ufo filter : by kevin williams (SF short teaser)

sf short teaser. UFO filter: by kevin williams.

once I've taken the fun out of this... (get past 'idiots, explosions, falling anvils/ sex, violence + humor' and you're commercially dead) it'll be a decent SF story. (I'm thinking a comic-book.)
my zine has reformatted, i guess.

christmas children;'s story
romantic comedy, valenties/st pats.
SF action-adventure in July
and horror, halloween. (cartoon version)

eh. It's a hobby.
6 novels later, i'm not rich: or even paying any bills with this yet.

enjoy anyway.
----------------------------------------
UFO filter by Kevin Williams.

“Yes, we're sending you to earth as an observer. Learn to love it, Hector.”

“Relax, young jedialine; ignore the rumors you hear about the place. Earth in not that hostile, even if even trees fight for life down there.”

“Your job is simple. This extinction-event might shove humanity past the war-lord stage and into something that can manage things planet-wide.

“If anything survives the pollution, climate-change and various war-lord corps, government and whatnot, we want details.”

“Oh. So I’m going to put down roots somewhere and watch them change from locals to pros? Somewhere safe like the moon maybe?”

“No. We don't send catalysis in for fun, apprentice. It's expensive and dangerous. You'll be in the soup.”

“Blast. So what happens this assignment?”

“Well, first you have to get over the violence. It's styling with flair down there, according to the gossip. Cultures of tension and posing, lots of them.”

“Then? The sensual side of things will always be a distraction; the passion pit is usually fatal.”

“It's primitive yet. Most of the organizations can't even keep the water running; or clean yet. Medicine, justice and whatnot are all still abstracts.”

“Oh. Swell. And then what?”

“You get the social-climbing side of things. Urban treachery and politics; the blame-game in fink world plus credit-stealing. If you want to.”

“It's complicated. If the people can change the world with a noise, they'll do it. All to suit their own personal politics... and regardless of results. Walking on water means you can't swim to an enemy, got it?”

“It usually ends up as someone taking everything you have for the very best of reasons. Ignoring you to death is an act of kindness and politics get worse with every step up.”

“Their politics is worse than their violence. Swell.”

“Yes, it is. Get used to it. Let's see... Isolate, sabotage, coverup, mud-ball... Physical violence, pitfalls... Greed, vanity, power... Plot, gossip, brag...”

“Dandy. I get the general idea. Then what?”

“That about covers it. All the rest is up to you and whatever you can make of things down there. Stay clear and don't bring any thugs home with you.”

“Luck, apprentice. Tell them nothing, it isn't safe.”

****

“Wow. This is the churn-and-burn hereabouts?”

“Dating.” I added after a couple blank but irked and irritated looks from the girl whose supper I just interrupted. She didn't want to play either at first, but then seemed to rally a bit, piqued by something in me.

Finally, there was a head-bob and a smothered giggle+grin at me from the next table; I passed formal inspection.

I grinned. That was a big change from most of the encounters here earthside so far. The reactions to my conversational gambits had varied from being me ignored to 'Go away or I'll call a cop.”

“You work for a bank, don't you?” The blink from the I got from her was knowing. Wrong, but knowing. I let it slide. So far, none of these girls were ready for anything close to what I needed from them, but this one had kept talking at least.

“No. I work, period. Office politics is like that, full of self-appointed enemies that lynch for fun and profit. Even on the moon.”

That got another startled but co-operative nod. “True. You need rhino-hide and the instincts of a weasel to survive these days. But yeah, this is the churn part of churn+burn dating; and so far you interest me. Make this nice, please. I don't need a new Wednesday-loon in my life, even if he is cute.”

“I just did nice, hon. So having something popular guarantees lots of nasty traffic hereabouts? Even in a bar?”

“Correcto, tall, dark and dumb-as-a-post. A score is a score for floaters. The street isn't kind. This is a restaurant, by the way. Entertainment free, unless a food-fight breaks out. Fewer drunks, too.”

“I have other interests, hon. Tell me what you're here for instead, OK?”

“Supper, you idiot. Another microwaved snack didn't appeal to me tonight and Freddie here... That's the cook... makes a mean tofu sea-weed salad. Very healthy.”

“And what brings you here, strange-person? You're having the burger-plate in a Chinese restaurant, so it obviously isn't the food.”

“Oh, you're about to go thru an extinction-event here on earth. I'm an official observer. Not the, an. What filters thru the mass die-off and lives is of interest. If you stay a high-tech society we want to know what you did and how.”

“If you as a species start chasing bananas, clams and slugs for a living again, I get to go home.”

“Oh. You're an alien.”

“Alien observer.”

“A UFO type, neat. Orb-server Yoda onna mission? Dandy. That extinction die-off thing doesn't sound healthy, tho.”

