Valkyrie Don’t Cry
CHAPTER 7* * *
The problem with railguns, electromagnetic propulsion, is it’s too damn fast. Yes, you can accelerate a relatively small object to incredible speeds almost instantaneously, but that speed or acceleration has a price tag on it. One, traveling through Earth’s atmosphere the friction and heat would soon build up and burn up any large object. A space ship would simply just burn up, to keep people alive during a lanch would require a barrel at least 500 to 1,000 miles long. Plus it has to point almost straight up at some point. So the bottom line was that small packages could be easily put in near-Earth orbit far cheaper with electromagnetic propulsion than rockets, but Earth men needed the slower acceleration of the rocket to survive reaching that same altitude. The difference between +12 g’s and 2 g’s is apparent on the human body.
Right now the major powers on Earth were pulling themselves back together. Everybody was unsure of what had just happened. Some people thought the Cree, well the Saucer people as they were being called now anyway, took out the North Pole Big Five’s Command Bunker. After all, the Cree no longer needed the President since they were out in the open now.
Other people figured it was one of the operators of Archangel rebelling against the corruption of the President and the other world leaders. He called down a strike on himself, leveling the playing field for everyone. We weren’t just about to tell the whole world who really did it. Let someone else take credit for it we figured.
As the day wore on it became apparent that Russia still had the best intelligence of those major nations that were left. When the US President went he took all his toys with him, so apparently did the other world leaders that were with him. Without those codes and passwords everywhere you looked things were shutting down and purging the files they contained. All that expensive hardware in orbit was useless junk without those keys. Even if we had had the codes through the weapons they controlled, like the Managua line of WW II, would have been useless against the Cree Saucers anyway. Right now we needed to find out what had become of the other two Saucers.
As a side note here. A Archangel strike might not have produced much radiation, but it did produce one hell of a EMP. Most of America’s air force was grounded because of damage to it’s avionics. Russia on the other hand had hardened their planes and were airborne days before most of the Western powers were. War is a dirty business and the Russians were better prepared to fight that dirty war.
Twelve hours later Russia had patched together an alliance with the US, Japan, and China. Telescopes and ground-based radar arrays were tracking the pieces that were left, and the International Space Lab was planning how to snare them. The Earth would never be the same again. Believe it or not though there was still a diehard group of ten percenters out there that wanted to just say it was all a giant hoax. There were no Saucers, no Cree, no CAI, it was all just an elaborate hoax to get more of his hard earned tax dollars.
Of course, we also had all the other ten percenters that claimed and believed it was all a Russian plot, or American plot, or Chinese plot, or somebody else’s plot anyway. Trust was not an easy commodity to come by right now. Of course, the younger generation compared it to the movie, well the comedy movie anyway, “Mars Needs Women”. Hell for that matter I didn’t know for sure that the Cree didn’t have a secret base on Mars. Of course, I was much more worried about the AI’s than the Cree themselves.
It didn’t take long for everybody to get over the President’s loss, and get back to arguing over who was in control. With most of the states, it was business as usual with them and their National Guard. The Pentagon and other command centers around the world remained in control of their armed forces, but nobody was sure what constituted a lawful government anymore. As it was everybody was concerned with more Cree showing up, and who could do something about it, than who was President. California was the only state that announced it was succeeding from the Union. That was rather short-lived when the former California Governor, who had run for President several years ago, was asked to head up the Interim Government until an election could be held.
By this time the different intelligence services had sorted themselves out and order had been restored. Most of the people left had not known anything about the Invasion. After a thorough search the information that had been held back was found and broadcast worldwide. It was the Russians that finally managed to establish, if not one world government, at least a one world intelligence service and a special branch of the military that reported directly to them.
It would take us years to build a manned space force to go after the other two Saucers that were space junk now. On the other hand, both Russia and the US had operational rail guns that could launch resupplies to the International Space Station now. Among those supplies were the parts for new drones that could be operated remotely from Earth.
In weeks the new International Space and Rescue Service had been born and formed. The most qualified people were chosen from around the world to be part of it. They were literally drafted into it, no refusal was allowed by a new set of laws drafted by the newly Chartered United Nations.
