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The Life and Life of Rock Bagger

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  • The Life and Life of Rock Bagger

    The Life and Life of Rock Bagger

    In homage to Friedrich Dürrenmatt and Wolfgang Schwitter.


    The controversies surrounding the enterprises of Rock Bagger need no introduction. They have been reported, analyzed, and not least misrepresented ad infinitum by media both national and international, but less light has been thrown over the man behind it all. His official portrait in public consciousness has been painted by jealous competitors and niggling nobodies. The mendacious and hateful outbursts against him have been authored by a conspiring clique of communists who will always resent a successful businessman.
    I'm not going to try to conceal the truth. He has, on a few occasions, transgressed the borders of law. However, these trivialities have concerned subtle tax technicalities and the like. Nobody was actually hurt. One sometimes wonders if a man of his position could be expected to be even aware of all the complicated legislation. He was never a lawyer; he was always a man of constructive initiative. His alleged deep involvement with Hell's Angels and their criminal and violent activities has never been proven. Neither has his more recent involvement with dangerous genos, for the matter. His attempts to avoid trial must be understood in the light of the veritable hetz against him. How could he be expected to research and prove his innocence from a prison? It must not be left out of his biography that, when he finally was apprehended back in 2008, he was the one to turn himself in.
    In spite of all our great technological advances, some of which we owe to Bagger and his industrious spirit, we seem to be drifting ever further from social advance and the ideals of liberty that we praise so highly in the Western world. At the same time, the information concerning some individuals in Omniscience is distorted beyond recognition. One of these is Rock Bagger. His example, in the end, is one of service to the progress of mankind. While I have, myself, met him but on a few brief occasions, I have studied his case extensively and hope that I can, in the following, present Rock Bagger, the man, in a fairer and more objective light than usual.

    Chapter 1
    Longevitas Inc.

    When he was released from prison in the spring of 2014, Bagger emerged a broken man. The company built with his own hands had been discontinued. His wife had initiated divorce proceedings. His savings had been confiscated by the authorities. So-called friends, who had been swarming around him in his wealthy days, were all long gone.
    It was a dark and rainy day. He was standing alone in front of the gate slamming behind him with resounding clangs. Vestre Fوngsel, the Copenhagen prison behind him, remained aloof and indifferent with its yellow brick walls. There was nobody to be seen. Like always, the place just looked forbidding and completely lifeless on the outside. For the first time in years, he was able to produce his mobile, and he called his wife, Annie.
    Go away, Rock,” she said. ”Anything you have to say, you can say to my solicitor.”
    He then called his supposedly best friend, Jens B. Aamund. ”Look, Jens, I know you're mad at me, but...”
    Rock? I don't believe it. You really have the nerve, don't you?”
    Please, Jens, I'm desperate. Just listen to me.”
    I listened to you many times, and look where that got me!” Aamund broke off the connection. He will have been suscribing to the suspicions that Bagger had millions stashed away somewhere. It was a common misconception in the newspapers at the time, but Aamund should have known better. Bagger was ”without a red shrimp”, as they say in his country.
    He counted his coins, and decided he could afford a taxi which took him to Vesterbrogade and his very first office. It was still there, in the slums. Nobody had cared about the place. He found the key where he had left it in a flower pot in the back yard, and he entered the little 1 1/2 room flat on the third floor. It hadn't changed, except for the dust that had gathered over the years. He spent the night on the floor, getting little sleep, and waking up with achings all over.
    With no water or electricity, he went down to 7-Eleven to get a cup of coffee and a ”rundstykke” with butter and cheese. Bringing them back, he sat down on a rickety chair still standing at the worn table in the kitchen. The old laptop, which he found intact and with a little power still left on the batteries, hooked on to an unprotected wireless connection. Deprived of human contact for too long, he got on the old Smartbizz chatroom for the first time in years.
    A log of this session still exists in Omniscience. The first hour or so was trivial, but suddenly, an acquaintance entered.

    serios131: fuck the lazy bastards. it's the workers who're stupid and ignorant. period.
    goldsaxman: completely agree.
    serios131: i mean, i shouted a bit at this basstard, but he was going on about his ”rights” and all that.
    goldsaxman: ignore him
    goldenboi: hey serios, that u?
    serios131: rock?
    goldsaxman: u know, yesterday, this dude asked 4 a raise. I told him to sod off.
    goldenboi: meet. Root of roots place. Asap
    serios131: k

    Flakey Mo knocked on the door in less than an hour. He was a helpful and well-meaning sort of chap, but hopelessly awkward and unkempt. His thin hair was mooning on top already in his thirties, and his jeans and lumberjack shirt had gone out of fashion for the umpteenth time several years ago. His hands were shaking, and Bagger noticed that the little skin protectors of his glasses had fallen off now, so that his nose had an arch of red itching.
