Tag Archives: science fiction

My Secret Wife – Friday Fictioneers

copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

My Secret Wife

“We had a report of some missing Genetico property here.”

“Sorry, it’s just my wife and I.”

“Ah, your . . . wife. How did you meet?”

“eHarmony.com.”

eHarmony, ha! I found her terrified in an elevator shaft. I fed her, taught her to speak, ignored the corporate barcode tattoo on her arm. We may have no marriage license, but the bands that connect us are stronger than gold.

“Is it okay if I look around?”

“Of course not,” I say. “This is my house.”

The door shuts and I see dark, fearful eyes peering from behind the couch.

“It’s safe,” I say.


Bureaucracy…in Space

This is a piece for the Sunday Photo Fiction challenge. (The title is a take-off of Pigs in Space. If you don’t know what that is, click here.)

Bureaucracy…in Space

Bruce pulled himself to the bathroom and squeezed out a few painful, amber drops. The purifiers banged and vibrated and he waited with swollen throat for that tiny cupful of pure water to emerge. He was still twenty-two days away from Earth, far too long to survive like this.

There was a blip on his radar—another ship in range. With trembling hands, he hailed them.

“This is Scout eagle 45AZ. What type of ship are you?” he asked.

“Scout eagle 45AZ, this is Transport 50TS.”

“TS? You’re a terraforming ship? What are you carrying?”

“Water,” came the reply.

“50TS, I need water,” Bruce called. “My tank sprung a leak and I’ve been venting water. I just need a few gallons to get me back to Earth.”

There was a pause. “I’m sorry 45AZ, but our tanks are all sealed. We need permission to open them.”

“Then get it!” Bruce shouted. “I’m dying here.” His voice cracked and he started coughing.

Several minutes passed before there was a reply. “45AZ, I’ve obtained conditional permission. I’m sending you the order now.”

A message flashed on Bruce’s screen.

FROM HIGH COMMAND:

Permission for water tanks to be opened is granted, contingent on the applicant appearing before a tribunal on Earth in two days time to explain the necessity. Thank you for your cooperation.


A Dog Named Lazarus

For those of you unfamiliar with the Bible, the most famous Lazarus was a man who died and whom Jesus brought back to life. However, there is also another Lazarus in the Bible. This story takes its title from both of them, although somewhat indirectly.

This is a story for Al Forbes’ Sunday Photo Fiction.

copyright Al Forbes

copyright Al Forbes

Thief! Mutt! Cur!

These were the only names the dog had ever been called. Born to a mongrel mother in a nest of refuse, he was filthy an hour out of the womb and stayed that way his whole life.

But he was a survivor. He quickly learned where to find the best garbage and how to get into small, warm places to survive the Russian winters. One night, he wormed his way under the chain link fence of a large lab and through a door left ajar, where light and delicious smells were waiting for him.

“Ah! A stray!” Something shiny and round whistled through the air, the last thing the dog ever saw.

*         *         *

“Are you crazy? That mechanism costs more than your house!”

“It’s fine. See? No damage.” The scientist wiped the dog’s blood off the metal circle, then fitted it into the deep-space probe.

Years later, after billions of miles in the icy void of space, the probe was picked up, scanned, and the residual DNA aboard coaxed into life, tail wagging, bright eyes gleaming. The new species Dog lives there in peace and luxury, the countless millions of copies pampered like the original never was.

stray dog


Death Under The Double Sun

I just finished reading Death in the Afternoon, by Ernest Hemingway. This is a homage/parody/science fiction adaptation of that. Incidentally, I was thinking lately what the weirdest post I’ve ever posted was. This might not be it, but it’s probably in the top five.

scorpion

The sport of Blizz-Blang1 is an ancient and venerable one on the planet of Tirk. It may seem confusing to outsiders, even barbaric, but in fact it is relatively simple.

There are five accepted styles of Blizz-Blang, but the most widespread is the Capitol variety. In it, the sport takes place in a ring of titanium that slowly gets smaller as the match progresses. The purpose of the sport is for the killer (whose ceremonial title is “Washerwoman”) to kill a giant scorpion-like creature, called a rrat. The rrat is sitting on a hovering platform and can only move its front claws and its fire-shooting afterburner, which was limited mobility.

The hovering platform is controlled mentally by a large, mutant slug, called a pincush, who, during the game, is simultaneously watching a documentary about reindeer. The subject matter of the documentary can change from style to style, but reindeer are the most common, followed by crop circles, the water cycle, and occasionally, sex.

In order to defeat the rrat, the Washerwoman must avoid getting killed him(or her)self, while convincing the pincush to help him kill the rrat. This is all done mentally, so to make the battle more interesting, the Washerwoman’s brainwaves are broadcast as a 3D hologram over the arena.

