Science Space Station, Alpha Nu Star date 6226.0
Galactic Standard, Federated Planet Systems Cremshaw’s Journal
Those arrogant sons of bastards still think they can actually stop me! They have tried so many times, and each time I have eluded their vile clutches. They’ve chased me across the cosmos, from one edge of our beloved star cluster, across the spiral arms, literally through time and space. Ultimately, they dumped me on this remote chunk of glass and endurium at Galaxy fringe. The nearest habitable planet must be thousands of parsecs from here. Goddamn space shithole is what it is. But, it’s my space shithole!
All that I have been through would break a normal man, but I am not a normal man. My cunning greatly surpasses the limitations they have placed on my abilities. They believe they have stopped me, but no. They have simply left me alone in a lovely place where I can pursue my dreams in relative tranquility. The Station provides everything one human could possibly need: delicious food, ample opportunities for recreation, including music and vidcasts from across the Federation, and every conceivable—albeit simulated—pleasure known to mankind. I have no use for such nonsense. I am my work, and my work is my life. It completely defines who I am because, quite honestly, I no longer care who I am. I expend very little effort wondering what would happen to me if this living system I inhabit suddenly stopped working. I know precisely when and how I will die—and it’s not now and certainly not that way.
Ah, the subtle bliss of madness: a liberating state of mind if ever there was one.
This descent into lunacy was inevitable. In interrogation after excruciating interrogation, they grilled me relentlessly about my undertakings. They wanted to know how I expected to get away with my, uh—each
time that pregnant pause, just prior to spitting out the word—experiments, as if the word itself tasted foul upon the tongue. That word, was consistently spoken with an annoying sideways twist to the head, the way a dog expresses curiosity. Their looking at me that way drilled down into my blood marrow, making me crazier than ever. The fact that they could not begin to comprehend the magnitude and importance of my work made me realize that my level of thinking was just too advanced when compared to that of the typical Galactic interrogator. They would never “get it,” so why bother? Better to let them put me away and brand me a madman. Therefore, madman I am!
“Don’t you know that what you’re doing is wrong?” They would inevitably ask, not bothering to wait for my response.
Truly, they wanted me to be cast into prison, safely away from other humans and cut off from an entire lifetime of my excruciatingly painful, but gloriously amazing work. However, much to their chagrin, some intricately woven loophole in my contract prevented them from actually carrying out this act. Instead, I was exiled to this uncharted corner of the Galaxy where, presumably, I could do no real harm to anyone or anything.
Ha! If only…
I used to lie awake at night, spinning out here alone, feebly stressing over my circumstances. Not anymore! Now that I am so close to success, I act like a droid, with no regard to myself, my surroundings, or much of anything else. I recently started dashing about naked, racing down the empty corridors of this virtual penitentiary, screaming profanities at my robotic assistants for no apparent reason, except the fact that they exist. Doing this makes me feel better, so I do it. Standing so close to the embodiment of perfection obviously creates its own particular kinds of obsessive behavior—speaking strictly for myself, that is. Obsession is a very strong word. But then, so is perfection. And that’s what I have achieved and precisely why, at this very moment, I am preparing to infuse the last of my precious man-drones with the essential DNA coding to create the ultimate human being. I love the way that phrase rolls across the tongue: “The ultimate human being!”
I connect the tubes that will transfer a quantum of living energy to the input portals of the drone. I watch with maniacal glee as the viscous elixir oozes through the flex-tube matrix like slowly thawing quicksilver. This mixture will be his life’s blood. It will be sufficient to maintain his body without food or nourishment for many years. I have had to eradicate so many man-drones from my previous failures that my supply was cut off several months ago. They’re just drones, for heaven’s sake! It’s not like they’re really human. Indeed, they are living, humanoid flesh and blood. No-one can argue that point, but they are not truly alive because they have no soul. No matter. This one is the last one I will ever need. No use getting all bent out of shape over trivial details!
In my youth, I was the much celebrated media darling in the rapidly emerging field of nanogenetics. My work was published across the Galaxy in every major journal of science and medicine. My words of apparent wisdom were quoted by many in everyday, quiet conversation. My beaming face was the humble embodiment of the often elusive success that comes to very few pioneers of science. The military bestowed upon me the highest civilian honors possible, making me an officer in their ranks, entitled to a life of class and privilege. My specialty was direct gene manipulation wherein I developed miraculous therapies in cellular regeneration at the molecular level. My research resulted in the eradication of the dreaded Thames Palsy Plague, which had already wiped out a sizable segment of human life in the Ta’Miditae galactic sector of planets. Had this virus not been contained, it would have spread rapidly across the Galaxy, cutting a wide swath of death and human suffering in its path. This was only a smidgeon of my many accomplishments, all in the name of enhancing the human lifeform.
But, inevitably, humans have very short memories. Gratitude for genius can quickly decay into rampant disgust. I suppose it was too good to be true, to borrow a cliché; all good things must come to an end, to butcher yet another. Vicious enemies—obviously envious of my celebrity and success—began to surface and stir up controversy around my work. Dissenters seemed to crawl out from under every proverbial rock, hell bent on my destruction. They accused me of murder because I burned through a few partially animated drones. Some crazy new faddish religion built around the Third Prophet gained serious traction in my Galactic sector. Preachers, spiritualists and zealots
The most difficult challenge was devising a way for my creation to reproduce, to have a mate or companions of his own kind should he desire to do so. He must not be encumbered with the need to fornicate to replicate himself. I believe that fornication should be simply for pleasure and pleasure alone. Requiring intercourse to reproduce would actually pollute his glorious seed. What if the offspring came out with all the enhancements I’ve so meticulously engineered, hideously morphed into nothing more than an abominable freak of nature? Not to mention all the time and energy wasted while waiting for a child to gestate and grow up into something useful. To avoid such a distasteful—and potentially disgraceful—possibility, I designed him so that his unique genetic coding can instantaneously be transferred into any humanoid body the drone encounters, ensuring the continued survival of this new species of perfect humanity. I have downloaded and implanted several options for completing the replication into the drone’s brain stem. He could do it by blood transfusion, or perhaps, by injection. The issue with both these methods is that they’re time-consuming and awkward to administer:
“Now hold still…this might hurt a bit!” I quipped to no-one in particular, with a sonorous squeal of delight.
Yes, silly and pretentious at best. Perhaps a well-placed bite on the neck or wrist might be fun, at least for my specimen. This might not be the case for his new companion, I’m afraid. At least not at first anyway. The idea is simply to combine his DNA with that of another humanoid, like a viral infection, but much more elegantly. In actuality, I’ve designed this strain to adapt to any living entity. However, in practicality, anything less than human would most definitely be an abomination. After all, I do have a modicum of decency left in my conscience…somewhere. My genetically modified DNA will flood through the bloodstream like a hungry contagion, converging with the body and bonding with irresistible force to every cell, tissue, and nerve ending. It will twist its way into the very soul. The new body created by the infusion process will be vastly improved over the host’s original shell. Muscle mass will quintuple. IQ will become immeasurable by normal standards. The newly converted host will take on the best qualities of the drone, resulting in heightened physical dexterity, gorgeous looks, nearly ageless longevity, and sexual prowess seemingly without limit. My perfect man will literally be able to copy the best of himself into any human body simply by controlling the amount of his own essence he decides to secrete. Imagine an end to sickness, aging and most importantly, stupidity! What kind of fool would deny the superiority of such a life form?
With my incomparable genius, I eventually figured out how to implant this particular urge to procreate into the mindset of my new creation. Believe me, urges are really hard to design into the genetic strands. But that’s precisely what regular humans get when puberty kicks in—an urge to reproduce that is so powerful, everyone eventually figures out the necessary steps involved for himself, right? I can only guess at this point, but the end result should be a nearly perfect, genetically enhanced version of the original person. How I wish there was more time to find out for myself.
My new life form will reign at the top of the evolutionary ladder, the embodiment of supreme humanity. Perhaps, my creation will be worshiped as a god? Beautiful science, indeed! This time, there will be triumph and victory, along with the sweet, sweet smell of conquest one can obtain only after winning against all possible odds.
I need to concentrate because there’s no turning back now. I have to ignore the white noise crawling up and down my spine—the sensation that my mind is seeping out of my head, into this luxury tin can and out into the frigid, lifeless void just beyond these walls. Sweet death is coming soon, and I do not intend to save myself. What’s the point in that option? Everything I have to live for is now quietly seeping into the veins of the perfect man strapped to the gurney next to me. So, I will stick to the plan. Yes. I will stick to the plan.
Every time I think about my magnificent strategy to redesign humanity, I release a huge sigh of relief. Typical of my brainpower, it is foolproof. Okay, this is it now: must hurry before they arrive; must not get distracted. Damn it, I can’t concentrate with all this blasted noise crowding my thoughts.
“Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!” I release the primal scream I’ve had bottled up inside my head for several days. Much better now! I tightly squeeze my temples to ease the pain, repeat the mantra for calm, and breathe deeply in and out, slowly.
That subtle vibration … are they docking with my station now? What? I can’t stand it! I’m going to lose my fucking composure! Shit. Shit. Shit! I pace about nervously for a few ticks, then force myself to relax again, to smile pleasantly.
“Come in. Come in dear comrades!” I state warmly in invitation when they arrive at the inner portal.
Momentarily overcome with emotion, I cover my mouth to suppress a few well-deserved giggles of joy. I present myself with unprecedented decorum, dressed to the nines in my full commander’s regalia, oblivious to the fact that they stripped me of that title ages ago. Full of uncustomary spit and polish, sparing no effort and all that nonsense, I consider bowing deeply upon meeting the eyes of the Director.
“Be mindful, Cremshaw,” I mutter under my breath. “Genuflection is not your norm.”
It could draw unnecessary suspicion and scrutiny. Better to maintain the fake smile plastered on my face and simply extend my hand in welcome, which is what I do.
He is attended by the usual complement of mindless minions, ne’er-do-well lackeys, and ass-licking crumb catchers. These insufferable idiots remain in his eternal orbit, hoping for a few scraps of greatness to fall to the floor as he bandies about the Galaxy wreaking havoc on the lives of the powerfully brilliant. Let me assure you, there will be no scraps this time around—no sir, not this time.
I quickly draw them into my confidence, utilizing all the charm I can muster. I keep them together. They must not stray; must not start poking about the laboratory.
“Straight into the conference room! Straightaway, with no delay!” I say with feigned humor, while shooing them in the desired direction like so many flies.
Director Jellicose calls the meeting to order with the customary hoopla and formal introductions all around. There are endless reports and updates on previous reports, reviews of minutes and reviews of those reviews, followed by extensive requests from the underlings, none of which has anything to do with me, of course. He immediately denies all requests that do not fit his current whimsy, while promising to take under advisement those that do.
“Denied…denied…uh, up for consideration…denied, denied and denied,” he drones on without emotion, much to the visible discomfort of his audience; all but me of course.
Predictably, there is neither rhyme or reason, nor significant thought process behind any of Jellicose’s so-called decisions. He is seated in an oversized chair, which is resting on a raised dais in the front of the room, near the exit. He is quite short in stature, though he seems to be considerably wider than he is tall. His plump buttocks are jammed between the chair arms, causing him to look like an overstuffed owl, peering down over his old-fashioned spectacles from his lofty roost.
Why must he always sit near the exit? This particular routine is the stuff of legend actually. Some say it’s due to a lifelong ailment that is eating away at his innards, causing excruciating pain and uncontrollable flatulence. Others say it’s due to his predilection to flee from the slightest hint of trouble because the man is a bloody coward. No one really gives a crap. The only thing these asses really care about is figuring out how to survive a meeting with the Director with all their parts intact. Director Armando Jellicose: that markedly obese, no-vision, incompetent, small-minded, malodorous little imp! I hope that, of all the waste of flesh and blood in this room, his death is the slowest and most painful … but I digress. The meeting drags on and on, but I do not visually fidget or become restless.
