Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Methuselah Foundation

Because of a mouse, a mouse that lived for five thousand days.

Money was the last thing to go. It's so peaceful now. Many utopian visionaries thought it might be the first. They were strange days during the global warming reverse. Money was tight, but people lived meeker and happier than before.

The first of them were ecstatic and playful, but as their numbers grew and the realisation dawned on them, their fear increased and the petitioning turned fierce. The old ones started making a big noise. The older they were, the more they cared. The first immortals were our saviours; never had we before cared so much about the future.

The medical trials that had first given middle aged people a spring in their step had progressed to the point that grandparents were rejuvenating, winding back the clock. The gift of a fresh chance at living some more was rejected by many of the elderly, but the ones that took it, drank it up and showed the world how wonderful it could be.

How wonderful until the immortals realised that they were destined to live in the world they had left to their children's children.

There was one tv interview between one of the immortals, looking no older than thirty but actually about seventy, and the president. The oddity of hearing the language used, old slang and calling this apparently more mature man "son" didn't grow old until there were more of them than there were mortals.

The green movement swung full force and toppled all talks of economy and war.

The world, so interested in this topic, calmed as it worked hard to change the direction of the damage. Reduce and reverse the warming. As more and more immortals were created, more and more educated people were available to educate and help out. Over a period of only ten years, we had gone from a ten percent geriatric society to a virtually ninety percent working age. The difference was most apparent in how well the universities were doing, more incomes meant more taxes meant the grants came back for students, and suddenly, the care-worker jobs taken by many students were gone, along with the need to have jobs. Junior nurses less required as there were less ill people in hospitals. The world was healthier. Humanity was healthier too.

And all this because a group found a combination of drugs that would help a mouse last for five thousand days.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Big and Loud

The machines that came to earth had crushed flat a village in Kenya. The media were there first, videoing the event and recording all that happened. Only once we had deciphered their works could we understand what happened in the next few moments.

We never recovered any video tapes from the front line media, their charred ashes leaving no information other than evidence of the destructive force of their light beams. The camera-men further back dropped their in many cases, but two captured the rest of the event.

From one angle, the machines seemed to lurch forward, smashing the now torched humans with it's great fist. From the other camera-man we saw the light beam used on other nearby humans, illuminating them and incinerating them at the same time.

Then, all motion stopped for six seconds. Six very long seconds, followed by the two giant machines standing tall, rising up in height to tower over all the humans remaining. One of the remaining camera-men dropped his camera and ran at this point. We only have one video moment of what happened next.

The first machine swung at the second, felling it like a great tree, slow motion, collapse, death. The second just stood there, low light flickering from it's death beam at a patch of ground near the fallen robot. A long silent moment passed as it did this, then as swiftly as it had taken down it's mechanical ally, it suddenly jetted gas from many orifices. The release was swift and soon over, the slow fall of the robot was even slower than the first, probably because the robot was still in some control of it's descent.

As the last one fell, we still had no inkling as to their motivations. Many years passed before we found the way to decipher their works, their art and their texts of science. To discover their honour code and finally fathom their method of communication, their light-talk.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Colder than Ice

Toby and I had gone around to Phil's to let him know that we were there for him. He didn't like us, or at least me,or my reputation. He called me a slut and a man eater, but Toby is different. He understands me. He's the one. I'd never cheat on him. I'd never leave him broken hearted. Phil had heard all about me from some of the friends of friends of people who were not right for me. I admit to playing the field, but I'm not out to destroy people.
Phil was insulting to me, abusive, so Toby called him on it and told him, him or me. Phil or me. That made me feel loved, protected.
But I don't want to get in Toby's way of his life, and even more I don't want to get in the way of his friends. Friends are important. So, I convinced him to try to make things up with Phil.

When we got there he wasn't answering the door. Toby used his key as Phil still hadn't taken it back, and we were expecting to have to wait for Phil to return. As soon as we were in, I screamed at the body. Phil's dead body. Toby pulled me close, his loving arms protecting me from the horror. After some time, I calmed down and Toby went over to Phil to see what had happened.

