.
“Look,” laughed Babs. “She‟s imitating the jellyfish in Persistence of Memory. Hey, Sally! Do a
soft watch!”
While her arty friends watched admiringly, Sally formed herself into a large smoothly bulging
disk that bent in the middle to rest comfortably in her chair. She made her skin shiny—gold in
back and glassy in front with a huge watch dial with warping hands. Her soft richly computing
body drooped off the edges of her chair like a fried egg. Salvador Dali had predicted the
moldies. It was perfect.
But Stahn was too benumbed to appreciate Sally‟s visual pun. “I‟m kind of surprised they let
her in here,” he said thoughtlessly. “What with the stink.”
“Do I stink in restaurants?” demanded Wendy. “Some of us are civilized enough to know when
to close our pores. You should talk, Stahn, the way you‟ve been farting recently.”
Saint cackled to hear this. “Da stinks. Da‟s a moldie.”
Stahn quietly poured himself another glass of champagne.
“How did you like the parade, old man?” asked Babs.
“I must say, it made me feel straight. That‟s not a way I like to feel, mostly.”
“Men are so worried about being macho,” said Wendy.
Rudy Rucker
“Will everyone stop picking on me?” snapped Stahn.
“We‟re not picking on you,” said Saint, reaching over to give Stahn a caress followed by a sly
poke.
“Da is a wreck,” said Wendy. “He stayed up most of last night.”
“What did you do, Da?” asked Saint.
“Never mind.” Stahn didn‟t want to tell his kids about the camote. He was ashamed to be such
an eternal example of out-of-control drug-taking; in recent years he‟d backslid terribly. “It has
to do with this new way to control moldies.”
“Are you scheming to control me?” Wendy wondered suddenly. “Me, in the sense of Wendy‟s
Happy Cloak?”
“No,” said Stahn. “I wouldn‟t dream of it. Though it might not hurt for you to try seeing how a
leech-DIM feels sometime. They say for a moldie it‟s like being lifted. Then you‟d understand.
Instead of always being such a straight goody-goody.”
“I‟ve been busy making a farm,” said Babs, changing the subject. “Did I tell you? It‟s so floatin‟.
Place moistened humus between two glass sheets and add one pint red worms. Voila!”
“You‟re doing this for fun?” asked Stahn. “Or is it art?”
“If you mean, „Can I sell worm farms?‟—waaal, old-timer, I just dunno. So maybe it‟s fun. But,
wave, if I were to put DIM worms in with the real ones, why then it‟d be ye new Smart Art and
maybe I could sell some. But making the boxes is so damn hard. You wanna make me some
worm farm boxes, Saintey? Eeeeeew! What are those gross things crawling on your head?”
“Lice,” said Saint. He‟d taken off his foil helmet and shrugged his coat onto the back of his
chair. His hair looked like upholstery on cheap furniture—it was buzz-cut, half-bleached to a
punky orange, and there was a paisley filigree cut into it, revealing curving lines of scalp that
seemed to have small translucent insects crawling along them.
“You have lice, Saint?” exclaimed Wendy. “How filthy! We have to get you disinfected! Oh! And
we‟ve all been hugging you!”
“I think he‟s teasing you, Wendy,” said Stahn, peering closer at the tiny creatures on his son‟s
scalp. “Those are micro-DIMs. I know they‟ve been used for barbering, but I‟ve never heard of
them doing paisley before. Did you program that yourself, Saint?”
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“My friend Juanne taught the lice,” said Saint. “But I found the DIM beads. I‟ve been finding
some really floatin‟ ware in this building I‟m maintenance-managing, Da.”
“This is your new janitor job?” said Stahn.
Saint was suddenly very angry. “Don‟t you always say that, you stupid old man. A maintenance
manager is not a janitor. I like to fix things. I‟m good at it. And for you to always act like it‟s—”
Stahn winced at the intensity of his son‟s reaction. “I‟m sorry, I didn‟t mean it,” he said quickly.
“I‟m senile. When I was your age, I was Sta-Hi the taxi driver, so who am I to talk?
Maintenance is wavy. Retrofitting. Tinkering. It‟s almost like engineering.”
