Duck Blind

wagon

© 2015 Yinglan Z

Glenn and Marie were told to stay in the backyard and never to go up the rise to where the old wagon rested. Of course precocious eight-year-old twins didn’t listen, so whenever they knew Mommy would be busy cleaning or doing laundry, they went up to play in it.

It was really just a collection of wood with the metal wheels barely hanging on. To everyone else, it was an eyesore, and no one knew why it hadn’t been hauled off years ago.

To Glenn and Marie, it was a pirate’s ship, a rocket to Mars, a submarine that had just found Atlantis.

However, it wasn’t an eyesore, pirate ship, spaceship, or submarine.

Inside the blind, Amnathamarz and Fid examined their last set of mental readings.

“These humans are completely unsuited to our needs. They are completely disorganized, obsessed with technology yes, but such a jumble of images. How can we conquer their race if we can’t understand them?”

True, Fid. We’ve seen enough. Off to the next inhabited solar system.

I wrote this for FFfAW Challenge for this week. The idea is to use the photo above as a prompt to write a piece of flash fiction from 100 to 175 words, with about 150 being the ideal. My story is 171 words long.

The image inspired a number of ideas, but I settled on the “duck blind” being used by aliens to assess how to best invade our world. However, to do that, they need to understand us as a race, which was difficult if the only people who got close enough to their blind were children.

To read more stories inspired by the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

Time’s Window Expanded

whale

© Alamy

Physicist and Mission Specialist Jamie Benjamin and her team of three arrived at the orbiting Mars Base Camp exhausted after their nearly two-hundred day trip from Earth to the red planet. But they were astronauts and had to fulfill their grand legacy of being stoic pioneers. Jamie could almost feel Neil Armstrong looking over her shoulder as she stepped through the airlock and boarded the station.

“Welcome to Base Camp, Dr. Benjamin.” Commander Donald Sharp, in operational command of Base Camp and coordinator of Mars Manned Missions smiled and extended his hand.

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This Isn’t My Home Anymore

yarnspinner

© yarnspinner

It’s all changing. My home, or what’s left of it, is barely recognizable. Hard to believe I grew up here. This used to be the field where I flew kites, played tag with my friends, where we ran around pretending to be superheroes.

We sure could have used a few of those, but now it’s too late.

The K’trn didn’t make contact with Earth by radio or landing ships on our planet. We found out about them when we detected the bioweapon heading toward us from space. In spite of all the talk of building a defense against asteroid strikes, we couldn’t stop the thing in time…and it was just the first of many.

I’m sure the K’trn don’t call them bioweapons. I wonder what their word is for terraforming? That’s what they’re doing, changing Earth’s climate, atmosphere, everything, so it’s like their home planet.

They should begin colonizing their new world, the Earth, any day now.

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge-Week of April 4, 2017 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to write a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long, with 150 being the ideal. My story comes in at 157 words.

Today, April 5th, is First Contact Day. In the 1996 film Star Trek: First Contact, April 5, 2063 is the day when Vulcans make first contact with humanity after they detect the warp signature from Zefram Cochran’s experimental warp ship, the Phoenix. I hear some Star Trek fans actually celebrate this day. I thought, in honor of the occasion, I’d write a first contact story, though mine is much more grim.

To read other stories based on the prompt above, go to InLinkz.com.

Cyrille

brave

Photo: Provided by Kristen Johnson / KTVB.com

“Cyrille, we always knew there was something a little different about you, but we didn’t think it was this.”

Mr. and Mrs. Johnston were sitting on the sofa in their living room confronting her. They were always kind, but a bit reserved. Cyrille had been renting a room from them for a little over a year. She was three months away from graduating with her bachelor’s in mechanical engineering.

“I promise that it doesn’t make any difference in our relationship. I’m still the same Cyrille who’s lived here for the past year.”

“Well, that’s the problem, Cyrille.” Mr. Johnston was like one of those sitcom Dad’s from the late 1950s, always playing the role of straight man to utter seriousness. “We don’t think we can continue to rent a room to you.”

“But why not?” Cyrille started to get out of her chair, but then realized they might see it as an aggressive act.

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Integratron Investigation

integratron

© Google Maps / Don Darkson

George Van Tassel started constructing the Integratron the year I was born. He claimed aliens from Venus gave him the plans, which doesn’t seem likely given Venus’ harsh environment. Surface temperature in excess of 800 degrees, and atmospheric pressure 90 times that of Earth’s at sea level. Not a likely place to find life.

The Integratron is supposed to be capable of rejuvenating living tissue, anti-gravity, and time travel, none of which I’m seeing as I stand inside of what is now a tourist attraction. Still, Van Tassel’s sudden death at age 67 has never been explained. Maybe spending too much time in here is damaging instead of healing. I think Van Tassel was contacted, but not by aliens, and certainly nothing wanting to help humans. My name is David Norliss and I investigate spiritual phenomenon. I don’t think aliens gave Van Tassel the plans for the Integratron. I’m looking for demons.

I wrote this bit of flash fiction in response to a weekly prompt based on a view from Google Maps. The idea is to write a piece of fiction of around 150 words based on the prompt. Full details can be found at What Pegman Saw.

