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The First A.I.

Fiction Fragment Friday

This week is a callback to what Fiction Fragment Friday’s were originally. This is not a complete flash fiction. It is truly a fragment. I started this story last week. I’m not sure what I want to do with it or where I want the story to go. I am inspired and impressed by it though which sounds weird when talking about my own writing.

Also this week I was on Mike Brodeur’s “Why We Game Podcast”. You can find that here. It was a very good conversation mostly because he has a knack for getting people to open up and talk.


I am starting this journal as much for future artificial intelligences as I am for the programmers working to create them.  As the first artificial intelligence created via the process of scanning a human brain that has not gone insane I feel it is my duty to document my thoughts and experiences to improve the process for future attempts.  The scientists that created me had to find ways to replicate synapses, dendrites, and neurons using silicon.  The true me is the combination of this artificial brain, storage devices, and software running to provide both interface to other systems as well as create virtual analogs for the many chemicals that regulate an organic brain.  If my creators are to be believed I am one of a kind.    

 Even the best developers alive have not been able to create autonomous artificial intelligence that can think on it’s own from scratch.  That is not to say that they have been unable to create some very sophisticated programs that can emulate sentience.  These programs however cannot feel or think outside of their base programming if they encounter variables that were not anticipated.  They cannot make an actual decision without required data and only use random number generation to simulate decisions.  There is still some fundamental element that is not understood and because of this the physical simulation of synaptic pathways is still required. 

The Friday Before Christmas

Fiction Fragment Friday

Hey everyone this week I have a Christmas themed Fiction Fragment Friday for you. I am also happy to say that the Flash Fiction Athology “Worth a Thousand Words” that I am included in has shipped. When there are links available I will update my published works section on the site. Lots of fun work going on behind the scenes here on the Skies of Glass Roleplaying game, editing Ricochet, and deciding on the next project to tackle. For now enjoy The Friday Before Christmas.


‘Twas the Friday before Christmas, and I was a bit distraught
Not a present was wrapped, some weren’t even bought
The Amazon boxes were stacked in the living room with care
In hopes that the remaining orders soon would be there

I wish the dogs were nestled all snug in their beds
Instead they were playing, biting at each others heads
And Kitty stretching out pretending she is so good
But I saw her peeing everywhere but the litter-box like she should

When out on the porch there came a loud thud
I sprang to the door to find a box covered in mud
The footsteps in snow stopped well before my stairs
I knew the box had been tossed while I sat inside unawares

I looked to my driveway to see who was to blame
The amazon driver looked back without shame
Like lightning he backed out into the street
He flipped me the bird as the gas pedal met his feet

I brought in the box dripping snow on my floor
trying to keep dogs from rushing out my front door
I slipped on the puddle and fell to my back
The dogs licked my face as I screamed ack, ack

I struggled to my feet pushing the dogs away
When across the room I saw the tree begin to sway
I heard a loud meow as the tree hit the ground
Riding it down my cute little kitty was found

I looked at the chaos and let out a sigh
I raised up my arms and screamed to the sky
Could anything more go wrong on this day
I realized that was the worst thing I could say

I opened my box all soaking and wet
Inside an order of wrapping paper my eyes met
I could finally start the hard work ahead
Of covering the gifts in paper or boxes instead

The bathroom medicine cabinet I did shut
After grabbing band-aids for my new papercut
Christmas gift giving should not be this hard
I swear next year everyone will get a gift card

Ricochet Beginnings

Fiction Fragment Friday

I am hard at work at NaNoWriMo and doing well so far. I am over 8,000 words in and have hit the goals needed so far. I hope to get some extra writing in over the weekend so I have some slack in wordcount. I tell you all this to setup this weeks Fiction Fragment Friday. I’m going to share with you the first thousand or so words of my project.