    Sitting down in the kitchen, he asked, ”Can I smoke?”
    Sure,” said Bagger. ”When did we get so formal?”
    Since always,” said Mo and lit his joint. It's worth looking up this scene on Freaktube just for the laughs. The way this loser is sitting there and trying to look normal is priceless.
    It's also remarkable how kind Bagger is to him. ”Have a drink,” he said and put a generous glass of dry Jack's on the table while taking a much more modest glass of his own.
    I've been having a bit of a hard time lately,” Mo started complaining.
    Haven't we all?” said Bagger, sitting down and looking into his eyes. ”Prison isn't exactly the beach of Lanzarote, you know.”
    I know. I've waited for you to come back. We were always good friends, weren't we?”
    Sure,” said Bagger and poured him another one. ”How can you ask?”
    I'm sorry. I guess I've always been insecure. You know, Rock, we should try the old bit again. Just like the old times. Longevitas Inc.”
    That'd be cool.” Bagger smiled wistfully and leaned back on the chair, hands folded behind his head.
    They sucked it all up. We did great.”
    Bagger refilled his glass. ”We did awesome, mate! Buttocks up!”
    In short, they got drunk. When Bagger woke up the next morning, he found Mo dead in the bathtub. He hadn't been bathing. He was fully dressed, and there was no water. His hand was hanging over the edge of the tub, and below it was lying a syringe. Bagger turned and vomited into the sink.
    When he was finally done, he raised his head and looked into the mirror. The face was familiar, just redder and moister than usual. He still had his rugged yet boyish good looks. A square and determined chin, but still delicate. A cute little nose, and the big, round eyes of a trusting puppy, only deep blue. Closely cropped ”liver paté blond” hair. Perfect Colgate-white teeth. Prison had changed none of that.
    He called 112. It must have been tempting for him just to leave the place and pretend he hadn't been there, but he was basically ruled by his conscience. It's ironic that, just having payed his full debt to society, he was caught up in a messy situation. Of course, it didn't do anything to raise his spirits, and while the police were conducting their business in the flat, he was sitting with his head buried in his hands, wishing he had been the one to sniff it.
    When they let him go, hours later, he had decided to die. He was going to get the one final pleasure of this world, like a captive having a last cigarette when facing a firing squad, and he went and rented a good car. It was nothing like his beloved 8C Spider, but beggars can't be choosers, and it was probably all for the best not to draw attention to himself. Settling at the steering wheel, he got Mille Gratiو on the phone, and then stopped only to get some snacks before driving to the summer cottage on Fوrnوs, a less known little promontory between Liseleje and Tisvildeleje.
    He went and sat for at least an hour in the sauna before Mille appeared in the doorway. He hadn't heard her arriving, but she was used to enter freely from the old days. She dropped her t-shirt.
    When they went into sitting room a bit later, she whispered into his ear that all she wanted in life was to be his. Although he was still not over Annie, it was good for his ego. Unfortunately not good enough for him to stay alive, however. He remained firm in his determination.
    She was always the cheerful little freckled redhead. Treating herself generously with the fizz and foie gras, she finally fell asleep in his arms, and he carried her to the master bed, carefully arranging her with the house's best eiderdown and silk coverings.
    He went to the shed, threw a rope over a roof beam, and hanged himself.
    His parents found him, and while his father was cutting him down, his mother called an ambulance. His condition was critical, but after a week of intensive care at Colbjّrnsens Klinik, his condition grew stable if less than ideal. He stayed in a coma for weeks. When next he opened his eyes, he was looking into Annie's face.
    Where am I? Where am I?” he stuttered, having just been pursued by gangsters, creditors, and police officers in his perpetual nightmares.
    You're at your fucking parents'!” Annie slapped him.
    We're not fucking at the moment,” he heard his mother's acid voice.
    He drew back into the pillow and pain. ”What about Mille? Is Mille okay?”
    Annie slapped him again. Her huge, bright pink, sensual lips were quivering. Even her Botox-filled forehead managed something resembling faint furrows. She was clearly upset beyond rationality.
    Stop it!” His mother rushed in and stayed his exwife's hand.
