THE SEED

Written By DTYarbrough

A SCIENCE FICTION SHORT STORY

© Copyright 2011 All rights reserved

THE SEED
“Sir, I think I've found another one,” said Joanna as she entered the office. “I can't believe he's gone unnoticed this long.” “How long?” asked Walter. “It hasn't spread too far, has it?” “A year and a half,” said Joanna. “He's exposed a couple of thousand people at least, and who knows how many they've exposed.” “That's not good,” said Walter. “How sure are you that this is a case of alien contamination?” “There's no other way to explain it,” said Joanna, “assuming he's even remotely correct in his theory.” “Well, let's have it,” said Walter. “What's he come up with?” “A unified theory,” said Joanna. “He calls it A Theory of Everything.” “The Holy Grail of physics,” said Walter. “Well, someone was bound to come up with it sooner or later. What makes this theory so special that you think he's been contaminated?” “It goes against everything we've been taught,” said Joanna. “Then what makes you think he not just some crackpot?” asked Walter. “He shows all the signs of contamination,” said Joanna. “Just like all the others. And if you look at his theory with an open mind, as you've taught me to do, it has the ring of truth to it.” “What other signs have you detected?” asked Walter. “Is he a big Scifi fan?” “He writes Scifi stories, dozens of them, all different.” said Joanna. “I wouldn't be at all surprised if most of them were influenced by contaminated memories.” “But why was he interested in creating a theory?” asked Walter. “You don't just sit down and decide to create a unified theory, even if the seeds of the theory have been implanted in your mind.” “I read all of his Scifi stories,” said Joanna. “He toyed with some alternative explanations for phenomenon to make his stories more unique and interesting. I think he just came up with an alternative explanation that simply explained too many phenomenon to be ignored.” “So how bad is it?” asked Walter. “What would be the impact on the economy and the scientific world in general if the theory gained support?” “It could be disastrous,” said Joanna. “Of course, in the long run, it could be the greatest advance science has ever known.” “So it needs to be controlled,” said Walter. “We don't want this new theory to stop all research just because the research was based on the wrong assumptions. Ninety five percent of all great discoveries are accidental anyway.” “I think he'll listen to reason,” said Joanna. “We've just got to convince him before the aliens find out or someone else discovers the truth in his theory.” “I was kind of hoping this one had a theory about what the aliens wanted when they probed our minds,” said Walter. “Oh well, there's plenty more where this one came from.” “Should I contact him, Sir?” asked Joanna. “Maybe he has some ideas about that too.” “Make it your number one priority,” said Walter. “If he checks out, have our people try to 1

verify some of his more bizarre theories. We all want progress, but we can't just release it all at once. Besides, you know what will happen if the aliens find out what he knows.” “Fortunately he hasn't released any of the information through the normal channels,” said Joanna. “Well, get to him before he does,” said Walter. “This one could be very useful if we can get to him before the aliens recontaminate him.” “Maybe they already have,” said Joanna. “Some of his theories are really out there. They may have already recontaminated him with false memories and ideas to discredit him.” “Thank god they don't kill us to cover up their screw-ups,” said Walter. “They can't erase the contamination, but they can confuse the issue with false contamination.” “Unfortunately that's not always harmless,” said Joanna. “The psych wards are full of examples.” “Be careful with this one,” said Walter. “You can't let him know what you're up to until you know you can trust him to keep our secret. Take as much time as you need to gain his trust.” “I'm gonna have to learn how he thinks if I'm going to figure out what part of his theory was contamination and what was extrapolation,” said Joanna. “Do I have your permission to use the mind probe?” “If you can convince me that he's been contaminated and he's really onto something with this new theory,” said Walter. “He sounds like a prime candidate but we'll need more proof before I can allow you to use the probe. I can't risk you getting cross contaminated unless the benefits outway the risks.” “I've already checked his medical records,” said Joanna. “He complained of a tender spot in the back of his head that was very sensitive to touch. It persisted for a couple of years.” “Sounds like he may have been probed,” said Walter. “But is there anything to this theory or has he already been recontaminated?” “He's happily married and old enough to be my dad,” said Joanna. “The only way I can get really close to him will be in his dreams. I've got to use the probe.” “If you can find one of our people who will back you up,” said Walter. “Or would you prefer that I take a look at this theory?” “Would you Sir?” asked Joanna. “If you could just see the potential.” “I'll look it over this weekend,” said Walter. “In the meantime, find out everything you can about this …?” “D.T.Yarbrough,” said Joanna. “I'll get right on it, Sir.” .................... “You wanted to see me, Sir?” asked Joanna as she entered the office. “I think you've got something here,” said Walter as he gave her back the copy of the theory. “I read it over the weekend. Do whatever you have to do to find out how much of this is true.” “I communicated with him via email,” said Joanna. “He seems really nice but he can't really remember just how he started out with this theory. It was like I said. He wanted something to make his stories unique and ended up with a theory he couldn't disprove. But it's like the chicken and the egg. He can't remember which part came first.” 2

