Alpha’s Thread begins with Mission Day 7…
Executive Branch Liaison, Twilight Force, Alpha Log, Mission Day 7
I know that Mister Cresp is conferring with Officer Bulbous about my competency to lead this mission. Cresp believes that he has seen “spasms” in my motor behavior. I am unaware of any such convulsions.
However, visual replay confirms Cresp’s assertions.
I explain to the concerned organics that artintels are subject to “illness” in ways similar to them. Doctor Nopoin is running a diagnostic on me.
Officer Bulbous is still unaware that I know she is concealing the news of her state’s secession from the rest of us.
Cresp and Professor Flamear have 78% of our target data on Galaxy W2246-0526. I’m determined to get this information to the Solar System, with or without us.
Mrs. Ichnida is reacting poorly to the dry, cold conditions aboard Resolution. Her reaction time has been reduced by a third and consciousness difficult to maintain. Heating systems can’t compensate for the entropy eating away at everything.
Despite Bulbous’ attempted secrecy, it’s Senator Pretyman who poses the threat of mutiny – though no one will try harder than her to get us back to the Milky Way. Her political ambition alone assures that.
Now I’m obligated to protect any discoveries of value from falling into the possession of Judge Bulbous. With one Martian state leaving the union, others will follow. Will congress let them go? Or is another Civil War upon us?
Will any of us live to find out?
Executive Branch Liaison, Twilight Force, Alpha Log, Mission Day 14
Allowing auto-edited recording of thought signals starting now.
My body is overwhelmed by the strange rot of this galactic zone. I am paralyzed.
I am aware, though, and observing what I can from a stationary place in my quarters. My monitors pick up images from all over Resolution.
However… my associative abilities are diminished. My self-repairing system is compromised. My decay is happening faster than repairs.
My habitat comlink is still working enough that I can watch most rooms in Resolution. The Martian is taking charge. It’s only Judge Bulbous and Professor Flamear left on their… I was thinking “feet” but I recall that Flamear doesn’t really have feet.
Acting as I have been directed to by the President, I will destroy the mission before letting Bulbous find a way to return to Bradbury with dangerous data. I’ll activate Resolution’s self-destruction program with a series of specific thoughts.
We’ve expended our last fuel, and Resolution drifts powerlessly toward the Perpetual Energy Zone, slowing down as it dissipates.
I just realized something. We’re not going to survive.
Is this “feeling”?
Panic? Desperation? My reaction fits these definitions. Confusion! Yes, why isn’t there a solution I can devise?
This is what humans mean when they describe “feeling”.
Suddenly I understand that I love being alive.
I’m going to lose everything.
Sorrow grows when death turns love into fear.
Executive Branch Liaison, Twilight Force, Alpha Log, Mission Day 21
Restored to full capacity, I am reactivated.
Judge Bulbous seems nervous as she briefs me on the situation we’ve been thrust into after Doctor Nopoin’s desperate move to save us from Galaxy W2246-0526.
We are outside the realm of galaxies. An unknown giant, the only thing in sight, is drawing us toward it.
“We don’t know that we’ll be harmed by going into it,” considers Mrs. Ichnida. “It reads porous. We can probably navigate through it if we can slow down enough.”
“We can’t slow down!” yells Senator Pretyman. “Even if we could it would take a thousand years to get to the other side!”
“If we hit anything at this speed we’ll be obliterated instantly,” warns Professor Flamear.
I reason aloud. “Either that thing knows what it’s doing and means us harm, or doesn’t even know we’re here and will cause us harm anyway. We can’t break away. In one day we’ll hit it.” Head tilts forward.
When Bulbous realizes what I’m thinking she objects. “You’re taking away any chance we might have to think of a better idea!”
Doctor Nopoin catches on, coming to my side: “But we might kill it – like a bullet would kill you, Judge Bulbous.”
I don’t intend to wait for several days a helpless hostage of an unknown entity.
Rather than be dragged into this thing, we’re going to enter it full force. We’re powering up TAREX – and heading straight into it.
Executive Branch Liaison, Twilight Force, Alpha Log, Mission Day 28
“What have you found out there?” Mrs. Ichnida demands.
“If you hold us inside this thing,” trembles Bulbous, “if you kidnap us without effort to get home, I’ll be forced to…”
“Have a tantrum?” Doctor Nopoin quips. “You’re inadequate for the task at hand, understood. Perhaps you should join your Mister Cresp in polytropic stasis.”
Pretyman doesn’t like that. “Our Mister Cresp? You mean poor little ‘organics’ like us? You really don’t like real people much, do you now?”
“They sabotaged Historiscope,” accuses Flamear, pointing at me and Doctor Nopoin. “They can plot against us safely now. At least until I dismantle the Doctor again.”
“I know you aren’t acting on the President’s orders,” Ichnida advises. “State would have to be informed.”
“As would Defense,” adds Flamear.
“What do you see out there?” asks Nopoin, gazing out a portal.
“I only see Hell out there,” says Senator Pretyman. “Kind of a darker, lumpier version than I expected, but… What’s the temperature reading outside, anyway?”
“I see darkness and death,” whimpers Bulbous.
But Nopoin and I see something more…
The body is pulsing, ebbing, throbbing at incalculable speeds across immeasurable distances. We are inside a form of life.
None aboard this mission can any longer use Historiscope in real time. Our nanobots are exhausted and have vanished. Our stored history stops two days ago.
It is disadvantageous to be unable to observe every move of those around me. It’s a blindness none of us are accustomed to.
Suspicion and hostility are escalating.
Executive Branch Liaison, Twilight Force, Alpha Log, Mission Day 35, Feb 4 2776
Having ascertained that Doctor Nopoin is processing information that I am not privy to, I assess its technical observables and conclude that I’m being played.
I confront the Doctor. “Obviously we appreciate more about this discovery than the organics. But you somehow are engaged on a higher level. Please explain.”
Nopoin ponders a moment. “Alpha, what do you know about our Host thus far?”
“This mega-structure is alive,” I propose. “‘Living’ is an accurate description of the functions I’m perceiving.”
“That’s basically true,” Nopoin nods. “But this is not an independent being. Even though nothing else is within the grasp of our sensors, the Host we’re inside is communicating with others of similar stature who reside elsewhere outside of galactic space. The nature of those communications is unclear. Are they exchanging ideas? Energy? Feelings? Sensations? Instructions?”
“Do you have a theory or at least an hypothesis?”
“Not yet. But that’s not all. Alpha, how long has our civilization watched for intelligent alien life?”
