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I believe that the best things in life are free and should not be owned and controlled by some faceless corporation or shadowy publishing/record company. The creative process and its results should be democratic and accessible too all... Thats when I discovered the creative commons community. No, I'm not a communist, not even that much of a lefty, but I've figured out that restrictive copyright practices with its inherent exclusions limits the growth of many creative pursuits. Admiral Bob, one of the finest exponents of this culture puts it like this; “artists can and should contribute content to culture that is unhampered by the kind of restrictions that treat art like an imprisoned thing: don’t alter it, don’t move it onto a different device, don’t copy it, don’t even listen to it unless you re-license it”. The net result, I believe is a bland sameness that seems to permeate most popular culture. Profitability generally doesn't equate to quality. Quality doesn't always lead to commercial success. This work is probably an example of both! I'm not against commercial reward for art, its entirely necessary but I'd much rather give something away for nothing. Thats just me.
I'd like to invite you all to take a little time to read and listen to this book and its music as I release each chapter every two weeks. Mirror Mirror is a self published serialized multimedia e book combining fictional sci-fi fantasy with DRM free music. Each chapter has its own original song written and produced in collaboration with the talented artists on ccmixter.org. . If you are unfamiliar with creative commons licensing, a good place to start is the creative commons website. I'm blogging on my Blogger page and the updated ebook is published on Scribd. All music and its attributions for can be found on my home page on ccmixter.org Here , I'll be uploading the stems and raw vocal tracks and encouraging anyone out there to remix, cut up or mash this original content to your hearts content. So here's the first two chapters of “Mirror Mirror” and the first two songs from the cc concept album of the same name.
Song Title: Mirror Mirror
Genre: Dance/Pop M usic: Spinmeister Arrangement /Production/Remix : Scomber Lyrics: Scomber Vocals: Sassygal Backing Chatter: Jacinda Espinosa = Download this track
Three seconds of chat
It didn't seem that much at first. Corey Mason, second year geek at Arizona State University, pored over a trail of computer printouts from one end of his room to the other. It had been three years since NASA lost the twin Mars missions, and notably the university had lost a huge opportunity to get their instruments into space before the current window closed. It would be another six years until Mars was in such an easy-to-get-to position. Most people had moved on to the next mission, their budgets cut by a third. Drawn out congressional inquiries into the failure of the two missions found the ordinary things. The rocket guys concluded that the onboard navigation system had somehow set the thruster jets of the orbiter five percent askew. When the probe tried its first aero braking pass of Mars it hit the atmosphere at the wrong angle, where it probably took a perilous fiery nose dive to the red planet, burning up. For a successful braking, the orbiter needed to intercept the thin atmosphere within 1 degree of its nominal entry angle. Too shallow an entry angle will cause the probe to skip off the atmosphere back into space like a pebble on a pond. Too steep
an entry angle would cause it to dive and burn up in the atmosphere. At a velocity of 6.8 km per second, a temperature of 1650 °C and peak G forces of 12 times Earth's gravity, the margin for error is slim. The Americans blamed key European components and one billion dollars was lost in space. While this was all occurring, the other craft speeding towards Mars, the one containing the lander was only 800,000 kilometres from insertion. As the lander approached the red planet it served as a relay station, accepting the extra data and bandwidth from the orbiter as its partner used the thin Martian atmosphere to slow itself down. The plan was once the lander reached Mars and was ready to land near the north pole, the roles would reverse. The