Friday, April 29, 2022

Emerald of Earth – EPISODE 15 Invisible Boxes and the Rules For JUMP!

Almost-thirteen Emerald Marcillon lives with her parents, who have dug up evidence of aliens in Chicxilub Crater in Yucatan, they have found artifacts that point to a long-ago alien war. An alien artificial intelligence called Inamma has survived that war. It tries to steal the artifacts that when assembled, can destroy all of Humanity. But it can’t find them and kills Emerald’s parents. Emerald escapes and is taken into Earth orbit to the SOLAR EXPLORER. Inamma follows Emerald into space, and the ship’s captain, who is also her great-aunt, tries to hide her from Inamma. Emerald holds the key to the artifacts. Emerald is not the best at making friends, but manages to make a few on SOLAR EXPLORER. When her friends and crew members find what Inamma is, they fight together to protect the artifacts.

(I’m posting Fridays, because if you like what you see, share the link with a friend – and you’ll have Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday to read it, and it won’t interfere with your Homework Schedule.)

“Ambient crickets,” Emerald said a week later as she stepped into her room. She shed the brown coverall, kicking it across the room where it landed in a smelly ball like four others she peeled out of over the past eight days.

“Emerald, all you have to do is drop the coverall in the recycle chute and it will be cleaned and returned to you in...”

“There’s ten more in my closet. Why do I need to...”

“My sensors detect notes of stress and my heuristic program has learned that you are approaching another crying spell.”

“I don’t like talking!”

“Acknowledged and understood. Based on information in the autism database, this is not unusual behavior. However, I must also point out that in the microsociety of SOLAREX, such behaviors might be considered significant...”

“Just because I won’t talk to you about my problems, you’re telling me that I am likely to become a social pariah or a sociopath?”

“You know that that is not what I’m trying to say. If there’s one thing my heuristic programming has come to understand is that you are neither stupid nor unintelligent.”

Emerald snorted and after pulling a knee-length T-shirt over her head and dropping into the circular chair, she said, “What’s the difference?”

“‘Stupid’ means ‘lacking ordinary quickness and keenness of mind; dull; foolish; senseless; tediously dull, especially due to lack of meaning or sense; inane; pointless; annoying or irritating; troublesome’. Your personality, responses to me, and your Intensive Training Team for Young Adult Career Tracks,” officially, they were called ITTYACT’s though everyone pronounced it “ityacked”, “had been assigned the responsibility for planting, maintaining and harvesting an entire ten-hectare sugarcane field.” GADI paused, then continued, “Except for asking, ‘What’s the difference?’, you have presented no evidence that you are ‘stupid’. ‘Intelligent’ means ‘having good understanding or a high mental capacity; quick to comprehend, as persons or animals; displaying or characterized by quickness of understanding, sound thought, or good judgment; having the faculty of reasoning and understanding; possessing intelligence’. You repeatedly respond to your surroundings in a way that indicates that you are intelligent.”

“I have to study.”

“That is true, but not the subject of this discussion.”

“Then the discussion is...”

“We need to discuss what stops the coveralls from hitting the wall.”


“Your coveralls behave as if they have collided with a solid surface when my sensors register that they are fifty centimeters from the wall. Do you have an explanation?”

“They hit the boxes.”

“What boxes?”

“The boxes that are stacked against the wall.”

“I do not detect boxes stacked against the wall.”

“Scan my room in visual mode.”

There was a pause. “I can see them. But I cannot sense them in any other way, though I am now scanning on all available frequencies. They are invisible in infrared, ultraviolet, or any other part of the electromagnetic spectrum including AM radio waves and hard X-rays as well as ultrasound, sonar, infrasound. As for thermal imaging, they do not register any difference from the wall they are next to. There are no magnetic field variations of any sort when I pass an magnetic field through the wall behind them. The boxes that are clearly visible in the extremely narrow band of Human vision are invisible to any other part of the electromagnetic spectrum.”



“They’re full of junk!”

“The efficiency level of their camouflage would argue against your simplistic denial,” said the Global Audio Diary Interface.

Emerald didn’t say anything, staring at the stacks of gray plastic moving boxes in front of which, her four sets of dirty coveralls had piled up.

Why would Mom and Dad – Dad most likely – stealth shield a bunch of plastic boxes? Mom had never been practical in stuff like that. Dad was the one who’d originally dealt with the soldiers. Mom was the brains of the outfit. Dad programmed the 3V simulations based on Mom’s descriptions. Dad was the realist, Mom the dreamer. “What’s in those things?”

“I cannot speculate without input.”

Emerald sighed and plopped back into the chair. She really didn’t want to know what was in them just now. Probably more of their precious artifacts from the Chicxulub Crater. Like her tektite necklace.

“What’s on 3V?”

“Anything you want.” There was a long pause, then GADI said, “Don’t you want to talk about the boxes anymore?”

She scowled and looked around the room. “Are your visual spectrum sensors still active?”


“Turn them off.”


She looked around the room, trying not to look at the boxes then said abruptly, “What’s Jump?”

Despite GADI being an artificial intelligence and easily able to answer instantly, there was a short pause. It said, “Jump refers to a team sport of Brazilian origin played using a rubber disk called a ‘sprite’, a secondary disk called a ‘youfoh’ and a long-handled stick called a crosse or jumpstick. It is played in the United States of North America, the Union of South American States, the Pacific Rim Coalition as well as Reorganized New Africa – where it is now played to the exclusion of football. It is a contact sport which requires padding such as shoulder pads, gloves, helmets and rib guards. The crosse is used to catch, carry, and pass a disk called a ‘sprite’ and is strung with wire mesh designed to catch hard passes and hold them. Each team attempts to keep their sprite to themselves – but professional rules allow holding possession for only thirty seconds – somewhat like American basketball. The other team tries to steal the sprite. A second disk ricochets from the walls of the playing sphere. It is called a ‘youfoh’ and is sensitive to shifts in gravity and randomly changes color to match one of the two opposing teams. The teams vie for possession of the youfoh while being in possession of the sprite. If a team captures the youfoh when it is their color and they are in possession of the sprite, the youfoh stops changing color and they try to throw both the sprite and the youfoh through one of four white-rimmed hoops.

“The playing field is a stone sphere lined with squares of gravity plating hammered into foil that are kept at Earth standard gravity at the beginning of each half. After the game starts, the gravity over each plate can change randomly from negative 2g to positive 2g.

“Defensively, the objective is to dispossess the other team of both their sprite and youfoh for five minutes through the use of stick checking and body contact or positioning.” GADI paused then added, “It is an extremely rough sport. Broken limbs are not uncommon and all players are required to wear a specialized gravity deflection helmet.”

“Is that why they all look like their heads are swollen?”

“That is an interesting and uninformed observation.”

Holding out her hands, Emerald shook her head. “People my age spend all of their free time watching this stupid game?”

“The game does require a large amount of skill and high athletic quotient. Many find it interesting or entertaining.”

She looked at her hand. She sighed and stretched her fingers. Her hands hurt, though not as much as they had at first. The palms were red and raw from weeding on the plantation and crushing any beetles she found. That was revolting enough, but if she had to listen to one more lecture from Daniel… 


Guy Stewart is a retired teacher and counselor, with science fiction for young people and adults published in ANALOG Science Fiction and Fact; podcast at CAST OF WONDERS; and in CRICKET the Magazine for Children. For links to his other online works, go to For an interview with me about EMERALD OF EARTH, try this: