Friday, September 5, 2014

History of the Universe: The Berring Suit

The Berring suit was named for its inventor, Titan Berring.  A Berring suit was a miraculous leap forward for several reasons.  The wearers of these suits need never worry about breathing, temperature shifts (within reason), bacterial or viral illness, eating, physical harm (again, within reason), or being tethered to the baser functions of humanity for the duration of their lives.  Once a Berring suit was put on, it became a part of the person.

Berring suits were not based on Earth technology.  In fact, Titan Berring was a World Gov alien forensics biologist and not an inventor or engineer at all.  It was Titan's job to investigate the unearthly carcasses generated by the ever increasing alien vs. World Gov skirmishes in order to gain a greater understanding of Earth's new visitors.

This increase in visitors was due to a light drive travel technology explosion near the Lango System.  The Fralzbs's, a race of peaceful and mechanically inclined geniuses had invented a fast and clean method of space travel that could be easily emulated.  Suddenly every world within twenty trillion miles was manufacturing their own galaxy hopping hot rods.  Earth wasn't being invaded, it was being used as a rest stop.

It was on the tormented corpse of one of these alien tourists that Titan Berring first observed a slight genetic difference between the alien itself and its "skin".  This alien was Knu Drop of planet Knu.  The tiny bright blue spider-like creature had stolen his father's ship in order to explore and had stopped on Earth in search of edible vegetation.  World Gov soldiers shot the hell out of Knu Drop as he sucked the meat from a coconut and admired his first and last Earth sunset.

Titan Berring was very good at his job, though even if he hadn't been, it wouldn't have taken him long to figure out that this outer skin held some unusual properties.  The first and most obvious clue occurred when a small gooey patch he'd removed from the blue spider clung to his glove and slowly moved towards his exposed wrist.  Once there it attached itself comfortably above Titan's pulse as he watched spellbound.  The piece would not come off, and instead began to grow.  Within seconds the skin was indistinguishable from his own.  This made removal impossible.  Titan could feel his contact lenses being gently wedged away from his eyeballs as a clear film crept across his vision.  He watched helplessly as they fell away, and still, he felt no true physical discomfort.

When the process was complete Titan Berring was covered from head to toe inside and out with a thin and resilient protective film.  The good biologist was also naked.  This, he later learned after several failed attempts to clothe himself, was because the skin's functions were too easily impaired and compromised by additional covering.  The skin attacked any binding material and melted it away as though it was a threat.  Aside from the loss of modesty Titan found that this wasn't as large an inconvenience as one might think.  His body maintained the temperature of his moment of infection.  In fact, everything that his body was doing at that time was maintained.  His weight, hair and nail length, muscle and fat mass, all were preserved in a spectacularly immaculate conservation of energy and resources by this second skin.  The suit would continue to rotate and refresh the last breath he'd taken and his last meal he'd eaten until he dropped dead of old age or boredom in the same exact size and outer condition he existed in presently.

The most difficult aspect of the suit was learning to talk.  We take for granted that there will be breath in our lungs when we're ready to speak.  Titan's lungs had become a pair of nearly useless steak balloons now that this second skin had taken over.  The suit had shut down the area of his brain stem responsible for redundant automatic functions.  When Titan stopped breathing his initial reaction was to flail like an asthmatic or a drowning man.  Pounding his chest, he sucked breath in but couldn't feel his lungs filling with air or even a breeze passing over his tongue and throat.  Ever the biologist, Titan was able to calm himself when he realized with a startled silent chuckle that he was still alive despite not breathing.  In order to talk, Titan had to get very good at ascertaining how much air he might need to expel in order to say a particular thing and then carefully take in at least that amount.

The suit was unfortunately highly limiting when it came to reproduction.  A person with a Berring suit could only successfully reproduce with another human being in a Berring suit.  In its infinite biological wisdom, the suit could only open for an exchange of resources when another suit was involved.  Babies born from suited mothers were always healthy, but very small.  To have a baby was to give up several pounds of irreplaceable flesh.  Most suited women opted to only have one child, if any.

