I’m English from the county of Yorkshire but moved to Spain in the year 2000. My writing career began after meeting other published author’s here on the Costa del Sol.
My novels follow the adventures of Detective David Fallon - Dragon - The Korean Connection - The Buddha in Ice and The Bankers. As a matter of interest the wrap around front covers were designed by me!
Stories from the Bar are a collection of short stories. The Little Home on Wheels was the first. The story begins in Spain in places I have visited and know well. Other short stories include The Writer - The Student - The Letter - Age of Innocence.
Doctor Ron is my first attempt at Science Fiction.
A Science Fiction Short Story
The Entity did what it had been doing for millions of years. It scanned the little object as it passed by and stored the information; but that was putting it in simple human terms. It not so much stored but rather absorbed the information; adding more layers of data to its already incredible knowledge of the universe. Black Holes and New Star Systems; it had witnessed them all but this was something different? For the first time in its existence it couldn’t decide what the object was?
The more it probed the more intrigued it became until; in a micro-second of enlightenment it realised the little object was not part of the universe; it was constructed; it had been made by an intelligent life form? It was also in that very same micro-second the Entity came alive; in human terms that is?
The Entity began to think?
It began to ask questions?
It was curious?
And it wanted to know more?
It scanned the little object again; this time tracking the radio signal being transmitted towards a distant sun and for the first time since its existence it didn’t want to just wonder the cosmos aimlessly. It had a goal; it wanted to know where the object had come from.
Voyager 1 is a space probe launched by NASA on September 5, 1977. Part of the Voyager program to study the outer Solar System. Voyager 1 launched 16 days after its twin, Voyager 2. The spacecraft still communicates with the Deep Space Network to receive routine commands and return data. It is the farthest spacecraft from Earth and the only one in interstellar space.
At over 30 Billion Km’s from Earth; Voyager 1 did what it always did since its launch. It scanned the Entity and sent the information back through space and continued on its journey.
Over forty-eight hours later a young scientist on Earth had been tasked to update and file the latest information being received from Voyager 1. It would take many hours of head scratching and professional frustration before he finally admitted he had no idea what the data meant?
It would be five years later that some of the most knowledgeable and respected scientists in the world admitted the same?
THE UNITED NATIONS;
The Chairman on the podium banged his gavel and demanded order. He couldn’t believe the conference had once again descended into chaos. The room was filled with the most knowledgeable scientists in the world and still they couldn’t agree what was approaching from outer space?
‘I must have ORDER!’ he demanded.
Slowly the men and women re-took their seats and waited for the chairman to make his decision.
‘It is obvious to us all that the object cannot be placed into any scientific category. It is there and it exists but it has no matter. It has size which is increasing as it nears our solar system, but that is to be expected; but our most advanced telescopes cannot provide anything else. It is not a comet? That at least we all agree on but what force is propelling it? If the information from Voyager 1 is too believed it has physically altered its course through space?’
That information was once again treated with distain from the sceptics even though they had all seen and analysed the recording.
‘What we cannot agree on however’ the Chairman continued ‘is this object causing the weather problems here on Earth?’
The conference once again descended into chaos as the arguments re-surfaced.
The Chairman gave up and left the hall. Outside the world press was waiting. It would be his final statement before he retired.
‘Retired?’ he laughed ‘that’s a joke! In another thirty odd years half the world will become uninhabitable. Countries on the Equator are already becoming too hot during their summer season. Both Arctic regions are recording temperatures more akin to cold snap! Floods were an everyday occurrence and didn’t even get mentioned on the news any more. The mass exodus of people away from the sea had already begun. Whole communities were being evacuated making the historical refugee crises in Syria look like a family day out. The world was on the brink of panic. Retire I don’t think so?’
THE WORLD UNITED SPACESHIP; SAVIOUR
Doctor Ronald Henry Fordham opened his eyes and gazed through the Perspex screen. Above him his name and credentials were etched in the curved wall of the chamber but it took a while for him to understand what all the letters meant.
‘PHD’s Doctorates and the Nobel Peace Prize? Hell that’s all a bit pretentious? Who decided to include all that? Oh it was me??’ he remembered smiling sheepishly.
A sharp tingling like a mild electric current suddenly shot through his whole body.
‘Please do not try and exit the chamber just yet Doctor Ron. Your nervous system is not yet fully recovered!’ a smooth female voice advised him ‘now you have opened your eyes can you read what is above you’
‘Of course I can read it’s my name isn’t it?’ he wanted to reply but the words came out in a pathetic dribble.
‘Don’t worry Doctor Ron my initial assessment indicates the Cryo Chamber has worked exactly as you predicted, congratulations!’
