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Jan 31, 2016

Were-Monster

Death wish.
Stories about people with the ability to shape-shift have deep roots in human culture. I don't understand why shapeshifting is not classified as a paranormal ability, but it fits well into the obsession with paranormal abilities that saturates The X-Files.

Nice hat.
I've been reading online spoilers in advance of seeing "Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster". Apparently the third episode of the 2016 X-Files miniseries involves someone who can shift between human and "monster" forms. Shapeshifting has been a topic for The X-Files since season 1 (episode 13 and episode 19, 'Shapes') and the first X-Files case (in 1946).

The girl Scylla transformed
into a monster.
I'm looking at The X-Files from the perspective of a science fiction fan. It would be fun if the show would take seriously the possibility of providing an imaginary science-based explanation for telepathy or the near-instantaneous transformation of a person into a monster.

Homo Aquaticus
Homo aquaticus
Let's imagine that about seven million years ago, some primates began adapting to an aquatic environment. Some of those apes returned to the land and became we humans. Another evolutionary branch evolved into a type of primate that became more comfortable in the water than on land: Homo aquaticus.

Albedo
Homo aquaticus long ago developed advanced technology including nanotechnology and a form of convenient interstellar space travel. Most members of the Homo aquaticus species departed from Earth and went off to explore the galaxy.

Later, an artificial lifeform descendant of Homo aquaticus returned to Earth and found Earth sinking into an ice age. The artificial lifeform began trying to guide human evolution.

For the sake of argument, let's call the artificial lifeform "X". X was not a biological organism, rather, it was composed of nanoscale components that could assemble into any convenient form. Thus, shapeshifting was intrinsic to the artificial lifestyle of X.

click image to enlarge
During the past million years, humans evolved as a mixture of biological cells and nanite constituents provided by X.
Earth temperature

blog posts in January
The Curse of Mulder
Satisfied that humans were developing as a tool-using species and Earth's climate had been stabilized, X returned to the stars about 5,000 years ago. However, some X nanites remained on Earth as "contaminants" and in some cases, humans with particular gene combinations functioned like X-magnets, attracting the X nanites in large numbers.

the rubber hour
Not fully able to control their X nanite components, some humans find themselves endowed with paranormal abilities such as telepathy and shapeshifting. Mulder finds himself obsessed with trying to make sense of odd events that occur because of the X nanite contaminants of Earth.
_____________________
We now return you to the real X...

Next: my reaction to the "funny episode"

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Jan 30, 2016

2 Endosymbionts Are Better Than 1

Fwai-chi
Back in 2012 I began toying with the idea that the Fwai-chi of planet Marune once had a technologically advanced civilization. Here is an intriguing fact about the Fawi-chi:

"... they can taste a dead man's blood and cite all the circumstances of his death."

Last year I suggested the idea that the Fwai-chi could access information within the Sedronic Domain. However, for The League of Yrinna, I've recently decided that the Phari are responsible for the various humanoid species who populate Allastor Cluster and the Phari are masters of the Hierion Domain. Rather than have sedronic endosymbionts, I now imagine that the Phari provide species such as the Fwai-chi with hierion-based endosymbionts that are composed of femtobots rather than zeptites.

femtobot endosymbionts
The Fwai-chi are endowed by their femtobots with seemingly magical abilities. I've been imagining that most humans in Alastor Cluster contain pek endosymbionts and I've been thinking that those endosymbionts could be "swapped" for Phari endosymbionts. However, why should it be just one type of endosymbiont or the other?

If both a Phari ensosymbiont and a pek endosymbiont can exist together inside a person, then we can imagine interesting interactions between these two types of endosymbiont. If Earthlings have been genetically adapted to match their pek endosymbionts, then the Phari would have to work long and hard to alter the gene combinations of humans who live in Alastor Cluster in an attempt to allow Phari endosymbionts to functionally displace pek endosymbionts.

cover art by Edward Palfrey
How does Glisten discover the existence of Phari endosymbionts? Glisten was sent to planet Marune as part of Jantiff's cover story: he is pretending to be a scholar and an instructor at the University in Port Mar.

