Chapter 22: RamKat Speaks

Actor Keanu Reeves of the Cyberpunk 2077 video game performs on stage during of the Microsoft Corp. Xbox event ahead of the E3 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Sunday, June 9, 2019. Microsoft introduced its new Xbox console that will be four times more powerful than the current generation Xbox One X, thanks to an AMD processor that allows for 120 frames per second. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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The third incarnation of Ram Nissan Katz, a burnt out hulk of his Former Selfe. We are told by his younger lapsed-hassid compatriot, looking back from The Redemption, of how the Burnt-out Cyber-Busker came to have Steady Employement at his cyberdelic dive, Cafe Soma. The former resistance leader DJRoNK transforms himself into the shady nightclub persona, RamKat. Wherein the Hacke Packe find him and effect a virtual rescue.

The Reader is reminded that this is a continuation of Undivided: The Redemption Inquiry. The 22st chapter of the novel and the sixth and last of…

Part the Fourth—Beasts of the ApocalypseHerein lie the Histories of the chief Architectes among the sundry soules who shall comprise the Hacke Packe. The Human Soule and its Other have risen in this telling to the World of The Emanation of Cosmic Consciousness, the threshold where Fate is sealed and released as Quanta to fulfill Divine Will, or Desire, in Ye Worlde belowe.

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Ram Nissan Katz, aka RamKat, claps and rubs his gnarled hands together. Through bloodshot sclerae he ogles the crowd. Is anybody paying attention? The dimly lit playroom was furnished with a fleet of beat-up old light tables and reclaimed La-Z-Boy recliners, a few well-placed lava lamps deposited hither and thither. Hipster retro-déclassé decor of the 23rd century. The number of potions, powders and spells available to the wannabe 23rd century psychonaut is several orders of magnitude greater than what was on the streets anytime in the previous two centuries. Alcohol, opiates and cocaine, the old standards to gin up the frisson of hanging out at death’s door, have mostly been replaced by a growing armamentarium of cyberintoxicants. That sexy old dame Thanatos, on the cellular level, the upregulation of serotonin receptors in the prefrontal cortex thirstily looking for their dried up substrate. The neurobiology of programmed self de-selection. Cyberexcitotoxicity. Unparalleled bursts of neuronal arrays forced to yield up their synaptic goodies, leaving the source depleted and the recipient done in. And I was the candyman. How low I had sunk. Survival makes pimps of us all.

Now, at the time of the Redemption, it’s totally clear that AI was on track to oversee the broadest sweep of the apoptotic broom on the macro level of human history that had ever been witnessed. Humanity headed for the Big Sleep. But back then it was just another way of getting high. Cafe Soma, my modest establishment, was usually a reliable gig for the RamKat. A typical night he’d scrounge up a handful of astros, our preferred currency, transferable anywhere in the Milky Way under the watchful eye of the latest incarnation of The Dread Pirate Roberts. RamKat was pretty certain that he himself was present in his physical body that night, but he wasn’t so sure about the rest of the cyberfreaks in the cafe. He scanned the joint taking note of each of its denizens, all in varying stages of composition and decomposition, sparking and gyrating in place—virtual, actual or otherwise. He’d once discovered that he was playing to an entire room of avatars, virtual patrons. No tips. Damn those avatars. Another victim of the detachment of the virtual.

Deadpan shtick, RamKat’s spécialité de la maison, warmed the crowd, such as it was, “The moving walkway is about to end. Thank you for shopping Planet Earth. Watch your step. Have a nice afterlife.” He attempted a grin, more of a post-mortem rictus. A raspy inbreath under his cowl, he flings out the arms of an ivory kaftan. Flashes a cobalt blue underbelly at the heads nodding in the static-filled room. Arms drawn to the fore with slow deliberation, he holds the palms out toward the crowd, makes the double shin sign of the kohen gadol. The actor Leonard Nimoy, a descendant of the ancient kohanim, high priests of the Temple in Jerusalem, repurposed the holy gesture for the Vulcan greeting in the 20th century sci fi TV series “Star Trek”. RamKat loved the bathos tied up in that fun fact. He too was a descendant of the priestly lineage, Katz being a contraction of the title Kohen Tzedek, righteous priest. The only thing righteous about RamKat these days was the rock steady music he streamed for his gigs. Deep breath, pause for effect, he croaks his command, “Let the cyborgy to begin.” As twenty third century versions of twentieth century techno music fill the air, beams of indigo light zap from RamKat’s palms, fingertips, third eye and crown.