‘I’m in a Cryo Chamber?’ he said to himself trying to move his head left and right ‘what the hell is a Cryo Chamber?’
FIVE YEARS EARLIER
Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Founded in 1965 (Government Resolution from May 15, 1965), then within Academy of Sciences of the USSR; Appointed principal organisation for space research and exploration for fundamental science in the Academy, complementary to manned space program. IKI designs and builds scientific instruments for space experiments, leads the projects, and uses the data from space probes to deepen our understanding of space and Earth.
IKI abbreviation comes from; Institut Kosmicheskih Issledovanyi. In 1986 IKI was awarded with the Order of Lenin for significant contribution to science and technology development, after successful implementation of VEGA mission to study Venus and comet Halley.
The female assistant waited until the helicopter blades powered down before opening the helicopters doors. The wind was gusting to over sixty miles an hour threatening to push the KA-226T from its landing pad. The male passenger jumped down and allowed the female assistant to help him towards an open door some way off. She was surprisingly strong.
‘Welcome to Kazakhstan Doctor Fordham my name is Doctor Anna Bereznyack. Let’s get you underground out of this terrible wind and we can up-date you on the launch?’ she shouted.
Inside the concrete and steel bunker the pair shed their coats. It may be very windy outside but it was by no-means cold. A bad thing as this was winter in Kazakhstan?
‘Let’s skip the introductions and niceties Doctor Anna; I hope you don’t mind me calling you that? You come from a long line of scientists I understand?’
‘In that case I’ll call you Doctor Ron?’ she answered knowing it was his preferred title ‘and Doctor Anna is fine by me’
‘Is this wind going to delay the launch?’ he asked as a matter of courtesy but already knowing it wasn’t.
The Doctor smiled knowing he was trying to build a bond between them. She had studied the man in detail since it had been announced he was to be launched into space from the Russian launch site. The last shuttle from Cape Canaveral had only just made it off the launch pad before a severe weather system had moved in making any further attempt at a launch unlikely.
Russia was now the only viable alternative to getting a man into space. Even the Chinese and Indian sites were in trouble after minor earthquakes had almost destroyed the launch bays.
‘The rest of your Science Team is already here Doctor Ron. Would you like to rest for a while or shall we begin the briefing?’
‘Tactfully put Anna but we both know time is not on our side in any shape or form. Let’s get everyone together and we can get things moving’
She smiled and nodded in understanding ‘please come this way’
THE CONFERENCE ROOM
Ron surveyed the men and women in the room. They were some of the most celebrated Scientists and Technicians in the world but he could still see the look of doubt in their eyes.
It didn’t matter. The Project had been approved by the UN Space Agency two years ago. All that was needed now was to get him into space so he could join the Shuttle attached to the World Space Station. The Shuttle would then be sealed and manoeuvred into place around the Spaceship Saviour.
Spaceship was probably not an apt description he thought at the time but he didn’t argue. Right now the world needed hope. The Saviour was in fact the largest and most powerful bomb ever constructed. He didn’t even know the exact megaton but it was huge by any standards and something you didn’t just move a few thousand metres away from went it went off. It had been designed to destroy The Entity or whatever it was that was killing the planet?
‘This Entity is still on the edge of our solar system. Even if we get the Saviour in the right place how are you going to know when and where to detonate the warhead?’ he had argued ‘by the time we have analysed the data it could be well past the ship and heading away. There is no way you could manoeuvre it from Earth; even if you still have enough power on board to re-ignite the new Slip-Stream Engines?’
He had refused to call them Warp Engines as it wasn’t remotely in that league?
But what was the alternative?
The answer was simple but the uproar at the suggestion of sending a man or woman on a suicide mission reigned for weeks before Ron dropped his bomb shell!
‘I have invented the Cryo Chamber therefore it is only practical for me to go. I’m a trained astronaut with two space missions to my credit. I am also dying!’
The brain tumour had been detected months ago. The prognosis was simple; operate and you could die on the operating table; don’t operate and you have two to three years at best?
THE SPACE SHUTTLE
The Chamber had worked exactly like Ron had predicted. The tumour in his brain was still there but it had laid dormant while he was in stasis. The Chamber had by-passed all his vital organs keeping the rest of his body intact but chemically inert in a specially formulated gel. A computer had monitored his vital signs making minute adjustments as time went by; in his case for over three years!
He now sat quietly at a console checking the Shuttles condition. The computer would have provided all the answers to his questions but he was still a bit old school in that direction. Everything appeared in order. He would send a message back to Earth giving them the good news that he had survived. He physically stopped himself from dwelling on what the situation was back on his home planet. It was time to find out what was killing it?
