Later in year '398, a sudden reversal was made in all these arrangements. It was decided to consolidate the Girls' Volleyball Association of Greater Mecnita, Gvagma Village, and Cissi's Intimates. Gvagma and Cissi's had already merged, but each had retained its original name. Now the names Gvagma Village and Cissi's Intimates would be retired, and everything would go by the name of the Girls' Volleyball Association of Greater Mecnita, which would have a cultural center--the erstwhile Gvagma Village--and stores for intimate apparel--the erstwhile Cissi's Intimates. Stlembi and Pixidixia would be the Rulers of Gvagma, and I would be their High Maid. They would formulate policy and directives, and I would implement their formulations. They would command, and I would obey. They would rule, and I would serve. They would speak, and I would listen.
Year '398 was also signalized by the multiplication of Gvagma's intimate apparel stores to over 2000. My Rulers were really showing that they deserved their new station. The numbers of people who came to the Gvagma Wheel, the Gvagma Robot Theater, the Art Colony and the Institutes of Lacemaking and Haute Couture soared under the rule of Stlembi and Pixidixia. Obviously they were making it all work better.
As I mentioned, gynecological intervention had enabled many women of Mecnita to bear children parthenogenetically. This explains Mecnita's waning male population. The male sex had outlived its usefulness. Sure, there were a few chauffeurs, porters and landscapers around town. Now and then, a man even rose to distinction, as in the case of Dzemlavang, the former director of the Bank of Ung, and Yarlomenx, the former Minister of Finance. True, Usha had replaced them, and was performing all by herself the duties both had performed together before, but this was no detraction of the fact that they were arguably very capable persons. Usha was just more capable.
During the operation that had been performed on me at Shrongmoil Medical Center, I also became parthenogenetic, and towards the end of year '398, I experienced a spontaneous pregnancy. Zevanardia and I had visited our gynecologist, and the gynecologist had done some chromosome fusions between Zevanardia and me, endowing each of us with a haploid set of the chromosomes of the other. This endowment did not in itself produce a pregnancy, but it predisposed each of us to bear for both. Which is as much as to say that the baby would be ours, not just mine alone.
Human gestation lasts a year on Nya, our planet here in the galaxy called Ti. This is related to the fact that our average life-expectancy is 150 earth-years. I wondered whether it would be advisable for me to be subject to being manipulated robotically during my pregnancy. I felt that Stlembi and Pixidixia's unrelenting governance might be detrimental to a wholesome pregnancy. So I took it up with Ajinblambia. She found it very amusing that I was pregnant, recalling her own role in making me liable to this condition. But she agreed that, perhaps for that year of mine, I should be relieved of the burden that my Rulers had been imposing upon me. This could be accomplished in any of three ways: Ajinblambia could merely instruct my Rulers not to use their ovals during that time. Or she could recall the ovals, keeping them in her own possession. Or she could deactivate the neurosensors. I learned that they could be "shut off" temporarily, or even permanently for that matter. But at least she could and would liberate me for a year. Well, that was a blessing!
I continued with my sewing. Stlembi said that she would let me make the Queen's panties at my ease, but that if I failed to turn over the full 20 pairs daily, she'd see to renewing my subjection to the oval. Under the circumstances, I did keep up, producing all that I was required to do. There was also a slight reduction in the amount of pressure the two beautiful girls exerted on me as regards the administration of Gvagma. They took more in hand themselves, dealing directly with some of the ladies who had been answering to me.
I had the liberty of spending some mornings at home in Bo House. I would relax on my sofa, or perhaps write some letters, or have a plate of Potatoes Mecnita, my favorite breakfast. These were idyllic times, halcyon days. By around the end of the year, Nunu would be born, and then my days would be more hectic.
