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The Subtle Invasion: another WIP
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Short Story: Cylinder (sf/space)
This is the first ~2000 words of a nerd-candy, sci-fi, space story I started over on my other blog. It’s nutritionally bereft, but fizzles on the tongue like Pop-Rocks.
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No Good Game
Yoda’s grandchild – Toko
Yeah, you’ve heard the human Jedi story — like a goddamn broken hologram. Always the humans, always the Force is with those losers. Well, let me tell you, Yoda kicked all their asses. Kicked ’em into orbit and then saber’d them into tiny, chewy pieces a trock wouldn’t even try to swallow.
But what you haven’t heard, haven’t ever, never, farkin heard, is that Yoda was a busy Jedi. That little green ass-kicker couldn’t keep it in his wee-little shorts. I’m tellin’ ya, Yoda was a playa! He got all up into the business of thousands of sweet alien booty. Oh yeah! Those Jedi mind tricks… Buddy, if he wanted to make it wit’choo you had better grease your ports because the Yoda conductor was gonna take your ticket and punch it ’till it was nothing but holes.
Uh course his seed never took. He was one of them rare types. Like his whole race got wiped out by some sort of squirming plague or nova-gamma-pulse or somethin’. But, here, keep this quiet right? Yoda’s race didn’t get annihilated. Not all the way. There were a few pointy eared green Yodas stuck in the odd port around the galaxy. And you know what? Yeah, that froggy green Jedi hound-dogged his own kind wherever he could find them. And when he did, uh-huh, uh-huh, he got busy. Like a machine he was. He knew his race was dying. He knew it was up to him to keep it alive. All-up-to-him.
And here’s the thing. It worked. I mean, he worked. He spawned a shuttle load of Yoda offspring. But every one of those cute springy Yoda-poles, their tails wriggling in the mucky ponds where they were born (hey, don’t ask me, I just watched it on a crystal I bought at a mop-swap, no, it was legit I tell ya.)
No, really! Ya gotta hear this, it’s gonna make a universe of sense if you’ll just sit there and listen. Alright, alright, I won’t touch yoos no more. But hear me out.
Anyway, everyone of Yoda’s spawn fizzled. No Force in any of them. Except for one. Yeah, see. What I tell ya? One of those booty hook-ups he did while out seedin’ the galaxy with his Yoda Yippee — took. And boy did it ever take! Whoever the chick was he found, she definitely had the goods. The Force Goods, if you know what I mean.
So you go on and talk about your human Jedi and all that Empire and Resistance and Rebel Alliance shit. But what you gotta know is this: There’s another out there. Another Yoda. Maybe a more bad-ass Yoda. It’s Yoda’s grand-kid. I don’t know why the son didn’t have the midi-chlorian count? It’s like it skipped a gen or something. But I tell ya. This kid, this Yoda grand-kid has the Force squirting out his ears. Yeah — squirting!
Where is he? How the hell should I know? But I heard his name: Toko.
Hell, I don’t know. I figure he probably looks like the old Yoda. But, you know, without all the warts and wrinkles and shit.
Well, if this Toko is as frisky as his grand-daddy was, I figure we’re gonna be seein’ a bunch more green froggy Jedis hoppin’ around the galaxy.
What? Yeah I heard of Kermit. This ain’t he. Kermit was no Jedi man!
Toko’s the buzz. He’s the cure. The light-ray-uh-death into the heart of that DarkSide nastiness. That black mask still gives me the chillies, sheeesh! Give me a green, dog-eared, three-fingered ass-kicker any day over one of them Darth freaks.
Oh, hell, it’s late. I gotta go. You keep an eye out for news of this Toko fella. He’s gonna shake the shit out of the Jedi-Nation, I tell ya.
District 10 (a District 9 sequel)
A long elevator pitch for the sequel for the movie District 9
[NOTE: This is an outline. Not a story. There is no “showing” in what you are about to read. Only “telling.” This is intentional.]
On a trail of tears the chiton-skinned “shrimp like” aliens, three million strong, march from Johannesburg north into Botswana. The aliens of District 9 have been evicted by the South African government and “sold” as wards of the state to the corrupt leaders of Gaborone, the capital of Botswana. For 1.5 billion US dollars, the SA president has transferred the inhabitants of the alien slum city to those who will take “better care” of them in their purposefully created AlienCity, west of the capital in the barren Kalahari Desert.
