Short Story: Seat 14c Competition “A New Start…”

So the competition has ended (http;//seat14c.com) and I had fun making up the story. Reluctantly didn’t win but that is okay. So since the competition is over and I get my story back, here it is.

A New Start…

“Whoa” I said when we hit the last of the turbulence. The lightning was terrible, the entire cabin was lit up and people were yelling. The last thirty minutes was pretty bad, enough to shake the nerves. Luckily, things were calming down.

I looked around the business class area and noticed the others were settling back in as well. Seasoned travelers we are. A few tightening of the seat belts but for the most part crew and passengers were getting back to our normal routine.

The further we continued pass the storm the brighter things got. The sun was trying to fight through the clouds to show a beautiful dawn sky ahead of us. The wave tops below sparkled like tiny diamonds in a sea of golden azure. It was a calm view to see after the last 30 minutes. The last hour would prove to be very relaxing and then San Francisco.

I couldn’t wait to see my granddaughter again. Such cute cheeks and an irresistibly impish smile. My daughter’s daughter definitely. Lots of spoiling and hugs.

Wait, what is that?

In the distance, a large ship was following the receding storm and there was a massive structure on the top of it. It looked like a large funnel. It couldn’t be that heavy or it would have capsized the ship, I imagine. I wonder what that is for, while pulling out my phone to snap a picture of it.

Never seen a ship like that before. Would need to research a little to see what it does. I continued to stare out the window enjoying the view when another weird scene sailed below. A weird blimp was flying over a ship. The blimp had large propellers on the top of it and looked to be matching the speed of the ship. I watched them for a while and yes, they were moving as one. I snapped a picture of that too. What a weird day this was shaping up to be.

The landing announcement came over the speakers and the crew started preparing for landing. I looked ahead and saw more blimps over ships and then San Francisco. Something was weird, the skyline did not seem the same. Yes it has been a while since I have been back to the US but this really looked different.

And what is up with the blimps?!

There were more blimps over the city, with the large propellers. I did not understand this, the US was not that into green energy last I heard. Grant it California was one of the leaders in the states, but this?

More pictures snapped.

As we got closer to the airport, the more things looked out of place. Something was definitely not right. More people around me were questioning the strangeness of the situation.

A passenger in 12C said rather loudly, “I just left here two days ago and this ain’t right.” Others joined in saying how long they have been gone and agreeing on the strangeness. The cabin attendants looked on helplessly.

Soon the Captain made an announcement. “This is the Captain speaking. Folks, something is going on and I am not sure what but we will be landing soon and can get answers then. Please be patient and prepare for landing.”

The landing was uneventful, but where we were landing was anything but uninteresting. The other planes were sharper, defined. Faster looking. Truly massive buildings dotted the skyline with too many flying craft wending through the buildings. That was weird, a few helicopters I can understand but planes or I guess they were planes?

And those blimps, everywhere.

Taxing to the terminal, when an army of drones came out and surrounded our plane. Everyone was commenting on this. Wondering what this meant and was it dangerous to have these craft so near to the plane. There were so many they were doing a good job of blocking the view around us. I suspected that was part of the job of these things. Looking forward, I did not see many of them around the cockpit area. Further confirming what I thought.

We parked away from the strange terminal. Some vehicles came up to the plane and the drones were still obscuring the view around us. Something was definitely strange. One vehicle, a truck with docking stairs, pulled up to the forward door. A large bus pulled up to the base of the stairs and a few men got out. They were wearing some strange uniforms that I could not identify.

The buzz from around me got louder with some of the people, on the other side of the plane, coming over to see through my window.

“Ever seen uniforms like that before?” asked the lady that was leaning over me to get a look. We both turned as the cabin attendant closed the curtain to the First Class zone. I believe they were going to open the door and let on some of the strangely dressed men.

“No, I was just thinking about how strange that is. Well this whole thing is pretty strange. Drones and all.” I absently said while continuing to stare at the curtain, in the vain hope to see through it to what was happening up front.

“I know, right?” she replied.

An announcement. “This is the Captain speaking. Please return to your seats. An immigration officer would like to address us.” I could be imagining things, but the Captain’s voice sounded stressed.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, I am Lieutenant Anderson.” The cabin quieted as all strained to listen. A cabin attendant opened the curtain and a few more uniformed men walked down the aisle to the other parts of the cabin. One stood near my position with a smile on his face. “This might be difficult to grasp but today is August 25th, Twenty Thirty Seven.” He paused as stunned silence filled the cabin. A child was crying in the back.

He continued. “For the last few years we have had planes arriving from the past. There is a wormhole anomaly that has passed planes into the future. You are the third such plane to arrive. My men and I are part of the Past People Immigration Unit. We will help you adjust to your new circumstances.”

The cabin erupted in cries of alarm, disbelief and horror. The uniformed men tried to calm everyone, including the cabin attendants and answer questions at the same time. They failed miserably to calm anyone or answer questions.

I sat there starring between the man, the crowd that was surrounding him, wanting answers and looking out the window. The drones were moving away. It was a beautiful day. The skyline made more sense now. The blimps, well kinda, but if the future, then I guess it could make more sense.

I continue to look out the window and ignore the chaos around me. Being an optimist and recently divorced, well twenty years ago recent, I figure I have a whole new world to look forward too.

I think of my, now not so little, grand-daughter, Mika. She would be around 22 years old now. My children, I wonder where they are and what has become of them. Even my ex-wife. How is she? Friends, my girlfriend, co-workers, etc. What has become of everyone?

Actually I feel pretty upbeat. Blimps and drones, the skies and waters looked clearer on our approach. Maybe the world got its act together.

“Sir, could you come with us? It is time to leave the plane. Are you okay?” My random thoughts of the adventure interrupted.

“Okay?” I laugh and he looks concerned. “I think this will be an interesting adventure.”

He smiles as he realizes I was not losing it. “If you would be so kind sir, let’s get you on that adventure.” He looks down at his tablet like device. “In fact sir, I am authorized to tell you, your family is waiting for you.”

Okay that floored me. I started to sit back down. Shocked. There goes the fantasy of knocking on my daughter’s door and asking where is dinner. “My family?” I whisper.

Now looking pretty concerned. “Yes Mr. Gordon. Your children are all here waiting for you. With their families.” He smiles as I start to break out in a silly grin.

“Families? But how?”

“How did we know and get them here in time?” He smiles as he helps me up. Not that I am that old just a little, well shocked still. “The wormhole acts up a few days before it actually passes a plane out. There are 6 other missing aircraft over the last twenty years. ANA has kept a record of where all family members are so they could contact them as soon as we ID the plane.” Again looking at the tablet. “Your daughter Cathy and family were living in Japan. Your daughter, Nina and family were living in Iowa and your son, John and family were living in Spain. They all arrived within the last hour. Including a few of your nieces and nephews. Others will arrive in the next 12 hours or so.”

“Cathy lived in Japan? How could she get here ahead of us?”

“Sir, a trans-Pacific flight only takes two hours. When the wormhole started acting up, ANA moved her and family to a hotel near Narita airport in case this was your flight. We feel it is important for family to help re-introduce you.”

“Wow. I am not sure what to say.” Still walking in a daze but starting to register my surroundings. There were many more of the Past People Immigration Unit uniformed members onboard. They were starting to go one to one with the passengers and crew. Most of us were walking dazed.