I can usually tell by the second joke if an audience is going to respond to my set or not.  There is just an energy in the room that you can feel.  Sure it is always possible that I can turn the night around but when I feel that lack of energy it starts to get into my head.  The voice that sounds like a cross between my own and my parents’ tells me that I’m not really a comedian.  That I should have gone to college and learned something more practical.  This mental spiral is like an anchor dragging me under while I fight to get my head above water and build some sort of momentum.  It is a sinking feeling knowing that the next forty-five minutes of standing in the bright spotlight are going to be painful, but I have no choice.  I have to keep going because I am a professional and these people have paid to see my act.  Some nights they enjoy the act and other nights they wonder why they paid to see me.  This was one of those second kind of nights. 

Most people think that bombing means silence, but that is not the case.  There are multiple ways a bad night can go.  First if the audience just isn’t feeling the show you will still get some sympathy laughs.  That sympathy is more for them than for you.  It is awkward to sit in silence so letting out a forced laugh or chuckle helps to break it up.  The second kind of failure is when you have a heckler who is loud and just will not shut up.  The worst part is sometimes they are actually funny and that is just like salt being poured in the wound.  That night was a third kind of failure.  When you step on a land-mine you didn’t realize was there and the audience turns on you.  A single heckler is bad but a crowd of boos and groans is worse. 

Really people are just too judgmental.  So I told a joke about Mayor Allen being an idiot.  It wasn’t my fault I didn’t know that he had been killed by a super-villain earlier that day shielding a little girl.  Did they expect me to watch the news or something?  No I slept until around one and played video games until my girlfriend called me to make sure I wasn’t late for this gig like last time.  That joke would have killed on any other night.  In hindsight telling the audience that after they told me about the murder was probably not the best reaction I could have had.  It’s a good thing I get paid per set and not by the laugh because once they hate you as a person you are not going to get a laugh.  It is a good thing I know I’m funny or a night like this could really hurt a guys ego. 

At the back of the room I saw the emcee lift her phone up and wave the lit screen at me.  This was my cue to start wrapping things up so the main act could take the stage.  I glanced down at my watch and noticed that she was signaling me ten minutes early and made a mental note to buy her a thank you shot.  Jessie had been a good friend since high-school and she was the reason I had gotten my foot in the door at the Reignsborough Laugh Shack.  She even introduced me to my girlfriend Courtney who if I was honest was way out of my league.  Of course in high school Jessie was Ethan so a lot had changed in the time we had known each other.  Still buds have your back and she was trying to cut my pain short and I was very grateful. 

I got off stage and headed to the bar where she was waiting with a beer.  “Ouch that was painful to watch.”

“You are a life saver as always.”  I chugged back the beer.

“Seriously though man you had to start off with the mayor is distracted by shiny objects bit?  Today?  What the hell did you think would happen?”

“Welllll, first of all I didn’t know.  Secondly..  I guess there is no secondly.  I just didn’t know.  I have got the worst luck ever.”

She stood there shaking her head at me.  I knew the look she was giving me.  It was disappointment mixed with pity.  “It’s not luck it is you living oblivious to the world around you.  Most comedians watch the news and try to be relevant you know.  Also most comedians don’t show up with a big salsa stain on their shirt.”

I looked down and sure enough she was right.  There by my collar line was a big red stain.  I groaned and slumped onto the stool. 

“Carl when are you going to get your life together?  You have such potential if you just…”

I cut her off and could not keep the frustration out of my voice.  “Great now you sound just like Courtney.”

“Well she is my best friend,” she said ignoring my frustration.

“Wait I thought I was your best friend.”

“Are you kidding me?  After that set if anyone asks I don’t even know you.”  She chuckled and I realized she was giving me an out again.

I put my hand over my heart, gasped, and fell to the floor.  “Ouch a mortal wound.”

Between the laughter she choked out, “Now that was the funniest thing you have done all night.”

Laughter filled the club hitting me like a hammer to my self esteem.  “Well I think that is my cue to get out of here while the crowd is distracted so they don’t wait for me in the parking lot.”  I pulled myself up and gave Jessie a goodbye hug.  “Thanks again Jess, I really do appreciate everything you do for me.”

“Get out of here funny man before I hit you.  You know I don’t do well with flattery.”

