Chapter 1: Movers of Planets - ideas

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 128

Movers of Planets. 

ROUGH Beginning Chapter Ideas. 

Gravity vs. Expansion. 

We don't know what happened before the instant of the big bang. 

One thought, (although somewhat out of favor), is that it was the final stage of the previous universe –  a universe where gravity won and pulled everything down into one single point, smaller than an atom. I like this thought because I have no idea what an alternative would be. Did the big bang happen from true nothingness? (no seed of a previous collapsed universe) – it's hard to visualize true  nothingness (no time, no space, no light, dark, heat or cold; nothing), which is what must have been  around before the instant of the big bang. How could anything come from true nothingness?; from  where? from what? - This is where I can imagine a divine power and the creation of everything – I like  that thought too but it's even harder to prove scientifically; that is where faith comes in. Our present universe (assuming there was a previous) is not only getting bigger, but it's getting  bigger faster; it is accelerating. Mysterious forces (at least mysterious to us) are pushing that expansion  in all directions; they call that force dark energy; dark energy is a good name for it since we don't know what it is. This energy of expansion will win in this universe and tear everything apart in the end; a  trillion, trillion, trillion etc., years from now – even the tiny atom is not safe from this expansion as  they too will be tore apart – some call this ending the the Big Rip. 

Between the big bang and the big rip, there will be uncountable rises and falls of civilizations.  Some rise to an ultra advanced level but most destroy themselves shortly after they develop the power  to do so. Many advanced civilizations choose to help those heading for destruction, or those in harms  way (or both) – of course some advanced civilizations exploit and destroy less developed ones. But the  truly advanced have learned that the real importance lies in nurturing the goodness in those countless  lives that develop in this universe. They have learned to put their own temporary needs aside for the  betterment of those worlds to come – and to show respect to whoever or whatever it was that saved  their own world eons ago.

Those that do rise to higher levels have discovered and utilized some of the unimaginable power in this universe; – there are unimaginable time scales; ex. there have been about 14,000 million years  since that beginning instant (saying fourteen thousand million years helps me appreciate that huge  number) and there are unimaginable resources in our universe. The Movers have benefited from both of these - but even the far advanced Movers have questions that can't be answered, they too have stories  passed down of events that can't be explained but show an awareness to their existence – they too were  protected from elimination; from the immense power of an uncaring universe – somewhere in the cold  and dark of space, someone or something cares. 

__ 

Visualize this: 

__ 

It's all about the clock – imagine watching a scene unfold and the speed of the action taking  place is directly related to the movement of the clock; a digital clock. 

The clock starts with a -15,000,000,000 (notice the “-”) year reading, which is before the big  bang. It starts counting down (up from negative), not much at first then it starts moving faster, as the  previous universe gets pulled into the final black hole ending the universe before. 

The final zoom will show distorted galaxies being pulled in (clock ticks by millions of years)  extremely fast zoom down the star level, also being distorted, zoom to the final, smaller than atom  sized singularity.

 Silence – darkness.. 

The clock changes to seconds, the decimal point is indicated and the zeros are added behind the 

decimal point; 42 of them (then add a “1” at the end). A size and speed indicator is also shown now. Silence – darkness.... 

More Silence – darkness – only for a moment; as everything there ever was or will be is packed into an  infinitely dense and small point – around it is nothing. Nothing in the absolute sense, not even space.  Just nothing. 

Woosh, a burst of radiation, (not sound). The view of the clock pans way right of the decimal  point as so many things happen at this very moment – in tiny fractions of a second the blueprints of the  universe are being set in many ways from the uneven distribution of matter, to the victory of that  matter over anti-matter, and the splitting of the one superforce into four separate forces; the strong  nuclear force, the weak nuclear force, electromagnetism and gravity. 

 The clock moves a little faster now. Space is expanding faster than the speed of light which  seems impossible but it isn't – space is the only thing that can travel faster than the speed of light - (the  size and expansion speed gauges reflects this). The first bit of expansion using obvious fractions of a  second indications, then the clock changes to seconds, minutes – years, then 1000's of years.

Don't over visualize the light as no stars have formed yet – not until 300 thousand years after  the first expansion. The clouds of hydrogen and helium start gathering together, swirling, getting  brighter all the time. Gravity taking over pulling, and crunching.... then the stars start to ignite. The first generation (population 3 stars) are huge – but heavy element poor so there will be no planets (gas  giants maybe). 

The clock ticks by 100's of thousands of years now – those large stars only last a million or so  years before they explode (this should also be in silence).

By now the universe has enough heavier elements for planet formation – a spark of life could be shown (although life is still relatively rare so it may take a while (search) to find a planet (or moon)  with water and other things necessary for life), zoom in on a planet, to water – show something  crawling/quick evolution up to very early creatures – zoom back out and show the star go supernova  and that life is extinguished., then the “camera” searches for another star, with planets, with life, takes a while, finds one with lights on the dark side and obvious intelligent life, speed up the clock and see the  star expand into a red giant, then the outer layers expanding out further becoming a planetary nebula  (leaving a white dwarf) – that life is gone. Off to a different system. a galaxy is shown; the Andromeda  galaxy. Then zoom to another galaxy; the Milky Way, to the approximate area of where the solar  system is. Zoom down to a star, and then to a planet around that star – show something leaving the  ocean, fast evolution cycle including the dinosaurs. And the asteroid... then the mammals – early  humans. We zoom back out for the planet view again as the clock goes from negative numbers to 0,  which is the present, transition to real time. The silence has been replaced slowly, by radio waves and  current sounds, We zoom back in, past a satellite, through clouds, by a hang glider, a bird, (clock  speeds up to show the sun setting, then, with the normal clock speed, the camera pans 180 degrees,  showing a glass lens), zoom through a telescope lens backwards out the eyepiece to Neuman.... and  audio of Neuman talking...blah blah blah (Neuman talks too much).... yadda yadda, Sighs and looks at  each other from the other people trying to enjoy their telescopes and the clear, crisp night. All were annoyed until Neuman said, “I think I discovered a comet”. 

__ 

Neut, 

__ 

All the sudden, Neuman had everyone's undivided attention. Neut may talk too much, but he's  smart and he doesn't lie. 

Ratison Neuman is an amateur astronomer / middle school teacher, very smart but kinda annoying.  Talk Talk Talk - don't think he even takes a breath between subjects at which he knows something  about (which is many) – at the star parties the peace of the night is disturbed by a constant yap, yap  yap.... Eleanor Brice and Bruce Slovras are in charge of the “secret star parties” in which certain 

invitations are omitted. But like Barney Fife and the Choir – Neuman always manages to show up. “Neut” as he is called, mostly 'cause he kinda resembles one (a newt), set up in the middle of  the 8 or so various types of telescopes, to make sure everyone could hear him – pretty much chatting all the time, all kinds of subjects to the traffic getting up to this dark site on Mount Pelier, to politics to  dust inside his optical tube. 

When he made his “I think I discovered a comet” announcement, everyone knew this was an  important find – but nobody knew just how important. 

“You what?” James Swain and Ed Vatiger said at the same time. 

“My astrophotography setup I have at home is telling me there is a slight movement in one of the  “stars” in Hercules, right next to Eta Hercule 81833 to be exact,” Neuman said matter of factly, “I'll  take another shot tonight when I get home, Hercules will be positioned better for imaging.” 

“That's great Ratison,” James was the only person in the club who called him by his first name,  “be sure to post it the minute you verify that it is a comet.” 

“Will do.”Neuman stated, then added, “right after I notify CBAT about the find.” “Of course, you'd better make the record official first,” James agreed. 

Ed was trying to think of something else that a slight movement of a pinpoint of light in that  vicinity could be indicating, but everything he thought of was farther fetched or still just as important.  “I'd like to see the pictures,” he said as he was aiming his telescope in the general direction of Eta  Hercule. 

“I have them on my laptop at home,” Neuman stated, “anyone can see them tonight if you want  to head back to my house later – we can compare those pictures with one that I'll take tonight.” The other club members were listening intently, even Eleanor and Bruce who were now glad  Neut found the star party without an invitation, although they also felt a bit guilty about not officially  inviting him. Many of the club members pointed their telescopes toward that area, just like Ed did –  but they saw nothing out of the ordinary, which was to be expected. “You didn't expect a flashing arrow to point it out did you?,” Eleanor said to Bruce when she saw him give up and swing his scope to  another target. 

“Just a shot in the dark,” Neut said, “that I chose to take a picture of that spot in the first place,”  Neuman said loud enough to make sure everyone could hear, “I took another shot the next night and to  my surprise, one of the stars moved ever so slightly,” Neut peered through his scope which of course  was also pointed in that direction. “tonight's shot will be my sixth – and that will verify it for me, and  I'll report it as a possible comet.” Neuman looked around at the glow of all the little red lights that were being used at various scopes, “but I'm sure it'll be verified as a comet – what else could it be?” 

