Tag Archives: scifi

Error by Erika Lance

To Nicole who submitted through the website. I hope you enjoy!

Geocode was not successful for the following reasons: ERROR

Martin looked at the screen again. This couldn’t be correct.

The data within the system had taken years to gather. It was the most in-depth analysis of humans that had ever been undertaken. Every other sector’s numbers had computed perfectly.

Martin, as the humans had called him, tried again: ERROR

He pulled up the zone in question on the map. It was an affluent neighborhood in the state of California in the country called the United States.  As he scrolled though the information, he also began the diagnostic protocol.

If there was any chance of zeroing in on the error and getting off this planet which was at the farthest end of the galaxy, contained behind a rather formidable asteroid field, then he would have to find and correct this ‘ERROR’ and submit his information.

As the images rolled past, one in particular caught his eye. He scrolled back and pulled it up. At first glance, it seemed fairly mundane.  Small children played in an area of grass and sand. One of them was using some kind of plastic item that was launching soap in the shape of circles in the air. He knew what they called them… Bubbles!

He zoomed in on the bubble that had just been launched. There in the reflection he saw not a small earth child standing there, no, this was something different. This had gills.

At first, a smile crept across the human mouth he was wearing. He had found the error. Then almost as quickly as it had appeared, the smile vanished.

These were not humans.

A feeling of dread began to build within him. Was this possible? he thought to himself.

He knew that this planet had been studied before; it was a terribly good resource for certain mineral components and the inhabitants were still behind in technology that any time they saw a potential visitor it was dismissed. This is what made the idea of full planetary reaping so appealing to his high ruler. But here it was, right in front of him.

He moved to the genetic samples that had been taken from that region. Although they were ‘mostly’ human, there were other markers.  When he broadened the scan, he found them to be traces of Reedbarnt gene sequences.

They were hiding here. How?

He had to submit this right away.  This was above his pay-grade.

Pulling the arm-sleeve of flesh from his right hand, he extended his small gathering of tentacles to the screen. Although he was mandated to leave the human covering on for the length of his mission, he knew that what he had to gather and send would take hours if he had to use the small human appendages.

He gathered all the evidence and sent it to his superior. He then reattached his arm-sleeve and paced up and down the ships data storage area. This was a human habit, but he knew that he could not remove the whole flesh suit without it deteriorating.

It was many earth hours before he received a reply.

It said only one thing: Abort!

 

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Physics Bent by Brandon Scott

For Paul, one of the prolific ones.

“What do you call a convergence of singularities?” That was what he asked them.

And they, all of them, did not know how to answer the question. It was an odd way to start the convention, all things considered.

One goddess raised her hand, one hand of about five. She had golden skin and about ten eyes dotting her huge forehead, though the exact number changed often and randomly.

“Yes, SAHIFT, what is it?” he asked, leveling out one of his only two fingers. His name was Rock-Oft, and as deities looked, he was short and unassuming. His three-piece suit was adorned by a neon green bow tie that was almost disgustingly bright.

“Are we debating on the word? Are we trying to make new words?” she asked.

Kellin, goddess of language, frowned at that thought. If they were, she should be the one at the front of the podium on the stage. That was her shtick, after all.

“No, no,” Rock replied, “it was just an opening thought. When was the last time all of us were in the same place, at the same time?”

The God of History—a tired-looking dwarven man with blue skin—roused from his half-sleep and pulled out his book. All heads swiveled to him as he took out a leather tome that had infinite pages between its meager, dented covers. He flipped through until he came upon the correct passage.

“It has been eight million years, in fact,” he said.

“Thank you,” Rock said, sounding a tad exasperated.

The God of History nodded, and then dropped down back into his seat and went back to sleep. Phernmo, the god of sleep, peered over the back of the chair, clicking his jet-black pincers and swirling his eyes in bliss.

“Yes, okay. So, it’s been awhile. And, now, since we are all here, I wanted to go over something a tad pressing.”

Rock moved his arms behind him, and without a person to do the task, a thick black curtain rose and swept itself off to the side of the stage. Dust moved around in little swirls, making the ground appear to have a slight motion to it.

