选登 科幻小说 北京折叠(五)

英文联播 2018-04-28 07:50:40

选登 | 科幻小说 | 北京折叠(一)

选登 | 科幻小说 | 北京折叠(二)

选登 | 科幻小说 | 北京折叠(三)

选登 | 科幻小说 | 北京折叠(四)


Chapter Four


Lao Dao left Xidan and returned the way he had come. He felt exhausted. The pedestrian lane was lined with a row of weeping willows on one side and a row of Chinese parasol trees on the other side. It was late spring, and everything was a lush green. The afternoon sun warmed his stiff face, and brightened his empty heart.

老刀从西单出来,依原路返回。重新走早上的路,他觉得倦意丛生,一步也跑不动了。宽阔的步行街两侧是一排垂柳和一排梧桐,正是晚春,都是鲜亮的绿色。他让暖意丛生的午后阳光照亮僵硬的面孔,也照亮空乏的心底。


He was back at the park from this morning. There were many people in the park now, and the two rows of gingkoes looked stately and luscious. Black cars entered the park from time to time, and most of the people in the park wore either well–fitted western suits made of quality fabric or dark–colored stylish Chinese suits, but everyone gave off a haughty air. 

他回到早上离开的园子,赫然发现园子里来往的人很多。园子外面两排银杏树庄严茂盛。园门口有黑色小汽车驶入。园里的人多半穿着材质顺滑、剪裁合体的西装,也有穿黑色中式正装的,看上去都有一番眼高于顶的气质。


There were also some foreigners. Some of the people conversed in small groups; others greeted each other at a distance, and then laughed as they got close enough to shake hands and walk together.

也有外国人。他们有的正在和身边人讨论什么,有的远远地相互打招呼,笑着携手向前走。


Lao Dao hesitated, trying to decide where to go. There weren’t that many people in the street, and he would draw attention if he just stood here. But he would look out of place in any public area. He wanted to go back into the park, get close to the fissure, and hide in some corner to take a nap. He felt very sleepy, but he dared not sleep on the street.

老刀犹豫了一下要到哪里去,街上人很少,他一个人站着极为显眼,去公共场所又容易被注意,他很想回到园子里,早一点找到转换地,到一个没人的角落睡上一觉。他太困了,又不敢在街上睡。


He noticed that the cars entering the park didn’t seem to need to stop, and so he tried to walk into the park as well. Only when he was close to the park gate did he notice that two robots were patrolling the area. While cars and other pedestrians passed their sentry line with no problems, the robots beeped as soon as Lao Dao approached and turned on their wheels to head for him. In the tranquil afternoon, the noise they made seemed especially loud. The eyes of everyone nearby turned to him. 

他见出入园子的车辆并无停滞,就也尝试着向里走。直到走到园门边上,他才发现有两个小机器人左右逡巡。其他人和车走过都毫无问题,到了老刀这里,小机器人忽然发出嘀嘀的叫声,转着轮子向他驶来。声音在宁静的午后显得刺耳。园里人的目光汇集到他身上。


He panicked, uncertain if it was his shabby clothes that alerted the robots. He tried to whisper to the robots, claiming that his suit was left inside the park, but the robots ignored him while they continued to beep and to flash the red lights over their heads. 

他慌了,不知道是不是自己的衬衫太寒酸。他尝试着低声对小机器人说话,说他的西装落在里面了,可是小机器人只是嘀嘀嗒嗒地叫着,头顶红灯闪烁,什么都不听。


People strolling inside the park stopped and looked at him as though looking at a thief or eccentric person. Soon, three men emerged from a nearby building and ran over. Lao Dao’s heart was in his throat. He wanted to run, but it was too late.

园里的人们停下脚步看着他,像是看到小偷或奇怪的人。很快,从最近的建筑中走出三个男人,步履匆匆地向他们跑过来。老刀紧张极了,他想退出去,已经太晚了。


“What’s going on?” the man in the lead asked loudly.

“出什么事了?”领头的人高声询问着。


Lao Dao couldn’t think of anything to say, and he rubbed his pants compulsively.

老刀想不出解释的话,手下意识地搓着裤子。


The man in the front was in his thirties. He came up to Lao Dao and scanned him with a silver disk about the size of a button, moving his hand around Lao Dao’s person. He looked at Lao Dao suspiciously, as though trying to pry open his shell with a can opener.

一个三十几岁的男人走在最前面,一到跟前就用一个纽扣一样的小银盘上上下下地晃,手的轨迹围绕着老刀。他用怀疑的眼神打量他,像用罐头刀试图撬开他的外壳。


“There’s no record of this man.” The man gestured at the older man behind him. “Bring him in.”

