Sunday, December 25, 2011

Alien Christmas

Alien Christmas
                “Grandpa, do they celebrate Christmas on other planets?” The boy said to his grand father, eagerly waiting for his answer.
                “I wouldn’t think so my boy, unless it’s one of the planets that we, the humans, colonized. See, we’re a different species than the aliens, they wouldn’t see the birth of Jesus as something worth celebrating. They might have a special day too, but I don’t think it’s Christmas. They might celebrate a war victory or maybe the settling of a new planet, but I doubt they celebrate Christmas like us, there wouldn’t be any reason to.” Said the old man as he settled into his chair.
                The old man wasn’t completely correct in his reasoning. There was one species of alien, a time traveling type, who wanted to recreate human culture. They traveled to Earth from a distant planet set long in the future. They changed their appearance to look human in order to study the behaviors and customs of their subjects. They were enthralled with human culture. They brought back to their planet human newspapers, computers, calendars and many other artifacts.
                The aliens celebrated their first Christmas in the year 3000 AD. They prepared for the day by growing synthetically made Frasier furs which only took two weeks to grow to full size. They strung LEDs together to decorate their dwellings. Alien children decorated their trees and put angels on the top. Large alien families got together Christmas eve and had a large dinner of lasagna and sparkling grape soda. There was much joy and laughter for the aliens, they realized why Christmas was so popular for the humans. Now the holiday was a part of their traditions. Sure, maybe they didn’t know much about Jesus Christ, but they knew how to celebrate his birth.
                So Grampa never knew about the aliens and how they celebrated Christmas, it was much after his time. He couldn’t answer his grandson’s question accurately, but he did to the best of his ability.
                The two left the living room and went to the kitchen to help set up for the holiday feast. It was Christmas eve, Santa is on his way to deliver presents to good girls and boys. The little boy set the table and Grampa sliced the turkey. His daughter and her husband were in another room wrapping presents. There was much joy and laughter for the humans. They looked out the window to see snow falling while sipping egg nog. Everything was falling in place. Everything was coming together. There was much peace throughout the country. People were feeling happy and content.
                In a different time on another planet, the aliens opened their gifts. They smiled and laughed but there was no snow falling. It doesn’t snow on their planet. The year round temperature is 70C, quite comfortable. They never understood snow. But now they understand Christmas. It’s a time to be happy with friends and family, spend time with loved ones, feel cozy and warm. The aliens just might introduce the concept of Christmas to the inhabitants of other planets that they come into contacts with. The tradition will be passed on.
                Hopefully the new recipients of Christmas will embrace it with the same acceptance as the aliens. If everything goes well, then Christmas will spread throughout the universe.   

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Black Holes

Black Holes
                The scientist looked over his papers as the particle accelerator started up. He then placed his papers onto a nearby table and observed a computer monitor with several graphs and diagrams flashing. He knows that there is some inherent risk with working with these machines but the power of knowledge and the beauty of science have always trumped it. One of those risks include the small black holes that are produced when two particles collide with each other, more importantly when some mass is squeezed into a very small region of space. These black holes will disappear within a few seconds so away goes the risk of radiation produced from them, along with dimensional shifts.
                His luck changed one fateful day when the particles used for the collision were of larger molecular mass than usual. The risk increased with the size of the particles but the scientist was not aware of this. He knew the particles were larger but he didn’t think the black holes produced would be any more large or dangerous. He was wrong, his calculations were off.
                The machine initiated with a hum. The particles were sent around the track and soon collided. The amazing reaction took place right in front of the scientist. A massive black hole formed and sucked the scientist into it and soon disappeared. The scientist awoke on the laboratory floor; his short term memory was erased. He had no recollection of the collision or the black hole. It was getting late. He was the last to leave the building.
                He got into his car and drove home. He placed his hand on his head and tried to block out a throbbing headache. He passed a car on the highway and looked into it. What he saw was frightening. The driver was green and was made up of all sorts of irregular shapes. The scientist stared until the hexagonal head of the other driver turned to him.  The driver rolled down his window and started shouting some garbled sounds to the scientist. He could not make out the bizarre language. He pushed the accelerator down and finalized the pass.
                “I must be dreaming. But I’m sure I saw a strange green organism driving the car, this must be a dream.” The scientist said to himself.
                He pulled up to a car at a stop light and looked over. Yet again! A green mass of shapes and forms with a ridiculous hexagonal head, or what he guessed was a head.
                “Unbelievable.” Said the scientist.
                He eventually made it home and got out of the car. He opened the door to his house and stepped in. What he saw was unnerving. At the sink was a green mass of shapes with a hexagonal head which turned to greet him with some garbled sounds. He tried to talk back but communication was difficult.  A small green pile of shapes moved into the kitchen. This one was almost cute, it made some high pitched sounds.
                “Wait a minute! This is my family. I must be in a parallel universe. I must have been sucked through a black hole when the large particles collided. How can I return to my universe? I must find a way or be permanently stuck in this strange dimension!” The scientist thought to himself.  

