Tag Archives: short story

GAGA Crime and Punishment

3 Jun

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Following the end of the Second Corporation Wars in 2920, the GAGA established a well-defined criminal justice system with clearly delineated approaches to crime and punishment.

The GAGA assembly drafted a Galactic Citizen’s Bill of Rights with a section dealing with citizen rights and criminal activity, entitled Rights of the Galactic Citizen. In one of only four unanimous votes of the GAGA Assembly, it was determined that the main drive of the GAGA was to create and maintain effective, productive citizens with access to basic amenities of life through the GAGA, and to ensure that citizens could be made as productive and effective as possible for the duration of their natural lives, then determined to be 120 years. As part of this declaration, minimum levels of mobility, health, nutrition, access to amenities and freedom of opportunity were laid out.

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In addition, the GAGA Criminal Defense Committee laid out in 2924 a then current list of crimes along with a table and flowchart of rehabilitation entitled The GAGA Criminal Rehabilitation Flowchart.

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This document is updated every five years, following Galactic vice-presidential elections. In it are laid out a comprehensive list of crimes, the ways in which such activities reduce the effective productivity of the citizen and a list of possible causes for, and remedies to, the underlying discordances that caused the criminal activity.

The Committee was able to, with relative certainty, come to fairly strong determinations of the reasons for criminal behaviour due to the long exposure of its citizens to a variety of different environmental situations. With over a thousand years of data to collate, psychiatrists, doctors and other specialists had come to understand that in addition to the age-old pressures of hunger, dearth and addiction, there were also various environmental causes for a pre-disposition to crime. These included exposure to the wrong kinds of electromagnetic, geomagnetic and celestial energies, buildup of various heavy metals in the body, exposure to various micro-organisms, chemicals and other substances. The GAGA also realized that what was a healthy and conducive environment for one individual could be a suppressive and toxic one for another, leading to criminal mis-behaviour that was largely due to misplacement of the individual.

For this reason, Galaxy-wide baseline psychological and physical evaluations were made mandatory starting in 2930. Children were evaluated with scanning technology shortly after birth to determine the scope of their baseline physiology, basic receptiveness to conditioning/creative thought, predispositions for certain conditions and relative susceptibility to various exo-environmental forces.

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Every seven years, citizens were given re-evaluations to mark out their continued development and try to find ‘stresses leading to criminal activity’ and remedy these before they turned to transgression of the law.

The system, while effective in limiting a great deal of crime, was not infallible. Resources were often pinched at certain times, leading to ‘lost generations’ in the GAGA. These individuals were more predisposed to transgression activities, and fell into the Galactic Universal Rehabilitation (GUR) wing of GAGA resources.

The GAGA Criminal Rehabilitation Act was established with the aim of “determining the definitive cause of criminal activity in the individual” with an eye toward “redirection of the individual’s energies, using re-education and relocation to allow the transgressor to maintain as full participation as possible as a Galactic citizen.” As part of this, the GUR was created to take criminals convicted by GAGA courts and rehabiliate them into society. Any citizen of the GAGA received two rehabilitations and relocations for their grevious crimes. On the third crime committed on the GAGA’s Grevious Crimes list, the individual would be taken to a prison colony for use by the GAGA itself. These colonies were generally harsh but humane, although several notable degradations are on record.

During the first rehabilitation process, the GAGA’s complete physio-psychological evaluation would be examined. The Flowchart was consulted to determine if any environmental stresses, toxic buildups or other physiological abreactions had occurred. If this was found to be extant, then the GUR would remedy them, re-evaluate the individual and prepare them for reintroduction to society. If any psychological issues still remained- counter-productive conditioning based on the aggravating factor, abusive habits etc- then re-education, conditioning and behavioural therapy were given.

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Once the individual passed secondary evaluations, they would be re-introduced to the GAGA. This involved giving the individual a new identity card and placing them in a new sector of the Galaxy. Restrictions on travel, work and other activities stayed on their permanent GAGA file- these restrictions prohibited the individual from exposure to the stressors that induced the crime.

Over 85% of criminals thus rehabilitated stayed contributing citizens and had no further criminal activity of note.

The remaining re-offenders, once convicted of their secondary Grevious Crime, would be sent back to GUR facilities. A secondary physio-psychological evaluation would take place, and remedies were applied. More intensive re-education and psycho-social rehabilitative measures would be taken, including aversion chips, cybernetic implants and neural stabilizers to prohibit certain negative activities. Once the individual passed a secondary examination that proved them ready for re-habilitation, they were again re-introduced to GAGA society, this time restricted to certain sectors/quadrants of the Galaxy, dependent upon the indivudal’s environmental limitations.

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On the third transgression, individuals were given a final GUR re-evaluation and a definitive diagnosis for their recidivism was delivered. These criminals were sent to work camps and GAGA outposts on the edge of the Galaxy, either to work in basic labor units for GAGA resources, or as ‘place-holders’ on the frontiers of the Galaxy, to stake GAGA claims. Life was remote and assistance minimal, but the GAGA would still check in every few months with evaluators for compliance to Rights of the Galactic Citizen Act. Although most asteroid work camps and remote colonies functioned within baseline parameters, corruption and smuggling were rampant; as a result, sometimes the level of care fell well below GAGA standards.

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GUR and GAGA workers had the right to comandeer any camp or colony that was sub-par and rectify the situation, up to and including taking command of it. Any officials of these camps that were found guilty of transgressions leading to the poor conditions were themselves charged with criminal violations and entered into the GUR system.

