Unpublished Writings of Andre Sordonne

Dated Nov. 29, 2013

I went to your house today.

It was dark and full of dust. The whirr of air conditioning, the hum of the robot servants, the thin high-pitched whine of the security system-- they were all silent. There was no sound at all. Your artificial birds no longer sang in the trees of your poison garden, and of course no real bird would be caught dead there. Or rather, they would be caught dead, which is why there weren't any left to sing.

Up until I saw that saw your robot servants standing frozen, in the postures they must have had when the power went out, when Sosai left; saw the screen you used to talk to Sosai exploded, glass strewn all over the ludicrously expensive carpet-- I didn't really, truly believe you were dead. I mean, it could all be a propaganda ploy on Nambu's part. Or he could be just plain wrong. He's been wrong before.

But your house was dead. And that was what really brought it home to me that you were dead, too.

I remember how you held me, those last three nights, a month before you died. And I remember what you told me-- that this was the last gamble, the final roll of the dice, and you were staking it all. Win or die. You told me that you would either come out on the other side of the Black Hole Operation as emperor of the world, or you wouldn't come out at all.

When I asked why, what made this mission different from any other, you laughed, in that bitter way you had of laughing at things that hurt you. And you asked how I could be so stupid, to forget. And I did feel like an incredible fool when I remembered that you'd been unmasked, and Nambu had plastered your life story and photographs of you all over the airwaves. Everybody in the world-- and more to the point, everyone in Galactor-- knew who and what you were. Already you'd had to fight a death duel to keep the respect of the men at Cross Karakoram, you told me-- forced into a hand-to-hand unarmed combat with a man twice your weight. You won only because you were more desperate, and he got cocky, figuring a half-man couldn't possibly beat a manly man like him without a weapon for an equalizer. You told me you weren't entirely sure how you did beat him, and that if it came to another fight like that, you thought you would lose. It was only a matter of time before someone came up with the brilliant idea of ganging up on you. If the Black Hole Operation didn't succeed, you said, Sosai himself would probably eliminate you as a liability-- poison in your coffee, an assassin in the night. Or maybe he'd just put you to sleep.

Me, I couldn't understand how you could work for someone who could talk about casually putting you to sleep, like you'd put down a dog. But you said that you found that acceptable. If you couldn't rule the world, you said, you'd rather be dead.

Not to be impolite, you know, Beka, but that is really screwed thinking. There's always something else to live for. If you don't believe that, if you pin everything you have on one thing, and then that one thing doesn't go through, then your whole life collapses. You do something irrational--

--like take a one-way dive into a lava pit...

I'm calm now. Really, I'm calm. I'm not crying. Me, cry? Over you?

Don't flatter yourself.

I remember how you made love to me, those nights-- no games, no power plays anymore. All of the usual fireworks were there, but there was something else, too-- true emotion under the physical passion. And I remember, years ago, when I'd gotten you thoroughly drunk, and you told me that your deepest, darkest fantasy was to be with someone that loved you. Which made a certain amount of sense, as that was the only thing you couldn't have. You could fulfill any perverse dream, do anything your imagination could conceive of, except be loved. And I remember-- I was drunk too, and I told you I did love you. You weren't drunk enough to believe me, though, and when I was sober I didn't believe me, either. I mean, who could love you? You were basically a psychopath with no redeeming features. Who could love you?

Good question.

All the times in the past that I helped you, you never acknowledged it. When you would wake up in the other room shrieking from a nightmare, your eyes rolled back in your head, and I would run in and stroke your hair and tell you it was all right until the trembling stopped. When you called me up in desperation because you'd accidentally overdosed on some drug, and there was no one else you could trust to hold you down through the convulsions and listen to the things you'd scream. The suicide attempts I talked you out of. You'd never admit anything had ever been wrong, after the crisis was over. You admitted to physical pain sometimes-- backaches, headaches, stomachaches, name an organ of yours and it would ache-- and to the fact that I could help you deal with that, sometimes. Your pet tension reliever. Massages, footrubs and sex for therapy. But you didn't talk about the underlying causes, the fact that you felt you were bashing your head against a brick wall. You never ever admitted that you thought you might fail.

I think, though, that you might have, those last three nights, if I'd asked. You talked big talk, of course, as usual. This time for sure. Kanarazu kondo koso. All that. You were far too much of a megalomaniac-- I'm sure you thought you could win. But the way you held me those nights, the way you trembled when you talked of your gamble, I think you realized you could fail.