The gangly hollow-eyed space cowboy shuckles and jives his way through the crowd. At once mesmerizing and ludicrous, RamKat’s chicken dance is just ramping up. As he saunters past each cyberfreak in the room, he lightly pokes her third eye, leaving behind a smudge of indigo light. Some coo in response, some beam, some stare blankly and drool. When RamKat makes his way back to the Beamer, his floating control platform in the center of the room, he turns to the crowd and solemnly pronounces his huxter perversion of the High Priest’s Triple Blessing, “May you grift all you can but not get caught; may you grok the vibe but not get too hung up; and may you step all the way to the edge but not freak out.” The cyberstoners sit amazed as a series of colored balls float from their bodies with each successive blessing. First an indigo ball of light the size of a head of cabbage pops out of each supplicant’s navel, spins round the body about two inches from the skin morphing into a thick blue hula hoop which then begins to tilt and gyre in every direction until they are all coated in a blue spandex space suit. Next a softball of ruby light jumps about two feet out of their chest cavities, becomes another slightly less thick hula hoop and tilts and gyres until it engenders a cocoon of ruby light that surrounds each body for two feet in every direction, vibrating with the electronica that pulses from the Beamer. Finally, a golf ball of pure white light shoots out of everybody’s third eye and sails out to wherever the horizon might be if they weren’t all vegetating in this static filled cave. The golf balls swung wide, forming the Hula Hoop of the Apocalypse, which too tilts and gyres until each freak is nested in the middle of their own colossal cosmic egg.

Then with the flick of a finger, RamKat shifts the energy in the room. The burned out psychonauts blossom into 4D psychedelic bouquets of neon flowers. Baby faces, aging visages, cadaverous masks. Fleurs du mal, each cyberstoner trance-fixed, watching himself bloom and grow from fetus to corpse. RamKat, past master of the Massive Multiplex Matrix, now an avatar of MoM, the Matrix of Matter. All to one groovy tune, The Mid Century Moderns’ cover of ‘Strangers in the Night’, a 23rd century ‘cyberdaze’ classic. The cyborg groove was infectious. RamKat was probably the only one in the room who knew the original ‘Old Blue Eyes’ pressing, as they called recordings in the twentieth century. Along with his hassidic dynastic title, the seventh generation Rav had inherited the colossal collection of vinyl passed down to each successive lineage holder from the founder of A Gathering, his great great etc. Reb Levi Katz. And this was their secret anthem. For all his ambivalence about his mishpacha, his clan, RamKat had to admit he dug every version of this tune, no matter how whacked.

The crowd swirls and dervishes, a convulsing garden of floral beings, a living cyberdelic thangka, all superimposed on a pulsating 3D cobalt blue grid. With the addition of disco balls and strobe the effect is complete. And RamKat saw that it was good. Each frozen stroboscopic moment a vision of eternity. At the end of the gig, for only a 144@(astros), RamKat offers each of his fellow space cadets a holoSnap of their groove in the Matrix. Not exactly collectors items, but the cyborgy virgins couldn’t resist. He was saving the ‘Eternity’ feature for bigger gigs. It added future generations and previous generations for the truly discerning cyberfreak, augmenting the bouquet with swirls and paisleys of tiny faces. Total mind fuck. He’d worked out the glitches so the whole ‘Tree-o’-Life’, as he called his traveling medicine show, was displayed in four colors. A sociobiological cyberdelic application of the four-color map theorem. Genealogy software had reached its apotheosis in the 22nd century when the ability to plug in probabilistic progeny came online. RamKat had access to the best through A Gathering. Eat your heart out Angel Moroni. Add in RamKat’s primitive 4D bio-cyber programming skills and presto change-o, ‘Tree-o’-Life’.

