Acostumbrado a ejercer el poder militar, aquella tarde Rachstad se paseaba como un dios por sus nublados jardines. Iba escoltado por un grupo de agentes antidemográficos que solían acompañarlo en sus rondas por “Reality”. “Realidad” era un eufemismo utilizado por los militares y funcionarios del régimen para referirse a las zonas no vigiladas y los sitios de tolerancia donde los gobiernos locales aún no habían cerrado las cadenas; zonas lúgubres donde la tecnología escaseaba y que el régimen mantenía libres de sanciones para servir a sus propios intereses.
Dos vehículos todo terreno acompañaban al automóvil oficial de las Fuerzas del Orden. En el Edén de la prostitución virtual y semivirtual nada parecía a la “Realidad”, y el General Rachstad estaba ansioso por dirigir su ira a las ondulaciones sin arrugas del músculo humano. Extrañaba la agresión aplicada a la carne. Recordó, con nostalgia, la tortura de sus víctimas anteriores. Ya habían pasado casi cuatro semanas desde que golpeó y violó a unas niñas, una tarde en que sus tropas acabaron con los sobrevivientes del genocidio de Hochstock. Sin estas sesiones ultraviolentas, su cuerpo sufría la falta de estampidas de adrenalina y la máxima excitación. Cuando la migraña atormentaba las vértebras de su cuello el único remedio era aplicar el compuesto enervante y listo, pero los episodios de resaca eran descorazonadores y agotadores,
“Haremos una visita recreativa”, dijo Rachstad al micrófono de su casco, “dirígete hacia la cueva”.
La caravana viró hacia las parcelas de cultivo clandestinas, flanqueadas por cerros rocosos y azulados. El general Rachstad estaba siguiendo un consejo que le dio un informante del régimen, un hombre que logró salir con vida de una redada de saneamiento demográfico. Durante los interrogatorios, el hombre les aseguró que un conocido proxeneta y vendedor de sustancias químicas, llamado Mcveigh, tenía a una joven resguardada en un burdel de atracciones virtuales y erotismo robótico.
Las hélices frontales de los vehículos facilitaban el avance por la espesura del campo. Destruyeron a su paso una enorme cantidad de hortalizas, legumbres, amapolas y plantas medicinales. El dron de vigilancia avanzó y detectó a tres hombres armados, posicionados en los bordes del campo. Rachstad vio que la luz roja parpadeaba en la parte superior de su monitor, señal inequívoca de que se acercaban a una zona holográfica. Los guardianes de las parcelas de cultivo dispararon contra los vehículos en cuanto estuvieron dentro de su alcance. En respuesta, los agentes antidemográficos se asomaron por los techos corredizos de los vehículos y dispararon a voluntad. Los atacantes fueron eliminados en pocos segundos, excepto uno que se escondía en la ladera del cerro. El tirador logró hacer algunos disparos antes de que un misil a control remoto lo alcanzara.
“Esa víctima fue un narcozombie”, afirmó el conductor.
“Usted no sabe nada”, replicó el general, “solo estaba tratando de ser valiente”.
“Es que no crees en los narcozombis. No son valientes. Simplemente se quedan allí porque huelen la carne y la sangre desde lejos. Una vez que prueban la carne humana, ya no pueden aceptar animales”.
“Solo porque reviven a algún tipo muerto durante unas horas ahora los jodidos batas blancas son famosos, y todos les creen, ¿no? Hay sustancias que también reviven el vigor de los viejos, y el deleite también dura sólo unas pocas horas.”
—Entiendo —prosiguió el chofer—, pero también dicen que esos de bata blanca hacen experimentos con un pez mexicano, y con eso se van a hacer ricos.
“Pura mierda”, contraatacó Rachstad, “si eso fuera cierto, esos Batas Blancas ya estarían en alguna cárcel”.
El chofer estuvo a punto de replicar que ese rumor corría por el barrio pobre de Asintia, contado por gente que se caracterizaba por su franqueza, pero se calló por temor a sufrir los interrogatorios burocráticos del régimen.
