Tag Archives: science fiction

The Vessel: Forward

Here is the first part: The Vessel

As she stepped on board, the steps she had just climbed disappeared and the opening in the side of the vessel vanished. She spared only a moment to glance at the wall where a second ago a door had been, a door opening onto Earth, onto the only home she had ever known, opening onto a field where a boy stood, begging her not to go.

That was all behind her now. The past could go hang itself for all she cared. The entire planet could go fuck itself. She was done. Done with men who were careless with her heart, done with society telling her what to do, how to act. She was just done.

Turning back toward the room she was now standing in, she took in the gleaming sterility. Chrome winked at her from everywhere, a large cushy black leather chair dominated the center of the room. The shivering stopped as warmth penetrated her skin, warming her down to her very bones. The cool, autumn chill was gone now. Replaced by a warmth that wrapped comfortingly around her. The sounds of the ships engines were faint, but oddly soothing. Soothing like the rumbling of her father’s car when, as a child, she slept away early morning trips in the backseat.

Catherine looked around the room as sleepiness washed over her. It had been a long day.

Another door slide open in the middle of another wall, a dark hole in a vast sea of gleaming chrome and whiteness. She stumbled unquestioningly through it to find a small bedroom awaiting her. Without an ounce of hesitation, she stripped down to her skin and fell onto the waiting bed, sleep pulling her under before she could even question how the ship knew she was sleepy.

 

The Truck

The truck hummed suspiciously in her driveway. Clara regarded it thoughtfully. It was a rather large truck, white, with lights on top. But how had it gotten here?

Clara didn’t own a truck and she had never seen this one until it appeared in her driveway a moment ago. The hum was suspicious mostly because trucks didn’t really hum. They rumbled or purred or something more apropos of an engine. This sounded more like something electric.

The truck looked mostly normal, with blue lights pulsating from under it. The windows were tinted so dark that she couldn’t see inside, even the front windshield. That was certainly odd.

She reflected that she should probably be afraid, or some other normal emotion that one might have if an unearthly sounding truck appeared in your driveway out of nowhere. But then again, she really wasn’t a normal person.

She became aware of her oddness at a very early age. When she knew what people were thinking without them having to speak, when people she wanted just showed up at the door, because they felt compelled to and when toys she saw on TV and wished for just appeared. But she hadn’t wished for this truck so what was up with it? Why was it here?

There was a soft click as the door swung open. An inhumanly tall man with a bluish tint to his skin stepped out. He wore a suit of soft, glittery silver, all one piece. Those were definitely antennas coming out of the top of his head.

“Hello Clara.” She heard in her head, though he had not spoken out loud.

“Hello.” She thought back at him, still far more curious than afraid.

“My name is Alto and I’m here to take you to the induction ceremony.” He sounded so matter of fact, as if she had been expecting him.

“Induction ceremony?” She probed.

Was that a sigh she heard inside her head?

“You are being inducted into The Intergalactic Society for Gifted Beings,” he thought at her, “you didn’t receive the welcome packet?”

“Uh…no.”

There was another sigh, this one distinct and thoroughly long suffering.

“So hard to get good help these days.” She heard him thinking.

“Well, get in or we’re going to be late,” He told her, “I’ll explain on the way.”

The Vessel: Frank

Catherine stepped back to admire herself in the mirror. Her short blond bob had just gone even shorter, into a cute pixie cut. She felt free!

She smiled to herself, funny how something as simple as a haircut could make her feel free when she had already left behind everything that was weighing her down.

She had been onboard the ship for several days now. She seemed to be the only biological life form aboard. There were no other humans on board or anything she would describe as an alien or even an animal. No plant life either. She was completely perplexed as to who was in charge here.

Until Frank spoke to her. Frank was what she was calling the computer, or maybe the ship itself, she was unsure what, exactly, Frank was. Maybe Frank was the on board computer that controlled everything or maybe Frank was the ship itself. The distinction was a minor one, she knew. All she knew for sure was that Frank spoke to her, prepared her meals, adjusted the environment of the ship for her and plotted the course they took.

She knew this, because he had told her so. “The air inside the ship now approximates Earth’s atmosphere to accommodate your needs.” He had told her.

“Approximates?” She had asked, wondering if she should worry about approximations.

“Well, the air you breathe on board here is much superior to Earth’s atmosphere.” Frank had responded and she swore he sounded haughty.

“The air that I have manufactured is free of pollutants and allergens so yes, it approximates Earth’s atmosphere, but better than Earth itself.” That time she was sure he had sounded smug and self satisfied. This argued against him being a programmed machine, at least she thought it did. Could the ship itself be sentient? She had no idea. She had never been on board a spacecraft before, after all. What did she know about the mentality of UFOs?

The Vessel

The Vessel: Forward

The Vessel: Night

The Vessel: Food Edition

The Vessel: Return to Earth

The Vessel: Return to Earth

This is a piece of flash fiction that piggy backs on another. You can find the original here.

“You must put in the code.”

She paused, perplexed, “What?”

“You must put in the code.” The mechanical voice came again.

She was standing at the door of the apartment building that she had been to a million times in her life. She had never needed a code before.

“uh……okay…..” she murmured as she glanced around to see if anyone else noticed this anomaly. Apparently no one did.

She sighed. Well if this wasn’t just about right. Things had just not been going her way ever since she decided to board a strange spacecraft and take off to parts unknown.

