INT. SCIENCE POWER POWERFUL SCIENTIFIC COUNCIL ROOM--DAY
This large, mostly silver and gray mission control center has brightly, multicolored cyberpunk flair on so many gee-wow panels, dials, touch-screen button grids, keyboards and various controls, and large TV displays. The TVs all display space tactical warfare, aerospace or space simulation video game sessions, etc. in progress. Large windows overlook beautiful, well-kept lawns and gardens.
On both sides of a long conference table are TWELVE OFFICIALS, all 45, all male and white, all of them blonde, tweedy and twitchy, all biologically identical. At the head of the table sits OARACK BOBAMA, 53, black, with a dignified if a bit ostentatious demeanor, HON JOLDREN, 71 yet rather youthful for his age, male, white, plucky, optimistic and fairly tweedy, and BARLES CHOLDEN, 68, black, male, bright-eyed and affable. He has a pen in hand and a notepad, which he hastily scribbles notes and doodles on, almost nonstop.
All of them are dressed in dark suits, dress shirts and ties.
BOBAMA is deeply immersed in a space combat simulation on an electronic tablet.
Officials one through twelve simultaneously and gently clear their throats, in a slow, perfectly synchronized rhythmic stutter. Cholden looks at them with unease.
What? Oh, my apologies gentleman. Ever played this?
The Officials all reply in exactly the same tone, in exactly the same way, with perfect synchronization.
We created it.
Cholden becomes a bit panicked, and breaths in sharp, shallow breaths.
Oh yes, I forget. I didn't create it.
Welcome all to the twenty-eighth--
Forgive me, but it creeps me out a little bit when you all do that. Do you all really think exactly the same things at the same time?
Bobama resumes his immersion in the video game.
No. My apologies. Uh, our apologies.
Thank you for the correction, though. Welcome to the twenty-eighth assembly of the SCIENCE POWER POWERFUL SCIENTIFIC COUNCIL. I will take notes for the proceedings for all of us assembled--
He gestures to each person/group he mentions.
He ignores Bobama's stare of scornful indignation. The Officials all smile the exact same pleased smile, and in perfect synchronization, they all lean back and fold their hands behind their heads. Joldren stifles a laugh. Cholden gestures to each attendee as he mentions them.
Hohn Joldren, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, myself, Barles Choldren, Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and our twelve, uh, trusted Officials. I turn the time over to Mr. President.
Bobama speaks with a slightly menacing tone, slow and insistent.
His Guy the Super Chief Science Guy.
Cholden rolls his eyes and sighs with weariness. Bobama levels him a mildly punishing stare. Cholden takes a deep breath, resigned.
I turn the time over to His Guy the Super Chief Science Guy.
Cholden shows indignant surprise to see that Bobama has apparently not heard him, as Bobama is again immersed in a video game on the tablet. After a long silence punctuated only by sounds from the video game he plays, Bobama is startled by the realization that everyone looks at him expectantly. Bobama assumes a light, chipper tone.
Right. Uh, sorry. Awesome game, that.
Official Two extends a hand toward the tablet, which zips through the air from Bobama's hands into the Official's hand and vanishes up the Official's sleeve.
Your game is saved. Please, Your Guy His Super Chief Science Guy, our business at hand.
There is a long silence.
And, uh, what was--
Joldren chuckles, while Cholden cuts off the President:
The uh, space thingie. Uh, sorry, the--
The New Horizons unmanned craft.
Our New Horizons space probe has reached Pluto, and we saw those awesome close-up images of Pluto which were beamed back to Earth.
Official Six flicks his hand, and an image of Pluto with the brighter "heart" feature appears on all the monitors.
There's a long pause as Bobama looks at the images. He looks to Cholden expectantly.
The most distant planet--
Uh, yes. Mr. President--
HIS GUY THE--
WHATEVER! Mr. President, that is the newest and highest resolution available image of Pluto, beamed back from--
Bobama is overcome with raptured awe, and speaks like a child.
Yes, the space thingie.
Bobama stares at the image for a long time, and puzzlement grows on his face.
But it doesn't even look anything like Mars. Well, sorta.
All the others glance at each other, bewildered.
Does this make America great?
Uh, yes, I suppose so, Mr. President.
Bobama is taken by a sudden teenage-like enthusiasm.
Everyone looks at each other through a long moment of awkward silence.
So how do we make sure that the whole world knows that this means we are awesome?
Well, Mr. President, we could, uh, write some stuff. And publish it somewhere.
Bobama stares at him with expectant enthusiasm.
