Larissa’s Stone

This was the Blog Battle Entry for April 2020 and the prompt was Brooch.

Larissa’s Stone

Larissa rested against the bulkhead of the access way, she was allowed this far but no further. She had no money and none of the captains would take her where she wanted. The bulkhead was cold against her skin, even through the thick coat she had, a cold wind blew in as yet another freighter departed. He hair was blown about in the distant wake, the gentle warmth of the engine exhaust felt good against her skin, the smell of the engine exhaust permeated her nostrils.

Weak, dirty and tired Larissa had traveled far from home. Alone and frightened the life she had grown up with these last twenty years was now gone, wiped out in a single act of aggression. She thought to herself that she was lucky to be alive. ‘Lucky’. lucky to have been able to live these last five days, no food, little water and getting here only by hiding in dirty maintenance hatches of supply transports to this one outpost to the stars that this planet had.

Her fingers found the one last gift from her father a Dritanium bracelet, a dull silver in colour, light and yet strong. It was to large for her wrist. He had given it to her a mere hour before she watched him disintegrated. Get to the Tal-Ver spaceport, he told her he would meet here there. She slid down the bulkhead to sit on the floor, a tear ran down her cheek – she couldn’t see what hope she had left. Her only oath in her short life now was to lay where she was and starve.

Another ship’s exhaust washed over her from far off. This one smelled different. More metallic.

“The engine lining’s on that ship are worn, it won’t last long out there.” She whimpered. He father had been a spacecraft engineer all his life. He had taken her all over the space port and into the inner working of some ships ever since she could remember. The smell and light faded and as it did her memory was disturbed as a shadow fell over her.

“You’re Jake Dannick’s girl aren’t you?” Came an old and gentle voice.

Larissa looked around to see a man that was old, too old she thought to still be working the freighters, but he seemed somehow familiar and it wasn’t the wild white hair that he boasted.

“Yes.” She replied feebly. “Yes I am”

“I would recognise that that wrist band anywhere!” The old man exclaimed. “You look like you’re in a bad way, can I help? How’s your father? I’ve not seen him for years now, what’s he doing with himself?”

Larissa could no longer hold back her tears, flooding down her cheeks she sobbed as the old man helped her up. He searched his pockets and finding an old rag offered it up to wipe her tears.

“There, there, what’s all the tears about?”

Larissa looked at the man, but no words came.

“I have lived a long time.” The old man said grimly. “It’s at times like this that realise it may be been too long. When?”

“five days ago.” Larissa replied, siffling as she spoke.

“And you made your own way here, you are brave!”

“Dad told me to come here. He was going to meet me here, before…”

The man nodded. “It’s going to be alright, come with me.”

The old man led Larissa away to what was on old cargo carrier, it served now as a surprisingly clean and well run cafeteria. They both say in the far corner away from anyone. A few moments later a rather dilapidated droid clanked over and took their orders. Larissa went over who she was as she ate and drank. It had been so long she would rather have done without the talking. The old man was called Cannick and had been a close friend of Larissa’s father for some years. Cannick remembered Larissa from the days when her father would bring her with him.

Then the talk got a bit more serious. “So what had your father done to attract the attention of the Federates?”

” I don’t know, ever since he stopped working for the space port he hid away for his work and wouldn’t tell me what he was doing, it’s been about five years.”

“Hmmm. I do know a little, but I didn’t think…” Something caught Cannick’s eye suddenly. “What’s that?”

“What?” Larissa asked.

“That, on your left.” A matt black intricately decorated brooch was on Larissa’s top, Cannick pointed at it. Looking around cautiously.

“What this thing?” Larissa passed it to Cannick. He hid it from view carefully and looked at it in his closed hand.

“My God!” Cannick gasped.

“What is it?” Larissa asked quietly, picking up the hint to be discreet.

“Your father.” Cannick spoke in a low voice. “Thought that by using the same technology that drives our ships to bend space time that a large area of space could be stored and transported in a very small space. Such technology was thought to be impossible, I thought it was impossible until I saw your brooch.”

“Why’s that?” Larissa asked.

Cannick carefully held the brooch up for Larissa to see. In the dark centre stone turning slowly about its axis was a spiral galaxy.

“Two weeks ago, rumour started circulating that a galaxy had vanished without a trace. Of course, it has been dismissed mostly as ridiculous. But I think I know where it is!” Cannick said.

Larissa looked into the stone with awe, how was this possible and how and why would her father do this? ON the brooch a symbol was stamped into it, small but unmistakable.

“See this?” Larissa pointed “I’ve seen it before!” Larissa pulled up her sleeve and showed Cannick the wrist band.

“The same symbol.” Cannick said. “The federate symbol.”

“What do we do?” Larissa asked.

“I don’t know, but what I do know is you need to come with me and we need to get off this planet and find someone who does know.”

“Does such a person exist?”

Cannick got up and smiled down at Larissa “Of course, if you know where to look!”

© Simon Farnell 2020

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“Oh here’s another leak.” The young woman pointed, stopping and looking back.

“Dammit.” The deep voice of a man replied. “Have we got any buckets left?”

“Just the one.” The young woman replied, she help it up to the man. Both of them looked disheveled and tired. Their white pressure suits looking far from white with dirt and grime. Cassi knew the routine now, she would climb under the the cables, pipes and other stuff to reach the leak and then put the bucket under it. She would then record the location and go back to retrieve the water. Garret was to big to get down there and was better at lifting things out of the way.

Cassi crawled under, wincing at the pain in her hands, knees and back now. On top of that the cold was crippling. “There, got it in place.”

“Good, come back out.” Garret instructed.

Cassi crawled back out and Garret her her back up.




“You think that’s the last one?” Cassi asked.

“I doubt it very much. We’ve probably missed a load but we’ve done what we can. We need to seal the busted pipes to save what water we can.” Garret replied grimly. “Then we have to start the re-processing units up to make more water again.”

“We have enough to drink right?” Cassi asked.

“Drinking isn’t the problem, this whole ship runs on water. We split the atoms apart and use the hydrogen for fuel and the oxygen to breathe. If we don’t repair the pipes and start re-processing we’ll either end up stranded, freeze from the cold, suffocate or all three!”

Cassi didn’t have any words, she started crying even though she didn’t want her father the see her crying. That then made it worse and she cried more.

Garret pull his daughter to him and held her “Stop Cassi, it’s going to be ok.” Feeling quite the fraud for saying it, with only four people left there was a lot of work to be done before things got serious and he wasn’t sure it could be done.

“Where’s Nicks and Paula?” Cassi sniveled, not looking at her father.

“They’ve started repairs, we still need to identify all the leaks and save what water we can.” Garret regretted having to bring his daughter with him on missions, but what was he to do? The choices were limited in the colonies, you worked or starved. There couldn’t be any dead weight. Looking over Garret stared at a bulkhead door. “That’s the door that’s meant to have failed.”

“What was that?” Cassi asked.

Garret let Cassi go and walked over to the door, he examined it for a moment before pressing some of the door controls. “It looks like someone deliberately compromised the safety controls.”

