A concise re telling of.., p.2
A Concise Re-telling of the Life of God, p.2Edgar Million
Together they lay and watch the universe exhale, but despite the pleasure at discovering Her new friend Prav often caught a glimpse of sadness in Her eyes.
One day God looks across to Prav, a glint in Her eye.
"You want to go back?" Prav asks her.
God shakes Her head. It has been so long now, even on Her terms, but the thought of seeing the dead remains of Terra and her beautiful beasts…”
"I don't, but..."
As they approach they see planet is a pebble. A dead, wet rock spinning eternally through the black of space, wrapped in a black sticky fog. God and Prav are alone. The beasts have concluded their narrative.
God knew it would be so, but She still weeps for them.
"Look closer," Prav tells her.
The rock, is not entirely dead.
It takes careful focus, but some of the smaller creatures have survived, the descendants of voles and bacteria, picking through the remains of dead cities and once green lands, so God and Prav go to stand upon the shores of a black sea under inky skies to weep for Her long lost beasts.
Sitting upon the porch of a shack Prav built from the air, they listen to Ben Folds sing about Elliot Smith, music played upon a million year old ipod. The modest dwelling overlooks the same rocky stretch of shoreline where God had first watched the new world being born, where She had first laughed in delight at not being alone.
The sweet lyrics drifted out to them, "the songs you wrote got me through a lot, just want to tell you, but it's too late."
They watch the sparse movement's beneath dead black skies for maybe a million years, then they notice a change, an alteration in the quality of the light, a clearing and a slight glimpse of sunshine warming the skin of creatures with only a genetic memory of the power in those beams.
A new flower begins to bloom.
God rocks on her chair and sips at a cup of milky coffee, whilst Prav regales God with all the lost stories of humanity; their adventures and their follies, their loves and hopes, Prav knows so much more about them than God had ever absorbed, and She wishes more and more she could have guided them to safety.
She smiles at the memories of them; of holding her own human child, her first, standing upright on the African plains whilst the boy traced the lines of her face with gentle warm fingers, then of her last child, a bright and witty Irish lad who became a writer and something of a star, and She weeps for them, but smiles as something new begins to bear fruit in her garden.
Image used with permission from NASA under a CC license.
Original image description:
Starry-Eyed Hubble Celebrates 20 Years of Awe and Discovery (2010)
This brand new Hubble photo is of a small portion of one of the largest seen star-birth regions in the galaxy, the Carina Nebula. Towers of cool hydrogen laced with dust rise from the wall of the nebula. The scene is reminiscent of Hubble's classic "Pillars of Creation" photo from 1995, but is even more striking in appearance. The image captures the top of a three-light-year-tall pillar of gas and dust that is being eaten away by the brilliant light from nearby bright stars. The pillar is also being pushed apart from within, as infant stars buried inside it fire off jets of gas that can be seen streaming from towering peaks like arrows sailing through the air. Credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Livio and the Hubble 20th Anniversary Team (STScI)
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A Button to Save The World
The end of the world is nigh. Cities lay in ruins, almost everyone unemployed and global warming threatens to overwhelm us.
What if you could press a button to make everything alright?
The time had to come soon though; they had to stop it hitting the tipping point. The point when global temperatures would rise two degrees above the pre-industrial revolution levels, when the Greenland ice sheets would melt and we would begin to burn. Ever more chaotic weather patterns, famine, war and quite possibly end of the humanity. The earth would live on but humanity, our civilisation and history would die screaming.
What if you could press a button to stop it all? Reverse and even eliminate global warning? Would you?
Of course you would, but as Patrick K. Useful discovers, saving the Earth has a cost.
One man has a Button, which when pressed will save the world.
Patrick K Useful wants to stop him.
See below for the first few chapters.
A growing number of entirely free stories about ghosts, aliens, vampires, Gods and various other sci-fi, fantasy, thriller and horror topics.
A Button to Save the World (Sample)
Having to save the world was a terrible burden, he thought, staring at the button. The Button. It was the sort of thing a conspiracy theorist might imagine would sit in a locked drawer in Number Ten Downing Street, in some dramatically lit war room at the White House, or a vaulted bunker in Moscow or Beijing, but this imagining would be to underestimate the reach which the Button had, and also to overestimate the power of government.
