What began as a truly universal big wave surfing competition, this years “Intergalactic Eddie” turned into a desperate rescue mission before midday on exoplanet Gliese 1214b, referred to as, the Waterworld. Invited to cover “The Eddie”, being held for the first time on a planet in the Ophiuchis constellation, I found myself shocked at the expansive, aquatic beauty of Gliese 1214b.
The crisp blue waters, the towering waves with their gnarly sodium acetate trihydrate whitecaps, and the red dwarf sunset are all impressive to the human eye.
Island lovers, professional tourists, and surf nuts from across the universe flock to the waterworld, a vacation and water sports mecca, a mere 42 light-years from Earth. But, looking today at the blue chaos of the planetwide ocean, named The Solaris, in honor of Stanislaw Lem, no mere mortal could see those skyscrapers of water and go willingly into the turbulent surf. Except, Eddie would go, and so would a lot of intrepid surfers after him.
Clad in his porcelain fiber, heat resistant wet-suit, modified for Gliese 1214b, the Eddie Aikau artificially intelligent humanoid Surf-Bot, put on a wave riding clinic for the packed bleachers of fans and sports reporters. Water on GJ 1214b has a very strange consistency and would seem very alien to the uninitiated.
A substance more like liquid glass than liquid water, and in certain pockets whole seas of superfluid exist, making for an interesting swim. On his first ride, braving Empire State Building sized waves, Aikau-Bot was travelling over 180mph as he roared down a liquid cliff of crystallizing, super hot, liquid ice. And yes, the ice is hot, GJ 1214b is a scorching world with temperatures around 200C (392F). Despite being hot, its high atmospheric pressures stop the oceans from boiling, and human ingenuity handles the rest.
Aikau-Bot shook liquid crystals from his wetsuit and from his hair after the first big wave. Perhaps inspired by the waterworld setting, he put on a dizzying display of nose rides, somersaults on his board, tail rides, he went through tubes and barrels, and he ended it all with a series of mean cut backs. Aikau left the crowd speechless. Only telepathic whispers were passed among the audience, in appreciation of the aquatic artistry they had witnessed.
Surfers who followed put on marvelous shows of their own. Competitive teams from this year sponsors, Earthside sports conglomerates like Rip Curl, Ron Jon, Quicksilver, Kona Surf Co, and Evo Boards, braved the harshest planetary elements “The Interglactic Eddie” surf competition has seen in years. Alexandria Lanza, riding for team Kona, nearly outdid Aikau with her own majestic ride, crash landing from a waves lip into a glassy explosion, capping her day off with a goofy foot into the beach.
Kona Surf Co. produces long boards employing the latest anti-gravity wax, and space-shuttle-grade heat titles. Rip Curl, Quicksilver and other teams are said to be experimenting with controversial mental telepathy technology this year. Their hopes are to make the surfboard feel like an appendage on the human body, supposedly increasing the amount of control. In the end, only the “The Eddie” ~ Big Wave Kahuna Championship will settle which teams came prepared, which team surfs the best, and who gets to be named, Surfer of the Universe.
Individual results from the judging round scored early this morning are to be released after the “Big Kahuna” event tomorrow. This years top contender to Aikau, Mars Lockwood, professional surfer with Quicksilver from Orange County, was quoted during his afternoon press junket.
“I’m not worried about some hollowed out robot, who has an Eddie Aikau video game going on in its head. I’m the best human surfer, and tomorrow I’m gonna prove I’m the best sentient surfer in the whole universe. Period.”
This years “Intergalactic Eddie” is being held in Aloune, the largest sea-base city on planet Gliese 1214b. Crowds jammed the carnival like atmosphere on the man-made beaches between events, buying 3-d printed food from concession stands, and making a line around local “El Pez” fish and chip hut. In the midst of chomping down on fish tacos, event goers were startled by an emergency siren belching out its low howl.
As the whistle continued, its pitch ebbed and flowed, piercing each person, stopping them in their tracks on the beaches and in the city. A mental distress message was distributed to every individual on the planet, several important officials throughout the solar system, and even a few C.E.Os back on Earth.
Everyone understood at once, the message was a direct download to their cerebral cortex.
27 Junior Surfers competing in the “Little Wave Riders” event are stranded on a crystalline island 90 miles away from Aloune. Their transport-ship suffered engine failure, falling into the planetwide ocean, in the vicinity of New Port Moreseby.
Before anyone could even react, before anyone could even put down their taco, Eddie Aikau was seen running to fetch his board and head back into the choppy surf. Still in silence, an entire aluminum sand beach full of spectators looked at Eddie. He took a look back at the crowd on the shiny shores, and waved goodbye.
Mentally transmitting a message, “I’ll go”, he went, in a solo rescue effort to save the stranded group of junior riders. The distance to travel was great, as the days competitions had to be spread across the gigantic planet of water. So, before anyone protested, or life guard officials could act, Eddie removed his life vest, grabbed his gigantic long board, and paddled out to rescue his fellow surfers.
Gliese 1214b is larger than earth and has no solid landmass, and Eddie swam straight out into the great blue horizon. He was using his artificial intelligence, and mental-linkage back to Aloune Surf Command Center for direction and information about the situation. During the juniors event this morning off New Port Moresby, the eastern most sea-base city controlled by United Nations Planetary Friends, a group of 27 surfers with the Cherry Surf team, got stuck on the edge of the Indigo Sea. The purple hazy sea is a superfluity zone, a deadly inner ocean area on Gliese 1214b, approximately the size of Earth’s own Moon.
