Contact

He’d begun to wonder.

A snowstorm was traversed that morning when he came over the pass, following the Interstate. Hurricane force winds. Icy temperatures. Snow without end, clotting light, forcing a squint into his tired eyes as he and the cats and dog peered ahead. No one slept. The animals had to be with him, of course; they were mostly silent constant shadows. Itty Bitty was on the console and Floofy Cat rode the right-hand chair. Almost Dog lolled his tongue from the left-hand seat. Britt had the center seat – when he sat. Mostly, he nursed coffee and stood or paced.

Steering by him and such controls weren’t required. Protected by its energy shied, the machine scythed along. Systems weren’t optimum but speed was low, fifty miles per hour. Plenty of energy remained in reserve and the cells hovered around ninety percent. Altitude was five hundred feet. The imaging system showed a city in the valley below but nothing over eleven stories. Still, uncomfortable, flying blind. He drank coffee and hovered around the drive deck, eyes skipping between the snow outside and the instruments, maps, radar, and GPS.

Weariness finally won. He told the vehicle to find a place to land. Pavement was found; he nixed that, asking for a meadow. One sufficiently large was tracked down. The machine settled itself twelve minutes later. Snow still fell. Wind remained an angry infant wailing. He deployed the security fencing. Despite twenty-degrees Fahrenheit temperature – minus two when the wind was considered – the little machines sailed out of their portals, and then created and erected the perimeter protection in fourteen minutes. The shield was expanded to include the ship and the area to the fencing.

The systems said the snow had ceased the next morning and the temperature was up to twenty-four. He spent a little energy warming the air outside the machine, melting the snow off the shield, letting in blue sky and sunlight. Growing more comfortable and relaxed, he spied on the town. No people were detected. Not much of anything showed up. There were stores. BiMart. Google said it was an employee-owned enterprise, part of a chain. Albertsons and Safeway. A Market of Choice. Rite Aid. Six miles away. He flipped a mental quarter and decided to take the five pack in for scavenging.

It was after coming back that he detected other people. Three women, according to the vehicle’s senses. Been three months since he’d had human contact, but he was in no hurry to meet anyone. Taking manual control of the vehicle, he confirmed the cloak was on and steered toward their reported location. Spying them, he settled the vehicle into a hover and watched.

Three women. Struggling. Indeterminant age in that ragged clothing. One seemed worse.

Why, though, were they out in this thick white? Snow climbed over their knees.

Desperate people, of course. Most survivors were desperate, hungry for the right food, thirsting for company, praying for help.

Britt tapped a finger on the center console and counted, one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four. Didn’t know why he did that and when he caught himself, he willed, stop.

He figured the woman must be trying to reach the city. They were at least a few miles away.

A sigh breached his lips. The humane thing to do and all that. He guided the vehicle forward until he was just ten feet away. Then he uncloaked. Let them see him.

Took a double fist of seconds before one focused attention on the vehicle. Pushing back thick brown hair and light blue hood, she held them off her pale, wan face to take in his car. Turning on his vehicle’s ears, he heard her ask, “What’s that?” Then, when the others put attention on her, she pointed at the car.

He settled it onto the snow and popped the door. Stepping out, he called, “Hello. Need any help?”

© 2022 Michael Seidel

Monday’s Theme Music

Today feels like winter outside. Not as much like winter where snow thickens in growing piles on the ground and obliterates visibility as is happening in many parts of the northern hemisphere. No, not that wintry. But chilly, with a polar snap in the air and a muted sun obscured by an endless cloud layer.

Today is Monday, January 31, 2022. The last day of January. One month of 2022 in the books. About 8.5% of the year’s days are gone.

The sun’s live streaming shine began at 7:25 AM and will cease at 5:24 PM. Temperatures are kissing the upper thirties now and are predicted to stop at 45 F. But no rain. No snow.

I have a Michael Jackson song from 1979 called “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” circulating in the morning mental music stream. It was a large hit back in the late seventies and early eighties, kicking off a new MJ era. The song is cat related for me today. My cancer-afflicted feline was eating this morning. I encouraged him not to stop until he got enough. Good to see him trying to eat robustly. You can see the music connection, right? He’s in sad shape, with a tumor maligning his handsome face. His personality remains the same, though.

Watching the MJ video is a trip back. He looked and acted so much different just four years later, when he came out with the Thriller album. He reminds me of David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, or Madonna, re-inventing themselves. The Beatles, Stones, Who, etc., were less about reinventing themselves and more about shifting and refining themselves. Either way, it’s been fascinating to observe all these these changes throughout the decades, and the music shifts that brought us to now.

Stay positive, test negative, wear a mask as needed, and get the vax and booster when you can. I’m getting coffee now because I can. Here’s the music. Cheers

Floof Shui

Floof Shui (floofinition) – Traditional practice that animals use to arrange themselves for the best energy flow.

In use: “Parent animals quickly teach their offspring floof shui, noting, for example, that for many, the best sleeping position is to curl up in a tight ball with their head upside down.”

The Tricorder Dream

I began as a fighter pilot but upon returning from a mission, I changed clothes and started writing computer programs as part of a small startup. In my early thirties (from appearance), I was initially writing programs as a database manager while serving as a mid-level manager overseeing several functions, including data collection and entry. The company was involved with a new medical process and was going through clinical trials and marketing trials. Several RL people from my RL employment with medical device companies appeared in the dream. I knew the details of the trial in the dream, but it was all glossed over and they’re lost now. What the company was doing wasn’t working but I realized that another benefit was possible. That’s what I began writing a program. It was to work with a scanner to be a sort of medical tricorder (as used in Star Trek). I developed a form for the scan to fill out. Each iteration helped me refine and expand what the tricorder could do. I became immensely excited because they could be manufactured and sold cheaply, enabling people to scan themselves non-invasively at home without a need for blood and urine panels, x-rays, or MRIs. It would be a proactive tool to get ahead of your body’s trends before they became a problem. You could easily baseline your norms and then keep testing yourself to see what changes had taken place. The dream ended with me scanning myself as a test subject.

Timefloof

Timefloof (floofinition) – 1. An animal who is consistent about their activities.

In use: “Barb has little need for an alarm clock because her little black cat was a timefloof who woke her every morning at 5:55 AM with food demands.”

2. Ancient race of extraterrestrial animals who have command of time travel.

In use: “Pets sometimes disappear and reappear without people knowing where the animals were, because either the animal is a Timefloof, or they’ve been traveling with a Timefloof as their companion.”

“Train to Busan”

“Train to Busan” is a Korean movie with English subtitles. It’s all about zombies but it’s the best zombie movies which I’ve seen in years. Taut, well-paced, human, with heroes to root for and villains to root against, we completely enjoyed it. The one problem was that it was on the Roku Channel. Sure, it’s free with your Roku account, but the movie had subtitles built in. The Roku system’s subtitles would come in over the movie subtitles about half a second later. Although the system’s subtitles were more legible, we needed to turn them off because the dynamic distracted and annoyed some viewers.

Part of watching such foreign movies is playing the ‘what if it’s made in America’ game. Who would play the villain and various heroes? Hope you can see it and make recommendations. It’s a movie I wholeheartedly endorse.

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