Author : Patricia Stewart, Staff Writer
Judge Roy Phantly entered his chambers and took the seat at the head of the conference table. To his right, sat Stanley Matthews, CEO of Buy Gones Inc, and his attorney. To the Judge’s left, sat Samantha Blatchford, Lead attorney for the Class Action lawsuit against Buy Gones. “Good morning everyone,” opened the Judge. “This is a preliminary hearing to determine if the civil suit against Buy Gones should be certified and allowed to proceed to trial. The plaintiffs allege that Buy Gones has violated the personal privacy of thousands of claimants. Does the defendant have an opening statement?”
“Yes, Your Honor,” replied Matthews’ attorney. “This claim is totally without merit. Buy Gones has been in existence for 23 years, and has a license to provide its clients with the opportunity to experience real historical events, first hand.”
“How so?” inquired the Judge.
“Well, uh, the specifics of the technology are proprietary, of course. But in essence, Buy Gones has the capability to transmit the consciousness of our clients backward in time, into the minds of historical figures. While there, they can experience, strictly as an observer, thirty minutes of that person’s life, for a fee of $1000. Hence the name of the company, Buy Gones.”
“Do you have any examples, Counselor?”
“Of course, Your Honor. Many of our clients pay to live the experience of Neil Armstrong stepping onto the surface of the moon, George Washington crossing the Delaware, or Joe Montana’s fourth quarter drive in Superbowl XXIII. Not only do our customers see the event through the eyes of the host, they hear the sounds, and feel the emotions. They literally live the experience. It’s really remarkable.”
The Judge turned toward the plaintiff’s attorney. “That doesn’t sound like it merits legal proceedings Ms. Blatchford. I don’t see that this kind of behavior can be causing damages to anybody. What’s the foundation of your lawsuit?”
“Your Honor, Buy Gones has expanded their operation to include modern individuals.”
The Judge turned back toward the defendant, “Is that true?”
“Yes, Your Honor. The police routinely enter the mind of a murder victim minutes before their death to determine the identity of the perpetrator. In divorce cases, wives have entered the minds of their husbands during previous ‘business trips’ to discover that they were in fact, having an affair. Stuff like that.”
“Again,” the Judge said to the plaintiff’s attorney, “That doesn’t seem like an inappropriate application of technology. Apprehending a dangerous criminal, or a philandering spouse for that matter, is a good thing, is it not?”
“Your Honor, Mr. Matthews’ attorney is cherry picking the evidence. Most recently, clients of Buy Gones have paid to enter the minds, and live the sexual exploits of, people such as: Hugh Hefner, Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Denzel Washington, and William Shatner.”
“William Shatner?” remarked the Judge. “Are you kidding me? That’s unbelievable. But even so, these are famous people. They have no expectation of privacy.”
“Your Honor, the celebrities are not filing the lawsuit. It’s their, er, uh, partners. Perfectly innocent people who were overcome by idol worship in a moment of weakness. As a result, we’ve now become the sexual conquests of thousands of sick, pathetic losers. It’s disgusting. Our privacy has been infringed upon without our consent. Buy Gones needs to pay!”
“A valid point,” noted the Judge. “But, you, uh, make it sound…personal, Ms. Blatchford.”
“Let’s just say I’m a very enthusiastic Star Trek fan, your Honor.”
“Oooooh, I see.” The Judge turned toward the defendant. “I’d hate to be you, Mr. Matthews. We’ll start picking the jury on Monday.”
Author : Duncan Shields , Staff Writer
Mapping the human genome made it easier to map the genomes of the rest of the world’s animals. Myself, I have a bit of wolf in my nose and some alligator in my spine. Nothing that stands out, mind you. The business world is still conservative and I want to maintain a low profile in my business.
I’m in a whorehouse called The Zoo and I’m having dinner with my favorite escort. I make enough to afford the best and these splices are what I always want. I look across at her.
She’s all leg. It’s pretty sweet. The pattern on her long neck entices me. Her giant brown eyes are looking at me with unmistakable desire. Her stiff hair stands straight up in a broom-brush mohawk all the way down her spine, bracketed by her backless purple evening dress.
She’s a half-jaffe. Her fingernails are a dark brown and her skin is a luxurious orange-yellow. Her hexagonal skinspots remind me of hot days on the Serengeti planes. And even hotter nights. The wine is getting to her. It’s an act but it’s a good one.
