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Short Fiction Contest 4 - 14/04/2014

The Haze by Slymodi
(No votes)
Achievement by Behemoth
Total votes: 1 (10%)
Making Freddie Mercury by Draglide12
Total votes: 3 (30%)
The Box by Lum
Total votes: 3 (30%)
Origin of the Sapiens by Sobok
Total votes: 3 (30%)
Time is of the Essence by Poet1960
(No votes)
Shaman by Eery Petrol
(No votes)
Total votes: 10
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Short Fiction Contest 4 - 14/04/2014

#1
Welcome everybody, to our fourth Short Fiction Contest.

Voting has now closed, and the competition has ended.

Looks like we have an unprecedented three way tie! The winning entries are:
  • Making Freddie Mercury by Draglide12
  • The Box by Lum
  • Origin of the Sapiens by Sobok
All the submissions were fantastic! Thanks go to everyone who submitted an entry or voted in the contest. :thumbup:


Entries have closed. Voting is now open.

Voting Closes sometime around Saturday 19th of April 2014


This contest will close sometime around Monday 14th April 2014

This is the submissions thread, please post any comments in the Short (Short!) Fiction Contest thread. After submissions close we'll run a poll so people can pick their favourite story. The winner will receive all the plaudits they can eat.


The Rules:
  • Submissions should be approximately 400 words in length. Please, no novellas.
  • Submitted stories should feature the competition's topic.
  • Submissions should include a title.
  • Submissions should be posted in this thread by the stated deadline.
  • Original content only (obviously, plagiarism of any kind is discouraged).
  • Multiple submissions are allowed, but you may be asked to choose one to go to final voting if we receive a lot of submissions.
  • Have Fun!
This competition's topic is:
Contest Topic wrote:The first working time machine.
Feel free to incorporate the topic into your story in any way you choose - Describe the circumstances that led to the invention of the device, or the story of its inventor. You could write about the first use (or abuse) of the technology, or perhaps about someone who is trying to stop the device from being used. You could even decide humans weren't the first people to invent the technology, and write a story about the beings that were. Anything you like, so long as you use the idea of the Time Machine in some fashion.

That's it. Have fun guys, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments thread.

Cheers, :thumbup: :wave:
- The Snark Knight

"Look upward, and share the wonders I've seen."
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Re: Short Fiction Contest 4 - 14/04/2014

#2
The Haze

They thought that I was crazy
They told me not to play around with time, and that it might "Destroy the universe"
Jokes on them

Here it stood in front of me
Shining
in it's pure Iridium casing, forming a ring
Took me a while to find iridium that pure

I took my blueprints off of my desk, and threw them to the digiverter with a spin
I kicked the large power cord into the wall, securing it in place
then running to the opposite wall, where the switch lie
it was a large switch
I grabbed the end, hand my hand along it, and gave it a tug
the Time Machine roared to life

A soft purple glow grew around the rim of the machine
slowly this glow began to spin, spinning faster and faster every second
the glow came into the middle, and extended out, almost taking my desk

it the glow wavered, but quickly had become still
the machine stopped making noises and the room was completely illuminated by the purple glow
I took a book off of my desk, Procedural Design LIV, a classic, and threw it into the haze
the machine accepted it and the glow had returned to it's former stillness,
the only thing next to test was myself
and who would know where I would go first
IVE BEEN OUT OF MY MIND A LONG TIME
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Re: Short Fiction Contest 4 - 14/04/2014

#3
Achievement

It looked quite simple. Just two LEDs on a wall. One blue, and one white. But behind the wall, was the most complicated machinery humanity had ever built. A one that needed a huge antimatter explosion just to work for a nanosecond. A one that needed two cubic kilometers of space to fit all the machinery in. A one that created rips and seams in the very fabric of space and time.

And it was just about to be tested the first time.

A scientist pressed a button, staring nervously at the screen. Not that she could do anything, if something went wrong. The system checked automatically every needed detail, and finished around ten seconds later. The system ran for a so short period of time, that for humans it was essentially instant. Within this time, the system created two wormholes, and a singularity, which all collapsed, vanishing like they never were the in the first place. Both LEDs turned on. The group cheered.

A second after the activation, slightly over 300 kilometers away, a simple machine, completely isolated from the world around it, sent a single bit of data.
In space, no one will hear you scream. #262626
I've never played a space sim. Ever.
Vos estis tan limes.
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Re: Short Fiction Contest 4 - 14/04/2014

#4
Making Freddie Mercury

(Disclaimer, I know this is probably too long.)