"He's taken some pills or something, there's no gun shot wound... yeah, here's the bottle. And a note."

I watched Toby pick up then read the note. A last note from a childhood friend. He smirked and laughed a low resigned laugh.

"Told you he was an arsehole. Didn't know he was gay though." said Toby, holding a note out for me to read.
It read: "I'm sorry Toby, you were all I had. I can't live without you."
"Pointless." I whimpered, as I realised that Toby was so terribly cold hearted. Homophobic too. Not the kind of man that I could spend the rest of my life with. At least I know I won't break his heart.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Evident

I fully expected them to lynch Lawrence. It made sense, he was a freak, an obvious target. But they didn't stop there, my friend Mark gone, and now they are coming for me. I don't know how long I have.
The mob, the mindless group, lusting for vengeance for a crime. A crime for which the only witness is the perpetrator, because poor Mary is brain damaged. The mob waited, waited for nine months. Waited to see if the child would help them find the perpetrator.

So, Lawrence, a freak, and very plausibly the actual criminal, and actually has blonde hair.

But Mark, not a freak, not a bad man by any accounts, but has blonde hair.

And I guess now me.

Don't they see they have no evidence? Most babies start out blonde don't they? Spend the money, get a paternity check, that would have saved Mark. I'm not sure we're better off having Lawrence. Why didn't they stop there? They didn't attack the mayor, and he's blonde. Why just us outsiders? Why just us? Mark was quiet, Lawrence was nuts, and I'm just, well, I never go to their bar, cafe or bowling. Just because I keep myself to myself I'm going to suffer at their ignorant hands?

Here they come; I can hear them. They rustle like so many zombie movie foley tracks.
They are relentless, and all moving as one in a belief in their righteousness. Like a cult, a religion, a dogma lead movement of Truth for the sake of mankind.
They have no evidence, none, how could they have.
I made sure there wasn't any.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Looking back

Now we have the report, we're not so sure we want to know. Now we've spent all the money to get the information, was it worth it?
Five years ago we started the biggest historic program known to mankind: we sent the largest telescope ever built, deep into space. 2400 light years away to be precise. Then, we turned the telescope on a small blue planet. Thing is, we wanted to just show the last of the faithful that it was all a great big superstition, that there was no jesus, no resurrection, no god. The worst possible result we could think of, he was there. Worse still, watching the resurrection. So, we sent the telescope back further, back out to a distance of 7000 light years. We got a nasty shock when we turned the telescope on earth this time. It was a barren rock, or at least that's what it looked like, but we found that one tiny corner of it was lush and green. Zooming in, we realized that it was eden, so we sent the probe back further, another hundred years, still just eden, then another hundred, still eden, in fact we kept going back for another 5000 years, and eden was still there, same earth, same sun, but only eden. It was then that it dawned on us, There was no mention of how long it took Adam to decide to fall to the temptation. So we now knew that we had a god. He was real, and he tempted the first man into eating of that tree by making the serpent and eve, and he waited for thousands of years until Adam finally fell to the temptation.
So, we told ourselves, do we tell the Christians that we have found proof of their god, but at the same time found proof that he's horrible and manipulative? or do we just fabricate a truth, one better for mankind?

Saturday, 11 July 2009

survivor complex

It was an unprecedented speed. Never before had an avalanche been so slow. The shoring up had slowed its cascade to almost a full stop. The village had been saved, at least until the avalanche finally hit in about fifty years time.
What was most peculiar, was the villagers were now complaining.
With the state of their town, they had gone from avalanche survivors, to paupers. Their houses were worth nothing, many were now in negative equity. Their insurance wouldn't pay out because the avalanche had been stopped, and no-one would buy their houses because it was going to hit in less than a century. Instead, the villagers decided to try to make up for their losses by beckoning tourists to see the "town that knows its fate".

Monday, 27 April 2009

Pros and Cons

Noticed an e-mail the other day on my boss's screen. Looked like an automated system, a notification message. I waited until he wasn't looking to get a better look at it and read it.

