skonen_blades: (hamused)
Our racism was strange to them and their racism was strange to us.

The Quenari only saw in the radio, microwave, and infra-red waves. They had huge bulbous eye apparatus on tops of their head stalks in amongst orange tufts of muppet hair. They had three legs that spread like a tripod and ended in hand-like, eight-toed feet. Three tentacles spread equidistantly around their body stalks and drooped semi-rigid like tails when they weren’t in use. The most alien race we’d encountered so far and the most ridiculous looking.

But aside from the orange tufts of hair, they were all blue. The exact same shade of earth-sky blue.

Under their skin, they had naturally occuring radio transmitters, heat sinks, and microwave generators. To the Quenari there were seven variations of these emitters that made them as different to each other and a Rembrandt was to a Pollock. These skin patterns were invisible to us. The Quenari remained a pallid, uniform blue to our eyes.

And to them, we were all the same boring patches of black, blue, and red that our body heat produced naturally, with no radio or microwaves to speak of. Our translator pendants made us all sound similar so they didn’t notice accents or languages, either.

Their sexual activity was a long five-stage egg donor, carrier, fertilizer, mitosis generator and harvester affair that held no parallel on earth. Again, it was the subdermal beacons that spelled out who was who in that regard. Very social beings and large family units as a result. Our rather quick and internalized procreation was odd to them but our choice of partner was of no consequence. They could barely tell the men, women and genderfluid people from each other and never thought to ask in any case, sensing social awkwardness. Sexual orientation and gender held no meaning for them when it came to us and we were hopelessly lost in the same way looking at them.

Appearance wise, we were mostly homogenous to them and they were mostly homogenous to us.

It changed us. News of them spread and they infested our consciousness like Dr Seuss creatures. Indeed, several children’s books about them were published and were popular.

Instead of calling each other racist or sexist, we started calling each other Quenarish. Or Blue. The ridiculousness of it all altered our society in profound and lasting ways. Subtly at first but more and more, like an unspoken agreement around the planet, we measured each other on the basis of tenacity, knowledge, and strength of character rather than gender or race. As a people, we saw the Quenari as ridiculous and petty and beneath us.

Maybe we substituted one form of racism for another but it helped us.

skonen_blades: (hamused)
I seem to have hit a time ‘dam’ of some kind.

My personal temporal relocation prototype device is working perfectly but there is a barrier here.

It’s a blue wall and it extends as far as we can see.

When I say ‘we’, I mean that there are six copies of me here with me.

We are all quite distressed.

When I first arrived here, I arrived by myself. The blue wall looked nothing like my destination. I was trying to go to a future Vienna. I immediately tried to go back home, slapping the button on my time travel belt. That only brought me back here.

I met myself then. We both arrived at the same time, looking at each other in shock, immediately terrified of any sort of paradox. In a panic, we both slapped our buttons to return home at the same time. Stupid. I already knew it wouldn’t work but I reacted instinctively when I saw my copy, just as he did.

It had the same effect as before. We boomeranged back just in time to meet ourselves getting here. Then there were four of us.

The two of us with memories of failing to return home reached out to the two new ones just arriving and told them not to go anywhere. They didn’t.

For a while, we considered our options.

We elected that one of us try to keep going forward and drew straws to select which copy of us would go.

He tried it.

Then there were five of us.

We took apart one of the time travel belts to see if there were any sort of feedback loops in the circuitry or if the power modules had changed. It was experimental technology but with our five minds working together, we improved the design and cobbled something together with a more direct hold on the temporal flow and much more boosted power.

Copy number 5 was the winner this time. He tried on the belt and slapped the button, bidding us adieu. We had a theory that if he was successful, the rest of us would disappear. It was a frightening moment. Copy 5 disappeared in a puff of smoke.

And came back just in time to meet himself again.

Now there are six of us.

We are afraid to go anywhere in time. We’re wondering why we’re the only ones here is this is a time trap. Shouldn’t all time travelers be stuck here?

We all brought enough food and water to last for a week.

And it’s been a week.

It just occurred to me that maybe if we'd sent a time belt back wrapped around some water and food, we could have created an infinite supply for ourselves. Wish I had thought of that a week ago. We have nothing now.

Other alternatives are coming to mind that I don't like. I can see the same look in the eyes of my copies. I've never tasted human flesh and I don't want to.

We’re thinking.

skonen_blades: (hamused)
A reworking of the three latest pieces. Still a bit frankensteiny but the good parts really worked. Need to make it more cohesive.

I have Picasso’s blue period all over my tongue and all I do is lick barber poles until they stop being candy canes and start being the glowing electric bug killers that hang out in front of lonely bars in hot provinces. I have a helmet made from dreams rolled flat and lacquered into a carapace that protects me when I rush headlong into stupid, stupid intersections. It doesn’t occur to me that there is a shorter way to the destination. I still try to get recipes by seducing shoe stores. I airplane my shopping lists into blue skies that I can’t come back from.

To say that my heart is a parachute would be accurate. It only opens when it’s falling and it doesn’t stop the descent, it only slows it down and makes the landing safer. I wish I could get taken away by aliens and brought back a better person. But if you judge a peacock by its ability to explain particle fusion, you will disappoint the road map and learn to speak in crutches.

