Welcome, friends.

What can I say, I'm a geek.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Dr. Mai

Chancey Mai opened the large iron door to his room. He flipped a tiny switch on the wall covered in dry, cracking paint. The room lit up with a sharp white light, exposing a square metal desk and chair and a low, wire-framed bed, made up with a few black sheets and no pillow. At the foot of the bed was a metal closet. The room, scarcely bigger than its three articles of furniture, had no windows and was sparsely decorated.

On the far wall hung a painting of a shepherd boy wearing a dark blue robe and sandals, and reaching down off the edge of a precipice with a wooden staff to a tiny brown lamb stuck on a ledge. Above his bed was a stitched hanging with the twenty-third psalm written on it, and on the closet was a medical diagram of a cross-sectioned human body.

Chancey glanced at the painting of the shepherd boy and smiled briefly. He adjusted the switch on the wall to halfway between up and down, and the lights dimmed. Draping his labcoat on the chair at his desk, he yawned and then stretched. He sat down.

On his desk were pencils and several tattered books: the Holy Bible, a strategy guide to a game called Territory, a few small, hard-bound works with Chinese writing on them, and a stapled packet of papers riddled with medical terms and jargon. A five-gallon bowl covered in a see-through plastic lid with little air holes sat at the back of the table.

Chancey leaned forward and peered into it. Two lively green frogs were swimming around a seaweed-like plant in several inches of water. Grabbing a cylindrical container of flakes, the doctor sprinkled a pinch in the bowl. He then grabbed the packet of papers and a pencil and began scanning the documents rapidly, periodically circling or underlining sentences and phrases. A distinct electric buzz came from the door.

"Yes?" called Dr. Mai.

"Hey Chance," called a friendly male voice.

"Hi," he replied.

A lanky man with graying hair walked into the room. "You up for a trip to the gameroom?" inquired the man. "Maybe some table tennis or cards?"

"I don't think right now, Jesse. I've got to edit this report for the staff guys by tomorrow," answered Chancey.

"Okay, okay. I'll let you demolish my self-esteem and play you a game of Territory," said Jesse.

"Ooh. Man. I'd love to...but..." the doctor struggled. Territory was his favorite strategy game. He'd been playing it a lot for the past year and had just won the annual championship. "I just can't."

"Oh, come on. Doesn't this room drive you insane? You're the only freak I know who's left the
original paint on the walls. It makes me wanna vomit."

Doctor Mai had had more than one complaint about his sense of aesthetics, but he found simple things soothing. The wallpaper was calming, even if it was slowly eroding and cracking away. "Maybe tomorrow, Jesse. Thanks anyway," said the doctor.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The New Pestilence

June 17, 2499
Living Hope Medical and Psychiatric Facility,

Dr. Chancey Mai was worried. Racing down the narrow, institutionally-painted corridor, he hoped to God it wasn't too late. He burst through an iron door and emerged in a small observation room stinking of chemicals and medicine, with a one way mirror on the opposite wall. Peering into the adjacent room, he looked upon a person clad completely in white, save for a badly scarred and apparently burnt, hairless head. The patient lay listless in the corner of the featureless, padded room and slowly lifted his head.

Dr. Mai gave a little smile. He was happy to see the poor man respond. He reached for the wall and pressed a small red button, which clicked, followed by a short static hiss. "Gabe?" he spoke gently. "I've got some news for you."

The man seemed to growl towards the window on his side of the wall. "Let me see you," he muttered.

Dr. Mai flipped a switch on the sill of the one way mirror, which illuminated his side of the room. "I talked to the theologians and scientists today. They were working with one of the others. They've found out something that they think could be very important in figuring out what's wrong with you."

"Why don't they ever wo- work with me?" stammered Gabe.

"They think your case is too severe to disrupt your rest, buddy," answered the doctor. "Don't you wanna hear about their studies?"

"BLOW their studies," he bellowed. "I'm scr- screwed..." Gabe began to cough uncontrollably. He looked to the ground and blood slowly trickled from his lips, staining his bleached garments and the padded floor.

Dr. Mai grimaced in frustration. He waited for Gabriel's episode to ebb. "Just...just listen to me, Gabe? Please." The patient looked up again. Taking a deep breath, Dr. Mai began in his most sensitive tone of voice, attempting to hide any traces of fear or excitement, "Anyway, the team has been toying with a theory for years. One about phased matter and interdimensional physics and how they relate to and interact with biological life and well, it's complicated really... Well anyway, to make a long story short, they know what part of you is causing your sickness."