The star party went on, till the cold started creeping in and the shivers began. Suddenly, the dark drive back to town in a heated car started sounding very appealing. 

James and Ed met back up with Neuman at his house; they went back to the tiny domed  observatory in his back yard. While Neut set the scope the proper declination and ascension and started  the CCD exposure – James and Ed were flip booking the previous night's pictures – It was obvious,  James would roll the little wheel on the mouse and all 5 pictures would flash by like an animation.  “Good job Ratison,” James said as he pointed at the little spec of light as it moved on the screen a few  arc seconds, “I think you found a comet.” 

“Comet Neuman, it'll be called,” said Ed, “you lucky sucker you!” (with obvious jealousy). Neuman had plenty of opportunity to talk in the coming days as the “local guy discovers comet” story  breaks – and, of course, Neuman was up to the challenge of talking as he liked to talk. __ 

Side view... 

__ 

“We've swung the cameras from the Ranger Space probe towards the object currently being  called Comet Neuman, and this is what we see.” Phillip shows a fuzzy picture of something that could 

have been anything from a shoe box to a sky scraper. 

“What is it?” President Freeman asks. 

“We can't tell too much yet, as it is nearly 500,000 kilometers from Ranger, but what we can tell is that it's most likely metal in composition, not that large, maybe the size of a city block, and it appears to have some hard angles on the exterior,” he pauses, “which is unusual for a natural object.” 

“A city block is pretty large,” the President comments quietly while thinking about what Phillip  Zorisu just said. He could tell what the head Astro-Physics Advisor from the Science and Technology  board, was thinking; suspect shaped object, made of metal, heading towards the inner solar system. 

“And that's not all,” Phillip continued, “there are more coming in behind it. We don't know how  many, but the line seems endless.” with that he put a second picture on the table, one that showed the  original object zoomed out and an obvious line of dots going off further in space. 

Since they're basically heading towards us in a perpendicular line, the additional objects weren't  noticed until we got this other view, from Ranger. 

He let that soak in a moment. 

President Freeman stared at the picture for a while, then quietly spoke, “Sandpeople always ride single file – to hide their numbers.” 

“Excuse me, Mr. President,?” asked Mark Genter, the Vice President. 

“Sorry Mark, it's a line from a movie that came to mind when I looked at that picture.” __ 

The Parade 

__ 

Shortly after that, almost all the observational resources of the United States Government were  turned towards Neuman. Most other countries were looking as they too were aware of the “comet” - but with the U.S.'s extra camera angle offered by Ranger, they were the first to realize that this was not a  comet heading towards the inner solar system, but there was a good chance that it wasn't natural in  origin – of course they tried to keep that as quiet as possible until they knew more. 

Even using a telescope as powerful as Hubble there wasn't an appreciable improvement in  resolution as Neuman was so small and so far away yet that the best that could be resolved at this point  was just a handful of pixels across. But they could determine that there were indeed many objects  coming in behind the first – and they could determine where their trajectory would take them if the  present course wasn't altered. 

__ 

“You are right, they're heading directly for the sun.” Phillip said to his civilian astronomer  friend, Louise Costello, “that's what we calculate as well.” 

Louise took a sip of her coffee, decaf of course as she was just finishing up her work night.  Phillip on the other hand was drinking leaded coffee as his workday was just beginning. Phillip still  envied a traditional astronomer like Louise, that's where he was happiest; back when he too was an  astronomer. Being a White House adviser was a monumental career bump but it really boiled down to  a desk job gathering the data collected by others – and putting it into a useful form to advise the  President and others on various panels. 

“At that trajectory, they'll just plunge directly into the sun, after picking up more speed as they  get closer” Louise stated, “I just can't imagine that they've traveled light years only to plunge one by  one, into our sun – talk about bad planning”. 

“Or really bad luck,” Phillip added, “unless they make changes, if they are capable of that, they  could use the sun's gravity to help them establish an orbit right here in our solar system, they could  become permanent residents.” 

The two finished their coffee and parted ways; one to go to bed and the other to go to work,  each with so many questions on their mind.

Weeks went by and the multitude of objects got closer. Much closer. Yet, not much more detail  could be distinguished. Even with the objects traveling at 80 kilometers per second, the trip from the  asteroid belt to the sun would still take months. 

Amazingly, aside from a handful of people, the world's population still believed it was a comet  that would come and go, much like Halley's Comet or Hale-Bopp. Amateur Astronomers were excited  thinking of a new non-static target in their future, Astrologers were trying to figure Comet Neuman into their readings, and there were many people who just didn't care as they didn't understand or didn't have  time for such trivial stuff as the universe above their heads. 

But the objects kept coming regardless. Eventually, some of the better telescopes could resolve  some detail, not just on Neuman, but on some of the others coming in behind Neuman. Most were that  city block size but a handful were really huge. Some short-and-blocky huge and others long and slim  huge. 

“Over 50 kilometers long?” was uttered in a whisper when Louise ran the data that came down  from Hubble, which had concentrated telescope time to one of the larger pieces. That was amazing  enough, but the fact that there appeared to be dozens of them of the same size was even more so. 

As the parade of objects come into focus it could be told that they were not naturally occurring,  obviously heading closer and almost certainly, with all this hardware coming our way, made the few  that new the details believe that history was in the making – some believed it would be the final  chapter. 

__ 

“Actually, if they just came into our solar system to commit suicide, we have nothing to worry  about.” Vice President Genter said, to a somewhat relieved president, “It would be a front row seat to a  pretty spectacular event – that would be harmless to us.” 

Advisor Phillip Zorisu mentioned how scientifically valuable it was when Comet Shoemaker  Levi – 9 broke apart and plunged into Jupiter about 20 years ago, they learned so much about the planet as the fragments impacted the gas giant at 60 kilometers per second. That comet was captured by  Jupiter 30 or so years before impact, discovered only a few years before impact and, after the impact,  the markings of the intrusions into the planet were more prominent than Jupiter's Great Red Spot – for  many weeks after. 

“This may be good news, that Neuman will be a harmless celestial Broadway show, but I don't  think that's the way it will play out.” President Freeman added, “all planning will continue for  alternative outcomes.” 

__ 

James enjoyed the quiet of his backyard, at night, looking up at the stars with his dobsonian  telescope. Now, almost every amateur telescope in the world pointed towards that rather fuzzy dot, that  would resolve into many tiny specs of light. Comets? Some thought. Perhaps comet Neuman broke up  into multiples of fragments. There was no official word yet. 

Still, James usually took a quick glance at Jupiter and Saturn before he called it a night, always  a friendly sight to see those gas giants in what seems like our own neighborhood; after observing  nebula and galaxies that could be up to many millions of light years away. One of the most basic yet  rewarding sites for any astronomer is to appreciate the elegant rings of Saturn, and the four obvious  moons of Jupiter. 

“That should be Europa, Io,.... “ James thought to himself, “Callisto or Ganymede? I think one  of them is missing.” he chuckled knowing he must me mistaken. “Maybe that's it, way out there,”  seeing a speck of light a bit further out than usual. “I must be tired,” he dismissed it as he pulled out the eyepiece and started packing up his telescope for the night. 

__ 

“They couldn't hide it anymore from the public. There were enough amateur astronomers  claiming new finds that it arose concerns that something was happening out of the ordinary.”

__ 

James wasn't the first to notice the multiple “comets” - and he certainly wasn't the first to notice  a change in the orbits of the moons of Jupiter. Since there were no probes near Jupiter and Ranger was  almost a million kilometers away by now, on it's way to Neptune - no detailed images could be  obtained. 

“It's like it was flung right out of Jupiter's orbit!” Louise exclaimed to Phillip as she showed  him the sheets of data and pictures obtained by the Hubble and Keppler Space Telescopes, The Keck  Observatory and their own observations, “this is huge.” 

Phillip's uncontrollable yawning ceased when he heard the reason for this middle-of-the-night  meeting called by Louise and her colleagues. All the way up to the observatory he tried to wake himself up as he knew that a meeting called at night like this must be really important – he drove with the  windows down and the cold air blowing through the car. Not until he heard the news about Ganymede  being tipped out of orbit did he really wake up – Now he had to wake up the president. – 

The Invisitors 

__ 

“So how do you tell the world that something potentially catastrophic is gathering in our solar  system, disrupting planet systems that have existed for billions of years - quite possibly coming to  Earth?” This question was running through the presidents head as he waited for the other heads of the  “Neuman Committee” to gather in his office. “If they tipped Earth out of orbit, that certainly would be  the end of life for a multitude of reasons, most obvious would be that we'd either freeze or bake,  depending on which direction we were tipped.” 

