04 August 2015


Jane Elliot waited patiently at the crosswalk. She was the nanny for a wealthy family who lived near, but not within, the city. The girl in her care, both young and a single child, held her hand firmly, so as to not lose hold of the sole source of her emotional and physical care. Jane distractedly smiled down at her. Jane had just, on the previous night, been caught with the girl’s father by his wife. The wife was angry, the husband wavering on his own future, and Jane was torn. Jane was only eighteen and should have had a long life stretched before her, full of opportunities, and she saw many of them from her vantage point on the corner. The family she worked for was rich, and most of their friends were rich. Some of these friends, having been informed of her transgressions by the child’s mother, were eager to hire her for services outside of legal professions, and Jane had not hesitated to put them into consideration. Jane had been pleasantly surprised to discover how much fun and profit she could draw by using her youth and vivaciousness to toy with men, and lacking either scruples or oversight, was eager to exploit this knowledge. She was considering several of these offers when the light turned green and she, with the childs hand in hers, stepped off the curb and into her destiny.

A large blue van, driven by an elderly man who knew nothing of Jane and was unconnected with her in any way aside from trying to drive past her at this intersection at this particular time, began to drive past her, heading in the same direction but blocking slightly Jane’s view to her left of what had been oncoming traffic. Had the driver of the van been turning to his right, he would have waited a moment for Jane and the girl to have crossed the street sufficiently for him to turn. As it was, he himself was attentive enough only to watch the stoplight switch to green and begin to pull forward through the intersection when a man driving a delivery truck nodded off and drove through the light, crosswise to the van and hitting it with such force that it flew sideways, into Jane and the girl, who themselves were thrown like rag dolls down the street. The driver of the delivery truck, here nameless, would spend a substantial amount of time in the hospital before being jailed. The driver of the van, a Raymond Phillips, would spend the rest of his day in the hospital before being discharged with orders for several days of bedrest to heal his strains and bruises for he was lucky enough to have no broken bones or other serious injury. He would spend his bedrest trying to teach his dog to play fetch and wondering if he would ever again see a nurse he found to be mesmerizing even if she was of a plain appearance. Neither of these things would ever come to pass.

Jane and the girl were fatally injured when they flew against the side of a small diner specializing in Welsh cuisine. Standing near the entryway trying to beg from the exiting patrons some meager coin or biscuit for her breakfast, waited Helen White, a homeless young woman who was in every regard not dependent on wealth Jane’s superior. She was possessed of brown, wavy hair that hung just past her shoulders, a face that as radiant of warmth as it was pleasing to view, her skin and clothes, despite her situation in life, were spotless, and although her form was masked by bulky clothing overly warm for the season, she was not unduly heavy but held a shape that most would desire of her or envy. Helen, predisposed to help others whenever the opportunity arose, moved with great haste to where the two had landed and with care to not touch their now soiled and bloodied clothing, bent over the little girl. “Adele,” was the feebly-voiced reply, followed by several shuddered breaths as the girl looked up at what she mistakenly believed was her savior. The girl reached up and tried to take Helen’s hand. Helen gazed down at Adele for a moment before relenting and taking the girls hand. The clasp lasted no more than fifteen seconds before Helen was pushed aside by others who had been passing by and had been witness to the accident. Helen turned away and tried to move down the street when a firm hand clasped her shoulder.

“She’s done something. The little girl is clean. There will be questions if she’s not fine,” said the woman holding her shoulder. That woman was Sarya Foster. Sarya was tall, slightly overweight, and had dyed blonde hair artificially curled well past the point of ludicrousness. Sarya was overweight, but possessed no great width across her shoulders, giving her the appearance of being much heavier than she actually was and which combined with her blockish countenance to create an intimidating presence. Helen was intimidated by her look and grasp, as was Steve, her hitherto silent companion.

Steve Dallas, the man to whom Sarya spoke, was a non-descript man. Any person who knew him would recognize him, but he was singularly indistinguishable. Any two people, if asked to describe him, would be unable to agree on what his most significant feature was and if compelled to describe him, even a person who had a perfect recollection for faces would become befuddled with ambiguities. Steve indistinguishably moved from Sarya’s side to that of Adele, upon whom several passersby were performing CPR. Several others were trying CPR on Jane, and a number of people in the small crowd gathered around this portion of the accident scene were querying each other as to if any emergency services had been called. A number of approaching sirens answered that question each time it was asked, but none of this bore any importance to Steve whose task had been to ensure the little girl was fine. He did this by taking her hand gently in his until she sputtered back to life. The two people performing CPR, a young man and woman, both congratulated each other on what appeared to be the successful conclusion of their joint efforts and, distracted by the energy of the moment, fell madly into a mutual love that would be perceived as unrequired and would be pushed aside to haunt them for the remainder of their many, unshared days.

Goe, trying new things some of the time.

18 May 2015

The Subject

The subject is a juvenile Terran male. The subject maintains a place of residence with its parents and other juvenile members of immediate family. The subject is a student at a local educational facility. The subjects father is a minor economist with a local vehicle maintenance organization. The subjects mother appears to be a sociological researcher specializing in relationship formation during various chronological periods. As of three cycles ago, the subject has been under constant surveillance through all methods available to the observation team. The subject is unaware of being observed.

The subject was located by the cluster research team, lead by Dr. Ehsre, using the prophecies of the God-King Atpmet and the God-King Noitcip, the analysis of individual behavioral trends performed independently but with near-identical results by all five worldminds of the Rova system, and projections by the Post-Anachronistic Behavioral Simulator Software(PABSS) run on both of the n-dimensional computer system worlds allocated to this project. Every piece of local technology has been replaced or breached to facilitate observation, and the replacement of local flora and fauna with synthetic surveillance duplicates is continuing. Immediately available conclusions are as above, secondary conclusions to follow, but subject has been confirmed as the third God-King.

Analysis of behavior and educational records indicates that the subject is not aware of its destiny or developed enough for deification in the near future. The mother of the God-King's mortal dynasty has not been researched or identified pending further information or instructions from project supervisors. Subject is courting a fellow student who was not revealed in prior research, who has already abandoned commitment to the subject in pursuit of other opportunities, and has been deemed of no serious consequence.

