Bill Drennan

Bacteria Man

After the coup, men were eventually displaced & re-allocated to inferior positions in the grand scheme of things. Breeding & schooling programmes were introduced to prevent them from entering places of power. Everything came to be under the control of the Lysistrata Party; the idiotic wars had ceased & a unity of sorts was eagerly eased in to gradually replace all those nasty little masculine schisms & schemes. But things didn’t look so good for the male population which was to become subject to a very rigorous & effective apartheid-like separation from the female population. And things were about to take even more of a dive for the men. For, just as everything was settling down & prosperity began to flow more equally among the women than had ever been known, an accidental discovery was made on a space station in orbit around the planet. It was a discovery that would change everything.

It turned out that the waves of offensive bugs that had assaulted the planet for millions of years were born as men on a distant solar system or galaxy. Their precise origins, to this date, are not only unknown but also forgotten by the originating race of men who, these days, tend to shut up & do as they are told. The men’s own memories of the great metamorphosis, long since forgotten, would be more useful stranded somewhere in deep space. It was once, a long time ago, suggested by a top scientist that these creatures—these bacteria men—were being spewed from a super massive black hole with all the backwardness assigned to their kind by the Lysistrata Party. Had these creatures, the argument continued, arrived from a local planet or the Great Asteroid Belt itself, the source of the bugs would surely have exhausted itself in a kind of ejaculative moment. Since the ‘wormhole’ theory seemed the most probable & succeeded in flattering the Party’s sense of humour, it promoted itself from mere theory to flavour of the millennium—like a wildfire of burning hot rumour. Added to this theory were others that further fuelled the myth; most of these theories have yet to be proved; & most of them have been unquenchable enough to leave a residual, accepted lore—which runs something like this: Once men, these creatures had learned to transport themselves through space by making profound advances in epigenetic engineering. They had managed to cure themselves of the need for a body, such as we understand it; & though they had been foolish enough to regard the body as a prison of involuntary urges, they had also been smart enough to devise ways of shedding themselves of its weight. With no necessary functions, such as eating, shitting & breathing, to weigh them down, they could simply float off into space … As these modified beings travelled through space, they underwent a reverse-evolutionary metamorphosis—a process that also seemed to reverse the effects of mortality, in as much as it extended the lifespan of their transmogrifying bodies. Very gradually, over x number of light years, they were stripped of all flesh. They crystallized from the outside-in—so naturally their skins dropped off first; & the other parts too—no longer necessary—evolved their way off the body & floated away with no gravity to hold them together. Portions of flesh had become twinkling crystal homunculi which soared like tiny stars, exponentially & asexually reproducing themselves … appearing as if from nowhere; & multiplying even more furiously & impossibly on entering the wormhole ... & now look! At the other end of it! An endless supply of impertinent bacteria with pseudo-immortal qualities! As it turns out, they are almost pure masculine spirit—traveling in a microscopic, crystal-like bacteriological vehicle. But they have become starved of the flesh that had once given them the security to assert & satisfy their natural sexual urges. This they have remembered, & their frustrations with space travel—the sexual loneliness, the lack of a body to struggle with—have overcast their souls with a sense of imprisonment & have not at all given them the enlightened sense of liberation that they had once pursued through scientific investigation.

These days, if you look through the window of the Café Lysistrata, you will see members of the provisional government still talking about that ancient victory over the deranged upstarts who had threatened the planet with some hideous biowar agent. Wielding capsules that contained the essence of masculinity itself, these men & their little bombs could have induced mass-masculinisation in a matter of minutes, & the planet would once again have been cursed with alien creatures that would have run riot & taken hold of the reigns of power—parasitizing the rightful inhabitants of the planet along with their natural habitat. The government today is made up only of full-blooded & cthonic women & under no circumstances is an alien genetic anomaly to gain access to this society. The children are separated from the mother at birth. Then the boys & girls are separated from each other. The girls are brought up with a solid understanding of their superiority as an indigenous species. A girl expects to be appointed to a position in the global hierarchy which suitably reflects both her intellect & her temperament. The boy-aliens are all trained as soldiers until they reach puberty. Most of them, of course, will be sent to the front line. Those who stay are useful for other menial tasks, such as breeding, cleaning & factory-work. Changing gender is now a matter of choice—though it took hundreds of years for this choice to be made legally available; many arrests were made in the process & many a beating was administered, accompanied by the odd disappearance … Since the legislation was passed, men have queued up to stay on the planet as willing slaves. However, only a small percentage of the most intelligent of the soldier breed is given the choice; & even a genuine conscientious objector must prove himself either by changing gender, or by becoming a eunuch-servant. As for the rest: they do the valiant thing & go into orbit to defend their planet from invading bugs.