    Annie was getting hysterical. It's common for women to be jealous if the man they've fired finds new romances. She thrust Mrs. Bagger onto the floor and stuck her head closely to her husband's. ”Now, look, you little piece of shit. I know your game. I'm not letting you get away with it. I'm going to chuckle out that smug grin of yours if it's the last thing I do...”
    It wasn't. She had a stroke and collapsed, her body falling across the patient. Mrs. Bagger was left, standing like the wife of Lot for a long time, looking at her recomatized son and dead daughter-in-law.
    It was another week before he regained consciousness again. He spent some time at his parents' house, recuperating. They were both bossy. It wasn't his ideal of a good time, but it has to be said for them that they provided everything they could for a prodigal son. A personal trainer got his atrophied body into its old fit shape, helped along by the salads and vitamins of the au-pair. Annie had left all her possessions to the Baggers in her will. Perhaps she was just spiteful towards her own family, perhaps she wanted Rock's family to wield power over him. Whatever the case, he was subjected to their patronage for the next few months. Although they were basically of his own sound sense and world-view, it was an exasperating time for him. His father was a bluff old ex-officer, always preaching his out-dated views of honour and fair play. His mother was equally obsessed with clean nails and respectable clothing. They were people of comfortable means, though not accustomed to the luxury that Bagger once relished.
    All that he wanted was to die. On the other hand, he didn't want to hurt his parents. He knew that, whatever their faults, they would never get over his death, so he didn't attempt suicide again, like he had in that moment of clouded desperation. He tried to get back into shape, and then to rebuild his stature in the world at large.
    He went regularly to pay his respects to Annie. While she had never forgiven him much, he forgave her everything. Looking at her dead body, frozen in an ice block, he decided that he'd go the same way. Some day. When the gods would grant him leave. He knew he wouldn't reach her state of perfection. Even in death, he recognized her superiority. Her long blonde hair was fixed in a backwards flowing tail like that of a statue of Diana hunting. He often cried when he visited her at Colbjّrnsens'.
    The show must go on. He convinced his father to revive Longevitas in his name. Also under his supervision, which was a nag. Rock was now required to explain every little detail of the company to his father. It was humiliating no longer to be able to follow his own instincts. His focus was on America, and he had the firm registered in New York, insisting that the market of the US was the one most obsessed with cosmetic pharmaceuticals.
    They started relaunching the diet pills Lighton invented by Jens Aamund. He filed complaints, but the drug's patents belonged firmly to Longevitas. Aamund should have stayed low, for his own good. Lighton already had a bad reputation because of a few patients' deaths, and was often spoofed as ”Skelighton” in the satirical columns of Kّbenhavns Tidende. Longevitas needed more to regain its position as a force to be reckoned with in the medical industry. After a while it came, in the form of Smoodies.
    Consisting mainly of carbonhydrates, Smoodies boosted the mind capacity of many Lighton users, who were usually fat people avoiding the intake of sugar and the like. However, there was also a genuinely rejuvenating quality to it. It went unnoticed for some time, but later it was going to appear that some enzymes in it actually significantly slowed down the natural wrinkling of human skin. In the end, it led to a battle of health wisdom. Users of Lighton swore to its effectiveness, while others scoffed and bickered.
    Come Christmas, Longevitas was growing into its old position as an important player on the market. Bagger spent Christmas evening with his parents. As an only child, he felt obliged to, and they all had a peaceful and happy night that would serve as a gratifying memory for anybody. Which was good, because on their way home from his house, they were both smashed into pulp by a truck on the highway.
    At the double funeral, Mille showed up. Late, of course. The sound of her Honda Gold Wing made everybody turn their heads just as the vicar was starting his second eulogy. The beautiful little vehicle had been a gift from the amazingly generous Bagger before he went to prison, and his heart warmed at the realization that she had kept it as much her attendance. He couldn't help himself, in spite of the tragic occasion, to laugh loudly as she wrung off her helmet, ran to him, and flung her arms around his neck. ”Later,” he whispered and, putting his arm around her waist, restored his serious face and gazed at pastor Langhalm who was beginning to stutter unprofessionally in his duty. He kept shifting his glance from his manuscript to Bagger and back, until he lost his concentration so much that his foot slipped on the edge and he fell into the grave, hitting his temple against the coffin in a way that pumped the life out of him.
    Bagger skipped the coffee. There was such a turmoil that nobody would probably talk about his deceased parents, anyway. When the ceremony was over, he straddled the motorcycle behind Mille and rubbed his abdomen against her tight little butt. She giggled, and the sound echoed with pearly music from her helmet, mixing with the purring of the engine jetting them off towards the summer cottage.
