Saturday, 18 October 2008

Watching the detectives

Saturday 8.21am

The year 2023, the place downtown Chicago. I am eating noodles at a roadside stall. It is raining, drops are trickling down my neck and I can feel the dampness coming through my coat onto my shoulders. Of course with the permanent cloud cover it is always raining. Not the pure angels tears of generations gone by but a constant drizzle, so acid you can taste it and if you leave your small change out for a couple of hours it will end up all shiny and new. We used to do that as children. But not anymore because the children have all gone offworld with their parents, taking anything shiny and new along with them.

The noodles are good. Hot, spicy, warming. It is a pity I'll not get to finish them. Putting down the dish, I nod thanks to the cook and turn towards the descending police car. The crowds scatter as it settles in a cloud of steam. My instructions are within, brought by my new "partner" the fresh faced new recruit they have forced upon me to smooth the way they said, but really just a spy to report back to them, to make sure I am behaving myself. Just one more job, the boss said this will be the last, and you can retire to raise bonsai or Koi carp or whatever it is you do. His contempt was obvious and we both new the truth. There is never "a last job". No, whenever an author needs to pay the mortgage or repair his car one last mission will dramatically appear and I'll be dragged out of retirement yet again. We all knew it, sitting in that small box of an office when they told me I was needed once again. And for God's sake show some enthusiasm he had said next. Enthusiasm. Right. They were talking to a ex cop and trying to be retired private eye. Dogged determination I could do, resigned acceptance that in the end life was just unfair, I could do that as well but enthusiasm? Not me. But the new recruit had that in spades. I spotted him immediately standing pertly to attention at the back of the room listening intently to everything. Too bad he has to die.

But as he approaches through the returning crowds I know he is only here to remind me of how I used to be, and his death will be the turning point that will convince me that I have to forgo my own wishes and get this job done no matter what. And with him? The bosses sidekick of course, who silently watches everything, pretending not to care but who actually understands me and does care and will help if he can in subtle ways that I will only connect with him at the very end. Ah well, at least I will eventually know that someone is on my side.

I'd better go and meet them . . . .

The picture is from one of my favourite films - Bladerunner

Sunday, 12 October 2008


Stardate 81012-727

System Sol, planet 3, colour Blue/Green, atmosphere 78% Nitrogen 21% oxygen, surface water present.

Preliminary report from planetary photoprobe atmos 563, low altitude fly-through. - Additional notes.

Whilst primarily to provide data for atmospheric colour analysis the photographs have provided some interesting additional observations worth noting seperately.

1. This planet supports intelligent life. Analysis of the photographs have indicated the presence of what appears to be an iron/silica based life form. Several subspecies are present inhabiting land, air and water. Little detail can be seen as yet but initial impressions are of an oxygen breathing creature with a hard exoskeleton and what appear to be limbs that use rotational motion for propulsion. Early observations of behaviour indicate low intelligence but interestingly the creatures have overcome this by forming a symbiotic relationship with a lesser carbon based lifeform. The dominant species appears to form a long term relationship with particular individuals, using them for feeding and grooming and carrying them around within its body cavity to provide this service, much as small child might do with it's favourite toy.

Further investigation is recommended

In my dreams I see a world without cars. At least in the cities. Country life would be more difficult without them but they would be left at the edges of towns, where all movement would be on foot or bicycle or perhaps by public transport. The streets could be dug up and planted with trees, carparks would become parks and those multistory ones would become public sports areas for football, netball and basketball etc. From the skies the green of the countryside would stretch unbroken within and through the cities. We would all be fitter and and having been forced to slow down a little, be much less stressed.

Just a dream? perhaps . . . .

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