Tag Archives: science fiction

Waiting For The Crush

The planet was definitely getting bigger. Slowly, imperceptibly to the naked eye, it was growing. Yesterday it had not been there, and this morning it had only been a small speck. Now it loomed larger than a full moon.

   In the distance, though not all that far away could be heard the sounds of glass breaking, laughter, screams. As the planet got larger society cracked a little more. Josh did not care for that. He’d left the TV behind and been sat gazing at the impending doom for about an hour.

   It was brown, and mottled with various craters. In the top right there was a smudge that could have been a hand waving a sick greeting. Of course, everyone knew what it looked like. The pictures had been all over every channel with the man from NASA crying next to them. But it was better to see it like this. It was real. Seeing it on a screen fictionalised it and made it seem like all the other nonsense. The scientists had seen it on screens and paid it no attention. Now nobody could ignore it.

   There was an almighty crash which dragged Josh’s eyes away from the planet. He frowned. It was amazing how fast everything was breaking down, as if they were all racing the planet to complete Earth’s destruction. It would almost be worth it if the planet somehow missed Earth just to see what would happen, how they would continue, if they could continue. There was another puff of smoke out on the horizon.

   It was definitely getting bigger. He had only taken his eyes off of it for a few moments but he could tell. It was almost rudely big now like a nosey neighbour leaning over a garden fence. It would be an incredible sight before the end, filling the sky. Josh wondered if there would be anyone left to see that. He would of course be dead before then, he had no intention of waiting for the big crush. But for now, he was content to watch, just for a little while longer.

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The Rolling Waves

The pilot did not even have to land on the planet it transpired. Well, more accurately, he couldn’t. He circled the planet watching as waves rolled from pole to pole. There was no sign of the fifty thousand people who had recently settled there.

He could only imagine the terror of the settlers as waves crashed upon them from all sides. It must have happened incredibly fast. They had had spacecraft. The last contact with them had been three weeks ago and they had made no report to suggest anything would go so wrong. All the best planetary monitoring equipment had been at their disposal. Had the equipment failed, or did they miss something? Or had the event been so cataclysmic and sudden to evade detection? That was not for the pilot to say. All he had to now was report that there were no survivors on the colony.

That made three in a row. He looked grimly at the list of seven more colonies and tried not to remember that those names represented over a million human lives, and hoped to god that the pattern would break.

Space was turning out to be a very bad idea indeed.

The Forgotten God

He looked out and all he surveyed was his. Sea, land, sky, space, the very light from the stars. He was a ruler without parallel. His word was law, his every desire realised. His rule was one of time and space, for such was his legend that were he to simply disappear one day he would merely transform into godhood, an eternal presence in the minds and actions of his servants. Under his control were an armada of ships that could blot out the sun, quite literally in fact as, on a whim, he had once called forth the inconceivable numbers of his ships to encircle a star so that no light from it could escape his clutch. As the ships then dispersed he displayed the completeness of his rule over time and space as people on worlds across the universe would look to that star, perhaps billions of years in the future, and they would see it disappear then reappear. They would know that even the heavens bowed to his rule. At times, he would hold the fate of worlds in his hands, condemn them to death and then reverse his decision just so they knew they lived at his pleasure. He did this without question or resistance for to do so would be as unfeasible as to question or resist the laws of nature. He was all of this. He was omnipotence incarnate, and he was terrified.

The ruler had not recognised the feeling at first and so had called on a physician to examine him, believing that some ailment had been so bold as to afflict him. The trembling wretch had pronounced his ruler the pinnacle of health, such that his very touch could be a salve or balm for the feeble masses of the universe. He sent the physician from his sight and eventually came to the conclusion that he was in fact terrified.

He was terrified because people were forgetting him.

It had all started one day when he was walking through some filthy neighbourhood, simply because he could. In fear and deference, the local population had fled into their dwellings at the news of his coming. That is all except for one adolescent. The ruler had rounded a corner to be confronted by this peasant. Rather than realising its mistake and removing its presence, the fiend had greeted the ruler as it would anyone who was of no consequence. In his rage, the ruler obliterated the obnoxious whelp before his guards had even moved a muscle. He removed himself from that place and had it burned to the ground to prevent any other misguided individuals afflicting him with their presence.

He had thought no more of it and had continued with his glorious reign. Then it happened again. He entered his private chamber to find someone still cleaning. Ordinarily he would have just removed such a failure from his service and sent it to the most fearsome gaol he could find. But this one had the audacity to ask him if he was the one who lived there and made so much mess. He had it fired into a star.

