Category Archives: Sci/Fi

Science Fiction

FF – Alien

ALIEN

Salt. Pain. Wet. Wait, wet? 

I inhaled, relieved I could. One eye opened, then the other. I tested the limbs. 

Observe. Report. Those were the orders. 

The limbs moved and I crawled out of the wetness. Sand slid under my belly. A tiny creature approached. One claw large the other small. 

It tasted like salt too. 

With movement came memory. 

This planet was ringed with devices, far more than anticipated. There was a ping, a shudder, and then the view went black, blue, black, green, blue as I tumbled planet-side. 

I didn’t trust my lower limbs until I knew from what the pain stemmed, so I crawled into a thicket of shrubs. It was cooler, not inner cave cool but better than the broiling surface the soft shells preferred. It was easier to observe surface dwelling species but far less pleasant to visit. 

That my ship was unreachable was a given. Without a favorable report from me there would be no additional visit. My silence would be taken as failure and the whole sector scrubbed. The dominate species had put thousands of trinkets in orbit, so they had the means. If the ancients showed favor I could find my way back to the stars. 

Sound reached me. I know the dominant species here is a soft shell that communicates like an unchallenged, all noise and waving limbs. It was not the primary language I had learned to distinguish. Perhaps the secondary. Yes. The secondary. 

“Here?” 

“Yes. Right here, but out there.” 

I peered through the brush. Two ugly soft shells stood on the sand and pointed out over the water. One was tethered to a smaller multicolored creature that moved its snout over the tracks I had left during my haste to flee heat. Leaving a trail was a junior scout mistake and one likely to cause me trouble. 

As if the ancients had heard me the smaller creature began to make a hideous noise and pull the soft shell it was attached to towards my location. I crept sideways until I was in a wider clearing. 

Fleeing was not an option, not that I would have chosen it anyway. I had the claws of six challengers adorning my halls and a seventh pair on my belt. I did not flee. 

The soft shells followed the loud creature right to the clearing. I gave a warning scent and the smaller creature quieted and hid behind the soft shell’s lower limbs. I would have to make note that the creatures on four limbs seemed to understand proper communication where as the ones on two did not. 

“Whoa, shit.” 

I searched for a proper response but could find none for ‘slow down’ and ‘defecate’. 

“Peace,” I rasped. That seemed to relax them. 

“Welcome.” This word I was familiar with. It was promising. 

I pointed with a mid limb towards the water. “Ship.” 

“Oh, yeah, yeah I saw your ship splash down. Cool,” said the tethered one. No scent glands and noisy, definitely like the unchallenged. 

The other one spoke for the first time. “Are you alone?” 

I felt more authority in his tone. 

“For now.” I stood to my full height and towered over the soft shells. New authority had to be challenged to see if it was worthy. 

The noisy one stumbled back, bleating its word for defecation and holding a small rectangle up in front of it like it would ward me off. The other put his hand on a device at his midsection. 

“Whoa. Easy. Peace.” 

I stayed still. “Ship. Lift. Go.” 

“We get your ship out and you go away. Is that what you’re saying?” 

I thought I was clear. Perhaps repetition was a custom. “Agreed.” 

“What happens if we can’t fix your ship and you’re stuck here?” 

“Stay?” 

“Yes.” 

I’d die alone and judging from the environment probably from the heat. This was an end I did not want. One only became an ancient if they died in battle. However, they did not need to know this. “More come. Eat you.” I snapped my top claw at him and he ran. 

Not authority enough. 

The star went down and the temperature became bearable. Small creatures roamed. Once I figured out the skins were removable I found them tasty if a bit salty. 

Shortly after first light came more soft shells, many more. 

The planet’s single star was not yet overhead so the temperature was tolerable and at their request I ventured out onto the white sand. This was a good sign. Violence was not conducted over white ground. 

Soft shells surrounded me with devices at the ready. Their fear permeated the breeze. If they thought numbers would sway me they were mistaken. 

