Wow! What a fantastic turnout this week! You made judging near impossible! As always, thank you to everyone who participated!
SOLDIER | HONORARY MENTION | A V Laidlaw | @AvLaidlaw
Cara Says: This moment of interstellar communication is a treat. Though Sabrina is unknowing, I love the narrator’s curious tone and attempts to blend into a culture he clearly does not understand.
Ruth Says: The observations and behavior of this interloper are more humane and soulful than those of many humans. This is a world and characters I’d love to see more of, much more.
UNDERBOSS | SECOND PLACE | Amy Wood | @jujitsuelf
Cara Says: Wow. This story uses its words to the maximum, building a devastating scenario. A life lived covering up for his father’s crimes against women is no kind of life. Knowing that Danny has grown up in this twisted psycho of a father’s influence makes my heart ache for any future he might have.
Ruth Says: Yikes! The creep factor here is off the charts but I can’t help but empathize with Danny and worry about his future.
BOSS | WINNER | Mary Decker | @mishmhem
Cara Says: Though ten minutes late, this story is short on nothing. Dealing with missionus-interruptus and a hyper literal computer just moments after being awoken, Jaris manages to keep it together with admirable aplomb. I absolutely love the transition from “super-serious space mission” to “intergalactic fender-bender.” I’m still giggling just thinking of it.
Ruth Says: Ahahahaha! “… in a galaxy far, far away’ the words ‘driver’s license and proof of insurance’ still plague the human psyche. 🙂
The Winning Story: ‘Untitled’ by Mary Decker / @mishmhem
Jaris awoke to find himself in the control chair. He blinked, reminding himself to remain seated and allow the drugs to wear off. Knowing they were still in his system, he closed his eyes and breathed the filtered air, allowing the filtered air to replace the cryo-laden air from his pod.
“Sit-Rep,” he asked when he found he could focus on a thought for more than a minuted. His voice sounded harsh and raspy, even to him.
“I am sorry to have awaken you,” the ships computer said, its tone indicating that it was not sorry— simply programmed to be polite. “But we have run into some difficulties that require human intervention.”
Jaris groaned slightly. He knew that the computer was being literal. “What exactly did we run into?”
“Another craft,” the computer told him.
“How did we manage that?”
“It did not register with our sensors until it was too late.”
“Come again,” he asked, feeling adrenalin starting to help break the cryogenic induced fog. “And how long have I been under?”
As his mind and body began to integrate with the chair’s systems, he remembered the mission briefing.
Antares One… He paused, trying to remember if that was the name of the mission or the ship. It was a 370 year trip. And he was only to be awoken when they reached their destination or if they encountered trouble on the way there.
“You have been asleep for two-hundred and twenty-seven days, three hours and nineteen minutes.”
He nodded, finally orienting himself to where he was. No alarms were sounding, he couldn’t smell anything burning, but for all he knew that could be the after effects of his ‘nap.’
“Tell me what happened, and where we are.”
“We are thirty-seven light years off course, having come out of hyperspace when we ran into another ship.
“And you said the other craft did not register with our sensors?”
“That is correct. The craft is made of nothing we have ever encountered before.”
It’s still here? We’re still in contact with the ship.”
“The two ships have merged,” the computer confirmed.
Jaris sat up a little straighter. “What the hell?”
“The craft is gelatinous in nature. It is designed to be self healing, allowing for FTL travel through any conditions. When our ship ruptured their hull, their ship sealed the breach, grafting our craft to theirs.
“Have we made contact… well… have we established communications with entities on board?” He automatically corrected knowing that the ship was indeed literal and crashing did indicate contact with the craft.
“They are asking for our license and proof of insurance and have suggested some rather improbable things that are physically impossible.
“This is earth ship Antares One,” he began but was immediately assailed with swearing that would make a sailor blush.
“Crazy human driver!” the translation continued. “Do you know how much this is going to cost?”
Light years from reality, and some things never changed.