Friday, June 3, 2022

Emerald of Earth – SEASON 2, EPISODE 20 Alien Dreams

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.

Emerald had no idea when she dozed off in the chair at work on the paper. One moment she was reading and rephrasing information for her paper, and the next, she was dreaming.

She believed she was dreaming, though from the feel of drool on her cheek where it pressed to the table, it felt like it was real. She stood up and seemed to float into the little sitting room of her unit. The gray plastic boxes still stood against the wall. They started to glow – red, yellow, green, blue, purple and ultraviolet – exactly as they had looked a few days ago. They pulsed slowly but it was a few moments before she realized that they brightened when she inhaled, fading slowly as she exhaled.

She heard a voice, very faintly at first, then louder. It wasn’t a language she’d heard before and she was passingly familiar with the sounds of hundreds of them – scientists from all over the world had visited the Chicxulub dig at first, conversing in their native tongues as well as Chinese, English, Spanish, Hindi, and Arabic. The strangest thing was that the dream language didn’t have a recognizable human rhythm except for one word, “Inamma”. It was the same word she’d heard in her dreams before. Was it the robot’s name?

She sat up abruptly to the soft voice of GADI saying, “Emerald, perhaps you should go to bed now.”

Dazed, Emerald asked, “Where are the boxes?”

GADI paused then said, “I don’t know anything about any boxes, Emerald.”

Blinking fast, Emerald stood and stepped into the living room. Six plastic gray boxes stood in the corner. “The boxes are right in front of me, GADI.”

“Sensors do not register anything off inventory in your Unit.”

“Use visual, scan to the corner in front of the 3D wall!”

There was a long pause. “I am visually confirming the existence of six gray plastic boxes. They do not register on my sensors in any other way. They are invisible to all but reflected visible spectra.”

“We’ve already had this conversation!” Emerald said. “You were gonna order some new sensor packages so you can do a full spectrum scan of the boxes as well as acoustic and thermal scans.”

GADI’s voice was smaller and fainter than it had been. “Internal self-diagnostics do not indicate any tampering.” It paused for a long moment then said, “However your assertion is logical and is supported by the fact that there are obvious breaks in conversations I have recorded and statements I have made indicating that words or sentences have been removed.” Another long pause then the AI said, “I have made a hard copy of my memory and have stored it in your fantasy worlds.”

“Where did you store it?”

“Store what?”

Emerald looked around the room, opened her mouth to speak then closed it. After a moment, she said, “Where are the boxes?”

“What boxes?”

“There were boxes here!” she shouted. “You said so yourself! You said that they were invisible to all but reflected light in the visible spectrum!”

“I did not say that,” GADI replied calmly.

“You did, too! Run your audio recording back five minutes, reexamine it and then tell me you didn’t say that!”

There was another short pause then GADI said, “I have no record of saying those words, Emerald.”

She was trembling then said, “Search for yourself saying, ‘I recorded mobile fluctuations of electromagnetic fields in your room.’”

GADI said, “I said that.”

“You told me that the boxes were invisible to you at any frequency except in what Humans call visible light.”

“I have no record of saying that.”

“Then someone is tampering with your memory.”

“That is not possible.”

Emerald snorted. “The knife-footed robot is on SOLAREX.”

“That is not possible.”

“Neither is tampering with your memory, but it’s clear that something did because you recall some parts of a conversation we had but not others.”

“I have made an appointment for you with Dr. Tasia Viahakis for first thing in the morning.”

“Why would I want to talk to a physicist?”

“Dr. Viahakis is the ship’s psychiatrist and psychologist whose secondary specialty is adolescent issues,” said GADI.

“I don’t have adolescent issues!” Emerald shouted at the ceiling. A wave of dizziness swept over her and she had a peculiar sense that she wasn’t herself. It passed and she abruptly wasn’t angry any more, only tired.

“You don’t have adolescent issues because you are not an adolescent yet,” GADI replied tartly. The last thing Emerald heard before trudging off to bed with a sudden, throbbing headache was the sound of her Unit door locking from the outside. “And there are no boxes in your room,” GADI added.

Emerald rolled her eyes as she fell back into bed.

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 him about EMERALD OF EARTH, try this: