The Universe Calls: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Lightning in the Night Sky

The Universe Calls

When I was seven I could hear the whispers. I told my mom about them but she said I was thinking of the voices on the television.

When I was ten, the voices were louder. Not loud enough to make out what was being said, but they were there. After years of telling my parents, I finally understood that they couldn’t hear the whispers and didn’t want to know about them either. I kept the voices to myself.

Every year the voices grew louder, until I could clearly hear them. No one else I knew heard voices, so I kept it to myself, even when they became so loud it was hard to hear the teachers in school, or even mom and dad or my sister or brothers.

I kept to myself and surprisingly, it didn’t take long for people, even my family, to just kind of, overlook me. My brothers were so boisterous that they attracted all of the attention. What they didn’t attract, my sister did as she acted out with skirts too short and boy friends too wild. My parents had all they could handle. I wasn’t a problem so they just left me alone.

By the time I was sixteen, I could tell who in school might be like me. We were the outsiders. Not picked on, just hanging around the fringes. Slowly, I made friends with them. It wasn’t easy to draw them out. Like me, they’d learned to keep quiet. Eventually, though, we had our own table in the cafeteria.

The others had their own gifts. That’s what we decided to call them. Carl was a math whiz. He could see the answer to any math problem. Secretly he’d gone to the biggest university web sites and pulled their math department’s toughest problems. He’d solved them all but didn’t tell them. He worked with Gillian, who was a computer hacking genius, to break into the government’s sites and find their hardest problems. He solved them as well. Tony was a mechanic. He could fix anything. Along with Claire, who could design anything, they built some fantastic new devices, but we didn’t share. Bob was a plant guru and Cecelia could manipulate light. Sound was Patel’s gift. He could make it open, close, build or destroy.

By the time we’d graduated, we’d cracked Wall Street and all of the overseas financial markets and purchased land and had housing and labs built. We told our parents, the ones who cared, anyway, that we were going on a walk-about. My parents both cried as they protested they didn’t know where the time had gone and they hardly knew me.

That was an understatement. We went to our secret hideaway and called others like us from around the world to join us. The voices kept us busy. They wanted us to build all of this great tech. They pointed out where we could improve things. Soon we had kids, well, young adults, now, come who were charismatics. We started them on political paths as the rest of us prepared.

It took a lot of time as we maneuvered our politicians into place in each country. Our military experts had to run interference several times but by the time I was fifty, we were ready.

We’d changed the laws, planet wide. Kids received proper schooling, food, and medicine. More and more children had the gift and we put them to use. Warfare fell away and the last dictator was gone. Cities were cleaned up and the environment, close to collapse when I was a girl, was recovering.

That’s when the voices told me to assemble our leaders. Not the politicians, but the leaders of our little group that I had assembled decades before. I was the conduit, where we’d received our instructions so far.

I spoke as the main voice in my head spoke.

“We congratulate you all,” said the voice who called itself Notion. “You’ve worked hard and followed our instructions. Well done.”

The group in front of me cheered. When they quieted, Notion continued.

“It’s time for us to join you. And for you to join us. We will arrive in a week. Meet us at the spaceport you’ve built. We’ll be together at last!”

There was much cheering at that and while the others asked me what else Notion was saying I could only shake my head. Notion was gone.

Preparations were made. A band was assembled, the best of our musicians that existed. Bunting was raised along with a speaker’s platform. No instructions for the kind of housing Notion and the others needed were given but we prepared an entire hotel with every kind of food Earth had to offer available.

The day arrived, and we were ready. I was on the platform, along with the original group. The ship, if it could be called that, landed. A bright ball of energy and smaller energy balls separated from it. They floated over to us. I could hear Notion.

“Greetings, children.”

I repeated the words before I realized that everyone could hear it speak. It continued as we all gaped in surprise.

“We are grateful for your diligence. We appreciate your efforts.”

I watched as other balls of energy left the ship and as the ship shrank. A ball of energy hovered over each person present. Other balls of energy drifted away. Notion hovered in front of me.

“And you, Cheyenne, we thank you most of all. It’s time for your reward.”

I was surprised. What reward? No reward had ever been mentioned. We were just saving our planet.

Notion drifted closer. Its light was blinding but not hot. I turned my face up to it as it drifted closer. I wasn’t afraid. I closed my eyes. I could feel it touch me, a tingling. Then warmth crept over my whole body. There was a flash of pain, then nothing.

Notion shivered, then made itself draw a breath. It opened its new eyes. “Ah. That’s nice.”

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I Shouldn’t Have Swiped Right: Flash Fiction Friday Post

I Shouldn’t Have Swiped Right

Let me start by saying that I hardly ever swipe right. I mean, to change the menu. Yeah. Maybe your phone is different, I can’t say. But otherwise? No. Then, of course, I had a new phone. I bought it because my old phone just didn’t have enough memory. We can all relate to that. Am I right?

I bought the same make of phone. I was hoping they hadn’t changed the operating system too much. They, had, of course. Any phone gets updated every 6 months, just to annoy their customers, I think.

While I was exploring the new phone, a call came in. Yep. You guessed it. Swipe right. So I did. There was a huge flash of light and a noise that made a sonic boom sound like a whisper. Ears ringing, I blinked my eyes, trying to get the light blindness to clear. When my vision returned, I was standing in the middle of a grove of trees.

They weren’t like any trees I’d seen before. First of all, they were purple. I blinked some more. The trees stayed purple. I stuck a finger in my ear to try and clear the ringing. The twittering continued. That was going to be annoying, I thought. Then I turned around.

I just stood and stared. A group of…what should I call them…aliens? Dark purple, they had four arms each and they were all waving around. There were four eyes apiece and they all seemed to be able to operate independently. I took a deep breath. I’m a big sci-fi fan but that doesn’t really prepare a girl for something like this. Finally, one of them stepped forward.

