Seven nights and six days I have laid here, Heike. My vision clearing from a dark blur to a light blur and then slowly congealing to points of light while the Catalyst in my veins changes me.
The sun rises, the sun sets. I do not move. I am unable to move, listening to the unceasing, complex Taiko rhythm of the rain. I cannot perceive the change, yet I am aware of it, it takes time to recombine human DNA without killing the host. Across Harumi, Buddha watches.
I lie face down where I fell in panic as the new rush took me. On the roof of the two hundred fortieth floor of the pyramidal HappyCam(tm) arcology. I am almost in a textbook recovery position, face in rainwater which pools around me. When I sleep, I dream of drowning. I am sheltered from the downpour by the hollow steel overhang of air conditioning ducts.
I am not sheltered from the memory of your betrayal.
Ruzicka trusted you, Heike. Ruzicka is dead.
You thought the police would find me too, comatose in our anonymous hotel suite, a mountain of BitterCress spansules the size of a small armchair swept up into the corner next to the minibar. Your parting gift to me; you know how much it means.
I grabbed two handfuls for later, stuffing my pockets before I ran. I have been running away all my life. I've got pretty good at it.
I've been running ever since.
You walked into a bar in Yokohama, the first time I saw you. Blonde Rhinelander, gaijin like me, long-hipped and fluid in a knock-off of some New Tokyo designer's original.
I remember you dumping your purse out on the bed, later, in some hotel room, pawing through your makeup. A crumpled wad of new yen, dilapidated address book held together with rubber bands, a Mitsubishi bank chip, Kusari passport in your newest name with a gold chrysanthemum stamped on the cover.
Our life, our work, you leading the way, me watching your back; Nights a blur of wild parties, entertaining businessmen, low-gee clubs, on BitterC cut with scope to draw out the rush. Days in a sharp suit, fuelled on Jahavan and mint Lifesavers.
We fixed things for people, meetings, deliveries, disappearances.
Ruzicka was a meeting, a disappearance and a delivery all in one. A nanochemist for Cryer, he was the one big score, you said, Heike. Set to become the fulcrum about which our society would change. He had a secret, and that secret was Catalyst.
Dawn: walking six inches off the silent streets, my ears ringing, bathed in glorious Ginza reflections. Your head already clearing in the crisp, autumnal air. My head in a rubber room, last nights wild careering now attenuated to a low-pass hum; I concentrate on placing one foot in front of the other. Rolling in your wake.
You lecture me, your capacity for forming coherent sentences racing ahead of my capacity to even look like I'm listening. I am lost in thoughts of your ass.
Catalyst, you tell me, essentially an autonomous nanoscale repair kit, was developed by Cryer to combat human cell damage due to radiation in the diamond fields.
Ruzicka's discovery was that, in combination with certain proscribed drugs, Catalyst could be used to change the picture of who you are.
BitterCress, used over a long period of time alters the DNA in the human subject. Pre-programmed Catalyst used with BC could be used to re-program the DNA of an entire human being - in a controllable fashion.
To our clients from the Omicrons, it must have represented the opportunity to gain control of their lives, to relegate BitterCress from a requirement for life, to merely a drug of choice.
In our world of biometric data, Catalyst is at the very least a "Get out of jail free" card. It has kept me out of jail. Whether it has saved me is an open question.
...jack the sound barrier - bring the noise.
Edited by - alwyncooper on 1/10/2005 6:50:12 AM