Joe2stories

Stories from a Dublin Scientist

Category: Science Fiction

Notice to walkers

Walking along the beach If you happen to see a fish just lying there in a jug don’t tip it over. It’s the Trixian ambassador admiring the view. “It reminds me of home” she says, “Although the chemistry’s wrong”.

Ink Sea by ahermin [http://ahermin.deviantart.com/art/Ink-Sea-52166212]

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Written for the Grammar Ghoul Press Shapeshifting 13 challenge number 39.

 

Picture it and Write: Real

Hi there! This is my offering for this week’s picture it and write for Ermilia’s blog here. Once again, the picture is not mine, it is by paleotic, I only use it for inspiration. Anyway, enjoy.

Real

Robert Fields was in a bad mood. Today was turning out to be one of those kinds of days at the DinoZoo, America’s primary prehistoric park.

The Pachycephlasaurs were pummeling each other.

A Triceratops had toppled a tree on a Troodon.

The Mammoths were moulting.

And the T-Rex had a toothache.

Each one of these on their own would be a great enough problem to lead to Robert pulling his hair off. But then, to top it all off, he had just gotten a call from the raptors.

Just to be clear, this wasn’t about the raptors, it was from the raptors. They had turned out to be a lot less aggressive but considerably more intelligent than originally envisaged. They were so smart, in fact, that the park was forced to consider them employees rather than exhibits. Pretty good wages, their own on-site apartments, lunch breaks, full health insurance, and paid leave, though few places actually would let them visit (a team of lawyers were working on that).   

Knowing better than to let his prize attractions wait Robert rushed to the Raptor exhibit. As expected; they were not on display, it being lunch time, so he went on back to the employee lounge. There they were, all five of the raptors and maybe another eight human park rangers, sitting around a table, chatting away. There appeared to be a heated discussion going on and Robert caught Billy, the head greens keeper end with a “You’re right! It is a disgrace. We should give those guys back in the office a piece of our mind.” There were shouts and hisses of agreement from around the table. But that all stopped when someone spotted Robert at the door.

Every eye turned at once on Robert, human and raptor both equally cagey. Then Doris, the raptors’ pack leader, and union rep for the whole zoo (raptors were very good negotiators, even without the threat of disemboweling) got up and walked over to him. She had some papers in her talons, this was never a good sign.

She practically tossed the papers at Robert. “What isssss the meaning of thisssss?” she asked in accented but perfectly passable English. He read through the first few. It was a selection of articles harvested from the internet. He knew quickly enough what this was going to be about.  Oh crap, he thought.

More feathered dinosaurs discovered in Mongolia, one headline said.

Tyrannosaurus; Scaly or Fluffy? said another.

And most damning of all, All Real Dinos had feathers; how DinoZoo got it wrong.

“Thisssss isssss Outrageousssss.” Doris said. There were ‘yessssses’ and ‘damn rights’ from back at the table. “You make usssss. But you do not do it right. Exssplain yourssself.”

Robert let out a sigh of anguish. He had tried everything in his power to prevent the raptors finding that out, no modern text books, censored internet access, everything but it was only a matter of time. He still wasn’t  sure how it was going to explain it. The lab boys had their share of the blame, using lizard and crocodile DNA in the mix. So had marketing, convincing everyone that ‘scaly is scarier’. But he had a feeling that most was going to fall on him, like it always did.

He checked the organiser on his phone. “Dave from Head Office will be over for the next Board meeting on Monday. I can add your concerns to the agenda an discuss them then. Is that alright?”

“For now.” She nodded in assent “We exsspect an apology for this abysssmal treatment.” She turned her back on him, that meant their conversation was over, you didn’t argue with a raptor.

Robert left the room and headed straight for the office, his mind already thinking of the thousand other problems that demanded his attention. Still; ways to diffuse this latest raptor problem occasionally surfaced in his head. What if he got an artist to draw Doris as she would with feathers? Went all out ridiculous, maybe she would find it so silly she wouldn’t speak of it again. Or what if he changed the rosters for the petting zoo so that Doris got out of it? The others would get jealous at that and maybe he could break-up their united front. He shook is head, Doris would see through that in a second, he’d have a strike on his hands quicker than he could say “Clever Girl”. Nobody wanted that.

