Cosmic Short Stories by Tor Duane
Louis Tanner graduated first in his class from Harvard Medical School. He was whisked away immediately after graduation by a huge Swiss drug conglomerate to be their top scientist. The methods and techniques he pioneered were the stuff of lore. A mythical scenario so unbelievable the top medical journals all refrained from even acknowledging Tanner’s breakthroughs. Breakthroughs that tugged at the very essence of the human soul.
Deep underground for seven years now, Louis sits with his associate, Mandy, a bright young scientist he recently snagged from a think tank in Berkeley. Louis asks Mandy, "Are you comfortable with the areas we’ve been exploring? I need you to be with me 100% with no qualms or concerns for what may happen."
"I’m totally with you, Doctor. I realize the research Hitler’s scientists performed was of some value, if you put aside his treacherous intents," replies Mandy.
"Very good, let us proceed. Please bring me the brain scanner. Make sure it is tuned precisely to the hyper alpha mode. I want no resonance frequencies permeating the lab that may be detected by government satellites."
"Coming right up, Dr. Tanner."
"Alright, get Bruno to bring in the next selected couple." Mandy nods to Bruno standing at the door. Bruno opens the door and the nervous couple comes in. Dr. Tanner guides them to the two waiting chairs. Mandy rolls up the equipment package. "Please, have a seat. We’ll first be analyzing you both with our brain scanner to pick up any innate abilities and tendencies you may not be aware of."
"Will it hurt?" asks the girl, Candy. Her boyfriend,
Tooey, waits for the answer with a front of calm across his
"Not if you don’t squiggle," replies Mandy with a
little grin as she hooks them both up with electrodes and
other probing devices under their fingernails, in their
mouths, ears and noses. Mandy then puts the holographic
goggles on the couple.
Tooey asks in a muffled voice, "How long is this gonna take?"
Mandy answers, "Not long as long as you’re not a Mr. Wiggle Butt. Please sit still, Tooey. You both look lovely."
"You might feel a little something when we turn on the machine," offers Dr. Tanner. Both Tooey and Candy tense up. Dr. Louis turns a few knobs. He taps Candy on the shoulder, asking, "Did you know that you have a very good potential to be a lesbian?" Candy gasps. "Not that you are, of course." He then taps Tooey on the shoulder, asking, "Tooey, did you know that you have an innate ability to come up with very creative curse words? Not that you do, of course." Dr. Tanner turns to Mandy. "Mandy, please adjust the device to the soul search mode." Mandy lifts a hydraulic lever slowly. We hear a tone grow in loudness and frequency. "Don’t be afraid, kids. Now we’re looking for the real deal that will tell us if you’re indeed candidates for our accelerated breeding process."
"That’s what we’ve been dreaming of, Dr. Tanner. Just the chance to have some kids that will be all grown up in about two or three years so we can tell them about our glory days and they can take care of us. That’s all," says Candy in a dreamy voice.
"I hope we make it, baby," says Tooey to Candy in a confident voice.
"We’ll know in a minute, you special lovers," offers Mandy soothingly.
"Wait, I’m getting something," says Dr. Tanner in a crisp, urgent voice. There is a long silence. "I’m very sorry."
"What?! What is it?" asks Tooey.
"What does it say?" chimes in Candy.
"I’m afraid Tooey doesn’t really want kids, he’s only saying that so you’ll marry him and he can live off your family’s fortune," reveals Dr. Tanner. Mandy and Candy both gasp. "I’m afraid we need soul readings that support a true desire for breeding before we could ever experiment on you with our accelerated process. It’s just good science. Please remove the attachments, Mandy."
Once Candy is clear of the wires, tubes and cables, she leans forward and slaps Tooey across the face.
"I’m sorry, honey," offers Tooey. He looks at Dr. Louis. "You and your damn machine." Tooey and Candy exit. Dr. Tanner sighs. Mandy raises her eyebrows.
"Bring in the next couple, please, Mandy," commands the Doctor. Mandy nods to Bruno.
Copyright 2007 Tor Duane
THE MIND MELDER by Tor Duane 11/607
David Higgins had experienced ESP before. But today, something tugged at his subconscious awareness akin to a little kid tugging on your pants to get your attention. But he couldn’t see the kid or tell which leg. Oh, well, he’d bring it up at his weekly session with his psychoanalyst today and see what Dr. Keller thought. Chances were, he figured, Dr. Keller would be able to define the root of the evil, if it were indeed malevolent.
Dr. Keller sits smoking his pipe, contemplating the day. David’s entrance causing a momentary lapse in his train of thought and Dr. Keller starts to greet him, but then first searches for something unsaid in David’s eyes. Dr. Keller’s eyes sparkle. "Aha!" he proclaims, "I see we’ve been on the same wavelength."
"How did you know I was feeling…..something?" asks David.
"I have trained in these matters for many years, young man. Do not question the means, question more the motive."
"What did you wake up thinking about today? Do you remember?"
"No, no…like usual. Nothing."
