Archive for survival

Technical Awareness

Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Lucerne Village with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2012 by javedbabar

Shama buzzed Sue again. Thank God for the Village Hall receptionist. His job as Training Director would be impossible without her.

Sue had got him through the first month of a role that he was totally unqualified for. It was only The Authority’s urgent need to fill the position that had landed him the job, and also that of Building Control Officer, which he was performing simultaneously.

He noticed that Sue had changed her hair color from blue-black to reddish-brown. How could you dye something lighter? There must be a trick.

Why did women like making dramatic changes to their appearance? Did it change anything beyond their façade? Sue was always cheerful, but today more than usual, so maybe the change had seeped within. A case of software affecting hardware.

She wore rough crystal jewelry. Pale stones caught the light.

“Shall I guess?” said Sue. “It’s about the Jobs of the Future program?”

Shama nodded. “Yes it is. I am looking at Technical Awareness. How would you define technology?”

“Well I guess it’s the stuff we use every day that makes our lives easier. Going right back there’s making fire, the wheel and printing press. Then radio and television. There’s recent things like the jet engine, the internet and nuclear power.”

Her list prompted a thought that these were all ways to adapt to, and control, our environment. Technology represented culture beating nature, and that was the cause of its downsides too – imbalance, pollution and depletion.

Shama looked around his office, and said, “Do you think we could survive without heat and light, power, computers, phones?”

“Of course we could. What I mean is that we could survive without modern methods. My family lived off-grid when I was a child. We had a woodstove for heat, candles for light, and coal for fuel. A few hundred years behind the times maybe, but it worked pretty well. And mankind survived for a hundred thousand years without computers and cell phones. I’m sure we could do it again if needed.”

Sue said that modern technology was helpful but not vital. The tools, knowledge, machinery, modifications, arrangements, procedures, techniques, crafts, systems and methods of organization used to solve problems, improve pre-existing solutions to problems, and perform specific functions, were useful, but humanity could also do without them. We have done. We do. We may again, come the Apocalypse.

“You’re so smart,” said Shama. “You always know what you’re talking about. What would I do without you? How do you do it?”

Sue wondered whether to tell him about her crystal jewelry. Her bracelet, ring and necklace attracted microwave vibrations, which her earrings channeled towards the SSTM chip implanted in her neck. Why not use technology to get ahead?

Acoustic Experiment

Posted in Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience, Sacred Geometry, World Myths with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 19, 2012 by javedbabar

“Walk two steps forward,” said Guru Baba. “That’s it. Maybe one step more. Okay, half a step back. How does that feel?”

Sami didn’t know what to say. It felt the same wherever he stood in the field. He had a view of Mt Alba at the end of the Valley and forests, rivers and cliffs on both sides. The guy standing opposite him about twelve feet away, Shama – was that his name? – would have a similar view, but seeing as he was facing west, it would be Mt Negra instead.

“Okay, you have both played flutes before?” said Guru Baba.

Sami protested. “Guru Baba, I told you…”

“Yes, I know that,” said Guru Baba. “I don’t mean professionally, I just mean can you get a sound out of them? Not orchestral flutes, just bamboo flutes. Here, take one each. No. Wait! Don’t move! I’ll bring them to you. Okay.”

Sami had been Guru Baba’s assistant for almost a year now, ever since the world famous holy man had made Lucerne his home. Guru Baba had been kept super busy by his constant stream of visitors and the demands of his many charitable projects. He rarely found time to get out of the village to pursue his personal projects. Today they had sneaked away for an “acoustic experiment”, though Guru Baba had yet to explain what this consisted of. That was his way – always mysterious. And they’d also picked up this rough-looking guy called Shama. Who knew why?

“Sami, can you please start with a steady tone?” Sami blew too hard initially, creating a rasp, but then produced the requested steady tone, which wavered within reason.

“Very good. Shama, can you please try to match his tone?” Shama did the same – a rasp, and then a steady-enough tone.

“Very good too. Now play continuously while I walk around. Yes, of course you can breathe, who doesn’t? But keep playing as steadily as possible.”

Guru Baba walked around them. At first it was a tight circle barely including them both, but he gradually widened his range till the circle was fifty feet across. He walked this steady perimeter four times, and on the fifth circuit began halting, stopping and starting, like a DVD getting stuck on the same scratch, again and again. He produced a can of orange construction paint from beneath his saffron robe, and marked places that he halted, about every fifteen feet. Sami stopped playing to ask something, but was shouted at and told to continue. Guru Baba continued walking, marking and remarking with orange paint.

After half an hour, the circle of markings was complete. Guru Baba said, “Sami, you wished to ask something.”

“Erm, yes. Why are you making those spots?”

“Music is multisensory. You can hear it, but you can also see and feel it. In all cultures oral traditions came first. Writing came later. The internet came even after that. It wasn’t always there you know.” He smiled to himself. “The past was not silent and neither is the present. We have so much to re-learn about the acoustics of structures and spaces. We must unlock them!”

Shama didn’t say anything, but Sami needed to know more. He asked Guru Baba a series of questions that made him smile, walk over, and take the flute from Sami’s hand. He said, “Now you walk and see.”