“We can't hide it any longer,” Vice President Genter stated, “The internet is buzzing with  questions and theories regarding the changes in comet Neuman and the moons of Jupiter.” Mark was  visibly upset, perhaps even scared – this was indeed huge. He too was starting to doubt the celestial  Broadway Show outcome - He had a family; wife, three daughters – parents, friends, pets – all which  he loved dearly, and now, there was something coming capable of destroying all of life on earth. It was  coming and it couldn't be stopped, or at least it seemed impossible to stop. “Some of those theories  being spread may be possible, unfortunately – the panic is starting, slowly, but it'll grow exponentially,  very quickly. We can't stop that, but we have to try to control and calm it as much as possible.” 

Obviously, defensive action planning continued as well as charting the implementation of those  actions; and their consequences. Defensive actions against unknown intruders into our solar system.  Warheads were being modified, targets reprogrammed – weapons made to defend against a possible  enemy that no-one saw coming. 

__ 

“We have a plan, we have defenses,” President Freeman spoke confidently as he delivered the  ending section of his message, out on the White House lawn, with hundreds of cameras pointing at him  and billions of people watching. 

Like on que, although the timing of the press conference had nothing to do with it, as it was  only a coincidence (though that was a point that would be argued indefinitely). The sky all around the  world, nearly all at once, in the dark and on the light side – grew ablaze with uncountable numbers of  shooting stars – even clouds couldn't hide the strange event as they grew bright being incredibly back lit. All the cameras went from the president to pointing up to the sky, and like most shooting stars they  faded nearly as quickly as they came. 

As a matter of security, the president was rushed back into the building and into the secure area,  the White House Spokesman was speechless as all cameras went back to the podium looking for  leadership – the podium was empty. The bit of controlled calm the President had achieved in his speech before the fire in the sky was gone, the only words the microphones picked up above the clammer of  questions was, “God save us,” uttered by one of the aides standing nearby the podium.

__ 

Street Cleaning 

__ 

“What was that?” Troy Arnett thought glancing upwards as he pulled into the driveway of his  typical looking suburban home. The neighbors thought Troy lived alone which he usually does. But  today was different, he had a guest. He had picked her up last night at a bar downtown; spiked her  drink and helped her to his car – everyone at the bar thought she had just drank too much. Troy  shrugged off the lights he thought he saw and went into the house. 

“Honey, I'm home,” he said as he walked through the door smirking, “You ready for our date?”  Troy opened the package he had brought in with him, it was a scanty neglige. 

As he opened the door to his “special” room he started to speak, “hope you like red...” Troy  stopped in his tracks. She was gone and the two chains were laying on the floor. “How the....” Troy's words were stopped by a sudden flash and a sharp pain on his forehead –  he put his hand up to guard against whatever it was – but it was over, and there was nothing; or no-one  around. After regaining his balance, Troy stumbled to a mirror to see the source of the pain. On his  forehead, was a small blue triangle, just above his right eyebrow. It wasn't bleeding but it sure did sting. That was his “Strike one”. 

This made one really mad Troy, he didn't stop to wonder what just happened, he just knew that  he lost a battle and an trophy; that he was wronged and he wasn't going to stand for it. So, Troy went  back out, headed downtown again, “I'm gonna have someone wear that red neglige, one way or the  other.” 

Troy stopped at his usual bar and stomped inside, “Hey Troy.” Glen the bartender said. Glen  took a double take and asked, “what's with the blue thing on your forehead?” 

“Never mind, give me a whiskey.” 

__ 

A couple drinks into the evening he did spot a possible target in the crowded bar. Troy saw what she was drinking and brought her another one. 

“I just can't believe what's happening,” Charlene said, commenting on what she's been hearing  in the news, “It's like we're being invaded or something.” She kept looking at Troy's blue mark as she  was talking, “That is a very strange tattoo, by the way.” 

Troy didn't know what was going on. He missed the news conference, dismissed the light show  earlier – and really didn't care about anything but himself right now. He liked Charlene and he decided  he would take her so he reached into his pocket for his packet to spike her drink and it wasn't there –  which made him madder yet, even though he was keeping his cool charm on the exterior. 

They finished their drinks and Troy persuaded Charlene to step outside so he could have a  cigarette – once out there he grabbed her arm and started forcing her to his car. A sudden flash of light and sharp pain again, this time it put him to his knees. Charlene ran off  leaving Troy practically face down in the parking lot. 

__ 

After putting the handcuffs on him and lifting him up off the pavement, Officer Juares thought  that this guy sure chose a stupid place for a tattoo – and why he picked a red square and a blue triangle  he couldn't imagine. 

Troy was up to “Strike two”. 

Two other detectives completed the arrest of Troy Arnett, and after taking all statements, took  him into custody, where they easily connect Troy with his previous abduction the night before as that  victim had come forward as well. 

“That was an exciting start to my shift,” Officer Bennito Juares thought to himself as he headed  out on patrol again. With all that was going in in (and around) the world he was surprised that there  wasn't more panic and chaos.

“Unit 321, we have a disturbance in the 13block of Mantel Street,” 

“Here we go,” said Officer Juares out loud as he flipped on his siren and lights. __ 

“Who cares, the world is going to end anyways.” said who appeared to be the leader of a large  gang; a rather tough looking girl in a white tank top which allowed many of her tattoos to show. “Yeah, let's have a little fun before we go,” yelled Azelle who was walking beside the leader,  “Lets go shopping!” 

“Daddy needs some new shoes!” Tony yelled as he took the stone he'd been carrying and hurled it at the front window of a sporting goods store. 

It was amazing – the stone went full speed until just millimeters from the window, stopped and  fell harmlessly to the sidewalk. 

“Ha! You can't even break a window,” I'll show you how it's done. Azelle picked up that same  stone and used it like a hammer against that window, only,.. it stopped again; before even contacting  that window. But Azelle's arm took the force and put her to the ground rolling in pain. 

The head of the gang pulled a gun, “that's enough of that, I'll take care of every window on this  street.” 

“Bam, Bam, Bam,” she took out three windows; or so she thought but before the fourth shot she realized that no glass was breaking. 

Azelle saw a spent round fall from the window to the cement – it rolled by her on the sidewalk  and into the gutter. 

Everybody scattered when the police arrived – running in every direction. Except for Azelle  who still hadn't regained full muscle control. 

Officer Bennito Juares took witness statements as well as arrested Azelle for “attempted”  vandalism, he wasn't sure how his report would look, it was rather hard to believe – what was also hard to believe was that Azelle had a blue triangle on her forehead, “must be the new thing in cool tattoos,”  he said as he pushed down her head as he put her in the backseat of his cruiser. __ 

Peter liked animals, he wouldn't harm an animal but he justified to himself that a service dog  might be worth quite a bit to the right buyer, or make a really good pet. “Hope he's not micro-chipped,  that could get me in trouble” he thought to himself as he rushed forward an reached down for the short  leash – all he had to do was take it out of the owner's hand and he and Scout (he already had a name)  would dip into an alley and disappear. 

Just as he was about to grab that leash, his feet were swiped out from under him and his face  was grinding against the pavement. 

“Oh my,” the woman exclaimed hearing the noise and seeing what she could with her very  limited vision, “Are you alright?” 

Peter opened his eyes to see a dog licking his cheek, he got up as quick as he could and  stumbled into that alley; without the dog but with some nasty scrapes and a blue triangle on his  forehead. 

“C'mon Scout, let's go get some lunch,” the dog's owner said as she got up. 

They walked on down the street toward their favorite cafe – one that gives biscuits to her dog. __ 

On a world scale, justice was being handed out seconds before the infraction would have  incurred. Both sides of combatants were being rendered harmless. The markings on the forehead were  being handed out, not always to the person holding the weapon, but to the people responsible for the  aggression, In those cases, where the true aggressor wasn't doing the “strike”, there usually wasn't a  “zap” and pain to go along with it. It may seem unfair as many think that those people deserve to be  zapped twice as hard for what they have done, but the “zap” is a slap for an obvious infraction where  the receiver understands at that very instant why their being punished. Even so, Many an evil minded 

dictator was surprised to see a blue triangle etched into their forehead and many were gifted the second  shape as well – a large number needed the third and beyond that; to be eliminated, but the Mover's had  to leave room for that chance of redemption.

The Mover's programmed their machines and designed their AI biologics to carry out all of  these changes – they didn't like to do such an immediate elimination of a world's self destructive  tendencies; they'd rather have the changes implemented so slowly that they were hardly noticed – a  slow transition to peace and unhindered usefulness. But they have found though the millions of years of intervening, that a sharp slap on the wrist from the beginning was the best choice. 

