PLANET ECHO

They landed on the planet amid a battle. The small settlement was under siege and the peaceful looking aliens looked so frightened.
This was in stark contrast to the attackers, who you could tell lived for war. The Earthers immediately ran for cover into a cave. It was there they found the ancient almanac, and learnt of the sorrowful history of the place; and it was obvious it would cause shame.
As one they seemed to know what they had to do. Taking up arms, they counter attacked, and soon the settlement was saved.
Thanked, the Earthers took off to carry on their journey.
Leaving orbit, the wormhole took them by surprise and they landed on a planet amid a battle. It was a different area to where they had previously been, or been before that, and before that, and before that …
But they knew nothing of this. They simply found an almanac and felt ashamed. Confusion, knew the aliens, made excellent mercenaries.

CODE BLUE

The alert went off when the Angel of Death fluttered across a Blue Moon.
Its vapid presence terrified us. No! It would not happen again! Visors fastened, assault rifles ready, we sprinted to the solar battlecars, knowing what had to be done.
As soon as we entered the Zone we saw the effects of the Black Death. It almost choked the air. Of course the Corporates tried their usual skirmishing tactics but we penetrated deep, and there, before us, we found it – and a full defensive system to stop us.
The battle raged for hours, the Corporates rushing us in their fanatical need to pollute. Some said we had been caught in an unconscious hatred of ourselves. It seemed the only way to explain it – why we lived with the Black Death all those decades.
But we turned back from the brink – began to fight, driving them to their own little corner of the globe. But now they’ve started again – this has got to be the end …
Well, the battle was won, the white foam covered the power station and I held a lump of Black Death in my hand, sickened by how it so nearly destroyed us in its liquid, solid and gaseous forms. But now we’d learnt and we left it in the ground – and the haze left the moon to shine.

WEIRD WIRED

It came to pass that Planet Earth passed into a new epoch.We can argue who was to blame – a philosopher, a conqueror …
… An insect …
But first it was the weather – the greyness of the atmosphere; it’s momentary anger becoming more frequent.
And science found …
… Matter in the sky.
Government kept it secret, of course – put it down to strange objects in the sky – the stuff of gods.
But what ‘stuff’? Insect swarms – strange metallic insects.
Where they came, no one knew – at first. But as with all monsters, it began in the mind. In the mind of (man?)
Mankind ….
We always connect, through gods, spirit world, telepathy … Cyberspace
… And the planet obliges – brings happiness, if we desire – or horror. And horror brings planetary psychosis.
And evolution.
Evolution that allows species to merge, jump to another form, like fish to reptile … Megabytes to biology …
It was in man’s mind and so in his digital echo – and finally psychosis in the planet.
And their natural umbilical cord to nature? Better not say. This isn’t a horror story.
It’s a story of the past? Future? Or – going viral – it’ s beginning.

ANN LEE – AN ADAPTATION

She lies in the road, injured, pained. Beautiful.
I’m an EAP 700 series complete with advanced learning program. Sitting, I realize I must learn from this girl – how she approaches death; how I perceive she feels – how I feel.
I study literature so this experience is new to me …
Her death takes many units, and as she dies I realize she is more than words.
Am I more than circuits?
A line from Poe comes to consciousness:
‘we loved with a love that was more than love.’
This makes me feel … unusual. Can I? Can I … love? …
More data required. Search. Find. Inflict wound. Fatal. Slow. Sit. Watch … Death … … …

SHAPES
A ScarySciFi MicroNovel
by
Ulrika Feyn
***

Ch 1. Sue had called me to the lab. Nano tech; atom sized robots. The Boffins had done it! But when they showed intelligence & disappeared …

Ch 2. ‘They began making shapes,’ said Sue, ‘of their own choosing.’ It was hard for her to go back so soon after her husband died.

Ch 3. But she shaped up. It was strange to see the lab, shapely, modern, isolated, & so close to the the graveyard. A strange justaposition.

Ch 4. Earlier, in the village pub, the old locals had told about strange shapes they’d seen. They had their own pentangle shapes to ward them off.

Ch 5. We were outside, looking at the graveyard. We saw a skeleton hand punch up from the ground. ‘O’ell, they’re out agin,’ said a local. He ran.

Ch 6. So did we; back to the lab. Taking an existing shape had increased their power; & when they came thru a keyhole, their dead eyes chilled.

Ch 7. Soon there were dozens of them. The Boffins tried to cut their power but as they were touched, their own eyes glazed over & were lost.

Ch 8. We ran thru the wood the Nanos on our tail. Ahead of us we saw torches making their own shapes & we bumped into the locals, chanting.

Ch 9. Sue had gone. I searched; found her. Shocked, I saw her dead husband approaching, about to touch. Yet she smiled, touched his face …

Ch 10. It was a scene from a Gothic novel. Torches flared, lighting up the woods. Chants abounded; pentangle shapes flew & the Nanos fled.

