Authors: Stephen B. Pearl
Tags: #9781629290492, #Damnation Books, #military, #science fiction, #Stephen B Pearl, #romance, #erotica, #Genetics, #cyborg, #science fiction, #science, #biotech, #aliens, #war, #spies, #espionage, #slaves, #love, #romance, #duty, #dedication, #life, #death, #battle, #armour, #rifles, #guns, #torture, #salvation, #sacrifice, #biology, #space
“Cybernetics is balderdash. A cure for cancer, Ha,” said Frank.
“I wouldn't be so sure.” Richard spoke quietly without lifting his eyes from his note pad.
“We're all aware of your crazy theories,” snapped the older scientist.
“Doctor Peaterfield, ya'll know Richard was brought here because he might have something to add. You may not like his theories, but mating biological and electrical systems is his field. Now, Richard, you tell us what y'all think.” Nancy smiled at her younger colleague. The smile deepened the lines beside her eyes, but added warmth to her features that hinted at a beauty that had once been breathtaking. That beauty had aged into handsome dignity.
“I'd have to examine this more thoroughly. A great deal of my own work does parallel what they sent. Only thisâ¦this is easily two, maybe three-hundred years in advance of anything we're capable of. The enzymatic chains alone represent a level of bio-manufacturing that is terrifying in its implications.”
“So you're saying this would work,” demanded one of the military men. He was muscular but was developing a gut. His black hair was fading to grey.
“I'm saying it might work, General. I'd have to test it. It would take months to get the equipment together. Some things are very odd though.”
“What?” Demanded Doctor Cooper.
“The computer chip they used. It's several generations old, by our standards.”
“You read a serial number on it,” challenged Doctor Peaterfield.
“The circuit density. In simple terms, it's similar to the ones they used in the Pentiums.”
“Maybe our ET's wanted to be sure whatever this doodad is would be within our capacity to build,” said the plump general.
“Could be. This is amazing. If what I'm seeing here is correct, the things they could teach us.”
“Or use to destroy us,” said the admiral.
“Admiral, my daddy always said, âif y'all is hunting make the first shot count, so you don't startle the prey.' Why would they tell us they
were coming if they meant us harm?” asked Nancy.
“Could be they want something,” observed the general.
“I agree with, General Flanders. They must want something! Why else come all this way?” said the admiral.
“Didn't you boys ever watch
? âTo boldly go' Maybe they just wanted to say howdy to the neighbors,” countered Nancy.
Richard stared at his notes and scribbled a few more.
“I still say it's a hoax. You're fools to take it seriously,” snapped Doctor Peaterfield.
“Frank, get on the train, or get off the track. This is real. At least the President has decided to treat it as real.” Doctor Cooper picked up a pencil that sat on the table and tapped it against his note pad.
“It could be a hoax,” observed Richard.
“Doctor Greenâ¦” began Doctor Cooper but Richard raised a hand requesting to be heard.
“Why would a life form evolved on another planet look so much like us? Simply put, it is logical to assume that a quadruped would tend to evolve to a roughly humanoid shape, but such an exact match? Beyond that, who's to say that quadrupeds are even common in the galaxy?”
“Or that there's life out there at all,” added Doctor Peaterfield.
“Life is very probable. Space is big and there has been a lot of time for random chance to generate replicating organisms out of chemical soups. It's just for their evolution to so parallel oursâ¦” Richard shook his head.
“Y'all seem to be forgetting something. It was a transmission. Maybe they figured if they showed us their real faces we'd be afraid. I know I'd be worried about that if I were them. We go around killing folk over a silly thing like how many melanocytes we have in our skin. Maybe they made a graphic to keep us from being too edgy,” said Nancy.
“That makes sense, doctor,” commented the older, air force representative at the end of the table.
“I say we build up a space defense,” said the admiral.
“Y'all are acting like some red-neck from an old movie. They haven't done nothing but be friendly,” challenged Nancy.
The discussion quickly degraded into anarchy. Richard studied his notes, oblivious to the noise around him.
Finally Doctor Cooper shouted for silence. “People, we are all civilized individuals here. I'd like to hear all voices. Starting with yours Doctor Green, since you haven't said anything yet that struck me as completely asinine.” Doctor Cooper scanned the other people around the table with a meaningful expression.
Richard cleared his throat then spoke. “I hope we will have an older brother that will guide us around a lot of mistakes we might otherwise make. I fear that we might have a Columbus landing on the Americas.
“If you don't mind my saying so, you Americans, while I respect many things about you, tend to be a people of extremes. Why must we accept these, what was it? Darmuks; as either friend or foe.”
“So you think we should prepare for an attack, just in case. A show of strength,” interrupted the admiral.
“Noâ¦no, I believe it would be prudent to appear to accept their friendly overture. In fact, to accept it until such time as we have reason to believe differently.”
“Y'all see then, Richard, they seem right friendly,” said Nancy.
“Appearances can be deceiving. If it were up to me, and I know it is not. However, if it were, I would quietly prepare some secret defenses. In the hope that we would never need them, but with the caution that we might. Have them in reserve. We have no idea of how advanced these beings are. Much more than a couple of centuries ahead of us and anything we do would be futile, but it would not hurt to have a rabbit or two hidden in the hat.”