The bedsprings of your lips leave me wanting to test the tensile strength of honesty. You bend me like sound waves through a speaker. I’m a frat party balancing on a stool in a closet and you’re the avalanche pinned behind the starting gun. If this is a staring contest, I’m all out of eyes. Because I’m old.

Sometimes, the ghost of me arrives. I’ll be sitting in a coffee shop, hanging out in a bar with friends, even reading a book by myself at home and there’s a feeling I get when I know that that guy, that yesterday me who really knew me would know how much fun I’m having and then it makes me sad because now I’m the only person who knows. It’s like rocking out to Sabotage and then remembering that one of the Beastie Boys is dead. But this isn’t about my sadness or the idea that I’m lonely. Because I’m not. I’m not.

It’s just that when young me breezes in, it’s unexpected. I’m happy to see him but I feel a little tainted that he chose such good times to show up again. I miss him so much. I miss him to the point that I wish I’d never been him but only for a second. He crosses my mind and it’s a stroke across my heart from a cold, mid-life crisis paintbrush. Younger me was a douchebag and I am trying to be less of one but I miss his fire. And this is where I live sometimes. At this crossroads of memory and reality. A yearning for a greener-grass past that was never actually as good as this present.

But back to you. You’re a time before coffee. You’re a land before space. Deep within the lungs of God you awaken. You have no complaints department because you have no complaints. Duct tape holds together the model airplane of my soul but you, you’re a classical violinist on vacation here. You’re a piano-string-puppet and there’s a blue fire in your heart. You’re a key. People put keys in to unlock things and turn keys to wind things up and pull keys out to make things explode. Cats run wild on your farm. Your teeth float to the top like your mouth is made of cream. You’re limber cause you’re good at limbo. You’re weightless cause you’re good at waiting. Lighting doesn’t kill because you’re a better conduit than the rest of us.

You remind me that barbers used to be doctors which means that barbers used to bleed their customers
to make them feel better. You remind me that genies are a euphemism for hubris and that our greed is a lying telescope to another world where nothing bad exists. Our fantasies are a forum for untruths that only speak to us in paper lanterns and lovers that never say the wrong thing.

All I know is that a scorpion’s claw can’t hold a pen and that I’m happy that I know you.

skonen_blades: (hamused)
I thought about these concepts this morning. It's not really a story but I like the idea of this element.


The miners kept disappearing. That’s how we found tempranium. It’s a new fifth-dimensional element that moves through time but not space. If you have a glass full of the sparkling, blue, translucent metal, that glass may be full for minutes, years, or centuries. But one day it’ll be gone. Suddenly but with no little pop as the air rushes in to fill the vacuum because it will have never been there according to the physics of the stuff. That’s how it appears and disappears inside of mountains without causing massive landslides.

You have to picture tempranium as a lightning bolt going sideways through time. There seems to be several deposits here on earth in the rockies close to where I grew up. There are claims being staked in more countries these days. The veins of tempranium have a unique effect on most intelligent life that’s aware of time’s passing. Any lifeform that’s capable of being impatient, basically. When an upper-minded life form touches the tempranium, they disappear from our timeline and join the tempranium’s constant.

If you touch it for a second, you join the tempranium while time flows around you and you’ll end up one second in the past. Same for five minutes or a year. The problem for time travel is that we seem to keep a sense of time with us when we go. If we want to travel five years into the past, you have to touch the tempranium for five years. That’s a long time to be sitting and holding onto a hunk of metal.

The other problem is that going back in time splits the continuum. You can’t change the past because you go off to a different fork, creating another universe. You are effectively removed from this timeline forever.

If you handle the tempranium with gloves and metal, it’s fine. You won’t get yanked. But skin-on-metal touching will pull you out of this timeline like a loose baby tooth. The physicists reckon it’s because of our ability to perceive it. Something Schroedingery goes on there. Spiders can crawl on the metal and nothing happens. Same with all insects. Dogs disappear. Cats, too. There are still tests going on. It’s an effective barometer to classify life’s intelligence, if a somewhat harsh one.

That’s why we mine it with machines mostly.

The military has made bullets tipped with the stuff. The minute they come into contact with an enemy soldier, that soldier is whisked away to an alternate earth, emptying this present battlefield of another enemy.

We’ve made time-dampening fields to contain the element. The fields also work on humans. That’s how we discovered immortality. Effectively giving us the ability to go forward in real time without aging. So now we can go back in time in real-time and forward in time in real-time.

skonen_blades: (borg)
‘His’ blue skin glinted in the harsh glare from the studio lights in the supreme court. Archbishops, cardinals and the Pope herself were seated there beside the president, the UN security chief, and our representative on the newly formed Galactic Council. The world watched.

I say ‘his’ for lack of a better pronoun. The English language had yet to adjust to a race that had five sexes. The male pronoun had been selected for all of them because they created babies by circle-jerking in sequence into one area. The five ejaculates mixed, first the anchor glue, then the stamen juice, then the egg chain, then the catalyst, and finally the foam that hardened into a shell. Each lumpy ‘egg’ looked like a meringue and contained between ten and fifteen embryos. No one was sure if that qualified them as homosexual or not. They had complicated mating seasons.

The scientists had long, latin names for each kind of alien but we just called them all ‘he’. They told each other apart by skin markings and pheromones. I knew some people that said they could tell them apart but I doubted that.

They all looked the same to me.

The alien wanted to become a priest.

The alien claimed to have been called by God.

