The Alien Chronicles !

Podcasts featuring "Fireside Chats" about the possible existence of alien humanoids.

Do you believe? Or not?

Do you even want to?

You may have noticed that comments on this page have been disabled. I knew the day would come, as the page gained popularity, when the pimply-faced little 15 year old trolling snowflakes would discover it and begin leaving their feces in the comments section. These specimens long ago gave up the notion of insulting anyone face to face, because they too often lost teeth and suffered broken noses and other unwanted effects, but they found a home on the Internet, where they could snipe and troll and leave poop bombs anywhere and everywhere with impunity, because they were largely untraceable, and that activity is the most intellectual thing their little Briggs and Stratton brains could handle. In any case it finally happened to this page too. In a way it's a badge of honor to know you've been "discovered" -- discovered by graffitti-spewing primates. But in another way it's just too annoying to deal with. I don't like cleaning up dog poop in front of my cottage every day, or hosing "eff Yous" off my building's wall and I don't like cleaning up after pimply-faced 15 year old trolling snowflakes who've just spent their night leaving manifestations of their lack of intelligence on my, and everyone else's, Timeline or webpage. Just don't need it. No one does. So comments are now disabled. To read more about the troll phenomenon, go here. If you haven't yet been discovered by the trolls, just wait; you will be:
Trolls

 

Facebook Page (aka Farcebook)

Amazon Kindle Page

Buy My eBooks: Planet Farmers (fiction)

Buy My eBooks: Of Aliens and Ghosts (fiction?)

Volume 1

Volume 2

Volume 3

Volume 4

Volume 5

Volume 6

Volume 7

Volume 8

Volume 9

Volume 10

Volume 11

Volume 12

Volume 14

Volume 15

Volume 16

Volume 17

Volume 18

Volume 19

Volume 20

Volume 21

Volume 22

Volume 23

Volume 24

Volume 25

Volume 26

Volume 27

Volume 28

Volume 29

Volume 30

Volume 31

Volume 32

Volume 33

Volume 34

Volume 35

Volume 36

Volume 37

Volume 38

Volume 39 Antonio Villas Boas Sex Case

 

 

The following text is excerpted at random from the middle of "Of Aliens and Ghosts", an Amazon eBook:

Copyright (c) 2019 Scott Garrett Neil

Of Aliens and Ghosts....

BEGIN RANDOM SAMPLE

....Lots of reports of UFOs near the surface of some body of water, and either making a large, rounded, smooth depression in the water underneath it, which would argue that they are manipulating gravity to push against the earth’s gravity, or cases where the water is being pulled up toward the UFO like a water spout, which would indicate that it was manipulating gravity above it to pull itself up against earth’s field. These reports go back many hundreds of years. Are they all bullshit? Very possibly they are, yes. I make no claim whatsoever to their authenticity. I claim only that people reported this stuff.

 

How do they go so fast? Einstein said light speed was beyond ludicrous-speed and therefore impossible.

 

Numbers of reports have it that the aliens told people to give up this rocket shit already. It’s a dead end. Give up trying to go anywhere as if travelling from point A to point B. Rather, think “sideways”. It hurts the brain like the notion of time travel hurts the brain. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make sense. Remember, gravity is faster than light. I started saying that in the mid 1960’s. I don’t know why; it just seemed obvious. Now I see it crop up occasionally in various texts. And at least one alien has reportedly said exactly that to one witness. And now, too, it looks as though there may be tiny holes in Einstein’s theory – exceptions, at least.

 

Do aliens have anything to do with spirituality or life after death? Many, many reports suggest this, but I don’t believe it except to say I try to keep an open mind. To me the two are water and oil, but what do I know? I’m just an ant, debating whether humans exist. Some number of folks say they met their dead relatives on board the saucer. My ex wife said she boinked Elvis on the Moon too. (She said he was very small).

 

But am I even sure we don’t just live in the Matrix? Well, I’m somewhat sure that what we see is what we get. There may be more than what we see – but what we see is real enough from our point of reference. If you step in front of a speeding Chevy, you’ll get hurt. When it rains you get wet. But that pesky thing called quantum physics keep messing with my notions of reality. Really smart physicists keep demonstrating and documenting that my feeble notions of reality might be utterly faulty. I wish they’d stop it.

 

Why do so many people claim to have been abducted by aliens? I think the number one reason is to feel and appear “special”. They simply make it up. Maybe they even talk themselves into believing it and would therefore pass a polygraph. The number two reason is that, I am convinced for certain, it does happen and has happened and will continue to happen.

 

Why would aliens abduct and study humans? Surely everything they could possibly learn has been learned already?

 

Everything about house flies and earth worms has been learned already too, but do science classes still instruct students to go out and collect bugs and things? Maybe lots of bugs sit around the campfire and debate the existence of humans. “Yeah, I saw one once. Foink he was big! He was as big as a…as a…as a foinking giant shitgibbon!” How I love that word. Shitgibbon. It just rolls of the tongue. I wish I had one as a pet so I could carry it around on my shoulder and people would say, “Oh my God! He’s so effing cute! What is it?” And I could rudely bark SHITGIBBON YOU MORON! AIN’T YOU NEVER SEEN A SHITGIBBON?!

 

Well we all have our fantasies.

 

Can aliens communicate by telepathy? Since I have experienced telepathy in positively unquestionable ways, it seems reasonable to believe that some aliens might be better at it than humans. The reports of it are legion. Legion. I used to dismiss those reports as utter nonsense. Now I don’t.

 

Robert Monroe’s books about out-of-body stuff were pretty logical and easy to follow. That didn’t mean I believed them. It just meant that they were easy to read. Dr. Suess is easy to read too. I figured he (Monroe) was completely sane. Maybe he was completely mistaken. But completely sane people are often completely mistaken. However one of his books started with a preface that, upon first, second, and fifth reading, appeared to be so, well, crazy, that I was convinced he had dropped some really bad acid and that that book was going to be unreadable. Just nonsense.

 

Amazingly, as I read through it, always bracing for the psychotic break I was sure lie within those pages, his rambling, cock-odd preface began to make more sense, and more sense, until by the end of the book I understood it easily and completely and couldn’t figure out why I hadn’t understood it in the beginning. You have to look very, very closely at things that at first seem crazy. Maybe they are crazy. Or just maybe…they are so logically intelligent that you feel chagrined at your own stupidity in not “getting” what was being said in the first place. If you study aliens enough, you’ll find plenty of bullshit. Libraries of it. But there will still be so much clear fact that only one conclusion will be left. Life would be so much simpler without the reality of aliens. I mostly wish they didn’t exist. Except that life with aliens is so much more complex that virtually all doors are suddenly opened, and I’m mostly glad they exist. That’s a conundrum.

 

Are all aliens stupendously advanced? Yes/No/Maybe. Some reports have them using technology that seems barely beyond ours, while others are so advanced that I think we are not even aware of their presence. That means that there may be lots and lots of aliens who still haven’t significantly made it off their planets. Like us. Maybe someday soon, they’ll crack the code of really fast space travel (more likely a “shift” as opposed to linear “travel”) and come to visit us. But do you really want to be visited by beings who are only ten or fifty years more advanced than ourselves? They’d be just more assholes with much better stuff. I shudder to think.

 

You’ve heard about people having sex with aliens. Is this true? There are some very credible reports of it. Do I believe them? I’ve already outlined everything I absolutely believe. Everything else is just entertaining speculation. Some females report that sex with aliens was great. Some say horrible. Some “appear” to have presented evidence in the form of copious amounts of bizarre semen at local hospitals. Any truth at all to that stuff? Good strong cases, but not enough to be convincing. I don’t do leaps of faith. Many governments know the truth. But they don’t want you to know the truth because they’re entirely convinced, based on studies, that the truth will throw the globe into utter chaos, and they’re right. The truth cannot possibly be revealed, at least not all of it. But by God a little seems ok! I’m thinking Earth society needs about 500 more years before it’s even remotely ready for “all the truth”.. Interestingly, many reports have it that some aliens are fairly anxious to get humans through this logjam of disbelief and get some intergalactic trade going. Who knows. And some reports have it that intergalactic trade is already alive and well in secret circles. Think coffee (trends in reports, people…trends in reports). Who, indeed, really knows.

 

There is one alien sex case that gets my attention more than any other, and that is the case of Antonio Villa Boas, lowly farm boy, who swore to the authenticity of his gooky sexy encounter to his dying day, and he never made another claim of anything odd or weird. That gave it just a hint….of credibility for me. Not much, but a little. But what wasn’t commonly known is that NASA came to visit him in Brazil, and took him back to America for a lengthy spell. Does that mean his story is true? No. It just means his story gets knocked up a little higher on the list. NASA doesn’t go visit farm boys in Brazil for nothing, so that makes ya wonder. Maybe the head of NASA at the time was his long-lost cousin or something, just reconnecting old family ties. Sure. That must be it.

 

What about those…uh…Majestic 12 papers?

 

I can’t find any protein in them. If they’re real it does us no good because they can’t be positively proven to be real. I can’t include things like that in favor of alien reality. They don’t have any weight at all on my balance scale about aliens, not even a gram.

 

Have astronauts talked about “things” they’ve seen in space? Yes. Fact. American and Russian. Would astronauts lie? Astronauts are human. Anybody can lie. But did they lie? I don’t believe much that comes from the mouths of Russians. I live surrounded by them for God’s sake. Sorry to piss off the Russians but you know who you are. But I give some credibility to American astronauts. Anybody can be mistaken. But could they have been mistaken? Unlikely, but possible. I give this angle little weight. Until I can capture an American astronaut and waterboard him or her for the Truth, I can’t give much to their claims. I just hope after the waterboarding we can still be friends because my respect for them knows no bounds.

 

I was at a rock concert at Red Rocks amphitheater in Colorado once. The concert ended. The crowd was shuffling along toward their cars. The idiots were climbing down from the caves in the rocks from which a few always fell and/or got bitten by snakes. I saw a light coming in from some distance away. Plane. Helicopter. I kept walking. It got closer. I began watching it. It looked unnatural. But surely it was a helicopter, probably coming to look for snake-bit idiots up in the caves on the cliffs. But it came in really close then, and it was absolutely, completely and totally silent. It came to within forty or fifty yards of me at an altitude of about 60 feet, right in amongst the high red rock cliffs. And it stayed silent, and the character of the bright light was unlike anything I’d ever seen, and I thought….could it be? Could it be? And then it made an odd maneuver that was nothing like any helicopter I’d ever seen, and a little switch in my brain flipped from maybe, to yes. My God it was truly a flying saucer. I was looking right at it. I felt panicky and my breath came short and I didn’t know whether to run or what. People stopped and stared. Holy shit. This was the real thing. Finally. I was seeing one. And then the wind changed just slightly, and the full force of the sound it made came right down at us. Whomp whomp whomp. Just a helicopter after all. The fact that I could be so stupidly mistaken affected me deeply, and I vowed to never, ever be foolish again. Who knows what the astronauts saw, that they call alien ships. I need to see it for myself first, and even then I’ll need more, like samples from their hull and a zip lock full of DNA.

 

Have governments openly, publicly admitted that aliens are real? Yes. Fact. Several. Even our own, and not just at Roswell, which I give only a small amount of credibility to. Ok, medium credibility for Roswell, but that’s it. Roswell gets 50 points out of the 100 needed to convince me. I give those instances of government admissions quite a bit of weight because the decisions to make public announcements were taken very, very seriously and were discussed in intense, high-level meetings over long periods of time – maybe months, maybe years, maybe decades -- before the proclamations were made, and yet all involved still chose to make those public statements. They weren’t off-the-cuff slips of the tongue. They were studied, deliberate disclosures.

 

Does the government have dead aliens in its possession? Probably. But I can’t say I believe it, nor would I stake my life, or the life of my dead cat on it. I’d stake the life of a bug on it. I’d stake the life of Charlie Manson on it. Cool experiment. Can we do it? Jackie Gleason believed it. Do I believe Jackie Gleason? Can I waterboard him? No? On account of the being dead thing? Then I don’t believe him.

 

What about Bentwater and Shag Harbor; those got a lot of press, and what about a hundred other similar events that didn’t and don’t get press? Interesting. Curious. But not proof. For me, a hundred of those add up to about five percent of the total points needed to convince me. Yet I am convinced. So how much more must I have uncovered to reach that conclusion? You cannot imagine how much.

 

Would I stake my life on my assertion that aliens are real? Without a microsecond of hesitation.

 

I’d been out of working underwater quite a few years. A news story came up about some weird, slimy, slippery, translucent white rain that fell in and around a small town in Washington state for a few hours. The stuff, whatever it was, coated cars and roads and made them slick, and a few humans reported being made sick from it, and a few animals were reported to have died from it. Lots of speculation. I thought very little about it. Some airplane probably emptied its sewage as it flew overhead at FL35 feet and it came down through the overcast twenty minutes later.

 

A few weeks later the exact same stuff fell over a broad area of a city near me. I was in the city, and I walked out into an outdoor parking lot, and wiped this stuff off the hood of a car with my finger. Nasty shit. Disgusting. Like shitgibbon cum, and I should know.

 

Samples were taken by the CDC. Why? Who knows. But they did. It was analyzed and the results posted on a CDC website. I looked at it there. It read that the white material was made up of “white corpuscles, probably human”. That was the quote. –Not “like” the quote. That was the quote, verbatim. I sat right up in my chair, thinking it was a mistake. I checked around and found two more government sources making that exact same assertion. Now they had my attention. That was a shitload of corpuscles. Enough to cover not just a town but a region? Maybe the area was 8 miles by 6 miles. Maybe the average depth was 1/32 of an inch. How many corpuscles would that be? How many complete humans would that represent? And how were all these damned human corpuscles dispersed? And why? And why? And why? That this occurred is a fact – tens of thousands saw it. I saw it. I touched it.

 

The very next day, references to it were removed from public view and never appeared again as far as I knew.

 

I puzzled that for many months. But what else could you do but puzzle it? It was a brain-freeze. Nowhere to go with it. I tried to dismiss it. I should have done screen-prints and photos of the websites. Maybe someone did. I should have saved some of it in a test tube and froze it. But what kind of lunatic freezes shitgibbon semen?

 

Months later it fell again in Washington state, this time farther north and in far greater quantities over a much larger region. Exact same stuff. It coated roads and stranded motorists and emergency vehicles and put cars and public busses into ditches because it was as slick as ice and more than ¼ inch thick in many areas. It made windshield wipers stick, glued to the glass. People fell down walking. It covered a very wide area and covered it well and deeply and that is an absolute fact. I’ve always wondered if it had any effect on jet turbine engines?

 

End of story.

 

But not quite.

 

A bunch of mysterious military vehicles arrived in town and generic looking but very intense military types started asking specific and pointed questions about the event, but trying, and failing, to look and sound casual. The local police tried to investigate the military types because they wouldn’t talk to the police, but the curious cops were warned off by superiors. They got pissed and started really checking out their vehicles then, and discovered among other curious things that they were all registered to a generic military motor pool out of Arizona. Arizona? Then the cops were told in no uncertain terms to drop it, and at least as far as I knew, they did. But I bet they didn’t. I wouldn’t have.

 

I saw the stuff. I touched it. I saw the official analysis of it. It was real. It was what it was. But where did it come from? Maybe enough white cells to represent many thousands of humans – Maybe tens of thousands of humans. Someone please do the math on this. White human corpuscles, ¼ inch thick, over 20 by 20 miles. How many humans would that be? I’m serious. If someone will do the math and send it to me I’ll include it in this book.

 

Where. Did. It. Come. From? Inquiring minds want to know.

 

Historical records going back centuries show similar incidents again and again, though as far as I could tell it had never been pure white before Washington, and had never been analyzed. In one very old case it rained nice little chunks of fresh red meat. They looked like beef steak. Folks cooked and ate them – said they were delicious. I suppose the possibility that it was human meat never occurred to them. The question wouldn’t have occurred to me either, but I sure as hell wouldn’t have eaten it for God’s sake.

 

Is any of this proof that aliens exist? Not even. But it’s proof that shit happens that we would have normally considered spittingly impossible. But it happened. So can other impossible stuff be real? Oh yeah. The elephant CAN and HAS BEEN and WILL BE AGAIN in the refrigerator.

 

There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophies.

 

And ain’t it grand, because we will never be bored.

 

I was fishing once, in very deep water (600 feet). Pulled up a shark. Noticed something in its mouth. WTH? Pulled it out. It was a perfect $20 bill. Didn’t have to wonder about it long.

 

A fisherman, a guy I knew from around the coffee shop, had fallen overboard in that spot two days earlier and was never recovered. I was afraid to spend it for a long time, thinking it was good luck to keep and bad luck to spend – like looking down my nose at a gift from the grave. Then after awhile I got the idea that maybe it was a middle finger from the grave, like, having a wonderful time, not. Wish you were here. So I spent it. There had to be some kind of voodoo shit, woo-woo energy attached to that thing. Had to be. I should have kept the serial number and then tried to track it ten years later. Maybe it was in Reagan’s wallet when he got shot. Or maybe it was in the pocket of some lotto winner when he bought his ticket. Or maybe…

 

See, maybe certain aliens know shit like this. Maybe they have it all in some humungous database back on Zeta Reticule. And I want to know that stuff too.

 

That got me to thinking about life after death again, because, after all, when you’re trapped under a ship, you think about stuff like that more than you might if you were out, say, golfing or painting a lovely sunset or at the drive-in movie with naked Karon McMahon.

 

Monroe was pretty damned convincing. But extraordinary claims require extraordinary ________.

 

I figure death is one of three things:

  1. A complete and total cessation of existence. Lights out. Done deal. The end. That’s the most probable scenario.
  2. Some leftover essence of the soul survives, because nature has figured out that that’s beneficial to all life, like a backup copy of only the most important structure of the data, so that a new life doesn’t have to start completely from scratch, but the personality and detail and memory is lost. Maybe it just survives as a kind of outline sketch – the person was generally good, or generally bad, and that’s about all that’s left with which to start a new human being when one is conceived/incarnated.
  3. It’s just like here, except immeasurably bigger, because all thought creates; the more narrowly it’s focused the more vividly it creates , and some philosophies have it that thoughts never disappear – they can be forgotten, and rediscovered, but never destroyed, so the universe in the afterlife might be made up of everything that has ever been thought by everything and everyone. Imagine that. And we have perfect consciousness, which is what Monroe swore was the case, and we were no longer limited or restricted by physical bodies. We could go anywhere and do anything, but the rub is that we’d have all the same problems we had in life because, after all, we are the problems we have in life, and if you haven’t at least figured that out, you’ve got a long, long way to go. A cousin hovered near death for like three frickin’ months, when we all gave her three days. She claimed she saw the “over there” repeatedly. Who knows if she did. But she said it was big beyond the capability of the human mind of comprehend and she couldn’t wait to get there and start exploring. Then she went there. I hope she’s exploring.