“Why would someone do that?” Cassi asked.

“I have no idea.” Garret looked around the door. “When this door opened the air was released pulling out everyone into space and the water in the fuel pipes froze, expanded and busted the pipes. But why?”

A moment later and the ship rocked, Garrett steadied himself and looked over at Cassie, she was ok but shaken. “What was that?” He radioed through to Nicks and Paula.

A voice came back through the intercom. “One of the storage tanks blew, I don’t think we can save the ship now, I would say within the hour the water will get into the workings of the reactor regulators and this will be a giant fireball!”

“Ok.” Garret replied. “Get what things you need and get to the hangar quick!”

“Got it!”

Garret turned to Cassie and looked into her blue eyes. “We need to get off the ship, go to our quarters and get the things we need, you know them we’ve discussed this. Can you do that?”

Cassie nodded.

“Good girl, go and then get to the hanger, the one we just came from as quickly as you can and only do those things.”

Cassie ran for their quarters Garret followed then the path the the hangar split, shouting to Cassie to remind her to be quick he slid down the access ladder.

Garret was priming the shuttle for launch, it had already been twenty minutes and there was no sign of anyone. The ship was making some unhealthy groaning noises and Garret was worried, thinking over and over, they be here. Don’t worry.

A few minutes later all three of them appeared. He had to restrain his instinct to shout at them all for taking so long. Instead he smiled as he saw Cassie with far more than she should have brought. Blankets and bags of this and that, he noticed that she had brought some extra’s for him too.

Nicks looked at Garret “We found this one on the way and thought we better help.”

“Nice one, but we don’t have much time.”

“The shuttle won’t get us back you know that right?” Nicks pointed out.

“I know, but I’ve prepared the other shuttle, we can dock and share resources.”

“Nice idea.” Nicks agreed. “Who’s flying it?”

Garret stared at Nicks.

“Oh, no… err. I’m not qualified!”

“No, you’re not.” Garret agreed. “But I need you to fly it out, that’s it. I’ll do the rest. Paula will be with you. Can you do it?”

Nicks nodded, without any further delay they manned the shuttles.

“Anytime now.” Paula told them.

They looked out at the bright speck that was the ship. Moments passed and anticipation grew. Garret looked on but was distracted. Wondering why someone would over ride safety controls and kill so many like that. He remembered stories from Earth history about ships like Mary Celeste and the Great Eastern that were shrouded in mystery, this ship would be the same. The Poseidon a great ship, run by water and then then destroyed by it.

The glare was so intense it couldn’t be looked at directly and then as soon as it came, it was gone.

This was the Blog Battle Entry for January 2020 and the prompt was Bucket.

© Simon Farnell 2020

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The Clone Soldier

This is my entry for October’s Blog Battle – the theme or word for this month is Clone.


Consciousness returning to her. A flood a memories invading their thoughts as if for the first time. Time ebbed on and the light came and went, the room, the bed all familiar. The smell of the old wood walls as comforting as the warmth of the sun.

Rising from the bed she reached over for the watch placed on the bedside cabinet. Metallic and heavy in the hand it slipped onto their wrist easily. Glancing down at the time it was getting late, hunger was now taking over her thoughts. The thought of warm bread and chicken soup permeated and wouldn’t go away. Reaching over to the foot of the bed she pulled on a white tank top and black cargo trousers.

Lifting from the bed and onto her feet, legs wobbling slightly as if the sleep had been so deep that the legs had forgotten how to walk for a moment. Reaching out to the old brass door knob and turning it, pulling the door open to find the old wooden walls and wooden table that were so familiar. At the head already there was a steaming bowl of chicken soup and warm bread. A dish of butter waited with a knife placed neatly with a spoon next to it. No cloth or mats covered the table. A card was placed in the middle of the table, blank and white with no markings it was of no interest compared to the food.

Just moment later the small meal was all but devoured, the last remnants of warm bread had just gone. Suddenly she jumped off the chair and almost out of their skin, cursing as she leapt back.

“Who the hell are you?” She screamed. A man, thin and graying, with a serious look and round glasses was suddenly sat before them at the other end of the table.

“I hope you enjoyed that Alissa.” finally breaking silence in a matter of fact tone.

“That’s not what I asked!” Alissa growled back. “Who are you?”

“Please, sit down. I’m not going to hurt you. I’m Dr Dak Shouten.”

“What are you doing here and where did you come from?” Alissa growled back again, backed into the far corner of the room.

“Please, sit and I will explain.” Shouten asked calmly. Puling out a control tablet he pressed a button. The wooden walls slid slowly down into the floor . On one side there was the grey and dusty rocky surface of the Moon and on the other tens of people running about in clean suits and masks in what appeared to be a complex set up to create something. But Alissa couldn’t see or make out what it could be.

Looking back at Shouten he motioned for her to sit, slowly pulling out the chair, Alissa sat. Waiting for whatever was going to come next.

“I’ve been here the whole time, you couldn’t see me behind the holographic screen. I’m looking after you, you’re one of our best soldiers and you were recently wounded and nearly died. You’ve been undergoing genetic therapy and for nearly three months your body has been undergoing repair. You were coming back to consciousnesses only three days ago so we have put you somewhere familiar to wake up to. I hope you like it.”

Alissa looked up, not knowing how to take all this in she simply nodded nervously.

“I’m afraid though that we do have some business we need to get out of the way, it won’t take long.” Shouten glanced at the card.

“What is it?”

“The card has some information abut your last mission we need to retrieve.”

“So, retrieve it.”

“We can’t, it’s locked the contents to your Genputer. Only you can access it.”

“I see, so the ‘best solider bit’ was all rubbish! You just wanted this!” Alissa retorted aggressively.

“Look, you’re here and you shouldn’t be. It’s the least you can do.” Shouten insisted.

Alissa got up and picked up the card, placing it in her palm, the access circuits in her skin glowed from red to green. She had accessed the card.

“We need to know the access code for the enemy’s Teragenic computer.”

Alissa scrolled and browsed through the interface in her mind, as if it was there in the room all the files and folders she had collected from through her life were there. Training, missions, memories of friends, some gone from this world.

“Found it.”

Shouten sat forward, waiting intently “You should be able to send it through to my own Genputer.”

She accessed the file and instantly something happened. A flood of information memories and data. For a short moment she processed it.

“Here.” Alissa sent a file to the Genputer in Shouten’s brain.

“Excellent, let’s see what we have. This is a memory file of your last-” Shouten was pushed to the floor. Alissa slid her hand under the table and pulled out his hidden weapon.

“Don’t -” Alissa raised the weapon and shot. She pulled the access tag from his neck and the holo screen device from his pocket. Pressing a button Alissa vanished, a few seconds later the door flew open and three guards pushed in with their weapons raised. Shouting as they moved forward their weapons strafed the far wall.

Alissa slipped out of the door, unseen, unheard. Her method of escape clearly written by the genetic master that preceded her. Cloned from original that didn’t quite make it. The card contained all the information she needed, her enemy that she was now escaping from trying to steal her coded secrets with her own genetics.

