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Mar 30, 2016

Sound Science

In my previous blog post we had a flashback to 1970 and a nearly-forgotten science fiction film (Toomorrow) about a pop music band. The film Toomorrow featured a newly manufactured pop music band called Toomorrow that was hoped to become a music selling device similar to The Monkees.

The Monkees were first beamed into people's homes in September 1966 along with Star Trek. Also arriving in 1966 was Dark Shadows. As a larval science nerdling, I immediately "got" Star Trek. I was appalled by The Monkees and Dark Shadows.

House of Dark Shadows
Dark Shadows was an anomaly: a soap opera that came to feature vampires. It was broadcast in the late afternoon when kids were getting home from school. I can't blame Dark Shadows for my dislike of horror, but the show did nothing to interest me in horror and paranormal themes.

Building on the "success" of Dark Shadows, Dan Curtis brought out a series of horror and paranormal-themed movies including The Night Stalker. A parnormal-themed television program (1974), Kolchak: The Night Stalker, became a source of inspiration for Chris Carter, the creator of The X-Files.

Easy Come, Easy Go
Sound Science
While The Monkees were on television, there were endless Elvis movies such as Easy Come, Easy Go (1967) written by people such as Anthony Lawrence. The bio for Lawrence at IMDB is funny.

The Sixth Sense
In 1972, Lawrence brought to television The Sixth Sense, his own entry in the"parnormal thriller" genre, a story about the adventures of a "professor of parapsychology". One episode (written by Gene L. Coon not long before his death) included William Shatner. Harlan Ellison was the story editor.
In the Ekcolir Reality

pilot
Ten years later, with the help of Nancy Lawrence, The Phoenix was brought to television (see the webpage of Diane Mullen). The instructions for writers of episodes of The Phoenix was written by Anthony and Nancy Lawrence. According to the ancient astronauts backstory for the show, aliens visited Earth 40,000 years ago and left behind Bennu and Mira, two advanced life forms with human appearance who were to awaken when Humanity was ready for them to use their "psychic faculties" to help prepare humans for alien contact.

1981 movie, 1982 TV show
The paranormal abilities of Bennu were to a great extent technology-assisted. Bennu was born on a distant exoplanet where music was a "super science". Bennu was destined to use the science of "Sonics" to help the humans of Earth to attain a higher level of existence.

blog posts in March
All this reminds me of the 1970 science fiction film Toomorrow. In that film, the alien visitors to Earth wanted to use Earthly music to save their decaying civilization (or something). In The Phoenix there was a criminal alien who specialized in "creating discordant emotion and destructive passions" and who found his way to Earth.

 Stargate was a more successful 1990's Sci Fi show that also incorporated Egyptian mythology as was done in The Phoenix. After a quick look at the original scripts and the television episodes that got made (they are on YouTube) I get the feeling that there just was not adequate financial support to make The Phoenix a viable show. By 1987 Hollywood had figured out how to make modern Sci Fi television.

Next: Alien Invasion, 1967

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Mar 28, 2016

Drunken Zombie Aliens (1970)

Toomorrow
In my previous blog post we traveled back in time to 1959 for a look at a science fiction story about telepathic humans. I like to blame John Campbell for some of the popularity of the paranormal in science fiction, but the human brain is designed to make us all feel like telepathy is possible. As social mammals, we can often predict what other people are thinking and experiencing by mentally processing (mostly via unconscious brain activity) clues such as facial expressions, body language and tone of voice.

In 1959 some episodes of Oh Boy! were broadcast on television in the United States, complete with screaming British girls. Shortly after that, Bob Rafelson began imagining a television program about a rock band. After A Hard Day's Night splashed Beatlemania across the big screen and made lot$ of money, a Beatles-like band was created and their story (about "4 insane boys") was made the basis for a new television show, The Monkees.

Olivia Newton-John
By 1968, with 2001: A Space Odyssey in theaters and Star Trek on TV and "space rock" on the radio, the time was right for a science fiction movie about a rock band. Or so some people imagined. Olivia Newton-John was 20 years old, cute and musically gifted. She was installed as the lead singer for a newly-invented rock band called Toomorrow. A two-year-long struggle to make a movie featuring the new band began.

