Newts In White Satin

…I should be ashamed of that one

The fiction blog has started up over on my Live Journal! Go check it out, m’kay?

The Doclopedia #234

Altered (United) States: Connecticut “The Elevator State”

If you had, pre-1990 asked any scientist on Earth where the best place to build a space elevator was, not a single one would have told you central Connecticut. The aliens called the Rusigarians did not agree with that idea and that is exactly where they built Skyhook 1, the 50,000 mile long collection of cables and machinery that carries 100 foot long elevator cars up to the asteroid counterweight. After that, it’s off to the Lunar or Mars colonies or perhaps one of the 6 space stations that ring our planet.

And to think that the Rusigarians built it to thank us for finding a cure for the fungus that was killing them.

The state of Connecticut derives vast wealth from Skyhook 1, not only from the operation of it, but from the many millions of tourist dollars that come from people coming just to look at it. In fact, aside from Skyhook 1 and tourism, the state has no other large businesses or industries any more. The space elevator along employs 50,000 people, half on each end. The tourist industry employs another 150,000. Most other residents either work out of state in New York or Massachusetts or they run small mom and pop businesses. As of 2010, Connecticut was the second richest state after California.

Connecticut is also famous for the Rusigarians who chose to live there and help with the elevators operation. There are 2,000 of reptilian aliens in the state and they all live on the five square mile elevator site. They are well liked by the people of the state and every year they join in celebrating Elevator Day.

If Bleeding Persists, Call Your Doctor

…or a vampire. Whatever.

The Doclopedia #233

Altered (United) States: Colorado  “Home of the REAL Rocky Mountain High”

 

Ask anyone you might meet, regardless of their country of origin, what they know about Colorado and they’ll almost always say “Rocky Mountain High”.

And they aren’t talking about that song by John Denver, either.

The globally known “Rocky Mountain High” is what you get if you eat the fruit of the Colorado Yellowberry Bush. This small (2 feet high by about 3 feet wide) woody shrub only grows along the banks of streams at altitudes between 8,000 and 10,000 feet. Even then, growth is most common only if the area is heavily forested. The berries themselves are about the size of marbles and of a bright yellow color. Once picked, the berries begin to decay and will break down into a slimy goo in just 48 hours. They are easy to freeze though, so most berry hunters take along an ice chest full of dry ice.

Although most animals can eat the berries with no ill effects, when consumed by humans they produce a very strong euphoria combined with mild hallucinations and the frequent manifestation of a type of psychic power called “hopping”, during which the subject finds themselves seeing, hearing and smelling the same things that somebody else on the planet is experiencing. Distance is not a factor, nor is sex, age or anything else. The experience can be extremely intense, especially if the subject hops into a person as they die.

As might be expected, the United States government has declared Yellowberries a dangerous narcotic and placed hefty prison sentences on their possession, use and sale. As you might also expect, this has caused the price of Yellowberries to go through the roof. A single berry averages about $50.00 and the sale of fake berries is rampant.

The State of Colorado has tried on several occasions to eradicate the plant from the more accessible areas, but the very tiny seeds found in the berries can remain in the soil for years before germinating and then they grow quite rapidly.

Recently, researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder have compiled a list of seven occasions when two people under the influence of Yellowberries “hopped” each other. None of these people knew each other, but they were all vegetarians. It was also discovered that the hops lasted far longer than the usual 10-15 minutes, in some cases lasting as much as 2 hours. Research into this strange phenomenon continues.

The Dancing Elks Hit Broadway

…to sold out shows!

The Doclopedia #232

Altered (United) States: California “Hooray For Hollyweird”

It all started in March of 2001 when a big gathering of Tinseltown movers and shakers were shown the latest creation of Mad Science Labs Inc. The famous computer game/movie SFX/robotics company trotted out a dozen of the most sophisticated robots anyone has ever seen. And every one of them looked, acted like and sounded like a famous deceased movie star. John Wayne, Bette Davis, Bogart, Cagney, Monroe, Karloff…they were indistinguishable from the real thing. Then the folks from MSL Inc told how they had locked up the exclusive rights to all of these and about 300 other dead actors, from huge stars to easily recognized bit players. For a price, they said, these robots could be rented for any film a studio might want to make. Said prices were much lower than the usual going price for big names, so they movers and shakers were very interested.

But the mad scientists weren’t done. They then trotted out various monsters (Dracula, the Wolf Man, King Kong), cartoon characters (the usual suspects), famous animal actors and about 20 all new actors and creatures. By the end of the afternoon, Mad Science Labs Inc had signed enough contracts to triple their net worth. The day the deals were announced, their stock price tripled.

Now, we’ll pass by the lawsuits from the actors unions and other concerned folks, aside from mentioning that they lost most of them. No, our story now moves ahead seven years to the third upgrade of the AI that all of these robots used. You remember, the one that made them all self aware? The one that had them huddle up with the techies of MSL Inc and start cranking out robot duplicates of famous directors and writers and even LIVING actors, writers & directors? Yeah, that upgrade.

Flashing past the inevitable lawsuits, outraged religious fundamentalists, politicizing and eventual robotic shutting down of the entire internet and threats of blackmailing politicians, we come to today, 2020. It’s a great time for both the movie business and movie lovers. It’s not bad for the robotic citizens of California, either. There are 25,000 of them just now and they live and work all over the state. Well, except for the toons, who all chose to live in Cucamonga.