“Saint doesn‟t want to go to engineering school, Da,” put in Babs. “Get over it. His friends
already look up to him like a teacher.”
“They do?” asked Stahn.
“Yes,” said Saint. “I like to think about the meaning of things. And what to do with life. Every
day should be happy. My friends listen to me.”
“Well, hell,” said Stahn. “Then maybe you can be a senator.” He put up his hands cringingly.
“Just kidding!”
The waitress arrived with a pitcher of sangria, more potatoes, and the grilled prawns. Stahn
passed Saint the prawns and poured out glasses of the sangria.
“What‟s the building you‟re doing maintenance for?” Wendy asked Saint.
“Meta West Link,” said Saint. “They own the satellites and dishes for sending uvvy signals to
the Moon.”
“Wholly owned by ISDN since 2020,” put in Stahn. “I can certainly believe that Meta West
would have some interesting things in their basement.”
“Give me some DIM lice, Saintey?” pleaded Babs. “I‟ll make a Smart Art flea circus! I want lice
right now!” She crooked one arm around her brother‟s neck and began picking at his head. “I‟m
the lice doctor!” When Babs had been younger, she‟d enjoyed taking ticks off the family dog.”
“Don‟t be so disgusting, you two,” said Wendy severely. “You‟re in a restaurant. Stop it right
now.”
Rudy Rucker
The kids broke apart with a flurry of screeches and pokes, and then both of them sat there
calmly with their hands folded.
“It‟s Da‟s fault,” said Saint.
“Da did it,” added Babs.
“Da‟s bad,” said Saint.
“Da‟s lifted and drunk,” said Babs.
“Da has a drug problem,” said Saint.
Stahn got the waitress and ordered himself a brandy and an espresso. “Anyone else for coffee
or a drink? Anything? Dessert, kids?”
Saint and Babs ordered cake, but Wendy didn‟t want anything. She said she thought it was
about time they got going.
“Mind if I join you?” said Sally the moldie, suddenly appearing at the end of the table. Her body
was a cubist dream of triangles and bright colors.
“Sally, ole pal!” said Babs, hilarious on her four drinks. “Sit down.” Sally pulled up a chair and
Babs introduced her. “This is my brah and my rents—Saint, Stahn, and Wendy. This is Sally,
guys.”
“I‟ve been wanting to meet Wendy,” said Sally. “We moldies all wonder about her. How do you
do it? Emulate a human wife and mother, I mean. It‟s a pretty bizarre thing to do.”
“I‟ve been doing it so long it feels normal,” said Wendy. “Though I am getting a bit tired of this
particular human body.”
Sally produced a screw-top jar from the folds of her flesh and took off the top. “I like to have a
little rub of this when I‟m around people getting high,” she said, using a green-striped finger to
crook out a glob of ointment. She rubbed the goo into her chest and handed the jar to Wendy.
“Try some, Wendy. It‟s betty. Fine, fine betty.”
“We still have a long trek home,” objected Stahn. He counted on Wendy being the sober one.
“Just chill sometime,” said Wendy, scooping up two fingers of betty and smoothing it onto her
„Cloak self.
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By the time Sally could put the jar away, she and Wendy were completely lifted. “Wave this new
take on the soft watch,” said Sally, turning beige. In seconds she was shaped like an old-time
computer box with a monitor on it—the box melting and drooling off the edge of her chair to
make a puddle on the floor, and the monitor was displaying—the face of that Jenny-thing
who‟d been on-line with Tre Dietz last night?
At the same time, Wendy was tweaking quite savagely. Her Happy Cloak stopped being a
demure red Wendy the Witch cape and bunched up around her neck in a big convoluted green
dinosaur ruffle. “I‟ve been a good wife and mother all these years, but I don‟t want to get any
older. I want a full upgrade! You need to understand this meat body isn‟t me,” she raved.
“Watch!” The ruff on her neck bucked up, pulling a frightening tangle of rootlike connectors
out of her flesh and into the air. Wendy‟s face went slack and her head pitched forward to lie on
her crossed arms on the table. Wendy‟s „Cloak gestured nastily with its tendrils, then wormed
them back into Wendy‟s neck. Wendy straightened up, a triumphant gleam in her eyes. “See?”