 

And the Winners Are…

18 Apr

Here are the winners of our GAF Mainframe short story contest!

Late last year, GAF Mainframe launched a flash fiction contest about alien artifacts. Entrants had to submit a short, short story about any GAF character interacting with any alien artifact.

We had some truly awesome submissions, some of which were published on GAFMainframe.com . From these entries we have chosen a few lucky authors to win our grand prize!

These winning authors will have their flash fiction published in the long-awaited Tales from Space 2, due out later this year.

Our winners are:

Van Fleming for his piece about IUS Agent Aric Drakes

Sharon Flood for Pvt. Susu Frid’s Bastet figurine find

Jenn Spaulding for adding to Pvt. Puff Errington’s backstory

Will Norton for his deep space cowboy adventure

Congratulations to our winners!

 

Susu Frid’s Egyptian Asteroid

23 Feb

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In this latest submission to our short story contest for GAF Mainframe, we see a behind-the-scenes snippet of Susu Frid and Private Puff’s adventures on Arkello 2. This story takes place in the middle of the action-packed events chronicled in The Arkellan Treaty, available later this year from StarkLight Press.

An excellent alien artifact piece written by Sharon Flood!

This story, along with all of our winning artifact entries, is eligible for inclusion in Tales from Space II, the second GAF Mainframe short story anthology. Congratulations, Sharon!

 

 

Private Susu Frid,

Personal Device Vid Journal

Arkellan Treaty Mission.

I’m trying out a new encryption here. It’s in the gendler language, in a version of what is called ‘pig Latin’ in Earth English. It’s complicated, but I’m sure it’ll hold up under scrutiny.

I picked up some very interesting artifacts on our mission on Arkello 2, to protect our fearless leader Prime Minister Ferguson while he was negotiating a peace treaty between the Quatrians and the Dynians. We were quartered at the High Hemen hotel where we were debriefed and sent off to gather information from the locals. After everyone split up in the lobby, I turned to Puff, who looked about as bored as I felt. I knew just what would perk us both up. I sidled over to her and put my arm through hers, and steered her toward the elevators.

“Let’s go back up to our room to get some gear. What say we go on a little adventure today?”

Puff looked at me like I was suggesting we go dog sledding in Alaska on Old Earth. She shook her head. She might have heard of some of my other adventures. Come to think of it, Dog Sledding might be fun, except dogs on earth keep trying to eat me. They think I’m some kind of animal. My fur gives off that type of scent, apparently. Since they don’t smell me as a predator, they think: dinner.

“Come on, it’ll be fun,” I said as we got on the elevator. She hung back a bit as we exited at our floor, and I headed for our room.

“We’re supposed to be out and about, chatting up the locals,” Puff replied.

“We can do that later. Have you ever done a space walk, or investigated an asteroid?” I asked.

“No … don’t you need special training for that?”

“Not necessarily. Out in the lobby they’re offering shuttle excursions to the asteroids for the tourists,” I explained.

“I thought the Dynians weren’t into technology.”

“They aren’t. The outfit running the trips are Terran entrepreneurs. The High Hemen owners are leasing them space with the hope that some Dynian locals might be interested in seeing their planet from space. It might make them more amenable to Quatrian technology,” I told her.

“I should think you got your fill of floating rocks by running the obstacle course on the way down here from the ship,” Puff complained on the way to our room.

When we got there I dug out my specialized space gear for use in zero gravity. Being as smart as we are, Gendlers figured out how to get around in space without specifically needing a whole ship to do so. A small shuttle and a tether line was generally sufficient.

“I scanned them from our shuttle. Among my other interests and degrees, space geology is one of them. I happened upon a small cache of very valuable minerals on one of the asteroids. I’m going to go find them,” I told her.

“I saw you over near the portal with some clunky looking object. Where do you come up with such odd little toys?” Puff asked.

“Sometimes I buy them, or invent them, or … um borrow them.” I could feel my face getting warm under the fur, but no one can ever tell. Best I not go into detail about my petty larceny. I don’t want Puff to be questioned as an accessory.

I rooted around till I found the rock collecting tools I had brought with me. I had seen that the minerals were gem stones, and they were fairly close to the surface, but underground, in a way. I thought they might be in a cave. I headed out the door with Puff right behind me.

“It looks like I’ll be staying in the shuttle, since I don’t have a space suit,” Puff commented.

“The excursion company has suits for human type bipeds. They had several on a wall. There’s bound to be one that fits you. I’ll make sure it’s airtight for your use,” I said.

By this time we were down in the lobby. Puff watched with interest as I pulled my credit marker out of a virtually invisible pouch near my abdomen, similar to a Terran kangaroo. Her staring irritated me.

“What? How else should I carry stuff? It’s not like I wear clothes with pockets.”

“You could wear clothes if you wanted to though, couldn’t you?” Puff asked.

“I suppose, but that would be like wearing a dress over a fur coat. I would look ridiculous, and besides, it would be too hot. You know that I wear specially fitted backpacks, holsters and vests for weaponry when we’re on duty in battle. All that is a form of clothing. I wear specialized clothing for space exploration,too. It’s air cooled. Now we have to get the same thing for you,” I said.

