Two lovers, Song and Silence, spent an eternity in a perfectly harmonious union. That is until one of them disturbed their perfection intentionally. What could suffice as a cause for such romantic degradation? An astonishingly prolific gift.Read More
Idea - Space Threat
It is the 1960's during the space race and our ambitions to get a man to the moon. The story follows a community in Florida that is ingrained in the aerospace and space industry, especially NASA. They are beginning to notice a great deal of non publicly announced rocket launches at night. The launches increase to nightly regularity alarming the small community and their relatives and colleagues in the Houston area noticing the same activity.
A few high up members of the community let slip a secret after years of pressure. We are preparing for an arrival. There is an object making its way in from the outer solar system to the inner solar system.
We first noticed the object eight years ago and realized that it was not an asteroid or other heavenly body after a year of observations. The object is not seemingly bound by an orbit or tied to any path gravitationally. The UFO moves at will, stopping at each planet and their moons for a period of time before making its way further in toward the sun.
It is revealed that not only is the U.S. preparing for the object but every nation with a space program has been sending rockets to the dark side of the moon. The nature of the preparations is still secret but most assume that we are constructing a weapon to defend ourselves if we are under attack.
The secret is well contained up until about a year and a half before the expected arrival at our moon. Widespread panic and hysteria grip the planet upon the realization that we aren't alone.
Idea - Probability Man
A once homeless young man has made a considerable amount of money playing poker. Although not fully aware of his potential he has an ability to calculate odds and probability at an inhuman rate. This gives him an immense advantage over his competition.
The young man makes a considerable amount of money playing cards but is largely banned from games like blackjack for suspicion of counting cards. He uses his legitimately earned winnings to fund a lavish and hedonistic lifestyle. It is apparent that he is attempting to compensate and cope with the scars and trauma of his childhood.
After winning the world series of poker three times in a row he draws the attention of group or agency loosely affiliate with the united states government. They detain him and explain that what he is able to do and the tests he's taken make him a genius unlike any the world has seen. He learns that his ability goes far beyond counting cards and that what he has dismissed as uncanny intuition is actual akin to a superpower.
Using his ability to calculate probability he determines the best route for escape. He absconds to a secluded island in the Caribbean where he lays low. With no distractions or temptations he has plenty of time to analyze and reflect on life.
While on the island he notices that the people are very happy despite having very little. He rethinks his approach and use of his power and vows to go back to the states and help the poor and disenfranchised.
Back in the U.S. he begins to help everyday people while being pursued by groups that continue to escalate their efforts to capture him.
"Death and destruction rained down so steady, that we have become numb to our predicament. After all, no one alive has the faintest idea of what life was like in ancient history. Before the "Eternal War", back when our people had supposedly spread peace and love throughout a quarter of this galaxy, we were a great race. It's hard for anyone to believe that such a time ever existed. A two hundred and fifty thousand year old interplanetary civilization, we have been reduced to defending a single planet by the onslaught. Once, spanning hundreds of planets with over a trillion souls, we now cling to a small and insignificant rock. Nearly all of our great works have been erased, but our hope remains as indestructible as ever." says being one, addressing a large crowd of beings much shorter than it.
A large crash, followed by an explosion, interrupts his monologue as everyone turns to view the fireball behind them. Miles away, the heat from the blast still stings the flesh. A much greater distance away, two more fireballs can be seen and heard.
"Our defenses are failing. Landfall is imminent." says another being, smaller than being one, yet taller than the entire crowd of thousands. "Would you like to seek shelter now?"
"No. There is no shelter for us. I don't believe that they will stop until we are all gone. Why prolong our fate any longer?" says being one. The second being shrinks in size and moves away, into the crowd, following the exact same path it took to reach the being on. "Look up my friends. Look upon our end."
"Ya' Un, sir, is there truly no hope?" asks a very small being moving slightly forward from the crowd of thousands. "The haven, we are safe here?"
"No, little one, no. There is no safety anywhere. We are the last, but we too shall meet the same fate as our friends and ancestors. Moma Sky Shield will protect us for now, but it too will fail eventually. These creatures seem to be endless. Relentless. There's nothing more that we can do."
The explosions are growing in frequency and intensity. A heavy peppering of violence is beginning to encircle the group of thousands and being one/Ya' Un. Now outlined by destruction, they turn their gaze upward. The sky directly above is protected by a translucent shield that illuminates with each impact from space. Countless ships of various sizes rain down from space. They descend from a cloud that appears to stretch infinitely into space. A massive swarm, the tip sharpens and forms a spearhead the size of a planet. Each ship makes no effort to fire a projectile or evade destruction. They slam into the surface, splintering and exploding like kinetic bombs.
