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Excerpt from Ingo Swann´s Star Fire

 
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05/14/2005 06:53 PM
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Excerpt from Ingo Swann´s Star Fire
COLLEGE PARK, MARYLAND

At noon on August 21 the maintenance schedule for Neomort 25-A called for electronic stimulation of the nervous system as well as mechanical and manual massage of its muscles. The nude body had been detached from the wire leads connecting it to the majority of the computer attendant systems. The reclining pedestal stood at nearly a ninety-degree angle. The facial skin had drawn somewhat taut and was ivory pale, nearly luminescent. Its strong lips, slightly parted, were darkly etched against its beatific inner light, the close-fitting respirator hugging its chest, forcing the air in and out of the mouth as well as through the nasal passages. The long, flowing hair of the former rock star had been close-cropped around the skull. ´Really!´ commented Dr Edgar Crathe, attendant in charge of Neomort 25-A, ´he looks like an extraterrestrial in suspended animation, almost as if he were waiting to reach a new universe to come to life.´ His admiration for the cadaver, somewhat beyond medical interest, was obvious. Crathe was of utmost importance to Neomort 25-A, and the consciousness hovering near was very careful to monitor the body, keeping i.t respectably dead in Crathe´s presence. But it also had probed deeply into the man´s inner nature. All the neomorts residing in the bioemporium were naked except for their costumes of wires, monitors, respirators, and electronic analysers. Most looked desiccated, their overall biophysical character declining. These were scheduled for dismemberment and autopsy. But others were healthy, almost robust, and with their futuristic appurtenances, appeared like androids or robots awaiting commands to move and function. Because the temperature of the cubicles was kept at a constant 96°, the attendants dressed in swimsuits, often very brief, except when dissecting or dismembering to acquire parts of bodies for experimental transplants to others. Female attendants were likely to appear in pink Schiaparelli bikinis, whereas the males seemed to prefer, as a group, the sheer white stretch nylon favoured by long-distance swimmers. All were deeply tanned from the ultraviolet bursts. Neomort 25-A had observed that Crathe was unbalanced psychologically in several directions, but especially in his intense sadistic and emotional love for dead male bodies. Crathe, of course, kept this part of his emotional spectrum carefully suppressed, never molesting the experimental models in the bioemporium, going instead to certain mortuaries in the Washington area known in the necrophiliac underground to accept payment for allowing intimacies with the newly dead before embalming. As usual, when upkeep of the neomort was taking place, the actions were overseen by Dr Karin Tomachek, chief researcher of the bioemporium. Tomachek, an immigrant from Poland, had, in fact, founded the bioemporium concept and single-handedly gathered together the vast funds necessary for its fruition at Trans-American. She frowned at Crathe´s open admiration for Neomort 25-A. ´You know we are not supposed to personalise the specimens,´ she said, occupying herself with applying electrodes to various parts of the legs, electrodes that administered low-voltage currents that vivified the body´s nervous system.
Dr Edgar Crathe pursed his lips in disdain at Tomachek´s turned back and made a vulgar motion with his hand. Yet he could not completely conceal his emotional attraction to this special cadaver. Crathe, a tall young man with dark, curling hair, was also an anatomical genius who had excelled in his premedical and internship work. Tomachek appreciated this talent in him, preferring to ignore his sexual and necrophiliac attraction for male corpses. If such tendencies existed in herself, she suppressed them well, and when they arose in members of her staff, most of whom had some unacknowledged motivation for working with the dead, she merely lectured them and pretended not to see open demonstrations when they occurred. Any staff member caught in some sort of perverted liaison with a specimen was summarily dismissed. She busied herself, assisted by Crathe when necessary, first with the peripheral parts of the central nervous system, gently stimulating the motor fibres going out from the systems to .muscles and glands. To accomplish this stimulation, she applied the electrodes to the skin in close proximity to the nerve trunks. This she did all over the body, asking Crathe to lift it first on one side and then on the other so she could tend to the shoulders, hack, buttocks, and calves. Then she turned her attention to the sensory fibres coming into the central nervous system from peripheral sense organs and repeated the procedure. She monitored her electronic manipulations on chart recorders mounted near the body for that purpose. Surveying the masses of paper feeding out, she shook her head finally, her voice somewhat tremulous with amazement. ´I can´t understand how this specimen is not declining and cutting off those nerve sectors we would normally expect to fail. The spinal nerves, the spinal cord, the brain stem, and even the cerebellum and cerebrum seem in excellent condition.´ ´Well, perhaps because there was hardly any damage to the body when it died,´ Crathe volunteered. ´Perhaps, perhaps. Well, at any rate, the computers say the specimen is in perfect working order. I´ll leave you to execute the manual massages alone. Be sure you manipulate all the muscles and joints by hand. We will take a neuronal decrease count this afternoon.´
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:16 AM
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Great! More!!
Apocalypse (OP)