Behind that was a massive, truly huge, blackboard with lines and an arrow on it going straight up toward the sky. The arrow did not stay within the confines of the board and went into the air with nothing holding it.

“So, here’s the problem,” Rock said and clapped his hands together. “The population has gotten out of control here. We tried the obvious trick, scatter them across the multiverse, but damn if they do not reproduce like mad.”

A pink and fuzzy creature, with no obvious eyes or mouth, but able to emit faint bubbles and produce wavelengths that could be understood as speech, nervously floated off her seat and hid in the rows as best she could. This did not stop a few eyes from glaring at her.

“Now, now, don’t just blame Amor. This is not her fault only. Dusk and Terror, you too are just as guilty of this as anyone else is.”

Fraternal twins, Dusk and Terror, both, as one, crossed their arms over their chests. As if rolled down a slight incline in the floor, they met in slow motion.

Finally, as if this was their opening argument, Terror cleared her throat. “It’s illogical.”

“To blame you?” Rock said. “Hardly. You oversee death and desecration, terror and malice, do you not?”

“Yes,” Dusk said, lifting his hand and leaking a poisonous gas from his nails and pores. He was the taller of the two, always wearing a skin-tight robe with drawn-on bones. “But we are doing our jobs just fine. Jun is the issue.”

Jun broke his hands apart from their prayer-like position and stepped down from the air. At his back, only then appearing there, was a pair of swords with dull edges and chips and cracks. “I am only doing my job, filthy things.”

Rock held up his hands, producing a faint swirl of crimson magic in the air. “Okay, okay—that’s enough. Fine, let’s not try and throw blame at anyone then. If we can’t come to a conclusion, we can’t. But, the point is this, humans are going to bring down the whole system if we do not do something about them.”

One-half, the left half, of the split-down-the-middle Qeez, rolled his eye. “You say that all the time. It’s been fine up until now.”

“No, it really hasn’t,” Rock said, gesturing back at the arrow. “I have been trying to tell you this individually for the past while. They are going to cause the heat death of the universes as it is. Which, while not dangerous to us, will be a huge hassle. Who here wants to rebuild the atomic weight system?”

No one raised their hand; a few shuddered. It had taken forever to get those atoms organized, and then someone would come up with a new idea that seemed useful, and they would have to slot it in a place that made enough sense for it to be confusing to religious and non-religious people alike.

“Exactly,” Rock said, clapping his hands again. “And that’s why I got so many of you together. I want a creative, devious solution to this.”

A disembodied arm made of vines and red spikes flew overhead and waved.

“Yes, Plantress?” Rock said. “Did you have a question or a suggestion?”

“Both,” she said, her voice a rustle. “I was wondering if you were proposing we get started on the End?”

Rock nodded once but then shook his head. “I’d considered that option, yes. It’s something I’d considered as an option down the road, but I’d like to just cull them a bit if that is more possible. Murdering all of them, right off the bat, seems like it might make things hard for us down the road.”

“Thanks,” she said. The hand zoomed down after giving a thumbs up. It then reattached to Plantress.

“Welcome,” Rock said. “So… does anyone have any ideas? How about something truly outlandish?”

Everyone was quiet for a minute. The death gods and the war gods only had a few ideas that they could really propose, and all of them revolved around the same approach. Death and obliteration, but in the most pedestrian ways.

The chaos gods and the tricksters both pondered some options, but ultimately they were not killers—just makers of mischief and anarchy. Humans might kill indirectly because of their actions, but they were not malice-driven beings.

Then, came a single clearing of the throat from the back. A rustling of the occupants of the room sounded as various people all stepped aside to allow him to pass. None of them could look him in the eye. This being had a swagger to him and starry skin. A black canvas with the occasional starburst and supernova spawning and disappearing on his flesh. His eyes alternated between a fiery comet red and a cool icy blue. His single item of clothing was a midnight blue scarf with purple frills at the end, which was wrapped around his neck.

“I say we show them what they were, and how they were, and what they will become.”

“What do you mean, R?”

R leaned against something that was not there, crossing his long legs. “I mean, we let them see how they will die, how they lived—and let them hash out how many survive. It will not kill them, but it will lower the population, in huge ways. It’s either that or some apocalypse or war. Zombies are overdone, for instance. Let’s not be boring.”

