Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2019/08/07 (Week 118)

Physics is an interesting thing, I wish more people understood it. Alas, most people, these days, think Physics is a lie made by the Liberal Left, and it’s radical followers. Which is why I’m here, in this tube, 23,000 miles above the planet.

We left. Those of use that could leave. It wasn’t cheap. It wasn’t easy. Millions of us died because we couldn’t leave.

You might think it was the rich ones of us who survived, and who now live in our little tubes, floating in space, in geosynchronous orbit around the planet that was once our home. It wasn’t. The richest among us worked to find those most deserving of surviving. The ones of us who cared, who helped our neighbors, supported science, and the active quest for knowledge. Those of us who fed the homeless, and the hungry, who paid the medical bills of others, though we couldn’t afford to pay our own.

I walk to the end of my tube, each morning. Well. I call it mourning. That’s when the tube rotates far enough for the sun to start shining light into it again. I walk to the end of the tube, and watch the sun rise. It’s a bit different than being on Earth. No colors. No light shows. Just a sliver of blinding light that enters from one side of the tube, and slowly arcs to the other.

The tube spins about its center point once every 24 hours. Eventually, it will slow down, but that will take centuries. There’s not much friction here to slow it down.

It also rolls. Endlessly. And actually, quite rapidly. About the axis through its entire length. That’s how we get gravity. The tube spins fast enough to throw us into its sides, simulating gravity. Move to the center of the tube, and you will float there for days. Maybe weeks. Before the motion of the air in the tube will pull you far enough off center to smack you into the side of the tube.

This is where we live now. We’ve escaped the conservative hell that Earth has become. The hell that says science is a lie, you can get medical care if you can afford it, otherwise you can die, you can work like a slave for a company, and then live in company provided housing, until you die, or until you piss off someone higher up the company ladder than you. If you do that, you can’t work for anyone. Ever. This is how they keep everyone in line.

You work for the companies. Or you die. It’s that simple.

I’m free of that, here in my tube. I live here with a female of the species, in the hope that we can continue to survive as a population. Right now, travel between tubes is limited. But, we’re working on that. It’s desperately needed to keep the gene pool functional. Too much inbreeding, and we will die out.

It is sad, really, to stand here, each morning, watching the sun rise, knowing what is happening on Earth. Watching the Earth’s atmosphere become more toxic daily. Watching those who still live there die out, and be replaced by machines. Watching the oceans turn die from the solid wall of plastic waste that covers them.

But someday, when everything has reached its end, our descendants may return to the planet. After the biosphere recovers from what we humans did to it, despite what our sciences told us, and the warnings we had of our impending self destruction.

In the meantime, we will be here. In our tubes. Floating along. Doing our best to survive. Dreaming of a world that could have been.

614 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s week 118 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.

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Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2019/08/03 (Week 117)

I made her from junk. From scraps of metal sheets, old chains, nuts and bolts, clasps, hooks, wire. Whatever I could find. She was never meant to be beautiful, a work of art, a marvelous design.

I meant her to show the world what we, as a people, a species, have become. How mechanical. Fake. Artificial. Shallow. With no hearts. No souls. No minds. And no freedom. With nothing left to us, or of us. Except the machines we had created.

Machines like our economies, our societies, our nations, our companies and corporations. For which we were simply human resources. Not humans. Not living, thinking, feeling, priceless life forms, with hearts, and souls, created by some miracle.

Human resources. Parts to the machines. Where you shut up, and you did what the machines told you to do, lived how they told you to live. As a tiny part of a large machine. No longer human. No longer worth anything. Easily replaced, if you broke, or wore out, or a stronger, better made part came along.

Not even like our bodies, our flesh and blood and bones. As humans, as life forms, we were colonies. Macro organisms. Made from billions of separate, individual, cells. Living together, for the benefit of each other. To help each other, support each other, provide for each other. How our nerves told us of danger, fire, sharp objects, things that would hurt us, or kill us.

How our blood moved nutrients throughout all our parts, organs, fingers, toes, heads, and collected waste products, to be expelled from our bodies.

How our digestive systems processed raw material, and pulled from it the things our colonies needed.

Everything worked together.

Sometimes, we got sick. Sometimes, one system, or another system, broke down, and stopped working properly, or even stopped working at all.

That’s when we were our most human. When one of us helped another. When one who could find food would find food for one who could not. When one who could see would try so hard to explain colors, and shapes, and clouds, and waves, and hills, to one who was blind.

But, you see. We failed. We failed ourselves. We invented things. Machines. Societies. Money. Politics. Power. Nations. Companies. And in the process, we turned ourselves into replaceable parts. If one part needs to see, and that part’s eyes stop working, our machines discard the blind one, replacing that human being, that life form, that gift from the universe, with another person who can see.

And then the machines, the companies, never look back. If the part that was defective dies, they don’t even notice. The don’t care. They don’t shed a tear.

I made her because of what we have become. I made her for the people like the man who told me, “You can’t afford to care.” For the many who told me, “Get your act together, and be what they need you to be, or they’ll replace you.” I made her to show them, and to remind them, of what we have become.

