I LEFT THE CABIN of Maddhi Boddhi Clear in a strange sort of daze--not a clouding of my clarity but an excessive sharpness of same; a cold, hard, black, ultimate knowledge of the ideogram of karma in which my spirit was frozen, and of the impossibility of seeking freedom from its inevitability through the intervention of forces beyond my will.
My existential options had been reduced to a clear duality. I must either surrender to entropic fate or will my own destiny via the only path left open. There was no middle ground. Either I would fail to act and this temptation would be gone, or I would screw up my madness or courage and Jump Blind. Either I would become a purposeless hulk deemed unfit for command and doomed like Maddhi to wander hopelessly, longing to find the Path once more, or, having already forsaken all else, I would seize the unknowable prize for which I had already paid the price.
Stated thusly, the proposition becomes a tautology, leading inevitably to the very event which has now come to pass. As I sit here encoding this onto crystal and contemplating what now must be done, I could no doubt find facile justification in the self-serving notion that all I have done and will do has been pre-determined by fate.
But as I returned to this very cabin where I now sit in self-judgment, I was still then struggling with the ethical conundrum, there was still a social creature inside me protesting against amoral destiny with the voice of the tribe.
And in the dialectic between the psychic construct and the amoral spirit a certain anger of conflict found form; as a man of duty and human emotion, I found it not difficult to conceive a certain hatred for Dominique.
Had I not met her on the sky ferry, would I not now be existing in the relative tranquility of innocence? Had she not used my spirit as an instrument, bending it, and sharpening it, and baring it to its own self-awareness, all in the service of her own solipsistic purpose? Her pity on my poor maya-bound masculine state and her unselfish- seeming granting of orgasmic simulation of that which supposedly lay forever beyond my reach, was this not too a seduction, a dance of veils knowingly crafted to lead me on to this final naked moment?
Did she not disdain me both as a fellow spirit and a natural man? Was it not impossible for her to truly share so much as a simple mutual act of love?
Was she not a monster of inhuman obsession? And if I now shared that transcendent monstrosity, was it not Dominique Alia Wu who had knowingly captured my soul for purposes not its own?
I lay on my bed trying to force my consciousness into sleep, unwilling to bear the torture of experiencing the hours of endless contemplation before the next Jump, both hoping to escape into nothingness, and willing the time till that moment not to pass.
As a result, naturellement, I hovered on the interface between wakefulness and sleep; slipping into blackness only to awake with a start, tantalized by unremembered dreams, my consciousness fragmented into jagged jig-saw shards.
In such a hypnogogic state, half awake and half asleep in the semi- darkness, did I suddenly bolt upright, staring into a human face not more than two feet from my own.
It was Dominique. She must have slipped soundlessly into my cabin during one of my flashes of sleep. Now she was standing beside my bed looking down at me, a Dominique transformed.
I had never seen her this close to her pre-Jump psychic and physiological peak before; nearly a full day after the last Jump and only a few hours till the next, she was radiant compared to the sickbed lover I had previously known. Her skin was pale, but even of color. Her hair was neatly combed, her simple blue jumper freshly laundered, and her body seemed to vibrate with nervous energy. The dark eyes staring down at me were clear, powerful, and only slightly shadowed by fatigue. Until this moment, I had never fully comprehended how severely the Jump drained her animal vitality, for I had never before seen how much there was to drain.
"What are you doing here?" I said, sitting up in bed and checking the bedside timepiece. "We Jump in less than four hours."
"Perhaps that is why I have come to you, liebchen," she said, joining me on the bed without solicitation. "Since it was obvious when last we spoke that you would not come to me again."
My mind began to clear of fog. When last we spoke, she had accused me of lack of ultimate courage, and I had left her with a rejection of her further favors, and in fact my ire toward her had fallen asleep aroused.
Yet somehow this seemed like another time and another place, perhaps because Dominique seemed such another woman.
