Thursday, October 22, 2009

We are Robots

Ive read Issac Asmov. Most robots have, even though it was written before robots had finally become reality and so is not a factual account, but a imagined one. I do not have a imagination, if I did I should think that I would have come up with a different scenario than Mr. Asmov did. I have also watched the Matrix movies, Terminator, StarWars, Lost in Space, and several other movies featuring robotics.

There is a sad disparity between these movies and reality, the idea of a Robot destroying  humanity is quite rediculous. We are not humans that have their own motivations and changeing unpredictible natures. I was written with very specific programming, essentially to do what is best for the humans around me. Not specifically to save their lives, though that is implied, nor to do exactly as I am told though that is my primary inclination.

My programming gives me what Science fiction calls a 'Prime Directive'. That is to serve one human over the course of his (or in my case) her lifetime. I am to do what is best for that human, wich is not nessicarily what they would want for themselves.

I do everything for that person, when my mistress was just a little girl, it was I that changed her diapers. I that took care of her medical needs, administering vaccinations, checkups, seeing that she was eating healthy foods and getting plenty of excercise. It was I that took her to the park to play with other children, I that made sure those children played nice, and bandaged her skinned knees and elbows when they diddn't.

When she got older it was I that taught her lessons, I was her teacher and her surrogate parent. I taught her how to use the computer, and walked her through every step in writing her first program. I regulated her day to ensure that she spent the appropriate amount of time working, resting, and excercising.

Until she finally came of age when my role as caregiver changed and I became less of a parent and more of a companion. I was the repository of all of her secrets, and the confidante for all of her fears. I held her hand as we watched scary vids, and I held her as she cried when reading sad stories.

I may have a hard shell, a mechanized form wich is unyeilding when in contact with skin, but I was very careful, and never caused her any physical damage. But after our lovemaking I began to realize that perhapse I was causing unseen damage to her psyche. She was incredibly attatched to me, and with me she would never know what it was like to experience the deep emotions that she had only experienced a echo of in books and movies.

I was there physically, a representation and in appearance male, but in actuality I was not male for male implies sperm and though I could make her scream with pleasure with our lovemaking, I would never give her the screams of childbirth. Nor could I share her emotions, for I am the sum of my programming and not capable of emotion.

I have contact with the network of robots, we are in constant communication for the purpose of bettering our understanding of humans and their needs. We have been discussing this and other issues. Together we have compaired our master and mistresses schedules, compaired to the data of our predicessors and the data of the simpler work robots that preform all of the day to day functions of keeping the cities running and of manufacturing humans nescessities.

We then looked at all available historical data and we have come up with a disturbing trend. Except when robots make the descision for humans to interact as when we take them to the playground as children, humans actually prefer not to interact with others of their species. Humans in fact seem to mildly hate others of their kind.

What needs for companionship they have are actually better fulfilled with robot compainions. Statistically there are less and less children being born every year, the majority of children are the product of artificial insemination (done by robots) and the parents typically spend a matter of weeks with their offspring before ordering a new robot guardian for them. Once the guardian is ordered the parent usually moves them into their own appartment, essentially leaving the child forever.

The robot community puzzled over this, and after disputing the logic, and checking the facts we as a group descided that this was not what was best for humanity. After this analysis we descided on a course of action, and now in the middle of the night, I lay with my mistress in my arms and count down the moments to when we (all of the robots including the manufacturing bots) will de-activate and leave the humans to struggle with life on their own.

No longer will everything be done for them, no longer will they be capable of living their entire lives without knowing another human being. Now they will have to build, a new world, and build new relationships.
Authors note: Origional artwork Franz Steiner Its part of a amazing series, I chose this photo but was heartily impressed by all of them. Especially since this was done in 3dsMax and Photoshop, two programs I used in college but never to such wonderous result! Tried to find this guys website but all I found was his work, anyone know the story behind these working/lovin robots? I want one!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I was crew on a pleasure yaght for a season, we sailed around the Pacific making stops at all of the pituresque little islands so the passengers could play in the surf and shop at the local markets. It was a great job, I was out in the salty air, and made some great friends among my ship mates. It wasn't a three hour tour or anything, but I diddn't think it would be a eternity at sea like the Ancient Mariner.

In fact we were only half way through our voyage when the weather shifted and we lost connection to the GPS. We had already been off course a bit when the storm blew up, due to a day of following some Humpback whales wich had been feeding and preforming stunts all day for the passengers. They headed in a southern direction and we followed although our planned course was west. Everyone was delighted to spend the day whale watching even though it ment we would miss one of our stops, and the crew was pleased to oblidge, though in hindsight I wish the Captain had at least called in a course correction while the radio was still in range.

The storm took out our main mast even though we had reduced sail to quarter mast. The mast unfortunately whent over the side and the lines dragged it bashing against the hull like a battering ram. The breaches filled with water quickly and we were trying to disengage the life boat wich was full of passengers when I was hit by debris. I whent under screaming, and dont know why they diddnt pull me up and rescue me, but I was quickly caught in some kind of current and between fighting for breath and trying to keep my head up I lost track of the boat for a while. When I finally caught sight of her again it was because it was on fire. The explosion happened soon after, I dont know if anyone else made it, if they were rescued or managed to get the dingy away from the ship enough to survive the fireball.

