The Mini-burger

FanFic in the Birmoverse

Small Pepsi Challenge – April 1st 2009.

Just wrote a great scene with Miguel in a Post Wave ghost town. Gave me goose bumps it did, guvnor.

Anyway, if interested y’all can help out with the next little bit and hone your own writing chops in the process.

There’s been some previous speculation about the origin and purpose of the wave (beyond its obvious narrative purpose). What I’d like anyone who’s interested to do next is to speculate again, except do it in character.

Pick a character, a new one, describe them in a few sentences and then gimme their explanation of the Wave. Keep it very short.

A couple of the best ones will go into the finished copy.

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32 Comments »

  1. 204f –

    204f braked against the gravity of a large yellow star. If a simple robot could, it would have been bored spit-less, but as this was its purpose in existing it just did its job with a minimum of fuss.

    As per routine it had been scanning all of the candidates as it streaked in from the Oort cloud. Gravitometers had picked out the third & fourth as potential candidates. It was the third that held the appeal. It actually looked like it fitted parameters. Only the third was emitting RF signals in a coherent form. That indicated at least semi intelligent life, but that could and in the past had been easily rectified.

    As it had 400+ times already it squirted a message to its masters and laid a course to intercept. As 204f approached it identified 3 major areas of RF emission traffic it flipped a metaphorical coin and headed for one at random. As it punched through the atmosphere it sipped and tasted – Oxygen was .3 of 1 percent higher than optimum and Argon was 2% low but again it was acceptable – 204f’s masters could augment supply if required.

    Massing less than a kilogram and travelling at less than a kilometre per second it effected an acceptable landing only a few meters north of its aim point.

    204f then deployed its defensive shield at a specific frequency that would render anything with higher order intelligence to the equivalent of hog fat and set to its work. It sampled the substrate and atmosphere at ground level and monitored radiation levels for a full circuit around the star watching for any surprising variance.

    After the full circuit 204f deactivated its defensive shield and launched itself back into space. As it cleared the fifth satellite it messaged its conclusions to its masters; the third satellite entirely appropriate for colonisation.

    Comment by NoWhereBob | 19 April, 2009 | Reply

  2. Alien Space Bats –

    Francis put down the telephone and turned back to the computer screen in front of him.

    The resumption of communications with the outside world (via a somewhat precarious satellite uplink via Vancouver) was welcome, of course, but it was causing him as many problems as it solved.

    He gulped down the strong tea from the third large mug of the day so far and tried to find the notes he had scribbled to himself the previous day about the estimated numbers of British citizens in the Seattle area.

    As the senior surviving British diplomat he had taken charge at the small Consulate even before he had heard from London. He and the small staff had done their best to record the names and contact details of all UK citizens as soon as the scale of the disaster had become clear. Worried relatives in Britain would be desperate for news of their loved ones.

    He had been grateful for the work as it distracted him from contemplating the full ghastly scale of what had happened. 400 million dead was the figure most people were quoting. Several hundred thousand of them British. He thanked the God he was not entirely sure existed that his wife and children had flown back to their home in Sussex two weeks earlier so that their sons could go back to school for the new term.

    The report he was writing was at the order of the Prime Minister. In person, not through a functionary. As soon as he managed to get the first call though to the Foreign Office in Whitehall he found himself being transferred not to the Permanent Secretary in charge of the Department as he had expected, but to a conference call at No.10 Downing Street where the COBRA emergency committee was in session under the Prime Minister’s chairmanship.

    Despite everything, he was amused at the memory of the disjointed conversation that followed. The assembled politicians and senior military officers had assumed that he would be able to tell them exactly what had happened. He had done his best to describe the situation but it quickly became clear that London knew rather more than he did. Still, he felt that he had performed well in front of this unexpected audience and this view was evidently shared by the Prime Minister who informed him that under the circumstances he was to regard himself as the acting Ambassador. Of course that would only become official once there was an American government to whom he could present his credentials.

    He hurried to complete the report of the current situation in the Seattle area so that he could rush off to his scheduled meeting with the American officials at City Hall who, like him, were coping as best they could.

    Having outlined the latest situation on the ground inside Seattle, Francis now attempted to summarise the latest information about the Wave. Actually “information” was not really the word to use. Most of what he had collected ranged from utterly uninformed speculation through to what looked like the plot of a particularly far-fetched science fiction movie, of the kind he watched in secret. His wife referred to his collection of Doctor Who and Babylon 5 DVDs as the “hidden porn stash”.

    He read through what he had written and realised that much of it sounded like technobabble from old Star Trek episodes. “Energy field” was not a term that usually found its way into Foreign Office reports.

    Unfortunately most of what was known about the Wave was negative. It was not composed of any kind of energy known to science apparently. It was not susceptible to analysis (or at least attempts to investigate close up had had terminal effects on several researchers) and it was not behaving in accordance with any laws of physics that were understood by the available science specialists.

    Of one thing virtually everyone seemed certain. Someone had done this deliberately. It was not a natural phenomenon. This was a weapon of some kind. But if that was the case, where had it come from and who had used it?

    The two most popular answers to that question were that it was an act of an angry God (whether of the Christian or Muslim variety) or that Earth was under attack from outer space. Hundreds of religious crazies were on the streets at any one time urging the traumatised population of Seattle to repent and one Canadian that Francis had met at City Hall who was heading back to Vancouver had stroked his beard and muttered that it was all the fault of the “Alien Space Bats”. That was one phrase that would most certainly not be appearing in his report.

    Francis decided to put off sending the report until he get back from his meeting. Perhaps he could gather up some quotes from the Americans – then he would at least be able to claim that he was merely reporting current thinking in what passed for the American government, rather than proposing such theories himself.

    As he left the consulate building he looked around at the lines of bewildered British tourists and businesspeople queuing up and the larger numbers of Americans, equally bewildered in most cases with many showing the despair of those who have lost close family and friends.

    “400 million people” he muttered to himself “and not one of us knows who did it and why”. He blinked as the rain started to fall and hurried into the waiting car. Yes, the more he thought about it he reckoned that the hairy Canadian had got it right. It probably was the Alien Space Bats that had murdered America.

    Alexander Francis, 45 years old, Second Secretary of the British Embassy in Washington. Escaped the Wave by having the luck to be at the British Consulate in Seattle for a trade meeting. As the senior surviving British diplomat, he has been appointed as the acting British Ambassador to the United States. He is traditional public school but fairly open-minded with a wry sense of humour.

    Comment by Guy Roberts | 19 April, 2009 | Reply

  3. Agent Frellman –

    Agent Frellman had just finished his weekly meeting with Raoul Castro. Secondment to the DGI in Havana was agreeing with Frellman, as it was helping him hone his sausage-making skills in his spare time. When he wasn’t chasing down Cayman Island money launderers and rogue credit derivative traders, of course.

    “Yessir”, he thought, as he hopped into a taxi to go to Chorizo School Number 5 in Luyano, “This is one sweeet posting.”

    As the taxi rounded onto La Pesquera by the harbour, Frellman looked over his right shoulder and caught a glimpse of the wall of light approaching the coast from the North.

    “Man, I’ve gotta stop smoking those Montecristos Raoul gives me. Either the Yanks have just started World War Three, or Pan Galactic Space Lizard Blarkon has coughed up a furball from hell and it’s coming this way.”

    Comment by Abe Frellman | 19 April, 2009 | Reply

  4. No More Heroes-

    The night was warm and humid for a change

    and the four boys from Cape Town were sitting at a bottle littered with bottles (some empty and some not), cigarette butts and a few packets of ones still to be smoked. They were doing what they did best solving the worlds problems whilst ignoring their own.

    “You see man, it’s like my old man used to say it’s God punishing us” Jonas was on his second bottle of local vodka and so had passed through the drunk barrier, his blond hair still at regulation stubble length even 8 years after leaving the army.

    “Jonas you’re full of shit. How does God taking out the Americans punish us?” Marco the effete art student from Constancia, who would now happily kill a man for 500 dollars, spoke round his third cigar of the night. “No it was the Russians, some sort of space weapon from the cold war, Saddam paid for them to do it. Eh Willi?”

    “Who gives a toss about what happened to those verdammed uitlanders? I just want to get my hands on some loot as soon as the Colonel says the salvage missions a go” Wilhelm was a true Dutch farm boy, although his father had a vineyard and had Willi educated at Witts, there are some things that are not easily bred out

    Marco just grinned around the cigar “Don’t give me any of that Vaali shite bro, this is serious stuff. Andreas what do you think?

    “Either someone screwed up, or there’s something out there waiting for another shot, if it’s the latter I hope it has a long recharge time otherwise our next jaunt may be very short” replied Andreas, the soldier-philosopher with a masters in political science and five years in the Parabets. His arm pointing at the night sky just visible through the patio doors “Anyhow meenherrs, briefing is at 08:00 so time for one last drink”

    He waved at Brent the Canadian who ran the bar for another round, after they arrived each man took his glass and raised it.
    “No more hero’s?” said Andreas
    ‘No more hero’s!” the four boys from Cape Town shouted together before knocking back the alcohol..

    Andreas van den Berg. Security Contractor

    Brents Bar, Freetown, Sierra Leone

    Comment by Chaz | 19 April, 2009 | Reply

  5. Thommo and Derek

    Thommo and Derek, college freshmen fortunate enough to be vacationing in Alaska when the wave hit.

    Thommo, brought up with stories of his grandfathers POW experiences in Japan, brings his own ingrained prejudices to bear when discussing the origins of the wave over a beer and a cone.

    “I’m telling you man, its gotta be! Who else’d have not just the means, but the Motive ! “.
    Derek looked askance at his mate. Thommo was pretty wasted for sure, but he had to admit, his eyes burned with a fiery conviction, a bloodshot display that outshone even his usual dope-addled demeanour.
    “But mate, the japs are our allies now! Not to mention their whole economy is based on us, their biggest customers! Playstations dude! Big motherfuckin plasmas and dvds! Whose gonna take those off their hands in numbers even remotely approaching the needs of the mighty US of A ? “
    “Nah, man. It was them. I’m telling you, they don’t think like us, and they sure-as-hell never forgave us for winning the war. This is payback time, man. This is payback.”
    “Riight” Derek aquiesced. “Here man, take another toke”.