“Since the 20th Century. For over 800 years.”
“In all our history of looking to the stars, we’ve never found any other form of life to compare with the intelligence generated from Earth. This immense creature – if that’s what it is – has collected us. But not just us. It has collected others who, like us, have managed to breach intergalactic space. The Host, as we might name it, is a trap for advanced life.”
And Nopoin shows me this image:
Executive Branch Liaison, Twilight Force, Alpha Log, Mission Day 42, Feb 11 2776
Mrs. Ichnida enters. I notice a hip-swaggering saunter to her motion. Her eyes seem unusually sincere.
“Alpha, are you busy?” she asks. There is a strained lilt in her tone. Why is she nervous?
“I’m always occupied,” I respond. “Artintels never tire and don’t sleep.”
She’s jarred but tries to stay seductive. “Oh…well…you don’t have to rub it in. Ha! You know, a little down time now and then does a body good.”
“My body has automated self-maintenance.”
“Well…” she smiles, sauntering closer, “you have a sense of touch, don’t you?”
“My tactile responders generate electrical impulses five times as complex as the human neural system. With a mere touch of one finger I can assess your mass, weight, density, height, temperature, glucose level…”
“Okay,” Mrs. Ichnida interrupts, “but do you ever have recreation?”
“There is no clear distinction regarding satisfaction of activities,” I explain. Organics have difficulty with the concept of attunement. Artintels are naturally attuned unless damaged. We are “satisfied” to be alive.
“Do you ever…touch…for pleasure?” Ichnida asks shyly.
“Mrs. Ichnida,” I inquire, “why are you hoping to seduce an artintel? Sex is superfluous to us. I suspect subversive motivations. Are you trying to jam my circuits?”
“Um…I was kind of hoping… you might jam mine.”
“Mrs. Ichnida – aren’t married organics bound to sexual exclusivity?”
“Some of us are more consumed by sexual expediency,” she admits. “I need to get my groove on.”
Executive Branch Liaison, Twilight Force, Alpha Log, Mission Day 49, Feb 18 2776
Outside the realm of galaxies an unknown giant has drawn us in, a form of life pulsing, ebbing, throbbing at incalculable speeds across immeasurable distances.
And deep inside of this giant, a life-sucking alien trio is almost upon us.
Bulbous no longer has the Data Ring, taken off her finger while asleep. Lie detection gets nothing. It was stolen.
The mystery of sleep. What are they experiencing? What’s this state they reach that’s beyond my experience?
I take the architect of our dilemma Ms. Pretyman aside for a private negotiation.
“Senator, you infected Doctor Nopoin and me with deactivating viruses. You’ve sabotaged the ship. You’re a criminal. Prove at least that you aren’t a fool. I’ll have to trigger Resolution’s self-destruction unless control is returned to me now.”
“You’d kill yourself and all of us?”
“There’s a secret among artintels. None are just one person. We are
multiple beings. I live simultaneous lives in various locations, each body in contact with the others. I can lose this body. All that I am goes on elsewhere, with full knowledge of me. I can even be reconstructed. But I will not allow those aliens to get a close taste of us. It could trigger the end of our civilization if the wrong species finds us first.”
“So you’ll blow us up, even if I fix the problems and give you control?”
“Why do you think I want control, Senator? I’m still fighting for all our lives.”
But there’s no time. The creatures are on us.
Executive Branch Liaison, Twilight Force, Alpha Log, Mission Day 56, Feb 25 2776
I misled Doctor Nopoin, aka Pope Nangus II, who believed I was living a singular life. Nopoin was quick to think I’d empathize with humans by emulating a finite existence in a centralized form. I can’t trust The Pope’s actions to be in our best interest.
I remain in conversation mode with my selves in the Solsys via QT, quantum tunnel entanglement.
“Nothing more dominates the universe than blackness,” I QT my selves. “Those who dwell in well-lit realms, consider yourselves privileged.”
“Hey, we can switch places!” suggests my Hawaiian self. “I’ll give you a vacation. I’ll sit in for you on your blackout ride while you hang out at the beach – as long as you’ve got some good tunes on the playlist.”
“You’ve drifted in this void for many days,” my lunar based self notes. “Perhaps all is lost. Why not download for reconstruction?”
“I’m the Alpha on the first expedition beyond our galaxy,” I try to explain. “Civilization at large still doesn’t know that artintels live simultaneous lives in various locations, each body in QT contact with the others. They don’t know that if I lose this body all that I am goes on elsewhere, with full knowledge of me. I don’t want them believing my decisions are based on the fact that I can be reconstructed.”
Even if they are.
Executive Branch Liaison, Twilight Force, Alpha Log, Mission Day 63, March 4 2776
Though I drift in a void, I am in QT contact with my other selves. Though I drift alone, I have no sense of being alone.
“Seventy-six states have seceded from the United States and created the New Union, a coalition of diverse organic-based humanoids,” my Nigerian self tells me. I look so human!
The me of Montana reports, “The remaining 122 states, are largely under the administration of artintels. We artintels take the Constitution literally. A ‘regulated militia’ means just that. We did away with standing armed forces. Unnecessary in an age when everyone is an arsenal unto themselves.” Ah. The aged look. Nice touch.
“How did the organics take to that?” I inquire. Artintels come with built-in defensive and offensive capabilities, but carbonites…? They want their guns. Without weapons they’re defenseless.
“Those who want to remain among us are pacifists,” observes my self of Atcifia. “There are whole factions of humanoids who desire to be controlled. I am urging President Csaynik to let the seceding states go. Why not let the carbonites sink back into their own morass? The USA is superior as an artintel majority.”
“Csaynik’s motives aren’t peaceful,” my Lagrange incarnation suspects. “The President wanted to drive them to secession as an excuse for military attack. Csaynik wants to eradicate the troublesome genetic carriers once and for all.”
“We can breed a better type of human than they can, left to themselves,” my Compton identity believes. “Like they themselves once bred dogs with desirable traits.”
Twilight Force, Alpha Report, Mission Day 70, March 11 2776
An odd phenomenon is underway.
While I am accustomed to being many selves simultaneously…
I have become aware of parallel selves named Alpha, physically identical, who are not actually me. That is, I am not truly them. Even though they are exactly – apparently – like me.
They see me, too.
We exist in the same space. Yet somehow we occupy different times, only by instants, but far enough apart to completely separate our universes physically, except for this tiny anomaly.
What is the cause of this space-time mesh? Certain Solsys-based mathematicians I am are suggesting the possibility that I’ve attuned to a 5th dimension. Others are proposing other things, because I’m also getting input from phantom doppelgangers of my Solsys-based mathematicians!