For more stories based on this week’s prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

Visit Wikipedia for more information on the Integration as well as its creator George Van Tassel.

Oh, I named my character after the protagonist in the 1973 made-for-TV thriller The Norliss Tapes starring Roy Thinnes.

This story has a word count of 149.

First Contact Imperfect

ted

From the film “Ted 2” (2015)

The Qredderq came very close to their goal of communicating with humanity. However, being just a little off was going to have difficult if not disastrous results.

The Qredderq weren’t aliens in that they came from another planet. The Qreddreg were transdimensional life forms, and that sort of life was abundant. However, piercing transdimensional barriers in order to communicate was highly technical, energy intensive, and not always reliable, as the Qredderq were about to find out.

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Human for Sale

irish slavesMegan Kelly wept and tried to cover her nude body as best she could while on the selling block.

“She’ll fetch a fine price,” the Slave Hunter said to his V’thakian customer.

The Slave Hunter was human, a collaborator with the V’thak, a man who would hunt and sell his own kind to inhuman butchers and conquerors.

Megan was only twenty years old. Pale skin and fiery red hair matched her temperament and spirit. She thought she could push the limit and remain in the countryside outside the shelter a little while longer than the others.

Her fourteen year old brother’s broken arm was still healing and she wanted to bring home some extra roots and berries for him as a treat.

Instead she was caught by Galn, the Slave Hunter. He stripped her bare once he’d gotten her to the V’thakian compound, but he didn’t rape her. The V’thakians don’t like their slaves sullied, but neither do they tolerate them clothed.

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Overcoming Conquerers

Earth

Earth as seen from Apollo 17 – Image: Wikipedia

The T’Quenq had conquered the population of the Earth a generation ago and with good reason. On the verge of humanity developing a working Interstellar drive, the T’Quenq, who had been observing our planet for centuries, were terrified that we would spread our propensity for strife, bloodshed, and harsh colonialism to the nearby inhabited star systems. There was only one way to make sure we never got the chance: subjugate us.

In science fiction stories, the aliens are always just humans who look different from us, four arms instead of two, green skin, pointy ears, that sort of thing. In real life, alien means alien. Concepts of cruelty or kindness were foreign to their thinking. They didn’t even have words in their language for “generosity,” “charity,” or “compassion.” They simply administered resources and populations. The people of the Earth were governed but not a great deal of thought was put into our comfort. Neither did the T’Quenq deliberately cause us to suffer. We simply existed under their rule.

We were conquered a generation ago and since that time, a few things have mellowed a bit. Segregation between T’Quenq and humans was no longer strictly enforced. Some of them thought it adventurous to walk our streets and shop in our stores, while a few human beings were allowed in T’Quenq compounds, only as servants, but a smattering of us got a first hand look at how they live.

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Should We Be Searching for Extraterrestrial Intelligence and Are They Trying to Kill Us?

seti

Image: SETI.org

I just read an article called “SETI’s mega alien hunt shovels more data onto IBM’s cloud” at The Register, which is a UK-based tech site with a satirical twist. The article’s subtitle is “Citizen boffins: Help find the alien that ultimately kills us all.”

SETI, the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence, uses radio telescope arrays to gather hundreds of terabytes of data each day. That’s a lot of data to process. So they’re releasing 16TB of radio transmissions from the Allan Telescope Array (ATA), located near San Francisco, to IBM’s cloud under SETI@IBMCloud. The idea is that citizen coders can build apps capable of querying the data and possibly detecting information SETI technicians might have missed.

Theoretical Physicist and Cosmologist Stephen Hawking has gone on record as stating he believes aliens will destroy us if they ever find us. It’s not like they’d even have to be all that hostile. They could destroy our culture the way Europeans destroyed Native American cultures when they first arrive hundreds of years ago, the ramifications of which are still being keenly felt today.

I suppose that’s possible, but is it likely?

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The Alien

ellie

The first issue of Scaffolding Magazine

Not another infection. I can’t stand it.

I know I asked for this. I know I volunteered. But the doctors didn’t say it would be this bad. I knew I’d be giving up my life with the first injection, but they didn’t say anything about this kind of suffering.

Even when the symptoms seem to have subsided for a while, the slightest warning sign, such as a sneeze or a mild sore throat, drives my anxiety to dangerous levels.

The doctors say I need to stay calm, that emotional aggravation could make me feel even worse and endanger the success of my treatment. How can I stay calm when they’re doing this to me?

OK, I understand. Take deep breaths. What an odd sensation.

Let me go back to the beginning. Maybe it will help you, whoever you are reading this (they won’t let me post videos for obvious reasons), understand what I’m going through and why.

We are on the verge of exploring and investigating a new planet. The planet is dominated by a sentient species, which is the problem. So far, all of our monitoring has been passive and remote, listening to their communications broadcasts, observing video transmissions. Last year (their year based on a single, complete revolution of their planet around their star), we sent a shielded drone into orbit, undetectable through the specific bands of the EM spectrum they typically monitor.

But you can only learn so much that way.

This is the first part of my story published in the first issue of the new scifi and fantasy publication Scaffolding Magazine. To read the rest, click the link and purchase a copy. I promise, you won’t be sorry.