Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Home (Mission Impossible - 5)

The blue planet rose in the viewscreens as they all gathered around to watch 'Earthrise.' It was a purely artificial construct, but it was still amazing to watch. They had been in space for almost six months and Dranke and his crew were looking forward to some downtime at home. Spacecommand was floating in a distant Earth orbit, but for once, they would not be docking there. Instead, the ship docked at the maintenance yard which was in a near Earth orbit. The crew filed out as they exited one airlock and entered another. The maintenance docks were huge and they stared at the scale of operations as they trooped towards their waiting capsule.

Dranke and his team had been involved in some notable firsts over their last mission. Having tracked and chased an alien fleet clear across the galactic disk, they had continued on their original mission, only to find that the fleet had doubled back after giving their trackers the slip and ambushed them. What the aliens had wanted was not very clear, but it seemed that they were on a mining expedition originally. After they found that Dranke's darkmatter starcraft was tracking them, they had in turn given chase to the ship and confronted Dranke and his crew. It had been quite a shock.

Vaxe and Fenie talked animatedly as they discussed the encounter with the alien and Dranke walked silently to the capsule, shadowed closely by Piteer, who was talking away. Dranke heard none of it, he was too caught up in his own thoughts. The 'capsule' was a sheathed vehicle, thickly layered and powered by lasers. They stepped inside. It moved off almost immediately. A bank of 200 high-powered lasers were aimed at the bottom of the capsule, which was protected from below by a reflective surface. The capsule moved downwards and soon they were on the ground. A Sargent led Dranke, Vaxe, Fenie and Piteer to where General Selin was waiting for them. The rest of the 20-odd crew were allowed to carry on to their debriefing officers.

General Selin was dressed in his battle fatigues, which was a surprise. Dranke shook hands with the General and introduced Vaxe and Piteer. Fenie had already met the General in cadet school and she saluted smartly. The general returned the salute perfunctorily "I read the report. You needed to get more detail on the aliens. Were they a threat. What did they seem to be like. I need everything."

Dranke supressed a smile "We couldn't read the alien. It transformed from a ball-like shape to a quasi-human shape, which was obviously supposed to put us as ease. They are extremely advanced, far beyond what we can imagine." He went on to tell the details of the meeting, the kind of docking which was done with an extrusion of the ship's walls and the liquid-like alien fleet which seemed to be almost ethereal. "They seemed to know we are just beginning to explore, and they did not give anything away. In my opinion, they don't seem to be aggressive. Just curious." The General nodded absentmindedly "You have a week off officially, but we need to know about these Hnnet. Was the alien you met in contact with someone while talking to you?" Fenie said "Ed. He asked us to call him Ed. Though his alien name was something else. But to answer your question, Vaxe was unable to figure out if they had any communications. Our own systems were jammed completely." The debriefing with the General seemed to last forever. He asked for details every few minutes. Finally their story was accepted. The General's aide had recorded everything and he walked away with his data, which was sure to be replayed time and again.

General Selin was not amused. He dismissed them with a parting shot "It seems like the aliens want to talk to you and your crew. So for better or worse, your crew has been chosen to gather intelligence for us."

Dranke decided to give them the day off, and they all left excitedly to enjoy it. It had been some time since they had been able to relax completely, and all too soon, they would be back marking time as they traversed this galaxy and the maybe all the neighboring ones too. It would make for interesting times!

Before very long, they were called back to the Earthbase to rapidly leave for their next mission. Fenie was the only one grumbling as she hadn't quite been able to attend a concert which she been looking forward to. Vaxe shrugged, "we knew it was going to be short notice. The boffins are jumpy."

It was a familiar feeling to be back on their darkmatter starcraft. The bridge had been cleaned and the full ship had been serviced. They settled down and prepared for the long voyage. Fenie said "lets name the ship." Dranke grinned "Let's have a vote." They jumped. And jumped again. And again... leaving the Sol system in the distance.

Pic Courtesy:By NASA (Great Images in NASA Description) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Mission impossible 4 - 'Ed'

Vaxe had the coms ready. Since the aliens were only able to use text, She would have to manage to convey what they wanted to the alien fleet in a similar mode. Dranke stared at the screen, frozen in time. How should one answer? It was too open a question. Thoughts of cliches like We come in peace ran through his head and were discarded. Maybe it would be better to say Hey, how are you. We are humans. Nothing seemed appropriate.