There were other things that had to be done for the transition into a unified world with a unified  purpose. One of those was management of re-production, unnoticeable on a small scale but overall a  healthier balance would be achieved. This included all living creatures. 

The only total elimination of a species would be most parasites as they weren't needed any more for population control – that and they were a nuisance no matter what planet you lived on. Creatures up the food chain lost their aggression to those lower on the chain - as their own  populations reached the optimum balance – and that other food sources would slowly be provided. It was tough for the Movers to commit to the directives programmed into their rescue fleets, all  worlds were different. Even though they got the report about the Earth quite a while ago, through the  network of galactic relay stations, they could about chart its course considering how much they've  learned from other civilizations. When they got the alarm of future destruction of that planetary system, they could just about envision where they would be technologically and socially by the time the  machines would arrive. But it was still a hard call to foresee what would be needed. The Movers were  far advanced, but they couldn't know exactly what the future would hold, for themselves or especially  for a planet many light years away. 

__ 

“Ganymede is heading inward, towards the sun, it was thrown out of Jupiter's orbit and heading  our way, sorta.” Louise made a face and hit the delete button on her laptop to remove that last statement from the recording she was trying to make. “Sorta?” I'm a scientist, I can't say “Sorta.”” 

But she was having a tough time putting what was happening into words, she didn't “train” for  this – everything in her world has always been fact, backed by physics and natural logic – this was not  natural and it didn't appear logical. One of the moons of Jupiter, Ganymede – first discovered in 1610  by Galileo Galilei was removed, somehow from it's orbit of Jupiter and directed inward, towards the  sun. “It will angle around the sun, but at a huge distance from it, about the distance of Mar's orbit,”  Louis spoke towards the tiny microphone on her laptop's lid, “then, with it's current velocity, it'll head  out of the solar system on an orbit that most resembles a long period comet.” 

Any other time, the de-orbit of Ganymede would be top news at every level – but now it was a  close second to the changes in velocity of the “Neut” objects – they were now in a trajectory to  intercept Earth. 

__ 

The Neuman Committee was just about always in session, with most members giving it full  priority, only stepping out for food, sleep and to gather more information. 

President Freeman of course couldn't spend all his time in that room, but he had nearly constant  briefings about what was happening. 

“How can it be possible that the objects changed directions like that?” the President asked  quietly into the phone, stepping away from some constituents. 

“It was like they were deflected,” Vice President Genter replied, “only two of the leading  objects have been re-directed so far, but a third is about to enter the same point where the previous ones changed direction and velocity, we'll know more in about an hour.” 

__ 

Sure enough the objects were being deflected. One by one they were changing direction and 

speed, entering a relatively slow course to intercept with Earth's orbit. 

That change of speed by itself would not have been survivable for a human, let alone adding in  that change of direction. That fact did give some comfort to those who had access to this data – that  meant there probably wouldn't be little green men, since most of the little green men in the movies  were basically squishy like us. Although, after giving it more thought, they weren't sure they wanted to  meet machines from space either; so that comfort was short lived. 

Humankind didn't know it now but the next major step to becoming a more technologically  advanced people is the control of gravity; along with the improved control of potential, magnetic,  kinetic and of course atomic energy; controlling gravity is not just making things float up in the air as if we used an imaginary anti-gravity gun, but being able to reflect, absorb, focus, direct – even store that  energy. If you can counteract a pulling force with an equal pushing force you can achieve balance – If  you can angle additional force from that balance you can go any direction and velocity you wish. A  sailboat with it's sail close-hauled allows you to sail almost directly into the wind (22 degrees off). That wind is trying to push you away but you're heading into it – amazing. Although not too many things in  space try to push you away, mostly things in space try to pull you in – but if you learn to sail in a  universe of gravity you just have to adjust that sail a little differently. 

Once that kind of control is mastered, not only can you do things on a large scale, but you can  apply it down to the microscopic levels as well. Once you combine machines with artificial  intelligence, you can have those systems make smaller machines with AI – those smaller AI Machines  are capable of working on smaller ones yet – and so on – ultimately, you can have AI bots that are so  small you can't see them, you can breathe them in and breathe them out without even noticing – they  might get into your bloodstream and do some repair; or adjustments and then leave as quickly as they  came. They can deflect, reflect and move in all dimensions (except time) – they can make a calculation, a decision and organize a plan including calling for backup - in time to stop a bullet, to stop a punch, to  separate the metal in a chain to allow for freedom for those that deserve it – and to restrain those that  don't. 

As mentioned before, the key to survival and advancement is to eliminate self destructive  tendencies – parts that don't work good together make for a terrible machine. As groups that fight  against each other weaken the world as a whole. No matter what you believe, who you believe in or  why you believe we are here – life is an absolute miracle. If you believe that a divine power created  everything and gave us this world in which we can breath, eat, love – than you should agree that it is an absolute miracle. Or, if you believe that random events have brought us where we are today, in the  “Goldilocks Zone” of the solar system, with just enough of everything to sustain life – than you have to believe that life is an absolute miracle as well. 

So to forget that and be consumed by negative things that are unimportant to that miracle of life  is not an option for a species that hopes to survive many centuries after the development of world ending power. – We are like adolescents now, with dangerous toys. We have to be trained on how to use them, or more accurately, convinced not to use them and convert those dangerous toys into useful tools. __ 

Morgan sat in that chair, which was reclined just a bit, tapping his finger on the desk. There  were three people waiting for his decision; a “go” meant that two rockets, each with a substantial  nuclear payload would be launched and sent to meet the first “Neut” head on. 

“Mr. President, I advise you authorize this launch,” the Secretary of Defense spoke sternly,  “Remember, it is not a commitment to attack the object, we can change the warhead's course at any  time – and they won't be fully armed until the last moment.” 

More silence, except for the tapping finger. 

“The people of this country do expect us to do something. They need something to give them  hope.” the Vice President pleaded. 

“Not everybody! - this forced peace is giving almost everyone pause to think that the intruders 

into our solar system are bringing good things, not destruction.” Charlemagne Everos, Representative  of the UN said sternly. 

“As I was saying,” Vice President Genter continued, “I think the rockets should be launched,  but kept off course, to be as non-threatening as possible – without loosing the capability of an  interception - if needed.” 

“And we need to tell the population just that; the absolute truth – that should achieve the best  balance in this tough decision.” the President spoke confidently, “it's a go for launch. - set up a press  conference as soon as possible.” 

Everyone got up to start putting things in motion except for one of the members of the Neuman  Committee; who just sat there pondering the weight of this decision. “So the movie will end with the  alien spaceship blowing up, the world will be saved and everyone will light up that victory cigar,”  Benjamin Riefer, a civilian consultant spoke, unintentionally getting in the last word, “but what about  the thousands of other alien spaceships in line behind that first one?” 

__ 

“Amazing!” Neut thought, looking through the eyepiece of his Zeiss Telescope. He could see  pinpoints of light, very unnatural looking, going off into space, all in a straight line – except for the  absolute limit of his vision through that telescope, where, if he used the most sensitive part of his eye  (stare slightly to the side) he could make out an angle, where those pinpoints changed direction at some imaginary galactic left turn. 

“Sure,” Ed Vatiger spoke sternly, after he had studied that line in the sky with his own  telescope, “not only do you discover a comet, well, object, that get's named after you, but it turns out  there are thousands of them, now, they all have the name of “Neuts.”” 

“Well, if you would have discovered them, Ed,” James commented, “they would have been  called “Eds” - would that of made you happy?” 

Ed thought about that for a moment, “Edwards!,” he declared, “It would have been called  “Comet Edwards” first, then, when it was discovered that it was many objects, they would have all  been called “Edwards!” 

“Well, “Neuts” is easier to say,” James replied, “but I would've been just as excited about this if  they had been called “Edwards”.” 

__ 

Amateur astronomers were excited – what an opportunity it was to be able to witness this event. Sure, they were apprehensive, everyone was, but the unexplainable “Forced Peace” had to be related to  this event. And why would such a good thing come before an alien sponsored, total planet annihilation? - It didn't make sense. 

Even so, those nuclear devices, that had been launched, were heading towards the first Neut,  although not directly, yet. There were of course cameras on those “bombs”, with antennas pointed back  towards Earth. The closest images of the first object were coming in, highly classified of course. “5 sides?” the president observed, “A pentagon?” 

“besides a block-like shape protruding from the center of that pentagon, and a discoloration  which could be a marking, that's all we have so far,” said Secretary of Defense Howard. “Looks like one of the sections of a soccer ball, you know, a five sided patch.” Mark Genter  stated, (Mark was a soccer coach for his two older daughters, even with the secret service that had to  tag along, he was an effective coach). 

