Sunday, November 16, 2008

Queen Carrie

Queen Carrie

Well it wasn't so hard to get back online after all. Let me catch you all up to date. Note that these posts are being reviewed before I send them out, so I can't post everything that's going on, but I hope you all get the idea.

We climbed into a small inflatable craft after dark, right around moonrise. The harbor lay serene in the glow, and only the slightest of breezes greeted us. The water lapped gently at the side of the boat. Rod fired up the small engine and we set sail towards the dark freighter that lay about 8 miles away.

The boat progressed in uncomfortable silence. I sat next to Misty while Rod sat on the opposite side. Ellie stood in the bow, peering through binoculars for any sign of a threat. We knew that submarines skulked here and there under the water, although this part of the harbor drew too shallow for most of them.

It took the better part of an hour to cross the harbor in the underpowered raft. The freighter loomed dark and foreboding in the moon glow. They had no lights on, the only evidence of activity was a small wisp of steam coming from a smokestack. None of the windows of the bridge of the ship emitted any light.

As we approached the final couple hundred meters, a couple spotlights lit up along the edge of the decking, shining down onto the raft. The lights swayed a bit, indicating the path we were to take on our approach. We finally reached the side of the freighter which towered far above us. They lowered a scaffold used to clean and inspect the hull of the freighter and we climbed aboard. Slowly the scaffold ascended the side of the ship, until we crested the edge of the deck. We stared into the barrels of a dozen guns.

"What the hell," I breathed as the vision of the dozen men became apparent. They all wore gaily colored outfits of what I can only describe at "pirate wear." Bandanas, vests, shirts, leggings, boots, all seemed to be straight out of a Hollywood casting closet. A couple men even brandished swords at us.

The pirates tied our hands behind our backs with nylon ropes and frisked us carefully. None of us were stupid enough to try to carry anything on board. Still, they checked us carefully. As they worked, I looked around the deck of the freighter. Normally, a container ship is kind of like a row boat in that it's just a bottom and walls. This ship had a large deck where the containers usually are stacked. We also could see no lights from the bridge of the ship, and I could see through the windows that the bridge was indeed empty. Apparently they controlled the ship from elsewhere.

The men began to escort us across the deck. Ellie leaned over to me. "I recognize some of these people. It's like a who's who of the most wanted international criminals and assassins."

"So you should fit right in," I replied. She shot me a "not funny" look. We entered a roped-off area that turned out to be a large lift. Someone hit the controls and we began to descend. We dropped only about twenty feet to the next deck. We were in a narrow walkway leading forward and aft. Before us lay a large door, something akin to a bank vault door. Ellie examined the hull.

"This might be radiation shielding. It's an inner hull made of lead I  believe. This probably leads to a 'safe' zone inside."

One of the men nodded. "You'll learn all about it. Through here is our main area, we call it 'The Palace'. Welcome to The Palace."

The door open and as one the four of us gasped. We stepped through the portal into completely unexpected scene. Imagine the main ballroom of the Titanic combined with Jabba the Hut's lair. We were up high on a walkway so we enjoyed a panoramic view of the room which must have comprised a good third of the length of the ship and most of its width and height. It was a good four flights of stairs down to the main floor.

Crystal chandeliers lit the ceiling, with brightly colored banners cascading down the walls. The middle of the floor featured some kind of boxing or wrestling ring, and the far wall on the end projected a movie. Elegant lamps and rugs covered the floors. At the bottom of the stairs we were greeted with a vision in white and gold, almost like a Greek Goddess.

"Hello again, Alex," said Carrie Park from under her golden jewel-encrustedcrown and thick make-up. "Welcome to The Queen Carrie I. This is what we like to call The Palace." She extended her arm and swept it around the place.

"Wow," was all I could say.

"Ms. Nguyen, Mr. Portman, glad we could meet again. Now, as to you, Ms. Galistina, I have something special for you. Men!"

A group of men grabbed Ellie. She screamed at them and fought but they pinned her down. One man produced a knife.

"Carrie, don't!" I cried.

"Wait for it, Ross. We won't hurt her. At least not yet."

The man with the knife began cutting off Ellie's outfit, just her usual SWAT-looking clothes. As she struggled, they got her completely naked. Then they began putting on various pieces of attire, mostly black leather with rivets and chains, something like a dominatrix would wear. The piece de resistance was a heavy choker attached to a couple long metal chains. On command the men jumped off of her and pulled the chains tight.

Ellie went nuts. She pulled on the chains and screamed and hissed and tried to move, but with all the chains attached to her neck she couldn't move far. A chorus of laughter filled the Palace as all the assembled throng gathered to watch. The men led her to the opposite side of the room.

