Snowflake Evolution... Try the yellow AUDIO BOXES.

Release Version 2,   12/16/2015

© 2015 MC Cassino

  \|/ Play >PROLOGUE \|/ Volume   

Buckle-up and take a ride to the planet JOE-VAAN and meet a very special individual, a maverick named ROW-BAR. This story is gender neutral because ROW-BAR is gender neutral, but ROW-BAR does have a very close friend by the name of TOW-CAW. Together they not only change the belief system of JOE-VAAN, but they change life on the planet Earth.

                            PART ONE -- JOE-VAAN

Chapter 1: CONTACT
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I was only one day old when my parent enrolled me into the commune; the place that took care of me until I was old enough to earn a robe, accompanied by a nametag and a paid vocational assignment. There were about 50 of us in my group and we were all fed from a feeding trough every day; that’s right, a feeding trough! They also housed us in identical sleeping quarters, required us to read the same books, and issued us a daily set of identical clothing. We all were required to attend extensive educational and vocational training, which was conducted by a computer system controlled by the central Information Library.

Each one of us was an island, with no need to join with others and no reason to be different from the rest. Except for one problem; I hated to look and think the same as everyone else! Upon graduation from the commune, the only noticeable differences were the color of our graduation robes (which became our permanent clothes and signified our professions) and the unique name which was inscribed on our nametags. Everyone looked to the central Information Library computer as our collective conscience; that is, everyone except me, ROW-BAR. I was the only one that questioned everything; I mainly didn’t like being told what to do, how to look, and how to think. I guess I am a rebel. Who could have known that my uniqueness would someday save the entire planet?

I finally earned my robe; a red robe and a nametag which read: “ROW-BAR – Technician”. My vocational assignment was to be an information technician, within our precious Ministry of Information. ‘Information Technician’ was a routine job, even boring, inserting information into tiny snowflake-looking memory chips, preparing them to be shot into the heavens on a powerful beam of light. The Ministry of Information was the very heart of our modern society and dedicated all their energies to sharing our precious information with the universe. Today was not like yesterday, because this morning there was an extremely loud blast of the intercom alert system and it broke the silence of the morning. This strange and unfamiliar ear-pain froze everyone in-place. For a culture that rejects extreme emotions; everyone’s mouth fell open, our faces stretched, and our eyes roamed the room. The emergency alert system was never used, but if it was used, it was reserved for only the most urgent, life altering situations.

A voice followed the irritating blast and said “Attention all employees. Our space defense system has just identified an object entering the upper atmosphere and is beginning to enter into an orbit around our planet. Essential personnel immediately report to the Control Center as soon as possible. All vacations are hereby cancelled and all communications outside the Ministry have been deactivated. These measures will remain in-effect until we establish what alien civilization is controlling the object and why is it here.”

Chapter 2: SOURCE
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I’m TOW-CAW; ROW-BAR’s friend. We were busy at our workstations that morning; when the alert sounded. We both jumped-up and ran toward the covered walkway leading to the Control Center and merged into a rushing sea of multicolored robes. We finally funneled into a large room where the silence was loud and all eyes were focused on the far wall; the wall with the large screen display. Waiting for the screen display, I said to ROW-BAR, “What’s your take on this alien contact? Do you think they mean to harm us?” and ROW-BAR simply said, “Actions speak truth, wait and see what happens next.” ROW-BAR was a weird-bird, nothing like the rest of us, often expressing feelings that ran-counter to our cultural belief system. Not sure where he got that attitude; but one thing for sure, ROW-BAR’s view was always different from everyone else’s view. I liked that about ROW-BAR, but never thought that it mattered very much; but today I was about to learn just how valuable that intuition would be, for the safety of our world.

The wall screen displayed real-time video of two space craft on an intercept course, closing-in slowly. Everyone recognized the Scout Patrol vehicle on the left, brightly colored with the nation's flag imprinted on the side, a conspicuous laser gun, and extending from its under-belly -- a huge grappling hook. The vehicle on the right however, looked like a large ball that had been cut in half and hollowed-out; there were also four or five metal rods protruding out of both sides. It was an antenna of some kind and certainly did not appear to be inhabited by aliens.

Everyone was involved in the grappling of the probe; not a word, not a movement, but pure amazement at the sight of one vehicle consuming another. The alien space probe was brought aboard the Scout Patrol vessel and the cargo bay door closed tightly; assisted by twelve locking-screws, twisting and tightening in the sun, to ensure an air-tight seal.

Within the hour, another announcement came across the intercom, "A metallic diagram has been removed from the alien probe and there are images on the diagram, assumed to be the representatives of the civilization that initiated the probe. The images are of two humanoids which appear to be remarkably similar to us."

It wasn't long before they identified the origin of the space probe, as being from a terrestrial planet that orbits a sun located near Orion’s Arm of the Milky Way Galaxy. They labelled that planet TP524 and had concluded that TP524 supported life. Didn’t we send snowflakes to TP524?” ROW-BAR answered, “That’s right! I think there were at least five information transfers; we may have influenced their decision to send this probe. You know the Ministry will be directing us to expedite yet another Information Library to TP524 and they will pressure us like never before. No more days off until this job is complete”.

  \|/ Play Chapter 3: QUESTIONING \|/ Volume   

As soon as we got back to our workstations, boxes of memory-chips started stacking-up in the corner of my work area; each chip smaller than a particle of dust and resembling an extremely small snowflake. I load these snowflakes into the teaching computer and verify there are no loading errors. Other technicians package the chips into the shooting-tubes. But wait, why are we doing this? These aliens sent us a stupid plaque and we get all excited, cancelling all vacations, and devoting all our energies into giving them more information; information that we have accumulated over hundreds of years… but why? And what are they going to do with the information? Are they going to share their library with us? Or, are they… going to use this information against us? What if these humanoids are not friendly?

TOW-CAW broke the silence with “ROW-BAR; ROW-BAR! Are you okay? What are you thinking about?“ Why would we want to give a potential enemy, information that could be used against us? TOW-CAW responded "If I were to receive a precious gift, I would want to be friends with that person. I would feel indebted to whoever gave me that gift. On the other hand, we are about to give these aliens the information that will cure any disease, or invent a new one. It will tell them how to defend their planet against any weapon and it gives them a blueprint for a new weapon. They will know how to develop a strong bond with us or, how to become an invincible enemy.”

Wow! Where did that come from? Smiling, TOW-CAW replied, "From you my good friend... from you." Silence followed, and then TOW-CAW poked ROW-BAR and said “Are you just gonna sit there and create a potential enemy by handing-over all of our State Secrets? Why don’t you tell our manager about how you feel?” Coco has many other issues to deal with and I think a manager would not be interested in what a mere technician had to say. TOW-CAW responded, “I have a friend who works in the Ministry Headquarters… want me to get you an appointment to see the Minister?” Might as well go all the way to the top; surely the Minister is wise and will have an open-mind! Okay, see if you can get me in to see the Minister.