“没记录。”男人将手中的小银盘向身后更年长的男人示意,“带回去吧?”


Lao Dao started to run away from the park.

老刀突然向后跑,向园外跑。


The two robots silently dashed ahead of him and grabbed onto his legs. Their arms were cuffs and locked easily about his ankles. He tripped and almost fell, but the robots held him up. His arms swung through the air helplessly.

可没等他跑出去,两个小机器人悄无声息挡在他面前,扣住他的小腿。它们的手臂是箍,轻轻一扣就合上。他一下子踉跄了,差点摔倒又摔不倒,手臂在空中无力的乱划。


“Why are you trying to run?” The younger man stepped up and glared at him. His tone was now severe.

“跑什么?”年轻男人更严厉地走到他面前,瞪着他的眼睛。


“I…” Lao Dao’s head felt like a droning beehive. He couldn’t think.

“我……”老刀头脑嗡嗡响。


The two robots lifted Lao Dao by the legs and deposited his feet onto platforms next to their wheels. Then they drove toward the nearest building in parallel, carrying Lao Dao. Their movements were so steady, so smooth, so synchronized, that from a distance, it appeared as if Lao Dao was skating along on a pair of rollerblades, like Nezha riding on his Wind Fire Wheels. Lao Dao felt utterly helpless. 

两个小机器人将他的两条小腿扣紧,抬起,放在它们轮子边上的平台上,然后异常同步地向最近的房子驶去,平稳迅速,保持并肩,从远处看上去,或许会以为老刀脚踩风火轮。老刀毫无办法,除了心里暗喊一声糟糕,简直没有别的话说。


He was angry with himself for being so careless. How could he think such a crowded place would be without security measures? He berated himself for being so drowsy that he could commit such a stupid mistake. It’s all over now, he thought. Not only am I not going to get my money, I’m also going to jail.

他懊恼自己如此大意,人这么多的地方,怎么可能没有安全保障。他责怪自己是困倦得昏了头,竟然在这样大的安全关节上犯如此低级的错误。这下一切完蛋了,他想,钱都没了,还要坐牢。


The robots followed a narrow path and reached the backdoor of the building, where they stopped. The three men followed behind. The younger man seemed to be arguing with the older man over what to do with Lao Dao, but they spoke so softly that Lao Dao couldn’t hear the details. 

小机器人从小路绕向建筑后门,在后门的门廊里停下来。三个男人跟了上来。年轻男人和年长男人似乎就老刀的处理问题起了争执,但他们的声音很低,老刀听不见。


After a while, the older man came up and unlocked the robots from Lao Dao’s legs. Then he grabbed him by the arm and took him upstairs.

片刻之后,年长男人走到他身边,将小机器人解锁,然后拉着他的大臂走上二楼。


Lao Dao sighed. He resigned himself to his fate.

老刀叹了一口气,横下一条心,觉得事到如今,只好认命。


The man brought him into a room. It looked like a hotel room, very spacious, bigger even than the living room in Qin Tian’s apartment, and about twice the size of his own rental unit. 

年长者带他进入一个房间。他发现这是一个旅馆房间,非常大,比秦天的公寓客厅还大,似乎有自己租的房子两倍大。


The room was decorated in a dark shade of golden brown, with a king–sized bed in the middle. The wall at the head of the bed showed abstract patterns of shifting colors. Translucent, white curtains covered the French window, and in front of the window sat a small circular table and two comfortable chairs. Lao Dao was anxious, unsure of who the older man was and what he wanted.

房间的色调是暗沉的金褐色,一张极宽大的双人床摆在中央。床头背后的墙面上是颜色过渡的抽象图案,落地窗,白色半透明纱帘,窗前是一个小圆桌和两张沙发。他心里惴惴。不知道年长者的身份和态度。


“Sit, sit!” The older man clapped him on the shoulder and smiled. “Everything’s fine.”

“坐吧,坐吧。”年长者拍拍他肩膀,笑笑,“没事了。”


Lao Dao looked at him suspiciously.

老刀狐疑地看着他。


“You’re from Third Space, aren’t you?” The older man pulled him over to the chairs, and gestured for him to sit.

“你是第三空间来的吧?”年长者把他拉到沙发边上,伸手示意。


“How do you know that?” Lao Dao couldn’t lie.

“您怎么知道?”老刀无法撒谎。


“From your pants.” The older man pointed at the waist of his pants. “You never even cut off the label. This brand is only sold in Third Space; I remember my mother buying them for my father when I was little.”