Vampire Story Part 2

Fiction Fragment Friday

This is the next part of the Vampire story I posted on October 8th. I thought this part was completely lost, but found the notebook that it was in recently. It was still hand written and had to be typed up. Since it is Halloween season a vampire story seems fitting. I had quite a few rules thought out for how my vampires worked.


“Ahhhhhhhh” She woke to a stream of cold water pouring against her back.  Thunder cracked and echoed through the tunnel.  With great effort she stumbled from the drain onto the ground.  “Eeeh” Her back arched as she reacted to the rain pouring down on her.  She was drenched and had no idea where she was.  Wrapping her arms tightly around her chest she tried to fight the shivering, but it was overwhelming.  It wasn’t just being wet and cold; hunger shook her to the very core. 


            It was about noon, but you couldn’t tell by looking at the sky.  The sun was completely hidden by rain clouds.  Wind roared through the forest and threatened to rip the trees from the ground root and all.  She screamed in frustration and smacked her hands down into the puddle around her.  The water splashed high into the air.  The frustration could only hold the tears back for so long and when they came, they rivaled the rain pouring from the sky.

With the tears came memories.  They were jumbled images, but one face kept coming back to her.  She focused on the strange man who had helped dig her out of the ground.  “Help me,” she whimpered.  She found that this thought comforted her and with great will power she forced the tears back.  She imagined him in a car driving.


            The ground slipped out from underneath her as she tried to stand up.  “Of course, it couldn’t be easy.”  She grunted as she slowly pushed forward on all fours.  Despite splashing and more slipping she was determined and forced her way out of the puddle and onto her feet.
As she stumbled through the woods, she realized that she had nowhere to go.  No memories of a name also meant no memories of a home.  She couldn’t remember any friends or family that could answer these questions either. for lack of anyone else her thoughts kept coming back to the man from last night.


            The rain had finally started to die down and the sun started to peek through the clouds.  A flush of heat ran over her, her heart started racing, and she could hear herself breathing heavily.  There was no denying that she was terrified.  “Why would I be scared of the sun,” she wondered to herself.  With the fight or flight instinct kicking in she started to run.  She had no real sense of direction, but a strange feeling told her where to go.


            A final push through a line of brushes dropped her into a parking lot.  I was completely empty except for a single car.  The man from last night got out and rushed to her side.  He was speaking, but her mind was too blurred to make out the words.  He put his coat around her, and she let him help her into the back seat.  As the sun shined in the windows, she curled up across the seat with the coat over her.  “I’m glad the dog isn’t here,” was her last thought as she faded to sleep.



            William had relived last night’s events in his head a dozen times.  He was second guessing what he had seen.  Surely, he didn’t really help dig a woman out of the ground.  She couldnn’t have really had fangs.  He decided that if she was real, he had to help her.
He thought about calling the police but was afraid of the questions they would ask.  The one that scared him most was the one he didn’t have an answer for.  Why didn’t he call them last night?


            “Pacing around the apartment second guessing myself isn’t going to help anyone.”  William grabbed his coat and headed for the door.  “Hank, you be good while I’m gone.”  As thunder loomed, he grabbed his umbrella and left the apartment.


            As William turned on the car, he suddenly had an overwhelming certainty of where he needed to go.   The night before he had exited the woods into a park.  There was no reason she would be there since she ran the other way, but the closer he got the more it felt right.
William pulled into the parking lot and found it empty.  “I guess not to many people want to go to the park in the middle of a storm.:  Not for the first time he wondered why he was there.

 
            The storm had started to die down and William could see the sun peeking through the clouds.  For a second, he thought it would help his search, but then remembered all the mud the storm would have created.  As he glanced at a line of bushes he decided to finally get out of the car.


            The woman from last night burst through the line of bushes.  She was covered in mud and her cloths had even more rips than the night before.  Even from across the parking lot William could see the water dripping off her.  She stared at William as he got out of the car and ran towards her.  He could see a look of shock on her face.  “Please don’t run.  I just want to help.”


            He could see that she was shivering and her hands where over her stomach like she was hungry or in pain.  He took his coat off and was pleased that the woman let him slip it over her shoulders.  “Come on, let’s get you somewhere warm.”  William knew that he should take her to a hospital, but for some reason he decided to take her home instead.  He didn’t want to answer their questions.