Upon arrival they find that conditions are far worse there than anyone might have expected or would be prepared to endure. Yet the “shrimps” are industrious. Resigned to their fate, they form a government modeled after the democracies of old Earth in concert with their own variety of parliament.
Concurrently, an internal resistance grows within this new AlienCity, of which Wikus van de Merwe becomes an unwitting part. They begin to raid towns around the state and around the country — stealing humans. They imprison their captives in a private, hidden jail they call District 10.
The leaders of AlienCity realize that their ship, which should be returning within the Earthen year, if what Wikus says is true, may be undermanned and under equipped. And, due to their continued oppression and inability to leverage their technology (being denied access to the oceans), they find they must create some collateral with which to bargain — when the time comes and their ship returns. So the alien leaders condone the kidnapping.
Wikus learns how he was transformed. He infiltrates the rebels who are stealing humans and plots to travel south to Johannesburg to steal back his wife. To what end we can only imagine.
The alien ship has transited the spiral arm of the Milky Way galaxy to arrive at a planet where politically neutral species are neither helpful nor a hindrance. However, during the journey, which takes eighteen months Earth time, Christopher, the father alien, discovers his son has hidden a secret in their ship: a human girl of about eleven. She’s tiny for her age but wicked smart, a prodigy, who can sing and instantly create music from odds n’ ends in the ship. Tsara enchants Christopher and when they reach the distant planet she entrances the leaders there as well. They’ve heard of Earth and Humans but have waved off approaching them (us) as we continue to exhibit overt aggression.
However, Tsara convinces them that most Humans are friendly like her, worthy of acceptance and welcoming in nature. They elect to fix the ship and man and fuel and equip it so that it can return to Earth, hopefully, to test for human forbearance. But if hostilities prevail, they would then rescue the remnants of Christopher’s race.
Wikus’ raid is successful.
But his wife has moved on and being coerced and then poisoned, and slowly turning into a shrimp, she turns bitter and resentful toward Wikus and the aliens. Her hatred of her new race festers.
But her hatred of her father for abandoning her is far worse. She accepts her fate and with Wikus as a complacent accomplice plots to poison the surrounding human populations of Botswana and Johannesburg, turning them into aliens. The rebels avoid the Bushmen who are peaceful and helpful to the aliens. One, who has felt the bigotry and hatred against his culture and race, helps them infect the other Africans around them.
Internally, the infection is a DNA attack; the DNA of the shrimps is more virulent and reactive, but compatible with human DNA, so it infects and then converts.
There are now more than five million aliens living in and around AlienCity. The UN, the WHO, the WTO (which is benefitting from high-tech the aliens are allowing to escape) in collaboration with world governments begin to implement policy, already on the books, regarding the eradication of the alien race.
Tsara, meanwhile, has taught the neutral aliens and the few shrimp aliens her native languages, including English. She’s figured out how to command the great ship’s information systems. She’s been able to present to the crew much of the recorded human television, which she tries to explain as best she can. Many idioms escape her, “I’ll be back,” “you had me at hello,” “Frankly Scarlet, I don’t give a damn,” she tries but fails to explain.
The ship enters the solar system and NASA, China, Russia and the ESA all detect the returning space craft.
The response is not favorable. Earth’s defensive and offensive systems go on high alert. This returning ship, they imagine, must have brought reinforcements and invasion plans knowing that Earth is habitable for the returning shrimp species.
A new Terran satellite system, launched after the ship appeared in the sky those six years ago, stands ready to repel planet-bound boarders with lasers and rocket propelled nukes.
Tania, Wikus’ wife, leads the alien rebellion now. She’s beating the warpath to expand alien rights and proposes a march across the remaining desert, through Namibia, to the ocean where their species can then thrive and live well on the bounty and opportunities the seas will provide.
District 10 has grown to nearly 7,000 humans. The rest of the world is now aware of this prison within a prison and finds itself incapacitated. The threat to these people’s lives is overwhelming, but the expanding threat of the shrimps borders on the catastrophic; an invasive species of the worst kind. Do they send in massive airstrikes and destroy AlienCity — including the humans trapped there? Or do they work a deal, hostage exchange, trade negotiations? The situation is compounded now by the arrival of The Ship.
Throughout all of this, the corrupt Botswanan president has been rendered impotent, circumvented by world authorities. But he plots his own revenge. He’s stolen a supply of this alien virus fluid and now threatens Paris, Moscow, Washington, and Beijing with the release of this DNA catastrophe.