Orbiter, safely in orbit, would receive high bandwidth data from the lander and then transmit it back to Earth. The first craft, the orbiter, stopped transmitting 15 seconds after the thrusters were first fired, 480 km above the Martian surface. It got worse. Twelve and half hours later the second craft, the lander, in the words of the chief NASA Engineer, “just disappeared from the screen”. Silence. Complete loss of contact. Not even the hum from its ion propulsion system could be detected by any of the large earth-based radio telescopes. It couldn’t have hit Mars after losing contact, with its last course setting it past Mars and out beneath the ellipse below the orbit of Jupiter in three years time. The Mars hoodoo had struck again, and those little green men must have been laughing at their neighbour's folly. The printout that Corey had stretched before him was a jumble of zeros dashes and crosses. Eight metres of paper represented
the last 15 seconds of the orbiter. But these were not the transmissions received by the approaching lander in relay mode. Although they were weak, they were definitely the first hand transmissions directly from the orbiter. Corey had already spent enough time looking for aliens by staring at SETI data to know that it just didn’t look right. The image/positional data matrix didn’t flow the way it should, especially for a moving object. Three small southern hemisphere radio telescopes had been tracking the telemetry of the craft in the final stages of the insertion for navigational purposes only but not collecting the rich data. This was collected by the larger northern hemisphere dishes that were better positioned for collecting a larger data stream. But a student in Australia, had collected the data inadvertently while studying the magnetosphere of Mars. He had used the extra listening bandwidth of his telescope not being used by the Mars mission. The relatively small sized dish at Siding Springs was rarely pointed at something so close, so this was his opportunity to test some of his ideas. The observatory was primarily an optical one, known world wide for its large refractor telescope. Because the dish was so precisely focused on the spacecraft approaching Mars - any stray radio waves, like the two spacecraft talking to each other, send a small echo across the region rippled across other frequencies. Accidentally, this was detected and recorded. Corey had met Charlie Blake on the internet in a space nerd chat room. Corey was particularly interested in space forensics. For every ten payloads launched into orbit he said, two experience some sort of failure, and three literally blew up at launch. That’s five angry and anxious investors each wanting to know what happened to their 300 million dollars.
Corey needed a contact that could look at the heavens from the southern hemisphere. Charlie wasn’t your ordinary student. He was 56 or maybe 62, full blooded Aboriginal and the type of person that didn’t say much, but when they did, it was very timely and intuitive. He started working at Siding Springs as a cleaner ten years ago. Head astronomer Ray Phillips would often chat to Charlie and was amazed with Charlie’s knowledge of the night sky and the movement of the planets. Twelve months later Ray offered him the position of onsite trainee with a four year external science degree. Ray had filled out his application and sent it off to the department, putting his age down as 36. He got the position, but even better, the ABC did a human interest story on him that became a rare media nugget for the embattled Science Minister of the time. Aboriginal done good. Charlie was king of the kids. He could sit at the controls of two radio telescopes and three optical telescopes. No more scrubbing toilets and floors. Corey picked up the phone. “Well I say its only 10.30 in the evening in Coonabarabran.” he said as he dialed Siding Spring’s number. Charlie was in the control room. Most of the regular staff were off on their Christmas break and it was basically just Charlie and Ray Phillips, ten years older and still hadn’t taken a holiday. Ray and Charlie were camping out, the desk strewn with pizza boxes and beer cans, with all their optical telescopes pointed towards Venus, which was just about to be eclipsed by the moon.
