Eliahu looked at his partner Yawtu and said,
“Seven years we’ve been stranded on this planet and you never learn. We’re supposed to maintain our human form and blend in. Not eat them.”
“But Darling,” said Yawtu, “you said he was a dangerous star striker. I thought that meant he must be a starfighter pilot and that you’d be pleased that I tracked him down and ate him.”
“Pleased!!” exclaimed Eliahu, “of course I’m not pleased. It’s the World Cup for goodness sake and he’s the star striker for the team I drew in the lottery at work.”
“Oh,” said Yawtu, “What World Cup would that be?”
Eliahu sighed heavily and said to Yawtu, “You really have to start integrating my dear, otherwise Earth’s security forces will eventually start to suspect.”
Mergers are now officially the most popular form of recognised union between two people. In 2222, mergers made up 57% of all formal multiple-person relationships, with marriage and civil partnerships making up the balance.
In a merger, none of the partners undertakes to remain faithful to the other or others, though any key inter-dependencies like children, property, and possessions are guaranteed defined proportional support from each partner for either 5, 15 or 25 years depending upon the nature of the merger. Facilitated and managed by AdulterUS, mergers are strictly enforced. The social thought network element of AdulterUS actively supports individuals in arranging extra-merger relationships with full disclosure to all formally connected partners.
97% of couples in mergers rate their quality of life as high and consider themselves happy and fulfilled. Half of the remaining 3% are serving life sentences in state renovation centres.
Dougall McBeckHam was the Captain of Explorer 237, the first ship from Earth to land on Plasmolidium and encounter Mud Lizards.
Dougall was the first member of the McBeckHam clan not to pursue a career as an aireality star or intergalactic footballer for nearly a century. Accordingly, he was extremely proud to be leading the exploratory mission to this new world. The McBeckhams were the owners of Scotland.
Unfortunately, on Plasmolidium Dougall contacted malaria after being attacked by a mega-mosquito. He survived this but was subsequently massacred with the rest of his crew by unprovoked Mud Lizards attacks.
Dougall was returned to Earth by the Mud Lizards with a declaration of war carved into his and his crew’s foreheads.
Since then the McBeckHams have made another fortune from merchandising Mud Lizard memorabilia and associated fashion accessories.
Earth’s Grand Council recently ratified a new accord covering the use of artificial intelligence by arms manufacturers. The new commitment to ensuring that AI enabled weapons cannot act independently has been welcomed by all 4 major national blocs.
Both AmmoTel and GreenAid, the World’s two leading arms suppliers have backed the accord stating categorically that they will only ever use AI for clear logistical or training purposes.
The key element of the accord will be the establishment of a new body of weapons inspectors with powers to check and test any weapon in any country anywhere at anytime. The work of the inspectors will be enforced where necessary by a fleet of PeaceDroids developed in collaboration between AmmoTel, GreenAid and the 4 major national blocs…..
Whilst exploring Plasmolidium in 2170 Captain Dougal McBeckHam, who led the crew of the Explorer 237, was attacked by giant insects described at the time as mega-mosquitoes.
Part biological and part artificial, the mosquitoes were both a food source for the Mud Lizards and a weapon that the Mud Lizards could use to attack their enemies. The individual mosquitoes were fierce enough but they could also act as a collective, merging together to form a significant fighting machine.
The mega-mosquitoes were also co-incidentally, carriers of the common Plasmodium parasite found on Earth, and when the Captain was attacked he became infected with that parasite and contracted malaria as a consequence.
Much worse, was the use of the mosquitoes by the Mud Lizards to deliver a virus to Earth designed to devastate the human population. Their use of a biological weapon, at the end of the first significant space battle between Mud Lizards and Earth ships, almost succeeded. Without the intervention of Azz-Lex it would have been very likely that human life on Earth would have completely ended.
HabiTech, the home tech giant, has branched out into the space junk industry. For well over a Century Earth’s space authorities have struggled to keep pace with the build up of rubbish in space.
Their new generation of GuzzlePro devices are of course unmanned and driven totally by artificial intelligence. The rubbish swallowing capability of a single GuzzlePro in orbit around Earth will, it is projected, clear up to 100 major pieces of space junk per orbit.
Previous space clearing operations have been fraught with reliability issues with constant breakdowns. In tests though the GuzzlePro has proven very robust, drawing in and recycling all manner of debris and rubbish without issue.
Concerns that the GuzzlePro is not always able to distinguish between junk and functioning satellites have been dismissed by HabiTech as competitor propaganda.
The Explorer 237 spacecraft is well known to historians. It was the ship that went to a previously unexplored planet in the Trappist-1 star and returned with all the crew onboard dead and mutilated. The planet concerned, previously known simply as ‘11596’ had been renamed, by the crew of the Explorer to ‘Plasmolidium’.
Unbeknown to the crew at that the time of landing, Plasmolidium was inhabited by the Mud Lizards. After months of peaceful work on the planet, that included establishing a permanent physical base on the surface, the Mud Lizard’s made their presence known. Very quickly they butchered all of the Explorer’s crew who had mistakenly interpreted their initial contact as peaceful.
Not only that, the fairly advanced Mud Lizard civilisation (technologically anyway) returned the dead bodies of the crew to Earth on Explorer 237 with a declaration of war carved into their collective foreheads. This led to the first Interstellar War.
The response from Earth’s President at the time was strong and unequivocal. His rallying cry to Earth that this atrocity would not go unpunished was what people needed to hear, though he did confuse everyone a bit by subsequently issuing thoughts on ThinQueue that seemed to associate Mud Lizards with some sort of Sino-Soviet plot. He was a distant relative of a 21st Century President, so confusion possibly ran in his genes.