I looked at him. “I am sorry sir, could I have your name? You have been very kind to help me and I want to make sure you get recognized.”

He smiled. “Thank you Mr. Gordon. I am Staff Sergeant Hardon. My father was a friend of yours. A business associate, in fact.”

“Jack? Jack Hardon is your father?”

“Yes sir. He says hello too. I told him your flight reappeared.”

The import of all this hit me again. “Wow, how is he?” I barely whispered.

He smiled and gave me a minute. “He is fine sir. In fact, because of you and your business, we made out pretty well.” I gave him a quizzical look. He continued, “Your flight’s disappearance pretty much guaranteed the movie was a hit. So many people came to see what was already being billed as an epic movie. Your company used that to help hire other writers to continue after you. “

I didn’t quite understand how that worked but let it go for now. So many questions, so many people I wanted to know about. I was starting to feel overwhelmed. I think he noticed that.

“Mr. Gordon, let’s get you off the plane and processed. Your family is waiting for you and I am sure you have tons of questions.”

We got on the bus and went to a terminal off the main terminal. Guess they wanted to keep us separate. I asked him about that.

“Oh. Yes this is a special terminal built for returnees. We realized after the first two returned planes that all were still coming to San Francisco. It’s pretty nice and comfortable. You will see.”

And I did.

It was a pretty luxurious terminal. Looked like a massive first class lounge or hotel lobby. We each had a private room to relax in. Staff Sgt Hardor stayed with me. Then I remembered. “Staff, what is up with the blimps and such.” I showed him my pictures I took.

“Oh, well, after you disappeared, we had some pretty crazy times. People were freaked out but then we started to come together. Not sure when exactly but people started to realize that we had come to a dangerous place and needed to step back.”

He handed me a steaming cup of coffee. It smelled incredible.

“We started to realize that we needed to get away from oil and needed to start working together. The blimps are mostly flying warehouses. They deliver orders to the ground stations via drones. It’s a pretty complex system. Supposed to alleviate congestion and speed deliveries.”

I showed him the picture of the blimp over the ship. “Oh that, well that is a new power source. We realized that ships were some of the worst polluters out there and this helps them reduce their fuel usage.”

“How do they do that?”

“The blimps, like the flying warehouses use wind power turbines to power them. With the ships they create electrical power to power the ships. Usually they only do that far away from shore. Mostly for when the ships cross the ocean, they have a blimp hooked up to them to power them. It’s really pretty good. Fuel usage is reduced to almost 30% of what it used to be.”

“Okay I can see that. Good idea. What about this one.” I showed him the ship with the large structure on top of it.

“Ah, those are rain harvesters. We were running out of water and realized that desalinization was causing the oceans to become saltier in the areas where the plants were. These ships follow storms at sea and capture rain before it hits the ocean. They then link up with the power blimps and go to ports where the water is needed.”

Okay I was shocked. That was very interesting and I could see how that would work. “Do they produce enough water to make a difference?”

“Yes there are hundreds of them plying the oceans harvesting rain.”

“I see.” Okay, one more. “What are all those flying craft flying around the cities. They aren’t the drones for the flying warehouses are they?”

“Oh, no. They are air taxis. You have probably noticed the buildings are really tall right? Well they were created to help service the upper floors. Now we have buildings over 200 stories, so to go to ground level takes a while. These air taxis stop at portals in all the tall buildings and take people from each building to the ground level or to the suburbs. Pretty ingenious, right?”

“Truly amazing, Staff.” I start laughing. “I think I am going to love this place. When can I see my family?”

“Right after we give you a physical, sign some forms and give you your nanite shots.”

“Nanite shots? What is that?” Okay I was a little apprehensive about this.

“Everyone gets them now. We discovered a way to create nanites that help protect us against disease. They do not protect against everything but cancer is a thing of the past as are other diseases. These little guys go through your body and destroy the viruses and stuff when they find them. Had them about 6 years now.”

“And this is safe?” Still worried about having little robots running around my body. “Who controls them?”

“Well, the basic variety lasts a few months and only go after certain virus or cancer cells. When we have certain illnesses, we can try to give more directed nanites.” Perfectly safe and everyone pretty much has them nowadays.

Well he was Jack’s kid, so he probably was telling the truth. Well, you only live once and I wouldn’t mind not getting cancer and such. “Why not, lead me on Staff.”

Later, they put me in this nice waiting room. Had a nice view of the bay and some very comfortable couches. They kinda molded themselves to the body. I was pretty tired even with the little nanite buggers scrubbing my bloodstream of CO2 and other bad things.

Returning my gaze back to the cup of coffee in hand, I thought I was gonna like this place and time. Twenty years in the future and I am the same age. A celebrity in a sense. This could be fun.

A knock at the door. Staff Sergeant Hardor stuck his head in. With a widening grin, “Got some company for you Jim.”

I stood up and there they were. My kids walked in. I knew they were older and even was able to see pictures of them but still wasn’t prepared for the real thing. I couldn’t move but just sat there starring at them.

Cathy moved first and ran up for a hug. “Daddy.” John and Nina were right behind her. Their families bringing up the rear. Hugs, kisses and crying were flowing easily. I looked over and most of the kids were hanging back. They were all teenagers or older but looked unsure of what to do. I couldn’t blame them.

Smiling at my kids. “You all look great.” I got out between tears. Another round of laughing, tears and comments about how fat I looked. I was hugably large, not fat.

Looking over at my grand kids, I made eye contact with Mika. A beautiful young lady that looked like her mother when she was that age. Smiling, “Mika, you don’t remember me do you?”

She was sniffling back tears, “Baka,” The Japanese word for silly. “I was only two then.” She then came to me for a great big hug. I was content.

My kids introduced their spouses and my other grand kids. Beautiful children, they were. It was all too much. I learned that their mother had passed away a few years ago and my parents and brothers too. Their kids were here with their families too.

I turned to the window for a minute to compose myself. It really was an overwhelming turn of events. Looking outside, the scene was calming. My family gave me a minute. I was about to turn around when I zeroed in on one of the blimps.

“Blimps?” I quietly said.

“Whats that pops?” John asked, as he came up and clapped me on the back. He was now physically around ten years younger than me. They all were. It was pretty weird but funny at the same time.

“I still can’t believe the blimps.”

He looked out the window to the blimp that I was looking at. “Ya, they are pretty standard now a days. Pretty convenient. Most deliveries occur in an hour or less.”

“Via drone?” I asked.

“Yes, most housing complexes have an internal delivery system so the drones deliver to those and then the internal system takes it the rest of the way.”

Nina looked at me, hits me in the stomach and then hugs me. “You skip twenty years and the only thing you can think about is blimps?”

Cathy and Mika were also hovering around. Cathy said, “Ya I know, right?”

“Hey I just found myself twenty years in the future with kids almost as old as I am. I am entitled to a little fixation.”

I continued looking out the window.

Mika moves up and takes my arm and puts it around her. Looking up at me with a little concern. “Grandpa, are you sure you will be okay?”

I hug her hard and kiss her forehead. “Of course honey.”

Cathy smiles. “What do you think you want to do once you settle in, daddy?”

One of the young nephews jumps in, “Ya, you’re rich.”

