Archive for river

Salmon Rush Die

Posted in Global Travel, Mystical Experience with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2012 by javedbabar

Salmo swam around listlessly.

He had enjoyed the party. It was always good to see old friends, especially those that had been with him every inch of the way. This was the last time they would see each other; he should make the most of it.

The party didn’t feel right though.

Salmo was part confused and part angry. Here they were, having this great celebration, feasting on smaller fish, shrimp and squid, and plankton for those so inclined, racing and chasing, smooching and shaking, and having good times, before everyone going on his or her own way in the morning. It was their great separation and return.

So what was his issue? Why was he creating a vortex while everyone else was dancing in rings? Was it because he was the only one not completing the cycle of life ordained to his kind?

Salmon must return to their natal streams. They must use their powers of heart and mind, and all six senses, to seek out their source. Why didn’t he want to do it?

Someone brushed past him. He felt a slick glide and a playful flick, and knew it was Salma. “What’s up,” she said, “not enjoying the grad party?”

He said, “I’ve told you before. I don’t feel the call. I’ve lived in the open ocean for many years, and don’t want to return to a little river.”

“But don’t you want to go home?”

Salmo slowed down. He often did this when thinking. Good job he didn’t need to think when killer whales were around; his manoeuvres then were purely driven by instinct.

He said, “But home – is that here or there? I can sense the river but don’t remember it; my knowledge of it is purely physical. My body transformed there, preparing me for a life in salt water; there was a period of adjustment, yes, in brackish water, but…”

“I remember that period too,” said Salma. “Older ones taught me to regulate fluid pressure. Sometimes it became too concentrated, and I felt fat and heavy, and sometimes it was too dilute, and all I could do was float. But it was a conscious process, don’t you remember, really?”

Salmo swam to the right and Salma followed him. They had both sensed dolphins ahead. Better steer away from them sooner rather than later.

Salmo said, “My chemistry changed. My body changed. My spirit changed. I became a sea creature. I had no reason to hold on to my past little life. It felt like something to leave behind.”

“But that’s our life’s purpose – to return.”

“I know that Salma. But don’t you think it’s strange that our bodies start to deteriorate as soon as we enter fresh water again? By heading to the place we call home, we’re killing ourselves. Why become salmon rushing to die? Instead of going back, I would rather go further on, somewhere new.”

“But that’s not our place, Salmo.”

“That’s the issue, sister. What is our place? I fear that my place doesn’t exist anymore. I sense the two-leggeds have stopped the great rivers, poisoned the waters of rivers that still flow, and destroyed the wetlands. If I’m making the last great journey of my life, I want to go somewhere worth going.”

He sensed there was also a positive effect to the two-legged’s dabbling. Global warming caused icecaps to melt, creating new currents and rivers. He could swim with these waters to many new places, and if he found a place of hope, he could yet complete his life cycle.


Under Investigation

Posted in Alternative Energy, Classic Sci-Fi, Lucerne Village with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2012 by javedbabar

On Shama’s third day as Lucerne’s Building Control Officer, he found a file marked “UNDER INVESTIGATION” in the stack of papers on his desk. Let’s see what’s going on here, he said to himself. He pushed aside the executive toys left by his predecessor, and opened the file fully across his desk.

It contained a hand drawn map and the record of an anonymous telephone call, reporting someone building without permission. There were a few sheets of illegible notes; people had terrible handwriting these days, and the day was dawning when they’d forget how to hold a pen altogether. The application forms on his desk bore testament that this day was fast approaching; he couldn’t read any of them without guessing half the words.

He located the place on a large scale map of the Lucerne Valley. It was in the Upper Valley, 25 kilometres out of town, where cell phone reception was non existant. When he reached the location he found the “hidden driveway” shown on the map, two tire tracks in the bush. There was an old brown truck at the end of the driveway, but no sign of any construction activity.

Shama saw two lengths of rebar stuck in the ground, with ropes tied around them bearing tension. What were they tied to? he wondered, and looked for a large item they may be securing. The ropes went through some forest, over a small bank, and into the River Lilly. What was going on?

Maybe it was a hunter keeping game cool or chilling beers for after. He’d also heard of people “icing” champagne in the Lilly’s glacial waters. Was it someone living off-grid, storing dairy products?

Shama heard strange sounds coming from the river: regular thumping and gurgling. Was it a trapped log being battered by the flow, creating air burps?

It sounded mechanical though, somewhat like a diesel generator.

He saw a cable rise and float on the water, followed by a slimy brown mass – was it a bear, fishing? He prepared to run, but then saw that it wasn’t was a beast. It was a very hairy human head. The hair seemed to wrap right around it, like a small inflated skin.

“Hello!” shouted the head. “I’m just coming. Wait there!” He swam over and hauled himself out. “You’re the BCO? What happened to the other guy? He was snooping around here. He wouldn’t believe me when I said I wasn’t building anything on land.”

“Well, are you?” asked Shama, bemused.

“No way! You think I want to get in trouble with the Building Control Officer?”

“Well, what are you doing then?”