Their transport ship went down, but managed to fire off a homing beacon, and an atmospheric signal flare.
The beacon was picked up by supercomputers at Aloune City Hall, and at “The Eddie” event headquarters. After several hours, and on the eve of the Big Kahuna event still scheduled for tomorrow, the entire planet, and the surfing entire universe waited on edge for word from Eddie and the stranded surfers.
When A.I Eddie Aikau-bot looked at all those worried faces, he knew he must act. No drones were going to be ready to attempt a rescue mission for several hours, and the weather rolling in threatened flight safety. Planetary weather in general turned for the worse. Winds rose to over 110mph, and large boulder sized chunks of hot ice launched themselves from the ocean, breaking like glass over the city only to dissolve again into liquid. Crystal debris swept over the metal ground and back into the great ocean below with every wave. Speaking with event organizers, they reported the Eddie-Bot overrode his own safety codes and hard wired self-preservation chips, put there in effort to keep Eddie safe from himself, as he was constantly risking danger to help others. This robotic version of Mr. Aikau was supposed to be unhackable, but apparently the A.I.-Eddie was so moved, he manged to fry his own wires, and live up to his human name sake, risking his own life to save the lives of others.
The day had been very pleasant up until the alarm, with teams of surfers mesmerizing the crowds as they rode the exoplanets alien waves. Righteous tubes formed of the super critical water, producing crystallized foam, and the waves crashed like mountains of glass, only to become liquid again melting into the endless ocean. A more spectacular surfing venue you could not ask for, with views of the exotic solar system, and a massive red dwarf star hanging large in the sky.
On a lighter note, some of teams talked about the wonderful rocket travel to the competition. I interviewed Micky Jones and Cindy Kippller, who stated,
“The views of Jupiter and the Ring Nebula on the rocket ride out were trippy. I wonder if you could surf a blackhole with the right spacesuit?” When asked about the food and stay on topic, they responded, “Oh yeah, we were sick for a whole day after we landed. I can’t stand 3-D printed, dehydrated, ‘meat’ products. Those SpaceLines think they can put on a meatstick on a cardboard bun and call it a Space-Dog. Well, it’s not. A real hot dog has pig in it, and that’s that.”
“The Eddie”, having been in hibernation in recent years, came back with a vengeance, as excitement about the exoplanet venue really raised interest. The Gliese Planetwide Government Union was helpful in preparing various competition sites, and constructing extra grandstands and artificial beaches. The rings of competition beaches are mainly recyclable pseudo-sand, aluminium silica. Crowds came from every galaxy to see shiny silver rice beaches, purple waves crashing down with glass shattering crests and crazy surfing willing to ride them. Here at the main beach, La Grange, where the Big Kahuna is being held, the best in the universe are trying to out shred one another on waves that can reach 300+ feet high, the size of a 30 story building, or almost the size of Glastonbury Tor. Only the most elite surfers and surf teams come to this tournament.
Event commissioners were contemplating calling off the event by the late evening, as search rockets, satellites, and micro drones were unable to locate Aikau, or the stranded surfers. The sea-base city of Aloune was nearly in mourning, when at roughly 29:50 local time, right after the great luaus concluded, a bright torch was spotted coming into shore from the sea. As the object grew closer, a turbine like Eddie Aikau was spotted leaving a crystallized wake behind him, swimming with a rope in his mouth.
Aikau towed a half inflated, yellow safety raft, full of the 27 junior surfers who were just as stunned as the crowd gathering to help pull them all ashore. Aikau-Bot looked very winded after coming on land, there seemed to be a twitch on his face related to the self-induced rewiring. Eddie had a scar on his nick, and also lost a couple teeth. The coarse, heavy gauge tow rope, combined with his intense bite pressure, knocked out his incisors.
Eddie was taken to a nearby Red Cross medical tent, along with the rescued junior surfers. Medical Drones lifted some to Aloune General Hospital, but all 27 children are considered safe with only minor injuries, and all have been reunited with family. Covered in a solar blanket, Mars Lockwood stopped Aikau and asked if they should cancel the “Big Kahuna” event tomorrow, and whether he’d be well enough to compete. Aikau responded,
“No greater love has a man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Eddie went on to add, “Sometimes you just ride the wave your given. See you tomorrow. Can’t wait. Aloha.”
Teams of surfers from Earth, Mars, and Titan all have come to prove whose the best surfer in the universe. And above all else, they come to pay respects, and to compete against the Surf Master A.I Eddie Aikau. So, this reporter will stay on till tomorrow to find out whose the ultimate winner, but this story has always been about more than “The Intergalactic Eddie”. The surf community, and humanity as a whole wins when it recognizes the greatness, selflessness, and dignity of Eddie Aikau, no matter what form he continues to surf in.
Absorbing his memory we see what is possible as human beings. He embodied man’s bravest attributes, and his sense of sporting fun. It was amazing to see surfing at such a high level conducted on the planet Gliese 1214b. The universe got to see some bitchin’ tube rides and killer drops, and it looks like sunny weather and high waves predicted for the finale tomorrow. Surfs up.