Under the new Charter, the Earth was in a state of war with the Cree Empire. Until that war was settled the five Generals chosen by the UN had absolute control of those resources necessary to fight the Cree. The US supplied Four Star Airforce General Claud Anderson. Russia supplied General-lieutenant Sergey Usahakou former deputy minister of the FSB, now head of the Strategic Rocket Force. China provided General Xu Yuan from the Central Military Commission. Japan appointed General Hatazo Akinaga. The EU, or European Union, couldn’t decide so that seat is still open. Being diplomatic about it the head was chosen by drawing cards. General Hatazo Akinaga of Japan drew the high card the king of clubs.
While they were putting the world back together Nina, Morgan, and Max were mapping out where the pieces of the different Saucers were. True the Cree might be dead but the AI component was still very much alive we all figured, lack of a breathable atmosphere wouldn’t affect them at all. Once I had my starting point established it was a simple process to enlarge that sphere. Right now everybody was searching for space suits. Where they were teleporting to would be in deep space and there would be no breathable air at all out there.
Lacking the astronaut’s cool toys, we used LOX, liquid oxygen tanks, as our primary moving power, and had four space suits we commandeered, a nice way of saying we stole them, from the Huntsville Space and Rocket Center in Alabama. By trial and error, we finally located one of the AI Cubes and tagged it. Then we tracked down the second Box by what we assumed was his version of a crude SOS. We pulled it’s antenna and tagged it where we could pick them up later. We also brought back several dead bodies.
Atrophies of the bodies of the Cree showed that they all had brain implants, but there was no indication that the Cubes had controlled the Cree with mental telepathy as I had first assumed. It became apparent that these Cree voluntarily chose to serve the AI Cubes. After further study, several labs did discover that at some time in the far past a drug that inhibited free will had been used on them at some time. Those same scientists and doctors speculated that after using it for years it was no longer necessary to control the Cree with it.
Of course, Wanda and the Princesses proved that the CAI was capable of mind controlling us all if they got the chance. We were still not entirely sure what all the chips did even yet. Face it though, if you can wipe a mind of all it’s information, and then control what is put back in it, then effectively you have absolute mind control of that mind.
We passed on the frequency of the two tracers we had placed on the AI Cubes floating around out there in space to the UN. Let them deal with the Cree and the CAI. Well, at least the ones in our system now anyway.
«I found star charts Max.» Morgan proudly announced as she stepped from wherever she had been into the now of Madame Chang’s Palace of Pleasures and Pain, in one of our stolen space suits.
“So do you want to go visiting Morgan.” Max laughed.
«Hell yes, I want to go visiting. I want to find out what they know, and most of all what they intend to do about it.» Morgan shot back at Max.
«We all want to go Morgan!» Nina put in.
«Us too!» Wanda and the Princesses spoke up.
«The question is can Fred get us there?» Morgan questioned.
«If I have a location I can get you there, but you do realize there will be like spaceal drift and other factors this time. It’ll be trial and error again.» Fred answered.
«Fred what’re the chances of us stepping into a lump of solid rock or sun for that matter.» Nina asked.
«Bravo Nina, at last somebody asks me a real question. The answer is “Resistance”. When I establish my two points and fold time and space in around those two points I can feel the resistance of the matter on the other end. The vacuum of space has almost no resistance, air has a little resistance. On the other hand, solid rock is really resistant to my push. I guess I could create a pocket in solid rock big enough to hold a person if it was really necessary, but why bother when I can find someplace in a wide open area that offers little resistance. If necessary I can always dump you over a nearby lake or body of water. The only bad thing about all this is how high you are when you emerge.» Fred explained.
“And if I emerged way up there?” Nina posed, pointing up.
«Then I’d pull you back here and recalculate my entry point till I get you close to the ground.» Fred laughed.
Things settled down and soon it was back to business as usual. Most people just wanted to forget the Saucers ever happened and move on. The ones that wanted to fight didn’t know how. Face it we didn’t even know where they came from. By this time the Military was back on the air telling everyone that they had everything under control. Soon they said we would carry the war to the enemy.
Shortly they had the mobile space probes assembled and rounded up the Saucer space junk and the AI’s. After much public debate, the two AI’s were tethered to each other and put into stable orbit where we always knew where they were. The debris was put into another stable orbit and the Space Lab started studying it. True they had been ripped apart, but most of the inside was mostly intact.