We rooted through the suits on the wall, and Puff found one that fit. I used the same test equipment I used on my own gear to make sure it was safe before we suited up. I paid for the two us before we got in the shuttle. The pilot made sure we paid first. It gave me an uneasy feeling that made me think of a line from an ancient song on Old Earth by Chris de Burgh : ‘Don’t pay the Ferryman till he gets you to the other side.’ It made me glad that we always had our PDs to call for help, in case the pilot just dumped us off on an asteroid and left us there.

We climbed into the shuttle and buckled in. I got my geological scanner ready. The pilot lifted off without ceremony. We soon left Arkello 2’s atmosphere, and headed out among the asteroids. I guided the pilot through the asteroid belt until we found the one with gem stones on it. I unbuckled my restraint, reached over the Terran pilot, and grabbed the ignition crystal. I had it out of the console and into a pocket of my space gear before he could even blink. His face turned stormy.

“What the … give that back!” the pilot yelled at me.

“No. You’ll get it back when we get back. Until then, you’re not going anywhere,” I yelled back.

I picked up the rest of my gear and climbed into the airlock. When Puff joined me, I opened the outer airtight door and stepped out onto the asteroid. I made sure that we were both securely tethered to the shuttle before I pulled my scanner out of the equipment satchel attached to the side of my suit. The thing was going crazy. We were close. The asteroid was mostly big rocks and deposits of obsidian, which is black translucent volcanic glass produced by the sudden cooling of molten lava. There were shards of it buried in the landscape all over Arkello 2. There were also obsidian deposits all over the asteroid belt caused by the destruction of Arkello 3. There were many volcano eruptions caused by the relentless bombardment of the planet by Maitre aliens generations ago.

My scanner led us right to a large mound of solid rock and rubble. I pulled out a pick ax, and gave Puff a collapsible shovel. We soon cleared away enough to reveal the entrance to a cave under the loose rocks. We illuminated our helmet lamps and set out on what was probably Puff’s very first spelunking adventure. It wasn’t new to me. I love gemstones and they generally hang out underground. I invented my handy dandy mineral scanner with some uh … ‘borrowed’ components from my university’s geology lab.

We were a good ways back in the cave when I noticed that the cave in front of us was luminescent. Something back there was reflecting off of our helmet lamps. I was so eager to see what was there, I took off towards it. My legs are spindly appendages, and they don’t move well in unaccustomed space gear. I can move with speed, but not with any kind of grace or accuracy. I tripped over rubble on the floor and went rolling down a slight incline like a big blue furry bowling ball. When a Gendler falls, or is hit in a frontal attack, our first instinct is to curl up like a Terran hedgehog or porcupine, without the spikes. I stopped short when I hit something solid, and knocked it over, which made something solid but smaller rain down on me. Luckily, Puff is very light on her feet, and very coordinated. She managed to catch whatever was falling on me, to prevent it from doing me or it serious harm.

When I finally got my feet untangled from my head, I sat up and watched Puff examining several statuettes. The thing that had stopped my fall was a stone altar of sorts. I pushed it back upright and began to put the fallen items on top of it. There were some crude hand made clay statuettes with the heads of cats, and the bodies of women. There was also a small reclining white alabaster cat, a small reclining jade cat, and a larger sitting jade cat which seemed to have a carved platform that it fit into on top of the altar. I returned it to its rightful place. There were several black obsidian cat statuettes and figurines of various sizes and positions. Some had the bodies of women. Some had gold amulets or necklaces. Some had emerald eyes. There was one black obsidian statuette with large emerald eyes, and a huge ruby amulet on its chest. It was the same size as the central jade cat figure on the altar. I carefully put it in a cloth lined collection pouch and put it in my biggest outside pocket.

Puff helped me put the undamaged ones on the altar to get a better look at them. We chose several of the gold and jewel adorned figures and pocketed them. When Puff reached for the big jade unadorned statue, I stopped her, and gave her a slightly smaller heavily bejeweled jade figure instead.

“Not that one. It stays here,” I said.

“Why?” she asked.

“Because that’s the ancient Egyptian goddess Bastet idol. It was worshiped here. This cave was a shrine to her when it was still part of Arkello 3. It’s older than all the rest, and might have come from Old Earth itself, thousands of years ago. The other figures were gifts and companion pieces to it. The obsidian cats were probably made by craftsmen on Arkello 3, because obsidian could be found easily anywhere on the planet. The jade and alabaster ones might have come from Earth, but they’re not nearly as old as the jade idol.”

“How did they get here?” Puff asked as she examined the statuettes.

“Probably a traveler that had visited Earth many eons ago brought the idol, the jades, the alabasters and maybe some Terran slaves here for trade. Arkello 3 had some impressive gold and gemstone deposits in shallow mines. Then as now, gold and jewels were always valuable currency to trade for fuel, supplies, wives, whatever. I expect that the kidnapped Terrans that were dropped here continued their worship in this cave in secret,” I said.

“Why are you leaving the idol here? I doubt if there are any of its worshipers left,” Puff pointed out.

“I know, but the goddess Bastet was the protector of women, children, and domestic cats who protected the home from snakes and vermin. She also protected against infectious diseases and evil spirits.”

“So?” Puff shrugged.

“So, this cave and its shrine still exists after the complete demolition of the rest of the planet. Perhaps in this one space in the galaxy, Bastet still has some power to protect Arkello 2 as this asteroid orbits the planet. After all, it not only survived the attacks that destroyed Arkello 3, it remained a paradise. Who’s to say Bastet didn’t keep it safe? Just in case she did, I’m leaving her here,” I decided.