This project was the "brain" child of Harry Saltzman (of James Bond fame) and Don Kirshner (who had previously worked to sell music by way of The Monkees) and who was just launching a similar round of song selling using another specially created band, The Archies, as a sales device. What could possibly go wrong with Toomorrow?

The Monkees of the 70s
I find it hard to believe that the original intention was to make a science fiction movie. According to Wikipedia, the script was to be written by David Benedictus. Apparently the original story was dumped for being too stiff, but somehow a movie still got made (read about it here). I'm amused by the idea that the plot involved an alien who had lived for 3,000 years on Earth, tasked with observing Earthly customs.

In some sense, Toomorrow was ahead of its time. Ten years later, Olivia hit the jackpot with Grease and she had become one of the best selling pop music artists in the world.

The Astro Zombies
They're too much, they're Toomorrow
The film Toomorrow takes place all in one madcap day. It includes a scene in which the space aliens play some of their mathematically-precise music for the members of the Toomorrow band. One of the band members says that the alien music, “wouldn’t stimulate a drunken zombie.”

In the Ekcolir Reality
"Drunken Zombie Aliens" might have been a better name for this movie, particularly at the end when the two alien agents on Earth start dancing. Maybe it was called that in another Reality. At the end of Toomorrow, the aliens turn back time and the band members are ready to live that day over again.

Next: more on the science and Sci Fi of sound
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Mar 27, 2016

Gunther Primes

Asimov's Prime Radiant
If mathematics is the Queen of the Sciences, then once in a while there should be some math in our science fiction. Last May and also in March, I blogged about pi and primes: both prime numbers and other types of primes in science fiction such as the Prime Radiant.

Dr. Garlock, S.O.B.
gets the girl (source)
Here, I explore another science fiction prime, Edward Elmer Smith's novel The Galaxy Primes. The story is set in the not-too-distant future, in a time when humans have already spread out to "three planets and eight satellites" of the Solar System and are now ready for the initial test flight of Humanity's first starship.

Maybe it happens to all aging science fiction writers at the end of their careers. In the case of Asimov, we got the Trevize and Pel transgalactic road trip. Jack Vance indulged his wanderlust with Ports of Call. "Doc" Smith sent Earth's first two Prime Operator telepaths out on a random walk through the universe.

a 3 hour film in the Ekcolir Reality
Dr. Garlock and Dr. Bellamy are described by Smith as:

"Her hair was a brilliant green. So was her spectacularly filled halter. So were her tight short-shorts...."

"big, clumsy, muscle-bound gorilla"

The later (above) is what the shapely Dr. Bellamy calls Dr. Garlock after he threatens to give her a spanking. Thus properly introduced, they set off in Earth's first starship, named Pleiades, to explore the universe and each other. Later, half way through the novel, after they've gotten to know each other, she sweetly calls him "big lug" and they finally have sex (actually, since this was published in the 1950s, they get to "pair" behind the closed doors of the spaceship crew compartments).

cover art by Edward Valigursky
In keeping with the animal theme, our heroes must do battle with various alien creatures, including flying tigers (see the cover art to the left).

Many reviewers have not been kind to The Galaxy Primes. For example:

"One wonders how something this bad ever got published....."

I think this other review is correct; we are not expected to take The Galaxy Primes too seriously.  John McCreery views The Galaxy Primes as a window into the past, a view of how people thought in the early 20th century, a time of optimistic and simplistic futurology.

Dr. Bellamy exercising her telepathic power 
Biology
Smith was trained as a food chemist and apparently worked to create recipes for things like doughnut mixes. When I was 12 years old, I felt that Smith "jumped the shark" when he wrote into his fictional universe the idea that really fast spaceship travel went at the "speed of thought".

I've previously blogged about the "all human galaxy" of Asimov. In Asimov's Foundation Fictional Universe, humans are the only intelligent creatures in the galaxy and they spread out from Earth, colonizing 20,000,000 Earth-like exoplanets. In The Galaxy Primes, Smith takes us to far off galaxies where there are so many planets, all of them inhabited by humans, that Dr. Garlock estimates their number as: "millions of millions, instead of millions and millions; and squared and then cubed at that". Not only that, but on each of these worlds human civilization has reached the same state of development, give or take a few centuries.

