Louis Alexander Saint-Paul de Sinçay is standing on the edge of the northern quarry looking down at the tip of his shoes. The distance to the pits below must be at least five miles. The process has started and there is no button to push or lever to pull to stop it. He feels lighter than air. Relieved. It’s obvious that the Tech is working. He can feel the Algorithms, smell the massive mycelean network. “Plifortulo Gigante” the locals call him. He is the fifty-one percent and weightless. The supply chain ends here. Trustless. Careless. A Stateless machine below. Oozing teleomorphic sexuality. Zygospores tickling his nasal membrane.
Presenting proof-of-work packages sharp at seven o’clock. Knowing the answer. Looking for the question. Repeat every fifteenth second.
He pulls his eyes away. Only one problem now: power cords getting cut, water poured on wires, scorched traces in the morning. They are making threats of darkness. The Prussian State wants to absorb and annihilate the Place of Friendship. He will not have that. He takes great pleasure in being “la lignereton en la korpo de Eŭropo.” He will make the journey to the Drielandenpunt tomorrow. That will draw the situation to its conclusion…
Louis Alexander Saint-Paul de Sinçay was born on cold concrete and vinyl (his body already at that tender age contributing to raising the mean temperature of his environment). His mother was a computer. His father was a low-ranking accountant in the Vielle Montagne Pan-Euro Mining Conglomerate. The wind, ice cold, endlessly whirring. He was an unusually small baby. Fleshy pink and plush. Pneumatic lungs for breathing. But his hands and eyes were always old. The slant of the nose. The curve of his lips. Swollen gums. Acne spread out over a dull landscape. This was later. Disconnected network. Soil in the power outlet. Dirt in the processor. Dropping out of the university of Aachen with five unfinished degrees. Returning in shame. Hearing of the Machine. Building the Machine. This was the days of cottage industries and rational exuberance. In a makeshift washing room. In a damp cellar. Concrete slabs newly painted, a birch shelf. Thick yellow cables reach up and out of the window like maggots. Everywhere it seemed. Reproducing. When there was still something to be made by the Small People. But the return diminished as the speed increased until one night all the machines caught a bug and released the lowest of low kaos energy heat and then went cold and quiet. Burnt plastic and metal dust.
Louis Alexander Saint-Paul de Sinçay found work at the mining company. He raised himself and expanded. He once single-handedly stopped a cholera epidemic. He was the Doctor, the Postmeister, Stamp-designer, Coin-minter and speaker of the Universal Tongue. The village had never known such entrepreneurial energy! Now he is at rest on a chair in his office. His gray wool pants in stark contrast to the shiny brass underneath. He’s wiping excess ink from a printing plate. His hands working fluidly as if independent from will and reason. His assistent, M. Crickboom is sitting in the eastern corner of the room, eyes intently fixed on M. de Sinçay’s hands and the zinc plate. The operator, M. Beaufays speaks:
“8tw — 1pF — 2PF — 3pf — 4PF — 5pF — 10pf — 20pF & 50pF, is that what we agreed upon?”
“Hmm...what? Oh yes, naturally. That is correct my friends. It will be perfectly sufficient I’m sure. Our lovely neighbours won’t exactly be needing larger denominations, am I right? ĈU MI PRAVAS Crickboom?”, M. de Sinçay says.
M. Crickboom mumbles, “Liefern...scheitern...”
“What are you talking about you fool”, M. de Sinçay says laughing. “Scheitern what? I thought we weren’t using that language anymore. Where is your head at Crickboom? Back in Prussia or what? I swear to god, Crickboom, sometimes I don’t know where your head’s at.”
M. Crickboom looks up startled and says: “What? Yes, yes, 8 tw 1pF — 2PF — 3pf — 4PF — 5pF — 10pf — 20pF & 50pF, that is what we agreed upon, yes yes.”
M. Beaufays looks irritated, grabs a newspaper and starts reading, “28th September. Ok, let’s see what’s new today...The mine has made a profit of 5% in the last week. Only 5%, hmm...could have sworn it would have risen more. The...”
“Just rip me a page, will you? We need to finish the plate before the zinc is ruined.” M. de Sinçay says.
M. Crickboom gets up from his chair and goes over to ’t Ordinator in the corner. He starts adjusting the dials in the left tank. The machine gives out a harsh breath: Pppphhtthuuuuoohhhh! A giant bubble moves rapidly through the main tube. The bubble makes its way through the belly of the system. Searching for an outlet. Pushing the liquid through the tubes within. Realizing there’s no way to go the bubble calms down and starts its descent into the lower tank. Giving up its lofty ambitions and breaking into smaller bubbles. Dirt, sweat, blood converted. The machine swallow, hesitates for a moment, regurgitates.
’t Ordinator (invented by old man Mr. Watt) is a mechanically determined entity of irregular form located at the very top of the machine. She is connected to the lower regions by long limbs immersed in oily wax sprinkled with baby blue rhinestones. These are unessential but add a certain charm. Her torso is formed of half curvilinear round bubbles. A half-erect arrangement. Her face: two whirring aluminium coil fans. Its grills gleaming in the murky lumo-licht. Lips separated. Tongue slathering along moistened coils.