Hey guys. I'm Paul. So uh, well, I was one of the beta testers for the new Time-EXs. Yeah, no kiddin', we all expected Rolex, amirite?

Well anyways, the story. So, A bit of background, I LOVE Queen. They are my favorite band ever, of all time. I first got into Queen when I was a kid, listening to my big sister's radio. She had the Greatest Hits Album, and she played it all the time. It loved it. It was just coool when I was kid. and uh, needless to say, once I got old enough to kinda... connect faces to the music, I got into the band more personally, especially Freddie Mercury. He was my hero.

So uh, I get into... When Timex first opened up the writing contest to get into the beta tests, I wrote about my passion for Queen, and my lifelong dream to meet Freddie in person. I mean, he was dead, for a long time, before I was even born so, uh, this was like, this was gonna be my only chance. Well, hey I got into the test! Yeah! Woo-hoo! I mean... man, was I psyched.

So I go to the new showroom and pick up the watch, and the guy there, the uh... salesman, he's like "Man, try it out." "Right here? Now?" "Yeah, man, take it for a spin, go for it."

So, I raise my wrist to my face, like, in a Bond movie or something, and I'm like "Time-EX, take me to Freddie Mercury!" Then, just like that, I'm standing in the middle of street somewhere. There a couple kids out nearby, but... I don't see Freddie Mercury. So I have no idea where I am, really, so I walk up to these kids, and they kinda look over at me. I kinda started to notice sorta in the subconscious that the watch had sent me way back, I mean like, mid 20th century, but, well, it really became obvious when one of the kids is like "What the hell are you wearing? Mister?"

Skinny jeans, man, hot int the... 60s, whenever it was. I kinda look down, then shrug. One of the other kids says "Wuthcu wan't dude?" I'm kinda confused still, like, where is Freddie Mercury, and so, i just ask them, "Where is Freddie Mercury?" So then, all of the kids turn and look at this one kid, like, dang, this guy is in some trouble, and I'm like "Oohhhhhhhh." Freddie Mercury when he's just a kid! Well, I guess... not what I had in mind, but... hey, it's Freddie Mercury. Sweet.

So all the other kids kinda just take off, like they know Freddie's in trouble and all, and he's just kinda staring at me for a minute, me staring at him. I mean, if it hadn't been a ten year old kid the word would be star struck but... Well, he asks me finally, "What is it you want, sir."

I guess I wasn't thinking clearly yet, and I just blurt out, "You're gonna be a rockstar!" The kid just stares. I swear he's thinking, damn, this guy is nuts. I'm about to say something, then, just like that, I'm back in the showroom. The timer expired. right away, I look at the sales rep, and I'm like "I have to go back!" He says, just tell it "Send me back." So, James Bond here again, I raise the watch to my mouth and tell it. "Send me back."

The kid is there. He is still just staring. then he says, "Mister you just disappeared!" So, at this point I'm thinking, A, that's a bug, gotta report that, I'm a tester, he shouldn't notice, then... haha, well... I'm like, well, this is Freddie Mercury right? I mean, it's Freddie Mercury, he can get weird stuff, right? So I just tell him. "I'm a time traveler." Jaw, hit, the floor. the kid is stunned man. He looks around, takes a big breath and says. "So, you're a time traveler, and you came back to tell me that I'm gonna be a rockstar?!" Aw yeah, he got it.

Well so from then on, I know, I'm just gonna play it straight with this kid. This is Freddie Mercury, this is my hero. I can't screw with him. I tell him "I'm testing this watch, it lets me travel through time." His eyes light up. "Cooooool." I say, " Well, I'm gonna have to recharge the battery after this but, I just wanted to meet you man, you're gonna be a rockstar. Then I show up on the floor room again.

The rep sees my smile and knows. It went well. I tell him about the bug, and he's like, well, yeah that's why we're testing it. Anyways, I head home, plug in the charger, and lay down and do not sleep all night. I just met Freddie Mercury.

So, next morning, I decide, I wanna see Freddie when he's older. The kid was great and all, but I want the real deal. so, I tell the watch, "Take me to Freddie when he's older." Bam, I'm in some family's living room. Kinda lucky, the family wasn't there, so... hey that worked. There was one person there, a kid in his late teens. he doesn't notice me, so I clear my throat like "Hmm. Eherm!" He turns around, and is like, "You!"

So, this is the point I realize, this is not Freddie Mercury. I mean, it is, and it isn't. It is definitely the kid I saw the day before, but it is not Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of Queen. Yeah. Let that sink in. It had honestly never occurred to me that there might be more than one Freddie Mercury. It actually wasn't until after this that I actually read about Freddie, and learned he wasn't even born in the States. So yeah. Then, something else occurs to me. I just convinced some completely random kid that he is going to become a rockstar. Uh-huh. Yeah. Yeah. I wasn't really sure how I felt about this, so...

