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In a resistance against book burning, these people attempt to transform books from material into immaterial memory and secretly preserve only the essence of the books in their mind. A far greater quantity of information and things must have been discarded before even being held in memory. Things that do not speak, things we must not speak about, and things we are not able to speak about.

Things we do not want to see, things we must not see, and things we can barely see. Trivial or useless things. Let us think about such innumerable things that fell out of the category of being worthy of being memorized, and let us take this to heart. The world universe is mostly filled with the black hole or the vast and deep sea of the forgotten. Those Easter eggs, you see. The good Reverend suddenly noticed the open freezer, dashed across, and scrambled among the eggs — which I now saw were made of glass, not chocolate — with the ferocity of a tumescent, but unprepared, man searching for an unused condom.

The eggs all had a spherical hole at one end. A passing lamb had provided the uterus for his Jesus no longer the Lamb of God, but the God of Lamb , but he had retained a hundred embryos which he had intended to later implant in other unwary passing lambs.


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Very little research, it seems, has been done on divine chromosomes. Certain faculties may be developed before the organs normally associated with them. The auditory sense, for instance, might precede the ear. Maybe straining to hear these deathbed prayers had preternaturally developed the Divine audition. Now the good Reverend had crucified his Jesus just a few feet away from the embryos.

Of course, I had to report all this to Section Thirteen. Search and destroy.

The world is ruled by economic imperialism. And some of those Commandments! No other gods: end of the pop music and film industry. No killing: end of the armaments industry.

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No bearing false witness: end of politics and international diplomacy. In short, living by Christian precepts would rapidly bring the Christian world to its knees. The next few days were tense. Next day the island was nuked. Pity about the local inhabitants, but Section Thirteen has to see the bigger picture. After that, it was a case of mopping up. Three jaycees foolishly headed for the Vatican, and were brought down by the halberds of the Swiss Guard on the direct orders of the Pope himself twitching furiously, and still mumbling incoherently, on his Balcony.

Well, he stood to lose most, I suppose. The Simon Wiesenthal Centre used their expertise and accounted for half a dozen more jaycees. Quite a few were spotted because of their allergic reaction to the sight of a cross, and a fair number were nabbed in brothels: well, each generation does tend to rebel against the earlier one.

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One particularly cunning fugitive even set himself up as a pawnbroker, but gave himself away by offering fair prices for the articles pawned. Except one. Like Woody Allen in Zelig , this one popped up everywhere. Tiananmen Square, the White House Lawn, Red Square in Moscow, Mecca, the banks of the River Ganges, Super Bowl stadiums — anywhere where there was a crowd he would appear, stick his tongue out, blow raspberries, make dire threats, and somehow melt away just before our agents could get there.

Me, I bided my time. I knew that he would become more and more human every passing day. I knew that in the end, he would fall victim to that most elemental of weaknesses — the desire for vengeance. I knew that some day he would come back to settle the score with the Reverend Albert Jenkins. And he did. And I was waiting with my Kalashnikov.

Big plans. Big horrible plans. Losing ninety-nine brothers.

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Kind of hardens your character. You think I was going to blow away a guy who could heal the sick? Raise Lazarus? For a guy like that, my embarrassing problem was nothing. I guess that was the root of our problem all along. Of course, I had to give him the Reverend in exchange. It simply should not be there. I should know, for I designed the birds. Every morning, day breaks over the mudflats, covered in osprey corpses and unexpected bluish reflections, as if a hundred will-o-the-wisps of the wrong colour were advancing over the watery surface.

The smooth flat mirror of the mudflats shines indigo: fluorescent, freakish, wrong.

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From their beaks, and from sores on their chests and bellies, there pours a tainted viscous liquid that resembles watery gelatine, odourless and sticky to the touch. This is, of course, not what our star product for the Scottish ecosystem should do. Our fabricated birds, to start with, should not die this soon, a mere fifteen years after their release into nature. They are engineered: to sustain longer life, eternal in some cases, to maintain fish numbers—a delicate dance of environmental equilibrium.

In recent times I have been treated by everyone as a newcomer, or at best an embarrassing uncle. No one remembers that I was here at the beginning, exactly like he was, building the company up from nothing. Fighting against those who believed our work unethical.

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I risked as much as he did, more in fact. The colossal hall, built to the proportions of our greatest achievement to date, the de-extinct monolithic squid, is a vast oblong chamber of pure whiteness into which the landscape pours its new colours. On sunnier days the yellow and orange reflections are almost unbearable, and the glass octahedrons taint themselves a shade or two darker to keep us sheltered.

The Highlands can be particularly hot during the winter months. The dome is a hive of these glass panels supported by white aluminium, a triumph of de-modernized architecture imitating late twenty-first century design. The vast column of the aquarium occupies the centre, placed there to greet the visitors with our impressive bio-engineered reproductions: sharks, whales, dolphins, coral, moonfish. The squid moves gracefully amongst its fellow inmates. I walk round the watery cylinder. It takes me seventeen minutes to complete the circle. I notice new species locked in there.

Apparently, we have starfish now. We pride ourselves on reproducing environments; no one is interested here in the new fashions for violet sheep or pink cows. We leave these frivolities as the pets of rich Russians. I press the only button in the white capsule. The answer comes back in flashing red; it has been a while since I have been granted direct access to him. Two members of the security staff push the doors open to find me there.

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They have obviously been briefed. They put down their white machine-guns, one of them presses the button again, and the system reacts, positively this time, to his DNA. The doors close and the elevator moves upwards.