Academically, the subject does not appear to be noteworthy. The subject is inattentive and of fluctuating disposition, typical characteristics of this particular species/gender/age group. The general irrelevance of the subjects non-academic activities would seem to contra-indicate ascension, but the subject spends more time in introspection than is normal for this species, and considers answers to simple questions at such a depth as to draw the ire of a rote-minded society and be ridiculed as lacking intelligence.

The subject has drawn the attention of groups other than ours. Our ongoing research of all aspects of this world (which is predicted to produce an additional three God-Kings, their consorts, and mortal dynasties, the entirety of those from this galactic cluster) has determined that there are five existant organizations on this world actively looking for the subject to fulfill their own prophecies, and covert surveillance by sub-planetary governmental agencies who have managed to calculate that the subject is important but not why or how the subject has this importance. Research indicates there are another twelve to nineteen additional groups seeking the subject but without exerting enough energies into their search to draw our attention or confirm their existence.

However, primary confirmation of the subject comes from the angels. The angels have not revealed themselves to any of the local populace. The angels seem to have revealed themselves to us primarily to ensure that we knew that we were being observed as well. The angels have not communicated with us or interfered with our observations or reporting. It is said that three angels could destroy a God-King, but we have observed at least fifteen protecting the subject. They have steadied the subjects balance, woken the subject to prevent truancy, and treated various ailments and injuries. The angels have likewise stood back and watched with their typical blank facade as the subject tripped and fell, slept through important functions, and suffered serious illnesses albeit no serious injuries.

The angels are as cryptic as their master or the prophecies. We do not know if we are to impart wisdom to the subject or let it develop naturally. The angels appear to know and act within an inconsistent framework. Advice is whispered surreptitiously one moment and in the next, the subjects mind is clouded, simple concepts obfuscated.

We do not know if we should assist the subject. We do not know if we should help or hinder the other organizations seeking the subject. We do not know if we should approach the angels to offer our assistance to their plans. We do await your instructions.

Goe, ta-da!

