The Sci-Fi Files – Alien Megastructures

Some years ago, mankind found out how to find planets round other stars and this is done by measuring the light of a star and watching for a dip in the light that occurs when a planet (mainly a large one like Jupiter) passes in front of it. This can reduce the light of the star detected by about 1%.

transit

The problem of going out looking for stuff is that something can be discovered that wasn’t expect or maybe even wanted.


What is an observer meant to think if a star dims by as much as 15% – 20% and this fluctuates over a matter of many days? What could possibly dim a star by as much as that?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KIC_8462852

The most popular theory for this dimming is the light is being obstructed by an alien mega structure of some kind. An example of an Alien mega structure is a Dyson Sphere, a theoretical concept proposed by Freeman Dyson in 1960. A Dyson Sphere would almost or actually completely encompass a star, allowing the race that built it to be able to use all the energy from the star it’s was built around.

alien megatructure

The size that a planet orbiting around this star would need to be to dim it by 15% – 20% would be so massive and this would be detectable by a wobble in the star as the planet orbited. In essence what we have is a start that is dimming by an unusual amount. Whatever it is that’s causing it, natural or not has not been observed before. I may even be beyond our understanding.

We may not know for a long time what’s causing the dimming around KIC 8462852 but consider this, if there is an alien megastructure around it how much do they know about us? They must know we exist… surely? We in our relative technological infancy are able to possibly detect these alien races and their activity. If they are as technically advanced as we think then it stands to reason they are capable of travelling between stars, they almost certainly know about us and probably that we know about their existence.

Do they have a plan to reveal themselves, keep themselves hidden or… something else.

The possibilities are scary and exciting at the same time. We must never forget the quote from Arthur C Clarke:

“There are two possibilities, either we are alone in the universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying”

Arthur C Clarke

NOTE: No ownership claimed on images – found on google


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AD Astra – As good as promised, or a lot of empty void?

When I saw the trailer for this film – I had to go see it. I can cannot stress how I really, really wanted to like this film. I had in my mind an Interstellar – esque feel with an original story line. I had no idea what to expect really. What follows is a short breakdown, there are some spoilers but I haven’t spoiled everything.

The film starts well enough, Brad Pitt’s man character Roy McBride is pushed off a space structure by a mysterious energy wave and down to Earth. The scene is pretty dramatic and not a million miles away from a factual jump carried out in 2007 by Felix Baumgartner.

Moving the story forward a mission that Roy’s father was leading falls under suspicion as the cause. This mission called the Lima Project was sent out to the outer solar system 26 years ago to look for life beyond Earth. Nothing was heard from the Lima Project for 16 years after it reached Neptune and was presumed destroyed.

Now it looks like it may have survived and Roy McBride is sent out to Mars to make contact with his father. Typically Roy is very unemotional, but loses the plot after he suspects details are being hidden from him and despite being taken off the mission manages to get aboard the spacecraft bound for Neptune.

What’s the film about?

For me this is hard to say, all I can say really is that it’s about one man’s yearning for his father’s love and acceptance and how obsession has kept them apart and essentially affected both their lives and relationship.

Sure there’s a save the world aspect to this but there isn’t ever really a sense of urgency about this.

Apparently the director James Gray wanted to create a movie that depicted the most realistic depiction that’s been put into a space movie yet. For me I don’t think he achieved that and 2001 still holds that mantle despite being 50 years old although some movies like Interstellar and the Martian have been on a per but maybe not as detailed.

Scientific Inaccuracies

This is where I really, really think the film was let down.
1) Why did Roy have to go to Mars to make a phone call to his dad?
2) The messages being sent by laser (which still travels at the speed of light) from Mars to Neptune were depicted to get an immediate response.

As well as these there were numerous ‘little bits’ that added to the swarf of inaccuracy that really took something away from the realism that James Gray was trying to achieve.

What Else?

There were meant to be epic scenes in this film… hmm.. a passing shot of Jupiter and Saturn were given but there could have been more to it I feel. In a similar way that this was given in Interstellar. The depiction of Neptune was very good I have to admit, but there was something that kept me from feeling the realism.

Part of the issue I feel is that the story pace was rushed, possibly to make sure that audiences didn’t fall asleep. But that pace needed to slow, for the sake of the realism that was trying to be captured. I agree that it wouldn’t probably have been a hit if the pace / realism was worked on but then this wasn’t a big selling film anyway.

I really didn’t get the moon buggy fight scene either, it felt a bit like they threw it in to give some oomph after they looked at what they had and thought ‘meh’ but I may be wrong.

(Spoiler in this bit)
Something else that seems to have caught my attention is that human life now seems pretty cheap, between Moon marauders, lost Norwegian crews killed by killer moneys and all that there was a pretty significant body count that was thrown off as – yeah, some more guys have died. But in a way that kind of feeds into the final message in the film of ‘All we have are each other’.

What was good about it?

The concept, story and potential was great. That’s why I had high hopes for this. It saddens me to say but it just didn’t deliver. I really, really wish it had, I think it could have as well.

But the film I have to say was interesting, the world created for this story was set in the not too distant future looks at the commercialisation and exploration of space in a big way. All nations seem to be in on the action it’s humanity’s new frontier.