    Comment by drej | 19 April, 2009 | Reply

  6. Whidbey Island –

    This space reserved for Whidbey Island

    Damn it T64, write it!

    Not the one I was hoping for but … (-savo)

    Ok,I have the perfect idea of how the wave started:
    Two geeky scientist one male the other female were haveing sex in the lab and the hit sme buttons on a panel which started a chain reaction and viola”the Wave”.
    See, brillant.
    Oh, and if you are wondering,the lady did get her “O”!

    Comment by Trinity64 | 19 April, 2009 | Reply

  7. Blue Screen of Death

    Craig Cram was one of the millions of Americans who had suddenly found themselves exiled when the wave wiped out much of North America.

    Unlike most of his countrymen, he had initially welcomed the event. Cram had been in London to help organize protests of the impending invasion of Iraq for his organization, People for Peace. America had been the cause of much suffering in the world and its removal would be all for the better as far as Cram was concerned. Mind, he did feel a twinge of regret for the hundreds of millions, some of them family and friends, who had been obliterated. But they had allowed the fascist/corporate government of the United States to wage wars and oppressed people. Perhaps it was some kind of judgment, Cram (who was an atheist) thought.
    The initial elation turned first to anger and then despair. The British government, which has always been a stooge of the Americans, had started to crack down, expelling people of Arab descent, squashing dissent. Cram was pretty sure that he was being watched and that the flat he was staying in was bugged.
    What decided it for him was the nuclear annihilation of the Middle East by Israel. Then it became all clear for him. He posed his new theory to one of his comrades at dinner, which was a lean affair due to rationing measures.
    “It was something Bill Gates did,” he said solemnly.
    “What? How do you figure?”
    “How is it that of all of the United States, Seattle was the one place that survived. The wave was obviously a plot by the military industrial complex to wipe the slate clean, as it were.”
    “Oh come on. Bill Gates can’t even get Windows to run right. Destroy the US?”
    “It all makes sense. Most of the US military is overseas. It’ll give them an excuse to seize control and make a real fascist state without even the pretense of democracy. They’ve gotten rid of all of their opposition anyway.” Cram wagged his finger to emphasize his point. “I’ll bet you that Bush and Cheney are in some ‘undisclosed location’ and will reveal themselves any day now.”
    “But the wave is still going on. Nobody can go back.”
    “I’ll be you that it’ll vanish like magic after a while, maybe a year. The neocons are in on it. They’ve already gotten their stooges in Israel to kill the Arabs. They’ll take the oil and establish an American Empire.”
    “So what are you going to do?”
    “Britain’s becoming too hot for us. I need to get to Seattle. It’s still a pretty progressive town and I can get in touch with some comrades there. Then we start the resistance.”
    This, Cram’s friend silently concluded, was likely for the best. As long as it put Cram on the other side of the world and away from him. The event that destroyed America seemed to have robbed his friend of whatever vestige of sanity he once had. That kind of man was dangerous to have around. And the progressive community in Britain was having enough problems with such a man around.

    Comment by Mark R. Whittington | 19 April, 2009 | Reply

  8. Destiny

    That’s what it was; destiny. That’s the only thing it could be so, for Alex Cartwright, destiny is what it was. Alex had heard a lot of other explanations and none of them fit. Fit for him at least. Alex knew it was destiny – his destiny, in particular – as “The Wave” had made the future so much clearer for him.

    Yes, the millions of people suddenly being snuffed out by the “Effect” and the millions more in the chaos that followed were all regrettable things. But Alex viewed it all as being but part of that destiny. With all those people gone, Alex knew he now had a great opportunity before him. It was the opportunity of a lifetime. Alex knew that the “Wave” / “Effect” / “Energy Field” couldn’t last forever and thus would end some day. And when that day came, Alex would be able to fulfill his destiny.

    The US was an empty place now. But it was only empty of people and that left all the accumulated wealth there for the taking. No, not for the plundering or seizing. Such a view of the situation was for the small minded and the suckers and Alex was neither of those. Instead, Alex was looking at the suddenly depopulated America as being his opportunity to set himself up with enormous wealth – and do so all legally. That was his destiny.

    When the Effect came to an end, Alex was going to head back into the US and begin laying claim to it. Not all of it, but enough of it and enough of the richest and best parts that his life would become that of a powerful and rich man. Alex knew this. He already knew the ins and outs of property forfeiture laws and knew the steps he needed to take to properly lay claim to the “abandoned lands” which now encompassed the entirety of the US and Canada.

    With all those millions of fools, suckers, idiots and small minded folk gone – the folk who’d previously gotten in his way throughout his life – Alex would finally have his way clear to achieving that destiny. He knew he deserved great things and if it took the deaths of millions – hundreds of millions in this case – then Alex was fine with that. He wasn’t responsible for their deaths so he had no blood on his hands and thus there was no reason for him not to find profit from the situation.

    So, while all those small minded fools around him there in Dorado were wailing over all the family members they’d lost in New York and LA, Alex was sitting back in his Puerto Rican resort hotel room and planning for his future. Another effect of the “Event” was the certain elimination of any remaining legal interest in Alex Cartwright. Or more accurately, any remaining legal interest in Jacque Keats, or Karl Cox, or Craig Carter, or any of the other aliases he’d used in his previous attempts at fulfilling his destiny. With such an event as had befallen the rest of the nation and the world, Alex didn’t even mind that the mark for his lasting bit of grifting had chickened out. The guy was down in Puerto Rico to conclude the land swap / unregistered bonds deal that he and “Jacque Keats” had been setting up for several weeks. A minor scam, but it was one which had brought Alex out to the seaside resort town just a day before everyone else in the US got moved out of his way. With his mark for the grift drunk in a stupor over his lost wife and family, Alex quickly changed hotels and contented himself with new making new plans for even grander operations.

    It was hard for him not to feel elated at the prospects. Yes, it was destiny. His destiny. No other explanation could be possible. Alex knew in his bones that the future was going to be his and it was a bright and rich future. He knew it.

    Comment by Madoc | 19 April, 2009 | Reply

  9. Stavros

    When Stavros was in Seattle, he stopped for lunch at Roxy’s Diner on 36th Street.

    As he sat down, he couldn’t help but notice a group of big men in dirty dark blue overalls eating at a table near the back of the diner. The men talked and laughed a little too loud, and every once in a while they would glance over at Stavros.

    After Stavros gave his order to the waitress, the biggest of the bunch of guys called the waitress over to their table, pointed at Stavros and said something. The waitress looked over, smiled and nodded. As the waitress walked away, the man got up and walked over to where Stavros was sitting.

    “What’s you’re name, soldier boy?” the man asked.

    “Stavros.”

    “I’m Joe. Me and the boys are grateful for all our men and women in uniform are doing for our country, so lunch is on us – courtesy of the Wave.”

    “Thanks, I appreciate it.”

    Stavros’ lunch arrived – a Rueben sandwich and sweet potato fries, and it was perfect. Before he left, Stavros walked over to the table of his benefactors.

    “Thanks for springing for lunch, but what did you mean?”

    “About what?” Joe asked.

    “About lunch being courtesy of the Wave?”

    Everyone at the table looked at each other and laughed. “The Wave has been very good to me and is proof that God loves me,” Joe said.

    “Not just you, asshole,” one of the men said. “God loves janitors.”

    “That’s right,” Joe continued. “Since the beginning, God has kept janitors employed. From the Flood to the Black Plague, from the mess on the floor of the Roman Coliseum to the ruins of the Library at Alexandria, Gods always made sure we had something to do. And now the Wave – creating the biggest mess in the history of the world. And who is getting rich because of it? Janitors like me and these guys. We all run salvage companies now, and business is good. It is an endless feast.”

    “So you are saying that God did all of this, killed all of those people, burnt all those buildings, to give janitors work?”

    “Yeah, that’s what I’m saying. I hope you enjoyed your lunch.”

    Comment by Paul Nicholas Boylan | 19 April, 2009 | Reply

    • April Fool

      This is an April Fools thing – right?

      Comment by Sweet Jane Says | 19 April, 2009 | Reply

  10. Tastes Like Chicken

    Randy Green was getting off work at his job at Microsoft.

    It was a great job, all things considered: after everything went crazy, the world’s biggest software company was still mostly intact, with no American competetion. The world still bought its software, and it had found a new niche as a government contractor. It was a hot ticket.

    As usual, he walked back to his car along the northeast side of campus. It was getting dark, but he could see Joe now. Joe was a homeless derelict from who-knows-where that somehow managed to avoid Microsoft security. The guy was clearly schizophrenic, but Randy enjoyed having someone to talk to as he went back to his car. Lately he had begun feeling bad for the guy; before the Wave, he had been indifferent to the homeless, but the Wave, to its infinitesimally small credit, had given him a desire to help people. Today, Randy had brought Joe a nice chicken sandwich he had purchased at lunch.

    “Hey Randy,” Joe called out.

    “Joe, hello,” Randy answered. “How’s it going today?”

    “Not bad. I had enough time to finish all my projects today.” Randy wasn’t sure if he was joking, if he really had had something to do, or if he was just out of it, as usual.

    “What sorts of projects?”

    “I was writing a letter to the President, but I couldn’t find a typewriter. I don’t think anyone has a typewriter. I looked everywhere.”

    “Why did you want to write a letter to the President?”

    “I wanted to tell him I know how the Wave happened. I need to tell him so he’ll get on the TV and tell everyone it’s ok. I know how it happened.”

    “How did you find that out?” Randy asked, playing along for the hell of it.

    “They told me,” Joe answered. “That first day, I looked at it, and they told me.”

    He hears voices all the time, Randy thought. “Are you sure it wasn’t just all in your head?” he offered.

    “I told you I heard them! So many voices. They told me they were sorry. The impact wasn’t supposed to happen that way.”

    “Impact?” Randy began to get more interested.

    “Like uh, a pumpkin floating through space. It got squashed when it hit us. It was traveling to another dimension, from another dimension.”

