As creative, hands-on people, there’s an incredible amount of pressure to do things ourselves. That mindset may be what got you to where you are: accomplishing goals you set for yourself, turning a passion into a job, or building your dream home bit by bit. As a result, you now feel invincible. You might have even made yourself a needlepoint or woodblock print that says “I can do anything.” But can you, reeeeaaaaally?
There are a lot of things that we need. We need websites! We need to give our employees health insurance! We need a 60-second video pitch for Shark Tank! It’s not easy, but it’s time to learn how to seek and accept help. You’re the best at your thing, and you rely on clients and customers to need you. Now it’s time to go need someone else. A paintbrush is a tool and so is an accountant. Use both to create beautiful work. –ADAMJK
Each of us holds an innate power to do great things, and as creatives, we have a unique set of skills for putting that power to work. Whether your talent is rooted in words, images, organization, persuasion or just having an audience, it’s both a manifestation of that core ability and a method to harness it.
Part of recognizing your power is acknowledging your obligation to use it to stand up for what’s right. There’s so much in the world that needs our attention. Some things could simply benefit from a little compassion. Other issues are more complex and require deliberate steps towards change. Remember that you have the ability to create impact of some kind, and when your power is rooted in communication, your silence speaks volumes. You have the tools to do at least something, so please try. Use your power for good. –Adam J. Kurtz
Humans are Eldritch Horrors: Biomechanical Technology
Okay so this is a long one, be warned.
I’ve been on a binge between Wikipedia and YouTube, looking up extremophiles, protists, and “intelligent” slime molds that have potential for biomechanical applications.
Imagine if you would, that this biotechnological trend is picked up as a norm for humanity as a whole. Biological material is not suited for every application, true. But graphene, being made purely of carbon, can be integrated into both biological and technological systems. Certain multicellular and monocellular organisms can metabolize heavy metals. Slime molds and human neurons can be surprisingly efficient computers.
Imagine sea sponges designed by humans to build skeletons out of iron, cadmium, or a gold-titanium alloy instead of calcium. Imagine stomatolites building shells for massive spaceships out of the “waste” materials from mining processes. Imagine spacesuits made out of chitin and a bioglass reminiscent of that which tardigrades produce. Instead of air tanks, whole miniature biomes that produce oxygen at a rapid rate when fed biomass.
Essentially, the Engineers from Prometheus. Or like, 99% of H.R. Giger’s work.
Now imagine throwing black hole reactors, Alcubierre/EM/Fold/Quantum drives, mass accelerators (for weapons or other uses) and quantum computing thrown in a big ol’ mixing bowl with biomechanical fuckery. And no horror show biomechanical stuff, but like sleek, fine lighting, no jagged edges, no skulls and pure horror, no wet and nasty slimy shite (aside from the slime molds and several production processes…), but like, upstanding and respectable stuff, beautiful sleek lines mixed in with angles that are a bit too perfect…
Then introduce this to aliens who adopted a purely technological path.
—————- —————- —————-
Xyrhum had seen nothing like it before. About [500 kilometers] away from the jump-entry point of this system, straight off the prow of his corvette, was a [10km] long construct. It was a sleek structure that conjoined its long, near perfectly-straight pair of “prongs” in a semicircle at one end. It bowed out near the semicircular end and was riddled with ridges and bumps and grooves all along its sleek and organic body lines. It emitted a rumble that could be felt more than heard, even inside a ship of this size this far away.
Xyrhum tapped his feelers on the armrest of his chair, the armor at the tips of his appendages making near-deafening clacks and taps in the utter silence of the bridge.
“Pilot, perform a wide maneuver around the structure. Advance no further than [350 kilometers] from it. Do not get too close. Operations, engage stealth.”
“Aye, commander,” replied both officers.
Xyrhum turned to his communications officer, who was staring at him in a mix of anticipation and apprehension. “Communications, perform a passive scan of the structure.”
He turned to the co-pilot. “Retract any hardpoints besides the scanner.”
The communications officer piped up.
