The Amazing Adventures of Sara Corel
A novel by Toomey

Mark MCLXXVI Protector

        Last night, I underwent a virtual reality out-of-body experience and took a tour of the Cryptoaliens' Orion Manufacturing Facility. There are some 200 or so such plants in our galaxy, but only one of them specializes in Mark MCLXXVI Protectors (there used to be two, but there were budget cuts). Since the sites produce a whole lot of highly dangerous pollution (including hard x-ray radiation, gamma ray bursts and black holes), they're usually located in out-of-the-way uninhabitable nebulae.
        The basic process involves extracting raw material from a neutron star surface and fashioning a half-kilometer diameter sphere of very thin degenerate-crystalline iron, like a mountain-mass soap bubble. Since the high mass at the subatomic level produces a localized curvature of space-time, there are fewer than 360 degrees in the structure's geometry at the subatomic level, so there is a great deal of folding that takes place which reduces the apparent size to a scale useful for replicating ordinary corporeal entities. Since this folding can be controlled by 'software', any possible macroscopic form can be simulated, along with fold-changes that produce movement, color, texture, etc.
        A computation matrix is overlaid at the Planck level. Since there are eleven spacial dimensions at this scale, the spin orientation of sub-quark-level particles can simulate logic gates but rather than a merely binary arrangement, they have states that correspond to on, off, up, down, back, forth, top, bottom, melph, cletch and hrishtigupredlamortilkwatobrindrial (the last orientation is rarely used). A basic operating system is installed and the artifact is ready for shipping. Usually, several are sent at the same time to those rare planets where the subject species are expected to wear clothes, one artifact being necessary for each article of apparel.
        Upon arrival in the solar system of a primitive planet such as ours, the group of Mark MCLXXVI Protectors interfaces with the Acme Planetary Monitoring and Evaluation package installed shortly after the planet cooled and is assigned appropriate forms, pre-loaded with the local languages, and has a master personality installed. A Search Committee delegated by the local Observation and Evaluation Corps selects a suitable drop location for the artifact(s) and turns the frozen package over to a carefully chosen native Awakener. All traces of Cryptoalien interactions (such as flying saucers, certain sci-fi authors and other aliens posing as professional wrestlers) are carefully erased and withdrawn from the solar system, leaving behind only a small Monitoring Team disguised as a rock band.
        Note: The other 199-odd nebular manufacturing plants in our galaxy produce a huge variety and number of artifacts that share the same basic structure as the Mark MCLXXVI Protector. By far, the most popular item produced is the Mark MMCLXVI Promotional, which is usually configured as an action figure and given away with Happy Meals.
        Oh, and the Mark MCLXXVI Protector known as 'Sara Corel' has a twelve-digit serial number. Just thought you'd want to know.
        Only $19.95!

Proper Waffles
Table of Contents

Patrick Hill, 2000