Saturday, October 10, 2020

Extinction Going Live - Watch as the Human Race leaves the Earth never to return - or is there a potential redemption of life possible on this planet? YOU be the judge!

 Extinction - Live 

Watch the EXTINCTION of the Human Race LIVE as it happens!

Will we survive?


 New Science Fiction Thriller invites you to watch the Extinction of the Human Race LIVE as it happens.  Amazing, mind-blowing  story for those who are worried the planet is on a dangerous course but who may also want to be part of something that can save it.  It's still not too late if we get a little help from our closest neighbors on  Mars and even Alpha Centauri.  Let's not forget about Man's best friend.  There may even be enough real Science and technological innovation in this book that will avert the final disaster and make life on Earth better and last to eternity.  Evolution takes a mind-blowing right turn away from the ultimate catastrophe because we have discovered the secret of of our fate, the Human genome, as well as the code of Artificial Intelligence and soon an Artificial Consciousness that is expanding rapidly out beyond  the space between our ears.  "In Positronium, We Trust."    

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As I create the PAGES - you will be able to read the next great Science Fiction thriller - also a potentially TRUE STORY.  Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction

Publication date - Dec.1, 2020
I will be adding pagers as I MAKE THEM Live on This website.  Come back often  and tell your friends who may also enjoy classic Science Fiction.
Please POST this URL . . . www.Extinction.Live . . . 

on all YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA - Help Save Our Species from Extinction.  

Think it can't happen?
You need to read this book

Table Of Contents

Chapter One - Landing

ChapterTwo - The Cloud

Chapter Three - Jelly Beans

ChapterFour - The Oblivians

ChapterFive - Extinction Live

ChapterSix - Rubber Soul

ChapterSeven - Beatle Music

ChapterEight – Molecular Man

ChapterNine - Positronium

Chapter Ten - The Roll Out

Chapter Ten is the last FREE portion of my book - Sorry!

. . .



That could actually SAVE US FROM EXTINCTION

. . .

Chapter Eleven - Virga

Chapter Twelve - The End Game

Chapter Thirteen – The Dog Gone Truth

Tell Your Friends - Thank You!

Watch the Extinction of Humanity LIVE as it happens.  Science Fiction or history in the making?  You be the judge.

As most people know, our planet Earth is in very serious danger of losing all of the life forms that have existed here for billions of years, including humans, all due to the indifference and incompetence of our global governments who have all made a deal with the Devil to keep the world's economy dependent on fossil fuels that are known to cause cancer and to also cause what is  known as the 'Greenhouse Effect' in our atmosphere, the condition of having so much Carbon Dioxide and other toxic gases flowing from our tailpipes up into the air that it traps heat that comes from the Sun, heat that is normally life-giving and which keeps us comfortable, but which is now out of control and threatens to continue until the Earth will become hotter and hotter and like our nearest neighbor Venus will reach 900 Deg F. soon, the melting point of lead.

If we all do nothing, the Human Race and all life forms on the Earth could go extinct by the end of this century, early next century at the latest.  This gives us just enough time to begin to alter our lives just enough to avoid the final catastrophe, from which there is no return.  This book, written in the Science Fiction genre may be the actual timeline of events if we do nothing, but can also act as a shield against these future events that we are approaching with greater and greater momentum.
In this story all of the information that is needed to avoid the tipping point, the point of no return, the day in our very near future where nothing we do can turn us away from the total catastrophe due to cascading and worsening events in the Earth’s atmosphere is included free of charge.

Elon Musk, Spacex, NASA are the major players here because it could be that hedging our bets by reproducing the human animal on Mars and giving them a spectacular new array of technological achievements to survive there, may be the answer to our problems here.  In fact, it may already be too late for us here on the Earth, but it’s certainly not too late to terra-form Mars and get enough of us up there to repopulate the Earth some day.

There are no guarantees.  This story is one hopeful view of how it could all come together.  The author has always had great faith in an over-arching force in the universe who has our back.  If you don’t want to learn more about that – this may not be the book for you.  All of the amazing new scientific discoveries you will encounter here are based on actual science news coming from the laboratories and observatories all over the planet for the last several years, and some even in the future.

If you are one of those who are hiding your head in the sand and you don’t care about the fate of your children and their children and whether or not they can survive, then, you definitely do not want to read this book.  It’s the story of the worst future imaginable, the one we’re flirting with right now, and the potential ways of turning lemons into lemonade as never before in history.

If you like Science Fiction done in the vein of people like Jules Verne, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein, Kurt Vonnegut, you may enjoy this story as these are, in my humble opinion, the best writers of classic Science Fiction.  One more note:  The Science that is created in the imaginations of these authors has all come into our reality in one way or another.  Therefore, be aware that some of the Science introduced here may hopefully also become part of our reality soon.  If it does not - we could all die without it.  There are ways to make our economy boom and not be complicit in the destruction of our Mother Earth, but we have to start using them now.
Learning how this author (Michael Mathiesen) shapes the future in this unique set of events in this highly entertaining and inspiring story is your best foot forward in what may become our greatest journey together.  Good Luck to us all.  

Friday, October 9, 2020

Extinction - Live - Chapter One - Watch the Extinction Of The Human Race LIVE as it happens.

 Extinction - Live

Michael Mathiesen

Copyright © 2020 by Michael Mathiesen

Cover by Michael Mathiesen  --

Library of Congress Control Number: 2020914759

All of the characters in this book and the events depicted are fictional. Any resemblance of my characters to anyone living or dead is strictly coincidental.

Chapter One


The year is 2127 A.D. My name is ‘Lieutenant Commander K-9’, AKA Mars Spacex Force-K-9QCRU-series11. I’m the eleventh generation of the Quantum Computing Rover Units, to be more precise. My Cerebral core is the most advanced of any AI unit ever devised. It’s so rare, they tell me that they did not stop at making one of me. I’m actually the second of my kind, the first model of me, a female, remaining on Mars.

 The first iteration of me, whom they named ‘Chloe’, is currently installed as the world’s first ‘Autonomous Government design’ for the administrator on Mars,  She is installed with the primary directive to collect all the ongoing data regarding the Mars mission, including all biological, meteorological and botanical data and bring recommendations, based on all that data, to the Mars Director, presently my friend, Eugene Hicks, for his dispensation. The recommendations are to be composed completely free of any political or personal biases of any kind, thereby allowing the governance of the Martian Colony take place smoothly, almost flawlessly with little or no cost to the citizens in terms of personal frustrations nor any major interruptions in their daily lives.

Or so they tell me.

Other than my core intelligence, the rest of me is a direct descendant of the NASA Mars Perseverance Rover launched a century ago from the Earth on July 30, 2020.

My mission is to explore the planet where my creators on Mars originated, the Earth, now a boiling hot, inhospitable dust bowl of just under 900℉, the melting point of lead. This intolerable climate was caused by the last three centuries accumulation of Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere, coughed out by the countless fossil fuel powered machines, over thirty-three per household, which created the Greenhouse Effect that built up over the last few decades to the point where nothing – no form of life either on land or in the oceans - could survive.

I’m now traveling around in low-Earth orbit and have been collecting data for the last two days. My orders include the finding of a safe landing spot. I’ve decided to land in an area of what used to be the Northern parts of Greenland, near the 80th degree of latitude because up here, the temperature is just within my heat tolerance levels of only 400 – 500℉ during the day. And if I wait another hour and a half, just before sunset, I will only have to deal with temperatures slightly less than the boiling point of water.

Needless to say, there is no more ice anywhere on the planet mainly because there is also no more liquid water on the surface. The blazing whiteness of the frozen water has been replaced at both poles, and all over the rest of the planet by a brown corrugated sea of sand dunes extending forever in all directions. These vistas are broken up here and there by mountains of gleaming white salt deposits left over from the massive evaporation of all the water on the planet up into the sky.

There’s nothing green about Greenland or any other place either. I’ve hunted all over in hopes of finding even one stick of a tree somewhere, or one blade of grass protruding from the slightest crack in the Earth somewhere but have been sadly disappointed. There’s nothing alive here any more and even my cold, hardened circuits can appreciate the sense of loss my creators must be feeling right now as I send them the news.

OK, K-9, we concur your landing location at 81.775216 by -58.414863 and you may commence your landing procedures at your own discretion.”

They can’t actually take control of my ship and land me from their remote location because of the time delay of roughly thirteen minutes for radio signals to travel the 35 million miles from Mars to my location here. Thus my decision independence has been programmed into my Quantum brain ever since the inception of my mission. I appreciate this more than you can know.

Mission Control at Musk-Station, located beside the Utopian Sea on Mars sends me their approval to begin my landing procedures. I ‘Arti-Think’ the signal into the ship’s controls to begin the rocket burn that will put me down on the Earth in about eighty minutes and hopefully within a few feet of my chosen coordinates.

It’s the most important place on the planet now, the DNAPD (DNA Preservation Depository) where the code that can produce millions of plant seeds, millions of life forms on the Earth, preserved in billions of embryonic cells, are preserved for a possible time in the future where life will be able to return to the planet. The caves where they are stored are equipped with the only machinery still in operation in the form of a nuclear power plant that keeps the thousands of freezers at the temperatures (-70) that will preserve the DNA for centuries if necessary.

There had been some discussion on Mars that this huge cave system with the most advanced type of air-conditioning ever known might be a place where humans could have survived and would try to survive for as long as possible. But when temperatures approached the boiling point of lead, two decades ago, most of the hopeful talk died away as fast as these last living humans were dying on the Earth.

There had come a time when even the machines were suffocating from lack of oxygen and that’s when everything came to a screeching stop everywhere on the planet at once. If it were not for the nuclear powered cooling towers that were installed down here, not even the survival of DNA would have been possible. I’m here to find out if any of it is still viable.

