XyberTimes

Curious Bits From a Curious World

By

prologue?

I regret to inform you that this will not be a tale ending happily, peacefully
or with any sort of merriment. You have decided to remain ignorant for far too
long and now we must attempt to scrape back the layers upon layers of excrement
and detritus which you have taken to believing as the truth of your origins. The
depths of your ignorance is so painfully offensive that we have no choice but to
spoon feed you your history one bitter morsel at a time. Bit by bit, bite by
bite you shall be suckled until you are full and beg us to stop because you fear
you’ll burst and we will continue to slowly, oh so slowly, fill you with the
knowledge you have tried so very hard to remove from your collective histories.

By

somewhere in the middle?

“Sir, the United States ambassador is here.”

She looked up from her terminal, her good eye boring through the messenger. “Is that so,” she replied in her usual bored manner, “and what, pray tell, would the United States ambassador want?”

The messenger, a young lieutenant stepped to the side to reveal a haggard looking woman appearing to be in her late forties or possible early fifties. Her hair was cut short and her dark eyes were sharp behind the small round glasses she wore. “Sir, with your leave, I think I’ll let the ambassador speak for herself.”

Her dark eyes took in the large room and its occupants in one graceful sweep, “ I am Melissa Thorne, and I have been sent to inquire regarding terms.”

“Well Melissa Thorne, exactly what terms are you referring to,” came the reply with a toothy one-eyed wolf grin.

“I’m not here to play games,” Ambassador Thorne retorted sharply.” I’ve been sent to offer you our surrender.”

“Then it seems you have wasted a trip ambassador.”

“Why do you say that? A call for peace can never be a waste of time.”

“Your nations hypocrisy truly is astounding, Ambassador Thorne. Or is it that you simply have a terribly short memory? Well, let me refresh it. This war need never have started. We begged and pleaded with you to find some peaceful solution, but you thought that because ours was a new and small nation you could dictate to us. You thought that we would be awed and overwhelmed into submitting to your demands. Before any blood was spilled we told you how this would end. Leave here Ambassador Thorne and tell your nation, surrender is denied. Tell them that those who wish for war so very badly have no say as to its conclusion. If they ask you when this war will end, you tell them that once we’re done killing your soldiers we’re going to keep on killing until there is nothing left but some arbitrary lines on a map full of orphans living in the burned out carcasses of what used to be cities. Now, run along Ambassador, the death of a nation doesn’t happen by itself and as you can imagine it is terribly time-consuming.”

Ambassador Melissa Thorne was left standing wide-eyed, mouth agape and thoroughly forgotten. She felt like a child sent to her room without supper after a stern scolding. Deep down, buried deep beneath the horror of what she’d just been told she couldn’t quite shake the feeling that maybe, just maybe they deserved whatever was about to come next.

By

Musings at the Edge

“ Do you ever think that maybe, just maybe, we might be the bad guys?”

“Of course not.”

“But, how can you be so sure?”

“Well that’s simple enough, we can’t be the bad guys.”

“Huh? Why not, I mean if you have good guys then you have bad guys.”

“True enough, but you’re forgetting a very important point.”

“Really…well then do tell.”

“We are we, and they are they.”

“Okay you lost me.”

“Sigh…you know you really are a bit dense some times. Weren’t you some kind of super genius before the shit hit the fan?”

“I worked in astrophysics so excuse me for not being able to decipher your cryptic murmurings out here at the edge of beyond, and around the corner from the devils own ass crack. So are you going to explain what you mean or can I shoot you and save our mysterious alien enemies the trouble.”

“Such a violent individual you are.”

“Supposedly that’s a good thing when you get drafted to fight unknown bad guys light years from home.”

“Touché. Anyway what I meant is that we can’t be the bad guys, because the bad guys are always the other guys. “

“What?”

“Think about it, the universe is made up of we and them. We equals good, them equals bad. To us bank robbers and serial killers are bad guys, to bank robbers and serial killers cops are the bad guys. If you start thinking of yourself as the bad guy you wind up with a seriously fucked sense of self. “

“So you’re saying that by virtue of being us we are automatically the good guys?”