Se habló mucho de personas muertas devueltas a la vida gracias a las drogas de diseño. También se publicaron noticias sobre métodos biogenéticos de reanimación, temporales y permanentes. Esos testimonios iban pasando de arriba abajo, propagándose como el virus Coxsackie, entre los viandantes de Asintia. Luego de la embestida mundial del genocidio, los cadáveres se multiplicaron, amontonándose de tal manera que con ellos se pudieron construir barreras y barricadas para continuar la lucha armada. Ante esta abundancia de cuerpos sin vida, la lógica comunal apuntaba hacia el reciclaje y la reutilización de los cadáveres. Por lo tanto, los experimentos post mortem alcanzaron niveles astronómicos, intensificándose con el establecimiento de la Ley de Cuota Mensual de Escape.
La pantalla central del vehículo identificó una entrada directa al centro recreativo. La boca de la cueva brillaba en la ladera este de la colina y el detector indicaba un bajo nivel de materialización holográfica.
“Es notable su atraso tecnológico”, dijo el chofer mientras recorría la zona con la pantalla del dron, “tienen un atraso de tres años, aproximadamente. No podría haber mayores problemas de contención, ni de capacitación, en caso de que fuera necesario. La caverna tiene dos niveles y un pasadizo que conecta con el edificio de atrás, donde hay una piscina con paneles solares en el techo, y eso es todo, General.
Rachstad glanced at the images. No other building or metal installation was visible past the last warehouse. They could only see more fields, a few trees and abundant vegetation. He pressed a button on this belt and spoke into the microphone on his headset:
“Iker! Actius! Front and center!”
Rachstad was the first to get out. Iker and Actius turned around to see, startled by the lack of concern of the general.
“Everything is on display,” said Rachstad, “the installation are in sight. The farmers were already detected by the system and the missiles are programmed. The host is at the entrance. His name is Mcveigh. Trajectory: pimp, without military experience or weapons management. I sent him to the Asintia Penitentiary. After lending his services to the regime he was exonerated.”
Iker and Actius went ahead to comb the area, putting on their multi-beam goggles. They advanced until they arrived at the cave and they noted the figure of a man, outlined by the light that came from inside. As they got closer they discovered that it was Mcveigh, who was smoking an electronic pipe that gave off intense aromas and visual effects of recent popularity. Mcveigh was laughing while he expelled the smoke through his mouth and his nostrils.
“You already did in half of the farmers,” complained Mcveigh, “and they attracted many clients.”
“It’s your fault for not informing them of my visit,” said Rachstad, “besides, they began to fire at us. What were we going to do? Wait until they ran out of ammunition?”
“I couldn’t warn them because they display screens and several cameras don’t work anymore,” explained Mcveigh, “they were deactivated by the shooting last week and others remain useless. It’s a pleasure to see you, General, after so much time.
“How long? Five, six years?”
“I would say five,” responded Mcveigh, pausing to inhale and exhale the smoke from his pipe, “and the good thing is as the years go by life becomes more entertaining, and toys like this are produced” he added, pointing to the female android, dark like ebony.
The general took a step back, distancing himself to appreciate the immodest blackness in its entirety. He passed his hand over the shoulder and slid it down towards the breasts. A titillation averted his gaze towards the face of the girl robot.
“It’s a facial hologram, General,” pointed out Iker.
“That’s correct,” explained Mcveigh, “the face is interchangeable. We can program the one you like, General, even that of some heroine or martyr of your choice.”
“Really?” said Rachstad, “it is astonishing. It was a good texture. And these have a very delicate finish,” he added, while he caressed one of the nipples, “but I’m looking for something more natural, more innocent and vulnerable. You understand.”
“I have a girl that enjoys beating in one of these cabins,” offered Mcveigh, “the more you beat her the more she will writhe with pleasure, without any cost to you, General.”
Rachstad desired a human specimen where he could feel the vulnerability of the flesh and taste the authenticity of the pain inflicted. He was looking for someone with a virgin throat that would provide cutting shrieks: decibels of innocence to wound the eardrums.