These two incidents had left the ruler exhausted, so he resolved to go to a more agreeable planet. He asked his ship’s captain to land next to a certain lake on a planet which he found supremely picturesque and soothing. His cruisers were always allowed to land wherever it was he desired. Normal protocols did not apply to him. He was therefore apoplectic when he was informed that a security team from the planet had been launched and were informing the captain they could not land there and would be boarded if they did not stop. As the ruler watched the planet burn under a hail of asteroids he had his fleet pick from near orbit and rain down upon it, he could only wonder what the hell was happening?

The ruler resolved that the next time an incident like this occurred he would attempt to contain his rage and have the insolent being that dared forget him, the most powerful being in existence, examined. He did not have to wait long. He entered his throne room to find all his personal guards standing to attention. All that is, except for one who remained seated and looked with confusion as to why its fellow guards were standing to attention. It looked quizzically at the being who had just entered the room. The ruler saw there was no recollection in its eyes. The forgetful guard was taken to be examined.

The ruler waited impatiently for news of why the guard had forgotten him. He had told his best physicians to leave no stone unturned, to rip the guard apart atom by atom if they had to and examine each particle of its being to find the reason it would forget the ruler. The plebeian who had first forgotten him could well have been mentally inferior to such a level that it did not recognise its ruler. But not one of his guards. They were handpicked for their physical and mental superiority, and their distinct lack of deficiencies or disloyalty. It should have been impossible for one of them to fail so appallingly, and yet it had happened. A thousand possibilities passed through his great mind. Had it been drugged? could it have been caused by a cyber implant? perhaps some strange disease had warped its mind? Whatever the reason, he was sure his physicians would find it.

They found nothing. No reason for why the guard would forget the great and terrible being that it guarded. The ruler’s personal guards were closely monitored physically so that only those in peak condition were put on active duty, so there were plenty of records for comparison. But they showed no anomalies or abnormalities. The guard was physically the same as it had been before. Every test they had done showed that it spoke what it thought was the truth and was not feigning ignorance. The ruler had the guard destroyed, it being no longer of any use, but his rage continued unabated.

Soon they numbered in their hundreds. Not long after there were thousands. Beings across the universe forgot their incomparable ruler and were taken to be examined. The ruler enacted a decree that twice a day every single being under his rule would be forced to declare their unfailing loyalty to their ruler and they would speak his name. Anyone failing to come to his officials was taken for examination. Anyone that came but had forgotten his name was taken. Any official that forgot who the name belonged to that people kept saying to them was taken. Physicians, scientists, mystics, shamans, spiritualists, all were used to try and uncover why the ruler was being forgotten. But to no avail. They were forgetting him, and more and more kept on forgetting him.

A man woke up one day. He was surprised because he did not remember going to sleep. In fact, he did not remember anything at all. The room he was in was audaciously grand, and large. He thought he would surely remember being in this place before, but he did not. The man left the room to try and find out something, anything, about where he was, and more importantly who he was. The entire building, or palace he supposed was a better word for it, was just as grand and ostentatious as the room he had awoken in.

The man heard a commotion somewhere up ahead and went toward it, hoping to encounter someone who knew more than he did. As he went he passed a mirror and looked at his reflection. The man was surprised to see he was clothed incredibly richly, regally one might say. But he had no clue as to why he would be wearing them. More importantly he was looking at a face that he did not recognise, even if the face was his.

The man came to the source of the commotion. It was in a room that was full of impressive and expensive looking items. Well, less full than it had been. There were dozens of people going about with arms full of artefacts and pieces that must have been priceless. One of them noticed him enter the room. “Hey,” it called out to him. “Where did you find the clothes? Are their more?”

“I don’t know. I woke up wearing them. Who lives here?” the man replied.

“I don’t know. Nobody does. But its full of expensive stuff like this so it might as well be mine.” The thief went to make off but the man stopped him before he went.

“Excuse me, but do you know who I am?” the man said. The thief would have just left him for asking such a stupid question, but something in the man’s voice made him wait. “No I don’t. Why who are you?”

“I don’t know,” said the man. As the thief made off with his haul the man muttered “I’ve forgotten.”

 

A Human Feeling

Alexandra was in shock. A robot had just told her it loved her.

How quickly she had become reductive. Not five minutes ago the thing before had been her friend, Simon, who she had laughed with, worked with, had meaningful and intelligent conversations with. There were moments when she forgot that underneath the human exterior he was artificial, and not flesh and blood.

But when it, he, had told her he loved her she had disregarded it completely. “You don’t mean that,” she said.

“I do. Truly, I love you,” said Simon, as human sounding as anything.