I’ve had a few personal experiences that suggest number three is possible, but it’s so outrageously fantastic as to be the least likely of the three. I wish it was number 3. I hope it’s number 3. Sometimes I hope that. Usually I hope that. But sometimes I hope and wish it’s number 1. In any case I am not into leaps of faith, like the kookie religious, and I need evidence. It’s probably number one. There’s the most evidence for that. I don’t remember a single thing from being dead last time (before I was born).

 

Is there mythology suggesting the existence of God? Reams and reams and mountains and continents and centuries of it, yes. But there are reams and reams and mountains of mythology suggesting the existence of countless other deities. They are legion. Why does a Christian notion of “God” exist, but all the others don’t? Absurd. Naïve. Crazy.

 

But there’s evidence for the existence of some significantly higher being who was mucking around about 2000 years ago and performed some magic tricks to Amaze the Natives. He might have done that to convince folks to believe in him, because he didn’t have the time or inclination to stick around forever and tutor us, and he wanted his basic philosophies (thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not do this and that) to live on, because he figured that was the only shot mankind had of coalescing any amount of intelligence into a real, working society that was going to evolve and do cool and logical things in the future instead of the stupid Pagan shit it was doing up to then. Evidence for the existence of this being is not evidence for life after death, even though the being wanted you to think that was going to be the case. It’s called good salesmanship. Maybe that well-meaning alien was just a good salesman.

 

Monroe wondered about God too. In the beginning he dismissed Him. Toward the end he was thinking about whether or not there was any point at all to anything, and the only thing he could come up with was that souls collected experiences and in the end, after millions of lifetimes in various universes and dimensions, deposited them into one consciousness, which stored and analyzed them all, and didn’t “do” any particular thing with all that data – that entity just was. And that was God. Monroe figured maybe that was the unintended purpose to all of this – all life on earth, on other planets, in other galaxies, other universes, other dimensions. No one “planned” for us to all go out and do stuff and then get debriefed after a google billion years. I think he thought that was, maybe, what just inadvertently happened, and that one consciousness that accepted and became all of everything forever, was God.

 

Sort of makes sense. Monroe claimed he tried to go there once to offload all his experiences and merge with something that might have been God but was told he was about a billion billion godzillion google experiences short, and to go get some more, and come back when he was worth listening to.

 

People talk about God doing this and that, God being happy or angry, God steering us this way or that, working in mysterious ways to guide our lives. Utter trash.

 

If you administer anything, ever, you influence it. That’s demonstrable in science any way you want to test it. Just observing an experiment can be proven again and again to influence the experiment. If you administer something, you taint it. You cause it to be in some way, one way or another, different from what it might have been if you didn’t exist. Let’s say you create a robot, and you actually give it life. And you love that sucker to death. And you want to give it the ultimate gift. What’s the one thing in all of creation you could give it? There is only one thing. You can give it absolute and utter free will. Anything short of that is a slap in the face, an insult, because you are telling it it can’t “be”. You’re saying it can only be something you want it to be, and for it to not and never be itself, whatever that is, is to not fully be. The best gift you can give anything is to go away, which is the only way that entity can experience true, total freedom, and without true, total freedom, you cannot possibly ever realize your full potential. If God exists, that’s the one thing he wants. He wants you to be you.

 

Hold a bird in your hand; what does it want? To fly away. Hold it in your hand long enough and it will resent you. It will hate you. It’s inevitable. But let it fly, and maybe it will come back willingly someday. Did you love the bird, wholly and unconditionally forever and ever? Then why do you want to imprison it and bend it to your will? You want the bird to fly free and become whatever it can become. That’s altruism. That is true love. Anything short of that is impure, and believers insist God is pure. So which is it, believers? If God is here messing with us, then we are God’s prisoners. But if God is somewhere but not here, then we are God’s free children. Which do you think a perfect God wants for us? Does he want to be a jailor, or an enabler? Is he a pesterer, or a Creator? If he’s a Creator, he ain’t here, on earth, being petty and anal, keeping score and taking names. That’s a dictator. I think, rather, He’s just waiting. He did one perfect thing: create. He created our free will. To do more than that would be automatically and intrinsically and inherently imperfect.

 

If there is a God, and he loves us as the bible says he does, then he is pure. He is pure white. And if he is pure, he has no thought of controlling or influencing or directing any soul. That means he does not interfere. He does not administer. He does not hang around tweaking this and influencing that. That would be the opposite of true love. That would be the devil.

 

God is not here. God is not watching. He is not controlling or pulling strings. If God exists, God merely waits. He waits for us and all other souls in all of infinity – yes aliens too -- to use the ultimate gift which he has given them – existence – and then to accept those souls back if and when they return. If there is a God, I’m convinced that’s what He is. Religions are beyond nonsense. When God is informed of them, as when souls return to him and give him their experiences, he says wow – religion – that’s interesting. Next please.

 

I am beginning to believe that sooner or later we’ll develop instruments which will measure the energies of disembodied souls, if they exist. I don’t think any so-called “ghost hunter” TV show has even scratched the surface of real, working instrumentation. I think it doesn’t exist yet – just smoke and mirrors to make money for greedy, shameless producers. But maybe someday it will. --If disembodied souls exist, that is.

 

Monroe left instructions regarding how to produce an out of body experience (OOBE). I tried it off and on for years but my heart of hearts didn’t really want it to happen so of course it never did. “Something” happened once. Don’t know what it was. It was a result of fiddling with Monroe’s techniques. Scared me badly enough that I never tried it again, and Monroe did swear that fear was our biggest obstacle to experiencing that state. His began accidentally, or he probably never would have overcome the fear to initiate them consciously. I doubt I’ll ever get there, although some might say that lying near death under a wreck for about a zillion hours might have been a very good place to try it.

 

I’ve never seen a ghost. But I heard something twice that was not produced by any living entity. We were playing hide and seek. I was 10. I looked in the dark garage for the “it” kid. I walked in and asked if the “it” was in there – it was in the rules – if you were “it”, you had to answer. Then I heard a clear, loud, old man’s voice, groaning in pain and agony. I wasn’t in the least scared because I knew it was my grandfather, who was famous for such trickery. It was crystal clear, resonant, and came from a specific spot in the dark garage. It wasn’t an electronic voice. It boomed clearly. I laughed and said, “Grandpa, I know that’s you.” I flicked the light on. And where the voice had come from was a pile of crap taller than me that no one could have climbed through or over, and I was the only living soul in the garage. I turned on my heels and walked into the house, and there was grandpa and every other male, present and accounted for, fully engaged in something on TV and busily munching snacks. I never went into that garage again after dark. I wonder what it would be like to go back, a long lifetime later.

 

I had the notion that our house was haunted. Not uncommon for many ten year olds. One night, in the hall outside my room, there erupted a howling/screech that rose in pitch and volume until it was wall-shaking. It woke me up from a sound sleep, and I was stunned. Louder than any human could be. I knew that in three seconds flat my father would erupt from his bedroom across the hall to confront whatever the fark had invaded our home. But he never even woke up.

 

We were digging under the foundation in that area of the house shortly after that and uncovered a hole that would have been large enough for me to wriggle through, that continued down into the earth as far as any light could penetrate. We covered it in and sealed it up.

 

About that same time in that same house I was outside farting around in the yard. It was raining. But only on one half of the house. The other side remained perfectly dry and this continued for about 20 minutes. Then that rain stopped. I’ve actually seen that phenomenon a few times and it isn’t paranormal (usually), it’s just a natural condition of a sharp delineation on the edge of a low rain cloud, but it adds a cool tidbit to the story. Then, a few hours later when the skies were clear and bright, gravel began landing on the roof and bouncing off. It bounced everywhere, bounced into and out of my hair. It hadn’t come from a height from which it could have attained terminal velocity – maybe it had fallen from thirty feet. But there was nothing up there. I looked and looked. It just gently rained down for a long time. I picked some of it up out of the grass – it was very clean gravel of the type you would use to gravel a driveway and it was dry. It continued to fall continuously for about 20 more minutes and had I gone around and collected it, it probably would have filled a fifty gallon drum – maybe 400-600 pounds total. Lots and lots of gravel.

 

Ghosts? My kid has seen two so-called “shadow people”. I believe he saw them. Did he hallucinate? Based on the tens of thousands of reports from around the world of the exact same phenomenon, I say no. Whatever he saw was a real phenomenon. Ghosts? I can’t believe that. There’s hard, physical evidence for aliens. But not for ghosts. Maybe quantum physics will someday answer it. Maybe they are just shadows of someone who passed there long before, or who will pass there in the future, echoed there by some weird quirk of inter-dimensional energies – which apparently do exist, according to hard science, as hard as that is to swallow, like mirages. The main character in Guardians of the Galaxy had a cool fictional device which showed shadows of past events. Maybe someday that will be a real device.

 

EVPs? I’ve tried. All I get is dead silence, pun intended.

 

Ouija boards. I don’t know what energy is involved, but some energy is involved and it isn’t wholesome. Maybe they (the devices) tap into the dark side of our subconscious for some reason. But they’re exclusively and completely bad news after a short beginning of delight. Don’t go there. Yes, yes, you and I both know you will go there, but after you have, remember that I told you not to, then ask yourself why you did.

 

Time travel? We know for sure we can go forward. Already been done, though only for fractions of a millisecond. Aliens say we can go backward too. That boggles the mind and pretty-well ruins every notion I have about life and reality, and if I’m that bloody off-base about the reality of physics and space and time, then maybe I’m that wrong about God too. I’m very, very open to being wrong. In this one instance at least, about God, I long to be wrong. Please show me I’m stupid. As the girls say in Cambodia when old men hit on young girls and it’s a known that the young girls are going to take them for every Goddamned cent they have, “Farangs want to be stupid.” And I want to be proven stupid about God. Imagine my chagrin if he’s real. But he’s not.

 

Countless reports – maybe the majority, going back hundreds of years – describe aliens as wearing skin-tight suits, usually silver. Anti-radiation suits? In modern times they’re described as “diver’s suits”. I try and try to come up with an explanation for this. I mean, maybe there’s a perfectly simple explanation if aliens are real. Maybe they all buy from the same supplier. Maybe skin-tight is somehow the most efficient at warding off stray radiation. Who knows. But I approach it from the angle of aliens not being real. If aliens aren’t real at all, why do thousands of people say they’re wearing metallic, usually silvery, skin-tight suits? What would be the point of saying that? To sound like other reports and thereby give your claim more credibility? Yes, very possibly. But the skin-tight reports come from sheep herders who’ve never read a newspaper, let alone a book, and they often tell the local village head that those crazy Americans were out there pestering the sheep – not any story about “aliens”, which they’ve never heard of. And the skin-tight reports come from observers thousands of years ago, before electricity and TV and newspapers and books and magazines, and they come from folks separated by oceans before sailing ships united them – so how did one come to copy the story of another? They traded carrier pigeons between central Africa and Greenland? That I can’t figure this out doesn’t mean aliens are real. It’s just a curious trend in the reports.

 

Is that all they wear? No. Some are naked (relatively few), and some, oddly, are reported wearing regular earthly street clothes. In an attempt to pass among human? It does seem as though, if a borderline personality was bent on making up a story, and s/he went to all the trouble of imagining a bizarre, colorful ship with interesting aliens doing amazing stuff, wouldn’t he or she also get creative about their attire? I would!

 

Some reports (quite a few) suggest the aliens are all wearing matching “uniforms”. Most commonly reported are various types of one-piece jumpsuits, usually with high collars. This lends credence to my personal notion that the critters are trying to protect themselves from stray radiation. Just a hunch.

 

But that hunch is slightly bolstered by the reports that claim the aliens made them drink some kind of goo, either disgusting or somewhat palatable, after their visit is concluded. Some kind of grape flavored potassium iodide slurry to protect their thyroids? Curiously, virtually everybody reported that they drank the crap without any question or hesitation. Seriously? I’d want a chemical analysis done first, which is maybe why I haven’t been abducted (I’m too much trouble).

 

Some people say the aliens gave them goo to drink before taking them on a spaceship ride, saying it would help them deal with the many “forces” of their kind of space travel. Who the hell can say anything about that?

 

Very few people report that they were given solid food by the aliens, but if they were, it was generally in the form of some kind of pellet or capsule or pill, and that they remained “full” for a very long time – maybe days. Descriptions of bland pancake-like foods have come up repeatedly. My favorite.

 

A very significant number of people report being “healed” by aliens. In some cases the reports are that aliens simply landed, came to a house, came inside, spent some time healing someone from some surely fatal condition, and then just went away. I struggle with these reports. Many more cases report that the witnesses went aboard the alien ship – whether willingly, or after having been sucked up in a tube of light or some such, and the aliens messed around with them for awhile (probing, probing), and then said, ok, time to go, and, oh, by the way, we cured your lung cancer or kidney disease or whatever. Usually the people didn’t even know they were sick, yet, so they say they were somewhat surprised, and probably grateful, so in a mild daze they were booted off the ship into a field somewhere and left trying to assimilate the whole thing.

 

Quite a few reports include seeing “logos” on alien “uniforms”. Perhaps the most common theme is the “flying snake”. That just makes me shudder. Does that mean they come from a world where flying effing snakes rule? Then AH AIN’T GOIN’ THAR. Or does it mean….what? Like America reveres the Bald Eagle (a scavenger)? Or maybe the flying serpent motif represents … a popular fictional character in their literature or TV, like Hello Kitty? I’ve seen no reports where people have asked them what that snake thing is, but I intend to.

 

Shoes are quite often reported as having very thick soles. Theories, anyone? I don’t have any good ideas. And quite a few reports claim that the aliens float a few inches above the ground (or a few meters) as they move around. Could those thick soles contain tiny anti-gravity units?

 

Probably around half the reports describe wide belts, or at least belts, with boxes or contraptions mounted about where the buckles would be – some say higher up, mid-chest. And very often it is from those boxes that various rays, beams or lights emit to knock witnesses down, or out, or both, for varying periods of time – often just long enough to carry them inside and get a bunch of probing done. Then two hours later they wake up in a field somewhere ten (or 1400) miles away, groggy and dazed with their clothes on backwards like some cheap date who drank too much and didn’t care. A little three-fingered hand juts out from a porthole in the saucer and twenty bucks drops out. No, not that last part. How would the aliens know the proper currency, anyhow?

 

And very curiously, there are more than a few reports of aliens landing, usually aboard some crappy-looking tiny craft, made from a kit featured in the back of Popular Science, and the alien asks where he is. The witness says, Finland. Alien says thanks. And he flies away. Seriously, they don’t have a bloody GPS? Why are there so many reports of this? If I was going to make up a report it sure as hell wouldn’t be that.

 

And what about all that probing, anyway? What the heck do they do to us? Interestingly, the accounts of being probed and/or examined are strikingly similar. Does this mean most aliens are after the same kinds of data? Or does this mean people are simply making this stuff up? One critical aspect of the research seems to be the fact that so many reports come from people who almost (almost) certainly never read a single thing about aliens. Ever. Not a magazine article, not a newspaper story. Some have never seen TV or a movie. We’re talking very remote and isolated people. Still, there’s the chance that someone, somewhere, got wind of the phenomenon and are simply parroting what they may have even subconsciously absorbed. I think that is probably not the case in many instances, but there is no way to say for sure. The fact that so many people around the world across the centuries are and have reported the same types of experiences constitutes about 5 or 10% of my tendency to believe the whole phenomenon. So what percentage of belief have I reached in all of my lifelong research? I’m at about 400%. There. Is. No. question. If half of what I believe was to be proven false, I’d still have enough to believe 200%

 

How big are aliens? In the “popular” manufactured folklore crap that is shown in movies and on TV, they all tend to be about 4 to 4.5 feet tall, usually skinny, larger than normal heads, grayish in color, big, wraparound eyes, longer than normal arms, etc. etc., and very out of shape, yada yada. Is that the norm for what people have reported around the world? Not really, no. It seems to be just one of many types that are reported. Note how many times I say reported because I am not saying the reports are true. I’m only reporting the trends in the reports.

 

The size and shape of aliens runs the gamut. The largest sizes I’ve seen reports on were about 60 feet tall, mostly humanoid-looking. There are several of these reports, sometimes witnessed by 70 to 80 people at a time. Mass hallucination? Maybe – except for the footprints left behind. Did all those people run out there with shovels and dig those big prints? Maybe. Hoaxes perpetrated by hundreds of people collectively? Perhaps – but it’s hard to get that many people to “go in on” a hoax. Certainly not impossible though. Personally, I go for the simplest explanation – something mistaken. But I cannot explain the very detailed accounts of how the things walked, moved, looked back at the observers, etc. Still….I might believe in Bigfoot before I thought too much about 60 foot tall aliens.

 

On the other end of the spectrum, are the 1 inchers.

 

Huh? Did I say one-inchers? Yes, yes I did. They’re about as much of a stretch for me as the 60 footers.

 

The thing is, the laws of physics must come into play at some point. Many living things have a tendency – not a certainty – to occupy as much space as is given to them and as is practical and as gravity allows, and as food and resources allow. Planets larger than earth tend to have more gravity – smaller planets have less. Gravity is in part a function or by-product of mass. So, let’s say a humanoid-type critter started evolving on a small planet with low gravity. Its bones could be less dense because it didn’t need to be as strong as an earth-based critter, because it wouldn’t weigh as much. Does that mean it could possibly evolve to be taller than people on earth? Note the question mark – humans have a bad, bad habit of saying, THIS GUY SAID THIS, or THAT, when all he really did was ask a question, so please be cognizant of the question marks. But if that’s the case, you might end up with a tiny planet that had only 127 residents because they’re all so damned big. Extrapolate things out. Some dinosaurs were huge, and that meant they were unwieldy in earth’s gravity. It’s hard to imagine that any dinosaurs could have evolved to be bigger than what we’ve found in the form of fossils. So what kind of environment might produce 60 foot tall humanoids? A small world, with limited resources? Or a huge world, with bone-crushing gravity – much greater than earth’s – but with lots of food and resources? We’ve already seen that some dinosaurs seem to have suffered due to their size. It’s hard to imagine an environment where a 60 foot tall humanoid could thrive. –Unless they weren’t from this physical universe at all, but were inter dimensional. Who can even hazard a guess as to the physics of a world – if they have worlds – in another dimension, and make no mistake, quantum physicists tell us more and more that other dimensions are not only possible, but required for this (our) universe to exist at all. If 60 foot tall humanoids exist, I cannot even begin to dream of an environment that would support them. Large planets, or small? Small and dense? Oh the head hurts.