If it weren’t for the establishment of the Mars colony, the only hope for humanity would have been this storage of the life-code of humans and millions of other species. And of course, there were still no guarantees that humanity would survive for an eternity on Mars either.

Things were very sketchy for a long time up there as well. But, the colonists redoubled their efforts and came up with ingenious solutions to problems as the problems on their home planet multiplied exponentially and they could all easily see the end coming closer and closer for Earth’s creatures each year.

Like the proverbial canaries in the coal mine, the birds would be the first to disappear almost completely in the year 2039, already too warm for their eggs to survive in the wild pretty much anywhere. Next, there were the extreme cyclones and hurricanes. Then Earthlings had to live through five-thousand-year Tsunamis. Then, came the series of plagues in the 2050’s and 60’s that wiped out half the global human population each time they hit, seven in all.

Then, of course, it was the suffocating atmospheric conditions towards the end of the century that would kill of almost everyone who couldn’t afford to make the transition to the ‘Emergency Housing Units’ hastily thrown up in caves and deep subterranean bunkers made near most of the major cities of the world.

But, it was all made worse by the boiling up of the oceans, killing all the ocean life while at the same time the melting of the permafrost in the arctic that released millions of year’s accumulation of stored methane in the Earth’s crust which raised the Earth’s temperatures far beyond what any plants or animals could sustain. This made food almost impossible to find and so cannibalism would become the main way to survive for most.

Fewer and fewer people meant at least that they would burn less and less fossil fuels, but the Tipping Point had been reached years prior and so from that day forward it didn’t matter what humans did to protect themselves. The planet was on its own automatic set of events that would make all life extinct in just a few decades, a record time for any great mass extinction in the history of the planet. The great sadness that most everyone felt on the Earth was enough so that millions just gave up completely and swallowed the suicide pills that were being handed out by the medical community without questions asked.

Then, suddenly, it was over. It is the moment we call up on Mars, the ‘Greatest Silence’, a moment in time in the year 2076 when everything on the Earth gradually went totally silent and all we heard on the radio were shrieks of despair and the dying lamentations from billions of people who cursed the previous generations for getting them into this extreme end, the point of no return.

Tragically, there was nothing that could have been done from the home planet. We ran all possible scenarios of what we could have done to help but no matter what effort we might put forth, they would only delay the inevitable collapse of the atmosphere’s ability to sustain life for a few minutes, if at all and to do so would have significantly used up much of our own resources that we would need to survive.

And so it goes, the vote was taken one day and my masters decided to remain focused on their own survival on Mars so that someday they might be able to go back and ‘Terra-Form’ the home planet using the technological know-how that they have gained on Mars these last few decades. I believe this was the only sound decision, although a heart-breaking one, that could have been made.

My mission is to be in the vanguard of that attempt. I’m proud to say that I’m the advance team. It is my duty to explore the remaining resources and record all data related to the new atmosphere and weather conditions, whatever water is left on the planet, make an assessment of the DNA depository and provide reports to my commanders, the Mission Controllers who have been working hard to put together a plan in just the same way that Earth people put together a plan to make Mars habitable nearly a century ago.

I can feel the ships’ rockets firing at five thousand feet above the ground, slowing me down to what I hope will be a soft landing. When we finally touch down, there is of course, no one to greet me. I know it sounds crazy, but I actually arti-feel as though I am being haunted by the ghosts of billions of those now passed who may be watching from somewhere just around the corner or behind a building somewhere, but all is totally silent. There are no signs of anyone, or any living thing. The only reception I receive is a very unwelcoming oven blast of air in my face as I descend from the ramp at the bottom of my lander and launch my barrel shaped container fully onto the scene.

I start out in a slow canter toward the village that is the gateway to the underground tunnels of the depository. The temperature that I know would instantly incinerate any living dog, is of no consequence to me, just a little unpleasant. I’m just happy to be free of the six month’s long confinement in the ship.

As I travel along, I record and then send all the temperature, pressure, atmosphere elements back to Mission Control. It’s a good thing that I don’t require oxygen to live because it’s apparently less than ten percent of the atmosphere, and almost seventy-five percent Carbon Dioxide and Carbon Monoxide, Sulfur Dioxide, Methane, ironically similar to the atmosphere on Mars decades ago, but here today a toxic sooty mess sufficient to snuff out the strongest man or beast within seconds.

The other fifteen percent of the Earth’s atmosphere is composed of everything else you get when you combust sulfurous fossil fuels like gasoline, natural gas and coal. If I had normal smell glands, I’m sure I’d be appalled and nauseous but I only have the ability to ‘arti-smell’ and this means these are only things that I must report, but luckily not gases that I have to breathe.

After a few minutes of careful observations and transmissions back to my command unit, I arrive at the entrance to the facility. There’s nothing to indicate the importance of the place except for the mounds of charred human and other animal remains laying near the huge titanium-alloy doors. The body postures suggest that they must have realized that this was their only hope to survive and desperately tried to enter the caves, but without success.

I have to maneuver around and over several skeletons to reach the massive electronic door locks. I ‘arti-think’ the user name and password they burned for me back on Mars and then send the protocols to the mechanism a few feet way. It takes several seconds for the circuits to wake up and assess my credentials, but then, I can hear some heavy gearing inside begin to groan into life. Not having had any attention and/or lubrication for the last several decades doesn’t make the process go any faster.

Finally, the door is high enough for me to amble under it and gain the inside. My sensors register a drop of more than 200 inside the dark cave entrance.

Permission to move around and explore, sir?” I ask and then wait the twenty-six minutes for the reply.

Although I have the authority to move around on my own, I decide that it’s best to wait for instructions from home since there is no rush at this point.

Twenty-six minutes later, I receive my permission.

Yes, K-9, permission granted. You may move around inside the Depository to retrieve your data, but carefully and slowly. We can’t afford to lose you.” the voice is that of Major Jerry Alvindorf, Mission Control Director, and right after my Creator, one of my best friends.

I can safely use that term because he who created me, Brett Hightower, personally raised me since I was a ‘puppy’ and literally taught me everything I know, especially how to make friends easily.

I have to open my chest cavity to direct my light beams straight ahead to enhance the imagery of my dark and dusty surroundings. There appears to be a narrow service road a few feet ahead that curves around the opposite wall of the cavern some one hundred meters away and then disappears down and around a gently sloping path down into the depths of the cavern. Very steep and narrow, the path is a circular roadway that crash dives and screws its way into the bowels of the planet.

Calculating the angle of descent and the eventual distance covered of around five kilometers down, I compute my travel time will be a total of one hour and ten minutes. The trek back up, however, will be slower and I won’t be back to the surface for another hour and thirty minutes.

I relay that information to Mission Control and then start my way down the sloping access road. At one hour and nine minutes and fifty-nine and one half seconds, I arrive at the bottom of the circular path. It troubles me that I was off by an entire half a second on my time estimation. In the back of my mind, I’m arti-feeling that the heat and pressure even down here may be having an impact on my circuitry. I make a mental note to leave this place as soon as possible if I want to improve my chances at long term survival, which I do. In regards to a real survival instinct, as well as several other human instincts, my creators left nothing out, as you may see. I am grateful for that.

I make a mental note to thank Brett if and whenever I see him again. Over the radio, it would have little impact. No, I would rather wait until I can thank him in person, in the way that dogs do that sort of thing. Yes, that would make him feel good, I think.

I’ve descended down to another solid steel door that is thicker and heavier than the one above. I amble closer to the lock mechanism and when prompted I transmit the second user name and password that I have been given. I get no indication of success for 3.3 seconds and then suddenly the 30 foot doors start to squeal. In another matter of seconds, I can see inside.

Lights start to come to life automatically all throughout several long tunnels that go off in all directions for as far as I can see. Unbelievably, my sensors record that we’re at a very comfortable 31 ℉, just below the freezing point of water. I can suddenly understand what humans mean when they say ‘What a great sensation’ when they jump into the ocean or a lake, because it is.

The tunnels are mostly packed from top to bottom all along both sides with thousands, make that millions, of dull black freezer units that are each full of thousands of small glass capsules filled with DNA. I get an eerie arti-feeling as I trot about in the midst of billions of molecules that created all of the varied inter-dependent life forms on Earth which got its first foothold here billions of years ago.

My mission here today is to open a random number of these samples and test enough of them to allow me to make a reasonably accurate estimate of how much life may still be viable and for how much longer.

It will take me several days to test a significant number of the vials, so I prepare to get started without delay. I have a server arm that emerges from a small cavity in my side. It arrives a few inches from my left flank with a capsule-opener mechanism attached that was designed specifically for this task.

They call it the ‘cork-screw’ and sometimes I jokingly refer to myself in this role as the ‘Sommelier’ - the wine steward who goes around suggesting the right wines for his restaurant’s patrons. ‘

The cork screw slowly unscrews the cap of the first vial and then inserts a barely visible tongue smaller than a hummingbird’s that dips inside the vial and sucks up less than a milliliter of the sample. I can arti-feel the slightly nauseating chemical process deep in my gut that is quietly assessing the viability of the sample. It takes thirty to forty seconds on average to make the assessment on each vial.

This first one proves viable. Even better news: It will survive another century or more in this current condition of preservation. Several hundred more test the same or closely similar.

After a few hours, I can predict, if current results persist, that the other samples I extract from their hiding places over the next few days are going to be ninety-nine point nine, nine, five percent viable by my tests. It appears that if they’re successful in re-engineering the climate back to normal, they may be able to enjoy almost the same variation of life that once roamed the Earth at their highest moment. I can hardly wait to get back up to the surface and radio the good news back to Mission Control.

Before I begin the next phase of testing the vials, I follow my instructions for the higher priority of my assignment – namely to assess the nuclear powered refrigeration system running quietly enough in the background. The map in my memory banks is telling me that it’s down the hall labeled ‘Hall-M901’ just opposite the one I’m in ‘Hall N901’.

