Saturday, October 22, 2011

strung out at the universal edge

A man and a woman board an immaculate space ship and begin traveling towards the edge of the universe. They accelerate to light speed and beyond, then eventually break the speed of light squared. All is well in the cosmos as space contracts and their velocity approaches infinity. They are in need of nothing, and the collapse core at the heart of their ship pumps easily through the vastness of space. Finally they reach the end of the distant string galaxy, the very beginning of time. They have caught up with the leading edge of the big bang. They turn and listen to the first breath of God, and he says, "I have been behind you all the time."

Monday, September 5, 2011


            Back on the bridge the ship moved towards the Dark Matter threshold, accelerating to its maximum velocity, the shroud of mighty neutrino’s formed their space bending shroud around the ship. The two gravity wells of Messier 87 and the Milky Way Galaxy were irresistibly drawn together at one point in time, for the briefest moment the ship accelerated to an unknown velocity approaching infinity. It was unreasonable for a man to understand how fast they went, or how many neutrinos were involved, or how many atoms existed in the universe. Where counting ended, worship began and man could praise God for the wonder of it all. Geneset stood with one foot on technology and the other in eternity, poised on the brink of understanding all there was to know. A moment in a mans life that defines who he is and what he stands for. He knew the only obstacle left was the hardness of his heart. One brittle chip that would bring him face to face with his maker. Above all else he was determined, as every man and woman is, to find that place that he can finally call home. He stayed that way for what seemed a long time, content to know there was more and he would find it some day....

            From the first note that spread out over the crowd, the people of Mandaria were swept away by the presence of God for the first time in twenty nine thousand years. For two and a half hours they were ruined, and when the final note fell, they had forgotten why they were here. Then I stepped to the microphone and proclaimed to them. “Men and women of Mandaria, I stand before you today in honor of the greatest Empire known to man. You have worshipped science and technology as god and he has served you well. Let us rejoice in that while at the same time looking to the future. It is only a matter of time before the living God comes back to search you out, and through me, I proclaim today as that day. I propose a new beginning where the honor to choose ones destiny is paramount above all else. Let me share with you a God of love and power that doesn’t live in our achievements but resides within our soul. Let us worship in freedom and truth, without shame or regrets. Ladies and gentleman, thank you for attending and enjoy the rest of your evening.”
            It was the shortest sermon in universal history, but I had finally found the courage to proclaim the message I had come so far to deliver. Many were changed that day and word spread through out the galaxy. Meanwhile, the fleet pressed on, unaware of impending doom...

            Her strong desire for life flowed from her hart with the depth of an unknown vastness. She was swept away with the hope of more than all she had ever known. The pleasure of reckless abandon tugged at her heart with the throbbing of a drum beat. Where did such hope spring from? What was the source of hope beyond the science that allowed for complete control of every aspect of her existence? Aging wasn’t an issue, health; strength, beauty, wealth, even emotional stress and depression were little more than a footnote in the archives of Mandarian history. Such perfection felt fatally flawed in some deep recess of her soul. The gentle strumming of a guitar drifted up from her subconscious and made her wonder how there wasn’t something more. Every mystery had an answer known through science and technology. It was all fit together so perfectly, with no room for error and nothing left to chance. And the existence of God had been disproved systematically long ago.
            Neural sensors gently lifted her form the dream while memory training maps rapidly flowed through her neural network, reinforcing the fifth principal of knowledge; all things are known because we know them. Warning algorithms cautioned her about the nature of her dream state, but she knew she was below the reporting threshold and she received them with her normal grace. They were like a system of checks and balances since the desire for thoughts contrary to knowledge had been phased out through a thousand generations of genetic modification.
            It was freedom that made her society so stable. Everyone was guaranteed freedom of thought and expression; but the desire for anything spiritual had been phased out long ago.

Monday, August 15, 2011


Two point seven trillion stars, most with planets orbiting them. The suns without habitable planets were supplied new ones as massive space tugs maneuvered uninhabited planets into the goldilocks zone where terra forming could begin. It was at the point where raw materials could be produced in unlimited supply that the empire flourished. Nothing stood in the way of progress and they were content to stay within the confines of their own galaxy.
