What Do We Know – Slipspace Communication and UTs

Throughout the Galactic Republic, Slipspace is rudimentary to the government’s power, the lifeblood to the Milky Way galaxy. But the technology is not a permanent stream; this universe is bound to its limitations. Being simple in design, an artificially grown crystal with a specific ion matrix is used as a fuel source and the true representation of hybrid tech. It is hard to manufacture but incredibly self-reliant for all communications.

But what is Slipspace?

This alternate dimension does not mimic our dimension as one would theorize and what not scientists and wizards could explain. It is a dimension made entirely of energy—chaotic, limitless energy—much stronger than solar fusion and as a speck to human nuclear energy. It can literally make human physicists forget they wear underwear before workout out the mathematical formulas. It was discovered long before the Galactic Republic was formed. How or why it was discovered generates conflicted stories. The Archives don’t have the original story, not even the oldest of gods. An accident? A cosmic event found at the right time? A mad titan’s ambition? Economics? Who knows. Understand that others tried refining it as ship fuel and weaponry, but tried and failed like the energy-hungry Sygren people, the energy cannot survive in our universe. So much for the primal need to have limitless energy to power our cities.

Yet it exists. It has purpose.

The Goru Slipspace Drive is the machine to make the connection possible. This device is built as three electromagnetic rings encased in a glass globe rotating a crystal. One rear door allows access to install crystals or perform repairs, while two clamps on either side keep the globe tight to a control base. Using a small enough voltage to the rings and rotate at high velocity, the crystal shatters a little to rip a portal between our world and Slipspace. It is then linked with another Drive to create a stable wormhole. And like any fuel, crystals are diminished. Looking through the event horizon, Slipspace is literally “chewing” at the shards until the device shuts down or diminishes the crystal supply, closing the rift.

Humans would believe the drive designs are from an alien corporation. It could be mistaken for a Vyroken invention. No. The designs are shared to the citizens by the Galactic Republic, by decree as a life right. Businesses and military can build them. Even younglings in science class can build them. The designs date before the formation of the Republic by an extinct species that remain nameless to this day.

For communications using Slipspace, there is no real form of Slipspace comms like radio or subspace. The nature of the dimension is that of thick sludge. The energy does not generate or carry sine waves. Shoot radio signals into it and they dissipate. But shoot radio waves through a wormhole and are energized by the dimension to reach the other end almost instantly, without loss, static, or latency. This alone is proof to establish a Slipspace mesh network of wormholes that allows all radio technologies, vital for video conferences, remote robotics, live RNN broadcasts, entertainment, military strategy, and much more.

This network is built upon Slipspace Drive Towers designed to handle vast amounts of information. These are installed in systems, orbiting or on capital worlds. A cylindrical tower houses the antennas covering 360° of coverage, controlled by a server and router network to code, decode, translate, and re-translate the mathematics. Then they are sent down toward the Drive chamber where all communications are transmitted and received in yottahertz(human measure) through the Slipspace rift. A separate computer monitors the Drive from mechanics to energy levels. So for refilling it after a crystal is depleted, three more Drives are in standby mode: the next drive activates, the computer switches them, and the process continues with only a five-second delay, working around the clock. tower crystals are grown large enough to last a hundred years until restocked.

Of course, every tower is guarded by autonomous sentries capable of ripping enchantments and ship fleets to pieces. Nothing and nobody, not even an iron meteorite, can come close to the towers.

Now if a system doesn’t need the towers, they can use subspace. It still falls under our universe’s physics so it’s limited to cluster systems and relay stations.

The Slipspace comm network, or SCN, is impressive, but that doesn’t help with language barriers.

Also decreed by the Galactic Republic as a life right and spread to all major electronic guilds and corporations specializing in hybrid tech, universal translators are created, or UTs for short.

They are built as collars, most used design, for users with extendable earpieces that don’t obstruct the user’s natural hearing. Other designs like pins, helmets, or wrist devices with wireless earpieces are built; it’s up to the person or species will.

One computer, installed with the user’s dictionary, reads off the inscribed glyphs on the casing or band that handle in-air phonetic translation. Whatever the person says, the user hears them through the glyph’s translation in their language. The other way, the user speaks his own language, and the person hears him/her in their language through the device. Two UTs can lower the computer’s processing power but doesn’t cure bad lip sync.