The first thing they got up and running were the computers. After that, they found different Technical Manuals. It wasn’t long after that that they had everything, if not up and running, at least under study. Some of the scientists were even sure they could get the Saucers up and running again. Yes, they had the proverbial antigravity drives that would allow us to land them on Earth herself. The second thing they discovered was the cloaking device. Of course, all these devices were dependent on the Total Energy Converted, TEC, we had already discovered. Without its massive output of power, none of this would be possible.
Meanwhile Back In The Empire
“Empress all contact has been lost with the fleet that was sent to the Colony World Earth. The last three shipments of the “Serum” have gone missing, and now this...this...disaster, on top of all that.” Her Prime Minister wrung his hands as he tried to keep up with her long legged march down the long corridor in the palace.
“Charles you know I have never trusted the CAI. I mean how can you trust a four-foot cube of something or other. How do we know anything has actually happened? Not one Charles, three of my royal envoys according to the CAI just disappeared before they reached Earth. The CAI doesn’t want us to know what is actually going on in the new Colony.” The Empress chided her Prime Minister.
“But your Majesty it was the CAI that discovered Earth and was responsible for developing this new source of the “Serum” which we really needed.” The Prime Minister put in.
“Yes...yes...that’s all true Charles, but Earth was an interdicted planet long before that. It was set aside from exploitation by royal decree, and now look at the cost to the Empire. More and more of my organic subjects are being infected with this deadly new virus, and no actual cure is in sight. As long as there is the “Serum” no real effort is being made to control the spread of the virus Charles.” The Empress argued.
“But your Majesty the doctors assure us that a cure is imminent.” The Prime Minister started spouting off the official party line.
“And how long have they been promising this miracle cure, Charles.” The Empress sneered back at her Prime Minister as they walked.
“Well, you know that the virus seems to mutate. Some are even saying now that it is intelligent and efforts should be made to communicate with it.” the Prime Minister stated filling her in on the latest gossip about the “virus”.
“Do you believe that Charles?” The Empress asked him seriously.
“I only know that no cure has been found and the virus continues to spread your Majesty.” The Prime Minister answered simply.
“Charles prepares the Royal Ship of State and a full escort of Knights to escort me to Earth for a Royal visit to our new colony, and NO Charles don’t inform the CAI of our visit or that we have left. This shall be a secret visit, Charles. I want this done before the CAI can prepare a proper reception this time. Whatever that reception is though I want the Knights to be prepared. Do we understand one another Charles.” The Empress stated with a serious growl to her otherwise pleasant voice.
“Of course your Majesty,” Charles answered gloomily.
Since a space ship could actually be any shape you wanted since you were using antigravity Empress Tocaona’s Ship of State was just a very large black sphere. The CAI chose a saucer shape because of the profile is presented to the enemy we found out later. The Empress’s ship was not designed to be landed as it was now in the cradle just outside the royal palace’s walls. For most state visits it was left in orbit, but it could be landed if it really became necessary in a body of water. Usually, royal visits were made to the planet in the royal barge which could separate from the ship itself.
For this visit, she had a full escort of Knights. Twelve small bubble ships magnetically attached to the outside of her ship now. Twelve armed fighters manned and ready to defend the mother ship, if worse came to worse. For some reason, the Empress expected trouble on this visit. Her instincts were screaming that there was a danger, but they failed to identify the source of the danger. Reason said the danger was the CAI, but her instinct, honed by a hundred generations of honorable ancestors of the Tocaona line, pointed to the danger as Earth itself. What possible danger could a single planet without even a real spaceport pose to the Empire Empress Tocaona wondered to herself?
When the Ogomma, Empress Tocaona’s ship of state, appeared on the fringes of our solar system it wasn’t long before the world knew it was there and trying to contact the CAI. The new UN and the joint generals now in charge alerted the world that the Cree were back. The Earth itself was divided in what to do. There were still people that wanted to surrender. Those that wanted to talk. Those that wanted to threaten, and those that wanted to fight.
The Generals chose to contact the Cree and threaten them with our new superweapon, telling them that we had the power to defend ourselves from any aggression. They even broadcasted pictures of what was left of the three original Saucers in slowly decaying orbit around the Earth now. After four days of repeating that message, and getting no response from the lone ship on the edge of our solar system, the Generals put together a short synopsis of what we knew of the Invasion and why we destroyed the three Saucers.
Three more days of this transmission and the new ship began to move toward us again. It had remained silent, and still had not answered any of our broadcasts. By this time the Generals had all our meager defenses turned around and aimed at the new enemy ship. The new ship chose to approach the Earth at a leisurely pace. At first, it accelerated, showing us how fast it was, both the military and scientific advisors told everybody. Then it slowed down and just leisurely cruised toward us.