Returning to Earth had seemed like a good idea. A bit of time had gone by and she thought maybe she owed her ex an explanation. Or not. He was kind of a jerk. Still, seemed like stopping by was the right thing to do since she was in this part of the universe.

She touched the com in her ear that connected her back to the ship.

“Frank!” She demanded, “Can you get me the code to this thing?”

She swore she heard a metallic sigh from the other end of the com. Who knew computers could be so moody?

“You’re going to see him? After what he did to you?”

“Just tell me the code please!” she snapped.

“Fine, but don’t blame me when this ends badly. Scan it.”

She pulled out her little handheld device that Frank had given her and moved it back and forth over the keypad.  There was some bleeping and crackling as the numbers lit up on the screen and then the door swung open.

“Thanks!” she chirped as she pocketed the device and turned her com off.

The Vessel

The Vessel Part Two

The Vessel: Food Edition

 

The Vessel: Food Edition

Find the original story here.

Find Part 2 here.

She regarded the food in front her cautiously. It was green and gelatinous, like lime jello. Only it didn’t smell like lime jello.

“Frank! We talked about this!”

She had named the computer, or whatever it was that spoke to her and seemed to run the ship, Frank. It was easier than the ridiculously long and scientific name that Franks real name translated to in her language.

“You can travel the universe, speak every language known on every planet in said universe, have the sum of the knowledge of all civilizations from every part of the universe at your disposal. Why can’t you just make me a hamburger?”

Frank beeped, miffed. She could tell he was miffed by the way the lights ran across the control panel randomly. She sighed. Leave it to her to get on board a moody spaceship to escape her pathetic love life.

Not that she was complaining, she was having the time of her life really. Learning about space, Earth, human life and civilizations, alien life and civilizations. She just really wanted a cheeseburger.

“Come on Frank, I promise I’ll take the vitamin and mineral supplements and I’ll let you check my cholesterol levels later.” Frank worried about her health out here in space. Thus the nutritionally complete but utterly tasteless green blob in front of her.

“Catherine” came the condescending tone from Franks speakers, “you know that red meat is bad for you.”

“Yes,” Cat replied, “but it tastes good!”  She wasn’t sure if Frank was just stubborn or if he didn’t want to admit that he had no clue how to make a cheeseburger.

“Eat your nucohume (she had learned that stood for nutritionally complete human meal) and I’ll take you to a planet where they have something very close to cheeseburgers, but much, much better.”

“Where is that?” She asked suspiciously.

“In the Pegula galaxy, we were heading there next anyway. It’s a planet almost indistinguishable from your Earth, but a few twists I can’t wait to show you!”

She suspected she was being handled, but after securing a promise of a cheeseburger at their next stop, she complied. Sighing again, she reluctantly shoveled into the green nucohume.

The Vessel: Return to Earth

The Vessel: Night

See part one here: The Vessel.

The ship slipped through the darkness of space with a quietness and stillness that belied its incredible speed. It was as if the ship was standing still and space was slipping by it. The light from a million stars streaked by outside the windows. The interior was dimly lit reflecting the early morning earth hour of 4a.m. which was displayed across the wall of the room.

Glancing at the readout, Catherine snuggled back into the warmth of her bed.  The temperature of her room was a steady 78 degrees, just the way she liked it. The quite background hum of the ships operations provided a perfect amount of white noise and the bed she was sleeping in was the softer than goose down yet still surprisingly supportive. She was pretty sure it was made of materials not found on Earth. She didn’t care. She had found paradise.

The Vessel: Food Edition

The Vessel: Return to Earth

The Vessel

She tilted her head to the left and contemplated the vessel in front of her. It’s sleek, smooth metal was cold to the touch. It had an otherworldly shimmer to it. The color was something she couldn’t quite place. Almost a cross between blue and red, yet not purple. She was mesmerized by it.

The vessel gave off a soft hum as it hovered in the air in front of her, quivering. There was energy in the air she could taste. It smelled like metallic snow. She took an involuntary step forward and reached a tentative hand out toward it. She placed a palm on the shimmering air in front of it and felt it shiver beneath her touch. Her hand stopped, pressed flat against a smooth, rolling surface. She gasped in surprise.

The physical touch triggered something and she felt the energy wash over and through her. A nonexistent breeze lifted her short blond hair and she issued a startled, but happy, squeal. It was as if her entire body was made of electricity and she could sense the vessel on the other side of the energy field. She heard no voice, but she knew that she was being issued an invitation.

She never uttered a word. Her decision was made and instantly the barrier dropped and a panel slid open in the side of the vessel. As she approached the ship, the autumn chill seemed to deepen around her and she pulled her jacket closer and hurried forward.

“Catherine! Wait!” a voice cried as she hurried up the steps toward the glowing warmth of the interior of the vessel.

She turned before entering the doorway and regarded the young man she had once loved. Frightened he had stopped on the other side of the energy field.

“What is this thing? What are doing? Don’t go!”

She hesitated only a moment. With a fond but regretful glance, she turned her back on him like he had turned his back on her. Following her up here tonight was too little, too late. Behind her was only heartache, ahead of her was an entire universe waiting just for her. She chose adventure, she chose herself.

The Vessel: Forward

The Vessel: Night

The Vessel: Food Edition

The Vessel: Return to Earth

The Vessel: Frank