“I think we aught to impact and detonate both weapons immediately, Mr. President,” The  Secretary of Defense stated, “take out the first one and maybe we'll scare off the rest.” “Now Devon, we must gather all available information first, before coming to such a drastic  decision.” 

“That's right Mr. President,” Mark agreed.

“Of course you're right sir,” the Secretary reluctantly agreed. 

They went their separate ways, for a while as new photos wouldn't come in for a few hours.  __ 

Although Devon Howard, Secretary of Defense of the United States, stayed in the mission  control room. He knew that those warheads would be used - because he had made sure, by paying off  subcontractors, some blackmail and a few threats, that he would have ultimate control of the final  decision to “attack” or not. “After all, I'm in charge of defending the country from attack,” he thought  to himself, “I don't have all the political baggage that the president has to deal with.” 

With that, he went to his computer, in the mission control room and entered the first 22 digits of PI, after the decimal point, in the text box meant for signing in to the software that controls the mission. A screen popped up with another text box, the Secretary entered the first six prime numbers. “Are you  sure?” was on the next screen – Devon hit “Yes.” and the alarms started going off. 

“We can't control them!” Mission Commander Minuez said, practically shouting into his  headset mike, “they're both going full bore – right towards the first object!” 

__ 

“It sure makes your decision easy when you have no control over it.” The president thought to  himself, not that it made him feel better. 

All the software at Mission Control had been rendered useless, the final commands were all  embedded in the on-board software of the weapons, traveling now at 20 kilometers per second at an  object traveling 30 kilometers per second. 

“Impact in 29 minutes,” Commander Minuez stated, still punching keys on his computer, even  though he knew it was futile; even if he could initiate a change in trajectory, it would still take too long  for evasive actions to be effective. 

The only calm person in the room was Secretary of Defense Howard, who suddenly felt like the most powerful man in the world. 

__ 

While the technicians were searching for answers on how the software was hijacked, there was  nothing anyone in that room could do but watch the very limited view, on the large monitors in the  front of the room. The occupants of that room now included the president and nearly all the Neuman  Committee. 

“The first nuclear device is two minutes in front of the second device,” Commander Minuez  said as he pointed at the screens, “we should be able to watch the impact, for a second or two anyways,  until the blast destroys the second camera.” 

“That blast will probably destroy the second nuclear device, before it even gets to the object  making it virtually inefficient,” stated one of the civilian technical advisers – whoever designed this  hijack failed to plan out this detail correctly - talk about a smart idiot.” 

Secretary Howard's face turned red and he glared, just for a moment at that technical adviser –  but he looked away quickly as not make his reaction stand out. 

They just watched those screens, there wasn't anything else they could do. Eventually, they  could see both the first device in the same frame as the first Neut. 

“About 30 seconds...” Commander Minuez reported. 

They all expected to see a flash than nothing as the cameras were obliterated – nobody knew  what to expect after that. It could be imagined that the first object, “Comet Neuman” as it was once  affectionately known as, would be almost totally destroyed sending a message to all the others and they would all switch directions and scram. Or, it could be imagined that taking out the first would make the others mad, and any good intentions they had for earth would be discarded and that total planet  annihilation plan would be implemented. 

__ 

The camera on the first nuclear device caught a quick glimpse of Neuman as they closed in 

together at 50 kilometers per second combined speed – even with an object the size of a city block, that kind of speed didn't leave much time to study details as they came together. 

Just as expected there was a flash at impact, although the flash appeared to be more of a  pink/purple rather than the orange, perhaps slightly bluish color you might expect from a 6000 degree  C explosion. And, the second camera was not destroyed, so they could watch, for two minutes before  the impact of the second weapon. 

The closing speed was so fast that it was hard to see what was happening. Only later, on  detailed examination of the footage, could they see what really happened; how an energy field came  from the first neut and basically cocooned while decelerating the nuclear device, the flash did happen  as that kind of deceleration would have been as good as an impact – but the explosive energy was  contained, diverted or absorbed by that energy cocoon and the few fragments that were left of the  device was tossed aside to seek their own orbit of the earth or sun. 

They imagined the same thing happened to the second nuclear device – all they saw was a quick glimpse of that pink/purple light than nothing. 

“I'm not sure what just happened,” Mark said. 

“Ditto that,” Morgan stated turning towards his Secretary of Defense for his opinion. The  president stared at Devon Howard for a few moments and calmly said, “I think we need to call security, don't you Mr. Secretary.” 

Secretary Howard had no idea how the president knew. Until he learned later that he had both a  blue triangle and a red square etched on his forehead. 

__ 

And they came 

__ 

The first of the Neuts entered a orbit around the Earth at about 1000 kilometers above the  surface and made adjustments until it settled into a synchronous orbit with the earth (always over the  same spot) – it came no closer. 

The other Neuts kept filing in and were taking even positions, at that same orbit, all around the  planet. There were also much larger pieces – some shaped like long, 5 sided blocks with strange, yet  aesthetic contours, others were just big 5 sided blocks, about as thick as they were wide – with the  largest being 40 kilometers thick and over 60 across, it's only feature was a huge hexagon filling almost half the side that was facing the Earth. That particular piece was the only one that didn't take up that  synchronous orbit with the Earth, it kept it's back to the sun, always (just off so it didn't eclipse the sun  from anywhere on the Earth) – some figured it was an energy gathering device while others thought  that it was the barrel of the gun that would destroy the planet – some thought that it was both. 

Astronomers also noticed on Earth's moon – not on the scale that was happening on Earth but  they could just resolve some of those larger pentagon blocks, spread out evenly all around the moon,  (or as far as they could tell by only seeing one side of the moon) – but those blocks were in direct  contact with the surface of the moon. They could tell this by the shadows of those objects. This fact  was interesting, as well as Ganymede's new orbit of the sun – but they still took second and third place  to what was happening around the Earth. 

__ 

There were other attempts, by other governments to try to destroy one of the objects, now that  they were “in range” for some modified rockets – but they all ended up with the same results as the  Americans – or more accurately, the same results as Secretary Howard's attempt at destruction. 

Reconnaissance photos from existing satellites and those launched for this specific purpose  were getting detailed images, although not much more was learned than before; the standard “Neut”  was slightly concave (convex on the other side), pentagon shaped “patch”, about 500 meters wide and  about 150 meters thick. They had a 50 meter square feature that extruded about 20 meters or so out on 

the convex side; the side that was not facing the surface of the Earth. There were also small round  openings, pointing out from the edges, on every point of the pentagon. Finally, there were markings on  the side facing the surface of the earth; a very puzzling shape of what looked like a hand with seven  fingers including one that was opposed to the other six, an eye shape and some unrecognizable  symbols. The markings reminded many of hieroglyphs. 

“Maybe they were right, all those stories of ancient people having contact with  extraterrestrials,” the First Lady Rose Freeman suggested to Morgan, in a quiet moment, in the private  residence.” 

“I definitely have been thinking about that,” the president replied after taking a sip of his special iced tea, “though, I really do suspect that the symbols are an attempt to humanize, or “what-ever-ize”  the presence of the machines – it does take some of the coldness of the metal and add some life to it –  shows that there may be biological “creatures” of sorts behind all of this. 

“Finish your tea and come to bed, you've been so stressed with all of this you need your rest.” “You are right dear,” Morgan smiled as he got up from the recliner, “then again, you are always  right.” 

__ 

The animals are our rock. 

__ 

Some pet owners are sure their animals can foresee bad things – not because they can see the  future, but because they have keener senses. They can tell if something's not right or something has  changed - and if it concerns them, they show it. 

But, all the animals are calm. 

The animals know that things are alright. The logical thinking humans may assume the worst,  strike back at the machines or at each other. But there is a calming effect by the calmness of the  animals. That and the “Forced Peace” as UN Rep. Charlemangne so accurately put it – The good  element in the world's societies were beginning to become convinced to accept the future that the  Neut's would be bringing. Most of the bad element would need a bit more convincing. __ 

It was an awesome animal rescue. She ran the Dog side and he ran the cat side. Some met in the middle as well as a few other types of animals that found a need to become part of this family. There  were acres of paths, parks, little houses on both sides. The volunteers came in constantly as well as  visitors, some who planned to adopt and others who just wanted to see all the animals – many of those  ended up adopting as well. 

“I'm not worried,” Barbara said as she stroked the coat of a dog that was under anesthetic while  recovering from minor surgery, “'cause you guys aren't worried”, rubbing behind the dog's ear. Nurse Jane nodded in agreement as she took a gulp of her freshly poured coffee, “ahh!!,” she let out, “I think I burn't my volvo” 

 “Uvula, Jane!, U-Vu-La !” Barbara laughed knowing very well that nurse Jane new the difference. __ 

Gerald was putting the final touches on the roof of a new addition to the Cat Park main  building. “I'll be glad when this is done,” Chad said pounding a shingle nail, “it's getting really hot up  here.” 

