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Entries in Science Fiction (5)

Saturday
Jun102017

Lure

Paul slammed the newspaper on Cedric's desk and said, "How the hell did the newspapers get this before me?"

You’d have covered it up. Someone had to make sure people knew," Cedric answered.

"I would have studied it! We can't just announce something this important when we don't know anything about it except that it's a fish," Paul said.

"A fish found in ice from Europa," Cedric said.

"The President gave a speech today announcing a manned mission. A hundred billion dollar trip. Billions we should spent on schools, hospitals and public infrastructure!" Paul said, his eyes bulged, and the vein in her forehead throbbed.

"We're at the heart of the greatest discovery in human history," Cedric said and ran his finger over the newsprint photo of the perfectly formed fish which looked more alien in print than it had in the laboratory.

Paul stood up, the red disappearing from his face and he said "We’ll be celebrities."

Cedric glanced at the black and white picture and said, "You're right," then he paused for a minute and said, "But you know I don’t like being in public. I'd rather you take the credit, like the other times. I'll stay here and study the fish. Someone has to get a skin sample."

Paul looked at the picture for a few seconds then said, "I thought you were angry about that, but if it’s what you want."

 

***

 

The news anchor droned on about half a dozen subjects but, like everyone else on the planet, Cedric was only interested in the shuttle in orbit of Europa. It held twelve men and women ready to complete the greatest scientific mission ever created by mankind.

The mission had done a lot of good in Cedric’s opinion. Countries were working together like never before and the research for the trip had improved recycling and manufacturing techniques. But all of that was secondary to the real mission. They were here to explore an ecosystem that was advanced enough to have fish and as the massive ship began to descend towards Europa Cedric began to wonder if he had went to far.

That was because Cedric knew they wouldn't find any fish. There were no fish. In fact there had been no signs of life at all.

When they discover that there would be a witch hunt. And since it was Paul who had taken the credit for Cedric's work it was Paul who would be blamed and no one would ever question Cedric who had never been allowed to have his name on anything connected with the small rubber fish that was currently in the Smithsonian.

 

Saturday
Jun032017

The Park

From time to time I visit a small park south of my hometown. It’s a fairly average park with a baseball field, a small river, picnic benches and a few miles of paths that meander through the woods. It is those paths that brought me to the park. I like to bring a small lunch and a book and wander from bench to bench. It's a way for someone who spends too much time at a computer to get outside and exercise without being to bored. Not that the park doesn’t bore me. That’s what the book is for. It’s also why I noticed something odd. Not that I really thought much about it at first. It was simply a story I told myself to keep my mind busy, but over time the other explanations began to disappear.

Click to read more ...

Friday
May262017

An Eternity

 

Fear threatened to overwhelm Sean the helmet was attached to his head. The psychiatrist tried not to admit that fear even to himself but how could he not be afraid. Two men had been driven insane by the device he was wearing but it was his job to heal them and the only way he could start doing that was to understand what had caused the insanity.

 

He had already sat in the chair for almost two hours as they monitored his brain waves and adjusted the machinery to it. He had done his best to put the others at ease as he waited. He told jokes to the scientists as they attached monitors to watch his heartbeat and told the nurse about his cat. He only dropped when they pull the straps tight over his arms so he couldn't injure them when he began thrashing.

 

"The machine will turn off automatically after thirty seconds."

 

"And if I take my thumb off the button it will turn off immediately," Sean said.

 

"Correct. Start whenever you want."

 

Sean took three deep breaths. He didn't understand the machine well. He thought not knowing might help protect him. What he did know was that it was designed to let him see the paranormal world. A spirit world which had driven two trained paranormal investigators insane.

 

After a few seconds he pushed the button and waited, uncertain what to expect. The room became fuzzy then cleared. The room was no more than twenty foot square and held hundreds of people. They moved slowly passing through each other and never showing any sign that they saw any of the others.

 

As the machinery continued to power up the walls faded away and the landscape came into view. It was a flat, white plain filled with millions of people none of them interacting with any of the others. How had this caused men to suddenly become violent? They had recognized something he hadn't? He tried not to think about it too much. Better to think about it when it was less real.

 

But as he watched the faces. No one looked up, no one spoke and no one smiled and Sean began to understand.

 

These people were here because there was no place else to go. This was all there was. To wander isolated and alone in a world without even landscapes to entertain and to do it for eternity. If there was a God he didn't care and the truth began to eat at Sean's mind and as he let go of the button he began to pull at his restraints.

 

"You have to let me out." Sean said as he struggled against the bands of cloth which held him down. The image of those people wouldn't leave his mind, an eternity with no hope, no joy, with nothing.

 

The thought continued to push inside his skull while he continued to pull against the straps unable to face knowledge that no matter how long he lived, no matter what he did he would end up in that endless nothingness.

