Encounter With Ship 47

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Digital drawing. Five silhouettes against a window, all face a luminous spiraling phenomenon beyond. At top left, a human in a chair that’s hovering over the heads of the others, in partial right profile, with left hand raised to the window. Below, from right to left. A caterpillar-shaped being sitting on the window ledge, with two antennae raised to the window, tail dangling from the ledge. A being with a squid head, with five tentacles held up against the window, standing on what appears to be three knobby or segmented legs. A human standing with both hands pressed against the glass at head level. A being shaped like a central stalk with fuzzy hair at the top, two pairs of loops protruding from the sides, and knobby plumes rising from the loops. A wall to the left displays some glowing lights and panels.

“It’s my favorite chief mechanic,” the captain said.  I looked to my left and saw her smiling as she glided toward me.

“I bet you say that to all the chief mechanics,” I said, feeling the tablet tucked under my hand slide a little as sweat suddenly appeared on my fingertips.

“I do, but I only mean it when I say it to you.”

I chuckled.  We joined up and started down the main concourse, both on the way to our duties as the first shift of the day started.

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The Lunarian

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Digital drawing. Center, a woman seen from back, stands with hands clasped behind her back. Her face is turned so her right profile is visible. She has long hair, curled at the ends, and she wears a hooded dress coat. Her entire form appears silvery. Before her is a neon pink cloud. A glittering streak of light shoots directly up from the cloud, appearing from the top of the woman’s head. Dark hazy clouds rise from the background, and above, the hints of a starry sky.

Pike tilted his head up slightly, so he could see more clearly through his helmet.  He raised his arm and glanced at the detector in his gloved hand.  With his other hand, he pointed straight ahead. 

“That way,” he said.

Captain Tai drifted past him, holding her own arm up, so that the light beam panel on the forearm of her suit could illuminate their way.

The dark side of the moon was not just regular dark.  It was pitch dark.  If not for the trackers, and the back-up trackers, and the emergency back-up trackers, in their suits and their equipment, Pike would have at least hesitated wandering any farther into the unmapped region from which the anomalous signal seemed to be originating.  More likely, he would have talked his captain out of venturing ahead altogether.  Even more likely, she wouldn’t have needed to be convinced.

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A Moth In The Nebula

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Digital drawing. A spaceship shaped like a moth, seen from its starboard flank, flies along the border of a nebula. The colorful streaming gases of the nebula and the spaceship are both oriented at forty-five degrees from horizontal from left to right. Scattered stars twinkle in the distance.

“Status!”

“Countermeasures depleted,” the ship said.  “Shields holding…for now.” 

The ship hurtled toward the hourglass-shaped nebula.  The ship and the two crew members aboard all knew what that meant.  Already, it was getting icy in the cabin.

A missile sliced past their port side.  The ship veered just as the missile burst apart. 

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The Last Voyage of the Echidna

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Digital drawing. A ship shaped like a submarine appears on the bottom half moving toward a glowing anomaly in the center of the image. Lightning, sparks, and gases emerge from the anomaly and stream outward. A zigzag pattern with nodes at each junction glows on the ship’s hull and is reflected above and below the ship. Lightning-like energy flows out from two dorsal thrusters.

“Queens growing old without growing wiser.  That’s not what we need.  That’s not what I seek to be.”

Those were the last words that Captain Navaso spoke before she went into exile, breaking from the Unified Colonies, along with 899 loyal members of her colony. Continue reading

The Nimasterion

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“Okay, okay, so the story goes, this king sent his daughter over the sea to a distant land to secure an alliance with a country that was formerly their enemy.  And with her, he sent gifts and such.”

“A dowry?”

“Yeah, I guess.  I don’t know if these people did dowries.  Anyway, the gifts included the usual stuff you’d expect, precious metals and precious stones, coins, and jewels.  And the one big gift, the real gift, you might say.  A crown made for the prince, and set with a very special one-of-a-kind jewel.  A jewel that was sent by the heavens.  A jewel that could shine without sunlight.  But this king had angered the gods, so they ordered the sea fairies to destroy the ship and drown the king’s daughter—“ Continue reading

The Renegade D.O.R.K.S.

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The newly appointed Captain Dorus gazed at his new crew, each one interviewed and hand-picked by him.  The not-so-hotshot pilot, Orson, who retired early after she was nearly killed flying into a star during a practice maneuver.  The experienced engineer, Rekha, whose tendency to tinker a little too much got her booted off the first four ships she was assigned to.  A doctor, Shade, who had no specialty because she kept getting distracted by new discoveries.  And the actor, Kellu, whose purpose there no one—including himself—quite understood. Continue reading

The Shifting Night Anomaly

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The Shifting Night Anomaly was so called at first because its margins seemed to change every so often, making it difficult, if not impossible, to map.  We had sent probe after probe inside for three generations.  Out of the near thousand probes that were deployed, only forty-seven were recovered.  The more we learned about the anomaly, the more we realized how fitting the name was.  There were no systems and no stars within, only remnants of dead worlds.  Only strange and exotic gases.  Only nebulas haunted by the ghosts of stars that flickered and faded before they could burst into life.   Continue reading

Mynotragon

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We are not deserters. We are not thieves. But we have been named as such by the imperial navy. We are hunted by the ships we once called our allies. The empress gave our captain a precious treasure as a gift. It was but a gesture. In truth, the treasure belongs to the empire, as all things do. Our captain has taken it.

The warship Mynotragon. Continue reading

Sal Saturn and the Planetary Rangers

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sfwk_17aIn the year 2025, humanity received an answer to one of its most fundamental questions: “Are we alone in the universe?”

Only one thousand standard years later, unnoticeable and unfathomable to the greatly aged cosmos, a galactic alliance was formed, a coalition of inhabited worlds bound together in cooperation, friendship, and mutual progress. The Grand Unified Milky Way. The G.U.M. was protected by the Milky Way Planetary Rangers, whose members hailed from every planet in the alliance, and whose mission was to patrol within and outside the borders of their home, the galaxy the Earth humans charmingly named the Milky Way. Continue reading

The Captain’s Creature

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sf_wk12“Captain!” Marlowe yelled out. The coils of the grasping tentacle slid past each other, tightening their grip around Santi’s waist.

That was when I knew. In the midst of chaos, with half the crew—swords and daggers drawn—converging on the barrel where Santi had been hiding, with the ship trapped in the grip of a whirlpool, with the hull shattering from the force of those monstrous tentacles, when I heard Marlowe speak that word, that was when I knew that all my suspicions were true. Continue reading