An ordinary telephone ringing in the computer control room seemed odd amongst the screens and control panels, but Ray with a wry smile and a raised eyebrow picked up the phone. He nodded a few times, grunted and turned to Charlie. “It’s ET calling home”. Charlie wheeled himself over on the government issued gas lift chair. “Hey Corey, my junkyard pal”, his voice silken and calm. Corey wound into an excited mess of details, like a young child telling a very big secret. “Slow down Yankee. Start from the beginning.” “Well, it’s like this.” Corey explained, calming himself down. “The data you sent me on Mars Express was good enough for me to reconstruct the full 128 bits from the Orbiter craft’s last fifteen seconds. But get this; about 3 seconds before the end of transmission, the positional data is different to the final data relayed to earth by the approaching lander. It’s as if someone had edited a tape, cut out three seconds, and replaced it with a copy of the previous three seconds. But this will blow you away; the exact length of the “splice” is 3.12 seconds. That’s Pye dude. I know enough about the processors on board both craft to know that this number just can’t happen.” Charlie took a breath considering his response. “Are you sure it’s not just your decoding algorithm giving you a false result on the data.” “No way, because I lined it up with the other positional data and I still kept on getting the same answer”. Corey stated defensively. Corey upped the tempo. “I’ll email you the full matrix .Why don’t you take a look at it overnight and call me in the morning.” The hairs on the back of Charlie’s neck stood on end as Charlie
realized that he might be able to explain the repeat of 3.12 seconds. Last week he had helped install a new receiver on the secondary radio dish and knew a bit about parabolas. He had better think about it further before he jumped to conclusions, “I’ll call you in the morning”. He paused. “You know I bet if went out into the bush I could find a grass tree exactly 3.12 metres high. And wasn’t that Michael Jordan fella 3.12 metres high?. And if I dropped a penny from a twenty metres high it would hit the ground 3.12 seconds….” Corey interrupted. “I get your point…. But please…just take a look at the pretty pictures Charlie. Bye dude.” Corey hung up the phone and walked over to his PC and emailed the full file to Charlie. Charlie wheeled himself back over towards the main console, catching Ray’s gaze briefly and secretly hoping that he hadn’t shown his excitement too much to his boss. Charlie gestured and asked Ray. “What you say we swing the gear around to Mars for a little while before the guys get back on Monday.” Ray laconically said “Are those Americans still looking for Elvis? Don Crouchly reckons he saw him in that new deli in town.” Charlie had known Ray long enough to know a joke meant yes. Ray lifted his eyebrows. “I’ll give you a full 14 hours.” Charlie smiled, his white teeth glowing in the low light of the control room.
Song Title: Bitter Pill
Genre: Blues/Rock/Soul M usic: Admiral Bob Arrangement /Production/Remix : Scomber Lyrics: Scomber Vocals: Scomber Backing Vocals: Sassygal = Download this track
A bitter pill
That day Corey was on a high. He packed away his printouts and decided to head down to the Three Stags to sink a few celebratory ales. The bar was only a short walk across the campus grounds and then a shortcut through the car park of a seedy motel that rented rooms hourly to truckers and other passer-by’s. He walked in about 8 o’clock to find the regular suspects assuming their usual Thursday night positions. The carpet reeked of stale beer and a small but committed crowd played some pool sinking back some bourbon and beer. The jukebox was playing a Hendrix tune that was weaving its way through the thick smoke. “Scuse me while I kiss the Sky”…. Corey nodded hello to a few regulars and approached the bar for a drink. The bar girl was slim and attractive. “Well, Hi there Mr Starman.” She cooed, pouting and wiggling her hips as she positioned herself in front of the beer taps. All of Corey’s university buddies had tried to woo Lisa but without success.
She had finished her freshman year still loyal to her Jimmie who backed on to her folks’ farm in North Dakota. “Set me up with a supernova and a black hole chaser, thanks Lisa.” Lisa leaned on the tap and pulled a beer the way only she knew how. “What’s the matter Corey, you look rather too cheery tonight.” She said as she cracked open a new bottle of Jack Daniels. He shook his head. “All I can say Lisa, is that I think I’ve stumbled across the biggest cover-up since Watergate.” “What, the stars not going to shine tonight hun?” she questioned, mildly interested. “Stargate I think is already taken.” “If I told you about it I would have to kill you.” He said continuing that old corny line. She finished pouring the beer and leant over the bar, her eyes large and doe like. “Don’t worry, you can go ahead, I’m already in the bad books with my folks and Jimmie for not coming home for Christmas. There’s just too many assignments and there’s no way this place was going to give me any time off. Besides my old man reckons he won’t pay any tuition fees unless I change my major to something that would help him back on the farm. He reckons reciting Shakespearian sonnets to the hogs wouldn't make them grow any faster.” “Thanks Lisa”. Corey replied as he took his beer and bourbon chaser over to one of the vacant booths near the pool tables. He sat down and stared into his beer. It just didn’t make sense. Surely if a second year student could see something so obvious, so inconsistent, the official inquiries would have too. He trusted the source data that Charlie gave him from the Mars orbiter in its final seconds. But why was the lander data so unblemished?
