The First-Ten-Millennium

Written for: Finish That Thought

Challenge: First line of Pride and Prejudice

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife,” the instructor read.

Mineral’s hand shot into the air.

“Yes, Mineral?” The instructor prompted.

“What is possession?”

“And what is a wife?” Wave interrupted.

“Not out of turn,” the instructor warned. “Let’s go in depth with this sentence as a general study of the first-ten-millennium of human culture.”

The instructor wrote the sentence on the board. She bolded the words UNIVERSALLY, SINGLE, POSSESSION, FORTUNE, WANT, and WIFE.

Then, the instructor circled in Red the words UNIVERSALLY and SINGLE.

Then, the instructor circled in Green the words POSSESSION and WANT.

Then, the instructor circled in Blue the words FORTUNE and WIFE.

Then, the instructor looked towards the circular window and out to the Earth rotating below. The classroom’s sphere turned slowly in its own orbit.

“Gravel?” The instructor asked the pupil sitting next to the window. The boy absently stared at the Earth as well, but sat up at his instructor’s call.

“Yes, instructor?”

“What are the words of Earth?”

“We are One.” He said without pause.

“What were we for the first-ten-millennium?”

“Separate,” Gravel answered. “There were boundaries.”

“Exactly, now there are no boundaries between countries or families. We are One.”

The pupils nodded.

“In the first-ten-millennium there were concepts of couples and SINGLES. This man in the book was a SINGLE but he was experiencing something that, at the time, was one to all.”

The pupils nodded.

“Bird,” the instructor called a girl in the back –one chatting with her neighbor. “What is the currency of Earth?”

“Give what you can, take what you need.”

“Correct. This is different from the economies of the first-ten-millennium. Well, outside of the barter system, one could argue,” but the instructor knew that discussion would be too advanced for these pupils. “Since the Grand Unificacion, there is no longer POSSESSION – which was a true a legal ownership over currency or things, even people. Nor is there the struggle and stratification that comes with possession: WANT.”

Some pupils nodded, others yawned.

“Now Stigmata,” the instructor summoned one of the yawners. “Please explain to me how FORTUNE and WIFE relate to themselves and the other two categories.”

The pupil thought for a moment before shaking her head. “I do not know, instructor.”

The instructor sighed. “Did anyone do the reading?”

A few hands rose but the instructor continued by ignoring them. “FORTUNE is a large amount of currency – it was thought UNIVERSALLY that a large amount of currency would appeal to a partner. In this novel, that partner was a WIFE. However, it wasn’t uncommon for the wife to claim a FORTUNE and attracted what were called ‘husbands’, during this time period as well. Also, in some cultures in the first-ten-millennium, wives were considered POSSESSIONS.”

“To be traded like currency?” Gravel asked.

“Sometimes, yes.”

“Whoa.”

The boy looked out the window and towards the Earth.

“Okay class, let’s read the next line.”

Curse of the Programming

 

BadPoet™ took one last look in the mirror. Not for the first time, he cursed his model’s programming. His wrinkles were coming in nicely as was his receding hairline.

“Today you will evoke emotion,” he told his reflection before letting his eye slip to the window. He contemplated the passing planet.

Today will be different.

On the flight deck there was a dais. On the dais stood BadPoet™ and, surrounding him, was the flight crew curled in laughter.

Today was not different.

“And in the dying light,
We hold on for our might,
Against the sight,
of our frights.”

“The only fright here is this awful poem,” the second-in-command boosted. “Captain, I love our new jester.”

The word stung. He tried to balm it with the fact that laughter was a physical reaction of the emotion ‘happiness’. He evoked that response – he did it.

The thought lifted his spirits up and until the rehydratable tomato hit him in the face.

Camouflage

3LineThursday:

Model number 2468: sent to watch you.
New design, easily camouflaged; no one will notice the norm.
So I sit, watch, and report back.

Edit: This piece received an Honorable Mention 😀

Judges Thoughts:

“This one made me stop, re-read, and laugh. I enjoyed the break from the typical sweeping, melodic prose for an entirely different take on the image prompt. And beyond that, it was crafted well – enough so to make me really pause and think about who the narrator might be reporting back to.”

The Storyteller

BEEP BEEP – Entering optimal visual coordinates for planetary mass 4926, alias: Earth.

Human 6.21046 picks up his tablet and taps a finger on the page, “From afar, the planet is blue but as we travel closer the mass turns into a barrage of colors: green and white, the yellow sun casts half the planet into shadow. I must move closer to fully investigate.”

BEEP BEEP – Entering the atmosphere of planetary mass 4926, alias: Earth.

He grips the tablet as the ship catapults forward. “Closer now, landmasses form. There is an infestation of crop fields and, in other areas, patches of grey. Hovering over them as I continue my descent, the blue of the planet almost disappears.”

BEEP BEEP – Entering ground level of planetary mass 4926, alias: Earth.