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Alone on the Range Part 0

Alone on the Range Part 0
                Well, before I load myself into this pine box let me do some recollecting. Let’s go back to where it all started the place we called home, before the Range. Before she parked us just miles from the planet we wanted to explore, that wench. We were so close. Let’s go back to our childhood days, just me and one eye, before he lost his eye. That was a mighty surprising thing, some cowboy lost his cool over a game of billiards and pulled a Lucy on one eye. He shot him right in the eye, luckily the bullet didn’t go any further. Them Lucys are mighty weak. Any gun named Lucy would have to be weak.
                We all piled on the cowboy and beat him senseless. We were going to kill him but the bartender stopped us, but anyway, before all that nonsense and hullabaloo.
                We met outside waiting for the school ship, a smallish hovercraft that picks up the kids to bring them to the school house. We always waited by the large cactus, it was just me for a few days then I saw a scrawny kid waiting by himself too. The rest of the kids gathered around the water hole, chucking rocks and what not into the water, just to watch them skip. I was never one for crowds, neither was one eye.
                He came up to me that day: “hey, cool satchel.” Said one eye.
                “Oh thanks, I’m Cecil, what’s your name?”
                “Clyde, mighty nice to make your acquaintance.” Said one eye.
                From that day forward we were inseparable. We sat next to each other during astro physics class, yeah that’s right, we’re pretty smart. We would stare into the sky during recess and imagine the unimaginable. What life was like way out there. Not just to the moon. We’ve been there with our parents on day trips before. We’re talking about way out there, light years away. That’s when we got thinking:
                “Hey partner, when we grow up we should buy a huge pasture ship. Large enough for cattle and all the stuff we’ll need for space travel.” I said.
                “Dang straight, that sounds great!” Said one eye.
                Our dreams started there, during those hot elementary school days. We spent study period reading about space travel.
                During the weekends we’d hangout at eachother’s  house and play cowboys and Indians and sometimes cowboys and robots. Cowboys and robots was always more fun.
                I remember this one time when we had a robot substitute. You couldn’t  tell he was a robot, except for his eyes. He never blinked! Some humans go awhile without blinking but this sucker never blinked. We messed with him bad, but he was too quick for us. It’s tough to outsmart a robot but it can be done. Well those were the glory days. I sure do miss one eye. He was one of the last to go.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

