Ponders Prometheus

OK, it isn’t good but it is my book. It kept me company last winter. Maybe there isn’t enough cheap syfi in the world and we need to add to it; I have 12 pages and I need more. I need you to write a chapter. “my pops is so crazy that when I got his email I . . .” Write from any perspective you choose. How could this go wrong? Go right? What form of government would you devise to protect a new discovery from being diverted to a base cause? Just for fun.

Thanks you Lovies!

Drowned but not dead

SCREAM

Nothing,  why not.   Where?   So cold so cold, I’m shaking. Can’t stop.   So cold. Scream – someone help me.

Calm down, stop shaking. I taste blood. Head hurts. God my head hurts so bad. My ears are screaming so loud. I was just on a boat.   What happened? “Relax!”   ‘You’re dying, OK breath, relax’     Shit, I haven’t breathed in years.

Blood, in water? My ear is cut – shit I can feel it – – – they cut my ear off!

Open your eyes.  Open your eyes.  Green. Dark green.

Where’s the light?  Look up. My neck hurts.

OK, I’m under water. There is an up.

Swim up   swim up . . .   I’m not breathing . . that’s OK; I’m oxygenated, that’s right, that’s right. The Center – they’re watching my blood level.   HOW DID I GET HEAR?  (I laugh to myself; how many times I’ve asked that) OK OK I’m not dead. I’m under water, deep under water. Why aren’t the docs talking to me?

HOW doesn’t matter. Why can’t I float up, swim.  My feet, I can’t move my feet.  Bend over check them. CHAINS, what the fuck, I’ve been murdered. Calm down fool. You just need to get them off.      Take your time – is there an end? It is so dark, OK just feel them.  THERE IS NO RUSH – take your time.  I’m floating off the bottom.  Pull yourself down – get some slack – it’s just looped over and over. Good, just work on it. I’m shaking, but my blood is warmed back in Camden, no problem. Wait, that noise – – I know it 0 – – it’s a motor, a boat, OK OK OK.

I trained for this but I never got the hang of it ‘well you’re getting it now asshole’.

There it sits

I slept poorly, to say the least. It was the first day of high school and I never thought I’d experience that again – I’m 61. At 2 am I got up and started to write; lying in bed was just leading my racing mind to really bad outcomes – all of them feasible. Still there are some really cool possibilities. I knew that writing down a list was supposed to keep stress at bay – FAIL big time, my typing stinks. I doodle charts.

  • I’ll be the richest man in the world – EASY
  • I could STOP global warming
  • I’d be like a rock star – didn’t even know that was interesting to me, wow, it will change me. Hell, it’ll change everything.
  • I’ll be powerful ? ? ? I’m a 61 year old white guy from Indianapolis living my retirement dream in Vermont, what the fuck does POWER even mean.
  • I could save the world – whoa there big guy, but really, we’ll transport to Mares. It is science fiction come true. (Excerpt from Arthur C Clark)

Will I be responsible? I can’t even write ‘responcible’ correctly without spell check.  That doesn’t make any difference – I am a smart, kind, generally gentle human. What could go wrong? What’s the worst that could happen?

There it sits. A quarter of a mile from home on my neighbor’s property. It’s OK, he’s sick and never comes up anyway. Still, there are always people in those woods; still – it’s not hunting season. Well, the Shannons were out looking for antler sheds two days ago. Tomorrow I’ll just drag it back here . . . I’ll hide it in the garage for now. Yeah, that works, I’ll figure it out in the woodshop.  Clearly it is alien, is it dangerous; radioactive? OK OK I won’t keep it here. I’ll rent a storage unit.  There’s one in Pittsfield. I’ve never seen anyone there, should be safe to keep it there. Can the government find it in with a satellite; if they can it won’t be there tomorrow anyway; it’ll disappear and no one will ever have heard of it – I’ve watched Warehouse 13 and Indiana Jones.

“are you OK”  “yeah, just slept poorly, you drive safely, see you tonight around __ ?” Liz tells me she’ll be home at 6. That’s plenty of time. I’ll have this cracked by then and be on my way to saving the earth.