    She went into the sauna and he turned up the sound of the stereo and blasted Europe's ”The Final Countdown” out of every loudspeaker in the house while they made love. As unluck would have it, the electronics failed in the meantime. The lights went out, the heat went up, and the door locks went kaput. He just had enough time to regret having the door to the steam room included in the high-tech system of the cottage before they were boiled to death.
    Last edited by Jagged; 09-30-2015, 12:37 PM.
    "If the environment were a bank, we would already have saved it." -Graffitti.

  • #2
    Chapter 2
    Fوrnوs Ltd.

    In the years following Bagger's death, what with the sudden lack of obvious heirs, Longevitas was carried on by his cousin Arthur Dux. Many people, including himself, had predicted professor Per Astra to be promoted to CEO, but Dux expected expert execution and, with the majority share dropping into his lap, could do as he pleased. No doubt, this was a stroke of luck for the company. The professor was a brilliant scientist, but also an idealist, and any company, whatever its trade, needs to be run by a professional businessman.
    Certainly, under Dux' leadership, Longevitas continued growing, to the point of becoming a major competitor to the then gigantic Nordo Medix. Old Bagger had been right in betting on the American market. As fast as Astra and his team could invent rejuvenating pills of one kind or another, Dux and his marketing team made every American, who could afford them, a loyal addict. Following suit, the European market became very lucrative, indeed, as soon did the wealthier parts of South America. Australia, Asia, and Africa, in that order, were conquered, and already by 2022, Longevitas was reaping immense profits from every continent except Antarctica.
    That was the year when Dux authorized the professor's ambitious pet project under the codename of Neo Redivivus. Astra was given much freedom developing it, nearly only limited by his budget. It was a wise decision, indicative of Dux' skills as a leader. Apart from progressing well ahead of plans, the project threw off no end of side exports. The Calcium Care tablets dealt with the erosion of the bones of the human body, and the launch of Cellilose in 2029 kicked Jens Aamund's butt so bad that Nordo Medix' shares plummeted towards extinction.
    Neo Redivivus reached a spectacular milestone in 2041 by bringing to life a mouse that had been dead for several hours. Today, that may seem but a trifle, but that little critter instantly went viral. You may look up in Omniscience how it was killed, along with two of Longevitas' security officers, by The Christian Life Preservers. CLP, caused a mass hysteria by claiming that humans having taking control of Life and Death was a sign from God that the Apocalypse was nigh.
    Dux remained firm. When Astra was ready, he instructed him to revive a human being. There were no limitations given, apart from Rock Bagger being the first specimen to fill the success criteria. His body, resting beside Annie's in Colbjّrnsens Klinik, was easily retrieved, as the clinic was now owned by Longevitas. The process was long and ardeous but, in the end, a success.
    When next he opened his eyes, Bagger was looking into the face of Jens Aamund.
    Where am I? Where am I?” he stuttered. He was in intense pain. All the cells of his body had been first boiled, then deep-frozen, and although they had been regenerating over months, the process wasn't completely finished. It felt like he was burning up from the inside all over, and he writhed and groaned. He was only vaguely aware of the face in front of him, and the cool, bluish light of the operating theatre.
    It's alive,” said his old friend, grinding teeth. ”I admit it. You've really done it.” His face was reddening with frustrated jealousy at the overwhelming success of his competitors. His eyes rolled upwards and finally showed only their white, as his head tilted slightly backwards and sank below Bagger's field of vision.
    Help me... it hurts... give me something...” He saw the professor approaching to press a needle into his arm, and a moment later, his consciousness mercifully drifted away again.
    The group of doctors, directors, and top politicians were mostly standing around, looking crestfallen at the two lifeless bodies, as Dux and a nurse rushed to Aamund on the floor next to the patient's bed.
    Call an ambulance!” shouted Dux.
    We're in a hospital,” said Astra, turning from the bed. He pushed his boss away and bent to quickly examine his unexpected new patient. In a moment, he started hammering his palms against Aamund's chest, while the shyly beautiful blonde nurse Caroline pressed her rosy lips against the old man's at regular intervals. There was nothing that helped, however, and Aamund was soon declared dead.
    When Bagger was allowed out of his bed a few weeks later, he was invited to the ”boss bunker” for a glass of Vin de Constance 2034. Astra explained the process of his arrival, and Dux, leaning back in the old-fashioned, deep leather sofa, informed him of his current situation. He had already been surprised to learn that he was in 2042, and then that his cousin was still looking around 30 to him. Average life expectancy of the middle class was now around 120, well above what Bagger had been used to. He wasn't going to get his firm or the villa back. The new owner couldn't be forced to relinquish it under the existing legislation, and Bagger had to admit that he wouldn't have done so himself under similar circumstances. Not being a mean person, though, Dux gave him a nice allowance as well as the summer cottage which was rather generous.
