The old youngsters were those of the group who had come to be just in time for the end times. All represented interesting genetic combinations and all had been modified to develop quickly. They were involuntary pioneers of a sort. But all were also 100% organically grown Terran, depending on how one chose to define organic. It can vary, quite a lot.
Haile was the one for whom the term might most come into question. The egg that was used to produce the Hackersan was pulled from the menstrual effluvia of a Somali woman at a large gathering in Bhutan, a private affair for rock stars and artists and writers and the kind of Bohemians who liked to gather in sacred places and have spirited sex. The sperm were collected hither and yon at the gathering by the Taphao Thongian spirit with whom s-he channeled life in the here now and allowed to commune with the egg, which was afloat on a tampon in a nice pond that graced the courtyard where the beings were engaged in all sorts of wonderful creative activity.
Haile’s genetic make-up had been orchestrated by a couple of viruses that happened to be in the mix, as well as by some nano-bots that went to work on the baby as soon as the embryo was housed in its electronic incubator. Nano-bots were new to the genetic and memic mix of humanity. So Haile had some very ancient human roots and some very new evolutionary innovations.
Kind of like Ja.
Ja’s father had some ancient porto-human genes. His ancestors had migrated to Nepal during the last ice age from far northern Europe. He was distantly related to the same Vikings that spread the Taphao Thongian connect through the rest of the group, even the bad haired one. It was kind of creepy just how closely related they all were. Ja's father was a bit of a throw back. He'd only recently melted out of an icy grave that had claimed him a few thousand years before he met Ja's mother.
His mother, on the other hand, while well trained in the highest form of spiritual wisdom known to man (in his Anarchist’s arrogant opinion), Tibetan Buddhism, had been sitting in the mountains contemplating the meaning of life, as punishment. She’d been trained in Ayurveda in Nepal and in the high Tibetan Classics in India only to be banned from the monastery for her response to the teaching about accepting the eight Garudhammas, the rules of training for a Bhikkhuni. The rules were totally a pile of patriarchal bullshit and she wasn’t having it. She’d been a rabid feminist her whole life, marched away from the monastery to think things over for a few years and perfectly happy to be alone with her thoughts and anger while she did. She needed the monks like a fish needs a bicycle. Then she met the Yeti and fell in love.
Ja’s genes were from rather diverse ends of the human spectrum as well. He’d been well loved and nursed by his parents, but also on the developmental fast track. They knew their child was special and when Haile showed up to claim him, they turned him over with complete trust. Ja’s mother was, after all, related to that other Tibetan kid that had been picked by a committee, her people were used to such things. They’d also been part of the love-in that produced Haile, albeit off in their own zone of togetherness, as was their way.
The twins were right on up there with Haile in terms of the old genetic mambo of life. Their father was of an ancient line of Mongol Khans, a nomadic herdsman with a hopelessly romantic heart. The doll with whom he shared his passions was an empty vessel of fired clay and painted face, a dream of flawless beauty to him. The diatomaceous earth of her material self still held traces of life, the amber of her jeweled gown preserved ancient genetic secrets as well. The silks that adorned her flawless glassy body also carried rich ingredients, skin cells from the girl in the factory who had attached her inspector number to the finished product, the one who wrapped the doll in paper for shipment to the shop from which their father stole her.
The twins were brought to term within a large Ming Dynasty vase covered with brilliant blue dragons and filled with sea water. They were wet nursed by the mermaid Jiaoren, which was what gave Yin her pearly white eyes. They were the tears their surrogate mother had shed when the twins left her. Haile and Ja had come across them, quite by accident, or so it seemed, on their way from Bhutan to Sydney.
Of course Tante was a bit of a mutt herself. While her mother’s Koori genes were some pretty ancient stuff, the fact that she’d been raised within a relatively fiscally wealthy but culturally impoverished white bread culture did a lot to form her, that nurture vs nature thing. She found she got quite irritated thinking of her father’s family and her mother’s foster family and even the bad haired one as white bread. White bread was such fluffy, non-nutritious stuff, and like it or not, it was part of who she was, a big part. Her father was as WASPy as a human can get, and the WASPy ones sure did seem to contribute an awful lot of evil to the world. Perhaps worrying about her genetics was just part of the developmental process of being a nine month old.
Tante was the oldest of the group setting out that day for a coming of age in the big city. She’d been born the day of the June Winter Solstice in Wilcannia, on Julian day 172, just nine months before their big adventure. She was also the oldest among them in appearance. The fact that she’d had the benefit of time with her parents and Baltha, that and her naturally overbearing personality, gave her some credence of leadership within the group. Ja and Haile were just a few weeks younger than Tante, but so tuned in to screen time that they'd not learned human bonding the way she had, and they were entering the world of humans. The twins were mere babies at six months old.
They were also least well acclimated to life among the people of the culture they’d come to bring doom to.
And they were just a wee titch co-dependent.