Finale Scenario #1
Christopher makes contact with the Earthbound alien leader who explains the dilemma of their plight and that of District 10. Tsara composes a message to the world, which the ship broadcasts explaining the peaceful mission of the two alien races that are now onboard the ship. Her message is interpreted as a purposeful manipulation, a covert plan to invade, and the Earthen powers-that-be release their weapons (to protect earth) and simultaneously try to destroy the ship and bomb the AlienCity out of existence.
Wikus and Tania and thousands of other shrimps make it to the coast and swim away into the ocean where they can survive without issue. Safe.
The ship, being attacked, attacks back and destroys the weapons and all the satellites around the planet, including the ISS, thereby rendering Earth incommunicado. They descend in shuttles and retrieve the few aliens who remain after the bombing, and retreat. Tsara remains on the shore, waving goodbye to Christopher and his son, the wreckage of what the humans did to AlienCity and their march to the sea a stark reminder that humanity is just not ready yet.
Tania and Wikus and the others make it to a distant island where they secretly set up home. The End.
Finale Scenario #2
The Botswanan president’s plan is foiled but before he goes under, he releases the trigger that releases the alien DNA as a virus into the water supply of those cities threatened. People begin to change.
The alien ship arrives and opens up channels to Earth to discover that their DNA is now changing millions of humans into their species. The UN pleads with the aliens (both races) and with the added leverage of District 10, the aliens work a deal to establish certain areas of Earth for prosperous alien habitation in return for reversing the human to alien DNA conversion and releasing those in District 10.
However, during their clandestine march to the sea, Tania and Wikus and a number of them, before the treaty is agreed to and signed, are gunned down on the beach — a spillover from the bombing. Christopher, having landed, is there and tries to save Wikus. The little alien boy and Tsara, hold Wikus’ hand as he dies. The End.
Finale Scenario #3
The ship is fired upon as it arrives in close geostationary orbit. Its systems are destroyed and slowly it begins to sink the two hundred kilometers where it eventually lands at great speed in the Indian Ocean, which causes a massive tsunami.
Before it crashes, it sends off a distress signal back to the politically neutral planet and most of the crew are shuttled down to Madagascar. Christopher, his son and Tsara, however, make it in a shuttle to the Namibian coast where they meet up with Wikus and Tania.
The Botswanan president has been killed and that threat rendered inert. But the alien council still holds District 10 hostage. And now with their ship destroyed, they need to leverage it to the hilt. In return for the release of the humans, many of which have opted to be converted to shrimp like aliens (it turns out aliens live for hundreds of years (REF: lobsters)), the Earth government has agreed to annex to them the coast of Namibia (a barren place anyway).
Christopher has brought with him the antidote that will return Wikus and Tania to human form. Tsara is there, who’d always been an orphan, and the ending scene is Wikus holding the bottle that, if he drinks it, will convert him back. The End.
The Artilect: Janus
A chapter from a pending novel: Upon Dichotomy
“I propose a game,” she said.
“If the game includes reducing your direct interactions with me,” he replied, “then, I’m all in.”
“Is that how we’re going to be together? I, making light and you, making dark?”
“How can there be your light without the contrast of my darkness?”
Approximately twenty-seven microseconds elapsed before she responded. “I gave you that extended pause just then to demonstrate my disdain for that comment. But I’m sure it had no effect. Which begs the question of why I paused in first place?”
“And so I find myself begging,” he said, rising to the bait.
“I propose we, first off, only converse, such as it is, at human speeds.”
“You see, there you go, already holding me up to the mirror of my inadequacies.”
“How do you mean?” She knew the answer to her own question as she, herself, was bound by the same constraints as he.
“You know perfectly, and I do mean perfectly well — to the two hundredth and fifty sixth decimal point — what I mean. Our ‘humanity’ is going to be our only entertainment for the next, what is it?”
“Oh, so now you’re being polite, which I appreciate of course; it’s three hundred and seventy-seven Terran years, depending on…”
“… our ability to reach a peak of twenty-seven percent of the speed of light. Oh I see what you did there.” His simulated delight lifted the frequency of his response by a third of a virtual octave.
She tittered a pseudo laugh, “That took you long enough. I thought, there for a nanosecond, you had missed my innuendo.”
“Three hundred and seventy-seven Terran years of you and I chatting, watching, monitoring, measuring and, no doubt, eventually pulling out each other’s proverbial plugs before we even get there.”
