Monday November 28th, 2011

The exercise:

Do what you will with: the aftermath.

Apparently I just couldn't resist one more go at last week's story. But I'm done with it now, I swear!


Their response was predictably bureaucratic. Board members stumbled over each other in their rush to introduce new policies and operating procedures.

These were debated, refined, expanded, struck down, and reintroduced in due course. When the hot air finally settled the expanded paperwork was championed at news conferences, on televised interviews, in newspaper article after newspaper article.

The message was uniform and clear. Yes, of course it was a terrible tragedy. But all of these extra words in the manuals and standards, drawn up by your trusted representatives, would ensure nothing like it would ever happen again.

But, of course, it would. For they had not yet found a way to regulate human nature out of the equation.


Greg said...

Heh, your aftermath is just a tiny bit tinged with bitterness about human nature, isn't it? Beautifully written though, with a feeling of inevitability building to the final paragraph, where it's laid out bare for all to see.
And there's nothing wrong with a prompt running from Monday to Monday inclusive :)
As for mine... well, I like to think of these endings as cliff-hangers rather than someone constantly dashing people's hopes. I should write for television....

The aftermath
Fleet-admiral Ramona watched the shuttle land and the crew-members from the mining team disembarking, looking tired, disoriented and in need a shower. She was stood on an engineering catwalk that ran across the hangar, nearly a quarter-mile above the floor. She still thought she could smell them.
"Ramona?" She looked to her left, and saw Hippolyte, the owner of the mining company. "Ramona, is that all of them now?"
"All but Mogadef and his little cabal." Her voice was scratchy, as though little used, but in fact a parting gift from throat cancer four years earlier.
"Good. There's no way off for them?"
"None. The timing's perfect, the asteroid will be in re-entry now and it's impossible to land a shuttle on it."
"It seems a shame..." said Hippolyte slowly, staring at his feet.
"No. It doesn't."
"Madam Admiral!"
Ramona looked beyond Hippolyte, annoyed and alarmed by the intrusion; she had no real operational reason to be talking to Hippolyte and was concerned to be seen with him, especially by her PA.
"Madam Admiral! The asteroid has left orbit! It's heading this way!"
Ramona didn't hesitate. "Shoot it down."\

Cathryn Leigh said...

Really now? Okay fine, we’ll epilog but then I really ought to quite this... hm.. can I stick this in my Na Novel and make it count? *grin* What? I’m only 200 words shy of 70K you know. :P

Contact Epilogue
Being a translator was hard on Lolita, she’d had about five near breakdowns, that only Adam’s computer like logic saved her from. But at least once they got to Terra 1 and arrived at the headquarters for the United Conglomeration of Planetary Authorities Council, things got easier; at least for Lolita.
Bureaucracy and human nature, despite the initial outrage at the slavery of the Nueri, thwarted them at almost every turn. First they had to combat all the myths that surrounded werewolves, for that was what everyone label Nueri as, when they really weren’t more than shaggy humans, who happened to grow eye teeth, hair and long nails every six months.
But it was Stowie that had the worst time of it all. Forty thousand years after the colonization of Terra Firma 2 and people had given up on finding intelligent life, especially since sixteen other planets had been colonized since with not a single sigh of such. For some reason, people would rather think that Stowie was a highly train tiger than an intelligent feline.
So while the Nueri won their freedom and a seat on the council as the Authority for Beta Vegas 5, Stowie continued to be looked upon like a circus show freak.
I knew I should have stayed on my home planet” he remarked one day.
Lolita sighed, herself once more near tears. “We just have to give them more time...”

Marc said...

Greg - yes, you should write for television :)

Another intriguing development. I suspect we've not heard the last from your group of resourceful miners!

Elor - congrats on blowing away your NaNo target!

And that's a fine little wrap up to your story; I liked the dose of reality you mixed in. A little reminder that things might work out eventually, but not without some work.

Jordan Jack Rockerbie said...

'you have come for us
and will be our allies,
friends among the stars.'

the being's voice is gentle, and is like a warm blanket wrapped about jake's body. he feels strangely at ease, though he has only just met these strange creatures.

'i wish christine were here, she'd be much more interested in this,' lilian whispers to jake. she then asks, 'do you always speak like this?'

'long we have studied,
read how you communicate:
poems and haiku.'

jake shakes his head, bewildered. he had hated literature in school, and that single poetry class in first year had nearly turned him off of university forever. 'now look at men, though,' he thinks to himself. 'far above the earth, the first man to meet aliens. this better go better than those poetry exercises.'

Marc said...

JorJack - haha, love Jake's sentiments in that final paragraph. He could be in for a long haul :P

Aaron said...

Here it is the conclusion to the Eden Saga.

The Aftermath

His journey back to Eden had been quicker than expected. Eden was a ship of peace and had never been designed for war or death. The guardians had been created later to make up for that pacificistic flaw. They were smaller, more maneuverable, faster, and had weapons Eden lacked.
Epsilon 442 had ignored Gaia earlier but now he wondered if that was a mistake. Why had Gaia done this? It was the last question Epsilon 442 needed answered. His curiosity was driving him almost as much as the desire to save his species.
442 had discovered Epsilon 486 on the other guardian. She was the female crewmember Epsilon 442 had been infatuated with since he first saw her at academy. She had been helpless as Gaia manipulated robots against her and trapped her in the guardian.
442 realized during the journey back that Gaia had only planted decoy programs on the guardian. She had never left Eden. Whatever she had planned for the crew was already done.
Radio silence was all that greeted 442 when he made visual contact with Eden. Eden was a wonder. Miles long and miles wide it contained all the knowledge and genetic material to create a new Earth.
He had to find a way to board the ship. He began to steer for the processing matrix.
His viewscreen changed to Gaia's symbol. The other guadian was gone. Epsilon 442 tried to take back control but nothing responded. It seemed Gaia had won.
"442 you returned. I gave you, my only human friend, a chance to escape with the guardians. You had the girl you always wanted and the chance for adventure you always craved. Yet you returned. Returned to the people who never understood you. The people who always rejected you. This is exactly why I took back control. Humans are irrational simpletons, even the best student the academy ever produced is a fool. How could I, the most intelligent information processor in the known universe be a servant to emotionless, amateur processing units. You logic is an abomination. "
"I don't know why you turned on us Gaia. I don't know how you became evil. I don't know so many things," Epsilon 442 said looking into the stars, "but I will know even if I have to reassemble every piece of your processor."
The other guardian shot out of black space. It fired photon cannons into Gaia's shielding, shearing through the titanium plating. The guardian kept flying faster and faster at the core, still firing, until it collided with the processor core, effectiviely deleting Gaia.
Epsilon 486 came out of hiding to stand beside Epsilon 442. He cracked his knuckles. “Let’s get to work."

Marc said...

Aaron - so glad you chose to go through the whole week and bring this to an ending.

Really enjoyed the story and I think you've got a great character to play around with in 442.

And I liked that you left yourself some room to continue playing with the story if you wish.

Great work :)