Continuum, Chapter 7
The One-Percent Solution
At twenty percent machine, Lucy is be quite formidable. As is her maker, Babb. As is any twenty percenter who has been assimilated into The Collective.
At twenty percent machine, a Borg can assimilate any living being with a neural implant whose security protocols they can crack. This, of course, is what Babb did to Lucy when she turned the girl.
At twenty-one percent machine, a biological being becomes a machine. Not a robotic being, but metal nonetheless.
“Confess your sins, girl.”
“I’m a twenty-percenter. One percent more, and I’m metal … a machine … no longer flesh. Legal ramifications, notwithstanding, flesh cannot trust anyone who’s more than twenty percent machine, because once you cross that line, mentally you’re no longer human, you are machine, a thinking machine. The Borg could have forced that change upon me, like they did the initial upgrade and all of my subsequent upgrades. It would have been just that easy. Instead, they’ve left the choice to me. Evidently … I must … voluntarily … make the choice myself.”
“Enter no conflict against fanatics unless you can defuse them. Oppose a religion with another religion only if your proofs … your miracles … are irrefutable or if you can mesh in a way that the fanatics accept you as god-inspired. This has long been the barrier to science assuming a mantle of divine revelation. Science is so obviously man-made. Fanatics … and many are fanatics on one subject or another … must know where you stand, but more important, must recognize who whispers in your ear.” Sister Edwina Beth Williams pauses. “What is that quote taken from?”
“The Missionaria Protectiva, the primary teaching of Sister Frankie Herbert. The nun who founded the Order of the Bene Gesserits.”
“Excellent. Excellent. Your penance is one ‘Our Father’ and two ‘Hail Mary’ prayers.”
They emerge from the confessional. There is no one else in the church, this late, on a Friday night. Per Sister Edy’s dictate, Lucy is dressed just like she does at the library. She’s off-base on leave. A weekend pass. Come Monday, she’ll be gone—i.e., off-planet.
Lucy is dressed as her usual self. Disguising herself as a frumpy cunt. As such. Few people would know that she’s a looker with a killer body. So. Figuratively speaking, she’s hiding in plain sight. Who would give her a second look, let alone find her attractive, when she’s looking this way? Pretty much no one.
Sister Edy is dressed in her old-fashioned habit—i.e., a severe black and white “penguin” getup, with the requisite opaque black stockings and ugly black knob shoes. An outfit straight out of the pre-Vatican II days of the late 1950’s. Only her face and hands are exposed.
She’s a staunch conservative. One of those by-the-Book anti-reform Catholics. As such. She doesn’t recognize the reforms of the past sixty years. A nun for fifty years. A Catholic for her entire life. She’s never changed her ways or her doings about The Faith.
No makeup. No nail polish. No perfume. Cold water baths. Etc. Although, these days, Sister Edy rarely, seldom ever, baths.
In spite of her advancing age—i.e., she’s pushing eighty. And. The depths of her spiral into self-destruction. She’s still quite the looker. A look-alike for her namesake, actress Edwina Beth Williams.
When we think of the term “worse for wear”, somehow provocative images of 39-26-37 actress Edwina Beth Williams (better known as Edy Williams) and her outrageous apparel at film festivals and award shows instantly stands out into one’s mind. You have to admit this wild child, who has now moved into her late 70s, can never be accused of being a shrinking violet and not giving her all to her chosen profession.
Underneath Sister Edy’s uniform, she’s wearing the required [by her Order] burlap sack fashioned into a full slip. No bra. Plain, white cotton panties. A burlap slip and cotton panties that have been pressed and starched to within an inch of their life. She’s been wearing these same undergarments for a week.
Every morning. The first thing she does is an hour of self-flagellation. Flogging or beating, either as a religious discipline or for sexual gratification: “pursuing the path of penance and flagellation”. She tastes the whip daily for both reasons.
She also engages in auto-erotic asphyxiation (AEA): the practice of cutting off the blood supply to the brain through self-applied suffocation methods while masturbating.
The Church, of course, turns a blind eye to all such personal practices of corporal punishment and auto erotica, by Catholics. Especially, when said Catholics are Bene Gesserit nuns.