    “You mean the Wave? What happened to the pumpkin seeds, then?” Randy asked, joking.

    Joe looked through him a moment and answered cryptically, “They’re children, Randy. We’re all children.”

    Randy was chilled. What could any of this mean? After a moment, though, he shook it off and was filled with compassion for the poor man. Not because of his madness, but because of everyone. Everyone needed to stick together these days, in the face of the far greater madness of the Wave. Aliens, time travelers, some obscene fluke in the universe-how could one person cope?

    “Here’s a sandwich for you, Joe. I’ll see you tomorrow, ok?” Randy said, handing Joe the sandwich and patting him on the shoulder.

    “Thanks…” he mumbled, “Say, is this dolphin-free?”

    “It’s chicken, Joe.” Randy started to walk away. He could hear Joe mumbling to himself again, something about chicken farms on the beach. Something that made a lot more sense than the Wave, he admitted.

    Comment by Samuel C. | 19 April, 2009 | Reply

  11. Equal Rights

    Julie turned and asked, “pass us another tray of seedlings, Granny”

    Granny May paused and stood up after her pick bit into the bitumen, leaving it stuck there in mute testimony to the force which drove it into the hard carpark ground. She walked over to the back of the flatbed and hefted a tray of green shoots. After depositing it at Julie’s side she returned to the pick and readied to resume her work.

    “Thanks. Now that Davin found that garden place over in Whitshire, we have enough potting mix and irrigation pipe to replant the whole carpark.

    “Which one’s Davin?” Granny asked as her arms swung the iron deep and levelled back, another chuck of concrete flew up.

    “The teenager with the shaved head, thinks the wave was God’s wrath”

    “Idiot!”

    “Why what do you think cause ‘the wave’

    Without any hesitation the weathered old woman stated in a blunt, no nonsense tone she reserved usually for those she thought slow, ill informed, lazy or wrong. A significant section of the population in her world “The Patriarchy”

    “What, How, the men disappeared as well”

    “Didn’t say they didn’t cock it up”

    Comment by Barnesm | 19 April, 2009 | Reply

  12. Scapegoat

    Gary Kovak lifted the whisky glass unsteadily off the bar, spilling a little of the goldern fluid and earning a silent frown from the bartender.

    For three days now since the Event he had been trying to lose himself in a drunk, but it wasn’t working. His emotions swirled around constantly in a chaotic maelstrom, remorse, fear, and guilt the worse. He told himself again that it wasn’t his fault, couldn’t possibly be, but secretly he knew better.

    When he saw the images of the wave in the London Pub he was in, networking with the conference crowd after hours, he felt his world drop away. It was his wave.

    As a DARPA scientist, he had been working on a particle wave shield, just like they had in Star trek, they had recently made a huge breakthrough in energy transference and had actually managed to create a small shield, under strict test conditions, of about a metre in diameter, but the power consumption had been enormous.

    This was his wave, it was identical, but how could that be? He had only been away from the project for a week and there had been no inkling of a full test firing. Even that egotistical bastard Franklin wouldn’t be able to pull something like this off. There had been talk of connecting it up to the experimental fusion reactor but that was so unstable it was unthinkable. But someone had done something and something had gone terribly terribly wrong.

    He shook his head again for the hundredth time, wishing for denial, for forgiveness, for something. He knew if he had been there he would have been able to control the more impulsive of his brilliant but unstable band.

    Should he come forward with his knowledge that was the question but he knew he was no hero, no they would make him a scapegoat, better wait it out and see what happens.

    Comment by MickH | 19 April, 2009 | Reply

  13. Schrödinger’s Damned Cat

    Toni laid the king down on the board.

    “Good game” said Jessamy.

    “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have agreed to play. Chess these days. I find the metaphor disturbs my equilibrium” Toni leaned back in the café’s metal chair looking our over the manicured lawn around the fountain.

    Jessamy following his gaze thought its pleasantly free of students. Jessamy being one of those lecturers who harboured the opinion that University would run so much better if they didn’t include students, other than those who post-graduates he had working their collective low paid brains off cranking out papers for him of course.

    “Metaphor”?

    Toni continued to stare, not seeming to notice the question. “It’s a quieter campus since the wave. Not just less people, but everyone seems constrained, smaller. Wondering if its over or is there another shoe to drop”. His gaze wandered over the rest of the café, the grounds, everywhere but over the table in front of him.

    “Everyone’s had a shock, everyone lost someone they knew. Its no wonder society is still trying to deal with it, an explanation for why it happened would help”. Jessemy began setting the board up.

    His eyes didn’t move, seeing some landscape beyond the campus around him. His voice dropped and in a conspiratorial hush Toni murmured “No it wouldn’t!” after a long pause and the realisation that he wasn’t going to let off that easily he continued

    “It all to do with the observer paradox?”

    “You mean that damned cat of Schrödinger’s ?”

    “Yes alive, dead or some other indeterminate state, randomly poisoned or not depending on the tick of a radioactive nucleus and all in flux until observed. The universe can get away with a lot of fudging to make things work, as long as nothing is watching too closely. Unfortunately along comes sentience. A cyanobacteria couldn’t care less about any cat alive, dead or glowing blue but put a thinking mind into the mix that can see and interact and quantum weirdness starts to peek through. You think those stories of H.P.Lovecraft you read are horrifying because of the unseen, unknowable forces in the outer dark? They are nothing to known inexplicable madness of the fundamental nature of reality. I think the wave was the universes response to being watched. The first response.”

    Toni’s eyes flickered over the world before him, but I do not think I saw the same world as he did.

    “We’ve stared to long into the abyss”.

    With that he turned his head back, looked down at the newly set up pieces and slowly and deliberately pushed them away.

    Comment by Barnesm | 19 April, 2009 | Reply

  14. Wichita Falls – (not so short …)

    At the time of the Wave Damien had been married for 5 years and was experiencing some marriage troubles.

    At 48 Damien was nearing the end of his research career and the knowledge that this was coming affected his relationship with his wife. She had encouraged Damien to take and offer to teach at the Australian National University, who had offered him a professorship based on his paper on “Complex Quantum Particle Relationships and their effect on Quantum Entanglement Theory” Damien had reluctantly agreed to fly to Canberra Australia to meet with the physics chair at the university. He left the day before the wave.

    XX Wichita Falls XX

    Damien slowed as he approached a wreck, he didn’t stop he never did anymore not unless he needed fuel. This one would have been a doozy he thought, good lawyers work. Head on collision across what looks like 4 lanes of traffic, none dead. At least, not from the Accident. He zipped past it at over 70 miles per hour, refusing to look in the car, not wanting to see the gelatinous remains of the occupants that not even the crows would feed on. When he first seen it he’d been terrified and awed at the being that could this to a whole continent, then he’d been angry at the loss of lie, then finally just sad.

    He knew without a doubt, with the fiery passion of faithfully certainly, that a “they” was indeed responsible for this, and he also knew where “they” where. During the event he put his services at the disposal of the physics faculty at the ANU, the Universities staff had access to some of the largest supercomputing facilities in the world, Being so close to the Australian government at a time of massive international crisis and having his credentials, had given him access to technology and satellites that he was pretty sure the Aussies shouldn’t be able to access. The coverage had been effectively total. The information gathered had been essentially zero, apart from a slight distortion in the visible light spectrum the barrier hadn’t even been there as far any test he could dream of determined, he’d seen the photos from New York he new his family was gone, all that kept him together was now was trying to find out why.

    That was when he saw it. No-One else had even when he drew their attention to it. A slight fluctuation in the visible light spectrum directly and proportionately above a small town in Oklahoma call Wichita Falls. A town like so many others in the middle America, unremarkable even now, especially now. Except for one thing, while the rest of America and even the world prepared itself to deal with terrible winter that the ecological disaster that was the wave left in its wake. Wichita Falls was getting warmer. Only by a couple of points of a degree, but that warmth was spreading.

    That was how Damien knew, that what ever had done this had gone to ground in Wichita Falls, gone underground, probably deep underground, after finishing its meal, after devouring nearly half a billion people, this alien menace had retreated.

    Damien had contact all the authorities that where left, the laughable “American” government in Seattle didn’t know what to do with his information; the Australian government was buys dealing with adventurous neighbours, and an overflow of American refuges. All the other world powers had turned inward, or were simply ignoring anything to do with America, the wave or anything else. Taking this time to deal with old debts and insults left to fester.

    Damien had traded everything he owned to a ragtag bunch of British and American expats who seemed to have gotten their hands on a luxury yacht, and organised to be dropped off in the gulf of mexico with little more than a 6ft tin boat and a beat up old motorcycle.

    That had been weeks ago, and he hadn’t stoped more than a night rest since. Stoping only at old convenience stores, to grab whatever canned food looked safe, grabbing what fuel he could where he could moved onwards to Wichita Falls.

    +++++

    Character Profile
    NAME: Damien Shaw
    AGE: 48
    COLOUR: White
    LOCATION: Heading to Wichita Falls Oklahoma
    ETHNICITY: Australian / American
    MARRIAGE STATUS: Widowed
    EDUCATIONAL HISTORY: PHD, Particle Physics (exotic particle manipulation). PHD, Astronomy (High Energy Distant Objects). Masters, Philosophy (Social Group Analysis, Trends and Control)
    HOBBIES: Tennis, Motorcycle Riding, Camping, Woodwork, Hunting
    CRIMINAL HISTORY: None Appreciable
    POLLITCAL AFFILIATION: (pre-wave) Democrat centrist. (post-wave) Centre Right “New America Party”

    FAMILY HISTORY: Damien’s parents met when his father was vacationing in Melbourne. Damien’s mother worked in a small pub in Melbourne city just off Lygone St. His mother Sarah, and his father Thomas perused a relationship and soon married, first in Australia, then in America. Thomas was a Mechanical Engineer for Boeing Aeronautics. He instilled into Damien a deep love of both the Outdoors and the world of physics. Damien’s parents shared a loving and long relationship and were still together at the date of the wave first appearance.

    Comment by Brian C | 19 April, 2009 | Reply

  15. We Few, We Brave Few, We Band of Cheeseburgers

    Stephen Francis Murphy ran past the bodies of the Cheeseburger irregulars, spun around and yelled “Rhino, Havoc To Me!”, mustering the last of fanbase.

