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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Mon May 27, 2013 6:35 pm

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The Oxygen release plan sounded like a goer, so naturally I consulted Siri on the matter... how could we persuade SiO2 to relinquish some of its Oxygen? Unfortunately, Siri advised, 'Per-sua-sion. A means by which. Human thought and behaviour. May be altered. By manipulation. People who liked this page. Were also interested in. The pages on bribery. And blackmail. You may wish to consider. Coercion.' Holding a bottle of NaOH tentatively over our uterine SiO2 bubble, we jointly considered allowing a 'drip, drip' to generate sodium silicate and drinkable water... Whilst Savannah agreed to make her stiletto heel the sacrificial lamb that was to provide the Carbon atoms for use in 3D printing of burgers for sustenance...

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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Mon May 27, 2013 7:25 pm
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Pause for roll-up... First, let's repeat Rollup #1:

As I gardened, gazing toward the autumnal sky, I longed to run my finger through the trail of mucus left by a single speckled slug, innocuously thrusting past my rhododendrons, and in feeling that warm slime be swept back to planet Alderon, back into the tentacles of the alien who loved me. But separated by light years I knew I would I be 10,000 years older than my viscous lover after a twenty year journey at 0.9C, or perhaps it would be the other way round - I could never get my head around that twins paradox.

Alas, these mental masturbations about the twin paradox and other ancient paradoxical thought experiments are now how I occupy my mind day after day as I exist here stuck... no... trapped in this massive Dyson sphere; a station that was built all those decades ago by scientists and young volunteers each filled with so much hope and aspiration and good intent, but which... like its current inhabitants... sits here today dilapidated, mostly vacant, and very nearly forgotten.

Escape seems impossible ever since we learned of the sad ending of the last attempt by the miners who dug their way out only to be sucked into space in what has become known as the Dyson vacuum cleaner incident. We've lost many of our friends and colleagues that way, more than I care to admit really, and it's a sad reminder of how critical it is to be ever vigilant in this harsh environment, despite the intermittent moments of beauty I experience when passing my rhododendrons or running my finger down the warm mucus trail left by the slugs.

Meanwhile on Alderon (a poignant yet meaningless phrase in the space-time continuum) it was Slugfest; that joyous time when Alderonians put aside their differences and slither around with tentacles entwined to a rockin’ beat. Slugfest has an interesting history, one encompassing home brewed concoctions, locally baked delights, and costumes of all sorts. For the most part Slugfest is a stellarly spectacular and gay event, except for the occasional gathering of Alderons somberly sploiking and gurgling macabre reminiscences of the tragic sodium chloride event. I'll save that story for another time, but let's just say that I haven't had a pretzel now in over 17 narnaks and boy do I miss them.

It’s an accepted truism on Alderon that drowning in beer is a better way to go but a small beer and pretzels death cult has recently emerged. You wouldn't think death cults would be so common in a community such as ours, but there do seem to be a lot of them... and one in particular has a truly fascinating eden story. But that must wait for another time; allow me to introduce myself.

I am Phelge Nanker, a one-time entrepreneur in the field of positronic compassion circuit enhancements; a field now dead since the advent of implanted personalities and a world full of copycat Jerry Garcias and Lady Gagas among other characters from the depths of history; a world now teetering on the brink of disaster as our inherently unstable sphere totters slowly to a fiery mating with its source of life and light, our new nemesis the sun; I must escape.

It's hard here, and a challenge to survive, but we make it through as best we can despite the changes we are seeing in our orbit. It's made worse by our lack of access to large bodies of water... I've loved the water for nearly as long as I can remember... and I will never forget what Savannah (my first true love) once said to me... She said, "Remember... life is like foam, and that is why you should become one with the sea." But Savannah swam off into the sunset, or would have if the sun ever set here, with her bioengineered flipper feet making barely a splash as I wept on the sea shore, my double chocolate chip ice cream cone with rainbow sprinkles melting, forgotten, in my hand, until she ran aground on the reef. As sad as it all was, it does make me laugh, though... as she could never hold an ice cream cone herself due to her flippers... it was always milkshakes for her. Ah, the milkshakes, such memories, and anchovy her favorite flavor. And that time that Savannah and I found that tunnel that plunged into the body of the sphere, but we didn't explore the tunnel very far, instead we explored each others secret places. That's what we called our rock collections... "secret places," boy it was grand.

But that was then and this is now and today the sun seems a little closer which might explain why my skin bubbled a little bit when I went outside and forgot to put on my protective photosynthesis suit that is the centerpiece of my plan to journey to the exit port after hooking up with my buddy who last time I heard from him had bought himself a new personality which could only be a good thing.