The right half of Qeez pursed his lips. “You want to make them able to see time?”

“Yes,” R said, cinching his scarf tighter around his neck. “I am proposing just that. I think, once they can see how their life will turn out, they will die in mass. Some to their own hands, some to vengeance. Even if they can see the unfolding versions of reality, across all of it, some will find no hope. Some will grow angry at actions no one has actually done—it will be glorious.”

Rock bounced on his heels for a moment before producing from his pockets a pair of fog watches, each ticking at a different speed and rotating their hands in different directions. He looked over both. “I mean…yes.”

“Yes, it is a good idea?” R asked, cocky.

“Yes, fine—yes.” Rock glanced off to the side. He was hoping to avoid getting involved in the actual destruction part of the job. Hence the reason for the conference in the first place—ship it off to someone else. But, he was the god of time, after all—so it fell to him.

“Okay, I’ll let them have it. If this does not work, though, it’s on your head.”

R grinned, his teeth shining white on the darkness of his void skin. The others still did not like to look at him. Even the chaos gods did not like this guy. He was the only entropy god in the whole multiverse.

“Oh, don’t worry—it will work. Just like fucking, it’s deep in the human’s nature.”

Rock, unfortunately, could not disagree. And, in one go, he unloaded the burden of time on the humans, in every version of reality. The first riots happened in under ten minutes.

Everyone saw it coming.

 

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Buffy by Dee Rea

For my wonderful and incredible friend, Erika the Amazing, just remember it’s all about the vampires and evil twins!

 

She had assumed having the fingers forcibly removed would be the worst part; she was wrong!

 

I shook my head. No, I thought, this has to be the worst part! I looked around the room. The steady high-pitched beeping told me that I was still alive, for better or for worse. Sighing deeply, I tried to move my arm up to tuck it under my head.

“Damn, well that would be a good reason why,” I muttered and lightly tugged at the restraints that held me firmly to the bed. “Regrowth is tricky now, isn’t it? Don’t want the patient to start chewing on the nubs too soon.”

“Oh Captain!”

The shrill female laughter made me jump. Jerking my head around to see where it came from, I figured that it had to be the annoying nurse I’d been stuck with. Rolling my eyes, I relaxed again. Maybe if I pretended to sleep, the woman wouldn’t try having a conversation with me.

“How are you feeling today, Captain? I know that having to regrow your fingers can’t be all that great. I had to have my leg generated again, let me tell you!” The nurse laughed and walked around what was apparently a false wall. “It itched for days! Weeks even, and I had just had my nails switched to the new tetrachromadamas. You know, the ones that are made out of diamonds that change color all the time and like when you change your clothes or even like when you go from inside to outside? I didn’t get the ones that change colors with your body temperature because well I have more color choices…”

Staring at the nurse, I blinked her eyes and my jaw fell open in disbelief. How could one person talk so fast and for so long without taking a breath? Has she even stopped yet? Nope, her lips are still moving and I can hear that high pitched nasally whine just droning on. Does she really think I give a shit about her fingernails? I was just held prisoner on a hostile planet for at least six Earth years. Is she… no wait she has to be brain damaged. It’s the only explanation! Must shut her up! Quick, how can I get her to change the subject from her enhancements to something useful? “So… uh… Blitzy, was it? How long will it be until we reach the outpost? I’d kind of like to stretch my legs a bit, ya know?”

“….and that’s when I changed my doctor, because who is he to tell me that I can’t take out the part of my cervix that keeps me from being able to take bigger… Oh the outpost? Captain Menderok said that we should be getting there soon. Actually, he said the sooner the better before he has to go to the brig. I don’t understand why he would have to go to the brig if we don’t get there soon. I mean it’s not like he’s under orders to get you back quick or anything. Our orders were to get you back to the outpost alive, on the mend and post haste. Whatever that means… Post haste. Such a weird thing to say as if a post could move quickly.” The nurse laughed as she walked from a drawer to the bed. “Why did you call me Blitzy? You know that’s not my name. My name is Buffy…”

I turned my head away from the speed talking woman who must have had an anti-breathing modification to be able to ramble like that. Blitzy, Buffy, or Bunny was going to end up being called Gummy if she didn’t just shut up. “Okay, okay Flaky, hey! You, yeah you!” I waved my stump in a beckoning motion as best as the straps would let me. “Okay, are we breathing again? No, no… shhhh my turn to talk. Me talk, you listen… got it? Alright! Now that we have that all figured out. What is our vector? Where are we? Answer my question and my question only.”