A Button like this was not to be trusted to the popularity begging whims of the political classes, and the decision had been taken long ago that politicians should not know it existed. A device like this needed to have global reach; to save the world would be such a bad thing to do and the man who was to press the Button recognised that it would be a bold but a terrible thing, a thing which would leave the presser of the Button forever infamous. But he knew that without its compression, the planet would soon die screaming; in floods, fire and torment once the inevitable global warming tipping point was reached.
There had been so much to do to reach the point where it could be pressed; across the globe, a secret arms race was needed if technology was to catch up with their imperative. The privileged individuals who had designed the Button, and the processes which underpinned it, realised they had a great deal of preparation to put in place if humanity was to survive.
The first part of the race had become possible when the leaps in robotics predicted in science fiction of the twentieth century finally began to be realised. Not in the humanoid, self-aware, android vision; terminators scheming to take over the world, but compact, garish, helpful little units, furnished with limited task specific programming which made the drudgery of life diminish. Mundane tasks like cleaning, making dinner, tidying the house, doing the laundry and the ironing, were vanquished. The bots did all the boring jobs and more, and if they couldn’t do something, well by the next upgrade then they would be able to.
Robots didn’t have the freedom of consciousness or self-awareness predicted by science fiction, but were hugely adaptable little creatures designed to be put in almost any situation and learn in situ to fulfil almost any task.
The guardian of the Button himself had a fleet of these robots, both in his homes and in his factories, utilising the new solar power technology cells which drove the robots even on cloudy days. It was this technology which had been hailed as the likely saviour of the world, but even though it was effective in producing energy it still lacked the overwhelming instant power of non-renewables like oil, gas and coal, all of whic
One of his serving robots, a Cook1000 brought him a cup of tea, brewed specifically to his tastes, having warmed pot and cup, and left to stand for the appropriate time, then served black, no sugar, and he sipped the beverage as he contemplated the rapidly approaching day when he would have to press the Button. To save the world.
Jeremy Bentwhistle had been described by many as a ruthless man, but the burden leant heavily on him as he considered the task.
The Button itself was bolted to a heavy walnut antique Georgian Partners desk, an adaptation he had not approved of, although it meant it retained a very low-tech appearance which he found strangely comforting during the many hours he gazed upon it.
A small brass box with a round fingerprint recognition panel was set into the lid, which when touched would release a complicated locking mechanism which flipped open to reveal a button. The design had appealed to Bentwhistle’s old fashioned aesthetic; simple, classic, almost like a doorbell, but he was more than a little dismayed after he had ordered one of his robots to ‘stick’ it on the desk, when the obedient machine had drilled into its leather coating, and bolted the device rigidly to the two hundred-year-old item of pristine furniture.
At the time he had wondered if this literal nature of robots was one of the downsides of this revolution, but on balance he found robots made far fewer mistakes than their old human counterparts, whom they had replaced in so many walks of life, and who mostly carried out their duties in a more decidedly pleasant manner as well. No need for pointless meetings to discuss the rights and wrongs of a decision; they just got on with it. And with the exception of occasional mishaps, this arrangement worked rather well.
Better to own an obedient Labrador than a disobedient, self-serving snake; primed to turn on its master at any moment and requiring constant distraction less it notice, and reject, its inferior position.
Patrick K Useful stared at the robots, the low buzz of their hive activity filling his ears as they bottled and packaged a multitude of multi-coloured tablets and liquids into an array of packets and containers, many others transporting boxes and other paraphernalia about the almost endless factory floor where he had worked his entire employed life. He'd been here, at one of Bentwhistle’s factories, since leaving Manchester University. First as a researcher, before promotion in his mid-thirties to regional manager for their London site.
To begin with he was managing in the traditional manner, with people, not robots making up the assembly lines. After he’d done this with moderate success for many years, he was tasked with the phased introduction of a new robot workforce, steadily replacing the old human one; a pattern soon established in most construction plants and factories across the world, displacing more and more of the “workers” at the sites and leaving small efficient management and research teams to supervise and create the design and development process.
In every city and town it had been the same: shops, those left after everyone had switched their workforces to robots, no longer needed people to staff them, but one day the only people left to purchase from them was a relatively small supervisory and professional layer of civilisation. No other purchasers remained and only outlets which targeted the needs of the fabulously wealthy survived; the illusion of the middle-class vanishing in a generation, leaving billions unemployed.
There had been many strikes and riots, and numerous attempts to damage and sabotage the bots, perceived to be stealing peoples jobs and livelihoods, which of course, indirectly in many instances, they were.
Around the world hordes took to the streets to protest.