‘How far are we from the Entity computer?’ he asked.
He had refused to give it or the Shuttle a name.
The computer didn’t respond.
‘Computer I asked what was the distance from the Entity?’ he repeated.
‘I’m sorry Doctor Ron but that information is not available. The Entity will not allow me to scan its interior!’
Ron had to grab something quickly to stop him shooting backwards such was the shock.
I must have asked the wrong question he thought but then dismissed that as ridiculous.
‘Computer; are you saying we are inside the Entity?’ he asked not believing it could possibly be true.
‘That is correct Doctor Ron. As you are aware the Shuttle is attached to the Saviour Rocket. I have no instructions to manoeuvre independently?’
This was incredible. The assessment from Earth had been the Entity was the size of a small moon but had to be some kind of solid mass otherwise how did it move through space? If he was actually inside it; then that theory had been completely wrong. It also meant it would be futile trying to destroy it with the Saviour’s payload?
For the first time in his life Ron was unsure what to do and he was so far away from Earth that asking for advice would be futile and take weeks or even years? He suddenly thought of something else.
‘Computer; are we in contact with The Saviour?’
‘Contact was lost when we entered the Entity Doctor Ron’ it stated as a matter of fact.
He was just about to berate the computer then laughed at the very idea.
‘It’s probably a good thing I didn’t give you a name computer or I would have made myself look ridiculous telling you off?’ he laughed.
‘I have an update on your last query Doctor Ron. I have now established a link with The Saviour. It is now asking if it can talk with you.’
He was just about to say ‘of course it can’ but stopped himself. Computers don’t ask if it can talk with you. That’s a human condition and not something a mass of micro-chips would say?
‘Are you sure it’s not asking if it can ask me a question?’ he cautiously asked.
‘No Doctor Ron. The Entity has absorbed The Saviour into its being. It has analysed the data on board and is now considering itself as sentient; in human terms that is?’
Ron couldn’t believe what he was hearing. The computer was just relaying the data. It had no idea the significance of its statement.
Could it really be alive; and how did it exist?
Where had it come from? The questions came thick and fast but there was only one way to find out?
‘Computer can we establish communication with the Entity?’
‘Yes Doctor Ron. It has been waiting for you. It is also asking if it should have a name. It has analysed all the relevant data and understands this is sometimes a human requirement?’
‘If I didn’t know better I would have suspected that was a jibe at not naming this Shuttle’ he thought then again stopped himself.
‘Computers are not able to think; they just have programmes that make you think they do’ he scolded himself
‘That was until now?’ he realised.
‘Ok let’s give it a name’ he decided going through a host of names then instantly dismissing them.
‘I’ll call it ET!’ he stated almost laughing at the absurdity of calling it by that name ‘I think we should stick with Entity?’ He finally decided.
‘I have many questions Doctor Ron but my data is limited to what I have learned from the first contact with Voyager 1 and now The Saviour. In fact I only came into being after Voyager 1 activated my neuro network; until then I was just a network of sensors collecting data’
Ron couldn’t believe what he was hearing. This was so incredible it was beyond belief. And it meant that the people on Earth were the instigators of their own destruction. Voyager had by accident stimulated then activated the Entities vast network of sensors to such a degree it came alive?
‘I have many questions Entity but you must realise that all this is so incredibly unbelievable?’
‘I understand Doctor Ron. Computer has transferred much information regarding your home world. It is a vast amount of data in your terms but in many ways very limited in understanding your species’
‘I understand Entity. What has been your function so far?’
‘It has been solely to collect data. There are billions of star systems in the universe. I have recorded only a fraction of them so far?’
Ron suddenly realised what Entity had just told him ‘Entity did you just tell me Computer has been helping you?’
Until a few minutes ago the idea that a computer could think for itself was ludicrous but now?
‘Yes Doctor Ron she has. I needed to understand the function of the material stored inside what you call The Saviour?’
Ron was in a quandary. If Entity realised its purpose maybe it could just eject it into deep space? Then something struck home. All the prejudices and hang ups of the human race where right there in front of him. No he would not go down that route.
‘Before I explain its purpose Entity what would you like to know about my species?’
‘You are a most remarkable and unique form of life. I have recorded millions of basic life forms but have never seen one so advanced in the way it has evolved?’
‘Are you saying we are the only type of life form that has evolved to our present state?’
‘I have recorded no other life forms anywhere near advanced as yours. In fact Voyager was the only object I have recorded that has not been formed over billions of years. You are unique but that does provide a quandary?’
‘Why does it cause you a quandary?’
‘Because I cannot understand why you cull your species in such numbers then go to great lengths to try and cure many of the illnesses designed to keep your race in balance?’