I turn and smile at all of them. “Live.”

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Seat 14c Short Story Competition

http://seat14c.com/

Another competition to try for, especially since this one is free to enter. My luck, I have a hell of a time trying to load the website. The competition is sponsored by X-prize and ANA (All Nippon Airways). The premise is you are on ANA Flight 8 from Tokyo to San Francisco and your plane flies through a wormhole that sends you 20 years into the future.  Yup 2037.

You need to write a short story (between 2000-4000 word) about what you see there. They are asking for positive stories, so no post apocalyptic worlds. First person perspective too.

Here is the first part of my story.  I would be interested in what you think.  Draft version, so happy to hear how I screwed it up but would love for that to be gently done.

 

“Whoa” I said when the plane hit the turbulence. The lightning was terrible, the entire cabin was lit up and people were yelling. It wasn’t really that bad of turbulence, but enough to shake the nerves.

I looked around the business class seats and noticed the others were settling back in as well. Seasoned travelers we are. A few tightening of the seat belts but for the most part crew and passengers were getting back to normal.

The sun was trying to fight through the clouds to show a beautiful dawn sky ahead of us. The wave tops below sparkled like tiny diamonds in a sea of golden azure. It was a calm view to see after the last 30 minutes of the trip.  The last hour would prove to be very relaxing and then San Francisco.

I couldn’t wait to see my granddaughter again. Such cute cheeks and an irresistibly impish smile. My daughter’s daughter definitely. Lots of spoiling and hugs.

Wait, what is that?

In the distance a large ship was following the receding storm and there was a massive structure on the top of it. It looked like a large funnel. It couldn’t be that heavy or it would have capsized the ship, I imagine.  I wonder what that is for, I thought, pulling out my phone to snap a picture of it.

Never seen a ship like that before. Would need to research a little to see what it does. I continued to stare out the window enjoying the view when another weird scene sailed below. A weird blimp was flying over a ship. The blimp had large propellers on the top of it and looked to be matching the speed of the ship. I watched them for a while and yes, they were moving as one. I snapped a picture of that too.  What a weird day this was shaping up to be.

The landing announcement came over the speakers and the crew started preparing for landing. I looked ahead and saw more blimps over ships and then San Francisco. Something was weird, the skyline did not seem them same. Yes it has been a while since I have been back to the US but this really looked different.

What is up with the blimps?!

There were more blimps over the city, with the large propellers. I did not understand this, the US was not that into green energy last I heard. Grant it California was one of the leaders in the states but this?

More pictures snapped.

As we got closer to the airport, the more things looked out of place. Something was definitely not right. More people around me were questioning the strangeness of the situation.

A passenger in 12C said rather loudly, “I just left here two days ago and this ain’t right.” Others joined in saying how long they have been gone and agreeing on the strangeness. The cabin attendants looked on helplessly.

The Captain made an announcement. “This is the Captain speaking. Folks, something is going on and I am not sure what but we will be landing soon and can get answers then. Please be patient and prepare for landing.”

The landing was uneventful, but where we were landing was anything but uninteresting. The other planes were sharper, defined. Faster looking. Truly massive buildings dotted the skyline with too many flying craft wending through the buildings. That was weird, a few helicopters I can understand but planes or I guess they were planes?  

And those blimps, everywhere………………..

Short Story: At War with Ourselves

John sighed, That’s done, I am home now.  He opened the door and was about to call out to his wife and son, when two men grabbed him. They pulled him through the doorway and slammed him against the wall.

“Traitor!”  One of the assailants yelled into his face as he knocked the wind out of John.

The other assailant smashed his elbow into John’s jaw. John heard a loud popping sound and wondered if his jaw was broken. A salty taste flooded his mouth.

Not able to think about that taste too much because in came another punch to his stomach and an elbow to the shoulder. Driving him down to the floor. In the background, he heard his wife and son screaming and another person yelling at them.

They were kicking him, now that he was on the ground. He was doing all he could to block the kicks with his legs and arms. Punches pummeled his head. He wife and son continued to scream and the assailants continued to hurl abuse.

What seemed like a long time of beatings eventually stopped. Logically, John knew it was only a minute or two, since he still could reason, but it felt like a lifetime. He knew they could have beat him senseless. Silence as the assailants backed off. Even his family stopped yelling.

Only the sounds of boots on wooden floor, approaching, could be heard. John tested his jaw and found it still moved, at least they did not break his jaw.

“Ya fucked up this time, didn’t ya John?” Said a familiar voice but John couldn’t place it in his rattled state. He tried looking up but his head was still spinning.

“What did I do?” He choked out. Yes, a mouth full of blood and at least one tooth knocked out.

“Oh come now John, let’s not play this game.”

“Please, I don’t know what you think I did. I was out..”  He was kicked.

“John… John, that is enough. Lies will just make it worse. You were seen helping that downed pilot. That is treason to help them. You know the Party takes a dim view of this. Especially in light this pilot was part of the attack against the city.”

Fighting to calm himself. “Please, I was out looking for the pilot, like I was supposed to but I didn’t find anyone. I.. I… Please believe me.” He heard his wife start to sob. His son was moaning “No”.   He was starting to lose it too.

Sighing, the unrecognized man directed his men to lift John. He was almost beyond fight at this point.

“John this war is not going to be won by being nice to the other side. They choose this path. I believe you thought you were doing good but we can not allow these radicals leniency. They tried to steal the election last year and see what it got us?” They started to drag him out the door. The man continued. “Cooperate with us and I will try to put in a good word for your wife and son.”

His wife yelled. “How could you?”

John snapped at that moment, his sobbing stopped as the last strength came forth. The accusing tone of his wife drove him crazy.  He knew they would get the truth out of him but his family would never know it. The truth to his family is all that mattered.

Planting his feet, he pushed one handler into the door hard, forcing him to loosen his grip. Then he violently shook off the other man. Turning back into the house, he looked pass the man, who was going for his gun.

To his wife and son. “It was our daughter. My God, I couldn’t turn her in.”

Short Story: “Detection Lost.”

With the innovation that allows us to detect gravitational waves, new things will be discovered. Maybe………..

2052 AD The mission control room was silent. Everyone was watching the main monitors, as the last of the Cosmic Interferometer Gravitational Directional Array (CIGDA)nodes was to report taking its position. This node was the furthest out, at 80 million km. The other eleven nodes had already reached their position. The last a few hours before this node.

The feed the controllers were watching was almost five minutes in the past due to the distance light had to travel. Government and civilian officials were on hand besides the mission control room team. These worthies were up in the visitor’s box. Out of the way of those that actually worked but near enough to see when the last node linked up.

Doctor Tanya Hirano was extremely nervous, staring intently at Jay Garrett’s back. He was the Director of Node Communications, responsible for ensuring the direction finding system actually worked. From a technical perspective. Doctor Hirano was the brains behind the use of gravitational waves to detect space object movement.

The idea had been in Sci-Fi for nearly a hundred years. With the dream of detecting gravitational waves becoming a reality in 2016. All that was left was for refinement of the detecting method and for someone to come up with the means to detect things. James Grimm, a writer in 2016, came up with the basic method.

Many of the control room engineers were staring at Lena Romano. She was monitoring the communications from Node Omega, the twelfth node. She turned to Jay and smiled with a thumbs up. Tanya was watching and saw the signal. She could breath again.