28 August 2014

The city on Dite

One night I was at the rec facility on Derva having some dinner with Hatfield, MacRoi, Isaaks, and Kim. Kim was new to Derva and Aocer had asked us to make him feel welcome. Kim was new to the company, having just finished his training as a System Engineer, and would soon take up a position on the maintenance team at Ipsha Station. There he would assist his superiors in keeping their little portion of the System running correctly. His job would not be glamorous and could not make him famous, but the entire System depends on men like him who keep the vehicles moving. Aocer, himself, was detained on Remer compiling reports on the success of the local breeding programs. This was, much like Kim's upcoming position, unglamorous, but Aocer had a way of making his reports enjoyable to read. The more mundane the subject, the greater the liberty he took with language and structure. Hatfield, whom I introduced to Aocer after that strange incident on Plinth, related to us a report Aocer had written on Kitap. A university team elsewhere had asserted a certain relationship between upper atmosphere composition and rabbit breeding cycles in dry, temperate forests of fruit trees. Wild rabbits were common to the worlds, but only fruit trees had been seeded on Kitap, making it an excellent site for verification of the theory. Aocer, his career still being held up over his actions on Tront, was considered by the Phase Administrator to be an excellent choice for what was seen as an exercise in tedium. Upon his arrival on Kitap, Aocer threw himself into his work. It took the better part of three drinks at the rec facility before he had full access to the local research database, and another drink to determine that Kitap had entirely the wrong upper atmospheric conditions to permit either a proof or a disproof of the theory at hand. Eager to keep himself busy, he began visiting expat markets to collect samples of rabbit meat and fur, mounted several grand hunting expeditions to an apple forest, and cross-referenced immense portions of the animal studies available to him there. Four months were spent collecting data and another three in compiling his preliminary report. He did not, per Hatfield's rather mundane telling of the story, ever give a conclusive opinion one way or the other on the theory. The report was rather a detailed scrutiny of the local courtship rituals of the expat communities nearby the Station and the forest as compared to the mating habits of the wild rabbits. At points the report confused to the two as to imply that the expats were seducing, or being seduced, by rabbits. The analytical details supporting his supposed research was locked away in the appendices via a secret language called Pig Latin, or so I have been told. When I asked Aocer himself about this, he told me that most of the data he had cited were randomly chosen from the archives via a search for 'rabbit'. Nobody knows if our superiors ever read his report, but it was filed in the company archives to collect whatever the digital form of dust is. Aocer was transferred back to Tront in a non-judicial role, but his nephew began to make the family fortunes by exporting apple wines and rabbit furs from Kitap through the system. If you're interested in a more elaborated version of this little tale, I suggest following up with Isaaks as he tells it with a lot more flourish than I do. It was at the tail end of this dinner that MacRoi and I stepped out onto one of the balconies overlooking the courtyard park to enjoy some of the cool evening air. MacRoi, you must remember, works in security and is cleared for a lot of information that you or I would not normally be privy to. Normally this means nothing to our friendship, since corporate security only has a few responsibilities. They enforce the protocols to prevent plagues from spreading through the system, they keep the expats from moving between worlds or back to Earth, and they keep the inner workings of the transit system itself classified. The protocols are simple and effective. Medical teams are sent to each planet to provide healthcare to the Station workers and expats living nearby. The first arrive as small teams during the initial Station construction, and before the first expats are brought in, a large hospital is well-staffed. Radiation from the threshholds sterilizes the outside of the trains, while passengers and contents are quarantined on at the receiving station for a few days. Biochem analyzers in each Station search through the air, water, sewage, food, and trash for any diseases found by the network of hospitals. If some stray organism is found that could present a threat to Earth, it is the security teams that close off worlds and idle trains until either a solution is found or the threat revealed to be illusory. The expats, criminals who have chosen exile over imprisonment, are likewise isolated from Earth. Free to communicate with all of the other worlds but barred from transiting away from their assigned location, they can still enjoy most of the perks of civilization and the rewards of being able to claim and develop the new worlds. To keep them from returning to Earth with new fortunes or taking out any form of vengeance against those still on Earth, all of their communications are monitored by corporate security and each Station and research outpost is designed as a fortress. The company is scheduled to open planets up for free settlement one hundred years after the last expat arrival which means Dimet will be the first in another twenty-seven years, but until then only expats and company employees will call any of the worlds home. The design of the transit system is almost as big of a secret as how it works. Giant train-like vehicles run from world to world across the near-magical thresholds. How the company opens and controls the thresholds is one of our biggest secrets. In the unlikely occurrence of sentient alien contact, the ability to shuttle people and resources between worlds almost instantly is an ability we could apply to great effect but which could easily be used against us by anything with malicious intent. The structure of the network connecting the worlds is supposed to be a secret as well, but by now everyone knows of the linear path from Earth through the first ten worlds to the great hub at Pantic. Having been trained as a vehicle operator at Pantic when I first joined the company as well as my many return trips, both business and personal, I can readily attest that none of the leaked images of that facility attest to the grandeur, majesty, and security that it so justifiably warrants. All traffic from Earth past the Phase One worlds goes through Pantic, as well as the transiting between all eighty of the other worlds. Most travelers are unaware that they have been to Pantic, as the vehicles have almost no windows and usually move from one threshold through to another without stopping. It is through the efforts of engineers like Kim and security personnel like MacRoi that Pantic can continue to function as the heart of the network. There are rumors that the widespread knowledge of Pantic has caused concern among the company hierarchy and led to development of a second hub, but that is beyond my knowledge. Knowing all of this, it caught me off-guard when MacRoi casually mentioned that I should accompany him on a visit to M4276. Firstly, because MacRoi is the sort of man who enjoys his work enough that a vacation seems a spurious distraction from what he considers important. Secondly, MacRoi is one of the company's masters at diffusing riotous situations involving angry expats, while M4276 is an unsettled world where the Station is little more than a depot and quarters for the construction crew. Thirdly, because there wasn't even a construction crew on M4276. It had been transferred elsewhere shortly before rumors began that a city had been found by one of the scout drones. One of the first things done to establish a new Station is the dispatching of a small drone through the threshold. This lets the exploration team know if there is sufficient space for a station and the general topography. None of the atmospheres can support life, so the depot and the construction crew quarters are self-contained and buried inside a concrete shell. Balloons lift up survey packages and drones are flown in all directions to determine the location of any large bodies of water. Planets without sufficient water are not developed much past that point, but for those falling within the necessary parameters, algae and plankton from Earth's own seas are left to grow. Additional plants and animals are added as the atmosphere changes until the world is tolerable for settlement. According to legends and scuttlebutt, the drones on M4276 found oceans, but also found the remains of a city, leaked pictures show sunlight glinting off of skyscrapers on an island. The company, as any reasonable person would expect, denies that any aliens ruins have been found on any world. M4276 was, according to every publicly available record, a lifeless world. It was not a dead world where there had once been life, now passed, but sterile from the time of its own formation. The position the company repeated was cold, rational, and believed by practically nobody. We stared at each other while I thought, he with his steady patience and myself in dumbfounded amazement. As soon as I had finished thinking it through and recovered my senses, I agreed to accompany him. I tried to start a discussion into the logistics of the journey, but each time I brought up a point of concern he dismissed it with a wave of his hand. 