    I never use it, anyway. It's just gathering dust. I'll get sister Caroline to look after you until we know everything's o.k. I also got you a body guard. The best there is.” He lifted his arm and seemed to talk into his wristwatch. ”Send in Miss Parsons, please.”
    A body guard? Why would I need a body guard?”
    There are some religious fanatics who're bound to try to kill you. They tried to sabotage your revival several times. They say I'm playing God, and they think that the real thing will punish the whole country for our feat if they 'let' you live, so you're definitely a target. Even if their main concern so far has been genos.”
    The Sons of Man. Genetically manipulated children. We have a few of them as patients, and the CLP and all those really hate them. Ah, Miss Parsons. Meet your client.”
    Bagger looked up and saw a tall, darkhaired beauty enter, dressed in a tight, black turtleneck with matching trousers and sneakers. She moved with a pantherlike quality to the window and cast a glance down at the street, resting her right hand at the gun sheathed at her belt as she parted the blinds.
    We should get out now. They're here,” she said.
    Very well,” said Dux. ”I'll have sister Caroline pack Rock's stuff.”
    They prepared to leave, while Bagger was shown around the clinic to see how it had changed. Decoration in the 2040's had developed a lot since 2015, notably allowing advantages of previous times that had been repressed during the time of democracy run amuck. Darker and more vivid colours predominated in contrast to the outdated and sterile whites and pastels, ornamentation for the sake of aesthetics had made a foray into the world of the industrial ugliness of functionalism, and the ridiculous pretense of leadership and cleaning personnel being equal had been given up in place of a more honest approach of signalling power and importance. There was a solemn feeling about walking down the varnished planks from the oaken door to the boss' luxurious office and looking at the postpreraphealite oil paintings of founders hanging on the henna red walls between offices and the elaborate stucco and panels.
    Even more unusual was what Bagger saw in the patient rooms. The creatures from modified human DNA at Colbjّrnsens were a sad lot. Marianne Jensen had been intended as the first flying human, dubbed homo sapiens volans by her father even before her birth, but now she was just lying filled with painkillers and with her fifth and sixth limbs protruding from her back more like grotesque weapons stabbed into her than like the wings that had been intended. The emaciated Jesus Diaz was sitting in his room among untouched roasts, creamfilled desserts and piles of chocolate which he tried to give them in his starvation. Albert Anderstein had been a partial success, in that his IQ had reached 350, but his skull cavity was so huge that his neck couldn't support it, and he was sitting fixed in an apparatus specially designed to keep heads up.
    Are all 'genos' like that?” asked Bagger when they sneaked out a side door to the armed Mercedes Bondz waiting.
    No,” said Dux, getting into the front seat to code the destination into the GPS. ”Few of them survive their first year.”
    We won't survive the next hour,” said Miss Parsons, getting into the back seat with sister Caroline, ”unless we get out of here fast.”
    Bagger got into the seat beside his cousin and was amazed to see the car speed off all by itself towards Fوrnوs.
    Hey, get the steering wheel!” exclaimed Bagger.
    Dux looked questioningly at him for a short moment; then laughed. ”Don't worry. The automatic driver is much safer than a human one.”
    Meanwhile, millions of miles away, the rogue planet Nemesis entered the Oort Cloud and caused a lot of disturbance. Rocks and dwarf planets were thrown out of course and flung in all directions of space. Sedna just avoided collision and was slingshot in direction of Jupiter. As she went sailing on her majestic course, Bagger was building up his new creation, and a group of so-called humanists and environmentalists formed a fundamentalist fraction called The Neo-Anarchists, who mainly started out painting adolescent graffitti all over Copenhagen, always signed with their collective abbreveation, N/A.
    Being a down-to-the-ground sort of person, Bagger simply named his new enterprise Fوrnوs after his geographical location. This time, he registered it in London, as he learned that the USW states 51 and 52, England and Wales, had the best tax benifits for a company in Denmark, the country expected by many to be state 53. He went into a different kind of business, but business is business. Fوrnوs Ltd. dealt in electronics. While Bagger must be ascribed all of the honour of Longevitas' success, he knew the rules of the game.
