Star City Stories: Enter SandmanbyStangStar06©
Hi Folks, thanks to everyone who read last week's story. Thanks even more to those of you who commented on it whether positive or negative. Everyone has their own opinion and there's nothing that anyone can write that every single person will like. This story continues the weirdness I've been exploring of late so some of you purists who've been writing me letters telling me that some of the stories aren't LW probably won't think this one is either. The story does involve a wife having sex with someone other than her husband, so that makes it LW in my book. Thanks to the incredible Mikothebaby for editing this story even as she struggles to come to grips with the deadly and dangerous windows 8. And a special thanks to those of you who continue to come here every week and suffer through me stretching out my story-telling muscles.
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I checked the coupling from the large cable and nodded my head. I smiled just a bit as I tightened the link that connected this cable to the grid of them below the metal surface of the floor. I skipped back across the metal floor and checked my instrument panel again. Everything was green.
"Okay guys, let's fire this bitch up," I yelled.
"Are we going to run it from the generator or the solar panels?" asked Dr. Ivan Deevy. Ivan used to be the head of theoretical science at MIT five years ago. Now he's one of my flunkies. A lot of things change when the fate of humanity is at stake.
My name is Dr. Denton Woods and I'm one of the smartest men on the planet. I can say that without sounding vain because it's true. The year is 2048 and the world has changed the way we look at everything. We have come together as a society and as a planet. There will probably be wars in a few years, but they won't be fought over land or religion or any of those stupid things that no longer matter.
The differences between us now are all far more serious. You see roughly ten years ago scientists discovered a previously unknown asteroid. An asteroid just like it stuck earth a little over a hundred thousand years ago and wiped out the dinosaurs. This one is bigger and will probably destroy the planet. It's too big and moving too fast for us to send Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, and the rest of those guys up there to drill a hole in it and save us. It has also been proven that we simply don't have any type of weapons, nuclear or other, that can destroy the massive planetoid. It's simply game over for the third rock from the sun.
The asteroid, known as Shiva 2100, will hit Earth sometime in early January, 2100 or late December of the year 2099. That gives us roughly 51 years to get the hell out of dodge. We want to leave at least a year early to assure that we're clear of the solar system before the cataclysmic event takes place. We have no idea of what will happen afterwards. Some have predicted that Shiva could hit the sun and severely damage it as well. If that happens, our entire solar system would be compromised, so the idea of trying to set up on a planet in our solar system wouldn't make much sense.
Early in our plans, we'd located several Earth-like planets. These planets were very close to Earth in terms of atmosphere, gravity and climate. One or several of them would be humanity's greatest and best chance to live on. The problems were immense, both in terms of capital, resources, technologies and brain power. We had to invent new science and new fields of study as we planned it. That was, of course, where I came in.
Several different ships and groups were planned. Each gigantic star faring ark would hopefully carry thousands of people. Another problem was that the time it would take us to reach the Earth-like planets would be measured in decades. That meant that most of the people who embarked on the journey would be very old or dead when we arrived.
My best estimate depending on the mode of propulsion used was that it would take somewhere in the neighborhood of fort seven to fifty years to arrive at our destination. I seriously doubted that I'd even be alive to see the ship depart. I'm thirty five now, fifty one years from now I'll be eighty six years old. Even If I did start the trip, I'd be long dead when we got to our destination.
The people who land the ship and organize and manage our society's transition to the new world will have been born in space.
The fact that the planet is going to be destroyed has brought about a totally new pecking order in terms of who can go. Money no longer means anything. With so little space on the ships there will be a lot of people left on earth to perish.
We've had to be extremely selective in deciding who can go and who can't. There are certain skill sets and occupations that are extremely valuable. We also want to insure as broad a range of genetic material as possible. We want every race and culture represented but we still only have room for so many people. With that in mind, there are a lot of people who will not be making the trip.
