The Next Soldiers

nuclear winter

Depiction of the effects of a nuclear winter” – Found at the New York Times

Abracadabra,” enchanted fourteen-year-old Elazaro Motyka as he sat under an almond tree overlooking the Port of Haifa, but the sea breeze blowing into the park overlooking the old University was still too cold. Even the magic word his American neighbor taught him didn’t work against the last vestige of nuclear winter, but he hadn’t expected it to.

It had been thirty years since the last war. He managed to avoid most of the stories his zayde told him of whether it was India or Pakistan that fired the nukes first and then pulled in the Chinese, Europeans, and Americans, blah, blah, blah. It was bad enough that they taught about it in school. The present worried him a lot more than the past.

That made him rather atypical among his classmates, since most of them loved to listen to any of the people who were alive during the Third World War. It was a reminder of the last time that even in stupidly killing millions, humanity had been free.

“Hey, Elazaro!”

He looked down to see Inaya making the arduous climb up the hill to his lookout. She was a grade behind him but liked to brag that she was more mature than he was, as if that made her better than him.

“Hey, Inaya. Did you bring lunch?” On days when they didn’t have school, they met in the park to eat and talk.

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The Other Side of the Storm

malestrom

© Annija Veldre

Alise Egan’s scarlet gown fluttered behind her like a great cape as she faced the maelstrom. When she’d first seen the painting in Keyne Harlan’s private collection, she recognized herself immediately, even though she had never met the anonymous artist. But she assumed that whatever the woman was confronting was an ocean wave. Now she knew that the plasma field was the conduit between her world and another.

Long, slender legs walked forward with surprising confidence as her blonde hair, like her dress, billowed behind her, blown backward by an unseen discharge from the phenomenon just three meters in front of her. One moment, she had been admiring her billionaire benefactor’s painting and listening to him recite the legend and the curse attached to the artwork, and the next, the mystic tale had come to life, and she was inside living it.

“I’m here, Alise.” The familiar voice echoed out of the swirling energy ripples.

“Daddy?”

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With Power and Great Glory

sierra nevada

Sierra Nevada Mountains, Yosemite Valley – found at Roadtrippers

Iris Berry pulled up her other boot as she gazed at the breadth of the firmament above her in awe and terror. So far it was clean of Moskeren scouts, but she’d be a fool to believe she could elude them forever, even in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

She had hiked in from Dardanelle, now a ghost town, three days ago and was directly north of what used to be Yosemite National Park. Iris used to go there at least twice a year to hike and climb with Darren. She smiled at the memory and then frowned, pushing the thoughts of his extermination out of her mind. When the first wave of invaders hit, they vaporized most of the Bay Area along with every other major population center on Earth. Her husband of eighteen months was just one among billions.

The young woman extinguished her small camp fire, a risk she took hoping the Moskeren didn’t use infrared, and pulled on her backpack. Iris had been on a wilderness retreat with three other women from her church during the planetary incursion. They heard the news over the small radio they’d brought with them.

Helen died a day later as they were hiking out. Maybe it was suicide, but more likely she was so distraught, she wasn’t paying attention to the loose shale she was walking on and slipped over the cliff. There was no way to get to her body.

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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.

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.

What We Do For Love

galaxy

Image: Gizmodo.com

From the Flight Log of Freighter Pilot Camdon Rod

There are monsters living in hyperspace and they’ve sent spies into the Consortium. Okay, maybe they’re not monsters, but they definitely aren’t like any sentient life form known in our little corner of the galaxy.

Oh, my name is Camdon Rod and I’m the owner/operator of the jump freighter Ginger’s Regret. Ginger is the other half of the partnership and in fact, she is the ship, well sort of.

Due to a bizarre accident she had over fifty years ago, her corporeal body was vaporized as the Regret entered hyperspace but everything else she is, personality, spirit, force of will, became somehow fused with the freighter. I used to think she was a ghost, but speaking of monsters, that thing that had been posing as Calderon Zg convinced me otherwise.

You remember Zg. In my previous log entry, I mentioned how he held Ginger hostage and forced me to perform a hyperspace jump while he was outside the ship. I’d like to think he was just vaporized and that’s all there is to it, but at the moment of the jump, Ginger was able to sense what he was thinking.

They’re watching us, those things from hyperspace. Zg or whatever it was, went back home if you can call hyperspace home, but Ging said there are more of them here in our universe. We’re safe as long as we don’t discover their realm and how to enter it. If anyone does, the very least they’ll do is change hyperspace somehow so that jumping will become impossible. No more interstellar travel…ever.

And if that’s the least they can do, I hate to think of what the worst might be.

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No One’s Luck Could Be This Bad

space

Image: JPL NASA

From the Flight Log of Freighter Pilot Camdon Rod

I used to think I was the luckiest freighter pilot this side of hyperspace, but obviously my luck’s running out.

Oh, I’m Camdon Rod, owner and operator of the jump freighter Ginger’s Regret. My partner in this operation is the real Ginger, the woman the ship is named after. There’s just one catch: Ginger’s a ghost.

I didn’t used to think she was, not really. I always figured she was some sort of one-in-a-million aberration of hyperspace physics and the quantum wonkiness of how jump drives work. After all, Ginger was “killed” over fifty years ago when she was EVA while the Regret’s jump drive activated due to an accidental power surge.

But we found out recently that hyperspace is where souls go when sentient beings die, at least I think that’s what we found out.

Ginger and I don’t talk about it. What’s there to say? She’s a soul or spirit or something that can’t get into hyperspace with the rest of them. So I guess that makes her a ghost.

That’s not what I’ve been complaining about though. You know, about my luck running out?

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