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Author Topic: You can see New Guinea  (Read 7034 times)

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Richard

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You can see New Guinea
« on: March 28, 2009, 10:32:20 PM »
Martin sat and drank tea with the aliens. Mr. Crusoe, as Martin had named him, was good company. He, or it, was polite, always offered sugar, and as far as Martin could tell, did not speak or understand English. None of the aliens spoke in English to Martin, and the nights were spent above the big blue ball called Earth, sipping tea in silence.

This story was in progress on another board. I started it, and one of our members, JPD was vigilant in continuing the story. Please read the listing, and then post! Thank you. Each post after this one is as it was on the other board.

Richard

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Re: You can see New Guinea
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2009, 10:32:49 PM »
JPD:

His only human companion for the ride appeared to be Marthra -- not Martha but Marthra-- as she was constantly reminding him. Marthra was not as polite, and seemed to be quite a handful for the aliens. Earl Grey was not the correct tea, after all. Plus there were pesky issues to do with her "accomodations" as a female representative of the species. Crusoe would just blink with apparent pain as Marthra paced the observatory deck barking out her requirements. Language was certainly a barrier, but not so much so that Crusoe wouldn't eventually yield to whatever changes might placate his guest. Not that it would stop her from her next complaint.

"Looky here, Martin!" she clattered her plate loudly next to him, almost spilling his tea as Crusoe winced from across the table. "Ore Ida tater tots, nuked to perfection!" she cackled as she crammed pudgy digits into her mouth. "Garzon!" (Crusoe winced again, recognizing the sound of the word) "You'ff out-done yourthelf, thiff thime." she spat.

Richard

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Re: You can see New Guinea
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2009, 10:33:09 PM »
JPD:


His present circumstances did not make rational sense to Martin and the sudden lack of timliness and purpose in his newfound life troubled him deeply. Why had he been carried away to a stationary orbit over New Guinea for the past week? What was his PURPOSE for being here? And for the love of Pete, what was Marthra's purpose? Crusoe would just blink at them both diplomatically and point helpfully towards the sugar bowl with a knobby finger.

Marthra abruptly flicked at her plate then as a pattering of morsels rained down upon his pant leg. As he leaned forward to address his soiled garments she also leaned towards him and began dabbing at his leg with a napkin as she whispered huskily, "Listen up Martin... You're in double-overtime fella, and facing elimination. Ever see Soylent Green? That's you, pal." she added, and Martin was struck by the intense look he saw in her eye then, just inches away. It was a look of wild-eyed intelligence with infinite concern for his immediate well-being. "Do something they aren't expecting to see, or..." she paused in her whispering before whirling abruptly "Gawdammit Garzon, see what you've made me do? You've gone and ruined his pants!" she began shrieking at Crusoe, still dabbing gently at his leg as her occassional sideways glances pleaded with him for comprehension.

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Re: You can see New Guinea
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2009, 10:33:34 PM »
JPD:


It had been seven days now for Martin, and in a moment of sudden whirling vertigo he finally understood his purpose. Everyone at his table today was an equal.

"You will talk in English." he commanded softly, staring at Crusoe as the creature's eyes narrowed intensely. The attendants in the room seemed to shuffle their feet then, or perhaps they just breathed a little heavier than expected. Even Marthra seemed to catch her own breath, with a curious sideways glance. "Stop playing games." Martin continued cautiously as Crusoe glared back at them both, his features inscruitable.

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Re: You can see New Guinea
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2009, 10:34:02 PM »
JPD:


The creature finally conceeded with a polite nod, and a flicking hand-gesture towards the ceiling. The sounds that flowed from his mouth next were wet with vowels, and periodically chirped with bright consonants. Martin noted that Crusoe seemed to speak his native tounge in the key of F#, as a low hissing sound drew his attention towards the ceiling.

Crusoe's translation came a moment later through overhead audio speakers: "We agree to speak using American English." the voice intoned, clearly speaking in English, but with no specific accent or dialect that Martin could~

"Ohh, smarty-pants!" Marthra interjected with a wicked, lingering, glance at him.

"Thank you." Martin replied softly, not quite sure yet what had changed. Having just agreed to speak to the aliens in English, what comes next? Who's turn is it to speak? Martin studied the room, still feeling vertigo churning in his gut as Crusoe stirred his cup using his "tea finger" and Marthra continued staring back at him with doe-eyed wonder and sudden admiration.