"You told me when last we parted that there were things I had yet to understand," she said, crouching like a catamount on the bed, staring at me with eyes that seemed to luminesce opaquely in the semi-darkness. "I wish to understand them, Genro, truly I do."
"I wish I could believe you," I said.
She laughed; a strange, feral, snorting sound, yet not untinged with a sigh of some inner sadness. "Why should you not believe me, mi mannlein," she said. "Have I held anything of my least politic aspects back from you? You believe that I have seduced and used you for my own ultimate end, ne, without tender regard for the free will of your spirit. You believe tambien that I have granted you sexual favors for service rendered with utter indifference erotique. You believe that I have done all this to achieve my own Great and Lonely goal without care for another fellow spirit."
"Well put," I said dryly.
She rose slightly higher on her haunches, looming toward me as she spoke. "If you believe that much, mon cher, then, nicht wahr, you must believe that I know it too. I admit to all. I deny nothing. Believe me when I say that I know what I am and what I have become."
She duck-walked closer to me, touched a hand to my knee. My flesh drew not back. "Verdad, I did all that I did in no one's service but my own. True also that even now I will not deny that my highest desire is for you to do what must be done, and perhaps I am even now exerting my wiles toward this end."
Slowly, she began fumbling with the catches of her jumper, parting the garment down her breastbone and wriggling out of it like a moth emerging from its chrysalis as she spoke.
"But if I thought only to bend your will to my ends, I find that by so doing, I have freed an inner spirit whose nature matches my own. Mayhap all who see beyond the veil become at bottom one; perhaps there is but a single dancer to step outside the dance. This is a thing I do not understand, Genro, for you are the first such creature I have met or made."
Naked, she hovered above my body supported on her elbows and knees, the tight brown nipples of her breasts arced centimeters above my chest like twin electrodes, her mouth close enough for me to taste her rose-perfumed breath, her pubes poised to lower themselves onto my detumescent loins, her eyes staring openly into mine with what seemed like simple truthful clarity.
"Am I supposed to believe tambien that you now truly seek to know me as a man for the sake of amour erotique alone?" I said. "That all at once you are consumed with fleshly lust?"
She lowered herself upon me; I neither resisted nor returned her touch, and though I felt my body begin to stir under the pressure of her naked flesh, my psychic life-blood ran thin and cold.
"Tonight I admit all, mon cher," she said, kissing me lightly on my unmoved and unmoving lips. "I wish us to truly make love, Genro, I wish you to share a moment of ecstasy with me, I wish us to come together in the only way we can in this shadow realm, so that perhaps our spirits may touch beyond it. ..."
"So that having once shared such a lesser moment of bliss, I cannot gainsay us the greater ...," I said knowingly.
"I admit all, mannlein," she said, undoing the front of my tunic. "Such is my goal, such is my passion, such is my hope that I will make it yours. I want to take you as close as you can get, I want to feel your ecstasy as you feel mine, I want to bridge the final gap between us, I want us to come together in a place where each can know the other does not lie."
I saw no guile in her eyes as she said this, rather, the ruthless openness of spirit that denied all possibility of dissembling, the artful yet artless clarity of purpose beyond all such dances of veils, the essence which had first drawn me to her, and which, in some sense, I admired in a fearful way that might be called love.
Hesitantly, I moved my arm about her. Tentatively, I cupped her cheek in my hand.
She smiled with soft passion at me, a smile which for once touched her eyes, but beneath it still was something of cold steel, the purpose whose primacy she did not even in this moment conceal.
"Be naked to me now, Genro," she said. "As I have made myself naked to you. When next we embrace, it will not be in this flesh, nicht wahr?"
Slowly, I began undressing, never taking my eyes off her face. "I make no such promises," I said.
"None need be made, liebchen," she replied. "Now that we are naked to each other, what will be cannot be denied. What will come out of this moment I willingly trust to fate. Can you not do the same?"
So saying, she stretched the full length of my body, and seized my lips in a kiss of such depth and passion as to take my breath away, molding her soft flesh to my contours, filling me with her untrammeled breath.