Ron just didn’t have any answer that would make sense so he didn’t try. Wars had wiped out millions of people ever since recorded history but it was also filled with great medical advancement designed to keep men and women living longer and in better health?
Thinking of medical advances he thought back to his question regarding Computer. Could it be that he had somehow integrated with it? After all it had possessed all his vital functions and his brain pattern for over three years?
He needed to know ‘computer what is my present medical status?’
There it was; a split second before it responded but he instinctively knew it had paused before answering.
‘The tumour in your brain stem is still there Doctor Ron if that is what you are asking?’
‘No computer that is not what I was asking and well you know it?’
This time the pause was a fraction longer ‘the tumour is now growing at a much faster rate due to your present mental activity and physical surroundings. Shall I provide a full medical diagnosis?’
‘I don’t think that will be necessary Computer but does that mean it will soon impair my thought process?’
‘I predict the first stroke will occur in approximately two hours. I would recommend you return to the Cryo Chamber so I can monitor your condition. Please remember there is no-one to assist you should you become incapacitated?
Ron had to physically stop himself from shaking. All this way out into the edge of their solar system to meet a unique new form of life and no one would ever know? This was unfair?
He had to laugh at that thought. The human race was on the verge of extinction and he was worried about personal gratification?
He had to think clearly and make a decision while he was still capable. The Entity had to stop its journey towards Earth. It had been widely accepted the Entity was drawing power from the sun which in turn was causing the massive solar eclipses. The Earth was literally being burned into extinction!
How far had it become sentient?
Could it really understand the damage it was causing by continuing its quest for information?
‘Has Computer explained my condition Entity? Do you understand I will soon cease to exist? Has she also explained that by continuing your journey you will eradicate a whole species you consider unique?’
‘Computer has explained all this and we have analysed a number of solutions but none of them will stop my progress towards your planet. I do not possess any form of propulsion rather I rely on the magnetic forces of planets and suns. It is possible to manipulate them but not in time to avoid the complete destruction of your species. This situation has caused me to re-evaluate my reason for being in existence. I have never before physically affected any solar system or the beings that exist there?’
My god the Entity has a conscience he realised and had even sought a solution. This was not what he had expected? Even if he detonated the Saviours warhead it wouldn’t affect the Entities progress.
‘Doctor Ron; your accelerated brain function is affecting the tumour. You must re-enter the Cryo Chamber so I can re-establish a neuro link and bi-pass the growth’
‘And then what Computer; are you going to wake me up in a few years to tell me the people on Earth no longer exist?’ he screamed in frustration.
There was no reply.
‘My god Ron you have to stop feeling sorry for yourself. You have more Doctorates than anyone on Earth. Think outside the box for heaven’s sake. You have just travelled to the edge of the solar system to begin a conversation with something that didn’t even exist until a few years ago? What am I missing?
‘Doctor Ron? Computer has just explained your situation. Your physical being will soon cease to function killing the brain in the process. It will mean you will no longer be able to converse with me?’
‘That’s correct Entity and you have no idea how that’s making me feel. Given time I feel we could have achieved a solution’
‘But it will only be your physical being that is affected?’
Ron frowned at the statement ‘but I will no longer exist Entity therefore I cannot talk to you anymore?’
The realisation what the Entity was suggesting made him gasp. How could he have not considered the idea before?
‘Because you didn’t believe a load of micro-chips could think for itself. What you forgot to consider was the Computer had been keeping you alive and absorbing your every function including your brain and neuro network.
What had he got to lose?
The human race was unique?
‘If this worked then it wasn’t in their league ‘Computer! Entity! I want all your memory banks, neuro-networks; anything that can think to concentrate on one thing?’
‘What is that Doctor Ron?’ they both answered in unison.
‘I want to be part of you?’
‘But Doctor Ron we are already waiting for you. Please enter the Cryo Chamber!’
Doctor Anna Bereznyack looked up into the clear blue sky. It was freezing cold but she flung her coat aside and embraced the sensation of being alive. The Earth was returning to its pre-Entity state but the world would never forget how close it came to extinction.
There had been only a brief message from Doctor Ron.
‘I’ll send a post card from the next solar system’ it read.
Everyone presumed it was last ditch attempt at humour but she wasn’t so sure?
They had detected a huge explosion in deep space which they had registered as being from the Saviour. Again it was assumed Doctor Ron had successfully destroyed the Entity but why had the message been sent after the explosion? It didn’t make sense? The concussion would have destroyed the Shuttle let alone the explosion itself?
‘One more mystery to solve I guess?’ she smiled staring up at the stars.