"Are you sure there wasn’t something lingering in your mind as you took a shower?"
"Wait! You’re right….it was a feeling….ah, sexual and voyeuristic, now that I remember."
"Aha! Come on in, David, I’ve prepared a special test for you on this special day with some very special people."
"Sounds especially interesting."
Dr. Keller guides David to his psychic laboratory. Upon entering the room, David notices two people hooked up to machinery in some sort of waking dream state. The other, Randy Rhodes, greets Dr. Keller and David.
"I was wondering where you were, Dr. Keller. And who is this? asks Randy, referring to David.
"The fourth corner of our experiment," replied Dr. Keller, turning to David. "Let me fill you in, David. It’s no coincidence you’re feeling something strong today. You just didn’t realize that you’re tuned to a particular frequency that we’ve been broadcasting for weeks now. Glad you see you’ve finally received it."
"What? You’re talking as though there’s some sort of radio in my head….what exactly do you mean, if I may inquire?
"Meet Randy Rhodes, chairman of experimental mind architecture at Harvard University. He’s here for our test as well." David and Randy shake hands.
"What sort of test, exactly, Dr. Keller?" asks David. Dr. Keller nods to Randy.
"Please, allow me," says Randy, clicking on a TV hooked up to a VCR. He starts the tape. "Perhaps you’ve heard of the "shared consciousness" phenomenon we’ve been making inroads to in the last several months." Randy runs the tape. Appearing is a commercial for Diana Ross’ Psychic Hotline. "We’ve contracted with Diana to plant our people into the key phone systems that consistently are in touch with actual verifiable psychics. Using a device we developed that analyzes vocal timbre and measures the frequency signature, our people have been able to assemble an ad-hoc network of the most powerful psychic forces in the world. Until now, we had never been able to assimilate enough psychic power to actually fire up the machine you see behind you." Randy points to where the other two people appear to be a silent component of the huge machine with electrodes, gauges, transistors and dials.
"Believe it or not, David, the two people you see, Doug and Cindy, are in contact with each other right now," adds Dr. Keller. "Their minds are melded together in an experimental state in which their inherent capacities are multiplied exponentially, forming a synergy we’re just beginning to understand. Come over here and see what I mean." David follows Dr. Kelly and Randy over to a giant video screen.
"Something looks strange about this TV," notes David as he approaches the screen.
"Don’t TOUCH IT!!" screams Randy. David hastens backwards in shock.
"Why, what’s the deal?" asks David.
"It’s the latest technology, David," says Randy. "A four-dimensional containment module for residual psychic energy. What you’re seeing is….well, we’re not sure, but we believe it is the actual manifestation of Doug and Cindy’s thoughts. We’ve been trying to decipher it for days. And it’s a two-way screen. If you touch it, it may touch you back."
"What touch me back?"queries David.
"That’s what we don’t know. But last night we saw a little of what "they" or "it" could do," apprised Dr. Keller.
"What the hell are you guys talking about?!" exclaims David.
"David, what we’re seeing are some sort of tangible, gaseous entities that our video cameras have caught actually leaping from the screen and….they seem to be exploring the lab."
"David," adds Dr. Kelly, "we have a plan and its important to do it now because….well, with all the awesome psychic energy powering the machine, we think Cindy and Doug’s minds are using it in some unknown fashion to breed a new type of life form."
"What?! Are you kidding?" exclaims David.
"I’m afraid not. What we want to do is put you and Randy into the other two chambers of the Mind Melder and see if you two can make some sense of what’s going on in the containment module. We have no idea what you’ll see. That’s why you’ll both have these transdimensional communication devices. They’re thought-activated so we should pretty much be able to read your thoughts as you think them. Please, try to stay focused. Don’t let anything scare you….remember, it’s all in your mind."
Dr. Kelly brings in two assistants, Ramona and Diane, to help strap Randy and David into the machine. They’re ready. Dr. Kelly shakes both their hands.
Dr. Kelly looks at Ramona standing by the power switch. "OK, take them in, Ramona," says Dr. Kelly. Ramona lifts the lever and Randy and David close their eyes. We now see a commotion on the containment module screen. It’s coming alive. There’s screeches and whines and the screen starts bubbling out.
"Stand back, girls," commands Dr. Kelly. "This could be dangerous."
"Doctor, I’m getting something!" exclaims Diane. "It’s just a shadow, but I think it’s…..Randy! He’s trying to communicate with us from the dream dimension. Dr. Kelly peers into the transdimensional communicator. We see a ghostly vision of Randy trying to mouth words.
"Turn up the volume, girl," says Ramona to Diane. As Dr. Kelly feigns "what are you doing, girl?" Diane cranks the volume. We hear Randy now.
"It’s incredible! I feel like a super being….I have an awareness like I can feel anything going on anywhere in the world. It’s all rushing through my mind at a million miles an hour. Wait, David has something to tell you." Randy’s face transforms into David’s. We hear his voice now.