The method of attack can vary, depending on many factors. First, the Washerwoman must determine through leading questions, how interested the pincush is in the documentary it’s watching. If it is very interested, he might try to get it to kill the rrat absentmindedly, by running it into a wall, or dumping it into the pool of lava (which is always part of the ring.) If it not that interested in the documentary, the Washerwoman might ask it nicely to give it the laser sword which it has in its possession, so that he can kill the rrat and they can all go home. This mental conversation, which takes place while the Washerwoman is dodging the rrat and its deadly claws and afterburner, is very diverting.

If, for some reason, the pincush has a grudge against the Washerwoman, the Washerwoman has to use reverse psychology, thinking things like, “fine, I didn’t want to kill it anyway. Just get the rrat to rip off one of its own claws so I can use it to kill myself.” If this works, he then uses the claw to kill the rrat itself.

A final popular tactic is used when the pincush is both bored and very uncooperative. The Washerwoman falls on his knees, sobbing and pleading for his life, promising to sell out his friends and country for a little mercy and kissing the dirt near the pincush. When the pincush turns the rrat away in disgust, the Washerwoman jumps on its back (avoiding the afterburner) and pulls out its brainstem.

The pincush itself is never attacked in the arena, although it is often roasted and eaten at the feast that follows the game.

There are countless other traditions and varieties in Blizz-blang, including what the audiences eats in every round, and how much of it they are allowed to throw at the Washerwoman. There are rules about which holidays explosives are permitted on and which varieties allow prayer, and which ones ban it as an unfair advantage. I will not get into them all here, but if you ever visit Tirk, you will see for yourself.

-0-

1The name “Blizz-blang” comes from the traditional cry that the audience shouts when the match is over, which translates roughly as “Finally, the game is over. We can all go home and watch Blizz” (Blizz being the name of a popular reality show involving 64 white mice, know as bli).

 


What Does This Button Do? – Friday Fictioneers

First of all, apologies to all the Fictioneers whose stories I didn’t get  a chance to read last week. I’ve been doing a lot of traveling and it’s hard to read and comment on my phone. However, this week I’m going to make up for it by reading all of them.

Also, this story may seem a bit confusing, but stick with it to the end.

copyright Claire Fuller

copyright Claire Fuller

What Does This Button Do?

Just before the bombs struck, Patty pressed the button.

The high-pitched whistle above meant imminent death.

As she reached the workshop, she heard the dreaded drone of bombers above.

There it was, half-buried.

Penny scrambled over wreckage, biting back the scream that kept trying to rise.

The workshop! Was it still untouched?

She peered out of a burning hole into a hellscape littered with bodies and burning cars.

The next day, the bombs fell; Patty woke to heat and smoke.

“Ok.”

“It reverses the flow of time,” her uncle said. “Don’t touch it.”

“What does this button do?” Patty asked.


The Reality Gun

I woke up in what looked like a lab. Which was weird, since I’d fallen asleep on my couch watching reruns of the X-Files. A young woman bent over me and smiled brightly.

“Good morning, Mr. Churchwater.”

“Where am I?” I asked.

“You’re in a secure location.” That was a bad sign.

“How do you know my name?”

“Everyone knows the name Gregory Churchwater,” the woman said. “You’re the most famous hostage negotiator in the world.”

I smiled to myself. Heck yeah, I was. Time Magazine had named me their Negotiator of the Year three years in a row.

“The thing is, Mr. Churchwater, you’re too valuable a negotiator to waste your time with bank robbery standoffs and small time stuff like that. So we decided to kidnap you and freeze you cryogenically until a really big threat came along that no one else could handle.”

I was still trying to get my bearings and understand fully what she was saying. “You mean the government kidnapped me?”

“Yes.”

“Which one?”

“All of them,” she said. “Well, at least 183 of them. They formed the PCP: Protect Churchwater Pact, just for that purpose”

“You could have just asked me instead of kidnapping me.”

“Oh, you know you would have talked us out of it,” she chided, with a you-should-know-better smile.

I sat up, my head spinning. The room was all white and Star-Trekky. “The last thing I remember, it was May 6, 2018. You mean I’m in the future now?”

“Yes, you are. We have a huge crisis that is threatening the universe in a fundamental way.” Her smile never changed as she said this and I wondered if she was an android.

“What is the date today?” I asked. To think, all my family and friends could be dead now.

“It’s June 20, 2018,” she said. “Frankly, if we’d known, we wouldn’t have bothered kidnapping and freezing you. But that’s hindsight for you. Now, Dr. Grimsword will tell you about the threat.”

A young man in jeans and a T-shirt walked in. He saw me staring at his clothes and glanced down. “Casual Friday,” he said, apologetically. “If I’d known, I’d have worn a tie. But that’s super-villains for you.”

“Super-villains?”

“That’s why we woke you,” he said. “There’s a scientist named Igor Paintspackle Wong who’s holding the whole world ransom. He has built . . . a reality gun.”

This is not a reality gun but it came up when I did a Google Image search. It is apparently the scariest MRI in the world.

This is not a reality gun but it came up when I did a Google Image search. It is apparently the scariest MRI in the world.

