Computer Post

In the Daytime, Pilot was posted to the Computer Store.

Pilot felt there was something he was supposed to do here that had long been programmed. He wasn’t sure what this was, but he was sure it was Important. At first he was asked to do several different things but none of these things made a great deal of sense.

For instance, he was charged with unpacking, testing and repacking components. Components arrived wrapped in plastic with special coatings made of bubbles, immersed in foam perfectly formed inside cardboard boxes, that arrived by delivery on large brown trucks. Once Pilot had repacked them, they had shed their cardboard and plastic and foam wrappings and were locked in place into metal cabinets that were screwed in place and plugged into The Wall. The metal boxes were called Computers, and they sat all night humming and glowing making quiet solitude with themselves.

Another task he was asked to do was Inventory. This involved writing down how many of Every Thing the Computer Store had. There were a surprising number of different Things, for although the Computer Store wasn’t large many of the Things were small. For instance, here were several Books and Tapes about Computers, and Software and Business. There were hundreds of Floppy Disks, a sort of magnetic Media, as well as Toner plus Printer Ribbons, etc. There were Chips and Cables and Buses. There were several styles and makes of Computers and Monitors and there were Printers and Disk Drives and Projectors, as well. It was enough to make your head spin, if it could!

One day, Pilot stayed late because Dorothy, who ran the Computer Store, had a meeting with a Client, and George was staying late as well to wait for her. They were waiting for Dorothy because it was Management Dinner Night and the three of them planned to go out to a Restaurant after Dorothy’s meeting. Pilot sat alone in the front of the store at his sleek Olivetti terminal. Meanwhile, George was ensconced in one of the rear offices, Reading. The Computer Store was quiet, the sliding glass entry closed and locked, the warm grey carpet cleaned by Pilot using the Vacuum Cleaner, and presently absorbing all slight sounds from the now-quiet workaday street outside and the soft hum of overhead fluorescent lights inside into a muffled near-silence inside.

Pilot loved the way the formed grey keys clicked softly under his ministrations. Charged by his energy, a curvaceous Monitor, like a Troodon’s eye from some prehistoric film; obediently winked colored symbols back at Pilot, through his holographic monitors. Pilot, of course, had long since forgotten about his own monitors, and the control panels in his pad where he rested his palms, controlling the Elevator’s movements, including the twinkling of its digital extensions on the Olivetti keyboard. He had even forgotten that all the world was first experienced by his Elevator and that Pilot himself was separate and together, ensconced inside the Elevator.

Yet something about the relationship with the Olivetti brought back ancient memories to Pilot. He could not say what, he could not say when, especially he could not say how, but somehow, something was occurring at the Computer Store. It felt like something Important. Something like Finding Home. Something that both electrified and calmed him all at the same time.

At the moment Pilot was absorbed in an analysis of Moving Inventory. This was a study that the Olivetti helped with muchly at the moment. Pilot had taken Data from the Sales System and brought it into Analysis mode where he could observe how much inventory moved, and how fast, which meant how frequently the Store sold a particular item. He was busy cross-referencing this with how much Margin of Profit each unit earned for the Store when from behind him he heard the sound of a key being inserted into the lock of the glass door. Pilot’s meditations on Margins had just come to some kind of conclusion about Ribbons when the authoritative and confident mechanical click and thump of the mechanical tumblers deactivating followed by the sound of the door sliding part of the way open on its steel tracks, halted his temporary progress. Dorothy was back. It was time to get George and go to Dinner. This was the thing he was asked to do next.

The Landlord

Once Pilot moved out from Mom and Dad’s, one of the first resistant creatures s/he encountered was the Landlord.

Apparently, everyone* in this space-time continuum had one, once they left their Mom and Dad’s, and he had heard it was an unforgettable experience!

Mr. Farley ran the big brick building that would become Pilot’s home for the next few years. Mr. Farley didn’t rent him the suite, nor did he own it, but Mr. Farley was the Landlord and he set the Rules. Pilot found the Suite in an advertisement. It read: 

Roommate wanted, character building, high ceilings, mostly furnished, 2 BR. $405 incl utils GWM Phone 991.4568

The advertisement seemed to be written in some kind of code he did not recognize. However, when he called the number using a Phone, he found he was invited by someone named Robert to an address in the grid not too far from where Pilot was posted during daytimes. There was a large ornate sign fixed to the front of the building that announced its name to the world: The Medieval Mansions. He walked there after his post and pressed a number on the intercom outside.

