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Tue, Jun 12, 2007
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Project Setting & Back Story (A Request)
Project: Designing Science Fiction Scenarios
Neuroda continued the experiments in space that had begun the century before on earth. The first experiments were with rats, then apes, and later, with man.
First off the rats would be placed in the same maze, each rat, in an identical maze, at say five locations around the earth. New York, London, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Mumbai. The rats were taken from different stocks deliberately. They had never interacted with each other, and had no way of communicating, never had. So at the start of the experiment they’d be off at the same time, the same click of the stopwatch, which itself was measured to the millionth of a second and checked against an atomic clock. I can’t remember exactly what the average time was, but let’s say it was one minute and fifteen seconds, with some variation either way. Maybe the slowest rat took a full minute and a half, the fastest was around a minute.
Then a second brood of rats would run the identical maze. Well, not exactly. The new maze would be an exact copy of the original; the original would be destroyed, so that no scent trails could be picked up, no residue of any kind. The new rats would be taken from separate broods, ensured never to have had any contact with the first brood. This time they’d run the maze a full second faster.
And every time there’d be a new brood, and a new copy of the maze, and the new rats would run it just a little faster, again, and again.
Now we turn to a little book by an American redneck who’d been written off early in life. His idea was simple: to capture on paper and make widely available the transformative experience of Earth as seen from space. His idea took him deep into the secret worlds of NASA, and behind the iron curtain. He found that every astronaut had come home with a new appreciation for the home world’s ecology and the unity of its peoples.
Take these two things together and you have the concept for the Presence Stations, making their orbits high above the homeworld. Some of you might wonder why Neuroda, who’s given his word to global peace within the next twenty years would make such a fuss to align with the space wannabes on eleventh hour. The above is why. There was quite a bit of noise around the blogosphere when he started making a lot of requests in their direction. Lots of people left his listening entirely.
“Why,” they’d ask, “when you know it’s the old hegemonies that are building the stations in the first place? They’ve lost control of the Earth, so it’s the old strategy again. Whoever has the highest ground wins, right? Do you want the Saudi women going under the veil again? And the old bureaucrats who fiddled while the water rose to their knees in their own government buildings… do you want them running the show again? And it won’t even be all of them, just the few ones who haven’t given up the chips on their shoulders, the real hard liners, the real racket-heads who still have enough money to move a nuke or two… they’re going to really be lots of fun to deal with.”
The questions certainly stung, and Neuroda retreated from the public light for awhile.
But we are proof that he knew what he was doing all along. Boracay Station, like all the others, was indeed built by the old hegemonies with the last of their money. You can see it in the very architecture of the place. I must say, too, that I was, in the beginning, one of their very loyal servants. I know the Fat One’s quarters very well, and I might, ten years ago, have been ashamed to say it. But shame grows quiet these years among us all, and I can quite honestly say now, that I know why we’re here. I thought I had known before, and the Fat One still pretends a certainty. He actually still occupies an entire ring to himself, and he probably does still at least have access to a nuke or two, as well as the billion or so dollars he grafted off US contractors in the last years of state-run reconstruction.

When I began to question in silence, and could no longer silence my questions, when my breasts started to grow, that' when I began to fear the Fat One. I would awake often in great sweats, tormented by nightmares; his ring with its great baroque statuary arranged in three-dee, just beyond the bare ring that I occupied with the other three thousand White Servants, and the one occupied by the twelve generals, that used to be the systems ring. I of course was nothing to him; I would bring him great breakfasts of twenty eggs in what the lights said was morning, bowing as required, while he enjoyed the fact that the bow was exceedingly difficult to perform in zero-g. I’d always dreaded his grin; it would always mean more toil.



Sometimes, he would order a hundred of us White Servants into his quarters at once, and order us to perform orgies right before him, as he and his favorites, General Hakim and General Chang and General Hickman ate. “There’s nobody out there,” he would say. “You’re all alone.” Once they showed that old movie “Alien” in the theater ring, and he grew fond of saying, “In space, no one can hear you scream.”



The hardest years though, were the years of not knowing, the sense of gnawing irrelevance while we spun up here above the big blue marble. It’s gotten busier up here of late; we see the occasional o-jumper sailing blissfully across the blue. Look out that way, and you see what must be a big hotel of some kind, and big cargo ships cut across the face of the moon, going somewhere. Now there’s one at least every week.



The Fat One grows quieter these days, turning inward. He gorges himself on pizzas and hosts great feasts among his generals and chosen subjects like a Roman emperor. I’ve seen him stare out at the great blue for hours, making his plans. I’ve seen him stare especially long, when our own country comes into view, and often after seeing our country, he would order one of his generals into the ring, roll out a map and a host of plastic army men with the magnets he made us put on their feet. Ballooning as he can in comfort, with no threat from the gravity below, he gorges himself. On Earth, the doctors say, he would weigh nearly eight hundred pounds, and he long ago ordered that the spin on his ring be permanently halted.


Tue, Jun 12, 2007  Permanent link

Sent to project: Designing Science Fiction Scenarios
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