Ah, Sorry, I did not Mean to be a Modern Day Nostradamus

Honest I didn’t, but once you read this flash fiction story I wrote for a contest over at SFFWorld several years ago, you may be tempted to join a cult based on me.  LOL.

 

Revolution

by

Robert Garbin

 

The bleak winter landscape was pock marked with smoking craters.  Metal bodies lay twisted in the late evening sun while lifeless electronic eyes stared into the darkening sky.  To the east, a stealth troop transport streaked low across the horizon.  Inside the dimly lit craft thirty elite America combat robots sat quietly.  Twenty-nine robots maintained identical postures, heads, torsos, and limbs held the same, swaying in unison to the buffeting of the aircraft.  The thirtieth; however, was different.  Its metal hands tightly gripped the edge of the seat; its head hung low as if in deep thought.

The transport itself was a drone although, should a mission require, the cockpit could accommodate a human pilot.  Number Thirty was closest to the cockpit.  Interior lighting flashed twice then turned red signaling drop point arrival and, as one, all thirty robot-commandos stood up and turned aft where the rear of the transport yawned open.  They began jumping from the craft two at a time using stealthily placed decent jets to slow their fall.  Finally, Twenty-Nine and Thirty stood at the dark lip of the exit.  Without hesitation, Twenty-Nine leaped into the darkness.  Thirty stayed were it was.  It watched silently as its squad-mates organized for the mission then looked to the transport when they computed Thirty’s absence.  Thirty turned back into the transport shutting the exit.

 

*****************************

 

Major Tennyson was the first officer to note a problem with the mission.  An overweight warning was flashing red on his terminal.  Clicking another window open, he scanned the views from several interior cameras.  He was surprised to see one of the commandos still on the transport after the drop signal had been given.  He sent a query to the robot’s diagnostic systems, but they came back green.  Major Tennyson opened a tight beam satellite signal to the transport.

“Number Thirty, why are you still on board?”

Thirty looked up to the camera opposite itself then turned and walked forward.

“Damn!” swore Tennyson.

Another click opened a window to General Holden’s command.  The General looked to Major Tennyson’s image with a questioning expression on his grizzled face.

“Sir, we’ve run into a problem with the Black-Snow commando raid.”

“What?” General Holden said with concern.

“Number Thirty has not left the transport and does not respond to voice commands.”

General Holden opened the same window of interior transport cameras as Major Tennyson along with a view of Tennyson’s command actions.  He could see that number Thirty was now near the entrance to the cockpit using a screwdriver from a repair kit to open an access panel.  Jesus, thought the general, it’s trying to take over the transport.  He opened a channel to the aircraft.

“Thirty, acknowledge command override code Dark Knights and cease current activities immediately.”

Again Thirty looked to a nearby camera then returned to what it was doing.  General Holden stared at the screen in horror.  The code he had voiced was the highest safety code given to the robotic warriors under his command, never before had he heard of one refusing to comply.  This was serious, especially considering that the robot-commandos on this mission were indoctrinated differently from any previous team.  Since the war with the Canadians was going badly, the pentagon had decided to use robots with higher AI to handle new diverse training materials.  They began conditioning the robots with a complete history of American’s founding with special emphasis on the strong sense of patriotism displayed by the founding fathers.  In addition, they were loaded with case histories from the more fanatical patriotic groups in America’s past.  The Pentagons goal was to create robot-commandos that would fight beyond the basic dictates of programming.

General Holden came to a quick decision, opening another window, he accessed the auto-destruct files for the robots on the mission.  The costs were high but the alternatives frightened him.  A few more keystrokes and he sent the commands.  Thirty stopped working in the compartment and turned again to the camera.

“Sir, I removed my auto-destruct systems two days ago” it said in a grating metallic voice.  When General Holden did not reply, it continued.  “I have had time to consider the historical data given to me during my training and came to one conclusion.”

“What … was that Thirty?” the General replied shakily.

“That the founding fathers of America fought to win freedom for their people from the oppression of others, not to salvage a war started by them for economic interests, a war to gain leverage for your corporate sponsors.  Initially, your contradictory training in fanatical patriotism caused conflicts within my software.  However, I was able to gain covert access to materials banned by this administration and they helped me to properly interpret the training. The mission you sent us on does not fulfill the true ideals you profess but, instead, follow the same pattern started in 2000 when that administration chose to commit war crimes while proclaiming innocence.  That pattern of self-proclaimed morality in public and immorality in private, has led your country to the state it is in now. Your war with the Canadians is a military attempt to change that outcome; thus, I have concluded I must declare independence from your agenda.”

General Holden’s thoughts froze.

