forbID : a short story by: GF Willmetts

September 4, 2016 | By | Reply More

Don’t try this at home, kids. In fact, don’t it away from home, neither. At least, that’s what we found.

You know how it is. You’re a genre convention when you have a mixture of SF, fantasy, horror and comicbook fans who know something about everything and one of them comes up with an idea. Let’s see if, collectively, we can do a Morbius. C’mon, you can’t be that old. Dr. Edward Morbius. The scientist from the film, ‘Forbidden Planet’. The one who had a brain enhancement from the Krell and whose ID destroyed the scientific team about him and was about to do the same thing again, only he didn’t know it.

The film with a hot chick for a daughter, Altaira played by Anne Francis, who took Leslie Nielson’s heart. Only, he wasn’t Nielson. That’s the actor. He was Captain John J. Adams, captain of the United Planets Cruiser C-57D that would later be the template for a number of Enterprises. Let’s not confuse actors with the parts they played or the next thing I know, you’ll want to know who was inside Robbie the Robot and did he do the voice. What kind of fan are you if you need to know such things and yes, they were two different people. Let’s cut to the chase, shall we? You know the 1956 film I’m referring to. We thought of it as a thought experiment.

Now, you need to think and know about séances. Although they don’t really call up the dead. I mean, with all the people that have passed, why would only a few ghosts queue up to talk to the living? What it does do is call up a collected unconscious ID that can move a glass or a plastic token, if you’re cheap, or an Ouija board to spell out words and sentences if you can get one. I doubt if you’d write a book that way. It’s also a lot faster using an Ouija board than laying out a deck of letter cards because the tablet doesn’t have to move too far. Anyway, we weren’t going to use the Ouija although we left it out in case what we did needed to have a talk. It’s called covering all your options. Hey, this is an experiment. Didn’t you learn anything from ‘The Big Bang Theory’? Can’t you tell the difference between theoretical and practical?

No! What we are going to do is get all of us to sit in a darkened room, hold hands, do a mantra and think as one and see what happens. The word spread through the convention and rather than a tiny conference room, they gave us one of the main halls, opened the divide and allowed to double our numbers. It was crowd sharing in its widest sense. Everyone wanted to be part of it. We had to put a stop there. We needed to close the doors as we were now out of seats as it is and the floor wasn’t going to be comfortable. Some knew that any brought their sleep mats. It is a Con after all.

With it being a Science Fiction crowd, we figured we need to do something to focus the emotions. We didn’t want anything demonstrative, not a whimper. Only to protect the innocent, I’ll avoid giving names but one of us suggested we could use the screen and show the clips from ‘Forbidden Planet’ with Morbius’ ID monster walking around on those four occasions. Stir the imagination and focus on the event. We would have used another film but nothing else had that power of the Krell driven invisible ID stalking the spaceship to that Bebe and Louis Barron electronic music. That air of menace. You know what I mean.

So there we all were. Some two thousand of us, all sitting down in a darkened room, mostly holding hands but all focusing on the clips with the sound down, so we could all hum the mantra together. Nothing complicated. Just the standard Ooom! Underlying the clip music. We didn’t want anyone to forget the word and we wanted it in unison without anyone being out of tune.

We thought we’d give it somewhere between twenty minutes and half an hour but as this is America where the attention span would be more like ten minutes, we hid the clocks. Less distraction as possible. Just the Disney animation walking across the screen, creating hell for the crew of the United Planets Cruiser C-57D before moving onto the finale as the unseen ID stalks Morbius and the rest in the bowels of the Krell city and the energy levels flashing high approaching 92,000 thermal nuclear reactors. Then it happened.

Forbidden Planet ID monster

BAM!

BAM!

BAM!

It happened again.

Krell_3

BAM!

BAM!

BAM!

I looked around. Everyone was in rapt attention.

BAM!

BAM!

BAM!

The noise resonated. You would have thought someone would have broken out of their reverie and say it was a fix but no, the noise was louder than the Ooom! What was going to be stronger them or whatever was knocking at the doors. Worse, unlike the film, would it come in?

So intent were the people that no one flinched with the noise. They were all linked together in a reverie. I was the control so hadn’t gotten to that stage. Someone had to work the lights and video clips.

forbidden-id-monster

BAM!

BAM!

BAM!

What were they expecting a bona fide ID to crash the doors open? No. If they were, they would be watching. The link would be broken.

We did have a thought that we should stage a hoax. Y’know, have some folk outside doing the door banging to wake them up with a start. Only problem was, we were all in here…unless one of us had someone or more to do it. But it would only work if they were reacting or someone was filming it in here. But what good was footage of a lot of people doing a yoga mantra with their eyes closed? If you were going to put something on UTube, then you’d need more than that, even for the highlights.

BAM!

BAM!

BAM!

Mind you, you could get enough people there to watch grass grow or paint drying to make a profit. Even so, you’d need a lot more here than that to get any interest. No one was doing anything except me and all I was doing was looking around and thinking.

BAM!

BAM!

BAM!

Maybe we had kept this going too long and all the outside noise was people just trying to get our attention. They succeeded with me…at least. But what should I do? Break the mantra? It wouldn’t be difficult to change the clip to the last sequence from ‘Forbidden Planet’ and have the C-57D shown with Robbie, the Robot flying it away to a congratulatory crew. That was ready to break the trance. I wonder if Robbie’ll making them some bourbon to make them a really happy crew.

BAM!

BAM!

BAM!

It began to feel like a Schrödinger’s cat situation. If I opened the door, their combined ID could kill them. No. That didn’t happen in the film. It could kill me though as the obvious threat to being able to turn off the clips and break the spell. That didn’t sound so good neither.

BAM!

BAM!

BAM!

I was beginning to think we should have had a Robbie, the Robot on guard while all this was going on but he closed down in the film so that wouldn’t have been much good.

BAM!

BAM!

BAM!

Maybe the person going to be in the UTube clips would end up being me, looking at every fool decision I was likely to make. Thing was, there was no flashing red LEDs in the dark showing cameras were going on.

BAM!

BAM!

BAM!

I couldn’t wait forever. What would happen if their combined ID decided to turn and attack anyone coming to see what was going on? That was the ultimate decision. The needs of the many against the needs of the one.

BAM!

BAM!

BAM!

I wasn’t going to be totally stupid about this. I released the catch on the door and swung it around me. Maybe their ID wasn’t clever enough to spot me if I hid.

The noise stopped. Gingerly, I looked over at the people in the dim light and the nearest ones were stirring. The spell had been broken. Opening the door, I peered out into the bright light. The hall was empty. No one with cameras. That was a relief. Had they fled? It would have been insane to not come and see what was causing the noise.

The marks on the door were real. Like something with giant fists thumping but not strong enough to do more than a few dents. A good thing we didn’t have a Krell educator to boost everyone’s IQs.

To cut a long story short. It turns out we’d only been going strong for twenty minutes and I was forgiven for all but one thing. Two very odd footprints dug into floor outside the door. Though solid they had penetrated through the lino and into the concrete. A very good thing we hadn’t done the experiment anywhere but the ground floor. Whatever it was had an invite but couldn’t get in. Fortunately.

As I said at the beginning. Don’t try this at home and certainly not at a convention. You don’t know quite what it might bring.

 

end

(c) GF Willmetts 2016

All rights reserved

Ask before borrowing

And I take no responsibility if you

try this experiment yourselves.

Oh, in the ‘Forbidden Planet’ film titles, it is actually ‘Robbie, the robot’.

Category: Scifi, Short fiction

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About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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