Spacenews. Alien spacesuit found orbiting #BetaChiarus3. This planet is the backup choice for the #terraformingproject.


“Did you see this?”

“Since I’m looking over your shoulder I think you can assume I did.”

“Pretty cool, huh. A dead alien is even better than a live one! Don’t have to worry about conquering hordes.”

That’s what the talking heads were saying too. The desiccated corpse inside the suit had been about 3 m tall when alive. As to why the corpse had been left at Beta Chiarus, or whether any aliens would come back for it, there were no facts but plenty of speculation. It had been a solitary explorer, a would-be mutineer, victim of a successful mutiny, or something so alien we could never understand it. After the autopsy, the body was analyzed chemically six ways from Sunday, and shown to be based on a molecule very similar to DNA. Its proteins were different from terrestrial proteins but they were proteins.

“So it couldn’t have eaten our plants or our livestock…” began one of an endless parade of interchangeable “experts”.

“or us,” interjected the show’s host, laughing.

Und so weiter.

True enough, as far as it went. But when the rest of the nine-foot aliens followed our ships home and began their xenoforming project on Earth the media parrots didn’t seem so smug.


There is only one pushcart.  I’m sure you’ve noticed that around meal times the service slows down.  I don’t mean the line gets long, although it does.  I mean that when you are at the front of the line and you ask Jimmy or whatever the name is for a chili foot-long or cheese fries he takes a while to respond.  There is hesitation, there may be blank stares, there may be lapses of memory.  All of these are indications of lack of bandwidth. This never happens if you want a double cheeseburger with all the trimmings at 8:26 p.m. That’s a slack time.
I see you don’t believe me. Take this paper.  Don’t look at it! Give it to any pushcart operator: he won’t be able to look away. See, this is important. The pushcart…  Okay, _pushcarts_.  I believe the “pushcarts” represent the vanguard of an invasion force.  I don’t know whether their role is surveillance, sleeper cell, or what. But why would they hide if they didn’t mean us harm?
Maybe so, but if we are experimental subjects and the pushcart represents some intergalactic psychology department, yes, I do object.  I want them out of my brain and off my planet..
So here’s the plan.  Tomorrow, hand this to any pushcart operator.  Then see what happens.  You’ll know if it works.
Go ahead, give it to her.  You want me to do it?  Alright, alright, give it here.  Howdy Ma’am, I want to buy a hot dog.  But first, would you take a look at this please?  Thank you.
[Whispers] yes, I know she’s reading it.  She’s still reading. No, maybe you’re right.  She is just standing there, immobile. That’s what I told you would happen.
So the pushcart has flickered out.  Probably all of them have disappeared, except for the single real one.  No, I don’t see anything else that’s changed.  Well, except that all the buildings have disappeared.  And the trees, the pavement, and the sky.
Don’t be such a baby.  You still have me, and this regular hexagonal grid on the floor.  And the face. Look up.  Big eyes, enlarged cranium, it’s the standard tabloid alien.  Who knew they were real? It doesn’t do any good to panic. I was wrong: the pushcarts weren’t the only fakes.  So sue me. Hey, at least we still have each other.

Page 2169

The Indonesian Orange Smoke Tang

(also known as Bali Hai Flying Clove Fish)

The Indonesian Smoke Tang is not a fish at all, though in its adult form it manifests in a smoky fish like shape akin to the ones found on the packaging of Bali Hai clove cigarettes a fine Turkish tobacco made by Djarum an Indonesian company.

Smoke Tangs, particularly the orange variety, have been regularly and reliably sighted in Southeast Asia since the mid 1800’s. Reported sightings did not begin in the United States until the 1950’s with the popularity of clove cigarettes among the beatnik culture who called the Orange Smoke Tangs, Flying Clove Fish, because of the way the creatures glided through the air like a flying fish before disappearing back into the aether.

With the recent popularity of the Bali Hai brand, particularly in Cancun, a new generation has come to call these creatures the Bali Hai Flying Clove Fish. Whether this has anything to do with the brightly colored fish on the package is a matter of speculation.


 Update 2009

In late 2009, President of the United States Barak Obama signed a tobacco bill into law that effectively banned clove cigarettes in the United States.

 While the rationale for the bill was public health and safety, mainly curbing the marketing of cigarettes, such as popular clove cigarette brands like Bali Hai to teens, the real reason likely has more to do with the new found dangers of the Indonesian Smoke Tang. While its adult form is a benign, pleasant ethereal creature that glides through the air in a graceful lifespan shorter than any butterfly, its larval form has been found to be very dangerous.

The mite size larva live in the cloved tobacco and enter the human body through the mouth of the smoker. Filters are not a deterrent to the creatures. Once in the body the larva cause the smoker to crave and often ingest large amounts of alcohol. In several reported instances the alcohol was various blends of sake and sweet tea alcohol. Whether this is statistically significant is yet unclear. Also the smokers crave more clove cigarettes and inject more larva, thus creating a vicious circle. How the Smoke Fish reproduce is yet unclear, as is the effectiveness of the Obama administrations smoke ban.

The day was warm and a dry breeze blew out of the west. A good day for making cash.
Cars found a pebble. His hands were full. He picked it up in his toes and put it in his pocket. After he let Tools off at the mirror garden, he hid behind a solar array and examined his find. It tasted siliceous, with a hint of manganese. It was smooth and cool, pleasing to touch, so he kept it, despite its condition of no value.
Tools knew Cars had found something while carrying her to the garden. After making sure that her latest crop of mirrors had sufficient nutrients and were growing well, she called Tracks.
“Honey, I have a job of mutual profit.” Tracks was already shaking her head.
“Cash up front. Always cash up front. You know that.”
Tools bit the side of her finger while she thought. “Two mirrors. You choose.”
They settled on three, and Tracks was on the case. What did Cars find, and what was it worth?
Cars and Digs were sitting together on the bluff. The horizon was rising to meet the sun. Digs spat the pebble out and handed it back.
“It doesn’t taste good and it’s not nutritious. It is only a pebble.”
“I have wondered,” he replied, “does everything have to have measurable value?”
She pushed him down and straddled him. “Compare,” she said.
He popped the pebble in his mouth.
Cars dropped Digs off at the landfill excavation and ran to the taxi stand.
“You’re late!” Bossman shouted, his hair standing up in fury. “You’re docked a day’s pay.” He leaned forward and sneered. “We gotta be faaaaiiiiir!”
“You know what? I don’t think that IS fair. Also, I don’t want to carry people all day. Let them walk.” He dropped the pebble into Bossman’s hand.
“So what is it?” Tools asked. Tracks shrugged.
“He gave it to Bossman. Bossman threw it in the dirt and I picked it up. But it’s only a pebble.”
“Did he do anything special while he had it?”
“No. Put the pebble in his mouth and had sex with Digs.”
Tools looked at the pebble. She tasted it. “You got the wrong thing. Go look again.”
“Keep your mirrors,” said Tracks, “I’ve got work to do.” She put the pebble in her pocket, running her thumb over it as she walked away.
The end

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