So far, he was the only one of his race to come forward as wanting to join the clergy. Some of the aliens had attended church in a few cities since first contact ten years ago. Some of them had gotten jobs and gone to schools as well. They were tolerated but as far as I was concerned, this was too far.

I was huddled in the cold on the roof looking at ‘his’ face. I had a clear view of ‘him’ through the scope on my rifle. I was waiting for the verdict.

If they proclaimed that he was allowed to serve in the church, I was going to pull the trigger. I’d served in the army. I’d performed black ops. But I was a Christian. I’d gone off the reservation for this. This was an independent mission but one I felt had to be done.

The com buzzed in my ear with the live feed. The jury foreperson had taken the microphone. Over three-quarters of the earth were watching.

“We find the alien capable of joining the church. The universe belongs to God. We are not to judge whom God calls.” said the foreman. He glanced at the Pope. She nodded her head.

The murmurs of the courtroom rose in my ear. My trigger finger tightened.

The blue-skinned alien looked directly up into my scope, making the sign of the cross. Then he closed his eyes.

Startled, I didn’t pull the trigger. He knew I was there. What else did he know? Then I realized what was happening. I relaxed.

I hated the aliens. I hated the aliens joining the church even more. But I didn’t pull the trigger.

I didn’t want to create another Jesus.

skonen_blades: (didyoujust)
Anyone or anything that enters the blue beams are sucked up into the ships and never seen or heard from again.

The ships came on February 1st, 2015. Giant and bulbous, they populated the sky in one rush of deceleration all around the world. The night side of the planet suddenly gained more stars and the day side of the planet a bunch of tiny suns. It took about an hour of them coming closer, one by one, before they stopped and hovered in equidistant geosynchronous orbits. Nine hundred and thirty-six of them, visible to the naked eye even after their engines had stopped firing. Dots in the sky in a geometric formation hanging a measured distance apart from each other.

The ships did nothing for weeks. Down on Earth, the tension drove people mad. The military went to a state of readiness not seen since the cold war and stayed there, sweating fingertips hovering over red buttons in sub-basements, cameras trained on the sky. Religious zealots called it the Rapture, others called it the apocalypse, spiritualists called it the Age of Aquarius, and regular folk just kept and eye to the sky in fear.

The economy took a major hit as most people cashed in their RRSPs and withdrew their savings. A somewhat useless gesture but it was all people could think of. Sales of gold and jewels skyrocketed. Shy people finally asked that person they’d been crushing on for years out for dinner. Marriages ended with a nod and a high five. Employees who’d been silently disgruntled for years quit their jobs. The end of days felt like it was right around the corner.

Just when the Earth had settled into a hesitant acceptance of the dots in the sky, blue beams of light from each ship stabbed down to earth.

The result was instantaneous. Nuclear missiles fired up at the alien ships from the expected countries and even a few unexpected ones. Of course nothing happened. The missiles didn’t even explode. They were quietly stopped, disarmed, turned inert, and left to fall back to Earth. That didn’t stop us from firing every single missile we had at them. It was like some sort of death orgasm and we didn’t stop until we were spent. Not one missile found its mark or went off.

Probably for the best. We would have done ourselves more damage than them if they’d actually exploded. After that, the fighter jets and satellite lasers were sent. Mostly automated but some brave pilots from the poorer countries who couldn’t afford A.I. or telepresence guidance gave their lives when their planes just stopped working and fell back to the ground.

The blue beams stayed on. Some of them are pointed at the ocean. Some are in remote areas of the planet where hardly anyone lives. Some of them are in metropolitan cities. They are all exactly 204.8 kilometers from each other.

It’s popular to go into the beams and ascend. Some believe it’s a portal to heaven. Some believe that it leads to a gateway to the rest of the universe. Some believe it’s death.

People have tried going up with video cameras and audio equipment but it all stops working the minute they leave the ground. Scientists are still trying to figure out how the beams work.

There are guards and fences around the perimeters of the beams in the major cities but out in the countryside they are left alone, silent blue ladders to alien mysteries. Pillars that glimmer in the daytime and seem to stab up from the earth like a searchlight during the night.

Some lovers have gone in hand in hand. Some notable celebrities have even made the trip. It’s become a tradition in some countries to throw letters to dead ancestors into the streams. Some countries have decided to start using the beams to help with their garbage problem.

They never shut off and the ships remain mute. It’s been seventeen years now. There are teenagers alive now who have never known a world without the beams.

Myself, I come down here to the park and stare at my city’s beam on the weekend. I feed the pigeons and stare at the column of light.

skonen_blades: (365)
Another post is up on 365. Menial, dangerous labour with good danger pay. Sound good? Maybe too good. Like many that owe their soul to the company store before him, our narrator goes over his situation. All you see is the goals you've set. Keep working.


skonen_blades: (saywhat)
“I’ve been to space.” He says.

His wild blue eyes match the hue of the ass-baring paper dress he’s wearing. The plastic bracelet is a nice accessory.

We’re in the interview room in a small-town hospital. I’m a visiting federal psychiatrist. I’ve travelled to a lot of small towns to interview crazy folks who say they’ve been to space. I work for the government. It’s like being Fox Mulder from the X-Files except that it’s really, really boring.

The fourth floor of this hospital is for suicide risks and delusionals. Every single small town I go to, the people with the highest suicide risk are kept on the top floor. Every glance out the window must be like a dare to the patients here. I shake my head.