"Notification of negative worth: employee number 443"

This ominous subject line made me think, what could the criteria be that there could be an automatic system for figuring out if someone was net negative? My boss was coming back so I didn't get to read the rest of the mail, so didn't find out until a lot later, after getting someone in IT to intercept and send me a copy of the e-mail. The rest of the e-mail was quite worrying.

"employee number 443, negative worth warning, summary as follows:
expected revenue from work done : £45,000
actual work day used for work : 50% (£22,500)
monetary reimbursement for work done : £22,000
per employee overheads : £2,300
total worth to company as employee : -£1,800

recommendation : move to testing dept'."

what was the testing dept? How much of the day did I spend working?

Head South

I been round for many years, pushin' my way through life, makin' jus' nuff to see me through. Got along real good 'til I met Toby. Now I ain't blamin' him, it weren' his fault to be certain, but the fact of the matter is, If I'd never met 'im, then I'd not be in the sorry state I's found myself right now.
Toby had a good idea, "go south, help 'em in the mines" he said, but we never got that far. We managed to haul up at this here carrying place. All they did was carrying, moving things from one place to another. So's we got ourselves a carrying job to pay for our place before movin' on to the south for the mines, and the riches that called to us.
The pay at the carrying place is poor by a poor man's reckoning, but we's having fun while we're doin' it. It's not hard work, and most of the time we get to spin great tales of our plans for once we reach the mines and make our fortune.
But today, all the fun stopped being there as I saw Toby's face fall away from me, I couldn't hold onto him and the door of the ship. See the space ship I was flying, I had begun taking off without Toby, cos he was running late again, so he ran at the door and got me to grab him. This weren't no family sedan spaceship neither, this was a workhorse, so it didn't take kindly to somone jumping on it's side. It jumped a bit and I loosed out my seat, fell almost all the way out my door. Now, what's real awkward here is, I musta kicked the 'tude control, cos it started up like a cat with a cracker up it's crapper, heading up straight up, right into the traffic lanes.
Now with shit like this going on, the first thing I can think about is getting back in the saddle, so I'm all like, "see ya", and I drop Toby, give him a wave and jump into my seat. After I get back in there, I haul ass downward to see if i can catch the stupid bed stain before he turns our landing pad all breakfast tomato.
You hear all about magical death escapes on these things all the time, kids catching their sisters and stuff from hun'red story buildings, but when I caught Toby, he didn't seem too happy, found out later that I needed to be going down with him a might more similar a speed. Some of his organs needed replacing. Anyhow, the problem I'm in. See, all our escapades were bad for Toby, but health welfare and shit covered him, but I don't have "jackass" insurance, so when I delivered the load to the depot, they didn't like how I'd been flying. They calculated for me that I'll be paying off them damaged goods for quite a few years yet. Hm, yeah.
So, here I am, watching Toby recover himself and I'm thinking that I could sell his organs to make up my debt. I think he owes me.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Physics and maths proves game theory.

The universe can only do what's possible, so when we found out that there was no solution to the three body problem, it was only a matter of time before we proved that the universe wasn't using the simple abstracts we kept on simulating it with. Before long, we found out that there was a smallest time step, and soon after that we found out that time dilation was purely down to load balancing. We found a back door into the balancing act and soon enough we had faster than light travel as we sucked cycles from the universe. Travel around the universe was quick and cheap. After decades of research, and some observations of our own planet (by taking videos of our planet from millions of light years away) we found that humans were in fact visited by aliens a long time ago, but research into where these aliens came from lead to a point in space on the far side of Pluto. The aliens hadn't come from there, they had just materialised.

Pluto wasn't a planet, not even a planetoid. It was a spawn point.