Angry voices filled the room. "You bitch! You killed my brother! You assassinated my father! You stole my money!" I think Carrie might have populated the boat with people all who hate Ellie. The dragged her kicking and screaming up some stairs onto a platform where they bolted the chains onto four posts. They slackened it just enough so she could move just a little bit, but for all intents and purposes she was confined to a small area up on a platform where everyone could see. Carrie gave a signal, and a large metal cage descended around Ellie with no door or exit.

Carrie whispered to me, "I can't let these animals destroy least not yet. I'll let them have their fun when the time is right."

Once Ellie was secured, Carrie ascended the stairs and addressed the throng. "I have an announcement to make! Ellie, shut the fuck up or we'll get out the cattle prods. Thank you. Now with the addition of our centerpiece, and of course fixing the technical glitches, The Queen Carrie I is ready to sail on our maiden voyage!"

The crowd cheered wildly. A cart rolled through the palace distributing bottles of champagne. Carrie asked for one to be handed up to her. "I now christen thee 'The SMD Queen Carolyn One' powered by the awesome Singularity Matrix Drive. Let's just call her The Queen Carrie. Now, lower the flag!" She smashed the bottle against one corner of Ellie's cell.

On one side of wall a huge banner descended. It was completely black except for a white skull and crossbones and the letters QC1/SMD. The crowd erupted once more. The movie wall displayed someone on deck raising a similar flag on a pole. I'm sure all the cameras trained on the ship took note of the action.

"We will take her out first thing in the morning," announced Carrie, "but for tonight, let's party!"

Loud techno music filled the air and colored lights flashed and swung around. Misty grasped my hand, her jaw hanging loose from astonishment. Ellie pulled on her chains and yelled, but no one could hear her above the din. A few of her mortal enemies walked up to her cage and taunted her and took turns yanking her chains, but the worst they could do was throw champagne on her. Ellie sat down in the middle and fumed, staring at me uncomfortably. Carrie led us away from the spectacle.

She led us to one corner of the room which contained a kitchen and a number of tables for dining. An elegant setting had been laid out for us. Carrie sat at the head of the table, while her friend Xyllan at the opposite. I sat directly to her left and then Misty while Rod sat opposite me. In moments we were served warm toasty bread and savory soups, while wine and champagne flowed freely. They lowered the volume of the music in this area so we could converse without shouting and put up a privacy wall.

"Well, Alex, what do you think," asked Carrie between bites.

Misty spoke up, "I think it's sick and depraved. What is that over there? An orgy? There are people having sex right out in the open."

Carrie shrugged. "I'm trying to promote a 'free sex' society. Anyone, anywhere, anytime. I'm really just trying to get rid of all those pesky 'morals' people adhere to. Just do what you want. We're pirates here! We take what we want and we don't take prisoners."

"So that's why everyone is wearing pirate gear? Where's the rum," I asked.

"Yes, dear Alex. It's my new clothing line. I call it 'Pirate Chic'. We're going to plunder the world's trade start with. You think the financial crisis is bad? Wait until we begin disrupting shipping...the world economy will drop to it's knees. We sink a couple oil tankers and let the panic commence."

I choked down a roll. "Where does this end, Carrie? What's your goal?"

Carrie smiled at me patronizingly. "Why Alex. Imagine a fleet of these ships. A Navy if you will. All under my command. We would own the high seas. We would exact a huge bounty on world trade. The world's navies would be useless against us. The entire world oil trade would flow through us. We could set the price of oil. We could trade oil routes in exchange for controlling interest in the oil companies. We would rule the world."

Rod spoke, "and what's to stop other countries from building their own Singularity Matrix Drives?"

Carrie slammed a fist down on the table, almost spilling some water. "Us. Why do think the Large Hadron Collider broke? We can't have people experimenting around with this technology. The four of us at this table are the only ones who know how to control the Matrix. I intend to keep it that way. This is why we have to act quickly. If we bring the rest of the world down to its knees, no one will have the ability to finance such a project. Now, let's talk about more pleasant subjects."

I have to admit I thoroughly enjoyed the meal of lobster and steak and a great dessert. It was my first real meal in a year or so. I did keep peeking over at Ellie, who seemed resigned to her fate at the moment. We talked a bit about the Palace. It had every luxury known to man. Carrie had spared no expense in bringing in some of the world's most beautiful women and men to serve as hosts and essentially sex workers. There were a few technical people like us whom Carrie trusted. The rest were a mixture of rugged seamen, mercenaries, and mobsters.

"Now for the grand tour. Take some of these leftovers and throw it into the cage with my pet." One of the hostesses, a young Filipino girl nodded and collected the scraps.

I asked Carrie, "is she one of your 'sex workers'? She seems a bit young."