Then you asked me to be your consort, when you'd conquered the world. That floored me. I mean, did you realize what you were saying? That you were asking me, essentially, to marry you? To share in your legend? I had to say no, of course. Both for the reason I gave you-- that I couldn't be your possession, I couldn't buy into all this crap that would go with being your queen, and let's face it, I would be your queen, the weaker female role regardless of what sex either of us were-- and for another reason, that I couldn't tell you. If you won, we would be enemies. I mean, I really despised your politics. You stood for repression and conformity and dehumanization and everything that makes me most sick. As long as it was only Galactor you inflicted your worldview on, I could ignore it. Galactors were mostly in it by choice. But if you did take over the world-- I'd have to fight you. I'd have to.

And when I realized that, it scared me. You were telling me you'd win or die, and I didn't want either. Everything changes in my life, but you were always there-- always fabulously wealthy, charming, sexy, psychotic, losing practically every battle of a useless war. Now that was going to change, you said, and I didn't want it to. I asked you to quit, if you failed-- to run away with me. But you said Sosai would find you no matter where you ran.

You didn't say something like "I have no intention of failing." That was how I knew how scared you really were.

I didn't hear from you again, aside from that message on my answering machine telling me to go somewhere where there were no fault lines. I went to the American Midwest, and it was dull. I mean, dull dull dull. I was still female, and I was getting all the right sort of attention from the wrong sort of people. Total losers. Really enough to make you puke.

So I was in this bar, during the earthquakes, and we were watching the news. ISO hadn't released a press statement yet, and everyone was getting panicky. I knew it had to be you. I was in a relatively safe place-- we were seismically dead, in the middle of grasslands, no major bodies of water, no anything-- but we could still feel the tremors. They were miles away, but we could feel them. Which meant they had to be damned powerful. And I remember staring at the TV nervously, at scenes of destruction, clutching my drink and muttering, "Beka, you have really done it this time." There were panicky scientists, unaffiliated with ISO and therefore not gagged by Nambu, who were talking about this being the end of the world. And I wondered if you really knew what you were doing.

Dumb question, huh? Of course you didn't know what you were doing. You never knew what you were doing.

Then the tremors stopped. There was a preliminary report from ISO that the menace had ended. Everyone in the bar cheered, and I-- I did too. Because I didn't know what it meant, you see? I thought, okay, the Science Ninja Team had come in and kicked your butt and you'd limped off into hiding somewhere, as usual. And I could track you down and get you to leave Galactor before everything exploded in your face. And it would be fine, fine, just fine.

Then Nambu did his press conference, and he said you'd killed yourself. "Galactor has been destroyed. Sosai X has fled Earth, and Berg Katse has committed suicide."

I didn't hear anything else he said after that.

They were all cheering again, in the bar. I felt nauseous, like all of a sudden I'd drunk too much, when two minutes ago I was sober as stone. The world was swirling in and out of focus. You were dead? I'd been cheering and you were dead?

Some asshole came up to me and wanted to celebrate Galactor's destruction. I told him I was grieving, that I'd just learned Galactor had killed my lover. Which was true; in fact, the leader of Galactor had personally killed my lover, though I didn't tell the guy that. He offered to comfort me. I suggested an interesting place he could stick his comfort, and stalked out of there.

I came back home, intending to Change. Wipe you out of my mind. I felt like I could still feel your body moving against mine, the taste of your lips, your skin, the feel of your long fine hair running through my fingers. I wanted to wipe you away. Asshole. You'd killed yourself. Fine; I'd Change to male and go out dancing. I'd screw someone over your grave.

Only I couldn't.

There'd been one time in my life, before, when I couldn't initiate Change. I got a medical exam done, and it came to me then what you'd meant when you said you were sterile. I'd always thought you meant sterilized, something I did not put past Sosai X in the slightest. And when you mentioned me being sterile once or twice, I didn't contradict you-- though I'd given birth to a baby when I was 15, and who knows how many bastards I've strewn around since. I didn't want to throw it up in your face that I could have kids and you couldn't. Because I thought you'd have wanted to. With your ego and your need for immortality, I thought it would kill you to know I could have kids and you couldn't.

I didn't realize that you thought our kind was sterile, that X had told you so. I could have warned you it wasn't true, if I'd known. And I'd have used birth control with you.

It's so strange-- after all the times and ways we've fucked, that you should make me pregnant now. A month before your death. I mean, I guess we really lucked out that I never made you pregnant, didn't we? I know from the first baby that we can't get abortions. Our babies are tough little monsters; killing them would kill us, eventually. I can just imagine what you'd have done if you'd learned you were stuck with a pregnancy.

And maybe it's a good thing you never knew you could have a child. (It is yours. I've had a genetic test run on it, by a doctor who won't ask questions. It's the child of two mutants, no doubt about it, and it will be dual-sexed, like us.) You'd be a more responsible parent than me, I think-- hell, I gave up the first one, god knows where it is now-- but you'd demand too much control. What sort of kid would grow up in your shadow? Maybe it's better that we'll never find out.

