The dynamic between Aleph and Miranda Zero throughout the episodic adventures of Global Frequency is one of the most deep and interesting of the series to say the least. It is highlighted most clearly in the chapter “Aleph”, in which the particular moment of crisis directly involves the titular character. Quite bluntly, Zero treats Aleph like the other 1,001 members of the Global Frequency: she is a component of a system that requires the special skills of the individuals to function. In other words, Zero enframes Aleph as standing-reserve. In their “natural” state, these individuals may have used their abilities independently for good, evil, moral, immoral, or even relatively neutral causes. To use Heidegger’s vocabulary, Zero challenges each and every member in order to accomplish her immediate goal. Aleph is no exception, and is often the most objectified as a center of communications.
I chose to look at this chapter because of the inversion of roles, the irony, which has Aleph enframing Zero as a type of standing-reserve as well. Aleph initially panics when Zero notifies her of the intruders. After all, she is used to talking people through crises instead of experiencing them first hand. Like usual, Zero begins to direct Aleph: “We backed up central computers to the secondary system in Zurich…Aleph, the priority is getting you out of there safely.” Zero focuses on Aleph’s safety in the same thought as the data from Central. Instead of taking out the intruders, it is much more important for Zero to conserve all of her resources, Aleph included. On the other hand, Aleph is both emotionally and physically closer to the crisis and promotes the protection of Global Frequency’s reputation to the top priority.
As Aleph descends from Central and into the sewer, there is also a shift in communication. The color scheme makes a shift from red to green/gray and Aleph begins to take the mission into her own hands. While tripping safety measures and navigating the sewer, Aleph demands information from her superior, Zero, and exploits all the resources that are normally at her fingertips. Out of the context of the chapter, the form of this story would lead you to think that Miranda Zero is “central command” and Aleph has just been activated on the Frequency. Zero’s voice replaces Aleph’s in the special “transmission” word bubbles and she is only able to chime in intermittently between gunshots, while Aleph is central to nearly every panel in a different action pose.The once valuable resource that required the utmost care has taken an active role in protecting the organization that has enframed her as that resource. This inversion of roles really caught my attention because it broke so many of the serialized themes that were present in the earlier chapters. Not only does it enforce the fact that Aleph is just as capable of an agent as the other 1,001, but it also makes the reader conscious of her identity within the organization.
Looking from the outside in, Zero cannot conceptually differentiate between Central’s data and Aleph: one was backed up, but the other still needed to be extracted from the sewer. Zero fears the loss of this great database. In a way, it reminds me of the aleph from Borges’ story. Those looking from the outside in were overwhelmed by everything they saw at once. On the “inside”, Aleph has always confronted such a vast array of information and realizes that the true danger lies in the destruction of what is intangible to her: the overarching reputation of a global organization that is expected to diffuse any crisis almost instantly.