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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Mon May 27, 2013 7:33 pm
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Rollup #2:

As I stood there thinking of my old friend, a gruff and startled yet focused voice broke through the silence from behind me calling out, "Hey, Phelge! You were right... our sphere's orbit has been shifting for several weeks now and all measurements indicate that we're getting 0.87% closer to the star each day. Come here and check out these numbers, man... it looks pretty bad."

All things considered, 0.87% was pretty catastrophic - our days were now tangibly numbered. As a species exposed ordinarily to high levels of electromagnetic radiation, we had evolved in the midst of high mutation rates and high turnover; happen to be on the smiling side of chance and your genes would have a high penetrance in the next generation. A gut feeling - no, literally, an intestinal feeling - pre-empted a less-than-desirable ephemeral fate. There was no time to lose. Taking a furtive glance at my friend, warm feelings borne of fond reminiscences rose and choked a tear I would have shed had not excess levels of ductal NaCl deemed the osmotic pressure to be in the wrong direction.

The nervous gaze in my direction, at once neurotically direct, and yet shyly withdrawn when our glances met - as one whose feelings were too strong to be encased in such a delicate vessel, as one about to break under the emotional strain, assured me that he felt the same and was anticipating my next move. Looking unwaveringly into his expansive blue eyes, I decided now was the time to do it, the only time to do it - to let him peek into my soul... that ghost that isn't there, yet commands my actions and thoughts, thoughts now turning to existential questions about life and death and who will feed the dog if I leave on this hazardous journey to Alderon, and how in any case could we leave and did he have a plan?

“I’m looking into your soul, bro,” said Bob (for that is his name) “and I don’t like what I see – a soul consumed by an impossible dream, a dream of love beyond the stars, of Alderon which is forever out of reach – and then emptiness like the void between the stars, filled with dark matter that is eating you up, man, let go of it, and focus, focus on the here and now, and you and me, and anyway your rhododendrons are toast.” While, of course, Bob was right that we had more pressing concerns with our degrading orbit, he simply couldn't appreciate the profound attraction Alderon has on me and the way it draws my thoughts toward it like a deep cerebral gravity well...He just cannot comprehend what it feels like to be there... in person... breathing its air... taking in its wildlife... and it still matters so much to me even after all these years. If only Bob could remember Alderon the way I do, as a...lovely place (such a lovely place); I had to find the passage back to the place I was before, but "Relax" said Bob, "we are programmed to receive, you can check out any time you like but you can never leave".

"You can never leave." Those four arbitrary words reverberated through my skull over and over again... poking me like pins through a cushion... There, but essentially undetectable and not really touching anything of substance, but still there... "You can never leave." I closed my eyes and breathed in deeply, but I couldn't release my thoughts from the bonds those words had placed on me... they felt eternal in my consciousness... "You can never leave," they repeated. Every fiber in my being raged against the onslaught and I wanted nothing more than to cry out, "SHUT UP!!! Leaving this death trap is our only real choice and you know it!!," but it wouldn't help... it didn't matter... the words just kept returning, "you can never leave," like echoes in a bottomless canyon cycling upward... assaulting... no... tormenting me... "You can never leave... you can never leave..." The words kept piercing me, cutting me, stealing the calm from my mind as if motivated by an demon dancing on an endless loop... "You can never leave... you can nehh..."

Just then, we were interrupted by the cries of a flock of eagles. Eagles which, it had been claimed, would never flock together again. But here they were, Dysonian eagles flying, crying, in a flock in the sky. Great, big, huge Dysonian eagles. They are back, Bob whispered to himself, we must follow them, but I overheard him and when I asked him why he said “I can’t tell you why”, but he was insistent so we got a few things together and donned our protective clothing and went and stood on the corner waiting for a ride in the same direction the birds were heading; eventually a vehicle came into sight and as it approached we could see it was a girl in a flat bed Ford.

The girl did not waste time on acknowledging us; this was what she had been born to do, her destiny. We too instinctively knew what we had to do. Slithering into the automobile, trying to avoid contact of all forms, lest the sullen despair that now gripped my being should be contagious, I mentally braced myself for a future now more uncertain than ever. Sand streamed past the windows and the only holler to be heard came from the eagles above; sand was all that featured as our approach to the local Helium factory intesified, ripping vast swathes of desert into the tortured landscape. Dreams of Alderon and of love beyond the stars permeated my conscious and unconscious states until, alas, the vehicle halted because sand had covered the solar panels on the roof, and it was only as we got out to brush it off that I noticed the girl's flippered hands and then her feet and then the dorsal fin protruding through her shirt - could it be? I dared not hope but after a close look at her face, yes, the gills were new but everything else was Savannah. The flood of memories was almost too intense, overwhelming me with a rollercoaster of emotions, but most importantly... the screaching echoes of "you will never leave" were suddenly silenced and my mind once again set free.