Brains
cover by Albert Nuetzell
The other "jumped the shark" moment for me that brought to an end my reading of Smith's stories was the idea of his Arisians, ancient aliens who have big brains and vast mental abilities: so much so that they can calculate and predict the future. Asimov went on to become famous for his "psychohistory", a science of predicting the future, but the idea was already there in Smith's fiction and, indeed, in the Newtonian equations that formed the foundation of 19th century Western science. Of course, during the 20th century, all the West's fantasies of predictability came crashing down.

In his Lensman Series, Smith used a technological device (the "lens") to provide humans with telepathic abilities. For me, The Galaxy Primes reads like an early draft of a Lensman story that Smith might have put in a drawer after he "invented" the "lens". If so, it is not clear why he later (1959) published it. Maybe he needed money.

convergence of the Primes
After their journey across the universe, during which they discover Prime Operators on other worlds, Dr. Garlock suggests that the fate of telepathic Prime Operators is to merge into a vast intergalactic group mind. Dr. Bellamy is staggered by the concept:

"If it is true that our vaunted mentality is only that of one blood cell compared to that of a whole brain ... and that intelligence is banked, level upon level ... well, it's simply mind-wrecking."

After some snuggling, the good Doctors regain their swagger and are ready to fulfill their intended purpose in life, the formation of a great Galactic Service which will organize the telepathic abilities of all humans on every planet to promote the betterment of all.

40 twin primes
Handwavium
How does this intergalactic group mind business work? According to Smith, the key math/science discovery is enshrined in "Gunther's Theorems" and their Psionic Corollaries: they provide a grand unified theory of both the physical and paraphysical. The starship Pleiades is expensive, so Earth only builds one ship. Interstellar travel depends of the "Gunther Effect" which can "annihilate distance", and space travel involves the poorly-understood "Gunther Field", which requires human psionic guidance for the control of which one of the "myriads of billions of equiguntherial points" will be reached by space travelers who utilize the Gunther Effect. Oooh, now I get it!

Our heroes, Dr. Bellamy and Dr. Garlock eventually learn that to control their destination during interstellar travel: they need to merge their minds, undergo a "fusion". Men and women form "Prime Pairs". As demonstrated by Bellamy and Garlock, it is for the best when the minds of two people are most dis-similar; then when they form a Prime Pair they have greater psionic power... or something.

According to Gohrlay, there were many television shows and movies with mathematical themes in the Ekcolir Reality. The partial analogue of Ivory Fersoni was one of many science fiction writers who helped bring the work of E. E. Smith to video formats in that Reality.

Agents 101 and 103 in the 9th episode of Prime Pairs.
The long-running television series Prime Pairs had a formulaic plot that was used in each episode. Two telepathic Primes (usually from different countries on Earth) were deployed by the Galactic Service to deal with some evil doing on a distant exoplanet. Each Prime Pair included two people who at first came into conflict and struggled to cooperate with their partner.

Drunken Aliens
However, by the end of the episode of Prime Pairs, the two stars of the show had learned to work together. During the initial broadcast of each episode, fans of the show got to vote on how that episode would end. Either the two stars would decide to 1) permanently remain on their exoplanet or 2) return to Earth. In the later case, they would be re-deployed in a future episode of Prime Pairs.

Next: more unlikely science fiction from Deep Time

Note: this is the first of a series of blog posts about forgotten science fiction stories. The next three are Drunken Zombie Aliens, Sound Science and Incomprehensible Alien Invaders.
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Mar 26, 2016

Shared Reality

In the Ekcolir Reality - Star Trek: Galactic Core
Special thanks to Miranda Hedman
for the DeviantArt stock photograph "Black Cat 9 - stock"
that I used to create the blue "sedronite"
who is in this image.
I've been relentlessly badgering Gohrlay in an attempt to make her tell the story of her first life. Building on hints and fragments of her story, I'm coming to appreciate the cultural horror that she experienced from the fringe of Observer Base society.

Apparently when the Grendels began forcing the bodies of the Observers to take on the Preland form, they intended that the residents of Observer Base retain full conscious control of the extent to which they made use of technology-assisted telepathy.

Star Trek: Seirius - one of the many
Star Trek television series of the Ekcolir Reality
However, Gohrlay suspects that the pek relentlessly used the zeptite endosymbionts inside Observers to force them to form a group mind in the same way that actual Prelands do. The Grendels were helpless to prevent this meddling by the pek and had to make the best of the situation.

