On Wednesday Dan found an octopus stretched across the Honda's windshield, basking in the morning dew. Dan set his computer bag down and returned to the house, where he assembled a makeshift cephalopod-removal kit: a spatula to pry suckers off glass, a cookie sheet to scoop up the cat-sized animal and fling it into the hedge. At the spatula's prodding the 'puss turned an angry red. Its arms thrashed, recoiled, and re-attached to the car, deftly avoiding Dan's attempts to slip the aluminum sheet underneath it.
"Daddy, don't hurt it!" Piper called from the doorway. She ran to Dan's side, startling a roosting school of sardines out of the mulberry tree. When we decided to fool around with my genetic algorithm cross-referencing heuristics, applying them to her newly developed, Turing-complete decision-making holistic simulator, my post-doc partner and I expected something interesting to happen. But nothing quite like this.
"ADDITIONAL INPUT REQUIRED PRIOR TO PROCESS SHUTDOWN." Here's what a Mortenson Domotica house printer looks like.
Maybe you've seen a hydraulic gantry crane at a shipyard? A quartet of enormous vertical wheeled legs forms the corner posts of an open rectangular framework. The legs are connected at their tops by four beams at right angles to those they touch. The crane can position itself over an object, send down its grapple from its cross beams, lift any cargo that fits within its footprint, and wheel it into a new location. I ran hard from Billings Place to the East 2nd school yard and saw the sniper at the gate, shooting me in the gut, where I fell, died. It hadn't happened like this before; coming back, I'd changed things. I'd been a survivor of the massacre. Shit. I had no time to think about the ramifications of this change. Like a ton of bricks, I threw myself at the sniper before my kids were among the first casualties splattered all over the green top. I severed his spine with a bowie knife. When he fell forward I kicked his assault rifle away from his body, and grabbed my kids and ran from the yard, pulling Sarita and Manny hard behind me.
Hysterical, they looked up at me, "Dad? B-but?" I'd just died in front of them, but here I was, gray haired, 15 years older, saving them.
by Ernesto Pavan
To those who were called and replied "I'll go" To those who filled the void between the stars with dreams of hope
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Scrape. Shift. Shovel. Heave. Scrape. Shift. Shovel. Dump.
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