Man in a Cage
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by Brian Stableford
Category: Science Fiction
Description: Harker Lee is a survivor. His mind withstands the threat of insanity and the pressure of imprisonment. His lifelong struggle to keep mind and body together in the face of the hostile environment of the maximum-security block is struggle against the society of his fellow men. But that society can still find a need for him a need for the ability to survive which it is testing to the full. He was taken from his cell once to be used in experiments in reading minds. Now he is brought forth again, to endure the ultimate test: to fly a Titan spaceship through hyperspace to the stars. Starflight destroys the minds of sane men. But Harker Lee is not sane and his mind has strength which sane men lack. In Harker Lee, the man whom society is caging for his crimes, now lies the hope that man might break out of the greatest of all cages the void of empty darkness which enfolds the Earth. In this chilling, enthralling novel of psychology and science fiction, one final escape must be made, for a man and for mankind.
eBook Publisher: E-Reads, 1975
eBookwise Release Date: February 2003
10 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [328 KB]
Reading time: 216-303 min.
In the beginning, you create the heaven and the earth. That's the first thing you do, every time -- build cages. And the second thing you do is to pin the labels on.
And the earth is without form, and void; and darkness is upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit moves upon the face of the waters.
And you say, Let there be light: and there is light.
And you see the light, that it is good: and you divide the light from the darkness, and the pattern of light and darkness is one of the cages.
And you call the light Day, and the darkness you call Night. And the evening and the morning are the first day. And you rest. You're not attempting the record. That's right. Play it safe. Play it by the book. Easy now.
And you say, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
And you make the firmament and divide the waters which are under the firmament from the waters which are above the firmament: and it is so.
And you call the firmament a cage of darkness. And the evening and the morning are the second day. That's right. A cage of darkness. Face it. Make it what it is. Start with a clean sheet. No hypocrisy. You and I, Titan. Never forget that. Come the time, we go running home, right back into the cage of darkness. Don't forget the door. Face the facts. You're not God, you're just playing the game. Come the time, the game ends. You and I, we have the sense to go home, whether it rains or not. It's a game, only a game.
And you say, Let the waters under the cage of darkness be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear: and it is so.
And you call the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters you call Seas: and you see that it is good.
And you say, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself the earth: and it is so.
And the earth brings forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed is in itself, after his kind: and you see that it is good.
And the evening and the morning are the third day. Careful now, it's taking shape. Think carefully, when you fill these cages, is there anything you could well do without? If there is, should you? How much self-indulgence can you permit yourself? How much can you permit yourself in your image? If anything. Dare you tamper with the script? Dare you get more than a few little words -- just a label -- out of line? How much can you give yourself? It's only a game. You have to remember that. You have to go back. The door is open now, and you're free. But you're on parole. You've got to leave that door where it is. You've got to carry that door with you wherever you are. And if you're everywhere, then that door has to be everywhere, too. You have to have that door. Don't make a world for yourself which will shut that door, which won't permit that door to be open, and to be with you. Be careful. Be careful. The book is safe. You know the book.
And you say, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night: and let them be for signs, and for seasons and for days, and years.
And let them be for lights in the firmament of the cage of darkness to give light upon the earth: and it is so.
And you make two great lights; the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night: you make the stars also.
And you set them in the firmament of the cage of darkness to give light upon the earth.
And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and you see that it is good.
And the evening and the morning are the fourth day. You have to have the stars. The stars are necessary. Without the stars there's nothing to laugh at you from beyond the bars of the cage. Without something to laugh at you from beyond, how are you going to remind yourself of the cage, while you are yourself beyond? Look at the stars, Titan, look at the stars.
And you say, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open sky.
And you create great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the water brings forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and you see that it is good.
And you bless them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
And the evening and the morning are the fifth day. No sweat. But the difficult bit is right around the corner. Tread softly, for you trespass on my dreams. Play it by ear, but play it well. This passage is the crucial one. Slip here and you can kiss good-bye to that cage which caresses you with such exquisite claustrophobia. Count your motives, and keep time. Whatever you do, keep time.
And you say, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind; and it is so.
And you make the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and you see that it is good.
And you say, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
So you create man in your own image, in the image of yourself create you him; male and female create you them.
And you say unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
And you say, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the first of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it is so.
And you see every thing that you have made, and, behold it is very good. And the evening and the morning are the sixth day. Thus the cage of darkness and the earth which it contains are finished, and all the host of them. And you have to live with this, and in this, and for this. You just don't know what you might have done. How can you?
In your image.
And mine, because don't kid yourself that your image isn't mine. In our own image, you have created man. You have created Sam Mastervine and Luis Dalquier and Nathan Petrie. And Judas Dancer. In our image.
Was there something wrong with Adam and Eve? This is a game, you know. A game of God, but a game just the same. You, of all people, cannot afford delusions of grandeur. You cannot afford to be a vain god. You have that door to carry behind you, in your pocket, in your hand, on your back. You can't close that door on the whole damn human race. You're not Lindquist -- you know better than he did. You know about that door. When Lindquist went into the labyrinth he didn't have any way back, but if you get lost it's you and you alone. We have to go back, you and I. Back into captivity, back into that cage of darkness with all the rest of the animals. You know that. I know what you have up your sleeve. Adam carried the can: he took the responsibility that should never have been his, and he caged humanity in blood, sweat, and tears. But you can't do that, because I won't let you. You can't hand over the responsibility and the blame to Judas Dancer. I won't let you. Judas won't let you. He doesn't have to take that from you, and he won't. We're free, Judas and I, and we're free to go back to our cage. You can't stop us. We're not going to let you carry this game into all eternity.
We'll keep that door open if you can't. If you won't.
You sleep, you dream. But I'll be awake inside your dream, and come the time I'm going to sound an alarm like you never heard, and I'll take you through that door if I have to blast your universe apart!
Copyright © 1975 by Brian M. Stableford