There were a number of EVA (spacewalk) scenes and I have to say they were pretty well done and pretty realistic. However I’m not sure gaffa tape over a broken helmet visor would survive the rigours of space. That was a little silly and maybe pinched from the Martian?

In Summary

I don’t need to say much more, the jist of it all is already here. I really hate to be negative about something like this as time, money, effort of many people have been put into a film.

I’m not saying they have done a terrible job, just that something seems to be in the way of being the great film it could have been.

No ownership claimed on Images – Taken from Google


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Enigmatic Episodes – The Black Knight

Enigmatic Episodes looks at the mysteries and urban legends that I’ve found on the internet and finds out more about them. Are they real? Could there be a cover up? What monster may live on, in or outside our Earth? Are the Aliens watching us?

What is the Black Knight? Why should anyone care?

According to conspiracy theorists, it’s very important and everyone should care. The Black Knight is said to be a 13,000 year old satellite from an alien race that’s been sending signals to Earth for all this time. It’s purpose and origins totally unknown.

The story is that Nikola Tesla first detected radio signals which even to this day have not been explained. The Black knight was allegedly first detected in 1960 by the US Navy, the sighting of this this and the identification of the Black Knight has been applied retrospectively to Tesla’s radio signals.

The Black Knight’s orbit differs from most other satellites as it circles the Earth in a Polar orbit (top to bottom) rather than an equatorial orbit (round the middle). We use polar satellite for Earth observation, which gives some idea to it’s purpose. Our first polar orbital satellite was only launched in 1960.

Black_Knight_Satellite

Various unconfirmed reports of the Black Knight tracking the shuttle, satellites and the ISS have leaked into general knowledge. But are they true? Is there a more rational explanation?

The Wikipedia link below details the alleged real facts around the Black Knight and it’s said that Nikola Tesla’s radio signal cannot be attributed to an alien satellite, the US Navy’s detection of it in 1960 was poor identification of a satellite and the claims around a 13,000 year old satellite were made by a Scottish author to the media and later retracted.

Wikipedia – The Black Knight

Like all conspiracy  theories, there’s always the questions either side. It seems absurd to accept the idea of an alien satellite orbiting Earth. But if another race wanted to monitor us for a long time it’s only recently that we’ve been able to detect it. Perhaps it’s calling card, maybe it’s purpose is far more sinister.

Whatever it is, it exists. Whether a fragment of another human spacecraft, or alien satellite. Only when it’s captured and examined will the mystery end. Or maybe, it will only be beginning…

No ownership claimed on image – taken from Google


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The Clone Soldier

This is my entry for October’s Blog Battle – the theme or word for this month is Clone.

Awake.

Consciousness returning to her. A flood a memories invading their thoughts as if for the first time. Time ebbed on and the light came and went, the room, the bed all familiar. The smell of the old wood walls as comforting as the warmth of the sun.

Rising from the bed she reached over for the watch placed on the bedside cabinet. Metallic and heavy in the hand it slipped onto their wrist easily. Glancing down at the time it was getting late, hunger was now taking over her thoughts. The thought of warm bread and chicken soup permeated and wouldn’t go away. Reaching over to the foot of the bed she pulled on a white tank top and black cargo trousers.

Lifting from the bed and onto her feet, legs wobbling slightly as if the sleep had been so deep that the legs had forgotten how to walk for a moment. Reaching out to the old brass door knob and turning it, pulling the door open to find the old wooden walls and wooden table that were so familiar. At the head already there was a steaming bowl of chicken soup and warm bread. A dish of butter waited with a knife placed neatly with a spoon next to it. No cloth or mats covered the table. A card was placed in the middle of the table, blank and white with no markings it was of no interest compared to the food.

Just moment later the small meal was all but devoured, the last remnants of warm bread had just gone. Suddenly she jumped off the chair and almost out of their skin, cursing as she leapt back.

“Who the hell are you?” She screamed. A man, thin and graying, with a serious look and round glasses was suddenly sat before them at the other end of the table.

“I hope you enjoyed that Alissa.” finally breaking silence in a matter of fact tone.

“That’s not what I asked!” Alissa growled back. “Who are you?”

“Please, sit down. I’m not going to hurt you. I’m Dr Dak Shouten.”

“What are you doing here and where did you come from?” Alissa growled back again, backed into the far corner of the room.

“Please, sit and I will explain.” Shouten asked calmly. Puling out a control tablet he pressed a button. The wooden walls slid slowly down into the floor . On one side there was the grey and dusty rocky surface of the Moon and on the other tens of people running about in clean suits and masks in what appeared to be a complex set up to create something. But Alissa couldn’t see or make out what it could be.

Looking back at Shouten he motioned for her to sit, slowly pulling out the chair, Alissa sat. Waiting for whatever was going to come next.

“I’ve been here the whole time, you couldn’t see me behind the holographic screen. I’m looking after you, you’re one of our best soldiers and you were recently wounded and nearly died. You’ve been undergoing genetic therapy and for nearly three months your body has been undergoing repair. You were coming back to consciousnesses only three days ago so we have put you somewhere familiar to wake up to. I hope you like it.”