'Already handled,' he would say. Sundries, shelters, survival suits, transportation, food, and even the time allocations were 'already handled.' I wasn't sure whether to be offended at his presumptions, ashamed of my own predictability, or put at ease by the way he trivialized matters that the company preferred remain complicated. With everything apparently handled, we rejoined our table for a few more drinks before parting for the evening. Several weeks later, having not heard from MacRoi in the interim, I was called to a meeting in the Planetary Administrator's office on Tront. I arrived fifteen minutes early and was ushered into a tiny office. I was hastily introduced to the Planetary Administrator, the Phase Administrators for Phases Three and Seven, and the Security Administrator for Phase Fifteen. Phase Fifteen had not, to my knowledge, completed seeding, so the presence of a Security Officer outside of that Phase caught me off guard. I became immediately suspicious that MacRoi's silence was not intentional on his part, but imposed by others in his department. The Administrator's must have sensed my concern. The formalities were concluded by telling me that I was in no trouble whatsoever. This is, of course, what they tell everyone who is in trouble. The rest of the meeting managed to prove them right. No questions were asked about my friendship with MacRoi or our previously planned excursion. I was, for reasons not explicitly stated but seemingly tied to my adaptability, being promoted early and suprisingly high. I was now the Phase Administrator for Phase Eighty-Seven, which had just opened up for initial construction. The releases provided to the press only discussed Phases through 25 inclusively, but the company had been working tirelessly to spread humanity through the universe and was well ahead of the publicly available schedule. My staff was still being selected and informed, and, until facilities were ready within Phase Eighty-Seven, would be operating out of a few empty warehouses on Pantic. I returned to my quarters as quickly as I could and began to box up my things. By quietly slipping some money to the expats looking for work in the residential section, I was able to move all of my belongings to Pantic by the following evening and took up residence in the Bachelor Officer Quarters, a building that I now realized was not as oversized as I had previously thought. The next morning I heard from MacRoi, now my own Security Administrator, about our expedition to what was now Dite, the third world of Phase Eighty-Seven. In one of my few acts as Administrator, I reduced the construction crews of the other nine worlds to two shifts, transferring the remainder to Dite, under the pretext of making it a hub within the Phase. My position put me mostly above question, so my justifications were unnecessary but I will always prefer to err on the side of caution. MacRoi and I traveled to Dite during the local spring, again with a false pretense, this time of observing first-hand the seeding of the dead seas with algae and plankton, something done by disposable drones and thoroughly uninteresting to actually observe. During lunch on our second day of this supposed observation, MacRoi outlined his plan to me. This wavered regularly between extensive detail and extreme vagaries. There had been placed, at his discretion, survival stations for unfortunate explorers approximately twenty-five miles apart between Dite Station and the phantom city. Each of these was well-supplied and designed to last from the beginning of human exploration of the planet until the world was tame enough for men to breathe the open air. Using these as shelter, his security team could escort us to the city in a few weeks time. This I promptly overruled. As the Phase Administrator, I needed no permission to tour my worlds, such familiarity was something the company encouraged, so I countered that we should just fly out there, a journey of two days given the limitations of our vehicles in a low-oxygen atmosphere. He consented, although given how he had manipulated the situation to that point, this may have been his plan originally, and the matter was settled. The next morning, I met MacRoi and his team at the top of the secondary construction barracks, built to house the additional personnel I had been transferring in. An enclosed heliport that would have housed drones if it was the primary had been used as storage for the manned vehicles. When human exploration/rescue officially began, everything would operate out of the primary as if it were, as originally planned, the only heliport. The secondary nature of the barracks afforded us not only this extra space, but the privacy to organize our affairs there as well. MacRoi and several of his men would fly with out with me, resting at a shelter near the midway point and explore from another shelter a few miles away from the city. A secondary vehicle would resupply the shelter with food, fuel, and other sundries as many times as possible during our outing. Everything being settled, we set out shortly before dawn the next morning. The sky, construction barracks being notoriously bereft of windows so I had not seen the Dite sky before, was a brownish-red through which clouds of a yellow-greenish color seemed to drift. We flew across an extensive array of hills and what may have been a large plain dotted with rust-colored lakes. We flew across a small mountain range and then a larger one that seemed to run at an odd angle to the first. We flew and flew and spoke not a word among us although VanSmith, one of MacRoi's men with whom I became much better acquainted after this trip, kept studying me as if he was concerned I would panic. I tried to whittle the time away by looking out the window at this new world, for which I was now responsible, and contemplating its future and potential past. Toward dusk we reached the designated shelter, and when the vehicle was safely stored we prepared our food into some semblance of a decent meal. There was ample food and water within the shelter, enough to our small group to survive several months or more, but we were trying to have as little impact as possible on future denizens. These shelters always became the first homes of the expats. While we ate, Lorwence, our pilot, told us about one such shelter adaptation, but that story is for another time. We went to sleep as we could, but were awakened frequently in the night by the weather. A storm had moved in, heavy winds and rains were battering the shell of the structure with such force that we thought it almost certain to give way. The walls held though, as did the storm, delaying us for most of that day, and as we all deemed it unwise to fly through unknown, unlit lands at night, we spent a second, much more peaceful night, in that desolate place. The second leg of our trip was almost as uneventful as the first. We were given a flyby of the city, which appeared magnificently upon a large, wide hill that had it been any smaller or had steeper sides, would have been counted as a plateau. A number of other hills stretched around it in every direction for what must have been twenty miles or so, at least. These other hills were smaller to the north and west, but larger to the south and east. The city itself was, as cities go, not impressive by any means excepting that of its very existence. Barring organisms brought or sent by men using company resources, this world had no life. Yet standing on that hilltop was what appeared in every respect to be a city. Shining black and silvery towers stood comparable to a nine-story building with rich golden inlays. We could not see great details through the dingy air, but we could see enough to understand why rumors persisted of this place. In awed silence, we fly to the shelter, supped, and slept through the night. We walked out the next morning. Each of us wearing an appropriate survival suit for Dite and carrying all of the resources we could to record and sample anything we found. The hike seemed long, and I had to stop to catch my breathe more than once while MacRoi and his men circled patiently. They were normally calm and uninterested in what went on around them but the previous night's flyover had put them on edge. I don't know what they expected we would find there, but MacRoi tried to casually persuade me to take his extra sidearm. I declined, being much more comfortable with the rifle in my pack than a pistol, but it was agreed that we would all be armed when we gained sight of that place, and Lowrence would keep ready to come pick us up at a moments notice if anything untoward should happen. As we began to crest the last hill before the city, I did stop to pull out and load my rifle. MacRoi and his men continued to circle, changing places every few minutes as we walked so they would not become too comfortable and unobservant in any given post. It was also not lost on me that as the city was now in view, they didn't spend much time looking towards it as they did scanning the horizon behind us. We all shared the feeling of being watched, and of being followed. The city had at its outskirts small stone outcroppings. We were mostly put at ease by these, but kept up our vigilance as we moved forward towards the heart. MacRoi gave signals to his men and they began to walk off alone, although the growing chatter on the radio gave away their cautious concern. Eventually even MacRoi wandered off, but neither he nor the others saw anything alive other than occasional glimpses of each other or myself. For my part, once I was alone, I began to study the place, not with only a vague awareness of my surroundings as if I were a tourist in a bus terminal, but with a keen interest in what I was surrounded by. The city was magnificent. The city was desolate. The city was completely and utterly dead. The buildings were crystalline in nature. Not like diamonds, ice, or salt, but like pyrite. Large sheets matted together over time and weathered into the shape of buildings. Only a geologist could explain how they came to be, and a geologist I am not. Likewise, I could not explain the regularity of them, or the flattened pathways between them that seemed like poorly constructed roads. From above, it looked like a city, from within, it looked as if a giant hand had stabbed at the ground with giant squarish slabs. From above, organized and structured; from below, uneven and haphazard. The company had been right. This had never been a city, although even then I could see the tourist potential of a place that seemed so obviously at a distance what it most definitely was not up close. I wandered around a bit, taking pictures of the uneven ground, the piles of fallen debris at the edges of each tower, and the pockmarked and fractured walls. I radioed back to Dite Station with instructions to install a rail-line and permanent research station as soon as possible. With that, MacRoi and the others began to consolidate around me. They were each weighed down by several small boxes of rock samples, hanging from bands around their shoulders. I had taken many pictures but forgotten to collect any hard evidence. Even weighed down with rocks, the security detail easily kept up with me as we returned to the shelter. We talked constantly on our return trip to the Station, but not about the city. It has been many years now and the research station there has been operating for a while but I won't attend the opening of the new rail-line. The quiet, desolate, desperation of that place does not make me believe that it once sheltered life, but neither does it keep me from believing that it is haunted. I still dream of it every now and then, and in none of those dreams were we alone, but watched constantly by faces in non-existent windows, forever chasing footsteps across the uneven ground, every glint off of the broad rock-faces at ground level a momentary door to somewhere else that is best kept closed. Goe, always trying new things.