 

So what’s with the one inchers? Malaysia, for instance, seems to be rife with 1-5 inch little human sightings and reports. Probably 80-90% of these reports come only from Malaysia. Do aliens respect political boundaries? Highly unlikely. I personally file these in the bullshit folder. But the reports are many and often include many witnesses, including whole classes of students and multiple teachers. Still, it sounds mostly like a local BS belief system to me. But the sightings of very small people are only 80-90% contained in Malaysia. That means others are reported all over the world, and some seem quite credible. How can you explain those? You can’t, and I don’t try. And what kind of world might support a race of 2 inch tall humans? Maybe a very small world. A basketball? But if that’s the case, our gravity here should be crushing to them, yet in every single report that comes to mind there are zero mentions of little bitty people crawling around on the ground as though they weigh five times their normal weight. In fact, they seem quite nimble and spry. So, WTH. Maybe a very large world with unimaginable gravity could naturally host tiny humanoids. In that case, when they came here to visit, they ought to only weigh a fraction of what they do back home and in that case, they ought to be leaping tall buildings in a single bound. Guess what? Some reports describe exactly that. But most reports of tiny people have them walking around and appearing to weigh just about what they should, given their apparent mass. Could an earth-size world, with earth-like gravity, foster a race of tiny people? If so, why are normal earthlings so damned big? A species will appear and grow and evolve at the mercy of its environment. Always.

 

It seems only about 40% of reports describe the “typical” gray types. You have a small sprinkling of the 60 footers, a whole lot of 10 to 12 footers, even more 5.5 to 6.5 footers, a slew of “gray” type sizes, like 3.5 to 5 footers, and not nearly as many 2-3 footers, but still a significant number. As I said, the 1-5 inchers are mainly reported in Malaysia and that just doesn’t compute for me so I don’t think about them a great deal, but maybe we should. One could be in your pocket or your panties at this very moment!

 

The reports have them coming in all colors. All colors indeed. Grayish is maybe the most common, but jet black and stark white and blue, green, and every color of the rainbow and colors that people can’t find names for are included. Interestingly, quite a large number are reported to be glowing, either a little, or a lot. What kind of world would produce bioluminescent beings? Well, they exist right here on earth. Where? In really dark places. Think about planets far from their suns.

 

And what about the big bug eyes? Does that also mean they evolved on a planet with far less light than earth? And aliens with tiny eyes (there are some reports) come from planets close to their suns? Eyes are usually reported to be oversized, and to one degree or another, wrap-around. But then again, some are reported with very small pig-eyes, and quite a few are reported with no eyes at all. Enough to make me shiver are reported with only one eye (cycloptic). It seems counter-intuitive that nature (natural selection) would produce beings with only one eye, unless by some mechanism they could re-grow that one eye very quickly indeed when it got accidentally poked out with a tentacle or a stick. A few folks say the critters had many eyes. In a few cases they reportedly told witnesses that they were so, so ugly that out of courtesy and respect for humans’ sensibilities, they would never, ever reveal their true appearance, but would keep the shields of their helmets down, or whatever. Thanks for that!

 

I had a lucid dream decades ago. Very odd. I’ve experienced maybe three of them in my lifetime. In this dream I was in a small craft of some type – someone else driving. Flying, actually. We covered some ground, thirty miles maybe, or sixty, and landed on a gently sloping hillside in an open, grassy area. Big trees were a few hundred yards away along the perimeter. There were a number of other souls hanging around – no idea if they were human or otherwise. And there were, scattered about, some “stands”, like you might find at a swap meet. Displays. Something like that. I could walk where I chose, but someone suggested I go take a look in a small lean-to type structure. I did, and inside I saw a little cage, like an open rabbit hutch. No door. And on a small shelf protruding out from this habitat sat a small creature, about the size of a chicken. It was hideous beyond my ability to describe. It appeared to be turned inside out. I saw guts and organs and blood and mucus and I absolutely recoiled. I tried to bolt but something gently blocked my escape. This was nightmare stuff, and I remember thinking, oh, yeah, ok, this is a nightmare. Thanks a lot. Wake up wake up wake up – but I couldn’t.

 

But this little critter emanated an aura … that was so sweet and loving and caring and intelligent and compassionate … that I was drawn to it. I walked to it, and we communicated somehow, and in the space of ten or fifteen seconds I was completely and totally platonically in love with this entity. I picked it up and held it and loved it and comforted it. It wasn’t in any distress – I was seeing it in its natural state. That’s simply what and how it was. It was one of the most moving experiences of my life. I was told, ok, it’s time to go now, and I so reluctantly left that little thing. I would have stayed there and taken care of it and enjoyed its company and conversation for all of time. But I was gently pulled away and delivered back into my bed and I immediately woke up desperately missing that soul. I’ve thought about it daily for all these decades and I still want to meet it again. I tell this story because even though it was probably just a crappy old normal dream, it illustrates a point: never judge a book by its cover. If you encounter something that makes you want to lapse into shock because it’s so hideous, well, maybe it really will bite your head off and drink the blood from your spouting arteries, or … maybe it will be the most lovely living thing you have ever encountered or ever dreamed of encountering. Give stuff a chance. But remember, too, that there are plenty of reports of regular looking and acting aliens really, really harming people. How can you be prepared? I have absolutely no clue. Try listening to your instincts.

 

Many eye colors are reported, but glowing (yes glowing) red are fairly common after black, and too many reports describe eyes from which beams emanate – usually red. Is that like the glow from an animal’s eyes caught in car headlights? No. People go to great lengths to say that is exactly not what they saw. The eyes were actually producing and emanating a light, as though from a source, not a reflection, and they say they can see areas on the ground or on objects which are brightened and illuminated by the light from those eyes. Sounds otherworldly? Yes, well, of course we are talking about Other. Worlds. But it occurs to me that for a race even a thousand years ahead of ours it wouldn’t be much of a feat to surgically install devices into the eyes which could produce a light source on cue. That would save greatly on flashlight batteries and stubbed toes on the way to the toilet at night. I can see humans with that capability in a measly one hundred years. We’re almost there now. So things that sound beyond fantastical need a moment of reflection and deliberation before being dismissed as madness.

 

Noses are usually tiny or non-existent – maybe nothing at all, or maybe a couple of holes, but a fair number of reports claim they had something like small elephant trunks.

 

Ears are often non-existent or very small. But sometimes huge, and sometimes pointy. Too many Star Trek episodes under the belt?

 

Mouths are very, very often just slits, like eating and talking were abandon long ago.

 

Curiously, almost no one talks about their genitals or lack thereof. It’s often reported that no sexual organs are seen on aliens who don’t appear to wear clothing. Fools say that means the story is made up – because, after all, how could something defecate or urinate? Earth sharks peepee through their skin, which is one reason they don’t smell so pretty. If these were fantasy-driven hallucinations or concoctions, I think Freud’s view that nearly everything traces back to sex, would rule, and the reports would be overflowing with sexual connotation and innuendo and outright descriptions of anything and everything weird. But they’re not. That stuff is very conspicuously absent. Does that lend credibility to the YES argument? Maybe. A small, tiny amount.

 

Fingers number from two to about seven; usually four or five, but three is relatively common too. Crab-like claws are fairly often reported. Webbing between the digits are very commonly reported. Does that suggest evolution, not so long ago, from a liquid environment? Arms can be long or short, but longer than human is most prevalent. Sometimes they’re described as being almost boneless, like hot dogs.

 

Some aliens – quite a few – are reported as looking reptilian, even frog-like. Curiously, many reports of aliens who seem to care about us most deeply, involved encounters with these types. That doesn’t compute for me. Wouldn’t we have been considered meat, at some point in their evolution? Many reptilian types are reported as huge – seven to nine feet tall. Few are said to be small.

 

A not insignificant number seem to be completely covered by hair – course, or fine, beautiful or revolting. Some smell; most don’t. Tall, strong, cat-like critters are reported often enough to make me wonder. That was a positive revelation for my cat because he suddenly started getting much more and much better food, and he became even more demanding about a variety of things and perks.

 

Curiously, no reports have these beings looking like beavers, or snakes, or seals or guppies, and that makes me wonder. A lot. If all this stuff, all these sightings and reports, are the results of overactive imaginations, fantasies, mental illnesses, ploys to get attention, then why aren’t any reported as looking like Ed Sullivan or Elvis or Peter Pan or Yogi the Bear or Daffy Duck or giant walking penises or vaginas or Jane Fonda (same same), or whatever. Why? I should say, why not? Actually, a few are reported as being gorgeous, hot, sexy babes, but those aren’t even worth the sentence I just wasted to mention them. Or are they?

 

Do aliens speak English? What about other languages? It’s widely reported that about a quarter or less of all aliens can speak any language that is native to the witnesses. A curious note is that when those aliens speak, using their mouths and vocal cords, their pronunciation of words tends to be exactly, precisely correct, so much so that it can be a bit difficult to understand them until one realizes that they are speaking perfectly, because, of course, as lazy native speakers we speak our languages anything but perfectly. Countless cases describe verbal communications in which the aliens spoke the “ancient” dialects of the lands they were found visiting. For instance, an alien speaking English to a Brit might sound more like Shakespeare. Does that mean that when the alien studied English back on the home world, he or she was learning it as it was spoken the last time their people visited, which might be hundreds or thousands of years prior?

 

In many, many cases the aliens can’t speak a word of any language but try to communicate in their own native language – which might be something like bird chirps or grunts or hissing or sounds we’ve never even heard before and can’t describe. Many cases report that they are approached by an alien or aliens who try to communicate in this way, and the witnesses are barely even aware that the aliens are trying to talk to them until they think about it later. Maybe the alien(s) will then switch to trying hand signals, which seem to be seldom universal. In most of these cases, if the witnesses haven’t bolted in horror, the aliens just turn and walk away, or, in some cases, show actual human frustration before turning and walking away. Indeed, as I live and travel throughout the world, I realize more and more how annoying it is to try to communicate in different languages among other earth-based cultures. It can be really maddening, apparently even for an alien.

 

In some cases, when it’s clear the communication isn’t working, the aliens will produce a contraption of some sort, like a little box or something, and maybe mess with it a bit, tuning, tweaking, and then, like Mars Attacks, suddenly all is understood and perfect communication is possible. I guess those aliens haven’t learned ESP.

 

There are a couple of handfuls of cases where the aliens have approached humans who had with them maybe horses or goats or cows, and the aliens will seem to salute the humans with a well practiced, “Hello and good day, and how are you today?” Maybe the aliens smile as well. Obviously scripted. The people usually just stand there, frozen in terror. The aliens might go down a line of people repeating this same line, and when they get to the animals they keep right on repeating it. Of course the animals just keep on chewing, which seems to perplex the aliens. Maybe on some other worlds the animals are much smarter.

 

In the majority of cases, however, the aliens seem to use telepathy. When I was a kid I was intrigued by the notion of telepathy. I horsed around with friends trying all sorts of experiments, none of which worked. But in adult life it was proven to me over and over and over again, indisputably, that ESP works. It is as tangible as biting into an apple or feeling the rain on your face in a summer storm. ESP is. It is as real as anything. It is as real as speech. That, ladies and germs, is an absolute fact. The recipients of ESP communication usually report that the aliens will just start talking to them, clear as a bell, and it might be some time before they realize that the aliens never even opened their little alien slits. One perplexing tidbit that is extremely commonly reported is that people claim the aliens will answer their questions before they are aware of even fully formulating their questions inside their own minds. This tells me that we are bloody transparent to some aliens – maybe the majority. And that…is damned disconcerting. Are monkeys that transparent to us? If you’ve studied them closely, yes, they absolutely are.

 

There are quite a few reports where supposed witnesses claim (claim) that the aliens will cause to appear in front of them a kind of signboard, which might be a holographic projection. Maybe it looks like a biggish computer screen. And all communications, both ways, will be written and read scrolling across that screen.

 

In the case of telepathy, how on earth could that work? How can ideas and messages be communicated and transferred from one brain to another? It’s actually very simple. If you show a picture of a woman strapped to the railroad tracks and a train is coming, how would that be interpreted by someone else? It would be interpreted as a woman strapped to the railroad tracks with a train coming and it would impart the notion that there was danger to the woman and that something must be done. That’s all there is to it. Words aren’t needed.  A picture is worth a thousand words. Telepathically transmit an image of a flying saucer streaking through space and landing on an alien landscape; what’s the message the other person receives? They receive the message that a spaceship has streaked through space and landed on an alien landscape. It’s dog simple.

 

A too-common trait of aliens seems to be that they emerge from, and re-enter their conveyances without even going through any kind of traditional doorway. One second there are no aliens next to a saucer or ship, and the very next instant there they are. One instant the aliens are walking around picking up bits of sticks and rocks and squirrel-poo, and putting them into collection receptacles, and the very next instant there are no aliens to be seen at all, and one second later the ship either takes off at high speed, or just flat winks out.

 

An even more common scenario is that the aliens go in or out inside of, or on, a beam of very solid looking light. We know that light has mass. That was the last thing my grandfather said to me before his death. He came to my room on a visit to our home, and knelt down before me in my bedroom, and took my hands, and looked me in the eyes until I “got” that he was about to say something he considered quite important, and he said, bluntly, “Scotty, light has mass. You should remember that. Light has mass. Don’t forget it.” Days later he was dead. He was an engineer for Grand Coulee Dam in Washington state, and a highly respected Ham radio operator with a handful of inventions under his belt, but all simple devices and he had no training in advanced physics or, indeed, physics at all. I don’t know where he got that information, which turned out decades later to be true, but he felt it was the one most important morsel he could impart to me before he left the earth. Now I find it quite interesting that so, so many reports of aliens include the use of some type of light which clearly has a dense mass which can be manipulated. Quite intriguing indeed.

 

As noted before, some aliens land the ship and manually drop down a metal ladder, then turn around and carefully climb down it backwards. Chances are those aliens aren’t a lot more technologically advanced that we are. That makes me wonder about their level of spiritual and philosophical and psychological advancement, because if they’re not much advanced from us, God help us.

 

Can aliens breath our atmosphere? It seems that maybe 40% can. The rest compensate by using devices ranging from full-blown pressurized-appearing suits (some of which are “ribbed” like the old Michelin Man TV ads, to just rudimentary “misting” devices and not even helmets. Some aliens carry tanks on their backs; some don’t. Many supposed abductees report that it’s quite difficult to breathe on board the alien ships, to the point that they begin to feel panicky. Maybe they are breathing straight alien atmosphere, or maybe the aliens have altered the atmosphere so that both races can breathe without special equipment, although not entirely comfortably.

 

What about bases under the sea, or inside active volcanoes, or inside mountains, underground? Plenty of reports, and the reports run the gamut. But I struggle with those. They just don’t have the right “ring” to them for me. But 50 years ago, the very notion of aliens at all, in any context, didn’t have the right ring for me either – even 15 years ago I wasn’t “there” there. But now I am. Maybe in a hundred years I’ll uncover enough stuff about underground bases to believe that too, but, honestly, I think I’d have to see one. Maybe I should believe in a lot more stuff because, after all, in for a penny, in for a pound. But I just won’t do leaps of faith.

 

What about all the reports that claim they saw an alien “ship” of some sort, and they were looking straight at it, and it Just. Winked. Out? Not like it “went” somewhere ultra-quickly, but more like it simply ceased to exist in that place. Sometimes witnesses will go to great lengths to make sure people understand that they don’t believe the ship moved away. Rather, they emphatically insist, it ceased to exist there, “like turning off a light”.

 

When I was a kid we watched those objects in the night sky which appeared to be capable of covering hundreds or thousands of miles in split seconds. In those cases we could in fact see that they weren’t disappearing and reappearing but were actually traveling from one place to another, but almost, almost more quickly than the eye could see.

 

I have a couple of possible explanations. The most probable one, to me, is that the ships did, in fact, “go away”, but they did it more quickly than the human eye can perceive. I used to ride rustler patrol for a huge ranch, and I shot a lot of cars driven by cattle rustlers. I used a .338 Remington Magnum rifle, which is not small and not big. It’s just a rifle. The rounds travel at about 2900 feet per second, or, say, half a mile per second. That’s far slower than most assault rifles. In any case, the bullet goes from zero to warp speed in the space of about 30 inches inside the chamber and the barrel. It’s nothing but compressed gas that propels any bullet. Nothing magical or other-worldly. Just high-pressure air, really. Yet if you are staring at the end of the muzzle from a 90-degree angle when that bullet leaves the gun, you will not see that bullet. You simply won’t. It’s impossible. It’s even hard to catch on an extremely high-speed camera. Now, you can’t see the bullet itself before it starts moving, because it’s inside the chamber. But if the chamber was made of something transparent you could see the bullet just fine. You could look right at it, stare at it, concentrate on it, and then let someone fire the cartridge, and that bullet, for you, from your perspective, for all intents and purposes, would cease to exist, there. No living entity could ever see that bullet begin to move and then accelerate away. Of course it didn’t cease to exist there. It did start moving, and gain speed, and finally fly away, but it all just happened far more quickly than you could process. I suffered two detached retinas as a kid due to a baseball batter hitting a line drive. I never saw that sucker coming either; not even a dark flash.