Patrick remembered it, cities in flame, not just disillusioned youth or a small excluded underclass. It was almost everyone he knew. Most of his old Uni friends had taken to the street and with considerably greater vigour than they had campaigned against student loans or ill-founded Middle Eastern wars.
The great icons of the world burned. On a clear day Patrick could still see the ruin of the London skyline in the distance, the torn skeleton of The Shard bereft and clawing at the clouds.
The city and the unrest had smouldered for months until, simultaneously, everyone's robots deserted their household duties and joined thousands of Public Order Bots to peacefully subdue the protests.
He saw it on the TV, the massing ebb and flow of the hive reforming for a new function: to quell the unruly masses. They doused the fires with blood, and Patrick watched it all with a wine glass in hand, shielded somewhat, as one of the few still in employment.
In the early part of the twenty-first century, after the Second Great Depression, it was finally realised that the definition of financial success by continual expansion of economies worldwide was unsustainable. Constant growth, fertilised by fossil fuels, as the measure of success would have to be revised if there were any hope of humanity's survival.
The wheels of economy had allowed us to live a lifestyle which was luxurious and enviable when compared to any other period in history, and which had created a civilisation in which, even now, no-one in the developed world could ever truly be judged as poor; in historical terms even the humblest dweller of a British Council Sink Estate or American Project still had access to more food, luxury and opportunity than any average person in the rest of human existence.
Patrick couldn’t complain. Years working for PharmaCost Incorporated had left him rather well-off, although not super-rich, and he felt it was rewarding in itself to be working part of a team producing ground-breaking medicines which helped people in need.
Rumours always circulated that many pharmaceutical enhancements made currently were being held in reserve, to ensure continual market domination as patents expired. But at their site in London’s Northern suburbs the research work was focused upon adapting existing medicine, tinkering with the molecular structure to ensuring copyright was monopolised indefinitely. Useful didn’t buy the conspiratorial gossip which greeted him in his local, cures for cancer being withheld from the poor, Alzheimer’s tablets, but only for the rich. But he figured it unlikely. Even then, Useful wouldn’t have complained. It gave him a good life.
Until he’d had the redundancy notice.
His wife cried when he showed it to her, and he tried to tell her that it was alright, but he knew he sounded unconvincing, and the smug sheen of protection he had thought made him impenetrable, was now as fragile as the city burning down.
His plant was to have their small R&D team shifted to the Tokyo site, and the site was to be one of six worldwide super factories producing a massive selection of basic low cost medicines, vaccines and standard pain killers to be shipped globally, an operation which now required a single management team, but no longer needed a Patrick at each location, just one at a central hub.
That hub was not going to be Patrick’s.
Elroy Grubberson sat in front of his hut on a dilapidated deck chair and stared into the darkness. Three tins remaining from a pack of six, bound together by foggy plastic, stood on the dusty earth whilst their owner contemplated his small quarter of the world.
For months now he’d been expecting the authorities, the New World Order’s heavy-mob, to show up, either here or in one of the many disparate sites which formed the loose-knit community of likeminded individuals. As ever his 1911 .45 rested on the arm of his chair, just in case his fears proved correct this night; a loaded semi-automatic rifle leant against the table for back-up.
The sun held low over the trees, light streaming at him from the horizon, all yellow and red and vital.
From his vantage point he would see anyone who approached his cabin on foot, and able to safely head them off before they could reach the rustic residence. He loved the accuracy of the .45, and the inherent pleasure of firing an America classic. He knew the mass population of
Not the politicians; they owned them. Or the military, though they pretty much owned the armies too. No, he meant the money behind all it all, the ones who picked the governments and the leaders. The tiny proportion of the world who controlled over 99.99999999% of its wealth. What the Occupier mob had called the one per cent, although his understanding was that the percentage was much, much smaller than one per cent. If more than one or two hundred people were in on this shit, he’d suck on his .45 and have done with it.
Here in Montana on his mountain he lived outside normal life by choice; they all did, and although they did form a loose semi unofficial militia of sorts, which hooked up regularly to plan a defence if at any point they sent the troops or the bots up here, it was purely self-defence.
No Rose Ridge or Waco-style slaughter was going to take place on their watch, not this time. They were ready for them.
He stared into the darkness, sensing the movement of something, maybe just a mountain goat or a coyote, or even something more deadly. He edged up and on into the shadows until the rustling died away, stood stock still for an age and continued to peer into the night-time abyss of the valley below.
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