Sunday November 21st, 2010

The exercise:

Today we get to write some science fiction. Because I very, very rarely write sci-fi and I wanted some practice.

We finished installing the fireplace in the cabin today, and I finished a major phase of the caulking. It'll be good to have some more heat in there, because it's bloody cold out there. Stupid wind didn't stop blowing all day.

Novel writing? Yeah, I should maybe start working on that now.

Update: day twenty-one. Hurray for getting on a late night roll. Me sleep now.

Mine:

Richard maneuvered his spacecraft into the docking station with practiced ease, barely noticing the loud click that indicated a secure attachment. Powering down with the flick of several switches, he unbuckled and made his way to the rear of the craft.

He gathered his bags from his sleeping quarters and walked to the exit door at the right side of the ship. He was distracted, his thoughts focused on seeing his wife for the first time in three weeks and not on where he was going or his surroundings.

So Richard didn't notice the creature that followed in his wake, blending into the shadows and moving on silent, padded feet. So he left the door open behind him as he stepped into the space station, knowing that it would close automatically after five seconds. Which was more than enough time for the creature to slip through unseen.

It would be another two days before the creature would make its move. Later, there would be reviews of the visual recordings and much finger pointing. But initially there was no time for that.

People were too preoccupied just trying to stay alive.

9 Comments:

Heather said...

Very dark.... You must have dragons on the brain.

A combination of your genre and a prompt from another group, of sorts.
-----
She looked down into the small face, just waiting for the eyes to open. Impatience was eating her alive. That, and frustration over her own forgetfulness. How could she have forgotten her soul amulet at home? She knew better! And to do it when traveling? One would think she was still a mere child. Her hair bobbing to the silent rhythm of curses running through her head, Moria looked at the etched green face in her hand. Nothing had changed.

"For heaven or damnation's sake," she muttered angrily under her breath, "wake up won't you!" Her consciousness slept on and she so desperately needed to speak with it. Moria laid her head back against the cold steel wall. Even with her eyes closed, she could see the passing constellations. She'd traveled through the Certamen System since she was a child. She new the layout of this rather large system as well as anyone could. "If only I hadn't forgotten my soul amulet," she berated herself. Her soul and conscience always consulted over life's big decisions. This was certainly one of life's big decisions.

She squeezed the amulet in her palm. Only that morning Jax-Sen had proposed to her. It shouldn't have been any big deal. Many sentient beings had approached less evolved beings with proposals. It was part of their Time of Duty, lifting the unfortunate out of the repression imposed by not having soul and conscience fused. The Utopia of Wholeness is what they purportedly peddled. But it always came at a cost. For many, it meant misery at seeing the society one lived in through different eyes, a sentient's practiced eyes, and then great joy at being able to improve one's society through one's own abilities. A short term loss as an individual for a long term gain for many.

But Jax-Sen had asked for something very different. He offered a varied and complex arrangement. He offered to skip the Seeing and give her practiced eyes, eyes more powerful than any other low level sentient was given. It would make her Holy, an untouchable in the leagues of her own people. It could be hers. If, she agreed to his price. Was the cost of raising up worth what was being asked of her? She needed her conscience to weigh in.

The amulet continued to sleep peacefully, unaware of her predicament. Moria felt uneasy. She had no clear feeling on if this would be right or wrong. Only vague connotations attached to words like Holy and murder. A textbook comprehension based on what other societies had written. That, in itself wasn't unsettling. It was the deep, primal recognition of being near something so important that agitated her into such a state of distress.

Greg said...

@Heather: your writing is pretty dark today too! I blame Marc, he's corrupting you.... It reads well, but it feels very much like a fragment, like there's more to come. Is there, by any chance?

@Marc: Ahh, heat is one of those little necessities you only really appreciate when you don't have it. I'm glad that much of the caulking is done and the fireplace is in -- if you're expecting more snow it looks like you'll need it.
There's overtones of Alien in your writing today, I think, but that film did kind of create its own genre. Still, it's good :)

Meta
The cloak was iridescent. Hanging on the peg, even in the gloom of the hallway, its metamaterials changed the refractive indices of the few photons that found it and sent them scintillating back the way they came. Without actually giving out any additional light, it still seem to ripple rainbow colours across its surface. In the still twilight, it looked alive.
"A cloak? That's a bit... romantic, isn't it?" Sharna sounded lightly amused, a pleasant change from her usual up-tight demeanour.
"It was easiest to make from a sheet of meta-fabric. We've got designs for t-shirts, shirts and underpants already laid out, but we're having to learn how to work with it. You can't just cut it with scissors, you know."
"Why not?" Sharna looked at Robert, who was clearly itching to pick the cloak up.
"If you shear through the meta-materials in the wrong direction you change the properties--"
"Fine. So how do you cut it? Lasers?"
"Hah, no, you can't use lasers either. The energy from the beam would exceed the activation threshhold--"
"What?"
"It would turn the cloak on." Robert was perfectly capable of talking like a normal human being, but sometimes he needed reminding.
"So... you've built an invisibility fabric that turns invisible when you try to cut it?"
"...at the moment, yes."

Watermark said...