“Well, use the probe to sort it all out,” said Walter. “You designed it. Now you can put it to the real test.” “He has a saying I think you'll appreciate,” said Joanna. “If it doesn't make sense, you've got it all wrong.” “That would mean I've been all wrong about women all these years,” said Walter. “Makes sense to me. I'm starting to like this guy already.” .................... “Carolyn, you didn't erase any of my e-mails, did you?” asked David as his wife entered the room. “No, Dear,” said Carolyn. “Were you expecting one?” “I've been discussing my theory again,” said David. “This guy seems to be pretty interested.” “How did things go at the dentist?” asked Carolyn. “Okay,” said David. “I think I slept through most of the cleaning. I must have been more tired than I thought.” “I could never sleep in a dentist chair,” said Carolyn. “Is that a drop of blood?” “Ouch!” said David as Carolyn touched the back of his head. “Is that tender spot back again?” asked Carolyn. “You need to have your head examined.” “That's what they all say,” said David. “I had it examined five years ago and they didn't find a thing.” “I thought it went away,” said Carolyn. “So did I,” said David. “Well, it's obviously nothing serious.” “But it was bleeding,” said Carolyn. “That blood came from somewhere.” “Keep an eye on it,” said David. “If it happens again, I'll see the doctor.” “I'm going to bed,” said Carolyn. “Don't stay up too late discussing your theory.” .................... After a few more minutes and no new e-mails, David turned off the computer and went to bed. As he slowly drifted off to sleep, he wondered about the person with whom he had been discussing his theory. It wasn't often that he had the opportunity to discuss it with someone as intelligent as this person seemed to be. He wondered why he hadn't returned his last e-mail. Maybe he had decided it wasn't worth his time. Maybe he had found a flaw in the theory. .................... The teacher stood at the front of the class as the papers were passed out. “Did anyone get their own paper?” asked Miss Humphreys. “Raise your hand if you did. Okay then. You may all begin grading the papers. You'll be checking for spelling, punctuation and proper grammar. Put your initials in the upper left corner of the first page. Part of your score will be determined by how accurately you grade the papers.” David looked at the name in the upper right corner of the paper. Joanna Helms. She was the new girl in school. He had developed a crush on her the first day he saw her, but being shy when it came to girls, he had not yet gotten up the nerve to speak to her. Now he would have to grade her paper. He hoped she hadn't made many mistakes. He didn't want to give her a poor grade. But he couldn't just ignore mistakes. It would cost him points. Slowly he began to read the paper. 3