    A month went by while he was setting up his new business, and the three of them settled in the cottage. While he had been thrilled to arrive home with two beautiful women, he quickly gave up any idea of romantic involvement with Miss Parsons or Sister Caroline, as they clearly were more interested in each other than in him. They were living in the guest rooms in the west wing, while Rock kept the east wing with the master bedroom to himself, and they hardly socialized apart from professional duties. The nurse looked after Bagger and his health, the body guard after the premises and their security.
    Fوrnوs started as a simple wholesaler of computers, drones, and brainchips. To speed up his gain of investing capital, Dux agreed to play along Bagger when he revived his old little scheme of leasing carrousels. Longevitas rented non-existing hardware from Fوrnوs, and the stream of bills allowed him some neat tax deductions, and Bagger to raise liquidity through factoring. The resurrected businessman began to get close to his cousin like he was the brother he never had. When he came to visit in early November, he was treated with a properly luxurious dinner, and the two of them were swinging around one of the best Barolos in their bowls of crystal glasses when Dux said,
    I have good news and bad news. Which do you want first?”
    Always best to deal with challenges before moving on. Give me the bad news.”
    You have cancer.”
    Cancer? Where?”
    All over. Brain, lungs, testicles, you name it. It seems to be an unexpected side-effect of the revival process.”
    But I don't feel a thing.”
    It's in an early stage. We only just realized after you latest test results.”
    Oh.” Bagger sat still for a moment before swirling his wine again. ”I don't suppose you have come up with a cure for it?”
    Nope. Nothing new on the cancer front. I'm sorry, Rock.”
    I think I could use some good news now.”
    I'm running for Prime Minister.”
    "What? Are you giving up Longevitas just to go into politics?”
    Well... not giving up. Just leaving over the reins nominally.”
    I guess you'll need an executive you can trust?”
    Dux smiled broadly. ”I knew you'd understand me. Welcome back to Longevitas.”
    Bagger contemplated him. The tall and lean man had a broad chin and dark hair cut in a timeless conventional style. His eyes were present and focused, and his voice was a bit towards a higher register than one would expect, at the same time as grating slightly, producing a sound at the same time a little like a small boy's and an old man's.
    Though it had never occurred to him before, the thought of his cousin becoming prime minister made him think that he looked somewhat like the prime minister who, at the beginning of the century, had carried out what the political philosopher Sّren Krarup so aptly has called a regime change. The second half of the 20th century in Danish politics had been characterized by a sentimental and unrealistic ”pladderhumanisme”, rubbish humanism. The socialist and pacifist rule had grown into a threat. Granted, the wealth had skyrocketed during this time, but that was due to international conjectures and goodwill from a world that pitied the little weakling after the occupation during WWII. A fortune had been squandered away on quality housing for the poor and misguided help for third world countries, which had always ended up in the pockets of dictators than starving populations, anyway. The fall of the Soviet Union late in the century had finally caused a rapid decline of all the communist tendensies, and paved the way for a much healthier de facto plutocracy revitalizing the country by encouraging growth, competition and hierarchical commercialism. Since the beginning of the 21st century, the governments of whatever paties in power had slowly but surely turned the country into a working business cutting away the mindless spending on the unemployed, widely open doors to economical tourists and so-called fugitives, and all sorts of useless causes. Dux would be an eminent candidate to look after continued progress.
    During the next couple of years, Bagger built up Fوrnوs with his characteristic virility rather than sinking into depression and lethargy because of his illness. Once again he was up against heavy competition, this time from Skandinavisk Informationskompagni who had become the main supplier to public institutions as well as private enterprises. Combining his will for success with effective strategies of marketing and recruiting, he launched a line of his own products designed to compete with SIK that had grown compacent in its position that was now thought inconstable. They had developed a strategy of providing electronis of impressive quality and impeccable ethics. In this, however, they had exposed an Achilles' heel. Fوrnوs, in contrast, offered affordability and popular packaging. Very little is gained by producing exaggerated versatility and robustness. While a few people got frustrated over his merchandise, Bagger knew how to focus on precisely targeting the masses.
    History repeated itself. It was like the battle between IBM and Microsoft all over, or between Longevitas and Nordo Medix. In the first round, citizens and small companies flocked to Fوrnوs. They got used to the products, and little by little, a pressure grew in the second round on employers, public and private, to use the appealing and well-known devices of Rock Bagger.
