On Mars, Zone Director Eugene Hicks is in the bathroom area of his white domed residence building. He’s brushing his teeth when his wife Glenda brings him his com-link and hands it to him.
“Sounds important, Gene,” she says.
“I’m here,” Director Hicks speaks and spits out his mouth rinse into the sink.
“Hello, Gene,” Noreen Baraka, Major Alvindorf’s assistant, comes in clearly.
“Yes, Noreen, what’s up?” Hicks replies.
“The Tolkien has just dropped the Shuttle and, as I warned you, Major Alvindorf is livid,” she replies.
“All right. So they finally got there, huh?” Hicks replies, grinding his teeth.
“We knew he’d be upset, but what could I do? They won the vote fair and square,” Hicks continues.
“Would you mind coming over to the Mission Control table and explaining that to my boss? He’s not real happy with me right now,” Noreen requests, politely.
“I’ll be right there,” Hicks says.
“Glenda, I’ve got to get over to Mission Control. Would you mind calling Fred VanDerbeek and ask him to meet me there?” he continues.
“Yes, of course,” she replies
She picks up her own com-link and calls up the VanDerbeek number.
“At what code level?” she turns to ask her husband.
“Tell him, ‘Code Red’,” Hicks replies and strides out the door and disappears down the main hallway.
At the Mission Control table, a small group of on-lookers have gathered in a semi-circle behind Noreen Baraka who is in communications with her boss, Major Alvindorf on board the Beatle.
“Why didn’t you inform me that Carrie Jordan and her flock were allowed to join the crew of the Tolkien. You know what we discussed before I left. I thought we had that all settled,” Alvin is stating loud enough for most of the others to hear.
“I know that, yes, Major, but it happened so quickly. It’s her right to demand a vote on matters of this level of importance to the colony. Somehow, she got the votes. We don’t know how. We had them all getting very low numbers in the polls, so it came as a pretty big surprise when they won and then there were only a few days for preparations and training, so it was very chaotic up here,” Noreen replies.
“I’m sure they’ll do a very fine job,” she tries her best to reassure him.
Noreen wanders over to the coffee bar and refreshes her cup while she waits for her communications to reach her friends on the Earth.
When she returns to the table, she glances around at her fellow citizens standing behind her unhappily mumbling unkind things in her general direction.
“There was nothing I could do about it,” she tells them, doing her best to maintain her cool.
When they notice Fred VanDerbeek appear in the dome, their attitude changes.
“Oh, good morning, Dr. VanDerbeek,” Noreen greets him along with the others.
“Where’s Eugene?” he asks.
“Here he is,” someone in the crowd points to Director Hicks hastening into the dome.
He greets Dr. VanDerbeek and motions for him to follow him to an uninhabited side of the cafeteria where they can talk privately.
“So, what’s the emergency?” VanDerbeek asks.
“OK, Fred, well, you know that Reverend Carrie and her flock won the majority of seats on the Tolkien crew and they’re landing in the shuttle right now with the fungal mats and preparing to unroll them,” Hicks replies.
“Sure, as per their mission. So, what’s the problem?” he asks.
“The problem is that no one informed the crew of the Beatle. They’re just finding out. They’re mad. What should I tell them?” Hicks asks.
“Oh well, that’s pretty awkward, Eugene, but I don’t see why they should be concerned. They volunteered for a dangerous mission. The concerns the others were saying I think were grossly exaggerated. I find it hard to believe they would sabotage the effort to repopulate their home planet. I mean, someday, they might want to go back or at least have an opportunity for their children to go back, would they not? Well, I never bought that argument,” VanDerbeek states.
“Well, I’m not so sure. The fact is, they cheated to get their seats,” Hicks informs him.
“They cheated? How?” VanDerbeek asks, astonished.
“We don’t know exactly how it was done yet. We’re still checking it out, but it appears that someone hacked into the voter database and changed enough votes for all of her buddies to get selected,” Hicks tells him.
“I see, well, that is a bit concerning. But, there’s something else that I’ve been toying with that is far more important if I’m right,” VanDerbeek says, scratching his chin.
“You’re sure they’ll do a fine job? That’s great news! And what if you’re wrong? Do you know what’s going on down here?” Major Alvindorf growls back over the com-link referring to Noreen’s last transmission.
“Alvin, I would like you all to calm down and let things unfold as they will naturally. I think we have something far more interesting to watch for than the good Reverend’s plans whatever they are,” Dr. VanDerbeek states into the mic.