If personal UTs are not readily available, special techno-enchanted strips and poles networked to language libraries are placed in ships and cities, including hawker markets and government buildings with the most language barriers to hurdle over. There is software available for translating words and glyphs for all mechanical and magical computer systems.

But the main goal for these two feats of communication from the Council is that they must lower misunderstanding across multiple species. They want everybody to talk, without restrictions or boundaries, and not alienate each other. Take that away, and there will be war.

Now we could go on about communication technologies, but that will need to be discussed some other time.

Ghost Factor’s Future

So this is important to say.

It’s been six years since Mana Pool was released, and since that year, the sequel has been worked on. Like…worked on, for reasons. There was that year during Nanowrimo I wrote half of the book, but the plot back then was not up to par. They are notes, and I wonder why I reference it. So the plot was reworked several times. Over the years, having a single writing day was difficult.

Real life took all the attention. And YouTube. And Netflix.

My life’s story is known to the older readers, but again, I got to say it, in this simple, bulleted list:

  • Lost four family members to death, including my father
  • First IT job, and the humiliation afterwards
  • Finding a job outside my mountain hometown
  • The work schedule
  • More family issues
  • A hacked website
  • Depression

A lot of stress and sucked out motivation. Not easy to crawl out of.

But there were things released, such as the Snippet stories, the originals and rewrites. Rewriting the Tyler Ingert stories for From the Den. Then I joined Podiobooks.com as an online intern. Yet, nothing really new, such as the next book.

I still feel new to writing. Just that second novel, writing it, is difficult. I feel there is a invisible bar I must meet. Like movie sequels: you cringe if it’s bad or good. coughTransformerscough. I don’t see Ghost Factor in that bubble, but those imaginary critics are around, shutting me down before I’m on a roll, or write the first word of the day. So now, with family stable, job stable somewhat, slowly the creativity is coming back. Not fast enough, though.

So here’s where Ghost Factor’s future lies.

Here’s the real problem I’m facing: I lost my editor. I haven’t heard from her for a long time, so it’s a nervous train for quality work. And certainly not a lot of beta readers. I’m sort of protective of my stories.

But leaving Ghost Factor because of that will not stand.

I thought about this for a while, how to push Ghost Factor out, while feeling good about it. I somehow thought back over and over of my days on DeviantART writing the Tyler stories. That weekly push to write, edit, and publish until the story is done. Then looking over YouTubers and webcomic artists/writers, and the communities they built.

So…why not?

Why not serialize Ghost Factor next year and get this anticipation off my back?

This all spells like I’m regressing from being a “real” writer or professional writer, but it’s just me finding what I love about writing. I want that spark back years ago.

My idea is to serialize it on my website, DeviantART, and Wattpad next year. If you are interested, please comment, whether do what makes me happy or keep writing until the entire book is finished and released on one day. If there’s enough interest I’ll share how I will release the chapters.

What Do We Know – The Galactic Republic

The Milky Way galaxy; quiet from afar but busy from within.

Humans on Terra Firma still conflict with each other whether life exists outside the Sol system, or their planet is the universe’s center to be that naive, while fighting over who’s religion is right or wrong.

But it’s no secret. The galaxy is full of life, and far more established than what humans could comprehend.

Multitudes of species, races, cultures, technology, and magic, among seventeen billion worlds. Many forms of flesh, elemental, energy, cosmic, autonomous, and synthetic. Species that want to explore, trade, communicate, conquer, and perhaps kill, all in the name of surviving in this universe.

So the Galactic Republic was established eons ago to serve as the galaxy’s identity for all free species. At the center of the Republic’s laws is the Galactic Council, homeworld-elect members of each species and sworn in for their seven-year term to debate, ratify and mandate laws and trials over diplomacy, security, economics, technology, magic theory and practice, while keeping a half-step back from specie politics. A daunting task to watch over so many worlds and their inhabitants, yet they must follow three doctrines to keep it going, in absolute reason why: life preservation, communication, and prosperity.

What all council members must realize is that life is precious and sacred. They foremost want to keep life going and prevent extinction-like occurrences. Records from the census A.I. Thergeos, there are over a thousand registered species in the Republic. A few dominant species have their own governments such as the Synth Dominion, The Order, the Halcunac Empire, and others within or outside the Republic’s domain, but the Council lets those governments operate in feuds or partnership unless there is a life threatening situation upon the Republic. This also applies to primitive species.

