Thursday, June 5, 2014

Luck is a Four Letter Word

Have you ever thought of where luck comes from; a big bucket, a particular ray of light, or that strange cloud that seems to be hovering and moves as we move . Some days can be triumphs or disasters. The people who look inside our heads tell us it is the power of suggestion. Sometimes you wonder as you tempt lady luck.

Every day someone scratches a winning ticket, but I have never met one. Do you suppose they are taken away after they have screamed their heads off, and put into some kind of restraint? Or are they just trotted out each day so that ordinary mortals may feel the urge to try.

I have stood in awe and watched sane men and women scratch their way through the ticket, the surface of the table and eventually the table. As if the glittering prize had slipped under several layers of plywood. The poor unfortunates gnash their teeth, frown at the clear sky, mumble something unintelligible as they shamble away knowing that the grocery money has been seriously depleted.

One particularly disastrous day as I led the way from the newsagent, I mentally bemoaned my fate and fell over a wheelchair. I resolved to complete the day without further incident. I should have checked with the fates, because I had not seen the end of that day. Arriving home I collected my dogs, bait, and fishing rod and set out for our fishing spot.

Everything was normal until I had a bite. The reel seized up, the fish disappeared and wonderful lumps of nylon appeared. Ten minutes later we tried again. Another bite; the reel seized up and my lips moved erratically. I took the rig off and put it on the chair. Metres of line were lost in a maddened frenzy as dusk descended and blackness enveloped me.

Not a problem, we have a torch. It was as useful as a burnt match. The fishing line suddenly had a life of its own and another ten minutes disappeared into the past. Finally we were about to rig up when I discovered one of the sinkers had sunk, into the soft sand. One sinker would have to do in the mouth of a force-nine gale. Reaching for the hook and swivel on the chair, I discovered that it also had a life of its own and had fled.

Perseverance is the name of the game that was not going to stop me. At this stage I determined to catch a fish. Bending to pick up the bait, I looked around to discover that my bait, an inert bag of bait, had been resurrected and eloped with the hook and swivel. Not a problem, I picked up the chair to fling it into the bush. Somehow it had wrapped itself around my leg and I was flat on the ground.

Looking around to see if I was on a movie set, I sheepishly slunk to the car. The tackle box that would not previously give up its treasure of sinkers promptly emptied its entire contents down the gap in the back seat. I put the rod through the gap in the window and turned to go to the drivers' side. 

Alas the cloud had not finished. I was now attached to the rod, and certainly not in passion. As the hook drew blood my resolve not to scream was shattered.


I didn’t go back to that fishing spot again, in case somebody waited with a restraint and whisked me off to the place where all those winning ticket holders are confined.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The future

As the Halpen fled Dragon pass another made their way to Tinurth, in another part of the wastelands. This area and indeed the planet, which had been a trading highway, had been abandoned, for most life forms had vanished from this system. The term ‘most life forms’ would not describe Hardon Williams, in any of the numerous languages/dialects in this piece of space.  Adventurer, vagabond, womaniser or drifter, the description of Hardon might even stretch the vocabulary of a word-smith.

His Dove-wing flyer, the Necromancer, had many improvements from its original design specifications; one in which he had invested a wad of negotiable coin of the realm, was the engine configuration. Designed and installed by an Illurian it was superior to those built by the Xinian artificers. The redesigned motors ran on the principle of hydrogen-mass conversion and the light speed achieved ensured that Hardon came away from any negotiation with all his parts intact.

Another innovation had been the weapons. He had insisted on energy form generators instead of the single stream laser, in vogue for a short time and rapidly disproved as the owners disappeared. And of course the mass projectiles for anything bigger than a cruiser had been prudent and economical. The addition of a light refractor to give the ship the benefit of a wavering form, or more succinctly becoming a shadow when the light favoured such a tactic had improved his trade negotiations by the power of one prime figure.