By the time it reached the orbit of Mars it began to broadcast.
“Peoples of Cree Colony Earth I am Empress Tocaona of the Cree Empire. It has taken me until now to learn your language. Am I to understand that you have a grievance with the Empire. That the CAI has abused you. I assure you that I am here to address your grievances. Until now both me and the Empire thought you were well treated. Now we come to find out that the CAI has evidently been lying to us all along about the conditions here. We ask to meet with your leaders to get to the bottom of all this. We await your answer.” At that point, the message started repeating. The Ogomma halted a little inside the orbit of the Moon and kept broadcasting the same message over and over.
The ship continued to sit there all day still broadcasting the same message on the same frequency. Finally, the UN prepared an answer and asked for a hearing. The Empress agreed to send the royal barge down and bring up the Earth delegation for talks.
“Do you think She knows about the mind field.” Brigadier General Green asked Air Force General Claud Anderson on the UN’s payroll now.
“I don’t see how, but I can’t put anything past them.” He answered.
“So have you put the delegation together?” General Hatazo Akinaga of Japan asked.
“We have. We tried to chose the most stable of the Right-to-Lifers from America and some of the doctors and scientists that worked with the CAI here on Earth and are still alive. A good cross-section of the people that actually know what the CAI was up to and a good representation of Earth I think. " Russia General-lieutenant Sergey Usahakou formally of the FSB answered.
“Let’s hope they can hammer out a deal with the Empress,” Anderson said.
“Maybe She is different from the CAI. Maybe the Empress wasn’t aware of what the CAI was doing to us. I still want to point out though that neither China nor Japan was too upset about the whole project. In fact, I’m getting disturbing reports that the Chinese and the Japanese are continuing the project on their own.” Russia General-lieutenant Sergey Usahakou formally of the FSB heatedly added.
“Hey, it’s all I can do now that the President and most of his people are gone to keep the people in charge now from just nuking some of those facilities,” Anderson told Sergey.
“Look we have to be realist about this...this...thing now that it’s come out into the open. This “Serum” of theirs is real. It works. Sure it’s not the Fountain of Youth exactly, but it is dependent on stem cells. We have them and they want them...NO...No, make that have to have them. It’s up to us to make the best deal possible for the Earth.” Chinese General Xu Yuan from the Central Military Commission put in his parties position.
“I am not going to allow our children to be exploited by those damn aliens...” Anderson was cut off by Japan’s appointed General Hatazo Akinaga, who was head of this committee now.
“Is not question of exploitation, is question of survival.” Hatazo, the head of the five generals chosen to lead the new UN put in.
“We have to find out what the Empire offers and make the best deal we can for everybody,” Sergey told Claud.
“I’ll do the best I can, but this is America. I’m just not sure we won’t have a civil war over this.” Claud told the room.
“I guess that’s why they appointed us to oversee this transition, Claud.” Sergey laughed.
«General Anderson seems to be the only weak link. Do you think he’s going to go along with the program.» Fred asked Morgan after their spying on the meeting.
“No, Claud was always a pussy. Ain’t no way he’s going to buck the so-called moral majority and right now that’s the Right-to-Lifers. We’ll just have to keep a close eye on him and limit the damage he does.” Morgan laughed.
“Do we have anybody in the people going up there?” Max asked.
«Two, Doctor July Jones, and Doctor Helen Collins.» Fred answered.
“How did we manage that?” Max laughed.
“We called in some favors with the American Right-to-Lifeers and got them appointments.” Morgan put in.
“So we’ll have representatives there.” Max finished.
The Empress’s barge was best described as a cube. A very large cube that could easily hold all one hundred delegates. It landed and ramps on all four sides slammed down and an amplified voice invited them in. Once in they were all told where to sit and buckle up. After that, the doors were closed and they lifted straight up and away.
One minute the wall in front of them was a dazzling white, the next moment it was invisible giving the passenger the impression he was sitting naked among the stars. To some it was a thrill, to others it was a nightmare. None of them had really been prepared for it.
“What was that all about.” the woman next to July asked as the walls turned dazzling white again.
“I guess it was to impress us,” July stated the obvious.
“Well, it certainly scared the Hell out of me.” Came back from several people around them.