Alissa looked up, not knowing how to take all this in she simply nodded nervously.

“I’m afraid though that we do have some business we need to get out of the way, it won’t take long.” Shouten glanced at the card.

“What is it?”

“The card has some information abut your last mission we need to retrieve.”

“So, retrieve it.”

“We can’t, it’s locked the contents to your Genputer. Only you can access it.”

“I see, so the ‘best solider bit’ was all rubbish! You just wanted this!” Alissa retorted aggressively.

“Look, you’re here and you shouldn’t be. It’s the least you can do.” Shouten insisted.

Alissa got up and picked up the card, placing it in her palm, the access circuits in her skin glowed from red to green. She had accessed the card.

“We need to know the access code for the enemy’s Teragenic computer.”

Alissa scrolled and browsed through the interface in her mind, as if it was there in the room all the files and folders she had collected from through her life were there. Training, missions, memories of friends, some gone from this world.

“Found it.”

Shouten sat forward, waiting intently “You should be able to send it through to my own Genputer.”

She accessed the file and instantly something happened. A flood of information memories and data. For a short moment she processed it.

“Here.” Alissa sent a file to the Genputer in Shouten’s brain.

“Excellent, let’s see what we have. This is a memory file of your last-” Shouten was pushed to the floor. Alissa slid her hand under the table and pulled out his hidden weapon.

“Don’t -” Alissa raised the weapon and shot. She pulled the access tag from his neck and the holo screen device from his pocket. Pressing a button Alissa vanished, a few seconds later the door flew open and three guards pushed in with their weapons raised. Shouting as they moved forward their weapons strafed the far wall.

Alissa slipped out of the door, unseen, unheard. Her method of escape clearly written by the genetic master that preceded her. Cloned from original that didn’t quite make it. The card contained all the information she needed, her enemy that she was now escaping from trying to steal her coded secrets with her own genetics.

“They’ll have to try harder than that!” Was Alissa’s parting thought as the gateway took her to her freedom.


Awake.

Consciousness returning to her. A flood a memories invading their thoughts as if for the first time. Time ebbed on and the light came and went, the room, the bed all familiar. The smell of the old wood walls as comforting as the warmth of the sun.

© Simon Farnell 2020



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Enigmatic Episodes – The Philadelphia Experiment

Enigmatic Episodes looks at the mysteries and urban legends that I’ve found on the internet and finds out more about them. Are they real? Could there be a cover up? What monster may live on, in or outside our Earth? Are the Aliens watching us?

As described, the Philadelphia experiment was alleged to be a first attempt at applying cloaking technology back in 1943. As the story claims USS Eldridge was said to completely disappear and when it re-appeared crewmen reported trauma and some having partly re-materialised within the fabric of the ship.

A detailed account of this an be found here:

The Philadelphia Experiment


 

This story is believed to be a hoax, which originated from de-gaussing experiments performed on the USS Eldridge. De-gaussing the Eldridge would meant magnetic mines would not have been attracted to the ships hull. It’s also believed the stories may have in part come from corona experiments carried out on the USS Timmerman, but neither of these experiments were claiming to be able to achieve the feats that this story claims.

No-one had that kind of technology, to test Einsteins unified field theory way back in the 1940’s… Did they? There are many holes in this story. If you wanted to run this kind of experiment why would you use a ship full of men as well to witness this? The US Navy was able to explain the ship’s movements and were able to explain that USS Eldridge was able to travel from Philadelphia to Norfolk and back again in a single day, where merchant ships could not.

The chances are this story is fake, but what if it wasn’t? What if this was done and the crew members that have reported the facts have been discredited. This kind of experiment is not one that the instigators would want broadcast, especially at the time as they throw the enemy off the truth.

What do you think? Was the USS Eldridge a huge unified field theory experiment? If, no matter how unlikely there was something going on will we know the truth? What about the men you are said to have partially materialised int the ship’s bulkhead – what became of them?

Photocredit @conspiracystory from Twitter


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Enigmatic Episodes – The Well to Hell

Enigmatic Episodes looks at the mysteries and urban legends that I’ve found on the internet and finds out more about them. Are they real? Could there be a cover up? What monster may live on, in or outside our Earth? Are the Aliens watching us?

This story as explained in brief on the pictures tells of a huge drilling operation that encountered a cavity. Using a microphone and other equipment they allegedly recorded the sound of the souls of the damned in hell. They stopped the operation in the hope that they would stay down there and not escape to the surface.

Ultimately this was revealed to be a hoax, the recording was traced back to a film. It only takes a little bit of digging to find out that the truth is somewhat less dramatic.

Shown below is the hole, inches across and is a mere 12Km or 7 .5 miles deep. There were some interesting geological properties found at this depth but nothing that could be described as and now capped and sealed to stop the unsuspecting reaching a somewhat grim fate


however the story continues to circulate. More on this story can be found here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Well_to_Hell_hoax

But in all of this there is a the other side – what made them stop drilling? Could they have kept going and if so what made them stop? The interesting geological properties?


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The Perseus Incident

This is my entry for September’s Blog Battle – the theme or word for this month is Shield.

