Cold Love
by Werner Hammerstingl ©1998


We live in cities to be observed. It's just too cold "out there" for most of us. I don't mean physically. It's too empty. There's too much "self" and not enough of that social fabric which provides padding for our frequent head-on collissions with ourselves. That social fabric we hate!

Like others, I have dreamt of "getting away". Buying the camper and equipping it like a mini house. Everything small. "Small is beautiful". But still the comfort of home: C.D. player, computer, modem, digital phone, uplink. Even the electric toothbrush features in my immaginary camper which takes me to the beaches and deserts of my dreams. Why am I still here? "We live in cities to be observed". This is my only comprehension why I have not swapped my present life with it's concerns about finance, employment, strategies for tomorrow, next week, next year, even strategies, in case I end up, like so many, finding myself with a terminal illness: how to die! Why have I clung to this excistence instead of trading it for the ideal life by some perfect beach with all the time in the world to just observe nature, get fit, quit smoking, drinking. Maybe even get close to who I really am..?

You're in the same boat I immagine! If I ever find the way out, I'll just fade away! You'll never hear about me.

"The meanings we generate for our lifes are constructed by the facts we choose to remember and the facts we choose not to remember"(W.H.'98).

In the meantime??

For the present, I'm happy to tell you a few stories to take your mind away for awhile.

Eternal life

Eternal life was no longer a dream; it had, long ago, turned into a nightmare. This is a true account based on recently received data. Data which, as a consequence of a time-loop phenomenon late in the 20th century, was picked up by a randomly lucky netsurfer. At first, this surfer suspected that he had encountered another "infocaster" who had amazing imagination.

Most of the scenarios referred to the future and of course he had not as yet encountered it. His only concept of merging tenses relied on a sprinkling of facts about the Australian Aborigines "Dreamtime".

He could only imagine that what he read, night after night, was the product of an TRULY fertile imagination. He had become so absorbed in her stories that his daily life was just becoming a annoying necessity of routine.

This routine had taken on quite complex dimensions. He could not share his experience. He had to remain healthy and rest enough that no-one suspected his double-life. Her strict demands were made during an early encounter. He had just logged onto a server he used from time to time to gain access to a on-line dating service when he found a unusual message crossing his screen in 48 point Helvetica bold.

It said: "I am the memory of the last survivor of the most ambitious human experiment ever conducted" after a momentary display that looked like his new screensaver the monitor flashed:

    "do you want to meet me?"

He was dumbfounded by the unusual quality of the approach. At the very least he had met someone more interesting than his usual net dates who never lasted longer than the cold erotic bridge of mutual masturbation via prompting's from a lonely, horny woman (or was it men?) somewhere on the planet.

Prompting's which gave a slight personality to the eternal "I want you to fuck me"scenario.

    "Do you want to meet me?"

It seemed to fade. He quickly typed: "YES". Again, the mandelbrot image appeared and this time it remained on the screen while words formed from graphic formations in decay.

The following message was extensive and he read it several times before he replied. The message read:

    "If you want to meet me, it will cost you your life".

Well, this was getting intriguing. He typed: "what do you mean?" thinking aloud 'what a weirdo'. Leitz was "in-between relationships". At least that's how he described himself on the few social outings such as work-parties when someone took enough notice of him to ask if he was here with a partner.

He thought that "in-between relationships" sounded kind of sexy and confident and it alluded to a willingness to share something with the right person. The fact that it had been over two years since he had last been in a steady relationship was never brought into the conversation by Leitz.

He had few friends and even his friends knew virtually nothing about him other than where he worked, and that he drove across the whole country once a year to visit his mother for Christmas. He usually stayed away for four weeks and various friends had taken it in turns to look after his cat and a few plants during this time.

On return he always took them out for a lovely meal as a thank you and then returned to his routine of infrequent social contact. No-one thought it strange that he never hosted a dinner in his apartment. He had always described it as small, even crammed, but handy to the inner city where he worked.

All Leitz's social encounters took place outside his flat and no-one knew that he had purchased a fairly serious computer and cablemodem so he could spend his evenings in the comfort of encounters across the anonymous datascape of the Internet.

The reply to his "what do you mean?" came dancing onto his screen. The letters were animated and choreographed . When they finally arrived in their intended locations they constructed the following paragraph:

"You have never met anyone like me, you have not even read about anyone like me. I am the last survivor of an experiment which began some thirty-five years after your time now, but which has already lasted many, many lifetimes. I am a human god. I am able to live for a unthinkable long time, but I have decided, since time is close to touching itself and will do so on the day of your death, to join you in death so I can stop - finally!"

"You're joking-who are you?" was Leitz's response.

Her impatient reply came rapidly:

"find out about the 'Bose-Einstein Condensate' experiment" she wrote, text appearing now quite unceremoniously on his screen. "It begins in your time. The whole order that you and all around you believe in is wrong. The experiment will prove it within your lifetime".