The door buzzed and Pilot swung it open and walked up to the second floor and down the hall as he had been instructed. At the appropriate door, he found a small indent in the hallway with a stained glass light in the door and beside it a a small metal handle underneath, inviting his touch. He turned the handle and was instantly rewarded with a mechanical RRRringggg on the opposite side of the door. Pilot could see the outline of a figure approaching through the stained glass and a moment later Robert opened the door and invited him in. The suite was very different from Mom and Dad’s house and had many strangenesses to it. For instance, the floors were mostly made up of Wood, with an intricate pattern inlaid around the edges. The Stove had burners that emitted flames, Robert explained they were Superior to the Electric Stove that Pilot had been used to. And the bathroom, in addition to having a floor made of thousands of tiny ceramic hexagonal tiles, had an enormous Bathtub that stood on Feet and was not Built-in, like the ones Pilot had seen before. There were three large rooms plus the bathroom, a foyer and the kitchen, which had a window that opened not to the outside, but to a Light Shaft.

“You will have to meet Mr. Farley,” said Robert, his large brown eyes rolling dramatically up and around as though to imply Mr. Farley was Everywhere including in the cornice moulding and the plate rail that ran high up on the walls and around the dining room.. Pilot didn’t quite understand, but he nodded nevertheless. That seemed to be a way forward in such situations.

“He wants to meet Everyone living in the Building, even if they don’t hold the Lease. He will want to show you the Laundry Room and tell you the Rules.” Robert bobbed his head, thick black recalcitrant curls spilling over a large rectangular forehead. Pilot wasn’t sure what all the eye-rolling or head-bobbing was about; NEVERTHELESS he consented to meeting Mr. Farley.

Robert took Pilot further upstairs around the huge wooden staircase, lit by enormous stained glass windows, to Mr. Farley’s suite. The entrance to Mr. Farley’s looked identical to Robert’s but had a different number fixed to the door. They rang the little bell. Inside, Pilot could hear shuffling footsteps. The large wooden door opened a crack and a gimlet eye fixed itself first on Robert, then on Pilot, then shifted back to Robert, quizzically. The stench of stale cigarette smoke drifted outside the apartment, into the hallway. Mr. Farley opened the door further, enough to squeeze his rotund figure out through it half into the hallway while obstructing the doorway and view through it.

“Ah Robert, I see you’ve brought the new roommate for Approval.” Mr. Farley didn’t seem to need much telling of what was going on. Pilot began to see why perhaps Robert had rolled his eyes around so significantly. “So, you’re wanting to move into the Medieval Mansions, are you?” It was a question, but the tone was a statement. Mr. Farley grimaced unpleasantly when he talked, as though the act of speaking pained him, somehow. Pilot nodded.

“Well, if Robert says you’re okay, we’ll see.” The Landlord sounded dubious, but grabbing a large ring of keys from behind him, inside his apartment, Mr. Farley squeezed the rest of the way through his half-closed doorway and closed it behind him with a thud. Pilot thought he could hear the sound of a cat meowing plaintively, over  the sound of well-oiled mechanical locks doing their job as he did so. “Come with me!”

Pilot looked expectantly at Robert, who shrugged, and they followed the lumbering but surprisingly fast moving Mr. Farley, who was already halfway down the hall to the staircase. Pilot followed, trailing Robert. Mr. Farley was speaking non-stop.

“..built in 1903. There’s steam heat. Some people don’t know how it works. It works! DON’T bang on the pipes! Here, this is your floor. See you Robert.” Mr. Farley had a peremptory air, so Robert took off to his suite and Pilot kept following Mr. Farley further down the stairs. 

“There’s no smoking and no pets: instant eviction! Intercom was put in in the 70s. Don’t prop open the front door. Use your key. Don’t loan out your key. If you lose your key you have to pay $50. Your buzz code is 218.” Mr. Farley didn’t stop talking. Much of what he said was unintelligible to Pilot who understood neither the context nor many of the references, but this didn’t seem to phase the lumbering Landlord, who was now heading off down towards the dark end of a long corridor. Pilot was still standing in the lobby. 