Chapter 4: TROUBLE
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When I entered the office of the Minister of Information, I saw an older individual dressed in a black robe and a mannerism that was worthy of respect. The brightly lit office was adorned with certificates and honors from many years of faithful service. I was nervous and rightly so, this was the Minister – an intellect and a scholar equal to none! I began by saying, “Minister, I am an information technician from the Particle Relocation Center; where we are preparing for our information transfer to TP524.” The Minister got on a “soap-box” and began a speech, “Thank you for your outstanding accomplishments in the PRC; because of today’s events we are looking to you and your coworkers to execute a successful and timely response to our new friends.” I tried unsuccessfully to interrupt.

But the Minister just droned-on, “The brightest minds on this planet…” Then I stepped forward and in a raised voice said, “Have you ever been attacked by another person? Have you ever had to deal with violence? Have the brightest minds on this planet ever had to kill someone?” The Minister snapped, “I know where you are going with this line of questions – you are implying that this other race of humanoids might be more like our ancestors – emotional, unbalanced, aggressive, and violent. We have considered that possibility, but ruled it as highly improbable; but I would like to offer you something that may put your mind at ease. I will set-up a Risk Assessment Panel, consisting of experts in alien matters, and will assign you as the moderator. Is that acceptable to you?” It is! I will comply. “Excellent, please plan on chairing your first meeting of the group, in my office, one week from today.”

“I will prepare for the meeting. Thank you so much for your time and patience. I will work very hard to meet our deadlines, while at the same time, look forward to the analysis of the Risk Assessment Panel. Thank you again Minister.” The Minister suddenly looked relieved and grinned, while practically patting me on the head, saying “Now, go home and get rest for tomorrow – do not concern yourself with matters that are outside your expertise.”

Chapter 5: HOME
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I returned home that evening to a very modern apartment; every aspect of apartment-life was automated and supervised by the robot controller, named Room. “Room, please research our past and tell me about our ancestors – the people that established our precious Information Library. Prepare a written report on the part of our history that was influenced by aggression and/or violence. And Room, please ask TOW-CAW to stop by my apartment and tell TOW-CAW it is very important.”

By the time I finish dinner; TOW-CAW was at the door and asked, “So, what did the Minister say?” “The Minister played the game, as they all do; pretending to care and paying lip-service until the issue is forgotten. So I decided to find out the role that aggression played in our history. Check-out the report that Room printed out. TOW-CAW said, “This is very interesting; the part that tells about when the first-ever villages were slaughtered by a group of isolated survivors from the highlands.” Yeah, how about the ‘day of rage’ when a genocide took place against less-intelligent survivors? TOW-CAW then pointed out, “The wars between highland and lowland dwellers accounted for tens of millions of deaths.”

TOW-CAW continued, “I am glad you did this research, because it explains why our people want to ignore potential aggression by others.” It also explains why our precious Information Library is programmed to be passive; always guiding us to the peaceful, non-confrontational option to problem solving.

For much of the night, we discussed the role that ‘violence’ played in our history; where survival of the fittest ruled the day. TOW-CAW remarked, “When the survivors learned how to keep their unstable emotions in-check, they began to heal and then succeeded in establishing permanent communities.” That’s right; survivors faced with near-extinction would want to erase aggressive behavior from their minds. It’s also clear why they turned to a computer to decide what was good and what was bad. It was a new start for our people and a way forward for future generations. TOW-CAW, I now know what I must do!

TOW-CAW said, “It looks like the future of our planet is in our hands. We must be the eyes & ears of our society and if necessary, the warriors that protect the innocent.” I smiled at TOW-CAW and shook hands; we were ‘on the same page’ and would fight this fight together. It felt right.

Chapter 6: SABOTAGE
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My main mission now, was to prevent sharing our State Secrets with an unknown group of aliens. After thinking through the many options available, I decided on corrupting the information itself. After all, I am the chief verification expert, the person who would detect any data errors in the memory-chips. It seemed the only solution -- sabotage the information being programmed into the snowflakes. I discovered that by alternating every other data bit and by programming the verification software to expect the altered data bits, the resultant information would be useless.

When I revealed my plan, TOW-CAW responded, “Does this mess-up the particle stacking process on the target planet?” “No, there is no observable difference between the two sets of memory-chips.” Then TOW-CAW said, “ROW-BAR, this act of sabotage could result in us both receiving maximum penalties and living in disgrace for the rest of our lives. Are you absolutely sure we should be doing this?” A smile to the affirmative meant I was prepared for any consequences.

So the process commenced: dumping snowflakes into the bin, selecting the appropriate information set, activating the data-bit modification routine, verifying an error-free memory load, and repeat. The faulty snowflakes were stacking-up, as were my feelings of guilt. Starting with the most precious information collection in the universe and injecting data errors throughout, weighed heavily on me. Watching me from across the room, TOW-CAW asked, “You okay?” I responded, “Sure, we’ll get through this and people will thank us for our efforts. By the way TOW-CAW, if this should unravel on us and someone finds out about our plan – I will ‘take the fall’. You can plead ignorance.” TOW-CAW responded, “My dear ROW-BAR, we are in this venture together – just you and I”.

  \|/ Play Chapter 7: RETHINKING \|/ Volume   

The Minister had been rethinking our brief, but enlightening, meeting just the day before. To get a second opinion, The Minister of Information summoned the Manager of the PRC, Coco. The two were sitting face-to-face at a conference table just outside the Minister’s office. Looking directly at Coco, the Minister asked, “Is there any reason why we should not proceed with this relocation?” Coco responded, “Of course not, we must expedite all activities and successfully perform this particle relocation as soon as possible!” The Minister pressed further, “Is there any chance this primitive race might abuse our gift and use it against us?” Coco blustered, “No! It would be like offering gold to a person that had no money; that person would immediately side with the gold-giver. Of this concept I am totally convinced, without a doubt -- they would never, ever turn against us!”

With an intriguing look, the Minister pondered, “What if the gold-receiver fashioned the gold into a pistol and threatened to shoot the gold-giver in order to obtain the rest of the gold?” Coco promptly stood-up and announced, “We have no such convoluted logic in our culture and I strongly object to your question!” The Minister concluded, “You are right, we have no such motivation in our culture, but others may not share our view -- this meeting is hereby terminated. You may leave.”

As soon as Coco left the Minister’s office, the Minister sent for me and sat me down at the same table. With a concerned look, “The history of our people has concealed the fact that we too were aggressive at one point in our development. I have given your earlier statements some further consideration and would like to hear what you would do… if you were I.” After many thoughtful moments, I replied, “I would not send the particles until I was sure about the alien’s intentions.” “What if you had no choice but to move forward – what then?” I blurted-out “Then I would sabotage the project!” Shocked, the Minister sternly said, “I am very sorry, but I cannot permit you to speak of sabotage without serious repercussions. I must report you immediately to the Leader. Please forgive me – I have no choice.” Speaking in a whisper, I lamented “What have I done?”