“They’ll have to try harder than that!” Was Alissa’s parting thought as the gateway took her to her freedom.


Consciousness returning to her. A flood a memories invading their thoughts as if for the first time. Time ebbed on and the light came and went, the room, the bed all familiar. The smell of the old wood walls as comforting as the warmth of the sun.

© Simon Farnell 2020

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The Perseus Incident

This is my entry for September’s Blog Battle – the theme or word for this month is Shield.

Rogan looked over a panel, checking the readout he looked up the manual. Flicking though a few pages he finally stopped.

“Panel E7.” He looked around, found panel E7 and flicked several of the switches. He looked back at the readout.

“That I think seems to have done it!” He announced to himself. He stood on the spot thinking for a moment. The acrid smell of burned electrics was still in the air, the air processors were sorting it but they we’re no longer working well.

“I need to be careful or I’m going to end up talking to myself! God, Esme would laugh if she saw me now. Mr I don’t need anyone, well right now I would give anything to have them back!”

Rogan slumped down into one of the large command chairs. The control deck wasn’t usually spacious with five people in it, but now. Now there was more than enough room. Now there was just Rogan. His head slumped into his hands and for a moment he as silent, his head raised and his face was wet, wiping it dry with his sleeve.

“Esme, Garad, Jess and even that annoying idiot Anton. I would have them all back right now.”

Rogan waited, as if longing for once of them to suddenlt appear or even all of them as if they had played some cruel joke. But all there was, was the sound of the ship, the air processing, the whirring of machinery and the clicking of relays and controls. The ship was hurt, sounds of tortured metal and staringin bulkheads reverberated as if it was the cries of a huge wounded metallic animal.

A screen flashed red on the master console, Rogan’s face was illuminated by the glow. For some minutes he sat in silence. The alarm unnoticed until the audiable alarm started.

“Oh what now?” Rogan started, looking at what the screen was trying to tell him. “Oh crap, 20,000 millirems! Not good! Looks like the radiation shield has failed!” Looking around the control deck he found a manual and began looking through it frantically.
“Dammit!” He threw the manual into a corner. Sitting down for a moment to think Rogan went back to the manual. Finding what he wanted he flicked a switch and silenced the audiable alarm.

Following through his idea he reached a section titled seperation of command vessel. Even in manuals for spacecraft there was lot’s of useless knowledge, as if some kid of idiot or child was going to perform the operation. Being the onboard technician rather than the flight officer he knew he was no expert. But neither was he an idiot.

“Perseus – this is commander Catherine Lewis of the Hercules, we are responding to your distress call. Please respond if you are receiving this message.”

In shock Rogan dropped the manual – someone heard him out here? Scrabbling around he looked for a headset. Placing it over his head, sweat dripping down his face.

“H-Hello Hercules this is Perseus. I’m Jack Rogan the ship’s technician.”

“I understand and read you Jack Rogan” the cracked reply came. “Where is commander Garad?”

“He’s dead.” Rogan cried. “They’re all dead!” The ship’s structure groaned and creaked, Roagan knew that the ship was drifting out of control towards the suface of Titan below. “I’m trying to seperate the command ship from the rest of the vessel! Can you help me!”

“Undersooood Persu- Sttttand byyyy to” the radio went silent. Not sure if the radiation had shut it down, if he was out of range or just simply broken he had to somehow seperate the command ship. Looking back at the manual again there were all kinds of release this unbilical, unclamp that docking lever. It would take him hours to work it out and he knew one thing. He didn’t have hours, the radiation levels were so high and still increasing.

He was going to die.

“Hello Rogan.”

Rogan spun round. “Esme!” He cried. “Thanks God you’re here! I need to…”

“Shhh… I know Rogan. I know, just stay calm. I’m here now.” Esme took the seat next to Rogan, he fingers working the panels. The groaning from the ship was so loud now, the Persus might not make it anywhere near the surface – it would break up long before.

“Are you ok Esme?” What happened?

“You know what happened Rogan, you saw the mid section destroyed by the impact.”

“I know but….”

“Shhh…” Esme sat round and faced him. “Soon everything will be ok, trust me.” Esme wrapped her arms around him and held Rogan. Rogan unsure of what to do help Esme back, she then released Rogan, kissing him gently. Suddenly feeling very fuzzy Rogan flopped into the seat just as Esme released the command section, for amoment they were free and floating and then engines fired. Rogan felt the force on his body as the Perseus powered ahead, he looked round at Esme and she smiled back at him. Heavier than the G forces on his frame Rogan’s eyes shut.

Dazed and confused, a suited person pushed a mask on his face “Rogan! Rogan! Breathe Rogan! was all he could hear. Two others lifted him from the seat and dragged him. He trid to lift his weight but his legs gave out under him. Dragged through an airlock he was vaguely aware of people around him, the frantic activity as he was placed onto a bed.

“Esme, Esme…” He tried to cry as he pushed the mask away.

“Is there anyone else in there?” Lewis demanded.

“No one!” One of the men replied as he pulled his helmet off. “It’s just him!”

“Sedate him and treat him for radiation sickness!” Rogan struggled as much as he could, then fell flat as the drug took hold. Several peple pushed him away to be treated.

The suited man turned to commander Lewis “There’s no one else in there I swear!”

“I know, I know” Lewis calmly reassured him. “But someone brought that ship here to dock so perfectly and it wasn’t him.”

© Simon Farnell 2020

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Blue Siren

This is my entry for August’s Blog Battle – the theme or word for this month is Intercept.

Jenna knew she was pushing it, vibrations that normally could never be felt reverberated around the console, shaking through her body. The small Ranger’s engines were pushed to beyond their operating limits, the smell of hot metal filled her senses, invading her head. She hoped and payed that she would intercept it in time, but not as much as she hoped someone else could before her.

“Status report Blue Siren, how far are you from it?” A man’s voice called though into the earpiece.

“Ten minutes. I’m showing it’s still on the same course and trajectory. Do you concur?”

“Concur Blue Siren”

Red warning lights flashed up around the engine status displays, well they had been for sometime but the hot smell was getting worse and the lights somehow seemed to have more urgency about them. “I’m throttling back” Jenna announced back to control. She had this love / hate about the call sign Blue Siren. She was the only female pilot in Blue squadron, that’s why she was given the name. But it was like a constant reminder she had something more to live up to.

“Negative, maintain speed Blue Siren”

“I can’t intercept if my ranger blows apart and what am I supposed to do when I get to it? It’s moving faster than light, my pulse lasers won’t be able to touch it. All I can do at the moment is spit on it!”

“Dammit Jenna don’t go disobeying orders again! We can’t risk that thing hitting the Ceres mining station!” The man at control was nearly shouting.

“I’m not disobeying orders, you told me to intercept and disable the approaching missile. I’m still doing that and now I have more time to think about how I can do that. Is anyone else on their way?” Jenna replied stubbornly.

“Half of blue squadron have been dispatched from Mars but they’re playing catch up and won’t be there in time.”

“Well maybe if they didn’t avoid me there might be one of your blue eyed boys here. Then you wouldn’t have to rely on me!”