Rogan looked over a panel, checking the readout he looked up the manual. Flicking though a few pages he finally stopped.

“Panel E7.” He looked around, found panel E7 and flicked several of the switches. He looked back at the readout.

“That I think seems to have done it!” He announced to himself. He stood on the spot thinking for a moment. The acrid smell of burned electrics was still in the air, the air processors were sorting it but they we’re no longer working well.

“I need to be careful or I’m going to end up talking to myself! God, Esme would laugh if she saw me now. Mr I don’t need anyone, well right now I would give anything to have them back!”

Rogan slumped down into one of the large command chairs. The control deck wasn’t usually spacious with five people in it, but now. Now there was more than enough room. Now there was just Rogan. His head slumped into his hands and for a moment he as silent, his head raised and his face was wet, wiping it dry with his sleeve.

“Esme, Garad, Jess and even that annoying idiot Anton. I would have them all back right now.”

Rogan waited, as if longing for once of them to suddenlt appear or even all of them as if they had played some cruel joke. But all there was, was the sound of the ship, the air processing, the whirring of machinery and the clicking of relays and controls. The ship was hurt, sounds of tortured metal and staringin bulkheads reverberated as if it was the cries of a huge wounded metallic animal.

A screen flashed red on the master console, Rogan’s face was illuminated by the glow. For some minutes he sat in silence. The alarm unnoticed until the audiable alarm started.

“Oh what now?” Rogan started, looking at what the screen was trying to tell him. “Oh crap, 20,000 millirems! Not good! Looks like the radiation shield has failed!” Looking around the control deck he found a manual and began looking through it frantically.
“Dammit!” He threw the manual into a corner. Sitting down for a moment to think Rogan went back to the manual. Finding what he wanted he flicked a switch and silenced the audiable alarm.

Following through his idea he reached a section titled seperation of command vessel. Even in manuals for spacecraft there was lot’s of useless knowledge, as if some kid of idiot or child was going to perform the operation. Being the onboard technician rather than the flight officer he knew he was no expert. But neither was he an idiot.

“Perseus – this is commander Catherine Lewis of the Hercules, we are responding to your distress call. Please respond if you are receiving this message.”

In shock Rogan dropped the manual – someone heard him out here? Scrabbling around he looked for a headset. Placing it over his head, sweat dripping down his face.

“H-Hello Hercules this is Perseus. I’m Jack Rogan the ship’s technician.”

“I understand and read you Jack Rogan” the cracked reply came. “Where is commander Garad?”

“He’s dead.” Rogan cried. “They’re all dead!” The ship’s structure groaned and creaked, Roagan knew that the ship was drifting out of control towards the suface of Titan below. “I’m trying to seperate the command ship from the rest of the vessel! Can you help me!”

“Undersooood Persu- Sttttand byyyy to” the radio went silent. Not sure if the radiation had shut it down, if he was out of range or just simply broken he had to somehow seperate the command ship. Looking back at the manual again there were all kinds of release this unbilical, unclamp that docking lever. It would take him hours to work it out and he knew one thing. He didn’t have hours, the radiation levels were so high and still increasing.

He was going to die.

“Hello Rogan.”

Rogan spun round. “Esme!” He cried. “Thanks God you’re here! I need to…”

“Shhh… I know Rogan. I know, just stay calm. I’m here now.” Esme took the seat next to Rogan, he fingers working the panels. The groaning from the ship was so loud now, the Persus might not make it anywhere near the surface – it would break up long before.

“Are you ok Esme?” What happened?

“You know what happened Rogan, you saw the mid section destroyed by the impact.”

“I know but….”

“Shhh…” Esme sat round and faced him. “Soon everything will be ok, trust me.” Esme wrapped her arms around him and held Rogan. Rogan unsure of what to do help Esme back, she then released Rogan, kissing him gently. Suddenly feeling very fuzzy Rogan flopped into the seat just as Esme released the command section, for amoment they were free and floating and then engines fired. Rogan felt the force on his body as the Perseus powered ahead, he looked round at Esme and she smiled back at him. Heavier than the G forces on his frame Rogan’s eyes shut.


Dazed and confused, a suited person pushed a mask on his face “Rogan! Rogan! Breathe Rogan! was all he could hear. Two others lifted him from the seat and dragged him. He trid to lift his weight but his legs gave out under him. Dragged through an airlock he was vaguely aware of people around him, the frantic activity as he was placed onto a bed.

“Esme, Esme…” He tried to cry as he pushed the mask away.

“Is there anyone else in there?” Lewis demanded.

“No one!” One of the men replied as he pulled his helmet off. “It’s just him!”

“Sedate him and treat him for radiation sickness!” Rogan struggled as much as he could, then fell flat as the drug took hold. Several peple pushed him away to be treated.

The suited man turned to commander Lewis “There’s no one else in there I swear!”

“I know, I know” Lewis calmly reassured him. “But someone brought that ship here to dock so perfectly and it wasn’t him.”

© Simon Farnell 2020



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Blue Siren

This is my entry for August’s Blog Battle – the theme or word for this month is Intercept.