Puff shrugged. We had already made ourselves reasonably wealthy with what we were taking away with us. The trick would be to keep it safe until we got back to the base. We left the cave and and set a small explosive device at the mouth of it. It was just big enough to completely bury the entrance, without destroying the cave. We returned to the shuttle to find the pilot fast asleep and snoring in his seat. I shook him awake, none to gently. Needless to say, he was not a happy camper.

“Huh? What … shit!” he blurted out while he was still trying to figure out what was going on.

“We’re re ready to leave now, but before we return to the surface, we’re going to make a side trip back to our martial space station. It won’t take long,” I informed him.

“Side trips cost extra,” he said.

“Of course they do.” I rolled my eyes, but since they’re on stalks, he probably missed the sarcasm.

When we got to the ship we went right to our quarters. I grabbed a small oblong box and we took it to the field behind the hotel.  I emptied all of my artifacts onto the ground beside me.

“I trust you, so I’m going to show you where I stash my … ummmm … collectables,” I said, lamely.

“My lips are sealed. I won’t tell anyone, I swear,” Puff made a locking motion at her mouth.

“Good. I brought Space Saver Pod with me. I bring it with me everywhere, because I never know when I’m going to end up on a rich planet where I might find some more … um … toys,” I blushed under my fur again.

At some point I was going to have to tell Puff that I’m a thief – a very smart educated thief, but a thief still the same. At some point she’ll have to defend her actions, simply for being associated with me. I entered the code to initiate the Niles Generator’s dematerialization cycle. The generator powered up quietly, there was a brief flash and we were standing in front of a shipping container locked with a biometric. Placing my hand on its pad, I said my name.  I took my hand away, and my hand print glowed. The front of the container opened up. I put my bejeweled cats inside in one of the display cases and locked it with a more traditional key. I turned to Puff, who was staring into the crate with huge, impressed eyes.

“Do you want your stuff in here until we get back to the base, or did you want to put it in the station’s main vault at the hotel, Puff?” I asked.

“You can put it all in here. It’ll be safe, and besides, I don’t want the quartermaster to know that I have something valuable enough to put in the vault. I don’t want anybody else to know, for that matter. These statuettes are worth a lot of credits just by themselves because they’re relics from Arkello 3, which no longer exists. That’s not even to mention all of the gold and jewels. I’ll leave it all with you,” Puff told me as she pushed all of her share of our findings against one of the bookshelves in the far corner of the crate. We exited and I closed the front of the Space Saver. I put my left hand on the biometric to lock it up again. It was a simple matter to power up the Niles Generator and send my storage container back into the side dimension where the tiny, oblong generator kept it when I wasn’t using it.

“Well, that’s taken care of. Let’s do what we’re told for once, and scope out the local bar for information,” I said.

“Okay. I’m right behind you,” Puff said as we headed down the street to the tavern.

An Incident in El Noor- Excerpt Part Three

5 Feb

A day in the life of the Leaders of the Galaxy is outlined here in this conclusion of Chapter One of the latest GAF Mainframe novel, An Incident in El Noor. The tensions between military necessity, intelligence acquisition and First Contact play themselves out before Quetzal and Gabrielle, in no way making it easier for them to decide how to proceed… but proceed they must, if the growing instability in the El Noor sector is to be kept from spilling into the rest of the Galaxy.

This conclusion of Chapter One is written by Tony Stark, copyright 2015.

 

There is always an ulterior motive- be it continued perception of the GAGA as an insurmountable force in the known universe, economic advantage or military gain. It is the duty of the IUS to point out to the President the vast, hitherto untapped cornucopia of alien technology that lies within the SAG-DEB galaxy… a cornucopia of advancement and improvement blocked from our grasp only by a few dissident El Noorian nationals whose minds have been withered by over-exposure to radiations from the Galactic collision.”

Perhaps,” Andrew suggested in careful, meditative tones, “scientists should examine the effect the technology being used by the El Noorians from the alien galaxy may have on natives of our own.” He raised his chin and looked down his long, sloped nose at the President. “Before we acquire said technologies for our own purposes.”

Tobias smiled thinly and leaned back in his chair. He had been expecting Pierce’s overcautious, seemingly reasonable xenophobia. There was a man who had been dealing with alien races for too long, King thought. He has the yips worse than ever.

GAGA and GAF telemetry and scientists, including astrophysicists from your own DFC, Andrew, have gathered reams of data showing the radiation and temporal-spatial deconstruction occurring at the leading edge of the Galactic Collision is more than enough to melt the brain of even the hardiest biological organism.”

And yet we still defer evacuating the El Noorian natives to a safer world far away from the churning maw of destruction,” Pierce remarked.

That’s beautiful, Andrew,” Marlene remarked, typing on her PD. “May I quote that?”

Of course, my dear,” Andrew smiled slightly and continued. “The GAGA keeps them there under a thin pretense of respect for their cultural heritage- a heritage that is only one hundred and twenty years old. We keep them there, allow them to make further and further forays into the confidences, both spatial and psychological, of the SAG-DEB natives, and ignore the fact our first explorers of this new world are effectively learning about smallpox from the blankets they receive- not just from the alien galaxy, but from the GAGA, as well.”

Magnificent!” Marlene cried.

Tobias clapped slowly, appreciatively. His eyes were veiled.

