Science Fiction Challenge/Admiring Odin

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Odin, the Wanderer

Admiring Odin is part of the Science Fiction Challenge learning project. Arthur Clarke observed that, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic". In Admiring Odin, two alien visitors to Earth must solve a problem: the early human residents of Europe have inherited genes from the Neanderthals that confer a capacity for telepathy. This telepathic ability of the early European threatens to disrupt alien plans for Earth.

Characters[edit | edit source]

Alec is a "Grendel", a creature of the fens. The Grendels got bad press from the story Beowulf.

Odin is a modified human from a world of the Galactic Core. Odin discovers Alec and they collaborate to genetically modify the tribes of Europe, removing their capacity for telepathy.

Both Alec and Odin have access to advance nanotechnology that gives them "god-like powers".

The Story[edit | edit source]

It was cold this evening and once more Alec found himself exploring the boundaries of sheer exhaustion. Grateful for the growing darkness his pace slowed considerably as he patted the pockets of his pants and then his jacket. His fingers were deft despite having been broken numerous times in the past, and the calloused palm of one powerful left hand closed over the icy rungs of the ladder that provided access to Odin's spaceship.

A light snapped on and Odin called down, "I'm coming down."

Alec stepped back and avoided most of the snow and ice that came showering down off the ladder. Odin jumped to the ground and pulled a small cube out of his pocket. He activated the nanite cube and it formed into the shape of a wooden staff, quickly extending to its full length.

Odin was a showman. He pointed the staff upwards and the light above the portal of his spaceship switched off. He told Alec, "Lead the way."

Alec complained, "It's a cold night. I've been looking forward to a hot soak in your spa."

Odin knowingly said, "You just like frolicking with Frija."

Alec grinned, "Guilty. How is she doing?"

"She gave birth yesterday. Tonight she would frolic quite poorly." Odin set off through the darkness, following the tracks in the snow that had been made by Alec.

Alec followed along, trying to match the long strides of Odin. "Congratulations, Odin. Have you named your son?"

"Frija named him, Bhrēg̑, after the snow."

For a time, Alec simply tried to keep up with Odin. After tripping over a snow-covered log, he asked, "Why are you in such a hurry?"

Odin explained, "I want to reach the camp site before dawn."

Alec suggested, "If we went on skis we could go twice as fast."

"No, we can't leave ski tracks in the snow. This tribe of humans is far too smart...they'd be making their own skis within days of seeing ski tracks."

"So what? Some day they'll discover skis. Why not this winter?"

"Some times I think you want to get me kicked off of Earth."

"Nonsense. You've been a great help to me. I just get tired of having to do everything the hard way."

Odin paused at the crest of a hill. There was a faint hint of wood smoke in the cold air. "I smell them."

Alec pointed towards a dark smudge on the horizon that was just visible in the star light. "They are camped in that forest. We should move quietly now to avoid alerting their dogs."

Odin waved his staff and a cloud of greenish nanites darted off towards the south. "They will sleep. Quickly, now....let's get this done."