Species that haven’t advanced themselves—culturally, technologically, or extraterrestrial tolerant—they are kept under watchful eye of the Primitive Culture Protection Act; protection from outside threats while promoting natural evolution without extraterrestrial influence. A formal First Contact ritual is conducted once a primitive species is recognized as evolved, but in more ways selective of why joins the Republic on many factors. The last ritual was with Kyta, homeworld of the Kytalthans over seven hundred years ago and Councilmember Tress Ki is the lead support of drought relief on ill-terraformed planets.

But some protected species are hostile, both themselves and/or others, and present a real danger to the Republic’s values are marked as Red Flagged, planet and system included. Like Terra Firma, one of twenty known worlds at this status.

Humans are not magical, evolved, not agreeable with each other, disputed as extremely hostile to extraterrestrials, but their cognitive thinking of destructive scenarios while perversely building nuclear weapons without regard of all life, even themselves, is a major threat to the Republic. Imagine if they realize extraterrestrials exist?

Their system, including the oort cloud, is blocked from all incoming transmissions from neighboring systems so to make them they are alone in the universe, while under constant observation. Anyone who enters the system is, sadly, a lost cause. No hope for Red Flagged worlds to ever join the Republic, for any reason.

With communication between species, the Galactic Republic standardizes magic and technology to everybody.

Every Republic civilization has magic-enhanced computers called Universal Translators, or UTs, deeply integrated within locations and as small device in remote areas. Species can speak their language without even learning the other’s (their choice to want to), but the hybrid tech can live translate speech without delay or echo. This is especially important to limit miscommunication and misunderstanding. They are installed as towers, tubes for ships, or worn as collars, or anything; the designs are open to anybody without corporate restrictions.

Transmitting information is also standardized. The technology behind it can be discussed in length, but Slipspace is dominant to carry all transmissions in almost real time. Array towers are scattered across known systems and planets in a broadcast network, with enough Slipspace crystals to last a hundred years before restock. Ships do have Slipspace Drives for encrypted transmission, integrated or portable. This network is vital for trade routes, news outlets, military, personal use, and civilian entertainment.

The technology can be discussed in depth later.

As of government prosperity, the Republic does not conquer worlds as others assume. They grow by nature, by First Contact species, and never go beyond what they can’t cover. Even advanced civilizations have their limits and borders. Yet being as big as the Republic, it doesn’t forget its citizens and where they come from. The ancient lawmakers instilled a practice even today is ambitious and daring.

Other governments have static capitol planets; the Galactic Republic is symbiotic to chosen planets.

The entire government operates on platforms and motherships. The Galactic Council is housed in the Ark Mothership, built as the size of a small moon, and joined with several motherships as sub-capitols, or districts, that hold everything from the entertainment, business, economy, ship harbors, industry, agriculture, markets, village life, housing, to military power such as the Royal Navy. The districts are independent from the Ark and hover over the host planet with a highly advanced public transportation system. Platforms and space stations orbit the planet, some have more than what the districts could offer.

Currently, the host planet is the Class-M planet Creos, homeworld of the Creosians and their Councilmember Trygo “The Hammer” Denverbay, in it’s 321st year.

So as being a symbiotic capitol, there is bound to be issues with the planet’s inhabitants. Not so. There are strict guidelines to prevent melding of species. No wars are made against the host planet. No destruction of the inhabitant’s economy or way of life. It is left as is before and after the motherships and stations teleport to a new host planet every five-hundred years by popular vote.

So for one Councilmember, Trygo, a battleship captain, his crew and another ship’s crew, an unlucky Halcunac mercenary, and a RNN investigative reporter, there is little known of what is happening on Terra Firma, and what it might cause to the Galactic Republic.

Update on My Writing

Another long time away from this blog, but I can’t get away from sharing updates now that the day job settled down.

Yeah, the day job was taking my focus from writing this fall, like every time. I had to do data entry for one client and became a temp assignment auditor as the company developed immense growth, and growing pains in departments. So my interest in writing fiction went down in the dumps, and that annoyed me a lot. The kind of feelings when going home after work and do nothing else. Helpdesk is taxing on creativity. I gained weight.

Things are really calming down and my schedule is what I wanted and it’s leaving me to take a breath and fo…Oh a cat video!

It’s gonna take a while to get back in a routine. Here’s what I have going for the rest of the year.