So, why was this fine figure of an intelligent, economical and organised human being stuck on an inhospitable escarpment in a wasteland, with his flyer stationary and parked on the flatlands below? The thick red hair pinned to his scalp by the wrap around head cover itched. The gloved hand pushed at the slightly skewed nose, more to see if it had any life as the eyes scanned the incline of the opposing slope leading from the edge of the escarpment to the bare land below.

‘Not too much of a drop, the slide will be fun. I’d say that Garrick wont’ be making this rendezvous. I was stupid to come, not much profit in it, more the curiosity value.
Nevertheless, a long lost jewel from a royal collection sounds like something you would find on Earth, certainly not out here, but diamonds have their uses, more than a fridbit of jewellery for a woman’s arm. The pulse generator needs a new one. Oh well, maybe another day.’ With the last word, he jumped forward feet first hurtling down the slope of loose sand and scree.

Minutes later he stood at the door of his flyer as the sentry droid reported activity in the space above the planet.

‘Sir, an unidentified ship has entered orbit. It does not match the configuration of the vehicle on the log.’

‘Fine Andros, let’s get on board, activate the energy shields, warm up the guns, and would you mind, a cup of tea as well please.’

As the door closed, gliding on plas-wheels, Hardon sat at the console amidships, where he could see forward and around through the mag windows. Above and slightly forward, the screen showed pictures of the planets ionosphere.
The triangular lines flowed intersecting with a pulsing dot. ‘We have contact Andros – lift off and into orbit and we’ll have a look at our visitor.’

As the Necromancer lifted off, drawing on the planets natural gravitational forces and aligning the magnetic waves, the dove-wing accelerated slowly. Flying through varying layers of atmosphere the sleek craft engaged shadow-drive and entered the ionosphere. The pulsing dot soon appeared as a cruiser – an unmarked cruiser.

‘Andros, move us out of here –quickly. I don’t want to play with a cruiser – what the hell do they want – because there is nothing down there they could possibly need - or are they scouting – a bit big for a scout. Take us along the horizon and head for the other side of this planets moon. We will come around the other side as he goes to ground, then we are out of this quadrant, there may be more.’

Still scratching his thick head of hair, the itch remained; his other hand took the proffered cup of tea. ‘Ah Andros, the tea is the correct temperature, thank you.’ One hand held the cup, whilst the other caressed the armaments pod. The cruiser was no match for the Necromancer but he knew there would be a base or Mother –ship out there somewhere in space.

The air around him inside the ship was a warm 33 degrees whilst the air outside, that is the vacuum of space he did not want to know about. The more of it between him and the stranger was what concerned him and the whereabouts of his contact and why they had not made the meeting.

Steaks of anti-matter trailed behind the Necromancer as it put the satellite moon between it and the unknown menace of a battle cruiser. The droid set course for the next habitable planet, Illuria.

‘Try to contact our source Andros, the tri-beam should do it, as long as it doesn’t bounce off anything and get picked up by our friend out there.’ His hand waved at the planet they just left and the now orbiting battle cruiser. The well-used thumb and first finger twirled the spoon, pushing at long dissolved and expensive organic sweetener, sugar.

Triluminal distance narrowed between where the Necromancer was and where it had to go. Distance in space was perceived, certainly not actual, you could be some distance from here, or from a planet, but from two places in space the distance was Triluminal, a time distance not a spaced distance. 

The night had swept across the southern hemisphere slowly. The second moon would make its ascendancy towards the darkest hour, so twilight reigned, bringing just enough light for the inhabitants to continue trading and bartering in the open air market at the centre of the town.

Harden had landed at the port and taken a flyer into the central business sector where he made his way through the throng to one particular building.  Ascending to the floor he wanted, this company could not afford a flyer arrival point, so it was the old lift. He walked into the vestibule to be met by a droid. His security card scrutinised he sat and waited. 

The Illurian he waited for - Tar’kel, the name was shortened for Terrans, as our teeth are blunter and our tongue does not have the elasticity needed-was his contact, among other interests, for speedy acquisitions: those that circumvented the exorbitant taxes and ‘t,aitha’ – the time honoured bribes.

