Earth Bond – Chapter IV

Dream of A Gilded Planet

Sergeant Viernes is slightly irritated that he has become more and more associated with Dr. Benito Stelfast, not that he’s become best friends with him by any stretch of the imagination, but the doctor knows him on a first-name, casual, momentarily lost-then-recognized basis. The sergeant simply wishes to be among the numerous biospheric citizens of whom Dr. Benito has neither interest nor knowledge, yet the fringe benefits are pretty good… OK, they’re decadent, at least compared to his personal monetary expectations.

When he was initially instructed to inform the good doctor about the death of Senator Falstaff Boyd, a political constituent, the sergeant was noticeably excited. The good doctor is head of the Inter-Biospheric Robotics Council (IBRoC), one of the most powerful men in the quad-dome nation, but Viernes has now visited Dr. Benito on several additional occasions, each time to inform him about the death of another citizen.

Dr. Benito’s serviton knocks upon the doctor’s chamber door. “Sir, Sergeant Viernes has called once again.”

“Is he in the library?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Did he say the matter?”

“No, sir.”

“I wonder who’s died now?”

“I know not, sir. It does seem, however, that he brings sad news with each visit.”

Dr. Benito reflectively pauses before jumping back to reality.

“Please show him into the library where he can wait; I’ll meet with him shortly.”

A few moments passes before Sergeant Viernes is escorted into Dr. Benito’s study.

“Dr. Benito, I apologize for intruding upon your peace, but…”

“Sergeant… Sergeant Viernes. There’s no need to apologize even if you do bring more bad news… you… are bringing more bad news?”

“Unfortunately, yes.”

“Another robotic malfunction?”

“Yes.”

Dr. Benito Stelfast sits quickly in his leather chair.

“Damn.”

Stunned, Benito adds, “Rodney, bring me an anodyne for my headache.”

Sergeant Viernes looks around, confused, “Rodney? There’s no one around but me, sir. I’m Sergeant Viernes.”

“Hm. Oh,” Benito laughs, “Rodney is my serviton.”

Rodney enters the room and bows to the police sergeant, “I hear everything that goes on inside and outside this house, sir.”

The serviton then gives the pills to Dr. Benito who drinks them down with tap water.

“He sure looks human,” says Viernes.

“Hm? Pardon?”

“Your robot, sir. It looks amazingly human.”

“Yes,” says Benito, then he sits silently, staring intently at the floor for a moment or two until he slowly looks up and asks, “Where did this latest fatality occur?”

“It was at the victim’s residential home. Seems like another security robot killed the man then self-destructed.”

“Goddamn it,” Benito hisses. “Same goddamn M.O.?”

The sergeant nods his head.

“You know, Sergeant, this spree of random killings began almost immediately after the beta attack on the Peruvian dome. I’ve had my men working ‘round the clock trying to figure out what the hell’s going on…”

The sergeant feels sorry for the doctor but secretly wonders why anybody would want to get into politics, especially someone like Dr. Benito Stelfast who is not only the leading robotics scientist on the planet, but he’s an elected senator as well.

“It must be hard…”

“You haven’t a clue, son.”

Dr. Benito pauses just barely before resuming, “I’m sorry, Sergeant. I’m lost in a wave of emotion. A dozen random deaths, and we’ve got a major bill on the floor tomorrow.”

“The Biospheric Consolidation Bill?”

Dr. Benito looks up, momentarily stunned.

“Ah, yes,” says the doctor, “I suppose it is in the news.”

“It’s all anybody’s talking about.”

“Really? Hmm. Well, what do you think?”

“Well, sir. I agree with you. I think that the four biospheres that are scattered across the planet should be consolidated into one biosphere. It’d be much safer. The betas have already demonstrated that they are nothing more than barbarians. No longer human. And, personally, I don’t think that the betas deserve the biospheres we’d be abandoning. The domes and the savages should all be destroyed.”

“I agree,” says Benito, “But the bill won’t pass without a bit of compromise. Don’t worry, though, I’ve put in legislation that’ll assure we will always have more than enough weaponry to quell any future uprising from the betas in the Wild Earth Zone.”

“That’s what I like to hear.”

“I need just a bit more time. Pass this bill, and then I can devote my resources to solving all these fatalistic robotic anomalies. Four senatorial deaths…”

“That’s five, sir. The one last night.”

“Oh. Yeah. Damn… What was his name?”

“Adam Shepherdson, sir.”

Dr. Benito screams out. Sergeant Viernes looks on in horrific uncertainty until Vanessa rushes in to investigate the violent pneumatic explosion from the darkest recesses of her husband’s emotional center; Sergeant Viernes quietly leaves the emotionally usurped senator in the shrill echoing room. As he closes the chamber door Rodney approaches.

“What the hell was that all about?”

The serviton replies, “Adam Shepherdson is the good doctor’s best friend.”

* * *

Benito awakens abruptly and is instantly repulsed by the smell of his own breath, which wreaks of sour gastro-intestinal bitterness. He orders Rodney to retrieve a mint-flavored liquid breath rinse, which temporarily refreshes his spirits as he sinks deeper into satin sheets, but his head still throbs with intrusive percussive militancy. An intense crash from his son’s room sends him wide-eyed and lunging for nothing as he instinctually reacts to the harsh diapason that invades his serenity like an adolescent chainsaw with Tourette’s syndrome. Michael is playing his flavor of music too loudly… again.