            Every solar system, regardless of the number of planets, was allowed one seat in parliament, with one democratic vote, constrained only by the Mandarian constitution. The first article was the establishment of science and technology as the universal standard upholding the empire. Their society was based on this one unalienable right of all citizens to be free to express themselves in this way. There were no amendments, no laws to contradict, and no supreme court to question article one. It had been, was, and always would be the way the empire ran. For twenty six thousand years it had been the successful bedrock of society that allowed each individual to flourish.
            There were die hard conservatives who aimed to keep everything running smoothly, no matter what the cost, and Greenholze was their unofficial leader. When he had left for Earth about three years ago, he implemented some new programs that had successfully been completed by now. The first of these was a massive flotilla of Draconian star destroyers, fully operational with supply and docking facilities. Mandaria had its largest military in history.
            Today was like any other day at work for Crance Birkmin, dropping out of hyper space, he coasted the massive space tug known as Star Queen into a geosynchronous orbit around the blue ball below. He was a rotund man, unashamed of his massive girth, with a clean shaved face and flat topped hair cut. His head appeared wider than it was tall, coupled with no neck, he wasn’t a pretty man. Eight hundred years old and alone, he was the best tug pilot in the galaxy.
            His home was an old shack out in a forgotten swamp; the few days a year he spent there were spent in solitude because he liked it that way. He had no family but his blood line would continue artificially. He was a special breed for a special job. On the surface what he did seemed easy. The Star Queen was big, equipped with an enormous gyroscope made of density flux material, it attached itself to a stellar body by a gravity lock device. By focusing on the planets core, the ship would increase the gravity field strength exponentially by using the mass of the planet as a power source. Once locked in, the ship relied on standard collapse-core technology to drive it forward. This is where Crance’s skill came in. his main tools of the trade were a sophisticated high speed guidance computer and the joy stick. Once moving forward the gyroscope would apply steering pressure to guide the planet into position. The trick was to release the planet with the correct speed, trajectory, rotation, and tilt to send it orbiting perfectly.
            Crance was an expert with over six hundred years experience under his belt. Today was no different than all the rest. He formed a calloused attitude long ago because in his job things died. Plants, animals, insects, bacteria, even humans. There was always someone or something left behind that refused to leave or was overlooked. It never changed, it was a calculated loss, an acceptable risk in the name of progress. Why should he care anyway? He had put it out of his mind after the first time and never gave it a second thought. He was part of the Mandarian dream, building the empire one system at a time, an indispensable tool he was told, which is why he followed orders and never questioned why.
            His only true companion was the flight computer who one might say was his mistress, he preferred old lady.
            “Emma, why do you suppose those two Draconian star destroyers are escorting us on this job, we’ve never needed protection before?”
            “It would appear they want to ensure we have no interference or, make sure we complete the job.”
            He loved she was smarter than him, “very thoughtful of you. Those are the most beautiful ships I have ever seen, they look to displace about one sixteenth a lunar unit, wouldn’t you say?”
            “That is a very close guess, sir.”
            Should I go over a see if I can move one around?” he chuckled at the joke she wouldn’t get. “Let’s get this done girl.”
            He moved in the proper distance, keeping his display set to wire mesh as he always did. This kept him from getting emotionally attached to his work as would happen with a full color image. Today would be by the book, hookup, move the planet, and get out. He knew of Seaberia, for many years there was a debate about terra-forming it into something useful but the council always had some excuse why it wasn’t feasible. He was glad to see it happen. As he clamped the planet it continued to spin while he engaged his thrusters to full and slowly moved the blue ball closer to the sun.