For all our greatness. All our achievements. All our glories. We have lost the only thing that mattered. We’ve lost our humanity. And become like her. A collection of parts, made to look human. That can be replaced at any time. And no one will notice. And no one will care.

And having made her, I wonder, and I always will, why did I bother. Why did I expend the effort. Why did I put so much time, so much work, so much of me, into creating her. When I knew. I knew. All along. No one would see her for what she is. When I knew, all along, she would be seen as a work of art. A beautifully crafted piece of sculpture. And nothing more.

For I knew, all along, too many hearts, and too many souls, were gone.

And too many empty, soulless, cold, unfeeling machines, those human resources, were all that was left of us.

670 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s week 117 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2019/07/31 (Week 116)

I bought an old building, in a town you probably never heard of, in Mississippi, of all places. It had been abandoned for over a decade. The real estate agent thought I was nuts, “You won’t ever make any money off this. This whole area is dying.”

“That’s why I’m buying it.”

I knew I was buying it the moment I set foot inside. The wide hall at the entrance, the absurdly tall ceiling, the ancient stairs to the second floor. It was perfect. Exactly what my heart wanted. A big place for one person. Too big, really. With old wiring, old heating, and no air conditioning.

But, it was the perfect building for me. I could rebuild it. My way. The right way. Replace the wiring, heating, plumbing. Install air conditioning. Restore as much as I could of the walls, the floors, the windows. Reconstruct what I had to.

And when it was done, I could stop.

Three decades of break neck speed in a career that had left me bordering on dead inside. With no dreams. No goals. No hope. Just a machine, going through the motions each day.

28 years in a marriage to a woman who turned out to be in love with my career, and the money I made. Money spent on cars. Clothes. An endless string of new models of cell phones. Trips to the spa each month.

And, when she had enough, I got home from work one day to find my suitcase on the front step, new locks on all the doors, a new phone number that I didn’t know for the house, and a note on the door that said, “I’ll see you in divorce court.”

That’s how life went.

Until.

Until Lilly turned up at the SPCA one day. The perfect cat for me. My sister had insisted on hauling me to the SPCA, and made me sit, with her, in the room full of cats. That’s when Lilly walked up to me, climbed into my lap, and looked at me with her giant green eyes. And the heart I thought was long dead started beating again.

That’s how I wound up here. In this house. With Lilly, my cat. She wanted a home. I wanted a home. I wanted a home for us. A quiet place. Away from things like the career that had nearly killed me. Away from the traffic of the city, traffic that never stopped, that was endless, every hour of every day.

A haven. An escape. A land of peace, and quiet. Away from everything defined as success. Just me. And my cat. And maybe, with time, we’d add more cats. If Lilly wanted.

448 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s week 116 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.

#ThursThreads Week 372 : Gonna Be A Busy Night

February 14th, Valentine’s Day. The day the boss called me into his office, and handed me my termination notice. Two weeks, and I’d be let go. “It’s for the best,” was all he’d say.

I wondered why, but not why all this was happening. I wondered why no one understood.

But, with no job, I had no income. And I had no family anymore. I had no need for the house, so I put it on the market, and abandoned it, and moved into the cheapest apartment I could find. Two weeks, and I got lucky. Someone bought the house.

That was what I was waiting for. “Gonna be a busy night.” I bought a used RV, a small one. Like one of the Ford Transits, but with a bed, a functional shower and restroom, and a mini kitchen, with a mini refrigerator. It was perfect. “Just what I need to visit places.”

And I had plenty of places to visit. The petroglyphs of Winnemucca, the Great Serpent Mound in Ohio, the Etowah Indian Mounds, just to get started with. I had so many places to visit.

That night I dreamed of a world filled with places like Atlantis, with technology we don’t have today. Of a world that was destroyed, somehow, and then washed away by a giant flood. And I heard that line from the Battlestar Galactica movie Razor once again. “This has all happened before.”

238 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s Week 372 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Part 7 of a story framework I call “This Has All Happened Before”. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who show up weekly.

#ThursThreads Week 371 : You Waited With Me

It was three days before Christmas the night I got home from work, and my daily trip to the library, digging for any information I could find, and both my wife, and our children were gone. There was a note on the refrigerator. The only part that mattered was the part where she said, “There was a time when you waited with me.” When one of them was sick. When the soccer practice kept going, and going. When she was at the doctor, not feeling well.

So many times I had waited with her.

Until I got tied into my research.

I was supposed to have cried. Or screamed. Or eaten six gallons of ice cream. Or got drunk, and been arrested. A normal man would have.

Instead, I spent the night on the internet, searching for more information. I learned about Damascus steel, Tutankhamun’s knife, the London Hammer, the Antikythera Mechanism, the Baghdad Battery, and so many more.

I learned the Great Sphinx of Giza may have been built over 9,000 years ago, instead of 4,500 years. The questions of how old the pyramids around the world were, and who made them. How some of them could actually be 10,000, 12,000 or more years old.