The Trough of Disillusionment consists of darkened raw material arranged along a pink crossed horizon. Organized like sleeping bodies. The shell of a wo/man. Their fiberglass and copper guts are connected to a nest of wires and tubes. Bound to steel loops with room for Müller-Thurgau and Riesling bottles (from those fertile valleys of the East). There is a steel skeleton welded onto ’t Ordinator with cables running along its spine. Legs supporting no one. Crutches holding up nothing.
A bright orange cord goes from the inlet valve of the core to a large decanter sitting on top of a transparent container. An opaque substance the color of concrete runs through tubes circulating dirty air. The main tube is connected to a bucket of grime (consumed with what’s just transpired) connected to a pneumatic bladder. The inflatable bag keeps oil spill and fire water from entering the machine. The liquid escapes into the cardiovascular tube and with force awaken the Governor.
M. Crickboom takes down a worn manual from the wall, searches for the correct combination but the print is empty white. He brings it to his lips and wets it with his saliva. He lets it rest there for a moment, the hairs on his tongue meeting the manuals fibers, and for a second; the meat, blood and tissue of his body are one with the fibers of the paper. His body is pumping out fluids from the pores of his tongue but no pattern appears, It is as if it is not even responding. The paper is dead and Mr Crickboom is living. That is it. The moisture evaporates. In desperation, he licks harder and harder. M. Beaufays pats him on the back. “It’s just not working, M. Crickboom, there’s no use in getting upset. That’s the whole point. It’s supposed to be difficult damn it. MALFACILA.” M. de Sinçay yells from across the room: “What’s the matter with you today Crickboom?”
M. Crickboom says nothing. He just puts the manual on the surface of the machine and watches as a pattern of moisture appear on the print, small wet nations growing, soon the whole print is conquered, dissolved. He drops the wet mass on the floor.
On the other side of the room, M. de Sinçay is dipping the zinc plate into an acid bath. The solution bites into the surface of the plate:
VERKEHRS ANSTALT NEUTRALES GEBIET VON MORESNET
POST INTERIUERE TERRITOIRE NEUTRALE
M. de Sinçay jolts out of his chair, happily exclaming: “Sufiĉe! Ĝi komenciĝis.”
M. Beaufays starts checking the temperature of the liquid in the Governor. “The temperature is 50 percent warmer then last week. This is absolute nonsense. Those bums from the north have been selling us humbug, squat, shit. Ok, enough. M. Crickboom, can you please report to the platform immediately? Please get up. We need to speed up the process and deliver.”
Soil covers lustrous metal scavenged by blistered hands. Alabaster white when born. Cleansed through Mycofiltration. The crooked shoulders of the girlwomen. Elongated limbs and milky eyes, hiding children in taut wombs. They watch water drizzle down the walls. Not for drinking. Saliva mixes with rare-earth-matter. Lactic acid merge with the opaque air. A local breed. Crypto-fuel.
Later still. Louis Alexander Saint-Paul de Sinçay is reclining in his zinc bathtub. Generations of tense limbs have mined the minerals that have become this heavy container: this privileged hole. Women have poured and stirred the white hot material for centuries. The material salvaged by bodies born from shallow soil and bred on pallid air. The tub is a doppelganger of the tub the company manufactured for Emp. Napoleon I who liked hot baths although his doctors told him that the habit contributes to his obesity and his man-servant told him he splashes too much. M. de Sinçay is barely moving. He is focusing on how his limbs feel against the thick zinc slabs. His body no longer solid. Deliquesce. Done.
The Drielandenpunt sits on a damp plateau in an otherwise flat landscape. Three invisible cuts across: blood blending, matter organized in clusters. Different routes created, each linked ad nauseam. The process has now begun. M. de Sinçay is carrying the goods. Speed increasing. He is heading towards the pink horizon. Enters through the mouth of ’t Ordinator. Slithers past the gut of the Trough of Disillusionment. Inhales a quick sip of wine for energy. Makes his way down to the gut of the machine. He catches a glimpse of her aluminium spine, takes note of the efficiency of the system, feels proud. He´s cutting off excess weight now. Faster. His customized suit falls off in pieces. His hair slippery wet from the cooling liquid. His body tingles from the wet sparks flying around him. The speed is turning his achy limbs into air and energy. Morphed into the question he was looking for. Meeting the answer.
The sky has merged with the soil below. Warping the perspective. M. de Sinçay can no longer see where his body starts and stops but he can feel energy pumping through his veins. He gently caresses the machine. Brushes off some dust and crumbs from the spine and increase the fan speed. His breathing starts to slow down. Settles into a steady pulse. Dusk is falling and he collapses, awaiting his reward.
The course of childbirth from the start of uterine contractions to delivery: seeking out an existence as labourer is a steep track. Below the black surface are rows and rows of quick legs, metal hands pounding at walls, hollow gazes reflected in muddy puddles. The deafening noise of the Proof-of-Work-sites. For centuries: zinc particles pressed down the trachea. Flowing into mutant iron lungs. Filtrated. Travelling into the blood and out again as soiled air. Limbs moving in unison. Surging below. Producing power above. They´re paid in dirt as they rise upwards.