Tom and Maddie in Space

“We settled down in the space-ship, not realising then that we were about to travel back in time. The big red button was pressed, and the automatic sequence powered up. We felt a shudder and the giant rocket slowly gathered momentum. It would be many years before we landed on anything like Earth again.

“All of the young couples have been injected, even Jacqueline and I, our terminals now redundant. Hills and Hodges, McGill and McGilly still resist for the time being, waiting to see how things develop.

“As soon as they were injected, the nano-chips and nano-bots commenced their work. The youngsters are beginning to think of things they had never imagined before.

“They see history from the beginnings of the World, experiencing simulations of the cosmic chaos, through the evolution of life to the early beginnings of man. They experience hunts, cave-paintings, love and companionship. They learn about cultivation and animal husbandry and the unseen dangers they can pose. They begin to see the start of civilisations, the horrors of war, and the birth of science.

“They experience art in all its forms, from the earliest chanting to the later symphonies, jazz, folk, rock, even disco. They discover great paintings from the Aborigines in Australia and elsewhere, through the Medieval, to the Renaissance, the Impressionists, Cubism, Dada-ism, and Modern Art.

“They experience Dance, Theatre, and Ballet, wondering at the skills and abilities of the human body. They understand Architecture and Design, how to build and create lasting environments. They learn about great adventures, explorations, sporting achievements, skill and craftsmanship. And they are aware of every book that has ever been written. Of course, there are many warnings; many wrong turns and blind alleys; many disasters and cruelties; but at least we are fore-warned.

“We are also taking with us the DNA of all the plants and animals that grew or roamed, or once upon a time grew or roamed, upon the Earth. We should be able to reconstitute them on Earthtoo, or at least superimpose them on any flora and fauna we find there.

“In time, even Hodges, Hillsy and the McGills saw the wondrous change in their children as they became more and more enlightened; ever more peaceful and serene; ready for any eventuality. They agreed to be injected too. They may even have more children themselves; it’s not too late for them on the flight.

“The nano-chips are working on everyone’s DNA, implanting the whole Human data set, to be passed on to future generations as a complete start to life. Future babies will begin their life-journey in full possession of all knowledge and wisdom, though there is much yet to be discovered and experienced.

“Also, much is yet to be learnt about the vagaries of nature and the dangers inherent in a Universe of chance and fractal order.

“Creation and Life will always be fighting Entropy, delaying or reversing the slide into Chaos and Decay.”

(PKD’s final Blog #6)

SILENCE

The National Space Centre

The chosen few travelled by helicopter from the pad on top of the Tower to the National Space Centre in Leicestershire, which everyone had previously thought was a defunct joke.

Now there were new hangers and factories, cranes and gantries, and dominating all, a huge silver streak of blue titanium – the rocket! Everything had been paid for from the vast wealth that The Founder had creamed off the Oodles Corporation. He had engineered his dreams to perfection. Now was his last chance to re-boot Civilisation, under his control. As long as he went with them, he could continue to gain their confidence, coerce them to his will, without them even realising it, controlling the last remnants of humanity. Hopefully, a super-race would breed, and the nano-bots would continue their work, altering the DNA of their offspring to achieve his aims.

After eating and relaxing, some sleeping, not having slept for days in anticipation of the previous day’s raid, they assembled once again in the comfortable, but clinical, surroundings of the new control tower.

The Founder explained the mission, lying through his teeth as he showed them pictures of the bluey-green planet identified by the last space-flight, which he called Earthtoo, and warning them of the ten-year journey. He took them into the space-ship, and explained that the whole procedure was automated; they had only to press the large red button in the middle of the flight console, when they were ready.

It would be comfortable, and there would be plenty for them to do and learn. They could even start families before they arrived at their destination. It would be as well to begin the DNA process as soon as possible, and see that it functioned correctly.

He explained the necessity to inject the nano-chips and nano-bots into their central nervous system, through the back of their necks. Hodges and Hillsy were instantly suspicious, remembering the pain of removal of their old transplants.

“Is this really necessary?” asked Hodges. “We have spent our lives resisting this. We don’t want to do it!”

“Well,” said The Founder, “Let’s start with the children first. Then you will see that their lives can be transformed for the better, and for the good of all. You will want to participate then, I assure you!”

He told Tom and Maddie to lie on the two couches and he prepared to inject them. It was a simple enough procedure; anyone could do it.

