“It was brilliant, really.” Ja looked haggard, his Yeti half was showing itself clearly. He’d been up all night trying to figure out how to get into the files Haile had left behind, wracking his brain trying to come up with the right mix of 0’s and 1’s to open the doors to the network. He’d been so into his humanity of late, his romance with screen and keyboard was waning as surely as had that with the weed. He sat at the table drinking his coffee.
The sun was just coming up, and the six who would leave them were packing up, awaiting the arrival of Hari to take them into the city for their flights out of the country. Tante was in the corner with Piwi moaning, both of them sick as dogs after drinking too much of the red wine that had been on hand the previous night. Arnold was packing food for those leaving to take along on their journeys, and Yanaha and Baltha were exchanging tears of goodbye with their friends.
“So what was the solution?” Arnold liked puzzles, even if the digital age was a bit too young to hold his interest much. He preferred the more complex enigmas of his octogenarian wife’s beautiful brain, that and Sudoku.
“There wasn’t one. I gave up. I got so frustrated with it that I broke down in tears, and then I got angry and wailed out the cry of the Yeti, and that did the trick.” He smiled. “I’m the only human on earth who can produce exactly that resonance frequency, exactly that sound, and even I can’t do it at will. Of course I was able to change the password once I got in.”
“Brilliant indeed.” Baltha joined him at the table.
“Haile seems to have had a lot going on in cyberspace that we weren’t completely aware of. It’s almost like those aspects of the mycelia that we can’t really grok, a different way of knowing based on a different kind of interaction, a different way of being in the world. Haile really was something new.” Once Ja had gotten in, it was like a drop down the rabbit hole.
“The antipodal network that the twinses have been thinking about is already funded. The Citibank has issued a million dollars in credit to a non-profit called the Southern Hemisphere Alliance of Magicians And Naturalists, with Ina and Yang as co-ordinators, headquartered in Argentina. There’s also one in Shanghai called the Association of Socialists, Intellectuals, and Anarchists, headed up by Yin and Alonso.”
“Wow, and I thought those online sites I keep coming across were random.” Ina was amazed. She and Yanaha had talked about forming a network of herbalists and shamans in addition to their polarity work as she started getting more and more feeds about the new wave of interest in natural healing. Alonso had already formed a group of environmental activists down there with friends he’d met during his years studying landscape ecology and land use change at Universidade de São Paulo.
“They might have been, assuming there is such a thing as random.” Ja had been thinking about it and his old friend a lot over the past few hours.
“Perhaps Haile was simply aware of what had caught your interest online, that’s what the coders do, look at what you’re interested in. Or perhaps he guided your interests a bit. We may never know.”
“Yes, I’ve been investigating political science through free online courses.” Yin spoke up. “Ja’s wisdom peaked my interested in Anarchism.”
“And I have delved into the depths of Socialism!” Yang grinned at his sister. They weren’t aware they’d been sharing an interest in political systems.
“Whichever it was, clearly Haile’s heart was in the right place.” Baltha cut to the quick. “Our friends have funds to help them with their work. In this world, that helps a lot.”
“Haile was also obviously doing some masterminding.” Ja continued. “There seems to be some importance to spreading the movement, integrating networks, whatever it this thing that’s brought us together might be, globally. At least the antipodal nature of the twinses synchronicity seems to suggest geometric significance. There’s another organization called Polarities of Peace, Yin and Yang as co-ordinators. Juno and Zeus have been gifted with something called the Coalition of Highly Intimate Communities, an organization aimed at exploring alternative small scale social and family structures.”
“What’s for me….what’s for me……what’s for me?” Tante had perked up and she was scampering around and yipping like a rat dog, her hangover apparently throwing her back into spoiled child mode.
Ja handed his tablet to Baltha.
“Just wait, Tante.” She threw herself back into stern babysitter mode. “The others have to go into the city soon, we’ll be here with Ja for a long time.” She passed it back to him.