"I, I thought you were..." I stammered; "No Phelge," she said, "I had to go on a quest and no one could know, so I had to pretend to be dead, and now we are together again and can complete my quest together, but what are these damn eagles doing swooping down on us, and, and look, that one has a human face..." After a long silence, during which nothing much happened, Bob asked, somewhat inertly, "why are we headed for the helium factory anyway, I can only think of one possible use for helium and that's to make our voices sound like the chipmunks".

I replied, "exactly Bob." "What is the whole reason that there is a helium factory on the sphere?" I pause for a breath, and then continue, "it's so we can all sing like chipmunks on Spheresfounders Day!" "The founders loved chipmunks." "And that's how we're getting past the electronic security at the founders gate." "By sounding like chipmunks!"

Contemplating on the seemingly desultory nature of life, my dice rolled a 3, 5, 2 and I scampered aboard a purple-backed camel, and off we set to that grid reference, our next destination guided across this vast desert by an eagle with the face of Joe Walsh, all the while Savannah complaining that she felt like a fish out of water, which, we quickly realized, we should have bought a supply of along with the helium and the Mars bars.

Staggering thirstily across the sands our Mars bars melted and we killed the camel and drank the water from its hump, then ate the tender bits, and shockingly we realized that our journey was doomed to failure and with awesome majesty our Dyson sphere met in colossal conflagration with its sun, witnessed twenty years later by my alien lover on Alderon as the new star in the east that would cause her to fall on her three knees and worship it and found Phelgianity, the religion that swept the Universe. Phelgianity wasn't really a religion in the normal sense of the word, but instead was more of an ideology or worldview... a conscious decision to approach our existence with a profound awareness and appreciation of birth... specifically the birth of stars... for just like the ancients, we knew that the stars themselves hold the key to our survival.

By now you are probably wondering how I lived to tell the tale.

More often than not, I wonder the same thing, and indeed question whether 'I' exist at all. Descartes cannot help me now - the consciousness I used to believe in may be nothing more than an externally implanted phenomenon. The more the atoms constituting my neurones attempt to comprehend the nature of their own existence, the more frustrated I become, and resort to writing my name several times - as if willing myself into existence. As if the order of the letters in that label might spontaneously confer new meaning. And from these philosophical meanderings and anagramatical shufflings emerges a name so awesome in its meaning that I shudder as I puzzle over the superfluous P, before realizing that the great man liked to be known by his nickname, Phil, my alter ego, my avatar, my philosopher guru P.Hegel. As far as alter egos go, this one is a good one... one that even sometimes ventures into the realm of pretend chipmunks who cannot get enough of the helium on this sphere.

But our spherical home is gone along with the sun that destroyed it and our little band of adventurers rides the shock wave of its death spasm at near light speed inside an air-filled bubble made of desert sand fused by the unimaginable heat which we survived only by virtue of the helium flux that surrounded and cooled us as the helium factory disintegrated, while peering out through our giant light bulb we see the infinity of space dotted here and there by the drifting forms of bloated eagles and a camel turned inside out by the vacuum, and contemplate our destiny among the stars. The sand fused into what was collectively known as blast glass. It was strangely strong, but since it formed so quickly it had few flaws and was still quite transparent.

How long would our air last? we wondered as we drifted weightlessly inside our bubble that was perhaps to become our sarcophagus, when Bob mentioned that this was a bit like that old "who should we throw overboard" scenario, and we said thanks Bob that's really helpful. While our response to Bob was full of snark, he really did have a point. As awful as it felt, we all knew that at some point we might have to be prepared to engage in type of "life boat exercise" and to rank our friends and colleagues from top to bottom in order to determine who should come and who should be left behind if the situation ever came up. I shuddered at the thought, but I know I was not the only one to think it.

As I wallowed in desultory contemplation of our impending asphyxiation, Savannah surprised the piss out of me by saying "Isn't glass made of silicone dioxide? If we can liberate the oxygen from just a small amount of glass scrapings it will give us plenty to breath! And I can use the silicone to repair my broken left stiletto heel!" We paused for a moment to ponder just how had Savannah walked through the desert sand on stiletto heels designed for flippered feet, but soon our thoughts returned to the urgency of our situation.