Why don’t I tell her, I tell her everything? EVERYTHING. Always have. That is only partly because I am a terrible liar, I cherish her opinion – she is twice as smart, in all sorts of ways, than me. It’s because she’d be REASONABLE and smart. She’d make me give it away. Damnit to hell, I’m still a child at 61. She’d want me to call the FBI and this is too terrible to give to a government. ‘Oh, but it’s OK to give it to a child?’

I and walk Carya, have a smoke and calm down. ‘ok, you can research it first’. Getting back I gear up. Boots, sled I use for ice fishing, some rope. The bolder it cut through is too clean, finding it someone would get curious; I threw in a 2 pound hammer and goggles. I’ll rough it up bring home the piece it cut off. One end stuck into the ground; I’ll bring a shovel too. It is friggin cold again today; bring the big mittens.

Reason, ‘where you headed to Purcell?’. On a walk I make 700 times a year I’ve seen a neighbor maybe 6 times a year, what a freak I am, already paranoid. ‘Oh, I saw a stump I want to make into a table’. I’ve seen a lot, so I won’t have to lie and they’ll believe me anyway it is a really an outside chance.

It came down while I walked the dog yesterday; scared the shit out-a both of us. It was loud, struck the ground hard, it cut a big chunk off a bolder. When I first looked up the air it’d passed through shimmered in an unearthly way I’d never seen. Not a heat shimmer, more like a LSD hallucination – wow that takes me back 40 years.

Like an idiot, I tied up Carya and inspected. There it sat; no sound, no electric feel, just a 40 pound corner of a bolder sliced off and sort of shimmering. Being creative (like a cave man) I got a stick and slapped at it. Each slap cut the stick clean. It had two ends each about the size of a chainsaw motor; nothing between them but still in between the parts the stick just cut clean through. No sparks, no sound, but there was a little sweet smell which, given how wicked cold it was, seemed odd. There are few smells in the cold of February. Between the parts was about 3’. When it cut, there was absolutely no resistance. This is a gift from outer-space that cuts through anything.  The ends of the stick are perfectly smooth, like I’d sanded for hours. Not hot or burned, just smooth as a baby’s butt. WOW, I’ll be a master woodworker – how cool is that? I could build a stone wall with it.

 

Hi Jim,

  • 1 * find a partner and give them the means of production. If I start to make bits that no human has ever seen it will attract attention and I DO NOT WANT THAT!

Hey Jim,

                How you been? I know I haven’t written for years but I have just as many letters from you on my desk so – no guilt. Something really weird has happened to me; an opportunity / adventure. I’m getting older and I am, every year, getting more frightened of our government. Trump really really scares me; to death. So, my adventure involves a discovery that could do really incredible things for mankind; stop global warming, bring drought relief, take man to distant planets, etc. If used it will also create  super wealth-like 10x Bill Gates wealth. It is also a possible seed of absolute world dictatorship.  I love America but there is no way in the world I’d trust us today to be the good guys. Governments rot and too much power has always sped that process along.

I would like to be wealthy but not sick wealthy, just rich enough to make my family wealthy. I don’t want to be powerful, just powerful enough to have a positive influence on the world; make it safe and happy for generations. As soon as it’s discovered what I have the wicked and greedy will seek its source. No matter how I use it, even if I never use it to make money, they’ll come after me. The gov would claim natl security, every government, all the greed of corporations would come to bear. After I started picturing it I wondered how wpuld Bill Gates’ handled it. I am just smart enough to recognize that I’m not smart enough for this.

If you want to be in this I’ll push as much cash to you as you and your loved ones can manage. Your guitar business could be doing really really good next year.

As long as you don’t go too crazy we could set your family up to live like royalty even after you and I are gone. It’s not much physical work, I know that we aren’t young. It shouldn’t be dangerous – if you don’t get greedy. Could you pass it along to your daughter? Is she smart enough to recognize the risk of ‘taking it for herself’? Is there someone else you could trust; a niece?

