[Void Galaxia] Chapter 59: Revenger Of Crystal IV


‘Most recently-fired workers would’ve gone to the KIK-DEPOT, or one of the SUN ROOMS, but Suni knew what they both offered and didn’t want any of it. Besides, the SUN ROOMS would push her into a revenge scenario, which would quickly turn into hundreds of revenge scenarios, and she wasn’t angry enough anymore for all that, how could she be, they’d all been arrested, and even if she wanted to do something more personal, she didn’t know who actually did it, who threw the fatal dart, she didn’t know any of their faces, she’d never actually visited the factory where Kito had worked…every time she went, she’d just waited in the RED POSSIBILITY ROOM nearby, so…

If she did go in the SUN ROOM, she’d need a face, and based on what she’d been reading and thinking of recently it’d probably end up being Bakunin.

I don’t wanna throw darts at Bakunin, she thought, stopping next to LUM TAI DOR café.

Don’t wanna throw anything at anyone, except maybe myself.

Or Sunt.

But only because she fired me.’


With good reason, I thought, dropping Moon Prison to knee level and then sliding it across the floor all the way to Kristeva.

Mrs. Oh My Abject wouldn’t mind, she was dead.

At least I thought she was.

Last I’d heard.

Was she though?

On the other side of the lobby, Lexi fumbled through another line of Portuguese and got told immediately by the guy in the Coffin Joe t-shirt that it was half good, two thirds bad.

‘Which part was wrong?’ she asked back, ignoring the weird mathemathics.

‘Sound is too English. You use recordar instead of lembrar. Some other things I’ve forgotten now.’

There was no reply to that except a glare at Assta, who’d created this new hologram as a language partner specifically for Lexi [from nebulous input], then more Portuguese.

I picked up the note pad, the JoJo pen and started stabbing the page.

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[Void Galaxia] Chapter 58: Powers of Horrorr r


The murdered dead return as ghosts

Steele burns scientist husband alive while gardener love-toy reduces Solange to skeleton form by draining the blood

in seven minute tour of black and white mansion-scape

Lexi watching rapt

me not far behind

stretched out on our own sides of the bed naked duvet on her not on me

then not on Lexi either as she’s up

hand pulling hair to the left trying to make it stick failing but still trying

if I was back in the 60’s that Italy, she says, I’d have a chance a gardener’s chance

but here

it won’t go left and stay there keeps bouncing back

just wanna show one eyeball

like B

B of no fluent Italian, B of-

maybe it’s the green parts weight of the dye

maybe I need a wig of some kind clip back the under hair then pull left if they have that kind of thing on this base probably not yet

on the screen Steele’s eyeball grew cultivated effortless

attracting me on some level away from Lexi and her Lavinia G Of Death t-shirt

pink and neon

hologrammatic to the promise of

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Ubik [Page 107]



Joe Chip leaned back in the boss chair and thought about what had just happened. Was it possible? Him, a resonator repairman, CEO of the whole company?

On his desk was a note from Pat Conley:

‘Hey Joe, I just want to let you know that, even though I haven’t done much in the first 106 pages, I plan to use my power in a big way starting from now. If anything bad happens to you, if anything dramatic comes along then I’ll just skip back to the past and make sure it doesn’t. Cool?


Joe re-read the note and smiled. Everything was going great all of a sudden. But what about Runciter? Was he still on the phone line? Would he want his office back?

He picked up the phone and heard static. Runciter was gone. Great. Well, not great, but okay. Runciter was a good guy, but it’s not like he was the most amazing person who’d ever lived.

Give it a year, thought Joe. Then I’ll be the new Runciter.

The door opened and the wisp-form of Wendy Wright appeared.

“Wendy! You’re alive!” shouted Joe, shuffling off the repairman jacket.

“I hope so.”

“But…last night…you looked like…”

“A mummy? Yes, I noticed that too. Suppose it was…entropy?”

“Yeah, entr-…” Joe paused. “You wanna have sex?”

“With you?”

Joe stood up and started taking off his belt. He wasn’t usually this forward but the pink vibes from his newly-fixed resonator were telling him things might just go his way.

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[Void Galaxia] Chapter 57: Revenger Of Crystal


No morgue at all

And the body wouldn’t decay at -235 degrees

So why not magnetise the lump, dump it outside?


