The Continuing Saga of Zip Harrington, Asteroid Ornament

After padding along a near-silent and empty hall for what seemed a lifetime, Zip finally came upon an opening in the featureless wall. He peered in and pulled his head back out quickly so it couldn’t be used for some sort of alien target practice. When no shots came, he peered in again.

A table was set, and behind it sat an old man, who looked back at Zip with a steady gaze.

“I’ve been waiting for you.”

Zip looked carefully at the rest of the room to ensure there were no others waiting with weapons.

“You have my word, you will not be harmed.”

Zip took a cautious step in and was surprised to find the floor warm. He looked at the floor quickly and then back up at the old man. “What kind of game is this?”

“No games. We simply do not see the point in warming spaces that we do not linger in.”

Zip, space mercenary, afraid of no one, took a hesitant step inside the room.

“Come and eat, you must be hungry,” the old man gestured to the tabletop.

Zip studied his companion before sitting down. There was no way to guess at his age, his skin looked more like aged leather than flesh. His skull was longer than any human Zip had ever met, but he had eyes the shade of blue many women back on Earth would have killed for. He wore robes swirled with many colours, shot through with silver threads reminiscent of nebulas.

“I have given you my word that you will not be harmed,” the stranger gestured to the seat across from him. “That includes the food. You will find it surpasses anything you had back on Earth.”

“Yeah, you’ve given me your word, alright, but I don’t know who you are, so I don’t know that your word means much, do I?” Zip said while approaching the table.

 

“I am called D’Rar, of the Merudue. This is my ship and my crew. My word means a great deal among my people,” D’Rar lifted the cover off one of the dishes in front of him and the smell of meatloaf wafted up to make Zip’s stomach growl again.

“Humans bodies make strange noises when they have not taken sustenance for some time,” D’Rar observed. “Perhaps you should silence it before it turns on you.”

Zip chuckled, in spite of himself.

D’Rar took all the covers off the dishes spread out on the table, revealing all of Zip’s favorites from home. “We have gone to great lengths to ensure you would enjoy these. Please do not waste those efforts.”

“Fine…” Zip sat across from his host, picked up a scoop-shaped instrument and took a tentative taste of the dish in front of him. It was indeed meatloaf, and it was wonderful.

Zip dug into the dish with no further hesitation, speaking before he’d swallowed. “This is great, but why go through all this, just for me? I was almost dead.”

“We have saved you so that you might do a small favor for us.”

“Yeah? What’s that?” Zip asked as he eyed something that looked like creamed corn.

 

“We wish to hire you to remove the K’erini.”

“Who’s that, another captain that opposed you or something?” Zip asked as he took a bite of sweet watermelon.

“The K’erini have been my people’s enemies for generations. They steal our young, destroy our outposts, murder us in our sleep if they can find us…we wish them…eliminated.”

“Wait,” Zip held up a hand and swallowed his mouthful of food. “You want me to kill an enemy race that is capable of destroying whole outposts?”

“That is correct.” D’Rar replied with a beatific smile.

To be continued!

Comments are always welcome!

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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

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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

The Caphenon

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I’ve been thinking about this book for days, trying to pick out a favorite character, or favorite part of the story. I can’t. There are just so many great elements, themes and snippets of dialogue.

I admire the way the characters are presented, and developed. Early on, even before we see the Caphenon, the characters become people, seemingly REAL people. We are presented with a plausible world that we can nearly touch, such are the world building skills of the author. We are drawn into this world so vividly that we feel the windows explode, we feel the ground shake when the ground-pounder walks by and we mourn at the Flight of The Return ceremony.
It was a sad twist that the two people most suited for each other could not be together, but I hope we see more of them in future books. I was impressed by the explanation of FTL flight, because it was so easily understood! The science was so deftly woven and explained that it becomes a reasonable, vital tool that supports the main stars of this book, the characters.

The quality of the e-book needs mentioning here too. I read a great deal, fiction and non-fiction, across a wide range of topics and from a wide range of publishers. I did not find one error in this e-book. Not one. I could go on for hours about how much I appreciate the care and eye for detail that has gone into this e-book, this story, and how readable it is. I could, but I won’t.

Simply, I have fallen in love with Alsea. If Lhyn and Ekatya go back, can they take me too?

If you haven’t read this book yet, you need to. If you have read it, please let me know in the comments what you thought. Surely I cannot be the only one who thinks Fletcher DeLancey is a brilliant genius!

One Billion Down…

 

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It’s a shame we don’t hear more about the quest to understand the universe around us.

For instance, did you know there was a satellite cruising around the sun, mapping the stars?

The European Space Agency  launched a spacecraft back in 2013 to do just that.

Using  a billion-pixel camera and two telescopes, Gaia has produced a one-of-a-kind space cartography wonder…the map of the heavens that reveals the placement of a billion stars.*

Think about that for a moment…

A billion stars.

It’s crazy to think that out of that many bodies out there in space, we’re the only inhabited rock.

What do you think, are we alone in the universe, or is the day coming that visitors from elsewhere in space come knocking at our door?

*You can find the full article here

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What If The Matrix Was Right?

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Recently, a bbc.com article reported a theory that our universe, and everything in it, could be part of a grand simulation. More than a few brilliant minds seem to agree that it’s completely possible.

This brought to mind the episode of The Simpsons where Lisa experiments with a tooth in cola for a school science project. After being shocked by Bart, Lisa touches the tooth and the spark creates life forms that eventually hail Lisa as a god.

But there’s a big stretch between Lisa Simpson’s science experiment and our own universe, isn’t there?

Apparently not as much as we might think.

Some cosmologists claim our universe is too well designed to be mere chance, that the smallest alterations in the constants of nature would be enough to prevent life in our universe. Alan Guth, of M.I.T has suggested we might be an experiment of a super intelligent life form, similar to a colony of microorganisms bred in a lab. He says there’s nothing to rule out a manufactured universe in an artificially created ‘Big Bang’. So we’d still be real, created by something else.

Not too far from the creation theory/myth.

But Elon Musk, and others, have suggested that we may all be simulated beings and all of our experiences, right down to your morning coffee, are strings of information in a gigantic computer somewhere. It’s really not too hard to believe. We already run all sorts of simulations, from traffic accidents, to emergency management, weather patterns, flock and herd migrations to simulations that tell us how planets might form and human societies that make choices based on rules. So if we can simulate all of those…why could we not be simulations ourselves? Who’s to say some other race older than ourselves hasn’t reached this point long ago, and humanity is their experiment?

Others attest that our universe is one of many, all lying side by side. Some believe that these universes don’t lie in an orderly fashion, but lie in a tangled heap with universes and realms crossing over into each other like a messy ball of twine in your junk drawer.

Whether we are an experiment or only one of many worlds, it’s awfully arrogant to think we are the only ones out here.

We can’t be alone. We cannot be the only race of intelligent beings all alone in a vast, non-random Universe. There’s just too much evidence against it.

 

What do you think? Let me know in the comments section, and if you enjoyed what you read, hit the follow button!