Science Fiction Microstory Contest discussion

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Congrats to our third time Champion of the Science Fiction Microstory Contest, Justin Sewall

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message 1: by Jot (new)

Jot Russell | 1278 comments Mod
Deceit. Defeat. Repeat.
Justin Sewall © 2018

Fenix Talbot yawned as he surveyed the dig site. Ever since the discovery of the first post atomic complex, he had been running on very little sleep – and that was seven days ago. He dispensed another stim from his left gauntlet and noticed he had a call waiting.

“What is it Poleyn? Can’t you see I’m busy?”

“Yes, so I’ve heard old boy. Relics and reliquaries is it?”

“Not exactly. It looks like some kind of command and control facility from the old OTAN-ic period. We’re just about to breach the outer blast doors.” Talbot’s minuscule reservoir of patience rapidly evaporated. Besides, it was starting to mist heavily and he wanted to get out of the offending wet.

“Well, that’s why I’m calling my good chap. It seems the top brass wants to be there when you open it – they should be arriving shortly.”

“Whatever for Poleyn? Don’t forget, this is my dig and I run it my way. You can tell the high and mighty brass to cram it up their,”

“Don’t get your bevor in a bunch. They just want to peek over your shoulder. Professional curiosity about a past military empire.”

“Horse manure. They’re looking to see if they can glean any scraps that might help them out of their current mess.”

“Our empire’s mess.” Poleyn corrected.

“Not my problem.” Talbot countered.

The whirring hiss of lift fans announced the arrival Poleyn foretold.

Talbot hung up in disgust and tried to put on his most polite face. He only partially succeeded.

***
Breaching the outer doors took more explosives than Talbot expected, but in the end they were finally wrested from the bunker’s rusted grip. Leading his team in, he picked his way carefully through jagged debris. The top brass hung back, whether out of deference or fear Talbot did not know – and he did not care as long as they stayed out of his way.

“Sir,” an orderly piped up.

“What is it?”

“There is a very strong data stream emanating from straight ahead. I can’t decipher it, but whatever it is, it’s a massive amount of information.”

“Capture whatever you can,” Talbot ordered. “We’ll put the crypto team on it as soon as we get back.”

Amazingly the ancient corridors were relatively free of debris. Only a few overturned desks and rotting chairs feebly attempted to block their entry. Talbot’s torch played along the walls, revealing ancient script in neat lettering covered by layers of dust and cobwebs. It was only after the corridor made a slight bend did any signs of life materialize.

Bodies neatly lined the sides of the passageway, looking as if in sweet repose despite their skeletal state. Talbot noted they all had one thing in common. Covering their eyes was some kind of device, and a few appeared to still be operating.

“This is very odd,” mused Talbot.

“Fan out and record everything. Touch nothing! Understood?” His team all nodded.

Talbot continued forward until the corridor opened up into what must have been the heart of the facility. Rows of ancient technology lined the walls and sat on metal tables. Amongst all of it were more skeletons and more devices.

“There does not appear to be any violence done here,” recorded Talbot.

He swept the vidcam in his right gauntlet around the room. Many skeletons were alone, but just as many seemed to be holding hands with others. A few couples even appeared to be in a state of copulation. Kneeling before one, Talbot gently lifted a device with a flickering green light and tentatively put it on his face.

***
“Very good gentlemen. Thank you. You’re dismissed.” The two adjutants saluted, executed crisp about faces, and closed the office door on their way out. The corpulent Supreme Military Commander of all Imperial Forces placed the microfilm flimsy in his desk safe and examined the ancient hardware left on his desk. From what Talbot’s report indicated, the ancient OTAN-ic facility was still broadcasting a signal this device could receive – and there were storerooms full of them, ripe for plundering.

He pushed the power button. A flickering green light indicated it was working. Settling back in his chair, he carefully placed the device on his face. At first he saw only darkness. But after the nanofilaments had surreptitiously injected and imbedded themselves in the sides of his head, a tantalizing new world opened before him. Sensory overload nearly paralyzed the commander, who could barely gasp into his desk intercom: “Hold…all…my…calls…”


message 2: by Jot (new)

Jot Russell | 1278 comments Mod
Chris Nance:
Congratulations Justin! :)


Justin Sewall:
Two months in a row?! I'm going to go buy a Mega-Millions ticket!!

Thank you all!!


Tom Olbert:
Well done, Justin.



C. Lloyd Preville:
Yes, a nice story effort this month Mr. J

-C


Paula Friedman:
Nice work, Tom and Justin both!


Tom Olbert:
Thank you, Paula. 'Hope you'll decide to join us next month with one of your fine stories.


message 3: by Kalifer (last edited Jul 01, 2018 03:55PM) (new)

Kalifer Deil | 353 comments Congrats Justin. Liked the theme, VR to the nth power. My granddaughters are already hooked on their iPhones so I see the problem already and this revolution is well on it way. It actually started with Nintendo's GameBoy introduced here in 1989. I was working for a company that had an IT guy hooked on his Gameboy. He was fired because of it. In another ten year VR will be so addictive it may sink the developed World. Elon Musk. listen up! Don't let this technology be exported to Mars.


message 4: by Justin (new)

Justin Sewall | 1046 comments Thank you Tom, C, Paula and Kalifer! I really appreciate it! Now I've got to come up with something before I take off on the family summer road trip this week... I have six kids so logistically it's like planning a trip to the moon. Anyway! Thank you everyone!


message 5: by Justin (new)

Justin Sewall | 1046 comments July theme and required elements are up! Since I'm hitting the road on 7/5 and not back until 7/12, I look forward to seeing how everyone utilizes the theme and required elements.

I hope everyone has a fun and safe Independence Day!

Best to all,

Justin


message 6: by Tom (new)

Tom Olbert | 1100 comments Justin wrote: "July theme and required elements are up! Since I'm hitting the road on 7/5 and not back until 7/12, I look forward to seeing how everyone utilizes the theme and required elements.

I hope everyone ..."


You as well, Justin. Enjoy your trip.


message 7: by Justin (new)

Justin Sewall | 1046 comments Thanks Tom! I’m traveling with my 6 kids, so the logistics are about on par with the Apollo missions. Full van, full roof pod, full sedatives ( for me!) Lol!


message 8: by Paula (new)

Paula | 955 comments Wishing you a very good trip, Justin.


message 9: by C. (new)

C. Lloyd Preville (clpreville) | 736 comments Nice back-to-back win, J.
Don't forget the sun screen! With that many kids, just use a gallon can and a house-painting brush. It's way faster. : )
-C


message 10: by Tom (new)

Tom Olbert | 1100 comments One small step for dad...


message 11: by Justin (new)

Justin Sewall | 1046 comments C. wrote: "Nice back-to-back win, J.
Don't forget the sun screen! With that many kids, just use a gallon can and a house-painting brush. It's way faster. : )
-C"


LOL! I was just going to let the mosquitos take them away... :)


message 12: by Justin (new)

Justin Sewall | 1046 comments Tom wrote: "One small step for dad..."

Whew! Several hundreds of miles...so far...relative sanity...ack!


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