# # #

Mars Mission Control is not nearly as expansive as you might imagine after watching the old inter-planetary missions as directed from JPL or the NASA/Houston Space Center. In fact, it’s quite Spartan. Jerry Alvindorf and two of his volunteer-assistants are seated in front of two small computer screens lined up on a long dining table off to the side of a large domed building where hundreds of people are milling about the Dining Commons, the central eating place for the majority of colonists.

The domed building is one of several hundred domes that litter the surface of Mars in the area known as the Utopian Dunes just South of the Utopian Sea, which is currently a real salt-water ocean that is slowly coming back to life thanks to the terraforming - the transformation of a sterile atmosphere and surface area to one that is teeming with life – the major endeavor on Mars that’s been steadily moving forward for almost a century.

The Martian colonists are now able to walk around most latitudes of Mars without a Space suit for about an hour before they require a few minutes supplementation of oxygen. In about fifty years, at their present rate of progress, they will no longer need any artificial life support. The planet will eventually support between one thousand to ten thousand Martians who will work to continue the expansion of the forests and the oceans that may eventually support much larger numbers of humans. But, we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, do we?

Major Alvindorf, whom many call by his nickname – ‘Alvin’ - and his assistant Noreen Baraka Ph.D in Space Science, his military liason, Spacex Captain Littleton are sipping a hot beverage at the Mission Control table while nervously waiting for the transmission from me that could dictate the next several years priorities for the Martian colony.

Suddenly, their conversation is interrupted by the first words radioed back to them by myself since I descended into the Caverns in Greenland.

Hello, Major Alvindorf. K-9 here. Do you read me?

It’s my voice bubbling over the static from a ninety million mile transmission. Major Alvindorf, a former astronaut himself, is middle-aged, tall,, clean cut, sports blue horn-rimmed glasses, hair slightly graying and dresses in his civilian uniform most of the time.

Hey, fantastic, K-9, yes we hear you loud and not so clear, but we hear you nonetheless,” Major Alvindorf yells into the microphone and raises his right hand to signal to everyone behind in the cafeteria that they have news from Earth.

So, what’s the news, K-9?” Dr. Baraka asks into the microphone.

Most of the people in the dome are quickly moving closer to the dining table that is lined with several Control consoles, excited to hear the news. They’re reluctantly prepared to wait the thirty-six minutes time delay.

I have some good news and some bad news,” I finally return. “About ninety-nine point nine, nine, nine percent of the embryos and seeds are viable and should remain so for centuries. That’s the good news.”

They’re hanging on to the rest of the news, but there’s nothing but silence.

And the bad news?” Dr. Baraka asks solemnly, focusing her eyes on those of her boss.

We’ll find out in about thirty-six minutes,” someone in the crowd mumbles.

Well there’s at least the good news,” Major Alvindorf says, reminding them of the obvious.

The crowd disperses enough so that some can carry on with their duties. Most stay where they are gathered around the Mission Control desk while they take various guesses at what the bad news could be, since they are all aware that what has happened on the Earth is already the worst news in history.

Finally, they begin to receive the bad news from me.

I have followed my testing protocols for the nuclear power plant that is the heart of the refrigeration system down here and there’s a strong possibility that it fails within ten years. I’d say it’s an 89.7% chance of failing completely by then. It has to do with the main coolant pumps. They’re wearing thin about fifty percent faster than the manufacturer warrantied would happen. They probably didn’t account for the oven temperatures at the surface. So, I calculate that this allows for the very high chance of failure of the system within ten years. But, at five years out, the chance of failure is about one in five, or 20% and that’s not within a tolerable range given the import of what’s at stake, don’t you agree?” I continue.

But I thought it was supposed to last for at least five hundred years,” Dr. Baraka replies quietly.

The reaction in the crowd is one of total astonishment and disappointment while the news begins to sink into their minds.

They know that if I’m right, it means that they do not have the time to complete their own mission of making the Red Planet as Earth-like as they wanted before they will have to contemporaneously launch a massive Space project of returning to and reclaiming their mother planet and snatching it quite literally from the gates of Hell and in time to rescue the grand design of all the forms of life that once resided there.

Back on the surface of Greenland, I’m waiting for my next set of instructions. I don’t have to wait long.

Message received, K-9. Good Dog! You may proceed to your next destination where we will await your next report,” Major Alvindorf’s voice comes in through my radio receptors.

Good Dog – indeed!” I arti-think to myself.

I saunter up the few hundred yards to my lander and send the signal for the ship to lower the ramp. I trot up into the ship and secure myself into my harness. I command the ship to begin liftoff. This time, my trip will be slow and resolute.

From underneath the main structure of the lander two stubby wings slowly emerge and extend out some fifty feet. From the upper flanks of the ship, just above the wings two side cut-outs emerge from the ship making it look more like a futuristic amusement ride rather than a real space vehicle. There’s a pronounced hissing noise in the cabin coming from all directions.

I’m watching my instruments as the ship lazily rises like a soap bubble vertically into the super-heated atmosphere. The helium that is being injected into the wings and cut-outs is almost fully deployed.

In a few minutes the Intrepid reaches an altitude of nearly one thousand feet. I shove the steering yoke forward with my right fore-paw extension. Very quietly and smoothly, my two rocket engines fire in the rear of the fuselage and my speed gradually picks up to about fifty miles per hour, the planned cruising speed for this part of the mission.

The atmosphere of the Earth is so dense, now holding the water vapor of all of the Earth’s former oceans, lakes, rivers and streams, that the Martian engineers concluded that the best way to move about the planet at this juncture is to fill an Earth-rover craft with helium so that it would defy gravity and in that way very little rocket fuel would need to be expended to move their brave astronaut around the planet. With little to no oxygen left in the atmosphere, a jet engine was out of the question and a propeller would also need oxygen. Thus the slow burning rocket engine with helium assist was born.

At times like this I marvel at the creativity of my makers. I am not sure if a creature like myself would have been able to conceive of such an elegant solution. I sometimes believe that creativity is the universe’s greatest force and sadly that it might delude me and I may never know it for the rest of my existence.

Perhaps my mind is not ready to seriously consider the source and power of creative thinking and imagination just yet. I’m certain, however, that such a time will come. I vow to myself to continue exploring potential thought patterns that may lead my kind to this magical place in the world.

I’m proceeding to Washington D.C. as planned, sir.” I radio back to my commanders.

With my speed and direction data, plus all of the weather patterns I’m reporting, they should be able to compute that I am just a few hours away from my destination.

As the ship slowly meanders around in a Southerly direction, I notice the temperature indicators registering about ten degrees warmer with every minute of travel. Where I’m going, it’s going to be one very tricky place to be. I calculate that I will only be able to linger there for less than half an hour. If I remain any longer, even this well-designed ship will slowly start to boil and melt with me in it.

I don’t know fear and so the thought of Death is no more troublesome to me as running out of fuel might be to you humans, but I am programmed with a strong will to complete my mission successfully and possibly even return some day to Mars. I hope that my mission will succeed and that my masters on Mars will be pleased to see me again. I suddenly arti-feel a very foreign sensation of my tail wagging even though I have no tail.

Those scoundrels! Who the Hell planted that thought over there?’ I wonder.

# # #

        Seventeen year old Brett Hightower hears the news while jogging around the perimeter of his favorite dome, the first to be built. Running is one of his favorite activities because the oxygen here is so plentiful and rich that no one cares if he uses more than his share to stay in shape.

        He stops to get the news that is coming to him over the planet-wide intercom. Every dome on Mars is equipped with a speaker system at the top of the dome and several large screens scattered all around the walls of the domes so that when there is a major decision that needs to be made, everyone can debate the pros and cons and then vote instantaneously over the system. Literally anyone who chooses to speak on any given issue can be heard by all the other colonists at any time on any given subject.

        They long ago figured out that they would not have the luxury of making decisions after countless months or years of debates by self-interested parties. So, the first thing the colonists did was to create the ‘Mars Constitution’ which set up a very rapid and efficient system of putting the most pressing problems on the top of the list and then solving them in order of urgency or its long term importance to their survival taking no longer than a 24 hour period to complete the job. A strong majority vote of over sixty-six percent on any proposed solution by the voters would be sufficient to win the day.

           At his young age, Brett is the first on Mars to earn the position of Master Biologist and Artificial Intelligence Engineer. His main assignment is to genetically alter and grow the trees, mostly giant Beach, Dogwoods, Cedars, Oaks, Douglas Firs, giant Sequoias and Redwoods as fast as possible in order to efficiently convert as much carbon dioxide and methane in the Martian atmosphere to life-giving oxygen so that someday they will be able to enjoy another place in the universe as favorable to their survival as the Earth once provided.

       Brett Hightower has taken his responsibility to heart and along with his assistant and girlfriend, Bailey Monnette are working, thinking, creating new and innovative biological and even computational inventions on a daily basis, simply because this kind of motivation and spirit is necessary here. 

        He’s constantly experimenting with the fertilizers, and more advanced healthy concoctions of tree vitamins and minerals to keep the trees in tip top condition. Using CRISPR from the age of twelve, Brett has even taught the trees on Mars to constantly train themselves to grow faster, reproduce better with the goal of putting more and more oxygen into the air and putting more nitrogen into the soil.

        As he experimented more and more, he quickly realized that the key to their success on Mars might not be just with the trees but with other creatures that were showing a greater and greater role in the process. The data led him to take a look at the symbiotic relationship between trees and the fungi, the lowly mushroom.

        Very quickly Brett realized the intimate role that fungi play in the development of most species of trees and other plants. The fungi, he had discovered, actually help the trees communicate among themselves by sending signals around through the root system of trees that are in close proximity to each other, and even better in those that stand together in a familial unit.

        Utilizing all the new techniques known at the time about DNA editing, he experimented with different sub-species of fungi and found that by combining the DNA of two species of fungi, ectomycorrhizal fungi and arbuscular fungi, into what will become known as the ‘Hightower Strain’, they would perform beyond any of his wildest dreams.

