Clark Thompson

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Giant Invasive Intelligent Slugs
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2/15/2020 2:28pm

"You sincerely thought I'd bust in here with a Psy Corps tactical team, and, what, start throwing salt around?"

Buffy Chan showed up at the Valentine's Dance, along with most students, and all of the Giant Invasive Intelligent Slugs. I asked her to slow dance because, you know, that would be the most clandestine way for me, as a Psy Corps undercover operative, to communicate with my handler.

"You're not an operative," she reminded me. "You're an intern. And besides, the slugs have diplomatic immunity."

The slugs really seemed to be having a good time. They started with their line dance, snaking through the crowd and leaving a silvery slime trail all over the floor of Limacidae Hall. Then some adventurous students joined in, and then more, till it seemed like everybody was part of the big slug line. That really helped break the ice for the Slugball dance, where more and more slugs adhered to particular students until they were completely covered with them, and looked like a giant ball of giant slugs with a pair of human legs sticking out. A few of them were swaying in the slow dance crowd around us.

"They're just hoping to get to know us better," Buffy whispered in my ear. "Psyhigh seemed like the best place to let them roam free where we could still keep an eye on them. Hey, this fog is a great effect."

I looked around, and saw the other couples being slowly enveloped in a thin mist. Had the slugs rented a fog machine? I hoped they didn't use my debit card. I looked around the edge of the dance floor, and there, against the wall, was one of those Emission Tank outlets. The kind they use to power the school. And the fog was pouring out of it.

Wait, was it on fire? @iXlrshnoo, @oTrknirloo, and @uGilgamoo were slithering over it, working the knobs and levers. More and more vapor bellowed from the Emission Tank.

And that's when Buffy and I passed out.








Giant Invasive Intelligent Slugs
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2/9/2020 11:06am

"We'd really like to thank you for helping us out with our problem, Clark, and inviting us into your room."

My room has been invaded by dozens of the giant invasive intelligent slugs. They hang from the walls and ceiling and the light fixture and are all over my couch. I did not invite them in.

"Well, ok, maybe not 'invited' exactly. But can we say you've opened your heart?"

It's impossible to tell which one (or ones?) are talking. Because telepathy.

"We're just so super excited for Psyhigh's Valentine's Dance! It will be a great place for our species to mingle. We just need a private place to practice our dancing."

A few of them are in a circle in the middle of the room, bobbing and weaving and doing their thing. Their multi-colored sensory tentacles move like they're underwater.

"What about those emission tanks?" I ask. "What are those exactly?"

Suddenly all the giant invasive intelligent slugs turn to face me at once.

"DROWN US! ROAST US! HANG US! DO WHATEVER YOU PLEASE," say the slugs, telepathically. "ONLY PLEASE DON'T THROW US INTO THE EMISSION TANKS."

They all keep staring right at me, silently.

Till one starts giggling. It's the one called @iXlrshnoo I think. Then they all start cracking up.

"Awww, we're just pulling your leg, Clark."







Giant Invasive Intelligent Slugs
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1/26/2020 9:45pm

I was late for Transpatial Awareness, cutting through the Sound Garden behind the library.

"Wait! Hold up!"

I froze rounding the corner around a sound sculpture.

Nobody was around.

"Whew! Thanks for that. Just stand pat. You were about to step on me."

Below me, in a clump of winter grass and mud, was one of those giant invasive slugs. They've got dozens of multi-colored sensory tentacles so they are easy to spot. If you're watching where you're going.

"I, uh, didn't know you could talk."

"Nobody does! Or at least it's not common knowledge."

We looked at each other for a moment.

"Well, you're invasive! You're, I don't know, not supposed to be here. You're messing up the eco-system. Wait! Are you dangerous?"

"Ah, heck. We ain't dangerous. We're just misunderstood."

I realized I was talking out loud but receiving messages telepathically.

"Hey I'm receiving messages telepathically."

"Now you're getting smarter. Smarter than that @Level 8 Bouncy House and that @Level 9 Bouncy House and all those other bouncy houses. They can't hear a thing. Plus they're too soft to bounce us out of anything."