After several more hours, the walls again turned invisible and they all got to view the cube docking with the mothership, the huge mothership. Finally, the doors opened and they were directed to follow the arrows embedded in the floor after each name was called.
“Each delegate has been assigned a room. You will be lead to that room where food and beverages have been laid out. There is also bathing and toilet facilities and a dry cleaning service if necessary. In one hour the main meeting will occur in the main hall. You will be summoned at that time and lead to it by the same arrows. For now, rest and take of your repast honored delegates from Earth.” The disembodied voice directed.
“When are we going to meet this Empress?” Somebody shouted.
Suddenly a figure dressed all in sparkling white, even her head and face were covered by sheer white veils, appeared in the hallway in front of them.
“I shall be with you shortly. Have patience, my friends.” She said and vanished.
An hour later the chime sounded and the delegates were led to their seats in a vast room. The Empress was already seated on stage waiting for them. When everybody was seated the Empress started it off.
“As I understand your grievance with the Empire you allege that the CAI, a member of the Empire, secretly coerced your legitimate governments into illegally kidnapping and enslaving certain female members of Earth’s population for the express purpose of harvesting stem cells to make “Serum”. You contend that a person is not property and cannot be sold into slavery.” She paused and looked around. “Does anybody disagree with this statement.” Other than the shuffling of some feet nobody spoke.
“The Empire agrees with you, I personally agree with you, a person is not property and cannot be sold into slavery aginst their will. This has always been law in the Empire.” The Empress stated flatly. “What the CAI did is contrary to Empire law and our Constitution. Know that at this very moment I am making every effort to recover the females that were taken by the CAI and their Cree minions. I use the term “minion” because we have reason to believe the Cree fraction that invented the CAI are indeed enslaved by them now too.” The Empress continued.
“That being said, the Empire stands ready to make restitution. On the other hand, a part of the Empire is suffering a medical emergency that requires stem cells and Earth is the only uncontaminated source of those needed and very necessary stem cells...” This provoked an instant reaction from some of Earth’s delegates.
“You are not going to kill our unborn children.” Became the chant for a number of delegates.
“Enough!” The Empress raised her hand for silence. “True each female egg, a female gamete, also known as the ovum, has a chance of becoming a viable human being, but then some would argue that each cell of the body contains that same genetic information. I note that you have an organization called the Red Cross and you encourage your citizens to donate blood and other things to this worthy institution to save lives. An ovum is just another group of cells. No more, no less.
I’m not here to argue the point of where life begins, it is pointless. I’m not here to argue the point of where a group of cells becomes more than just a group of cells and is a living being. I’m not even going to argue about if it has a soul. The simple case is the Empire needs “totipotent” stem cells. The cells that develop after a woman conceives. The cells that come from embryos that are three to five days old. Well after the girl conceives anyway, and the baby...NO! Not a baby...what could become a baby, begins to grow...deveope in a woman’s womb. A embryo, logically developmental wise, that embryo is known as a blastocyst and consists of approximately 150 stem cells that are the key to growing everything in the human body. In this emergency the Empire has to have them. That is final.” With that the Empress sat down in her large chair.
“I am Doctor Chang from China’s Central Committee, Director of the Department of Health and Human Services. China has no problem providing you with all the blastocyst you need. China is already overpopulated and has tried various methods of birth control with varying degrees of success. We intend to offer women...girls free pee pregnancy test kits in every work area, rest room, and other places. We will encourage them to use them on a regular basis and reward them for reporting their pregnancies early. We will also reward them for getting an early abortion. We will start airing outdoor billboards, TV ads, and movie ads that will show how safe and simple early abortion is with the new suction devices we will be using. Also the rewards for early termination of unwanted pregnancies will be advertised too.” Doctor Chang elaborated.
“Japan agrees with China. Of course, we intend to add a Planned Parenthood aspect to our ad campaign. Early DNA testing to determine if it’s a boy or a girl that sort of stuff. Maybe tests to look for some specific genetic markers like intelligence, height, hair color, other things like that. A campaign to get the best child you can get, and rewards for prescreening the future child.” The Japanese doctor put in charge of their DHHS program put in.
“China will do the same. We will push prescreening on conception to get the best child possible. No reason to have a defective child that is a burden on parent and State. Also no need to burden state with more children than family can support.” Doctor Chang added.
“The United States will not stand by and allow you to exploit your children...” Rev. Billy Smith started his rave before he was cut off.