Benito almost runs to his son’s room, and when Michael sees the unequivocal displeasure in his father’s eyes, he immediately turns down the music, but Benito is too incensed to stop; he snatches the boy’s stereo and throws it against the wall. The boy’s lower lip quivers, but he says nothing as his father slowly walks back to his own bedroom where he immediately crashes into unconsciousness.

The dream is always the same, and although he never fully remembers it, Benito always awakens from his sleep with an inescapable feeling of invulnerability:

Standing on a phosphorescent, jagged promontory, a lingering pale yellow light shines between two pink-marble obelisks, erect and primal against an orange and red streaked sky. A dark gray wisp of cloud curls around his ankles like a smoky kitten that then bounds beyond him. Looking over the land that stretches from Mesopotamia to Vienna, he sees hordes of troops amassing victory after victory, leaving victims in a crimson wake of bloody turmoil until he sees all the lands over which he holds dominion, a physical map of his conquests stretching out before his eyes in deferential tribute. Colorfully dressed men and women bow before him, some of which, with the insouciant flip of his hand, vanish into the heavens; others, the more obviously obsequious, turn to gold. Then, as he descends the mountainous platform, the world shrinks into the palm of his hand. He carefully arranges it in a specially made lacquer jewelry box, and he puts the box in a place of honor among his other possessions in a golden vault.

 

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The Fuliginous Plight of Midas

I really don’t understand the conflict between the factions of climate change when the major contentious point of debate is the veracity of whether or not carbon-based energy is creating conditions that will ultimately be the demise of the human race. This debate is not dichotomous; it has more than two arguments.

Why, exactly, is this debate so divisive to a point that many are emotionally affected by its outcome? Why do many of us feel it necessary to choose only one of the proffered solutions? How is the general public affected and to what degree? Why do we get so emotionally involved in details that are irrelevant? It’s not like there are no alternatives to the problem. Energy is not exclusively generated through processes that use carbon-based resources, so why are some proponents of carbon-based energy so ardent, especially when they are not directly rewarded and when the coveted energy is easily available from other sources that more effectively and efficiently provide the same energy?

Energy is an important social concern that nearly everyone should consider, yet most Americans don’t work for fossil-fuel corporations, and they are not compensated by them, so why such loyalty? Energy is provided by many methodologies that are renewable (carbon-based energy is finite); energy created from wind and solar technology do not add deleterious miasma into the atmosphere; even if the level of pollution spilled into the atmosphere from burning carbon is within acceptable levels of human tolerance, it is still pollution—why support the possibility of damaging effects when it is so unnecessary? The answer lies within the heart.

Emotion seems to be, terrestrially speaking, a human quality. (We, as a species, might anthropomorphize (accent on the fourth syllable) some other animals, but that is kindling for another fireside chat to be conflagrated at another time.) Emotions are ambivalent; they are neither right nor wrong; they simply exist within the human condition. How we react to our emotions is what we perceive as either malevolent or beneficent. Conflict quickens when we falsely interpret these feelings into factual proof of veracity for debating. For whatever reason, we grasp onto the notion that we are right when being right or wrong is not the objective. The only desirous outcome in this particular debate is having abundant, inexpensive energy so that we may maximize our abilities to work and to recreate. Carbon-based energy is not the only resource that will accomplish these objectives; in fact, carbon-based energy is not a very good resolution when cheaper, more efficient technologies exist, technologies that, if researched with necessary enthusiasm—the same alacrity exploited by the status quo—would make the planet smile like a pharmaceutically enhanced Cheshire Cat supplemented with industrial strength catnip.

The answer to many of the questions asked at the beginning of this essay is very easy… and most children instinctively understand, especially if they have ever sullied their hands with a greasy piece of coal: The people who are making irrational, monarchical amounts of money through carbon manipulation do not want to negatively affect their ludicrous incomes because, as you know, it is very difficult to maintain a staff of servants who are manageable—servants who have adequate enough skills to perform their duties with the deference due to one’s employer. Very few of our nation’s populace—only one percent of one percent—really understand the cost of the resources exploited to maintain a palatial house with a fleet of luxurious automobiles; to possess more than one estate—because living in one locale throughout a calendar year is so mundane; to maintain a yacht and crew to cruise the Caribbean or Mediterranean seas; to even plan a major party that effectively displays Sardanapalian luxury, which, obviously, denotes directing the help with an acceptable hubris and feigned concern about their particularly pedestrian lives. When one is wealthy and has the accompanying responsibilities, the health of the planet is a really low priority concerning daily modus operandi.