The Oxygen release plan sounded like a goer, so naturally I consulted Siri on the matter... how could we persuade SiO2 to relinquish some of its Oxygen? Unfortunately, Siri advised, 'Per-sua-sion. A means by which. Human thought and behaviour. May be altered. By manipulation. People who liked this page. Were also interested in. The pages on bribery. And blackmail. You may wish to consider. Coercion.' Holding a bottle of NaOH tentatively over our uterine SiO2 bubble, we jointly considered allowing a 'drip, drip' to generate sodium silicate and drinkable water... Whilst Savannah agreed to make her stiletto heel the sacrificial lamb that was to provide the Carbon atoms for use in 3D printing of burgers for sustenance...

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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 3:13 am
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However, as we were soon reminded, drip, drip, drip is for kitchen sinks, runny nasal mucus and the pleasant aftermath of a spring shower under a leafy tree with a close friend on a planet with gravity, none of which were currently present and when Savannah uncorked the bottle of caustic that she always carried for just such an occasion as this we were soon surrounded by a cloud of floating globules of 1 Normal sodium hydroxide.


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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 2:58 pm
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This environment clearly wasn't ideal for the type of experimental work we were about to initiate... after all, we were flying through the cosmos inside a transparent glass bubble formed when our star exploded... powered by nothing by a blast wave, and we were trying to do life saving chemistry... trying to extract oxygen from glass without destroying the structure currently protecting us... The odds were not in our favor, but we tried anyway. The cloud of sodium hydroxide soon...

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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 4:35 am
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...agglomerated as a result of the Coriolis effect.


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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 3:09 pm
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As strange as it seemed, the fast spin we'd acquired whilst hurtling through space will actually assist us in this experiment and improve our chances of success.

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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 12:16 am
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How this could be did not seem immediately obvious but I felt sure the answer would come if I waited a while.


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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 1:51 am
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But we couldn't wait, there was no time and we had to begin the process immediately.

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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 2:41 am
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And yet this was no time for trial and error - we had only one chance and failure would mean slow asphyxiation. In these dire straits we naturally turned to the most highly qualified one among us for guidance, this being Savannah with her associate degree in Media Studies.


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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 5:59 am
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"Would you wake the hell up and get your craniums out of your colons, people. We're immersed in a cloud of sodium hydroxide here and you're standing around like a bunch of paste eating toddlers with your fingers in your noses!" barked Savannah impatiently.

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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 3:37 pm
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She whipped the chemistry text book that she always carried for such situations out of her backpack and starting reading the section on sodium hydroxide. In horror she screamed “it doesn’t work it makes water not oxygen”.


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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 10:01 pm
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It was becoming more and more clear to everyone that this search for more oxygen was a wild goose chase. We didn't need more breathable air. We needed to find a way to land this thing, and to land it somewhere we could pitch tent.

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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 2:19 am
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Bob was becoming suspicious of Savannah's backpack that seemed to have capacity way larger than its apparent size: "Let me see that thing" he demanded but she said "hands off nobody touches my backpack", only serving to make Bob more curious. He grabbed hold of it and peered inside, where he saw a shimmering light at the bottom of a seemingly bottomless tube that was both there and not there. "All right it's a fair cop", said Savannah, "It's a Turdis". "You mean Tardis" Bob said, but no, Savannah went on to explain "It's definitely a Turdis, a Trans Universe Re-Director In Spacetime".


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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 3:34 am
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"But we can't use it. That's why I didn't tell you about it sooner," shared Savannah. "It can only be powered by a very specific type of mucus that is generated by a rare slug... one that is only found on Alderon. Now give me back my bag, Bob. That's obviously a dead-end."

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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 3:42 am
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This is when, shyly, I remembered the keepsake I had saved from Alderon, a little box my tentacled lover had given me, containing, yes, rare Alderonian slug mucus.


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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 4:30 am
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"I wouldn't be so sure, Savannah," I quipped. "We may just have a way out of this thing yet. Let me see that bag."

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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 5:54 am

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Being a temperamental substance, there was always the possibility that it had sublimated under the extreme temperatures characteristic of our journey of late, or that it might have cross-linked itself and shrivelled into an impenetrable crisp in response to the leakage of a small amount of NaOH, or spontaneously dissolved back into a liquid. Peering nervously into the vestibule, the mucus shined with a green ecstasy at its own perfect consistency and texture - slippery as polytetrafluoroethylene along the grain and sticky as the setae of gecko feet against the grain.

Having considered the multiple worlds now accessible via worm-holes and the dimensions we would need to traverse, we agreed the next best destination would be...