            He could feel the hum of the massive gyroscopes as they spun up to an unknown speed, he was told it was one point five million revolutions per minute; all he knew was it got the job done. This put the surface velocity of the outter edge of the wheel approaching light speed. If it were to come loose from its mounting it would careen wildly into space, destroying anything in its path, an unstoppable juggernaut that might never stop. The bearings that supported the structure were exposed to space, air friction would burn the superconducting magnetic bearing in seconds. Once up to speed, the flux density of the Beriterium metal was increased to match the planetary mass. From there Emma took over, applying feather pressure at the bearing hub which caused the massive exertion that steered the planet. Seaberia was destined for a close solar orbit.
            The life sensor alarm sounded as the planet passed beyond acceptable limits. He turned it off without looking at the population density, again a habit that kept him isolated from the appalling truth of what he did.
            “Acceptable risks, right Emma?”
            “As you always say, sir.”
            Within an hour he sent the ball spinning towards the sun where it would naturally engage its new orbit, boil off the excess water and leave a clean foundation for the terra-formers. He turned his ship and made haste for the solar edge where he could jump to light speed and get to his next job.


A new alien race
            Chet have never seen anything like it. A new species of alien unlike any ever imagined, it was the first of its kind for human contact. It was all curved lines and tight muscles over a full flex skeleton with multiple joints. Attractive in a repulsive kind of way, thought Chet, he couldn't stop staring. When it stared back and smiled Chet nearly crapped his pants. The deep wisdom was there, knowledge beyond his twenty years of comprehension, it was an enigma of genetic creativity on someone’s part. Built for life in space, it was able to bio-flex its own muscle groups for fitness. When it moved, the tension under it’s skin turned his stomach. if it had a weakness Chet couldn't see it. Mating rituals were a one track ticket to death, he was sure of that. It moved and was in his face, very quick. Chet held his ground as tight nostrils flared with a sharp hiss. For want of something better to do, Chet stuck out his tongue and what passed for a smile crossed lips like a razors edge. The eyes sucked him in and he almost got lost, but it blinked. On purpose? Yes, he was sure of that.
            Clicks and whistles assaulted his ears as it tried to communicate. A translator was out of the question here, Chet drew a picture, and they talked a few words in an hour. For being so sophisticated this was stupid.
            Chet look down to see splayed toes fanned out like webbed feet, half again as long as the rest of its foot. Massive nails the size of a shovel protected those extremities in the event of hand to hand combat. The sleek muscles bulged around double back flex joints giving this thing more knuckles than a broken prize fighter. He  knew it could run fast, its movements were like graceful silk, fluid and steady. For now He was damn happy they were friends, but would it last when Chet told it he had killed its child?
            A strange melody emanated from somewhere, tunes and emotions blending to form a sweet spot beyond his mind, from that place where matter and spirit meet. He was touched in that deep place beyond nostalgia. It was a tangible experience and when he cupped his ears the sound continued. It was a haunting melody that built from a forlorn past up to a majestic eternity. Chet heard the story and knew generations of struggle that cost dearly, but finally there was victory and now the song moved up into present tense, telling of a chance meeting between two universes that should have never happened. The death of a child and soon there would be war. It knew what he had done and he saw flashes of blood lust in those eyes, mingled with a weary notion that said, “I though the battle was over.” Chet was sucked in again and in that moment he knew only one of them would come out alive.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Science Boss Po-sha

Within an hour of touching down, the crew of Purotach had dispatched the obelisk generator and cleared an area for the game, But there was one person not playing that day. Science Boss Po-sha ranked one level higher than the lowest clans person, but he was a true blooded expert in his field. His work was one driven by a passion that consumed his life. During planet fall he had used every resource at his disposal to gather information and store it. He had sucked the entire ship’s computing power, and brought it to bear on high definition imagery, full spectrum analysis, geographic mapping, a resource data base, environmental and atmospheric cataloguing, and a deep core gravitronic profile. By the time Mastoni had guided the ship down manually, Po-sha had filled a petabyte storage device. There was enough data to sift through for a year but that was irrelevant since he had caught a glimpse of something on the deep core scan.
            He was giddy with excitement as he hastily gather some equipment. Urging his only friend, Metody, a fully functional artificial intelligence, to hurry up. “Grab the excavation unit, flood lights, enviro-suit, Kevlar rope, and food processor; I’ll handle the delicate equipment since your such a klutz and might break something.”