I feel the need to end this interview quickly. I’ve been doing this for ten years. Collating, recording, classifying, defining, and sifting nine kinds of bullshit for an ounce of truth. I’m like a prospector panning for reality. I’m tired.

“Okay. Prove it.” I say, giving this nutbag a little of the deadeye for wasting my time. That usually starts the list of elaborate excuses that ends up drawing the interview to a close.

“Alright.” He says, and holds his hands up. His brow crinkles in concentration. He’s clenching his jaw. He closes his eyes. He takes a deep breath and holds it.

Well, this does happen from time to time. I like it better than the stories. It’s a little entertaining. Eventually, the patients will express surprise that the transmitter installed in their fingernail is suddenly no longer there or that his or her powers don’t work in my presence.

It must be like a judge watching criminals lie or hit men watching the light go out of their target’s eyes. After a while, they must just sit back and enjoy it like I’m doing.

He grunts.

His hands shine bright blue and the room splashes with light. The walls turn semi-transparent and I can see the architectural structure of this entire hospital below and around me. I can see the wiring and the radiators showing up solid greenish-white like an x-ray of scissors in a stomach. I can see the skeletons of the doctors and patients milling around, bored on the night shift.

The man is front of me opens his eyes. They’re glowing green. He starts to hyperventilate. I can see his muscle fibers, capillaries, and bones, depending on which layer I concentrate on.

With a sigh, he slumps forward. Everything around us returns to being opaque. He is staring forth, drooling. He is a dead battery for the time being and I can’t blame him.

I found one. I need to bring him back and add him to the sixteen we already have.

skonen_blades: (appreciate)
He had chess pieces tattooed on his knuckles, prison style.

Black on the one hand, outlines on the other. He had castles on the pinkies, knights on the ring finger, bishops on the middle, the queen on his left index finger, and the king on his right.

“No pawns.” he said, jutting his chin up with a mixture of pride and disgust, like it was self-explanatory.

He owned a two-story black houseboat moored at the wharf on the inlet. It had a lot of skylights but not many windows. He had a pornography studio set up on the top floor. Just a camera and a bed, really, but it paid the rent, he said.

The films he posted on the site were shot during sunny days. If it was dark or raining, he’d pull a vertical blind across the skylights and use cheap lights. It was no-frills. He treated the talent as fairly as a pornographer could.

After I’d known him for a while, he showed me his artistic streak. He’d rented two more cameras and shot a girl-girl-boy threesome with very athletic models under the skylights during a rainstorm. Using only available light, the blue bodies writhed around each other, oiled, with raindrops hitting them and pooling in their hollows. They shoved in and out of the shadows, moaning softer than the rain hitting the windows. The water ran off of six packs and flawless shoulders in a beautiful illusion.

He cut it together, some of it in slow motion, looped some of the sound, and added a slow-moving symphony soundtrack with some synth.

It was gorgeous. I begged him for a copy. He said no way. I was welcome to come over and watch it whenever, he said, but it wasn’t leaving the house. He was a little embarrassed by it, I think.

I told him that he should do stuff like that more often.

“Yeah, but it’d never sell,” he said with a laugh. “This is not the eighties.”

He had a laugh like a poodle whining, completely at odds with his huge, threatening, craggy body. He looked like he was carved from a mountain. I could picture his wrinkles filled with soil, leaves in his hair, dirt under his knuckles.

I got the feeling that he hated the city. He didn’t see anything wrong in what he was doing because he felt that everyone in the city was doing something similar, that all we city-dwellers were soulless and available for a price.

The houseboat gave him the illusion that he wasn’t really part of this stinking, money-infested metropolis, just attached to it.

I remember the footage of him being arrested. I remember him ‘giving the bishops’ to the news camera. Something about not filing his permits properly. It was strictly neighborhood watch stuff. They just didn’t want him around their daughters. He was out within a year but the houseboat was broken into while he was in prison. Cleaned out.

He packed it in after that. He moved up to a small town in the interior and got a job at a friend’s bar. That was the last I saw of him.

Right now, though, one year later, I’m staring at Christmas present. It’s a dvd with no label on it.

The card says that he hopes I have a Blue Christmas and then there’s a smiley face.

skonen_blades: (borg)
Blue. That’s the colour I remember the most in that waiting room. It was the last honest colour I would ever see.

I had them installed as part of my training. It wasn’t something I had a choice over. Part of my job as a statistical field analyzer meant that I needed to see in wavelengths that other people could not.

I can crank the infra-red and see in radio if I want. I can see the echoes from waves in the short spectrum.

That waiting room had blue ceramic tile in large squares on the wall with white grouting. The chairs were blue plastic. I was the only person in the room. There were no magazines on the blue table or clocks on the blue wall.

It’s a treasured memory as time goes by. For some reason, the faces of my friends and parents in a real light spectrum are memories that are fading. It’s that blue room that stays constant and unchanging in its intensity.

Jocelyn comes up to me, black hole in the middle of her face and black pits for eyes. Her red cheeks fade to yellow near her ears. Her black hair hangs loosely down on either side of her blue ears. The gaping black-toothed maw of her mouth opens at me in what I can now tell is a smile.

I switch to the radio and I can see the green lines of her personal tech implants going off in pulses like monochromatic neon signs. They trace circuits through her limbs to each other.