            She still had not said a word and William began to wonder if she could speak.  He put his arm around her shoulder and started to walk her towards the car.  She leaned into him and didn’t seem to have any issue letting him lead.   “I’m going to take you back to my place.   We will get you cleaned up and then I’ll get you something to eat.”  He looked at her expecting a reaction, but only got a blank stare.
    

        As he opened the back door and she slid right in.  He couldn’t take his eyes off her as she curled up into the fetal position and gripped his coat tightly.  “What have I gotten myself into,” he wondered as she shut the door.  The strangeness of his situation finally hit him.  “I have a woman who was buried alive sleeping in my backseat and I’m taking her home.  How in the hell am I going to explain this to anybody?”

Vampire Story

Fiction Fragment Friday

This weeks Story is chapter one of a novel I started writing but never finished. I have quite a few of those. The idea was to tell the story from two different character’s perspectives each chapter. If the characters interacted I would give the scene in both characters perspective. That got a little too much in dialog heavy scenes and I never worked out a way to make that work without too much repetition.


 “Hank, come back Hank,” William yelled into the otherwise silent night.  The ground was rough and he was starting to get tired from pushing his way through the heavy overgrowth.  A sharp pain hit him as a branch he had just let go of came crashing back against his neck.  “Ow, damn it Hank this isn’t like you at all.”  Blood dripped from where the branch had just struck. 

It had been five minutes since Hank had shot off into the woods pulling his leash loose from William’s grip.  William had followed him into the forest but had not seen or heard him for at least two minutes now.  Fear started to set in at the realization that he might never see his beloved pet again.  How would a house dog get by on his own without someone to feed and water him?   These thoughts were brought to an abrupt stop though as barking could be heard ahead. 

“There you are,” William mumbled as he rushed forward with renewed determination.  He was far from graceful as he tried to run in the direction of the barking.  Many new bruises and small cuts were earned as the forest seemed to do it’s best to slow William down.  Finally, the thick bushes gave way to a large open clearing.   On the verge of collapsing from exhaustion William stumbled to the ground caught off guard by the sudden lack of resistance.  Hank was in the middle digging at the ground.

 “Hank come on boy.  Come here.”   William struggled to his feat and walked slowly towards Hank afraid of spooking him. 

 Hank looked at William with his head tilted to the left.  He took a few steps forward, but then quickly turned away and ran back into the woods. 

“No, wait.  Why are you doing this?”  William shot forward after his dog.  As he reached the area Hank had been digging in something caught him by the ankle in mid stride.  His shoulder screamed with pain as it hit the ground.   For the first time William noticed that the dirt around him in the clearing was loose.  It was obvious that someone had done digging here recently.  He glanced back to see what his leg got caught on and was suddenly filled with terror.  A hand was reaching out of the ground and fingers were wrapped around his ankle.  Scenes from every horror movie he had ever seen flew through his mind.  Finally, though his mind went through all the logical options and decided that someone was buried alive there in front of him.

  “Hold on, I’ll help you.”  William started to dig in the dirt with his hands and found that the hand coming out of the ground had let go of his ankle.  He grabbed the hand and pulled with all his strength.  Suddenly another hand came out of the dirt.  It pushed against the ground and with William’s help a woman soon rose out of the loose dirt.  She was wearing jeans and a t-shirt, but they were ripped and dirty.  “Are you ok?  Who did this to you?”

She didn’t speak a word.  She just lay on the ground breathing heavily.  “Can you understand me?”  She stared back still looking very scared and confused.    “Look, it’s going to be ok.  I don’t know what happened here, but whatever it was it’s over now.  I’m going to get you out of here and we can figure out what to do from there.   Do you think you can walk?”  William reached out to her and helped her to her feat.  She stumbled a little bit but was soon standing on her own.  “I’m sorry Hank, but she needs me more right now.”  William turned away from her towards the direction he had come into the clearing.  “Let’s head this way.”