Oji, who was Udi's and my daughter, was now 8 years old, and she lived in Eldor Palace with her mother. Some years earlier, at about the time that Ajinblambia was taking over at Eldor Palace, in Mecnita, and throughout the Kingdom of Ung and the Nyatic planet, she, Ajinblambia, had opted to evict me from my 10-room apartment next to Udi's 15-room apartment in the palace. She wanted to convert my apartment to office space for herself. It just so happened that, at that time, Anjardrandia, Oji's nanny, was returning to Gautsma, her hometown. She had completed a long tour of duty, working and living in Oji's nursery. This was a felicitous turn of events, according to Ajinblambia's lights. She would simply move me into the nursery, and appoint me nanny, in Anjardrandia's place. Of course, when Ajinblambia had taken world power in her hands, I was moved to Inni Villa, and my nanny days were over. But I had gained much valuable experience that I would be able to use in the near future.
Zevanardia's working day was more trying than ever, because she was performing some of the duties that I had been performing. So ordinarily she was not at Bo House on my free mornings, which was regrettable, but the peace and quiet were welcome.
I would also be excused from the Epgarcs during year '399. These of course were the girls' sumo wrestling contests, which were held every year. It was supposed that being thrown down on a mat could bring about a miscarriage. Being excused was indeed welcome, since I always made such a poor showing, as I vied with girls 7 to 10 years old, usually unsuccessfully.
Ajinblambia suspended my permission to ride a horse without Ivandra as my equestrian babysitter, and this meant being lifted into the drum-like device that served as a security saddle for myself. My permission to ride in the drum-saddle was also suspended eventually, as my pregnancy ripened.
As I thought about the recent course of events, I was a little saddened by the disappearance of Cissi's Intimates and Gvagma Village, so denominated. True, the products and activities had not changed greatly, and it could not be denied that the rule of Stlembi and Pixidixia had been a real stimulus to the concerns. Still, I recalled all my efforts and labor in bringing these things about, and the excitement I had felt as they had taken shape and grown. Even the name Cissi was a variant spelling of my own name, Sissy. Was I being erased?
What had Stlembi and Pixidixia done to deserve to take charge of me and bend me to their will? Did the fact that Ajinblambia had given them those ineluctable remote-control devices constitute a morally defensible entitlement? I wondered about these things quite a lot on the mornings that I had in Bo House during my pregnancy. For the time being, of course, I had been delivered from the power of the beautiful young despots. Nor would I have been able to continue the full schedule of duties during this time anyway. The question was what would happen after Nunu was born. Would I go back to the same inexorable governance? Could I ever revert to the status quo ante, to things as they had been before the implantation of the neurosensors? Was some sort of compromise possible? These were things I should take up, first, with Zevanardia, to get her thinking, and then with Ajinblambia.
Ajinblambia had ordered two implantations of neurosensors in my body. These had been deliberate steps that she must have pondered judiciously. I couldn't suppose she'd taken them inadvertently or frivolously. So it might seem insubordinate or disrespectful of me to ask her to countermand her own orders merely because they didn't suit my fancy. I would have to get around her in a subtle way somehow.
At that time I was still working on the third and final volume of Ajinblambia's biography, Whither Vrikshaya and Ung? This meant that my frequent, if no longer daily, visits to her chambers had not ceased. I could hardly accomplish anything by going on "strike" and refusing, unless she humored me in my demands, to write any more. Striking would get me nowhere. It might even bring punishment. So what leverage did I have over our lady king? I might as well forget the idea that I could make her do my bidding against her own will. My only tack would be to elicit her sympathy. Of course, she had made the implantations to enable Queen Udi to govern me through her two proxies. I'd have to win Queen Udi's sympathy first, and then Ajinblambia's. At least this was the drift of my thinking at that time.
The months whiled slowly away. I kept thinking about how things had changed with Gvagma, Gvagma Village and Cissi's. I got out my copies of the original charters and attendant documents. I read them and reread them. It was clear that, legally, I still enoyed the controlling interest in those entities. The articles of incorporation, title deeds and related instruments had not yet been changed. The retirement of the names Gvagma Village and Cissi's Intimates was just an informally agreed-upon policy. While my neurosensors had remained operative, it did not matter whether the names had been legally abolished or not. I had had no choice but to do as instructed, which was to stop calling them by their old names. It was apparently an oversight that Ajinblambia had deactivated the neurosensors before the paperwork had been revised to reflect the current status. As it stood, the retired names were really still in effect and my authority was still valid.