In essence

In the most basic terms possible

becoming lazy, stagnant, we all need to dig in and ski more

goes back upstairs and tries to have an Urdu lesson but ultimately it’s too much noise and beyond the Urdu there was this flickering replicator light that

book was weird cos it was predictive

someone read it, attached their own self to it, made the events within actualised, with a bit of help from the passive AH-bot, which is often the case

and now people think it was written after the events

but actually

which people?

if you look at the dates and the

272nd drama about aliens lurking in the Oort Cloud, don’t they have anything new-ish to mush us with?

Stalinists on Sedna.

Apart from that one.

My Beautiful Talking Laundromat.

Cheap pastiche.

May I Replicate Myself For You?

Shit. Generic. Like drinking from a plasma conduit.

I liked it.

Nice hat. Acrylic?


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[Void Galaxia] Chapter 56: Pretend Portland



Suni didn’t want to, but clearly did want to, some part of her, possibly a section of the brain that had an understanding with masochism cos she clicked on the link and read the whole article twice in seven minutes.

‘That fucker.’


I paused, lowering Moon Prison to look up.

The underside of the bunk above had one wooden plank misaligned but that didn’t matter as Moon Prison was seventeen pages from ending and only now setting up a possible revenge mission against the main antagonist.

Seventeen pages.

For Yu Long Yiu to turn up and Suni & Xaaa & Yu Fei & the Romanian tech guy to initiate their plan and assassinate him.

Or fail to assassinate him.

And die like Rodney, Sankara, Kelli Matrimonical, Tax-Bag…

There was noise on the bunk opposite, the intro sounds of a podcast on the Israeli guy’s phone. Kuso, he’d found another one? After two hours straight of a man with throat issues screaming Mossad Mossad [and some other shit], we were about to get a secondary dose?

I picked up my phone and typed out a message to Lexi.

‘Hebrew rant in 5, 4, 3, 2…’

Her phone beeped on the bunk above, and I saw that she’d read it…but no reply came. Not even the attempted typing of one.

Across the room, the podcast finished its ads and got underway. Surprisingly, it wasn’t Hebrew this time, it was English, two guys with clipped American accents complaining about their housses in Israel being stolen by Palestinians. And how the rest of the world was just sitting back and letting it happen. Twelve housses between the two of them, all leased out and making money at the time of the theft.

‘Fucking adventurists…’

Picking up Moon Prison, I tried to focus on the next paragraph.

Something about rigging the docking hatch and disabling the upper pylon graviton emitters.

But it wouldn’t stick.

The Israelis were too loud.

Gods, if Nick were here…or Reshmi…

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[Void Galaxia] Chapter 55: Green Claws Of L’Avenir


The Salem that had nothing to do with witch hunts [or lots] clearly wasn’t the police station or Portland or the home of the wispy foe Reshmi was allegedly chasing – possibly in her own mind – but it was where we ended up

in yet another template hostel

stretched out curved on the mattress

separate yet twinned

watching Beyond The Rabbit Hole on GENTE+.

Reshmi had paid for two rooms plus pool access [two hours max, each minute after that charged extra] then vanished, the latter part according to Juana, who’d waited all of half a minute next door before slinking dolorously into our room and sandwiching herself between us on the double bed [mercifully no heart cushions this time].

‘Gone to dredge up more corpses no doubt,’ Lexi said, more to the TV pinned to the wall opposite than anything sentient.

‘Some of her skin was green…when she left.’

‘On her face?’

‘Hands, wrists…some on the neck.’


‘It was quite noticeable.’

‘…could be skin irritation, allergies. Or paint. Or soul erosion. Skin literally flaking off right in front of us.’


‘Probably not paint,’ I said, tucking one arm in to create more space. Not that it mattered. The bed was territory, and territory was fluid, swore Derrida, another philosopher I’d never quite got around to at unii.

Clearly a fan of this theory, Juana shifted her legs into a narrow triangle shape, forcing me out further to the edge of the bed. Mumbling shameless fucking crone in Japanese, I looked right at the bedside table and the chair tucked under it.

Moon Prison was there, face down.

Should I just move and read that? Get stuck on the same bit again, Sunita’s long journey through Uranus Immigration while high on Kan-E.

Or stay on the bed and push back?

Juana’s leg sensed my doubt and nudged my calf closer towards the edge.

I let it happen, waiting till she almost had me off then lifting my whole leg up and draping it full weight over her thigh.