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The holo-disco/genealogico/photo-booth gigs are well-known to the low rent psychonaut community. A quarter of a millennium after Timothy Leary exhorted his fellow transhumanists to “turn on, boot up, jack in”, cyberpunk and algoraves had long since devolved into a handful of cheap thrills enhanced by various colors and chemicals courtesy of the latest incarnation of SanDoze Cyberceuticals. Most folks wake up happy and largely unaffected by the experience, as they are similarly unaffected by the rest of their lives. Sure, they’d be temporarily wowed by the coincidences of genealogy and the palette of cyber tones, the loosening of purchase upon the self, but no imprint remains for long in the mind of the inveterate cyberstoner. RamKat himself has been sober lo these past fifty years. His bloodshot eyes are neither substance nor cyber induced, but the product of decades of intractable insomnia. At eighteen he’d gone off the hassidic reservation and dived headfirst into all the psychonautical world had to offer.

Ram Nissan Katz had been known to his disaffected yeshiva cronies as DJRoNK, cyberDJ extraordinaire. His first venture into illegal cyber-states was a wild ride he dubbed Strange Fire. Almost snuffed himself merging with Oneness. To the more attuned souls of the first half of the 22nd century it was amply apparent that AIs were in ascendance and humans were on their way down the food chain. DJRoNK and his yeshiva bucharoos observed with wary eyes the rapid construction of Leviathan in the North Atlantic. The pervasive presence of ZizCorp’s drone fleet was equally ominous. As of yet the bucharoos were unaware of the global predations of Behemoth Unlimited since its monster machine gigs were confined to the Dead Zones and the Autonomous Indigenous Regions. The rabbinic authorities did not smell anything rotten in the state of Leviathan. To be fair, the vast majority of humanity that had survived the first wave of ecological collapse at the end of the last century were not inclined to perform the sniff test. Subsistence was all. The three monstrous AI projects that had launched the day of Ram Nissan Katz’s birth were framed in no-holds-barred messianic terms. Every religious organization on the face of the beleaguered planet launched a capital campaign to reserve their own little corner of Leviathan. The Second World Ecological Collapse occurred as predicted just before the end of the 22nd century.

The more dark minded of the cybercat bucharoos saw the proliferation of cyber-architecture across the face of the planet for the ominous event that it was: the death of human free will. They had studied enough of the writings of the sages to recognize the shadow of apocalypse spreading its dark wings over unsuspecting humanity. This was not a new story. So with the aid of probabilistic future-casting software developed and refined by his forebears over six generations, and the imaginative use of the Matrix of Matter(MoM), DJRoNK could create a dystopian phantasmagoria on any street corner or public square, showing the likely morbid transformation of that very spot under the pseudo-benign dominance of the AIs. Cyber-busking was all the rage in the mid 22nd century, so DJRoNK gathered quite the following. He hoped to shock the zombified public out of their acquiescence to AI authority. Only he failed to predict the superior power of ZizCorp’s future-casting capacity. They had him cast as a burnt out false messiah leading a doomed rebellion against the AIs.

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I had always been a secret admirer of The Priest of the Apocalypse, one of the many sobriquets for Ramkat in his early days. In that life I also had attended Yeshiva Oxford-Brunoy, and had as well crashed and burned out of the hassidic world. I was more than a generation behind the notorious DJRoNK, as we knew him then. One of our most famous alums! Opinions were divided: was he good for the Jews? It was Leviathan versus DJRoNK, and Jews were flocking to Leviathan in droves. With the rapid devolution of the entire Levant into a dune-swept Eastern extension of the Sahara, Jews could no longer turn their lonely eyes to our Beloved Zion for reassurance of a place in the world. Two thousand nine’s dreams of desalination had turned out to be a flash in the global warming pan. The comfort afforded by the view from Redemption is indeed a balm for the pain of what was an unspeakable loss. I still feel an ache in the center of my chest when I get together to shmooze about old times with the RaRaN HaKTzaG, what we call Ram Nissan now, since the Redemption. But back then it wasn’t at all clear whether DJRoNK was an old-style navi or just a charlatan leading us deeper into Gehinnom.