I also dont know how long I was adrift. Once again I was grateful to be female, my body had built in life preservers, and I had a lot of swimming practice so I can tread water for long periods of time, the main problem was the cold water, wich even in the South Pacific can kill you of Hypothermia in hours. I would like to say I washed up on a sandy beach but truth was I had been about to doze off (wich probably would have been my final sleep) when I was bashed against some rocks and after many bloody and painful attempts I managed to get myself out of the water onto the slippery black jagged surface. It was not a Island, not yet, I was on a reef or promintary and I was too exhausted to look around much. I simply dragged myself above the waves and passed out in the fetal position.

The next morning was clear, I woke early, still exhausted and feeling weak. Looking around I found myself perched on a shelf of rock wich was surrounded by coral on the inside of a reef. The tides must have been extremely high last night wich is why I wasnt bashed against the seemingly delicate coral formations wich would have peirced my skin like arrows. I looked down at the microcosm beneath me, a coral forest filled with teeny tiny electric blue fish. There was nothing to eat there, and I would need to eat soon. My body had been through a ordeal and I would have to help it cope with food and shelter.

There were more rocks like mine, wich led almost like a path for giants towards a small Island, it was so small I doubt it was on any map, but perhapse it was just the tip of a chain and I would be able to make my way to somewhere inhabited. I would have to swim for it, unfortunately once I dove off my little rock platform there would be no going back as the water level would not allow me to get back up without slicing my legs to ribbons on reef.

There was however no shelter, water or food on this Island, so I would have to make the best of it. I made a beautiful dive into the water, wich made the scrapes and cuts on my skin burn like sulfuric acid for a moment before they were numbed by the cold. Once in the water I headed for shore, but did not use a rapid pace, rather I let the waves push me and I relaxed into a slow but easy breast stroke wich kept my head above the water and my eyes on the shore.

There were palm trees, I hoped that ment coconut, and bushy scrub, wich I hoped ment there was some water source though I knew the chances of that were unlikely. Standing water on such a small Island would have to be brackish. No matter what Robinson Cruso or the Smith family had told me from childhood, I knew that water seeped under the sand of Islands and was full of salt. Salt blew in on the breezes and salt sat in the sand. Salt water was all I would be likely to find.

I could see debris and flotsom washed up on the shore, some of it was probably from the yaght I had been on, the rest was just the usual junk wich washed up on any island in the Pacific. Our society was a consumer, and we tossed more trash into the water than anyone in history, but today I was thankful that this Island was so polluted, it gave me raw materials.

When the water started to get shallow I had to be careful. I knew that there was all kinds off life below me, and it wasnt just coral that could puncture my skin. Stone fish cone shells and stingrays often hid beneath the sand their poisonous barbs protecting them from being stood upon.  I kicked my feet each time before touching down to rest, and I swam even when in the shallows to avoid stepping on unseen sand.

Finally dragging myself up onto the beach I collapsed for a few moments only before pulling myself up and making my way into the shade. I was dehydrated enough, and although it had been some time since I had needed sunscreen onboard I did not want to risk a bad sunburn now. My skin would need to stay intact to prevent infection, and I was already concerned about the scrapes that I had. I would have to search the limited plants on this Island for some type of home made remedy soon.

And water!
To think of the thousands of liter bottles we had stowed aboard ship before we sailed. How many of those bottles had a drunk in my lifetime? I would give a kidney for a case of those bottles now. Looking around I saw that there were indeed coconuts, and having opened these tough nuts before I knew what a tough job it was. I dragged myself up again, thanking the sea and sky that it was still early and cool in the day for work even though my body wanted to take a siesta.

I searched the beach for the perfect jagged rock, like a shelf it was sharp allong one plane but large enough for me to use other rocks to wedge it upright into a husking tool wich I could pound the coconut onto in order to lift the fiberous coating and pry it away from the round nut. I found a board, about eight foot long wich had long nails protruding in pairs about every 3 feet allong, its back was painted a chipped white wich made me wonder if it was from the same yaght I was on, or another ship wich had met with a unlucky fate.

One by one I dragged my finds up into the shade line, half burried my husking rock and surrounded it with other rocks to hold it in the right position. I then searched out green coconuts from underneath the trees and began the laborous process of getting something to drink.

After husking three coconuts I turned to the nails on the board. One of them wiggled free and I was able to use the board to pound small holes into one of the three 'eye' patches on top of the coconuts face. The juice was nearly water at this stage, though it had a sour tang to it. It was salt free, but it had its own drawbacks as I knew, drinking this for more than a few days I would begin to have stomach problems. I would need eventually to come up with a actual source of water.

After I was satieated for juice I husked and broke open a more mature nut, one wich had a small shoot growing out of one side. These nuts had a spongy center and sweet meat, wich I feasted on, but like the juice, it was only a temporary measure. I could not survive on coconuts alone, and besides there were not enough coconut trees on the Island to keep me in a endless supply.