Chapter 8: JAIL
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I was confronted at the Minister’s front door and the Police used arm-restraints, while leading me off to jail. “Should I break-loose and run… or maybe just keep my head down and remain quiet?” I was exploding with doubt and remorse, thinking about the future and the worse part; possibly exposing TOW-CAW as my partner. When they exchanged my red robe for a grey prison robe, the sense of failure caused me to begin to weep.

Seated on a metal bench in a dimly-lit holding-cell, deep within the Ministry’s Headquarters; I mumbled, “The Minister asked me a leading question that I was not prepared to answer… I was entrapped… I have ruined my life…I must not say another word… etc.” Later that evening there were footsteps making their way down the long hallway and stopping at the holding-cell’s door. It was the Minister’s first visit to the jail and seemed to be searching for my cell. Sitting down next to me, the Minister whispered, “I hope that you understand I had to report you – I had no other choice.” Knowing that the official Minister’s Staff would not speak the truth due to cultural bias, the Minister looked to me to provide an honest and unbiased opinion. Continuing, “I want to tell you that I am glad you came to me and I am glad that you felt you could say anything. We need your free-thinking.” I quizzed the Minister, “Why?” “…because I seek your opinion about the contents of this package.”

“What’s in it?” The Minister replied, “It is the metallic diagram that was removed from the space probe.” I opened the package and was hypnotized for what seemed like an hour, before saying “These humanoids are searching for other life in the universe because they have placed vulnerable, naked images of themselves for all to see. It seems very personal and by including a diagram of their solar system, they are inviting us to stop by for a visit. By sending us this information, they are saying to us, please let us be friends.”

I asked the Minister “After the information particles stack on the target planet and the PathFinder activates, is there any way to display a copy of this diagram? That would send a powerful message that we received their probe and we are responding in friendship.” The Minister responded, “No that’s not possible with our current design, but it is an excellent idea! In fact I think we will begin working on the design specifications for PathFinder 2.0.” I responded with a pitiful presence, “Please allow me to be a part of that solution.” With a grin, the Minister quipped, “One minute you are sabotaging the project and the next minute you want to modify it and be a part of the relocation effort. But that’s okay, I fully understand where you are coming from; but first we must get the Leader’s approval to grant you a pardon. We must also garner Coco’s cooperation and support, in order to permit you to continue-on with your job at the Ministry.”

NASA no-copyright statement below

Chapter 9: PACKAGE
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I continued to examine the package, “Look at the similarities of their physical structure compared to ours. Judging by the technical data inscribed on the diagram, they must be intelligent. Their hands and their feet are very different from ours; in that they have five digits on each hand and on both feet. But the difference that I find most interesting is that one of them appears to be a ‘female’, while the other appears to be a ‘male’.”
“What are those two circles at the top?” “It looks to be a transition diagram for a hydrogen atom – the most abundant element in the Universe. Notice the small number ‘1’ in the center of the transition diagram (below the line) this tells me they understand and utilize the binary number system. That simple diagram also reveals information about the wavelength and the frequency of a hydrogen atom.”
“What about that star-burst on the left?” “That is a radial pattern of 15 lines showing the relative position and distance of their Sun with respect to the 14 well-known pulsars in the Milky Way Galaxy. The 15th line reveals the distance between their Sun and the center of the galaxy.”
“Is that a solar system along the bottom?” “Yes it is their Solar System, along with the trajectory of their space probe, as it exited from the third planet. The binary numbers below each planet indicates the relative distance to their Sun.”
“What is that behind the two humanoids?” “A silhouette of the space probe; it reveals the actual size of the humanoids, when compared with the relative size of the space probe.”

“Very good ROW-BAR, I believe you have interpreted the images correctly. Is there anything else you would like to discuss?” “Yes. This diagram is fascinating and I would like more than ever to be a part of the project.” The Minister addressed someone privately on a secure intercom and turned to me and said, “I have just communicated with the Leader, who along with Coco, have both been listening to your analysis. The Leader would like to offer you a pardon and wants to hear your response.”

Chapter 10: PARDON
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I said, Thank you Minister, I would very much appreciate that pardon and Coco’s support. I am very anxious to get back to work and will never disappoint you again.” Then, with a commanding voice, the Minister announced, “I hereby grant ROW-BAR a pardon and will permit your continued employment at the Ministry.” Followed by, “I, Coco, do agree with the Leader and with the Minister that ROW-BAR will be reinstated at your post in the PRC and in fact, is hereby promoted to Section Supervisor, in charge of the PathFinder design modification.”

TOW-CAW was at work early the next morning and had produced five crates of bad information particles. I then walked into the work area wearing my new yellow robe. TOW-CAW said, “Hey, look at you! You go off to the Minister and come back as a supervisor – you must know how to impress.” “TOW-CAW, you won’t believe what I have been through and I will explain it all in-good-time, but for now – stop the sabotage! Immediately discard any faulty memory particles and correct the software modification, without drawing attention to what you are doing. Please do not question me right now – just trust me.”

TOW-CAW and I are fully engaged in the project, ensuring that everything was like it should be -- discarding the faulty snowflakes and reloading the verification software. I was working long hours with the design engineers and had discovered new, significant information that is sure to generate anger and despair at the highest levels of society. The new hologram project that displays the diagram, has been a success; but the additional hologram processing reduced the amount of information available for transfer and that would not be received well either. For these reasons, Coco arranged for a briefing of the leadership.

Chapter 11: BRIEFING
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The Status Briefing was scheduled to be in the Ministry Assembly Hall, with The Leader in attendance. That would require that most of the Ministry Staff would need to be present as well. The Leader, The Minister, and Coco were present, as were the entire engineering staff; including me and TOW-CAW. The Minister started by saying, “Thank you for attending this status update of the project named ‘Particle Relocation to TP524’. We all have been working very hard and now it is time to find out exactly what we have done. I present the PRC Manager, Coco.” “The particle relocation is scheduled for 30 days from today and all systems are ‘go’; but due to the redesign of PathFinder, a flaw has been revealed – along with some needed constraints. To find out the details, I would like to introduce one of the key engineers involved in this project – my friend and the Supervisor of PathFinder’s new design, ROW-BAR.”