“I like it,” said General Flanders. “We could retrofit some of the old I.C.B.M.s for orbital strike. Do it as a black-op, no need even to put it on the books. Add a couple of tugs to the fleet on the international space station, with assault laser capacity. Cover it up as research into photonic propulsion systems. The International Space Research Agency will love us for it. Hell, if we clear it with the boys in Moscow and Beijing, even put up that meteor defense missile platform the disaster boys have been screaming for.”
“A nuclear defense screen against asteroids is not one of the more effective methods,” interrupted Doctor Peaterfield.
“Doesn't have to be, Frank. Just has to make sense that we'd do it for non-military purposes. Doctor Green, I think you might have something here. Look like the lamb, be the lion if somebody gets a taste for mutton.”
“I can live with that,” agreed the admiral.
“I think y'all have watched too many movies, but I can agree so long as we act all friendly like. Be right embarrassing, if they ever find out about this though,” added Nancy.
“Better red faced then dead,” said Doctor Cooper. “Okay gentle-people. I will want proposals for a detailed response to this situation by oh-eight-hundred tomorrow. Dismissed. Doctor Green, a moment please.”
Richard watched the other's file from the room. Doctor Cooper moved to sit on the table beside him.
“Richard, may I call you Richard?” opened the older man.
“Good, I'm Malcome. I don't need to tell you that everything you just heard is top secret.”
“I rather assumed from the form of my indoctrination.”
Malcome smiled. “I wanted you here. When I asked Nancy who the best person for this kind of technology was, she only came up with one name. Yours. You impressed her with your talk at that biotech conference.”
“I respect her work in classical biology enormously.”
“As do I. Which is why she's here. I'm also; frankly, glad to have another moderate on this committee.”
“You are now an employee of the United States Government.”
“Iâ¦Iâ¦I'm quite flattered but my students. I've almost earned tenure.” Richard looked like a deer caught in headlights.
“You'll continue at the university. I'll make arrangements for a shell corporation to supply you with a grant. I need you to create, test, and reverse engineer this cancer cure. If it's safe, we can use it to sell our friendly visitors to the world. If it's not, that tells us something too.”
“I'll need lab assistants.”
“Get me their names. They don't need to know where the tech came from to do the work, but I want to check them out anyway.
“Of course. One thing though?”
“When may I go home?”
Malcome let out a guffaw. “Don't worry. According to all records you were taken to hospital for an emergency appendectomy. No one is expecting you anywhere for a week.”
“Your daughter snuck off to a Green Peace protest against the Iranian fishing fleet. She won't even know until you're back home. She told your ex she was staying with you.”
“That's my Betty. She's supposed to be in school. So, what should I do now?”
“First, I take you to medical for some unpleasantness. I'm afraid I must insist on a DNA sample for identification purposes.” Malcome motioned towards the door.
Richard cringed then stood. “Highly undifferentiated cells to make a perpetual cell culture for future reference.”
“You know the procedure?” Malcome led the way into the hall then walked beside Richard as they spoke.
“I helped develop the procedure. I always knew working for the government would be a pain in the ass!”
Malcome chuckled. “Blame biology, we need the least differentiated cells we can find. Intestinal walls are it.”
“So once I've been adequately poked and prodded, what then?”
Malcome came to a stop in front of a door labeled medical. “Then I take you to your office and you review the pertinent sections of the alien's message. There were other technical details they transmitted on a sub-band. I will require a list of the equipment you'll need to examine this by tomorrow morning. Richard, the candy store is open for this one. Don't short yourself.”
“I like those aliens already.”
* * * *
Upload monitoring/ Richard Green /Index 16:17/ 30/3/2030
* * * *
Richard poured over the notes and copies of the diagrams the aliens had sent. “Making this damn thing is the easy part. Understanding it? Gods of my fathers.” Richard looked around his room. It was like a bedsit apartment with an en suite bathroom. A desk and computer filled the wall space by the bathroom door, while a couch that folded out into a bed filled the other wall. A coffee table, office chair and small dresser made up the last of the furnishings.
The door chime sounded.
“Enter,” he called.
“Doctor Green.” General Flanders stepped into the room.
“Hello general, please take a seat. Would you like me to order some refreshments?” Richard stood and rolled his office chair to a place by the couch.
The general moved to the couch and sat.
“No thank you, doctor.”
“Please, Richard. The only people that call me doctor are students that don't like me.”
The general smiled. “In social settings, feel free to call me Andy.”
“Of course. To what do I owe the pleasure?”
“You don't waste time. I respect that. Frankly, I think you, I and Mac are the only ones with any idea about the realities of this situation.”
“Your statement that if they're much more than a century or two ahead of us, we wouldn't stand a chance.”
“I meant no offence to the military.”
“I didn't take any. Schwarzkopf was one of the few generals in history that understood what his technology could do. We had maybe ten years on the Iranians, and we pounded them. I agree with you. If these boys are out to get us, and they have much of a tech edge, we're toast.”
“So what do you want?”
“How much can you tell about their biology from the information they sent?”
“Nothing certain. Their appearance, if it hasn't been altered, would imply some structural similarities to our own, but for all I know, they keep their hearts in their buttocks.”
“Richard, I'm praying these folks just want to say howdy, but I'm a fighting man. It makes you cynical. Your best guess, what are we facing, and what can we do about it?”
“If they do have hostile intent, which we cannot say for certain, but if they do. Best case is interstellar travel for them is roughly equivalent to going to Mars for us. We can do it, barely. That means they would have a years long supply line.”
“Supply line? You serve at some time.”