“Sir, the construct… It knows we’re here. I’m picking up a tight-beamed signal emanating from the… whatever it is.”
“So, our stealth drives mean nothing,” quipped the commander. “Drop stealth.”
“For all intents and purposes, this appears to be a First Contact situation. Prepare the data packet, and begin the ‘friendly contact’ signal. Start with the [Algebraic] equa-”
The ship lurched forward suddenly, cutting off the commander and accelerating at an uncomfortable speed towards the construct.
“Pilot, we have breached the [350km] mark and are accelerating at an unsafe speed toward the construct. Desist this instant!”
At that, the pilot raised his arms from the console. “This is not my doing, commander. The forward engines are at zero acceleration. Inertia dampeners are trying to fight but are overcome.”
“So, these aliens want a more face-to-face first contact.”
“It would seem so.”
“Communications, any changes on the construct? Has it deployed anything our active scanners can detect?”
“Several portions of its surface have shifted. There are numerous structures raising from its hull, but I detect no radiological spikes. If those are weapons, I’d imagine this to be more a threat display than anything else.”
“No chances. Raise shields to maximum.”
Just as the shields arced to life and covered the ship in a shimmering protective shell, a flash pulsed from the side of the construct, and the ship went dark.
“Report!” Exclaimed the commander, as he began drifting out of his seat.
“Engines and main reactor have spun to zero,” reported the Ensign. “Weapons and scanners offline. We’re drifting without a gun, sir.”
“Damn. Life support?”
“Compromised, but active. Backup reactor coming online. We’ll have full life support, gravity, and lights in [30 seconds] and counting.”
A slow, purplish ghostly wave drifted through the bridge. It passed over every nook and cranny in the room, and tingled every atom in the commander’s body as it passed over him.
“What in the hundred hells was that?”
“Unsure, sir. Hazard a guess, I think we were scanned.”
The ship continued to move toward the construct without spin or deviation. A tractor beam…?
A smaller construct broke off of the hull of the larger ship. It drifted away for a good [minute], seemingly inactive. It suddenly pulsed to life, bright bluish-white lines dancing into activity along its fine and sleek oblong shape. Along its horizontal equator, a line of light traced from the aft end to the fore and culminated in a point of light at the nose. The point of light then moved as the new construct maneuvered to be edge- on with the commander’s craft. The point of light slid along an invisible tract and aligned itself with the craft.
“It’s looking at us,” piped up the communications officer.
At that, the smaller craft deployed long, thick arms from its bottom, unfolding them in what appeared to be a threat display. It swung its aft around with no visible propulsion as it dissapeared above the commander’s ship. Moments later, the ship shook and shuddered. Clanging sounds and depressurization alarms could be heard throughout the ship.
“What’s happening? Ensign, report!”
“Multiple depressurizations in non-critical areas. Crew quarters, medbay, and bridge are secure. We have been captured by the alien vessel… and we’re moving again.”
“Sir, scans for biological activity have… returned. This… ship… whatever it is… it’s hardly mechanical at all.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, that this structure is alive. I’m reading intense biological activity. The outside of the ship is a heavy-metal composite in a carbon-based organic lattice.”
“Living ships? Tractor beams? Emissionless propulsion? Gravitic signatures? What next?” the commander mumbled under his breath.
Everyone was silent as the smaller craft guided the commander’s ship through several [hundred meters] of white-lit oval-shaped corridor. From the port and starboard viewports, he could see a menagerie of other creatures fast at work in the corridors of the vessel. There were strange four-legged things scurrying about and hefting containers of sorts in the low gravity. There were tall bipedal hulks with bowed legs walking along the gangways of the corridor and staring at the ship intensely. They appeared to be aiming at the vessel. Protruding from the floor and ceiling of the corridor were circular domes with spindly appendages jutting out of one side. They tracked the ship’s every movement with a glaring red eye. Turrets?
