Saturday, November 26, 2011

In the Belly of the Whale

penumbra . 5
Still from Béla Tarr's Werckmeister Harmonies

The Leviathan’s passengers, frozen as they are in subjective time, are not prone to speculation about anything, least of all their continued unscheduled orbit around the planet.
Given the nature of the Leviathan’s belly, even if one of those passengers should, by some fault in the support systems, find themselves awake, they would have no way of determining how long they had been away, let alone have any inkling of their journey’s disastrous lack of progress toward the New.
Ivan Devoto, like DeSandro Bien spends his time in solitude but, unlike DeSandro, Ivan finds no solace in his solitude.
“Ivan, would you like me to prepare a little something for you?”
“Get outta my head Trinny.”
“Ivan, you know it is my duty to ensure that your head remains capable of its own duties.”
“Just leave me alone.”
“Ivan, as you wish.”
As is often the case when the loneliness becomes a tangible presence on the Leviathan’s bridge, Devoto turns to the muted monitors for comfort. He watches the interchangeable news readers from MantraRay and Carpathia struggling to mask the panic behind their eyes; watches footage of burning forests, encroaching desert and heavily guarded greenhouses, Leviptrons rising and landing in great flurries of petals and dust; watches the catastrophic world in which he, and indeed the Leviathan, are all but forgotten.
The Leviathan calls; simultaneously baritone and soprano; and her cry echoes through her cavernous body, resonates both through her bones and through the reinforcing steel beams that contain her cargo. Devoto cannot be sure but he imagines that her calls have become stained with deep sorrow these last few months, as if she too had given up hope that she may swim out into the New.
“I’m working on it old girl” says Devoto to the emptiness that follows her call.
“Ivan, working on what?”
“I wasn’t talking to you Trinny.”
TRNE goes back to the base routines, searching once again for one that will prompt TRNE’s human companion to move beyond the rigor-mortis of his despair. TRNE has data that infers that this is a great responsibility, even if TRNE has no capacity to understand the human significance, and this lends weight to the priority matrix that guides TRNE’s allocation of processing resources. Resources that TRNE has drawn away from the anomalies in the Leviathan’s vitals, anomalies that TRNE has concluded are not threatening to the creature’s life but stem rather from the fact that the mission has not been able to break free of the planet’s gravity.
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