“Well I'm done with the ridge vent, I'll start cleaning up.” said Gerald wiping his brow. Even from the top of the new Cat building, a persons mind could not get far from the reality of  the intrusions to the earth. “I'm not worried 'cause you guys aren't worried”, Gerald thought looking  over at the cat park fun house, where there were a dozen cat's lounging around on the carpeted branches of carpeted trees – several of them laying completely upside down, feet up, the ultimate in cat  contentment. 

Gerald could look up and imagine seeing the network of Neuts that were setting up formation 

all around the planet, there were almost a thousand normal sized Neuts and several dozen really huge  ones, dividing themselves equally around the planet. 

“Do you think we'll survive this?” Chad asked seriously as he drove his last nail. “Yes I do,” Gerald replied after glancing back at those content cats, “I have it on good authority  that everything will be just fine.” 

__ 

Pillar 9 

__ 

It was a clear night and Barbara and Gerald were sitting in the back yard looking up at their  changing universe, not that they could really discern the new objects from the thousands of normal  stars, but there did seem to be a little bit more of a geometric pattern that emerged from the normal  randomness of the night sky. Since they were sitting out in the part of their animal rescue where the

better behaved animals could mingle, there were several cats and dogs venturing about, Barbara had a  tabby on her lap and Gerald had a boxer at his feet – a very pleasant evening. 

“Do you see that?” Barbara asked. 

Gerald saw that Barbara was looking up. When he looked up he could just barely see what  looked like a net, going from horizon to horizon – with what seemed like faint pink light beams  weaving that net, creating hundreds of 5 sided shapes in the sky. “Good Lord!,” he exclaimed, “what is  happening?” 

Before Gerald could say anything more, a bright pink glow started emitting from somewhere  very near, it seemed like it was right across the field, at ground level, Barbara and Gerald were both  standing up at this point, thinking they should run but they were unable to turn away – it was so  amazing. Gerald noticed that all the pets in the yard were sitting, calmly looking at the glow – the  boxer's short little tail was wagging, like it was seeing a friend. 

The glow rose up slowly, straight up into the sky where it nearly became as faint as the pink  light of the new “net” that was above their heads. 

The source of the light originated about a kilometer away, at the far edge of his father's largest  wheat field – now that his eyes had adjusted he could tell the source. There was no fire or anything that  looked like a disturbance; just a 20 meter wide beam, with 5 sides, meeting the ground. “Should we go over there?” Barbara asked. 

Rex, her real dog (the one she called her own pet) was standing beside her, looking up and  holding his leash in his mouth. 

“I guess Rex just answered that question.” 

__ 

Amazing was an understatement. Like when you're standing at the base, looking up at the  spectacular site such as a skyscraper or looking up the side of a shear cliff where that wall of rock  seems to go up into the clouds – this was even more spectacular. Maybe because it was so unusual, you  don't often get the chance to stand at the bottom of anything that stretches 1000 kilometers into the sky. 

“It doesn't feel hot,” Gerald said when he was only a few meters away, “I can't believe I'm this  close!” 

Rex was pulling Barbara towards the light. A normal person would have pulled rank on Rex and stayed away, but Barbara was one of the few who trusted animal instincts more than most humans, she  knew that their unconditional love and constant focus on their owners – that they (their owners) were  the most important things in the world – meant, ultimately, that animals were kinder and wiser than us  in most ways; we humans tend to spread the things that are important to us way too thin. 

Rex marched right into that light, stopped then turned back to look at Barbara – she paused then stepped in. 

It was what one might imagine heaven to feel like, you could visualize fields of flowers  stretching off in every direction – there was no worry, everything was fine, everyone was fine. Barbara 

looked up into that 5 sided sun and felt peace like she never had – nothing was lost, everything she had  ever loved was still in her heart, without any grief – she knew she could hug everyone and every pet  that ever entered her life, that they were protected and would be with her forever. She looked down and saw Rex, with his tail wagging, urging her to go, she could feel the leash pull her hand even though  there were no leashes in heaven. Rex and that imaginary leash pulled her out of the light. 

“Are you okay?” Gerald said frantic that she had stumbled to the ground upon leaving the light. “Yes,” I'm fine. 

After a few moments of transitioning from heaven to normalcy, Barbara noticed Rex looking at  Gerald, with the loop of the leash in his mouth, “You've gotta try it.” 

__ 

At 14 points, around the world, those pink beams made contact with the Earth, most of them  were in water, but those that were on land, also had “special guest invitations” sent out by a messenger  such as Rex. The stories were so similar that nobody would be accused of making it up – the good  element in the world just grew many times over. 

That window into that heaven-like existence only lasted a short while as one of those long,  aesthetically pleasing “Neuts” was slowly descending down each of those 14 pink beams, to the Earth's surface (and extended far below as future excavations would find out). This was happening at every  location where the beams contacted the Earth – in the sea, those pillars went down as well, in some  cases, where the sea was deepest, the part that remained out of the water was still dozens of kilometers  tall. 

On land, such as Pillar 9 as Gerald's and Barbara's would come to be called, the base of it was  about 100 meters in diameter at it's widest, across the 5 sides. There were no features except for a slight indentation about the size of a door, with that same 7 fingered hand marking and a couple other  symbols that didn't make any sense, at least not yet. 

__ 

Peter looked in the mirror at the blue triangle marking on his forehead, he had put some cover up on it but it still was noticeable. “Maybe I'll get a real tattoo there to hide the triangle,” Peter shook  his head as he knew that wouldn't work, “I think an eagle across my forehead would look even  stranger.” 

Many people like Peter stopped their improper behavior immediately after “earning” that mark,  they didn't want another mark. They were afraid and a bit paranoid, they knew they were being  watched; by what they weren't sure. 

There were stories all around the world about the markings on the forehead - as millions of  triangles and squares were handed out. Some speculated that it was a three strike system, but others  argued that it'd be five strikes since the neuts seemed to like 5's – soon, stories got around that there  were people with three markings where a pentagon (black) was put next to the square and the triangle. 

Even Troy, the guy with the two symbols from kidnapping and the attempted kidnapping, was  afraid to earn his third, now that he was aware of what was happening – although he was locked up he  was still trying to stay out of trouble which was hard for a person like Troy who was basically rotten at  heart. Many times he had to bite his tongue to avoid escalating a confrontation in the prison yard. 

Troy had learned that you couldn't get a “brand” by being defensive, but where was the line? If  you pounded an aggressor back to much perhaps that line would be crossed and “zap”, you'd end up  like Bergman P. as he was called. Now Bergman P. had the third strike; a black pentagon on his  forehead - along with the more common triangle and square - some speculated that he put the pentagon  there himself before arriving at this prison - but only a few people could get close enough to tell for  sure and those people said it looked real, although nobody there had actually seen a verified black,  pentagon brand handed out by the Neuts. 

“You need another mark,” Bergman P shouted to Troy as he slammed him up against a cinder  block wall, “Hit me”.

Troy did nothing as Bergman suspected would happen, muttered something about a coward and  let up on him. 

Bergman's cronies laughed as did Bergman as he started to move away. 

“It doesn't work like that you dum-ass, it has to be my attack,” Troy snarled, “although I'm sorry I missed the opportunity to punch your ugly mug.” 

Bergman took the shiv he had tucked in the elastic band of his pants and rushed Troy, “I'll show  you... 

Bergman P. found out (or those around him rather) what the final “strike” was. “He just vaporized.” 

“Maybe he was turned into energy.” 

The Neuman Committee members produced many theories as they watched the prison footage,  plus some other footage from another incident and several written reports they had documenting the  final strike being imposed on people. 

“There's enough nuclear energy in the human body to level a city,” Benjamin Riefer stated, “so  that prisoner was not turned into energy.” 

Nobody really knew what happened, it was like a slow motion, nearly invisible explosion where all you saw were distortion waves radiating outward in all directions. The flesh disappeared almost  instantly, the waves went out through the clothes leaving them to fall to the ground, everything and  everyone around was basically untouched besides feeling like they were too were put in that slow  motion, time warp (as some put it). The video clip always ends with a surprised Troy putting his hand  to his forehead; although that wasn't important since the committee already knew that the victim  received no additional mark. 

“Looks like another thing we'll never figure out,” Mark Genter said shaking his head slightly,  “but it is a good deterrent,.. I say we should officially release the footage.” 

“I agree,” the president said, “the world is pretty well behaved with the fear of the invisible  enforcers, but this will answer a lot of questions and speculations, and probably prevent some from  making their final mistake.” 

“It answers some questions alright,” Vice President Genter agreed, “but it sure creates a whole  bunch of new ones.” 