“That’s out of line Blue Siren, we’re all a team. You seem to think you have more to prove than the others. What are you going to do?”

“Well I can’t shoot at it, if I approach it head on it will avoid me. So…”

“So what?”

“Ah ah. Here we go.”

“What is it?” The frustration of the man was evident.

“I have captured a small boulder, I’m going to set it in the path of the missile. It doesn’t have any energy traces so it won’t be able to see it and will therefore hit it and become history.” Jenna sounded pleased with herself and she was confident it would work. The thing was big enough, way bigger than her Ranger.

The computer worked out where she needed to push it and how hard. Lining up the front nose ram of the Ranger she positioned her craft and set up the burn time into the computer.

“Ok, I’m ready!”

“Proceed Blue Siren. This had better work!” Jenna didn’t answer, she was used to the undeserved remarks from them all the time.

“Three, two, one – firing!” The Ranger pushed forward, the already hard worked engines groaning under the pressure of pushing the huge object. Shaking around the Ranger wanted to push free, just holding it steady Jenna held it in place.Then as suddenly as the engines fired. Silence.

“Push maneuver complete.”

“Roger Blue Siren. Good work. I’m able to track the boulder so far the trajectory is looking good.”

“Roger control. I’m going to withdraw back to Ceres mining station.”

“Roger Blue Siren.”

Waiting for something to happen in deep space is the the most boring thing ever. You’re not in motion, you’re not doing anything. That’s all Jenna could do – Wait. After what seemed an eternity the time was near, one minute until the missile reached the boulder. Both were on course. The seconds ticked away.



Jenna Swore.

“Blue Siren the plan failed, get to that missile and shoot it down!”

“I can’t – I’ve told you!” Jenna screamed back. She had only moments, it would soon be here and she had only one option left. Setting the Ranger on a collision course she buried the throttle. Engines screaming almost as much as she was, she closed her eyes.

Control watched as the ranger and the missile met, then only one was left. Just the missile now. Had it torn through the ranger and not exploded?
“Blue Siren report. Blue Siren report!”


With nothing to get in it’s way the missile hit the Ceres mining station, the flash was so bright it was seen on Earth with just a small telescope. In less than a second the entire station was swallowed up in is a fusion detonation that sucked every element of the base up and expelled it into it’s base atomic components far into space.

Back in control, no one spoke for what seemed like forever, the commander took his head from his hands. “Begin to notify the authorities back on Earth on what happened.” He ordered grimly. “Get Blue Squadron to begin in initial site survey, is there anything left and what happened to Blue Siren. Earth will want answers and I need them.”

Jenna opened her eyes, slowly, blinking into focus. Four figures stood around her.
“What happened and where am I?”

“You’re safe Jenna, but I’m afraid you won’t be able to leave. Your people think you are dead and our purposes need you to stay that way.” One of them told her flatly.

“You launched the missile didn’t you?”

He nodded.


“Ceres is, special let’s say and is hiding secrets your people must never know.”

“My people? Who are you?”

The three others walked off, leaving just the leader.

“In time we will show you, but please rest for now.” Jenna felt sleepy again and felt herself passing out. “There is much to do!”

© Simon Farnell 2020

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This is my entry for June’s Blog Battle – the theme or word for this month is Corona.

Andit stopped for a moment, the mid morning sun sun forcing him to take off his jacket and tie it round his waist. Even with the forest as some shelter the heat would soon become too much and he would have to seek shelter. Tying the sleeves of his jacket around his waist he once more set out along the path. Andit was only 10 and there was danger in making the trip every few weeks to Keevan’s moisture farm. But it had to be done and this mother couldn’t do everything now that he was old enough to make the trip.

Keevan used to come to them but he was more reluctant to leave the farm and with dad gone, who knows where he was man of the house. What he lacked in strength his size meant he could hide easily from predators, man or beast. It wasn’t nearly as dangerous as going to the city, his mother hadn’t been here in years, not since dad…

What was that?

Andit thought to himself suddenly, slipping behind a large tree. For a few moments he waited, waited. Nothing. Nothing was there. but something else was missing. It took a few moments, there was no sound at all, the birds were silent and the insects too, the silence was like a thick blanket of fog laying across the forest. Suddenly chilled despite the sun Adit moved carefully on, it was farther back than where he was going.

As he moved he listened for anything, animal or otherwise but even the air was still, still slightly fresh with warmth starting to overtake the fresh smell. He took out his scanner and turned to see what was around. Nothing. Nothing at all – that was strange. A chill crept over his body slowly, almost imperceivably. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, but as he looked up he thought he saw something. Removing his eyes he covered them, tears streaming down his face. Wiping then he look back through his fingers to try and shield the glare of the fusion furnace.

There’s something there! Definitely!

Andit stood there as slowly the light faded, the silence continued. Slowly and silently the daylight was robbed by the circular invader as it ate the light from the sun. Andit knew a little about the universe and none of the three moons were due to eclipse now. Only one was even remotely as big as this object.

But then of course it was closer, much closer and it was moving across the sun, so much was covered now that it wasn’t too bad to look at, the bright edge of the sun was still too much to stare at but Andit could focus on the shade. He pulled his jacket back on, as his skin goose bumped, either from the cold or from the apparent fear. His breath now forming a moisture cloud in the air.

Unable to remove his eyes from the spectacle the darkness enveloped him and the landscape. He was always told the woods were dangerous at night, but that danger right now seemed to pale. The invader and the sun were now in perfect alignment and the corona from the nearby star dimly illuminated the land now. Shivering as he stood transfixed he somehow sensed that even the wild animals that come out at night now cowered and fled.

A few moments later and light started to return again, warmth was coming back and Andit continued to watch. Just before the brightness was too much to bear a blue light silent emitted from the circular terror and was shot towards the planet some distance away. In the distance a cacophony of rumbling and thunder could be heard. Andit was unsure how far away it was but he started, sprinting madly towards Keevan’s farm, his heart trying to beat out of his chest. The thunder was ever louder, filling his ears. Whatever was happening, it was coming, much faster than he could ever run. He was still at least twenty minutes from Keevan’s.

He knew there was an old bunker not far n the wood, he would often hide there from the noon sun, scrambling through the branches and thorns his little lungs couldn’t take in the air he needed, his muscles screamed and in blind panic he searched.

Where is it? Where is it?

After what seemed an eternity his eyes found it, pulling the huge metal door open and then shut as he dived into the dark damp shelter, latching the door before collapsing. What sounded like a rock storm seemed to roar outside like some unimaginable beast baying from him as prey. But then as soon as it begun it was over.

Andit finally made it out. The doorway strewn with rock and wood and junk. Squeezing out of the tiny gap he had made he stood on a rock and looked around. The sun shone bright again and a few trees somehow still stood. But where the forest had been was now mostly desolate, as if the desert beyond had decided to devour it in some hideous feast and all that was left was lifeless and barren. The path to Keevan’s was destroyed as was the path home. If either place had survived.

Andit sat on a huge boulder, doing nothing, thinking nothing a tear slid down his dirt encrusted face as he waited. Waited for something, waited for death, for a saviour, for something. Anything.