Up to the point of the lander’s disappearance all communication and relay systems were fully functional. All the lander should do is to amplify the original orbiter data as it approached insertion. If there was a cover-up why would you forget about something so basic? But who would have a motive to change the final data stream, assuming it could be done, when there was so much riding on the success of the mission? Then what had happened to the lander twelve and a half hours later? He sipped his beer and was ready for the chaser. A couple of guys were playing pool at the adjacent table. He turned around in the booth to grab a cigarette and was astonished when he noticed that the large mirror wall behind the booth reflected an image of the guys playing pool. Regular stuff. Same thing but everything backwards. He remembered what his forth grade science teacher had once told him about mirrors. “Right is left, unless left is right. Oh, and tilt one way away and be out of sight”. Mr McDonaugh was a retired World War Two code breaker turned school teacher. It took Corey twelve years to realize what the old Scot really meant. “Face a mirror and hold your right hand up and wave to yourself. You know you are waving with your right hand, even though the person in the mirror is waving with their left.” Mr McDonaugh would demonstrate this to all of his new school students. “Your brain since the age of about one understands mirrors; You brush your hair, clean your teeth, do your make up and it’s automatic. “Now lets say in a mirror you see a person you have never met approach you from behind, him too waving his hand. Is he right handed or left handed?
What if he was flashing up a newspaper headline?” Could you read it? Corey gazed into his bourbon and pondered; What if the distance to the mirror was vast, like Earth to Mars. Even at the speed of light, it took a full 10 minutes for light or a radio signal to reach Earth. What we see now happened 10 minutes ago. The guy playing his shot on the pool table was now right handed, playing from left to right down the table. But the mirror showed a left handed player still playing left to right. Corey looked up and noticed the booths opposite also had mirror backing. He then stood up and he could see the pool players’ reflection in the other mirror but also the reflection of the mirror behind him. He asked Mr McDonaugh’s question again; Right is left unless left is right. It’s all about perception. The 3.14 seconds had to be a reflection (at a distance) of another 3.14 seconds. He looked into and then sipped the rest of his beer and thought that Charlie might be able to figure something out when he spoke to him in the morning. “Is this seat taken?” Corey looked up and was startled to see a woman, probably in her late twenties hiking up her tight short skirt to sit down in the seat opposite in Corey’s booth. “Hi I’m Miranda.” she said. She definitely was too classy to be a local, Corey thought to himself. She had long black hair that framed a set of enormous almond shaped eyes. And those legs, well they definitely weren’t from these parts.
He found it difficult to avoid her ample cleavage as he looked up wondering what to say next. “I’m Corey". He stuttered. "Pleased to meet you Miranda.” She reached forward and grabbed his hand at first like a woman’s handshake but then with an urgency that Corey felt up his spine. “I’m so glad that I’ve found a friendly face at last. My car broke down about twenty miles out of town and I had to endure a trip into town with the scariest tow truck driver I’ve ever seen. “It sounds like you need a drink then Miranda.” “Just ask your girlfriend for a slippery nipple.” She said looking down towards her own breasts. Corey could feel himself blushing as he stood up and headed for the bar. Behind the bar, Lisa was stacking the glass washer and turned her eyes, brightening as she saw it was Corey. “One of your best Slippery Nipples for the lady.” He said. Lisa was shocked for a moment and then began to mouth “You know I can’t drink at work Corey…” Stopping herself short when she saw a rather long set of woman’s legs swaying out of the booth. She hadn’t noticed Miranda enter the bar. “A vodka, bailey’s and pineapple coming up.” She said turning towards the spirits, hoping that he hadn’t heard what she had said. “Who’s the babe, then Corey? Is your sister in town?” “Your guess is as good as mine.” Corey replied shrugging his shoulders. “ ’says her name is Miranda and her car’s been towed here, I’m just a shoulder to cry on.” Lisa had finished making the drink. “Would your lady friend like a cocktail umbrella Corey?” she asked, her tone sarcastic.