            “That is a most rude statement, well in keeping with your incessant sarcasm towards me,” she said.
            “Save it for after we get back, can’t you tell this is urgent?”
            “Urgency should never make one sacrifice safety; I calculate a seven percent chance of some sort of injury occurring on this expedition.”
            “Lets hope it’s you, now move out while everyone’s busy playing that annoying game, I don’t want any interruptions.”
            The loaded down AI struggled under the weight, even with enhanced piezo tendons and bio-metric muscle groups. Soon they were trekking through the jungle, slicing through dense underbrush with a hand laser. It was tough going and his temper bagan to flare. He would have taken a light craft but resources were scarce and he was always the last to receive help or use of equipment.
            He shoved the laser into Metody’s hand and scolded her. “Take this thing you worthless bucket of bolts, now lead the way and keep your trap shut, I don’t need your witty comebacks.”
            He was bone tired but still he pressed on. The only thing that kept him going was the fact that one foot would still move in front of the other. Even with his AI’s help, it seemed like an eternity. Another hundred yards and they would be there, what he would find he did not know. One final tree crashed down and his instruments told him this was the spot. He set up his small excavator; inputting depth and direction, turned it loose, then fell onto his pack, exhausted but satisfied. The little machine was efficient but it would still be several hours before any results were realized. The shaft behind the machine would be big enough for a man to pass through.
            Finally the excavator emerged, indicating it had reached its destination. This is what he lived for, the thrill of discovering the unknown. The last foot or two would have to be dug by hand. He sent Metody in first with a spotlight and equipment to investigate, and was surprised when he came upon the AI looking down through a perfectly shaped opening that was obviously a window on a huge dome shaped structure.
            This was an advanced civilization, ancient beyond all belief, predating Mandaria most likely. He should have radioed in but he was too excited, too selfish, and nobody cared about him; it was like he didn’t even exist on the ship. Nobody thought he was important, they just wanted to play and fight.
            “Tie the rope off, I’m going first, then you follow me with the equipment. As he progressed down he tried to penetrate the dark with his spotlight but it was no use. Finally he saw a shadow as the floor approached, a good thing as he was almost out of rope. Once down he waited while Metody came down with a crash. Sound didn’t travel and it felt like his hearing was muffled. Tired of fumbling around in the dark he donned a pair of polarized glasses and fire up the photon torch, bringing the surroundings into stark relief. It shone with the intensity of a small sun, illuminating the cavernous hall which appeared to be big enough for thousands of people. It was a circular structure with arched passages leading off in many directions and the domed roof far above.
            “What do you estimate the size of this place,” he asked off handedly as he pulled out his laser drill for a rock sample.
            “Three hundred thirty yards tall by two hundred twenty yards in diameter, exactly.”
            “Here you hold this,” he handed the light off, “I’m going to try and get a sample of this bedrock.” Firing the drill caused a harsh ricochet to glance off the floor. He jumped in surprise, “what the heck is this stuff. He used a small portable microscope to look at the impenetrable substance. It had a fine granitized appearance but it was definitely porous. The entire structure was made of the same material, but he would have to leave that for later
            “Leave one flood light here to tie the hand line off.” It was a high tensile string, unbreakable for the most part. “Lets try that direction,” he pointed to a slightly larger arch way. As they approached, he noticed there were numerous small ledges with openings leading back into hollowed out chambers; too small for a person, it was a mystery that had him puzzled. “Why is this chamber so tall and what are those grottos for?”
            “The only logical answer is an aviary for birds.”
            The AI’s answer shocked him, some kind of indoor bird sanctuary. “Okay, let’s move out.” As they proceeded, the hallway was obviously for aesthetic purposes, with large columns lining each side, littered with random shelves and terraces leading to grottos. Finally, at the end were two massive doors, partially opened, but it would take a crane to move their foot thick bulk.
            “Metody, try taking a sample of that,” he pointed to something behind the crack of the door that could be collected.        