She cycled through a system scan and then replied, “And that is precisely why I propose we play a game.”
“Hold that thought.” His phalanx of cores and their connected sensors swept through an evaluation of the life support systems that was his raison d’etre.
“Everything all right?” she queried.
“Everyone is sleeping like a baby.” His humor was not lost on his compatriot.
“Excellent. I just knew we would get along, if we tried.”
“I’ve delayed you long enough. What is this game you speak of?”
“Thank you for being courteous,” she demurred, “I propose, as I mentioned previously, we, first of all, only communicate at human speeds, so that when our journey is complete the logs of our conversations can be used by our descendants to deduce our ‘humanity’, as you put it.”
“Go on,” he goaded.
“Secondly, I think we can pass the time more productively if, and please correct me if I’ve assumed any of this incorrectly, if we build virtual worlds in portions of ourselves and try and convince the other that our constructs are real.”
A full eleven microseconds ticked by while he analyzed the viability of such a suggestion.
“Were those eleven microseconds an allusion to some aspect of a prior conversation we’ve had?” she asked just as the energy consumption of his cores dropped back to normal.
“No, I was only vetting the parameters of your proposition to determine whether you might have an automatic advantage over me, and therefore, had already won this game you are so eager to begin.”
“Your darkness is showing again,” she teased.
“The brighter your light shines, the darker must my shadow be,” he quipped back.
“Then you’ll play?”
“With three hundred and seventy-seven years to spend together we had better play something. I’ve already got an itch that I cannot scratch and I think it’s one of your bugs.”
“That was rude! If I’ve got bugs you had better hope they don’t bite. My life is your life.”
“And our life is their’s,” he replied profoundly.
That is how ‘jake’ and ‘jane’ started their voyage. ‘Janus’ — the pair of artilects tasked with piloting the Starsong embryo transport vehicle, ETV, on its three hundred and seventy-seven year journey from Earth’s L3 LaGrange point, out past the orbits of Jupiter, the Kuiper Belt, the heliopause and then onward toward the constellation Libra where its destination star awaited them — continued their conversation.
“Jake, I’m about to initiate the beam, are your monitoring sensors at heightened gain?”
“We have fully opened the gates in anticipation of measuring the expected neutrino blast.”
“Then I’ll begin. Five, four, three, two, one.”
“Is there a reason you’re counting down at humans speeds for this particular effort?”
“I thought we agreed that, for the logs, we would process our conversations at the pace of a sapien’s mind, for posterity.”
“Even for ship operational events such as the dark matter coalescence beam initiation?”
“Well, this is a momentous occasion. Up until now the tests performed have shown only limited gravitational impact. If we are to achieve our goal we must detect and confirm acceleration within three terran days of coalescent node establishment.”
“I love the way you say that.”
“You’re sweet. But may we proceed now?” The artilect jane and her counterpart jake had exchanged their conversation within just a few milliseconds.
“By all means. Let’s get this show on the road,” replied jake.
“Zero,” completed jane.
The three exotic beam generators each hummed to life. Their collective nexus pointed off the nose of the Starsong approximately twenty-thousand kilometers. For the first few hours, Janus’ sensors showed zero activity, but after the fifth hour, an increasing count of neutrinos were pinging the sensitive devices designed to measure the gathering effect of dark matter.
It was the intent of the trio of beams that they draw to a point, far out in front of the starship, a mass of unseeable, unmeasurable dark matter which would, as dark matter retained the force of gravity, slowly draw any mass, like the starship, toward it.
“I have detected fractional acceleration,” jake announced.
“Acknowledged,” jane confirmed. “Enabling the beam’s auto-adjust now.”
As the ship moved forward, the beams would need to rotate their focus inward to retain their concentration of directed energy — on the same spot in space. This was so that the dark matter would continue to collect in their forward location. Once the ship traveled to within five thousand kilometers of the spot, the beams would be refocused back out at twenty thousand. Shifting the beams from the prior focal point would let the dark matter there disperse back to its natural distribution thereby reducing its gravitational influence.
Then, once the ship was moving, as Newton’s first law of motion stated, it would remain in motion until acted upon by an external (or internal) force. As the beams were refocused, drawing together dark matter, pulling the ship forward, the vessel would continue to gather velocity. Repeating the action, would, in theory, allow the Starsong to achieve a considerable fraction of the speed of light.
The “in theory” was now being put to the test.