Tag Archives: sci-fi

Curvature

“Explain what I’m looking at.”

“Timestream 8496775816-AQZ-25.13.4. We pulled it from yesterday’s archives when it was flagged anomolous.”

“Meaning?”

“Look here. Grid 117, Segment 16, Node 135. See that curvature?”

“Yes. Explain its significance.”

“Timestream curvatures aren’t unusual. We see them when someone passes near a major gravity well. Black holes produce such events. Same with stars and Jovians.”

“So what’s unusual about this curvature?”

“The subject was traversing hard vacuum at the time, no known gravity wells in proximity.”

“So–”

“There’s more. This is just one branch of this timestream. We sampled other branches. Most, but not all, displayed similar curvatures. Again, no known gravity wells.”

“Cause?”

“Unknown at this time.”

“Then speculate.”

“Best guess? A fourth spatial dimension impinging on the subject’s timestream. We don’t have the tools to confirm this hypothesis, of course, but it’s our best guess for now.”

“Ramifications.”

“Honestly? No idea, but it’s probably not good.”

Sandstorm

He trudged through the sand, up and over great dunes of the stuff, while the wind blasted him with even more of the fine grains. Visibility was shit, and he walked more by instinct than anything. He’d long ago lost his way. The gale-force storm did nothing to change that.

He was covered head to toe with protective gear, with just enough room to allow for his goggles — not that it mattered. It was impossible to see; he may as well have been blind for all the good it did.

He walked straight into the wind. The fingers of his hand were curled tightly around the reins of his faithful mount, which was also covered completely. This kind of storm was enough to strip the meat off a creature’s bones in short order. The only difference is that his horse actually was blind, at least temporarily, by the rags he’d tied in place to protect the animal’s eyes.

Together they walked, man and mount, as the wind blew, cutting a path through the sand, both beneath their feet and in the air. The storm would pass, in time.

Deck Tremor

Captain Adriana Milosovic felt the deck tremble beneath her feet. It was subtle, barely even there at all, and yet it was enough that her senses came to high alert. She glanced around the bridge at her crew, but they were all engaged in their own tasks. No one else seemed to have noticed the oddity.

“Status report!” she barked. Immediately, her crew jumped to high alert as each one checked individual readouts at their stations. Several voices replied simultaneously, but she was used to sorting out the confusion. The gist of the impromptu systems check was that all operations were nominal, operating well within expected parameters.

Adriana returned to her captain’s chair and thumbed the comm for engineering. “Mr. Stock, report please.” The response was immediate.

“We blew a fuse, captain,” he replied. “We’re replacing it right now.”

“Very good. Any idea as to the cause of the failure?”

“None, captain. Diagnostics is underway.”

“Excellent, Mr. Stock. Report to me once you have something.”

“Yes, sir.”

Creeping Cough

She had a cough. Deep. Wet. Ragged. They called it the creeping cough. Non-communicable to humans. Supposedly. And yet here she had it, and it was taking over her body. Already, fingers of the black fungus were reaching out from the corners of her mouth, which meant that the roots had long since buried themselves in her lungs.

Hence the cough. Hence the struggle for each subsequent, rasping breath.

She suspected the remainder of her life could now be numbered in terms of mere hours. That would have to be long enough. Long enough to make it mean something. Long enough to raise awareness in the others. Long enough to finally galvanize their sorry asses in action.

Hopefully.

She staggered along the filthy alley, ignoring the off-world scavengers following her. They would get their fill of her soon enough.

[Originally published at Ficly.]

Overdrive

“How was it?” Marcus asked, as Mara slipped out of the pilot’s seat.

“Awesome!” she replied. Her grin was dazzling. “But this overdrive is insane! I actually had to keep my foot on the brake just to keep from losing control.”

He laughed. “I know, right?”

Mara’s grin vanished, and her tone became somber. “Seriously, Marcus, where did you get this thing? I’ve never seen a floater with this kind of get-up-and-go.” She arched an eyebrow and tilted her head, giving him that half-sideways mock-glare she liked so much. “Did you steal it?”

Marcus flashed a grin of his own. “I didn’t steal it, I swear.”

“Hamsters, then,” Mara replied. “It’s powered by a team of highly motivated hamsters. On wheels.” Her smile was back, but her levity was forced.

She’s actually rattled, he realized. He hadn’t expected that, not from her.

“It is, among other things, a totally new power source, Mara,” he explained, “One of my own design.” Her eyes widened. “What do you think I’ve been doing in that lab day? Screwing around?”

[Originally posted on Ficly]

Traversal

The tiny craft’s re-emergence into real space was unremarkable in every way. No flash of light to mark the rift it tore in the black, no radio or gravity waves, and even the EM radiation typical to subspace travel was dampened so as to be indistinguishable from the universe’s own background noise. The ship was decked in a non-reflective nano-material that absorbed all forms of energy that struck it, recycling it back through the hyper-efficient engines for a continuous, if nominal, power supply. And so, for all intents and purposes, the craft was invisible to all but the most advanced surveillance tools.

And in this part of space, perfect concealment was tantamount to survival.

“Feather the engines back,” Harking commanded. “Drift us from here.”

“Aye, sir,” the pilot replied.

“How long until traversal?” Harking inquired.

A pause while the pilot did the math. “Just under three lights, less than 30 minutes at our current course and speed.”

“Barely good enough,” Harking muttered, “but it will have to do.”

[Originally posted at Ficly.]