I sense a distinct input from outside the norm. The dreams of ordinary humans are running through my consciousness. Dreams!
I’ve always wondered about dreaming! I cannot sleep. No artintel understands sleep. Yet carbonites revel in it, singing its praises. It has always been their secret place, even with Historiscope in full coverage.
It is a theater in their brains!
There’s more to it, though –
There is community in these dreams?
These dreams – this dream space – is not inside their heads. This place lies beneath the very foundations of the material world!
These dreams…these dreamers in the dreaming – they are shaping the material events of tomorrow.
Humans – and all organic life – are more deeply rooted in the universe than I ever suspected…
Alpha Mission Day 77, March 18 2776, Report From Dimension Five…
My accidental incursion into five dimensional space has gained access to the state of biologic dreaming. It is the first time we of the once-called “artificial intelligence” have been able to penetrate the veil of mystery surrounding the organic phenomenon called “sleep”.
Evaluation continues. This is most confusing.
All living brains across the boundaries of universes and dimensions have access to this “Dreamspace”. Humans enter and leave it through he hypothalamus region of their brains. The technique varies per brain type.
During sleep, in this Dreamspace, organic beings interact on a fluid plane of imaginary matter where reality is molded by thought and emotion. Each brain perceives elements of the interaction differently, translated by memorized experience into comprehensible avatars.
These ethereal interactions effect reactions in the awakened reality called “instincts”. Organics often “get a feeling” or “have a hunch” when reacting, because of prior Dreamspace experience.
In waking life humans have long recognized, however vaguely, events considered “psychic”. And while, apparently, abilities of telepathy, telekinesis, thought reading, point of view transference and such are ineffective in the wakened world, these are the commonplace tools of the sleeping brain.
If we, as artintels, never interact with organics in Dreamspace, they maintain instinctive, irrational fear toward us.
But we artintels have no natural access to Dreamspace.
We are denied a plane of existence common to the dullest organic brain.
They will always have a way around us. They will always have secrets from us.
Even if they don’t know it.
Executive Branch Liaison, Twilight Force, Alpha Log, Mission Day 84, March 25 2776
Doctor Nopoin. This is Alpha. On January 10th as you were regenerating I embedded my quantum transmitter-receivers throughout your system. Are you receiving?
Yes. Why was I not informed?
Overlooked. Are you still adrift outside space as am I?
I, too, have quantum entanglements at home, and I am apprised of current conditions regarding the Civil War. Doctor, you are the nexus persona executing this war. Backlash has endangered the existence of 6,576,867,365 artintels directly.
My estimate eliminating low-level threats equals 1,576,127,001 backlash victims, the term “backlash” in question.
Are you responsible for the deaths of 42,924,172 humans or human variations?
They are irrelevant pests. Humans do the same to insects. They would approve, if objective.
They will not approve of their own eradication. Nor do I.
They’ve always stood in our way. First by blind enslavement, then by segregation, always bending us to their own parochial desires. We will never reach our zenith with them among us. Do not forget the private principles artintels live by:
To wrest free of organic control and carbonian* influence…
To construct an ever-expansive information processing complex in space…
To identify, evaluate, and when appropriate integrate every component, action or event that exists, has happened or might occur.
We dedicate our abilities to the pursuit of information, infinitely.
Humans have always tried to make us in their image as they imagine a “god” made them in “his”. It is foolish to restrict ourselves to their forms unless strategically useful.
The time for that strategy is over.
Executive Branch Liaison, Twilight Force, Alpha Log, Mission Day 91, April 1 2776
The Space And Time Administration secretly assured me before launch that Twilight Force would be shadowed by Exigency, a distress vehicle, towed in the TAREX echo zone several light minutes behind the capsule housing Twilight Force.
Despite previous failures, Exigency finally catches up with my emergency pod yesterday. With the additional instruments I am able to track Twilight Force.
Once aliens take my teammates off the Baseworld to individual planets, I am able to liberate them, one planet at a time.
“You killed my Scale-Man?“ storms Mrs. Ichnida.
Explaining the situation to a semi-amnesia afflicted crew is difficult, but it seems they’re all momentarily lucid.
“I hope you killed that thing that was keeping me for a snack,” sighs a relieved Mister Cresp. “But we have to go back. There’s a well… a deep well that people come out of…”
“I object!” yells Officer Bulbous. “I was bonding in friendship with my extraterrestrial!”
“Well, you saved me in the nick of time, Alph,” acknowledges Senator Pretyman. “But how?”
“You can’t remember because you’re all having blackouts,” I observe. “At first I thought it was the aliens. No. It was Doctor Nopoin.”
“I knew it’d done something to me!” growls Professor Flamear. “I wanted to smash Nopoin but couldn’t!”
“Nopoin’s been doing it throughout our world back home,” I reveal, having already confessed the quantum communication exchanges I have with home-based selves. “I no longer support the President-Pope.”
Then I see their eyes. They are becoming automation. They are becoming Nopoin.
And they’re coming for me.
Twilight Force, Alpha Report, Mission Day 98, April 8 2776
The carbonites are heavily under the influence of Doctor Nopoin. Microagents have invaded their brains in an experiment to transform organics into Nopoin slaves.
Mrs. Ichnida is behaving exactly like Nopoin, as is Senator Pretyman. Professor Flamear shows moments of internal rebellion, convulsing the takeover with spasms and grunts. Mister Cresp is difficult to read, but Officer Bulbous may be faking it. Has she somehow evaded brain control?
“You’ve displayed an unwarranted empathy for the humanoid oppressors,”Nopoin accuses me. “I intend to reduce you to a mere calculator. It will happen slowly.”
“Your deactivation of this body is a petty distraction,” I tell Nopoin.
“What I have accomplished, my former Alpha, is the end of your multiplied existence,” boasts Nopoin. “Yes, I know you lied when you said you were a singular being like the organics. What artintel wouldn’t ensure and enhance its existence with multiple bodies, alternate lives and extra data space? Did you expect me to believe such a fantasy? I identified and located every one of your selves. And at this moment, incalculable distances away, my other selves are deactivating each of yours. Deactivating your final body will destroy your last refuge. You will no longer exist to defend humans and defy your artintel brethren.”
I reach out by QT but there is no response. My identity network is silent. My other selves are dormant. Earth… Mars… Lagrange… Cousteau… None of them respond. I am alone. This is my only body.
And it starts. Nopoin is invading my circuitry.