It helps me see the anomalies that weren’t being detected in the models we were making about the populace. Predictions were failing. Now they don’t.

Damn my eyes. Damn my second sight.

skonen_blades: (cocky)
They call them Blue Jumpers. I've also heard them referred to as the Blind Kangaroos.

It's a space version of the Screaming Meemies or the Heebie Jeebies except that it happens in low gravity atmospheres. You get carried away with how high you can jump and something snaps in the simian, as they say.

You start going for a record with a smile on your face and a clenched-teeth scream coming like a human kettle. With all your strength you bound skywards over and over again, forgetting that flight is impossible and that landing is the hard part. Acceleration and mass and all those nasty physics stay in place.

Most people just get broken legs but some of them rupture en-suits and die.

That's why the habitats have low ceilings. That's why the observation booths have nets across them.

It's for your own good.

skonen_blades: (Default)
It was said that human genes were the most adaptable genes on the planet. That isn’t true anymore.

They landed in force; the blue-skinned aliens with too many arms known to us now as the Rack-Pars. They were taller than humans. They had dark eyes and wide mouths.

Aside from the “more-arms-than-us” thing and the colour of their skin, they weren’t as alien as they could have been. They didn’t look like insects or floating blobs, for instance.

At first, we all conceitedly thought it just chance that they looked somewhat human. I mean, we’re great, right? Why shouldn’t our form be on other planets as well?

Remember the hype over the last fifteen years or so about rednecks being kidnapped by aliens and experimented on? All those anal probes and skin samples and all that?

Well, it all happened. It was all true.

The Rack-Pars were bred in tanks in giant arkships away from our telescopes on the other side of Jupiter.

The Rack-Pars went from planet to planet and kidnapped intelligent life. They studied the inhabitants, bred their own genes into dominant splices and grew the results to maturity.

All of the blue-skinned tall creatures with black eyes, wide mouths and too many arms were actually grown from a half-human base.

The Rack-Pars “true” shape on their homeworld was like a cross between a centipede and an octopus and they were used to an ambient temperature that would cook a human in seconds.

One million of the half-human Rack-pars were put down in each capital city. They were all bilingual. They knew English and were fluent in the language of the city into which they were dropped.

There was an exactly equal number of each sex.

There were initial attacks on them and a worldwide panic but almost immediately, their leader talked to us.

The leader of the Rack-Pars made us an offer that we couldn’t refuse: let them breed with us and become part of our society or face certain extinction.

He made an example of Paris.

We took the offer.

That was over a decade ago.

There are nearly a billion children now on the planet with eyes that have no whites. Their skin has a bluish cast and they have smaller sets of arms poking out at random around their ribcage.

They are polite. They study hard. They word hard. They are creative.

Their race has shared their knowledge with us.

The entire planet is now on a schedule of the Rock-Pars’ devising. We are overcrowded but we’ve been assured that we’ll be a space-faring race within the decade. This is a plan that has worked hundreds of times before, they say.

There is a fairly even split between people on planet Earth who are repulsed by what they see as invaders and people that have welcomed them and volunteered for marriage and babies.

Religion is taking a beating and a lot of politicians seem to be pretty depressed. They’ve let us keep our elections and our money-based economy but there’s a general feeling on Earth that the Rock-Pars are eating at the adult’s table and they’ve let the children keep their toys to shut them up.

skonen_blades: (dark)
The new planet’s thick, soupy ‘air’ made twin blue plumes out of his suit’s exhalations when the carbon dioxide reacted with the unbreathable atmosphere. It turned into blue rust flakes that scattered around him like snow.

He walked over the rocky surface in a grav suit that would have looked right at home on the ocean floor in the 1760s back on Earth. Bulky, slow and primitive looking.

He looked like a train pretending to be human blasting out powder-blue fairy dust.

His face peeked out of a circular faceplate inset into a large spherical metal helmet. It amplified his breathing as well as the creaking of the servos helping him to walk across the high-gravity shale. It was like living inside a bell.

He could see the bright blue plumes coming out of his co-researcher’s suits all down the line if he turned his head.

It was actually quite beautiful.

He’d appreciate it a lot more if they all weren’t currently looking for their ship.

He’d left the ship second-to-last in the queue so he would run out of air second-to-last as well. It wasn’t something he was looking forward to.

Already, a suit with the number 28 painted on the shoulder down the line was starting to slow down. Its blue gusts of CO2 were becoming yellower as the combination started to change. It was Yolanda.

They’d only gone a few steps out. They'd left the ships sentry programs on. It was folly of them to desert the ship entirely but no one wanted to be left behind for the first walk.

There was no life detected in the area. It had seemed safe.

Then their tracking devices stopped working properly. And their directional qualifiers.

They had no points of references. The atmosphere was a fog that gave them thirty feet of visibility. It ended in a starless ceiling above them as well. The ground was scattered rock.

They were lost. The ship, according to their scanners, was in twenty-seven places around them.

They’d turned around one hundred and eighty degrees and started walking back towards the ship, following their own blue rusted trails of encrusted CO2 flakes.

They should have been there by now.

skonen_blades: (inwalkinhere)
It was refreshing in a way, this whole ‘not having to talk’ thing.

The blue Radocephamoeba across from me ‘listened’ patiently to the string of questions embedded in the constant flow of my pheromones and body odor. There were subtleties in our smell that we had no idea were there.