“Welcome! How do you feel?”

I took a moment to process the fact that this, fellow, it was a deep voice, was speaking a pretty good form of mid-western American English. “Fine. Ears are still ringing.”

The twittering from the group behind the alien picked up. One of his arms waved at them and they quieted. Mostly at least. “So sorry about that. We’re just so excited we got it to work.”

“Work?”

“Yes!” He grinned, if you can call it that. There seemed to be a lot of very sharp teeth. “Our transporter. We saw from your signals that you had transporters so we got to work. They probably don’t work as well as yours. We didn’t see anything in your transmissions about side effects.”

I could feel my hands get sweaty. “Transmissions? What transmissions?”

The twittering behind him picked up again. He turned and responded to them in some high pitched tweets then turned back to me. “You call it T V.”

I let out a deep breath. Television. They were picking up our TV shows. Good lord, what must they think? I rubbed my forehead. How to explain this? “So you saw we had transporters and you just, uh, just made one?”

All four of his arms flapped. Since I could see his head was joined pretty thickly to non-existent shoulders, he probably couldn’t nod. The group behind him did the same thing. Okay, flapping equals nodding. “And how did you happen to choose to transport me?” I looked around. I was on a platform, but I didn’t see any equipment. I was standing under an open sky, pink, by the way, with pale pink clouds.

“We didn’t. We just picked a signal and retrieved you.”

I cleared my throat. Thank goodness they didn’t choose some Hell’s Angel or Crip. “Very clever.”

Again, they all flapped. “We did our best to make the trip as comfortable as possible.”

“Appreciate that. And just where are we?”

“Lishton, in your language. We call it,” and he tweeted something that sounded like all of the other tweets they’d been whistling.

“Lishton.” I ran my hand through my hair. I didn’t feel that I was either capable or prepared to be a first contact. What if I said or did something wrong? This could be a disaster. “Nice to meet you.”

“You as well.” He grinned again. So did the others. “Would you like to meet our leader?”

“Of course.”

So he guided me off of the platform and we got into an open, I don’t know, wagon, that lifted off and flew into a city. We met the leader, apparently a group that was the entire, planetary governing body, and went to a lunch with several hundred other Lishtonians. The lunch was fruit and veggies and nothing made me sick, something I was initially concerned about. Then there was music, more twittering, singing I suppose, and as the sun began to set, they took me back to the platform.

“Thank you for joining us for the day,” my guide told me.

“Thank you for…inviting…me.” I went to the center of the platform. I hoped it wouldn’t hurt to go home.

“Come back anytime.” He grinned again and the whole group, still with us, waved. Goodbye, I guess. Again, bright light, big noise, and when I recovered, I was back in my living room. I glanced at the clock. Twelve hours. I’d been gone the same amount of time here as there. Shaking, I turned on the tv. The date was the same. Something to be grateful for. I wasn’t returned to an unexpected future.

The phone rang. I threw it in the trash. There was no way I was going to swipe right again.

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It’s So Beautiful: Flash Fiction Friday Post

New Babylon by DigitalCutti on DeviantArt

I was scrolling through Pinterest, a SciFi page, and saw the above picture. It looked so lovely. A place I wanted to go. But a story about a beautiful place with lovely, generous people who would help a bunch of refugees sounded like a boring story. So I came up with this. If it reminds you of The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells and Morlocks, well, yes. Read on.

It’s So Beautiful

We gathered around the monitors as if around ancient campfires.

“I thought it was a lie,” my best friend Jazana breathed softly, as though she didn’t want to break a dream.

“They said it was true.” My response was lame but I was too fascinated with what was on the monitor to think of a sharper comeback. Jazana was right. None of us had really believed what our board of governors had told us. Oh, yes. They’d shown us pictures. Both of Helicity, the new world, and of our old world, Earth System One, Ganymede.

The old world, which I clearly remembered, was a pit of corporate greed and too many people in too small a space. The ship, Rebellion, was put together secretly, though the details we were given were fuzzy. I mean, how’d the leaders of the rebellion hide a whole space ship? But anyway, we were loaded on in secret, shoved into cryo-pods and frozen. They’d woken us two years ago and began teaching us skills.

Jazana wrapped an arm around me. We were both orphans. Somehow both of our sets of parents had died in the pods. I sighed. The world looked so good on long-range. Modern, clean, beautiful. There wasn’t a trace of smog on the screen. As the planet rotated and our ship drew closer, we could see that the whole planet was like that. I dashed the tears from my eyes.

Jazana and I were in the same track, engineering with a minor in leadership. We were going to be management. There were lots of engineering lessons. We were the ones taking care of this ship. But there were also lessons on leadership and government. Economics, too, and social engineering. One day one of us could be the governor. Leader of our rebellion colony. Helicity was a stopgap home. We’d learned that the info about Helicity had been stolen. None of our data had indicated if Earth System had ever visited the planet. It was a risk, our teachers had told us. But one worth while if we could find a planet of our own.

A week later our leaders shuttled down to Helicity, their capital city of Tatham, to meet with their planetary leaders. I could hardly concentrate on our pulse engine power coupling lesson as thoughts about what was going on whirled through my head. A spanner banged down next to my hand on the cover of the coupling.

“Bang, Zuri. Congratulations. You’ve just killed us all.” Sergeant Aranyo glared at me.

I blushed to the roots of my blonde hair. “Sorry, Sergeant Aranyo. I lost my concentration.”

“Pull your head out. Start again. All of you. Thank Zuri for it.”