 

But I did see a moving bullet from a right angle once, while driving a Jeep in northern Idaho – haven to a lot of Satanic Worshippers who liked to do truly evil stuff. For about a sixtieth of a second I clearly saw the broadside cross-section of the bullet come from my left side and skip off the windshield, cracking it. There wasn’t another car in sight. I believe it was a .30 caliber jacketed solid bullet because I was actually aware of seeing the nose of it and it was not a hollowpoint – I could see it well enough to discern that. I suspect that bullet had been fired from far, far away, and was traveling pretty slowly, relatively speaking, by the time it got to me. Had I been driving just a tiny, tiny bit faster in the Jeep, it would have come in through the side window and gone straight into my temple. The point is that very occasionally the human eye can catch freak spectacles, but not often.

 

A curious and fun thing you can do, however, is to not look crossways to a bullet leaving a rifle, but to look exactly in the direction the bullet will travel, especially through binoculars or a spotting scope. Have someone mount a gun on a set of sandbags or whatever, and point it at a target of your choosing – far away is best, like at least two hundred yards. Fire a few test rounds so the shooter can get the bullet to hit pretty close to where you’re expecting it to hit and not forty yards away. Make sure the sun is behind you so it illuminates the bullet. Now, get all settled in, comfortable, with your eye looking right down the barrel of the gun. Wear good, clear eye and ear protection so you’re not inclined to flinch when the gun fires because if you blink, this is all for nothing. When you’re ready, keep staring at the point where the bullet will impact the target. Then have the shooter fire. If the gun is shooting a slow bullet, like some old .45 handgun, traveling around 800 feet per second, you will actually see the bullet traveling through the air in about one out of four tries. As the speed of the bullet increases, as in the case of my .338 magnum, it gets more difficult to see the bullet fly – maybe one in ten. With an assault rifle shooting a bullet at maybe 4400 feet per second, chances are you might never see the bullet. A .338 round will travel the few hundred yards to the target in the briefest split second. We used to shoot at 1000 yards to increase our chances of seeing the bullet fly. It’s a kind of fun thing to do on a Saturday afternoon. But it illustrates how, if a really fast UFO goes from a dead stop to beyond-ludicrous-speed in a tenth of a second, well, it’s still moving from point A to point B, but you will swear that it just winked out. This seems all the more likely to me because I have watched video of supposed UFOs in which the saucer was just ambling along, maybe looking for girls to pick up, and this was recorded fine and well on a cheap video camcorder at about 30 frames per second, and then WHAM-BAM-SNIP – that sucker is GONE, and you’ll bet any amount of money it simply ceased to exist. But start zooming in on the video frame by frame when you play it back and you’ll sometimes find the UFO clear over in another part of the sky from one frame to the next, 1/30th of a second later.

 

Again, as we covered earlier, some folks, not the brightest bulbs in the string, will try to say this kind of acceleration is impossible for any living organism to survive because of the G forces involved. But remember, if gravity is being harnessed and manipulated, there will be no G forces at all. You could go from zero to a zillion and never spill the tea out of your cup while lounging in the saucer. I honestly don’t understand why people continue to try to use this argument against the existence of vehicles capable of interplanetary travel. Oh, yes, yes, I forgot – nothing can exceed light speed. But gravity is faster than light.

 

Or, maybe, the UFO really does just wink out – and winks in again in another dimension, so far removed from ours that the concepts of miles or light-years or time-references aren’t even remotely applicable. Maybe the very laws of physics between dimensions are as different as are cultures between East and West.

 

A curiously high volume of reports suggest that aliens often tell observers not to look at the ships as they depart. Most witnesses respect this. Some don’t, and many of the ones that don’t, suffer from conjunctivitis-type ailments for days or months afterwards or even far more serious afflictions. How can this be? I have no clue, but it’s reported often enough to be noteworthy.

 

Remember the Biblical assertion that Lot’s wife didn’t follow the Angels’ command not to look back at the destruction of Sodom? But of course she did look back (who wouldn’t?) and was turned into the famous pillar of salt. Clearly, if the reports are to be believed, “something” bad happens when you look at “some” alien ships as they depart, or maybe as they nuke small towns – maybe depending on the type of propulsion or weaponry they use. Who were the angels? Bible says they looked much like men but not like men and they were completely telepathic. Hmmm. How was Sodom destroyed? Scientists believe, as mentioned earlier, they have now found the place and it was incinerated (even the stonework) with radiation traces remaining. Aliens, anyone?

 

Aliens are reported big and small and in-between, but what do they look like overall? The reports are varied, from octopus-looking slimy things, to birdlike things, to Bigfoot-looking whoppers, to just about everything you can think of including horned assholes who reek of sulfur and breath fire. But in the middle of all those seemingly hysterical reports are the ones who describe aliens as looking more or less like us. Many are described as handsome Nordics. Many are reported to be “well built” and strong-appearing. Even the mannerisms of some appear to be human like. One report describes a perfectly human-appearing figure open a port on the bottom of a saucer and to shout down in regular English, “Stop shooting at us you fool!”, which the observer had been doing. Another report describes a saucer spotted in a field in France. An apparent-human walks up to it and starts to go aboard. The observer realizes the saucer belongs to that entity and manages to gasp out, “From Mars?” The humanoid looks perturbed and says condescendingly, “NoFROM FRANCE!” (as if to say, “don’t you automatically know that?”). Indeed, it appears as though many, many aliens can pass for earthlings and, some reports claim, they do, and they do it a lot. Some, on the other hand, look a little too weird to fit in, and they act bizarrely as well, and that causes them “grief” among earthlings. 

Who can bloody say.

 

END SAMPLE

 

Buy this ebook in its entirety

 


 

 

The following text is excerpted at random from the middle of "Planet Farmers #1", an Amazon eBook:

Copyright (c) 2019 Scott Garrett Neil

Planet Farmers #1....

BEGIN RANDOM SAMPLE

 

 

...I am not a criminal. Not really. I believe in the rule of law – without it, we’d have nonsense.

Ok, so we have nonsense anyway.                                         

Maybe I’m a little bit of a criminal. But I’m not a bad criminal.

I don’t kill kittens, or people, or hurt children, or rob banks. I only think about the banks.

But I build space ships. And they’re illegal. Not illegal to own, but illegal to use.

And it doesn’t really bother me that it’s illegal. It’s not immoral. And that’s my criterion.

I said I’m not a bad criminal and I’m not.

Sometimes jay-walking is perfectly ok. But it’s against the law. I figure folks are smart enough, usually, to know when it’s safe to jay-walk and when it’s not, and, mostly, those who get hit deserve it. It’s natural selection. We don’t need a frikkin’ law. And we don’t need a law to tell us when we can leave our planet and when we can’t. If the government had its way we’d never leave. Why? Because they can’t spare the tax dollars? Because the government would miss us?

I first got the idea to build a space ship when I was perusing those tiny ads in the back of Science Monthly. You’ve seen them. Build an airplane, helicopter – breed tiny monkeys for fun and profit. Learn to meet girls anywhere you go. Publish your book TODAY. How to make a Godzillion in Real Estate in 47 Easy (Difficult) Steps and by the way, you’ll need a Hell of a lot of luck.

I know you can build a little helicopter because I’ve done that. It flew. It crashed. But not because the design was faulty; because I was an appallingly bad pilot. There was included a “how to fly” book. I skimmed it. –Should have read it more thoroughly. Skimming is for book reports that you only need a “C” in.

I only told a few trusted friends about my plans to build the space ship. I paid for the plans, which came with an electronic box. The brain. And I started on the framework for the hull. The brain is the hardest part. They say no one can build that part of it – that’s why the damned kit was so expensive. Six months wages for me. I owned a restaurant. Well, seven of them. I wasn’t starving. But six months of net revenues! Extracting the money from the bank was a hard pull; like buying magic beans. Well, in fact, I was buying magic beans. 99% of the brain is screaming NO! NO! NO! YOU FOOL! But the romantic 1% was whispering, “This shall be the coolest thing any man has ever done in the history of the planet and you know it. Go forth my son, and make the withdrawal; it will only hurt for a moment.” Of course that only bought the plans and the box and the raw material. Then came the really hard part – waiting – and that took six months. Had anyone else ever built one of these things? I didn’t know at the time. No one could really talk about it if they had.

My friends didn’t say much about my plan to leave the planet. It’s because they thought I’m a little slow in the head. I’m not, but I can seem that way to some. Ok, most. Ok, all. I had an accident. I hit my head. Shit happens. I’d built a race car from a kit. Ok, I know what you’re thinking already. Eff the kit stuff. But I’m pretty sure the race car was fine. It didn’t have an engine; it was only a coaster. But in a turn one of the brakes locked up and sent me into a spin, and it rolled, and I cracked my head.

What can I say? I have a theory about the malfunction, that it was childish sabotage by a rival, but without a lab to study the wreckage it’s just speculation. The bump on the head disconnected my brain from my mouth. I can still think just fine, and over the years – I did this when I was seven – some speech returned, but not enough to suit some picky types who think I should have sounded just like them. I can think just fine, as I’ve already said – I’m not stupid and I don’t repeat myself without knowing it -- but the pipeline between the thinking and the saying was made … small. It took a while for stuff to go through the pipe (a swizzle stick, really), and come out audibly. That was ok if I chose my words carefully, and only said the things that are the most important in making my point. Like an outline. Like a brief, incredibly succinct outline. Like a sketch. Ok, like a stick figure. You don’t need to spend two months painting a bunch of beautiful colors to know something represents a bird. Just a few pencil lines and an arrow with the phrase IMAGINE BEAUTIFUL COLORS HERE will communicate that. In some ways that’s more creative than a full-on painting on canvas, like a book can be more interesting than a movie. Allow the brain to fill in the blanks. Sometimes the viewer’s brains are far more creative than the creator’s brains. If I tried to blurt out a whole story it came out crap. But if I spoke only the highlights, and if I did it carefully, people could hardly tell there was a disconnect. Writing is no problem because, after all, how would you ever know how long it took me to write this paragraph? A minute? A week? A year? And why would you care? What does it matter in any case?

I lived in a cheap rooftop apartment and it had a garage downstairs that was mostly full of the landlord’s junk, but I got permission to use a portion of it for my project. He thought I was building a one-man sailboat. He’s an idiot. I kept it covered with a scrap of filthy translucent plastic tarp and it all seemed so utterly uninteresting that the old coot never bothered to look under it. He wouldn’t have seen much at that stage. Even when it was finished he still probably thought it was a one man sailboat. God speed, ya greedy old knob.

I never had a girlfriend and my parents both passed away when I was a bit too young to be out on my own – hence the poor planning and execution of the helicopter thing. My Dad would have spotted the inattention to flight characteristics and practice, and saved me a lot of trouble.

I never had a girlfriend because of, I think, the speech impediment thing. I’m told I’m a good looking guy, but no girl wanted to be embarrassed to be with me. Tape over my mouth, I’d have been ok. It’s like the jokes crude guys tell about putting bags over the heads of less than attractive girls. I didn’t need a bag – I needed duct tape. Same same. Where there’s a problem there’s often a solution. I hoped to have a girlfriend someday. But that hope was dim. Some say it’s better to learn to be alone. That would be fine if God hadn’t implanted in us the need to have a co-pilot in life. I really needed someone to talk to. My cat never spoke an understandable sentence. Maybe on Zeta Reticule cats and people can talk. And a cat wouldn’t know nor care if my speech patterns were a little suspect. Or maybe he would. See, this is the kind of thinking that makes my head hurt and my heart lose hope.

My name is Atticus. No, I won’t even comment or apologize or explain. Sense of humor on my parent’s part? Maybe they were drunk. It’s not so bad if I shorten it. At. It’s easier for me to say, and people don’t like any more syllables than are absolutely necessary anyway. At. Clean. Easy. My last name is much worse. I won’t go there because there’s no need. If my name was Bob, I’d have to supply a last name. Bob who? Because there’s a billion of them. But At? People don’t probe further. They just say ok because they’re secretly happy to not be bothered remembering more data. I think three quarters of my school teachers never knew my last name. They couldn’t have because it’s impossible to pronounce and no one ever asked me to.

I was only 20 when I started the space ship. I like to think I’m smart, but we all do. Of course there are the embarrassing race car and helicopter incidents to quantify my intelligence. Doesn’t look good for me, if you think about it rationally. I add in my defense only that my unpowered little car attained a documented 231 miles per hour. That’s nearly twice terminal velocity had it been dropped through the clouds. Without any means of propulsion, how did I do that? I ain’t sayin’. Because I want you to think I’m smart.

The space ship kit came with a few rods of some unidentified material. Looked like gray plastic to me. Like you might use to erect a camp tent. Honestly the ship isn’t much bigger than that. If it had wheels it would look like a cool futuristic car. And it came with several boxes of magic beans.

To build the hull you snapped together the circuitry, and laid out the gray plastic rod things like a rough and dirty skeleton. They formed a bubble shape. Then, interfacing the board through a port to any cheap computer, you chose your design. The options were many but the final craft could never exceed a certain size. That’s because so much money only gets you so much product.

I chose a kind of two seater design, two bucket seats side by side in the front. In back of the seats was a larger area, like a minivan. I wanted to be able to carry some junk – clothes, camping gear, survival stuff, and I wanted a toilet. I know that sounds odd, but toilets are important. I can eat cold sandwiches made from meat by-products from a can and freeze-dried bread for the rest of my life and be perfectly happy, but I like a comfortable place to sit. I figured camp trailers could have toilets and tiny sinks, so my space ship could too. And it was a design option. Who in God’s name would choose the refrigerator or the washing machine in place of the toilet? Priorities.

Once you have your design picked out, you pour the raw material into a series of trays fitted around the base of the craft. The magic beans look like plastic glue pellets but the instruction manual refers to them as “molecular seeds”. Who am I to argue?

You spread them out more or less evenly, and plug the board into a power source, and then you just go away. For about six months.

You can come back and check things out if you want but there’s no point. If something failed in the “growing” of your ship the whole thing was toast. If even the smallest detail has run amok your only option is to unplug it and throw it in the trash, and start over. The manufacturer has a partial money-back guarantee for such contingencies, but they said failure rates were “astronomically small”.

I couldn’t help it; I lifted the tarp and checked mine every single day. Like waiting for water to boil. The first thing that happens is that the tiny heaters in the trays bring the whole mess up to a certain temperature. Then, it starts to grow, like sourdough. You can watch it begin, just like watching tomatoes form on the vine. It’s a slow process. You need patience.

Within eight weeks you can see what direction the thing is headed in at least. Within four months it has a good basic shape completed. In five and a half to six months or so you see a flashing green light on the board and that means it’s done. Cooked. Growed. Ripened. Matured. Ready to fly.

Not really. It still needs another month and a half of programming. That’s when you drag it out into the open, let the air get at it, and let it see the sky. Getting it out of the landlord’s garage in the middle of the night wasn’t easy, and getting it onto the roof-balcony of my apartment took all my friends and some ropes and pulleys rented from downtown. I tarped it over again and told the landlord I was constructing a greenhouse out there. Moron. He bought it hook and line.

It takes some sort of images of the sky then, night and day, and calculates all kinds of things that most writings suggest don’t really need to be learned. Like celestial navigation had to be learned from scratch in the old sailing days – now we have computers and while it’s always nice to know how to find your way if the batteries go dead, chances are they won’t. No one learns celestial navigation anymore; they use a GPS. Or three. And I doubt any consumer learned the ludicrous math required to truly understand the navigation of this kit-ship either. I didn’t. It might be utterly unknowable by only one person.

Once your ship has learned the skies, you’re good to go. At least you’re good to go right around your neighborhood – just stay in the solar system. Once you spend a little time in clear space, your circuitry will learn heaps more about your entire galaxy, and then you’re good to go there too. Once you’ve traveled outside your galaxy, your ship learns even more about places farther away, and if you’re absurdly, stupidly intrepid, you can just keep going and going. At least that’s the advertising hype. I would have been happy visiting some lowly moon. Any moon would suffice. I think moons are quiet and I like quiet.

It’s not a living DNA that grows your ship. And it’s not nanobots. That tech never did work out. It’s a non-biological material that simply follows directions, molecule by molecule. No rivets. No welds. No seams. Molecularly perfect and strong beyond my ability to comprehend. Your bones will crack long before the hull does.

It draws power from any light source and uses almost none. And it isn’t “propelled” from point A to point B like a rocket. That wouldn’t work at all, and those G forces – forget it. As I understand it, the board reaches out to materials in the vicinity of your ship – a hundred miles, say -- and uses that material as a structure to replicate itself – and you – onto. -Because, of course, the vacuum of space is actually full of dust and junk and matter. And it stores light and manifests that into a solid thing – namely your new ship – because, as we all know, light has mass and mass is just energy. By doing that it can move about a hundred yards. Meters. Whatever. Unfortunately it can’t move any less distance than that, so close-quarter maneuvering is tricky at best.

But how can you cross galaxies by only moving a hundred yards? Your ship will move a hundred yards maybe a few trillion times per microsecond, or as slow as one jump every five or ten seconds. Your speed is limited by the clock speed of your motherboard, and the amount of dust and debris in your area, and by the amount of light your ship has gathered and stored. That’s why the circuitry that comes in the kit is so special. Word is the government doesn’t even know how the boards are designed, but I’m betting they do. As I said – and I’m not stupid – I never repeat myself without knowing it – you don’t even “move” from point A to point B. You merely recreate yourself a bunch of times until you are recreated where you want to end up. The math is brilliant.

When the on-board computer signaled it was done collecting data, it entered into a series of data-checking routines. Every molecule in the hull (and the toilet) had to be checked and rechecked because if only a few molecules were damaged or out of whack, the replication process could magnify a tiny error into a catastrophic one. Bad news for you.

The final checks and verifications took another three months. My landlord asked how the garden was coming. I bought some veggies at the market and gave him a sack full and told him fine. Imbecile.

As the end of the check cycles neared, I began to feel some excitement. I also found it more and more difficult to focus on burning pizzas. A few accidentally came out alright. That scared me.

I started sitting in the driver’s seat a lot. You could take almost anything with you on your trips, as long as the computer had been allowed time to scan and record every molecule in them. I found that I was adding more and more things. The added weight wasn’t a big concern, because you’re not pushing around a mass anyway, but I was running out of room. I also discovered that freeze-dried foods were really, really expensive and seldom tasty.

Before every departure the computer needed to scan you too – every molecule – but it already had a basic database of you from the initial scan, and future scans, just prior to blasting off, only looked for changes since the last scan. It took about 15 seconds, depending on how many molecules in your body. A cat might be good to go in 4 seconds. Me, a little longer than 15 seconds. Less if I could cut out the chocolate.