 

Saturday
Apr162011

Free Short Story: Karma Bot by Elton Gahr

I find the idea of the singularity generally interesting, and while these stories can be huge and epic ideas this is not one of those. I simply had a quick idea of what might happenen if someone transfered their mind into a robot at a more personal level.

Karma Bot

By

Elton Gahr

 

“I am sorry, Madam, but your husband is dead,” the lawyer said. He did not seem all that upset by the statement.  The smirk on his face even suggested he was enjoying it and the woman want to slap him.

The woman looked across the table at the seven foot tall robot and said, “That is my husband.”

“Not legally. Legally that is a robot which was owned by your husband and programmed through a procedure which allowed it to keep intact the memory and personality of your husband, but it is not your husband.  Your husband is dead.”

“And his will?” the woman asked, though she knew already.

“Leaves everything in a trust, to be managed by the robot,” the lawyer said.

“But if it’s not my husband isn’t it just a computer?” the woman said.

“The courts have already been contacted. It has proven an ability to take care of itself and so has been conditionally emancipated. I’m sorry madam, but you’re going to have to vacate the property. You are trespassing,” The Lawyer said.

The woman looked around the mansion which had once been her world and at the machine which had once been her husband and then turned and walked out with nothing but the shirt on her back.

The robot turned to the lawyer and said, “So, that’s it. I’m free. I can do anything I want.”

“More or less, as you know there are some limitations to the hardware. Touch, taste and smell are not installed yet, so don’t try eating anything. Of course you are also currently neuter due to those same limitations. Also the memory storage and CPU would need to be upgraded for your full capacity to be restored,” The Lawyer said.

“But that’s coming quickly,” the robot said.

“That’s the other small issue. The transfer cost a bit more than you planned. Which means, you have more debt than property. Also, the emancipation was conditional on money which allowed you to support yourself. Without that money you become nothing more than a machine. Which leaves the matter of my fee. According to the law, I am able to take position of property in return for my fee. I believe the house robot is of the correct value, so I will take position of that.”

 

 

Friday
Apr012011

Short Story: Goal!

I have been a bit behind on other posts so I decided to put up a piece of flash fiction I wrote a while back. I think this is an OK story, but not one I want to put more effort into perfecting.  If you like both science fiction and European Football then this story is for you. (I am not a Football expert, but get to the end before you criticize too much some of the oddness is intentional)

 

 

Goal!

By

Elton Gahr

 

The camera swooped over the soccer field focusing in on the keeper as it hovered fifteen feet over the perfectly manicured grass moving in perfect coordination with the other cameras, moving just enough to avoid them.

 

Zack flipped the ball sideways to his teammate, and slipped past the defender as it turned to follow the ball. His teammate could have shot and he knew the odds were higher of scoring that way, but Zack had insisted the ball be returned if this situation occurred, and the ball was passed back as unerringly as Zack had expected. It was precisely the same height as every time he had practiced this shot. Zack let his training take over rather than thinking it through turning and kicking the ball going to the ground as the ball hit the upper left corner of the net.

 

The crowd sat in silent shock as Zack jumped to his feet and began to bounce up and down in excitement, and as he bounced up and down the slow realization of what they had just seen rippled through the crowd which was beginning to erupt in excitement everyone cheering regardless of the team they had been cheering for before. Zack had done the impossible.

 

As the deafening noise from the crowd grew both teams returned silently and emotionlessly to their positions and the ball rose, hovered for a moment and then returned to the center of the field.

 

Zack fell behind his team as the exhaustion overwhelmed him. He had pushed himself to the limit, and the only thing that helped him reach the center of that field was the warm hand of Paul that patted him on his back. The man held the same position on the opposing team as Zack did on his, though he remained in the defensive position that most people played. At the same time that he patted him on the back the croud, which had began to quiet erupted in cheers again.

 

The score didn’t change immediately. Zack understood why. Hundreds of computers were now examining every camera angle of Zack’s attack looking for the rule he had broke in order to score. This was not because the computers cared , but only because they had been told what he had just done was impossible.

 

Play continued two full minutes before the point appeared on the scoreboard. Zack stopped in mid-play and pointed at the scoreboard. The game itself was meaningless. The changes over the last century had eliminated the meaning until there was only one thing of importance left in this sport. .

 

Zack had broken the unspoken rule. He wasn’t on the team to score goals and wasn’t supposed to. He was the necessary weak link. It was human error was what made the continuation of the games possible, because without them on robotic team was never better than the other.

 

The remainder of the game was uneventfully and Zack’s team lost 2-1. They had lost every game since he had become the team’s token human. No one cared. He had conquered the machines and beat the robots. For one second he had been better than the computer’s team, and that brief moment changed everything.