Second Childhood

Author : J.R.Blackwell, Staff Writer

“How is the Krugar adjusting to his second childhood?”

The Krugar’s mother motioned to the reporter to sit. “We don’t call him The Krugar here, in his will, he requested that we call him Uill, as he was called in his first childhood.” The Krugar’s mother looked like a fairy tale godmother, round and pink in a flowered apron. She seemed a natural part of the cottage in the country where The Krugar had specified he would live his second childhood.

The reporter sat, crossing her long silver legs. She was tall, traditionally beautiful with shining black crystal eyes thin, pearlecent lips. She tapped her metallic fingers against the wooden table. “Does The Krugar remember any of his previous life?”

“Impressions, yes. He recognizes objects sometimes, doesn’t go outside without one of his toy weapons, but he has no real memories of his past.” The Krugar’s mother put two tin cups of tea down on the table. “The Krugar can’t recall specific events from his previous life. Uill is a child with ideas about places and people, but no real reason that he understands behind why he feels the way he does.”

“If he doesn’t remember anything of the past, why do you think he’s been summoned as a witness for the upcoming trial?”

The Krugar’s mother slid into the seat opposite the reporter. “Politics. Grandstanding lawyers. They won’t get anything about the War Crimes of Minister Talthod out of him. He doesn’t remember. He can’t.”

“How do you respond to allegations that his decision to be reborn was to protect Minister Talthod?”

The Krugar’s mother wrinkled her brow. “I generally don’t respond to those allegations.”

The reporter tapped her fingers on the wooden table. “Do you think this is disorienting for him?”

The Krugars mother looked out the window, where Uill was running after his pet Solft laughing, his little plastic sword stuffed down the back of his shirt. “Uill is just fine.” She smiled at the reporter and past her, to the three million viewers looking through the reporter’s eyes.

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Author : Andrew Bolt

“Why is there no Zeus, Vale? Why am I the only one?”

Dee sits on a pile of aquamarine thermal pillows. Cushions of air, tinted and pressurized, hold her aloft, warming her blood and chlorophyll and making her glow red and green like Christmas.

“C’mon, Dee. You know this one. You were the only one with enough residual Psi-fi left. Something to do with the mineral content of that sanctuary in Sicily. I don’t know. I don’t get it either. But the point is, we haven’t found enough psychic residue to recorporate anyone else.”

Her eyes darken. It’s subtle, but I’ve been watching this for months now. It’s an open secret that she’s been growing peyote in her arterial walls for the last twenty or thirty years. She’s just released some into her bloodstream. Her metabolism operates at a rate fifty or sixty times that of a professional athlete. The amount required to have even a mild effect must be incredible.

“What about Ares? That temple in Thrace?” she inquires with a slight slurring.

“Yeah, well, we talked about that, too. Believe it or not, the WestHem government is not thrilled about the idea of recorporating the ancient god of murder. There’s a spot somewhere outside of Parga that we could probably use to pull together Hades, but we’re not going to be doing that either. Death-related gods are not considered viable candidates.”

“We’re not gods.”


“I’m not a god,” she mumbles, drifting both physically and mentally. “I’m a physical embodiment of the neural energy empowering a generalized faith in something like me. I’m a recorporated Tinkerbell, powered by your fucking belief in fairies. I exist because some government tool clapped too hard and brought me back from Never-never-land with that damn PsiReCor.”

“To Never-never-land.”

“Hmmm?” Her head lolls to the side.

“Tinkerbell died. The clapping brought her back to Never-never-land.”

Dee glances around at the walls of her room, a plush setting that looks like a cross between a botanical garden and a medlab.

“My mistake.”

Screw the Westie rules. I slip my electric bandolier off my shoulder and settle next to her on the thermal couch. Up close, she looks terrible. Greenish veins trace spider webs down her cheeks. Sweat is slick on her face and hands, even though the couch is set at only slightly above room temperature. She coughs once. I lay my arm across her shoulders.

“I’ve saved the world, more or less,” she murmurs. “You have food growing everywhere, in deserts, around the poles, on the surface of all major oceans, even on the moon colony that everyone said was impossible. Why do you still need me?”

She gazes at me distractedly, a milky white film over her eyes.

“Why am I still here?”

The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
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Author : Chris McCormick

When we finally made contact it wasn’t in the way that everyone expected. It wasn’t like Star Trek, or Sagan, or Alien.

It should have been kind of obvious, looking at an atlas of the universe that there were so many of us. Tiny tiny tiny tiny tiny points of life on planets, in star systems, in galaxies, in galactic clusters, in the cellular mess of the known and unknown universe of radiating globules.

It should have been kind of obvious, looking at the ubiquity and persistence of evolution in every system we examined. The genetic systems, the stock market systems, the social systems, the atomic physics systems – everywhere the same rule – “Things that persist, exist,” the corollary of which is that the more intelligent the system, and the more desirous it is of persistence, the better it is at persisting.

The universe gave us an escape valve against the frustration of physical isolation; the impossibility of transcending those colossal, unthinkable distances.

The particle itself had a longish lifetime. Long enough that we could create several of them, overlapping in time so that there was always at least one in the atomic soup for us to probe and watch. Collide, examine, die, collide, examine die. The first time we created the first one, we simply could not fathom the data. The energy signature from this one, weird, heavy particle, was completely strange. The data spewing from it hung around at the border between chaos and order. It was neither chaotic nor ordered. It was complex. Spectral analysis, fourier transforms, and various forms of signal processing yielded only more mess.

At last someone gave up and threw the data on the ‘net. Flushed it through the distributed computing networks, and eventually, subjected it to cryptographic analysis. Suddenly the data came into sharp relief; millions of tiny voices, babbling, saying hello.