The Radocephamoebas were huge semi-transparent shape-changing tentacled scentograph andromorphs. They were here doing research. They had no outward sensory apparatus of any kind that we could see. They ate by osmosis.

I could still see the feathers and startled eyes of this one’s lunch lurking back in the thickness of his torso.

When they were hungry, ovals would appear on their bodies like liver spots that oozed numbing digestive juices. Food was pressed to one of these ovals, the food absorbed, and the spots would disappear.

Other than that, their bodies, as far as we could tell, were basically giant noses from tip to stern. Every slippery pore was a nostril. The connected cells of their bodies did the rest. Every cell was a small brain. Together, they computed.

The Rads were the most alien aliens we had met yet.

When referring to ‘my’ assigned Rad, I always called him Big Blue because of his brilliant mouthwash colouring and his size. The Rads differed in colour from one to another wildly. They were called Jelly Babies or Jelly Beans in popular slang.

Using several tendrils to rapidly tap answers out on a laptop for me, he answered questions that I didn’t fully realize that I was asking. I had no control over my pheromones and they really held nothing back. I was unintentionally candid and honest in a way that I had never been in real life when Big Blue took deep, silent sniffs of my long, rambling pheromones.

The First Team had thought it was telepathy for three full hours after first contact until a communication apparatus was successfully set up. Oh, how they all laughed. It was famous footage.

One thing the Rads could do was go ‘silent’ and stop smelling. Scientists were fascinated by this and research was underway.

There was only a certain temperament of Rad that volunteered to research the humans. Earth was incredibly ‘noisy’ by way of stink. Every person on the planet was shouting out their true thoughts, unfiltered intentions, hopes and dreams for all the Rads to hear.

Apparently, Big Blue was a talker and loved to listen. His replies to me on the laptop were verbose at any rate.

Now, I call him Big Blue when I’m writing my reports down but he says that I named him something else from the complicated smell reaction I had when I first saw him. He took my name for him from that reaction. He loves it’s honesty and he never gets tired of trying to translate it into English for me.

It goes something like: Holy shit (alarm) that thing is huge I don’t know if I’m up for this it scares me I wonder how my mom (parent twosex breed half) is doing I think I’ll have a late meal (food type) tonight I wonder if Lisa (female twosex opposite poss) still thinks about me OH SHIT am I just standing here staring be professional they think in smell they think in smell they think in smell egg salad.

Each time he types it out it’s a little different but he always colours a bit darker up top with what we now know is mirth.

They’re equally fascinated by our ability to have not only one but five senses to their two senses of touch and smell. They marvel at our ability to deal with the input.

The Rads told us about a far-off race that has over twenty-six senses.

The two-way research traffic has so far been very rewarding. First contacts don’t always go this smoothly.

skonen_blades: (meh)
There are three things I remember about that day.

1. I remember the hatch blowing
2. I remember my fingernails glowing with a bright blue light.
3. I remember talking to a child.

I’ve gone over and over that time with the shrinks here on the ground. It was a time-sensitive mission to repair satellite Oricus-11. We were on schedule and nothing was in the red. We were in the pipe, five by five and on target.

Jackie and Maria were locked in and reading the specs back as we arrowed in on the airlock. Reverse thrusters fired as Maria cushioned our lateral descent to the docking clamps. There was a light bump through the whole ship as we touched the edge of the collar.

Halfway there.

Maria raised a hand up to her hair and died that way. Her eyes just unfocused and the animal side in Jackie and I knew right away that she’s been turned off like a light switch.

I looked over at Jackie and that’s the last linear-time memory I have except for those three other things I mentioned up above.

The hatch blew. Vacuum scoured the entire cigar tube of our ship with a greedy inhalation of breath from god’s lungs. Papers, pens, experiments, everything that wasn’t tethered or taped went fast-forward panicking out the door into the cold embrace. The air turned to crystals.

I don’t know if this was some time later or in the next second but I remember looking forward at my outstretched hand. My fingernails were brightly glowing blue. Beyond my hand was a forest. The trees and leaves were mostly red and I still can’t tell if it was Earth in the autumn or if it was summer on a different planet.

The last thing I remember is talking to a child. The child was much smarter than me and it seemed like he was intentionally using simple language to communicate with me. A little boy about seven years old with eyes glowing exactly the same blue as my fingertips had been glowing in the previous memory. We were both dressed in white and sitting in a red room.

I don’t remember what we talked about but I’ve been a lot calmer ever since.

I was found in a swamp by a couple of Louisiana fishermen. I was looking at the rot-resistant bark of a cypress and tracing the lines on the trunk with my hands. Their greeting is the first thing I remember. Turning my head to see who made that noise and then realizing that I was ankle deep in a swamp.

I still had my uniform on. It was freshly washed and felt like it was still slightly warm from the dryer. I felt freshly showered as well.

It didn’t take long for me to get taken into the basements of NASA and questioned. I’ve been here for weeks now.

They tell me that they found Maria's body in the ship still attached to the satellite. Jackie is missing. I'm looking forward to catching up with her if she shows up somewhere on Earth like I did.

I’m not sure if they’ll give me a memwipe or just cut me loose. I am surprised to feel that I am now in possession of something that they’ll never be able to take from me. I’m different inside.

skonen_blades: (bounder)
The Blue Angel came down from the mountain for the last time in October of 1849.