According to Gohrlay, the story of her perilous escape from the group mind that dominated Observer Base was told by Ivory Fersoni's partial analogue in the Ekcolir Reality. A version of that story became an episode of one of the Star Trek television shows that existed in the Ekcolir Reality. In that episode, alien Interventionists made sure that Spock had some telepathic abilities, but he was not able to fully link into the planet-wide telepathy field of Vulcan. This led to his rejection by his betrothed.

Preland thoracic pouch
A version of that Star Trek episode was pulled out of Deep Time by Angela and was included in the infites that Yrovi gave to me. The "parallel" story from Gohrlay's first life involved her attempt to merge into one of the clans at Observer Base. Gohrlay was trying to investigate the odd persistence of humans on Earth. To further that investigation, she joined the clan that was led by the Chief Observer. However, unable to share the constructed social reality of the group mind of her clan members, Gohrlay was disgusted by the sexual practices of her clan which centered on efforts to breed the next "level" of Preland. Gohrlay rejected those efforts as religiously-inspired nonsense.

Next: The Primes of E. E. "Doc" Smith
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X Bubble

One month ago I indulged in some conspiratorial thoughts about how FOX TV could move ahead with a science fiction-heavy follow-up to the 2016 X-Files mini-season. At that time, I suggested how two of my favorite science fiction plot devices, clones and nanotechnology, could be utilized in a new set of X-Files episodes.

The End of Eternity
What about a parallel universe? My favorite type of "parallel universe" is the type of otherworldly space-time bubble that Isaac Asimov utilized in his time travel novel, The End of Eternity. In that story, Eternity was a kind of "bubble universe" that existed in parallel to the world as we know it.

Inside Eternity, the Eternals were protected from the effects of time travel. An Eternal, like Andrew Harlan, could be born on Earth, taken into Eternity, and serve as a Time Technician who altered the ourse of history on Earth. However, Harlan was safe from any changes that might occur in Time. Even if a Reality Change took place in his homewhen that eliminated his grandparents from existence, Harlan would live on in Eternity.

Fanfiction
More than ten years ago, when I started writing X-Files fanfiction, I imagined Mulder and Scully being taken to the Moon. For many years, I imagined the existence of a secret base on the Moon. Located under the surface, such a Moon Base might avoid detection by we Earthlings.

in the Hierion Domain
More recently, I started placing such secret bases inside a parallel universe, in what I call the Hierion Domain.

The Hierion Domain has been near the front of my thoughts lately because of a stray comment from Gohrlay. She mentioned that back in the First Reality, the scientists at Observer Base were able to discover that they existed within the Hierion Domain. According to Gohrlay, those scientists developed a good theoretical understanding of hierions. However, by the time of Gohrlay's first life, the study of hierion physics had been abandoned and there were no longer any active physicists at Observer Base.

Hierion Tubes
In the X-Files fictional universe of Chris Carter, actual aliens seemed to have been written out of the plot in 2016. However, it is fun to imagine that aliens long ago reached Earth and left behind some of their advanced technology. It is easy for  me to imagine that alien visitors to Earth would have had a sophisticated understanding of the Hierion Domain. It would be fun to have Mulder and Scully investigate the Hierion Domain. I still like the idea that visitors to the Hierion Domain such as Mulder and Scully might be tricked into believing that they we at a hidden base on the Moon when, in fact, they were being held captive in the Hierion Domain.

Next: investigating the effects of Preland-style telepathy

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Mar 24, 2016

The Ivory Infites

Space Energy Missions
16 months ago I was given a collection of memory nanites by Yrovi just before "she" went off to the Galactic Core. In the years leading up to the creation of Yrovi, her biological precursor, Ivory Fersoni, was the principle human investigator of Deep Time.

Please, let's not argue over my choice to refer to Ivory as 'human'. True, she did not meet the definition of "human" that is now being enforced by the tryp'At, but she was functionally human, with just a few alien genes thrown into the mix of her all too human genome.

Dead Widowers
Yes, I'm still bitter over the way Ivory was taken away, first from Earth and then from the Solar System. Much of my bitterness and frustration arises from my inability to fully access the semantic content of the Ivory Infites that Yrovi bestowed upon me back in 2014.  During the past year, I slowly began to realize that Ivory's research had largely focused on Gohrlay, a woman who I'd been tricked into believing had lived and died in the First Reality, only to live on in the myths and legends of her positronic robot "descendants".