    The heavy fire drummed into the concrete wall as Lonesome Jones’ troops moved forward and troops poured heavy fire into the walls of the bunker at the rear of decadent Birmingham Estate. The Bunnies were wiring plastic to their shapely bodies, but it would be a futile gesture, they would be gunned down before they made the forward line of the advancing marines. But it would be a sacrifice that they must make out of loyalty to their master.

    Julia Duffy screamed for the blood of the renowned author, “after all he has put me through, I want his ass front & centre..” And the general consensus of the troops, was a heavy sanction that would take a period of weeks or months would be an excellent start.

    Kohlhammer looked around at the heavy damage taken by the city of Brisbane by his advancing troops, and the loss of life when the wave had settled over Northern America, Einstein was a genius, but had underestimated the effect of transferring the troops forward to 2009, just to get their hands on the imfamous John Birmingham, who had thrust his task force back to 1941, was it worth it to extract a brutal and bloody revenge on one man… Oh yes, this would be sweet.

    Comment by Darkman | 19 April, 2009 | Reply

  16. It’s….

    “So Barnesm what do you think caused The Wave”?

    Barnesm paused in his checking through his bug out bag. “….Zombies dude! It’s gotta be zombies.”

    Comment by Barnesm | 19 April, 2009 | Reply

  17. The Wee Men

    The lights flickers as the big generator cut in, it’s low rumble vibrating the air throughout the compound.

    Michael signalled the bar-keep, a burly Welsh woman named Joan, and had some brown alcoholic liquid splashed into the bottom of his glass and that of his drinking companion, Patrick.

    “Hoo lang has it bin Paddy?” Mick wondered aloud.
    “How long has what been Mick?” replied his well and truly cooked butty.

    “Since they squeezed the leprechaun.”
    “What leprechaun?” asked Paddy look at Mick through his one focusing eye.

    “You know,” he nodded to his surrounds. A poorly lit shipping container-cum Rosie-O’Grady’s franchised traditional Irish Pub, plonked down in the middle of New York’s financial district . “The leprechaun that did all this.”

    ..?” mouth Pat.

    “You know it was a leprechaun” sneered Mick
    “No I don’t” Mick did his best to sound a prtest.

    “Sure you do, what else could do this.”
    “Mick you’re pissed” Said Paddy as if it was a law.

    “No I’m not,” he shook his head emphatically, “… yes I am, but listen to me. There we all were, sure. The whole world of us. We were grieving with the Americans about the twin towers an all the rest. But we were all so scared shiteless of what that fookin nutter Sadam wus goin to do when they attacked. There we were scared, and so we wished, we wished hard that it would all just go away and you know what?” asked Mick

    “No, what?” Replied Paddy
    “Poof!”

    “Poof?”

    “Poof. We wished, some dozy prick was squeezing a we fella’s arm and we wished. Then come that big red rainbow in the sky and ‘poof’ they’re gone. And this is what we got, the end of the rainbow” he exclaimed holding out his arms. “And paddy me old son what is it that’s at the end of the rainbow?”
    “The pot of gold.” Grinned Paddy.

    “Aye, but lets just hope Kippers Angry Bastards don’t spring us before we’ve cleaned it out.”

    Both men grinned as Joan refilled their glasses with cheap grain alcohol. The low crump shook the few bottle of genuine whiskey on the top shelf as blasting started again on wreckage of the Federal Reserve in beautiful deadtown New York.

    Mick 35 year old Belfast labourer, recently from London
    Patrick 39 Ulster boy claims no attachment to the Provos
    Joan 44 MI6 field operative 20 years service sent to NY, NY to observe “The Caper”

    Comment by savo | 19 April, 2009 | Reply

  18. Russian Roulette

    Lieutenant Colonel Nabrakov of the FSB was a worried man.

    Finally they had some boots on the ground. The “What happened” was becoming clearer, the “Why” – not so much, as his corporally challanged opposite numbers would say. He remebered the early gloating quickly followed by the sudden realisation that the many crimes that the United States had commited before the judging eyes of God or Alien Space Bats were ones shared by the Rodina.

    He knew he was underpressure for answers now the Wave had lifted. Had ANYTHING survived at Area 51? – he would know soon, in the mean time he would have to make do with another fruitless interrogation session at the facility in Tungusta

    Comment by sparty | 19 April, 2009 | Reply

  19. On the patio

    – (again with the not so short …;o)
    As the shadows lengthened and the foothills of the sierra shone purple in the gloaming the four of them were sitting out the back of Karsten’s house on an assortment of plastic garden furniture arranged on the patio.

    Having lit the smoky anti mossie candle Adrian sat back gingerly on a wobbly plastic chair and used the clipper lighter to lever the top off the long frosty green bottle of Czech pilsner with a pop and put his boots up on a wooden cable spool that served as table. Karsten reached over, plucked the lighter from his hand with a dusty, calloused paw and used it to spark up his joint.
    “So Adrian” he asked, “What does this professor on television say?”
    “Well I didn’t see all of it, but I’d just changed over to Newsnight on the BBC – I’ve got satellite you know? Anyhow, he said it was America’s being a high tech country and it’s being so big that attracted the attention of… whatever it was. It could also have been all the US TV being broadcast around the world and into outer space.”
    “No, Saddam it was.” Said Heike from her perch on Karsten’s lap, lifting the joint from his fingers and raising it to her lips.
    “As if!” Snorted Adrian, “All he has is load of old Soviet V2 copies and maybe some crude nukes, that’s Second World War technology. What killed the US is War of the Worlds technology, far beyond anything on Earth!”
    Antonio pushed the peak of his baseball cap up with the mouth of his bottle and leant forward to rest his fists on his brown, grubby knees a spliff in one and his beer in the other, “Maybe it was god eh? Many people are thinking this now.” He said looking into Adrian’s eyes.
    Adrian eyed him back with a sidelong look as he took a swig. “Come on Tonio! You know better than that, that’s just their religious upbringing talking. They’ve been indoctrinated at an early age and they’re looking for an answer they can understand.”
    “Or maybe it was, like the insurance companies say, an act of god”, continued Antonio unabashed, “just coincidence and America is unlucky.”
    “No man, too much of a coincidence that the worlds most powerful nation should be hit by this, this… effect at this time. And look, it only killed the dominant life forms – people, America was targeted, precisely, like a sniper does. It’s external intervention by someone, but the thing is, my point is, we can only guess who that someone is and what their motivations are, we’ll never know. Likely they’re too alien for us to ever understand or empathise with their motivations anyway.”
    “And also they are maybe too clever for us to know this, hmm?” said Karsten.
    “For sure” nodded Adrian, “I mean how much do wild animals understand when we cull them”.
    Heike shivered and clutched her bare brown arms, “Is this war of the worlds like Hitler’s blitzkrieg? Do you think they invade us now?”
    “No. If they were going to they would have done it by now, when the wave was up.”
    “So? Why then?” demanded Heike, “All those people, not all the ‘Amis’ were fascists, there were many cool people too. Now all are dead! Good and bad the same, and we wait here for, for what?” She sank back into Karsten’s arms, their chair creaked and there was silence apart from the shrill racket of a “grillo” making it’s sizzling drone in the bushes.
    “Maybe… it was even a sort of coincidence” ventured Adrian hesitantly, the others turned to look at him, white eyes in tanned faces amidst the gathering gloom, “I mean maybe it was like, sort of an alien cruise missile, left over from some long ago war and it stumbled on Earth and… did what it was programmed to do. In every war there are stray rounds and maybe this was one.” A faint warm breeze stirred the hairs on his arm as the navy blue sky turned to black as the cicadas cheeped like mobile ringtones.
    “Ach man! This is fantasy, this is Star Trek, oder wass?” spluttered Karsten, “There was no missile seen.”
    “It wouldn’t be literally a missile, it’d be something much more advanced. Think about it; only humans killed, one shot but no follow up – it’s a theory that fits the facts. I mean, yeah it’s like science fiction but we’re living in a sci-fi world all of a sudden.” Seeing the others were silent, Adrian pressed his advantage.
    “Look, it was nobodies fault, if America was hit by the equivalent of a stray missile from someone else’s fight. But in reality? I don’t believe there’s anyone going to turn up to blame or to fight, not god nor whoever fired that shot – they’re probably a very long way away and a very long time dead.
    But we’re talking about what has happened, past tense. We should be concentrating on what’s going to happen next – America is safe to enter – we should go west.”
    “What is?” “Que? Go where?” Interjected Karsten and Antonio at the same time.
    “I think, we should get out of doing hash runs, get our funds together and go into the American salvage business – we’ve got some expertise. Karsten, you served an engineering apprenticeship and both you and Tonio did your military service and we can all of us drive anything and keep it running and we’re none of us scared of roughing it. There’s a whole continent to be had! More salvage than the surviving Yanks and the US Army can handle, so long as we remember it’s still their country don’t pick any fights with them I reckon they’d let us be, and we’ve picked enough fights with uniforms in our time.”
    Heike leant forward and carefully stubbed the fag end of her joint out into the ashtray, “All these people and even their children are dead and you think we should go and rob their graves Adrian?”
    “Yes, all those people are dead and gone, it’s awful but it’s not our fault. Life must go on, it has to. They need new pioneers over there and we can make our fortunes, if we work hard and move fast we could be millionaires! It’s still the land of opportunity.”
    They talked and planned into the night under the cold, indifferent light of the stars above.

    Adrian. Ex public school, slacker, early thirties.
    Been globetrotting, hanging out and having a good time since the 1990s. In this time he has picked up a lot of practical skills as well as having improved his proficiency with firearms. A bit dodgy but with a strong moral compass, doesn’t touch hard drugs but does he or his mates let inconvenient drug laws get in the way of making a buck by smuggling hashish. We find him and his dope smuggling friends at home in Spain.