Peace Through Music

 

Earth Bound – Chapter III

Redneck Charlie and the Olympiad

Dawn breaks, and as the lime green solar disc surreptitiously peers over the pastel-swirled horizon, mixing the day’s palette with a wonderful assortment of vivid colors and painting sunrise with brilliant broad strokes from a more passive palate, billowy clouds refract the sun’s waves in a dancing light-show celebration of morning, and the tribe whose name translates to They Who Are Heavily Burdened stirs from its collective sleep. The Nocturnal Elixir created by Erasmus the Tribal Apothecary enables the tribe to dream as a unit, each member experiencing the same dream but adding elements to it, which reflects the tribe’s collective mood. Rarely does anyone remember the dream, but each member wakens refreshed and the subconscious sharing of dream images clandestinely strengthens the tribe’s unity.

A tumultuous crash echoes throughout the cave, and the tribe, now wide awake with adrenal anxiety, directs its attention towards the cave’s entrance but then, wearily, relaxes, postulating whether the auricular chaos was the result of the ubiquitous violent weather that constantly batters their world. As the tribe mechanically begins to think about its daily schedule, Polyphemus the Nocturnal Sentry rushes in from his outside post, incoherently yelling as loudly as he is able, a mutant wildcat in savage pursuit.

The men quickly grab their weapons and within seconds confront the snarling, paw-swatting beast, a cautious line of men with spears nervously jabbing as the sinuous carnivore crouches in front of them preparing either to leap and attack or to instantly retreat in survival-flight, vacillating between the two instinctual extremes as its legs quake in anticipatory readiness for the fulgurous decision to send the feral feline into action. With two incredible incisors gleaming salivary viscosity and penetrating upwards from the raring feral feline’s jaw, the catamount is ready to pounce, its legs shimmering with tension that is ready to unleash fury, but from behind the javelin-jabbing warriors a flaming arrow arches, in slow motion, over the group of warriors and strikes the cat’s flank. The projectile hits with a painful thud, and the cat yelps, but the shaft falls innocuously to the ground. The arrowhead is unable to penetrate the thick skin of the beast, but the flaming shaft sets the animal’s fur ablaze in a violent burst of blue-green conflagration. Howling in fatalistic pain, the tortured animal rolls on the cave’s sandy floor until the fire extinguishes then, with shiny red and black charred flesh and smoldering fur, it screeches out of the cave.

It was when the tribal warriors were nervously confronting the invading wildcat that Polyphemus regained his composure behind their biological wall of protection, inhaling in and out like an ironsmith’s bellows when he noticed the fire’s burning low. He determinedly stoked the fire until the flames of differing shades of green and yellow aggressively licked the air, creating intense heat. He hastily grabbed some arrows and dipped the flint-heads into the flammable paste and then quickly stuck them into the fire. After the rods ignited, Polyphemus shot them at the beast just as it was about to launch at his fellow warriors.

Exhausted the warriors stand, still paralyzed with fear yet relieved and mentally drained, staring with hollow eyes at the cave’s entrance, waiting for the beast’s return, the women and children huddled together at the cave’s far wall, the immediacy of death desperate and clutching at their conscious spirit. Midas the Haggard Leader with a Hemp-Woven Codpiece then casually walks to the area of the cave where he and his warriors store their weapons. The other warriors follow, excitedly reliving what had just happened.

With a barely noticeable gesture, Midas signals to Erasmus the Tribal Apothecary who retreats into his private laboratory and grabs a mixture of botanical herbs with certain tranquilizing properties to help the tribe overcome its present hysteria. Midas then assembles together his followers.

It is near the beginning of the Sunny Season Celebration, the time of year for our annual sports festival wherein we remember certain tribal ancestors and acknowledge our best athletes. We will begin the sporting festivities this afternoon, and I will initiate our celebration by telling you the history behind our five day ceremony, but first, I think it would be appropriate if we pray to Captain Kirk our god of war, for helping us vanquish our recent assailant.”

The tribe bows in reverence, and a young girl puts some flowers at the base of Midas’ throne. After a few minutes of deferential silence, the tribal leader with the magical hemp-woven codpiece resumes his oration.

In honor of the Sunny Season Celebration, I’d like to recall to you the sad story of Redneck Charlie, an ancient tribal warrior who has come to represent for us the ultimate hapless victim and reminds us what happens when one becomes overconfident.”

Staring into the dancing green and purple flames of the fire, Midas the Haggard Leader with a Hemp-Woven Codpiece chants a song to the gods and then describes what the gods present to him in the conflagration.

I see… Redneck Charlie following Jackal-Dude…”

At the sound of Jackal-Dude’s name, some of the children scream and run for their parents. Jackal-Dude is the tribe’s most egregious nemesis: a half-beta, half-carnivorous wolfhound. During the hunting season, Jackal-Dude hides outside the tribe’s encampment, waiting to ambush one of the tribal members who strays too far from safety.

There, there, now children. Don’t worry. Jackal-Dude won’t come to us for a long, long while… although we should always try to avoid open spaces because our tribal nemesis is very cunning… and very dangerous.”

Midas nods towards Erasmus the Tribal Apothecary who silently leaves the assembly to prepare another anodyne for anxiety. In the interim, Midas sings a song about happiness. Erasmus returns shortly, and when the room settles, Midas resumes his story.