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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 6:26 am
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Cleveland.

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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Fri Jun 07, 2013 5:24 am
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But Savannah quickly realized that her steadily increasing piscatorial appendages might make her something of an oddity in Cleveland; Bob remembered that his ex-wife lived there, and I was innerly pining for Alderon, so reluctantly we abandoned our visions of the many pleasures of that lakeside demi-paradise and settled on plan B.


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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Sat Jun 08, 2013 6:13 pm
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I began familiarizing myself with the turdis and all of its various openings, twists, convolutions, and insertion points. I honestly had no idea where I was supposed to insert the slug slime, and I found myself feeling surprisingly anxious that inserting my mucous into the wrong hole might result in us being marooned in some unknown, unfriendly, and unsurvivable galaxy on the other side of the universe.

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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Sat Jun 08, 2013 10:30 pm

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There was really no rational way of determining which was the correct hole into which the slime must be inserted. Instead, my fellow travellers turned from me and began to sing Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines'...



The music stopped, at which point I did the Russian roulette with the slug mucus...

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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Sat Jun 08, 2013 10:50 pm
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... having become slightly embarrassed at the turn my thoughts had taken, but the slime had penetrated and we were committed. My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim, and then there was Savannah - there she stood in the doorway and I remember thinking this could be heaven or this could be hell....


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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 3:30 am
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..and then the backpack expanded and we were all inside it and I was staring at a strange console in the center when Savannah said "step aside, fool, I'm the only one can drive this thing."


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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 2:21 am
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She sounded almost too eager, but I ignored my better instincts and stepped aside, anyway.

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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 3:53 am
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Savannah's eyes seemed to flash as a maniacal grin crept across her mouth and the palm of her right flipper descended toward a large brown button on the console of the turdis.

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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 12:00 pm

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Maypole ribbons of streaming white light penetrated my pupils and I had a vague not entirely unpleasant tingling sensation - as I imagined Harry of the Truman Show may have felt when he placed his hand on the synthetic blue sky line and realised the nature of his own being - as I tentatively asked Savannah, 'where are we? What's happening?'

'Oh', she replied with a casual flick of her luscious golden-brown keratin locks, 'Where is relative now. As is our existence, really. You see, ordinarily we both do and don't exist. Most creatures do not sense this, but we exist as ordinary matter whilst a perfect complement of us as anti-matter, does not exist. During transitional periods, such as equinoxes - and even at earthly midnights - the tension between our being and not-being forms becomes so great that we are at increased risk of annihilation. The Trans Universe Re-Director in Spacetime rips a traversable wormhole into the immediate vicinity, allowing a path to a neighbouring Universe - this effectively is one of the greatest transitional periods of all - especially in the middle of the wormhole. It is only the shelter of the TURDIS that is protecting us from immediate annihilation. Cereal?'

And with that she gestured to a packet of honey loops. I would have been intimidated by her intelligence had it not been so damn sexually attractive.

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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 6:32 pm
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Bob said “You’re a Time Lord then?” but Savannah replied, scornfully “Do I look like a lord?” shedding a few angry scales; Bob said, “No, you look like a fish, why should we trust you?” and it was only then he noticed the sign over the console that said “In Cod We Trust”.


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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Sat Jun 15, 2013 4:41 am
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Such signs were common in these times, but rarely did one fit the moment so perfectly.

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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Sat Jun 15, 2013 10:13 am

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[Ed: Truman Burbank :oops: :oops:]

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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Sat Jun 15, 2013 3:51 pm
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"Where are you taking us?" I asked while reaching tentatively for her amber tresses, and trying to ignore my inner turmoil about why I was newly in love with a fish, but in that department I supposed it was not too much of a leap from a tentacled slug to a fish; but then a cloud of bubbles engulfed her and she pointed at one fairly large one, "There!" she said, bursting several others as she did so. "Damn, there go a couple of universes, oh well, plenty more where they came from".


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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Sat Jun 15, 2013 4:16 pm
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Roll-up #1: topic1131-50.html#p14079
Roll-up #2: topic1131-50.html#p14080

Quote:
Holding a bottle of NaOH tentatively over our uterine SiO2 bubble, we jointly considered allowing a 'drip, drip' to generate sodium silicate and drinkable water... Whilst Savannah agreed to make her stiletto heel the sacrificial lamb that was to provide the Carbon atoms for use in 3D printing of burgers for sustenance...