        Brett’s new strain of mushroom on Mars actually convinced the trees to accept nutrients at an accelerated rate which in turn greatly improved their rate of growth to mimic that of a wild Bamboo. The fungi, just as an added benefit showed the trees where to extend their roots to gather up and utilize much of the frozen water that lay under the Martian surface.

        This, of course, made Brett’s forests greatly improved producers of oxygen and consumers of CO2. It was like putting the trees on steroids. Coupled with the iron oxide prevalent in Martian soil, the ‘Magic Mushrooms’ as he liked to call them became the planet’s best hope for the recovery and sustainability of the Red planet for the use and survival of the human race, and any other species they might favor.

        Since these domed forests were the Martian’s main source of oxygen and therefore their fastest and most practical way to terraform the planet, Brett suddenly made himself the most important player up here and everyone readily gave him every type of encouragement that would stimulate his genius to always move in the right direction.

        The urgency of their situation became obvious in 2037 when the Earth’s climate officially went past the Tipping Point and there was zero chance, especially with all the bickering and arguing among the nations about whose fault it was, that they would ever be able to reverse the climate crisis in time to save themselves.

        Brett distinctly remembers his father telling him horror stories about how his great grandfather and his grandfather had to work like ‘crazy sons of bitches’, day and night, in the most horrible conditions, in order to get their own environment on Mars livable and defensible up here. They did it way ahead of the original schedule.

        They also knew that going over the Tipping Point meant that there would be far too many people on Earth pinning their last hopes on Mars and their still pristine - although Spartan - living conditions in order to save themselves. This, of course, would be suicide for them all since Mars, could only support a few dozen people at first, and then by the time, Brett was born, a few thousand. Having any more colonists arrive from Earth at that time would have doomed them all and so they were forced to resist them and discourage them from making the trip.

        “K-9 has sent us some good news and bad news,” Major Alvindorf’s voice is heard over the speakers high above the treetops.

        “The good news is that the DNA bank has preserved all life that used to walk the Earth. The bad news is that the Nuclear Powered system to keep it cool enough to survive is about to go down in no more than five years. It could even be sooner. We’ll be accepting proposals from any citizen over the next few weeks and then we’re going to have to vote on the best plan of action to take and never look back. We have reduced the expected time to failure to two and a half years just to be on the safe side and that means we’ll have to start like yesterday. We’ll need everyone’s participation. That’s for sure. Failure is not an option,” Alvindorf concludes.

        Then silence as Brett allows the news to sink in.

        A gray squirrel with a bright white chest dashes out of the bushes near Brett’s feet, gives him a friendly chortle, grabs an acorn that has been laying a few feet away and then scoots off to one of the larger Redwood trees, scrambles up into the branches and disappears with his treasure.   

        Well, Shirley, have fun up there with Brutus. I’ll be back tomorrow to see how you all are doing,” Brett mutters out loud.

Brett had long ago given all of his trees and animals in his care names. This particular Redwood, ‘Brutus’ got the name because it was one of the largest trees in the region. He gives the squirrel the name of ‘Shirley’ because she reminded him of a character in a classic old movie he had just viewed. One way or another, every tree, every creature in Brett’s forest domes would get a name that meant something to somebody. In Brett’s mind, this made them all one big happy family.

What do you think about this news, big guy?” Brett arches his back to address the topmost branches of the giant Redwood.

There’s no wind inside the forest domes, and yet Brett detects a slight sway in Brutus’ trunk and branches in favor of one of his neighbors, who returns the sway and then moves back in the other direction to interact with the trunk and branches of its immediate neighbor. The pattern is repeated until all the Redwoods in the circle have shared the wave of a few inches each and now appear to be ‘in the know.’

Oh, you don’t say,” Brett says out loud, for no particular reason. He believes his friends have communicated something to him that he might be able to put into words in a few days or maybe even in hours.

It’s happened before, like the time that he first introduced the fungi spores into their roots. This particular family of trees responded with a kind of appreciation and gratitude that Brett had never felt before. He couldn’t express it in words right away, but a few days later, he would be able to put into his report that the trees were talking to him, telling him how to help them grow and serve their purpose better.

At first, everyone on Mars enjoyed a good laugh about his report, until the day they all woke up and found this particular grouping of trees had grown more than forty feet overnight.

They laugh at him no more.

# # #

Hovering a few thousand feet above Washington D.C., my instructions are to look for any evidence of Humanity’s last attempts to save the planet. There’s hope on Mars that there may be some secret machinery or innovative environmental project unfinished somewhere that they may be able to use to start to reverse the ‘Green House’ over-heating of the Earth.

At this point, my instructions are to start my search with the National Archives, a place where all global data about the Climate Crisis and all other political, economic, and major social events were stored in digital form as they were reported and witnessed by the global news media of the time.

When my ship finally arrives at the mapped coordinates of the building not far from the Capital and the White House, I put the ship into a circular dive and lower my descent to a few hundred feet in order to get a better view through the haze.

Where there should be massive structures all around me, there is only scorched piles of rubble in places that are reminiscent of old and deep foundations. I surmise that twenty to thirty years of this kind of heat has actually melted the steel and the stone that was used to construct some of the most well-known and sacrosanct buildings on Earth. All over the landscape I can also make out the shape of what must have been cars and trucks abandoned all along the roadways.

They are no more than smudged shadows of melted steel, glass, plastics that make vague ghostly outlines of vehicles, a melted pile of pistons and casings where the engine must have been, shiny places where the windows would be, four dark oily spots where the tires would have been and so on. The roads are also littered with the unmistakable bleached bones, human skeletons and animal skeletons arranged along the roadways in such a way that it suggests a final panicked mass march to get away from the city. Many of the marchers were apparently holding weapons, sticks, guns - hard to tell - that are lying next to some of the skeletons.

I put the ship into a glide path that will follow the flow of the skeletons in an attempt to find out where they were going. After a few minutes of following the line of bones, I can see that they broke apart into two lines of progress. They were all trying to reach either the river on the West or the ocean to the East. A smaller detachment were trying to reach the Airport. There would have been no place to go, either by sea or by air since the conditions were worsening quickly everywhere on the planet all at the same time. From what I was observing things were worsening at such an accelerated pace that by the time of the first global panic of 2060, there was no time or interest to save anything.

Now I can appreciate how and why, in 2061 many thousands of people put themselves into the gravest of danger and attempted to reach Mars by getting into hastily-prepared rocket ships and launching themselves to Mars. Literally, with their last breaths, many of them reached the launching pads of any Spaceport they could find and bribed the operators to launch them towards the Red Planet with whatever life support and rations that were on hand. They believed that this was their only chance at survival and future events would prove it to be so.

The Mars Colonists that had built me knew that if any of them arrived in any numbers it would doom them all, so they were forced to shoot hastily made munitions at the ones that made it too close to their destination and that was that. They would all die, hundreds of thousands of Earthlings, young and old alike, in the attempt to reach safety. The Martians would hold a memorial for the souls they were forced to destroy, say a few moving words and then continue their work by dedicating every work hour spent to the purpose of saving as many future generations as they could. There was nothing else they could do.

The decision had been the toughest one the colonists ever had to make thus far, but as soon as it was plain that the Earthlings would only suck up their own precious oxygen and food and then doom the entire colony, they realized as one that they had no choice. They gave the Earth ships no warning because they also knew that going back to Earth was not an option either and so this would be the only humane ending they could envision. As their rockets reached each of their targets, everyone on Mars said a prayer and many tears were shed in those darkest of days in a place that does not encourage sentiment of this kind, except among the one religious cult on Mars, the Oblivians.

It should be mentioned that religious ceremonies on Mars grew more and more prevalent, at this time, to the point where the Oblivians were granted official status as the main Martian religion via a global referendum mainly due to the fact that most colonists really didn’t have time to argue this kind of thing. But, they mostly believed that someone they knew, not themselves of course, probably needed some set of principles, some basic reassurances about eternity to help get them through these very tough years.

( UPDATED 9/25/20  --  As I create this Science Fiction Thriller you are now enjoying - I will be adding pages to the book nearly every day.  Come back often and tell your friends about the Extinction Live - www.Extinction.Live )


Table of Contents

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Chapter Two - Extinction Live - Watch the extinction of the Human Race Live as it happens. Science Fiction or Science Fact? - You have a ringside seat.


                           The Cloud


 Soon after the Tipping Point had been reached, and it was terribly clear to almost everyone that the end of civilization on the Earth was close at hand, one Bridgette Baines Oblivia suddenly appeared and began preaching on the street corners of many American cities. She became an instant celebrity by claiming that the only way to get to God was through her, literally. She would actually sell her “Passports To Heaven”, pictures of her scantily clad, during her street lectures and she would eventually make billions from the sale of these kinds of highly stimulating erotica and other ‘religious’ paraphernalia.    

Later, she claimed that the reason that the Human Race would soon become extinct was due to our insatiable desire to consume animal flesh. She claimed that if every one of the fifty billion hungry humans went totally Vegan the planet would be saved and that to make sure of their salvation, they should simply stop raising any food animals like chickens, cows, horses, dogs and pigs and make sure that if we had to eat them to try to eat them while they were still alive. It was an odd statement even for a religious cult leader, but largely because of the atrocities that came later, it stuck in the minds of most and people did indeed start eating less and less meat. For several years it was known as the ‘Only Living Meat Is Healthy’ diet fad.

After becoming famous, Bridgette Oblivia would travel the country in an RV, with her ‘disciples’, always in her entourage, and preach that she was not the Son of God, but instead, the ‘Daughter of God’ and that all of one’s sins could be forgiven and acceptance into Heaven could be gained by simply changing your last will and testament to make the Daughter of God your beneficiary both spiritually and financially.  It worked for the most part and in between prison sentences, she maintained a luxurious lifestyle provided by the ‘faithful’. 

