Tag Archives: Science Fiction
The station was like an imposing castle of concrete, steel, and construction signs. Ever shifting over the past 100 years into spider-web of train tracks and serpentine cars slithering up and down the tracks. It paid little heed to the inhabitants of it.
“All workers report for your daily ration. You have done well, gentlemen.”
Gentlemen, despite the fact that most of the workers nowadays were female. Then again, it was just one of those things were the words employed carried more weight than the implications behind those words. At any rate, she wasn’t a worker so what was the point of worrying about it all? She liked to wander through the columns instead of the main walkway. It was never crowded at this hour, but it was nice think that she was walking down a palace or some forest.
The space between reminded her of a time that she could not possibly remember, but knew to be true.
I’m hoping that all two of you reading thus far have been enjoying this maiden voyage of SnapStory1000 for all it’s worth. I also want to take this opportunity to thank the multi-talented and heroic Masafumi Matsumoto for pushing my crazed keyboard clatters at your direction. Doubtless if it’s not my own tweet that lead you here, it’s Masa’s. If you haven’t seen his site, by the way, please do. He’s one of those human beings that somehow reminds of St. Francis of Assisi’s quote: “Preach the gospel at all times and, when necessary, use words.”
As I wrap up this first small series and move on to a different genre, there is an explanation merited to how this all started. Like many westerners living in Japan, I currently make my living as an English teacher. While I predominantly work in the junior high schools of my small town, I also do some small conversation courses in a nearby community hall.
Since the point is to just keep people talking, I sometimes bring out some pictures of mine – usually just the runts of the litter that I couldn’t figure out what else to do with. Then the students make up a little story about the image. I’ve heard Shinto shrines become private haunted residences; a teddy bear keychain become the key to a long-lost love in New York and the Odaiba Gundam coming to life for a full-scale war against alien invaders. However, I’ve never actually done it myself and figured it’s high time I eat my own dogfood and hopefully kick myself out of my madness while dragging others into it. You’re welcome.
Think that this particular series is starting to be more about the writing than the photography when I want both to play in harmony as opposed to one overpowering the other. So, enjoy the last part of this sci-fi story. Any feedback, positive or negative is appreciated.
As the over-charging Persuader took a bumpy slide to underneath the PAR’s Hover, Mikela knew that the odds were against her getting everything worked out. Even if she took one out of them out, the other was still going to be there to deal with. A hunting-class Persuader was designed specifically to prevent overheating. Fortunately, a few people back in the city who could tinker about with the devices knew that it was a simple matter of soldering a couple of diodes into submission. The problem was knowing how much of a kick it would give. Even at full blast it might only be little more than an overgrown firecracker.
Fortunately, even a firecracker at point-blank range can do some damage.
The seconds stretched long. The PAR’s soothing voices became more agitated, yet they would not move. They raised their weapons, red dots appearing on her chest and head. She was almost awed with respect. ‘They thought of everything.’
“Mikela Sheon, your resistance is ill-advised. We are aware of The Outsiders operations and…”
The whistling of the Hovers was drowning out the whine of the Persuader underneath it. She was hoping that the timing would work out in her favor for this whole thing to work or else.
As desperate measures often go, things thus far hadn’t been working out as they planned. Mikela remembered what brought her to this point. The City was a comfortable existence but as she toiled to keep the power flowing as a maintenance manager at the The Plant, she knew that it was only a matter of time. The power was proving harder and harder to provide for all the machines running the place. Food production had been steadily falling. The writing was on the wall and it was saying “RUN.”
The Outsiders, as they called themselves, shared this view. They had not seen the land beyond the Outskirts but they were convinced that something more lied out there. After all, the PARs were there to prevent that from happening. The conclusion was obvious as the initial reason was inscrutable – if there isn’t, in fact, anything out there, why keep people in? That was the logic and it seemed sound. If the world is going to Hell in a handbasket, then even a failed escape with a few civilian-level hunting weapons and a small supply of food would be preferable to watching all that they knew slowly fall apart within their lifetime.
Ideals are often easier to deal with than the realities they entail. They were a group of five when this started. The idea would be to see if anything was Out There. How that information could get back was a matter of seeing if anything out there could produce a radio wave that would overcome The Tower. Needles in a haystack, but a needle that could undo the stranglehold and allow things to continue. If not the system, then the people.
A group of five to try to continue the chances of hundreds of thousands. They agreed to meet at sunset, among the drone of power surging through the City. Power of the people. Power of the powers. Power of the operation. Power was the cause, the reason and the result prayed for.
Now there was one. The PARs at the border were effective enough to squelch them to two within minutes of even trying anything. It was little time before those two became one. Between the elements and his wounds, he had given up. The last thing he did was throw Mikela his Persuader just after hers ran out of power and provided a distraction to the previous patrol so that she could take them out as they “cleared” Angeli. Now it was Angeli’s turn to save her as she provided a distraction.
“We beg your pardon?” this type of response was not part of the PAR training.
“We’re sorry to say that refus-”
Whatever followed next was lost to Mikela’s ears as she dived between the two officers. The beams singed her back as the little Persuader-cum-firecracker unleashed whatever power it’s draining battery could muster. She could tell that she had caused one of them – the female one – to lose footing and that was about the best chance she could have. Either she would overcome the ghosts or become one herself.
Mikela rolled over to the source of the explosion and grabbed the PAR from behind, trying to get a hold on its neck while there was still confusion to profit on. Despite the thickness of the weather/velocity-proof uniforms they wore, Mikela found the body to be surprisingly light. In his rush, the PAR on the other side reflexively aimed and fired at their direction, striking his female counterpart in the chest. Mikela instinctively screamed at the mutually shared shock of the Persuader’s beam and groped the fresh corpse for one of her own as she felt her strength draining.
The soft fibers gave way to cold steel. Bingo. The weight compared to the one she had just detonated was unexpected. These sorts of things can make the difference in a life-or-death scenario. Change one variable and everything goes nuts. Fortunately, for once, the guys on the chase were having far more to contend with than the one on the run.
The other PAR had given up on the pretense of negotiation. The next shot would’ve found its mark had Mikela not already moved towards him and not the left as he was anticipating. She had a weak, but clean grip on the trigger.
She closed her eyes and pulled. She felt consciousness slipping from her.
Silence took hold on the Outskirts once again.
Finally, Mikela opened her eyes again to the red hues of the rising sun.
In the rising sunlight, all there was to see was wasteland, and two dead officers.
Along with a practically intact Hover.
She scrambled to take the magnetic boots off of the body that had become her unwitting blanket for the night and strapped herself into the device. Certainly even when at half-power, she had more of a fighting chance with this than her feet, clad with shoes that were already giving out to terrain they were wholly unsuited for. Of course, she also strapped the Persuader on her belt.
The Tower could still be sighted in the far distance. Why hadn’t it already sent out reinforcements wasn’t for her to think about. After all, it had been two days since the last one that got Angeli. There was only one thing to think about: In the Outskirts, there were no roads.
She had to make her own.
“A Running Stand” End.