Redneck Charlie cautiously, clandestinely follows Jackal-Dude from a distance and suddenly realizes, as the hairy beast walks hesitantly over the heat-absorbing sand crystals, that the reason Jackal-Dude leaves during the sunny season is because the rocks and sand are too hot for the mutant’s sensitive feet, so the unruly beast retreats every year at the beginning of the sunny season to the mountainous region where the snow and cold comfort him.

When Jackal-Dude finally reaches the cooler smooth foothills that debauch the infernal sandy region, Redneck Charlie feels confident that the carnivorous beast will not turn back; the mutant carnivore is yearning so badly for the cooling comfort of its lair that it will not cross back over the hot sand until next year’s seasonal change. Still ankle deep in sand, Redneck Charlie jumps out of hiding and yells, waving his hands in the air with reckless abandon, relentlessly taunting the mutant half-beta, half-carnivorous wolfhound. At the sound of the juvenile heckling, Jackal-Dude slowly turns around and stares menacingly at his gadfly adversary, yet he remains on the edge of the desert, fuming, until Redneck Charlie shouts to a small crowd that has gathered, ‘Hey, y’all. Watch this.’ He then places his thumb on his nose and wiggles his fingers in Jackal-Dude’s general direction.

Redneck Charlie doesn’t realize that the gesture he has just given to his nemesis is the equivalent in the language of Jackal-Dude’s ancestors of calling into question the carnivore’s parentage, and as soon as the gesture is made, Jackal-Dude methodically walks toward the mocking beta who is so into his spasmodic gyrations that he doesn’t notice the beta-consuming mutant until he accidentally strikes the carnivore’s nose. Charlie’s knees buckle as the mutant carnivore immediately masticates the writhing, screaming… dying beta.

Now we, the tribe whose name translates to They Who Are Heavily Burdened, celebrate Jackal-Dude’s annual retreat with a week-long competition at the beginning of every sunny season, and our yearly competition is dedicated to the commonsense-impaired, Jackal-taunting beta named Redneck Charlie. The god of the Tree of Knowledge, Jimmy Hendrix Page, is also honored during the Festival of Let’s Get High, Not Stupid And Dead. For five days our greatest athletes compete in a pentathlon. The winner is the athlete who collects the most points, and he receives, among other glorious prizes, an honorary seat on my pelt-laden throne as well as the privilege to toke from the Sacred Pipe of Dreams. The festival concludes with two days wherein we rejoice in epicurean delights.”

Midas the Haggard Leader with a Hemp-Woven Codpiece takes a kingly quaff from the Amber Lethean Jug of Inebriate Liquid and then continues his story, “The first day of our festival pits our athletes against each other in the large rock-throwing competition, but… before the competition begins, all of the athletes who will be competing throughout the week long event come together for a communal breakfast of performance-enhancing pharmaceuticals. This is the Steroid Breakfast that helps the athletes better prepare for the anguishes of world-class competition while simultaneously rendering their sexual organs useless. It is a price each athlete is willing to pay for the ultimate goal of celebrity. After breakfast, the athletes draw straws to direct the order in which they take turns at heaving the stone as far as their bodies allow.

In this competition, the winner is our tribal citizen who can throw the same large rock the farthest, and he receives for his efforts a massage from one of our tribal maidens who’ll use a lotion made by Erasmus the Tribal Apothecary. This buttery lotion relaxes muscles with a penetrating heat that also produces wonderful hallucinations. We call this event the Vesuvian Warming in honor of a warrior from antiquity named Vesuvius Aetna. He was a mountainous man who was outrageously strong. He stood atop a large seaside precipice and threw down rocks, ash, and pyroclastic flows upon the ancient city of Pompeii, completely destroying it.”

Midas the Haggard Leader with a Hemp-Woven codpiece takes yet another royal quaff from the Amber Lethean Jug of Inebriate Liquid, foaming liquid racing down his furry face and unto his chest. Smiling, the tribal leader belches loudly and continues.

Day two of our festival honors the elegant sport of spear-throwing, which is similar to the large rock-throwing contest only the athletes throw spears. The spears, however, have been adapted for the contest. The razor sharp blade on the spear’s tip is replaced with a blunt rock. This event is unique in the pentathlon because a partner is used: the spear-catcher… and the best spear-catcher receives an honorary quaff from the Lethean Jug of Amber Inebriate Liquids.

The spear-throwing contest is played in memory of Head-Wound Harvey, who was the spear-catcher for the great pent-athlete Rick Flair, arguably the best athlete ever. Head-Wound Harvey, whose last words were, ‘Hey, y’all! Watch this!’ was the greatest spear-catcher in the land. On the fateful day when he lost his ability to speak at an adult level, Harvey did a back flip just as Rick Flair released the spear into the air. This was, of course, preceded by the aforementioned last words, but as he landed, he lost balance and fell on his back. The blunt stone of the spear struck Harvey directly in the forehead, leaving a permanent indentation and leaving the athlete with a prepubescent disposition. Harvey spent the rest of his life, at least within the boundaries of his eclipsed mind, skipping school and looking up young girls’ skirts.”

