Immutable

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
The reader is taken through outer space to the Earth's surface to witness how a communications satellite taken hostage can impact the existence of the entire world's population.

Submitted: April 17, 2010

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Submitted: April 17, 2010

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The Journey In
The space between here and infinity teems. Filled with life, stars, planets forever. Picture grains of sand in the desert during Spring time. A passenger could travel past endless galaxies, seeing boat-loads of constellations and luminaries flying by the windshield. Humans couldn't live long enough to make the journey from 2,000,000,000 East, to 1x1018 West Universe Boulevard, but non-humans could, comets for example, or monsters. Watching the celestial bodies flurry past the window you could think of driving through a blizzard on the interstate freeway, no tolls. Sometimes you'll see something familiar. Mostly you just feel lost between two snowflakes, this one on the glass, and another one down the road somewhere.
Galaxies can look like tornadoes, you could be flying over Texas. Look, swirling sand, stars, something scurried between rocks. In the open a confident and stupid Gila monster rests inert. Solar cisterns live inside galaxies, small family units of vital organs. These are very cozy, comfortable places, the living room with that special TV program where you can sit on the floor. One comes into view. The star at the center is difficult to see, it's small. Trying the windshield wipers doesn't help, and the high beams are broken. The planets here at the edge are cold, but very pretty to look at. There's less than ten in this living room, the third from the center sparkles like a glass of blue Ginger Ale, it comes on fast. Our roller coaster dives in towards the surface. Swirling, spinning, looping barn-rolls just for fun. Air molecules screaming at our windows, Slow Down! Water covers most of the surface, the craft acrobats in and out of clouds but always flying downward. Fabricated structures pepper the surface of this planet, boxes with windows. We can see humans inside as we streak overhead skies. The structures whiz past infinite numbers. Our spacecraft has modified overhead electron injectors with a bored and stroked magneto drive rotor. It's very fast. A quick dip aims us directly at a window. We sit in the head of this bullet watching the building attack us head on. It's a violent projectile threatening like a starving dog who smells meat on our breath. The window-like jaws snap, swallowing us whole. We stop instantly inside, oversized brakes with inflatable air bags helped.
The Message
A simple room of common aspirations. No ambition here, but the owner used to be happy, one eternal micro-second ago. His whole life, any memories of happiness now completely gone. He wears head phones connected to a large desktop two-way radio. He has a wooden potato masher of a microphone under his flaring nose, and he screams into it. His language is foreign, but his terror is not. He cries like a baby who can't live another day without that one special toy seen on TV. His toy, however, was life he realized for the first time. The news in his head phones ignited his ear wax. He felt his sphincter roar. His sweat pouring a river of salt water couldn't extinguish the explosion of terror holding his body hostage. His world and his toy had just become a divide by infinity. While he bellowed and cried his dry-clean pants had been ruined. He didn't think of changing his underwear, he knew he wasn't finished yet. His nose puked into his mouth and mixed with his tears and spit. He became angry, urgently so. Something had to be done. He didn't want his mediocre life and zero accomplishment taken away so simply.
Good news travels little, this news spread big. Humanity reacted badly. Soiled pants prospered and multiplied. But this news was to be expected. Society's ailment was terminal and the symptoms had been visible since it’s origin.
Another radio operator, another country, another pair of skid stained underwear. The scene began to repeat exponentially. Laundry detergent stock should do well. But there was more to worry about than profit. People who had ambition began to hear of the news, the president is sometimes the last to know. Advisors argued with diplomats in many languages. Red phones rang like fire alarms. Senators bickered with parliament. Kings and congressmen met at round tables chattering like toy wind-up teeth. They wet their pants, they accused, each claiming ignorance to any wrong doing. For the only time in their eternity, the whole world was telling the truth. The entire school playground was filled with yelling, shoving, crying, and crapping, but no lying. Queens and princes held each other and wailed, confessing things they only told the gardener. Common people stood next to each other like mosaic tiles and lamented, but no one listened. Everyone’s toy was being taken away. The masses buzzed like flies swarming bad meat. People for once wanted to live, even if it meant living together.
We fly around the world and always hear the same song. It’s boring. Higher up it's better, the locusts aren't audible. We accelerate and go higher to cleaner air. Clouds explode by and we shoot higher. Shifting into mach-warp-hyper-distort drive we blowup, straight up, like a lead slug from the worlds most powerful hand cannon. The sky gets dark and peaceful. The blue planet is very serene from this far away, and we careen around it like the steel ball of a Roulette wheel. Hypnotic and repetitious, it's so relaxing knowing that everyone else is worse off than you.
 