    That he was an invidual in every way several classes over the common rabble is evident. In spite of his deteriorating health, he managed two large companies impeccably, kept his godlike physique and handsome looks, and won the hearts and satisfied the desires of many desirable women. However, nobody could at length have fought the all-pervasive cancer attack somehow brought about by his resurrection. One organ or piece of flesh could have been dealt with, but you can't replace all tissue, bone marrow, and organ, including the brain, and still claim that you have saved the person. At best, you could claim to have performed a Frankenstein trick. Anyway, even that would hardly have worked with the technology of the time.
    By 2055, Longevitas and Fوrnوs had become the soundest companies in the country, Dux had established himself as the best ruler, and Bagger's had become the weakest body. In addition, his whereabouts were discovered by the haters, as though some twisted will ruling his world had decided to inform them out of sheer spite and jealousy. CLP and N/A attacked his cottage with small armies simultaneously.
    The money spent over years on his bodyguard, nurse and gadgets now payed off. Not imagining half of the booby traps installed in the cottage, the psychos charged the place with machine guns, battle cries, and inept tactics. They never found Bagger, only each other, and started fighting between themselves. A helicopter containing Miss Parsons, sister Caroline, and their client, was flying merrily away while the mutual mass slaughter went on.
    They landed on the roof of Colbjّrnsens Klinik where Per Astra was waiting to welcome them. He took the patient to the best cryoroom and prepared to deepfreeze him once more. Bagger took place in the in the small container looking like a shower compartment, next to the similar one where Annie already had been waiting for decades. He watched as the professor went to the controls and initiated the conservation process.
    Always having relied on his own abilities in face of astoundingly bad luck, he had now ended up with no way to escape his locked, upright coffin as he watched Astra suffering a brain haemmorage just as he was about to press the button to inject the anasthesia. Listening to Queen's ”We Are the Champions” booming from the upstairs party celebrating his cousin having just become the first non-American president of the USW, he now experienced the pain of freezing to death.
    Last edited by Jagged; 09-30-2015, 12:42 PM.
    "If the environment were a bank, we would already have saved it." -Graffitti.


    • #3
      Chapter 3
      SIK CIC

      Rock Bagger saw the son of Man coming in the sky. He had woken up in the bed of a small motel-like room with a double-door of glass opened to the terrace. Feeling rested and comfortable but a bit confused, he had walked outside to a view over a cosy wood with a lake in it. Looking up, a faint movement caught his attention, and he squinted his eyes at the sun. There was, indeed, something moving in front of it, approaching. It wasn't a bird, it wasn't a plane, and it wasn't Superman. It did look like a human figure but was fluttering wings with a span of more than twice its height. As it came closer, he was struck by the thought of the geno with the misshapen wings he had once seen at Colbjّrnsen's.
      When it was quite close and landed on the paved balcony, he realized he must be right. This must be a genetically engineered being like a human, only this one looked male and much more of a success. The wings, surprisingly, even had white feathers rather than batlike skin. The rest of the creature looked like a man; a golden-blond, tall man with very wide shoulders and even features of the face. As its wings folded together to rest against its back, it smiled at him and stretched out its hand.
      Rock Bagger, I presume.”
      Yes. Quite. Do I know you?” He felt silly hearing his own words. He had never known a winged man.
      No. My name is Rafael Andersen. I'm here to welcome you back to the world and help you getting adjusted.”
      I suppose I have been revived again.”
      That's right. I received general consesus on your resurrection, and here you are. I'm hoping you'll assist me in my research of 21st Century history. Let me assure you that you are well and as fresh as new. No cancer or other tiresome catches.”
      You must have made a lot of progress. When are we?”
      New Year's Day 2101. And a lot has, indeed, happened since you last were here.”
      Where am I?” He was reminded by the word 'here' that he didn't know, and he was getting rather annoyed by being moved around like a pawn. Petulantly, he repeated, “Where am I?”
      Oh, I thought you knew. At Colbjّrnsens.”
      I don't recognize it at all.”
      Were in one of the newer wings. And of course, the industry area to the south has been bulldozed and replaced with the wood.”
      Fashion had changed again, back to simplicity and brightness, only with more colour and no intimidation by garishness, and at least a significant increase in general quality of materials had taken place. The passageway had walls of green like the foliage of spring and wall to wall vermilion carpets of wool. They went into a conference room of the same colour, only switched around between wall and floor.
      The only thing close to wall decoration in the room was a 60 inch flatscreen. “You still know of television, I see,” said Bagger.
      Well, it's more like a computer screen. It's controlled by brainchips. We took the liberty of operating an updated model into you.”
      My old one could store 200 terabytes already. Do we really need more?”
      No, not really. But your new one can much more than just store data. It has several powerful processors, and can send and receive several sorts of waves.