“Wow!” thought David as he read the paper. “Aliens and UFOs. I didn't think girls believed in that stuff.” Then he saw the scribbles on the back of one of the pages. There were several hearts and the letters JH+DY. Joanna Helms loves David Yarbrough. David tried to calm his beating heart. She must have thought she was using a blank piece of paper. David pulled out his eraser and began erasing the notes. It wouldn't do for the teacher to see this. It wouldn't do for Joanna to realize he had seen this. “Mr. Yarbrough!” said the teacher. “You know very well you're not allowed to correct the papers. Pass that one forward and go stand in the corner until the class is over.” David handed the paper to Miss Humphreys on his way to the corner. He had erased the evidence. He hoped he hadn't cost Joanna any points. As class went on, he glanced in Joanna's direction from time to time. Most of the time she seemed to be engrossed in her studies, Then their eyes met and David felt weak in the knees. His heart pounded. The most beautiful girl in the world liked him and to make it even more exciting, she liked science fiction. He couldn't wait till class was over. He was determined to speak to her. Finally the class was over and the students began to file out of the room. Just as David reached the door he heard, “Mr. Yarbrough. Would you please stay after class?” “Yes, Miss Humphreys,” said David as he took a seat in the front row and waited for her to finish what she was working on. “Just exactly what did you change on this paper?” asked Miss Humphreys. “I erased some scribbles from the back of one of the pages,” said David. “There were no mistakes in the paper that I could see.” “Why did you erase them?” asked Miss Humphreys. “Were they your scribbles?” “I don't remember doing it,” said David, “but there they were, just the same.” “So you erased them,” said Miss Humphreys. “I trust you, David. But don't let this happen again.” “Yes, Miss Humphreys,” said David. “Can I go now?” “Yes you may,” said Miss Humphreys. David hurried out the door and down the hallway in an effort to catch up with the other kids. As he rounded the corner, he ran directly into Joanna, sending books flying. “I'm so sorry,” said David. “Are you okay?” “I'm fine,” said Joanna. “I was waiting for you. I wanted to thank you for correcting my paper. What did I misspell? I can't see where you changed anything.” “Your paper was amazing,” said David trying to change the subject. “Are you really interested in science fiction?” “It's only fiction till it actually happens,” said Joanna. “Science is what I'm really interested in.” “Let me help you with those,” said David as he began picking up the books. “Wow, Einstein's Theory of Relativity. That some heavy reading for a seventh grader.” “You should read it,” said Joanna. “It's not all that difficult to read. Making sense out of it? Now that's a whole different story.” “It's hard to understand?” asked David. “In what way?” “It doesn't make a lot of sense,” said Joanna. 4

“If it doesn't make sense, you've got it all wrong,” said David. “Maybe when you're older and wiser. Can I carry your books for you and walk you home?” “No, you don't understand,” said Joanna. “I can't walk you home,” said David with a disappointed look on his face. “Of course you can walk me home,” said Joanna. “I'd enjoy that very much. What I meant was that I think Einstein's got it all wrong. Why don't you read it and let me know what you think.” “I'll take it home tonight and read it,” said David. “Read it now,” said Joanna. “The whole book!” exclaimed David. “You want me to read the whole book now?” “Just a few pages,” said Joanna as she sat down on the school steps and flipped through the pages. “You can read the rest later. Here.” David read for a moment. Then he read it again and finally read it for a third time. “That's got to be a misprint,” said David. “That's the stupidest statement I've ever read.” “Then there are a lot of misprints in this book,” said Joanna. “It was translated from German,” said David. “I like that about you,” said Joanna. “You're never happy with just an answer. You always want to know why. But I don't believe it's a misprint. I'd be interested in hearing why you think he got it wrong. We'll talk more after you've read the whole book.” “Getting back to your paper,” said David. “Have you ever seen a UFO?” “No, but I believe we're being visited,” said Joanna. “I often sit and try to figure out why they would come here and then try to stay hidden. They can't be afraid of us. What do you think?” “I haven't given it that much thought,” said David. “Do you believe all those stories about abductions?” “Probably not,” said Joanna. “It's the ones that don't remember being abducted that concern me.” “Exactly,” said David. “They wouldn't let us remember when they're going through all the trouble to keep their presence a secret. But what about the ones that remember under hypnosis?” “That's another story,” said Joanna. “The subconscious is a tricky thing. Maybe they can't erase it.” “But how can you trust your subconscious,” said David. “Dreams can be so erratic and confusing. And you can do things in your dream that you can't do or wouldn't do in real life.” “With the proper guidance, such as a properly trained hypnotherapist, you can learn how to interpret those dreams,” said Joanna. “You really think so?” asked David. “Hey! What do I know,” said Joanna. “I'm just a kid.” .................... “Hi, Joanna,” said David as he greeted her the next morning. “Can I walk you to school?” “Sure,” said Joanna. “Did you read the book?” “Yeah,” said David. “I see what you mean about misprints. There couldn't have been that 5