Carrie shrugged. "Whatever. She agreed to the deal, same as everyone: one year of service, $100,000. That's probably more than her entire village has made in her lifetime."

"Did she know what she was getting into?"

Carried turned to face me, her face turning red. "Alex. Are you questioning me already? You wanted to be a part of this. Now no more questions. You're killing my good mood. Let's get you all settled in."

She led us back through the palace floor, past rows of video game consoles, past the shrine to Ellie and Piratedom, through a casino area, along another museum-like shrine which displayed many of Carries possessions including rare cars, stolen artwork, sculptures, rare and probably stolen antiquities, and the movie wall and surrounding theater. Ellie screamed obscenities in three languages at us as we passed. She really isn't taking this well.

We passed through another air/radiation lock. "Only the palace is safe when the Matrix is operational. That's why we have a control center inside. The original bridge of this ship is fairly useless, and you'll see what happens to it soon enough. There will be a klaxon warning and you'll have about sixty seconds to return to the Palace or you might get your brain fried if we have to turn up the juice."

She led us through some corridors and stopped at some doors. "Here are your rooms. Alex and Ms. Nguyen are in here, Mr. Portman in here. Sorry I couldn't get the two of you separate cabins, but space is severely limited as you can imagine." I pocketed the key she gave me while Misty sniffed around the room. "Now while you two are getting settled, I want to show Alex something."

She led me down the hall and up and down some stairs. "This is my room," she said. "It's the Captain's suite. I don't let anyone in here, not even Xyllan. But I have something to show you, you might be the only one who can truly appreciate it."

I worried that she might try to seduce me. I'd hoped she wouldn't, it would probably be just as awkward as last time. Fortunately she didn't. She closed and locked the door behind us. "Come over here," she said. "On top of that shelf there's a box. Take it down. It's very heavy and very fragile, so be careful."

I found a box about a foot square. It felt very warm to the touch, like it had been under a heat lamp. I grabbed a chair and carefully grabbed the box. It must have been close to sixty pounds. I nearly dropped it and Carrie gasped and cringed. "Jesus fucking christ be careful," she shouted. I got the box down and opened it up. Inside was a glass cube. "Take it out."

Carrie held the box while I lift the cube. It seemed to be a solid clear glass cube. Then I noticed the cube contained a hollow sphere inside. Carrie dimmed the lights. The cube continued to glow, especially along the inside of the inner sphere.

Carrie bought over a light and held up a piece of paper before it. "Look through it at this paper. Tell me what you see."

I peered inside. At first I didn't see anything. Then..."what is that?" A tiny black dot floated in the center of the cube, like a speck of dirt. I had to focus my eyes right on the center of the cube.

"Watch this," said Carrie, and she shoved the cube a couple inches to the side. The tiny speck swayed just a little bit then settled down. "It's another Singularity. This is a leaded and magnetized glass containment block. It's our replacement if anything goes wrong with the current one. The warmth you feel is the constant 100 Watts of radiation it emits to maintain equilibrium. Now let me tell you something else. When these are created, you actually get two black holes. The original research had been examining quantum effects at distances. Once they achieved high enough power, they actually began creating pairs of black holes with lifetimes of trillionths of seconds. But if they took them and separated them, and fed them ordinary matter, they grew until they reached their present size. Then they began emitting whatever matter you threw at them. Here's the thing: these two singularities are like brothers and sisters, or like twins. Mirror images of each other. To us they have the same properties, but the quantum spin of one is the opposite of the other. Not only that, but they're connected. We haven't figured out all the details, but in theory, we can have instantaneous communication through these singularities. That's faster than the speed of light. Imagine building a whole network full of these things. Cities with limitless power. Computers with limitless speeds. Doesn't this make you excited? Think of the possibilities. And with me in charge, you won't have a bunch of bureaucratic idiots squandering this technology."

I studied the tiny mote of darkness before me. It was no bigger than a molecule, but it bent light around it so that it looked like a tiny circle about a half-millimeter wide. It weighed no more than a drop of water, but had the power to destroy the planet if fed too much matter. Carrie assured me that the glass cube could withstand a lot of damage, but she'd rather not find out. If needed they could open a microscopic hole and suck the singularity out into the Matrix if needed.

I helped Carrie replace the box on the shelf. "I'm really tired," I said yawning, "and it sounds like tomorrow is a big day."

"OK then. Bright and early. This is going to be fun."

A guard escorted me back to my room and locked me in my room with Misty. I practically dropped asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

I need to run for a little bit. I'll tell you how the maiden voyage went in my next post.

Posted: Sunday, November 16, 2008 @ 9:45 PM

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comments. I'll get back to you as soon as I'm able.