“We‟re outta here,” said Stahn, getting to his feet and throwing down money for the check.
“You shouldn‟t have given her that damn shit, Sally.”
“Bye, Sally,” said Wendy. She winked and pointed a finger upward. “Thanks for the lift and the
lift .”
“Have a good trip,” said Sally.
Stahn tried to take Wendy‟s arm to steady her, but she twisted away from him with frightening
vigor. She pushed out to the street, followed by her family.
“I wish I hadn‟t seen that,” said Babs quietly. “Is Ma all right?”
“We just need to get home and kick,” said Stahn. “I wonder if there‟s any chance of a rickshaw
or a streetcar. Oh good, it looks like Wendy‟s calling one.” Wendy was gesturing broadly, and
the dragonfly hopped off its perch and circled as if searching for a ride.
“It‟ll be here soon,” said Wendy, smiling crookedly. “And, kids, I‟m sorry about freaking in the
restaurant, but it‟s for true. I‟m about to shed.”
She didn‟t elaborate, and nobody knew what to say, so for a half minute the four of them just
stood there among the people and the moldies passing by. A streetcar ground past, going the
wrong way. A sudden breeze swept up from the Bay, startlingly strong and chilly. Stahn turned
his back against it, wishing he‟d worn a thicker coat. Wendy and the kids were facing him, and
for a moment he thought the kids were teasing when they began to scream.
Rudy Rucker
“Here‟s our ride, Stahn!” whooped Wendy.
The wet frigid air whirled like a tornado, and a huge blue pterodactyl shape swooped down
toward them. Its wingspan was so large that it could barely fit in between the buildings. It
would have to break through the streetcar wires if it wanted to reach them; they might have
time to escape!
“Run!” yelled Stahn. “Back in the restaurant!”
But before he could move, Wendy‟s Happy Cloak lifted off and flapped toward Stahn like a pair
of ragged bat wings. Stahn was too slowed by drink and too distracted by the sight of Wendy‟s
body falling to the ground to stop the „Cloak from wrapping itself around him. Quickly the
„Cloak sank its tendrils into Stahn‟s neck and froze him in place. Stahn stood there staring at
his children trying to tend their mother‟s imbecilic limp body—and then the great pterodactyl
pecked down in between the wires, pecked up Stahn and swallowed him and Wendy‟s Happy
Cloak whole.
Stahn heard the muffled sound of the pterodactyl‟s screeching caw of triumph, and he felt
himself borne up and away. All was dark and airless, but then the Wendy „Cloak began feeding
Stahn air and information.
“Don‟t be scared, dear Stahn,” said Wendy‟s voice. “I‟ll take care of you. Flapper here is going to
help us fly to the Moon. It‟ll be a good change of pace for you. The loonie moldies are eager for
you to visit. And I‟m going to the Nest to get a new wendy from the pink-tanks. You‟ll be
wearing me until then.”
“The Moon,” said Stahn numbly. “You‟re kidding. Who‟s Flapper?”
“She‟s like a customs official for the loonie moldies; she keeps an eye on what goes between the
Earth and the Moon. Since the loonie moldies want you to visit, Sally had the idea of asking
Flapper to come down and peck like a pterodactyl.”
“Wait a minute. Can you still see through the dragonfly? How are the children? Show them to
me.”
The Wendy „Cloak fed Stahn the uvvy image of Saint squatting by his mother‟s body, with
desperate Babs out in the street trying to flag down a rickshaw. The vacated wendy just lay
there twitching.
“Those poor children,” said Stahn, his eyes filling with tears. “Those poor, poor children.”
The Ware Tetralogy: Freeware
“Tsk,” said the „Cloak. “It is sad. But I hope they don‟t waste a lot of money and emotion on that
brainless worn-out old body. I should have killed it before I left.” She cut off the dragonfly
video feed and all was black again.
“Wendy, what‟s happened to your feelings? Does it even make sense to call you Wendy
anymore?”