Farley turned his head briefly, for once acknowledging Pilot, “Come on, I have to show you the Laundry Room: it takes pride of place around here.” Ah, at once, a word Pilot knew! Pilot tilted forward and followed his Landlord to the end of the hall and down a narrow staircase of 13 steps into a cavernous cement room that was cool, being partly subterranean, with high narrow windows, far out of reach. It reeked unpleasantly like the combination of dirt, dust and a thousand long-gone bleach bottles, all held together within the rancid bouquet of some putrefying chemical air freshener. There were several large white enamel boxes of varying vintages, something like the ones Mom had at home. “Here are the Washers and Dryers. Washers take 3 quarters. Dryers take 25 cents every fifteen minutes. Don’t leave your laundry here. It will disappear. Not liable for lost belongings. Keep an eye on it. No tie-dying. No washing after 10 pm. No washing before 8:30.” Mr. Farley droned on and on. It seemed to Pilot there was no end to the promises, threats, warnings and rules. Many things seemed obvious to Pilot, but on the other hand, many seemed very odd indeed. Why must he keep an eye on his laundry, for instance, what made it disappear? And what about his other eye?

That weekend, Pilot took a few personal possessions in a couple suitcases and a trunk from Mom and Dad’s to the Medieval Mansions. He saw Mr. Farley briefly, in the hallway, conducting a similar tour to another newbie—someone who looked equal parts terrified and relieved that Mr. Farley deigned to provide his monologue, and grant his permission to reside there. On this occasion, Mr. Farley ignored Pilot almost completely, except to sneer and nod, ever so slightly in his direction. Pilot rang the bell at Robert’s apartment. Robert opened the door, smiling brightly. Seeing Pilot with his bags, he ushered him in. “Welcome!” he said. “Did you see Farley this morning? He’s on a raggy rampage. Don’t mind him. If you follow the Rules (here he rolled his eyes significantly) he can’t bother us. But don’t cross him!” 

Dragging his steamer trunk behind him, while Robert took both his bags inside, they crossed the threshold into what was now Robert and Pilot’s place. Pilot closed the door behind him and he heard a satisfying click. This was home! Was it? Had he actually found home? It had all seemed too easy, somehow.

You’ll See

Pilot had been sent home from the hospital with El a few cycles ago and finally had a moment to himself to inspect the Elevator’s repairs. Pilot perched on the toilet in the downstairs bathroom, feeling his whole being spinning. It was worse than he could have imagined. El’s centering mechanism had been further damaged in the clumsy ‘repair’ at the Hospital.

For the first time since landing, Pilot felt Hope expiring. Cold hard tiles under El’s feet pressed upward against its toes and inside Pilot saw the instant replay screens across all his sensors automatically rewinding and replaying the gory mess that had been made of his centering stick. 

“It’s over.” he thought. He had a sense of finality.

Elevator was damaged, most likely beyond repair. He would not be able to return home. He was stuck here on this primitive planet, with these strange and deaf-to-understanding beings for who knows how long—probably until Elevator was completely worn out and expired. He was trapped inside a perpetually mangled and damaged Elevator with no exit and no hope of escape.

Carefully, he replaced the bandages and with a heavy heart he stood up. Reaching up to the sink he washed El’s tiny hands as Mother had shown him, rubbing the white bar with I-V-O-R-Y stamped on it, until the bubbles appeared. He replaced the bar by the sink and rinsed the bubbles off El’s hands under the softly flowing water. Towelling them off on the Green and Blue fabric with the little loops, then carefully unlocking the door he went to his bed, slipping silently under the covers. He didn’t bother closing the door. At night, both Sister across the hall and he left their doors open a crack. Fading light from the setting sun cast long morbid shadows across the room, which eventually settled into a foggy thick blackness, frightening in its ambiguity. He knew he must stay there until light returned, under pain of punishment.

Elevator’s eyes remained open, seeing nothing but darkness.

Pilot felt nothing. Only terror.

Crisis

Pilot woke to a new timeline reality.