Ch 11. Denouement came by the lab. Surviving Boffins came out, machinery whirring; locals closed in – & Sue walked hand in hand with her ghost.

Ch 12. Finally, in a flash, the Nanos were gone. A calm descended. But who won? Science? Superstition? Love? I cuddled Sue as she cried.

Ch 13. So that’s my tale. But is it over? The Nanos were never found. Some say they integrated into the Net, waiting. Check your laptop … NOW!!

*******

BLUE RAIN

It was the first Earth-like planet they had found. At least, how Earth had once been.
Nature proliferated here. It was a jewel, and the crew were ecstatic. They had really found paradise. Yet, as one crewman found out, paradise held dangers.
The branch just fell from nowhere. He was rushed to sickbay, leaving a pool of blood on the ground. Later, clouds gathered, and when the rain came it was fierce. But when it turned blue, they began to fear the rain. And as it became acidic and burnt their skin, they raced back to the ship.
It took just an hour to realise the rain was only over them – and it was burning through their hull. They took off after that, never to return, and on the planet the ants removed all trace of the blood.

TEACHER, TEACHER

Billy, teacher wants you …
Billy stiffened. Every time he’d gone to teacher, it had been …
What?
That was the problem. All he could remember was fear.
Well , it’s time we found out. ‘Cos it’s happening a lot.
Billy enters teacher’s room. Teacher stands, an unearthly sneer on his face.
Billy immediately looks like an automaton – which is strange …
He used to be such an active, highly intelligent boy.
The thing is, teacher is about to mess with his brain – again!
Teacher approaches, pulls back Billy’s scalp, takes the wire out of his ear and connects.
Their eyes flash in unison – an inevitability since the aliens learnt how to turn electronics into fatty, biological matter ….
And within seconds Billy was a little more docile, his intelligence declining in kind.
Of course, it happens all over the world – has done for over 30 years.
An alien invasion?
No. Already happened.
Dumbing down, they call it.

PLANET SIMPLE

They were ready to cook, and chef had prepared the creature, ready to put it on the spit.
They’d been on the planet for nearly a month now and reached the phase where they were to try living on what was available – after all, if it was to be colonized, this is how it would be.
Of course, it took some getting used to. There was ice even in the heat of summer – not water-based, I must add – and they had to be careful of falling icicles.
The one disappointment was the lack of sentient life – after all, initial surveys from space had been hopeful, with signs of construction, but it was obvious they’d been wrong.
It had been argued that maybe the primary species was so advanced that mere humans would not understand their degree of sentience. And as the creature was speared by the spit, it could only agree.

THE LOOP

If we remember the pain can we avoid it?
I ask because I’m stuck in a time loop. I never realized at first – well, I say ‘first’, but for all I know I could have been here for eternity.
I passed the fruit seller and old soldier and thought nothing of it, but when a glimpse of recognition came I wondered just what was going on.
Had I seen them before?
And from the sadness on their faces I thought I must have. Looking down and seeing my footprints only added to my feeling. After all, how could I leave footprints before I’d walked there?
The familiarity with the old soldier and fruit seller increased the more I passed; and that’s when I began to notice my future footprints were becoming more laboured, as if there was something to dread ahead of me.
And soon, of course, I began to remember the pain I was about to suffer. But can I break a time loop?
I think I can. I don’t think I’ll be passing by here many more times before I shoot myself dead.

SECRETS
A Sci Fi MicroNovel
by
Ulrika Feyn
***

Ch 1. How do we communicate with you? How do we pass on the message of your destruction – of the secret? You don’t understand. But you must!!!

Ch 2. Earth burned long ago. We were the last to leave. Galactic explorers in search of secrets. Forced into this ‘cos we ignored Earth.

Ch 3. Are we still human? We found a secret. Were curious. An anomaly. We ventured into its gravitational flux. It was crushing. Literally.

Ch 4. Oh, Earth!! The argument; natural cycle or man-made? Yet a car, balanced on the edge of a cliff, can be tilted over by a human finger.

Ch 5. I hope we’re human. This secret place squashed us small, our eyes bulging, complexion ashen. Was it the Cosmos jailing us for our ways?

Ch 6. We kept our anxieties secret. We’d upset the others. But our minds roamed – saw the secrets of our stupidity, our history, our error.

Ch 7. It’s hard to say when we transcended. Mind & wormhole seemed the same, showing secrets of the universe, & with a thought we saw Earth.

Ch 8. It still lived in our past. Our souls thundered in the clouds; lit up the sky. We know you saw but didn’t understand. We MUST talk to you!

Ch 9. Secrets. Damn them! Your Govt knows we exist, but cover-up – fear of the unknown. we’re ‘fun’. Little GREEN men. What you should be. Irony!

Ch 10. We stamp in the corn; hover above you, pleading! Listen to our secret! Yet black-clad Govt men confuse. You research. Miss the point.

Ch 11. Impregnation! Was that the key? Put our soul into past humanity so the secret will out in you. Yet the spark causes Channelled gibberish.