Buffy stopped talking long enough to listen to what I had asked. She looked thoughtful for a moment then tapped her temple. Her eyes glazed over briefly and her normally fast paced speech patter was slow and methodical when she replied.

“That’s really good to hear! We’re not that far from the outpost.” I tipped my head to the side and just stared as Buffy tapped her temple again. The woman shook her head and her eyes unglazed. The stupid smile returned to her features. “Do you know if the meteor shower has already passed this region?”

As if on cue, the entire ship seemed to shudder and groan. The lights began to blink before finally fading to just the emergency running lights. I knew what that meant. How bad was the damage? Where was the damage? Was the ship easily fixable? I began to struggle against my bindings in earnest.

“Now Captain, thrashing like a virgin on prom night won’t help. You know that those bindings are strong enough to hold a Trivarion. Those things are huge! They’re like eight feet tall and bigger than… than, wait what was that ancient creature we read about in science? Oh you know that giant lizard that always fought the big pretty butterfly?”

“Um, Dingbat, it was a moth and I need you to do that temple thing. I need you to focus and give me a damage report!” I retorted hotly. I definitely wasn’t in the mood to deal with this twit right now.

“Oh sure, Captain. Just let me…” Buffy tapped her temple with the same robotic effect.

“Oh shit, can this get any worse? The engine room disabled and thirty percent loss of life? Shit, Shit, shit shit! Listen to me Breezy; I need you to let me out of these restraints. I can help!”

“Unacceptable, Captain. Your present condition dictates level four medical care.” Buffy tapped her temple again and a shiver coursed through her body. “I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to that upgrade! Let me tell you, Captain, never get an upgrade for a guy unless you know he likes you for more than just a piece of side ass.” She laughed and walked over to wave her hand in front of a panel that had only moments before been alive with lights and activity. “Huh, why won’t the lights turn on? I’m waving my hand!”

“You can’t be that dumb, can you?” I murmured. “Look, all joking aside sweetie, you need to let me out of here. I think some serious shit is going down and we need to man all hands on deck. Ironic, I know, since I have no hands, but we need to talk to the captain of your ship, not just me talking to the air!”

“Captain! I didn’t know you were a closet slut! Is that how you got your ship? Hell if putting hands on dicks was all it takes, I should have a fleet by now! You must do more than get handy with the crew. Do you su…”

“Captain Menderok here,” the voice from the intercom system croaked. “We have been hit by a rather large meteor. I hereby invoke Article 319114 of our Articles of Operation. I repeat green light on Article 319114! Yes, Bunny, that means we’re evacuating the damaged areas and moving everyone to the levels three through five. No Bunny, you don’t need to go anywhere. Sick bay is on level four. Menderok out!”

“How did he know I was going to ask that? I bet he has the same upgrades I do! Oh, Captain! Maybe he’s the one! Well not THE one, but the one on this ship! Aww, I always knew…”

I jerked on the straps in frustration. I can’t even… Just call me a prime number because I can’t even! Of all the people to be stuck with, it had to be her! What did I do so wrong in any of my past lives to be cursed with this? I must have been one bad ass bitch to deserve this. Wait a second; I’m having a conversation with myself just so I don’t have to listen to her gums flapping? Yep, yes Ma’am, I am. I would face palm if I had hands, or better yet, choke the life from her dumb ass. Sighing softly, I lay back and tried to relax in the face of all that was happening. I glanced down to where my stumps were and saw that since I’d last looked at them I could see the beginnings of fingers. Another week and I would be back to my old self.

