Tuesday, February 7, 2012


I spotted the NWI dialect through the crowd. There is no mistaking it. Growing up in Northwest Indiana, I'm ashamed that I speak this way, but so it is.

The dialect is a monstrous chimera, an unholy marriage of that awful countryfuck Hoosier buzz-saw-on-sheet-metal twang and the rust-patinaed Northern Cities dialect with all the vowels hammered flat by an industrial sledge.

This is pretty close to what the Kraken look like
Couple this fact - that this stranger spoke the same as I - with the fact that the number of humans in this volume of space approaches a homeopath's wet dream of ultra-dilution, then it is a startling coincidence. Couple that coincidence with the fact that the crowd around me consisted of those cute furry octopoid kind-of-cat-headed aliens that call the galaxies of the Horologium Supercluster home, and you've approached a serendipitous anomaly.

So, if you haven't figured it out by now, I am, once again in the BOAPWC  - The Best Of All Possible Worlds Convergence, and, yes, I'm sorry, there is no better acronym.

And no, I am not sipping a scientifically optimal superlarger in Sam's Pub out Hercules Way. (For those not in the know, I usually inhabit a bar stool there when I write these missives, back in Spiral City, on the world of Alterra, circling a pleasant G-type yellow dwarf star in the galaxy catalogued NGC6264, which is in the Hercules Supercluster some 450 million light years from Earth).

And what brings me nearly a billion light years away, way out here to Furry Octopoid Space? I'm sorry, Kraken Space, since they don't mind being called that? Why I'm planning to get a nail pounded in my head. It's a titanium nail. And it seems like it is time for that.

But about that Hoosier from Da Region... turns out he had just got a nail in his head, and was on his way back to Earth. Virgil was his name. Didn't catch the last name and didn't think it all that important. I'm sure he mentioned it. I asked him where he originally hailed from, and he told me Lake Station. Well, fuck me.

We didn't have much time for a conversation anyway. The Kraken have modified themselves to live on planets surrounding red dwarves, which are the most abundant of stars. And these worlds are typically low metal planets with no magnetic fields. Sometimes the Furry Octopoids modify the worlds, inject a metal core in them. Most times not. And on this particular world, not. Red dwarves are cantankerous stars, with more than your normal stellar storms and flares cropping up. We both stood out there in a city plaza, this kind of spongy gray surface surrounded by Doctor Seuss buildings, with our UV goggles on. His teeth were a sickly day-glo green and his acne scars shone white beneath his skin from flare storm. That angry little red star up there in that purple sky. Yeah, best to get inside, so he on his way to the spaceport, and me to my "medical" appointment.

I guess I should clarify the whole nail in the head thing. It's not really a nail, but it feels like it for awhile. It's some pretty sophisticated nanotechnology. And yes, they do plant it right in your head. Usually, but not always, in the left temple, but seeing I'm left-handed, for me, just behind the right ear. Go figure. The purpose of the nail is to get your mind right. Something the Furry Octopoids figured out, well, about the time of Earth's Devonian. Yes, they do have a bit of a head start on us.

The further, the closer
But you know, when the Earth scientists first opened the very first throats of the very first Everett wormholes, we really didn't much of a clue as to the practical idiosyncrasies involved. Like the fact that more distance out you cast your wormhole, the more accurate is your aim. Kind of a perverse inverse square of precision.

Those wormholes aimed a few dozens of light years out ended up all over the goddamn sky, whereas, the wormholes aimed out millions or billions of light years further ended up pretty much Nixon's nuts on target.

(Note: the diagram to the right? the equation should read: r = M * E / h-bar. I know you noticed the error. Hush now.)

It looked like a lot of expeditions and colony ventures would be lost in space and time forever, until we humans chanced upon a world full of Kraken. After a brief fumbled attempt at communication (which amounted to wild gesticulating, strange pantomimes, and shouting loudly and slowly "We come from Earth! Where the hell are we?"), our expedition scouts were seized by taloned fuzzy tentacles and held still long enough to drive nails into their heads. And our scouts suddenly, instantly, perfectly, calmly understood what the Kraken were saying.

Well, it turned out the nail to the head was more than a universal translator or telepathic facilitator. Suddenly, that evolutionary kluge we call a mind, with its deliberative (can't really call it reasoning) faculties getting cues from the cobbled-together, ancestral, reflexive portions of our minds, that tangled and frizzed up collection of cognitive dissonances, suddenly, got all straightened out and put in order. It wasn't exactly like that. Not quite exactly like that. The kluges, the clumsy and inelegant engineering of our minds and brains, were still there, its just that the nail in the skull made you recognize it. And compensate. Kind of like meditation. Or medication. But it also provided some extra computational space to supplement our prefrontal lobes so that the deliberative process has the time that, well, evolution hasn't granted us yet. I'm guessing we would have calmed down in a hundred thousand years or so, but if you get the opportunity...

Needless to say, the modified humans, the ones that had a nail in their skull, preferred the company of the Kraken, but the Kraken, or rather the one krake, said:

"No, I'm sorry. You can't hang with us. We've got important matters to attend to. But... hey, if any of your kind want to get their mind right, they can see us to get a nail driven in their head. Oh, and here is the simple mathematical trick for not getting lost in space and time. And you should be able to find all your lost expeditions with it. So, later, dudes".

So, yeah, here I am to get my mind right. You'll still be able to find me at the bar, though. When I'm out Hercules Way.

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