If you couldn’t find a partner or you don’t want to mess with it yourself I totally understand; just write or call or email. You’ll still be the first person I gift to. I’m not sure how I’ll gift but if you don’t want in we can communicate. Maybe I’ll put you on pay role as my ethnomusicologist; you always were that and so much more. 

If you do want in, write me and mail it by post from a box. Delete my contact from you computers, destroy you address book and redo it with no mention of me. I will mail you a way to communicate that doesn’t involve wires (yeah THAT is cool science fiction stuff).

Even though we haven’t spoken for like 5 years, know that I love you man.

                Van

What will this do to a man who I’ve known since I was 16? He has always been just a bit ? OFF?  That is a laugh, the man is a fuckin wacko. Cute as a button but wacked in the head. Last time I saw him he showed me the nuts in his scalp where bolts hold it together after his last car accident. He was upside down for 24+ hours and they told him he should be dead just for that. He has been close to death at least 6 times. I was with him on the first two attempts earth took at him. The first time we tried to paddle the stolen paddleboat backwards and flooded the floatation compartment till we were sinking.  “oh shit Nav, I can’t swim!!!!”. I feel overboard first and stood up; it was about 4’ deep. I grabbed him and he was too scarred [and way too stoned] to even try to stand. By the time he figured out I was standing I’d fallen into the water giggling my ass off. The next time we were in Tennessee, in a rest area, camping in his VW van on our way to Florida. The catalytic stove we were using spilled its contents on his legs and blew up. When I finally got out the front door of the van I saw him running and glowing like the Human Torch. I tackled him in my best freshman football form and rolled him in the snow. The fuel just kept reigniting over and over. We laid there giggling and giggling.  Later someone let us into their RV and they sent someone down the road to call for help. Odd, there weren’t cell phones then.

We stayed two weeks in a tiny Tennessee ‘hospital, nursing home and psych ward’. It took me 24 hours to learn that seconal [they were the little red pills] really worked with morphine to make for a great dream state/sleep. While not the first time, it was the last time I used any opiate stronger than codeine. My heart goes out to all the poor bastard junkies; I think I get it and it sucks. It like telling a child ‘YOU CAN NEVER GO HOME’ ‘EVER’.

He spent the next year being weaned off morphine and getting skin to regrow from his back to his legs. He caught christianity and decided to buy a Kenworthy. I went to college and lost track of him. I saw him again 3 years ago and totally connected as if we were laying in our Tennessee beds again. We love each other in an odd way. He hasn’t left his home town in years and probably never will, even though the federal arms conviction has probably worn off. He is scared. He has tempted fate way too many times and wants to be safe. I think he’d enjoy the money but there is no way he really wants the adventure – he is done. Why would I think of enlisting him? He’s earned his rest. When I’m rich I’ll but all my guitars from him.

It makes me a bit sad that none of my other friends would work. I’d trust several of them with my child but they are all a little too distant to use in this way. I have family but not really close friends. My family has filled all of the nooks I think friends used to fill. I could be better but I haven’t been, so there you are. As Kirt V said; so it goes.

 

  1. Maybe I set up delivery to someone else? Someone I trust? A stranger? Someone that I don’t care if they get hurt? I’d give them a drop point, they’d pick up a G and then get hooked on the easy money. When did I begin to trust human greed more than friendship. Did I need to review my sole – is this a test?;

Dear friend,

We are never to meet but we are going to be close associates; really close. I am going to make you rich and powerful, beyond your wildest dreams.

Stop it. Right now! You’re trying to guess who I am, how you know me. We don’t barely know each other. I picked you for that reason. I know you’re smart and basically, I think, you’re a good person.

To find out what I’m talking about sign this note below, roll it back up and shove it into the cube . . .”

Oh man, what would I have done if I’d received this little package? Well I sort of did but instead I just found it laying in a forest. Hell, everyone is curious and a little greedy – right? Do I warn him that if he doesn’t play along I’ll drop my end into the ocean and water, at 10lbs/s, will poor out his end. Hell, would they ever find the other end if I dropped it into a lake? Sure, they’d just set up a powerful transmitter and then use a satellite to see the point of origin. This is so much harder than I’d ever guessed.