“I want to completely lose control,” he said.
“Don’t say anymore, General. I understand you perfectly.”
They entered a tunnel illuminated by the lights of fish tans that were embedded in the walls of the cave. Goldfish were floating inside them and some axolotl, aquatic animals with similar extremities to those of human beings. Rachstad moved closer to gaze at one of them, and it seemed comical to him that a round-faced animal would have a short smile and bulging eyes in the middle of its pike face.
“I’ve just scanned them,” said Actius, “they are originals. They’re not clones.”
“Opportune information from your goggles,” laughed Mcveigh, “this is like being accompanied by gastronomic guides that warn you about condiments and the calories of the dishes.”
Upon leaving the tunnel it has already gotten dark, and they found themselves surrounded by strange vegetation, similar to the coral reefs. Some flashing insects were flying above the vegetation and were absorbed by the corolla and the tips of the most luminous plants.
“I detect human necrosis,” said Actius, “excessive necrosis, General, in the plants.”
“Of course there’s necrosis,” said Mcveigh, “there’s necrosis and what follows, bodies all around. What did you expect?! The attack was a week ago and your boss gave the order. Check your files, Actius, you’re smelling your own ass.”
“Shut up Mcveigh!” said Rachstad, “he already got your message. And you, Actius, you’re pitiful. Take Iker with you. Go have fun and leave me alone.”
“Take the goggles General,” said Iker, stretching them out to him.
“Negative,” responded Rachstad, “there won’t be a register of this.”
Actius and Iker returned to the tunnel, while Mcveigh and Rachstad continued their path until arriving at the doors of the warehouse.
“Inside there is a pool,” explained Mcveigh, “she’s chained up,” he laughed, “she’s a little rebellious. The chain is long enough for you to take a dip with her. At this temperature you feel like it, right? Take into account that she’s young, General, an innocent person, you could say, I hope that won’t be a problem.”
“You are, General,” smiled Mcveigh, “I admire people that lean over the precipice of innocence without even hesitating.”
Mcveigh punched in the opening code into the device and deactivated the security system. The bolts in the folding doors retracted. Mcveigh pulled on one of the doors and let Rachstad pass through. The interior of the warehouse was illuminated by ultraviolet light. Inside, the young woman had her back to her visitors. Rachstad smiled upon seeing the girl seated at the edge of the pool, moving her feet placidly in the water. She was wearing a tank top and rose-colored panties. Her complexion suggested she was about 18 years old and her stature was short. Her arms showed scabs and dark areas that looked like tattoos and bruises. Her black hair glistened sticky and taut.
“I’ll let you know,” said Rachstad, sharply, as if he were responding to a question that Mcveigh had mentally formulated.
Mcveigh turned halfway and went through the doors without saying a word. The general went over there to close them and activated the closing of the bolts. Later he walked over to where the girl was and saw that a shackle covered with slime encircled one of her wrists. At the sight of the girl’s panties up close, he got an erection. He took off his gloves slowly, savoring the smooth edges of that youthful body. He removed his whip, loosened his cartridge belt until he was free of it and he let it fall to the floor trying to get the attention of his victim. The automatic weapon, the toxic gas spray gun, the handcuffs and the Turkish dagger, attached to the cartridge belt, crashed as they hit the tiled floor of the pool, but the girl remained impassive, engrossed in the movements of her feet inside the water and in its ripples, which were highlighted by the ultraviolet light in the enclosure.
The general kicked the cartridge belt and, to his surprise, the girl continued ignoring him. Aroused by her indifference, he went over to where she was and began to massage her shoulders.
“Come on, beautiful, at least give me a smile.”