Dr. Grimsword stopped with dramatic effect. “Which means,” I said slowly. “That it’s real?”

“No, it’s a gun that destroys fundamental aspects of reality. To demonstrate it, he blew up 5+3=8. We’re not sure how he did it, but now, 5+3 just comes back as an error. On a computer, on paper, even on your fingers, doesn’t matter. Just try it.”

I held up my hands, five fingers and three. “Damn,” I said mildly. “That’s really weird. I’ve never seen an error on my fingers before.”

“Hawking is working on fixing it. In the meantime, just switch hands. He didn’t mess with the communicative property.”

I switched hands, three fingers and five and sighed with relief. “So, where is this guy now?”

“He’s in a coffee shop in London,” Grimsword said. “Now he’s threatening to destroy the concept of beauty.”

“That’s pretty fundamental,” I said. Being groggy made me say obvious things. “So, we’d think beautiful people looked ugly or something?”

“No, we wouldn’t even know what beauty was,” Grimsword said. “As you can imagine, the film and modeling industries are in a panic. The only group supporting it is UGGO, the Unattractive Girls and Guys Organization, although we suspect they’re only doing it for the free publicity.”

“Alright,” I said. “Get me a cup of coffee and get this guy on the phone.”

A few minutes later, the phone was ringing and I was slurping a little life-giving caffeine into my mouth.

“Hello?”

“Hey, is this Mr. Wong? This is Gregory Churchwater.”

“Oh, it’s you,” he said. “I was wondering if you were going to call. Don’t even try to talk me out of it.”

“Wouldn’t dream of it,” I said. “Sense of beauty? Who needs it? Fire away, I say.” I saw Dr. Grimsword give me a look of alarm, but I had a brutally effective reverse psychology. I once told a terrorist that if he didn’t kill every hostage he had in five seconds, I was going to shoot them for him. He gave himself up three seconds later.

“Don’t you want to know my demands?” Igor Paintspackle Wong asked.

I sighed. “Fine. Get it over with.”

“I want to win a Nobel Prize,” he said. “I have been nominated for an award six years in a row and never won. Do you know what that’s like, to always be a nominee and never a winner.”

“Here’s the problem with that,” I said, stopping to take another sip of that glorious coffee. “If we give you a Nobel Prize now, it sets a bad precedent. What’s to stop some other mad scientist next year—”

“What did you call me?”

“What? You sound angry to me and you’re a scientist, so you’re a scientist who’s mad, right? Anyway, as I was saying, other mad scientists will get the idea it’s okay to hold the world hostage to get an award.”

“Well, then kiss beauty good-bye,” Wong said. “And it won’t stop there. Every day until I get my Nobel Prize, something else goes. Tomorrow it’s the concept of humor, then fashion, then justice, then pi, then being on time, then—”

“Yeah, I think I got the picture,” I said. “Listen, I hesitate to do this, but I think there’s something else I could interest you in. There’s another prize, much more exclusive than the Nobel Prizes, called the I.G. Nobel Prizes. The I.G. stands for “Intense Genius”, by the way. They don’t even award them every year, it’s that exclusive. I think you could win one for this reality gun of yours, if nothing else.”

There was a pause. “You really think so?”

“Oh, I know so,” I said. “You’re more than qualified. Look, let’s do this: you go get yourself another cappuccino and I’ll contact the Ig Nobel Prize people and see what we can set up, okay?”

“Okay, sounds good,” Wong said. “You know, I thought you were going to be mean, but you’re really nice.”

“Yep, that’s me,” I said, then hung up the phone. I turned to Dr. Grimsword. “Now, you get a contract agreeing never to kidnap me again or I’ll call him right back and tell him what the Ig Nobel Prizes really are.”

He nodded in defeat and left. “And get me another coffee!” I shouted.


Phaeton Day

This is a story for Alastair’s Photo Fiction challenge. It takes place in a virtual reality world, similar to the one in my story, The Horse Bridge.

copyright Alastair Forbes

copyright Alastair Forbes

Phaeton Day

I woke up in my virtual world of Lex to find a .80 caliber Helios “Sunkiller” rifle propped next to my bed. That meant only one thing: Phaeton Day.

Outside, neighbors were clustered together, looking up at the sun, each holding their rifle. The sun was already quivering around, dancing to and fro. Suddenly, it streaked across the whole arc of the sky from east to west. Shadows skewed crazily.

A few people took shots at it, but most waited. The world moderators had outlawed flying for the day and everyone moved slowly, suddenly ungainly at having to stay on the ground.

The day wore on and as the sun sunk closer to the earth, it began to get hotter. More people were firing now, trying to puncture the sun and unlock their Sunkiller achievement.

By mid-afternoon, everything was broiling. The sun was on high difficulty: it kept dancing everywhere, impossible to hit.

I had one bullet left when the sun zoomed overhead. I felt the intense blast of heat and fired upwards. There was a splash of flames and the disk of the sun fell onto my house.

“Congratulations!” a voice said out of nowhere. “Umm, sorry.”


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