After a long chase from the edge of the Milky Way galaxy, Dranke and his crew had tracked the alien fleet due to their suspicious trajectory which had seemed to take them straight to Earth. When Dranke had found that the aliens were not headed to Earth, the chase had taken on a new complexion. They were then tracking the aliens to see where they were headed. The aliens had given another darkmatter starcraft the slip and sneaked up on Dranke's starcraft without warning. The last message they had sent was "Who are you?"

Fenie was working on a reply as instructed by Dranke. She said "How about this... we are Humans from a the Sol cluster. We were curious about you." Dranke chewed on that for a few seconds and then nodded. They were too far from Earth for anything approaching real-time communications, but he asked Vaxe to send a tracer com to spacecommand appraising them of the situation. She turned back from her screen "I can't send a message to spacecommand. The aliens have jammed all coms except to themselves."

Dranke stared at the visuals of the alien fleet. They looked beautiful. Ripples seemed to pass over the spaceships as they idled. The material was fascinating. Almost hypnotic in it's beauty. What was he supposed to do? Maybe he should just tell the aliens he had no authority to speak to them. But this was a once-in-a-lifetime chance. He would have to wing it. He was actually speaking to the first extraterrestrial intelligence in the known Universe! He let that sink in. Fenie was looking at him and gesticulating. He looked at where she was pointing "Explain Humans."

Dranke asked Fenie to send a long message explaining what Humans were about. This was in the spacecadet manual. Much easier to have the standard spiel which spacecommand had given them. At the footer he asked them to release their communications from the jammer.

The Alien fleet remain impassive in the viewscreens. The next message said "Prepare for boarding." Pushy chaps was the first thought which entered Dranke's mind. He signaled for the airlock to be circulated as one of the alien ships came close. It ignored the airlock and a liquid extrusion of one of the innocuous rounded edges docked with the darkmatter starcraft. It extended right into the ship! The alarms went off. Fenie looked at Dranke significantly as she turned off the alarms. Dranke, Fenie and Vaxe waited near the edge of the liquid gateway which seemed to ignore all matter. The technology was way ahead of theirs. A round globular structure rolled towards them. English words were imprinted on it. "We are Hnnet. From the Hnnet Galaxy. Humans know Hnnet?" Dranke was just not prepared for this. He stared "No we thought we are alone in the Universe." The typing changed to gibberish imprinted on the globe. Then came the sound of a woman laughing. Then a man laughing. "Sorry, we are learning from your data and ship. Almost upto speed now." The globe changed to a man-like shape, mimicking Dranke. "You can call me Ed." It extended it's facsimile 'hand' and Dranke shook it. It fell cold and resilient to the touch.

Dranke could not shake off the feeling of the whole thing being part of a prank. "Good to meet you Ed. Is that your real name?" Again there was a muffled sound of laughing "No. You could not pronounce my name. We are on a mining expedition. You followed us."

Dranke said "Yes, we did not know there was another spacefaring species." He shrugged, just before remembering that body language was probably lost on the Hnnet. He smiled and the Hnnet smiled back. It kept smiling. "We would like to inform our planet of our encounter." Ed continued to smile "Of course. We would like to board your planet too someday." Fenie grinned at the awkward turn of phrase. Ed continued "You have just discovered space travel. I should let you explore." He turned, still smiling, and collapsed into a globe. Dranke yelled "Wait. We want to  know more about you." Ed said distantly "In due time Human." The liquid extrusion pulled away rapidly, leaving no trace it had been there just a few moments ago. The alien fleet jumped away rapidly. They were alone again.

Dranke asked Vaxe to make a full report as they jumped back home. This was more of an adventure than he had imagined in his wildest dreams. He let it sink in. What a mysterious meeting! Spacecommand was going to go apeshit. He smiled wickedly. It would be amusing to talk to General Selin. He imagined his face when he read the report....

Pic Courtesy: "Fomalhaut planet" by ESA, NASA, and L. Calcada (ESO for STScI) - Hubble Directly Observes Planet Orbiting Fomalhaut. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Mission impossible 3 - Contact

Fenie had pressed Vaxe into service to ensure as close to real-time communications with spacecommand as possible, but there was still quite a lag. Even with quasar-assisted communications, they had to wait for responses. Vaxe indicated that she had managed to establish a secure link with a hand signal.