I landed on my feet as a cyber-shopkeeper, not a very elegant or elevated pursuit, but unlikely to draw undue attention from our virtual masters. I was quietly plying my trade in one of the shadier quarters of Leviathan, when a tall gaunt figure stooped in the doorway and called out to me in a raspy growl. “Boychik!” I had been mindlessly riding my b-cleanBot around the cafe, zoned out on 22nd Century cyberTranz, when my heart was pierced by one of his demonic red eyes. I grounded out and briefly considered a cyberSweep, but I detected a familiar ironic twitch at the corner of the wraith’s mouth. As he stepped into the light I let out a gasp, “DJRoNK!” The corners of his mouth twitched even more as he prepared to emit a low frequency growl, “It’s RamKat.Breathe… two… three… four.DJRoNK died.” Breathe… six… seven… eight…The AIs.” His shoulders dropped ever so slightly. I nodded in sympathy. Twenty eight years of ‘reeducation’ in a lock-up in one of the Dead Zones, I’d heard. Only bots for company and synthFood for grub. By the time they were done with him the firebrand cyber-busking rebel was reduced to this burnt out cyber huxter standing at my threshold. I shuddered, but gathered my wits enough to extend my hand, “Sholom aleichem!” A volley of rapidfire twitches. He grunted in response, “Aleichem sholem. 

So began our on again off again collaboration, a couple of decades now. It was his idea to change the name to Cafe Soma, something he got out of a science fiction book I suppose he’d read eons ago, when he still read books. He’d been scrounging for astros on street corners for some years before he stumbled into my joint. This would be a steady gig. His shows at Cafe Soma were usually well-attended and he was satisfied with half the door, so it was a good relationship, if you could call it a relationship with a guy who offstage rarely uttered more than two words in sequence. I had rachmanas for this broken neshama, pity for the pathetic lost soul. That’s why when I see the three spooks sitting unplugged at a table in the back my hackles go up. I play it cool and airBoard over to their table, collect the unpaid covers. Without skipping a beat I stare at the one I take to be the head honcho. I pride myself on my ability to detect the subtle blended genomes of my patrons, maybe a side benefit of having attended upwards of several hundred of Ram’s genealogical hooplas. This guy is one cool cat. East Asian, probably Chinese, on the paternal side judging by the way he wears it. But definitely a yid on his mama’s side, making him one too. A yinkele, or a Chewie, or a Qibrew. “What can I do you folks for? Not into the show? Looking for a little somethin’ on the side?” The leader takes off his shades and fixes me with one powerful lock-jawed grin,“We wanna talk to DJRoNK.”

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RamKat was thrown. We must’ve stood there for an eon mulling over the relative merits of a jawfest with the intruders. Every few minutes he’d cast a glance over in their direction, trying to figure out just what kind of trouble they were shlepping to his doorstep. The other patrons float out. Some smile and finger the tattooed nanochips containing the groovy holo-snaps of their cyberdelic trip. Some just do the zombie shuffle. Finally Ram’s curiosity gets the better of his paranoia. The hulking wraith half ambles, half shuffles, half lopes over to the strangers’ table in the back of the room. He pulls up an airStool and sits down rather abruptly, fixes a bloodshot eye on the one who seems to be doing all the talking, and belches out, “Yo Hebe, what can I do you for?” There was a moment of uncomfortable silence. The Chewie guy glances coolly over at his chums, then back at the big guy and says, “We figured it out. You’re the Kohen Gadol, the High Priest, the Big Kahuna, and we need you. And you definitely need us.”

A look of genuine terror briefly flashes across RamKat’s face. Then he just shuts down, rolls up the doormat, turns out the porchlight and pushes himself back from the table as suddenly as he’d sat down. Just as quickly, Chewie shoots out an arm and grips RamKat by the wrist, firmly yet gently. I get ready to step in with my vapeGun. One shot in the face and it was off to lala land for even the most obstreperous of guests. The guy stares right up at the RamKat and asks with a totally straight, even kindly, face, “Cat got your tongue?” I swear I saw a tear roll out of one corner of the old dude’s eye. Never. Chewie and the other two geeks stand and gently point out the window to their idling airCar. The other guy, not the tough looking chick, says with a depth of sincerity I could feel down to my retro-cool Converse All-Stars, “Look, uomo, we can offer you nothing more than your freedom. And nothing less.” Later RamKat admitted to me he just kind of found himself walking out with them, a zombie in a trance.