Jenna knew she was pushing it, vibrations that normally could never be felt reverberated around the console, shaking through her body. The small Ranger’s engines were pushed to beyond their operating limits, the smell of hot metal filled her senses, invading her head. She hoped and payed that she would intercept it in time, but not as much as she hoped someone else could before her.

“Status report Blue Siren, how far are you from it?” A man’s voice called though into the earpiece.

“Ten minutes. I’m showing it’s still on the same course and trajectory. Do you concur?”

“Concur Blue Siren”

Red warning lights flashed up around the engine status displays, well they had been for sometime but the hot smell was getting worse and the lights somehow seemed to have more urgency about them. “I’m throttling back” Jenna announced back to control. She had this love / hate about the call sign Blue Siren. She was the only female pilot in Blue squadron, that’s why she was given the name. But it was like a constant reminder she had something more to live up to.

“Negative, maintain speed Blue Siren”

“I can’t intercept if my ranger blows apart and what am I supposed to do when I get to it? It’s moving faster than light, my pulse lasers won’t be able to touch it. All I can do at the moment is spit on it!”

“Dammit Jenna don’t go disobeying orders again! We can’t risk that thing hitting the Ceres mining station!” The man at control was nearly shouting.

“I’m not disobeying orders, you told me to intercept and disable the approaching missile. I’m still doing that and now I have more time to think about how I can do that. Is anyone else on their way?” Jenna replied stubbornly.

“Half of blue squadron have been dispatched from Mars but they’re playing catch up and won’t be there in time.”

“Well maybe if they didn’t avoid me there might be one of your blue eyed boys here. Then you wouldn’t have to rely on me!”

“That’s out of line Blue Siren, we’re all a team. You seem to think you have more to prove than the others. What are you going to do?”

“Well I can’t shoot at it, if I approach it head on it will avoid me. So…”

“So what?”

“Ah ah. Here we go.”

“What is it?” The frustration of the man was evident.

“I have captured a small boulder, I’m going to set it in the path of the missile. It doesn’t have any energy traces so it won’t be able to see it and will therefore hit it and become history.” Jenna sounded pleased with herself and she was confident it would work. The thing was big enough, way bigger than her Ranger.

The computer worked out where she needed to push it and how hard. Lining up the front nose ram of the Ranger she positioned her craft and set up the burn time into the computer.

“Ok, I’m ready!”

“Proceed Blue Siren. This had better work!” Jenna didn’t answer, she was used to the undeserved remarks from them all the time.

“Three, two, one – firing!” The Ranger pushed forward, the already hard worked engines groaning under the pressure of pushing the huge object. Shaking around the Ranger wanted to push free, just holding it steady Jenna held it in place.Then as suddenly as the engines fired. Silence.

“Push maneuver complete.”

“Roger Blue Siren. Good work. I’m able to track the boulder so far the trajectory is looking good.”

“Roger control. I’m going to withdraw back to Ceres mining station.”

“Roger Blue Siren.”

Waiting for something to happen in deep space is the the most boring thing ever. You’re not in motion, you’re not doing anything. That’s all Jenna could do – Wait. After what seemed an eternity the time was near, one minute until the missile reached the boulder. Both were on course. The seconds ticked away.

Closer…

Closer…

Jenna Swore.

“Blue Siren the plan failed, get to that missile and shoot it down!”

“I can’t – I’ve told you!” Jenna screamed back. She had only moments, it would soon be here and she had only one option left. Setting the Ranger on a collision course she buried the throttle. Engines screaming almost as much as she was, she closed her eyes.

Control watched as the ranger and the missile met, then only one was left. Just the missile now. Had it torn through the ranger and not exploded?
“Blue Siren report. Blue Siren report!”

Nothing.

With nothing to get in it’s way the missile hit the Ceres mining station, the flash was so bright it was seen on Earth with just a small telescope. In less than a second the entire station was swallowed up in is a fusion detonation that sucked every element of the base up and expelled it into it’s base atomic components far into space.

Back in control, no one spoke for what seemed like forever, the commander took his head from his hands. “Begin to notify the authorities back on Earth on what happened.” He ordered grimly. “Get Blue Squadron to begin in initial site survey, is there anything left and what happened to Blue Siren. Earth will want answers and I need them.”


Jenna opened her eyes, slowly, blinking into focus. Four figures stood around her.
“What happened and where am I?”

“You’re safe Jenna, but I’m afraid you won’t be able to leave. Your people think you are dead and our purposes need you to stay that way.” One of them told her flatly.

“You launched the missile didn’t you?”

He nodded.

“Why?”

“Ceres is, special let’s say and is hiding secrets your people must never know.”

“My people? Who are you?”

The three others walked off, leaving just the leader.

“In time we will show you, but please rest for now.” Jenna felt sleepy again and felt herself passing out. “There is much to do!”

© Simon Farnell 2020



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Invader

This is my entry for June’s Blog Battle – the theme or word for this month is Corona.