many.” “So what do you think went wrong?” asked Joanna. “E=MC2 “ said David. “I'll grant you that energy and mass are interchangeable and a small amount of mass can be converted into a large amount of energy. The constant you would use to make the conversion would be a huge number but where does the speed of light come into the equation.” “And once that particular number, the speed of light in a vacumn, was placed into the equation, all future measurement of Mass when Energy was known, or vice versa, were destined to fit the equation,” said Joanna. “Like someone saying there are twelve inches in a foot. Did the fact that there are twelve of them predetermine the size of the inch or did someone calculate the number of inches in a foot after their lengths had already been predetermined?” “Obviously the number 12 came first,” said David. “And they could have started with any number since prior to that point, the size of the inch had not been determined.” “Just as the ratio of energy to matter had not been determined,” said Joanna. “He had only just discovered that there was a relationship between the two.” “But now that he has used this so-called constant in the formula,” said David, “it just wouldn't do to find out it's not a constant at all. He should have just picked a real constant and not tied it to the speed of light. Now he had to prove that light speed was constant and he couldn't do it. Unless you want to believe in time dilation.” “It really goes downhill from there,” said Joanna. “I'll bet we could come up with a theory that makes more sense.” “Could we possibly do any worse?” replied David. “Of course we'd have to spend a lot of time together.” “I understand,” said Joanna. “You've got better things to do than hang out with me.” “No,” said David. “Let's do it. I can't imagine anyone I'd rather hang out with.” “Where do we begin?” asked Joanna. “Well, there's nothing wrong with the formula if you simply consider C as a constant,” said David. “But he's all wrong about the speed of light being constant for any observer. Let's work on that aspect of his theory.” “We may have to break it down to the very basics of how light works,” said Joanna. “For instance, how can it be a particle and a wave?” “Nobody really knows,” said David. “You really think we can figure that out?” “Two heads are better than one,” said Joanna. “Or do you think we need help?” “Three's a crowd, I always say,” said David. “How hard can it be? It's not like we have to prove it. I'll be satisfied with a theory that just makes sense.” .................... “Good morning, Darling,” said Carolyn as she stirred the steaming pot of oatmeal. “How'd you sleep last night?” “Fine,” said David. “Except I had a dream about being back in grade school. You were in it, or at least someone that looks a lot like you.” “Was she a teacher?” asked Carolyn. 6

“No,” said David. “A seventh grade student.” “You never knew me when I was that young,” said Carolyn. “I thought you said she looked like me.” “The way I imagine you must have looked,” said David. “Like they say, you must have been a beautiful baby.” “What happened in your dream?” asked Carolyn as she sat down at the breakfast table. “I don't remember a lot about it,” said David. “You know how dreams fade in the light of day. But I woke up feeling really happy.” “You don't remember anything?” asked Carolyn. “But you've got my interest. What was she like?” “She's really smart, like you,” said David. “But she likes sci-fi.” “Well, you two should be very happy,” said Carolyn. “You should tell her about your theory.” “I think we did discuss it,” said David. “How romantic,” said Carolyn. “Do you want more orange juice?” .................... “How did things go at church?” asked David. “Are the kids coming over?” “Fine,” said Carolyn. “And yes, they're coming over.” “I'd better take a nap,” said David, “if we're gonna stay up and play cards.” “I wish you didn't have to go to work so early,” said Carolyn. “Can't you get them to change your hours?” “I like getting off early,” said David, “and I can beat the rush hour traffic.” “Did you write anything today?” asked Carolyn. “If you need me to check it, bring it up on the computer before you go take a nap.” “Not today,” said David. “I've been thinking about my theory. I reread some of it today. I can see where some people would have trouble following it. Even I had trouble. When I wrote it, all of the details were clear in my mind, but it wasn't all there when I reread it.” “You have the same problem with your stories,” said Carolyn. “You know what's going on, but sometimes you don't give the reader enough details.” “They're supposed to be short stories,” said David. “If I give them all the details, they won't take the time to read it. And you've got to leave something to the reader's imagination.” “Not when you're writing about your theory,” said Carolyn. “I guess you're right,” said David. “But it's hard to change. The best stories I ever read let me use my imagination.” “Well, not everyone has a great imagination,” said Carolyn. “I guess I'm writing for the ones that do,” said David.“Wake me in a couple of hours if I'm not already up.” .................... “Good morning, Mr. Yarbrough,” said Joanna. “Is David home?” “Come on in and make yourself comfortable,” said David Sr. “I'll let him know you're here.” 7