03 March 2013

another try

Doug watched out the window as Rick opened the satellite. Asimov IV floated below them, looking like home. Asimov IV was not home. Asimov IV was not even habitable according to the computer, but it had been inhabited. It was a plague-world, home to intelligent life long before humans came to this part of space. Intelligent life means unintelligent life, animals and plants for food, decoration, or companionship. The greater the variety of life on a given planet, the greater the variety of microbes, and all new colonies were isolated to ensure they did not spread any new plagues through the galaxy. The first colony on Asimov IV had lost contact and it was labeled a plague-world. That had been thousands of years before, when this part of space was still new. Warning satellites had been placed around such planets and it was Doug's job to fix them. The Destiny had arrived two days earlier and the crew had begun their work. Doug, Rick, and Karen had been taking turns with the satellites. Karen spent most of her free time playing games with the ship's A.I., Rick spent his free time video-chatting with girlfriends who didn't know he was married, and Doug spent his spare time looking out the window. Rick floated in his suit above the satellite. The access panel was open and the diagnostic computer was attached. Doug watched Rick as Rick watched the computer. Each waited in silence. From somewhere else in the ship Doug could hear the captain complaining about something. The captain thought his decades of experience gave him some great wisdom or insight into space, but his belief in the power of his own mind was unjustified. This poorly paying contract was the best he could manage. The state of his ship was more a reflection of his crews hard work and dedication than it was of his own competence. Doug knew this and did not pay much attention to the captain's complaints. Outside the window, Rick moved down to the open panel. Doug knew something was wrong. A clean diagnostic can take hours, but failures end the diagnostic routines early. The next step would be for Rick to rotate the solar panels into darkness, reducing power throughout the satellite before starting repairs. Doug wondered if anyone on the surface would see the panels flashing overhead as they shifted into darkness. The thought of a descendent of plague survivors looking up to see such a flash made him smile a little. He stopped smiling when the screaming began. It was Rick's voice, but Rick was floating outside, at the diagnostic computer attached to the satellite. Doug scanned the length of the satellite and saw rockets firing. Rick was tethered to the satellite and would go with it if he failed to shut the engines off. Doug pressed on an intercom button next to the window. “Ship, help Rick shut the engines off!” “Only partially successful,” replied the computer. Doug could see some of the venting cease but the satellite began to turn towards the ship. Doug scrambled as quickly as he could away from the window. The safest place to survive an accident was inside a cargo pod, so into a cargo pod Doug went. The nearest pod at hand was a passenger pod stuffed with gear the captain wanted but never used. Doug hit the close button for the door and grabbed for the bunk as the ship shuddered from the impact. Sirens and alarms began wailing as Doug climbed into the bunk. Each cargo pod used the same structural shell with universal attachment systems so they could be moved from ship to ship. Capable of being entirely self-sustaining, they only lacked useful flight systems. Passenger pods were capable of housing a single passenger for a month without needing resupply, and the bunks were equipped with harnesses to from floating around in their sleep on a zero-G journey. These harnesses were also useful for crash landings. This was a point not lost on Doug as he strapped himself into the bunk. The cacophony seemed to go on forever. Doug thought he felt the pod separate but the shaking made it hard to tell. The noises coming over the intercom seemed to be random. Doug thought he could hear a person speaking now and again, but could not pick out what they were saying. He closed his eyes and wished that he could sleep through whatever came next. He did not sleep, but it seemed an eternity before some violent explosion rocked the pod. Doug could not tell if it was part of the ship or the satellite, but when impact cushions billowed out around the bunk he began to panic. He kept his eyes closed and waited for the end, but the noise and shaking started to slowly subside. After a few more minutes, the alarms started going quiet. A few continued until Doug told the computer to shut off all of them. He was surrounded by silence and focused his attention on the shaking. It seemed to have become almost rhythmic, rougher but similar to the Destiny's engines firing. “Computer, what is happening to the ship?” Doug asked. “The status of the Destiny is unknown. This pod is intact and will land shortly.” Great, Doug thought, crash-landing on a planet riddled with infectious diseases. Doug tried to see an upside as the pod landed and bounced it's way to a halt, but the best that he could do was that he wasn't going to die in space. Dying alone, forgotten, and on a forgotten world named after a forgotten person was not much better. It may even be worse. He lay in the bunk for hours. He did not want to get up but just lay there until death came for him. Nature calls on everyone eventually, and he unfastened the safety harnesses on the bunk only to tumble out onto the floor. The bags and boxes of the captain's things were all secured to the walls, leaving the cold metal floor exposed for him to lay on while he thought about the strength he had lost in zero-gravity. In a few moments he began to drag himself across the floor to the bathroom built into the corner of almost every pod. When he was finished, he dragged himself back across the floor and into the bunk. Physically and mentally exhausted, he lay motionless for hours before drifting off into a fitful sleep. He awoke the next morning poorly rested and aching. He crawled back across the floor to the bathroom again, but he emerged this time, he began digging through the captain's stockpile of random junk. He smiled without realizing it when he found the emergency supplies hidden behind a bag of what seemed to be mismatched boots. The stash included fair amounts of food and water, meaning that he would not starve to death in the near future. Given that he was alone, somewhere on a plague-world, he did not even need to worry about the expiration dates. He opened one of the bags of food and eat it slowly and without any enthusiasm for it. He ate, not because he was hungry, it would be days before he was truly hungry again, but because it gave him something to keep his mind occupied. Venturing outside was out of the question in his physical state, even if the air had been safe to breathe. When he finished his meal of stale crackers and what seemed to be a cheap artificial cheese spread, he grabbed a bag of water and crawled back to the bunk. He lay in the bed for an hour or more thinking about the water. If he drank the water, he could recover his strength faster and possibly come up with a plan. If he did not drink the water, he would become dehydrated but not need to crawl to the bathroom as often. He couldn't think of any reason he would want to go outside, so he carefully laid the bag down on the floor near the head of the bunk and went back to sleep. He woke again sometime later to noise. It sounded as if it were raining outside. He could not tell for sure. He did not know if it rained on this planet. He did not know how thick the walls, door, or roof of the pod were. He did not know how the sewage system in the pod worked, or what was powering the lights. He did know that not drinking the water had not spared him another crawl across the room. He managed this with considerable effort. Each trip left his muscles sore and tense and his mind racing. He had enough foresight this time to push a fair amount of the supplies closer to the bed this time. He ate some more and drank a little water before fading off to sleep. He did not know it but he had ended his first full day in the pod. He woke early the next morning, at least in accordance with the time his watch gave him. He tried sitting up but almost immediately felt cramping through his entire back. He fell back quickly and grunted a few times from the pain. He began twisting and turning, trying to rebuild some of his strength when it occurred to him that he didn't know what time it was outside. “Computer, what time is it?” “The time is 7:17.” This matched his watch. “Computer, what is the local time?” “The local time is 7:17.” “Computer, how can my watch know what the local time if it was set for a different location?” “Your watch is showing you the current time. The current time is 7:18. Your watch does not know that there are multiple locations and is showing you the correct time for your current location.” He thought about this for a minute, pondering different ways to ask the question that might give him a useful result. It then occurred to him that the computer in a storage pod should not have the intelligence to give him the useless answer that it did. The captain may have changed something. The captain had not been good with his hands but had never shied away from buying things that he did not need. A pod with a near life-life intelligence wasn't exactly past the captain's means, but if that much had been put into the pod's computer, Doug wondered what other changes had been made. “Computer, play some music for me.” It began playing a song Doug had not heard before. He found the lyrics distracting and asked for instrumentals only. The computer obliged and Doug lost himself in thought for a while before falling back asleep. He was sore when he woke again, his limbs contained a stiffness he hadn't felt in a long time. He stretched, he ate, and he wondered if anybody had been notified that he had gone missing. He thought about the women he had known, he thought about friends he was missing, and he wondered if it would be better to open the door and let the local pathogens kill him, find some way to commit suicide-by-technology, or just let starvation eventually take its toll. He drifted off to sleep again and ended his second day dreaming that he was laying in a field of shortly-cropped grass, basking in the sunshine of a warm afternoon. On the third day, he woke early again. He tried to stretch and exercise following the same improvised regimen he had used the day before, but found that he could not quite get through it all. He was able to sit up though, which made eating rather easier. He took another nap midday and made several futile attempts to stand up. The computer lulled him to sleep with some pleasant little melody he thought he may have heard before. The rest of the week passed in a similar fashion. By the end of the tenth day he could walk around the pod upright without either being forced back into the bunk by cramping muscles or needing to hold onto things for support. He then began pilfering through the captain's gear and found enough survival gear to keep him well-equipped almost anywhere. He picked out a rucksack, several duffel bags, and a luggage cart. He loaded a second emergency kid he had found into the rucksack and filled the duffel bags with whatever clothing was close to his size, several tents. The duffel bags he tied to the cart and several large pouches filled with assorted gadgets and tools were hung on the rucksack. Although the thought of going outside filled him with trepidation, he was ready to leave whenever the time came. It was on the sixteenth day that he awoke unable to move. He tried calling out to the computer but could not seem to form any words. The only noise he could force himself to muster was the panting of a wounded animal. The spasms and cramps were so severe that he worried bones would have broken if he had recovered more of his strength. Some noises came from the doorway and he knew the pod had opened. All of his preparations were for naught. He was infected and darkness closed in on his mind. Goe, trying to kickstart some ideas.