The particle was a resonator which resonates at the same frequencies everywhere. A change in one place means the same change everywhere else on the same resonant channel. Like Einstein’s spooky action at a distance, like strange attractors, except that here the particle broke the known physical laws, and now information travels faster than light. So now, while the physicists scramble to accommodate the new phenomena, we’re talking, sharing, and discovering with all of them – Everyone, with a capital ‘E’. Our webs and nets connected to all of their millions of webs and nets. Our network is a tiny node in the largest network of all; the universal network, stretching across all known space, outside all known space.

We’re all working hard together, trying to find a way not to be alone.

The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
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Author : Joshua Reynolds

“Can I has cheeseburger?” the cat whined plaintively. It’s voice was an electronic squeal that grated on Jim’s nerves. Jim swatted the cat on the butt and pushed it off of the desk.


“Plz?” it mewled up at him, eyes unblinking. Jim shook his head.

“I said no.”

“OMG.” the cat yowled. Jim threw up his hands and tried to focus on his work. Schematics for cybernetic voice-boxes filled the screen of his laptop. EMP hardened as most things were these days. No help there. There had to be-

“ROFL!” a cat screeched, rolling onto its back on the desk, swiping at him.

“Shut up!” Jim shoved it to the floor.

“Happy cat is out of happy.” another cat burbled, laying flat on the floor behind his chair.

He glanced at it and went back to work, muttering, “Happy cat is out of happy because happy cat snorts catnip like it was going out of style. Happy cat needs to knock that shit off before happy cat burns out his teeny-tiny brain.”

“Plz can I has cheeseburger?” the first cat purred, leaping into his lap and rubbing its head against his arm.

“No, no, no! A hundred times no!” Jim banged his head against his desk. “Just shut up!”

“I has bucket!” a third cat yowled from the top of a bookcase. Jim whirled.

“Get out of that flower pot!”

“I can fix it.” a fourth cat mumbled, fumbling at Jim’s laptop. Jim turned back and swatted it away from him. His computer screen hiccuped.

“Don’t touch that!”


“No! No cheeseburger!” Jim buried his face in his hands. “No damn cheeseburger.”

It had seemed like such a good idea. People loved cats. People loved those stupid pictures. Just a slight cybernetic modification to the animal’s larynx and bam! Talking cats. Everybody who was anybody wanted one. For about ten minutes. Then nobody did. The fad ended and he was left holding the bag.

“OMG lurve you.” the cat on his lap grumbled. Jim sighed and stroked it.

“Thank you.”

“Can I has cheeseburger now?”


It wasn’t the talking that bothered people really.

It was the fact you couldn’t get the damn things to shut up.

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The Capellian Option

Author : Patricia Stewart, Staff Writer

Captain Goff sat at the head of the conference table. “Well, we find ourselves in a rather precarious situation. The Capellians have seized our ship, as well as the flagship of the Rana. They claim that our war with the Rana has violated their sovereign space. We have been tried, in absentia, in the Capellian Courts, and have been found guilty. According to the Judge, both vessels, including the crew, are to be destroyed. Fortunately for us, however, it appears that our court appointed counsel has done his homework. He appealed the sentence on the grounds of an ancient precedent. If both defendants concur, we can settle our current battle with a one-on-one contest to the death. The survivor’s ship is set free; the other is destroyed. Obviously, this option is better than the original ruling, so I assume the Rana will agree to the fight. What are your recommendations?”

“Captain,” said the first officer, “this sounds like a bad plot from a twentieth century science fiction novel. Surely the Capellians are not serious. This is uncivilized.”

“I’m afraid, Commander, that the Capellians are quite serious, and they have the technological superiority to carry out their sentence. Consider that aspect closed. My primary concern now is figuring out how we can best win the head-to-head conflict. As it stands, the Rana were permitted to choose the weapon. We get to pick the battlefield. Not surprisingly, the Rana chose hand-to-hand combat. I suppose if I had a two inch thick exoskeleton and weighed more than 1000 pounds, I’d choose hand-to-hand combat too. As for the battlefield, the Capellians will recreate any Earth topography we choose. I’m open to suggestions?”

The science officer spoke. “Since the Rana come from an arid world, we need to avoid any rocky, desert terrain. I recommend a cold, icy location. Perhaps, the Siberian Tundra.”

The captain replied, “Too risky. If I die of exposure before my opponent, the Rana will be declared the winner.”

The security officer leaped from his seat. “What? With all due respect, sir, I should be the one fighting the Rana, not you.”

“At ease, Lieutenant,” cautioned the Captain. “I’ll choose the appropriate member of the crew, after I select the most advantageous battlefield.”

“How about a densely wooded area?” suggested the first officer. “They’re too big to maneuver. We’d have an advantage.”

“I thought about that,” replied the captain. “But, it only buys time. Ultimately, I must kill it, or be very confident I can outlive it, which may be tough. I’m sure they require less food and water than we do.”

The tactical discussion continued for several more hours, with no apparent solutions. Finally, an officer of the Capellian court materialized in the room and asked, “Your time is up captain. Have you chosen the battlefield?”

“Yes I have. Let’s get this over with.” He stood up and joined the Capellian, and they both disappeared. The security cursed himself for being too slow to stop the captain from leaving.

Five minutes later, the captain reappeared, soaking wet from the neck down. “Prepare to jump to hyperspace,” he ordered, “before the Capellians change their mind.”

Once the ship was safely away from the Capellian system, the captain relaxed. He turned to his first officer, “I selected the middle of Gulf of Mexico as the battlefield. I guessed correctly that a 1000 pound creature from a dry desert-like planet, didn’t know how to swim.”

The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
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