He stands when the ship lands, one hand pressed against the metal door and the other clutching his tablet. He writes, “My entrance has caused a disturbance. Humanoids are backing away from me in what appears to be fear. I tell them that I am a human as well. I assure them that I’ve traveled across the galaxy, from across time. One fearful humanoid vomits up his food ration.”

Human 6.21046 takes a step forward.

“I’ve come to write your stories.”


Written for today’s FlashFriday

Twofold prompt: Character must be a writer and include this photo –

Buster Crabbe as Flash Gordon, promotional still from 1936.  Public domain photo, sourced at flashfriday.wordpress.com

Buster Crabbe as Flash Gordon, promotional still from 1936.
Public domain photo, sourced at flashfriday.wordpress.com

Trapped

URBAN, was the theme of my project. So I gathered my camera bag and a snack for the ride. The nearest city was hour’s away but as grassy fields turned into suburban sprawl, it seemed like a different country entirely.

I didn’t expect it to turn out this way.

“Name?” The guard had asked.

“John,” I replied. “I’m here to take photos.”

“Go on, but be careful,” he warned, not looking up from his magazine. Who still reads magazines?

My first clue, had I paid attention.

As a trapped soul in a mirrored room, the guard’s words make sense now.

They see me as they ride, forever a reflective legend.


Written for last weeks Micro Bookends – where they supply the first and last word and you write the rest

Mad Dash Escape

“I’ll tell you what you need and that’s a gun.”

An alarm went off, echoing throughout the residence hall corridor.

John turned towards his wife. She had a gun in one hand and an expression on her face he had never seen before now. It was a mix of shining pride and tentative fear.

“Why would I need a gun, Emily?”

“Well, see, the thing is,” she was picking phantom lint off her uniform. She only fake picked at things when she was about to deliver uncomfortable news. “I may have killed the Captain.”

There it was. John actually felt his jaw drop. “You may have?”

“Well, no, I most certainly did.”

As far as he knew, his wife had never killed a person but her hand was steady on the gun, an experienced hold. He tried to catch her eye and prayed it wouldn’t be the gaze of a stranger.

Emily sighed dramatically as if John’s caution was unfounded.  When she met his eye she at least had the decency to look abashed.  “Don’t you at least want to know why I killed her?”

Footsteps were coming down the hall, heavy and united – a squad looking for their target. Their target was his wife.

“Where would I find a gun?”

“We’ll probably have to disarm a guard.” She beckoned him to her side of the corridor with a two finger motion. He followed the order immediately. “It was for a good reason.”

John wanted to believe her and as they dipped into a nearby empty room he decided that he would believe, at least until they got out of this mess.

“They’ll be checking each room individually. Let’s hide behind the door.”

“This isn’t a movie, Emily.”

“Trust me, it’ll work.”

So they waited behind the door, his breath caught in his throat. They heard a nearby door open, then another, then their own. Like in the movies, the door swung open and concealed them. A single guard searched the room.

Emily jumped forward and onto the back of the guard in a single movement. The guard, caught off guard, stumbled backwards and onto John. It was easy to twist the arm and disarm the man, easier still to use the side of the gun to knock him unconscious.

“Let’s head to the escape pods.”

“We need a code –”

“A code I have, John, since I manage pod maintenance.”

They ran down the path that led to the lower decks. “Why is the ship still moving?”

“Auto-pilot. I doubt they want to alarm anyone.”

She went down the ladder, John followed. At the base the room was empty, for now.

“Why did you do it, Emily?” He needed to know before getting in the pod with her, before soaring straight to Earth. He’d either be traveling with a vigilante or a psychopath, but he needed to know which.

Her smile twisted then, eyes widened with lunacy. John stepped back in fear. “Because I wanted to and I could.”


Written for this weeks #FinishThatThought

Mechbot Nanny

This drabble received an Honorable Mention over at Micro Bookends, a weekly micro fiction contest where they provide the first and last words and we provide the rest.


First off, I’m not even supposed to be here. I’m a Mechbot 3827, not equipped for this important mission.

Yet here I am with a baby crying in the corner.

No one is around, no one else can hear. I’m a Mechanic by design not a NurseDroid but there is something wrong, something making this human cry, and my programming wants to react.

I stand, crack my knuckles and gather strength.

The human is even tinier in my arms, the wailing is louder. Through strange instinct, I rock the fragile body against my chest. I can fix this.

The baby quiets as I continue humming. “There, there, sleep little lady.”

Happy Earth Day

BEEP BEEP BEEP

“Did you hear that?” I asked my partner, the echo of both our breathing ricocheting in our bodysuits.

“Hard to miss the obnoxious beeping noise.” He responded, surly as usual.

“You obviously don’t know what it means, if you’re not more excited.”

“Things ‘beep’ in our biosphere often.”

“But, we aren’t in the biosphere.”

“So?”

“That means the Biological Plant-life Indicator triggered something – “

“In this wasteland?”

“This used to be the largest National Park in the Southern Hemisphere.”

“Well now it’s – “

“Look!”

There it was, breaking through the broken ground, reaching for the sun, life.