Turning back to the assembled officials. “Thirty-six years ago, in 2016, detecting gravitational waves became a reality. In that year, an unknown Sci-Fi writer, published a story about using gravitational waves to detect interstellar traveling objects.”

She walked to the podium and looked back down at Jay to see if things were still going as planned. Jay, smiled back at her, nodded his head. She continued, “By creating a group of twelve receivers and linking them back to a correlation engine on Earth, we will be able to determine the direction of massive objects many light years away and smaller objects much closer. Additionally, we should be able to further identify and track objects much further out in our solar system.”

Jay turned back to his team and via the speaker in the visitor’s room, Tanya and the others could hear him. “Alright team, let’s sync them up.”

Everyone was silent, while the large viewing screens in the control room displayed large bars with each node’s name above one of the bars. Tanya turns down the speaker volume and turns towards the crowd, “We are now trying to sync each of the nodes to the core. The core, here in Tokyo, is sending out sequenced messages to each of the nodes. The nodes time stamp the receiving of these messages and then send back the resulting time stamp. They will do this a few hundred times until the core has a sufficient number to build the off set time difference between each node and the core. Once that is done a few time samplings of what the nodes are hearing will be sent back for further sync analysis. When the core believes it has all nodes properly sync’d up, then we will start recording what we hear.”

A military officer in the crowd asks, “How long will this take Doctor?”

“We should be sync’d in approximately fifteen minutes.”

A news reporter off to the side asks, “Doctor, is it true we will hear aliens?” A polite laugh from the crowd.

Not missing a beat, Tanya responds, “That was one of the questions we wanted to answer. If the aliens are traveling in large mass ships, at a high percentage of the speed of light, we should be able to detect them. If close enough.”

“How close Doctor?” Another news person. Everyone was quiet and interested in her responses.

“We estimate we can detect a million ton object three light years away. That would put it almost near Alpha Centauri.”

“A million tons? That is about 4 USS Trump class aircraft carriers.” Said one of the US Admirals in the crowd. All the news people were furiously writing down or speaking into their recorders.

One of the Chinese diplomats came forth. In an exasperated voice, “Doctor, do you really believe this is possible? My government believes this project was a waste of money and hearing this nonsense is further insult.”

Taking a calming breath, Tanya responded, “Ambassador Xi, the Chinese government’s position is well known. It has also agreed to wait and see what is produced before further comments. Correct?”

In the background, the display on the viewing screen blinked a few times. Before Ambassador Xi could respond, Tanya turned the volume back up, on the speaker, since Jay was talking. “…chronization has completed and now we are recording live data. The viewing screen will start to display all objects, as we get hits. Over time these objects will have their data refined when we detect more waves against them.”

The screen changed to a display of the solar system with large blips coming from all over the place. Every planet and the Sun had large blips over them, along with the asteroid belt. The Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud were large glowing rings of overlapping blips. As was most of interstellar space. The crowd was bubbling with comments among themselves. Even Ambassador Xi was excitedly talking to one of his assistants.

Tanya spoke over the crowd, into a mic, “Congratulations Doctor Garrett and team.” “Congratulations Doctor Hirano.” Responded Jay as the control room cheered.

Back to the crowd, Tanya continued, “Over the next few weeks we expect to have the solar system completely mapped out. The CIGDA Ring, as we are affectionately calling it, covers 100 million square kilometers. The closer an object is, the higher the frequency of the gravitational waves. The farther the object, the lower the frequency. Additionally, other characteristics tell us how massive the object is.”

The representative of the European Confederacy spoke up, “Congratulations Doctor, you did it. When will we all be able to get feeds off the data?”

US Admiral McKinley responded, “First we need to refine the data before passing to all the signatories.”

An argument erupted over the American attempt to control the data flow. Tanya looked at the previously happy officials, now in a heated argument over who gets the data. Shaking her head at the lunacy of these control freaks. The data should be for everyone, she thought.

Looking at the viewing monitors, How can you hold this data secret, it will benefit the world. The newsies were floating around the edge of the arguing officials, trying to get sound bites of the juicy, newsworthy comments and insults. The world had become more peaceful but just barely.

Watching some of the blips become more solid, Tanya was mesmerized by the objects. Let the idiots argue, they can not ruin my day. Looking down at Jay, she saw him smiling at her, shrug his shoulders and turn back to one of the engineers.

She realized the speaker was still on so the control room engineers could hear the bickering going on in the visitor’s room. She turned off the speaker, causing many of the engineers to look up at her. She shrugged her shoulders too, a few engineers smiled then returned to their work. The bickering continued unabated. You said, we said, we paid, etc…

It was the one blot on an otherwise fantastic day for her. She had spent ten years arguing for and selling this idea. Now, here it was. The tracks kept clogging the screen up with only a few becoming more defined. In time, she thought.

Then one track in the upper right corner of the map caught her eye. It moved. Things should not be moving this soon. Over weeks yes, unless it was a Near Earth object. She continued to concentrate on that object, while the crowd argued and the control room engineers worked their consoles.

It moved again!

Tanya was thinking, The team should be noticing this. Maybe no one is thinking of anything at this time. We all thought it would take weeks to clear up the pictures beyond the local planets. She looked at the station that was responsible for tracking fast moving objects. The person was talking to his neighbor.

She looked up again and the object was no longer where she expected. What happened to it? She searched around the region of the screen, finally seeing it as it moved to another spot.

Object 1321f1.

Quickly moving to a console in the visitor’s room, she started to enter her credentials. Some in the room stopped bickering to watch her. Assuming she will present a new view for them. Others continued the argument with gusto.

Getting into the system, she started the viewing application and entered the object’s number. The main view screen cleared away all the blips less that one. Which moved again. Now replaced with 1321g1.

The room was silent as everyone was wondering what this object was. The control room went silent too. Jay reacted quicker than most, knowing Tanya well as they worked together most of these last ten years. Also as lovers, she had told him her desire to really find evidence of aliens. He hoped she was onto something and not desiring to see things that could be a detriment for her future career.

He started to shout orders to the engineers to start recording and evaluating the object being concentrated on.

“Doctor, what are you doing and what does this mean?” Asked one of the officials.

Not turning around to see who talked, “This object has already moved seven times since we recorded it. It is close but not sure how close.”

Another person, “Could this be a Near Earth Object? Should we worry?”

The object moved again, 1321h1.

Seeing the speaker light, she turned on the control room speaker. Still not answering the speaker. “Yes Jay?”

“Doctor Hirano, preliminary estimates are projecting this object at 15 million tons and about one light year away.”

1321i1.

The object’s track was displayed and it seemed to be cutting across the inside corner of the Oort cloud. A few more tracks and it would be off the view of this screen. Tanya was doing the calculations in her head but wanted to hear it from the core.

“What is the speed?”

Jay turned to another engineer and as they were calculating, the object updated.

1321i2.

Jay turned to Tanya with shock on his face. Hitting the mic button, “It was traveling at approximately 30% of the speed of light. But it stopped.”

