The Pulse: B.C.
On Becoming Human
For Berry the business of becoming human wasn’t all bad. He remembered his early years as a toddler, exploring the green leaves with his ten fingers. Tasting the banana pablum on the tip of his tongue. Tearing across the hard pavement on his tricycle.
He also had to admit he enjoyed the breastfeeding part. To be so close to another beating heart, to another sentient being who loved him so completely — for no reason except that he was the product of her body. No wonder human astronomers called their galaxy The Milky Way. No wonder so many human artists depicted God’s love by drawing a woman with a baby at her breast:
Even Hitler’s mother probably loved her chubby little baby. But it wasn’t just the unconditional love. To drink in nourishing liquid without having to kill something and suck out its fluids was the best thing he’d ever experienced.
But as he grew he found that the mother entity expected a great deal in return. Come to think of it, unconditional love didn’t quite describe it accurately. The breast didn’t have a consumption meter or any other sort of pay-as-you-go mechanism. Someone should at least have posted a notice about the payment schedule. Nor was there any warning about the toll this conditioning might eventually take on the consumer — especially for the male of the species. Once deprived of this fundamental tool of survival and satisfaction, he would forever search the backstreets looking for something that resembled that perfect reciprocity of fulfillment and need. Women in tight t-shirts drove him to distraction, all because he continued to want what he was conditioned to have without asking. Not surprisingly, artists all over the world paid tribute to the beauty of the female form.
The female, on the other hand, was programmed at the moment of her adolescent crisis to develop the soft cushions on which she could rely for a boost of confidence, and onto which she could fall safely when the enraged male of the species was so frustrated that he couldn’t bear to look at her.
Berry realized that the whole thing wasn’t very well planned. But then again, who was any good at planning? His own people dropped the ball by delaying the Infraction for thirteen years. He understood their rationale: wait until the human elements were deeply ingrained and then infract them at adolescence, when they were becoming erratic anyway. Parents would be so busy dealing with threats and foul-language that they’d hardly notice the shift in eye tint or the rewiring of the central nervous system. Hormones! they’d cry out, without so much as a blood test or CAT scan.
Infraction was an efficient shock and wake-up call, but it was hard on the baulomorph. By infracting the orange serum into an already established network, the baulian chemists threw nascent baulomorphs into a crazy spin. All of a sudden their bodies felt like they were about to change into something else. They were on the verge of flying away, both physically and mentally. The average teenager had a hard enough time navigating hormone fluctuations, lengthening bones, and daily alterations in skin texture and pheromone output. Baulomorphs had all of these, yet they were also infracted with a new neural substructure. This hidden yet potent substructure didn’t replace or support the previous system, but rather doubled it, making baulomorphs see the way they always had, yet also making them see things their human friends would never see.
The chemicals — vibrating in their almost invisible orange essence — made the overloaded brain of baulomorphs intimate with the knowledge and culture of a species that had evolved over the last 5.6 million years. A species that had been through a thousand revolutions, had learned to infract chemicals with condensed sentient patterns, and had learned to travel across what humans would at some point call orange matter. At present, the only concept that came close to it was dark matter or the monads of Leibniz. It was the only thing that connected universes, and the baulians had learned 3020 years ago to ride it like a wave, from orange to purple, and back to orange. But it wasn’t until they happened upon Earth that they realized this shifting in wavelength went deeper in colour the deeper one went into a certain type of water.
They had never seen such water before. Nor such an abundance of subaquatic life — which humans were destroying, with their hooks and nets and chemicals. Even with all the scientific warnings, humans refused to act.
The baulians had no choice but to act for them.