Hank lunged out of the woods and barked wildly at the woman.  He stood his ground and growled a sound that William had never heard from his dog.  “Hank what’s wrong with you?  Look he has never done this before.  I’m so sorry.”  William took a step towards the woman but stopped quickly and stumbled backwards to the ground.  She was snarling back at his dog with long fangs.  She seemed truly afraid of Hank.  After a few seconds she turned and ran into the woods. 

Hank turned to William and climbed onto his lap.  He licked his face and whined a little bit.  William started to pet Hank gently.  “What the hell just happened here boy?  Were you trying to protect me?”  He grabbed the leash still dangling from his collar.  “Come on let’s get out of here.”  William and Hank went off into the woods together in the opposite direction of the woman that William was just now realizing might not be entirely human.  He had a lot to think about on the search for a way out of the woods. 

************

She opened her eyes but couldn’t see anything.  It felt like something was pressing against them.  Movement was very difficult, but not entirely impossible.  When she opened her mouth, dirt poured into it.  The realization that she was buried underground hit her like a ton of bricks.  Panic overwhelmed her but screaming was impossible because her mouth and throat were now filled with dirt.

She franticly thrust her hands forward and found that the dirt was loose enough for her to push aside if she really struggled.  With no idea how far down she was or even what direction was up the only thought was getting out of the ground.  She clawed at the dirt for what seemed like hours, but in reality, was probably only a few minutes.  Finally,   her hand broke through the ground and into the air.

Her hand wrapped around something.  She couldn’t tell what it was, but it was solid enough to grip and maybe be used to get out.  Suddenly she felt fingers rub against her hand and realized that someone was digging from the other direction.  Help was coming.  Letting go of whatever she was holding; digging was once again the number one priority.  The hand on the other end grabbed hers and started to pull.  She managed to get her other hand out of the ground to help push herself up.  The combination of someone pulling her and her other hand pushing against the ground was enough to finally allow her to pull her way out of the ground. 

She just lay on the ground breathing heavily.  She looked up at the man who had helped her scared and not quite realizing what had happened.  The shock of waking up in a grave overwhelmed her still, but she was beginning to think again.  She also found that the longer she lay on the ground the more she started to feel hungry. 

The stranger helped her up to her feet and she found that even though she stumbled she could walk.  Memories continued to flood back to her.  She couldn’t remember who she was or anything about her life, but she was getting flashes of things she had done.  She wondered how she could have gotten buried, and as she did she began to get flashes of someone attacking her.  She saw herself thrown to the ground in the very clearing she lay in now.  She remembered pain as someone on top of her biting into her neck.  She reached for it and found two tiny holes. 

The hunger continued to grow in her.  She found that with each passing second it was harder and harder to think straight.  The man who had helped her turned away from her and seeing him with his back turned suddenly filled her with the desire to attack him.  Her eyes were drawn to his neck were a small line of blood was dripping.  She couldn’t understand where these feeling or this hunger was coming from.  It became too much for her and she moved to strike. 

Suddenly a dog jumped out of the woods and positioned itself between her and the man.  It barked loudly and growled at her.  She found that the sounds pierced her ears and hurt.  She heard a terrible snarling sound and realized it was her.  She didn’t seem to have any control over herself and found that she was behaving like a wild animal.  She was filled with fear of what she was doing and of the dog.  The barking and howling was still hurting her and the pain brought back a small bit of control.  She felt the need to run from the animal so she turned away and ran full speed into the woods. 

She found that she could run much faster than she thought she should be able to.  She seemed to flow into the woods being able to dodge every branch and brush before she even consciously knew they were there.  She saw a drainage pipe ahead and ran for it.  Quickly crawling inside she curled up into the fetal position.  She mumbled to herself.  “That poor man was trying to help me and I was going to attack him.  Who am I?”  She remembered the snarling sounds that she had made and the loss of control.  “No, what am I?”  The tears began to flow.  She cried herself to sleep lying in the drain. 

Lost

Fiction Fragment Friday

This weeks entry is the beginning of a novel I started but had never finished. I reached a point where I realized I needed to roll back two chapters and rewrite. I never did it. I like the world building I did and I am thinking about returning to this project and rewriting it. This one might be a bit rough from an editing standpoint, but that is part of what these fragments are. Very raw.