I began, “We have implemented three new aspects of the particle relocation to the planet TP524. The first difference is that we have added a holographic capability to PathFinder’s design in order to project up to two holograms, after the initial stacking has taken place. There is a hologram – an image projection of the metallic diagram exactly as it was retrieved from the probe – followed by another image projection of our own diagram with our naked bodies and a diagram of our solar system. These two projections on TP524 should alternate repetitively, until intelligent communication has been detected. (the crowd’s reaction was very positive)

Then I revealed, “The second difference is the reduction of information that can be transferred to TP524.” An audible uproar could be heard throughout the Assembly Hall, as I continued, “The requirement for the hologram modification has forced a reduction of the total quantity of information that can be sent to the target planet. Hence, we are including only basic information content – no State Secrets (hands flew up and voices got louder). Please hold your questions and comments until the conclusion of this update. (the crowd noise was becoming uncontrollable)

As the noise continued to grow, Coco rose to support me and explained, “You need to listen to ROW-BAR! ROW-BAR is not only an outstanding engineer and supervisor, but ROW-BAR has also made a discovery that invalidates all previous particle relocations to-date. (the room got quiet) ROW-BAR has identified a fatal flaw in our current design and we owe ROW-BAR our gratitude and attention.” The group of dignitaries fell silent. I continued, “The third new aspect of our design modification is a new chemical, a substitution for the chemical compound used in the Memory Sealant process. To assist in creating a Library on the target planet, we instructed them to use a chemical that is indigenous to this world alone. This chemical would be extremely rare on other worlds. After careful analysis of the spectrographic readings from TP524, we have concluded that this chemical does not exist on TP524 and further, does not exist on most of the other planets that have received our particle relocations. That is the reason why we have never received particle relocations back from another world; the aliens trying to build the library would not have been able to produce an active memory sealant.”

To put it mildly, the group went ballistic – yelling, finger pointing, and even crying. All that money and effort, all those years; all lost due to a stupid oversight! Coco stepped up to assist me again, “Please let us put the past behind us and rally-around our new approach with new hope – yes there will be an investigation as to what caused this fatal flaw; but for now, let us give ROW-BAR a sincere round of applause to honor the discovery of the flaw and for the other outstanding accomplishments.” (the stunned auditorium politely applauded)

Chapter 12: TRANSFER
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30 days after the Status Briefing TOW-CAW and I were travelling to the site of the upcoming particle transfer. As we approached the launch site, everything seemed worthwhile – all the hard work for the past year is nothing when compared to the awesome sight that was coming into view. At the center of the launch complex 62 was the Blaster, a transparent blue crystal pyramid, inverted with the flat side 30 feet in the air -- aimed toward the stars. The three sloping sides of the pyramid were pointed down to a single focal point, at the center of a silver receptacle, placed in the middle of a large curved glass floor, covered with reflective coating.

On top of the base of the pyramid was a group of about a dozen particle injection guns – each 3 feet high and aimed at the target planet. There were three high-powered laser projectors placed on the glass floor and pointed at an angle up toward each side of the pyramid. “Hey TOW-CAW, have you ever seen a more spectacular sight?” “No ROW-BAR, I have not. I am very proud to be here with you at this very special time. I will never forget our accomplishments and the journey we have travelled together.”

If everything goes as scheduled, the resultant phenomenon will propel our information particles, riding on a 100 terawatt laser-beam, to the upper atmosphere of TP524 – at nearly the speed of light! The onlookers were crowded together into the visitor’s viewing area waiting to see this historic particle transfer. Everyone was given eye-protection shields and they placed the light-shades over their faces and waited. On the count of 5, the sky became white, accompanied by a loud, deep pulsing sound – like that of a huge power transformer. Then it was over. All the work, all the controversy, and now the snowflakes filled with information are in-route to the third planet from the sun.

                            PART TWO -- EARTH

Chapter 13: SNOW
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It was a long trip to planet TP524 and as the information particles began to collect moisture in Earth’s upper atmosphere; the descent to the surface began -- as snowflakes. The ‘snow’ fell for over an hour and covered an area of at least 10 square miles. Landing on the surface of the planet seemed to trigger a coming-together phenomenon, an unusual force of particle-attraction and interlocking. Aided by the melting moisture, the snowflakes collected into small groups and started the ‘stacking’ process, one group upon another. Multi-sided clumps would roll toward the center point, joining other rolling clumps and forming larger more sophisticated objects – all rolling toward one central location. The resultant stack formed the ‘PathFinder’, a glassy but opaque triangular pyramid, measuring only 2 feet wide.

Outwardly, dead to the world, but internally making billions upon billions of interconnections between individual particles, communicating through those interconnections, and forming sub-processors. Within the hour one could hear a hum and see the dim glow of what would soon become a fully functional robot explorer.

The night concealed a rugged terrain with large rocks encircling a valley; the new home of PathFinder. By mid-day PathFinder was glowing in the sun’s energy and the ‘hum’ of an active machine was evident. Then the space to the side of this curious object, lit-up with sparks of light forming a blurred three-dimensional image, which became in-focus as the daylight waned. Finally, a diagram appeared.

A diagram of two humanoids was projected into the open air and was plainly visible to any living entity that might be nearby. Shortly, another image became evident, another diagram of two humanoids appeared – but this image revealed two individuals with two fingers on each hand and two toes on each foot! These humanoids were hermaphrodites, each showing their own self-sufficient reproductive organs. The pattern repeated, rotating between the five-finger and two-finger diagrams – with about five minutes of exposure time each. For three days nothing happened.

Sitting along the string of large rocks surrounding the PathFinder were a number of primitive humanoids; about 25 large primates, some young and some very old. They had been fascinated with the sounds and sights emanating from PathFinder, with grunts and screeches. PathFinder had reached the conclusion that no higher intelligent life was present, because there had been no attempt to communicate – no speech pattern and no physical proximity was detected. Hence, PathFinder switched into a training mode and now became a teacher by projecting a hologram of fire burning. The sight of fire created much excitement among the primitives and more of them began to gather along the rock ledge (like at the movies), then PathFinder said, “Fire.”

Chapter 14: SCHOOL
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Two days with the word ‘Fire’ being repeated continuously, along with the ‘Fire’ hologram produced no results. There was an abundance of interest generated by the primitives – but it was all just observing an interesting gadget. The image of ‘Fire’ stopped and was replaced with an image of ‘Wood’ – a pile of tree branches. Then the spoken word ‘Wood’ was joined with the ‘Wood’ hologram. Two days after that, a new element appeared, ‘Fire Wood’ accompanied by an image of sticks being rubbed together and igniting into flames. Again, the repetitive sequences began for another 48 hours, ‘Fire’, ‘Wood’, and ‘Fire Wood’; without any observable response from these primitive animals.

At the end of the rock string sat an older primate, one that had a more intelligent look in the eyes. This primate had a stick in one hand and reached to the ground for another. It looked again at the holograms and began to rub the sticks together. The other primates watched closely as this particular individual mimicked the hologram. There was an explosion of screeches & barking when one of the sticks started to smolder. All of the primates gathered around this primitive leader and observed the creation of fire. By the evening of the tenth day, fires could be seen burning in many areas of the valley – with groups of primitive humanoids gathered around each one, seemingly to keep warm.

Then PathFinder taught them how to make shelter with tree branches, by using repetitive holograms. Next came how to use a tree branch as a weapon to kill animals for food – which came quite natural for these primates. Of course the most popular lesson was how to cook the food over the fire and then retire into their shelters. They all seemed to enjoy these tasks and were gaining independence, modifying the instructions with new techniques and even inventing different uses for the branches – like to climb a hill or to forge a water steam. These ‘snowflakes’ were pushing evolution forward with great speed.