Then, the hunt was on to figure out which ones of us were the NPCs, and which where the Players.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Royal Pain

I had defeated the King of Space. I made new laws. My first law was that no-one was allowed to complain about me eating strange things. I held a bag of crisps up in the air, then the strawberry milkshake. The audience gasped. I had them beheaded.
I held up a jar of pickled onions, and then I revealed profiteroles. The remains of the audience tried to stifle their reaction. I had the loudest ones beheaded.
I held up a loaf of bread, then I held up a jar of peanut butter. No-one made a noise, except a little kid who said, "look he's not wearing any clothes."
I had the kid brought up to the stage to find out why his eyes weren't working, but when he got there he was my mother. Then I got out of the bed where last night's conquests still lay.
My mum, the kid, said "You should put a jumper on."
The audience agreed, so I put on a fur coat, and the fur tickled. The coat smelt like coffee.
Waking up is always such an anti-climax, but it's lovely when your wife brings you coffee in the morning.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

My river

Thinking about it makes it worse. I should just enjoy the time I have. I like sitting on the riverbank too much, for too many years. This place has been a friend to me in times of worry and doubt. I've sat here and contemplated for hours, sun shining down through the trees onto me. It's a beautiful place. That's the problem though, I think about it not being here and I then can't think about anything other than the fact that it's never going to be as good and as easy as this. In this place I can look forward to things never being as nice. They plan to divert the river, to remove my safe place. The river will no longer flow along this bed and the bank will dry out. The river won't hold it's secrets anymore. How will this affect my life? Will I be able to find solace? Will I be able to find somewhere else to put the bodies? Will I be able to remember where I submerged them all?

Monday, 23 February 2009

Oops

I need to bury my mop.

Turns out, Nietzsche was wrong: God was not dead. Turns out I was wrong: God existed. Turns out my magic mirror wasn't a normal mirror either. Being a skeptic, an atheist, a simple collector of strange items, I had to hide the body, because I really didn't want my family ending up being the Jews of the 21st century.
You see, this second coming dude walks into my shop, I show him some stuff, then show him the mirror because it's meant to reflect your soul or something. He stares into it and there's nothing there. The dude's like "eh?" and even I freak out a bit because I'm not used to real things being so unreal. Then there's a noise like a fart and the fella falls down dead, and now, there's this fella standing in the mirror. He's all like, "help", "I'm the christ and I need to get back into that body, put me back in", but the whole ordeal's got me confused and I trip over my own stock and end up on my back. I look up to see the mirror beginning to fall, probably from the bump of me landing, it's like super slow motion or something, I can see his terrified expression, then as it lands, there's like a crash for a split second, then a thump and there's blood everywhere. Little diced up bits of sequel jesus meat.

So, that's why I need to bury my mop. Cos it's soaked in the blood of sequel christ.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Armless

He lost his arm in the machine. I do feel the guilt. I wish I could have done something. Others say that I could. That I could have punched the emergency stop. I could reach it; could have hit it. Even he thinks I'm a dick, but I can't help it, I really couldn't then either. I've tried to tell them that I couldn't have done it if it had been my own arm being ripped off. They don't beleive me. I have to suffer that too. The mistrust. There was a spider on the button. I'm sorry.

Self addressed

The last time was years ago. I mean, literally years. I haven't killed anyone at all since. Funny thing was, I think it was a suicide. I mean, your guess is as good as mine. Here, see, what happened was, out of the blue, I get this note saying 'I know that you clean up messes.' kinda cryptic, kinda simple. But then a couple of days later, I get another one saying 'I need you to clean up Joe Bloggs. If you don't, I'll tell everyone about your activities.' I mean, that's like blackmail right? Well, so, I do this job, then, I find out later on about the paper. The paper I've been receiving these messages on is just like that of the dude I removed. I mean, who does that? I guess him. I mean, it's not letterheaded or anything, but it's like the stuff he has in his printer and it's not cheap ass stuff like most pet shops have.

Not so different.

The aliens came, but it turned out they didn't have any more technology than us. In fact, we taught them. Okay, so they showed us that we'd kind of missed the boat with fusion reactors, but apart from that, they weren't light years ahead. It was quite sad. We were all expecting thousands of cool new technologies, but instead we just learnt some new tricks for gearing, and found out that carbon fibre wasn't actually as strong as some organic compounds.

We did get something big though. As the aliens used sound and sight just like us, we got a whole new bunch of cool bands to listen to. I think I'm biased, but I think I still prefer terra-metal to xeno-metal. Some of their fine art was cool too. The landscapes in particular struck a chord with us, but most of the religiously inspired stuff just seemed wierd.