While the standard implementation was disappointingly flawed, she found that the concept of reality had a lot of potential.
They call it Neo.
The astronomers, of course, had other names in mind. But they never stood a chance against the blogosphere, which embraced the cosmic projectile as the harbinger of a new era; the end of the heartless rule of mechanistic insticts and the mindless patterns of random evolution; the freedom to be who we have always wanted to be.
The Great Scare, those months when no one could tell for sure if it would hit or miss us, had transformed mankind's consciousness forever; that global Near-Death-Experience left no soul untouched, and kindled a never known appreciation for life in all its variety. When it neither hit nor missed, but stayed for good in an act of unfathomable improbability, we all knew that Neo was our destiny.
This earthsized rogue planet, captured by earth's gravity - or, as some like to see it, by the sheer force of billions of dreams - will more than make up for the devastation that its gravitational pull brought upon the blue planet. The earth quaked, and volcanoes erupted; rising sea levels from melting polar caps and enormous tides cleared coastlines off all traces of civilization for miles inland... But the suddenly grown-up human race surprised itself as it welcomed the refugees, and found ways to work together to save what had so barely been spared from obliteration.
And it is that new sense of connectedness that will open up Neo as a new home for us. This is not a race that will be won by the fittest, or the most ruthless. This is a journey that unites us all, a conquest that will succeed through collaboration and the sharing of whichever resources any group or individual can provide - the economical power of those who have it all, and the improvisation skills of those who've never had a thing; the knowledge of the scholars, and the open minds of the illiterate; the experience of the old, and the boldness of the young.
We will have to live underground at first, sheltered from the solar wind and radiation that hit the surface with lethal force, unhindered by a magnetic field which the long-frozen core cannot provide. But together, we will find our way to the surface. We will develop technologies to tame the cosmic bombardment, and to harvest its energy. We will create oxygen from Neo's thick carbon dioxide atmosphere, and water from its mysterious abundance of Hydrogen. We will bioengineer plants hardy enough to withstand the sun's relentless breath and slowly transform the barren rock into a living world, in which Man is not creature but creator.
And those who stay behind? They shall inherit the earth, its spaces and the posessions of those who choose to leave; but this time they will know to take good care of this fragile heirloom. And they will benefit from Neo's abundance of minerals, easy to access without concern for established ecosystems, from a mutual exchange that will shape this unlikely couple into a pair of siblings. One world on two planets, sharing the most precious resource of all: life.
[The science in this stands on extremely shaky grounds; and the visuals are just absurd. But I'm kind of pleased to see that my brain will now allow me to create things that contradict my understanding of physical reality.]
The mosquitoes are crazy, so soon after the storm. 99% DEET, and some bite anyway. Time to go home. Down the trail, over the bridge, and back on the trail on the other side. There's my bench.
It's only 11pm; the open air theater is just over, and everybody is getting to their cars on the parking lot a few feet away. It's gonna be a while before I have my privacy.
The pool, right next to the picnic tables, opens in six hours. Then all the nutcases come, those people with beds and cars who have nothing better to do at 5 am than go swimming. My night will be over then; but the pool is free at that time, and I'm looking forward to the shower. I even found enough change for a coffee at McD's afterwards. It's gonna be a great morning. And - who knows? - maybe I'll be lucky tonight, and none of the other guys will come wandering around here in the middle of the night, waking me up.
But for now, I'm sitting on my bench, rolling a cigarette, waiting for those strangers to get out of my home.
As the ripples close in, I remember that StarTrek - Voyager episode where the ship gets exposed to some distortion in the space-time continuum and, after frantic attempts to get out of that, Janeway hallucinates the message, "Do nothing." There isn't much that I could do anyway. It's everywhere around me. And the pen in my hand may or may not be mightier than the sword, but it doesn't seem to have much power over ripples in the fabric of the universe. I take a deep breath, and find peace for a moment.
When I can see clearly again, she is standing right in front of me. That makes no sense. Why would that phenomenon duplicate me, but nothing else? What, to the laws of nature and the powers that govern them, is the difference between me and that lone chair over there? I could use another chair much better than another me. It's hard enough to drag this one through life.
Whose apartment is this now? Will we have to sit in shifts, because I have only one chair? My chair. "I'll take the couch", I say. She nods. She understands. It's a good couch. Nice and large and comfortable. I'm upset anyway. When someone offers you the bed, you're supposed to insist on the couch.
I turn to go and make coffee. She's not going to like that. It's her kitchen. You don't just make coffee in someone else's kitchen without asking. You don't just do things with my stuff. This is my home. This is where I am in control.
She smiles. She understands. The tension releases in laughter. "We'll get this worked out.", she says. I nod. "I like your personality."
It was asking for it. Maybe I'll build on it a bit more; or maybe someone else would like to?
* another suggestion for MadisenMusic's Holiday collab: http://www.hitrecord.org/records/889827
In a large - and fast-growing - community like hitRECord, it is easy to lose sight of the individuals behind everything that happens here. On Community Day, we could shift our focus from large scale activities to the people who do them. RECords we could make in honor of the day could:
- use footage and photos of members
- express our appreciation of specific hitRECorders or the community at large
- show how being part of this community has influenced us personally
- emphasise works of members who aren't yet well integrated
- offer ideas - in creative ways - how we all can contribute to the ongoing development and "growing-up" of hitRECord
* this is part of MadisenMusic's Holiday collab: http://www.hitrecord.org/records/889827
Play&Learn Day - 7/27
Try something you've never done before.
Work with someone who's not on your wavelength.
Make a how-to RECord.
Make somebody laugh.
- Hey, where are you?
- At Jake's party, of course. Where are you?
- At Jake's party. With, like, twelve other people. And guess what? You're not one of them.
- Very funny. Where are you?
- I'm at the party. Stop fooling me. Why aren't you here?
- I am. In the living room, with everybody else.
- Fine. Then tell me, what is Jake wearing?
- Jeans, of course. And that weird blue T-shirt from that church event he'd never go to.
- He just put that on.
- I know. I saw it. What the fuck...?
- Ok. This is... weird... Ok. Let me just talk to Jake.
- Uhm... Can you do me a favor?
- Can you just talk to Jake? Ask him... if I'm here?
- ... Ok.
- I'm not sure what's going on. He's ignoring me.
- Holy shit. Me too.
- What the hell is going on?
- I have no idea. Say, did you talk to anyone before you called?
- Yeah. All normal.
- Same here. What just happened?!
- I don't know, man. I don't care. I'm going home now. I'm going home.
- Home was last week. This is now. Let's be rational.
- Rational? RATIONAL?! I am HERE, man. I AM HERE!