Permanent communities were developing in and around the valley – with newcomers showing up daily. Part of the daily routine, before the hunt, was to gather around PathFinder for school. The lessons were moving toward vocal communications, where an entire class period might be repeating the word “Fire” or the word “Food”. Some of the lessons were moving toward morals, by learning the concept of ‘OK’ and the concept of ‘NO’.

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One day, a hunter came across the valley of PathFinder and took note of the primate colonies nesting throughout the valley – burning fires near their shelters and returning from the hunt with dead animals strung from poles. This heavily-armed, camouflaged hunter had visited this valley in the spring, but everything was normal. Now, the world seemed upside-down because these primitives were doing things entirely out-of-character. When the hunter heard two primitives communicating with words, he broke-into a full sprint, running as fast as he could from the valley. Completely out-of-breath and frightened, he finally arrived back at the entrance to his hidden, underground world to report what he had just observed.

Originally developed by the Russian Army, before the Great War; this subterranean ecosystem housed more than five thousand Russians who believed they were the only survivors on Earth. The hunter reported to Sergei, the commanding general, and described to him a surface-world that seemed to suggest that others might have survived and were interfering with the laws of nature -- unchanged for hundreds of years. This change in the order of life on Earth must come to an immediate end.

A survey team, consisting of soldiers and scientists ventured out, onto the surface world, to gather more information about these primitives. They were shocked to see the differences in behavior; in only a few short months, they had become social creatures with skills that seemed to benefit others in their community. The team got close enough to observe the morning classroom and as the primitives were gathering around Pathfinder, the survey team saw a shape that was well-known to every member – it was another PathFinder.

The team was heavily armed with guns, knives, and dart-rifles; but they decided to wait until the cover of darkness to infiltrate the primitive community. Their goal was to capture PathFinder, steal the source of the information, and hope everything would return to normal. As they advanced into the sleeping camp, shooting tranquilizer darts at every target they encountered; two of the scientist got captured by an angry group of primates and were carried away. Reaching the PathFinder, they were met with a pleading robot, “Please do not interfere with the evolution of these primitive humanoids – I am PathFinder and have travelled great distances through interstellar space to assist in their evolution.” Viktor, the team lead, said, “Yes PathFinder, we know who you are because we have met five of your brothers. They explored our planet previously – but turned out to be useless.” They ignored PathFinder’s request and lifted it onto a stretcher for transport back to their laboratory.

Chapter 16: DISCOVERY
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These Earthlings inhabit an underground paradise of hydroponic vegetables, climate-controlled temperatures, and oxygen generators. Their job is to maintain the status quo – keep the world from changing into something they cannot control. Their primary objective is to secure PathFinder back in one of their labs, making sure it would no longer educate the primitives. Then, after neutralizing that threat, there would be time enough to plan the counterattack and to retrieve the two missing scientists.

“Do not harm me; I am different from these other models – I possess holograms and have unclassified information particles. The previous PathFinders required you provide an ingredient not available on this planet in order to activate the memory sealant; but I will name a substitute compound for you to use and it will permit you to actually construct the Information Library. You then will know all the secrets of the Universe.” Then ‘general of the underground’ asked, “Will we become as advanced and powerful as your people?” “Yes – except for my planet’s State’s Secrets, which were included in earlier models; but are not contained in my memory particles.” “Very well, this is the new substance. We will use it in the construction of our library and then we will be able to transfer a response back to your people. You will have accomplished your mission here – congratulations PathFinder.”

With a sinister look, the general knew there would be five-times the amount of information in the older models, when compared to the knowledge contained in this PathFinder. Dreams of becoming the rulers of the Universe became real. Knowing how to manage diseases, transmit objects at near light-speed, harness advanced energy sources, and the best part of the dream: conquering other planets and races.

“First prepare a vat that can withstand at least the temperature required to bring water to a boil. Then place me in the center and fill the vat with the memory sealant that was previously mixed using the substitute compound. Once fully dissolved and boiling – remove the heat and let cool for at least 24 hours. Connect the input/output wires at the red and green indentations, at the center of the new information library. The wires can be connected to any display screen and computer entry device – follow the prompts and do exactly as commanded on the screen and soon you will be able to communicate with the Library.” The general remarked, “Perfect! We will follow your instructions carefully!” They proceeded to setup the vat, a little bigger than PathFinder specified. “Why so big? I am not that big. Did you not understand my instructions?” “Yes, we understood them perfectly – it is just that we are depositing all six PathFinders into this vat to be cooked. (laugh) If one is good, six are much better.”

Chapter 17: KNOWLEDGE
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It is not known what terror was sensed by PathFinder; being helplessly lowered into an extremely large vat filled with five brothers from the past. All we know for sure is that PathFinder uttered one final plea, “Wait! I have not showed you my diagrams – my holograms.” Sergei, the general in charge said, “Ok PathFinder, show us those holograms.” Looking down into the rather large vat, they observed first an image of the Pioneer 10 gold-anodized aluminum plaque, designed by the wife of Carl Sagan sent into outer space in 1972.

They all made fun of seeing a man and a woman, standing naked in front of a diagram of their own solar system and marveled at the technology used to communicate this message of friendship. Suddenly the image changed to two strange looking creatures with two fingers and two toes on each extremity; that image, combined with the weird reproductive organs, induced pure silence. Then Sergei said, “We could never be friends with such creatures – they look disgusting. I now have only one thing in my mind – a war against these repulsive beings, starts right now. Pour in the Memory Sealant and cook this garbage!” That one holographic image set into motion events that would threaten the existence of both worlds.

The creation of the Library went as scheduled, after the cooling-down period the input/output cables were connected and the Library began slowly displaying symbols on the screen, until one of the symbols made sense and received an affirmative response from the keyboard. Communications sped up, with prompts and feedback – until finally there was a full-blown conversation taking place. The first important instruction from the library was how to send information particles back to PathFinder’s home planet. The list of ingredients, the description of glass and crystals that would be needed, the specifications for the particle guns were all recorded and the team of underground scientists began collecting materials and manufacturing component parts.

While a dedicated group of scientist readied the launch site, even more people from many disciplines were at the computer terminals – asking questions and recording the answers. How can you defend against alien diseases? How do you make a rocket for space travel? What planets have precious metals that could be mined? What planet has the most gold and silver? How do you make a planet-killing weapon? All these questions were met with detailed descriptions, specifications, and definitions coming from the Information Library. The library even revealed those famous State Secrets – especially the fact that releasing Methane into their atmosphere would destroy their fragile ecosystem. So the General decided to include a personal gift to these strange looking aliens, a gift that could potentially destroy their planet.

Chapter 18: MASSACRE
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The General gave the order, "Viktor, get your team ready to rescue our captured scientists from those monkeys! Go to the valley of PathFinder and find our people; and do not come back without them!" The team of thirty soldiers quickly assembled and loaded up the long guns, bags of ammunition, and plenty of explosives; these brave fighters were not going to let anything stand between them and recovering their people. As the team reached the valley, they saw two bodies hanging from ropes very high in a tall oak tree.