To be specific, we need teachers. They will have the awesome responsibility of training the next generation that will probably be born in space and take over the leadership of the mission while in transit. We don't however, need basketball players. An extra tall, extra heavy person, who requires more resources in terms of food, water and even oxygen, whose only skill is the ability to jump up and drop a ball through a hoop is something we simply don't have room for.
We don't need football players, golfers, hockey players, rappers, singers, baseball players, models, games show hosts, magicians, mimes or Kardashians either. No matter how much money they have or how great their skills are, they need not apply. What the hell does a Kardashian actually do anyway?
Almost overnight, society has changed. Last year there weren't any colleges in the US that had enough players to field a football team. There are math and science clubs popping up all over the planet. Every hot chick in the world suddenly wants a nerd on her arm, which again is where I come in.
In the old days, you had guys that were called theoretical physicists. They were the rock stars of science. They sat around all day and spun theories about what might be the cause of this or that. They could work for years on some hair brained hypothesis, while being funded by a large company or university. Those gentlemen often spent their entire lives just spinning interesting yet ultimately useless theories.
In our time, the top man on the totem pole is the practical physicist. He is the person who can take those theories from pure math and calculation to fruition. That, once again, is where I come in. Our group the AAAAE, the All American Alliance Against Extinction, usually known as the A4E, combines all of the resources of the entire American continent. It includes Canada, America and South America. We plan to build a fleet of four or five huge ships. Each ship will have the capacity to house over twenty thousand people. I know it sounds like a lot but when you consider that the population of our planet is over 7 billion people, that number is far less than a drop in the bucket.
We started the selection process of people who will even be allowed to work on the project five years ago. If you're not working on the projects, you probably won't be going. We've built our own city, Star city, in Texas where we're doing the research and development necessary to assemble the ships.
We get thousands of applications each week for individuals and families that want to come to Star city. Ninety nine point nine percent of them are turned away. A huge wall surrounds the city to prevent outsiders from getting in. It only goes to show you how desperate people are for their genes to survive. The ships won't be leaving for a little over fifty years, but people are dying to get in so their children have a chance to get on a ship.
"Run it from the generator Ivan," I reply. "The first thing we have to do is to prove that the theory works. Then we can make it more efficient."
Our main craft will each have multiple propulsion systems. We'll have a main chemical or solid fueled booster engine for quick maneuvers, but most of our travel will make use of a solar sail array. The ships will be built in space which will eliminate the need for huge booster rockets. My current project involves the shuttles. To conserve resources and so that we can collaborate while in space we needed to have some sort of transport vehicle that is capable of taking short hops either from ship to ship while in space or from a ship to a planet.
We have most of the problems with those worked out. One of the main issues we had was in landing the shuttles on a ship. For anyone who's seen Battlestar Galactica, the danger of landing on a ship is great. The engineer's designs for a landing platform required tons of concrete and steel. The weight of those landing platforms alone was almost twenty percent of the weight of the ships.
I came up with what I think will save us weight, structural stability and space. It will also lessen the amount of fuel we need and make our solar sails more efficient through the reduction in mass.
My idea was to give the shuttles a landing system that was separate from their main engines. We'd use magnetic repulsion to do it. The shuttles would have magnetic emitters on them. The floor of the landing bay would be a metal surface with a grid of charged cables under it that turned the entire floor into a huge electromagnet. The computer could make sure that the polarity of the magnetic floor was the opposite charge of the emitters. That way the shuttle and the deck would repel each other.
We'd built a huge mock up in a one third scale size. We had a drone with the emitters mounted under it. Today we'd fly the drone in and reverse thrust over the magnetic floor. Then we'd cushion the drone's landing by magnetic repulsion.
I watched as the drone took off from the other end of the airplane hangar we were using as a lab. It flew in smoothly and slowed as it got close to the mag floor. It came in for a landing and its pilot who was flying the drone from a control panel on the other end of the building, stopped its engines and turned on the emitters. The drone didn't actually touch down on the floor which was good and proved that the tech worked. But the drone careened across the floor and skidded into an i-beam.
