S./The Bearer of STATE - a book by Karin Arink

Chapter 53: you're just an object in my eye

The white crystals manage to reflect the light though they are packed densely together into a three-dimensional rectangle. When turned slightly, the white changes, the grainy solidity becomes bluish, then partly translucent. Zooming in onto the details, the spatial structures are revealed, the way the crystals are separate yet intertwined, cohesive though bound to disintegrate the moment their cube hits the tea, sweetening it for the palate of the human consuming it.
- ‘You parasite, eating our country away!’
No. STATE actives the usual information, soothing strand S..
---Bearer of STATE for 7 months, 1 week, 5 days, 2 hours, 3 hours, 4 hours,---

The people in the Palace have noticed the Bearer has changed. Disregarding most human exchange, Her Grace’s eyes do not register their presence, but can all of a sudden get immersed in the tiniest detail of the most commonplace objects. Indeed, a vase standing in a hallway is turned a tad with almost a caress, while Guards standing at attention have to watch out Her Grace does not walk into them. At the same time, some of her casual remarks are answers to hidden anxieties or jealousies, making many a Guard more defensive of his own thoughts than ever before.
While the Bearer treats most people as less than objects, she remains extremely close to some, especially the old eccentric, Doctor Werther and Her Excellency. Especially Her Grace’s ability to have long wordless exchanges with both of them unnerves those in the Palace household who have seen it considerably.

> okay and then?
> Then what?
> We are happy, she goes out, we all meet her and even touch her and spread the love of STATE; then phoosh she blows up the exchange and is gone! what was all that about?
> well seems pretty clear to me: her little higness first gets high on some public manipulation of the finest degree, and then uses the energy to disbalance our money and fuck everything up!
> You vile and filthy man! How can you speak such things, and this in public! STATE knows! STATE hears! Hail STATE and hail the greatest Bearer that ever lived! And one day you will find all you savings are gone, and your rent is raised, and your job
> which is exact-e-ly what I am talking abou you dipshit! ruined me, she did, that one that you claim to be holy
> Stands to reason, it does: because you are a vile man, Johnnie, vile in your debasing remarks, always trying to bring Her Grace the Bringer of the New Era down, what you even defile Her Grace’s name
> I am not sitting ehre to hear out your shit Preacher, get outta here!

The supermarket’s attendant cannot believe his eyes when two Guards of STATE enter and scan the premises quickly before they are followed by a small woman who can be no other than the Bearer herself. ‘What an honor to serve Her Grace!’ The manager exits his office almost immediately to maybe help the Bearer himself, when he is forced to an abrupt halt. One Guard’s hand is on his breastbone, hard. Only just can he manage to glimpse the Bearer, around the corner. On her knees, she is pulling out bags of flour from one of the lowest shelves. “These are alive. Inspection is on its way,” she states mechanically, while continuing to pull a good many out.
“Wh... What?”
Again, the Guard pushes him, reminding him to stay back. “I guess Her Grace has just informed you your merchandise has gone off, man,” the other hisses, before both pull away from him to follow Her Grace out of the shop, as the Food Inspection men enter to fine him.

The shiny surface flattens, then is pushed into folds, again and again. Rules of the hyperbole and the development of curve, the folds’ patterns are partly predictable, the way the molecules’ weave alters and makes the light waves rebound differently...

--- Hail the Bearer of STATE! --- The Bearer is our Savior --- We owe STATE all that is good --- Without STATE there would be no state --- Trust STATE to bring us into the future --- Trust the Bearer, our bond with STATE --- Hail the Bearer, returned to us finally, after long harsh years --- Hail the Bearer of STATE, who will weed out the bad people, allow the good to grow --- Hail the people of STATE! --- Hail STATE! ---

Artur Werther, looking up at STATE with a gleam in his eyes. It is not only the addiction of being close to STATE, of having a function near STATE. Yes, his professional pride is flattered by his researches being re-printed, his name revalidated. But STATE knows the alcohol level in his blood is too high again, and his head slits with her scolding voice. ‘Artur. No!’