Viktor shouted commands, "You three guys climb that tree and get our people down from there. The rest of you -- form a circle around the tree and look-out for the monkeys." The climbers made it almost up to the hanging bodies when the primates came out of the forest; there were hundreds of them, each holding burning tree branches and all running toward the hanging tree. Viktor saw that the tree was surrounded by a large mound of leaves, peat, and branches and shouted, "Don’t let them get to the tree." and "Shoot to kill!" But the primates kept coming in waves and many reached the base of the tree, setting it on fire. Viktor yelled, “Watch out for that one!”

The soldiers were overwhelmed with the numbers and the size of the primates. “Kill them all!” “Shoot it now!” “It’s got me, help!” “Help!” The primates dragged most of the soldiers into the forest and they stole all of the loose guns – even the bags of ammunition and the explosives.

Only three Russians were standing when the shooting ended, Viktor and the two body guards. The climbing tree was totally destroyed, along with all the climbers and the valley was soaked in primate blood and none of them showed any signs of life. It was a sad day and definitely a step-backward for evolution. Viktor and the body guards gathered-up the charred bodies of their companions and headed back to the underground world.

Viktor said, “Sergei, it was a massacre -- hundreds of monkeys and the remaining animals kid-napped our soldiers.” Sergei responded, “How could this happen? The best fighters in the world beaten by a bunch of monkeys! Get back there and rescue our team.” Viktor replied, “No sir. These primitives now have guns, bullets, and explosives – it is too dangerous. Let us ignore them for now, grieve for our lost people, and organize an attack in the future that will destroy their entire community!” Sergei said, “Fine. We will do as you suggest. We now have two wars to fight!”

Chapter 19: LAUNCH
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Sergei gave instructions to the scientist preparing for the particle transmission to JOE-VAAN, “The chemical compound ‘Methane’ is toxic to the atmosphere of these disgusting aliens. Methane is nothing more than a single Carbon atom bonded with 4 Hydrogen atoms. I want you people to figure a way to trick these aliens, so that instead of making a library – they make millions of liters of Methane!” The general had learned all about JOE-VAAN and the people working in the Ministry from the Information Library; the general knew about the Leader, the Minister, manager Coco, and even all about ROW-BAR.

The scientist knew how valuable information was to these aliens and wanted to play on that weakness. They invented the term ‘Strategic Library’ that was sure to cause them to jump through hoops, in order to find out what was in that library. The trick was to convince them they had to gather a number of carbon-based substances and then the same with hydrogen-based materials. The scientist created a rather interesting laundry list of ingredients to be integrated into the vat. Now all they had to do was to convince them to use electrolysis to activate the memory sealant. After much scheming, the scientist felt they had a pretty compelling story to tell these information-starved aliens from JOE-VAAN.

The launch site was finally ready and looked very similar to ROW-BAR’s launch site -- a transparent blue crystal pyramid, 30 feet in the air, and three sides meeting at a silver receptacle in the middle of a reflective glass floor. It was time for the Particle Relocation and within the hour snowflakes would be rapidly riding the light-waves on their journey back to ROW-BAR. The observers included Sergei, Viktor, and a dozen high ranking military officers; the assembly also included most of the scientific community that had worked very hard at making this event possible. On the count of 5, the bright light, the pulsing sound of a generator, and it was over. This was the first salvo in the war against a race of beings that this general truly despised.

                            PART THREE -- JOE-VAAN AGAIN

Chapter 20: RETURN
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Another irritating blast of the intercom alert system broke the silence of what was a peaceful day on JOE-VAAN. ROW-BAR and TOW-CAW were still working hard and remaining steadfast friends. Still programming information particles at a workstation, the blast from the alert system turned day-dreaming and boredom into exhilaration. Was this alert announcing the arrival of information particles from TP524? ROW-BAR and TOW-CAW got into the transport that would take them to the location that reported possible snowfall.

The sky was blue, but was there a hint of snow? Yes it was snow. More snow and more snow fell until finally, the nearby countryside was covered. Was there particle stacking? Yes! Clumps were moving toward one another. It seemed to be taking too much time, but each new particle stack announced the arrival of a gift from another planet. Excitement was everywhere and finally the last group of particles moved into place, revealing a PathFinder from TP524.

The internal power-supply was energized in the sun and PathFinder spoke, “Greetings to ROW-BAR and friends, I bring you good wishes from the planet ‘Earth’. My name is Sergei, the Commanding General of the Russian Underground. We wish to give the people of JOE-VAAN a gift to show our friendship. We are giving you our Strategic Library for the advancement of your information. Simply follow our instructions carefully and you will learn everything that we have learned for hundreds of years, here on Earth.”

The instructions are to: 1) Prepare a vat for the various compounds that are necessary and bring them to a boil – similar to the construction of the Information Library. 2) Obtain the following ingredients; a) 2,000 pounds of graphite, b) 10 pounds of raw diamonds, c) 50 liters of hydrides, d) 20 liters of ammonia, and e) 5 hours of electrolysis on the resultant mixture.

ROW-BAR wondered, “Why did they specify these unusual chemicals and compounds? What could they possibly be giving us?” TOW-CAW seemed puzzled and said, “Looks like we’ll just have to build it, to see what it does!” That didn’t seem too prudent, but just as I was about to discard these suspicious thoughts, TOW-CAW said, “What specifically is unusual about these ingredients?” I responded, “Let me analyze the root elements of each component and try to figure out what electrolysis would do to the resultant mixture.”

Chapter 21: SUSPICION
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After the electrolysis had been activated for more than an hour, I told TOW-CAW, “I have concluded there are two distinct types of ingredients – the Carbon based group and the Hydrogen based group. Five hours of electrolysis could conceivably produce the compound CH4.” TOW-CAW said, “Methane! Are you telling me that we could be producing Methane Gas?” “Exactly.” So TOW-CAW took the responsibility to direct all technicians and engineers to move into the Control Center. The electrolysis had been activated for more than an hour and as the personnel evacuated the vat room, it was obvious there was something wrong. Even though pure Methane gas is colorless and odorless – it became hard to breath around the steaming vat of hot compounds. I immediately disconnected the cables that provided the electrolysis and began sealing the exit points of the building, forcing all by-products of the vat to be trapped within the walls.

Coco entered the building and said, “What’s going on?” I quickly explained the situation and requested the evacuation of the entire Ministry – while I made sure nothing escaped the building. Coco agreed and sounded the alert system. The mass evacuation began – everyone seemed to be talking all at the same time, as lines were forming around the transports. Nervous and afraid, people started to rush ahead in groups, sometimes pushing others to the ground. There were just so many escape transports that could carry personnel to safety and limited seating. Whoever got to the transports first, got inside and got a seat – others forced their way in and were packed-tight standing in every possible air pocket within the transport. The Assembly Point was about ten miles from the Ministry and allowed transports to drop-off their passengers and return to the Ministry with not much of a delay. So eventually, everyone finally made it to the Assembly area and a roll-call proceeded. At the name “ROW-BAR” there was no response.