“Sure, I‟m Wendy. Yeah, I guess I am being a little cold, huh? Not too characteristic of my usual
persona.” The „Cloak giggled. “I guess it‟s the betty makes me act this way. Now you can see
how it feels, Stahn. You‟re always so heartless to me when you‟re lifted.”
“If you‟re going to nag me like a wife while I‟m wrapped up inside you, I‟m going to go crazy. I‟d
rather die! We‟re high above Earth by now, right? Why don‟t you and this damned Flapper
push me out and let me drop! Do it! I‟d be glad to die, Wendy, glad to get the endless misery
over with!”
“You just feel that way because you‟re strung out on drugs, you fool.”
“I‟m coming down again, baby! All I do is get high and come down; nobody likes me anymore;
I‟m no good to anyone; I might as well be dead; let me fuckin‟ drop and die.”
Flapper‟s soprano voice interrupted in operatic song, “I wonder if he really means it? Look at
this, Stahn Mooney!” There was a doughy rubbing against Stahn‟s body from head to toe, a
lumpy peristalsis as if he were feces being squeezed down a long rectum. The pressure on the
top of his head was great. Clever small folds in the plastic took off Stahn‟s clothes and spirited
them away.
“Yeah, pop us halfway out, Flapper,” laughed Wendy. “Let Stahn see!”
Flapper sphinctered open a hole and pushed out Stahn‟s upper body. She clamped lightly down
on the top of Stahn‟s pelvis to keep the wind from ripping him away.
So here was Stahn hanging out of a giant moldie pterodactyl‟s ass, staring down at the great
dark world below. The air beat at him, but he felt it only thinly, for the Wendy „Cloak was
stretched over him like a bubbletopper spacesuit, and the „Cloak‟s smart imipolex was
twitching and shuddering to cancel out the resonant vibrations.
Far off to the west, a crescent of the Earth was still in sunshine; it was a blazing arc of hot blue
ocean. But most of the planet was a silvery monochrome, bathed by the light of the Moon. The
high clouds beneath Stahn were stippled in a regular pattern like fish scales, a mackerel sky.
Rudy Rucker
Off to the east, the clouds transmuted into flowing mares‟ tails, with each tail shaped the same.
The world was beautiful.
“I don‟t want to die after all,” volunteered Stahn. The city of San Francisco was a speck of
brightness far far below. “How high are we?”
“Fifty miles and rising fast. Flapper‟s going to squirt you and me toward the Moon like a
torpedo when she gets to sixty miles! I don‟t have enough oomph to fly us all the way from the
Earth to the Moon, see, but with Flapper launching us we can make it. We‟ll do the next two
hundred thousand miles on our own!”
As his eyes adjusted, Stahn could make out more and more detail in the moonlit clouds below.
Once again he marveled at the world‟s fractal beauty, at its fondly loved structures recurring
across every size scale—in the clouds, the land, the sea—ah, the great living skin of sacred Gaia.
“This is wavy,” said Stahn presently.
“It‟ll take us a week to get to the Moon,” said Wendy. “Enough time for you to dry out for the
first time in years. It‟ll be like a honeymoon.”
“Except you don‟t have a human body,” said Stahn. “A body‟s considered kind of important on
a honeymoon.”
“I can give you hand jobs, Stahn. I can stick fingers up your butt. You‟ll like it. You‟ll see.”
As they flew higher and higher, the pterodactyl‟s wings grew larger and thinner, till finally she
looked like a giant stingray.
“I‟m nearly ready to launch you!” trilled the great ray‟s voice. “Let me draw you back in so I can
push you harder. Brace Stahn tight, Wendy.”
“Okay, Flapper,” said Wendy.
Flapper puckered her flesh and drew Stahn and Wendy into herself.
Stahn was starting to feel panicky. “Even if she launches us, how are you going to get the
energy to decelerate us into lunar orbit, Wendy? You‟re not very big. I doubt if you weigh more
than fifteen pounds. When you and me flew down to Earth on Spore Day in 2031, our Happy
Cloaks were beefed up to ten times that much. Are you sure you have enough stored-up energy
to keep me warm while we‟re floating though space?”