I paid a visit to Usha, the directress of the Bank of Ung and chairlady of the Mecnita Stock Exchange. The Bank of Ung has an investment banking department. The department head was named Ogoldia. I showed Usha the documents that I had gathered, inquiring whether she could tell me if I could get my three entities listed on the Mecnita Stock Exchange and make an initial public offering of shares of stock. She read the papers and assured me that I was entitled to proceed at my own liberty. I needed no one's authorization. I told her I wanted to do this very quickly and without any advance notices being noised about in Obscont, or elsewhere. She said she would delegate the matter to Ogoldia, who could float the new issues within 5 or 6 days, with all preparations being kept confidential.
When the offerings were finally announced, shares of stock sold like hotcakes. We raised several hundred talents in two or three days. Obscont's financial pages were full of news on the latest developments. We were listed on the Mecnita Stock Exhange, and opening and closing stock prices were published in Obscont's financial section, in the tables on the stock market pages. Our ticker symbols were GV for Gvagma, GVV for Gvagma Village, and CI for Cissi's intimates. I was elated and rejoiceful.
However, a few days after the initial public offerings, Stlembi and Pixidixia showed up at Bo House when I was there alone. I could see at once that they had their ovals in their hands. But I merely smiled indifferently, as I knew that Ajimblambia had deactivated the neurosensors inside my body. So you can imagine my chagrin when they commanded me to come with them and I felt myself being drawn irresistibly along behind them. What had happened? How was this possible? Had Ajinblambia reactivated the neurosensors? Stlembi and Pixidixia led me the mile and a half from Bo House to the metro station in 7 Ramdonia Circle. We boarded a golden dragon of a bullet train that bore us off to Eldor Palace in a flash, and before I knew it, I had been marched into Ajinblambia's office. "Oh, oh," I said to myself, "I'm in for it now."
"What are these offerings all about? I thought it was agreed that Cissi's Intimates and Gvagma Village would be suppressed. Now suddenly I find that you have them listed on the Mecnita Stock Exchange and are offering shares for sale. What does all this signify?"
"I thought that the time was ripe for an offering. The documents relating to the three concerns had not been changed. I still enjoyed the controlling interest in all three. The neurosensors were off. I was acting strictly in accordance with what was legally permissible at that time. Anyway, the offerings were a smashing success. That in itself should justify them."
"A smashing success? How much money did you raise?"
"About 1000 talents."
"That is a good deal of money, no doubt. But you have to be punished for contumacy in reviving entities that I had ordered closed. I am the King of Ung, after all." I smiled in spite of myself when Ajinblambia said this, seeing what a gorgeous lady she was. My smile seemed to annoy her just a little.
She approached me with a very stern expression on her face. Extending her arms towards me, she picked me up like a feather, with her hands about my waist. She twirled me 180 degrees, so that I had my back towards her, and then she sat down, laying me across her thighs. Raising my skirt, she spanked me in front of Stlembi and Pixidixia. It was extremely embarrassing to have these young girls tittering and simpering as I was paddled. But I could tell at once that this was a game, for Ajinblambia spanked very, very gently, and finally took to patting me posteriorly, with a playful pinch or two on my buttocks. She had Stlembi and Pixidixia spank me too, but their blows were like the flapping of doves' wings they were so light. They giggled merrily as their palms slapped my derriere.
"You have been very naughty, Sissy. But now that you have paid the penalty, I forgive you. And congratulations on your initial public offerings. That was genius."
And so it was that Gvagma Village and Cissi's Intimates were resurrected in the city of Mecnita.
Thanks to the initial public offering, Gvagma Village now enjoyed a market capitalization of over 500 talents (about $500 million), and with such sums available, I wanted to erect a new structure. I talked to Idificia, one of Mecnita's most prestigious structural engineers, and Rachetina, the same lady who had designed the robots for the Gvagma Robot Theater. They would advise me in the matter, and if it were deemed feasible, they would create the design and supervise the erection.