“How can you though? You’re-“

“A robot? Yes. But all the same, I am in love with you.”

“But how can you know what it even feels like?”

Simon looked like he was getting angry now. “How does anyone know what it feels like? They don’t until they do, and I do. Why is it so hard for you to accept? Why is it this that makes you think of me as a robot? Until now we’ve been friends. How could you think of me as a friend if you didn’t believe I had some feeling of affection for you? And is it then really that great a leap to love?”

“Because…” said Alexandra. “Because no one has ever said they love me, robot or human. Because I haven’t had a meaningful relationship in thirteen years. Because all my life I never thought I would find love. Because I started to love you. Because I’m afraid.”

His arms wrapped around her and they were the most human thing she had ever felt.

The Last Hangover on Earth

It took a moment for Francisco to remember what all the sirens meant. Eventually they split through his hangover and into the memory centre of his brain and he remembered that the world was ending today.

He stumbled through into his living room. An orange glow touched everything. There were bottles everywhere. “At least I won’t have to clean up,” Francisco thought. He found someone’s trousers and clumsily hopped into them. In his mind, he was trying to do some complicated equations to decide if he had time for breakfast. Looking at the time though he realised he had continued to sleep even after the siren had begun. Solar flares would probably already be licking at the planet’s surface, besides, if he didn’t go soon the siren would probably reduce him to bashing his own skull in.

Francisco walked out onto his personal landing platform and into an oven. The protective dome didn’t seem to be worth a damn now. Every breath he took felt like it was singeing away his lungs. He looked over the Kinshasa/Brazzaville skyline for the last time. The mighty Congo river had been reduced to a trickle, blasted away by solar radiation. There was no longer a sky, the sun covered it all. “Time to go,” Francisco said sounding to himself very small. He hopped into his flyer and was quickly away, sending a signal to the dome which allowed his ship to pass through it. Thinking about he decided he was incredibly lucky that the dome’s systems still worked given the immense strain they must now be under.

He flew away from the equator and then out into space. Once he had gotten far enough away he turned to look back to see the Earth engulfed by the Sun.

What’s That in There?

“What’s that in there?” was the question which drove my life.

It carried me halfway across the galaxy opening tombs and crypts, secret passageways and closed boxes. It led to so much more mystery and inquisition. Why was it in there? When was it put there? Who put it there?

That question had led me to hidden cities older than the human race, hordes of jewels that would shame an Egyptian pharaoh, secret writings better hidden than any government file. It had also led me to danger, to fame, to fortune, to life spent millions of miles away from home.

Eventually, the only place left to look at was myself. “What’s in there?” Nothing. So long spent looking, had I found anything worthwhile? There was always something to be found. But not this time. I had to put something there. I travelled millions of miles just to end up back where I started.

But I found something. I always did. I found the greatest mystery of them all: I found my wife. Soon we had a son and I found that when I asked of myself “what’s in there?” that I had found a truly great treasure.

One day I was walking along a beach, an unremarkable stretch of coast that years ago would have held no interest to me. My son was running along lifting every stone he could looking for crabs, he examined every rock pool for pockets of fish. “What’s that in there?” he called to me, pointing to a cave opening out of a cliff face. “I don’t know,” I replied. “Let’s go and found out.” And we went in together to unravel the great mystery of the cave.

Spirals

The first spiral appeared on Mount Rushmore. It was put there in the night. One morning confused tourists gazed upon the monument and saw the faces of the dead presidents coated by a huge spiral. The feds tried everything to clear it off, but nothing worked. Three days later it was gone, not just the spiral, but the whole mountain. It was as if a gigantic ice scream spoon had simply scooped it out of the Earth.

After this the spirals appeared more frequently. The Taj Mahal, Buckingham Palace, the Great Pyramid at Giza all went soon after. Before long there was not a country on Earth whose great monuments had not been stolen.

No one ever saw a thing. Everywhere people held vigils to watch for the coming of the spirals. They would blink and in that instant the spiral would appear. Cameras were also useless. Static would flicker across all recordings at the crucial moment.

A week ago, a spiral appeared on the moon. Three days later, sure enough, the moon was gone. Things have become quite chaotic since then. Cults have started branding and tattooing themselves with spirals with the hope they will be taken by whoever has been taking the monuments. All the great world powers are on the brink of attacking one another, refusing to believe that their enemies or friends are innocent.

NASA had no choice but to release the pictures. Across the globe people noticed the dark marks appearing across great swathes of land. NASA confirmed everyone’s fears when they released pictures showing the Earth covered by one colossal spiral.

That was two days ago.