Mina

My name is Mina and I am all alone in this world.

I was born in 2451, on January 30th. That was twenty and four years ago.

“The government” is no longer a concept where I am from, but if there was a modern counterpart to it, then it was the Council of the Third. The Council funded research into FTL travel and eventually was able to come up with a prototype, a vehicle designed to break free of our measly physical laws and travel through a sort of hyperspace. Or was it a wormhole? Or spice?

Wasn’t really paying attention when they taught me all that stuff, covered it in the classes leading up to the launch. I wasn’t interested in it, beyond the bare essentials. We’ll get to them, later.

So there I was, in orbit.

The prototype ship was nicknamed Nostromo for its strange shape. I was floating outside it, going over every inch of her surface, checking her for holes, ruptures. It was tradition, that’s why.

She was a beauty, the gray outline of her side, in the glow of the sun and the African continent below us. I slowed myself a bit and enjoyed view and the serenity of the fly-by.

I entered the ship through the free airlock. The other airlock connected the lab to ship, so no way was I getting through it. Doctor Roland was already in the ship when I got in. She updated me on my vitals while I went over the pre-flight checklist.

She didn’t have much to report. The mission was still a go.

Twenty minutes later, I detonated the explosive charge that destroyed the lab, while a larger charge vaporized the Council headquarters. That was my actual mission. The Council of the Third, Airborn Division Three was a mask that I used to find my way onto the Nostromo. Once aboard the ship, I made short work of the scientists who designed it, then flew into the void.

They’ll never catch up. That’s what I remembered from the lectures.

FTL has an upper speed-limit, and I was at it. I was alone forever. The world I was born into did not matter anymore, it was beyond reach.

The ship was not built to navigate between the stars, this was a prototype we were hoping would fly us to Mars. When I slow down, I will be flying on manual. Finding a star with a habitable planet around it will be a miracle. Setting down on a planet is astronomically unlikely, I realize that.

Finding my way back to Earth was an impossibility.

Wherever I am, and wherever I find myself on this trip, it will be a new, different world.

Tuesday

[Editor’s note: this was an unfinished entry from… I can’t remember when.]

Tuesday, October 4th

I wake up early.

It’s my place, my room. I look over myself, feel for damage, anything out of wack. Nothing wrong.

Get a jog in around the lake. Come in and make myself a breakfast, quick shower while the eggs are cooking. My bathrobe is, like always, that perfectly cuddle-able amount of soft. I have breakfast, drink two cups of coffee, listen to a record on the turnstyle.

Through the open window I can see the city, a random metallic box interrupting the view as it plummets or rockets, carrying its unterrified passengers on recklessly suicidal speeds.

If the AI were to die.

Happy thoughts!

I went down to the market and spent a while picking out the ingredients. Rice, chicken,

[Editor’s note: the post just ends like that. Can’t remember what I was thinking or planning. Need to release the post just as it is.]

PF

Who’s gonna be in NYC in July? It’s been all over the news, thanks to our tireless marketing department, but if you’ve been living under a rock or off-planet, I’ll be announcing a prototype non-weaponizable reactor, nicknamed Safe Arc (no numbers yet, but it’ll definitely have improvements) on July 1st. There’s gonna be a big fancy gala, so remember to suit up.

And of course there’s the UN Assembly happening on July 3rd, and all member nations are expected to debate on… you know, I can’t recall what they’re meeting about, but I don’t think that’ll be relevant, it’s just too good of a target not to get hit.

Lots of fun things happening in the city around Independence Day.

There’s even this big children’s choir thing in the city, something like five hundred thousand school children from a culturally diverse set of backgrounds, and they’re all going to sing the national anthem on the 4th. Another soft target there, plenty of potential casualties and a real opportunity for the city’s homeless population to step up and save a handful of children from precarious ledges and such. Whoo!

Seems like perfect time to get together, knowwhatimean? Someone’s definitely gonna drop in on these perfectly-scheduled festivities, so let’s do what we do best?

Pillow fight!

Did everyone see the video of Thor getting pummeled by Banner on that gladiator planet? I sent it out last week. And yesterday. And here it is again, for your viewing pleasure. Now there’s a dude who can take a pillow to the face!

[Editor’s note: video removed by Fox. But it had the Hulk jumping up into the air on that gladiator planet and then punching Thor in the face as he landed. And then Thor wakes up in the hospital bed, like he just took a nap and not a nuke to the face.]

So anyway, I’m thinking we can organize more of that, push each other around a bit, topple some empty buildings – no worries, I’ve bought up every major under-construction building in Manhattan, lots of space to play! – and overall just have a good ol fashioned annual pillow fight.

Thor brought this up earlier, and I know some of you have been hinting at this, so: we’re sending Dr Strange to pick up the shawarma. Two birds, one wizard: he gets the shwarma from 19th century Turkey (very authentic!), and no spoilsport around. Anyone get in a pillow fight with that guy? He cheats, teleports you into a pillow factory or some such, really cuts the fighting time down with that “I’ll fix things in four seconds” nonsense. We’re here to have fun, not save the day in the quickest, most boring way possible!

See you all soon, Avengers FTW and all that.

PS: I’ve developed a new suit that’s like eighty times stronger than the Hulkbuster, can’t wait to try it out. Obviously it’s just as non-lethal, like a mattress-sized pillow, but… you know, it punches things better. And this new paint job is sick!