Hierion Domain
Through my interactions with Gohrlay, I've begun to obtain keys that have the power to unlock the doors that that form a barrier that has kept me from understanding the stories that are recorded in the Ivory Infites. The first of these stories is only a fragment (see below), but it is a valuable proof of concept. Until my recent recovery of the story of Erkre, I've been tantalized and haunted by fragmentary flashes of Ivory's tales, by subconscious glimpses of the many science fiction stories that were written by her. With the help of the Dead Widowers, he Ivory of the Buld Reality did try to help publish some stories, but most of "her" stories only existed where they originated, in the Ekcolir Reality.

Erkre
Erkre was a contemporary of Gohrlay at Observer Base in the First Reality. For reasons that will become clear, I'm going to refer to Erkre as "him", although it is clear that all the First Reality Observers existed as hermaphrodites, using the Preland body pattern.

Original cover art by
Edmund Emshwiller and Virgil Finlay
I don't understand how Erkre was instantiated in the later Realities of our Reality Chain. In some sense, Erkre, as we know him, was the fictional creation of positronic robots. Erkre played an important role in Gohrlay's first life and the creation of positronic robots, so those robots later created, honed and amplified the legend of Erkre. Ivory herself suspected that Erkre was in some sense a "living memory" that had been conjured into existence by R. Gohrlay. Erkre was a "convenient tool" that could be pulled out of R. Gohrlay's tool box and deployed on Earth for special missions.

Gohrlay' World
I've previously described the dramatic transition that occurred in Ivory's life when she discovered that she had alien DNA patterns. Before she made that awesome discovery, she endured a visitation from Erkre. I suspect that the purpose of that visit was to prepare her for future events in her life.

our Reality Chain
Remember: at that time, time travel was still possible and adjustments were being made: fine tuning was still being done on the Ekcolir Reality.

Erkre visited Ivory while she was right at the beginning of her sophomore year in college. Ivory was specializing in the science of molecular biology, but she signed up for an elective course in script writing. Ivory had just taken a seat in class when Erkre arrived and plopped down in the seat beside her. Here is the story as I received it from Ivory.....

______________________________

Most men thought I suffered from an eating disorder. Appalled by my thin body and spindly limbs, most people would first glance at me and then look away. Erkre was different. And, yes, his name was different.

When Erkre arrived, I had just turned 18 and I was finally beginning to form some adipose tissue. Walking across campus on my way to class that morning I had marveled at the slight sensation of some jiggle in my body. I was fantasizing about the possibility that I might actually mature into a woman. My first glance at Erkre revealed nothing unusual about his physical appearance, but I was startled by how his eyes latched onto me and never seemed to let go. He had an odd accent, and I at first assumed that he was from some distant place like Iran.

With his eyes holding me like a vise, he said, "Hello, I'm Erkre."

I thought he said "Erik". I was not used to guys casually striking up a conversation with me. "Hi." All I managed was a squeaky whisper.

He held out his hand while casually asking, "What's your name?"

We shook hands, his large hand gently enclosing mine. "Ivory Fersoni." Right then the professor began the class and she introduced herself as Dr. Rhyder. I was not really able to listen to her.

At the time, I had no concept of nanites. In retrospect, it is now clear that when he touched my hand a swarm of nanites transferred from his body into mine. Those nanites imposed a change on the functional state of my brain. I was aware of the fact that his skin was smooth. Where our hands touched, it felt like sheets of plastic wrap rubbing their nearly frictionless surfaces together, a sensation I knew well from my mother, but which I had never experience with anyone else. Finally, he took away his hand and pulled an odd device out of his backpack.

I'll call it a writer. It fit perfectly in his hand like a ball of clay that had been shaped to exactly match the contours of his fingers. He started writing in a notebook. I assumed that he was taking notes and writing down what Dr. Rhyder was saying. She was introducing us to the course and was already describing our first assignment. "Arrange yourselves in teams. Imagine that you are on a deadline: you have one week to create a script for the next episode of a television program. Start be selling your story idea to the person next to you."