__ 

A glance above 

__ 

Inside one of those larger objects, orbiting the Earth was a room. Inside that room was a library  with a catalog of 3d holographic images of the fourth strikers, accurately recreated digitally down to  the smallest detail. Since the Mover's machines had no current samples of life on earth when they  arrived, they included a lab of sorts to scan and store patterns for which they could use to create  duplicates. They used fourth strikers because the living could not be properly scanned. 

The pattern of Bergman P would be used to create a duplicate; minus most of the tattoos,  modified height and weight. Not that he would be seen too much as his duty was to create electronic  and paper lives for more Duplicates that would be coming down. He would be inside an office most of  the time – an office paid for in cash, no questions, above a novelty store ironically called “Alienmart”  near Central Park in New York City. This was the starting point for life on earth – for the Mover's  newly created representatives. 

They found New York cold. They could sense temperature - it was January after all; it should be cold. Even though the earth was at perihelion; the part of it's orbit where it is closest to the sun. __ 

Movers of Planets 

__ 

Perihelion; the earth is traveling nearly 110,000 kilometers per hour with respect to the sun; 

although it doesn't feel a bit faster here on earth than it does in July when the planet is traveling a mere  105,500 KPH or so. 

Part of the directions to moving a planet incorporate that speed as the second most important  step, the first most important step is the release of gravity, which will use up about every joule of  energy the Movers have collected and stored; since their arrival to the inner solar system.

If you've ever seen a “hammer” that is used for track and field; imagine a ball and chain that  you swing over your head and when you let go – it all goes flying, basically straight out, at the speed in which the ball was traveling in the circle. 

So the sun is swinging this big planet (Earth) at 110,000 kilometer per hour, the chain keeping  us from flying off into space is gravity. Remove that chain and we're on our way. On our way to what?  Well, the first thing that comes to mind is, “on our way to a frozen, lifeless planet.” But that is not the  Mover's intention, that would just be a very time consuming and energy expensive act of cosmic  vandalism. The Mover's of course had worked everything out. 

__ 

The pentagon sunset 

__ 

Thousands of telescopes have looked upon that extremely large neut object that follows the sun  up in the east and down in the west – there have been satellites launched to study only that. But they  never learned anything, some did speculate it would replace the sun, that was obvious enough, but  nobody knew why the sun would need replacing – it should burn just fine for another 5 or 6 billion  years. 

Then it happened. That object moved over and covered our sun, bringing an eclipse to those on  the light side of the earth. Those on the dark side could sense the dimming of those pink lines in the  night sky – not that they were ever that bright, but there was a change. Nobody would know it for a  while, but the chain was broke and the planet was on it's way – out. 

The darkness only lasted a few minutes as that pentagon started glowing, dimly at first and then  brighter. Settled beneath some clouds and created a marvelous, pink sunset before it slipped around the  planet. 

__ 

A reason to move 

__ 

The astronomers didn't notice, after all there were plenty of other things keeping their attention  occupied at this moment. The skeleton crew that was still working on the Neptune Ranger mission  were the first to notice something was going on in the outer solar system. 

A nice friendly bell sounded, which went unnoticed for a bit as Kyle Armer was watching a  news channel; a story about a climber who made it over 1000 meters up the side of one of the pillars in  Asia using only suction cups – when he couldn't climb any further, he hurled himself off and pulled his  chute in plenty of time for a safe landing. “now that looks like fun,” Kyle said to himself. 

Wesley Phillips interrupted his fantasies of base jumping off of an alien pillar, “Dude,  something's eating Neptune!” 

Kyle jumps up, the thought of it being a joke entered and exited his mind just as fast after  seeing Wes's face – Wes wasn't that good at jokes, his smile always gave it away – there wasn't any  smile. 

“ahh?” was all that Kyle could get out when he looked at the monitor that showed the main  camera view from Ranger. 

There was an obvious distortion in the blue hydrogen/helium/methane atmosphere of the planet, like it was getting pulled off the planet. Not all at once but some of those 1500 kilometer per hour  winds were being re-directed upwards, off the planet, towards an invisible target, and on the other  hemisphere there was a similar phenomena where a trickle of atmosphere was heading for another 

point all together. 

__ 

“What are they doing now?” the president asked as he came into the conference room with most of the Neuman Committee already seated at the long table. 

“We don't believe this is the neut's doings, Mr. President,” Phillip explained, “we believe this is  the reason we are being moved.” 

President Freedman thought for a moment, “a reason to be moved,” that was monumental, that  would explain everything, well, not quite everything – but it would start to make sense. “And what  reason is that?” 

Phillip explained that Neptune was being consumed by a pair of black holes orbiting each other  at high velocities, heading through the solar system at an almost unbelievable speed. “They won't effect the sun, but we calculate that Jupiter and it's moons will be disrupted and flung into the inner solar  system as well as a huge number of asteroids from the asteroid belt just beyond Mars.” 

As real time as you can get, for things astronomical; the destruction of Neptune was a awesome, sad, sobering and terrifying site, all at one time - that you could see happening. To see anything with  noticeable movement happening in natural astronomy was quiet rare – things tended to take dozens,  hundreds, thousands, millions of years to show a change. The Neptune Ranger's cameras caught it all,  since that is the direction it was heading. The black holes were moving so fast that they didn't  completely consume the gas giant but it did disrupt it's and it's own moon's orbits to the point that  Triton, Neptune's largest moon would impact the planet as the planet itself was now heading inwards.  Scientists calculate that it'll come within 50 million miles of the sun and be flung way out beyond the  orbit of Pluto only to slowly start an inward path again. 

The amounts of space between the stars is enormous. That being said we can also say that the  space between the planets is fractions of that space; but also enormous. Even at the Earth's departure  speed of 110,000 KPH it will take many years to get out beyond Saturn’s orbit – even with the coming  micro-acceleration the Movers will slowly be adding to the Earth's velocity, there won't be much of a  change in that time scale in those few years. 

In those years the alterations of the orbits of Neptune, Jupiter and several of Jupiter's moons by  those fast moving binary black holes is more than apparent, even to non-astronomers. Jupiter looms  larger now, there is no danger of a collision or disaster by Jupiter or it's immense gravity. There is some worry though of impact of pieces of moon fragment from several of the minor moons that did collide  on their egress from their normal orbits. 

The binary black holes are called “1” and “2” which isn't very creative but the havoc they have reeked  is called “the one, two punch”. 

__ 

The next few years were a confusing time for all the inhabitants of “Spaceship Earth”. They all  new things were drastically changing – only slowly; if I can use those “drastically” and “Slowly” in the same sentence. Monumental changes at a snails pace may be a better description. 

The light was the most noticeable thing (aside from the obvious mechanical sun) – Now, the  moon still shone at night, but over time, it was dimming, as the earth got further from the sun and the  new sun just didn't have the coverage to extend further than too far past the edges of the planet. Even  the daylight was becoming more “artificial” as the ratio between sunlight and neutlight was changing –  as the distance from our sun increased. 

Excitement and uncertainty were two more words that helped keeping those times confusing.  Happy and scared at the same time. 

Of course there were always those who still didn't look up, who didn't care. As long as they had  what then needed they were satisfied. No time for such things. 

But it takes all kinds – always has and always will. That makes for a very interesting people.  And now we add the “duplicates” to the mix and we have quite a population.

__ 

The Duplicates 

__ 

Bergman P was the first duplicate to come amongst us. He had that office and room above that  little store called Alienmart which sold T shirts, green slime, UFO books and such things – business  was good since the neuts arrived; Terry, the owner was thinking about opening another store. 

Terry would wave at Bergman P when he'd come and go. Since they shared a entry point into  the building; Alienmart through the glass door and a stairway going up behind a locked door right next  to the glass one. Lots of people came and went through that stairway door, Terry would wave at  whoever came and went, if he saw them – mostly they would smile and wave back, some did seem a  little odd though. 

The paperwork and the credentials was created for many a life for a duplicate. They were all  programmed with the same overlying mission but each had there own local task to accomplish. The  overall task was to help control the worlds population the way it needed to be controlled; at least the  way the Neut's thought it should be controlled. To do this, they needed brains, brawn, interventions,  examples but mostly they needed respected leadership at all levels and all points of the globe. Some  may have noticed that many elected officials kinda came out out nowhere, but most didn't – at this

point, nobody suspected they were now living among aliens. 

“Sir, he's CIA, formerly assigned in the Ukraine, but he is just a master at analyzing and  predicting human behavior,” Vice President Gunther continued, “we need to bring him on to the team.” “So be it, Mark, I trust your judgment.” the President replied. 