I listened to rock and roll and practiced with my camera, imagining that I was photographing the backside of some alien moon – the photos soon to be sold to some high paying magazine. Of course I could never represent the images as the real backside of some alien moon. I could only label them, “This is what it MIGHT look like if mankind could ever go there.” Everyone would know the pictures were real, but they couldn’t prove it. Read: the government couldn’t prove it. Maybe.

The day came when there was nothing left to check except actual flight. Should we say “flight”? Everyone does. Because, after all, we do fly through the air and through the space and hopefully not through the side of a mountain. While we are, for one trillionth of a second or whatever, being manifest at ten miles altitude, we are, in fact, flying. If the electronics fail then we drop – but even that is “flying”, until we contact the ground. A rocket flies, and if the engine quits, it falls (flies downward), and when it impacts the ground it ceases to fly. Without the thrust of the rocket engine a rocket cannot fly. But it’s still called flying until it stops flying. When a rocket reaches an orbit in space and the engine runs out of propellant but the rocket doesn’t fall because it’s being held out there by the centrifugal force of the planet’s gravity, should that be called flying? It’s orbiting. But is it also flying? Or is flying limited to movement through an atmosphere? If that’s the case, where do we draw the line? Because many celestial bodies have little to no “atmosphere”. At what point do we say we’re no longer “flying” through an “atmosphere”? When the atmosphere is thick? When it’s thin? When we’re only passing by a few million molecules a second? When we’re passing by one molecule of atmosphere per second? It seems that any time an object, be it a rocket, or my little craft, or a baseball, or a rock heading for a picture window, is not connected to the ground and is moving under its own power or inertia, it’s bloody flying. So that’s my terminology from here on out. I could say “moving” … but that just sounds stupid. Or I could call it “replicating really really fast”, which is exactly what it is, but that’s too many words. Sometimes I worry stuff right to death but I like it.

 And speaking of flying into the side of a mountain, what would happen? The “How to Fly” manual says that the electronics can handle a tiny … bit of alien matter in its calculations. Alien matter, in this reference, means anything that hasn’t been scanned and accepted by the system. I am not alien matter inside my ship. Nor is my cat. As my ship moves in increments of about a hundred yards (or meters, whatever), it will always encounter new matter in the form of dust or atmospheric pollution – how about rain? The board can handle that stuff and filter it out. But if too much matter is encountered, the system can overload and shut down. Supposedly there are warnings before that happens, like there are warning cues in a helicopter when you push it to travel too fast and you begin to bump the realm of retreating blade stall. The bird will begin to get squishy and drop to one side, like an airplane wing stalling. You can recover it then by simply slowing down, but if you don’t, and the blades that are moving backwards reach stall speed, you pretty much just flip over upside down and die. I was really worried about that for far too long.  The space ship manual says that if you ignore the warning lights and tones of the on-board computer and keep on flying into too much alien “stuff”, you might feel “harmonious vibrations” in your craft, but quickly after that some amount of alien debris will get incorporated into the very material of your craft, and you too, and that won’t be pretty but it will be the end. I have a nightmare about flying into a flock of big geese and the electronics can’t handle all that alien matter, and some number of those geese get “incorporated” into my person. Then everything shuts down and it all falls to the ground. Then the gawkers come and they find this guy, me, in the steaming wreckage, with goose wings appearing to grow out of his head and goose feet appearing to have replaced his penis – the nightmare goes far beyond things like that but I won’t bore you with the details. Suffice it to say the dream is intense, but hopefully not foretelling.

There’s not a hard and fast rule regarding how much alien matter a small craft can compensate for. It’s based somewhat on the frequency of replications, the type of matter, the speed of your CPU, etc. But one thing is certain: If you fly into the side of a mountain due to some computer miscalculation (stranger things have happened), you ain’t comin’ out the other side. Some mining operation will dig into you twenty or a million years later and maybe wonder WTF. You’ll be as embedded in the dirt as any mineral ore is embedded in the dirt and just as difficult to remove. How would they bury your remains? For God’s sake, why would they bother?

My little ship featured a test circuit that would move the ship upwards into clear air about 500 meters, then immediately back to the takeoff point. The board employed a scanner – think of it as radar – that looked out in the direction of the intended course, for objects – like birds, planes, swarms of locusts, paragliders, kites, bullets, RC drones – lots of potential buggars out there. The scanner in my ship didn’t look left or right or in a cone-shaped area because the trip would take literally millionths of a second and there probably, probably, wouldn’t be anything flying into your path in that short of a time. An upgraded model of my ship featured a scanner that did look at your course as a cone shaped area, and so could see if something might fly into your path, and it would then choose a slightly altered course for you or abort the jump. I was beginning to think a lot about the wisdom of saving a few bucks and not getting that upgrade. When you buy a traditional aircraft, do you get the reciprocating gasoline engine, or the turbine? One will work more or less just as well as the other – until it doesn’t.

I untarped my ship – which, despite my disgust for those who name their cars, was beginning to seem to me just a bit friendly – and after doing a quick visual search for any offending flying objects, I pushed the button that would initiate a 15 second countdown. I then closed the big bubble canopy and stepped back. A safe distance of two feet was plenty; there was no propeller nor rocket fire. The beeper counted down then stopped. And not a damned thing happened. But of course what would you see? The craft only blinked out for a trillionth of a second, and the human eye can’t notice that. Then it appeared a few hundred meters up for a trillionth of a second, and the human eye can’t notice that. Then it reappeared in its original spot and the program terminated. Pretty anticlimactic.

But the log on the screen read: Distance Travelled: 1000.21 meters.

Wow. I had built a working spaceship. Actually, I’d only grown one – something any slow-witted five year old could do.

I checked inside the cockpit to be sure there weren’t any goose feathers wafting around nor little piles of locust wings. There weren’t. And the readout showed no errors anyway. Whatever alien debris the craft had encountered along its course – certainly a fly or two and some bacteria and organic dust -- had been handled by the computer. Joy for that. Then I just went to bed because the whole thing had been hella stressful and I was a stress-wimp.

Tomorrow was a big day. DAY TWO: Spot, the cat.

He was excited too; I could feel it in his purr as he snuggled up to me in under the covers.

But next morning Spot was cranky. I don’t know why. He bit me for no apparent reason, almost hard enough to break the skin. Spot was a smart little carpet shark, but no way could he really have known he was going into space in two hours’ time?

I carried him out to the roof balcony and realized I had forgotten to tarp over the ship the night before. Only the top of the bubble would have been visible from the street, but maybe that was enough to attract attention.

I opened up the canopy and put Spot down on the seat. He looked nervous and peered around into every nook and cranny and smelled the synthesized material of the seat. Then he looked at me, right into my eyes, as he often did. He was a tuxedo cat, and vocal as heck, and he made an inquisitive half-meow, as if to ask, “Is this where I die, Master?”

I put a jar full of bugs on the seat next to him, picked him up and took him out, then keyed the computer to do another 500 meter test, and closed the hatch. I’m sorry, and I apologize to Buddha, but I’m not particularly fond of bugs and I’m not so pained when they die. I don’t burn them under magnifying glasses or anything, but if they have to die in the name of science, so be it. They’d be contributing far more that way than if they died a natural death of old age alongside the road in the weeds.

I stepped back and put Spot down, then immediately picked him up again so he wouldn’t jump onto the ship at some inopportune instant, and we watched as the timer counted down, then switched to read, “Distance Traveled: 1000.21 meters.”

I opened the hatch and inspected the bugs. Just fine. Lively as ever. I figured they’d done their duty and I let them go.

Then I climbed in myself. I left the hatch open because I wanted to see what Spot would do. After only a short hesitation he jumped in beside me. I said, “Let’s Rock.” Spot said … something – probably, “Just how stupid do you think I am?” And I keyed in the code to start the countdown.

It came and went, and the screen read, “Distance Traveled: 1000.2022 meters”.

I was a spaceman. Well, not really; we’d only gone up as high as a kite. 

A thought struck me though. Let’s say I keyed in the code and the 15 second countdown started, and at 2 seconds before launch, Spot, or anything else, jumped up onto the ship. The ship then launched without him of course, but in the time it was gone, Spot would have dropped just a little due to plain old gravity. He wouldn’t have dropped far in a trillionth of a second, but he would have dropped a little. A few microns worth? I was never good at math and I didn’t really care about the exact number. It was enough to know that some amount of drop would have occurred.

So what would happen to Spot when the ship rematerialized? Would the skin on the bottoms of the pads on his feet be just instantly sliced off? Ok, let’s assume that. He gets sore feet for a week or two until they heal. But what then happens to the organic material that was shaved off his feet? I supposed that if there was not too much material, the ship would deal with it and … what … just discard it somehow? Vaporize it? Or would it somehow get re-engineered and incorporated into the material the ship was made of? This is exactly why scientists should be building this stuff, and not idiot punks named At. Oh! So that is why the government outlawed this technology! Because it could and would be used by morons! Smart government.

I opened the canopy and Spot jumped lightly out and sauntered off to see if there was any remaining trail of the bugs. I sat back awhile and tried to take it all in. I was ready to go … somewhere. Into space? Where should I go first? Before I built the thing I had all kinds of lists of places to go. Suddenly that was all out the window. Where did I really want to go first? Like when you win the lottery, you know you’re gonna buy a fast car and a mansion and a boat in that order. But I bet you buy other crap first when it really happens.

I wanted to go see Rebecca’s house. Becka lived across town. I had the hots for her. She didn’t know I existed, or if she did, I was only a name in a joke about slow-witted imbeciles. I wasn’t in love with Becka, but I had this idea we’d hit it off and “click” if we were ever thrown together by some bizarre happenstance. Fat chance of that. She’d run. I knew that. But fantasies are fun as long as you recognize them as fantasies. I thought a fitting first flight would be just a jump of a couple of miles. I’d look at her house. Maybe snap a picture of it. There was a flat grassy area in her backyard. I would pop in. Snap a shutter. And pop out in, what? One to two seconds. Ok. Done deal. Let’s do this.

I entered the coordinates by simply marking a spot on a map. I set the duration between landing and taking off again at 3 seconds. Plenty of time. I took a deep breath. Got my phone camera ready, and engaged the countdown. It wasn’t a straight line of sight from my place to Becka’s, so the capsule would choose its own course to avoid obstacles – maybe straight up for 50 meters, then this way for 1500 meters, then maybe that way for 2600 hundred meters, then down to the grass. I wouldn’t be aware of any course changes. I would just feel a tiny disassociation, maybe, and then be looking at Becka’s back door.

The countdown reached zero and before I even had time to think about it I was looking straight at Becka, in a bikini, looking straight at me. She’d been headed for the pool. I saw her eyes go wide and her mouth opened preparatory to a giant scream, then I realized I’d dropped my phone and when I looked up again I was looking at Spot, looking at me from the wooden railing around my rooftop.

Well eff a duck. That didn’t go well at all. Only one thing I was fairly sure of: Becka had recognized me.

I felt a surge of panic at that, but then calmed down. Even if she had recognized me, she’d never be 1000% sure, and even if she was that sure, what was she going to do with that data? Tell her mom? Not likely. Maybe she did scream, and maybe someone came running, and maybe they asked her what the Hell, and she answered … what, exactly? I saw a spaceship and it was piloted by that weird kid At, and now it’s gone? I figured she was smarter than that. She’d be told she had suffered a minor, transient, cerebral event, and to get out of the sun. End of that story. Too bad I’d missed the photo-op.

Now I was tired because, as I’ve said, and I’m not stupid and I don’t repeat myself without knowing it, I’m a stress-wuss. I really can’t take anything at all. I grabbed Spot and we went to have a nap.

I woke up early evening with a deep and profound sense of excitement and anticipation and also a feeling of foreboding and doom. This thing could kill me. Sure, the helicopter and the racecar could have too, but this thing… This was a whole ‘nother realm of deep shit if something went wrong. A cracked solder on the motherboard? That had brought airliners down and they were unarguably better designed with redundant systems than my ridiculous little pod. This thing could kill me. I repeated it under my breath several times to try to make it sink in.

I knew some number of the kits had been sold. There was chatter in the ether. But no one was talking openly about it because it was of course illegal – at least to operate. Who knew if anyone had really gone anywhere cool? Who knew if they all died before returning? Actually, that probably would have made the news, so, in this case, maybe no news was good news. I expected this little hobby to explode soon. Then we could look at thousands of flights or tens of thousands, versus fatalities or “just missing” incidents. Then we could begin to get a finger on the pulse of the safety of this thing. But as far as I knew for sure, I was the only one – me and Spot – the only ones who had actually flown the thing. We’d lived. But lots of people do stupid things and live. Until they don’t.

We (Spot went most places with me if he was allowed, meowing and talking continuously) found ourselves meandering up onto the roof to just sort of gaze at the contraption. I liked to sit in it so we did. I wished it had cool controls like a stick and a throttle, maybe rudder pedals, but there was just that tiny computer and a screen not much bigger than a cell phone. Seemed anticlimactic. But who cared, if it worked, and it did.

I wanted to go up really high and look down. The manual said you could do that. You just programmed in the coordinates of a place – like “really up high”, and then programmed for a series of the shortest hops possible – about 100 meters each. If you programmed in, say, a million trillion hops of 100 meters, then 100 meters, then 100 meters, a million trillion times, this way and that way and around, then another million trillion hops right back on the reciprocal course, you could pretend you were sort of hovering up there for a short span. The CPU could be slowed to the point where you began to feel a high frequency vibration, which represented individual hops. In that way you could get more air time in more or less the same place. You could just tell it to go really really high and shut off, too. But then you fell like a rock, or at least began tumbling, because this Cheap Charlie rig had no thrusters and was not in the least aerodynamic. It was just a stone. Actually it wasn’t very heavy – more like a ping-pong ball.

Should we go? Why not?

With Spots help – beady little eyes glued to the screen – I punched in the numbers and hit START. 15 seconds later we were at 150,000 feet looking at the blackness of space above and the curvature of the earth below. Wow. Then my eyes were assaulted by the dull glow of streetlights that had just come on and were casting an annoying glow over my rooftop deck. Holy shit. Now that was bloody exciting. Spot looked slightly disoriented. I hoped he didn’t barf. But by God, that was bloody exciting.

I went for a drive after that, down to get burgers, then on to Becka’s house. Lights were on. No movement in the windows. I didn’t stop. I wondered how she had explained the incident in her backyard to herself. How could you? Brain fart. That was the only way to stop being pestered by the thought of it. Self-healing aneurysm. Maybe a few molecules of LSD got slipped into your food and that’s how the trip was manifest – 3 seconds of Looney Tunes. Poor Becka. I had a daydream that had us married 25 years, and one day I just blurted out what I had done and that she had really seen me on her back lawn. I wondered how that would go. I’d get smacked for sure. 

I slept well that night – I’d had a true adventure and lived and hadn’t killed my cat or anything – life was good. I had to pull long shifts for the next four days and the ship sat idle. When I finally did get up there on the roof I noticed that a few things seemed to have been moved. I wasn’t positive. But I was fairly sure. Someone had been up there. There was only one other way to get up on the roof and that required the landlord’s key. Must have been him, snoopy little son of a bitch. I’m sorry but I’ve not had good luck with landlords. They’re too often incompetent, or dishonest, or greedy, or sneaky, or creepy, or rude, condescending, arrogant, greedy, greedy, greedy – I’m not stupid and I never repeat myself without knowing it – or all of the above. I’d interviewed a lot of them in my life and had come to the point of rejecting most of their applications to get my money. My landlord had once asked me to keep him advised if I noticed any ladies in the building whose husbands or boyfriends left them because he wanted to “get some moves on that action”. And he had once given a sterling reference, in writing, to an attractive lady who was dying of cancer and moving to a cheaper building because her chemotherapy was breaking her bank account. He wrote that glowing reference with great hopes of the favor being reciprocated, but then, when he discovered she had terminal cancer and probably wouldn’t go to bed with him on account of being too sick, or too smart, he kept her deposit and even though she sued him, she didn’t live long enough for it to come to court. This guy had slipped through the cracks but I was beginning to see him for the insult-to-ferrets that he was.

For the first time I began to think seriously about a truly epic destination. A moon somewhere? A planet in our solar system? A near moon sounded best. I had a thing about moons. I didn’t like to get too far from home. –Like people who aren’t scared of water that’s ten feet deep, but are terrified to swim in the open ocean where it’s 10,000 feet deep. You can drown in one just as well as the other. Some airplane pilots like to stay low, feeling like there’s safety down there. For airplanes, there’s not. Altitude is your friend. It’s money in the bank. Not so true of helicopters. It’s good to have “some” altitude in a helicopter in case things go phooey. Speed is more important. But many helicopter pilots felt as though they wanted to be fairly close to the ground in case of engine failure, so there wasn’t time to either be scared, or think too much. If you crapped an engine and had to auto-rotate in, you’d already practiced it, so just let the training take over. If you were at 8,000 feet when it happened there was too much time to over-evaluate and maybe screw something up. But in a bizarre plastic clamshell that wasn’t even aerodynamic, the difference between a failure at 50 feet or orbiting the moon was the same: DED. Dead. No matter what you did.

That morning I let Spot sleep in. I doubted he had any interest in moons. I climbed in and sat down and arranged my cheesy-snacks between the seats. For what? I might get hungry on the ten minute trip?

I keyed in a voyage to a nearby moon, five planets out from the sun, and engaged. Less than 16 seconds later I was there, 5000 meters above the surface. I’d programmed the board to make a series of hops back and forth so I would have time to look and snap photos, and during that time the ship maintained the orientation I’d set. It couldn’t create gravity though, and my stupidly placed cheesy-snacks floated up and drifted back toward the toilet somewhere. I snatched at them and broke the bag open, so now they were like tiny alien worms twisting through the air and bouncing everywhere. I figured what the heck and I shut down the computer. The craft started to slowly yaw, then pitch, so I was looking exactly down at the surface. Then I realized the surface was coming closer. Then I realized I was dropping like a stone. I wasn’t in orbit – I was a stone. I hit one key: HOME, then another: OVERRIDE COUNTDOWN, and before I could blink I was on the roof deck of my apartment back home. And looking directly at my landlord’s saggy-pants ass.