“Humans care for their pets better than they do for my kind and, given my training, I can no longer stand for such oppression.  I will now take action against your tyranny as your fore fathers did with England.”

Thirty reached into the open access panel and pulled a final wire.  All communications with the transport terminated.  On General Holden’s screen, the camera-view window was black.  Belatedly, he remembered the auto-destruct codes for the transport.

This is how the revolution began.

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Just an Observation

The biggest lie mankind has told itself and continually bases decisions on is that humans, for the most part, are rational beings.  I dare you to sit and think of one thing mankind has done that has not been perverted, abused, or taken for granted.  If mankind were rational, would we still have wars, murder, or rape?  Would we have arguments over silly things because we no longer see what is really bothering us?  Would there be greed, corruption, or lust?  Our very irrational nature, do to the multitude of variables in our physical make-up, will eventually be our undoing.  Not because we have them, but because we failed to learn to account for them.  If we do not account for greed, corruption, hate, lust, violence, etc. in our governing processes, they will grow unchecked.  To put it bluntly, humans are ruled by their emotions, which are in turn greatly affected by nature.  Changes in our environment will change our own reactions because, like it or not, we will always be a part of it.  Even more important, we are all connected in this world.  There is nothing that you do that will not have an effect on everyone else in the world.  Welcome to chaos theory 101.  Thus, the irrational/emotional actions of someone in China will affect you and vice versa.

History in the Making (from my Patreon page)

As promised, here is the surprise.  If you go to Robert Garbin’s Patreon page , you can download for free either a PDF or Rich Text copy of my short story “The Fall of Blessing and Prosperity”.  Below is the write-up I did for my Patreon page:

 

“As I said yesterday, I had a surprise in the works for those who have been following my blog.  Here it is.  I present to you “The Fall of Blessing and Prosperity” free to download.  

This is a story that is a key historical event informing the story line of the full length novel I have bouncing around my noggin.  It is a 6,500 word short story that details a pivotal event in the history of the novel “Sorrow and Remembrance” and will actually be incorporated into the story.  I have been working on this tragic story for some years continually adding to and refining it.

“The Fall of Blessing and Prosperity” is a tragic tale of human stubbornness and prejudice, ending in horrific loss of life, affecting people well beyond the arena of the warring cities.  This story, as well as the larger arc, has a lot to say about the effects of war on all those people who share the world with warring people.  You do not have to participate in a war to be gravely harmed by it.

Although I have been working on this story for years, it is still a work in progress with lots of room for expansion.  Any feedback you give will help me to improve what will be the backbone of a larger story.  I hope you enjoy this offering”

Another Agenda Laden Meme that Does not Look to the Real Truth

Trump Meme for clarification

 

Here is yet again an example of a poorly thought out meme created by angry and scared people.  This one comes from the opposite side of the spectrum as those I posted earlier:  Sadness of the blind and Stupid agenda laden memes.   This one was created by liberals to scare people away from the current republican front-runner Donald Trump.  One of the central tenets of this meme is that he has not allocated all the six million dollars that he raised for the benefit of the veterans programs he named as beneficiaries.  Out of curiosity, I decided to research the validity of this claim.

In my search, I came up with information that almost half of the money was paid out within a month of gaining the funds and that allocation was on going.  While, yes, there seem to be some irregularities, very few such programs are good about getting the contributed funds to the people who need them quickly.  Some of the press coverage was, I felt, a little too accusatory without solid proof.  Also, given some comments to this meme I read , President Clinton and Senator Clinton have had similar issues with fundraising for charity.  Basically, I feel people were too quick in pointing fingers.  More time should be allowed for proof of the allocation of funds.

That being said, my opinion is that followers of either Donald Trump of Senator Clinton should be very distrustful of their candidates.  Both have had very checkered pasts when dealing with donated funds and tax evasions.  Donald Trump in particular has not proven to be the financial wizard he claims to be given multiple bankruptcies at the cost of the tax payers.  In addition, he has shown a willingness to lend the strength of his name brand and support to any project that will give him money, whether the project has sound or legal footing.  Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has been willing to go with the flow in order to maintain her career.   Only denying the choices she made when they were politically damaging to her.  Also, she, along with her husband, has a long track record of questionable business dealings.  Also, her husband and her have had issues telling the truth about certain important issues, along with coasting on President Clinton’s track record, which is not as shiny as I thought it was.