So I came here when I learned about the baby, hoping that Nambu had lied, or been wrong. I couldn't really make myself believe you were dead, when I could still feel a memory of your body inside me, when I was carrying a remnant of you within me.

But your house was dead. So I came outside, into your poison garden, taunting the defenses. They didn't stir. And I lay myself on the ground, pressing cheek and palms to the dirt, and imagined that your bones and blood were flowing deep beneath me, merged with the magma. You had become part of the earth, more quickly and thoroughly than most of the dead manage-- part of the molten innards of the earth, your flesh part of the liquid rock.

I will never touch you again.

Damn you, Beka, why? Why did you have to kill yourself? So Sosai left you-- big deal! You could have started over, made a new life. So you thought the world would be destroyed. Couldn't you have waited five minutes to see? Five more minutes, and you'd have known the world wouldn't die. You wouldn't have had to kill yourself.

You could have gone somewhere, with me.

But you couldn't, could you? Even if you had lived, the Science Ninja Team would never have let you go. Even if you'd gotten away from them, they'd have hounded you until the end of time. There wasn't any way out for you, was there?

Oh, God. If you knew I was here, grieving for you, weeping at your death, you would laugh so hard, Beka. You'd call me a sentimental fool. You'd ask why I wept for someone I never loved. Because we never loved each other, you'd point out. Mockingly.

But what was it that kept me coming back to someone who stood for everything I despised? It wasn't just sex. You were great, you know, but there are other great lovers in the world. It wasn't even entirely that you and I are of the same kind. There's a third, in San Francisco. I never told you about Dark, because he's so incredibly honest and so naive, and I didn't want to see you suck him into your maelstrom. I could screw him, if that was all it was. Didn't you ever wonder why I, free spirit to end all free spirits, iconoclast, rule-breaker, hedonist, anarchist, kept tying myself to a fascist like you?

What else could it have been, but love?

And why did you, the ultimate fascist, tolerate me? The ridiculous and humiliating things I did to you, the ways I went out of my way to annoy you, and you never did anything. Oh, you must have threatened to kill me a hundred times-- but with most people, you never threaten, you just do it. You never tried to kill me. You never even did anything bad enough to make me go away and not come back. And you did awful things easily, I mean you had to work at it not to do them. But you never did anything really bad to me.

Maybe, in your own way, as much as you could anyone-- maybe you did love me.

But you couldn't admit it, when you were alive, because you were trapped into this "I am the great Berg Katse and I feel nothing for anyone" shtick. And I couldn't admit it, because it would have given you way too much ammunition. I mean, isn't this sad? I can't figure out I loved you until after you're dead?

I try to tell myself to be rational about all this. You were a monster and the world's better off without you. I'd have hated the world you would have created, if you'd won. With you dead, millions of innocent people will probably live, that you'd have killed. And what the hell is there to love about a psychopath like you anyway?

I tell myself these things. But I ought to know better. My heart has never been rational.

And I just can't seem to make myself stop crying.


(Translator's note: In the original French, Andre's term for Katse is rendered "B.K." The French pronunciation of that letter combination is "beh-kah". I felt it was more important to convey the pronunciation than the fact that it is Katse's initials.

("Kanarazu kondo koso": Japanese, "this time for sure".)

Aftermath-- Andre Sordonne

Published in January the following year, under the name Andree Marchand


I went to your house today

(It) Was dark and silent

Never seen it that way

In all the years that I've known you

Then I called your name

But you didn't answer

And I knew that you'd never answer again


Chorus: Well, I guess I knew

All along that the story was true

But I never thought that you could die

And now I'm wondering-- did I love you?


Death is something that happens

To other people

You were the Chosen One

I never thought you could die

Then I heard about

Your suicide

There's no words to say how much I was surprised




Well, if you were here

You'd call me a fool

Say I'm too sentimental for my own good

And I'd find a way to make fun of you

But if you were here

I couldn't admit this to you


It's probably better this way

Your life was nothing but frustration and pain

And I never wanted to see your dreams come true

It's probably better this way

You caused so much destruction and chaos

Better for the world to be rid of you

And yet I cannot help but grieve for you


I guess I knew

All along that the story was true

But I never thought that you could die

And now I'm wondering-- did I love you?

Yes, I guess I knew

All along that the story was true

But I never ever dreamed that you could die

And now I'm starting to think

That I loved you


(Editor's Note: Danielle Sordonne was born Jul. 30, 2014, ten months after probable conception and nine months after the death of her father. She was legally sexed female and adopted into the care of her grandmother, Marie Sordonne.)