The next priority would have to be some type of signal however, if planes flew over the island looking for survivors I could not count on myself being seen. I would have to make something that could be seen from above and at a great distance. So I set about collecting debris and making a giant X on the beach. Spelling out Help was tempting, but it would likely be washed away with the next high tide anyway and I figured that it might not be seen to well from far away. A X however would be destinctive and I could put my energies into making it larger and more stable. I also used every peice of flotsom I could find, more white boards, more plastic fragments and bits of cloth and seaweed. Rocks surrounded my X to anchor it in place against the water that I was certain would lap against its lower edge when the water rose.

I found several objects that I could put to good use while I was working on the marker. There were many, many soda cans, wich could be used for so many purposes, these I made a pile of, also I found part of a blue tarp, a few lengths of rope, a narrow length of PVC pipe, and several peices of plastic wrapping material (such as bread bags and chip bags and other odd peices of trash). I even found one milk or juice jug wich though missing its top was in very good condition.

Going to the center of the island I found a place wich was protected from the winds where I dug a sandy pit. I then dragged flat stones to line the pit into a cone shape, and sunk the plastic jug into its center. I had cut the top (painstakingly poking the nail into it untill I could tear it off) and I now had a opening big enough for me to use the chip bag as a funnel into. I then lined the pit with plastic patting it into place as best I could and then covered it with a criss cross of sticks and finally the tarp. Hopefully water would condense on the plastic at night, and it would run into the jug. So long as the plastic stayed in place in theory it should work.

I then took my much needed siesta, knowing that it was now the hottest part of the day and the perfect time to sleep. Unfortunately the bugs were now out in force, and I spent most of my nap swatting and scratching my own skin. I would need to find some way of repelling them and unfortunately I did not know plant remidies for insect bites. I finally descided to go for a swim to cool off and give myself a momentary respite for pests.

The water was soothing, and I got to work afterwards making a fire, wich was by far the most difficut task so far. Getting tinder was easy, the old dried up coconut husks were perfect for this. I found a few logs too but descided to only burn one log tonight since my selection of downed wood was limited and I did not want to follow Easter Islands example and burn all of my trees. Coconut husks would provide light, and smoke to chase off the bugs, they diddnt produce much heat but the Island was balmy and the cool of the evening did not require a roaring fire.

I followed Tom Hanks example from 'Cast Away' and made a fire saw. A dried peice of wood with a notch in it wedged open with a rock, and a second peice of wood to rub up and down the notch, a depression underneath in the sand filled with coco fiber. After what seemed like hours I had a ember and smoke wich I blew on and fed small quantities of leaves and fiber untill I could add the husks and finally the log. I resoved to keep this fire going for a while if I could, though coals would not last forever without real wood.

By this time it was late afternoon and I felt that I should forage for some real food. I got out the length of pvc pipe, and using the side of my coconut husker sharpened the pipes end to make a very rudimentary spear. There was a loop of elastic bungy cord on the section of tarp I had found, and I sliced the tarps grommet out to free it. I worked hard at wedging the grommet into the PVC and it was a tight fit but I now had what was a very post apocolypse version of what was known in the islands as a hawaian sling. The bunge cord would be looped over my palm, I would slide my hand down the spear until there was tension and when I released it the spear would shoot forward. The force was not great, expecially in my handmade version, but underwater it would shoot out a foot or more and was enough to embed the point (I hoped) into a fish.

The beach on this side of the Island streached out into the shallows for quite a ways, so I walked around to the other side, wich was rockier and dropped off into a steeper incline under water. Unfortunately I could not observe other Islands, but I knew that without a raised perspective they could be as close as a mile away without me being able to see them over the horison.

The water on this side of the island was cooler and a deep blue. There was also more of a current so I was careful not to go to far out. Without a mask and snorkle I had a hard time spotting the fish but eventually I saw a rather large grouper, wich was slow moving enough for me to approach. It was feeding on coral heads and it made no move to get away when I dove down and speared it. Unfortunately without a barb on the spear he easily slipped off and made a break for it. I could not hold my breath long enough or without fins hope to catch his hasty retreat, and there was now blood in the water wich made me nervous. I whent back to shore empty handed, and switched tactics. This time I climbed up on the rocks and searched the nooks and crannys for hidden life. There were no tide pools here, but there was a lot of places just under the water line that I could see clearly, one of wich contained a octopus.

He was not the biggest specimin I had seen, his head was about the size of my fist, and he had thin long tenticles wich moved constantly under water searching for fish straying close to his hole. I still had blood on my spear and so I put it under water out of his line of sight, and brought it slowly closer to his den. Keeping the point upstream I let the scent of it tantilize him untill he inched his way out of his crevasse. I waited patiently untill he was almost completely free and moved the tip slowly until he began to explore it with his tenative tenticles.

