By David K Scholes
I daydream a lot. This can lead to some good ideas, but mostly it leads to a load of old rubbish. At least that’s what I used to think.
We didn’t know about the telepathic net back then.
I got wind that something was up was when I received my first ever Universe Credits. Credited to my nominal account at the Bank of Earth by an organisation called Galactic Ideas, with the motto “you think them up – we transform them into something practical.” There was a short note accompanying the credit transaction to say they had made use of my idea for real people to slowly emerge as flesh and blood from their holograms rather than just teleport in. It seemed that it made for a more dramatic entrance. They mentioned that I’d been granted a limited short term patent for the idea.
I made a note to follow up on exactly who Galactic Ideas were and exactly what they had done with my idea. That was before the Universe Credits started rolling in.
Suddenly there were all sorts of Universe Credit payments being made into my account from all sorts of organisations.
“The whole thing seems to be getting out of control,” I said to a forensic accountant friend of mine, Lennox, who specialised in off-world business. “That’s why I want you to look into as many of these organisations as you can.”
Funny thing was, our poor backward old Earth and its inhabitants seemed to be full of “convertible” ideas that were being picked up by legal and not so legal entities all over the Galaxy (and beyond) using the telepathic net. This plethora of useful ideas ended up elevating our status as a world slightly, just as it increased the net worth of some of our inhabitants. Myself among them.
“Many of these organisations that paid you are genuine legal entities,” advised Lennox. “What you may not like,” he continued “is what has resulted from the practical application of some of your ideas. Several of them have had rather nasty military applications, among other things.”
I was not happy with that at all. I mean I was comfortable with some daydreaming of mine being picked up via the telepathic net, turned into a useful application by someone and earning me money. However the thought that there might be aliens, a lot of aliens even, being killed because of some fanciful ideas of mine was, well, horrifying. I mean what could I do about? Stop thinking altogether? What about my dreams and nightmares. I assumed they too were all picked up on the telepathic net.
“You do know, don’t you, where most of the ideas are coming from here on Earth at least,” asked my friend. “From your lot, you science fiction writers mainly,” he continued confirming some suspicions I’d had.
“Someone’s making a lot of money out of your ideas and those of certain other Earthers as well,” said Lennox. “I mean I suppose you only provided the ideas and they did all the work to convert them.”
“Supplied unknowingly, unwittingly and without my agreement,” I interrupted.
“I rather suspect that your acceptance of all those Universe Credits deposited in your account will be taken as some form of agreement on your part,” replied Lennox. I sensed a distaste entering his voice.
It turned out that the whole ideas market, Galaxy wide, was becoming highly sophisticated. Even if the ideas from the lesser worlds seemed as though they were being stolen. Galactic laws, regulatory authorities, types of contracts, financial instruments were all in the process of being established.
Still, in the end, all of that, all the money I’d earned, all the money other Earthers had earned, the increased status of our world, it all counted for nothing.
An attack on Earth had begun in a manner that had once seemed impossible and unthinkable even given the much more advanced technologies that we shared the Galaxy with.
“They’ll finish us off in a few days” said Lennox “the idea was picked up on the telepathic net by one of the non legal entities, so that we don’t even know who our attackers are!”
“In any case where on Earth did they get the idea for an attack like that?” he enquired.
“I’m afraid it’s an idea of mine,” I stuttered “in a story that I haven’t yet published!”
“Did you get paid for it?” asked Lennox with a look on his face of utter disgust.
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The author has written over 170 speculative fiction short stories, many of which appear in his seven published collections of short stories. He has also published two science fiction novellas (all on Amazon). He has been a regular contributor to the Antipodean SF, Beam Me Up Pod Cast, and Farther Stars Than These sites. He has also been published on 365 Tomorrows, Bewildering Stories, the WiFiles and the former Golden Visions magazine. He is currently very close to completing a new collection of science fiction short stories.