- ‘You betrayer of your cause!’
---Bearer of STATE for 7 months, 2 weeks, 0 days, 1 day, 2 days---

Nervously, the few people present in his jewelry store bow as they recognize the Bearer of STATE, descending from the telltale bare steel limo with two Guards. Her Grace has never frequented any of the fashionable shops in this Borough, apart from Schneider’s, occasionally. ‘Compared to the President...’ But the owner tries to block the thought instantly. It is whispered the Bearer hears all thoughts, and punishes people accordingly. Smoothing back his thinning hair, he bows deeply.

Jason is staring at the steel limo with a hatred he never questions. Though still underground, he is the guru of the revolutionary movement, and more and more people are aware of the powers attracted to him.
An authentic freedom fighter, one of the few who had taken on the President and had survived it.
A hero, who knew the Bearer from before she became corrupted by power.
A victim of the regime, true to his beliefs.
A visionary, gifted with visions showing the real state of affairs.
A true leader.

The yellow and pink marble is receptive under her feet; the fortified glass cases are closing STATE in. STATE must look beyond, to what rests inside.

The Bearer stands very still in the middle of the wide store. “Open the cases,” she orders, her voice sharp and unpleasant.
“Yes, yes, most certainly, Your Grace... Which ones, more specifically?” the owner dares to ask.
“Open all cases, now!” the Bearer hisses. Casting a furtive glance before ducking away to find his keys, the owner swallows. ‘Is Her Grace enraged? Whatever for..? But... no thinking. No thinking. No thinking.... No thinking!’ As quick as he can he opens all cases. ‘Would Her Grace take a fancy to one of them...? Hmn... what would he do with a Seal of ST- No thinking... No thinking... No thinking...’
Stiffly, only just deigning to look inside, the Bearer makes a small round of the cases.

‘Look at her, that arrogant thief of STATE! Does not own a diamond to speak of, goes about unadorned. A real hero of the people, pah! A real rundown representative of this people’s lack of quality’

The Bearer stares into his eyes, her pupils contracting, making her unblinking stare even more frightening.
‘Uh’

Emeralds, rubies, topazes, tiger eyes, opals, stones in all sizes, of varying purity, color changing, cut in different ways, some delved recently, others hundreds of years old...
Set in platinum, gold, silver, contemporary alloys, the settings of various designs, frilly or slick...
Each piece a different history, elements coming together over a period of time, the love and craft of people invested in them, giving off a peculiar energy, which titillates with a multi-colored sparkle in STATE.
- ‘You thief of STATE!’
Matil. Some relation to Matil is here. STATE scans the people around, but there are no oddities, the usual murmuring of thoughts, some hostile, some neutral, some chanting. He is not here himself, but there is some relation... Again, STATE becomes fuzzy when trying to think of him. No. STATE is here for something else. For someone else.

The Bearer clenches her fists, seemingly irritated, shifts her attention away. The Guards do not react on Her Grace’s behavior, so the owner tries to stay calm while she stands there frozen and with a frown. Suddenly, she speaks: “Diamonds?”
“Oh! Yes, yes, Your Grace, of course, most certainly... We keep them below ground, safety measures, eh... Do... Do you want me to”
“Get the plateau in the second drawer of E1245.”
“But... Y... Your Grace... Of course I would be most obliged to show you also”

“Go get it, man!” a Guard cuts in. “We cannot have STATE standing here all day, understand?” Nervously, he glances outside. A growing throng of people is there, chanting: “Hail the Bearer! Hail STATE! Hail the Light of STATE! Hail Her Grace, the Bearer of Light, the Bringer of Peace!”

‘The Guards are right...’ The owner wipes his hands surreptitiously and goes down as quick as he can, returning with E1245, a blue velvet plateau with six diamond rings. Bowing to show them to Her Grace, he is repeating to himself: ‘no thinking... no thinking... why can I... no thinking... no thinking... would she really..? but I do hope... no thinking...’

STATE sees the purity of the largest one is overrated, the setting of the middle one slightly loose, the gold of right one a bit brittle... She selects a simple pale golden ring with a very pure diamond. For Irene. Irene... “This. Wrap it as a present.”

---Bearer of STATE for 7 months, 2 weeks, 3 days, 23 hours, 0 minutes and---
Soft white bioLeather receiving the weight of STATE, again, followed by the hard buttocks and legs of the Guards, left and right, the motoBike Guards up front making way for the limo through the crowd, pushing the humans who try to peer inside away a little harshly, with the arrogance of their profession.

