Category Archives: Science Fiction

Sci-fi: Conversations with an Extraterrestrial – (7)(ii)

7. Virtual Rendezvous in Ladinga (ii)

Sitting comfortably, Alan watched as the 3D movie rolled out with a narrative in English. Actually, the movie felt like having more dimensions than three. It was a 5D movie, at least in Alan’s mind, perhaps 10D, reaching into the unfamiliar recesses of his mind. Alan felt like he was moving, sensing with all his senses (sight, sound, touch, smell, taste) and experiencing down to his core what was in this movie. He felt like he was living it, hypnotised by it, in a dream-like state.

Ladinga was beautiful and clean. The people were beautiful and simple. In fact, they seemed to be wearing some sort of gear with tiny solar panels that converted all their energy expended as well as the sun’s energy to air-conditioning or heating (or whatever made them comfortable) for themselves.

As Alan travelled around virtually, he noticed there were no people living in poverty or in poor health. At the same time, there were no ultra-rich people flaunting branded goods or engaging in past-times for the rich and famous as happens on Earth. It seemed utterly peaceful and intelligent. There were no arguments, bickering, crime – everything seemed purposeful and well thought out.

There were differences in the Ladingans, Alan observed. There were a number of scientists seeming to be working on high end research, he noticed a few musicians playing music that was so stirring he felt himself being buoyed to a different level. The majority of the Ladingan’s were doing more “normal” tasks. Even so, they didn’t work long hours, they spent a lot of it on relaxation and being happy. Most of the work was handled by technology.

Sci-fi: Conversations with an Extraterrestrial – (7)(i)

7. Virtual Rendezvous in Ladinga (i)

Interrupted from his task of understanding Felix’s reaction, Alan was stunned to encounter a hazy image of Sequillious again.

This time, she appeared as a robot, but was unmistakeable in her demeanour – reproachful as before, flashing signs with words, just as before.

Adjusting the frequency to  2735.7 as indicated on the sign and as he had done before, the fuzzy image sharpened. Sequillious decided to make her voice heard; this time it was a metallic, monotone voice, just as one expects from a robot.

“I am going to show you a movie”, she said.

“Did you have anything to do with what happened to Don a little while ago?”, Alan questioned.

“Figure it out. All the vices on Earth will be in check”, she chimed unrelentingly.  Alan’s question was answered here. Sequillious was behind it; she was definitely onto something. What did she want us to do?

“What about this movie you have mentioned?”, Alan asked, feeling overpowered as he did before.

“Bring your cubipit and Antigua Helmet to Artic Hill, five kilometres south from here right now and I will give you an experience of life in Ladinga”, Sequillious commanded in monotone speech.

Wasting no time, Alan operated the cubipit to take off towards Artic Hill, with only Felix with him. He had flown around on the cubipit many times; the mechanics of it had been perfected. Alan reached Artic Hill in a jiffy and was all ears.

“Exit with only the Antigua Helmet and your 3D glasses from the cubipit”, Sequillious commanded as if with a voice booming from the Heavens. Alan followed the instruction exactly as commanded.

“What I am going to show you is an experience of life in Ladinga”, Sequillious continued. You will not be allowed anywhere near Ladinga, but I would like you to observe the experience virtually. Then you will see the vast difference between Earth and Ladinga. I have prepared this specially for you so pay close attention”, Sequillious ordered.

Sci-fi: Conversations with an Extraterrestrial – (6)(ii)

6. The Scare (ii)

Don seemed to have gone into a deep sleep. At least that is what Alan hoped it was. He did seem to have a pulse. Strangely, he seemed to be mumbling, like someone who was having a bad dream or a nightmare.

“Ambulance is on its way”, Nancy announced, coming back to the team. “Actually”, Tanaka intervened, “it doesn’t quite seem like a heart attack now. It could have been a seizure of some sort. Now, Don seems to be having hallucinations or bad dreams or something.” “Would it be alright for me to do a few brain scans?”, Tanaka asked keenly. He didn’t think he had witnessed anything like this before.

“Well the ambulance will be here in about 10 minutes, so I guess you could if you’re interested”, Alan said, bewildered but leaning towards Tanaka’s guesses as to what was happening to Don.