So it came to be that a Koori woman raised by an Americanized mother set off as the senior member of the kids day out troupe headed for a weekend in the City by the Bay to test their mettle in the world they’d been borne into. Tante the Crone with a wired in Tibetan Yeti Anarchist and his Beautiful Black Androgynous Anthrotechnopocentric friend and their child-like Chinese bipolar twin friends firmly clinging to each others’ hands decided to call a cab for the ride from Mendocino.
The dispatcher at the taxi service was a little wary when he took Tante’s call.
“You want a mini-van and a driver and you want the driver to come back for you? To the city?” His accent was east Indian. “You know what that’s going to cost you if he makes the trip twice?”
Haile picked up the extension. “We have Citibank, let me give you the information.”
And so a short time later, the five boarded a late model white Dodge Caravan, their chariot into human culture. It was driven by a guy named Hari Krishna.
“Jampa Yetiyahu. Now there’s an interesting name.” The Indian man handed Ja’s credit card back to him. “Jampa sounds Tibetan; the Yetiyahu is unfamiliar.” The Yetiyahu had actually been made up. It was just easier that way when it came to coming up with the passports.
“You know you look a lot like Jerry Garcia?”
“Jerry Garcia, yes.” Ja was in shut down mode. Tante jumped into the shotgun seat next to Hari.
“So what takes you all down to the city? Exactly where am I to take you and pick you back up?”
“You can drop us off at Haight and Ashbury.” Tante was reading from the print out Haile handed her. “Pick us back up under the big crab at Fisherman’s Wharf at sundown Sunday.” They figured it was a good idea to have at least a bit of an idea of what they were doing for the weekend, as a group. Each had loose plans of some kind, even if those of the twins were perfectly complimentary.
Tante was confident she’d be okay on her own, and that Ja and Haile each would be as well; they were so tuned in to things. The twins were a little more worrisome, even if they did have each other. So far, the only plan was to get dropped off and meet up two days later, share what they’d learned on their way back to Mendocino so they could prove their coming of age to the old youngsters.
“So you’re going to take a tour of the city? See all the highlights?”
“We want to learn.’ Yin.
“About good and evil.” Yang.
“And finding the middle way to right actions.” Togetherness, holding hands in the back seat of the van behind Ja and Haile.
“Ah, you want to learn of the karma yoga of action.” Hari seemed unfazed by the twins unique speaking style. In fact, he seemed unfazed by most things.
Haile’s fingers started tapping.
”As the foundation for meaningful and correct karma yoga, one must first pursue knowledge, so your wish to learn is a good start.” Hari settled in for the drive.
“Jhana Yoga.” Haile read aloud.
“That’s right, and the highest form of the discipline of yoga is bhakti yoga, that of devotion to the cosmic order of things.”
“Yoga as in yoke, as in discipline, as in duty and honor and ritual and control. Yoga as in detachment from the ego and its desires. My animal anarchist rebels, the voice of my mother screams patriarchy in my ear.” Ja was listening closely, despite the ear buds.
“No my young friend, discipline is the key to freedom, at least discipline of the self.” Hari seemed to recognize that Ja was a kid, despite his white hair and beard. “It is only when you give up self discipline that you give up any kind of free will and control you might have in the cosmic order of things. If you yoke yourself to the duty of your cosmic purpose, only then can you choose how to best act wisely and fulfill your obligations to the world.”
Ja was taken aback. In an odd way, it kind of made sense. Self discipline was undoubtedly one of the most important aspects of self rule, of a working anarchy. While Ja wanted to be under no one’s discipline, he also wanted to lord over no other, either.
“So right action, based on knowledge, but all part of some greater cosmic whole, is that your bottom line?” Tante was a bottom line kind of woman, probably her German heritage coming to the surface.
“Think of it this way: Inaction is never really a choice. Even when you’re doing nothing, it’s affecting the cosmos in terms of the non that you’re doing. Time is so fleeting,” again, he seemed to be making reference to their chrono-incongruity, “and for those whose life is but a flash in the cosmic pan of interbeing, it is important to always recognize the difference between what is permanent and what is ephemeral.”
“You seem very certain of your perspectives.” Haile was adept at snoping out false prophets; they were all over the internet. “Why is that so?”
“Oh, didn’t I tell you? I’m a god.”
That one hung there for a couple of beats.
“Don’t worry, you guys are all gods, too. So is the van and the road and plastic mug that holds my coffee. So is the coffee.” He took a sip.
“Not one.” Yin.
“Not many”. Yang.
“But a unified whole.” In unison and unidaughter; two part harmony.
“That’s right. We’re the entire universe in a single being, every piece matters, every action has significance, the entire show is a grand performance full of passion and drama and every role matters to the plot and outcome.”
“Every piece gains significance from the whole.” Haile.
“Everywhere boundless Divinity”. Tante.
“Interdependent.” In harmony with Hari Krishna.
“We’re fucking gods. Let’s start acting like it.” Ja.
The kids were ready for their big weekend adventure. Hari dropped them at the corner where homeless kids from all over ended up over the years, Haight-Ashbury.
The End is Near