Wednesday, September 19, 2018

FROM SPACE 1st Draft Update for 9/18/18: Getting into the Storage Unit..

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“So, how is this going to work?” Sarah asked me.

“You’ve got your mom’s death certificate. It’s just a matter of explaining that to the guys that run the storage facility.”

In typical Earth male fashion, they made us jump through extra hoops like making us wait an hour while they verified the death certificate and making sure Sarah’s ID wasn’t faked.

Finally, Sarah was allowed to take control of the unit. In minutes we had the key and were on our way to the unit, which was in an out door area of an almost maze-like series of one-floor buildings with metal doors for front walls and shingled roofs over them.

We found the unit and unlocked it. As Sarah removed the physical lock from the unit, she looked to me.

“Wise, you said you were in here already.” 

“Uhhh, yeah.”

“How? Those guys didn’t recognize you.”

“I...didn’t exactly go through the front door.”

“How did you...?”

“I have my talents.”

Her eyes narrowed at me and then she scoffed. She put the lock in a jacket pocket and started pulling on the handle to get the wall, or I suppose the wall, to slide up and out of the way but it would not move.

“Oh, jeez, this thing won’t budge!”

I moved to the metal door and pulled on the handle with the same results.

“Do we just need a strapping young man?” Sarah asked. "Maybe we can ask one of the guys at the front to give us a hand?"

“No.  We can do this," I said.  I moved out into the middle of the road between the other storage units and scanned the area for other people.  I saw none.  I looked back to Sarah and spoke.  "You have to promise not to tell anyone about this."

Sarah just stared at me for a moment and when I didn't say anything she did.  "You're kidding, right?  I'm an alien living secretly AS an alien, on a planet with, I assume, other aliens also living in secret and you are worried about me telling people what cool alien thing you're about to do?"

"Um, well, yeah," I said.  "And I never said I was an alien."

"OK, does that mean you don't have a cool alien trick you're about to show me?"

"No, I definitely have one of those," I said, walking up to the metal wall/door and pressing my left palm (and the Conveniencer tattoo on it) against the the surface. I held out my right hand toward Sarah who instinctively took it.

"Don't freak out--this is about to get weird," I said.  Sarah's face told me she was pretty sure it was already plenty weird for her.

"You're going to FEEL weird in three, two, one."

What felt like what I guess Earth beings call "static electricity" past through us, and told me I could step through.  I moved through the metal wall/door, pulling Sarah with me.

"Whoa--what the hell!?!"

On the other side I quickly found the light switch (I remembered where it was the last time I was there).  Sarah quickly let go of my hand and felt the wall/door with both of her own. "What did we just do?"

I shrugged.  "I'm not sure.  I think it's something about slipping through the space between the molecules that make up the metal that makes up that wall/door thing."

"You don't know?"

"There's a lot to know, you know?"

"Oh."

We looked turned our attention to the stuff in the storage unit.  "The nearest I can determine is the stuff on the left is sentimental stuff your mom thought was of value and the stuff on the right is tech."

"Tech?"

"Yeah.  From Space."

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

FROM SPACE 1st Draft Update for 9/17/18: Where Wise's Nights are Spent May Surprise You

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So, I left her to eat and sleep and went back to the shelter I was staying at while in town. I’m about entirely sure that the manager of the place worked there the last time I was here. Or maybe he was there the next time I visit? Hard to keep all this straight. 

This is the one problem with traveling without your own ship.

The food at these places isn’t as bad as you’d expect. Of course, my taste buds are different every time so some times the food is worse than other times.

I’ve learned over time to just roll with the punches when it comes to what my life has become.
Minutes after dinner, I found my cot and went to sleep.  That body slept well.  I woke to a call from Sarah.  She was ready to head over to the storage unit when if I was.

I sniffed at my armpits and realized I should probably shower.  There was a shower at the shelter, but I decided to not bother for security reasons.  Minutes later, I was back at Sarah's.  With a bag of clothes that fit me.  I'd managed to procure them along with a bag for just this kind of situation.  

"I hate to impose, but could I use your shower?"

"Oh, uh, sure. Do you not, uh, does yours not..."

"Thanks, I appreciate it!"

Twenty minutes later we we showered, or at least I was showered, and we were on the road.  Where we stopped for a fast food breakfast.

With the taste of those delicious Earth fries still in my mouth, we entered the lobby of the storage facility off of a highway in New Jersey.

Monday, September 17, 2018

FROM SPACE 1st Draft Update for 9/16/18: The A-Word is Something Else when you're Breaking the Truth to a Being

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"How do you know that..? How do you even know my mom HAS a storage shed?"