Midas the Haggard Leader with a Hemp-Woven Codpiece looks around surveying his people, checking to assure that the youngest members of the tribe are not getting too restless, which is tough during this time of year when fairly decent weather importunately calls youth outside to marvel in Nature’s mysteries. Noticing that the children are stirring slightly, Midas the Haggard Leader with a Hemp-Woven Codpiece asks Erasmus the Tribal Apothecary to re-administer the calming elixir slightly less potent than the Nocturnal Elixir. He then resumes reciting his tribe’s history.

Day three of our annual Sunny Season Celebration is set aside for the contest we call the Disoriented and Sense-Impaired Race for the Prize. To begin this event, our athletes sit at the starting line. They simultaneously inhale as much smoke as they can from the burning leaves and buds of the Tree of Knowledge then hold their breath. (Of course, one of the past leaders of the tribe, Bill Clinton, had his championship stripped away because he claimed to have never inhaled.) When the official gives the signal, the contestants exhale then stand up and turn around ten times in small circles with their forehead against the top end of a club that is resting vertically upon the ground. When the official in front of each contestant counts to ten, the athlete straightens up and runs forty yards to the finish line where he has to pick up from the ground, without using his hands, a bud from the Tree of Knowledge. When the contestant has secured the bud with his teeth, he becomes the winner, and his bud is ignited.

The Disoriented and Sense-Impaired Race for the Prize is played in honor of Mary Jane, another celebrity from antiquity; although, we really don’t know that much about her. However, we believe that she did important work studying joints, roaches, and jays, which were birds and insects that are now extinct. She invented something called a doobie, which is a small group of brothers singing four-part harmony atop a large rock. She was a great scientist of the past, and we honor her name to this day.”

The tribe bows their heads in silent homage. After a brief moment, Midas continues, “The fourth event of our celebration is the Expectoration Distance Championship. This is a relatively straightforward event in which the athlete spits as far as he can. This event became notorious after it was discovered that milk from the hybrid Bovine Boar makes the saliva heavy and viscous enough to spit great distances. Roger Bannister was the infamous first member of the tribe to expectorate his fluid the equivalent of thirty feet, but his competitors dismissed him as a charlatan, claiming he used a performance enhancing substance. Once a year, however, the tribe honors Roger with a celebration in which everyone spits and incessantly grabs their crotch. This day is also known as Baseball Day, but the meaning of this phrase has long escaped our tribal historians.”

Midas starts giggling, which makes the entire tribe giggle in return. Slightly regaining his composure, the leader continues, “The fifth and final day of competition is the Race and Rhyme Relay sponsored by COP, the tribe’s Counsel Of Poetry. The object of this event is to race the equivalent of forty yards, hand a stick to a partner, and then recite a limerick. After the limerick is completely recited, the second athlete runs back from where the first one started, recites his limerick, hands another partner the stick, and the pattern continues until five athletes from the same team complete the race. Bawdy content of the limerick can overcome lack of speed in this event and this almost caused a riot in one of the games from the past. It seems that Cassius Clay finished the last leg of the race by reciting a limerick about floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee; however, Redd Foxx, who had finished the race’s last leg five minutes after Cassius, was awarded the victory by reciting a raunchy limerick about a man from Nantucket.

The winner of the pentathlon not only gets to sit on my pelt-laden throne and smoke from the Sacred Pipe Of Dreams, but he also gets to marry, from a group of maidens desirous for strong children, a woman of his choice. Of course when the commissioner of the game adopted this rule, many of the more shallow athletes lost sight of the glory of the games in favor of glory itself. They became spoiled crybabies whose puerile threats and fatuous temper tantrums left many of the elders hollow inside, but our children, unfortunately, embraced the athletes and their false, materialistic drive, and they, in turn, became unruly, restless… ill-behaved. All was saved, however, because of insight given to us by Duracell, the god of light. Our athletes are now humble and grateful for their athletic gifts, which they have come to realize, are gifts they have received through no merit of their own but instead are acknowledged as gifts from the benevolent gods whom we honor daily.”

Midas takes a kingly toke from his Sacred Pipe of Dreams then washes it down with a quaff from the Amber Lethean Jug of Inebriate Liquid. What Midas didn’t relate to his tribe was the fact that it was he who “changed” the attitudes of the ancient spoiled athletes into a more humble realization of their gifts. As he was the most powerful warrior upon ascending the throne of his tribe, Midas the Haggard Leader with a Hemp-Woven Codpiece gave the first pentathlon champion of his rule, Tyrell Owens, a vicious dope-slap when the athlete starting sprawling like a baby about not getting his way. Tyrell’s ears rang for three days, and when the ringing ceased, his humility and graciousness returned. Soon after that, the children of the tribe began respecting their elders and became more studious.

Midas finishes his story, and his tribe smiles with contentment, reflecting on his words. Midas then sends Polyphemus the Nocturnal Sentry out of the cave to see if it is safe. The sporting events are about to begin.

Earth Bound

#novel #writing #GroovicusMaximus Chapter Two – Critical Decision – “Come in, come in, Sir,” Dr. Benito Stelfast says as he stands up and walks around his ornate desk with his hand outstretched, “I appreciate your taking time from your…

Source: Earth Bound

Earth Bound – Chapter II

Critical Decision

Come in, come in, Sir,” Dr. Benito Stelfast says as he stands up and walks around his ornate desk with his hand outstretched, “I appreciate your taking time from your busy schedule to come and talk to me. Here. Have a seat.”