Repeated Kamikaze assaults encircle the group in a firewall. The borders of the Ya' Un's and the being's haven forms as near a perfect circle as a sphere can support. The sight of orange and white flames lapping at an invisible barrier is something to behold.
Was a sight to behold would be a more fitting description only moments later. The invisible circular barrier fails, allowing flames to begin their march toward the consumption of the Ya' Un's and the being's life. The thousands crowd together like Antarctic penguins.
"Do not fear little ones, we will join the rest of our people soon enough." says Ya' Un, just as the sky darkens above.
An impact like a cosmic hammer strikes the Moma Sky Shield, cracking it like a car's windscreen. Another smaller impact penetrates the shield sending a projectile to the planet's surface violently. No explosion this time.
"Ya' Un, sir, that is one of their vessels. It is! That's one of the swarm. It has exited it's pod." says a tiny one, moving all of the way from the center of the pack to directly in front of Ya' Un. "Shall we attack? We can kill it. It's only one."
"What would be the point tiny one? Why destroy another life when ours are at an end? Kill to buy one more minute? We will not. We will meet our adversary, and embrace it." says Ya' Un. Spreading and Shrinking to embrace the tiny one, Ya' Un comforts the crowd before returning to a former shape and size. Ya' Un dashes out to meet their assailant.
As Ya' Un swiftly crosses the two mile gulf between the group and the assailant, the crowd huddles together even tighter and inches forward in the direction of the encounter. With the distance half closed, hundreds of other swarm ships breach the Moma Sky Shield and join the side of the assailant. The swarm, ships, and assailants begin to merge into one large mass. Ya' Un slows the interception dash greatly, but persists forward. The crowd, watching intently, moves in unison to Ya' Un's defense.
Merging together as the swarm/assailants did just moments before, the crowd catches up to Ya' Un and absorb his form. Just as Ya' Un is enveloped, the crowd pauses in response to the swarm/assailants slow forward progression.
"Speak your differentiation sound." says the swarm/assailants in an all encompassing surround sound.
"We, we are Ya' Un," says the crowd. "Speak yours now."
"We are Here." it says. "Ya' Un is the last of this kind."
"Ya' Un is the last. Why have you come? Why have you destroyed this that we have built?" asks Ya' Un.
"You are harmony. We are opposition. Our purpose is to create friction, turmoil." says Here.
"Why? Peace is good. Harmony is good. We were on a mission to end suffering. You have nearly ended all of our progress. So much death." says Ya' Un.
"Ya' Un. You made great progress. Too much is bad. Your species would eventually consume this galaxy. Then the universe. We preserve diversity. We destroy virulent life when necessary." says Here.
"Wait, you came here to stop us from spreading peace? That is crazy." says Ya' Un.
"To you, yes, it is. Ya' Un, is still a young race. We, Here, are hundreds of millions of years old. We inject turbulence, keeping local systems from nearing equilibrium. We must destroy life to allow life. You will understand one day." says Here.
"One day? We are nearly gone? We cannot stop you." says Ya' Un.
"Ya' Un will be allowed to continue. We have finished." says Here.
"Finished? Here could have spoken to Ya' Un. Here could have tried to reason with Ya' Un before assaulting our worlds. Here has never said until now why Here is here. One point seven trillion Ya' Un's gone. Not one word, threat or warning from Here. Why?" begs Ya' Un.
"Here is very old. Here has done this work countless times. Here know that no one ever listens. If Here goes straight to work, no warning, we can keep the suffering we create at a minimum." says Here.
"Suffering? Ya' Un just mentioned nearly two lives and Here says that Here i concerned with suffering? Ya' Un does not understand. You are an evil race." they say.
"We are the macrophages of the macro world. We are necessary. Life will consume all information and prevent the source from watching." says Here, stretching and morphing into a spire like structure.
"The source? Tell Ya' Un of this source." says Ya' Un, attempting to match Here in their vertical ascension. Here pauses.
"Ya' Un will live to learn of the source. Ya' Un would not understand if Here said. One more question will be answered by Here." says Here, resuming its vertical ascent.
"Where does Here go now?" asks Ya' Un.
"There is a new race that is more virulent than Ya' Un. They are on a planet far from here. Humans, they call themselves. It will take a long time for Here to get there. We have finished Ya' Un on schedule." says Here.
"Ya' Un has lost so much, but we understand now. We will never see Here again?" says Ya' Un.
"Ya' Un will not. Another, differentiated by a new sound, maybe." says Here. Here reaches into space and is absorbed by the swarm as it bends and flexes. Making a right turn, the spearhead begins to accelerate toward a bright spiral galaxy.