A smile burst in the hairball. “Want to see? Good! The last guy didn’t, and that’s why we didn’t get anywhere. Here, put on this diving suit.” Shama did so. “Now, hold onto these ropes and come down. Don’t let go, the currents strong.”

After twenty metres, they reached three joined containers on the riverbed. They went through an airlock and emerged in a warm dry room. “What is this?” said Shama.

“The answer to global warming for millions of people around the world. This is a prototype. It runs on water power, uses aqueous gas exchange, and has arctic insulation.”

Shama thought that he’d better change the file name from “UNDER INVESTIGATION” to “UNDER WATER”.

Valley Patroller

Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Lucerne Village with tags , , , , , on March 4, 2012 by javedbabar

“Every life is priceless” was Lucerne Valley’s motto, and Jo’s job as Valley Patroller was to protect them all. In her five seasons working as VP here, she’d witnessed a huge amount of action. These people from the City just don’t think! Coming for a scheduled outing to the Lucerne Valley Leisure Zone was something they looked forward to. It was a rare opportunity to leave the City; get out of their rut; try something new. But why oh why did they insist on going so far out of their comfort zones?

Her Valley Controller said it was related to their playing too many video games; becoming so used to their avatars performing superhuman feats, having special powers, pausing whenever it suited them, finding energy boosts in their paths, and of course, the ability to die and instantly live again, that they had blurred the boundary between reality and fantasy. It was ironic that they came to LVLZ to escape their reality, and some were so careless that they escaped it forever.

This had been a good week though. She had made twelve successful rescues so far with no broken bones. There were scratches and cuts for sure, but as with sex, they were just part of the game.

The VC’s urgent voice by radio: “Upper Valley – Kalash Area – Water Trouble – Jo can you respond?”

“Yes, I’m on it! What’s the deal?”

“Some guys without Float-Suits. It seems they wanted to try swimming. Never done it before. One of them is in trouble. Head right over.”

Their location was 3 km from her Tech Base. Jo jumped on a jetski and was there in two minutes. A guy was in the icy, fast-flowing river clinging to tree roots on a sand bank. Her first mean thought was, “This is Evolution in Action; the dumbest ones don’t make it.” Then her VP training kicked in. It would be hard to pull him onto her jetski; the best thing would be to jump in herself and haul him out. She left him cold and gasping, but alive, on the river bank, with instructions to await medical personnel.

VC’s voice: “Upper Valley – Kalash Area – Forest Trouble – Jo can you respond?”

“Yes, I’m on it! What’s the deal?”

“A gang of bears has surrounded a tent. The E-Fencing is keeping them out right now, but they’re picking away. Head over before they’re through it.”

Bear gangs had been a nuisance of late. Smashing, trashing, taunting, and robbing people – where they had picked up their destructive habits was unknown. Her VC again blamed video games. Jo raced to the location on her ATV. She saw a blue tent near the spring, 0.5km off the road. The bears scattered as she approached. The E-Fencing was still good. She instructed the family to return to Main Base.

VC’s voice: “Upper Valley – Kalash Area – Mountain Trouble – Jo can you respond?”

“Yes, I’m on it! What’s the deal?”

“A family stuck on Camel Mountain’s humps. They say their Auto-Ropes are not working. Have you ever heard of Auto-Ropes not working? They probably don’t know how to use them. Head over there within the hour.”

Jo would have liked to rest awhile before responding. But losing a man last month had been expensive. It wasn’t her fault of course. He was an urban idiot, thinking that drinking and waterfalling mixed well. But he was in her Area so she took the hit. Every life is priceless. $10,000 was a lot off her annual salary, but his worth to the Authority was much greater. Adding up his DNA enhancement value, economic multiplier, consumer infomatics, his voting/lobbying rights, social networking dynamics, racial admixture, socio-demographic balancing, and population growth potential, must stretch into millions. Of course they couldn’t charge her the full amount, but a $10K hit was incentive enough to do everything in her power to keep visitors alive.

VC’s voice: “Upper Valley – Kalash Area – Snow Trouble – Jo can you respond?”

“Yes, I’m on it! What’s the deal?”

“A group nude-skiing. One of them has fallen into an ice hole. He’s freezing his balls off. Head over within fifteen minutes.” Evolution in Action again came to mind, but her role was to save, not to judge. She hauled him out with the winch on her snowmobile. Mr. Blue Balls.

VC’s voice: “Upper Valley – Kalash Area – Air Trouble – Jo can you respond?”

“Yes, I’m on it! What’s the deal?”

“Guy stuck up there and can’t get down. I think you know who it is. Take your time. Teach him a lesson.”

Jo spotted the blue parachute immediately. She drove to the low launch and took off from there. The wind was good and she was on him in two minutes. She flew in behind, hooked onto his back, collapsed his parachute, and flew him down on hers. Removing her helmet she said to him, “You have to stop doing this! I’m working. Something could happen to you!”

“But darling, you’re so sexy in action,” said her husband. “I can’t resist.”

He kissed her cold lips. She realized that she would save him anytime, anywhere. His life to her was priceless.