Michael Benson on 19 Jan 2001 19:58:06 -0000

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> Re: Deeply boring age

In the mid-seventies I was a diplomatic brat in the outer imperial zone. The gravity level was only two-thirds Earth, even at maximum rpm, so later when I took the long slide down, I had to go through 14 months of conditioning, and even with the implants and that ridiculous pump-up device I to this day feel like the proverbial cripple in a G-tank (plus I haven't had a good night's sleep in the last three decades, except for when I went off-Earth again, of course. I don't care what they say about those zero-G mattresses. They don't work). We were experimenting with different brews of a strange reddish-yellow psychoactive drink made by shoveling some organoplasm into a metal canister and sending it into a slowly tumbling orbit around Eros-141237, which was then being mined to within an inch of its life, for about two deep-Earth years. The trick was to put a beacon on the thing and release one every two months, then just go get 'em with a shuttle when the time was ripe. The alternating subzero and broiling temperatures and the non-stop mixing action produced something unique, not to mention so high-test that I swear we risked vacuum diving between wings of the station a couple times on that shit -- you _don't_ want to try that, take it from me. They're marketing a dumbed-down version of the stuff in Neuva York these days with special tricked-up labels and those stupid fiber-light things that go blink wink blink, and of course it all costs more credits than it would be worth even if it wasn't one fifth the original strength. (There's a text-ram in there somewhere about how annoying it is to see the Outer Zones down-flipping into a marketing gimmick, but not today.) Still, that was damn good swill, especially if you're seventeen, bored, tired of the simulator and looking for trouble on a 7th night, and I'm proud to be one of the originators of the first quality off-Earth alcohol.
We used to do all kind of crazy things, of course. I'll always remember the time we stole a web-crawler, replaced the ten-erg batteries with the 200-erg kind they use only for high-security specialized mining applications -- now there's an up-crank, to put it mildly -- and crashed the whole outernet, all the way out to the Cassini Station. But not before we'd loaded the whole damn thing in a replicated mainstation, every single encrypted node security didn't have the good sense not to leave hanging. (Not to mention lifting the code for every single WoodWork film then in post-production, I mean all the studios, which would have brought a nice profit in the outer colonies -- which could never afford even second run rates for those things, let alone a premiere -- if we'd been in it for the lucre, which we weren't.) The reason, of course, I can even talk about this is that we also loaded so much deep background infotainment about Politburo members from a cracked high security locker that none of those immortal sucker-programs could risk so much as raising a virtual governor's eyebrow at this particular caper, let alone sending out planetpol. But all this was well covered in the Neuva York Nanosecond -- I think it's still at their website -- so it ain't exactly new news, even apart from being three decades old by now.
How did we know which locker, among all the decoys? Because some InnerSecurity newbie left a big fat slugline reading "Blackmail" dangling from the lower left subject line, just like the fucking manual says! We should all be so lucky, I know, but it changed my life, got me a real good upgrade and led directly to my ongoing immortals-level credit rating into the bargain. Sometimes crime pays! But first you have to survive the vacuum dives.
Were we bored? All the time pal. But when I look back on it now, I remember the great stuff. Like, you know, attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. Synth-sushi and raves at the Tannhauser Gate. Stuff like that.
Michael Benson