Noise erupted behind Tanya. Everyone was trying to ask her what was meant by that and what was going on. She tried to signal for quiet and after a few minutes she finally achieved it.“The number 1321 is the object number. The letter is the number of instances the track has moved around. We built the system to only update this when an object moves more than ten million miles relative to its last position. This ensures we are not getting crazy with the movement markers. The raw data can show us that later. The last number represents the number of waves we have detected the object at the current location. As you can see, this object was moving along rather quickly and then stopped.”

“How is that possible?” someone in the crowd cried out.

Shaking her head,”I am not sure. People please realize that we need to build up a knowledge base of what is being recorded. I can not truthfully answer with any degree of certainty.”

1321i3.

“So it’s probably nothing right?” asked one of the reporters.

Shrugging her shoulders, she hit the mic button, “Doctor Garrett, any additional information?”

“The raw data suggests it has decreased its speed to 10% of light speed.”

1321j1.

Over the next hour it sat in the J position, while the gathered officials and engineers tried to guess what was going on. Calls out to observatories, to governments and SETI were made to try and see if anyone can zoom in on the area and find out additional information. No one responded that they could. Discussions over the data feeds intensified as many of the governments wanted to the data so they can do their own analysis against other forms of data they had.

After another three hours, the data feeds were being passed to many interested parties. Other tracks were checked to see if any other objects acted similarly. Four and a half hours later, the object started moving again.

1321k1.

The crowd had only lessened a little. Everyone was trying to determine the import of Object 1321. No one really wanted to leave what could be a historical moment in the history of humanity and Earth.

Over the next hour, Object 1321 moved off the display. Tanya had the display expand further out from 2 light years to 4 light years. The next control room shift came on but the retiring shift did not leave. An hour and a half later, the object was listed as “Detection Lost”.

Many started to leave, many questions remaining unanswered. Was it a craft, a natural object or just some wackiness in the system? Tanya and Jay left that day, excited about what that might mean. How their system found that and the idea they might see more like it.

The excitement continued into the night in their love making. In the early morning hours, a satisfied Tanya, listening to Jay’s breathing, took in the view of the stars through the window. Her last thoughts before sleep took her were, I wonder why it stopped?

Around 5am that morning, a new object appeared near where Object 1321 held it’s position. This object was labeled Object 2912. It moved slightly over the next few hours but in the excitement of Object 1321, no one really noticed that Object 2912 came in to the solar system from a start point near one light year to near the orbit of Pluto. And there it sat.

Maybe the beginning of a new story?

 

 

 

Short Story: Time to Come Home.

“Mr. President, we have General Finder on the line.”

“Thank you Colonel. General Finder, it is time, we are going to Defcon 1. We need to launch immediately.” Said President Crue.

Gasps around the command center, as most of the operators stopped talking.

Colonel Mendez was ashen white. “Mr. President, what are you doing? There is no immenient threat.”

“Colonel are you contradicting me?” President Crue said.

Swallowing hard, “Mr. President, I believe this is an illegal order.”

General Finder was switched over to the speakerphone. “Mr. President, what is going on, why would we launch?”

“Does anyone else wish to disobey my orders?” An agitated president said. Pointing at his secret service agents, “Remove the colonel. General do I need someone to replace you too?”

The agents looked at each other and then moved to apprehend the colonel. One of the Marine guards raised his weapon at the Secret Service agents and ordered “Halt, stand down, sirs.”

 The other Marines looked unsure for a second but then followed the other Marine. The agents were outnumbered three to one.

President Crue was looking extremely angry and stood up when General Finder spoke, “Everyone calm down. Mr. President what is the meaning of this?”

“Someone over there arrest and remove General Finder.  This is outrageous that my trusted officers would disobey the President of the United States in such a critical situation.”

Colonel Mendez slammed his hand on the table, “Sir, what critical situation? You are acting as a madman.”

 Everyone was looking at each other, no one moving. The president was fuming, the colonel was starring at the president. The Marines and agents were standing off and the other military operators were frozen at their terminals. No one was moving, then.

A glow surrounded one of the console operators and the operator, a female captain, stood up. “Ah young sir, I have found you. It is time to go home.”

President Crue looked at the operator in surprise, “Suhan, what are you doing here? I am in the middle of a situation. I will come home later.”

All the other people in the room starred between the young captain and the president. Lost looks and looks of incredulity were displayed on all those in the room. Even the Marines and the Secret Service agents were lowering their weapons and looking at this exchange.

“Young sir, your mother demands you come home immediately. The party will start soon.” said Suhan.

“I am not ready. I have a war to wage with these people.” pouted President Crue.

“Sir, these beings probably would not appreciate you destroying their race. Best you come home now.” Suhan started to turn.

“No, I am not coming.” President Crue whined, then defensively, “I will not destroy their race, many will survive. It will be interesting. You will see.”

 General Finder’s voice came across the speakerphone. “What in the hell is going on over there, somebody…”

Suhan waved a hand and the line went dead. “Really sir, I must insist you come now. These primitive beings can be here for you next time. Do not make me pull you.”

A worried look crossed President Crue’s face. “You wouldn’t dare. Mother will not allow you.”

“Actually your mother has authorized me to pull you if I need to.” Suhan rose a hand and a multi-colored ball appeared, pulsating different colors in different areas.

Colonel Mendez found his voice, “What or who are you?”

President Crue smiled an amused smile, “Surprise!”

 Suhan looked bored, “Young sir, it is time.”

Looking resigned, “Oh very well, if I must.” Then looking at the Colonel, “You can have your idiot back.”

Colonel Mendez said, “What have you done to President Crue?”

“Nothing, I just borrowed him. He really is a simpleton, never would have won the election himself, so I helped him.” Standing up. “Now I must go for now, but I will be back to continue our little war.”

Frightened but one of the Marines said, “You were going to kill us all?”

“No no no dear boy, not all of you. The missile exchange would have killed many of you but not all of you.  In a thousand years your descendants would know of this day as the day of the God’s Fire. Quite interesting how their story will develop.”

“Sir, that is enough. These primitives do not understand what you are saying.”

“Oh come now Suhan, they are actually quite smart for their age.”

Colonel Mendez said, “We don’t want you back. Never come back.”

Suhan looked at the Colonel, “What did you say?”

President Crue, “No!  No! Don’t say it.”

Colonel Mendez looked at Suhan, “What? Never come back?”

Suhan, “Yes, do you mean that?” Looking at the other people in the command center. “Do you all wish for him to not come back?”

President Crue was screaming, “No No No, do not say it. Please!”

A resounding chorus of “YES!” from all in the command center.

“No please, you are ruining my fun!”

Suhan looks at President Crue, “Young sir, you are now bound by the Writ of the Plea to no longer interfere with this race of beings.” A bright flash occurred and President Crue fell to the floor. No one moved.

Suhan looked at Colonel Mendez, “Do not worry human, he is gone and your human is back. He will not be allowed to interfere again. I am sorry that he had gotten this far.”

“He was going to kill us all.” Cried out one of the operators.

“Yes, well that did seem his intent. I do apologize. As you see, we stopped him before he could.”

“Who are you and what makes you think you can do this to us.” Colonel Mendez demanded.

“Who we are is not your concern. What makes us think we can do this to you? My dear sir, you are babes, with little understanding of the universe. I am but a servant and could destroy your world with a thought. As you do with your lower life forms on this world, we do with you. You were his entertainment.” Sitting back in her seat.

