Tuesday, 18 November 2014

SPACE GLITCH



I hope you enjoy this sci-fi flash fiction, chosen by Wattpad for its 'Quickies List'. 




SPACE GLITCH


'Senior Pilot Markson, prepare for immediate evacuation.'

The control centre’s electronic voice (aka Betsy) resonated with firm command. Markson stared, eyes blank, back rigid, as the space transport’s control panel volunteered a lurid display of flashing lights for his consideration.

‘No can do,’ he yelled at the invisible presence. ‘This. Is. Fixable.’

The flickering lights notched up from fast to frantic. Betsy, the Company’s epitome of implacable efficiency, continued her update.

‘The warp core has gone into overdrive. It is in need of service or else the ship will no longer be able to perform in an appropriate way.’

That was Betsy speak for the ship was going to be blown to smithereens, and, by implication, he too would cease to exist unless he obeyed. The voice now oozed patience and understanding of the difficulties which the human was undergoing.

‘I’m not leaving!’ Markson retorted, grinding his teeth.

Irate beyond measure, his hands twitched as he desperately stabbed here and there at various buttons in a wild effort to find a solution. In dismay he banged his hand down on the largest green light which he noticed with dread was beginning to fade.

‘I apologize, Senior Pilot Markson, but overriding the ship’s programs is no longer possible.’ Smooth sympathy dripped from the honeyed voice.

‘Damn the Company,’ he muttered in resentful frustration. ‘Those bastards should have known this old piece of junk couldn’t last more than a one way journey.’

Markson was furious. This was supposed to be a regular run - six months out to a mining planet in Outer Centauri, pick up the ore, and six months for the return. He was three months into the second leg, and had only taken the job out of desperation. Payment would be delayed until he returned to headquarters – and who knew how long that would take?  Recovery of Personnel from abandoned or, as in this case soon to be non-existent, space ships was never high on the Company’s list of must do’s.

The blast of a siren rent the air then ceased.

‘I am truly sorry for the distress this warning may cause you, Senior Pilot Markson, but I have no alternative. You have ten minutes before the warp drive implodes and this Jumbo Model 315689B space transport ship will no longer be a viable environment for human habitation.’

The meek remorseful tone had no effect on Markson, whose fingers continued a manic dance across the control board. Without warning, every single light on the panel, and on the bridge, went out except one large red light which pulsed eerily in time to the intermittent keening siren. Markson sat in a cheerless crimson gloom as tortured metal from various parts of the ship shrieked with ear-splitting volume.

‘Damn them and damn them to eternity,’ he cursed as the floor started to vibrate underneath him.

‘I do apologize for any upset this ship is causing you.’ The voice trembled with docile submissiveness. ‘The Company will generously compensate you for any inconvenience you may experience during this incident.’

Markson slumped in his chair, resigned to his fate, as the automatic escape pod walls rose out of the floor recesses either side of him, enclosing him in a slim metal ovoid.

‘I have informed Central Control of your situation and the process of recovering your pod has been initiated.’ Betsy’s voice had returned to a more business like mode overlaid with a hint of motherly concern for his comfort.’ ‘Your location signal is activated. And the cryogenic function of your life preservation vessel will start to operate 30 seconds after you are clear of the ship, and will maintain your current physical state of health until you are Retrieved.’

Markson didn’t reply. Unlike some pilots, who during long journeys through the vastness of space, began to relate with affection to their intangible companions, he never made the mistake of thinking his ship’s communication system was a real person.

A hissing sound indicated the opening of the ejection route via a panel in the ceiling, and the pod shot out, squeezing him back into his seat.

‘Good bye Senior Pilot Markson.’

Betsy’s farewell, laden with regret and sorrow, were the last words he heard as the anaesthetic delivered from his armrest rendered him unconscious. The pod sped away into the endless space of stars.



****




If you enjoyed this story, which seemed particularly appropriate considering the Philae lander's behaviour this week, you can pop over to Wattpad and check out my other posted stories ... just click on the links to the right.

Join me on Twitter at: @teagankearney

Thanks for visiting my blog, and please do leave a comment.  
To all story lovers out there, good reading, and to those of you who write, good writing.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

AN OCCASIONAL, CHOCOLATE LOVING POET





My nano's on hold - life's taken over, as it does - so this week I'm offering a couple of poems which I hope you enjoy.



The Thrift Shop.
 
I enter.
A predator hunting
with sensory antennae stalking.
Eyes flash
on layers of crushed crimson velvet,
edged with luscious creamy Belgian lace.
A confection; a creation
once bought for a special occasion,
and later gracing many a dance
swirling through the night.
I picture myself,
embraced by dashing arms
dancing to rhythmic beats,
as rainbow lights refract.
I caress the cloth
snared by lingering remnants of indulgence
as it cascades across my flesh.
A shiver scours my soul as,
pregnant with ghost memories
    of honeyed kisses and broken promises,    
          of the march of young men’s lives,            
                       of love dead before its time,                       
past losses seep into the present.
I shrug off the shadows,
relinquishing my prey.
It wasn’t my colour anyway.

*


Haiku is a very short form of Japanese poetry with a phrase and fragment structure. The phrase sets up the image, and the fragment juxtaposes a second image which gives another layer of meaning. 

Japanese is a syllable oriented language and, in Japanese, haiku has a syllabic pattern of 5-7-5. English is a stress oriented language (think iambic pentameter) so there are discussions as to how to maintain the original purity of the form. 

I do sometimes write free verse poetry (see above) but I like haikus because they’re short, and I like the idea of creating an image in so few words. Composing haiku makes for good writing practice as you soon learn to cut excess words, and focus on condensing what you want to say down to its essence. 

The following set of haiku is for all chocolate lovers everywhere.


Flavours of Lindt chocolate as seen on a display shelf.

Cherry; dark red fruits
hanging like polished marbles
in Kentish orchards.

Crunchy Caramel;
explosions of sweet sugar
as sharp teeth bite down.

Extra Cremoso ;
brown eyes flirt , satin smooth skin;
a hint of Rio.

Irish Coffee; warms
like the Gulf Stream off the wild
west Atlantic coast

Pistachio; from
Persian plains; most pleasantly
Pleasing the palate

Orange Intense;  blood,
Sweet Valencian, Navel.
Ripened drops of gold.

Roasted Almond;  Rod
Of Aaron, brought forth sweet blooms.
Sweet and bitter fruit.

Strawberry; a rose,
With seeds on the outside.
Symbol of Venus.

Tart Citron Merangue;
Mediterranean glints
On high alpine peaks.

*

Join me on Twitter at: teagankearney@modhaiku  

Thanks for visiting my blog, and please do leave a comment.
To all story lovers out there, good reading, and to those of you who write, good writing.
 


 

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Apart from writing, I'm compiling a bucket list of places I'd like to  visit...from Iceland to Hawaii and onwards....
         

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