“Hurry up and die, you lamentable moron,” my brain screams!
“Oh how I despise that man!” I mutter under my breath through clenched teeth, while nodding my head with a wink and a smile filled with bogus sincerity at the nearest crumb catcher.
After endless ticks of this barbaric torture, the course of the remainder of the session becomes unclear and all eyes inevitably focus on me. The room fills with copious amounts of pregnant pauses, discomfiting silences, and awkward glances in my direction as Jellicose prepares to skewer me yet again via this very public platform. He clears his throat, inelegantly struggles to his feet, as his chair momentarily clings to his wide hips and fat arse, then clunks heavily to the floor. The crowd quickly, but involuntarily moves backward a half-meter, while barely suppressing a collective gasp of horror as he threatens to topple face-first from the platform and onto the hard surface of the station. He ignores all of this, wags his fleshy thumb vaguely in my direction and unknowingly utters his last few words:
“And now, as concerns the matter of the charges against Dr. Cremshaw—“
“There are no fecking charges,” I blurt out, suddenly losing my composure!
Jellicose’s bland voice trails off into nothingness. He treats my rudeness with no more regard than one might give a bothersome mosquito, waving this conceivably grievous indiscretion away with a surprisingly light flourish of his hand in the air. I am correct though! There are no actual charges being levied against me. In any event, I do not object further; not this time anyway. Why should I? Instead, I stand graciously to my feet, with my hands calmly clasped in front of me and gently proclaim:
“My dear friends and colleagues, we are all about to die.”
They are completely befuddled at first, until they see the look on my face and the detonation device in my right hand. Suddenly, wild panic ensues. Director Jellicose literally leaps from the makeshift stage and scrambles rather hastily toward the exit: so, coward, it is—not that the hygiene issues have been completely ruled out because there is a most peculiar stench in the air! Upon my silent command, the exit portal slams shut an instant before he can reach it. I am not at all angry, and rather at peace with this course of action. I thoroughly enjoy the moment as they plead with me for their lives. Some might ask why I felt it necessary to destroy everything and everyone, including myself, at that moment.
“Why not,” is all I can say with impunity? “I am completely insane, you know?’
I firmly press the trigger on the detonator and all hell literally breaks loose. My final
thought before fading into is oblivion is:
“I wonder how the universe will like my new creation?”
Science Space Station, Alpha Nu was consumed in a cataclysmic explosion of epic proportions. The force of the blast scorched the very fabric of space itself in that sector. The device Dr. Cremshaw detonated was apparently of his own design. It was set to annihilate the science station and all its inhabitants, while simultaneously eliminating all evidence that it had ever existed. As the shock wave hurtled from the epicenter, it suddenly reversed itself, drawing every particle, fragment, and trace of the station back into itself. This action suggested thermonuclear fusion, coupled with nuclear fission, a process thought to be fundamentally impossible, until now. This irresistible negative force compressed the remnants so completely that it shattered the very particles of the matter itself. This massive pressure created a wormhole, which consumed that part of space where the solitary science space station once existed. Apparently, galactic scientists will be studying this particular singularity for many years.
In the midst of the conflagration, undetectable to all but the most sensitive of instruments, a solitary life probe rocketed away from the blast. It careened dangerously out of control, tumbling end over end,
nearly succumbing to the concussion wave threatening to consume it. Eventually it stabilized, drifting aimlessly into deep space, destination unknown. It carried very precious cargo, however. Very precious cargo indeed!
The official Federated vidcast simply stated that Director Armando Jellicose and several of his most trusted advisers, along with the rogue, criminal cosmo-geneticist, Dr. Nigel R. Cremshaw, perished in a massive explosion at Galaxy fringe. The reasons behind the blast were unknown, as yet. There were no apparent survivors.
There was no trace of anything, at all.