As I mentioned, atop the eight 1000-story towers of Ramdonia Circle, at a height of 12,000 feet above the ground, there was a guideway describing a circle two-miles in diameter. Trains of buggies traveled along the guideway around the towers. The guideway was built of polymer-impregnated concrete, and maraging steel with a yield strength of 300 kips per square inch. There were also suspension towers on either edge of each building, as the guideway's inter-building span was over 4000 feet. Access to the guideway was provided by high-speed elevators in each building.
What I wanted to do was build on the western corner of Gvagma Village a huge helix or spiral, like the spiral of a spiral notebook, which would consist of a pair of monorails for suspended trains of cars that would circle round and round as they ascended and descended the 12,000 feet to the level of the guideway.
Rachetina suggested that, if we used a slope of around 10.5 degrees from the horizontal, which has a a cosecant of around 6.1 and a cotangent of around 6, the developed length of our paired monorails would be about 73,000 feet or 13.8 miles while the projected horizontal length would be about 72,000 feet, so that a train moving at 27.6 miles per hour would require half an hour to rise to the top or return to the bottom. This seemed like a perfect length of time for a sight-seeing excursion and pleasure ride. The whole tour, up the spiral, around the guideway, and back down the spiral, would take two hours. If we opted for 24 loops in the spiral, the spiral would have a circumference of 3,000 feet, which corresponded to a diameter of 955 feet.
The major difficulty lay in the fact that the distance from the northwestern edge of Gvagma Village to the guideway was 3640 feet, which would be almost impossible to span, as the geometry of the spiral and the guideway made suspension towers impossible. A bridge of that length directed towards the southeast, but abutting at a suspension tower mounted on the guideway rather than the main structure of 7 Ramdonia Circle, would exert such tremendous torsion on the guideway that it would twist and fail immediately, Idificia suggested that we apply to Ajinblambia to allow us to build the spiral off the grounds of Gvagma Village, a little to the northwest, and so reduce the span.
As for the spiral itself, Idificia said that a central core 500 feet in diameter would provide adequate stability, given a sufficient number of high-strength columns making up the core. Another possibility was to guy the spiral with large cables from 7 Ramdonia Circle on the northwest and from the ground on the east and the south. Cantilevered super-brackets from the core would support the paired monorails.
If twelve-car trains, each carrying 480 passengers, ascended the spiral at 30-minute intervals for 12 hours a day, and we allocated to the spiral 15 or 16 dirhams out of the fare of 25 dirhams ($25) for the whole tour, thus grossing about 180 florins a day, or about 75 talents a year in our 418-day year, it would take ten years, plus or minus a couple of years, to recover the cost of construction, if my guess of 500 to 1000 talents was correct. But didn't we allow similar periods for the amortization of the Gvagma Wheel and the Gvagma Robot Theater?
I didn't dare undertake such a project on my own initiative. It was too vast, too expensive, too fraught with difficulties that might prove insurmountable. I would absolutely seek Ajinblambia's prior approval for something like this. Moreover, I wanted her to let me build the spiral closer to the guideway than would have been possible if it were to rise inside Gvagma Village proper. This meant a grant of 40 additional acres of prime land in Ramdonia. To simplify my presentation to our gorgeous lady king, I made an appointment to come with Idificia and Rachetina to her office, saying that I had a project of some moment, without really hinting at the magnitude of the thing. If Ajinblambia should disallow the Gvagma Spiral, it would be a closed book, probably forever. So I was really intent on selling the idea to her.
Happily, Ajinblambia absolutely loved the idea of the Gvagma Spiral, especially after she heard the exposition made by the two lady engineers. She enthusiastically instructed me to go ahead, assuring me that the project would be failsafe. She would insure the completion of the spiral herself. I squealed with delight, and I could tell that Idificia and Rachetina were also overjoyed. Wait until the Geese heard about this! That would give them something to honk about! The next time I saw Stlembi and Pixidixia, I smiled triumphantly, but the two young darlings were not of a disposition to entertain grudges, rivalries and jealousies, and didn't even understand that I was gloating. So I felt a little guilty, and hugged them both affectionately.
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