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Conspiracy theories are like squinting with your brain until the world looks less fuzzy.

  • Mr Brightside

 

12 Hours Later - Candy - A Tent

Wake. Roll over. Go back to sleep. Wake again. Roll over. Lie very still. If I lie still long enough, I will fall asleep. This is necessary, because I am never getting out of bed again. Wake again. Huh, that lie still thing must have worked. Great, now I have a plan. I lie still. I can hear Guy and Lawbot chatting not far from my tent. I don’t listen. I lie still with furious intensity. It’s not working. I discreetly rub one out. I lie still in a more relaxed fashion. I smell bacon. Guy is cooking bacon. That motherfucker. I have to pee.

I sigh. Yet another plan ends in failure. I leave my tent, groggy and grumpy.

Guy serves up some breakfast. He’s easy to get along with. Lawbot and I chat with him until he excuses himself to take his blue pills. Then we go to the far side of the clearing and make a plan to repair the space lab. We come up with a few ideas, and a few questions.

“I think this is as far as we can plan without going into the cabin.” says Lawbot.

I nod.

“So, let’s go in.” says Lawbot.

I go back to my tent.

I come back an hour later smelling of pot and whisky.

I nod.

We go into the lab.

Our first plan is to send up a whole new space lab. After a little investigation, this does not seem like a great plan. It takes over a month to make a space lab, and there’s only a 10% chance of it surviving the trip up. Hence the need for repair drones. We regroup outside, and discuss the possibility of sending a repair drone - the plan given to us by Lair. It may be worth looking into. If only because it worked last time. Also, we have no other ideas.

There’s a mini rocket in the microlab. We load a nuke for propulsion, and a radio so we can communicate with it. We fill it’s cargo bay with all the spare parts we have. Then we unload half. If we fuck up the launch, we’re going to want a second shot. That leaves us with some extra cargo room. Lawbot thinks we should load some extra nukes. I decide to load a hypno-clone package. The space lab should have one, but if it’s broken, we can make repairs with the rocket’s hypno-clone.

Everything is ready in an hour. We spend the next 7 hours checking our work for mistakes. Nothing jumps out at us. We shrug, load the rocket in a sniper rifle, and send it off. The nuke is fucking loud. It’s enough to make Guy look up from his phone.

We connect to it’s hypno-clone from out in the clearing. We want to be able to talk to each other without accidentally activating Lair. As soon as I connect, I take my avatar to the outside of the rocket, so I can ride it through space like a surfboard. It’s awesome. This is the real reason I added a hypno-clone to the mini-rocket. Totally worth it.

As we cruise to the space lab’s orbit, we pass through a few clouds of tiny silver spheres. Hmm. That’s new.

When we reach the lab’s orbit, we’re right in the middle of one of the clouds. We have a sensor array for finding the lab, but it’s showing millions local objects. Well dang.

“What is this stuff?” asks Lawbot.

“Tactical space junk.” I say. “We passed through it because we’re so small. It be like flying through a blender for a normal space probe.”

“Damn.” says Lawbot. “The Optimals are locking us out of space.”

“I don’t think it’s the Optimals.” I say. Some of the spheres are larger than the others. I point to one that is approaching us. It has a design etched on it’s nose. Some stylized lines that represent a monkey riding a dinosaur. The flag of the Mars-Damocles Alliance.

“God Damn Space Prick!” swears Lawbot.

The large sphere parks itself near us. It oozes menace. I get a hypno-clone friend request from it. I light a joint. Accept the request.

A face appears on the sphere. It’s Adam Grayson, co-leader of the Mars-Damocles Alliance. God Damn Space Prick. “Howdy. I notice you’re firing off nukes in space. That’s against a number of Earth laws.”

He’s got a point. I’m not sure how to answer. Fortunately, I brought my lawyer.

“That nuke was fired off in atmosphere. Well below any current definition of space. Unlike your space junk blender. Which is gross violation of space law.”

“Earth space law.” says Space Prick. “The Mars-Damocles Alliance doesn’t recognize Earth space law. Not until we negotiate a treaty.”

“Then why’d you bring it up?” asks Lawbot.

Space Prick smiles. “What the fuck are you doing up here? You bastards have been nuking and poisoning each other. I’m not letting that spread to Mars or Damocles. Give me a reason not to blow a hole through you and your launch site.”

Lawbot pauses. “I need to confer with my client.” He whispers to me. “We’re stepping outside of my programming here.”

“Fuck you Space Prick!” I say. “You kill me, I’ll kill you right back! How’s that for a fucking treaty?”

Space Prick pauses. “I need to talk to my people.” He’s gone.

We’re alone. I turn to Lawbot. “Ideas?”

“I don’t know.” he says. “We can’t find the space lab. Logically, we should set off a nuke to make sure they don’t find it either. Then die with dignity when they retaliate at our launch site. But, we didn’t bring a spare nuke and I don’t want us to die.”

“Fair enough. We’ll call that plan B.” I say. “Got another idea?”

“Deescalate? Can we prove we’re not a threat?”

No, we can’t. I think. Maybe we can confuse the issue.

“Hey Space Prick! You’re freaked out by what’s happening on Earth? We are too! We’re not Optimals! Let’s not kill each other because we’re both scared of other people!”

Space Prick’s face reappears on the sphere. He’s listening.

“I don’t know what to do about the Optimals.” I say. “But I’m open to suggestions. We’re friends online now. You got a plan, hit me up any time.”

“If you don’t have a plan, what are you doing up here?” asks Space Prick.

“Well, we have plans, just not Optimal plans. We were looking for aliens before all this nuclear mind control crap started. We figured we may as well keep at it.”

Silence.

“We’re up here looking for interstellar asteroids.” I say. “We check them for space DNA. Then we try to grow some aliens. Maybe party with them.”

Space Prick’s hypno-clone turns off. Turns back on.

“That’s stupid and amazing.” He says. “We’ve actually found some interstellar asteroids with space DNA. We’ll send them over if you let us party with the aliens too.”

“Cool. Done.”

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Doctor Zero

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