This is the public log of DeeDee 'dzyjak' Jackson, a fictional character. DeeDee lives and works aboard a space station which orbits Saturn, and sometimes he writes about it.


Curtain Call

It has been increasingly difficult to maintain the habit of posting to this log, but I still find comfort and release in the process of writing. I can't for sure how long I will continue, but in a couple of years, the fleet of fire and ice we sent out this morning will engage Mars. I guess that leaves some time before it gets really crazy.

"It looks like a huge curtain against the night," Paula said, watching the fleet from the rail observation deck.

"Yeah," I said. "And it's going to smother Mars."

"That's not... what I was thinking," Paula said. "At all. It just looks pretty; glowing and sparkling."

"Rick was bragging about there being over a thousand slush bombs in the mix. And, it'll be over a year before the fighter platforms need to leave," I said. "The thing is, Mars already knows we're coming. They have all of that time to try stopping our invasion, but I don't see how they can."

"Yeah?" Paula asked, studying me.

"Submind's invasion," I said. "It's Submind. We couldn't do it without an alien virus and pod people. Submind couldn't do it without us. Submind is invading Mars, and I'm actively helping. Shouldn't I feel bad about that?"

"I guess," Paula said. "But we can't do nothing."

"I... Yeah. I said something like to Simon not long ago."

"Then what's the problem?" Paula asked.

"The initial battle will cause minimal casualties," I said. "But once we start the siege, people will die. And changing the magnetic field of Mars is going to be violent. Anyone who is not willing to accept a Submind host environment is not going to survive. Reggie estimates it will be about 70 or 80 million dead."

"Yes," Paula said. "Or we could let those 80 million people oppress the other 800 million who just want to be happy."

"Sorry. Glowing and sparkling," I said. "Like a big curtain."


Imposed Celebration

"Those things look kind of dangerous. They're big enough to smash right through a metro-dome," I said. "Even with Martian gravity."

"The seeds need to bury deep, and the heat will serve as a catalyst. The navigation lobes will seek unpopulated areas," Buddy said.

"Martian metro-domes tend to sink under the sand at sunset," I said. "To conserve energy."

"Yes, yes," Buddy said impatiently. "The module is sentient enough to compensate for such things."

I turned to look at Rudy and asked, "Isn't this one of those offense to God actions you like to go on about?"

Rudy stiffened and glared. "The offense is in their corruption of Faith. They seek to deny the belief of others. As if God cares which path we follow to His house."

"Yeah," I said, straining not to take a step backwards. "But giant and sentient Temple Trees? That's just... weird. And why unpopulated areas? That doesn't make sense if you intend to spread the gospel of Submind."

"There will be no preaching," Buddy said. "Can't abide preaching."

"The Submind Temples will be places of peace and rest. Aggression will not be tolerated within, and Submind technology is sufficiently advanced to deal with anything the Martian military can send against a well established Tree. They need a few months to grow, but we will be bombarding Mars with slush bombs and Submind pods for weeks, and the confusion will last long enough."

"And that's when Mars will grow a magnetic field?" I asked.

"It's far more complicated then that, young man," Fife said.

"No kidding?" I said with as much sarcasm as I could inject. "Have you tried explaining it to someone who might be interested? Simon, maybe?"

"It was his idea," Rudy said. "Once a critical mass has been achieved, the Trees will serve as power generators for Submind to start the process of subatomic modifications to the Martian core. A strong magnetic field, combined with the deluge of water from Saturn's rings, will establish a survivable planetary atmosphere within three human generations."

"I... Oh. Then why are you trying to explain it to me? Why should I care?"

"You know," Fife said, hesitating. "You're an atheist, like Buddy. We wanted your opinion--about changing Mars."

"I am not an atheist," I said. "I'm not even agnostic. I just don't need an interpreter."

All three of them studied me like I'd suddenly grown six more heads.

"What?" I asked sharply.

"What do you think?" Rudy asked. "Of the Temples?"

"Trees," Buddy muttered.

I shrugged. "Sounds nice. Peace and rest."

"Whether you want it or not," Buddy said.

I laughed and slapped his shoulder. "Happy Holidays."


String Theory

"Hey, Dee. You got a minute?" Simon asked.

"This is a social gathering place, Simon," I said, sipping my gin. "I only come here when I have minutes to spare. Have a seat so I don't have to look up."

"It's all about strings. That's what Joe says anyway," Simon said, sitting down.

"I don't really care about Joe's problem, but what have strings got to do with it?" I asked Simon.

"Cosmologists have been mucking about with it for centuries, but Joe tends to scoff. He's all about data nodes and quantum fractals," Simon said.

I gave him my best stupefied glare.

"Connections," Simon said. "But hard to define connections, like relationships--family ties, and friends, but for everything. Joe is ignoring the larger picture because he's focused on quanta."

I was more interested in drinking than discussing Joe's quantum drive and whatever fractal data-universe he's looking for today. "Who have you been talking to about this? And why am I on the list?"

"Well, there's Joe and Kim, of course; and Kelly; and Doc before she..." Simon swallowed and went on. "But that doesn't matter. I only mentioned Joe because his ranting on about it started me thinking, and you seemed like the most neutral person to consult."

"Simon," I said carefully. "This is only my second drink, so I know it's not me."


"Exactly," I said.

"I'm going out with Wendy's niece... She's 16 next month... Her dad says we can go on a real date then, but I think her mom did some arm twisting. Her dad seems to think my intelligence makes up for something, at least." Simon talked so fast he didn't notice me watching Paula's approach.

Paula paused to stand behind Simon, and gave me that dangerously curious look which is only good if it's not about me.

"So you don't care about Joe's quantum drive either?" I asked. Paula rolled her eyes at me.

"I.... No. Yes. But not now. I didn't have a lot of time to date when I was 16, Mr. Jackson, and I see the way you and Paula get along, despite your obvious differences." Paula rolled her eyes at Simon too.

"You're asking me for dating advice?" I asked.

Paula giggled and moved around Simon to sit down.

Simon turned red. "My father is locked up on Mars at the moment, and it's not like I can ask the father of my date."

"I suppose not," I said, glancing at Paula. "Ask her short questions, and encourage her to talk about herself."

"But please," Paula said, smiling dangerously. "Don't try to fake it. That's so boring."

"Fake it?" Simon squeaked.

"If you aren't interested, ask about something else," I said.

"Oh," Simon said, looking from Paula to me, and then back. We were looking at each other, but I could see Simon from the corner of my eye.

"Is that what you did, Mr. Jackson?" Simon said.

"No," Paula said. "I did. He was playing hard to get."

"That's not true," I said. "I was playing 'be polite to the attractive hydro-tech who's looking for an excuse to feed you to her plants.'"

"One threat," Paula said, smiling. "And it wasn't even my best."

"So," Simon cut in. "I just ask her questions. Do you have a list somewhere?"

"A list?" Paula and I asked together, turning to look at Simon.

"Simon," I said. "You see this girl every day. Why are you so freaked?"

"I... I was on the run for three years. I don't know if I can... if I can be normal for an entire evening."

"Normal?" Paula and I asked together. Then she punched me hard in the arm, and said, "You owe me two."

"Be Simon," I said, rubbing my arm. "Normal is for Earthlings."

"But," Simon said. "You two are..."

"Two people who happen to get along well with each other," Paula said, standing up. "For whatever reason. Come on, DeeDee. We have a room to redecorate."

"You think too much, Simon," I said, standing up. When Paula tells me we need to redecorate a room, it means she intends something physical, possibly with torn clothing. "Save it for the quantum data."