One in particular stank of terror and trembled. The device in his hands, a weapon I presumed though I could not see an edge for cutting, jerked up towards my throat. I snapped it in half without leaving so much as a scratch on him. Honor points to me. 

The others brought their weapons up just as a cry came from the vehicles beyond. “Stand down!” The thrum of authority was unmistakable and all weapons lowered. 

A soft shell, slightly smaller than those ringing me, stepped forward. It took me a moment to realize it was a female. Odd to see an egg bearer without wings. 

“Peace. We wish Peace. I am Sargent MacTavish. May we have your name?” 

I told her my name but I knew it would be unpronounceable to her kind. She listened intently anyway. “May I call you Zock?” 

It would have to do. “Yes.” 

She nodded. “If you remain on this planet others of your kind will come and eat us. Is this what you told the officer yesterday?” 

“Yes.” 

“What if we do our best but cannot repair your ship? Can you communicate with your people and tell them not to come?” She sounded like authority but her worthiness was in doubt. 

“You are in charge?” 

“For now, yes.” I took a slow step towards her. “You can command my ship to be raised from the salty water?” 

She stood her ground. “I can.” 

“Then do so!” I snapped my top claw close enough to her face for her to feel the air move. Weapons lifted all around but she did not flinch, nor did she take her eyes from mine as she ordered her people to stand down. 

“I can also have you shot dead and we’ll take our chances on if you’re telling the truth or not.” 

She was worthy. I sat back on my lower limbs. “If my ship proves unrepairable I will try to communicate to my commanders.”

“Excellent.” 

I retreated to the cool shade as the sand area became overwhelmed by scurrying soft shells. I was still unsure if they, as a whole, would be allies or just another food source but at least I knew a few were worthy of further study.

Holidays In Outer Space

Happy Holidays! 

Today in America is a special day. A day of Giving Thanks. A day where we celebrate the three F’s of life: Food, Family, Football. 

But, what if we were on a colony light years away from earth? Would we still celebrate the holidays of our mother world?

The astronauts on orbit in the ISS celebrate the holidays of their home countries, but they’re close enough to chat with loved ones and know they’ll be back dirtside eventually. 

There’s no way to know for sure what holidays would be celebrated on distant human outposts but judging by history they’ll celebrate something for sure. 

Here’s my guess at some of the potential holidays. 

Founder’s Day.
Landing Day.
First Birth.
If the colonists came in waves, perhaps the arrival of each wave would be celebrated. Or maybe they’d be lumped into one day like we do with President’s Day. 
Sustaining Day (Celebrating when the colony was fully terraformed and no longer needed regular supplies from earth.) 

What kinds of Holidays can you come up with? What traditions would form around these holidays?

 

Keeping Up With The Science In Sci/Fi

I can’t keep up. Really. It seems impossible to stay current with the daily advances in science and technology. Now this wouldn’t be such a big deal, except that one of the genres I write in is Science Fiction. 

One of my favorite Sci/Fi authors has a very long running series where humans ended up on a planet with an intelligent bipedal, indigenous race. The humans occupy an island while the other race has the rest of the planet. When the humans land the indigenous people are still in primitive societies so in order to not upset the balance they are very careful of how much technology they share. 

Bloody brilliant move on her part because it allows her to introduce new technology into her story as if the humans had it all along. For example, cellphones. When she started the series cellphones weren’t around. Now they are and she can have the humans slowly reveal them to the other race when they’re “ready”. 

I’m in a similar situation with 3-D printing. When I started my Sci/Fi novel 3-D printing was so far fetched as to be near fantasy. Now, I can buy a kit for under a grand and build my own printer.  Given that my story is 600 years in the future I have to accept the real possibility of them being as ubiquitous as hand held calculators or wrist watches. Heck, maybe by that point they’ll be printing out custom organs. 

So for now I’ll go back and do the rewrites, but I’m wondering if there is a point where I should just stop and call it good?

Have there been world events or technological breakthroughs that have forced you to change your plot or rewrite scenes?