I had a sympathetic look from Jazana but the other five cadets gave me a glare. That was going to cost me. Probably my dinner. My stomach growled. We’d been on short rations for the last six months. I couldn’t afford to give up my dinner, but it looked like Jaque, the Captain’s son, biggest bully in our age group, was going to make me pay. The others went along because it was just easier that way. No one wanted Jaque’s attention on them. No one would stick up for me against that, despite all the training that said otherwise.

After dinner, the board of governors shared pictures of Tatham as they rode in hover cars from the landing pad to the Council chambers. It was so beautiful. There was no word on whether they’d let us stay, give us supplies, or even give us the address of another planet. It was too early, the Governor Prime said. I believed him. He was such a kindly looking man.

We worked all week, different engine systems each day, with combat training tossed in to keep us in shape. Somehow, I was always paired with Jaque. I had the bruises to prove it. The seventh day I limped to the medic. She took a look at my knee.

“It’s not broken, just bruised. I don’t have any pain meds. I have to save them for serious cases.”

I nodded. That’s the way things went on our ship. Too little of everything.

“Keep a cold pack on it when you’re not working.” She handed one to me. “Bring it back in three days.”

“Of course.”

On the tenth day, the Governor was back on the monitor. A deal had been struck. We were going to be allowed to move into the city—get jobs, while the council of Helicity decided on a home planet for us.

The cheering could be heard all over the ship.

Off-loading began on day twelve. I had everything of value I owned in my duffle. Jazana and the other girls from my cabin were in line with me. We couldn’t stop grinning. We talked about what new food there would be and how much of it. We talked about walking in the sunlight, breathing fresh air, getting pretty clothes instead of ragged ship suits.

Off the ship we were loaded onto transports and taken through the downtown out to the countryside. I was so excited. Even when we entered a tunnel, I didn’t think anything of it. We were off loaded into a cavernous space with cement-looking walls. We were escorted to various halls, separated into different rooms in some random-seeming fashion. I was separated from Jazana.

I was led to a conveyor belt and shown how to attach one strange widget to another. Then the belt started. We worked for hours, then given a dry ration and a bottle of water in a room with at least a hundred cots. I was too tired to eat and fell asleep.

The same happened the next day and the next. It’s been fifty years. I haven’t seen Jazana. There are rumors, of course, that we’d been sold to save the rest. And the shock collars, to keep us in line. I haven’t seen the sun in all that time.

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The Drink: Friday Flash Fiction Post

Scarf

I originally wrote this story at the start of February, 2014! I know, right? I searched the blog and cannot find where I posted it, if I did. Anyway, I was searching for the recipe I have in the story, a specialty bar drink that I created for a Chuck Wendig prompt. So I thought it would be cool that I make the drink an actual recipe card to hand out at my Phoenix ComiCon appearance in May. www.PhoenixComiCon.com. I’m not sure the title fits. What do you think? What would be a better title?

The Drink

Paula Vance held up the heavily embroidered scarf with intricate metallic blue and silver swirls and stars. “Look at this, Rob! I’ve never seen anything like it.”

He stepped to his wife. “Beautiful.”

The stall keeper sensed a sale to the tourists. “I know the artist. She does fantastic work but as you can imagine, it takes a long time to hand embroider. I don’t get many like that.”

“We’re on our 10th anniversary trip,” Paula shared with the stall keeper. “We heard about the Gulliver Station BioDome and since it was on the way to Pica, we decided to stop here. I’m glad we did.” She tried on the scarf and looked at herself in the mirror standing on the counter. “I have to have it.”

Rob laughed. “Why not? It’s our anniversary after all.” He handed the stall keeper his ID.

“Shall I wrap it for you, Miss?”

Paula took a couple of steps backward to get a different perspective in the mirror. “No, I think…”

She shrieked as she was struck by a speeding methane breather transport pod. Paula slid over the bubble protecting the alien and rolled off of the back onto the floor.

“Paula!” Rob shouted.

The pod stopped. The stall keeper called Station Security. Passersby gathered around the fallen woman and the transport. In a few minutes, Station Security Officer, Helene Guzman, arrived on the scene.

“Are you alright, Ma’am?” Officer Guzman took a swift glance at the transport. There was no smell of methane so the bubble wasn’t cracked. The exterior speaker hissed and sputtered. She read the display.

“Fright. Female. Broken!”

Guzman sighed. She hated dealing with the V’Heeme. It was hard to figure out what their messages meant. Was it scared and broken or was it asking about the woman?

Rob helped his wife to her feet. “I think she’s fine.” He dusted off her dress.

“Stay right there, the medics are coming.” Guzman turned to the transport’s speaker. “May I ask your name, Honored V’Heeme?”

The screen printed, “Zmugn.”

“Honored Zmugn, are you injured?” She tapped her pocket pad with the V’Heeme’s name and the number of the transport pod. The message went straight to Security.

“No. Human?”

“I will inquire, Honored Zmugn.” She turned to the couple. “May I ask your names?”

Paula straightened the scarf, then her hair. “I’m Paula Vance, this is my husband Ron. We were just buying this scarf when the pod hit me.” She straightened her dress. “I never expected to see a Methane breather.” They peered into the bubble.

“So you didn’t see the pod travelling along the market aisle?”

Paula glanced around her, the crowd, smaller now that there was no apparent injury, hung onto every word. “Well, I stepped back a bit, to see the scarf in the mirror.”

“That’s true, Officer,” the stall keeper called out. “She was just admirin’ the scarf.”

Guzman nodded. This was an accident but with the V’Heeme involved it could turn ugly. “I can do a couple of things here. I can take both of you and the V’Heeme to the office where everyone can file complaints.

“Or, I can call it no harm, no foul, since no one is injured and you can go about your business.”

“Oh, no,” Ron said in a hurry. “We were just about to go to dinner.”

Guzman nodded. “Let me ask the V’Heeme.”

“Honored Zmugn, do you wish to go about your business or come to Station Security to file a complaint?”

