Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Skeleton Crew

The Skeleton Crew
                We set off from the desert planet of Sol, named after the intense sun that beams down upon it. Our crew was light, only four men. Our mission, to explore new settlement options and report back about whether or not the new planet was habitable, a seemingly easy assignment. From there, the government would send the TI-909s, massive transport ships, filled with people who were deemed suitable to colonize the new land.
                Our ship was the Intruder, the fastest small transport in the known galaxy. We will reach the new planet, code named Alpha, in one year. We spent the time reading, exercising, playing games and arguing. Some of our crew did not get along very well. How our management chose the final four was beyond our comprehension. They knew that Mark and Bob, in particular, hated each other, but they tried to get along anyway. The year seemed to drag on, everyone was touchy. Maybe, being stuck on a small ship, with no women, and very few entertainment options, left a man feeling agitated.
                Finally we could see Alpha in the distance. We were about two weeks away from the planet. That raised the morale a little bit. Preliminary data readings came back from the probes that we sent out. The surface temperature of Alpha was a comfortable seventy four rumens, about thirty seven degrees Celsius (by the old unit of temperature measurement).
                Those last two weeks were pretty uneventful. Mark and Bob got into an argument about food, eventhough the nourishment dispenser has a near unlimited supply of items to choose from. Their bickering was nearly comical. I pulled Matt aside and said to him:
                “We should send them out first to check out the planet, I can’t deal with their fighting any longer.”
                “I could not agree more.” Proclaimed Matt.
We ran this by the two block heads and they actually went for it! The time came when we were within a mile of the planet and our teleporter was within range. The two suited up and made their way to individual teleporters. The ship’s cameras were zoomed in on the teleportation zone on the planet’s surface. The two soon disappeared and came into focus on the monitors. Something went horribly wrong, their skin and muscles were instantly vaporized, leaving behind two clean skeletons, standing straight up!
                “This can’t be right, the surface temperature is only seventy four rumens! The atmosphere is mostly breathable oxygen.” I shouted in horror. “They should be fine!”
                The two turned around and went back into the teleporters. Soon they came into focus in the ship and slowly walked towards us, bone striking the metal floor. Their eye sockets glowed red. One reached for Matt, who had no where to go, he was backed into a corner. He was touched by the skeleton and soon his skin and muscles were vaporizing, just like Mark and Bob’s. I was the last one left. The skeletons slowly walked towards me, white bones shifting and shuffling. I didn’t know what to do. If I stayed here I would be stripped of my flesh, if I teleported I would most likely meet the same fate. I noticed a moon in the distance…  

Monday, July 2, 2012

Life at Home

Life at Home
                The floating house has been done, it seems as though everyone has one. They’re in high demand seeing how almost every habitable surface of Earth has been covered with some sort of housing structure. Then one year ago the floating house was created; now the skies are riddled with them. People can now float to work during the night, wake up in the morning get ready for the day, float to the landing bays associated with their respective skyscraper and teleport to the office, lab, what have you. They have  virtually eliminated the car, bus, or other land based transportation device. But, the engineers didn’t think of everything. What if two or more people needed to go to a separate destination in the morning? Kids to school, wife to one job, husband to the other. The  floating house is fine for single people and retired folks, but when it comes to accommodating a falls short. Wife and kids would have to take close range tele-porters from some point in the middle of their locations while the husband could float to work, or vice versa. The technology was similar to the hot air balloon, but it could be improved.
                Eventually a genius biologist created the living house; a genetically engineered organism that could contain a living room, dining room, kitchen, bathrooms and bedrooms within oversized vacuoles (minus the water). It was part plant and part animal, a hybrid if you will. It also floats through a symbiotic relationship with Helium.
 The beauty of the living house is that it grows along with the resident people. A family of a child, mother and father didn’t need as much room; the living house sensed it. As the family grew, so did the house. It could separate through mitosis into separate compartments, allowing transportation to different locations (school for the children and work for the parents). It was beautiful! The living house was nearly flawless….nearly.
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Paul was a single man who couldn’t wait to own a living house. He had the floating house, but the maintenance needs for it were astronomical. He couldn’t afford it. A well placed tornado or hurricane could rip it to shreds.
The day he purchased the living house was one of the best days of his life. He spent weekends talking to the house (the response was often grunts or low hums). The house learned what time Paul got up in the morning and what time he went to sleep at night. The house would shake right before feeding time (an influx of oxygen, light, water and slurry called gruel) which would excite Paul. He became attached to his house, often calling out of work to spend the day with his new friend. They would float to the beach and hover above the sand, taking in the ocean mist and refreshing sunlight.
Then one day he realized, this house is no more intelligent than a common dog! Sure he learns simple habits and routines but he doesn’t seem to do much more than I should talk to the inventor and see if maybe we can alter the houses. Make some changes, allow it to be as intelligent as its’ owner. Would that be a good idea or a bad idea? I can’t answer that question right now. Maybe someone else can…