25 December 2012

Generic Adventure revisited

The boy stood watching the last light of the setting sun fade away. Several of the pigs began squealing at him and he twisted a little to give them a glance. They were watching him lean on his walking stick, a bucket filled with kitchen refuse hanging from his left hand. The boy walked slowly to the pen and lay his walking stick against the fencing. With both hands now free, he heaved the bucket up and over the fence, dumping the contents into the trough. The pigs squealed again and began to eat as he picked up his stick and began walking to the hilltop.
From the hilltop he could see everyplace that he had ever been. The farm where he and his sisters took care of their ailing father was on the western slope. Below it lay a few fields and the village beyond. To the south lay fields belonging to the mayor, who lived in the village and left his fields to be worked by others. To the north lay the Thick Wood, where the trees would not grow taller than the three-story tower that the lord kept but would grow almost as wide before being felled. Beyond the Thick Wood, many miles off, a great glow could be seen coming from the Place of Things where no one in the village had ever been. To the east lay more fields and a broad meadow beyond which lay the outlying farms of the next village.
The boy could hear someone coming as he stared up at the night sky. Stars twinkled and shimmered as one of his sisters began to call to him. He recognized her voice as that of Hideous but he still turned to face her.
“The stars are far away. Your bed is much closer.”
“The stars are much prettier. They are prettier than anything we have.”
“I would say yes, but we have the stars every time we look up at night, so they are ours.”
“Yes,” said the boy, wrinkling his face in thought. Together they looked up at the night sky. A bright flash drew their attention westwards, to the sky above and past the village. “A shooting star!”
“Yes,” his sister replied as the streaking light cut across the sky to their north. “But let's go home now and sleep.”
His sister began walking back to their little house, growing dim on the distance. The boy sighed and wondered what the stars were made of. Nobody in the village knew but nobody in the village knew much about anything outside of the village. Knowing things was dangerous and people who asked too many questions began to know things. His mother had known things, and she had died screaming. His father had asked too many questions and lost an arm. The boy knew that he would never know what the stars were made of and sighed again. As he began to walk home, he glanced at the pigs feeding in their pen and smiled. He didn't need to know about the stars to raise pigs and chickens or to tend the fields. His world was full and complete.
Goe, trying a new story

30 August 2012


Saw super-cute bunny on the way to work. Also, can apparently post to blogger from my kindle. Goe, finished reading Jane Austen.

27 June 2011

A Pirate!

A giant lego pirate, with real lego minifig at his feet for scale. This one wasn't from the Creative Park but from Ninjatoes.

Goe, giving the pirate away.

05 May 2011

Bridal Bear

From this space for sublet


Hearts in her eyes.

From this space for sublet

The frilly back.

Goe, sleepy...

28 March 2011

From art 2011

Greater Pied Kingfisher, although only pumpkin is really greater pied.

16 January 2011


Kitty with a beagle (for a departing coworker)(9 pages)

From this space for sublet
From this space for sublet

Kitty with a raccoon (1 page)

12 December 2010

red-eyed demon bunny. one piece of paper. i dont know why they made his eyes red.

Goe, making stuff

04 August 2010

the giraffe resumed.

From this space for sublet

shoulders are a bit tricky to put together, made more complex by the need for the chest piece (tiny thing filling the armpit area).

31 July 2010

and done

without face, you can see the neck flange inside the head, notice that the face itself is heart shaped.

From this space for sublet

and tada!
From this space for sublet

and back to the giraffe...

More bear

left leg, with crumpled flange...

From this space for sublet

and body with leg attached and flange uncrumpled.

From this space for sublet

the flange permits the leg to rotate, like a ball-n-socket joint, making the bear posable. superglue on the flange (done carefully so as not to glue the leg in place) makes the paper stiffer and less likely to re-crumpled so it doesn't become unattached in the future.
The torso, with neck flange at top. limbs go on with a flange also, so to unfold the flanges inside the body (so they can hold the limbs on), it has to be assembled from the legs up. This bear comes with a wedding dress that i won't be making.