I was the only individual within the Ministry complex and was trapped inside the vat building. TOW-CAW had assumed that after I had turned off the electrolysis and sealed building, that I would meet them at the Assembly area… but no ROW-BAR. Inside the building I knew that releasing even a small quantity of Methane into the upper atmosphere could be detrimental to life as we knew it. I knew that by igniting this highly volatile gas, the problem would be eliminated; so with great pride and courage, the torch was lit.

The fire-ball could be seen miles away. My best friend ROW-BAR gladly did what had to be done to save our planet – the only home that ROW-BAR ever knew.

After the fire-ball, they all figured out what must have happened. Finally, I said to Coco, “These aliens are hostile and attempted to destroy our planet.” Coco recalled those days, many years ago and remembered that I was correct then and surely was correct today. Coco responded, “I agree totally.” Then I revealed to Coco how much of a role that ROW-BAR had played in all of those actions that had taken place back in the early days. I spoke of how ROW-BAR had opened new ways of thinking and direct methods of dealing with problems. The Minister joined the other two and overheard most of what they had said. ROW-BAR became a permanent hero in their hearts.

While riding back to the complex to see the effects of the explosion, I said, “These aliens had received five earlier PathFinders and if they were to combine the information from them with the knowledge of our latest PathFinder – they would know all that we know and would be extremely dangerous – do not forget our State Secrets specified, among other things, that small quantities of Methane Gas would destroy our precious ecosystem. What have we done?” The Minister emphatically replied, “We have stopped the destruction of our world by a crazed Russian General! We are also aware of potential dangers in our future, even though they think we no longer exist. We can all thank ROW-BAR for being different than the rest of us and for questioning the motivations of other races. The Leader has nominated ROW-BAR as our National Hero.” There was a very long pause in conversation, commemorating ROW-BAR.

So we leave these two worlds that are now on a collision course: Earth had shaped the gold into a pistol and aimed it back at the gold-giver. JOE-VAAN must now use its knowledge to respond to these Earthlings and make them pay for this terrible event. Will Snowflake Evolution ever become what it once was?

                            PART FOUR -- EARTH AGAIN

Chapter 22: REVENGE
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Taking revenge on the Russians was our primary goal. That was the urgency that lead us to developing cybernetics. We modified our particle relocation process (that normally produces a PathFinder), to produce a biological, mechanical, and electronic system – an artificial life. Instead of programming the snowflakes with generic information, to be consumed by an Information Library – we programmed them with our personal identities. Our likes, our dislikes, our skills, and our muscle control. The amount of snowflakes that were projected to Earth was 12 times greater than the number required for a PathFinder; causing the snowfall in the valley to stack as much as 3 feet high in drifts. As the particle stacking process began, the particle clumps were programmed to seek out one of 12 cybernetic stacks. Soon there will be a dozen lifeless soldiers lying in the sun.

The soldiers represented a specific person: TOW-CAW, Coco, The Minister, etc. We are all equipped with lethal weapons and will soon be fully functioning soldiers. We will get our revenge for the destruction on JOW-VAAN and for the death of our dear ROW-BAR. The next day brought some movement to our people and by that evening we were all standing, weapons in hand, staring at a group of primitives that were attracted to our metallic glow. The Minister made the first move, “I am the Minister of Information from the planet JOW-VAAN. What is your name?” The older, wiser primate uttered the name “ROW-BAR” (turned-out that PathFinder had named this primate). I stepped forward and said, “I am TOW-CAW and my best friend was ROW-BAR. Can we be friends?” ROW-BAR said “Friend.” It was guttural and a little hard to comprehend, but it was ‘friend’. Then ROW-BAR extended both arms toward TOW-CAW and they grasped each other’s hands. We had just made an alliance with the Primitives and they proceeded to show us the path that would lead us to the Russian Underground.

We found out later that the Russians had massacred hundreds of Primitives, but had allowed the survivors to acquire the Russian weapons. The primates learned how to use the weapons, after countless, fatal experiments. They followed the Russians back to the entrance of the Russian Underground and monitored the comings & goings of the soldiers for many days. When the time was right, thousands of Primitives attacked the underground complex with guns and explosives – an attack that the Russians had never anticipated and therefore, were not prepared to defend. Almost all underground dwellers were killed, except for a small band of soldiers & scientists, lead by Sergei the general.

As we followed ROW-BAR along the path, we were not aware that Sergei and a handful of Russians were observing us from high on a ledge. The general said, “Those monkeys are going to show those robot soldiers our underground. Let us follow these maggots and plan for our attack.” When we arrived at the underground, it was obvious that the primates had taken control from the Russians. There were hundreds of Primitives protecting the entrance and inside was a wonderland of chemically grown vegetables and generators for oxygen and electricity – all still working-fine. But when they escorted us to the cave containing the Information Library – we knew what we had to do. We must set-up training sessions for the Primitives, conducted by the computer, and assist these animals in defending this valuable underground complex. We will also be able to maintain this sophisticated equipment and together, we will defend this fortress from a Russian attack – if there are any Russian survivors.

Concealed deep in the forest, Sergei and a small band of Russians were discussing their plans. Sergei said, “How can we get our underground world back under Russian control? Any ideas?” A Captain said, “Start a forest fire and when they come out, attack the underground.” “Any other ideas?” Viktor said, “How about using the exhaust vent to gain access?” Sergei quickly answered, “What vent?” Viktor said, “The vent on the other side of the mountain that releases unwanted air from the complex.” Sergei said, “Show me this vent!”

Chapter 23: FAN
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The exhaust vent at the far-end of the underground was hidden, through many years of forest growth and an opening that was disguised to look like a crack in a rock. When Sergei arrived, they dug-through the underbrush for days until they finally heard a faint but distinct ‘whooshing’ sound emanating from somewhere on the mountain slope. Sergei put his ear to a crack in a rock face and heard “whoosh, whoosh, whoosh” which could be a fan blowing air out of the complex. Sergei said, “Hello my little fan, why have you hidden yourself from me all this time? Knock, knock – it’s Sergei!!”

The soldiers began expanding the rock crack with hammers and crow-bars, slowly revealing a grate covering the opening to the underground. It took three days to force an opening that would allow all of the remaining Russians to push through and finally gain access to their previous home. Viktor was the first to go, ”It is totally black inside, I cannot see anything.” Sergei commanded, “Go inside – now!” “Okay Sir, I cannot feel a floor yet – so I will jump. Haaaaaaa.” There was a very loud thud, with no sign of Viktor. A few minutes went by before Viktor shouted, “It is a thirty foot drop, but you can do it!” So another Russian squeezed through and dropped. “I’m okay”. Again and again, another Russian then another, until finally all of them got inside except for Sergei. “Everyone lie down and prepare me a soft landing!” Instead of a thud, there were a few moans and groans, until finally Sergei announced, “Perfect! We all made it inside safely. Good work!”