"Shit!" I yelled loudly. "Harold, do you have any idea of how much those fucking things cost?"
His voice over the intercom was apologetic. "I'm sorry Dr. Woods," he said.
"Do you even remember what I told you to do?" I asked. "I clearly remember telling you that you needed to apply the reverse thrusters at the same time as the emitters, because if you don't, the inertia of your landing causes the ship to simply slide across the magnetic field like a God damned air hockey disc. Do you remember that Harold?"
"Yes Dr. Woods," he said apologetically.
"Why did I say it would happen, Harold?" I asked as if he was a school boy that I was lecturing to about forgetting a variable in an equation.
"Because the magnetic field has no friction," he said. "So the emitters will only support the ship above the floor, they won't give any type of braking or directional control."
"Get another drone, Harold," I said. "And remember these drones cost about eight thousand dollars apiece. Sooner or later we're going to start charging you for them."
A couple of tests later, I watched as the drone flew in, slowed itself down by reverse thrusting and then buoyed by the emitters rested softly on the metal floor. A cheer went up in the lab as months of working and building and testing finally bore fruit.
"Alright, you bunch of idiots. Great work," I said. "Every one of you, get the hell out of here. Take the rest of the day off. Tomorrow we'll demonstrate the concept and the emitters for the board and let the R&D guys take it from there. Next week, we'll be working on something else."
Everyone was happy and smiling. My success, was in fact, their success. Working for a team that solved problems and accomplished things resulted in far more perks and stability. I even left the lab myself that afternoon. I foresaw a chance to relax and pick out my next project from a list of literally hundreds I could choose from.
Star City had all kinds of transit systems including a high speed monorail and a very efficient subway system. I took the monorail and made the five mile distance from my lab to my home in under five minutes.
I opened the door to my luxurious mini mansion and stepped into my living room. The scene I found there filled me with shock. My giant brain, although used to tackling problems and concepts that would crash a supercomputer, was not prepared for the scene I found.
A large man with red hair and very pale skin, was slamming his dick in and out of my wife. She was pushing herself back against him. I did take the time to notice that he wasn't pushing himself into her vagina.
I'm probably five foot nine inches tall. I have brown hair and brown eyes. I might weigh one hundred and sixty pounds soaking weight and wearing steel toed shoes, but not an ounce more. The behemoth on top of Beth was at least six four and definitely over two hundred and twenty pounds.
As I stood there, barely breathing, neither of them noticed me. I don't think they would have if shock hadn't caused me to drop my keys on the ceramic tiles of the floor. It was a moment that will be etched forever in my mind. There was the jangling sound of my keys as they hit the tiles. A split second later, all hell broke loose as the guy looked my way and Beth looked over her shoulder and saw me.
There was also that "punched in the stomach" feeling as my brain finally caught up to the situation.
"Oh shit," said the guy.
"Honey, what are you doing home?" asked my beautiful, cheating whore of a wife. Her eyes were wide with shock.
Calmness took over me then. After all, my job was to solve problems. In order to do that, I'd learned over the years to document everything. I slowly pulled out my i-phone 85s and calmly took pictures of the two of them. I had no idea of what to do yet, so I just looked at them.
"Denton, you're not supposed to be home for hours," said Beth, nervously.
"I solved the problem with the magnetic repulsion emitters," I said. "I do things like that. I'm kind of smart about some things. But, I'm kind of stupid about others apparently."
"Please don't tell me your husband is some kind of scientist?" asked the guy. The look on his face had morphed from pure ecstasy to seriousness in less than a second. "Wait a minute. You called him Denton...Not Denton Woods?" he asked.
He suddenly got angry at Beth. "You stupid fucking whore," he spat. "I've been trying to get my family here for more than a year. Do you know what this means?"
"He'll understand," said Beth, whining. "He really will. I'll explain it all to him. It was only sex..."
"Then why did he take my picture?" asked the guy, who was looking around to find his clothes. I walked back through the still open door to my house and left them both trying to catch up to me.
