Deeper Inside

Author: David Berger

inside ,
eddie is a strange combination of blandness and aggressiveness . he has a gift for sales , so he can always get a job selling something . eventually , he figured out that his gift also worked online . so now he buys and sells electronically , rarely touching anything in his commerce but a keyboard and plastic money . he does well . he likes to travel around the country . he uses bitcoin.

deeper inside ,
eddie is a sometime-poet . in his career , he has published eighteen poems in serious journals . he is a rambling man . before he understood the internet , he had to get a job in every new town . he had to find a place to live . he had to get to know new people . now he doesn’t have to do any of this . he has also murdered twelve people .

deeper inside ,

eddie is a product of his history . he had a dreadful childhood , including sexual abuse , foster homes, running away , drugs , prostitution and pimping . as a pimp , he discovered his gift for sales and killing .

deeper inside ,

eddie has emotions which are swirling channels of rage , fear , and , a curious anomie , all of which he’s quite aware of .

deeper inside ,

eddie possesses organs that are churning masses of tissue , responding to internal and external events . he rarely sleeps more than an hour or two a night . he is wearing out .

deeper inside ,

eddie is made of trillions of cells , desperate factories processing matter and releasing energy and waste . his cells run at high efficiency , but some of them are involved in motions that are unusual . and lately some of them have begun to devour the space that rightfully belongs to others .

deeper inside ,

eddie has a mind , a storm of nano-currents in his brain , with more connections than stars in the universe . some of these circuits run continuously . some of them are very odd indeed .

deeper inside ,

eddie is molecules in enormous numbers, linking and unlinking in massive chains to drive the processes in his cells . even inside his bones, in the follicles of his hair and at the roots of his fingernails, this coupling and uncoupling, uncoupling and coupling goes on . some of these actions are often aberrant .

deeper inside ,

eddie is atoms , oh so many and mostly sulphur , phosphorous , carbon , oxygen , hydrogen and nitrogen . you remember from biology class : sp cohn , like tiny solar systems , except they’re not .

deeper inside ,

eddie is particles , twenty-five kinds , including the famous higgs boson . more particles will doubtless be found before eddie is gone . they interact and build him . they are also waves , which sometimes surge strangely .

deeper inside ,

eddie is space , empty space. eddie is actually 99.9999999% space . not much to be said about that , except it’s stuffed with dark matter and dark energy . eddie’s space quivers .

deeper inside ,

eddie is churning quantum foam , constituting spacetime . there are lurches in eddie’s foam that reverberate oddly .

The Solution

Author: Dan Nicholas

Dr. Tracy Walker cradles his coffee, gazing out of the room’s portal from his orbiting outpost. But the beauty of the celestial cycle cannot hide the sins of man as the sun moves across the lunar landscape, exposing the grotesque scars of this human misadventure.

He turns away from the portal in sadness as he tramples discarded drawings of nuclear fission reactors and hydrogen cooling towers strewn across the floor. The frayed and drooping maps of lunar mining colonies hung on the walls as a reminder of what could have been and the future now in peril. The lunar surface had been man’s first interplanetary achievement and a lucrative one with precious ores and minerals for the taking.

How did this happen? Ponders the doctor as he brushes his hand through his thinning gray hair. Was it greed? Was it arrogance? Or were we just careless?

The nuclear and hydrogen technologies, meant to power and sustain the lucrative mining industry, malfunctioned, causing a thermal detonation across the planet’s mining fissures. The explosion shook the planet to the core, vomiting electromagnetic shock waves into space, neutralizing or destroying anything in its path.

Attempting to grab some sleep that never comes, the doctor feels an unfamiliar rumble and a jarring quake around him as the lights flicker and the hum of an operational platform was now silent. He realizes this is the beginning. The beginning he knew was coming and yet was powerless to stop.

The invisible wave had come and gone, leaving the orbiting station, which represented the new skyline of earth’s interplanetary prowess, lifeless. Metal shells that will succumb to gravity or be released into the oblivion of space. Dr. Walker runs to the portal as he watches in horror as the earth slowly plunges into darkness. Who will save us now? He thought to himself ironically.