After chasing an alien fleet across the galactic disk; no mean feat, even for a darkmatter spacecraft, they had realized the alien fleet was not aimed at Earth as they had first suspected. Instead the fleet had continued traversing the galactic disk and diverged from the path which led to Sol... and Earth.

General Selin from spacecommand was speaking 'We noticed the alien fleet around two days back and pressed one of the other darkmatter starcraft which is still following the fleet, albeit from a distance which is at least three jumps away. It's going to be hard to be unnoticed."

Dranke felt an anger coming over him, but he had to wait for the General to stop speaking "Sir, we have been tracking this fleet for some time now. Permission to track." He hated the idea of some other captain getting the chance to meet the first aliens encountered by humans.

Fenie looked at him - part in amusement and largely in agreement as she nodded. This was theirs. By any yardstick. He grinned to break the grim tone on the bridge, even though he was seething inside. General Selin replied after a few minutes "Niket's starcraft is already on the job. It is even more important that you continue on your original mission now. Except we need to trace back to where the alien fleet originated. We have to know."

Piteer walked across the bridge to where they were gathered and pulled up a starmap.. showing an estimation of the path taken by the alien fleet. But there were too many variables and red lines snaked across a number of galaxies. There was no way to be sure. They needed to know more. Dranke took it all in "Sir, based on a preliminary study, it looks impossible to be sure. It would be like searching for a needle..." The General cut him off, obviously transmitting simultaneously "We know that. I guess we are grasping at straws. I'm sorry. Your orders are to continue on your original mission." The transmission cut off with the standard signal for end of communication. Dranke looked annoyed "You heard the boffin. We go back from where we came and triangulate our best guesses for point of origin."

Life returned to normal pretty quickly and took on the usual boring space travel motif, Except for the spectacular views as they zoomed out of the galaxy with each successive jump. They went back to the usual shiptime cycle, mimicking the Earth's The card games which had taken a back-seat in the past few days broke out in full force again.

Dranke toyed with the idea of taking a wild guess at where the alien fleet came from. He stared at the maps again and again. Without any preamble the ship's red alert buzzer began ringing loudly. Fenie was running to her post, as was Piteer, followed by the navigation and piloting crew, who had abandoned whatever they were doing. They rapidly began to scan for the reason for the proximity alert.

They were being hailed. The alien fleet! It had doubled back and was now tracking them. Dranke felt a knot in the pit of his stomach as he realized what had happened. The alien fleet had seemed to evaded the other darkmatter starcraft and must have given Niket's crew the slip. He swore. He remembered that there had been a chapter on extraterrestrial intelligence in the cadet manual, but it assumed they would happen on some form of life on a planet.

Fenie looked at the hailing signal - it was gibberish - she could not discern any pattern . Not good. This would take the translators forever to crack. And that was with a lot of luck.

The alien fleet gleamed in front of them. The spacecraft seemed to be almost liquid. The shape blurred and flowed as if made from water. There was nothing to do but wait. They were outnumbered. Should they make a run for it? He was transfixed. Fenie yelled "They are accessing our systems. And the attack has shut down everything. Too late to run if that was in your mind."

Dranke had never felt so helpless. He was a man of action. Waiting was not his strong suit. He needn't have worried. The words on the screen which scrolled down were chilling, and seemed to echo in the ship, even though it was just in text "Who are you?"

Pic courtesy: http://www.eso.org/public/images/eso1118a/ under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license (Wikimedia commons)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Mission Impossible 2 - Cat and Mouse

Jumping in space was a complicated business. It required triangulation of a group of stars, matching against the existing star system, taking into account the time taken for the jump, and avoiding any gravity wells during exit.

This made for a fun discussion between Dranke, his navigator Piteer and his Science officer Fenie. But their predictions did not evoke any merriment. The fleet of alien ships they had spied jumping inward towards the galactic disc had looked menacing. And they had seemed to be heading straight towards Earth. Home to humanity. Fenie did not know what to feel. All her life she had imagined aliens; and now they were heading towards her beloved Earth. It did not feel like an adventure. It felt like the end. She yelled out unnecessarily "Brace for jumps" as the black darkmatter starcraft jumped inward, mimicking the path the alien fleet had taken. It was a grim game of cat and mouse.