“Life gets weird sometimes. Listen, how much of the planet has croaked in the last few years? People are next. If you live, we want to know why. I'm here to watch and find out.”

“Ok, fine, I can work with this. Do you do funny voices too?”

“Hey! My tantric isn't funny. Well, most of the time.”

“Tantric?”

******

“SLOWER!”

“Fine, slower. Listen again. You're in a big electronic balloon, a pulsing magnetic field, getting something useful out of this, running a ball of light up your spine and counting to seven. Now let it go...”

“Here's the seven ka-push spots. Bottoms up, try again. Listen to my voice.”

***

“Wow. He got away with that? Just what are they putting in the water down here?”

“Stay away from the news, egghead. What's up? More garbage, probably. Electronic voting machines. Rigged elections, rigged courts and so on. General crap. Men!”

“Hey, misogynist I am not. 51% of the pop girls are, 51% of the blame you get.”

“Ha. The yoda-voice gets you nowhere out here, pervert. Yah, medicine, news, politics, education and anything else they can find gets 'adulterated', shall we say.”

“Corporations are in on the pollution, along with religious loons, fan-boys, trolls and special interest groups. Fanatics and loons pick up any leftover slack.”

“War-lords big and small, Not thinking in planet terms yet. Sounds like the same people you deal with on the web. All your traffic belong to us.”

“Your noble psychos are any different in UFO-land?”

“Power without responsibility is fatal. 'Align, align align' type of thing stops the managers from getting too localized; self-indulgent, serving or bent.”

“Eh, eh, eh?”

“Systems, orientation and output. More tantric.”

“Oh. So you're here to help us with a new spark, one that makes sure humanity doesn't die off? By who?”

“Help? No, not a chance, I'm rooting for robots now.”

“The logic is simple. Help vermin and you end up with very healthy vermin. Beating stuff into them doesn't help either. You end up with healthy, stupid, bleeding and skilled vermin.”

“Being a sparky won't work anyway. Most people are so lazy the 'reform' package makes almost no difference. It's the personal motivation that determines everything. Ask a teacher. Or a parole officer.”

“That sucks. What if...”

“Stop right there. Purgatory has another name, it's called Happy-Valley. It's home of the weenies and where people who say 'It's not my fault!' go.”

“Ow. Control freaks?”

“Strong-arm war-lords? They don't listen to anything that doesn't suit them. Violence, bigotry, random performance. The usual greed, vanity and power-mad.”

“Girls?”

“For me? Here's yet another calculus, super-heroine Vectoress. Your bitchy, work, party or politics attitude? Not useful. A couple boy-friends later and most girls are trained to be porn-stars around here.”

“Damn. I thought I had an in there. So what's the filter-thing that gets us past the die-off?”

“I dunno, that's what I'm here to find out. Hopefully it doesn't mean traveling to some weird left-over farming village afterwards only to find out it was an accident of geology that saved everyone there.”

“Or it's the reasoned and balanced attitude of pathological liars or girl-rustlers from the third world that survive.”

“Or religious fanatics and corps using slave-labor? Yeah, it's pretty much women and children first around here, noble savage-wise. After granny gets tossed out first, naturally.”

“So what can you tell me about survivalists, hon? Ones that aren't gun-clubs running terrorist-camps or the bunker types.”

“Not a whole lot. They hoard, right?”

“There has to be somebody out there on this stupid mudball with the right survival instinct. I need to find them.”

“The web is your friend, then. The web is your friend.”

***

“Comon, comon, somebody discover fire already!”

“Relax, Hector. Yesterday you did religion looney groups. From free, perfect and exactly what they wanted to time, effort and money.”

“According to you, even the pay-as-you-grow clusters aren't clued into your program yet.”

“Pay? Same goes with air and water and religion. Find, pay, grind. Every group I've seen has generals fighting yesterday's war.”

“It gets worse. Social-genetics kills most bureaucracies here. Good people move up and out, dregs and dummies stay. After a few years it's bare minimum competence in any organization position.”

“I'm ready to start praying for an asteroid. These fruit-fly bottle-colony trying to live in their own sewage are icky. Pollution kills them off sooner or later, or the neighbors do.”

“So art gets squeezed out and the techies in, normally?”

“Yeah, bad money drives out good.”

*******

“The sad part is, they've discovered a couple ways already, I've seen them. The local war-lords usually kill them off, tho. Sometimes for food instead of pleasure or being a threat, but most of what I've found is remnants of groups that might've made something work planet wide.”

“So this extinction is both pollution, climate and people driven?”

“Yeah. And the people part is the deadliest of all.”

“I would've thought you needed a world-class survivor that took over the whole world here.”

“Naw. More of the same there, just bigger. Tribes are easy to spot. War-lords are easy to spot. I'm looking for worldly types, not somebody trying to make his family rich.”

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