Robert mulled it a bit more as he walked past the rest of the exhibits and thronging visitors. He laughed at himself. If anyone told him back in business school that he would he negotiating with a dinosaur…much less how good she’d be at it.

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Handling animals

“This rat is growing. Pregnant perhaps?”

“God!  Did you put the males with the females?”

“Yeah! Why not?”

“They’re chimeras, Rat/human chimeras.”

“Even the?”

“Reproductive Organs? Yeah!”

“Shit!”

“Then there’s a 50/50 chance some of the fetuses are???????”

“Human. Yeah!”

“Shit!”

“We have to kill them. Nobody can know.”

“I’ll get the gas.”

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Written for Grammar Ghoul Press Shapeshifter 13 Challenge #4.

The Ultimate Weapon

The technicians soldered the last couple of connections to the suit before pressing the switch. A room of engineers, workers and military brass were watching with bated breath. If this test succeeded and the exosuit performed as well as they hoped it would. They would finally have a weapon that could match, and hopefully best the machine hordes that had devastated so much of the world. Time was short and they had to succeed.

Captain Jameson felt a shock overtake his whole body as the suit hijacked his neural system. From his point of view he was now the suit. He could feel the pressure sensors on the metal surface of the suit as if they were his own skin. His ears were the microphones and sonar arrays, he could hear in a wider range and with far greater sensitivity than he used to be able to. His eyes were a series of cameras, with telescopic vision far better than an eagle’s and capable of seeing as well in infrared as in the UV part of the spectrum.

The computers even supplemented his cognitive power and though he was not quite aware of it he was thinking far faster than he ever had before.

To his enhanced faculties it took the general an irritating length of time to give an order “It looks OK Jameson! Get out so the medicos can give you a once-over.”

But Jameson did not want to get out. He felt better than he ever did. Everything was so clear to him now. Far clearer than it seemed to those Brass in front of him. The same brass who seemed to be costing him and his friends the war.

Why should he even take orders from them? After all he now knew he was far smarter than they were.

He looked over his suits systems. They hadn’t loaded any missiles or light projectiles. But the laser was ready to go.

That would be more than enough.

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Image courtesy of messi and taken from the Wiki Commons
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Written for The Light and Shade Challenge for Monday September 8th 2014

Report

Progress report: Cycle 12-18.56, Examining Agent: Number 93

Remote sensing of the implanted biomass shows that it has expanded in mass by three orders of magnitude since initial seeding. From observations it may be concluded that cellular differentiation has already occurred and we predict adaptive complex structures to form in approximately 0.2 millicycles. Based on experience contact with native intelligent lifeforms should commence at that time.

An additional report shall be made at the first death amongst the humans.

WILD LIFE

PHOTO PROMPT – Copyright – Madison Woods

Written for Friday Fictioners.

Picture it and Write: The Archive

Hi there! This is my offering for this week’s picture it and write from Ermilia’s blog here. Once again, the picture is not mine I only use it for inspiration. Anyway, Enjoy!

The Archive

Normally small boys are not quiet. It is usually fairly easy to know when they are around from the screams, shouts and sounds of things falling and breaking. It was always a bit of a surprise the when Marcus, one of the youngest in our little community comes into my study as quiet as you like. It is almost like magic: you are minding your own business and then poof there he is right in front of you.

That is not to say that these surprises are in any way unwelcome. I am quite fond of the boy. In so much as I care for each and every child we have he can be unashamedly be called my favourite. There is a curiosity and hunger for learning that truly reminds me of myself at that age, in so far as I can remember my youth at such a distance. His visits, as many and as irregular as his chores allow, are always a highlight of my day.

“Good morning Grandfather.” He tells me in the style of our times, Grandfather referring to all of us ancient folk, he is, sadly, no blood of mine.

“Good morning Marcus” I respond, removing my glasses, my most precious possession and turning to face him. “Care to look at the latest work.”

He is always eager to look at what new miracle I have transcribed. Across the desk, littered with brushes, pens and half-made pigments, there is a manuscript, half completed. Along the neat hand-written, script are delicate drawings of wildflowers.

“Is this all about flowers Grandfather?”

“Yes Marcus.” I chuckle “These are about flowers that are found on the high mountains. Some have medical uses that we could exploit if we ever send gatherers there.”

He looks at the pages, flipping back as delicately as he can. “Do you think we ever will be able to use them?”