Glisten is one of the "witches" of Wyst. I imagine that they have no need to talk because they have Phari endosymbionts that provide them with a form of technology-assisted telepathy.

cover art by Stephen Fabian
I imagine that the Rhunes long ago became hosts for Phari endosymbionts. What if Efraim's "first dose" of Fwai-chi shag "disconnected" him from his Phari endosymbiont, causing disruption of his memories?

Later, when the "second Fwai-chi drug" given to Efraim, I imagine that it might have "connected him up" to his pek endosymbiont, allowing him access to a "recording" of memories that exists in the Sedronic Domain.

"The Potters of Firsk" by Stephen Fabian
The basic idea is that the Phari, while trying to attain their goal linking human brains to a "hierion tube", have also solved the problem of how to provide Earthlings with a functional Bimanoid Interface. Phari endosymbionts can be used as "adapters" that give human brains the ability to use the Bimanoid Interface.

About that Amazing cover art for Marune (shown above)... Just to help wash that mage out of your visual cortex, here (image to the right) is "The Potters of Firsk".

Next: X nanite monsters
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Jan 26, 2016

Paranormalcy

Dr. Sanjay: X-doctor #1
Ya, there is some book called "Paranormalcy", but I've never read it. Paranormalcy is where Chris Carter and James Wong place us in episode 2 of the 2016 X-Files miniseries: "Founder's Mutation".

dead telepaths club?
In episode 1, we were bombarded with "alien DNA", but told nothing useful. What is special about Scully's DNA? All we seem to know for sure is that William and Sveta have (had?) telepathic and telekinetic abilities. Kids with paranormal abilities are the focal point of the "Founder's Mutation".

Look, Ma, No Aliens
Scully almost runs over the perp...good
thing this is 2016 and we have dashboard video!
As a science fiction fan, watching The X-files is an exercise in frustration. Chris Carter is doing anti-science fiction where nothing needs to be explained and nothing needs to make sense. So turn off half of your brain and go along for the "fun".

Are we having fun yet? The Department of Defense controls everything, except when they need to advance the plot by letting Mulder walk out of the super-secret facility with a stolen smart phone.

I just want to find my sister.
Welcome back to the X-files, where we only learn enough about anything to create the next 40-minute-long Twilight Zone episode.

Look, Ma, No Hands!
The whole transition of Mulder and Scully back into the FBI is absurd and not explained. Ya, "absurd and not explained" is the real tag-line for The X-Files; welcome to Hollywood.
Mulder imagines watching 2001 with his son. What's the monolith?


In Our Last Episode...Not William...
collecting another DNA data point
opener to the truth
Fifteen years ago, another little mutant baby was born. Mama was not going to let this little tyke get used for evil experiments, so she let him out of the cage. Now, the lad (Kyle) is on a mission, to find his sister, Molly. Poor Dr. Sanjay has the misfortune to be useful to Kyle.

Kyle gets a job as a janitor inside a stem cell research center that was founded by Dr. Goldman (expendable doctor #2). Using telepathy, Kyle forces Dr. Sanjay to access the super-secret database that is under the control of the Department of Defense. But that telepathic contact causes so much pain that Dr. Sanjay kills himself. Of course, Mulder shows up to investigate (Why? Obviously it was in the script, but to make time for all the bird scenes and a bathroom stall sex scene, they had to cut out the usual cute scene at the basement office of the X-files where Mulder told Scully about why this is an X-File. I suspect it was because there was a letter opener inside a high-tech server room...very mysterious).
Nugenics surveillance video captures Kyle in telepathic contact with Dr. Sanjay


Lord of the Crows. Kyle's fan club.
For the Birds
We know that Kyle is using paranormal telepathy because it attracts, er... a flock of birds. Oh, and the music gets weird.

Soon enough, Kyle is telepathically sending Mulder instructions: "Help me find her".

Aaaand... Scully has been working as a doctor at a children's hospital for the past 7 years. Now on the day when she shows up as an FBI agent, suddenly she is approached by a young woman who says, "I have to get out of here". Of course, her unborn baby is part of super-secret biological experiments.
Planet of the New Ape and a new soap opera by Chris Carter: All my Incubators.