The young woman didn’t respond, and he clenched his jaw. With a brusque movement he took her by the chin and turned her face towards him. Her features seemed strange: a round face and a tiny nose, bulging set widely apart that avoided Rachstad’s gaze, looking instead at the sides of the warehouse. Accustomed to surprising his victims during raids, Rachstad trembled with fear when he saw her remove the shackle swiftly. She smiled before the shock of the general and held his gaze. All of a sudden, her eyes corrected her divergent squint, changing in a calculated culmination of her mischief, making them line up directly with those of Rachstad.
“Your shackle is too big for you,” laughed the general, “you are naughty and you like jokes, right? Here I have a joke for you.”
The general stuck his hand in his jacket, as if he were going to take something out of the pocket, and as he took it out he dealt a blow across the face of the girl with the backside of his hand. She gave an animal-like groan and jumped on top of her aggressor, seizing him by the hair. She placed her knees in the groin of her attacker so that she gained better traction and enough balance to pull his hair forcefully and bring his face towards her. Rachstad tried to pull her off of him, directing his blows to her ribs, but the young woman didn’t move an inch. She kept pulling his hair and brought the nose of the general to her mouth. She began to bite it, drinking the flow of blood with the thirst of a leech. Each bite caused her incisors to grow, which reacted in a biochemical impulse. She relished the blood of the general and absorbed the stampede of red blood cells and leukocytes, which supplied her long-awaited narcotic effect. Following this sensation of cannibal empowerment, there was an outburst of jagged rage with which struggled to make her way towards the organs of her prey, and even down towards the essence of his vascular nature.
The cameras, mounted in strategic places in the warehouse, opened their shutters. Before the incredible strength of his adversary, Rachstad panicked and extracted a knife from the sheath around his ankle. He launched the first cut and the young woman received it in her lower abdomen. He noticed that the girl’s pupils contracted and he launched a second cut, but she managed to stop it, and also twisted his wrist. The resistance and perseverance of the general seemed admirable to the eyes of the scientists, especially his ferocity in launching himself with the girl into the water.
In the subterranean observation room the monitors also projected the images from the subaquatic cameras, which had been placed on the sides and the floor of the pool. One of the White Coats activated the opening of a sluice gate inside the water. Several genetically modified axolotl came out through a grate and swam quickly after the trail of blood. In his struggle with the girl, the general made a superhuman effort to hold his breath. The young woman bent the general’s wrist, forcing him to let go of the knife, but he responded with his elbows, hitting her on the sides of the neck and in the clavicles, which provided the desired effect. After repelling her he made some arm strokes to reach the surface and swallow quick mouthfuls of oxygen.
Debilitated by the stab wound, the young woman felt an electric stroke in her body, she relaxed her muscles and sank until she touched the bottom of the pool, but she still had enough strength to grasp the foot of the general. Rachstad tried to reach the edge unsuccessfully. He dove in again towards her and encircled her neck with both hands, obliging her to remain anchored. He caught a glimpse of two smooth horns that were moving over the nape of the girl’s neck. The eyes of the cameras captured the moment when the axolotl swam over to her, introducing themselves into her wound and provoking convulsions. From the floor of the pool the generator emitted the first streams of genomic rays. The chemical and electric signals facilitated the communication between the girl’s damaged tissue and the genes that were controlling her mother cells. The gene pax7 of the axolotl embraced her genes and introduced regenerative elements into her cellular morphology. Her wound absorbed the blood that was still flowing from Rachstad’s nose. Her own blood flow integrated the red blood cells and leukocytes, the symptoms of her appetite surfaced immediately: tension in the jaw, inflammation in the gums and a tingling sensation in the nerves at the roots of the teeth.
