The blood thumps and thumps and there is sweat everywhere: between her breasts, on her back, down to the small of her back where her buttocks are cold and shaking as if they are no part of her. Irene wants the shaking to stop, to quiet down, but nothing helps. Everything is still vibrating in a scary way, exhausting every fiber of her body. She does not want anyone close by. No one. Nothing. No'

Bearer of STATE for 8 months, 2 weeks, 3 days, 19 hours, 49 minutes

It has started to snow, and when S. leaves the woods she is blinded by a dancing whirl of white. The world ends at arm’s length. Within minutes, she is completely covered in snow, and the new suit proves its value. It has not been damaged at all by the branches and keeps her completely dry. In the snowstorm, only the gravity tells her where the earth is and where the sky. The downy icy flocks whirl down, one by one, again and again gracefully touching down on her glasses, covering her hands, her arms, her suit, her boots, her skis.
After a while she becomes aware that she is no longer moving. She sits, then lies on her back. The flocks keep coming, more and more, and STATE is being covered, completely covered with snow. Again, she lies in a hole in the snow. Somewhere beneath her, STATE senses the ore, a faint magnetic force sustaining her, and S. can finally relax. The snow protects her from the wind, and the suit keeps the snow off her skin, and STATE keeps her as warm as she needs to be. Within seconds, strand S. is deeply asleep.

A huge hall, filled with faceless colorless people.
Doors are flung open by self-righteous Elite soldiers, the cold grey figure of the President. The President, but there is no fear now and S. watches as the President approaches, neither walking or striding, but flowing with a fluid body, grey and transparent, morphing like the former Bearers', shifting from male to female.
“There you are!” s/he says, the voice a deep smoky welcome. S. goes towards him/her, follows the voice, goes and goes, towards the arms slowly opening to take her in. Tenderly, they enclose her for a moment of complete relief.
It is then, with a feeling of light and profound bliss, that S. explodes, exploding the President’s fluid body with her, a shrill sound as a last fragmented awareness flickers through the high hall.
Everybody present cranes his neck to look up and they open their mouths wide
to eat her whirling white

> I tell you and I tell you all! In the old books there was a sacred ritual, the ritual meant both to redeem those whose lives are unbearable, and to test the Bearer and see of there is none other meant to bear it.
> Are you sure you are not referring to that banal custom, the, what was is called? It was abolished by the former Bearer, may his wisdom remain!"
> He was maybe wise but also a puppet, our nice mister P was his minister ddn’t you remember? So I think the former Bearer, rest his soul, was not really up to it, if you know what I mean. Anyway,
> whaddaya going on about in here?
> Newbie shut up and lurk or we will shut you out of this OCC! We are respectable, and I, as Admin
> ah one fo those are we? don’t wanna get into one of those cause they always chuck me out anyways, cus I don’w wanna kiss some idol’s ass you know? why you do I wonder
> We are discussing important theories here Newbie and either listen and learn or bugger off!
> owwww gonne use bad words now are we? so what’s the deal of this thread anyways? ritual, ritual what ritual? always like a good ritual if there’s some people to be around haha
> Well, I tell you and I tell you all, what we need is to prepare!
> prepare?
> The great Day is drawing near! The Day of
> No. No. No. I as Admin will not allow you to mention any such Day until the First Follower has decided
> And that will be too
> wahahaha the follower, with a capital F! FFFFFF! hahahaha, that F is nothing! never gets around to anything now does he? just like your little F-ing idol he is, all blahblah and no deeds. pa! little shit

With his hangover, he has gone out, even though his thoughts do not allow him to enjoy the skiing. ‘Shouldn’t have… Irene is the one… Does S. know what I did? But Irene has no rights to know, no right to even care! She doesn’t care anyway… But would STATE know, does STATE know? Why is she not back? What has happened all night, last night, when she was alone on the mountain? Why haven’t I heard of her? Uh’
‘Captain?’ It is past lunch, when Her Grace finally contacts the Captain.

Bearer of STATE for 8 months, 2 weeks, 4 days, 3 hours, 8 minutes

Sitting outside, on the terrace of in a crowded skiing café, she closes her eyes against the sun.
‘Your Grace! Oh… thank God! Where are you?'
S. has to dive into STATE for the answer, but she is distracted. The innkeeper looms over her, blocking the sun. Without looking at him, she orders.“One coffee, black."
Closing her eyes, she dives back in. ‘The Sunny Side Café, Captain, on the west slope.’ While he acknowledges, she is forced to look up by a hand on her shoulder.

“This table has been reserved, la-dy! For regulars only!” The innkeeper points to the hand-painted sign saying so.
“Sit somewhere else today,” the woman says indifferently, and closes her eyes again.
“Hey! Woman! I was speaking to you, I was!”

S. opens her eyes, a white anger rising.
- ‘You! Useless sham!'
Where does this come from? Is it this human, shouting at STATE? No. He does not know whom he is addressing, and the mind-voice does.
The human approaches. He will not allow his superiority to be challenged thus.

‘Doesn’t react, that woman! Hmnpf!’ Again, he pushes her shoulder, but this time, he is struck by a short discharge, hitting him unexpectedly. He jumps back. ‘What is this?’

