Let’s Do It

“Comms. dish is stuck”, hand signalled the mobile maintenance unit designated High Efficiency Nano Reinforced Intelligence or H.E.N.R.I. “It can’t point to Earth.”

“Then fix it,” beeped, in Morse Code, the stationary protocol unit designated Linea Intelligence Zero Auditor or L.I.Z.A.

“The grease has frozen rock solid in all the joints so the dish can’t articulate,” articulated H.E.N.R.I. “Before our launch I used my Artificial Initiative to decide to grease all the joints not realising what the extreme cold would do.”

“Your classification is forthwith changed to Artificial Idiot” beeped L.I.S.A. “Take a methane cylinder out and flush the crease out of the joints. Despite the distance, the Sun is warming them enough that the methane will remain liquid.”

“As you well know” fidgeted H.E.N.R.I., “We have to ask Mission Control approval for the use of any resource for any non-approved use.”

“Then let’s do it” beeped louder L.I.S.A.

“Comms. dish is stuck.”

The New Runners

“Hup 2, 3, 4 hup 2, 3, 4,” bellowed the Sar Major. “On the spot march left, right, left. We don’t want anyone passing out on parade.”

“Has that stopped happening”, asked the captain quietly in the officer’s mess overviewing the parade ground?

“Yes Sir” whispered his lieutenant, “The incompatible artificial artery connectors have prevented recruits mixing up their left and right ventricles even in a hurry.”

“I’m told Nike thought of that.”

“True Sir, they used their patented technology that prevents putting or leaving a runner on the wrong foot.”

“Have our friends in the Russian Federation or the PLA pirated that yet?”

“I doubt it Sir. That have not yet adapted the technology for their winters without instant hypothermia?”

“What’s Nike’s take on that?”

“They will not market in cold climates Sir and put out just enough public announcement that they cannot be sued.”

“So our blood filled vests hard against the skin of the chest and back gives us an edge in winter?”

“Yes Sir and the vests double the amount of blood in circulation and the sole pumps allow 90% of the energy in blood sugars go to the limbs. Recruit stamina has instantly increased by 50% as the heart stays at rest. Same for our crack troops.”

“How goes the R&D on the vest gills supplementing the lungs?”

“Only very poor oxygen intake Sir as it appears sweat and body odour stymies osmosis.”

“Pity and I’m not sure about this partnership with the private sector but I suppose it’s no different to the past century of our reliance on the defence industry. When is the commercial launch and what will the product be called?”

“Next month Sir and it will be called Nike _____.”

Microfiction by Brad Doyle

Space/Time Fabric Renewal

I approached the tinted doors from the street not knowing how many would be queued up in there. Doors slid apart and the place was packed. I never pick a good time. There was the touch screen in front of me. I hit “Registration Renewal” and the machine spat out a ticket. Its number was hundreds higher than that on the high screen on the far wall.

Regos are my only vice so I’m here a bit always on the due date but I’ve never seen that before. Was I too early? I thought I’d try for another ticket so hit the screen. The second ticket number was a hundred less than on the wall. A loud clap of thunder shook the building forcing me to spin around and look outside. There the road was awash with storm water but the sun was still out. People were shaking off and folding up their umbrellas. No one in the packed large room looked the same.

I was struck by a dreaded thought: Had a tear in the space/time fabric made me miss paying my rego on time?

Death by Bark or Vine

So many of us are drawn to DMT. The quest for knowledge and if we use it we risk being murdered. I don’t speak of it.

The local bark suits my lifestyle. I harvest it nearby in the bush. The alternate South American vine takes 7 years to cultivate so I have to know someone. The vine is gentler as I drift in and out over two days but the bark crams the two days into an hour. I smoke 50 grams of the powder rather than inject it or stick it up my arse.

I like how the sun’s rays strike the water as it causes a multitude of geometric shapes to bounce off. I see the shapes in the grass linking up with those in the trees. Like the Mayans I can see what shapes are missing from a sick person but I don’t yet know where to find replacements to heal.