“从你裤子上。”年长者用手指指他的裤腰,“你那商标还没剪呢。这牌子只有第三空间有卖的。我小时候我妈就喜欢给我爸买这牌子。”


“Sir, you’re…?”

“您是……”


“You don’t need to ‘Sir’ me. I don’t think I’m much older than you are. How old are you? I’m fifty–two.” “Forty–eight.” “See, just older by four years.” He paused, and then added, “My name is Ge Daping. Why don’t you just call me Lao Ge?”

“别您您的,叫你吧。我估摸着我也比你大不了几岁。你今年多大?我五十二。……你看看,就比你大四岁。”他顿了一下,又说,“我叫葛大平,你叫我老葛吧。”


Lao Dao relaxed a little. Lao Ge took off his jacket and moved his arms about to stretch out the stiff muscles. Then he filled a glass with hot water from a spigot in the wall and handed it to Lao Dao. 

老刀放松了些。老葛把西装脱了,活动了一下膀子,从墙壁里接了一杯热水,递给老刀。


He had a long face, and the corners of his eyes, the ends of his eyebrows, and his cheeks drooped. Even his glasses seemed about to fall off the end of his nose. His hair was naturally a bit curly and piled loosely on top of his head. As he spoke, his eyebrows bounced up and down comically. He made some tea for himself and asked Lao Dao if he wanted any. Lao Dao shook his head.

他长长的脸,眼角眉梢和两颊都有些下坠,戴一副眼镜,也向下耷拉着,头发有点自来卷,蓬松地堆在头顶,说起话来眉毛一跳一跳,很有喜剧效果。他自己泡了点茶,问老刀要不要,老刀摇摇头。


“I was originally from Third Space as well,” said Lao Ge. “We’re practically from the same hometown! So, you don’t need to be so careful with me. I still have a bit of authority, and I won’t give you up.”

“我原来也是第三空间的。咱也算半个老乡吧。”老葛说,“所以不用太拘束。我还是能管点事儿,不会把你送出去的。”


Lao Dao let out a long sigh, congratulating himself silently for his good luck. He recounted for Lao Ge his experiencing of going to Second Space and then coming to First Space, but omitted the details of what Yi Yan had said. He simply told Lao Ge that he had successfully delivered the message and was just waiting for the Change to head home.

老刀长长地出了口气,心里感叹万幸。他于是把自己到第二、第一空间的始末讲了一遍,略去依言感情的细节,只说送到了信,就等着回去。


Lao Ge also shared his own story with Lao Dao. He had grown up in Third Space, and his parents had worked as deliverymen. When he was fifteen, he entered a military school, and then joined the army. He worked as a radar technician in the army, and because he worked hard, demonstrated good technical skills, and had some good opportunities, he was eventually promoted to an administrative position in the radar department with the rank of brigadier general. Since he didn’t come from a prominent family, that rank was about as high as he could go in the army. He then retired from the army and joined an agency in First Space responsible for logistical support for government enterprises, organizing meetings, arranging travel, and coordinating various social events. The job was blue collar in nature, but since his work involved government officials and he had to coordinate and manage, he was allowed to live in First Space. 

老葛于是也不见外,把他自己的情况讲了。他从小也在第三空间长大,父母都给人送货。十五岁的时候考上了军校,后来一直当兵,文化兵,研究雷达,能吃苦,技术又做得不错,赶上机遇又好,居然升到了雷达部门主管,大校军衔。家里没背景不可能再升,就申请转业,到了第一空间一个支持性部门,专给政府企业做后勤保障,组织会议出行,安排各种场面。虽然是蓝领的活儿,但因为涉及的都是政要,又要协调管理,就一直住在第一空间。


There were a considerable number of people in First Space like him—chefs, doctors, secretaries, housekeepers—skilled blue–collar workers needed to support the lifestyle of First Space. His agency had run many important social events and functions, and Lao Ge was its director.

这种人也不少,厨师、大夫、秘书、管家,都算是高级蓝领了。他们这个机构安排过很多重大场合,老葛现在是主任。


Lao Ge might have been self–deprecating in describing himself as a “blue collar,” but Lao Dao understood that anyone who could work and live in First Space had extraordinary skills. Even a chef here was likely a master of his art. Lao Ge must be very talented to have risen here from Third Space after a technical career in the army.

老刀知道,老葛说的谦虚,说是蓝领,其实能在第一空间做事的都是牛人,即使厨师也不简单,更何况他从第三空间上来,能管雷达。


“You might as well take a nap,” Lao Ge said. “I’ll take you to get something to eat this evening.”