So what if they found it? The most they’d have is the note and one half of a small bridge; airbridge, spacetube, quantumgate, QG  I DON’T EVEN HAVE A NAME FOR IT!  Who would I give it to? What should they be like; a little curious, suspicious of government, smart, greedy? How would I evaluate for these things? One doesn’t know much about even their own children. They don’t know if I’m evil – right – I threaten to kill their family if they get out of line. OHHH, nice Buckman, you’re willing to scare the living piss out of a nearly total stranger. The curiosity about ‘why me’ would overwhelm anyone. They’d have to be someone who wouldn’t look the gift horse in the mouth. That’s it: “This is GOD making a gift to mankind . . . you need to sacrifice money to me and I, in turn, will give you Gs to use wisely”.  I’ll give it to a Mormon, genius; greedy, gullible, and smart. If they really believed it was God and clearly they think they are chosen by God. Too odd to have them push money back into the G, I’ll have them push gold in, “return to me the gold I sent to you all in those tablets”.

OK, I’ll give it to my nephew. Super smart, clearly skeptical of Trump, young, and he needs to prove that he is cool. That last job left him grabbing at straws. He has lots of family – that’s a good thing. He’d get a real thrill out of fame; what 22 year old wouldn’t?

“It’s the Krill  !”

ARE YOU CERTAIN?

Yes sir, they’ve somehow hacked the network without so much as a RF beam linked.

Could it be someone on board?

I was able to lock every port out except yours and mine.

Ah, captain , , , you should lock me out.

Carl, Why? That’s stupid, I’ve known you since we were 10.

Maybe they’re somehow using one of our ports. I can’t ask you to do a total lock down procedure unless you’re sure. You’re the only one that can link into the system with ‘meld’. Lock me out and then, lock yourself out and shut it down. If you’re able to do a cold boot we’ll be able to take back control.

How does that help Carl, we’ll ALL die in 20 minutes without life support.

Yes, but, if you can’t get back in, it gives us time to launch it – you know we have to.  I’m sorry Jim. You know what it would mean if the KRILL got their hands on it. We have tortured them for a thousand years. They are going to board us and we cannot let them have the gift.

Jim pales as it dawns on him that his first mate is, of course, correct. Slumping into his chair his life flickers before his tearing eyes. His life of mates flash in a stream. So many he won’t have time to picture each one even for a second. He settles on Carl’s face – his first and truest mate. They can load it to a tube, manually set the launch to max velocity and send the gift to the either. He’ll want to set it to perform random course corrections. It will, within 5 minutes, be safely out of KRILL’s reach and . . . lost to his species forever. He shuts down their other longtime friend T.I.N.A.  She blinked to life when they entered the academy and has been joined to them for the past 78 years. For 78 years they’d never been more than 100ns apart. And 25 minutes ago when she disconnected it was like being suddenly blinded.

Jim and Carl both heard the ship attach meaning they had about 8 minutes to launch. Jim, it’s better if they are attached they will not be able to pursue it without a 2 minutes delay. Hurriedly they loaded the most prized belonging of their race into a research missile and programmed its getaway.  Goodbye old friend. Whoever finds you next time I hope they are wise.

Who the hell is going to find it; lost in eternity? As they shoved the torpedo into the tube and sealed the door locks the clanking grew quickly louder. Jim looked at Carl and as he reached for the switch he said his last words in this plain; We did, we found it.

That’s the story I made up Tuesday night while waiting for sleep to come. I snuggled up, big-spoon and just listened to Liz’s steady breathing. In our first thirty years I’d only ever heard about 20 hours of this breathing. I always fell to sleep first while she read. Maybe 10 of those hours have been in the past 2 weeks.

 

What say you family

Observing always influences the reality being observed. When you talk about families this is even more true. So it is accurate to say that I’ve NEVER actually witnessed how other families interact. All I have to go on is TV, books and snippets of real families so I’m at a lost to know if mine is  . . .  normal? Even though I’ve heard that 70% of people describe themselves as ‘definitely above normal’, I’ll go ahead and describe my family as extremely super above average. Sure we have lots of the normal problems and the kids frequently fulfill their sibling positions. Still, when we are together, we are the coolest group I’ve ever been a part of. Not just that we love each other, we also have pretty honest interactions. We tease, a lot, but almost always on those attributes that we are darned sure there is no insecurity about. Sometimes, about those attributes we worry for or recognize that the target of the tease is worried about.

