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 Sci-Fi Files – The Shark Tag

Enigmatic Episodes looks at the mysteries and urban legends that I’ve found on the internet and finds out more about them. Are they real? Could there be a cover up? What monster may live on, in or outside our Earth? Are the Aliens watching us?

This Sci-Fi files tales takes us back to the ocean depths to something that happened when a casual beach walker found a tag that had been attached to a 3 metre Great White shark. When the data on it was analysed it revealed that on Christmas Eve 2003 the shark dived to a depth of 1900ft at high speed, then the temperature rose from 7 degrees Celsius to 25 degrees Celcius.

Shark 1
Chart showing depth and temperature data of tag – Image Credit Daily Star

This indicated that the shark was consumed and was now in the belly of a larger beast. So the question was asked – what could eat a 3 metre long Great White? Popular theories of either a Killer Whale or another Great White seem plausible, but the problem is that the internal temperatures of these beasts doesn’t quite fit the data.
Even if it was a larger Great White the largest so far recorded is 20ft or over 7 metres long and a 3 metre Great White would be than a mixed grill for a man at a local pub.


Can we believe what the scientists tell us? It’s terrifying to think of a monster shark in normal terms that could consume a smaller one of it’s own kind. But could there be a species down there that’s so much bigger than we know about now. Unconfirmed sightings of giant squid, sharks of 30ft or more in length and dead animals washed up on our beaches that defy our knowledge make one ask the question again.

What kind of monster eats a Great White?

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AD Astra – As good as promised, or a lot of empty void?

When I saw the trailer for this film – I had to go see it. I can cannot stress how I really, really wanted to like this film. I had in my mind an Interstellar – esque feel with an original story line. I had no idea what to expect really. What follows is a short breakdown, there are some spoilers but I haven’t spoiled everything.

The film starts well enough, Brad Pitt’s man character Roy McBride is pushed off a space structure by a mysterious energy wave and down to Earth. The scene is pretty dramatic and not a million miles away from a factual jump carried out in 2007 by Felix Baumgartner.

Moving the story forward a mission that Roy’s father was leading falls under suspicion as the cause. This mission called the Lima Project was sent out to the outer solar system 26 years ago to look for life beyond Earth. Nothing was heard from the Lima Project for 16 years after it reached Neptune and was presumed destroyed.

Now it looks like it may have survived and Roy McBride is sent out to Mars to make contact with his father. Typically Roy is very unemotional, but loses the plot after he suspects details are being hidden from him and despite being taken off the mission manages to get aboard the spacecraft bound for Neptune.

What’s the film about?

For me this is hard to say, all I can say really is that it’s about one man’s yearning for his father’s love and acceptance and how obsession has kept them apart and essentially affected both their lives and relationship.

Sure there’s a save the world aspect to this but there isn’t ever really a sense of urgency about this.

Apparently the director James Gray wanted to create a movie that depicted the most realistic depiction that’s been put into a space movie yet. For me I don’t think he achieved that and 2001 still holds that mantle despite being 50 years old although some movies like Interstellar and the Martian have been on a per but maybe not as detailed.

Scientific Inaccuracies

This is where I really, really think the film was let down.
1) Why did Roy have to go to Mars to make a phone call to his dad?
2) The messages being sent by laser (which still travels at the speed of light) from Mars to Neptune were depicted to get an immediate response.

As well as these there were numerous ‘little bits’ that added to the swarf of inaccuracy that really took something away from the realism that James Gray was trying to achieve.

What Else?

There were meant to be epic scenes in this film… hmm.. a passing shot of Jupiter and Saturn were given but there could have been more to it I feel. In a similar way that this was given in Interstellar. The depiction of Neptune was very good I have to admit, but there was something that kept me from feeling the realism.

Part of the issue I feel is that the story pace was rushed, possibly to make sure that audiences didn’t fall asleep. But that pace needed to slow, for the sake of the realism that was trying to be captured. I agree that it wouldn’t probably have been a hit if the pace / realism was worked on but then this wasn’t a big selling film anyway.

I really didn’t get the moon buggy fight scene either, it felt a bit like they threw it in to give some oomph after they looked at what they had and thought ‘meh’ but I may be wrong.

(Spoiler in this bit)
Something else that seems to have caught my attention is that human life now seems pretty cheap, between Moon marauders, lost Norwegian crews killed by killer moneys and all that there was a pretty significant body count that was thrown off as – yeah, some more guys have died. But in a way that kind of feeds into the final message in the film of ‘All we have are each other’.

What was good about it?

The concept, story and potential was great. That’s why I had high hopes for this. It saddens me to say but it just didn’t deliver. I really, really wish it had, I think it could have as well.