“你在这儿睡一会儿。待会儿晚上我带你吃饭去。”老葛说。


Lao Dao still couldn’t believe his good luck, and he felt a bit uneasy. However, he couldn’t resist the call of the white sheets and stuffed pillows, and he fell asleep almost right away.

老刀受宠若惊,不大相信自己的好运。他心里还有担心,但是白色的床单和错落堆积的枕头显出召唤气息,他的腿立刻发软了,倒头昏昏沉沉睡了几个小时。


When he woke up, it was dark outside. Lao Ge was combing his hair in front of the mirror. He showed Lao Dao a suit lying on the sofa and told him to change. Then he pinned a tiny badge with a faint red glow to Lao Dao’s lapel—a new identity.

醒来的时候天色暗了,老葛正对着镜子捋头发。他向老刀指了指沙发上的一套西装制服,让他换上,又给他胸口别上一个微微闪着红光的小徽章,身份认证。


The large open lobby downstairs was crowded. Some kind of presentation seemed to have just finished, and attendees conversed in small groups. At one end of the lobby were the open doors leading to the banquet hall; the thick doors were lined with burgundy leather. The lobby was filled with small standing tables. Each table was covered by a white tablecloth tied around the bottom with a golden bow, and the vase in the middle of each table held a lily. Crackers and dried fruits were set out next to the vases for snacking, and a long table to the side offered wine and coffee. Guests mingled and conversed among the tables while small robots holding serving trays shuttled between their legs, collecting empty glasses.

下楼来,老刀发现原来这里有这么多人。似乎刚刚散会,在大厅里聚集三三两两说话。大厅一侧是会场,门还开着,门看上去很厚,包着红褐色皮子;另一侧是一个一个铺着白色桌布的高脚桌,桌布在桌面下用金色缎带打了蝴蝶结,桌中央的小花瓶插着一只百合,花瓶旁边摆着饼干和干果,一旁的长桌上则有红酒和咖啡供应。聊天的人们在高脚桌之间穿梭,小机器人头顶托盘,收拾喝光的酒杯。


Forcing himself to be calm, Lao Dao followed Lao Ge and walked through the convivial scene into the banquet hall. He saw a large hanging banner: The Folding City at Fifty.

老刀尽量镇定地跟着老葛。走到会场内,他忽然看到一面巨大的展示牌,上面写着:折叠城市五十年。


“What is this?” Lao Dao asked.

“这是……什么?”他问老葛。


“A celebration!” Lao Ge was walking about and examining the set up. “Xiao Zhao, come here a minute. I want you to check the table signs one more time. I don’t trust robots for things like this. Sometimes they don’t know how to be flexible.”

“哦,庆典啊。”老葛正在监督场内布置,“小赵,你来一下,你去把桌签再核对一遍。机器人有时候还是不如人靠谱,它们认死理儿。”


Lao Dao saw that the banquet hall was filled with large round tables with fresh flower centerpieces.

老刀看到,会场里现在是晚宴的布置,每张大圆桌上都摆着鲜艳的花朵。


The scene seemed unreal to him. He stood in a corner and gazed up at the giant chandelier as though some dazzling reality was hanging over him, and he was but an insignificant presence at its periphery. There was a lectern set up on the dais at the front, and, behind it, the background was an ever–shifting series of images of Beijing. 

他有一种恍惚的感觉,站在角落里,看着会场中央巨大的吊灯,像是被某种光芒四射的现实笼罩,却只存在在它的边缘。舞台中央是演讲的高台,背后的布景流动播映着北京城的画面。


The photographs were perhaps taken from an airplane and captured the entirety of the city: The soft light of dawn and dusk; the dark purple and deep blue sky; clouds racing across the sky; the moon rising from a corner; the sun setting behind a roof. The aerial shots revealed the magnificence of Beijing’s ancient symmetry; the modern expanse of brick courtyards and large green parks that had extended to the Sixth Ring Road; Chinese style theatres; Japanese style museums; minimalist concert halls. 

大概是航拍,拍到了全城的风景,清晨和日暮的光影,紫红色暗蓝色天空,云层快速流转,月亮从角落上升起,太阳在屋檐上沉落。大气中正的布局,沿中轴线对称的城市设计,延伸到六环的青砖院落和大面积绿地花园。中式风格的剧院,日本式美术馆,极简主义风格的音乐厅建筑群。


And then there were shots of the city as a whole, shots that included both faces of the city during the Change: The earth flipping, revealing the other side studded with skyscrapers with sharp, straight contours; men and women energetically rushing to work; neon signs lighting up the night, blotting out the stars; towering apartment buildings, cinemas, nightclubs full of beautiful people.