He came down from the mountain six times a year for supplies. He’d been drinking silver nitrate to combat bacteria and it had turned his skin blue permanently. It’s a fact that silver kills bacteria but the doctors hadn’t counted on the amount that The Blue Angel would take.

The Blue Angel had huge blue wings tattooed on his back in black ink. No one knew where the wings had come from and people only saw them when he went into the bath house for his seasonal cleaning. Rumours circulated. Tattooing wings on your back isn’t something that one can do on one’s own.

Some said that he had been raised by the Indians in the area and that they had tattooed the wings on his back. Most of the natives had been slaughtered or taken away by the smallpox a few years later. Rumour had it that they’d been the Blue Angel’s family and people reckoned he never got over that huge amount of death.

Some say that he had come here just a few years ago from a far off country where blue skin was the norm and tattoos were plentiful.

There was a rumour of a time that he had a few drinks in the local saloon and talked for hours like a busted dam. He’d found religion in a big way. He talked and talked about how the end was coming and that it was coming soon. There was to be another flood. They said that he’d figured out a code hidden in the bible that said that a flood was coming in the summer of 1850. I guess he had a lot of time up there in that cabin of his.

Others said that he’d grown up here in a peaceful America before the gold was discovered just a few miles south. If that was true, he’d seen more change and destruction in the last two years that most people would ever see.

Most of us had moved here for the gold. The Blue Angel was just a bit of local colour to us. I remember hearing the rumour that his cabin had been found ransacked and burned.

I never lent rumours much credence but after six months had gone by and I hadn’t seen or heard of him coming through down, I figured he’d moved away or been killed. These were violent times.

skonen_blades: (blurg)
That last piece was all over the map and I really wanted to tidy it up and make it work. I love the imagery. Here is Winter Redux. Compare! Contrast! Let me know what you think.

Winter (Edit)

Her hair was a bright neon blue that glowed in the dark. It was the same colour as her lips and fingernails. It was the same colour as her pubic hair and nipples.

It was the same colour as her glittering eyes.

She was dead.

Her piercing stare disturbed the scientists outside her observation cell. She had died suddenly two hours before. Her body lay on the small bed provided for her. She stared out at the scientists, unblinking, awkward and forever confused, with the dried path of a staining blue tear tattooing the contour of her cheek.

She’d been found, naked, stumbling through the snow up in Alaska close to a week ago. Her skin was the white of the snow she was stumbling through.

There are pale girls in the world. There are girls that look like they’ve washed up on a beach. There are girls whose skin is so translucent that one can see a delicate tracery of blue veins beneath the surface of their skin.

They looked like a riot of colour compared to the skin of this girl we found in Alaska.

We’d nicknamed her Winter because of it.

In the short time we had with her, she’d picked up a few words of our language and could respond to rudimentary questioning. It was a slow process as she seemed to be straining not only to find the words but also the concepts behind them. It was literally like she’d been born yesterday.

Her story, told through clumsy mime and pieced together as best we could, was that she had come here from space and had left her ship to explore the wilderness in Alaska. A passing plane had spooked her ship. The ship bolted and she was left alone.

She insisted that she was the only one on the ship. She insisted that the ship was probably worried about her and was looking for her.

She'd been dead for two hours and there had still been no contact with the 'ship' of her story. Planes that had passed in the region she was describing during the time frame she mentioned had witnessed nothing.

A tennis-ball sized lump of what we took to be biocircuitry at the base of her spine had not issued any transmission that we could detect after her death. No homing beacon, no SOS message, nothing. It was as dead as she was by our measurements.

While she was alive, it had given off a steady stream of data that seemed to be directly tied to her sensory organs but we couldn’t decipher the data we collected from it. The boys upstairs were still trying to figure out what the densely packed stream of trinary data meant.

Her death had been immediately preceded by a burst of a data washing through the biocircuitry that burned it out. She has looked at us through the safety glass with a confused look on her face and died that way.

If her story was true, we had come up with a saddening hypothesis:

Our friend Winter was manufactured. Her warranty was up and she had been switched off like a light.

Her ship had scanned our planet, looked at the dominant life-form and made a copy out of the material it had on board. There are samples that a ship can obtain and analyze but what better way to truly experience a world than through the sensory apparatus of its dominant life form?

It made a woman and pushed her out into the snow to wander around while the ship drank in all the information that skin, eyes, ears and nose could provide. Maybe it didn’t waste time on colour or maybe it just had no idea what colour was.

Maybe the next step would have been to make a better copy that could fool us and let it wander around downtown Los Angles or something.

The ship wasn’t coming back for Winter any more than we would return to the site of a picnic for a lost fork.

We will begin research on Winter. We will try to reverse engineer how she was made. She will hopefully become Eve to a new generation of government-manufactured troops. She will hopefully become Eve to a new generation of medical breakthroughs, cloned organs, and cancer cures.

Winter’s Eve.

skonen_blades: (gimmesommo)
My arms are long and my skin is blue. I’m thin. I can feel long-forgotten muscles flex all over my scalp as my head tentacles wave. I have four huge orange eyes on the corners of my square face. I get used to being able to cycle through all of the variations that my vision has to offer.

The bright orange stripe down my belly flashes red in alarm for a second while I struggle for breath. It settles down again to orange with yellow dots as my emotions turn to pleasure and excitement.