By far and away one of the best things we do as a family is that we’ll all fall into a shared fantasy. Any fantasy. We do this to a point that bystanders will get that ‘what the fuck just went on between you all?’ look on their face and often are compelled to just say it out loud. This leads me to a feeling that, at least in this way, we are not like a lot of other families. Maybe they come by it naturally in their genes but certainly Liz and I have always nurtured it. When the family was once scolded for a harmless turn around in a driveway marked ‘NOT A TURN AROUND’ we spent the next half day imagining how we might retaliate if he’d ranted at us much longer. I, of course, rack this shared quality up to excellent parenting. Like you do. Half an hour a day of screen time, no cell phones till junior year, endless long drives across the country and LOTS of encouraged story telling. On those trips, when the driving started to turn intolerable (there was no such thing as a ‘on-board movie’ in those days) we’d buy a family powerball ticket. The next 200 miles we’d imagine what we’d do with it. Who would we give money to, what adventure we’d plan, how we’d change our life.

So, next time we are all together that’s it; I just tell them what I have and they’ll open up and imagine the hell out of it. They’ll solve it a hundred different ways and they’ll have super ideas about the scary part of it. How long will it take them to think about the scary part? Man, they’re good at the imagine game, they’ll get there in five minutes flat. Is this even fair to do to them? It’d be like winning a dozen powerballs on the same Saturday evening. Or . . . . it’d be like discovering that you’re the pauper twin brother to the prince.  Separated at birth. Disney, right? How did that turn out?

 

Wait! I’ve got it.

Hi Zona, Greg and Tom,

                I’d like your help. I’ve decided to write a book and I’d like you to write a chapter from your perspective, your voice and your imagination. I’m asking all of you the same thing but I don’t want you to cooperate. I’ve included a couple of chapters to prime you on the story. You’ll see how you fit in but basically start by describing the evening where Pops sat down and told us that he’d made a discovery and wanted the family to weigh in on how to roll it out. sent me the oddest letter requesting that I write down how I’d deal with a wild discovery he made. I know what you’re thinking ‘my Dad, who I’ve seen read maybe a dozen books is writing one, what?’. I haven’t gone crazy I’m just trying my best to get through winter. I’ve made all the spoons the world needs and I want a new distraction. This wild ‘what if’ story has been running through my head and I just sat down and started to write. My typing has already been improving, what the hell. You’ll see I’ve changed your names but the book is going to resemble my our life. Add in the back story you write, channel yourself.

“James and I are busy as hell, we start the field trial next week. Three years we’ve worked on this ‘BUG’ and now we have the controls in place and all it has done for a month is rain. Now my dad wants me to sit around and write a story to go with his stupid fantasy . .  . . .”

See how it’ll go? Have fun with it, picture yourself in the backseat of the old Town and Country driving across New Mexico.

Well that should be interesting I’m excited to see what they write.

I wonder if any of them will see the danger, maybe I need to give them the warnings I’ve had every night thinking about all the ways this could go so badly. Maybe just the basics; like, the FBI busting in and confiscating it as a matter of national defense. I’ll give them 3 weeks. I wonder if any of them will start to wonder if I actually did discover something. Nope, that is just too darned far fetched.

In the meantime

I am out of money. Liz is going to start seeing the credit card bills. I haven’t even tested it for pollution – nothing can be that inert, nothing that does this. Whatever THIS is. All it can really do right now is cut anything like a hot knife through butter, to quote my mom. I wish my dad were around. I’m dying to tell someone about this and maybe get some help. I need a partner. Some nights I feel like I’ve totally lost it and am hallucinating the whole mess. It’s been 3 weeks since I got it to make the wormholes. Was it a fluke? Is the thing exhausted? I’d believe I’d dreamed it except that I still have the 23 “pairs” I made that first day in back in February.