然后是城市的全景,真正意义上的全景,包含转换的整个城市双面镜头:大地翻转,另一面城市,边角锐利的写字楼,朝气蓬勃的上班族;夜晚的霓虹,白昼一样的天空,高耸入云的公租房,影院和舞厅的娱乐。


But there were no shots of where Lao Dao worked.

只是没有老刀上班的地方。


He stared at the screen intently, uncertain if they might show pictures during the construction of the folding city. He hoped to get a glimpse of his father’s era. When he was little, his father had often pointed to buildings outside the window and told him stories that started with “Back then, we…” 

他仔细地盯着屏幕,不知道其中会不会展示建城时的历史。他希望能看见父亲的时代。小时候父亲总是用手指着窗外的楼,说“当时我们”。


An old photograph had hung on the wall of their cramped home, and in the picture his father was laying bricks, a task his father had performed thousands, or perhaps hundreds of thousands of times. He had seen that picture so many times that he thought he was sick of it, and yet, at this moment, he hoped to see a scene of workers laying bricks, even if for just a few seconds.

狭小的房间正中央挂着陈旧的照片,照片里的父亲重复着垒砖的动作,一遍一遍无穷无尽。他那时每天都要看见那照片很多遍,几乎已经腻烦了,可是这时他希望影像中出现哪怕一小段垒砖的镜头。


He was lost in his thoughts. This was also the first time he had seen what the Change looked like from a distance. He didn’t remember sitting down, and he didn’t know when others had sat down next to him. A man began to speak at the lectern, but Lao Dao wasn’t even listening for the first few minutes.

他沉浸在自己的恍惚中。这也是他第一次看到转换的全景。他几乎没注意到自己是怎么坐下的,也没注意到周围人的落座,台上人讲话的前几分钟,他并没有注意听。


“… advantageous for the development of the service sector. The service economy is dependent on population size and density. Currently, the service industry of our city is responsible for more than 85 percent of our GDP, in line with the general characteristics of world-class metropolises. The other important sectors are the green economy and the recycling economy.” 

“……有利于服务业的发展,服务业依赖于人口规模和密度。我们现在的城市服务业已经占到GDP85%以上,符合世界第一流都市的普遍特征。另外最重要的就是绿色经济和循环经济。”


Lao Dao was paying full attention now. “Green economy” and “recycling economy” were often mentioned at the waste processing station, and the phrases were painted on the walls in characters taller than a man. He looked closer at the speaker on the dais: An old man with silvery hair, though he appeared hale and energetic. “… all trash is now sorted and processed, and we’ve achieved our goals for energy conservation and pollution reduction ahead of schedule. We’ve developed a systematic, large–scale recycling economy in which all the rare-earth and precious metals extracted from e–waste are reused in manufacturing, and even the plastics recycling rate exceeds eighty percent. The recycling stations are directly connected to the reprocessing plants…”

这句话抓住了老刀的注意力,循环经济和绿色经济是他们工作站的口号,写得比人还大贴在墙上。他望向台上的演讲人,是个白发老人,但是精神显得异常饱满,“……通过垃圾的完全分类处理,我们提前实现了本世纪节能减排的目标,减少污染,也发展出成体系成规模的循环经济,每年废旧电子产品中回收的贵金属已经完全投入再生产,塑料的回收率也已达到80%以上。回收直接与再加工工厂相连……”


Lao Dao knew of a distant relative who worked at a reprocessing plant in the technopark far from the city. The technopark was just acres and acres of industrial buildings, and he heard that all the plants over there were very similar: The machines pretty much ran on their own, and there were very few workers. At night, when the workers got together, they felt like the last survivors of some dwindling tribe in a desolate wilderness.

老刀有远亲在再加工工厂工作,在科技园区,远离城市,只有工厂和工厂和工厂。据说那边的工厂都差不多,机器自动作业,工人很少,少量工人晚上聚集着,就像荒野部落。


He drifted off again. Only the wild applause at the end of the speech pulled him out of his chaotic thoughts and back to reality. He also applauded, though he didn’t know what for. He watched the speaker descend the dais and return to his place of honor at the head table. Everyone’s eyes were on him.

他仍然恍惚着。演讲结束之后,热烈的掌声响起,才将他从自己的纷乱念头中拉出来,他也跟着鼓了掌,虽然不知道为什么。他看到演讲人从舞台上走下来,回到主桌上正中间的座位。所有人的目光都跟着他。



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