      "You mean, it can access some kind of wireless internet?"
      Very much so. When you get used to the basics and we turn the rest on, you can communicate directly with billions of people all over the planet...”
      I'm already getting a headache.”
      Andersen laughed. Bagger wondered if he was faking it, or he was really that easy to amuse, as a demonstration was getting started.
      He was shown that the man, or whatever, could in a second download the part of Omniscience's real-estate database with local houses available and flash them on the wall screen. When he was told that he should say if he saw anything he'd like to live in, he asked if the cottage on Fوrnوs was available.
      The geno checked. “No, it isn't. But I can ask the occupants if they're considering moving. Just a moment... She says she might consider it. Let's go and see her.”
      Can I afford it? Hasn't somebody claimed everything I owned once again?”
      Don't sound so bitter. Come, and I'll explain some stuff on the way.”
      They went to a car that was an exact replica of his red 8C Spider from almost a century ago, only furnished discretely with modern conveniences.
      And you can keep it,” said Andersen and, with downright glee, started telling him of the appalling decadence that has conquered our times, and how nobody actually needs money because everybody has all their basic needs, and more, filled by the public. Quality housing, food, culture, transportation etc. etc. How you just go into a warehouse and take the household goods you need, how you can instantly download every existing piece of music, literature, and film from Omniscience, and how you just move into any public housing that's unoccupied.
      The enormity of it all began to dawn on him. “Then how do you get people to get a job if they don't want it?”
      We don't. People only work if they want to.”
      But... but how do you get the economy to work. The production of all these commodities that are given away for free?”
      That's no problem. Machines take care of everything that nobody else wants to do. Including inventing and building new machines. As a matter of fact, the worst problem is finding enough jobs that appeal to people. Almost half of the population wants a job, typically around 10-12 hours a week.”
      And who controls all this? You must have a monstrously huge government and administration.”
      Not at all... well, unless you'll consider everybody part of the government. Decisions are made by everybody who cares to take part in them. You'll be surprised how easy it usually is to reach consensus when everybody can be informed about all concerns and facts in a matter of minutes. Direct democracy has become feasible. But look. We're here.”
      They turned down the road to the cottage. Rock was relieved to see how everything looked like it used to. The road was still gravel, the ground still wild, the house still made of logs. However, he got a bit worried when he saw that it was actually a bit too much the same when the current inhabitant stepped out to greet them. It was Annie, looking somewhat like a eumenide bent on revenge. She met him with a mean and singing slap.
      We thought we'd have a nice surprise for you,” laughed Andersen.
      It was a surprise all right, but Bagger was wondering if it might not have been nicer if they had revived Mille instead.
      They agreed to try living together again, and actually began getting along tolerably, as he began his involvement with Skandinavisk Informationskompagni CIC. With that whole affair still so fresh in the public mind, I won't need to go into detail about it. You'll know how he and Artie Dux tried to get a little program installed in brainchips, so that they'd get a rush of pleasure when behaving in desired ways, and you'll know how nobody wanted to work with them after that. Like it's a crime to make people feel good.
      Understandably put out by the decline and inevitably near fall of a great civilization that we're facing today, they still decided to go to The Great Meteor Shower with their wives. Sedna, when it had reached the orbit of Jupiter, repeated the trick learned from Nemesis, only just avoided collision, and was slingshot with immense force into the Asteroids, sending thousands of them further into the heart of the Solar System. A rain of those that missed Mars would have rained the greatest catastrophe on Earth, had not the machines prepared for them with no end of calculations and missiles. The machines for which we owe people lige Bagger the gratitude so unreasonably directed at the N/A.
      They went to see it with their wives, and everybody. They found a spot with not too much light or too many people, and watched the greatest fireworks ever. The meteors were blasted into atoms by missiles in explosions of all colours, shapes, and sizes, and it went on almost all night. What a pity that there was nothing to celebrate. Even if all the fools thought there was. Nearby, a huge group of people were singing and dancing mindlessly to Norman Greenbaum's “The Spirit in the Sky”.
      Rock felt empty, lost, and without hope for the hundreds of dull and gloryless years that he now expecting to live. He spread out his arms and yelled desperately, “When am I finally going to snuff it?” One small meteor that had somehow avoided the defense system, came falling down like some deus ex machina and smashed the four of them, leaving only a crater the size of a football field, scattered with the atoms of their bodies, so that's there's no hope for another resurrection.
      Last edited by Jagged; 09-30-2015, 01:13 PM.
      "If the environment were a bank, we would already have saved it." -Graffitti.