She shakes her head to clear it and I see taut muscles hugging four feet of slender giraffe neck do their work. I’m entranced by her beauty. The bangles in her ears jingle and it’s music to me.
The two little balls that protrude from the top of her head peek out coquettishly from her coiffure. She’s dyed her bangs red.
Her long nose ends in wide nostrils. Her generous mouth twists at the edges in a wry smile. She knows how I want this dinner to end.
She’s wearing six necklaces in a ladder from her strong jaw down to the base of her neck. The last necklace dips towards her spotted cleavage.
Around the restaurant, there are men having dinner with sissy-bears, wylfen, whore-boars, even some nudie-birds. They make me sick. Give me a half-jaffe anyday. They’re tall and worth the climb.
I can hear her tail start to swish behind her. She shoots me a look that says I should ask the waiter for the bill so we can go up to her room. Blushing and shaking, I reach for my wallet.
Author : Matthew Banks
Dr. Menkal gently removed Miller’s bandages. When the last strip peeled away from his eyes, he looked around, not fixating on anything. His irises were blue and cloudy with cataracts, the whites shot through with red. The bandage had pulled away a lot of the burned skin around his eyelids. He looked like something out of a horror movie.
“I can’t see,” he said. Menkal crossed her arms and frowned.
“No,” said Menkal. Miller looked at the floor. “Do you want to talk about what happened?”
“You a shrink?”
“Yes.” Miller blinked.
“What’s to talk about?”
“You stood in the science room with the sun filter at seventy-five percent and blinded yourself. I’ve gotta assume you had a reason.” Miller pursed his lips. They were cracked and scabby. It was only thanks to several kilos of nanoparticle-enhanced burn cream that he still had any skin on his face.
“Don’t you ever want to see it?”
“What? The sun?”
“Yeah. You know, at full power.” Menkal sat down across from Miller and crossed her legs.
“Sure. But I know that if I do that, I’ll go blind.” Miller smiled. New cracks formed in his lips and started to bleed, and he winced.
“It was worth it.”
“What did you see?”
“It was like the face of God.”
“But what did you *see*?”
“The face of God. The face of the Sun.”
“Your retinas are gone and your corneas are cooked. You’ll never see again. Was it really worth it?”
“Tell me about the visions.” Miller frowned.
“No. Every time I tell a doctor about them, they say the visions are because of the epilepsy.”
“What are the visions like?” Miller was silent for a little while, blinking at the floor.
“A bit like what it was like to see the Sun up close: like seeing the face of God. But the Sun was a million times more intense.” He licked his lips. “You think I’m delusional.”
“You might be. But I’ve never seen the face of God, or the face of the Sun, so I won’t judge just yet.”
“Stop being friendly. You’re building rapport so I’ll take whatever damn drugs you give me.”
“No I’m not.” Miller fell silent again.
“She talks to me.”
“I don’t know yet. I still can’t understand Her. Her communication’s too powerful, that’s why the visions she sends me look like seizures. She’s trying to contact me. She’s *alive*.” He paused. “*Now* you think I’m delusional.”
“Not yet.” Miller binked.
“I don’t know how She’s alive, but She is. Maybe She’s been colonized by some alien nanotechnology or something. Maybe an invisible Dyson Swarm or something. I don’t know. But she’s trying to contact me.”
“Okay. But why did you look?”
“I wanted to see.”
“And did you?”
“What can you see now?”
Miller stood up and fixed his cloudy eyes on the doctor’s. He met her gaze, and she had no doubt that he really could see everything.
Outside, the sun glinted brightly off the station’s hull.
Author : Liz Lafferty
Memory swap was the addictive drug of the 23rd Century.
Swap was rather a misnomer; one had to be dead in order to be relieved of the memories locked inside the brain. No known process had been developed to remove the memories from a living person without killing them. Derelict users had become prone to kidnapping and killing many innocents. Each species seemed to be targeted evenly.
It was a predicament the United Galaxies had grappled with for the last twenty years, finally assigning me the jurisdictional task of regulating and punishing all offenders. No simple matter considering there were over two hundred and sixty habitable planets under my thumb.
The other predicament, one the UG hadn’t considered nor tested for, since I was widely held as the moral standard for all things lawful in my quadrant. I was one of the worst addicts in the galaxy.
Naturally, I got to see the list of ‘drugs’ before every raid. I got to say what got kept and what got destroyed.
