Monday, October 24, 2011

DeSandro Bien

penumbra . 2
Still from The Man From London

In the hastily constructed control room inside MantraRay’s Great Station Hall - now bereft of trains - monitors glow filament-orange and hum monotonous, displaying the regulated levels and core temperatures of the vessels and machinery required to produce the city’s antilight. Arcane steam-powered technology manoeuvres the Leviptron’s hasty high-tech delivery of flowers from the old siding into the echoing hall where DeSandro Bien is tasked with managing the process.

One would be correct to assume that the distillation of flowers into antilight is a fragrant process. However fragrance is not an entirely ethereal substance and is able to carry much more that the molecules of its make-up. In addition antilight has a gravity of intent that rivals that of the moon. DeSandro Bien will vouch for the above. From early on he’d learned that performing his managerial duties without a breathing mask could prove counter-productive. That fragrance, if inhaled in large quantities during the process of restructuring the flowers into what was once known as John Smith’s Black Hole Sunscreen Oil – antilight - produces strange hallucinations.
As a result of this earlier oversight DeSandro spent some nights and some days looking through the eyes of an alien mind; a mind that had no need for his pale and wiry body – he felt as if the light in his room – orange, flickering and incandescent; arcane technology that survived as best it could under its own crisis of identity - had developed a voice that ignored his head and spoke directly to the cells in his body, telling it things beyond all of the clever words he’d read and beyond all of the pretty pixelled paintings he had ever had the privilege to see. A learned man, scientifically literate, DeSandro has lost a few man-days to that alien mind.
Threaded in with these chemical formulae; the mixing ratios and MantraRay’s ever-increasing demands for antilight; are the thoughts and memories of a man who once enjoyed the luxury of personal time. And a true luxury it was, since DeSandro is one of those rare creatures who finds comfort in his own company and therefore were it not for the workload, his life in the Great Station Hall may well have been perfect.
Sometimes, when things are running smoothly, DeSandro is not averse to removing his breathing mask and inhaling controlled doses of what he had come to think of as chlorophyll dreams.

This world will not remember DeSandro Bien; his name will never be held up in praise of his managerial skills, but then DeSandro is not in a position to give the world any more thought than is required to perform his duties – to carry his body between the Great Hall and the small annex room where he tends to the functions necessary to assure that that body is fit to perform those duties.

DeSandro, breathing mask pushed hard against the window as he stretches down to close a badly-placed hand-valve, watches the recognisably wretched figure of John Smith being followed across the tracks by a no-less-wretched woman in a tattered velvet dress whose highlights expose intricate decorative thread-work to the glowering streetlight.
The valve hisses closed under DeSandro’s hand and he pushes himself up to stand, glancing briefly to see the scratchily silhouetted couple disappear into the gloom. He wonders idly if it is entirely fair to blame The End of the World on one man.

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gregrandgar said...

Only the civilized world can end. The natural world will notice the cessation of a prolonged bout of indigestion and farting.

Garth said...

Yodood: Hopefully it will become clear as the story progresses that the citizens of MantraRay are facing a catasrophe of global proportions - one that is certain to leave their planet barren.
On the way I hope to touch on 'civilisation' - perhaps with a little less indigestion and farting than is becoming for so lofty a concept ;]

Harlequin said...

hooray for your remarkable mind and supremely intriguing imagination.
i' liking the premise and the characters.. and their names.... hah!

Garth said...

Harlequin: more to come...shortly