Dranke looked at the starmap with foreboding as he watched the jumps making a spidery trail towards Earth. It looked very similar to the alien fleet's path. He asked Fenie for an overlay. Fenie pulled up a larger starmap showing the alien fleet in red and the darkmatter starcraft in blue. Their paths intersected a number of times. Dranke swore and asked for further readings. They had been tracking the alien fleet for over two Earth weeks now, and it was getting to be a continuous war with sleep. He had to see this through!

They had shot off a communication to spacecommand, but for all practical purposes, it would only be received much after they reached Earth. It was a marker, Dranke consoled himself. It would be received by the other darkmatter starcraft in the area surrounding Sol. There were two others. Though Dranke's team was the only one to have left the galaxy.

He had headed off to bed. There was nothing more he could do. As he left he watched Fenie and Piteer were creating tracer lines on the starmap. They were looking at alternate predictions. He would get a few hours rest and plot the remaining jumps home. They were hot on the heels of the alien fleet now.

Dranke woke from his nap drenched in sweat. He had had a nightmare about failing in pilot class. He stretched and shrugged off the dream. He knew exactly what it meant.

Dranke threw on his comfortable soft battle fatigues and padded onto the bridge. Fenie had knocked off earlier. Piteer nodded an acknowledgement "We are just three jumps away from the aliens. We could push for larger jumps and catch up with them, but we lose certainty with longer jumps." Dranke processed the information without stopping "No, just keep plotting. We are almost in the vicinity of Sol now. I want to keep watching the alien fleet. Do not engage."

Piteer took his leave and Fenie took over the controls. They had to now work in rotation. No sense in losing people to fatigue. Fenie suddenly stared at Dranke as his face broke out in a huge smile.

Dranke looked at the starmap to see what she was indicating and before he could react, Fenie yelled out "They are diverging from the galactic disc.... heading past the Sol system." She was now grinning idiotically.

Dranke felt like an idiot himself. He scowled. "Track them and lets get some communications going with spacecommand. I'm sure they will be very interested to know there are other intelligent beings in the Universe." He slumped in his chair, the tiredness taking over as the tension seeped out of his muscles. He was glad it had been a false alarm. Then it sunk in.... humans were not alone in the Universe!

(Pic courtesy : Flickr / NASA / http://goo.gl/MkBrqy)

Mission impossible

Dranke watched the galactic disk in consternation. He was quite shocked by what he had discovered, but this was a first. For humanity as a whole. He studied the area where Sol should be crisscrossing the galactic disk (it would be 'above' as of now).

Dranke had been chosen from a field of young recruits. Since the time of human spaceflight, the issues had always been related to speed. Now, with the advent of the darkmatter starcraft, it was but natural they would send out emissaries to the furthest reaches of the galaxy. Dranke and his team was the first to see the galaxy from 'dead space.' It was a shock to the system. The stars seemed to vanish.

His science officer, Fenie stared in fascination. She was the one to have discovered the anomaly. And it was frightening. Dranke yelled unnecessarily into his com "Have we got a bearing yet?" The navigator, a fresh-faced teen was interfacing with the galactic map. He turned and shook his head "They are moving too fast. If we jump at this time, triangulation will be hell." He looked out of his depth.

Dranke swore in disgust. Why had spacecommand not prepared them adequately. He wondered. This was his third command, and he had not faced anything like this in the simulation. He needed more data.

He watched the computer screen again... the unidentified alien fleet was moving fast and with purpose. It looked like they were heading towards Earth. There was no way to send a message which would reach home before the alien fleet; if indeed they they were heading where Dranke feared they were. Even if it was a peaceful mission, it would not be a fleet of spacecraft. He gave orders for the crew to prepare to head home. One way or another, they would be needed back home.

Fenie did not need a second reminder, she was already plotting the jumps back, a thin sheen of sweat on her forehead. It was cold on the bridge of the darkmatter starcraft, but that did not seem to make a difference.

(Pic credit: NASA / Flickr http://goo.gl/iXgh5Z )

Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Kerry was the first. The progenitor of the PV... the one who had made it all possible. And Kerry was now at the end of his useful life. But he had spawned a whole generation of PVs. Of smart, reliable and unbelievably advanced organo-metallic lifeforms. To call him self-aware would be a gross exaggeration. But then humans were still exploring what self-aware meant. It was enough to call him self-assembling for now.