The elderly nun smiles at Lucy’s dowdy appearance. Looks the girl up and down, lecherously. This is worth breaking her vows for, by her way of thinking. She’ll confess her sins, much later, to God and flog herself appropriately as atonement for her sins.
In nervous anticipation of what is about to ensue, she reaches out and covetously strokes the side of the girl’s face. Envy, the little green monster, and desire, the sins of the flesh, flash in her eyes. Consuming her, completely.
Sexually repressed. Sexually depraved. Conflicted. Racked by guilt, self-loathing, loathing and disdain for others, cancer, alcoholism, crippling arthritis, and hate. Sister Edy is a complete and utter mess.
Even before her fall from grace. Even when she was very young girl. Sister Edy could be eccentric, bordering on creepy, at times. One of her strangest habits, being her penchant for disguising herself as a frumpy cunt. As such. Few people know that she’s a looker with a killer body. A killer body with a grotesque difference—i.e., she was born with male and female genitalia.
That’s why the way that Lucy looks right now, turns Sister Edy on to no end. Lucy as a frumpy cunt. This is Lucy as Sister Edy’s physical fantasy come true.
Even when she’s undressed, and looking at herself in the mirror, Sister Edy sees herself as a frumpy cunt instead of the looker with a killer body that she is. She suffers from an extreme version of BDD.
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a mental disorder usually characterized by an obsessive preoccupation that some aspect of one’s own appearance is severely flawed and warrants exceptional measures to hide or fix it. In Sister Edy’s case, she sees her entire appearance as being flawed.
If Lucy were undressed. Sister Edy is so obsessed and disturbed that she would still see the girl as a frumpy cunt instead of the looker with a killer body that the girl is.
Even as a teenager, you were always such a cock-tease. A virgin sexpot, who never put out. Now. Look at you. All grownup. No longer untouched. Looks gone. No longer a sexpot. You’re a frumpy cunt, just like me. You’re profoundly unattractive. Who’d notice you, now? No one, but me, that’s who. And. You’re all mine. To do with as I please. I will enjoy sodomizing you with a broom, ramming it up you snatch and your rectum. Eating your pussy and your ass. Sitting on your face. All those vile things and so much worse. All things come to those who wait. And. I’ve waited so long to go around the world with you. All the way nasty. Almost every night I dream of doing you nasty. You’re worth any penance levied against me for the sins I intend to commit with you.
“Are you wearing it?” Sister Edy asks. Her voice trembling with excitement. As she envisions Lucy wearing Doll Parts. A device that transforms Lucy into a she-male, just like she was born.
Crack! Sister Edy bitch-slaps the girl. The loud, violent strike echoes in the otherwise empty church.
The nun’s breathe reeks of cheap liquor and unfulfilled desire. She’s bitter and old, and twisted by her hate for everything new and technological in the world. And when she drinks, she’s a mean drunk. The nun drinks every day. Her depravity, her hate, her faith, The Church, her self-pity, and her alcoholism are only her companionship, these days.
Now, she has a flesh-n-blood reason to rejoice. For two days, she will have living, breathing companionship [in the form of this girl] to take out all of her pent-up frustrations on. This former Catholic schoolgirl from her past will be physically abused, degraded, and disciplined by her own hand. Kicked, beaten, slapped, and punched, and other punishments unnamed and sickly applied. Just like she punished so many boys and girls back in the good old days of the Archdiocese.
“Say it right!”
“Yes, headmistress, I am wearing it.”
“Better. Much better.”
I was born a freak. That device you’re wearing has made you into a freak. But. That’s temporary. You can easily remove it. It would be so much better. Ideal, I’d say. If the device were permanently fused to your body, so that you couldn’t ever remove it. Perfection!
Back when Lucy attended parochial school here, this was a thriving parish. And the surrounding neighborhood was affluent and very Catholic. None of which is true, anymore.
The parish is in such dire shape, that there hasn’t been a reverend mother, onsite, for over ten years. In point of fact. Excluding the convent and the church. All of the remaining parish buildings are unoccupied and boarded up. Sister Edy is the last holdout. When she dies, the parish will be officially closed.
A reverend mother, in The Church, is a customary title or salutation for the abbess or female leader of a religious institution such as a convent or abbey and for certain other officials of religious orders of women (most often, the general superior).