Andit woke suddenly from sleep it was nearly dark again and chill filled the air. Something had come, footsteps. Keevan’s footsteps.

“There you are boy – you’re alive! Come with me boy, come with me before they find us.”

© Simon Farnell 2020

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Capsule Echo

This is my entry for May’s Blog Battle – the theme or word for this month is Airtight.

There was no light, just the darkness of the space around him. The only sensation that Mitchell knew was his breath. In… out… in… out.
Thank God I’m breathing his mind started coming around. Then there were more sensations, light. That flashing red light is damn annoying!


Then warmth, running down Mitchell’s leg. What could that be?

“Arrrgh!” Pain seared through his body, gasping at his thigh Mitchell could feel ait sticking out of the back of his leg. Sweating madly in the humid atmosphere created by his own body in the airtight capsule, made worse by his heavy breathing caused by the searing pain in his leg.

The light turned from Red to a gentle blue, a soothing female tone could be heard “Heavy breathing is causing excess oxygen use – please slow your breathing and calm your body.”

Mitchell paid no attention, whatever he did and how he moved his leg the pain seared through him. In a final desperate attempt to cure the pain he gripped the object, screaming as pulled at it. Slowly, excruciatingly it moved until it was free in his hand.

Then nothing, unconscious again Mitchell floated. Droplets of blood floating around the capsule. Time passed, in what was totally meaningless to even the local part of the universe Mitchell just breathed.

Gently Mitchell opened his eyes once more, his hole body shaking, shivering. Looking at his his hand the fingers were a pale blue. Sheepishly he checked his body over. His leg was sore but the object was gone.

Where is that thing and what was it?

Floating just on the inner surface of the capsule Mitchell reached over and grabbed it. Trying to steady himself in the Zero G he grabbed it and examined it.

What is this? Damn thing is sharp.

He couldn’t identify the intended use of the object, just that it was long and sharp, while he hated the object he realised it must have come from the blast that knocked him into the escape capsule. In a twist of irony he thought himself lucky that it ended up in his leg, if it had missed it would have easily penetrated the thin skin of this little life bubble. Mitchell looked around it, examining what he had available.

A survival suit, that will help with the cold and the heat when it comes!

Before putting it on he examined as best he could his wound, it had stopped bleeding thank God but the place was a mess with blood. As he pulled the suit on he ripped the arms off his long sleeved shirt and used one to mop up what he could of the mess, the other he tied around his leg. Finally zipping his suit up, hood and all he felt warmth returning to his bones.

Still shivering he mumbled “Computer status report.”

The calming female voice returned “Capsule is fully functional, no errors to report.”

Well that’s helpful, what faults can there be with a self propelled 2 metre diameter blow up survival balloon?

“Status of Lunar station 2”

“Lunar station 2 is disabled, last transmission to Earth indicated loss of structure and life support systems. Human inhabitants no longer able to survive there.”

Really? I love the understatement of these things.

“How many capsules were launched from Lunar station 2?”

“Capsule Echo was the only capsule to launch from Lunar station 2 before catastrophic malfunction occurred.”

Mitchell took a moment, remembering in that moment the fellow explorers that only hours before he was working with. Now gone. Kalli and her insane humour with and dark hair, Mickie and his youth and genuine excitement over everything. Gibson, that man was a….


“How long have we been travelling?”

“It has been 27 hours, 42 minutes since Capsule Echo was launched from Lunar station 2.

“How long until we enter Earth Orbit?”

“We will enter Earth orbit in 4 days, 7 hours and 21 minutes.”

I should have stayed asleep. Assuming I encounter nothing that will puncture the skin of the capsule and there’s no solar flares to roast me and the guidance or micro thrusters fail, As well as the million other things that could go wrong I’ll be fine.

Mitchell looked around for supplies. There was always ten days of food and water with these things, but only five days of oxygen. The irony was not lost on him and even as he tore open the sachet which read Day 1 on it he allowed himself a wry smile. Day 2 was going to follow shortly, he had been asleep for over a day after all.

Four days of this? What can I do with fours days stuck in a balloon? I’m going to go totally mad!

Sachet 2 followed, taking his time with it he worked out he took ten minutes to eat it.
God this was going to take ages!

Mitchell’s leg still hurt, he checked the life support of a few minutes, asked the computer a few stupid questions and then after some hours that felt like eternity, he slept.

For the next few days Mitchell slept and stared into nothing, a small window allowed him a view of Earth and its shining blueness slowly getting closer. A few radio messages from control broke the monotony, but even that only lasted thirty or so minutes at a time.

What worried him was that he was somehow low on oxygen, maybe it was from what he did when he took that thing out of his leg. Somehow he had got used to the capsule after these few days, when the 12 hour approach warning came up he thought he would actually miss it in a way. Mitchell took a sleeping pill, The reduced body activity and stress would save oxygen and cause him less stress. He could be rescued and not even know it. There was nothing he could do anyway.

“See you on the other side!” Was Mitchell’s final message.

He looked out on Earth as he slowly drifted off.

What happened six hours after this is a matter of much speculation. The official report says that that Capsule Echo lost its integrity from an unknown object and exploded. But to disappear without a trace, even in space is not an easy thing to do.

What isn’t in the report is that even two years after the event spacecraft going to and from the Moon often hear messages from Capsule Echo, some report the interception of automated status reports from the onboard computer. Others report the screams of a man, screaming for home, screaming for someone to respond.

Screaming for them to stop.

The fate of Moon station 2 and Capsule Echo is still unexplained is now considered a classified subject and not to be discussed… For now.

© Simon Farnell 2020

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Phase Shift

This is my entry for April’s Blog Battle – the theme or word for this month is Heart.

Professor Rakseth stood back and looked through the huge glass panels with pride at the great metal circle. All this life his work had led to this, the theories he came up with as a young man all let to this point.

This moment.

“Wh- what happens now?” Brian asked. Rakseth looked over his glasses at the young scientist.

“Now we see if this works young Brian!” Rakseth beamed. “All my life I have dreamed of this moment, to prove that an inter-spatial pathway can be made so that humans and machines can pass from one place to another instantaneously!”

“Th-this moment m-must surely b-be greater than any other i-in human history s-so far professor!” Brian stammered. “I-it’s a shame the other’s w-who helped couldn’t b-be here to see this.”

“Others?” Rakseth questioned.

“Y-yes, the ones th-that left suddenly.”

“Hmmm…” Rakseth said nothing, pushing the glass door open and proceeding through the air lock he left Brian behind. Inside was an air of quiet activity, people in white suits and masks. The air smelled clean and clinical with a hit of PVC from wiring and solder fumes.

One of the masked workers waled up to Rakseth and pulled their mask off. “We’re ready to proceed in ten minutes Professor.”

“Thank you” Rakseth acknowledged. “Have the fuel cells been charged, checked and the phases aligned? We cannot have an interruption in power during the opening of the pathway, we would lose the human test subject and heaven knows what would happen.”

“Yes, we seem to have overcome the recent phase difficulties, Amber is checking the fuel cells and will monitor them during the pathway initiation.”