Rachstad felt the girl’s hands grip his calves and they yanked him so that he lost his balance, submerging him. He slapped and kicked with force, and barely managed to stay afloat, but upon receiving a bite in the abdomen screams of rage and impotence burst from his throat. He could still twist his torso and see in the direction of the doors. The cameras captured his bulging eyes and the White Coats saw Rachstad focus on the only option he had to save himself: to get out of the pool and take the automatic weapon from his cartridge belt. He gathered all his strength and bent the young woman’s head forward, bending it downward to inflict a few blows with his elbow on her back. In this way he managed to free himself and advance until he clung to the edge of the pool, but he couldn’t prevent the girl from immediately reacting and fastening her jaw onto one of his calves. Rachstad screamed again and imitated the cannibalism of the young girl with very poor results. This was an attack strategy the White Coats had seen during other experiments. So the general launched himself on her, propelling them towards the edge. He managed to lift her and, as he saw her neck, sensed the possibility of causing a hemorrhage. He concentrated all his hope in his jaw and closed his bite on the girl’s carotid artery. He put all his mandibular determination to get the blood to flow, but she began to laugh, as if she had planned for her prey to bite her.
The young woman continued to laugh as one of the White Coats activated the neuro-sensory tentacles. The metallic extensions came out of the camouflaged hatches in the gird of the pool. The pincers caught the general’s cranium and the White Coats contemplated the peaks of exchange of information on their monitors. The blood of the girl had memory and it was carrying out the process of transferring past experiences to Rachstad’s mental register. Those sanguinary memories were rapidly decoded. Rachstad realized that his past formed part of the neural archives of the young woman and that the blood flows ordered the decompression of the content to be displayed. It was processed as if it were a movie of edited experiences, Rachstad discovered himself trapped in episodes where he was playing the role of the protagonist: he was on a mission of demographic sanitation, in charge of a crew; he was in the massacres that he and his agents orchestrated; he saw himself in the gunshots directed at the backs of the unarmed people that were fleeing from the attacks; he found himself in the rape and murder of a woman while her daughter, a young woman similar to the one by the pool, was a witness; he saw himself on top of the young girl and inside of her, perceiving her to be disposable flesh, like beaten flesh, stabbed flesh, dead flesh, and in that moment he understood that both were the same person, and that her face, now modified, was the face of the axolotl.
Mcveigh turned his face towards the White Coats. “That’s enough,” he said.
An operator silenced only the speakers and the monitors continued transmitting what was happening in the pool: the young girl, always smiling, chomped down on the face of her aggressor, stripping off a good portion of the cheek that made it bleed profusely. She submerged herself again and breathed comfortably with the gill horns. She sunk her jaw in the abdomen of Rachstad, where some of his organs were now visible and she chewed on the fleshy tissue of his entrails. The blood flooded the monitors and the neuro-sensory pincers let go of the general’s cranium.
The girl seized Rachstad’s neck, plunging him into the water and later giving him the opportunity to come out to breath after a Little bit. The most difficult part of her predatory task consisted of tiring her prey and debilitating it sufficiently enough to restrain its drive. She took Rachstad by the wrists and applied all the violent force of her jaw to his chest. While she did her incisors gained ground in his flesh, tearing it sufficiently to produce an enormous hole. She stuck her hands in the general’s chest and curved her fingers into the form of hook to grasp his ribs. She gathered all her strength and yanked them aside, opening them up like collapsible doors. The heart, in all its splendor, showed its weak, intermittent pumping. The young woman, still aroused by the red blood cells and leukocytes that aerated her blood flow, bit the organ and inserted her protractile tongue into the aorta. She sucked out the vital liquid in fractions of a second and the effect on her system was instantaneous: a sensation similar to the human orgasm relaxed her muscles and a mental calm, bordering on sublime peace suspended her in the middle of the water. The axolotl came out of her moth and surrounded her floating body, and seemed to smile, satisfied, watching over their future.
Los de bata blanca seguían concentrando la mirada en los monitores cuando vieron a la chica salir del agua y apretar la nariz contra la rendija que se abría entre las puertas plegables del almacén.
“Está oliendo a su presa”, explicó Mcveigh, “ha madurado. Ahora puede permanecer fuera del agua durante más tiempo. Espero que seamos dignos de su resurrección”.
Presionó un botón y los cerrojos de las puertas se retrajeron. El monitor mostraba a la joven dirigiéndose rápidamente hacia las habitaciones donde Iker y Actius disfrutaban de los últimos encuentros sexuales de sus vidas.
Traducido por Christina Miller