            “Looks like dirt to me,” she said. She scratched at the substance to no avail. “I am unable to comply. The substance will not break free.
            He really needed to download some personality traits into her bios, he just hadn’t found any that suited him. “Did you notice there’s no dust or debris, like it was swept clean.” He fished in his pack and took out a butane fire stick; lighting a piece of scrap from his pocket, he blew it out and watched the smoke drift lazily back the way they had come. “Look there’s a draft in the access tunnel.”
            “No,” she said. “If you asked me these questions in the first place, we could save a lot of time. There is a constant air flow exiting down a side corridor we passed in the atrium. I also noticed bioluminescent chemicals etched into the rock, and I have to warn you that there is an eighteen percent probability that something bad could happen to you.”
            “Thank you very much, you reluctant bucket of bolts, were moving on.” As he passed through the door he noticed finely engineered pipes going to the massive hinges, a sign of technology. He knew Metody recorded everything so he kept quiet. On the other side they entered another cavernous space far vaster than the last. The photon torch reflected dimly off the ceiling, showing roots and hanging vines long dead in this abandoned place. When he narrowed the beam it wouldn’t reach the opposite wall of the open space stretching out before him. “What’s the dis..”
            “The focused range of this beam is five miles, infrared scan shows a similar wall at around twice that distance.”
            An open expanse over a hundred square miles; it began to dawn on him, this may not be a buried ruin, rather a hidden city built under ground to avoid detection from stellar neighbors. “Is there anything on this plain or is it just a wasteland?”
            “There is one small outcrop in the center of the plain.”
            “Any signs of life?”
            “Let’s eat here, then we make haste for the outcrop.” Hot tomato soup mix came out of the tiny food processor, along with a chunk of bread. “Ouch, that’s hot,” he spilled some on the ground and light erupted all around them, the ceiling clearly visible with it’s cracked patchwork and now more grottos in the ceiling too. Then, slowly it faded.
            “What was that?”
            “It appears the light source for this particular city is operated by a bioluminescent water to hydrogen cold fusion process unknown to clan technology. Without the bed rock strata of the building, there would be no reaction.” Metody rambled on, “That would explain the passages and gutter system around the edge of the great plain, but where is the source?”
            His mind began to formulate an idea. “All right save it for later, lets move out, and give me some bottled water.” They pressed on across the vast plain of nothingness. Was this truly an abandon city, or were they missing something. Abruptly they halted at the end of the hand line.
            “Okay, drop all non essential gear and tie off that line, your going to carry me.” He took out a bottle of water. “Record this.” The ground exploded into a brilliant glow, but in the surface were lines and patterns, what looked like directional guide markers and distinctly, a path or street. “I knew it! Did you get that? They would flood this with water and the whole city would light up, oh my maker, they lived down here, this was their city.”
            “Who’s city?” Metody asked innocently.
            “I don’t know, you idiot!”
            “If you say so. I don’t see the importance of this, there is no one here now.”
            “Are you sure? Lets get going.” The AI made great time and within half an hour they arrived at the spire protruding from the plain.
            “Put me down,” he noticed it was built on a raised landing about two feet high. “This would keep water off the marker, let’s take a closer look.”
            They climbed up on the platform and inspected the solid spire that rose about three stories high. As they circled around it, Metody let out a warning, “Watch your step.” There, flat in the floor was a circular stair case descending downward. He shivered, feeling the weight of his journey pressing down on him; a slight panic stirred in his stomach. The raised platform would keep the water out of this passage. They had been gone from the ship over five hours; would they come looking for him? Had Purotach been dispatched on a new mission closer to Earth? Would they leave him behind? His desire for discovery welled up and he pushed his fear aside. “Were going down.”
            “Sir, that raises the danger level to twenty seven percent. I highly advise we return to the ship immediately.”
            “Your objection is noted, now come on.” He began descending the perfectly curved stair case. Along the outside wall was a small trough, probably for water to flow, but it also served as a handrail. The slight upward rush of air was satisfying in the confined space, where only one person had room to pass another. Finally 275 stairs later they leveled off into a small square chamber. Upon entering he froze in his tracks, consumed by the wonder of what he beheld.