The speaker hissed and crackled and the screen finally printed, “No. Business now.”

“Thank you for your courtesy, Honored Zmugn.” Guzman tapped the answer into her pad. She turned to the couple.

“Your lucky day, the V’Heeme is eager to get on about his business, too.”

They watched the pod speed away. “It goes kind of fast, doesn’t it?” Rob said as he watched it take the corner.

Guzman held out her pad. “Could you sign at the bottom of the screen, please? To confirm you are not filing a complaint.”

Paula reached out and pressed her thumb to the screen.  When the medics arrived, Officer Guzman stayed so she could complete her report. It only took a moment for them to do a scan and pronounce Paula fit. She thumb-printed her release on their pad.

“Have a good evening.” Guzman tucked her pad into her pocket.

“Wait,” Rob said. “Can you recommend a good place to eat? Some place you would go to have dinner?”

Guzman stopped. “Are you looking for fancy or for good local food?”

“We can get fancy food on the ship. Local food,” Rob said.

“Go to the Eastenders on this Level. Best Irish stew on the station.”

They thanked her and wound their way through the market to the maglev. It took them to the other end of the market. The Eastender’s was in full swing but they found seats at the bar. The stew and fresh bread was delivered promptly and they ate with gusto. “We should have an anniversary drink,” Paula said.

“Good idea,” Rob said. “Jake,” he called to the bartender. “Do you have a signature drink for the Eastenders?”

Jake, a long time bartender on the station, scratched his head. “No. None on Gulliver Station, as far as I know.”

“Good.” Rob rubbed his hands together. “Is there a particular favorite drink?”

Jake grinned. “That would be whisky. It’s made right here.”

The two men put their heads together. In a few minutes, the three of them had a squat glass filled with ice cubes and a light chocolate colored drink. “Cheers,” Rob toasted. They each tasted.

“What’s in it?” Paula asked.

“One and a half shots of whisky, half a shot of chocolate liquor, half a shot of Irish cream whisky, and a shot of coffee. We’ve decided to call it The Gulliver.”

“It tastes like dessert!” She sipped again. “Thank you, Jake.” She raised her glass. “To Gulliver Station.”

“To Gulliver Station,” they toasted.

The End

1000 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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The Party: Flash Fiction Friday Post

glass_of_light_by_justysiak

Photo: http://www.deviantart.com/art/Glass-of-light-153578187 by Justysiak

 

Rory tugged the hem of his formal tunic as he slipped through the laughing throng. In his ear, his partner directed him to the musicians stand.

“Target acquired.” Rory pulled the sedative needle from his him and palmed it. His target was an assassin. Reports were that the hit was on the Teeler ambassador. It was his job to make sure the future, one hundred and fiftieth member of the Galactic Congress, made it to the inauguration session in the morning.

He moved into position. “May I have this dance?”

The woman turned to him. Her silver gown shimmered in the party lighting. Most distracting was the plunging neckline. She smiled. “I’d love to.”

Rory guided her to the dance floor, subtly searching her. He wondered where she could hide a weapon in a dress conspicuously short on material. “I’m Jude.” He provided her the name he usually used on missions.”

“Star. Nice to meet you.”

The assassin fit into his arms as if she were made to be there. She glided effortlessly with him around the floor. Too bad he had to arrest her. Just before the dance ended, he raised his hand to caress her neck. Her deep blue eyes gazed into his, a smile playing on her lips. It really was too bad, he thought as he pressed the needle gently into her neck.

She laughed.

That wasn’t the reaction he expected.

Her skin began to melt away, the laugh turning to hissing as the human form fell away revealing the reptilian form of a Chos.

Rory recoiled, then spun out of reach of the Chos fangs. Party-goers around him began screaming, running for the exits.

“Pitiful human.” The Chos lunged for him. “No Teeler will be allowed to align with the Galactic Congress.”

Rory dodged a swipe of six-inch claws.

The Teeler ambassador was being hustled to the exit by his security. Not the planned rescue but it would do. The Chos held the Teelers as a slave race for a thousand years. There were a little put out when the Galactic Patrol helped the Teeler gain their freedom.

“Chop the thing in the throat,” Rory heard in his earpiece from his partner. He backed up. The Chos advanced, hissing. Rory faked a stumble. The Chos moved in. Rory punched the Chos in the throat right before it bit his face. The creature screamed a high-pitched squeal that shattered nearby wine glasses.

Rory punched it again under the armpit where the Chos neural ganglia was located. The Chos sank to its knees. Security rushed in and secured the would-be assassin.

Rory’s partner came in from his control location. “Nice job.”

“Good enough. I didn’t know the Chos could camouflage like that.”

“Me either.” He took pictures of the sloughed skin. “We’ll have to study that. See if we can replicate it.”

“That would be handy.” Rory straightened his tunic. “I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Where are you going?”

“I’m all dressed up. Might as well find a party.” He grinned, then gave his partner a little salute. “Maybe find a real girl.”

 

Thank You!

517 Words

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Red Cadillac: A Friday Flash Fiction Story

Red Cadillac by Partywave http://www.deviantart.com/art/red-1959-Cadillac-tailfins-138267320 by Partywave titled red 1959 Cadillac tailfins

Red Cadillac by Partywave http://www.deviantart.com/art/red-1959-Cadillac-tailfins-138267320 by Partywave titled red 1959 Cadillac tailfins

They’d followed the song from clear on the other side of the Milky Way. The rhythms of it enticed them. They moved in a way that no one of their species had ever done. The scanners couldn’t help but pick up the signals from the planet from far outside the solar system. The aliens had to dial the scanners back to sift the tsunami of signals pouring past them.

“It’s like they’re all screaming into the universe!” The ship’s Captain shook his head over the stream of data the ship was gathering.