Ghost Factor took the most beating. I had to delete one chapter that never worked and rewrite that portion of the plot, and this was before my day job got insane. The draft will get done by the way. Also I hoped you did read the first chapter I released weeks ago so if you haven’t yet, check it out here or DeviantART. The release date is still out of my control, so I have another post about that next week. This is kind of big for me and the support is needed to get this book off the ground. I have the two remaining Snippet stories, Keystone and Her Discovery, left to edit and clean up. When they will be released is still tentative and that will coincide with the post next week.

The “What Do We Know” posts are still being worked on. Currently I have the biggest to write which is the Galactic Republic. I think it’s the hardest one to do besides flushing out characters. What the government does, who’s part of it, what does it value, what are the goals as a whole – I get lost in it sometimes. Be on the lookout for that this month.

Lastly, I was building a list of stories I want to write not relating to Mana Pool or Tyler Ingert. These stories are geared toward formal submission like Asimov Magazine, except one fan fiction story of a video game I like so much that I have to write it, yet I’m still toying with the plot of how to best approach it.

So that’s all I got for now. I’m still reading fiction, still writing in my notebook, still reading about screenwriting, and still limiting my distractions. I just wish the routine and changes start sooner.

Later.

The State of My Writing Tools

Since this is November and Nanowrimo, I feel like sharing my writing tools because with the recent Apple announcement bugging me, I’m still evaluating what I use to write.

I work on Macs for writing, and within my MacBook is Scrivener. I can’t be without that app to do my job. Just the best document organizer and word processor I could ever find.

I still use Microsoft Word and Pages for story editing, but never draft them, except résumés and cover letters. It’s Track Changes. I love it. Honestly, if anything I want it is to make Track Changes open source and fuse it with Scrivener, but this is not a perfect world and I must live with it. I also use Evernote for story ideas, notes, and articles to reference by, maybe draft a blog entry if I feel like it.

Outside the laptop I have my collection of notebooks. A couple pocket size ones for quick jots during the day, a couple full journals, and some notebooks I haven’t touched yet, like the blank sketchbook covered wrapped in leather from Oberon Designs.

I carry a Lamy Safari fountain pen—with an extra fine steel nib and filled with Noodler’s Black—a G2 gel pen, and a mechanical pencil.

I do have an iPad but it showed its age this year. Sitting on the shelf, collecting dust, and wiped of all my data and apps, I’m still figuring out what to do with it. Selling it is fruitless; it’s engraved with my name and website.

So back to Apple. They released the new MacBook Pros after being ignored from significant updates for years that with the new models, some things I like and some just…unsettle me. I still like the design, the software, surprisingly like the keys after seeing one at an Apple Store, and somewhat yay or nay on the Touch Bar band wagon, but the big pros and cons I have about them is the USB-C ports. Nothing wrong with USB-C; I like it. My phone is USB-C. MacBook Pros were loaded with ports to satisfy professionals, but now it’s a adapter nightmare. It’s smart Apple realized the issue and cut the prices in half but a headache is still a headache. It’s just too early to call it.

As a person that grew up using Macs, I’m torn. It bothers me. The software is great, but the hardware premium is getting higher.

In the future I would love to move to full-time Linux. In my notes I have a conversion chart for alternative apps, most are now web based. But the two big reasons I can’t move just yet is Scrivener and iTunes.

Scrivener for Mac has all the features I need the unofficial Linux version has, not even Revisions. iTunes—oh boy—I still have shows still on DRM, which only work on iTunes or iOS. I did try building a Raspberry Pi iTunes server one time but it never worked. I can find an app to remove the DRM, but not right now.

Or instead of Linux, I go rogue and build a hackintosh, the Frankenstein of Apple users. My brother built his for work and he’s, literally, happy as a clam still. The budget is slowly growing, just nowhere near where I want it.

I don’t know what direction to take right now, but that choice will come. And if USB-C gets into pop culture, I’ll reconsider my opinions. But right now, I’ll stick with my MacBook for my work.

Mana Pool – The Ghost Factor – Chapter 1 Sample

Happy Halloween, folks.

The second novel is still not done. That’s just the hard fact to stomach, and I know it’s taking this long to write it. I figure that since it’s taken this long, I’ll just have to cave and share what I have.

One chapter. Just one. That’s all you will get for now. Hope you enjoy the beginning, I’d love to hear what you think.

Mana Pool Divider

wave_crystal

Magnolia Lane Plantation

Derry, Louisiana

April 14, 2013 10:17 PM ATW

Remember me saying things will get complicated after my sister got home? Well, fuck complicated. Things got ridiculous.