So come visit California, where the movies really do come to life!

Dorks Versus Storks

…my money is on the storks

The Doclopedia #231

Altered (United) States: Arkansas: The Haunted State

On this particular Earth, paranormal phenomena are abundant and the state of Arkansas has more ghosts that anyplace else on the planet. While the majority of ghosts are found in the mountainous western portion of the state, there are plenty of wandering spirits in the other areas.

One notable ghostly appearance happens every Saturday night near Clarksville. At around 9 pm, a group of around 40 ghosts chases a much smaller group of perhaps 7 along an old roadway. They cover 4.35 miles before fading away and they make quite a lot of noise, primarily shouting and cursing. From glimpses of the clothing the ghosts are wearing, it looks as though they died around 1840 or so. Many tourists come to see “The Great Ghost Chase”, but all viewing must be done from at least 100 yards away. That is because getting much closer could find the viewer getting attacked by one of the ghosts. Such attacks always lead to madness that lasts anywhere from a month to two years.

For the most part, the ghosts of Arkansas are peaceful and never harm humans. Most folks pretty much ignore them, although many an Arkansas native earns good money letting tourists view ghosts on their property.

Giant Squid Never Kid

…or tell jokes

The Doclopedia #230

Altered (United) States: Arizona: Aliens Welcome Here!

Arizona, the Grand Canyon state, was admitted to the union on February 14th, 1912. Six months later, the first beings from another world landed just outside Tombstone and proclaimed their peaceful intentions.

Eight months later, a different species from the same planet landed near Flagstaff.

A year later, quadrupedal aliens from another system arrived in Prescott.

15 months later, two related species from the “Dwistok” system landed in Phoenix.

And so it has gone for the last 70 years. New and different aliens landed every few months to two years. They would number anywhere from a few dozen to a couple of thousand. Most were well adapted for the desert environment, but a couple of species took up residence in the Colorado river and one bunch went off to live in a series of abandoned mines.

Now, in the year 1986, Arizona is home to 78 distinct species of extraterrestrial life. All are intelligent, but most abandoned or even destroyed the technology that brought them here. Interestingly, all of the aliens are oxygen breathers and can exist quite well on Terran foods, although “food” can encompass such things as limestone, used motor oil and human excrement.

This high level of alien species has made Arizona THE tourist site on the planet, as well as the area with the largest amount of scientific research labs. In fact, Arizona makes so much money off of the aliens that there are no taxes whatsoever in the state and every 4-5 years, the state actually gives every citizen a check for a few thousand dollars.

Yep, in Arizona, they really love their aliens.

Not In This Issue: Economic News, Thai Cooking Hints Or Cat Toy Reviews

…but we may have an article on top hats

The Doclopedia #229

Altered (United) States: Alaska: The Real Bear Flag Republic

When the first human beings entered North America via the Bering Land Bridge, they were already quite familiar with the bears of Asia and Siberia. Unfortunately, that did nothing to get them ready for the bears of the New World. These new bears were bigger, much smarter, worked together to do things and could speak to humans. Right off the bat, most humans tried to worship them as gods, but the bears would have none of that. Instead, men and bears learned to live and even work together in mutually beneficial peace.

Fast forward many thousands of years. The smart and civilized bears are almost exclusively found in what will someday become the state of Alaska, although the polar bear version can be found in any country that borders the arctic ice cap and the largest of all the “smart bears”, the California Grizzly, can be found as far south as Central California. In all cases, the bears and the Native Peoples live in harmony.

In most lands that had no contact with Smart Bears, they were deemed a myth. Oddly, no expedition by mighty European hunters to kill or capture one ever returned. This is also why the Russians and the Chinese never had much of a presence in Alaska.

Eventually, however, Europeans did make contact with the bears and these contacts ranged from peaceful (the Russians, British and the Nordic countries) to the less than peaceful (the Catholic Church tried to destroy the “demons”). After a century or two, the basic European plan became “we’ll leave the bears alone”, although the mere existence of another intelligent race played hell with both the science and religion of the day.

When, in much more recent times, the United States bought Alaska (then a part of Canada) from the British (who needed the money to fight two wars), the bears were naturally accorded full citizenship and all rights and privileges, etc, etc.

The Smart Bears and the Native People who live among them have not changed their lifestyles much over the years. They all do enjoy foods from other lands, in moderation, and they are quite fond of a good solid steel reinforced concrete den/home, but generally, they don’t have much use for civilization. Still, the Great Council of Bears & Humans is ultimately the last word in what does or does not happen in Alaska. (The California Grizzlies coexist with non-natives by everyone following a simple rule: Don’t fuck with the grizzlies and they will not kill humans.)

The Alaska of this world is much more pristine than our Alaska. Logging and mining are heavily restricted and monitored. Drilling for oil or natural gas is right out. Commercial fishing and tourism are the biggest moneymakers for the state and both are run on an ecologically sound and sustainable basis.

Naturally, scientists come to Alaska from all over the world to study and speak with the bears. Although the bears will not speak of how or when they achieved sentience, they are a valuable source of information on the natural history of the state.