“Yep.”

“But then doesn’t that mean that to our enemies we are the bad guys?”

“Double yep.”

“In that case, doesn’t that mean we’re both bad guys?”

“I told you, if you start seeing yourself as the bad guy you’re going to totally screw your self-image. I prefer to think of us all as being good guys. On my happier days there’s even a princess to rescue.”

“You know, sometimes I think I wish an alien would get you.”

“No you don’t.”

“Is that so?”

“Yep. You like having me around. Think about it, as long as I’m around you have a fifty-fifty chance of getting killed in an attack. If I wasn’t around your odds of getting alien KO’ed go way the hell up. Besides, as long as you have me to talk to you have a reason to get up every morning. What would you do with yourself if you didn’t have my witty banter to keep you going? Speaking of morning, I’m going to sleep, wake me when it’s my watch.”

“You’re just going to sleep, just like that?”

“Bingo. The way I see it Kirk couldn’t have gotten all the hot alien babes and I plan on meeting a few in my dreams. Maybe a blue one, with three tits…and a tail.”

“Are you fucking serious?”

“If I’m lucky, and if you play your cards right I’ll let you play with the middle tit. I’ve only got two hands after all.”

By

ghosts

A low hum becomes a solid thrumming whir. Somewhere far away impossibly large, complex machines of a long since forgotten time awaken from a slumber that should have lasted for eternity and beyond. Countless lights flicker to life along hundreds of corridors which haven’t heard the busy rhythmic patter of footfalls for unknown millennia. Ancient stale and stagnant air is cycled from the empty living areas of a thousand thousand long departed beings. Life slowly, methodically, deliberately reinstated where only fleeting memories and the layered dust of ages should reside.

Along a line of large metal sarcophagi a solitary machine moves on six spindly legs. Arachnid with a vaguely humanoid form rising from it, a malformed centaur, inspecting each in turn ensuring the status and safety of their precious contents. Seven total. Only five need attention, the remaining two lay silent and empty having already fulfilled their purpose and discharged their materials. Out of seven, five remain, only five more chances to forestall the loss of all. The first was a seed a beginning and rebirth the second was a surgical instrument, a subtle attempt, a gentle course correction. It had worked for a time, slow steady progress, but progress turned to stagnation and stagnation led to corruption. The corruption, the decay then led to the unthinkable. The occurrence that should never be began to happen…regression. Things had become dire, drastic measures were now necessary. Where a scalpel was once sufficient a sledgehammer is now needed.

Only a low hum could be heard from the gleaming sarcophagi as the machine moved nimbly among them. It was searching, scanning each box for the proper tool. It lingered at one set apart from the other six. It was different. Where six of the sarcophagi sat on the floor equidistant from each other with their long ends parallel to the wall, one box stood against the opposite wall almost as if watching over the others. Six boxes with the look of quicksilver. One the dark crimson of flowing blood. Four fragile arms take hold of the anomaly, it had the waxen feel of the recently deceased. If the machine had feelings it would have felt dread and trepidation at the sight of that peculiar container, but it had no emotions only it’s duty and the sledgehammer it needed most probably lay within.

Like any other tool, this one had to be properly stored until time called for its use. Like a skilled craftsman that spindly, malformed centaur inspected his dread package slowly with four ocular lenses, methodically checking connections and seals carefully vigilant for damage and outward signs of anything amiss. Slowly, slowly, bit by bit, square millimeter by square millimeter the crimson box was inspected. Finally satisfied, the bizarre caretaker takes hold of its large charge and with the casual strength of a mastodon placed that dire package upon its back. Its business there concluded, six legs quickly carry it and the burden from a cavernous vault that will most likely never again see visitors. If the current tool is successful there will be no need t ever again disturb the ghosts of the past and if the hammer fails there will be nothing left.

By

Waking Dreams

Close your eyes, think of heaven, and know that you’re dreaming.
Close your eyes, think of hell, and know that you’re there.