Emil Skoda raised his eyebrows and looked flabbergasted at his desk for a moment.

I can’t imagine that you’d be advocating we just run roughshod over these peoples’ rights, Andrew,” he said at length.

The precedent is there to move them summarily off the world and to a location of their choosing,” Quetzal reminded everyone. “We’ve evacuated other races, natives to planets, not just immigrants to an empty world, with less threat to their biological integrity than what the El Noorians face.”

Gabrielle tossed her hair. “We made that particular decision last year, friends. There’s no point in revisiting it now. The El Noorians were adamant about staying where their prophet Sammarrab put them, and we respected that.”

The fact the IUS already had several imbedded agents able to infiltrate the confidences of the SAG-DEB delegation to the El Noorians-” Andrew began.

Was, of course, a deciding factor in allowing these people to maintain their homeland,” Tobias interrupted. “It’s what we do, Andrew- maintain a hand in the most volatile regions of the Galaxy.” Tobias pushed his spectacles up on his nose. “And what is your suggestion now, now that war is at hand?”

Andrew blinked, took a deep sigh, and stated plainly: “Evacuation followed by a trained team of experts to make First Contact. Experts who will examine the many threats posed to the GAGA by not just alien biology and technology, but an entire alien Galaxy, as well.”

We could gear the public up for a feel-good, humanitarian rescue mission,” Quetzal suggested. “There’s no real reason to upset the apple cart by diving into an inter-GAGA conflict in a Galactic Collision Zone.”

Gabrielle raised her eyebrows and nodded.

Skoda slapped his desk with his hand. “We can’t just evac Hyperships full of crazed El Noorian refugees who have decided that it’s time the entire Galaxy followed their fundamentalist, racist, anti-GAGA claptrap!” He crossed his arms over his chest full of medals. “They’d spread their bullshit everywhere, and instead of one fire to fight on the edge of noplace, we’d all be fighting a peat fire for the rest of the GAGA’s defintely shortened lifespan.”

Gabrielle frowned, and nodded. “That is true,” she noted.

Quetzal turned in his chair to include the President in his view of the proceedings. Gabrielle had started to follow along with points… she was forming a narrative in her own head. This presaged a Decision. Quetzal looked forward to seeing what it might be- because he had absolutely no idea about what to do himself.

I can tell you, Ms. President,” Andrew determinedly said, “that our research shows definitively there are catastrophic health effects incurred by any mid-term exposure to what’s going on in that Galaxy.” He glanced fiercely up at Tobias.

As Mr. King has pointed out.”

Tobias nodded. “I agree that sending in any GAF forces will have a negative effect on public opinion as well as the health of the soldiers, Ms. President. That is why I advocate the following- a holding pattern of informed tension for the public while my agents attempt to diffuse the situation. If we fail, then we can consider a military contingent.”

Andrew snorted, and Emil Skoda piped up.

Oh, oh, just like you idiots diffused the Quilarian uprising, eh?” he asked, staring up at the holo image of Tobias.

King pushed his glasses up his nose and straightened his tie. “The conflict between the Quilarians and the GAF was too severe to be diffused, unfortunately. We did what we could.”

You mean you snuck in and abducted Quilarian children and copied their mothership’s computer database!” Emil shouted. “It was a fucking disaster, King, a disaster we had to clean up! Just so you could breed some Quilarians because they happen to be one giant stem cell.”

Actually, the Quilarian juvenile is more of a plethora of stem cells,” King couldn’t help but correct.

A cornucopia of them,” Andrew offered acerbically.

Yes, exactly,” King couldn’t help but like his old mentor. Damn but he was quick on the draw, King thought, and smiled.

I’m certain that the IUS would not have as its sole mandate the extraction of alien technology and biology,” Gabrielle asserted, looking at the upper left quadrant of the room where the Director of the IUS floated.

No, ma’am,” Tobias assured her. “We would first and foremost be there to diffuse the erroneous El Noorian sentiment against the GAGA, and ideally convince them to evacuate peaceably.”

Well they sure as hell aren’t coming crawling back into the Center of the Galaxy until they’ve all got their De-Nutjobification certificates,” Emil growled. “No peat fires. Period.”

Unfortunately,” Marlene interjected, “I’m not certain we can easily guarantee a re-education of GAGA mores and values in the evacuated populace. The DFC and GAGA MedCommand both seem to indicate that substantial damage has occurred to their biological information interfaces. It will take some recouperative efforts before we can begin to reliably re-indoctrinate the evacuees.”

Gabrielle nodded. “Excellent point,” she remarked.

I say, Nuke ’em,” Emil said. “There’s enough perfectly sane El Noorians in the rest of the GAGA who got the hell outta Dodge when they realized the Galactic collision was more than just pretty pictures in the sky. These people stayed not because they’re stubborn, but because their brains are melted, and now they’re blowing shit up because they’ve been had what brains are left washed up good by an invading alien force!”

Gabrielle nodded. “Provocative presentation of fact.”

What’s the timeline on evacuee rehabilitation?” Quetzal asked somebody.

Our extrapolations indicated eighteen months to three years before the ill effects of the Galactic Collision could be repaired,” Andrew glanced down at some old fashioned papers on his desk. “Assuming of course the effects could be reversed like regular radiation and HyperSpatial overexposure.” He managed to keep his gaze level as he added, “Of course, we haven’t been able to do any serious investigative testing with live cases.”