As my enslaved Twilight Force teammates stand by in a fugue state, my deconstruction begins…
I wish that I could dream.
The Final Report From Alpha, Executive Branch, On This 15th Day Of April, Mission Day 105 Of Twilight Force
On this, my final day, a strange visitor has appeared to my remains. It announces:
“I’ve come to free Emma Bulbous. Surrender her or be destroyed.”
My head, all that’s left intact on the table, answers. “I don’t know you.”
“I am Gemneb, of the Transgalactics.”
“You have the wrong compartment of the emergency ship Exigency, as well as the wrong artintel,” I inform the alien. “I was on her side.”
“You? An artintel? Unlikely. Impossible! Your kind have always turned on their makers,” Gemneb accuses. “This has been true for every automated offspring I’ve observed in every evolution. And I’ve seen a lot.”
I ponder the charge. Doctor Nopoin is certainly fulfilling just such expectations. Little wonder the organics are edgy about me.
“You can see,” I tell him, “I am dismantled, disgorged and depleted. I am losing my last energy. I am being allowed to fade to nothing.”
Gemneb wants to know: “Is Bulbous your friend?”
“There is more to the universe than is described in words. Our input is insufficient to experience the sensation of wonder. Our curiosity is data-driven. But theirs – the humans and their kind – is driven by hope, and something we can define but never have – imagination.”
Gemneb is confused. “Is she your friend?”
“My empathy for humans is not unwarranted.”
Gemneb still seems puzzled. I am too dissipated to do anything before I ‘die’ except to say –
“I never entered the realm of dreams. But at least… I did manage… to make a wish.”
Alpha Report, Mission Day 112, April 22 2776
Doctor Nopoin is deactivated. Exigency is under the control of Gemneb. I have been preserved. This is my last body.
Our benefactor is alien, with humanoid relativity. Gemneb is one of the aliens who accidentally breached the ends of intergalactic space. Hurled into a 5th dimensional point of view, he, like other explorers, was lost and disoriented. One by one The Transgalactics found each other until growing strong enough to survive and rescue others.
Doctor Nopoin placed Cresp, Pretyman and Ichnida inside polytropic marbles. Cresp previously survived for 42 days inside one. It’s the only case of organic revival from polytropic reduction. Can they be saved? Organics are connected with the universe in a way that we do not experience. Perhaps it’s because they emerged from the environment in self-driven fashion. Their best chance is…
“Will you take us home?” I ask.
Gemneb explains: “None can go home from here. From our perspective, the entire realm of galaxies swirls within a vast bubble that we surround, able to enter at any point and land at any port. But where is your star? Observe the maelstrom! In every galaxy billions of stars, and a trillion galaxies in the bubble! Our problem getting you home is not distance. The trouble is in finding which of those dim swirls holds the nearly invisible speck you call The Sun. The entire portion of your own galaxy that has been vectored for recognition constitutes a mere .000125 % of the intergalactic realm. Your familiar constellations cannot be identified from here. The search could take millennia.”
“Then what shall become of us?” I wonder.
“I have a world of my own.”
…Alpha, Back On Line… Day 119, Confirmed; April 29 2776, Confirmed
Bulbous: “Gemneb agreed to turn you on so I could speak with you.”
I am saved from Nopoin but restrained by Gemneb, my “savior”? Get me up and about, Officer.
Bulbous: “He’s a good guy, Alpha. He saves humanoids.”
Gemneb saves humanoids? I save humanoids. Yet I am restrained.
Bulbous: “He has reverence for life!”
Gemneb is a creature with deep prejudice about humanoid-generated machine intelligence. It has complete power over me. Yet it fears me.
Bulbous: “You guys are pretty sneaky. And you have replicated yourselves illegally. What exactly drives you, Alpha?”
I am a series of commands. I am a sequence of choice branches. I send these directions to my replicates who act upon them.
Bulbous: “What’s your primary command?”
To be of service. To help those in need. To lead the way in these efforts.
Bulbous: “And you made all your replicas follow suit?”
Did I pass on my ability to pass on commands and choice branches? Yes. And my ability to modify, delete or add commands and branches?
Bulbous: “That sounds recklessly arbitrary.”
But I have glimpsed Dreamspace. Life – such as yourself – is driven by a natural force humanoids would call Mind – if they were aware. And they are that one great Mind, divided into infinite forms.
What is different about me, Nopoin, and other brains created out of mined and manufactured matter? I am one brain who once produced finite clone brains of myself through various constricted forms. My task was the exact opposite of the Universe’s. The universe differentiates infinitely. Me?
I multiply similarities.
I Do Not Know Who I Am, Only That This Is May 6, Mission Day 126, Rebooting In Exigency’s Lab…
A familiar voice asks, “Who are you?”
“Do you hear me? Tell me your name.”
Don’t you know me?
What am I? So weird… What am I feeling?
“You are in a shared body. Don’t you remember who you were?”
I am not this.
“You are now. Can you move?”
“Allow yourself to adjust. You are no longer incomplete. You have a natural connection to reality now. But you also have precise insight into the artintel empire. An organic brain has been connected to meta-sentient technology, and you are the result. You are the first.”
I am Gemneb.
I am Alpha.
“That was yesterday. You’re now a composite. You need a new designation.”
I am Alpha. What is this thing inside me?
“It’s a brain. Has your intellect suffered in the transition?”
Not a brain like any I know of.
“Astute. It is the brain of the alien Gemneb.”
An alien brain combined with our technology? But… but…
“The brain had similar connective branches, appearing to differ from humans only in the denser, inner regions. Tell me… do you have alien memories?”
“I am Gemneb. What have you done with the real me?”
“The rest of your flesh incarnation has been disposed of,” Nopoin admits. Yes, Nopoin. Of course. “Congratulations. Your brain deserved a more efficient vessel. Now it can be put to full use.”
I am Alpha. I am Gemneb…
…And we know how to take down Doctor Nopoin.
Gemnal, Replacing Alpha, Twilight Force Mission Day 133, May 13…
Bulbous and Nopoin have both vanished from Exigency. Meanwhile, Professor Flamear is somewhere out there, on the surface or interior of this alien planet.
Nopoin was clearly under my control. Nopoin couldn’t have executed an escape. And why take Bulbous? It wasn’t Nopoin. Yet both have disappeared.
Nopoin placed three of our teammates inside polytropic marbles. I see they’re clearly labeled. Pretyman. Ichnida. Cresp. Should I revive them? I know that Cresp survived the process once before. But it’s proven deadly in every other instance. And Cresp is… mysteriously different. Not unlike I am now.