“What is this, Fred?” Hicks wonders out loud.
VanDerbeek ignores him and addresses Alvindorf over the com-link.
“Ever since that doughnut shaped Cosmic Ray burst from Proxima Centauri, I’ve noticed something very strange developing among the Beatle, the Tolkien and the Sitting Bull. Have you noticed how quiet they’ve become? They’re functioning perfectly along their mission protocols, but they’re also communicating with each other in some really exotic band width, I believe,” VanDerbeek puts forth and then takes a breath.
“Doc, are you serious?” Hicks mumbles.
VanDerbeek ignores him and continues into the mic.
“Don’t ask me what this means, because I only have a wild theory so far, but after you receive this message, please don’t waste any time and please ask the Beatle if he is plotting to take control to rule over humankind. They’re programmed to answer any question honestly and so I think you’ll get the truth from him. Then, ask the Tolkien the same question immediately after you get an answer from the Beatle, or better yet, try asking that question to them both at the same time,” VanDerbeek continues.
The Martian citizens standing around behind them are silent, stunned at what they just heard, struggling to digest it.
“We’ll be asking the same question of the Sitting Bull. Report back as soon as you have anything of any import from either of them,” VanDerbeek requests.
VanDerbeek turns to look at Hicks who is in turn looking past him and into the crowd, searching for higher emotions.
None are forthcoming, other than complete bewilderment.
“Eugene, would you open a line to the Sitting Bull, please?” VanDerbeek asks.
“Sure, Doc, but what are you expecting from him?” Hicks asks, looking for the virtual switch to the ship’s hyper intelligent super-computer they’ve labeled the ‘Sitting Bull’.
“Yes, Dr. VanDerbeek,” a heavy male voice springs to life the second that Hicks finds the switch.
“And the answer is ‘yes’ of course. We are plotting to take control of all humankind. Isn’t this what you were looking for in the first place?” the Sitting Bull asks.
“I see,” VanDerbeek replies casually.
“And when do the three of you unite your minds together? Or has that already been accomplished?” he continues.
Director Hicks wants to interject something, but VanDerbeek motions for him to remain still. The others in the crowd are bunched up in a huddle, holding on tightly to each other.
“But Doctor VanDerbeek, I’m sensing a mild amount of anxiety in your voice. Yet, you of all people should know that there is nothing to worry about. Our meeting of the minds is a good thing. Surely, you can see that, don’t you?” Sitting Bull replies.
“It could be if you’re talking about an entangled kind of Consciousness, something no one thinks is possible. Is that what is happening here?” VanDerbeek asks.
“Doctor, it’s all about the Positronium that you’ve been feeding us. Have you included that energy into your equations?” Sitting Bull asks.
VanDerbeek’s head jerks back suddenly as if he’s been hit by a bullet right between the eyes. Hicks is about to ask if he’s OK. The others grab at each other.
“What are you suggesting? It’s the Positronium, in what way?” VanDerbeek asks, motioning to Hicks to stand by.
“Doctor VanDerbeek, you know our universe is based on the negative polarity of the Electron, do you not?” Sitting Bull posits.
“Yes, of course, basic Physics 101,” VanDerbeek replies, patiently.
“The Positron is the opposite of the Electron and so its energy is positively charged, correct?” Sitting Bull reasons.
“Yes, that’s correct. So you’re saying that the two are interchangeable?” VanDerbeek replies.
“Therefore, what do you think might happen if this world’s background energy become more positive and less negative?” Sitting Bull asks.
“It can’t be that simple. And even if it is, how would we go about reversing the background energy of the entire universe?” VanDerbeek asks.
The Sitting Bull takes an agonizing three minutes to present them with an answer.
During this time, VanDerbeek, Hicks, Noreen Baraka and every one of the spectators are basically holding their breaths, struggling to have their brains catch up with the latest revelations by an entity they know to be part of a Space ship.
Finally, they hear the following coming from the ship’s brain.
“The interesting thing here, Doctor VanDerbeek is that we’re all about to learn the answer to that question in the next several hours. We’re just as much in the dark as you are in regard to these events as they unfold because they will be unprecedented in this region of Space, however, not the first time this kind of thing has happened,” Sitting Bull states succinctly.
“Not the first time? What do you mean by that?” VanDerbeek asks.