“I am really sorry that he almost destroyed you. I will advise his mother, the Empress, to bar all further interference with your species and region of space. To give you a chance to live free for awhile.”

The captain fainted and then a second later, looked around and freaked out. President Crue was moaning and trying to get up. Everyone else was still frozen in place trying to make sense of what just happened.

Short Story: Navajo Dreams

I was asked to write a story about the Navajo. So I did some research and of course took some liberty with the actual story.  Hope you like it.

Navajo Dreams

Zalani was happy that she and Jay were finally at Monument Valley. She always liked the Navajo culture and now she was getting to visit. Her boyfriend, Jay, had just had a book published and their reward was to go on an educational, romantic get-away.

Zalani was a singer and met Jay through a friend. They hit it off great and took an interest in each others work. Him a writer and her a musical artist. They thought this would give them some time alone but also a chance to share new songs and stories together. It was their dream to collaborate and create music or stories. This was to be the beginning of that journey together.

Their tour guide, Susan Nez, knew Zalani when they were in Orlando together. There, Susan got Zalani interested in Navajo culture and made it her dream to come visit.

Zal, I have arranged for you and Jay to view a sand painting ‘sing’ or ceremony, tonight. This is a great honor because normally non-Navajo people are not allowed. This is part of the Night Chant ceremony or Tseh’nn-jih Hatal’. Tomorrow is the main and final ceremony but we will go watch tonight too.” Said Susan.

Jay raised a finger. “Susan, do we have to do anything to prepare? Can I take pictures? Or ask questions?” Zalani nodded her head, she really wanted to know everything that goes on.

No, you can not take pictures or interrupt. Sorry, just witnessing is an honor. As for preparing, no, you will only observe. Maybe tomorrow or after, you can ask questions.” Putting her hand on each of them.

Look, I know you want to know everything but truthfully, it is our beliefs and our way. You may see things that most will never know but you will never fully know our ways. Unless you are Navajo. Even most of us do not have more than a basic understanding of The Holy People and the way of the Gods.” Smiling, she gets up and leaves the hotel room.

That night, after a long drive into the surrounding desert, they were at the sand painting ceremony. They were inside a large Navajo dwelling or ‘hogan’ up on the mesa. The night was clear and the Milky Way was in full splendor.

Inside, the hut seemed larger than it did outside. There were quite a few elders seated around an open space. Susan led Zalani and Jay to the side where a few others were seated. Smoke was thick in the hogan already when they entered. In the middle, was a young woman laying down and the beginnings of the sand paintings surrounding her. There were four older men starting to drivel colored sand onto the ground around the lady. A younger woman was also working on a very complex drawing at the woman’s feet. The elders around the central scene were chanting a low rhythmic chant while those in the middle produced a separate counter-chant.

The smoke was more than just smoke, Zalani and Jay felt a buzz coming on. The drone of the chant, the smoke, the excitement of being there and the shared emotions were an intoxicating rush. They both could not take their eyes off the ceremony but she found his hand. The warmth of Jay’s touch made Zalani’s pulse quicken.

They made love after Susan left them, earlier that afternoon. Spurred on by the excitement of being where Zalani always wanted to be and the sensual hug they shared. She wasn’t thinking of sex then but when he held her, his strong body, the feeling of venturing into something unknown and then his smell drove her to the edge. His excitement to be here with her and the nibble on her ear drove her to push him onto the bed.

Wait, what am I thinking?!” she thought to herself. The blood pounding in her ears lessened so the chants came back to the edge of her perception. She strained to focus her eyes and looked at Jay. He was swaying drunkenly to the rhythm of the chants. She started to lose focus again and Jay started to change.

Not blur but to turn to mist, she was stunned, she looked around and everything was starting to mist over. The hogan’s walls were turning dark but then the star lite night came into view. The participants of the ceremony were all shadows in the mist. Even Susan was just mist now.

Zalani thought she should panic but something vaguely warm and comforting made her relax. She still felt Jay’s hand but now she could feel the blood coursing through his veins and then a joyful warmth flowed through her from his hand. A slight tingle and a rush of desire. She felt a soaring heat well from between her legs and spread to her chest. She could feel wisps of smoke gently caress her nipples, the resulting flood of emotion furthering a completely overwhelming feeling in her.

Her mouth dried, a pounding in her head. She continued to feel the warmth from Jay’s hand, a sensual warmth, unlike the incredibly raw heat coming between her legs. Her body throbbed, her mind could barely perceive her surroundings, even her mind’s eye throbbed. The mist danced in her mind.

Then nothing…

Zalani only saw a white light. Nothing else. She could not see her body, Jay or anything. Just white. The emotions and heat where gone. As was the sensation of her body.

That was love from your male, you felt.” Said a voice from nowhere. “A very strong love you two have. Quite interesting.”

Finally, finding her voice, “What happened? Who are you? Where am I? Where is Jay and everyone else?”

You are where you wanted to be. You are in the land of the Dine. Or Navajo to you.” Said the voice.

In front of Zalani’s vision, a form started to coalesce into the form of a wolf. Behind it, the whiteness started to turn into a surrealistic view of the desert plains below them.

Wolves do not speak? Where is this place?” Zalani asked, completely mesmerized.

Wolf? Child I am a Coyote. I am the Coyote. And this is the Glittering World. Or the place you would call home. Maybe slightly out of phase with what your senses tell you.” Said the Coyote, without moving his mouth.

How can …” Zalani started.

Child, that is enough. Listen and listen well. Your male is in trouble. The ceremony opens up the participants to spirits. Spirits both good and bad. Your male has been taken.”

My male, who?” Zalani said still mesmerized but slowly starting to focus.

LISTEN enemy!” roared the Coyote. “If you do not act quickly, you will lose your male forever and he will be made into a force of destruction for the Dine.”

Zalani started to remember Jay and her body started to materialize from the whiteness around her as the surrealistic landscape started to surround her.

Jay? My Jay? Where is he? What has happened?” She was starting to panic.

The Coyote bobbed his head up and down. “Good, you are starting to listen.” The Coyote turned and then looked back at Zalani “Get on my back enemy Zal. Now, no time to waste.”

Zalani climbed on the back of the massive Coyote and once seated the Coyote sprang forward. The landscape blurred around them as the Coyote moved quickly forward.

Listen enemy Zal. We will catch up to the spirits that have taken your male, Jay. I can not interfere with this but you will need to hold him and bring him back to the ceremony.”

How do I do that? I do not even know where I am or how to fight spirits.” Zalani said with an edge of fear creeping into her voice.

Love, child, Love is how you fight” Coyote said in a softening tone. Then quickly back to the hard, demanding voice. “Enemy Zal, you must be strong. The spirits will try to keep you from holding Jay. You must want to save him. Then you must love him.”

I do love him. With all of my heart.” Zalani wailed.

You will lose him if you fail enemy Zal.” said Coyote.

Why do you call me an enemy if you help me?”

All those not Dine are enemy. Some are good and some are bad.”

Up ahead there were figures moving forward at a slow pace. In the midst of them was bright object.

There they are, enemy Zal. They have your male, Jay. They would break down his defenses and flood his being with evil. Then send him back to harm the Dine and I can not let that happen.” Stated Coyote.

What do I do?” cried Zalani.