Roll-up #3:

However, as we were soon reminded, drip, drip, drip is for kitchen sinks, runny nasal mucus and the pleasant aftermath of a spring shower under a leafy tree with a close friend on a planet with gravity, none of which were currently present and when Savannah uncorked the bottle of caustic that she always carried for just such an occasion as this we were soon surrounded by a cloud of floating globules of 1 Normal sodium hydroxide. This environment clearly wasn't ideal for the type of experimental work we were about to initiate... after all, we were flying through the cosmos inside a transparent glass bubble formed when our star exploded... powered by nothing but a blast wave, and we were trying to do life saving chemistry... trying to extract oxygen from glass without destroying the structure currently protecting us... The odds were not in our favor, but we tried anyway. The cloud of sodium hydroxide soon agglomerated as a result of the Coriolis effect.

As strange as it seemed, the fast spin we'd acquired whilst hurtling through space will actually assist us in this experiment and improve our chances of success. How this could be did not seem immediately obvious but I felt sure the answer would come if I waited a while. But we couldn't wait, there was no time and we had to begin the process immediately. And yet this was no time for trial and error - we had only one chance and failure would mean slow asphyxiation. In these dire straits we naturally turned to the most highly qualified one among us for guidance, this being Savannah with her associate degree in Media Studies.

"Would you wake the hell up and get your craniums out of your colons, people. We're immersed in a cloud of sodium hydroxide here and you're standing around like a bunch of paste eating toddlers with your fingers in your noses!" barked Savannah impatiently. She whipped the chemistry text book that she always carried for such situations out of her backpack and starting reading the section on sodium hydroxide. In horror she screamed “it doesn’t work it makes water not oxygen”. It was becoming more and more clear to everyone that this search for more oxygen was a wild goose chase. We didn't need more breathable air. We needed to find a way to land this thing, and to land it somewhere we could pitch tent.

Bob was becoming suspicious of Savannah's backpack that seemed to have capacity way larger than its apparent size: "Let me see that thing" he demanded but she said "hands off nobody touches my backpack", only serving to make Bob more curious. He grabbed hold of it and peered inside, where he saw a shimmering light at the bottom of a seemingly bottomless tube that was both there and not there. "All right it's a fair cop", said Savannah, "It's a Turdis". "You mean Tardis" Bob said, but no, Savannah went on to explain "It's definitely a Turdis, a Trans Universe Re-Director In Spacetime".

"But we can't use it. That's why I didn't tell you about it sooner," shared Savannah. "It can only be powered by a very specific type of mucus that is generated by a rare slug... one that is only found on Alderon. Now give me back my bag, Bob. That's obviously a dead-end."

This is when, shyly, I remembered the keepsake I had saved from Alderon, a little box my tentacled lover had given me, containing, yes, rare Alderonian slug mucus. "I wouldn't be so sure, Savannah," I quipped. "We may just have a way out of this thing yet. Let me see that bag."

Being a temperamental substance, there was always the possibility that it had sublimated under the extreme temperatures characteristic of our journey of late, or that it might have cross-linked itself and shrivelled into an impenetrable crisp in response to the leakage of a small amount of NaOH, or spontaneously dissolved back into a liquid. Peering nervously into the vestibule, the mucus shined with a green ecstasy at its own perfect consistency and texture - slippery as polytetrafluoroethylene along the grain and sticky as the setae of gecko feet against the grain.

Having considered the multiple worlds now accessible via worm-holes and the dimensions we would need to traverse, we agreed the next best destination would be... Cleveland. But Savannah quickly realized that her steadily increasing piscatorial appendages might make her something of an oddity in Cleveland; Bob remembered that his ex-wife lived there, and I was innerly pining for Alderon, so reluctantly we abandoned our visions of the many pleasures of that lakeside demi-paradise and settled on plan B.

I began familiarizing myself with the turdis and all of its various openings, twists, convolutions, and insertion points. I honestly had no idea where I was supposed to insert the slug slime, and I found myself feeling surprisingly anxious that inserting my mucous into the wrong hole might result in us being marooned in some unknown, unfriendly, and unsurvivable galaxy on the other side of the universe.

There was really no rational way of determining which was the correct hole into which the slime must be inserted. Instead, my fellow travellers turned from me and began to sing Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines'... (four minutes later) The music stopped, at which point I did the Russian roulette with the slug mucus. Having become slightly embarrassed at the turn my thoughts had taken, but the slime had penetrated and we were committed. My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim, and then there was Savannah - there she stood in the doorway and I remember thinking this could be heaven or this could be hell..and then the backpack expanded and we were all inside it and I was staring at a strange console in the center when Savannah said "step aside, fool, I'm the only one can drive this thing."