Gabrielle nodded. “Understandable lack of data,” she said.

Quetzal watched the President. Her remarks were speeding up. Time for a decision.

Gabrielle stood up, walked around to the front of her giant garnet of a desk. “Thank you all for your input,” she told them. “This is our strategy.”

She nodded at Tobias King. “Mr. King, you will send your best agents immediately to El Noor, if they are not already there, and instruct them to defuse the anti-GAGA sentiment as well as the fundamentalist developments in the culture. You will of course try to glean as much information about the technology and biology of the alien SAG-DEB culture as possible. You have four weeks to complete this objective.”

Tobias looked pleased, thinking he had won the day for the IUS until he heard the conclusion of the President’s orders. He opened his mouth to interject, but Gabrielle turned her eyes from him to Emil Skoda, her General.

You, sir, will send in your most photogenic units to the El Noorian sector to lead the evacuation of the GAGA natives to the planet. A secondary task for your troops will be diplomatic liasons, in case the IUS is able to establish basic relations with the aliens of the encroaching galaxy. You will come prepared for peaceful evacuation, but also for war… in the event that the IUS and GAF olive branches fail to quel the El Noorian uprising, we must unfortunately deal decisively with the threat to the peace of the GAGA. If all else fails, General, we will put down the rebellion completely.”

General Skoda’s face flashed a series of different emotions as he acclimatized to the winding directives he had been given. In the end, he understood that war was the final option, and that he had just been given the green light to put an end to this constant attack on his GAF forces. He sat back and smiled smugly. The rest would take care of itself- he was gonna blow shit up.

Marlene,” Gabrielle turned her attention to the GAGAPO chief. “I want you to begin to ease the Galaxy into the inevitability of war, but first play up the peacemakers of the GAF and the high optimism we all have that our own people as well as the aliens in the SAG-DEB galaxy will see reason and join us on our grand, Galactic adventure.”

Marlene typed furiously. “Understood, Ms. President.”

Gabrielle looked up finally at Andrew Pierce from the Department of First Contact.

Andrew, I know that you disapproved of the trajectory of the El Noorian natives from the start, and that we have perhaps underutilized the DFC as a resource in this obvious example of extra-terrestrial encounter.”

Andrew nodded, his long features remarkably soft. Whatever he may think of the decision, he understood the many particular hurdles the President of the Universe had to navigate in such a situation. He knew he was at one end of a spectrum of equally valid perspectives. In a Galaxy based off of enjoyment, comfort, consumption and quietude, prudent scientific discovery for its own sake was a very limited spectrum to possess.

I offer the DFC now an opportunity to accompany the first GAF forces to El Noor. You may deploy your team of exo-investigators before that point where the GAF attempts diplomacy and/ or military intervention of any kind. The IUS will try its hand while your people travel, but you may, if you wish, send your team in to gather the data on the alien galaxy first hand.”

Both Andrew and Tobias raised their eyebrows. A fit of fidgeting ensued from the head of the IUS, while Andrew leaned back again in his chair.

It was a remarkable gift, Andrew thought, for an old, largely forgotten agency. But even though it be a spinster, don’t just accept gifts out of hand. This opportunity comes at a grave cost, he warned himself, one that must be examined at length in privacy.

Out loud, Pierce said, “Thank you, Ms. President. I will take the matter up with my staff, and get back to you in the morning.”

Quetzal rose from his magnificent desk and clapped his hands together. He smiled broadly.

Well, that’s about it, then,” he announced. “Everybody got it? Spy, then fly, then pry, then peace, then fry. And try to look regretful about all the coming bloodshed all the while.”

The four briefing guests shifted in their seats as they took in the Prime Minister’s summation.

Good? Good. We’ll all meet up back here in Friday to see how it’s going,” Quetzal concluded. “Have a brilliant day!”

Nodding, Andrew Pierce waved his hand and his corner of the display darkened. Marlene did the same, leaving just Tobias King and the GAF General.

I don’t understand why we have to go through all this rigamarole of prepping the populace for conflict,” Skoda muttered, more to himself than to the dignitaries present. He was jotting notes on his PD and avidly clicking his summons roster on his desk. “This whole process would be much simpler if we just kept people ready to put down this kind of conflict in the GAGA at any time.”

But then we’d be leading a totally different universe, General,” Quetzal told him before he blacked out the remaining screens. “And none of us would want that, now- would we?”

An Incident in El Noor Excerpt

31 Jan

Here is an excerpt from the first chapter of An Incident in El Noor, the latest GAF Mainframe novel, written by Tony Stark. We enter the action as the Prime Minister of the Galaxy prepares for the fateful briefing that leads to the deployment of Verily Wrought’s Detach Detachment to the most volatile, dangerous, torsioned portion of the Galaxy.

Tune in later this week for the second half of the fateful briefing, featuring Andrew Pierce from the OFC and Tobias King, the sinister head of the IUS.

Chapter One- copyright Tony Stark, 2015.

Quetzal Ferguson stared out the window.

He caught himself thinking that exact phrase, even thinking of himself in the third person.

Quetzal Ferguson stared out the window, he thought to himself. He was aware that there were innumerable cameras and holovids trained on this bulbous protrusion of the GAGA Headquarters as it orbited around Telamer V. This particular room in which he stared from the window was called the Awareness Room. It was a more subdued epithet than the Old Earth Situation Room, designed in humans’ extreme boredom to stimulate the panic centres of the brain.