Go to him child. Hold him no matter what you see. They will try to trick you and force you to leave. Do not leave until you have awakened him.”

With that she was standing in front of the shining object with a large group of dark figures half surrounding the object. Coyote was no where to be seen.

Leave him alone!” she yelled. Nothing, the figures did not move. The bright object started to throb.

Zalani was scared, she was not sure if the object was Jay or something meant to trap her. “Jay, is that you? Please say it is you.”

Nothing. The throbbing intensified but still no voices, nor indication it was Jay. She took a few steps closer to the object. As she got closer, the brightness dulled. Then it stopped. There was Jay with another woman making out with him.

What the hell is this?” Yelled Zalani. Anger rising in her mind. The woman stopped kissing Jay, who, Zalani saw was unconscious. The girl was her friend Susan.

Susan looked at her and said, “He is mine, he said he wants to be with me, not you.”

NO!” yelled Zalani. “You are not real.” Then she stepped closer and Susan started to turn to mist. She quickened her pace and Jay’s body seemed to get no closer. He lay there, not moving or anything. The figures still stood there unmoving.

Please, Jay, wake up. I love you! I am not going to let you go! Please Jay, come to me.” She was yelling and desperately running towards him but still he would not move nor did the distance seem to close between them.

She was crying and struggling to get closer. “Please Jay, I love you! Wake up!” Then the distance closed a little and the dark figures blinked once and then looked a little less clear than before.

Hope renewed in her. A well of emotion of love and desire flowed through her. More strongly and fiercer than she ever thought she could, she loved and wanted Jay. “JAY, I LOVE YOU!” she said with all the feeling she could muster. In that moment she closed the entire distance to the body of Jay. Standing above him she looked down at a diseased body of Jay. It was covered with large black bubbles on his face, the eyes looking at her were red with blood trickling out of the corners.

“Stay away” the body of Jay said.

Zalani stopped, suddenly the strength starting to drain from her. She looked at the dark figures and they blinked again but came back more clearly than before. She threw herself at the body, hugging him with all of her might.

“Jay I love you, please come back to me.” Over and over again she said that. Hugging as hard as she could.

The chanting of the elders suddenly stopped. A loud CLAP echoed through the hogan and Zalani was holding Jay’s prone body inside the hogan. All eyes were on her. Susan looked horrified.

Zalani looked from her friend and the elders making their way towards her and then back down to Jay. He opened his eyes, gave a weak smile.

“You came for me. Coyote said your love is what would save me. I love you Zalani.”

A little short story: For Me?

Here is something I did up for someone dear to me.  Hope you like it. Please let me know if you like.

For Me?

Tanya, a beautiful white swan, swam casually on the calm lake. Not always in the company of the other swans, Tanya liked to go her own way. She loved to go to the burbling pond on the other side of the lake because it was peaceful and many animals came there to drink. She loved to watch the other animals, wondering what their life was like.

Gliding effortlessly into the burbling pond, Tanya saw a duck, fish diving in the pond. Smiling and curious she moved towards the duck.

Hello, friend duck, you are wasting your time, there are no fish here.” Merrily she said.

Starring at her. the duck stopped, mesmerized by her beauty. Then quickly recovering. “Hello beautiful lady, there are, if you know where to look.”

No no, friend?????” She queried.

Jaime, my lady, and you?”

My name is Tanya. It is a pleasure to meet you. And you are teasing me Jaime, no?”

Would I tease such a beautiful swan?” Jaime asked innocently.

I think you would.” she giggled. Tanya thought, he is cute in a duck sort of way.

Yes, you are right. But truthfully, there are fish here if you look the right way.” With that Jaime, dove and in seconds came up with a small fish in his bill. Tossing the fish in the air towards Tanya.

Tanya caught the fish and with wide eyes. “That was incredible. And such a delicious small fish. Thank you Jaime.” She plunged into the water.

She came up, but with no fish. “Where are they? Are you tricking me? I did not see anything.”

Jaime laughed, “It takes time, my dear. You have to learn how to look and where to look.” He looked down, then dove. Coming up a few seconds later to flip another small fish to Tanya.

After swallowing the second delicious prize, “Will you show me how to do?”

Of course, it would be my pleasure.” Jaime cheerfully responded. “First you need to learn to see like a duck.”

See like a duck? How do ducks see?” She asked, honestly perplexed by his statement. Of course we see the same thing, right?

Look at that tree over there. The one that fell down. What do you see?” he asked.

Tanya looked at the tree. Of course it was a tree but she figured he wanted a different answer. She studied it for a minute and then smiling, said. “I see a tree. A home to many animals and bugs. I see the smaller birds and rabbits making homes in the wood or under it. I see insects crawling over it, termites eating it and mushrooms growing on it.” She finished feeling proud of her insight.

Wow, that was wonderful. I never thought of it that way. You truly have a different insight to the world.” He looked at her with admiration. “I am so happy I met you Tanya. You have taught me something today. Thank you.”

She smiled and blushed with his praise. Then tilted her head and gave him a look, “Okay now your turn Jaime. What do you see.”

A tree.” He said. Then she started to flap her wings in protest. He laughed and said, “Okay Okay, I was just teasing.”

She smiled. She was starting to like Jaime. He was not like the other swans or ducks that she met. He was funny. She shook her head then looked at him. “I am waiting.”

Clearing his throat, flapping his wings and then concentrating on the tree. Making a big show of things, in a comical way.

I see…. A sapling, small and delicate, stretching to get to the light. Slowly growing taller and stretching further and further from the ground. I see that young tree delighting in the squirrels and birds that rest on his branches. Being irritated by the rabbits that burrow under his roots but not overly, enjoying the little rabbits bounding over and under his base. I see that young tree grow older. Standing tall among its fellow trees. Feeling the breeze run through his branches. The sensual rains brush his leaves like the kiss of a lover’s gentle lips. I see an older tree, standing tall among his younger neighbors, enduring the cold of winter as he has done so many times before. Now blocking the ice cold winds from the sweet young trees around him. I see, now the wise old tree, despairing of another winter. Knowing his time is short on this wondrous earth.” Then quietly, “I see that great old tree, losing his fight to stay upright. Falling to the ground and hitting hard. Slowly, having his life drain away as the leaves and twigs flutter to the ground.”

That was beautiful.” Tanya said. She leaned over and nuzzled him with her bill and they floated there together, saying nothing and looking that the tree. Both seeing the tree in the way the other saw the tree. They stayed there until the sun started to go down.

I must go.” Tanya said.

I know, but I wish you would not.” Jaime whispered.

I will come again tomorrow.” Tanya promised and with another nuzzle she glided away.

Watching her glide away across the pond in the failing light. He whispered, “Could a swan love a duck.”

Short: Daddy where do you work?

“Daddy, where do you work?”