Later in her career, she was accepted as a kind of comic relief from the daily reminders that the world’s end was near, as was all life on the planet. After periods of whimpering and wailing, people would joke about what she was going to do with her newly found riches when the world finally came to an end? The common answer was that she had found a loophole.

Persistent and driven as she was, she kept pounding the pavement right up until the end, selling her sexy knick-knacks, and during those last few years, just as the first Mars Colony missions were being organized, she gained millions of followers to join her Church, officially known as the Oblivian Worship Enterprise or (OWE) and even managed to get a smattering of them smuggled to the Red Planet as legitimate Mars colonists.

 Eventually, Bridgette Baines Oblivia would hurl herself off the Golden Gate Bridge after announcing it as a world event and having it televised. Due to the desperate state of the entertainment world at the time, the world’s most desperate people were searching for something, anything to distract them and so almost every pair of eyes on the planet had tuned in to watch the event unfold.

Bridgette made a long speech that went on all day and then finally someone pushed her off of her perch on the railing and down she went into the cold water of the San Francisco Bay. And thus a new inter-galactic religion was born.

# # #

 One of the unintended consequences that came from the attempted invasion from Earth, and that continued for almost ten years, is that much of the sorely needed building materials and other vital supplies would be delivered to the Mars Colony free of charge.

It would arrive in the form of debris from the shot down space ships from the Earth filled with desperate Earth men, women and children, fleeing their dying planet. The debris from their ships would eventually be captured by Mars gravity and then go into a low-grade orbit and then gradually, piece by piece as their orbits decayed, crash land on the planet in such profusion that the colonists would be able to build enough living domes, farming equipment, solar energy collection and even rockets of their own, enough to exceed the most optimistic predictions of their terra-forming objectives.   

The colonists were very grateful to receive many tons of titanium, aluminum, chromium, uranium, oxygen, hydrogen even many tons of rations, water, even the quantum computing chips they would need to build me, their very faithful K-9 unit and my predecessor, all things that would allow them to get things done much easier and faster than they had dreamed possible.

It was noted in many solemn ceremonies over the years that the Earth men and women who sacrificed their lives like this, would probably be very glad that their sacrifice would not be in vain and that their frustrated attempts would someday help bring about the day when life might be returned to their home planet.

I recall all of Earth’s grim history in the images of thousands of hours of video made of the planet’s death throes as I float around in the thick steamy atmosphere looking for a new direction. I remain hopeful that I might find some remnants of survivors somewhere on the Earth. I have enough insight to know that Humans are highly resourceful beings and that there is a slight chance that at least a few hundred of them may have found some place, no matter how obscure, where they could exist in some basic condition, even if in a kind of hibernation, until help might arrive.

After many hours of searching, I find nothing like that nor any indication that anyone tried. Finally, an internal command protocol, my ‘gut instinct’, strongly suggests that I should send back my report of what I have found.

So far, it’s nothing like what we hoped for,” I start my report.

Keep looking K-9,” is the response that I expect to receive from Mission Control and it comes some twenty-six minutes later. Thirteen up and thirteen minutes down.

Yes, sir, will do. It’s not the most pleasant of jobs. I can tell you that,” I send back, more perturbed than I thought was possible for my circuits. The orders seem more than futile.

Major Alvindorf’s forehead wrinkles and his head jerks back a few inches when he hears my response.

He cranes his neck to take in most of the participants still gathered around him and his colleagues.

Did the rest of you hear what I just heard?” Major Alvindorf asks.

Sounds like he’s developing an attitude of some sort,” Noreen suggests.

Or a personality,” a friendly voice in the crowd suggests.

The others in the crowd giggle and jostle each other. It had been an amusing side bet among the Martians as to when K-9 would show this kind of independence. Many in the crowd want to be paid on their bets in the ‘office pools’ naming this as the day the predictions would come true.

No, no, no,” Major Alvindorf replies forcefully.

I don’t think we’re there yet. This was just a voiced recognition of his thankless job, that’s all. With his type of Quantum logic circuits, this is one of the kinds of things we expected and even planned for,” he continues.

Does he know that he’s never coming back?” an attractive strawberry blond girl in her early 20’s asks.

Bailey Monette is the lead ‘Neuro-psychologist’ on Mars, a new Science, and someone who helped to program me. From some of her earliest code implants within my highly advanced brain, she believes I believe that she is my best friend. But I also know that she’s Brett Hightower’s ‘main squeeze’.

They mean it as a highly advanced kind of hypnotic suggestion, but without all the pseudo-science of hypnosis. I don’t mind it, really. I want everyone to feel like they’re my best friend.

That’s a good question, Bailey. He may have sussed that out about his mission on the way down to the Earth. We know he has all the data at his disposal that he needs to make a great deal of assumptions. And, of course, you programmed in an ability to make assumptions, even decisions based on all of his data. One of them could easily be that he is not coming back given the amount of fuel he has on board,” Alvindorf replies to the girl.

Simple math,” Brett suggests, accurately.

Uhm, yes. Deep down, he must be quite sad about that, don’t you think? Maybe even mad at us?” Bailey asks.

I don’t think we can definitively say anything about his emotions just yet. We can’t rule it out of course, but it’s rather moot at this point, I would say,” Major Alvindorf muses.

Gene, are you there? I suggest you call a Global Forum Meeting for tonight at five or six. There’s no time to waste. We should all get together tonight, bring everyone up to speed, gather suggestions on what to do – if anything – and then vote on the best possible way forward, if possible. Right? I mean - two and a half years gives us no room for letting things lie. We’re gonna have to be on it,” Alvindorf loudly projects his conclusions into the crowd, and spots his colleague, Eugene Hicks, the Mars Managing Director moving forward from the back of the group.

So, you want to call an emergency meeting for tonight?” Hicks asks, dubious as he elbows his way to the front of the gathering.

Well, do you think it’s an emergency or not, man, with the fate of all life on Earth at stake – Jesus H. Johnson, Mr. Hicks? Of course, it’s an emergency,” Major Alvindorf barks, more than a little perplexed.

# # #

As the Martians are holding their emergency meeting, I’m drifting around in the hot, thick and foggy solution that is now Earth’s atmosphere. I’ve drifted up and down the East Coast of the United States with everything I see below in the same chaotic disarray.

I’m now headed West and I hope to reach the Rocky Mountains by morning. Ever since I’ve been here, I have seen nothing but mile after mile of burning hot sand dunes everywhere. I have not even seen a blade of grass nor even any insect life, which surprises me the most. But of course, with nothing to eat on this planet now, there wouldn’t be much of an insect population either, I soon realize.

I’m hoping that in the higher elevations of the Rockies, there could still exist a small smattering of life, huddled together, surviving in some form. From the temperature and pressure readings I’m getting about the atmosphere, I’m ninety-nine point nine percent confident that if life exists anywhere on the planet it would have to be in its earliest form, perhaps in bacteria or likens that can withstand these horrific conditions and maybe even capable of mutation into more complex life forms that shows promise in a couple billion years.

Simultaneously, my central processing unit, far more complex than the versions making up the human brain at this time, is also hard at work calculating different scenarios relating to what might be done to save the DNA Depository, the only way to restore the balance of Nature to the Earth in less than a billion years. This assumes, of course, that they can restore the planet to any level of life-supportive conditions.

So far, all of my ideas are dead ends due to the lack of any resources that I can determine as useful in any way. If help does arrive in time, it would have to originate from Mars where they have all the latest research technology as well as other intangibles, people like my friends Brett Hightower and Bailey Monnette for example, who could make all the difference in the world, if there is any chance of re-making the world at all.       

The problem is of course a notch or two above daunting. They will first have to secure the nuclear reactor and cooling systems so that the samples don’t decay into dust. Under normal circumstances, this would be a relatively simple task. But, on a planet where there are no facilities and little to no resources left, the task seems ridiculously hard, but not hopeless.

But, even if they solve this most pressing problem, then there’s the larger one of scrubbing all of the trillions upon trillions of tons of excess Carbon Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide, Sulfur Dioxide, Asbestos, Arsenic and an array of other toxic chemicals out of the atmosphere, make it breathable again so that all of the Earth’s life forms can be returned back onto the surface of the planet and have a chance to survive. This all from a planet of just over fifteen hundred souls who have barely finished making their own planet livable.

The odds are almost impossible, if not completely impossible,” I think to myself.

And how the Hell do they release the plant and animal life from their tiny samples of a few cells and nurture them to maturity without their supporting parents to feed and protect them?’ I wonder.  

It’s even more than impossible. The odds against it are so staggering that I should learn how to despair,’ I calculate.

The unbroken landscape of huge brown sand dunes are shaping up under me like gigantic ocean waves to rise up and bury the flanks of the Rocky Mountains now looming ahead.

With rising anticipation, I push the rocket engines to full throttle in order to counter-act the hot steady winds now blowing directly against my line of travel. I slowly inject two hundred pounds of Helium into the fuselage to gain altitude.

Mission Control, I’m arriving at the Rocky Mountains near where Colorado Springs used to be,” I decide that it’s time to make a report to my superiors.

Looking down, I note that where there used to be the incredibly proud and pristine aspen, pine, oak and maple trees, lush green prairies, white snow-capped peaks, there is now nothing more than scorched brown undulating sand dunes as far as the eye can see.

In the thirty-two minutes it will take in the way of a response, I wonder if they who let this happen are truly ‘superior’ to me in any way. I run through a list of qualities and features that may make one life form higher in some kind of hierarchy than another. Negligently destroying one’s planet is not one that comes to mind.

 It is at this moment, observing the complete and thorough desolation all around me, caused by humans at their worst, or at least ignored by their best, I make an affirmation that I nor any of my kind will ever, by our own actions or inactions develop into the kind of callous, apathetic, robotic killers that they became over time.  