Don’s face had turned bright red by now. He was clearly experiencing something most peculiar. He seemed to be breathing heavily, as if in fear or anxiety or guilt. Nobody knew quite what to make of it.

Felix continued to look rather uneasy. He barked occasionally, then hid in the corner, as if afraid to do anything else. “Perhaps I should get my cubipit and Antigua Helmet to figure out what’s happening to Felix”, Alan said, half thinking it wasn’t worth trying to do this before the ambulance arrived, but half thinking he couldn’t miss this opportunity for more evidence gathering.

The team got to work, Ollie assisting Tanaka with the brain scans and Nancy assisting Alan with hurriedly putting the cubipit and Antigua Helmet into action.

Sci-fi: Conversations with an Extraterrestrial – (6)(i)

6. The Scare (i)

Felix barked sharply. Alan twitched. It was the same bark as in the early morning hours a few days ago when Sequillious had appeared as an ethereal being. “What does this mean”, Alan thought, still in the presence of his Dream Team and Don. He had doubts about Sequillious and Don and their clash of values – Alan was sure Sequillious did not like where Project “Chocolate” was heading and she could easily start doing something to hinder it if she chose.

Don suddenly looked ill – white and drained of healthy red blood circulation. Don tried to articulate his thoughts again. “We are going to capture the aliens and….”. Before he could finish, he crouched in pain as if something was attacking him. “Don, are you alright?”, Alan shouted. “Shall we get an ambulance?” “Wait, am I really being mean?”, Don said in pain, as if something of a guilt conscience had suddenly sprung up in him.

Nancy wasted no time and headed straight for the phone, calling an ambulance. She feared that Don was having a heart attack. She had witnessed the same with her uncle a few years ago – a heart attack happening under her very eyes – and the memories were still vivid. She was wasting no time here. It’s the sort of thing that comes without warning and changes one’s life forever. That’s exactly what happened with her uncle. She thought the symptoms looked eerily similar. Her uncle had been in his early fifties when it happened. Don was in his mid-forties and led the life of a megalomaniac – drinking excessively, smoking and living with the high stress of seeing big money come and go. It would not surprise her at all if he was experiencing a sudden massive heart attack.

“Perhaps I should rethink my priorities”, Don said weakly. It was as if someone was holding a knife to his throat. Alan could not believe what he was hearing. Don had never seemed so weak or compassionate as long as he had known him.

Sci-fi: Conversations with an Extraterrestrial – (5)(ii)

5. What Now? (ii)

“Right! There is no choice”, Alan decided. “We have to all discuss the strategy together.” Alan summoned Ollie to put recordings of the conversations with Sequillious together and proceeded to arrange a meeting with Don and the Dream Team. He was at a dead end himself.

When Ollie ran the audio and video recordings, to Alan’s astonishment, they were blank. Completely blank! Was there something wrong with the sensors? Ollie checked them again. He traced the history. The sensors seemed to have been disabled from the time Sequillious manifested as a lady in the distance to the time she disappeared in a flash.

Don stared at Alan disbelievingly. “Are you having hallucinations, old chap?” “You say a lady spoke to you, telling you the extraterrestrial community is so intelligent that you seem like a cockroach to them?” “Ha! Ha! Ha!” “Ooooooh!” “Ha! Ha! Ha”, Don guffawed uncontrollably, as if he had just stumbled upon the funniest story he had heard in his life. “Uhhhh”, he continued, finishing it off, aching from the stitches of such hard laughing.

“Wait”, Alan asserted indignantly. “The sensors had been disabled and enabled again, according to Ollie’s investigation. Obviously, Sequillious did that because she didn’t want her actions to be studied here for our use to make more progress towards discovering the Ladingans”, he said, piecing the puzzle together. “The Ladingans really do not want anything to do with Earthlings. They are unimpressed with how we operate on Earth. They want to keep us as far from them as possible. Our progress with the cubipit and Antigua Helmet would be something of a potential threat to them. They have assigned Sequillious to ensure we do not progress further.

“Why are they unimpressed”, Don questioned. “Well, Sequillious said something about Earth being dirty and polluted and Earthlings being irresponsible and greedy”, Alan continued. “She thinks we will spoil Ladinga if we get anywhere close or have any dealings with the Ladingans”, he said.