All of these things and more Titan Berring learned within months of his first suit contact.  Titan was never able to reproduce the suit from scratch despite extensive research, it contained several amino compounds not found on Earth.  These genetic materials would eventually be discovered on other worlds, but the Chrono-Travell hadn't yet been invented so Titan had no access to future scientific discoveries.  The clever biologist was instead able to "grow" the suit on an army of hapless lab rats. 

Once people got a load of the benefits of this suit they clamored for the opportunity to wear one.  Aside from being incredibly expensive, the suits were only sold to people who met an extensive list of health criteria.  This criteria was thought necessary because the suit wasn't a magic healer.  If a person had leukemia or even a urinary tract infection, the Berring suit would assume that their disease was a natural state for the wearer and maintain for them their sub par level of health.  Eventually the disease would win as the suit would effectively protect them from any treatments that might help.  It was also required that the person choose a hair and nail length that would stand the test of time.  Suits were not sold to overweight people or those with unhealed piercings, tattoos, or dyed hair.  The risk of regret was too great, a Berring suit was forever.

Once the suits had been widely marketed to acceptable clients, people began emulating their effect in the hope of appearing trendy and wealthy.  It was easy to spot these naked imposters because unlike authentic Berring suit owners, they had to breathe and eat.  Another obvious sign was that they would sweat in the heat and shiver in the cold, neither of which a person under the thermal protection of a Berring suit need ever do again.  Authentic Berring suits also shimmered like oil on a puddle when it rained, though they kept the wearer's hair and skin perfectly dry. 

Fin Dominguez was the first of many undersea pioneers to truly test the oxygen regenerative properties of the suit.  He spent six months in an underwater amusement park he'd had built in anticipation of a suit inspired deep sea rush.  He was forced to let the sea claim his park when it became apparent that while people could now live underwater, it was very difficult to keep them tethered to the sea floor.

By far the most interesting incidental development of the Berring suit was what it had done for space travel.  No longer were astronauts restricted to bulky suits and the immense space that oxygen generators and food consumed aboard shuttles.  This was coupled with the alien space travel technology that World Gov scientists had borrowed from numerous interstellar tourists.  Thanks to vigilant World Gov soldiers, Earth had become a very profitable alien space travel cul de sac death trap.

In 5568 a lone elderly traveler set out to test the limits of the Berring suit and himself via a ship-less voyage through outer space.  Anthony Shakito suffered from stage five pancreatic cancer.  While the suit wouldn't cure him, it would surely buy him time.  Anthony used the unlimited resources of his vast alien influenced pharmaceutical fortune to slide past the health screening and other safety protocols in order to gain access to a second skin.  He blasted off into space on a Shakito Med Enterprises private shuttle.  When the shuttle had almost run out of the power it would need to get back home, Anthony recorded this message:

"April 1, 5568, Anthony Shakito here.  Every time something interesting or good happens I turn to tell my wife, my daughter, my brothers, my mother and father, and I'm alone.  They've all gone on ahead of me.  And so I'm going out to get some good last stories for them and when I've gone as far as this body will let me go I'm going to turn and maybe they'll be there again"

Accompanying the short recording is a one minute video clip of Anthony Shakito's naked cancer ravaged body kicking away from his shuttle, which he had programmed to return to his private launch pad on Earth.  Mr. Shakito's body was never recovered, but his nihilistic solo journey through the cosmos has become the stuff of legend.  No fewer than 35 films and 200 songs have been based on Anthony Shakito's tragic one way trip.

4 comments:

  1. I'm a Berring, and I support this message. Kick ass post.

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    1. Thank you very much, my dear Berring:-)

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  2. I read all of the series.I love sci fi. Overall quite dystopian, yet imaginative. Though set far in the future, human nature hasn't changed much. It's fun to speculate about unknown star systems and you've done a stellar job here. Will there be more in this series?

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    1. thanks for reading! there definitely will be more of them, i'm glad you liked it

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