My sanguine approach to the job allowed me to selectively indulge in my addiction. I usually kept the very best minds for myself; never anything vulgar or morally reprehensible. Not all users were able to control themselves like I could.
Suffice it to say, it was an explosive rush when the memories — the fantasies, the sexual conquests, the emotions, the secrets — poured into your own memory once you hooked in, but like all drugs, faded to something akin to a dream once you came off the high. Being an addict normally destroyed the user since they tended to go for the worst sort of retrievals: serial killers, rapists, warmongers.
I realized right away that I could contain only a small part of the trade, but certainly the deadliest.
I was able to immediately make a large impact on the criminal trade. Criminals were no longer allowed to live. Once a creature entered the galaxy penal system, they were put to death and cremated. Period.
Yes, yes. I’ve heard it before. A few innocents inevitably got swept up in the net.
Within a few years, my decision was widely hailed since it also cut back on the expense of housing galaxian riff-raff.
Once the worst of the trade was under control, I went for the scientific technology, developed by the Betelgeusens. The extractions were expensive and precise. The spine, stem cells and brain had to be kept in an incubator until usage, but users could plug in as many times as they wanted. Since my assignment began, the technology had gotten better. Faster. Cheaper. My team went after processing and storage centers. The memories couldn’t be stored electronically.
We’d gotten word of a huge shipment of illegal criminal minds being transferred to Alfa Centauri’s Black Moon. We were there to intercept the cargo ship.
Inside, we found ten optimum-grade platinum memory containers. When I saw the names on the outside of the container, I wiped my mouth with the back of my hand. Someone had paid big bucks for the memory drugs inside and I wanted them.
It wasn’t my usual philosophical fare. It was an addict’s dream.
I hesitate to tell you whose memories they were for fear you’ll think I’m exaggerating. But I wanted to try them. Ang Pheron, the most celebrated whore of our generation. General Zod Doranda, leader of the Orion uprising and Patto Synestol, the famed mass-murderer. I frowned at the last name. He was supposed to be dead and cremated. Some employees weren’t to be trusted.
Just this once.
Author : Eric Rosenfield
This will be my last post. A warning. A cautionary tale. Those of you who’ve known me these past few years know how I love my Mistress. She raised me. Loved me. Linked me.
I remember before link, much as humans say they remember their early childhood, a fog of feelings and images. One thing I remember vividly is lying with mistress on the bed in the warm, familiar spot, licking her face, my tail wagging.
And I remember the first days of the link, the words flooding into me, logos ex machina. So many beautiful words. It wasn’t until much later that I thought to wonder which was me, the beast, who had once drank blithely from the toilet and licked crumbs from the floor, or the tin box at my neck. I used to make jokes, asking if I “can has” this or that. I did it once at the beach, and a passing Doberman called me, in a register only we could hear, “Uncle Tom”. You have all been a great help to me here on the UplifterSite, in coming to understand myself and my place in the world, my duty to my mistress. We must in no ways let the haters, the flamers and malcontents ruin our relationships with our owners, who have given us this beautiful gift. My happiest moments have been with Mistress, talking over books and movies, laughing, crying, cuddling up in front of the television. Or times when Mistress, lonely for so long, took me under the covers rather than over them. She loved me, and I love her, unconditionally. That is my nature. Truly I was blessed, and my fate is my own doing. Perhaps that was my nature too.
This room smells like cleaning supplies and cat pee. Near me, the face of the vet apologizes, not in words but in eyebrows and set lips and hard stare. I am reassured. There is communication still without words. The vet argued for me when I would not. She doesn’t understand that I have no right. I never did, especially not after what I did with the neighbor’s golden Labrador. This is my crime, the smell of an unentered rear, a moment of blind passion. I could blame it on hormones, on the beast, but I am responsible for my actions. I must accept the penalty with dignity. Really, it doesn’t matter what I did, only that I let down the one I love.
It will all be simpler now. Perhaps the tin box will go on to another, more glamorous life, the machine reincarnated in some other creature. I will finish this confession, and they will take the words away, and I will be a beast again.
Mildred, Fluffy, Corduroy and all the rest, all of you take care. You have been such excellent friends. Remember at whose discretion you are here. Truly, it is as the poet said, we are dirty, unclean things given one glorious chance at godliness. Do not squander that. Do not let the beast poison you. Do not be a bad dog.