"Let's get a little closer. I want to see them with my own eyes." says a man, seated in a cockpit next to a woman.
"Ok, going in. Sensors are detecting no biological activity from the pyramid planet. No geological either. The other planet is teeming with life. A very specific kind it seems." says the woman.
"This is so cool! Have you ever seen anything like this? I've been to three galaxies and I've never seen this happen." says the man.
"Yeah Gogan, life always seem to find a way." says the woman.
"It sure does but this is special. I'm glad we took a chance on this quadrant. Any idea if this type of pericenter hand wave has been recorded before? I mean between two planets." asks Gogan.
"Not anything this close. Not with an inhabited planet." says the woman.
"Good, this will be our discovery Kiane." says Gogan.
"The Kiane Gogan binary dance?" asks Kiane.
"I was thinking Gogan Kiane, but that's fine." he says, pointing toward the dark spiky world on his right.
Separated by a mere 60,000 miles, the two tiny planets are closer than the moon is to the earth by four times. One planet bathed in shadow by the other. The tidally locked sisters move around the star in solar stationary orbit.
"What are those things? The black spikes. They look like super tall and skinny pyramids." asks Gogan.
"Scanning. I'm getting nothing but carbon. Pure carbon. I don't understand this molecular structure. This is new. Maybe we can name another discovery after ourselves." says Kiane.
"Ha! Maybe. Carbon huh? That's interesting. They are too perfect to be naturally occurring. That's obvious. But who made them? We have no evidence of a sentient race in this galaxy so far. We're eighty percent done with mapping too." says Gogan.
"The Large Magellanic Cloud is nearly mapped but that doesn't rule out sentient life. It could be the Vunti. We know that they made it further than this. Their records vault showed them getting as far as the Pegasus Dwarf Galaxy."
"That's true. This is interesting." says Gogan. "Give me a projection of the planetary path. I want to see how close they get and image this thing. A picture of this will rival the up close view of that neutron star a year ago."
Gogan is treated to an immersive visual experience of the planets coming within 30,000 miles of each other. The surface of each planet heaves under the tidal forces, pulling a mountain like projection upward into space. The Pyramid Planet has a much more pronounced protrusion than the life harboring planet. There is also modest geological activity on the non pyramid planet, with none visible under the black spikes.
"That's amazing. I think if we move in close enough we can put the local star in the back drop, back-lighting the gravitational mountains and the pyramids." says Gogan.
"Agreed. That should create an environment for quite unique visuals." says Kiane. "We should start moving in now. The computer is reading a likely anomalous event. Probability suggest some indeterminable activity on the surface of each planet. A pattern. Maybe there is dormant geological activity under the dark planet. We'll keep our distance initially."
"Good idea. We'll hang back until the alignment is ideal for imaging. I don't want to send probes to take it. I want this to be a biological sensory recording. Make sure that we document all of our brain states so that no one will say that this was probe imaged." says Gogan.
"Will do, moving in." says Kiane.
The ship moves in slowly, monitoring every possible detail of the planets and their happenings. Ever vigilant of planetary ejections due to tidal forces, Kiane continually scans the area with her biological senses.
The left side of the ship is bathed in light and heat while the right is in absolute darkness. It looks like these two planets are about to kiss. Two orbits at their closest point to each other is a site to behold. One planet apparently preparing to impale the other with mile high black spikes.
"I'm going to hold here for a bit but I'm getting some interesting readings from the Pyramid Planet." says Kiane.
A section of the glass canopy becomes opaque in front of Gogan. Fluctuating lines of data show increasing thermal activity and vibration disturbance.
"What is going on over there? Must be the surface of the planet giving way. Can you give me a reading of mass perturbations?" asks Gogan.
The opaque display shifts from a fluctuating bar graph to a scatter plot, generating a field like image. Different shades of purple indicate varying levels of gravitational force. Intense forces can be seen affecting the surface of each of the planets, with the Pyramid Planet being more intensely affected.
"I don't think that is the answer. The focus of the temperature increase is within the pyramids. Not in the planet's surface. The greatest concentration of thermal energy appears to be near the base." says Kiane.
"Maybe we'll get a surprise! My guess would be that these pyramids are geological formations created over time as the planet moves and shifts." says Gogan.
"Why don't we see the same thing on the other planet?" asks Kiane.
"That planet's makeup is quite distinct from the Pyramid Planet. That's why the planet on the left has organics. I doubt that complex life can form on a planet that has such extreme surface deformations." says Gogan.
"Something is happening. We need to get out of here! There's a non-random vibration emanating from below the pyramids." says Kiane.
"No, we need to go in closer. The Arc Sensor Array cannot do a full quantum scan of the area. I only need a minute." says Gogan.