Very stiffly, rows of policemen await the first inspection by the Bearer of STATE on this dry and cold October day. With a small step, the Bearer walks once past all rows, then Her Grace’s clear voice calls out for a number of men to step in front. Many a laurelled man takes some self-assured steps to advance themselves for the praise of Her Grace.
But the selection is not completely logical. Also some not so noteworthy men are selected, some greasy-skinned and sallow, some overly jovial, some impatient types...
A short silence, feet shuffling.

“Listen to me, Irene! I swear, this is important, much more important than all those nice Committees of yours! Come on, listen to me!” Though Doctor Werther urges Her Excellency to start organizing the Day of Souls, Irene objects strongly: the pompousness of the ritual, the deciding on life or death. Nowadays STATE does seem to seek the encounter with the people, although in a very distracted way. Irene supposes that Her Grace would not really want to be that intimate with them. ‘To touch them, one by one! To have them die at your touch...’ Of course, Mc Kinsey continues to strengthen her views on this.

---Bearer of STATE for 7 months, 2 weeks, 3 days, 23 hours, 18 minutes and---
Hard grass, growing from between the dense red clay; thin leaves sanded to thin threads at the edges.

The strange voice of the Bearer seems to come from both outside and within the head. “You. How would you feel if STATE would use her power against you, just as you have done to the people? You have disgraced the Police of STATE by going against the first Decree. You have disgraced STATE! By your own standards, STATE should torture you to death for this!”
A total silence. The men stand still, some bowing their heads, others fuming against what they consider an injustice against their achievements. ‘So what if some convict got hurt! The fight against crime is always tough!’

The Bearer turns to the Chief Officer of the Police Forces. “Chief. These men have not complied to the First Decree. They are to be reprimanded, to be put in different teams and their behavior checked so as to comply to the First Decree from now on, or STATE will automatically have them fired!”

- ‘You! Killer! Vile and aimless killer!’
---Bearer of STATE for 7 months, 2 weeks, 3 days, 23 hours, 29 minutes and 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15---

The Chief of Police looks at his men stunned, noting names and ranks, sad to risk losing so many. ‘Some of my best... Is she sure? Would STATE want them to be dragged off publicly? But they are good men, the best...’

Again, the penetrating voice of the Bearer: “STATE will abide by the first Decree, and you will be taught to. You will from now on better yourselves, or you will be incarcerated by STATE. You are dismissed!”

---Bearer of STATE for 7 months, 2 weeks, 4 days, 5 days, 6 days---
All day, every day, the sound is whistling in her. Her voice is not up to turning it into audio, her mind cannot catch the strands it is weaving in and out of tune. It is too high and erratic. It is arising from her surroundings, caused by the winds playing in the wires; the resonance of all people’s thoughts, creating a flowing disharmony. It is STATE, finally using the whole of her body shell, all vestiges of her part human mind. But, no, not all.
Matil.
He is still somewhere, and his very existence punctures the entirety of STATE. Is he the one probing her mind and jabbing it with thoughts?

Of course Irene is worried by Her Grace’s recent behavior. S. is becoming more whimsical every day. Even during telepathic communication, she all of a sudden does not respond at all, walks away and, worse, attends to something completely trivial. The Bearer’s interest can be bestowed upon a passing bug, or on rearranging some object standing there, sometimes she slowly spins around, or any such unpredictable behavior. ‘Of course I do not presume to understand STATE...’ But since her accident, as they prefer to call it, Her Grace had not been stable at all... or maybe Her Grace is forever changing some of the parameters of STATE, it is hard to tell.
Still, Irene casts about for ways to make Her Grace more connected to people, to politics. And with good reason. When the Bearer does not care about the ruling of this state, the responsibility falls on her. Moreover, where will this lead to? ‘What if one day, Her Grace will just wander off, never to be seen again?’
And when hesitantly asking the Captain what he thinks about the Day of Souls, she finds to her relief that he too is adamantly against it. Luckily, STATE does not give any sign, and hoping Doctor Werther will not push the question onto Her Grace, they let the matter slip for now. There are other things to do. There are always so many other things to do.
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