Then, he tells me. "I don't have the soul." And I'm like, what?! Did I mess this kid up? Did he become like crazy because he told all of his friends that he met a time traveler and they didn't believe him? Then he talks again. "I don't have the soul to play rock. I just don't. I've been trying hard, but it just isn't in me. On the positive side, my music theory is great."

So now, now is when I take another look and realize, this guy is lookin' pretty down. And it's my fault. I convinced someone who wasn't a rockstar that they were gonna be a rockstar. My god, I'm a horrible person. I'm horrible! I have to help this kid out at this point. so I say "Hey, theory is important, it's the first step, right?" "Yeah." He says. "I guess." I really have no idea what to say at this point. "How am I supposed to be a rockstar?" He asks. "Maybe... maybe you don't have to be." I say. "Maybe this is like, another dimension."

"I think it is. I don't think I can be a rockstar in this one though." Man, I'm like, hating myself, I have no clue. I'm thinking, I'm thinking, what the heck am I gonna do here? Then, I'm back in my apartment again. Timers. I know, right, gonna have to report that. Heh.

Well, brainstorming time. Time. Haha, no pun intended. so, I really just sit in my apartment and think a bit, and I decide, okay, this kid needs some hardcore positive reinforcement right now. I have to make him believe.

So, for the forth time, I Bond it up, "Take me back!" I show up in the room again. "I remember you did that the first time." he says. So, okay, this is pretty messed up, but right now I think, this isn't the real Freddie Mercury, I don't have to play it all the way straight right? Not if I mean well right?" So I tell him, "Man, I talked to the experts, and they say that a person's path can only change so much from interference, and they say you are going to be a musician. So I'm telling you how this is gonna work. How long has it been seen you last saw me?" "Thirteen years." He tells me. I say, "Freddie I'm gonna be back in thirteen years, and I am going to find you, and I will listen to you in concert, you hear me?!" Then I poof out, back in my apartment.

So, handled that well, huh? Wooh. Time travel, it's risky business, folks. Well, at this point there's not much I can do, so, I plug in the watch, just enough for one trip, and tell the watch, "Take me to the concert!"

And I'm there. I'm at the concert. And I am in one of the nicest concert halls I have ever seen. It is amazing, and at one end, is an entire orchestra. yup. You guessed it, my Freddie Mercury is standing at the front, bowing, conductor's wand in hand.

So I must say, the concert was fantastic. I'm not really into classical, and I liked it anyways. I talk to him afterwards. He tells me that he thought about what I said, that his life was for music. I guess at the point I showed up the second time, he was thirteen years deep in hardcore music education. My little prophesying had made it his passion, and he was not gonna back down. But he didn't have the soul. He couldn't rock. He realized though, that he had the technical chops to compose some amazing stuff, and he put it to use. My Freddie became one of his dimensions most famous composers of the 20th and 21st centuries.

I mean, this kid persevered. This guy gets his life screwed with by some time traveling jerk, and is all like "Well, might as well make the best of it. Let's do this." He followed his dream. Not even really his dream, 'cause I screwed with it, but his dream, I guess.

And that, ladies and gentleman, is why Freddie Mercury is my hero.
They shall call me, Draglide! The thread killer!
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Re: Short Fiction Contest 4 - 14/04/2014

#5
The Box

-It can’t be that simple…
-But it is. Look–the technician said, pointing to a small metal box-, it was completely forged as a whole. There is no way to get inside. We do have a lot of video material of its manufacturing process and a dozen analyses of the object after that. It is a perfect cube made of stainless steel, twenty centimeters on the side and five centimeters thick. The most important thing is: there is absolutely nothing inside it. We have tons of material proving that fact. That’s the whole point. It was made and immediately brought here. We have proof of that too, of course.
-I see. So what now?
The technician left the heavy box on the table and walked to the end of the small room.
-Now you can ask whatever you want and I’ll get an answer for you.
-That cannot be possible…
-It’d took me a year to explain the whole process to you, Mr. Chairman, so if you please–he said, frowning ever so slightly.
-Alright. I want to know… -the man in a suit smiled like a shark- who’ll win the NBA this year…
The technician raised a brow.
-…with the results of all games of the playoffs.
-I don’t know if that’s even legal, sir. The results of this experiment must be made public if we are to get credit for it.
-Yeah, yeah… you’re right of course. I was just kidding. Let’s try something harmless. What if I want to know how my daughter will look in three years? I want a picture or something. Is that fine with you?
-That’s a good call.
-Good. Make your magic then.