Leitz had never heard about this eperiment but a quick search revealed that the 'Bose-Einstein Condensate' concept was indeed a theory first considered by the physicists Albert Einstein and Satyendra Nath Bose. It involved exceptionally complex processes that lead to a theorethical leap in quantum physics. A kind of atom trap in his interpretation which causes a transmogification that changes many atoms into one.

Outside It fell apart! Kranz screamed: you stupid fuck, why did you touch it?. What are you screaming about? You didn't put it together and it isn't yours anyway hissed Andu. The bickering had turned nasty again. Waiting was not their strength. Everything had split. The old and new technologies separated ideological differences. They became the symbol of political opposites. Power was now definitely in the information-rich digital realm. But the resistance, denied access to the digital environment, had resolved to re-invent the wheel so to speak. Hidden in unlikely pockets of the most difficult terrain lived small tribes of recusants who had committed to create new hope in this vast emptyness outside the corporate giant controlled population centres . The resistance had gone underground (literally) by necessity. All alternative lifestyles were banned and those who lived outside the cities were prey for hunting-parties held by the super-rich.


A red light suddenly pierced the solitude of the darkroom. Someone had discovered him. Already he heard yelling from behind the door for him to open or they would shoot. Whoever was shining the torchlight through the safelight shaft could not see him, the safelight was simply a piece of ruby-coloured glass in a shaft that he had dug up, into the garden, and it only worked by daylight. The fact was however that he was trapped. They would not yet know definitely that someone was inside the room, but, he was certain that they would just stupidly open fire at the door and keep firing until there could be no-one alive in the space beyond this simple wooden door. He could have used a heavier door, perhaps a steel reinforced one, but he knew that by the time his hide-out was discovered, he had no chance at all.


Grey was in again. Ase nearly laughed at the interactive monitor. He knew that despite Goethe's pioneering thoughts on colour theory, the new German mind craved the comfort of grey. The palette used by Anselm Kiefer back in the 80's (1980's that is) echoed across a human landscape of 600 million Germans. Some, of course had genetic material from pre-amalgamation days. Latino and Gaellic visages made brief appearances in line-ups for screen-encounters. They provided some light entertainment amid the serious faces of the German achievers. Unlike the clowns in the circuses of earlier times, the latinos and other ethnics wore digital make-up. Their purpose however reminded Ase of the clowns he had watched on footage from pre-amalgamation times.


Just a few tokens would have been enough to buy the connection. Hanna had lost his last tokens on the game and his only remaining currency, a ten megaflop RAM chip was too large to exchange on the street without causing suspicion.


The IDE card was out of the question, they were near enough to catching him without Hanna giving them a precise location by using the card. The card which contained a range of credits, his ID profile, medical information and numerous access codes for "pay as you use" services also contained a device for LSE, location signal emission which was transmitted every sixty seconds by the cardÕs internal processing engine. The low radiation of the card's signal could be muffled until it's emission was no more than an electronic whisper by wrapping the card in layers of foil and plastic. Hanna had learned this trick from the pirates near the border who had slipped in and out of heavily guarded terrain without detection as a matter of daily routine.


