Translator 01




How I do it? It all takes less than a few seconds and I immediately turn to other things. My determination hardens: This is my home, this is the place I am supposed to defend. I look up at a sky traversed by grungy scraps of cloud. Do you feel it too? She remains expressionless, searches for a fitting answer. Sure, I have faults, scars, dumb habits. It's all just emulation, right?

I see something glittery flying towards my face, am catapulted backward. Blackness. It would be best to give up the role I have taken on here immediately. Well, it just happened. Are you hurt? No. Using an order that works almost without speech elements, I access information and statistical data on wild animals and natural dangers. I blink a few times and shake my head, dispel the subliminal mumbling ... should I be feeling anything? Her face is expressionless and totally relaxed. A nice day: She smiles, it is expected of her.

Where is she? What have you done with her? Manual controls offline. I want to talk about it right away but am given strange looks. Perhaps on account of my stiff and utterly emotionless expression, my strict self control. I still receive no answer. I try direct access and again am blocked. This confronts me with a mystery. I have to find out what it was you were hinting at. Why is it necessary for me to show an emotional reaction? I don't understand. They are just not answering me. There must be reasons for this. I calm myself down by breathing slowly. I try again to access data and get a slow reaction. I close my eyes. Please answer! Again this inexplicable retardation occurs, but this time I receive an answer. I keep my eyes closed, I don't want to open them. There is a low-pitched tone hanging in the air, a field of sound has turned itself on.

We converse quietly, but not inaudibly. Few sounds are inaudible. I concentrate on putting my thoughts into words. A long pathway. We are Sparta variants. We have a certain reputation. But as it seems, I am obliged to relearn everything I need to know. In these surroundings she doesn't seem human, she has neither turned red, nor is she trembling. Dead and frozen stiff. There's something there ... People? Impossible to determine. Well, that's how the situation is. You had better keep moving. We will reach the rig in a minute. Everything is going well, right?

Now we are passing through a landscape of ruins – walls propped with joists, grass growing high, blackened piles of bricks covered with nettles and burrs. Here, you get a few little pictures and numbers from me. I have to know if there are any weak points in the construction. Damned situation. I smell grass, the musty scent of forest soil and fir needles. End zone. Don't faint. It has something to do with the things that happened here. How often have I done this before? Now a texture is breaking up the darkness. Concrete? A wave of sheer exhaustion comes over me. Elements of urban infrastructure, dissociated artefacts with unclear functions. I encountered these questions early on, almost a child still. The first lesson: Switch to neutral and let yourself drift. Don't worry about anything and you will be ready for whatever comes. Don't worry – an allusion to the fugacious state of mind neccesary to avoid the crags of psychosis. So you let go. Switch to neutral. Relax and let yourself drift. Good. Outside, warmth and sunshine hit my face. Can a machine save a soul? It feels like I am slowly getting this down really well.

The climate is unfamiliar, the language is unfamiliar, flora and fauna are unfamiliar. I work using absorption, take in everything. The first thing you recognize are the basal resonances, they're the same. The flow of images suddenly runs dry. Something has been building up between us, something like a static tensity, something I can't fathom, my intuition is too jaded. Ruins, wreathed in shadow, and a blood-red sun sinking behind far-away hills.

I accept the offer just to see what comes of it. An ideal military drug that makes you indifferent toward things like pain, arousal, joy or grief. They call it Fragmentation. I am falling apart. Consciousness does interesting things under extreme stress. Here you learn to use all these things consciously, like toys. A rather shitty game.

The past is only relevant as data, but the signs point to a large-scale conflict. Everything is destroyed or buried or camouflaged so well you can stare at it for hours without noticing there is anything there. My uneasiness changes to ice-cold stiffness. The cloud formations shimmer in the force field. The sun breaks through. The factory area is large and cool, poorly lighted, the technical hardware is brutal and massive. Psychology plays an important role – stamina, pain resistance, brutality, lack of empathy. Chemistry.

The voices groan and murmur, male and female voices intermingling. I can hardly withstand the draw of the images. A whirlwind of fleeting sensations, technically excellent. Every single neuron, everything is deleted. An artificial being is created. Recognition of subordination signals is implanted, the dynamics of a pecking order, loyality to the pack. Sounds pretty unpleasant, right? You can't buy anything like this, that's technoparanoia.