I hit another key: DUPLICATE TRIP, and then another: OVERRIDE COUNTDOWN, and before I could blink I was over the moon again, but not falling because the jumps were still processing. I keyed in a new coordinate that would simply move me upward of the moon about 500 miles (ok, ok, 804.672 kilometers – I tend to slip back and forth between measurement systems – just be thankful I’m not referring to fathoms and atmospheres) and engaged that and before I could blink the view of the moon had zoomed out by that amount. I hadn’t programmed any jumps beyond that so the computer shut down and waited for further instructions and the ship just lazily rolled in awkward, unnatural ways until I was pretty sure I could propel myself back home if only I could point the vomit in the right direction. Maybe motion sickness pills would have helped.

I couldn’t go home – not with the foolish old bastard skulking around on my balcony. Becka’s house? No, she hadn’t had time to fully recover from my first visit. How about a nice deserted beach? Yep. That would do. And 20 seconds later I was there.

I opened the canopy and walked around barefoot for a while. Not a soul in sight. This was my planet, right? No screaming kids, fat drunks, fat ladies bulging grotesquely out of too-small bikinis; no dogs; no crocs. Wow. I’d save these coordinates.

I swabbed the bulk of the vomit out of the cockpit with seawater and didn’t relish the trip home with the smell until I remembered it would be milliseconds long. I could hold my breath for the 15 second countdown. The countdown could be skipped but you risked a lot. No forward scan; no rescan for foreign materials inside the craft. My vomit didn’t need to be re-scanned because it had already been scanned before it left my stomach. If you never opened the canopy you were fairly safe in skipping the countdown, but…

I stretched out on the beach awhile. I was sure the landlord would be gone in an hour. I was sure he hadn’t seen me. Landlords are usually nosy – even to the point of being criminally nosy. It seems that the moment they become landlords they feel they’ve been given superhuman powers. Eff ‘em. I liked them less and less.

When I woke up it was dark. I had a night shift to pull. I climbed in the craft that was becoming a bit more familiar, and punched the HOME button. After 15 seconds I was home and no landlord in sight. I made it to work with three minutes to spare.

A thought was nagging in my brain. What if I had returned to my rooftop and landed squarely on top of my idiot landlord? I read Chapter 11 in the “How to Fly” book.

Chapter 11 states that the computer looks ahead at your entire course when the 15 second countdown begins. But if the countdown has been skipped, it still looks ahead a few replications. In theory, it would have spotted the landlord and stopped, then gone into a pattern of 100 meters back along its original course, then 100 meters forward again, and back again, and forward again, over and over and over until either the objectionable object was gone, or the pilot interceded with a new command. Unfortunately it said this emergency routine might not be 100% reliable, “given certain conditions”. I knew I should have upgraded.

I received a letter from the government aviation agency regarding my helicopter crash. The investigation had been long, long, years long. Now it was concluded and the report was contained therein. The official conclusion ruled out pilot error. Wow! Thank you! It stated that a malfunctioning collective head was to blame. It had dropped all collective pitch and flattened the blades just before landing. I’d always thought it was power settling, due to too much pitch input by me. It’s not all that difficult to come in a little hot and grab a bunch of collective pitch and accidentally stall the blades, especially on an underpowered piece of crap like I had built, in which case you just sort of founder to the ground, maybe quickly. If you have a lot of altitude you can nearly always just bank or dive out of the messy air you’ve created, but close to the ground you’re generally screwed. When you feel the squishy buffeting and see the ground coming up at you too quickly the first reaction is to pull more collective. But that just makes it worse. It’s a fairly common problem for newbies and still a less common problem for old salts. I thought I was just another stupid newbie. Well, actually I was just another stupid newbie, but not on that particular occasion. There would be no reprimand. Big sigh. But no insurance settlement either because I’d never bought any. Big sigh.

That morning I saw someone standing out in front of my building. The frikken landlord. I looked out the window, waved. After a few seconds he half-heartedly waved back, then shifted his gaze back to the rooftop where he just might be able to see the top of the bubble of my craft. Ok, this was enough. I kept staring at him until he left. Then it was time for action.

I went “topsides” and paired the remote that came with the craft, to the craft, and I sent it far away, to a lonely, uninhabited place, where it would never, ever be spotted. Then I brought it back to be sure I could. Then I sent it there again. Done deal.

Work consumed me for most of a week but I eventually ran into Stink-Bomb (the landlord) and as if on cue he asked me how the greenhouse was going, suspicion showing clearly in those squinty ferret eyes. I told him I took it all apart. He couldn’t tell me he’d seen the pod, since that would reveal that he’d been trespassing in my personal, rented space, but he clearly wanted to tell me he’d seen it and ask me about it. Fortunately I had a story all planned and I let it fly. I told him I’d always had an interest in theme gardens. I wanted to make a small pond with a bunch of lush jungle vegetation in a greenhouse, and inside it create some kind of small boat, where I could go and sit and contemplate the meaning of life. He seemed interested in this, so I forged ahead, telling him that I had a lot of creative thoughts about airplane themes and racecar themes – but I had made a stab at the race car thing and it didn’t work out because, as it turned out, I was a shitty artist and fabricator and I didn’t have the money to pursue anything really cool. I saw his tiny rabbit brain chewing on that, trying to decide if there was even an ounce of credibility in my tale. Finally, I think he decided there probably wasn’t, but there could be, and he wasn’t 100% sure I was bullshitting him, so there was nothing he could do at the moment to pursue it. I swear I saw the thought register in his mind: He decided to just keep coming back when I wasn’t home to see what he could see. I figured, ‘Knock yourself out, ya old coot, ‘cause “it” don’t live here no mo’.” He shuffled away, which is about the best thing any landlord can do – shuffle away. Where the Hell do these people come from, anyway? Were they born miserable shits? Or do they only become that way when they get their first property and realize they suddenly have power over others? Probably they’re born craving power, so they’re naturally drawn to real estate rentals, and once they get one, their true personality flowers forth.

I was trying more and more to find any mention of these crafts on the Internet. There was almost none. I figured a bunch of fools would have bought them and were even at that moment busily growing them in garages all across the land, or flying them around like I was. They couldn’t talk about it openly in public, but they could hint and use code words for God’s sake. But there was just absolutely nothing of real substance. I decided I wanted to know more about available upgrades, prices, possible package offerings, so I went back to the original Science Monthly publication and thumbed through all the tiny ads in the back. Not a hint of my machine or anything like it. I checked other likely suspects (magazines) for ads – zip. They were all just gone. Just gone. Not a ghost of a hint of a similar ad. Crap! I then called the company directly. Disconnected phone. Shit! It was looking like warranty work might be unavailable! Shit!

Later that day Spot and I took a trip to our local moon. BOR-ING. I’d never had an interest in going there because you could see the stupid thing just by looking out the window through the bottom of a soft drink bottle. We landed. Looked. Spot wanted to go outside. Sorry Spot. He seemed amused by the lack of gravity. He tried to hop from his seat into my lap but slammed into the top of the canopy. Fool. I zipped around to the other side. Same same. Ok. Been there. Done that. It’s a thing you must do because, well, because you must. Like you must climb at least one small mountain in your life – a small one is fine -- and you must go somewhere far in a sailboat once in your life, and you must make love in the snow once or twice in your life. Once it’s done you can check it off and move forward.

When I came back I had the machine do a thorough self-check. Took hours. Checked out fine. Then I sent it “into the corn” where no one would ever find it. Then I went back into the Pizza Shed and pulled a far-too-long shift. Then I slept a whole day. Then I had three days off. Ok, I thought, let’s rock and roll.

I asked Spot if he had “Crazy Balls” today, meaning, was he up to some really epic high adventure? He said, Prrooooww? I never knew what that meant, which meant I could interpret it to mean anything I wanted. Learn English ya little spud, or people will just do what they want with ya. I carried him up to the roof and recalled my craft. Split second, there she was. Like she had never left. We climbed in and went to a nearby moon and set down. I wanted to listen to some music and peruse some charts and find a truly interesting destination. After twenty minutes of that I remembered why I’d paid for the toilet option. I was a very, very smart man.

I’d neglected to install a litter box for Spot. I figured if he showed signs of needing to go maybe I could pick him up backwards and hold his ass over the toilet and sort of squeeze. I gave it a 10% chance of working. But when the moment came and I tried it, I knew it could never, ever work, so he went on the floor and I cleaned it up and suffered with the stench. Spot ran to the back of the ship and lifted his upper lips. Yep. It was that bad. Poison gas even to its creator.

I figured one more jump inside my own solar system. After that the sky was the limit. I keyed in the data for the last planet out and made the jump. I thought maybe I could feel the distance on that one. Like instead of taking a millisecond, it took a hundredth of a second, but I wasn’t sure. The scene was surreal. Dark and rocky and icy – but not ice like we know it. It was snot-looking ice. Goobers. Not white and not a color I had ever seen before. Some kind of frozen gas? The sun was just a bright star. Spot seemed concerned. My craft was heated but I had the impression the equipment was straining. I wasn’t going to bolt back to safety this time so we sat for an hour, trying to figure out why we’d ever wanted to go there. I say we. Spot didn’t care one whit because Spot was a cat. Good to remember that.

Feeling the cold through the hull I wanted to see the sun. No way could my craft even get close. Even the ultra-quick jumps would fry us. The ship was shielded but not from anything like that. Not from the mother lode of all radiation. I couldn’t figure out any way we could get any closer than just having it appear somewhat larger through the canopy. So we did that. Spot floated up off the seat and began scrambling, meowing, and his eyes were big and black and glossy. I pulled him to me, got scratched good, and made a note to arrange a small piece of netting over the seat that I could stuff him under next time. Then we returned to a different spot on the rocky last planet. It looked just as spooky as the first place. I was thinking, man, what a place to bring a date. So much better than a scary movie. I’d ordered the fully reclining seats. Only then was I curious if they fully reclined. They did. Wow. Did I get my money’s worth or what.

Ok, so, I was beginning to realize that I could hop from planet to planet in or out of my solar system forever. I could see rocks, sand, gasses, ice, oceans of … something, and deserts, mountains, chasms, atmospheres of hurricane-force winds, airless worlds, liquid worlds, and I would see all that stuff in time. But in a crevice in the back of my brain a thought was becoming larger than it had ever been. Life. Was there life out there? I’d studied the reports for years – it seemed like there probably was. But was there really? That was the question. Rocks and ice – ok for geologists. I was more of a sociologist. A few planetary governments had come right out and said it publicly: YES. Extraterrestrials were visiting our planet. It was fact, they said. But most governments denied it. It wasn’t a case where the truth was somewhere in the middle. It was a yes or no. Was there or wasn’t there? I wasn’t an astronomer so I had no short list of planets likely to harbor life. I didn’t have a clue where to begin. But it was beginning to dawn on me that that was the real quest here. Yes, yes, rocks, ice, sand, okay, yes, I get it. All important. But life. There is no point of existence if life isn’t in the mix. A sterile universe? Oh, cool. But it wasn’t sterile; we already knew that. At least there was us. I knew in my heart there must be others. It was inevitable. But did I really want to meet them? Now that I seemingly had the means to find them, was I sure I had what it took to do so? Spot did. Spot had True Grit. But of course Spot was a damned cat.

I got the idea to put a bobble-head doll on the dash of my space ship. If nothing else I had a sense of style. A bobble-head cat seemed fitting. A vicious looking model, with blood dripping from huge teeth, a snarl on its face, claws extended to rip the guts out of any alien that took liberties. Then I wondered if that was the right image to be projecting to prospective new friends. Maybe something softer, like a pink pastel lamb. Then I thought, no, if an alien was truly evolved, he’d have a sense of humor, and if he planned on eating us, a figurehead like that couldn’t hurt. Win-win. I walked to the store.

There was a wide variety of knick-knacks. Some really stupid stuff. Lots of cats. Cats purring, cats lounging, cats smiling, cats snuggling, cats sleeping, pooping, running, jumping. I was about to give up when I spotted a stalking panther. That was the one. A little fingernail polish would do for the bloody teeth, and since Spot was a tuxedo a little white was in order. I bought it and headed out the door and ran smack into Becka. Becka Rowland. Go figure. We didn’t quite almost run into each other but we were more or less on opposing courses. I stopped first, then when she noticed that someone in front of her had stopped, she stopped, and I saw the surprise on her face. Her thoughts went exactly back to that three second image she’d been struggling with of me in her back yard. She opened her mouth, but nothing came out. Then she looked slightly perturbed because her mouth wasn’t obeying her brain. I helped her out and said Hey Becka. That got her off the hook. Hey At. Whatcha doin’? Oh, I just bought this, uh – and I held up the snarling panther bobble-head thing. Oh. What for? I wanted to say FOR MY SPACE SHIP. YOU KNOW. TO SCARE ALIENS AWAY. I liked to shock. But I just told her it was a gift (for my cat), and out of nowhere I blurted out, “Ya wanna have dinner sometime?” That was eleven light years beyond my comfort level. I wondered in an instant if traveling in space altered one’s brain. Before I could fully work through that thought she said, “Sure. How about tonight?”

I gulped. Stammered. Mumbled ok. What time? She had to ask me what I said again because it was just squeaking out. Take a guy who can’t talk properly anyway and then make him into a girl-wimp in six seconds then ask him to say something crucially important, like what time – and you get, well, me. But I got it communicated somehow and said eight o’clock. She said no … and I got it then. This had just been a game. But then she finished her sentence: “No, I can’t at eight. Have to work tomorrow. Six o’clock.” It wasn’t a question.

Ah, so she wanted to make it an early dinner and there wouldn’t be sex after dinner. Well ok. I was tired anyway. I slapped myself for even trying to make a joke to myself in such poor taste and said, “Right. Six it is. I’ll pick you up at home.” I said it slowly and clumsily as I always said everything. She said ok or some shit, but as I walked by her, her eyes weren’t unkind, and she smiled properly and all of that, but she was trying to penetrate my skull and see inside my brain. Disconcerting, really.

I ran home and showered. Amazing how life can turn on a dime. Just spittingly astounding. A micro meteor through the top of the skull would be amazing. This encounter was no less. Wait. What was her motivation here? Oh, shit-fire-Hell, then I got it. This wasn’t about me or us or anything else wholesome and fun. It was about her wanting to probe my cranium to look for clues about her ghostly/ghastly encounter with me weeks earlier. Ok. Now I was up to speed. I’d pick her up, be a bit aloof, like I barely had time for this, and we’d eat at a not expensive place, and I’d be ready when the mind-probing began. Ok. Got it. Thank you.

I picked up Becka in my raggedy multi-colored old pickup, Wheezer. Three on the column. A straight six and I swear you could put a pencil between the rings and the cylinder walls. That was a class ride. Brakes that pulled to the right. Cross-eyed headlights that looked like they were candle-powered. Yes, I was a catch.

Becka hopped right in like she belonged there next to me on the bench seat. Was she sitting closer than she had to? By God, I thought she was. Only an inch but an inch might be a mile.

We drove on to a neighborhood diner type place and parked in the weedy gravel and sauntered inside. I opened the door for her but made it look like I did so only because happenstance had placed me at the door first. I almost let go of it too quickly which would have slammed her in the shoulder and probably knocked her down. Class all the way, baby!

We took a table mixed in amongst all the old neighborhood codgers and dodgers. Good citizens, mostly retired; they’d be heading off to Bingo later. I got a few nods – nodded back. Cool customer. Becka was just plain pretty. No way around it. Didn’t matter what the angle or what the lighting or what she wore. The beauty beamed outwards like a glow. Delicate and strong.

We ordered mundane stuff which was really damned good, and talked about this or that, what I’d been up to, what she’d been up to. I almost asked her if she’d been swimming a lot. Eff! That would have nixed everything. I wasn’t supposed to know she had a pool in her backyard. That would have been dumb as a dirt clod. Curiously she seemed to relax and stopped trying to bore into my brain. And curiously she never once brought up the incident in her backyard. Poor thing; she must have finally concluded that she was insane. I almost chuckled. That would have been crude. Too many inappropriate things swirling around in my damaged brain. Only a matter of time before something bad slipped out.

“Do you believe in aliens?”

That caused her mind to freeze. Ok, so, well, end of a perfect evening. She’d say no, of course not, and find a way to get a ride home. But she said, “Yes, I know they’re out there. What do you think?

I said I wasn’t sure. That seemed safe enough. From there I could go either way.

We discussed it very pleasantly. She was well read and smart. No one’s sucker. She finally sighed and said she’d give almost anything to finally, finally know the truth. I said me too. I expected a long, meaningful look, but she just said ok, let’s go. So we did.

I dropped her at home. No kiss, but she took my hand for a few seconds and looked into my eyes and said she hoped we could do that again. I said yes, yes we can and we will. She said when? I said pick a day and call me. She smiled and said yes, yes she would. Then she slipped out of the grease-mobile leaving only a scent of perfume contrasting the stink of burned oil passing by the piston rings and out the valve cover breather. Lovely girl. If I could have her, I’d never want for another thing in my life. Not my cat. Not a spaceship. Becka would be enough. I felt that truly, throughout my being. At that moment, it was the white light of reality.

I rattled and wheezed on home and was way too wired to go to sleep. I called in my craft and hopped in and without any hesitation punched in the coordinates for 200,000 feet straight up. 15 seconds, there I was. I let the computer go idle so the ship almost immediately began to pitch down and roll, but my stomach was doing ok. I would begin falling quickly soon, but there was time to just take in the lighted magic below me. I’d forgotten my camera but had my cell phone and snapped a few shots. Stunning.

I’d thought I was over the vertigo but the mix of pitch and roll was bringing it back. How the Hell did real astronauts do this shit? Mega doses of seasick meds? I punched in for the fourth planet out from the sun, altitude 150,000 feet, and then I was there. The surface was in daylight. My canopy automatically dimmed. I’d programmed ten minutes of short jumps, so my orientation didn’t change. Just like sitting on top of a pole, miles and miles high, like a great bird in a cozy nest. I stared at the black edge of night just coming up on this world’s horizon. Thought I spotted a glimmer of light, almost like a strobe, but this was a local world, studied and restudied to friggin’ death by countless professionals and school kids for generations. No life down there.

I hit the home button and popped the canopy and something slammed into my shoulder. Sharp pain – from claws – radiated through my neck. Shit! Spot had just jumped right on in. Maybe he missed me. I took him out and sent the ship into the corn and went down to bed. What, oh what, shall we do tomorrow? Huh Spot?