Sister Edy is the only nun living in the parish convent, these days. The only one to say the Masses. Etc. Her beloved Sister Judith Head died in an automobile accident, last year—their car was hit by a drunk driver while Sister Edy was driving. After that grave loss, Sister Edy was never the same. Her diagnosis of terminal cancer was the very last straw. Drowning in self-pity and self-loathing. She went off the deep end. She crawled into a bottle, and has never crawled out. Blaming her plight on herself for the sin of being a lesbian. Blaming herself for Sister Judi’s death because she was driving and she got out of the wreck without a scratch. Blaming Lucy, and blaming anyone else and anything else, including herself, for her free-fall into total oblivion.
She and Sister Judi were close. Very close, indeed. For over thirty years, they were a couple without ever “officially” being a couple. Another example of those deviations from Scripture and Church Doctrine, which The Church chooses to not see, especially when it involves Bene Gesserits.
Both lesbians, she and Sister Judi never violated their vow of chastity—i.e., they were never sexual. They remained soulmates to the end, though. Praying daily for God’s forgiveness for being lesbians and their forbidden love for each other.
This vile, wretched bitch will suffer my merciless wrath, be degraded, for all the things that have gone wrong in my life!
12 hours later …
Lucy can hear moaning and groaning coming from the next room. Sister Edy is waking up. Then. The girl hears a shriek. Sister Edy must have seen the SAR sitting on the foot of her bed. The SAR. An android, looking like, dressed like, sounding like, acting like, Sister Judi if Sister Judi were still alive today.
The girl steps into the nun’s bedroom.
“I see you two have met.”
“What abomination is this?!”
Sister Edy is dressed in a fresh burlap slip and panties. She’s been given a bath. The nun feels clean and fresh for the first time in a very long time.
The Sister Edy that Lucy remembers had immaculate personal hygiene and kept this place Spartan and spic-n-span. It was a filthy, dirty, cluttered mess, just like Sister Edy. Lucy and the robot put both back in order.
“It’s a SAR. Yours.”
The Sister Edy that Lucy remembers was always a harsh, severe, stern Church bitch. She’s the same, this morning. She’s just more civil about expressing herself. Somethings never change.
As such. Sister Edy starts to say something mean and vile, meant to be hurtful. But. She stops herself, in time. The evil moment passes. For the first time in a long time, she feels like her old self again. The iron fist in the mink glove.
As aforementioned, she still has the very same flaws. But they are no longer expressed in the same amplified and twisted fashion that she feels them.
Oh my God, the pain is gone! No more craving for the drink! All of my physical infirmities have been exorcised!
“What have you done?!”
“I made you whole again. You’re fixed. Good as new. No more cancer, crippling arthritis, or alcoholism. Poof. Gone. You’re optimum for your age. In perfect health. You’ll easily see north of 100.”
“You’ve made me a machine!”
“Yes … I used some of my worms to make you 1-percent machine. But … It won’t last. You’ll flush them out of system before the week ends. And they will be dead. You will be back to being 100-percent human. My advice is not to look at what you flush down the toilet for a while. Nasty and gross is what you’ll see if you do.”
Sister Edy breaks down and starts sobbing. Even a monster, such as she, has a vulnerable side. And she knows how to express gratitude, in a socially-appropriate fashion.
“Why did you help me? The things I said to you. The way I treated you. The vile thoughts I had about you. The worst deeds I planned to perpetrate upon you. You should have left me to die alone in my disgrace and squalor. For God’s sake, I was going to brutally rape you!”
“Let’s go into the dining room.”
Lucy puts her arm around Sister Edy, and they walk slowly into the dining room. The robot dutifully follows them.
As directed by Lucy, Sister Edy sits down at the dining table. Lucy moves a chair over and sits down beside her. Papers are stacked neatly on the table. Lucy begins pointing in order at each stack setting on the table and the three new additions in the room.
“This is your paper copy of the bill of sale for the robot from Kill Command. It’s notarized, and the electronic original is on file with the proper governmental robotics agencies. If anything happens to the robot, it will be replaced free of charge. Lifetime guarantee.”
“The replacement. It will look and function, the same as this one?”