It was already nearly one year that he was on the run and in this time he had nearly been cornered three times by agents who, despite their electronic blindness because of his stealth measures, had almost been close enough to him to identify him against their continual observe/compare function. A third of a second in full frame mode and two seconds in crowd monitoring mode was all that was required by bionic agents to match anyone they saw with the Identifit software that took up seventy percent of their processing ability. Once a match was secure, the bionics simply transmitted the alert to the enforcers who, despite their armour and weaponry, still had strong appearance-links to their human handlers. They could have, Hanna thought, made them into seamless spheres ore cubes because their hover and fly capacity required no external fittings for the magnetic pulse capacitors. These magnetic storage and amplification devices gave the enforcers their acrobatic skills and inhuman speed which they practiced with the same silence as their mind-numbing violence on a target. But the enforcers had themselves not been fitted with the Identifit software which meant that they required the electronic arrow which the bionics locked onto targets once identified and cross-matched against central data. Only with central confirmation would the bionics receive the PIN number that unlocked a electronic arrow which could be shot at the target and, once embedded , locate the target for ten years before it's atomic battery failed. No target ever noticed the arrow's penetration which was usually just below the hairline on the neck of the subject. Any range within 10 meters would place the supersonic ÒarrowÓ projectile far beneath the skin at a speed which exceeded the awareness range of the human nervous system. The arrow would, after activation become the target for the enforcers. They would destroy the arrow with violent precision and their 20mm laser beam would burn towards the arrow from any angle that made a direct attack possible. The most spectacular came from directly below the target, as the laser superheated each progressive layer of skin, tissue and bone during it's split-second penetration. The laser would already be inactive by the time the explosion took place. Human skin would stretch and stretch to impossible dimensions before it ruptured and made way for the ejaculate of death. Hanna was sick to death of continent one. He had never managed to pay the exorbitant fee that the underground specialists demanded for the creation of a perfect alias. Therefore could not disappear from continent one without the constant fear of trackers following him to continent two or three which were the only alternatives other than the primitive lands below continent two. Far away from the life - support facilities of the civilized continents were the Asian, Polynesian , Arctic and Australian sites which had been the battle-grounds of the last war and which were still too contaminated to support any normal infrastructure based lifestyle. Only waste disposal and mining crews lived there on a six month rotation roster. High pay for shit work in the most dangerous places on the planet. Hanna had no desire to escape to the waste-zone. He might as well let the bionics tag him in preparation for the millisecond blast of deadly heat from some enforcer. No, all his running, hiding and hardship over the last year had to count for something. He still had the digital key in his mind. They still had no idea he had been close enough for long enough to write himself a back-door into central storage. If he could ever get into the powerzone again, and remain undetected long enough to logon to the central database, he could really wreak havoc, or make the difference to the sixty million level one's whose entire life, since the four day war that erased much of the human presence on the planet, had been spent being totally controlled by the powerzone elite. Hanna was no longer willing to entertain the thought that the level one's could be rehabilitated into free agents who made their own decisions. For six long years, all level one's had been wired. the implants could detect every private thought, every intention which would in some way be construed as subversive to the absolute control held by the powerzone elite was dealt with by the level three controllers and their armory of parallel processing computers which would automatically set the level of "treatment" that was required to bring rectify the "situation". Level one's knew that the third "treatment" was termination by one of the two-thousand enforcers that could locate a target targeted by an arrow within minutes. The second treatment included the implant procedure of an arrow and it's electronic activation was not reliant on a bionic. Any of the level three controllers could activate the arrow from their monitor. So here he was, thought Hanna, just a connection away from Red, his old intellectual adversary whom he could vaguely trust to provide him with sanction in continent two and a good enough alias to at least buy him some time before the trackers caught up. How could he make the connection? The time window for contact would only remain open for another sixty five minutes he decided after checking his info-card which was worn by everyone like a dog-tag. Info-cards had no commodity value and therefore could not be traded. He did, however have some interesting extras on his which he could sell to the right buyer. Digital keys for arsenals and utilities which heÕd extracted from central data during his luckily undetected visit a year ago. But who could he find that would exchange these keys for green tokens? Green tokens would not arouse suspicion as their value did not require central authority cross-check before use.

But they were difficult to amass as they were frequently disabled and thus required an exchange procedure which would immediately alert authorities if more than a few were handed in for exchange by anyone. He would not sell his keys or even one key for pittance. After all, if their use was ever detected, it would not only render the other keys useless as the codes would surely be changed, it would increase the risk of his detection. The war/Sarin He had prepared the dinner. The guests had been selected because they all had at some point disappointed him. He made sure his choice also considered the criteria that none of them had ever met before. This was his game. These were his rules! Introducing the feast made him very happy: he said "the exits of the house are guarded by my men" when the guests had exchanged brief comments about this, their attention returned to him. He continued: all the implements in front of you are capacitors. Your knifes and forks hold a variety of electric charges. One of the spoons has been dipped in Cyanide. I have no idea which. It will be an entertaining dinner! Lets eat, I'm starving!


The irony was obvious- the war which lasted four days began with the release of SARIN in mega-quantities. Millions of people died in convulsions from this lethal mix of alcohol, isopropanol, sodium fluoride, phospherous trichloride and acetonitrile which made a cocktail that, named by Hitler's chemists a hundred years earlier, sounded like a friendly food additive or washing powder. The spiral towards death which the nerve gas Sarin produced was horrific. First the victims experienced nausea and vomiting, lack of bowel control which resulted in diarrhoea, to be followed by a complete outpouring of the bodies wet matter- bleeding from all orifices eyes, ears, nose, urine, blood, feces and more blood; the obscene ritual of convulsions and involuntary spasms produced moments of reality lockout by the tortured brains of victims before the blanket of coma released them from the experience some minutes before the inevitable system breakdown and death.


The average consumer had been completely conditioned by now. Nothing, no product or service which was not provided by a major corporation would or could be trusted. The technique itself was quite dated, but personal welfare and health issues had completely deteriorated for the level one and two subjects.

Telepresence surgical techniques invented in the 1990's which used remote control surgical tools had been superseded long ago by the far less intrusive DNA manipulation, but level one and two still had no option but to undergo "operations" which were conducted by burned out medico's who only cared about how many credits a procedure could earn them.


We had lost something. We had lost something, thought Hanna. It was difficult to assign a time to the event, but the loss itself somehow related to the human condition. The choices had somehow become narrow. Life extending options all linked to hungry survival. Placidity and dreaming belonged to the past. Hanna realised that everyone he knew epected to be entertained by a constant flow of new experience. No film was viewed twice, no book re-read, no lover given a second night and no thought was made welcome if it re-occured. Everyone was hungry and no matter how much everyone consumed, the hunger stayed the same.

The end (for the moment).

©Werner Hammerstingl, 1998