Ransom
Man made satellites are abundant up here. Sometimes like a demolition derby with comic results. The once best technology attacks the next best. The least best can top the most best if the timing is right. Such as the approaching satellite, it's not the best anymore, but at least it's symmetric. Perfect and cylindrical, even the rivets are nice. It slowly spins on its designed axis like the Lazy Suzan in a convenience store display showing all the delicious donuts for sale today. But look, there's a bad donut here, that one sticking out, hanging off the edge. It goes round with the others, but it's not creme filled, no don't buy it! It's frosted with Ex-lax and horseradish. There's already a long line to the bathroom, don't buy it!
The satellite is infected, it used to be the limousine of pleasure for millions of living room athletes. Couch coaches with beer bellies full of soft donuts. Bored house wives whose husbands wish they were single, until dinner time. It was perfectly designed and built by nerdy engineers, programmed by geeky computer scientists, all from the best schools. They own expensive sports cars and high priced condos, and if they had personality they might enjoy life. Instead they work to make efficient, optimally evolved communications satellites.
We can approach the bad donut on Lazy Suzan and look in the window. It's all right, no one will see us. Closer, go slow, crouch down and squint into the tiny grease stained window... Wow! Ants zipping in massive files, maggots wallowing in mineral baths of fester, spiders acid dancing to earth quake music, mosquitoes buzzing inside clouds of bacterial smog. A space orgy with endless putrefied food. These aren't the friendly pestilence found in a Disney movie, no they're not complacent and helpful, they're nasty! They can't make it into a B movie either, the special effects would cost too much, flashing black lights, huge felt posters of cosmic-comic ultra-villains, toothed flies the size of pick-up trucks. A bug world where only the disgusting survived.
They have a smooth talking greased teeth leader with a High School Equivalency Diploma, very smart. He's fat, his name is Slim, Slim Ball. He comes from an established tradition of hand-me-down headaches. He convinced these bad bugs to steal the super charged space donut for a romp to infinity and back. They wanted a quick ride, maybe bust some heads along the way, just for fun, then they saw the Lazy Space Suzan. She was talking to the planet below, sending weather commands, dictating proper diets. As a result of concentrated research programs at impartial institutions she reported which cleansers were 40% more effective. And she gave battle commands to warring factions of inferior humans. She kept track of multitudes of small skirmishes collectively referred to as Monday Night Football. This was obviously the planets leader, but where are the guards, picking their noses?
Slim was quick, he slapped The ClubTM on the Lazy Space Satellite and stopped her spinning. The delicious donuts quivered, their wonderful creme cheese fillings would go rancid, what could be done!? With a howling cackle of a sneer Slim told Suzan he wanted ransom, lots of it, didn't matter what, just so long as it hurt the humans who had to pay.
Slim was mean, he'd play fetch with your dog in the freeway. Lazy Suzan should have noticed him coming, but in space you can't smell. Slim stared at his meal ticket with starvation in his head as he waited. For once he was in charge of the soda fountain and he was making bacon fat snow cones. He couldn't wait to watch the first customer quench their sweet thirst, but he had to, because the drug store stayed empty. This wasn't quite the reaction Slim expected. He wasn't used to being ignored, he at least could get the expression of someone who just sucked snot out of a cows nose. But Suzan was cool, she figured Slim was bluffing. To demonstrate his earnest he consciously stepped into a depraved rage, mediocre by modern standards but he was fatigued. Still Suzan didn't budge, so Slim did, he called down on her radio. Funny huh? like calling the police from the house you're robbing. The planet surely couldn't live without directions from its leader, and Slim had her, and her donuts were going bad.
 
Response
Suzan had prodigious power. Her radio sent endless countries murderous news of world leaders held hostage, rising rents, ridicule of favorite football teams. These are good reasons for wetting your pants. Peasants ran looking to find their chiefs of command. If not safely at work then missiles were maneuvered, fighter planes were fueled, armies were awakened. There was going to be a big party with really loud noise makers.
The President of the United States was watching cartoons and eating Twinkies when he heard. He immediately took a dump in his thousand dollar pants and smelled just like a homeless person. His advisors had great difficulty not laughing. People every where got involved and whipped up quite a ruckus. This was the traffic jam from hell. It started in the living room and extended clearly to infinity. The excitement was kind of fun, but nothing lasts forever.
Slim was confused when Suzan stopped talking to her planet. Maybe she was stalling, he used her radio again and politely insisted that he really would pop her last zit. But the humans were too busy to watch TV, no they were occupied with their rental toys. People played like there really was no tomorrow.
Soon party favors got scarce. Treacherous dispositions grew N factorially. Few rational people remained, they felt betrayed. The world was quickly running out of baby sitters, things looked grim.
World leaders then started coming out of the woodwork like roaches asking "What's going on?" Some were quoted in seedy motels, some in donut shops, one or two at work. Society was standing with loaded weapons but no clay pigeons were flying. Embarrassed magnates and ambassadorial representatives realized they had blundered. Thinking they had stepped in dog do-do they raged until they realized they were smelling their own bad breath, but no one was willing to brush their teeth. Mortified people with their pants down and soiled grumbled and passed bucks all around. Threats stood like flimsy picket fences between neighbors. Tons of luck bolstered by imagined negotiating competence tolerably tore down these barriers. Once more humans had avoided the drip-dry spin cycle of the universe.
Slim noticed the time, nearly choking on his tar paper bratwurst. He promised to destroy Suzan if ransom wasn't paid by now. He had to keep his word, after all he was a murderer not a liar, and he really didn't like her donuts anyway. Slim unlocked his ClubTM and packed it away in a stolen Hope Chest. He screeched his wicked laugh and christened a falling-out-of-orbit party by smashing a full gallon bottle of spoiled wine on Lazy Suzan's forehead. Glass fireworks and fountains of Cheese Whiz made the lobotomy a festive occasion. This just wasn't Suzan's day. The nasty bugs enjoyed a forced party while they sped off to infinity to catch their favorite TV show.


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