For the ninth time today, Dyson glanced up from sweeping the facilities floors. He knew it was the ninth, because he’d been watching his bank account shrink with every confused teen who walked by, every school field trip who waltzed in and every curious observer who thought he could lend a hand. Who wouldn’t keep count?
“S’cuse me, sir? Where cans I finds the bathrooms?” It was a little boy this time, probably lost. He’d have to take care of that as well. He decided to delay the inevitable for a bit.
“Why, where are your mom and dad, little one?” He smiled underneath the rim of his cap as he leaned upon the broom and watched the blue-eyed boy. The banter wasn’t necessary, but he figured he might kill two birds with one stone.
“I uhmâ€¦ I can’t wememberâ€¦”
Of course he couldn’t. The boy reminded him of his grandson, however, so he sighed and gave an answer. “Bathrooms are two halls down, past the dinosaur sections and on the left.”
Picking up his broom, he moved over to the front desk and watched Shirley smile brilliantly at a group of students standing around her. She must have been rich, the way she spouted out the information like it was nothing. “In fifteen minutes, we will have our native peoples exhibit, and at 2:30 you will be breaking for lunchtime!”
He waited till she had finished her speech to the group and took in a deep breath as she turned to him. “In all my years, I ain’t never seen anyone remember stuff like you do. How do you do it, Shirley? Don’t you miss all the money from your account?”
Leaning forward, she got a very serious look on her face, “Well, if you really have to knowâ€¦” When she slid a small pad of paper from under the desk, Dyson stared blankly at her as if she’d pulled a gun.
“Shirley!” he started in a hushed whisper. “If the Memory Monitors catch you with that, it’s five to ten at the very least!”
She waved him off with a nonchalant gesture, “Dyson, Dysonâ€¦ don’t worry about it. I have it all under control. Besidesâ€¦ The Native Americans we teach about in this museum didn’t have to pay for their keepsakes. They drew pictures and told stories. We can’t be expected to work in a place like this and not learn that.”
Still watching her like a cautious hawk, Dyson muttered, “They didn’t have to pay? Youâ€¦ wrote that down to remember it, didn’t you?”
“What can I say? Some things should be remembered for free.” She leaned back in a way that almost made it seem like she would put her feet on the desk.
There was frost on the window. It was supposed to be summer, but since the last conflict began, every season had been extended. A fleet of enemy carriers lay still in orbit just outside of normal battalion fire, visible through the large viewscreen window, but they did not move. General Dana Blain looked out over the debris of thousands of warships as it floating up above the atmosphere in the night sky, watching as some succumbed to the gravity of the planet and became shooting stars in reentry.
Her blue eyes stared into the stars as her hands found each other behind her back. “Ensign, I need a status report of the orbit.”
Red lights flashed for days, and the people felt it all over the globe. Ensign Webber punched in the codes and looked upon the glowing screen as he read the statistics to the General. “General, the report from the Scientific Data Association reads us at an orbit increase of twelve days, sixteen hours, forty-three minutes and fifteen seconds.” The ensign paused while a droplet of sweat moved down his temple. “That’sâ€¦”
“An increase of almost double over last time. Yes, I know.” General Blain walked over to the console and punched in a few numbers to see for herself. Her expression was blank and disaffected, as it had been since the third conflict of the war.
A screen to the right of the panoramic view blinked on, displaying the features of a man nearly as stoic as the General. “General Blain, this is Senator Ruger! Peace negotiations are beginning with the Dek’a. You are to cease military advancement immediately. This planet cannot take another blast. Do you-”
He hadn’t finished before the General’s finger flicked over the console button and cut off power to the screen. Everyone in the room turned to her, their faces glazed with astonishment. “Ready the cannon, Ensign Webber,” she said as the eyes of every person in the room focused on her with undisguised astonishment.
“But-” the ensign protested with what the last remnants of his confidence.
“Do it!” As she snapped, she fixed him with a glare more potent than any weapon’s force. Ensign Webber nodded. It wouldn’t be long before they would hear the rumble of the weapon rising to the surface. The cannon was the most deadly weapon in their arsenal.
A science expert’s voice finally broke through the silence. “General, another blast from the cannon will push us out of orbit,” she said quietly
While the scientist stood in defiance, the General waved a hand to have her escorted off the bridge. In that same moment, she watched the planet, her planet, shine its weapon of destruction towards the helpless fleet of carriers. It was that stone cold look that now filled her being and pushed fear like a drug onto her crew.
“This is for John,” whispered the woman, as she avenged one man with the motion to fire.
â€œSo what about Communists? Can we film Communists?â€ Ted asked as he tapped the pen against the side of the clipboard. He looked up at his boss, who stood next to the whiteboard.