In this reality a local named ‘Mother’ had taken over running his simulation. Mother seemed well-intentioned enough but he couldn’t communicate with her. Worse, she did not operate on her own, but had a cohort whose intentions he could not judge. The cohort, named ‘Dad’, was also oblivious to his signals and seemed to unduly influence Mother in ways he couldn’t understand. Neither Mother nor Dad seemed to have much interest in Elevator’s damage. Pilot was inwardly grateful for this because he knew that repairs were delicate and if these creatures took matters into their own hands the results could be unpredictable at best, catastrophic at worst.

While El was damaged, there was little that Pilot could do except wait things out. Locomotion was limited to the least possible lumbering movements. Sure, he could ‘walk’ El, he could crawl too, and he was beginning to get how to compensate for the left-right thing but flight was impossible. He’d tried of course, but those circuits, along with much of his memory banks were either blown or  fused. Without extracting himself there was no way to make repairs. Due to the local atmosphere, however, this was out of the question. So, Pilot bided his time.

Communications were limited. It would be thousands of cycles before Pilot learned even limited access to his upper arrays again, so meanwhile, Pilot had to make do with the small amount of communication he could produce indirectly, through El. El’s cameras and listening sensors were in full working order, fortunately. They had not been damaged, but Pilot’s language centers were another story. Either circuits were fused or memories were inaccessible. Pilot had no idea why—it had probably happened earlier. Hadn’t there been some kind of an accident? He couldn’t quite recall the details anymore.

Pilot busied himself with learning the local language. Fortunately, both Mother and Dad talked a fair bit. There were a couple of other characters inhabiting this local timeline as well. One was called Sister and the other Brother. Sister and Brother were Older, so they had more fluency with the dialect, but not it seemed, as much as Mother and Dad. At night Dad would take a small Chalkboard out and draw strange figures on it with a piece of Chalk. Some of these figures were called Letters and others were called Numbers. For some reason, while they looked very similar to Pilot and they all disappeared at the end of the night with a wipe of an Eraser, the others talked and used them as though the letters and numbers were quite different species altogether. 

Letters seemed to have the chief quality of Sound. Numbers, on the other hand, seemed to have the main quality of Value. This was a strange and mysterious distinction to Pilot who had never heard of such a thing. Perhaps on this planet they didn’t know about unified communication yet. Since his own communication at this time was primarily in the mode of observation, however, as he had limited faculty yet with the local language, he focused on learning what he could from these monsters.

The strangest thing of all was that all four of these locals looked a lot like elevators to Pilot, but they showed no sign of being inhabited by pilots. Could it be they were a species that had evolved to represent locomotion but without internal intelligence? With the amount of internal memory damage and lack of the external Total Communications that had been so much a part of his life prior to this, Pilot couldn’t say. It was unnerving, to say the least, but there was nothing he could do about it but lie low for the moment.

One night, Dad didn’t bring out the Chalkboard as usual. Instead, he initiated a Dinner Table Conversation. Pilot was minding his own business, working hard at his panel getting El to import nutrients, when Pilot became aware the Others were all looking at him. Pilot looked up at his display, uh oh; the Discussion was about Pilot! Mother was saying that everything was going to be Alright. Pilot had learned this was code for the possibility of imminent danger. Dad interrupted next, speaking slowly so that Pilot could understand.

“Tomorrow, you will be going to the Hospital. It’s a simple Operation. When you get home you won’t have the Problems you have been having in the Bathroom.”

Pilot didn’t like the sound of this AT ALL. Something was seriously wrong and he could tell danger was imminent. He didn’t know what the Problems were that Dad discussed. But the Bathroom was where Pilot took El for some of its critical functions and Pilot needed to know these functions would not be altered. He had sensed that there were some issues in this area related perhaps to an accident at some time in the past, but it was nothing these creatures could solve. Surely, these creatures realized this. There had to be something he could do!

Pilot decided to speak up. He had learned only a few words of the primitive language but he could combine the “N” sound and the “O” sound. He did this, at first low, and then, when that didn’t do anything, he said it again higher. This time he could hear the sound through his monitors. Yes! He was making Elevator speak the dialect.

Mother looked worried but Dad wasn’t having it. “That’s enough, _____.” he said, “you’re going to the Hospital tomorrow morning. Mother will be taking you and when you get home everything will be better. You’ll see.”