UE: 3001 AD

UE: 3001 AD
                The small boy pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose as he studied the vine; his white uniform showed signs of rummaging, soil stained the sleeves. If the Wolves catch him wearing a dirty uniform he will most definitely be beaten and forced to wash blood stains out of the cloth as well.
                He sat in the small room holding the plant, books and mechanical debris scattered throughout. He used an old, steel, examination table as a desk. Set on top were numerous biology, botany, medical, and physics textbooks with chemistry and ballistics manuals opened and sections of text underlined. Steel and lead components of discarded fire arms were sorted and arranged. The boy sat on an old bar stool, he turned to the side holding a flashlight behind a leaf observing the complex veins of the life form. The vine was planted in a cracked coffee mug, roots navigating through its natural soil matrix. He cupped the mug in his hand and continued the examination. His over sized glasses slide down his nose a little farther. He turned off the flash light and set it on the desk. He repositioned the spectacles with his newly freed hand and turned to look at the wall clock. It was now 7pm, curfew time. The alarms sounded throughout the corridors, the dogs marched to each living quarter and knocked on the doors. This routine was the same every night. The dogs walked into the main quarter of each unit and ordered all inhabitants to assemble so he could see them. He identified each of them visually, by scanning their faces with the UE brand data-corder, and genetically with the DNA profile program of the same device. The dog exited and started the process over again at the next unit. The family went their separate ways, the boy returned to his room. He once again studied the vine and then glanced at the clock again, 7:20pm. He threw a green robe over himself and lifted the secret hatch. He climbed down into the sewers. 
                The vines grew abundantly throughout the subterranean community. The tunnels were originally used as garbage chutes by the ancient surface dwellers. Their descendents took to the tunnels to escape the burning sun. As the sun matured, it released higher levels of radiation. Scientists noticed that the ubiquitous vines created a safe retreat from the radiation and blanketed the nearby space with fresh oxygen. The inner workings of the vine still remain a mystery.
                The year was 3001 AD, the planet Earth. Governments from each country formed the United Nations which acted as a global government in the years 2100 AD – 2201 AD. This system changed and was gradually taken over by United Electric (UE) in 2201 AD. Top executives from the mega-corporation assumed high ranking positions in the United Nations while retaining their positions in UE. The company grew exponentially with the changing sun; the amount of light increased over the years and so did UE’s solar electricity sector. The company recruited strong men for their secret police and experienced military officers for enforcers. The ruthless soldiers were nicknamed, by the citizens, dogs and wolves, respectively. Citizens live as small families within identical housing units organized in the tunnels. Passages from the housing sector to the gathering hall were kept spotless. The additional passages, which were unused, were piled to the ceiling with mechanical debris and other refuse.
                The lights throughout the corridors were dim, despite UE’s vast resources, and sunlight was scarce. The citizens were given food rations and only one uniform to wear every day. Beatings and torture were common. There was an ongoing conflict between UE and the underground resistance. The resistance was often defeated; members from captured party were publicly executed in the gathering hall, the resistance leaders were better at evading authorities. The inequality between the two sides came down to one major difference, weapons. The resistance was poorly equipped, they had bats and lead pipes, but few guns.
                The resistance emerged from a small group of rebels who believe strongly in a democracy run by citizens. The current form of government is a totalitarian dictatorship, with Barney Locke, CEO of UE, exacting boundless control. The rebels fight for freedom and human rights, their ranks grow consistently. Public execution rarely deters resistance members, the price of individual lives is small compared to what is at stake if they give up and conform to UE law. The boy has been keeping track of resistance activity; he sneaks into secret meetings and listens intently.   
                He wasn’t going to a meeting tonight. The boy often sneaks out past curfew and rummages through the trash piles. He studied whatever pieces of fire arms he could find. He rummaged through the refuse rooms and salvaged the best items. His goal was to find a new form of weapon that could give the resistance a much needed advantage.  While immersed in a rummaging fit, the boy lost track of time. Dogs and wolves increase surveillance past 8pm, which has been noted as a time of high resistance activity. A young dog slowly marched through the corridor, sweeping the area with his soulless eyes. The boy ducked behind a rusted sink, pushed his glasses up and brushed his hair away from his ears. He sat silently, the dog continued patrol. The boy hid for a few more minutes until the sound of the dog’s footsteps faded into the distance. More foot steps approached, the stranger walked carefully, soft foot wear padding across stone. The boy was familiar with the sound of UE issued foot wear, which these were not, and stood up. A tall, thin man stopped suddenly, and stepped back carefully.
                “I’m sure you know what time it is. You may be small and easily concealed, but you might not be so lucky when the next dog walks by. He should be here in three minutes.” Then the man spoke softly and held a tiny device. “This displays their nightly patrol. If they change anything, then we’re in trouble.”
                The boy looked at the man, his large glasses comically magnifying bright eyes. He pointed to a vine growing in a corner and then looked down at the mechanical mess in his hands.
                “There is something curious about those vines. I’ve been studying them myself. Have you ever heard of neutrinos?” He looked down at the boy while he moved his fingers through the air, simulating particles traveling at high speeds.
                The boy nodded then looked down the corridor as steady foot steps approached.   