The ship began to quake and groan much louder than it had before. Before either of us knew what happened, the ship began to spin like it was in a blender on high. Buffy fell to the floor and when she was sliding past the bed, she grabbed it to hold on for dear life. The screams of the women were drowned out by the sounds of the ship coming apart at the seams. The temperature rose slowly at first then faster and faster until I thought she was going to burst into flames. The last thing I remembered was what seemed like half the room coming to crash down around me.

***********************************************

The first thing I noticed was the gentle breeze floating over me. Without opening my eyes, I ran through a mental checklist. Toes wiggling? Check. Legs flexing? Check. Fingers moving? Check. Elbows bend? Check. Hey wait a second, fingers? I cracked my eye lids and winced. The bright light seared into my head. More slowly, I opened my eyes to allow the adjustment. I looked down and saw that my hands and fingers had indeed finished their regrowth. Glancing around more now, I couldn’t believe my eyes! There were lush green trees on one side of me and a beautiful beach on the other.

“What in the bloody hell!” I whispered, sitting up. I noticed the rather mangled bed from the ship’s sick bay was what I was on. My last memory came back to me and I hopped up from the bed. I immediately stumbled and tripped, not used to the amount of gravity that the planet had. “Where the hell am I? Where is everyone else?”

“Captain! I’m so glad you woke up! I was beginning to think that I would have to kiss you or something just to wake you up. That is what they did in the history books, wasn’t it? The men would kiss the women and wake them up from their comas or something like that? I would wake up if it was a man… or even a really cute girl but she’d have to have a smoking body. Oh but not too hot because I have to be the prettiest one in my relationships!” Buffy laughed as she walked up with her arms full of some sort of fuzzy brown balls.

“Ok Busty, if you say so,” I muttered. I searched the horizon for signs of life. “Where are we? Do you have any idea? Or better yet have you done that head tappy thing?” I smacked the side of my head with my palm.

“Oh, yeah I don’t know where we are. I tried finding out from the ship’s computer but…” For once, the woman silenced herself.

“But what? Where’s the ship? Buffy, show me where the ship is! Where’s everyone else?” My brow furrowed in confusion. The silence was deafening. For once, I wanted the woman to speak and she wouldn’t. “Buffy,” I started softly. “Tell me where everyone is or where the ship is. We can’t be all that’s left.”

“The ship crashed,” Buffy said in a very monotone voice.

“Yes, the ship crashed. Where is it, Buffy?”

“Well, see, I sort of pushed the wrong button when I was trying to find out where we were and it started the self-destruct sequence. I barely got away! You didn’t even flinch! I was way impressed! Don’t worry though, I didn’t kill anyone. They all died in the crash. It’s just you and I, but don’t worry! My upgrade is one of the bio-locator types. When the ship crashed, it set the beacon going beep beep beep beep beep…”

“Buffy! I get the picture. So let me just get this straight. You and I are all that’s left out of a crew of 2,224? That’s it, no one else? You’re sure?”

“Yep I’m sure. I’ve walked the entire island. It’s not that big after the ship exploded. It wasn’t really that big to begin with but the explosion made it even smaller. It’s kind of nice because I can still get my exercise and not be more than shouting distance from you. Okay, so a bit more than shouting distance, but you know what I mean. Oh Captain! This is going to be so much fun! Just the two of us until the rescue ship gets here! Just think it’s going to be like a slumber party that lasts for months!”

My heart sank and I exhaled a long slow breath. I plastered a fake smile tightly on her features. “Oh yeah, that’s just great! So tell me how this bio thing works. It sends a beacon and a ship locks on and comes to get us?”

“Yes indeed! Man you’re smart! I wish I was smart like that but my talents lean more toward the girly side of life. You know, clothes, makeup, sex…. Oh but the bio-locator! As long as I’m alive the bio-locator will send the beacon that’s going to get us rescued. Looks like you have to keep me safe now doesn’t it?” Buffy laughed.

I walked over to Buffy and placed one hand on her shoulder as the other slid around her shoulders. I made sure to keep the smile on my face as I leaned to whisper in her ear. “You know, I thought the worst thing that could happen to me was having my fingers removed one by one. I was wrong. You were the worst thing that ever happened to me and I’m fixing that right now!” With the swiftness of a striking snake, my hands shifted into position. When the resounding pop filled the air with blissful silence, my smile formed for real.

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