If it were just the two of us, it may have been interpreted as a mimic-owl screech for frenzied sex, but as Lexi was there too, the Yaqui’s leg just gave up and played dead.

Muy cómoda…’ she muttered, picking at the face of the t-shirt spider demon.

On screen, Sato Mark 7 picked up the spanner and told the food replicator that this had been a long time coming.

The machine beeped in response, its three square eyes phasing dark blue.

Dark blue became lake blue became a glitching mass of yellow.

A specific patch of it, with a mop of bleached hair rising up through the ripples.

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[Void Galaxia] Chapter 54: Beneath The Glitching Lake


The drive back to the hostel should’ve been eerily silent.

Would’ve been better if it had been eerily silent

But instead we had to listen to Reshmi explaining in an unsettlingly calm tone how devious it was to charge for bottled water like that and how the waitress had probably snapped because of it, having to push that kind of cunt scam nightly.

Then, walking up to our rooms, she diverted herself to the next day, dealing with the wispy coward, and if we didn’t get enough sleep, that coward would wisp the fuck off again and then we’d be nowhere, abject nothingness.

‘Sleep,’ I said back to the corridor carpet, stopping at the door to mine and Lexi’s room, watching Juana give flare gun eyes as she followed Reshmi further along. ‘Good idea.’


When we were safely in the room with the door locked, I turned to Lexi [already a lump on the bed] and asked what she thought of the restaurrant incident.

‘Trying not to.’

‘I mean, the way it happened, the suddenness…’

‘We should sleep.’

‘You think it was really the waitress?’

‘Good night, Mark.’

She turned over and left me with my shitty hotel on the edge of an alien-funded abyss. The view told me it was Reshmi…Nick…the alien mesmerist, obviously not the waitress herself cos why would she, and the void below said, yeah, but it wasn’t that traumatic, was it?

And even if it were, what were you gonna do?

Flee to Portland?

She’d catch you and then you’d be the waitress, only worse as it could be Lexi or Juana you end up stabbing with a broken water bottle.

Not that she would do that to you.

Cos she hasn’t yet.


The atmosphere in the car the next morning was defiantly upbeat.

Juana had adapted to her librarian-style glasses.

Lexi was happy with the new Lavinia Goddess of Death t-shirt Reshmi had somehow found time to buy as a surprise gift.

And I honestly thought the new white dress with pale blue dots riding up my thighs was quite cute.

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[Void Galaxia] Chapter 53: Silent Ranning


The next morning was a little different from the previous one as Lexi was still in the room, had a Fordian monopoly on the duvet and didn’t seem to care that Juana was snuggling up to her from behind.


At some point during the night, I’d made it back onto the bed, but now…I was on the brink of floor again, one foot planted like a Kubrick tripod on the carpet, the other tilting over the edge of the mattress…brain still trying to figure out which town we were in.

I looked opposite, at the TV propped up on the wall. It was frozen on the GENTE+ menu screen, the highlighted box prodding me to watch Void Galaxia.

In terms of layout, it looked almost identikit to the last place we stayed at…the WinterMute hostel…but the décor was absent, and there was no narrative voice feeding me lines that may or may not have been from Neuromancer…which meant…


The lava cave place?

I got off the bed and grabbed my phone, checking the internal map.

Yup, Bend.

The bungalow hostel, after the bus from the lava caves, where, for some reason none of us could recall, we had all decided to take an outdoor nap and Nick had…gone through some kind of fit…lost his mind…spasmed like a schizophrenic up into the clouds.

Kuso. That was real.

And he still hadn’t returned. At least not to this room.

Putting on the only t-shirt I had left – a very creased, not so great smelling Don’t Get Cyber, MAN – I headed to the door then swerved right to the window when I remembered the beeping noise from the night before.

No car outside. No grinning alien prick standing next to it.

So he really had pissed off with all our luggage?


I turned back and looked at the snapshot on the bed. Lexi being sucked dry by a Mexican cannibal and sleeping through it. Or Juana covertly cupping Lexi’s tits and nibbling on her shoulder blades. Both were man-centric and should’ve produced some reaction, but all I really felt was exhibit grade curiosity. Where exactly were Juana’s hands? How did they get into that shape, with the duvet in such a skewed position?

Lexi moaned and rolled onto her back, forcing reflex activity.

I picked up the remote and pressed play on Void Galaxia, skipping past the childhood frames – the loss of Kazy, the weird lake scheme – and straight to the wormhole appearing at the Pluto Lagrange Point.