Ah, for the days when we had to incite ourselves to panic, Quetzal thought. Now, we have a whole galaxy of terrifying crises to keep us busy 30/8.

He sighed, knowing the cameras would catch it. They were hiding behind the 500 km radius kept sterile of ships by the GAF- no one was allowed to enter the GAGA HQ space unless escorted by a dedicated detachment of GAF Jump Jets. 500 km was as close as the recorders for the Galaxy’s news media companies could get, but with their ultra-high fidelity lenses and such, Quetzal knew that the whole Galaxy would know if he picked his nose from here. He’d seen it happen on the evening news before, but today he didn’t feel like causing quite such a trite scandal as that.

Knowing he was nearly constantly watched by cameras, his every move dissected by pundits and celebrity watchers alike, had driven a tiny part of his brain mad. As the years of his tenure as Prime Minister of the Galaxy continued, Quetzal became aware that this miniscule part of himself had begun to narrate his life. He supposed that part of his brain was mad- either that, or he had become plugged in to the cosmic awareness of the Universe and was actually picking up on the Narration of All Things.

It could have been that. He had done an awful lot of peyote and mushrooms in his day.

High-fidelity,” Quetzal muttered to himself in his thick Scottish brogue. “What the hell was that? You’re supposed to be in the Thirty-first Century, not the bleeding sock hop era.”

He turned away from the vast window, which, while he was bothering to be current, was less a window and more a giant sphere of polyglass reinforced with inner and outer forcefield shields in multi-wavelength interference frequencies. The bulbous protrusion could implode, explode, disintegrate, melt, crack or become out of phase, and the two interference shields would not so much as let a gnat out of the Awareness Room- or once iota of space dust inside.

Yup, he thought, as he walked to the Prime Minister’s desk. They’ve got me knit up nice and tight.

He sat at the long, thick, immense obsidian-topped desk and idly polished a smear off its surface. Oh, but he loved the desk. It was a great desk. It was the kind of desk the second most powerful person in the Galaxy should have- it was the kind of desk the Prime Minister of the Galaxy deserved. It was fifteen feet by eight feet of solid fucking obsidian, jetted out from the real, original Mexico to this space station. It was six inches thick. It was the sort of thing Edward Kelley would have got really, really excited over- you could scry with it to see things the whole Galaxy across. It was the sort of desk his namesake Quetzalcoatl would have been proud to slap a couple virgins on and do some impromptu cardiectomies.

Quetzal ran his fingers over the edges of the beautiful desk. Not for the first time, he thought:

All it needs is a few good blood runnels…

Clicking, clacking across the ultra-steel floor, the President of the Universe entered the Awareness Room. The gait was the easy, brisk stride of an individual in complete command of themselves, and the scene.

You are missing the blood runnels again,” Gabrielle remarked compassionately as she approached. Her movement was a sinuous animal that drew the eye and ensured total submission.

Quetzal smiled sadly at her. “Yes,” he replied wistfully. “It’s that obvious, isn’t it.”

She nodded, moved around the giant obsidian masterpiece of a desk and kissed her Prime Minister on the top of his head.

Those days are gone, nino,” she cooed. “Now we are the peaceful ones. Spreading peace and… peace. Throughout the Galaxy.”

Quetzal looked up at her and smiled. From this angle, as will any other angle, the President of the Universe was a delight to behold.

Well, then,” he said, bucking himself out of his remarkably dark funk. “Let’s have our briefing and figure out how to spread peace this time.”

Gabrielle touseled Quetzal’s inky black hair and took her seat beside him at the President’s desk.

Beside was, of course, a broad description of her position. The President’s desk was, of course, more magnificent than the Prime Minister’s. Gabrielle’s desk was a massive, oval chunk of garnet from the Gamma Sector. Unlike the PM’s desk, the President’s hovered at desk height in neo-modernist minimalism- free from the fetters of the dark oak and black marble of the Prime Ministerial desk, and free also to reveal the President’s unbelievably sexy legs as she listened to her briefing.

Removing the acoutrements of her desktop had been the President’s own idea. One didn’t rise to the most powerful position in the GAGA without a General’s understanding of assets and how to best deploy them. A skillful re-crossing of the Presidential legs during heated summit meetings had, after all, ceased wars, ushered in peace treaties, and signed lucrative trade agreements. The Peaceful ones needed to use their assets even in the Awareness Room- especially there, for it was in this giant, sparse room that alien officials, GAF Generals, IUS officials and the other most powerful peoples in the Galaxy were relayed to convey the absolute Latest Events in the GAGA.

The incredibly realistic sound of the speaker system rattled the bones of the GAGA’s chief officials. The sound-on for the GAF debriefing began, and the logo for the military wing of the GAGA began to hover, many times larger than it need be, at the far end of the room. Faces and images beamed from all over the Galaxy would shortly engulf the thirty foot high room. As the logo continued to spin, the light entering the giant portal behind them faded as the polarity of the shields blocked out all light emitted. It was the only time in the Awareness Room the Quetzal knew he would not be filmed, and he let out an immense sigh of slouching relief.

I know,” Gabrielle looked over at him with commiseration. “I’ve had an exhausting week, too. This whole rebel thing is driving me crazy. Why do they think I have an opinion that will change the Galaxy when I am at my aquacise class?”

Quetzal chuckled. “No clue, my love. They had better get us some definitive information on the matter today- watching this giant screen gives me an eyeball ache.”