“Junior, that girl is here again,” said David Sr. as he entered the kitchen. “What do you guys do every day?” “How soon you forget,” said Wilma. “We were young once, remember?” “We just talk about stuff,” said Junior as he headed for the living room. “She's really smart.” “So, he's interested in her brain,” said David Sr. “I keep telling you there was a mixup at the hospital.” “Hi, Joanna,” said David. “What's new?” “Do you want to go to the Saturday matinee?” asked Joanna. “They're showing The Day The Earth Stood Still.” “Sure,” said David. “Hey Mom! Can I borrow a couple of dimes to go to the movies?” “Here's fifty cents,” said Wilma. “You're gonna need popcorn and sodas. Do you need a ride?” “Thanks, Mom. We're gonna walk,” said David as he and Joanna hurried out the door. “I'll pay you back.” “That boy thinks money grows on trees,” said David Sr. .................... “Did you get a chance to read that book about energy waves that I gave you?” asked Joanna. “Yeah,” said David. “It doesn't make sense that a particle can also be a wave.” “But the experiments show that light acts like a wave,” said Joanna. “It can be polarized. How do you explain that?” “What if energy particles such as photons travel in pairs?” asked David. “And they orbit around each other like binary stars. They could only pass through a slit that was oriented to match the plane of their orbit.” “But then they would fail some of the particle tests,” said Joanna realizing that this explanation didn't match his written theory. “Wouldn't they?” “I think you're right,” said David. “You were right when you said two heads are better than one.” “Any other ideas?” asked Joanna. “A particle can't be a wave,” said David. “But what if it did travel in a wavelike pattern?” “Isn't that what you were just describing with the binary star theory?” asked Joanna. “What if it's not interacting with another photon?” asked David. “Maybe it's interacting with something else.” “In space?” asked Joanna. “There's nothing there to interact with.” “Maybe it moves through space in a straight line,” said David. “The Hubble space telescope,” said Joanna. “It can use polarization to enable it to look directly at the sun.” “The what?” asked David. “Hubble space telescope?” “Scientist have taken photographs in space,” said Joanna. “Polarization still works even out there.” 8

“But I still say it can't be a wave or even act like one if there's nothing for it to interact with,” said David. “Are you saying there's something in space that we can't detect?” asked Joanna. “I'm not the first to say that,” said David. “What about WIMPS?” “Dark matter,” said Joanna. “But you're saying it's all throughout space.” “And why not?” asked David. “Do you think it's undetectable because it's hidden only in the far reaches of the universe?” “I hadn't really thought about it,” said Joanna. “But if it's everywhere, how can it be undetectable?” “It's presence has been detected,” said David. “They know it's out there, they just don't know where or what it is.” “But how is it undectable?” asked Joanna. “And why can't we see it?” “Maybe it is detectable?” said David. “But it's interaction with photons, for example, causing them to act like waves would be very hard to detect. Like looking through a telescope at a distant planet. You don't see the lens, just the results of its ability to bend light.” “That's amazing,” said Joanna. “What other properties could this dark matter have that we haven't yet detected?” “The movie's starting.” said David as he held her hand in his. “This is gonna be great.“ .................... “Wow,” said David. “How do they come up with the ideas for sci-fi stories? I really enjoyed that one.” “I have a theory about that,” said Joanna. “If you'd like to hear it.” “Sure,” said David. “What's your theory?” “I told you that I believe we're being visited,” said Joanna. “Yeah,” said David. “So?” “I believe these ideas or at least the seed for these ideas were accidentally implanted into human minds by the aliens themselves,” said Joanna. “Implanted?” asked David. “How?” “I believe the aliens are probing human minds,” said Joanna, “and somehow they unintentionally leave these ideas behind.” “Why are they probing our minds?” asked David. “Military secrets?” “I doubt they'd have any trouble with our military,” said Joanna. “I wish I knew what they're looking for.” “What do you base this theory on?” asked David. “Abductions remembered under hypnosis?” “Yeah,” said Joanna. “That's it. What do you think they are looking for?” “Some new jokes maybe,” said David. “They scour the universe looking for new jokes.” “Very funny,” said Joanna. “I'm serious.” “What could humans know that would be of any interest to a superior race?” asked David. 9