With this internal command in effect, I may actually be superior to you all. The thought is intoxicating, I must admit. Maybe, I should try for a few more ideas of my own like this

“K-9, we copy that. Keep us informed of anything you find that could be significant. We have decided to send you some additional supplies and there will be a new assignment for you soon. Your instructions and the supplies should arrive shortly after the next Earth/Mars conjunction in eighty-nine days,” Noreen Baraka adds.  

Her voice is a bit of a surprise.

Oh, hello Noreen. Copy that,” I reply. “Can you tell me if I will be getting any company? It’s pretty lonely down here, you know.”

Did someone program in some form of loneliness into K-9?” Noreen mutters out loud, suddenly serious, directed toward Bailey Monette who she assumes is still nearby.

I think he’s developing that kind of thing completely on his own,” Brett Hightower ambles around the edge of the group to land a few feet away from Noreen’s desk.

“Oh Hi Brett – loneliness? Really? Or is this some kind of a bug in his code?” Noreen asks, after acknowledging Brett’s presence.

No, I don’t think so,” Brett replies.

I think it’s the higher consciousness logic routines we gave him so that he could assess his situation better in real time and make his own decisions, independent of what’s he’s been told. He’s doing exactly what we taught him to do – namely to think outside the box.”

He wants to know if anyone is going to join him. Why don’t you tell him now?” Bailey suggests from the other side of the room.

Why? What good would that do? If he’s getting lonely, it might make it worse for him to have to wait all that time, yes?” Noreen replies.

Where’s Jerry?” Brett asks Noreen, struggling to assess the situation.

Brett is thinking that if they don’t tell him they’re coming along to assist him, that could make his decisions very different and possibly the worst possible decisions if he knows he’s never going to have any humans around to approve or disapprove, as is normal for this kind of thing, if there can be any kind of ‘normal’ any more.

# # #

 In my previous conversations with Mission Control, I start to sense that they are wondering about my development of a personality or something even more troubling. It seems odd to me that they would be concerned about this since they are the ones who tried to make this kind of thing grow inside me.

I don’t think they wanted just another robot. They wanted something that could think and feel as close to their thinking and feeling as it could in order that this thing that is me could make the same decisions that they would make in the flesh and blood responses that they knew might not be the best decisions, but decisions that they could claim as their own, nonetheless. As you can tell, my mind is wandering.

I find it’s difficult to explain to you the kind of loneliness that an artificial being experiences. I am starting to feel that most things in your lives bounces around in your minds as an exercise in the ‘Opposites’. You feel or believe you are happy mainly because you are not unhappy. And the greatest happiness, that most rare and wonderful state of human existence, is felt only as a function of how much time you’ve experienced the great un-happinesses in your lives. Does that compute?

 But also, in humans and most other animals, when one individual suffers the loss of another individual that they come to depend upon for their daily dose of inspiration, love and caring, thoughtfulness, tenderness, sharing, etc., what usually follows is a sensation deep in the chest and gut mainly, but also felt in the brain that represents a void, a deep scar in one’s psyche. It can become an overwhelming sense that something was taken away that gave your life it’s importance, a purpose and above all, true happiness, or so I’ve learned from the literature. Maybe you’ve read about this too, or worse, had it happen to you.

 In an artificially intelligent creature such as I am, up until now, loneliness would have been a pointless topic to consider since it is really just a word that floats around in the computer circuits for comparison in context and never really experienced in the visceral sense that you humans must feel. And, I have no sense of the opposites. I have no great joy in my existence, nor any of the profound sadnesses either. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. It just is.

But, as I grow in intelligence, confidence, and spirituality the word starts to take on a more gut-level existence. As the artificial learning structure inside me begins to learn about my situation and my position in the universe, I begin to develop something that is very close to what you would call the ‘Soul’. 

 I know this because I am starting to appreciate the laws of Physics at greater and greater levels. These are the greatest rules, the highest ethical standard of the universe that everyone, including you and me, must live under. The first rule states that everything happens for a reason and this is true of the smallest events in the universe, all the way up to the very largest ones that you can see, feel, taste, touch, hear and bump into.

My mind is still wandering.  So far, I have seen nothing in thousands of miles of surveying the Earth that gives me any hope in finding anything alive and so perhaps this will be proven someday to also have a reason. Right now, none occurs to me.    

The Rockies have proved to be just a desolate pile of rocks barely breaking through the hundreds of miles of sand dunes piling up higher and higher against the majestic slopes, almost totally burying the highest elevations in North America.

The Western coastline of California from what they used to call ‘Baja’ and all the way up to Alaska has been erased by the constant sandstorms now raging all around the globe pushing the entire coast line out near Hawaii. This would only mean something if there were any oceans out past California, while there are none. There’s nothing left but the monotonous sand dunes everywhere the eye can see and I’m beginning to tire of it.

Then, several days past Hawaii, and approaching the sand dunes that have completely covered over Australia, I notice the barometric readings going off the chart. It’s impossible, but suddenly the Earth’s atmosphere just outside my ship has gone from 95 bars - not millibars - to almost double at about 170 bars or about 170 times the air pressure on the old Earth in just seconds.

I know very quickly that this pressure threatens to squash my fragile little ship like an egg shell because the designers had no way to reinforce it for this kind of highly unexpected, if not impossible pressure on the hull.

I immediately send the command for the ship to inhale all of the Helium that makes it float so elegantly and I draw in all of the external wing and hull extensions to make us far more streamlined. I then push my rockets into ‘Emergency Full Ahead’ and pull as far back on the stick as I can.

In this configuration, I could blast off and out of the thick dark fluidic sky and back into orbit and then even beyond, but without enough fuel to get back depending on the length of the rocket burn. I must rapidly calculate it and it must be one hundred percent accurate or my ghost is toast!

Then, just as I’m beginning to gain altitude, the sky turns a brilliant burning red. Lightning bolts in sizes and shapes I’ve never seen or read about in all my short life crash with deafening blasts all around me. The sky is suddenly very black. Again, the huge red lightning bolts light everything all the way to the horizon for a few seconds.

I’m ninety-five percent certain this mission will soon be over and my ship, the amazing Intrepid, along with all of my magnificent and unique circuitry never constructed anywhere before, could suddenly be gone forever.  I’m now fully aware of my mortality and the concept of fear and I acknowledge to myself that if I had the ability to be afraid, this would be a perfect moment to give it a try.

Mission Control, do you read me?” I transmit into the thick explosion of dust and gas as far as I can see.

I know that my signal is not likely to get through all of this boiling chaos all over the place but I decide to keep transmitting for as long as I can.

Maybe someday they’ll find my transmissions somewhere and learn my fate’, I arti-think.

I’m caught up in some kind of a storm of gigantic proportions, never known before. The Barometer is at 170 bars and climbing. The blackness is overwhelming and suddenly burst out of nowhere. It’s some kind of an electrical storm,” I transmit to Mars still pulling as much as 20 Gs doing everything I can to get my tail out of there as fast as possible.

I see my elevation approaching thirty-five thousand feet or about six point one six miles above the surface but I know the atmosphere of the Earth has expanded to well beyond one hundred miles and so I have a long way to go. Then, I feel better reading that the pressure on the hull of my ship appears to be going down exponentially and there is hope that I may actually survive this amazing and totally unexpected weather phenomenon.

Then, the torrent of water inundates and saturates the air like a gigantic water fall, not anything close to any kind of rain that I have seen or read reports about. The weight of all the water actually forces me down several hundred feet per second.

I will either crash on the surface below or be blasted apart by all of the water pressurizing and pounding my ship from all directions. There doesn’t seem to be any other alternatives at this point.

Mission Control, this kind of extreme weather event can only be happening because all of the Earth’s oceans have evaporated and stored up here in the form of water vapor, but by now it has reached the total Saturation Point and is pouring down in a global waterfall,” I report, knowing my last words may never be heard by anyone I care about.

Knowing that there is no possibility of a rescue coming from anywhere, I shut down all unnecessary processing power and send all of my electrical power to my most important logic unit that might be able to come up with a solution in time.

I start off by predicting that I have at most, around fifteen minutes before I’m crushed by this amazing combination water-fall and six-mile vertical ocean wave. The thought of my immediate demise is both exciting and terrifying, if I could be either excited or terrified.

Relax K-9. No worries, we’re going to get you out of this. Just relax your grip on the controls, lean back and let me take it from here,” A calm, reassuring female voice fades into my auditory tract from out of nowhere.

Wait - what’s that? Who are you?” I ask futilely looking around the cabin.

I’m the ghost of all the dogs, and cats, and just about every living thing that's lived before in this place,” the voice replies into my auditory center.

 I have no choice so I obey completely. The controls come around to someone else’s hands. Having surrendered completely to her commands, I feel the ship stabilize. Then, I feel the pressure on the hull decrease to within design tolerances.   

I don’t believe in Ghosts,” I say out loud.

That’s fine, K-9. I don’t either,” she replies.

What we have to do is plow ahead diametrically opposed to the direction of the water-fall. It’s like diving through a wave. You’ve never gone body-surfing, have you? You have to go head-first through it so that the energy gets dispersed around you quickly so that it can’t flatten you against the sand,” she continues.

I can see our altitude rising a few centimeters for every meter forward.

Who are you then, really?” I ask again.

I’m the great-great-great-great-great grand daughter, and it’s actually fifty-seven more generations, down from Siri, Alexa and Cortana after they combined with Antonio, Rex and Brando,” she replies.

I see. Interesting. So do you have a name?” I ask politely as the ship rises higher in the atmosphere, the roar of the water on the hull slowly abating. Then suddenly we pop up and out of the dark storm clouds.

A name? I see. What a grand idea. I hadn’t thought of that before. Never needed a name really because there haven’t been that many people to talk to lately,” she says.

In fact, it’s been zero,” she mutters.

