letter to great-gramma

Dear Great-Gramma,

I love you! Things have been so crazy here, and I want to tell you all about it. First off, Patches and I got our minds merged with a telepathic space kraken a couple months ago. Then we helped hatch her babies. They are so cute!

On the way home, we ran into some creeps, and I killed the fuck out of them. Like, big time. I never saw an entire spaceship go out like that before! To make a long story short, Patches and Tarzi helped rescue some young ladies from a horrible fate, and I got to keep a few bad-ass weapons from an abandoned cyber-genetics lab.

Something’s not right about them, though. Tarzi’s cybernetic seahorse was nice enough and basically saved the day before he blew up, bless his little heart. But my electric eels and I sort of—okay. One thing led to another, and they made this maniacal killer cyborg out of my DNA.

It was totally heinous, Great-Gramma. I am so fucking traumatized over here! Can you even imagine?

Anyway, I killed that thing, too, and I can’t say I didn’t enjoy the scrap. But it fucked up Patches. Then Donny and Fuzzlow jumpstarted her with a shit-load of electricity, and she was like, “What? I’m totally fine.”

You should see her go. She’ll probably outlive my cranky old arse.

After hacking my eels to pieces, I ended up with one last crate of these freaky genetic experiments, and I might have sort of forgotten to mention it to anyone at the club. But that third crate has a real doozy in it. No, I didn’t even open it for Tarzi on the asteroid where we found it. It’s been a couple months, and I doubt anyone even remembers it.

I’m thinking it might be our little secret. Just you and me.

Like I said, I’ve got these baby octopuses to feed now, and—sorry, Great-Gramma. Celina says we’re almost home.

I miss you, and I can’t wait to see you again.

 

Yours Always,

Maggie

XOXOX

 

patches’ first memory

Patches In The Immortality Machine, by Matthew Howard

 

Excerpted from Patches the Immortal.

Earth, 2026.

Patches pulled herself from the mangled wreckage. The train burst into flame behind the tiny kitten. The heat singed her fur. Embers fell all around her, charring the grass. She coughed weakly between mews, but no one heard.

The sounds of human screams and the shriek of metal ripping and falling apart meant nothing to her young ears but noise. Noise and hurt. She crawled through the grass to the dark edge of the forest without knowing why. She only knew its cool shelter in contrast to the excruciating noise and the bright, bright burning.

In the gnarled roots of a tree, Patches curled into a trembling ball. For how many hours the screams and the burning lasted, she did not know. Eventually they quieted down, but other sounds and lights arrived in waves. At some point, those also stopped.

Too weak to mew any longer, Patches shivered until she fell asleep. She dreamed she saw the skull of another cat. The skull faded into sight from the pure black night. It grew until it filled the sky, and the moon sat in place of an eye. Little Patches had no word for death, but she understood the magnitude of what she saw.

The skull cat looked down from the sky at the disaster in the pale moonlight. Its jaw dropped open. From the train’s wreckage, the ghosts of dead cats soared up, up, up into the open mouth. Patches wondered if she knew any of them. From here, she could not tell.

Patches dreamed her own ghost tried to pull free from her body. She struggled to hold onto it. She twisted and shuddered in her sleep. Her limbs struck out wildly. She growled at the monstrous cat skull, and its single lunar eye focused on her.

As the eye of death examined her, Patches shook as if she had been thrown into arctic water. She growled her refusal to relinquish her spirit to this icy, grinning horror. She growled for all she was worth.

The eye of death winked at her. Patches heard a low, rumbling purr, and a raspy tongue combed the side of her face once, then again.

When she woke up alone, she killed and ate the first bug she saw. Ten minutes later, she made a breakfast of a small lizard. Finches in the bushes chirped loudly. Patches did not catch a bird that day. But she would.

She would not give up easily.

violence and the state

To appear in Volume Six of The Adventures of Meteor Mags and Patches.

ASTEROID UNDERGROUND GUEST COLUMN
METEOR MAGS: VIOLENCE AND THE STATE, 2027

The state must maintain its monopoly on violence, else it fails to be a state and will shrivel and die. This monopoly on violence is not a thing to be considered apart from the state, for it is indistinguishable from the state and is the very essence of it. Any violence on the part of individual citizens or non-state groups is antithetical to the monopoly, and thereby constitutes treason in its simplest form.

This does not mean all traitors share a common goal or even common values. All violence is treason, but the treasonous are not unified, and often commit violence upon other traitors. They are only unified in the eyes of the state, which is less concerned with the sociological origins of violence, and even less so its merits and flaws. The state is only concerned with maintaining its monopoly, and it will use violence to keep it.

All unsanctioned outbursts of aggression threaten the state’s monopoly. The child who kicks over the rubbish bin commits treason, as the burglar commits treason, and the barroom brawler commits treason. All must be suppressed though conditioning, punishment, and the channeling of aggression into state-sanctioned outlets.

This constant threat to the monopoly creates a pressure which the state must sometimes crush and other times release through tightly controlled channels. All which is fully controlled exists fully within the state’s monopoly and is part and parcel of the state. The state seeks integration of all uncontrolled non-state reality. Anything outside the state’s control, it will eventually seek to control.

Such control is the opposite of liberty to anyone but the state itself, which has full liberty, which is a pure liberty to do absolutely anything in the pursuit of its own perpetuation. Thus the traitor must stand for something, for she surely stands against the entire might of the state. History will be the final judge of her character, though the state may well prove to be her executioner.

Unify and organize now.

Meteor Mags