But the film I have to say was interesting, the world created for this story was set in the not too distant future looks at the commercialisation and exploration of space in a big way. All nations seem to be in on the action it’s humanity’s new frontier.

There were a number of EVA (spacewalk) scenes and I have to say they were pretty well done and pretty realistic. However I’m not sure gaffa tape over a broken helmet visor would survive the rigours of space. That was a little silly and maybe pinched from the Martian?

In Summary

I don’t need to say much more, the jist of it all is already here. I really hate to be negative about something like this as time, money, effort of many people have been put into a film.

I’m not saying they have done a terrible job, just that something seems to be in the way of being the great film it could have been.

No ownership claimed on Images – Taken from Google

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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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Sci-Fi Moments – The Unexpected

Science fiction is full of shocking moments, moments where either out loud or in your head and asking “What’s going on? No way!” So this is a post filled with some of those shock moments – enjoy and chip in if you can think of some.

Star Wars – I am your Father!

This is perhaps one of the most iconic scenes from any of the Star Wars films and it paves the way as the setting for not only the rest of the original trilogy but the entire epic saga.

Darth Vader’s murderous voice telling Luke “I – am your father!”

Captain Lorca – Star Trek Discovery

Star Trek Discovery – great series and in season 1 captain Lorca’s devisive character seems out of place in starfleet. The reason why becomes apparent towards the end of season 1.

He’s from the Terran dimension.

Interstellar – Ranger 2 Detach

This amazing film deals plenty of surprises, the biggest one that no one saw coming, not even Dr Brand was Cooper’s sacrifice to shed weight from Endurance so it could escape the gravity well of Gargantua.

Death of Gamora

One of the most powerful scenes in Infinity War (at least for me) was the sacrifice of Gamora by Thanos so he could gain the soul stone. Just when you thought that he had failed, just when you thought there was hope he couldn’t succeed.

Star Wars Solo – Darth Maul

This one got me. Right at the end of Solo – Darth Maul appears with robotic legs. Chopped in half by Obi Wan some years before it obviously wasn’t enough to kill him. Not sure how that works, but hey. That’s Sci-Fi for you.

What do you think of these? Are there better ones I should have thought of? Maybe I’ll include them in a later post?

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Science Fiction Concepts – The Curse of Impatience

As usual and in no surprise to anyone how things happen in Sci-Fi films bears no resemblance (I hope) to how things would happen in a real mission.

Picture the scene, long journey, excitable explorers wanting to get out and see what’s there. To wait and carry out a survey is boring I mean come on we’ve come so far and it’s taken so long another day or two and I’m going to get really bored and start beating up the ship’s android.

You can see it now can’t you. I can…

They land and jump out and in no time one thing leads to another and horrific things are happening. Every time you can see what’s going to happen. The kind of thing that is going to go wrong.

Alien ship from the Alien films – No ownership claimed on image

Now I know science fiction is exactly that – fiction but let’s consider adding a little realism. If you’re winging it and things go balls up you get what you deserve but what happens if there’s a plan that’s executed, carried out and yet despite all the safeguards it all goes wrong.

What could be more terrifying than that?

A story I read once (I can’t remember what it was called or who it was from sorry) was about a human colonisation mission to another planet. They carried out surveys, landed the area was secured and the human colonisation started.

I local settlement warned them to go while they still could but of course they didn’t. The story ended with a really surprising twist. I was expecting there to be some kind of disease or other alien presence, but no. The robots, and all the other technology started failing, little by little it all went wrong until they were totally stranded. The metal of their ships and machines started to degrade (relatively) rapidly.

To me that’s terror, impatience is a costly thing and it’s the way a fool would do it. But when even the wise and intelligent can’t help themselves – then you’re really screwed.

© 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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The Extinction Protocol – Part 2

Personal log Commander Scott Edwards
Olympus Colony Mars
Sol 687

It’s been two weeks since the news landed that there was a plan, a sliver of hope for our survival and the continuation of the human race. I might in fact be overoptimistic. A sliver implies some chance, to me there’s too much in the way. Or there’s something I don’t know about, there’s always that. I didn’t know about this whole damn operation two weeks ago.

The problem I think is how mentally prepared and able are the people to do this, some are just hanging on by a thread as it is. There’s been no further details of the plan yet. The mission craft is only days away from entering Mars orbit. Maybe we will know more then.

So I won’t…

“Edwards you’re needed in control” Collins voice came over the intercom.

“What is it?

“It’s Jett there’s a problem.” Collins replied grimly.

“What kind of – Oh I’m coming.”

“Finish this later.” Edwards clicked off the log recorder.