The technician made some input in the datapad and went back to the table. Before the eyes of both men the cube began to glow in the middle, a bright sparkling spot drew a perfect square on one side. Moments later, it was as if the box had transformed in a safe, with lock and keypad and everything. A key appeared on the table out of nowhere, a code engraved on it.
-Incredible… What’s just happened?
-Actually it happened as expected. The “us” of the future are still committed to this experiment. They know what to do according the prescribed protocols. They took a brief jump to “our” past-probably a couple of days ago-and made a safe out of our box before coming back to the future. Inside, I hope, we’ll find a picture of your daughter as she’ll look three years from now.
-I see. This proves that the trip back in time worked as intended, so that I’ll know that my investment is in good hands.
-Exactly. I just wrote the protocol about your petition. Let’s find out if this works.

The technician took the key, inserted the code and opened the safe. Inside there was a small envelope with a note and a picture inside. He smiled, gave the note to the other man and looked at the picture: himself in a puddle of his own blood. Then he looked at the man now pointing a gun to his head.
-It seems to me, that your future you took a couple of bad calls–he said, the shark smile again in his face.
-I don’t understand…
-Now that I know the results of the games-he said, fluttering the note-, please be a good man, take your datapad and type: market history for the next three years. I want to know everything, you know, so my investment will be in very good hands. My daughter will be pleased, I suppose, no matter how she looks…
I have been - and always shall be - your friend.
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Re: Short Fiction Contest 4 - 14/04/2014

#6
Origin of the Sapiens

“May your thoughts stay in your present moment, no matter which time you are in.”
“I will do my best. My existence here ends now, just as my greatest journey begins.”
He was the first chrononaut, sitting in a small translucent sphere, a highly advanced space ship. It floated thousands of planet diameters above the ecliptic, to minimize the risk of ending up inside a planetary body. He was the born pioneer, the urge to explore had always interfered with his calmness. Now as the sphere flew a precisely calculated path around the artificial singularities that made up the time machine, time passed, in the only direction it ever could pass, but slower and slower relative to his home planet. It felt like the usual journey through space, but he knew he would end up approximately one hundred years in the future. Secretly he hoped to be welcomed by the highly advanced version of his civilization, possible even capable of sending signals back through time, to tell his past that he had succeeded. However, this dream was not meant to become reality.

A few days had passed. The ship informed him that it had completed the path through the time machine. He scanned the solar system. No sign of technology. His eyes widened as he stared at Mars, his home planet. It looked dry and lifeless. What had gone wrong? Did he somehow travel into the past? Further scans of the sun proved him and the scientist’s singularity calculations wrong: Instead of one hundred, 3.7 billion years had passed.

There he was, alone in space, probably the last one of his species, his home planet a dead rock. He instructed the ship to set course for the 3rd planet, the one his civilization had planned to terraform and colonize some day. He crossed his legs, closed his eyes and tried to master his fear, contemplating this new situation. Hours later, the sphere woke him as they approached the planet. The view of this huge, blue oasis was staggering. Scans showed signs of life, the most advanced but still primitive species had a physiology not unlike his own. Excitement and euphoria flooded his mind as he picked a continent to land on. "Maybe I can make a difference here”, he thought to himself. Swiftly and almost silently, the sphere entered the atmosphere and touched the planet’s surface. The chrononaut set foot on earth.
———
A stranger sat below a large pipal tree, his legs crossed. There was something different about his calm face, also was he taller than the usual Indian. “Sammodati”, Rajana greeted the stranger who gave her a puzzled look and repeated “Sum mu tatee?”. How could he not speak Pali? Rajana pointed at her chest and said her name. The stranger repeated the gesture and pronounced: “Siddhartha Gautama”.
...traveling through time at 1 second per earth second...
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Re: Short Fiction Contest 4 - 14/04/2014

#7
Time is of the Essence

Where to begin. Most would begin at the beginning, but now that is not so easy. The beginning of what or who? I have all the time in the world now. I can go whenever I choose. I suppose I should begin at that point, just before I had all the time in the world. It started as a day, like any other day, I woke up and got out of bed and did the normal mundane things that people do at the start of their day. Little did I know what fate had in store for me on that quite remarkable day.

We had been working on quantum mechanics and trying to come up with the grand unified theory, much like our predecessors. I had come up with an idea that while somewhat radical, I believed may provide some answers. My colleagues all thought I was nuts, but there you go. I was sitting in my office contemplating and extrapolating on my ideas about scale and time and how they influenced space, and in turn were influenced by space.