One hour. Just one hour from starting the night’s hunt and everything turned south so fast. My right hand shook my camcorder and flashlight in the other as fear radiated through my body, causing goosebumps on my arms to rise as dense as sandpaper. I experienced poltergeist activity before, but miss, after The Wave, this felt different.

I mouthed curses as I watched a candlestick float several feet away from me in the upstairs hallway. All three candles were lit, orange and yellow flames flickered. It swayed right to left, slow and ominous. It was a cliché, right out of a ghost story, but it was real. It happened.

I was scared, but the greatest feeling was excitement.

“K-Keep recording, this stuff is great,” I said to Alex.

“How about breathing? You’ll jerk that camera off your hand,” Alex said, more scared than me. I failed to make a comeback.

What we witnessed and captured was as much as movie and TV special effects. Now, before The Wave, those effects did not exists in the real world. Actual poltergeist activity like objects moving on their own were rare. Common activities were EMP spikes on detectors, disembodied voices in white noise recordings, and unexplained white orbs on video. Capturing the rare events is a hunter’s goldmine to prove the afterlife’s existence.

It’s as if The Wave shook the ghost world too. But from my knowledge, people refuse to acknowledge it’s a big deal.

“Poke it,” Alex said.

“Poke a candlestick?” I said back. “Alex, knock off the jokes.”

“Who’s the leader? You are. You convinced us to come here and you’re the most needy to get evidence. It’s your hunt. Check for wires. It has to be wires.”

My former investigation partner was this stuck up skeptic of the supernatural. We knew each other since college. He covered the equipment issues like batteries, memory cards, replacements, and some repairs since his film degree didn’t go anywhere. He needed a side job anyway. Yeah, it took some convincing to join me on this hobby of mine, but the travel aspect was the seller. He kept his stubbornness and skepticism, but since The Wave, it lowered to being anti-terran. He was scared of magic as the rest, even checking whims for tattoos every day, anticipating the day he’ll be what my sister is.

“Knock it off with the wire jokes, Alex. If you think so, check yourself,” I said.

“Nah uh. Not me. You-“

The candlestick darted away and into the master bedroom before Alex finished. I cursed loud and my skin prickled.

“What’s going on up there?” Frank yelled from downstairs, another former tech. He was in freelance audio for recording studios, the one that made a living on his degree.

“Don’t come up, we got this! Stick with Tabitha and Sassel,” I said and ran to the bedroom, fearing just about anything to go wrong.

Luckily the curtains were only on fire. Good thing it wasn’t the bed. “Shit! Alex, help me with this!”

The plantation-era antiques had been preserved by the owners for years. They’d kill me if I let anything else turn to ash. The candlestick was out and on the floor. I kicked it away as I and Alex tore the half-burning curtains down and stomp them out. The floor was scorched a little but better than a burning building, right?

Alex’s voice jittered as he talked. “Oh man, this is getting too real, Robert. Too fucking real. We need to leave.”

I made several more stomps before saying, “This is small, Alex. It’s the best footage. Tabitha hasn’t even started yet.”

“Small? Listen to yourself! You’re being obsessive. We’ll die if we stay long enough.”

He had his own reasons, but I was the leader. I waited too long to find and capture my evidence and that small poltergeist act would not scare me away.

“We will not die. Stop thinking so overboard about—“

“Fuck this theory. I’m out,” he exclaimed.

I restrained myself from socking him in the jaw. “Alex! This evidence is important. I can’t stress this enough,” I argued. “I’m not backing out and neither is Tabitha.”

“Bringing her was a mistake!” That prejudice tone was there like bad cabernet, strong enough to can’t be drinkable.

“Hey, feel free to leave for all I care. This is the third strike from you about her. Go, but I will not leave until I get my—“

A high pitched scream from downstairs cut me off, and a familiar one to make me forget Alex’s judgement. Frank’s voice came next. “Whoa, whoa, Tabitha, stop! Holy shit!”

Her scream got louder and higher in pitch just like that monk voice during The Wave, but raw fear was mixed to make me feel it within my skin. Magic had a play I’m sure. Blue light shone from the hall, along with the sound of a power generator, lasting for several seconds. Frank screamed again. Then a heavy thud hit the ground floor along with Tabitha’s terror filled voice.

“No,” I whispered.

“She didn’t!” Alex yelled then turned to me. “Nice job getting us killed, dickwad!”