Hills and Hodges looked on, suspiciously. Then they noticed a gleam in The Founder’s eyes; a look of triumph and greed. They charged forwards as one, picking up a scalpel and pushing The Founder back. He grabbed onto the console to maintain his balance, his fingers slithering over the touch-screen he had previously been using to set up the flight. He didn’t realise in his panic, and no-one else was even aware, that he had changed the time parameter “Years” from 70,000 to its maximum setting of 300 million. He tripped and fell to the floor, hitting his head on the sharp cross-bar of the metal work-bench. A dark pool of blood flowed over the tiled floor from the open gash beneath that silvery mane. Hillsy raised the scalpel, hesitated, and then dropped it to the floor. The Founder was already dead!

“You’ve killed him!” screamed Jacqueline. “He died trying to save us all!”

“Aye. But not voluntarily!” breathed McGill.

Tom and Maddie were horrified. All human history, knowledge, culture and experience would be lost forever if they didn’t act. They quickly injected each other with the nano-chips.

The Final Calamity

“Global Warming is reaching its climax. Whole areas of previously densely populated cities and coastline are under the sea. Others are burnt to the ground. There is nowhere left to inhabit. The tundra is exploding as methane gases seep out of the earth and ignite, dramatically increasing the Greenhouse Effect.

“The Earth’s tectonic plates have begun to move more quickly as land masses expand with the heat. Massive earthquakes shudder and retch with increasing frequency, destroying any remaining cities and many temporary structures. Volcanoes are erupting violently around the world. Tsunamis are drowning further areas inland where people thought they were safe.

“Torrential rain pelts down on land not quite hot enough to instantly evaporate it. Flooding is common-place. Expanded rivers are washing whole areas of rock and soil away; landslides are endemic. Nowhere is it safe to build even temporary structures.

“Hundreds of thousands are dying on a daily basis. It cannot be long before life on the planet is totally wiped out. Any new life does not stand a chance. Even the Oodles infra-structure has begun to break down in the chaos.

“The Arctic ice has melted completely, Antarctic snow and ice is sliding into the oceans; sea levels have risen around the world by three or four metres. Most islands in the great oceans have been engulfed, only the tips of mountains and volcanoes are showing above the ever-expanding waters.

“The Earth is covered in a dark shroud.”

(PKD’s Blog #5)

The Offer

The Founder collected Tom, Maddie, Don and Jacqueline from Don’s flat and they all continued their slow progress up to the penthouse suite. Everyone was very quiet and slightly in awe. They had confirmed that the Tower was surrounded by Enforcers. Looking through various windows, Hills and Hodges could see three rows of helmeted, armed, blue-armoured paramilitaries, with their dogs, circling around, in and out of the shrubbery. Spotlights played onto the building. There was no escape.

They all assembled in a large room that looked like a laboratory. The Founder glanced around, giving eye-contact to every individual and smiling.

“The Mission to Alpha-Centauri has failed!” he said, not as sadly as they would have expected. “But in the meantime, my scientists on Quartz Mountain have developed new technologies. The Earth is doomed; that is now clear. We have to start again somewhere else, but we can’t leave behind everything we have achieved. We have developed technologies that will allow us to go as ourselves, but our genes will be modified so that nothing is lost. DNA engineering and nano-chip manufacture has progressed to a degree that even I thought impossible a few years ago. We don’t need implants anymore. We can alter our DNA to include a collective consciousness, a tribal memory that can recall any known fact, experience, or achievement. But you would have the “Free Will” that you all are so desperate to cling onto. There will be no more commercialism; it won’t be needed. Are you with me?”

They shuffled from foot to foot, realising the plight they were in, but not quite trusting this manifestation of all their fears for the future. They didn’t know where this was leading anyway.

Tom and Maddie looked at each other, nodded, and stepped forwards. “We’ll come!” they said, in unison.

Hills and Hodges, McGill and McGilly were horrified. They gasped in disbelief, and with a certain guilty feeling at the back of their minds. “No, no! Don’t trust him!”

“What choice do we have? Besides, Maddie is pregnant!” said Tom. “Come with us. Be our Helpers. You too, Don and Jacqueline; we trust you!”

“I’d come, gladly,” replied Don. “But I’m afraid my time is up. I can feel the radiation sickness beginning to take hold. I fear I only have a few weeks left. Jacqui, you go with them!”

“I only have room for twelve of you. Choose carefully!” said The Founder. “I will tell the Enforcers to let the rest go, if you agree to this.”

They conferred amongst themselves. Despite the coercion, six youngsters were chosen, including Tom and Maddie.
Hodges, Hillsy and the McGills insisted on going, still not trusting the motives of The Founder. Phil and Jacqueline took the remaining places, as knowledgeable keepers of technology and culture.

Saying their sad goodbyes, they made their way up the spiral staircase in the corner of the room to the heli-pad on the roof. They climbed into the large, black helicopter, tears streaming from their eyes as they noticed a dark cloud on the horizon, obscuring the dawn. The Founder climbed in last of all, a quiet smile on his face.