“It’s too much, Sire.” The lead cultural scientist had bleached white with the stress of trying to make sense of the signals. “There’s no reason. It floods out from every part of the planet as though they can’t wait to have someone find them.”

“Aren’t they aware of all of the life forms out here? Some are quite dangerous.”

“I cannot tell, Sire.”

The Captain was perplexed. “What do you mean?”

The scientist sagged a little more. The Captain was certain that this form wouldn’t last too much longer.

“Sire, I cannot tell what’s real and what isn’t.”

“Real? What do you mean?”

“They have real and they have what they call fiction. The song we followed was fiction.”

The entire staff blanched. “We’ve been following this signal for hundreds of light years! What do you mean it’s not real?”

The scientist sagged more. “No, sire. The signal is real. The rhythms are real. What the story says is not real. It’s…” the scientist struggled to create a name for the concept. “It’s a Fiction.” He stumbled over the translation of the word into his own language. It had taken him the entire trip to understand and the concept was so foreign, it was killing him.

“Chief Scientist. You are not well.”

“No, Sire. I am not. This concept is too dangerous. I beg you not to approach this planet. It will kill us all.”

The rest of the staff gasped, in their own way. The Captain shook his appendage. “We’ve come all this way. We must find this Red Cadillac.”

The scientist shook its tentacles and left the briefing room. They found him the next ship’s morning, a deflated, dried sack on the floor of the linguistics lab. He was mourned with appropriate ceremony and stored in the ship’s vault for return to his family.

“Do not be afraid,” the Captain intoned at the memorial. The song they were chasing played softly in the background. The Chief Scientist was a noble being. He will be sorely missed but the search must continue.”

A few solar days later, the ship hovered outside of the orbit of Pluto. The entire ship was listening to the sounds of the planet the recordings called Earth. The music had changed. It was both more and less melodic. The magnet, Red Cadillac, still played from various parts of the wet, blue globe, but there was more. Each of the crew had a new favorite. Something that appealed to them and them alone. Conflicting tunes blasted from every cabin, mixing in the corridors in such a cacophony that the Captain had to have the new Chief Scientist develop a method for each crew member to listen to the sounds in a way that didn’t intrude on the others.

When they reached the satellite of Earth they hid behind it, out of detection range of the primitive’s search capabilities.

The Captain was astounded. “They send their signals of this “music” out into the universe but lack the most basic of detection or defense?” It didn’t matter to him. The scan of the planet proceeded. They accessed all of the Earth’s databases. The goal was finally achieved.

The modification unit went to work. Lots were drawn. The four lucky crew members were chosen and modified and the appropriate clothing and credits manufactured. The stood in the transporter, stomach’s quivering. The Captain stood before them. “You’ve been equipped with our best recording devices. We salute you.” He came to attention and saluted with both appendages. “We’ll be watching.”

The landing party descended and made the transaction. The old human they contacted was grateful for the credits. She wept with joy, actually. From the ship the Captain suspected they’d paid too much but no matter. It was just paper after all. The landing party climbed into the vehicle and maneuvered it with only minor mishaps onto the nearest travel lane. By the time they reached what the humans called an interstate, they had all the experience they needed.

They found a local radio station and tuned in. They’d just reached cruising speed in the 1959 red Cadillac when the song played.

“Going to Memphis, going down on Beale street

I have all the pretty girls just looking at me

My top let down and my hair slicked back

Tell me the southern girls, they like it like that…”

The entire ship fell silent as the music played on every speaker.

They’d made it. These humans had so much more to offer! It was hard to tell what they could do or couldn’t! They’d make wonderful trading partners. That was after the “fictions” were separated from fact.

The Captain watched the videos carefully. One was particularly disturbing, The Day the Earth Stood Still. He studied that one, especially. It was old. Recent scans confirmed that the human military had advanced. The problem was the attitude. War of the Worlds was another. The humans seemed hostile. He’d have to think about the best approach.

No matter. The landing party was recording everything. That alone would pay for the trip. The Captain settled back into his command chair. It would go just fine. He was sure of it.

Acknowledgments: Johnny Rawls and his song: Red Cadillac from the album, Red Cadillac.

 

Thank You for reading! I’d love to hear your comments.

970 Words

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Glowing Voyager: Friday Flash Fiction Post

Heavenly Light by GreyGhost - STOCK via DeviantArt.com

Heavenly Light by GreyGhost – STOCK via DeviantArt.com

Stardate 35198.666

Planet Hydra Operations Center

HQ

 

Reports of a glowing voyager traveling on beams of light have been reported throughout the colony. Scientists are interviewing witnesses. Voyager appears to be humanoid. Efforts are underway to find and interview the voyager. Working theory is that the voyager is from another planet and is studying Hydra.

 

 

Stardate 35200.618

Planet Hydra Operations Center

HQ

 

Colony scientists have met the glowing voyager. Readings indicate the voyager himself is human. Scientists are recalibrating their equipment suspecting a malfunction. Voyager spoke Standard and no radiation was detected. After a short conversation where they exchanged names, he called himself, Mikhael, he disappeared in a beam of light. No source was detected for the beams. Scientists are scanning for a ship or satellite but as of this report, none have been detected. The voyager seems to appear randomly. Colony leadership does not believe this voyager is a threat but colonists have been cautioned not to reveal colony security measures.

 

 

Stardate 35203.532

Planet Hydra Operations Center

HQ

 

The voyager calling himself Mikhael has appeared before Colonel Owusu. The appearance was in the Colonel’s office so full recordings of the visit are available and being attached to this report. Mikhael offered protection but did not indicate what threat was imminent, if any. Still no source for the beams of light have been discovered but Mikhael has declared that he can bring light to the colony. Linguists are studying the recordings for hidden or alternate meanings.