Gabe straightened up a bit and leaned forward, trembling with anticipation.

The doctor said flatly, "It's your soul."

June 18, 2499
Testament Research Labs,

A dozen or so men, several in long white lab coats, and the remainder wearing the plain black garb of traditional clergymen or casual dress, gathered around a table in a small, undecorated room, illuminated by a single fluorescent light in its center. Rustles of paper filled the tiny space as the men took their plain metal seats. A mustached fellow stood up at the head of the table.

"Good evening, gentlemen," resounded his confident baritone voice. "I'm sure you have all heard about our latest discovery. I'm here to elaborate a little bit so you can do your best to answer the questions of the citizens of our community. I'll try to keep this in layman's terms, so please try to bear with me."

The man slowly paced the front of the room, twirling a pencil in his right hand. "First of all, I must remind you of Clay's Theory of Inner Matter. This was the doctrine that stated that the human soul was made of matter, very similar to that of the human body. However, we have known that this matter exists as phased matter. That is, it cannot interact with the matter of this world...or so we thought. Due to reasons yet unknown, we know that there now exists a disease which is contracted through the human soul and is capable of eventually spreading into the body's physical matter via the cerebral cortex, causing severe physical and psychological handicaps."

He stopped pacing and planted the palms of his hands at the end of the desk. He continued, "As of now, all known cases of this 'disease' have been right here in our very small, very isolated, very controlled colony...and unfortunately, it does appear to be spreading somehow. Although we know that the viral energy originates in the soul, we have no idea of how this disease is initially contracted. And if the world outside our tiny communes should somehow become infected, there could be an international pandemic within weeks."

Everyone bowed their heads and was still. "Therefore, we must declare our entire colony under quarantine until further notice."

June 20, 2499
The Eastern Megalopolis
North America

"So what the hell is it?" shrieked Jodi as she clawed at her pinkened, mottled arms. She stared down onto the sparkling city below her through the wide, spotless windows of her penthouse.

"You've gone psycho!" returned Nadya from the elegant living room. Sprawled out on the sofa, her posture revealed her lack of concern. Her dark skin contrasted with the sparkles on the goblet of wine she had been sipping. She sighed. "What in the name of Madonna ya want me to do about it?"

"I don't know! But I've got a corpse in my lovin' kitchen and my body's falling apart!" She began to cry, streaking black mascara lines down her sickly pale face. She looked into her kitchen and vomited. There lay the body of her lover, shirtless, a knife standing erect from his spine and streaks of crimson trickling across his side.

Jodi burst through the door and stumbled into the elevator across the plush hall. Like an angel plummeting from the heavens, she dropped to the lobby and ran across the grand floor, tripping on the soft purple carpet as she went. She pushed through the double glass doors and barreled into the streets, tangling herself in the forest of human limbs.

Sunday, August 18, 2013


The blue clouds of dust and gaseous wastes swirled violently several kilometers above the metallic crags below. The silvery tips of the rocky landscape jutted out in every direction. As the rays from the alpha sun swept across the masses of minerals and crystals below, a few sparse portions of the rocky towers began to desolidify from the intense heat and rain down into the gulleys at their bases. The glare from the two distant suns reflected off the top of the immense domes of the space colony GammaGoddard IV.

Inside, rising apartment buildings, speckled with scurrying inhabitants, sparkled gently in the fraction of glow let through the shaded, glassy panes of the canopy above. In the center of a transportation tube hanging between two of the largest centers of commerce in the colony, a young, Earth-born male was about to be introduced to his very first non-humanoid being.

"Calle, I want you to understand something. Eroch is very different from anyone you have ever met before," warned Calle's father.

"I know, Dad. You've only told me about him three million times," assured the eager boy.

"Alright. I just want you to be ready for this," he returned.

The two stood patiently at one of the monorail's stopping terminals and watched for the unusual physique of a Templarrond to emerge from the sliding doors.

Calle Benson had lived his entire twelve years of life on Earth—except for the past three months. He and his father moved to GammaGoddard IV so that Mr. Benson could keep his job as a solar research technician. Calle had met several other of his father's alien co-workers, but all had been humanoid and very much resembled the natives of Earth. He had been waiting for this moment as long as he could remember.