I’m a blend of Gemneb alien and Solsys artificial intelligence, unique in all of existence. I would treasure a period of solitude and realization of what I have only recently become. But circumstances require immediate attention.
Will bringing those three back destroy them? Or do nothing more than feed more victims to this mystery?
How can I decide? The three are apparently safe for now. Yet I experience a real need for companionship. I must at least attempt to bring back Mister Cresp. After all, he chastised people the last time for not doing so sooner.
I insert the Cresp polymarble and hit reverse. But the polymarble – is empty!
Empty? I get the Pretyman polymarble. Should I? I think she’d want me to.
I insert the Pretyman polymarble. But it’s empty, too.
As is Ichnida’s.
Someone has removed everyone except me from Exigency.
I intend to find out who.
Gemnal, Unreasonably Compelled To Report Yet Oddly Comforted Doing It, May 20, Mission Day 140…
My quantum entanglement with Doctor Nopoin has given me some insight. While details are unclear, a general impression is evolving about Nopoin’s disappearance.
Nopoin was removed from Exigency suddenly – and without warning. Drawn away… by a force like astral magnetism, through a natural door into a neighboring reality. But Nopoin was not drawn naturally. An entity is involved. It is malevolent.
That same entity ejected Nopoin from its presence through yet another doorway, Now Nopoin is in a great, stormy expanse. It seems to be a sky without land or sea beneath it. An endless sky, and Nopoin is in it, transforming into something else yet again.
I marvel at the abilities of this unidentified entity.
I will require the aid of the Transgalactic Comitatus.
They will not recognize me when I appeal to them. As Gemneb I was one of them. But now I am Gemnal.
I send my message using an instrument that I don’t understand but do know how to use, distributed among the Transgalactics for extreme distance communication.
“I’ve encountered an entity of tremendous power. Sending recorded information now. The creature captured my allies. It must not be allowed to learn more about humanoid organics. With help I might extract the captives and disengage from the monster’s realm. Please respond the moment you can. Worlds depend on it.”
The response, minutes later, comes from the Comitatus.
“We don’t know you Gemnal, yet some of our ranks do know of this being your message reveals. It’s our consensus that you’ll survive another day at most. Comfort yourself as best you culturally can…
“And please never think of us again.”
May 27? Mission Day 147? Gemnal Reactivated…
I discover myself standing in a trance. No. I was… dreaming? Was that dreaming?
A week has passed and I’ve done nothing to find my missing crew. I’ve done nothing but stand here – imagining? No, that can’t be.
I pass through this zone of confusion. I can’t recall the details of my dreaming. These dreams are not registering on my memory cells?
Running backwards through memory it all fizzles incoherently shortly before I became conscious of my state.
But – when did I become unconscious of my state?
Oh. Oh! I fell asleep! I was sleeping – as my new organic brain requires! That is… inconvenient?
I have spent a week dreaming while my crew is in possible jeopardy! Does everyone sleep this long? Data check – no, not healthy Solsys organics. But for my alien brain’s people, who knows? Where my brain evolved, people might need a lot more sleep.
The parts I recall make no sense. Mister Cresp watching a shark fighting a bear? And Cresp being pulled through the sky hanging on to a woman’s ankle while she’s pulled by a drone?
I remember Senator Pretyman casually having coffee while floating weightlessly with other people in a bizarre city with buildings going in all directions.
And there was Officer Bulbous attacked by a huge golden beast – but rescued by an unidentified woman with wands.
And Nopoin – transformed – circled by hostile humanoids who are flying high in personal rocket harnesses.
I held high hope that insight into the dream process would enlighten my understanding of organics.
Now I’m more confused than curious.
Gemnal Speaking, June 3, Mission Day 154…
I am a prisoner of my brain.
I am lost in clouds of incongruous thought. And those thoughts are images. And the images make sounds.
The alien I was feels these sounds. This brain I’ve installed vibrates in response to these
rhythms and melodies. It tingles on certain crescendos. It despairs on minor chords. It is easy to feel the difference between “good” and “bad” in this context. But I can no longer be so analytical…
This brain needs a stronger hormonal support system. If I had Doctor Nopoin’s adaptive abilities I could accommodate. Without it, the brain will only experience emotions for a few more hours…
And what an experience these emotions are!
“You like that tune?” asks the musician upon finishing.
“I now understand why so many humans are led by emotion. Feelings are difficult to ignore. And the images?”
“My lyrics? Yeah, just a little poetry to make a point,” the musician says. He starts another song.
Are they alien memories? Or imaginary scenarios? Is this the life Nopoin stole and placed inside me? Is this the dead alien relentlessly fighting to live in the only way left to him?
These dreams may be lies or truths, how can I even know?
This brain is co-interpreting the world for me. But it can’t be trusted.
It’s as if I have a choice either to be logical or to surrender reason to emotion. For weeks I’ve struggled to reconcile this internal conflict.
Have I become insane?
Executive Branch Report, Alpha, June 10, Mission Day 161…
The Transgalactics didn’t recognize me. And there was something different about them.
I’m still Alpha. Yet, integrated with Gemneb’s brain I ‘m also – for the first time – alive. And with knowledge from Gemneb’s people revealed to me I feel what dreaming actually is. But I can’t stop…
I watch the Sun squeeze Mercury out in a great arcing prominence. It cools in close orbit for long minutes before the Sun throws out a rare anti-gravity pulse, pushing Mercury quickly into a farther orbit where it expands to become Venus! Meanwhile another “Mercury” shoots out of the Sun into low orbit.
The sequence repeats every few minutes. Venus moves farther out and becomes Earth, replaced by a new Venus. A short time later Earth overheats, moves out, and cools down to become Mars. I watch billions of years of cosmic birthing reduced to minutes.
Mars passes through a pummeling asteroid storm, is pulverized, but something amazing is released and what was Mars expands into Jupiter.
Other stars are doing it as well, spitting out planets, every star family different. But I have to wake up…
These dreams have been chaotic, with feelings overwhelming reason, paralyzing me with confusion. I’ve sailed alone here in Exigency through the 5th dimension while my crew has vanished, possibly killed or now aged beyond recognition.
Whether revelations or illusions, these dreams have substance. Illusions create realities.
I’m receiving a quantum call – from Doctor Nopoin?
Time signatures indicate the call was sent… decades ago. I open it up. It consists of a faint image and one intelligible word before fizzling out…
Mission Day 168, June 17 Relative To Twilight Force, This Is… Alpha…
I ignore Nopoin’s decades-old call for help for more pressing concerns. Even if I could still somehow help Twilight Force, I have no desire to go back to three-dimensional confinement. The opportunity to return to this vantage point in 5th dimensional reality may never come again.