The ship began to slow as it drifted toward a flat circular platform. Three figures stood in a room separated from the platform with a thick plate of glass, flanked by two of the large bipeds seen moments ago. The craft that had latched on to the commander’s vessel guided his ship forward into a cradle of armlike appendages. A blue field of arcing electricity shot out from the panels above and held the ship steady as the arms enclosed around it. The cradle that held the ship descended from the ceiling and brought the ship to rest on the floor of the platform. Several tendrils rose from the floor and embedded themselves in the ship’s hull.
Suddenly, the ship’s system sprang to life. The docking runtime ran through its paces and the docking hatch opened. A thick hollow tube, ringed with grasping appendages, extended from the wall and affixed itself to the docking hatch. With a thud and a hiss, pressure was restored in the ship.
“Welcome to Gilgamesh,” said the computer.
“How does the computer know the name of the vessel?”
“It was hacked,” said the Ensign. “None of the officers or myself can control the ship. We’re locked out.”
The emergency lights on the floor came to life and led to the airlock.
A voice crackled from the communications panel, causing the communications officer, who was already on edge, to leave the bridge in a nervous wreck.
The center of the five figures in the room adjacent to the ship stepped forward, and began to speak in fluent Union Standard.
“We apologize for the forceful… apprehension… of your vessel. We hope this transgression can be forgiven. However, you entered our space withojt consent and refused to answer any of our hails. The transgression aside, we have been eager to meet an alien race for some time, and did not want to lose out on such an enriching opportunity. We did not expect them to be so… rudimentary, however.”
The commander rise from his chair and stepped to the forward window of the bridge, and met gaze with the figure. “Who are you? How can you speak our language?”
I am a member of the human race. We utilized complex mathematical algorithms to decrypt your computer, and merely gutted a cantelope to get the berries of your language.“
“Gutted… A what?”
“Did that not make sense?”
“…not at all.”
“Ah. It is not a perfect system, mind you. We hope to resolve this.”
“Your peaceful intentions aside, while appreciated, do not excuse your actions. You realize that by seizing a military scouting vessel, hacking it, and taking information without consent, you have not only broken several rules of first contact etiquette, but have committed acts worthy of declaration of war?”
“Humanity does not seek war with anyone. We have outgrown such petty practices. However, and we remind you, you had entered our space, unannounced, in an armed vessel, which warranted a rather forceful response from us. We seem to have stepped on each other’s toes. I do not advise escalation.”
At that, an arm unfolded from the wall and aimed a spindly protrusion at the ship. The protrusion began to glow blue as the air began to ripple from heat.
The ship-board AI chirped to life; “Warning: radiological signature detected.”
“That,” the Human quipped.
“Please, come aboard. We welcome you peacefully. We wish to discuss many things with you, as well as terms of reparation and harmonious relations.”
The crew departed the ship and crossed through the boarding tube. The air was surprisingly dry and warm.
They entered the room through an airlock of iris-style doors, unfolding with a slight cracking and the sound of sliding stone. The three figures, standing at a whopping [2.5m], stood in the center of the room, flanked by their [5m] behemoths.
The center figure departed the group, flowing robes rippling as it waltzed effortlessly toward him. It stopped at a close, yet respectful distance of [6m].
Suddenly, the plates that composed its cranium shifted and split, hissing out a steamy gust of air as it opened and neatly folded away. What it revealed was the true face of the human; a round head, with pinkish-gray soft skin, nearly hairless and featureless. On either side was a flesh protrusion, full of ridges and bumps, angled forward. Atop its head was a tuft of… hair? It had a rather flat face with a gentle ridge above its pair of forward-set predatory eyes and a protrusion in the center of it all with two holes. Beneath that was a horizontal slit composed of two fleshy lobes. The lobes peeled back to reveal a set of bony protrusions.
“I am Heyatha, the commander of this frigate. It is my honor to greet you, Commander Xyrhum, on behalf of humanity. There is so much for us both to learn from this meeting.”
The one Bedroom flat located in Bristol is home to the decorative antique dealers and interior stylists behind Dig Haüshizzle (a Bristol, UK-based vintage decor store), Cassandra and Edward Nicholas and their Boston Terrier ‘Beecher Friedel’.