As hours disappear into days, the doctor sat peering out the portal, as if the lack of hope had frozen him in time.

But wait! What’s that? A bleary-eyed, unshaven Dr. Walker exclaims.

Lights coming toward the platforms.

It’s an armada! It is an armada of ships from Earth.

Is it possible? We are….saved! Ha, ha, I knew it!

As the huge fleet advances, a small group of ships split off toward the individual floating platforms. With a small ship now within view, the doctor retrieves a telescope to get a closer look at his rescuers. To his amazement, it is a robot piloting the ship. Not that it was unusual, but these were special. We designed them as a failsafe, to save humanity from itself. The doctor thought to himself; we did something right after all.

The elated doctor now watched as the small ship came to a standstill. To his surprise, another bright light emitted from the small craft raced toward his platform. His mind began to race.

Why is this happening? We built them to protect humanity!

The last recording of the doctor was him laughing hysterically.

The Valley of the Shadow of Tech

Author: David C. Nutt

This is the worst part of my journey. Around me are the decaying sins of my ancestors. Giant earth chewing machines, empty vats that still have the acrid reek of gluttony and greed. Tangled pile of cables, some as thick as my leg, and everywhere in this cursed place the powder fine dust that chews one’s lungs. Once, after passing through the valley my cousin coughed blood for two days, and it was another four before he could work his fields.

I volunteered for this, and do not know why. So others would not have to? Beyond the valley, at the far end, lies a pile of gears and cogs of all sizes. The elders, after months of debate have decided that we should harvest the gears to replace the wooden ones we have fashioned for our mills. “It will be decades and decades before they wear out.” They tell us. “The gears will serve our villages for generations.”

Why this need? As soon as wear begins to show in the mill, we carve replacements. The master miller now has us carving gears for each to sit as a replacement. In two years’ time, we will have enough to replace all the gears that are worn as they fail. Why is this not good enough?

I cough up some dust. My mule has what my granddad calls a filter mask. I wish I had one rather than five winds of my scarf. Praise the powers for my goggles at least. My granddad also thinks ( as do many others,) the council is wrong about the gears. “It is a precedent that ignores the past.” He says. “Bad enough we kept the generators and lights. First gears, then diesel, then war. Others will see our ease and surplus and they will come. Bad to pick at the bones of long dead dragons.”

I see dragons everywhere I look in this valley. Earth moving blades larger than our town hall, easily eight stories. Rock crushers that scale the canyon walls itself. Flying machines they used to seek out more to devour. My granddad said some were even fitted for war. I shudder. Fire and death from the sky. Abomination! I heard our village cannon fire when I was a child and although it was in celebration it terrified me. I hold that terror in my heart today.

And that is enough. I will have no part of this. The elders are wrong. I do not know how they will sanction me, but my trial will give me a voice. I will not pass through this valley.

Space Pilot Seeks Flower For Love And Oxygen

Author: David Barber

Trey was chatting about being an alien sex-worker with the Mr Lu franchise.

She was booked into a clinic on Pallas for cosmetic surgery, and what with expenses and everything, she was grateful to hitch a ride with Perry.

Perry piloted a bucket, lifting cargo into orbit round Pallas. She called it cargo, though it was just containers of vacuum-dried sewage. She rarely carried passengers and not many flew a second time, complaining about the sick air plant, or the condensation beading the bare hull that accelerations shook loose as icy indoor rain.

How can you make a living out of this? Trey wanted to ask, but she saw Perry was defensive about a craft obsolete a generation ago. Instead, she perched on the co-pilot’s couch, swinging her legs, watching Perry tapping away at ancient yellowed keys.

They’d hit it off right away, despite Trey being tiny and talkative, while Perry took an outsize in vacuum suits and most days could count the words she spoke.
Trey admired the way Perry didn’t fill silences with chatter. She knew Spacers could spend months flying solo, but then, lots of jobs were lonely.

The screen above Perry showed stars and the vast starship factory slowly sweeping round and round. Finally, Trey complained the display was making her sick.

Perry glanced up, puzzled. “It’s a window,” she said, but cancelled the spin.