Beginning

The landing was violent and jarring—far from the smooth descent that Pilot was used to with the Elevator. Normally his Elevator would have braked smoothly, banking across the atmosphere at terrific speed but in a controlled and predictable manner. Instead, he could feel himself flipping end over end over end as the Elevator spun out of control, feverishly trying to right itself and brake by using its automatic stabilizers and powerful thrusters. He headed directly for a massive ditch below; and crashed into the earth there, pushing up mounds and masses of red earth in the process. The Elevator’s smoking chassis left a charred trail over a dark, grassy embankment, turning the wet wilderness into a steaming, slippery hell fit only for a fire demon. Not being a fire demon however, Pilot was shaken rather badly. Worse, he could feel that he had hit his head on something inside the Elevator during the crash landing and was dazed and confused, as well. His mind reached back to his basic training but he couldn’t recall what he was supposed to do in these circumstances.

He took a breath, leaning back in his pod, and counting slowly, he tried to get his bearings. Before he could, however, bright Red and Blue lights began flashing on his exterior viewfinder, indicating that the Elevator must have been spotted by locals. Turning on the exterior audio inputs, the chaotic sound of a Siren could be heard, over the sound of pulsing rain. This was not good. Pilot had no plans to be discovered here, not yet, not in this state, so shaking his head free to clear the daze he still felt, he sat up and pondered over his control panel. Flashing symbols and diagrams scrolled rapidly across the holographic display—way too fast for Pilot’s dazed senses. He laid a palm on his control surface, mentally sending the sensation for his Elevator to straighten up and right itself, preparatory to an emergency take-off. 

It was too late. Locals had arrived and were all around the Elevator now, grasping and pulling and pushing at its smooth hull. Pilot, safely ensconced inside, could not really be hurt or damaged, so long as life support remained online. Fortunately this seemed to be working. But there was real damage to the Elevator. Right at the moment he wasn’t sure of its extent or area, but he couldn’t get it to right itself, which was a major issue! Tentatively, he ‘asked’ it to move right, and it moved left. He tried right, and instead, it slid left. Forward, and it went back. Back, and it lurched forward. No wonder he had crash landed. His centering mechanism was clearly malfunctioning, and now with the crash, was possibly broken too. Without a closer examination it was impossible to say. This, however, was out of the question right now as the locals seemed to be taking possession of his Elevator.

Furiously, looking around the cabin for some emergency lever, slide or instructions that he might have forgotten about in his dazed state, Pilot couldn’t do much besides beat his hands on the panel. There were no emergency controls or instructions he could see. All his frantic movements did was make El wave around uncontrollably, which had the unfortunate consequence of the locals taking a firmer grip on it and extracting it forcibly from the wetlands. They lifted his feverish existence into a nearby vehicle—the one with the flashing lights. Pilot went limp, collapsing back in his pod. El settled back as well, as it was wheeled horizontally on a fabric covered gurney with smooth and controlled movements by the practiced locals into the waiting vehicle. Pilot, exhausted by the ordeal, mercifully passed out. Sirens blaring and wheels whirring, the captured Elevator with Pilot in it was whisked away at high speed.

Pilot Memories

Pilot remembered deep blue and burgundy hardcover books. Full size hard covered calendars with the year stamped in gold on the cover to match the gold edged pages, which opened to a satin ribbon marking the page. There laid out a perfect organizing grid of the year, including certain additional pages with ancillary information that was nice to have too.

Year after year, he saw the calendars, 1 at least, he thought was still in current inventory, after all its cycles, 1-2-3, how many might it be. He recalled not, gelling on the details, in favor of more pertinent or at any rate relevant information, upon his screen, to do with theater 4 command levels: doing. TV4, recently, now launching.

Meanwhile Pilot’s responsibilities lay in a direction of further levels for it was only in perceiving the whole one begins to imagine all possibilities. So, presently he was prepping the fifth through eighth meta titles for TV3, preparing blueprints for market. Why this was the next thing to do has to do with picayune details of Pilot’s work; and may be related to the fact that TV4 is one of only 4 channels presently on the books and also the first channel, even now, to become available. In this case therefore, TV3 seems less surprising as the next thing to work on, possibly.

