“The biofilm is encircling the planet now. And there’s nothing we can do to stop it.”
I reached out to the meteorite, a rocky mass with atypical glowing purple patches, knowing it might be the last thing I ever did on Earth.
It didn’t crash. It landed. It landed in a specific place.
Right in the middle of a major metropolitan area.
It had a name, but everyone simply called it the Company. The Company was prosperous, prestigious, and pervasive. Dominating all industries from sea to sea. Exploring and founding even beyond the sea. It was a coveted position to be a worker in the Company. Those who attained the highest ranks were envied and revered all the more. For in those ranks, one was not a mere “worker.” One was a Hand. The Company had many Hands. And these Hands reached into every corner of the known world. The Company did not tolerate weak Hands. Only strong ones.
There was no great mystery about how one could become a Hand. One had to meet and complete the Challenge of the Hand.
“Tell us a story first!” the boy said.
The grandmother had started tucking in the children for bedtime. But she now glanced over at the eldest, who was sitting in her bed with her knees drawn up. The grandmother had already indulged them by letting them stay awake later than they should have. And yet…
How could she pass up the chance to tell a story? Especially to such a cherished audience. Still, she had to make them earn it.
“Ask me a question,” she told the eldest. “If there is a story to the answer, I will tell you that story.”
She continued her tucking in and noticed that the girl’s siblings watched their elder sister with expectant eyes.
The girl thought for a while and then she asked, “Why is the ocean salty?”