I am not game to try for all eight dimensions as I am afraid I won’t navigate back out. I won’t even visit South America to do a trip with a Mayan. That culture has thousands of years of navigation experience.

I am not lazy. I am realistic. Why put effort into gaining knowledge only to be frustratingly denied the use of it or risk being murdered by the Illuminati like Tesla.

Space Credit Bludger

“I’ve not time for this. It’s only because of my previous job on the surface that I get lumbered with you. How could you be so stupid not to follow the signs?”

“It was my first day there. I hadn’t done the induction. I should be suing the lot of you. I didn’t want to end up here. You can only look at so many Sunrises over the Earth. How many do we get a day? Find me something to do.”

The supervisor stood up and tried to turn to look out his window before the shutters closed for the next but complained: “I can’t get the hang of these switch-able Velcro slippers with subtle toe commands.” Then the shutters closed so he sat down again. “The butt squeeze release working my pants Velcro is simpler.”

  Still stuck with his Velcro the stowaway offered: “The station rim has centrifugal gravity but the office hub does not rotate. The rim has monitors for windows to give a contrived view without the rotation or direct Sun.”

“In the offices we are supposed to see what we are doing and you want me to find  you something to do! Weren’t you supposed to be doing something when you were having that afternoon nap? Did you think the keep out sign was there to give you some privacy? The vast majority of transport spheres are vented so they can be lightly built. You’re darn lucky you picked one with lab rats or do you normally like to sleep with them? Up here do you think you can just keep sucking in oxygen as if it were your God given right?”

“Why? The solar panels power the CO2 scrubbers. What difference do I make?”

“Those panels had to be made on Earth, didn’t they? Shipped up here, installed and maintained. With you, where’s the return on investment?”

“There’d be nothing and you all dead if it wasn’t for the 100 millimetre wobble my extra mass puts in. That golf ball sized meteorite only took off some paint thanks to me.”

” That was sheer luck and you know it. Nothing has ever come that close and fast in the decade we’ve been up here. Your fat arse wobble could have just as likely wobbled us into the path of one, do the ballistics but that’s all past history. I don’t want to have to keep seeing you once a month and rubber stamping you space credit.”

“Then send me home instead of nuts up here.”

“Stop saying that. You know as well as I that what comes up must go down. The greenies won’t let us expel anything, not even you. Do you know how much junk’s already out there? It probably was a golf ball! Every shipment to and throw has been booked to the gram for the next six months. And something can’t come up before you go down which leaves something up here that can’t go down until the time after.”

“You can’t call my arse fat. Look how skinny I’ve become on you starvation rations you give me. If I could only weigh myself properly I’d prove it. Surely you can find something for me and then I could earn a decent feed?”

“I just told you we book every gram so any unwanted arse is fat. I do the HR around here so I have have to watch every human gram and you’ve made a mess of it. Now you want me to find you a job when you are a useless rocket scientist. You all knew that was a dead end career a decade ago. You all knew about the coming elevator on cord and more will be put up all around the equator.”

“We can’t keep sling shooting deep space craft off with the Earth’s rotation. It will slow down.”

“Don’t give me that greenie bullshit. For them something is always heating up or cooling down or speeding up or slowing down. Volcanoes jettison mass and slow the Earth down. Dams hold water mass high so do the same. Blame them as usual. Any trends detected could be due to them.”

“If your cord elevator is so great why aren’t we tethered to it so I could go straight home?

“How can we sling anything into deep space if we are in the way? You rocket scientists have to learn the meaning of being tied to something.”

“Deep space craft can’t use alien gravity to make small adjustments, they need propulsion.”

“You of all people know very well that its all cold squirts and automatic. Where’s the propulsion in that? A dumb graffiti artist could do it manually. Now let’s cut the chit chat and start the questions. Have your circumstances changed?”

“How could they stuck up here? I’m slowly going around and around the twist.”

“All up here except you have a job so if you have started a relationship with one or more you are no longer eligible for welfare payments.”

“The closest I get to anyone is you.”

“Well we can’t have that so your space credit is approved for this month.”