Is Molly tired of 15 years of food-cart lunches?
While talking to Dr. Goldman at his prison for Hollywood child actors, Mulder and Scully catch a performance by his daughter, Molly, who looks normal, but is being held prisoner in a jail cell down the hall from the hospital wing for Hollywood-style latex-prosthetic genetic freaks.

Mulder and Scully track down Mrs. Goldman who was institutionalized after being convicted of killing her unborn son (Kyle). Of course, she isn't crazy; all she did was perform a C-section on herself, with no anesthetic.

This is all starting to sound like a classic science fiction plot in which telepathic "mutants" must battle for their own survival and freedom from having their paranormal abilities used by bad guys.

I'm going to have to imagine a science fictional basis for all of this just to get me through the next few weeks of telepathy and monsters.

Ma, Let me out of here! Kyle makes his grand entrance upon the stage of the outside world.


The Founder and a friend
Finally, Mulder and Scully are able to track down the adoptive mother of Kyle and take Kyle into custody. They return to Dr. Goldman's prison for children where Kyle and Molly are finally united. Now together, Kyle and Molly seem to have amplified telekinetic powers. Dear old dad gets "death by telepathy", but Scully and Mulder escape with a vial of Kyle's blood before the DoD goon squad takes over the crime scene.

Kyle and Molly: "...we gotta get outta this place..."
Will we be seeing more of Kyle and Molly or is their story just going to be erased along with dozens of other stray X-Files plot threads?

Mulder and Scully can't help wondering if William is in some way similar to Kyle. And they both worry that William's "alien DNA" has him on a path to hard times and danger.

Next X-Files episode: "Mulder, the internet is not good for you."
Next blog post: the witches of Wyst
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Jan 25, 2016

Sci Fi Tease

I just saw 'My Struggle', the first episode of the 2016 X-Files miniseries. This show is an exercise in zombie television program (The X-Files) re-animation by Chris Carter, bringing a television program from the 1990s back to life.

Low budget warning:
rubber monster suit sighting.
alien, mutant human or false memory?
In, my previous blog post, written before the start of this 6-episode X-files event, I wondered if Carter would ever move beyond his endlessly repetitive alien conspiracy game and actually create a viable science fiction plot thread for his "X-Files mythology". After episode 1, the answer appears to "no".

Skinner and Mulder face off
Carter did double down on the conspiracy mongering, subjecting viewers to the "charms" of a professional conspiracy monger, Tad O’Malley, who makes his living by asserting that everything happening on Earth since the dawn of the thermo-nuclear age is part of a super-secret conspiracy of human "elites" who are using alien technology to take over the world.

CSM
At the end of the episode, the death-defying CSM tells us that the FBI's X-Files investigative unit has been re-activated. By who? Why? Presumably because A.D. Skinner decides to re-start the X-Files, but we are not told why he does so. Oh, right: $$$. And ego. And because we fans asked for it. Until that moment, I had some hope that Chris Carter might take us in a new direction: Scully and Mulder could have returned to paranormal sleuthing without re-activating as FBI agents.

the new 'deep throat'
We've also been equipped with a new "deep throat", a medical doctor who long ago performed tests on a mysterious dead creature. His role is to endlessly tease Mulder (by endlessly saying: 'the truth is out there') in the manner that we saw for years in the original series.

Sveta
Going into this episode, I had hopes that Sveta might be a Scully analogue for an X-Files: The Next Generation reboot, but it is not clear if she survived the big bang when her car was exploded at the end of episode 1. Worse, she was given no real back story, so I suspect she was a disposable character who we will never see again. At first, Sveta tells Scully that she has "alien DNA", but that is Tad's idea. Later she she says that it is humans who have been experimenting on her.

Sveta's scars
We poor viewers don't know if Sveta knows about alien DNA because of her telepathic powers or if someone told her to say "alien DNA" as part of a cover story for some hidden conspiracy that might not involve aliens at all.