Thank you.”

Senator Falstaff Boyd looks down to his left at a leather covered wooden chair and sits while Benito leans back against the front of his desk, facing his constituent.

I know why you’ve called me in, Dr. Stelfas…”

Please. Please. Call me Benito.”

Senator Boyd looks a bit stunned, slightly bewildered, but his physiognomy quickly morphs into introspection.

O… kay, Benito, but I know what you want; I just can’t go along with the plan. It’d give one man too much power, and that one man, without a doubt, would be you.”

That’s not assured. There will be an election afterward. The citizens will ultimately decide who the leader will be. It could just as easily be you.”

Dr. Benito Stelfast has his doctorate in robotics engineering. He is also a senator representing one of the four biospheres erected many centuries ago throughout the globe by ancient scientists who had realized the inevitable total destruction of the planet caused from global warming initiated in the late nineteenth century by the Industrial Revolution. He currently resides within the South American biosphere atop land once the former capital of Peru. The recent violent attack on his biosphere by an atavistic, barbaric tribe of mutants has encouraged him to consolidate the four domes into one heavily secured colossal biosphere called Colossus V.

Please don’t patronize me Doctor. Besides, I’m not convinced that we need only one biosphere. What will happen to the four that currently exist?”

The idea seemed to quicken as he spoke it and give it life.

We can give them to the betas. They are our biological brethren, right?”

That’s not a bad idea, really. I’m sure they could use protection from the insufferable terrestrial elements. How any of them have survived is beyond belief.”

That’s exactly what I’m trying to say. It’d be the beneficent thing to do. None of us ever anticipated that anyone could survive the planet’s last mass extinction that destroyed practically every plant and animal so many centuries ago.”

I am well aware that the mutant beasts currently existing in the Wild Earth Zone are the miraculous survivors of the humans so callously left outside the four biospheres by the scientific community nearly five centuries ago,” he paused, “and your idea to give them this special opportunity is morally appealing in some distorted way, but I just can’t abide the possibility that one man would be leader of, in essence, the entire population of the civilized world.”

Think of the betas. Nobody ever expected survivors. It’s baffling that anything survived… plant or beast… but our latest sensors have shown that very few mammals did survive, and they do exist, The DNA tests gathered by servitons1 have proven irrevocably that the betas have adapted to the environment that killed off 95% of all carbon lifeforms. No one knows how these… these beasts… how these barbaric mutants survived the most devastating mass extinction ever, the wiping out of practically every living thing on the planet that was created by the human population during the aftermath of the global warming initiated by the now infamous Industrial Revolution.”

It’s just that they don’t appear to be threatening to us in any way; they have adapted to the climatic changes; we haven’t. They can live beyond the protection that our biospheres grant us. They’re harmless to us; there’s no reason to consolidate.”

That’s where you’re wrong. The betas are serious threats to national security. There’s evidence that strongly suggests that the betas have the ability to produce weapons of mass destruction. Our very way of life is at stake.”

How are the betas threatening? Didn’t our Robotic Army totally wipe out those savage warriors just ten years ago? They had rudimentary weapons… clubs and rocks.”

Why take chances. Video surveillance shows us that they’re barbaric. They’re really not human anymore.”

Then why worry about them?”

Because they’re animals! Animals capable of destroying portions of the biospheres that would cost too much money when it can be so easily avoided if we consolidate the four biospheres into one colossal, technologically superior biosphere built with even more protection against the betas and their ever-threatening technological advances.”

It doesn’t seem necessary; they’re not that dangerous. Seems like a ploy garnered through unfettered capitalism.”

Benito pauses, sighs, and then slowly walks to the other side of his desk where he sits, still facing Senator Boyd, a panoramic view in the huge window behind the defeated scientist displays a pastoral man-made recreational lake.

So, you’re still gonna vote ‘No’ in two weeks?”

I am. One colossal biosphere seems unnecessary.”

Very well; although, I can’t tell you how disappointed I am that you don’t see the clear and present danger that exists to our very way of life.”

There was nothing more to say, so Senator Falstaff Boyd leaves Benito’s office silently while Dr. Benito Stelfast ruminates with cerebral intensity scorching his hazel eyes that churn extinguished yet burning emotional fury.

Before retiring for the evening, Benito takes a soothing bath to calm his frayed nerves. He steps out of the tub when he hears his doorbell. As he ties his bathrobe, there comes a knock on the bathroom door. It is Benito’s personal serviton, Rodney.

Forgive the intrusion, Sir, but Sergeant Viernes from the Diplomacy Station is waiting in the library. Seems he needs to speak to you. Says it’s an urgent matter.”

Thank you. Inform him that I’ll meet with him anon, and offer him a drink.”

Already done, Sir.”

As Benito enters the library in his bathrobe, Sergeant Viernes leaps from the cushioned chair with a drink in one hand and a marijuana cigar in the other.

Dr. Benito Stelfast,” he blurts as he stands.