They haven’t changed; they work just as they did that first day. I should have made bigger ones, hell I should’ve made a lot more. I got too excited. Then my stupid feet got so cold. The small storage shed I rented isn’t heated and my stupid shoes were wet. When I’m rich I’m going to throw out everything I own and buy new shoes, shirts that fit from LL Bean or Orvis. OK, not LL Bean; stupid Trump supporters. I knew it carved wood just fine so of course on my first visit to the shed I brought all sorts of materials from home to see if they all cut just as easily. Wood was easy, glass – easy, steel rebar – easy, BUT WHAT. That’s when I first saw it. Each end of the steel was missing, not cut off-but missing. When I looked at it I seemed to see whatever surface the other end was sitting on. I took the two ends where I’d cut and stuck one side of the pliers handle into one end and IT  CAME OUT OF THE OTHER SIDE??????? I ‘pulled’ the pliers out and felt it – still solid, but it had gone THROUGH the other end of the rebar. Like a total dope I pushed my pinky in one end and, wala, out it came of the other end. I touched the pinky with my left hand and, sure enough, I felt it when I touched it.

WHAT?

That’s when I made the other 22 pairs. I wacked the rebar over and over until it was too short to do safely. I started shaking all over, I threw up, I got really, really weak. And then my feet got really cold. I sat down on the floor and played with the pairs. I threw up and then stopped shaking. But man my feet were cold. I threw the pairs I had into a 5 gallon pail and headed back to the van. I sat in the van with the heater on until I quit shaking. I looked back towards the shed. Had I locked it? No, I hadn’t even closed the door. I went back to the door and just stood there, looking at the thing. I finally closed the door and locked it. My mind stopped racing and I wanted a drink – a big drink. Liz had dinner waiting, flounder from Woodstock with green beans and we watched Grace and Franky reruns before the next season came out. I was terrible company. Liz didn’t notice. The next day was gloriously warm. Liz worked from home all day. I decided to just work from home and think. I went and fired up the chainsaw and bucked wood for a couple of hours. It was lunch hour then and we had a nice stretch; my neck hurt like hell. We had some tomato soup and I took a nap – no reason to freak out. “BE NORMAL”

Later I went to the shop and just played with the pairs. I left one next to our wifi unit and then took its partner with me and drove up to the dam. Two miles away and I still had wifi service. In the other one I had I’d spliced an electric extension. Up at the dam this one worked as well. What do I have here? It makes holes in the universe. What if I drop one end into a pool of water?

I went to NYC to visit Greg for the weekend. I used one rebar pair from there and it didn’t care that I was 200 miles away. All I did was use the cord that feeds my iphone but how cool is that? Two hundred miles and I still got charge power; I never plugged the phone in and I NEVER lost the charge. Greg didn’t notice that I had phone charge even though his had run down twice.

I need to make some cash, buy a gigracounter and do some real testing, yet I can’t use the things I have. I don’t want to be discovered unless I’m ready for it. Right now with just 23 of them I could change the world but if I sell even a single link the world would know. Right? The FBI would kick in my door and TAKE that which I’d never trust our government (any government) to have.

I could drop off a pair with a guy at ATT; with some fiber optics shoved through it. Imagine that; they could take one to China and totally cash in on ‘unlimited bandwidth to fuckin China’. I‘d need a way to force them to pay; else they’d have a link free and clear. Right, right, I’d need two pairs; one into me, one out from me – if they don’t pay I’d cut the fibers that lay between my in and out.

“If you talk about this to anyone I’ll cut it and you’re out all of that easy reward”

It’s not profit to them, they’d turn it over and I know they could find me; they’d shove a radio transmitter in and locate me in 20 seconds. I’d need to shelter my two ends in, in, in what, WHAT DO I KNOW ABOUT BLOCKING THE CIA? Nothing!

Maybe I should give it to a criminal? What if I gave it to a drug lord:

Hey man,

                Give one of these to a guy who knows a guy in Turkey. If he drops drug into it there in Turkey it will come out at your end. After one week you need to shove $5,000 cash into it or it will stop working. Shove it in at noon on Fridays.   Simple.