In toto fact, Pilot currently compiled lists on 16 Brain Paper meta titles, that was as far has ventured, as it represented some processing time and it was next in line.

Pilot knew, as surely as his old hard cover calendars were reliable go to items, Brain Paper books may be today’s calendar equivalents in broader application. While the entire suite was familiar to him in some detail—its documentation was, after all, a core piece of his early training—never before had said information been published in any form, for any reason, least all for sales. “Well then, here we are.” he thought.


The Generative Principle

Shards of sunlight punctuated by sharp shadows, sliding and flashing across the paper as his hand gripped the pen pushing it rhythmically across the graduated lines.

Dressed for the weekend’s summer weather in shorts, tank top, hat and glasses, and a green bandana worked around his neck and face as a mask.

The sun, flashing through the trees and the windows of the moving vehicle continued to trace shadows and shapes on his Brain Paper.

Some people felt they thought they knew what engaged the Elevator Pilot. A few were certain they knew. These ideas however, were mostly projections based on the observers, not on Pilot. If you wanted to know what Pilot really cares about, you’d have to read his actual Brain Paper notebook.

Pilot knows that CARE is different from compassion and love. Care means what are you giving your attention to?  What we CARE enough to put our will behind is ultimately what gets created or manifested in our world. Action is what generates reality. This is the generative principle.

GENR8 Brain Paper

Notebooks with purpose

Looking In, Seeing Out

Pilot, pushing from the inside, was seeing Out. There was ambivalence at first, then a rising tide of recognition, coming at first in glimpses, looking ahead, and in moments alone, coming in rising tides and moments of intense curiosity, ambition, accomplishment, satisfaction, correction and practice, practice, practice. These things are real:

  • Priority Purple VALUES Harmonium Notebook
  • Intensity Blue VISIONS Harmonium Notebook
  • Concentration Blue PLANS Harmonium Notebook
  • Turbulent Turquoise PLACES Harmonium Notebook

These things assist.

Press From The Inside

Pilot knew the best way was to push from the inside. Sometimes, however it was not enough, and he knew now you can also pull from outside. Either way, you’re effecting change and change can be good. In reality change was life itself therefore the absence of change or its deleterious effect were all consequences of not affecting it correctly. Pilot felt a way of explaining this was through cars. If you dent a car, by pushing it in, a panel bender can push the dent out, by pushing it out (from inside the panel). In actual practice, panels are smoothed by a combination of pushing and pulling energies from both sides evenly. This is what produces the smooth aluminum or steel body panels of most cars seen today.

As was his practice, therefore, Pilot had his core equipment strapped open to its place, well braced within a specially equipped smooth stainless steel circuit diameter made from chrome polished steel. Its exact diameter was not in Pilot’s circuit memory but was one that was not stocked ordinarily. It’s derivation was, he thought, through Phoenix? He wasn’t sure even of this but the equipment having no moving parts and especially well and heavily made, made him certain he needed no etymology for this item as it was especially unlikely to break.

At that very moment he shifted his elevator’s vantage point to another ‘room’ and proceeded to make adjustments to this very area. As a matter of fact he both pushed from inside and pulled from outside, to effect some construction, recent of late to his area. He also switched out a certain flexible gasket ring with something else applied differently, made from the skin of some natives to this area. Prior to this, of course, he added lubrication liberally and did certain exercises designed to flush waste products out of his system. Enthusiastically thus applied, and equipped, Pilot proceeded to redress his entire apparatus, taking time for light documentation as he went. He liberally applied a recent ointment to his fascia, which was visibly in need of attention, he noted, absently. Now equipped, Pilot left ‘the house’, its local containment area, in his local vehicle.

Pilot had no shame: being artificial he was endowed with no emotion, therefore it did not occur to him to dress in anything that blended in. Eventually his soundings mimicked him, like a reverse chameleon effect so that try as he might, which he did not, he would seldom receive the approbation he was programmed for, no matter where it went. It, of course, was his most inner sanctum official physical elevator El, who transported thus and transmitted every physical thing and sensation that Pilot experienced.

All this was simple information, in fact. Every charismatic being had it’s hesitancy about receiving praise, of this Pilot was certain as it seemed every sentient being in this place has approbation blockages galore in this sweet place… It was all going to become apparent why, soon enough, of this he was certain.