Kerry's biological (mother?) creator or inventor, Carol Watkins was one of the true dreamers. She had used some of her own cells as the base for the artificial DNA which made up a lot of what Kerry was. And the materials science techs had been her partners in creating what was now a dying PV.

All this was not something which entered John's thoughts as he walked out his large roomy two bedroom cottage. It was his refuge. But today he would travel almost 200 miles out to get to his office. Of course his PV, one he had named Dee was waiting at the curb. He shared his PV with another house owner down the block, but they had different timings of use. Share-a-PV was just catching on. 

Dee waited patiently. Today she was dark blue. Nano scales were all she used to change color. No actual paint was used on her skin. John strode into the PV and told her where he wanted to go. She picked up the coordinates and without a word they were on their way.

John did not even look outside the window...

Carol was working on a way to preserve Kerry. Using a technique of reverting to a more basic cell design, she may be able to rescue the essence of Kerry. Though she knew this was of little real use, she was keen to see if it worked. It was this very curiosity which had set her on the path a lifetime ago...

Growing Kerry had been a long series of trial and error. Though once his DNA was coded, it was surprisingly smart. He had largely self-assembled. Once Carol had got the coding right. But the coding had taken most of her lifetime to perfect. It was incredibly hard and the difficulty had been in stabilizing the sequence. It was a fight with nature to damp down the random issues which kept cropping up. But once the PV was grown, it was able to harvest the Sun's energy and the wind and friction .... in fact all energy around it to move incredibly fast. It was the death knell for the automotive industry. And the change had been frighteningly fast. Within a few years, fuel pumps had closed down. And all research was now focused on creating the next growable tech. It was not easy; in fact it was incredibly hard. And it was going to take forever. But once people knew it could work, nothing was going to stop them. 

Dee was blissfully unaware of all this as she barreled down Superhighway 22. It would be a short journey as she was approaching 300 miles per hour. Without the risk of humans driving vehicles, PVs were able to travel at much greater speeds. Distances seemed shorter. John was at work before he knew it. With a gentle sighing, Dee opened an aperture for John to step out. She did not know that he was working on a concept which an amazing (almost prescient) engineer had made a blueprint for more than a decade ago. It was called a Hyperloop. And it was to replace her.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

An Idea worth writing about

Marge was quite amazed at the way things had gone. She was taken aback at the speed at which she was whisked away .... things were explained to the relevant people... and before anyone knew what was what, she was on her way through the dry Mojave desert. It was hot and they had the decency of giving her a sun hat and a bottle of cold water. Other than that, the breakneck drive in the desert through the testing grounds of the new United Space Agency (for obvious reasons it was not called USA, but UNSAC), were zipping past her vision.

The four wheel drive vehicle was powered by virus run batteries, and the only sound one could hear was the sound of the vehicle jostling over the temporary road. Marge looked around to the unsmiling Sergeant who was driving next to her "Is my paper that path breaking?" The Sergeant looked ahead "Way above my pay grade ma'am. I'm just the chauffeur."

She harrumphed and stared ahead as the UNSAC headquarters building made an appearance. It was short and squat. But above it a tower rose into the skies. An elevator took people to the top. There was a school group gawking at the height. Marge was whisked into a bunker and before she knew it there were a bunch of people in lab coats and pleasant smiles. They waved at her. She grinned back, hoping there was someone she could talk to. A tall lanky woman strode upto her "I'm Terebitha. No joke. Welcome to the brains trust. Your paper was picked up based on key  words. But the idea is terribly exciting. Marge blushed "All I did was think of how lasers can create a coanda effect to create a space elevator shaft". Terebitha smiled "The paper was much more, but we have a working model now."

She ushered Marge into a small capsule which had a huge circular ring around it. The reflective surface was useful in creating thrust and holding the capsule steady. But would it work? It looked terribly fragile. Marge swallowed and stepped into the capsule and Terebitha followed closing the door behind them. Marge suddenly noticed the black flooring pulling away, revealing a huge bank of lasers. Giant ones. It made the capsule look like a little toy; the bottom was a huge round depression with giant turrets. It was immense. The whole thing looked like a futuristic spaceport. Terebitha was saying "What a brilliant concept.... using a photonic cable to create a space elevator. I am in awe." She smiled.... she clearly meant it.