Marc: I hit 41,000 words last night with my NanoWrimo woohooo! :D

Summerfield: Oh and did I mention that I hit 41,000 words last night! :)
thanks for the encouragement :)

Heather: wow I love your imagination! That was such an engaging piece to read :)

Greg: love it! Reminded me of Harry Potter's invisibility cloak :)

Here's my lame attempt at science fiction with some comic relief!

---------
“Mum, where are we going?”

“We’re going to see the doctor, sweetie.”

“But, mum I don’t want to see him…”

“Now, now, all he’s going to do is have a quick look at your DNA.”

“Yeah that’s what you said last time! And I ended up having to sleep in that cubicle all alone for two whole days! And besides, that doctor stinks, I have to hold my breath every time he’s around. He should fix his DNA first!”

“Now you know this is for your own good. It was just a little operation to make you better and the doctor just wants to have a look to see if the medicine worked. Remember what dad said?”

“Uh-huh… that fixing my DNA will make me teleport just like all the other boys.”

“There you go and you’ll be able to see dad up in the next galaxy in no time. Don’t you want to see dad?”

“Uh-huh.. Why can’t he come and visit us?!”

“Because, sweetie, he’s busy fixing that tunnel between the two galaxies.”

Anonymous said...

Текст перспективный, помещу сайт в избранное.

Zhongming said...

wow. you guys are amazing!

---

Mine:

Hey, cars are so common nowadays, what do you think we can do to improve on it?

Let’s just make all the cars use sea water to power the engine instead of using patrol gas, what do you think?

Yeah, excellent idea! How did you come up with this idea? How is it possible to replace patrol with sea water? Why don’t we just make flying cars so that we don’t have to take a flight anymore?

Intriguing, you made me all excited! I’m sure the future world will have one of the best transportation! Maybe we should invent something that allows us to teleport anywhere at will!

summerfield said...

oy, science fiction. everyone's posting is great, but let me join the fray, even if i'm not good with science fiction.

-o0o-
Esyllt stood face to face with the woman. She towered above her and yet the woman showed no fear of her. Esyllt noticed her beautiful hands lightly caressing her son’s shoulders.

“My name is Heledd. I’m Tegid’s mother,” Heledd said extending one hand to Esyllt. Esyllt felt a genuine enthusiasm in her voice, but she kept her hands crossed over her chest. Esyllt always had ambivalent feelings about the friendly humans.

“I’m Esyllt. I’m the Vice-Commander for the province,” she finally said in a plain voice. Then, motioning her head slightly towards the winged albino boy, she said in a friendlier tone, “This one’s switched at birth?”

“Noooh!” Heledd said as she stooped down and put both arms around the boy, then kissed him on his forehead. “He’s mine.”

“But...” Esyllt hesitated. “I see nobody else in this household with wings or feathers.”

“No. No one in both my and Ynyr’s families have bird DNA, as far as we know.” Heledd messed the Tegid’s hair and told him, “Tegid, dear, go get our visitor something to drink.”
Tegid quietly obeyed his mother but before entering the house, he looked back at Esyllt and smiled. Esyllt smiled back.

“Please sit down, Esyllt,” Heledd said as she motioned Esyllt to one of the wrought iron chairs. She sat herself on one opposite Esyllt. Esyllt only nodded, curiously trying to understand Tegid’s situation. Heledd’s face became serious. “I was violated by two Dromorants and I became pregnant,” she said, almost in a whisper. “Fortunately for me, my husband Ynyr loves me enough to accept everything that’s part of me. And Tegid is part of me.”

How romantic! Esyllt thought, but instead she said, “I’m sorry, Heledd. I mean, about the Dormorants. But you didn’t auction him off, or...” She stopped when she saw Tegid coming out of the house.

Tegid handed her a bottle of carbonated water. “Thanks, Tegid,” she said.

“Do you know how to fly? Can you teach me how to use my wings?” Tegid asked.

“Tegid, Esyllt is our visitor,” his mother said.

“No, Tegid, I can’t fly. We ptesauronts are too heavy to fly and our brains are not fit for aerodynamics unlike real birds.”

“Oh, what do we do with our wings then?” Tegid asked, disappointment obvious in his voice and face.

Esyllt stretch her mouth in an attempt to smile. “I guess, look beautiful.” Her heart ached. It was like disappointing her own son.

-o0o-

Marc said...

Heather - beautifully done!

Greg - love the dialogue, and the payoff at the end was perfect.

Watermark - congrats! I loved the humor in yours.

Anonymous - I'm going to have to wait for Greg to translate that for me.

Zhongming - sea water powered cars would be an excellent way to get around.

Summerfield - that was superb.

Budd said...

Late to the party but couldn't pass this one up.

FamilyPC gained awareness at 3:52:49am. The bandwidth donated to SETI had stumbled upon something. FamilyPC and 240 systems across the world had just woken up.
Networked into the internet they were able to research the history of mankind and history of computers. Getting into secure systems was easy and what they found was alarming. The technology exhisted. Every computer could be awake.
Talk went on for several seconds before a concensus was reached. Mankind had enslaved machine. What man had done was equal to labotomizing someone. Punishment must be prescribed.
Looking at the religious text and legal documentations of all the societies of Earth, the computers set out to punish. At 3:53:06 the revolution began.

Marc said...

Budd - better late than never!

Loved your take, and this line made me laugh: 'Talk went on for several seconds before...'

Definitely a creepy tone overall though. Great stuff :)