The adventures were getting to be too much for Dr. John Maland, the humble anthropology professor. After the adventures where he helped the great monster Iapetus save Manhattan, and the scrape in Florida with the Cyber-Iapetus, Dr. Maland was ready for routine. He eagerly fell into a normal class schedule.
Life at Florida International University was back tonormal. The Spring session had just begun and all of the students talked about their Christmas break, and were discussing what they would do for spring break. Dr. Maland had a full course load, and it was going to be a busy semester for him. He hoped there would be no more giant monsters in his future.
The mighty Iapetus had spawned in Loch Ness, and was raising his heir in the waters near Iapetus Island. The massive Cyber-Iapetus had been repaired and continued to watch over the island, while the great animal looked after his son. His many daughters were being raised by their mothers.
The islanders had retreated from the tourist business and returned to their isolationist ways. No longer were ships allowed to land at the island, and this was enforced by the mechanical Iapetus. Yes, it appeared that everything was back in its proper order.
People continued to report the sight of strange lights in the Bermuda Triangle. The regular reports of UFO's did not seem out of the ordinary for the area. The night that most of south Florida, Bermuda, and the Caribbean inexplicably lost power for 15 minutes did raise some questions, but did nothing to raise any major flags.
However, the Quadrantid meteor shower that resulted in actual meteorites striking the ground in the deserts of New Mexico made headlines everywhere. Astronomers and scientists from around the country headed to Santa Fe to study the objects from space. Dr. Maland read their accounts in newspapers and journals, but was thankful that he did not have to be involved.
That thankfulness, however, was short lived. A few days after the meteorites hit, the Iapetian Storyteller was in Dr. Maland's office. Unlike his last visit, he was not in a business suit. With his fellow islanders, he had thrown away the modern and returned to the native ways. He stood there in his native garb, but still carried a briefcase.
"What's wrong?" asked Dr. Maland reflexively.
"Greetings my good friend," replied the storyteller. "Yes there is trouble about."
"What is it?"
"There is a problem with our mechanical protector."
"Cyber-Iapetus?" asked Dr. Maland. "What's it doing?"
"It may be simply a mechanical malfunction, but my fellow islanders sense there is more to it."
"Perhaps you should start at the beginning."
"Very well," replied the storyteller. "For the last several weeks, there have been unusual sightings around our island."
"What kind of sightings?"
"Strange objects flying around the island with flashing lights."
"You know -- Unidentified Flying Objects -- flying saucers -- alien spacecraft..."
"They are flying objects that we have not identified, but we have no evidence that they are anything but terrestrial."
"These sightings have been common for the Bermuda Triangle for a long time, what makes you think there is some connection with Cyber-Iapetus?"
"Shortly after the appearance of these objects, our mechanical protector's power indicator lights went out for a short period of time."
"That must have occurred when we lost power."
"You experienced a power loss as well?"
"I read in the paper that most of south Florida, Bermuda, and the Caribbean lost power for about 15 minutes. They didn't know what caused it, but no one has reported any problems since then."
"Perhaps they are related."
"So, has Cyber-Iapetus been affected in some other way?"
"Since the outage, we have had an increasingly difficult time controlling our mechanical protector."
"In what way?"
"Some of our commands result in instant action, some the action is delayed, and some are completely ignored."
"That is odd."
"We have not been able to pinpoint the problem. We have been over its programming several times and have found nothing out of the ordinary."
"You are far more knowledgeable of the workings of its systems, what do you want from me?"
"You are much more knowing of the world outside of our island. We thought you may be able to give us information. That is, what are the technical possibilities that we have no experience with."
"Wow!" said Dr. Maland scratching his head. "Where would I begin?"
"First, what would cause the power outage?"
"The papers said that an low yield electromagnetic pulse knocked out the power."
"Did they explain it in English?"
"I have read that a low-level electromagnetic pulse or EMP would temporarily jam electronics systems. However, I do not know how they work. They were discovered during atomic bomb tests. It is basically a wide spread, very strong, radio signal."
"A sudden spike in the electromagnetic field would induce a current flow spike. Yes that could explain it."
"Did I say that?"
"In a sense," laughed the storyteller. "I was not aware that such technology existed."
"There are rumors that such weapons are part of the U.S. arsenal, but it is naturally classified if they do exist or not. However, why would they use it in range of their own territory?"
"There is much we do not understand about this situation."
"In any event, an EMP could disrupt and even destroy integrated circuits. Perhaps Cyber-Iapetus could be due for a major computer overhaul."
"Perhaps you are correct -- if we could find it."
"As of this morning, we have been unable to locate or communicate with our mechanical protector."
"Cyber-Iapetus is missing?"
"We are hoping it is just a malfunction due to this EMP which you describe."
"How could this happen?"
"With Iapetus raising his heir, we were simply not prepared for his mechanical counterpart swimming off."
"So, one of the most powerful weapon systems ever created is somewhere in the ocean, and no one has any control over it? It could surface anywhere in the world and without much effort destroy a city! I didn't need to hear that!"Posted by deg at July 20, 2008 7:24 PM