12/08/2005 10:16 AM
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Re: Excerpt from Ingo Swann´s Star Fire
´Very good, Doctor,´ Crathe agreed eagerly.
Rendering hand massages to the corpses was Crathe´s favourite pastime. To him, there was nothing else as singularly rewarding. The body lay supine beneath his probing fingers, offering no resistance, no communication, no responses. And every inch of muscle, joint, and orifice had to be probed or pummeled. As usual he began with the fingers and toes, then moved to the major muscles and joints. Neomort 25-A was the most precious body in the bioemporium. He licked his lips again and again as he worked over the cadaver. The thought patterns comprising the entity dwelling now quite comfortably exterior to Neomort 25-A watched the procedures~ from a nodnie of awareness not to be perceived by physical sensory systems. It carefully monitored the minute neuronal changes taking place in the body systems as a result of the electrical and manual stimulations. Considerable will and effort were required to prevent the cortex from firing its synapses as the body was artificially stimulated. This was crucial. If the brain became active, the attached electroencephalograph would immediately respond, indicating active brain waves. Everyone would instantly know that Neomort 25-A was not dead, was not a neomort at all. The mind entity had satisfied itself that the nervous system of its physical body resembled merely another computer, a complex system to be sure, but a computer nevertheless. Its essential components were nerve cells or neurons, slightly over ten times ten billion of them. And in the short. time available the entity had categorised a great portion of them. It had located the relatively simple chains of neurons within the spinal cord controlling involuntary acts. It found it could monitor these once it had understood the speed at which the impulses from and to these neurons moved, a velocity of about two hundred miles an hour. The entity had traced the spinal nerves emerging in pairs from either side of the spinal cord, and also the motor fibres that controlled the skeletal muscles, the internal organs, the muscles themselves, and finally the skin. The thinnest of these delicate tracings throughout the body were only about one-thousandth of a millimetre in diameter, whereas others were several times that size. It had followed the course of this intricate system upward into the large opening at the base of the skull to the foramen magnum and had begun inspecting the fascinating avenues winding into, out of, and around the brain. The mind entity monitored the millions of cells in the cerebral cortex. It developed its abilities to control the electrical activity of that organ, far beyond simple suppression of electrical activity in the brain - the voluntary psychokinetic trick it had learned to do as Dan Merriweather and the prime factor enabling it to have the Merriweather body declared dead and stored for safekeeping in the world´s most advanced bioernporium. But it now also had to perceive, study, and assume control of certain neuronal actions. It had to monitor proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, the essential building blocks for cells, helping the body repair damaged neurons. It had to watch very carefully the entire body´s oxygen quota, assuring sufficient quantities of that precious gas to the brain. Thus, while Crathe was working on the Merriweather body, the floating intelligence guarding it was almost totally preoccupied with suppressing any electrical activity that would warn first the attending computers and then Crathe himself that Neomort 25-A was not a neomort. After Dr Karin Tomachek had turned over the cadaver to the ministrations of the necrophiliac Crathe, the monitoring mind entity relaxed its vigilance somewhat. Its awareness was almost completely absorbed by the neuronal activities within the body. So it was not fully cognisant of the emotional response that manipulating the neomort was bringing about in Crathe. It did not perceive fast enough the change of the manipulating hands from professional massaging to touches of sensual pleasure. Crathe momentarily allowed himself to be consumed with lust for Neomort 25-A, finally surrendering to the electrifying desire mounting within him. He touched his own quivering lips to the stonelike lips of the cadaver. Somewhat over a million neurons habitually monitoring the sensual systems of the cadaver´s lips flared instantly into action. A flood of electrical activity cascaded in blinding force into the brain, stimulating electrical activity of the appropriate cells in the cerebral cortex. This sudden flood of unexpected activity inundated the entire cortex, activating the central nervous system, automatically twitching the body´s motor fibres. The body tensed. Its eyes fluttered open, the pupils readjusting to focus on the startled eyes of Dr Edgar Crathe, his own body instantly frozen in shock. The alabaster skin of Neomort 25-A deepened into a rose-red flush of embarrassment. The electroencephalograph recording the Neomort´s electrical brain impulses instantly clattered into activity. A complete spectrum of all brain-wave frequencies and amplitudes spun out on the paper-filled chart recorders and into the recording and coding banks of the attending computers. The mind entity monitoring the body was astonished at its momentary loss of control. Instantly, it totally interiorised into the body and mobilised its psychic forces to recompose the body into its cadaveric state within fractions of a second.
Dr Edgar Crathe yelped and jumped back with a high-pitched scream. He fell backward over some wire leads blocking his retreat and ended up pressed against a bank of furiously blinking lights, lights indicating that the guardian computers were eagerly trying to locate further telltale signs of life in the body. The LIFE SIGN panel was glowing red. The incident was over before it had had time to register for what it was in Crathe´s mind. He slowly lifted himself to his feet and delicately, uncertainly approached the body, peering anxiously at its face. The body was once more alabaster-complexioned and deathly still. ´Holy cow! Crathe finally breathed. He quickly moved to the EEG feed-out, crying aloud when he saw the revealing burst of electrical brain activity. ´Oh, God. . . ´His hands covered his mouth in disbelief. He thought furiously for a moment. Surely and swiftly he extracted the paper with its revealing traces from the machinery and folded it neatly, placing it in the pocket of his long white coat, which hung on a nearby hook. He then went and stood in front of Neomort 25-A. He finally smiled. But he did not touch the body again. He noticed the illuminated panel blinking off and on, LIFE SIGN LIFE SIGN, and cancelled it. It became once more an opaque opalescent inactive square among a dozen other inactive indicators on the computer´s face. The folded paper in his pocket seemed to glow through the fabric. No one would ever see it! The computer fed the surprising input around in its mechanical banks for a while. Finding no corroborative data incoming from the neomort, it finally filed it under category 00011000, unconfirmed life signs.