He starts walking toward the doctor as the doctor slowly approaches him, but the investigator stops suddenly, gulps down the rest of his drink, steps back toward the chair, sets the empty glass on the table beside the chair, then he takes a few puffs on the cigar before smashing it out in the ashtray on the same table. By the time he turns back around, Benito is upon him with outstretched hand.

I am Dr. Benito Stelfast.”

Pleased to finally meet you, Sir. I’m Sergeant Viernes.”

Well, how may I help you, Sergeant?”

I’ve come to bring sad news, Doctor. Senator Falstaff Boyd is dead.”

Really?” Benito takes an awkward step backward. “I just talked to him not twenty minutes ago…”

Dr. Benito Stelfast’s face slightly contorted with confusion. Then he almost silently whispers, “How?”

Another serviton malfunction.”

Where?”

In the basement of his office complex a few blocks south of here. Seems like his serviton went awry, strangled the senator, then initiated a self-destruction program no one knew existed within its circuitry. Destroyed itself completely. It’s the third incident this month, but this time it struck down a senator.”

Damn,” says Dr. Benito, mostly to himself.

Don’t worry Doctor. No one blames you; everyone knows that you’ll ultimately figure it all out. You’re the greatest doctor of robotics ever lived.”

Still…”

Benito stands silently for a moment then says, “What was the senator doing in the basement?”

No one knows, Sir, but the mayor wanted you to know, and I was sent to tell you.”

Again, Benito stands in retrospection. Sergeant Viernes then coughs a little, drawing Benito back from his cerebral journey.

Oh, I’m sorry, Sergeant. It’s just so…”

I understand, Sir. Will you be needing anything else from me?”

Hm? Oh… no. No thank you. Here.”

Dr. Benito hands the investigator a few cigars.

Thank you, Sir,” Sergeant Viernes sings. “We don’t get this quality down at the station.”

_______________________________________________________

1 Service automatons.

 

 

Earth Bound

Chapter One of my futuristic satire. More to come… obviously. Comments welcome. Enjoy. A small group of haggard barbarian hunters awkwardly wince, awestruck and shaken, before the behemoth source of primeval light that confronts them, its blind…

Source: Earth Bound

Earth Bound – Chapter I

Savage Nobility

A small group of haggard barbarian hunters awkwardly wince, awestruck and shaken, before the behemoth source of primeval light that confronts them, its blinding brightness so hostile they must protect their vulnerable eyes with their shields and outstretched hands, actively arching their bodies away from the fulgent antagonist in a futile attempt to ameliorate its impending luminescent aggression. When their eyes adjust, they warily crawl towards the linear wall of intense palpitating illumination standing militantly before them, the demarcation between themselves—vulnerable in the gray shadowy vestiges of a waning violent storm—and an overtly penetrating tranquility, which fills the compass of the expanse that stretches out ahead of them, a pulsing fluorescent boundary, a formidable, thick glass wall extending infinitely both vertically and horizontally, separating the storm-battered, wearied warriors from the endless field of golden corn eagerly reaching for the expansive blue, cloudless sky and its auriferous sun.

Within the twenty-foot thick vitreous wall, giant web-like metallic cables support the colossal structure with geometric precision, and on the other side of the glass barrier is the endless field of glowing, ray-drenched corn the mammalian herd covets. Corn as far as their red eyes can see, tasseled ears slightly swaying in homogenous golden sunlight while on their side of the monolithic glass wall, dingy, brooding storm clouds hang above the heads of the hungry hunters in the disinterested crepuscular dusk. The beasts stare, agape, at the luminous curiosity, wondering how they can penetrate the wall and enter Eden.

The leader of the hunting group looks apprehensively back at his followers and then nods to them assuredly before he turns back and faces the wall. He then tentatively touches his forefinger to the glass barrier. A loud, fulgurous blast instantly electrocutes the beast―intense heat scorches the mammal’s fur as a deafening shockwave sends the creature flying, arching over rain-pummeled plants and glistening minerals; its golden mane waving with air currents that bristle against it; its seven-foot tail snapping frenetically through the flight; its long arms turgid against its sides; its red eyes extinguished; and it lands with a dull thud upon a large, pliable, carnivorous plant that voraciously consumes it, almost silently save the initial crunch of bones.

Erupting into raging violence, the attendant beasts rush for their primitive weapons and attack the plant, rendering it and their former leader a collective mush that produces the harsh, wafting odor of sulfur and burnt almonds. The beasts wail in anger at the sky, roaring collective pain to their gods a radish-screaming displeasure at the injustice of Life. Turning toward the gigantic, gleaming, corn-taunting glass structure, the tallest beast runs for a large stone and throws it at its luminous nemesis. With a dull thud, the stone innocuously bounces off the structure and splats the moistened ground as a laser ray from within the wall blasts the beast into oblivion immediately followed by a more devastating explosion that instantly kills every plant and animal within a fifty-mile radius of the explosion, a semi-circle of fuligenous death that stains the burnt ground away from the undamaged transparent wall that protects and endless waving sea of golden corn harbored safely behind the redoubtable glass wall, mocking the outside devastation with deafening silence.