New Short Story: Man Cometh

  The Gutar were quiet this evening, thought Womaka, looking at holy Suza and her smaller sister Zasu. They were in their cycle of Kota which means they were closest to the radiant ones abode. Usually when that happened, the radiant ones would come forth and visit the Mado, Womaka’s people.
  Womaka was chief among the warriors of the Mado and had won many Tsuga challenges against the Tonda, Meipu and Rosu peoples. He was very crafty and strong but he knew he was no match for the radiant ones. When they come, even mighty Womaka will make Koza to them.
  Windaka strode up to Womaka and bowed his two heads to the greater warrior. The talking head lower than the seeing head, as was custom for another Tsuga champion to greet a greater Tsuga champion. “The radiant ones will come soon.”
  Womaka bobbled his talking head up and down in agreement, with his seeing head looking up at great Suza. “Yes and again we will have to make Koza for them and deal with their humiliations.”
  Windaka, blew rude noises from his talking head in a sign of agreement and exasperation. The Mado did not like the radiant ones. No one did. If nothing else, the radiant ones brought the peoples of Somatsu together in their hatred of them. They came and poked and prodded, invaded the privacy of the people’s homes and occasionally it was rumored they took one of the people. Womaka never knew of anyone taken by them but was not suprised with the accusation. They were definitely thinking they were the superior beings.
  The problem was, the Mado knew they were. They had come 20 cycles of Kota ago and had come every cycle of Kota since. First they came to the Tonda and Womaka’s people only heard of what happened. Then they visited the Tonda and Rosu peoples. Now they visit all the peoples of Somatsu and always they prod.
  Initially, the Tonda tried to fight back but the radiant ones produced weapons that sent forth the light of Suza that burned the Tonda.  Then from the sea of Shansu above, came forth rocks that the radiant ones must have thrown at the Tonda. This caused one of the Tonda villages to disappear and only a fiery gash in Somatsu remained where their village used to be.
  No, the radiant ones must be endured. There is nothing else to do. One day, the Mado will learn of a way to avenge themselves on the radiant ones. One day, Womaka will make the radiant ones make Koza to the Mado.
  Not today, but one day, as he turned around and headed back to the abodes of the Mado. It was time to hide the younglings and treasures of the Mado to keep the radiant ones from finding them. They will come soon. They always do.

New story: The Truth Behind the Memories

Hello,

I am writing another story centered around Jana Stoddert. Since I wrote the first short on her view of the “Fiery Sun” incident. This one will be longer, maybe even make it a novella. Who knows. Already at 4500 words and just getting started.  Hope you like, please comment if you care.

The Dream

 Jana woke up in a sweat. Luckily, she lived alone because she would probably have scared the hell out of her partner, with her yell. “Lights” she said to the house computer “Harvey”.

“Are you okay Jana?” Havey asked her. She liked this newer version of the house computer. They built in more empathy and emotions. Not crazy ones, but enough that it gave comfort when she really felt alone. She was not really into the “master” or “ma’am” naming. Too cold.

Like now. “Yes, Harvey, Thank you. Could I get a coffee and toast, please.” Looking at the clock, it was 5am standard Universal. All planets in the Empire sync up to standard Universal, like the old earth Greenwich Mean Time. Even the Union of Eta Leporis used it.

“Would you like an egg with that?” it asked. As Harvey turned on a soft instrumental mode music. Of course, he was monitoring her vitals and knew what she liked when this condition hit her.

“No just toast. Oh, butter it please.” she said as she stretched and got out of bed. She was starting to feel better, the adrenaline from the moment was passing and she needed a shower.

The same dream was plaguing her again. Again, finding the aliens on Gliese 710 and seeing them. Then seeing the Imperial fleet come into orbit above the planet and fire kinetics down at the alien towns. They were not a space faring race, these aliens. She wanted to call them Targs. Not really sure why, just that she felt that matched them.

They were squat, powerfully built beings with huge compound eyes like a fly. Instead of arms and hands, they had many tentacles with two pronged “fingers”. They did walk on four squat legs and had two mouth like orifices.

Beside their slightly intimidating looks, they were very peaceful. None, that she saw, walked around in what she would consider armor. Not that she is an expert in military matters but she would figure something that looked like what a Knight would be from the histories or an armored warrior, like the Imperial Marines or Army.

“Wake up setting” she said as she entered the bathroom. The shower started with a fine warm mist. She took off her PJs and looked in the mirror. She was 129, still young and kept in good shape with regular obstacle course jogging and pole fighting. She admired her curves, she was an average 6.3 feet tall and weighed 183 pounds. “Not bad at all.” she thought.

Once in the shower, the warm mist turned to alternating blasts of cold and hot water, for a minute. Then back to the mist while she lathered up. She enjoyed her showers, always had. Especially where she can program the shower, like at home. Some of the lodging she stayed at, had older systems that would either not let you download your profile or didn’t have all the options she liked to use. She was not fanatical about showers, who had to program her settings no matter what.

Her last boyfriend was that way. Drove her crazy. John would have to stop and make everything just perfect. When they went to Parsin IV in the Union of Eta Leporis, the other human nation. They found a rustic village near the largest waterfall on a natural world. Rustic was the keyword there, no real modern conveniences. Even off MindNet, it was so far out. He just couldn’t cope with the lack of technology and she decided that was just too much for her.

She left him after two nights of him fighting with the kitchen utensils to make what he wanted. In fact, he still might be there. They never talked again after that. Not that she considered it a loss.

“Feeling better Jana?” Harvey asked as she came to the kitchen table and found her coffee and toast as she ordered.

“Yes Harvey, thank you. Please turn on the news.” She said. A virtual screen dropped down on the other side of the table and presented the local news. She could have read it off MindNet but then she would have to think about that and eat. She preferred eating and just letting the news flow by. If something really caught her attention, she would then concentrate on it or seek additional information off MindNet.

While she nibbled on her toast, she thought back to Gliese 710. Their explorer ship “Fiery Sun” exploded just as it got down to observation speed about a light month outside of the system. Bad luck that was. Almost a year invested by her team and many years before that by the Transit team. Luckily, her Guild did not try to blame the team. The telemetry from the sensors didn’t show much before the ship exploaded.

It was a possible habitable system. Many expected planets with a few in the Goldilocks zone. It could have made the Guild and her team a lot of money. Still felt wrong. Jana was not sure but something just felt wrong about how everything went down. That and these dreams about the aliens there. Just made her wonder.

Maybe she should go to a shrink, she thought. Not that she felt she is crazy but maybe they can help her get pass this feeling and help her move on. she was dreaming of these aliens and the ship’s explosion almost nightly and that was starting to scare her.

Of course losing an explorer ship happens. About 3 to 4 a year end up being destroyed by hitting something in transit. They fly between the stars at a third the speed of light and if they hit a big enough object the shields won’t be able to stop it. At a third the speed of light the ship can repel objects about a meter in size safely. At higher speeds, even this becomes impossible to do.

The “Fiery Sun” was the first in a long time that exploded in the system. In fact, the last one was about 40 years ago by another one of her Guild’s teams. That team was told they were not at fault either but they were all reposted to remote sensing stations. She had a friend on that team. Well, an acquaintance. They were a year apart in joining the Guild and talked a little back then. When she was reposted to a remote red dwarf, she never really communicated with her afterwards.

“I wonder what happened to her?”

“I am sorry Jana, could you please repeat your question.” Harvey requested.

“Oh nothing, Harvey, ignore it.” As she got up from the kitchen table.

“Thank you, that hit the spot.” The cleaning robot came out and took the dishes away. Cleaning nanites would scour the dishes clean and break down all the remains into particles that would eventually become a block of biodegradable mass. These would go to farm stations where other nanites would break these blocks down and make fertilizer out of them.

End Chapter one.