UN Resolution 951167-B

Author : Pyai (aka Megan Hoffman)

Max sat behind the deck, and yawned. He saw out the glass through the dusty blinds of his office two men in dark suits walking briskly down his dark hallway. He looked around, quickly. He shoved the Twinkies into his desk drawer, flicked the entire ash tray into his trash can, and took his feet off the desk.

The two men opened the door to the office without knocking. “Clyde Agbai?”

“Uh, Clyde went home sick yesterday. I’m Maxwell Fitzkee. Can I help you gentlemen?”

The two men looked at each other, their glances inscrutable.

“Are you handling the transmissions which emanate from that dish?”

The first man nodded out the one small window in the office towards the giant white dish that sat out maybe half a mile from the base. The GBD, Great Big Dish, also referred to as the BFD, was entirely operated from this little bunker which was all that remained from the decades of scientific studies. Recently its total monetary support had been coming in from commercial messages sent into outer space and the sale of little magnets bearing the GBD logo.

“Uh, yes.” Max straightened his tie. He wasn’t the number one sales lead for nothing. “In fact I have over one thousand transmissions on my record. So anything you gentleman need, I can arrange for you. We also offer package deals if you have a longer message, want to encode video, or are buying it as a gift for a relative.”

Max reached into his desk and pulled out a bright pamphlet.

The second dark-suited man who hadn’t said anything yet handed him a single sheet of paper on heavy cardstock. There was a gold seal at the top that looked vaguely familiar. Max quickly scanned it so as to make a semi-personal but not intrusive comment in order to win their trust.

“This is a UN matter of urgency, regarding the cause of all the recent natural disasters. Please just send the transmission.” the first man said slowly.

“You mean like Hurricane Uli and Hurricane Zetta? What exactly is their cause? Global warming?” Max smiled, trying to be charming.

The first man looked at him. “Solar flares.”

As no more conversation looked forthcoming, Max pursed his lips and began scanning and typing in the data. As he did, he was surprised to find it was an official UN resolution of condemnation for the actions of a terrorist body.

“Okay gentleman, your message has been encoded and it ready to be sent out by the second largest satellite dish in the entire world. Now, where would you like this aimed?” Max slid out a sky chart including celestial bodies, famous constellations and religious stations. “Here’s a list of our more popular destinations if you need some help deciding.”

“No thank you, we already know. Please send it to the sun.”

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Three Strikes

Author : Duncan Shields

The black non-stick plastic of the cop’s fist presses my fat lips up against my teeth until they split. The drugs from the gas are slowing all this down and adding the colours. I’m seeing so clearly and feeling none of it. My own blood squirts hot into my mouth and I can taste the pennies.

Through all of this I maintain eye contact with where I guess the cop’s eyes are behind the featureless dark face-shield he’s wearing. I can see myself reflected there and warped around in a fisheye way. I’m smiling at myself. I look like a clown in a whorehouse. I look like I’m having the time of my life. I chuckle wetly at that and wink at myself. Looking back, I can’t decide if it was the laugh or the wink that made the cop angry.

The cop’s hardened riot-fist loops around again and this time my head rings like a bell and it all goes dark.

I wake up in the holding van, cuffed to the seat, with a head full of crunched up milk cartons. The effects of the gas have worn off.

This is the third time I’ve been caught red handed by the cops. The first time, I took my behavioural modifier out with a knife during the Black Out in ’76. I was caught employing minors as delivery girls four months later. They took me down hard for that. No sims. I did my time. I got out.

The new behavioural modifiers were in the blood. They couldn’t just be dug out. I was happy. I helped old people across the street. I stopped to feed puppies. I stepped into the middle of arguments and tried to mediate. That’s how I met Jake.

Jake was arguing on the sidewalk near Shacktown. I stopped there and tried to get them to see both sides of the issue. Jake shot the other guy and then shot me in the knee. Seeing me apologize there with one leg useless made him realize that I’d been conditioned.

Well, one good turn deserves another, they say. Jake strapped me to a black table in shacktown and brought in some Doctors With Problems. They gave me a transfusion that scrubbed my veins clean. It’s not an experience I recommend.

Jake took me in and got me going again. He told me about the heist.

We were in the building and it was going well. Only two of the hostages were dead and the creds were being packed into the coffins right in front of us. I guess Jake should have put a few more bullets into that manager guy’s armoured head. It was him who pressed the alarm.

The rockets came up and through the windows into the bank, billowing their green joker gas. The officers came in after that.

Jake is looking at me from across the van with a sheepish smile. I’m going to go down hard for this. Three strikes. I’m out.

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The Flawless Nature of Deductive Reasoning

Author : J. S. Kachelries

We had been in Antarctica for two months studying the alien spacecraft. It had been discovered a month earlier when a portion of the Ross Ice Self caved into the sea. Based on the thickness of the ice covering the ship, we estimated that it was buried approximately 120,000 years ago. The ship was saucer shaped (big surprise), and was 318 meters in diameter and 72 meters tall. The ship had ten habitation floors in the upper portion, with a large cargo hold below that. We did not find any alien bodies, so we assumed that they were either rescued, decomposed, or they wandered off. The ship appeared undamaged, so we don’t know why it was abandoned.