֍ ֍ ֍ ֍

On a distant continent of the storm-ravished planet, another tribe of nomadic beasts finds temporary shelter in a cave recently carved out by terrestrial wind, rain, and fire. The auburn sun slips unnoticed into the horizon as mild winds and leaden precipitation block sunset’s nocturnal pageantry, engulfing it into a velvet gray fog. Evening always brings a sense of highly anticipated relief to the tribe of atavistic human betas whose name translates to They Who Are Heavily Burdened. Midas, the Haggard Leader with a Hemp-Woven Codpiece sits regally upon his throne, a huge boulder deep within the cave of his people, a stoned fortress that shields his tribe from the fatalistic weather patterns that harrow earth’s surface with intense electrical storms that sporadically flash red fingers of lightning across the dark lavender sky or produce swirling orange-yellow funnel clouds that burrow ditches miles-wide into the dark, red-crusted landscape, callously raping its botanical population.

Midas’ seven-foot frame is lean and menacing to his followers, and when he raises his hairy arms, he appears as tall as the trees. He is covered in soft fur from his head to his tail, a prehensile appendage with a ball of fluffy fur on its tip that trails behind him six feet when he’s not using it to swat away insectile aggression. Midas claims the highest part of the cave in which he and his followers pass time when the weather is so horrific that no one can venture safely outside.

The following morning is relatively calm, and although the wind is fierce, there are no ominous black and red streaked clouds heavily spackled against a pink sky, the customary flocculent harbingers of violent atmospheric clashes that portend danger and encourage all tribal members to huddle together safely within the security of the cave’s stoned walls. The opportunity for a relatively calm hunting expedition is as apparent as the elongated dark purple shadows that casually creep towards the sunrise peeking its luminous eye over the horizon, and as the solar miracle teasingly presents itself to full grandeur, the tribe splits to fulfill respective duties. Bundled up tightly against the wind, two groups separate, the stronger in search of wild game while the distaff tend to more domestic responsibilities.

After trekking a few miles north of their cave, the hunters spot tracks of the mutant wild boar. They are all aware of the animal’s serrated teeth, and their nerves quicken as they focus on the present task, moving slowly through lush vegetation with the precision of ants assiduously picking the exoskeleton of an giant mutant horned beetle until nothing is left but a fragile carapace. The men silently stalk their hidden prey with the focus of an atheistic praying mantis trying to reject its religious dogma.

A thundering grunt echoes through the valley, and a large porcine mutant charges a pubescent boy on his first hunt. The guttural explosion from the charging pig frightens the boy who drops his weapon and stares wide-eyed-red at the raging animal. Within seconds, the large incisors of the genetically altered razorback tear through the boys leg, spewing blood, fan-like, out and away from his body in radial pageantry, a beautiful sanguine web stretching until the strands evanesce into infinitesimally smaller crimson beads that splatter lush, verdant, almost blue leaves that shade the tropical floor like short, wide umbrellas. The boy screams, and while the other males scramble after the fleeing game, Erasmus the Tribal Apothecary, tends to the hapless victim.

While the stronger group hunts, the second group of the mammalian herd spreads out to pick fruits and berries, not traveling very far from the cave. Sunflower Blossom carries her bundled infant child, and she softly hums as the other women spread out and search for edible flora. Very briefly, the wind stops. The pale-green sun’s rays bathe the fruitpickers with all-embracing warmth; everyone looks to the heavens and smiles. Sunflower Blossom lays the child on its back in the dense vegetation, and the giggling, gurgling infant makes the mother smile, a mutual mother-to-child expression of complete joy. The warmth of the sun is so unexpected and pleasurable that Sunflower Blossom starts to dance, twirling around and around in an ecstatic dervish, her child’s cooing and the birds’ chirping encouraging her to lose inhibition and to continue her aggressive spinning, a kaleidoscopic reverie of bodiless enthusiasm, and she dances with frenetic undulation until she stumbles and trips, lunging forward in wild abandon toward a laughing oak. She tries desperately to catch her balance, stretching her legs in front of her as far as possible as she runs in a semi-circle until the force of gravity finally brings her down to earth in a single, riotously hysterical thud.

She lands on her child, killing her instantly.

֍ ֍ ֍ ֍

Midas leads his group of warriors back to the cave: an array of men fatigued from the hunt but gregariously content with their success, even numbers of men marching in front of and behind the blood-dripping game hanging upside down by its legs from a pole that is carried on the shoulders of two warriors. The young victim of feral aggression is bandaged with blood-soaked leaves and towed on a makeshift gurney, and he’s singing; the two warriors pulling him along smile at the pubescent warrior’s merriment—a hallucinogenic reaction to certain medicinal herbs Erasmus the Tribal Apothecary gave the victim to ease trauma. The hunt has been successful, but as the hunting party enters the cave of violently depressed women wailing in emotional rage, an inescapable, sullen uneasiness presses down upon the warriors like a dense, heavy fog, extinguishing vestigial energy until all physical expressions are spent and only inexpressible emotion remains, an abysmal empty yearning for something unattainable, a shattering desire for yesterday and harsh realization of what is lost forever.

@SSTJazzVocalist

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