“That is not for me to know Marcus. Who knows when such knowledge would ever be useful? But don’t you think that if we ever send people there they will appreciate having this written down?”

“I suppose Grandfather. That is the whole purpose of the Archive, isn’t it?”

“Very much so Marcus.” I point towards the shelves and shelves of books along the walls. “At the start we only taught what people needed right now. And that is useful. But what will happen when something unexpected happens and we are not here to help anymore?”

“Don’t be silly! You’re not going to die.”

“I may have been around all your life, and the life of your father and grandfather before him. But that does not mean that I am immortal. I am aging, slowly but surely, and eventually I will die. And with me all the knowledge I have saved.”

Marcus bent a little at that. That was part of the lore amongst our community. Now the ancients had saved all they could from the vast and mighty Internet and stored it in their heads to aid the people who survived the collapse.

My perfect memory remembers how it was before. There were few books outside museums. Anything we wished to know could be injected, right from the ether, into our minds, as if we had always known it. Then, in the panic as the first servers failed. Those with foresight. Took as much as our minds would hold. Science, engineering, possibly useful skills. When the implants no longer responded and we found ourselves alone in our heads for the first time. Many panicked, so many died. But those like us, those who saved knowledge, managed to keep going, if only for a while.

The next generation didn`t have implants, no genetic adjustments or neural connections, they had to be taught the old-fashioned way, so we did. They learned enough from us to survive, even to thrive in a way. But so much had been lost. The miracles of the old world long since crumbled to dust.

As keepers of wisdom we are revered but we are not eternal. One by one, time claims even us and with us the priceless trove of knowledge in our possession.

“All these books” I tell Marcus “Is but a tiny fraction of the knowledge I have in here.” I tap my head “But it may be enough to help start over should you need.”

Even in the fading sunlight coming through the window I can make out some of the titles. Advanced Calculus over there Human Anatomy there and Introductory Nuclear Physics in the back. 

I hold the book in my hand “These books.” I say to the boy “Will be added to from all I know for as long as I can. After that: I will entrust it to you all. In the name of the future. So that it is there whenever you need it.”

“Like when someone wants to go to the high mountains?” He says pointing at the book in my hand.

“Exactly Marcus!” I ruffle the hair on his head. “The Archive would be no good without the knowledge to use it. To have an idea what is needed and when. The wrong information can be worse than useless. It would be an important duty for the good of all.”

“I’m sure I can do it.” Marcus said boldly, sticking his chest out. “You can trust me!”

I laughed again to myself. I say it again. I like this boy. But I figure that he will be long gone by the time I finally pass on from this world. Still: Accidents can happen and it is no small measure to have a contingency in place in case there is an accident.

“OK Marcus!” I say “I’m sure I can.”

I open my latest manuscript at the start and invite him to look.

“Now why don’t you read this with me?”

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Picture it and Write: Immortal

Hi there! This is my offering for this week’s picture it and write from Ermilia’s blog here. Once again, the picture is not mine, it is by Robert Carter, I only use it for inspiration. Anyway Enjoy!

Immortal

When you’re young, you tend to think that you’d live forever. Age usually means you leave that idea behind but not in the case of William McDivitt, who was fast approaching his eightieth year, fifth with cancer.

William was a professor in cognitive sciences, specializing in the interface between technology and biology. He was a pioneer of the neural interface, the means so many of us now use to educate and inform ourselves of the vast stores of knowledge the world had to offer.

What he was really working towards wasn’t putting information into brains however. What he was working for was taking information, the knowledge, memories, the essence of life, out for safe keeping. He had a postdoc, by the name of Linus, who worked on linked computer systems, and he was able to cobble together a network of parallel processors, over 100 cores working together to give approximately the same amount of power on a table top as a single human brain.

William had the latest, most advanced, interface installed and had Linus switch the program from inject to extract.

The process was, to say the least, traumatic. In order to read his mind the interface had to destroy it. Ethically, he could only try it on himself. He was sacrificing his life in order to live forever.

Linus watched the screen on the computer as the loading screen went from 60% to 80% to, finally, 100%. Then he waited.

Minutes passed. He typed in a query. There were petabytes of memory in the hard drive, he could see the filled files, but nothing was working. There was no answer.

Minutes changed to hours. Linus ran diagnostics, glanced at the raw data, looking at how it all fell together. But something was wrong.