The humming noise of the ship woke Lexi and provoked her body up into a sitting position. Juana stayed with both hands flat in the same place until Nakagami shouted that the wormhole was emitting blue orbs of light, and then she was up too.

Void Galaxia?’ asked Lexi, after a bit of swaying and eye massage.

‘Wormhole scene.’

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[Void Galaxia] Chapter 52: Dig Less Cope Land


A giant trout with eyeballs on the side of its dirty yellow face.

Disheveled grass.

The back of Juana’s head.

Nad of her Nadja tattoo.

Greying sky grey track no bodies no cars.

Stone mattress, skinny trees.

Mild autumn breeze.

None of it made much sense until I felt my legs move, rolling in the idea that I did in fact have a body and there were insects making clicking sounds around me.

I stood up and quickly realized I’d been sitting with my back against a stone wall, with Lexi and Juana lined up on either side.

‘Did we…’ started Lexi before ending it with a battle cry yawn.

‘Is this the lava cave?’ asked Juana, prodding a fist into the back of her neck.

It was a familiar name…lava cave…but I couldn’t remember why. Last not-so-blurry image in my head was a hand sticking out of the car window, trying to catch those weird green streaks of light in the air outside.

‘The sign says it is,’ said Lexi, on her feet now, walking with a slight stagger across the grass. ‘Lava Caves – Temporarily Closed.’

‘We were going inside,’ muttered Juana, getting as far as her knees, face seemingly puzzled by her own line. ‘I remember…we were going inside and…’

‘…decided to take a nap?’ I finished, gesturing at the state of the terrain we’d just used as a mattress.

…that is strange…’

‘With rocks as pillows…all of us, at the same time. Yeah, very strange.’

‘What the hell’s he doing,’ muttered Lexi, drawing my attention to the forest on the left and getting an immediate, ‘huh?’

It was well-deserved. Our whimsical alien tour guide was standing in the middle of the road [or Heavenly Nature Trail according to the nearby sign; twenty dollars for free roam, forty-nine for VR tour]…holding one arm up in a crooked tree pose, while the rest of his body got struck by continuous, low-level electric shocks.

That’s what it looked like anyway.

Thank the nebulous gods there was no one else around to see it.

‘Nick,’ I called, following Lexi over to him, but stopping a metre short in case his jerking movements evolved into alien-powered spasms with deceptively long reach.

He didn’t respond.

Or appear to even notice his name being called.

I could hear jagged whispering sounds that could’ve been attempts at communication [or a relapse to his native tongue] and, visually, there were these little whisps of faint lilac, kind of insulated in a darker lilac fog…shooting off his head like angry static.

The sane professor getting fried in Resonator 2.

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[Void Galaxia] Chapter 51: Museum Of Negativity


Third loop around Engineering

no sign of loose wire

or suicide plaque

yet the ship insisted both were there so

the body kept moving

ignoring the AH-bot cleaning the spanner box

and a little further on found Charlie

who said the loose wire wasn’t that loose anymore

she’d fixed it with Asami’s help, over on Deck Twenty-Seven an hour ago.

‘Where is she now?’

‘I’m going to the Arka Room, you should come too.’


‘Best seat’s by the port window.’

Body backed off and hit the wall and when it turned I saw a poster saying



and to the left lay the snacks table

Sadia and Juana on top, hugging each other, Nick nearby reading Neuro-Maker

pair of floating yellow eyes

Lyotard, Yosh & Baudrillard

everyone watching my form and field and

a voice behind, Asami the Tease, keep going, keep going, keep


‘All of it, Keni, get it in, deeper.’

Vaguely knowing what she meant, I looked down and saw a fifteen-inch dick that was ostensibly attached to my body, pole-hard, going in and out of a pink mannequin’s cunt

metronomic rhythm

fingers stuck in the


‘Armitage announced an eighty-hour stay in Zion. Molly and Case would practice in zero gravity, he said, and acclimatize themselves to working in it.’

The words were both smooth and bizarro, fitting with the blur of slipstream Id and beginnings of the hostel room reforming around me.

I closed one eye. Opened the other.

The neon was gone, thank gods, and so was Lexi.

Replaced by canned audio.

‘He’d found him curled like a cat on a thin pad of temperfoam, naked, apparently asleep, his head orbited by a revolving halo of small, white geometric forms, cubes, spheres, and pyramids.’

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