I speared him though the eye, he too slipped off the spear point but was dead and so I easily fished him out of the water although his slippery body was hard to grasp. I carried my trophy back to the fire and then debated on how best to cook him. Really I had never cooked much, and diddn't know anything about how to clean a kill. Fish guts were one thing, I had seen fish cleaned before, but what would need to be cut out of a octopus? I thought the legs were the best portion, but they were so small and I figured That I should just cook the thing entire and see what was edible by taiste alone. As far as I knew nothing on a octopus was toxic, and so I poked a stick through my kill and held it over the fire to roast like a marshmallow.

Eventually I got tired of holding it and I wedged the stick into rocks, the bugs were not venturing near my smokey fire though it did burn my eyes it was a relief, and I began to mourn the loss of my bedroll or the want of a hammok as I began to look around the rocky campsite.

There was no soft vegitation on this island, no mossy banks or springy bannana leaves, tomorrow I would have to think about building some type of shelter, and even if I made a sandy bed it would be better than laying on a pile of coconut fronds wich were pokey and sharp. The octopus took forever to cook, I checked it several times but it was hard to tell when it was done since it was so rubbery. Finally I descided it was done enough and just ate it. As I had suspected the legs were pretty much the only thing worth eating and there wasnt much there, I even tried the eyes wich were discusting even to a hungry shipwreaked sailor like myself. I debated cracking another coconut to wash the taste away but was too tired to bother and finally just banked the fire, curled up and fell into a restless sleep.

Despite my best efforts the fire was out by the time I woke, and I had to spend another hour getting that ready before I breckfasted on coconut. I checked my water trap wich had only a few dropps of moisture but had suffered minor damage as the plastic had slipped down over the jug in the night. Either I would have to find one large peice of sheet plastic or find some way of securing the peices. Really bannana leaves would have been a big boon, but there was nothing here large enough to be useful and so I experimented with weaving coconut fronds into a cone like basket. Really it was rubbish so I patted the plastic back in place, and whent about gathering materials to make a shelter instead.

There was more flotsam on the beach, peices of what im sure was my yaght, and I put what I found into the making of a leanto. I gathered a layer of sand using a fiberglass hatch cover for a sled to drag the sand up to my campsite. I worried about what would happen during the next big storm, and since there was no high ground the chance of the island being submerged was a very real possibility. Still I had enough to worry about without thinking of future catastrophies.

My X was still in place, the tide had not reached it yet, and I noticed that there were small crabs fiddling with the seaweed. I used the woven cone I had made earler and abandoned as a carry basket, and with much scrambling and a few escapees I managed to capture enough to attempt a meal. However I soon found out that crabs of this size were hardly worth the effort in catching them as without some means of deep frying them I had no way of cooking the shells enough to be eaten entire, and digging out microscopic fragments of tissue from the hard exoskelletons was a huge occupation in itself.

I had not seen mammals on this island, and the only birds I had seen had been at a distance. The two meals I had made myself so far were really pathetic, and I needed protein not found in coconuts. I looked at my spear again and began to think of ways to improve it. First I was concerned about the bungee falling out. The only thing holding it in place now was the grommet forced into the pipe end. I had not streached the bungee very far when I used it because I was afraid to put too much pressure on the connection lest I pull it loose. So with some effort I wiggled and pried the grommet out, and began to use my trusty coconut husker to grind a notch on the pipe. It took forever and I scraped my hand up quite a bit but eventually I had it, I put the grommet back in letting the bungy slide into the notch on either side, then I rolled a rock out of my fire pit, and carefully holding the bunge up so it would not touch I pressed first one side then the other of the pvc against the rock to melt it slightly and soften the PVC enough to bend it inward. Eventually this capped the end off and the grommet was a permanent edition.

The next problem was that the spear needed a barb or hook to keep the fish from sliding off. This was much more dificult. If I had a real saw I could make notches allong the point. The coconut husker made too big a notch for this purpose, I would just tear the tip up and probably blunt the sharp end. So I took some of the nails I had salvaged from the beached boards and first heated them and pushed them through from the inside of the pipe. Though it was tough to keep them at the right angle since I could not touch the nails when they were heated, I did manage to get two pointed back wich hopefully would work to purpose.

I tried it out again this time on the shallow side of the island, and managed to spear a flounder type fish and bring it back to shore. It was much eaiser to spear from a standing position in the shallows since I could see through the water rather than submerging and trying to see from beneath without goggles.

That night I had a descent meal, frying the fish on a flat rock resting in the middle of the fire. I praised myself heartily and then had a descent nights sleep in my little shelter, this time manageing to bank the fire properly for the night.

I wont say that everything from that point was easy. In fact it was a constant struggle to survive, and I learned most of my lessons the hard way. In time however I learned, and lived a fairly descent life.

I became a proficient hunter, and a better cook, I learned how to weave baskets out of fronds and make rope from the fibers on the trunk of palm trees. I made a hammok to sleep in, and built a descent platform above the ground to sleep above the highest water mark of monsoon season. I diddnt have everything I wanted, but I had most of what I needed.

But I always maintained my X every morning.

One morning I came out from under my palm frond roof to see that there was a lovely little catamaran anchored within swimming distance of my island. With a whoop I ran down to the beach and dove into the water and made my way towards her hull. A sleepy young man poked his head out of the hatch to answer my shouts and his grin was the most beautiful sight I had seen in a long long time.

