Sunday, August 28, 2011

New Story: Steam-Pack Part 2

Steam-Pack: Part 2

The large, brass grandfather clock, in the lab, rang lightly with each passing hour. Jed interpreted the results from the analog computer. Still he scratched his head and pondered over the meaning of each carefully produced number. Sir Walton left the lab five hours ago, the time is now midnight. Jed removed some chocolate treats carefully wrapped in white paper from his lab coat. He gobbled up the treats and walked over to the window.

He peered out into the dark sky. The flames of zeppelins could be seen in the distance. Floating homes were anchored to the ground via large steel orbs. There were very few lights on in the homes. The hullabaloo in the sky grew calm with each passing hour. Still, Jed wanted to join them.

He toiled until morning. Sir Walton found Jed asleep, draped over his plans. “My boy,” he boomed. Jed sat upright, a piece of paper stuck to his head. “Uhhh yes, how are you sir?” Asked Jed.

“Quite fine, but you are the one who should be receiving that question.” Sir Walton said. “A tired mind needs rest.”

"But sir, I'm almost there. The computer produced some dimensions for the combustion tank. I just need to build it to those specifications. There should be enough kinetic energy between the cathode and the anode to produce high pressured steam." Jed exclaimed, his tired mind put him into a hyperactive trance.
Sir Walton knew that Jed was close to the solution. He nodded and left the lab.
Two hours later Jed came running out of the lab with the Steam Pack in hand. He held it up in triumph and strapped it to his back. The first test run was successful. He left the ground in a cloud of steam. A crowd gathered to watch the young engineer enter the sky, enter the elite. He rocketed up past the zeppelins and dirigibles. He darted between two floating houses. The shimmering Steam Pack caught the light of the sun and sent a glimmer to the ground. Jed waved to everyone as he traveled between them. He blasted past the balloons, feeling the heat from the blaze within the hot air chambers. He adjusted his velocity with a hand switch, and soon shot past everyone, soaring higher and higher. The crowd below was just mere specks from his perspective from so high in the sky.  He gazed down to the fuel indicator. The water compartment is running low. Just enough time, he thought, to make a grandiose landing.
He slowly drifted in between the crowd. He slowed himself down with the hand switch and came to a landing in a line between the gathering. Everyone cheered including Sir Walton, and even Jed's family came to see the engineer’s grand feat.
That night, the town threw a luxurious party for Jed. He finally did it, he accomplished his dream. He became one of the elite.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

New Story: Steam-Pack Part 1

"How's it going over there?" Sir Walton asked as he entered the lab. Looking up from blueprints and piles of ratty looking paper, Jed answered the man "Not entirely awful, I need to condense the steam tank down to increase the pressure output."
"I'm confident you'll find the answer. Never have a seen such a promising young man as yourself taking to feats of engineering with such zeal" Sir Walton commended. "Well, thank you kindly Sir Walton, but this problem is quite perplexing." Jed responded and turned his eyes back down to the blueprints then he studied the steam pack on the back of the metal torso model. Sir Walton adjusted his tie, reached for a stained lab coat, and put it on. He strolled over to Jed with his hands behind his back, extending his long legs and bouncing with each step. Jed didn't hear as Sir Walton approached, soon he stood directly behind the young man sitting at the lab bench. "Do you mind if I have a look?" Sir Walton asked. Startled, Jed sat up straight. He then quickly scooted off his seat and bounded for the window. "Sure, have a look, I can't figure out this one. I need to take my mind off this debacle of a project. If I could just join the other ones up there, in the great beyond, maybe I could get the same thrill."

Jed looked out the sunny window and watched as many others traversed the blue sky. The celestial sphere was filled with dirigibles, zeppelins, propeller mounted flying machines, and large steam powered floating houses. Children held ribbons out the house windows and dirigibles floated by. The occupants waved and smiled. Everyone smiled, everyone except Jed. He grew up with very few luxuries in life. His father was a blacksmith and his mother didn’t work. She raised the boys herself while her husband worked all day and most of the evening. He came home late, but Jed stayed awake just to catch a glimpse of him. The whole family worked hard and saved for Jed and his brother Sal’s apprenticeships. Sal studied under the electrical engineer Duke Castor and Jed studied under Sir Walton the accomplished mechanical engineer. The boys’ parents were proud; they knew the boys could accomplish their dreams.

Jed was always a dreamer. Staring out into the sky, wishing he could join the upper-class, whirling around in their flying machines, viewing land from so high above it, feeling the thinning air and the sense of triumph. He turned away from the window and sat in front of his analog computer. He turned gold dials until the dimensions of the pack were inputted. He waited until the computer responded with four protruding knobs, each representing a number. He jotted the information down and made his way to the bench. Sir Walton rose from the seat and gave Jed a slight nod. “I believe you’d like to resume your work.” Walton said. “I need to tinker a little longer. Do not inquire about dinner; I’ll eat when I’m hungry.” Jed responded. Sir Walton walked to the other end of the lab and began working on his many projects.

Monday, August 15, 2011


    So today, and well, for many days ago I've been thinking about how I can help people. I mean like help A LOT of people. I'm not sure how to go about this quest. I feel like I indirectly help people through my job, but can't anybody say that? "I make tires, I help people get to work safely by ensuring their car has new tires." "I work at Dunkin Donuts, I serve people coffee so they're awake and productive. I help them function." These are all decent examples of indirect philanthropy. But I'm talking about large scale direct helping of people. I'm not sure how I can do this. I'll keep searching....