Ch 12. If only we could escape our jail physically & not just in spirit. What use transcendence if we can’t pass our secret? Religion bound.

Ch 13. Please listen to the secret. You strive ‘cos you fear yourselves. And then destroy. WE are the gods of your future. If you have one.

*******

ANNA LOG

Her name said it all. Stuck in the past.
It was, of course, inevitable – Anna Log had only recently escaped from the cult, having lived all her life to date there.
So for Anna Log, no computers, no television, no fun, no frivolity, and definitely no social media.
As culture shocks go, her life following escape was more traumatic than the escape itself.
Good grief! She couldn’t even speak lolish.
Rehabilitation was slow, but after many mega-hours, she was allowed out.
Her first port of call was a cyber cafe.
She’d already noticed things about the social group known as individuals – that they seemed to wear uniform dress.
This changed from time to time dependent upon which star they followed at a particular time.
Anna Log couldn’t get it out if her head that she had simply swapped one cult for another.
All she needed to know now was the means of this indoctrination – and she didn’t need to enter the cafe to see it in action.
But she did. She logged on.
Her eyes glazed ….
Many giga-days later she had her first conversation with a human – human in flesh, at least:
What about community? she asked.
Virtually here.
What about family?
Choose my own.
What about country?
Hate it.
What about faith?
What’s that?
What about anything?
About me – an individual.
Anna looked at him – at the others – and they all looked exactly the same.
She had slept and woken in a dystopian nightmare – a nightmare where everyone thought they were free.
Whereas the reality was they’d simply diverted themselves from anyone who could tell them they were not.
A voice said log out – LOG OUT!!!!
She couldn’t.
Anna Log had been updated – and took her place, as one with the individuals.

STAR CHILD

It was a star system like no other, and when the tiny ships began to attack them in their hundreds, the crew realized conventional tactics would be no good here.
The Captain ordered a conference. All possibilities were discussed, but nothing seemed to work.
It was when life support was down to 15% that the ship’s doctor made a passing comment:
‘It’s the way they’re attacking, as if the ships are anti-viral mechanisms of a lifeform.’
The Captain was taken aback by this, but when once the idea was in place, he began to look upon the system anew – the Sun as conscious centre, the planets and asteroids as parts of the body, the natural transport routes working with gravitational pull as the veins and nerves, and the population of the planets as neurons, making the star system’s thoughts a reality.
Of course, this provided the weapon to allow escape – pulsed shocks to the centre of their sun to create confusion – but the Captain realized that maybe life is not a rare resource of a cold universe, but star children holding hands across the Cosmos.

BEANS ARE TOAST

What has the greatest criminologist of all time got to do with beans on toast, you may ask?
Well, the story can now be told.
It was her grandad who told her. He said:
– For years I’d eat those beans and always one ended up on my shirt.
Well, I got to thinking, what if I looked before eating and snatched that offending bean off the plate.
It worked! I never dropped a bean on my shirt again –
And she thought: can we apply that to crime and society?
It took a long time to convince the world government that it would work, but once the balance was right in the world parliament, the plan was put into action.
At birth.
Of course, it was a 50 50 decision, it has to be said, but using good old instinct, it worked.
Soon, crime began to drop; and as the years passed, it eventually disappeared.
And the entire planet was free of crime. All over the world there was peace, to exist … to cry.
And now, as a youngster of 95, I must tell you fellow ladies that maybe she wasn’t the greatest criminologist of all time.
Not that there’s any time left.

FUTURES

Danvers worked his way up the secretive Time Corporation quite quickly.
It was a career full of hassle, but he was determined to inject his own ideas into the process. His family thought it a strange move as he dreamt of wealth, yet his research position provided little. But even they didn’t know that his work, alone, at night, had a hidden agenda.
He’d go back to the early 21st century, check the stock exchange, then go back a week earlier and play the future’s market. Transferring the amount to gold, he’d then return to his present time and deposit it, his wealth increasing in kind. Yet it was inevitable he’d get greedy.
Of course, the markets blamed sub prime mortgages.
After all, how could they explain how so much credit seemed to disappear overnight?
As for Danvers, his greed got to him in another way. The initial idea for time travel had just begun to form. Unfortunately, the economic climate made it impossible for any company to take the project on, and the idea was lost – leaving Danvers to never be born.

THE RELIGIONIST

Religion had been banned long ago – the Atheist Constitution had seen to that. And with the Tick Tock Administration, even the thought of deviance from the factual had been buried.
Indeed, the Tick Tock Men produced a most reliable society, with everything in its place, and never a stray thought. So it was with amazement that they viewed the sudden appearance of the Religionist.
He was a most scruffy, long haired man with mania in his eyes. People quickly gathered around him to hear what he said, many ending up LATE!
The Tick Tock Men tried everything to prize them from him, but after a while they began to notice the device he carried with him.
Finally taking it from him, they decided it was some kind of hypnosis machine, but when they opened it, they found it to be empty – which left only one shocking conclusion.
Religion was still in their hearts.