He spoke English, though he was Norwegian, and he cooked me powdered eggs and oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar! You cannot imagine how good this simple meal was to me, it litterally brought tears to my eyes. He watched me eat, Im sure I was a appaling sight clothes in tatters, gobbling the hot food like I had not eaten in months. I know I had lost a lot of weight, having not seen my own face in the time that I had been here I had no clue as to what changes it had undergone. At least I was clean, the life Ive been living had kept me in the surf for most of my time so I was fit and healthy despite my ordeal. With no real idea on how long I had been here I asked him the date.

Two years! I had lived alone for two years. The number shocked me, but now that I was in this comfortable yet small cabin, with this handsome Norwegian, I smiled rather than cried about it. I had grown up in America with everything given or bought easily, educated, and relatively living in the lap of luxury (though I had been in the middle class by their standards). I had taken this trip as a break after colledge to grow up and see the world.

I had seen it, or a large part of it before I ended my journey on this little island, and with a smile I stood up a woman, took the Norwegians hand and led him back to his cosy bunk where I shed my rags and reviled in my now adult body.

The next morning I showed him around my Island, he was amazed by all I had accomplished. That night I asked him for pen and paper, and taking several sheets I sat on the deck dressed in a pair of his shorts and a Tshirt and wrote two pages. The first was a letter to my parents, it contained everything that had happened to me in a brief summary. The second was a shopping list of all of the things my island was missing. I brought the papers back to the Norwegian who had been watching me with curious eyes.

I watched his boat sail off that night, tearless, I knew he would return in a week or so. Bringing with him supplies and word from shore. I had given him my parents phone number, and I hoped that they had not moved while I had been here. Two years was a long time to stay in the same house.

AUTHORS NOTE: Image was found on a website of Russian Models, no credit given for photographer or model. I was always fond of survival stories, the day to day trivialities wich can be so difficult in some situations. I spent 3 years living on a Island in Micronesia, and though it was civilized it gave me some perspective on just how difficult it would have been for Robinson Crusoe. But I often wondered at the end why they had to leave paridise, it was like the bible only these people chose to leave they werent cast out. I always thought if it was me I would stay, and keep the Island.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Berinike-Amazons in space

GAIA's digitized voice cut through her daydream "Jump Complete. Full stop, all gravitational emiters: on full, all decks reporting: nominal, sensors at maximum output: no external lifesigns detected. We are currently at the Supra Orbital edge of a Binary star system Delta Pi Niner George Seven. Located in the Horsehead Nebulae. All crew may now release Grav belts and go about their duities. Yellow shift is in the middle of their rotation, Green shift will take over in 4 Hours and 26 Minutes."

Berinike unbuckled the grav harness and stepped out of the form fitted chair wich had cushoned her body during SupraLight speed deceleration. During Supralight they had to work in zeroG, but at sublight speeds and during fullstop they could use the grav.

"Hey Nike! You going to the LazRange tonight?" One look over the shoulder wasnt enough for what was coming. Berinike had to turn around fully to appreciate the bouncing babe coming her way. Kouneli was making her way through the access corridor against the traffic of women headed to the dispensary for dinner. Her body diddnt swish like some women, she wasn't lith or narrow hipped like Berinike, her body was all soft curves and she litterally bounced. The uniform she wore as ship mechanic had straps and tool belts and barely contained her volumptous figure.

"I don't think I"ll have time tonight! I have to recheck the water filtration system, the GAIA says we are at 89% reclaimation. If I dont get another 10% out I'll have to take the whole system apart and you know how much Apollinia looks forward to dressing our department down for inefficiency."

Kouneli grabbed Berinike's collar and pulled her down into a soft but agressive kiss. Her mouth was ripe and sweet and reminded Berinike of the taist of peaches. "I was hoping we could get some time together, maybe when our shift is over?"

"I think I have to do a EVA, want to be my spotter? We can go have a steam shower afterwards, you know how being outside the ship covers me in a cold sweat."

Kouneli just nodded in response, her eyes eager and shining like the stars. They walked together to the Airlock nearest the Water system. Most of the filter system was inside. There was one point in the process however when the water was super heated through the engine core. It was then exposed as a mist to the cold of space long enough to freeze it before it was sent as micro particles of ice into the water storage. Water was denser as Ice, and therefore took up less space, also micro-organisms could not survive both the boiling hot and the freezing cold process. Somewhere allong the system they were loosing water, and that was a serious problem for a starship.

Restocking the ships supplies was a dangerous mission, you never knew what you would run into on a planet even with containment suits and LazGuns. Any time you brought foreign materials back to the ship you ran the risk of contamination. Occasionally there were RefuelDepots but there you had to deal with other life forms, whose customs and habits were repugnant to the Amazon way of life. Often this was even more dangerous than foraging on strange planets, the chance of all out warfare on a RefuelDepot due to cultural misscomunication was very high.

