Zip Harrington, Asteroid Ornament

Zip knew his oxygen wouldn’t last forever, so when he felt himself growing lightheaded, he figured his nefarious career had come to an end. He couldn’t even sigh in resignation. He felt logic and conscious thought slipping away, like that old Earth desert jello used to slip through his fingers as a child.

His view of space grew blurry, even as the damned asteroid continued to plummet through the stars and space dust. He coughed once, a desperate and involuntary plea from his lungs for more oxygen. When none came, his eyelids simply slid closed.

As Zip’s eyes closed, the space rock that was his killer, slowed and finally stopped. A long arm tipped with a pincher separated itself from the surface, inched toward Zip, and pulled him off like a bird trapped on the grill of a tractor trailer.
Had he been conscious, he would have found the similarity hilarious.

The long arm pulled him back toward the bulk of rock, where an airlock opened. The pincher dropped him in, the airlock closed and the arm receded.
Then the rock that wasn’t, promptly changed course.

Taking Zip Harrington, Space Mercenary, with it.

To be continued!

Zip Harrington, Space Mercenary

Just a little bit of short fiction, inspired by a word prompt over at The Daily Post. Enjoy!

 

The asteroid wasn’t large, but it was on a deadly trajectory. Headed straight for him and there was bugger all he could do about it. There was nothing to push off from, nothing to give him the thrust he needed to get out of the asteroid’s way.

He waited to see his life flash before his eyes like everyone said would likely happen.

It didn’t.

Nothing changed.

Space continued to move around him. The asteroid carried on its merry way, seemingly determined to take him out.

Zip Harrington was a little disappointed.

He could hear his father now – accusing him of not even being capable of dying correctly.

Zip could only watch as the asteroid got a little larger with each second that passed.

Just before impact, he screwed his eyes shut, an involuntary reaction. He felt the asteroid body-slam him and his eyes flew open in time to watch his hoses and safety tether snap off the outside of his ship.

The ship he’d been repairing.

Alone.

 

No one knew he was out here, no one to care that his ship had been crippled by a cascade wave of malfunctions. No one knew he would have died in a matter of weeks.

And now he would die in hours, a bug pinned by momentum to the leading surface of an asteroid no bigger than a Volkswagen, hurtling through space.

With a screaming space pirate unable to pry himself off, with nowhere to go.

And nothing to do but watch space speed by his visor.

And wonder what came next.

Zip
 

If you enjoyed this bit of short fiction, please feel free to leave a comment!

Feeding Martians & Earthlings Alike

mars

So it turns out that The Martian might have been onto something all along. Yes, the movie with Matt Damon.

Scientists have now proven that not only can potatoes be grown on Mars, which could be of enormous value when we colonize the red planet. Not only will our first generation of Martians benefit from this research, but so might the hundreds of thousands of Earthinglings suffering from chronic malnutrition and starvation.

No, it won’t solve all our food-related woes, but it’s a step.

Read the article here on Futurism

Universe, Star System or Galaxy?

universe1

 

In my ‘Infinite Worlds’ series, (which starts with ‘If It’s Easy’) a previously unknown planet is discovered in an alternate universe. The scientists who discover this world call it Terra Geminus. Without giving too much away, the initial expedition finds the planet is not only colonized but already named New Olympus! Confusing? Not really. It’s common for one group of people to call a landmark one thing, and another group refer to that same landmark by a completely different name.

I knew sooner or later, I’d have to decide where in the skies my imagined planet of Terra Geminus resided. I already knew the planet would not be in our skies…but where? Did I focus on its immediate galaxy? Was it in a solar system?

Before I drove myself even further nutty, I knew it was time to buckle down and learn the differences before I made a mistake there was no coming back from. So, here’s what I learned.

A star system is a large number of stars and accompanying bodies with a perceptible structure. (Sounds a lot like a galaxy to me)

Our solar system is a collection of eight planets and their moons, comets, asteroids, gases and star dust in orbit around the sun.

A galaxy is a system of millions of stars, gas and dust, all held together by gravitational forces.

A universe is all existing matter and space as a whole containing vast, uncountable numbers of galaxies.

So then my question changed. Did I want to focus on only the planet or the larger galaxy it belonged to?

My overall plan is to tell the stories of other characters on other worlds, all of whom will be in the same galaxy, and will all have some degree of interconnectedness.

(Think of knots in a web. Connected, but still on different points within the web)

I knew then, that I had to name the galaxy as well.

Just as Earth is but one body in our Milky Way galaxy, so too will Terra Geminus/New Olympus be just one planet of many in the Claudisius galaxy. There are other worlds, stars, comets and gas balls in the Claudisius galaxy of course. There are scientists, dreamers, cartographers, xenobiologists and explorers as well, all roaming about and having adventures.