“Are mere children having children helping anybody,” Doc July questioned.
“Having children is a Constitutional Right.” Rev. Billy started again.
“In Russia have already followed China and Japan. Even in the Orthodox Russian Catholic Church encourage abstinence now, but if not, then safe sex, contraception, and testing. Is not a reason to ruin lives with one mistake. Have also instituted stiff penalties for having unwanted children and not being able to care for them. State require means of support now. Is no state encouragement now for unwanted children.” Doc Boris put in.
“Europe is divided, but we are willing to go along with the majority here. There is nothing that has been discussed here that doesn’t make reasonable sense.” A French delegate voiced the EU’s position.
“With the Empire’s help, you could be exploiting this solar system, building ships like this, and improving your own bodies.” The Empress told the group.
“God is punishing you for messing around with your bodies right now, you...you Jassabell.” Rev. Billy started up again.
“You may be right. This may be punishment, but we still have to deal with it. I now find out that you have an early form of the virus that we are fighting here on Earth. I think you call it HIV and AID. A disease that you cannot cure or seem to prevent from spreading. My medical people tell me that you have refused to quarantine the carriers of this disease. After culling your records my people also find that in fact, your medical institutions are experimenting on it trying to come up with a “Universal Donor Virus” from this HIV too. The same thing that got us in this fix I am told.” The Empress addressed the group.
“A sin against God.” Rev. Billy raved.
“Maybe so, but still a fact that has to be dealt with.” The Empress flatly stated.
“We stand ready to cooperate with the Empire as long as nobody else is hurt.” Both Doctor July Jones, and Doctor Helen Collins, our representees answered as one for all of us who were listening in.
“I have prepared a working paper on what the Empire has to offer. I have also included everything we know about your HIV and AID virus. I have also included information on our next generation virus. Maybe you can come up with something we missed.” The Empress addressed us all.
“Now on to other things. I...We understand that you destroyed three CAI Saucers. We also understand that you have the parts of the Saucers and two CAI. What have you learned?” The Empress asked bluntly.
“This group knows nothing about any of that your Majesty.” July addressed her.
“Ah, but I can see you do? Yes? Come...walk with me.” Empress Tocaona directed July, and when she looked over at Helen. “And by all means bring your friend.”
“Yes, we are studying the wreckage of the Saucers, and yes we have the two CAI cubes isolated out there. We have been surprised that they have not tried to communicate with you. We have no idea how to interrogate an AI, or if those two were the only ones on the ships. We do have the remains of one that we took down with an EMP device.” July informed the Empress.
“You may call me Theta when we are alone, like now. You already have more than we have. Can you give us what you have.” The Empress questioned.
“I just happen to have a flash drive with all that information.” Helen produced a postage stamp size data chip that she handed to Theta.
“Several thousand years ago my ancestors found Earth. In fact, it was one of the first worlds we visited after we discovered FTL. My ancestors speculated that your planet was seeded by the same race that seeded our planet. Others just attributed it to parallel evolution, but the fact is our DNA and your DNA are almost identical and we can breed together. Anyway, the Empire set the Earth aside by royal decree, and it was untouched until the CAI broke that interdiction approximately twenty years ago.
“Before we developed the FTL drive we had antigravity and developed our home system. At first, we tried to what you call terraform the planets, but that proved impossible. Next, we modified our own bodies to live in those hostile conditions. At that time we developed the “Serum”, it allowed us to add those modifications to our own bodies without suffering rejection. The body wants to reject any foreign body that invades it. Those modifications are impossible to maintain without the “Serum”. At first, it was only used for that, but as time went on it was used to extend the persons life. Today we have a low birthrate and an aging population that is dependent on the “Serum”. The Empire has always tried to regulate the use of the “Serum”, but has clearly failed.”
“A little under a hundred years ago we had the virus you call HIV and AID under control, but then we ran into a new form of the virus that we can’t seem to control. Each time we think we have it isolated it jumps the barrier. Our doctors call it a mutation, but some of the scientists are beginning to speculate that it is in fact intelligent.” The Empress confided in our two doctors.
A virus is a simple molecular machine that can literally hijack and take over a cell and make that cell produce more viruses just like it. So how can a virus think, well it can’t of course. An individual virus is just a simple machine doing its simple thing. It can’t think any more than an individual brain neuron can think either. Neurons are also, in a sense just simple machines, they just pass on electrical pulses they receive from each other as they interact. The intelligence of a brain doesn’t come from the individual neurons, it comes from the way the vast network of neurons interacts with each other.