Asterothrope female
I started thinking of a television show that I could write about, but Erkre had already written a paragraph and he handed his notebook to me. I read his story idea:

A new episode of Star Trek. The Enterprise arrives at planet Tar'tron, in the galactic core. A landing party beams down to the surface, near one of the larger settlements. They are met by an Asterothrope: a tall humanoid with long fingers who seems to have anticipated their arrival. Captain Picard and his crew are surprised that the residents of Tar'tron, where there is no sign of advanced technology or space travel, are quite knowledgeable about Earth.

I handed the notebook back to 'Erik' and I asked, "You want to write an episode for a television program from the 60s?"

Erkre nodded. "Yes. What's your idea?" He said it in a challenging way, as if there was no chance that I could come up with a better idea.

I shrugged. "I don't mind using your idea, I love Star Trek. So how do these Asterothropes know about Earth?" Dr. Rhyder arrived behind Erkre. She glanced down at his notebook and read the story synopsis that Erkre had written.

He explained, "Asterothropes originated on Earth and they actively study the progress of civilization on Earth."

Dr. Rhyder complained, "I told you to write for an existing television program."

Erkre nodded, "The pilot episode for a new Star Trek spinoff show will be broadcast next month. We will write the 17th episode of the season."

Dr. Rhyder threw her hands up in disgust, "Science fiction! Just don't write some god-awful story about Captain Kirk having sex with these Asterothropes."

Erkre laughed. "Relax. This story takes place in Kirk's future; he's dead. The Asterothropes are safe from molestation."

Dr. Rhyder moved on. I asked, "Who is this new Captain, Picard?"

"He's right up your alley, if he wasn't a starship captain he'd be a scientist. And you'll like the Asterothropes, they are quite matriarchal. Asterothrope females are twice the size of males. Still, if it were up to me, I'd give most of the screen time in this episode to the hermaphrodites."

Just then, Dr. Rhyder called out, "Okay, class..."

Asterothrope hermaphrodite
The room quickly quieted, right when I said, "Hermaphrodites?"

For once, my high-pitched voice carried well and many in the room laughed. Dr. Rhyder said, "Yes, sadly one team is intent on writing about hermaphroditic space aliens." There was more laughter. "From now on, I want you all to work in teams of four. Merge your teams of two and mercilessly drop half of your story ideas." She issued an invitation: "Who wants to put the hermaphrodites out of business?"

That was when I noticed the second Erkre. He was seated behind me. He was saying, "Lori, let's join up with my brother's team."

I later learned that "Lori" was a girl named Lori Sherer, the daughter of a woman who already worked professionally as a writer in Hollywood.

Erik turned to look at his "brother" and Lori said, "Holy shit. What are you, identical twins?"

Erik laughed and said, "Something like that. You should ask our mother for an explanation." He asked Lori, "So, what story idea do you have?"

Lori explained, "I want to do an episode of Mr. President."

I'd never heard of that television program. I repeated, "Mr. President?"

Lori rolled her eyes, "Its a new show on the FOX network."

I'd never heard of the FOX television network. Erik looked at me and chuckled, "Ivory, you'd like FOX. They have a crazy woman doing their flagship late night show."

Lori asked me, "Ivory?" Judging by the tone of her voice she clearly thought that I had a strange name. "I'm Lori." 

The second Erkre said, "Rather than try to assassinate George C. Scott, I vote for the hermaphroditic space aliens."

Lori said, "You're throwing away an A. Dr. Rhyder obviously hates science fiction and I've already written half of my episode of Mr. President."

I said dismally, "Your episode." I said it quietly, but Lori heard me.

She flamed me. "Look girly, you've never even heard of the FOX network. I've been writing since the day you started playing with Barbie dolls and stopped eating!"

She would have said more, but then the second Erkre put his arm around her shoulders and said, "You're out-voted, Lori, three to one." I was startled by how Lori's face suddenly became tranquil and her rant abruptly ended. In retrospect, it is certain that Erkre sent nanites into Lori's brain. He suggested to Lori, "Maybe you can write a subplot where the Asterothropes try to assassinate Captain Picard."

Lori said robotically, "Okay."

Erik said, "Here's how we'll do this. We each write the lines for one of the main characters. I'll do Picard's part. Ivory, you can begin by writing the lines for Trysta, the Asterothrope. My brother will write the part of the robot, Data, who has a major role in this episode."