 

 

Stardate 35206.351

Planet Hydra Operations Center

HQ

 

The glowing voyager has been communicating with the colonists. Reports indicate that Mikhael is promising deliverance and pardon but without indicating what threat endangers the colony. Colonists are divided in opinion of the visitor between following him or being frightened. There is still a portion of the colonists who have not personally seen the voyager but they are forming opinions based on hearsay. Colonel Owusu has released a communication to all colonists to remain calm. No threats from space or from the planet have been detected. Scans of the voyager with recalibrated equipment still indicate that the voyager is human. No source for the beams of light Mikhael travels in has been found.

 

 

Stardate 35231.320

Planet Hydra Operations Center

HQ

 

Over the past ten days, the colonists have begun traveling to the glowing voyager whenever he appears. The being talks to the colonists of restoration and pardon, implying their behavior have been harmful to others. Colony productivity has fallen by eighteen percent as colonists leave their work to go listen to Mikhael. The voyager has begun appearing in the same place every day, contributing to the fall in productivity. Colonists who are not followers are calling for the alien to be captured and questioned. Security has concluded that until we can establish where those beams of light come from, there is no way to secure the voyager.

 

 

Stardate 35232.675

Planet Hydra Operations Center

HQ

 

During this morning’s appearance, Mikhael announced that another is coming and for the colonists to prepare. Mikhaelists, as the followers have been called, have begun festival preparations. Work throughout the colony has ceased except for essential services. Colonel Owusu has declared a state of emergency, but colonists following the glowing voyager refuse to remain in their homes. Those colonists are building a shrine to welcome the announced visitor. Security officers have joined the Mikhaelists and the force is down by fifty-three percent. At present, there are no confrontations, simply civil disobedience. Colony leadership plans to have security on location when the new alien arrives.

 

 

Stardate 35234.841

Planet Hydra Operations Center

HQ

 

At 35234.677, planetary dawn, Mikhael arrived and greeted the Mikhaelists gathered. The new visitor arrived, also in a beam of light and remaining security forces surrounded the platform built to welcome the new arrival. Scientists performed scans and received similar results as from scans of Mikhael. The new arrival greeted the colonists and called himself Iam and promised peace and liberation if they followed him. Colonel Owuso believes the threat to be alien occupation of the colony. Colony leadership requests advice on how to proceed.

 

 

The End

683 Words

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Flash Fiction Friday Story: 4th of July

Fireworks, 4th of July, Randy Cockrell

Fireworks by Randy Cockrell

“OK, people, listen up!”

We were in the cafeteria. The troopers all left off their conversations and turned to the front of the room. Unwashed, wearing rags, they broke my heart these young men and women were so brave. I swallowed the lump that wanted to form in my throat and sniffed back incipient tears of pride.

“We’re as ready as we’re going to get. Everything is coordinated all up and down the eastern seaboard. We strike tonight at 10pm.”

The troopers broke into cheers. They deserved a little celebration. I smiled and nodded and let them cheer. Many of my troopers were orphans, separated from parents when the aliens invaded. They’d been gathered up by what were left of the adult survivors and hidden, fed, clothed, educated as best we could in the twenty years since the invasion. Now we were ready to strike back.

I held up my hands. “Who knows what today is?”

“Wednesday!” Jay Gonzales was my comedian, always had a smart remark. The room erupted in laughter.

“Good one, Jay.” I looked around. “Anyone else?”

“July 4th.” Kim Deming was the cool one and one of my oldest. She was six when we found her hidden in the basement of a bombed out house, a piece of rebar in her hands ready to defend her 4-year-old sister. I understood. At the time I was fifteen and had only just been found myself.

“Correct. Significance?”

“It’s the holiday commemorating the founding of the United States. Our independence from another country’s rule.”

The room had quieted at her calm, steady answer. Her gray eyes burned with intensity. She was driven and the rest of the troopers respected her for it. “Right. And tonight, we do it again.”

“Freedom!” Kim leapt to her feet, fist raised.

“Freedom!” The rest of the troopers did the same. I joined in.

“Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!”

#

It took us five hours to get into place. The aliens didn’t spread out, they lived in enclaves, walled and secured. Their nasty crops grew around their city, circles of peace and prosperity in a land still littered with the blasted human cities and towns and farms they’d destroyed. Sure, they were slowly clearing the ruins, but only so their enclaves could expand. I’d watched over the years. Their cities grew like snails, ever circling outward. Clear the blasted areas, create farm land, inch the city out another circle. They were efficient, I’ll give them that.

Tonight the moon rise wasn’t until after midnight so it was dark. All the better for us. Camouflage was the toughest. They had heat detectors that helped kill off a good number of us before we figured out how to hide. The plan was simple. It had to be given our deprived state.

Weapons had been slowly gathered over the years. Assault rifles, ammunition, mortars, high explosives and in some cases, we even had nukes. That wasn’t my troop though. The enclave we were assigned was too small to require nukes. We did have a few HE weapons though that would blow holes in the walls. After that, we were going to have to go in and duke it out.

My hands were sweaty on my rifle. I was 35 and arthritis was kicking in. The medic said it was from living in the cold and damp all these years. Nothing could be done about it. I nodded and left the tiny clinic. As I waited for the signal I thought about what life would have been like if the aliens hadn’t come. I would have gone to college, I think, gotten married, had a kid or two. I swallowed. None of that was mine now. It was enough I had my troopers, fifty of them, as good as having my own.

We all waited in the damp as the minutes ticked with excruciating slowness. Waiting was always the hardest. A low whump and the ground rumbling told me it was time. Fifty miles away another group had just nuked the alien military garrison. An ugly purple glow blotted out the stars.