A triumvirate of powerful people currently dominated Illuria; capitalism the terran way had not made inroads –yet. That would come,’ he smiled, ‘and would it, before all my birthdays have come and gone?’ Harden had been here before; the waiting area was spacious with tubed chairs and tables with an assortment of plants and books placed in alcoves. The carpet was made of the modern fibre – self-cleaning and each day changed colour depending on the particular weather outside the glassed recesses - called windows on Earth. 

The Illurian had two varying persona. His work entailed freight between Illuria and the outlying settlements, sometimes off world, but his main task was as head of an interplanetary group interested in restoring free trade commerce between planets. To this end, he had formed relationships with several influential people and Harden was one of his off world contacts.

Harden had also heard of an intergalactic war raging without end and considered the possibility that this meeting had more reasons than he had been told. ‘I need the diamond for the pulse generator, and probably Garrick has found another buyer. Tar’kel could have simply off-loaded it at the warehouse, instead he had insisted on this meeting. Diamonds, this far from the source, were a rarity, and I could use Ilithian crystal instead, but the difference was as between steel and plas-chrome.’ The door across from him opened and the flipit of white hair preceded a tall Illurian who stepped out and glided, instead of walked, as if he was still in low gravity to Harden and grasping him by the arm said, ‘come’.


As Harden went to his meeting with the enigmatic Tar’kel the war was coming to Harden, sooner than he expected.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Snowpuss and Gidley - The Beginning

He stared, the shadow he thought but the thing, he could not call it anything for sure, it moved or melted, just there - and then it wasn't  His eyes were on stalks as he blinked then looked again. It was there then the air wavered and the stand of trees stood on the water, on the water. His mind couldn't process the image, the water was solid and the trees had moved. 

The darkness appeared among the trees, shimmered as the scene disappeared. He shook his head, his breath came in gasps, he’d forgotten to breath. Jason felt his scalp, his hair was standing up and he knew some sort of electrical current had been generated. The water surface returned to its blue opaqueness and the pelicans glided in as the whole area returned to normal, everything was back except poor Jason, he was breathing heavily and his hands shook, what had happened?

The sail boats bobbed and the water lapped at the edge of the river, the wind returned, lightly as the clouds retreated and the peaceful village once again came into view. He then realised that it had disappeared as had the island –what was going on. He was still standing on the foreshore, the rivers tide still receding, and his fishing line floated in the water. Familiar sounds, cars and boat outboards once again took his attention the air retaining its taste of salt and morning crispness that always reminded him of the surf breaking on the surf beach further out towards the breakwater.

His peaceful little village, he had lived here all of his twelve years and nothing like this had ever happened before.

The foreshore he stood on was part of a five hundred hectare national park and stretched both sides of the river, back along the foreshores and into the hinterland where it was surrounded by the largest water system on the east coast. Back among the black-butt and eucalypt stood Aussie palm, grass trees and every type of fern imaginable, but the wildlife had never been counted and was assumed to be limited to wallabies and the occasional red kangaroo, but there had been what appeared to be a wild black very large marsupial, shaped somewhat like a cat or panther.

Fishermen had blazed trails to their favourite spots for years, with the grass growing back quickly and sections immersed in flooding water at high tide. So little was known of the area as rangers had not penetrated the interior for some years and was unlikely until there was a need or a fire. Strange things could happen and no human would know.

Jason and his friends knew areas they would not venture into as strange noises and light appeared and weird pulsating light roved. Fishermen’s lights were not the reason as most of them stuck to the edge or their boats and few needed to venture away from the water.

The tidal flow eased as the water was still, nothing moved but his 3mtr dinghy with his crab pots and fishing rods. It seemed to laugh as it bobbed on the wavelets at the edge of the jetty but that was impossible?

Friday, October 18, 2013

Faster than Light

‘The universe is growing, we know that, but where to what is outside that it can grow, become larger, within it or is it squeezing into another space, we do not know. It is forming life within the universe, at disparate points seemingly without reason, but the universe does nothing randomly, is it making way or is it that it has not finished, that the reason it expands is that it does not stop.’