Andit stopped for a moment, the mid morning sun sun forcing him to take off his jacket and tie it round his waist. Even with the forest as some shelter the heat would soon become too much and he would have to seek shelter. Tying the sleeves of his jacket around his waist he once more set out along the path. Andit was only 10 and there was danger in making the trip every few weeks to Keevan’s moisture farm. But it had to be done and this mother couldn’t do everything now that he was old enough to make the trip.

Keevan used to come to them but he was more reluctant to leave the farm and with dad gone, who knows where he was man of the house. What he lacked in strength his size meant he could hide easily from predators, man or beast. It wasn’t nearly as dangerous as going to the city, his mother hadn’t been here in years, not since dad…

What was that?

Andit thought to himself suddenly, slipping behind a large tree. For a few moments he waited, waited. Nothing. Nothing was there. but something else was missing. It took a few moments, there was no sound at all, the birds were silent and the insects too, the silence was like a thick blanket of fog laying across the forest. Suddenly chilled despite the sun Adit moved carefully on, it was farther back than where he was going.


As he moved he listened for anything, animal or otherwise but even the air was still, still slightly fresh with warmth starting to overtake the fresh smell. He took out his scanner and turned to see what was around. Nothing. Nothing at all – that was strange. A chill crept over his body slowly, almost imperceivably. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, but as he looked up he thought he saw something. Removing his eyes he covered them, tears streaming down his face. Wiping then he look back through his fingers to try and shield the glare of the fusion furnace.

There’s something there! Definitely!

Andit stood there as slowly the light faded, the silence continued. Slowly and silently the daylight was robbed by the circular invader as it ate the light from the sun. Andit knew a little about the universe and none of the three moons were due to eclipse now. Only one was even remotely as big as this object.

But then of course it was closer, much closer and it was moving across the sun, so much was covered now that it wasn’t too bad to look at, the bright edge of the sun was still too much to stare at but Andit could focus on the shade. He pulled his jacket back on, as his skin goose bumped, either from the cold or from the apparent fear. His breath now forming a moisture cloud in the air.

Unable to remove his eyes from the spectacle the darkness enveloped him and the landscape. He was always told the woods were dangerous at night, but that danger right now seemed to pale. The invader and the sun were now in perfect alignment and the corona from the nearby star dimly illuminated the land now. Shivering as he stood transfixed he somehow sensed that even the wild animals that come out at night now cowered and fled.

A few moments later and light started to return again, warmth was coming back and Andit continued to watch. Just before the brightness was too much to bear a blue light silent emitted from the circular terror and was shot towards the planet some distance away. In the distance a cacophony of rumbling and thunder could be heard. Andit was unsure how far away it was but he started, sprinting madly towards Keevan’s farm, his heart trying to beat out of his chest. The thunder was ever louder, filling his ears. Whatever was happening, it was coming, much faster than he could ever run. He was still at least twenty minutes from Keevan’s.

He knew there was an old bunker not far n the wood, he would often hide there from the noon sun, scrambling through the branches and thorns his little lungs couldn’t take in the air he needed, his muscles screamed and in blind panic he searched.

Where is it? Where is it?

After what seemed an eternity his eyes found it, pulling the huge metal door open and then shut as he dived into the dark damp shelter, latching the door before collapsing. What sounded like a rock storm seemed to roar outside like some unimaginable beast baying from him as prey. But then as soon as it begun it was over.


Andit finally made it out. The doorway strewn with rock and wood and junk. Squeezing out of the tiny gap he had made he stood on a rock and looked around. The sun shone bright again and a few trees somehow still stood. But where the forest had been was now mostly desolate, as if the desert beyond had decided to devour it in some hideous feast and all that was left was lifeless and barren. The path to Keevan’s was destroyed as was the path home. If either place had survived.

Andit sat on a huge boulder, doing nothing, thinking nothing a tear slid down his dirt encrusted face as he waited. Waited for something, waited for death, for a saviour, for something. Anything.

Andit woke suddenly from sleep it was nearly dark again and chill filled the air. Something had come, footsteps. Keevan’s footsteps.

“There you are boy – you’re alive! Come with me boy, come with me before they find us.”

© Simon Farnell 2020



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Capsule Echo

This is my entry for May’s Blog Battle – the theme or word for this month is Airtight.


There was no light, just the darkness of the space around him. The only sensation that Mitchell knew was his breath. In… out… in… out.
Thank God I’m breathing his mind started coming around. Then there were more sensations, light. That flashing red light is damn annoying!

Weightlessness.

Then warmth, running down Mitchell’s leg. What could that be?

“Arrrgh!” Pain seared through his body, gasping at his thigh Mitchell could feel ait sticking out of the back of his leg. Sweating madly in the humid atmosphere created by his own body in the airtight capsule, made worse by his heavy breathing caused by the searing pain in his leg.

The light turned from Red to a gentle blue, a soothing female tone could be heard “Heavy breathing is causing excess oxygen use – please slow your breathing and calm your body.”

Mitchell paid no attention, whatever he did and how he moved his leg the pain seared through him. In a final desperate attempt to cure the pain he gripped the object, screaming as pulled at it. Slowly, excruciatingly it moved until it was free in his hand.

Then nothing, unconscious again Mitchell floated. Droplets of blood floating around the capsule. Time passed, in what was totally meaningless to even the local part of the universe Mitchell just breathed.