She sounded almost too eager, but I ignored my better instincts and stepped aside, anyway. Savannah's eyes seemed to flash as a maniacal grin crept across her mouth and the palm of her right flipper descended toward a large brown button on the console of the turdis.

Maypole ribbons of streaming white light penetrated my pupils and I had a vague not entirely unpleasant tingling sensation - as I imagined Harry of the Truman Show may have felt when he placed his hand on the synthetic blue sky line and realised the nature of his own being - as I tentatively asked Savannah, 'where are we? What's happening?'

'Oh', she replied with a casual flick of her luscious golden-brown keratin locks, 'Where is relative now. As is our existence, really. You see, ordinarily we both do and don't exist. Most creatures do not sense this, but we exist as ordinary matter whilst a perfect complement of us as anti-matter, does not exist. During transitional periods, such as equinoxes - and even at earthly midnights - the tension between our being and not-being forms becomes so great that we are at increased risk of annihilation. The Trans Universe Re-Director in Spacetime rips a traversable wormhole into the immediate vicinity, allowing a path to a neighbouring Universe - this effectively is one of the greatest transitional periods of all - especially in the middle of the wormhole. It is only the shelter of the TURDIS that is protecting us from immediate annihilation. Cereal?'

And with that she gestured to a packet of honey loops. I would have been intimidated by her intelligence had it not been so damn sexually attractive.

Bob said “You’re a Time Lord then?” but Savannah replied, scornfully “Do I look like a lord?” shedding a few angry scales; Bob said, “No, you look like a fish, why should we trust you?” and it was only then he noticed the sign over the console that said “In Cod We Trust”. Such signs were common in these times, but rarely did one fit the moment so perfectly.

"Where are you taking us?" I asked while reaching tentatively for her amber tresses, and trying to ignore my inner turmoil about why I was newly in love with a fish, but in that department I supposed it was not too much of a leap from a tentacled slug to a fish; but then a cloud of bubbles engulfed her and she pointed at one fairly large one, "There!" she said, bursting several others as she did so. "Damn, there go a couple of universes, oh well, plenty more where they came from".

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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Sat Jun 15, 2013 4:32 pm
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In that very moment, she touched another bubble and it was as if space and time itself had stopped. All was still, all was silent. A sense of great peace ran through me. It had briefly turned dark, but warm light slowly rose around us. I realized that it was our own bubble... the layer that had been formed during the star explosion and which had protected us while hurtling through the galaxy was suddenly gone... and it was okay, because we were on a solid world with clean air. In the back of my head, I suddenly found myself humming the the song, "Welcome to the land of pure imagination... welcome to the land of tomorrow and today..."

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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 8:07 pm
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We stood in a flowered meadow gently sloping down to a golden beach where gentle waves lapped invitingly as they rolled in from their turquoise infinity, while looking up the slope we saw butterflies flocking and verdant hills and beyond those rose majestic snow topped mountains. A spice-tinged breeze ruffled my hair and flapped Savannah's gills. I pivoted on my heels to embrace the fabulous panorama in full, ending my pirouette face to face with my fishy fantasy: "So...beautiful..." escaped my lips, but then Savannah said "Hold on nature boy, I'm switching off the simulation, then we'll see where we really are."


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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 10:10 pm
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I'd been so over-taken with joy and ecstasy that I mistakenly thought Savannah said "stimulation," but by the time I realized what she actually said she'd already disabled it and shut it down.

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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:22 am
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It didn't hurt too much, and then she shut down the simulation too.


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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 1:57 am
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The landscape surrounding us was something out of a fantasy novel, but not the type with nymphs and dragons.

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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 12:58 am
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Where were we? I racked my brain to recall all the fantasy novels I had read, which amounted to two: Alice in Wonderland and something by Neil Gaiman that my son had made me read, but these didn't compare to the landscape that surrounded us. It was grim and gray, and at the same time claustrophobic, and it wasn't Cleveland...


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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 1:30 am
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I squatted down to take a chip from the surface. It was hard, and not nearly as brittle as it looked, and it was quickly apparent that I wouldn't be able to just grab a piece with my bare hands. I searched for something heavy and sturdy to knock a piece loose so I could analyze it, but there was nothing around me. Damn! How I wish I had a rock hammer right now, and maybe some good lab analysis equipment to see what the hell this was. After a few minutes of fruitless effort, all I had to show for my toil was an iridescent battleship grey powder the consistency of talcum all over my hands and fingers.

