Ccru Cybernetic culture research unit
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Tick Delirium


Under Pressure. Thomas Gold's model of The Deep Hot Biosphere reallocates hydrocarbon deposits to an expanded anorganic chemistry - derived from Supernovae debris, and accreted into planets from interstellar dust-clouds - out of which everything flows bottom-up. Descent into the earth leads out of the solar-system, in accordance with a xenoplutonic cosmic productivity, transmitted through slow-release deep intra-terrestrial methane reservoirs, pressure-stabilized against thermic dissociation. A vast mass of Archaean microbes and submicrobial nanopopulations exploit this upwelling anorganic hydrocarbon flow by scavenging loosely bound oxygen, reducing ferric iron to magnetite ...

Project-Scar. Southern Borneo, November 1980. Outside the monitoring hut a tropical storm is slowly building. Irregular rain spatters heavily, rhythmically intermeshing with type-taps and clicks. Barker hunches over the humming machines, lost in theoretical trawlings through SETI-connected tick-talk tapes, unscrambling cryptic dot-clusters and factor-strings into hints of alien contact. Xenotation is clicking together, a mathematical antimemory where things meet. You could easily think it was initiation, but it's all coming to an end, in scatter tactics, particle streaks, and tachyonic transferences, drawing-out the twisted trajectories of numerical disorganization ... and underneath - or between - the implacable ticking of the time-missile ...

Try to figure it out and somewhere you cross over, which is problematic in various ways. Unexpected difficulties infiltrate the calculations tick-systemic interchatter implexes through plutonic torsion, a descent into the Outside.

When NASA sees Barker's report, it flips - nonmetaphorically - into another phase. A passage through institutional criticality occurs spontaneously, a conversion of stack-tectonic torsion, triggering some kind of latent security-reflex, or bureaucratically fabricated suppressor-instinct, extrapolating the exact affective correlate of Anthropol. They were waiting for this. Waiting for a long time.

The investigation was disguised as psychiatric recoding, hidden even from itself. This was shortly after the stuttering started, drifting in on a wave of body-tics, micro-spastic tremors a multiplication of mixed signals chronometric tick-tock melting into jungle noises clicks and chirps of the cicadas, insectoid chitterings, static, take-up materials for tick-bite tinnitus intercut with rhythmic pattern virus, a subsemiotic staccato of throat-scratching tick-chatter stitched into the talk-sickness - calling demons.

It gets confusing, the way tick-fictions take, or stick.

They said it was due to excessive pressure - much later, they told me this - These were the facts, and the rest was fiction. Immediately after the break-down I had been taken back to the States, to a medical installation. So everything happened in America, and it all checked-out. There was no contact, no tick-disease, no flight into the jungle. They were insistent about that.

Barker was born on the night of the dead. folded into the end from the beginning sketched out. It's evident now, with his ID meticulously compiled, social tag-numbers, educational and medical records, security clearance evaluations, research checks, neurocartographic print-outs, psychometric data, conclusions formatted for rapid scanning, with columns of tick-boxes

"What do you make of these,' the doctor snorts derisively: 'You mean that nonsense about a tick-borne infection. It was obviously made-up, tacked-on.'

It would have been a cruel coincidence, if true, to be stricken by tick-bite sickness, after everything that had been suggested, stigmatic residue of a flight into the jungle - that never happened - but somehow it stuck, latching-on to mammal heat, or the smell of blood.

The tick is a parasitic arachnid. It has been considered as an ethics-packet that climbs, sticks, and sucks, functioning as a vector for numerous things, tack-ons, stickers, hallucinations, tinnitus buzz-clicks, micro-sonic teemings, semi-sentient flickering across the fever-scape, skin tracked by infected suck-marks that snake along the veins. Tick-dots, or IV punctures, according to them, from the sedatives and antipsychotics, all accounted for in the medical logs, plus a tick-delirium tacked-on - because there was no flight into the jungle - only high-frequency hallucinations of parasitic micromultitudes, itching skin-swarms.

With tick-systems anything will do. Each intensive numerousness hatches onto another numerousness of lower organicity, subcellular animations and subsemiotic tokens, high-pressure chemistry, phasing down into nanomachining electron-traffic, magnetic anomalies, and fictional particles. Ticks - which are never less than several - are anything whatsoever, when caught by numerical propagations whose thresholds are descents, and whose varieties depend upon the phase considered

They seemed to think it was about arachno-bugs, biological taxonomy, and bite-signatures, as if the tick-delirium was representing something. All that really mattered were the numbers, which could have been anything. At first the machines became erratic, it was an almost imperceptible electronic glitching, microvariations of magnetic weather, rhythmic disturbances. Out in the jungle it was called Ummnu, but that never happened ...

Nothing happens to Barker except downwards - that's the catch, and the ticket - inverse climbings of the heat-pressure gradient, escalations in intensity, time-crossings.

How can the end be already in the middle of the beginning? - as the problem is posed in Pandemonium, whenever - in the outer-time of Ummnu - the cryptic ticking of chthonic unclocks mark an incursion from beneath, or between. Down there it is forever turning into itself, through the electromagnetic catatracts of Cthelll, whose body-neutral metallic click-storms feel like sinking out of chronicity.

Beyond surface chauvinism and solar parochialism: Vortical stickiness of the tick-matrix.