Sci-fi: Conversations with an Extraterrestrial – (5)(i)

5. What Now? (i)

But Sequillous had disappeared in a flash. She had had enough and she wanted Alan to think hard. So it seemed now, “Project Chocolate” on Earth and “Project Rectify” at Ladinga were at odds with one another.

Alan sat, deep in thought, mulling over every bit of the encounter, over and over again. He could not get it out of his mind. The visions of Sequillious were as clear as ever, his thoughts as muddied as ever.

“Would we collaborate with cockroaches?” he repeated to himself, still stunned by that line from Sequillious. Was she saying that cockroaches were to Earthlings what Earthlings were to Ladingans? “Wow”, Alan lay lifeless, as if all the air had been sucked out of him. Was he to be excited because he had received an absolutely clear signal from a species in space… a phenomenon that was a first in history? Or was he to be devastated that the encounter had been rather terrifying? It was far from the encounter he had envisaged – a placid form of life to be studied by intelligent Earthlings. This in fact reduced humans to insects in the eyes of the extraterrestrials. What now?

Alan thought through what Don might say when he would relate this to him. Or should he relate this – would Don be furious or do something foolish? The technology was working excellently. The cubipit – Antigua Helmet combination could detect life on the surface of other planets, with the right tweaks and adjustments. That was exhilarating! The Ladingans, however, were far too clever. They had built a hideout that could not be detected, not even by the advanced technology in the cubipit and Antigua Helmet. They sensed though, that movement on the surface of Ladinga could realistically be picked up. Sequillious had ventured out and made contact, but the rest of the Ladinga community was in hiding.

Sci-fi: Conversations with an Extraterrestrial – (4)(ii)

4. The Encounter (ii)

“What do you want with us?”, Sequillious demanded, now making her echoing voice heard. “What is your objective of seeking us out?”

“Well”, Alan stumbled, taken aback. “It’s er, the pursuit of knowledge, uhm… all in the interest of science and advancement”, he fumbled, caught like a deer in the headlights with that interrogation.

“Earth is in a terribly sorry state. Earth has been destroyed, there is no compassion or sense of responsibility here. It is dirty, polluted, filled with greed and unnecessary stress. Focus on the problems on Earth and do not interfere with us Ladingans”, Sequillious uttered reproachfully.

“Your objective is not for the pure pursuance of science and knowledge – you fibbing earthling. There is money involved on a big scale. I will repeat my question – what is the objective of seeking us out?”, she continued in her booming voice, unrelentingly.

This was most bizarre for Alan. He had never expected this. He was the intelligent one who was going to find life on other planets…lesser lives, he had always assumed. Now his vision had been somewhat turned upside down. His world, in fact, was turning upside down.

“Well”, he said, trying hard to get his thoughts together, like in a tough job interview with a person who was out to thrash him and test his reaction, “Uhmm, there were a few possibilities that had crossed our minds”, he mumbled absent-mindedly. “

Sequillious stayed silent. She was waiting.

Feeling threatened, caught by surprise and defeated, Alan finally plucked up enough courage and said “Well, there was the possibility of working together with you….trading with you, exchanging goods and services and perhaps arranging tourism between Earth and Ladinga.”

Sequillious glanced the other way, almost turning up her nose. “Have you ever thought about collaborating with cockroaches on Earth?”, she asked rhetorically.

Feeling very small at the condescending question, Alan replied meekly, “I’m sorry  – I don’t understand. What do you mean?”

Sci-fi: Conversations with an Extraterrestrial – (4)(i)

4. The Encounter (i)

Ollie had just installed an updated program into the cubit and Antigua Helmet, based on the latest discussions. He lost no time, that one. Ollie was young, energetic and enthusiastic – he was almost in a futuristic dream world – he would think of scenarios before they materialised and integrate all the reality that was unfolding into this dynamic vision.

Alan twitched in the cubipit as his Antigua Helmet buzzed strangely in his ear.

“Alpha 2735: reduce it to 2735.7”, a sign flashed.

Alan did this as if instructed by a ghost. “Who is this?”, he demanded.

As if he then was struck by lightning, Alan almost fell over – he saw an image of a being, vaguely like a woman in the distance, flashing the signs in perfect English to communicate.

“I thought you appeared in the form of ether – we sensed you the other day. What is going on now?”, Alan gasped.