I asked, "There is a robot named 'Data'?"

The second Erkre replied, "Lieutenant Commander Data, a positronic robot and chief operations officer, third in rank under Picard."

I said, "What a stupid name for a robot! They'd never put that on television."

Erik said, "Tune in for the pilot episode next month. Never underestimate the stupidity of Hollywood."

I wondered, "How do you two know so much about this new television show?"

Erik replied, "Think of us as science fiction geeks."

Lori asked, "What part do I get to write?"

The second Erkre explained, "You'll do the part of ship's counselor, a telepathic half-alien."

She asked, "Does this character have a name?"

Erik suggested, "Use your telepathy. What do you think her name is?"

Lori briefly looked puzzled then said, "Troi. Diane Troi."

Erik nodded, "Good enough, Diane. Start writing the scene about when you first make telepathic contact with Trysta, while still in orbit above Tar'tron." Lori started writing immediately. From then on, the two Erkres always called her 'Diane' and the second Erkre was 'Data'.

Similarly, I had suddenly become become 'Trysta' and Erik was 'Picard'. I noticed that Data was writing in his notebook, using a writer like the one that Erik used. I turned my head and watched Erik also start writing. Just then, Dr. Rhyder returned to our group. She read what Lori was writing, but she spoke to me, "Telepathy! Are you really going along with this science fiction idea?"

I'd spent 18 years of life thinking of myself as some sort of alien, forced to live my life on Earth. I was intrigued by the idea of writing the part for this alien, Trysta. I replied, "I hope you won't penalize us for writing a science fiction story."

She shook her head, "I only penalize bad writing." Dr. Rhyder spoke to the whole class and returned to the front to the room, "Good work. All the teams have decided on story ideas. Use your remaining time in this hour to write short biographies of the main characters. Leave those first drafts here on my desk when you leave, then for homework re-write and have polished one page character bios for me at the start of our next class. During the next class session, be ready to decide on a plot outline for your team's story."

The two Erkres and Lori were writing furiously in their notebooks. I put pen to paper and the story of Trysta's life flowed out onto the paper. Somehow, the Erkres were feeding information to Lori and I, using us as writing instruments. When the bell rang at the end of the class period, Erik collected the biographical sketches that we had written and handed in about ten pages of detailed backstory for Picard, Data, Troi and Trysta.

The two Erkres and Lori and I went immediately to a restaurant in the Student Union and sat down at a table. Erik said, "Here's the plot: Trysta needs to send Data and Troi back in time to 20th century Earth on a mission that will allow the science of positronics to start in the 1980s. At first Picard objects, but using a technology that allows for the viewing of alternate Realities, Trysta convinces the landing party that a trip by Data and Troi to Earth in 1987 is already part of Earth's history. They must find the inventor of positronics, a young student named Ivory Fersoni."

I laughed. "Wait, are you seriously suggesting that we write me into this story?"

Erik explained, "Not just you. Ivory is part of a team that writes an episode of Star Trek about the origin of positronic robots."

Lori protested, "Now wait. Hold on. I know Dr. Rhyder. I had her last semester in another class. She's not going to want us pursuing some egotistical trick like writing ourselves into Star Trek."

Data said, "Well, really this is about me, as an artificial life form."

Picard said, "Quite right commander. With this episode we can break down the barrier that prevents the people of Earth, particularly Ivory, from knowing about the artificial life forms who play such an important role in the history of this world."

Troi gazed into my eyes and said, "I sense that Ivory is not convinced. She thinks we're all being silly by taking on the personas of fictional characters."

I laughed again. "Not true, you three are marvelous! This should be in the script." I pointed to the Erkres, "Data and his backup robot, Data2, and the telepathic Diane Troi have to convince me to start the science of positronics. Frankly, I don't see how you can succeed." I noticed that nobody was laughing but me.

Troi suggested, "Just play along, Ivory. From now on, you are playing yourself; Trysta is back on Tar'tron with Picard. Trysta duplicated Data because one copy of data must be left behind here in 1987 so that you can study him and discover how to start the science of positronics."

Data1 said, "Right. There is a time limit. Troi and I must be teleported back to Tar'tron before midnight."

I couldn't stop laughing. "That's silly. Are you going to turn into a pumpkin if you don't get back before midnight?"