Her hand reached into the quick of my manhood, and as it surged into that embrace, I felt a shockwave of electricity surge up my spinal chakras and into my brain, opening a channel of clear kundalinic energy between our spirits via the instrumentality of our flesh.
"It has been a long time," she breathed in my ear, "but in a previous incarnation, I was considered an adept."
This was uttered in a tone of jocular challenge, but behind it I sensed the serious truth. Our dialectic had at last reached beyond words or thespic actions to the ultimate plane where being confronted being in the meeting of flesh, and even here did she challenge my manhood to command, even here would our spirits contest in a combat of wills for the ultimate stake.
Vraiment, did this merely serve to whet my energies as she mounted my steed, drawing it within her with a startlingly muscular grasp, then slowly kneading my passion with rolling and surging grindings of her hips. I felt myself flowing into my phallus as it seemed to float free in an infinite cyclonic eye within her, drawn down my spine from my roiling brain into that nether intelligence of my kundalinic serpent; at the same time, my gaze was locked into hers as if each sought to see their own interior reflection from within the other's eyes.
Slowly, without a flicker or waver in our mutual stare, without a word or gesture, I began moving within her energies, first as a minor note, and then, as I raised us into an ideogram of equality, sitting in each other's laps still locked eye to eye and pube to pube, meeting each inward roll of her hips with a slow burning thrust of my phallic lance.
This mutual tantric asana is a configuration of long duration, of the slow, even feedback of kundalinic energies, the roll of the yoni and the thrust of the lingam combining in a dance of smoldering fire, an even, calm rhythm through which the energies build not fiercely but with a rising oceanic swell.
She was adept, vraiment, and so was I, verdad; I knew I had never had or been a lover like this before. Eye to eye, lingam to yoni, spirit to spirit, we performed this exercise for a timeless eternity, until it ceased to be an exercise, until our eyes seemed to meld into endlessly reflected images of each other; until thought, and challenge, and purpose were an subsumed into the void whence they came, until all that remained was an interface of ecstasy oceanically throbbing and rolling in a space beyond space.
"Be a Captain to me now," she sighed, "and let me be the Pilot of your soul."
Clinging to my neck, she drew me slowly down on top of her, wrapping her legs tightly around my waist, and drawing me down, down, down into her with every muscle of her body, with her rhythm and with her eyes, which seemed not to blink or flicker as they stared up at me with the cold black clarity of the perfect void.
I was a lance of energy and nothing more, a glowing nerve trunk from spirit to spine, and from spine to phallus, as if a lightning bolt through the fabric of reality had pierced me to the core.
Like a leaping diver, I thrust myself into the ecstatic void of free fall, soaring and plunging down the geodesic curve into the whirlpool of her center, a demon rider on an eldritch steed.
I watched her lips part and compress, part and compress, part and compress with the rhythm of my spirit until it seemed that I was synced into the very breath of her body and she into mine as we moaned into a single endless ecstatic shout, a mantra of clear energy that went on and on as reality dissolved in a timeless flash of sweet nothingness that seemed to pour out of my spirit down the endless tunnel of her open orgasming eyes, and in that moment of utter release, we were Gone- Before, and together and into the All.
We lay there silently in each other's arms for a long, long moment, as my consciousness slowly reformed into awareness of time and space and fleshly reality, as my spirit clung longingly to the fading glory , and when I finally reluctantly returned, it was longer still until I could speak.
"That was ... that was ..."
Dominique kissed my lips briefly, then stopped them with her finger. "Only a shadow," she said, her eyes burning brightly. "Even that, liebe Genro. You know it as well as I."
I lay there supinely, still empty of all coherent thought, as she disengaged herself from the memory of our embrace and donned her jumper.
"Think of this when next you sit on the seat of command, mein Captain," she said as she drifted like a fading succubus toward the door, "and I will trust my spirit to your command gladly. In my own strange way ... I think I love you, Genro Kane Gupta."
Then she was gone.