The Ware Tetralogy: Freeware
“Flapper gets lots of energy from the Sun up here, and she stores it as quantum dots. And
Flapper‟s going to give me a whole gram! We‟ll have a full tank of gas, big guy.”
“Yes, Wendy, here come your quantum dots,” sang Flapper. “I‟m spraying them into your flesh.
And now I‟m nearly ready to birth you!”
By craning his head back, Stahn could see down the tunnel of flesh that led from inside Flapper
to the outside. The tube was more vagina than rectum now, and Stahn was a baby instead of a
turd.
“Straighten out your neck, Stahn,” said Wendy, her voice vibrant with energy. “It‟s time for me
to go rigid.” She squeezed very tightly around Stahn and made the imipolex of her flesh as stiff
as steel.
Flapper started a great loop-the-loop to bring her underside uppermost. As she rose to the top
of the loop, she bunched her body into a huge mass of muscle and pushed.
Stahn and Wendy shot out from Flapper with incredible speed; the strength of the g-forces was
such that Stahn fainted dead away.
When he came to, he was staring out into black starry space. Wendy had lost her rigidity. Stahn
could look down past his feet at the great planet Earth falling away, or crane his head back and
look up toward the disk of the Moon. The Sun was hidden behind the Earth for now.
To maintain Stahn‟s temperature, Wendy had silvered her surface inside and out; except for
the half-silvered patch over Stahn‟s eyes. Stahn spent some time moving his arms and legs and
marveling at the multiple reflections of himself, the Earth and the Moon. How beautiful it was.
But how lonely. He was all by himself, hurtling farther and farther away from home, with
nothing but a moldie „Cloak for company. Tumbling through the dark, forever alone.
“This is like a bad dream,” said Stahn.
“I like it,” said Wendy. “Are you warm enough?”
“I‟m fine.” The silvered imipolex kept Stahn comfortable, and the air in his nose was fresh and
cool.
“Should I worry about radiation?” asked Stahn. “About cosmic rays?”
Rudy Rucker
“Let‟s put it this way: your odds of cancer are going to be a little higher after this trip. And
cosmic rays can have an effect on moldies too. But we‟ll just have to grin and bear it and hope
for the best, I suppose.”
“Can you feel how hard I‟m grinning?” said Stahn. “Not. This is really selfish of you, Wendy.”
“It‟ll do you good, Stahn.”
Stahn thought longingly of his pot at home and his liquor cabinet and his squeezies of snap and
gabba. He loved all drugs except merge. He‟d been through a bad experience with merge—the
time that Darla had overdosed him on merge back on the Moon. By the time that bummer was
fully over, Stahn had lost the entire right half of his brain. What a burn.
“Uvvy the kids, can you do that? And then we should uvvy Whitey Mydol on the Moon. He
should know that we‟re coming. I guess we‟ll be landing on the Moon the day after Blaster and
Terri, right? A week from now?”
“Right. We‟re traveling along a seven-day Earth-to-Moon spacetime geodesic just like Blaster
is. He‟s a day ahead of us, yes, and we can keep checking with him. He‟ll be our closest
neighbor most of the way.”
“We can uvvy him and everyone else as much as we want to?” This thought was somewhat
comforting. Not to be wholly alone in the void.
“Well, uvvying costs us a trillion quantum dots per second per call.”
“You‟re running low on dots already?” whinnied Stahn in sudden terror. “You‟re not going to
have enough for keeping me warm and for braking our descent?”
“Not to worry,” giggled Wendy. “Flapper gave me like ten-to-the-thirtieth quantum dots. That‟s
enough energy for over a quadrillion hour-long uvvy calls. So now let‟s call the kids.”
“Yes yes, do it. You talk to them first so that they know right away that you‟re okay. You threw
quite a scare into them.”
So they talked to the kids. Babs was crying and Saint was near tears himself; Wendy‟s
abandoned body had just died. The conversation went on for a while and finally they all felt
pretty solid again.
The Ware Tetralogy: Freeware
Next they uvvied Whitey. They were still close enough to the Earth that there was a noticeable
two- or three-second lag in round-trip transmissions to the Moon, so that call didn‟t amount to
much. And then they tried Blaster.