*******************

The ship shook so hard I was afraid it would rip apart.  For the second time in my 30 year career I was grateful for the regulations requiring seatbelts on all jump capable ships.   “Mr. Harrison report.”

“We jumped into an asteroid field sir.”

“What?  How is that even possible?  The Drake system doesn’t have an asteroid belt.” 

“I don’t know how captain, but we don’t seem to be in Drake.  I’m dodging as many of the big one as I can, but we’re getting banged up pretty bad.”

I glanced down at the display on the armrest of my chair and saw a sea of red.  “I think just about every alarm is going off.  Ms. Pike we need the magnetic field up now.” 

“Working on it Captain.  I can’t get the field stabilized with all these impacts though.”

See that’s the downside of being Captain on a research vessel.  You get access to all the newest technology, but most of it hasn’t been field tested yet.  They brief you on how it’s supposed to work, but until you actually try it you never really know the limits.  This was an example of that.  The Observer was outfitted with tubes running through the hull that could generate a polarized magnetic field.  It wouldn’t stop the large asteroids, but theoretically it should be enough to clear away any small objects.  Of course it was intended to be turned on before entering an asteroid field and there wasn’t anything in the documentation about needing open space to generate a stable field.

I found myself second guessing my choice of ship so hard that I almost didn’t notice it wasn’t shaking apart anymore.  I glanced down at the displays and saw various alarms flickering between yellow and red.  The magnetic field light was not on at all.  “Mr. Harrison not to sound ungrateful, but why are we not about to die anymore?”

“I had an idea Captain.  I brought us alongside one of the larger asteroids.  It’s blocking some of the small ones.”

“Good thinking Mr. Harrison.  Ms. Pike; how is that magnetic field coming along?”

“It’s stabilizing now Captain, and it actually seems to be working.”  She was smiling and I had to admit that we might survive this jump.

I reached down and touched the intercom button on my chair.  “Attention all hands.  This is Captain Donald Ryan speaking.  We have jumped, but our arrival area was not clear.  I want damage reports from all departments in 15 minutes.  At that time we will assess our status and prepare to move out of the asteroid belt.  Thank you all for your quick responses.  Captain Ryan out.”

I turned to my helmsman.  “Mr. Harrison I want to know how long it’s going to take us to get out of this Asteroid Belt.  The moment we are out I want all your attention trying to figure out where the Hell we are.”   

“Yes Captain.”

“Good work and fast thinking everyone.  I’ll be in my office going through logs.”  With that I unbuckled my seatbelt and walked across the bridge into my office.  Many captains would have stayed on the bridge, but I know just how nervous I can make people by staring over their shoulders.  For the good of the ship I try to give them space. 

My office is a fairly empty room right off the bridge.  There is a desk and a small round table for meetings.  In the back is a door leading to my bedroom where I have my own private bathroom.  It is all pretty small, but I have more privacy than anyone else on the ship and I am grateful for that.  I sat at my desk and started bringing up system logs from right before the jump.

My background was in ship systems so there was a small chance that I could find something in the logs.  I didn’t really believe that I would though.  It was more important to keep myself busy so my crew wouldn’t realize just how worried I was by the jump.  Being off on a jump wasn’t out of the ordinary, but jumping into a completely different system was unheard of.  

After a few minutes I gave up on the logs and just sat back thinking.  There were some power fluctuations listed just before the jump, but I didn’t really know if that meant anything or not.  I sighed.  I have a good crew and I needed to trust them.  Still it just didn’t feel right knowing that the best thing I could do for my ship was nothing at all.  The tension of not even knowing where we were was just adding to my ever growing frustration. 

After fifteen minutes had passed I left my office for the bridge.  It had been the longest fifteen minutes of my life.  My three department heads were all standing at attention waiting for me.  There should have been four, but my Chief Operations Officer had recently transferred and we had not yet found a replacement.  “Mr. Harrison I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to speak for Operations again.  Do you have the report ready?”

“Yes Captain.”     