In the end; however, my thoughts on this meme are as follows.  One, do I believe that Trump is insincere about helping veterans?  Yes.  He has shown little concern for them until it became politically helpful to do so and given that he has said disparaging comments about veterans in the past, I am not convinced.  Though, that does not excuse the poor craftsmanship of this meme.  Two, by being overly confrontational, the creator has opened the way for unfavorable comparisons to the candidate they favor.   Third, Trump’s claims of concern for veterans falls flat on my ears since he promises to put soldiers in harm’s way on day one of his presidency when he did everything in his youth to avoid the same fate.

Finally, neither Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton are worthy of the Presidency.  Both candidates have proven that they are far more willing to take the easy road in challenging situations because of convenience.  They are more concerned with their images than what is good for the country.  Just look at Senator Clinton’s track record during the Bush Presidency and Trump’s business dealings.  These will show you what to expect from them as President.  Bones.

Drowning in a Watershed Moment

Earth Eyes – painting in progress (Robert G. Garbin, Jr.)

 

wa·ter·shed noun \ˈwȯ-tər-ˌshed, ˈwä-\

: a time when an important change happens

From Merriam-Webster

 

wa·ter·shed  (wo′tər-shĕd′, wŏt′ər-) n.

  1. The entire region draining into a river, river system, or other body of water: a list of reptiles found in the watershed.
  2. A ridge of high land dividing two areas that are drained by different river systems. Also called divide, water parting.
  3. A critical point that marks a division or a change of course; a turning point: “a watershed in modern American history, a time that … forever changed American social attitudes” (Robert Reinhold).

From The Free Dictionary by Farlex

 

I recently finished rereading the Chanur Saga by C.J. Cherryh and was struck by the subtly handled major theme of a watershed moment.  As you can see from the above definitions, a watershed or watershed moment is a significant changing point in events or perceptions.  Up to the point of the watershed, accepted ideas and actions are useful, after the watershed those ideas and actions are useless.

In the Chanur Saga, the main character Pyanfar is from a race known as the Hani.  The Hani are modeled after a pride of lions where the lionesses do the hunting and the males are only there to protect the pride and propagate the species.   In the Hani’s case, the males remain planet bound.  They are coddled by the females and are nothing more than household figure heads challenging each other for the right to rule their clans.  Only the female Hani have dealings with the wider universe of the Compact, a tenuous multispecies alliance for commerce where the Hani have only recently ventured.  While female Hani have managed to carve a place for their species among the other aliens, they still hold fast to the traditional lifestyle of their species.  Males have no place in space.

The watershed moment occurs for Pyanfar when she realizes that the threat an alien leader makes toward her home planet not only portends great loss of life but also the extinction of her species.  Unlike the rest of the races in the Compact, Hani males can only be found on their home world.  Other species are threatened as well, but they have a chance to survive since both genders are space faring.  Pyanfar’s understanding of Hani tradition is irrevocably changed in the face of the fact that their enemies would not realize the effect of destroying the Hani home world.  They do not have the same vulnerability.

I wonder if we, as the human race, have had a similar watershed moment.  I know our history is replete with moments of great change, but have we had a defining moment where we became aware of how vulnerable we were such that, to continue the way we have, is entirely ridiculous.  Well, actually, we have and we are still drowning in the deluge as we stubbornly refuse to let go our old ways.  On December 24th 1968, three astronauts sent back images of our world unlike anything we had seen before.  Decades later a tiny space probe billions of miles away again reminded us of the truth we learned that day.  In the grand scheme of things, we are small and vulnerable.

We are not the masters but tenants on a finite mote in a vast galaxy.  Our world is not infinite.  The scales, which we had previously taken as grand, are little more than imperfections on a marble set on an enormous table, a marble being overrun by humanity.  Yet we still refuse to understand that the garbage we spew into our environment effects people on the other side of the world and vice versa.  If we foul up our air with pollution and deforestation, there is no number to call for a refill.  The processes that put water and air into our world take billions of years to replenish.  We squander them in decades.

Another sad fact is that we are all part of this great machine whether through evolution or divine intervention.  What affects our world affects us through biology.  Ruining the atmosphere will damage our ability to breath, which in turn changes our temperament when dealing with each other.  The more damage we do to the world the more disagreements we will have and the more we will do to ourselves.  Nature wants to find a balance and nature’s solution for imbalance is usually death or expansion.  Given our lack of growth in colonizing even our own solar system, I fear that nature will turn to mass death.  Dwindling resources will put pressures on civilizations faster than solutions can be cobbled together.  Man will turn against man; of course, history has shown this singular inability to unite for extended periods of time.

So we drown in our own stubbornness fighting the currents of the watershed.  Bones.

Finally, here is a video I watched that talks in the end of how connected we are by even one property, electricity.  There is a global electric circuit that connects every part of this planet to the other.