Before Marge could even reply and thank her, the windows of the capsule darkened and she felt the familiar feeling of the Gee forces which one feels in elevators. She heard a metallic voice say "Strap in" before she almost fainted with the sudden acceleration. And then they were away.

The feeling of ascending was endless. They were in a spaceship. A capsule. A flying saucer. An elevator. It was fascinating. "We are soon to dock with the ISS" said Terebitha, waking Marge from her reverie. Marge grinned "Wow that was fast", while remembering the 'ISS' stood for the International Space Station. She had expected the ascension to take much more time. They unstrapped themselves as the acceleration dropped gradually. Soon Marge heard a soft hiss and the top of the capsule slid away showing the ISS airlock.

They were greeted by a whole lot of astronauts and researchers, who grinned and shook her hand. She was a star to them. This was much bigger than she had thought. They were talking about building a base station in space. It would beam another capsule right to the Moon, and then another base station with lasers to be built on the Moon... and onwards. The enormity of the idea was just beginning to sink in. Humans would be space travelers. Soon!

Pic courtesy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ISS-with-S0-S1-P1.jpg

Friday, April 4, 2014

Quantum Dreams - II

Hamil was determined. After months of following his own dream of the quantum nature of particles, he was convinced he had hit upon something. The underlying geometry of the how an incident beam would react was now burned in his brain. But he was missing something. Something vital. And he did not remember what the particles had told him in his dream. The elusive answer bothered him.

He sat hunched over his desk, doodling on a scrap piece of paper while he stared at the wall lost in his thoughts. Radha walked in and saw him daydreaming. She leaned against the table and grinned "Bet you're thinking of how the Xylem and Phloem work." Radha, a biologist of some note, was his long-suffering better half. But she enjoyed ribbing Hamil mercilessly. Hamil smiled back "Of course, how did you guess?" He got up and they got around to doing the chores which they almost always relegated to last place; to be done only when alarms started to sound.

After dinner, Hamil was back at it. This time he decided to study a line of work which had fascinated him, cavitation of bubbles. The short-lived nature of the bubbles was something that had mystified researchers for some time... and worse, the intense heat of cavitation was something which had been even more of a mystery. He was reading of the times bubble fusion had been debunked, and he dug ever deeper into the story. A number of scientists had tried and failed to explain the phenomenon. He put on an audio file and closed his eyes as he listened to the result. Fusion was mentioned and then discarded.

Hamil had drifted off while listening. He nodded off....

Radha was working on her computer, updating her blog on a recent finding in the field of photosynthesis and decided to get herself a cup of tea. She wore her soft slippers and padded off to the kitchen and noticed Hamil with his head on his desk. She shook her head affectionately and smiled. Chamomile tea would be excellent. She would add honey to sweeten it. "Honey why don't you get into bed."

Hamil awoke with a start... He got it! He remembered his dream! He grabbed a pen and started to write on his desk furiously. It was so clear to him! He wrote for about half an hour. It had exhausted him mentally. He got up stared in fascination. One line stared at him.... "Each bubble is an expansion or inflation akin to the Big Bang." It sounded incredible.. even to him. It implied that each bubble was a universe!

He would have to bounce this crazy idea off Radha. Would he be able to explain it even to her?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Quantum Dreams

Hamil dealt with the very small. Small things bring up images of atoms and molecules, of electrons and sub-atomic particles. But Hamil dealt with fundamental particles... their manipulation, their properties and their uses. It was fascinating to him, and he spent endless hours playing with the possibilities. Did Fermions have properties which could be exploited? Were these massless particles something one could manipulate? He wondered.

Radha, his patient wife of twenty years, stared at Hamil as he sat on his study chair and rotated his chair absentmindedly; his thoughts a million miles away. Or maybe they were a million times smaller.... jumping into the quantum nature of the very, very small. Did the fundamental particles repel his hand as he gripped the arm of his chair? No. It was the very opposite. It attracted his hand. That was the nature of the friction which let his hand stay on the arm without slipping off. He examined the small ridges on his fingers... they were the fingerprints which helped with the grip. The very molecules of matter which created a charge. He smiled. It was more than just that. His mind went to the nature of the Bose-Einstein condensate and it's attraction. It was a mystery he needed to wrap his head around. Radha snorted, sure he would not even notice. She was a biologist, and was sure Hamil had no idea about how the Universe ordered itself in the biological world.