From this space for sublet


the face goes on last. a flange is attached to the top of the body, and crumpled up, inserted through the hole at the base of the head, then unfolded. to unfold it, you reach it through the hole where the face goes, then put the face on to complete the bear.

From this space for sublet

30 July 2010

and now for something different

stopped work on giraffe to make pink bear for expectant coworker.

29 July 2010

Starting a new giraffe

forgot how to make the face, so i looked it up and realized it was actually rather obvious. i hate it when i miss something that seems obvious.

30 January 2010

everything comes to an end.

Time ended. Just a few hours ago, I think. I'd just gotten out of work and was waiting at the bus stop with a few co-workers and some others when I heard a loud banging noise. Some of the women screamed a bit, although I'm not sure if it was from pain or fright. I, myself, had a sudden pain on my wrist, as though a match had been held to it. I grabbed and rubbed at the pain while observing those around me do the same, knocking the remnants of our watches to the ground.

The passengers on the bus we were waiting for arrived while we were still trying to comprehend what had happened. They came floating up, standing and sitting on nothing and then, as startled by this as we were, they fell to the ground. Backpacks, purses, and bodies formed a heap in the lane which did almost nothing to stop the bus when it finally arrived and neatly parked atop them. The doors promptly opened revealing the driver, the upper part of his body projecting out of the dashboard. He turned and mouthed something, maybe words of fright or a last guttural gasp before he died. I couldn't hear him over the screaming of the crushed, the noise of the engine, and the mayhem that was ensuing all around us.

We waited in the bus shelter for help, not unable to pull others to safety, but unwilling to risk being struck by the vehicles and debris that seemed to come in no pattern and without visible cause. We put out several small fires in pockets and purses caused by burning cellphones, but mostly we just waited. Help should have come already, it's far past time.

Goe, would like to be a better writer.

30 October 2009

ironic, dontcha think?

my horoscope says that i can't trust the voices in my head. oh, sweet irony, you make me chuckle.

Goe, really does think.

30 September 2009

woohoo! Slaugherhouse revisited!

there's this about what exactly is meant by the following phrase

"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States" from the fourteenth amendment.

the supreme court said that that phrase is meaningless in 1873 or so.

that it's being taken seriously again is important.

Goe, happy about this.

26 August 2009

Dreaming of Charlie

She stumbled towards her grandparents house. Cars were usually parked in a corner of the yard but a glance over her shoulder showed nothing there. She stopped and looked again at the house, which appeared to have been expanded to either side. Familiar concrete steps led up to the front door but the additions were at ground level, below the one-story house itself. She hadn't been here since her grandparents died and wasn't sure who could have made those changes. Anybody could have. She wasn't even sure who owned the house anymore.
She began moving again, now in a more steady stroll. Soldiers were standing outside smoking, she hadn't noticed them before. As she climbed the steps, they gave her the feigned smiles of terrified men. She smiled back instinctively and wondered why they were there. She opened the door and entered. The living room had also been redone. It now had a walkway looping all the way around the upper floor with a finely carved railing that clashed with the plaster walls. It both seemed to fit and not, but she couldn't put her finger on why. Soldiers were gathered around a table at the center of the room looking at documents. They weren't happy men and their conversation stopped as she had entered.
“Oh, it's you,” said Charlie, dressed as an army officer. “We were hoping for more.”
“What's going on?” she asked.
He shook his head and led her to a bedroom door that opened to reveal not a bedroom, but stairs leading upwards. He waited for her to clear several steps before following. When they reached the upper floor, he again took the lead long enough to open another door, this time to what would have been right above her grandparents bedroom. She entered and stepped to the left. He followed and moved to the right. The room was almost as large as she remembered the small house having been once. Soldiers stood in the corners, staring at their own feet. They were wearing what appeared to be some sort of middle ages armor, made of plastics instead of iron, and all had rifles pointed downwards at the stone floor.
In the center of the room, spanning some ten feet across, was a hole, lined with a stone wall like that of an old-fashioned well. Charlie shouted something incomprehensible and all of the soldiers moved to the wall, lifting their rifles just enough to clear the wall before pointing down into the darkness. Charlie, now wearing armor and carrying a weapon, had a spot at the wall, and she stepped forward to see what he and the others were doing here.
A fluttering noise came up from the blackness and dark shapes began rising. They looked like giant bats and the soldiers began firing Although some of the shapes rose slower, none fell back into the darkness. After a few seconds, the shapes began to clear the opening and circle the room behind them. Afraid to look behind her, she saw them circling the room behind the soldiers, who circled the wall in turn. They formed an almost solid column now, a few feet across at the center of the hole and rising to the ceiling where they spread out to the walls.
The soldiers stopped firing and she looked at the one next to her. Instead of reloading, he leaned forward and looked down at the rising shapes. The rising column grew rapidly in width, but despite the seemingly endless flow, the creatures were not visibly increasing their numbers in the room. She looked at the column and wondered where they were all going when everything went black.

“I was dreaming of you,” Karen said to Charlie when she saw him for lunch.
“Was it a good dream?” he asked, picking at his fries.
“Not really. I would tell Dave about it but he'd just get jealous.” She tilted her head in an overly dramatic way to let him know she was thinking of something he wasn't supposed to understand. “I never dream about him. Why is that, do you think?”
“Maybe your subconscious doesn't love him like you do. Maybe it's still got a thing for your ex-husband?”
“I don't dream about him either, anymore. It's almost always people from work.”
“How is work?”
“Boring. No more layoffs at least. They want us to make a story out of some artists stealing each others work, like people can't have similar ideas or even different ideas with the same result.”
“Or maybe neither the ideas or the result is original. You could always go for the snark angle: which is the greater crime? Stealing the concept, stealing the creation, or destroying the culture by passing crap off as art?”
“It's not crap.” she said, grabbing one of his fries and stabbing at the ketchup with it. “Just because you don't understand it doesn't make it crap.”
“I didn't say that I don't understand it. I did say that it's crap, but it's unoriginal crap. Things that are unoriginal are usually pretty easy to figure out and the original stuff almost always has some zen sort of 'could mean anything you want it to' approach to it. And please stop trying to kill my ketchup.”
She look at him at she chewed the weaponized french fry. Not a lot bothered Charlie but she had bruised his ego enough with the implication of ignorance that he was starting to sulk.
“I'm sorry.”
“It's okay,” he said in a tone of voice that boldly hinted the opposite, “The ketchup had it coming. It was looking at me funny earlier.”
“I'm going on an art walk tomorrow to see the whatever it is that is supposed to be stolen. You can come if you want. I'd like that.”
“I think I might like it too.”
Charlie carefully smoothed out the ketchup with a remaining fry, unaware that Karen was staring with tilted head.