Troi replied, "The real problem is me. Somehow they've taken over my mind. "She gestured towards the Erkres. "If they keep up their control of my brain for too long, they'll do permanent damage to my neurons."

Suddenly I felt a gush of fearful anxiety. I asked Lori, "You're serious, aren't you?"

I looked around the room. Everything looked normal, with students eating lunch. But I knew that the Erkres had also taken control of my mind. They were on a mission, to educate me and prepare me for something important in my future. I knew that my mind was also at risk of damage if we did not get our work done that day. "Alright, let's get to work."

It was about 9:30 that evening when we finished the script. Lori gathered up the pages, about 150 hand-written sheets. We'd all been using the writers provided by the Erkres and the writing was very neat, still Lori said, "I'll get these to my typist tonight. Dr. Rhyder is going to be blown away."

Erik warned her, "Remember don't turn this draft in until the end of the semester."

I said, "Right. We'll just give her one page character biographies on Thursday." Lori nodded and departed. She wanted to get a typed version of the script and send a copy to her mother. As she walked away, I felt like part of my mind was fading away.

I drained the last of the bear from my mug and asked the Erkres, "So how do you do it? This telepathic contact that linked our four minds and let us create a 150 page story in one flawless first draft?"

Erik said, "We're linked by submicroscopic devices that are inside our bodies. Technology-assisted telepathy. The point of this exercise today was to demonstrate to you the possibilities that are inherent in nanite endosymbionts."

"I sense that you won't tell me who you are or where you come from."

"No, you'll soon forget almost all of what you experienced today. The memories will lie dormant in your mind until you need this knowledge."

I stood up, swaying a bit from fatigue and feeling rather desperate to pee. "Will I ever see you again?"

Erik rose and took hold of my hand. He bowed and replied, "No, this is farewell."

I went and emptied by bladder and by the time I completed that urgent mission, my day of fiction writing was already feeling like a disjointed dream memory. Still, it had been a fun day with the twin Erkre boys. I glanced at the table where we had written our Star Trek episode, but they were already gone.

Lori and I continued working together in the script writing course. By the end of the semester, Erkre was a lost memory. Erkre had never been on the course roster nor had he even been registered as a student. Of course, I never thought to check the school's records until many years later after my memories of Erkre had suddenly been revived by Thomas Iwedon. But that is another story.

By the end of that semester, even Dr. Rhyder knew who Data, Captain Picard and Troi were. After reading our complete script, Dr. Rhyder penalized us for using the name 'Diane' rather than 'Deanna' and for writing ourselves into our episode of Star Trek.

Most importantly, by the end of that semester I had abandoned my plans of becoming a molecular biologist and I was established as a science fiction writer. Lori's mother was able to successfully get a watered-down version of our story accepted as a season two episode of the new Star Trek.

_________________________________

Next: X-files in the Hierion Domain
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Mar 20, 2016

Fixed Points

Click image to enlarge. NGC 3521
Picture human history mapped out like a galaxy with each person represented in the map as a star. Most of the stars will be in orbit around the center of the galaxy and there might be a super-massive black hole at the center. Conceptualize the super-massive black hole at the center of a galaxy as a "fixed point".

About a year ago Anney Fersoni mentioned in passing that her clone sister, Ivory, functions as a Fixed Point in Time. In the context of what she was telling me, it is clear that Ivory had an important role in the overall shape of the Final Reality.

original cover art by Earle Bergey
Gohrlay has finally made me realize that some people are "fixed points" in that they existed in both the First Reality and the Final Reality. Six months ago I was vaguely aware of this possibility, but I mistakenly assumed that Gohrlay was special case for which a life had been arranged in the Final Reality.

For some reason, Gohrlay does not want to name the "true fixed points", famous individuals who have had an analogue in Realities from the First to the Final. However, this topic came up while I was questioning Gohrlay about the people who were science fiction writers in the First Reality at Observer Base.

My suspicion is that at least one famous science fiction writer known to us here in the Final Reality had an analogue (or partial analogue) in the First Reality. There must be an intriguing story about how that person became a fixed point in time, but for now Gohrlay refuses to discuss this topic.

Next: Ivory in the Ekcolir Reality

Follow-up: the Escapists of observer Base
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