Hamil got distracted by a new video link sent by a friend. It was about the nature of quantum perturbations. He watched it while he nibbled on some biscuits. Time passed in his universe.... and shortly he fell asleep at his desk, the video presenter still droning on. It was a peaceful sleep.

When Radha woke Hamil, she was shaking him awake as gently as possible. He muttered as he slowly awoke to the shaking. He remembered seeing the particles shudder as he stood amongst them. They had told him they were not particles. Or waves. It was something ..... the nature of these had been revealed to him in his dream. Or he had dreamt of something really important. Though the secret was just beyond his recollection. It was frustrating. He was so close!

The mathematics was graphic in nature. It was akin to fractals.... beautiful designs... geometrically arranged and created. He was sure then. More than he had ever thought he could be. It was artificial! He just knew it. But no-one would believe him. He had to get proof.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Swimming the Skies

It was a hot and humid day for the trip. But this did not bother Charles. He was going to enjoy the time in the skies. He had decided to use his mantaskin today, and he smiled at the thought of the fun he would have. He donned his close-fitting suit and his nodes connected with it, allowing it to wrap ever tighter. Soon Charles was no more. In his place stood a glittering huge mantaskin covered exosuit which was now airtight. The suit would utilize photosynthesis once he was in the Sunshine.

Charles left hurriedly, he had decided today was the day to visualize and he would run out of time if he tarried. He strode out into the Sun and caught a thermal.... he floated away.  The suit adjusted its size until he was a giant.... a huge giant slow flapping bird up in the sky. It brought back memories of the ancient Greeks who had yearned to do the same thing. But that was where the similarity ended. The twisting wind created eddies and currents and the smallest leading edge vortex impinged on his consciousness. He used it to climb ever higher.

Charles was now able to see the continents resolve as he slid upward using the thinning air and feeling the pressure. The time was now right. Once he cleared the white fluffy clouds altogether, he was in much rarer air, but still not in space. His breathing got ragged and then stopped. Now the suit would breathe for him. It deflected the cosmic rays as well as the radiation of the Sun. He remembered the clumsy suits humans used to have in the past and smiled. All their attempts had made this pure symphony of body and senses possible. The mastery of how to escape the killing gravity of the planet. Humans had been imprisoned to the Earth for the longest time. Only in the last 100 years had it been possible for anyone to get kitted and leave the Earth.

The Mantasuit would now take over completely. It was not rated for interplanetary flight, but he could easily take the next step. And he did.... The 'wings' extended even more and floated up.... higher and higher - using the solar power now to assist the flight to the very edge of the atmosphere before the final power surge from the energy found in the heart of stars.... fusion. He felt the kick as the burner kicked in.... it would last a few seconds, but that would be enough... he was in Space.

Charles fell in his suit which now looked more like a huge sunflower with him attached to it... it followed the Sun. He fell continuously. At least that was what it felt like. He was orbiting the Earth. He started his visualization. Immense memory was being used to scan the stars. He zoomed in using the lens he had attached to the Mantasuit and captured visualizations in fine detail. He would later stitch them to make a complete experience. He was an artist. His neural nodes built the emotions into the visualizations. This was some fine captures indeed. He was happy. He wished his human ancestors would have been able to experience the same thing he did.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Gesina was sweating with the effort of digging continuously for over ten standard hours. It was backbreaking work, even with the highly modified form that she possessed. The gleaming claws shook with the effort as her 'feet' anchored themselves to the hard bedrock of M3RR2, a meteor which was zooming away from the Sun.

Gesina was a miner;  her genetic and biological modifications allowed her to work for long hours in practically any environment. The constant juddering of her claws drilling into the rock shook her giant crab-like frame. Her claw shuddered and stopped, it had hit something hard. She quietly turned off the entertainment  she had accessed and scuttled off for a break. It had begun to get to her.  Her ship was anchored close by, and she anchored her ungainly body as she plugged into it for some peace and quiet.