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Re: You can see New Guinea
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2009, 10:34:31 PM »
JPD:
"Your clones fail to thrive." the overhead voice spoke then as Crusue appeared suddenly feeble, still swirling his tea-finger but with subdued glances from across the table.

The voice continued, "We have tried every combination-human using every genetic variant-- we have altered the proteins and enzymes of your diet, we have altered your illumination and darkness levels, we have attempted to moderate your temperate environments, yet all of your clones have died before they reach human puberty. You will now explain this resultant data." the voice concluded, leaving a leaden silence hanging over the room.

Martin was still trying to digest the "protiens and enzymes" part of the message when the voice interjected again, "You have clearly been forewarned and are pre-conditioned to be biased against our arrival." the voice added.

"Um..." Martin exhaled, trying to wrap his mind around the sudden problem.

"Or maybe you just suck, and we're just better than you?" Marthra blurted towards the ceiling. Then she looked around the room as the overhead monitor hummed softly in the background. "Or better than you think?" she corrected herself as the ceiling continued to hiss with the same low, pink, noise. "I mean, clones aren't robots, and people don't want to take proteins, or enzyme baths, and we like to fuck up every now and then, and we like to do stupid stuff, and all of that..." Marthra's voice trailed off uncertainly, her eyes darting from face to face, and then to the ceiling again.

"I mean, we're all just people, not eggs to be hatched and brooded to maturity." Marthra added with a panicked twitter to her voice as she stared hard at Martin, her eyes pleading with him for some show of support.

The girl was clearly coming out of her skin in a moment of sudden panic and confusion, yet Martin couldn't fault her in the least. In fact, he actually agreed with her.

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Re: You can see New Guinea
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2009, 10:35:05 PM »
JPD:

******

It was an awkward moment for a recently appointed Xenoarchiologist to endure. This was her first significant excercise and it was already crumbling before her eyes. The voice of the auto-sentient had spoken it's message as bluntly to her as it had to her human guests-- her mission to secure Earth was failing to thrive.

She swirled her tea bowl slowly, watching as the human-girl continued a discordant and atonal monologue from across the tablet. She could sense an increased shuffling of feet and breathing from The Guards of The Special, as they became more and more agitated by the latest developments.

The people before her were not at all the humans she'd studied for so long and hard to understand. This was not at all the plan she'd so carefully developed in order to preserve such an important species. This was not at all the execution of the plan she'd expected, or desired. But she was going to have to adapt her planning to her reality, and do so quickly.

"Excuse me." she interrupted the auto-sentient before it could respond to the pleas of the human-girl. "This species presents us with unique challenges, and opportunities, and we will clearly need to revisit our protocols for special-cultivation in the future." she paused uncertainly before adding "However, these particular candidates may not be available to us in that future so we need to act now, to strip them of their false hopes and delusions." she concluded with a wave towards the observatory deck window, which still played the same ridiculous repeating scene of Earth as it had once been in the year 2014.

The room seemed to hum then with soft suspense as she waited for a response from the auto-sentient. The boy-human across the tablet began humming then too, under it's breath, searching for a note somewhere between 7th or 9th harmony. It was very curious behavior, and fascinating to watch.

"Your request is granted but with conditions." the overhead voice replied then, before pausing.

******

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Re: You can see New Guinea
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2009, 10:35:37 PM »
JPD:

Martin studied the creature but it was impossible to ascribe any emotions to the thing. Or was it? After all, it blinked and flinched just like a human. It's eyes went soft and wide at times, just like a human eye might do, and it trembled whenever the dialog grew uncertain. The thing also had quirks, like stirring it's tea with it's pinky finger, or pausing for a moment before taking deep breaths.

The thing just blinked and stared back at him, as he stared back and blinked at it for a long time. Uncertain.

"Oh no... NO!" Marthra gasped then, staring off through the observatory window

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Re: You can see New Guinea
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2009, 10:36:01 PM »
JPD:


*****

The purpose of an auto-sentient was well-defined and had clear obligations. An auto-sentient could rapidly perform translation services between the species, while suggesting power and resource delegation to it's host society, simultaneously proposing civil ordinances and executing a broad range of regulatory and judicial powers in order to keep it's home-world functioning within the parameters of it's own self-interest.

The role of an auto-sentient was easier stated than actually performed.