    Comment by Matt Keith | 19 April, 2009 | Reply

  20. The Heaviest Duty – Uno y Dos –

    W+20

    Aboard an E4B Airborne Command Post
    Over the Pacific Ocean
    Twenty Minutes Post Wave

    Lieutenant General Jessica Stone, USAF turned off with trembling hands the monitor that had showed views of the empty command center deep under Colorado Mountains. The site for the Air Force Planetary Defense Command had been built at the same time that the better known NORAD command post. However, it was constructed using techniques that even the most casual observer would have identified of at least centuries ahead of anyone else, making it almost invulnerable to any known or foresaw terrestrial designed nuclear weapons.

    For all the protection that it had offered its occupants when the Ramellian beam hit, it might as well being built of canvas cloth.

    Of course, the cold blooded bastards had only gotten one shot in their quest to destroy the allied Andermani base on Dreamland before the moon based batteries have blown them away to kingdom come. However and sadly, the generated field in an instant had wiped out all higher intelligent life in large portions of the continental United States, Canada, Mexico and Cuba. Worse, it seems strangely persistent, a fact that was discovered after one of the orbital fighters attempted a high speed, high altitude flyby.

    With all or most of her family gone, Stone felt devastated. Her youngest daughter Jossie assigned to the Moon outpost and her son Gabriel on the way to the Mars with the Military Expedition were certainly doomed to a slow death. Doomed, because all the support facilities located in Colorado and the Nevada desert that provided their logistical lifelines now stood empty, bereft of any living personnel and due to the force field out of bounds to anyone else.

    Stone opened her desk drawer and looked down at the issue sidearm on her survival vest and felt tempted to use it. But quickly put the thought aside and close it, because the planet still needed to be defended until the Coalition rallied and replied to the attack. The irony was that perhaps for the final time, the United States had saved the world and the ungrateful masses were likely to celebrate its demise. Only her devotion to duty and her oaths prevented her from telling everyone to go to hell and left her grieve on peace.

    But, like the Japanese saying goes ‘Duty was heavy as a mountain’ and with a deep sigh, activated the intercom.

    “Captain Stevens, let’s check the status of our forces, please.”

    Perhaps, later when her duty was finally discharged, she will allow herself to join her loved ones.

    The Heaviest or Hardest Duty, Part Dos by Jose J. Clavell

    CINCPAC Office
    US Pacific Command
    A week after the Ramellian Raid (AKA The Wave)

    Stone looked out of the office suite large windows, as Admiral James Ritchie read slowly the technical reports that she had brought him. Outside was a typical Hawaiian sunny day but if the reports from the moon bases and the orbital platforms were to be believed that was quickly bound to change. For a moment, she remembered happier times with Brian, her late husband and the boys, an island vacation that had led to the birth of her daughter Josie and a career into Planetary Defense. Accepting her new posting at the time, had seemed like a perfect fix for a career minded officer with three small kids and a fighter pilot husband, who TDY’s frequently around the world. She never expected that choosing the ‘mommy’ career track would have ended up saving her life.
    She had not even supposed to have been in the “Watcher” airborne command post at all due to both her position and seniority. However when General Kennedy, the duty flag officer, had to bow out almost at the last moment to hurry to his dying wife’s bedside, her battle with breast cancer having taken a turn for the worse. It had been a simple decision to take his place instead of tasking someone else. Anyway, since her own husband passing and with her children posted off planet, Stone had buried herself into her job as PDC deputy commander. Her kindness with Kennedy filled her with survivor guilt and damned her with grief, now somewhat assuaged by the relatively good news coming from the Moon and the Mars expedition.
    Her attention went back to the Navy man sitting behind the large desk across from her. Stone first impressions of Ritchie were highly favorable. It took a remarkable individual in her opinion, already deep in a world changing crisis to keep its composure when told that everything that he thought he knew was wrong. In his shoes, she probably will have run into the hills. Of course, at first he had not wanted to believe her. Probably, because since her assignment to the blackest program that the United States ever had, she had fallen into a black hole and pulled the hole closed behind her-career wise. Her postings, promotions and even her name like everyone else assigned to PDC were classified to the highest level and not available to the regular military chain of command.
    However, she had come prepared to make her case even if her arrival in a not-supposed-to-exist Air Force E4C had not been enough of a credential. The holographic 3D projection device that now sat on his desk had showed Ritchie the attack from the Moon and the orbital fighters’ viewpoint had done much to assuage his initial incredulity. So she continued to watch him quietly until he finished reading and leaned his chair back, his eyes close. Stone could almost swear that under his breath he was muttering a silent prayer and could not blame him for that as she had been doing the same at odd intervals since the attack. He leaned forward again and to her surprise activated the device with enough skill to zero in the particular part of the presentation that he wanted to watch again. The high definition images depicted gun camera footage showing the destruction of the Ramellian fighter escorts. She had not told him that some of the scenes had been recorded by her soon to be son-in-law. As they watched, one of the phones in his desk rang.
    “Excuse me, General,” he told her, politely. Stone nodded and continued to watch the end of the presentation.
    It had been a damn shame that no Ramellians have survived the attack, she thought. It would have been nice to know which commercial faction condoned it, in case that an opportunity for payback ever presented itself. But Stone could not blame the pilots as she would have not granted quarter either under the circumstances, even if the cold blooded bastards have wanted to surrender in the first place. Ritchie cleared his throat getting her attention back as he hanged the phone.
    “I just spoke with my deputy commander for air operations, General Thomas Black. He served with your husband Brian and remembers you but was under the impression that you have left the service after your daughter was born.”
    Stone gave him a sad smile. “It made for a convenient cover, Admiral. No one expects that a stay at home mom with three kids to be involved in deep black ops. The kids gave me a great excuse to explain why we decided to reside permanently in Colorado and not longer follow Brian on his assignment around the planet.”
    “Around the planet, General? That’s a funny way to put it and suggests to me that there was more to do than that.”
    “Well, yes, I rated WSO in orbital defense fighters and have commanded our main Moon base.” Stone did not add that she had also served as commander with the orbital fighter wing. Old habits of doling out information in carefully measured scoops were hard to break.
    “Then the Space Program and Apollo?”
    “It was another convenient cover for the construction of our Moon bases. I hope that you still remember how abruptly Apollo was cancelled and how the Space Shuttle and the the International Space Station tied us up to only “orbital operations.”
    “Remember…? That was one of my biggest disappointments growing up. I had dreamed of walking in the moon one day.” Stone truly smiled for the first time, recognizing a fellow space buff. She had enjoyed walking in the Moon surface during her posting there. The last time was a family outing of sorts with all her children, their wives and Josie’s fiancée, Jimmie, before Gabriel departure to Mars. Rank has its privileges even in PDC
    “Same here, I confess to had been trilled when I found out the truth about our space program.” She finally replied.
    “And Aliens, I guess that Roswell was true after all,” Ritchie interjected.
    “Nope, sorry, Admiral, the story is mostly disinformation. The United States contact with first the Andermani and later the other species of the coalition started on the late 1800s. Roswell was really a midair collision between two of their fighters helping us repel an Orwegian Pirate raid. Suffice to say no all the bodies recovered were aliens but our cover story gloss over that. Because of that incident, President Truman agreed to join the Coalition and allow a joint Andermani-Coalition base in Nevada.
    “I presume that we are talking Area 51, General?” She nodded.
    “Yes, sir,” Stone remembered her first time there and her surprise at being greeted by her first EBE, a Reticulan, looking exactly just like the greys of legend, folklore and popular media.
    Suddenly Ritchie grew serious. “Ok, I believe you, General. Now can you explain to me the context of what just happened?” Stone straightened in her chair and swallowed hard before starting.
    “Admiral, in very simple terms, we were collateral damage, the target was Area 51.” The silence that followed hung heavy between them. Stone watched Ritchie’s face as it first turned a sickly green followed by an angry red and braced herself for the explosion. However, he surprised her by standing and then walking stiffly towards the windows facing out into the harbor. The Admiral stood there looking out seemingly for a long time before asking without turning around.
    “Why?” Stone also stood up and joined him at the window and looked at the view outside. Pearl Harbor seemed busy and she momentarily wondered if that was part of the normal scene or an increase in activity levels fueled by the wave.
    “Frankly, Admiral, we don’t know. In the surface, the attack doesn’t make any sense. Given the size of the coalition and all its members, the base in dreamland was their equivalent of a small local Coast Guard station. Earth, regardless of what we like to think about it ourselves is a very minor coalition member living out in the boondocks of the galaxy.”
    She momentarily paused, and although Ritchie continued to look out of the window, Stone felt that she had his undivided attention. “When I started my in processing into PDC twenty five years ago, one of my instructors warned me about trying to attribute to aliens, human motivations. He said that although at times we have shared common goals and objectives, their thinking to get there was…well…alien and that trying to do otherwise was akin to trying to teach a pig to sing. It is going to be a waste of your time and is going to annoy the pig. Believe me, sir. You don’t want to annoy the alien equivalents to pigs.
    Richie looked at her, sharply. “Good God, Stone, I don’t think that you are trying to be funny.”
    “No, I’m not, sir. Too much is at stake,” she replied quietly looking straight into his eyes.
    “But the bastards killed close to 400 millions or so of our countrymen, not counting millions of Canadians, Cuban and Mexicans. Now, you are trying to tell me that we were innocent bystanders in the cosmic equivalent to a drive-by shooting? Preposterous,” he finished with an angry scowl.
    “Yes sir, some on my staff have speculated that the Ramellians were testing a new weapon and given what we know of Coalition shielding technology and what it would take to defected it, it could explain the intensity, large footprint and persistence. The coalition is investigating but it probably would take months and most likely years before we obtain an answer. On the meanwhile, we have a world to keep alive and you just read what my analysts are predicting, Admiral.”
    “Not that different from what my own people are saying, General. So returning to your Ramellians, do we have to prepare for a repeat visit?” He asked, frowning with worry.
    “That’s one of the few pieces of good news that I got for you, sir. Because our response was so overwhelmingly effective, there was no one left to convey to their superior how effective their weapon truly was. The Ramellians are divided into numerous commercial concerns, think the old East India Company as an example. Whoever sponsored the attack took a heavy hit in financial and resources losses for nothing to demonstrate in return. That will put them out of the game for a while. On the meanwhile, the Confederation heavy cruiser Unity responded to our call for assistance and is now maintaining a defensive picket in-system to prevent such eventuality although everyone feels that is akin to closing the barn door after the horses left. They have also assisted our people in the Moon and Mars to start making preparations to live off the land, so to speak as we are not in any position to provide them any support for the foreseeable future.”
    “Are they planning to provide any direct assistance to us, too, General?”
    “I’m afraid not, Admiral, although they did offer. However on my judgment, the danger to our civilization caused by the revelation of their existence would be a lot greater than any relief help that we could get out of them. So as acting commander, I declined their offers.”
    “You did what?” Ritchie demanded angrily.
    “Sir, allowed me to explain,” Stone asked calmly, despite his outburst.
    “We have been gaming for over a hundred years, countless scenarios where we make known to the general population the existence of intelligent extraterrestrial life. Those and the live tests conducted in 1939 by Olson Welles at the behest of the US government had showed conclusively that such revelation will lead inevitably to mass panic and deaths. No primitive civilization in our recorded history had ever survived contact with an advanced one without adequate psychological and cultural preparation and that’s still an iffy proposition. Our main organization for that effort, Majestic, had been attempting to do so by manipulation of the mass media and culture since the 50’s. However, we can safely assume that after the wave, everything is back to square one. So in our opinion, letting the world know that E.T. really exist and looks at humans like we look at ants, much less that were directly responsible for the wave is not going to help us at all.” As she talked, Ritchie returned to his desk
    “Ants? I think that I like those damned Ramellians of yours, less and less by the minute, Stone.”
    “Sadly, sir, their attitude is not uncommon within the elder races. On their eyes a very junior species like ours that had not developed independent star travel yet is beneath their notice. The more enlightened to include our closest allies, think of us the same way that we do with the Headhunters of Borneo.”
    “Nice place that you go out there, Stone.”
    “Is a rough universe, Admiral. I thank God every day for sticking us in the boonies.”
    “So where we go from here? My resources are stretched thin, so if you were expecting any assistance from us, you are likely to go empty handed, General.”
    “Actually sir, we had been sort of prepared for a worse eventuality, so we do have the redundant facilities, stores and supplies that with our newly reduced numbers would be more than adequate to see us through for the foreseeable future. Our main problem is how we are going to reach orbit and we have our best people working in the problem.”
    “So what we can do for you then, General?”
    “Frankly, sir, not much. However our chapter calls for always having someone inside the government with knowledge of the threat out there. The wave not only decapitated our government and destroyed almost half of my organization but also leave us out in the dark. As the most senior member of the military not actively engaged in combat operations, I choose you as our inside man.”
    “Are you sure that you want to trust me with all this, Stone?”
    “Sir, I don’t have any other recourse available, no until someone do something and reestablish the civilian government. I can only trust that you recognize the gravity of the consequences that will befall humanity if our secret gets out.” Ritchie did not answer immediately and stared at the reports on his desk. The time stretched between them seemingly forever.
    Suddenly, coming to a decision, he stood up and started to gather all the reports spread on his desk before politely passing then back to her. Stone, without a word, put them back into her briefcase as Ritchie packed the holographic projector. He did so with obvious reluctance and she did not have to read his mind to know that he would have loved to keep it. On that not too different from her late husband and her boys, all gadget freaks. The thought almost brought a thin smile to her face.
    Reluctantly, he passed the device over and then offered his hand. “You have my word for whatever is worth.” Stone nodded and accepted the handshake.
    Coming around his desk, he walked her to the door. “I just got one request, General.” She stopped and waited for him to continue.
    “Get the bastards.” Placing her briefcase and projection device in the floor, Stone straightened and gave him a salute that would have made her instructors at the Air Force Academy proud.
    “You got my word, sir.”