Gesina had never been on Earth, she had not wanted to really confront something so alien to her, she had no roots there, unlike her parents. Her body highly modified and she needed to breathe only while she was at her ship. Her large wings extended, she waited as they adjusted to follow the Sun.

In a world close by lived Shadel, one of the originals. He was older than most humans, m-humans and other species which the breaking had spawned. He was no more than information, but somewhere there was the core of him, which had been secreted away and preserved for eons. In  an earlier life, he used to be wealthy beyond belief. Now he was an original, a by-product of his immense wealth and he had managed to purchase immortality. He virtually owned the meteor which Gesina was working on, along with all the m-humans who collected precious minerals around the M3R area, which was his fiefdom.

He connected to Gesina. She got a slight jolt as the signal shocked her into awareness "Your next assignment is M33R20.... to be completed asap." She got back to work, in her head she was fantasizing plotting an uprising against the originals.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

They are coming....

Peter was sitting on his desk, thinking how to write his new piece.  He was a writer for one of the burgeoning  online news sites, and he had a deadline of 12 o'clock to post his story. With just a few hours to go, it made his job hard, he had lost all inspiration. It was a feeling of deep disappointment after the months of anticipation which had led to this point.

The Aliens had been spotted by the Large Array Telescope. They had clearly used FTL, and had appeared suddenly at a point just beyond Mars. From there, they had used the Sun's power to travel the rest of the distance to the Earth. Once in orbit, they just sat there. All efforts at communication had been limited to brief, cryptic replies, which left everyone confounded. The worst was when the President had asked the Aliens for a meeting. They had replied it was not necessary. They were just not interested. They were here to observe, nothing more.

The people were in a frenzy. All manner of news and rumors flooded the internet. But the governments worldwide had very little actual news to share. The Aliens were reticent. Almost uncommunicative. Peter was not happy. He had to have a story!

His Editor Sally called and asked him if he had a story. He assured her he was working on it. It would be ready by the deadline. He needed something!

In the Atlantic Ocean, something was afoot. A fishing boat had reported unusual foggy conditions and huge shoals of Dolphins which seemed to be heading right for the center of the fog. There were rumors that this had something to do with the Aliens. Peter seized on this tenuous thread and began writing.... "How the Aliens are affecting animal life on Earth".

In the middle of the fog, the teleporter beam picked up the individual Dolphin who had volunteered to meet with the Aliens. They were very excited, this was First Contact!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Radiant

Tron moved swiftly toward the Radiant, his multifaceted eyes scanning the horizon as he moved. The empty streets helped him to move with a rapidity and fluidity which would have amazed his makers. The rats eyed him with wary caution as he moved past them without acknowledging their presence. They learnt quickly from the fate of their brethren.

The cold of the night had no effect upon him, but there was a methane snow which covered the sidewalks. Tron did not mind. He did not care. The myriad thoughts which intruded in his consciousness screamed of a better time, a feeling of loss, the beauty of the cold and lifeless Earth. He ignored them. The Radiant was now all he needed now, it was time. It was hard-coded into him.

The rats had been a failed experiment of biomimicry. That thought popped into his consciousness unheralded. Tron did not break his strides. His sixteen appendages gripped the road; he could feel the road as he moved.

The Radiant was just outside town. It was housed in a facility where Tron had been created. In some ways he was 'grateful' to his creators. In other ways, he was annoyed at the burden he had to bear. He approached cautiously as the facility appeared. Rats were everywhere. Looking for food. Just to clear the area, he murdered them indiscriminately. They would provide meat for other rats.

Entering the facility, Tron saw the huge familiar dome which had made up the observation deck. In the days there was something to observe. Now it lay silent. He made his way to the small aperture where he plugged himself in. The station hummed with power he had induced. It was alive. The patterning cells in the huge dome glowed with energy as they went about their work. Tentacles and soft tissue worked with liquid metal drops, a symphony of organo-metal.

New modules were 'born' as Tron downloaded specific personalities into replicas of himself. But they were different from him. They held just one personality. He downloaded three of them - Susy, Nestor and Fezzi. That would have to do. The facility could only regenerate so many bodies at a time.

He did not wait for them to 'grow'. The Radiant sucked all his data and experiences into itself like a hungry monster. It was the backup. The failsafe. The future of humanity as it was. Or what was left of it. He would be back next month for the next update. That was his raison d'ĂȘtre.