Suddenly, the whole house shook under my feet. The walls groaned like a tired old man. The antiques on the shelves and tables in their place, even some fell and crashed to the floor. I stood strong against it, but Tabitha’s safety was all I concerned about.

I ran out of the bedroom ignoring Alex’s warnings and pocketed my camcorder. I grasped my flashlight tight in my right hand. Alex yelled to wait up but a thud and an “oof” made me turn back. Alex was flat on his chest. An ottoman was under his legs. I never saw that near us but on the other side of the room during the initial house scope an hour ago. Just like other stories. “Alex, you okay?”

He waved me away after groaning. Hi looked up with hateful eyes at me. “I’m fine, but this is all on you. Stop that terran before she kills us!”

“She’s not a killer!” I did not help Alex. Not all terrans are killers. I know it all too well. Screw Alex.

I was almost to the stairs when a table from the wall suddenly moved to block my path. Yep, poltergeist activity was doubling in strength. It had to be terran magic pulling another surprise on me, yet others will argue as always. I dodged it without clipping my hip on its edge. Then a couple of paintings flew at my face as I ran down the staircase, but I avoided each one without hesitation and got to the ground floor.

Frank ran past me in a blur before I stopped him. That guy looked scared to hell, running out the door screaming, “I quit!.” He ran past the Jeep, through the long driveway, dropping his equipment in every direction so to run faster. It felt pointless to stop him.

“Robert, come! Tabitha’s out cold!” Blared a shrill, female Southern voice.

Instead of the voice’s owner, my eyes fell on the living room’s highest poltergeist activity. My flashlight fell from my relaxed hand. Older antiques floated and circled in a vortex of charged mana near Tabitha’s unconscious body. The voodoo priestess-turned-terran was on her back, her white turban was knocked off. She wore her traditional white dress and modified it a while ago to accommodate her terran tail to sway free, but it was pinned under her back. Her pointed ears stood out from her shaved head. On her chest, her black cat totem was performing CPR and swatting Tabitha’s face with no change.

“Dammit, Tabitha, now’s not the time to cat nap!” The cat yelled again with another swat to Tabitha’s cheek, its glowing blue eyes showed much concern.

I called out her name before kneeling beside her avoiding the chaos overhead. She still breathed, shallow, like in a deep sleep, but her mouth moved to quiet mumbles of her ancestral African language, without her deep, sweet Southern motherly accent.

“Sassel, please tell me Tabitha did it intentionally,” I said.

“On purpose? No, she bloody did not! Separate to cover more ground. What a brilliant idea!”

“Never mind that.” I dodged a heavy book that narrowly clipped my head. “What happened?”

She shook her head then said, “She. Got. Scared. She got defensive, charged her mana, and it all got sucked out of her. Happy!?”

I wasn’t. “All of it?”

“Every last drop. Don’t you dare question a totem’s words.”

A gaping hole in my stomach opened. If I knew one thing about totems, they know their masters, all their lives. They are their physical subconscious after all. I had no say to argue against Sassel, but it proved part of my theory. If only I wasn’t so nearsighted to stay with her. Sometimes I hate my bad choices.

“Shit. We need to leave before Hell breaks. Alex, get your ass down here!” I started pulling Tabitha from under her armpits. Man she was heavy. She still mumbled. I then noticed the lack of terran tattoos. Was she really drained of mana?

Alex was already at the bottom of the stairs. He saw the vortex, dropped his camcorder, and bolted out the front door. “Fuck this shit!” He screamed. Jerk.

Before I was five feet from the door, still dragging Tabitha, the floorboards rattled as piano keys to stop me. Each space gave off the familiar blue light. A booming voice of someone—or something—overcame me, as if whaling in bone-splitting pain. Fear overcame me.

Wind from nowhere blew around me, then toward the vortex. I spotted charged mana seeping from the floor board cracks, adding to the growing torrent of energy.

It was close…

That feeling of “Get the hell out!” and “See it before it disappears!” fought within me, but the ladder won. I watched the charged mana morph. It was the same as the other stories, and some video on the internet. Nothing to stop it, yet I had to see see the result for good reason. The thing was near completion when Sassel hissed at it. As it faced us, Sassel screamed and ran out. I stayed, seeing, almost losing my grip on Tabitha. She can summon that?

Some places were fully manifested, some yet to be complete. I could see inside its chest cavity; organs, intestines and ribs expanded with each hoarse breath. Its arms and legs were on different places on the semi-merged torso. Like a headless body drove neck-first into the other’s lower back. It’s stretched head stared down at me with four empty eye sockets. It struggled for air and gurgled fluids, desperate to be alive.