    Comment by Jose J. Clavell | 19 April, 2009 | Reply

  21. Dear Mrs First Lady

    It seemed that half the nutbags and fruitbars who had survived the Wave considered First Lady Barb Kipper a back channel to the President.

    As a result her secret service security detail had to wade through more bizarre mail directed her way than to anyone else in the reformed executive. She wondered if Eleanor Roosevelt or the other Barbara – wife of George Bush had been a target for this kind of crap.
    “Just one of the joys” muttered Smithers her Personal Assistant. “You’ll probably want to reply to this one,” he continued “It’s from one of your old neighbors.”
    “Christ, not Mrs Heinemann again” prayed Barb as she gingerly took the letter from Smithers. The spiky script in ballpoint was not encouraging.

    29 Deerford Drive
    Seattle
    Washington.

    Dear Barb,
    Just brief notes to say thank you for your kindness.
    I understand that you interceded on my behalf to get my medication fast tracked and in turn got me out of that awful cell. Your kindness despite the unfortunate incident with the President is testimony to the goodness in your heart.

    My doctor says that so long as I continue taking my meds and attending therapy sessions, the voices shouldn’t bother me and I wont pose a risk to others or myself again.

    However I feel I need to tell you, so you can tell the President, how it is I may have came to open the hellmouth. You see I alone have special powers to communicate with the ancient ones – modern religions have referred to them as God and the Devil, but I know them as the ancients. They are being of pure energy who exist between physical planes. I am blessed with the capacity to speak with them and unfortunately on 14th March I believe offended them. They have limited access to our temporal realm through portals where lay lines converge. On the 14th I was cursing them and the way they complicate my life when two of the most powerful ancients emerged and caused the horrible deaths behind the wave. I generated a force field to contain them then hid from them for a year as they raged behind the Wave I created. Eventually I accepted my responsibility and banished them back to their plane of existence. Thus I was able to relax the Wave and here we are.

    I hope Suzie is well and hope you’ll visit soon.

    Peace
    Jane.

    Barb let the letter slip from her hands as a cold shiver ran up her spine.
    “There but for the grace of god” she thought.

    Comment by NoWhereBob | 19 April, 2009 | Reply

  22. …and taketh away

    The Lord giveth…

    The massive pan-dimensional being slowly drifted through this new solar system, absorbing the radiation being put out by the yellow star through pores on its membranous skin. As it approached the star the accumulation of radiation started to set in motion a number of internal processes.

    After millions of years floating between star systems at an incredibly slow rate, the being luxuriated in the feast that it was enjoying. However the effect of the massive meal of radiation that it was absorbing acted as an enormous laxative on it.

    The being was effectively invisible to all of the instruments pointed its way from the 3rd planet in this system, so its inhabitants didn’t see the massive sphincter in its rear open and it ejected a whirling cloud of fecal matter in another universe. Caught in the gravity well of the planet the invisible mass headed downwards towards the blinking lights of the continents below.

    Time had no meaning or relevance to the being as it enjoyed the sensation of expelling its fecal matter into the void and it started to repeat the process. .

    The being’s pleasure increased as it ejected another pan-dimensional shit from itself, and squirted the swirling mass into the vacuum on its way into the gravity well of the planet below.

    This one would take another twelve months before it reached its destination…

    In the meantime the being continued on its way, gorging itself on the radiation it needed to survive another millenium in the cold vacuum between the stars. Oblivious to the effect that its passing was about to have upon anotther species and its world.

    Comment by Guru Bob | 19 April, 2009 | Reply

  23. The Rodent

    The hub-bub outside the conference room went up a notch and as Major Gen Gillespie raised his head Howard strode into the room.

    He was surrounded by his latest fancy, a phalanx of ex secret service personnel all with the obligitory dark suits and dark sunglasses. He’d picked them up scattered around the globe and offered them work in his special protection detail. Gilespie had heard mutterings that the Australian Federal Police weren’t over the moon with the stuation, but Howard had becomea law unto himself in the last few months.

    The scurrying of the uniformed technicians and junior officers ceased as the PM strode towards the table.
    “General, I want to know what the hell is going on and when I’m going to get some answers about what has caused the situation”

    Gillespie stood and saluted. “err, sorry prime Minister, but we weren’t due to start for another few hours”, he waved his arms to indicate the mess of communication equipment and cables that were strewn around the area.

    “Something else has come up, General and I need some information immediately. Have you any bloody theories on what has caused this thing”

    “Fucking rodent” thought Gillespie, he knew this wasn’t to start till later. “I’m sorry Mr Prime Minister, but as you can see none of the science staff are here yet” he said indicating the room.

    “And what would they be telling me if they were in the room, General?” was the reply, his eyes glowering under prominent eyebrows.

    “I’m not sure that they’d really give you an answer, Sir” Gillespie shrugged, “I really don’t think anyone has much of a clue”

    Out of the corner of his eye the PM noticed one of the communication techs glance up and then look away quickly. He turned a glare on him and demanded, “well, do you have any idea?”

    The Corporal glanced at Gillepsie who nodded his assent. The tech stood to attention and faced Howard.

    “Err, Corporal Danson, Sir. I think that it was an experiment that went wrong, basically it was self inflicted by the US. If you look at the extent of the wave you can see that it is centered somewhere in northwestern Texas.”

    “Jesus, you’re not one of those Roswell, Area 51 nutters are you” the PM spat.

    “No… no, Sir. Roswell is in New Mexico. The yanks started building a ssuperconducting super collider a few years ago and then the project was abandoned. I think some black type operations then used the tunnels for other reasons. It all adds up. I just think it was one big cluster fuck, if you’ll pardon my french, Sir”

    The PM looked across at Gillespie who just opened his hands palm up. “It’s as good as I’ve heard and better than most” he replied, “at least there is no little green men involved.”

    The PM turned on his heel and followed by his security detachment and sundry hangers on, stomped from the room.

    Gillespie turned and looked at Danson, “god save me from signal fucking Corporals” he muttered.

    “Hey, General, you were an ex-digger, I knew you’d understand” Danson cheekily replied.

    Comment by sibeen | 19 April, 2009 | Reply

  24. This Golfing Life

    David Lawrence had lost a few things in the two years since the Great Stellar Shitfight.