“Good, thank you.” Hansen went back to monitor his station. Rakseth brought up the radio “Are we ready with the human test subject?”

“Yes, we’re ready!” a voice came over the radio.

“Wait for my instructions!” Rakseth commanded. Several minutes passed as Rakseth looked at the status monitors on the central console. One by one slowly they lit up. For a few moments Rakseth stared, making sure nothing changed. He raised his voice “We’re going to do this now, let me know of any problems! Initiate the interspatial pathway in 5… 4… 3… 2… 1!”

A blue glow emanated from the metal circle, dimly at first as the power was gradually applied, brighter and brighter the blue intensified. With the intense light a sounds like a pinning jet filled the room. The noise and light together assaulted the senses of those in the room. For a moment Rakseth and all that looked on were looking through the circle into another place.

Rakseth raised his radio to his mouth and paused briefly “Send the test subject through now.”

Rakseth and all present stared on as from the other side a man in military uniform could be seen, advancing towards them from the other side of the pathway, without hesitation he marched towards human destiny as if on a march. Beads of sweat formed on Rakseth’s face as he muttered worth softly under his breath.

“Please…. just work!”

In a moment of time impossible to measure, space was folded, contorted into another form of itself…

“We have a phase shift!” Hansen shouted.

What everyone saw throught the circle flickered almost instantaneously, then suddenly to his horror Rakseth saw not one human, but four. They walked out from the great metal circle and the blue lights dimmed, slowly the intensity reduced to nothing.

No one dared breathe or move, the four stood there still, silent, heads down as if in some kind of prayer. Hansen interrupted the silence.

“That’s Hannah, Jez and Saraya. I thought they had left Professor, that’s what you told us! “

Rakseth stood silent, ignoring Hansen.

Rejecting the silence Hansen shouted “Professor what the hell has been going on?”

“Shut up will you!” Rakseth shouted back. He walked slowly toward the four figures, Hansen just behind him. When they both reached them Rakseth was the first to speak “Tell me, what was it like?” he spoke to the soldier.

Hansen spoke “Soraya, you’ve been gone months, where have you been?”

Soraya said nothing at first, there was just silence. Then she spoke, quietly, in almost a whisper. “I don’t know. I think nowhere. But I have memories too, dreams or nightmares. I’m not sure.”

Silence returned.

The four were taken to the infirmary, nothing could explain the state they were in, like a coma but not, like sleep but fully awake. The physicians and neuro doctors couldn’t explain it. The facility was sealed and everyone told not to leave until the investigation was complete. Then the defense officials arrived, they asked to see the entire team, all were present except Rakseth.

Another night fell on the metal ring, since that day no one had been near them in either location. In the moonlit darkness where none could see a blue light started to glow, it increased to a dazzling brightness. The sound of the huge ring ramping up its power shattered the silence of night. Space was folded, contorted into another form of itself.

The shadows grew as one by one they emerged from the ring, then as darkness suddenly fell there was just a still silence.

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Fields of Paper Flowers

This is my entry for January’s Blog Battle – the theme or word for this month is Heart.

“Here it is!” Brian revealed all glowing with pride. “The artificial flower!”

I looked on it with a mix of distain and yet a little awe at the intricate and beautiful creation. “So what?” 

“What do you mean so what?” Brian flapped enthusiastically.

“We have flowers, we plant seeds or bury bulbs and the plants grow. They look pretty and they attract bees which pollinate everything else and helps everything grow! It’s wonderfully simple and there’s no need to change it!”

“This flow” Brian continued “Is a little piece of miniature genius. Not only does it look pretty but it extracts more carbon from the air than a typical flower, it never loses its petals, it generates electricity from sunlight and it won’t ever die!”

“That’s pretty impressive I have to say, but it won’t attract bees to cross pollinate and it’s going to cost a lot more than a seed I’m guessing!”

“You’re such a nay sayer Steve. I’ve got big plans for my flower, I want to make so many and plant them wherever I can and show the world how my flowers can help the world!”

With that Brian left, what started as an intellectual discussion has turned into a catapult for Brian. To prove me wrong.

That was five years ago. After that Brian had packed up and for a couple of years I heard no more about him or his flowers. It wasn’t until I was walking in the park one February morning that I noticed something, familiar somehow and yet pretty and intricate. After a few minutes of staring at it I realised that this was one of Brian’s flowers. Bu there wasn’t just one, clumps of ten or twenty all over the place in different spots. 

Somehow Brian was planting his flowers. 

Over the weeks and months that followed I noticed them in more and more places, people could by them and suddenly this obscure object, so easily grown was now being labelled as the flower to save the world, solving so many of our problems.

Brian however was nowhere to be found, he obviously wanted to vanish. But fate it’s card…

It started with the first reports of disquiet, bees disappearing. Concerns about pollinisation, scientist claiming that this artificial intruder to our flower beds was not as it was claimed, far from being the answer to our problems, it created many more.

Finally answered by the company that made them, Obsidian inc. A huge multinational company had bought Brians idea and was turning it onto money, cheap and quick cash being made on the premise that it’s buyer’s would be saving the world.

Then I got it, THAT email. Brian finally had broken silence and wanted to meet me. At his offices in the city ‘for lunch’ as he called it. When I turned up, lunch was the last thing on the minds of those wanting to meet me.

“Come in and sit down.” A older man at the head of the long table gestured to me. Brian sat to my left, the table was full of men in suits, younger at my end, older at the end. The phrase, pale, stale and male came to mind.

The older man at the end spoke again, the company logo and motto behind him, prominent and bleak. “We invited you her today Mr Wright, to discuss the prominent slurring of our current product strategy and to come to some kind of understanding.”
“I’m not sure I follow you you.” I answered blankly. “Any assessment I give of a new initiative is based on empirical results and…”

“Yes we know but we feel you’re missing the point here.” The old man continued. “There’s an opportunity here and we think you should be a part of it!”
The man managed a smile, not much of one, I could see where this was going now.
“You’re trying to buy me? For what?”

“For the good of Obsidian inc of course.”

“But I thought that Obsidian ‘Created products that helped the world’ not pollute it even more and destroy the eco-system. I shot back , I was getting angry now.

“Where did you get that idea from?” The man smirked.

“It’s on the wall behind you.” I looked as the man turned, as he did every other head turned too. I looked at Brian, he was still as if struck with fear.

“Regardless of that, we want to increase our product offering to simulate larger plants, and trees. We think this is a good thing, I promise it will be very rewarding for you.” The man was turning on the charm offensive now. I stood up.
“We cannot eat, breathe or drink money. You are all stupid if you think that. I will have no part of this.”

I turned and walked out of the door.

That was five years ago. It’s now that I stand here in the park where it first started. The piles of artificial flowers and plants are lined up at the side of the path. The bees are all but extinct, nothing grows and starvation is now common. The air is thick with pollution and still the great Obsidian sits on it’s piles of money.

Mankind used to think that aliens or asteroids would wipe out life on Earth. It’s safe to say that the collective madness that occurs around accumulating money is far more dangerous.