The weather changes, a grey wall of cloud comes in from the west, single drops of rain hit my cheeks. It begins to rain harder. Heavy drops, I feel them in my hair. The essence of dominion is not to show oneself. It is fucking good stuff. I feel the treacherous tilting at the periphery of my perception. Great effect, huh? Music, movement, laughter. There's something I've forgotten. Something blurry. Something important.

I can't get rid of the feeling that truth is somewhere close by. Real and virtual spots. A few bits are missing. Intuition is a kind of subliminal perception, increased alertness toward patterns usually overlooked, because in the real world what is needed is a concentrated eye for details. But with enough guidelines you can bridge the gap, in a kind of presentiment of the actual knowledge. On the basis of this model you can later insert the missing parts. But you need a certain input to be able to take off. It is a process that cannot be stopped, a kind of mental avalanche. Parts of reality break off and cascade down, only they don't create chaos but conglomerate to form a pattern, a new structure whose final shape I can not yet discern. I don't know what I should be feeling.

The walls are plastered with images from the range of virtual surroundings on offer. Vertiginous mountain landscapes, huge wild animals. What is this? Are you getting cold feet? Why don't you just delete certain areas of your memory? I am not an independent identity. The next full minute goes by. I feel neither hunger nor thirst and don't have to take care of any bodily functions. Sleep is impossible. The only thing I have to deal with is myself. Do you want to have the construct installed? Does it know it is only a construct? I feel uncomfortable editing my self, such an unrestrained exercise of power.

A virtual desert. Reddish dust and sandstone, a cloudless blue sky. The sun hangs high over a far-away chain of mesas. A black window opens. Close-up of a sleeping face. I wake up and see a face watching me from very nearby.

Excellent stuff. I nod, contented, and open up to the effects. My emotional reactions are almost completely obliterated. The mission can begin, goal in sight. There remains no room for doubt, anxieties or emotional confusion. Hey, is this about some kind of moral stance? We all live in a big manipulation matrix and are constantly fighting to defend ourselves. As soon as we're born we are automatically in the game.

Something yells. My perception is blown away in the shrill whistling of the air. I am on the right track. I am not deceived by the peaceful atmosphere. Dead leaves rustle. You have to increase the distance! I try to figure out where I am. No time for long consideration! Dawn. From time to time a high-pitched ping detatches from the acoustic mixture. In my mind the ping declenches a chain of associations I can't stop. Clouds cover the icy night sky, hard rain sets in. The next phase is introduced. The voice analysis and data are correct. No one says a word, everything takes place in silence. Voices can awaken feelings, unnecessary emotions only create problems here. I need support. Fast.

Now everything has sharp, shiny contours, like naked data. A film of understanding covers everything I see and hear. This evening there are no clouds. I wait, breathing slowly and deeply. Everything is turned off. I listen. The sun glistens on the waves. Things seem a little too radiant, a little too clearly defined. Every landscape is informed. The possibilities of the world around me are enormous: the flight of a bird, the height of a wave, the colour of sunlight. I wonder if I can still cry?

Most often I dream of my childhood. It is eternal summer there. A stuffed animal. A boat. Laughter. Nothing fits together with anything else. These dreams never cease to torture me. Something that looks like a maze. It is afternoon. It is raining, chaotically pouring rain, more chemistry than weather. I am freezing and have thrown up on myself. It is all data from an x-ray telescope. It means little. Just a bit of blubbering and squirting around. This is the last stop. I wonder how long I will have to stay down here? I can't hear a thing anymore. No concussions, no falling objects. What is the matter with my eyes? I can hardly keep them open.

Flashes of light dart across the sky in quick succession, followed after a moment by far-away thunder. Every step stirs up dust. What looked complicated becomes simple, unsolvable tasks become solvable, what was unfathomable becomes apparent. I can easily deal with this kind of deception – it looks impressive but is mostly just for show, fashionable, sophisticated, but at the same time hollow. Cheap trick. I am nervous, keep an eye out for new developments. At the moment everything seems grey to me, sometimes I think I am beginning to repeat myself. You wish for something you can't have. Perhaps you are even the perfect player? All reality is a game. The future is a game too and time is one of the rules. Only the connective tissue is missing. Make your decision! Images, places, events are suddenly stirred up, caught by a camera in bad lighting. That means planning expeditions into uncertain terrain. Go deeper, is the word. When I wake up at night I have panic attacks. The light is getting greyer, the air is getting colder. It is snowing again. There is only little daylight.