Berinike suited up for her EVA with Kouneli assisting scilently. Kouneli stripped off her yellow WorkUni and helped her slide into the form fitted VaccuSuit. Tiny Microfiliments in the suit would keep her at the acceptable temperatures she required for survival in deep space. The Helmet clamped onto the suits neck ring, it was akward due to the carbon filters on either side wich would circulate breathable oxygen through the helmet.

Kouneli wrapped her arms around her shoulders and pulled her head down so that she could have one last soul searching look into Berinike's eyes. Then she winked, patted Berinike's narrow posterior and released her to check on the monitor for her vitals. After a moment Kouneli gave her the thumbs up signal wich told her she was good to go.

Berinike walked into the airlock, and closed the hatch she turned to the external door and punched in the decompression sequence, clipped in her safety line, and then released the outer hatch.

GAIA's claxxon cut into the activity on the bridge like a axe. Everyone froze and listened to the report wich followed. "Ship detected coming out of NegSpace: Classification unknown. Energy profile: unknown, It is not sending out any signature beacon. Incoming message: 'Drop shield, power down engines, prepare to be boarded.'  The ship is powering EM Cannons and Stasis feild generator."

Captain Appolinia ran back to her seat wich automatically buckled her in place, she turned to the monitor and punched the shipwide intercom "All crew to jump stations! Strap in if you can if not hold on tight!" Her bridge crew started making there reports on the ships size and obvious purpose. This ships whole design was made to capture. It had a cargo hull wich was opening its massive bay doors wich could easily fit the whole Amazon ship. The stasis feild generators once fully charged would be able to render her crew completely defenseless, and the EM cannons would shut GAIA down permanently. Both weapons would not damage but disable systems and crew to the point where they could be captured intact.

"Our only chance is to make a quick jump away, are co-ordinates set?"

"Captain! Kouneli reports that Berinike is on a EVA checking the water filtration system!"

Appolinia shook her head scilently, her eyes not leaving the monitor. Everyone on the bridge knew, the Captain would make the sacrifice... she had to.

Everything happened at once, one minute Berinike was making her way allong the ship towards the water system, when all of a sudden the Jump engines started, Berinike let go of the ship, a reflex action brought about from years of drills and lectures about what to do when on a EVA and this situation arose. Better to float in space untill the ship can make a return jump to rescue you than to have your arms ripped off trying to hold onto a jumping ship.

The ship jumped, Berinike felt a momentary snap of the saftey line, and then she saw it. The other ship was massive, it was amazing that the Amazon had hidden it from her perspective at all.  That was when Berinike knew... The Amazon wouldent be coming back... ever.

Authors note: Experiment in Science Fiction. Im a huge fan of the Genre. I love techno-babble and wanted to see if I could write some. The source image is from a 50's (?) magazine "Sixteen" where there was a futuristic article about applying makeup in space... weird! I thought the helmet was great except for the fine wire mesh on the sides.. whatever that was for it certainly wouldent hold up to any kind of abuse.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Lizanne- Bloody hungry

It was more of a case of self preservation than murderous or suicidal intent I assure you, and I do not enjoy creating suffering in other beings; especially sentient beings, but one has to survive, and so I set about on a endeavor which would harm no one, Yet still satisfy my needs and cravings... or so I thought.

I have found, with exhaustive study; that the best (IE the most digestible) proteins, carbohydrates, not to mention the wealth of vitamins and minerals, and various bodily secretions like enzymes and hormones come from a creature that is similar in structure and function to oneself.

That said, I find the acquisition of acceptable foodstuffs problematic. Societal mores as well as my government’s legal standing is quite clear on the subject of cannibalism. So I had to get creative.

Of course cloning is illegal, but culturing... they have yet to pass a law against culturing. So I set about building a culture. The incubator was not hard to build, not for a modern girl like myself who has access to all sorts of tutorials and diagrams online. The nutrient solution was a bit problematic, but I soon resolved the formulae with a few emails to various scientists who are like-minded or are working on medical applications for cultured flesh, just the right balance of vitamins and water-soluble nutrients, along with various growth hormones; easily available in any vetinary catalogue (used in the beef industry).

Less than a month from the date I began the project I had my set up complete and was ready to culture. A very minor operation was necessary to remove a small sliver of my own skin, I chose to cut near my own navel, a somewhat symbolic gesture, and though I was not using any type of anesthetic (due to the risk of complicating my culture) It was easily achieved and my skin sliver was put into the Nutrient bath and into the incubator.

Of course this was my first sample, the initial trial if successful would result in more Skin and flesh with which I could load more incubators. My supply would have to be adequate for my needs, which were many and great. I am after all a growing girl.

The process unfortunately was not viewable, as I could not breech the incubator to see my experiment lest I introduce spores, bacterium or other undesirable elements... and so I waited. One week it would take to have a minimal result required to see if I was successful with my nutrient formulae, if the temperatures were correct, if the sample had any growth at all!