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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 12:47 pm

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The grey powder was like agarose gel: try to pick up one piece and it breaks into two, rendering any attempt to lift it up futile - it just results in multiplication of the bits of material. After a while I gave up and tried to swallow my despair whilst surveying the surrounding landscape.

In fact, the landscape was unlike anything I had seen before. Because of the peculiar orbital relationships between the current planet and its orbiting moons, the oceans stood up tall in gigantic tidal waves, almost as if they were guards saluting or standing to attention - and no less majestic. The water would rush up in one direction and then immediately back down in the other direction, like an inverted waterfall. The planet's violent history was etched on its surface as craters had formed like valleys on other planets. A perfect opposite of the Earthly landscape: water projecting upwards into pristine mountains, higher than the naked eye could see - craterous valleys dipping into shadow-ridden dimensions. Besides the feelings of joy inspired by the beauty of the springs came a deadening fear - occasionally, the tidal waves would crash without any forewarning - usually engulfing a nearby valley. Above us now one tidal wave was looming, the inevitability of its fall (one day) was certain - but we had not figured out a way of predicting which waves would fall when - or why.

Just as I was contemplating my own mortal insignificance, a beam of light shone directly into a neighbouring valley, and for the first time ever we caught a glimpse of its contents...

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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 9:42 pm
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... and Bob and I were transfixed but Savannah only had eyes for the sea. Without hesitation she had dived from the cliff into a gigantic vertical wave and was gamboling and frolicking, her golden tresses swaying behind like an elongated Medusa, within its green depths, emerging now and then to leap into the air, catching a flying fish in her mouth and swallowing it whole, which reminded me how hungry we were but not for sushi, and plunging back once more into her aqueous nirvana. I was sure I had lost her and my heart ached with unrequited lust (let's be honest, now) and I was just reconciling myself to a future without fish-love when she shot out of the wave and landed as gracefully as her flippers would allow carrying several dead fishes: "Anyone for lunch?" she said, pulling a barbecue grill and propane cylinder out of her backpack.


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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 2:47 am
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It was almost embarrassing how quickly I felt sick at the sight... as if I'd had some conditioned taste aversion to alien fish, but I had to cowboy up for the good of the group and instead of answering sincerely, I quickly exclaimed... all while feeling as if my face were turning a bit green... "Hell yeah! Count me in!"

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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:26 am
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The grilled fish was surprisingly delicious, white and flaky, lightly seasoned with fresh dill, a squeeze of lime and sprinkled with truffle oil. When gently masticated with a mouthful of chilled Chablis it was in fact quite memorable. I was almost able to forget that Savannah was eating one of her relatives as, newly invigorated by a generous intake of protein and omega 3 oils, and picking entrapped morsels from between our teeth with fish bones we once more turned our attention to that strangely illuminated valley.


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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:35 am
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But then a sudden and gut wrenching epiphany washed over me... We didn't have any dill here. There was no chablis... no limes... no truffle oil. It was only 20 minutes ago we were trying to turn a bubble made of sand into drinkable water. This had to be a simulation, or perhaps some sort of psychotic break.

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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:53 am
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The taste, though, had been so real - no mere artificially stimulated fluxes of serotonin and dopamine - the only two things you ever enjoy, or even oxytocin - it was real fish and real wine and real dill. The truffle oil however was artificially flavored according to the Tesco label on the bottle, and well past its sell-by date.

And anyway, how many epiphanies can one guy have in a day?


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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 4:23 pm
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And then it suddenly came to me!

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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 6:12 pm
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Bob, who was half asleep sitting on the grass, opened one eye and said "Dang, looks like Phelge is having another one of his eppy-phonies." He stood up, stretched, yawned, farted, turned around and sat down again. "Wake me up when something happens, OK?" he said.


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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 8:37 pm
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A creepy thought overcame me... Would it even be possible to wake up Bob if I tried?

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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:19 am
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followed by another creepy thought - why should I even try to wake him? If we left him here Savannah and I could hike off together, just the two of us, to explore that amazing valley full of those things we had seen in the shaft of light and at last spend some quality time without the ever-present Bob. Of course we'd come back for Bob as soon as we had done exploring...


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Post  Post subject: Re: The alien who loved me  |  Posted: Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:57 am
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Hmm, but would we though? I found myself questioning the sincerity of my thought, wondering how I could pretend to know something like that given the vast uncertainty in which we were currently immersed... this unknown world with its unknown resources and its unknown... realness. I didn't know if this world was real. I didn't even know if I would survive the next 5 minutes, let alone if I'd be able to come back for Bob. There's no way we could leave without him, no matter how intensely I desired being alone with Savannah. Bob is too important.

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