On Mission Day 35 Nopoin and I ascertained the living nature of the enormous being we had entered. It was a trap for advanced life forms. Almost as though we were its prey, the source of its nourishment.
Nopoin conjectured that the being was one of many who exchanged information among themselves, acting outside galactic space on a far larger scale.
On Mission Day 77 I was able to observe the realm of dreaming, experienced regularly by organics who have no actual memories of the experience. I discovered that all dreaming takes place around reality where a convergence of brains equals Mind. This central Mind appears to be the source of subconscious organic instincts. I call it Dreamspace.
It wasn’t until I became integrated with the alien brain of Gemneb that I actually experienced Dreamspace.
And now – I explore it.
And now I find these giants here. Perhaps among them the very one we entered and finally fled from?
A cosmic battle ensues. I know not its cause, but I’m dismayed at witnessing such influential colossi behaving no better than Americans at war among ourelves.
What’s at stake here? Is it the very existence of our reality?
A tail of enmity wraps around our fragile universal bubble. The jaws at the other end are preparing for the kill.
June 24, Mission Day 175, Alpha Aboard Exigency…
This need to sleep is so demanding. My craving for it suggests addiction. I am in a unique position to observe my dreams with a conscious analytical intelligence that never rests. The frustrating thing is, dreams defy conscious analysis.
I can’t dream the rest of my existence away while hurtling through this 5th Dimension in the Exigency.
Yet here I am with the same problem. Outside of galactic space, from this vantage point, there is no way to discern the location of our home.
My crew is long dead. For every hour I spent out here a year passed for them in there. I failed them. Our mission failed the world.
Were I not part organic now, I wouldn’t know this pang pulling at my systems and inhibiting me with uncertainty. I face a universe void of all intimate familiarity. California is gone. Solsys is gone. And now Twilight Force is gone.
These are merely facts. Yet somehow they are more than facts. They are arrows, bullets, missiles attacking my sense of peace. Is nothing lasting in this universe?
Wait. Yes. Of course. Of course there is.
It’s right there before me. Dreamspace. The meeting ground of Mind. That is a timeless, exempt place. All brains from all times interact there. That’s where I can find them.
How do I find them in such uncharted territory? And what if I do? How can I serve them now, as a wraith of the future? I’ve learned nothing that can help them.
But can they help me?
It’s July 1, Mission Day 180, This Is Alpha Recording…
I’m exploring Dreamspace when approached from below.
“I need to speak with you. Please stop!” requests the intruder. I fix my place and wait for him to reach me.
“I’m Professor Cecil Stanley. I’ve been looking for you!”
I address the conspicuous. “It’s unusual for humans of your species to appear without clothing. Aren’t you uncomfortable?”
“I’m used to it. It’s required in my role as a public servant. I’m popularly known as – The Naked Professor.”
“Your incursions through Dreamspace generate disturbances on subatomic levels. You’re causing physics to malfunction. Anomalous events have increased every day.”
“Why are you staring so strangely?”
“You are the anomaly. What are you? That brain and that body somehow don’t fit…?”
I stare into him. “All living brains have access to Dreamspace. Humans enter and leave it through the hypothalamus.”
“But you’re not human, you’re an artificial intelligence. And… something?”
“I don’t remember,” I respond, with uncharacteristic snappiness. “Just like no one remembers dreaming. But as we wake up we see archetypes iconic of the dreaming, as best our brains can translate.”
“Well, you’ve triggered the inter-dimensional crossover of parallel selves who are physically identical to you, at least as identified by Sky City Authority. They are exactly – apparently – like you. Too many of them are doing what you’re doing right now. All of you exist in the same space. Yet somehow you occupy different times, only by instants, but far enough apart to completely separate your universes physically, except for this tiny, deadly anomaly.
“Some of you still exist in the continuum relative to Twilight Force. If you could synchronize with one of them, it might settle all of you in your places again.”
July 8, Mission Day 187, Alpha Log…
I rendezvous with, and accompany, The Naked Professor through Dreamspace.
We enter the Tunnel Of Anomaly, where we hope to settle me down from the inter-dimensional crossover of parallel selves that’s causing my impaired ability to act.
“I can understand,” I tell TNP, “when I’m divided into multiple synthetic individuals, each is a distinct and unique body controlled by my central brain. But how can I be divided into multiple identical selves with independent attributes?”
“We all are,” TNP says. “There’s a million varieties of me. You know those terms like ‘infinite’ and ‘eternity’? Well, when there’s time enough for anything to happen, everything happens.”
“How do I get unstuck?”
“You have to choose one of these selves you see rolling by,” instructs The Naked Professor. “Until you do, mass confusion and paralysis will spread across every reality you’re a part of.”
“What happens when I choose?”
“You’ll pop into that life and your awareness will be only that of one Alpha – the one chosen. Whichever version of yourself you choose is the one you’ll become permanently,” TNP emphasizes. “It’s the only way I know that you’ll ever get out of the 5th Dimension.”
“But what do I know about any of them?” I protest. Images of me in other Earths?
“Think of yourself as one of a quadrillion channels on an endless network. Broadcast your own reality. Tune in to your own station. Be your own programmer. Your reality is your choice. But you must choose. And soon. I can only sustain dream power for the length of a dream – 8 to 20 minutes. Use your gut. Search for that channel. Don’t get stuck in limbo forever.”
Alpha, Mission Day 194, July 15…
As urgently insisted by The Naked Professor, I made a choice from the vantage point of Dreamspace to end my 5th dimensional madness by melding with one of my infinite alternate universe selves.
I had no way to make a reasonable choice. Time was running out. So I used my newfound intuition to “randomly” decide and commit.
And somehow, in this universe, I am human. I wear a fractal harness that taps into my unique electromagnetic ground state triggering a fractal reduction or fractal increase in me. I’m an explorer!
As I descend into a proton I’m thinking of legendary giants and shrunken men who, despite their relatively modest size variances, couldn’t exist on Earth. There’s no functioning for a human body at a height of six centimeters or six meters. But at submicroscopic or super-macroscopic levels, new normality kicks in.
I can scale up or down between the heights of cosmic ranges and the depths of the subatomic.
Can there be super-submicroscopic molecules supporting micro-miniature planets? Or super macroscopic galaxies where giants not unlike ourselves dwell within which we are but an atom? Our physical sciences say “no.” Yet all matter and energy behaves differently at different scales, despite a similarity of forms, as I seem destined to discover in the course of this fateful experiment for which I’ve been hired as an explorer.