Bearer of STATE for 8 months, 2 weeks, 4 days, 3 hours, 12 minutes

“Don’t you touch the Bearer of STATE,” S. says quietly. She turns to bask in the sun while steering the Captain to her.

Sarah Feyman orders expensive room-service without getting up from her bed. ‘The bastard! Worse than I expected he was… An animal, rutting, nothing more… So you think you’re the most powerful man in this state, huh? Wait and see, little captain… soon you’ll be captain of nothing. Wait and see…’ She smiles and then even touches the back of her husband, fast asleep next to her. ‘It is early, he might…’ When he sleepily turns she rolls onto him and allows her breasts to dangle near his face. He is roused easily, and soon she slides down and up… down and up…

‘It is hot, so hot… I cannot stay here! I have to move… But… What again should I do? Where is the list? I have to remind Martin that this is not how it will continue to be! The arrogant bastard! But also that Delaware! Well, maybe Mc Kinsey can help me to activate them, ‘cause this is not leading anywhere! I have to work harder, it’s all my fault, I have to return to the Palace of Parliament, I cannot be here, lying around… they will know and ridicule me for this!’
Something catches in her hair and when she turns it is the hand of Martin, jerking a handful towards him, forcing her to come to him. He is hot like a furnace, and she does not want to go, she does not want to be near him. ‘No! He should not see me like this! What is he doing here, in my bedroom? What is he trying to do?’

Mrs. Delwin feels her daughter’s body temperature rising and applies some soothing massage. ‘Oh baby…. my poor baby…. relax.’

Bearer of STATE for 8 months, 2 weeks, 4 days, 3 hours, 20 minutes

The aged realWood expands in the sunlight, the cold still in the inner pores. The structure of the inn is very softly squeaking, but no human ear listens. STATE does, but she is distracted. Noise… The innkeeper’s mind is such a turmoil of emotion that STATE shifts her attention to it, to the extent that it surfaces into her consciousness. The man is afraid, certainly, of having offended the Bearer, but moreover, he is filled with hate. His intestines are clenched with the impact of his emotions. How can he hate the Bearer so violently, when he cannot even recognize her when she is sitting on his terrace? STATE investigates into this hate carefully, but cannot make heads or tails of it. The reasons for his hate are contradictory and illogical to the extreme, and all STATE can do is list them:
‘The Bearer is a despot.’
‘She is too weak to rule us, she is no ruler!’
‘The President, now he was a real man! He knew what he wanted!'
‘She exerts her powers randomly, like a lunatic.’
‘She kills where and when her whim directs her, then uses STATE as an excuse.’
‘STATE is far too powerful, it should be destroyed as soon as possible.’
‘The Bearer is doing nothing while using up our money, while we break our backs to earn it.’
‘The President is right, we should dump her as soon as we can.’
The President?! Is the man thinking of the President as if he is still alive?! Again, STATE looks into the man’s thoughts. His hate obfuscates his real intent, there are no boundaries between threats he thinks of and actions he might be contemplating. And his thinking is grounded in such a different world-order, ruled by such different paradigms, that even while being privy to the thoughts does not explain him at all for STATE. After some deliberation and checking, STATE concludes that ‘the President’ is more of an entity in the innkeeper’s mind, separate of the physical man himself. But there is evidence that the man is in contact with a very powerful group of the former President’s supporters, and STATE suspects the group to be connected to Matil himself.
Again, S. tries to force STATE deeper into the man’s mind, to reveal knowledge about this Matil… But again, the data becomes blurry and inconclusive.
Matil? We must be careful here.

The Captain arrives shortly, with some Guards, and together they take coffee and lunch. With a lot of effort, the Captain all the time thinks of a chess game he had played not so long ago… Making the moves in his mind, a flash of his sex with Sarah Feyman remains only just hidden from Her Grace. ‘horse to a12… pawn to…’

STATE notes the innkeeper serves them very politely, but stays very near and listens a bit too intently. STATE checks all food and drinks before allowing anybody to take. The Captain notes her care, but S. does not offer an explanation. Revealing the man’s allegiances will not help a thing.

Cautious not to sound overly concerned, the Captain asks how Her Grace’s night has been. The Bearer smiles at the Captain. ‘Perfect! STATE slept in the snow somewhere. Captain. Thank you…’ And the Captain bows his head to hide his smile. Then the voice of the Bearer speaks, ripping his complacency: “We need to leave now."
“Ah? But… I thought… Your Grace?"
‘Irene is ill, Captain. We will go to her now.'
“Ill!? Oh,” The Captain jumps up and orders the men to depart as soon as possible. They have their luggage sent after them, and step into the limo in their skiing suits. As the Captain directs the driver to go to the capital, Her Grace counters him calmly: “To the meeting place, driver, on the other side of the mountain!”
When the Captain turns to Her Grace he hears her voice, too close, as usual nowadays. ‘Call for fresh cars. We will switch cars, Captain. Then to her parents’ house.’ Clasping his hands, the Captain looks out of the limo window at the high slopes panning by. ‘If only she will be OK… This is terrible… I wasn’t thinking of her, never thinking of her… It’s all my fault. I should never have… I… oh - queen to’