A little over a year ago, three authors on Ficly completed a collaborative short story that took about six months to complete. For those not familiar, Ficly is a flash fiction site where all stories must be 1000 characters or fewer. Any story may be sequeled or prequeled as often as there are ideas to do so, and this can often lead to some truly epic works. “Cartographer” is one such story, begun in April 2010 by Shu Sam Chen and completed with one of my own contributions in October 2010. From start to finish, the story was built from 52 individual pieces, totaling just over 9000 words. I’ve been meaning to compile all the parts into one document for some time now, and that document can be found in various electronic formats below. I’ve also included SSC’s initial contribution below to give you a little taste of what to expect. Feel free to share these documents, but please make sure that it always remains under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.


Our little ship coasted on the rough turbulence around Yvonne’s Delight. We were five days out from the Hydras, running a shipload of tetrahydride to Phis Minor. The pilots up front yelled incomprehensible vectors at each other, every now and then passing me a new set of data. I was too busy to notice, fingers tapping away in a frenzy at the holographic keyboard.

“We’re going to need the routing code quick, Carto!”

“Carto, estimate time is four-half seconds!”

“No way, four-half secs? The fastest record is four-two!”

“No choice, four-five is the best we can do. Leave it.”

“Coming up! Lock and load!”

I looked up calmly, fingers still flying over the surface in front of me.

“Code ready. Move into position Five-Five-Nine-Delta-Five.”

“Roger that, Carto. T-minus five seconds!”

“Routing code ready. Extend vector array.”

“Array’s up, hurry!”

“Code base logic written.”

“Come on!”

The instability changed to smooth running.

“My god. That…”

“Was three-nine. Our carto’s broken the record!”

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