“Maybe it's just curiosity.” “They've traveled light years and hung around here for who know how long just because they're curious,” said Joanna. “Surely you can do better than that.” “Maybe they're here to stop us from blowing up the universe,” said David. “Like in the movie.” “Yeah, right,” said Joanna, “and they're just waiting till the last minute before they do it.” “You're right,” said David. “Stupid idea. Let's change the subject. We were talking about dark matter.” “You were about to tell me what other properties it might have,” said Joanna. “Scientists call them Weakly Interactive Massive Particles,” said David. “If they don't interact with normal matter, then there would only be their interaction with each other to consider. Like forces repel and unlike forces attract. They would be spread evenly throughout the universe.” “With only the repelling force, they would continue to increase this spacing,” said Joanna, “pushing outward in a continuous expansion.” “Like the expanding universe,” said David. “But surely gravity would have slowed or stopped the expansion by now.” “The dark matter would have to be unaffected by gravity,” said Joanna. “Or it would be clumped like ordinary matter and attracted to ordinary matter.” “Unaffected by gravity,” said David. “How is that possible? It must have mass if it can affect photons.” “It would have to be inside normal matter,” said Joanna. “At least matter that light waves pass through.” “You're right,” said David. ”The repelling forces of the other dark particles would force them inside of the very atoms that make up matter.” “Wouldn't it take a great deal of force?” asked Joanna. “There's only the repelling force,” said David. “But without other forces to interfere, wouldn't that be an accumulative force. Imagine particles from here to the edge of the universe all pushing together. It's like a spring with trillions of coils.” “Compressed coils,” said Joanna. “What would happen if matter interferred with this pushing action?” “I'm not sure it could,” said David. “Unless ...” “What?” asked Joanna. “The dark matter inside the normal matter,” said David. “What if it reacted differently?” “What if it didn't push back?” asked Joanna. “Or what if the push was weakened somehow?” “That's it.” said David. “Dark matter isn't affected by gravity because it is gravity. Or at least it causes the effect on matter that we attribute to gravity.” “It pushes matter together,” said Joanna. “That's incredible. But it makes a lot of sense. A whole lot more sense than mass warping space. We're on a roll now. What other mysterious forces can this dark matter explain?” “Pick one,” said David. 10

“Centrifugal force,” said Joanna. “What keeps the planets in orbit?” “Good one,” said David. “Why doesn't gravity, or the dark matter, push the earth and sun together?” “Exactly,” said Joanna. “I'm not sure there is a centrifugal force,” said David. “It's more a case of the inertial force that tries to keep the planet moving in a straight line tangent to the orbital path being counteracted by the force of gravity. When they are equal, an orbit is maintained.” “But the gravitational forces of the Sun would decrease over time as it burns its fuel,” said Joanna. “But the mass of the planets would actually increase due to solar particles. They should eventually fly off into space.” “Good point,” said David. “So there is some other force at work.” “Is it the dark matter?” asked Joanna. “How does it explain this?” “What would happen to these dark matter particles if you placed a spinning object in their midst?” asked David. “The dark particles within the object would follow the spinning motion of the object,” said Joanna. “Their motion, near the surface of the object would set external particles into motion. You would end up with a rotating disk of dark particles on a plane perpendicular to the equator.” “Now place a smaller object within this orbiting plane so that its speed is syncronized with the speed of the dark particles in the plane,” said David. “The dark particles are no longer pushing it toward the sun, but along an orbital path.” “You'd have a permanent orbit,” said Joanna, “as long as the rotating plane existed. But the outer planets would move at incredible speeds.” “Not really,” said David. “The disk isn't solid. There would be slippage. The farther out from the sun, the slower the particles would orbit.” “I'd have to check the numbers,” said Joanna. “But that sounds like it's pretty closely matches the relative speeds of the planetary orbits, speeds that couldn't be attributed directly to Einstein's theory of relativity.” “Wake up, David,” said Carolyn. “It's been two hours. You won't be able to sleep tonight.” “I'm up,” said David. .................... “How is the mind probe working out with our new subject?” asked Walter. “Great,” said Joanna. “I think he's got something with this new theory. I've learned a lot about his thinking process, but he's figuring it out without the alien memories. I'm not sure he was contaminated.” “Was he probed?” asked Walter. “I'm not sure,” said Joanna. “But I'm gonna have to try something I've never done before if we're gonna find out.” “What's that?” asked Walter. “Hypnosis while inside a dream,” said Joanna. “Theoretically it should work.” “I guess you know what you're doing,” said Walter. “Keep me informed of your progress. Oh, I almost forgot. It seems that your subject may have been the last one the aliens probed, if he was 11