It was Christmas Day when I realized they weren’t coming back.

It was New Years Day when I got the letters from her lawyers.

226 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s Week 371 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Part 6 of a tale I call “This Has All Happened Before”. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who show up weekly.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2019/07/14

“The people of the third planet from the host star of this star system are extremely violent, and barbaric.” I let that sink in to the panel for a moment, as I brushed my hand over my brow to clear my head. “Given what we learned from our encounters with them, and from observing them, I can say this with no doubt.”

“Explain these results, George. We wish to understand more of what happened, of how so many of the research team were lost.”

I nodded, the flames on my head flickered around my eyes, and face. “Then let me begin.”

“It all started with observation. We hid from them, and watched them, for thirty orbits of their world around the host star. In doing so, we learned they called these orbits years.”

“Years? That’s a funny thing to call an orbit around a star, isn’t it?”

“May I continue?” I nodded in agreement. “We learned they believe they live on the only planet in the universe with life on it. For many of them, something called religion dictates this belief. For others, their inability to find evidence of life like their own elsewhere in the universe supports that false belief.”

Steven, the scientist from Gaap, interrupted at this point, “You mean, they believe all life is like them?”

I sighed, and paused to organize my thoughts. “They believe that all life is carbon based, and has genetic codes they call DNA. They believe this because all life on their world is carbon based, and has these codes.”

I continued, “Given we are not carbon based, but magnesium based, and we have no genetic codes, it is obvious their perspectives are rather limited, as are their definitions.”

Sarah, from Moloch, picked up the conversation at that point, “We learned how limited when we attempted to contact them after our observations.” She glared at Steven, “And yes, we were authorized by the council to make contact. We would not have tried without approval.”

I continued, “Three of the science team went to the surface, to a place they call Area 51. We selected Area 51, because that is where their social systems indicated they had experience in encountering life not native to their world.”

“Upon arriving at Area 51, the people of the planet did not react at all as we had expected. To them, we were a wildfire breaking out, and threatening to spread to the entire facility. They reacted accordingly, and used chemical technology that extinguishes fires by suffocating them, to protect themselves from the fires they thought we were.”

“They what?”

“They used chemicals that put out fires. Given we are fires, the result was, regrettably, predictable.”

Sarah jumped in, “They killed the three members of the team.”

“Oh, this is not good.” Steven shook his head. “Not good at all.”

I nodded, “As I said, they are extremely violent, and barbaric.”

“Were we able to recover the remains of the team?”

“No. The people from Area 51 quickly gathered up the embers, and took them to their underground facilities, we presume to analyze them.”

Sarah couldn’t control her laughter. “And analyze them they did.” She kept laughing. “Which allowed them to develop better flame throwers, as they call them.”

“Flame throwers?”

“Yes,” she paused, took a deep breath of her own, “a weapons technology they use against each other.”

“Weapons technology? That’s a strange use for flames and fire, isn’t it?”

I had to remind the review board, “The people of the planet are carbon based life forms, remember. To them, flame is a bad thing.”

Steven looked at the other members of the board, Faldo from Salpsan nodded, and Steven stood, “From this report, it is my recommendation to the board that the people of the 3rd planet in orbit around this star be considered a threat to the safety of all life, and the planet be blockaded.”

The president of the high counsel shook his head. “No.”

“No?”

It was exactly what I’d feared he’d say. “These beings are clearly warlike. They fight among themselves, and they instinctively attack anything they don’t understand.” He stared at me, “You can’t deny that, can you?”

“No, sir. I can’t.”

“Then it is settled. Send in the assault ships. We have to protect ourselves, and the other worlds from this threat.”

That’s all it took. The fleet was activated, and sent to scorch everything on that planet.

735 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s week 115 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.

#MenageMonday Week 2×41 : Far From Home

“Frank?” Valerie put a hand on a strand of barbed wire in the fence, “Why did people make fences so dangerous?”

I pulled her hand away from the barbs, “It kept the good animals in, and the bad animals out, and made it a lot harder for thieves to steal things. Dad had a barbed wire fence around the cows. He kept them inside that fence. Told me it kept the foxes and wolves, and other predators out. Protected the cows.”

“But?”

I nodded. It was another sign that humans had never actually trusted each other, except in small groups. How they protected themselves from all the other groups.

“In the city, they had razor wire, to keep people out.” She took my hand in hers, “There were good people. And bad people.”

O studied the fence a bit. “Damn. This is something I saw on that long trip. When I went so far from home.”

She tugged on one of the wires, “This fence was recently built.”

I nodded, and put my hand on the place I’d been shot by people at another fence. “If it’s what I think it is, you’re going to need to learn to use a bow and arrow.” I prayed to the Universe I was wrong. “We need to tell Jessica.” It was six days to Jessica’s town. I hoped we got there before the fence people did.

234 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s week 2×41 of Cara Michaels‘s #MenageMonday flash fiction challenge. You can read about #MenageMonday here. Please, go read all the short tales from this week. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.