Tag Archives: aliens

Slightly more than 350 word story.

Here you go! Another story. And I’m posting another one right after that. But the one with the dragon will wait until tomorrow. Or the day after. Eh. Memory is difficult. Back on track, this story was supposed to be 350 words, but I thought it was fluid. So it’s more like, 370 something words. Enjoy!

350 word story 

The ship rose from the dock, skimming lightly over the shimmering city. The pilot held the controls with easy familiarity, and sat with the quiet of careful concentration.

A slight movement from the lone passenger shifting for a better view at the passing city-scape pulled the pilot from her rumination, to glance at the woman. She seemed entranced by the glittering lights and polished edges. The fool probably thought that it looked like some mystical utopia. Atlantis reborn, perhaps.

The pilot knew better. You travel a place for years, and you start to see where the façade is worn and tattered. The homeless who shield themselves from the scorching sun by crouching within what meager shadows could be found.

Maybe the passenger believed the tales of protection from the hungry fleets, thinking that this world would be safer than any other because of newer technology and more advanced weapons. In the end, of course, the safest city could, at best, delay the inevitable, but few people really want to accept a fact such as that.

Or perhaps the woman, little more than a girl, really, had aspirations of joining the fight against the fleets. If so, she was doubly a fool, to go and choose a death that would only help add to the mountains of corpses, hanging endlessly in the frozen blackness.

But who could understand the thoughts of the young, who throw themselves on blades to prove that they’re invincible. The children who think that just because they haven’t bled yet means that they never will.

The pilot wondered if she herself had ever been so headstrong. Although the fleets had not been a fear when she was young, there were always dangers, always causes to launch yourself into, without thought of the consequences.

She was older now. Old enough to see her mistakes for what they were, but not so old that she looked at the mistakes of the young with animosity, seemingly convinced that age would always bring wisdom, rather than wrinkles.

But she knew that you have to let the young make their own errors, or else they will pull towards the dangers even more sharply, until they found wisdom enough to see their own mistakes, or killed themselves trying. She thought of this as the girl walked from the ship, towards inevitable mistakes, and destinations unknown.

And back to ones I like. Yay!

I listened to Two Steps From Hell, which is a wonderful band, and you should go listen to all of their songs. Listen. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6y4jBYEoeRE

Mercy in Darkness (No.23)
I wandered the battlefield under the darkening sky, searching for any survivors from either side. If there was one from our side, well I would have to evaluate their injuries, see if they could be saved. And if it was one of those things, that’s what the gun in the holster on my waist was for.
I was a medic, so it was my job to go out here and either put our men out of their misery or save them. The bugs were just collateral.
I wasn’t even sure why I’d taken this job, except that the pay was ludicrously good. I could see why. If you want people to do this hell the pay has to be exorbitant. Honestly, pay or no pay, if I had known that I would be wandering around a chillingly quiet battlefield in the dark, five months ago I would have thrown the pen in the face of the person holding the contract instead of signing it. There are days where being a gun, or bandage, for hire sucks.
But there are also days where it’s great. Traveling, seeing the stars. And on the days where a job goes well, or I and those working with me actually help someone, when we’re sitting on some craft with the stars shining all around us, I thank God, or whatever deity might be out there that I hadn’t ever wanted to have a desk job.
And there are days where it’s hell, where you lose a friend, or a chip of your sanity. Where you know that you did more harm than good, and you’re sitting planet side, not a star in sight through the haze of smoke in the bar that you decided to go to get good and drunk, although by the time you get there all you do is nurse a beer all night. Those are the days I wish I had taken a desk job, or something stable, that holds very little risk of serious injury.
Then there are days like this, the ones that will hold something more even though you don’t know it yet.
I was startled out of my musings by a…rattling….skreeking….sound. One of the bugs.
I came upon it, and looked at the thing. I was a bit like a dragonfly, mixed with a nightmare. Those bulbous, faceted eyes that seem to watch you wherever you are freak me out. They seem just humanoid enough to be highly unsettling, like retro video games that had the graphics in the “uncanny valley”, that place of rendering and pixels that is human enough to be realistic, but not quite human enough, where something is…off.
It tilted its head at me, legs pulled to its thorax and wings furled up, those tails of theirs never seemed to move unless they were impaling you with it, and it was in no position to do that right now, with one of its legs trapped over a flipped ground-ship.
I reached for my gun, and something stopped me. Perhaps it was the way the light from the stars seemed to glint off its eyes, or the way I had been thinking earlier, about doing good, but it suddenly seemed afraid. And almost human.
It was the first time I wondered if they had feelings, opinions, thoughts. It hadn’t been determined whether or not they had a hive-mind, but it was simply assumed that they did. They were bugs after all.
I wondered if they had mercenaries, and contracts, and payments, as well. If they had good days and bad. Or fear. Especially fear.
And so I figured out a way to get it out from under the ship, all the while wondering if this was a very stupid idea. It probably was.
I pulled it up, and it looked at me, it clearly looked at me, then it…bowed…said something in that language of its kind, and flew off. I finished my sweep, and turned in my resignation from this particular job as soon as I got back to base. I didn’t care that it would leave a bad mark on my ratings for hire.
It seemed like the thing to do at the time, and it still does. And if I’m faced down by a million of the bugs one day, with vengeance in their eyes for the wounded I had killed, well, I wouldn’t know whether to feel foolish or terrified. But until then, I would be glad of my choice.