Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft, and the only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor.
--Wernher von Braun
Blang Forstrum was a patient man. Two decades earned him maybe the role of the world's most patient man.
course, he wasn't a man at all when he first thought stuff that would
be part of his latest scheme. Just a kid during those Crawling, on the planet's face. Some insects, called the Human Race. Lost in time, and lost in space... and in meaning.|boring nights]; made
more pleasant and tolerable looking up at stars, planets -- that if you
really peered at with a concentrated stare, would show their colors.
And then the cloud that wasn't a cloud at all, but a Milky Way made up
of masses of burning nuclear globes in one of our own spiral galaxy's
Had to be a better place than Bungalow, ND. Living with
grandma since Dad forced Mom to move far away, and then they put that
abuser away for good. Trouble in school, always staring out the window,
doodling space craft, trouble getting a GED; trouble in the Army, he
wanted to do things his way; but then as an unemployed young man, he
went to the local Career Developmental Center and took all the courses
for electrical work. Not only did he thrive, but Blang found his niche,
he was darned good with anything that had nano or macro voltage running
through it. It was like that juice ran through his veins too.
help from the Center, Forstrum got a scholarship to SDIT. He was a bit
older than the other students; even later when he was accepted to grad
school. The lack of social opportunities didn't faze him one iota, he
excelled here. When he was asked to speak to the school, he simply
said, "Thanks for helping take me to where I gotta go." But to himself,
he added, "Somewhere you couldn't even dream of." That place would not
be NASA; though to get there he was Florida bound, because that was
only the starting place.
He was one of many NASA technicians that
worked on the ground, his background check good enough for this role,
wouldn't put him in any flights, however. But, his dream was bigger
than any obstacle, not even the security ones. He'd stolen a flight
suit, a big coup, they blamed the cleanup lady, he was just too good a
techie for them.
Finally it was April 10, one night before the
launch, the first manned mission to Mars, but that's not where he
wanted to end up; no it would be much further, much further. He was
going to borrow the ship when the crew disembarked, "Don't worry!" he
thought since he planned to pick them back up. He managed to sneak to
the ramp, a few steps and he'd be inside. He'd already studied the
blueprints, and knew just where to go. Spare compartment number G-380, a
deliberate redundancy built in to bring back specimens, live.
was sweating profusely in his suit, (as it was not turned on yet),
which he specially modified with feeding modules, and the means to also
later put him in suspended animation, and recycle gases to keep him
alive practically indefinitely. Finally he made it through the hatch.
Using his own infrared and other night vision devices attached to his
helmet, he worked his way-- like he was in his own apartment --to his
hiding place, the retrieval cache. He would sleep until he needed to be
awakened to be alert. It would only be a matter of hours, now.
bzzzt, bzzzt! A sound permeated the fog, his proximity alarm; he peered through his fiber
optical thread he left in the crack of the door. There was a crew out
and about, if they happened to open his door, he was behind the piles of
tarp kept here. That last idea of protective covers for the field was
his --that he'd manage to sneak into the planning committee's files. But, he
could sense that all was routine, and he went back into a life saving
Bzzzt, bzzzt, bzzzt! That buzzing klaxon awoke him once
more, as he moved the tiny thread of what served as his peephole allowed
him to see what looked like re-embarking. They had already landed and
were getting ready for the return trip!
Next he saw them coming
with a container towards his hideout, he quickly ducked cleverly under
the tarps, as he heard the team leader talking: "These samples we
found, show there is organic life here on Mars, there was no way the
Martian Rover bot could get to these in that cave on the equator.
They'll be okay in here, as long as there's no other organic life forms
near them. Not sure, but they look like they're the predator that
finished off all the rest of the life here."
Then they were
gone. As he switched on his infrared and night vision, he moved closer
to the container, it looked like ordinary Tupperware (tm) and he
reached out to touch it with his special gloves with sensors. Certainly
he would be safe to see the first life found extra-terrestrially. He
flipped the catches open, (I guess they thought it didn't need to be
locked), and checked out their big find. It was just a greenish gray
glob. He gingerly touched it, and then put everything back as it was.
He wouldn't be able to commandeer the ship, so he would have to just
wait until they get back. So back off to hibernation dreamland he
Bzzzt, bzzzt, bzzzt! This time when he came out of his reveries, he
felt different, lighter, and the last thing Blang Forstrum would ever see was the
greenish gray glob sliding into his mouth and lungs.
Won't you ride on my fast machine?
Cruising on through the junction,
I'm flying 'bout the speed of sound,
Noticing peculiar function,
I ain't no roller coaster show me down.
I turned away to see her,
Whoa! she caught my eye,
But I was rolling down, moving too fast...