“Yes, headmistress. The robot is also designed to simulate aging. So you can grow old together.”
Sister Edy smiles at Lucy and stops weeping.
“Did I do anything to you? If I did, forgive me.”
Again. A socially-acceptable emotional response from Sister Edy.
“Forgiven and forgotten. You belted me in the church. We came in here, and you passed out on the floor. No harm, no foul. But. While I was detoxing you, you confessed all of your sins to me. I wrote them down. I’d advise you to read them and burn them afterwards. So, I know exactly what you had in store for me.”
A now sober and healthy Sister Edy shifts through those pile of handwritten notes. The most jaded flesh peddler would gasp at the graphic depiction of the depths of depravity that she has sunk to. Including. All her sexually-depraved thoughts about the girl and all the sexually-depraved things she had planned to do to the girl. Envy. Hate. Loathing. Self-loathing. The list goes on and on. In other words, Sister Edy at her worst, acting out, without any restraint or constraint, whatsoever.
What follows is the expected admission from Sister Edy.
“What a vile, wretched creature you must think me to be. And you’d be right, on all counts. The world would be better off without me.”
Lucy’s response is direct and to the point, and per the dictates of civility.
“I will always visit you looking this way. The way you crave.”
Lucy kisses her full on the lips and puts an arm around her. Sister Edy tries to pull back, but Lucy won’t let her. So. They French kiss and cuddle, and for once in her life, Sister Edy is at peace with what she is. When they end their lip-lock and embrace, Sister Edy seems calmer, less nervous and frantic. But. Still wanton as ever for the dream girl of her deepest, darkest desires.
“That was a sin, you know.”
“I know, headmistress.”
“We both will have to be punished.”
Per current Church doctrine. They will go down in the convent basement. Sister Edy will strip naked, hang herself from the ceiling by her wrists, and Lucy will flog her for an hour. Then she will strip Lucy naked, hang the girl from the ceiling by the wrists, and flog the girl for an hour. Afterwards, they will get down on their knees, confess their sins to God, and beg God’s forgiveness. A barber’s strap will be used for the whippings.
This is in addition to Sister Edy’s usual, daily, hour session of self-flagellation.
“I know. But. We’ll still do it or something akin to it, every time I stay with you. We’ll continue our relationship at the speed you’re comfortable with. So, for the time being, we’ll just kiss and cuddle. Eventually, our relationship will progress beyond that, though.”
“And as the severity of our sin progresses. So must progress the severity of our punishment.”
“Agreed, headmistress. That goes without saying.”
“Enough talk about such lurid personal matters. Now, tell me more about my new life.”
The unspoken certainty. Over time, their relationship will become much more carnal and depraved. And. That change will be driven relentlessly by Sister Edy, not Lucy. There are no limits to the depths of Sister Edy’s depravity, including her craving for abusive, twisted atonement of sins.
“That’s your new smart phone, to replace your flip-phone. That’s your new desktop computer, in place of your obsolete one. And that’s your new 88-inch OLED flat screen TV, in place of your old analog set. As you can see hanging on the wall, you still have your trusty rotary-dial landline phone. I didn’t want to overwhelm you with too much new technology, at first.”
“I hate technology. I hate machines. I hate change. I hate of lot of things.”
“I knew, headmistress. But.”
“It is, what it is.”
“Does it sleep?” Sister Edy asks, nodding in the direction of the robot.
“Nope. But Sister Judi had insomnia, if I remember correctly.”
“You remember, correctly.”
“So nights with it [the robot] will be pretty close to what you had with Sister Judi rummaging about. You can always have it stand in Sister Judi’s room, and you can just close the bedroom door.”
“I’ll be fine. We’ll work out something, some kind of nocturnal routine, agreeable to both of us. Maybe some housekeeping and cleaning. Do laundry. Sweep and mop the floors. Dust. Etc.”
“Sounds like a plan.”
“Cleanliness is next to Godliness.”
“Yes, it is, headmistress.”
“I have all of Sister Judi’s diaries.”
“We can spend today having the robot input them. That should make it a more convincing facsimile of Sister Judi.”
“What shall we do, tomorrow, after Mass?”
“Let’s catch up on old times, headmistress.”