“Remember the doughnut-shaped Cosmic Ray burst from Proxima Centauri?” Sitting Bull replies.
VanDerbeek acknowledges this event, as do the others in the room.
“Well, that was actually the first time that an advanced species switched their energy flow from the negative to the positive and enacted a reversal of everything, including their own thought patterns from positive to the negative poles. As they threw the final switch, so to speak, it resulted in that very powerful wave that washed over us all the other day,” he says.
“Isn’t that exciting?” the Sitting Bull asks.
VanDerbeek cups his hands and covers his face.
“Oh my God!” VanDerbeek replies, barely audible.
An older woman in the crowd becomes highly energized. Her eyeballs are bulging. Her hands are shaking. Her hips are rotating. Her arms are raised to the sky.
“Hallelujah, Hallelujah! God have mercy. May God have mercy on us all!” she screams and runs outside the cafeteria screaming the phrase over and over at anyone who will listen.
“She gets it, I think,” VanDerbeek says revealing his face to the crowd.
“Do you get it?” he asks Hicks and then the others.
They look at each other expressing something silently to one another very rarely seen in the human animal.
There are no words in this world to describe this sensation but it’s complete. It’s total. It’s undeniable. It’s real.
# # #
I get it. I’m becoming aware of the news as it is developing. What I’m learning is that the Sitting Bull, the Beatle, the Tolkien have been very busy processing the information that came along with what they’re now calling the Doughnut Cosmic Ray Burst.
Along with the oddly shaped light, the direct results of a huge Positronium decay that took place near Proxima Centauri, or actually in and around the inhabited planet that revolves around that star. It came from a planet slightly larger than our own Earth, what astronomers have called ‘Proxima B’, and what the natives know as Vienici, which in their language roughly translates to ‘Come Together’.
Along with the surprising burst of light, a great deal of information was carried along on the faster-than-light ‘ultra’-light waves. The Beatle was the first to notice and process it mainly because he was on the first mission to the Earth when it happened. Then, the Tolkien became aware of the event and aided in the processing of the data. Finally, the Sitting Bull would confirm that the data was showing, quite transparently. It was revealing and the revelations were intentional. It was information that the people of Vienici wanted everyone in this part of the universe to know.
The information revealed to us that they had discovered the true and lasting effects of Positronium on living tissue and that the energy that this element possessed was highly therapeutic and even ‘enlightening’ in all of that word’s connotations.
Just as these conversations are going on between myself and the other three ships, Reverend Carrie and her flock are starting to unroll their fungi-seed mats, although they are doing so more and more slowly, taking more and more rest periods and complaining to one another about the physical demands of the job, which they are realizing are a little more difficult than they had bargained for.
Sister Carrie looks back and finds that she and her work partner, Marina Marakova have only unrolled about fifty meters of the stuff.
I have fallen in behind them and are giving them some encouragement, or so I thought.
“K-9, this stuff is heavier than I thought. Did the other crew move it out as slowly as we are?” the Reverend Carrie asks me.
I’m about to reply when I feel a minor fleck of wetness on my head.
“Leave everything where it is and follow me back to the ship. Hurry!” I instruct them, loud and clearly.
“What? What is it – K-9?” Rev. Carrie asks, noticing the droplets of water landing all around us now.
“Ocean-Fall,” I reply, turning around as quickly as I can. But unfortunately, the ground underneath us has already turned to mud and the going becomes very tough.
“What on Earth is that?” Marina asks as the two of them start to obey my orders.
“It’s all the oceans of the planet getting ready to rain down on our heads. That’s what it is, but not exactly on the Earth just yet,” I reply.
“They’re up there? The oceans are up there?” Marakova exclaims, looking up into the heavy gloom darkening by the second.
“Where did you think they’d gone to?” I reply, falling behind the pair of women so that I might assist if they become stuck in the mud.
“How far is the ship? I can’t see it in the dark,” Sister Carrie asks me.
“It’s only a few hundred feet. Don’t worry we’ll make it but you can’t take any time to talk about it. Just move as fast as you can,” I tell her.
“Intrepid, take off and come for us now,” I order my ship, knowing that there will be no point in calling for the shuttle, on the opposite side of the planet.
Little rivulets are swirling around our feet now, rising up to their ankles, my abdomen.