Trey tried not to think about gravel bulleting unerringly towards that glass.

High above Pallas, the alien Jirt visitors were building a starship for humankind. In fact Perry’s cargo was soil-starter for the starship habitat, and she wondered about saying this, but Trey had already moved on.

She dismissed notions that she had sex with the Jirt. “That’s not what they want.”

Perry carefully nudged Pallas Orbital back into the cross-hairs.

The Jirt were pollinators, Trey explained, far from home without a flower. That’s what they miss most, she added confidentially. It’s what her surgery was about. For a career, you had to specialise.

It was night-cycle when they docked at Pallas Orbital, the cavernous space cold and empty. If you knew what those two were thinking as they stood there, it would have broken your heart.

Perry had already offered Trey a ride back anytime.

“You go down to Pallas much?”

Perry shook her head. No.

“Enjoyed talking to you,” Trey added. “You’re a good listener.”

“No, you’re interesting. You know stuff.”

Still they loitered, waiting for the future to be different. In the end it was Trey who said after she got out the clinic, they could meet up in that big park they had on Pallas.

You needed to book a ticket for Pallas Green. It had grass, and real trees grown spindly in the low gravity.

“Perry.”

Perry couldn’t make it out. Big fleshy petals, and where the face might be, the innards of a flower dangled. Instead of arms there were just green tendrils, like fingers, and tucked inside the flower, were eyes and a mouth.

“What do you think?” There was an overpowering waft of sweetness. “I can do scent too.”

Perry backed away.

“It’s me.”

Perry didn’t stop until the bucket cleared Pallas.

What if Perry had let Trey explain it wasn’t for ever, and when they flew back, the sick air plant died, and it was Trey who kept them alive with precious oxygen under the lights, and Perry fell in love with a flower and never wanted Trey to change?

Anyway, that was the kind of story Perry told herself as she scrolled through the personal ads, hoping Trey would answer.

Immorta-Blog

Author: Bill Cox

Welcome, old friends and assorted strangers, to my first blog post since my somewhat unexpected and of course deeply tragic death. I would like to thank everyone who attended the elaborate and tasteful funeral.

I understand that it was a deeply moving service and my special thanks go to my best friend Woody for his exceptionally touching eulogy. He performed magnificently, given his state of inebriation (as I gathered from his Facebook postings) and I’m glad that my loving wife (whoops, widow – force of habit!) Sharon was on hand to console him afterwards.

Some of you may know that I met Sharon after she and Woody split up, many moons ago, and if I’m truthful I suspected that their romance was never quite one hundred percent over. No doubt the next few months will let us all see if my long-harboured suspicions were correct!

You may be somewhat surprised to see I’m still blogging after my distressingly fatal car accident (The brakes failed – seriously? Sounds like the plot from one of those naff Wednesday afternoon thrillers that Sharon so used to so enjoy!). Well, that is all courtesy of Immorta-Blog, the app that trawls your e-mail, social media, blog posts and other online information to continue your digital presence when your analogue self has departed for the hereafter. Isn’t technology wonderful!

To be honest I just signed up by accident when I was trying to download a dating app (the one for married men wanting to have an affair – ask my brother Paul for details, he’s a long-time subscriber and sent me the link) and was too lazy (a common criticism from my workplace performance reviews, it seems!) to delete it.

So, dear readers, you can look forward to future blog posts on topics relating to items of interest from my internet history, spoken in that unique voice culled from my social media and passed through an algorithm to make it sound chirpy and full of life – the exact opposite of my current state of being! These posts will highlight my interest in far-right hate groups and racist humour, my somewhat niche sexual preferences and my childlike fascination with amusing cat memes. Something for everybody there, I think!

So, as my immortal soul settles into its eternal residence (let’s face it, we all know where I’ve ended up. Clue – the thermostat is cranked up to hot!) I want to thank you for your continued support for the vanity project that is my blog.

Thank you too, to Immorta-Blog (clink on this link for subscription details, fifty per cent off your first three post-life postings!) for preserving my memory, ensuring that even after I’m gone, the best of me will live on and on and on!