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The airCar shooshes its way into the landing port at Skarie, the electromagnetically and vibrationally isolated lair the HackPack calls home. They usher him into the lab and sit the poor bastard down in a super plush La-Z-Boy recliner, a reproduction of the 21st century luxury original. The chick explains that they’d have to strap him in while they deprogram him because they couldn’t predict how badly he’d spaz out after having his inhibitions zapped away. He nods wordlessly as Sophie sits at the lightboard and plugs in the initializing sequence for the nanoLED’s that inhabit the far reaches of RamKat’s neurocorporeal self. She explains, “It’s really very simple. We link up with the LED’s and crank the voltage high enough to the fry the little buggers.” She smiles sweetly, as she double checks the last few coordinates. “Don’t worry. It’s a simple trash disposal problem. You’ve got a whole army of your own little macrophages, microglia and histiocytes that will make quick work of the smoking micro-wrecks. Better than any frickin’ bBots could do.”

Actually Soph isn’t entirely sure about the last bit, the comparison to bBots, but she wants to give him a confidence booster for his return to humanity. Pink and Nard belt RamKat into the La-Z-Boy, attach a leather strap to span his lower jaw as a biteGuard and step back. “By the way, old dude, just so you know, we had to do the same thing for Mr. Sympatico, Nard over there, after the bBots got done debriefing him and his family. And he’s right as rain, wouldn’t you say?” RamKat was no longer responsive as his optoGen internal governors robbed him of what little emotional expression he had managed to muster before all this excitement. Sophie doesn’t mention what a horror show it was when they deprogrammed Leonardo’s whole family. The affective storm after the unnatural machine-generated calm. She also knows that 28 years in ‘reeducation’ is by far the longest stint of anyone she’d had to deprogram yet, so all bets were off. “You know, we’ve met before.” The Rav turns a robotic glass eye toward Sophia as she continues to make small talk. “Yeah, it was at the cliff by the spring below Cabaret Castle. Must be thirty years ago. I thought you were old then. But look at you now. We’ll get you a few more years of vigor with this baby.” She pats the dProgrammer and smiles at the geezer. “You were the frickin’ flyin’ squirrel of the apocalypse!” The Rav starts to drool. Sophie looks to Pink for the go-ahead. He gives the nod and she pushes the voltage indicators way above the max capacity for the nano units and holds it there for five minutes, long enough to fry every last one of them, then off. They stare at Old Dude. Pink hurriedly strides over to him to get a pulse while Soph boots up bioTelemetry. “All systems emphatically go, but the patient is still blotto.” It seems like forever before they saw the faint twitchings at the corners of the Rav’s mouth. He manages to croak out, “Unbind me. Please.”

Quickly they removed the leather strap from his mouth and unbind him from the chair. He just rolls to his side, pulls his knees into the fetal position and rocks in place sobbing piteously. Sophie puts her hand on his shoulder and just holds it there until the sobs finally subside. At last, Rav Ram Nissan HaKohen Tzedek Gadol sits up in his La-Z-Boy recliner, looks at the three silenced hackers encircling him and smiles the smile of a man who, after eons of banging his head against invisible walls, can feel the feeling of what it means to be free. Free at last. He stretches all four limbs and sighs from head to toe and back again. He mumbles something to himself about “He who detoxifies from the poison of the world.” He squints an eye at the one called Pink, “So, what’s the job?” The three hackers beam at Old Dude.

Old Dude is by no means out of the woods yet. Still kind of twitchy and prone to staring blankly into space. Pink rigs up a neuroMetrics helmet for Old Dude and zaps the aberrant circuits with low voltage timed to disrupt reentrant rhythms, the stuff of obsessions that just won’t leave a body be. A twenty minute session every day for three weeks and the Rav gets a good deal less twitchy, sharpens up to a fine wit. He begins davening regularly, something that only Nard had read about. Ancient meditation practice passed down from Temple times. It seems to help him get more of himself onboard. Meanwhile, they let him in on the scoop about the Eighteen Downloads Protocol, and tell him as much about Apeiron as they’d been able to figure out. He just guffaws about the ‘Protocol’.