"Dr. Kelly, I hope you can experience this yourself soon. The sensation is like being some kind of god. We’ve made contact with Cindy and Doug, they’re fighting over who gets to rule the new race they’ve created….yes, emotions are amplified here tenfold." Suddenly an elbow punches through the containment module screen coated in the rubber-like dimensional dust. Then Doug’s head with Cindy trying to strangle him. "I’m sorry, Dr. Kelly, but we won’t be leaving anytime soon. We’ve disabled your external control devices. We’ll allow you to monitor and record these images for a few more hours and then we’ll be ready…."
"Ready for what?" asks Dr. Kelly. David’s face transforms back to Randy’s.
"To assume control of the world," advises Randy. "You’ll all be treated well. We all appreciate your setting up this excursion into this dimension. Unfortunately, we have determined by instantaneous thoughtwave consensus, made possible by our powerful minds, only those who have experienced our new world will be allowed to participate on the ruling committee of our new race, you’ll have to remain there and be ruled by us."
Dr. Kelly is speechless. "Oh well," concedes Diane, "at least maybe they’ll let us work the controls to the dimensional gateway, you know, since we’re already experienced with the machinery." Copyright 2007 Tor Duane
DEEP THINKERS by Tor Duane 11/6/07
In Utopia, no information, be it opinions or conclusions, dreams or accomplishments, is ever lost. Each generation, boys or girls, is imbued with the comprehensive essence of those who came before them. Derived from the teachings of Socrates, Aristotle and Plato, each child in Utopia would be considered a genius-type in the modern world above ground. They are taught to analyze ideas and concepts and evaluate them concisely, forming their own synthesized overview and committing it to their computer-like minds. The formation of compu-storage binders was developed ever since early Greek mathematics was absorbed by the first generation of Romans. Using energy-harnessing techniques perfected by the Incas, these binders were massive thought tanks containing billions of bits of knowledge, each thought an energized ion floating in the tank and identified by an ion sequence committed to memory by the particular master of the binder. There were 22 binders that held the knowledge of the world and 22 masters. Herein lie humankind. Each master spent several hours each night transcommunicating with the other masters so that these human data banks were in perfect harmony and complete unison.
Now Kia, The Enchantress, who had been fed her entire life only dreams and poetry and music, stood before the gates of the Thought Vault. Her mother, The Queen of the Incas, had told her the time had come for her ritualistic joining with the Roman Karmic Prince of Ways and Wisdom, Donatella. The Lost Race gathered for the ceremony.
The skies opened up through the portal to the surface. Millions of tons of grainy, sludgy earth moved miraculously around a lavender-hued energy beam that glimmered from the hot mouth of the generator powered by the thought banks, reaching to the seldom-seen heavenly sky. The 22 masters sat in their separate enclaves, connected by thin-air thought so powerful the air around them could be seen to shimmer luminously. The Grand Master stood at the control center altar, conducting wondrously the ebb and flow of their power, literally opening the heavens to the manifest power of the underworld. The connection had been made. Kia and Donatella kissed. Immediately there was a surge in the power transfer. The clouds above grew bright yellowish orange in intensity. The humongous cooling tanks for the thought tanks, actually lakes, began to churn and boil. The kiss turned passionate. The people began to cheer with vigor.
Finally, the clouds began to cool to a mellow soft blue. The whine of the primary energy beam settled to a syncopated humming. The blood drained from the face of Kia and her Soul Lover. Their lips parted with a sensuous smack. Knowledge and Spirit had joined hands once again, preserving the fruitfulness and destiny of the Lost Race for another 40 years.
Copyright 2007 Tor Duane
THE TIME MACHINE by Tor Duane 11/6/07
I have my own time machine. Most people do, too, and they just don’t know it. Of course, mine looks more a time machine than most do. Big, bulky squared-off retro-rocket burner taillight modules that boom into life when I accelerate into the future or slow down to the present time. An ultra-sleek hood scoop that sits bulging like a crown atop the powerplant rakes in air molecules to identify and adjust to the time stream. A chrome-emblazoned cooling grille shaped like a tiger shark’s mouth ensures that my time machine stays running cool even if we encounter dimensional friction or atmospheric flare zones.
I ride inside the supercharged missile in absolute luxurious comfort. Fashioned after the time machines of old with flourescent dials and a chrome gilded dashboard, the cockpit controls are easy to use. Push the pedal to the right to go faster into the future. Push the pedal on the left to slow down and bask in the past. The thin, finger-tip control steering wheel has an auto-center feature but my beast will leap off course into uncharted territories with just a rip of my wrist, plowing through treacherous terrain like a powder-puff dreamcloud floating on air.
Sometimes I turn off the inside climate control system and finger the little chrome switch that electronically lowers the windows because I like to feel the wind as me and my machine hurtle through time. Occasionally, I open air vents up front to let the breeze flow through the car and increase the top speed of the time machine up to 15%.
Usually, when we get where we’re going, my chromed time racer has just warmed up and I have a hard time shutting her down, eager to move on to the next adventure in velocity.
Copyright 2007 Tor Duane