“My name is Sequillious. I manifest in different forms – ubiquitous ether, a lady in the distance, an octopus clasping an object, etc. You must be familiar with the concept. There are religions on Earth that have deities in different forms depicted in statues – because it is believed God manifests in different forms”, the sign flashed.

“Are you saying you are God?”, Alan exclaimed in utter disbelief.

“No, certainly not, but I dare say we are much closer than you might ever imagine. We are light years ahead of Earthlings in intelligence”, she retorted.

“Is there a community of you? Do you all understand English? Where is your community? Tell me about yourselves”, Alan couldn’t contain himself. The questions were coming faster than he could say them.

There was a pause, as if Sequillious was thinking “Why do you think I should have to feed you with so much information – don’t you think you ought to explain a few things yourself??”. Not that she said this – it’s just what went through Alan’s mind just then.

Sci-fi: Conversations with an Extraterrestrial – (3)(ii)

Business_as_Usual

3. Business as Usual (ii)

Actually, never mind the devotion to finding and talking to aliens, the Dream Team’s work had many possible applications on Earth, as it stood. Alan was keenly aware though, of course, he was working for Don, and Don’s obsession was to find this life elsewhere. To think how much they could have done with all this knowledge on understanding how animals think and behave, what drives different behaviour like psychopathic thinking and how to address this and so on – it was mind-boggling.

Nevertheless, as those thoughts went through Alan’s head every now and again, he remained absolutely loyal to Don. Alan was a rules based, principled guy and this devotion to Don’s mission was hard wired now.

“Morning! How’s the Dream Team doing today?” Alan chirped. There were excited exchanges as they all chattered engaging in some fun for a while. Nancy and Tanaka had gone to a friend’s party the night before; Ollie broke his own record in a triathlon over the weekend and Alan spoke about his beautiful long walk over the hills. They shared a few photos.

“I have something to share with you”, Alan announced, moving the conversation into serious matters. “Felix and I had an interesting experience last night and in the early morning”, he said drawing out the iPad with all the recordings. The three dropped their chatter immediately and looked intently at Alan; Felix perked his ears up too waiting to relive the experience as told by his master.

Alan related the vision of something like ether, permeating and Felix being disturbed in the night. In the early morning, it came again and Alan had entered the cubipit with Antigua Helmet in time to catch a glimpse of an aura. Ollie jumped right on it. “Aura images are all recorded. I’ll just need to extract sensor Zee-3722 and process them. I’ll do that and put up the media, then we can all view it again – hopefully that’ll give us more clues about who’s trying to contact us about what”, he declared. The discussion continued…

Sci-fi: Conversations with an Extraterrestrial – (3)(i)

Business_as_Usual

3. Business as Usual (i)

The Dream Team met again. Nancy was the zoologist who had spent time with dolphins, elephants, dogs, whales and a whole lot of other animals, figuring out their senses. With all her work, the team was able to wear the Antigua Helmet and think like an elephant, dog, zebra etc. as required. She had spent two weeks with a rhinocerous once, both being totally at ease with each other, as in its mind she was just behaving like another in the herd.

Tanaka was the neuroscientist, studying the human brain with cutting edge technology in brain scans and other instruments for the nervous system. Never before had anyone understood so much about the brain. The amygdala was a particular fascination for him, with its incredible emotions like fear and panic affecting human behaviour. He was also now pretty clued up on psychopathic tendencies, what remorseless brains looked like and mapping brains according to the various spectrums – the Autistic spectrum, pattern recognition abilities, etc.

Ollie was the astrophysicist cum computer boffin who studied the planetary movements and put together all the findings of the team into the computer programs, microchips and sensors. Ollie advised when Mars was nearest or furthest or when disturbances from stars, comets and other matters interfered. With Ollie’s help, the team could predict and optimise when they picked up signals from the extraterrestrial beings. Ollie was also the one mad on computer programming and video games; it had been a hobby since he was five. This was a nice bonus for the team – he was a natural talent in putting all the findings together to work magic.

Alan was of course, the expert on extraterrestrial matters. He was skilled at many things and shared Ollie’s interest in technology but there were not many people who had studied extraterrestrial life to such an extent as Alan, and he focussed his efforts there.