    Four kilos. A bunch of friends. His sense of humour. His job. Stood to reason – come crisis time, governments spend pragmatically on stuff that protects their interests, i.e. explodey goodness, bread and circuses, rather than the discretionary items, the fluffy stuff that gives warm fuzzies to swinging voters. Like spending money on basic research. Research into advanced weapons tech, alternative energy, GM crops or any other applied, targeted, outcome-based, synergy-leveraging, low-hanging-fruit-picking, buzzword-soaked technowank which might dig the big wide flat brown land out of the overpopulated refugee-camp mentality it’d become mired in? Thumbs up. Blue skies curiosity-driven stuff? GTFO. As Lawrence had been forced to do, once the ARC had been wound up as a luxury the nation couldn’t afford and the funds originally contracted to, f’rinstance, research into evolutionary biology rediverted to explodey goodness, bread and circuses.

    Lawrence had, however, gained in other areas. Primarily in the area of a horrendous slice off the tee which no matter of stance adjustment, amateur swing-doctoring or inventive swearing was going to fix. He nudged another fifty-cent Kmart ball away from the pile and addressed it distrustfully. Loose. Swing through it. Let the club do the work. The club was a whizz-bang Titleist competition driver with more shiny movable parts than a Hollywood starlet’s face. Of course, now that much of the nation’s golf courses had been repossessed for growing food to feed the unwashed masses, it was worth about as much as the load of balls at Lawrence’s feet. And a load of balls was all that the techo whizzbangery from the Titleist R&D labs (presumably now a pile of rubble somewhere in the US Midwest) was worth, seeing as though no matter of tinkering, fiddling and general arsing about with the movable weightings and reclinable toggleblurters made the fucker go in anything resembling a straight line. Not that it mattered much out here. It wasn’t exactly the 18th at Huntingdale, Lawrence reminded himself, the low rock-strewn hummock rising slightly over the remainder of the roughly-rehabilitated ground that had, a generation ago, been Blackwater Mining’s first productive coal seam. Two hundred yards away, a mangled Give Way sign, salvaged from a losing argument with a Caterpillar B797 on one of the service roads – B797s won most arguments they entered into – had been javelined into the churned earth as a makeshift pin. Even opening his stance up like that still-astonishing footage of Shiv Chanderpaul facing Warnie front-on a couple of years back (international test cricket having gone the way of basic science research in terms of non-essential distractions) he still couldn’t get within cooee of the bastard.

    Why the chordates? Why only the chordates? How the fuck does that work?

    He hated when he started thinking like this. He hated being reminded that he was wrong. That there wasn’t always solid, logical, experimentally-derived, peer-reviewed explanations for everything. There used to be. He could defend the scientific nature of the universe to anyone. He used to shake his head in mild derision of the creationists, fundies, whackjobs and nutbars who needed deities, fairies, superstitions or Great Spaghetti Monsters to explain the world around them. Lawrence’s universe was explainable by observable, testable phenomena. That was what made him good at what he did. Not stellar, not Nobel-winning job-for-life rock-star status – not like Alex, who’d been marked for greatness since day one, when they’d first met as proto-PhD-peons at USyd – but pretty bloody decent nonetheless.

    Not just vertebrates, but everything with a spinal cord. What’s doing there? What’s the mechanism, for Christ’s sake?

    Waste of time, he reminded himself. Plenty of minds sharper than his had chewed the problem to a pulpy husk, to less than bugger-all resolution. Which, as things always goes, only gave the spotlight to the fundies, whackjobs and nutbars who pedalled a range of supernatural bollocks to a credulous public, anything from God’s visitation for legalising gay marriage to the antimatter-fuelled outer space bodily eructations of ginormous outer space aliens from outer space. There had to be a proper explanation. There was a proper explanation. But Dave Lawrence didn’t have it. What he had was half a bottle of paint-stripper Mudgee mud – even crap wine was over the odds on price these days, but red kept better than beer on field trips – a bucket of balls, an oversized driver and a headache.

    Bizarre bloody way to pick off an entire phylogenetic lineage. The only lineage that could have formed intelligent life, in point of fact. Almost like…

    Shank. He’d tensed up as he’d hit through the ball, grimacing against the obvious conclusion. No. Bollocks to that. Not the ‘intelligent life deleting other potential intelligent life prior to invasion’ argument. There were enough muppets pedalling that shite already. Straight from the realms of bad sci-fi – any moment now the ghost of L.Ron Hubbard was likely to rock up with an army of Thetans riding shottie – and besides, if you’re trying to wipe out all forms of intelligent life with the potential to self-aggregate into higher social structures, why start with the Red States?

    It’s the arthropods, the insects and shite. They’ve never forgiven us for out-evolving them, the bastards. It’s probably those big fuck-off bug monsters from Starship Troopers. Where the fuck’s Doogie Howser when he’s needed?

    He hadn’t quite lost his sense of humour. Which was an achievement, considering what else he’d lost. Alex had taken up a senior postdoc position in Nobel laureate Marlon Weissner’s developmental biology lab at UC Berkeley in January of ‘03. He’d booked flights to go over and see her – technically it was to go to a conference and talk to a bunch of lab heads in the Bay Area about job prospects, but he knew what the dull, monotonous ache in his chest meant. Either coronary heart disease, or he missed her a hell of a lot more than would have been suggested by the last-summer-holiday origins of her pre-departure fling with him – an inevitable pressure release that apparently Stevie Wonder could have seen, according to that standby of gossip rags, Friends Close To The Couple. The ensuing two years without her, much of which had been dominated by the same dull ache in his chest, had pretty much backed up his original hunch. ‘Tis better to have what now? No it isn’t. You can fuck right off.

    Stay loose, swing through, let go.

    Let go. If only he fucking could. And knowing his luck, letting go would just mean losing his grip and hurling Munter’s driver halfway to the flag. At that moment the sky was ripped apart by a quartet of F/A-18s heading south-west – presumably home to Williamtown – but these days Lawrence barely noticed the flyovers. You’re living in a massive refugee camp, you learn to ignore the military toolage. Or the military tools. In fact, that’d been one of the main reasons he’d taken up his old mate Munter’s offer of employment at Blackwater – other than the minor need to eat and pay his bar tab – to get the hell away from the seething masses of stinking humanity on the eastern seaboard. Central-western NSW didn’t attract a lot of visitors, even now that there was a lot more visitors to go around. Digging stuff out the ground was more important than ever to the National Interest – presumably why Blackwater and a bunch of other private resource-based interests had been forcibly nationalised under some very dodgy legislation passed under urgency by Reichfuhrer Howard’s kitchen cabinet – which meant Munter, or Senior Research Geologist Mark Munton to his boss, was a busy Munter. And needed more field assistants. The pay was two fifths of fuck all, but Munter did offer Lawrence his own ute, sat phone, a flat in town and all the coal he could eat.

    Four years of undergrad. Five years of a three year PhD. Two overseas postdocs. Fifteen first-author papers. All to end up holding a fucking theodolite for a bloke voted Drunkest Man in the Universe at our Year 12 formal after-party. Who to this day drops his strides when the pub jukebox plays Eagle Rock.

    Nup, there’s that fucking slice again. Regular as a prune-eater’s morning movements.

    The tappetty rattle of a diesel ute woke him from his self-immersion.

    “Ay,” said Munter, hairy arm out the window of the company Hilux. “What’s doing?”

    “Thinkin’.” Despite spending most of the last dozen years living in trendy inner-city locales across the globe, Lawrence was still a bush kid at heart, and subconsciously found himself mirroring Munter’s almost comically rural drawl – itself becoming ever-more rural the longer Munter had lived out west.

    “Drinkin’?”

    “Possibly,” Lawrence shrugged, sheepishly conceding the half-emptied bottle of shiraz near his feet. It wasn’t like Munter to get all moral recidivist when it came to alcohol intake.

    “I meant,” Munter clarified with a grin, “would you be interested in doing any, you cunt.”

    He thumbed over his shoulder where an Esky was perched in the tray. It was probably piss-foul XXXX and it was probably warm, but Lawrence wasn’t feeling too picky.

    “Yeah, you could twist me arm,” he grinned, noting the dusty old half-bag of clubs in the boot. The same ones they’d used as kids back up home to belt golf balls off the top of the quarry into the river below. There was the small hazard of needing to carry a row of riverside houses and a national highway, but that was just motivation to get under the thing properly and give it some stick. There was still an hour or two of light left in the day, and a spectacular sunset was in the offing. As it usually was out here, given the massive amounts of light-scattering ash and dust still orbiting the stratosphere after the Great Stellar Shitfight.

    Uncle Teds. On ice. Shit, someone got paid this week. The lads cracked an Extra Dry each, flicking the lids into the tray, and contemplated the landscape around them. Ignoring the low hum of the Blackwater Number Three pit a few kays to the west, they could have been on the moon. Lawrence wondered if this was what it looked like beyond the Wave. Then thought of Alex again, before deciding not to. There hadn’t been anyone since. He wasn’t sure there was going to be.

    “Shit happens for a reason,” declared Munter, out of nowhere. He wasn’t nearly drunk enough to be philosophical.

    Lawrence couldn’t really let that slide.

    “Any idea what the fuckin’ reason might be then, O Wise One?”

    Munter nodded laconically. “The Big Fullah upstairs had money on your Rabbitohs winning the Premiership. Not a fuck were they getting it done after losing the first four of the season, were they now.”

    “And so… he nukes the Septics??“

    “He moves in mysterious ways,” Munter observed, “or so I’ve heard. A bit too fucken mysterious for my liking, but you get that on the big jobs.”

    Despite his black mental state, Lawrence allowed himself a grin.

    “As good an explanation as any I’ve heard today,” he concurred

    Comment by Dr Yobbo | 19 April, 2009 | Reply

  25. The Long week

    Shaun drew on the joint, breathing the rough smoke deep into his lungs.

    He crossed his eyes, trying to blur out the frustrated form of Jamie, striding about on the faded brown shagpile in front of him.

    “It’s aliens, man. Fucking aliens.”

    “Dude. I don’t fucking care. Turn the TV back on.”

    Shaun barely flinched as the remote hurtled into his gut.

    “Fucking… be that way!”

    Shaun hit the standby button as Jamie stormed off into the kitchen.

    “…scientific tests have reportedly come back inconclusive. UN experts based in Europe admit the Wave is like nothing the planet has ever seen before.”