If it’s Easy’ introduces us to two of those explorers, and ‘Infinite Worlds’ shares more of their story with us, and allows us to go with them on the adventure of a lifetime as they race to save an expedition to Terra Geminus. Like our own lives, small grains on a large planet, in a larger galaxy in a vast universe.

After all, we can’t possibly be the only life among the stars.

Free Fiction! ‘I Want’

I Want

She’d been gone for hours.
Five hours and eighteen minutes.

I’d tried her cell repeatedly without luck. If I hadn’t been the only adult in the house I would’ve gone looking for her. But I was responsible for three sleeping children and couldn’t leave. I hovered by the window, vigilant for a flash of headlights or the crunch of gravel under tires.

I spent the night pacing, wondering what I would tell our kids when the sun woke them. My heart knew something was wrong. I cleaned myself up, and called a friend. She took the day off work and arrived before the kids woke. We worked out an explanation for them, and I went off in search of my wife. I directed the cab driver to the store Sherry had gone to, and watched familiar streets pass by the window. I never suspected for a second that she had left me. We’d been together four years, and I knew she was happy. She would come home from work and cuddle with our children before puttering around the house. We would have impromptu picnics on the living room floor and make love in front of the fireplace after the kids were asleep. We disagreed over some things, as did any couple. But our disagreements never got in the way of our relationship.

I spotted the van in a parking lot, pointed it out to the driver and asked him to pull alongside. I checked the exterior of the vehicle carefully. Nothing looked unusual. I paid the driver and he left. The inside looked exactly as it had the last time I’d seen it, with the addition of a takeout coffee cup. I had wanted to call the police the night before, but I knew they waited twenty-four hours to declare someone missing. I felt my impatience bubble like coffee on a campfire, and I pulled my cell from my pocket.

Some time later I found myself sitting on a curb smoking, while an officer questioned me.

Yes, I had tried her phone. Yes, she had been late before, but she always called. No, we were not in financial trouble. She had no enemies that I was aware of.

The questions went on and on.

I had no idea where she might have been. A young police officer had just handed me a cup of coffee when the radio at his hip squawked. I couldn’t make out the words because he turned away, but a minute later his partner came and sat on the curb beside me. She lit a cigarette of her own and sighed. I’ll never forget what she asked me while we sat and smoked.

“Have you considered the possibility that she may have met with an accident?”

I nodded, but I didn’t want to accept her implication. I wasn’t ready. When her partner turned around, he motioned to her. She went to confer with him.

I heard her say something about a hospital but the rest of it is a blur. I vaguely remember passing through silent hallways, seeing strange faces and hearing the officers whispering. I wasn’t sure what to expect. When I stepped into the room, I saw an indistinct shape under pale green sheets, but it was a shape unfamiliar to me. I stepped around the bed to get a glimpse of the face turned to the wall, and staggered to see the bruised features of my wife. My gaze traveled along the sheet, and I’m sure it was then that my brain went on strike. It took me a minute to comprehend what I was seeing. Or not seeing.

I expected to see my wife shape the sheet for approximately five feet; but after three, it was flat. I could hear my mental faculties screech to a halt.

Wait…where were her legs?

As if expecting an optical illusion, I reached out to touch the bed. It was flat and empty. I felt my knees buckle and someone caught me. I reached out to take Sherry’s hand. I wanted her to know I was there, and that I loved her. I couldn’t. One arm was gone and the other casted in plaster. I was unable to hold my wife’s hand, touch her hip or kiss her knuckles as I had when we courted.

I remember her doctor talking, but all I can recall clearly is the sorrow and pity on his face. I remember thinking he had given up hope.

I fell asleep in the chair beside her. I dreamed of the way her fingers felt against my skin, the way her legs felt wrapped around me and her hair laced through my fingers. I dreamed of the midnight swims we had shared, and the way she rose from the water with moonlight glistening on her skin.

The droning of an alarm interrupted my dreams. I woke up confused by doctors and nurses running to her bedside. One of them took me to the other side of the room and left me there. Alone.

They tried desperately to bring her back, but my wife was gone.

***

The officer I had sat with on the curb came to see me yesterday. She told me I’d be getting out of here today. She said that I’ve been declared safe to return to my family. So if you’ll remove this straight-jacket, I’ll go home now. I have to explain all this to the kids and find a way to get through the rest of my life without her.

Yes, I know how she came to be in the hospital. I hope the guy finds himself in with the general prison population. I want him to suffer as much as the kids and I will without her.

I want him to feel the same pain she did.

I want her to hold me again.

I want to rub her feet, hold her hand and laugh with her.

I want her back.

I want.

THE END