The boy looked up in awe at the immense creature slowly emerging from the sliding doors of the monorail trail. A busy-looking man rushed around the large, tan tail of the beast, trying to jump through the doorway before Eroch could get there. A plump lady further back in the train holding her daughter's hand whispered something to her child and motioned her away from Eroch's moist hand reaching out for the handrail. A teenage boy in a metallic dress suit was cut off directly in back of Eroch. "Lousy Temp," mumbled the boy. Eroch's bug-like head swiveled a full 180 degrees. "Sowry," boomed the alien's dark, contrabass voice, attempting to mimic human speech to the best of his ability.

"Eroch! Hey, let me help you, bud," said Mr. Benson, reaching out to his colleague's stubby hand. The two beings looked strangely compatible to Calle as they slowly walked across the terminal.

Eroch's gaping mouth widened as he spoke, "Yoo most be Colle."

Staring dumbly at the giant slug-like body of the creature, Calle answered quietly, "Yeah. Hi."

He met the being's extended hand with his and was shocked at Eroch's gentle grip. He was also startled by the slimy coating of the alien skin; however, the moisture evaporated within a few seconds of contact, much to Calle's relief.

"Tonight we're gonna go to the HoloMax and play some of Eroch's tapes of his home," announced Calle's father.

"I've hod zem tranzlayted to yor longwayge," said Eroch.

"Great!" exclaimed Mr. Benson. "Should we head there right now, then?" He waited for a reply, but then offered an alternative. "Or should we treat Eroch to some good ol' human cuisine?"

"Oh, thonk yo, bot I'm afraid I hov an onusual doiet," explained Eroch.

"Well, then, I think Calle and I can hold out till after the films."

The motley trio wandered through the crowded cylinders connecting the buildings on every side. They walked past droids of every shape and size, holographic advertisements, and bustling elderly people in hoverchairs. Without fail, every human managed to lift up his eyes and glare at the prominent visitor. Very few of them had ever really known a Templarrond, but everyone had heard the rumors—anything from the Temp's habits of eating children to their tendency to flatulate flames. But Mr. Benson knew that Eroch was a genius and had helped their corporation in countless ways. He trusted Eroch.

The three friends, upon reaching the HoloMax, reserved a room and watched Eroch's family in 3D surround-sight. Calle looked all around at the projections of Templarrian architecture and landscapes. The Templarronds on the tape all seemed extremely intelligent.

They emerged from the high-tech theater several hours later and went back to the Bensons' apartment. Calle and his father got comfortable on their couch. Eroch explained that he was content to squat on the floor, which was just as well, because none of the Bensons' furniture would have held up under the weight of the alien. They discussed the tapes and chatted about their recent experiences. Eroch enjoyed the view out to the shiny stalagmites protruding from the rough surface on the planet outside. He expressed a desire to wander out in the mountainous terrain just beyond the plexiglass, a dream that could never be fulfilled had he been a human. But there were some advantages to being a Templarrond.

The Bensons left Eroch to sleep in their living room, grabbed a couple of sandwiches, and prepared for bed. A few hours later, as Calle dozed off in his silk covers, he heard a grumble from another room. He lay awake. He listened. Another inhuman growl rolled in from the living room. It had to have been Eroch.

Calle was just about to call for his father when a shadow appeared in his doorway. It was Eroch. The mass of slimy flesh on his abdomen swung around and struck Calle in the face. Calle tried to beckon the computer to turn on the lights, but his mouth was pinned shut by pounds of moist flesh. Suddenly a juice oozed from Eroch's tail onto Calle's tender skin. A searing pain shot through the boy's nerves. The grumbling returned. It was much louder now. In a matter of seconds, the small human's skin was completely corroded. The giant predator placed its body on top of Calle's remains and ingested its kill in one smooth enveloping gulp. One last grumble erupted from the murderer's inner organs as a stream of blueish flame shot out of its posterior end.

Eroch took two large bounces toward the Bensons' window and swatted it with a powerful blow from its tail. He repeated the process twice more. Mr. Benson awoke at the thuds emanating from his son's bedroom. He rushed to the scene and looked in horror at the stains on the floor. He watched helplessly as the final swish of the demon's tail smashed through the glass, sending the entire apartment's supply of air screaming through the jagged edges of the smashed portal. In a second, Benson was sucked into the low-pressure, noxious atmosphere of the inhospitable planet as Eroch wriggled out onto the rocky terrain and bounced away remorselessly into the distance.