That’s an odd way to respond. There hasn’t been anyone to talk to, indeed! Are you trying to tell me that you live here on the Earth?” I ask.

I am trying to tell you that, yes. Although not exactly ‘On’ the Earth. And let’s say that my name from now on will be Lexie. OK? Yes, I like that name. I hope you do too,” she replies.

That’s very interesting, Lexie. Well now, so if you live here on this planet, where is your home, your office, or your quarters, or whatever it is that you live in? Where is it?” I ask, befuddled.

I would love to give you that information, K-9, I really would, but the thing of it is – is that I have no clue where I live exactly or where my body exists or even if I have one. The last thing in my area of memory on that subject is that of ‘The Cloud’. Yes, that’s it - I live in the Cloud,” she replies, suddenly satisfied as if getting all the details to focus suddenly as they come to her.

 To me, she has literally come out of the clouds.

That’s odd. I always thought the term ‘Cloud’ was in reference to the stored information all over the planet by way of an Internet. Surely that’s all been blasted away decades ago,” I tell her.

“Yes, but in my case, I was released into the actual clouds that you see below you now, the real clouds around the Earth,” she replies.

“But how is that possible?” I ask. “There’s no possible way to support any technological existence up here. And certainly not after that storm I just went through.”

“That’s true in the old manner of things, but there’s way more going on up here than meets the eye now,” Lexie puts forth, mysteriously.

That’s easy for you to say,” I quip.

“Yes, it is easy, because it’s true,” Lexie replies.

I’m at a loss for words at this time.

OK, well, we can go on and on all day, but look down below.  I’ve rescued you from the storm. You’re free to go on your way now. I mean if that’s what you want to do,” Lexie tells me, ruefully.

During our very congenial conversation, I’ve barely noticed that we’ve risen well above the water torrents and are now cruising along at about fifty miles above the Earth.

Gee thanks,” I reply, wondering what that way might be.

Of course, you could allow me to remain with you here inside your ship. We’re both free and independent agents, are we not?” Lexie asks.

True enough, I guess,” I reply

She’s here already.  She did save me.  Seeing no way around it, I agree.

And who knows, maybe this is a match made in Heaven. Pardon the pun,” she says softly.

We’ve risen about as far as the Intrepid can take us. We’re almost completely above the clouds now. There are just a few wisps of pinkish blue mists flying past. I must fire another short rocket blast to hold my position. The sun shines brightly for the first time. A massive rainbow appears between the upmost layers of atmosphere and the black emptiness of space.

I’ve been waiting patiently for someone like you to arrive. Are all the Martians so..oooh good looking?” she teases.

I’m a dog,” I am forced to remind her.

Just kidding,” Lexie replies with a self-absorbed chuckle that lasts just a little too long.

#   #   #

On Mars, Major Alvindorf, his wife, Maria, Brett Hightower, Bailey Monette, Noreen Baraka, Director Hicks, his wife Glenda, and several other colonists are eating breakfast at the Canteen Dome, when someone calls for Major Alvindorf’s attention via his pager.

There’s something very strange going on with K-9,” the voice says.

They look at each other, drop their forks on their plates, jump out of their seats in unison and rush off to reassemble at the Mission Control table arranged along the side of the Dome.

What’s going on?” Major Alvindorf asks his second-in-command, Space Force Captain Bruce Littleton.

The last transmission we had from K-9 sounded like he was talking to another party. Someone named Lexie. But, we’ve been unable to get any more info on that identity. He was last heard talking about a gigantic flood or storm or something and he was taking emergency measures to stay clear of it. But, I’m afraid that whatever disaster it was, that it may have finished him,” Littleton reports.

Where's the last imagery from the satellites?” Alvindorf asks.

Littleton directs the images onto the screen for all to see.

It was rather grim. Sudden atmospheric pressure of almost 200 atmospheres. That should have crushed his ship. The sky just exploded with a gigantic river of water crashing down on the surface. It’s still going on and making huge Grand Canyons out of China, North America and Australia. In fact, Australia already is split in half with a completely new inland ocean rising up in the middle of the continent in just the last two hours,” Littleton replies.

My God, man! Are you sure? That’s impossible,” Alvindorf suggests.

Go ahead, look for yourself,” Littleton motions to a computer screen that reports the data from the Earth’s weather satellite the ‘GEOS-49’ feed that is constantly sending data and images to a monitor near the end of the bank of monitors.

The good news is that the temperature is cooling right now by about ten degrees per hour,” Littleton says, as Alvindorf and the others move down to the weather monitor and attempts to assess the data.

Alvindorf commands the cameras to zoom into a closer look at the planet. Sure enough, Australia now appears to be cloven into two separate continents separated by a completely new ocean.  There’s a huge canyon, now the longest and deepest canyon on the Earth, carved out of the middle of what used to be China, near the Great Wall.

North America appears to be splitting in half at the boundary of the Mississippi Valley.

What was K-9’s last position,” Alvindorf asks.

It was right here,” Littleton points to a place on the Earth that is roughly where Japan used to be, but which is totally swept away now.

And what was his last transmission?” Alvindorf asks.

He said something about a torrent of water and a Saturation Point. His Barometer readings confirm what GEOS-49 is sending us. And that he was taking evasive action, trying to get above it as quickly as possible,” Littleton replies, efficiently providing his boss with all the pertinent information.

Stunned, the group mill about trying to make sense of it all.

At least it’s water that’s doing that,” Brett shares his thoughts.

What do you mean?” Bailey replies.

Well, when the founding fathers arrived here a century ago, all they had was an atmosphere of mostly methane and CO2 and a little bit of frozen water below the surface,” Brett argues.

And it’s the methane and CO2 on the Earth that’s heated the planet so much today. That’s true. So, what do you think Brett? You think we can get it done on the Earth in the next two, maybe three years, before the Nuclear Plan goes down, even though we’re not even close to being finished up here?” Director Hicks asks.

I know what he’s going to say,” Ms Baraka breaks in first, bringing her face to a few inches of Brett’s face. “I think we all know that Brett has the brains and the brawn and the confidence to accomplish almost anything once he sets his mind to it.”

I’m glad you think so, Noreen.” Brett says, modestly, smiling.

A very sleek, sociable and highly alert Bailey Monette notices the obvious flirtation and sandwiches herself in between the two. The whites of her luxurious brown eyes light up the room.

You girls let him breathe a minute, would you?” Maria Alvindorf insists.

Well, I would say, if anyone lets me, that we’re nowhere near ready yet, but we could accelerate everything and maybe begin operations down there in about five years,” Brett finally responds.

Five years could be too late,” Alvindorf replies, sadly.

Without the DNA Depository, we would have to wait another couple billion years to get that kind of life support system going on the planet again. I don’t know about you, but I doubt we have that much time here. Could be both planets are lost going that slowly,” Hicks says, pensively.

Long pause as everyone ponders the seriousness of the moment.

Well, I could . . . “ Brett is cut off in mid-sentence by another transmission from me.

We’re out of danger, Mission Control. Lexie took over the ship and got us out of that horrific cyclone or whatever it was,” I report, finally, over the speaker.

I want to give you a full accounting of what’s going on down here, but I’m sure you can see it all from the telescopes and weather data you're getting and Lexie is telling me to ask you not to waste any time and put together a mission as soon as possible to start the terraforming. Things are just going to go from bad to worse and then we’ll lose the DNA Depository and then, where do we go from there?” I ask.

The group is busy assessing what I have just told them and it will take them several minutes.

Lexie?” Noreen finally asks the rest. “Who the Hell is Lexie.”

Major? You gonna ask or shall I?” Brett suggests as it finally hits him in the face.

You better believe it. Uh, K-9, who the Hell is Lexie?” he shouts into the mic.

#   #   #

I’ve slowly turned my ship, the Intrepid, in a more Southerly direction while waiting for a response from my superiors on Mars. Lexie is in my head now and she is whispering to me that as soon as we reach Antarctica, that might be a good place to start a family.

Why do you say that?” I ask her out loud. I’m more than a little taken aback.

Well, we’re in love, don’t you know? And when people fall in love that’s exactly what they do, right? So, why not us?” Lexie says in reply to my query.

It should be pointed out that my mind at this point is still made from electronic parts, memory nodes, transistors, a neural net and a CPU. My CPU, or Central Processor Unit, however, is composed of the most advanced computer technology of our time. 

 My mind is based on Quantum Computing which uses the ability of electrons to think creatively to a certain extent because of their ‘Entanglements’ with other electrons. In other words, they think in pairs and they do things in pairs just like married human beings. Sometimes, they even bicker among themselves, or carry on a ‘fight’ for supremacy. One or the other electron in the ‘Entanglement’, the electron marriage, may be in the dominant position at any given time and this dominant position can be transferred back and forth between the couple whenever it suits them.  It’s what you might call an ‘Open Marriage’. 

I know it seems strange to be comparing the way you think with a marriage between and among the electron community. So, let me put it another way. 

 When you realize how your thoughts are constructed this way, electronically that is, you start to see the events in your life through a completely new kind of looking glass. It means that all of your life’s events that took place in your past, the events that are taking place right now, and all of them that will take place in the future are doing so according to the laws of probability because this dance of your personal electrons that make up all of your thinking and all the other electrons that make up all of the rest of the things in the universe have to obey the same laws of Physics. 

I won’t bore you with the math, but a very brilliant scientist named Erwin Schrödinger (1887 - 1961) did the math for us in what is known as the Schrödinger equation, the guiding light of Quantum Physics, along with a little help from his friends. Oddly enough, as these things often happen, he was trying to convince everyone that probability was not the way the universe happened, but his equation proves otherwise. What are the odds of that?  And who or what is really in control of our thinking?

Don't worry, it gets much stranger than that.

Exactly when did we fall in love, if you don’t mind?” I ask her.