Gently Mitchell opened his eyes once more, his hole body shaking, shivering. Looking at his his hand the fingers were a pale blue. Sheepishly he checked his body over. His leg was sore but the object was gone.

Where is that thing and what was it?

Floating just on the inner surface of the capsule Mitchell reached over and grabbed it. Trying to steady himself in the Zero G he grabbed it and examined it.

What is this? Damn thing is sharp.

He couldn’t identify the intended use of the object, just that it was long and sharp, while he hated the object he realised it must have come from the blast that knocked him into the escape capsule. In a twist of irony he thought himself lucky that it ended up in his leg, if it had missed it would have easily penetrated the thin skin of this little life bubble. Mitchell looked around it, examining what he had available.

A survival suit, that will help with the cold and the heat when it comes!

Before putting it on he examined as best he could his wound, it had stopped bleeding thank God but the place was a mess with blood. As he pulled the suit on he ripped the arms off his long sleeved shirt and used one to mop up what he could of the mess, the other he tied around his leg. Finally zipping his suit up, hood and all he felt warmth returning to his bones.

Still shivering he mumbled “Computer status report.”

The calming female voice returned “Capsule is fully functional, no errors to report.”

Well that’s helpful, what faults can there be with a self propelled 2 metre diameter blow up survival balloon?

“Status of Lunar station 2”

“Lunar station 2 is disabled, last transmission to Earth indicated loss of structure and life support systems. Human inhabitants no longer able to survive there.”

Really? I love the understatement of these things.

“How many capsules were launched from Lunar station 2?”

“Capsule Echo was the only capsule to launch from Lunar station 2 before catastrophic malfunction occurred.”

Mitchell took a moment, remembering in that moment the fellow explorers that only hours before he was working with. Now gone. Kalli and her insane humour with and dark hair, Mickie and his youth and genuine excitement over everything. Gibson, that man was a….

Nevermind

“How long have we been travelling?”

“It has been 27 hours, 42 minutes since Capsule Echo was launched from Lunar station 2.

“How long until we enter Earth Orbit?”

“We will enter Earth orbit in 4 days, 7 hours and 21 minutes.”

I should have stayed asleep. Assuming I encounter nothing that will puncture the skin of the capsule and there’s no solar flares to roast me and the guidance or micro thrusters fail, As well as the million other things that could go wrong I’ll be fine.

Mitchell looked around for supplies. There was always ten days of food and water with these things, but only five days of oxygen. The irony was not lost on him and even as he tore open the sachet which read Day 1 on it he allowed himself a wry smile. Day 2 was going to follow shortly, he had been asleep for over a day after all.

Four days of this? What can I do with fours days stuck in a balloon? I’m going to go totally mad!

Sachet 2 followed, taking his time with it he worked out he took ten minutes to eat it.
God this was going to take ages!

Mitchell’s leg still hurt, he checked the life support of a few minutes, asked the computer a few stupid questions and then after some hours that felt like eternity, he slept.

For the next few days Mitchell slept and stared into nothing, a small window allowed him a view of Earth and its shining blueness slowly getting closer. A few radio messages from control broke the monotony, but even that only lasted thirty or so minutes at a time.

What worried him was that he was somehow low on oxygen, maybe it was from what he did when he took that thing out of his leg. Somehow he had got used to the capsule after these few days, when the 12 hour approach warning came up he thought he would actually miss it in a way. Mitchell took a sleeping pill, The reduced body activity and stress would save oxygen and cause him less stress. He could be rescued and not even know it. There was nothing he could do anyway.

“See you on the other side!” Was Mitchell’s final message.

He looked out on Earth as he slowly drifted off.


What happened six hours after this is a matter of much speculation. The official report says that that Capsule Echo lost its integrity from an unknown object and exploded. But to disappear without a trace, even in space is not an easy thing to do.

What isn’t in the report is that even two years after the event spacecraft going to and from the Moon often hear messages from Capsule Echo, some report the interception of automated status reports from the onboard computer. Others report the screams of a man, screaming for home, screaming for someone to respond.

Screaming for them to stop.

The fate of Moon station 2 and Capsule Echo is still unexplained is now considered a classified subject and not to be discussed… For now.

© Simon Farnell 2020



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Phase Shift

This is my entry for April’s Blog Battle – the theme or word for this month is Heart.


Professor Rakseth stood back and looked through the huge glass panels with pride at the great metal circle. All this life his work had led to this, the theories he came up with as a young man all let to this point.

This moment.

“Wh- what happens now?” Brian asked. Rakseth looked over his glasses at the young scientist.

“Now we see if this works young Brian!” Rakseth beamed. “All my life I have dreamed of this moment, to prove that an inter-spatial pathway can be made so that humans and machines can pass from one place to another instantaneously!”

“Th-this moment m-must surely b-be greater than any other i-in human history s-so far professor!” Brian stammered. “I-it’s a shame the other’s w-who helped couldn’t b-be here to see this.”

“Others?” Rakseth questioned.

“Y-yes, the ones th-that left suddenly.”