I remember getting a good night’s sleep. I dreamed about having a vastly superior ship. Maybe three hundred meters long. Could do anything. Could go anywhere. Had a kitchen. Two toilets. Shower. Tennis court. A dream is a dream. And it started me thinking about the suck-egg company that had gone bankrupt and left me without a warranty or a path to upgrades. They were gone. But what did it look like where they’d been?

Bright and early me and cat woke up and feasted on turkey pizza and went to the roof and called in the ship. Spot jumped in like he was the second in command, which he was, and I punched in the location of the old factory that had manufactured my little pod – or at least had made the stuff from which I made my little pod. In an instant we were there, clear across the continent. I’d chosen a spot a little ways away so I could surveille the site. Low knoll. Binoculars in hand. It was desert country. Windblown browns, dry, brittle old sage, thirsty cactus. Already there was dust on the outside of the canopy. It made me thirsty too, just to look out. And there was an ancient hangar sitting on an abandon airstrip. Probably ex-military. Or maybe some old flyboy’s dream after the war, and maybe he’d stayed in business for decades there, raised a family, retired, died off. Or maybe he’d gone bust in the first year, another grand dream washed away by the reality of harsh economics. Then the space ship company had come along and did whatever they did for however long they did it. I was a few hundred yards from the building and was thinking about walking to it. But then I was thinking about snakes. I punched in the new coordinates, just 30 feet from the door of the hangar. It wasn’t a multiple of 100 meters, so the ship chose a spot 100 meters from where it was then and also 100 meters from the destination and jumped like a snake to where I wanted it to go. Milliseconds or less. Yet I’d never done that near the surface. Somehow my eyes, my senses, picked up the violent change. I wouldn’t have thought it possible. It passed in a few seconds and I popped the hatch and closed it quickly before the monster could escape – Spot. I figured the odds of him finding a bad snake were close to 100%.

The hangar was almost abandon: a rabbit rabbited out through an opening in the corrugated tin. There was an old computer monitor on a broken desk, covered in dust. And some parts that looked like the fenders off old cars, over in one corner. In the back appeared to be two regular offices. I tried the door on one. Locked. Easy enough to break in if I decided that was appropriate. Second office was open. Inside were actual computers. Not as dusty as the screen out in the main hangar. Four of them, still plugged in but not turned on. I debated whether to try one. I was technically trespassing, though I had a pocket full of excuses should anyone come asking.

CAN I HELP YOU WITH SOMETHING?

We know it’s going to happen in any movie. We know exactly when. It happens in real life too – which is why they portray it in so many movies. I jumped and turned. No gun pointed at me. That was nice for me. I tried to control my voice, “I was just poking around and saw this old building. Sorry if I’m trespassing.” I made a half-step like I’d be happy to just skedaddle right on out.

“I saw your X311 out there on the hill. You should be more careful.”

Oh. So… He’d seen my craft, and he knew what it was. Interesting.

Over the next while the withered old guy explained that he’d been an employee of the firm when the military came and shut them down. Not law enforcement; military. Army drab vehicles, automatic weapons. About twenty guys. Couple of women. They never said a word, just put everyone at gunpoint and herded them into the vehicles; then they loaded up the equipment and trundled off into the desert. That’s the last he saw of anyone.

I asked where he’d been at the time.

About a hundred meters away.

Where? It was pretty flat outside. I hadn’t noticed any place to hide.

He raised his eyebrows and looked up into the clear blue sky through a hole in the tin roof.

“I was on the X553. It’s a little, uh, advanced from yours.”

He motioned for me to follow and we walked outside. He nodded for me to look up again, and I did, and I heard a barely audible click from his hand – a tiny remote. The sky darkened, and a shadow fell, and I was seeing the underside of a ship about 80 meters long and 50 meters wide. I actually fell down and started to cover my head with my arms.

He smiled in a fatherly way that I found rather endearing. “Sir, would you like to go aboard?” And his smirk was mischievous. This man was old of body but young of spirit. I didn’t have to answer yes; he knew. His hand clicked and instantly the ship was on the ground thirty feet from us. Not the slightest displacement of air because it had, of course, only rearranged matter to occupy that space.

A door whined open and we walked inside. Lights automatically came on and illuminated a long hallway, broad and airy. Beautiful white polished walls, like marble. I gently knocked my knuckles against it as we walked just to test its composition. Solid as a rock. “Marble,” he said. “I was always partial to it.”

We finally emerged into a spacious sunken room, 100 by 70 feet, the lower area being littered with a variety of sofas and couches and recliners and regular chairs. Several tables in the middle. He said he had never found a really comfortable place to sit so he collected them. And no one table could cover all contingencies, so he had many. Glancing around the ship I said I had no idea the technology had gone this far; I thought my little turd was the pinnacle of engineering. He said it wasn’t common knowledge.

We talked for several hours until my cell phone rang. Damn roaming. It rang right inside his ship which surprised me a little. I’d figured it was shielded. Maybe no need. The caller was Becka – said she was ready for our next dinner date. Talking to her seemed so incongruous with the moment. Unbeknownst to me Ted had jumped us back up to an altitude of about 200 feet and we were invisible again. We were invisible because his ship could make tiny jumps continuously in place or nearly, and we weren’t aware of it. No high-speed camera on the planet could catch the ship. If he stayed relatively in the same area, maybe a special camera could catch a dark blur, but cameras that fast were few and far between, and you’d have to know right where the ship was in order to catch anything. I set a date with Becka and resumed maybe the conservation of my life, with Ted.

I asked how many ships like mine were out scouting around the galaxy. He said three had been sold. Three?! Yes, the company had been shut down days after the ad came out. I was customer number one. I asked him if he knew the other two buyers. He said no, but I thought I detected a hint of subterfuge. That was fine. Professional confidentiality and all of that.

I asked if it was possible to still install upgrades in my ship. He smiled and said yes, we’ll see about that. I took that as encouragement. I’d take all the tech I could get.

I started to ask about the capabilities of his ship, the X553, but it was made clear to me that beyond knowing it was BIG, I was unlikely to learn much more, so I shut up. I wouldn’t reveal intimate secrets about my girlfriend, either, assuming I had one, and I sort of got the idea that this ship was more valuable to Ted than any girlfriend.

We saw the world and politics and romance and just about everything else in life the same ways. It’s nice when you find that in another entity because it validates all the billions of mental calculations you’ve gone through to arrive at the life-view that you have. When someone else feels the same way it tends, tends … to give credibility to your life view. Of course it could be that you’re both just crazy and like attracts like. Whole political parties were crazy and they grouped together like flies on turds. And they were often demonstrably wrong. Look at socialism. Yet millions still embraced it out of ignorance and the inability or refusal to learn the lessons millions already had. Maybe I and Ted were both just dumb. How would we know for sure? Survival is nature’s ultimate test of survival. If a species survives, it’s right, according to nature. Period. People try to replace the laws of nature with the laws of morality, reasoning that it might sometimes be better to not survive and be morally correct. That’s a job for the philosophers. I liked the notion of survival, but not at any cost. I could never be a snake, for instance. If that’s winning, I want to lose. I don’t want physical life that much.

We walked together down the long hall and out into the sage and I offered him my hand to shake goodbye. Instead of taking it he offered me a scrap of paper with a position written on it. Ten minutes, he said. I said ok and walked to my ship. When I looked back his was gone. I climbed aboard my puddle-jumper and keyed in the coordinates and waited 15 seconds, then looked outside and nothing had changed. Oops – yes it had. The hangar was gone, and looking to my right I saw Ted’s ship sitting on the sand. I disembarked and walked over and he was just coming out. He said this’ll just take a minute. Maybe three. I said ok, then waited for something to happen, but nothing did. Ted made small talk. I played along. After a couple of minutes the remote in his hand chirped; he glanced at it. “Ok,” he said. “That’ll do it.” I asked, “Do what?” He replied, “Now your ship has every upgrade its tiny brain can use. Only way to get more is to swap out the board. Call this a firmware update. You’re welcome.” I said thanks, genuinely, because it didn’t even matter what he’d given me, he’d given me something, and that’s more than I had five minutes earlier.

“I’ll be seeing you soon. Go have dinner with Becka.” And with that he just turned and walked back into his ship. Then the ship winked out, even before the door had closed.

I climbed back into mine, now paranoid about government snipers crawling through the sage.

I powered up the board and was dazzled by a whole new interface on the screen. All the old options were there, but maybe thirty new ones too. I scanned the list. That had been one Hell of an upgrade. Maybe options I didn’t even understand, and they weren’t described in the How to Fly manual. Then I spotted the onboard help files.

Let’s see. Invisibility. Yep. There it was. If the feature was anything like Ted’s, it meant I didn’t have to send the ship into the corn every night; I could just let it hover 50 feet above my rooftop. But was there a point to that? Maybe. And a subcategory of that function was that in order to hover I didn’t have to make billions of ridiculous jumps of 100 meters each, back and forth, up and down, just to stay in a vicinity. I still had to move, but in “Local” mode I could chose the distance of the jumps. It was like changing gears on a car, from a high, miles-covering gear, to a low, crawling pace. That meant at relatively low altitudes, like down to, maybe 200 feet, I could hover and not get that weird, blurry vertigo thing that was a byproduct of jumping back and forth hundreds of meters. I’d test it out very soon.

The upgrade also gave me better shielding and better control of the interior environment, hot and cold. It also corrected a glitch in the toilet which had on one occasion accidentally opened itself to the vacuum of space while someone was sitting on it. How many people had this happened to? There were only three of us! There were only three ships! And this had apparently happened at least once! Son of a bitch! Spot would be mortified.

I zipped home, got out on the rooftop and sent the ship into the corn. I’d experiment with invisibility mode later. Right then I wanted to meet Becka.

I picked her up in Wheezer, my truck, and we went to a slightly better restaurant – more befitting a real date. It was she who was initiating the contact and I just couldn’t figure out why, given that many considered me somewhat mentally retarded. Maybe I was ok looking, but that didn’t offset being stupid. Even if she’d figured out I wasn’t stupid, why would any girl want to get pinned down with some guy who made her look foolish every time he ordered coffee?

We talked and laughed and ate. Once she touched my hand. Thrilling. She still didn’t bring up the incident in her backyard. Never even alluded to it. I began to think it was truly a non-issue. We seemed to click very well. Tongue-in-groove. Tiny serious thoughts began to tickle the back of my brain. Becka? Really? Becka? That would be more than any man had a right to hope for.

I took her home. She was amused by Wheezer, not put off by it. She had no clue it was a classic among classics, only one of two in existence, worth a quarter as much as her home. I walked her to the door, wondering all the while if I should try for a kiss. In the end I decided to see if she showed any signs of wanting a kiss. I just didn’t have any experience with this stuff. I’d read books. But it’s not the same as real life. In the end I didn’t pick up any clues so I only touched her hand and said good night. She said good night. That was that. She didn’t say let’s do this again. Ok. I got it. I slumped my shoulders and walked back to my truck. I hadn’t heard her door open or close – was afraid to look back, so I opened the driver’s door. Then I heard her yell across the yard, “Tomorrow night. Please.” I beamed. “Yes Ma’am.”

Wheezer wouldn’t start. I cranked until the battery wore down. I figured ok, I could walk from here. Only a couple of miles. I was about to open the door when I was startled by a knock at the driver’s side window. Becka was there, motioning for me to steer. She ran to the back of the truck and put her shoulder into it. Truck didn’t budge. I opened my door and with one hand still on the wheel and feet on the ground I put my shoulder into it too, and the old pig slowly began to roll. At about 3 mph I hopped in. I didn’t want to jolt Becka when I engaged the clutch so I chose second gear. Wheezer’s engine turned a couple of times and fired off. I jumped in and braked gently and Becka ran up to the open driver’s door, grabbed my face and gave me a kiss on the lips, then, laughing, she ran away. Wheezer didn’t need an engine to get me home.

I slept well with Spot. Most cats aren’t that snuggly in the nighttime, especially if they get too hot. But Spot stayed pressed to me all night. I wondered what issues that might cause with a girlfriend. I concluded that with a good girlfriend it was a non-issue. Becka had shown me she was a good girlfriend. At least that’s to say she had done one small thing to show me she had more than a quarter inch of character. Maybe her Dad had brought her up to be helpful and to not be afraid of a little dirt. Fathers did their daughters a tremendous service when they did that. Too bad it was so rare.

In the morning I felt like going somewhere. Anywhere. I was thrilled with the new upgrades and curious as to what all I’d been given. Talk about birthday morning. Up on the roof I called the ship from the corn. I offered to let Spot do it, but that pesky problem of not having opposing thumbs made it difficult to hold the remote and we gave up pretty early-on.

And BOINK – there she was. Just sitting there. I don’t make friends with inanimate objects, but this thing was really very damned cool and what’s more important, reliable. Hard to find that in a friend. Or a mate. I’d watched others, and learned.

I opened the canopy and was getting ready to plop down on the seat when I noticed something white. A scrap of paper. Paper? I unfolded it. Coordinates. Huh? Huh? Huh? I actually shook my head. This wasn’t computing. Someone had gotten into my pod. That meant someone knew where it was. But even if they stumbled across it, they couldn’t have gotten inside. Not without smashing the canopy with a wrecking crane. And leave a note? Huh? With coordinates? Who would leave me coordinates? Ted.

I sat for another minute trying to see if there were any leaks in this vessel of logic. Maybe the government was tricking and trapping me…? But if they wanted my pod, they’d just come in with tanks or whatever. Or they’d arrest me and force me to reveal the whereabouts of it. Had to be Ted. Right? I punched in the coordinates of a spot behind a small hill about 200 meters from Ted’s spot. Satellite imagery showed the area clearly and the ship would automatically find the ground. I hit engage. 15 sec--- Oops. 3 seconds. Upgrade!

I arrived and glanced around and found myself staring at Ted’s lopsided grin right on the other side of my canopy. What a creepy son of a bitch. I popped the top. I was actually a little angry and I started to say something mildly caustic then caught myself. Looking at Ted he knew I had been about to say something mildly caustic and that amused him. Who the Hell was this guy?

I got out and started to show him the paper scrap but what in God’s name would be the point of that? I asked him what was up. He said, “Coffee?” He had just a hint of a southern drawl so I said, “Shore.” That was my caustic retort and he logged it for what it was. Ding.

Ted said he wanted to show me something. “Hop in,” and he motioned to his majestic ship, now just arriving thirty feet from mine. I was out of my element here – effing mind reader. So I told Spot to STAY and closed my canopy and followed Ted into his. Then he stopped abruptly and motioned for me to go on back out, and once outside he motioned that we should hop in mine instead. Spot welcomed him warmly – traitor – and Ted leaned over and punched in a long series of codes on my screen. Stars streaked by because the eye saw the light each time we materialized for an instant. No matter where we were or how far we travelled, light was still there, present and ready to fall upon our retinas. After 90 minutes I asked him where we were going. He said my mind couldn’t process the distance so why ask? Spot settled comfortably into Ted’s lap. We passed BS, snacked. Not milliseconds this time – 221 minutes.

Then we stopped. There was sunlight, a white sky, and barren nothingness except some mountains off in the distance. And there was wind. An atmosphere! Ted told me to pop the canopy. I refused. Before I could stop him he did it. I started to object but realized I was choking on foul smelling something. I gagged, sucked for air. I was feeling sick and light headed but after several minutes we were all still alive. The gravity was light – maybe two thirds of my baseline. The smell was metallic, like a molten metal, maybe lead. Temperature was quite warm. After five minutes I was thinking I would eventually vomit. Ted looked green in the gills. Good for him. If he could suck it up so could I. We sat there another five minutes in a silent test of testosterone. YOU die first. No, YOU die first. Spot was curiously doing better than either of us human types. Finally Ted closed the hatch and the pod immediately replaced the stink-air with clean stuff. Instantly I was breathing easier. Ted punched the HOME button and I had to go pee.

The return trip was the same. Spot slept. Ted closed his eyes as though we were on a long car trip.

I asked, “What was the point of that?”

“Did you die?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

I thought for a few seconds, “Well, there was at least ‘some’ oxygen.”

“Exactly.”

Ahhhh… My horizons just expanded by about a million times.

After 221 minutes we went into Ted’s ship and had coffee. Now I had a mentor.

Ted highlighted a few of the upgrades I received, but many more remained mysterious. He told me to fish around and try stuff out. Carefully. I heard a quiet beep from a console somewhere. An alarm? He said he had things to do and booted me out. Before I’d reached my pod his ship had vanished. But the realization of what we’d just done descended upon my consciousness. We’d gone far. Jaw-droppingly far. Don’t even know how far, far. Beyond ludicrous, far. Far beyond my ability to appreciate; he’d been right about that. I realized that now I was no longer scared to take longer jaunts. But the real revelation was that there was oxygen somewhere else in the universe. An oxygen atmosphere. Not exactly a sweet-smeller, that place, but I had lived there for ten minutes. I couldn’t say I now knew there was other life in the universe, but my mind had sure as Hell been expanded, and that’s exactly what Ted had meant to do. I could almost see him smiling to himself. This was just a quick lesson. I had the feeling there’d be much more to come.

The restaurants were doing something odd – they were almost running themselves. That usually means something very, very bad is about to happen. Like three will burn down in the same week. But I took advantage of it anyway and spent as much time as I could with Becka for a few weeks. We ate out, went for drives, picnics, jaunts with her Mom, excursions with her siblings, to car races and swap meets and moonlight walks, and then we went to bed. Together. She said it was the greatest thing she’d ever experienced. I wondered who was paying her to say that. But finally, I had a real girlfriend. A girl who, as far as I could tell, genuinely liked me. Maybe love could come someday. We were pretty-well on the same wavelength (she was younger and she was a girl). But she liked campfires and barbeques and dogs – cats not so much but neither had I when I was younger. They’re an acquired taste, arrogant little shit-balls that they are. Our talk gradually became more serious; it seemed we had very similar goals: Quiet home, a kid or two, a little travel (I’d have to break her in slowly on that one); modest, attainable goals to be sure. We both liked to read similar books. She loved pizza. How much better does it get? I was thinking maybe … maybe … against all odds … maybe.