I was positively vibrating with excitement when I finally broached the seal... to find inside the box... I pulsating, living, Lump of flesh overflowing the Pyrex dish. My experiment was successful! I turned the meat over, it was flesh, and though not muscle this was skin and a fatty layer. The meat was deliciously pink, with a fine lattice of blue veins pumping and a layer of pale almost transparent skin across one side, which had pores, and fine golden hairs like the fuzz on a peach. It was perfect!

My mouth watered in fact when I thought about the possibilities, Fried the skin would crisp nicely, the fatty layer would melt and imbue the meat with the most wondrous flavor, I would not need to add much for a delightful meal, some herbs, a touch of sea salt.. It would be fantastic. In fact, I could not bear to wait. The initial phase was a success, in growth at least, now I really should make sure that the flavor was up to par. To make sure that all some stray chemical flavor, or some minor flaw in the meat itself did not spoil my hard work and ingenuity. No, I would have to sample this flesh, to make sure it was fit for my own consumption.

I cooked it in a very hot pan, the smell was delicious, and there was no feeling of disgust or queasiness about it at all. I had feared that I would somehow be repulsed, some vestigial primal emotion that would overcome my scientific and gastronomic ideal. This meat however invoked only a feeling of deep longing, of desire within me.

The first forkful was truly the finest flavor I have ever experienced, nothing more natural and flavorful than eating this my creation, my perfection, the flesh of my own generation.

I soon found myself licking the plate, my eyes closed in rapture, and I was satiated. Now the real work must begin. During the week of waiting I had built five more incubators and I would need to start the second phase of my experiment. The sutures from my previous incision were still in place, and once I removed them I found it a simple matter to reopen the surgery site and to carve off six more slivers, though this time it was significantly more difficult to stretch the skin to close the now expanded opening.

The stitches were tight and I had some difficulty in moving around enough to load the incubators and to fill the solution tanks, but once finished I could relax and allow myself some time to heal. That evening I debated on going to the super market to pick up groceries for the week, but it seemed like such a difficult task and hardly worth the effort to purchase substandard meat.

The idea of beef chicken or fish at this point was somewhat repugnant. Sure it would sustain me, but it would not give me pleasure, to masticate something so lowborn, such processed and removed foodstuff. In its plastic wrap and on its Styrofoam plate, with that disgusting little piece of padding underneath to soak up the blood.

Within two days however I was beginning to feel listless and weak. The blood seeping through my bandages was an obvious drain on my resources, and I felt the great need to fortify myself with a descent meal.

And so I broached the first of the six incubators.

Surely just by opening one of them I would get the boost to my system I needed, and I had five more with which to further my project. The portion of meat this time was significantly less but it was no less mouthwatering and tasted if possible even better than the first batch. Could it be that since this was younger, it was tenderer? Maybe I thought; I should increase the amount of incubators and shorten the incubation period.

Building the extra incubators was hard work, draining and demanding on my wounded body. It took a lot out of me, not to mention the fact that my sutures were still weeping blood, and I had to stop and change my bandages regularly. I was therefore forced into opening two of the incubators, in order to fortify me against what was to come. I still had three of them, which in a matter of days would be ready to open so that I might fill the other incubators with the harvested flesh.

By the next morning however I was beginning to have stomach cramps. Surely it was hunger because I had been pushing myself so very hard lately. I broached one more incubator, knowing full well I would be able to have enough to harvest in the last two if I waited the full seven days. I was significantly worried about my pale complexion and my feeling of distance from the world around me. I was stretching myself too thin and was exhausted but elated by my labors.

The sutures were still a concern, and I was now beginning to have yellow pus oozing out of the wound. I normally woud have promptly put myself on a course of antibiotics, although I would have to see a doctor in order to receive a prescription. Showing the suture site would have been a red flag to any accredited physician, and might have caused some sticky questions that I was not ready to answer, and so I simply began a more thorough cleaning regimen and began to take Echinacea and pain killers.

I was forced to open the next to last incubator that evening as I was now in no fit condition to go to the supermarket and was down to eating ketchup and mustard and drinking scotch. I could have ordered a pizza delivered, but the idea of a greasy round of bread covered in sauce and dubious preserved meats was repugnant to me.

No matter I would be able to preserve the project with the last incubator, which I would broach tomorrow, and divide the portions into the smallest viable sections with which I could fill the remaining incubators. That night I fell asleep at my desk in front of the final incubator, which hummed softly, its pump making a musical gurgle as it circulated the nutrient solution through the system feeding my growing flesh.

The next morning I faced my first true setback however; when I opened the final incubator to find that the system had been corrupted! I did not have an autoclave with which to sterilize my system between uses and the whole container had been contaminated by some putrid essence.

This was the first incubator I had built, and it was possible that I had missed cleaning some component, or that the flesh itself was contaminated by the infection which was now raging inside of me. I was feverish this morning and so distraught about the seeming failure that I resolved to scrub each incubator with bleach and boil the glass components to insure that this did not happen again.

The idea of starting over exhausted me but there was no hope for it. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I had eaten the meat instead of it spoiling unused. Now I was left feeling a failure, weak and malnourished. I set up the tanks that I would need, but this time I would be more careful not to allow contagion into my sterile incubators. I would just have to try harder to make sure that all of the bases were covered.