â€œCommunists? Yes!â€ Greg squiggled the word â€˜communistâ€™ on the board with his black marker and turned back around. â€œAnyone else?â€
Suzanne raised her hand and adjusted her glasses as she spoke up, â€œWhat about the Civil War? The south will want to see what happens. We could make a Confederacy week or something.â€
Ted rolled his eyes at the idea as Greg wrote it down on the board with visible excitement. â€œOkay, people,â€ Greg said. â€œWe could only get six of these on the budget, so we have to make them count. So far we have suggestions of everything from nuclear apocalypse to Nazi occupation. Good, good.â€
He capped the marker and spun to face them with a broad smile on his face. Turning to Ted, he motioned, â€œTed, what do our viewers want currently?â€
â€œWell, the fall season of Alternate Reality kicks off with a special on the pioneers themselves. All we have to do is skip our crew over to the reality theyâ€™re changing and have them film it. The whole season should be done before the first episode airs.â€
Before Ted could get proud, Suzanne spoke up, pushing back her red hair in a cocky manner as she addressed the group. â€œHm. Well, the polls say that recent events would do much better in the ratings. Oil-less society, no minorities, catastrophic eventsâ€¦these are the things our viewers actually want to see. I say we start with these simple ones in a sort ofâ€¦ live debut?â€
â€œBrilliant, Suzanne!â€ Greg said as he marked something on his palm computer and cleared his throat. â€œSuzanne, youâ€™ll take head of the project for the introductory episodes. Make sure we pick out some supreme actors. Citizens. Whatever. We need to make sure the audience is captivated.â€
Ted grumbled something as he glared at Suzanne and began to gather his stuff. Greg left the room, late for a meeting with the big wigs, and left the two producers together. Ted rolled his eyes as he slipped the laptop in the bag. â€œNice going, ass-kisser,â€ he said with a cold glare.
The red-haired executive just shrugged. â€œHonestly, do you think people care about the process? They just want to see what happens when Nazis win World War 2. Please, Ted. No one gives a fuck about the techies.â€
The scorned producer flipped her off before leaving to prepare for the next season.
There was a certain quiet to this planet. The millions of years had led to a malfunction of tectonic waves on Ritus-112. Plates shifted and now allowed the sight of black igneous rock. which spanned the wide crevice at the depths of what used to be a Class 3 water mass.
A being with neither a spine nor eyes could feel as the tools melted through the rock to expose any unclassified organic material. Ritus-112 could sense past the rock, but the effort was one that he had chosen not to take. Soon enough the Illumna would have its answer.
One red stain against a sea of black would spread into the cracks and alert the hovering being. Its skin made of light shifted as its attention gathered towards the area of red. For weeks they had excavated numerous unnatural formations with only a Level 2 category of complexity. Most of the history of the planet had been lost millions of years ago, but some things remained. In the dirt, which had spent cells of radiation injected into most particles, they found the outlines of creatures that once created.
All that were aware of the Illumna knew that any being that had the power to create was something of a wonder, so they sought out any single organic cell that had not been reduced to the living status of the beings on the planet; insentient carbon. Coming upon the spot of red, Ritus-112’s form fluctuated to appear most pleased with the findings.
Already, it had begun to dissect the impure from the pure and to find logic at the speed of existence. The code had been unlocked because Ritus-112 knew it would be simple. A being made up of the models of existence was small, but still holding organic material. While the host specimen was quite dead, a containment receptacle upon its back held the base compound for the creators.
After the code had been unlocked, Ritus-112 began to energize the construction by borrowing from the light-stream. Its essence began to shimmer, then filter through the tools into the droplets of organic material. Soon there would be a rise in the heat to accelerate the replication process. A structure-built form that built amplifications which in turn built perception and awareness.
Before the being had even awoken, Ritus-112 had read its every thought, known its every memory. The receptacle would be called the mosquito, and the creator would call itselfâ€¦ human.
In 2198 Earth Standard Time, Jonas Fox, a pilot for the Interstellar Defense Crew, spotted a few pirates off the southern hem of the moon. He got on the radio to contact his fighters, who then zoomed in to show them once and for all who was boss. The IDC fleet had recently been equipped with a new kind of battle cruiser, one that would prove to the rebels hiding out in crater bases on the moon that the government was still in control.
Jonas flew in and called the order over radio: “Fire!” The red-hot blasts of laser shot and obliterated many of the pirate’s vessels before they finally surrendered. In the debriefing, Jonas would admit that there were civilian casualties and a single shot had missed.
The Grenthax called Porious V home. Pollution had run rampant, however, and the Alactid race was well on its way to being choked out. Children were dying of the upper-atmosphere smog, and the and ships were forbidden to leave because of the heavy storms of acid mist. Then, one day, a flash of red light appeared and with heat and precision cut a hole in the clouds above in the atmosphere and allowed a moment of escape and hope for the Alactid race. All of them gathered around their ships, gave one another hugs and set off to find a planet suitable for their continued existence.
In the cold depths of space there was a rock with nothing to ignite the fertility of creation within it. A forgotten stone that none had ever set foot upon floated in space without orbit, without cause. Along came a red beam of light, searing the ground, inflaming the gases surrounding the rock and sparking a process that in billions of years would yield life.
A race that was young, just gaining intellect somewhere along the various stars and spots of existence was silenced one day. All that was left were the asteroids and rocks singed by light.
Somewhere in the Fzda Zz, the SsC and the WdE were in pursuit of escaping 3fsli, innocent individuals trying to eek out their own existence away from the DqWWvX. Massive ships these were, looming over the single small craft. In their darkest hour, along came a blast from the depths of space, ripping through the SsC, causing the WdE to pause and lose track of their prey. The 3fsli rejoiced and wondered who had saved them.
It was now 45.23 of the Ninth Era of humanity. Earth swarmed with technology and served as an artificial base for projects concerning the fully renovated Solas Solar System. Ships flew in and out as people had driven cars so many trillions of years before. There was a solid peace amongst the people of Earth and humanborn.
Cortia Dek Fox was flying a routine mission to transport supplies to Lunar base 111.05. She was sipping energy ka when she saw a flash off the side of her visor-hud. Before she could react, it was too late. The ship was obliterated and there was nothing left from which to determine the cause. Com-signals went wild with emergency broadcasts. Most had seen a red beam and humans everywhere would wonder where the fuck it came from.