As we were soon to learn, a much more powerful brain can be built from viruses than from neurons, because a virus can send much more complex messages in that same DNA structure called the brain than the neuron’s simple on/off pulse. The complexity of the necessary mutation makes it astronomically unlikely to ever occur naturally, but then viral evolution is as every scientist knows happening at an astronomical rate anyway.
Every day the average human body is infected with thousands of common flu virus and billions of new viruses are born and die from those infections. Billions of people have had the flu, for countless days, for thousands of years, it was only a matter of time until an intelligent virus was born all our scientist say. Some would say it was inevitable.
As it was the intelligent virus was just surviving and replicating, but being able to communicate within itself provided it with a survival edge. The only problem with that was the better it got at surviving the faster the host died and that particular colony of the virus ceased communicating with the other colonies.
“Is it possible to have an intelligent virus, Fred,” Max asked Fred after listening to the Empress explain her problem.
«Yes, in fact, I am an intelligent virus actually.» Fred told everybody.
“Could you communicate with this virus?” Morgan asked.
«If it’s become conscious and communicating I can communicate with it. It may not have reached that stage in its evolution yet.» Fred hedged.
«What do you mean?» Morgan asked.
«Just because it has become conscious of itself does not mean that it recognizes your bodies as being alive like it or they are. To them you are only an environment they live in.» Fred explained.
«What do you need?» Morgan asked.
«Contact with an infected person for one thing. Did you hear that July? Ask the Empress, I will need contact with one of these infected people. I have to make contact with this virus and convince it that people are intelligent too, and it’s and their best interest to keep their host alive and healthy.» Fred directed July.
It turned out that the Empress’s niece had just been in an accident and contracted the virus accidentally from an open cut. Daily doses of the “Serum” was keeping it under control for the time being, but the tests showed that she had the new mutated version of AID in it’s HIV form. Fred was introduced into her body as a drop of blood. Hours later he had grown a net and incorporate her into our system. She was a part of us now.
Max and our little hive clustered around Max and concentrated on July and Helen who were with Mira and the Empress onboard her ship the Ogomma. We all tried to explain what we were and what we wanted from the virus colony. Fred searched and finally made contact with the virus in her body. Up until this time they/it had not considered that Mira or the other hosts were anything but raw building materials and food to eat. Now the virus was shown that they/it, the colony, were part of and dependent on the health of Mira, their host. They/it were also shown that Mira was part of an even vaster network of thinking conscious beings.
At this time they/it couldn’t directly communicate with us, but Fred could communicate with them/it. Fred explained to they/it the needs of its host, telling it to feed only on those cells that were dying anyway in the natural cycle of life. To work with the host to find fat cells if they were present in harmful excess quantities, but not to eat them all, after all a girl needs some in certain places. They/it also needed to search out cells that did not belong in the body anyway, things like tumors, bacteria, or infected cells with other harmful diseases or viruses. The healthier the host was the longer they would both live.
At the end of our group huddle, we had the virus’s full attention. Fred said that within weeks the virus would probably start talking to its host, in this case, Mira. Since she was part of us now we should be able to talk to it too at that time. We had no idea what would happen when Mira passed on this information to the other virus infected people without Fred’s network. For that matter, we were not sure what the best method to disseminate this information/cure for the virus was.
The Empress, who had been part of our little huddle, told us that she could get samples of Mira’s blood back to the Empire through one of the Knights that had accompanied her here. From there it could be disseminated to those in need.
“So you’re like the virus,” Max questioned Fred.
«Oh, Hell no I’m as far up on the evolutionary scale as you are from protozoa. We didn’t evolve so much as we, yes there were others, were designed and built, but the basic design is a simple virus. Everything changes and evolves to survive Max. I have, I guess you would have to say I contain things in me that cannot naturally exist in this four-dimensional universe.» Fred told Max.
“So this new vaccine from Mira’s blood, what can we expect,” Max asked.
«I could be wrong, and if I am you have problems, but I don’t expect there to be enough of me in Mira’s blood to grow a net in the people that receive this...this...well I guess you could call it a vaccine. On the other hand, the virus’s information in the new host will be updated and victims should start recovering soon. I would expect them to recover fast too.» Fred laughed.