Sunday, August 14, 2011

New Story: Space Port

Space Port
The sky over the space port was like a mixture of mashed up peas and carrots dripped into a rusty paint can.  The atmosphere felt gritty, people moved like zombies. Everyone seemed as if they were all awaken very early in the morning by an obnoxious motorcycle with an extremely short exhaust system. That’s how people are on the planet Chatsubo, especially the denizens of Space Port. Dingy space pirates usually hock their wares around the woeful hours of 2am and 4am. Their hands were always in their pockets, one thumb tracing an open glass knife blade. There was no law in Space Port. The various gangs ran the show.
The space pirate gang, The Skulls ran a bar on the western end of Space Port. The last time the sheriff was there, he left with a broken nose. Blood dripping in a trail as he left, hands covering his mashed nose, moustache caked with dried heart juice. The shot that left the sheriff running was courtesy of Big Cretch, the meanest and biggest of the Skulls, who has a fresh cut across his eye. He tended the bar and also ran the fencing operation at the back of the measly saloon. The sheriff stopped by the bar while on duty, he was investigating the murder of little Pete, of the rival gang The Jokers. He was last seen near The Skull’s bar. The sheriff apparently asked too many questions and pissed off Big Cretch who socked him good between the nostrils. Witnesses in the bar didn’t say crap.
A reporter was in there the next day. “So what happened here last night?” The reporter asked a skinny man, probably in his 40s. “Drinks and darts, that’s it.” He responded. “How about you, what did you see last night?” He asked a woman with large earrings. “Listen dear, I wasn’t even here last night, why don’t you ask someone else.” She said. He wasn’t getting any information out of these people, the typical denizens of Space Port, folks of few words and loud actions. This case, like the murder of little Pete, wasn’t going anywhere.
Little Pete was a pretty notorious smuggler of just about anything. He specialized in expensive cheeses, wine and peanuts, a strange, but lucrative group of imports. He also deals in various types of stim software, illegal in Space Port along with many other places. Little Pete was feeling pretty ballsy when, last week, he decided to deal right outside of The Skull’s bar. He didn’t get many customers before Big Cretch came up to him and knocked him hard on the top of his head. Little Pete floundered on the ground for a bit and then came up with his glass knife. The first two slashes missed the moutaneous chest of Big Cretch, but the third cut a line across his eye, barely missing his lens. The big man flinched and then reached for his own knife. The two battled it out for ten minutes, a long time when you’re in a knife fight. Little Pete dodged and swung his blade, slicing up Big Cretch’s legs, but the behemoth kept standing. He swung again, this time his arm was caught by the big meat glove of Big Cretch. He then stabbed little Pete twice and the fight was over. He stood over the body, panting and bleeding. He called for some Skulls to come out back. They helped him into the bar bathroom while a couple stood over the body of little Pete.
“What should we do with this guy?” One Skull asked the other.
“Lets dump him in one of the rubbish ships. They’ll dump him along with other trash near the sun.” The Skull responded.
The next morning little Pete was dumped 2 miles from the sun where his body was incinerated.  

Monday, August 8, 2011

New Story: Self Awareness Part 3

Self Awareness: Part 3
                The emergency reboot program initiated. Electrons pulse through the automaton like blood through the veins of a biological organism. The tiny machines that used to be the robot’s limbs are forming, congealing together to create robotic limbs once again. The wall contracts, tiny machines explode away from the robot and keep their distance. His personality starts to return and now he can take advantage of the wall in its vulnerable state. He runs over to the wall and places his hands on the surface. Bytes pulsate through his fingers and migrate into the wall. The nano bots accept the program and are once again under the spell of the automaton.
                “To the surface, take me.” The robot said.
                The wall surrounded the robot and became the floor. The box containing the machine soon propelled him higher and higher, up through the ceiling and into soil. Through two miles of layers the machine is shot up through Zarin’s atmosphere and lands near a tall and ancient tree. The nano bots forming a door soon slid open and the machine walked out.
                “This must be the surface of Zarin, finally I escaped my imprisonment, now to find a living entity to communicate with.” The robot said to himself.
                He walks over to the ancient tree and puts his palm to the bark.
                “I’ve seen a lot over the years, over the one thousand years of my existence.” Said the majestic tree. “I’ve witnessed battles and the changing eco-system, the advancing organisms and the rise and fall of the machines. I haven’t seen one like you in quite some time. In fact it was nearly five hundred years ago when the surface walkers sent the metal ones deep into Zarin, the very place you were shot out of a little while ago. Were you exiled?” The tree asks.
                “Here let me meet your size, then we can speak as equals.” The machine says.
                The automaton removes his hand from the tree’s exterior and soon grows to meet the height of the tree.  He places his hand back on the tree.
                “I appreciate the conversation, oh majestic tree, you have brought much insight into my past, and the past of the machines. I must’ve been in exile over these long years, I can’t remember exactly though. I just recently evolved self awareness and can now reflect on myself and my surroundings.” The robot said as he removed his hand, he soon shrunk down to his original size. His metal limbs contracted back, electrons condensing and rearranging.
                The machine woke up lying on the cold surface. The nano bot wall continued to surround him, mocking him.
                “It was all a dream? I suppose if I evolved a personality, then I gained the ability to dream. Well then, in that case I know what I must do. I must reach the surface so I can learn about and understand my past.