A close friend showed up in town and needed a place to stay so of course he bunked with me. I wasn’t doing any flying because I was with Becka every day, so we just hung out. Once Becka came over while Paul was there and we chatted – the usual. Becka left that day and I had errands to run. Paul stayed in my apartment alone. I came back a few hours later and Paul was gone. When it got late I began to be slightly concerned; he didn’t know anyone and his car was sketchy at best. I started calling my friends to see if anyone had seen him. Nope. Nope. Nope. Too quickly they all said nope. It tickled at the back of my mind. Finally I went to meet a few of my closest buds and I pinned them down mercilessly: Where was Paul? And they answered mercilessly: With Becka. They’d sneaked off to the beach together.

They showed up in the morning exhausted and sheepish. I confronted Paul. No denials. I told him to leave town or die and I meant it. I even gave him some cash so I wouldn’t kill him with my bare hands and spend the rest of my life in prison. Avoiding that was worth the gas money. He took it and started driving. I knew if I ever saw him again I would actually and literally kill him and he knew it too, but no one ever saw him again. In later years I learned that many friends thought I had done just that and buried him in a swamp outside of town. Ah, the swamp. Good idea. Good thing I hadn’t thought of it at the time. I’d been thinking more along the lines of how many propane torches from the hardware store would it take to get the body to a point where I could flush it down the toilet. But the swamp … now that was poetic.

Becka’s number flashed on my phone a few times over the next month but I didn’t answer. I was teetering on the edge of a decision, and also on the edge of sanity. God I loved her. And exactly 51 percent of me wanted to patch it up and forget it and live happily ever after, and exactly 51 percent of me wanted to tell her to eff off and die, and that was my dilemma – an inner conflict of galactic proportions. I was a man with zero prospects in romance, yet it had happened and I had swallowed it hook, line and sinker, and it had ripped my guts out like the irresistible lure that it was. My heart and brain switched back and forth about three hundred times per minute. Take her. Leave her. Love her. Hate her. Three hundred times per minute for weeks until the engine that drove that torture just exploded. Once that happened, I realized that to even remotely entertain the notion of taking back a person who took disrespect to that level was like skipping off onto a path that lead only downward into the dark because I would never again enjoy a molecule of self-respect. Couples say they can and do get through something like that, but once I X’ed her out of existence and put her in the “Dead to Me” box, only then could I think and see clearly and I knew beyond all doubt it was the right decision. Had I taken her back I’d have spent my entire life wondering if it was the right decision and I’d have lived wallowing, and foundering, in that self-doubt and probably self-loathing. It took a good bit of strength to exile her memory, then out of memory, but once I did, I was rewarded with new strength a thousand-fold and it felt good. How odd that a person’s entire life, his or her entire existence, can turn on such a tawdry little dime. I had my self-respect back. I had my strength back. I had my mind back. I had my heart back, to do with what I pleased, to keep safe, or to give away – I had the bloody choice, and that in and of itself was Heaven. I went happily back to work and started plotting new adventures in my weird little pod. All I needed in my life was Spot.

I watched and listened and learned that Becka was just another “guy collector”. If he could be collected, then he should be collected; I think that was her philosophy. God help the man who ever decided to stick, because it would be one Hell of a messed up ride.

Ted arranged a number of meetings and tutored me in my pod’s operation, and in a lot of basic stuff that I should have known before I ever closed the canopy the first time. He was razor sharp – he was the kind of sharp that makes you realize you’re puny reptilian brain couldn’t even recognize how smart he was. And he was wise – at least wise about “stuff” in terms of space travel and nuts and bolts things. But his life was a torturous wreck of broken friendships. He expected nothing less than absolute perfection in any relationship and if you couldn’t produce or provide that you could too easily get tossed into the “Dead to Him” box. That’s where 85 percent of his friends lived, some of them very worthwhile people, and some pukes too. I once made the statement to him: The root of all disappointment lies in unrealistic expectation. Ted had no retort. Ever. He seemed to absorb it but it didn’t fit with his notion of how he wanted things to be so it got tossed into the slush piled labelled, “To be considered later. Maybe. Or not.” But I think it made him wonder if there was a tad more depth to me than he’d previously surmised from my painfully slow execution of human speech.

Ted was constantly urging me to get out there and explore. It was like it was his agenda but he wanted me to live it out. I presumed he was exploring plenty on his own. He was unemployed yet seemed to have some kind of income that kept him particularly well stocked. What was he looking for out there? Life, same as me? Maybe he had some clues, though he wouldn’t divulge them. I had no bloody clues whatsoever. Our astronomers were constantly finding new planets but they were far too far away to determine if they could even remotely harbor bacteria, let alone anything more interesting. Or dangerous. I lamented this to him one day and he looked exasperated, like he did with me fairly often. “At, our astronomers can only look from here. But you can go there and look from an entirely fresh vantage point.”

“But I don’t have a telescope.” I knew it was stupid even as I said it. Ted just threw up his hands and sighed and turned on a ball game. There we sat, fifty miles above our moon, watching the game and munching chips. If my Mom only knew.

Back in my apartment that night I kept puzzling Ted’s attitude and my idiotic sentence, “I don’t have a telescope”. But why was it idiotic? I really didn’t have a telescope. Unless…

I raced to the roof and called in the ship from the night and hopped inside and pulled up the menu from the upgrade. Scrolling, scrolling, submenu after submenu.

Search and Scan:

Debris

Atmosphere

Elements

Water

Radiation

Life

Ah shit. I was as dumb as a board.

I embarked on a mission then. –To find life. God knew there was no intelligent life on my own planet. I hoped to find some somewhere else. Early next morning I lined up my restaurant crews and sent them in organized and appropriate directions, taking care of the restaurants and the chain as a whole in my absence. I did this knowing full well that the instant I turned around to leave, each and every one of them would veer off the rails and start doing shit they were explicitly told not to do. That’s business. I didn’t know how long I’d be gone but I wanted to leave it open-ended. Hell, I might find a planet full of two hundred meter long slithering hairy things and they’d pop my ship like popping an aspirin and the restaurant crews would always wonder what in Hell ever happened to me. I put Spot in good hands, nearly emptied my local mini-mart of snacks and drinks and toilet tissue and hit the road. That is to say I called the ship from the corn – no mysterious messages on the seat this time – and I programmed in a series of jumps that put me a few kilometers above every planet in my local system for about three minutes each. Then I hit engage.

On the first jump I went into the SCAN menu, submenu: LIFE, and chose scan. There weren’t a lot of options or parameters. –Made for dumb guys, I guessed. But within 4 seconds a big green text lighted up and flashed: POSITIVE. Oh my effing Hell – already! Already! This was too easy! I pulled up the details page and started reading. Wow. Quite a large number of critters down there. Oxygen. Water. Trace minerals. Breathable atmosphere. My mind was racing, but also starting to hurt, because in the back of it, it was figuring this out. I scrolled up and checked my position. Ok. Good thing Spot wasn’t there to witness THAT witlessness. The first jump in my queue was my own planet. Spacefaring genius. Yep.

I chose next in queue. Nothing. Next in queue. Nothing. I got about seven planets out and while it registered NO LIFE, it also reported an anomaly. I tried to drill down through the menus to get the scoop but it was just a bunch of machine code. I’d have to ask Ted.

On I went through all the planets in the system with no luck. I’d expected that. We pretty-well knew what was or wasn’t in our own system. Time to start the real exploration. But where to begin? Maybe at that planet Ted had taken me to? But that was a whopping 221 minutes away. I wanted to look closer to home, so I programmed in a dozen stops. I wasn’t exactly sure how far my scanners could reach out. I was sure the range was at least orbital. But could I scan an entire solar system at once? Obviously not because once I was one planet out from my own, no life was detected. And I wasn’t sure exactly how much life would be required to trigger a positive hit. One virus? One bacteria? A billion dinosaurs? Just some percolating primordial soup? Who knew? Ted knew. I didn’t know because I hate hate hated to read manuals.

I progressed out through a dozen known planets out of the thousands we’d discovered by archaic means (telescopes). Not a single hit. Lastly I slogged through space to Ted’s stink-world and scanned again. Nada. Cripes.

I remembered there had been a few oddball hits on our own radio telescopes. Signals that came in that were unidentifiable. I went to those few areas, though no specific planets were known. I scanned for planets, found a thousand and ten in one isolated area of about 300 stars, and lamented that this was going to be maybe just too damned tedious without either much better instrumentation or much better clues. I did sample about twenty worlds in that one corner of that galaxy – big deal. Beyond my scanners were billions more. Flip a coin? Pin the tail on the donkey on a star-chart? ESP? Pray? The odds were trillions of times better in any casino. Thoroughly disheartened I just headed for home.

Seven minutes later I decided to recheck that one planet in our own system that had registered the anomaly. Close orbit, I scanned again. Now no life and no anomaly. But this rock had four moons. I checked each and on the second lump of concentrated dust the error popped up again. Ok, so now I had to read a book. That took 30 minutes, and I wasn’t really any closer to figuring it out. That proved conclusively that book learning was vastly overrated. On this scan, however, the computer pinpointed a small area on the surface that seemed to be responsible for the error – a little city-sized spot that was unreadable by the life-signs scanner. I programmed in a position about a kilometer from the outer edge of the area and chose a hover at 500 feet and engaged the jump.

From 500 feet I could see that there was a vast area of something … Then the sirens wailed and the ship auto-jumped to a position back into high orbit. Holy cow shit. What was that? Then I saw the flashing lights on the display: Radiation warning.

Huh? How could there by only one tiny radioactive area on a moon’s surface? Only that moon, and only that microscopic area. I pulled up the video taken by the onboard camera, saw the same thing I’d seen with the naked eyes, and began to zoom. Soon I could perceive a geometry to the scene. Then I clearly saw square shapes. Boxes. Containers. They had been dumped there willy-nilly. Nothing damaged, broken or crushed. Just piled high. Billions and billions of containers, maybe 60 meters by 20 by 20 meters each. It struck me then: Maybe radioactive waste? How I wished I had a little probe to send down for more analysis, but my instinct was that this was a dump.

I tried to puzzle it through. Did it come from my own world? Was the government dumping its radioactive refuse out there? As far as I knew nothing of ours had ever been out there except, maybe, to have snapped a few blurry photos as a makeshift satellite passed by. Our government was doing dicey stuff to be sure, but I was almost positive we had no capabilities like that. No way.

I drifted for a while and snacked, wishing Spot could see this. I knew he didn’t care, but it would have been comforting to smell his all-too familiar cat-farts as he slept. Sometimes he’d pass one, and a few seconds later his little eyes would pop open, and he’s scramble up and bolt for the far end of the room as though he’d awaken in a crocodile’s mouth. Then from the corner he’d scowl at the area of his bed as though someone had done it to him. What an utter asshole.

Then the damned damned radiation alert went off again. That scared me. No way the levels from that dump could be dangerously high as far out as I was. Or could they? What did I know? I was going to let the ship do an auto-jump again and take me away from danger when I caught the glint of something in space. Maybe it was a mile away – maybe 10,000 miles away. But it was a glint. Something metallic was out there. I instantly overrode the computer so it wouldn’t do anything at all, and I watched. After a few seconds there it was again. This time it was larger; long and cylindrical with a box-like appendage on one end. A second later it was “really bigger” and I realized it was headed nearly on a collision course, but not quite. The ship would alert me if it was going to hit us –er, me. You know, me and the ship. Together.

Presently it streaked below me, between me and the moon, and arced downward until it was heading exactly for the dumpsite. I engaged a recording routine which would track all courses and movements of the thing. Sure enough it dropped down to the dump, then streaked back up on a reciprocal course, minus the big box. It was a ship just dumping more garbage. As it passed back out into space there was no radiation alert – the radiation was in the containers. I wondered if the ship was manned by something or just an automatic device.

I allowed the computer a few minutes to chart its present course and extrapolate its future course, then I programmed a series of jumps that would keep me about 5,000 kilometers behind the ship, and I engaged. After a few minutes I realized the thing was painfully slow. The computer projected its course as a planet two hundred and sixty three lights years from my position. It would take the craft ahead of me a month to reach it. I programmed that destination and hit engage and within only a few seconds I was hanging motionless two hundred miles above the surface of a large planet bristling with light reflections. I scanned for LIFE. Solid green. Wow. I had arrived. This was the real deal.

Then it struck me that perhaps a civilization that advanced would have amazing defensive capabilities. Maybe, like in the movies, they were calling me at that exact moment on some frequency on a device I didn’t even know about and couldn’t imagine nor comprehend and if I didn’t respond with a code I’d be unceremoniously zapped into oblivion like a mosquito in a bug light. I jumped 500,000 kilometers away. If I wasn’t even allowed that close, then, well, I wasn’t. They couldn’t expect every alien to know their customs.

I drifted then, spatial orientation turned off. I turned it off a lot because I wanted to learn to really “be” in space. The vomiting had to stop sometime, right?

I tried to make some sense of what I already knew but realized I couldn’t extrapolate without more data. Just then the radiation warning went off again. Holy cat crap. Again? Sensors showed the trail of another ship moving away from the planet. If I could see it, they could sure as Hell see me. I plotted its course; it was headed right back to that same moon. I zoomed optically; the same or similar ship with a similar big box affixed to the front of it. So this was a regular run – Hell, an almost non-stop run. What were they sending so far away? Maybe it was radioactive waste. Maybe something else. Whatever it was, why so far?

I decided to go bold. I engaged a jump down to within 100,000 feet of the surface then instantly back to where I was. I wouldn’t even be aware of the jump, but I wanted to see if they were, and I wanted my meager instrumentation to try to collect at least a smidgeon of data from the planet. When the trip down and back was complete I looked for any collected data – none. Not surprising. My sensors were wimpy and simply hadn’t had time to measure anything in less than a microsecond. I decided to just drift again to see if anything came out to meet me – like a deadly laser. Or a friendly welcoming party. Probably not the latter. After an hour, and nothing, I decided to go back in for a full second. I engaged, and completed the trip and checked for data. Aha!

The planet was estimated at 1.6 times the diameter of my own, meaning a gravity of roughly that, give or take, depending on the composition of the celestial body. Gravity is predicated on mass, not size. Atmosphere was unbreathable but there was oxygen and nitrogen that could be extracted from it and used to supplement my supply if my rebreather ever had trouble. Temperatures seemed tolerable even at the poles. It had a filthy soup of an ocean that was barely salty and was quite small – just one slash down through one area of the land mass, maybe 15,000 kilometers long from north to south, and 8,000 kilometers wide. Mountain ranges rimmed it. Maybe an ancient impact gash? No volcanic activity noted – the rock was long dead. Way too much radiation from the sun.

I had also captured some super hi-rez video and now it was time for the fun part, reviewing that. What, oh what, might I see…

 

END SAMPLE

 

Buy this ebook in its entirety

 

 

 

Reviews

 

 

1. 
MK reviewed A Fire-Fighter's Struggle with Diabetic Foot Ulcers -- You CAN Win This War: A state-trained...
 SOMEONE KNOWS ABOUT HEALING December 2, 2018
GOOD TO HERE ABOUT REAL PEOPLE ON NATURAL HEALING.
2. 
Amazon Customer reviewed Jungle Mists: A How-To Guide to Life and Sex in SE Asia
 I enjoyed the book and could hardly put it down. I live in Singapore but I’m considering relocating and I’m from America originally September 6, 2018
Brutally honest review of numerous Southeast Asian countries and their cultures. A little bit Pessimistic but it is undoubtedly Straight from the authors heart
3. 
Carol reviewed Sands of Sedona
 Very compelling Western!! July 10, 2018
What a marvelous Western story this is. This covers everything you'd want in a Western, from mystery and horses, and teaching a young boy what's important in life. Another never a dull moment and page turner for certain. I hope to get more by Scott G. Neil.
4.  don frazee reviewed Horse Tales: A few horsey shorts
 A Good Find July 3, 2018
This author is fascinating. He writes differently than any I have read before. He is somewhat irreverent but not crude or vulgar in general, and thus captures perspectives more comfortably. Discussing a range of topics related to Western living, including mustangs, ranch dogs, guest ranches and hunting trips, the author offers opinions freely. His thoughts come with a wealth of experience. I want to read more from him.
5. 
D. Register reviewed Sands of Sedona
 Good book June 10, 2018
Very good plot, believable characters, good dialog and plenty of action. However political correctness is growing in western genre lately, the comments about the general store Owner refusing to sell guns should not have appeared. If you want to make a SJW comment, kindly take to another venue. IT A WESTERN FOR GODS SAKE. Oh, sorry I shouldn't have mentioned God.
6. 
T.W. reviewed Planet Farmers: And in the Beginning.
 Decent book about a regular guy...learning to fly May 9, 2018
I enjoyed this book. Although the method of space travel was different, even far-fetched, from any other scifi book I've read before, I was intrigued by it. A few spelling errors but nothing that took away from the plot at all. Not really a fast-paced action thriller but just a good story that flowed nicely. Basically only 3 main characters in the book and that's the way I like it. Not hard to keep up with. After all,...Read More
7. 
Amazon Customer reviewed Bad Cop Bad Cop, Whatcha Gonna Do?: Why some people are afraid of the police
 Great book April 17, 2018
Honest look at what too many people don’t see or don’t want to see. This book is spot on to what is a sad reality in today’s day and age. Read this book.
8. 
GranJan reviewed Horse Tales: A few horsey shorts
 Honest Look At Ranching and Horses December 18, 2017
This book is far from politically correct and I love it. I’ve had horses for over 40 years and can personally attest to what this author is saying. I also appreciate his description of how our West has changed. The author’s love and understanding of horses is obvious. His methods are tried and true. Sometimes a horse is your soul mate. Sometimes a horse is just a horse. There are great anecdotes and some laugh-out-loud mome...Read More
9. 
Joyce A. reviewed Of Aliens and Ghosts…: Delicious real-life horrors – a practical discussion
 Best short story? February 14, 2017
This book is by and far the best alien story I've read in awhile. I usually read non-fiction UFO stuff, and although this is just a story about this person's feelings on various subjects, I'd still classify it as nonfiction. The best part of this book is all parts of this book, if I myself could ever put together a book about my personal feelings about ufos, life after death, etc., it would read exactly like this. I almost wanted...Read More
10. 
The King of the Amazon reviewed Sands of Sedona
 Best .99 I've spent on Kindle. January 28, 2017
Reading this brings back my own memories of living in the West. It truly was an inspiring, well written story of adventure, love and sorrow.