From: "nikolai kingsley" <>
Newsgroups: talk.bizarre
Subject: ftsd. that party
Date: Fri, 1 Dec 2000 04:02:26 +1100
Organization: Monash Uni
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someone invited a Sthelane to the party. this event was supposed to be for
us adolescents only, but it turns out the alien was the son, or daughter, or
some kind of offspring, of one of my father's clients. So it didn't seem as
much of an insult after that.

it was cool. when it arrived at the party, it looked like a tall square
column of silvery metal which wiggled when it walked. it kept changing
shape, copying the furniture and the catering machines. then it started
copying us, one after the other, then switching back and forth between the
shapes so quickly we couldn't keep up with it.

i didn't get to speak with it at first because the creche alpha primates had
to demonstrate their place in the structure by dominating its attention
until they got bored. i listened to the conversation, or at least attempts
at conversation. i don't think either side realised they weren't really
getting through.

when i finally got a chance to talk to the Sthelane i'd decided to ask it
about hobbies.

"I make things that demonstrate simple principles of mathematics. May I
demonstrate?" Why not, I thought, and nodded. it changed shape a few more
times before settling down as a brilliant iridescent green cuttlefish about
two metres long, floating in the air, waving translucent pink tentacles that
tapered to delicate five-fingered tips. it darted back and forth in the air
for a few moments, then cleared everyone out of the third guest toilet.

"Many similar small rooms in other apartments, yes? Rooms like this one,
used by all of you at some stage in your species' party-going phase. Each
one linked by, lines of, kshashishatre-theyenenatre, crossing-over-points?
Co-incidence? You should consider having your language upgraded, because
there are not enough words for it to be useful.

"I assemble standard opening and closing energy structure over this similar
unit," it waved its tentacles up against the flat plane of the open doorway,
rowboat-shaped prow waving back and forth like a dancer with a pencil up
their butt drawing circles in the air. Tiny flickers of heat haze wavered
near its fingers, drifted about in the air like smoke rings, or ghosts of
jellyfish past.

The Sthelane had woven something out of hazy energy, five metres in
diameter, shaped like a lop-sided basket complete with hoop handle. The
alien bobbed in the air gently and tickled the handle of the basket with
every one of its fifty fingers. "Now I enter activation principle modulated
by locator functions tuned to vectors of strongest co-incidence. By
principle of planar xerox, energy structure with equivalent principle
manifest at nearest vectors. Each new structure map out nearest *six, plus
or minus two* co-incident vectors, link in Bacon network, offer low-duration
transport to nearby nodes."

In effect, turning our third guest toilet into one end of a
multiply-threaded wormhole which led to the third guest toilets of anyone
who had ever visited ours, and so on in a network that covered the entire
planet in a matter of minutes. It only lasted for a few days, but in that
time tens of thousands of students took advantage of the very cheap airfares
and swapped addresses and many were stranded in places they'd thought of
visiting but had no desire to *live* in, thank you very much.

hopeless posession the
splendour of nightmare
sacred infection
wholly indelible as
pure as my cruelty
- shriekback, 'hubris'