Category Archives: fiction

Navigation Officer: Jesper Iverson

off-flav-img-iversonIn zero gravity, fire forms into globes. At least the physics model got that much correct. The flaming spheres floated down the corridor, igniting any crewmen they touched. Screaming, burning men in uniform flailed in midair as the two scaled lizardmen scrambled up the ladder.

“Two more decks up, and we’re at the bridge.” Said the larger of the two, with a slight nordic singsong in his voice. “When we come through the portal, stay low, and head to your left towards the bank of consoles. We can hole up there and keep the humans busy until the rest of our team shows up.”

“Right behind you Jesper!” shouted the other. “We’re gonna take all those humans out!”

The two climbed further through the starship, pausing only to take some blaster shots at the few surviving humans they saw.

“It’s a total rout, I’m not sure their computer core will be defended at all. Jacob, swap to your grenade launcher, and lob a few once I’ve hacked the lock.”

A wicked looking piece of artillery materialized in the smaller lizardman’s taloned hands and he readied himself next to the hatch.

The larger of the two worked at console. “Hatch open in 3…. 2….”

“ahem” A gentle metallic voice sounded behind them. “I apologize for interrupting your leave Pilot Iverson, but your presence is required in Uchinoura.”

The larger of the two lizardmen turned to face the image of the stylized carp that had appeared behind him. “Do I have time to finish this game, Herman?” It asked.

“I apologize for the inconvenient timing, but you do not. A skimmer will be arriving in 2.78 minutes. With a 9.222 minute travel time, there is a 5.381 minute margin of error if you are to make your suborbital flight on time.”

The larger lizardman turned to the smaller, “Duty calls. Wiping out humanity will have to wait.” The holographic ship deck, the lizardmen, their weapons and the  security console all vanished as Jesper Iverson removed his game interface helmet. Only the image of the carp remained. “Sorry kiddo, we’ll have to pillage their computer core when I get back.” He stood and watched his younger brother turn the game off.

“Tell Mom and Dad I got called to Japan.” He ruffled Jacob’s hair. “I’ll be back before you know it.”

Jesper grabbed a pre-packed knapsack from the closet, wrote a quick note to his parents, and walked out the front door just as the skimmer floated down into the front yard. After stealing a quick glance back over his shoulder, he climbed on board.

“My leave was scheduled to last another 16 days. Why the recall, Herman?”

The carp re-appeared in the seat next to Jesper. “My apologies, Pilot Iverson, but I am not at liberty to divulge that information to you right now. The directors have instructed me to download all relevant data to your terminal once you have boarded the suborbital.”

Unease settled on Iverson’s face like a mask. He sat in silence all the way to the suborbital platform. When the skimmer landed, he sprinted to board the suborbital.

“Again, I apologize for being unable to provide any details.” The carp appeared behind him as he bent over the documents on the screen. “And I also apologize for what will prove to be your final assignment from the ISD.”

Jesper slumped into his seat, letting the terminal pad thump to the floor.

“I must however, insist that you buckle your harness for liftoff” Herman’s voice was nearly drowned out by the roar of the engines.

Chief Medical Officer: Kosoko Bello

off-flav-img-belloFor all intents and purposes, it was human DNA. There was nothing extraneous in all of the components that it was built from, but somehow, it’s perfection was palpable. You could feel it when you entered the lab. It drew your gaze, that tiny genetic sample. Even if you didn’t know what it was, your attention was drawn to it.

Kosoko Bello had spent hours in the lab, just staring at it. It was Human, there was nothing else there, but the Aggregate Restructuring Karyotype Server had somehow produced something different. Something better. Something luminous. Was this the future we had in store? And had Kosoko made it possible? His head spun.

“God lives again, and we birthed him.”

Kosoko was shaken from his reverie by the voice next to him. He looked down into the face of his mentor. “Be careful Roderick, you sound like a certain madman,” he said with a grin.

Roderick Nahas stood a head and a half shorter than his protege, with a thin sprinkling of white hair and clear, soft brown eyes. He had been Kosoko’s teacher and advisor during his time at the University of Qatar, and had the happy occasion to work with him now at LGRI. He had always known that his student would go on to big accomplishments, but the ARKS had been something much, much more than he had ever anticipated. The thought of what they had created filled him with pride.

“Now that we’ve made it, what do we do with it?” he asked quietly, unable to drag his gaze off of the small sample.

Bello turned to him excitedly. “The medical applications are astonishing. We can retard aging, eliminate disease, even limb regeneration seems like it may be a possibility. Or, we may even be able to grow you some hair back!”

As the two men laughed, a stylized image of a carp appeared in the air in front of them. It turned to them and spoke in a smooth, slightly metallic sounding voice. “Doctors, your presence has been requested in the World Health Organization conference room. There seems to be a troubling outbreak in Trondheim, Norway.”

“Ah, thank you Herman. Could you suspend the sample for us and lock down the lab when we go?”

“But of course, Dr. Bello. I took the liberty of informing the WHO directors that you were on your way. They will all be networked by the time you get there.” The AI’s holographic avatar swam twice in a clockwise circle and disappeared.

“Trondheim?” Roderick furled his brow as he walked through the door. “I’m troubled already. It’s the middle of summer there, and their inoculation programs are some of the best in the world. Anything that could get through around the Norwegian outbreak protocols is something that should concern us all. I hope containment plans are in the works.”

Kosoko followed him out of the lab and into the hallway. “Something may be brewing in Norway that they can’t deal with, but what we have built in that lab with ARKS is more than up to the challenge.” Kosoko put his arm around the older man’s shoulders and grinned widely. “There’s nothing coming out of Trondheim that can hold a candle to it. We’ve built more than a way to improve ourselves, we’ve created humanity’s great evolutionary leap. The future of our entire race is in that lab, and it’s going to be astonishing!”

They walked towards the elevator. “Nothing could dampen my spirits right now!”