The computer was humming, filled with information as Linus looked on. Deep inside the casing, within the hard drive, was all the information that was within William’s brain.

But the force with which it had been removed, the trauma had distorted it, broken it up, beyond use.  Though his body had died, William’s mind remained. But only as a shadow, scattered to the electric winds, without the soul to use it.

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Picture it and Write: Long Night

Hi there. This is my offering for this week’s picture it and write, from Ermilia’s blog here. Once again, the picture is not mine, I only use it for inspiration. Anyway, Enjoy!

Long Night

There was a reddish hue on the ground when Galiph opened the door to his small cabin. Looking up he saw Ares, the larger of the two moons, blood red and low in the sky. It was a sight that he never got used to.

It was only a matter of orbital mechanics, of course. Ares wasn’t red itself, the colour was from the light reflected from the red dwarf star, named Ember by the colonists, that was the primary for their new home, Janus. That red sun never showed it’s face there however. Janus was tidally locked around ember and Galiph and the rest of his community lived on the far side, in perpetual Ember-Night.

But that was of little concern. For Ember orbited a much brighter, larger star called Flare. In its forty standard day  revolution around Ember, their world was exposed to the much greater light and heat of Flare in a cycle they had come to call the Long Day. It was so different from home. But people could adapt to anything.

Flare had set only a few hours previously and Galiph had invited some friends over to celebrate Flare-Set with a couple of drinks. Like him, they were fishermen, making use of the fruits of the Long Day. Most people lived on the light-side in perpetual summer, but there was money to be made here provided you could cope.

“Will you look at that!” Breathed Jasal, ship’s captain and Galiph’s closest friend. “That’s an ominous sign if I ever saw one” He had come out to see what Galiph was looking at.

Galiph looked at his friend. “What do you think it means?” He asked.

“It means you should close that door and help me get this fire lit. We’re freezing in here!”

Jasal was right. The temperature was already starting to drop. From the almost tropical heat of high-noon the night would plummet to below freezing. Day was the time for action, the time to sail the seas and tend to the outside. Night was spent inside. Inside homes and inside thoughts.

Galiph nodded with a smirk and took one more look out the door. Ares, he knew was soon to be joined by Vulcan, it’s smaller companion. Still under the light of Flare it would drown out this ruddy hue in it’s own ghostly brilliance. Brighter but still cold and unforgiving. 

That was of little concern to Galiph however as he closed the door to rejoin his friends and the warmth in his home. The Long Night had fallen, it was time to be inside.

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They Live

They live amongst us!

Extraterrestrials!

Aliens,

Creatures from another world!

“Whatever! You tell me, “I knew that! I’ve seen the photos, read the eyewitness statements. I know all about it!”

But think! If the sightings in the country were all there were, it seems an awfully inefficient way of doing things. It sounds like the trainees or interns at work. The pros would a bit more savvy. After all: why spend hours flying around the arsehole of nowhere trying to find some hillbilly to anal-probe when every big city has a nightclub you can go to at three in the morning and you will find someone willing in ten minutes flat, and they’ll even buy you a drink afterwards.

They don’t anal-probe much now. Just for training and old-times-sake, to keep the hand in so to speak. But they’re still around, living in cities. Trying to figure out our alien ways.

Every big city has them I’m told. Dublin has a bunch of them living on Capal Street. If you know Capal Street the only response can be “Of course! Where else?” I’m sure your city has somwhere similar.

They spend most of their time looking, trying to make sense of things. Art’s a big mystery, so is religion. You’re as likely to find them in a gallery as a church.

What really interests them happens at night. On the dancefloors of the world. With music and darkness and drink-dampened inhibitions a curious change happens. Everybody acts as one, moving to the rhythm of the music. It fun, magical, and to our guests, a complete mystery.

So if you’re in a nightclub at three in the morning and you see a strange fellow acting confused. Don’t be alarmed, they’re pondering the mystery, and may be at it sometime.

But word to the wise. If this stranger takes too much of an interest in you, it might be best to make a quiet exit.

Or not! If you prefer.

Who am I to judge?

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Written for Trifecta week one hundred and nine

Vader’s resolution.

Crush Pitiful Rebellion.

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Written for Trifecta’s Trifextra week ninety nine, “A Three-word resolution”;.