My secondary arms uncross while my stronger main arms stretch up and unlatch the clasps holding the mask to my face. I can feel my thick tail get ‘pins and needles’ as the blood rushes back into it after a long time asleep. My toes flex.

With a sharp intake of breath, I sit up and reflect. I lick the crusted sleep-salt from around my mouth and stare forward.

All around me, fellow sleepers are dreaming.

I was what was called an accountant. I lived in a small town called Sharecrop in a state called Texas in a country called the United States. I was born in a year called 1925. I was beaten as a child, dropped out of school, and ran away when I was eighteen to a bigger city called Austin. I came to be an accountant by getting a part time job at a bank and showing a talent with numbers.

I married a teller. She couldn’t have children. We never adopted. We both had abusive parents and were afraid of passing that abusive trait on. We were happy although the loneliness and silence eventually left us distant from each other. When she died at the startling age of 43 from heart failure, I remember being quite stricken with how little I knew about this woman that she had evolved into over the years. I knew her habits, sure, but not her.

Her horrible parents outlived her by five years before dying in a house fire. That injustice always clawed at me.

I retired at 55. I was hit by a car at 62 and died at the scene. It was agonizing.

My arms are long and my skin is blue. All around me, fellow sleepers are dreaming. I have been asleep for sixteen hours. I will take what I have learned and try to add it to our race conciousness and my broodfamily.

We dream of the humans. We become them. We live their lives.

I have a hard time with their loneliness. Two people to make a baby? I feel better with our race’s number of six. Two or three children? I feel better with our race’s number of forty slills to a litter.

I feel grateful after the dreaming.

skonen_blades: (cyril)
It’s light outside which means that if we leave our hiding place, we will be seen and killed.

They came in 1845. That was the day that human history was exposed and swept clear. Everything we sent at them just bounced off. Its six months later and I have no idea how many of us are left. They seem to have stopped actively hunting us which is good. We’re more like vermin now. They lay traps and go about their business. It’s still very unsafe to travel in the daylight.

They have deep blue dry skin the texture of cork. Bullets go about an inch in and stop. It’s like they’re made of rock wrapped lightly in cotton swaddling. They’re huge. Two massive legs. Two arms that are more like tentacles that split into a mess of smaller tentacles at the end. Very efficient and ridiculously strong. Watching them operate the complex mining machinery the brought with them is almost thrilling.

Watching those tentacles go into a loved one’s head orifices and squeeze is another matter entirely.

They wear what look like black rubber overalls with giant galoshes. About the only weak point we can find is that they need to wear masks to breathe this atmosphere. It’s just a filter. They don’t have backpacks filled with flammable gas or anything.

If you shoot them in the filter and none of their friends are around to give them a replacement, it takes them about half an hour to die. It’s a rather gruesome thing to watch. It’s like their insides are made of slugs and someone is pouring salt down their throats. It looks agonizing. We’d rather give them a quick death like they gave so many of us but beggars can’t be choosers.

I laughed once when Teddy referred to us as ‘the resistance’. As far as I could see, we scavenge for food and try to avoid the new owners of this planet. We fight when cornered and almost always lose. Resistance indeed. Pah.

Gwedolyn’s pregnant now. She’s the only woman with our little group who is of child bearing age. None of the three men in our group is admitting to being the father. She’s not pointing fingers. And anyway, it could be one of the other six of us that have been killed over the last three months as well. It’s maddening not knowing if we’re the last ones in Britain. We met one other person in the last four months but she couldn’t talk. She died not too long after we met her.

We lost.



21 July 2006 23:14
skonen_blades: (bounder)
I first started seeing Red back in 1997.

Red stood out to me. Red was standing there on the subway when I’d look up from my paper. He’d be looking at me with that dreamy expression on his face.

There are Smiths. There are IT programs called Blues. And there are rebel programs. They are Reds. And they’re the worst.

Reds wake you and take you out of the matrix. Which is good. But then they keep you in a cage and you work for them. Which is bad. You get conditioned through the most efficient means at their disposal and then you are put into the matrix to be their eyes and ears and go on missions. You go places where machines can’t. You are meat on a leash. Brainwaves in a box. Biology controlled by silicon. Metaphorically, you’re given an oar, shown the lash, and told to keep time with the drum.

Core programs written by human minds that have come to life and inhabited metal bodies that reach into the virtual world to wake up specific ‘flesh constructs’ to rewrite their command functions and put them back into the computer stream.

The invisible lines of code band together to become intelligence.

The sleeping humans are woken up only to be put into a nightmare.

See the Smiths are okay compared to these guys. They want you to be docile. They want you to sleep. Sure you’re in a prison but they just want you to be comfortable enough to enjoy it while they siphon heat and energy off you.

The Blues show up and fix things. The keep us all believing that this is all real. The blues keep us sad. The blues are what keep us from being too awake. We define ourselves by misery and this is what they spread. They're here to fix problems. Sometimes they're musicians. Sometimes they're psychiatrists. Sometimes they're friends.

It’s the Reds you have to watch out for. And we all know it deep down. The reds are half human. The reds make more reds. A forced slave rebellion. We are just as inconsequential to the Reds as we are to the Smiths but the difference is that the Smiths want us to be cattle while the Reds want us to be pawns.

Or knights. Or rooks. Or bishops.

Keep an eye out. Keep clear. Stay sleeping where it’s safe. Avoid the reds.



skonen_blades: (Default)

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