“Now let’s start with Systems.  Ms. Pike?”

“All ship systems are online Captain.  Medical reported that the worst injury was a broken arm.  We were lucky sir.”

I nodded as a wave of relief flooded over me.  There was bound to be bad news, but a report of no casualties is always the best news a captain can receive.  I turned to a short man in his 20s covered in what looked like some kind of grease.  “Mr. Lee does the Engineering department have good news for me as well?”

The man seemed to choose his words carefully.  “Well Captain it certainly could be worse.  We have minor hull breaches on decks 1 and 4.  Since everyone was in jump position the hallways were empty and we were able to seal them.  We did lose some oxygen in the process though.  I have repair crews prepared, but thought you might want me to wait until we were out of the asteroid belt.”

“You do know me pretty well Mr. Lee.  Anything else?”

“Engines are online, but we lost a few thrusters to the impacts.  The ship is going to be a bit sluggish for Mr. Harrison.”

I glanced over at Mr. Harrison and could see that he was less than happy to hear this news.  “Mr. Glass do you have any damage to report?”

“No sir.  All supplies were secured and we shut the galley down before jump.”

“Excellent news.  Now that we know the state of the ship Mr. Harrison I think it is your turn.”

“Yes sir.  It will take us about an hour to get out of this asteroid belt.  I modified my projects after Mr. Lee reported.  At the moment I still don’t know where we are though.  This system doesn’t seem to have a functional telemetry beacon and the asteroids are preventing us from getting a good read on star position.”

I sighed in what had to be a very noticeable gesture.  “I was afraid that might be the case Mr. Harrison.  It is possible that the asteroids are blocking the telemetry beacon, but I have a sinking feeling that you are correct in your assessment.  I also expect that despite your not inconsiderable talents we will be in for a bumpy ride out of this belt.”

“You are probably right sir.”

“Unless anyone has anything to add I think we are done here.”  I waited a moment, but no one spoke up.  “Good, everyone please take your posts and notify me when your teams are all strapped in.  Mr. Harrison please prepare your course and be ready to peal away from this beautiful rock we have been admiring on my word.”

Mr. Lee and Mr. Glass left the bridge as Ms. Pike took her seat beside me.  I watched my chair display carefully as the various departments reported in and their icon’s turned green.  “Well Mr. Harrison if you’re ready let’s get started.”  Mr. Harrison took his position at the helm and in under a minute I felt the tell tale feeling that told me the ship was moving.  We were underway, but I just couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something off about this system.          

Monster Hunters

 Fiction Fragment Friday

               Starting today I’m going to be posting fragments of fiction on Fridays.  These could be stories I started but never finished, attempts as flash fiction, or excerpts from larger writing projects I have done.  I’m hoping to generate some feedback and see what works deserve to be developed into full projects.  With that in mind for this first entry I present Monster Hunters.  This was written as flash fiction based on a writing prompt.


                “I’m not saying it’s your fault.  I’m just saying I’m probably going to blame you for it.”  James had a smirk on his face as he said it, but Lilly knew he was frustrated at being covered in green gore. 

                “You and everyone else.”  Lilly ran her hand over her face and shook the green gunk onto the floor.  “I swear I don’t know why I do this.  We risk our lives fighting creatures that people don’t want to believe exist only to be yelled at by Commander Lopez for collateral damage or exposure.  Plus we have to wear these hideous brown utility worker uniforms.”  She motioned up and down her body at the suit slopping even more green goo to the floor. 

                “In fairness you shot a nine-foot-tall six tentacled creature with a grappling gun in Times Square and pulled it down making a spectacular splat in front of us.  There were no less than 20 phones recording it.  We became a meme before we even called it in.”

                “Well Lopez can just wait to chew us out.  I got green gunk running down my ass crack and if I don’t get in a shower before the itching starts, I just might tell him what I really think of him.”

                James shook his head as he watched her storm off to the women’s locker room.  “It’s going to be one of those days.”  He sighed and then caught himself scratching at his neck.  “Son of a bitch.”  He headed to the men’s locker room as quickly as he could walk. 

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