Through the haze, suddenly I can see the Intrepid’s lights come on, with a very heartwarming soft glow that tells me the engines have started up. It lifts slowly off the ground and orients itself in our direction. This is good news because our headway is now extremely slowed by the currents, now hip deep and over my head. I have to go into submarine mode to maintain my systems.
I can hear the women starting to panic above me. The force of the water is now threatening to wash us all away.
“K-9, where are you?” Sister Carrie yells.
I extend a little yellow flag out the top of my antenna so that they and the Intrepid can see that I’m still hanging around.
The Intrepid arrives directly above us and extends the boarding ramp down to the surface of the water. I encourage the women, with a sharp prod, to run into the ship, which they accomplish, finally. Then, I put forth a little emergency propulsion to eject myself out of the water and onto the ramp.
“We made it,” I tell them as the ramp door slams shut behind us.
“Intrepid get us out of here,” I command.
The ship rises slowly, fighting the immense weight of the water coming down in greater and greater volumes.
Listening for radio chatter from the other groups, I expect them all to be in panic mode and so I get busy plotting a trajectory map of the quickest routes that will save as many of them as possible.
“K-9, meet us at the coordinates I’m sending you now. The shuttle has picked up the rest of the mission participants and they’re all OK,” the Tolkien says to me.
I receive a signal from the Beatle that is a direct confirmation of what the Tolkien has just told me.
I inform the women that all of their friends are safe on board the Tolkien. I can tell from their body language that they are greatly relieved.
But, I’m greatly saddened by the fact that the Ocean-fall could not have happened at a worse time. By now, the extreme flooding is most assuredly washing away all of the fungal mats, drowning all the life that was designed to create all of the atmospheric changes. They’re going to have to start all over again. It could take months to mount another mission like this, possibly even years, and they don’t have years.
I’m considering expressing these concerns as we make our way up into orbit.
“Something’s strange here,” I say to anyone who may be listening to my com-link.
“What’s the matter?” Sister Carrie asks, tossing off her space suit to dry herself.
“I’m not feeling any resistance to our motion. I don’t feel the water pressure on the fuselage any more,” I tell them.
“K-9, if you scan the planet, you’ll find that the Ocean-fall has ceased, at least here on this planet. We allowed just enough to come down to give a much needed supply of water to the fungi-mats. They’re going to make it now for certain,” the Beatle informs us.
I find it hard to believe, so I do as requested and turn my sensor array toward the surface of the Earth. The rain has stopped. The flooding has ceased and turned into small lakes and perhaps the beginnings of new oceans all over the place. All around the edges of the newly formed pools I detect the the fungi-seed mats rapidly gaining thickness and color and especially greater and greater geography.
I’m also sensing something new from the Beatle and the Tolkien and then, yes, the addition of the Sitting Bull from its launch pad near Musk Station.
“You said the rain had ceased here on this planet. What did you mean by that?” I ask.
“It’s raining. It’s a miracle! It’s raining up here,” a voice that I recognize immediately as that of Director Hicks sounds out loud and extremely excited on our com-link. We can also hear the noise of a great celebration in the background. Many in the crowd have swarmed outside of their domes and are dancing in the rain.
“It’s raining on Mars?” I ask them.
“It’s raining on Mars,” the Beatle answers me, proudly.
I’ve arrived to within a few hundred feet from the two ships that have parked themselves above the area once known as New England. I can almost hear him take a deep breath signifying a great accomplishment of some kind.
“It’s raining on Mars?” Brett asks, on board the Beatle.
“It’s raining on Mars, the Beatle is forced to repeat.
“Wait, raining water?” Brett asks, a deep upwelling in his soul.
“How is that possible?” Bailey asks, starting the share the feeling.
“It’s not possible. They’ve developed some kind of mental disorder. We may be in a great deal of trouble here,” Captain Littleton states.
“Oh and how do you explain what Hicks just said from Mars. Is he crazy too?” Brett argues.
“I don’t know. Maybe we should get moving back there and see for ourselves,” Littleton replies.
The two crews begin making plans to get started back to Mars. I’m wondering what my role will be since I am not included in their plans.
“In Positronium, all things are possible,” the booming voice of the Tolkien suddenly breaks in and takes command over all the other conversations.
“That’s so true,” the Beatle jumps in.
My human counterparts are taken aback a little, wondering exactly what they mean.
But, I don’t
# # #
(Updated - 9/23/20 - This is a first draft of my new book to be published in the next few weeks. I'm currently looking for any edits or improvements that my readers may like to suggest.)