"Well... why don't you just leave? Why are you causing problems?"

"Ah, you see, kid, problems are relative. And we've got a problem you might be uniquely suited to help us out with."

Oh jeeze here it goes again. Just when I thought I was bored. This really isn't what I was looking for.





Giant Invasive Intelligent Slugs
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1/18/2020 10:18pm

As my Interplanetary Internship wound down I was really looking forward to getting back to a normal routine, being on campus, enjoying my dorm room and taking classes. No more pool cleaning in sub zero temperatures! No more getting kidnapped by green and purple blobs! No more almost unleashing unknowable powers of evil from a dwarf planet's core!

But now that I'm back, I'm bored.

And not only am I under a psychic NDA (the kind where you *literally* can't talk about something), but when I see Buffy Chan in the cafeteria or library she pretends like nothing even happened. I mean, she told me it would be that way, being as she's my Psy Corps handler now and nobody can know.

"Hi Buffy! Anything... interesting going on?"

I give her a big wink I'm sure nobody else can see.

"Well, we went to the Tri-City Spirit Team tournament and guess what we got first place in Competitive Temporal Pyramid Modeling! And that was even though Mad Scientist High obviously had some kind of gravitational wave cannon under a tarp in the back of a pickup truck they were using to try and disrupt the other teams. You?"

"I accidentally stepped on one of those giant invasive slugs and it's still stuck all over my shoe."

"Oh that's a shame. They're so intelligent you know."

"...."

"Uh, I really should be going. See you around!"

"Yeah. See ya. Buffy."





Interplanetary Internship
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1/12/2020 8:49pm

"Actually... I lied," Buffy says.

"About your job?"

Buffy and I are shooting up through the Interior Ocean in a rocket-powered submarine. PSY CORPS is stenciled on stuff all over the place.

"Well, no, I was really doing the kind of disembarkation analysis I was describing," she continues. "What I meant was about your F.T. score."

"My F.T."

"Yes. I know what your Future Threat is. I've known for awhile. It's why I was assigned to your school."

"Assigned?"

"Your F.T. score is off the charts. And there was a situation shaping up here on Ganymede that really called for it. So we set up the whole 'internship program' and made sure you saw the ad."

"Off the charts?"

"Oh, yeah. There's only been one bigger than yours. When the Corps found out about you they gave Jr. Psy Corps the case, and I was made your handler."

"Handler?"

"Somebody to make sure you don't get hurt!"

"Ow."

"Ha! No, seriously, you have a very useful and important power. You're like a potential luck bomb, ready to tip the cosmic scales at specific moments. Bad guys from all over the place are suckers for a guy like you. With the right direction -- from Psy Corps -- you could do a lot of good."

Through the window of our observation bubble, we watch the fractal tetragonal ice forests recede below us, gently lit by the massive bioluminescent megaplankton.

"Wow," I say. "Me. A Junior Psy Corps Agent. Who would have guessed?"

"Oh, no," says Buffy. "Sorry. Not an agent."

"Not an agent?"

"No. An intern."

"..."



Add a journal entry to Interplanetary Internship






Interplanetary Internship
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12/31/2019 8:52pm

“KEY! KEY! KEY! KEY!”

It’s hot, and purple and green blobs are carrying me above their blobs with their snakey pseudopods. 

”KEY! KEY! KEY! KEY!”

It’s a giant, stalactite filled cavern, interspersed by diamonds and luminous fungi. The cave is full of purple and green blobs, as well as yellow and brown blobs, pink and blue blobs, black and white blobs. So many blobs. And they’re all chanting--

“KEY! KEY! KEY! KEY!”

--as they lead me to an especially wrinkly old blob, holding a giant key, standing next to a giant keyhole carved into the rock.

The blobs that abducted me got chatty on our long trip down. Down to the bottom of the interior ocean, down though tunnels bored through the tetragonal ice, and down into the caverns of the rocky mantel. They told me they had a job that "only I could perform" because of my "special qualifications." 

What? Did they have a pool that needed cleaning?

They plop me in front of the wrinkly old blob. The crowd hushes.

"UNLOCK THE DOOR!" the old one bellows.