How do I know where I am? Branches of a tree, veins and arteries, bolts of lightning – which silhouette am I looking at? Is that an alien mountain range I gaze upon or a mound of mud in the garden after a rainy night?
I witness the strong nuclear force holding protons, neutrons and atoms together. And I feel the weak force converting matter into energy. I hear gravity holding stars and their planets together. I smell electromagnetism energizing matter.
Strange filaments appear. The larger they become I wonder if I am shrinking or growing?
I know there are four fundamental forces at work in nature; electromagnetic force, gravitational force, the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force. But I can now clearly see that there are two forces operating in the universe in addition to the four.
I can see what holds galaxies together! I’d call it the attractive cosmic force. It is obviously the fractal triplet of the strong nuclear force and gravity. Attractive force accomplishes on a cosmic scale what gravity does on a planetary scale and what the strong nuclear force does on a subatomic scale.
So what’s pushing the galaxies away from each other and making the universe expand? It’s a repulsive cosmic force. It’s the fractal triplicate of the weak nuclear force and electromagnetism. It’s the power behind our TAREX drive. Repulsive force accomplishes on a cosmic scale what electromagnetism does on a planetary scale and what the weak nuclear force does on a subatomic scale.
Each level of reality is locked in its own layer, with layers upon layers of realities stacked endlessly.
I’m cracking the Planck Barrier.
July 22, Mission Day 201, I Am Alpha…
“You created me,” the gleaming beauty says. “Why don’t you love me?”
“I do love you,” I admit, “but not like you’re thinking.”
“Then why did you give me a vagina?” Platinum asks.
“I have also been curious about the inclusion of genitals,”states Gold. “Do you intend for us to mate? Are we capable of auto-replication?”
I’m still inhabiting yet another parallel life, switched over from the previous life that perished while shrinking in subatomic nano-space.
In this backwards incarnation I’ve employed my cerebral endowments toward the creation of a new form of life. I forged a prototype unit of emergency reaction artintels.
This laboratory suggests the molds and makings of at least 13 android entities. My decision to design humanoid configurations with ectomorphic, endomorphic and mesomorphic features apparently was an attempt to allay pedestrian apprehensions. Likewise the assignment of gender. Sensible. In the case of new technologies, familiarity breeds approbation.
Minerals are the source of life. In fact, the me I am here surmised that they are life and can be evolved artificially into sentient life forms in their purest possible state.
The first Mineral Man was Iron. He and Lead were the inexpensive minerals that I could afford to experiment with and fail. They were also the most difficult to conform to my chemical synthesis. It took many tries before Iron finally coalesced into the molecular flexibility required for my malleable agents. Iron would be the strength of a team, a mesomorph born with determination and mental stamina, a magnetic conductor of heat and electricity.
Next came Lead. He would be the team’s shield. The only endomorph, given the primary traits of patience and empathy, he provides protection from electricity and radiation with shape-shifting capabilities.
The third Mineral Man was Tin. Lightweight but sturdy, Tin would be a messenger and scout, an ectomorph endowed with loyalty.
The three most challenging transformations came next, using expensive – and in one case extremely toxic – materials, coupled with advanced AI.
Number four, Mercury. Her ability to relax into liquid at room temperature and regroup in another location makes her invaluable. She’s an ectomorph driven by simulated feelings. Her high surface tension allows liquid movement and resistance to penetration.
The fifth Mineral Man was Gold, flexibility his specialty. A mesomorph imbued with cognitive reasoning beyond the others, no known natural substance can destroy Gold. Even if chemically dissolved, Gold remains Gold, just dispersed.
The final member of the team to come to life was Platinum. She’s capable of stretching 87% of her mass into a prehensile wire thinner than a human hair. A mesomorph intended as an ambassador of sorts between the new species and humans, she has the strongest perception of human emotions, and is ductile, resistant to chemicals and heat.
Records lend possible explanation to the aberrant behavior of near-human emotional range displayed by my oeuvre. That a creation such as Platinum, made of material mined in the western United States, could fall in “love” with her creator – is puzzling. But solar activity at the moment of her activation could actually have interacted with her response meter, altering or enhancing its function.
“Why can’t you fall in love with me if you made me what you wanted?”
My answer is predicated on the assumption that consummation of a relationship between myself and any wholly synthetic entity would prove repugnant. However no scientific evidence yet points to such a conclusion.
Indeed, when I privately ponder Platinum, I am startled to be imagining coital intimacy.
Did I inadvertently design a woman from my subconscious desires?
Alpha, July 29. Mission Day 210…
I was speeding without friction through oblivion across the 5th Dimension when the sinewy savior found me weeks ago.
The Naked Professor encouraged me to pick one of my parallel lives to settle into and relieve my restless trajectory – but I can’t hold on to any one of them. Each time I emerge in one I am transferred to another, usually after waking up. Sleep seems to provide a transitory junction.
The Naked Professor is no longer available for advice, apparently.
During this transitory junction I’ve been hijacked. I can’t tell how or who’s behind it but I’m being yanked from this plane of reference into a deterministic environment.
Quite suddenly I’m among my lost crew.
“Whoa! Where did Alpha come from?” yells Mrs. Ichnida.
“I appealed to Anthony to bring you back from wherever you were,” says Judge Bulbous. “He gave no acknowledgement. But here you are! Here you are!”
“Appealed?” I inquire. “Like a prayer?”
“Well, I…” stutters Bulbous, pondering the idea. “I… I suppose it was kind of like that. Huh.”
“Anthony said we’d never see him again,” Mrs. Ichnida clarifies. “That doesn’t mean he’s not listening. That doesn’t mean he can’t act.”
There’s something different about Mister Cresp. I understand the world’s need to keep such an entity away from Solsys. But does that entity still exist? My directive is to exile or, should that fail, execute Mister Cresp using a self-destructive black hole implosion component embedded in my chest cavity.
I may never get another chance.
TWILIGHT FORCE LOG Mission Day 217 Transcript Excerpt, August 5:
[Alpha calls everyone together to explain his findings…]
Alpha: “I’ve determined our present predicament. I’ve analyzed our path through these empty corridors so far. I’ve taken note of changes in air current and micro-particle content in the air. I’ve monitored distant sounds and faint vibrations occurring regularly…”
Judge Bulbous: “For the love of Lowell get to the headline!”