The first gallery had a cat. The art displayed consisted of a glazed sculpture of the cat, a number of photographs of the cat, and t-shirts with photographs of the cat.
“I think the message in this art is that these people like cats.” said Charlie.
“Yeah, do you think they'd let me pet it?”
“Maybe, it's supposed to be a world famous cat.”
“Well, it is. They sell a lot of pictures on the internet.”
“I'm sure a lot of sex toys are also sold online, but that doesn't make Granny's World Famous Dildo's into art.”
Karen threw her head back and laughed. “I still want to pet the cat.”

The second gallery had sculpted dioramas of ceramic bodied figures with wire limbs hunting and gathering amid the ruins of a city built of lego blocks.
“So did they steal the idea of bad sculpture?” said Charlie, pointing at foot-high figures involved in a ceremony on library steps.
“It's not bad. Sculpting things is really hard.”
“Something being hard increases the likelihood of someone doing it wrong and the results being bad. The mosaic lizards in northeast are good, this is bad.”
“Whatever. Just because you're not good at something doesn't make them bad at it.”
“Doesn't make them good at it either.”
“Whatever, dude. That little guy there looks kind of like you.” Karen pointed at a priest figure.
“I thought I was taller.”
“Do you have any idea what people see when they look at you?”
“No. Not a clue.”
“They see that guy, but taller.”
Charlie looked at the figure for a moment. “Maybe they have a cat that we haven't spotted yet?”

The third gallery had drawings hung on the walls of people in concentration camps, but instead of dark and dreary conditions, corporate logos and vending machines abounded.
“I don't see any bad sculpture here.”
“Dude, seriously, have you ever tried to make something out of clay? It's really freakin' hard.”
“They're doing something they suck at and think they do it well. They should know what they can and can't physically do. It doesn't matter if I can or can't do it, what matters is what they can, or in this case, can't do.”
“Then how would anybody ever get better?”
\ “By playing to their strengths. If you can draw, draw, if you can make things out of clay, make things out of clay. Don't do what you're bad at. I can't make things out of clay so I don't.”
“You also don't date.”
“Not 'exactly'! If you want to be good at something, you have to try. And you do need to get out more.”
“I'm out now. And I don't see a cat.”
“No, no kitty here.”
“It can't be stray fur. You can't steal fur. Cats give it away for free.”
“Whatever dude.”
“Any clue as to what they're mad at each other for stealing?”
“No, the guy we sent down to do the interviews found out that they're worried it'll hurt their prices if the works aren't original.”
“I thought controversy made things more expensive.”
Karen didn't answer. She traced the outline of one of the prisoners with her finger, head tilted to one side.

At the fourth gallery, statues made of broken bottles fused together formed a football team.
“You can see through these and I don't see a cat anywhere.”
“I don't think it's about a cat,” said Karen, slowly circling a crouched player.
“How come none of these artists are starving. Aren't they supposed to be starving?”
“I don't know. Maybe they sell a lot of their work?”
“If they sold a lot, wouldn't they be sell-outs and not artists? Isn't that how it works?”
“No,” whispered Karen, reading the placard of a player holding a ball over his head. “Don't be so silly.”
“Are you sure? I thought that it wasn't really art unless it was suffered for.”
“No,” said Karen, gently tapping the nose of another player. “Art is art, the suffering just makes it interesting, and as for selling out, it's just toe-may-toe poe-taw-toe.”
“Now you're the one being silly.”
“I may be silly, but I think I figured it out,” replied Karen, tapping Charlie gently on the nose.

At the fifth gallery, body parts mounted to the walls gave the illusion of people passing through those walls, while holding up other things.
“Is it something symbolic? Like nature's inhumanity towards man?” asked Charlie, studying a towel draped over a waiter's arm mounted on the wall.
“I don't think so, I'd have to check with some guys at the office to find out for sure, but it is kind of weird.”
“What's weird is that they want seven hundred dollars for this arm and couldn't find a towel with a higher thread count.”
“Maybe they didn't want anything too fancy schmancy?” asked Karen, standing by a bodyless head that faced upwards, with candles sitting where there should have been eyes.
“I could understand the not-fancy, but the schmansy is a must for what will undoubtedly become the pink flamingo of the future.”
“That's kind of harsh.”
“Yes, much like this towel, which is not smooth, gentle, or fluffy.”
“A towel critic now, are we?”
“Yes, but only in the evenings. It doesn't come with dental so I'm keeping the day job for now.”

The sixth gallery had paintings of animals dressing, living, and mingling with humans.
“This looks like something from Richard Scary,” said Charlie.
“I remember those. I used to spend hours pouring over them when I was little.”
“Me too. I would try to make up stories for each and every person.”
“I do that in food courts. People watching is a lot of fun.” said Karen, tapping her finger on nothing in front of a painting of three people, a goat, a badget, and an alien waiting at a bus stop in the rain. “Bus stops just aren't as fun. You can't look around at others so much without them seeing and thinking that you're creepy.”
“Maybe they don't think you're creepy. Maybe they're flattered by the attention? And why are those people in the back staring at me?”
“Because you're creepy.”
“No. You really don't have any idea how anybody sees you, do you?”
“No. Not really. You've asked me that twice now, is there a reason?”
“You're the reason,” answered Karen, pointing at the painting.

Goe, thought it would be longer when he started it.

16 August 2009

Richard Marx

He won't give up until he's satisfied.

1) he doesn't listen to the rolling stones and doesn't know that he can't get no satisfaction, no no no, hey hey hey, that's what they say.

2) he's really being satisfied but keeps claiming this to extort more from people forced to listen to him sing.

3) he has no attention span and forgets that he is unsatisfied after a few minutes of singing and goes to the next song.

Goe, going with a combo of 1 and 3