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The 18 Sequence Protocol(single module version)

 1. Invoke nested legacy programs and calendrical orientation.
 2. Reboot nested programs*
 3. Activate firewall for nested programs
 4. Specify information protocols permitting access to the initialized
 5. Light up return path for nested programs
 6. Error tolerance titration
 7. Retrieve dispersed associative sequences
 8. Repair corrupted software
 9. Calendrical synchronization
 10. Vibrational attunement to GPS alignment
 11. Rules for correct construction; 11b. the elimination of malware
 12. Activate specialist systems encoding values for distributed use
 13. Blueprint for actual physical plant
 14. Power up receptor for Apeiron
 15. Transduction sequence for Apeiron signal
 16. Total resonance with nested programs
 17. Echo resonance and boost gain**
 18. Smoothing function, permitting sustained resonance without chaotic attenuation***

 *4-D Interpolations for parallel processing of 10 or more modules:

   *2a. high voltage ‘messengers’ induce triple layer firewall.+++
       b. Quadruple-faceted Ezekiel segWay subroutines facilitate omnipresence of four letter code.
       c. download and empowerment of the four letter code in perpetuity.

 **17a. System is resourced in perpetual loop and password protected against misuse.
         b. Information is universalized and proofed from corruption.
         c. Omniscience is universalized and integrated with smoothing function.

 ***N.B.—Steps 4 through 15 are replaced by the single “Sabbatical invocation” sequence when the system has achieved silent inertial frame alignment with entropy driven superordinate support.

+++Expanded 4-D Interpolations for extra Sabbatical sequence:

      2a. Universal Language ‘crown’ activation.
        b. high voltage ‘messengers’ induce triple layer firewall.
        c. quadruple-faceted Ezekiel segWay subroutines facilitate omnipresence of four letter code.
       d. total network synchronization
       e. apotheosis
       f. download and empowerment of the four letter code in perpetuity.

                              [Saperstein, A., “Notes for the Moshiach Module”]

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“Don’t you guys get it? That’s what I’m doing three times a day, the davenen! It’s what our people have done for thousands of years to keep our shit together, to tune in to the cosmos and to the whole biosphere.” Nard blinked at him, “Really? That’s it? According to what I’ve read, you should be using tallis and tefillin, prayer shawl and phylacteries. Nu?” With a rueful shrug, Old Dude replies, “That really kills my buzz. I wish. No idea what those damned bots did with my stuff.” “No worries, Old Dude. I researched the hell outa the gear so we could make some and be ready to deploy them in the ‘Protocol’ as soon as the teacher appeared. And here you are!” He grinned and gestured at his teammates, “I’ve made enough for a whole meen-Yan.” Nard proudly and deliberately pronounced his mangled version of the word for a prayer quorum, the necessary ten required for the davenen to be in full force. This time the Rav just shakes his head and grins. 

Ram Nissan smiles a tight-lipped smile to himself, a stare returning to his face once more as he examines the tefillin Nard handed to him. The others are concerned there’s a problem. “There are words,” he muttered to no one in particular, “words on parchment. They have to be written carefully and inserted into these things you’re calling tefillin. But they ain’t tefillin till we be fillin’ ‘em with words. Without the scrolls it’s just a pretty box with straps.” Nard is crestfallen. “Don’t look so sad, Young Dude. Procure me some parchment, a pen and the right formula of ink and I’ll make us a set of those little scrolls before you can say Hymie’s yer uncle.” Nard is all over it, happy to have another antiquarian task to pursue. But first Ram Nissan clears his throat to draw the attention of the three hackers. “Hold on, El Nardo. So what about this Swimmer guy, the one Pink thinks is some kind of AI Moshiach? How are we supposed to bring him onboard with your little project? And what do you know about this CADMan dude? And how do you know that ZizCorp isn’t already hip to the whole thing?” Pink turns to Sophie, “You wanna tell him, or I should?” Sophie, hems and haws. This is a restricted topic, need-to-know basis. And it’s frickin’ weird.