Edwards marched onto the control centre “What’s going on Collins?”

“It’s Jett, he’s sealed off the North section, he’s gone crazy and said he’s going to blow it up! There are twelve others trapped in there.”

“What the hell?!? Is he on the intercom?”

“Yes, Although he doesn’t seem to be in the talking mood.”

Picking up the intercom Edwards put it to his ear “Jett, what’s going on?” Edwards waited for a response. “Any idea why he’s doing this?”

“None.” Replied Collins. “He keep rambling on about we don’t know what’s coming and everything is bullshit.”

He’s been like that since the mission was announced, but I didn’t think he was going to do this.” Moments passed with nothing happening. The intercom crackled into life. “Scott? Is that you?”

“Hi Jett, yes it’s me, what’s going on?”

“You have no idea what’s coming Scott! No idea!”

“What do you mean? We have a chance, we have a hope and I need you to help me with it!”

“Oh no, no I’m not going to help. This whole thing is bullshit! We won’t succeed and even if we did what then? What will you all do? This whole thing is messed up and I’m going to stop it.”

“Why would you do that Jett?”

“Because of what’s coming Scott!” Jett shouted, his voice explosive over the intercom.

“What’s coming Jett? What do you know that I don’t?” For a moment Edwards waited. “Jett? Jett?” Edwards was now shouting “Je-“

A huge rumble and the whole base seemed to heave, pushed to the floor by the shock wave that tore through the base. Edwards eyes opened, his ears ringing. He called out but his voice was muffled. A moment later he realised he was still breathing, the base shell hadn’t breached. But there had been a massive explosion.

Edwards picked himself up and looked across at Collins, blood ran from his ears, Collins was struggling to find his level as well. Looking round Callie and Neila we having the same problem. Probably everyone on the base was. The spike in air pressure had thrown them all back and messed with thier whole bodies.

Edwards looked straight at Collins “Can you hear me?” Even his own voice hurt his ears. He scanned the control panel. The North section flashed red, showing shell breach. Looking over at the screens he could see it wasn’t just breached, most of the North section had been destroyed.

The ground outside the base was littered with smashed equipment and debris. But what was that? Several bodies, not quite dead but not far off. Edwards ran calling out as he held his ears tightly, wincing at the pain.

“Rav, Neiks meet you at airlock 2!” The two men met Edwards at the airlock. Edwards started pulling on a suit and pointed.

“We need to help them, we need to get them in!”

“They’re dead Scott! Leave them!” Rav insisted.

“No I saw, I saw they were twitching!” Edwards protested aggressively, pushing the two men aside as he reached for the gloves.

“Forget it Scott!” Neiks shouted “Forget it! It would take us five minutes to reach them and then at least five minutes to get them back. There’s only three suits here and they would be dead before we got them on. They’re dead now!” Neiks pushed Edwards back and to the floor. For an instant Edwards anger flared up, but it passed as soon as it came and he sat, head in his hands.

Cassi ran in “There’s people out there!”

“They’re gone Cassi, they won’t make it. I’m sorry” Rav explained.

The tears were already flowing down Cassi’s face. One by one people came and went in silence she wouldn’t leave, she just looked out to the ruined section. Edwards too was frozen, his head killing him, his ears killing him. After what seemed and age Cassi crawled over to Edwards and held him.

“Dani was on there wasn’t she?” Cassi nodded “I’m sorry Cassi” neither moved as night fell. The whole base was silent, no one sure what they lost hurt more, friends or hope.

Two days had passed, Edwards still coming to terms with the senseless loss. If Jett wanted to go, that alone was tragic, but why take the twelve others with him?
Collins Walked in after being summoned. Handing him a tablet Edwards took it “Damage and loss report as requested. I’m afraid we lost fourteen in all Jensen and Riall both crashed during the night.”

“Jesus Collins. What was all this about? Jett was a good man and under pressure too.” Edwards shook his head and turned away. For a moment Collins thought about answering but quickly purged the thought, he turned to quietly leave.

“What do you think about this Collins? Honestly.”

“The mission?” Edwards nodded. “What choice do we have?”

“That’s what I think too.” Edwards turned but then came back to him. “Oh Collins, I sent the update to the mission craft, they’ll be here in days.”

“Any reply from them?”

“Not yet, I’m not sure what the detailed plan was an how this changes it. All we can do is see what they say.”

“Well it won’t be good whatever it is, the mission might not be possible now.”

“We need to find a way to make it possible, we have no other choice.”

Collins left and Edwards was alone again, looking back towards another setting sun, back to where Earth was and possible redemption was coming from.

©Simon Farnell 2019

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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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