    Jamie shoved his head round the door. “Fucking TOLD you it was aliens!”

    Shaun sighed, and took another deep breath in.

    “All right man, you’re right. Fucking aliens, ok?”

    He exhaled. “It’s going to be a long fucking week.”

    Comment by GirlClumsy | 19 April, 2009 | Reply

  26. Kids! –

    Mrs. Zazbog skittered down the hallway of her plasma yurt.

    She skidded to a stop in front of her son’s room using her dominant stilt to balance her torso globe. She peered inside with her ocular stalks and her globe glowed with frustration at what she saw.

    “Tralfaz, how many times I have I told you not to play with your interdimensional energy bubbles inside our yurt!”

    Her son, on his little tripod stilts, quickly spun his torso globe and his ocular stalks shook in surprise as the first thought wave from his mother hit his sensor antenna.

    “Sorry, mom. I didn’t mean to make a mess.”

    Mrs. Zazbog shook her her dominant stilt at her son as she telewaved at him, “well, clean up those bubbles and take the generator outside.”

    “Ok, mom.”

    Mrs. Zazbog hopped and skipped back down the hall. Tralfaz turned his torso globe back toward his cubby and pointed his dominant stilt at the largest bubble in the middle of the floor.

    “Oh, well. It was a good bubble too.”

    The sharp pointed end of Tralfaz’s stilt jabbed at the bubble and it vanished with a faint blue light that flared and vanished.

    Tralfaz grabbed his bubble generator with his tentacle, held it close to his torso bubble, and bounced out of the cubby.
    ————–
    On Earth:

    “…it’s the Wave, sir,” cried Ronnie. “It’s gone!

    Comment by Oldsinger | 19 April, 2009 | Reply

  27. The Wave

    (Hawaii. Crowded. FLASH. Darkness. Space? Oh god…)

    “Laurie? What’s… oh sorry, sometimes these things slip my mind. Forgive me.”
    “You stupid son of a… hhuc… hhuch… you know I always throw up when you take me anywhere! Jon, Adrian did it again.”
    “No. This was completely different this time. An energy wave, tachyons. How’s Daniel?”
    “How’s – Jon, Adrian has just… you know. You know and you did nothing. You stayed here in this… where are we?”
    “60,000 light years from Earth. I call it The Burger. I’ve created a new -”
    “Jon, he’s killed almost every American on the… and you knew! You knew and you did nothing, again!”
    “I wouldn’t say that Laurie. I’ve been very busy.”
    “Jon, why did you just bring me here?”
    “This is where we talk. In fifteen seconds, you tell me I’m crazy. In two minutes, you’re having a smoke with your mother.”
    “Jon, my mother is gone. They call it The Wave. Everyone’s…”
    “Tomorrow you tell me you left Daniel. Our link resumes, we start a new earth, and then you tell me you love me.”
    “Jon you’re… who are those people down there?”
    “Everyone.”
    “Oh my god… what have you done?”
    “This is a new start Laurie. Turns out God is an American after all.”
    “You’re crazy!”
    “Drink?”
    “Jon, you… I think I need to lie down.”
    “I know. Say hi to you mum for me. I have work to do. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
    “Jon no -”

    Comment by Alan Moore | 19 April, 2009 | Reply

  28. Cry Havock

    The observation room was separated from the thickly padded room by two inches of sound-proofed and mirrored glass.

    The patient’s horrified shrieks, while muffled, were spine chillingly distinct.

    “NO! NO KITTY CATS! Don’t pet them, no no no no don’t pet THEM! FERALS, I tell YA, seppo ferals, ferals, KITTY cats DON’T PET THEM … please, please please … why couldn’t it be ME, WHY WHY WHY, No more kitty CATS!.”

    The litany faded away to sobs as the patient slumped in the corner, exhausted from this latest outburst. Dr. Ross watched with clinical detachment as the technicians fussed over their roomful of equipment; video feeds across all spectrums, biometric sensor readings, psi energy output. “Hell, Dr. Ross thought, I think there might even be a Geiger counter in there.”

    No one knew the Patient’s name; he had been brought in several months prior apparently suffering some form of psychotic break. He was found wandering around Brisbane, accosting people, alternating between screaming and clarity, demanding that they direct him to the ‘gold plated hovercraft’ because he was in ‘the circle of trust’ and that the ‘feral was finally gonna’ get what he deserved’. Tests of the patient’s blood identified a whole host of psychotropics along with an experimental psi-booster classified TOP SECRET ULTRA. When the lab results tripped national security snoop programs Ross’ group swept in and removed the patient to a more secure setting. Now, almost one year later, as the demented rants had become more frequent and violent, the technicians, and even some of the other doctors, began to refer to him as Patient Havock.

    Later, in a very secure video conference room, Dr. Ross faced several of the most powerful men in the world. Their grim visages peered from the flat screen monitors as he prepared to deliver his presentation.

    “I’m sorry gentlemen, but I must report that our findings are conclusive, Patient Havock is, indeed, the cause of the phenomenon identified colloquially as ‘The Wave’.”

    Questions burst from all of the monitors and Dr. Ross waited until they stilled before he continued, “Apparently, and we still don’t know how security was breached, Patient Havock was able to obtain and ingest a large quantity of the experimental psi-booster code named RHINO. The drug has rewritten his genetic code and boosted his psionic talents to almost god like levels. Unfortunately, a byproduct of that transformation is that he is certifiably insane. We have kept him sedated and there have been no further, ummm, manifestations of the wave phenomenon since the initial ‘attack’.”

    A grizzled General interrupted, “But that why the hell would he wipe out most of North America?”

    “Interrogation during his more lucid periods has indicated that he harbors an intense level of envy for someone living in the United States, specifically, Atlanta, Georgia. The rest of CONUS was collateral damage. All of those hundreds of millions lost because of one man’s envy.”
    The General asked the next obvious question, “Well, if you have him sedated, how come the Wave is still standing?”

    Ross replied, “Quite simply General, we surmise that it stands because Patient Havock and the Wave are connected at a fundamental atomic level and it will continue exist as long as Havock is alive.”

    With that pronouncement Dr. Ross left the conference room as the discussion to follow was way beyond his pay grade. The decision was not long in coming, the directive was couched in innocuous bureaucratese, but the end game was the same – Patient Havock was to be euthanized as soon as possible.

    Dr. Ross watched as the killing drugs were introduced into Havock’s IV. He listened as the interval between the beeps of Havock’s heart monitor and respirator grew longer and longer. On a monitor on the wall a video feed from a ship stationed off the west coast of the U.S. showed that the Wave had begun to oscillate more rapidly as Havock’s life ebbed.

    At the moment the solid tone of death echoed in the operating room the wave simply disappeared as if it never existed.

    Comment by Mr The Rhino | 19 April, 2009 | Reply

  29. My Heart Will Go On

    Manny and Larry were sitting in a bar in Reykjavík.

    “You know what it was,” said Manny
    “Huh?” Larry was a bit pissed.

    “You know what caused the Wave,” persisted Manny
    “What are you talking about?” groaned Larry

    “The Wave, that thing that made America go away.” Manny was being a bit too cheery for the topic.
    “Yeah?” Larry was now just feigning any interest.

    “I’ve seen the satellite pictures, I know the physics.”
    “So?”

    “My heart will go on.” Manny took a deep swig of his beer.
    “I love you too.” Larry opened the Racing Guide in the local paper and turned away a bit.

    “Nuh,” said Manny, pulling at Larry’s shoulder “It all started with that expose that Clive Cussler wrote about a load of Americium smuggled onboard the Titanic.”
    Larry looked up from the Racing Guide, “I don’t read books”

    “When the safe had corroded enough to release the Americium, the radiation hit that big ruby that Kate Winslet threw overboard, ‘My Heart Will Go On’ and whoosh!”
    “Whoosh?” repeated a sceptical Larry.

    “Whoosh, the radiation hit the ruby and just like in a laser, the photons have become coherent but resonating at 1.73gigahertz, the ultimate brown note and since it was refracting underwater, the radiation cone took on a tear drop shape and there you have it.” Manny was looking very pleased with himself.
    “Bullshit.”

    “Maybe,” Manning Pope, a newly minted physicist shrugged and went back to reading his journal.

    Comment by savp | 19 April, 2009 | Reply

  30. The Surfer

    The surfer sat astride his board, legs dangling in the cool pacific water.

    He had plenty of time to contemplate the situation in between sets. Off in the horizon he saw the blue Wave shimmering above Oregons coast. Like a giant jellyfish it had swallowed the entire continent which now lay silent.

    A small pang of remorse tugged at the insides of the surfer but his cold eyes wore the blank expression of a professional. He had found this place and as directed he had removed all capacity it had to defend itself. The dish was prepared and soon it would be time to feast. Galactus was hungry.

    Comment by lobes | 19 April, 2009 | Reply

  31. Wireless

    Jane was stepping down the stairs wearing only her “Madame Butterfly” robe, her heaving bosom bouncing with each step.

    It was time to come hither her beau out of that damn dank basement and back to reality….
    Sid was working very hard in his basement. The basement was crowded with wires, mismatched surplus Laboratory Capacitors from Bell Labs (good thing Murph worked security there, it certainly helped with the “midnight requisitions”), a jumble of Magnatrons, Tesla single node vacuum tubes using bremsstrahlung effect waves focused through Geissler tubes to create a a vertical ionized channel that would open up a dimensional gateway to another possible alternate universe. Despite being a “C” student, Sid believed that he had made the necessary break through while studying Nicola Tesla’s wireless power transmission. Sid knew he was right.
    The last connection in place, Sid adjusted his glasses and threw the switch and a little golden brown bubble began to fade in as the current was fed into the system, augmented by the Tesla capacitors and contained by the magnetron s. Across town the McKinney power station’s power use displays lit up, and the bubble in Sid’s basement flared fiercely and Sid was reduced to a gelatinous puddle amidst his smoking clothes on the floor. The entire output of the Midwestern power grid was sucked into Sid’s basement, and McKinney along with a sizable chunk of the North American Continental area was empty of human life.

    Comment by Tygertim8 | 19 April, 2009 | Reply


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