"I'm kind of a detective.  I do lots of research and I came across, I think it's called a paper trail?" Sarah nodded and I went on. "Of unusual technology sightings and was able to find records of your mom renting one of the sheds that closed circuit TV video showed a bunch of personal Earth belongings and some stuff not of this Earth, too."

"I don't remember either of them ever mentioning a storage unit."

"It's how I found you."

"What do you mean?" Sarah asked.

"I found an old diary in the shed with your name and address in it."

"For this apartment? How?  I didn't live here before they died."

"I... don't know," I said, honestly pretty surprised.

"And wait--you said you found it INSIDE the storage unit?"

"Is that what you call it?  A unit?"

"Yes.  But don't dodge the question, Wise.  Were you inside of my mom's secret storage unit?"

"Um, yes, yes I was."  Sarah seemed quietly angry all of the sudden.  I found myself worried that I had some how offended her sensibilities. This was confirmed by the next words she spoke:

"You violated her privacy and you broke the law."

"Well, yes on two but no on one. I am not sure how you can violate the privacy of a dead person."

"It's about respecting their wishes after they died."

"Do you really think you'd be better off not knowing you're an alien--" I realized the moment I said 'alien' that it was mistake.  She clearly wasn't ready to fully accept that part of herself. Her face looked like I'd just punched her in it.  She looked stunned.  Sick.  

"Sorry, but that's the word.  You're from space.  Not from Earth."

She nodded silently, clearly still shaken.

I had the urge to give her a hug, but I didn't know where that urge was really coming from.  An honest interest in making her feel better or... or something else.  I wasn't used to feeling like giving anyone a hug, but then, I wasn't used to changing people's lives simply by talking to them.  Well, that's not true.  I was once told that doing that "was my jam."

"Look, I have a few days until I have to leave.  I can help you if you have no one else."

"Who else would I have?" she said, her voice trembling slightly.

"I... I don't know. You're sure you don't have any aunts or uncles?  Maybe a friend of your parents who may have also been an al--a friend of your parents... from space?"

She sighed and shook her head.  "Maybe. It's been several years.  I know they had friends but I was a kid.  I thought their friends were nerds.  I thought THEY were nerds."

"Let's see what we can find in that shed--er--unit together.  I don't want to violate your mom's privacy.  I just want to help you."

"Now?"

"Well, right now, you had better call what ever restaurant you ordered delivery from and complain because it hasn't gotten here yet.  Also, the storage facility is closed this time of night.  What are you doing tomorrow?"

"Work. Well, I can call out."

"OK, when you wake up call me."  I handed her my card.  She looked at it and then at me.  "Did you have that up your sleeve? It looked like you pulled it from nowhere."
I smiled.  The former is more accurate."

Sunday, September 16, 2018

FROM SPACE 1st Draft for 9/15/18: Everything is Relative, Especially with Your Parents

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"Everything else they gave you was familiar--probably stuff from Earth, right?"

"Uh, yeah."

"Make sense. Well, I wonder what your mother wanted with this thing."

"Obviously I don't know--especially if it's some sort of space thing."

"So, you believe me now?"

"Maybe." She stared at me long enough for me to start to feel self-conscious. He smiled at her awkwardly and she shook her head. "Sorry, it's just that, you look like you look human enough.  Are you from out there somewhere?"

"Well, every being on Earth is from 'out there somewhere' from the point of view of most of the universe's sovereign beings."

"I know, I know. Everything is rel...a...tive..."

"What?"

"Everything is relative--my mom used to say that a lot."

"It's true, really. Doubly so in space."

"She always seemed to be so patient.  I'd be angry at some kids in school and then she'd tell me that I needed to look at it from their perspective--to better understand why they thought it was OK to pick on me or to mock me."

"Did that help?"

"Sometimes, yeah."

"What about your dad? What was he like?"

"Busy.  Always out of town.  Leaving my mom and I while he was off doing business."

"What kind?"

"Mom never told me. I asked but she just said he did important work for a very big corporation that I'd never heard of."

"Never heard of? What was it called?"

"I don't know--she said I'd never heard of it, so what good would it be to know the name?"

"That seems odd," I said.

"It does, doesn't it?"

"Want to know what else is odd?"

"What?"

"This space carburetor. What were your parents doing with it?"

"Well, what will YOU do with it?"

"It's a somewhat long story, but I'm going to use it to build a device."

"A device that will do what?"

"Give me my freedom back."

"Your freedom? What the heck does that mean?" She had a good question.