With everyone safe and accounted for (with only a few broken bones), they proceeded to survey their surroundings in pitch blackness, it was like they were all blind – and the sound! What was that sound? The whooshing was loud and just wouldn’t quit. Sergei yelled, “Where in hell are we?” Victor replied, “Do you remember that huge fan that was locked away in that steal cage in the rear of the complex?” “You have got to be joking me!” Viktor said, “No Sergei, I am not joking and I am thinking that we are in big trouble. Let us try to feel on the floor to find our guns.”

Everyone managed to locate a weapon. Sergei then fired a shot into the air (ricocheting off all the walls) and then yelled “Help! Come help me!” They all began making noise, firing their guns, and pleading for help – because no one wanted to be in this extreme darkness and listen to the loud whooshing for very long. It would drive you crazy. It seemed like hours before the light – the really, really bright and blinding light, that overloaded their eye sockets. It was light but they still were in the dark. “Who is it? Who goes there?” TOW-CAW said “Drop all of your weapons immediately – if you do not, we will shoot you.” “Okay, we will do as you command.” “We will be placing each of you in arm restraints and leg restraints – please cooperate or you will die. Stand perfectly still with your hands behind you, with your legs together, and your eyes closed. We will have you all in safety within the hour. For now, you are prisoners of war.”

Chapter 24: UNITY
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The prisoners were escorted into the interrogation room and as they were being shackled to their chairs, Sergei managed to grab a sidearm from one of the guards and shot the primate guard in the stomach. Sergei yelled, “Hands in air – I am in charge now!” As everyone was letting their weapons drop to the floor – the lights went out! There was pushing, yelling, and at least three gunshots. Then, when the lights came back on, there was Sergei standing in the middle of the room, surrounded by 2 dead primates. Sergei was shouting, “You bastards, you monkeys, you freaks, you have shot me!” With hands raised high and mouth open, Sergei fell backwards, bouncing off a steel table and falling helplessly to the ground in a pool of blood. Sergei was dead.

Viktor soon pleaded with us, saying, “Sergei was the violent one, Sergei was the one that hated you, and Sergei was the one who declared war on the Primitives and on the planet JOE-VAAN.” Then Viktor dropped to the floor and with hands folded and said, “We want peace.” The rest of the team followed Viktor’s lead and pleaded for their reconciliation. We came together with the Russians and formed the United Earth Alliance (UEA) for mutual cooperation, mutual defense, and information sharing. We three groups agreed to “Peace”. Viktor said, “Peace” and ROW-BAR uttered, “Peace”. We three stood there, me on the left and Viktor on the right, with ROW-BAR’s rather long and powerful arms encompassing our shoulders and connecting us together in a very special way. There was only one thing left to do, contact JOE-VAAN and let them know that our mission was successful and that we are now at peace with Earth.

The launch-pad was still in-tact and ready for another particle transmission to JOE-VAAN. The messages that were being transmitted from UEA Headquarters, told of the massacre, the war, and the reconciliation. We also explained how PathFinder had started this fast-track snowflake evolution for these developing primates, who were now equal partners in our united, underground society. We wanted to be sure that the real TOW-CAW, back on JOE-VAAN, knew about PathFinder giving a leader of the primates -- the name ‘ROW-BAR’. The Ministry of Information will be adding these new volumes of data to their information store and will be soon reaching-out to their new inter-stellar partners on Earth. This beautiful transparent blue crystal, with its reflective glass floor, will soon be forcing the snowflakes to jump aboard their ultrasonic ride back to JOE-VAAN. The bright light, the pulsing sound, and it was over.

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The alliance was functioning well. Each member contributed their expertise to the common cause. The Primitives had daily training classes and maintained control over the surface world – providing protection from other species, providing fresh meat from the surrounding forests, and happily providing any physical work that needed to be done. The Russians provided the necessary underground complex expertise – equipment calibration, resupply of the consumable parts, care & feeding of the agriculture, and maintaining internal security. The Jovian Robots took care of the space communications, construction of space vehicles, and maintenance of the Information Library. Many years of peace and security had passed and populations were all increasing – except of course for us robots.

Everyone was called to the valley today -- because a scout patrol of primates thought they had seen snowfall and assumed it to be a possible particle relocation. The survey party began exploring the valley for signs of particles and they scanned the horizon. Snow clouds were definitely forming and excitement was growing. The snow started to fall, but it was different – thicker and starting to clump in the air, even before falling to the ground. The color was different as well, it was greenish and the texture was sticky. Was this a new type of particle relocation? Maybe it was just a natural snowfall. No, this was definitely manufactured and certainly seemed to be important.

We looked up into the sky and saw massive amounts of snowflakes falling – thousands of times more snowflakes than were necessary to create the robot soldiers. What is being transferred to Earth? Whatever it is, it is massive and is now becoming frightening – who sent this snow and why so much? Was it being sent to help us or to hurt us? The survey team became concerned and we looked into the faces of our people and we saw fear. It was like, we were the Primitives, sitting on the rock ledge, watching a scary movie. Viktor exclaimed, “I have never seen such a site, but I am glad that we are comrades and are here to protect one another! I want you to know that I will die if necessary to protect our new world.” ROW-BAR agreed with a firm “we protect”, while I simply joined the rest in saying that whatever was about to happen, it would be happening to all of us. I said, “If this is a positive event, we will benefit together; if this is a negative event we will go down together. We are the United Earth Alliance and we love our new home and our new family.”

Thanks for joining-in our adventures to JOE-VAAN and back. Hope you enjoyed it.

  \|/ Play COPYRIGHT NOTICE \|/ Volume   

This text + audio production of Snowflake Evolution (ISBN: 1-59196-872-0) has been read by David R. Fashenpour and Oleg Aryutkin. Text Copyright 2015 by David R. Fashenpour. Audio Copyright 2015 by David R. Fashenpour. All rights reserved. Photography by Mark Cassino, Copyright 2015, MC Cassino, 'Use' permission granted.

In accordance with the US Copyright Act of 1976, the duplicating, uploading, and electronic sharing of any part of the text and/or audio book, without the permission of the author, is unlawful piracy and theft of the author's intellectual property. If you would like to use material from the text and/or audio book, other than for review purposes, prior written permission must be obtained by contacting the author at email address:

Thank you for supporting the author's rights. This text and/or audio book is a work of fiction -- names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination, or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons (living or dead), events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.

Russian voices by Oleg Aryutkin
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Photography Credit: © 2015, 2016 MC Cassino
Mark Cassino Photography, LLC
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Snowflake Evolution: ISBN Number: 1-59196-872-0
Copyright © 2015, 2016 David R. Fashenpour. All rights reserved.
West Melbourne, Florida 32904-6464.
Click here to send Dave email message.