“Zeus, you should have your stuff already.” Ja looked to the chiseled one, who nodded in the affirmative.
“Yes, and the Boys Opposed to Oligarchic Business Syndicates will be interfacing with the Dudes Against Disaster as soon as we get home.” He checked his phone, eager to be on the road.
“What about you, Ja?” Baltha, naturally, had not thought of herself, but of her friend.
“I’m the man with the money for the Homeland of Interbeing of People. For now, my work will be online. Eventually I’ll be coordinating all these interactive networks, or at least Haile and I will be.” He beamed.
“Haile’s alive?” All of them were hopeful, Yanaha got teary eyed.
“Haile is out there, somewhere, somehow, that is all I know.” He paused for a minute before going on. “We’re all members of the boards of all of these non-profits. Arnold and Yanaha are our legal team, with an adequate income to keep them and whoever else here indefinitely. I haven’t even found them all yet, at least I don’t think I have. But there’s one that’s in Haile’s name, one with unlimited credit.”
“What?” Tante wanted him to hurry up so she could find out what her mission in life was, finally.
“Say what?” Alonso was shocked; the lessons of the Jesuits had been hard at times.
“Genetics of Diversity: Memes Aliens Nanobots. It’s been doing research, spending money on laboratory equipment and electronics. I’m almost thinking it might be something like a seed bank. We spent a lot of time talking about my Yeti genes, and about how maybe I should think about trying to have a baby.” Ja blushed.
“You can’t have a baby, you’re a man!” Tante really had regressed. Arnold and Yanaha had decided that maybe the rituals would involve less alcohol in the future. The others shut her up with the look; they’d all mastered non-verbal communication with the Crone.
“It’s a heck of a big responsibility, that’s for sure.” Arnold spoke up.
“And things do seem so uncertain in the world.” It was Yanaha’s turn to sigh.
“We made the decision not to have kids, and it broke my mother’s heart. And it was more than just about being a grandmother, she has lots of grandkids. The Yanaha people are few. It’s the same with indigenous people everywhere, we’ve been assimilated.”
“Like the Borg.” Ja got it. Almost.
“But the drive to have children is strong. When we were young, we read Paul Erlich and decided that the population bomb was going to explode and the world would be better off without any more people in it. Forty years ago, when I was getting to the stage in life where my body was crying out to carry and nurse a child, Nixon was in the White House and the things we’d learned about the world showed us just how much the machine had been lying to all of us all along. We’d finally realized what was happening to the environment and nobody was doing anything about it. So we made the decision to just play foster parents to those who showed up. We’ve been doing it for a long time.”
“It’s different for a woman, that’s for sure.” Arnold decided to step back into the conversation and pick up a little of Ja’s discomfort, maybe even not let Yanaha get too blue. “Fatherhood is super important; my own Dad was a champ at it, set a great example in how he lived his life. But when it comes down to it, only a woman can bring a baby into the world. You’ve got to find the right one, a good mother, and then you have to win her heart. So it’s not only a big responsibility to be a dad, you also have to be a good mate to your kids’ mama, or at least not an awful one!” He smiled the perfect Arnold smile.
“I’m sure you’d make a wonderful father.” Baltha smiled and took him completely off the hook of his discomfort as she continued. “What did Haile set up for Tante?”
“Well, it’s not clear. There’s an account in Baltha’s name called Basic Income To Crone Handler; it does also have Yanaha and Arnold’s name on it. That might be it. Baltha’s got another one in her name that’s simply in her name. Her legitimate passport and birth certificate made it easy.”
“A BITCH account. Fine, whatever. B, I want a pizza. With spinach and pepperoni. And mushrooms.” The hangover had reached the post nausea stage of hungry, and the headache was starting to crank up the crone.
“I WANT PIZZA!” the ground rumbled as the doorbell rang.
Hari was there, pizza in hand.
The End is Near