“Hi, guys,” uvvied Blaster‟s deep voice. “Welcome to the worm farm.” Blaster himself was a
presence made up of four or five permanently fused moldies, but his psychic uvvyspace arched
out to include the minds of the shanghaied moldies he had aboard. And down under Blaster‟s
basso profundo and the excited chatter of the moldies was Terri Percesepe.
“Hi, Terri,” said Stahn. “It‟s Stahn Mooney.”
“Oh good,” said Terri. “Tre said you‟d arranged to ransom me. But I don‟t understand the uvvy
image I see. Are you—are you out in space?”
“Yeah, I got abducted too. By my own wife, Wendy.”
“Wendy meat Wendy?” asked Terri. “Who Tre‟s always doing the ads about? I don‟t get what‟s
going on.”
“We‟re going up to the Moon so I can get a new flesh body,” said Wendy. “How is it for you guys
inside Blaster, Terri?”
“It‟s kickin‟,” put in one of the moldies. The uvvy image of Blaster showed a writhing knot of
moldies, all slowly crawling about while keeping Blaster in the same overall shape. The moldie
talking to them was bright yellow with green-and-pink fractal spirals. “This is Sunshine
fabulating atcha. My man Mr. Sparks and me are drifters, but will work for imipolex.”
“Mostly we been wandering up and down the streets of Santa Cruz stealin‟ shit and doin‟ odd
jobs to score betty,” amplified Mr. Sparks, a red snake decorated with yellow lightning bolts.
“Blaster says we‟ll like it on the Moon. Lotta lifty action there. Not to mention a good chance of
finally hooking into enough imipolex to have a kid.”
“My family is not happy about it,” said another voice. “I am Verdad, this is my wife Lolo, and
these are my in-laws Hayzooz and Mezcal.” Verdad and his family were blobby in shape and
colored in brown-and-green earth tones. “We‟ve been farmin‟ the fields for five generations.
We‟re not enjoyin‟ this change very much. I think there is nothin‟ at all we can grow on the
Moon.”
“Muy malo,” grumbled Hayzooz. “This is some ugly kilp. Why don‟t you let us fly back to the
Earth, Blaster?”
Rudy Rucker
“We‟re already in orbit,” said Blaster. “We‟re coasting. The only way you can get enough
quantum dots for a return flight is to do some work on the Moon. But, believe me, you won‟t
want to go back. You‟ll love it in the Nest. You can work in the fab growing chipmold. Or in the
pink-tanks growing organs. Or learn some hi-tech trades. You‟re moldies, for God‟s sake, not
flesher dirt farmers.”
“We‟re gonna miss the rain and the soil and the little growin‟ things.”
“The purity of the Moon is good,” said Blaster. “It is an ascetic spiritual path, but a highly
efficacious one.”
“I don‟t care how spiritual it is, as long as I can get that fresh imipolex you promised,” said the
voice of a pale white moldie covered with pimply red spots and with a sharp beak at one end.
“Buttmunch here. Gypsy and me are five years old and our upgrades are just about worn out.
We‟ve been rogues our whole lives, spent a lot of it underwater. We help smugglers bring
things in and out of Davenport Beach, and this last time we got careless and a flesher zombified
us. But Blaster says on the Moon we‟ll get new imipolex and heavy-duty tunneling ware and we
can like grind around underground, and that‟ll be stuzzy. Swimming through rock and getting
good bucks. It‟s a new lease on life.”
“Yaar, I‟m for it,” said Gypsy, who was flesh-colored and covered with fingerlike bumps like the
underside of a starfish. And like on a starfish, each flexible little finger had a sucker at its tip.
“But even so I wish we could snuff that dook Aarbie Kidd for putting the superleeches on us.
Remember that very first job you and me did, Buttmunch? The real tasty one in Aarbie‟s
cottage? When we offed that Heritagist asshole Dom Per—”
“Shut th‟ fuck up, Gyp,” interrupted Buttmunch, but it was too late.
“You killed my father?” Terri screamed. “You scummy mucus slugs killed my dad?”