To put it in perspective, that damn thing was a Picasso/John Carpenter stitching of a Confederate soldier and a slave woman.

It’s only a ghost it’s only a ghost, I thought.

It opened their mouths of crooked teeth, unhinged. It gurgled, then screamed to vibrate the whole house and my body.

“BATS TOIIIIIII!”

I snapped myself out of it and found the urge to carry Tabitha on my shoulder and ran out. Frank being long gone, me, Alex (somehow waiting for me), Sassel and Tabitha got into the rental Jeep. I took the driver seat, fired up the engine, and sped on  the driveway screaming as my throat turned dry. Looking in the rear view mirror, the damn ghost was out, running after us, still screaming that word.

“Drive faster!” Alex yelled.

“I am, I am.”

Once I drove passed the gate and looked back, the ghost was already dissolving away.

Told you things got ridiculous!

What Do We Know – Containment Protocol and After

On New Year’s Day morning, the White House was still under lockdown since the nation-wide massacre. Bodies were still being picked up across the capitol by the truckload, cars and infrastructure damaged to untold sums of repair costs, and people had their faces to the live news of the Oval Office.

Sarah Winchester, Secretary of the Interior who worked and educated herself out of Los Angeles’ Skid Row when she was a child, survived the massacre in Capitol Hill after hiding in a closet with three others with a fire axe in her hand. Scores of red-eyed humans that were employees and civilians slaughtered people, each one chanting, “Witnesses must die!” Five of them were outside, bashing at the closet door just to rip the woman’s and the other’s heads off.

She was sure she had no secrets to hide. Holes were made in the wood, bleeding fingers coming closer to them. Winchester raised the axe. Just a few fingers, that’ll hopefully scare them away. Then they withdrew as the red eyes screamed for mercy. Looking through the blood-soaked holes, Sarah saw them holding their heads, then their brains popping out from the side. No gunfire caused it. The halls went silent, as did the whole city in the largest death toll ever recorded.

Winchester remembered that night as she placed her left hand on the Bible and raised her right. “I do solemnly swear…”

The Former President resigned a couple days after the attacks when his daughter got her tattoo and transformed. So with the Cabinet all but obliterated from either being red eye or a victim, Winchester and the Secretary of State were left. When the State secretary was approached for the presidential seat, he refused as he was recovering in a hospital with a dislocated shoulder, and probably torn ligaments, when a red tied tried taking his arm to use as a club. It came down to Winchester, and people where ambivalent about the idea,

“I inherited a disaster,” quoted Winchester in her unprepared acceptance speech, “and I swore to fix it. Right now, don’t look at the formalities. Don’t put whatever is happening to us diminish your lives. Right now, this nation is traumatized, and it’s me and our citizens to make it bounce back.”

Whether it was the Black Death in Middle-Age Europe, the Holocaust, tribal wars over land, and two world wars, the few days after the Wave were confusing, fearful, and coated in blood that daunts the imagination. Humans hostile to terrans; terran sympathizers; anti-terran gangs; terrans fighting back—it was a biohazard witch-hunt across the world.

Governments without warning unanimously agreed to amass all military forces to do one thing: locate terrans, subdue them, and contain them in designated facilities. How to go about it had no limitations. Civilian, citizen, no matter on race, religion, age, class, wealth, cast, or circumstance—people with the tattoo or terrans were branded as enemies, low class beings, terrorists, even demons and aliens.

Ironically, if a soldier gets a tattoo, they are discharged from duty and treated as such, despite the obvious logic and even months into it let alone listen to reason from their new Commander in Chief.

The whole reason for containment was muddled. Religion? Safety? Superstition? God’s power in mortal hands? Finding a cure? You be the judge.

After terrans were seen and people scrambled for answers to hard questions, Russia and North Korea went silent. Communications and trade were cut, borders were locked down. Any chance to gather intelligence was silenced.

After the Pope shared his speech at The Vatican, damaged from embedded Wave crystals and confused Catholics, they closed their gates from Rome, leaving only the Pope, Cardinals, and security staff to contemplate if this event is a gift from God or a curse. It would be months before they opened up with perplexed emotions. Talking to a subconscious representation can question a new terran’s life, especially when several Cardinals became terrans.