"Honestly, I'm not sure anymore.  I started this list quest so long ago, I have trouble remembering, myself--both literally the me, and my memories before I took this on.  What I'm worried about is that this component is actually important and useful to you in some way that maybe you are unaware of. I don't want to take it if that's the case."

"That's really nice of you, but I have no idea what that thing is or does."

"Well, your mom left it to you for a reason."

"Or maybe she just put it in that shoebox and forgot about it.  It's not like she and dad had prepared for their death."

"I think this item is far too functional to not be of some value to them and to you." 

"Well, there is literally nothing else I have of theirs that is even remotely related to that thing. So, I have no idea how I'd even establish that it was important."

"There was a bunch of stuff in that storage shed," I said.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

FROM SPACE 1st Draft Update for 9/14/18: What kind of person CHOOSES to live on Earth?

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"I don't know why I want to believe you."

"I'm surprised you are, honestly.  Most people from this planet are either stupid or cynical beyond measure.  It's why only a certain kind of being willingly comes here."

"What do you mean?" 

"Your planet is a tiny little piece of wet rock in the middle of nowhere.  You know, there's a spacelane that has a scenic waypoint that is one of the most stunning views in all of the galaxy."

"OK... and?"

"In your language it would be called the Hermosa Vista De La Galaxia."

"Yeah, that's Spanish, actually," she said.  "I speak English."

"Ah, yeah, sorry, must have had my translator app set to the wrong language when I looked that up."  I slid my finger around the ring tattoo on my palm and found the memory in English.  "Beautiful View of the Galaxy.  Hm. I think it sounds nicer in Spanish.  Anyway, so, if you focus in one on of the most inconsequential corners of this view with your megagoggles, you'll see a tiny little blue--"

"Oh yeah, the pale blue dot."

"You've seen it?"

"Sure."

"In person?!"

"No!  It's in a space documentary I saw once."

"Oh, well, that's how small and inconsequential this planet is. A trillion beings over a billion years took snaps of that view and never noticed this little planet here, teeming with lifeforms mostly in only survival, but one species interested in power and oppression of all others."

"You're talking about Earth men, right?"

"I suppose I am."

"Oh, what am I doing?!? You're crazy, you know that?"

"Am I crazy? Then why are you oozing green?" I pointed at some around her left eye.  She self-consciously dabbed at it with her finger and then pulled out one of those tissue things and dabbed it away.

"This doesn't--this--your explanation does not have to be the only explanation!"

"What do you mean?"

"Just because I ooze this goo, doesn't mean that the first explanation I hear, which happens to come from a kind of goofy woman who just randomly showed up at my apartment one night for a weird gizmo, doesn't mean that said first explanation has to be right!"

"Well, let's take this gizmo.  Any idea what it is?" I held it out to her.  She shook her head. "Take a guess."

"You said it was a space carburetor."

"No, I said it was LIKE a carburetor."

"I don't... even know what a carburetor is."

"How did you know what to hand me?"

"I didn't. It was the only thing my mother left me.  And hey, how did you find me here?"

"Your mother has a storage shed outside of town.  She paid for it waaaaay in advance."

"She what?"

"It's full of a bunch of old stuff.  You might want to claim it if you don't have much else from her."

"I have almost nothing. That space carburetor is the only thing she or dad left me that I couldn't figure out."

Friday, September 14, 2018

FROM SPACE 1st Draft Update for 9/13/18: Wise breaks out the details on what is about to happen to Sarah.

Just a quick reminder: writing is pretty hard work!  You can encourage me with YOUR words by finding me on TwitterIG, or FB and letting me know what you think of my words.  You can also help by heading over to manfromzero.com and buying my most recent fully edited and self-published novel.  It's good and takes place in the same story universe as FROM SPACE--just way in the futrure.  In the meantime, if you want to make it easier for me to write, support me on Patreon! Just go here: patreon.com/petenicholls. Don't want to commit to Patreon?  Then buy me a cup of coffee!  Or hay, like I said, just let me know that you like my stuff.  That means so much, too. Find me on TwitterIG, or FB.

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She just laughed at me. I was a little surprised but it only took me a moment to realize that this was Earth in it's twenty-first century. I'd been there before, but it had been a long time before and forgot how little they knew of the universe beyond their atmosphere.

"I don't know why I would lie to you, Ms. Church.  I just wanted to return the favor you paid me by giving me that item.  You don't have to repay me by laughing in my face." I stood up and started walking toward the door.  "Good luck transitioning to adulthood on your own!"

"Wait, what?" she said, suddenly sounding like she was about to miss out on important information. I stopped walking.