“So there won’t be a need for the “Serum” anymore Fred.” Max inquired.
«Be serious Max the virus can do a lot of things. It can cure most diseases, get rid of most of the poisons and excess fat in the body, and keep you from rejecting transplants. That’s important to Empress Tocaona and her Empire because her people have extensively bio-modified themselves, but that is not the “Fountain of Youth” that the “Serum” is. There will also always be a need for stem cells to regrow lost limbs if nothing else. Now that the emergency is over they can devote their resources to those things.» Fred explained to Max.
Meanwhile back in the Empire the CAI have massed their forces for an attack on the Home World of the Cree, and the Palace itself. Caseopia the fourth planet from one of the suns in Orion’s Belt was home to all Cree. The Cree had not fought a world war or even had a civil war for that matter in over a thousand years. Most of their efforts had gone into surviving their environment which seemed to constantly change and attack them on a new front.
True household wars had occurred from time to time, but they were limited to no more than fifty male household members of any one household or clan by custom and law. Over time they had become so formalized that nobody had actually died in a household war in anyone’s living memory. An attack on the original Home World, Caseopia, was even more unthinkable to the average Cree.
True there were orbital forts in orbit around the planet. True they were manned by one or another of the households or clans at all times, but it was more an honorary position than anything else. No gun had been fired in over five hundred years. In fact, they were only fired then at an annual celebration, which had gone way over budget. True the Empress lived in the royal palace, Ebony, which was surrounded by a beautiful picturesque moat and lovely high white walls. She even had a division of Knights, complete with uniforms and ceremonial weapons on guard in and around the palace, but they were more for show, an honorary thing, than anything else. Face it the Empire was unprepared for war.
As it was the five CAI Saucers swept in ignoring the orbital forts and obliterated the palace with their outlawed disintegrator rays. Weapons that even possession of their building plans called for capital punishment. The mere mention of them shunned by civilized society. Now they were used to destroy the Empress and the seat of Cree government with no warning at all.
In minutes all of Caseopia knew what had been done to the Empress and the peoples of Caseopia prepared for war with the CAI. Within hours courier ships were dispatched to all the outlying Cree worlds to prepare for war with the CAI. The Empress’s death would not go unavenged. In days the Empire readied engines of war that had been mothballed and safely stored for a thousand years.
When the expeditionary force arrived on the CAI’s home world all they found was a lot of very sick people. The Cubes had taken anything of value and deserted the planet and system for parts unknown. There was no clue as to where they had gone, or why they had done what they had done. Nobody that was left even knew why they had attacked the palace, after all, the court was not even in session, and the only people there were the Empress and her staff. Nobody seemed to notice that the Empress’s own Royal ship the Ogomma was missing from its berth at the time of the attack.
With most viruses, there is only the Lytic Cycle. The virus attaches itself to a host cell and infuses the cell with its own nucleic acid. This takes the host cell hostage in effect and the virus begins to multiply with its nucleic acid and its protein coat thus developing into many new viruses just like itself. Eventually, the host cell is overcome with the new viruses and just like a balloon with too much air it finally bursts. The new viruses then go on their merry way carrying on with their Lytic Cycle, searching out new healthy host cells to invade and destroy. This has gone on for thousands of years.
Recently though some new viruses have appeared that go through what is termed a Lysogenic Cycle before becoming harmful. These new viruses include the HIV virus and herpes. They invade the host cell too but don’t immediately start multiplying. While the virus’s nucleic acid is present in the chromosome of the host cell, it is not active and therefore does not immediately affect the host cell’s function or health. Although the nucleic acid of the virus is present in the chromosome of the host cell, the virus is not active at that point, and it does not affect the functions of the cell. When the host cell replicates, the viral nucleic acid also replicates itself. Now there are two apparently healthy host cells with the HIV virus in each of them. Eventually though, for some as yet undiscovered reason, the nucleic acid leaves the chromosome and takes over the cell entering into a destructive Lytic Cycle. At that point, it becomes the destructive AID’s virus. In this process, it kills the host cells just like any other virus. What makes AID’s so deadly is there are so many apparently healthy cells that are now carrying the AID virus.
Fred was able to explain to the virus why it shouldn’t enter into the Lytic Cycle. Why it was in their best interest to keep the host and his cells healthy. We were sure that from now on we would have the full cooperation of the virus.