"Everybody freeze!" cries a familiar voice above me.

I look up and see some kind of SWAT team gliding down ropes from the ceiling. Black technical gear, nasty looking blaster rifles, kevlar boots, landing all around me. 

"Not today, Glb'rb'rbmo. Guess you'll need to wait another thousand years."

The leader takes off her hood and turns to me.

"Hi Clark!"

It's Buffy Chan. 

"... Hi Buffy."





Interplanetary Internship
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12/22/2019 10:39pm

"You're sure it's ok?"

"Yeah, I squeezed all the water out of its blowhole. It's respirating."

"How can you tell?"

"There are slight movements you can detect. I watched an informational holovid about them."

I had drifted awake in the back of some kind of submersible minivan, and was listening with one eye open. I could make out purple and green blobs in the front seats.

"What if it wakes up? Starts thrashing around and hurts itself?"

I started to thrash around, but my arms and legs were bound.

"Its arms and legs are bound. I guess it could bang its head if tried real hard."

Ow.

"Hey there little fella. You take it easy. We'll be there real soon. Tek'a'kake, would you mind?"

"Not at all, Rumama'ke'ke'ke."

A purple and green pseudopod slithered back and covered my face. It smelled like ammonia, and cookies, and things went dark again...





Interplanetary Internship
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12/19/2019 8:32pm

“Hey! Pool boy!”

The giant purple and green blob in the pool waves a pseudopod. Or something. 

“Hey, I got kinda a problem.”

The universal translator is amazingly good. 

“I got one of my arms stuck down one of these tubes here. Sometimes they start sniffin’ around on their own like that. It’s got ahold of somethin’ real good and won’t let go. Would you mind gettin’ in there and talkin’ some sense to it? There’s a 50 spot in it for ya.”

A ripple passes all up and down the blob. I think it’s some kind of wink. 

I've got a puffy body suit that's supposed to keep me warm. But I don’t have diving suit. For going underwater. 

“I don’t have a diving suit,” I say. “For going underwater.”

“Aw, that’s rough,” says the blob. “Do you think you could at least just come and take a looksee?”

I squeeze on to the narrow deck above the intake tube and look down. I can’t really see anything.

“I can’t really see anything,” I say. 

“Just lean over a little farther. Don’t worry. I gotcha.”

A pseudopod slithers up my back and around my neck....

KERSPLASH!!





Interplanetary Internship
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12/10/2019 7:25pm

What does an interplanetary pool boy do? I’ve got a skimmer and a net and a puffy body suit that’s supposed to keep me warm, but my fingers still get achey from the cold.

“Aren’t internships supposed to teach you something? I mean, like, legally? They’re not supposed to just use me for slave labor, right?”

I hang out on the observation deck with Buffy Chan when we’re off shift.

“Well,” Buffy Says, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I heard that if you get a high F.T. score then it kind of affects the jobs they can give you.”

“Eff-tee?”

“Future Threat.”

“Oh.”

“....”

“So what did you do today?”

“It was totally awesome,” Buffy says. “It was about applying multi-species profiles to disembarkation scheduling. Making sure you’ve got compatible entities moving through the gates at the same time. Part of it’s atmospheric chemistry, but also predator/prey relationship stuff. And interplanetary history and politics. You?”

“I fished a weird hairy thing out of G-47. Maybe it was a poop. I put it in a bio-bag."

"Yeah.... Hey I should really be going. Big day tomorrow."

"Yeah me too. See ya."

"Bye!"





Interplanetary Internship
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12/5/2019 8:03pm

Ganymede is a typical interplanetary way station, neutral ground for various space-faring species. It's a stopover for creatures traveling through the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the galaxy, far enough from Earth that you can park and not raise suspicions.

There are consulates and supply shops, but what really draws the crowds is the water. While it's WAY too cold for a human to swim around naked in, there are plenty of life forms who find it very comfortable. And they feel the salts and other minerals in the water have special healing qualities.

So there are pool rooms where the various interstellar visitors strip down and let their tentacles loose and soak in the icy, salty water.

And can you guess what my internship is? That's right--interplanetary pool boy.






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