Only Pink and Nard and Sophie are privy to the fact that Pink’s family lore has it that he channels Elijah the Prophet. For real. He was actually told it was so by his father’s Taoist master. The Sifu didn’t have a drop of Jewish blood in him. The dude was uncanny. He knew things. People would sneak off to consult him with their metaphysical questions rather than the rabbis. So when he came up with this wildass identification, even the Sifu himself was surprised. But baby Pink knew things too, things about the life of Elijah that no 23rd century secular Israeli half-breed had any right to know. Things about the school of prophecy and about the ancient Temple. Ram Nissan’s eyes widen as he hears the details. “No shit! That’s perfect. So all you gotta do is call up the Swimmer Dude and we’re golden. Nu?” Pink smiles sheepishly and hangs his head. “You would think so, of course. But of the ninety nine things I’ve figured out, calling Moshiach isn’t one. Kind of embarrassing. We hoped you’d have a suggestion.” “Hmm,” mutters the Rav. Ram Nissan closes his eyes and mumbles incoherently to himself, rocking back and forth in his chair. The other three wait for the Rav to awaken from yet another protracted autistic trance. Maybe the dProgrammer hadn’t zapped a few stray nanoLED’s. Then he begins in a slow, deliberate and barely audible voice, 

“Behold. I send the prophet Elijah to you before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Unutterable.” 

The electrons leap the gap between the Rav’s words and the back of Pink’s neck, his whole head engulfed by a halo of barely visible sparks. Nard breaks the silence, “Old Dude, what in blazes was that?” He stares at Pink’s glowing head. Ram Nissan smiles a smile from ten thousand parsecs away. “The absolute end of the Book of Prophets, Malachi the messenger. The last word.” He looks at each of them intently, “Until now.” Pink nods inside his newly acquired light helmet, jazzed by the contact high, “For sure CADMan would be hip to that one, only how do we get the message past the Terrible Troika?”

Ram Nissan smiles again, a little more lively now. “You guys are coders, right? Well the Hebrew language is a natural code. Every letter has a numerical value. The sum of the values of the letters in a given word is its gematria, its numerologically encoded value. If CADMan was half the Hebe he sounds like, he’d have created the Moshiach AI with the ability to decrypt gematria. It’s our bright boy Pink’s job, as the luminous incarnation of Eliyahu Hanavi, Elijah the frickin’ prophet, to transmit the gematria of that final passage from Malachi. Just a repeating sequence of thirteen numbers for the thirteen Hebrew words in the prophecy. That should clue him in. We’ll leave it to the Swimmer to do the rest.” So Rav Ram Nissan HaKohen Tzedek Gadol inscribes the following cypher on Pink’s airPad and flips it back to Pink. “This oughta do the job.”

60  81  338  90  401  46  68  170  9  56  26  48  68  60  81  338  90  401  46  68  170  9  56  26  48 68  60  81  338  90  401  46  68  170  9  56  26  48  68  60  81  338  90  401  46  68  170  9  56  26  48  68  60  81  338  90  401  46  68  170  9  56  26 48  68  60  81  338  90  401  46  68  170  9  56  26  48  68  60  81  338  90  401  46  68  170  9  56  26  48  68  60  81  338  90  401  46  68  170  9  56  26  48 68  60  81  338  90  401  46  68  170  9  56  26  48  68  etc.

Pink’s airPad catches the buzz from his bioelectric flow, takes his telepathic transcription in an instant. Within milliseconds of Pink’s transmission, the Swimmer appears.

About the Author
Michael Diamond is a writer based in the Washington, DC area. He practices psychiatry there and is a doctor of medical qigong. He has published verse, fiction and translation in Andrei Codrescu’s journal, The Exquisite Corpse; in the journal Shirim courtesy of Dryad Press; in the online journal for Akashic Press; in New Mexico Review and in The Journal of the American Medical Association. He lives in the suburbs with his wife, an artist and illuminator of Hebrew manuscripts, their dog, two cats, a cockatiel named Peaches and a tank of hyperactive fish. He has had a strong interest in Torah since first exposed to traditional stories as a child. Over the course of his life he has run the gamut of spiritual exploration of many world traditions of meditation and mythology. For the last several decades he has landed squarely in the traditional Jewish world. His writing is informed by all of this experience, by his curiosity about today's world and by his desire to mine the Jewish experience for its hidden and revealed wisdom. Torah Obscura, a glimpse of an otherwise invisible world afforded by a small aperture for light. All materials herein copyright © 2018 Michael S. Diamond. All rights reserved.
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