A computerized voice, very lifelike but still artificial, greeted the dignitaries.

Good morning, President Gabrielle, Prime Minister Ferguson,” the feminine voice declared.

It continued on, heedless of Quetzal’s flip-off and Gabrielle’s stern, amused glance.

This morning’s Awareness briefing comes to your from the IUS, and includes intelligence from the GAF and the DFC.”

Quetzal and Gabrielle looked at each other and each mouthed the words, ‘El Noor’. Smiling, they returned their attention to the disembodied voice in time to catch:

…will be joining you for a live conference call immediately following the briefing.”

Who’s splicing in?” Quetzal asked, large blue eyes panicked.

I don’t know! Gabrielle mouthed, raising her hands in question.

A Word from Our President

27 Jan

The following is a copy of a letter sent to Galactic News Network, In Quotes magazine, CelebNow Network and other GAGA news affiliates in response to the media storm surrounding the death of the 13th Prime Minister of the Galaxy, Luis Ruiz. It was penned by his widow, Gabrielle, who is currently President of the Universe.

Quit Saying I Killed My Husband(s)

 

Lately in the media there has been a rash of uninformed people spreading the unfortunate rumor that I was involved in my Late Husband Luis’s dreadfully unlucky accident.

The truth of the matter is that people will always be jealous and will always find ways to breakdown the reputation of beautiful, successful women. What woman in the whole of the galaxy is as successful (and dare I say, as beautiful as I)?  I’m certain we can agree that there is no one in the galaxy who is as sure to collect the useless slanders and lies against her person than myself.

It is difficult to be a woman who was married to a man who became known as the ‘luckiest man in the galaxy’. Luis Ruiz, The Thirteenth  Prime Minister of the Galaxy, also known as ‘Lucky Thirteen’, died tragically in his own bed, the victim of a shaving accident.

Yes! I have heard your questions so many times in the past- you all say to me, ‘But your Presidentship, how could this happen? That a man would stab himself to death three times in the belly while sleeping, it makes no sense!?”

This is how you show you are narrow minded and backward thinking is by saying these things! I will spell this one for you as I did for the inquiring sub-committee of All Planets Insurance, who found there was no fault in my case:

Luis was a man who valued his time. Did you know that a man spends between ten to twenty minutes every morning on his shaving regime? Do you know how many minutes that adds up to in a year? I didn’t, but I found out how many, it is as many as 7300 minutes or over 121 hours in one single year! A man who dies at the relatively young age of a hundred and fifty years has spent 18, 250 hours of his life shaving!

But Luis, my darling love, he would not spend so much of his life to waste on his vanity! He cared too much for his vows of office to waste taxpayer time and money on his own face. That is why he hired the famous hypnotist and race car driver, Renny Buhhard, to teach him to shave whilst sleeping.

Renny warned Luis and warned Luis that such a thing to undertake, was too brave and too experimental. Luis, he sadly refused to listen and so he spent several months on first the hypnotherapy required and then on practicing, first with a wooden dowel and then with a safety razor, but alas, as you all well know, Luis Ruiz was always a prefectionist.

I cried when he told me that it was time to begin the shaving with a straight razor. I told him, it was too much of a risk for the cleanest shave! Aya aya, he would not listen to me. He said I could not possibly understand the importance of a close shave to a man. I told him, I say, ‘don’t be retarded. That’s the so dumb. I shave my legs and lots of other things that you have no idea about you stupid man.”

He refused to listen. I tried to sleep next to him that night, but it was too difficult, I kept waking up and seeing the straight razor blade gleam in the moonlight, it was too much and so I slept in a different bed. The next morning the maid found him and called the emergency number. I woke to her screaming, you can’t imagine. That is why I say to you, stop saying I murdered my first husband, also stop saying the same about my second Prime Minister, ‘One Week Messer’. I have been cleared on both accounts and to say so, I can sue you and have many lawyers.

It wouldn’t be nice if I had to get the lawyers to come and sue you, so I’m asking nicely now for you and your publication and/or holo show to stop the nastiness or I will make you wish you had hired Renny Buhhard and had died quietly in your sleep yourself. You like threats? I can threaten better so watch your back.

Sincerely,

Gabrielle, President of the Universe.

 

*The Press Office of the President of the Universe wishes to specify that the President did not intend any slander or insult to the altered or mentally challenged members of the GAGA, nor did she intend to slander the memory of her beloved deceased husband. Such language was used in a dramatic and literary sense, as per GAGA FoS Regulation 2319-EA, Protected Use of Language as Rhetorical Device.

– written by Virginia Carraway Stark.

 

GAF Short Story Writing Prompt #2

27 Jan

australia3

In celebration of the sailing of the First British Fleet into Sydney Harbour, GAF Mainframe is proud to announce its newest short story prompt!

Take your favorite GAF Characters and throw them Down Under! Have an outback adventure, or unleash the GAF’s most dastardly characters on Australia’s finest actors, artists and writers! Any era, any combination of fiction and reality, throw it all together with everyone’s edgiest science fiction universe.

australia meme

We are also opening this prompt to art and music contributions as well, so let your painter, musician and creative media friends know there’s a whole new galaxy of fun to share your work!

Your contributions will be published on GAF Mainframe over the next few weeks- this prompt closes Feb 20, 2015.

-Tony Stark, writing for GAF Mainframe.