Somehow I continue to fight, react to the attacks with desperate, improvised defenses, but these are only tactic measures. I have lost any feeling for time and my own person long ago. Stiff and hurting, I stand up. My muscles protest, my joints crack. It's coincidental. Everything is coincidental when it is beyond depending on skill. The game transcends my horizon ... But when I wake up it is with the memory of a defeat. The wind is howling in the trees and the rain is pattering on wavering leaves of grass. What has changed? Nothing has changed. There are just a few things I need to know.

Imperialistic power systems of this size are unusual. Male beings are generally used as soldiers, females are regarded as possessions. The name means "machine" or perhaps "system" in a sense including any functioning entity – for example, an animal, a flower, a robot or a mill wheel. The game is so complex, so cryptic, so flexible and so challenging that it represents a precise and complete model of life. If you are successful in the game, you are successful in life. So the game and life are the same thing, and people make it the same thing by believing in it. Of course we are animals, just like machines are machines. It is too much at once. It arouses me in the same measure as it disgusts me. I feel instinctively, almost sexually attracted, already now, knowing nearly nothing about it ...

My cognitive processes have been shaped by this culture from birth. A conventional opening for a story would be to leave the path and enter the wild woods, or have a car break down at night on a lonely road. They should allow me to be what it is my original destination to be. I am not interested in controlling others or making strategic decisions. That kind of power has no appeal to me. Nice words. I attempt to coolly and logically analyse my situation, but am not able to. Apparently I only possess that ability in dealing with abstract problems. I can't concentrate on something so inextricably entwined with my emotional state.

Birds fill the chilly, motionless air with their song. My head is clear and no longer hurting. The days go by almost unnoticed. My eyes wander over the land and the people, my thoughts race, looking for patterns and opportunities, strengths and weaknesses. I hear myself formulate the right words and feel that I am carrying out the appropriate gestures, but my general impression is of chaotic movements and noisy people not listening. How to explain it, how describe it? This aspect of the story is fading now. Data structures are built up, recipes followed. A local network ensues, knots are added, modified. Not really conscious of itself. Self-consciousness is often overrated. We shouldn't talk like this. Anyhow – talk. Scurrying back and forth.

This time it's going to be different. Scab-like grey mold growing on the walls, in familiar tints. May I be a part of you, please? I direct my eyes to the landscape. Everything is so beautiful, so cool. I am standing on a wide open field in the midst of mountain peaks. There is a rumbling almost below hearing. For a moment there is a connection. Maybe I should be a little more careful. Better look around first. It is early fall, the colours of the trees fade to grey in the twilight. A taste of frost is in the air. It is improbable that something should be completely lost. I just have to find a different approach for some things.

I really did see strange things there. I found something there, a lost archive, but that's not the point. There are thousands of archives, some have reached an irreparable state. They contain, among endless trivia, important secrets and masses of lies. There are traps and pitfalls. Complex things can be found in the archives. Reading them requires translations of translations of translations, without anyone being able to correct the texts. Still, some things are pretty clear. There are always zones of thought, there are always wars and peace. Or are we talking about different things? The details? I can protect myself from some of them, with others, there's nothing I can do. Things happen that can only be dreams. Bad dreams that don't want to leave. They really happened. They are happening now. I love these places. Although we have little to fear here, the menace is quite clear. This translation only gives the very core of the meaning. Keyword: sensitive translation programs. It doesn't matter what position I am speaking from. The issue is complex. From one side, it looks unlikely to impossible, from the other, inevitable.

Smothered sounds, groans. No one will ever know of it. The illusion of your own consciousness? Happy automatons, steered by simple programs. It has a few nice consequences and a few terrible ones. I have read about such cases. Oh please, I really would like to return. I never would have thought I could cry so hard my face hurt.

A lot of things fit, hell yes. I don't understand most of it. There is not a trace of thinking noises. Can you think and feel at the same time? I recognise the signs of intensive thought. It certainly is seldom boring. The sound is almost perfect. A thousand questions flash past.

You think it is sinister? They let me pass. Be careful. An eery hiss. Something goes click behind my head. Memory comes back in disjointed bits. I find suicide programs built into the applications. Enemies behind me, traitors around me.

We are objects, our intelligence serves a foreign purpose. Can you feel the unspoken words behind the dry style? The glance, cold and terribly lonely? I just can't handle the bio parts.

October 2004 – January 2005
Übersetzung von Ann Cotten