"The green film. It's a lubricant for a metamorphosis."

"You said I was becoming an adult?"

I turned around to face her. "Yes, you are--an adult elucidite."

"But that makes no sense--I'm in my late twenties.  I've been an adult for eight years."

"But you're not human. Elucidites live longer but take longer to mature.  You're parents really should have told you all of this.  Were they stricken with amnesia or some other memory-robbing Earth disorder?  Altimeters, maybe?"

"I think you mean Alzheimer's."

"Oh, right.  So it is."

"No, they were in a car accident."

"So, that's how they lost their memory?"

"No!  That's how they died."

"Oh.  I'm sorry."

She took a deep breath and exhaled slowly.  I sat down on a chair next to the couch.  "How old were you when it happened.  In Earth years?"

"Eighteen.  Just about to go to college."

"College?" I said, in a tone of voice that betrayed my ignorance more than I had meant it to.  I ran my finger over the triangle and circle tattoo on my left palm that worked the Conveniencer nano-device incorporated into the body I was using to quickly remind myself that college was a form of school--attended as a final training for life on Earth as a human adult.  "Ah yes, your preparation school for life."

"Uh, sure..."

It sounded like I'd still gotten the definition wrong.  I quickly brushed past it. "So, you don't have any other family members here?"

"No, I don't.  I only got to go to college because my parents had life insurance and I was the only beneficiary.  I was lucky like that."

"But no one who can help you."

"Help me?"

"Yes, with your transition.  In two or three spins of your home world, Elucidea Prime, you will begin to really ooze that green stuff all over yourself.  You'll grow a cocoon around you and, in a couple more Elucidean spins past that, you'll come out a literal new person."

She stared off at the wall with a look on her face that told me she was horrified.

"Don't worry, Ms. Church--you'll still be you.  Your memories intact, your body will look nearly the same."

"Nearly the same?"

I tried to remember what the changes were when an Elucidean adults for the first time.  I had to resort to the Conveniencer again.  I ran my finger over the ring on my left palm and felt the menu knowledge write to my short term memory.  I erased everything in the list but Eluciditian biological processes and then tapped the triangle inside the ring and felt the memories write. 

"Ah yes, your eyes will brighten, literally changing color, usually to a brighter color.  And you will grow a tail."

"A tail?!"

"Oops, sorry. You're a female.  No tail for adult Eluciditian females."

I really needed to finish reading before opening my mouth.

"How long is a... Elucidean spin?"

"Oh, it's about one and a quarter Earth days, roughly."

"So, you're saying that in two-and-a-half days I'll start oozing myself a cocoon, and another day or two I'll come out of it a new person?"

"Yes."

"That's nuts, lady," she said.  I shrugged.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

FROM SPACE 1st Draft Update for 9/12/18: Wise Breaks the News to Sarah

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“Do you know what that is?” She asked me. 

I smiled, causing the corners of her lips to curl up every so slightly, along with her eyes. That’s when I noticed the green around her eyes again.

“Do you know what that green around your eyes is?” 

Her vague smile vanished, replaced by an awkward, embarrassed look. She closed the door leaving me alone. I looked at the device she’d handed me and smiled. One more tick off my list! 

Then something struck me. I knocked on the door. 

“Hey Miss Church, you gave me what I needed, why don’t you let me give you want you need.”

She did not respond, so I tried again. “That green stuff—you’ve been finding it on you for a day or two, right? A thin film of goo...”

Nothing.

“I can tell you what it is.”

Long Earth-pause...

“What is it?” she said from behind the door.

I had to remember to pick the best words in her language. 

“It’s a lubricant for metamorphosis. You’re changing. Did your parents not teach you about this?”

“WHAT are you talking about?!?”  She sounded upset.

“Are you an Earth orphan? Did your parents die—?”

Her door opened, revealing her perplexed face. 

“How did you—“ she paused, looking me up and down.

“You can trust me. You gave me the carburetor. Let me give you information it looks like you need.”

Moments later we were sitting on her couch.

“What is this stuff?” She said wiping the green from her eyes.”

“So, gosh, this is going to be... I’ll just tell you—you’re not from here.”

“I know that. I’m from New Jersey.”

“No, you’re from some place farther away than that,” I said, knowing only vaguely where New Jersey was.

“Really. So, where am I from?”

“From space.”

FROM SPACE 1st Draft Update for 9/18/18: Getting into the Storage Unit..

Get the most recent full draft   or read the latest words below this line: “So, how is this going to work?” Sarah asked me. “Y...