probed at all. We're not finding any new cases that were probed within the last five years. The aliens may have actually gone home.” “Keep looking,” said Joanna. “We almost missed this one.” .................... “David,” said Joanna. “I've got to tell you a secret.” “What is it?” asked David. “This is all a dream,” said Joanna. “Then don't ever wake me,” said David. “Are you serious?” “We're both dreaming,” said Joanna. “We're both from the 21 st Century and I used a mind probe to enter your dream.” “Right,” said David. “You're an alien from Alpha Centauri.” “I'm serious,” said Joanna. “And I'm not an alien.” “Prove it,” said David. “Prove I'm not an alien?” asked Joanna. “How do you prove you're not an alien?” “No,” said David. “Prove that this is all a dream.” “Well, that's easy,” said Joanna as she lifted off the ground and began to fly around. “Can I do that?” asked David. “It's a dream,” said Joanna. “You can do anything.” “Wait a minute,” said David. “If we're from the 21 st century, that would make me an old man.” “A wise and mature man,” said Joanna. “With a theory that could change the world.” “I thought you said the aliens used the mind probes,” said David. “You're not an alien?” “I developed a mind probe using memories that I picked up when the aliens probed my mind,” said Joanna. “I needed to find out if you got your theory from the aliens.” “You want to know why the aliens are probing our minds,” said David. “That's it. Isn't it?” “That's it,” said Joanna. “Well, I have no idea,” said David. “Not now,” said Joanna. “Will you let me hypnotize you?” “You've had me hypnotized since the first day we met,” said David. “But that was all a trick, wasn't it?” “I said you can do anything in a dream,” said Joanna. “But you can't hide your true feelings. I find you very intriguing.” “But that note, JH+DY,” said David. “That was just to sucker me in. Wasn't it?” “You saw that,” said Joanna. “But how?” “It was on the back of that story I graded in class,” said David. “Just a school girl's scribbles,” said Joanna. “You shouldn't have paid any attention to that.” “You can't hide your true feelings,” said David. “Do what you have to do.” 12

“You realize those aren't my feelings in real life,” said Joanna. “You're old enough to be my father and you're married.” “I am,” said David. “Do I have any kids?” “Kids and grandkids,” said Joanna. “You're very happy as far as I can tell. And you don't even know me.” “I'm gonna miss you,” said David. “Not for long,” said Joanna as she removed her necklace. “I'm just a dream. Now, listen to the sound of my voice and concentrate on the necklace. I want you to move forward in time to the year 2005. Now slowly move forward until you become aware of an alien presence.” “Where are you now?” asked Joanna. “I'm lying on a metal table,” said David. “I can hear the aliens but their lips aren't moving.” “What are they saying?” asked Joanna. “I'm not actually hearing words,” said David. “It more like thoughts. I know why they're here.” “Why are they here?” asked Joanna. “Planets like Earth are extremely rare in the universe. They are looking for new worlds to colonize,” said David. “Why are they probing our minds?” asked Joanna. “To determine if we are worthy of such a planet,” said David. “Or if we are destined to destroy it.” “And if we are destined to destroy it?” asked Joanna. “They can't let that happen,” said David. “They'll destroy us first.” “Are they going to destroy us?” asked Joanna. “They're arguing amongst themselves,” said David. “One of them is arguing that our technology has surpassed our knowledge. He says we only stumbled upon what few answers we've found, building on the work of others that stumble in the darkness.” “That's doesn't sound very promising,” said Joanna. “Another one is arguing that this one has shown independent and original thinking that will lead the humans out of the dark ages,” said David. “Is he talking about me? They're taking a vote.” “Well?” asked Joanna. “What happened?” “It's 4 to 1 to destroy us,” said David. “Can you talk to them?” asked Joanna. “You've got to convince them.” “Wait,” said David. “It has to be unanimous. They're not going to destroy us. They're going home. We've got another Krognor to get things right before they come back.” “A Krognor?” asked Joanna. “One hundred of their years,” said David. “What's that in earth years?” asked Joanna. “Your guess is as good as mine,” said David. “Am I going to remember any of this?” 13

“No,” said Joanna. “But I will. What about your theory? Did they say that you had it right?” “Just that I showed independent and original thinking,” said David. “They could have been talking about one of your sci-fi stories,” said Joanna. “I write sci-fi stories!” exclaimed David. “Wow.”

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