Sure, they’ll have the necessary greed to keep their curiosity in check. They’re motivated; cash or drug. They’ll make a gob of cash and I’ll get a steady income. Signed simple. I like that. It uses two pairs and they’ll never give it up to authorities.

The doctors who

Design me a good governance; kings and senates

Fears and hopes

Dreams of empire

Women of Mars

“So, you’re the newbie assigned to me hey? I don’t have time to train another shifter for 3 years – I’ve got real work to do. You’re a little old aren’t you?” Dr. Breanna Sherman started off exactly as I’d been told she would; pushing away any interference in what she’d grown to think of as ‘her domain’ the microbiome replacement stock facility. At the last shift she completely lorded over the lab and failed her contract to train the replacement candidate. The goal of the lab; hell the goal of the entire facility, was preparedness for the potential failure in a system. No one in oversight would permit her to hog this lab. I’d been sent to assess the situation; was she committed or committable? She’d been assigned two trainees last term but kicked both out of the lab because she felt they were both ‘not worth my time’.

“Dr. Sherman, I’m here to assess. I was a shifter here 9 years ago, same as you; now I’m back to assess your competence.” There. It’s out. I’m not here to learn the tricks of keeping the samples alive, I’m here to determine her fate. Does she stay in charge of microbiome or is she to be retired to Port Saint Clyde? Lord knows she can’t go ‘home’; you don’t stay 6 years past contract and still believe you can go back to earth. Rather you are assigned out of the Salvation Lab to Port Saint Clyde and spend your remaining years there. Doing whatever? Many thrive there, finding meaningful research or enjoying new jobs. Many check out on soma or booze or write the great Mares novel.

“Well then, you know the flaws inherent in the contract, same as I? “”remain prepared to replenish life on earth””. So, fuck you, I AM fulfilling the contract.   I have spent my life studying viral impact on macro-invertebrates, THIS IS HARD science. The kind needed to REPLENISH LIFE. A single Cadis Fly requires 22 viral infections to form a sexually mature adult. The last fuckin shifter you sent me never heard of a Cadis Fly.”

“Our goal is to be prepared to ‘sponsor’ the rebirth on earth should life be wiped out by any catastrophe. The lab is set up to ‘refresh’ itself every three years. If one area is left ‘abandoned’ to an ageing protector the breech is obvious. WE HAVE TO TRAIN OUR REPLACEMENTS, not set ourselves up as indispensable! You need to train your replacement, even if they aren’t as good as you. They’ll make do. When you choose to remain here you knew the requirements.”

“Then send me QUALIFIED REPLACEMENTS!”

“Both Launa and Kera WERE qualified. They were 22! They were still learning; able to learn and willing.”

“They were knits, not students. If I’m to be replaced I need real students damn it, not bimboes, selected for their ability to bear 20 children before menopause. The pool I protect is the critical key to re-terraforming; it has to be viable. If Gollum had been just 20% larger we’d be starting to deploy by now and the first rounds would be coming from my stock. It has to be ready.”

“You and I both know that whoever it falls on will be fumbling in the dark. We’ll never get the chance to practice. Launa could have introduced the primordial slime as well as you or anyone; with an equal chance of success. After you choose to remain past your term you agreed to stay in the capacity of mentor, not chief judge. If you can’t or won’t teach your shifter this term you’ll be immediately exiled to Little London and Jana will have to get by on your documentation. It will take one word from me. Jana is as bright a biologist as anyone. She was also selected for her amiability and her integrity, if she says you are challenging to work with it is you that will be locked out-period. Are we clear?”

“Yes.”

“Good, Jana will start after orientation puking once she has her legs. I will meet with you both regularly.”

Damnit I hate working with geniuses but I think I nailed it. I’m sure she knows that she is smarter than me but I have the upper hand and she knows I’ll use it. She may try to sabotage me but the Oversight know that so I don’t need to worry about that while I perform the standard audit.

 

Shadows or lime light