The auto-sentient could see that the human-female had gone rogue, pressing herself against the window-glass while manifesting tears and the words "no...no..no.." repeatedly. The human-male too stared out the window-glass, framing words of disbelief and incomprehension that were barely spoken. The Mission Archiologist also stared through the window along with her guests, but was shielding her emotions from the sentient, as she stirred her beverage with an idle pinky-digit. The Guardians of the Special were eagerly awaiting their next instructions, as they tensed and agitated uncertainly along the perimeter of the room.

While the role of an auto-sentient might be easily stated it's functions were difficult to perform in the real-world of organic creatures, wielding their erratic decision-making tools, living as they did in an environment of arbitrary and shifting standards.

*****

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Re: You can see New Guinea
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2009, 10:36:37 PM »
JPD:


*****
She directed her attention first to the female, since she appeared to be the one in immediate distress. Most surpising was the difficulty she had in standing upright after sitting for so long, the observation deck simulating 1.73 times more gravity than she was accustomed to bearing. The air in the human-research ward was also thicker than normal. In fact, the environment of the human-ward was like being in a greenhouse, saturated with their heavy air and rich with dark scents and wet with molecules that tickled her nostrils, thrilling her to the very core of her being. Perhaps it was work, being her, but it was the best sort of work possible.

"I understand that this is not the home-world you expected to see." she whispered, approaching the window and the human-girl cautiously as translation services came from overhead a fraction of a second later.

"But what you see before you is true. This image is unaltered. It was very sad when it happened, it was." she added solemnly, studying the human-girl closely as it's jawbone and cheeks performed an intricate dance of twitches and muscle spasms, a wetness soaking the girl's face as it blinked at the window repeatedly while it made odd snuffling sounds.

Moments like this, although awkward, were the reason she had chosen to study Xenoarchiology instead of Chemetrics when she was younger. Now she was fortunate enough to be smelling a human-girl's tears, and it's sweat, during a moment of special-crisis. She had never felt more vital in her entire life than today as the human-girl smiled back at her weakly, listening to the translated words from above, and then smudging away it's tears with the backside of it's hand-- with the most expressive and amazing brown eyes that she had ever seen in almost fourty worlds.

*****

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Re: You can see New Guinea
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2009, 10:37:19 PM »
JPD:



Martin could see that the world, or what little he understood of it, was gone. They were presumably still over New Guinea, but the swirling caramel below did not correspond with his memory of a lush and verdant tropical paradise. The shapes were roughtly the same, but it was as if the hues were all wrong.

The land forms before him now were brown and chalky in appearence, and he could sense a harsh wind producing sand-storms blowing from west to east. The waters off New Guinea churned with ever more darkened shades suggesting silt and turbulence. Marthra continued to snort and sniffle at the window, as Crusoe began to speak again.

"Time has passed; much time." the translation came as Crusue glanced at him. "Yours is now an extinct species. It was a predictable, but unfortunate, outcome. Such as always." Crusoe added with a concerned look at Marthra.

"This is how it has been. We do not interfere in the developing worlds. The species evolve and we observe them. A species will either function, or it will not. To interfere would only have produced worsening consequences for your kind, and an ever-increasing reliance on our assistance. That is not the way of it."

Crusoe was pacing now, as he breathed heavily and took tiny steps along the length of the table and back again. More words followed, as his eyes scanned the room from corner to corner.

"But our species is also concerned, like yours was, by the apparent absence of a god. Our species, like yours, see that some outcomes remain unpredictable, which cannot be forseen or calculated by our most proficient auto-sentients. Our scientists continue to measure and record significant errors in causality that remain inexplicable to us. This lack of prescision in our sciences has become a humbling lesson for our species." Crusoe paused, staring hard at Martin as if looking for assurance. He just smiled back in answer.

"We did not interfere in your world's demise." the translation continued "And your world has ultimately been lost. But we attempted to preserve the unique knowledge of your species before you became extinct. There are many more like you that have been preserved, and we've tried to revive and engage your people's intelligence, yet all of our efforts have failed. You are unable to thrive in our environment. Your people have invoked a special crisis. We fear that we may be losing your kind, forever."

There was a long moment where Crusoe just blinked awkwardly, before he sat to study his cold tea cup with a pinky finger, swirling it slowly as the ceiling hummed and waited for further translation services.

