Tilly Jupiter

The Alien Fast-Food War

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When remote-controlled aircraft begin behaving erratically, even crashing, there is only one logical explanation — well, there are only two: aliens or your own government. The real shock is finding the signals are coming from people who've eaten at fast food restaurants. Of course, we've known all along the stuff in unhealthy. But this?

~~~~~ Excerpt ~~~~~

The aliens started small, buying up a few eateries in malls and some coffee shops. And then they expanded, just as the Asians had before them—but neither education nor commerce was the goal this time. They wanted knowledge, but not the kind that came from schools. “We knew your history, but didn’t know shit about what makes you humans tick,” was what Bernie said.

It didn't take long for them to recognize that we had no idea what made us tick either, so they set out to blaze new trails in understanding peoplekind.

Fast food places provided them with two significant tools for this task: First, humans went there in droves. “You can't beat them away with a stick,” was how Bernie put it. Once they were there, they could be observed in their natural habitat, as it were. This nicely brought the subjects needed for the aliens’ field studies right to them. Secondly, we ingested, rather indiscriminately a variety of substances passing for food. The aliens developed their protein-based nanosensors and fed them to us. Who knew? The damn things moved into our bloodstreams, analyzing as they went.

“We wanted to get to the heart of the matter,” was the way Doreen put it; I think she was unaware of the implied pun, so we forgave her.

Hungry for data, they continued buying up fast food places, served nanosensors and observed us. We ate the food and the sensors, which transmitted back to data collectors that did some elementary preprocessing and relayed compressed data to, as I’ve said, Omaha.

Now I doubt anyone would have objected to this somewhat symbiotic turn of events. After all, the aliens had a vested interest in keeping the prices of their burgers and fries reasonable, because that kept our patronage up. Maybe once they had collected enough data they might have turned their attention to maximizing profits, but for the time being it worked for everyone.

I suppose, if they'd known, the government would have a different view. In fact, after it was all over, Homeland Security was rather pissed. They were pissed at us because we hadn’t reported our conversations with the “Alien Invaders” to the responsible authorities, whatever that term might mean. I asked who I should've reported to but didn't get a straight answer.

I admit that this probably did constitute an invasion of some sort, or a precursor to one. But, as I told the stony-faced Homeland Security lady, I was hired as a consultant; my clients wanted me to help deal with whoever was causing their problem. The fact that they turned out to be aliens was just not relevant in any meaningful way. Not to me, anyway. I had neglected to insert a clause that would pay a bonus for dealing with aliens in my contract.

One thing I learned in working for the model airplane folks is that messing with the geeks is folly. If you doubt me, the way the war unfolded provides a textbook case, if one is needed.

Think about it. Suppose you are a person who spends some monstrous amount of time and money building a model plane that looks, say, exactly like a Sopwith Camel. You fly it for a few minutes and it is brilliant. Suddenly it turns upside down, which looks rather cool if you planned that to happen and rather spooky if you didn’t, and then it drops like a stone. Well, like a stone with wings, I suppose.
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