“Dom fuckin‟ burned Aarbie twice,” snapped Gypsy. “Me and Buttmunch were just youngsters
anyhow. You don‟t like it, spoiled little rich bitch Terri Percesepe, then why don‟t you go on and
jump off the ship. Or maybe I should crawl over there and teach you a fuckin‟—ow!”
“I‟m right next to you, Gypsy,” said Xlotl‟s voice. “And so‟s Monique. Push harder, Monique.”
In the background, Blaster started laughing.
“Hey, quit it!” yelled Gypsy. “Help me, Buttmunch! They‟re trying to squeeze me in half!”
The Ware Tetralogy: Freeware
“You be nice to Terri,” said Monique, her voice tight and hard as she and Xlotl hour-glassed
Gypsy‟s waist. “Or—”
“Hey, hey, hey,” interrupted Stahn, trying to be senatorial. “Simmer down over there. We‟ve got
six more days ahead of us. Make them stop, Blaster!”
“I wouldn‟t dream of it,” chortled Blaster. “The fighting dogpile is an essential stage of my
moldies‟ journey to liberation. Xanana and I will keep an eye on Terri, won‟t we, Xan‟?”
“Of course. But frankly I‟d rather not have to be Terri‟s life support for the whole way. The
whole whole way. The whole whole whole way. Someone else should do it for a while. Monique.
After all, it‟s Monique who got our family into this. Whoring for that Heritagist zerk Randy Karl
Tucker.”
“You‟re a real DIM head, Monique,” put in Ouish, who was squeezed up against Xanana. She
wormed out a long tendril and gave Monique a sharp poke.
“Fightin’ dogpile,” repeated Blaster happily. “You‟re a spunky bunch of recruits.”
“Um, speaking of Heritagists?” uvvied a new voice. “This is Jenny from Salt Lake City?” The
visage of a lank, immature country gal appeared in the shared uvvyspace. “Hellooo there! You
guys ought to realize that some of us so-called Heritagists are really and truly working for the
Nest.”
“Oh God, not her again,” said Stahn. “I‟ve heard enough for now, Wendy.” Wendy closed their
connection and they went off -line.
The better part of a week went by, and Stahn started feeling a lot healthier. Having the drugs
leave his system felt like having shiploads of life come up a river to be unloaded on his front
steps. Whenever things started to lag, he and Wendy would make uvvy calls.
The day before Stahn and Wendy were due to land, Jenny‟s uvvy presence popped up again. It
was while Stahn and Wendy were talking to Blaster.
“Hi, gang,” said Jenny‟s callow giggly voice in the common uvvyspace. “Good news, Wendy,
I‟ve just arranged for you to download your personality for safekeeping, in case something
happens to you during landing.”
“That sounds like a good idea,” said Wendy. “But no way am I downloading to Salt Lake City.”
Rudy Rucker
“Heavens no,” said Jenny after a pause. “You‟ll download to the Nest. You‟ve heard of Willy
Taze? One of his friends in the Nest is a moldie called Frangipane. Frangipane is all set for you.
Speak up now, Frangipane. Don‟t be shy!”
“Yes, I‟m here,” said a clear sweet voice with a French accent. “I am logged on to your
uvvyspace. Bonjour, tout le monde. This is Frangipane in the Nest. I have an S-cube all
prepared for you, Wendy.” Visible via the uvvy link, Frangipane resembled an oversized exotic
orchid, a chaotically pulsing construct of delicately shaded ruffles and petals.
“Well, okay then, here I come,” said Wendy. There was a slow hum for several seconds while
she sent her info across the short clear span of space down to the Nest. “All done,” said Wendy
then, fairly chirping with enthusiasm. “My, that felt good! I‟m so much more secure now. Too
bad we can‟t do the same for Stahn without taking him apart.”
“We can talk about that on the Moon if he has interest,” said Frangipane. “My lover Ormolu
has some knowledge of the lost wetware arts.” Ormolu waved from the background. He looked
like a blobby gilt cupid from an antique clock.
“Put a cork in it,” said Stahn. “I don‟t want to get vivisected the way Cobb Anderson did.”
“What about me?” interrupted Blaster. “Why doesn‟t the Nest ever do a pre-landing backup for
me or my recruits? Aren‟t I as important as Wendy?”
