ENTER CALIBAN

As usual Mrs Juno sits comfortably on her yellow leather armchair, adorned with silver metal studs her throne stands in the main hall of her staryatch’s deck, slim and curvy, naked as usual, her skin moist and smooth lights with a honey like glow as she scrolls trough the menus of the gen-editor, carefully browsing the settings; Vertebrate, Calidum Sanguinem, Mammal, Canidae, Caninae. The next holoscreen appears with several options; wolf, fox, jackal. She takes her time, looking at the details of their fur, eyes, the shape of their noses. The coyote calls her attention, she likes its raw beauty, but she worries about other predators so she increases its overall size a 30%, the length of the teeth and fangs by 50%, she loves its grayish fur but she adds shiny orange highlights, dark rims on the edges of its long ears and bright golden eyes. Then she runs a merging sequence using only 15 % of her DNA markers, the editor takes a couple of seconds to fulfill the request bursting out hundreds of possible combinations but highlighting the ones it thinks fit better the taste of the current user. She goes for a beautiful quadruped with hairless human hands, chest, belly and feet, with vantablack skin that fades in shades of gray from the tip of the fingers going all the way to milk like white on the underbelly. The head is all coyote with the gorgeous fur she picked, it covers all the back, shoulders and tail.

Next an overview of the geographic location, this takes longer, this is where she is going to spend the rest of her life, she wants to make sure she chooses the best spot to be released in to the wild. Caliban is a planet reserve, terraformed with the only purpose of serving as a wild area, a human-free zone, it is used to grow new species of flora, but it is also allowed to be used as a cynic retirement area. Mrs Juno takes her time, coyotes are very adaptable and can live in different habitats, but she hates dust, so she looks for a savanna or a woodland and one with more or less easy access to water, an area where enough matting partners are available but at the same time is not too crowded, she wants to make sure all her needs are taken care of.

Orbital station Naples cruises above Caliban, it is the outpost that oversees all activities conducted in the reserve and it is where all the retirement procedures take place, Mrs Juno arrived two weeks prior to her release, she came from Europa where she used to live. There, five hundred years ago she built a small town called Milano Solaris that she started from scratch, designing and growing its inhabitants, culture, architecture and codex of life, revered as a goddess even thou countless times she patiently explained to her creations how she was as human as them. She took them in to post modernity and beyond turning in time a socio-genetic experimental project in to one of the most luxurious and advanced city states of the system, even receiving the honor of joining the Interstellar Heritage Foundation, but as she turned seven hundred and seventy seven years old she became bored, she felt as she has done it all, divine and despicable and her soul got colder and insipid, life turned painfully boring. That is when she came across a Aeneas.

Aeneas of Enceladus, one of the many masters of Meta-Cynism that dedicate their lives to teach the wisdom of The Sloth, wandering around the system, hitch-hiking on interplanetary cargo ships, carrying with their selves as little possessions as possible. They met on Milano Solaris wile Mrs Juno was walking along the Calle Royale on her way to the market, she found Aeneas laying on the floor with her back against a water dispenser and half asleep.

Curious about a person who is homeless by choice in a wealthy and egalitarian civilization decided to invite Aeneas to stay in her estate, several days and in long conversations Aeneas told Mrs Juno about her years of research, sampling and categorizing the microbes that grow on the canals of her frozen hometown, how Aeneas became fascinated by the simplicity of the unicellular life’s existence and the complexities of their biology, their beauty. How she saw humans has the cells of a much bigger been, connected on a quantum level. And how herself as a cell felt insignificant, what does it mean to be a neuron on a network of 90 billion? And in one of those meals that they shared wile Aeneas was her guest is when she learned about Caliban an of the possibility of retiring in to wild life.

The Milanese mourned her decision and treated it as a state funeral, with massive processions and the unveiling of a monumental sculpture in her honor in a newly created square build specially for the occasion. She lovingly guided them thorough their grief and when she felt they where ready she left Milano Solaris, her personal staryacht departed during an equally bombastic farewell event at Port Columbus.

And then, on Caliban’s orbit, at the retirement facility, devoid from all her power, naked literally and spiritually, Mrs Juno entered the gen-editor. As the door closed behind she found herself in a completely dark room, feeling like she was dying already, cold, no sense of depth, she barely saw where her next step was going to land, on the floor a royal blue circle brightened dimly, intimate, inviting, embracing, it marked the spot where she must stand. Her body tensed, her joints clogged, her mind started fading in a lucid dream as if she was falling asleep, it wandered in to misty worlds, she found herself searching for memories that faded in to pure emotions, language that melted in to instinct.

The gen-editor infused its chamber with a powerful DMT fusion, made out of a hundred and fiftieth generation modified ayawasca, as her mind detached from her physicality engineered mother cells infested with a designers virus flooded her bloodstream, this virus brought the instructions, destroy the old DNA and reconfigure. A painful but quick death and rebirth.

She woke up, a stream of information rushed in to her brain, the sound of the wind, insects buzzing, the wings of birds flapping near by. She startled and got on all fours, feeling grass on the palms of her hands, the warm of the dirt, she smelled water and rushed to a near by pond lapping eagerly, her stomach hurt, she was hungry. It was time to follow the sent of kangaroo rat, it was time to hunt.

Miguel Angel Montoya
June 2022