We charged forward from our hiding spots in the crop land. Kim had one of the HE weapons. She was in front of the gate and firing before the aliens could react. Almost before the smoke cleared and the debris stopped falling she and her squad were running into the breach. My troopers were screaming as the night sky erupted in flashes of gunfire and explosions. No wonder fireworks were used to celebrate when I was a kid. I pushed that thought aside as I led my squad into the enclave behind Kim’s.

It was brutal. The enemy had night patrols inside the enclave but they’d responded too late. My troopers went nest to nest and killed every alien they could find. After years of hiding, they knew all the right spots to look.

By daybreak the enclave was a ruin, alien bodies, adult and young, lying in the streets and buildings. We had planned for outside alien retaliation but it seemed our coordinated attack prevented that. I called my reserves in to help our wounded out of the town. Those still whole, I sent to gather up whatever tech and weapons they could carry. As we retreated back to our hiding places I had a team burn the enclave and those damn alien crops.

Now we had to wait. Aliens were planet wide. They weren’t going to like what we’d just accomplished. Too bad. We were all headed for the mid-west where we were planning to do the same thing all over again. With luck other humans would be encouraged and do the same. We just might get our planet back. Happy 4th of July!

The End

957 Words

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Flash Fiction Friday Post: Meet and Greet

Locust, Dark-Raptor

Hello Miss Big Eyes by Dark-Raptor via www.DeviantArt.com

Prompt: Photo of Raphidia mediterranea (a grasshopper looking bug) by andrea hallgass, copywrited photo seen on Flickr Photo Sharing for a writing prompt challenge on Chuck Wendig’s blog, TerribleMinds.com.

 

First Officer Bergid Svensdotter studied her reflection. This was her first official function on her new ship, the Federation of Sentient Species diplomatic ship Asimov and she wanted to appear perfect. Ribbons were aligned on her dress white jacket; no stray hair out of place.

There would be twenty different sentient species at the cocktail party in the ship’s ballroom. All oxygen breathers, thank goodness, Bergid thought. The problems with communicating with methane breathers would be left to another day.

In the ballroom she found Chief Engineer, Rob Busey, a scotch in hand. “Bergid.” He held up his glass. “You ready?”

“A glass of water with lemon, please,” she told the crewwoman behind the bar. “I guess I am.”

“Water! You don’t want something stronger?”

“I do,” Bergid admitted. “But if I drank anything now I’d vomit all over the guest’s shoes.”

“Oh, yeah, you’ve been on battleships your whole career. Not used to the diplomatic thing.” He sipped his scotch. “You’ll get used to it. You had aliens on your ships.”

“We did, but not the more,” she groped for the right word, “exotic ones.”

“You’ll be fine.”

Bergid sipped the water. She didn’t want to screw up.

As the guests arrived, escorted from the teleporter by FSS Asimov crew members, the Captain greeted each one. Then they moved into the room, some for the bar, others greeting guests they knew. Bergid’s job was to mingle. She’d been briefed on the hot button topics for each species and had been supplied with appropriate responses. She was expected to deal with hard line questions and belligerence in a way that maintained the peace.

The first aliens she greeted were from the Koa system. Humanoid in appearance, they were covered in a fine blue fur. She’d served with Koans on her previous ships and found them to be easy to work with.

She placed her empty glass on a passing drinks tray; they hovered all around the room for the convenience of the guests, and moved on to the next group feeling more confident. These were the Einess, humanoid with a definite porcine cast. They were half again the size of a human, aggressive and quick to anger. Incredible fighters, Einess served on FSS battleships but they had a hard time getting along. She spoke a greeting in their language and was treated to what passed for a smile. The Showan, their ambassador, asked her opinion of Einess being granted sole rights to the Aamaz system. This was one of the touchy topics. “I’m sure the FSS council will consider all sides of the proposal, Showan.”

He snorted. “That’s what your Captain said.”

Bergid bowed a fraction. “It is a decision considerably above my rank, Sir.” She knew the Einess were sticklers for rank.

“Fair enough.” He moved with his entourage to the next group.

She breathed a sigh of relief. At least she wasn’t causing a planetary incident. Thinking she’d get a glass of wine, Bergid turned to her left. A foot from her face was the delicate form of a basil iridescent green insectoid species, the Raphidia ambassador.

Bergid flashed back to her childhood. She was outside in the middle of a locust swarm screaming, arms waving as the locusts flew into her hair, ears, eyes, mouth. Shaking, she pulled herself out of that memory and back into the ballroom, stumbling backward two steps. She could feel the sweat start on her forehead. “Um, I beg your pardon, Ambassador.”

She could hear the Ambassador’s chitters but her implanted translator gave her, “My apologies.” It used it’s forelegs to wipe its eyes, all eighteen inches of each of them, from top to bottom in a sign of apology.

“My fault entirely, Ambassador.” She cast around in her panicked brain for a new topic. “Your trip has been productive?”

He signaled to one of his followers. It was a small bronze Raphidia, a quarter the size of the ambassador. “We have secured several trading contracts. One with your own Earth.”

The small creature moved in front of the ambassador. Bergid wondered if the ambassador thought she was a threat. “I’m pleased our two species have found mutual points of agreement, Sir.”

That’s when the ambassador ripped the head from the smaller creature. Ichor spurt from the bronze neck. The ambassador turned the head neck up and with a thin tongue, sucked up the inside as two other bronze Raphidia took the remains away.

Bergid swallowed as her stomach rolled. She could feel her blood pressure drop and she began feel dizzy. “Ah,” she wasn’t going to make it. She vomited on the ambassador’s tiny middle feet.

She could hear the guests gasp. Two crewmen rushed over, grabbed her by the arms and hurried her out of the ballroom. The Captain came into the med bay half an hour later. Bergid leapt to attention. “I’m so sorry, Captain.” She focused on the bulkhead behind him.

Hands on his hips, he scowled. “Damn, Svensdotter, you made quite the show.”