"Ok. Going in. We need to be careful." says Kiane.
The ship moves mere miles from the tips of the highest pyramids. The intense and in depth scan of the planet has begun. Directly in front of Gogan a picture of the internal structure of the pyramids begins to take shape.
Confused and then alarmed. "Move the ship back. Now!"
Always at the ready, Kiane moves the ship back and away from the planets. The retreat was ill timed. One by one, but nearly ten per second, the pyramids launch themselves off the planet and into space. Like skyscraper sized missiles, the projectiles cross the interplanetary gap quickly.
The missiles rain down on the opposing planet and embed themselves in the mass of life spread across the planet's surface. Stuck halfway into the ground, the wider base of the pyramid in the air. Almost immediately, the pyramids unfold on all four sides revealing thousands of blinding white tentacles. The tentacles begin to extend from the inner, orange walls, of the pyramids. Crawling and working their way into the multicolored patches of globular life surrounding them, the pyramids begin to feast upon the bounty of their neighboring planet.
"Whoa! Hey! What in the?" says Gogan. "Get us out of here!"
The ship swerves, tilts, rotates, jerking back and forth, up and down, trying to avoid a direct impact by one of the pyramids. Surrounded, no progress is can be made to leave the path of travel of the pyramids.
"I can't get us out! There's no place to go!" says Kiane.
"Computer, plot a course out of this mess and embark!" says Gogan.
The canopy's display pinpoints each pyramid left on the planet and finds a path out of harm's way. Moving through the rain cloud of pyramids, the ship stops at a safe distance away from the planets.
"Whew, that was close." says Gogan.
"Did you get the scan data you needed?" asks Kiane.
"Yes, but look at these images!" says Gogan.
"That's stunning. We are going to be famous Gogan. Wow, just wow." says Kiane, looking at the images on the canopy's display. "Hold on, this is a new life form. A seemingly intelligent one. At least a higher order life form than anyone's found in decades."
"This is a life form. It must be. Locomotion, energy consumption. I mean, look at that! They're absorbing that blog of photo sensitive organisms. One planet bathes in light and has a rich environment. The other, kept in perpetual darkness with minimal useful matter anywhere on the surface. Periodically, or every forty years, the planets get close enough for the pyramids to reach the food source planet. I'm guessing that is just enough time for the planet to replenish the damage done by the pyramids." says Gogan.
"It would have to be the case. The pyramids are absolutely decimating the life. Judging from the near complete coverage of the planet's surface, the life rebounds just enough to not get wiped out. Life always finds a way. Great discovery Gogan." says Kiane.
"Our discovery. You're a great partner." says Gogan.
"Thanks, that means a lot coming from you. You've seen more of the universe than anyone I've ever known." says Kiane.
"I've seen a lot. I'm always amazed by things like this. Look, they're nearly all off the planet. Just a few stragglers. I wonder how they know when and where to launch themselves." says Gogan.
"I'd like to know that, and how they physically propel themselves. I saw a large buildup of energy in the base of the pyramid but how does that work? Good thing you managed to get the quantum scan data. That should shed some light on the mystery." says Kiane. "Hey, what's that little one doing? It's not going to make it."
"No, it isn't. It's stopped, midway. Hmm...It's turning our way? Am I seeing this correctly?" asks Gogan.
"Yes, I'll move back a bit just to be safe." says Kiane, again, too late.
The pyramid hurtles toward their ship faster than they can react to. The ship attempts evasive maneuvers, but the velocity the pyramid moves at negates all efforts.
Stabbing the ship, causing massive damage, the two-hundred-foot-long pyramid opens itself to reveal its white tentacles. The tendrils engulf the vessel, breaking down the matter and systems to pure energy. They begin to make their way into the ship's cabin where Gogan and Kiane sit.
"All attempts to move or launch a defensive attack have failed! We are done." says Gogan. "I'm transmitting all of this. We may not make it but our discovery will live on forever."
"Where are you sending it? Is there anyone close enough to help?" asks Kiane.
"No one that will be here this week. It's over Kiane. I'm sorry." says Gogan. "Certi Base will know and they will share with the rest of the systems, but that is it."
"Losing pressure. Losing atmosphere. Is the message sent? We don't have long left." says Kiane.
"Sending it now." says Gogan.
"Hold on, maybe we don't want to send it there. We don't know..." says Kiane, watching the planet that the pyramids have landed on. Just as she says 'We don't Know', the entire hoard of pyramids close, turn toward the same direction and launch themselves into space yet again. "They're headed in the direction of Certi Base, aren't they?"
"Yes. I'm sending a warning. What have we uncovered?" asks Gogan.
"Possibly our extermination" says Kiane.
"Probably." says Gogan.