‘Let’s get this in perspective. Earth is the centre of our understanding, but according to you it is a fly blot on history. If I understand what a fly is, yes, your milky way is a spot on an infinitesimally larger body which includes other – larger galaxies.’

‘So if we want to travel to these other galaxies we best develop FTL drives.’

‘That is currently beyond your technology; beside we had not slipped this into your development phase, yet. Besides FTL drives are –in your terms very slow.’

‘Your education is now to begin. You tie everything to light, why. That is all you know, all your scientists know. Yet you have made improvements in your knowledge and technology.  We have transporters, we have grav-drivers, and we have FTL’s or your version of them. But that is all intra-galaxy transport, what about from one galaxy to another?’

‘For that you need – not power, not something that moves one through space, not actually past objects but ‘through’ space, a window through which you pass and arrive at the same time as you left. This is what the genesis manipulates, and which we will soon use. In each of our ships above a certain size we have FTL and we have ‘through space’ - or for a better term – lineal realignment which uses the law of transposition.’

‘We call that a ‘wormhole’.’

‘Yes I have read some of your popular fiction and I understand why you adopted the term –wormhole. But we do not burrow through like a worm, through space exists –it is a dimension outside of space created by the very nature of the expanding of the universe. It is dimensional in nature on one side but through space is also a mechanism created to allow travel throughout the universe.’

‘Why?’

‘Because life must exist’.

‘Why, once again and how was it created’.

‘The universe is a cauldron for life to flourish and develop. But one must traverse vast distances in order to find other civilisations, and why does life develop – simply because it does.’

‘You cannot answer the why of life can you, but the need to travel is understood’.

‘The why of life – no, but it exists so it is so – do you not agree?’

‘My brain is frazzled, so humans on earth must develop this ability to go ‘through space’?’
‘Yes – in time, when it is judged to be right’.

‘And who judges?’

‘The human race – you have the ability, now find it’.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Paradise

On this calm Sunday morning, the weather fresh, the clouds receding and the water flat as glass, the day starts in Paradise. Retirement to such a place involves a 200m trip to the boat ramp from my house and a leisurely starting of the motor. Ten minutes and we are in the middle of a lake 3k wide and steering towards an idyllic landfall. Surrounded by pelicans we steer the boat east on a voyage towards the epicentre of a lake that is 5k long and the entrance to the river.

This trip is one of many I had planned in my retirement which at one point seemed but a dim chance as we ventured from one Caravan Park to another. Not one of them could give me what I craved after a lifetime working; my needs were simple, a quiet place to live, a mountain to look at, trees full of birds, and a place to launch a small boat to idle away relaxing from a lifetime of stress.

The one place in a quiet little village called Camden Haven is where all my dreams came true – Christmas Cove Caravan Park. Where trouble is banned, loud conversation is frowned upon and quiet is paramount. I can walk to the jetty, board my boat and enter my dreams with no fuss, no cost and return to my recliner with a flathead in the bucket.


Now we know what Paradise means.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Quicken


The Portals had started several months after the terror of the nuclear holocaust. What had started, as a series of lights from the sky became a hellish crisscross of burning lights, somewhat like the aurora borealis The sweat poured from his face, the eyes blurred and the physical anxiety threatened to force him to push the others away. It couldn’t be a nightmare. He had warned that guy not to sit near the window opening.

You might have got a thick envelope or a stiff folder through it.  The bloke would have weighed 16 stone at least and they sucked him through the slit. The look on the guy’s face belied belief - but the pain he felt was real. He couldn’t believe that he was going through a mailbox slit - His backside went and he nearly swallowed his own feet. His last thoughts betrayed him, incomprehension; pain and terror bestrode his face, as his crushed body slithered into the wet maw of the creatures gaping mouth.