* * * * * *
I was trying so hard not to cry, but I was failing. As the tears started to fall, Robert looked down at me in disgust.
"That's not going to do us any good," he said. "What can I do to fix this? What does he like?"
"What do you mean?" I sobbed.
"Is he into drugs, booze, women...What's his vice?" he asked. "I know he likes women. I mean look at you. Shit, only a scientist, or maybe a top tech or engineer could have something like you. What the hell was I thinking?"
"Probably the same thing I was thinking," I said. "I wasn't thinking at all. I was stupid and bored and feeling lonely. My son is in an advanced school. He's seven years old and I can't help him do his homework because I don't fucking understand it. Most of the time, I feel totally useless. Do you know what I am? I'm a doll, or worse yet, I'm a trophy. Do you know what the worst part of all of this is?"
"Yeah," he snapped. "I do. I'm going to end up dead over this. I'm going to end up dead over some pussy that wasn't even that good. Worst of all I'll have failed my wife and my daughter...AGAIN."
"Why are you going to die?" I asked him, seriously.
"Shit you are stupid," he sneered. "Those fucking scientist are all prima donnas. They're like rock stars. You piss one of them off and you're kicked out of Star City. And Honey, the outside world is pure chaos. I should know, I've only been here for a few months and it's like heaven here. As soon as I got my seniority in, I was going to send for my wife and kid. Now I'll be out on my ass too."
"There's got to be something he likes," he said. "Think hard. What are the things he loves the most?"
"Denton isn't like that," I said. "He's a really nice guy. He cares about people. That's why he works so hard. The only things that mean anything to him are me and our son. I can't believe I've hurt him like this."
"Then why the hell did you do it?" he asked.
I sat down on the sofa. My mind was running in a hundred different directions at once. "Because I really do love him," I said. "In fact, I love him too much. Sometimes it's really hard for me to do what I need to do, because I love him so much. Sometimes I need to do something bad to create a little space between us, just so I can function."
"Wha..." he asked looking at me as if I was crazy."Okay lady it's time for me to get out of here. Tell your hubby, there's no hard feelings on my part, please. And tell him I'm really sorry and it won't happen again."
After he left, I cried for a while and then went into our bedroom. From a box hidden deep in a desk drawer, I pulled out a small necklace. It was gold with diamonds all over it. In the old days it would have been worth a small fortune, but things like that don't matter anymore. Although I don't understand why, I drew strength from the small, crossed, uneven lines. At the same time I felt dirty beyond all reasoning for what I'd just done to a man who from the first time he ever set eyes on me, has only wanted to love me and make me happy.
* * * * * *
"Hey Dalton, your brother has done it again," yelled the dispatcher to me as I came in. "Shit, I don't think they could get a hat on that head of his if they tried. There's just too much brain in it. Tell that bastard that we need flying cars. I'll bet he kicks that one in a week."
As I put all of my equipment on the table, he looked it over as if something was missing. Ernie was our supply clerk. He's a feisty old bastard but he's very good at his job.
"Where is it?" he asked shrewdly. "Don't tell me you lost the God damned thing..."
"It's right there in front of you Banks," I said.
"I don't see it," he spat.
"If you could see it, it wouldn't be much of an invisibility cloak would it?" I smirked.
"Do you know where it is?" he asked. I nodded. Well, would you be so fucking kind as to turn it off, so I can check it back in?"
I reached down on the desk next to him. I could feel the almost paper thin material of the cloak. I flipped it over and it became visible. Then I reached inside and turned it off. It then resembled a regular hooded coat without sleeves. "My brother invented the tech for these too," I said.
"No fucking kidding," he spat.
"It's carbon nanotubes micrografted to inverted picopolymers," I said.
"You have no idea what any of that shit even means do you?" he asked.
"Nope," I said. "But I know how to use it. My brother and his kid talk about that shit all the time."
"Isn't your nephew, like seven?" he asked. I just nodded.
"He's going to be even smarter than Denton. They're going to need him in space," I said.