Will we ever know? Chris Carter would be defeating his own purpose if he ever allowed viewers of The X-Files to understand what is "really going on" with the mythology of the show. As a science fiction fan, I have to try to fit all the hints and false leads into a pattern.

Alien DNA
Is there a possible (no, it need not make sense) science fiction plot here? We are told that Scully sequenced Sveta's DNA (as well as her own DNA) and (based on her behavior) it appears that genome analysis revealed something interesting. Of course, since this is Chris Carter's endless Sci Fi Tease, we are told nothing useful. If there is a plot here, then we have been led to assume that it goes something like this:

1) mythology 1.0: soon after thermonuclear fusion bombs were first detonated by humans in the 1950s, aliens became concerned about human survival and so they became more active on Earth. Humans obtained alien genetic material and advanced technology.

Mulder gets to touch a disappearing 'warp-drive' craft
1.5) mythology 1.5: Secret human "elites" have had access to advanced technology for a long time. Since the 1940s, the "human elites" of Earth find it convenient to use aliens as a cover story whenever their secret activities are revealed (mythology 1.0, above, is just a fake).

2) The "human elites" of Earth have long bred humans and some people have distinct DNA patterns and phenotypes (paranormal abilities). While continuing to develop their secretly-held advanced technologies the "human elites" began a decades-long conspiracy to make use of these paranormal capacities and their advanced technologies to 'take control of the planet', or something. Tune in next week.

Is Sveta abducted or killed?
Will we ever know?
3) Sveta and William are examples of humans with "special DNA" who have paranormal abilities. Can we ever be allowed more than just a glimpse of paranormal abilities before the Men In Black arrive to hide the evidence and erase our memories?

ununpixie dust
Of course, in this scenario, we must also accept the fact that the "super-secret elites" have control of advanced technologies that allow them to erase anyone who gets in their way. Or, at least, erase/jumble their memories.

Mulder: the perfect dupe
The real mystery is why everyone who penetrates the conspiracy of the "super-secret elites" gets erased except our hero, Fox Mulder. Clues come from folks like Sveta and the mysterious dudes who show Mulder the ARV... they all get erased soon after meeting Mulder. The obvious conclusion is that Mulder is used by the CSM to attract folks who might blow the cover off of the great conspiracy. Once they show themselves, then the Men In Black arrive and eliminate sources of leaked information about the conspiracy. Mulder is flypaper.

Chris Carter's Sci Fi Tease
The only real answer to these mysteries is that The X-Files exists as a way to indulge Chris Carter's obsession with subjecting television audiences to endless con$piracie$ that include space aliens and paranormal mysteries. Other folks in Hollywood simply go in other directions, for example, milking the endless human fascination with $ex.

After all these years, Carter's science fiction tease is old and tired. I fear that he is a one trick pony. When Scully could have said something (anything!) about her genome sequencing results, something that would have advanced us from Sci Fi Tease towards Science Fiction, she just stood there. We got nothing. Apparently, Chris Carter has nothing to offer to science fiction fans.

Flypaper
Mulder and Scully: Mission Impossible
Okay, so if we accept that Mulder and Scully are just puppets of the super-secret elite that is taking over the world, then why should we bother to tune in and watch? Given a couple of fun protagonists who look good on screen together, millions of people can switch off their brains and enjoy the banter of the characters. If there is fun and adventure along the way, you don't really ever need to win or even advance your cause from week to week.


Was there any fun in 'My Struggle'? Did Mulder and Scully look good together? They struck me as a brittle and testy divorced couple who could endlessly trade barbed and snide comments while being unable to move on. I guess we are supposed to believe that if they are thrown back into working together than all their troubles will fade away in the glare of the battle to be fought.

Maybe, but why bother? Duchovny and Anderson are not going to be available endlessly. If enough people watch the 2016 mini-series then will Fox finance a season 11 with a new generation of protagonists?

If Scully transforms into an alien then Chris Carter will not have to work around Gillian Anderson's busy schedule. In "season 11" he can have an extra play the role of alien Scully in a rubber suit, or just go the CGI route.

Next: If the whole "alien" shtick only a "cover story" then what is the truth?

Related reading: the mathematics of conspiracy

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