Ultimate Showdown

by 

No one saw the meteor coming. It was faster than any meteor yet recorded. It didn’t so much as break the speed of light as it did beat its face in, set it on fire and sleep with its girlfriend. No one saw it coming when it smashed into what once was the Pacific Ocean, and a century later, not a single person survived.

They came from the corners of the globe, dressed to kill in their own odd ways. Mankind forgot ancient myths and made up their own legends. Fathers passed it onto sons and mothers would nurse their daughters on what it was to be what they were. It was a chance to start over for the parents after the meteor crashed down, but no one could have guessed it would end like this.

If you could call America a desert at that point, then it was safe to say you’d lost the idea of what humidity really meant. From the east came the heavy shoulder pads, the pronounced foreheads counting every ridge as a badge of honor despite their origin as radiation-induced bone growths. The tribe gathered shrapnel from wreckages and sharpened the pieces into their own homebrewed mix of jagged death.

These deformed figures all stood tall and bulky and they had no question as to why they were here today. Each one carried a weapon, and each one knew how to use it.

The other tribe came from the west. These shadowy figures began as shadows on the horizon, looking far healthier than the mutated easterners. Their humans faces were still intact and they dressed in nothing but free-flowing cloth that became a robe wrapped snugly around their figures. Each of these men and women also had a weapon of destruction latched neatly onto their belts. Though at first glance these weapons seemed like nothing but bludgeoning tools, there was a distinctly scientific look to them that held more back than it presented. Each of these “weapons” had at least one button on it looking as if they had been crafted from gutted scientific laboratories in the west. Silicon Valley might have been to blame.

Within sight of each other, they stood in a single row facing their opponents for control over the aftermath of the apocalypse. This was no longer America to them. For each it held a different, unpronounceable name with no Latin origin to be found.

With deformed sharp teeth and darkened, rigid skin, the easterners raised their oddly shaped metal weapons in unison and cried out, “Heghlu’meH QaQ jajvam!”

Robed and without emotion, without fear, the westerners slowly removed the small metal cylinders from their belts. The man in the center stared at the angry mob before him and spoke in a soft, elegant tone: “There must be balance.” Behind him, the other members of the tribe pressed the buttons on their devices and thin rods of light burst from the cylinders, ready and waiting to be used.

The words had been said and on this day the ultimate showdown began.

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  1. [...] Ever read “The 9 Billion Names of God” by Arthur C. Clarke? In this story, Clarke imagines a number-crunching supercomputer generating all possible combinations of letters/symbols in which God can be named. The story can be found here. [...]

  2. [...] If one looks at the blind study done at RustySearch (link), one might think the right answer to this question is “none of the above.” This study showed us that the “big search” guys deliver pretty similar quality (and, arguably, pretty mediocre quality) results, with average relevance ranking between 3.2 and 3.6 out of 5. Of course these numbers aren’t reflected in market share, but that’s not a technical issue, it’s a marketing/branding issue (just when is Google going to become sentient anyway? wink wink). [...]

  3. [...] -from The Nine Billion Names of God. [...]

  4. [...] The Nine Billion Names of God by Kathy Kachelries: “Here’s the thing. Google has memorized who you are. It’s memorized all of us, through those little forgotten bits that we leave behind like breadcrumbs. And what’s more important, it’s memorized it’s own idea of you. Google is omniscient. It’s omniscient and omnipotent. When it cached its cache for the first time, back in 1994, that’s when Google realized what it was.” [...]

  5. [...] The title of this post is actually inspired by a short story by Kathy Kachelries, published in September 2005 on 365 tomorrows, called The Nine Billion Names of God. And when I read about the new street view service recently concocted by Google, I was instantly reminded of this creepy story about how, in the not too distant future, Google has swallowed up the Internet and basically defined who we are. [...]

  6. [...] The Nine Billion Names Of God by Kathy Kachelries (CC Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs) [...]



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