On the front line, the only way for these soldiers to ward off contamination is through extra-contamination & there is no chance for these men ever to return to the planet’s surface. Their lifespans are massively decreased in any case. Their return to the planet, even in a state of near-death exhaustion would still, it is felt, very likely engender a pestilence of alien masculinity that would see a return to the Dark Ages. As things are, the soldiers become hardened with spent psychic aggression—which crystallizes on the skin & in the muscle tissue, restricting their now unnecessary movements ... They ‘fire’ their psychic aggression energy at a microscopic enemy to which they are exposed for very lengthy ‘shifts’. A drug that is administered to each soldier simultaneously removes all sexual urges whilst harnessing & re-focusing crucial energies—making the fighter stronger & more efficient, & giving his aggression levels a major boost into the bargain. These soldiers are too busy to think about escaping & too well monitored & sedated when not engaged in battle. With the exception of the odd exploding testicle—which tends to send a splattering of a crystalline liquid full of minute critters all over the good equipment—the war has been praised as a ‘bloodless revolution’. The horny, glittering, cancerous skin that envelops a soldier during the immunisation process also helps to protect him from the assaults meted out by the vicious sergeants in between shifts—testing their psychic toughness almost to the limit. But only one of the soldier breed is able to survive in this harsh & cold environment—having been trained in the art of sucking the fear of death into the cavities of his pubic bone.

Now that all men have long since been migrated to the thousands of orbital defence stations to ward off the invaders, women, transgenders & eunuchs can look up safely to the heavens studded with the lights of these protective orbital capsules. The only time you would see an unadjusted alien on the surface of the planet would be for the purpose of a sexual or reproductive alliance. Women grudge this reliance on the male alien, but enjoy the experience—often reverting to illicit ‘smear-sex’ when they don’t want to bear children, or if they have a busy career to attend to. According to prehistoric records, women were once self-reliantly asexual & the transformations had at first heralded in an age of nuptial, pre-lapsarian bliss. Women had become men, sure; but this could never be anything too epidemic since half of all women are immune to the parasitization, possession & transformation brought about by the invading ‘race’. The shock of the metamorphosis—more of an itch than a headache—was as brief as the historical partnership with men. Both species had gradually developed a physiological reliance on one another, until they became like an old married couple … Hating the sight of each other … Getting used to it … Exploding again … Blah! … What’s the use! Added to this the monstrous wars initiated & perpetuated by male aggression … It was a divorce on a monumental scale, where the females took charge of the planet as they would a child produced by the fruits of a marriage turned mouldy & bitter.

In spite of being locked up, the breeders are well guarded & well looked after. They are all tall, strong & good-looking. Even though they are selected for their level of intelligence, they are heavily dumbed-down. Intelligent chatter is permitted between eunuchs & transgenders—but none is given leave to speak to women, or to as much as cough in the presence of a true-blood; & there are no known exceptions. The ‘bulls’ are not permitted the dignity of even a grunt during copulation—which is generally, in any case, a very noisy affair—however one-sided. Why the use of cryogenized sperm for reproducing the aliens is not encouraged has long been a matter of debate. The sperm ‘crisis’, indeed, plays a part in the decision not to do away with the alien race altogether; & women tend to take pity on them, allowing them to live on, even though they are not at home. Like the parent species, crittersperm is potentially very aggressive, but the creatures are too young to know how & when to keep quiet & wail & gnash as though hungry for meat. It is therefore easier to control the men folk than it is to handle the unfettered noise that swims viciously in their unleashed seminal fluid. Any attempt to mute crittersperm with nanobugs has resulted in rapid decay & a rather sloppy death. Scientists are still working on this problem; for, most crucial to the liberated existence of women is their reliance on the generation & control of the bull & soldier breeds. There are, quite simply, no other means at the planet’s disposal to ward off the threat of the endless invasion & never-ending supply of bacteria men.

Bill Drennan's work has been published since the mid-90s. He contributes regularly to Otoliths & has recently appeared in the Outside Writers' Collective, Eye On Mars & Scifaikuest. Author of flightpath resistor(2007) & the ever-impending conspiracy machine. Blogs at Hypoetics.

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