WASHINGTON

9.OO P.M.
´Your idea paid off, Dr Coogan,´ Abrams informed her and Judd as he burst into the office. ´Who is it?´ demanded Judd, rising to his feet. ´Well, sir, actually it turns out not who but they.´
´They?´ Judd asked. ´You mean there´s more than one?´ ´Right, sir. Three to be exact. Of course, we don´t have all the computer-trainee rosters in yet. As it turns out, there are almost a million people who have studied computers in the last few years-´´Never mind all that, Abrams. Who are they?´
´Well, sir. Two are women. One is a young woman in the Midwest who volunteered for some psychic experiments at the Minnesota Institute of Psychical Studies. She was planning to become a computer programmer, but got married instead. She is in her ninth month of pregnancy at the moment, waiting the birth of her second child. She did not pursue either psychic experimentation or computer programming.´
´Doesn´t sound very likely, does it, Harrah?´ Coogan commented.
´Next?´ demanded Judd.
´Second is a sometime psychic who practices giving psychic readings at summer retreats at various psychic seminars. At other times she works in Chicago as a computer programmer. I already talked with her on the telephone. She sounds pretty freaky. She got very suspicious about why I was calling and asked if I had anything to do with a Count Omar.´
´Who?´ Judd asked, bewildered.
´The famous psychic in the South who gives his psychic impressions over television and radio,´ Coogan informed him. ´Why did she want to know that?´ Judd asked. ´She wanted to know if she was going to be invited to perform on Omar´s TV show,´ Abrams said. ´Well, have someone go interview her,´ ordered Judd in a disappointed voice. ´I already have someone on the way,´ said Abrams smugly. ´And the third?´ asked Coogan.
´Well, now, Dr Coogan. This one is the most interesting.´ ´Why is that, Abrams?´ Judd asked.
´Well, this one has studied three of the computers you mentioned, Dr Coogan. You know, the advanced, complicated stuff. He took a lot of the seminars at M.I.T. and went into a doctoral programme there, but didn´t complete it.´ ´Ha !´ said Coogan. ´And he´s into computers enough to have a KB-CRT terminal in his apartment.´ ´Perfect,´ .Judd said. ´Now,. as for parasensory research, he volunteered as a subject for the University of Northern California Biomedical Research Centre and apparently demonstrated several consistent paranormal abilities. U.N.C. published three papers on the work done ~with him. Here, I have them for you.´ ´Well done, Abrams,´ said Judd, taking the folders. ´What about his records from U.N.C., Abrams?´ asked Coogan. ´We´ll need the psychological profiles they must have done on him and complete records of his work.´ ´Well, the administrative office at U.N.C. tells me that those records were inadvertently misplaced.´ ´Goddamn !´ Judd grated.
Apocalypse (OP)

12/08/2005 10:16 AM
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