My name is Steve McCoy, a Xenobiologist, and I’m heading the team trying to learn about the alien’s physiology (mechanical, physical, and biochemical functions). I admit, not having a body is inconvenient, but as scientists, it’s routine for us to deduce information using limited data and our powers of deduction. For example, we concluded that the aliens were much shorter than us, because the ceiling height was only 1.2 meters. Furthermore, they were not humanoid, because we could not find any furniture for sitting or laying down, utensils such as knives and forks, or equipment that required hands for gripping or manipulation. Therefore, you could logically deduce that they were probably serpent-like, insectoid, or hoofed quadrupeds. In addition, if they died on site, their bodies had no “hard” parts, like bones or teeth. We found traces of degraded biomass along the cargo hold walls, which we believe are remnants of their food supply. It smelled “fishy,” but everything smells fishy in Antarctica. Remarkably, this degraded biomass contained amino acids and proteins very similar to our own. The similarities were sufficient enough that had the aliens crashed on land, anywhere but in Antarctica, they probably would have been able to survive on Earth’s plant and animal life. Unfortunately, the poor devils crashed in Antarctica where there was no food. They no doubt starved to death once they consumed all of their supplies.

I was reviewing my interim report when Dr. Smith (Information Technology Team Leader, aka, head geek) paged me to come to the bridge. Recently, Dr. Smith had been able to download data from their mainframe computer. Fortunately, their technology was similar enough to ours to decipher some of their language. His cryptologists identified a dozen or so words: a, the, is, we, no, it, yes, food, home, safe, mission, suitable, predators, desolate, etc. There were also sub-routines containing what he believes to be digital images. When I arrived on the bridge, Dr. Smith was at his interface terminal. “I’ve got it, Steve,” he said. “I’ve accessed their personnel files. I’m uploading the crew manifest now. There should be images of the aliens. We’ll see if your hypotheses are correct.” Slowly, horizontal streaks cascaded down his monitor, and an image of the aliens formed. “Well, I’ll be damned,” he said. “They’re penguins!”

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Tears from the Sky

Author : C. Hale

Shortly after the perfection of the gravity lens telescope, astronomers had tracked a celestial body twice the size of Earth and calculated its trajectory as intersecting Earth’s orbit. A full year of recalculations and simulations had all yielded the same results. Announcements were made. Debates were sparked. Cults rose, and fell, and governments toppled. Humanity had one hundred and three years to enjoy the planet, and two generations grew up knowing that they would be the last.

Dauk looked up at the sky towards the brilliant sunburst of another meteor entering the atmosphere.

“Is that the one, Mommy?” he asked, clutching at a tall, pale woman’s hand.

“No, sweetie. There are at least two days left. Go play with the other boys,” she said, brushing a tear away as Dauk ran off to romp. Inside, the broadcaster was making his final remarks.

“Reports say that the meteor cloud preceding Celestial Body 09-22-2011 will peak at approximately midnight tonight, leaving a nineteen hour window for the departure of the American arkship. Asia reports tentative success with its early-window launch and the European Bloc arkship has been reported as failed during separation. No word on whether auxiliaries are being prepared.”

Outside, Dauk watched another meteor streak by.

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Dream of Other Days

Author : David Zhou

“Have a good weekend, Mr. Lark,” he said, scooting his chair underneath his desk and shuffling his papers a bit.

“Don’t stay too late, y’hear?”

He laughed, and shook his head. Smiling faintly, he grabbed his bag and started for the door. He had a big couple of days ahead of him, and he wanted to be sure he was ready. His pace quickening, he called Susan.

The wildly swerving car barely slowed as it plowed into the man walking out of the office building, cell phone to his head, and quite suddenly, the world faded to gray and shifting black.

“Argh!” he shouted, throwing his visor and leaping out of the receptor. Grumbling to himself, he sat down at a neighboring console, and flipped through some screens. There it was.

Nathan Wilson. Twenty-four. Died of severe head truma.

“Figures,” he said. “What I get for choosing one of the younger ones.”

He sighed, and went back to the screen, switching away from group A, and into D. One of the profiles struck his interest.

William Lister, eighty-six. Died in his sleep. Peaceful enough.

He loaded.

Water. He needed to breathe, his head a pounding maelstrom of pressure and panic and he was sinking deeper, the light above dimmer and further and his vision, twisting and pulsating and that was it. The world faded to gray and shifting black.

He didn’t do anything at first. Just took big, heaping gulps of air. Once he properly made sure that he was not still drowning, he frowned and jotted down a note.

Categorization mistake. Group D element William Lister. Listed termination was not as experienced. Error corrected.

He leaned back in the receptor, looking around.

It wasn’t much, the Reentrant Room. Circular and ringed with consoles, the only thing that attacked the eye was the receptor in the middle.

The receptor. He grinned. It was the only thing that kept him at the job. Most people hated qualifying the reentrants. Something about the responsibility of mortality. But he didn’t mind.

He was the dam. He was the filter. He was the guard at the gate, turning away the filth from the grandeur that was the System.

Yes, it required him to possess a physical body, to be exiled and vomited from the System.

But he didn’t care. He may be all alone in the room, but in the end, he had ultimate control. He could dictate and manage which of these poor digital imprints of fragile souls would be allowed to reenter. Be reborn, and have another chance at the virtual life of a member of the System.

He smiled. It was worth it in the end. He flipped through another couple of profile screens. Hm. This one might be interesting.

Polenza Tipates. Fourty-five. Implosion.

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