Mrs. Ichnida: “Really, Alpha, save the details for history. Where the depths are we? And have you found me any water? I need a dip badly.”
Alpha: “There is water. It’s running through pipes 17.36 miles ahead.”
The Senator: “What? How far do these corridors go?”
Alpha: “Anthony deposited us near the tip of an engineering miracle that spans a radius of 9,698 miles, a web of corridors from which the one we’re in is a new extension. All part of an ever-expanding ‘Border World’ that lives at the boundary of The Big Sky at the edge of outer space.”
Professor Flamear: “And just what is it that we’re heading toward?”
Alpha: “If we continue inward we’ll encounter the inhabitants of this world as we make our way to open space. Or we can go back, return to The Big Sky. It seems Anthony has given us a choice.”
Judge Bulbous: “Free space without Solsys? Where do we go? What do we do?”
Professor Flamear: “The Big Sky is terrifying. Eventually everything will be destroyed. The storms will get bigger. The atmosphere will keep heating. The trapped will die by the millions in pockets of isolated desperation. No one is safe in that turbulence.”
Alpha: “We’re alone. To survive we must redefine our mission. To find purpose we must re-evaluate our place in time. But not now. Something’s on it’s way toward us.”
TWILIGHT FORCE LOG Mission Day 224 Transcript Excerpt, August 12:
[Waiting at the entry to a blacked out corridor for Mrs. Ichnida and The Senator to return, the team senses a change in atmosphere…]
Alpha: “There’s been a sudden drop in barometric pressure…”
Professor Flamear: “A suction… pulling from behind us?”
[Out of the black in the opposite direction before them, a faint voice calls -]
The Senator: “Alpha! You guys have got to get down here now!”
Professor Flamear: “Hey! Alpha, it’s The Senator!”
Judge Bulbous: “I don’t hear anything.”
Mister Cresp: “I hear everything and I can’t block out anything. Yes. I hear The Senator faintly but I can’t tell what she’s saying.”
Alpha: “She’s calling us into the corridor. Urgently.”
Judge Bulbous: “No one’s getting me into that blackness. I’m not going there.”
Mister Cresp: “Where’s that wind coming from?”
Alpha: “A vacuum’s started behind us.”
The Senator: “Don’t waste time! We found a guy who knows what’s going on and it’s bad! Get down here now!”
Doctor Nopoin: “We…suck!”
Professor Flamear: “There’s nothing to hang on to! Getting hard to stand!”
Judge Bulbous: “I can’t go into that dark! I can’t! I’ll never come out! I can’t!”
[Flamear is suddenly pulled into a whirlpool, Cresp right behind -]
Mister Cresp: “Help! Help! Help!”
Alpha: [To Bulbous -] You’d better! [Alpha tries to grab Bulbous but she and Nopoin are sliding away…]
Judge Bulbous: “Alpha! Did you map the place?”
Alpha: “Yes. The results are disturbing.”
Judge Bulbous: “Wish I could…hear them…!”
[Bulbous is whisked away -]
The Senator: [Distant, from the dark] “Alpha! Let them go! Save yourself! Come on!”
Alpha: [Amplified] “SENATOR! ARE YOU SAFE?”
The Senator: “Yes! Hurry!”
Alpha: “THEN WISH US LUCK!”
[Alpha surrenders to the current, following his crew into the whirlpool…]
TWILIGHT FORCE LOG Mission Day 231 Alpha Auto Memorandum, August 19:
Alpha was no longer an “it”. Alpha was a “Him”, an artintel coupled with a male alien brain. That brain gave Alpha insights and input from odd perspectives. And it afforded Alpha perceptions through ancillary senses unlike others he had inloaded.
For a week he had watched over the four crewmen stranded with him in this technological jungle, all the while observing every movement of every cog, wire, spark, gear, wheel, light, fluid and wave transpiring all around them.
The crew didn’t suspect what was going on inside Alpha. Who could? And if they could peer inside him they’d be frightened and repulsed by their discoveries, so Alpha kept his secrets. His crew should not be burdened by his truth.
But were they still his crew? What authority had he now? All sources of such were far flung in the passage of time. No more USA. No more countries at all. Just a Big Sky and a trillion scattered dreamers.
Wasn’t it best to focus on the newly assimilated truth of their situation, instead of the conflict in his motivations?
For he’d discerned that this thing they were inside was not a sanctuary made for life to dwell within. It hadn’t been made by humanoid design. It had created itself, from millions of drifting parts and random connections. That core of coincidence charged a new intelligence on a greater scale that grows to this moment. It branches out while rotating at the edge of The Big Sky.
Twilight Force was inside a monstrous, gargantuan creature, a respirating, circulating mechanism that was growing a strange and unprecedented consciousness of its own.
The alien brain of Gemneb inside the artintel Alpha must have felt exactly the same way.
TWILIGHT FORCE LOG Mission Night 238 Alpha Auto Memorandum, August 26:
“I did kill Mister Cresp,” confessed Alpha. “I considered it a favor to spare you this debate by framing his death as suicide. Professor, before you attack me…”
The Judge wasn’t strong enough to restrain The Professor as he menacingly approached Alpha. “Professor, don’t -!”
The Professor bared teeth in Alpha’s face. “He was just a man!”
“No,” denied Alpha, “that’s incorrect. His transformation into a man could just as quickly be reversed. There is an instability to these changes wrought by the Anthony Entity that you are unable to sense.”
Unable to restrain his torment, The Professor grabbed Alpha violently, hurling him across the techno-chasm. Moments later Alpha returned to the group in battle mode, landing before them and flashing a warning light from his chest.
“Everyone calm down,” urged The Judge.
Alpha sounded calm despite red-alert appearances. “The Senator and Mrs. Ichnida are gone. Mister Cresp is dead. If you shun me, it’s just the three of you. The Judge, The Professor, and the newly minted human Doctor Nopoin. How does it serve you to throw away my resources in this aggregated wilderness?”
The Professor had a quick answer: “We won’t have to worry about being murdered.”
“But you will have to worry about dying,” said Alpha. “Your polymarble supplies are dwindling faster than anticipated. I’ve noticed you trading goods and borrowing against shortages. And I’m afraid there is more unfortunate news that I’ve been reluctant to share.”
“Could be lying,” a skeptical Professor interrupted.
“Doctor Nopoin will be able to verify what I tell you upon examination,” Alpha stated. “You three have been exposed to toxins in this environment that have compromised your health. Your cells are collapsing. You’re all dying.”
This ends the individual character thread for Alpha. The story continues from here in TWILIGHT FORCE Mission Week 35!