*****

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Re: You can see New Guinea
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2009, 10:37:56 PM »
JPD:



Marthra seethed with an inarticulate rage which had no particular destination to go next. Her result was tears, lots of them. She felt bewilder-stricken and was flundering for comprehension.

"Garzon?" she began slowly, "Who's the prick who did this to us?"

"We did this to ourselves!" Martin blurted, burying his head in his hands from across the table.

It was awkward to wait for the computer to translate her question, and Marthra fretted at the window indecisively for another long moment. "Shut up Martin." she added under her breath.

"Bitch." Martin whispered back.

"Gamma-Ray Burst." the overhead speaker declared next, as both Martin and she looked at one another uncertainly.

Garzon was sitting now, staring back blankly as his words continued from above.

"The scientific explanation may seem meaningless to you, but one of your nearby stars collapsed into a black hole. The burst of gamma radiation which followed sterilized several systems, including yours. It was a naturally occurring event, but very unfortunate for your planet."

"WHAT?" Martin cried abruptly. "Mankind doomed itself!"

"That is not correct to say." the overhead voice soothed. "Mankind was working through the decisions that every species must choose."

"No, we deserved to die! Mankind is a plague on Earth! We despoil habitats, and kill a thousand species per day!" Martin shrieked.

"That is not accurate to say." the voice continued.

"SHUT UP!" Marthra whispered.

"Bullshit!" Martin trembled at the edge of the table. "We are the ones who RUINED Earth! WE did this to ourselves!" he cried.

"The man said it happened by accident!" Marthra replied evenly. "Martin! You need to sit down and shut up!"

There was a long moment of indecision which followed before Martin finally sat again, while Garzon stacked together all of the teacups on the table and the guards in the room tried to look severe and earnest in their duties.

*****

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Re: You can see New Guinea
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2009, 10:38:29 PM »
JPD:

Marthra was sickened by what she saw before her. It was already bad enough that all life on Earth had been sterilized through a natural accident. A "burst pipe in gamma-space," or something like that... That part she understood well enough, and Garzon had been pretty clear in explaining the matter to them.

The part she couldn't understand was the reaction of Martin, or truthfully, understanding people like Martin in general. She didn't know the proper word to think next, but most of the people she'd met in life were very similar to Martin--and they seemed fixated on their own internal thinking and were unable to adapt to sudden changes which didn't agree with their preconditioned notions of...

"Garzon" she turned abruptly, "You said there are lots of people like us in storage. Why ain't we workin' out?"

The alien was certainly an elegant creature she thought then, as it stared at her for a long moment to work it's knobby fingers and frame it's answer.

"We have cloned your kind singularly and in groups, but our failure-rate has been atrocious. We are now trying direct-resuscitation of our original samples. You were sample number 96, Marteen was sample number 78. There are less than 15 viable samples remaining in our storage. All other samples have become lost or corrupted through our years of testing and cloning endeavors. Please forgive us. We sought only to help." Garzon added, it's eyes flicking towards the ceiling as it's hands continued touching the stacked tea-cups before him; turning the saucers unthinkingly as it's words were relayed overhead and he looked directly at Marthra with troubled eyes that required no translation whatsoever.

*****

Richard

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Re: You can see New Guinea
« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2009, 10:38:59 PM »
JPD:


I really wish someone would jump in and contribute something-- anything-- to the story. When I started this "Continued Story" I had high hopes about how much FUN it would be to bounce-off other people's ideas and for all of us to try and write a collective story together. I never once imagined that I would be the only contributor, and as I told Richard, I've been waiting 1-2 weeks between posts in the hope that other people would start to participate.

But along the way the story has gotten to be pretty interesting-- at least to me. I'll keep adding to it every week or so, and I still hold out hope that others will jump in and twist everything in a new direction. I never intended this story would be all about me-- that was never the purpose of Continued Stories.

EWR is an incredible resource-- at no cost to the web-reader I ought to emphasize-- and I don't understand your business-model or how you can sustain doing this, but I certainly appreciate all that you offer us!

Coming soon to EWR-- Will Marthra jump Martin's bones? Will Crusoe switch from tea to blended whiskey? Is the alien computer secretly programmed to be gay? Will the 13 remaining humans survive their cold-storage or is Earth doomed forever?

Tune in next week!

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Re: You can see New Guinea
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2009, 10:40:00 PM »
You can meet or visit JPD at http://www.myspace.com/jpdonnelly2. Please do, and remember to read and then continue this story.