A blush started at her neck and raced up her face.

“What do you have to say?”

“I was traumatized by locusts as a child. When the Ambassador ripped the head off of that little one and started sucking the brains out,” she began to gag again.

The Captain stepped back. When she recovered, he nodded. “Well, that must have been a trial. You knew they eat that sub-species live, right.”

“Yes, Sir. But to actually see it.” She struggled not to gag.

“Yeah, the old bastard does it to all of the new human crew. Thinks it’s funny.”

Relief flooded through her. “I didn’t cause an incident?”

He laughed. “No, but you’re going to have to live with that story.”

“Great.”

The Captain clapped her on the shoulder. “Go back to your cabin. You’ve had enough excitement for the night.”

“Thank you, Sir.”

“Wish I’d seen it,” he opened the door. “I would have loved to see his feet covered in vomit.”

 

The End

999 Words

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Flash Fiction Friday Post: Warrior Defeat

UNSC Army Soldier by Lordhayabusa357 via www.DeviantArt.com

UNSC Army Soldier by Lordhayabusa357 via www.DeviantArt.com

Ensign Zara Slater took off her helmet and wiped the sweat. Three days she’d been in her stinking battle armor but it didn’t look like she was going to get relief anytime soon.

“What do you see?” Corporal Masi Waters checked his weapons belt, counting the number of HE bombs, gas grenades, and smoke bombs he had left.

She slid down the rock they were sheltering behind to sit beside him. “Bomb craters everywhere. You could hide a battalion out there and we’d never see them.”

“Crap.”

“Yep.”

The corporal checked the charge on his laser rifle. “You got anything left to eat?”

She coughed. The smoke rising from the blasted landscape was scraping her throat raw. So much for fresh air. “No. I split the last food bar I had with you yesterday.” Zara sipped from the nipple coming up out of the collar of her armor. The suit captured her sweat, distilled it and stored it around her body until she drank. It tasted flat and warm but it at least wet her dry mouth.

“We have to get back to the cruiser. The Captain sent us out to recon, at least one of us needs to get back with the info.”

“What for?” Masi rubbed an eye. Neither of them had slept in twenty-four hours.

“Because that’s what we do.” On board the ship there would be no talk of “what for” but out here, separated from the rest of their command, things didn’t look all that good. “We’re fighting for our rights, you know that. To keep people safe.”

He snorted. “Safe? Tell that to the people who used to live here. We bombed the crap out of this planet because someone told someone else who then issued orders to wipe the place out because the Mords were supposed to be here.”

“Well,” she said, the tired seeping up through her bones. “They are here. In numbers.”

“Fine.” He jammed his helmet back on his head and seated it. “Let’s get on with it then.”

She sighed and put her helmet on. As soon as she sealed it, the displays reconnected and a series of status updates appeared on the inside of her visor. Ambient temperature, wind direction, humidity, appeared in the upper right corner of the screen. She clicked the infrared and red hot spots showed in the area all around her and the corporal. Mord soldiers, a lot of them. Another click and she pulled satellite information for the area. Her battle cruiser was five clicks in front of them. Symbology on the map told her where the Mord concentrations were. There didn’t seem to be any way through to the ship.

“Sending you the overhead.” Zara clicked once more.

“Got it.” After a moment, “Crap. How the hell are we going to get through?”

“I was hoping you’d see something I missed.” She studied the map. “If we go left, there seems to be an open area, no heat signatures. That would put us a klick closer and maybe something will open up by the time we get there.”

She could hear a sigh over the comms. “Yeah, why not.”

Zara crept out from behind the rock and moved with as much stealth as possible. The battle armor was coated with stealth materials but that didn’t stop a pair of eyes from seeing her. They were both breathing hard when they dropped behind the broken wall of some building still smoking.

“Is it worth it?”

“What,” Zara answered.

“This info. If they don’t know the Mords are here they don’t deserve to be in command.”

She was too tired for this. “It’s all I’ve got.”

Another look at the map and she thought she saw a way through. She shared the updated map. To the east, it looks like the Mord are maneuvering.”

“I don’t see anything on the map that looks like our forces. Maybe they’re getting ready to attack the cruiser.”

Zara wished she could call them but the Mord would pick up the transmission and use it to find them. “They must see this, too.”

“Where are all the other recon teams? We could hook up, strength in numbers and all that.”

“Unknown. Let’s move. We’ll follow the Mord. That will at least get us closer to the cruiser.”

After a klick Zara was exhausted. After two, she was pulling on her reserves. At three klicks they were both stumbling like drunks. “Rest,” she gasped.

“One more klick,” Masi groaned. “Can’t we call them to come get us?”

“Not yet. We’re still too far out.” She sipped more water. Jets screamed overhead leaving white contrails in the blue sky. If they were scanning, she and Masi were already dead. “Gotta move.”

He groaned but rolled to his feet.

They were less than half a klick from the cruiser when the Mord began their attack. The ship was surrounded. They dove into a ruined basement for cover. “What can we do?” Masi sighted his laser rifle on a passing squad.

Zara pulled the barrel down. “Don’t. You’ll kill four or five and we’ll be found.” She heard him mutter under his breath but he put the rifle down.

They watched as their ship was pounded from all sides. It was full dark and the glow of fire from the ship lit the night sky in front of them.

“Hold still,” they heard behind them.

Masi twitched. Zara put a hand on his arm, holding her rifle out to her side straight armed. “Take it easy.” She dropped her weapon and raised her hands. Beside her, after a moment, Masi did the same.

“Take two steps back and turn around. Slow.”

They did.

“Kneel down, fingers clasped behind your head.”

They did that too.

“You are now prisoners of war. Prepare yourselves for the camps.”

Zara sighed. No one ever came out of those alive.

 

 

The End

983 Words

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