Let’s hope it is not yet too late.

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The Eternal Librarian

This is my entry for December’s Blog Battle – the theme or word for this month is Heart.

“I have exciting news for you Emily.” Libby told Emily in her usual flat robotic but clearly feminine tone.

“What is that?” Emily asked excitedly. At sixteen years old Emily was often told she was too old to hang out around a library all the time, especially with an ancient robot librarian.

“I’ve been told I’m going to be retired soon so that improvements can be made to the library.”

Emily’s face fell “So… so, you’re going?”

Libby pulled the the wheel round and the huge shelf moved, closing the gap. “Yes. I will be replaced by a more efficient librarian that will be able to give you a better service. This must please you.”

“No!” Emily said sternly, not sure whether to be angry or cry… or both. “I don’t care if the new librarian is more efficient, I want you to be here!”

“I do not understand. My reason to exist is to the serve this library as efficiently as I can, when a mechanoid is available that will do this job better that must surely be a good thing. I don’t understand humans.”

“How I feel is not logical, I have come here for many years and I know you. I feel you are my friend. You have been here for so long even my grandmother knew you when she was young!”

“This is true Emily, I have known, your mother, grandmother and great…” Libby paused, a computerised buzzing sound came from here and for a moment was still. Then the episode passed and she continued. “grandmother. I have been in operation for 40,264 days, twelve hours and seven minutes. I have had two complete chassis replacements in my operational lifespan.  So the robot you see before you now is not the robot that stood in front of your great grandmother. Every part of me has been replaced.”

“But you are the same robot Libby!” Emily protested. “Every part of you might have changed but your heart and your soul and memories are the same!”

Libby thought about this for a moment, a buzzing noise came from within her, something seemed to not compute. A man in a suit came strolling by, Emily knew him to be the Library officiator. 

“But I do not have a soul!”

“That’s right!” The officiator told Libby. “No soul and no longer any use here. I bet you can’t wait to be retired!”

Libby looked up at the officiator “I do not know. It is not something I have experienced.”

“Oh it’ll be quieter than even in here and those joints won’t be aching any more!” With that the officiator walked off, patting Emily on the head.

“What does he know?” Emily scorned at him behind his back. She looked backup again at Libby “Our bodies are renewed every seven years, that means there is nothing left of the body I was born with or the one I celebrated my seventh birthday. You can I are more alike than you think!”

“This is very trrruue Emily!” The robot stuttered “But I’m not sure how this will help. I am due to be retired and that is that as you humans say” Libby sorted through a section of books, sorting and placing back into order before moving along to the next shelf. “It seems that my job is done and I have served my human masters well I hope.”

Emily looked up sad and not sure what to do or say next. 

“I sense you are experiencing emotional sadness, if it helps I have something for you.” Libby told her secretly. “Come with me.”

Emily followed Libby into a part of the library which was only meant for the librarian, there were spare parts and robot stuff all over the place. Then on the wall there were pictures, Libby had been drawing! Could robots do that? Closing the door behind Emily Libby pointed at a picture drawn simply in pencil and paper of Libby and emily together, drawn in near perfection. 

“You drew that?” 

“Yes.” Libby stated.

“How? This is something from your memory?”

“I am not sure. It feels like memory although I do not recall the time and place of the occasion.”

The picture was of Emily and Libby together in a face shot as if a selfie had been taken of them both. But Emily knew this hadn’t happened.

“You imagined this!”

“I cannot have imagined this, I have no -“

“But you must have! Don’t you see? I told you! We’re more like than you think, you have a soul, you have heart, you have imagination!”

Emily did not know how this had happened, why or maybe even who had done this to Libby. But she did know one thing. Libby had to be saved, the first conscious, maybe even self aware robotic life form could not be left to die. 

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The Extinction Protocol

This short piece has been written for the November 2018 Blog Battle.  To find out more click the link:

The word for the month is EDUCATE.

SOL670 Olympus Colony:

“Colony Log Commander James O’Neill: NASA are sending me a priority message on the secure comms channel in about five minutes. I’m not sure what to expect from this, one thing I learned in the air force was to be worried when something unusual and out of character happened, this it right up there with out of character. All I can do is see what they have to say.”

Sat back in his chair in his habitation module waiting, O’Neill’s mind churned. Then the notification lamp lit up on his computer. The lines of the text only message came through line by line.

Message from NASA: 04-10-2056                                                                                Authorization code:20350524185245
From Senior administrator RE: Extinction Protocol.

  • Asteroid KE567342 on direct collision with Earth, estimated impact 19 days from now somewhere in the vicinity of the African continent.
  • Projection of loss of life on Earth: Total.
  • Projection of Earth status after impact: uninhabitable by human or any known Earth lifeforms.
  • While able Earth will be sending all available resource to Mars to keep human habitation possible. We expect the Martian colonies to be able to be sustainable for three more years when this has been delivered. Some additional personnel will be sent to support Martian colony activities and ensure as much as possible the safe delivery of two population bombs.

Summary of actions to be carried out by NASA controlled Martian colonies:

  1. Ensure temporary sterilisation of all colonists.
  2. Educate all colonists on the situation and how Mars could still be sustainable after supplies have expired.
  3. Recommend restricted and controlled release of this information in order to maintain discipline and morale.
  4. Further information will be coming soon.

End of message.

Not quite able to take it all in, O’Neill stared in stunned silence at the message. Emotions ran through him for a moment like a fire, he had family, friends places he had seen and wanted to see all of which would be no more. In anger he threw to the computer and everything on the desk across the room. It felt like a million regrets passed though his mind. Finally after what seemed to him like an age reason came back to him.  Everyone on Mars was going to outlive the rest of the Human race back home. Did that mean they were in a better place? He wasn’t so sure.

Thinking for a moment he had to deliver this in a way that was going to distract everyone. Pressing a console button cleared his throat. “Initiate emergency colony survival protocol, I repeat initiate the emergency survival protocol.” A voice at the end acknowledged the order, the lights dimmed and a claxon sounded. He knew in moments all personnel would be up and attending stations.

He pressed another button “Dr Cheung, all station inhabitants are to be administered a NRS capsule effective immediately.”

“Understood” a voice replied.

O’Neill listened to the commotion and waited for all to be present in the hub, finally he stood up. Now he had to tell them.

It went well O’Neill thought. About as well as can be expected, while they all waited the good doctor administered the twenty seven colonists at the station their NRS capsules. Embedded in the body these slowly released chemicals that ensured reproduction was impossible and helped to control chemical imbalances leading to hunger and anxieties. They were a bit like the pill, a weight loss tablet and a sedative all rolled into one. They lasted up to twelve weeks. In that time the situation would be better known.

“Do we know exactly what they’re sending?” Emily asked.

“Not yet” 
O’Neill shook his head. “I hope to learn more in the next few days.” But what I do know is that we are now almost solely responsible for our own survival. We have an estimated three years before all supplies are exhausted, in that time we need have educated ourselves to create food, water and prolong the life of resources and materials. If we do this in time the the solar panels will need to be replaced or equipment maintained.”