“You are too big, Blaster,” said Frangipane. “And no, you are not really so important, I regret to
say. In any case, I don‟t have the resources to make any other backups. Your new recruits
should just be happy that we have jobs for them.”
“Xoxx you, then,” said Blaster. “I don‟t need your help anyway. I‟ve made this landing without a
problem plenty of times.”
“That‟s right. And you should not have a problem today.”
“Yeah, and just to make sure and keep it that way, I‟m not taking any more calls. I don‟t feel
good at all about getting uvvied by your Heritagist friend Jenny while I‟m in landing
countdown mode. I‟m going to take this up with the Nest Council later.” Huffy Blaster went off
-line.
A few hours later, just before Blaster was scheduled to land, Wendy and Stahn got a call. They
expected it to be Blaster, but it was Frangipane, her petals blushing and a-flutter.
The Ware Tetralogy: Freeware
“Bonjour,” said the moldie. “There‟s no good way to explain about this, Wendy, but it seems we
in the Nest are finally ready to attempt a full Gurdle decryption with a moldie as host. We have
tested it on some Silly Putters this morning, and now we‟re going to try it on you. It seems safer
with you out in space, and with wise old Senator Mooney inside you. Be of good courage!”
Before they could protest, a sudden sharp crackle of petabyte information hiss came over the
uvvy—a virus!
Stahn told Wendy to turn it off, but Wendy was already gone. The noise lasted for what seemed
like a very long time, the sound so densely fractal and impossible to ignore that Stahn started
hearing nutso voices in it. And there was nothing to do but grit his teeth until finally the
connection broke. And then Wendy started making a noise; long, slow, rising whoops, each
about one second long.
“Whooop whooop whooop whooop—”
“What‟s the matter, Wendy?”
“Whooop whooop whooop whooop whooop whooop—”
Frangipane‟s info had set Wendy to shivering. She was so tightly linked to Stahn that he could
see down into her and feel it like it was happening to himself. Piezoplastic vibrations deep
inside Wendy were crisscrossing and spewing cascades of phonons down into the live net of her
quasicrystalline structure. And the structure was spontaneously deforming like someone was
turning a dial on the Tessellation Equation, causing the structure of Wendy‟s plastic to slide-
whistle its way up the scale through 4D, 5D, 6D, 7D . . . on and on, with each level happening
twice as fast as the one before, so that—it felt like to Stahn, at least—Wendy was going through
infinitely many dimensional arrangements in each second. And then starting right up again.
Whooop whooop whooop whooop. Wendy‟s imipolex was like a scanner going over and over
the channels, alef null channels zeno-paradoxed into every second and suddenly—Stahn
flashed an eidetic mental image of this—a cosmic ray in the form of a sharp-edged infinite-
dimensional Hilbert prism slammed into Wendy and lodged itself in her plastic flesh, working
its way through and through her like a migrating fragment of shrapnel. The shudderingly rising
dimensionality of Wendy‟s quasicrystalline structure caught the wave of information and
amplified it. The info surfed Wendy‟s whoop and blossomed suddenly inside her like a great
still explosion in deep space.
“*Ffzzzt!* crackle gonnnnng—hello, I am Quuz from Sun.”
Rudy Rucker
At first Stahn was in denial. “Aw, Wendy, why you gotta lay such a weird trip on me, us floating
here in outer space halfway to the Moon, I mean what the—”
“What manner of creature are you—Stahn Mooney?”
The sincerity of the question struck a chill into Stahn‟s heart. “Stop it, Wendy! Wendy?”
“Wendy is dead, Stahn Mooney. I am Quuz from Sun.”
“Help! Uvvy someone for help! Frangipane? Are you there? We‟ve got to warn Blaster!”
“How do I uvvy Blaster?” asked the mighty Quuz voice, and before Stahn thought the better of
it, he showed Quuz where Wendy had kept her dial-up protocols, and Quuz dialed Blaster and
the connection formed, even though Blaster didn‟t want it to, and Quuz fed Blaster the same
skirling crackle that Frangipane had fed to Wendy just a minute or two before.

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