The President was talking about Dr. Jason Berrange. The education section on his resume (not  that he needed a resume) nearly took up an entire page, single spacing. His security clearances were in  perfect order and he sold himself clear up to the President – who scheduled a meeting with him that  same day. It'll be the first time that a US President sat down for discussions with a non-earthling – only  nobody (but Dr. Jason Berrange) knew that he was a “non-earthing”. Though, technically, he was  modeled from an earthling named Scott Duke who received his last strike doing what he liked to do  best, go to a bar, get drunk and start fights – he didn't learn so he de-warped right there in the bar for all to see – nobody got hurt but there were some glasses that hit the floor when Scott was taken.

“We've got to stop them!” William Preston shouted into the Microphone at the small union hall  which had been rented for this grass roots rally, “they have the world's population thinking that we're  being saved, but we're really being eradicated!” 

“Happily driven to extinction,” Sue Radenbaugh continued, “all of God's creatures are unable to reproduce, that just isn't right.” 

William joined in again from the other side of the podium, “we'll soon go the way of the  mosquito and flea!” 

Of course the Mosquito and Flea that he was referring to was in regards to the complete  disappearance of parasites of all kinds – not that anyone minded that they were gone, but it wasn't real  popular that all of life might be on the endangered species list. 

Rallys like this weren't real common. After all, everyone knew by now that the planet had been  saved – dozens of computer models showed again and again that if the planet hadn't been moved it  would have have dozens of life ending events – between the gravitational pulls of the twin black holes,  even though way off and the extra objects being cast around the inner solar system – there really was  no chance of life as normal. 

The Movers couldn't know exactly the details of what would happen, but they knew enough,  early enough to program all the machines for the mission. 

– 

Barker 

==

Don Barker really didn't like his name. Since he was quiet he didn't feel anything like a Barker.  Being a quiet non-Barker didn't mean Don had no interests in the world, he was one of those really  gifted people that had just the right combination of intelligence and curiosity; which made him a really  good computer hacker; but he wasn't mean so his hacking usually was harmless; he'd find a way in, put  in a marker of some sort (Easter egg) then close the door behind him. Usually his marker would have  something to do with a dog – perhaps a pooch would run across the screen every couple days or so. …. 

end of first ideas of this story, going off to try another angle..

To be continued or combined with a different story idea...

 

Movers of Planets: 

The Star Room. 

The beautiful thing about things that are “universal” is that “universal” things apply everywhere across the universe. 

Seems like a silly sentence, but for most every day applications “universal” means a plug  adapter or a wrench that fits most nuts and bolts – but the word “universal” is based on the word  “universe” which Websters defines as “all of space and everything in it including stars, planets,  galaxies, etc.” 

Mathematics has always been considered the universal language, gravity is also universal,  atomic sciences are universal and the list goes on. 

All this intro because of the first few words I plan to use to start the story. 

“A light flashed on the control panel.” 

Light is obviously everywhere in the universe – and I would imagine a panel with indicators;  light and sound being the obvious choices, would exist in most intelligent societies. Feeling like my story may now begin without seeming like an early episode of the ancient  favorite television show; Lost in Space, – I will begin. 

A light flashed on the control panel. 

The docking tracks released ViCTR2341636 from layer 43 of this bank of 3 kilometer long rails of scout/drones. The ViCTR zips off and up into the seemingly endless room. 

But was it a room? Yes. But where was that room? Here is the description: 

Star Room 347bi: A metallic planet relatively motionless in the barycenter of a binary star  system named Glac12; motionless in the equilibrium of Glac12a and Glac12b the metallic planet was  kept nicely at the correct temperature as not to bake, but still have available for its use; the immense  power of both stars. 

If one were to watch at a distance, they would observe; Glac12a; a red super-giant and Glac12b; a blue main sequence star orbiting their center of mass - which in this case falls nearer to the red giant.  The hotter blue star orbits much further out and at the center of mass of those two stars sits a metallic  “planet”. A planet capable of making corrections to maintain its position relative to those stars. Around  that planet orbits two gleaming metal spheres, both with minimal surface features. 

Even more interesting would be the occasional appearing and disappearing of planets; moons  and all, in orbits around those stars, with only a blue diffused ring of light either before or after they  appear. 

Inside the star room “planet” is a map; a scaled down section of the universe - which represents  approximately 5% of the Milky Way Galaxy; 15 billion stars scaled down many thousand percent and  represented as a 3 dimensional holographic map. 

ViCTR moves silently, nearly straight up (or straight down depending on your reference point),  on its long journey to its assigned holographic dot of light. ViCTR has plenty of time to think as it  glides through stars and nebula, dust and planets on its way to its assigned star system. 

Think? A Scout/Drone that thinks? Yes – a small percentage of biologic matter in built in most  every mechanical at this era. Some are synthetic biologics (I know those words don't usually go  together) – but some, like in the case of ViCTR, use the bios of a past living, breathing being – an  eternal life of sorts. After all, you can't live forever and take all of your flesh and bones with you –  those things tend to wear out over the eons. 

A biomechanicals worst fear is to be destroyed and to have the bio part vaporize into the 

vacuum of space, or burn up, or get consumed – either of those ways – that thousands of years stretch  of life disappears. 

ViCTR doesn't slow at all as it reaches the holographic representation of the seemingly typical  yellow star – a blue diffused glow starts just moments before the Scout/Drone disappears into the map. 

(the following is closer to story ideas, and not finished text) 

The Mercury Switch 

The drone emerges near Venus, stops to look at that planet, as well as most other bodies in the  young solar system. The time is shortly after the majority of the chaos of the formation of the solar  system ends. 

ViCTR is basically inspecting the system. The report is delivered and the contractor drones  come in and install the “Mercury switch” and several other sensors in the solar system including on/in  the earth of course. 

Vic spent time at all three of the primary planetary bodies (just formed) with the potential for  life. They were all candidates so he did his tagging. 

The Mercury Switch site was excavated and the thermal/time switch installed as well as the  Holifiers installed in each of Venus, Mars and Earth – perhaps a bit of seeding on each of these planets  to get things started a bit faster - then they would be on their way – no more contact (some  observations) until harvest time – although not the type of harvest that you may be thinking – more of a nurture the life by moving to a better/safer system. 

 When all is done, the relays and the tools are buried away, not needed for 4 billion years – all is quiet  until that ancient item, eons old but yet eons ahead in technology, is found. In the future, they knew that it would be noticed and someone or something would say, “There's something unusual beneath these 4  billion year old rocks” 

(thinking about having ViCTR getting knocked out into empty space on a huge orbit of the sun. To  return (and thaw) to the heat of the sun. The drone/scout would then be “out of the loop” until it returns which is where we'll pick up the modern part of the story.) 

Barnstorming (just story ideas...) 

(posting just to post something – the below isn't really readable, and I will fix it asap) 

1922 earth - small town car mechanic taking his customers Ford roadster out on a country road.  Yee Ha! Gets buzzed by a friend in his biplane (perhaps a girl flying the plane and her boyfriend as a  passenger riding in his own plane). The roadster heads to the farm where the airstrip is (the plane  runnin' with a train should be included, and banter (yelling) between the girl flying and the front seat  passenger “Look out for the....” and things like that) 

 They land, meet up at the strip. 

VicTR is hiding in the barn, after being observed by military jets – and loosing them.  “What the?”... it's just hovering there (don't think hovering is a word yet in 1922) -  Also VicTR's point of view (don't look dangerous – I was once like them sorta thoughts..)  Lights dim. VicTR projects holographic stars. They (the mechanic and the girl and boy aviators)  involve an astronomy friend.

 They snap a picture before Vic goes off to see about the location of the buried holifier (since he picked  the location) – Interaction between the Holify and Vic are what pinpoints the archaeologists to that 

location. (observations or readings of some sorts) 

 A signal is sent to Mars and Venus when the Earth is pointed in the right direction to transmit from that location. Earth is awaken, Mars and Venus. Venus sends a pulse to Mercury and the Mercury switch  sends a signal to the star council. It has begun. 

 The 1920's world sees unbelievable images in the paper and hearing it on the radio – panic? (this book is not about panic, but probably can't be avoided completely).

 The holifi's gather around the earth (after earth's ascends) – astronomers are baffled – also at the blue glow that is seen a night or two before – scientists calculate that it's right inline with earth's orbit – (the  moon will enter first and disappear before the Earth goes in) 

 VicTR will eventually re-visit the farm, and the characters from earlier as the planet transits to a new  (even new to Vic) star system. (still don't know why yet ((actually, neither do I at this point)).  Vic explores and gets back involved in the process. 

Characters at this point are Vic, car and plane people, local astronomer, National astro community,  Archaeologist in area of find, pro archeologists (on wrong track, local guy does good (or gal). 

(sorry for the story sketch – will repair soon)


Submitted: February 03, 2021

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