Guru Baba and Shama played steady tones as Sami circled. At first he heard just the sounds of the flutes together, but after some circuits, he sensed invisible bumps along his path. The interference patterns created by the two flutes acquired substance. Ancient music was inspired by naturally occurring patterns and rhythms, and was used to tune human emotions and states of awareness. Music attracted mates, communicated messages, and strengthened bonds. It enhanced early man’s chances of survival, and may provide hope for modern man also.

Sami walked round and around with his eyes shut. He saw and felt everything.

Bloody Tree

Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Lucerne Village, Unknown with tags , , , on February 12, 2012 by javedbabar

“Lovely day,” said Mavis, sniffing the air and casting a glance at her fat neighbour.

“Yes it is, indeed,” said Lucy, also sniffing.

“How long since you hatched?” said Mavis.

Lucy thought for a moment, and said, “I’m twelve – God I feel so old! Look at those young ones having fun. Where do they get their energy from?”

“We were just the same,” said Mavis, but thought, maybe you were a little less so, my chubby friend; or maybe you’re carrying more eggs than me; I’d like to know, but we’ve only just met.

“You’ve got nice long legs,” said Lucy. “Does it run in your family?” She didn’t wait for an answer and continued. “My family is chunky; we have sturdy legs. That makes take off and landing easier, but sometimes walking on water is awkward; especially in my state.”

Mavis felt mean now. She decided she would be nice to her neighbour, and said, “I started feeling whiney a couple of nights back; surprisingly soon after my last batch of eggs. It was Saturday night so I would have gone out anyway, but was now a girl with a mission…”

“I know what you’re saying, Sister!”

“I have to say, I did feel old though. There were all these young lads flying around in circles, showing off, and full of juice. For a moment I lost my nerve. What would they see in an old girl like me – bigger and harder-bodied? But I know they have a fetish for older females these days. They call us MILF’s…”

Lucy interrupted, “Mosquitoes I’d like to F…” They both burst out laughing, their wings vibrating with a little whine. “Don’t you start that now,” said Lucy. “You’ll have one on your back again before you know it – double dipping!”

“I might not mind if someone did,” said Mavis. “What did I get on Saturday night? Ten seconds of glory? You’d think after all that wing-beating and whining, they’d do better than that!”

“They never have in my long lifetime, Sister!”

The trees in the forest were thick with their sisters; boys tumbled about in swarms. Mavis looked across at Mt. Alba; what a beautiful place, she thought, but something inside her knew that it wasn’t a good place to live; much too high and cold. She laid her last batch of eggs in a lovely, swampy area across the river. She’d started off laying them singly, jerking on the water, and once she’d got a rhythm going, then forming them into rafts. She’d waited to check the eggs were settled, and then flown away. She’d never see her eggs become wrigglers, or tumblers, or emerge as adults; but she’d love them all the same.

Mavis and Lucy had already detected the presence of prey – through smell and heat sensing – but were waiting till dusk, their feeding time. While Mavis was musing, Lucy had been scanning for a full blood meal. “Look down there,” she said. “That looks juicy.”

“Which one?” said Mavis. She saw two different preys: a fat white one and a thin black one, both laid out across the edge of a pool of flat water. How inviting, she thought: a place to feed, and a place to lay eggs, so close together. Rather than answering though, Lucy shouted, “Whoa! Watch out!”

An iridescent shimmer tore right past them into the crowd of males, which scattered immediately; but the dragonfly then hunted them individually till he’d had his fill. This seemed unfair as they lived only half as long as girls anyway. Mavis and Lucy returned their attention to the prey below. It wasn’t moving, just lying naked, sweating, smelling, beside the pool of flat water. “Well, we shouldn’t wait around all day,” said Mavis. “It’s getting dusky. Time to move in.”

“Ok sister,” said Lucy. “Shall I lead the warrior ritual?” Mavis nodded, her proboscis waving in the air. “O Great Liquid Mother, we thank you for this day. Bless our noble sisterhood which hunts life and creates life, and will continue until we die.” They beat their wings, making a light whining. “Grant us one drop of holy blood, which shall feed hundreds of new lives.”

They flew off together. Mavis headed instinctively for the fat white prey and Lucy for the thin black prey. Lucy flies beautifully for a heavier girl, thought Mavis; she has more weight, but also more strength. Look how she twirls and jives, working with the slightest breeze, like a swirling snowflake. But Lucy suddenly disappeared. Where did she go? She must have found a sweet spot. Hee! Hee!

Mavis homed in on her prey. She had species memory of feeding on these creatures since the beginning; and on many beasts that they herded; there had been a time of luxury; of fatted bellies; of excess. Mavis felt a swishing sensation. Her prey was suddenly on its feet, and was moving quicker than she was. Her final memory was the shock of slamming against something where there had been nothing before.

The naked humans jumped up without warning, brandishing large circular pans. In this world destroyed by radiation and disease, the only animals that flourished were insects, which grew to ten or more times their previous size. They provided vital sustenance for survivors still inhabiting the ruined homes of the Lucerne Valley, who regularly lay naked, sweating, smelling, to attract clouds of giant mosquitoes, and then caught them in steel pans. They mashed and roasted them into protein-rich burgers. There would be a poolside barbecue tonight, even though the old pool now stank and was being farmed for mosquito larvae.