VOLE

I read a story about this lady who had about a hundred or so cup-and-saucer pairs. Guess she was a collector or something, can’t recall. So she had this long narrow shelf that snaked around her kitchen, and every single inch of this shelf was covered in the cup-and-saucer pairs, each one a different color and character, different theme for each of them. A friend had asked her how she managed to keep her entire collection so spotless clean. The woman replied that she had a systematic approach to cleaning the cup-and-saucer sets, and that was to take one down every day and use it. She’d put on the kettle, pick a theme for the day, pull down that cup-and-saucer, wash them, and use them for tea. After she was done with the team, the dynamic duo would go back up that shelf. She had about three cups of tea throughout the day, which meant that she cleaned her entire collection about once a month.

I thought about that for a while. The woman in the story developed an approach to making sure that every single cup was used and washed. It’s not clear if she chose the cups in order – certainly the easier approach – or had a complex order where she used every third one and through careful calculation she knew that this would eventually hit on every cup-and-saucer.

This was a curious thing for me. And then Marc Healtie entered my world and I found someone who also thought about these concepts. He had a particular pattern that he would go through, just like the lady in the cup-and-saucer story. In Marc’s bathroom there were four candles, shotglasses with wax in them essentially, and each had a letter on its side, so that together the candles spelled out LOVE. He had these candles in his bathroom as long as I’ve known him, but he was also single the entire time, so I’m not sure who got these for him or when.

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The Shore

The shore of the island was a slow slope that acted as a social avenue for centuries. The villagers spent many hours a day in the waters, playing, working, socializing, hunting in the clear-blue ocean, their footsteps quickly disappearing as the bright white sand moved around them.

Sail-boats were the lifeline of the village, the waters that carried them out to sea had earlier flowed through the veins of the island, from the snow-covered peaks. The villagers understood the complex water cycle, saw that the water flowing down the mountains and through their delta and out to sea was a force that had kept their village alive through the ages.

The elder of the village taught the young men, he showed and instructed as was done in his own teenage years. The men chopped bits of wood out of a long tree trunk. The trunk had been shaped into a slender angled shape, and now more chunks of it would be ripped away, as it was done for the longest time. The canoe was taking shape at the water’s edge.

The elder walked around and inspected the work, directed his unmotivated crew. He was the last of the builders, these were boys and young men who built the canoe out of tradition, not out of desire. The elder had prayed for students, he received those who had no thirst for learning.

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Instagram

From: Instagram
To: HisDudenessEleventy
Date: Fri, April 21, 2017 at 12:44 PM

We have exciting news, HisDudenessEleventy! Starting today you will be able to take advantage of an exciting new feature we’re making available to select power-users – AutoGram! This is an amazing digital assistant we’ve been developing in secret for the past two years and it will revolutionize the way you use Instagram. Or, rather, the way you’ll be able to use Instagram even less.

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Background

“So I figure we ride this thing out as long as we can, collect enough paychecks to buy our way out, and…” I make a sailing motion with my hand, then take another drink of beer.

Ryan looked incredulously at me and says “Don’t know if I’ve been living under a rock these past few days, but what the fuck are you talking about?”

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Tilt

The car merged across four lanes of slow-moving traffic onto the on-ramp, when the world turned around and I was hanging to the side of a cliff.

The car’s wheels stuck to the ground, the air-freshener still pointed in the direction of the road, and the rest of the surroundings kept their normal orientation, but now I was seeing the highway in an unfamiliar light.

When a plane takes off you notice it, right? The cabin is tilted upward, away from Earth’s surface and toward the sky, and you somehow can tell, can look down the long stretch of the carpeted surface of that strange aluminum tube and somehow see that, yes, it is pointed up, even though you’ve not moved, that the belt around your waist is still nice and snug. You can look “up”, in the direction of the cockpit, and appreciate that the people in front of you are higher, in some sense, than you are.

Same thing here. The car continued its forward trajectory through the on-ramp and I banked into the turn, but all along the world seemed to stand on edge. I was driving on a vertical wall, banking further up the wall, moving in an impossible way, stuck to a cliff and continued our upward progression.

I glimpsed cars in my mirrors and they continued on their merry way, oblivious to the fact that the Earth was now exerting a completely different pull on us, that we were now stuck to this planet in a whole new imaginative way, something worthy of a crappy sci-fi series on a cable channel or a one-off episode of a teenage-angst-meets-super-hero show.

Then the bit of wax in my ear stopped moving and the world rotated back to its former orientation and the moment passed. Damn, I need to clean my ears more often.

Lies

Driving through the dark windy forested roads of rural Redmond, through the part of the eastside that looks like more like countryside with its numerous farms and pastures and horse-dominated fields, some part of my brain takes over and starts to imagine the impossible.

The road is unlit, save by the headlights of my car. It’s late, so the forest is only visible when I speed through a curve and the beams shine onto trees and yellow arrows. Beside that, it’s darkness.

As I drive through a straight segment of road, when it’s just the asphalt, I think that on the right is a steep cliff, a drop-off toward the Pacific, while on the left is a mountain. Swerve one way or the other and I’m a dead man.

Or there is a dragon, its eye at the level of the car and just about the same size, following my progress, watching me and ready to spit fire at this unwelcome mote in its kingdom.

Then there’s a turn in the road and reality of the forest comes crashing through and suddenly the cliffs of NoCal and the hidden dragon are gone. Then I’m through the turn and my mind is once again free to imagine what is clearly untrue about the surroundings.

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