“Hmmm…” Rakseth said nothing, pushing the glass door open and proceeding through the air lock he left Brian behind. Inside was an air of quiet activity, people in white suits and masks. The air smelled clean and clinical with a hit of PVC from wiring and solder fumes.

One of the masked workers waled up to Rakseth and pulled their mask off. “We’re ready to proceed in ten minutes Professor.”

“Thank you” Rakseth acknowledged. “Have the fuel cells been charged, checked and the phases aligned? We cannot have an interruption in power during the opening of the pathway, we would lose the human test subject and heaven knows what would happen.”

“Yes, we seem to have overcome the recent phase difficulties, Amber is checking the fuel cells and will monitor them during the pathway initiation.”

“Good, thank you.” Hansen went back to monitor his station. Rakseth brought up the radio “Are we ready with the human test subject?”

“Yes, we’re ready!” a voice came over the radio.

“Wait for my instructions!” Rakseth commanded. Several minutes passed as Rakseth looked at the status monitors on the central console. One by one slowly they lit up. For a few moments Rakseth stared, making sure nothing changed. He raised his voice “We’re going to do this now, let me know of any problems! Initiate the interspatial pathway in 5… 4… 3… 2… 1!”

A blue glow emanated from the metal circle, dimly at first as the power was gradually applied, brighter and brighter the blue intensified. With the intense light a sounds like a pinning jet filled the room. The noise and light together assaulted the senses of those in the room. For a moment Rakseth and all that looked on were looking through the circle into another place.

Rakseth raised his radio to his mouth and paused briefly “Send the test subject through now.”

Rakseth and all present stared on as from the other side a man in military uniform could be seen, advancing towards them from the other side of the pathway, without hesitation he marched towards human destiny as if on a march. Beads of sweat formed on Rakseth’s face as he muttered worth softly under his breath.

“Please…. just work!”

In a moment of time impossible to measure, space was folded, contorted into another form of itself…

“We have a phase shift!” Hansen shouted.

What everyone saw throught the circle flickered almost instantaneously, then suddenly to his horror Rakseth saw not one human, but four. They walked out from the great metal circle and the blue lights dimmed, slowly the intensity reduced to nothing.

No one dared breathe or move, the four stood there still, silent, heads down as if in some kind of prayer. Hansen interrupted the silence.

“That’s Hannah, Jez and Saraya. I thought they had left Professor, that’s what you told us! “

Rakseth stood silent, ignoring Hansen.

Rejecting the silence Hansen shouted “Professor what the hell has been going on?”

“Shut up will you!” Rakseth shouted back. He walked slowly toward the four figures, Hansen just behind him. When they both reached them Rakseth was the first to speak “Tell me, what was it like?” he spoke to the soldier.

Hansen spoke “Soraya, you’ve been gone months, where have you been?”

Soraya said nothing at first, there was just silence. Then she spoke, quietly, in almost a whisper. “I don’t know. I think nowhere. But I have memories too, dreams or nightmares. I’m not sure.”

Silence returned.

The four were taken to the infirmary, nothing could explain the state they were in, like a coma but not, like sleep but fully awake. The physicians and neuro doctors couldn’t explain it. The facility was sealed and everyone told not to leave until the investigation was complete. Then the defense officials arrived, they asked to see the entire team, all were present except Rakseth.


Another night fell on the metal ring, since that day no one had been near them in either location. In the moonlit darkness where none could see a blue light started to glow, it increased to a dazzling brightness. The sound of the huge ring ramping up its power shattered the silence of night. Space was folded, contorted into another form of itself.

The shadows grew as one by one they emerged from the ring, then as darkness suddenly fell there was just a still silence.



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Science Fiction Concepts – Every Spaceship needs a Robbie!


On the back of my post on Uniforms and Space Suits it strikes me that there’s something really Sci-Fi is missing or hasn’t thought of – Robotics and automation. Why is this? Basically humans are not meant to live in space there really are very few environments that are so inhospitable to us. That’s why we need spacesuits to live in space and when you consider how cumbersome they are it has to be asked – wouldn’t a robot be better for the job?

Robbie from Forbidden planet

Robots are all over Sci-Fi, one of the most iconic is Robbie from Forbidden planet. Far too clumsy to be able to carry out fine motor operations but for heavy stuff would be great.

Marvin was another example, but with emotional failures was too depressed to be of anything other than basic use.


Marvin from Hitchhikers

Interstellar had another example of the use of robots in space missions, TARS a tactical robot that was able to carry out ship operations and go places that the humans couldn’t without a suit.

Tars from Interstellar

To look more at automation HAL was essentially the brain of the spaceship Discovery 1. There was nothing on the spacecraft that wasn’t under the control of HAL, this was the safety and ultimately failure of their mission.


Robots are not just going to become a fancy accessory but an essential part of space missions. They have to be, the risks of space walks to humans makes it inevitable. They need no food or water to operate and no oxygen to breathe in space. They can go where humans can’t. But they have to have limitations, all the robots in the stories have their limitations from R2D2 all the way through to our friend Marvin.

So if a robot needs to be written into a story,don’t make it too perfect ot too human (unless that the point of the story) make it a bit clumsy, or immobile. But don’t make it depressed!



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