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Serpentine and the Man

The Serpentine and the Man
                The serpentine crashes into a golden sandy dune. Granules of sand rose up like a wave, splashing down and covering the nose of the ship. Small particles wedge underneath the wind shields glass. The man rocks about with the impact. Three suns peered light into the ship, the on board computer read the outside temperature at 200 degrees Fahrenheit. The man shouted some commands to the computer: “scan the area for any signs of life,” the computer responded in a female voice: “scanning the area for biological life. No signs of any.” The man rose from the cockpit seat and made his way into the main bay of the ship where the environmental suits were stored. It became apparent to him that he must venture out of the safety of the Serpentine and into inherent danger of the outside.  He found the extreme heat resistant suit and put it on. The main body shell is layered with heat resistant metal, making it very heavy. The gloves are lined with heat resistant material, protecting the wearer’s hands and fingers, along with the boots protecting his feet from hot surfaces. The last component was the helmet, equipped with computer capable of performing many functions. Since this suit is intended for hot weather, there are many programs that search the surroundings for shade and fluctuations in temperature. The gloves are fitted with probes which can be thrust into soil to perform moisture readings and send that data to the computer within the helmet. The man walks a bit and tests out the suit, everything seems to be working correctly. He opens the main door and steps out into the mysterious desert. He reaches into the side holster of the suit and removes a laser blaster; he must be prepared for any unfriendly occupants of the planet. He tossed the weapon in his hands and became familiar with it once again. There weren’t many situations where he had to use it while cruising around in space. He tested out the blaster by aiming at a rock. He hit two buttons and pulled the trigger. An intense light shot out from the barrel and settled on the rock, a second later the target exploded. He lowered the gun and started to walk north. The helmet displayed his direction along with any nearby structures.
                He traveled on. The suns took their turn setting in the distance. He watched as the last sun fell behind one of the many sand dunes. The helmet displayed 6pm, based on the rotation of the planet; the computer was able to calibrate time. The man set a goal to climb over this last sand dune and then rest for an hour. The sand shifted as he climbed over the dune. He made it to the other side and sat down to rest. The display listed the outside temperature as 30 degrees Fahrenheit. The man began to shiver; the suit was not able to generate heat, a feature that would not make much sense in a heat protecting suit. It was also becoming stuffy inside the heavy suit; he quickly stripped out of it, wearing only the helmet and gloves. The man had an idea. He reached into the sand and initiated the probe program; sticking his hand into the sand he sent the data to the helmet computer, one object three feet deep, and a second object four and a half feet deep. The material of the objects: wood. He dug with the gloves on his hands. He unearthed the wood and piled them up together. He removed his blaster and shot the wood pile, creating fire. He removed the helmet and gloves and basked near the fire. He curled up next to the fire with the suit blanketed over his body. He woke up to the suns at 7am, the temperature was rising. He climbed back into the suit and set off again. He climbed over a sand dune and peered down, he was amazed with what he saw.
                There was a silver and gold city with robots milling about. The robots did not register as biological life when he performed the scan from the ship. He held the blaster tight in his hand and descended down the slope.