The ones who demonized terrans carried out vengeful acts. Demons took over their loved ones bodies. They will never be the same. Too many excuses to count. Even though terrans were stronger and had magic in their hands, they faced humiliation, degradation, torture, even death. They just had no time to study their new gifts, not even a defense spell.

Even authorities joined in the conquest, with high-powered rifles and riot gear.

December 23rd was the start of military control. Soldiers were regimented in every country, in every city, town, farmland, and private land, looking for terrans. The tactics were too good to fowl up; they were so organized. Nothing stopped them from obtaining terrans. If they couldn’t capture the protected ones, everybody got bullets to their chests and heads then move on to the next. Capturing them ranged from smoke bombs, tear gas, tasers, and tranquilizers, then placed in trucks to be hauled away by armed guards.

Groom Lake. Area 51. Known to the public as the military test facility for secret aircraft designs, from the Lockheed U-2 to the F-117 stealth fighter, and the massive security detail surrounding the airfield. As far as pop culture goes, the airbase down to harbor extraterrestrial beings and their UFOs, but that’s up for debate. Yet this base became one of several terran concentration camps in the U.S..

Everyone was fed, but they were also studied. Some were dissected while still alive, harvesting the mana heart, killing their totem over and over to find a breaking point, and if a terran changed up to attack, they were killed instantly and their bodies burned where they lie.

Marshal Law was enacted. The news was blacked out and the Internet became white noise of confusion.

When 8PM Pacific Time rolled, and when Nova Company’s Endeavour entered over Groom Lake restricted airspace, things went from bad to worse.

Soldier’s and people’s behaviors became less rational and more animalistic. Primal even. Most of the humans showed blood coming out of their sockets as they fought, at the same time, across the globe. From children to the elderly, no terran or humans was safe from the red eye’s murderous rage. Some called them mad, deranged, their lust made their blood vessels pop, hyped up on bath salts version two, the Wave crystals way of punishing humans, and also zombies. The symptom was too much to comprehend.

Unsettling as their killings, all of them chanted, “Witnesses must die!” Kind of the most useless information to think over. It could mean anything. The aliens? The transformation? That mystery is still debated to today.

That slaughter, to what Scott and Katie survived, Winchester survived, and all others in the world, lasted for ten minutes.

Groom Lake survivors, all terrans, told of the alien attack, or rescue once the ships captain, Brill Secambre, formally apologized at the White House the day after on the loss of lives. Terrans were ignored by the aliens, as if they were one of them, but finding out the truth drew up confusion with the aliens too. While they escaped the fight between red eyed humans and heavily armed aliens, guns and knifes and magic and fists, they all came under a massive explosion; a blue mushroom cloud over the runway. Soon enough, the side of the red eye’s heads exploded out and the fight ended.

This cascaded across the entire United States. The same moment, same behavior, same ending. No other country had the same scaled of red eye death but all red eyes stopped their killings and their eyes stopped bleeding. Nobody had no memory of their deeds, yet most that were red eyes were seen as suspicious.

Winchester had to work extremely hard to get the country to rebuild. She had to work with what was left of Congress and the Senate to appoint new leaders within two weeks, then set strategic goals for transportation, communication, healthcare, emergency services, foreign trade, and law reform. Winchester did not care about the stock market’s flux periods. She did not care about the little things. Getting the country moving was important. She would have to make some serious decisions in her presidency, such as the Utah Massacre and the New York Riots. And for thinking for the terrans and with interest in the new skills, she pushed for the Terran Equality Act.

“I refuse to see segregation come back, not in my nation,” quoted Winchester in an interview. “If we don’t work together, we will all face the consequences.”

Yet people refuse to listen. Four months in and humans still despise terrans. They just see them as living weapons.

Are terrans doing anything about it? Yes. There are small improvements in farming, manufacturing, entertainment, security, medicine, pop culture, politics, but that news exists on the internet and in person. Popular media? Forget it. The bad news brings in more eyeballs than the good.

Four years. That is how long it will take for the human race to convert to terrans as people speculate. The entire human race going extinct, and that scares a lot of people. So, when they do get a tattoo, they are faced against a hard moral choice: accept your new life, fight for it, and understand your new powers, or die. That plays a lot of ethics, morals, religion, and culture on the human species.

But that is the state of things in the winter of 2013. Who knows what will happen in spring, or summer. Terrans are still discovering themselves every day. It will take time for the transition to find balance.

With everything happening on this small backwater planet in the tail of the Milky Way galaxy, what does the rest of the galaxy think about this?