He stopped the thoughts - at least he tried. Sweat ladled his face he could feel his skin dancing on the surface as his nerve endings tuned to his racing pulse. He pushed deeper into the recess,  his head on a swivel frantically looking everywhere at once,  making sure that there were no hidden slits, key holes or cracks in the glass.  Not that he had intentionally moved to the window. No one had been pulled through glass since Tuesday.  They wanted the body whole; broken glass penetrated the skin and contaminated the flesh. The thing couldn’t ingest glass.  The other creatures cannibalised their own when it choked on the glass penetrating the horrid creature’s flesh.

I remember that clearly - and I expected blood or some liquid - but nothing it just opened up and the creature strangled - the others ate him alive. I shouldn’t feel pity; he had just sucked that little girl through the steel mesh fence, the horror of the memory made him shiver.

Somehow, I managed to catch this train after running from the warehouse. They hadn’t managed to shut everything down; the portals were random.  

The air stank with fear, the tongue twisting gut wrenching, cold stabs running down a shivering spine.


The point where the sphincter threatens and blood rushes to the face; where the innermost thoughts become fractured. The one where we know that there is no chance whatsoever - no matter what happens, the creatures will win.

And that is where I am now, cold incalculable horror. I got off the train hoping too survive long enough to get home, where I intend to grab everything I need and get out of Dodge. More portals are opening as I speak and I aim to get into the countryside for the space.  I call them portals because they’re like doorways that these things squirm through. Another dimension, another planet, I don’t know nor does anybody still in the know. I had a shortcut to my place, which meant climbing the steel struts of this building, as there are three portals on the main road right where I live. So it’s through the back door, but now they have sentries.


 The bastards have climbed the workers planks of this partially completed skeleton maybe to get a better view. But they are ahead of me but they seem strange. That’s it they don’t like heights or their bulk is hard to keep in one place. They are fat buggers; wobble all over. I wonder, they didn’t like being on narrow edges or thin walkways.   His conscious mind clung to the first law of survival, no his mind screamed no I wouldn’t give in to the flesh sucking horrors, bugger them and their stinking appetite. Most of the neighbourhood left except for the creatures that had appeared through another portal. He crept higher and higher while they sniffed the air.  Their long wavering suckers sprouted gobs of some liquid like saliva; the bastards were salivating at the smell of fresh meat. He noticed the other types, the ones he called the foragers - they were like giant capybara.  

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Wall

The grey ocean wall had stood the test of centuries; the moss mute testament to the years it had stood true and valiant against all storms. Its stony facade hid the truth; the only caresses those stony shoulders had ever felt through the long years were of the waves as they broke over its foundations. Neither wind nor storm should be feared, for the wall stood alone, against the elements.

Parents sat their offspring on his stony head and laughed as they watched the waters recede against his stony countenance.  The blocks that had come together over the years to form the wall had not come from the same source. Some were true, whilst others were broken against the stonemason’s adze. Some were created as the artist mixed mortar and made them fit.

But the wall remained solid; he had to protect the village when the north ocean tore into him with the power of a berserker. Ants and small crabs crawled into the breaks and nestled among his strength and his weaknesses, never caring about the small faults, for without them, they would have no sanctuary. Generations had survived on the wall and no power had ever touched his soul.

On a grey day in March when the ocean had come again and he felt the first rumbling of the stones; the tearing of the ocean as it retrieved its prize, he felt the first stirrings of isolation. Tears were washed into the ocean and suddenly the wall screamed into the ether.

‘Why must I be on my own, why am I ignored, is it because I am a wall?’

 Now mossy with age he recalled the answer to his question. As the engineers stood above him with machines to tear ‘the old guy down’, he heard the voice again.

The child had screamed, ‘Look at that wave, it keeps coming, will our wall stop it?’ The children fled not from panic but because they had never seen such a wave. The wall looked up from his despair and saw her. He had never seen anything more beautiful, nor more powerful. He then knew that his time had come. As the last filaments of the water receded, the wave stopped, curled and caressed the wall.

As the machines tore into his foundations, he was content, he had found peace.