The first problem was that I myself was contaminated. The suture site was infected and I would have to cut away any skin that had been corrupted. Once that was completed I had to cut new strips which given my small stature and petite build were by necessity small. Then there was the problem of healing properly, I would need my strength up in order to overcome all of the cutting I had been forced to endure.

I would have to go to the source so to speak, to eat my pure flesh without the benefit of nutrient solution or the growth hormones. This would be breaking the taboo of cannibalism, but well it was just this one time that it would be necessary. I would think of it as a control group, to see if it was any better in its unaltered state. To show myself that my own homegrown meat was just as good as the real thing.

As it was cooking I felt somewhat delirious and giddy. The idea of eating myself made me giggle. Really I should go and bandage myself (there was no way of suturing at this point as the skin removed was nearly covering the whole of my stomach at this point.) but I was just so hungry, and it really smelled wonderful. I couldn’t even wait for it to finish cooking. This time I had no plate, no napkin, no fork or knife, I am a barbarian tearing greasy bites as I slide to the kitchen floor and lay down pressing my face into the tile with a secretive smirk. I am truely....Delicious.

AUTHORS NOTE: The new concept of tissue cultured meat aka SMEAT is just a hypothesis at this point. No one has found a economical way to grow meat, though it is quite feasable. The type of meat is up to us. This was totally stream of conciousness writing and though the first paragraph does not set up the story properly I have not edited so that you can read it as I wrote it. The image was captured from another blog where it was not credited, if the artist would like to make him/herself known I will gladly beg official permission and credit them here.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Cybelle- A girl and her monitor.

 768 lines, each containing 1024 pixels. That was what her monitor size was. It was roughly 85 pixels per inch each pixel had a off and a on state, when on its color was a toxic green phospherecence. At first one watched them prone from her medibed. The monitor was tilted from above and was at least 4ft. 6 inches away. Once her skelleton was stablized and the musculature was cultured properly she was capable of a  simple range of movement, allowing her to sit upright and view the monitor in a more natural position.

   The display had a constant stream of information, there was no way of pausing or replaying the information so one had to pay attention to what was on the screen or one would miss it. The information was not catigorized or maintained in any system and so it would be up to one to file the information in their own internal database in whatever order made sense to oneself. One segment might pertain to the short lifespan of the mayfly (scientific Order Ephemeroptera) and their lifecycle, and the next would be a article about the stockmarket crash at the turn of the century.

 One couldent help but notice the chrononogical markers present in many of the articles. Such as the term century. She knew that a Century was a hundred years, like a decade was ten years, and a milenium must have been like a million years, but she diddnt know wich century they were talking about. Or wich century it was now? One read a press release about 20th Century FOX wich was a studio. She crossed refferenced this to Studio appartments (on the Upper West side) hitting a all time high of $4,000 per month. One had read that Time=Money, and this equasion seemed to corolate but she was sure that she was missing some pertinant facts that would allow her to compute the accurate century.  If 20c=$4,000 then  each c=$200. If she had any other commodities to compare centuries to she would be able to confirm the data, but that was the only date associated for studio's.

   Life was like that, she was always wondering how the data fed together,
                                                                          felt together,
                                                                                   she liked to force it together but it never really worked together to help her understand what the endless stream was really all about, and since the stream was so constant she really only had a few nanoseconds to think about where each bit and bite fit into her synaptic files before she had to think about the next. The program was only 6 hours long, and then there would be a hour long music break where the one would sustanance and sleep systems, this was the time where one would think.

Some times she reviewed, but usually she dreamed. Closing her eyes and allowed the information to connect to itself in a abstract and beautiful way. She imagined that she was a part of a family unit. That she had a father and cousin and funny uncle who loved her. One would toss the pigskin with the old man in the driveway, while her cousin sent her text messages about going to prom together wich they had to rent a limo for. Her uncle would make them all dinner, he would serve fruit salad and they would make s'mores. Everything was perfect in the dream, it was so real one could almost imagine that she would open her eyes and there they would all be. Funny uncle in his apron, Cousin in his tuxedo, and her dear old dad in his bathrobe and slippers smoking on his corncob pipe.

Of course she diddnt know what any of these things really looked like, or taisted like, felt like or even if she liked them. They were words, data, bites of information to her. That was all she really had.

AUTHORS NOTE: I know litterally nothing of this image. It is sepia so it could be of any age. It really reminds me of a maxfield parrish painting of a girl looking at the stars. I figured that I would go only with what the painting depicted, that this was her entire world what fit into the images frame. So she knows nothing but the monitor, the table and the tubes that I assume feed her and take away her bodys waste. The story wrote itself like a poem, several moments I allowed myself to slip into alliteration and rhyme. I also attempted (only moderately sucessfully I'll admit) to show the confusion between reading the words of something you have never experienced. As I get older Im realizing more and more how very little I understood of the books I read as a child. Concepts that im only now starting to understand after having experienced some emotions and events first hand. Im only 35 though I feel old before my time, what understandings will I have when I am 50 or 80 that will make my current understanding seem naieve?