Woz Reflections...

       There's a lot going on in Woz. I think the Wizard of Oz references are fairly clear, so I'll leave that for others. Instead, I'll make a few Divine Order references.
       Woz, we're told is a former remote outpost of the Divine Order, possibly one of its remote, and was used as a supply station. From the looks of it, it definitely had a military history. The landscape is dotted with concrete bulwarks, for apparent ground fortifications, and there's a well established protective energy barrier.
       Woz looks like it must have been conquered for a while. The Dark Lady's tower looks fairly vulnerable. The Woz's compound on the other hand, seems squat, built to withstand blasts, and sheltered among the rocks. The Woz's compound was probably the Divine Order's original fortress on the planet. As the heretics were driven away from that area of space, and Woz became a supply point for even further military ventures the Order probably built their skyscraper. It's probably closer to a giant warehouse or grain elevator than a skyscraper. Certainly the rooms and halls we see seem to be utilitarian and sparse, rather than furnished as office, living or working quarters.
       Woz was obviously inhabited by remnants from the Divine Order who survived/escaped/avoided the cleansing. It's very clear from the wardrobes. The followers of the Wozard are basically wearing variations of Stanley's overalls and hat. The colour scheme has gone from Stan's red, to black with red caps and no number designations, but its basically the same thing. Either their colours were different because their occupation (labourer) was different, or their post (off Cluster) was different.
       Why are the Woz's followers wearing Divine Order uniforms? Probably because that's all there is. Lots of spare uniforms, functional, durable, one size fits all, and personality free.
       The costumes worn by the Love Slaves seem to be Uniforms as well. But they seem atypical for the Divine Order which generally seemed to go for the sexless and functional. The colour is also atypical. Perhaps we're looking at Love Slave uniforms, the sort Zev avoided (she wore her wedding dress with the skirt torn off). Notice the headpiece they wear. Let me speculate. We know from IWHS, Norb, and Fire and Water that a programmed love slave falls in love with the first person they see. Perhaps those headpieces are actually 'blinders' meant to cover the eyes and ears, and set back into an 'off' or 'open' position? The headpieces would be attached during or after the loveslave transformation and released when it was time for them to fall in love.
       Of course, this begs the question of why they're still wearing them. Possibly in the Woz Lustikkon they're an integral part of the program and you've just gotta have them. Possibly its a cultural choice on the part of the love slave's, the way hairstyles sometimes go. Or possibly the headpieces serve other functions. Communications devices, physiological monitors, music play.
       Anyway, we know the Wozard was a cleric, because he told us so. Given that Woz was probably one of the least desirable outposts of the Divine Order, he was probably a fringe personality from the beginning. Closer in, he'd have probably been executed for heresy, but because of the manpower shortage, they tolerated him. I suspect that when the Cleansing began the Wozard revolted and dragged a band of followers into the abandoned fortress like Moses leading his disciples into the promised land. The Divine Order was on a timetable after all and didn't have the time to dig him out.
       The Wozard continued to occupy the fortress with his followers and stolen weapons. We see them living quite simply, weaving baskets etc., so the Woz was either espousing a non-technical communitarian lifestyle (back to the land and all that) or they were forced to it because all the goodies left were in the tower.
       I suspect, however, that the low tech existence is the Wozards deliberate choice, since they clearly have high tech weapons, and he was able to salvage enough parts to build a pseudo-lustikkon and a home made bomb.
       The Wozard seems to have lead or created a messianic cult based on sexual suppression and sublimating those drives into religious fervour. Notice the way they looked at him when he preached, and notice the 'harem-like' social structure where he was clearly father/brother/lover and priest to his followers. The Wozard's message was clearly suffering in this life for paradise in the next. His followers clearly referred to an afterlife, and they showed every willingness to die.
       This basic philosophy seems antithetical to the Dark Lady whose approach seems to have been to pursue beauty and happiness in this life rather than the next. The Wozard was a spiritualist, she was a materialist.
       The Dark Lady herself is also, clearly ex-Divine Order. Notice the head-dress of her costume? It's a simplified version of the head dress worn by both Mantrid and Brizon. She was clearly a member of the Bio-Scholars group, a scientist outside of the formal military/worker command. Her face mask may actually have been standard wardrobe, equivalent to a surgeons mask, or perhaps part of the bio-scholars mystique.
       We don't know what level she reached. Her lack of adornment, the basic black, compared to the more colourful outfits of Brizon, Mantrid or the holos of lawyers, judges and clerics we see on The Cluster suggest that she may have been lower level. It's likely no one with real clout would have gone or stayed on Woz, so she might not have been anything more than a glorified technician or trainee.
       Why did she stay behind? I suspect that her focus as a materialist would have made her leery of the wave of religious/ecstatic mania that accompanied the cleansing. The Woz revolted because the religious mania of the cleansing interfered with his own religious mania. The Dark Lady revolted because the religious mania simply offended her. How does a materialist fight a religious tide? She probably bought or bribed her band of followers. Instead of spiritual transformation, she probably offered physical transformation into paradigms of beauty and perfection. We don't know what the original sexual composition of Woz was originally. I could see the Divine Order being very anti-sex and basically staffing its outposts with a single gender to discourage fraternisation. But even if it was a mixed population, the specific appeals of both the Dark Lady and the Wozard would have been to females rather than males.
       Why stay on Woz? Well, that was where the magic machine was, and for all we know the Dark Lady was barely able to operate it (evidence: one of her subjects seems to have died, and if she was sticking so close to the manual as having them wear headpieces she was clearly at the edges of her skills). But more than that, the tower was likely a huge warehouse, still at least partly stocked, and therefore contained probably more wealth than she'd find anywhere else. She had her magic machine. And she had a planet right at the edges of Heretic or free worlds space, which had just become the gateway to twenty thousand uninhabited virgin worlds cleansed by the Divine Order. She might well have seen Woz becoming a vital supply point for the resettlement of those worlds from outside.
       In short, she was sitting pretty, with a loyal group of followers and a genuine shot at serious wealth and power over the next ten or fifteen years. The only fly in the ointment was the messianic nutcase down the road. But according to her way of thinking, she could safely ignore him, and let the world pass him by.
       The clash between the Dark Lady and the Wozard seems to have been a fundamental clash of values and philosophies on many levels, notwithstanding the Wozard's suggestion of love stolen. What we see here are two embryonic societies, the sacred and the profane, side by side.
       Was the Dark Lady evil? Or bad? I doubt it. Clearly the Woz was mistaken or lying about the seven day time limit. The Dark Lady's girls had lasted months at least. And she clearly understood the machinery enough to skip psychological programming, so she may well have extended the time limits.
       The love slaves don't seem to have been programmed, but they still served or stayed with her of their own will. So, she must have inspired some loyalty.
       On the subject of the Love Slaves, it's interesting that they didn't seem to be climbing the walls like Xev. It seems their libidos are somewhat more under control. Even where they're getting Stan to strip, they're in control of themselves. This raises the question of how much of Xev's allegedly uncontrollable libido may actually be cluster lizard impulses, or simply a fat unattractive girl going wild with a wonderful new toy (body)
       Anyway, just a few passing thoughts....

© Darrow, July 2000

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