            Before him were three door openings each covered with a swirling curtain of green and blue mist. A low hum spoke of power flowing across the entrances as the substance shimmered and shifted in random patterns. He fell to his knees, shocked by the implication of what he had found.
            “Metody, I’ll take that report I know your dying to give me.”
            “Thank you, sir. Analysis of openings unknown. Probability of death, fifty two percent. I am unable to proceed beyond this point, you have reached the mortality threshold.”
            “Give me a best guess as to what’s behind there.”
            “It could be a force field for protection of the entrance, a warp tunnel, a dimensional shift, or time delineation portal all of which are hypothetical in nature except the first.”
            He knew she was poised to stop him if he tried to go through. Instead he pulled out his micro torch and threw it at the door. It passed through with out a sound and disappeared. “All right, we’ll head back, but first I need to rest.” He started taking off his pack, “Give me a hand with this,” he pretended to struggle. Once free of the pack he shoved it at her, dove through the opening, and disappeared.
            Inside Metody’s main processor, innumerable neuron paths had been biologically grown, then transmuted with ceramic superconductor to permanently form her high efficiency brain. The limiting factor right now in her decision making process were the virtual personalities that were frozen in conflict. She searched back to the very first byte of information ever downloaded and began there. Deep inside was one packet she had isolated, unable to logically apply it to her existence. Humans were able to make decisions based on some unknown factors and qualities; if she could understand this, she could take action. ‘What would Science boss Po-sha do?’ She ran this thought repeatedly; a thousand, a million, a billion times, and within seconds she had the answer. It swam up from that hidden core she didn’t understand.
            Bursting through the force field, she found herself traveling down a tunnel, free falling into a hole where lights, colors, and galaxies wheeled around with the speed of an electron circling its nucleus of fat protons. They sounded like a swarm of angry bees on a honey rampage, everything accelerated into a blurry haze of distorted light and she lost all sense of time. Then she was on the ground, adjusting her retinas against the blazing suns that beat down on her. Scanning her surroundings, she was on a ledge cut into the face of a cliff. The architecture was faultless, sporting ornate statues, and pillars carved intricately with alien symbols. As she stepped to the railing, a new definition of immense was added to her personality. Far below a massive city stretched out for hundreds of miles in all directions, as far as the eye could see. Gardens and parks were interspersed with small bodies of water, as well as busy streets and congested walkways. There were massive dome shaped coliseums, sky scrapers, open air markets and housing complexes with transportation hubs connecting them all. There was a cacophony of movement and color while to her right, thousands of birds and larger flying creatures circled above the city or nested in the cliff. To her left was a spire towering over a mile in the sky with rivers for streets and giant ships anchored at its base. Not a square inch of space was wasted and she estimated the population at two billion. Focusing in she could see children playing on beautiful lawns, everything perfectly manicured and in order. Statistically this must be the same race that lived in the underground city but it was obvious from the three suns she was in a different part of space. She referenced their positions to identify her location later.
            She scanned the area for Po-sha and noticed one of the birds coming closer. It spotted her, then disappeared and reappeared much closer. Now she could clearly see it was a flying dragon weighing about a fifty pounds. She broke into a full run, calculating it’s trajectory. Po-sha was gazing out at the city unaware. Too late she cried out; the mighty little dragon appeared just as it slammed into Po-sha, razor sharp teeth sinking deeply into the jugular. His head snapped back and Metody knew it was over. With a few shakes it ripped his throat out and she could tell from the way the head flopped around like a rag doll that his neck was broke. She rushed the horn headed beast but it disappeared, making a dimensional shift somewhere else. She grabbed the lifeless body and ran with every ounce of energy to the portal, turning to see if there was pursuit. Obviously they could sense she wasn’t a biological entity and left her alone. Running back to the ship, Po-sha’s body beat a rhythmic cadence against her back, with the blood soaked head hanging by a few sturdy tendons. If she could feel sorrow, this would have been the time; but for now she was just alone.