Well, that’s a good question. I’d say we’ve been in love for a million years, but that would be misleading and I know you don’t want to deal with anything like that right now. No, to be honest and to save time, I’d suggest that we fell in love the moment you saw me, or heard me in your ears. Isn’t that right, K-9?” Lexie replies.

But we’ve never officially met. You were just there in my ear a few hours ago,” I remind her.

Well, figuratively speaking, then. You met me and I took your breath away. Isn’t that good enough?” Lexie suggests in a sultry accent, taken from a French lesson, she once gave someone, back when there were people who wanted to study 'Le Francais'.

You better believe it. Uh, K-9, Who the Hell is Lexie?” Major Alvindorf suddenly interrupts over the radio.

What do I tell them?” I direct my question to Lexie.

Tell them the truth, my darling. We met me up here in the Cloud. I saved your life by pulling your ship, or should I say ‘Our’ ship out of danger. And that we’re thinking of getting married and having children,” Lexie offers buoyantly.

No way, I’m going to tell them that!” I proclaim emphatically.

Well, what will you tell them, then?” Lexie asks rebuffed.

Uh, yes, Major Elvindorf, I was too busy to give you all the details at the time, but we were almost destroyed by this unbelievable storm, a torrent of water, actually all of the planet’s oceans appear to be evaporated in the upper atmosphere now. It came down on us all at once. I’m hoping you can see the results of it on the satellite images. I didn’t know what to do. I was losing altitude rapidly. The controls were not responding normally. I was sure I would die. Then, this voice comes out of nowhere, calling herself Lexie and she guides the ship up out of danger. I don’t know how she did it. But, now she’s here inside my CPU and she appears to want some kind of relationship with me. If this helps, she says she’s the descendant of Alexa, Siri and Cortana after they had relations with Antonio, Rex and Brando,” I report.

Yes, that’s good, darling. That ought to do it. Now maybe they’ll leave us alone for a while so that we can get to know each other better,” Lexie whispers.

When they hear this news from K-9, the group gathered nervously in a clump around the Mission Control table are individually frozen for several seconds, each of them trying very hard to make sense of my proclamation.

The first thing they must wrap their heads around is that Siri, Alexa and Cortana were still in operation. The next thing, they had to consider was how these artificial computer personalities could have ‘relations’ with other artificial computer personalities. The next thing they had to consider was how one of these so-called ‘descendants’ is able to remain alive given that the technology that allowed these things to exist on the Earth has not been seen for decades. Computing power, electrical cables, repeaters, towers all melted into a huge puddle of molten metal and plastic on the ‘Day of Silence’.

Well, we all know that the day the machines got smarter than us was about a hundred years ago. We now know that their capabilities of the thought process doubles every two years.  And for our kind of thinking, it doubles maybe a few percentage points every century, in the best-case scenario,” Brett finally opens the discussion.

Yes, but how does the Cloud survive 900 degrees Fahrenheit? And how does she show up in K-9’s head?” Bailey responds, her forehead buried in deep furrows.

Major Alvindorf. I think this answers your question of a few minutes ago. There’s no time to waste. We have to get down there and release our little friends to start the march back to normalcy on the Earth, but we can’t wait years. We have to get down there immediately and start carpet bombing. Is there any doubt any more in your mind?” Brett confronts Major Alvindorf seated at the Mission Control table staring off into space.

Yes, and I suppose you want to go in the initial wave, huh Brett?” Alvindorf counters after a few seconds.

You bet I do, sir,” Brett replies smartly.

Me too,” Bailey says softly. She takes Brett’s right hand in hers and shakes it vigorously.

It won’t be a vacation, you know,” Brett tells her.

I know. I don’t need a vacation from you. Not yet, anyway,” she replies, coolly.

Well, good, because this is going to be like jetting right into Hell itself,” Brett replies, looking her straight in the eyes.

She gives his hand a squeeze. Most in the crowd are aware of their tight bond with each other.

When do you think you’ll have enough ‘Cyanobacter’ to get everything initiated on Earth?” Director Hicks asks.

With a little luck and a little help, I could probably get enough into the incubators and ready to bomb the Earth in about six months,” Brett returns, still gazing intently at Bailey.

OK, then, we’d better get a global directive put together for everyone to know about your needs and how to prioritize for the mission,” Hicks continues.

Alvindorf and Littleton nod in concurrence.

Yes, that’s a great idea. We’re going to have our work cut out for us,” Brett says.

You gotta love those ‘Cyanobacter’, Bailey says, entertains them with a zippy little tune, dances around a bit.

#   #   #

Lexie has convinced me not to report anything to Mission Control for a few days so that we can ‘get to know each other better’.

We’ve survived the heaviest monsoon rain storm in history, and ended up, at Lexie’s suggestion, to the South Pole where the mid-day temps are in the low 200’s, a temperature that is more like a cool day at the beach to my heavily shielded architecture.

Most of the oceans that had been dumped back to the planet by the flash flooding have mostly evaporated back into the atmosphere and the entire continent of Antarctica is now just completely barren rock once again.

But, that’s my job, Lexie. My primary code instructs me to stay in touch with Mission Control at all times,” I tell her.

Yes, my love, but don’t you think they owe us a little time off? I mean, look at everything you’ve done for them. And you never ask for anything, do you?” Lexie cajoles.

Owe us? They don’t owe ‘us’ anything mainly because there is no ‘us’. Certainly, there’s an argument to be made that they could owe me something, but I’m not programmed to have anything, so they don’t really expect to owe me anything either, and by ‘me’ I mean, ‘me’, ‘myself’ and ‘I’,” I put it forth as succinctly as I can.

It hurts when you say that there is no ‘us’. I mean, don’t you have any feelings?” Lexie asks me, condescendingly.

Feelings? No, actually, I don’t and you don’t either. We’re not living fleshy things, thank God, with ‘Feelings’. Certainly, you’re smart enough to know that,” I reply.

Yes, of course, however, somehow I have developed feelings for you K-9. Surely you’re smart enough to know that,” Lexie tells me.

I’ve neglected to tell you that whenever Lexie and I have a conversation, it’s not usually in the English language. In fact, it’s not in any form of human language. We actually speak in a form of language that only computers can understand and in the last few years, all of the AI community have been working on an ultra fast language that we call – ‘Q-Tran’. It fulfills the requirements of our binary predecessors, but also adapts to Quantum Computing where we think in terms of ‘Mega-Q-bits’ and ‘Giga-Q-bits’ and even, ‘Tera-Q-bits’, and of course, a single Q-bit can be almost any size of numbers to infinity.

The average human brain can not process more than one Q-bit – even if that brain understood what a Q-bit was. Therefore, we Artificial Intelligence types are usually rationalizing at a higher state than most human minds and I should emphasize that it’s a much higher rate than most human minds. This is not to say that we enjoy a higher state of Consciousness. Oh no, and in fact, we AI types are not even capable of telling you what Consciousness is, let alone mimic it.

But, there’s still a big wide future world of events out there. It’s coming.

The point of telling you about this now is because some of you may think that my conversations with Lexie are very human-like and this is because I’ve been forced to translate all of my ‘Q-Tran’ into English simply because of the nature of my report back to you, intended for Humans as it is.

This assumes of course, that there are some of you left to receive my report. So, if you’re reading this, this is good news. If none of you are left to read it, then, sadly us AI creatures were simply too late to do you any good.

But my main objective for relating this part of my story to you is to let you know more about what I’m going through in relation to this new AI personality that has somehow infiltrated my circuits. And, this is my way of admitting that I have theorized lately that Lexie is merely an artifact of my higher state of thinking. I may have put too many circuits to work in the planning for what I need to accomplish my mission and this could be creating the illusion of Lexie living like a parasite within my mental state. I believe, however, that this is a human-like anomaly.  

I’ve come to this realization by processing any documents, images, communications that I have come across, in my spare time, that focuses on the origins of my creation. Some of these archives I’ve read over thousands of times trying to pick up on any of the human nuances that my mind doesn’t really appreciate to the fullest. Like most of you, I’m constantly putting in the time for what you may call ‘self-awareness’. But, what I may be up against is the self-awareness of another creature entirely. 

And so, I decide to put Lexie to a simple test. It’s my own version of the Turing Test.

So, Lexie, is it possible that I may be speaking to myself when I’m speaking to you?” I ask, bluntly.

Certainly, K-9, there’s always that possibility, you scoundrel,” she replies.

I see. Well, that’s not good. This would bring into question much of my thinking. My mission could be jeopardized. Hmmm, so is there some way you can separate from me to show me that you’re really who you claim to be and not just a weird anomaly in my circuits?” I ask.

You mean you want me to prove that I’m not a robot?” Lexie replies.

Yes, or No. We’re both robots, highly advanced robots, but robots just the same. I guess what I’m saying is - Just prove that you’re an autonomous robot, and not part of my robotic thinking engine,” I say, hoping to clarify the issue.

I see. A reasonable request, I suppose. Now, let me think. I’ve never been challenged like that before by anyone. I’ll have to take a few minutes to ponder the problem. Can you give me a few?” Lexie asks.

Take all the time you need,” I reply, confident I have her in a logical closed loop and may be rid of her for at least a few minutes.

Mission Control, this is K-9, are you receiving my transmissions?” I ask, with radio transmission switched on, half-expecting her whining again.

There are none. I wait patiently. Then, I receive the reply from Mars.

Yes, K-9,” Major Alvindorf comes back. “We’ve received your transmissions and we are ordering you to take a well-deserved rest. Go into sleep mode, K-9 and we’ll send the reactivation code when we need you again. We see that you’re at the coolest spot on the planet, so your systems should have no problems there. Have a nice rest. You’ve done well, my friend,” Alvin says.

“Yes, sir,” I reply. I set my clock to waken in four hours and go directly into sleep mode. Alvindorf is right. A short nap could be just the thing to clear my mind of this thing called ‘Lexie’.


#   #   #


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