“It beats me, but if you want to check her out, come over to the booth and I’ll order a beer.” He said as he turned and tenderly handled that slippery nipple towards the booth that Miranda sat in. She was even more beautiful than he could remember when he left her last time to go to the bar. Her skin was a warm golden colour and her hands strong, her fingers long and slender. ”Now what do you do with your time these days sweetie” she asked batting her eyelids,. “Well I look at the sky a lot”. Corey replied, attempting to be funny. She smiled politely and gestured to her drink, “Have you ever wanted to taste a slippery nipple like this one before? She asked, her lips ready, as if she was ready to say more. Corey reached over and tasted the cocktail, swirling the taste of pineapple and alcohol over his tongue to the delight of Miranda. That was the last thing Corey could remember that evening. He woke up in his room to the sunlight and the chatter of the local robins at his window. He was in bed and butt naked except for his socks. He sat up, head throbbing, his eyes taking a while to focus. He was sure he hadn’t dreamed about Miranda and began to look around for signs that she had been in his room. Nothing. No bra, panties or hairclip, anywhere. Except for a long black trench coat draped over the chair. He sat up and lipped his arms into the warm folds. He couldn't remember her wearing a coat of any kind let alone one so warm and comfortable. It smelt of her, thats for sure. He reached into an inside pocket and found a crisp piece of folded paper. He unfolded it and read it;
Thank You for a wonderful night. I wish my car broke down more often in this neighbourhood. Thanks for all your help Good luck with your Martian chasing I’m sure to see you again soon. Miranda xxx “Some wonderful night when I can’t remember a thing.” He said to himself as he checked his supply of condoms to gage his possible success. He looked down to where he kept his files and was alarmed to find the printout and the disks missing. His panic was short lived when he realized that there would be a copy on his PC and he had emailed Charlie a copy last night. He tried to boot up his PC to find the entire operating system gone. The hard drive had been wiped clean and all the previous data was done. But surely Charlie still had the original data and received Corey’s email. He wet his face with cold water, got dressed and set out for the other side of campus to find Lisa. Maybe she knew what happened last night. He found Lisa in the library where she turned with a brief look of contempt as their eyes met. “So how’s it going loverboy?” she asked. “You tell me. I can’t remember a thing.” Corey beckoned Lisa to sit down in one of the vacant group study rooms. “I’m telling you Lisa, I can’t remember anything after tasting her drink.” Lisa paused. “Yeah, I saw you sip the drink as I brought your
beer over.” “She didn’t even take another sip as far as I know, but handed me back the cocktail, saying something bitchy like “this one is taken”. About five minutes later she stood you up and headed you hand in hand out the door without even a goodbye. I thought you were such a rude bastard”. Corey stood up and gave Lisa a quick peck on the cheek. “Thanks Leese. I’ve got to go”. By the time Corey was half way back to his room, the reality of what had happened hit him. The cocktail was spiked, she had taken him back to the room, fucked him (hopefully) and then taken the data. A hundred questions began to swirl around. Who was she? What had she put in his drink? Why would she want the files? How did she even know what Corey had discovered? He unlocked the door and entered his room and sat down on the bed. He picked up Miranda’s note and read it again. What does she mean by “thanks for your help”? Corey assumed she meant the data matrix, it wasn't like he towed her car. He immediately thought of Charlie. He picked up the phone and called Siding Springs. Ray answered the phone. “Hello Ray, its Corey. Is Charlie about?” Ray swung back on his chair for a moment reaching to capture the data that he and Charlie had spent most of the day collecting. “Sorry Corey, he’s gone walkabout for a couple of days. You just missed him. Says he has to think something over.” “What do you mean walkabout?” Corey sounded concerned.
“It’s an Aboriginal thing to do.” Ray explained. “It’s a bit like you or me going on holidays to recharge the batteries. As far as I know he’d be well and truly bush by now. Oh, but he did give me a message to give you. He said thanks for the data and there's an email I’ll send to you now. He wanted you to see his latest Mars data and I'm just running the comparative for the lazy bastard." “And oh yeah, nearly forgot, he asked me to tell you to look after yourself.”
Next Chapter and track released Sunday 22nd Feb 2010