Uh, maybe a newspaper.
A newspaper that's also a web site, so that it's interactively awesome?
Uh, yes, Mr. President.
Joldren hides his face and chuckles. Cholden and the Officals look at each other, bewildered.
Well, what will we say?
That we have now visited all of the planets and dwarf planets in our solar system, and--
The Officals all gently clear their throats, and Joldren breaks off.
They all break off as Cholden emits a terrified squeal.
Okay, so who is going to write it?
Cholden emits another terrified squeal, covers his ears, stands up, and walks toward an exit.
Stop it, all of you! I think what they were going to say, Mr. President--
Bobama levels a stare of scorn at him--
Begging your pardon, Your Guy His Super Chief Science Guy--no please stay, Mr. Cholden--
Cholden walks through an exit and slams the door behind him.
What we all mean to say is that we are certainly not going to write this. We will leave that to Joldren and Cholden. And we were also going to correct you--we have not yet sent spacecraft to all dwarf planets in the solor system...
He trails off, as he notices that Bobama has another computer tablet in hand, and plays "Flappy Bird" on it. Moreover, Joldren plays a game on a tablet of his own. An explosion sound effect comes from both tablets, and Bobama and Joldren both exclaim "Ohh!" in disappointment.
The twelve officials look at each other in dismay.
Please, Your Guy His Super--
He watches his tablet. He and Bobama both shout "Yes!"
The Officials wait.
Oh, uh...forget it. Meeting adjourned.
Why this? Because Prominent U.S. science leadership (here parodied mercilessly) breathlessly wrote, in a major newspaper, that we ". . . have visited every planet and dwarf planet in our solar system . . ." which statement is a serious blunder over the facts. At this writing, we have sent no spacecraft to Haumea, Makemake, and Eris (the latter of which is about twice as distant as Pluto), and there are at least several other Trans-Neptunian/Kuiper belt objects whose status as Dwarf Planets is proposed/debated.
Formatting courtesy this scrippets WordPress plugin (which supports fountain plain-text screenplay format).
You, Janus Thaddeus, appear to be the only human gifted with the ability to merge into an alternate time-stream.
Here is the book cover art (front half, with titles) for my short Science Fiction story ebook, "TREACHERY."
A version of this with the back cover also and without titles is published in a previous post; here is the link.
Author: Richard Alexander Hall
Publishers: Smashwords, Inc. / Amazon
Smashwords-assigned ISBN: 9781310539671
VERY SHORT DESCRIPTION
Janus Thaddeus, Squadron leader in humanity's final battle of survival, is offered a chance by his enemies to save his race, by way of his unique gift.
SHORT CONTENTS DESCRIPTION
An original science fiction short story with a new and unique take on time travel.
VERY SHORT BARELY SPOILER-EY SUMMARIES
TREACHERY: Janus learns from his enemies how he may save humanity with his unique gift. Features a unique take on time travel.
SHORT SORTA MORE SPOILER-EY SUMMARIES
In TREACHERY, Janus Thaddeus, Squadron leader in humanity's final battle of survival, falls planetside when his fleet is wiped out by orbiting atomic blasts. He is rescued by the intelligent Salamander aliens who wiped out his fleet. Salamander Commander Xenon advises him: "…you appear to be the only human gifted with the ability to merge into an alternate timestream." Salamander Assistant Commander Idan claims that Janus' human family remains alive, despite everything Janus' eyes told him. Janus is offered by these, his enemies, a chance to save his race, by way of his unique gift.
The image linked from this thumbnail is free for personal use.
I'm very pleased with this. It incorporates maps created with the LunarCell, SolarCell, and Glitterati photoshop plugins (the latter in a "starbrite" mode to save the alpha channel of stars, kindly custom coded by the plugin author at my request!–and I think he hasn't yet released a public version with that mode), and other adapted work I've done with a ringed planet, and a 3D render of the planet derived from said textures/maps.
The cyan "shadows" on the rings were an accident–I lit the planet with red (the nebula) from one side and white from the other, and through the translucent green rings, it seems that white light canceled out red and left the rest cyan. No, that may not happen with real physics (or "real life"), so it may not be realistic. This is, um, stylized? And it's, um, a story involving antrhopomorphic extraterrestrial frogs? Yep. K thx. And yes, men, you're going to have a pink and purple book. Get over it.
I'd like to make the borealis more obvious/prominent/realistic, and strictly the planet doesn't have the moons mentioned in the story. Maybe I'll get around to updating it thus.