O’Neill’s look was grim “We have to be able to create Earth technologies here, somehow. In three days I need to have a list to give to control of any and all information we might need. I don’t know but if we get in early enough we might even be able to ask for materials to be sent. This is possible but considering the time frame doubtful”

“Break into your teams and get thinking. Three days people, we need a short and a long term plan.” With that he turned and walked out of the control hub, a door slid open and inside was humming and droning of machinery.

“James!” a voice shouted from behind him.

O’Neill spun round “Melissa! Dammit don’t do that – you scared the sh-“

“What’s happening with the other stations?” She shouted.

“What do you mean?”

“Have they been told?!?”

“I haven’t but I imagine each base’s commander will have been told. Why?”

Melissa pulled him into a quieter area and shut the door. “Each of the other stations have a lot of resource that everyone is going to need. Utopia station even has a launcher that can get back to Endeavour when is passes by in three months.”

“Getting to Endeavour is no good, the only place it can go to is Earth. What’s your point?”

“My point is that what if the other colonies decide that the others are expendable in light of the fact that Earth will be gone? If they start raiding other bases they could prolong their survival time.”

O’Neill thought for a moment “I see where you’re at. But these are all educated and rational people, we should be able to trust everyone here to work together… Right?”

Melissa looked at him “So why do you suddenly look doubtful?”

O’Neill didn’t answer, thoughts of the colonies turning against each other had been the last thing on his mind, yet now the seed was planted was a real possibility. That’s what worried him most, if this was brought to common attention, could it sow the seed or if others were already thinking about it. 

Finally he spoke up “Because now I have them and how we deal with this will decide on whether we all survive or  just as much as everything else we have to deal with.”

“What do we do?”

“Tread very, very carefully. Find Ben and bring him to my hab module. But without being weird or suspicious.” Just then his wrist com beeped through a notification. 

“What’s that?”

“More from Earth. Hopefully something more solid about what’s coming this way. Go and get Ben.”

Melissa nodded, just before she opened the door O’Neill stopped her.

“I mean it when I say don’t arouse suspicion, if we start something with this we won’t need any asteroid to kill us. We’ll do it all by ourselves.”

Melissa nodded and disappeared, O’Neill suddenly felt cold, following after Melissa he wasn’t sure if was the fuel cells or where this all might end chilled his bones.

To be continued?

©Simon Farnell 2018

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The Celestial Temple

This short piece has been written for the October 2018 Blog Battle. If you need to find out more please click: Blog Battle – October 2018

The word for this month is CAVE. 





Like a dream I could see the cave, carved into the side of a mountain, looking into it I saw the incredible. The universe within it,  layed out for me to see. That was the dream anyway, now somehow as I looked up I could see that this was the mountain and this was not a dream.

Except… where was the cave?


That was the last thing I remembered. before I found myself looking into the long darkness of the cave. Somehow I was inside, I wasn’t sure how. I had no idea why but this place was familiar, not like a dream within a dream. I stood looking into a vast darkness, dimly lit by a light I couldn’t see the origin of. Coming from nowhere the illumination showed the end of the cave, at the end was a sheer drop, a vast shaft. I wasn’t close enough yet to see down the shaft. In the middle was a platform, impossibly it seemed to be suspended, weightless and floating in the void. Connected only by a small walkway.

Slowly, carefully I stepped onto the walkway. In the dull silence there was a dull metallic thud as my foot met the metal surface. Slowly, carefully I took another step, then another. With each step this place seemed more and more familiar, as if it this was a place I should know. I was over, now standing on the platform, the strange console in front of me. It wasn’t lifeless, readouts displayed and indicators flashed on and off.

“I thought you would never come Galiea.”

Spinning around in total shock to face the voice from behind me, heart racing, body shaking in total fear I faced a man, in the shadow and his black outfit I couldn’t see him well. But he somehow was there. “W-what did you call me?” I stammered.

“Galiea. I was starting to wonder if you would ever come. Welcome back.”

“What do you mean? Where is this? Why are you calling me this… Galiea? My name is Steve Curran!”

“Relax, I’m not going to harm you. You are Galiea, the star master for this!” The man spread his arms out at the darkness as if proud of this place. “You don’t remember do you? Over five hundred years ago this great vessel was hidden here, hidden in space and time from the Anderran race. Five of us were dispersed into humankind, to live out human lives until the time came.”

“The time for what?” I asked, afraid of the answer even as the question escaped my lips.

“The time that the Anderran’s caught up with us. They must never have this vessel and they will tear this planet apart to get it. They know we’re here!”

“What?!?” I couldn’t get me head round this “What are you talking about?”

“This will help!”

He put his hand to my head, a flash of light, an electric pain and I fell to my knees. The pain gave way to clarity, realisation… remembrance.

“How are you now Galiea?”

At that moment as I looked down at the floor I realised why I knew this place. Like waking from a bad dream it all came flooding back to me. This – the celestial temple, created by the alliance of the seven races of Pleiades. Fleeing to hide it from the Anderran’s. I heard his words, slowly I answered. “Foggy, it’s been a long time but… Oh God, they’ve found us?” I got back to my feet, looking the man clearly in the eyes, recognising him immediately. He nodded grimly. “Where are they? Are they close?”

“Close enough, but I’m not sure. That’s why I need my star master.”

I stepped forward, waved my hand across a panel, the solar system lit up in front of me, the sun, the planets in their perfect unending orbits. Between Jupiter and Mars a red cross hair zoomed, highlighting the danger. I spread my arms and instantly zoomed in closer to the searching marauders.

“There’s all twelve of them!”

“Yes, we didn’t lose a single one did we?”

I just turned and looked at my commander, despite the passing of time he hadn’t aged… But then, neither had I.

“What can we do? Even if the other arrive, there’s only five of us and – well all of them! They will be here in days and I don’t know how we can stop them. If they capture the celestial temple they will hold the key to reaching any star system almost instantly. They will seek to conquer the entire galaxy and they will start with Earth.”

“That my friend is where we will have to find our help, right here.”

“Earth? They’re not ready for this?”

“Perhaps not, but they will need to be!”

Nodding in grim agreement, I thought about the impending doom facing us all, human or not. “How will we explain this to their leaders? We can’t just walk up to them and tell them this. We don’t have time or time to convince them.

“They will come here Galiea, they will come becasue it’s in their nature.”

Moving my hands over one of the panels, a graphic shone inf front of me. Familiar and yet hidden for so long this ship, was going to reveal itself to the world. This insignificant cave was about to be flooded with the light hidden from it so long ago.

I swiped the display, turning green a noise so subtle and yet so powerful wound down like a stalling jet, slowly this expanse filled with light from the sun. The mask that had enveloped this might vessel for so long vanished. Even out here in these mountains the sight would be so vast that we knew others would see this and would right now be alerting the authorities.

“Now what?” I asked.

“Now we wait.”

At this time we had to have faith and hope that the right people would come, before the marauders did. But whatever happened next, one thing we knew for sure. They were coming.

*Image found on Pinterest. Ownership remains with the creator.

©Simon Farnell 2018


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