It had occurred to me, that many things depended on reference points and our relations to them. Since it was proven that time contracted when traveling at high speeds, I realized that you did not have to go faster in order to create the same effect. You could also increase your scale, and as you did, time would slow down for you compared to someone at a normal human scale.

Then I thought of what would happen if by my mind alone, I could manipulate and alter reference points at will. So I tried, unsuccessfully at first. I tried many different ways of thinking and tried to change my perception of what was around me. After all, the things I took for granted were really just reflections of light off of objects that occupied a certain amount of 3D space. What effect did density and scale have on time? Why would it effect it at all?

If you travel fast, aren't you actually increasing the amount of space you occupy in a specified amount of time? What was the relationship? If I were a being that was one light minute in diameter, it would take light one minute to traverse my width, and from my perspective, I could watch a light beam take a minute to travel that distance and therefore time would seem to be slower. The obverse would also be true, the smaller you got, the faster time would seem to go from a person on a normal human scale. The world of quantum mechanics would be an accelerated world compared to our time reference.

Then I thought about frequencies and their relation to space and time and gravity. I realized that all things were variable depending on your reference point.

So again I tried to change my reference point, my perspective, the problem was, I had no particular object in mind. What was I shooting for? What reference point should I try to achieve? I realized that just blindly trying to do something without a goal in mind was probably fruitless and possibly even dangerous should I somehow succeed.

I picked a goal, a simple one. It was me getting up that morning. It was recent. It was still fresh in my mind, I thought it a good starting point. Concentrating on the various inputs of sight, sound, smell, all the things that feed information to our brains letting us perceive our world, I put forth all my might. I felt a little strange, but nothing more. Suddenly, I realized that was only part of the data, I needed to expand my senses in ways not normally thought of.

Adding to my previous thoughts, I now included things beyond what normal people consider, the movements of the planets and stars, the universe as a whole, conceptualizing all things in their place and time.

Then I saw it. The river of time, flowing out of, and into itself. It has no beginning, it has no end, it just flows endlessly. I was now the master of time. I was a time machine. I could see everything that had ever happened or would happen in a multitude of permutations, all coalescing in my mind. Time was us. We are time. It is our essence.

Time is of the essence of our minds.
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
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Re: Short Fiction Contest 4 - 14/04/2014

#8
Shaman

'I am the first time machine, a shaman of the perpetual journey. Weaver of the unseen road. I ferry souls through the world’s infinitesimal eye.'

No response.

'… I am the goat who has slain mountains with its hoof...'

Malek’s totems and avatars jangled on his necklace as he got up to work his way towards the river. He was surrounded by the children that had been gathered for his story. Some had been paying their interpretation of attention, others were far gone with their only connection to this world being the occasional drool escaping from their mouths. Malek undiscriminatingly marched through all of them.

The cooling river water came fresh from the mountain spa’s. When Malek sat at its side, the water was so fresh and cold that it maliciously stung his calloused feet. He must have been the only traveller who wasn't used to walking. Fortunately this world seemed well versed in sitting down and doing nothing.

By the time the sun had properly baked his skin, a welcome figure appeared from across the water. Malek’s master stood one river’s width away from him, carrying a content grin. From that distance he really looked like a local tribeling. When the master approached he didn’t so much step over the water as much as he swivelled. His features on closer inspection gradually changing from human to well-mannered nightmare.

‘It was as you said Malek. There is no other like you. We've been everywhere now.’

‘I told you. But feel free to look, we might find some lovely pockets in spacetime you haven’t seen.’

‘No need.’

‘None so interesting as this place though. Your heritage is lovely, but are you sure you did me a favour modelling me after them?’

‘Perhaps not. You have their bad habits. But let’s return home now. You don't know how much good your existence will bring.'

Again Malek got up. This time dropping his jingle-jangles on the ground. He took his master's hand, and guided him through the unseen road, the infinitesimal eye, towards the final point he had never seen.

...sadly master, I do know what it will bring. I have traversed all of spacetime save for our destination, and saw no other like me. Not even myself.
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Re: Short Fiction Contest 4 - 14/04/2014

#9
Submissions have closed!

Thanks go to all our entrants. And as always, all our forum members are invited to vote for the story you think is best.


Competition has finished! Congratulations to our three winners! :clap: :clap: :clap:

Cheers :thumbup:


Last bumped by Just_Ice_au on Fri Apr 18, 2014 10:25 pm.
- The Snark Knight

"Look upward, and share the wonders I've seen."

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